Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The neverending journey

I need to learn to lower my expectations. I already know that I should lower my expectations, I just don't actually know how to do it. And it is slowly making me crazy.

I'd like my home to look like something out of Better Homes and Gardens. I mean, stylistically, of course, but that's out of my reach. What feels within my reach, though, is a house with a place for everything and everything in it's place. I've aced the 'place for everything' due to a generously sized house with lots of storage space. Everything HAS a place. The problem is that no one but me puts anything in those places.


The kids are just kids. Why spend time cleaning up when time could be spent playing? Or reading? Or aggravating your mother? Or eating for the fiftieth time today? And for that matter, why not combine some of these things? Eating and playing! Reading and aggravating your mother! So they make messes round the clock. And then when I tell them to clean up, they spend their time playing or reading instead. My older son even gives up on everything and just takes a nap. You know he doesn't want to do it when he chooses to sleep instead. He never chooses sleep.


And my husband.... Oh, my husband. He just doesn't care. Messes, dirt, none of it bothers him. I get twitchy in a cluttered room. He just moves clutter aside and makes a spot to sit and considers it good enough. We've been married a while now, and I have long since given up on asking him to do things my way. Why put socks in the laundry basket when there's a perfectly good floor right in front of it? Why put things in the drawer when you can just set them on top of the counter?

The thing I've realized, is that I'm the only one who values a clean, tidy house. My family members don't care. And ultimately, if it's something that matters to me, I need to take ownership and do it. What I'm also still working on accepting is that I can't reasonably have a home that looks the way I want it to when I'm the only one who values it. I keep trying to come up with a good routine to maintain the house, but it's hard to have a reasonable, doable routine when I have four bathrooms and I think each one should be cleaned twice a week. If it was only bathrooms I had to clean, that would be all well and good, but there's another 3000 or so square feet that need attention to.

Lowered expectations. That's what I need to do. Keep them in line with what I can actually do without making myself crazy.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Way more than you care to know

I stole this from a whole lot of people. And I'm bored. So you get to know way, way more than you ever wanted to. 

1.  Were you named after anyone?
No. I was named because my mom liked the name and she had aspirations of teaching her daughter to speak French. My mom doesn't speak French, so I don't fully understand this one. 
ETA: I was intentionally given the same initials as my dad as well. 

2.  When was the last time you cried?
I'm not sure. It's probably been a few weeks, and it was probably about a movie. I don't cry for my own purposes very often. 

3.  Do you like your handwriting?
Yes. I have teacher handwriting. It can look completely perfect if I slow down. But if I don't, it still looks pretty good. 

4.  What is your favorite lunch meat?
Ham. There is little I like more than a ham, swiss, and mayonnaise sandwich. 

5. Do you have kids?
Yep. Two of 'em. 

6.  If you were another person, would you be friends with you?
I like to think so! 

7.  Do you use sarcasm a lot?
Too often. Sometimes I feel like it's just my lazy attempt at humor. 

8.  Do you still have your tonsils?
I do not. I got them taken out when I was 18 and had strep and sinus infections back to back to back and they couldn't make them go away. 

9.  Would you bungee jump?
Nope. I am terribly afraid of heights and also very risk averse. 

10.  What's your favorite cereal?
Cinnamon Life. I loved it when I was little, and I still do. 

11.  Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
I don't really have shoes that have to be tied. But I untie my kids' shoes when they take them off. 

12.  Do you think you are strong?
Physically, no. I am in terrible shape. But emotionally? I've managed things I didn't ever think I would be able to. 

13.  What is your favorite ice cream?
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

14.  What is the first thing you notice about people?
Usually hair. It's a pretty obvious thing. 

15.  Red or Pink?

16.  What is the least favorite thing about yourself?
My mid-section.

17.  Who do you miss the most?
Having enough time to do the things I want to do.

18.  What is the technique that you need to work on the most?

19.  What color shoes are you wearing?
I'm wearing black slippers. We don't wear shoes in the house.

20.  What was the last thing you ate?
I ate the last of the pineapple. 

21.  What are you listening to right now?
I'm halfway watching an episode of The West Wing.

22.  If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Cerulean. It's been my favorite for a long time.

23.  Favorite smells?
Baking smells. Cookies, cakes, bread, whatever. It's just so enticing.

24.  How important are you political views?
Pretty important. They don't keep me up at night or anything, but I'm pretty firm in my convictions and I think a lot of the issues do really matter. 

25.  Mountain Hideaway or Beach House
Beach house

26.  Favorite sports to watch.
Absolutely none. We don't watch sports. 

27.  Hair Color?
Blonde. I'm basically back to my natural color now. 

28.  Eye Color?

29.  Do you wear contacts?
No, but I wear glasses. And I have to wear them all the time or I get terrible headaches. 

30.  Favorite Food?
Indian food in general.

31.  Scary movies? Or happy endings?
Definitely happy endings. I do not enjoy scary movies. I will watch them, but it's highly unlikely I would do so completely on my own.

32.  Last Movie you watched?
Probably the Cirque du Soleil one. I don't remember if I've watched one with the husband since I saw that one with Ansel in the theater.

33.  What color shirt are you wearing?

34.  Summer or Winter?
Summer. I am so tired of being cold.

35.  Favorite dessert?
Brownies. Or cake. Cake and a brownie?

36.  Strength Training or Cardio?
Ugh. Do I have to?

37.  Computer or TV?
Definitely computer. I want to interact with my entertainment.

38.  What book are you reading?
Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham, Spontaneous Happiness by Dr. Andrew Weil, A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, Mary Pride's Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling by Mary Pride, Worth the Weight by Mara Jacobs, and The Rest of Her Life by Laura Moriarty. 

39.  What is on you mouse pad?
No mouse pad. I have a Macbook Pro and the kids have an iMac with a touchpad.

40.  Favorite sound?

41.  Favorite Genre of music?
I guess most of it falls under "new wave," though that's probably not how I would describe it.

42.  What is the farthest you have been from home?

43.  Do you have a special talent?
I remember a lot of random bits of information. And I'm generally fairly talented when it comes to uses for ingenuity. 

44.  Where were you born?
Decatur, Georgia

45.  Where are you living now?
Near Augusta, Georgia. Oddly, despite having been born in Georgia in 1983, I never lived in the state until 2009.

46.  What color is your house?

47.  What color is your car?
Navy blue.

48.  Do you like answering 48 questions?
Well, it passed the time! 


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Amazing easy black beans, and using what you have

Lately I've had a renewed fervor in not wasting anything. I've been doing pretty well. We've been managing to integrate even small amounts of leftovers into other meals. It's actually been useful to not have a "meal plan" so much as it's a plan based around what needs to be used soonest. I need a plan for a lot of potatoes, but those will keep a while longer. 

Tonight I had a cooked chicken breast and a lot of salsa I needed to use. There's lots of recipes for salsa chicken that would have been fine, except that I only had one chicken breast to use and, of course, it was already cooked. 

I also have all those beans. So.... Nachos! Why not? Kids love nachos! OK, well, most people love nachos. And we had all the things we needed to make it. First step, those black beans. 

It's painfully easy. But oh so good. I've made them for other people, and everyone's gone gaga over it, wanting to know my secret. There's no secret. There isn't even any effort. And it's a simple ratio. For each can of black beans(drained and rinsed), add a cup of salsa and a tablespoon of minced garlic. I made two cans, so two cups of salsa and two tablespoons of garlic. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Amazing. 

The nachos themselves were simple. Just chips, cheese, chunks of chicken, black beans, salsa, and sour cream. 

The kids were happy enough. Ansel even hugged me because he liked the beans so much.

Oh yea, and I froze the beans we didn't eat. I really just wanted to use up salsa. But now we have beans for later.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Inauguration Day

Today is officially a school holiday, but I thought it important that we watch the inauguration ceremony. We don't have cable, but we did recently buy an antenna that gets us the network channels in HD, so that works well enough for those purposes. 

I think it's important for kids to understand how our government work, the parts that we're proud of and the parts we're less so. Today is a part I'm proud of. 

Ansel was not impressed by how long the whole thing was. I thought that, relatively speaking, it was fairly succinct. I could have done without the poetry and the incredibly long invocation, but it is what it is. I also enjoyed watching the president's limousine drive to the Capitol, recognizing places I've been along the way(we're originally from a suburb of Washington DC and I have spent a fair amount of time in the city). We even managed to find a picture of us sort of in front of the Capitol. 

There's also a picture of Kadin talking to a Congressman(Christopher Shays, the Republican from Connecticut) on the steps of the Capitol. Kadin didn't miss a beat when it came to eating his Cheez Its. Priorities when you're 5, you know? 

But mostly today I was proud to see such an accomplished, well spoken man represent us. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Blah, blah. Filler, filler

So... What's been happening? Some disconcerting news, but I don't have anything solid yet, so I'm trying to put my panic on hold as best I can. But it's had me considerably distracted the past few days, so I couldn't quite wrap my head around blogging. Plus, we've been busy, so there's that.

School has been happening, and it's been mostly good. We got thrown off our routine on Friday, but the kids worked through it like champs. Kadin had to finish his work in the evening, but he didn't even complain. He just sat down and did it, which is awesome, and a sign of good things to come I think.

I managed to use pretty much all of the Bountiful Baskets stuff we got last Saturday, and what we haven't used yet we still can. Got another today, which was picked up and delivered by a friend which is a huge help. I would have taken pictures, but I didn't. It was a pretty good week, though. It's way better than when I tried it in the fall. It could be that I just tried when it was slow weeks, but I was pretty down on the system for a bit there. But the past two weeks have definitely been worth the $16.50    I put into them. Now I just have to figure out how to use a head of cabbage. I have never bought cabbage before except to make cole slaw. I think I'm going to make some soup. Maybe even a double batch and just get it used up.

And as stated before.... For lack of better content, and for the sake of having a picture to post, take a look at the front view of my house.

(These are from the spring. Everything is significantly less green now.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Yawn. Why must children eat breakfast?

I'm not a breakfast person. I'm not a morning food person at all since adulthood. But even when I was little, I didn't particularly like breakfast food. I'm not fond of eggs. I don't like breakfast cereal except as an occasional snack. I can choke down oatmeal, but I never sit around thinking, "Man, oatmeal would be so good right now." My dad always insisted that there was no reason to designate a food for a certain time of day. So in childhood, there were often pancakes and bacon for dinner or hamburgers for breakfast. I acclimated.

But now, I have these darn kids. And they expect to eat things. And in the mornings! Ridiculous.

So, I suck it up and I feed them. Now that we're not rushing off to school, I feel like I should be feeding them something more elaborate. But to be honest, I just don't want to. My older son doesn't like eggs, so that rules out a quick plate of scrambled eggs and toast. Oatmeal usually goes over well. Pancakes are always appreciate, but I don't always appreciate making them. (But when I do, I make extra and freeze them.) Waffles are the bane of my existence because I am just not patient enough.

Today we did ok. I was up extra early to make something for my husband to take to work for a potluck.    So of course the first thing I did was make coffee. Then I started the food(not like it takes six hours to cook or anything). Then I decided that we need to get some of this fruit moving. I bought a giant pack of blackberries that haven't been eaten, we have a carton of strawberries not eaten, and half a cantaloupe left(that came from our Bountiful Basket). And..... We still have a bunch of those oranges, plus some pears and apples also from the Bountiful Basket. *sigh* How did produce become such a problem?

Anyway. So the kids had a mix of strawberries, blackberries, and cantaloupe with a cup of yogurt. Pretty simple. And they were generally pleasant this morning, so that helps.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Home tour: The school room

Well, so I'm sick again. Or still. Either way, it's generally unpleasant and not how I would like to spend my time. 

So in lieu of something that would take effort, I'll show you some of my house! I already took these pictures, so it was about as low effort as is possible. 

This is my favorite room of the house. It's my "school room," which used to mean MY school because I was in college. But now I'm not, so it's our homeschooling room. As far as that's concerned, it's about as pleasant as possible, and I'm glad to have a reason to spend more time in here. It's quiet, and it has doors that can be completely closed which is a nice perk. It's intended to be a formal living room, but formal living is for the birds, isn't it? 

Additionally, this room and the adjoining dining room are the only rooms I painted when we moved in. This room was originally ballet pink, and the dining room was a mauve. Hideous. Who in the world would want pink formal rooms? 

I also really enjoy seeing other people's homes. Maybe I'm nosey? Maybe I'll have to take more pictures and when I don't have better blog content slap another room up here. Or not. We'll see!