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Ahh, the smell of burnt rubber in the air

I've never been one of those people who believe that "things come in threes," you know, three bad things happen close together? This time, however, I'm hoping three is the end.

The day after I fell and broke my ankle (mind you, I didn't know it was broken yet and I was hobbling around in pain) the hallway in our house was so dirty that I just couldn't stand it anymore, so I pulled out the vacuum to ease my mind. When I turned it on I realized that the belt was broken. I had purchased the vacuum over a year earlier and never had to replace the belt before, but I pulled out the manual and got the part number and the next night when Frugaldad was going out anyway, I had him pick up a replacement belt.

Fast forward a month. I was vacuuming the front room and a loose thread from the curtains caught in the beater brush and I turned off the vacuum quickly and I think I saved the belt. But a couple days later I was vacuuming the entry and a shoelace got caught in the brush. Later that day when I turned on the vacuum, black smoke started coming out of the cracks and the whole house smelled of burnt rubber. I dropped everything, and went to the store and bought two replacement belts.

And this morning, four days later, the 7-year-old volunteered to vacuum her room and a backpack strap got caught in the brush and burnt up the belt and black smoke came out. I'm glad I had an extra belt on hand, but give me a break! THREE belts in five weeks! I am typically really careful about having the floors clear when I vacuum, and from now on I'm going to be religious about it.

Zen and the art of homemaking

Lately I am finding myself struggling to get it all done. I've been a loyal Kerflop reader for years, and while it makes me sound like some crazed Internet stalker, I enjoy getting a glimpse into her life because in some ways we are similar. Jessica's post earlier last week hit close to home for me because I also try to do everything. Most things I try, I do well. Unfortunately, as my family has gotten larger, the menagerie of pets has grown, and our home life has gotten a little crazy, I have come to the sad realization that I can't do everything. I can't make all our meals from scratch off of a month-long preplanned menu, sew all the kids pajamas and the majority of their clothes, knit all of our socks, hats, and scarves, keep a picture-perfect spotlessly clean home, stay skinny, be a blogging rock star, study my scriptures daily and actually learn something, and get a good nights' sleep. I just can't do it all.

I usually figure that the main reason I can't get it all done is I don't have my priorities right yet. When I was a teenager, I was very consistent in my scripture reading. Getting married through a wrench in my consistency, but it was having kids that really sent me over the edge. All of a sudden, I was very sleep deprived, and rising early in the morning to read was not an option for me. Staying up late to read wasn't an option either, since often I will fall asleep if I sit still for any amount of time.

I know that by giving the Lord a few minutes each day in scripture study I'll be blessed with patience, motivation, and the ability to get more things done. But taking that first step is so hard! It's the proverbial "sand in my shoes."

One of the ladies in Relief Society mentioned a few months ago that she didn't read anything until she had read her scriptures that day. I like to read a magazine while I eat lunch, so I decided that I can read my scriptures instead. Oh my word, the opposition is great. I am interrupted so many times every time I sit to read, though I try to get the little girls everything they need before I sit down. I'm only getting a chapter read each day, but something is better than nothing, and it alleviates a little of my guilt.

Eat well

Last spring I saw a recipe on the PBS series Everyday Food and once I made it, I was hooked. You'd never believe that something with a name like bulgur could taste so fancy and fabulous. I started making variations on the recipe and almost every one has turned out great. The original recipe says it serves 2, but trust me, you'll eat it all yourself! This is actually quite inexpensive to make as well. The feta and nuts are the most expensive ingredients, but are used sparingly and are optional.

My basic formula is as follows

1/2 cup bulgur, reconsituted in 3/4 cup boiling water and 1/2 tsp salt
a fruit (1/2 an apple, diced with the skin on, grapes cut in half, strawberries)
onions (I prefer green onions, but regular are fine if you use less. I use 2 green onions, sliced, or a tablespoon of chopped onion)
nuts (about a 1/2 cup of pecans, walnuts, sliced almonds, cashews)
other veggies (celery, cucumber, bell pepper)
crumbled feta cheese (1-2 tbsp is enough. I buy this at Costco for less than $3/lb so while this is a "splurge" ingredient, it really isn't all that much)

for the dressing
2 tbsp citrus juice (lemon, lime, orange) or vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil

I love the original recipe, but some of my other favorite combinations are:
apple, celery, walnut for a "Waldorf"version
cucumber and tomatoes (no nuts) for a delicious straight-from-the-garden version. You can also add some fresh basil from your herb garden

The one I made with raisins and curry powder didn't turn out too well, but I'm sure could taste better with some tweaking.

I just finished a dish of the Waldorf version, and I wish there was more!

Technical issues

You don't realize how dependent you are on the internet until it's gone! Over the weekend one of our wireless access points fried itself so I'm currently without internet access at home until next week.

In the meantime, I have plenty to do around the house and will secretly be glad my biggest time-suck will be gone!

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