Thursday, February 26, 2009

Good News and Bad News

The good news: Steve was "offered" his same job at HP yesterday. We are very relieved and feel very blessed to have made the "cut" in 45% reduction circumstance. When Steve went to work today, he said it was like an unexpected funeral...very depressing. So bad, that he decided to head home shortly after 2:30 and pick up Abby from school on the way.

The bad news: When he got to the school, Abby was a sobbing puddle, but wouldn't talk to him about it....she wanted "to talk to mom" (nice to know SOMEONE considers me useful.)

Here is the e-mail I received from her teacher...luckily I had read it before she walked in the door.

Hello Kris,

I wanted to make you aware of an incident that occurred today in afternoon reading group. Abby received a focus room slip for not doing her job. She and another student were both breaking their pencils instead of doing their work. They were both sent to the focus room for about 20 minutes. I talked with her reading teacher to verify the story. Please let me know if you have any questions. Abby has been doing GREAT in reading! Much improved! Kudos to you guys!

Thanks!Saurra Olesen

The "focus room" is a time out of sorts. This is the second time Abby has had to visit the focus room this year...both times from incidents in reading group. So Abs climbed up on my bed and we talked (she blubbered and I tried to figure out what she was saying.) We agreed she would do a better job concentrating on what she should be doing next time.

Here is the e-mail I sent back to her teacher.

Ms. Olesen,

Thank you, Abby and I talked and I think she now knows that what she was doing was distracting. I'm sorry you have to deal with her drama. I seriously had a hard time listening to the story with a straight face...I don't want her to think I'm laughing at her, but the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth was quite biblical (and entertaining.) ;) Thanks for all you do.

Take care,
Kris Farrar

Thank goodness for being an old mom...I've been through "incidents" with the boys (Kraig spent so much time in the focus room in the 4th grade, I think he should have some sort of plaque dedicated to him) and know everyone survives relatively unscathed. ;)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Opposites Attract

Steve has been home for the last two days...everyone at HP has an "appointment" to receive either a job offer or a package. Steve's appointment is at 5:00 this evening...we'll keep you posted. That package word is very confusing to me, it sounds more like a gift than a pink slip...but anyway it is what it is. We are pretty sure Steve is OK, but watching his co-workers drop like flies has been very stressful for him.

Anyway, because he was home we went to Costco together this morning. About half way through the store Ben decided he needed to go potty, and the part of the beauty of being the mom of boys is that Steve gets that honor whenever he is off they go.

I was checking out the flowers, squeezing roses to find the freshest bunch when my cell phone rings and I can tell it's Steve because the McGyver Theme Song is playing. I answer and Steve says "be sure you watch your purse!" I almost started laughing out loud....after nearly 20 years he still feels the need to "train" me. I grew up in a tiny town in Idaho...Emmett where everyone knows everyone (and is in every one's business all the time, but that would be a whole new post.) I am VERY trusting, I always assume people are honest. Steve, on the other hand, grew up just outside of Detroit, Michigan and trusts NO ONE! Saying I was naive would be an understatement. I've had to learn, among other things; to lock the car, lock the house, and not assume that everyone has my best interests at heart.

Really, that's just one item on the long list of ways that we are complete opposites...but somehow it works for us, I would even go as far to say that we are a pretty darned good team.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mighty Change of Heart

Reed has been playing basketball on one of the 6th grade teams at the Boy's and Girl's Club...he is playing with his BFF, Mason so it's been really fun for them. Last night's game was a squeaker, with us winning by 2 points. They don't always win (it MIGHT be 50/50,) but they play hard and have really improved over the course of the season.

Really, the biggest problem in all of this was mom's attitude...I didn't like the coach. This coach is YOUNG... he's the step dad of one of the boys, and I didn't believe that he really "got it." He is loud, he has actually sworn at a game, and has even gotten up in the Ref's face...there have been times when I really thought he'd be ejected from a game.

I wanted him to teach basic skills and he was teaching plays and running the boys through endless cardio drills. So, all of these things stacked up and left me just seething while sitting in the bleachers.

But somewhere along the line something changed...oh he's still loud, that's just his coaching style. But I stepped back and really watched this rough young man, who was volunteering his time to teach my son. I noticed that he called the boys "gentlemen," I like that. He compliments their best efforts even when the end result isn't in our favor. And I think he has taken his intensity level down a notch since the beginning of the year (or it's entirely possible that I have gotten used to it.) I have seen him soften...or maybe the softening has been done by me.

It's been a great season...I think we've all learned a lot! Reed learned a lot about basketball and mom learned to look at people a little deeper. Thanks Coach, we hope to see you again next year!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Old Mom Club

I was recently approached by one of the other Central moms....she said, "we'd like to invite you to attend PTC." I really like this woman, she certainly didn't mean any harm and would never try to make me feel bad, but this was one of the times when my age was to my advantage. The younger me would have gone home and cried and felt like a bad mom (of course, the younger me practically lived at the school so no one would have ever questioned my involvement there.)

The "old mom" looked her in the eye (smiling) and said "well you know, I have four kids at four different schools, I have to divide my time." (DO THE FREAKING MATH!) She has no way of knowing about the time I spend crocheting birthday crowns for the preschool (about 1 hour per crown times 16 crowns,) or taking our hovercraft to the middle school to give rides to the entire 6th grade science class, or any of the other stuff I do for that matter. OK, maybe an even "older mom" would have said "I don't WANT to go to PTC!" But if you'll remember, one of my goals (# 6 to be exact) for the year was to try not to be so direct...I know you guys don't think I really try, but I'll bet you'd be surprised at the stuff I hold back these days ;)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday Hoops

Today, my co-worker, Amy and I attended a hooping workshop up in Portland. I love hooping, it is so much fun and quite a isn't all about keeping it around your waist. I also love teaching my parent/child hoop classes, it's such a great way for parents (mostly moms, but some dads) to have fun with their kids. The bottom line, it's hard to use a hoop without having a smile on your face.
This workshop was taught by Erica Fey, the mayor of Hooperville herself. Check out her website here. We had a great time, and learned a lot. Take a look at the video below to see a little of what we learned today...Of course, Erica is WAY better at it than we ever dreamed of being...but Practice makes Perfect!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Yes or No

This is a little game that is floating around facebook and quite frankly, I think the "yes" "no" answers are here is my version.

1. You can ONLY answer Yes or No!

2. You are NOT ALLOWED to explain ANYTHING unless someone messages or comments you and Asks! Now, here's what you're supposed to do... And please do not spoil the Fun. Copy and paste this into your notes , delete my answers and type in your answers. Then see what happens.

Kissed any one of your facebook friends?... yes and yes OK, there is NO WAY I'm going to "out" either of these two friends. One is the current Bishop of his ward and the other is the former Bishop of his ward, I think it would be weird to see (in print no less) who your Bishop has been kissing (in a former life.) Plus, one of my friends carries a gun...YIKES!! And I think it is best to stay on his good side! So, short story long...I don't kiss and tell, sorry ;)

Been arrested? ...No, but had a warrant put out on me (I think that's what it was called) when I rolled my car in a blizzard...some nice couple picked me up so I wouldn't freeze to death. I had to go to Pocatello and have my rights read to me before we sorted it all out.

Kissed someone you didn't like? ...NO WAY JOSE!

Slept in until 5 PM? ...yes, just a couple of days ago when I was on Percocet

Fallen asleep at work/school? ...yes, does anyone remember Mr Hyslop's 1st period class the year when we were on the split shift schedule? was at 6:00 am, of course I was tired.

Held a snake? ...yes

Ran a red light? ...yes, hasn't everyone?

Been suspended from school? ...No

Totaled your car/motorbike in an accident? ..No, but it's probably been close

Been fired from a job?

Sang karaoke? ..yes, In a bar with a bunch of other Mormon women, we were the sober ones.

Done something you told yourself you wouldn't? ...Yes, every day! I always told myself that I would NEVER tell my kids to "shut up!" I'm eating a little crow on that one ;)

Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? ...yes, Are you kidding? I do that all the time!

Caught a snowflake on your tongue? ...Yes, Duh, Idaho girl here...that was considered good entertainment!

Kissed in the rain? ... Yes, Again, DUH! I live in Western rains A LOT! BTW, why are you people so interested in my kissing habits? I'm feeling a little stocked!

Sang in the shower? ...Yes, always...and I'm darned good too ;)

Sat on a rooftop? ...yes, Something I did on a regular basis as a kid, sat on the barn roof to watch the sunset in the summer.

Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes? ...No, I think I've escaped this particular humiliation.

Broken a bone? ...yes, just a fabulous story to be told here

Shaved your head? ...yes, I have sections of my hair shaved out from underneath every time I get a hair cut...I have really thick hair; if I didn't do this, I would be a walking bush!

Blacked out from drinking?, remember who you are talking about here!

Played a prank on someone? ...Yes, the normal girl's camp stuff. You know snipe hunting etc

Felt like killing someone? ...yes, I occasionally want to bury my husband under the house, but I'm guessing most wives feel like that once in a while.

Made your girlfriend/boyfriend cry? ..yes, I'm such a jerk

Had Mexican jumping beans for pets?, Who made up these questions? This is a dumb one!

Been in a band? ...No, but I was in University Choir at Boise State

Shot a gun? ...Yes, hello...Idaho girl!

Tripped on mushrooms? ...No, do you mean slipped and fallen or "tripped?" I'm guessing it's the latter, so I'm going to stick with that answer

Donated Blood? ...yes, but they have a hard time getting to it (my veins roll) and considering that the Red Cross doesn't employ the best blood getters, I've decided to cross that off my list.

Eaten alligator meat? ...No, but enjoyed feeding the gators cheeze-its while we were in South Carolina

Eaten cheesecake? ...Yes, I make AWESOME cheesecake. In fact, I have to figure out how to get one to BYU in one piece in March. It's a special request by a special girl...she wants chocolate almond.

Still love someone you shouldn't?

Think about the future? ...Yes, doesn't everyone?

Believe in Love ? ...Yes, how could I not?

Sleep on a certain side of the bed? ...Yes, are there cross sleepers out there?
I think this is what is called "the rest of the story"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pot-smokin' Hippie Soap

We're a little earthy here in Oregon. I wonder how many cities besides Eugene have city ordinances that allow both men AND women to wander around in public sans tops. Anyone who has ever been to Eugene Saturday Market or the Oregon Country Fair (I have been to the former, but not the latter) would recognize that they aren't in Kansas any more. OK, that said; I have to admit that while many of the younger set take this whole hippie experience a notch above my comfort level, there are things that go along with all this that I do like...I LIKE recycling, I LIKE raising a garden without chemicals, I LIKE buying local foods and products, plus let's face it, I have really great hippie chick hair. OK here is another thing that is associated with the hippie set that I REALLY LIKE...Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap.
Just reading the label is good clean fun (pun intended.) Dr. Bronner (who wasn't really a Dr., but who's counting,) combed the world to come up with his "all one Faith." The faith, plastered in 3,000-plus words on every quart bottle of soap, has likely been adopted by some, though it's unclear whether anyone but Dr. Bronner ever really understood all of what is printed there. That's the way it is with a philosophy of peace, unity and environment that simultaneously pays tribute to the qualities of Jesus, Karl Marx and Mark Spitz. Though the style of Emmanuel Bronner's message is a bit on the wacky side, it's always made for entertaining reading ... anyway, it's just good soap. It can be used for anything from hair and body to dishes and laundry. I swear it cured Reed's stinky feet and that was a HUGE feat (again, pun intended.)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love Buns

I made yummy "Love Buns" for my family for Valentine's day. They are not overly sweet, but still dessert worthy. The dough is a butter and egg concoction, so don't put it on the "healthy" list either. Mmmmm, we loved them, and I thought you might enjoy this yummy recipe too.

Love Buns

1 1/2 cups warm water

1 1/2 Tbl yeast

1 tsp sugar

Bloom yeast in the water sugar mixture. Set aside for 10 minutes or until "foamy"

5 1/2 - 6 cups flour (I used bread flour, but you could also use all purpose)

1/3 cup powdered milk

1/3 cup sugar

2 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

1 tsp Fiori di Sicilia flavoring

Combine dry ingredients. Mix bloomed yeast with the dry ingredients. Add butter, eggs, and flavoring. Use the dough hook to "knead" the dough for 5 to 7 minutes. Turn dough into a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and rise until almost double (about an hour or hour and a half.) Divide dough into 18 (somewhat) equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope or snake and bring the ends of the rope up and around to the center of the dough (man I wish I had taken a picture of this part.) Squish the bottom to form a "heart." Brush with thinned egg white, sprinkle with sugar if you want. Cover and raise. Bake on parchment lined sheets at 350 for 20 minutes.
Best served warm. You could glaze them if you wanted. I think they would be very yummy with lemon curd, but I only had Harry and David lime curd in the cupboard, so we ate them plain.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

!Viva la MEXICO!

I can't think of a better birthday gift...getting to go to Cabo with Sarah, reading, laying on the beach, reading, eating fabulous food, reading, soaking up the sun, and did I mention that I caught up on a few books I've been wanting to read?

Here are some of the things I love about Mexico:

  • The sun...and boy did I need it. Oregon winters are a little grey, now I think I'll make it until spring.
  • The food...what's not to like about fresh salsa, guacamole, and chips? Not to mention that I got to eat my first lobster in the shell, plus lots of fabulous stuff that I will be trying to reproduce at home.
  • Mexico is a huge ego boost...I could never get tired of being called "beautiful Kristina."
  • No schedule, I think that one speaks for itself. We had time to get not one, but two massages.

Thanks to my sweet husband Steve, for being the kind of husband who will stay home and keep the home fires burning while I have a little mom fun. Thanks Sarah, it was my best birthday EVER!!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Talented Hoop Girls

Central Elementary is having a talent show on Feb 19, the kids were asked to audition. Abby and her dear friend, Suzanne worked really hard choreographing a hula hoop dance for the show. At first I thought I would help them with their choreography, I started looking at YouTube and thinking about their skill level.

Suzanne started coming over every day after school for the kids to practice. The first day, I thought I'd just let them hoop together and get the feel for what they could do....then I realized they were working really hard making up their own routine. They wrote everything down on note cards so they wouldn't forget, and practiced over and over. Suzanne's dad, Vince found some really great music("Hula Hoop" by the Platters,) Sally (Suzanne's mom) found the cutest costumes, and I made the girls fabulous matching hoops. On the day of the audition, they stood in a long line and waited their turn to be called into the music room. When they were called in, they were met by a panel of four judges (their eyes got a little big when they saw that.) They were a little nervous, and did their routine a little faster than normal, but did a great job and I was VERY proud of them.

So, if you would like to catch these talented hoop girls in action, we will see you at

Central Elementary on February 19th at 7:00

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Royal Mess...Crocheted Birthday Crowns

I always volunteer to do dumb stuff...and most of the time the dumbest ideas are mine. I have to say, I'm getting better as I get took me a very long time to learn the word "no," and now I (mostly) weigh my current commitments before I take on new projects. So, I'm thinking that I must have been feeling pretty free last fall, because when Ben's preschool teacher was admiring the birthday crowns I crochet. I said,
"wouldn't it be fun to have one for each kid's birthday this year?"
I guess I was thinking 14 crowns over 9 sweat. I have 4 crowns down, 4 more nearly done and now that two more kids have joined the class, 8 more to go. I know I will be happy I did it, but right now I'm kicking myself just a little.

If you're interested in trying out the pattern yourself, it is on the Living Crafts web site. It is a very easy project and ends up looking very cute. Budget about an hour or an hour and a half (plus drying time) from start to finish. The pattern recommends using wool yarn, but I like to do it in cotton. It looks nicest steam ironed and starched, and the cotton absorbs the starch better. Abby loves to take them to birthday parties and I even give them to my friends on their birthdays...everyone should feel like a queen (or king) for a day!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates


The other morning I could hear the two "big boys" talking while they were getting ready for school and this is what I hear:

Reed: "Do you think it would stink to get shot in the foot?"

Kraig: (sarcastically) "Uhhh...YEAH!!!"

Reed: "What if you got shot in the foot by a 50 caliber sniper rifle?" (how do they know about this stuff?)

Kraig: "You wouldn't have a foot anymore."

Reed: "Well, I guess the Doctors would have to glue it back on.....or you could get a Lieutenant Dan leg."

So there you have it....if you need to know anything about anything all you need to do is watch Forrest Gump (so many times that you can quote it line for line.) "Stupid is, as stupid does."

Monday, February 2, 2009

Baking bread with Steve

Steve wanted to learn to make bread on Saturday I gave him my recipe and said

"OK, I always double it. Oh, and there is not enough flour in the recipe so add another 2/3 cups bread more thing, I always add 1/4 cup gluten too. You know how to bloom the yeast right?"

SILENCE...BLANK STARE. Sometimes, I get a little annoyed when he cooks because he asks about every single step, ("why don't you just READ the directions!") Now I realize that I am not exactly a recipe "follower." Recipes are more of a "guide" to the following is the complete recipe with the added notes Steve took. He did a great job...such a good job, he ended up making two double batches. We left the house Saturday afternoon, and the kids blew through both loaves.

Wheat Bread
3 cup warm water
2 Tbl dry yeast
1/2 cup honey
2 Tbl molasses
2 Tbl oil
4 cups wheat flour
4 cups bread flour
4 tsp salt
1/4 cup gluten

1. Water (100F - 110F + Molasses + dry yeast (mix and let sit for 10 – 15 min (let the yeast get foamy looking)
2. Add honey and oil to #1 and mix.
3. Put liquid mixture (#1 & #2) into mixing bowl.
4. Add wheat flour, bread flour, salt & gluten. Mix with dough hook for ~5min.
5. Let rise for ~1hr in big bowl. Grease the bowl with some veg. oil and put the dough in. (cover with plastic wrap).
6. Form loaf by rolling out long and as wide as the bread pan. Roll up, fold ends under & place into greased bread pan (grease w/Crisco)
7. Let rise 30 – 40 min, bake @ 350 for 35 min.
8. Cool in pan 10 min, then cool on rack.

Here is what he started with...

Wheat Bread
Great easy recipe
1 1/2 cup warm water
1 Tbl dry yeast
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbl molasses
1 Tbl oil
2 cups wheat flour
1 1/3 bread flour
2 tsp salt

Mix with dough hook for 5 minutes. Turn into greased bowl and rise 30-40 minutes. Form into a loaf and rise 30 min more. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

OK, I get it now...I'll try to be more patient in the future.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Forty is FABULOUS!

What a great birthday it has been! I am forty and feeling very loved. Honestly, I was worried about the whole Sunday birthday thing, but I have to say it was glorious. Ben woke up and said "mom, when are your friends coming?" I guess he thinks birthday parties are for moms too, I wonder if he thought we'd get out the slip and slide just like we do for his birthday parties. Steve took the morning away from Bishopric meetings to stay home and help get the kids ready for church. He made french toast (sorry no birthday fasting here) from his own homemade bread and topped it with strawberries and cream....mmmmm, it was delicious!

So many fun gifts, cards, and birthday wishes. MANY Facebook posts, e-mails and phone calls!

The treats came rolling in!! Brownies from Melanie, Sugar Cookies from Joel and Lisa, a beautiful homemade angel food cake by Sally. My belly is feeling a little swollen.

Abby and Ben cleaned my make-up drawer and the big boys cleaned my pantry...I'm a very happy mom.

A fabulous steak dinner by Steve. Of course, I still have my birthday Mexico trip to look forward too...later this week. Sarah and I will be soaking up the sun, catching up on our reading, and drinking "smoothies" (don't order "virgin" drinks, we learned that the HARD WAY...language barrier issues can get you tipsy) with little umbrellas in them.