Saturday, January 31, 2009

Parenting Mistakes

Abigail came home from school this week and said:

"Mommy, you should have named me Keisha."

It cracked me up, of course!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Food Friday: I am nothing if not obsessive

I have had about 5 food storage posts rolling around in my head this week. I've forced myself not to post about it all until today, but if you noticed the lack of good posts this week, it is because I only want to talk about food storage (yes, I know I'm weird). It reminds me of when I was potty-training the boys, and posted 5-6 times per day on our progress. What can I say- I am a little obsessive.


Anyway, here we go with the mammoth many-subject food Friday post!


*****

3 month storage plan:


Making such great progress on my 3 month storage last week really got me motivated and excited to go ahead and finish it up! So I took this weeks grocery money (more on that in a minute) and bought more from my list. I foolishly thought I would be able to get most of it completed. I came home from my shopping trip, started checking things off my list, and realized I still have a loooooong way to go.


I figured it up, and I currently have somewhere around 25% of what I need. I was feeling kind of bad about that, since I felt like I had done so much more, with 2 big shopping trips under my belt.


But then it dawned on me that there is NO WAY we could feed our family for 3 months on just what I had spent. It makes sense that a 3 month supply of food would cost somewhere close to 3 months worth of food. Somewhat cheaper, of course, because it is a lot of beans, rice, and not a lot of meat, but still more than what I have spent so far.


So, I am feeling better. I have a long way to go, but at least there is progress. 25% means I am close to having one month fully supplied! That is a better way to think of it.


*****

Inventory, rotation, and replenishment


I decided this week how to keep track of my 3 month storage food. You may remember that I'm a little paranoid about making sure we are eating the food that we store. So I have been trying to figure out the easiest and simplest way to keep up with all the food I am buying. I came up with a plan that I hope will be easy and simple enough for me to manage. 4 x a year, (once per quarter), I am going to take my 3 month list and do an inventory. I will look at all my food, see what is missing, and check for items that will expire in the next 6 months. Any that are close to expiring, I will bring up, put in my pantry on a easily-viewable shelf, and try to use those items quickly.


Any missing items will be placed on the grocery list and replenished as I can.


As I buy each item, I am marking them with the expiration date so that I can do this process quickly without straining and examining each can to see the expiration date.



*****

Food Supply: Give and Take


As I mentioned above, I used our grocery money to stock up on some storage/supply items. This is nice because now I have a lot of the things that I need to make a lot of food storage recipes. But it also meant that we didn't have a lot of food in the fridge this week. So I supplemented with our freezer meals, and didn't make any to replenish them. So my freezer meal supply is a little down right now. Maybe around 20-23, instead of the 30 I want to have.


But it seems like it is just give and take. One category gets better, and another gets worse. But *overall*, I have made a lot of progress. Maybe next week I will try to stock up my freezer meals again.


Some good recipes that I have tried and liked this week that use mainly non-perishable food:


Chicken Pesto Pasta

English Muffins

Peanut Butter Balls

We tried Tomato Basil Bisque last night. I thought it was good. Kydon said "don't make that again". Dane wisely kept his opinion to himself. :) I also tried Soda Bread. It looked fabulous, until we cut into it and the middle was like a big ball of dough. Oops. Also, the flavor was a little weird. We probably won't make that one again either.


*****

Another Food Storage Option


We sometimes joke that Scout getting fatter helps us with our food storage goals!


Kydon said if I am really serious about food storage, I should get chickens. I told him I'm not that serious. But if there is ever an emergency, Scout better watch her back.


*****

I was going to finish by posting some links to some good can rotation shelf ideas, but I think I will save it for next week. Have a great week, everybody! Is there something you can do TODAY that will help you achieve something you are trying to do?



"Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing" (Doctrine and Covenants 109:8).

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wedding Bells

With all the talk of weddings around here, I pulled out my wedding dress one day. Abigail and Caroline had a blast trying it on.
And then Aidan wanted in on the action. Look how happy he is! Jack would have nothing to do with it!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Only a quilter would understand

I wanted a little quilt block to put on my end tables in my front room to protect the tables from drinks, cars, trucks, and lamps. I thought it would look cute to just make a nice block, put a couple of borders on, and quilt it. Simple, right?

My problem was that I let Kydon make the final block decision. I had two blocks, both pretty similar, and I was debating which one to do. I asked Kydon what he thought, and he chose the harder one. Of course. I would have looked at them with my lazy quilters eye and picked the other one, but since he liked this one, I went for it. I only had to make 2 little blocks. How hard could it be?

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Once I looked at the instructions, I realized it required a template piece. **Shudder** I hate templates. But it is only 2 blocks, right? So I continued on. I cut out the bugger template pieces. All 16. Then I realized I cut them out of the wrong color. Grrrr. So I did it again. All 16. Out of the right color this time. Then I tried to sew them on, and realized that 1/2 of them are backwards, since I left my fabric folded over, which you can easily do with normal cutting, but you can't do with template cutting. So I went back and cut 8 more of these buggers. I finally get them all sewn on (all 16), and realize I had matched the wrong corner. On all of them. Did I mention there were 16?? So I unpicked them (all 16), and re-sewed them (all 16).

But... I pushed through all the frustration. I kept going even when I read to the part of the instructions that mentioned partial seams (**shudder**). And I have to say, it is one of the better blocks I have ever done!

The points are beautiful!



The ring is just how I pictured it, and I almost can't believe how exact and flat it turned out! I am so proud! I just have to add the borders and quilt, which should be quick. (Did I just jinx myself by saying that? I hope not!)

So, if you come to visit, please take a moment to admire the difficulty of my fancy coasters.

"Wow, is that a template piece for the red?" (said with awe) or "Did you have to use partial seams for that?" would be appropriate comments. Then set your drink or whatever on them, because that really is what they are there for. :)

I Blinked

I tried not to. I had been told not to. But I must have done it. I must have blinked. Because all of a sudden, Aidan is bigger.
His pants are too small. My arms don't fit around him in quite the same way they did last week. He is noticably heavier. And taller. And just *bigger* somehow.

He is showing imagination that he didn't have last time I noticed. He wants to know things- 'How dis work' 'what dat sign say' 'why, why, why'. He wasn't asking those things a minute ago.

When Abigail was born, my friend told me "don't blink. As soon as you blink, they will grow. So keep your eyes wide open, and try not to blink". I have tried my best. I watch them and hold them and I try to keep in my mind the best I can that these moments are fleeting. But I must have blinked, because he grew.

I asked him who said he could grow bigger, and he replied 'Jesus'. What a cutie!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I am even more awesome than previously thought

I made english muffins today! I used this tutorial... and they turned out awesome! The only problem was that I made about 20.... and there are only 3 left.

They actually looked like *real* english muffins!

Nooks and crannies too!

And they tasted divine! Even better than the *real* ones! And of course, they use all non-perishable ingredients. I am really enjoying this little journey of food storage and recipe finding.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Food Friday: 3 Month Storage

After last week's frustration, I made some really great progress on my 3 month storage this week.


I went to Aldi's, and was able to stock up on a whole bunch of food for about $100. I feel really happy about the progess I made. I think I got somewhere between 1/3-1/2 of what I want to have on hand for my 3 month storage. I have a nice list in my purse, so I can watch for sales to stock up on the other few items.

I also put together a tutorial on how to make a FIFO can rotation shelf

And I found a really yummy recipe for Chicken Pesto Pasta. Kydon was late getting home for dinner, and there wasn't any left for him! It was delicious!

What have you all been working on? Any progress made? I would love to hear from others who are working on this to get me another shot of motivation!

A second laugh from the past

Based on comments I've gotten, people really enjoyed my first 'laugh from the past'. You can read it here. So, I decided to do another one. This was my first outing with all 3 kids by myself that didn't involve the pediatrician.

We had been home from North Carolina for a few weeks. We were trying to just keep everyone fed and clean. We did pretty well with the feeding, but clean was still just a hope. It was basically just round-the-clock craziness, with 2 preemies and a 1 year old. I pretty much just lived each day for the hour that Kydon came home and I had some help. So eventually a day came when he was going to be home late. I had taken the kids to the doctor appointments by myself a few times, and I think that gave me false confidence. Sure! I can go places! As long as I have low expectations, it should be fine..... right?

And Abigail had grown out of her shoes. Not that we went anywhere, but I just kept focusing on the fact that she needed shoes. And to shop for kids shoes, you have to have them with you. I couldn't just go after she was in bed, I needed her to try them on.

Combine the need for shoes + Kydon wasn't coming home and I needed something to break up my day + a false sense of confidence, I decided to take them all to the shoe store. As soon as I got the idea, I immediately started getting ready to get in the car. I thought of the idea at 12 noon. I got myself ready, both boys ready, and Abigail ready, with of course stops to feed, get snacks, change diapers, put shoes on, fix make-up, pack the diaper bag, stop to feed, etc. We finally piled in the car at 3:45.

No problem, right? I didn't have to be there at any certain time, or be back at any certain time, so we started off to the store that was about 7 miles away. Then we hit some of the famous Atlanta traffic. I had forgotten that despite my own personal lack of schedule, most people do what they can to avoid being on the street from 4p-7p. But, too bad! It took me almost 4! Hours! To get to this point, and I was not turning back. It took us an hour to get to the store. I had to pull into 2 different parking lots to get bottles ready and try to somehow feed the babies while driving sitting in traffic. By the time I got to the store, I was frazzled. And Abigail was a wreck. And Jack and Aidan were not all that happy either. And it was 5:00, and I wanted to eat.

But we were there! I was AT the STORE! Yay! Let's go in! I get Abigail out and set her in the stroller. She is happy to be out of the car, but not that excited about being strapped into the stroller. I grab Aidan, and he is fine, and I stick him in the back seat (I had a double stroller- Abigail would sit in the front, and Jack and Aidan would sit together in the back seat). Then I go to grab Jack. He has apparently had a blowout sometime during the car ride, and I have to clean him up. This was still not enough to make me turn around. Partly because once I get an idea in my head, I can't give it up, and partly because I was just simply not ready to sit in more traffic again. So I change him, clean him head to toe with wipes, get him dressed in clean clothes, and put him in the stroller.

We make it into the store, when Abigail decides to blow out *her* diaper. Fine. Whatever. I take them all back out to the car, clean her up, change her clothes, get everyone happy again. Back in the stroller, and back to the store. Jack and Aidan are fussing. Some might have called it crying, but I was NOT! LEAVING! They were just fussy, and at that point, there was virtually always a baby crying, so it just seemed pretty normal to me. I made it to the kids shoes, and was actually trying to get Abigail to try some on. Even at that age, she had definite ideas about what she did and did not want to wear. I was getting a lot of dirty looks from people walking by, probably wondering why I wasn't helping that poor little crying baby. I was just trying to get some dang shoes and get the heck out of there!

Then, when I was putting a pacifier back in for the 27th time, I glance down and see/smell something that shouldn't be in my stroller. Yep, Aidan, feeling left behind, decided to have a blow out of his own. All over himself, and the stroller, and Jack.

I hung the white flag of surrender and left. My babies were naked (with a blanket and diaper, but I was all out of clean clothes), I only had 1 bottle left, Abigail was not content to munch the snacks I bought her, and the car/stroller/carseats/babies all smelled like you-know-what. It was a loooong time before I ventured out a second time! And I didn't even get any shoes.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Our Nightly Game Fest

We have loved playing Ticket To Ride for quite some time now. We liked the America game board, but we really loved Europe... too bad we only owned America! But a little borrowing from Mom and Dad... and we were in business! Put the kids to bed at 6:30 6:00, do the dishes make some hot cocoa, and pull out the games. But then Mom and Dad asked for theirs back.... sad...

But for Christmas, Dane got us the Expansion Pack for America! He knows what we like!! This game went from really fun to Totally Awesome! Now we play every night. And I have to admit I'm on a little winning streak. Tonight I had to be somewhere at 8, and Kydon said 'we better get out the game right away so we have time to play before you go!' So we did. Of course *he* won- no wonder he was anxious to play!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A boy by any other name...

Last week we had playgroup at our house, and one of the moms told me that her daughter was excited to go to the house with "two Jacks". That made me laugh, and it reminded me that Aidan has had trouble with his identity since the day he was born!

Our cousins used to say "Jack and Other Jack".

A friend called them "Jack and Him"

And another cousin just could *not* tell the difference- he was 5, but just couldn't get it. He would say "Aunt Shanna, Jack or Aidan did this" or "One of those boys is doing something". We tried over and over to explain the difference, but he would just look at us with a glassy-eyed expression- it was hilarious!


Because, you know, they just look so much alike!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Good for a laugh

I found this post while browsing around today... it is hilarious, and it's nice to know I'm not the only one!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Food Friday: Frustration and Freezer Meals

I had a request to explain a little more about how I work my freezer meals. I love the questions, because then I feel like people really are interested in what I am writing about, and I'm not such a loser! So thanks, Sarah!



Like I said before, now that my freezer meal supply is built up to my goal of 30 meals, once a week I make a meal that will freeze well, and make enough for 3 meals. We eat one the night I cook, and I freeze the other two. Then, two other days during the week, I pull one of the meals from the freezer and we eat that for dinner.


In the past I have made more freezer meals, or done different things, but this works really well for us now. It is easy to do and makes sense for us. If you want to see my current inventory to get some ideas of meals that freeze well, there is a sidebar on my menu planning blog that you can look at.


Sarah specifically asked about how I store my freezer meals. I pretty much only use the ziplock bag method. I buy the nice freezer ziplock bags, and then bag whatever my meal is. The picture below shows several different ways to bag up whatever you have cooked:


Starting at the top, I have pizza rolls. Those are already baked, and I just throw them in the bag, suck the air out with a straw, and I'm done. Next are cottage pies. These are also already all cooked, but I usually heat them in the oven. So I take the pan that I will be using to cook them, and line it with foil. I put the pie in the foil, then lift the foil pack out, put several in a bag, suck out the air, and done.


The middle row is spaghetti sauce- just wait until it is cool, spoon into the bag, compress the air out and freeze. Next to the sauce is a meatloaf. It is not precooked, so I line the pan I will use for cooking with foil, put in the meatloaf, then lift out and place in a bag. Also, this meatloaf has a sauce to go on top halfway through, so that is in a separate bag, next to the meatloaf.


On the bottom row is individually wrapped chicken enchiladas. When I make recipes like burritos or enchiladas, I make most of them into family meals in a 9x13 pan. But I save a few out and wrap them individually in plastic wrap. These make great lunches, or dinner for one. I put all the individual ones into the same bag, and take them out as needed. Next to that is broccoli cheese soup, following the same method as the spaghetti sauce.




Here they are lined up in the freezer. This is 6 meals, in a very small drawer. If you make sure your bags are laying flat during the freeze, once they are frozen you can stand them up or easily stack them. In our old house I just had a small freezer above my fridge, and with some planning, I could have 2 months worth of meals in that freezer.

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Now for the frustration.

"Build a small supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet."

Sounds easy, right?? A 3 month supply of foods that your family normally eats.

Yeah. I keep my brain running in circles on this one. I mean, it has to be mostly non-perishable things, because we eat a lot of carrots, but those won't keep for 3 months. So then I came up with an entire menu of food that we could eat, with recipes and all, and calculated all I would need to buy, and kept the list in my purse to use at the grocery store.

But there have been a few problems. Mainly, that some of the non-perishable food that we eat a lot of (like canned tomatoes) were under represented on the list, and some food that we never eat or buy (like crackers) were overly represented. So I needed to tweak it a little more, to make sure that a lot of the food we are buying/storing is food we normally eat, and we don't store food that we never eat.

Another part of this is changing a little of what you eat to be more representative of what you are storing. So we have been trying to add in more bean recipes, and experimenting with different foods and dinners to see things we like and how we can incorporate these foods into our normal life. I'm sure eventually it will be easy to do this, but for now it is really giving me a headache!

And then, this week, 3 different days I discovered I was out of key ingredients for something I wanted to make, and had to either run to the store (with all 3 kids), or make something else. And all 3 things were things that should be or are on my 3 month supply list. Grr!! If only I had my 3 month supply already built up, I could have just gone to the cupboard or basement to get what I needed.

I recognize the need, and I have the desire, so now I just need to get it done! (And find the cash). So, tomorrow Kydon is off work, and we are taking some of the money I had been saving for my long term storage and we are heading to Aldi's (a discount grocery store). I still want to get the long term storage items, but I think my priority for now should be the 3 month supply, then work on the long term stuff as I go. So far, the 3 month supply of food goal has been pretty frustrating for me to accomplish, but hopefully we will see some progress. You can see my list of what I am storing here. I will report next week!

***********************************************

Also, this week we tried a recipe for Pasta and Garbanzo Bean Soup, and it was delicious! Everyone loved it and asked for more! We will be adding some garbanzo beans to our supply, since we loved it so much. The link will give you a step-by-step tutorial with recipe and pictures.

Assume the Position!


Tummy Down!
Face To The Side!

Arms Tucked!


Good Job, Soldier!

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Party

Abigail's birthday party was a blast! Kydon had fun for several days prior making a pinata.
There were about 10 kids. Abigail, Aidan, Jack, 2 cousins, and Abigail's primary class.

When they arrived, we made some wooden spoon puppets. After the puppets were done, we split them into a girls group and a boys group, and did a short puppet show. They were so cute waving their puppets around and saying funny things.

Then we had cupcakes and cookies, per Abigail's request.
And then some major present opening. The kids went crazy at this part!! Swarming Abigail, ripping into things, I almost got smothered in tissue paper!

Abigail changed her clothes about 5 times getting ready- she was so excited! I think the one she ended up with was the best one- she looked so cute!

Then we took them out on the deck for pinata fun. This was the favorite part of all who came! What kid wouldn't love hitting something with a stick until it breaks and candy falls out?



That was the end of our planned activities- make puppets, puppet show, eat cupcakes, open presents, pinata. I figured that would be plenty of things to fill up an hour and a half. Too bad it only took about 45 minutes!! So then we had to get creative...
Duck, Duck, Goose.... animal guessing game... bean bag toss... uh... more animal guessing game... when are the parents coming??? :)


But Abigail had a great time, so I guess that is all that matters!

Friday, January 9, 2009

My Girl

Dear Abigail,

You are 5. Five. Five. I keep repeating it to myself, hardly able to believe it is real. Five seems like such a grown up kid age. Last night, as we do every year, your Daddy and I talked about flying to Arizona to bring you home. All the emotions. All the gratitude. All the memories of you.

You are no longer a baby.
But you do still like to be wrapped up in soft blankets.

You are no longer a toddler.
But you do still like to run and jump and play.

You are a Pre-schooler, and you love it. You love learning letters, and right from left, and spanish words. You love your new friends, and they love you. Your proficency with social skills is working well for you in your new enviornment.
This week, the week of your fifth birthday, has been a little rough. You have always been a fighter. Don't lose the fighting instinct- you will need it in your life. But this week you have been a little out of control. A little off the chart. I wasn't sure what to do with you. There were tantrums that I have never before seen- and I've seen a lot. There were days I didn't know if I should grab you and cuddle you and hold you tight or if I should just lock you in your room until your Daddy came home. I did a little of both.

And then, one day, Jack got hurt. He jumped off of something and bit his tongue on the landing. And I saw more of your true self come out. A compassion like no other. Hang on to that- you will need it. You found his special doggy. And his special bear. And both of his special blankets. Then you drew him a picture. And got him a drink. And a snack. You searched all over the house to bring him the toys he loves the best. You piled them, one by one, at his side and feet. Then you said to me 'what else can I get him'. You didn't want to rest until he was happy and playing again. And it took a long time, and you stayed with him for the duration.

And watching all this, it reminded me that the craziness we had experienced this week was not normal for you, and it couldn't be explained by Christmas vacation, or sleeping in a different room, or whatever. There was something off. So I took you to the doctor. And even though there was no fever, no pain, and really nothing to tell the doctor except that you were off, she found a raging double ear infection. You, my child, my love, have a very high tolerance for pain. Don't loose that either- it will serve you well.

And today, even though you protest and sometimes cry about how often we have pancakes, because they really aren't your favorite breakfast, today, when I said "you get to choose breakfast", you said you wanted pancakes "because Jack and Aidan love them". Always giving to others, making other people happy, that is what makes you shine. Hang on to that- by making others happy, you will be happy yourself. That and the lip gloss you were so happy to open this morning. They both make you shine.
I am so proud to be your Mama. I am blessed to know when you are off and to know how to help you. It is a sacred gift to know another person well enough to know that they are hurting even when they don't know themselves, and I am blessed to be your Mother. I will never stop loving you. I will never take for granted that you made me a Mother, and teach me every day how to be a better one.

Thank you, my child, my Abigail. I love you. I hope that you will love being five.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Food Friday: Quickie

Today is Abigail's birthday!! So Food Friday will be short and sweet!


I am saving money to go to the cannery and increase my 1 year of basics.


I am buying extra at the grocery store and building my 3 month supply. I am also looking at a lot of different food storage blogs, and getting ideas. I am trying a lot of different recipes to see ones that we like that use food storage items. My favorite blog this week has been Safely Gathered In. It has a link for recipes, and I have them on the schedule for this week. I'll let you know how they turn out!



And I am making more of my FIFO rotation shelves. They are fun, and easy! This is my tomato shelf, all filled up (holds 12 cans), with a cute label.

After Christmas fun!

I have been loving the after-Christmas sales! I really wanted one of these:
A four-foot white tree. It is so cute! I thought it would be great as a 'kids tree'- to put handmade ornaments on, or just whatever random things they want to. Maybe some colorful tinsel, things like that! It was $49.99 before Christmas, and I got it for $14! I might have gotten one for less by waiting a little longer, but I also might have not gotten one at all!

And then I bought some plastic ornaments really, really cheap and made this gorgeous wreath:
Just get wire hanger, shape it into a circle, thread your ornaments on, and wah-lah! I will add some ribbon next year when I hang it- but isn't it beautiful?
Have you been having any fun with the clearance sales?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Before and After Party


Hey! Rhonda at Southern Hospitality is having a before and after party. I added the link to my 1/2 bath redo. There are a lot of good ideas there!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

You can choose

I really like to give choices to my kids. In theory, it empowers them and makes them feel in control of things. Give two choices that you are comfortable with and let them make the decision. I'm not sure why my children don't subscribe to the theory, because it is a great one. But the reality of choice-giving in this house is far from the theoretical ideal.

With Abigail, my master negotiator, it goes something like this:

Mom: You can have the red cup or the green cup. You choose.
Abigail: I want the YELLOW cup! I love the yellow cup. Pleasepleasepleaseplease can I have the yellow cup?? The yellow is my favorite! (Now starting to yell at me) GIVE ME THE YELLOW CUP! I ONLY LIIIIIKKKKEEEE YEEELLLLLOOOOWWWW!!!!!
Mom: ...

With Aidan it goes like this:

Mom: You can wear blue pants or tan pants to church. You choose.
Aidan: (Immediately starting to yell and cry) I NO LIKE BUMPY PANTS!!! I ONLY LIKE SOFT PANTS!!! (Soft pants are sweat pants, which are allowed every.single.day. except at church)

With Jack, I get this:

Mom: You can have milk right now or you can have milk at bedtime but not both. You choose.
Jack: (quietly sneaks away without saying a word, waits until I'm not looking, then gets milk whenever the heck he wants it).

And now they are turning the tables on me. Last night I had this conversation with Abigail:

Abigail: Mommy, I can watch tv or stay up late tonight. You choose.
Mom: I already said no tv, and you may not stay up late tonight. So I choose neither.
Abigail: MOM! CHOOSE ONE! WATCH TV OR STAY UP LATE! YOU CHOOOOOOSE!!!

And just now Aidan came in after playing in the very wet, post-rainstorm backyard. He wanted me to change his wet clothes so he could go play again. And we had this conversation:

Mom: I don't want to change you into new clothes while you are still playing outside. You can play outside in your already dirty clothes, or I can change you into clean clothes and you can stay inside. You choose.

Aidan: NO! I want new clothes and play outside. You change my clothes, I go outside, or I hit you. You choose.

Somehow this love and logic is starting to backfire on me.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A husband at home

Is sure nice to have! Since Kydon graduated, we have all enjoyed having him around a lot more! He plays with the kids, gets breakfast for everyone, does weekend cleaning, and has also been cooking! He made a bunch of Pizza Rolls on New Year's Day, and last night he wow-ed us with these babies:

Quite easily the best Pecan Pie I have ever tasted! Thank goodness all that graduate school is done!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A near perfect day

We started out yesterday doing some work at home. The kids were not as appreciative of their toys as we expected them to be, and on New Year's Eve, all of the toys got put in time out. I told them they could do a job and earn a toy back out anytime they wanted, but for three days, no one took me up on my offer! So finally, yesterday, we all worked together to clean up the basement and then got all of the toys out at once.

By the way- we had several days of some pretty bored kids. And it is pretty amazing how creative they get when they have no toys! One morning they played for an hour with dishtowels (first they dressed up in them with capes, hats, and aprons, then they whipped them around like swords. After I banned that game, they had a game where they threw them in the air and tried to catch them, and last they laid them out in different patterns and paths throughout the house).

So, after we got the basement put back together and ate lunch, we headed downtown to see the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. We have lived here all these years, and this is something we haven't seen yet. It was awesome! We didn't want to wait 3 hours to get into the tour of his home (plus it probably wasn't a good idea to take our 3 in there anyway), so we missed that, and the Ebenezer Church was under renovations. But we did see the memorial museum, and walked around the grounds a bit. It was beautifully done and very inspiring to learn more about this amazing man. I wish I could have read more, but we had to move through pretty quickly.

While Jack and Aidan were exploring some stairs, a nice lady took our picture.

Aidan in front of the Ebenezer Baptist Church- this is the one that ML King preached at. If we had turned the camera the other way, right behind us is the newer Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Obama gave his speech this past year. I remember watching this speech and being so inspired by the things he said.

Enjoying a snack outside the museum.

Jack loved the Behold Statue. It was breathtaking. Here is what the sculptor said about it:
"The two aspects of Dr. King's life and works that impressed me most were, first, his ability to defend a morally courageous--though often, unpopular--cause in the face of, seemingly, overwhelming opposition and, second, his ability to maintain his dignity and a genuine spirit of brotherhood in the face of the cruelest and most ignorant threats, insults, and indignities believing that, ultimately, the righteousness of his convictions and beliefs would prevail." You can read more about it here.
Although not an official part of the tour, Jack and Aidan loved "being in jail". Hopefully not a sign of things to come!

Then we went to IKEA for a date. We discovered that they have a little kids-drop-off area, where you can check your kids in to play for an hour while you shop! We had nothing to buy, but we greatly enjoyed walking around for an hour and enjoying a cinnamon roll for our 'date'!

Then we loaded the kids in the car for our last bit of planned fun- dinner at McDonalds! The kids LOVE it when we go there! You know, food and climbing and other kids, and no shoes- who wouldn't love that? We finished our day a little earlier than expected. When we arrived home, the kids figured it was bedtime, and begged and begged to stay up late. Since it was 5:00 pm, Kydon and I pretended to think about it, then agreed to let them 'stay up'. At 6:00, they had stayed up late enough, and we put them to bed.

When we came back down, we both remarked that it had been an almost-perfect day! When was the last perfect day you had? What does the perfect day mean in your family?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Food Friday: Can Rotation Shelf

As my food storage has slowly been building, my thoughts have turned to shelving. And where to put all this stuff. I had an idea of a shelf that I could make, but it seemed not ideal for what I wanted. I would have to put it in the basement, and really I would rather have most of the canned stuff up here in the kitchen where I will use it.

So then I wanted this:

A FIFO (first in, first out) can rotation shelf. It looks great- exactly what I was looking for. But it did cost $30, and only stored 3 different kind of cans. $10 per type of can seemed kind of steep when I don't even have all the food I want yet. I was still really leaning toward it, but then when we measured the dimensions, it wouldn't fit in our pantry anyway, so that was out.

Kydon tried to convince me of this one:

This one is pretty good. It would fit on our pantry shelves. And it was only $10. But it wasn't FIFO or self-rotating, which I really wanted. I kept looking, and looking, and finally I found a blog with some make-it-yourself instructions.

The blog is called Mormon Food Storage. And it has some very cool instructions for making your own FIFO can rotation shelf out of cardboard. Just click on the picture of the instructions, and it will enlarge big enough to read the measurments.
All the supplies- thick cardboard, razor blade and ruler.
Here are my cut out pieces- 2 sides, 3 shelves, a back and 2 front pieces. It took a lot less cardboard than I thought. The box above made 3 of the can shelves with a bunch left over.

The instructions say to use carpenters or elmers glue. I tried that, but it didn't go so well. It kept falling apart, and I was NOT very patient to wait for the glue to dry. So I did what any good crafter would do- I pulled out this guy:

NOW we can get something done! It worked great- in about 5 minutes I had the whole thing put together and it was plenty strong enough.

A view looking into the front.

Add some paint, and fill it with cans! It works perfect. The kids were going crazy putting the cans in over and over. The only snag I ran into was the first time I followed the instructions for the vegetable can, it was a little too small (I don't know if the fault is mine or the instructions- probably mine), so I will use that for soup cans, and I made the next two slightly bigger and the vegetable and fruit cans fit great.
And I made it for almost free- I found the cardboard, and already had a huge bag of glue sticks and just used leftover paint from the garage. Nice!
Where do you store your food storage? Any creative ideas for me? I would love to see pictures!