Friday, January 26, 2007

Home Improvement?

For the last couple of weeks, I have had the itch to fix up the house. I'm not much at housekeeping, but I make up for it by painting the walls pretty often -- you can't see the dirt if it's covered in a fresh coat of paint! For example, the bay window in our living room started out life white (blech!) then changed to green (blech!) then cream (until we decided on a real color) then light brown (too light) and now dark brown -- perfect! Five coats of paint in a year -- I wouldn't paint that window again if someone gave me a hundred dollars to do it. (Maybe.) Anyway, I also painted a couple of shelves for the kids' rooms, made "yarn balloons" to hang from their ceilings, and made name signs from wooden stars for their doors. My theory is that if I have a craft project to do, I can let the mopping/dusting stuff go until another day. My latest project has been to redo the master bathroom. It had hideous blue trim and an unattractive seashell wallpaper border near the ceiling. I painted the walls the same color as our bedroom -- cream -- and painted the trim the lighter brown that didn't work in the bay window. The shower curtain is a swirly rust red/gold. I bought rugs to match and blinds for the window. It looks so much better! The bad part is that now I have to catch up washing dishes, doing laundry, vacuuming . . .

Friday, January 19, 2007

Katie Stories

I told a sweet Joe story a few days ago, so here are a couple of funny Katie stories. First, Jeff has ordered some things for his Volkswagen project and a few of the parts have come in big boxes. One box was long and fairly narrow -- just enough room for Katie to lay flat inside. She would crawl in headfirst and yell, "Help! I'm in distress in a box!" and then Joe would run over and pull her out by the ankles. When she had been safely rescued, it was Joe's turn to be in distress. Why, we wonder, (along with every other parent in America) did we not just get them huge empty boxes for Christmas?!

Secondly, yesterday Katie and I were snuggled on the couch ready to start her science lesson. I opened the book to a drawing of the solar system and settled into teaching mode. "Scientists, Katie, are always learning and discovering new things. Sometimes this changes ideas or theories that they have held. One example of that is the planet Pluto." Here Katie interrupted. "Oh, Pluto! I know all about that." "You do? Well, what do you know?" (This was kind of a throwaway question. We had not discussed the planets before and I didn't expect her to know anything about them yet.) So Katie replies, "Scientists think it's not a gas giant. They think it's just been captured by the sun's gravity." (!) I just sat there open-mouthed while Katie giggled at me. Turns out, she had been reading the book on the solar system that her Grammie gave her for Christmas. I guess maybe that was a better gift than an empty box!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Barefoot in the Kitchen. . .

Those of you who know me know that I love to cook! So I thought I'd do a post now and then with one of my family's favorite recipes. If you try it and like it, I'd love to hear about it. Here's the first installment --

Oatmeal Breakfast Treats

2 eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup raisins or finely chopped tart apple
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

In a mixing bowl, combine the first five ingredients; mix well. Combine oats, flours and salt; add to brown sugar mixture and mix well. Stir in raisins (apples) and walnuts (pecans). Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes or until set. Yield: about 2-1/2 dozen

Everyone in the family likes these, and they're a lot better "in-hand" breakfast for Jeff than Pop-Tarts! This recipe is from Taste of Home, which began as a magazine that now has several "spin-offs" such as Light & Tasty, Simple & Delicious (formerly known as Quick Cooking), and Cooking for 2. One good part about all of these great magazines being "sisters" is that they have a collective website where you can look up any recipes in their database. It's a great resource. The site is

Friday, January 12, 2007

GardenHouse Photography

Our good friends, Paul and Sandy De Jong, have been our unofficial family photographers for years. They did my senior portraits, our wedding, and captured Katie and Joe in each stage of their growth. Now, Paul has reached a goal he's worked toward for quite a while -- they have a website! It presents their work beautifully and allows so many more people to see the unique creativity with which Paul is blessed. If you'd like to see our kids featured on the site, click on Portraits, then Toddlers and you'll see Joe's picture (4th from left, top row). Click on Preschoolers to see Katie in my wedding dress (3rd from right, top row) and Katie with Joe (4th from left, bottom row). Just mouse over or click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Sweet Little Joe

I was putting Joseph down for a nap yesterday and he did the sweetest thing I think I've ever seen! (I wonder how many times, as the parent of two children, I have said that?) He wasn't wanting to lay down, so I was trying to think of something to stop him from fussing. I settled his two monkeys, Jeffrey and George, down next to him and then picked George up and pretended he was talking to me. "What was that, George? You're not sleepy? Would you like me to sing to you? Okay, lay down and I'll sing." I tucked George in and began rubbing his little monkey head (it's so soft!) while I sang "Jesus Loves Me". Immediately, Joe sat up a little and leaned over to Jeffrey, rubbed his head, and sang along with me! It was so adorable. When I finished, I told Joe, "Now if George still can't sleep you might need to sing to him, too." As I left the room I looked back to see Joe leaned over again, rubbing Jeffrey's head and singing "Jesus Loves Me".

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Take Your Kids to Work Day

For some time, Jeff and I have wanted to get some pictures of him with the children at the quarry. Joe had never seen his daddy's work, and we were eager to see how he'd react. He was awed by the big equipment and wanted to ride everything he saw. "I want ride that!" Jeff took him on his excavator and showed him how the boom worked, then he gave Katie a turn. The excavator is what Jeff normally operates at the quarry, though he can operate any of the machinery and fills in for other employees when they are out. The belt system in the background is part of the crusher plant. Jeff has also been in charge of running that in the past. The kids got to see a 65-ton (capacity) Euclid dumptruck and a Komatsu WA600 front loader.

A Very Pittard Christmas

We celebrated Christmas with Jeff's side of the family a week early this year, on the 16th. We all went to Ken and Cheryl's house in Canon. Jason and Paige were there with Joel, Jacob and Sarah; Joe and Jennifer were there, and Jeff and I were there with Katie and little Joe. "A good time was had by all." We played games and ate a ton of food. The guys spent a great deal of time at the air hockey table, where grudge matches abounded. I suppose the pictures speak for themselves, though it was Joseph who got the little excavator for Christmas, not his daddy! And Sarah's bib says, "I'm cute, buy me something!"