Friday, November 06, 2015

What's for Dinner?

It was a busy week at our house. Between the in-laws & Halloween, I'm lucky the kids ate anything with any nutritional value whatsoever.

Next week I might try photographing some food. Or not.

On Halloween we usually combine with several other families, and this year it was here. I made hot dogs and beans, and everyone else brought stuff. Like a potluck for kids. Except that the beans never. Finished. Cooking. I'm not kidding. I used a recipe that specified "no soaking" but I DID soak them because I was using a different bean than specified. They needed to cook in the crockpot for eight hours. At 7.5 hours I moved them onto the stove and cranked up the heat. They still weren't ready after TEN hours. There were enough sides that no one suffered, but sheesh! Finally, before Clint & I turned in, I put them back in the crockpot on low, added a little more water, and left them for the night. They were ready in the morning. (The last time I used the same recipe, which has a caution & I had no problems--but don't try it with pintos maybe?) For dessert there was, what else? Candy.

Sunday for dinner, we had BEANS! And Beer bread (thanks, Simcha!) made from this recipe, doubled. And there was more candy.

Monday I took some initiative (and a massive can of tomatoes from Costco) and doubled this recipe for marinara sauce. I really like the Budget Bytes blog, in case you can't tell. For dinner we added frozen meatballs, pasta, & bread and called it a day. Maybe some candy was eaten. I was looking forward to leftovers for lunch on Tuesday, but I wasn't fast enough.

Tuesday we stayed on the pasta and beef theme and had ground beef stroganoff. This recipe comes from my old BH&G cookbook, only I sub ground beef for whatever cut they call for. We had it over egg noodles and with broccoli on the side. Just plain old steamed broccoli.

Wednesday was "Kids eat leftovers, Mom & Dad grab something after dance class" night. What we grabbed were burritos from Freebirds. Their mild salsa was spicier than I was expecting(or else I didn't have the mild salsa), but it was otherwise very tasty.

Thursday was yet another adventure in beans, with Bacon, Bean, & Potato Soup, served with Sweet Potato Cornbread.  Wow, these were yummy, even after I boiled all the water out of the soup (yikes!) and had to move the unburned portion to a fresh pot. We were all put off more by the burned smell than by the taste, which was just slightly smoky. I didn't turn the heat down enough after I brought the soup to a boil, completely my fault. Other than that, the only thing I'd do differently is crumble the bacon before adding it back to the soup, because bacon in every bite, right? Even with the mishap, this meal was a hit, and the kids LOVED the cornbread.

Tonight will be Vegetable Enchilada Casserole and salad, maybe chips & salsa, too, since I haven't had enough of those this week. I really haven't--there were some on Saturday, but the chips ran out before the salsa, which is a party foul, and I didn't get any.

Have a good week!

Yes, we still have candy. Part of the reason our friends like to come here is because this neighborhood is crazy loaded with kids & candy. It's insane. I usually send my kids' candy to work with Clint after the first week because we need to detox.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Driving the porcelain bus

Vomit. No one really likes it, do they? As a parent, I've just learned that it happens, like poop, but messier because no one's invented a vomit diaper, and who would want to wear one?
I did my share of vomiting as a child, one thing that really stood out was that if I was vomiting, then I was crying. This followed me into adulthood. And I didn't just vomit when I was sick, no, I was a "sympathy vomiter." If I got one whiff of someone else's sick, you'd better hand me a bucket. Then there was the motion sickness. If there was a curvy stretch of highway, our family car could be found on the side of it with little Suzie puking her guts up. So. Much. Fun.
Fast forward to pregnancy with boy #1. He is a darling young man now, but when he was in utero he made me vomit almost daily during the first trimester. Not HG vomiting, thankfully, but it was still a new experience to be sure. And I learned so much.
First, I stopped crying. When you vomit every day, you get so used to it that you stop crying. It's part of the routine: Get up, eat, vomit, brush teeth, maybe vomit again, rinse your mouth & get on with your day.
Second, I began to get picky about where I vomited. If Clint was at work, I would vomit in the kitchen sink, then run the garbage disposal with a little baking soda. If he was at home, I used the toilet so as not to gross him out. But after the first few times, it had to be a clean toilet. Very clean. And I had to stop puking in my hair because sometimes it was after my shower and, ewwww.
So I added some steps to the routine. I inserted "pull hair back" between "Get up" and "eat." Sometimes I scrubbed the toilet right after I ate, but before I vomited. I also encouraged Clint to tidy the bowl after himself when, um, his aim was a little off. I always grabbed a box of tissues on my way to the bathroom because once your spit hits the toilet, you don't want any of that rebounding on your face. It was amazing how OCD someone as laid back as me could get about this whole sick business.
None of my kids really threw up until they were at least three. As infants there was spit up, but not the really sick stuff. I applied my rules to them. If they gave me warning, I cleaned the toilet, held their heads, pulled hair back, wiped their faces & rubbed their backs. Everything that helped me, I tried to do for them.
But kids are unpredictable. For instance, my darling daughter's allergies caused her to have some stomach upset from drainage until we figured out the cause & gave her allergy medicine. Naturally, the diagnosis wasn't made until after she had thrown up on her antique quilt--twice. (If you need to know how to clean an antique quilt, I'm your expert)
Then there was boy #2's vomit shower from the top bunk at 2 a.m. That was unlike anything I'd ever seen. We had to throw away a pair of shoes, some stuffed animals, and at least two books. I have never been more grateful for my carpet cleaner in my life!
Apparently, child #4 has learned a lot from his siblings. The last time he threw up, he made it to the toilet, vomited, flushed, and cleaned his own face before I could even get to him.
Maybe my days of cleaning up kids' sick are numbered, but that's one part of parenting I won't miss.
Not even a little.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Back Again

I'm not really sure why I haven't posted in nearly two years, except that my craft space still looks like the photos in my last post.  Very sad.

I'm still homeschooling and still reading books, blogs, & news, and also still wondering why there isn't more common sense in the world.

I don't like to write about controversial moral topics, but I enjoy thinking about them and wondering how some people can justify some of the crazy things that they clamor for the right to do.

Mostly I'm teaching my kids, keeping the household going, and finding time to make things now and again.  Here are a couple of the things that have come out of my incredibly disorganized workspace recently:
One of the Magnificat covers from my Etsy shop
A little mystery item

A bag for a friend

Another bag for a friend
A hat I donated

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Conquering the Craft Space in Real Life

I'll just consider this a Lenten exercise in humility.  Here it is, my disaster of a sewing/craft area that I refer to as my "craft dump."

This space has been my nemesis since we moved here almost three years ago.  All I have right now are my "before" photos, what it looks like now.  There are a few things that I have done right, but I still believe that this can be a fully FUNctional space that I enjoy working in, even without a window.  If you look closely at the floor(what little is exposed) you'll see that it's outdoor carpeting.  That's right, my craft space is really an indoor putting green.  It also used to be painted a dreary gray and dark gold, which we changed to a nice blue and yellow.  I'll go with various shades of blue and yellow almost every time, because I just love sunshine and blue sky.

Here are some things that are going right:
1. I have (almost) enough tables so that there is(in theory) plenty of workspace at all times.

2. I organized my quilters cottons by color a few months back.

3. I purchased some colored bins for sorting the yarn stash by color.  Now, I may switch this around, but first I plan to get all my yarn in this one place(I currently have yarn in several rooms of the house, and some of it is loose--GASP)

4. I have the craft books shelved, but they may not be in their final resting place.  (One shelf in photo)

5. I have this nifty new cabinet, and these waiting to be assembled, because I just needed to start somewhere.  Do I top the two door cabinet with another, or with some drawers, shelves, or cubbies?
6. My awesome thread organizer from my in-laws, the sewing thread is on the outside, the serger thread is on the inside.

Here are the struggles:
1. The scrapbooking stuff.  If I put up another table, I could either use it for kids's crafts, or I could have scrapbooking stuff set up all the time, so that when I have a free 15 minutes, I could do a page.  The stuff could either be corralled above, next to, or under the table.  Right now, it's just a mess.

2. Yarn.
3. Non-quilting fabric.
4. Homeless miscellaneous craft stuff.  One idea is to put a good portion of this stuff in a bin, give the kids the bin and a craft book, and have them assemble "kits" for things they'd like to make.

There it is.  It's not fun to post a "before" when you don't have an "after," but it's a good way to show some realistic, real-time progress.  I don't just want to motivate myself, but others who feel overwhelmed by all the "after" pictures on Pinterest, Facebook, and the various artsy-craftsy blogs(and don't forget HGTV).  Wish me luck, I hope to have some progress to post next weekend.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Cleaning House - a book review

In my ongoing quest for household order and kid cooperation I have purchased yet ANOTHER book(sigh).  But on the up side, this may be the RIGHT book.  It's called Cleaning House: A Mom's 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement, by Kay Wills Wyma.

Even if a clean house doesn't excite you like it does me, ridding your home of "Youth Entitlement" should thrill for a number of reasons, the number one of which is that entitled children are annoying.  Not "the neighbor's are mowing at 6:00am" annoying but "over-perfumed airline passenger reclining in your lap annoying."  And who needs that kind of misery in their own home?  Not us.
Wyma is a mom of five who is a self-professed enabler and procrastinator who is lacking in organization skills.  She's a real mom like many of us.  She's funny, and her self-deprecating style puts you at ease and really makes you think that this can work for you, too.  Her plan is a good one, giving her kids a new task each month with the goal of teaching them skills and independence as well as reducing her own frustration level at being treated like the family's drudge.
The assignment of each task is preceded by a family meeting, and the kids are rewarded for their efforts.  This woman is by no means a slave driver, she truly wants what is best for her kiddos:  acceptance of personal responsibility, maturity(commensurate with age), and problem solving skills.  If your kids could use a boost in those areas as well as some practical skills, and you could use some encouragement, a good laugh, and the knowledge that "you're not alone," this book is one you should pick up.  And you should finish it.
Note:  Wyma is a Christian, but the book is not heavy-handed and doesn't proselytize.

Monday, August 20, 2012

New blog!

I am keeping this blog, but I have also begun a new history blog for me & my class to share our exciting discoveries.  We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Not refilling my migraine prescription

That's right, I am free.  I have gone FOUR consecutive weekends without even one migraine!  This weird diet takes a little getting used to, but it WORKS!  I'm just two days shy of my first month, and it's not as hard as I'd thought it would be with the exception of eating out.  That's a little trickier with the no MSG, no onions and no cheese thing.  But, we've been having some fabulous food at home and I've tried some tasty iced herbal teas.  Oh, and I'd forgotten how many other ice cream flavors are out there besides chocolate--there are tons of good ones!  The best part, though, is that I don't feel like the migraines are in control of my life anymore, and that's a great feeling.  I'll miss the coffee once we start school up again, but not as much as I enjoy being migraine free!