Saturday, September 27, 2008

Take A Breather... If You Can

This beauty was my grandma's next door "neeeeeigh"-bor (now that was a bad joke) before she moved closer to us. I thought the picture was dreamy and relaxing, kind of like our weekend would be... if I could only breathe.

I think I may be getting asthma.

Ugh... I sure hope this is just allergies, but I may be going to visit the doctor on Monday. My throat feels like it is "swollen", for lack of a better word. It does not hurt at all, which is weird, it is just hard to swallow food, and I have had a few episodes when it was hard to breathe because it feels like my airway was being constricted. And I have a lot of phlegm.

And of course ALL of our Tylenol Allergy is expired.

You'd better believe that I'll be picking some more up tomorrow when I do my Walgreens shopping.

Oh, and Mike got the closet in the loft done, and I finally got the shelf liners tacked on today, so I have started loading it up with our "overstock" stuff. A whole new closet!! It's like a dream come true. Our bathroom is going to look a lot better, that's for sure.

I don't know what it is about fall, but for me it is even more motivating than spring as far as cleaning and decluttering. I start to feel claustrophobic with all of our "stuff" surrounding me all day long. Maybe it's because in the summer we're outside so much more, and then in the fall we can't go out as much and have to spend more time indoors, so I notice it more? I don't know.

Well, we have church tomorrow, so I'd better go throw in a load of laundry, because I'm out of nice slacks. I got myself a soft, comfy pair of brown sweatpants last week, and I can't wait to wear them! It's still too warm for me. I want to be cold!

Speaking of being cold, I got my holiday mini catalog from Stampin' Up! in the mail a few days ago. Ahhhhh... I love the Christmas stamp sets!! I think I may need a couple of them. Yes, of course, need. Because the six Christmas sets that I have aren't enough.
And all that talk about decluttering and getting rid of stuff? Yeah. That most emphatically does NOT apply to my stamps. I love them all. And I have a whole shelf in my stamp cabinet that is not being used. Yet.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mowing Train

Last night, Mike mowed the yard. The boys first had to pick up all of the toys that were all over the yard from the day's playtimes, and then when Mike entered the backyard with the mower, the boys ran and grabbed their dump trucks and followed him around the whole yard. So fun!

Don't you just love the trail that runs around the yard? Courtesy of Gordon. Well, Gordon started it, but the boys happily play on it for a large portion of their outdoor playtime each day. They kick a ball up and down the slight incline on the trail, and shovel dirt from one place to another -- which involves filling up their dump trucks and then hauling the dirt to its new destination and then, of course, dumping it.

We walked to DQ after the boys were done mowing, and Mike and I were laughing most of the time we walked, watching Griffin hike up his shorts and hold them up in the back. Note to self: take the Levi's out of Griffin's wardrobe until next year.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Good Food and Good Times

My front door three days ago.

My front door today.

What I did with the "old" wreath. This garage sale cookie jar is coming in handy! There is a candle inside of it, and I'll be filling it with small pinecones and cinnamon sticks. The candle inside is called Cinnamon Bun, and it is YUMMY. I just love fall!

We had a lot of fun last night. We got to spend time with Adrienne and Nicolas at IHOP; Grandma G. and Suzy (Grandpa) stopped by for a while after a birthday dinner they went to with some long-time church friends; and Caleb came by for a few minutes to pick up their dogs, who spent the week with us. It was a fun evening!

We were handing out cherry pie left and right, because I made one yesterday and everyone knows I love to give people food. It's what I do! You can't come over to my house and walk away hungry. I haven't tasted the pie yet, so I hope it was guest-worthy.

I was going to make tuna casserole last night for dinner, but there was no way I was going to turn down IHOP with a good friend. Now I have chicken that needs to be used tonight, so I think I'm going to make shredded chicken, stuffing, roasted potatoes and gravy for dinner.

I stuck a package of frozen chicken thighs in the crock pot on High on Monday morning with some butter, sea salt and pepper, and by Monday night the house smelled SO good. I'll make the gravy with the drippings and "good bits" that I saved from the bottom of the crock pot.

Here is my tuna casserole recipe. It is easy and fairly quick to make. It's the recipe my mom made when we were kids, and I still love it! The boys (all three of them!) love it too. The leftovers are really good. You may want to use an extra can of cream of mushroom soup if you plan to reheat it more than once so that it stays creamy.

Tuna Casserole

1 bag large shell pasta
2 small or 1 large can tuna (or salmon)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 can sliced mushrooms
1-2 cups shredded cheese

1. Cook the pasta.
2. Mix the tuna, mushrooms and two soups together in a baking dish.
3. Add the cooked pasta and stir together.
4. Cover with the shredded cheese.
5. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until cheese is all melted.

I see banana bread in my family's near future.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sick Day and a Recipe

Not for me, but Mike is sick today. He came home sick from work around lunchtime with a head cold, and went straight to bed. He's been there ever since, and it's 11pm right now.

Griffin and I did our school shortly after breakfast today. That worked out really well. He had a full belly, he wasn't tired yet, and Sammy was content to play with Legos at our feet most of the time we were reading. It was a good homeschool day. :)

I spent most of the afternoon and evening making pumpkin muffins from scratch. Here is the recipe:

Pumpkin Muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger or ground cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350.
1. In a large mixing bowl combine all of the dry
ingredients except the last cup of flour.
2. Add the wet ingredients.
3. Beat with an electric mixer
on low speed til blended, and on high speed for 2 minutes.
4. Add the remaining flour and beat til blended.
5. Line muffin tin with paper baking cups.
6. Use an ice cream scoop to fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Grocery Gaming Again

So I went shopping at Walgreens on Sunday night, while Mike was putting the boys to bed. I think this may be my new favorite time to shop! Other than the fact that the store had already run out of several of the items I was planning to purchase, which were free after rebate.

Here is a rundown of my shopping trip.

I spent $76.69.
My total before any coupons, discounts or gift cards was $169.10
I saved $92.41, which is %55. Hooray!

I had $48.60 in coupons, $22.92 in store sales (some advertised, some not) and a gift card worth $20.89 from July's rebates. I didn't shop there in August (I had a lot on my plate and didn't devote time to my Grocery Gaming for a month), but now I'm back!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

First Week Down!

Our first week of homeschool is behind us. It went very well, and Griffin is excited about what he is learning. We tried to do schooltime during naptime, but that didn't work out too well, so we modified our plans a bit. Monday was Labor Day, and since Mike was off we didn't have school. Tuesday we did our school while Sammy was napping. Same thing on Wednesday. On Thursday, Griffin requested that he be allowed to nap with Sammy, as he was "really tired." And then Mike came home and saved me (if you recall, I wasn't having the BEST day on Thursday). He sent me "out" for an hour before he left to go play poker. *sigh* What a man.

Where was I?

Oh yes. So we didn't do school on Thursday. But on Friday, I realized that the Sonlight schedule actually has us scheduled to do very little actual schoolwork every Friday, and since I had been a day "behind" all week since I thought it was Monday on Tuesday, Tuesday on Wednesday, etc., etc., We did two days' worth of school on Friday, after naptime. I set Sammy up with "The Polar Express," (you know how they can watch the same movie over and over and over again without getting tired of it? This is that movie for my boys.) and Griffin and I got busy in the living room.

Most of schooltime is spent snuggled up on the couch reading, talking about what we read, and practicing the Bible verse for the week. Then we move to the dining room table for his activity book. He loves it! It is fun watching him try SO hard to stay in the lines when he colors. And tracing lines, and listening to rhythms I beat on the table, and circling the matching objects... it's good to be in preschool. Yes, yes, it is.

We did school today while Sammy napped. I think we'll aim for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to get our school work done. Then he'll at least have a nap every other day. And we can easily combine the week's work into 3 days. There is only about 20-30 minutes of "work" to do every day -- if you can actually call it that, it's more like "Mommy Reading Time."

We love school!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Bad Mood

Yeah... it's not happening here, that's for sure! I am in a HORRIBLE MOOD. Don't mess with me right now.

I know I should be in a better mood, but I think it really has to do with the fact that

1. the sun isn't shining,

2. my (normally adorable) two-year-old has been a whiny, demanding MESS all day long and keeps repeating himself over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over,

3. my wrist hurts for some unknown reason and I can hardly bend it,

4. my hair is flat today and would NOT do anything this morning,

5. my eyes have been bothering me and it is hard to wear eye makeup because I feel the need to itch them all the time (must be allergies),

6. my floor will not stay clean for more than 2 hours because of little boy crumbs, toys, blankets, shoes (mine and theirs), and the never-ending layer of dog hair -- and I just vacuumed it yesterday,

7. my dining room table and end tables and bookshelf and other surfaces are cluttered with books, and I should really get more bookshelves to hold them all,

8. I called my husband to ask him if I could have tonight off, and forgot that he is playing poker tonight since he didn't get to on Monday (his normal poker-playing night).


So I'm sitting here trying to think of the GOOD in all of these situations. Like....

1. It has been nice and cool and rainy for the last two days, and we have not needed to have the air conditioner on, and it is so much fun to snuggle up under a blanket with a warm drink (or drive around with a Spiced Pumpkin Latte with Bonnie! That was something fun I did today.)

2. I have two adorable boys who love me so much, and can't wait to spend every waking minute with me. They have both lived past infancy, and are healthy and happy (well, most of the time!). I am so grateful to have been blessed with them.

3. The miracles of modern medicine... AKA Tylenol, Aleve, heat rubs, lotions, ointments, and on and on...

4. I have a fun hair color. I love having red hair.

5. I don't have to use special cleaner to wash off my eye makeup at the end of the day.

6. My children have lots of fun with their toys, and it is so much fun for me to watch the new games they can come up with using their blankets and cars. We have a huge black dog who loves us so much he would sit on us all day long if he could. Sounds weird, but it's true.

7. I have a husband who works hard all day long so that we can afford to buy books to feed my reading addiction. Well, his paychecks are useful for other things, food...

8. I can order delivery for dinner tonight, and watch "Annie" with the boys (haven't seen that movie since I was a kid), and read to my heart's content after they go to sleep.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

First Day of Homeschool

Our first day of homeschool was SO MUCH FUN!!! It went so much better than I expected it to. Sammy went down for his nap around 2pm, and he went right to sleep. Normally he will stay awake and talk and fidget and roll around in bed. Maybe this has been the solution all along! I didn't realize that having Griffin in the room with him was keeping him from sleeping.

We'll see if the "going right to sleep" thing lasts once he realizes how much fun we're having while he sleeps. I'm praying it continues!

Griffin and I sat down and got right to work. He wouldn't let me do anything else.

First, I introduced the Bible verse for the week. He will be learning Proverbs 4:20 -- "Pay attention, my child, to what I say. Listen carefully."

Then we read:
"Old Mother Goose," from A Treasury of Mother Goose Rhymes,
"Mouse and the Lion" from The Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book,
"The Poky Little Puppy" from Family Treasury of Little Golden Books,
a poem by Carl Sandburg from Eric Carle's Animals Animals,
we learned about winter from The Berenstain Bears' Big Book of Science and Nature (Almanac)
we learned about the Island of Banilla (not a real island), its inhabitants, its government structure, and all of the people who make the island of Banilla work in Things People Do

The last things we did were two worksheets from Developing the Early Learner 1. The first worksheet was "Draw a line from the bunny to the carrot without touching any of the other lines with your pencil," and the second was "Color the two identical pictures." Griffin loved both of those (he's a very hands-on guy), and worked on them for a long time. He takes his time coloring now, and wants to make sure that the colors he uses are true-to-life. No more purple trees or green elephants. He checks with me, and if I don't know what color something should be, we look it up online so that he can be accurate.

Can you say "perfectionist"?

He must get it from his father.

It was a good first day of school! And yes, I know, it is only preschool. But he will be learning how to read this year, and learning how to follow written instructions, sit still and listen.

It's going to be a good year!

Monday, September 01, 2008


This is a conversation I had with Sammy this morning. I was in my bedroom getting dressed with the door locked. Mike was laying in bed, but he was awake, luckily, because he got to overhear this little conversation.

Griffin and Sammy were in the toy room playing with trains. Or at least they were, until...

S: (quivering voice through the door) Mooommmyyyy???

M: Yes, Sammy?

S: (still quivering, but quite a bit louder) MoooOOOMMMYYYYY?????

M: Yes, Sammy?

S: Griffin LAIIIID on meeee.

M: He did what?!?


M: Oh... really? Um...... did he fall asleep?

S: (with absolute certainty) Yes!

M: He did? (by this time Mike and I are both chuckling)


The end.