Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Homeschooling three kids and caring for an infant, a toddler, and a preschooler, plus keeping up on the house and trying to provide such basics as clean clothes and meals for everyone...right now, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. This new curriculum is a vast improvement over what we were doing before, in that it's not completely teacher (mom) intensive, but it still requires a large time investment on my part. I'm trying to figure out how to fit everything in, still, and so far meals and laundry are suffering. Dh had leftover (homemade, at least) pizza last night, and the kids had cold cereal and toast. They were thrilled, but I can't do that every night.
So, tonight I made a not-so-great casserole with chicken, whole wheat pasta, and broccoli. The kids' weren't too enthused, and honestly I can't blame them. I'm still learning how to make the casseroles dh likes with the whole wheat pasta we're now using, and tonight's pasta was gummy and not very appealing.
Oh, well. Tomorrow we're having one of the lasagnas I made last week, so that's two nights of a good meal that I don't even have to prepare.
Monday, February 25, 2008
When they went on sale at Nordstrom's (thanks to Mir for the heads-up ), I was really excited to finally get a pair--and didn't even mind that there were limited colors in my size. If I'd had the option I would've probably gone with black, and I would have missed out.
These bright pink shoes make me happy.
Which was why I was so sad when the very first time I wore them out in public I came home with a piece of gum stuck to the bottom of my right shoe. Bright green gum, for the colorfully minded.
I spent ten minutes or more cleaning it off, but there's still a sticky residue left that picks up dirt.
They're no longer perfect, but they still make me happy. I learned long ago that perfection is overrated. And when I'm contented with my life and the shoes I'm wearing, despite the inevitable scuffs and ick that come my way, everything else seems to fall into place.
Friday, February 22, 2008
I managed to get all four lasagnas done yesterday, despite the cranky little guy's interruptions. Given the size of these pans, that's eight meals ready to go--a real sanity saver.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
If it weren't for my slings, I would be completely stuck with a armful of baby. As it is, I've been able to keep him closely snuggled while still making lunch for the rest of the gang, get some work done on the computer, and even straighten up the fridge a bit. I've had to set aside some of my other plans for the day (assembling four lasagnas and two other casseroles, bagging up frozen veggies into individual meal sized portions, and folding several baskets worth of laundry.)
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
I'm not a diehard Starbucks patron. My favorite coffee place is probably Coffee People, a Portland area store that makes great coffee and includes a chocolate covered esspresso bean with every order, a nice touch.
I do love Starbucks' version of chai, though, probably better than anywhere else I've tried. When fall rolls around, the sweet, almost pumpkin-pie scent of chai is what signals that it's once again my favorite time of year. And through this long, grey, snowed-in year, chai tea has been a real comfort.
Of course, I can't afford Starbuck's exhorbitant prices more than once or twice a month, at most. And since my days are usually spent at home, I've had to come up with my own version of chai, to get me through the long house-bound days. On a dark February day, I can drink an entire teapot myself.
Brew three bags of Tazo Chai tea in a full eight cup teapot. Pour into teacup or mug, about 3/4 of the cup's worth. Add two packets of Splenda and top off the mug with 2% milk. When you've been house-bound for three days or longer, use half and half. If it's been five days or more, break out the cream.
Enjoy. Best drunk while the kids are happily occupied elsewhere in the house, but is good even in the midst of chaos.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Dh and the three bigs are watching Star Wars, Episode Four.
8yodd just called Chewbacca "that big fluffy guy."
I love the hum of the lightsaber battles.
All three of the three bigs are enthralled. We've shown them Star Wars before, but it's been at least a year.
When they were younger, they called Darth Vader "Hoopaw", because of the sound he makes while breathing. They still call him that, but more for the laugh now.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Fortunately, my resourceful dh had a plan: Chuck E. Cheese!
At first I thought it was silly. We didn't have any good alternatives, though, so we went ahead with dh's plan. And we had a great, great time! The noise level was loud but not unbearable, the food was suprisingly decent, and our kids had an absolute blast playing games and going on rides.
Since that first birthday away from all our friends and family our options have grown: we have good friends here now, and we've even had family visiting over a few birthdays. But our kids still love going to Chuck E. Cheese, and we go at least every other birthday. Last night we spent Valentine's evening in a delayed celebration of dd's 8th birthday, and once again our children had an amazing amount of fun. I have to admit that I love it just a little bit, too, because of the good memories I now have of family celebrations we've made our own.
Oh, and our then-youngest is now #4 out of 6, and is a very happy four year old. He's pictured above on the little carousel, having a ball at "Shucky Cheeeeeeese"!
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Growing up in a large family as I did, with a mom who is frugal by necessity, our kitchen and storage area were filled with buckets of all manner of dry goods: rice, pastas, cereals, wheat berries (to grind into flour), and the inevitable beans. When Y2K and the accompanying stockpiling began, my parents' basement family room had an entire wall of buckets. It was a sight to see!
When dh and I first married, cooking what I considered a normal-sized meal would yield us at least three meals: one for that night, and two for the freezer. In the years since I have adjusted that expectation as our children came along and started eating real amounts of food. This last year in particular, the three oldest have begun eating about as much as myself and their daddy. And they are still quite young--I can only imagine the sheer volume of food we will need when we have six teenagers in the house!
So a couple of weeks ago, when there was a special food storage sale at a local grocery store, I bought our first seriously large bulk food item: a five gallon bucket of rolled oats. Ever since my brother visited from NYC and made a truly memorable pot of oatmeal the kids have loved the stuff. They always request it made "like Uncle Josh made it," and scrape the bottom of the pot clean. Over the year since his visit my memory of exactly how he made the oatmeal has grown a bit hazy, so my apologies to my brother if it's not quite right:
Uncle Josh's Oatmeal
10 cups water
1 cup raisins
1-2 apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
5 cups rolled oats
1/2-3/4 cup sugar
generous shake of cinnamon
Bring the water, raisins, and apples to a boil. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer and reduce heat, stirring frequently. Simmer for about 5-8 minutes, until most of the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes. Serve with milk or half-and-half if you're feeling particularly decadent.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Because I was planning on us having pizza out, dd and I had to run out for some last minute birthday dinner supplies. She requested hamburgers, tater tots, and sweet pickles, and picked out a chocolate heart-shaped cake and Neopolitan and Root Beer Float ice creams. I pretended to be healthy by serving dinner with lots of veggie sticks and dip.
We watched Magic in the Water during dinner and after presents, and my poor Bug cried when the monster died. Much rejoicing when it was resurrected, though, and even more rejoicing over the Hello, Kitty diary from her auntie.
All in all, a very good birthday for the girl.