Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Can't You Say "Yes" to Anything?

This was one of those afternoons in which everything my daughter asked for, I had to deny.

Go to McDonalds for a snack? Nope.

Walk to the Bakery for a donut? Huh-uh.

Rent a movie? No way.

How about a hotdog at Tiny's? I don't think so.

Have just a little bit of time on the computer before I do my homework and practice my clarinet? Do I look stupid ... no again.

About 4:00 when this downcast little girl walked into the kitchen, I hoped she would ask me something to which I could say "Yes!" (Oh Jesus, help her to want something reasonable!)

Mom, can I have some pop? Sure, honey. Do you want a big glass?

The shoulders which had been braced for another rejection straightened. She smiled and relaxed for the first time all afternoon. I'd won all of the little skirmishes with her earlier .... she knew that this was a treat. Then ...

Mom, can I watch TV ........?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkin Extraordinaire

At our house, we have only recently succombed to decorating pumpkins. (For years we avoided Halloween because I don't like the history behind the holiday)

Once we joined the Prairie Creek community, we also joined the ranks of those attending Pumpkin Carving Night (a pretty big deal for the kids). One year we made leaf outlines. Last year Ryan carved a 3-dimensional face. This year, the theme of Ryan's jack-o-lantern was super heroes insignia.

Here's the one for the Incredibles:

Here's the Bat Signal:

And, finally, we have Superman's "S"

So, what do you think?

Facebook Frenzy

A little over the week ago, I joined the ranks of the bajillion people, young and old, on Facebook. Friends and family had been bugging me to do this so that they could communicate a little more.

Oh my! What had I gotten myself into? Walls, Profiles, Photos & Postings, Chats, Messages and Status comments. Is it a social networking tool, a contest to see who could have the most friends, or just another way to use up lots of time? Do I really want to get involved? Is it too late to delete all of my information and hide?

Unfortunately, I've found that I'm really enjoying the connections and conversations. (I say "unfortunately" because there has been a price to pay ... a good bit of my time has been spent on it.) Within a day, I had 13 friends. A week later, I have 63 friends. I get to hear about the little "stuff" that goes on in the lives of my friends and family. I can see pictures of my sister-in-laws grand Halloween party. I find out who has a headache and who is baking cookies.

I'm seeing that this is a great site for those extraverted, social animals. However, as my husband put it, for an introvert it's a net loss. As I explained to him how you post your status, update your profile, and uploaded pictures he was a bit overwhelmed.

Will I stay on Facebook? Absolutely. Will I spend time on it that I should probably spending elsewhere? Of course.

Gotta go.... gonna chat with an on-line Friend.....

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fall Leaves

I feel sorry for people who live in areas where the seasons don't change very much. I love spring, summer, fall and winter. Fall is my all-time favorite. I love the colors of the leaves. Every year I have couple of drives that I have to take ... Nerstrand to the Big Woods and the Minnesota River in St. Peter. I especially love the sumac!

We have 4 fairly large, leafy trees in our yard which means lots of raking. This year my husband had a "brilliant" idea. Instead of bagging the leaves, he thought it might save time to put them directly into the large 15 passenger van. We raked them all into one large pile by the curb. Conveniently under a tree, the kids climbed up the tree and jumped into the pile. Great fun was had by all.

By the way, the idea worked. It still took two trips and we had to sweep and mop the van; Jim and Ryan were quite a sight "shoveling" leaves out of the van.

Pumpkin Carving Night

Every fall Prairie Creek parents hosts a pumpking carving night. As you walk into the school's gym you are literally assaulted with the smell of pumpkins. It's a strong, unmistakeable odor! After the smell, you see the floor covered in newspapers and pumpkin guts. Besides carving their pumpkins the kids eat Gorp and play out on the playground with flashlights.

We've learned a litte trick to make the night more fun for us. We "gut" our over-size vegetables before we go. When we get there, the kids sit by their friends and talk about what kind of designs or faces they'll do. Because of the great community of the school, they encourage each other and oooh and aaah at one anothers creations.

This year I noticed that a lot of the "old timer" moms and dads were standing along the edge chatting with each other. The parents of the younger children were sprawled on the floor with shreads of the insides of pumpkins sticking to their pant legs. A few moms and dads were consoling their son or daughter over a face cut-out gone astray. The older parents knew that their kids could handle themselves and really didn't want our help. Many of them had already gone outside to play flashlight tag.

For many of us, this is our last year at Prairie Creek. We all met 6 years ago when our children started in kindergarten. So, each of us does our best to make the most of these get togethers.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Prichard Chef Challenge

Last winter our family started their own "Chef's Challenge" ala the Iron Chef America show. We would pick an ingredient and all make something. Last year we centered out challenges on bread dough/ spaghetti sauce, potatoes, pasta and chocolate. We invited neighbors to share in the products of the chocolate challenge.

Last week we had our first cooking challenge of the this school year ...Corn. I made black bean salsa with corn, cilantro and green onions. My dish also included corn tortilla chips. Faith made corn fritters with sour cream topping. Ryan made cornbread and caramel corn. For some protein and to balance the meal we had apples, green salad and rotisserie chicken.

We've talked about extending our Chef Challenge to other friends. Wouldn't that be a fun small group? Gather once a week and everyone bring a unique food item along a theme? Would you come?

We've talked about extending our Chef Challenge to other friends. Wouldn't that be a fun small group? Gather once a week and everyone bring a unique food item along a theme? Would you come?

Coffee with an Long-time Friend

This morning I had a long (3 hour) coffee with a friend I've know for 20 years. (Has it really been that long?)

It was such fun to spend time with someone who has known me for a long time. I don't have to do a lot of explaining of myself. We update one another on our kids, our struggles and our victories. We share wisdom, give a little advice; mostly we encourage each other. Since we both have large families, homeschool and are involved in ministry we have a lot in common. Once the two of us talked about using the idea of running partners to describe our friendship. With a running partner, when you wear out and flag in your run, the partner urges you on.

After our coffee, I thought a lot of my various friendships. I'd love to spend my week going out for coffee with friends. I'd love to catch up with people who have been a part of my life over the years. The days, however, seem too full; the weeks go by so quickly. Once again, I was encouraged to think about the priorities and values in my life. If relationships are important, am I giving them the attention they require.

As I get older, I don't have the energy that I had in my youth. It's even more important to hear the Lord regarding my time, my focus, my vision and my priorities.

Great Meatloaf!

Last night I made a killer meatloaf for our family and to share with a family who just had a baby. I actually followed a recipe, which I don't often do.

Here it is:
Killer Loaf
2 lb. hamburger
1 box of Stove Top Stuffing
2 eggs
1 cup broth or water
1/2 cup barbecue sauce

Preheat oven to 375. Mix hamburger, stuffing mix, eggs, broth and 1/4 cup barbecue sauce together in a large bowl. Form into loaf in a 9 x 13 pan. Spread the remaining 1/4 cup sauce on the loaf. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Let it sit for 10 minutes before slicing.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Movie Review: Why Did I Get Married?

Curled up in bed last night, feeling sick, I indulged in a movie. Thanks to $1 at Redbox, I picked up this Tyler Perry movie. I'm not a big Janet Jackson fan and never fully trust the acting ability of pop music stars, but this movie was cute, insightful and great for someone feeling too yucky to think or feel very intensely.

The precis of the plot: 4 couples gather annually to discuss how to make their marriages better. With that kind of intentional planning, you would think that these folks wouldn't find themselves in such predicaments. Every marriage has significant problems and secrets that come out in the course of the movie.

The story line was predictable, but I found the dialogue a hoot. Probably because I'm a white, Midwestern, Scandinavian mom. I've never talked to my friends or enemies like these women talked to each other. Even if you bleeped out any swearing it was colorful.

Every now and then you need a movie that's sweet and a little mindless. My flu didn't go away but the few chuckles did me good.

Mom of the Year

This weekend I heard, "Mrs. Prichard, you're the greatest." "You're the best mom ever!"

Our family hosted the Gustavus frisbee teams (men and women) for dinner. Every fall St. Olaf and Carleton put on the "Exit 69" Ultimate frisbee tournament. Though they wanted to camp out, they all came to dinner at our house on Saturday. I think I counted 30 of them, including one mom from Illinois and my family of 5.

What did I fix for them? Last year when the Lawrence University teams came I made some fantastic soups and baked sandwiches. This year I was gone all day at my college reunion, so I made a simpler meal: baked breaded chicken for sandwiches, Garden Burgers for the vegetarians, tossed salad, a vegetable/ bean soup, lots of chips and dips, cole slaw and ice cream sundaes. They ate until they were stuffed!

I love having people into our home. And this was no exception. Actually, if you're fixing dinner for a small group, you might as well make it a large group. It was noisy and active! Students took turns on the piano; I think I even heard the conga and tambourine going. In the basement, all 5 of the couches had a napping young man or woman. (needing to rest up before partying that night??) I love it when people make themselves at home. My son had said that the freshman would help with all of the dishes. Since I used paper plates and had the kitchen clean before they got there, I only had to rope 2 of them into helping.

The students were most gracious and appreciative of a free meal in a home. As a gift, they all signed a game disc for me.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


After 26 years of marriage and 24 years of parenting, I'm just wondering.....

Who takes care of the Mom?

I'm just wondering.....

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Unexpected Events.

In the car on the trip home from an outing ............

Daughter: Mom, my tummy hurts.
Mom: Well, just lay back and rest.
Daughter: Mom, my tummy still hurts.
Mom: Stop eating chips and just look at the fall leaves.
Daughter: M-o-mmmm! Are we gonna be home soon?
Mom: Just a few more minutes....
Daughter: MOM! I'M GONNA THROW UP!!!!

Screech ........
Scramble ........
(door flies open while car still in motion ... said daughter leans out over the shoulder of the road but not quite in time ...)

Ugh. Those last 10 miles were long miles for all of us in the car.