Thursday, August 28, 2008

More of What I Love

I have found a few new things to love recently. As you can tell from a couple of them I recently went to Bath & Body Works and found so many things I want to buy. I just can't get enough of that place.

*House of Tsang Bankok Padang Peanut Sauce-so deliciously yummy!! So far this week I have had it on Thai turkey wraps and a plain green salad. It is spicy, creamy, peanutty, and so yummy! I am going to have to find more recipes in which to use this stuff.

*Mango Mandarin Body Cream from Bath & Body Works-this stuff smells soooo good! And it is just a little plus that Hubby loves citrus smells ;)

*Fekkai Glossing Cream also from Bath & Body Works-I usually never put any kind of product in my hair, but this stuff is spectacular. It smooths my hair, makes it shiny and is so easy to use. I love it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Reason #53 Why I Do Not Work Outside of My Home…

I have decided I am not a good part-time mom.
It is very difficult for me to transition back into Mom-mode when I have been out of it for a while. So when I go shopping by myself, or running errands alone, or going out of town alone or with Hubby, it takes me a while before I can be my usual super-mom self (yes, I do tend to be delusional once in a while).

I am just much more relaxed with the kids, calm tempered, happier, etc., when I am around them more.

Maybe it’s because I don’t feel rushed to try to spend so-called “quality” time with them when we are together, and I just get to BE with them. Maybe it’s because when I am gone I feel out of rhythm with what is going on in our home. Maybe it’s because I feel guilty about being away from them.

Whatever the reason I hope it lasts, because, honestly I don’t want to be out in the work place right now! I love it here!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

When the Bee Stings…

I am just now realizing that I have a lot of pet peeves. Enjoy my complaining!
(In no certain order…)

*Commercials in which people yell. (Why is it they feel they need to yell? Is it supposed to make me excited for their product? Cause really it just makes me want to change the channel.)

*Sales people who follow you around the furniture store. (They are like stalkers! It is scary. I just feel so intimidated by their never-ending presence that I just can't buy anything there. I do like those stores that let you browse on your own, that's where we've bought the bulk of our large furniture purchases.)

*My unmade bed. (On those days that I just can't get around to doing getting it made, it drives me crazy all day. There is just something about a well-made bed. It makes the whole room seem so much better.)

*People who swear in public (where my children can hear them, especially if they are swearing at their children.)

*Beer at baseball games. (I am just so frightened it is going to spill all over the diaper bag, or the kids, or me.)

*The phrase “24/7.” (I was really hoping that phrase would go the way of all annoying phrases, but it has stayed put over the years. And unfortunately is expanding! AHHHH! Is anyone else sick of it?)

*News that isn’t news. (I am sure you know what I am talking about. Those "news" stories that they think everyone needs to know but really is either glorified gossip or some sort of scare tactic. I don't need to hear most of what they have on the news these days.)

*Bloggers who are so clever and amusing that I can't stop reading. (I just know I will never live up to them.)

Monday, August 25, 2008

...But, I Love You!

I once heard a speaker at Time Out For Women talk about perspective. She briefly mentioned this idea about what you say to your family. Most often we say something like "I love you, but, you're driving me crazy!" But wouldn't it be more effective if turned around: "You're driving me crazy, but, I love you!" The ending of the sentence becomes the most important part of what you are communicating.

On that note:

#4, it drives me bonkers when you grab my hair when you have messy, food-slimed hands, but, I love you!

I hate when you throw your sipper across the table, splattering milk everywhere, but, I love you!

I really don't like tripping over the tupperware obstical course you make around the house, but, I love you!

As you can tell, I had a frustrating day with #4.

He must be a full-on toddler now.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Yummy In My Tummy

Usually I don't like making or eating soup in the summertime, but this stuff is just too good!

We've had it a couple times now and it is so easy and so worth the heat. It is a great meatless meal (something we are always looking for in trying to live the word of wisdom), it is full of yummy, healthy veggies, and the kids even eat it! Try it sometime!

Minestrone Soup

4 Tbsp butter 1 Tbsp tomato paste
¾ cup chopped onion 1 ½ cups cubed potatoes
¼ cup chopped celery 4 cups chicken broth
½ cup chopped carrots 2 cloves minced garlic
1 19 oz can cannellini beans 2 Tbsp dried parsley
½ cup shredded cabbage 1 tsp salt
1 15oz can stewed tomatoes ½ cup elbow macaroni

Melt butter in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots; sauté for a few minutes.
Add beans, cabbage, tomatoes, tomato paste, potato, broth, garlic, parsley, and salt to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for approximately 1 hour until vegetables are barely tender.
Add pasta, and simmer for 30 minutes more. Correct seasoning and serve hot with grated parmesan cheese.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Inner Snob

Next Friday I am leaving town! WooHoo! All by myself! WooHoo!

I have to get to the airport early and feel bad making Hubby and the kids drive me when #1 and #2 have school that day. I suggested that I could take a shuttle or a taxi instead. Then, very reluctantly, and with a sour look on my face, I suggested I might, probably, perhaps even be able to (gulp) take the bus (?)

I have taken a public transportation bus a total of 3 times in my life (and I wish it were less than that). One day in junior high I took the bus with a friend to get home (usually I was picked up). I took the bus to the airport with Hubby a few years ago on our way to Longbeach when Mom came and watched the kids for us. And while in Longbeach I took the bus to get from the hotel to downtown a couple of times (I mostly walked to and from though.)

I love that Hubby takes the bus to and from work. It saves us on gas, we can survive quite well with only one car, he can read and have down time on his way home afterwork (which means when he is home he is ready to be Dad and Hubby) and occasionally he can nap.

But I just don't like taking the bus.

Call me a snob if you must, I will no longer shun that part of me.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Project X

I am in need of some accountability for all the many, many projects I have taken on recently, or have started planning. So I thought if I posted the list here I would then be accountable for actually finishing them!

-Sew a skirt for #1 (this has been going for a while, but the fabric is difficult to work with. PLEATS! AND ZIPPERS! AND BINDING! Oh, my!)

-Clean out and de-junk all bedrooms and closets (another long term project, right now I have left my closet, the file bin (yikes), my bedroom, and, worst of all, THE GARAGE-daunting I know!)

-Finish reading the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander (Loving them! I am on the 2nd right now [there are five], it is just taking forever since the only time I have to read normally is right before I go to sleep-and then I just fall asleep!)

-Sew quilt for #4 (well, I haven't even started this one and it is low on the priority list.)

-Make homemade Christmas presents for all kids (I am coming up with ideas, a rag doll for #1, and hobby horses for the boys, any other ideas?)

-Finish Family Finances course (almost there, I have two lessons and two tests to go!)

-Start Teaching Children to Read course (I had to register since the class is being done away with soon, but I am so looking forward to it.)

-Iron my clothes! (I am such a procrastinator if I don't like doing something! I have a pile of clothes [well, okay, not a pile, they are hanging nicely in the closet] just waiting to be ironed.)

Whew! I better get to work now.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bring On The Guilt!

I have never been a tiny woman (or a tiny girl for that matter). And having just finished nursing my last baby and not needing those extra calories anymore I am afraid it is time for me to cut back on what I eat.
Now you have to understand that I love food.

I especially love food that isn't so good for me (chocolate, bread, cheese, pasta, etc.) I also enjoy many vegatables and fruits and other healthy foods, but those just aren't as comforting for me.

It's those foods that remind me of growing up and spending time with family that are particularly enjoyable and help me relax from a long day. It was a simpler time back then when I didn't have to make all the decisions, pay the bills, do all the work, or worry so much.

Even now when our family gets together there are usually at least 10 gallons of Mom's potato salad to consume while laughing it up and playing Mahjong. How do you resist that?

So on this quest I worry that I will often mess up and feel those pangs of guilt that are already an everyday occurance (by the way, is that just me?)

But I guess so long as I am trying, that's the important thing. And those guilty feelings will just spur me on to try harder.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Looking Backwards (Not Forwards)

I didn't get all weepy when the kids started school. I was so happy to have them going again.

But today is #3's first day of preschool. And I am finding myself getting all emotional at the thought of him going, getting older and, next year, starting kindergarten!

I have always had a hard time when a child starts kindergarten.

When #1 started I was so nervous for her. I was also dreading the first day, just knowing she was going to cry and mope and make a big to-do about it (after all I did when I started school). But she just walked in the classroom and waved me off ("Bye Mom!")!!! And she hasn't looked back since. She has always adored school.

#2 has always been so little and sensitive that I was even more nervous for him to start to school. I just knew some little twerp would say something mean to him. But he has never had any problems. (In fact last week his teacher called with a great story involving #2, a pile of folders he was having trouble passing out, and another boy in the class standing up for #2 when someone offered to help him saying "Let the little man do it!")

But I know I will be just as scared and nervous when #3 starts kindergarten. Maybe a little more nervous for the other kids in his classroom this time around though. He can be quite a bully when he wants to!

I just want to hold onto him for a little while longer (even though I know that's impossible).

I always say I look forward to the kids moving out and finally having some alone time with Hubby (and I do), but I know that will be even more difficult than not seeing them for a few hours during the week.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Shhh...Don't Tell!

What my kids don't know about me:

~I really dislike raw carrots. And yet, I make the kids eat them all the time. They are just too easy. I will occasionally force myself to eat them, too.

~I don't like having them help in the kitchen. I know that it is great together time and all that jazz. But it is just so much easier (and less messy) for me to do alone. I guess I'll have to get over this one or I will always be cooking for them. I do, however, enjoy them helping me in other ways.

~Sometimes I want to get away just so I can lie around all morning and not have to fix breakfast, or get anyone else ready for the day.
~I will only give them each two cookies, but eat more than that myself! Hehe!
~Sometimes, I come in after them and fix their beds after they have made them. Just a little straightening here and a tuck there is all.
Isn't it fun being the grown up!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hey, Mikey! She Likes It!

Confession: I have bought items I saw advertised on infomercials!! But, so far I have only bought 3 (Proactive, pilates and the Space Bag), although I have been tempted with a lot more (those cool knives and mineral makeup).

Two of the purchases I have made didn't really work. I still have zits (Proactive) and I am not thin (pilates).

But yesterday I got my Space Bags in the mail! I LOVE THEM! We are trying to organize and dejunk our home. We have SO much stuff and SO little room. So even if we do get a storage unit as Hubby wants, we still need to make room. I thought these would be the perfect solution for sleeping bags, blankets, sheets, clothes, etc. And I was RIGHT!
Check out how small our 5 sleeping bags got!

And here is a ton of old bedding, a bunch of sheets, five pillows, and a couple blankets! You can see in the picture, they are lower than the wall socket.

Last, but not least is four of the space bags with the combined contents: crib sheets, crib mattress cover, twin sheet set and 13 blankets.

I was so excited that these worked! I even checked them by opening them which fills them up with air again, and then sucking the air out again with the vacuum. They are easy to use (if I can do it anyone can) and they are reusable (which I need).

I bought them online at at their website, but they are also available at Walmart. I will just have to go buy me some more!

Disclaimer: I am not being paid by the company to advertise here, but if anyone from Space Bag would like to pay me I will take cash and more Space Bags!

Disclaimer #2: Mine don't look nearly as pretty as those on the infomercial or the website. Which is no fault of the Space Bag company. Just my inabilities!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sweet Relief

Do you ever get that feeling after a really good hike or after doing a great session of yoga where your whole body is in this mode of happiness and relaxation and good feelings? It is like a whole-body sigh of relief after working yourself really hard.

Well, today is the first day of school. And as much as I enjoyed my summer with the kids and all the fun we had body is sighing with relief.

It is seriously a physical sensation of well-being and happiness and relaxation.

I guess the summer with four kids had me worked up and stressed out physically and emotionally without me even knowing it!!!

We took #1 and #2 to their new school, found their classrooms, met their teachers and said goodbye.

When we got home #4 went down for his nap and Hubby (who is on his semester break) took #3 in the backyard to dig for the retaining wall. So I got to do whatever I wanted!!

It was quite relaxing and splendid.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Last First

Yesterday being #4's 1st birthday, I decided to make him a cake.

I substituted the oil with applesauce (even Hubby couldn't tell the difference and everyone still ate it.)

I got a YUMMY recipe for a white chocolate icing from a friend and went to work.

It was a lot of work using a star icing tip and my hand was somewhat cramped afterward, but I thought the cake came out really cute.

#4 got the "block" with the 1 on it and boy did he make a mess!!! (Pictures will be posted on the family blog later.) But it is our last first birthday for this little family and what a way to end!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Nose

This time I write of my favorite smells.

My sense of smell has been quite keen throughout my life (that's why as a kid I could tell not only that someone else had been sleeping on my pillow, but I would be able to tell who that someone was).

But it has also served me well in helping to create memories that I can associate with smells. After all, isn't the part of the brain that is connected to smell right next to the part that is connected to memory? Am I just making that up?

Anyhow, here are a few:

~Mom's lemon perfume. I can't remember the name, but it is a soothing smell for obvious reasons.

~A summer rainstorm. Particularly those that remind me of summers on the farm. It is just delicious!

~The smell of Christmas. All things associated with it: pies, Christmas trees, spices, homemade fudge.

~Eucalyptus. There was a huge basket of it under the piano at the home I grew up in. So it always reminds me of home. I have a eucalyptus wreath hanging over our piano now. The smell of the two together is wonderful.

~A newborn baby. Maybe the most wonderful smell in the world. Or maybe I am just nostalgic for those days with a newborn that seemed so crazy and, yet, are nothing compared to life with a toddler (yikes!)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String...

Anyone who knows me knows I love, love, love books!!

They are close friends that are always there for me when I am feeling down. And they are new aquaintances that I am excited to get to know better.

They can make me feel happy, sad, angry, any emotion really.

And when I come to the end I am torn between being content with the ending and happy for the characters and upset that the book is done and wishing it could go on forever.

I have so many favorites I couldn't even begin to choose an ultimate favorite.

But I did put together a list of books that have served the kids, and me well over the years. Although we didn't always treat the books very well. Some are unrecoverably worn down and others have been mended several times.

-My scriptures (they are so sad looking right now, Hubby keeps telling me I should get a new set, but that's like saying I should get a new Hubby when he gets worn down!)

-"Dr Seuss's Sleep Book" (I still have some memorized...'A moose is asleep, he is dreaming of moose drinks, A goose is asleep he is dreaming of goose drinks...' CLASSIC!)

-"Pride and Prejudice" (Of course I had to add this one! Always a pick-me-up on a lousy day.)

-"Goodnight Moon" (We are actually on our second copy, the first went the way of all the earth after #1, #2 and #3 used and abused it much. It is a favorite of #4, we just recite a little bit of it and he gets ready for a nap.)

-"Caring for Your Baby and Young Child-ages birth-5 years" (We call this our "manual." Usually babies don't come with one, but #1 did! Our pediatritian gave this to us in the hospital the day she was born. What a life saver!! The cover has been torn off and several of the first few pages are missing from over use. There are subsequent volumes for different ages, but we haven't gotten around to buying those yet.)

-All the Chronicles of Narnia (but you must read them in the order they were written, not the order they come in as a set. If you want to know what the order is, just ask. We have read these several times over and listened to them as audiobook CDs in the car. Hubby and I even read them together the summer we were first married. The stories are great and the gospel parallels are very insightful and thought provoking.)

I know there are others, but really I could go on forever!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Chemical Warfare

We had to resort to a fogger to get rid of the ants. We discovered they were nesting somewhere either in the walls of the kitchen or behind the cabinets.

So Tuesday evening we left the house in the early evening after starting the fogger. We took the kids to dinner and a movie ("Prince Caspian"). By the time the movie was over it had been over four hours and we could return home.

The kids went straight to bed while Hubby and I spent several more hours putting the kitchen back together. (We had to take EVERYTHING out of there, what a pain!).

But, NO MORE ANTS!! We haven't seen a single one.

I didn't like having to take such drastic measures, but that's what it took, at least this time.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Yukon Ho!

Yesterday the 3 older kids decided to, as #3 put it "seed from the family." I found out from #2 what he meant was secede from the family. In other words, they were running away.

Apparently their destination was the yukan wilderness (thanks Bill Waterson!), because, as #2 argued, they had "already spent 6 years living with us" (thanks Bill Waterson!).

They asked if they could pack some food for their journey, but I suggested they wait to leave till after lunch so their tummies would be nice and full already. As this was agreed upon, they continued to pack in other ways. #3 packed his compass and #2 even asked for a map of the yukon.

As the 3 of them decided the best way to get their, they noticed, from the map, that they would have to cross through Canada. #1 realized this meant they would have to get passports.

So their next destination was Santa Fe. Cause if you can't go to the yukon where else would you go?

Now they had to decide when to leave. #1 suggested next year after her birthday since she would be 10 and older and wiser. #2 suggested they leave Sunday, but #1 didn't want to miss church. So #2 suggested they leave Monday, again #1 didn't want to miss school.

When they decided, again, that their destination would be too far, they opted for Rio Rancho (just north of us). But apparently I had to help them cross the streets. When they realized there are just too many streets between us and Rio Rancho, the trip was called off.

The best part though was after #3 invited me to come along and "seed" from the family as well. I declined with the excuse that I would miss my family too much. After a while he came to me crying saying that he didn't want to go because he would miss me so much. I assured him I wouldn't actually let them leave (because I love them so much and they aren't ready to live on their own yet) and that this was all a game, but he was insisting they were leaving and they would be gone for 2 years. During the plan-making discussions #3 would still get upset once in a while and say how much he would miss me.

It was too adorable, and, boy, do I feel loved!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Death By Chocolate Fluff

the last piece
till finally,
a well-deserved treat
worth waiting for

Monday, August 4, 2008

Weird Science

Okay, we have been having an ant problem in and around our house this summer. It is driving me nuts. And since my rule is: if it is out of the house don't kill it (unless it is something REALLY NASTY) but if it is in the house it is fair game, I have been killing like a mad woman.
But I don't like gross, chemically heavy bug sprays, so I bought an eco-friendly, child/pet friendly spray. It uses cinnamon oil and rosemary oil and a couple other natural/organic ingredients.

The combination of the cinnamon and the rosemary oils actually make it smell like root beer! How does that work? It is quite odd and a little thirst mocking.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

So Good, It Makes Hubby Snort

There is a new phenomenon lately of bakeries that solely serve cupcakes. I, for one, am in favor of this new trend. There are a couple here in town, so of course, we had to try them out (several times each) to be sure which one was our favorite.

The other day Hubby came home with half a dozen cupcakes from our favorite bakery. (And, although half a dozen seems like a lot that is only one per person in our family.) They were gobbled up with delight.

The cake tastes like a yummy homemade cake that is moist and delicious. And the frosting...oh, that frosting! It is rich and creamy and buttery (is your mouth watering yet?) Some of the cupcakes are even filled with gooey surprises in the cake.

They are simply heavenly. At least that is what I hope the cupcakes are like in heaven (although those I imagine are low in fat and calories, too!)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

How Stupid Could I Be?

I admit that I've done some pretty dumb things in the past. And I doubt I am the only one. I'm brave enough to list SOME of them off. Are you?
~Sold my plasma for extra cash and almost passed out TWICE doing it (you'd think I'd have learned the first time, huh?)

~Took an upper level English course (Shakespeare 382) my freshman year of college. Amazingly enough I passed the course, too! But, not without a very difficult semester.

~Forgot which pedal was the brake and hit the house with the car when I was 17. I don't think I forget anymore.

~Tried making a candle by melting crayons in the microwave till I started a fire in said microwave (I was only 14, I think), but, I did put the fire out with the extinguisher. I even cleaned it up and kept it from my parents for years and years (you have heard about this before, right Mom?)

~Was showing off in front of a boy in high school and, while not exactly watching where I was going, under estimated the width of the car and hit another car in ther parking lot. No damage was done to either car, but I felt really stupid getting yelled at by the other driver (an adult) and the duty on sight. I think I learned my lesson from that one, pretty quick.

You must notice the trend that most of my stupid, thoughtless mistakes were done in my youth. I like to THINK I am older and wiser now. Although, in ten years I may have to update.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Isn't It Ironic? Don't You Think?

As I grow up (I'm not there yet), I find there are a few ironies I have to deal with on a daily basis.

1. I still feel like I should be the child BUT, I am the one is charge.
Who let that happen!?

2. Occasionally I still have to battle with zits (hormones still fluctuating I guess-again aren't I a child?) BUT, I also have to deal with gray hairs starting to pop up. As Hubby would say, "That sounds like a design flaw." Shouldn't I be done with one now that I have another? Who let that happen!?

Oh, well, maybe when I grow up things will be more simple!