Thursday, December 4, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
So here comes Christmas. I have always loved Christmas. I love presents, too. I have always loved opening presents!! Christmas and my birthday were always the best because of that. The way I think about gifts has changed though. I now understand what it must have been like as my parents to shop for Christmas. Kids love toys but parents love the practical. How do you find the balance? How much is too much? Will our kids feel deprived because they didn't get enough/ the new thing/ what they really wanted? Or will they be content with what they have because there is a balance?
I am lucky in a lot of ways. My kids don't watch television at all. We don't even have a television now. The television we had had been bought by my parents when I was a teenager. I'm 34 now, so it's probably about 20 years old. The picture tube still worked but everything was tinted pink. Not so good for watching James Bond. But I digress. Sweetie Heart told me thins year that she wasn't going to make a list of things she wanted because she wanted to be surprised at what she received this year. Sweet Girl is too young to realize that she could actually ask for things. So, even though, Sweetie Heart sometimes feels left out at school when her friends are talking about or playing a game about a television show, overall I think she does great about not having things.
But this year some big ticket items are needed. I did get a deal on a couple of twin wool comforters ($45 each with shipping!!) and a flannel duvet ($15 with shipping) but the rest will be small. Are tree isn't empty by any means though. Because we live so far away it gets filled up with all the gifts they will get from grandparents and other family.
Back the the original topic. So this year will be small again. There isn't much "extra" money and I really want Christmas to be about Christ, his life and teachings. I want my kids to grow up knowing that the reason we are celebrating is about Him, not about Santa and presents. We still do the Santa thing, but Santa only fills their stockings (which are actually custom plates with their name and birthdays on them) and gives them a present at the end of their bed that they can open whenever they wake up. The rest of the gifts come from family and friends.
We have a budget and will stick to it!!
We spend only the cash we have, we do not buy on credit!
We look at what we are wanting to buy and think about if it will really be used.
Doing all this takes time. It also makes us really think about where our money is going. Are we being good stewards of the monetary blessing we have been given? Or are we junking up our lives with things we don't need? It also makes me think about what other things we could do with our money. There are so many needs in the world. If each of us cut back on our excessiveness how could we change the world?
Along these lines I saw these and wanted to share:
If you're looking for ways to make a difference there are so many to choose from. Look around they are everywhere. Consider adopting a child from Compassion International. Read Shannon's story about her trip to Africa with Compassion. It really makes you think about how much we have and how a little personal sacrifice can change a life.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
But the reason I posted all those songs is that I couldn't really think of a theme song. But while visiting blogs last week I came upon a song that I love, from an artist that I loved when she was in her prime and I was in middle school. And I really think that this probably is my theme song and has been most of my life. What do you think?
If you want to see the original video you'll have to go here.
I really like this one too! I hadn't heard of Eva Cassidy before today but I really like her. She was truly talented.
And if you're as bored..interested as I was here are are few other renditions for you to enjoy.
All that said my favorite song by Cyndi Lauper is this one!! It's the reason I started listen to her music and was probably my first real, personal experience with music. What's yours?
Again, you'll have to watch the original video here.
Here's another cover by Eva Cassidy.
And there's always Phil's version.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Give up? As much as I'd like to tell you I've been somewhere exotic, doing important things with important/ famous people. I have not. I have been here...not entertaining the masses. But apparently my entertainment value has been missed. So I'm back by popular demand.
So what have you been doing, you ask? Well, many things. Let's see...where should I begin? Some bullet points might be in order. Here is what I've been up to not in any particular order.
- Going to parenting class. This has to be one of the most important things I have ever done. I don't want to burst anyone bubble and contrary to popular belief...I do not have all the answers. I have struggled with being a parent. What is the right thing to do and when? How help is too much/ too little? How in the world do I raise these kids that God has in trusted to me. In a notshell, I struggle. I read pleanty of books, talked to friends, family therapists, teachers, guidence counselor...you name it. I hear that I am doing a great job, but feel that I am lacking in so many areas and ways. External critisism has become internalized, has hit me pretty hard, and makes me question my abilities.
When I went up to thank her for all that she has taught me she told me to tell my friends and to have them go to her site and request for her to come to your area. If you ever have the opportunity go for it she is funny and great to learn from. She also has just put out a DVD/ audio set with workbook that is her class recorded. Probably not near as funny and adamated but it has all the information. I really want to get it, but (here's the cleancher) it cost a big chunk of change. If you order or request her to visit your area, tell her I sent you and maybe she'll give me a free copy! That would be great!
That's taken up the last 4 weeks. So what else..?
Sweetie Heart is doing great in school. She was just evaluated in reading and is reading a level 28, which means nothing to you because it didn't to me either until I asked. At parent/ teacher conference we were told she was reading at a level 16, which is where they expect them to be reading at the end of 1st grade. The literacy specialist and her reading teacher evaluated her again at the end of last week and had to keep getting harder books.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Voting in this little city has been a very different experience. I've been in big cities and medium but all have been busy, until I came here. Yesterday, Webby went to vote because he wasn't going to able to get to the polls today. He overheard the office workers talk about what they expected for today: long lines, crabby people, supper busy because it's a presidential elections. The doors opened at 9am (but I think I saw a few people seek in early.) Seems like I remember earlier times in the bigger cities I've lived in. I moseyed over about 10:30 figuring if the lines weren't too long we'd wait, it warmed up a bit today. And if the lines were really long we'd come back (we live a block from the fire house, our official voting place.) The last presidential election I voted in we waited for 2 hours with Sweetie Heart at nap time and she was 3. Well, Sweet Girl and I walk up and there was no line. We walked in and there was one person getting his ballot. There were many other people filling out their forms, but it's all different here. There are no booths with curtains, no electronic voting machines. It's more like a small square table you can stand at that is partitioned into four. Our ballot is a simple scan tron sheet. That's it! No waiting, no mandated privacy, no sticker. What no sticker? Well, if I have to trade the sticker for the wait in line, I'll take it!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
This only 4 by 4 and done in colored pencil. And don't say you see pizza and smiley faces. I saw that as I did it and couldn't find a way to change it. So what do you think?
I'm not sure if I've done this one before, but I'm too lazy to check.
So this may be a repeat, but good repeat in my opinion, due to the season. Yes, I'm talking about Catalog Season. Merry Catalogs to all, and to all a good night. Now if you like getting all the catalogs you get, disregard this tip. However, if you see catalogs as a evil ploy to make you crave things you never knew you wanted/ needed or to overspend or to turn you and you children into unchecked consumers, then this tip is for you. Okay maybe it's just me (and Webby.)
Whenever I see a catalog I see wasted resources. A tree being cut down, on my behalf, made into paper (lots of resources used there) printed in glossy ink (how safe are they really) and send via airplane or ground (fuel and man power) so my letter carrier can lug it to my house where I promptly put it in the recycling. So I think it is better to cut out all the middle man and just not send it to me in the first place. Maybe you don't go that far with your thought process, I just get tired of them. So I use Catalog Choice. It allows me to choose which of the catalog I already get to continue getting. (That's a confusing sentence, Webby will fix it, he always does.) Anyway, you can stop getting that Vickies, you never signed up for or the catalogs for the previous resident or with you in-laws name on it. I seldom get a catalog anymore and am so happy about it. I've tried calling the companies, but that's labor intensive and half the time I have to call again. So this works great! I love it. Try it, you'll like it!
Monday, October 27, 2008
how long have you been married? 9 years
how long did you date? We never really dated. We went from hanging out to engaged within a month.
how old is he? 33. I'm older by 9 months. My birthday is 9/6 and his is 6/9.
who eats more sweets? Me only because I eat them while I'm making them and I don't have any qualms about eating candy.
who said i love you first? I did
who is taller? He is by 2 inches, but people usually ask me how tall I am. 5'10" plus Danskoes make for a pretty tall girl. Plus most of the time people don't stand right next to me so when they do they're surprised.
who sings better? me
who does the laundry? me
who sleeps on the right side of the bed? If you're laying in the bed, I do. But if there is a baby in the house I sleep closest to the door.
who mows the lawn? Usually Webby, but this year it's been all me.
who cooks dinner? Me
who pays the bills? Webby, he's great with bills! He's my financial wizard
who is more stubborn? That's a toss up. It probably depends on the topic.
who kissed who first? That was a mutual thing. But I defiantly wanted to kiss him first.
who asked who out first? We never really dated. We hung out, first at my house and then we went out to dinner as friends, then at his house.
who proposed? He did. We planned to go ring shopping but he cancelled and went to visit his grandma. I thought he was getting cold feet and was really worried. He went down to get an antique ring from his grandma ans surprised me!
who has more siblings? I do by 1, but he doesn't have any sisters
who wears the pants? Again, it depends on what you're talking about. If it's finances or the car, Webby. If it's about the kids or home, me.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I know we look at politics in many different ways. I think that it's good. We all have different views and should be voting for the who we think is the best person to represent ourselves. But I think we've fallen into the trap of "am I a Democrat or Republican". I can't really say that I'm either. I've voted both ways and other ways, too. What do you do then when you don't feel either candidate represents you. Because that's the way I feel right now. No, I'm not afraid of who will take office and what they will do. I have faith that, ultimately, God is in control. But that doesn't mean that I shouldn't vote my conscience.
Until recently, I have felt that I needed to pick the lesser of the two evils. Ultimately, that means that I don't agree with either of them. And the lesser of two evils is still evil. There is no politician that can or will represent you completely, but the choices I have seen in front of me have left a bad taste in my mouth.
But there is another choice. Did you even know that? I didn't!
Now that there is someone else, I am seriously considering him instead. Now you can tell me that I'm throwing my vote away, but I voted for Ross Perot, need I say more? Plus, I live in a largely Democrat state, if I vote for McCain I'm throwing my vote away. There are many more things that Baldwin says that I agree with. He is a christian, is pro life, wants to secure the U.S. borders. All things that are important to me. So I'm not saying vote for him, but find out about him and see if he's a better choice for you. Vote for someone you really believe in. Imagine if more people were courageous enough to throw their vote away...it might actually change things.
Please don't send me scathing, unkind messages. I just fell others need to know what I just happened upon. I want what is best for America just like you do. It's just another choice. And I promise I won't blog about politics again for 4 years, if that.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Garlic. I use garlic a lot in my cooking. But I hate peeling garlic. It always seems to stick to the clove, which is really annoying. When I was in the produce section about 2 years ago I ran across something that has saved me so much time and effort. I love it. It is a 2 pound jar of already minced garlic! It's not that expensive either. Now when I need garlic I just pull it out of the fridge and measure out what I need. Sweet Girl eats it by the spoonful that way.
Another tip for getting the paper off fresh garlic is thus. I was watching my sister-in law cook one day. She separated the clove and then put the flat side of her knife the clove. Then she hit the other side of the blade with her hand. It cracked the clove open and the paper came right off. That was kind of hard to describe, but I think you get the picture. The garlic is just going to get diced anyway, so having it break open doesn't really matter.
So there's my tip. Let me know if it was any good and send me yours.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The reason I thought of the tip while I was doing the dishes is because I had to change my fruit fly bait. All the dead little fruit flies were floating in the bait and looking disgusting. Then is dawned on me that you would all probably love this tip. Now, to confess, I have been looking for a way to get rid of fruit flies for years! I've tried a few things that have only kind of worked. But this one works!!
Take a small bowl or dish and put some apple cider vinegar in it. Then squeeze a little bit of liquid dish soap in it. That's it! The fruit flies are attracted to the apple cider vinegar but the soap slicks there wings and they can fly. They sink to their deaths. Change weekly or when the fruit flies cause the soap to float to the top. Yes, it's pretty gross but so are fruit flies.
Where did I find this little gem? Well, I was on Facebook and was reading a friends wall. We apparently he has the same problem and one of his friends gave him the tip. So really I'm passing on a stolen tip. Shhhh, don't tell. Happy hunting!
Oh, if you're on facebook feel free to add me as your friend.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Sorry about last week's tip. I know there are certain people out there who anxiously await my tips. You know...because I am a wealth of knowledge. Well, I at least know what works for me. So I share that wealth with you.
I know you've been waiting for the rest of the laundry tips so here it goes:
The Dryer Edition!
Drying clothes is relatively uneventful and there isn't much you can do to make it any easier then throwing you wet clothes into the dryer. BUT if you use a clothes line there is so much you can do to make it easier. So here's my tip for the line.
As I empty the washing machine I separate the clothes into piles according to whose clothes they are. I use a small laundry basket, one corner for each person. I take the basket out to the line. I start with whomever's stuff is going to take the longest to dry. My lines are off my back porch and on pulleys, very nice and convenient. I don't have to move down the line like my grandma did. Anyway, I put all the shirts on, then pants, pajamas, socks, underwear. Then on to the next person's stuff. This may seem tedious and unnecessary, but you're talking to the person who organizes her groceries on the belt according to how she wants her bags packed. It also makes it easier when the clothes are coming off the line. Each item gets taken off the line, folded and put into a neat pile, ready to go into the drawer! In sweetie Hearts case I put her dry clothes in her laundry basket. Sweetie Heart is 6 so she is in charge of folding and putting away her own laundry the day it is done. Sweet Girl helps put her clothes away.
When I use the dryer I adopt the same philosophy. I take the clothes out and fold them right away. That way I don't have to keep touching the same stuff over and over again. And honestly, I only do all of this because if I put unfolded laundry in a basket it often does not get folded. Everyone is wearing wrinkly clothes and digging through baskets looking for what they want to wear. Then clothes end up on the floor and it's all bad news!
So that's pretty much it for the drying. I don't use fabric softener, I don't like melted plastic on my clothes and it gets on my diapers making them waterproof. Not so good when the purpose is to actually catch pee, not repel it. So there you have it. Until next time....
Thursday, October 2, 2008
No, the other lost. Sweetie Heart lost her first tooth! She woke up Saturday with it hanging out. It seem the roots on the inside had let go, but the in the front were hanging tough. It look very funny with the tooth tipping forward. It was like a cartoon. She wiggled it, she asked me to pull it out. I tried...kind of. So Sunday evening I went to Institute ( we study the scriptures on a more academic level then in church Sunday School.) Right at the end I got a call from Webby. Sweetie Hearts tooth came out...well he pulled it. HE PULLED IT?! She wanted him to, so he did it. It bled a bit. He called to ask the protocol for a lost tooth. Is there a protocol for a lost tooth? I don't remember anything from my formative years about that. So the tooth fairy came. She must have run out of the gold Hiawatha dollar coins so she left 4 quarters instead. Inflation is something else. I remember when I was little I got one quarter for a tooth. It might have gone up to fifty cents but not more than that. How much does the tooth fairy pay at your house?
We have gone apple picking a couple of times so far this fall. It's been a lot of fun. The girls just love picking apples off the tree. Very different then the grocery. It also good for them to see when their food actually comes from. I hoping to rent a community garden spot next year so we can grow our own vegetables this year. Monday when we went apple again many of the low apples had been picked so they had ladders out. Both Sweetie Heart and Sweet girl wanted to climb the ladder to pick apples. How fun is that. A great deal of fun if you're not scared. Sweetie Heart was a bit on the fearful side. She was alright if she didn't get up too high, AND if someone on the ladder with her. Sweet Girl on the other hand was fearless. She ran over to the ladder and climbed to the top. Now that made me a bit fearful, but Webby was right behind her. How different 2 kids can be.
As you can see from the pictures, Sweetie Heart is about 4 rungs from the top and probably had to be asked to let go with one hand to get the picture. Sweet Girl just climbed right up to the top and wanted to go further. Just hangin' out at the top with all those apple.
Friday, September 26, 2008
2. What were your reactions when you found out you were pregnant? Excited! We had been trying for a couple of years.
3. How old were you? 27. My birthday after she was born my mom called and wished me a happy 29th birthday. I almost freaked. I thought I had lost my mind and couldn't remember how old I was and that made me 1 year closer to 30. 30 was hard for me.
4. How did you find out you were pregnant? I had been charting and my temperature had stayed high. So I took a pregnancy test.
5. Who did you tell first? Webby
6. Did you want to find out the sex? No
7. Due date: June 19, 2002
8. Did you deliver child early or late? I week early
9. Did you have morning sickness? Yes, it was terrible. I was throwing up 6 times a day at the worst. I broke the blood vessels in my eyelids it was so bad!
10. What did you crave? Chocolate
11. Who irritated you the most? I don't think anyone irritated me. That's kind of an interesting question. Throwing up irritated me, does that count?
12. What was your first child's sex? Girl
13. How many pounds did you gain throughout the pregnancy? 23lb, but I think I lost about 10 the first trimester so 13lbs. Don't hate me!
14. Did you have any complications during your pregnancy? Not during the pregnancy. She did aspirate (inhale amniotic fluid) during birth and had to go to the NICU for a week for non-bacterial pneumonia.
16. How many hours were you in labor? 3 days off and on
17. Who drove you to the hospital? No one
18. Who watched? Webby, 2 midwives, and a dear friend who had home birthed as well.
19. Was it vaginal or c-section? vaginal
20. Did you take medicine to ease the pain? Not an option
21. How much did your child weigh? 7lb 4oz
22. What did you name him/her? I named her after a character in the movie The Three Musketeers and her middle name is mine and my paternal grandmother's.
I going to tag: Rebecca, Krista, Kelly, My cousin Liz, and you!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
For those of you who don't read first grader I'll translate:
I want to show
My love for you!
I'll do it every
Time you come!
I love my classroom
Clean and nice and new!
I'll hum the tune
That I learned last
year. Love Sweetie Heart
Now don't you wish you had a poem written for you? I know I do!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
So for today s tip it's apples. I know I promised to do another post on drying and folding clothes, but that will have to wait because it's apple picking season here in New England. There is nothing like fresh apples picked with your own hands and costing only 50 cents (did you know there isn't a cents sign on the keyboard?) a pound! Now that's umm, umm good.
I cannot actually take credit for this tip. I was in a meeting at the school when another mother pulled out some sliced apples from her bag. I sniffed and smelled cinnamon. I asked her about it. She said she read somewhere that if you put cinnamon on the sliced apples then the kids don't notice that they are turning brown. Genius, I told her. She asked if I put lemon juice on mine, nope my kids just deal with the brown. I take the, "if you don't like it, you don't have to eat it" approach, but don't ask for something different. The school nurse seemed pretty impressed that a parent would do that. It does teach a valuable lesson. You can't always get what you want. Life comes with some browning but in the end it's not all bad and maybe you won't even notice. That said, I think it is a great idea to put cinnamon on apples. I put cinnamon on apple sauce all the time, why didn't I think of that? So now when I slice apples I offer the cinnamon and the girls usually say yes. I can even cut up several, out the cinnamon on them and keep them in the refrigerator for when we need a fast snack.
So how about them apples? ...I slay myself...
Monday, September 22, 2008
10 years ago: a server with a knee that wouldn't bend, learning that there was more to life than living, trying to convince a choice, faithful girl that i was not her choice or her faith (i was wrong), travelling here on a silver Honda Silverwing (before they were glorified scooters), enjoying the company of friends.
Today's to do: spend some morning time with the girls, chastise the computer for undoing my efforts (while being grateful for the work), get excited about what little i could grasp about ohm's law and electrical fundamentals (in school after work), plan a mountain bike ride for the 'morrow, drink colloidal silver (silver being the best electrical conductor - don't believe the gold hype) to avoid pneumonia and subsequent suffocation.
Snacks are really just a question of: sweet, starch, salt, spice and or...did i mention starch?
$1,000,000? maybe i'd buy Morgan Stanley, i just like the sound of it! Or, perhaps i'd just give them and JP Morgan what i owe them, then take some practical measures to protect myself from their plans.
Obviously i have lived in the previously mentioned places, so i'll add: Columbus, OH (no, really!), in a State Forest in southern Illinois (ok, only for a looong weekend), Laatzen, Deutchland, on a motorcycle/in a Palapa in Mexico (well...maybe that was just a vacation), & in the now.
Jobs i've had? You'd have to pay me to count them all up. But i can freely say: if it's a restaurant job (but not fast food), i've done it; driving which doesn't require a special license - yes; selling stuff (or non-stuff) like insurance, electronic components, movies (only for a short time i promise), and homes (only a few - hence not my profession); installing alarms in homes and throwing boxes destined to be delivered to homes are a few things which readily come to mind. Oh, and i did flip burgers in a 50's style American Diner (Mel's Diner) in Germany with James, my nearest-to compatriot from England and a handful of happy to have known folks from all over that side of the world.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
10 years ago I was:
1. Taking care of my "not boyfriend's" knee (and him as well)
2. Trying to convince said "not boyfriend" and current husband that he wanted to date me
3. Driving a red, 2 door, hatch back Honda Accord
4. Working a Barnes & Noble
5. Losing the freshman 15 plus some
5 things on today's "to do" list:
1. Go to the store
2. Go out to eat
3. Not loose my cool
4. Get out of bed
5. Talk out my emotions
Not in that order
5 snacks I enjoy:
3. Celery & Cheddar Cheese
4. Chips & Salsa
5. Yogurt & Granola
5 things I would do if I were a millionaire:
1. Buy property
2. Build a environmentally conscience house with solar panels
3. Automate and remodel the public library (make the librarians' dreams come true)
4. Buy a home in Greece/ learn Greek
5. Save for the kids education and missions
5 places I have lived:
1. Delaware, Ohio
2. Provo, Utah
3. Orem, Utah
4. Louisville, Kentucky
5. Vergennes, Vermont
Five jobs I have had:
1. BYU Grounds Crew
2. Library Shelver
3. Barnes & Noble Bookseller
4. BYU Inter Library Loan Copy Center Supervisor (say THAT 10 times fast!)
5. Assistant Librarian
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
When Sweetie Heart was born 6 years ago, my sister-in-law suggested that I start a baby journal for her. You know just a journal recording her birth and the little events of her life. She told me it is a wonderful thing to be able to look back at. I agree, but at that time I was just too tired to write, not to mention the fact that I would have to go out and buy one. So I didn't do it. And the longer I didn't do it the more grand I thought it would need to be. Oh, and there was so much to catch up on.
Then I had Sweet Girl. Again I felt like I should do it, but much of the same was felt. Plus the guilt of not doing it with Sweetie Heart. But last winter I began to rethink it. I really felt it was a good idea. I want my kids to be journelers like Webby. I want them to record their thoughts and feelings to get them out and not keep them in like I did.
So I went to the dollar store and picked up a couple of journals. I picked the bigger size so that as they get bigger they can write in them, too. Webby and I write things in the journal to the girls so that they have a memory of things we experienced with them. Sweetie Heart can write so she records things in it now. We also use it as a conversation tool. Webby is in school a few nights a week and works at night, too, so Sweetie Heart can write him a note in her journal and leave it on his pillow for him to read when we gets home and he can to likewise for them. I feel like this is a good habit to get into young. That way when the teen years come we will still do it. I remember being a teenager and having questions but being to embarrassed to ask. With a journal it can take the embarrassment out of that. It also gives them power to ask to talk about something and me time to think about and prepare what to say.
Mostly, I just want to keep the lines of communication open even when it's not face to face. We encourage the kids to write what they feel and when they want a private journal we will purchase one for them. Webby and I also have one that we share for the same reasons. Sometimes it's just easier to write my feelings (positive and negative), many times we are able to work stuff out that way. Like with the kids, with Webby gone so much it allows me to express things to him when I don't see him or even during the day when I think about it. I put it on his pillow so he knows I wrote in it.
In the words of FlyLady, "You are not behind. You do not need to catch up. Pick up where you are." It's great advice for many areas of life.
Journeling is what works for me. To see what works for others go visit Rocks in My Dryer.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I apparently have some fans of my Tip Tuesday and had a complaint, okay not really a complaint, for a roommate from college. Little does she know that I did it on purpose so she would call me. Of course, I didn't know she's been lurking for a while.
It's the much anticipated laundry addition. Not really anticipated, since you didn't know I was going to write this. I knew and have been anticipating it. I may need to make this 2 posts, we'll see.
Very important if you are anal about stains. I don't like them but have accepted that my kids, not to mention my own clothes will get stuff on them and sometimes they will stain. I have let a lot of that go...I think.
First and foremost, treat your stains every evening or sooner depending on how important the item is to you. Sweetie Heart inevitably comes home from school with a spot or ten on her clothes. I have told her to put clothes with spots on them in the bathroom so I can treat them every night. A basket or would be great idea for that. When she gets bigger I'll teacher how to do it for herself. I hang the clothes over the shower rod to dry and them throw them in the laundry the next day.
For pretreatment I usually just use diluted dish detergent in one of those foaming dispensers. I picked up one on sale, I think Huggies brand, and keep reusing it. It works great. I wet the stain with warm water, work in the soap and rinse. That actually takes most of my stains out. Sometimes I do it a couple of times.
If you get ink on you clothes spray aerosol hairspray on it and rinse in warm water. It also works on marker. I've even used it on sharpie, it doesn't usually get all of it out, but it usually lessens it a bit.
When you get oil on your clothes while cooking put a drop of dish detergent on it immediately! It will dissolve the oil. If you wait it might take a while to get out. You will have a spot on your clothes, but when you rinse your clothes out after you take them off it will come right out. I just figured this out a couple of months ago.
Peroxide will take out fresh blood. The sooner you get it on the better it works. Once the blood dries you have a different beast.
My sister in law picked up some "Fan's Laundry Soap from Singapore" for him when she was in Chicago's China Town. He sent me one of the bars and it is amazing!! I love this stuff. I was mowing the neighbor's lawn one afternoon in cream pants (why you ask yourself, too lazy to go upstairs and change) and got grass stains on the cuff of my pants (shocker!) That evening when I took them off I wet them and rubbed some of this soap in, worked up a lather and rinsed. It came out! I could hardly believe it. It nice because it's a bar and it smells great! If you have a china town near by, rush over and pick some up. And while you're at it pick one up and send it to me to express you appreciation for the tip! You can also get it online. Google Fan's Laundry Soap and you'll see where you can get it. I haven't purchased any yet, so I won't recommend anyone.
Some things I don't even pretreat. I chance it with normal washing. If it doesn't come out, oh well. I can't keep all out clothes in pristine condition and some stuff I just don't want to waste the energy on.
My personal philosophy is that clothes are going to get stuff on them. If you don't want that to happen to a particular item, don't buy it, or save it for special. Don't let your kids wear it to school or all day, just to church. Look at where you are going and what you will be doing, does it increase the likelihood of stainage? That said you can't be in control all the time. Sweetie Heart once spilled iodine all over one of my favorite white dresses that she had on for church. How she got the iodine I don't know, but I was crushed. I took it off her immediately and started washing it out with dish soap. And wouldn't you know it came out! I couldn't believe it! The sooner you get to the stain the easier it will be to come out.
Save yourself some money and use about half what the manufacture says to use. If there are suds after the final rinse cycle there is still soap in the clothes and you have used too much. This is very obvious for me because I have a front loader with a glass front. You can also lift the lid during the final rinse and see how many soap bubble you see, there shouldn't be any.
I've used the disks with success. It's a bit spendy up front, but work really well. My aunt gave me some Tsunami Wave and really liked them. Another alternative, if you have the money is to use a LaundryPure and is manufactured by EcoQuest. Webby's aunt sells these so if you're interested let me know. It ionized the water before it goes into the machine, so it mounts behind the machine. I don't have one of these yet, but I will. She says it works great and saves tons of money! But they are a big investment up front, but you can try it for free and send it back if you're not satisfied.
I don't use bleach. I don't like the smell and it doesn't seem to really help when I have used it. I do use oxiclean sometimes and I use the natural bleach alternative. It's basically peroxide, but it works well on my whites and doesn't smell like anything.
That's all for now. I post more about drying and folding next week so tune in again!
Tip Tuesday is coming so keep your pants on...please!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
They left this morning. So I'm tired and was trying to think of a tip. Them the mail came and I got a catalog that I have never ordered from. I hate that! But in that comes my tip!
I came across this web site last year and it really works. It allows you to set up an account and unsubscribe to catalogs as you wish. It even allows you to enter your Customer # and Key code so it can stop all other catalogs. And it really works! We were getting so many catalogs it really made me mad. I would call and they would "take me off" and then I'd be getting them for people who used to live here. Plus we get catalogs for Webby's dad with our address on them. We'll I just signed up and there hasn't been a problem. They don't come anymore. I love it. I love that it helps the environment, too. Yes, recycling is great, but not having to is better.
The site, I know you've been waiting, is Catalog Choice. Try it, you won't be disappointed!
Friday, August 29, 2008
On of my major beefs with feminism is that it has made it so that learning how to run a home and raise children a thing that is, if not looked down on, thought of as unimportant. I know how to do stuff. I can make bread and keep a schedule for laundry and dinner. I can grocery shop and keep the kids clean. I can even clean a house (when I want to.) But I never learned how to balance all that out. I never learned how to run a house. I blame society on that. As life has gotten easier the home and family have gone by the way side. So I struggle to make it all work together and each day I get a little better. However, I am doing exactly what was done to me. I am not taking the opportunity to teach my children how to run a home, how to make it all work together and thereby I'm doing my children a disservice. I need to be better.
I love your suggestions on how you make your life easier and how you balance your life.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
The day dawned chilly. Because of all the rain we've been having, it's gotten cooler earlier this year. The leaves are already starting to change. Nights are getting down into the upper 40s to low 50s. So it was cool enough to be wearing jackets. Very different from last year. Anxiety was the feeling for the morning. It's funny how one can be excited and scared at the same time. we said a few prayers and headed out the door. There are only 2 First grade classes and there are only 14 kids in each class, so half the class was in her kindergarten class, the other half she knew as well. Her teacher is new this year, but was in the school as an aid last year. So we went in together and she found her way to hang up her backpack and such and found her seat, while I filled out some paper work. She was assigned to a table with her best friend, which is good. As I was sating goodbye, she started to tear up and asked me to stay. I gave her a few kissing hands and walked out of the classroom. I stood in the door way and saw that she was crying in earnest. So I went back in and gave her a big hug and told her if she needed me to tell them to call me and I would come back, gave her another big hug and left. She does have a bit of a cold still, so that didn't help. It's so difficult. I love her so much and I knew that after I left she would have a great time, I just needed to get out the door. When I went to pick her up she said she had a great time and wanted to go back. Of course, this morning was a little more of the separation anxiety. There is a little girl in the other class who has been an immense help. Last year she helped Sweetie Heart to leave me at the foyer of the school, by walking back with her. Today she asked Sweetie Heart if she wanted her to stay with her on the playground until time to line up. She is just the sweetest little girl. She seems to have a tremendous amount of she confidence. I hope that she can help Sweetie Heart have more confidence. Her teacher is great and the classroom looks great. There is plenty of room to move about and learn.
Here is Sweet Girl busy with "reading." Okay she's not really reading, but she does have some stories memorized if not word for word the concept so that she can tell the story accurately. She really didn't want her picture taken. She is obviously very busy and can't be bothered to take the time to look up and smile for the camera. She would glance up occasionally but refused to look for long or smile. She has grown a lot this summer. She's now wearing 3T clothes! She'll be 3 in October so that's about right. Of course, her 2 year old cousin is wearing the same size! But i really think Sweet Girl has caught up to were she is supposed to be for her age. We'll see at her 3 year check up.
I also want to tell you about a fantastic film we watched last night. It's called The Prestige, yes it has Christain Bale in it, but even if he weren't in it, it would be fabulous! Don't read too much about it, experience it. It is really well done! Both Webby and I we amazed at how well done it was. With the flash backs and illusion, it keeps you guessing. So Netfilx it today, you will not be disappointed!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
How many times have you served or eaten cold cereal for breakfast. My answer would be more times then I care to mention. At the beginning of last school year I decided that I would be that great mom that got up early and made a yummy, healthy breakfast every morning. Well, that progressed into a "if we have enough time" to make something healthy. And since I have one of the s l o w e s t children in the world, we ate cold cereal breakfast most mornings. I really did try. It just got too time consuming and, quite frankly, I wasn't getting up early enough to do it.
Now it is the beginning of the school year once again. I have the lofty goal of getting up early and putting a healthy breakfast on the table. I also want to get up early enough to get other things done, like praying, scripture study, chores, so that I can have more fun during the day with Sweet Girl. But I know myself and know that there will be days I don't get up early enough. Cold cereal is quite expensive, though, so I don't really want to rely on that. There was a time, before Sweetie Heart started school, that I had a plan. Actually, it was more of a schedule; Monday & Friday we had eggs and toast, Sunday & Thursday we had cold cereal, Tuesday & Saturday we had hot Cereal and Wednesday we had pancakes. I actually had a schedule for all the meals and snacks. This was right after Sweet Girl was born. I did it out of necessity, not because I was super organized. But it is really helpful. I do it for dinners now, but think I might go back to it.
So on to the tip. Here's a way to have a healthy breakfast even if there isn't much time. I make pancakes and waffles and freeze them. In the morning I can pull a couple out and toast them. I usually require that one of them has peanut butter on it so there is a little so that there is a little protein. It also makes a complete meal is you take the time the make some eggs. I also will make muffins or a quick bread the night before and serve that in the morning or send it for morning snack. They have morning snack at the school so I try to be creative in what I send. We love this Pumpkin Waffle recipe! I nix the soy yogurt and replace the soy milk with rice (due to allergies.) I've even used just water and replace half the all purpose flour with whole wheat. It's a really versatile recipe so play around with it. It's really good.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Yes, this is the dry bean addition. I can hear you now... I don't have time for dry beans...They never turn out...They take too long to cook...They always turn out a little crunchy. Yes, yes, I know. I have felt this way too, until I stumbled upon a little secret. Now I am going to pass it on to you.
But first, as you know canned beans are expensive. Yes, they are easy to use, open the can, dump, season and warm - done. Yes, that is very easy. You may not realize that dry beans, with a little thinking can be that easy too. Now I have heard, from a reliable source, that canning beans make there use very easy too. It makes them like your canned beans, but cheaper. But I'm not a canner. I'd like to be, but don't have it in me at this time to do it. So I don't. But I can save money and make beans quick.
You should find a "fast cook" method on the back of your bag of dried beans. If you don't have that here is what you do.
1. Sort and rinse1 bag of beans. I seldom sort my beans. However, there have been times when I have found bits of dirt in the bag. I usually look as I'm pouring them into the colander to rinse them.
2. Put beans into a pot. Cover with 8 cups of HOT water.
3. Here's my added tip. Add 1/2 teaspoon on baking soda to the bean pot.
4. Bring beans to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for at least 1 hour. The baking soda will cause the beans to foam quite a bit.
5. When you are ready to cook the beans, drain and rinse the beans and wash the pan to remove the baking soda.
6. Pour the beans back into the pan and cover again with 8 cups of HOT water. Bring to a boil andsimmer until tender.
Tada! All done. I find it takes between 30minute to 1 hour to get them tender. Check after 30 minutes. You can blow on the beans to see if they are done. The skin will split when you blow on them. I however, just bite into them. That way I can feel the texture of the meat of the bean and get it to my liking. It's about 2 cups cooked beans to 1-15 oz can of beans. I usually cook up the whole bag and freeze part of it. That way when I need them fast I can just pull them from the freezer, put them in a sauce pan and thaw/warm them up. Cover with cooking water when freezing them.
There seems to be something about the baking soda that makes them softer and cook faster. It also seems to make them a little less musical, if you get my drift.
Do you have any hits about beans? Let us know!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Did I mention they were using house paint for these? It makes those overalls even cooler.
God is so good. When I first heard about art camp I was told that it was already full from a friend. I was totally bummed. I decided that I would talk to the artist who was running the camp to see if I could put Sweetie Heart on a waiting list or something. I usually would see her first thing in the morning when we dropped the kids off. The next day didn't start great and we ended up being late. I took Sweetie heart back to her classroom and when I turned around to leave there she stood dropping her own son off late. So a said that I heard that she was doing art camp but it was full. She told me she still had a couple of slots left. She emailed me the dates and told me that she needed me to commit pretty quick because she had two more calls that morning. I got in under the gun.
Then I wasn't sure how I was going to pay for it. I knew it would all work out I just didn't know how. I was up at the library (surprise) talking about it when my neighbor/volunteer said she could pay for it, bless her heart. She has grandkids of her own and I really appreciated the offer, but could not possibly take her money. She came to my door a few days later. She had a proposition. If I would help her with her yard work she would pay me $13/hour and that could pay for Art Camp. She needed the help and I was more than happy with the agreement. She is a wonderful woman, sent from God to help us. I am so grateful, as I am with all the blessings I have been given.
We rode our bikes there three of the five days. The days it didn't rain. She did great, but I was struggling. That said I was pulling a bike trailer and had to ride it twice each day instead of once. There are lots of hill, little to some big to me...I mean others. It was about 2 miles round trip. Even so, Sweetie Heart wouldn't have had any trouble riding longer. She loves her new bike and has the stamina of her father, or older cousin who races 10-15 miles easy.
And speaking of tough mornings, school starts in a week and a half. The summer has flown by. We had a great summer! Sweetie Heart is looking forward to getting back to school though. Although, she does have her moments she says she wants me to home school her so she can be around me more. Mostly, she enjoys the our time playing board games, like Monopoly, while Sweet Girl is "napping."
We came out ahead this year in getting ready for school. For some reason there isn't a school supply list around here, at least not yet. So I don't have to worry about that. We were given two garbage bags full of clothes for Sweetie Heart, one from a friend and one from my sister-in-law. So I didn't have to buy any back to school clothes. Actually, I think I'm going to need to get rid of some. We did buy a new pair on sneakers. These were $31 and we got a discount of 20% because we are members of the local food co-op. Here she is showing off her new sneaks.
She didn't understand why Webby and I were laughing. That's where I've been all week. Riding my bike and recovering. Webby scoffed a bit when I told him I was sore and had a hard time getting up one of the hills after the first day. (Yes, you did Webby) I know 4 miles doesn't seem like a lot, but if you haven't ridden since you were like 12 it is. That and Webby's idea of a ride lasts a couple of hours, not 20 minutes.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread with butter ( I had cream cheese on mine)
Sliced Apple & Peaches
Sharp Cheddar Cheese (Rice Cheese for Sweet Girl because of a dairy allergy)
Popcorn with salt and Brewers Yeast (before you gag, you really should try this! It's really good!)
Now I know I'm really going crazy in the head. For breakfast we had eggs and lunch we had cold cereal. Sometimes it's all I can do to make anything to eat. Not sure why we still need to eat. We'd save so much time it we could just stop cooking and just eat Soylent Green. Well, maybe not.
I know you'll (sorry, I had a southern roommate college) want to know how my party went. It went fantastic! All but 2 were able to make it. I had tons of food and I had good conversation with the soon to be college freshman. There was lots of laughing and horsing around. And I have to say, I haven't been around too many boys that can consume that much food. Whoa, Webby wouldn't have even been able to keep up. I wanted to tell them to slow down, that no one was going to take their food away. The boys sat in the kitchen, near the food, so as to be able to have seconds and thirds without having to move much.
I know you want to know what I fed them.
Greek Orzo Salad
Adobo Honey Ancho Marinaded Chicken
Homemade Pesto Pizza with Artichoke Hearts, Tomato, Black Olives & Parmesan Cheese
Homemade French Bread
I think that covers it. The boys actually said that they were full. And if you talk to their parents and even to them, they are never full. So, mission accomplished. It really was fun. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to do it for them.
I must say that the easiest way for me to serve others is to feed them. Not to gloat, actually I am humbled that I have been given the gift to be able to cook. It really isn't that big of a deal to me. It seems to me that anyone could do it, but I've talked to far too many people who say they can't cook. So really it is a talent given from God and for that I am grateful.
So what did you have for dinner? Or what is the strangest thing you ever served for dinner? I had a roommate back in college who ate soup for breakfast in the winter.
I know you all want to know my secret for successful potty training. First and foremost, do not rush potty training! It will not happen until your child is ready and willing to cooperate. Sweetie heart did not potty train until she was 3 1/4 years old. She was not even interested. A little before 3 I started having her wear training pants at home. I'd ask her if she needed to pee and take her. When we went out, at nap and bedtime she wore a diaper. She started waking up from nap time dry and one time I forgot to put her in a diaper before nap and she woke up dry. So I took that diaper out, but when we went out she wore a diaper. I was pregnant with Sweet Girl at the time and she told me that when she was a big sister she would be potty trained. And that is exactly when she did. A couple of days after Sweet Girl was born she ran and errand with Webby. I told him to put her in a diaper and she said, "No, I'm potty trained now!" So that was that. Good bye diapers! Yeah! We had very few accidents, period. When she needed to go to the bathroom, she would tell me and we would go.
Also, if you start too early you will have more accidents. I don't know about you but I really don't like cleaning pee off the floor and, worse yet, getting a child out of poopy underpants without getting it everywhere is a real challenge. But it does keep things interesting.
I have been trying the same thing for Sweet Girl but it's not working out the same way. It seems Sweet Girl is really not interested. She wants to wear underpants, but usually I'm given the announcement, "I just peed/ pooped in my underpants!" And that is usually right after I've set her on the potty to go. She will actually hold it or not let all of it out when she's there, and pee/ poop in her underpants after 5 minutes. So I put her back in diapers. I was extremely patient. I even asked her if she wanted underpants again after she peed in some up until the point she did it twice within 2 minutes and I had sat her on the toilet between the two accidents. At that I was done. She obviously is not ready. So I'll try again in a month.
When you start potty training there is always the very fun thing call Let's visit every bathroom there is in existence. There have been some nice ones and some not so nice ones, but in the interest of wanting your child to be potty trained it is worth it, even if they have just peed at home. And traveling takes on a whole new time table. When kids are potty trained you can't just drive for 4-6 hours. You are going to have to stop more often, like every 15 minutes...I kid, but it seems like it sometimes. You must remember that the smaller the child the smaller the bladder and thereby they are going to have to pee more often. That also means that you will probably be up at night taking you child to the bathroom. Take my advice, when you go in to check on them before you go to bed, pick them up and take them to the bathroom. they probably will only be semiconscious and go right back to sleep. But that saves you the near heart stopping wake up when you child comes into your room to tell you they have to pee. I think Sweetie Heart was 5+ before she started to pee on her own in the night and put herself back to bed. And seeing as she's only 6 now, it hasn't been that long.
Know your limits and those of your child's. If you don't feel either of you are ready, don't do it. If you feel like it's not working, let it go and came back to it. If you feel yourself getting angry about the accidents, throw in the underpants and try again later. Every kid is different, as I am learning. Take it as it comes.
I'd love to hear your tips to, so please chime in to what has worked for you. and if you would like to hear my tip for something feel free to let me know. Enjoy!
Friday, August 8, 2008
A couple of days ago I was upstairs when I received a phone call. It was from one of the youth that I taught in Sunday School last year. He asked what I was doing, I said nothing and invited him to come over. I heard talking in the background so I was pretty sure he had his sidekicks with him. Not even a minute I smelled cologne wafting up my stairs. It smelled like the boys. I walk down stairs and there they were sitting at my kitchen table. They had been at my door when they called and I hadn't heard them knock because I was upstairs. They had been rained out at the county fair and decided that my house was the place to hang for a few minutes before returning to whatever agenda they had. So I guess I'm cool like that. The boys feel comfortable hanging here so I guess that's good, yo! So I guess I'm cool with the 15-18 year old crowd. Of course, when I was 15-18 I wasn't very cool, so I guess that I'm just getting it 15 years late. I'm having a party tomorrow for the whole class because two of them are headed off to college in a couple of weeks and they all love my cooking. What can I say, I have skilz when it comes to cooking. So I'm off to cook, and cook and cook. Teenage boys can put it away and they have been looking forward to this all summer. The three that were here earlier warned me that they were planning to come hungry. Wish me luck!
Monday, August 4, 2008
Swiss Chard has not gone over well in the past. I've tried several different recipes, but no go. So tonight we tried Lentil Sour Soup. It wasn't bad, let's call it light. We also had fresh green beans made this way and they were delicious! I've also done the green beans with butter, salt and fresh dill, very good, but the girls didn't like them. And we had Kale Chips. Now I know those sound weird, but they are really, really good. Sweetie Heart and I tried them a while ago and she fell in love with them. When I saw kale in the CSA I knew exactly what to do with them. It use Spike Hot 'n Spicy, but I've done them with just the vinegar and salt too and they turned out great!
Usually when we eat there are sour faces, groans and voiced "I don't like that", but not tonight. Although the soup wasn't a favorite with the younger crowd, no one complained. Everyone ate and was fulfilled. Lentils are very nutritious and filling. I love them. The soup was a little bland at first, but seemed to just need more salt. Like I said before, it's a light soup, not one that's going to knock your socks off with flavors. I also used dried onion instead of fresh because they then to make us a bit... well musical if you get my drift. And if we've had onions I hope it doesn't drift your way.
I'm sitting here chucking. I slay myself!