The crazy life of the ClarkClan. Living a life of grace through Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Day of School August 31, 2011

Today was our first day of school. To kick this day off, we went on a 2.2 mile hike in the Sacramento Mountains with Grandma.  When we got home, they worked on math and English. Then the big finish to the day was going out bike riding, and Ben ending up with stitches in his upper lip. Never a dull moment around our house.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Red or Green?

     Did you know that the official question for the state of New Mexico is: Red or Green? If you are from New Mexico (or have just been transplanted from some other state) you will know this question refers to what type of chile you want on your food. My preference is green. Oh, and yes, I like my chile hot. Not burn your mouth off hot, but I definitely want to feel the heat.

     Now that we are living back in New Mexico, my husband and I and even our kids were very excited to be able to buy fresh green chile again. Around mid-August through mid-September is chile season around here. And the best chile comes from Hatch New Mexico. In fact, New Mexico even has a law that says it is illegal for other chile growers to put the name Hatch on their chile if they are not grown in the Hatch region.  Almost every grocery store in New Mexico towns sell bushel bags of green chile. Then you take them outside and have them roasted. The roasting blisters the skin so that it slips and peels off easily. Then we sit for the next hour and peel and chop the chile up to freeze and use in recipes all year. Here is a short video that shows the roasting machine that is outside the grocery stores.

Roasting Green Chiles

     Here is a picture of some of my family members peeling roasted green chile.


     So, I am sure the next question you may have is: What do you use green chile in?  We happen to love the flavor and heat of the chile. So I use the chile in tacos, taco soup, pinto beans (also known as frijoles con chile) enchiladas, burritos. A favorite breakfast is huevos rancheros, this is corn tortillas topped with eggs, red or green chile sauce and cheese. Yum!. Matthew even told me the other day I should add some green chile to the homemade mac and cheese I make.

      This is a great tradition that I am glad I can participate in and use all year long. To sum up the depth of feeling that New Mexicans can have for chile season, I have a quote from a man walking into the store while I was getting my chile roasted. He said, “Roasting chile, the greatest smell in the world”.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Read Aloud Challenge

     This has been a much better week for reading out loud. Rebekah has been pulling books out that had been packed away during the move. We have read quite a few different picture books because she keeps finding favorites she hasn’t seen in a month. We have also been reading Junie B. Jones is a Party Animal at night.  I have a love/hate relationship with Junie B. I think they are quite hilarious, but then I hate the attitude and actions she has and certainly don’t want my kids emulating. So I read them and we end up discussing what she does wrong. Should Junie B. have said that? What could Junie B. have done different? Should you ever act like Junie B.?

     I am looking forward to this next week. We are not truly starting school this week, but we will be doing a Five in a Row study. We will be reading the book The Rag Coat and doing an activity or two a day for the entire week. Ben and Rebekah are at the upper age for this study, but I love to do them on slower weeks. While I was at the library I also picked up Grandfather’s Journey  and Night of the Moonjellies to  be able to re-read  good books we have already studied.

   Thank you Debra from Footprints in the Butter for hosting the Read Aloud challenge. Visit Debra’s site to read what she has been reading aloud to her children and also visit other blogs. Who knows what good books you may find that you just have to read out loud?

Thursday, August 11, 2011


     “Go by the still waters” “Now go to the archeological dig.'”  I overheard Ben giving these directions to Rebekah using their walkie-talkie's. I asked him what he was talking about and he said they were having a scavenger hunt. Ben had hidden some toys outside and was giving Rebekah clues so she could search for them.  When she found them, then Rebekah would hide the items again and it would be Ben’s turn to search. They had fun with this game for about 2 hours one afternoon.

     This new house has a huge built in sandbox in the backyard. Ben and Rebekah and even Sarah have spent hours digging in the sand. Ben calls it his “archeological dig” site and has found quite a few army men, matchbox cars and even doll dresses. Today they added some water to the sand and tried to make sand castles. I figure this sandbox is going to provide hours of fun.

     We also have visited the library. Rebekah found one of her favorite books. Watch Me Throw the Ball! by Mo Willems, starring Elephant and Piggie. This book is hilarious. In our family, the Elephant and Piggie books are so much fun because we can equate Ben to Gerald (the elephant) and Rebekah to Piggie. Rebekah likes to take these books with their very simple, yet funny dialogue and create puppet shows. Ben will hold the book for Rebekah and she will use her elephant and pig puppets and read the book making her puppets act out the lines.

Sarah's camera 81011 110

     There are so many ways that kids can use their imagination if given a chance. A little boredom can be a good thing for my kids. When they are bored, the imagination begins to soar and there is no telling what they will come up with.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


     My husband was my hero on Monday, and I didn’t even know it. Matt had to leave for work early on Monday. When I got up, I noticed he had not worn his belt that day or put everything he usually carries in his pockets. When I asked him about it that evening, he told me that he was a little flustered and almost late for work. Then he told me why and turned into my hero for the day.

     When we moved to Montana eight years ago, one thing I noticed was the lack of bugs. They had spiders but no little scurrying bugs like cockroaches. Idaho did not have these either. I have not missed them at all. When we moved into our new house here in New Mexico, I saw one dead cockroach in the bathroom. I swept it up, but did not think much about it.

    Well, apparently on Monday, Matt was getting ready for work and a cockroach happened to catch his eye scurrying in the shower. He said that he went out to get a shoe to smash it, so I wouldn’t have to see it. By the time he got back, the cockroach couldn’t be seen. Then he noticed feelers coming from a small gap between the bottom of the shower floor and the aluminum frame from the shower doors. He decided he better flush this cockroach out so I would not be surprised when I woke up. During the time he was trying to get the cockroach out, he noticed a second pair of feelers a little ways down. He said his thinking was along the lines of “Oh great, now there are two of them”. As he proceeded to put a putty knife in this small gap, he killed the first cockroach, then went for the second, neither of which he could see. The second turned out not to be a cockroach, but another of New Mexico’s “fun” bugs, a vingegaroon.  He killed both for me and then ran out to get to work on time.  I am not sure how I was able to sleep through all the drama, but I am sure glad I did.

    So now I am sure your burning question is what is a vinegaroon? It is an ugly bug, but not dangerous. They are called vinegaroons because they can spray 85% concentrated acetic acid/vinegar so they smell like vinegar. They do not sting, despite their appearance, and while they can deliver a painful bite, this is very rare unless provoked. If they are outside, we do not kill them because they are a bug that eats other bugs. In my shower, on the other hand, they are fair game.


This is a picture of the vinegaroon. Definitely something I do not want to encounter in my shower!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New House

     Getting used to a new house is always interesting. Unpacking and trying to find places for everything can be a big undertaking. This house has a smaller kitchen than the last one. I have had to arrange and re-arrange as I started cooking and working in it. I have had to store some of the larger appliances, crock-pots, griddle, waffle maker, in the garage on shelves. Not my first choice, but realistically the only choice.

     I love having a clothesline again. At over 100 degrees, clothes and towels do not take long to dry. In fact, it only took about an hour to dry jeans on the clothesline. And when it got breezy this afternoon and we hung our towels out, it only took them about 35-40 minutes to fully dry. I am very happy to be able to save on electricity by not running the dryer.  And I love the smell of clothes, towels, sheets that have been dried outside. They just smell so fresh.  An added bonus of hanging clothes is that I get a little bit more exercise by carrying the basket out, bending to pick up the clothes and stretching to hang them on the line.

     Now the fun part comes. Trying to find a workable solution for easy access to the school books and school supplies has been tough. I always strive to make the books we use everyday easy to access and just as importantly, easy to put away. When school is over for the day, I like to have all the books put away until tomorrow. The last house had a den that we used as a school room. This house does not. It is beginning to look like we will be doing “school in a box” again. Each kids gets a Rubbermaid tote to hold the books and workbooks that are needed on a daily basis. The only problem with the boxes is that they can collect junk and trash if we do not clean them out frequently.

     Time will tell where everything will fit. And as usual some things will be stored until I have the “house of my dreams” and can get them back out.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Finally Settled

      I am back in action. The furniture has been delivered (well, almost all of it) and set up. The leaks in the faucets and drain have been fixed along with a new water heater installed. Starting next week, I am hoping life will fall into the start of a new routine.  I like routine and being unsettled for the past month and a half has been, well, unsettling. 

     Moving can be hard on all the people in the family. This move has, in my opinion, been the hardest on Sarah. There are times she is just her normal, fairly happy self. Then there are times she is in tears because she misses all her friends. At those times, I just sit and hold her (which can be quite a feat since she is two inches taller than I am). It will get better, but the process is not so much fun to go through.

     My plans for the coming week are to continue unpacking the boxes that are left in the garage, one box a day. I also need to figure out a new chore chart so the kids can get back to helping keep the house picked up. Then come the plans for when to start school and then getting ready for company to come and visit. We are getting very excited that Matt’s parents will be coming out to see us.

      My plans also include making sure I take the time to read aloud to Ben and Rebekah. I have not been able to join in the Read Aloud Challenge hosted by Debra at Footprints in the Butter, since I have not read any books out loud due to the move. But now that life has settled down a little, we can pick this up again.