Sunday, December 28, 2008

We Feel Fine [dot] org

Lookie here: Gallery

Looks as though I may be more interesting than I thought.
I feel honored.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

McCormick Ranch Train Park

So it seems Randal has come full cirlce. He remembers playing at this park with his dad and brother when he was little. And today he was able to do the same with his sons. What's so great about this park? Well, first of all, what little boy wouldn't love a steam train he can ride on?? But, for us older kids, this park has kept it's original "Wild West" playground the same since the early eighties. It makes for really wonderful reminiscing. The park has had lot's of additions since then, but this little playgound has stayed the same. I even remember it from when I was little.

Israel and his Papa playing Cowboys and Indians.

The steam train - it really runs on steam!!

Elijah and his Mama - he's just so cute, I can't stand it!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

12 Days of Chrsitmas - Day 12

On the twelvth day of Christmas, I was too sick to post to my blog:

12 People staying at my parents house
(My 2 parents, my 1 brother, my sister's family of 5, and my family of 4... plus my brother's friend here and there - so he actually makes 13.)

11 Times In and Out of the Bathroom
(At least)

10 hours of the Stomach Flu

9 Loads of Laundry
(There was a lot of puking and pooping)

8 More Hours of the Stomach Flu
(It wasn't quite 24 hours - just about 18.)

7 of Us Who Have Gotten it So Far
(Chantal, Me, Daddy, Samuel, Katie, Israel, & Lacy)

6 Couches, Oversized Chairs, and Rocking Chairs All in the Family Room
(Usually my mom's kitchen has a love seat and two chairs in it so people can sit and visit while everyone is cooking or crafting at the kitchen table - it's a really nice, really big kitchen - but while everyone is here, we had to move out the sofa and chairs to put an extra table in so there is room for everyone to sit down and eat at the same time, so those extra seating pieces are all in the family room. It's kind of crowded.)

5 Kids Age 5 or Under
(It's loud.)

4 Times I Thought about my Mac Yesterday
(It's getting better!)

3 Hour Nap

2 Hour Nap
(Yes, I slept a whole whole lot while I was sick.)

1 Christmas Eve Dinner Missed
(boo hoo)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

12 Days of Christmas - Day 11

On the eleventh day of Christmas I posted on my blog...

One Hundred and 11 People at the Family Party
(OK, maybe not exactly, but I'm sure there were over a hundred, at least there has been for the last couple of years. It's my mom, her dad, her 4 sisters, their 50+ children, their spouses, and friends who have been "adopted into" the families, and the dozens and dozens of grandchildren - too many to count.)

10 Different Desserts

9 Grandkids My Parents Have
(Including the two that are on the way.)

8 Program Pieces or Christmas Songs Sung

7 People in My Immediate Family

6 Plates of Veggies

5 Women Pregnant
(that I know of)

4 Generations of Ollertons

3 Times Today I Thought of My Mac
(Or maybe 3 dozen)

2 Engaged Couples

A Casserole Dish of Mac & Cheese
(Found here - yummy, ymmy!!)

PS - Sorry no pictures, it's hard for me to post pictures when I don't have my computer to edit them, I like them to look good!

Monday, December 22, 2008

12 Days of Christmas - Day 10

On the tenth day of Christmas I posted on my blog...
(no pretty banner - remember the Mac that was left behind? So sad.)

10 Presents For the Boys
(Grandma Toni - Randal's mom tends to spoil the grandkids whenever she can!)

9 Kids of Their Own
(The family who has taken in Randal's sisters have 9 kids, but they have taken in Randal's three sisters as their own. I really love this family for all they have done for our family. They have us for dinner whenever we are in town - that's where we were tonight - and treat Randal and I and his brother's family like we are all theirs. The girls refer to all of the kids as their brothers and sisters. Even Randal's mom is treated like family. I seriously cannot say enough good things about these people!!!)

8 Hundred Nativities
(Well not really - but my mom really does have hundreds. I'll take some pictures and post them later.)

7 People in My Family
(Not including spouses and the next generation)

6 Hours of Sleep Last Night
(It might have been less - I am just having so much with my family!!)

5 Hours With Randal's Family
(I have too much fun with his sisters! I serioulsy LOVE those girls so so so much!! I got so lucky with them!!!)

4 Hours in the Slow Cooker
(3 cans of black beans,rinsed and drained; 2 cans of tomatoes, with a little more water in the cans; 1 can of pumpkin; 2 cans of chicken broth; 1/2 cup cooking sherry; 2 tsp. cumin; 1 cup sour cream; add all ingredients, except for sour cream, into crock pot, cook on high while you are at church. When you get home from church, blend using an immersion blender or in a regular blender in batches. Stir in cour cream and serve. This soup is so so yummy! Try adding cheese and diced avacados and eat with chips. Or, try with toasted pumkin seeds, or sour dough bread. Or just eat it plain and enjoy!)

3 Hours at Church

2 Kick Ace Parents - They pretty fun!

1 Frakkin' Hillarious Brother
(Did I mention we are trying to get him married?)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

12 Days of Christmas - Day 9

On the ninth day of Christmas I posted (was to busy to post)to my blog:

9 hours of travel

8 bags of luggage


I can't think of anything else, I am too distraught... I left my Macbook in Iowa!!!! I shed a few tears (I guess that could be 5 tears shed). I wouldn't say it's like leaving a child behind, but it is certainly like leaving a beloved pet behind.

Mourn for me.

Friday, December 19, 2008

12 Days of Christmas - Day 8

8 Loads of Laundry

7 More Inches of Snow
(There is a giant snow hill across the street (in the median) and I had to dig the end of the drive way out because the guys who shovel our driveway and sidewalk came before the city guys who do the street.)

6 Years of Marriage
(Happy Anniversary Babe!)

5 More Years in Iowa

4 More Days of Christmas 
(Well, plus Christmas Day)

3 Bags to check
(We're only allowed to check 3 bags tomorrow, or else!)

2 Chocolate Fingerprints on My Keyboard
(Where did those come from??)

A tip (or two) for the Caramels:

When cooking the caramels, you must watch the temperature very closely, 248 degrees is the HIGHEST it should go.  The guy who taught me how to make these only cooked them to 240 degrees, in fact.  That was just a little too soft for me though.  The tricky thing about getting the temp right though is, that you can't get the temp from the bottom of the pan - that will be about 8-10 degrees hotter than the top of the pan.  So, when your temp reaches 248 - give the gooey stuff a stir and check the temp.  I know that if the thermometer is touching the bottom of my pan and reads in the 250's then near the top it should read around 240 - or even a degree or two less.  That is usually about perfect.  Caramels can be temperamental though.  This year, my first batch was too hard, almost like a soft toffee.  I had to heat it up with a blow dryer a little to get it not crack when I cut it.  The taste was great, you just have to let it sit in your mouth for a few seconds to let it warm up enough to chew it.  My second batch was perfect.  Just keep trying.

Someone also asked about how much this makes.  Well, I made two batches and I would say that there is at least 500 pieces - maybe even as much as 700.  It's kind of hard to tell.  I put two handfuls in each bag and made 17 bags for the people here in Ames, and that only used up about half of the caramels.  The other half I am taking to AZ with me.  So, if you want to try it out, give me a call or come by my parents house.  That's where we're staying.

Anymore questions?  Feel free to email me.

PS - Sorry no pics, my camera battery needed to get recharged.  This is the first time it has gone dead - great battery!

12 Days of Christmas - Day 7

7 More Hours of Sleep
(I just need more sleep!)

6 More Hours to Get Stuff Done
(I just need to be awake more!)

5 More Arms
(Hold the baby, start the movie for Israel, warp the caramels, wipe the counters, load the dishwahser...)

4 More Years on Israel
(If he were 7 or 8 he could be doing some of this stuff!)

3 More Randals
(One to do what he does all day, one to do my honey do's, one to run all the errands, and one to sit there and listen to me talk while I work and five me a hug when I need it.)

2 More Hours of Sleep
(I would really like to wake up on my own and not because someone is waking me up!)

A Maid to Do it All For Me!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

12 Days of Christmas - Day 6

6 Cups of Karo Syrup:

5 Yards of Wax Paper:

4 Cups of Sugar

3 More Yards of Wax Paper

2 Pans of Caramels:

A Non-Stick Pizza Cutter:
Recipe: Caramels

4 cups of sugar
3 cups of Karo Syrup
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
2 cups of cream (divided)
5 tsp Mexican vanilla (or twice that if you are using regular)

Combine sugar, Karo syrup, butter and 1 cup of cream in a large pot.  (I mean huge, when sugar boils it doubles in size!)  
Then add the other cup of cream and the vanilla.
Mix everything all up.
Cook down to 248 degrees Fahrenheit
Pour into a greased (you can use butter) sheet cake pan (the cookie sheets with the lip).
Let cool.
Cut up into bite size pieces with your non-stick pizza cutter.
Wrap in wax paper.

12 Days of Christmas - Day 6

12 Days of Christmas - Day 5

5 Inches of Snow:

4 All-Weather Tires:

3 Boxes of Drinks Now Frozen:

2 Snow Shovels:

A Frozen Puddle in Our Garage:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

12 Days of Christmas - Day 3

3 Numbers
43, 9, 0

2 Frozen Nostrils

1 Weird Fact

So, at Thanksgiving, Marvin told us a weird fact:  When the temperature gets to 7 degrees (Fahrenheit) or lower, you can feel the ice crystals form in your nose (when you breath through your nose).  So, I have been waiting patiently to try this out - having never experienced it before.  And tonight my desires were met.  Which is where the 3 numbers comes in to play.  At 5am when Elijah woke up ready to eat breakfast, the temperature was 43 degrees.  As the sun rose, it looked like it was going to be a bright sunny day.  The ice on our sidewalk had all melted into little puddles and some of the snow melted too.  But as the morning went on, dark clouds rolled on into town and brought with them a major drop in temperature.  By the time we got home from church at 4:30, the temp had dropped to 9 degrees - so close!  As I sit here typing this post, the temperature is 0 degrees - yes, zero degrees.  So, before I began, I tried out the frozen nose trick - and lo, and behold - frozen nostrils.

(PS - the wind chill knocks the temp down to -23!)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

12 Days of Christmas - Day 2

Two Missing Boys
(picture taken last April at the Phoenix Zoo.)
And a Church Christmas Party
Our ward (church) Christmas party was last night.  Just Elijah and I went though (hence the two missing boys).  It was a lot of fun - no program or Santa visit or anything (they had a children's activity for that last Saturday), just lot's and lot's of good food!  There were a ton of people there too.  This picture was taken at the end of the night most of the people had gone home by then.  But, the gym was full!  Every single table filled, so they were bringing in extra chairs and just squishing everyone in.  (Sounds very much like no room in the inn.)  I liked doing this laid back approach to the Christmas Party, we were able to just sit around and visit the whole night.  There was one get to know you game at the very beginning of the night that sort of lasted through the rest of the night.  Bottom line: huge success!

Friday, December 12, 2008

12 Days of Christmas - Day 1

One Fallacy

The 12 days of Christmas are not actually the 12 days before Christmas, but the 12 days after Christmas, leading up to Epiphany.  5 points to anyone who already knew that.  I'm going to do the 12 days leading up to Christmas though.  I think it's a fun way to get into the Christmas spirit!  So there you have it.

One Question Answered

What is Google Reader?
The best thing to happen to blog stalking!  Google Reader is one of the many wonderful services that Google offers.  (There are tons, like Calendar that you can share with family and friends, Analytics to track stuff on your blog or website, GMail, Blogger, the list goes on and on.)So, with Google Reader, you are able to manage "subscriptions".  You "Add a subscription" - which can be the addresses of blogs you regularly read, or pretty much any site with an RSS feed.  For example, I have and also on my subscriptions list.  It is so much easier to check one place for updates than it is to check 116 places.  Yes, that is how many subscriptions I have (stalker, much?).  

Plus, if you add your own blogs to the subscription list, you can find out how many people subscribe to your blog.  All you do is click on your blog and then there is a little button in the top right corner of your blog that says "Show details."  It then opens up a little space at the top of your blog with a few statistics one of which is "Subscribers."

With Google Reader, you can also organize your subscriptions into different folders.  Google Reader also updates when someone new posts something.  For example, I usually have about 8 different web windows open at any given time (in tabs of course).  Google reader is one that is almost always open because it alerts me when someone has posted something new - kind of like email alerts.  Plus it also keeps track of blogs you "follow."  I'm sure you've seen this fairly recent addition to blogger - the "Followers" box you can put on your sidebar.  Well, Google Reader makes a whole file just for blogs you "follow."

So, there's my little Google Reader Tutorial for you all.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Biggest Loser

Is there anyone else who can not stand this woman??  Randal and I love to watch Biggest Loser - it's his favorite show.  But this season has been almost painful to watch because of Vicki.  I really hope she's not like that in real life.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I am the BEST wife ever!

OK, maybe not, but yesterday I sure was nice.  Elijah got up at the crack of dawn and was up, so he and I went upstairs to hang out.  I figured since I was up, I should do something - and there's just something about getting up with the sun that makes me feel good - so, I cleaned the kitchen top to bottom and rearranged some things.  Then, I decided to be really nice and make muffins for breakfast.  Randal's favorite is blueberry.  So, I made my super good homemade blueberry muffins that I only make for very special occasions.  Do you want my recipe?  OK, fine.  Well, first, you start with only the finest ingredients:  Betty Crocker Blueberry muffins (in the red box), then follow the directions on the back.  To make them extra special, use dinosaur papers, and then put them on your cake plate and cover.

Top of the muffin to you!  
(Anybody remember that Seinfield episode?)  
Anyway, this is how Israel eats them.

Highlights from the rest of the day:

There is just something about sleeping babies, right?  Especially when they sleep with their arms above their head, or with their legs spread like a frog, or cuddled up into the side of the couch.

Israel would not hold still long enough for me to get a picture.  That's his new thing: crazy.

See what I mean?

Randal playing his guitar in the kitchen while I cleaned up dinner and we talked.  I love that.

Monday, December 08, 2008

For KATHY...

Jenny says you're a faithful reader, so I thought I'd give you a shout out.  That's right KB - this post's for you!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Pioneer Woman and Me

Yesterday I discovered The Pioneer Woman.  What a site - what a woman!  She's got stuff for all my different alter egos!  She cooks, she photographs, she makes her own banners, and she's a wife and mom.  And she has inspired me to chronicle and preserve the story of Randal and his wife (me!).  Although I must say, reading "From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels" made me want to live on a ranch and dress Randal up in Justins and a Stetson.  Ahhh...  Anyway, so look for my own story (as yet to be named) coming soon.  (And if you go and read her story, don't expect mine to be as detailed, well written, or long.)

Friday, December 05, 2008

My Lust List

It's everything Etsy this year.  Someday I want to be creative or artsy or talented enough to list beautiful things like these people.  It's all stuff that I certainly don't need, but I sure am lusting for!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

For My Mom...

This one's for Mamae...  Cause you don't have enough pictures of my boys...  Love you!

What an angel.

Elijah likes to lay under the Christmas tree and look up at the lights.  Today Israel said he wanted to lay down with Elijah.  It was pretty sweet.  Israel has been wanting to spend a lot of time with his brother today.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

No more grays...

Just thought I would share with you...  No more grays!  I died my hair today.  And I would like to thank my parents for contributing such wonderful genes that would make their daughter go gray before she even hits 30!  You know what's sad?  I'm more gray than my mom!  I guess I get it mostly from her sisters, more than one of them are almost completely gray.  My dad's dad is completely white (it's kind of cool actually).  I suppose there's no hope.  Oh, well.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Best Friends

Let me tell you about some of my friends, because I seriously have the best friends anybody could have...  And let me preface this by saying that I kind of feel bad about posting about these few friends because I am leaving out all of my other wonderful friends that I cherish so much.

Mindy (otherwise known as Madame Mindy)
She is the most beautiful girl I know - and I don't mean just physically (although she is gorgeous!)  She is wonderful inside and out, and although sometimes being around really beautiful people can make your own self esteem take a hit, that is not the case with her.  I feel better about myself when I am around her because that is the type of person she it.  You want to know what other type of person she is?  She is the type of person who you can stay up all night with working on crafty stuff, and not feel tired (ok, maybe a little tired, but it's that fun goofy kind of tired, not the omigosh-I-have-to-get-in-bed-or-I-am-going-to-fall-asleep-right-here tired.)  She is so talented and creative and she doesn't even care when I totally copy her ideas!  Plus, she copies mine!  And she's also the type of person that knows you can be a total b****, and loves you anyway.

Amy (her creative life is private)
Amy is the friend that I have kept in touch with the longest.  We've been friends since we were 8. (I think... it might be 7 or 9 though.)  We've been through it all, jr. high, high school, college, ups and downs, ins and outs, and despite it all, we still like each other.  And the crazy thing is, after all these years, she still knows me like she did when we were little - and even more than that, it's so crazy that we are still able to relate to each other because we are going through the same things now being wives and mothers and moving to crazy places and stuff like that.  I couldn't have a better 20+ year friendship.  (Yikes! Has it been that long??)

We only met a few years ago when our husbands were attending the same school in Glendale, AZ.  I think we became good friends when she asked me to watch her daughter while she went to a doctor's appointment.  This girl is such an example to me.  I really think she is one of the bravest girls I know.  When she has hard times, she doesn't hesitate to ask for help.  When everything is all better again, she turns around and pays it forward.  She's also a very talented and creative seamstress.  She might try to tell you differently, but don't listen - she's amazing!  Plus she comments on my blog a lot and makes me feel good!

So, there is my little tribute for a few of my friends I have been especially grateful lately.  And if you didn't make the post, it's not because I don't love and appreciate you, it's because I have too many really wonderful friends to blog about all of them right now

Monday, December 01, 2008

My Day

First things first...  Happy December

Now onto my day.  This is how it went:

I woke up this morning feeling a little homesick.  I'm thinking it's because I am anticipating our trip home for the holidays and so I'm thinking about it too much.  The truth is, I am really loving the beginning of winter here.  Anyway, so when I get homesick, I tend to make something to eat that my mom likes.  This morning it was oatmeal.  As I was reading the instructions on the oatmeal cylinder, it occurred to me that the suggested way to make it would be really mushy and gross.  So, let me tell you how to make light and fluffy oatmeal.  You use equal parts old fashioned oats (not quick oats) and water.  Boil the water, then add the oats.  Give it a quick stir, then cover and leave it alone for 5 minutes or so.  Then, put it in a bowl and fluff it while mixing in some honey.  Then pour ice cold milk over it and enjoy!

Yummy oatmeal for a cold winter morning.
And don't you love the red nails?  Me too.

The rest of my day consisted of cleaning Israel's room and the usual email checking, blog stalking and so on.  But cleaning Israel's room was quite the ordeal.  Granted, it's mostly my fault for letting it get to that point, but factor in a 3 year-old and a two month-old who cries any time he can't see me and you get a real challenge.  I did get it done, but by 5 o'clock I was still in jammies.  So, I ran downstairs and got ready quickly so I could welcome home Randal in the way that only a skirt an red lipstick can (in the hopes that he wouldn't notice the dishes still in the sink from last night).  

It worked.