Why You Should Never Weasel Your Way Out of Doing Your Own Work in Shop Class

I can cook, bake, make soap, raise chickens, Pinterest up a storm, and understand (and thoroughly enjoy) books about neurogastroenterology. But my building skills are enough to make Handy Manny cry. I’m not exaggerating.

Take, for example, today’s attempt at hanging one IKEA rack. The morning began with me bouncing out of bed, excited to organize the house, optimism coming out of my ears. I was certain I could tackle this. I mean, it’s one rack! How difficult could it be to put four screws in the wall?

Evidently, very difficult. Two hours since beginning the project, I have put four screws in the wall, removed two because they were too far apart, and will probably have to remove two more because I put them in the wrong place. That leaves…oh, yah…NO screws in the wall. The only things I have accomplished in the past two hours are putting holes in my kitchen wall that will need to be filled and receiving a sound lesson in humility.

And so, I quit, at least temporarily, to go make crepes. At least that’s something I know I can do.
I leave you with a picture from the IKEA rack’s instruction manual. Apparently, they covertly snapped a picture of me last time I tried to build something.



Frozen Coconut Hot Chocolate

Yah, you read that right. Prepare to weep for joy. You know all those times you’ve thought, “Man, I want a Bounty bar, but it’s 100 degrees outside”? I have your solution.

See, it started with a recipe I found on Pinterest for frozen hot chocolate. But that recipe called for white chocolate (which we all know is an abomination) and evaporated milk, and that just sounded unappealing to me. And thus, I decided to omit the white “chocolate” and use coconut milk instead of evaporated milk. And to be perfectly honest, life hasn’t been the same since…even if that was only seven hours ago.

So without further delay, I give you…

Frozen Coconut Hot Chocolate
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp hot chocolate powder
2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut milk (preferably cold)
4 1/2 cups ice
Whipped cream and coconut to top

Melt the butter over low heat in small saucepan. Add sugar and hot chocolate powder to make a paste. Add chocolate chips; stir until melted. Stir in coconut milk. Allow mixture to cool for a few minutes. (This would be a good time to whip your cream.)
Put ice in blender. Pour over chocolate mixture and blend until ice is desired size. Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream, coconut, and definitely one of those mini umbrellas if you’ve got one. Enjoy. And I mean really enjoy.


Getting Older

I found my first gray hair tonight. Actually, to be fair, it was more white than gray. And I should know – I stared at it for a good 5 minutes. I’m sure a mid-life crisis is in the mail. But strangely enough, I couldn’t help but think that it was the most beautiful hair I’ve ever seen on my head, as though my head was finally getting to the good stuff. And I just pray that this visual representation is merely mimicking what’s going on inside my head. Maybe I’m finally getting to the good stuff in there. Who knows.

It’s not just me getting old either. This little guy will be nine on Tuesday. Nine years old! I can barely believe it. They weren’t kidding when they said that it all goes by too fast.


Fiasco at the Feed Store

I love our local feed store. The place is nearly magical. I can’t go there without getting swept up in the plants, the beautiful pots, the adorable kids’ activity sets, the idea of having farm animals, a large garden, an orchard, beehives, a big tree that I sit under to read while the kids frolic in the meadow and eat snacks straight from the garden….

What was I talking about again? Riiight….feed store. So we ran out of chicken feed yesterday, and of course, that landed us at the feed store. My plan was to divert my eyes away from the plants, but as Caleb and the kids could tell you, that rarely works. After unloading all the kids and getting Mary into the stroller, we meandered over to the herb plants for a quick gander.

The feed store is right off Main Street in Keller, at the corner of Johnson Road. They recently constructed a beautiful wooden gazebo-type structure on the side of the store, next to Johnson Road. Under it, they keep their plants and herbs, as well as a play kitchen, a bench, and a few other things to keep the kids and husbands from losing their sanity while the plant-loving lady folk agonize over which foliage to take home before eventually buying one (or more) of everything. It’s very well thought out.

On this particular trip, I had my good friend, Elizabeth, with me. While Sam and Maya pretended to cook lunch, Titus carefully took inventory of every available plant, and Mary sat peacefully in the stroller, Elizabeth and I ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the herb selection. Though I am notorious for all but moving in to plant nurseries (or at least it seems so considering the amount of time I can spend in one), we had only been there for about three minutes before I did a quick headcount and was consequently horrified.

No, no one was missing or wandering in the busy street. Everyone was more or less where they should be, all except Sam who was suspiciously standing behind a metal pail containing a large tomato plant. It took me about three seconds to understand what I was seeing. There he was, pants around his ankles, his little bum covered in Star Wars underwear facing a busy street, eyes staring at me like a deer in the headlights. Apparently, it had never occurred to him to mention to me that he needed to go potty, and with all the plant life around, he must have figured we were more or less in the wild. I suppose he deserves some applause for seeing a problem and attempting to solve it on his own.

Many thoughts raced through my mind. ‘Did he actually pee on that tomato plant? Maybe MY Sam is somewhere else and this is someone else’s child. Why on earth would he think to pee outside of a store? I’ve only ever peed outdoors on summer camp overnight trips in the middle of nowhere, when I was a teenager, when there was literally no other option, and he has no idea about that! How could this happen to me?!?”

Luckily, he had not yet actually relieved himself on the plant. Apart from any insult he may have inflicted upon my ego, the only real damage done was showing off his Darth Vader knickers to a dozen passing cars. He was horrified to learn that it is actually illegal to urinate in public, and since it was a mistake due to a lack of information, he got off the hook with a very stern warning.
It just goes to show that things that we parents think are obvious are rather elusive to children. Caleb, of course, had a good chuckle about the whole ordeal that night when I recounted the event to him. “I bet the people in those cars had a good laugh!” was his response. Leave it to Caleb to help me remember that the kids are just kids and that things are much less serious than I often imagine they are.