Tuesday, April 24, 2012

SUZI: Soaked Oatmeal

I’m a fan of oatmeal, and my favorite way to eat it in the mornings is to soak it the night before.  It really makes it so much better.  Here’s my favorite soaked oatmeal recipe in case you’d like to try it.

2 cups rolled oats
3 cups water
½ cup plain yogurt

Mix together in a pot and let sit on counter overnight.

In the morning, put it on the stove on low and add:

½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup raisins (I don’t actually add the raisins because while I like raisins, I don’t like the in my oatmeal.)

Bring to a simmer and cook until the consistency is how you like it – anywhere from 10-20 minutes.  Serve with a pat of butter and a bit of milk.

I found this recipe on a website that I can’t find again so I think it may not be up anymore.  It was written by a lady whose family sold all of their possessions, left their suburban life and moved into a tipi on a homestead in the middle of absolutely nowhere.  She was 13 at the time.  They lived in the tipi until they built their own log cabin (with no amenities).  That’s where she lived until she went to college.  While it was fascinating to read about, I also found myself growing more nervous and anxious the more I read.  I have this unfortunate quality where my brain automatically tries to imagine how I would handle a situation if I were in it.  Scott and I do this a lot – I think it is our process-oriented nature.  I realized as I was reading I was trying to figure out how I would survive in a tipi not knowing anything about growing my own food or building a log cabin while raising three children and being completely separated from civilization.  I actually had to quit reading because I was getting a headache thinking about it.  While I like camping and I’m fine with not having any amenities for a few days, I certainly wouldn’t want to live like that.  

For years.  With children.

While that’s fine for them, I say turn on the lights and give me a fridge.  

And a gas stove to cook my soaked oatmeal on.

SUZI: The Croup Update

We did it…we survived the croup.  We had a few more sleepless nights and a trip to the doctor just to make sure Cooper’s lungs were OK (which they were) and we’re pretty much back to normal.   I’m just pretty sure that there are a lot more difficult things we’ll face, but I am thankful to have this one behind us!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Advantage Real Estate

Even before we returned to the States in 2011 we'd been house-hunting.  We'd find something online, my family would go scout the place out and report back... thumbs up/down.  This is how we ran into Christy Ames.

There was a house.  On a street.  In Moberly.  We thought it was the one.  Christy showed it to us in early April.  It was not the one for us.

A couple of days later we were driving through general area and happened upon another place... and immediately called Christy.  Who was on her way to run a marathon in STL.  Who set up a showing the next day.  And we had a contract on the house within a week of the sign going up.

She was cool, nice to Cooper and easy to work with... all things you'd expect out of a successful realtor.  She gave us great advice throughout the entire process and hooked us up with a super inspector (who provided a very cool, online report of the house).

Where Christy got me was on post-sale follow-up.  Postcards at various points.  Holiday greetings.  Daylight Savings Time reminders (I'm not making this up).  And then it's January.  And we get a letter with a reminder about including the purchase of our house in our tax preparations.  That was unexpected, but what really knocked it over the fence?   She included a copy of our closing statement in case the one we originally received wasn't conveniently located (aka: it was lost).

I just called her a couple of days ago about a survey of our property.  "Working on that fence?" she asked.  Yep... she remembered my fence issue a year later.  She had a surveyor to recommend, but pointed me to the Assessor's page for a free resource first. 

Good stuff over there at Advantage.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

SUZI: Frosty Banana Milk

Last year, Cooper and I had a special summer treat we made every day.  And by “every day” I don’t mean it in that general way when people say it but they really just mean “often.”  I mean every day.  It’s really simple, and we love it.  We named it the Frosty Banana Milk.  If I say those words, Cooper will immediately go to the kitchen and point to the blender.  Understand that I’m serious when I say that we did this every day.

The recipe is super simple:

1 to 1 ½ Bananas
About a cup of Milk
Lots of Cinnamon

Blend the banana, milk and cinnamon and then add the ice and blend again.  It makes a really subtly flavored, icy treat.  We experimented some and added a peach or an apple (I cut it up but left the peel on) which was also pretty good.  We sometimes added a little bit of honey if the bananas were really brown.  Later in the summer we started adding flax seed.  

Then we started adding spinach.  Yes, spinach.  Although it does change the color (OK, it looks like bog sludge), it doesn’t change the taste.  It’s an easy way to add a little more nutrition.  Cooper doesn’t like a lot of fruit – I think it is a texture thing, so the smoothie was a great way for him to get some fruit and some milk (which he also boycotted for awhile).  It’s also a good way to use up some ripe bananas (if you throw them in the freezer the day before you make the smoothie, you don’t even have to add the ice).

Once we moved into fall & winter, we added nutmeg.  I know, I know.  We're just all crazy 'round here with the Frosty Banana Milk.

Do you have a favorite smoothie?

Happy Blending!

Monday, April 9, 2012

SUZI: The Croup

I’m supposed to be doing bookwork for the church right now, but I’m having a bit of a hard time focusing, so I thought I'd put up an update on the Pack of Three household.  We continue being the house of sickness and disease.  Scott’s eye, which recently had an extraordinarily painful infection in it, is miraculously so much better…just in time for Cooper to get croup!  Oh, the fun just doesn’t end.

I’ve always heard of croup, but somehow thought it was some outdated sickness that only happened on Little House on the Prairie or something.  I assure you that “croup” is alive and well.  In case you, like me, are in fact unfamiliar with croup, I’d be happy to give you a run down.  Take your normally happy child who is finally sleeping pretty well and, without any warning signs, spike his temperature in the middle of the night to about 102.  Don’t give him any real symptoms leading up to this except a slightly runny nose.  Then keep his temperature between 100 and 102 for the next three days.  This is enough to cause utter irritability.

Make sure your child is extraordinarily sensitive about absolutely everything that could possibly happen.  You touched his arm?  Yes, I believe that would be reason enough to fall on the floor sobbing.  After three days of that, in the middle of the night, your child will be replaced with a barking seal!  This barking cough will now be added to the fever.  By now you have had 4 nights of hardly any sleep.  Make sure your child schedules this transformation in time to miss all Easter festivities.  Your child will now only sit on the couch watching Snow Buddies seven hundred times interspersed with an occasional Dora or Wonder Pets episode.  You won’t have to worry about cooking anything for your child.  He will let you know that, “I don’t like it,” no matter what it is that you have prepared.  Day 6 will see some slight improvement, but the sobbing continues.  I’d like to tell you how it all ends except we haven’t gotten there yet.  I’ll be sure to let you know.

Two nights ago, after going into Cooper’s room every 30 minutes to tend to his coughing fits, I just couldn’t do it anymore (and it’s not that Scott is a slacker…it’s just that Cooper is a mama’s boy when he’s sick or tired or well, for that matter).  I did something I haven’t done in a very long time… I picked Cooper up and put him in bed with us.  Then the real fun began.  I think I ended up with about 6 inches of bed space and Cooper was sprawled out on both Scott and me.  Last night was much the same.  Cooper ended up sideways and kicked Scott in the head.  Scott has to be super careful with his eye, so he excused himself downstairs to the couch.  Somehow I still ended up with only about 6 inches of space.  Cooper had a coughing fit that woke him up at 3 a.m.  Then he was wide awake.  He tried crawling over me to get off the bed.  He messed with my clock.  He wanted a cough drop.  Then he wanted another one.  Then he needed a drink of water.  More coughing.  More crying.  By 4, I had to use the restroom.  He, of course, wanted to come too.  I didn’t dare turn on the lights, so I put him on his little potty next to the toilet.  Except his little potty, which he loves (thank you Aunt Jaime), sings songs.  So at 4 a.m. in the pitch black, joyful songs begin ringing through our upstairs about using “a few squares of toilet paper” and the wonderful job Cooper is doing using his potty...  “You did it!”  (which, in fact, he had not).

All of this while Scott is asleep on the couch because his son kicked him in the head while coughing like a seal.  Needless to say, Cooper and I didn’t go to sleep until 6 a.m.

Croup…alive and well.

The sweet thing about all of this is that after Cooper gets done coughing, he will turn to me and lift his little hand and say, “Pray, Coopa, pray.”  That’s his little way of saying, “Pray for Cooper.”  Though he obviously doesn’t understand all that means, he does have a level of faith that is amazing to me.  Sweetness in the midst of difficult times.

We’re on the mend and will recover.  Hopefully soon…I don’t know how many more times I can watch Snow Buddies.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

An Amazing Invention!

While thumbing through old National Geographic magazines as a kid, I was captured by the description of Kayan women who stretched their necks and legs.  These ladies took body mod to a whole new level, long before gauges and studs-in-odd-places were de rigueur in the Midwest. 

I'm happy to report that now this bizarre rift of nature is available through an Amazing Direct Offer of $14.95!   That's right, and it works for both men and women!

Now, I know we're being told it's for neck and shoulder pain, but here's the truth.  It's just another sly method to turn us into zombies.  Pretty soon they'll be offering trephination for headaches and leaches for bad dispositions.  That gentle lifting sensation you're feeling as you "pump till the support feels just right" is the circulation being cut off to your brain, folks!

My fave part?  You can mail your check to Dept WET 345 in Sarasota.  WET?  Of all the department codes they had to pick from, somebody chose WET?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Shoulda Listened to Mom...

This flyer was up around the College last semester.  I could only reflect at the irony of it... so totally pointed at me (thanks, Karen!).  If only I'd listened to my Mom!  I could have been the Van Cliburn of Moberly... or at least be able to plunk out Chopsticks.  My son is totally enamored with the "tapano" as he calls it.  At the moment, we sound about the same... if only I'd listened to Mom!

There's still time, I suppose.