Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Sickness

I wish I had documented this plague that has attacked our house.

Let's see.... I got sick..... a general kind of throat thing.... in September. But it held on for SIX WEEKS in various forms. I rallied (everything except my voice) for the wedding in October and then relapsed.

And both kids got a feverish flu thing around then..... Sweet hallucinating.... in the middle of the night... mad at me because I won't let him go outside and play transformers. And Tuff puked.

Then this other stomach thing started in, um, early December? I don't know. I know Sweet had it. I know Tuff had it. I know I had it for 5 days. Hot got a mild version of it. Bugsy held strong. Then last week Sweet got sick again... the throw up in the night version. The one that almost makes you think food poisoning. Then Sunday night Tuff got it. She was retching every 30 minutes or so and couldn't hold down a sip of water... but she really wanted a drink.

My basic puking theory is.... nothing for 20 or so minutes after you yak. Then a sip of water or some ice chips. If you can go an hour and your tummy feels settled you can have water and maybe a cracker. But I believe (is there any scientific evidence?) putting things in an upset tummy can make it react violently and create a bad cycle.

So this morning I wake up alone.... which isn't totally unusual.... Hot tends towards insomnia. I wander to the bathroom and see the garbage can upside down, rinsed, in the sink. And I wander to the kitchen and see one of the two big white bowls on the counter.... this means either someone made popcorn or someone is losing their cookies. I don't smell popcorn.

Hot is in a bad way. (Can I also add... unfortunately he went out for a guys night last night and had prime rib and beer..... really awful on replay.... also pricey puke.)

You know what this means, right? Who is going to get it in two days? Me.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Do you watch Hoarders???

You can actually watch episodes online.


Here's the thing.

We've been having sickness in our house the last few weeks. The puking and "my bottom threw up" kind.

And it has me thinking about messiness.

1. Several years ago Sweet was mad one night when I made him put his transformer tub away. It was sitting on the floor by his bed. In the night he threw up right where the tub had been. He still refers to it... "remember that time I threw up right where my toys had been" and how we have to pick up things so that doesn't happen.

2. I'm just now getting all the carpets and bed skirts and bedding cleaned up from the latest round of yakking. (Tuff managed to mess up THREE beds in one night. Sweet missed the bucket and nailed the carpet. And Bugsy had a separate spit up incident that required removing the slipcover from the couch and, oh what the hell, while we are doing that lets take all the coverings off the couch cushions and wash them all.... the couch looks great but it took 2 days to get it all apart and back together again. Oh and side note: The cat likes to "nurse" the tan fuzzy blanket on the couch so I'm washing it several times a week...ew.) And I have had the washer going pretty steady.... now image that scenario in a hoarder home. Ew. (And then be thankful for not living 100 years ago... when I would be down at the creek banging the bedding on a rock to clean it....)

3. Also.... I'm so thankful for my frontloading washer and the foresight to buy more laundry detergent at Costco last week.

4. And (much as I complain about how cluttered it is) thank goodness our house is clean and picked up so no one tripped on a toy in the dark and crashed down the stairs or broke a toe rushing to get a kid over the sink or to a bucket.

5. Can you imagine what our bathroom would look (and smell) like if we weren't cleaning the toilets multiple times per week right now? Nothing says "I love you" like a clean bowl and someone to hold your hair. I've actually been using Dr. Bronner's peppermint to clean it.... a nice minty bowl and safe for the dog to drink from..... But I can sympathize with some of those compulsive hoarder homes..... it doesn't take long for a toilet to get really nasty with illness, right?

6. I think I have some hoarding tendencies. Seriously. Sometimes things can sit in a pile for so long I just start seeing them as part of the landscape. Or I clean every room and just pile it all in the laundry room.

7. I love how our beds look when they are all clean and fluffed. So things are looking really great in spite of the illness. And no one has thrown up on any Christmas presents. Who-hoo.

Sledding with Alvin, Simon & Theodore.

Sledding with Alvin, Simon & Theodore. As you can see in the last photo.... Theodore is pissed and wants to go in for hot chocolate and marshmallows....

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas by the Week WEEK 12

Week #12 - Dec 21-27 "Celebrate!"

Enjoy the Holidays with Family and Friends! Take time to drive the neighborhoods to enjoy holiday lighting displays. Enjoy family traditions and special meals.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Because all I can talk about is snow....

Geez-o-Pete.... it's back down to what we are just referring to as "butt-ass" cold here.

And it snowed. A lot. And I know I should complain about the cold and the snow and streaking out to the shop in my slippers to get more butter from the freezer but, damn, it is so beautiful.

And this weekend I will curse the plow and the fireball (fuel poured directly in the carburetor) in the garage and the exhaust fumes... but for right now.... gorgeous.

The kids think they are dying because I told them it had to be 15 above to take Bugsy sledding. They think she is a wimp. With her rice bag heater and double snowsuits and vaseline on the cheeks..... well.... she kinda is a wimp. She sits so solomn in her little sled and waits.... then giggles like a tiny demented maniac when we start racing around.... it is a fun workout.

Hot had an, um, experience yesterday morning. On the way to town this car was following him really close. Now, um, it is very icy and all the laws of physics still apply.... even if you have 4-wheel drive. This particular driver (who shall remain nameless...) has been observed driving rather, ahem, rapidly on our road before. Hot starts down the hill.... this car starts to PASS him. Seriously. Curvy hill. Fairly steep. Very icy. No visibility. Double yellow line. Lots of knocked over fence posts on either side from cars hitting them. Dead carion deer at the bottom of the hill and a pack of white-tails on the side of the road just to make it more interesting. And the fate of this driver? The ditch.

It would be wrong for me to laugh right now.

Because Karma is a bitch.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas by the Week WEEK 11

Week #11 - "Final Shopping/Wrapping Week" Dec 14-20

Complete last minute details and enjoy holiday parties, concerts, and family activities.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Things I know about Cold

It is a balmy 15 degrees out now. Practically tropical.

I wish I had a block heater in the van.

The school kids do outside recess down to zero degrees. The parents just get a vaguely ominous "dress your children appropriately" message.

Sweet has managed to lose and find his hat about 14 times..... he's worse than his father.

The cats can't figure out the cat door into the shop.

Bugsy is cute in her fleecy snowsuit.

I calculate the actual temperature by triangulating the average on three separate thermometers.... this is a sure sign I am a farmer at heart.

Tuff has her coat unzipped.... that girl does her nordic ancestors proud.

I pink puffy heart Land's End winter gear. My mom found a clearance coat for Tuff last spring and I dropped $45 for a clearance coat for Sweet this fall. Totally worth it. We also got some really nice "squall" gloves for Sweet and fleecy mittens for Tuff and fleece hats for both.... all from clearance of course..... Sweet is wearing some really nice sorel snowboots that I raised my eyebrows over when Hot came home with them.... I don't wanna know the price.... but they are super nice. Tuff is wearing some several sizes too big boots but she loves them because they are warm and purple. Bugsy is wearing the same fleecy snowsuits the other two wore.... and using the rice-bag heater to stay toasty in the sled.

Vaseline on the cheeks is brilliant for insulation.

Hot chocolate is really a good thing..... so is the bottle of Irish Creme from Costco.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

-24 This Morning

It is fraggin' cold here.

The End.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Christmas by the Week WEEK 10

Week #10 - "Meal Making and Decorating Week" Dec 7-13

Prepare some favorite meals and other baked goods for the hectic days ahead. Decorate. Involve children in memory making!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Bah-humbug Already

I have decided to give up on Christmas for a few days. I'm just not into it so I'm taking a break.

A break from... what? I haven't really done anything anyway. And I haven't been very gung-ho to shop.... shopping means spending money and I just can't do it right now. It hurts me.... physically and deeply.

I'm done shopping for some and have ideas for others and my motivation is GONE. So I'll sit back and have a cup of tea and wait for inspiration.

I got my lot of holiday books from ebay ($17 shipped for 10 books) and they are lovely. I am going to wrap them (maybe tonight) and put them in a wicker basket along with wrapping a bunch of winter-themed ones we already have around and the kids can open 2 per night for the 12 days of Christmas and we will read them. I can't wait to read "Stranger in the Woods" and "Tacky the Penguin" again.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas by the Week WEEK 9

Week #9 - "Mailing Week" Nov 30-Dec 6

Complete package wrapping for gifts to be shipped. Complete addressing and mailing of Christmas correspondence.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Nothing is on sale this week either.

Nothing is on sale this week either.

Why not?

I'm not gonna lie.... I wrapped presents on Saturday. I had a netflix movie to watch. Obsessed. Hot didn't want to watch it so I was on my own. During the movie: I tidied and dusted the living room, folded tons of laundry, unpolished my toes and wrapped gifts.

Pretty impressive, no?

Then Saturday evening Hot was complaining about his Smart Wool long johns.... they are warm and wonderful but threadbare. And his Chilly Willies (Hot Chilis) are old and worn out. I whipped out a present (wrapped) and told him to open it. He did. And THAT is when I realized I got the size right but the item wrong. Who knew the Under Armour boxes had a choice of tops OR bottoms? Back to the store I will go.

I need one good solid shopping trip sans the two big children. I need to hit Base Camp and Target and Lasso the Moon without them and I could be done with their stuff. And I'm just waiting and watching for a nice sale on bandaids and whatnot to fill the stockings. Why pay full price?

I got most of the farm gifts wrapped so I'll go ahead and take them up tomorrow and get them out of my house. Mom. Dad. Sis & Hubby. Bro & Wife. Jasper. Sarge. Daisy & Olive. I need to get photos printed to finish Grandpa Kenny's present. And I need to talk to Dad about what he wants to get for Mom.

The kids and I made fudge and peanutbutter blossom cookies this weekend. The blossom cookies turned out a little odd.... I'm thinking my tiny assistants put in an extra cup of flour maybe??? And the fudge got a little over cooked so it isn't as creamy as usual but the fatty hoggers will eat it this weekend anyway... then I can throw together another batch next week for Christmas. That's all the baking I plan.... fudge. Oh and a package of sugar cookie mix so the kids can use the cookie cutters and docorate them. Maybe some caramel corn... we haven't made that in a while.

The kids and I had a slumber party on Sunday night.... Daddy went to a friend's cabin so he could hunt early on Monday. We stayed up late enough to watch Lady Gaga strut her stuff on the music awards. My kids love her. And the Black-eyed Peas.

And we played lots of cards. Sweet taught me how to play War. But are aces high or low? And how does the game END? And we played Speed. Sweet & Tuff played Uno. Tuff dances and sings (opera tenor) with every card played.

Sweet & Tuff played chess yesterday afternoon.... Tuff lost but she didn't mind... she was playing restaurant with the prisoners. That's my girl. Did I tell you the story about her wearing my silky bathrobe? It's all silky and flowered and flowy (My sis got it for me in Japan) and she is wearing it and posing and dancing around and I tell her she looks nice and she says, "Oh. I look beautiful. Just like Judge Judy." I had to wipe the tears out of my eyes.

And Sweet. Sweet was curled up with the baby sleeping. He kept trying to snuggle in and use her as a pillow. She'd grunt and start whapping him with both arms until he moved. Then they'd snooze a bit and then he'd start sneaking in and trying to use her tummy as a pillow again and she would grunt at him and the arms would start going again. I really need to clean out her clothes.... I sent her to daycare in an outfit that was more like a stuffed sausage casing. She could possibly be working on another tooth. Runny nose and drooly... no fever and not unhappy but very clingy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas by the Week WEEK 8

Week #8 - "Thanksgiving Week" Nov 23-29

Use this week to prepare Thanksgiving dishes, pies, home-made rolls: enjoy the holiday with your family.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Game Night

I'm so excited! Elle finally posted about the games her family loves.


I always see that big row of games but I never know which ones are fabulous and which are stinkers.

My kids love games but I'm at a loss beyond a few standards we played growing up. We were not a "games" kind of family.

Here's what we have now (that I can think of without getting up to look):

Connect 4. Love this. Quick. Easy. And we also have the travel version.
Chess. My son and husband play chess regularly. I can still beat Sweet but I have to pay attention or he wins.
Checkers. I suck at Checkers. Sweet loves to school me.... although we have a house rule that the winner has to pick up the game so he always makes sure I win the last round.
Battleship. I loved playing this game with my grandma when I was a kid. (She also taught me gin and several kinds of solitaire) But I hate the version we have... the pegs don't stay in very well.
Candyland. Duh.
Rummy-0. This has several names. My gram taught us to play when we were tiny and it can get pretty competitive during the holidays.
Uno. This is actually the set from when we were kids... my mom off-loaded it.
Some other card games. Actually.... I'd like to learn some good games using a regular deck of cards. We play Speed. And Crazy 8's & Go Fish.

The other problem at our house is, of course, storage.... we can't have very many games... they take up too much space.

Make a list... but not that kind of list....

I just found out Dr. Oz has a tv show! I've only seen it once but I think he is so damn adorable. If I had a list, I'd put him on it. He's just so happy and perky.... and those adorable ears & eyebrows.

You know... a list. I used to date this guy who maintained a list. A list of people he could sleep with and I couldn't get mad about it. Do you see why we aren't dating anymore? I can't quite remember but I think his list had people on it like Halle Berry & Salma Hayek.... heck, Halle Berry might be on my list... but he took it all very seriously and was very intense about it (don't you think that would have been a clue? Why did I keep dating him?). And then he'd push me to put people on my list and I could never think of anyone... who wants to sleep with a celebrity? Talk about giving me a complex. So I'd come up with outrageous ideas (Peter Jennings & Bill Maher were both on my list) or I'd pick pro football players from teams he hated. And comedians.... Steven Wright, Howie Mandel & George Carlin all made the list at one time or another. Oh and Sesame Street characters... but not Bert or Ernie.... I'm still not sure what is going on between those two.

Ok. So who would be on your list at this point in your life? What about in the past? My, my but how we have changed....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Buy a Lotto Ticket

Been a heck of a few days.

Saturday.... the well died.
Sunday.... my cell phone hinge fell apart.
Monday... got property tax bill for Nov & May. new rates for 2010 from daycare.

Still waiting for the well repair bill.... it coulda been worse. No phrases like "cave in" or "pull the pump" were used. Turns out it was something we could have fixed ourselves had we known what was wrong.... needed a new control box. Welcome to the country.

Meal Planning Continues.....

Remember how I was meal planning this month?

Wanna know how it is going?

Great. I stayed outta the stores (with their wicked, wicked impulse buys) and stayed on task. I flopped and swapped a couple of times but mostly it worked out.

So we are on the next two week rotation.

M 11/16 chili (Want my super easy recipe that my picky kids will eat? 1 package moose burger, 2 cans kidney beans, 1 can tomato sauce, powdered taco seasoning, cumin, oregano.) I failed to make corn bread.
Tu 11/17 pasta & white sauce... using up the last sad bits of veggies in our fridge.
W 11/18 pizza.... fresh veggies on a boboli.
Th 11/19 baked potatoes & leftovers... this will go over, uh, not so well.... but I love a potato with salsa and cheese.... maybe I'll make steaks to satisfy the carnivors.
F 11/20 chx nuggets & ricaroni.... what? I didn't say meal planning would eliminate insta-food... just reduce the amounts consumed. A speed meal for a night we have lots planned.
Sa 11/21 calzones... mmmmm.
Su 11/22 dirty rice.... red beans and rice.... mmmmm.
M 11/23 tacos....taco salad is my favorite.
Tu 11/24 tomato soup & grilled cheese.... easy stuff easing into the holiday.... clean up leftovers.
W 11/25 fast food.... on the drive to the farm.
Th 11/26 holiday..... turkey from the Hutterites. Do you say "stuffing" or "dressing"?? And do you put it on the side or jam it up the bird's butt? My husband swore he hated the stuff until he had my mom's version..... ala stove top.
F 11/27 holiday..... leftover pie.
Sa 11/28 holiday.... leftovers will be getting scarce... my brother is there..... maybe spaghetti?
Su 11/29 holiday..... possibly more fast food driving home.....

Monday, November 16, 2009

Christmas by the Week WEEK 7

Week #7 - "Shopping Week #2" Nov 16-22

Complete as much shopping as possible. Take advantage of many items that are on sale before Thanksgiving! Check Thanksgiving menus and grocery list: purchase any additional, needed supplies.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Christmas by the Week WEEK 6

Week #6 - "Shopping Week #1" Nov 9-15

Decorate your home for Thanksgiving and focus on gift buying for prepared list. Wrap and label packages as you go. Set aside needed shipping boxes.

Monday Notes

Things of note:

Ghostbusters isn't as funny as I thought it was.

Taking three kids to a play (The Pirate Play) actually IS a good idea. All three were completely mesmerized.... even if I planned for Bugsy to nurse and nap... she wanted to watch the action. It helps that it is a one-act play and, well... PIRATES.

26 degrees is cold.

Having a meal plan is relaxing.

Hunting season is stressful.

Going to bed before 9:30pm is the new reality.

Letting your kids create a playground in the spare bedroom is a good idea.

Playing school is a fabulous idea. (I'm Mrs. Beasley and I ring a bell when we change activities.)

A new washer and dryer really is wonderful.

Spending enough time every day to read one chapter of a nice trashy novel can double as "me" time. (Even if you nurse the babe while you do it.)

Nothing is as relaxing as having all the rooms in your house tidied (notice I said "tidy" and not "clean") at one time.

Morning routine charts are good.

Alarm clocks that accidentally go off at 4:00am on non-hunting days are bad.

Cinnamon bun creamer is good.

Straightening my cowlicks and putting on mascara are my new glamour thing. (Did you hear that sister? Mascara. Me. It is a revolution.)

Danskos are excellent... especially red mary janes purchased on the cheap.

Husbands who wash their own hunting clothes are rare and treasured.

Kids who tidy their own bedrooms are rare and treasured.

New underpants will make up for a lot of shortcomings.

Drooly, teething, grinning babies are adorable.

Halloween candy is evil.

Fundraisers are also evil. Way evil.

The smell of grapefruit makes me very happy.

The taste of grapefruit juice (especially with vodka) makes me very happy.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The December List Draft One

Elle is making Christmas lists..... she has lots of birthdays in December and that really makes things tricky... I'll take a smug moment here and be thankful for June-July & September birthdays.... good balance.

She's asking about family traditions and gifts from other kids...

Family traditions:

Nana: Nana gets the kids pj's they open on Christmas Eve. They are always nice ones from Gymboree or Land's End. Great photo ops and we don't have to get dressed on Christmas Day.

Christmas books: This year I'm going to try wrapping up 12 Christmas books and opening one each night.... books we already have. Grinch. Stranger in the Woods. Christmas Mice. Rocky Mountain Christmas..... you know.... those ones. We get to have a present opening fix, we have a book to read that night, and I don't spend any money. It's the chartruse triumverate of cheap, easy & fun.

Santa: Santa is into personal hygiene... this dates back to when we were kids. He loves character bandaids & fancy toothbrushes.... stuff mommy might not normally spring for.... (hint: and stuff that always goes on good sale at CVS sometime in the months of November & December...) He also always brings batteries. (This year they might even be rechargeable....) He usually brings a bag of Hershey's kisses. And lots of swag I score at an IT conference mid-December.... little notebooks and tape measures and such. Santa at my in-law's involves gifts from everyone.... each person sneaks stuff into the stockings.... I like to get Mexican hot chocolate mix, lip balms, chocolate oranges, little hand lotions, and socks. Hot manages to do up great stocking stuff..... stockings are fun at our house. Santa also usually brings one thing mommy would not approve of..... a special movie or some toy that makes way too much noise.

Gifts for kids: Each of my kids will get something for each other and something for mom and dad.... usually dvd's for each other and something special from all three for mom and dad.... maybe a new elk video for daddy and the new Lucinda William's cd for mom. Mommy also wants the Dr Oz challenge book. Sweet wants to get Tuff the new Tinkerbelle DVD and Tuff will probably get Sweet a Scooby Do DVD or a Transformer. They will get Bugsy something (probably a brightly colored plastic toy or a new Christmas book) and she will get them something.... maybe new Leapster games.

Teacher gifts: This is a new one for me. We always try to get something nice for our daycare provider... usually a fat gift card to Jade Garden because we know she likes it. The teacher has an amazon wish list for the classroom. I'll be watching for a great sale on some of those items. I love the idea of a spaghetti gift basket.... get those clever bowtie pastas from Costco and present it in a collander (the $1 store has decent ones last time I was there) with a spaghetti scooper. Also make sure to include some dessert.... dove chocolates maybe? If you really want to go all out I'd add a bottle of wine... is that wrong for a teacher gift? There is a great wine at our grocery store that is $4 per bottle. I am a master at those kinds of gift baskets.... years of silent auctions. Our teacher for K had a baby in the spring so I m-i-g-h-t think of a baby themed basket for her.... maybe. Or a Target gift card... now to decide an amount. Right now I'm voting homeroom teacher only and no support staff but I might change my mind later.....

Others: I give a plate of sweets to the mailman. Fudge and caramels. And somehow a stupid gift giving tradition at work started a few years ago.... I'm thinking ELF all-in-one sticks for everyone....

I'd love to drop/limit the sibling gift giving.... this is the first (and possibly only) year we ALL have spouses..... My sister's hubby is getting a bottle of crown unless I come up with something better..... Heck... that's a good gift for my brother, my husband and my husband's sister's spouse as well.... ok... 4 bottles of crown and I'm done shopping for most of the men. Maybe we will go for a booze-themed Christmas and get that for the women as well.... one stop shopping at your local liquor store....

My hubby wants new binoculars. The $1300 kind. Ponder that for a moment.

Meal Planning for November

In honor of organizing.....

I'm a broken record when it comes to meal planning... I try and try and fail and fail and try again.... Here's where we are now....

1. Eat more veggies
2. Create "deconstructable" meals so I'm not cooking two (or three) complete menus every night.
3. Use up stuff in the cupboards.
4. Start using more burger.
5. Grocery shop less.
6. Save money.
7. Save time.
8. Save stress.

I'm doing meal planner 101 over here.... Here's what is cooking for the next two weeks.
M: tacos
Tu: potato soup & caesar salads
W: pizza & salad
Th: chx tender salad
F: bean & cheese burrito
Sa: chx soup or leftovers
Su: white bean chili

M: spaghetti
Tu: omlettes & salad
W: steak and fried potatoes
Th: tomato soup & grilled cheese
F: pita bread pizzas
Sa: corn chowder
Su: salmon nuggets & leftovers

How did I do??

Success and Failure:
1. Veggies: I'm trying to do the what the dietician's suggest. A normal size dinner plate, half fruit & veggies and half protein and carbs.... as opposed to our usual MO.... a giant vat of spaghetti and a fork. Sweet will eat "carrot salad" which is, um, cut up carrots and ranch. Tuff likes salad with ranch and peppers and cucumbers and carrots. I'm just trying to get in the habit.... baby steps.
2. Deconstructables: So far so good. On pizza night I make two pizzas (and I broke down and got boboli crusts... which everyone seems to love), one cheese and one something else... this week was my m-i-l's specialty... italian sausage (moose), green pepper, onion, black olives and mozz slices. Most of the meals I've picked are pretty easy to make kid-friendly and the kids are getting more adventurous. The potato soup (from a mix) was a battle until they tried a bite... now they love it. If it is going to be a real battle I can always fall back on chicken nuggets.
3. Use up stuff in the cupboards. Mid-October the school did a food drive (so far we've done a food drive, a hat/mitten drive, a change drive, sold chocolates & coffee and donated extra tissues, glue stick & ziplocks to the classroom.... getting tired....). Anyway. The food drive was good for getting rid of a few mistakes... like the kettle corn.... apparently no one in our house likes kettle corn. But the food drive made me clean out a bit and realize that, yes, canned goods DO expire.... so we systematically started eating everything in the cupboards and only replacing the things we like. I know.... this is basic logic for some of you but it was a revelation for me. Also... sweet heavens... toss the cake mix that expired in 2006. Wow.
4. Start using more burger. We ran out of cow a few weeks ago with the exception of a few carefully hoarded packages of hamburger. My f-i-l got a moose. We have lots of burger and sausage now. It is amazingly good. I haven't tried the steaks yet... talk to me after next Wednesday.
5. Grocery shop less. Can't tell if this is working or not. We did the usual Costco run and a grocery store stop and I think I have everything for all these meals and lunches.... I'm sure there will be more stops but it feels good to know all the basics are in the house. I spent $122 at Costco (including lunch) and $42 at the grocery store (including squeeze cheese and tomato/basil Wheat Thins.... we're practicing our letters with after-school snacks this week).
6. Save money. It isn't like we can get take-out where we live so I won't be saving much there but hopefully less time in the stores means less impulse buying (yes, I DID buy squeeze cheese this week and I am properly horrified by it...) and planned meals means planned leftovers for lunch so less stops at the local market by Hot for lunch.... we will see. I made "pizza rolls" with the leftover pizza stuff last night and everyone took those for lunch today.
7. Save time. Less shopping.... the end.
8. Save stress. Less "5:05 oh shit" moments. Fewer "chicken nuggets & fend for yourself" nights. I am going to try to put the "more cooking" stuff on Mondays & Wednesdays when I am home all day for the next few months and most "I have to actually cook this" stuff will be on the weekends. Getting off work at 3:00 every day sure makes cooking easier. Friday foods are usually things we can eat on tv trays while we watch a Friday Night Movie. (This week: Ghostbusters)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Elle did it so I'm doing it.


What is your salad dressing of choice? Caesar from Costco. Or balsamic, olive oil & a little dijon (also, interestingly, all from Costco....)

What is your favorite sit down restaurant? Um. Brewhouse? I haven't been out in so long..... It is not, in spite of what my children believe, Applebee's.

What is your favorite fast food restaurant? Costco. Or Cafe Zydeco.

What food could you eat every day for two weeks and not get sick of? pizza or bean and cheese burritos

What are your pizza toppings of choice? Double Mushroom, cheese, just a tiny bit of sauce

How many televisions are in your house? 2 but only one actually works

What color cell phone do you have? Damn. Where IS my cell phone? It is darkish-redish.


Are you right-handed or left-handed? Left

Have you ever had anything removed from your body? ACL

What is the last heavy item you lifted? a futon mattress

Have you ever been knocked unconscious? yes

Have you ever fainted? yes


If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die? No thanks

If you could change your name, what would you change it to? Something besides mom??

How many pairs of flip-flops do you own? 2

Last person you talked to? Tuff


Season? Fall and also flower-planting

Holiday? Valentine's Day & Mother's Day & my birthday

Day of the week? Monday (what? It's my day off.)

Month? September

Color? Green

Drink? Water with no ice. Although margaritas sound good right now.


Missing someone? Yes

What are you listening to? A breast pump

Watching? Baseball

Worrying about? Money and remodeling

What's the last movie you saw? Duplicity

Do you smile often? Grinning like an idiot

If you could change your eye color what would it be? green

What's on your wish list for your birthday? Calm & Competence... oh and wireless speakers.

Can you do push-ups? I can.

Can you do a chin up? I doubt it. Please don't make me get up and try.

Does the future make you more nervous or excited? Excited.

Have you been in a Car wreck? no

Have you caused a Car wreck? no

Do you have an accent? Redneckian

Last time you cried? I can't remember but I'm sure I'm blocking out crying from exhaustion in the last several months....

Plans tonight? Make a lovely soup-salad dinner, read books, prepare for tomorrow and do some work.

Have you ever felt like you hit rock bottom? Not today anyway....

Name 3 things you bought yesterday? Um. Yesterday... nothing. But this morning I bought crazy glue, kid coat hangers & a 2010 organizer.

Have you ever been given roses? Yes

Met someone who changed your life? Yes

For the better or worse?? Yes

How did you bring in the New Year? Firing automatic weapons

Would you go back in time if you were given the chance? Hell no.

Have you ever dated someone longer than a year? Yes. And then I married him. And he gave me roses.

What songs do you sing in the shower? All of them.

Do you like to cuddle? Yes. Love it. On the couch. But I like to spread out a little when I sleep.

Have you held hands with someone today? Yes.

Who was the last person you took a picture of? The kids.

Are most of the friends in your life new or old? Old.

Do you like pulpy orange juice? Yes... with vodka.

What is something your friends make fun of you for? My chronic need to make lists of things that don't really need to be on lists.

Last time you ate peanut butter and jelly? Sometime around 1980. I don't like pbj.

What were you doing 12 AM last night? Probably nursing in my sleep.

What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? Did I set the clocks in the bedroom for DST? How funny is it that my alarm is the sound of thunder? Who let the cats out of the bathroom? Who is making that noise? Is that the BABY tooting and grunting?

Monday, November 02, 2009

Christmas by the Week WEEK

Week #5 - "Gift Making" Week Nov 2-8

Focus your energies on completing gifts to be made, setting aside gifts that aren't coming together, and writing a Christmas letter. Find family photos suitable for inclusion with Christmas cards.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pig Cold

Please. Can I get just a little more conflicting information about H1N1???


Clinic for kids age 6 mos to 4 years and caregivers of children under 6 months. Ok, great. I'm on it. Except.... it's the nasal spray.... a live virus. The NP recommended we NOT do that because we could shed the virus on the baby and give her the very virus we are getting vaccinated to prevent her from getting. (Did you follow that?) She was fairly surprised the health department was recommending the nasal spray to caregivers of infants.

Why don't these people talk to each other?

So, factoring in that we've probably already HAD swine flu (we've certainly had our share of Whine Flu at our house) I've elected to take the do-nothing route until the shot is available.

Am I doing the right thing?

Not sure.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Christmas by the Week WEEK 4

Week #4 - "Baking Week" Oct 26-Nov

Set aside the time needed to complete holiday goodie making.
Make lists of toys, books, and clothes that children would enjoy and keep the list handy for telling family members who ask what they would like.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Jingle Bells

My mom called last night... she got Sweet the new Transformers movie for Christmas. So it is genetic.... this early organization thing.

Elle has a post up about it as well. See? It isn't just me.

I'm planning gifts. I think both big kids are getting little digital cameras and new snow sleds. Tuff wants Snow White & Scooby Do dvds and a pink water bottle. Sweet wants Transformers and Bakugan. Bugsy wants.... I think Bugsy wants one of those star animal night lights. Now to decide... turtle, sea turtle or lady bug?

I'm making my gift list.... I want new cami sleep tops, Photoshop Elements, narrow clothes hangers & a curved shower rod.... all available at your local Costco. Also one and two-quart sauce pans and an addition on my house.

I'm also thinking of doing the "12 days of Christmas" in books.... you take Holiday books you already have and wrap them up and open one a night and read it.... I think I have 12 books if I include a few board books. Snuggle up for a little tradition..... sounds kinda nice.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


The veggie wars are on.

I was successful in getting rid of a lot of the sugar in my diet. I've relaxed a little but I'm still being very careful but sometimes I need a bowl of ice cream or some stuffed french toast.

So I've successfully integrated that habit.

Now to add more veggies. I've been eating a lot more salad lately. A small side Caesar with dinner or something. And piling the veggies on my bean burrito at lunch. And spaghetti squash. I love spaghetti squash. Now to make it a regular habit and get the rest of the family involved.... Hot likes salads and we've compromised on our lettuce style by getting hearts of romaine. (He likes iceberg, I like spring mix.)

I'm trying Elle's recipe for ribbons this week.

Last night each kid ate a bite of "cream of green" soup. But I got downturned thumbs from Sweet (and a request for raw broccoli & ranch) and a "meh" from Tuff (and a request for a pumpkin muffin and a pickle) and Hot wouldn't even taste it (and made himself short ribs for dinner). I really like it. What does that say about me? I'll make a bunch for lunches. It is super easy and ranks as "great use of stick blender" in my book. I'm so lazy I skipped the onion. And I used a combo of mozzarella and cheddar cheese because Costco doesn't sell mo-jack.

Broccoli Soup* (aka Cream of Green)

2 tsp olive oil
½ onion, chopped
1 med potato, peeled and cut into ½ in pieces
3 c broccoli, chopped
3 c low-salt vegetable stock
1 c reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

In a large stockpot, heat oil and sauté the onion for 5 to 7 minutes over low to medium heat. Add potatoes, broccoli, and stock; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes or until broccoli and potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
Remove the mixture from stove top. Puree with stick blender and top with cheese.

*To give credit I think this is from Health magazine.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Christmas by the Week WEEK 3

Week #3 - "Supplies Week" Oct 19-25

After inventorying supplies on hand, purchase non-perishables needed for holiday baking, supplies needed for gift making, film, batteries, gift wrapping, and Christmas cards as needed.

Friday, October 16, 2009

And the Powers That Be spoke and said, "Go to bed at 9:00"

Am I getting old?

Wait. Don't answer that.

The Powers That Be seem to be telling me, via the terrible TV available in the 9-10 slot, to go to bed early.

Every fall we sort of figure out what we want to watch..... "My Name is Earl" and "Chuck" were both favorites that seem to have disappeared.

So last night I was reading a trashy paperback and realized we aren't watching a lot of tv lately.

This is good.

So I looked at the lineups and listed the things I thought we'd consider watching.....

Monday: House at 7. Trauma at 8. Lie to Me at 8. Castle at 9.
Tuesday: That witchy woman a few seasons ago spoiled The Biggest Loser for us.... but the kids love Hell's Kitchen. And watching them play it cracks me up. We make dinner and they call me Chef and do my bidding. But it ended this week.
Wednesday: Mercy at 7. The Middle looks funny but I haven't actually watched it yet.
Thursday: FlashForward at 7. Bones at 7. The Office at 8. Grey's at 8.
Friday: You know... I once liked Law & Order.... no more.
Sunday: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition at 7. Tradition demands we eat dinner late on tv trays in the living room.

These are the things I'd consider watching but I'm not in love with any of them. And the only one in the 9 slot is Castle.... and it is kinda dumb. But Trauma and Lie to Me at the same time? So wrong. And Grey's & The Office at the same time.... killing me.

I wish we got A&E so I could watch Hoarders.... and I wish we got CBS so I could watch.... well, whatever is on CBS.

What's everyone else watching now that the new fall lineup is out? Should I just give up and get "Dexter" on my netflix list??

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Balmy 26

My kids are completely confused. They didn't want to wear mittens yesterday because it was a balmy 26 degrees. (Up from 2 the day before.)

We went to the park because it was almost 40 degrees out. Sweet asked if he could take his coat off. No. But he was running around with it unzipped.

Isn't this called the "Admiral Byrd Effect" or something.... how guys at the pole shovel show shirtless in ten below weather because they are so climatized?

Well we climatized early this year... usually it doesn't feel warm at freezing until February or so.

I'm not going to lie... when the cold weather hit I went nuts at Land's End. New coat for Sweet. (Already had a nice one for Tuff thanks to mom watching the clearance at LE last spring.) New fleece hats. New mittens and gloves. A pile of those "magic" knit gloves for everyone. Next up is good base layers for Tuff and a new underwear top for Sweet. I'm thinking Sierra Trading Post. Sweet has good boots. Tuff needs some. Bugsy is sporting the dark green fleece snowsuit/bunting that has served all three kids.... and will continue on down the line for next year's baby in the family....

We are warm and ready. The inflatable tubes are ready for sledding. The goggles and hand warmers are by the door. Bugsy has already figured out the baby sled and cries when it stops moving. Tuff can show you the position her feet/knees should be in to ski.

Bring it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas

from Elle
3 chicken breasts (boiled with garlic salt & pepper & chopped up)
¼ c onion (chopped in Pampered Chef chopper)
½ block cream cheese (softened)
1 can green chilies
10 tortillas
2 cans (or more) green chili sauce
shredded cheese

Put ½ can sauce on bottom of 9x13 pan. Spoon chx, onion, cheese, green chili mixture into 10 tortillas and roll up and put in pan. Top tortillas with green chili sauce, then sprinkle with cheese and finish with more green chili sauce. Bake 350-375 for 30 min.

Use lots of green chili sauce. These re-heat for great work lunches.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Girls

I love the word brassiere. Is that how you spell it?

My grandma always used that word.

SarahP commented on a recent post that every woman, after a baby, should go get fitted and get a new bra or two.

Here's my question.


I need some suggestions for good nursing ones.

Here's a funny story:

Before the wedding my mom came down and we took the two girls and went shopping. I needed shoes and a bra for my bridesmaid dress.

So we went to Macy's at 10:00 when they opened. Found shoes.

Shopped bras. I figured it was my only chance so I tried on lots. Tuff mimicked our every move.... holding bras out, checking the tags, holding them up to her front. Then she'd either shake her head and put them back or hang them on her arm.

So I had a LOT of bras to try on.... she was "helping" me by trying them on as well (picture it... now stop laughing) and then she went in the next dressing room and was playing "worker girl" with some extra hangers. Then she went out to find more bras.*

She brought in three bras and I will be damned if I didn't end up buying one of the ones she brought me.... how did she know my size better than I did??

*Now wait, before you think I was letting my child run wild let me assure you... it was 10am... the store had just opened and there were no child stealers in the store and, two, she was being quiet, polite and respectful and NOT making a mess.....

Pul Go Gi

Pul Go Gi
from my Uncle J

2-3 lbs thin sliced beef
1 c soy sauce
4-6 TBS sesame seed oil
4 TBS roasted sesame seeds
½ TBS pepper
4-6 cloves garlic (crushed & chopped)
1 TBS ginger
2-4 TBS sugar
Red pepper
1 small bunch green onions (chopped small)

Marinate & grill.

Ok, maybe not fall comfort food but so good eaten on skewers while watching football.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Christmas by the Week WEEK 2

Week #2 - "Browse Week" Oct 12-18

Develop and record ideas for gifts and decorations. Ask yourself the following questions:

* What would our ideal Christmas be like?
* What activities are particularly important to our family at Christmas?
* How much emphasis do our Christmas activities place on the spiritual side of Christmas?


Cube Steak Sandwich

2 to 3 pounds cube steak
large onion
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
Worcestershire Sauce

Slice onions and cook in 1/4 stick butter until soft and light brown. Remove and set aside.-Slice cube steak against the grain. Season with Lawry’s. -Heat 2 TBSP butter over high heat (in same skillet) until melted and beginning to brown. -Add meat in single layer. Cook one side until brown, then flip and cook until brown, about a minute on both sides. -Add 1/2 (at least) Worcestershire sauce, 5 to 6 shakes Tabasco, and 2 TBSP butter. Add cooked onions. Stir to combine.-Butter halved French rolls and brown on skillet.

Roll, meat, pan juice, top of roll.

This came from the internet but I can't remember where.... Pretty tasty even if your husband doesn't like worcestershire.

*Updated to add:  Source noted by Anonymous:  Pioneer Woman

Sunday, October 11, 2009


1 ½ lbs. hamburger
½ cup rice
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. onion, minced
1 small can tomato soup
½ cup water

Wash rice. Combine meat, rice, salt, pepper and onion. Shape into small balls. Heat tomato soup and water in cooker. Drop meat balls in soup mixture. Close cover securely. Place pressure regulator on vent pipe and cook 10 minutes with pressure regulator rocking slowly. Let pressure drop of its own accord.

I've also made these in a regular electric frying pan with tomato sauce instead of soup. Whatever.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Creamy White Chili

Creamy White Chili
From my Auntie A

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into ½” cubes)
1 med onion –chopped
1 ½ tsp garlic powder
1 TBS vegi oil
2 cans (15 ½ oz each) Great Northern beans, rinsed & drained
1 can (14 oz) chicken broth
2 cans (4 oz each) chopped green chilis
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground oregano
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 c (8 oz) sour cream
½ c whipping cream

In large sauce pan, sauté chicken, onion & garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies & seasonings. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream & whipping cream. Serve immediately.

I usually use dried beans instead of canned.... because my aunt is a bean farmer.

Friday, October 09, 2009

In Case You Were Wondering.....


(original recipe from Helen Schnitzmeier)

6 medium sized potatoes
3 T. margarine
3 T. flour
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ cup grated cheddar cheese
1/8 tsp pepper
1 small onion (chopped)
2 ¼ cup milk
1 cup cooked ham (diced)

Pare potatoes; slice thin. Melt margarine in saucepan; add onions and cook until yellowed but not brown. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Add milk and cook, stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly. Put half of potatoes in a baking dish; pour over half of the sauce; add ham. Top with remaining potatoes and sauce. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until potatoes are tender. 6-8 servings.

I often skip the onion.

What are you wearing today??

I'm wearing my favorite dark orange long-sleeved t-shirt and my dark jeans.... with crazy striped multicolored socks. What? It's Friday.

The on-going and ever-lasting clothing debate continues. I guess it isn't a debate but more of an ongoing discussion about finding your personal style.

Get Rich Slowly has a great article up about clothing. Go. Read the article and the comments. Come back. Tell me what you think.

Now. Here's what I think. Yup, right on. I began my quest to discover my style in January 2008 with the great closet clean out. I gathered my sister (you can borrow her if you want.... she has great style, is honest, and won't hurt your feelings) and a cup of tea. We started into my closets with the goal of not stopping until we were done.

I discovered what everyone discovers. I wear the same stuff over and over. So I ditched the rest.... to the tune of seven large garbage bags to Good Sam's. And later a giant tub of shoes.

Then I spent a little money on a few items shopping with Elle at Kohl's and getting some capris at Eddie Bauer.

So that was almost 2 years ago. I'm finding my wardrobe needs another overhaul. Frankly, that stuff I bought two years ago is WORN OUT.... I don't care how you launder it and don't put it in the dryer.... wear it every week and it wears out.

Plus I suffer with every season change. I'm moving out of my cute skirts/plain tops/sandals outfits and into jeans and fall clothes. I need something a little classier than my dark jeans three days a week at work.

I have some "Holy Crap It Is Hard To Ditch Baby Number Three Weight" clothes now that I am wearing to work but I need to anticipate Christmas. What items should I ask for to make the perfect work/play wardrobe??

Here's what I'm thinking:

The perfect black cardigan.... maybe cashmere.
Long-sleeved black shirts.... not crew neck... v-neck or something clever..... soft fabulous fabric.
A new scarf or two. I love scarves. Something shorter maybe?
One or two tops... those crazy trendy print ones.
Something fabulous and Eileen Fisher??
Pants... what pants? I have black knit ones (yoga pants) that I wear all the time. What else?

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Christmas by the Week WEEK 1

Week #1 - "List Week" Oct 5-11

Make your lists of gift recipients, Christmas cards, menus for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's, goodies to share or to give, favorite meals to prepare ahead, decorations needed, and gifts to make.

Christmas by the Week

I got this list somewhere.... I'll be posting every week....

Fall Comfort Foods

Elle just asked me for some meal inspiration. Which is a switch because I'm usually bugging her for help with school lunch packing or ideas for dinner......

Things are a bit chaotic here....

1. I'm still recovering from being sick (so tired) and I smacked my head yesterday (don't ask.... cleaning behind the pellet stove and that blessed elk mount.... need I say more??). So just getting things done is a challenge right now.
2. I'm putting things away from the evacuation pile and the wedding pile. And catching up on laundry... a challenge with no working dryer and below freezing temps outside.
3. We got our first real storm. It is cold here. Right around freezing. So we did the "dig out the winter stuff" from the shed.... it is all piled in the dining room. And I ordered some stuff from Land's End... mittens and hats and such. Sweet really needs a new winter jacket. He has one but it isn't very high quality or warm. And Tuff really needs new boots. And everyone needs those little liner one-size-fits-all knit gloves. Plus some heavy winter socks, and long underwear tops and bottoms. More shopping. Ugh. Paid Sweet a dollar to search for garden hoses under the snow and a dollar for every one he hauled to the lean-to for storage. Bought enough bags of pellets to get to the weekend... hopefully I will have time to take the pickup and get a ton this weekend.
4. Hot is on a diet. No carbs. He swears it works for him. I've been eating some sugar (leftover wedding cake and cinnamon rolls) this week but I finished that up last night so I'm back on the wagon. The no carb thing makes dinner interesting. It seems wrong to make big vats of pasta and eat it in front of Hot. On the other hand.... I could eat an omlet every night and be happy.
5. My "to do" list is multiplying exponentially. Paying off doctor bills from this summer, doing school stuff (fundraisers, book orders, math homework, reading homework, finding library books, checking out the teacher's Amazon wish list....), dealing with cold weather stuff (I must put plastic on the windows this weekend and blow out the flowerbed sprinklers and finish putting porch pots in the garage.... so much for my plans to put my flower beds to bed nicely...), the broken dryer isn't helping, trying to feed everyone healthy-ish but cheap and easy, oh my... it overwhelms sometimes.

So back to the recipe request.... I went for some comfort foods.

Inspiration: Fall Comfort Food

From my mom: Scalloped Potatoes and Ham (I won't mention that you can redneck it and use hot dogs....)
From my aunt: White Bean Chili (This is actually a great crock pot potluck item.... you can tone the hot up or down with green chilies or habanera)
From my grandma: Porcupine Meatballs (serve with garlic mashed potatoes made in the pressure cooker....if you make enough you can have meatball sandwiches the next day)
From the internet: Cube Steak Sandwiches (serve with salad)
From my uncle: Pul Go Gi (We like it with plain rice)
From my friend: Chicken Enchiladas (Elle's recipe)

Up first.... Scalloped (Scalped) Potatoes and Ham....

Friday, October 02, 2009

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Evacuation Warning vs Mandatory Evacuation

Friday was a hell of a day. I had a very long and very stressful day at work. Complete with picking up Sweet from school at 3 and going back to an off-site 10-5 meeting. He watched videos on his little dvd player and was an angel but still... It felt like a serious hit to my professionalism, ya know?

AND there was no place to pump.... so I was about dying and hoping nobody said the word b-a-b-y or they risked taking a full shot to the eye from chest level. My plan was to get the girls and stop at a park so the bigs could play and the littlest could nurse.... and then my cell phone rang.

"Honey, go home, sit tight, watch the horizon, and maybe pack a bag or two. I'll call you when I know more...."


Big fire. A few miles from our house. Not a big deal, right? But add to the equation a whole forest of red, dead, beetle-kill trees and predictions of high winds and, well, huh.... what IS important in your home?

My 5 minute plan is the kids, the dog and my purse. My 6 minute plan is the kids, the dog, my purse, the cats & the external hard drive. But what do I pack when I have hours and hours to stew about it?

First. Call the in-law's and let them know what is going on.... they are out of town and will be back early the next morning. Then spend much time on the phone talking to... everyone. Lots of people called to ask if we needed help packing up or needed a place to stay. Thank you. I talked to several neighbors including two who needed a place for their horses. Bring 'em down... I have water buckets and all the gates are closed.... just put them in an empty space and make sure they have water.

I paused to daydream about the items I would like to burn up.... the pink countertops in the kitchen, the couch, Hot's swim trunks, the washer and dryer.....

Then pack up photo albums that aren't available digitally, baby books (who am I kidding... the books are blank... but there is a box accompanying each that is full), taxes, last year's worth of bills, camera, various little antiques, jewelry, all the guns (please note: I'm only required to salvage the hunting rifle if it is a serious emergency), all the keys to all the gun locks, safe deposit key, various other paperwork that seems important, 4 days worth of clothing for each of us, hunting pack and licenses for Hot, all gift cards (what? It made total sense at the time), spare car keys, toys (transformers, bakugan, several baby dolls & leapsters)..... at this point I realize whatever I pack up I have to unpack later.... so I stopped.

Then I debated leaving my bridesmaid dress for this weekend. Then I packed it. And all the kids' wedding attire.

Then I called Hot and told him I was sorry to report his swimming trunks burnt in the fire. His "but I've had them since high school" trunks. Teal green baggies with a navy blue pattern. Yes, a speedo would be worse... but not much. So sorry.... all gone... bye-bye.

And I got the small cat carrier down from the garage rafters. And ran the dishwasher and did some laundry. And remembered my dryer is broken and I can't hang laundry out in the smoke. And I put the sprinklers on in the yard. And I took some photos for insurance documentation. And my in-laws helped me shuttle the pickup to town.

And we went to a birthday party on Saturday afternoon. Because, really, it is just a normal day in the rest of the world. But I know I was rattled because I forgot the gift.

And off to my sister's house to make centerpieces and programs. I discovered the fire was her fault. She said, "I hoped for an act of God to bring you to my house for Saturday AND Sunday... I'm very sorry...." We were only planning to go up on Sunday but ended up going on Saturday afternoon because of the smoke and evacuation warning.

But Sunday night was fine and by Tuesday it was cooling off. It rained and snowed on Wednesday.... so much that Hot called me and told me to open the "end of season" celebratory bottle of wine.

And that is the end of my story.....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Coffee, Car Keys, Cell Phone

Whenever we leave the house, since Sweet was tiny, he would run down my checklist for me....

cell phone?

At this point our lives are so list driven we probably couldn't function without them.

shower (sub list: shampoo, facewash, bodywash, c0nditioner, shave, foot pumice)
dressed (clothes laid out the night before)
necessities (pit stick, brush teeth, lotion, vitamins)
fluff (hair combed, maybe the front straightened, face tint, eyeliner, blush)
breakfast (coffee, toast)
pack lunch (cheese, refried beans, torillas, fruit)
work bag (milk bottles, papers from desk)
out the door (shoes, jacket, sunglasses, coffee, car keys, cell phone)

dressed (clothes laid out the night before)
breakfast (we now have a daily schedule of what to have)
pack lunch (bologna/cheese on wheat, grapes, carrots, something crunchy, snack, cheesestick)
brush teeth
wash face
shoes & hat
lunch in backpack, waterbottle filled
out the door

Same as Sweet but no breakfast or lunch and she needs her hair fixed

diaper bag out (from the closet to the table)
load with milk
car seat


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I give up.

I've given up..... sugar.


Ok, not in a really serious way.... I still eat ketchup. But I have had very limited (one) dessert-type foods since August 17th.

You would think this would result in great, leaping loss of weight, right?

Not a pound. Not one.

And, to make it worse, my sister delivered my bridesmaid dress last night. I had to bite my cheek to keep from bursting into tears. But that's ok... the day isn't about me... it is about her... and she is going to look like a lily.... a beautiful calm lily.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Breakfast Ideas

We are coming to the close of our first whole week of school.

So far it has been an adventure. He isn't learning anything he doesn't already know and all they do is play all day. He loves marble chutes and snack time.

There is a kid in the other K-class that gets lost all the time.

He took his baseball glove for show-n-tell. The theme was "something that reminds you of summer."

I need more ideas for easy kid breakfasts (now that he isn't eating at daycare for breakfast). Tuff's favorite breakfast is chicken nuggets... the dino-shaped ones. I don't think Sweet will eat pop tarts.... maybe eggo waffles.... although he hasn't been much of a waffle eater since I switched to real syrup from the high-fructose stuff. I even disguised it in a Mrs. Butterworth's bottle but he still doesn't like the taste. We have junky cereal on Fridays. Cocoa Puffs or Lucky Charms. He likes mini-bagels with, get this, mayo. Ew.

Any ideas?

Painting 1-2-3

So disappointed.

Started painting the kitchen. It appears the grey-green I selected is VERY close to the color in the living room. (Sag Harbor Grey vs Peaceful Jade)


Elle, where are you? I need you.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Day Two

Day two of school. Daddy took him. Small, um, discussion over the first day of show n tell. He thought taking his entire bakugan collection was a good idea. Daddy said no. They discussed. They decided to take his cool tractor and talk about his grandpa's farm. His poor teacher.

Tuff is struggling. She really misses her brother. We are trying to find our balance without him around the house. She spends a lot of time with the ipod blaring dancing and singing on the "stage" (the couch) and she plays more with her dolls and stuffed animals. Poor girl.

Sweet handled day one with ease. He even remembers all of the classroom rules. And I remembered to pick him up. Who-hoo. We rock. And we had ham and baked potatoes for dinner to celebrate.

The propane guy came yesterday and the septic pumper guy will come today. His name is Ken and I adore him. What? You don't have a personal relationship with your septic dude? Oh... it's a long story....maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Big "K"

This morning I did one of the hardest things I've ever done.....

I got coffee and DID NOT eat the mini donut that came with it.....

Oh, and I realized I may have to learn to spell "kindergartner" correctly.

Here's the short version:

Tuesday. Open House 5-6:30. Also a "Parent Partners" (PTA) fundraising pizza dinner. Hot had to work so we dropped the girls at Nana's and Sweet and I went solo. We were flying below the radar and cruised in, checked things out, dropped our supplies and blasted out. I had a pile of paperwork (I had been warned by Elle about this). I now have a whole jam-packed file. Ugh. Any suggestions for a really sweet calendar system???

Wednesday. Check-In between 9-12. I checked in. We'd already done doctor records and forms in the spring when he registered so there wasn't much to do.

Then off to the doc for the baby. Shots. Who is dumb enough to schedule 2-month shots the day before the first day of school? Duh.

Then to Famous Footwear to make one last desperate search for size 2 velcro shoes. Shoes that don't look like something a little old man would wear. Here's the deal... by the time you wear a size two the manufacturer assumes you know how to tie your shoes. Ya'll know what I'm like in the mornings.... one more little detail will tip me over the edge.... velcro it is. So the only shoes they have are U-G-L-Y. Lime green and black. So I cruise by the clearance rack and the velcro-shoe-gods shine down on me. There. On the bottom. In a banged up box. Size 2. Velcro. Transformers. Just like the ones he already has!! Hurrah! And only $20. Then home to cuddle a miserable baby all afternoon.

Thursday. The. Day. We got up and got moving and timed thing just right. Grandma called and wished him well. Nana stopped by for a quick hug and encouraging word. Daddy packed his lunch. (Bologna, cheese & mayo on wheat, carrot sticks, pretzels, a granola bar, a special apple juice and, um, some other stuff I did not see.) I need to revisit Elle's post on lunches for motivation. We arrived at school about 8:10 and he headed for the playground and found Zack. (Zack, his real friend as compared to Jack, his imaginary one.) Tuff watched for a while and then couldn't resist joining in.... she loves a slide. The bell rang and off he went running like a demon.... for the wrong door. Daddy got him turned around and he lined up by the green star. Into the class and all was well. They herded the parents to the library for a short bit and then Daddy went to work and Tuff and I headed for the coffee drive-thru for our reward. (Hence the donut challenge noted above.) I think of all of us she took it the hardest. She really, really wanted to see the "doghouse" in Sweet's classroom and go in it. Next time, girlfriend. She was so sad we went to Nana's office for a quick hug... then home.

Blogger refuses to let me attach pictures today. Sorry.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

This whole school kid thing is kicking my ass.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Castle

Yesterday morning at exactly 6:28 am a big old pickup and two car loads of boys turned into my drive.

At 6:35 am they were on my roof and shingles were raining down into the yard.

At 6:45 am my son wandered out on the porch all sleepy-eyed and made them all laugh by announcing, "WHAT is going on here?"

At 7:00 am they discovered cedar shakes under the chicken coop roof over the kitchen. Layers of OSB and shakes. Nice.

At 7:10 am they discovered rot on the dormers.

At 7:15 am I called the insurance adjuster and told him we documented with photos.

At 8:00 am their shirts and all the shingles were off.

At 8:15 am the dust was all knocked off every ceiling fan and my brain was starting to rattle so I left for town.

At 1:30 pm I came home and pretended to stain the playhouse/swing set so I could gaze on all that work in progress. Is it wrong to want to sit in the yard with a big old salted-rim and watch work all day?

At 3:28 pm they finished up and drove out of my yard leaving behind some slightly flattened plants, 2 nails in the grass and a new castle grey roof.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Daddy's Girl

June 27, 2009, 4:21pm
6lbs, 13oz -19 inches stork gallery.... email me for her code.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Longest Mile

Here's what you forget about the end of pregnancy...

.... You can't call anyone. Every phone call I make these days is answered with a breathless, "Hello... are you at the hospital?"

Um, no.

People I have a whole 'nother WEEK until my due date. At least. I'm not one of you early-Bessies. I go late. Days late. So chill out. (Watch me hatch tonight....)

In other news... I feel good. Way good. Too good. Not normal. No swelling, no puffiness, no weight gain (wait... should I be worried about that?), no major pains (although I am getting that "baby is low" strange nerve stuff once in a while). My back doesn't even hurt (although I feel I paid my dues in hip pain from the ankle sprain in February that lasted for months....) I have ankles. I have some strange brown freckles on my face but no real "mask" at this point. I'm still wearing my wedding ring (ok, yes, the larger band and not the rock but still....) I'm having contractions regularly but no regular contractions.... does that make sense? Doctor appt this afternoon. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Exam T minus 2+ weeks

You have got to go read Dooce. She's pregnant and due, um, any day now. Read the post when she talks about getting an internal exam.... I'm SO GLAD my experience is not her experience..... it hurt her. Now, I'm not saying it was a cake walk, but, seriously.... it takes about a minute and, well, he does use lube, right?

And then she says "the last 3 times she examed me" or something like that... and I go, "WHAT?" And then I go, "WHY????" Why all the coochie-looking? What does it tell you? Nothing. So why do it?

Internets, today was my first internal exam. (Ok, wait, yes... I had an exam at 27 weeks when I was contracting to get a "cervical baseline" in case it happened again... I also got an ultrasound then.) I am due in, what, 15-17 days? The only reason he did the exam was he had to do the strep b test so while he was down there he thought he'd root around a little more. I'm at 3cm. But I could have told you that.... the baby has dropped. I'm not at a waddle but I'm definitely at that place where when I try to stand up I can't lean forward in my chair if my knees are together... know what I mean?

Thank goodness I'm easy....... hee-hee.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Prego Report

I'm due in about 2.5 weeks.... the 26th or 28th or so.

Interesting things of Note:

1. The swelling... or lack therof.... if fascinating. Is it me watching my sodium intake? Is it the cooler weather? Is it the amount of caffeine I'm allowing myself? I still have ankles.

2. The heartburn. I remember more heartburn with the other two... with #1 I even did the "put a couple of 2x4's under the head of the bed" thing. So far it has been minimal.... although eating chocolate late at night gets me every time.

3. I haven't been swimming. With the first two floating in warm water was required. I haven't put on the blue & green shamu suit a single time so far.

4. I'm not soaking in ice water yet.... but that may come next week. The little pink hospital tub with a tray of ice and some water was my most refreshing after work friend for #2.

5. Drinking water with lemon. I don't know if this is real or not but it seems like drinking water with lemon slices helps the swelling.... I don't know if the lemon has anything to do with it or if it is just the added water.

6. The weight. I haven't really gained all that much..... hmmm... but I DID start out pretty big.

7. Leg cramps. The last few days I've had some sort of restless leg syndrome that is only cured by MOVING. My hubby is no longer freaked out to come downstairs at 3 am and see me on the elliptical. Taking potassium and drinking milk seems to be an almost instant cure for the leg cramps I get in the evenings sometimes.

8. The belly officially requires sleep support. As of last week I have to snuggle with a pillow to support my belly in bed on my side.... My belly is kinda pointy so it needs extra support. I can still wake up flat on my back feeling like I'm not a pregnant woman at all in the mornings.

9. The braxton-hicks. Lordy. Combine that with two bladder infections and I think I've had more contractions already this pregnancy than I did with the last two combined deliveries....

10. Cravings. I'm not craving cream cheese & jalapeno jelly on wheat thins daily like I did with Tuff. I'm not having the really needy cravings for creamy foods and spicy foods but, mmmm, creamy and spicy sure does sound good.... With Sweet I craved salt and meat.... specifically deli meat and hot dogs. The only really odd craving I've had for #3 was for green onions.... I don't really LIKE green onions but I HAD to eat them. Silly baby.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In the Garden In June

The weather is finally warm today.

After several days of clearing the ice out of the dog's water bowl in the morning.

My "outside" tomatoes are.... toast. But I put the sole surviving hanging upside-down tomato in the bathroom for the cold spell. (The other one was sacrificed.... Hot knocked it down while moving the apple tree to a "more comfortable" spot.)

And I have one nice hanging basket (thanks mom) and a little porch pot of barnyard mint.

I also have a lavendar, a pansy and a begonia in the house waiting transfer.... does anyone know if deer like begonias???

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

To The Farm

So the big plan for June 6-7 was to go to the farm. My brother & sis-in-law were getting their vows blessed so their children won't be bastards. Good plan. I was a little uneasy being in church with all of them... I just wasn't sure where the lightning was going to strike.

The plan was to leave by 11-ish on Saturday but with the snow on Friday we couldn't mow on Saturday morning and Big Blue Eyes was staring at me at 6:05 saying, "It mornin'?? Go grandma's now??" so I got up, frosted the cake, and started loading.

Hot is still sickly (it has been a week... get better already) so he was moving slow.

The kids played on Saturday... Tuff played on the swing until the backs of her knees were raw. Another little boy was there.... he will be 7 on August 6th. The boys had a blast and completely entertained each other. They made a fort in the old school bus and ran wild through the shelter belt. Hot took them over to the pond to play..... Tuff got to pet the kitties at the barn....

Sunday we were up early and went to church and they blessed the vows... it was lovely and quick and the kids were really good. I mean really good. And everyone said how wonderful it was to have little ones in church again and they were all wistful.

Then coffee and rolls in the church basement.... a time-honored tradition. It was disturbing to realize they have the same wood paneling down there that we have in our house. The rolls & muffins & pastries were amazing.... a whole giant selection of homemade stuff and a really delicious bunch of fruit. Then back to the farm... the roads were muddy and kind of miserable and the van is a muddy mess now.

Big ham dinner. Then we all hung out on the lawn and used the furminator on the various dogs while Sarge got a bath with tomato juice... oh, yeah, Sarge made friends with one of those interesting black & white "kitties" with the fluffy tails. All that furminating made it look like several small fluffy animals had been sacrificed in the yard. Ew.

Hot cut down a tree for mom and gave his professional opinion on the beetle infestation in the shelter belt. The boys ran around like crazy and tried very hard to be nice to the little tag-along sister. Then they were climbing the tree in the front yard.... really high.... and singing "We are the monkey brothers. We eat bananas." and you can imagine how THAT went over. We didn't leave until 5:30 or later. The kids were exhausted and Tuff's legs hurt. She was asleep in about 1/4 of a mile... the only reason she lasted that long was Grandma sent some snack mix and she was busy picking the chocolate chips out of it to eat. Then we got home and unpacked and had a snack and watched a bit of tv and went to bed. Fortunately, the house was pretty cleaned up so it wasn't overwhelming. I did some laundry last night and will do some folding tonight and we should be in ok shape.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Parents Behaving Badly

Look what is in the news.....

Wasn't me.

But did I mention last week I got to see a very graphic demonstration of what it takes to give a kid shaken baby syndrome?

When you have a baby they make you watch two videos before you leave the hospital. One on infant cpr and one on shaken baby. We watched them both with Sweet. (Even though, um, Hot teaches cpr.... but a refresher for the pee-wee set never hurts, right?) With Tuff we LIED to the nurse and only watched the cpr one. The shaken baby video is that horrifying.

A few weeks ago in "class that isn't class" for baby school (Centering) a discussion came up about shaken baby and I was doing my blood pressure while it was going on. HIGH. I had to wait 20 min and try again to get a normal reading.... apparently that kind of thing upsets me.

So last week they cracked an egg and put it in an old cottage cheese container. The yoke was intact. Then they dropped it from what would be, oh, bed height. Yoke still intact. Then they shook it... just a few seconds. Ta-da. You've just demonstrated how to scramble your newborn's brain.

I know sometimes they make ya crazy.... don't shake 'em.

The OTHER gift giving months....

Well guess what? I'm thinking about budgets again.

We did NOT do the CSA this year. It was $300 for 12 weeks last year and I loved every minute of it. But.... for $25/week I can buy a lot of veggies at the farmer's market so that is what I've decided to do. (Along with Project Garden Plot (aka Ha-ha, try to get in HERE, deer)... which you may hear more about later.) So chalk up that point to freaking out about the economy. And I'm saving a few pennies to buy myself some new clothes after the baby..... or, well, in the fall. And a couple new maternity bras because people, mine are RATTY.

But what I'm really thinking about is gifts.

June-July is birthday, graduation and wedding months around here. This year we have one graduation gift, three wedding gifts, our anniversary, 3 kid birthdays, several family birthdays, Father's Day and um, that's all I can think of right now.

What do you get for graduation gifts? My husband says the only appropriate graduation gift is either cash or a check. So I'm going with that. And a card from the dollar store. Now to decide how BIG the check should be.

The wedding gifts we have for this year are mostly Hot's former students. They pretty much get a standard gift.... Target gift cards. So that's fairly easy.

For our anniversary, Hot got a chop saw. Or a miter saw. Or, well, it's a big ass 12" saw that will allow me to add exponentially to his "honey do" list. We are both thrilled. It is a little fuzzy as to what I got for our anniversary. Technically, I got new tennis shoes for Mother's Day (but I mostly used gift cards to pay for them) and the game "Pass the Pigs" from the kids.... I love that the kids get me a new game every year.... it is a tradition and a laptop for our anniversary. I think. But I haven't gotten the laptop yet. By the way... suggestions??

For Father's Day, Hot is getting (honey are you reading? Don't look.) reloading equipment. Really expensive reloading equipment. And a new cheese slicer... because he broke ours. Oh, and a very cool new silicone flipper.... because I banned the metal one to the bbq (it killed all my cookware and electric frying pan) and he broke the nylon one.

Sweet got 2 new pairs of shorts ($25), new swimming trunks ($9), a transformer ($11), a fake ipod ($20), a transformer music player thingy ($13) & a school backpack ($13.. I love Lands End clearance). I think that is all we got him. He's getting yet another transformer when the baby is born and maybe some school workbooks and school supplies.

Tuff is getting new swimming googles, a pink flashlight and, um, some other stuff for her birthday. And, um, something when the baby is born. Yikes... I better get on that, huh?

The baby is getting some new diapers and some pacifiers.

Father's day.... hmmm. My dad will get... something.... probably snacks from Costco... he loves that. Hot's dad will get money towards his season football tickets. My grandpa will get a card with a note telling him we put xx amount of money into savings for college for our kids in his name. He loves that. Oh, and pictures of the kids.

I haven't even thought about all the birthdays we have in June.... Hot got my mom a spidey because she mentioned she lost hers and he loves the one she got him. It's this stretchy spiderweb looking thing with plastic hooks on the sides that you can move around. You put it over a load of junk in the back of the pickup. He thought of that all by himself. I'm so proud. Then we have his sister, a 9-year-old niece and his dad. June is a busy month.

I feel the urge to document all of this out so I can figure it out and get busy because, well, ack, I'm going to hatch a baby here in 3 weeks or so....

Last Weekend.

We did some birthday weekend last week and I forgot to tell you all about it.

Saturday was a pretty low-key kinda day. Took the kids to the farmer's market but I was really tired when we got there so I gave them each a couple of bucks and they spent a good long time in the bouncy house. Then we went to lunch.... a real treat.... and I had a ragin' cajun rice-potato bowl (I love those.... and screw everyone who says a nine month pregnant woman can't have green peppers, onions, spice sausage & cajun gravy). The kids had "guts" for lunch. Bread guts. Oh, come on, you've never been to lunch at The Staggering Ox?? I can't explain.

My mom and dad called on Sunday and said they were on their way down and, in fact, were about 90 minutes out. Who-hoo. The house was clean enough and I had some burger thawed. Hot grabbed a bag of chips and salsa and an extra package of buns while he was in town at the dump. We lounged around and drank beer (ok, so I drank cranberry juice & club soda with a lime) and just enjoyed the day. Sweet got a gift card to Target... his favorite thing in the world... and some other good gifts.

One of the best lines from Sweet was, "Hey grandpa, 3 days and 2 nights." ??? "I've been wearing these same shorts for 3 days and 2 nights." Grandpa was so proud.

Tuff came in the house at one point with a very odd look on her face and said she was going to throw up.... but she didn't. She was obviously not feeling well for a good part of the later evening.... she draped herself around her daddy and would not let go. Seriously. She was like this little mink stole draped across his shoulders as he moved the sprinklers and she would recline on him like he was the best lawn furniture in the world while they were relaxing. She had a bit of a fever so we dosed her before bed.

After my folks left Sweet made "the face" and ran for the bathroom. He almost made it to the toilet. So I cleaned up those piles and tossed him in the tub and called work to let them know I probably wouldn't be in on Monday.

Monday was cold so we spent most of the day on the couch watching cartoon movies. Tuff was clingy. I finished Sweet's brownie-ice cream-pizza cake. Nana and Papa stopped by that night for the official "day of" party. More presents. Awesome cake. (Pictures later.)

The first official "kid" party will be at The Adventure Zone on June 13th (3:30-5:30, personal pizzas provided) and now I have a five-year-old.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Ok. I give. How do you wash windows?


I've tried the attach-it-to-the-hose spray cleaner thingies.

I've tried vinegar and water and old newspaper.

I've tried windex and a microfiber cloth.

I've tried sudsy ammonia and a squeegee.

My windows look like heck. Usually in the spring I get all gung-ho and do two or three windows a weekend until they are all done. (Six windows upstairs, ten regular windows downstairs, one big picture window and the front door glass....) This morning I was looking through the ONE window I've done so far and it looks terrible.


Thursday, May 28, 2009


Glah. I'm in transition.

Hot changed from is "winter" schedule to his "June" schedule this week. Meaning now he is working 8-5. The end of the month he will go to his "fire" schedule.... 9-6 and on call all the freakin' time. The challenge of June is something called "first out." He is "first out" on the call list if there is a fire. Once he goes to the regular fire schedule that will rotate between all the Engine Bosses and Crews.... but for now he's pretty much first out for the whole month. (A lot of the other crew and bosses are teachers and not "on" yet.... but a lot of the new crew came on this week.... so it is training and testing and chaos.)

So during the winter Hot picks the kids up around 4:30 and comes home and feeds them. But now.... I'm suddenly in charge of DINNER. EVERY NIGHT. Ugh. The pressure. So far this week we've had: red beans & rice (Sweet's favorite) and burritos. Tonight will be something delightful with leftover taco meat. Tomorrow may be a spinnin' chicken since I need to make a Costco run. I'll cook a roast on Saturday... so that will cover Saturday night and possibly some bbq beef sandwiches for later. We are all completely in love with the 29 cent corn on the cob and I drive by that store every night so I'll try to stop there for that a few times a week.

I've made some lists and it will smooth out but right now it just isn't all that fun to try to plan meals that are moderately healthy and can be tossed together in 15-20 minutes.... especially when I could eat burgers or sandwiches pretty much every night and be happy. Boring.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It Coulda Been Worse....

Last night my husband came to the door with a sad look on his face.

He was trying to tell me something without the kids realizing it and I THOUGHT he mouthed "I just ran over a cat" which was very sad and not at all what he said.
He backed over Sweet's bike.... which I pointed out to him was not as sad as running over a cat. AND the GOOD NEWS.... Sweet was not ON the bike at the time. (Side note: Anyone else notice how many local kids are getting hit by cars lately??)

It wasn't even Sweet's 'spensive $15 bike... it was the 50 cent bike Papa got him at the last sheriff's auction. Bent the back rim and scratched the bumper on the van. Granted... I just invested $8 in tire tubes for it but I'm hoping we can send Papa to the NEXT auction to buy another 50-center so we can steal the rim and fix this bike.
Sweet was very sad but understanding... he and daddy both said they were sorry. The bike that DIDN'T get smooshed is:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It PROBABLY isn't what you think....

My brother and his wife have an announcement.... we are all waiting to hear it.....

Go ahead.

Tell us.

Friday, May 15, 2009

What are you DOING this summer?

So Elle is asking.... What are you DOING this summer?

Now..... I don't really feel qualified to answer this..... I mean.... I go to an office 40 hours a week and my kids aren't in school yet.... so, with that qualification.... Here's our summer plan.

The babe is due June 28th.

Our lives are going to be simple, simple, simple....

Sweet & Tuff will do some private swim lessons in July and, possibly, an organized group set in August. This will let them be in the pool without me risking drowning 3 children (or myself) in the process.... Happy.

Wednesdays are "town" days. We will try for 10:30 story hour at the library and any errands on Wednesdays. Most times I will probably pack a snack lunch and we will eat at the park or somewhere.

Sundays are grill days. I'm going to try some new grill recipes.... veggies and stuff.... besides the usual fare of steak, burgers & hobo dinners.

We have plans to, periodically (every 10 days or so) meet family at our favorite lake-type place in town and have a picnic for dinner. Spinnin' chicken and strawberries for dinner. I love Costco.

Our daily schedule will vary but I try to sneak out of bed between 6:15-6:30 and have some quiet time... this summer I will be able to walk because Hot won't go to work until 9. On the elliptical at 7 if I can't walk. Kids get up and eat breakfast, do sunscreen, get dressed and brush teeth with minimal help. Tuff needs help with her hair and her pink sparkly lip gloss.

I shower ever day. Every. Single. Day. Mmm.... what a decadent goal.

My "projects" for the summer include cleaning the garage and painting the porch posts and upstairs outside window trim. Wish me luck.

The kids' "projects" for the summer include making fairy gardens and building things out of old wood and painting rocks.

Creek time. We try to play down by the creek a few times a week. It is cool in the heat. We also will have the swing set done and the pool on the corner of the porch. I can sit in my rocker and see everything I need to see.

Lunches will, generally, be eaten outside every day. We have a little table set up on the porch.

Saturday mornings are Farmer's Market and/or Cartoons.

Friday nights are movie nights.

I'm going to try to sneak in 8-10 hours of work a week during the first few weeks to stretch the maternity leave.

I'll let you know about mid-summer how it is all going.....