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.