Phew!

We made it.  That’s what matters.  The last two days have been quite a ride.  But for us, the ride is over. The lights are on, we’re one in piece. Our ride was pretty mellow.  We went without power for almost two days.  We spent a little time hanging out in the closet.  We threw some spoiled food away.  We ate too much fast food.  I’m way behind on laundry.  And if that’s worst we come through a storm, we’re doing great.  I just read the death toll in Alabama is over 200 after the storms yesterday.  I don’t know many people in Bama, but everyone I do know is affected by the storms.  The stories keep trickling in….


My husband’s boss lives in Tuscaloosa, one of the hardest hit places. (Tuscaloosa is an hour from our home.)  A tornado a mile wide went through there.  A mile wide tornado.  Here’s a video of it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ohIVzIZLuQ&feature=youtu.be


As you can see, it was a BIG tornado.  There were other little ones, as if the big one wasn’t enough.  


Anyways, hubby’s boss is okay.  His brother was trapped for a while in rubble that used to be part of his house, but even he is okay.  The families will be staying in hotels for a while.  Hubby’s boss’ house is fine, but there is no power or water.  Probably won’t be for a while either.  His brother’s house is half flattened, so his family won’t be staying there for quite a while.


People I know here have coworkers, friends, etc. who have lost loved ones in the storms.  Others are finding items in their yards from houses many many miles away: cookbooks, homework, and other personal items.


One man, who works with someone I know from church, lost his wife, who died from injuries from the storm.  Their infant was missing for a while but ended up with the neighbors and I believe she is okay.  I’m sure they would appreciate your prayers.


Many have lost their homes.  Many who haven’t lost their homes have significant damage to their homes.  


In one town the main power plant was hit.  Power will take a lot longer to be restored there.  


http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2011/04/alabama_tornadoes_death_toll_p.html


I have more to say about our experience the last two days, but it’s trivial in comparison.  So I’ll bore/entertain you with that another day.  Today I’m just going to remember how incredibly grateful I am and pray for those less fortunate than me.


If that isn’t sobering enough, these storms had me thinking again of the devastation in Japan.  The damage here is just a fraction in comparison to the damage from the tsunami there.  Shortly after I was thinking about this, I met a new neighbor who is from Japan.  She moved here from Japan about a month ago.  Just before the tsunami struck.  I’m getting the message, God.  I’ll be very very very thankful!!!!!


Many of you prayed for our safety, I appreciate it so very much!  My family is doing great.  We even have electricity again, so now I can blog and do laundry!

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Houseguests

Recently we’ve had house guests.  So many I’m losing count.  We even had a family of six staying with us. Technically, it was just a family of two when they moved in but then they had quadruplets.  


I’m not sure what our lease says about the maximum number of occupants, but I’m guessing our family of five plus a family of six is too many. However, technically this family lived on the porch, so maybe we’re in the clear.

Daddy feeding his kids.
Practicing their GQ pose.

They have all moved out now, but they do come back to visit…and eat our birdseed.  Someone has added to the nest since the kids left.  We’re hopeful someone else may try it out.


K always asks about the birds on our feeder, “Is that the momma bird or the daddy bird?” or “Is that the K bird?”  For those of you not up on your bird terminology, a K bird is a juvenile.  Check your Audubon guide.  I’m sure it’s listed in there.


Today we had another family stop by.  S and K were excited about this group too!

There are fifteen babies total, but some were still trickling in at this point. 
Momma kept a watchful eye the entire time.  I took all the pictures through the window; I figured either they’d take off or momma would have some ‘words’ with me if I opened the door!

We don’t have a yard, which we really miss.  But between the birds on the porch and the tadpole in our dining room, we’re still able to experience some nature.  I really enjoy nature when it doesn’t involve bugs the size of a small dog!

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Spite

Several weeks ago Whole Foods had a baby food picture contest.  Take a picture of a baby eating and the best pic wins.  I looked at the pictures, posted on Facebook, and I saw lots of cute babies.  However, one comment on a picture stood out to me.  The person remarked they didn’t know why anyone would take those types of pictures, they make her nauseous.  My thoughts were A.) Why on earth are you looking through these pictures if you hate them?  and B.) You’re obviously not a mom or an aunt.  Because once you’ve been a mom, or an aunt (dad or uncles aren’t excluded, but this happened to be a woman posting) baby goop affects you differently.  My friend Mary once told me regarding kids, “they come out little and grow on you”…she was sooo right!  So out of sheer spite I’m posting a picture of my cute baby with food all over his face.  Granted, the person who made that comment won’t see this, but I still feel better posting it.  Especially since I find it adorable. 

Pancakes

My family has put me in charge of the cooking.  I’m sure this is by default rather than ‘Chel is the best cook ever, so we pick her.’  My husband has this job thing he goes to every day.  S goes to school.  K and J aren’t allowed to use the stove.  So it’s me by default.  One of the perks of being top chef is I am in charge of the menu.  (And amazingly, we happen have lots of foods I like for dinner.)  If I’m in the mood to try a new recipe..woohoo! The family gets to come to the table in fear and trepidation.  Sometimes these meals work out fabulously.  Sometimes…not so much.  But either way, I get to decide what we’re having and when, which is definitely a plus.  However, the biggest downside of being top chef is I am in charge of the menu.  I get the privilege of coming up with meals my crew A.) enjoys B.) doesn’t get sick of and C.) are at least somewhat healthy.  I get to do this day after day after day after day after live long day.  Some days/weeks I’m great at planning.  Other times it’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon and I think “I probably should figure out a plan for dinner soon.”  Today was one of those days.  I have a couple ‘go to’ meals when I don’t have a plan, such as spaghetti, grilled cheese, etc.  And breakfast.  I love breakfast for dinner anytime, and it’s a really great plan for those days when I have no plan, like today. The only trouble with breakfast food is usually requires a ‘short order cook.’  I will never have a successful job being a short order cook.  I’m more of a slow-and-steady-and-eventually-get-the-job-done type of cook.  I’d like to believe if I wasn’t cooking amidst the ranks of three children it would be faster, but I’m sure I still won’t win any records.  


So today I wanted breakfast food with as little short order cooking as possible.  What do I do when I need a recipe?  What I always do…head to the internet!  Some of you had to cook long before the internet…I shudder to think of it.  Spend hours looking through books to find a recipe that hadn’t even been rated!  With no comments on how it tasted or how to tweak it!  Oh the horrors!  How did you ever do it?!  I’m so grateful I don’t have to live in those terrifying times.  The internet is my friend, especially when it comes to the kitchen.


Anyway, back to the story at hand.  Today I was in the mood for pancakes, even though they are heavy on the amount of time needed standing in front of the stove. J was napping, so I thought I’d live crazy and try it.  As I was looking for a pancake recipe online I found a recipe for Finnish pancakes.  I’m not Finnish, I have never been to Finland, and I did not know they had their own pancakes.  I’ve been missing out.  Kropser: baked pancakes.  OH. MY. WORD. Yum. S declared them the best pancakes he’d ever had.  Dad and K loved them.  I found them easy, tasty, and requiring no ‘short order cooking.’  SCORE!!! 


In case your wondering, I’ve included the link for the recipe.  I’ll let you read the reviews and decide what you think.  I would describe the Kropser as a cross between french toast and pancakes.  Did I mention the yummm part?
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Finnish-Kropser-Baked-Pancakes/Detail.aspx

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