Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

We had a great day! The girls wore their Halloween shirts to school today, and Gray wore his here at home. I picked the girls up, and grabbed a friend's son as well and brought them home. I made a holiday dinner of Witches Fingers (Chicken strips), Blood and Guts Potatoes (potatoes mashed with cheese and ketchup then put back in their shells, drizzled with ketchup and extra cheese and baked) and haunted trees (broccoli with a cheddar cheese sauce dyed blue)

After dinner and dropping the friend's son off, the kid's suited up and went trick or treating. They only did about 10 houses, then came home to have a nice hot chocolate. They went to bed late, full of cocoa and happy halloween fun!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Thoughtful patience

I haven't been feeling well the last week or so, nothing major, but I am not eating much and feeling sick. I have not stopped running our crazy world, I have gotten my kids where they need to go, cooked dinners that I wouldn't eat, sewed costumes, etc. I asked Husband to let work know last night that he might not be in tonight, I feel very weak and just need a decent nights sleep. He told work, they said OK, and I expected that he would stay with me tonight. I really needed someone with me, someone to sit next to me, keep me company and make me feel like I matter today. Husband went to work anyway. He promises he will leave early and be home to help get the kids ready, but he never actually gets out early. I am just sad that I am sitting here again, alone and sick. I understand and respect Husband's decision, and appreciate that he feels a need to achieve at work, but sometimes I need to be the focus of his world. Maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A fall day, and good children return

Today was a much better day than yesterday. We started with a big group snuggle under my big down comforter in my bed. They all had breakfast and I started getting Haven ready for her party. She was going as a pageant queen, so we dolled her up and got the rest of the kiddos ready. Husband was kind enough to pick up the present for the party and the wrappings, so I could get Haven packed up. We sent her with her EpiPen and I got there a bit early and showed the mom how to use the EpiPen with the trainer. Haven went off to her party and Grayson and Brittan and I went to the grocery store. Did the shopping, came home and unloaded and feed the two kids. We went and got Haven, and went to get pumpkins. The kids each picked a huge one, and then I picked up an extra...just in case! They were beautiful pumpkins, and really cheap due to the proximity to Halloween, so I think I will head back tomorrow to get a few more to cook up into pumpkin pies and pumpkin bread. We came home, I started dinner and then helped the kids carve their pumpkins. Afterwards, we cooked the pumpkins seeds and had a lovely fall dinner of pot roast with potatoes and carrots as well as roasted acorn squash. A nice day :)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Whoever stole my children, please return them

My children and I had a horrible day. I had planned for a fun filled day, but that went out the window early this morning. This morning, Haven decided again that since she was up, the rest of us had to be as well. My other two kids don't do this, even the three year old, but Haven always makes it clear that when she is up, the day begins. I asked her very nicely this morning if I could have until 8 to get up (she woke me at 7:47) she then proceeded to bug me and pitch a fit until I got up-at 7:51.....yes, 4 minutes later she had woken both other kids and thrown a full on hissy fit.

We headed downstairs, did the breakfast thing and the kids fought. We were planning to go to the Fall Festival at their school, then to get pumpkins, then to get a present for a birthday party tomorrow. Brittan had soap left in her hair from her bath the night before, so I take her up to wash it out, and she throws a huge fit. So now they have been fighting all morning and throwing fits. That ended all plans for the day, we ended up staying home. They cleaned the playroom and their rooms, and helped with the laundry. I made them eat **gasp** leftovers and I think they caught on that I was really mad.

The evening was quiet, so I am hoping that tomorrow will be better. If husband can grab the present for the party on the way home, we will be able to get Haven to the party and then go get pumpkins after.....whew

Friday, October 26, 2007

New Floors

We have been in our house for four years, and when we bought it, it was a mess. The house design is great, but the interior and exterior needed alot of help. We have been steadily working on the house since we moved in, and one of the things that has driven me crazy since day one is the dining room carpet. It is a terrible brown and stained, and gross, and I have steam cleaned it to death. We could never figure out what type of floor to put in, the kitchen and back hall have a stone look tile, the foyer is old wood peg hardwood, the living room and stairs are a light tan/almost white carpet and the family room is a rustic look laminate. Being that the dining room butts up against the kitchen, back hall and foyer, I really did not want to mess with wood floors as how we laid them would be an issue. Then we found beautiful cork floors, and I am so excited that we ordered them today along with a new rug for under the table. When they are done, I will post a picture :)

Now I am planning to order a new couch for the family room, extra long to fit all of the tribe.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tea glorious tea

There is something delicious about a rainy day and a cup of tea. While I am a coffee geek, there are days that only a steaming cup of tea will do. Husband is not a coffee drinker, but he loves tea, so the kettle whistles a lot at our house.

Just now, as I settled to begin working, the kettle began whistling and my girls came running out of the playroom screaming "Tea tea tea" They then chose which tea they wanted, as did Grayson, and they are settling in at the table with their hot cups. It is so sweet to see them enjoying something that in America we see as an adult pleasure, but here in our home, on this rainy evening, my children end their day with a nice cup of tea before getting ready for bed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I *heart* Whole Foods

I am giving an exam... actually as we speak 50 poor students are taking a terrible exam that is all essay, and I am the one who is making them do it. My afternoon class took nearly 3 hours to finish the exam, so I didn't have enough time to go home between. I was sad I couldn't head home, but then I remember that I could go to....WHOLE FOODS!!!

Yes, I spent nearly an hour walking around Whole Foods. I love it there. I love looking at all of the interesting ingredients, and seeing all of those gorgeous grains in bulk bins. I got myself some dinner from the salad bar, my favorite roast eggplant salad and some quinoa. I also got a small cup of triple squash soup, my absolute favorite! I picked up a few things for the house, including some nice organic single origin coffee, but not too much since I am getting ready to place a huge grain order. I need cornmeal, quinoa, wheat berries, brown rice and white rice. I am also going to get some wheat flour and unbleached white flour for bread baking, and some yeast. It has finally cooled a bit here, we just had the fireplace inspected and repaired, and now I am ready for winter. Mmm...healthy whole grains and fires, it must be almost winter!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Running and running and running

I am tired. I am tired and I am crabby and I feel like no one else knows where I am coming from. I am looking forward to the next few days and I see very few opportunities for joy and happiness.

Husband has been working Fridays for a few weeks, and will be working them all through November. What that means for me is, he is off Wednesday night, but I teach until 10pm and he is exhausted, so we have no time together and i get no down time. He is off on Thursday, but I am running like mad, trying to play catchup for the week, and sometimes those evenings we have a few quiet minutes together. With him working on Fridays, he has to get to bed around lunchtime as he gets up to eat dinner with us and then goes to work. I miss Friday nights, they were my favorites as we usually stayed up really late and hung out in the quiet house. Then he would often let me sleep in a bit on Saturday, and I could use a sleeping in day right now.

Tomorrow I have to finish a paper, give an exam, grade 100 papers and grade for my other class. On Thursday I am not going to Brittan's class (because she requested I not come in if she is not there, and I am in when she is at music) but I have to get stuff for the weekend and I promised to donate some stuff for a party Britt's class is having on Friday. Then Haven has riding at 4 and I promised the kids we could FINALLY go get pumpkins after riding, then dinner, baths, bed, etc. Friday i have to go get a new number"7" for Haven's brownie vest as she lost hers, and she has to sell nuts at Wawa for two hours (ironic since the kid is allergic to nuts) and then Husband has work. Saturday is the Fall Festival at school, so I will attend with three kids by myself which could be fun or could be a awful. On Sunday Haven has to go to a birthday party and it is a costume party. I am making the girls Halloween costumes, so I need to have Haven's done before Sunday, along with getting a birthday present and baking her cupcakes so she has something to eat at the party.

So....I am tired and a bit weepy.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

In the quiet of the night

All mothers will tell you, there is a calm that comes with the night. The children are tucked into their beds, the dinner dishes washed (or at least soaking), and there is a quiet hum of a house that has seen too much activity and needs to rest. At these moments, no matter who long the day, or horrifically behaved the children, you can bask in the life that you live. My day was quite long, and my evening consisted of working for FT school and writing a paper for the doctoral program. At almost 10 pm, I still need to make lunches for the girls, pack their backpacks, check the weather and plan clothes. But now, just now, I walk through the quiet house and am thankful for the noise and the craziness that children bring, for the kisses and the arguments, the tears and the laughter. I am lucky to know that three little souls love and need me, and one big soul respects and loves me. I could not imagine a day not filled with "I love you" and am so happy that I have a life as full as I do.

Sunday Smells

As is often the case here on Sundays, today has been a day of baking, cooking, kid craziness and schoolwork. As Haven is allergic to nuts, I provide the snacks for the Monday Brownie meeting. I try to balance the healthy with the indulgent, as these girls are starving after school, but still have growing bodies. This week I decided to make them oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. A little healthy and a little indulgent.

As oatmeal raisin cookies are Emily's favorites, I made sure to make her a batch to enjoy. I am hoping she comes by tonight to get them so we have the rare opportunity to talk without six little voices. A nice cup of tea, fresh baked cookies and a chat, that would be the perfect thing today.

We also tend to have the big traditional Sunday night dinner, the kind where you have to start cooking at noon to eat by dinner time. This is by far one of my favorite traditions, and while I strive all week to provide home cooking, there is something glorious about the smells that fill the house on Sundays. Right now my house smells of a chicken roasting and veggies cooking up to be added to stuffing. A nice salad and some broccoli (the kid's favorite veggie by far) and we will have a nice meal together. Oh if only the weather would decide to finally become fall-like, I am so in need of a crisp evening, an apple pie baking and a snuggle on the couch under a soft blanket with a hot cup of coffee.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Still just three...

I had a bit of a disappointing day, there was a possibility that we were expecting again, but alas we are not.

I really would like a fourth child, husband is not sure that is the best idea. I understand his reasoning...we have our hands full with our three, his school, my school, jobs, etc. My want for another comes from deep within and shuns any rationalizations.

I am trying, as part of my new approach to life, to just accept and move on. I am not religious, but do feel I am spiritual, and I believe that if it is meant to be it will happen. Also, to let husband off the hook a bit, if I had been pregnant he would have been happy and told me how great it was, he was just a bit too relieved tonight when we found out I wasn't. I am thankful for what I have, and for tonight, that is enough.

Dinner on the cheap

I am all about feeding the family healthy food on the cheap. Last nights dinner is by far my cheapest one, especially since the main ingredient is a leftover. I always love this dinner, and so does the family, and it is super healthy to boot! We take a leftover ham bone, usually this is from a honey ham and I often freeze the bones with some extra meat. You take a cup of dry navy beans and cover it with water, bring to a boil, cover, remove from heat and let sit for an hour. After the hour is up, drain and rinse the beans, put them back in the pot with the ham bone, two stalks of celery chopped, half and onion chopped, a bay leaf and some sage. Cover the whole thing with 4-6 cups of water, depending on how much ham you have. Let it cook away for an hour or so until the beans are soft. Remove the ham bone, take the meat off and chop and add back into the pot. Puree everything together, leaving some chunks of meat and beans (I use an emulsion blender) You can season as you see fit, I often use some clove and nutmeg to compliment the flavor of the honey ham. This whole meal (minus the leftover bone) costs about $1.50 to make, and is full of things for growing bodies.

On the menu tonight, mini BBQ meatloafs with maple sweet potatoes and green beans. The kids love the mini meatloafs, especially since they are individual and topped with tangy BBQ sauce. The sweet potatoes are roasted with a drizzle of real maple syrup, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg, green beans are steamed. Healthy food from scratch, who said that had to be hard?

Sorry Mr. Senate Candidate

So, as was established in the previous post, I don't do politics by door or phone. Today my bell rings and I open the door to one of the candidates for the Senate. It was the actual man standing at my door, and I explained that I do not do doorbell politics. He said, "But I am the one running" and I said I think that's great, but my politics are private and I don't want people coming to my door to preach theirs. He said he was just introducing himself, and I said it was nice to meet him and that I would keep in mind that he went door to door when I make my choice. It really made me mad, and while I understand the effort and appreciate a candidate going out and meeting the people, did he really have to ring my bell on a Saturday afternoon when everyone is trying to enjoy those "family values" that politicians like to talk about? Ah well, hopefully the neighbors were nicer. I am thinking of getting a sign, but I am not sure what it should say. I am taking ideas, so please share :)

Friday, October 19, 2007

No politics by phone

I have just about had it with the calls, door knocks, signs, flyers, etc from various political candidates. I feel politics are a personal decision, and while I am happy to discuss my beliefs with friends and even strangers, I only do so if I feel that the other party is at least willing to hear my side without judgment. I don't vote with a party, I have no loyalties in that way, but I do know what I believe and I will not waiver.

I am sick of people invading my home, my santuary, my family time, to try to change my beliefs. They must assume that I am so stupid and careless that I do not research candidates and their policies before I vote. They must think I am so flighty that I will change who I vote for based upon claims made by a stranger at my door or on my phone. I find it terribly insulting that our politicians feel that it is proper to call people at home and knock on their doors during dinner. That they feel that they are allowed to invade our personal spaces to preach their messages of half truths. I work to become educated about the candidates. I am capable of making the right choice for myself without having someone tell me how to vote. I trust that the people around me are smart enough to research the candidates, or at the very least, vote with the party they feel best represents their beliefs.

Please let me play with my kids, make dinner, and enjoy my life and world, and keep your political interuptions out of my day. When the day is done, and the kids are in bed, then I will look at your websites and read your news and PR. Then I will decide...on my own time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A day is done

Today is done. My kids went to school, they came home, in between I did some chores and saw a friend. We went to spirit night and were spirited, we came home and the kids were bathed. All in all, a successful day. Tomorrow will be long, but it is my Friday. Although I have a lot going on on Thursday, I cannot wait for Friday to come, and I plan to stay home in my pajamas all day!

Slow start....

Slow getting going this morning. The girls are off at school, Grayson is entertained and I am stuck on the couch. I have to get going, get laundry moving, vacuuming done, paper written, work completed. I have been working a bit while trying to get myself awake and aware through coffee consumption. Today should be quiet, until it is time to get the girls. Tonight is a spirit night at a local pizza place, so we will head there for dinner and then home for the homework and bath rush of evening. Tomorrow is my long day, I am on campus from 1 until 10, and I am hopeful that I will have more energy than I do today. The OCD gets the best of me, off to switch laundry and vacuum.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Not Measuring Up

Some days, no matter how hard I try, or what I accomplish, I end the day feeling like I fell short of what was possible. Today is one of those days, and while I got a lot done... errands, kid fetching, dinner, etc., I just don't feel like I did my best in anything. I didn't do much in the way of work, and the paper I had to write I pushed off as I just knew whatever I did would be crap. I am hoping the morning will bring me the momentum to get the work done, and to do better in how I get my job, household responsibilities, and family obligations completed. Tomorrow I will meet the mark.


I am not a morning person. I like to lie in bed and savor those moments between sleeping and awakening. Unfortunately, these lazy mornings are few and far between with children. On weekends the kids can get up and get their own cereal allowing me a few moments of quiet. During the week, we wake to the alarm clock at 7:30 and the morning rush begins. Breakfast must be made, often lunch as well, clothes on, hair done, teeth brushed, shoes, backpacks, etc. I also try to get some other things done before we enter the world, a switch of laundry, a pass of the vacuum, etc.

Today my girls wanted to bring a hot lunch; I had some leftover meatballs and pasta that I put in their thermoses. I am so thankful that my kids love real, healthy food. Recently they begged for Spaghetti-O's and I conceded. I made them for lunch and not one of them liked it. They also won't eat a lot of other kid convenience foods, and although they love mac and cheese, they will happily eat my homemade or if we are rushed Annie's Organic.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Preserving the Children?

I saw the most frightening thing last weekend. I was at the grocery store, and the woman next to me had a cart full of boxes and bags, it was all frozen and processed foods. There were no fresh fruits or vegetables, no meats or fish, not even a box of pasta, instead she had frozen appetizers and pasta meals, canned soups and boxes of instant meals. Along with that very full shopping cart, she had a child who was around six years old, and I was amazed that this was the food he was eating. We all live busy and hectic lives, and unlike many of our parents and grandparents, often both parents must work to make ends meet. The convenience of these processed foods, the ability to get "dinner" on the table in 10 minutes or less speaks volumes about how we live our lives. I have worked full time outside the home, been a stay at home mom and now balance the work from home full time/one day out mom game. I know it is hard and busy no matter where you work, but this has got to end. Research has shown us that it is all the preservatives and added crap in these foods that are leading to health issues including early onset puberty, allergies, asthma and some forms of cancer.

I have always tried to cook most of our food, as much as possible from scratch. Do I use prepacked foods, sometimes, but I try to limit it as much as possible. Dinners here are home cooked, it really doesn't take that long to put a healthy and nutritious meal on the table, and I feel I owe it to myself and my family to feed them the best foods possible. In the last few months, I have begun readying myself for a major change; I want to reduce our processed food intake to be under 10%. This is not as easy as it may seem, as my children are cereal junkies and like the snacks I buy at the store. I have begun making homemade cupcakes and cookies, practicing making items from scratch and seeing how they freeze. I have filled my freezers (yes there are more than one) and refrigerators (yes, we have two of those as well) with lots of healthy raw foods that I can use to create our meals.

I have been introducing everyone to some new grains, and I am going to be ordering them in 5 lbs increments to store in the pantry room, items such as quinoa and wheat berries. I am looking for recipes for healthy, whole grain cereals that are nut free, so that the kids can enjoy homemade breakfast cereal.

This may seem odd to many, but this is how people used to eat before the frozen food section of the grocery store became the place to get dinner. Fresh, healthy foods will hopefully make healthy children.

Here it begins

I am a hippie at heart, the view of a cabin in the woods, or a farm backed by mountains makes me long to live on the land. I am also a realist, I have a family and we have jobs, so we work within what we have. I am a mother to three beautiful children. Haven my oldest is a free spirit yet occasionally suffers from an attitude akin to that of a girl who was just stood up at prom. She is now seven and in second grade. Haven suffers from food allergies, along with a few other health issues that we are trudging our way through and is often the inspiration for the changes that are made in our lives. While she can make me crazy, I love her madly and think she might just change the world. Brittan is five and a quiet, thoughtful soul everywhere but at home. Here she is loud, demanding and animated, and has taken the role of middle child seriously. She is a deep and insightful child, and hearing her thoughts on the world could make you laugh or cry. We have seen Brittan come out of her shell in the last year, and her sweet smile makes any day better. Grayson is now three and a character. He is a funny little man, all boy in nature, but often caught wearing his sisters flip flops or a silly hat. He is a smiley boy, full of stories and sounds and crazy, leaping movements, and my life would be incomplete without him.

My career world involves teaching; I am a Full Professor at an online college and an Adjunct at an on ground university. I love what I do, and it allows me to have time with my family and still earn a living. My husband works in IT, and he works the night shift, but only four days a week. As much as I hate his schedule, it has been good to us, and gives us a unique opportunity to balance our lives as spouses and parents.

I believe very strongly in taking care of my family. Many posts here will discuss cooking, and how I obtain and store our food products. I am on a path to moving towards living locally, buying as much as I can from our local farmers and growing what I can here at home. I believe in knowing where our food comes from, and minimalizing the preservatives, hormones and antibiotics that enter our systems through our foods. I am in the process of locating locally raised beef, chicken and pork that I can purchase and freeze for the family. I am also joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group for next spring that will get us fresh organic produce from local farmers. We already stockpile berries and apples when in season, and I am expanding our own garden next year to help support our freezer stores through the winter. Lastly, I am researching chickens and plan to raise them for eggs beginning in the spring.