Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Adventures of Little Guy

How often do you wake up motivated, filled with intentions to get heaps of things done? That was me yesterday. I was going to clean out the hallway, mop the floors, vacuum downstairs, get more work done on my craft space and bathe Little Guy. From that list I accomplished 1.5 things. I got half of the hallway cleaned out and I bathed  Little Guy.

For some reason, Little Guy hates baths. He screams through the whole thing. Doesn't matter if it's the tub or the kitchen sink. He refuses to sit in the water, so I end up washing him with one hand while thwarting his attempts to climb out of the tub and then I lay him down and he wails while I rinse his hair. I think we both dread his bath time. Once Little Guy is all washed and dried, his curls really come out. These curls are why I haven't cut his hair yet. I'm afraid that they won't grow back and I love his curls.

 I have no idea where he found it, but Little Guy got his hands on a little purple bead yesterday morning. He loves this bead. It was always tight in his little fist, except when he was looking at it. At one point it rolled off the coffee table. He was so upset when he couldn't find it. He was on the floor looking saying, "uh oh" over and over, his eyes filled with tears. He was so excited when I found it.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

A Quiet Beginning to the Week

After the very busy day in the kitchen yesterday, today has been comparatively quiet. Church this morning, a quick stop at the grocery store, then home.

We had a peaceful afternoon with Little Guy napping and the girls busy playing Littlest Pet Shop.

For dinner I made pizza. In the past I always made one pizza on my large Pampered Chef circle stone. However, the appetites in our house seem to have grown and it's no longer enough. So tonight I made two pizzas. I was a little concerned how they would turn out because I put them both in the oven and the same time on two different racks, one above the other. They turned out great! I had precooked the crust of the pizza on the stone since the other pizza would be directly below it in the oven. The pizza on the stone had a crisper bottom to it, which is Husband's preference, and the other pizza had a soft crust which I prefer. Anyway, I made two pizzas instead of one so that no one would be hungry after dinner. And tonight everyone ate about half of what they usually eat when we have pizza. Oh well. Lunch later, right?

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Bake Day

One of my challenges this week is to spend only $20 on groceries. My pantry is full of the basics and I have plenty of meat in the freezer. I have to buy milk, cat litter and hopefully some bananas. We have gone through most of the convenience items that we put in lunches. This means I have to make them from scratch.

Where we live, our electricity usage is charge by time of use. This stinks. Low lowest rates are all weekend and between 7pm & 7am Monday-Saturday. Basically, I pay a lot more if I use my oven or do laundry when I want to. All of that to say that today is bake and laundry day. I've spent most of the day in the kitchen with the laundry going in the background. (That's going to be a very large pile to fold tonight.)

I started with granola bars. I've tried a few recipes before and wasn't really happy with them. The one I used today I came across on-line and thought I'd give it a try. With Strong-Willed One's help, they were in the oven in no time. They came out beautifully.
The best part was when the girls tried them and asked if I'd make them all the time instead of buying them! Makes my frugal heart smile. I even like them and I don't usually care for granola bars.

We are also nearly out of bagels. Not a necessity, so it doesn't go on the grocery list. I made bagels once when I was in high school, but not since. I found a recipe for Bread Machine Bagels on a blog and started that before we began the granola bars. Soon after the bars came out of the oven, the bread machine beeped. I quickly formed the bagels before lunch and left them to rise while we ate.
After lunch, Kiddlet helped me boil the bagels, then they went into the oven. They came out nice and golden, but not very pretty. They smell delicious, though.

While to bagels were baking, I began the dough for Cowboy Cookies. Another new recipe. (I clearly hadn't thought this through. What if they all flopped?) I picked this recipe because it used shortening rather than butter. I didn't want to mess with softening butter. And I had found a pound of shortening for $.75. Why use costly butter if I have that in the cupboard? The cookies aren't bad and I got 5 dozen out of a single batch. Plenty for now and to freeze for later!
I'm finally done baking for the day. I do still have all the dishes from the cookies to wash as well as all the baking pans, but I can do that while dinner cooks. Which is going to be Oktoberfest Sausage cooked in the oven, buttered rice and frozen green beans cooked in the microwave.

I actually threw together a coffee cake last night for dessert. I figured since I already had the oven on to bake the dinner rolls.... We all had a piece after lunch today and the way Little Guy ate it had us all laughing.

First Steps!

Yesterday was a big day for Little Guy. He took his first independent steps! Even better was that he did it for Husband. Because Husband travels so often for work, he misses a lot. Anytime he is around for any big events in the kids' lives, it seems extra special.

I've never posted a video before, so you'll have to let me know if it doesn't work. If that's the case, I'll find another way to post it.

We Made It Through the Day

Yesterday wasn't all bad having the girls home from school. Yes, it meant that my to do list pretty much went out the window, but the girls had a good day. We didn't get to the granola bars, but I did get the dinner rolls and soup made. Enough for 2 meals!

After a 'boring' morning, the girls begged to go on a walk to find their friends since no one was answering the phone. In the past, I always had to say no because Little Guy didn't have any winter wear. But, thanks to Grandma, he has a complete snowsuit now. So we all bundled up and went out. We found the friends and they came over for the afternoon. It made for a louder house, but they all left me alone which was great.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Freezing Rain Means No Busses

The girls lucked out this week and only had 3 days of school. Monday was a PA day and the busses aren't running today due to freezing rain. Strong-Willed One was pretty cute this morning. Usually the girls are up by 6:40am to get ready for school. Since there is no school, I didn't wake them. Kiddlet was up at the usual time, but Strong-Willed One slept in. When she woke at 7:20, she came running down the stairs yelling, "Mom, it is not Saturday!" After I explained, she just kinda wandered around, like she couldn't quite grasp the fact there was no school.

Having the girls home changes how my day is going to go. I had planned on trying a new granola bar recipe, making ham and potato soup and dinner rolls, as well as cleaning the bathroom and mopping the tile floors. If I can find the strength, we will make the granola bars together. The floor will almost certainly be put off and I have no idea about the bathroom. Kiddlet is already bored and Strong-Willed One isn't far behind. Maybe we'll be able to reach the friends who couldn't come over on Monday.

The other day I pulled out our camera. I usually just use my cell phone, but I'm not so happy with the quality of the pictures when I post them. Little Guy hadn't really seen our camera before, but as soon as it flashed he new exactly what it was. He comes crawling over, lays his head on the coffee table looking right into the lens and says, "cheese!" It took awhile to get a decent picture because he kept moving as soon as he said cheese.

A Success

I'm going to call yesterday a success.

After having the girls home on Monday and then being gone pretty much all day Tuesday and Wednesday, there was so much that needed to be done here at home. After the girls were off to school and Little Guy was down for a nap I got the downstairs vacuumed, including the furniture.

Yesterday I also had a scheduled visit from my public health nurse. This is something that was put into place after shortly Little Guy was born. Public Health has a support program for new moms who suffer from depression, have a history of depression or simply need a support system. I'm glad that she came. Little Guy has been having some pretty serious constipation and hasn't been eating well; the nurse and I talked through different things to try and some ideas to make food more appealing to him. Something I never considered is that he may not be eating because his belly is already so uncomfortable. The nurse encouraged me to keep trying not only new things but to continue offering things Little Guy has rejected in the past. I tried him with prunes again in the afternoon and he loved them! He actually got upset when I wouldn't give him a 3rd. Here's hoping it helps.

Back to why the day was a success. After Little Guy went down for his afternoon nap, I sat down and FACED our finances. (FACED is a Flylady acronym for Financial Awareness Continually Empowers.) This is always a tough time of year for us because the construction industry slows this time of year. I also had a few phone calls to make to insurance companies. We had canceled all our credit cards in December and now we were getting letters from insurance companies saying our policies had lapsed due to non-payment. We weren't even aware we had these policies! Anyway, there is freedom in facing what you do and do not have, can and can't do. And in finally dealing with all the insurance we were stupidly paying for that we don't need.

I cooked a ham for dinner that I got for $.99/lb. We had leftover potatoes and noodles and fresh broccoli cooked just right. After the kids were in bed I got the rest of the ham carved and stored. I ended the day feeling good about what was accomplished and the time I spent with the kids.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

It Started Out so Well

Yesterday started out so well. We had a smooth morning and I was able to leave for Bible Study in plenty of time. Bible study was wonderful. It's such an incredible group of women and I always feel so encouraged. I then went to my sister-in-law's for lunch and we had a great afternoon. It's been so long since we've been able to get together. In fact, we had such a good time that it was 3pm when I left. I never intend to stay away from home that long but it always seems to happen. I still had to stop at the store, so I didn't get home until 15 minutes before the girls got off the bus.

This in and of itself makes for a crazy afternoon, but I also had to pick up Husband when he got off work. Dinner can be difficult on these nights because he can be done anywhere between 5:30 and 6:30. I generally have a casserole ready that can be in the oven when we leave and is ready as soon as we get home. However, I didn't have one ready yesterday because he didn't find out until late Tuesday that he would be coming home Wednesday. And of course, I was gone all day. Then I find out about 5pm that he won't be in until after 6. I had started working on a baked pasta dish once the girls were home, so at 5:30 I pulled it out of the oven, dished out enough for the kids and put it back to finish baking. While the kids ate I was able to clean up the kitchen. So far, so good. A little after 6 we're on our way out the door and get to the plant just as Husband arrives; home by 6:30. By now I'm famished, but Little Guy (who's had a rough day) is making it clear that he is ready for bed. It was 7pm before I finally got to eat. 8:30 I take the girls up to bed and they have this falling out that results in Kiddlet crying and Strong-Willed One promising to come downstairs if the other doesn't stop crying. Get that all dealt with and Little Guy wakes up screaming. Ugh.

The good news is that we made it through the day. The bad news? Husband had to leave again this morning and won't be back until tomorrow.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Another Night of Little Sleep

Am I ever tired today! Little Guy did not let me sleep much last night. I put him down to bed at 9pm, he woke at 11pm and pretty much every two hours after that. I suspect he may be teething. I say suspect because his one cheek has been red and warm for three days now. This has never before happened with any of my kids when they were teething, but Little Guy is of an age when molars begin to appear. I may be completely wrong about the teething thing, but it makes me feel better to have something to blame all the waking on.

So, the spa night at MOPs last night was great! We were fed a finger food/appetizer dinner and for dessert we were offer chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream icing, fruit tartletts and fresh fruit with fruit dip. I opted for the cupcake because I am one whom almost never says no to chocolate. It had to be the moistest, most chocolatey cupcake ever; no way was this from a mix.

We got to pick two spa treatments from a list of makeup, mini mani, reflexology, head massage and foot massage. I went for the foot massage and the mini mani. I find having my feet rubbed by someone else to be very relaxing. As for the mani, I spent Friday and Saturday getting my nails ready to paint, but haven't yet had time to paint them and let them dry. The color I picked looked like a deep dark red with glitter in it. Turns out the polish is black with red sparkles. It's not bad, just not quite what I was expecting.

I've gotten very little done today as far as house work goes. I met a friend for lunch today and had some wonderful Chicken and Mushroom Fettuccine, with some leftover for lunch tomorrow. The problem with meeting people for lunch is that we live pretty much an hour away from anywhere, so I spend 2 hours just driving. I had to lay down for 20 minutes before I left this morning because I was so tired I didn't want to drive. (Don't worry, after the rest I was fine.) When I got home at 2:30, I got Little Guy changed and in bed and then crawled back onto the couch for another rest. This was important so that I would have emotional resources to deal with the kids after 7pm.

I will be providing a healthy dinner of diced, seasoned chicken breast, broccoli and buttered noodles. (Yes, I know buttered noodles aren't nutritious, but they taste so good!) I will also be washing a load of whites tonight so that I have clean socks to wear tomorrow. And I'm determined to spend at least 10 minutes working on my craft area.

Monday, 23 January 2012

A Rainy PA Day

Here we are on January 23 and it's supposed to get up to 8*C today. (That's about 48*F for all you stateside.) Of course, it's also raining and the wind is crazy strong.

Today is a PA for the girls. We had a relaxing morning, at least until Husband called. Management never told him that he was heading out of town today. The next half hour frantically looking for things and packing. After all of that craziness, Little Guy went down for a nap and the girls got to use their new tea set. They've been begging for a chance to use it, so I popped open a can of cinnamon rolls. Might as well do it right!

I have no ambitious plans for today. The girls are hoping to have some friends over after lunch. We also have MOPs (Mom's of Preschoolers) and GAC (God's Adventure Club) tonight. This means an early dinner for the kids. We have to be there for 6pm. MOPs is a wonderful ministry. They provide dinner and dessert for the moms and then have some kind of a guest speaker come in. Tonight is Spa night! While all of this happens, childcare is provided from birth to kindergarden. For kids in grades 1-3 there is God's Adventure Club. The girls love GAC and Little Guy has never had a problem in the nursery. I always look forward to MOPs, but even more so tonight. I wasn't braced for Husband to be leaving, so I'm feeling kind of down. A spa night complete with dinner and dessert sounds like a wonderful thing!

The Weekend

Saturday was a wonderfully relaxing day. We spent the morning just sitting around doing our thing; that doesn't happened very often. Little Guy and I went grocery shopping after lunch and when we got home the girls left to spend the afternoon with a friend. They ended up staying for their friend's birthday dinner and then went to a local church's game night. They got home just before 10pm. They had a really great day and Husband and I had a quiet afternoon and evening.

Ever since we started going to a local church, we all look forward to Sunday's. After church we headed off to Husband's parents' house where to whole family was meeting for soup and buns. This is one of the few times we get to see the whole family since we switched churches. I love that the family gets together like this. When I was growing up, Sunday was drop-in day at my grandparents' house and our visits we frequently overlap with other's. I have great memories of playing with my cousins and all the adults sitting around talking. I'm so thankful that we are near enough to family that our kids have a chance to develop relationships with their cousins.

Anyway, Little Guy spent a lot of time playing with a string of beads. He was fascinated by how the beads moved and sounded. Kiddlet and a cousin spent a good 30 minutes watching a slideshow on a digital frame and Strong-Willed One enjoyed cracking and eating nuts.

As we were packing up to go, we noticed Little Guy and a cousin playing with a little bear. She kept holding it out for him to kiss. They both thought it was a great game.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Yet Another Early Morning

For the third day in a row, the little guy was up before 5am. While this allowed my to bathe, dress and eat before 8am, it also made for a very tired Momma. I ended up crawling back into bed after he went down for a nap. All of that said, this day hasn't been very productive at this point.

I didn't get as much accomplished yesterday as I'd hoped I would. I stole a few minutes here and there to continue on the crafting area but that was largely left undone. I did have the church potatoes put together and ready for the oven before the girls got home from school and all those dishes washed. I spent a lot of time on the floor playing with the little guy. Being without a vehicle for the 2nd week in a row means that we are both getting bored with the options for play here at home. For obvious reasons, I handle this better than he does. The little guy requires more one on one time which means I get less done.

As I'm sitting here typing, little guy has just crawled into the room and there's this clinking sound. Turns out he has put about 8 plastic dominoes down his onsie and they are all bumping together. Periodically, he reaches in and pulls one out. What a funny guy!

Today's goals are to check the grocery flyers, match coupons, make next weeks menu and the grocery list. And I might clean the bathroom. Tonight's dinner is easy. We're having spaghetti and dinner rolls. The sauce and dinner rolls I made 2 weeks ago and froze, so all I actually need to cook tonight are the noodles.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Early Start

We had an early start to the day today. It started with the my oldest waking me up after a bed dream sometime around 4am. She was back less than an hour later asking if she and her sister (who share a room) can turn on their light and play because they couldn't get back to sleep. Next thing I'm aware of is the loud click of their door latching followed by the crying of the little guy. It was 5:03am. Nobody did ever go back to sleep.

So, unusually, by 8am I had had my bath, my breakfast, gotten the dirty laundry to the basement and pulled tonight's dinner out of the freezer. Oh, and the little guy was already down for a nap. I will admit to laying down for 45 minutes after all that. I was starting to feel foggy, so I figured I'd better take advantage of the silence.

For dinner tonight we will be having Rib Eye Steak, Church Potatoes and carrots. I might even pull out some dinner rolls I have in the freezer. The little guy will be having left over chicken instead of steak and I may even give the oldest chicken as well since she doesn't like steak. No sense in wasting a good steak, right? And so you know, I rarely buy steak, but this came in our Santa's Choice food hamper.

One of the things I started working on yesterday is cleaning off my craft table and organizing my stamping/scrapbooking stuff. I used to be a Stampin' Up! demonstrator. I love making cards and scrapbooking, but when our little guy unexpectedly came along I had to set it aside for a season. I just couldn't find a way to invest the time into crafting and still keep my priorities where they needed to be. Now the little guy is a bit older, both girls are in school full time and I'm itching to start crafting again. I wish I had taken pictures yesterday before I started, but I didn't think of it. However, I did take some this morning.


In addition to clean off the surfaces I'm also reorganizing. As the little guy became mobile I had to box up a bunch of stuff because he could have pulled the whole shelf down onto himself. Besides, reorganizing gives me a chance to see everything I have to work with. It's been almost a year since I last did anything with any of it.

Well, my little guy should be waking soon, so I'm going to go get at least one thing done before he wakes up.

It's a Start

After trying more than once to fill in the about me section and having it not accepted, I've given up for now. Instead, I'll put that info here for now.

I'm a stay at home mom with three great kids ages 8, 6, and 16 months. We live in the country about 30 minutes away from family. My husband works out of town most of the time. I sometimes joke that I never thought I'd be a single mom while happily married. We my wonderful husband is working locally, he takes our one and only vehicle to work which leaves me house bound. I don't say that to complain (one vehicle is one of the choices we made that allow me to stay home) but to help explain how much time I spend home with little people.

My purpose in starting a blog are still unclear. I have vague ideas of it being a motivation, providing accountability and helping me feel less isolated.

With all of that out of the way, let's get on with it!