Saturday, December 22, 2012

Short Check In

Yes, I am still around and this is just a little short check in. A few things 1. Yes, I'm on winter break and no I haven't had a ton of free time with the kids yet. I'm not sure what's going on there I think my priorities got out of whack and my perception of time is off. 2. I have a cold so bare with me.

Two weeks ago I got out and put up the outside lights myself because getting my husband to do it is like pulling teeth thank goodness for gutter clips it makes things easier. Mind you this week I've had to redo much of it due to the wind storm (that also ripped apart my green house so my gardening progress this next year may be rather off and I hope I don't lose all my herbs in there I need to get an area cleared to save what I can I'll have to call all the saved tomatoes and peppers a loss).

We got enough time to finish decorating our tree last weekend though I don't think most of my other decorations are coming out this year.

For my Supervisor I made Spritz cookies and let the girls help. We decorated them and put them into a tin and I gave it to him this last Monday as a Christmas gift.

So Tuesday was a lot of meetings at work and then in that time I fit in doing the majority of the wrapping.  Though needless to say Santa's elves went on strike and he asked me to help with the wrapping again so I'll be doing that probably all Christmas Eve.

With time off with the girls the other day I sat down and made a few of the Star Wars models Katherine got for Christmas last year that we never got around to building. Her daddy didn't want us to do them all so I saved a few for him to do with her. Now I just need to kick him to do it. 

This past Wednesday Brielle had her baby teeth pulled out though the tooth fairy has still not come. I guess I better go give her a swift kick tomorrow since these are the last of Brielle's baby teeth. She's still suffering from the after effects of having teeth yanked but she'll be fine and she's slowly but surely getting back onto normal foods. The next step will be gum help and finding a loan so we can start the process for braces.

Lately I've been strained and pushed to my limits with the storm tearing up my green house, the doctors appointments and lately I've been trying to donate a lot of item though Facebook items my family doesn't need any more but other families might want. The problem is as good willed as this sounds because my husband got tired of me using so much gas now they need to come to our home and people are standing me up which means I've been standing on street corners at odd hours of the night and day freezing because you can't see the street from my house. It's taken too much effort because people are being no shows so I think from now on I will go back to donating everything to goodwill. I really can't give up my life like that for other people and for junk. I have though been clearing items out of my house and though I've gotten rid of stacks and stacks of stuff so far it just doesn't feel like I've made much of a dent.

In any case this was just suppose to be a short update to show I'm still around, alive and kicking. I need to see if I can get some sleep since it's 2 am and this cold has made it really hard for me to get any rest.

--Oh and tomorrow we made Shortbread cookies and Berlinerkranser cookies. I'll update later :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Our Hearts Go Out to Newtown, Connecticut

I can always seem to find something to complain about or always seem behind in things but today shows just how trivial all that can be. Our family prays for the families of all those who were affect by today's tragic events in Newtown, CT.
I've had to fight every urge to go get my children from school just to give them hugs. Violence in our schools is something that should never be accepted and we must strive to try and find ways to prevent these tragedies.
In 1998 Thurston High School had a very tragic shooting where I lost a very good friend and had many friends injured. I have never forgotten and I've always prayed that a tragedy like this would never happen again though over the years my prayer has not been answered but I will continue to pray and pray for all those that have ever been affected by violence.
Again, our hearts go out to the community of Newtown.

2 Cookies in a Jar Recipes

So I figured after being on a few forums I'd go ahead and share a few recipes of my favorite holiday presents and treats.

Cowboy Cookie Mix

(as seen above)

1 c all-purpose flour
1 c uncooked old-fashioned oats
3/4 c semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1/2 c chopped nuts
1/2 c seedless raisins
1/4 c granulated sugar
2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda

I prefer to mix my baking soda, baking powder and flour together and if I feel there is too much white and I want to separate it out more then I'll mix in my white sugar also. Layer the ingredients in a 1 quart jar in any order I found that packing it wasn't too necessary for this recipe and I tried to push the more colorful items to the sides and then fill the middle with the flour mix so that I didn't have a whole bunch of white showing. Make sure your lid screws down tightly and securely.

Cowboy Cookies

(add these directions to the card)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 jar Cowboy Cookie Mix

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease cookie sheets.
2. Beat butter in large bowl  at medium speed approximately 2 minutes until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla until blended. (Mixture may appear curdled.)  Add cookie mix to butter mixture; stir until well blended.
3. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets. Bake 12 to 14 minutes. Remove cookies to wire racks and let cool.

Chocolate Chip Cookies in a Jar

1 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips
2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Again mix white ingredients together (flour, salt and baking soda with optional sugar) and then layer the ingredients in a 1 quart jar. I have found the flour will need to be compacted pretty tightly to get everything to fit probably because flour likes to fluff up and this has more than the other recipe. What I've found to use is the bulb end of a turkey baster to help pack stuff down. Make sure the lid is secured tightly.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

(add these directions to the card)

1. Preheat oven to 375 F
2. In large bowl, cream 1 cup of unsalted butter or margarine until light and fluffy. Beat in 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Mix in cookie mix. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough, spaced well apart, onto greased cookie sheet.
3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.

Decorating the Jar

For any type of cookie jar I find whatever fabric I have around the home and I grab a lid from off the coffee or from my shortening container. Around a 9" diameter is good but it will also depend on if you have normal mason jars or if you have wide mouth jars. Use your best judgement. I took a small strip of hot glue around the outside rim, placed the circle of fabric on top to an estimated center and then pushed down the fabric on the glued side. I found the glue was cooling too fast for me to put a steady strip of glue then to fasten the fabric so I just did it in small sections trying to keep my circle centered since I did not want to put glue on the top lid in case it sealed tightly and then there might be a problem removing the lid later on. The first year we did this we printed the directions out on paper and then glued the paper to construction paper and then glued that directly onto the jar. This year we tied cards on with ribbons. Either way I would suggest putting a ribbon around the top to help give it a more finished look. It doesn't have to be ribbon but could be something like raffia.
Instead of gluing your fabric on if you have rubber bands you can snap a rubber band on over the fabric and then use your ribbon or raffia to hide the rubber band.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Crazy Monday

Okay it's Tuesday and I'm writing about Monday. You know somethings up. Pretty much it was a messed up day from start to go. I can't say it turned out badly but gosh darn it I was stressed out.

First, Peter worked Saturday which means he set the alarm to his normal wake up time of 7 am so when I turned on the alarm Sunday night I didn't think to reset the alarm for my 6 am wake up call. Both of the girls slept through their alarms enough to turn them off or mute them or something so I wake up at 7 am and I look at one of the clocks as I was getting the kids up and I didn't understand at first I was like, you know their clock is an hour off time no wonder the alarm isn't going off and then I wander off to the kitchen for coffee and see the time on the microwave and was like, "Oh no!" So Katherine had to get up and dressed for school while I quickly tossed on some clothes all within 8 min so I could drive her down to school while Brielle rushed herself to get ready for her bus that hadn't come yet. I gave Katherine a cup of milk and cereal to eat in the car and we drove down to the school and as she was giving me the cup back milk splashed up everywhere. Fun right?

So I got home and had to wipe down the car, get a shower and my lunch packed and put my coffee in a thermos and then load Blacky into the van to drive across town to PetSmart to drop him off at the groomers.

I then rushed clear across the city to work and tried to get myself sorted for my 9 o'clock meeting which of course took a lot of walking around the plant, confusion and just feeling overwhelmed though after the Engineer sat there and talked with me just about the state of the world, politics, whatever which thankfully we see eye to eye so I didn't have to fake anything. I got out of that meeting around 11 o'clock and worked until 12:30 when I then ran back into the center of town to go meet my husband for lunch. We really need to avoid these lunches especially since he didn't get the job and I'm trying to tie up a lot of loose financial ends but I kind of needed the moment and to eat.

From lunch I went to the chiropractor and got adjusted again. I'm suppose to go back Monday again unless things get worse between now and then. Things were moving more freely this time so trying to keep up on my therapy while at home has done some good.

Next I went to Jo-Ann's trying to see if I could find something for the girls at work since Tuesday (today) is our Christmas luncheon and we always exchange gifts. I wasn't impressed with anything so I left without buying anything and went next door to pick up Blacky.

Now Blacky didn't have his normal groomer so this groomer was trying to tell me that Blacky got so stressed out that I either needed to break up his visits or they couldn't take care of him any more and that I would have to have the vet do the grooming. I really think it comes down to it not being his normal groomer but he got all trimmed up and he was so happy to leave and come home.

I got home and made up the weekly menu and the grocery list and then went out to buy groceries, picked up Katherine, got home within just a couple min after Brielle got home so it worked out.

Started working on dinner and talking with Katherine who had a bad day at school. Poor girl wears her heart on her sleeve and quietly crying isn't something she's learned so she got into pretty big trouble at school.

A friend of ours Richard came by and bought my old desk top computer so I've finally got that sold and a little money in my pocket which is much needed.

After watching a few shows with Peter to spend time with him I then stayed up to make gifts for the Christmas Luncheon though I wish I would have gotten to it sooner as I think at least one of them has too much sugar in it because I was so disorganized. I think next time I do cookie jars that are this complex that I will make a check list that I can actually write on.

Hopefully they don't taste horrifically bad but it's over and done with. I still am worried about the amount of sugar though.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Worst day in a very long time

So I woke up with a headache that was making me so ill I was dry heaving but needed to go to work so after I got Kat out the door I woke Peter up to get Brielle out the door while I laid down. The headache continued so badly I hardly got any work done for the meeting Monday. I got an appointment down at the chiropractor at 2:30 I go down there they have to enter me as a new patient the doctor doesn't come to talk to talk to me until 3:30 I have to have Peter leave work early to go get home for when Brielle got off the bus at 4. My military neck (it doesn't have the natural curve it should) has started getting a reverse curve and things are looking at bone spurs and my scoliosis is less than pretty. I have to go back in Monday.

Peter didn't get the position at the hospital and it really is a blow we really needed it with all the medical stuff going on.

I'm ready to break down and cry. I just am going to start looking at making more cuts around the household.

Brielle is at her winter dance right now. I've held myself together today for the kids.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Closet Challenge Accepted - No I'm not cleaning them!

Okay this is horrible Don't look! So on Money Saving Mom the task yesterday was to clean out closets yes I skipped that but she posted her pictures and she was so embarrassed so I figured I had to take on the challenge to show totally messy closets... but with no cleaning heck I'm proud I'm down to just to get the laundry down to 1 basket and to see my couches again today! It has been so bad that the clean laundry started eating the other couch too! Anyways without further ado the perhaps messiest closets of this century and this IS clean for us... sad but true...  I need a bigger house.

Here's our coat closet though not all the coats are in there and the mess of umbrellas and gloves and hats and... yeah

The bedroom closet it's maybe 2' deep? and about oh 6 long.
Here's how we cram it (which by the way everything always lands in my pile of stuff because mom is suppose to take care of it all apparently).

My side VS. My husband's side you can see the floor because I pick it up for him. 
Top of husband's side with his collection
Bottom of husband's side with his collection
Top of my side with everything from gifts, halloween to Christmas wrapping paper. You name it it is probably in there to some extent.
The floor of my closet. No I have not been able to step into my closet for a very long time other than occasionally pulling everything out so I can vacuum so it doesn't become some dust bunny breeding ground.
Girls closet in the playroom
Kids room closet currently not in use since we use the wall in there to get to the bathtub plumbing that we've yet to actually finish fixing properly. 
So there you have it some of the worst closets ever so if you ever are home and thinking to yourself, "Oh this is so awful" just think back to this and realize it can always be worse. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Successful Wednesday

So you may or may not have seen that I had a lot going on today. Well I was able to get it done though work was still very stressful and I cheated and bought food out instead of cooking at home just to try and make things less stressful.

I got home this afternoon and decided to tackle the bathroom. In the tackling of that I decided to clean out the hair tie drawer. Yes, between myself and two girls we have a whole drawer dedicated to hair clips, ties, brushes and more and it's not all of it just the majority. I of course didn't think to snap a picture until well into the organization. Which I would like to clarify organization doesn't always mean things look neater or cleaner but it means that you can grab what you need quickly and efficiently.

 After starting the process you see how much random stuff I had. I went through and picked out the good hair ties and the ones that were older or frayed I tossed away and then separated everything by type and gave it a sandwich baggy. It may not look pristine but it is definitely more organized!

I did the rest of that afternoons running of kids and then came home to watch a little bit of TV with the husband and work on spelling words with Katherine. Which by the way Peter's work did not announce who got the position like they were suppose to so we are all still sitting on pins and needles.

I decided tonight to paint my vase. Now I realized that I never posted a picture of my vase and not sure if I mentioned it or not on my blog. So this past fall I went to the dollar store and they had spring items 70% off and one of the items was this vase:

Kind of an off color green but it's suppose to be for spring. So I got crafty with it this fall and with some washable paint I did this:
Well it isn't fall anymore so I washed off the paint that had only recently started chipping off so I think it was a pretty good idea over all and stumped for ideas I just started in the only request that was made by the girls was for it to look like it was snowing. Now I'm not an artist but seeing how this is my 50 cent vase with paints I had laying around I don't feel bad and if later on I decide I can't stand it then I just wash it off and try it again.
I might have done better if I wasn't so tired but that's alright.

Today I also received a package from a friend of mine who oddly I've never met in person what it boils down to is we were teamed up with her husband on a random game in a video game and we thought they were neat and we became friends and started playing the game together and come to find out he was a published author and then we started talking with his wife, Cindy, when she was around and became friends. Anyways it's kind of silly but they are great people and I'm so blessed to know them. Anyways.... So I get a package from Cindy and it's a scarf she knitted for me but not any scarf but Tom Baker's scarf (Any Doctor Who fans out there?) It's a little over 20' long! I'm not joking here! It's awesome and I love it! I had to take a picture of it even though I'm sporting Eeyore which totally doesn't go together.

Tomorrow I go into work somewhere between 7 and 8 am and I'm currently fasting because I have blood work that is going to be drawn while I'm at work. I know fun stuff right. Also, tomorrow afternoon I will be going to Katherine's school to update her IEP as she is being released from speech therapy. It's going to be a busy day I just hope it is an also productive day with as little stress as possible.

When's vacation again?

So work has been having me completely stressed out and I'm not sure how I can get through this week but I'm losing patience at work with myself and I just want to break down crying. I've been given an impossible deadline because I've been given an impossible task. 

Yesterday after work I went out to the mall to buy Katherine some earrings because I felt bad Brielle got all this new jewelry for her dance Friday and Katherine didn't. You wouldn't believe the small selection for clip on and magnetic earrings  I found some cute earrings though after some searching and it was buy 2 get 1 free and I'm like what the heck I'm half way there so I picked out two more pairs for Christmas presents for Katherine. (One pair has little cows no joke! It's great!) I then went to Walmart and found a cute hair band to go with the earrings so paired with her new dress and us taking time to fix her hair she felt very special and loved all the attention (you'd think I never give her any lol).

So we got all fixed up for the PTO Christmas performance and after me making a much better dinner than I had planned to (mostly because it was pre-cooked food so it was faster than what was planned) we got all ready and out the door to the school. 

Now I'm not trying to knock on the music teacher or the PTO but the 3rd graders music was horrible they sang one song that was focused on 3 kids on microphones that were completely out of tune. The second item was a reading of the Night Before Christmas which only a few select kids got to do and then the third performance was a Chinese ribbon dance since our sister school is in China. The ribbon dance was very cute and well done and was the only thing I enjoyed out of the 3rd grade performance. The second grade performance before that was overall well done. 

On to other things for today.
Today we will either add stress to our lives or take it away. The decision on the position at the hospital that Peter applied for today which would be a big promotion and mean a lot to our family, gets decided today. Peter has been nothing but stressed out but he has decided if he doesn't get the job that he will be going back to school because of him only having an associates degree he is often over looked for promotion even though he keeps himself well educated and versed in his field so everyone (including management) comes and asks him questions and he already handles a lot of the direction but down on paper it never looks as good does it? I pray that he gets it but if he doesn't I know we'll make it by other than I'm cringing at him taking online classes because we still haven't paid off his other two associate degrees. We'll make it through. I keep wanting to delete this section because I'm scared I'm going to jinx everything!

Well it's time for me to get going myself as you can see below I'm horrifically busy today and that wasn't even describing the hell that is work. 

Today's schedule is as follows:

  • Kids & husband out the door to school/work
  • My happy butt to work
-BREAK- for about 1 hour so it's whatever I get done in that span of time
  • Pick up Katherine
  • Pick up Brie from Jr. Beta 4:30
  • Pick up Brie something to eat at some fast food place
  • Take Brielle to Ice Rink 5-7
  • Trying to decide between making dinner which will land it late or picking something up. I know which one is better for my stress and I know which one is better for my health and wallet. 
  • Help Kat with homework
  • Pick up Brie
  • Send kids through showers & tuck in and hopefully by 8 o'clock I can sit down though it's only water for me tonight as I have to do a 12 hour fast for tomorrows lab work

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Normal Monday-ness

So Monday is my normal shopping day you know this by now and so my plan was for the day:

  • Kids and husband out the door to school/work
  • Meet at Kroger lady to give nativity set @ 10:30
  • Grocery shopping
  • Pickup & drop off husband for lunch @ 12:00
  • Meet lady at Goodwill @ 1:30 to give Guitar Hero Drum set 
  • Work on picking up the house and getting empty boxes put up
  • Fold laundry 
  • Pick up Katherine from school
  • Help with homework 
  • Start the grill for dinner
  • Dishes
  • Early bed time
Well I didn't get to picking up the house and folding laundry so I was so extremely tired I came home and passed out which wasn't a very restful sleep since I never sleep well during the day time. I didn't get to bed the earliest either was close to 12 but at at least it wasn't 12:30 like the night before though I did keep waking up during the evening. I also have gotten sick of stealing batteries out of everything so I stopped by the Dollar General and ended up walking out with $26 of wreath holders (that I was going to get no matter what this year to make storage easier) and no batteries! 
This weeks shopping trip $61.32. 
So here's today's run down because tonight I won't have time to make a posting and not sure how up to it I'll be in the morning. 
  • 6 am get up with the kids start the school routine
  • 7:40 everyone is out of the house time for me to get ready for work
  • 8:30 leave for work
  • 2:30 Shop for something cute like a hair bow or something for Katherine at dollar store
  • 3:15 pick up Katherine from school
  • Take Katherine for a hair cut
  • Home to work on homework with the kids & work on dinner
  • 6:15 Sorgho School
  • 6:30-7:30 PTO performance
  • Home to kick kids in showers and make sure that all homework got finished. Bedtime normally 8pm but we'll have to play it by ear and see how everything pans out. 
You write it out and it never looks like much but it is a full schedule and work is actually looking to be extremely stressful with meetings and lots of walk in field work so I suspect I will be pulling my hair out sooner than later. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Preparing for the winter holidays my house is such a mess

Well it's officially December or rather it was officially December a few days ago but you know what I mean! This is probably the earliest I've worked on decorations but when they tell you that the weekend is going to be in the high 60's to even the 70's you take the opportunity!

There's another thing that comes with this time of year... Every battery in the house being dead and every little controller or item emptied of batteries in the great battery quest to get things to work and then magically those same batteries disappear  Am I the only one that has a battery gnome mucking things up?

So here's the run down without pictures because one it's a little embarrassing and two for the life of me I can't find an AA battery in this house for the camera!

Saturday I started pulling all the holiday decorations out of the attic and the shed which is quite a few to say the least. I found once again the secondary fake tree we've had for years and decided this year I was going to set it up on the side porch since we had some extra decorations and it was just a little 3' tree that my husband had bought years ago and apparently, I find out, never opened! So I got that and the yard decorations set up for the most part.

We went out to K-Mart as a family trying to find Brielle and Katherine new dresses since Katherine has a performance this week and Brielle has her winter formal this week also! We couldn't find anything at K-Mart though so we ended up going to evil Walmart and let me tell you it was a MAD house! I was so stressed out that we made a few mistakes and heck if I even know where the bags are at with the clothes! I wanted to get out earlier in the day but I was trying to get a hold of 3 different people and a friend was suppose to stop by and I knew it was suppose to be later in the afternoon but I couldn't get a time frame. I really hate when people don't give time frames because my life is pretty much scheduled out every day to make sure I can take care of things. I'm not a sporadic person. Part of what was bought at Walmart was new outside trim lights since out of my 4 strings, 1 worked, 1 half worked but we couldn't find the problem and 2 plain didn't work. So we got home and as I was trying to figure out the wiring debacle (which I haven't fully fixed) I find out my sidewalk path lights don't work! Oy! I gave up after that though it was around 8pm. Yes, I'm not kidding it really did take that long to do that little it was just a crazy day!

Sunday we woke up late but I made up cinnamon rolls, eggs and sausage and we had a good breakfast. Which is something I think we all needed.

My goal was to finish getting the outside lights up though I started working with the inside some. It's easy to get distracted when you have a lot to do. I reorganized the best that I could the laundry room so that I could bring the bench from the front door to back there (and had to do the book shuffle since the whole cabinet under the bench is filled completely with books) and I got that area all vacuumed and set up the tree and got the lights and garland up. Peter went out and bought a new set of lights for the walkway, I decided I'm going to let go of my first nativity set it was a Big Lots special though I bought it at a time when money was always very tight and so it's kind of an emotional thing for me but I'm trying to learn to let go and I put it up on a local Facebook page for giving/getting free items so I'll be meeting a lady today so that her family can now enjoy it. What brought it on is I was pulling out decorations and realized I hadn't pulled out that set for like 5 years because the pieces are so large I don't have a place to set it up so it was time for it to go before it got broke and to stop letting it clutter up my life. I got all the lights on the house put up, I pulled the broken lights off of the metal star we have for the yard and put on a new strand so that I wasn't just trying to wrap things around it like previous years. I had Jason come over to rake leaves for me out back and get them to the curb which I just wasn't going to get time to do myself.

At the moment what I'm looking at is laundry that is almost up to my head all washed but not folded which has gained me lots of evil eyes from the family as they've had to dig through items. Fall decorations everywhere on the table and floor where I've been trying to get the packed up. I did stay up last night, sacrificing sleep, and got the dishes done at least. I think once I wade through this sea of boxes and get the rest of the decorations up and pack away the packing that I can start getting life back in order.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Titles are not my forte - Another day?

Okay yesterday I was very sick, running a low grade temp, falling asleep everywhere it just wasn't pretty. I skipped the cleaning task for the '4 Weeks to a More Organized Home' on Money Saving Mom. Seeing how I cleaned the oven and the microwave just before Thanksgiving I didn't feel too badly about it. The day before that I did the task of cleaning out the silverware drawer nothing really of note but when I was scrubbing out the silverware container it struck me that the poor randomly cracked thing I think we got used god knows how many years ago at least 10 if not closer to 13. People act like Peter and I have money... no I just choose not to spend it. If something works or can be made to work without having to replace it I've found that duct tape and hot glue are my friends. It's like when I made ham bone soup I just grabbed food I already had around the house, can of tomatoes, random can of tomato paste I've had for god knows how long, a bit of rice and a can of veggies. Wasn't the best soup in the world but guess what it was dinner for a night and I bagged the rest up and have lunches for a week. It's called making every single penny count and learning to live with discomfort.

In any case I bit the bullet and I arranged Brielle's appointment with the dentist to have those baby teeth extracted. I've waited off about as long as I could but I want to get this done so we can start treatment with the orthodontist. I was able to get an appointment on what is suppose to be a Snow Make-Up day so hopefully between now and then it doesn't snow. I also went and wrote a letter to the school board asking on how I should go about petitioning for a change in their policies because right now if I take Brielle out of school for an appointment even with a note from the doctor than she still loses her participation points which hurts her grades and she receives a tardy for the day. I think it is a ridiculous policy and this is the e-mail I sent.

Is there a web site or some general information on how to petition a re-evaluation of the school districts policy on tardies and participation points in classes. Until this year I didn't realize how bad our current policy is and I feel badly for every parent that has had to go through this. My oldest child is in Burns Middle school and she has serious problems with her mouth and teeth which is going to take 5 years of constant work. This isn't just an appearance procedure but it is affecting her eating and her speech and must be corrected. I did not realize that a note from the doctor was about as useful as blowing my nose in a tissue and handing it in because no matter what my daughters grades would be effected by the fact that I have no choice but to take her out of school for these appointments as I cannot get them set later (I've been trying and I do try when possible to get them set up for days school is already planned to be out of session). She's a good child in more advance class placement, straight A's and in Jr. Beta. I don't feel that the punishment of her having to work so much harder to try and keep her grades up because of these lost points should be levied against her or any other student for that matter. I'd like to know the proper procedure to go about trying to get this changed because it's hurting the students and putting undue strain onto the parents.

Thank you,

When I hear anything back I already know several parents that want to know what they say because they are effected by this policy too. Parents and doctors a like would like to see this changed and I hope we can push to see something done about it.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Back from Thanksgiving Break

Thanksgiving break... that's about a joke isn't it?
Welcome back people.
We had a very busy Thanksgiving and as always things were served late. I was shooting for 1 and it was 2:30 by time I had food ready but I swear it's not my fault!  

This ham my husband is cutting... yes it is the fault of this monstrous thing! One of our normal guests for Thanksgiving showed up with this the night before and while I figured out when to fit it into the oven I forgot to adjust the cooking time for everything else.

Just last night (Sunday night) I used the ham bone to make a stew that apparently Brielle and I like but not so much Peter and definitely not Katherine. It was an experiment with food and it stretched it out and gave me a weeks worth of lunches.
Our little side table and I should have taken better pictures of my pumpkin pies. This year I actually had one of the crust rings that I got from my grandfather when we went and visited (sadly he doesn't have use for those things as they were my grandmother's). So this year my pies looked wonderful and no blackened crust!

Oh and here is a couple pictures of our lefse day Wednesday. (I'm like time traveling backwards aren't I).
Here's Katherine rolling out some lefse. I didn't let the girls do very many it was a lot of work and a lot of time but I was definately trying to involve the girl and I hope next year I won't be so tired so I can get them in on more of the process so that it is a tradition I got from my great-grandmother and hopefully it'll stay within the family passed through my girls because I'm the last person making it in my family.
 Brielle rolling out her lefse she tried MUCH too hard to make it too thin LOL we were trying to clean dough out of the cotton covers after that.

And this year's lefse day produced nearly 10 lbs of lefse.

So we are back to our regularly scheduled program which means today I get to go grocery shopping (and probably take a nap since I stayed up til 12:30 am folding laundry before getting up at 6 this morning). Lots of little things to do and at some point I need to fit in taking Brielle clothing shopping. I wonder if I can fit that in later. I wish she got home from school sooner than 4 pm. We will see I'm starting this day pretty loosely and just praying I don't get called into work since there was a possibility. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday 'To Do List' Deadline

Well today is the deadline I set for myself on my 'To Do List' but sadly it did not get done. I did give the dog a bath but then noticed the had matted himself up in a couple areas (I need to get him down to a professional groomer it is that time again) so I ended up with a pair of scissors and my hair trimmers for him and we had a little scuffle as I tried to make him understand I just wanted to give him a trim and that it would be fine. I could see it in his eyes though, "Yeah just a trim.. with that buzzy thing and those big sharp pointy things." In the end he ended up coming out to look very funny but at least he doesn't have enough hair on his legs to mat up until I can get him an appointment down at the groomers. 

Needless to say dropping off that PC, cleaning the bathroom and windows and the kids room  and cleaning off those random items from flat surfaces did not get done. The kids did work on their bedroom this evening though I made sure that Peter got them on to it when I was gone for my dance class. 

I came home and started working on lefse. The family sat down together and I had a couple huge bowls and we watched some TV while I peeled 10 lbs of potatoes (no I'm not exaggerating). I got the potatoes riced and just the perfect 16 cups of riced potatoes. I mixed in everything but the flour and I'm looking at my bowl wondering how every year I mix in all the flour I will need to tomorrow. 

I've got a lot of cooking to do between the lefse and pies and was told that I'm having a ham dropped off so I will need to adjust my cooking schedule for Thursday to accommodate that. The gentleman dropping it off is joining us for Thanksgiving and he was like, "Well it's precooked and presliced." I had to explain it to him that I think everyone would like it if it was warmed up at the very least. I will go down (or send Peter down) to the store tomorrow for some frozen OJ and I'll make my normal honey orange glaze for it. 

I've been pretty stressed out and look forward to when Thanksgiving dinner is cooked and I can look around at all the faces and think to myself, "I survived again." 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Return to the 'To Do List'

So I swear some stuff has been done just this weekend it was a pretty much off time and I didn't accomplish much other than spending some down time with the hubby. 

Here is the list I started with:
Goals before Next Tuesday

  • Make Menu for next week
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Clean Coffee Maker
  • Clean Stove Grates
  • Plan Thanksgiving Food Cook Times
  • Keep up on laundry & dishes - continuous
  • Clean Fronts of Kitchen Cabinets
  • Clean Oven
  • Clean Bathroom
  • Dust Living room (also listed vacuum but that will be an on going thing it is Fall after all)
  • Clean off random items from flat surfaces (vague but if you are disorganized like me it'll make perfect sense) 
  • Put up Thanksgiving decor 
  • Clean doors & hallway walls (one of these days I will get the time to paint the hallway, primer just attracts every type of grime)
  • Return Kara's PC (For those that don't know my husband is the resident computer guru so we constantly have computers coming in and out of here - it's also what he does for a living outside the home)
  • Clean Kids' Rooms
  • Plan Crafts for kids (The girls are getting to the ages I can start teaching them how to cook some but mommy might rattle a few screws loose if they are underfoot the whole time)
  • Fix Screen Door
  • Rake up leaves
  • Clean Window bases (need more coffee you know that wood part at the bottom of the window)
  • Clean off side porch
  • Clean microwave
  • Give Blacky (our dog) a bath
I was able to accomplish some more things over the weekend and today but not as much as I wanted. I got side tracked and went into the playroom and the kids had just thrown things into random buckets and containers. I'm sure it's been like this for a little bit because the girls have had company over which normally means a mess but I've really avoided looking to avoid getting my blood pressure up. I wanted to start with organization but there was just so much that I knew it wasn't all going to get done. I got my youngest daughter, Katherine, started on organizing some items and on her own she decided to start a donation pile (oh thank goodness). We didn't get very far though because wanted to shampoo the carpet. Well come to find out I was out of shampooing liquid so I looked online and saw windex so I tried it... not very good results so I looked some more and found vinegar so then the room was stinky and still not good results and I noticed my shampooer wasn't sucking up all the water! Well come to find out part of it broke so my husband went out tonight and bought me a new one. I really hated spending the money on one but I really couldn't go the whole Fall/Winter without the ability to clean my carpets. After 3 containers of water and soap I got the floor looking presentable again. I'll never look new it's a high traffic area because it's where the back door is located and we've lived in this house for 6 years and undergone several different construction things and always used the back door but at least it wasn't noticeable stains everywhere and it got close back to the correct color. 

Tomorrow is really my last day to accomplish anything on the house and items like laundry are never going to be fully done but I have kept the fold pile to just a basket which isn't bad for me. 

Tomorrow's agenda is to go to work, come home and clean, pick of the kids from school, make dinner and then go to the last dance class for this year and then back home to start the process of making lefse which should take me well into the night. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

To Do List - Day 3

Day 3 of trying to tackle this 'To Do List' no additions to the list today but boy did I think about it.

I've got a rough idea of food cook times but not crossing it off my list til I have it set it stone. I also went grocery shopping and got the rest of the food for Thanksgiving but again not crossing it off my list because I still need food for meals that aren't Thanksgiving next week.

Items done:

  • Clean microwave
  • Clean doors (though not perfect I found out some were only primed and until all this construction lately I hadn't had a reason to give them a good scrub so I know one of my tasks for this Summer now)
  • Clean Hallway Walls

I attempted the Money Saving Mom task of taking down and cleaning all the ceiling light covers and ceiling fan blades but after nearly cracking my head open I barely got 2 more done before my nerves were shot standing on that step stool so perhaps some other time but for now I'm going to guess no one is going to be looking up and inspecting my lights.

While trying to take care of this list I'm noticing little things fall behind in my general cleaning which is bad! Tomorrow the children are going over to a friend's house for a play date and I'm going to try and get some more done around the house after perhaps some running around with my husband since we never get out together without the kids. I'm thinking Target I want a new potato ricer and they have a Starbucks in there.

It's not sounding very impressive and I'm disappointed with myself but I need to remind myself I lose a good chunk of my day going to work and this morning it was even more hectic because Katherine forgot part of her homework at home so I had to run it out to the school.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

10 Min Drawer Challenge

So here's my Facebook posting no reason to retype it:

Okay THIS will be funny I'm going to do the 10 min challenge from the other day from Money Saving Mom and going to pick out the messiest dresser drawer in the house (and trust me it was a hard decision!) Yeah I see this turning BAD since I already know that after losing my laundry room I lost all sense of organization as it's a just a huge PILE O'STUFF it was relatively organized before the room got tossed so yeah I'm predicting an epic fail with my house being a giant mess that I will have to pile all back into the drawer LOL

So I picked out the messiest drawer in my house which happens to be in the dresser in the kitchen where things get sweeped into when trying to quickly clear off surfaces for company (I'm bad like that). It was suppose to be a 10 min challenge but I ended up doing 15 because I was giving my youngest daughter a spelling test at the same time. If I don't multitask I'd never get things done. 

So here's the drawer before: 

Scary hu... It's very random.

So here's after 15 min. Needless to say it's NOT done.

To Do List - Day ?

I can't remember what day this is I'm exhausted we'll call it two? Two sounds good.

I put some Cheesy Chicken in the crock pot this morning before heading off to work so thankfully other than making pasta dinner is already done.

Work was... Stressful. Lots of requests, walking around checking equipment and research. It got to such a point I had to skip my 10 min. break which is when I normally eat something for lunch real quick so I didn't get to eat til I got home this afternoon. I had the shakes pretty bad by time I got home.

Moving on...

From my To Do List posted the other day.

  • Rake yard (I only did the front yard but that was all was really worried about at the moment)
  • Clean off side porch (I decided to not shoot for perfection because I wasn't going to get it with some of Peter's computer cases out there and no good place to store them so I got them into a corner and positioned a chair in front of them LOL)
I then proceeded to add two new tasks to the list

  • Clean microwave
  • Give Blacky (our dog) a bath
If I don't stop adding things then I'm going to never finish this list!

Well off to go do Day 9 of Money Saving Mom of 4 Weeks To A More Organized Home. I don't think it's organizing a thing for because I skip all the days that would tackles some sort of organization! :) I'm bad I know it!

I'm so not in the mood for Christmas music yet but I've been bombarded for the past week with it as Brielle practices her violin for an upcoming concert. I think I should invest in ear plugs or some sort of holster for my cellphone so I can listen to something else for a while. 

Anyways why am I still jabbering I need to clean and find out where my little Katherine has slipped off to while I wasn't looking, she needs to study for a spelling test. She's probably hiding somewhere with a book.

To Do List - Try this again

Alrighty, so yesterday I wrote up my 'To Do List' and then proceeded to go on a ramble. Silly me, I blame the lack of sleep the last few days since Peter has a sinus infection I've been listening to the windows rattle in their place with his snoring!
Here's the goal list and I'll cross off what I got finished yesterday and star the items newly added. I'm expecting to go through this process of add and subtract for awhile.

Goals before Next Tuesday

  • Make Menu for next week
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Clean Coffee Maker
  • Clean Stove Grates
  • Plan Thanksgiving Food Cook Times
  • Keep up on laundry & dishes - continuous
  • Clean Fronts of Kitchen Cabinets
  • Clean Oven
  • Clean Bathroom
  • Dust Living room (also listed vacuum but that will be an on going thing it is Fall after all)
  • Clean off random items from flat surfaces (vague but if you are disorganized like me it'll make perfect sense) 
  • Put up Thanksgiving decor 
  • Clean doors & hallway walls (one of these days I will get the time to paint the hallway, primer just attracts every type of grime)
  • Return Kara's PC (For those that don't know my husband is the resident computer guru so we constantly have computers coming in and out of here - it's also what he does for a living outside the home)
  • Clean Kids' Rooms
  • Plan Crafts for kids (The girls are getting to the ages I can start teaching them how to cook some but mommy might rattle a few screws loose if they are underfoot the whole time)
  • *Fix Screen Door
  • *Rake up leaves
  • *Clean Window bases (need more coffee you know that wood part at the bottom of the window)
  • *Clean off side porch
I came home yesterday and I realized that when people get here the first thing they see is the front of the house and I've kind of let it go since it's been cold and I've been busy. "But Elizabeth why aren't you doing it right now?" To heck with you! It's 28 degrees out! I'm going to sit here with my coffee thank you very much. :)

I also took care of the suggested task by Money Saving Mom and wiped down/sanitized all the door knobs last night.

Lots left to do and lots I'm thinking about right now. I need to try and take it a step at a time but it's kind of like watching an accident the moments right before something bad happens (kid runs into the window or something) it's like 'nooooooooo' slow motion and that's how I'm feeling about Thanksgiving right now. I need to get time back into perspective.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

To Do List turns into explanation of how to make lefsa?

So I decided to start looking at the week ahead of me and start trying to write a list. I've found that writing this list is very hard either things seem very trivial that I need to keep up on all the time anyways or they seem so vague it looks like one itty bitty item while inside I'm screaming "That's a huge job to tackle!". I'm sure I'll add more to the list as time goes on. 

In the end I know I have in truth til Monday to get the house prepared because Tuesday I will have my last dance class of this semester and then I will have to come home and get right onto making lefsa! I normally start this process much earlier in the day so I expect to be up late and to see how my new mixer handles this... Truthfully I don't think it'll hold a torch to my old one. 

What is lefsa (also spelled lefse)? Well it is ... think of it like a potato tortilla.

It's a two day process for me. I will peel, cut and boil about 5 lbs of potatoes and then I will go through the process of ricing them.
Potato Ricer
My big pot for cooking potatoes

My big mixing bowl

After the potatoes are riced you add the other ingredients (heavy whipping cream, butter, salt, sugar and lots of flour). Mix this well then roll it into balls. Needless to say you have to coat your hands in flour quite a lot because there is nothing like flour and potatoes to stick to everything! 
Lefsa dough rolled into balls

Refrigerate til it is cool (I normally do it over night because I will be cooking it all day Wednesday.

Griddle and pastry board and tools

 Alright so far? Well now you coat your board with flour (I have mentioned this uses a lot of flour right?) and coat your cotton covered rolling pin and you roll it out til it's pretty darn thin like at least as thin as a tortilla if not thinner if you can manage it and then you put it on a preheated griddle (oh 400+ degrees). The idea is to quick fry not to 'cook' really.

Lefsa and much deserved glass of wine
And there you go lefsa! Spread some butter and sprinkle with sugar and you get a dessert, wrap up turkey in it and you get a yummy snack or meal. No matter how you dress it up lefsa is something everyone loves (at least I've never found a person not amazed by it).

I'm not sure why I went on a lefsa spiel. I guess I'm a little nervous it is the most complex thing and it is the most anticipated item by everyone.

I guess I should stop rambling and get myself off to work.

Happy Wednesday folks we are half way through the work week!

**All pictures are from Last Years Lefsa ~ No I have not made it yet this year!**

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tackling Thanksgiving

I wrote this a couple years ago on one of my other sites and feeling ancy about Thanksgiving this year I decided to go back and re-read it. Funny enough sometimes even my own words meant for others can be a comfort to myself.


Believe it or not Thanksgiving isn't that far away and I at least have already started thinking about it (and stressing). The most common problem is knowing how much food you need to make so there is enough food and time if you are either cooking the whole meal or just expected to bring a dish.

Every year I have to ask myself how large of a Turkey to get so often you go to the store and you see these large birds but how big do you really need? The common rule of thumb is 1lb per expected guest and generally this will give you some extra for the average person. I had to ask myself though how many lbs of a turkey is the breast since dark meat is rarely ate at my house on Thanksgiving and after some research it looks like a little over half of the turkey is the breast. Buying just the breast tends to be about double the price (if not more) than buying a whole turkey so my suggestion is to buy the whole turkey and start looking up recipes. To give an example this week a whole turkey is $0.69/lb and turkey breast you can find on sale later in the month for $1.99 minimum. If you are planning to feed 6 people than you’d need approximately a 6 lb breast which works out to $11.94 (If you can find breast at that low price) but if you are buying a whole turkey then perhaps you might look at a 12 lb bird if you know dark meat won’t be ate by itself which would work out to about $8.29. A whole bird of course will take more prep time and remember in a whole bird there are more bones so there isn’t 12 lbs of meat there (the breast won’t have 6 lbs of meat either I normally buy 2 lbs over what I think I need so instead of a 12 lb bird I’ll buy a 14 lb whole bird) but over all cost is lower and there are lots of recipes for turkey meat out there one of my favorites is making turkey burritos.

If you plan to stuff your turkey than for that 12-15 lb bird you’ll going to end up with enough stuffing for 12 to 14 people (unless you are like us and love stuffing so eat more than what is suggested). I still prefer to stuff my bird but I realize I’m going to have more than enough to be eating for awhile. If you want to cut down on your leftovers than I would suggest not stuffing the bird there are several seasonings to put in the turkey cavity just think about how you want your bird seasoned.

If you are like me and find yourself cooking the whole feast than time and not enough ovens always seems to be the issue. Sit down a few days prior to when you plan to start cooking and start making a list of all the dishes you plan to make while you do this approximate prep time, cooking temp and how long it takes to cook. Think about how much room you have in your oven and start making your plan. While making your dishes think about if you can put some of the food in a smaller dish so that you can put more in but also realize the fuller your oven the longer some items will take to cook.
What I like to do to cut down on time and dishes on Thanksgiving is to prepare some food ahead of time. For example, I like to boil my eggs and mix up my green bean casserole (w/o the fried onions added) and put these items in the fridge so they are one less thing to worry about. If you have a bread warmer you might consider baking first, I like to wrap my bread in a dish towel to help keep in the heat and moisture and keep them someplace warm but NOT hot as I don’t want them to dry out. Make sure your dishes are cleaned especially if you’re pulling out the fine china and crystal and while you’re cooking during those periods of time between basting or prepping another item then work on the dishes and if needed sweep the floor and wipe the counters. Working in a clean, uncluttered area will help with time believe it or not and will lower your stress (so will a good glass of wine too).

I’m like a lot of people and I stress and the more chaotic things become around me the more I think I’m going to lose my sanity. I start cooking for Thanksgiving on Tuesday and I still feel rushed but I’ve learned a few tricks that help me coop with this holiday. I have a small kitchen (well smaller than I would like) and too many people in there just makes things worse even if they think they are helping especially when those helping hands are small children.

Prepare… Getting your time plan out, the dishes you think you will need (we always forget something), pull out dry good, organize your recipes and maybe even clean off one shelf in your fridge and put cold items needed together so you aren't having to dig through to the back for an egg or the gallon of milk.

Keep things clean… If you try to keep up with the mess than you won’t feel so cluttered and won’t suddenly realize the spoon or pot you need is dirty.

Activities… If you have small children then have an area set up for them to color or do a small craft. Movies, Video games… just be prepared because little ones love to see what’s cooking and it’s real quick to get stressed out if you’re trying not to trip over them.

Take a breather…. If you notice you’re still getting stressed out take a moment to sit down outside the kitchen when you have a moment. While keeping things clean helps if you don’t take a step away you can drive yourself batty. Take a 5 minutes break don’t worry the dishes, counter and floors will still be there.

Last of all don’t worry, none of us are perfect and even my turkey can come out dry. It’s a holiday for being thankful and family and it’s key to remember that.