Tuesday, October 22, 2013

There shall be pie....FINALLY!

I have been telling my oldest that I would make an apple pie for at least a week or more. 

I bought a bag of apples at the store and planned to bake them into pie about ten days ago.....

On the tractor ride to the apples
then our family went apple picking at an actual orchard, where they were still in the trees on Columbus day.

Don't they all look so enthused?  Our oldest boy
opted to stay home.
The apples were HUGE!  And delicious.  I bought a kind I had never heard of before that are supposed to be good for baking.  

Picking apples from up high
The night we picked them I fried some up to put on top of pancakes with whip cream. Oh my geez they were so stinking delicious! 

butter, brown sugar, orange juice, and spices

All week long I have been promising to make them into a pie.  The ones I bought at the store all went bad and had to be tossed away.

My apple pie recipe is still packed away in a box somewhere in the garage, so I set about online looking up recipes.  None of them seemed just right.  My friend even emailed me a recipe, but since I didn't have all of the ingredients for that I struck out on my own.

I took bits and pieces of recipes and put them all together. 

The Crust:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup frozen butter cut and cubed
1/2 cup ice cold water

The filling
7  apples peeled and cut in quarter inch thick slices (enough to fill the bag 3/4 full)
Place apples in gallon size bag with 1/2 cup orange juice and shake to coat apples
In small bowl mix 1/3 to 1/2 cup of flour with 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, and 1/2 tsp nutmeg.  Stir to blend together.
Dump flour mixture in the bag with the apples and shake to coat.

Pour apples into crust
slice  1/2 cup stick butter (4 tablespoons) over top of apples
cover with pie crust, cut slits into top crust

Put tinfoil over the edges of the crust. Place in 425 oven for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and put in for another 15 minutes.  You can coat crust with an egg wash before baking for a golden color.


It is in the oven cooking as I type. 

After I put it in the oven I realized that I forgot to add in the butter pats to the apples. 

I had a little bit of crust left over and some apples so I put them in a mini pan and added some butter to that one. 

It just came out of the oven and Oh MY FLIP!!!! It is SO SO good.

Here is how the butter less pie turned out.

You definitely want to add butter.  It is good, but not as good as when it has

If it is as good as the mini pie I will let you know.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Laundry

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but on this five minute Friday I think they might just be worth a thousand minutes. 

Quite possibly even 1000 pieces of laundry.

As a mom of seven I get laundry.  Like, really get it.  I get lots and lots of it. 

This immense amount of laundry in my life can sometimes seem never ending and insurmountable. 

Wash, fold, put away. 




Will I ever be able to climb Mt. Laundrosuvius??
note the crazed eyes as the oxygen levels begin lower at these higher laundry altitudes.

But ..........
at the end of the day and the piles the little laundry trolls who make all of these mountains are totally worth it.
The youngest laundry troll.  Isn't he cute?!

Five Minute Friday

Sunday, October 13, 2013

We are more than the dust of others.....

* This is a repost, because I just feel like there is someone out there that needs to hear this.  If that person is you, please know that I am always available to listen.  You can email me at karmenskrazy1@gmail.com *

We are more than the dust of others.....

Oh  how I know that desire SO strong! ( The one where you want to spend the day in the blankets.) And in the blankets all those voices can fly at you and they are loud, so loud and you just push yourself deeper into the covers trying to hide from them, but really it is more of a burial than a protective covering, because you suffocate there, in your head. And it is so hard for the light to break through and you don't even know right then if you want it to, because it seems too bright.  And you fear it will expose the parts of you that you are trying to hide.  The parts that make you bad, defective, less than, worse than, unworthy of, unlovable, usable, hurtable, hurtful, bruised.

image from the Washington post
And in that place, that time, that moment, that cotton coffin is the only place you know how to exist in, because suffocating as it is, it still feels safe.  You can't hurt anyone, nor be hurt.  Your inaction feels the most responsible reaction.  You can't be destructive if you remain hidden, buried. You are safe from the world and the world is safe from you.  And you wish that death would come for you right then, so it would be done and you could be done.  And everything feels like it is too much and you are too much mess to ever be cleaned, because you feel that all you are is dirt.    And it feels like no one understands.  That they think you selfish or crazy, because you don't know how to navigate this hurtful world.  They don't understand how the hurts compound and how you feel as though you only magnify the hurting.  They don't understand that you just want to stop the hurt, you want to stop your hurt from hurting others.  They don't understand how all consuming the darkness is and how death does not feel so much as an easy way out but as an ONLY way out. 

Please know that I GET THIS!  I SO get this!  But I know that cotton coffin lids can be lifted and they don't have to be turned into stone grave markers.  I know this.  I know how hard and sharp and painful it all can be.  I don't think you crazy, I don't think you selfish.  I think you wounded, but wounds can be healed.  I don't think you dirty.  I think you dusty, because the dirt of others sin has blown up against you.  You are worthy of more so much more.  You are more than the dust of others that you have mistaken as your own skin.  You are good, even when your choices aren't.  The light is bright.  I know it takes adjusting to, but it doesn't illuminate those things that make you want to hide.  Those are the shadows, not the realities.  The light shines in and the shadows fade so that you can see the good things that the darkness hides.  That light you fear so much Oh that light you are blinking in, it makes you sparkle.  It reflects off of those things that are good in you and magnifies their brightness.  Things like STRENGTH, WORTH, TALENT, LOVE, COMPASSION.  And when those shine all the shadows shrink. 
I know this, because I know you.  I am you.  And if no one else speaks these truths to you I will.  I will speak this truth to myself, too.  I am more than the dust of others.  We are more than the dust of others.  That dirt that covers us is not our skin. 

Image Source

Saturday, October 12, 2013

It Is Good To Remember AKA How I Met My Hubby

As  promised in my last post, here is the blog about how I met my husband.


I was the ripe old age of 22, on the verge of turning 23 and felt like an old maid.  I was the girl who wanted to meet and marry my high school sweetheart, but no sweetheart ever materialized during high school and here I was five years out of high school with still no sweetheart.  Not only no sweetheart, but my last few tries at love had failed miserably.

I decided to give up on love, romance, and the hopes of a long term relationship and just have fun dating, so with that notion in my head I searched online and found a personal ads website.  PersonalAds2000 to be exact.  Very Y2K in 1998. 

I uploaded a blurry low res picture of me in baggy sweats, a ponytail, and holding up the teensiest little fish that one could catch on a fishing pole unless they had been fishing out of a goldfish bowl.  Although to be honest, my Aunt's gold fish were bigger than that sad little fish that I had caught. 
*I cannot find that particular picture.  Bummer.*

Along with the picture I added this poem:

Touch me - NOT with your hands, but with your soul.
 Hear me - NOT with your ears, but with your heart.
See me - NOT with your eyes, but with your emotions.
 Search for me - NOT because I am lost, but because without me, a part of you is.
Find me - NOT alone in a park, but within a crowd of people.
And that was all I put....oh I did also break the rules and write my homepage address on there.
*a homepage was sort of like a blog/scrapbook that was around before blogging was actually a thing.* 
That webpage has been lost to time and sadly you will never know how charming I must have been on it.  It was called Terabinthia's World (Terabinthia was my handle for the internet chat rooms I chatted in....wow I really feel as though I am dating myself here.....).  And the only thing that I can for sure remember what it said were the words, "there you have it, the jiffy lube of me"  or something along those lines and it also talked about my goals for the future and where I wanted to be later on in life. Literary GOLD was written there, I promise you!  Shame that it is gone. 

That little ad brought in over 200 emails.  Some I responded to and some were just your typical gross responses to a personals ad.  Out of those 200 hundred I met 2 in person.  I also met up with a guy who had his own personals ad that I responded to. 
You have to love the hair.  Notice that difference
between his fireman hair here and his Navy hair
in the wedding cake pics.  =)
The first person I met with I have blogged about before, but I fear I sound a bit shallow in that post so I won't link up to it on here. Let's just say that it was the most uncomfortable date that I have ever been on and could be a PSA on why you need to choose the people you meet and the locations you meet at wisely when it comes to internet dating.
Steve, my now husband, was the other guy that I met off of there.  I was also corresponding with some others, but those didn't last after meeting Steve.
Steve and I emailed each other back and forth for about two weeks before actually meeting.  I lived in Federal Way at the time and he lived in Bremerton.  They are about an hour apart from each other. 
Our reception at my parents house after our Justice of the
 Peace wedding. I had yet to hone my scrapbooking
skills here.
Our first date was on July 3, 1998.  He wanted me to feel safe, so we decided to meet at my Aunt's house in Gig Harbor, which was half way between the two places.  He came in met my Aunt, Uncle, Cousins, and my Grandma who was visiting.  Then we took my car and I drove, because again he wanted all of us to feel safe.  I think he even left his car keys and drivers license with my Aunt. 
I remember walking out of my Aunt's house when he got there and thinking, "WOW, he is really cute!  He will never go for me." 
We went and saw the X files movie, ate at Burger King, and then we went back to my Aunt's and laid in her yard talking for a long time.
The next day was the Fourth of July and my Aunt always had a big party, so I invited him to come.  He came and met the whole family and extended Micronesian family on my Uncle's side.  After that we were pretty much inseparable. Every free moment that he wasn't at the fire station he was at my house, or I was at his. 
Our baby pictures.  No one thought that Katie looked
like me then.  Now everyone says she is my mini me.
We were married in March of 99 and had our oldest, Katie, that May.  Whirlwind.  It was a whirlwind everything. 

My plan of staying out of a relationship made God laugh I think.  I do remember at one point having a choice to make, because I knew that Steve wanted commitment and I wanted fun.  I can remember hearing very clearly God telling me to "choose Steve". 
There have been times when I have questioned that voice and my decision, because let's face it marriage can be hard.  HARD with all caps.  The kind of hard where all your breath comes out in the saying it and the D at the end is loud and harsh:

And this marriage has been that at times, for both of us.  Trust has been mishandled, misplaced, and abandoned on both sides in various ways and to varying degrees.  But we are still here, working through those hard spaces.  Sometimes it can feel like a belly crawl army style through the mud kind of working at it, but even that slow crawl has moved us forward to today.

It is good to remember how we came together, because that gets lost in the hard and the hurts much too easily.  It is good to remember how his early emails made my stomach butterfly and how he would drive me back home on the freeway going 45 miles an hour just to make the time last longer and it still felt too fast.  It is good to remember, because honestly I fear that I forget too easily.

the whole family 14 years and 2 months after that first date.
taken 9/12

Thank you Karmen for suggesting that I do this and for helping me to remember.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Ramblings and Pointless Dissertations

I was reading through the comments on another's blog post the other day when my eye stuck on a comment that had my name attached to it.  I thought to myself, "Hmmm, when did I comment on this?"  Then I looked a little closer and saw that the name was definitely Karmen, with a "K", but there was no tell tale M. behind it to make it mine.  There was another Karmen with a K out there reading a blog that I also follow.  Well, that was just too intriguing to leave at that, so I clicked on the name and it led me to her blog.  Unsurprisingly I found that she is a writer, fun, and funny to boot.  I mean really with a name like mine I hardly expected anything less, ;) .  Finding another white girl (I only mention race, because Carmen's of other races is not all that uncommon) named Carmen with a C even is not very common in my experience, I have only met two other white Carmen's in my 38 years.  To find one with a K, is well, I guess the same as the C's.  When I bought paint for our house the owner's daughter was a Karmen.  And in fact his Mother was best friends with my husband's Grandmother (talk about a small world).  And now this Karmen, so I did the only logical thing and started following her blog and let her know that another Karmen was out there reading. 

So, why am I telling you all this?  Because today she posted about You've Got Mail the movie.  I left a comment about how that is one of my favorite movies and how my husband and I met online and did the whole "you've got mail" thing.  She said I oughta blog about that.  Also, there is a discussion beginning on how Tom Hanks character should have bought Meg Ryan's character's bookstore so that she wouldn't have to lose her business. (That was her daughter's question at the end, "why didn't he just buy it for her since he could".)  Well, of course me being me, I had to take that to the deeper level and write a small dissertation on how that would not have been a good idea, etc. 

Really, I think I wrote a whole paragraph on how she did not need to be rescued by him.

Sometimes I really wonder if I just don't get out enough, because why does it really matter, and who really needs to read my over analyzed thoughts on fictional characters and their love and business lives? The answer to that is probably no one.

You are now probably REALLY wondering just why I am sharing all of this with you and the short answer to that is, because I plan to write about how I met my hubby like she suggested and figured it never hurts to have a little backstory before actually getting to the story itself. 

Okay, maybe this particular little backstory has been a bit painful to read.  Maybe the almost pointlessness of it is starting to cause a slight headache to begin to form above your left brow, but if you got nothing else out of my jabberings tonight you can at least thank me for introducing you to this other cool Karmen . Just click on her name to go check out her blog. 

*Disclaimer, these ramblings tonight are the direct cause of exhaustion and a nagging headache of my own, so if they are not altogether that coherent you will have to forgive me.  But do come back to read about how I met my man, because that is worth reading.

Friday, October 4, 2013

When the memories are happy and hard

My Cousin Tom died this summer, unexpectedly of a heart attack in his sleep.  He was only in his fifties. 

As my Dad told me over the phone I sank hard to my stairs and sobbed into the receiver.

Tom working on our kitchen counters
"What? This is impossible, I just talked to him the other night. This can't be real."

My kids watched me sobbing from the living room.  They wanted to know what had happened, what was wrong.

"Tom, grand-cousin Tom is dead."

We all cried as the harsh reality of the words sank in.
Tom showing Kody some shooting skills.
Grand cousin Tom, the one who took Kody hunting and shooting.  Who had him spend the night and do 'guy' things together.  The one who took Kalen on the Santa motorcycle run just last Christmas. The one who took the kids who were big enough on motorcycle rides around the block.  The one who loved my kids and me and all of the family without end.  The one who had rebuilt our bathroom when we found mold had taken hold in the wall.  The one who was always their when you needed him. 

Tom took this picture of Kalen at the motorcycle Santa run
When I moved from Washington State to Connecticut in the Spring I knew that losing a family member might happen before we got back home.  People are aging and it was a definite possibility.  I never suspected that it would happen so soon and to one so young. 

I am making split pea soup today and the memories of my cousin are flooding my eyes with salty waters even as they bring happy smiles. 

He would have hated this meal.  His hatred of peas was well known.  It was the only food he would not eat.  Any kind of pea with any kind of preparation.  Last time I made it he chided me on facebook about it.  This time he isn't here to tease and that is hard.

I have only happy memories of my cousin Tom.  They go all the way back into my earliest ones.  I miss him so much, but I am thankful for the good he brought to me and my family.  I can hope that someday I will get to see him again.

As I eat my soup tonight, I will think of him and smile.
Tom and Kody have always had a special bond. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

An Invitation to Trust (Tell His Story & Imperfect Prose)

When I was 9 years old I had a tea party for Jesus and my stuffed animals.  I set the places, laid the crackers and cheese, poured the water, and we all sat around in a circle; except for Jesus, His spot was empty.  I didn't expect Him to join us really, I hoped, I asked, I kept eyeing the crackers and cheese to see if He was eating some while I was unaware.  The plate stayed full and the spot empty. 

I was 9 years old and incredibly lonely.  My parents worked 14 hour days, we lived in a business district with no friends in which to play with, and I desperately wanted Jesus to come and sit with me.  I knew He was in my heart, but I wanted to see Him, to know I really mattered enough that He would show up for a child's tea party and eat crackers and cheese.

Last week in church Pastor told us how in Jewish tradition they would pray with their arms held out like someone waiting for them to be filled.  It is an invitation for God to fill your empty arms. 

An invitation.   

An invitation to trust that God will show up, that He will fill that which is empty.  It is a figurative letting go of that which you are holding in order to make room for the filling. 

It is an invitation of trust.  You are trusting God and not yourself. 

I have held onto much.  Too much.  I have filled myself up and have been afraid to let it go.  I have been afraid that my life would be that empty chair, that I would make space and He wouldn't come.  (I am not talking about salvation, that I was sure of.)  Figuratively, I would always be that lonely girl eating cheese and crackers on her own.

At church when the Pastor suggested that we hold our arms out as we prayed I realized just how hard of an action this was for me.  It seems so simple, "Just open your arms up, woman!" I told myself.  "Just do it, why is this so hard?".  I didn't know why it was hard, just that it was, but I did it anyways.  I opened my arms up and they were filled with a quieting peace.  I let go of that tiny bit of control and He filled.

That was on Wednesday.

On Friday, I went to talk to the Pastor about things I have been holding onto and that hold onto me.  The last time I talked to him he suggested that I read a book by Neil T. Anderson called "Victory Over Darkness".  I had read it and figured we would talk about that, but the conversation went another way.  Pastor brought up great points that made me think.  When I came home I had forgotten to say some things that I had wanted to say, so I emailed them to him.

A big theme of the book is that we are a new Creation in Christ.  I have never understood that statement.  I mean I understand it conceptually, but not experientially.  I have been a Christian since 3 and so this is what I wrote that afternoon: "... in the book he mentioned a lot about the before you knew Christ and the after you knew Christ...that whole new creation concept.....  well, I have ALWAYS known Christ, so not only is there not that feeling of difference, but everything that has happened to me or by me has always been done while in Christ, so it almost makes me angry when he brings that up so much in the book and I am not sure why anger is the emotion that comes up in it but it is."

This was his reply to that: "What I want you to discover is that though you have made mistakes since being in Christ, THAT is who you ARE.  When things happen when we are young, it shifts how we see ourselves moving us into deception about who we really are.  Even when one becomes a Christian young, if how they see themselves becomes contorted by the lies of the enemy, they will still act in ways that do not reflect who they really are.  It is like if a prince is kidnapped and is raised by paupers, he IS a prince but he lives like/acts like a pauper and does not access the riches due his true place in life.  THAT is what has happened to you.  More than anything I want you to get (I mean REALLY GET) who you are REGARDLESS of what you did or what was done to you.  How do you think you can do that?"

Honestly, I had no idea just how I was going to do that.  I gnawed on it in the back of my mind all afternoon.  Then that evening the prompt for that week's Five Minute Friday was truth.  I had no idea what was going to come out in it, I just sat and wrote.  As I wrote the answer to his question came.  I need to stop holding onto all the how's, the why's, and the lies and just walk in that truth that was staring me in the face.  The ones I had read about in the book, the ones I have heard about all my life but have never been able to feel, see, or believe for myself. 

I need to realize that the spot at my table might have been left empty, but the reality is that Christ has set a spot for me at His table with so much more than crackers, cheese, and water. I need to be the one to show up.  It is showing up at His table, not mine, that feeds a hungry heart and comforts a lonely little girl.

It is His truths I need to follow.  They are what will lead me to the table not the lies that left me  torn and bleeding in the brambles .  I need to turn and walk in who I am in Him.  I don't want fear to keep me sitting at my own little table staring at an empty chair just because I am afraid that His invitation somehow wasn't really meant for me.