Monday, September 27, 2010

Menu Plan Monday--Sept 27

It's Monday again. This morning we woke up to fall. It was wonderful! Saturday, it was 97 degrees and today, we haven't hit 80 yet! I've lived in the south long enough to know this probably won't take. Fall really won't be here til November. This week of 80 degree weather, according to our local weather guy, is unseasonably cold. Meanwhile, a friend who just moved to Alaska reported it snowed there yesterday.

So we're going to continue pretending it's fall. I'm doing some baking this week. The kids made peanut butter cookie cupcakes from scratch without my help last night. Super yummy. And I have to make cinnamon rolls for the teacher appreciation breakfast this week.

Sadly, much of this week's menu is a repeat of last week because we just never got to it. I had to change plans several times!

MENU

Sunday- Pot Roast
Monday- Taco Salad
Tuesday- Pork Loin, rice pilaf, steamed broccoli
Wednesday-Tostada Goop
Thursday-Pulled Pork (i swear we are really going to try this recipe!)
Friday- pizza
Saturday- baked spaghetti, breadsticks

Friday, September 24, 2010

Six Words Friday: Thankful

Thankful

So many things fill my heart
Bringing me joy, peace, comfort, contentment

The Boy: making everyone grow, adapt
Square peg + round hole = no problem!

Leelee: amazing, smart, confident, giggly, blossoming
Child to young woman so quickly

Little B: my sweet, sensitive boy
The biggest heart; thinks he's funny

Danger Girl: scruffy, dirty, sometimes smelly
Curly haired, ambitious, nothing stopping her

The Terrorist: Soon to be Fabulous
Growing in confidence, loving being herself

Little Miss: My little baby girl
Not little, not baby, definitely girl

My children. My heart is filled
You bring me the greatest joy
For each one, I am thankful

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What was I thinking?

Sometimes moms take on way too much. I'm terribly guilty of it.

I blame my mother. She doesn't read my blog, so I can do that.

With all the small kids at home, I've not really had the opportunity to volunteer in the kids' classrooms. Most of the schools around here have a no sibling rule and finding a babysitter isn't always easy. The good news for that is I'm totally off the hook for being room mom. I don't have to help out in the copy room. And teacher lunch duty? Nope.

The bad news? When there is something I do have the time and ability to help with, I tend to over do it.

This week was the perfect example.

Little B's school has the fall festival. They needed raffle items and goodies for the bake sale.

Normal parents purchase gift cards and prebaked goodies. If the parents have time, they'll crack open a box mix or scoop out all that cookie dough leftover from the last school fundraiser.

I can't do that. No. I decided to handmake an apron. Not a biggie since I have the etsy store (which sadly is empty because I've been spending so much time sewing and just giving it away.) I finished the apron last night around 11 and it was absolutely adorable. I wanted to keep it for myself.

Then the bake sale. I decided to make Banana Cupcakes with Caramel Butter Cream Frosting. The cupcakes were a snap. Cake from scratch really isn't that difficult.

The frosting was another story all together. First, homemade caramel from sugar and water. Second, heating egg whites and sugar over a double boiler than 10 minutes of beating into a meringue! And it wasn't over yet! That frosting took me 45 minutes to make...for FROSTING. Frosting is supposed to be the easy part. It's not supposed to take longer to make the frosting than it does to cook up the entire batter of cupcakes.

Once the cupcakes were frosted, I found cute little boxes for them. I stopped short of decorating them. I needed to get to watch Survivor.

This morning, I woke up late. And it hit me...The small boxes were not 9 year old boy on a school bus safe. I wasn't entirely sure they were 9 year old boy walking them from the car into the school safe, since he also had to carry the apron and his school books.

And this is where the "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING" comes into play.

Twenty minutes before we needed to leave, I decided to make a bag for him to carry everything. Normal families have plastic grocery bags to use. I have reusable totes. I have just enough for my groceries each week.

Thankfully, I have mad sewing skillz and whipped up a reusable grocery bag in those 20 minutes. I didn't get to finish it like I normally would, but it didn't look just thrown together either. Yay!

Amazingly, I managed to get Little B to school on time. The crossing guard was like "Hurry!" and the baked goods and apron didn't look like they were too poorly handled.

Danger Girl ended up being 10 minutes late to school. Not too shabby.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Menu Plan Monday-- September 20

This week D goes back to tutoring a few days a week. It makes my life a little bit harder in the evenings since I have to juggle 4 kids getting homework done, all the papers signed, and dinner on the table at a decent hour. I really don't like not having D eating dinner at the table with us. There is a big push to get families back to eating dinner together as there are many benefits, especially as kids get older.

Eating dinner together has always been something we've done. Not doing it feels wrong. I know only D will be missing and I am perfectly fine to sit and eat with the kids, but there is still this feeling of our family not being completely there. It's not the same without him.

Sadly, I'm not able to juggle everything and we usually end up eating dinner late on the nights he tutors...usually about 6:30. Ok, that doesn't sound too late but when the little kids go to bed at 7:30 it doesn't leave much time for after dinner fun. Things feel very rushed and a rushed mama means a cranky mama.

In order to help things not be so rushed at dinner, I have to be organized. And, well...I'm not. But, that's my goal for the next few weeks: Get in to the habit of having dinner organized! It goes beyond just having the menu planned out. It goes to me actually starting dinner early enough. I'm already having to use the crockpot on Wednesday nights because of activity night. But I also don't want use it every night.

Maybe a dissection of our afternoon schedule is in order?

330: Pick up The Boy and Leelee
4:00-4:20 Pick up Little B and Danger Girl
4:20-4:40 Supervise Chores/afternoon snack (don't even get me started! the kids are starved and will whine and complain and will DIEEEEE before dinner. Some days, I feel like letting them!)
4:40 Homework time begins and I start trying to get dinner together.

Between all the interruptions, I usually don't get dinner actually started til 5 or 530. And unless I'm doing a 30-minute meal, dinner ends up pretty late.

I would love it anyone had suggestions for me!

Meanwhile, here's the meal plan for the week.

Sunday--Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Monday--Ham & scalloped potatoes
Tuesday-- leftovers
Wednesday--Pulled Pork we didn't get to last week
Thursday-- Tostada Goop
Friday--Pasta
Saturday--Breakfast

Friday, September 17, 2010

$1 polo upcycle!

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was inspired by A New Dress A Day to rework clothing that was no longer the correct size.

Leelee has to wear royal purple or white polos for school. The royal purple shirts are very difficult to find. It killed me to spend $15 on one when I could get any other color at WalMart for $6 or for $1 at a consignment sale. I'm all about finding things on sale. This is one of biggest peeves with school uniforms! Royal purple isn't a common uniform color either. I was not expecting to find any at all at the consignment sales this season since it is this school's first year in uniforms.

I was pleasantly surprised (read: I screamed and did a little dance in the aisle) when I found a purple polo shirt for $1! The only problem? It was a size 18/20 and Leelee can still rock the 10/12s.

I bought the shirt anyway hoping that maybe it would fit. It didn't. She was swimming in it. And I knew there was no way she'd fit in to it...pretty much ever.

What harm then, after spending only $1, could I do with a pair of scissors and my serger?

I snipped an inch off of each side and half an inch off the sleeve seams. I left the sleeve length just so the shirt would be a bit different from the other kids. I like to find little ways to set her apart and assert my own disdain for school uniforms :P I was a rebel. My sweet daughter, even tho she has a funky sense of style, is most definitely not a rebel.

She refused to wear the oversized shirt. Leelee gave me the dreaded tween eye roll. We did get some smiley after shots...you know, when she looked fabulous.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

100 days til Christmas!

Can you believe that the holidays are fast approaching? I swear, I just found my hidden stash of gifts from last year and it's already time for me to find another hiding place so great that I lose half the presents again!

Thankfully, the way we do Christmas it's only the stocking stuffers that are getting lost. With a large family, the volume of things coming in to our very small house between Christmas and the holiday birthdays was a bit...stressful. We had to make some changes.

The biggest change we did was to get a large gift for the whole family. Two years ago, it was a Wii. Last year? A new TV. We waited in line at Target on Black Friday for 4 hours to get that TV. D says never again.

This year I'm not sure what big family gift we are going to get. D wants a new house. I am pretty sure he's going to have to wait on that one!

While I ponder on the family gift, I am still going to try to make this holiday season as organized as possible. If you're interested in getting organized this holiday, head on over to 100 days til Christmas. I'm sure you'll be inspired!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Facebook Page for the Blog

Hey, if you feel so inclined...Like this blog on facebook! You'll get updates and all of that.

Menu Plan Monday--Sept 13

September is zooming by! I'm pretty excited about that. I've never cared much for September. It's supposed to be fall and cool weather. But down south, it's cooling off...to the low 90s. I'm anxious for October when the weather really starts to chill.

Last week, I was so desperate for it to be fall that I drank a cup of cocoa just so I could pretend. It was 87 degrees. It just wasn't the same. After drinking the cocoa, I really needed a big glass of ice water.

Fall also signals the time for us to get ready for the fair. I'm extremely excited and hopeful about our entries for this year. I actually have a pie that I think is really good! Maybe I'll actually place in pie baking this year (I'm not holding my breath or anything...just really dreaming big!)

The boys are having a sleep over this weekend in anticipation of the premier of Star Wars: The Clone Wars season 3. so Not my thing but they are totally excited. We're putting them outside in a tent. Maybe do some indoor s'mores. Definitely Homemade Pizza.

Menu Plan:

Sunday: Grilled Beef Burritos
Monday: Sweet Potato Crusted Buttermilk Fried Chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuits, veggies
Tuesday: Some sort of ground beef dish. Need a suggestion!
Wednesday: Crockpot Chicken
Thursday: Pulled Pork with Mango BBQ Sauce
Friday: Homemade Pizza
Saturday: Breakfast for Dinner

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Feeling Inspired

This weekend I had an aha! moment. My dishwasher is broken and I'm having to hand wash dishes. I usually hate doing dishes. I'd rather do laundry than dishes and I hate laundry. Dishes are a chore I usually pawn off on the kids. D often reminds me we had lots of kids just so we don't have to do chores any more :P

The kids have never had to hand wash dishes and I really didn't want to deal with the mess of teaching them right now. I went to the dr and they found a tennis ball sized cyst on my right ovary. So I'm not in the most pleasant moods with all the pain. It's just easier for me to do some things myself.

And I discovered something rather amazing while doing dishes. First, I get to wear my aprons and I love wearing aprons. Second, when I start hand washing dishes, the kids scatter to the winds. No one comes in the kitchen to talk to me or ask for anything. They are afraid I'm going to give them a job to do. Suddenly, washing dishes has become downright desirable way for me to spend my time! Silence! Glorious silence in a house full of kids.

Now, I'm not as anxious to replace the dishwasher!

The other big discovery was it doesn't take as long to wash the dishes as I feared. Even on the weekend when the kids are home dirtying every single dish in the house.

Tonight, I felt brave enough to tackle baking cupcakes from scratch. I'm not talking about out of a box scratch. This is Martha Stewart's Cupcake Book from scratch. In keeping with being my children, they couldn't decide which amazing cupcake for me to make. We put all the ones they couldn't decide upon in to a bowl and D drew out the winning recipe. Naturally, there were protests but once they realized it was really the only fair way, the screams were silenced.

We made the Devil's Food Cupcakes.I don't like Devil's Food. These cupcakes made me once again realize that there are few foods I don't like. It's that manner of preparation that usually kills the food. Martha has made the perfect recipe. It was simply amazing. I didn't have the ingredients to do any icing, and I don't particularly care for icing anyway. So we just ate cake. Glorious cake.

Another inspiration for me this weekend came from a blog I found called New Dress A Day. I have this dress I love. I wore it all the time when I was pregnant. It's fun and billowy and maternity. Being that I am not nor will I ever be pregnant again, the dress needs to find new life in my closet. I have plans to make it in to a skirt. Hopefully I will get to it this week.

At the kids consignment sale I found a polo in the right shade of purple for Leelee's school uniform. Of course it was an XL and she wears a medium. BUT it was also $1 so I figured, what the heck, let's see if we can't make it in to a medium. i've got mad sewing skillz, ya know. Maybe the madness is the fact that I think I can take in a polo shirt, but whatever. i cut it up and it was $1. I am going to attempt the alterations tomorrow while the terrorist is at preschool and little miss is down for her nap.

So what are you inspirations for the week? Anything got y'all excited to do something new?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Six Words Friday: Beginnings

Children are growing up so quickly
Blossoming and showing signs of independence
It's times like this I wonder
How much they really need Mama
Then I call on MY Mama
She is quick to remind me
They will always need their Mama

Having babies is just the beginning
The journey is watching them grow
The excitement is seeing them bloom
The fear is watching them fall

But they will still need Mama
Catching them. Holding them. Helping them.
Leading them to that next step

Each step is another new beginning
Another journey to take. Alone. Together.

My goal: to give them confidence
Their goal: to give me grey hair

Sunday, September 5, 2010

What goes around comes around!

We have a neighbor that needs a few lessons on how to be nice in addition to how to drive. She can't back out of her driveway without needing to come all the way to the curb in front of our house. When she first moved in, she asked us not to park in front of our house because of this (and the fact she doesn't have insurance!)

Being neighborly, we started parking both our vehicles in our driveway. Sometimes, parking in front of our house is unavoidable since we have two vehicles.

In June, someone from her property back straight out and hit D's car...then took off. They did sizable damage to his car and we had to pay the deductible to get it fixed. The officer who investigated the accident said we were not parked illegally (I asked!)

Fast forward to yesterday...D's car was parked on the street because I needed the van. She came over and asked us to move. I happily moved the car for her, even though no one else on the block seems to have the same trouble maneuvering out of driveways with other cars parked on the street!

Today, D moved the car to the street so he could take the kids to church. I'm not feeling well, so I stayed home. Neighbor comes over banging on the door demanding I move the car. Problem is, I can't. D has the keys. His car has an electronic key and we've never gotten around to ordering another one. I told neighbor I would be more than happy to call D to move the car, but it would be at least 3o minutes before he could get back here.

She completely flipped out at me. She used all sorts of foul language. I didn't yell back. I told her she needed to calm down. She threatened to call the police. I refused to yell at her. That just made her more angry, I think!

Neighbor had company over and they were blocking my driveway from backing out! Oh the hypocrisy!

I went to call D and she eventually managed to get her small pick-up out of the driveway. If she would have turned just slightly, there wouldn't have been an issue at all. She just can't drive.

I was so upset, I locked the doors to the house. I peeked out the window and the realization hit me that the green pick-up parked in front of her house just might be the one that hit us in June! I got much more brave and walked over to the house and inspected the vehicle. Sure enough, red paint on the bumper. I took a picture of the damage AND the license plate, found our police report and called the police.

:D

The officer said he'd be right over. He took FOREVER. But when he arrived he explained the reason for the delay.

There are two ways to get to our house from the police station. For whatever reason, he opted to go the back way. And, turning on to that road from a street in our neighborhood was a green truck. The officer, thinking it couldn't be *that* easy, decided to follow him anyway and check the plate. Sure enough, it was the truck in question.

Officer informed the driver he was investigating a hit & run. Cited the driver for suspended license and no insurance (shocker--NOT). The driver said he had no idea about the accident and had never been to our neighbor's house. Officer said he was a reconstruction expert and if he found out driver was lying, he'd arrest him for giving a false report to police, and asked driver again if he was sure he didn't know anything about the accident!

Wouldn't you know it, but the driver admitted to being the one to hit our car. He was also cited with failure to report an accident and fleeing the scene of an accident. He earned himself about $1000 in tickets.

And the officer wouldn't let him leave til someone else got there to drive his truck because poor mr driver didn't have a driver's license.

I am sure relations with our neighbor are not going to improve over this. I fully expect some sort of retaliation. But, I know the law is on my side. I asked the officer if D's car was parked legally and he said yes. So, I'm going to inform her of this if she makes an issue of it again.

We are trying to do the neighborly thing but, my goodness, you don't scream and curse at someone like that! Nor do you lie to the police when your friend hits a car and takes off.

I'm totally going to smile and wave next time I see her :P