Monday, May 31, 2010

This Kid Cooks!

So check it out...Leelee finally has her carrot cake post up on her blog! It's her very first blog post.

She made the cake without any assistance from mom. And it was the Alton Brown recipe, too! AB's recipes aren't always the easiest, so I'm pretty proud of her for taking on a challenging recipe.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Carrot Cake Cravings

I really want carrot cake. I am no good with boxed cake mixes so that means I have to make the cake from scratch.

Leelee has been wanting to make a food blog, so I may have her make the cake from scratch as her first blog post. Or maybe we'll try something less daunting.

Right now, I'm trying to decide between Alton Brown's Carrot Cake and Paula Deen's.

It's a sad world I live in when deciding what carrot cake to make.

I'll post a review of whatever I decide tomorrow. Or maybe there will be a link to Leelee's blog and HER review of the cake recipe!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Blog recommendation!

My sister linked on her blog to a friend's blog, Finding Comfort in the Kitchen. it's a food blog, one of my favorite kind!

Her recipes look pretty awesome. My sister said her food is good and that recommendation is good enough for me.

So, check out her blog :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Dollartree Home Organization Project

Everyone who knows me knows I am disorganized. It's always been a struggle for me. Once I had kids, it was like GAME OVER. I pretty much threw in the towel over the past few years. I'm not entirely sure what switch was flipped. Maybe it was the fact that we couldn't sell our house and somehow have to manage to fit eight people in a three bedroom, one bath house. Something had to give.
Seventy years ago, it wasn't totally insane to have this many people in this small of a home. It was pretty common place. What changed? The amount of stuff people today manage to accumulate is staggering. The only way to make our home situation work is to get rid of stuff and find better ways to store the stuff we do have.
To make things more fun? I have to do it on a budget fit for a church mouse.

One of the first steps to do this was to figure out what worked for me. I had people come in to my home and help me organize before but it never lasted. The things they did just didn't work and before too long, it was back to the disorganized and cluttered disaster it was before. I started watching Hoarding: Buried Alive. It's terrible to admit this, but I saw myself in some of those people. It would be so easy for me to be a hoarder. When I really connected with someone, I paid attention to what the psychologist said and what tips really seemed to work.
And what really worked for me? I need to have a visual space for things. And it can't move. Nobody can touch it. I feel almost like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory. I needed to make sure things went where they belonged. Every item had to say "That's my spot." And no one is allowed to change it. Everyone else in the family needs to adapt to ME. Harsh? Sure. But it's working.

After that, it was a matter of using what I had and keeping other organizing purchases to a minimum.
Almost a decade ago, I got on this kick of organizing with metal cubes. It was all the rage in scrapbooking circles. It didn't work for me. Yet my hoarding tendencies took over and I still held on to those crazy cubes! Finally, I found a use for them...in my laundry room!



Each one holds sheets divided by size. Not pictured in this is the milk crate holding flat sheets and a plastic basket holding all the pillow cases. On top of this set up, I store blankets. I am trying to use as much space as I can and have it divided up with purpose.

One of my biggest splurges for organizing was a $40 cube system. Initially, I neatly folded all of my fabric and placed it on the shelves. It didn't take long for it to look like a complete disaster. And if it's visually a disaster, it wasn't going to help me keep things in it's proper place. That's when I stumbled upon my organization gold mine: The dollartree baskets. They were the perfect fit for the cube system and much less expensive than the equivalent from the big stores...we're talking $1 vs $9.


Tell me that isn't a brilliant way to store fabric? Everything is grouped according to type and I have a spot for my scraps.
Needless to say, these baskets have found use in various places around the house! They come in many different sizes and shapes. The largest are perfect for toys and for DVDs and BluRay movies!



The smaller ones have been perfect for my miscellaneous sewing supplies, like serger threads, zippers, ribbons, and general sewing catchall.


I've also placed them on my kitchen bookshelf to hold magazines, cookbooks and "junk drawer" stuff. Ahhh...it's so nice to have all that stuff hidden away!




In total, I've organized things around the house for about $60! I still want to get more of these baskets. I can see so many uses for them. I really wish they held the printer paper. But I can deal with that.

Another great repurposing was a three drawer plastic storage unit. Each drawer holds a different shaped plastic lid. Round or square. The bottom drawer is for potatoes and onions. :) Lunch boxes are stack neatly in the large basket where I used to store the lids.

I really feel like I'm finally getting the upper hand over the organization deficits that come with ADD. Victory at last!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Menu Plan Monday--May 10

Yesterday was Mother's Day and I hope everyone had a wonderful day! Mine was definitely better than last year. Of course, it wasn't that hard to make an improvement over last year!

I didn't blog about it then because of legal issues, but those have all been settled. Last year on Cinco de Mayo, we celebrated with D in the hospital. He had been seriously hurt at work. He ended up with 20 or stitches in his head and a serious concussion. Who knew teaching middle school could be so dangerous?

By the time Mother's Day rolled around, D was still on some lovely pain killers and now suffering from Post Concussive Syndrome and pretty radioactive after several MRIs. He was also looking like the Frankenstein Teacher. It wasn't pretty! Thankfully he had an amazing doctor at the ER who took his time stitching him up and a year later, the only person who notices the nearly two inch scar on his head is D. It's sort of like I'm the only one who notices the slight droop on the left side of my face and the low muscle tone following my bout with Bell's Palsy that ended in the beginning of May last year.

To say that last Spring was a real trial for our family would be the ultimate understatement!

I was really afraid that I would be making my own Mother's Day dinner again this year when D came down with a stomach bug. I also caught something. This meant we all stayed home from church. The good news is, D was feeling well enough to grill and the kids stepped up and made some lovely sides and dessert. Yay!

My Mother's Day present was a trip to B'ham to get my hair cut. D says it's too short, but I like it and after having my hair longer than I care for for the last 16 years to make him happy, it's time for ME to like my hair! And I love it :D

So, now what everyone has really been interested in...our menu for the week

Sunday--Grilled Pork Tenderloin, broccoli, brown rice & quinoa, homemade rolls and hot fudge cake

Monday: Grilled Pork Chops, smashed cauliflower, yeast rolls, grilled corn on the cob

Tuesday: Moroccan Style Flatbread (delicious, btw)

Wednesday: baked spaghetti, breadsticks

Thursday: Teriyaki Pork Chops

Friday: Girls Night in! The Boys are camping, so we're not cooking :) Veggies, cheeses and crackers and a chick flick :D

Saturday: Pizza

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Honey Do Lists!

With summer vacation coming up, I am excited that just maybe we'll be able to cross a few things off DH's honey do list. The folks over at Service Live were offering an incentive to blog about our own Honey Do lists. You can read other great posts about this over at Twittermoms.

Here are a few things that have yet to get done that have been driving me crazy

1. The foot molding in the kitchen is STILL not in. It's been a year!
2. Kids' bedrooms still not primed. We've had the paint for TWO years
3. Hardwood floors need a good cleaning and spiffing up
4. The lawn...needs a good dose of weed killer and mowing (constantly)
5. PLEASE get the curtain rods up in the girls' room, kitchen and fix the one in our room!

I'd like to pretend that the biggest motivator for getting things done isn't visiting family, but that is our reality right now. I swear, D gets out his toolbox and the kids get excited "Daddy! Daddy! Who's coming to visit?"

It would be great to have someone else to do these things. D is totally overworked lately and I'd love to take two or three or ten things off his list! That would be the perfect Father's Day or Anniversary present!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and ServiceLive blogging program to be eligible to receive $100 in ServiceLive Bucks. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

aprons!



I have a little model here who wanted to show everyone what I've been up to!

School is winding down. We've had science fairs, campouts, bad weather, injuries...you know, life going on as normal around here.

Little Miss is now sporting 5 teeth. They came in in a strange order, but that seems to be the "normal" for my kids.

The Terrorist, I love that kid. She has this knack of knowing exactly when Little Miss is drifting off to sleep and BAM runs in to the room screaming or laughing. She now has two little friends she plays with regularly. She says she's going to marry R when she grows up. She also has her own sense of style, insisting on wearing long sleeved shirts when it's 80 degrees. It's just not worth that battle right now. The long sleeved shirts are disappearing as I do laundry.

Danger girl's asthma is acting up. The big news is she finally topped 40 lbs! She'll be 7 in a couple months. She still shares clothes with the terrorist, but she's actually growing a bit! I was starting to get worried. She's still loads shorter than the other kids her age, but she can finally sit in her booster seat. Every time she rides in the van without the terrorist, she wants to sit in little sister's 5 pt harness. I guess it's a cooler seat.

Little B is very close to finishing his scout thing. I can never remember if he's a wolf or a bear. It's all the same to me! Anyway, the one he has to finish before he turns 9. He has day camp this weekend and he'll finish almost all the requirements he has left.

Leelee is going on a big field trip at school. We had to get her middle school intent letter turned in last week. She is planning on taking the foreign language sampler and band. She hopes to play flute. I gave her a choice of flute or clarinet since those are the two instruments we own already. She will be in all honors classes. And it looks like she will be ending the year on straight A honor roll! I'll keep everyone posted. It's a pretty big deal for her. She's a very bright girl but has always had that one B keeping off the high honor roll.

The Boy also is perched on the edge of all A honor roll. He is also planning on taking all honors classes next year! Much to his dismay, he will be joining a summer bowling league for special needs kids. Even tho he doesn't have a visible disability like some of the kids who will participate, he is really going to benefit from the group experience. Asperger's kids don't always do so well in group activities and peer relations are something The Boy has struggled with.

D so far will be at the same school for next fall. The district reserves the rights to make any changes at any point. With our luck they are going to make him change schools the day before school starts.