Thursday, November 27, 2008

7 Quick Takes (Not Quite) Friday

Eight people,
Four dogs,
Three pies,
Fourteen pounds of turkey,
Twelve hours...

One tired, insomniac mom who is hoping that the almost two inches of snow on the ground right now doesn't turn into more and rain on my Black Friday shopping parade...
Not that I really go shopping on Black Friday for the stellar deals (who really wants to buy a $2000 flat screen TV for only $999 anyway?) Mostly, it's just something that has become a tradition with my MIL and me and any other females around for the holiday (so this year, MIL, me and the girls).

Dinner went well...I managed to cook the turkey long enough that it didn't need to be carved (again...this is kinda a trend with me!) I figured out how to make sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole and frog eye salad (all firsts for me!), and everything came together really well by the time our guests arrived.

Apparently there was a really terrible semi accident on the highway down to our town from hubby's hometown (where our four people guests and three doggie guests came from), and everyone was pretty sure no one could have survived it, but Charlotte's godfather stopped and talked to the wrecker crew on his way home and found out that the truck driver's only injury was a broken jaw...what a huge blessing to be thankful for!

Hubby and I were discussing the cost of our Thanksgiving dinner (because his grandpa tried to PAY me to help out with didn't work...I'm more stubborn than him) and so since I can't sleep and am a numbers dork, I got my receipts out of my wallet and added it up. This does not include staples from my pantry and fridge (butter, milk, cornstarch, sugar, pudding mix, marshmallows, spices, coconut), but my total before tax and coupons (and I would bet I had close to $5 worth of coupons) was $23.93...that fed 8 of us exceedingly well for lunch (dinner), 6 of us as much as we could handle for dinner (supper), a homemade TV dinner for hubby for tomorrow's lunch, about 2/3 of a batch of frog eye salad (the recipe said that it served 11...apparently that means 11 people eating a dinner plate full of it) and probably a good 4-5 lbs of turkey meat that I need to do something with!

I have to rave about my great new addition to my spice cupboard...for the entire time we have lived in this house (honestly, I don't really even remember my spice space in our old house, other than it is better that what I've had here) I've been struggling with my spices...I never could find them, I'd have to empty out the whole cabinet to find something, or I'd give up and use something that was kinda-sorta somewhat like what the recipe called, hubby and I have been trying to find some pull out shelves that will fit in our extremely narrow cupboard. Finally, I was at wits end over the weekend (about the time we decided that we would be hosting Thanksgiving) and googled "pull out shelves for a spice cupboard", and found this blog post that has CHANGED MY LIFE (okay, maybe it wasn't quite that dramatic...) Such a simple idea, but so was even within hubby's home improvement capabilities (although apparently reaching the random bunch of 2x4s in our garage was a little dangerous...)

We are currently reading a book that I am really enjoying, but am a little reluctant to suggest to people: "The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map To True Riches" by Jeff Yeager. Now, I'm not reluctant to suggest the book because of the advice in it...but because it is pretty crude and crass...Hubby grew up in a family with that kind of a sense of humor...I grew up in a family with no sense of humor...So, if you are not from a family with a slightly vulgar sense of humor, you may have to wait until you have been married into one for close to a decade...In particular, I really enjoy his concept "skip the money step"...basically, what you do is to not buy something that you will have to work to pay for...the best (simple) example is the car...You want a car as a teen, so you get a job to pay for the car and the insurance and the gas, but the job takes up all your time so you can't enjoy your car, but now you need your car to get you back and forth to's a very interesting book.

Last weekend we ended up staying the night up at my MILs house (well, my FIL does live there, too...but let's face it...houses tend to belong to women) and the girls didn't get even close to enough after a whole bunch of drama queen moments by one girl or the other, I reached my limit, packed up and we headed home early (about 4 pm, we usually don't get out of there until close to 9). The final drama was that hubby's grandpa's dog snapped at Eva and it scared her...Not only was hubby's grandpa's dog there, but also my FILs dog, our dog, and my SILs three cats (not my SIL, though...she is visiting a convent in Nebraska this week). Somehow in all the hustle and bustle of trying to get all our stuff together, I managed to leave a bag behind...inside the bag were several books, a set of coupon inserts, a couple of movies, and my purse (with my keys, wallet, cellphone, etc in it!) We were too far away to go back and get it by the time I realized my purse was in there, from Sunday until today I had no car keys, no wallet, no license, no debit card...nothing! Yesterday, hubby forgot to take several things that I really wanted to get in the mail before Thanksgiving, and I originally thought "no problem". I figured I could drive to the bank, get some cash, mail the things and stop by the grocery store on the way home for a few items....then I realized that we don't have a spare car key for our new I thought since it was nice, I would get the stroller, walk to the bank, then walk to the post office, then steal hubby's car keys and car and make him walk home from work...then I realized that he had the car with no car seats...and I realized that Eva wouldn't do well with walking to the bank, post office, grocery store and then I left hubby a message on his cell phone, and he felt guilty enough to take a break, drive home, mail my letters, AND stop by the grocery store after work the day before Thanksgiving...he really is a great guy!

And those are my the morning I'm sure there will be more over at Jen's blog!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, the turkey is in the oven, cranberry relish and frog eye salad are in the fridge, sweet potato casserole is assembled and waiting on the counter, the potatoes are cut and in water waiting to be boiled and mashed, the green beans are defrosting on the counter with the ingredients for green bean casserole, and the stuffing is Stove Top in the box.

MIL is bringing dinner rolls and pecan pie. Mrs. Smith made the pumpkin pie and it is still in the freezer (our tiny oven can only do one thing at a time!)

I still need to get out the china, but hubby's been running around cleaning while the girls watch a little TV.

All is well in our house and we are looking forward to a day of family, food and fun! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday as well!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Why hubby shouldn't stay home alone #6217

Well, I went to a very nice prayer meeting for my bible's actually the first prayer meeting we've done, but it looks like we will do it again. Nothing quite worked out the way we had hoped...we never could get Father to even let us ask him if we could have exposition of the Eucharist, and in the end there were two different music practices going on tonight in the sanctuary anyway (neither were in the bulletin, but then again, neither were we!)

So, hubby was at home for a little over an hour with the girls. Now, this isn't that unusual...he stays home with the girls a lot, but usually I provide frozen pizza or something like that for them to eat. Today, I made lentil-rice casserole in the crock pot (and Eva and Charlotte ate better than they have all week...who knew that they'd dig lentils so much today?) and fed the girls early. Of course, that meant that they were hungry and wanted a snack.

We've been out of microwave popcorn for a while...I haven't found a good sale recently...and I gave away our air popper in a fit of decluttering a few months ago, figuring that a pot could be used to cook dinner AND pop popcorn! Hubby made popcorn on the stove once since that time, with supervision from me. He doesn't seem to have been listening.

Here's what I came home to:

When I asked what he did, he said "I don't know!" So, I asked if he had tried to cook the popcorn on high, he said yes, then added "I'm not sure I added enough fat." So, naturally I asked how much oil he had put in the pan...and he told me none...but that he had put a little butter in!

So, the blackened mess of virtually unpopped popcorn was awaiting me...but here's one more fun fact before I go...he told me that he had to wet the popcorn down to get it to stop really is amazing that he's never burnt down a house accidentally!

Friday, November 21, 2008

7 Quick Takes Friday

Could my computer be any slower??? Honestly, what's so hard about loading blogger in less than 5 minutes??? I am sure that it has nothing to do with the fact that I have two open windows of Internet Explorer (one with 3 tabs, one with 2) Spider Solitaire and Outlook all open right now. I am looking forward to the day when dial up Internet no longer exists so that we can upgrade (yes, I am too cheap to consider high speed!)

We still don't know what we are doing for Thanksgiving. Not really that unusual for hubby's family but exacerbated this year by the fact that harvest is STILL going on. Also, since hubby's cousin is still in a hospital (but was recently moved to the best brain rehab hospital around) we don't know if we will be going up to the city to spend Thanksgiving with them. Of course, I don't know how a normal person would respond to not knowing...but my method is to buy EVERYTHING needed for a Thanksgiving feast JUST IN CASE. I have a 14 lb turkey, 10 lbs potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, stuff to make frog eye salad, and a pumpkin pie in my freezer and pantry...I need help (it was all on sale, though!)

Speaking of sales...I'm starting to need therapy! I swore I wouldn't turn into my hubby's grandma. When we cleaned out her house years ago (which is strangely on the same block we currently live) We found two large chest freezers full of turkeys, etc. She had at least a years supply of TP, and so much dishwasher detergent that we still had a bunch left over (I think we took half the stash) when we moved out of our apartment with a dishwasher and into a smaller one without a dishwasher. So far I only have about a 1-2 month reserve of toilet paper, only one turkey, but I DO have about a years supply of shampoo and conditioner...I have a really hard time saying no to free...

My parents recently gave me a box with a bunch of sheet music, etc in it that has been sitting at their house since I went off to college. Inside was an Irish tin whistle, which was one of the few things that didn't get thrown was up on the counter for a couple of weeks where Eva kept asking about it, and I told her that I needed to wash it (it was pretty gross after that many years in my parent's garage!) I finally sent it through the dishwasher (I'm pretty sure that's not in the care instructions...) and put it in the toy box last night. Naturally the girls are fighting over it and making an awful lot of noise...I am currently rethinking my decision to keep it...

I'm loving our Thanksgiving break. I decided to take a two week break because we a) home school year round- 4 days a week, b) have completed 10 weeks of school, and c) have run out of curriculum for the first quarter...since we are TRYING to stretch out Kindergarten for two years (so we don't have a 5 year old first grader) I need to come up with a bunch of review stuff for a few more weeks, and then find a way to slow her down for the next three quarters.

We started rehearsals for Christmas choir at church...I love singing, and I love the fact that our parish has a choir...I just really wish they didn't love Marty Haugen so much because he makes me want to puke...We are singing this nauseating piece for Christmas:
"Child of our Dreams By Marty Haugen A Christmas Anthem for Choir, Keyboard, Guitar and Optional C Instrument" (If you want to purchase it, it is available from GIA Publications)

Vs 1: "Holy Child of poverty, so lowly is your birth; sharing our humanity, embracing all the earth; Ev'ry nation, ev'ry race, ev'ry person wears your face: Come anew, O Child of our dreams."
Vs 2: "Joyful child of mystery, come warm our winter night; fire our dull complacency, and fill us with your light; Speak the Word that makes us whole, lead each lost and hungry soul; Come anew, O Child of our dreams."
Musical interlude added by our choir just because they love this song so much
Vs 3: "Sacred Child of ecstasy, creation sings your love; light gives back your radiancy and fills the skies above; Gentle glow from candlelight, splendor of the stars of night: Come anew, O Child of our dreams."
and just because 3 versus of this isn't enough
Vs 4: "Child of all eternity, our justice and our peace, born into our history that hatreds all may cease; Bring us all to life from death, be our hope, our joy, our breath; Come anew, O Child of our dreams (echo Come anew, O child of our dreams) Come anew, O Child of our dreams"
YUCK! And the worst part is that after we finished rehearsing this crap, the choir leader (who is a wonderful person that we all love) sighs happily and says "Don't you just love that song?"...I was polite and didn't respond...

FACEBOOK...I hear talking about Facebook is mandatory on these lists (at least it seemed to be last week!) I am on facebook, and it can be fun...but I mostly just like entertaining myself on facebook...You can put your current status on there like "your name is contemplating doing horrible things to Marty Haugen" (not that my status would EVER say anything like that!) Since I am in the "don't particularly want to be found by my high school classmates because it would just take too much explaining" crowd. The whole loudmouth ambitious atheist future business person I was back then versus the Catholic homeschooling homemaker/mom I am now...I just don't want to have to go into it. I am in touch with 1 high school classmate on Facebook. I did put my HS on my profile, so I do show up when you search through my class...but I didn't put my maiden name on there, and I used a picture of my kids on there instead of me...and no one has tried to find me yet. Mostly, I am in touch with hubby's family, my mom's group here in town, and a few Catholic moms I know from the on-line world.

Okay, that was long winded, but fun! I'm looking forward to reading through more of them over at Jen's blog.

Monday, November 17, 2008

One Home Many Hopes

I just found out about this Race to 20K...I guess I must be a bit behind, because they are almost to the end of their 30 day limit. Currently, they have around 500 donors, they need 1000 to meet their challenge. If 1000 people give at least $10, then they will get a matching donor for a total of $20,000 to expand their facilities. Here's some info from One Home Many Hopes website:

"The Past: In the early 1990s, Anthony Mulongo...befriended a group of street children [as a journalist] living and eating from the rubbish dumps. There he met Gift Hawa.
Gift was a six-year-old girl who lost her mother to AIDS, and whose 10-month-old brother had died on her back while she carried him through the streets in search of food. Anthony moved Gift into his house, enrolled her in school and raised her as his daughter. Today Gift is 13 and among the oldest of 35 girls in Mudzini Kwetu.

The Present: Mudzini Kwetu is currently home to over thirty girls, a handful of hens, three cows, a vegetable patch, a few fruit trees and a donkey named George - all living together on a single acre of land...The girls wake up at 6 a.m. and do chores together around the home under the supervision of house mothers Saida and Grace...By 7:30, the girls are in school. Mudzini Kwetu believes that education is the best way to escape cyclical poverty. The girls at Mudzini Kwetu attend classes at a private English-speaking school for up to 12 hours each day...The girls own a couple of board games, a few hula hoops, a rusty bicycle, some bricks and a soccer ball.

The Future: Our vision is:• A new three-story building with each floor serving as a distinct family unit headed by a "house mother."• A university education for the girls so they will be able to support themselves and be agents for ending poverty in their town, region, country and continent.• An on-site kindergarten and school, free of the prohibitive private education fees that are common in Kenya."

Go over to the website yourself and check it out...I was very touched and became one of the 1000 needed donors. Please consider adding your support. Thanks to Karen Edmisten for posting this on her blog for me to find!

Friday, November 14, 2008

One down, one to go!

Well, since hubby was home for a chunk of nap time today, I took the opportunity to finish Charlotte's painting smock. Why does he need to be home if it is nap time anyway? Because I am genetically incapable of ironing (I know I've blogged about this before!) Last night at Mass, Father asked if someone could wash and iron the altar cloths before the Archbishop comes on Saturday...the church secretary kept gesturing to me trying to get me to volunteer...but I burn, not iron...and really I'm not so great at the laundry anyway! However, hubby is very good at ironing (I don't know where he gets it...his mom is better than I am, but not much). Of course, years ago I was commenting on how much I don't like to iron and how hubby doesn't mind, so he does the ironing in front of hubby's grandma (yes, Whimsy...the same one who can't stand dirty glasses...) Well, for Christmas that year hubby's grandma got him a no iron shirt because I don't iron for him so he doesn't have to do it.

So, I sew...and he irons as needed. Here are the results. First, of course, the wonderfully crafty smock made for me more than 25 years ago by my (single and childless) great aunt. Then, of course is my cheap imitation which looks like it was made by two drunk baboons (which is what most craft and home improvement projects look like around here!) My stitches are wildly erratic, my cuts are not so fabulous...but it is done...and it's a painting smock, so I guess I really should be glad that it is not my Mona Lisa...

Two years ago this minute...

I was lying sliced open on an operating table (mostly thankfully, conscious!) making bets for the time of birth of a baby...well, I still was sticking to boy...but hubby, my doula and my OB were all betting girl. I DID get the time right by choosing 7:45!

Happy Birthday Charlotte Merici!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Not depressed...just busy!

Well, get your update!

I've been slaving over/cursing at my sewing machine because I decided (unwisely) to make a present for each girl for Christmas.

My great aunt made me a painting smock when I was little (that my mom confessed today that I never got to use when making a mess because it was too nice) and my mom gave it to Eva for her birthday. Well, the girls naturally fight over it. Hubby suggested that we could probably BUY a painting smock (or use an old t-shirt over their clothes or something), but I thought that it would make Charlotte feel sad for Eva to have a nice painting smock and for her not to have one...

I'm about half way done with that one, and I'll post some pictures of the two smocks (hopefully soon!)

I've wanted some bean bags for Eva for her P.E. class, but when I priced them on Amazon, they seemed like a lot of money for what they were (well, the fact that I couldn't find any bean bags that qualified for Super Saver Shipping was the nail in the coffin!), so I will be making those when I have finished the smock.

Also, Charlotte got moved to her big girl bed this week. It's been out in the garage for months, and the past month or so hubby was working on sanding/priming/painting it (all the mismatched hand me down furniture in their room is the same shade of white with some of it having red accents). So, we took out the crib, and she's been there since. It's gone pretty well since she is no longer confined. I'm still having some trouble at nap time.

Tomorrow is Charlotte's 2nd birthday! So, we'll have a little family celebration tomorrow night, and then have the family party on Sunday. If the roads are okay, it will be at my MILs house, if not, it will be here and I'll need to get busy with cleaning and cooking.

We also have confirmation at our parish this weekend, so I get to go sing with the choir and hear what the readings and homily are for a change. I can't believe that Thanksgiving is almost here, and then Advent will be starting...I'm feeling worn out already!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Denial and Detachment...

Well, obviously we are a little sad about the elections yesterday. In the words of my MIL "I wouldn't feel quite so bad if SOMETHING I voted for passed!"

In this house we seem to be having two approaches to dealing with the unhappy political news. I am trying to practice detachment, and hubby is very much working on denial. I can't seem to convince him or his mom that denial isn't so great...

Since we all already know the bad news about the current state of affairs, I'm going to focus on the good news in our household:

All four of us are healthy
We have plenty of food
Our house is relatively warm
We can pay all our bills
Our transportation is reliable (if not stylish!)
Hubby is employed, and in a government-esqe job
If Obama does his whole redistribution of wealth thing, we will be on the receiving end

Okay, that's all I can come up with right's a cold and dreary day around here, and that's not brightening anybody's mood.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

My trick or treaters!

Well, my sweet little trick or treaters and I are just hanging out today while hubby is at work. I'm looking forward to a quiet weekend at home for a change. Bad news is that Charlotte has developed a hacking cough since last night, so I may have a quiet weekend at home with a sick toddler!

Here's a great picture of the girls (taken this morning, they are loving their costumes)

Beyond a little trick or treating and keeping up with school work, I've mostly sat around the computer this week entering bloggy giveaways (I did win one over at Voice of Truth - a Creative Memories paper album...and it looks like she is in need of some prayers at the moment)

While I've been doing a whole lot of nothing, hubby's been very busy around the house! On Tuesday he installed our new to us dryer (my MIL got a new set, so we mooched her old dryer since it was still working fine) with minimal cursing (neither one of us is what anyone would call handy). On Wednesday, he worked on priming Charlotte's big girl bed (my childhood bed) and mowed the lawn before we went up to visit his family and carve pumpkins with the girls. While we were up at his parents house, I helped my MIL work on cleaning out her basement, and while I was down there besides finding lots of books she has read and no longer wants to swap at Paperback Swap, I also found some pull out shelves for kitchen cabinets (when she remodeled a few years ago, she didn't need them anymore, as her new cabinets have built in pull outs) and some cork tiles. So, on Thursday hubby installed the pull out shelves in two cabinets, and created a cork bulletin board for me to hang my calendar on...the greatest part about that is now all the random holes from different sizes and styles of calendars are now hidden under to cork tiles!

I really should be cleaning the kitchen or organizing stuff or planning school for next week, but at the moment, I am very content to have a little computer time while my little Nemo and Bruce the shark watch Finding Nemo...

Slime Laboratory Winner

Congratulations to commenter number 34, Lisa who is the winner of my bloggy giveaway! Lisa mentioned that she has 3 boys, so I am hoping that making slime turns out to be very popular with her.

Of course, Slime Laboratory and lots of other great games and toys are available through my Learning is an Art page. Including my girls absolute favorite (which was only mentioned by one commenter) Pet Detectives, which is a fun combination of a go fish sort of game with some money counting skills and lots of fun animals...including two blank sets where you can make your own pet cards using pictures of your own pets! There are also a bunch of exclusive items, including IQ Blaster, which was a popular pick during this giveaway!

So, I hope everyone has as much fun entering giveaways as I did...hopefully we can all rest up before this all happens again! Check out the other winners at the Bloggy Giveaways!