Thursday, April 29, 2010

Crap I've Done

I need to keep an on-going list of all the things I get done in my "time off" that would explain why I've been so tired at night.  Yes, I am sleeping fairly well, so I guess that's good.  But I tend to run out of steam right as I cozy up with my library book.  That's a bummer.  So let's see if I can figure out why based on what I've done this week, and it's in no particular order...

Camp Rustown

Got up by 6:30 daily and got the boys' breakfasts, made and packed lunches, repainted the garage door, cleaned the front door and repainted the trim around it, scrubbed the bricks in front of the door, uprooted the dead Mexican Heather and planted more, aerated that  landscaping area and mulched it, re-potted a plant, swept the patio (twice),  hauled the yard waste bags to the curb, blogged, e-mailed, shopped for groceries, cooked dinner every night, did approx. 10 loads laundry, scrubbed kids bathroom top to bottom and re-caulked their tub and shower, got my hair cut, made 5 packages cookie dough to freeze, baked a cake, cleaned all the floors in the house, changed sheets on my bed, ironed for 30 minutes, called my mother, called my sister-in-law, washed the van, washed my car, ran the dishwasher and un-loaded it daily, sanded and painted one of four kitchen chairs, cleaned the hamster cage, cleaned the cat box, paid bills on-line, gave myself a pedicure, mopped my bathroom, vacuumed my bedroom and the hall, put up all my painting and sanding supplies that was stored in the lost and found basket, bought a bigger basket for everyone's shoes and organized my sandals in the told one, cleaned off the kitchen counter and added two new baskets for storage...
Seriously.  I feel brain fried just thinking of it. I still have crap to do tomorrow - meeting my mother for lunch, having my sister over to see my patio progress, making dinner, getting ready for work on the weekend....

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Vanity, thy name is mom

Rustown Art

I finally made it over to my neighborhood beauty salon and got the wig chopped.  It was looking a little wild.  It's taken me about 2 1/2 years to grow it out from very short, which I realize is not a long time. I've actually had it trimmed a few times during that process.  The whole reason I cut it short to begin with is...I was tired all the time, I had 4 kids, I had to work full time,  then I went to working part time (cause I had 4 kids) and I had absolutely no time to mess with it because I had 4 kids!!  Whew!!
Thinking of it makes me tired...
A couple years ago my husband kept repeating the same monotonous statement  "I liked your hair long". Yeah, well, I like it when we were 60 pounds lighter, and didn't have 50% gray hair, and you were more fun to hang out with, and we listened to Jazz while drinking wine, and thought we had a life!! 
So I grew it out, and today I cut it back about 2 inches.  And it looks cute and is manageable, and is a good compromise.  Think I can get him to compromise, too?

Monday, April 26, 2010

All things jammy and delish

I was going through my recipes, as I love to do, and came upon a handwritten one from Hubby's mom.  The ink looks old and the writing is a beautiful script.  It was for Jam Cake with a companion recipe for Mocha Chocolate frosting.  (which to me, seemed like gilding the lily on a cake with jam to begin with)   I assembled all the ingredients, even having to combine three jams as we were almost out of that crucial ingredient.  Then I realized - someone had put the egg carton empty back into the fridge! Grrrrr!  Someone who shall remain nameless. (The Girl) Sadly, I returned all the ingredients to the pantry and fridge, vowing to make it once the weekend was over and I could get more jam and eggs!  Today I made it, even though the weather outside was warm and I had to have the oven on 45 minutes...

So worth it - the aroma was wonderful.  And I have a quart of ice cream in the freezer to serve with it...ummm.  But running out of jam made me want to make jam!
So....I did!
I just followed the recipe that came with the box of pectin and used some very ripe pears - it was easy and fast.  And this time I didn't burn my fingers on the very hot jars - a first!  I use the inversion method to seal the jars.  I could have filled them a little fuller, but I still heard that 'pop' from across the house.  What a pretty spring-y shade of yellow! Loving it!
Bubbie taste tested the cake and gave it the thumbs up - guess we'll find out about the jam at breakfast tomorrow! Time to get the kitchen cleaned up and dinner on the stove...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Shoe basket of organization...

It's a rule at Camp Rustown  that gets followed about 90% of the time. Maybe 80%. OK! least 50%!!  You come in the door, you take off your shoes, you put them in the basket.  It was instituted to save mom or dad from hunting them in the morning as we headed out to daycare/school/work.  But we found that it also saved the carpet from major wear and tear.  Like I said, it isn't always foolproof, as you can see here.  Little people tend to lose their things, namely shoes, and expect the mom or dad to know where they are. So, this basket eliminates a little of that game playing, but it's not a perfect system.  However, good habits are instilled just as easily as bad habits!  And, thankfully, no one expects you to get 100% compliance to be a good parent...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Telling it like it is...

My 80 year old mother says she's too old to change.  I think that's a lot of bunk.  My mother is a smart, creative, deep thinker with the capacity to learn new ways.
Today we had a discussion about speaking your mind.  In her opinion, you should be able to say how you feel -at all times and regardless of your audience.   While I agree in theory that you must say how you feel, I also think there is a time and place and way to do that; diplomacy should rule the day.  You can be authentic, and genuine, and sincere about your feelings.  But the rest of us don't have to accept insults.  Stating your opinion without taking into account your audience is just plain old bad manners.  And eventually, people will avoid you.
That can be a lonely situation.

She doesn't agree with me, but I figured she wouldn't.  I'm only trying to explain to her why people would react to her they way they do.  I love my mother and I think we are a lot alike. But I can see how others might not be as forgiving.  Her solution is to be a hermit, and never say how she really feels again -which means she won't say anything.  But I don't think that's the answer.  And I don't believe that you're ever too old to learn to express a sincere apology. 
You can start anew.  
You can learn from your mistakes.
I've learned a lot from my mother.  I will keep an open mind and try to see the error of my ways, too.

p.s.  May 2015 - I really think my mother falls somewhere on the autism spectrum.  Will her knowing that help her at the ripe old age of 85?  Probably not.  But it answers a lot for me.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The secret chair

We inherited this chair from hubby's mother; it was her sewing chair.
I recently covered the seat pad with the same fabric as the couch cushions.
It has a neat feature - the seat comes off to reveal a compartment where you can store all kinds of things.  Chloe used it in her room at one point and it hid all her Lisa Frank stickers and stamps.  Then it was moved into the front room and Dylan used it to store his recorder, and euphonium sheet music. Now it belongs to moi.  But it was showing wear and tear.
 Wooden button missing.
Scuffed finish.  But it's such a nice little chair!
I think I shall put my notecards and stationery in it - I still like to write a handwritten letter now and again.  Here are some before and after photos of the secret chair getting a makeover!
 Couldn't find those wooden buttons to match so I removed one on each side, filled the holes, sanded.

As a matter of fact, the whole chair was sanded - exfoliated. Then got a new coat of walnut stain and varnish.
I painted the inside compartment a pretty fern green.
The lighting isn't great - but the chair is.
I'm glad I got her spiffed up; she deserved it!

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Hanging out

These days we are mostly a Boy household - The Girl is finishing up high school with all that entails and working two jobs.  So, we don't see her as often as we'd like.  I think this fact is not lost on the boys.  Who knows how they feel about it - they don't come right out and say.  But, they've been "clumping together" more and more.  It's not  like they wouldn't hang out together, as they all share a love of electronics, much to my dismay.
The day I took these pics might have been the only day Bubbie actually rested in his bed after school, even tho here he is shown sitting up.  What a grouch he's been lately! I don't remember the other two having hormonal/sleep issues...
So here is where I found them when I yelled "Chow Call" and no one answered.  Just hanging out, each in his own little electronic world, but at least in the same room.  Which I guess, is pretty nice - no one hollering 
"get outta my room"  like we did growing up.
I am glad they are close enough to enjoy the quiet company of each other.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mothering perspective


And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, "Speak to us of Children."
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

from "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran

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OK, so I'm late

Monday, April 19, 2010

Chicken Tikka Masala

I figure just about any thing can go into the crock pot...
I really love Indian food, but I am too impatient to learn how to cook it the traditional way.  It's not like I have all day to master it, and most of the time, my family is good-natured about my "experiments",  but they can also be critical and picky!
 But it turned out great and all I did besides add a pre-packaged seasoning mix of spices was cover it and walk away... A little spicy, but that didn't seem to put anyone off.  I served it with rice and kale.
A very filling and healthy meal.  
My crock pot done good!  

Kitchen camo Floor

Hang on to your hat - recently I re-stained the kitchen grout.  Earth-shattering, I know.  But it made a huge difference to me, seeing as how I am a little OCD when it comes to cleaning.  And you cannot get your kitchen to look really clean if the floor looks dirty.  I don't know how we got talked into the putty color that was put in with our brown tile....
I even told the lady at Home Depot I wanted to not have to look down and realize I have a dirty kitchen floor; I wanted brown for camoflage! (our old floor was white)  We've scrubbed it and had it steamed clean, but the grout was stained to the point of it looking grubby, and nothing helped.  This is one of those projects that stayed on my list for what seemed like forever, but here is what I did:  I moved the kitchen chairs out, swept, mopped...
...cleaned the grout with sulfamic acid, mopped again, then put Grout Renew on with a toothbrush.  Yes, it was tedious.  All-day consuming. Made the house smell like vinegar.  But look at the grout now (even if the photos aren't the best);

The new color is "Nutmeg", but if I ever re-do it, I'll special order a darker brown color. Even so, I like the way it looks compared to the lighter grout.  It's more practical too, and its a sealant in addition to being a stain.  Now I just have to remember to take the PineSol bottle out of the kitchen so I am not tempted to use can't use solvent based cleaners on it.  Guess it will be hot water and Murphy's Oil Soap for me.  But now, when I look down at the floor, I don't stress over it looking filthy!

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Saturday, April 17, 2010


As told by The Girl to her mom:
Mrs. Shoemaker (?)  The squirrel dropped his nut. The sun, clouds, and bird.  (Okaaayyyy....she was drawing, mom just wrote what she was told.)
BBQ pit with smoke. Somebody dropped their gum. (This chapter was all about tragedy - Dad burning the dinner, and obviously, the gum thing)
Chloe and mommy sharing sunglasses.  That was some sight to see! I think the little girl was hoping I'd share my sunglasses...
Grass, sun, and a squirrel that fell on it's head.
The end. (Apparently, nature is both beautiful and dangerous)

The Girl, 1995

Awww...thank you, that was such a special story, sweetie! 
And you will always be my cute little girl!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Oven Sammies

Here's what we had for dinner last night:  Mom's Oven Sammies! My own version of the ones they do at Studio Kitchen - just as easy and way cheaper, and the family eats it up!  It starts with canned bread dough, but you could make your own, too. Add to that some deli meat, cheese, spreadable butter, and seasonings
Unroll it and spread it with garlic butter or pesto - this gives it more flavor as in the end you'll end up with a lot of bread, like a sandwich, and you want it to be flavorful.
Pick whatever deli meat you like.  Tonight I chose honey ham and smoked turkey.  Lay the meat out on the bread, top with grated cheese - I used mozzarella  on the ham and cheddar on the turkey.  You can add whatever else you like: Olives, green onions, sliced pepperoni, pickles, or whatever you think sounds good in your hot sandwich! I kept it simple this time around, but I like to combine different meats, cheeses, and little bits of things I'm trying to use up, like the last few sliced mushrooms, for example!

Bring the edges of the dough to the center and seal; set it seal side down on your baking pan, and seal the ends, too.  If it's very full, some might ooze out on the baking pan - oh, well!
Brush the top with better and sprinkle on seasoning if you like - I used Italian seasoning and paprika last night - it just made it look pretty.  Bake for 35 minutes or so at 350 while you heat up some soup, set out chips, etc.  Let it cool a few minutes before slicing up - sorry I don't have photos of this - it went so fast! It's a popular dish here, even in the summer. It's easier than just making plain old sammies for 6 people, and more fun, too!  Everyone has a "Go To" recipe for their family - what's yours?


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