Christmas Caramels

A Christmas we have each year is I attempt to make Caramels. I say attempt, because I’ve never gotten them right. They’re either too runny, too hard, stuck to the paper, stuck to the foil, etc. Actually, I’ve gotten them right once…Zed and I’s first Christmas together. I call it beginners luck

I was determined to get them right this year and after the second batch, I did. Below is my recipe for Caramels if you dare to brave them. May the odds ever be in your favor.

INGREDIENTS

• 1½ sticks butter (12 tablespoons)

• ½ cup sugar

• 3 tablespoons maple syrup

• 14 oz sweetened condensed milk

INSTRUCTIONS

1 In a medium sauce pan combine butter and sugar and stir over medium heat until melted. Reduce to low heat, because without fail this is when a kid will need a diaper change or a peanut butter chocolate sandwich made. Stir in maple syrup and condensed milk.

2 Bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute and then decrease to medium low heat for 10 minutes, when mixture achieves deep golden color, stirring constantly (not vigorously).

3 Pour caramel into a foil 8×8 inch pan, pray they’re cooked enough, and allow to cool completely. I leave it out on the counter for about 10 minutes and then use the refrigerator to cool completely.

4 When completely cooled, cut into squares, I like to use our pizza cutter, and wrap in Saran Wrap.

Good luck! When in doubt under do them. If they don’t set up, stick it back in the sauce pan for a couple more minutes and repeat steps 3-4.

Garbage Disposal

Do you ever have that conversation with you spouse or best friend, “When I build my forever home it’ll have…” Well I told Zed, when we build our forever home it’s going to have a garbage disposal in our laundry room sink. He laughed, knowing why I was saying this, and said that’s a great idea, but you won’t need that function by the time we build a house.

I was cleaning up throw up (my least favorite Mom job) for the fourth time this week. Each time I would take the stopper out of the tub rinse the chunks off and then hurry the dripping clothes/towels/blankets to the washing machine. Why didn’t I just do this in my kitchen sink you’re probably wondering…because dishes are a close second to cleaning up throw up. Thankfully Zed doesn’t mind it too much, but we’ve had a lazy week (remember 4th time cleaning up throw up). So the sink was full of dishes and I wanted that smell gone as soon as possible.

So a garbage disposal in the laundry room sink is being added to our list that includes radiant heat, three car extended length garage, and stairs/ladder up to the empty space of the home. Maybe when/if this custom built home comes we’ll have grandkids who will get sick while staying at our home…yay 🤢

-S

The Christmas Tree

The other night, I was up late. We deliver homemade baked goods to our friends who live near us each Christmas. We grabbed some McDonalds for the kids while we drove. Zoe got a French fry stuck and threw up all over her car seat. I needed to get it all washed and dried before morning, because we would need her seat to get to school/work on time.

The kids and Zed were all asleep. The wash was going. All the lights, but those on the Christmas tree were off. The silence, the peace, the wonder of what am I forgetting. Looking at the tree I realized the since we’ve put it up the kids have played a little nicer, we’ve been better about family prayer each night, and we’ve all been a little more relaxed.

A Christmas tree reminds us of the season, which is about family and love and not about the gifts that will be under it in a few days. It draws the kids in, creates questions about where the different ornaments are from. The ornaments that are all out of arms reach. It gives us an opportunity to talk about Christ and focus on the real reason for the season.

Next time I post, it’ll probably be with pictures of the chaos that will be Christmas morning with 4 under 5. Merry Christmas to all. I hope you all get what you asked for, I know I have already been blessed this year.

-S

The Curse

Every military spouse dreads it, as I’m sure so does every military member. The curse is stronger than Murphy’s Law. It goes a little something like this…If the military member is away things will go wrong and usually too bad for the spouse back home to handle alone.

Zed has been away for a week now and has about another week or two away. Zed’s Mom is helping out and Mia and Ana are out at the ranch. Saturday I woke up to Dax screaming “Momma! I’m dirty! Help!” I walk into his room to see he’s removed his diaper and has peed all over his bed. No big deal, I started up a bath and started a load of washed (It was time for his sheets to be washed anyway). Zoe hears us moving around and wakes up herself. I go in and notice a horrible smell. She has had a blowout and there is poop everywhere. Again, no big deal…the tub is already ready and I pause Dax’s sheets and add Zoe’s. We had a pretty boring rest of the day and enjoyed a visit from my cousin who lives in Alaska.

Sunday I wake up to Zoe screaming and she had now peed out…time for another load of laundry. I go to start a bath and there’s no hot water. I check the other faucets…no hot water. I just the breakers, all normal there. I check our hot water heater and it says blower prover open, call a technician. So like any good millennium I went to Facebook asking for help and it came flooding in. We have such an amazing support system here in Oklahoma and will be sad to leave it (just got word this will be happening in September). We go to church and when we return someone is waiting to check out the water heater. He says it needs a new switch, easy fix. I’m happy because the temperature is supposed to go below freezing on Tuesday night.

I then talk to the men from Right of Way who are clearing the gas line and ask why there are three trucks and 12 men rather than one truck and four men. Their skid steer got stuck in the back of our property an they have to tow it out. Turns out the skid steer backed down into the creek. Tow truck (big enough to pull a semi) shows up and drives over our lawn to pull the guy out. Going in…no concerns with our yard. Coming out was a different story. The tow truck got stuck for a moment driving out, leaving bare patches and 6in deep ruts. The guys were super nice and will work something out once Zed gets home.

Today brought a new ball of fun. I dropped the kids off, worked out, then headed to the gym to shower and change. Wouldn’t you know it…they were out of hot water too. Good thing there is more than one gym. Shower change and realize I forgot my hat, belt, and blousing straps at home. Belt, not a huge deal. Blousing straps, I used hair ties to supplement. Hat, I drove home to get it. I finally make it in to work to find out the daycare is without heat and I need to pick up the kiddos. Get the kids, go home, and we all took a much needed nap. Our friend from church comes back over, cleans out the hose on the hot water heater, changes the switch out…still no luck. He calls the company and we learn we need a new blower motor aka not so cheap fix anymore. They look up our unit and wouldn’t you know it, it’s still under warranty! They order the new motor and it will be to us on Wednesday. I check the temp again and it’s now not supposed to freeze until Wednesday night. Good news all around.

So the curse. It always strikes while the service member is away, but there is always a support system for the home spouse to rely on. For all of you who helped us out or are still helping out, I thank you and am so blessed to have you as part of what we call the military family!

-S