Saturday, January 31, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Today Bunny received a VERY IMPORTANT AWARD. It was the much coveted "Peacebuilder" award. In each class, one child is selected as Peacebuilder, a child who models kindness, helpfulness, and is generally a great citizen. As they advance through grades, the 'bar' is a little higher each year (by second or third grade a Peacebuilder would be a child able to use "I" sentenced to deal with confrontation). I believe this is a great way to help children learn to deal with the harsh realities of life (and not bring a homemade AK47 to school one day).
Bunny has been aching to be named Peacebuilder. She was rather aggravated when she was not chosen as class Safety Marshall this year, as she had served last year. Bunny loves to have jobs, and one with so much responsibility as to accompany ohter classmates to the office/nurse or to carry the emergency supply backpack and be the end of the line in drills is just something she eats up with a spoon. I totally get it. I'm a huge dork helpful like that, too.
Last week I received an email from her teacher informing me that Bunny would be named Peacebuilder. It was to be kept a surprise, and the suspense for an entire week was killing me. I did ask her if she'd like to choose dinner on, oh, say... Wednesday this week, and even let her pick out a dessert from Trader Joe's (it's gonna be homemade enchiladas and strawberry shortcake... drool).
She was very happy to win this award, but becomes a little embarrassed in front of people, especially when told to pose.
That's more like it.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Anyway, the RAM was bad, and I had to go back a second time (joy) for an exchange.
I was pulling into the parking lot and turned into a lane and then was getting into a space when I heard a horn honk. Being that I was not doing anything, and the entryway to the lot was not far off, I didn't pay it any mind. As I finished pulling into the spot, someone laid on the horn and then pulled behind me gesturing and mouthing obviously angry words.
It was a couple of people who look, well, exactly like you'd expect a couple losing their shit over a freaking parking space to look. Since I had not realized they had claimed their space from at least across the lot, I figured I'd wave them to back off, and just let them have the stupid space. I mean, come on, it's a parking lot space. Well, I think in those ugly peoples' ugly little world people rarely treat them nicely, so they assumed I was brushing them off. I can see the woman mouth, "Bitch!" and I kid you not, the man actually got out of the minivan they were in, as if he's I don't know what he thought he was going to do by way of showing me what's what.
Not being one to get down the the level of those despicable creatures, I again pantomimed that I simply wanted them to BACK UP so they could have the space. They did, and I found a spot approximately 30 feet away... WHICH WAS CLOSER TO THE DOOR ANYWAY.
The sad part was, since I ended up parking in spot closer to the door than the HIGHLY CONTROVERSIAL SPOT WORTH FIGHTIN' FOR, I was in the return line right by the door and could see this sorry crew enter the store--with their two small children. Nice. Way to pay forward the excellent trouble solving skills, guys.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Time to get a'planning!
Sunday: Roast chicken with sugar snap peas and salad, plus corn for kids
Monday: Meatloaf, fauxtatoes, spinach fritters
Tuesday: Citrus Marinated Pork Chops, Israeli cous cous, asparagus
Wednesday: Chicken Curry in a Hurry w/leftover chicken
Thursday: Sausages w/onions & peppers with homemade sauce
Saturday: CORN (clean out refrig nite)
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I'm sitting here on a gray day, not feeling so great, holding my not-so-baby boy. My three year old dozes on the sofa, lulled by the white noise of Noggin. I'm thankful for the rest, and thinking about how quickly the past year sped by.
A year ago, I might have been sitting in this exact same place, at the same time of day, with the same child in my arms. But he was a newborn. Over the past year, Slow Down I demanded of Time. But Time doesn't listen. Cole keeps growing. Now, he's standing on his own, beginning to speak a little, and generally threatening to resign his position as 'baby'. Too bad, Bubbaloo, you're the baby no matter what. :)
Every so often, I think back to seven years ago when we were brand new parents. The first baby who we could literally sit and stare at all day long, marveling at her, whose 'firsts' were also ours. Whose every movement and twitch and smile and pattern we knew because it was all we were paying attention to and soaking up and loving (except in the evening... then it was Prime Fussy Time, and thankfully for her, we didn't know any different). That complete absorption in the first baby is a one time deal.
But this time? Life moves faster. There's so much more to do in a day - more little people needing just as much attention and just as much love. Cole came along for the ride - on my back, or very nearby. And when I have a chance to sit down, I wonder where this day has gone.
I can scarcely believe the difference in his first year compared to that of the his sister, and sometimes feel he's been slighted. Sometimes I feel they all have, especially when I see how much time only children have their parents devote to them (then I wonder what pressure having that white-hot hope focused only on you must be like, too). But each time that leads to worry...I see him with his sister and brother. I see my older two playing together, making up games in that way only siblings can find amusement. I see Cole being included in his own way, and demanding inclusion in other ways, and generally being gladly welcomed into the games. I see it all day. And I remember - that for these younger siblings - this is their gift. A whole lot of love - distributed into many hearts. I realize it's not only about the love I give them, and the time I can spend with each one, but the love they give each other. Somehow, it all works out.
Remind me of this tonight when I am cooking dinner and they're driving me crazy. ;)
That was it. Normally I would not make something like that for dinner, because tortillas are a must for enchiladas, and my husband tries to limit carbohydrates, especially corn and flour. But I decided he could choose to eat one of the two other choices if he didn't want echiladas, since once I thought the word, I knew I had to make 'em. It'd been so long that Bunny didn't remember me ever making them. Seriously, it'd been 5 years or more.
So anyway, homemade enchilada sauce is really easy, and I think tastes better than the canned stuff.
Take 1 14.5 ounce can of tomato sauce, put it in a small saucepan with 1/2 c beef broth (or you can use boullion and water). Add one minced onion and a pressed garlic clove. Then add 1/2 - 1 tsp chili powder (depending how spicy you and your family like things), 1/2 tsp cumin, and 1/4 tsp salt. Bring it to a bubble and let simmer until thickened a bit.
While the sauce is bubbling, shred a couple of cups of cooked chicken and grate a bunch of cheese. Heat the oven to 375F and heat a pan on the stove over med-hi. Add 1/2 grated onion and another clove garlic, and saute for a minute or less, then dump in the chicken and about 1/4 of the sauce... you want the mixture to be moist, but not drippy.
Spoon enough sauce into an oven proof dish that's oblong. In a pinch you can use a 13x9 pan, but I think these cook better if they're snugly fit in a casserole...the tortillas get dry easily. Then assemble your enchiladas. I put a flour tortilla on a plate and make what are probably more accurately mini burritos, since I fold them tightly at the ends. If you prefer corn, then go for it, but you probably need to warm them since those suckers are more brittle. With flour tortillas this recipe makes about 6. I put a tortilla on a plate, put about 1/2 c of the chicken mixture in the middle, top with a couple of Tbsp cheese, and fold. Then I put it, seam down, in the pan. Repeat, repeat... until everything is used up. They have to be kind of squished in. Top with remaining sauce, being careful to cover all the surfaces with some saucy goodness. Then sprinkle cheese all over and pop into the oven for about 20 minutes.
My daughter said if she had 20 thumbs, she'd give this recipe 20 thumbs up. My husband? He ate with gusto, but he also had left over black bean soup, because something in legumes actually inoculates a meal against the other carbohydrates as far as making your blood not go haywire with insulin production. (Within reason! You can't, say, eat a garbanzo bean, then gobble half a cake, sorry.)
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Bunny watched the oath of office at school, which I was happy about. This evening while I was putting away groceries she asked, "Why is *this* inauguration such a big deal?" I said, "Well, that's complicated, but probably the most special thing about today was that a black man became president for the first time. Everyone thinks that's important."
Without missing a beat, Bunny said, "Isn't every inauguration important?"
Touche. Touche, my dear.
Monday: 17 bean soup with ham
Tuesday: Pork Chops with Apples
Wednesday: Chicken with Dark Beer
Thursday: Seared Mahi Mahi with Edamame Succotash
Friday: Taco Salad
Sunday: Sausages with Garlicky Lentils
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Today's step is routinizing daily decluttering for a few minutes at a time. I will add in a 5 minute room rescue to a routine. FlyLady suggests to do this as part of the morning routine. I think, especially if you work outside the house, this is an excellent time to do it, since then you'll return to a calmer home at the end of a busy day and feel less overwhelmed. For me at this point, I like to do it as part of the afternoon routine (kind of my post-school, pre-dinner routine). Also, often I can motivate Paul and the kids to do a 5 minute room 'tidy' when I am cooking dinner. That's more sporadic, and not 'on' my routine, though, since he is not always on the scene when I am cooking dinner. So, I say, think about when it would work for you best. But don't nix morning simply out of 'brattiness'... give it a go for a week or two and see if it helps the rest of your day. If not, then do it in the afternoon or evening.
For more on this concept of the "Inner Brat," see http://www.thebratfactor.com/myib.php
Sometimes we let this 'brat' make more decisions for us than we realize. If my kids tried to pull some of the crap I have caught the brat pulling, I'd put 'em in time out. ;)
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
Click the above link for 400 other menus.
Monday: Lentil Soup and Salmon, salad
Tuesday: Ham, green beans, fauxtatoes
Wednesday: Rigatoni with goat cheese, pine nuts, black olives, and sundried tomatoes. salad
Thursday: 17 bean soup with ham
Friday: Low carb picadillo
Saturday: Sausages with peppers & onions and simple tomato sauce
Sunday: C.O.R.N. (clean out refrig nite)
However, they're also a lot of fun. They start to think about things. They also tell you what they think.
Last night we were watching Planet Earth on Discovery, and it was the episode about Grasslands. There was a part with geese tending to hatchlings and wolves hunting said hatchlings. Carter loves fierce animals, but didn't like them getting the baby birds. We're all sitting in the darkened living room, and a tiny voice pipes up: "No wolf! Don't eat the chicks! Bad wolf!" I said something descriptive to him along the lines of, "You don't like to see the chicks being hunted. But the wolves need food, too, and that's nature. I didn't like it when I was little, either."
He was quiet for a while. Then I hear him talking more to himself: "I save you, baby chicks! I use my light saber. The purple one!"
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Carter pipes up: "Yeah, Bunny! Don't tagamize me!"
Hee hee hee hee.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Yesterday's 'step' was to lay out my clothes at night for the next day, not really worthy of its own post. The purpose, of course, being that you're on autopilot and don't waste time thinking about your outfit during a hectic time of the day.
Today is day 4, and it's the day to begin thinking about my morning routine. Well, more than simply thinking about it, I need to write it out, have it on a piece of paper I will see in the morning, and then DO it. A simple 3-5 step list of must dos.
- Make coffee
- Unload d/w (while coffee is brewing!)
- Check calendar and pack lunch for B/snack for park or outings for me & boys
- Feed kids (need to add myself to this, I have fallen back into skipping breakfast)
- Get dressed.
- Take Bun to school.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
I see the logic in this. Getting up and at 'em sets ones mind to being active and effective, and not lounging around. Accordingly, there is no panic when the doorbell rings, because you are ready to face the world, more or less. I totally agree. Firstly, what are we teaching our kids when we behave that way? And in a way, we're not treating ourselves very well, either.
Here's the thing: I wake early. If the baby demands it, I may be up before 5 a.m. A couple of months ago there was a very bad morning when 3:50 was wake up time. However, even on my own, I like to get up at about 6:15. Actually, I LOVE to wake at 6:15 or so and be the only-only one up in the house. In a perfect world, I'd have 45 mins to myself to putter, make coffee, think up what I want to make for breakfast, and then wake the kids at 7:00. Part of what I love includes being still in my jammies when I make that first cup of coffee.
And for another thing: I tend to dress by 7:30. I actively dislike wearing my pajamas past then for much the same reason that it's being discouraged in this step. So, sitting around in my jam-jams is not a problem. I also do like to at least put my hair in a tidy ponytail (baby pulls my hair if it's down) and put on a bit of eye makeup.
Finally, I just don't like wearing shoes, or even socks, for that matter. There are a few arguments against this that FlyLady has: buy a separate pair of in-house only shoes to wear, tell the kids that only you wear shoes in the house if you have a shoes-off rule in the house, etc etc. Call me the last shoeless fool on earth, but I'm sticking to getting dressed and being shoeless, sorry.
Monday, January 05, 2009
My menu is a bit mixed up, as my schedule was haywire and free flowing during the break. I went shopping on Friday last week, and am going to make something from my pantry reserves the last couple of days this week.
Sunday: out to eat
Monday: meatloaf, fauxtatoes, green beans
Tuesday: pulled pork shoulder with cole slaw
Wednesday: crispy yogurt chicken, sugar snap peas, acorn squash
Thursday: taco salad or burrito (make yer own as you please)
Friday: ??? and birthday cake for Cole!
Now my baby is nearly a year old. And my home is, well, decent. But I have been too slack for too long. So, it's time to get back to basics. In late 2003 a friend told me about FlyLady. And I was all jazzed up to find a way that worked for me to keep the house tidy and myself not stressed about it. And it worked super for years. I moved, had a second baby, had playdates, and just kept on keeping on. But then my last pregnancy hit me like a ton of bricks, and I found keeping my family fed and clothed to be very challenging. Nausea made dealing with food hard, and forget about dirty dishes! (I don't even want to talk about dirty diapers....)
Anyway, that was then. My nose is not my mortal enemy, and, while I do not exactly have the sleep schedule I'd choose on my own, I need to make my home less chaotic. Generally, the state of affairs around the house only stresses me -- in theory. However, since it makes me grumpy, that flows through to everything. What's that saying? If Mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy?
So I am getting back to basics and following FlyLady's 'back to basics babysteps boogie.' I simply prefer to omit the boogie part, since, while I appreciate the motivation and direction FlyLady gives me, I find some of the ways she says things a bit too... ummm... 'cat lady' ish. She's a woman pushing 60 by now, I assume, and I simply am not. So, I skip the 'boogie' part.
Shine your sink. I mean, really clean the HECK outta that thing.
For all the steps, see HERE.
It's time consuming to do this full-on, shiny sink 101, but man, do I have one clean, sink shining at me right now. I took a couple of photos along the way to document.
The ugly truth. Dishes piled, weird tomato-based splatter. Gorgeous!
Step one (after removing dishes, which I put in the dishwasher) is to fill one side brimming with hot-hot-hot water and a cup of bleach. Let it sit one hour and drain.
Repeat with the other side if you have a 2-sided sink. I let the strainer from the first side soak in the bleach water since it was kind of slimy.
I was yakking on the phone as I did the next few steps, and forgot to take photos, but I know you're smart and can just *picture* the Ajax all over, the 'old toothbrush' treatment, more scrubbing, some magic eraser action, and some buffing of the faucet with a towel (like how you see a shoe shine person do with a rag on a shoe!).
Voila. I doubt seriously anyone is going to go out of their way to tell me how pretty my sink is, but to me it's a sight to behold. Gone are the stains from water paint 'water' being dumped in over the course of a long winter holiday. No longer does the little part right behind the faucet fixture have that odd brownish residue that, well, you know what I am talking about, or you have a maid that cleans daily. ;)
To me, this sink is just great.
See you tomorrow with Step 2.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
That's not what this book is. Far more than end results and 'do' lists, it's about fostering a creative, imaginative spirit in every member of your family. It was funny, with a bevy of gifts to put under the tree, and many commercial 'name brand' presents, to be reading about paring down and being more selective. I felt simultaneously guilty, a bit rebellious (hey! we're happy, and not nearly as consumerist as so many families I know!), and mostly unsure of how I felt about it as I read the opening chapter of the book.
In the week that followed, I kept picking up and putting down the book, slowly absorbing, and considering what I do and do not think would work in my house. Really, I am still thinking.
One thing I am sure of is that I will continue instilling in the children a love of art and craft... of creating things with your hands and imagination. I would like to also teach the children embroidery. While my kids also have Leapsters, I think there is something to be said for busy hands that are actually creating. There are ways to learn hand-eye coordination that do not involve Mario, I am sure! ;)
This will be an ongoing thought process for us here. I have somewhat restocked the art supplies, and am in the midst of changing the dresser cum entry table into a art/craft supply 'cupboard'. Perhaps someday I will have a whole wardrobe filled with well organized supplies, but until then I will be happy with what I have done and provided for the children to learn and explore.