Monday, February 25, 2008

Good Morning Monday!!!

I hear that I have been missed. You wouldn't know it by looking at my comment section. Yes, friends, that was a snide remark and whiney complaint about the fact that the very people who like to gripe about my recent lack of posting do NOT leave me comments. I thrive on comments people. Really. My Love Language is words of affirmation. I don't function all that well when no one tells me how awesome I am. It has taken Dustan ten years to finally figure out that when he steps into a sparkling bathroom and says, "Woah! This place practically blinds me in cleanliness!", that he will come home to sparkling clean bathrooms for weeks. I get all depressed and stuff when people don't tell me they love me.
And don't laugh at my whininess. Take the love language quiz and find out what makes your wheels turn. Then, leave me a COMMENT and tell me what it is. Who knows, I might send you a little gift...which will rock your world if your love language just happens to be GIFTS!
Okay, here is the other reason I have neglected the blog. Depressing isn't it? The price tage was outrageously depressing. But, I have to admit, Tamiflu actually worked. No one ended up in the hospital and the boys' case was hardly a case at all. Mine was a negative on the Richter (I am not looking that spelling up- so live with it) scale. Dustan never even got it. Esther however...poor poor Esther. Oh, and we had TWO strains! as if one was not enough???? We didn't have Tamiflu for the first one. I am considering a lawsuit. (I am kidding)

But, it is Monday, and I am not supposed to whine on Monday. I am supposed to excitedly tell you how to UNclutter your lives. And so I will. So I will. I just had to get all caught up and stuff.
I know this picture will make you think that I have gotten off track on life decluttering and derailed over to the Stuff decluttering...but do not be decieved. This is not about how organized I am.
This entire project started HERE, when I wondered, why my life couldn't always be as simple and as happy as it was while camping. I have thought long and hard about the things that make me happy while camping. I think that thing number one would be my camping drink concoction. Don't get worried. I am not making my own brand of moonshine. First thing every morning (after building a fire) is to heat a kettle of water, then make some instant coffee (from the baggie- not the other stuff...yuck). Then I dump a bag of hot cocoa mix into the mug and drink up. I drink this ALL day long. so much, that I never sleep while camping. I pee instead. ALL NIGHT LONG.
Anyhow, there is something simple about a mug of something. It makes you take a breath. It is pampering and soothing and it belongs in every day...not just the camping ones.
The above cabinet is devoted to drinking (haha- no, seriously, I wish...but no). I don't have time to make a pot of coffee every day, and I hate cleaning out the only pull the coffee maker out for company, and use all that single serving sized stuff for every day. And for those few minutes of the day...

It feels like camping.

And if, in fact, you want a tip for Stuff decluttering, this following is the best one I ever got (okay, maybe not...ONE of the best!)
LIKE STUFF TOGETHER. I yelled that so that it would drive like an arrow into your brain and make you rearrange all your cabinets. If you look closely at my phot, you will see some jarred soup mixes on the top shelf. those are not hot drink stuff. therefore, they DO NOT BELONG WITH COFFEE, TEA, AND COCOA! Trust me, by tomorrow those will be moved. They are so high I never noticed them (which is also why they are almost two years old) each of my cabinets have a purpose, and I am ruthless about things that do not belong.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Pizza love

Happy Valentine's day.

And I learned another thing "I was not thinking". Knotted Overalls? Not so good when Spunky Girl waits till the last minute to go pee.

Happy Valentine's Day

These o'alls are going to be titled 'What was i thinking?" The fact was, I was not thinking. I could make a list of my unthoughtfulnesses.
1. Stripes. Ugh. Had to cut them out twice and because the repeat is so big, there was no way to line the stripes up with the bib and she looks like she has two different pant legs. She is a valentine's day clown.
2. I sewed the straps on upside down. TWICE!
3. They should fit her well in oh....three more years.
4. I didn't start them until yesterday which means I was up at six, sitting at my sewing machine.
But Esther loves them. She wants more. I think I will pull my heair our now and get the balding process over with.
A closeup of the straps. I like how these turned out. That's is Esther's naked friend Caroline. I made it for her last year sometime and she has ignored Caroline ever since. But, suddenly, today, Caroline just HAS to be in the picture. With no clothes. Esther's friends are all nudies.

THe boy got a cuddle bug, because he IS my cuddle bug.
Which he reminded me of very promptly. "This is not a cuddle bug." he says. I am your cuddle bug. THIS is a sleeping beetle."
He loves it. Which is good because ugly beetles that look like the love child of a frog and a crab need to be loved. Weston is the perfect little man for the job.

I didn't leave Marcus out.
A card of 'get out of Dishwasher Duty" coupons. "Is this what I think it is?" he asked. When he received the affirmative answer...
I thought his face would break from the smile. Nothing like the joy of getting out of having to do dishes.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What will we eat?

Dinner has been a bit of a struggle here at toasty-toes mansion. We have a rental house that is on its third month of being empty. It has become a great crimp in our pocket and I have to make do with what we have. At least until Saturday. On Saturday, I will get a bit of relief when our Angel Foood Box comes in. But until Saturday, I have to be creative. I found a couple of cans of salmon, but unfortunately, I had trouble finding any recipes that would accomodate my bare cupboards. So, like any good starving (we aren't really starving) person would do, I made one up. Dustan declared it was a winner! yay! I do need to make some changes, but I think my bare cupboard salmon cake recipe is a keeper.
I was at a loss for sides. I needed to use a bag of tuna and decided to mess around with a recipe that I had found for creamed spinach. It was not a success. Don't get me wrong. It was yummylicious. I mean REALLY YUMMY. But it was not a side. More like a spinach dip. and so, we pulled out the only bag of chips we had. Target brand Hot and Spicey, which doesn't really go with spinach dip(eating it with a spoon was far better), but when you are starving (we aren't really starving), you make do with what you have.

Life is a bit pinched here at our mansion. But, it's good. We have our home when so many others have lost theirs. In fact, we have two of them. Want one?
We are blessed, and I aknowledge that.

Bare Cupboard Salmon Cakes:
Mix the following ingredients in a bowl
2 cans of Salmon
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup mozzerella cheese
2 or 3 TBS Dijon (I didn't actually measure)
1/2 cup egg substitute

Form into eight patties.

Now here is where I need some fiddling. I baked at 350 but it was taking to long so I switched to using a convection oven. I like my salmon cakes crispy on the outiside and moist on the inside. But this ended up a little too much of both. Next time I will add some extra cornmeal and pan fry then end with a quick broil.

These were great as is though. Dustan said they were far superior to any that he has had before. Also, if my cupboard had not been so bare, I would have made a sauce with plain yogurt and some chipolte. I also would have served it with a salad.


42 words

Touch Typing

I can hunt and peck at 42 wpm. At 100% accuracy. So, my guess is that you are wondering why my blog is so badly typed. That would be because I type hunt and peck at the amazing speed of 90WPM with about 70% accuarcy. Which is what you get to see when you read my blog. It embarrasses my mother. Sometimes, it embarrasses me too. Esecially when, combined with my horrible spelling, it means that all my posts need to be translated. But, I blog for me, and me is a bad typer. (apparently me also likes awful grammer)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Good Morning Monday!

A place for everything. And everything in its place. Thanks to my dad and thrity some odd years of practice, it's a lesson I have learned fairly well.
Everything in my kitchen has adesignated spot. If it doesn't have a spot, I don't let it in. I'm mean to stuff. Cruella DeStuff. I have a basket for my root veggies. I have a basket for the dogs this and that, and another basket for all our vitamins and any meds we are currently taking. T

he best way to make you life in the kitchen simple is to take every single thing OUT of the kithen and then put it back ion it's own perfect spot. Now, the perfect spot in my kitchen changes. All the time. I get bored easily. This drives Dustan bonkers as he tries to find his vitamins and they have moved from the cabinet by the sink to the pantry. One day, I will be old and crippled and won't be able to move stuff around, I will probably die of boredom. Anyhow, the point is, that it doesn't. It all still has it's own place. Until it changes addresses, it will go in that specific place. Everything needs a home.

And if it doesn't have one- this is what happens to it: I love freecycle. It's the best thing that happened to mankind. I'm too lazy for a garage sale, and so, I posted the following offer on freecycle today.
OFFER: Half a garage sale. Not the stuff I didn't sell, but the stuff I am to lazy to bother to sell. make some money on my stuff. Pick it up by noon, and take it ALL.

It was gone within half an hour. It would have taken me three times as long to pack it up, drag my kids out, and drive to the goodwill. I heart freecycle. It helps me to declutter my life.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

THe best Valentine's gift ever

No. Not Esther. She didn't arrive until a few months after valentine's day. And the gift isn't even for her, but she dominates the day, yet again. How DOES she do that?

The boys came home from church (I was sick yet again) and I surprised them with tickets to.....
drum roll please...

MONSTER JAM!!!!!! I mean come on! I have to be the best mother in the world. For those not in the know, Monster Jam happens to be a monster truck rally. DunDunDunDuh! Supermom! Right?

Wrong. You see, I was sadly mistaken when I thought that Essie-girl would rather have a night out with mama than to go to the Monster truck rally. So I only bought tickets for daddy, Weston, and Marcus, who, by the way, were spinning in giddy circles with excitement. Esther screamed her head off when she realized she didn't get the grand prize of all gifts.
"Come on sweetie,"I soothed. "You and mama are going to have a tea party.
I am ashamed to say that the child hauled off and hit me. She was beyond pissed off. I wish you could have seen her face. It turned from sweet pink, to green with envy, to red with fury, to black with brooding, all in the course of a few minutes.
She calmed down after a while and I assumed she had forgotten.

Then came Esther's prayer of blessing for our lunch.

"Dear God,
Thank you for my food.
thank you for my mommy and my daddy.
Thank you for my wonderful princess surprise gift!

I stared at her.
"What Princess surprise gift are you talking about, Esther?" I asked.
"Member Mommy. You are going to buy me a wonderful princess surprise since I can't go to the monster truck race place."

First off, I promised her no such thing. Secondly, who taught my daughter to be so manipulative? Thirdly, this child went from monster trucks to.....princesses? She is so confusing.

And she is brilliant. I am already brainstorming what kind of Princess surprise gift I can get for her. (of course, perhaps, this is more indicative of her mother's stupidity that her own genius.

Monday, February 04, 2008

A Birthday Skirt for a Good Friend

I am way late on this gift, and since, because of our illness, the birthday gorl had to cancel her party, I wanted to make it extra special. I think she will big, fat, puffy, heart it.
Two layers of goodness, with a little special detail, just for Margeaux. She deserves it...she is an awesome kid. I think the fabric "best friends" is especially sweet because her mama is my bestest friend, and because Margeaux is such a special friend to Esther.

Speaking of Esther:
She is a wee bit jealous. Just a tiny bit.

Good Morning Monday!

Once upon a time, I deemed Monday as the day I would declutter my life. I promptly forgot about blogging the experiment, but I did not actually forget about doing it.

Here is one thing I did:

Teach my kids to make their own breakfast. It took about a week before they were consistently not spilling milk all over the counter and floor, and about a month before I stopped worrying about whether or not they would drop the milk and slice a main artery (we have glass milk containers), but it has now slipped into part of our routine. We have cereal a couple of times a week, which gives me two or three days a week, to either sleep in (haha), or spend some extra time doing upstairs bedroom chores (more likely).

Anyhow, I wanted to share, because it has worked out so well. I used to spend my morning stressed, because just as I started gathering up dirty clothes, or got in the shower, or sat on the toilet, I would hear a scream, 'MOM, I AM HUNGRY! IF YOU DON'T FEED ME NOW I WILL DIE! DIE! DIE! DO YOU HEAR ME? I AM GOING TO DIE!!!!!!" Which made me slightly stessed, and more than a little cranky.
So, I decluttered morning crankiness right out of my life. If I am too involved in a morning chore, or morning primping, I just declare it a cereal day, and send them marching downstairs to get their own breakfast.
Next task will be to teach Marcus to make oatmeal...he is you think he is old enough? I worry that he will burn himself...or his brother...or his sister...or set my house on fire...or drop a pot on his foot and break his toe...or just burn porridge to the bottom of the pot, which, as you know, would be a catastrophe on the grandest scale.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Simple Sundays

Our Sundays usually invlove rushing around. We wake up, rush to get dressed, rush to get breakfast, rush to get to church. Dustan rushes to get the sound set up for services. We rush home, I rush to get lunch on...and so on, until time to rush back to church for evening services, and then rush hom for a quick dinner and rush the kids off to bed.

Somewhere in there we forget.

"Be still and know that I am God."

Today. For a change, we have nothing but time to be still. The whole family and sick, so we snuggled onto the couch and let Marcus tell us what songs to sing. Weston prayed. Such a simple beautiful prayer, without pretense or show.
Keep and safe and good.
Thank you for everything you made.
We opened up a beautiful picture book and read from Job. God is awesome and amazing, and His majesty becomes so clear in His creation.
A simple morning. Simple worship.
Simple Sunday.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

It's a white world

I could perhaps, title this post "I hate Groundhogs". Seriously, they are gigantic fat RODENTS!!!! Rodents. You know, like RATS...only bigger. Since when did we decide to listen to a RODENT'S advice about how long our winters will last. It's a stupid idea. That's all I have to say. (not really- I have lots more to say on the subject)
SPRING IS COMING PEOPLE! It's almost here. I hereby annoint myself as prophet of the seasons. ignore the chubby giant rat and listen to me. I can smell the Spring.

Through 8 inches of snow. Which happens to be more snow than St Louis has ever received, since my 12 years of living here. Craziness. The world is crazy. A week ago, it was 70 degrees, then cam ice, while it was STILL 50 degrees, a possible tornado, drug abuse, murder, mayhem, and the dependance on a groundhog to bring forth hope.

On a sweeter note:
See that tiny brown dot over by the red van? That is Dustan. No, we didn't get a new van. I sent him out to shovel our walk, and commenced in making him a giant cup of hot cocoa. It was done, the driveway was shoveled, even my van was cleaned off, but Dustan was no where to be found. Finally, I spotted him, across the street, a few house down, shoveling the driveway of a stranger.

This man teaches me what it means to be "christ-like". I love him dearly. Oh, and we don't know these neighbors...I bet they are in for a pleasant surprise.

Which they will need after hearing what that stupid giant rat had to say this morning somewhere in Pennsylvania. Why is it that we listen to him again?