Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Chaotic Christmas Season

Once again I can not believe how fast the time goes. So very cliche of me I am sure, but "WOW": Christmas time already? Christmas here is a fun, crazy, busy, time of year. No sports to chase, but lots of fun things to do and see. Took us some time, but the house is finally decorated and now we are moving onto the baking.

I love this time of year because this is when I first started to get interested in baking and cooking. When I was young I would spend weekends in December at my Grandma Leora's house listening to Christmas carols and hymns making cookies and candies for our friends and family. We seriously would start the minute I got out of school on Friday and would not quit until it was time for church on Sunday. I remember how patient she was with me and she always listened to me if I brought a new recipe or idea to try. This was  the start of a life-long devotion to cooking and baking for my family. It was also the start of my recipe addiction, which is a topic for another time. I also love that it has become a tradition for my family of making those same recipes that GiGi shared with me so many years ago. It makes me feel so close to her even though she has been gone for a while now. And I love that my kids, who were very young when she passed say, "Are we making GiGi's Christmas cookies this year Mom?" I thought that I would share with you the first recipe that she taught me. Not sure where she got the recipe, but I will bet it came from one of those lovely women at St. Luke's:

 GiGi's Peanut Brittle

1 cup white sugar                        1 cup Karo
1/4 cup water                               1 tsp. butter
1 cup raw peanuts                       1 tsp. baking soda

Boil sugar, water, Karo, and butter at medium high heat, in a heavy bottomed (Is that not fitting or what?)pan to hard ball stage: 250 degrees. Add peanuts. Continue cooking until golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add baking soda. Stir well. Pour onto a well buttered cookie sheet. Break into pieces.

Here is one of my favorite Christmas songs from my time with GiGi. We would sing this at the top of our voices while we were making a huge mess in her kitchen. I was even able to sing it at one of our Kaleidoscope Christmas dinners in high school.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The New Year Begins

The "Perfect" first day photo: Noah 5th Grade, Emma 1st Grade, Paige 10th Grade

Well, today is the day. First Day of School. The house is quiet for a brief period of time. We love the fresh eager faces as they wake up at 5:20 am and wonder why they can't leave right then for school, knowing that a month from now we are threatening to spray them with water if they don't get out of bed. It is the start of the year for us. Really all of us moms, and teachers, knew it all along anyway. No matter what the calendar says, the first day of school is really the start of the new year for us.

Today we begin the process of re-organizing our homes, lives, and children's bedrooms, You know you will do it to friends. What mom has not taken the opportunity of their children being gone, to clean out their toy box, closet, or under the bed? If only our children knew what joy we take in knowing that at least for a little while there shall be no science experiments fermenting, no mysterious smells emitting, no more lonely socks just hanging around. Today mom's are able to take a deep breath and and not wonder, "What the #$%! died in here?"

So today my fellow mom's, enjoy the peace and quiet. Make whatever you want for lunch, watch whatever you want on the TV, make all the lists you need to to get yourself organized, enjoy the full can of Diet Coke that you got to finish. I give you permission to stay in your jammies all day if you want. Please take this opportunity to re-charge your batteries and find things that might inspire you. There will come a day when all of the chaos of "First Days" are long but a memory and you will be wondering what to do with yourself.  You will be a much better mom for it, and will enjoy your kids more as well.

But remember, as soon as that door slams this afternoon :

The reality of Cotterman Chaos
the chaos shall return and your life shall be full of whatever treasures your kids have in store for you.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Year...New Me?

Tis the season of New Year's resolutions. I know I am almost three weeks late on the resolution craze, but since we had to celebrate Christmas almost a week after the day, I figure I am allowed a break. I refuse to call them resolutions. I am calling mine goals. I think this will give me more leeway should I choose to give them up. I don't want to be one of the 50% that fail in their resolutions. So my goals for 2010 are the following: #1:Re-join Weight Watchers. I am making a plan to add one new "healthy weight" goal each month. For the month of January I will be attending a WW meeting every week. Need to get back on the healthy eating band wagon. I will journal and measure, and EAT HEALTHY!!! February's goal shall be to add in EXERCISE. Good Lord help us all. #2:I want to learn. Being a new board member means there is so much I don't know. It also means feelings fear, pride, and no longer fitting in. I don't want people to be afraid to talk to me, but I also don't want them to only talk to me about school stuff. #3:Take pictures. Hard to believe that I don't already take enough pictures. I know you have all seen me with my camera. I am the one that has 5000+ photos on their hard drive. But I want to document our life as it happens: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Not just the special things. #4: PURGE!!!! Yes, I mean it. It is time to get rid of the things that do not bring me joy. and #5: organize what is left. Will all of this lead to the NEW ME?

Crazy thought isn't it? A new me? What could possibly be wrong with the old me? (I refuse to ask my kids as I am sure they could list more thing than this blog could hold.) I often wonder, "Do I really want a 'new' me?" Sure I could stand to lose a few (OK, more than a few) pounds, I certainly could become a better housekeeper, and possibly a better wife, mother, and friend. But would these changes really make me a new me, or just a different me? Honestly I would NOT change one thing that has happened in my life. All of my situations have made me what I am, good or bad. they have brought me to the place I am now, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I am learning to love the place where I am now. It doesn't necessarily have to be the greatest moment in my life, but who is to say that as I look back on it, it might just be a defining moment for me? I want to live and love each day that happens to me. I want to learn what God is trying to teach me at each moment. Take what I have learned and guide myself on this path. Will I make mistakes? Probably. Will I cry and hate the moment? Definitely. Will this cause me to stop trying to find the me that I know is buried? Absolutely not. Living in the moment doesn't mean that we wait for life to find us. It means recognize and take advantage of every door that is opened for us and walk through.

I know this was a bit long winded, and a bit "out-there" even for me. But I want to document my thoughts and feelings, not just what the kids are doing. I promise there will be less of this and more of the kids and pictures in the coming weeks. I leave you with the following question:

Does this boy need a hair cut?