Sunday, May 31, 2009

woot! i won! i won!

I never win anything. I'm like the biggest loser of entering contests. I entered a drawing over at the Psychotic Housewife's blog and I was the random winner. This is a great blog for finding deals and coupons and I just love reading her each week.

Anyway, she had a drawing for a give-away from a great new clothing company called Ufadili. The company is really cool giving 30 percent to charities. It's the kind of place any crunchy granola types would support. You know, my kind of people.

Also, since it's Monday ... at least somewhere ... It's time for my weekly menu.



Sunday-- Stuffed Peppers (for me and Ben) Meatloaf for everyone else
Monday-- Pulled Pork
Tuesday-- Coconut crusted Tilapia. No recipe for this one since I buy it from the market
Wednesday-- Pork Curry (leftovers from Monday's meal)
Thursday--Taco Salad
Friday--Pancakes and eggs
Saturday-- Spaghetti

DH was pretty happy to see there's not chicken anywhere on the menu this week. He's getting pretty burned out on chicken.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The cat

Last weekend, we were cleaning out our shed and heard a strange sound...meow meow. D dug around and found a cat. The cat has been living in our shed. It was so emaciated. It amazes me that people can let animals get like this. I'm not an animal person, but sheesh...I'm not a cold hearted wench either.

In a moment of insanity pity, I allowed the kids to feed it. Next thing I know the cat is coming around all the time.

Sooo...I guess this means we've been adopted by this cat. We're calling the cat Joe.



It has been pointed out to me by several people that Joe is probably short for Josephine, not Joseph. Right now, I'm considering my cat gender neutral. ha ha

The cat is very friendly and doesn't seem to mind Lizzy. She's two and loves the cat in that special way only a two year old can...by grabbing it and carrying it around like a doll. Joe doesn't run away. Joe is very social which is unusual for a cat. Sits on my windowsill and just watches me while I clean the kitchen every day.

Friday, May 29, 2009

school vacation is over

That is to say my vacation from being a full time mom to six kids is over. School let out yesterday. That means everyone is home all day. My vacation is over and the kids' vacations have begun.

The good news is I discovered today that my children are afraid of me and can be taught. By afraid, I mean that they do know I am serious when I talk about consequences and when I say something has to be done or else something will not happen, they know it's true. This has been some time in coming!

This morning when the kids woke up (I had a late night catching up on TV shows since I didn't have to get up this morning), Leelee set straight to cleaning the living room. The rule being that no one can watch TV, play on the computer or wii, until all chores have been done, especially the living room being picked up. In fact, this particular child has been scolded and repriminded all school year about leaving her PJs in the middle of the living room floor and today, TODAY she finally made sure she didn't dump her clothes in the living room!

Alex also did his chores without being asked.

Further proof that I've moved into some parallel universe: I had a meeting with the kids about the summer schedule. I wrote it out for them exactly when outside play is, when lunch happens, snack time, who has a turn on the computer and wii and when...it's all laid out. I also made up a lunch menu and snack menu. They agreed to my terms and thought it was a good idea. THEN, one of them suggested that whoever was on kitchen duty for the day should be the one to prepare lunch.

I am hopeful on this first day of summer vacation that it's not going to be a horribly long summer.

My kids are finally understanding the need for structure, personal responsibility and keeping mama happy.


It's like the heavens opened and angels began to sing.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

my addiction

I need to admit a hard truth here. A couple years ago, I was addicted to scrapbooking. I would buy supplies and, when I had the time, make it to the scrapping store and actually do something with those supplies. For the most part, however, I would just hoard the supplies. I haven't scrapbooked in a year and I have a closet full of supplies. The good news is these supplies are very useful for myriad school projects and are frequently put to good use.

This addiction was replaced by one I had conquered when I was much younger. A genetic addiction as I suspect my grandmother has it as well. The addiction is to sewing and as a result, fabric.

My fabric stash is growing. People don't sew as much any more and when they find out I sew, I get their cast offs. Most of the time the fabric isn't anything I would use and I do the kind thing...try to find a purpose for it and if I can't, send it off to goodwill.

I have another addiction that is stemming from the fabric problem, namely aprons. I love them. I love to make them and I love to wear them. I have a dresser drawer where I store the aprons that aren't seasonal.

Over at yarnigras there are apron swaps. She hasn't even posted the new swap but is teasing us about it being a Mama Mia! theme...I'm thinking 70s. At the fabric store yesterday, I found the perfect fabric for a 70s themed apron swap. I bought enough for an apron for yet to be named swap partner and for myself.

The crazy part is we are leaving for vacation in 25 days and here I am thinking about an apron swap! INSANITY!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A trio of apron gifts!



I stayed up very late last night finishing these teacher gifts. The baby was finally asleep and I was determined to get these done! I got up this morning to find Leelee had forgotten to take them!

But they are so cute. I think I want to sell some to make extra money for the trip. :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

More Kid Sewing...and a pattern review

I promised to show off Leelee's apron making skills. Here she is modeling her latest project.



This was a super simple project and the instructions are here. I picked up the right sized dishtowels at the dollar store and used fabric I've had in my stash for a very long time. I didn't have any ribbon, so we did the ties out of fabric. This project took the child about 90 minutes to complete. So if you have sewing skills above that of a 10 year old, you can probably sew this one up in less than an hour.

The apron gets not only a frugal thumbs up, it also gets thumbs of for being fast and easy. Great for teacher gifts or any other last minute gift giving occasion.

And with any project, the quality of the finished product is always improved if you sew with your iron :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

So I let my kid play with a knife...

Only partly kidding!

I've been reading a lot about Free Range Kids and realized that's pretty much how I parent my big kids. We are pretty much into attachment parenting with our babies and toddlers but there really wasn't anything to describe what we do in our family with the big kids. Well, now there is...free range. It sounds like we're raising poultry or something :P

The biggest thing for us is teaching kids responsibility and the ability to make good choices in a very confusing world. The time is right now to give them the tools and teach them the skills they need and let them practice. It's all well and good to talk to them about things but they need to put the learning to the test.

For example, the knife thing...tonight Leelee, who's 10 and a half now (that half is very important!) cooked dinner by herself. She made this Chinese Orange BBQ Chicken that was FABULOUS, btw. She cut up all the veggies, did the sauce, stir fried on our gas stove, etc. And none of us died. It's amazing what kids can do when you give them the chance.

Here she is with her creation tonight...


So on to responsibility...Tomorrow is talent day at Leelee's school and she said her talent is sewing. She's not too bad for her age, but still requires a lot of supervision and has difficulty sewing a straight line (but a lot of adults have that problem, too!). Her teacher was teasing her and said "Hey you can make me a skirt!" but Leelee, being in the fourth grade, went ahead and said "SURE!"

I had to explain to the child that a lot more goes in to a skirt than she thinks and that if she wants to make something for her teacher, a skirt probably isn't the best idea. We found a cute apron pattern that I thought would be easier for her to accomplish. What I didn't count on was the little one going through a growth spurt and wanting to be latched on 24/7 making it very difficult to oversee this project. BUT because Leelee promised it, we were up about 90 minutes past bedtime working on the project. It isn't perfect but she did it herself! She made a commitment and she followed through.

I'll post a picture of the apron tomorrow. It is super fast and easy and I have five more I need to make this weekend. eek!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Brigadeiro recipe review

So I had a major chocolate craving and wanted something very fast. I was trolling through allrecipes.com and found this tasty recipe for a Brazillian dessert called Brigadeiro.

This was very very easy. And it got enough thumbs up that I'm not sharing with the kids. It is extremely rich, but addictive. I advise having many people on hand to finish it off because it would be really easy to sit down and eat the entire pan.

I think it would also be a great go-to dessert for a last minute potluck or something, or even Christmas cookie giving.

Recipe

* 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk



DIRECTIONS

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cocoa, butter and condensed milk. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Form into small balls and eat at once or chill until serving.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

anyone up for free mushrooms?

Over at yarnigras, they are a little obsessed with mushrooms this month and are giving away the cutest little mushroom pincushion. I *love* pincushions, especially the handmade ones. They are so much nicer than the boring pin-tomatoes my mom always had around.

Have a great Saturday!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

anniversary!

I can't believe I didn't post this yesterday! My age must be catching up with me.

Yesterday, D and I celebrated 15 years of marriage. We celebrated like any other family of 8 would celebrate. I was up at 5 a.m. to take a child to the school for a field trip. Then I came home and slept for two hours. Drove the other kids to the school. Came back home and slept til noon. Got up, showered, ate, moved a carseat into the small car, tossed dinner in the crockpot. Realized it was time to get Alex. Ran over to the school and picked him up. Dropped him at home and picked up DH for his MRI. On the way to the MRI, picked Leelee up from school. Dropped D off at his appointment and took Leelee to the park. Found out the dr office told us the wrong time for the MRI and neglected to get a preauthorization! Thankfully, given the reason for the MRI, they were able to get all of that done quickly. Checked the time and realized my blackberry was dying and ran home to charge it briefly and drop Leelee off. Got a few minutes of charge and drove BACK to pick up D from his MRI, arriving just as he got done. Drove HIM back home just in time to drive BACK to the school to pick up the child that was coming home from that early morning field trip. Sat at the school for nearly 90 minutes waiting for them to get back. Called home and had Leelee toss my dinner into a tortilla with some cheese and to be sure to be ready to go as soon as I dropped Ben off. Ben arrived at 620, drove home quickly and honked twice. Alex and Leelee piled into the car and then we drove to the church for scouts and achievement. Finally got home at 845...where I then had to clean the kitchen.

UGH...

At some point in there, I know I did wish my husband a happy anniversary!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Costumes and cookies

One of the fun things about having kids in school is them reminding you a few days before a project that they need a costume and props. Thankfully, I'm not only handy with sewing, but with a hot glue gun.

Leelee is reading Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out in school today. She memorized the entire poem. Very proud of her. Last night, I whipped out my glue gun and attached trash to black fabric. The things we do for our children!



Last night I finally gave in to my cookie craving and had the time to make a batch of cookies. I found the recipe at orgjunkie. In order to make myself feel better about the recipe, I added 4T of flax seed. I know that's not much but it made me feel good LOL THey are super yummy and I could probably eat the whole batch.

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup margarine (I used butter)

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups rolled oats

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets. Stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine, brown sugar and white sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients using a wooden spoon. Mix in the oats and chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoons onto cookie sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Menu plan Monday

It's been an interesting ride the last month. First, the baby. Then the Bell's Palsy. No sooner is that done, then D got hurt at work. He's sporting a nice gash in his forehead and 20 stitches. It's actually his first time with stitches! So that's quite a milestone!

For those wondering what happened...let's just say he teaches at a school where some of the students are a little rougher than at most.

Anyway, he goes back to work Wednesday, we think. He has a doctor appointment tomorrow to get his stitches out and needs to make sure his concussion is gone. He's still having some dizziness.

The good news is we're all alive!

So on to the fun stuff...



Monday: Taco Rice
Tuesday: Lemon Chicken and cheesey rice pilaf
Wednesday: cheeseburger mac n cheese
Thursday: chicken
Friday: French Toast
Saturday:spaghetti
Sunday: low country smothered pork chops

Thursday, May 7, 2009

flooding!

Even living in the pacific northwest, I've never experienced urban flooding...until today. The rain was so heavy, the six foot walk to my car left me looking like I just stepped out of the shower.

We live at the highest elevation in the city, and even our neighborhood was having roads flooded. I have always told the kids not to worry about flooding because if we flooded, it meant there were even bigger issues in the city to worry about!

It was bad enough that the state legislative building was closed due to flooding. We headed over to the school for D to sign paperwork and the road was flooded with cars stuck.

I wish I had enough sense to take some pictures, but I was more focused on driving. Not a big fan of having to drive through standing water, but I wasn't able to turn around. We weren't able to get to the fabric store today because the roads were closed. Water in some places covered cars up to the windshield!

You can see pictures at WSFA

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinco De Mayo Apron :)

Here's the apron I received from the Cinco de Mayo apron swap.

I LOVE the colors. It's totally me :)

And I wore it tonight while making dinner.

Photobucket

mama said there'd be days like this

It's almost 830 a.m. and I'm needing to walk away from the 2 year old. She's not adjusting well to life as a big sister and that's making every other aspect of my life completely miserable.

The zoo doesn't open for awhile yet and I do need to bathe today if we want to go out in public. but alas, I have to pull the 2 year old away from the baby...again.

UGH

It's going to be a looooong day.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Rainy Days and Mondays

They don't get me down :) I love rainy days. They remind me of home. Right now, it's in the mid 60s and raining. It is, to me, a perfect day. The rain really energizes me! And, so far this morning, I've done a load of dishes, a load of laundry and have started in on the post-weekend detox of the living room.

Last night dinner was derailed by the rain. I had plans to BBQ but even a native Washingtonian won't BBQ in the rain with the threat of tornadoes. ;)

Without further delay, here's this week's dinner menu:

Monday: Baked chicken, spinach, mashed potatoes
Tuesday: Pork Tacos (cinco de mayo!)
Wednesday: crockpot chicken and rice
Thursday: Mexican Deep Dish Pizza
Friday: Breakfast for dinner
Saturday: Garlic and olive oil spaghetti
Sunday: Beef stew

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bootcamp

A friend said she was doing bootcamp with her kids this summer so I had to ask what she meant. Each summer, she sets up a camp where the kids learn new skills that they get to employ for the following school year.

Ahh! What a terrific idea and one that I will be implementing while we are home.

The first person to get the bootcamp treatment will be the oldest boy. He's going to be learning how to do his own laundry. At 12, he's more than capable of learning what a pain in the backside the amount of laundry he generates! I am thinking my "let's play fashion show and go through five outfits a day" 10 year old daughter would also benefit from having to do her own laundry.

The almost 8 year old is going through an "I can't do that!" stage so we're going to be embarking on some confidence building exercises. He's going to learn to load the dishwasher properly (rinsing and putting things in the correct spot).

The five year old...I need to just get her to put her clothes away correctly...you know, not shoving everything in to the drawers. I will admit I have pretty much STOPPED folding the children's clothes because none of them keep them folded long enough to make it to the drawers. Why should I waste my time folding them, then?

The two year old will be in charge of swiffering. She likes to swiffer and it keeps her out of my hair for a bit :P

My kids are more than old enough to be contributing to a bulk of the chores around the house. They do have a daily chore chart and responsibilities, but during the summer when they are home alllll day, they make much more of a mess. I kick them out of the house til lunch time but after lunch, it's usually far too hot to be outside, so they stay inside til it starts to cool again and stay out til sundown...at least that's the plan.

Kids need to be active and outside. They need to learn hard work. It's my job as the parent to make sure all of that happens.

Friday, May 1, 2009

so finally...a picture of the apron

I've had this done for a swap forever and well, I'm finally getting around to uploading a picture. Sad. I'm so crazy busy that even uploading a picture is a pain. LOL

I love this fabric and really want to make another apron for myself out of it. I did the neck and waist straps out of different ribbon because I liked how it was funky. Plus, the white ribbon wasn't as itchy around the neck as the ribbon for the waist, so it was also a practical decision.