Friday, January 29, 2010

More Thoughts About Home School

I am (mostly) recovered from my night of work this week, and we are headed off this morning to try and make major progress on getting our rental house ready.

Since there is no time to blog, if you want something to read, you can head over to Deep South Moms and read about my homeschool fanasy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

To-Do List Updated

Well, it took me about 2 days instead of one (doesn't everything?), but I did actually get most of my to-do list done!

- Give Jack and Aidan haircuts and baths: check- I butchered both heads. I was just trying to trim the edges, but they are wiggly and not very cooperative. Oh well- at least the hair is off the ears. It's not like they go anywhere, right? :) And while they were in the bath, I was able to get all of the utilities for the old house changed over to our name. Score! A bonus 'done' item!

- Go to cannery: I bought wheat and rice for myself, and a few boxes for my sister. I did take a wrong turn getting there (dumb, since I've been there plenty of times), but thanks to Kydon's Garmin he got for Christmas, I was able to re-route with no problem. The great news is that I am about 75% to my goal of having a one year supply of basic food on hand!

- While at the cannery, stop by the adoption agency (they are right next door to each other) and try to meet the new adoption worker: Every time I go to the agency for a meeting, I sit in the conference room and stare at their wall of pictures- all these pictures of kids who have been adopted through the agency. Well, guess what? None of my kids are up there! So I found some baby pictures and dropped them off, and the new adoption worker was available, and I was able to sit and talk with her for a few minutes (might have been longer, but Jack and Aidan took all her throw pillows and were recreating WWF). She wants me to help and organize, but not be in charge, which is exactly what I want! So I left there feeling pretty great!

- Clean and paint the rental house: Monday I was able to do a ton of cleaning and prep work, and then yesterday I was able to start painting. Thanks to some help from my mom, I am almost finished with the main floor, and I will start on the upstairs and bedrooms today. It is clicking right along, and I feel pretty good about the progress made!

- Dishes, laundry, dinner: Well, I have been doing the minimum to keep up. I did a bunch of laundry yesterday, I've cooked dinner both nights, and dishes have mostly been done. I will confess that the car is an absolute trash heap. The boys keep wanting to bring huge bins of toys to the old house when we go, and even though they never play with them, the toys just sit in the car, it is easier to let them bring the toys than try to fight them on it. And there are all sorts of paint cans and cleaning supplies in the back. Not to mention the huge bag of pretzels that Abigail *accidentally* spilled all over the whole thing. (Is it really an accident when I tell her not to touch the bag, and she grabs it and tries to throw it to the boys? I know her purpose wasn't to spill, but she WAS being disobedient and defiant!) I need to clean it out... maybe today.

I am going to take it somewhat easy today, since I am heading off to work tonight. I plan to go over and work for a few hours, then come home and try to take a short rest with the help of a movie. Tomorrow I will sleep part of the day, and maybe I can do something in the afternoon. Friday will be the big day, with Kydon taking a day off work and his parents coming up to help out.

Tons of fun!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

To Do List

Monday is going to be a busy, busy day. Here is my to-do list:

- Jack and Aidan need haircuts, and then baths afterward
- go to the cannery and purchase some wheat, oats, and beans (I'm not doing any canning, just buying some prepacked stuff, but it is quite a drive out there and just getting the stuff I'm sure will take a while)
- while at the cannery, stop by the adoption agency and try to meet the new adoption worker
- head back to the rental house and work- clean and scrub the whole place, patch walls, and make an extensive list of things to get done.
- possibly start painting, if possible.
- dishes, laundry, lunch, dinner, preschool.
- Ugh.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dinner and Dessert

I tried two new recipes yesterday, and since they both turned out great, I thought I would share:

First up is Chicken With Carrots and Potatoes (I know, fancy title. But don't be scared- it is just chicken, carrots, and potatoes). This recipe comes from one of my very favorite recipe sources- Southern Living magazine. I forgot to take a picture of mine, but it looked just like the magazine, I swear.


1 medium onion
4 medium new potatoes (about 1 lb)
2 cups baby carrots
1/2 c chicken broth
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/4 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp pepper, divided
1 tsp paprika
6 skinned bone-in chicken thighs (I used 3 leg quarters, because thighs were $1.19 a pound, and quarters were 39 cents a pound! Duh!)

  1. Halve onion, then cut into thick slices. Cut potatoes into slices. Place onion into a lightly greased 6 qt. slow cooker, top with potatoes, and carrots.
  2. Combine broth, next 3 ingredients, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Pour over vegetables.
  3. Combine paprika and remaining salt and pepper. Rub over chicken. Arrange chicken on top of vegetables.
  4. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours or until chicken is done and vegetables are tender.

The best part was that I did all the prep in the morning, and cleaned up at the same time that I did breakfast dishes. In the afternoon, we stayed at the park until just before Kydon came home, and it was just a matter of putting it on a plate and dinner was served! I think I will be on a quest for more slow-cooker recipes.

For dessert I made a new twist on a rice crispy treat. Abigail's church teacher made these for her class, and after I had a bite, I begged her for the recipe. I tried it last night, and YUM! Very delicious!

Crispy Recipe

In a saucepan, add together:

2 c brown sugar

2 sticks butter

1 3/4 c. karo syrup

Boil 3 minutes, remove from heat.

Add: 1 can sweetened condensed milk

Boil an additional 3 minutes, then pour over 1 box of Rice Crispies (19 oz). Mix well.

I halved this recipe, and it still made plenty- esp. because none of the kids will eat any kind of rice crispy treat (I know, they are crazy).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A totally awesome day, filled with normal stuff

I had such an enjoyable day today! We didn't really do anything spectacular, but we were pretty busy. Jack and Aidan were so cute and fun all day- I just love spending my days with them (most of the time!) Today I just was so happy all day long, and kept reflecting on how much fun we were having, so I thought I would write down all the fun we had!

They wake up, eat breakfast, and then they just start playing. They grab some trains, or some monster trucks, or some stuffed animals and ropes, and just go to town. I think it is so funny to see them playing together so great.

About 9:00 I make them stop what they are doing for our preschool time. You can see they are making amazing progress. Their penmanship is getting better and better every day...

... or maybe not! But at least they try, which is all I ask! As long as they are making attempts at writing, and getting exposure to the letters, I really don't worry too much about the actual letters they are making or not making.

When we finished our writing, I showed them a recipe. We talked about cooking and recipes, and measurments. Then they helped me make some gingerbread, and we made them into gingerbread men, and put them in the oven. The boys ran outside to play, and I called them in when the timer rang. We opened the oven, and can you believe it- the little rascally gingerbread men had jumped out of the oven, ran away, and all that was left was a note!

We chased them all over the house, following their notes, and running as fast as we could (run, run as fast as you can and all). We finally caught up to them in the car- they were trying to make a break for it, but couldn't find the keys!

Then we got to eat the tasty little guys.
They were cracking up the whole time, laughing and talking non stop about how the gingerbread men almost got away!
After our snack, they went outside for more playing. The weather is so beautiful right now, and they spent every minute they could outside.

After I took their picture on the swingset, they were really excited to show me their soup they had made...
Doesn't it look yummy? I went back in to put some food in the crockpot. Not long afterward, they opened the door and peeked in. I knew right away that something was wrong- usually they just barge right in! They look at me, and start saying 'ew... ew... ew'. I asked them what was 'ew', and they say "mud fight". I take a closer look, and they are covered head to toe in mud splotches. And laughing their fool heads off every time they catch a glimpse of each other! I wish I had a picture of it, it was so funny.

After I gave them a bath, and after I cleaned most of the mud out of the tub, we packed a lunch and headed off to surprise Abigail and eat lunch with her. She wasn't expecting us, and I loved seeing her eyes light up when she realized we were there. We were able to entertain her whole class with the tale of the mudfight!

Then we headed off to the mall. They have been saving their allowance money to ride the train at the mall. It is just a dumb little go-cart that pulls some train cars, but they are obsessed with it, and have been wanting to ride it forever. They get $1 a week in allowance, and the train costs $4. I've been trying to convince them to save for a toy or something, but the train is what they want. They actually had $6 saved up, so we rode the train, then headed upstairs and took a trip on the carousel.

After a few rides up and down the elevator, we went home, and when Abigail returned home from school, I finished mopping the floor (the real miracle of the day) and we went to the park for the rest of the afternoon. I remember when the kids were tiny and we would go to the park, and I would see women there reading a book, and I would be so jealous that they got to just sit there and read, and not have to chase and help and push. Well, I am totally there now! I love it! I got to read for almost 2 hours this afternoon, and the kids were having a ball. Riding bikes and racing to put out the fires (playing fireman), and watching the trail that goes by the park and waiting to harrass anyone with a dog "CAN WE PET YOUR DOG??"

Daddy came home, and I just had to pull dinner out of the crock pot- the mess had been cleaned up earlier in the day (note to self: find some great crock pot recipes, because that was totally awesome). We told him all our stories, then gave the kids another bath (Abigail needed one, and I had missed a few spots on the boys from earlier), and then off to bed.

When I was laying next to Abigail, she was the sweetest little thing. She has been sleeping on an air mattress in our room for a few weeks now, and she tells me that when she is a teenager she won't sleep in our room, she will sleep in her own bed. Her BUNK bed. Then she asks me if we can *please, please, please mommy, please* get a girl baby and put it in her room. I told her my tummy doesn't make babies, and she asked if I could look for one on the computer (see- she knows where babies come from!). I laughed and said I could look, but sometimes they are hard to find. She then said that she guessed it could be a boy baby, as long as it slept in her room. Such sacrifice!

Today was a great day. I love my life!

Food Storage: Continuing and Improving

One of my absolute favorite things about having my food supply in my basement is the fact that at any given time, I have a whole bunch of food in the basement. That means I don't have to run to the grocery store at inconvenient times, and I always have something I can make for a meal.

Last week Abigail asked for one of her favorite meals- noodles with pesto sauce (literally just some cooked noodles with some pesto sauce on it). I ran to the basement to get another jar of pesto, and I had the thought "Oh, I hope there is a jar left- I can't remember if I used the last one or not".

That's when I knew I hadn't been as on top of things as I should be! I did end up having some in the basement, and I took my next opportunity to go to the store and restock some of my supplies. It was a good reminder to not take that food supply for granted, and that I need to constantly be updating it, or we will eat through it in a hurry!

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

My other thoughts are about using the food. I seem to get in a rut at times, and I know there are a lot of options for meals that are right there in my home. SO. I am putting together a binder, to include all the recipes of the meals that I can make using the food I have stored. I have my original list that I made, and I have since found several recipes that use the same food, and I would love to have it all organized together, so that when I need an idea for dinner, I can just pull out the binder and flip thorough until something sounds good.

I would love to have the binder of recipes finished this week. There you go- a concrete goal! Hopefully I can resist Facebook long enough to get it done! :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

We took the kids bowling. Final scores (with bumpers):
Aidan: 71
Jack: 77
Shanna: 88
Kydon: 111
Abigail: 123!!
We used bumpers, but she still beat both Kydon and I! She threw two strikes in a row! Good job, punkin!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Nostalgia

Our renter moves out this week. That means that next week we will be going back into our old townhouse, painting, cleaning, replacing carpet, and sprucing the place up.

There is a part of me, a pretty large part - as it turns out- that would love to just move back into that old place. I find myself wishing we could sell our current house and move back in. Daydreaming of our little townhouse, and how great it would be.

Pros of moving back:
  1. Financial. Living there is a whole lot cheaper than living here. Our mortgage would drop, our utilities would drop, and we wouldn't need all the 'stuff' that this house needs.
  2. Maintenance. We would have 1/4 of the yard that we have now, so it would be much less work and money to keep up. Much less cleaning, much less painting, much less of everything.
  3. When there isn't a lot of room, you just can't have as much stuff, and therefore it wouldn't be quite as overwhelming to keep up with all of it.
  4. Shorter commute- for both Kydon and I. It is much closer to where both of us work. Kydon could be home a full 30 minutes sooner than he is now.

Cons of moving back:

  1. I might miss the extra room. There is no doubt that this house is at least twice the size of the other, and the kids love running all around the whole place and playing with plenty of room.
  2. The backyard is great. I mean really, really great. Jack and Aidan play out there every day.
  3. The schools at the old house are pretty less-than ideal. I would not feel very good about sending my kids to school there. Also, it is in a less-than ideal area of town.

I find myself making explanations why the cons aren't that bad, and we should just do it anyway. Kydon, of course, thinks I am crazy. So do most people I talk about it too. It makes me wonder- why exactly do I keep day dreaming about this? In my head my life would be just easier and better in that house.

But why do I think that?

Is it because most of the time we lived there it was just us two, and life was pretty basic and simple? Is it because this new house needs a bit of work, and we are having to wait much longer than I would like to get it done? Would life really be that much better if we lived there? Or am I not so much nostalgic for the *house* as I am for the life we lived there?

Discuss.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Things

Things I am happy about right now:

  • Warm weather! It got up to the mid 50's yesterday, and we were back to our happy, Georgia- jacket optional- weather. I loved it. I took the boys to a park for an hour in the afternoon, and when Abigail came home from school, we went back for another 2 hours.
  • I like getting paychecks from my work!
  • Abigail is sleeping through the night on a consistent basis! For the past several years, she has been up at least once a night 4 or so nights a week. Over the holidays, with all the company coming and going, we put her on an air mattress in our room, and she stopped getting us up in the night. Somehow Kydon was in an accomodating mood, and he agreed to let her stay. So her room is not in use (for sleeping anyway), but I LOVE being able to sleep all night!

Things I am not happy about right now:

  • Our renter will be moving out next week, and we get to come up with several thousand dollars to fix up the money hole house and try to either rent it or sell it. Plus do all the work of cleaning, painting, laying new flooring, etc. etc. etc.
  • I'm feeling overwhelmed with *stuff*. Everywhere I look there are piles, and as soon as I get one put away, another one pops up, and then I turn around and the original one is back.
  • The basement got torn apart over the holidays, and I still haven't gone down to clean it up. Totally embarrassed to post that, but it is true.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Things like this make me frustrated

We had a lovely morning. Abigail got off to school, and we remembered everything- brush teeth, shoes with socks, hair fixed, sight words, and not only that, but we had everything in her backpack that she needed!

Jack and Aidan had a nice breakfast, they played really happily with some empty soda bottles, and we did preschool. Okay, the preschool didn't go that well, but we did get through it. Then it was play time. They went up to their room while I balanced the checkbook. When I checked on them, I found this:
Apparently he didn't know the shelf would fall if he hung on it. Even though mommy told him numerous times, it must have been an accident.
Now the holes in their wall from when they went at it with a screwdriver have some company.

(Don't know why the colors are totally off from these two pictures- they are of the same wall!)
I can't help but think of how much work it will be to patch it... and sand it... and paint it... and clean up all the mess.... Ugh.
And this was one of the rooms that had been recently painted and was "done". Maybe I should just leave it until they move out.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Birthday Morning

A certain cute little girl has had a wonderful birthday morning. We opened gifts, ate cupcakes, and now she is enjoying the loot.

I think it takes talent to put on new clothes, play with her new doll, put clothes on and off and on her princess doll, and set up house for Tinkerbell, all while watching a Snow White movie.
Yes, it is the wrong day. I got my days confused, and for over a week I told her that her birthday was on Friday. She was counting the minutes!
I realized my mistake late last night. It seemed cruel to make her wait longer just because I was confused! So, we had her birthday today.

And, by the way, how in the world did she get to be six years old? When did that happen? But I think we are in for the best year yet!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My favorite Christmas gift

My favorite Christmas gift didn't arrive until about 2 days ago. The fabulous photographer, Tessa, at L3 Photography, sent me a movie. It is all the shots from our photo shoot, arranged to music in a really cool, fast-paced and interesting format.

This girl has some major talent and skill! It feels almost like an action movie, instead of just a series of shots.... you know how you take 5 pictures and people are moving, or making weird faces, and then you finally get a good one? Well, you see each of the shots, they pop up and change quick, then it will focus in on the one that turned out good. It feels just like you are really there at the shoot! I also love it, because so many of the shots are fun and cute, but I wouldn't really order them. But I love seeing them in the movie and being able to remember all those silly faces and poses!

And, as a bonus, she put in some really cool music and quotes and some fun features! Did I mention I love it? :) I might or might not have watched it at least 20 times!

In honor of remembering how much I am in love with our pictures, I thought I would post the results of the caption contest. Okay- only 2 people left captions, but I'm still calling it a contest!

"What you mean, Aw-brn wost da game?"

"Mommy- I SAID I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT!!!"

"Mommy, I drink your drink!" or - (shortly after an announcement has been made *not* to give him anymore juice and knowing we arrived after the annoucement) "Lisa, will you get me some juice please?"

"If we all smile REALLY hard and REALLY good then we are done and get to go for ice cream".

Thanks, Carina and Lisa, for playing! I recently found a cool way to make a necklace, and I will send you each one! Well, Lisa, I will just give you yours, but Carina, send me your address!

I'm baking today!

Today, I needed to get some baking done. Between a certain little girl's birthday coming up and some church parties in need of sugar, I have a lot of baking to do:

  • 3 batches of brownies
  • 1 sheet of chocolate bar cookies
  • 1 batch of ranger cookies
  • 24 cupcakes
  • 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies
  • 1 birthday cake

So today has been spent in the kitchen, oven on, with one thing after the other getting checked off the list.

Jack and Aidan haven't minded a bit.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

We Learn a LOT in Homeschool

Homeschool so far has been a huge success. Today was a great example of how much they can learn when they have such great, one-on-two attention.

They have been struggling to be able to recognize the letter "Ee". So, today, we had an E day. First, we wrote Ee 3 times for our writing practice.
Then, we cut the letter E out of paper and glued it to a bag for an "E hunt" (we found an ear, egg, elastic, and electricity. We had no elephants in our house, and E is hard, so we had to get creative!)
The whole time we were looking for E items, we were singing "Going on an E hunt, going to find some E words".

When we finished, and came back to the table, I held up our "Ee" flashcard.
"What letter is this, guys?"

Jack burst right out, very excited to know the answer: "A!"

Uh... no- what letter have we been working on all day today?

They both thought for a minute, and then came up with the answer at the same time- "C!"

See? Homeschool success story.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Last Day

The last day of Christmas vacation.

It is C.O.L.D. Not normal for Georgia, and I am not loving it. No going outside, no Stone Mountain, no parks, no zoo... What do all of you DO when it is this cold outside?

No more company. I miss them. The friends, the family, the crazy chaotic kids running around. Yes, it drives me crazy at times, but I miss all the people we have been surrounded with the past week or two.

No more chocolate. It has all been eaten. I must remedy that quickly.

No more excuses to put off the dishes, laundry, and cleaning.

No more going out for meals... I must get back to real life and cook something.

But... since today, Monday, is a teacher work day, we DO have one more day.

One more day to stay in our jammies until noon.

One more day to watch TV all morning.

One more day to put off the cleaning and work.

One more day to say "I'll work on that tomorrow".

One more day to drive each other crazy and wonder what we are going to do today.

I think I like school starting on a Tuesday. It is making for a nice transition!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

I'm not really doing official New Year resolutions, but I am adopting a mantra. You can read all about it at Deep South Moms.