It is Apple Season–Yum

I am not a food blogger, but as this time of year comes around, you will find me cooking, baking and crafting more.  One thing I have been making for years is Apple Pie.

We played hooky, this past week, from Church on Sunday and went apple picking at Erwins Orchards.

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We picked Macintosh, Cortland and Empire.  Most of them will become apple sauce, but a few are getting dipped in honey and munch on while others are finding their way into a pie.

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I originally started making pies when my great Aunt gave me a pie plate that had a recipe printed in the bottom and a lid that looked like lattice.  I used the recipe in that plate for a long time.  Then, I believe it was my Junior year of college, one of my best friends got married.  At her bridal shower I won a dollar store cookbook.  It has been the keeper of my go to crust recipe for 18 years.

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The recipe makes two crusts.

I have always been a rule follower, even in recipes. I always did them exactly as written.   My hubby is the opposite.  A recipe is lucky to even be a guide for him.  I think most of the time he sees recipes as something to be proven wrong.

I have made a couple adjustments to the crust recipe.  Here is “exactly” what I did last night.

  1. 3 cups flour
  2. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  3. 4-6 Tablespoons white sugar
  4. Mix the above together

Cut in 1 cup vegetable shortening with a pastry blender or two butter knives into pea sized pieces

Add 3/4 cup very cold water a bit at a time while stirring with a fork until a ball of dough forms. I actually dump in about half of the water to begin., then add it a little slower. I leave the dough ball a little wet. I find it rolls easier and it becomes the right consistency as I work to form it into a crust.

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I form one crust into the pie plate.  Mine is a little deeper plate than some.  The recipes typically call for granny smith apples, but personally, I use whatever I have on hand.

Preheat oven to 375 degree F.

Next I peel core and slice them with my peeler/corer/slicer.  I did 5 apples to fill this pie.  If you use a large apple it will likely only use 3.  I chop the apples a little, and then add:

  1. 3 Tablespoons flour
  2. 1 cup white sugar
  3. a very liberal dash of cinnamon (easily a Tablespoon or more)
  4. 2 Tablespoons butter or margarine.  All told, I probably use 3 Tablespoons.
  5. 3 Tablespoons of milk or a splash of milk

Roll out second crust, put over pie, pinch closed, hit with fork tines, put in oven 35-45 minutes.

Here is the pie after the family got home from church and discovered it.

pie

 

It is yummy, albiet not neat and tidy to make.  My hubby always tells me after I make a pie, “NO more pies!  They make too much of a mess.”–until he wants another pie.

I love fall.  It seems like a return to the wonderful smells an sights of life.  I know some miss the warmth of summer, but for now I am happy.  Now, if you miss the heat, just think, this apple pie will warm up your house as you bake it and your belly as you partake of its “yummy goodness.”

Telling the Same Old Story

My ears are bleeding.  I’m sure of it.

There is just noise, always, always noise.

It seems the girls are always yelling.  Thing is, I know most of the time, they are NOT yelling, but I swear, it bounces off my ears like a million trumpets.

There’s Caitlyn yelling, “see my squishy friend?!” (also known as a pin cherry)

Then there is Sue yelling “slug bug” and slugging Caitlyn–who then yelled, “ow!!”  Thank you daddy for teaching the girls slug bug–said no mother ever.  Stupid game.

Honestly, I feel like clawing out of my skin.

I love my kids.  I love having them home.  I love teaching them.  I love hearing Sue say, “I love the dolphin study!!  It’s my favorite.”  I am doubly pleased since I put together the unit study myself.

Right now, my wonderful hubby is reading to the girls in the next room.  At a very normal tone.  It is taking all I have to not scream at him to “BE QUIET!!!”

Now, the yelling has begun, “Caitlyn, have you brushed your teeth?????”  At full daddy volume.  And her yelling back, “NOOOOOOOOO!”  Can somebody explain to me why she still hates brushing her teeth?  Patrice does great and loves to “gurgle.”  Caitlyn is a painful process of asking, asking, asking and yelling.

I had the house to myself for about 10 minutes.  It was nice.  I thought, “oh, it would be nice to listen to music.”  Then my ear drums said, “if you turn on more sound, we are going to pack up and move to Mexico!”  I left the music off and kept the ear drums.

Le sigh.

I know I have fussed about this time and time again, but seriously, today, it is the only thing I can even think about .  So much ever loving noise.

How to cope?  Ugh, ugh, ugh.

Falling, Will I Fall

September 13th and it is already sweater and coat weather.  That’s okay with me.  I prefer jeans.  Sweaters tend to be more forgiving of my bumps and lumps.  There are amazing family and homeschooling activities–apple picking, cider mills, color tours, pumpkin patch visits.  And the crafts are just so cozy.  I love to make things.  My skills are limited, but I try.  Yesterday, I picked up my loom knitting again.  I curled up on the couch and started in on a pretty cap.  In the summer, it feels like I am wasting the weather if I sit inside and craft, because alas, winter will come. But before that, our trees will become a waving canvas painted so many vibrant colors.  I love the colors.  I can’t imagine ever living somewhere that does not have the color change every year.  I.Just.Couldn’t. 2013-09-21 15.48.58 2013-09-28 17.47.49 2013-09-07 16.57.10 2013-09-07 14.03.04   Some of last years’ fun (we haven’t quite commenced most of this years’ festivities–I believe that will be fixed tomorrow. I love fall and it’s fun things, but it has a dark side. It always precipitates an upheaval in my mental health.  I feel heavier.  I feel like I am thinking and moving through thick apple butter.  It has been this way since Patrice was born.  By this point in her short life, I had stopped being able to sleep, I was crying in the laundry room and bathroom, anywhere I could hide from my girls.  Desperation clawed at the fraying edges. Four years later, the clawing continues.  Mentally and physically I get scared.  I feel like turtle, I need a shell to climb into.  Every moment of thinking is complicated. I am so excited about the season and so scared of the season all at once. Looming in my mind is that first hospitalization 4 years ago (exact date is Oct. 29)–how desperate I was for help, not getting help, on a journey that continues today.  I stand here at my computer wanting to scream that I need help, but all I can is whisper–it’s fall, will I fall apart?

It Has Begun

Homeschooling is now in session!!  I can not believe we are starting our 2nd year!  Wow.

We started Tuesday with prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, and some chalk fun (Caitlyn was our resident artist).

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Are you ready for lots of homeschooling posts?  You better be, because here they come!!!

Peeing and Suicide

Peeing.

By deciding to Homeschool, I have given up any hope of ever peeing in peace, alone, or before my bladder is ready to burst.

Part of me wants to say it is the only thing I miss from working outside the home, this now missing luxury.  I worked in a male dominated field.  There were only 4 women in our entire facility.

I got to pee alone.  And while I miss the independence of that activity while at the office I could never walk into that bathroom again.  Not because I don’t work there, but because of the memories.  The thoughts.

It was in those stalls that I sat day after day, week after week, planning my death by suicide.  The pressure grows in my chest and mind just typing about it here in my kitchen 20 miles away.

I loved my girls.  I loved my husband.  I had friends.  I had it all.

I needed out.

Doesn’t make sense, does it?  I know that now.  I knew that then.  The pressure and panic inside of me were so overwhelming.  My mind couldn’t breathe.

It needed out.

I haven’t gotten out.  I’m gaining tools to give my mind other options when the clawing, damning pressure comes.

One day at a time.  I lean on those who love me, those who put up with me.

I have to.  There is no other way.

 

Dear Lighthouse Lady

Dear Lighthouse Lady,

You are very friendly.  I was surprised at how quickly you started up a conversation as we stood at the Lighthouse I had just toured with Caitlyn and Patrice, and was now waiting for my hubby to finish his ascent and descent.

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It was very pleasant to hear where you were from, why you were at the Lighthouse and who you were waiting to see come down.

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You should have stopped there.  But you didn’t, did you?

I assumed when you asked if the three girls playing in front of us were mine, that you would say the obligatory, “Oh how cute!”  But, not you!

“Do you want me to pray for you?”  Uh.  I know what prayer is, but whose first question, after finding out the kids are mine, says that?!

More words come out of your mouth.

“I had two daughters.  They are hard.  Boys start out hard, but they get easy.  Girls stay hard.  I had two daughters.  It was torture!”

I stand there nodding like an idiot, thinking, what woman?  What kind of thing is that to say?  I feel bad for your daughters!!!!

And you said all of this right in front of my girls.

I smile and nod and scurry away.

Your words are nice enough to stick with me as we play on the beach.

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After thinking about your harsh words for a while, I call Caitlyn and Sue over.  “Girls, remember that lady by the Lighthouse?  And how she said some mean things about having daughters?  I know you saw me nod and smile, but it was not because I agreed with her.  It was out of politeness.  But, I want you girls to know she is wrong.  Having daughters is not torture.  I am so blessed and honored that God gave me you three girls to raise.”  There was hugging and off they went to play in the water.

Now, m’am, I am not in anyway a Pollyanna.  I am more than aware there are challenges to having three girls. The first?  Only one bathroom for our family of 5. Or, any kids at all.  I am very well aware that I will have three teenage girls all at the same time.  But, that does not make my life torture.  Not at all.  I am blessed.  I am honored to have my girls.

Dear Lighthouse Lady. I hope by some miracle you are able to have a good relationship for your girls today.  I pray they have matured to love and honor you.

In the meantime, Dear Lighthouse Lady, I’d appreciate if you and I never cross paths again.

Love,

A Proud Mama of 3 Girls

(that picture that looks like it is just a lighthouse?  My hubby is up there waving.  I climbed that thing, but it was torture.  I abhor spiral staircases and heights don’t make me giggle.  Of course, hubby was up in no time, and stayed outside chatting the lighthouse keeper for an eon.  Sigh)

 

Going Against the Grain

My girls and I went out in public, during the day, twice this week.    Why is that in any way noteworthy?  All schools in our state have now started holding classes.  Most of what you see at the grocery store at one in the afternoon is either the moms or caregivers with young children or the senior citizen crowd enjoying relative peace now that the droves have returned to school.

But we’re still out there.  Feeling nervous that people are judging us, nervous that I should keep the girls at home during brick and mortar school hours. Just a little skittish. Caitlyn felt a little of that last year, but honestly, she was proud to be homeschooled.  She and Sue decorated shirts that said as much for when we went out in public.

So, what happens when you take your kids out during the hours they are “supposed” to be in school?  Mostly quizzical looks.  And many people venturing to say, “oh, did you guys have a half day?”  I just smile as I say, “we homeschool, it gives us a little more flexibility,” while I wonder if there will be more comments coming.  There rarely is.

Today, the lady at the bank, who was getting to pass out free pens, good thing, without their freebies I would have none, was very friendly to people as they asked her where stuff was in the grocery store her branch is located in.  I don’t know if she has learned the general locale of items intentionally or she just shops there, but she was able to point them to where they wanted to be.  Then, she looked at us and said, “oh, do you have a half day?”  The girls weren’t feeling very chatty, so I answered, “no, we homeschool it gives us great flexibility.  We don’t have snow days or inservice days, so an hour here or there does not impact our studies.  And we LOVE it!”

As normally happens, she looked at us and said, “that’s great!  Enjoy your day.”

Yes, even today, I felt a little nervous going out and about with the girls.  I don’t mind the people who ask why, I can explain to them, but there are those that just give us a sideways look.  But really, who can blame them?  Our lifestyle and schooling choice is not typical or mainstream.

A study completed in 2012, using data from the 2007 census found out of the 51,135,000 students in the US, 1,508,000 were homeschooled, with most of the homeschool children, 58% being boys and 60% were families with three or more children.  A higher percentage of the parents who homeschooled had bachelor degrees, 50% compared to 43% of non-homeschooling parents.

I included several facts that I found of interest, but the one most pertinent to my reaction to people asking me about my kids not being in school is that there are only 1,508,000 (as of 2007) children being homeschooled in the US.  With that kind of difference in numbers, I don’t find peoples questions odd at all.  I know I wondered before we began our homeschooling journey.  I don’t mind people asking and I love it when my kids are feeling like talking and they express how we do things with all of their excitement and honesty.

In truth, don’t we all wonder about how and why people do things when they are out of the norm?  I know I do.  I am often too much of a chicken to ask, but some aren’t.  And to them, I say bravo and thank you for the overwhelmingly positive response our family has received.  You all make my job easier.

 

Mommy in Waiting

Eight years and 10 or 11 months.  That’s how long the calendar says I have been a parent.  I think I took to it pretty well.  I mean, I only forgot to change her diaper once, for like hours, and puzzled over why she was crying so intensely.  And I’m sure it was terribly wise to tuck my 6 week old into the moby wrap, zip my coat around her and shovel snow.  Right?

I sufficiently stressed over nursing my three girls.  I freaked out over their weight gain.  Worried about when they were psychologically ready for solid food.

My timing for potty training the firstborn was many months too early and the whole process was very drawn out and stressful.  I kept the potty chair accessible for her to get to…and the dog only ate her poopies once; she was only hysterical about it for a couple hours.  That’s a win, right?

And when school came, I made sure the two oldest ones were in matching outfits, at the last second, for the separate pictures they would be taking.  Said pictures were never even near each other, because I forgot to hang them up.  I bought the frames, so I was close…?????

Then, stop the presses, I lobbied my hubby to homeschool.  Because I needed the opportunity to puzzle over just the right curriculum and their learning styles and making sure they had other kids to interact with, to the extent we ended up with too many outside activities and had to cut some out.

All of this fun, these adventures have left me waiting…waiting for parenthood, and particularly motherhood, to get easy.  I think by now I have leaped over several hurdles and passed many tests, so today is when it will get ready, right?  Today is the day it will all be perfect.  Or, it will be the day Sue chases after a peacock at the zoo and I don’t notice until another mom stopped her.  And the icing on this first day of easy parenting will be my hubby asking me if I always yell at them that much…

Maybe it is tomorrow I will get to stop waiting for it to get easy.

Sigh.

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Just a Story

Ice Cream is a typical food around here.  Most likely too much typical.  But it’s calcium, right?

The girls had a scoop tonight with daddy.

Patrice just came out from bed (obviously not sleeping) and tells me the following.

“Caitlyn used to be mean, but I think my brain freeze made her nice, because she is being really nice.”

“You got a brain freeze from your ice cream and it made Caitlyn nice?”

“Yes, ice cream has magical powers!”

Can’t really argue with that last sentence, can you?

We did have a conversation about the comments that Caitlyn is mean.  Trust me, she is not.  She can be a very focused on a task and will tell her sisters she is busy and might say, “go away,” but it is never out of malice.

Sue kept insisting that earlier Caitlyn had been mean but now she was soooo nice, asking them what she could help them with, what they needed, so on and so forth.

Apparently Sue forgot when Caitlyn helped her clean up the 3+ cups of flour that she had dumped on the floor, earlier today–and saved her from mama getting very, very upset.

Now, Sue has decided to sleep in Patrice’s room and leave Caitlyn solo.  I think she’s lonely.  She just came out (yes, not sleeping) and said, “I keep trying to think of reasons to go in their room.”

We might have to rethink our thought of moving Sue and Patrice in one room and giving Caitlyn her own…

For those of you with siblings, did you share a room?  Did you always share?  Was there one that always had their own room?  Did you guys move around so at one time or another you all got your own room/had to share?

As you might have guessed, this only child always had her own room ;)

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Quiet Here

Praying for friends who said their earthly good byes to their daughter today.

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