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! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

This moment

This moment. 

(My dad and Kadin playing chess via Skype. Do note that they're making the same expression while concentrating. Fun fact. My son and my father are not biologically related.)

'This moment' idea adopted from SouleMama.

Dear, sweet Ansel

I see a lot of bloggers doing focused posts on their children's birthdays. I think this is super charming and dear and a generally great idea. But.... I missed Ansel's birthday. He turned 6 in December. But yesterday he had his 6 year check-up, so we'll consider that good enough and go with it. He clocked in at 47 inches and 58 pounds! He's already starting to outgrow his size seven clothing.

Ansel is a ball of joy and passionate emotion. When he's happy, he's not just happy, he's over the moon. When he's sad or angry, it is no small thing. The whole world is ending and there will never be another day of sunshine.

He loves art, music(he always asks me to change to music if I put on NPR), running outside and playing with sticks, Star Wars, the color green, chocolate, bananas, and anything his older brother wants or likes.

Ansel is very affectionate. Just last night he fell asleep laying on top of me. I don't know if it's just his inherent personality or if it's from the many years of breastfeeding, cosleeping, and babywearing, but he loves to hug, kiss, hold hands, and generally lay or sit smashed up against his adult of choice. He tests my patience on a daily basis, but makes up for it in sweet gestures. Just last night he grabbed my face, kissed me and said, "You're the most beautiful woman in the world and I'm sorry for every mean thing I've said to you." You can't make this stuff up! I don't know where he gets it! 

(The photos were not taken by me. I wish I had that much talent! They were taken by Melody Yazdani Photography.)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Pear and Blue Cheese Vinaigrette Salad

There are a few things I love. I love bacon. I love blue cheese(not dressing, just the cheese). And I love vinaigrette dressing. Oh my, I love it.

So when I found myself with a whole lot of ripe pears to use, and in looking for ways to use pears I found a delightful recipe that used pears and vinaigrette and blue cheese, I am there!

Original recipe here at All Recipes

 I made a few changes, to suit our tastes and to match what ingredients we have on hand.

Pear and Blue Cheese Vinaigrette Salad

  • 10 ounce bag mixed field greens (I used arugula)
  • 1 pear, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 4 slices bacon
For dressing:

  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
Whisk the dressing ingredients together. I tossed most of the dressing with the greens next. Then I added toppings and drizzled the remaining dressing over the top.

It is sooo good! This is definitely a keeper. I'd probably add a second pear if I made it again because their taste is really muted. I was a little bit leery about the maple syrup, but it wasn't a strong flavor at all.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Nature Walk

Our first official day of homeschool went fairly well, all things considered. It's going to take some time to work out those darn kinks.

We had a mini field trip of sorts in the afternoon. The husband didn't have work so we all wanted out of the house for a little while. We visited a local nature trail to get some fresh air. There was a lot of walking involved and even some running by the boys, so.... PE maybe? We'll figure it out.

Kadin being Kadin wanted to read the information. No prompting necessary! This one was about snakes we might encounter. We didn't, fortunately.

Kadin, husband, and dog ran on ahead, leaving Ansel and I behind. Oh well, photo opportunity!

I also managed to convince Kadin to let me take a picture. This is just about the time we realized there was very likely a skunk nearby. So we high-tailed it right out of there!

And here's that ugly little dog running straight at me. He's nothing, if not enthusiastic! His name is McFly, by the way. He's also currently curled up right next to me on the couch. This, after he managed to dig an oatmeal cookie I had in my purse. Hrmph. Not cool, McFly, not cool.

Also check out Friday's Nature Table over at The Magic Onions. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A cup a day keeps the monsters away

Today is our first day of homeschooling "officially." I submitted our letter of intent to the state and now I need to withdraw the kids from the school they've been attending and we're ready to go. I also ordered the books we'll be using to start our curriculum. The first big shipment is due tomorrow, and we'll have more trickling in for the next few weeks. Fortunately, only one came back as backordered, and it's the B book to an A/B set, so we'll be good for a while without it anyway. Phew!

Additionally, I assure you I am not shirking my children. Ansel is sitting here working on an alphabet worksheet and Kadin is working on maps. We are rolling slowly along. I'm expecting some bumps and some chaos for a while, but we'll get the hang of it. I am a little intimidated by all the books I have coming my way, though. I'm going to need some quiet time to sit down and go through them and plot out how to get that whatever point I think we need to make it to by May and then divide through the weeks until then, and, and, and....

So what I will give you, quickly, is a small personal victory of mine. And it's about coffee.

I used to drink a lot of coffee. Really. a whole lot of coffee. So much coffee, it's hard to even say how much I drank on a given day. I wasn't exactly counting it, I was just consuming the heck out of it.

I guess, on an average day, there were probably about three cups in the morning. And then another cup in the afternoon. Sometimes some black tea. On especially challenging days, there'd be an energy drink. Maybe two. And if I left the house, I'd likely end up at Starbuck's, where my usual order was a doppio expresso with a pump of caramel and a venti iced coffee with milk, lightly sweetened. Oh my.

I cut back gradually. It was less painful than I had expected. I got it down to about two cups in the morning when I decided to cut the sugar, too. In years past, I had consumed my coffee with International Delight French Vanilla. It was lovely and it was convenient. When we switched to more whole foods, I moved to half and half with cane sugar. Then I tried using the MyFitnessPal calorie counter for a while, and I hated seeing my allotted calories getting sucked away in coffee. So I took the sugar out. I've actually grown to like it!

My daily coffee intake is a lot more reasonable now. I have a cup of coffee in the morning. That's it! But I promise, you will pry that final cup out of my cold, dead hands. I love it too much to let it go. I value it. It matters to me. The routine, the smell, all of it. It is here to stay.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Homeschool, ahoy!

School starts back on Tuesday, after a long winter's break. My kids won't be there.

This hasn't been an easy choice. And it hasn't been a quick decision either. It's something my husband and I have discussed for years off and on. There were points where it seemed like the only good decision, like when we were considering a move to Savannah, Georgia, which isn't exactly known for it's awesome school system. It was a consideration when we pondered how our super active younger child, Ansel, would deal with a structured school setting where his every want and desire and urge couldn't be catered to, and there's been considerations for our older son, Kadin, who is gifted, but has a hard time staying focused for various reasons. (I should point out that it has been suggested to us that Ansel is gifted as well, and a lot of his challenges are indicative of those of a young boy who is gifted. He doesn't have problems, just challenges.)

And then Sandy Hook happened, and I'd be lying if I didn't say that brought the discussion up again. It's definitely not the reason, but it's a factor, not gonna lie.

We're also looking to move whenever a job opportunity comes up, and it took Ansel the whole first semester to get even kind of settled in his current school situation. I shudder to think how he would handle a mid-year transfer to a new school and a new class. He knows the current expectations, and he still gets in trouble frequently. He just can't quite contain himself. There's all this energy and spirit balled up in his tiny little person and it just wants out!

First day of school 2012

Over this break, I cobbled together a little makeshift trial curriculum, just to see how things would go. We tried a couple of days of short 'school' sessions, and it went.... well. It'll take some work and some getting used to, and better curriculum options will help a lot. But the boys did really well, and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed watching them figure things out. I enjoyed watching them enjoy what they were learning. Ansel's reading is exploding and he is loving the accomplishments. He wants so badly to read. Kadin and I are diehard readers, and I think the modeling is working on Ansel. He sees that there is this wealth of knowledge and fun in books, and he wants in. Of course I read to him, but he wants access to it even when I can't sit there and work with him. We tried reading these little books with the goal being one a day, and the other evening he just wanted to keep going. He got through five of them before deciding he wanted to move on to something else, and I was so proud of him. But it wasn't a system that would have worked in a formal school setting. A formal setting would have dictated how much time could go into it. And he wouldn't have been allowed to, inch by inch, crawl up onto the table and squirm around and kick and wiggle and flop every which way. But if that gets the words into his brain, all the better! I can put up with the wriggling. A school can't, I get it.

I also realized that Kadin has some major holes in his education. I'm flummoxed, and a little bit disappointed in myself. I hadn't realized how much he didn't know. I was under the ignorant impression that getting As in classes meant that he was learning. I guess not. He did not do anywhere near as well on some evaluations that I gave him as I would have expected. We're going to need to work backwards to try and fill in some blanks. He wants to be a scientist of sorts someday, so he needs a firm foundation in math, and right now I don't think he has that. He also has a lot of scattered interests that I would like to help him delve into.

One problem that I foresee is that we live in a very conservative area. There are homeschooling groups, but they are mostly religion based. I've heard rumor that there are other resources, so I'm going to keep looking and find what I can. I don't worry about socialization. My kids are social to a fault, and it wouldn't hurt them at all to be learning in an environment that doesn't have constant peer distractions. They will not be cut off from the world, we can be quite sure of that.

So, I'm overwhelmed. And I'm confused. And I'm at least a little bit scared. But I'm good with it. It feels right. It'll work ok. And it's not forever. For right now, we're going to finish this school year. Ansel is in kindergarten and Kadin is in fifth grade. We'll re-evaluate at the end of the school year and decide what to do about next year. I'm going to miss my free time. I'm going to miss Ansel's teacher, who has been amazing on every possible level and has really blown every teacher cliche out of the water. I'm going to miss the neighborhood parents I've gotten to know at after-school pick-ups. And I'd be lying if I didn't admit I was going to miss some of the hands off advantages of having someone else direct my children's day to day education. But really that's a cop out, and I am the parent and I can't let someone else steer the boat down the wrong path.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

You may think that I'm a food hoarder, but I'm not

So I had Big Plans for today. And then I woke up this morning around 9, and my stomach hurt so badly I didn't want to move. So I didn't. So then when I woke up at 10:15, I re-evaluated. And my stomach hurt so badly I didn't want to move. Then at about 11:30, I woke up, but this time I could hear my children shrieking(happily) from the TV room while playing Wii, so I decided I needed to get up and shush them before they woke up the husband(who works an odd schedule and often sleeps very late). So I did. And since then, I've been functioning from a reclined position on the couch in our family room. I have a great view of our Christmas tree from here. You know the one, the one I was going to get put away this weekend. Well, about that.....

So I had to re-calibrate. How to blog about healthy lifestyle choices with a minimum amount of effort. Hmm.... I considered a few meals I could make, but I lacked the oomph. There were a couple of other brief considerations, yet no oomph could be found. A friend suggested a blog about reading. Even that sounded too labor intensive. Ah-ha, but this week I did organize my pantries. My sad, less than exciting, yet obnoxiously organized pantries. So that's what you get. This is also your first glimpse of our "new" house, aside from my kitchen counters. By the way, it's not new. It was built in the 1980s and we moved here in March, be that as it may....

This is our 'main' pantry, if you will. It's right outside the entry to our kitchen. Upon moving into the house, it seemed a very poor layout, but we've grown accustomed to it. This is where we keep items that need to be readily accessible. The door also holds most of our herbal teas. Easy to see, easy to access, works great! 

The top shelves.... I keep items that I want to be slightly harder to access at the top. The kids can get to it, and they do, but they need to pull a chair over which usually draws some attention. Cereal, chips, crackers, and so on. 
The next shelf.... Canned soup(almost all bought at store clear-outs), hot sauces, peanut butter, cooking oil, syrup, honey, soy sauce, and so on. 

The next aisle has baking mixes, fresh fruit, nuts, and baking goods. 
One more row down is all of my dry goods. Beans, wheat, grains, sugars, chocolate chips, raisins, coconut, rices, and so on. There's the latest batch of avocados waiting in my mom's old Corningware, too. 
At the bottom is vinegar, more rices, those 12 pounds of oranges, seltzer, onions, lunch boxes, Ziploc bags, and caffeine free Coca-Cola leftover from my parents' Christmas visit. One of these days I'll let the kids have a little with a movie and popcorn, but I haven't felt that generous yet. Or they haven't been cute enough yet. It could go either way. 

This is our other pantry. It's in our formal dining room, which is a short hallway away from our other pantry and from the kitchen. This also seemed awkward when we moved into the house, but it helps keep the room formal and clean since it doesn't just extend from the more casual living spaces. 
This is where I keep a lot of base ingredients, and all the extras. I also keep some large kitchen items that don't fit in our kitchen cabinets and don't see daily use. 

At the tippy top, to the left, are Ansel's art and craft supplies he got for his birthday. I have to restrict access or I'd end up with paint on all the doors. The first day he got the stuff I busted him with a giant glass of water and his paints trying to watercolor on the family room rug. No good.
Then oatmeal, hot cereals, and breakfast cereal. I bought Cocoa Puffs for my dad while he was here, but then he decided not to eat breakfast. Hmph.
Next row... salad dressing, condiments, potatoes, rices, pastas.

Below that, beans! Lots of and lots of beans. All the ones I had before, plus the ones I bought the other day. Then crackers and snack foods, then canned vegetables. To the right of that is canned tuna, a little canned chicken, and then pasta.
The next row down is canned fruit, spaghetti sauce, and canned tomatoes of many varieties.
Below that, coffee, chicken broth.
And then the bottom.... Ho boy. Bottled water, wine, champagne, food processor, juicer, all my giant storage containers, gift wrap, bows, you name it it's likely to be down there.

Tomorrow I will try, TRY to be better. I promise I will. But for now, be happy gawking at my not excessive food stores.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Today is a blog wash

I'll tell you right off the bat, I don't have any great blog content today. I didn't do anything remarkable today. I had an appointment with an accountant. I returned some items I decided I didn't truly want to own. I bought the kids a video game they've been really wanting(it's an early birthday present for Kadin). But mostly I've been sitting on the couch, reading people's blogs, and feeling sorry for myself and my aching gut that is suffering from nine days of antibiotics. Tomorrow is the last day I have to take them, and I wish this was long over.

But what I gleaned from my blog adventures today is a lot of pet peeves and things that I really want to make sure that I don't do. For example, clogging up all my entries with advertisements, or pseudo advertisements. I also don't understand moderated commenting on blogs with very little traffic. My comments are not moderated, and in all the time I have had this blog, I have had exactly one spam message. One. Is that really enough reason to give myself more work to do and annoy potential commenters? I don't think so.

Another thing.... Don't recommend blogs that are invite only. And check your links. If they don't work, fix them. These things seems simple to me. I am aware that I am potentially a more detail oriented person than most, but even so.... Your blog is a product, essentially, try and win me over.

Oh, what I did do today was finally use up the rest of our Christmas turkey leftovers. They've been frozen, don't worry. But I put them in a casserole in place of chicken and it worked out swimmingly. I also will not admit to finishing off the last of the peach berry cobbler while the kids were in the TV room playing their new game. We have french toast on the docket for tomorrow and I am already excited. Don't worry, the kids are, too. It was even their idea.

It's just money, honey

So..... We've had some changes 'round these parts. Some employment changes, some education changes, some residence changes, some income changes, and so on. And some of these changes have been great! Like.... I love, love, love our current house! And some of them are less than awesome, like our income going down somewhat. Now, nothing dire, nothing dramatic. Just something where we need to be more aware and we need to cut back on some things. Now, don't get me wrong, I know that food is life and health and vital and what you put in is what you get back out and all of that. Believe me, I get it. Really, I do. But when I need to come up with money in our budget, well, yea, we can spend less on groceries.

The catch of that is that it doesn't mean I'm willing to feed my kids white bread and frozen pizza or anything like that. There'll be no "budget gourmet" frozen dinners or Chef Boyardee or anything along those lines. I just will not go that far. I will buy non-organic produce and I will buy non-organic dairy, but I'm still not going to buy "juice" made with high fructose corn syrup. Matter of fact, I won't buy juice at all because that's just entirely unnecessary spending. But that's neither here nor there. The point is, in the blogs to come for a while, there will be an absence of organics, so forgive me. It's not a misplaced priority, it's just the blasted economy.

So, to the point of the entry..... making good choices. Cooking from scratch, good choice. Avoiding convenience foods, good choice. Buying great products at good prices? Best choice! So it's a bit of knowing what is generally fairly priced, and it's a bit of ad watching and taking advantage of sales. When there's a great price on something, I take advantage of it, which is what I did today.

My regular grocery store is Kroger, which is very convenient to my house so I am able to get there often if needs be. This week they were advertising canned organic beans for $.89 a can. Um, yes! One can is the equivalent of a pound of meat when I convert meals, so that is a steal right there. I definitely did not just get these three cans(I got fifteen). And the tofu.... That one still has me flummoxed. It wasn't on sale, but we didn't have any tofu and I like to have at least one package on hand at any given time. So, I went to the far corner of the store where they have the 'natural' foods and grabbed a package. It was $1.50. It's organic. Again, this is basically the equivalent of a pound of meat, and it's organic and inexpensive. I'll take it!

I also visited my local 'natural foods' store today, Earth Fare. I don't get there much because most of the stuff is out of my budget. Not all, but I'm not buying fancy cheeses or organic everything, so there's not a whole lot I need to get there. But the chain sends out periodic coupons via e-mail. It's basically just a loss leader the store puts out there to get you in to buy more things. But I just go get the coupon item(s) and consider it a victory. This time, it was these awesome four pound bags of organic Valencia oranges for $2(!) a bag, limit four. Um, what?! Yes! I actually debated a fourth bag, but I know it would have ended up wasted. I'm already not sure how we're going to consume twelve pounds of oranges. We're going to have to put some work into it. They also had organic Hass avocados for $1 each. So, four avocados, done! Grand total of this all organic purchase? $10.30, increased tax included!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


So I got the plague. Ok, ok, not the plague. But I did get strep throat. And that did put me down for the count. Huzzah! I spent the better part of four days curled up in a ball on the couch. A couple of nights I didn't even attempt sleeping in a bed and just stayed cemented to that couch. Thank goodness for a comfortable couch, I suppose.

So here I am on the other side. I'm not feeling as sick, though the effects of antibiotics are not all stellar. But I can actually swallow without difficulty so I think it's a significant step in the right direction. For those couple of days, we were in survival mode. My husband still had to work and the kids were still home with me all the time because school is out. So it was a lot of makeshift, grab what you can and be grateful, kind of dining. Oh, and perhaps some Subway as well, I won't lie. (I also won't lie and deny loving Subway.)

So now that it's officially the new year and I can stay in an upright position for extended periods of time, I can be productive again! I have Big Plans for myself this year. I have some rough ideas for blogging. I have some dietary changes to make and some 'splaining to do to all ya'll nice people. I have some ambitions for our family, and hopefully some of those things will be ironed out in the next few days so I have yet another thing to stress about. I need to make a new chore chart that is actually workable for our house(since moving, I have never been able to iron it out to be reasonable but actually keep the house clean). And even more than that, I need to stick to the chore chart.

Ok, well, there's so much to do that I could totally overwhelm myself just sitting here. But the husband is out watching a movie and the kids are in bed so I have a few things I need to mark off my to-do list. One thing I already completed tonight was setting up the boys' reading lights by their beds. Their bed frames are super thick, so the clamp wouldn't stick which was frustrating. So I trawled Home Depot until I found a bracket type of thing to screw into the bed frame and clamp the light to. It works, and the boys are happy to have reading lights. Now they don't have to suffer through the indignity of getting out of bed to turn off their overhead light.