Monday, September 30, 2013

Fall Cleaning Challenge: W2/D1

Well week 2. Truthfully I'll be catching up on placed I seemed to forget from week 1 also.
Horizontal places. Remember Horizontal is like a plate Vertical is like a window.

I covered my hanging shelves last week so on this first day my goal is the kitchen! Okay maybe not all of it. On top of the cabinets, getting things dusted and cleaned up. Do you get a grimy layer of stuff too like cooking grease has been floating through the air? I get it bad for some reason so I've taken to lining the tops of my kitchen cabinets with wax paper so it's easy to just pull up, toss and replace. Works like a charm.

I also hope to tackle the top of the fridge. I'm not sure how the top of the fridge is for anyone else but it's our, "No!" pile when you take away candy, toys, etc or you just have an ice tray you aren't planning to put back in the freezer. After awhile it gets pretty stacked and there is no telling what treasures I have up there and what junk has made its way up there too.

Be careful! Have fun! 

If you have any other helpful suggestions I'd love to hear them!

Busy Monday Edition, September 30

Today's 'To-Do' List

  • Menu
  • Shopping
  • Write 'Fall Cleaning' blog for today
  • Accomplish 'Fall Cleaning Challenge'
  • Balance Checkbook
  • Dishes
  • Laundry
  • Lunch with Peter - Still not sure about this one
  • Sweep/vacuum
  • Clean bedding
  • Stop by packaging store to buy boxes
  • Go by Texas Roadhouse to buy gift card
Over all today is pretty easy. I don't have any real appointments to run to! It probably wouldn't hurt to go into work with all the appointments later this week but I really need some down time so I'm going to take it while it offers itself to me. Plus, my brain is a little drained getting up at 6am  and by 6:30 crunching financial information numbers. I've adjusted my budget a little bit to a more realistic view. I means this month we are going to be in the red this month. You have to love a 2 paycheck month with 5 weeks of shopping days to it. 
You'll notice a lot of cleaning on my list. Yeah this weekend went NUTS I'll explain in my Last Week section.

  • Crescent Hot Dog Wraps & Tator Tots  
  • BBQ Pulled Pork & Chips
  • Spaghetti w/Chicken
  • Hamburger Helper
  • Tacos
  • Pizza
  • Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes & Corn
This Week's 'To-Do' List
  • Keep up with Fall Cleaning Schedule
  • Swimming Lessons for kids
  • Dental appointment for kids
  • Lunch with Ladies from work
  • Drop off donation items
  • Saturday Night Family Movie Night
Last Week

Alright let's cover last week and the fiasco that it was! So Friday Peter took work off to stay home with the kids and to watch a friend of ours kiddo because county schools were out for 'teacher in service' and Peter has more vacation saved since I have to hold mine back to cover Thanksgiving and Winter breaks. We still have no clue what we are doing about Fall week next week. I reminded Peter that was last week and I think I watched the color drain from his face as we don't have childcare setup. I need to check with the Y and see if they will be running their holiday camp during that week since we are in County Schools and I'm not sure if City is having their break at the same time.
Back to Friday, so I've been gathering stuff for a garage sale on Saturday and while I had to go into work early because there was a great deal of running to be taken care of all the kiddos decided to drag the garage sale toys back into play across the house. Needless to say I'm still finding items that never made it into the sale. The sale was never my idea but our neighbors who are moving asked us to join with and we said OK not thinking. I have sworn NEVER again though it did encourage the girls to get rid of some toys so the next time I might have them clear things out under the 'pretense' that I'm going to sell them then haul them away to goodwill and hand the girls some cash. I know I'm a horrible mother but getting them to let go of their toys is really a chore. 
So back to Friday again... I keep rambling off don't I.
So I got off of work and then went to a Lady's house who I needed to fill out some loan extension forms because I had loaned them a large sum of money to get out of their eviction notice. I just couldn't let a house with 5 children in it find their way to the street. I stood around there then found out she wasn't there because she was handling some other stuff so then I went to sign the girls up for Swimming lessons at the Y and then off to the dollar store hoping to find some price tags for the garage sale instead we ended up using masking tape. 
The lady stopped by my house to fill out the forms so she could get an extension on the loan and heard we were having a garage sale so she asked if she could bring her stuff too (yes this is an old friend of my husbands could be a full length drama show but that's her business) and I'm like 'sure' which I'm glad of because it gave me someone to talk with Saturday while I sat on my porch all day feeling antsy. And then another friend stopped by and found out we were having a garage sale so Saturday morning showed up with a trailer of stuff and then another friend found out and he added in stuff too. 
So Friday after work and all that running around I spent the evening cleaning out the carport, mowing the front lawn, weeding out some flower beds so my house didn't look awful outside, pricing out items and finding my way to bed around midnight to get up at 6:15am Saturday and start setting up. 

So what did I do Saturday? I sat on my porch pretty much all day until close to 3 o'clock when we packed up what was left. After Friday and then Saturday I was done and vegged for most of the night. I made chicken nuggets and french fries and called it a day. I did chide Brielle several times about her science experiment and we realized it was due Monday (aka Today). 
So we started a mustard stain experiment and we let the stains sit for 14 hours. 
Well around 2 o'clock as we are trying to get the poster board taken care of Peter reads over Brielle's shoulder and asked her what this, "Trial 1, Trial 2, Trial 3" thing was. Que doom music. We were suppose to do 3 different trials to make sure there wasn't a fluke and we had just done a 14 hour wait time and used the only white felt I had so Peter grabbed one of his still good shirts and shredded it with scissors and we started the experiment from scratch! Needing the stain to set quickly we BAKED spaghetti sauce soaked strips of T-Shirt! Yum....
We were up until midnight with this experiment and her typing up observations and gluing stuff onto the poster board. Needless to say this morning I'm functioning on coffee alone. 
To top all that because of that fiasco and Saturday's mess of a day I forgot to study with Katherine over her states so guess who gets to go pick up the kiddo early so we can work on homework, Who's got Two Thumbs and a Nervous Breakdown... this girl.  

Lots of stress last week with work too. I'm very happy to be sitting here with a cup of coffee writing a blog having not even jump through a shower yet! I needed some time OFF. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fall Cleaning Challenge: W1/D5

So you may notice this looks nothing like the others. Truth is I'm on my phone at work.
Honestly I didn't even get to yesterdays challenge but I guess that is why it is a challenge and I will get to it this weekend. Today's challenge is DOORS.
Can't let one set back stop me! I hope everyone else had better luck yesterday and have a great weekend. I'll be back next week with the next part of the challenge.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fall Cleaning Challenge: W1/D4

Day 4 is here! I took time admiring the pictures on the wall as I cleaned seeing seeing my babies so young gave me that baby itch I know my husband would chide me over. (Shhh... anyone know where I can steal a baby for an hour to nuzzle and baby talk to?)

Now I'm going to be honest I don't expect to get 100% done with Day 4. If I do then GREAT but I'm setting the bar low for myself but I did note while cleaning some very key areas I need to scrub.

Day 4 is Walls!

Now before you freak out this is the wall behind the sink in the bathroom. No not all my walls look that bad!

Walls are the bane of my existence. Seriously, they are evil. But if you are like me then you've been knocking down a lot of dust or you are just coming out of kids being sick and as much as you run around them just watch somewhere there will be a smear on your wall and you can't tell if it's some silly goop they were playing with (which is most probably it is) or some snot smear (your worst nightmare). Thankfully we are out of the crayon on the wall phase. My suggestion? Magic eraser! But I learned to watch out scrubbing too hard especially when going after crayon it can take paint off too. Who would think that little white sponge thing could have that kind of power!

And not done yet I have one more task to add to this list. My house has a central system and I've been knocking down a lot of dust so it is time to check the filter. The filter is a big thing especially with furnace weather coming up.

Hey if the kids are going to drive you up the wall let it be a clean one! Happy Thursday folks! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fall Cleaning Challenge: W1/D3

Woot! Day 3 is here and somehow I've been keeping with my own goals on this one. You'd hope so right? Well it's harder than I'd like to admit. With tests back into full swing at school for the kids it seems like most of my free time is dedicated to that but I'm pushing and down the wire again as my husband looked at me funny as I left for the store at 7pm to get more light bulbs. I didn't realize some of them were out I was kind of just used to things being dim. I can completely notice a difference now!

Well we are past what I guess should have been the easy days though it didn't feel like it. The goal for day 3 is pictures and shelves! Oh my! What have I gotten myself into! And for myself this also includes my tapestries and other wall hanging nicknacks.
Dust, clean heck take off the wall might even be a good plan because you'd be surprised on where dust bunnies like to breed.
I think I'll handle behind my bookshelves as well with my extending rod duster. Ah the wonderful things they come out with.

It should be an interesting day because I never really noticed how many things I have on the wall until it is time to clean them.

It also gives you a moment to appreciate all the memories you have surrounding you that can be so easy to forget during the course of our day to day lives.
I especially love the baby pictures. So hard to remember my girls being so tiny!

Happy Cleaning! -- Don't worry nothing witty to say this morning.

Pumpkin Doughnuts

So I broke down this past Monday and bought a doughnut pan so I could try these pumpkin doughnuts out. Now you don't 'have' to have a doughnut pan but well I wanted one. I used the Pumpkin Cake Doughnut over on the King Arthur Flour site. They also have suggestions on how to make this in a muffin pan so don't be afraid to try it out.
The kids really loved them and Peter thought they were okay but once again he thought not enough pumpkin flavor and we narrowed part of the problem down to there not being any clove so the next time I make them I'll have to guess at how much clove to put in.
It said the recipe should make about 12 doughnuts though with my pan it made 18.

If you love pumpkin as much as this family it really might be a recipe worth checking out.
I made these doughnuts up Monday night and by this afternoon they will be gone as there are only 2 left right now. I think that overall has the seal of approval by the family.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fall Cleaning Challenge: W1/D2

Oh wow maybe I spoke too soon on D1! Did you survive yesterday? I barely did! I was down to the wire with trying to tuck the kids in while also trying to get their rooms finished. I guess it doesn't work well to try and put your kids to sleep and clean at the same time. I hope I'm not the only one that suddenly realized there was more dust and cobwebs than I ever really noticed. It seemed every time I had an area done I'd walk in just a position to see where I missed something.

Well pushing on to D2! Now this one doesn't scare me! Okay maybe it does but only because I really hate step ladders. Make sure you are safe and if you have to wait until someone comes home just to make sure that you are! We are covering lights and ceiling fans!
This is a great time to clean the glass of your lights and replace burnt out bulbs. It's getting darker sooner so we want to make sure to have good light inside.
If you're like me while cleaning the ceiling you probably noticed a lot of lights that could use some tender loving care and I keep my ceiling fans on all the time so when I turned them off for yesterdays challenge I was shocked to see how dirty they were. This isn't to say I don't try to clean them but rather they are one of those things that get put off more than others because out of sight, out of mind.

Just stay safe and have a bright day! - hehe see what I did there.... 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Busy Monday Edition, September 23

Today's 'To-Do' List

  • Menu
  • Laundry
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Dental Appointment
  • Start Fall Challenge
  • Lunch with Husband
  • Clean up around house
  • Go by the library & pay fines
No I'm not even defining what cleaning up around the house is! If I get something done I will pat myself on the back! Last week got very awkward for us with so many strange and unfortunate things happening that I feel like the house was on the set of Twister. I keep putting the bathroom on my list but I'll pick up the floor but not get to the rest or I'll work on the bathtub but not get the rest it's just this awkward trade off so I refuse to put it on my physical list because there is only so many times you can fail before you need a win. 
I also have a lot less motivation knowing I have a dental appointment today. I love my dentist and it's just a cleaning but always the cleanings due to my teeth structure they always find more work to do and admittedly I've slacked somewhat on my flossing so I'm sure he'll fuss at me. It's just breaking my day up with appointments always makes me a bit sluggish. 

  • Hamburger Helper 
  • Chicken Nuggets & French Fries
  • Breakfast for Dinner
  • Spaghetti
  • Grill-Out 
  • Pizza
  • Pork Roast, Mashed Potatoes w/gravy & Peas
We have a carry over on the Pork Roast because Sunday we had Brielle's birthday party and I was asked to babysit right after so it did mess up dinner plans somewhat. We had Pizza instead because Saturday we had a babysitter for the girls so Peter and I grabbed some dinner out before the Magic the Gathering pre-release tournament.
Over all I'm shooting for 'easy' this week which is what I tend to shoot for. I would like to get a bit more healthy foods into our diet and do some real cooking more often but I feel like things are a bit crazy and it may just be because of how last week went. 

This Week's 'To-Do' List
  • Write at least 3 'Fall Clean' Blogs
  • Go to Library
  • Work on staining the cabinet
  • Pull out Fall/Halloween decorations

There were a lot of things on my weekly To-Do list that never got done.
My cabinet is still not stained. Infact I only got 1 door done on it and it's not 100% done because one side still needs polyurethane (which is something you really don't want to do inside).
I didn't even write all those blogs I said I was going to so I'm going to be busy this week trying to keep up with those while doing the tasks myself plus work and kids and all that jazz.

I think my brain is the one most busy on this Busy Monday. What are your plans for the evil Monday monster? Did you meet your goals last week?

Last Week:

I'm totally out of it! Seriously I am I'm forget things left and right!

Brielle had her birthday party (Sunday) at the laser tag place here in town. A few of the kids by the end of it didn't feel like going back in because they were tired so my husband and one of the other dad's went in and had a good ol' time for the last round.

I played with the pumpkin bread recipe and made it too moist this time and instead of measuring out my seasonings I tried using pumpkin pie spice and I'd say that was a giant flop. As it was described by Katherine, "It's bland." But I did get more pumpkin taste into it this time. I will have to try again. I think I have also decided this kind of recipe does not like to mix well in the bread machine. I'll still use the bread machine for baking because until we get late Fall and into Winter I really don't want to heat up the house with the oven as often as I will want to be baking.

Thursday a friend of ours went to the hospital and in the course of being admitted for pneumonia he collapsed and passed away. He was much too young and much too sweet of a guy and everyone in the gaming community is sad at our loss for losing such a wonderful guy.

Saturday we went to the Western Kentucky Botanical Garden for the annual Scarecrow fest. We were very sad at this years display as half the place was blocked off for a wedding so I didn't get to walk through the rose garden like I enjoy doing. It was very poor planning on their part. Plus half the normal activities for kids were not there. We spent nearly $40 and spent maybe only 45 minutes there and that includes the time we ate.

After the Scarecrow Festival we went down to the riverfront to watch the airshow. Again we were sadly disappointed as it now where reached the level it did last year and there were several very bored children for all the parents around us which made for very miserable adults. I'm not trying to poo poo everything that day it just was hyped up very much and then it was such a poor display with anywhere from 20-30 minutes in between planes coming into the area, no announcer this year... nothing. The playground at the park was even broke too so they had one of the slides all boarded up.

Quite literally the parachuters were the ones that really got the crowd excited. 

Fall Cleaning Challenge: W1/D1

Ah so we are to our very first challenge. I'm tempted to say the first challenge is just removing myself from my chair as that seems like the hardest part to any of this. I know there are only two results at the end of the next few weeks.

  1. I feel great about the house and it is cleaned and ready for the holidays and I can take a breather.
  2. My family has decided that it would be funny to come in behind me and see how fast they can return us to our normal mess. 
I'm hoping option 1 but the truth is option 2 is looking more realistic. 

So as I outlined before we are going to spend the week working on the high places. Working our way top to bottom the best we can. 

Now I, like many other parents, tend to be extremely busy so these daily little things may seem just that, little. You very well could accomplish more in your day of that I'm sure! I'm going at a pace that I can handle and there are a lot of things I won't be able to fit in. My suggestion if you've got more time on your hands and you're like, "Hu, well that's done now what?" Pick a drawer, stack, surface in your house that has papers, disorganized toys, collection of toothpicks, whatever it is and try and put some order to it. That's one thing that I'm going to be just randomly trying to accomplish and if I try to set it to a time line it'd take me a month and I'm quite sure everyone doesn't want to see, "Your challenge is to organize the ....." everyday. I guess what I'm saying is BE PROACTIVE! 

Today's Task

Ceilings! Yup get up high (though carefully please!) and get cobwebs out of corners and if your house seems to bread dust bunnies like mine then the ceiling area around a ceiling fan likes to collect a lot of dust also. I've found the easiest thing for those of us with popcorn ceilings is to use the brush attachment to a vacuum cleaner. You don't want to be brushing really hard otherwise you get annoying white popcorn falling on your floors but most clothes and 'dusting equipment' are cotton and just like to get stuck in the popcorn.

Check your bathroom ceiling! If your bathroom does not have enough air flow your showers may have been causing some dark spots... by the way that's mold but I'm sure you guessed that by now. I like to stand far back and mist some 1/2 water 1/2 bleach solution up there and let it sit for a little bit and then come back and carefully wipe it down. It tends to do the job for me for the areas I apparently missed with the 'no mold' bathroom paint. 

If you have central air and your returns are up at the ceiling then go ahead and get these at this time too. 

And that's it! You have completed Day 1. Now that wasn't so hard now was it. 

Interested in the other weeks follow back here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fall Cleaning

So Fall is right around the corner! This weekend in fact!  Depending on where you are in the country it may not feel like it but our days will very soon be shorter than our nights as we move on towards Winter.

When we think of Fall we think of cool Harvest nights, pleasant days and being able to fling all the windows open after a stuff Summer trying to keep the cool inside and before the chilling cold of Winter when we try to keep the warmth inside. At least that's what I think of.

Spring and Fall by far have to be my favorite seasons because of the pleasant temperatures and the crisp morning air. But as I said before Winter will be around the corner and we'll be huddled in our houses wishing for warmer temps as children or relatives attempt to find out what makes us tick and therefore push every button we've got... or is that only me?

I look at Winter like I look at a long car ride. I've got a bunch of people crammed into a little space for an extended period of time that I have to keep happy otherwise it'll be a miserable journey. So I look at my house as if it is a car and I never start a roadtrip with a dirty car because that spells disaster.

Over the next few weeks I'm going to challenge myself and welcome others to join in to do a deeper cleaning of my home.

My thought process is pretty simple. Start from the top and work your way down. Now of course some things will have to be redone. Like vacuuming, it's a never ending process in Fall! but the idea is just go a little bit above and beyond. So if I suggest something and you think to yourself, "Well I do that regularly anyway." Then think of something in that general area that you don't do regularly and tackle that.

I will also like to note I will not be going for perfection. I will be going for good enough. It sounds kind of like a defeatist method but for myself, personally, I find I'm not so hard on myself and if I can do a little better than 'good enough' then I will try very hard to do so but if I find life has decided to get wonky and busy I'm not going to beat myself up over it.

Week 1 

In this week we will focus on the Tops of our homes and high up places that we perhaps don't normally reach up to. 

Week 2 & 3

We will focus on Horizontal places and spaces above our knees and below our head. These are the places we deal with the most often.
These particular weeks could take you less time or more time. You could find it extremely easy or very hard. So don't beat yourself up! I almost just made this 1 week and then I thought about it and every part of me started to cramp up and panic when I thought of the amount of work required the truth about me and Time my dreaded foe!

Week 4

Floors, baseboards and more OH MY! Yes, this last week we'll be dealing with the dreaded floor monster that is a never ending process but we'll try to get a little


After some careful thought into the matter and glancing through my past blogs I realize there are some crafts that I enjoy doing with the girls that really make Fall feel like it is here and yet apparently I never blogged about them! Well in my defense my blog is still young.
So with that said I'm going to try and work out a schedule for crafting items with the kids and then post up directions to the best of my ability.
I'd also like to do some posts about outside but I might be overloading myself. I'll work out a schedule for things to the best of my ability but like all parents sometimes what I schedule the rest of life throws a fit about from time to time and life with the family in tune can be quite loud and obnoxious when it comes to demanding my attention.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Busy Monday Edition, September 16

Welcome to another Monday edition. I'm actually getting onto writing this a little late. I had a hard time sleeping last night and ended up not telling Katherine when to go out the door for the bus. I kind of just zoned staring at Facebook as I had seriously considered taking an extended blink in my chair so Katherine ended up missing the bus. Well that's a quick way to get me up, dressed and out the door. You have to love these kinds of mornings (by the way that is sarcasm). 
I got going on some of my items such as the laundry and getting the bagel dough started so my husband could have breakfast at home though knowing him he'll use them as snacks again. 
Amy then arrived here this morning while it was pouring down rain and we went to set up her tent frame (she's making an A-Frame viking tent to use at events she venders at) and found out it was too tall for my carport but the rain has cleared up so we are giving it a little bit while she goes to get some more fabric and then we'll set up the tent and start pinning fabric for her to sew. I'm very proud of her when she first came over here working on this some months ago I did the sewing but she has really progressed. 

Sunday wasn't quite as restful as I had hoped. Peter took Brielle to the library and Katherine went outside to play while I shampooed the carpet in the Playroom because I found out the pets had found a way in there and decided it looked like a nice place to potty. Can we say ick?! But now the carpet is all clean thankfully. I then worked a good part of the evening helping the kids with their various homework and preparing for tests and projects due this week. 

Thankfully I don't have a lot planned this week..... so far. 

Today's 'To-Do' List
  • Menu
  • Laundry
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Get wood stain
  • Get new battery for van
  • Make bagels
  • Fix kitchen chair
  • Reschedule Blacky's grooming appointment
  • Lunch with Peter
  • Help Amy with sewing/tent
  • Clean Bathroom

  • Hamburger Helper & Green Beans
  • Chili Dogs & Chips
  • Grilled Chicken, Baked Potatoes & Corn on the Cob
  • Lasagna
  • Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
  • Pizza
  • Pork Roast, Mashed Potatoes w/gravy & Peas

This Week's 'To-Do' List
  • Write at least 3 'Fall Clean' Blogs
  • Go to Library
  • Get Brielle's cake ordered
  • Make sure enough plates, cups, etc. for party
  • Try to arrange a babysitter for Saturday
Pretty straight forward this week or maybe it is because I'm still very much tired and tempted to make a second pot of coffee which is something I never do! 
With any luck I will be done with my book from the library this week. I'm very sad that it is the last book in the series but glad that I've had a chance to read them and they are SO much better than the movie. Anyone remember the old movie 'Eragon'? Trust me the books are 400 times better and it makes the movie look horrific. 
I'm working on a Fall Prep blog series that I want to kick off next Monday but I want to get the blogs mostly wrote up so that I'm not trying to tackle the projects while writing while going to work. I think I'd pull out my hair and scream at the sky, "WHY!?!" and I'd like to avoid making a scene like that. 
Brielle's birthday party is next weekend because her friends parents are divorced and she wanted to make sure they could come so I need to get that all set up. 
Saturday Peter wants to go to a Magic event and asked me to get a babysitter so we could go together it's about the only time I play cards with him. There are a ton of other things going on Saturday also but we haven't decided which events we would be going to yet. There is the scarecrow fest at the botanical gardens that we always try to go to, there is an airshow at the riverfront, there is the Dream Riders event which is to raise money for the stables that do a lot of work with disabled children... There is a list more than just that too! Saturday is an extremely busy day and we haven't quite figured it all out yet. Blacky's grooming appointment was that day too so I've decided to go ahead and reschedule it because there is just so much going on. 

Well here's hoping my Busy Monday isn't overly busy and that it carries on throughout the week. I could use an easy week. 

I hope that everyone else has a great week and while you're at it please keep Colorado in your thoughts and prayers. I've got a friend who lives near Denver and things are worse than even the media can quite get across. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My week in a Nutshell (Boy that's a big nutshell!)

This last weeks 'To Do' List:
  • Mow the yards
  • Clean the bathroom
  • Fix kids' door to playroom
  • Brielle's 2nd Ortho appointment -Rescheduled by Orthodontist
  • Katherine's Picture Day
  • Buy Brielle a Present - Peter took care of this
  • Order Brielle's Cake
  • Drop off 4-H Forms
  • Pick-Up Cabinet 
  • Pick-Up Stain for Cabinet 
  • Repack canning supplies & store
So yeah there was a lot of stuff that was not taken care of and it's been a crazy week. We had a PTO performance for my daughter that I had completely forgot to put down on the calendar for Tuesday. That was the nail in the coffin for me not going back to dance class this term. We were there at 6 o'clock until I'm not sure when because there was a heat advisory the Family Exercise Night activity was moved indoors and the bookfair was going on so we walked a mile inside the school and then went through the book fair and because Katherine had such good grades she got to pick out a book. She got 'How to Train Your Dragon' which is about 209 pages long the next day she read it in one day! Thank goodness we normally go to the library! 

Wednesday, I went down to the Extension Service and turned in the 4-H forms and found out and signed the girls up for a couple clubs. Signed up both kids for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) club which only had 20 slots total and was almost filled up! Glad I didn't put this off. I found out the 4-H stem club is also in talks with the community college to use their robotics department down the line!! I think that is totally awesome! Next month all these clubs start so it'll be interesting to see what my schedule ends up looking like.
Also, I was determined Wednesday to participate in the 'Make It From Scratch' so I did the pumpkin bread I still need to make another try at it and see if I can get it to where we'd really like it. 

Thursday, after work I went and picked up a friend and he helped me unload the seats in my van and we drove way out into the county to a custom cabinet store and picked up my new cabinet (that is now on my back porch waiting to be stained). A new corner cabinet with a solid shelf not a lazy suzan! I've been waiting to replace mine for such a long time I'm so excited to get much of my storage back for crafting supplies! 
After having the cabinet loaded my friend and I got in the van and started driving down the road. I realized my speedometer needle was BEHIND the peg! It wasn't warped, I hadn't been driving fast and the only think I could think was, "Oh my god I broke the spring" because the last time I worked around a speedometer was my dad's 89 Nissan pickup and I figured things hadn't changed much since then. So we very cautiously got home and unloaded the cabinet. I used my garmin to check speed when I drove my friend back home and then I came home and started my Google search. 
I want to say THANK YOU internet! While the general construction of a speedometer really might not have changed over the years the thing that has changed is how much our cars use the computers in them now. I knew my battery was low on voltage but it still got the car started so I didn't worry about it. Well come to find out that if your battery is low it can cause exactly what I experienced! What you do is with the car off you hold down the Trip Setter until it lights up and then the van ('02 Dodge Caravan - and a few other models) will go through a calibration process and poof things are fixed. Now it's on the list of things to do to go buy the van a new battery. 

Friday, I took apart our tower fan in the morning ( I didn't mention but Thursday night that broke too) and after fighting to get some screws that looked like they had been stripped when the company put them in there I got down to the bones of the fan. I gave it a good cleaning, looked over all the cables and whatnot and then put it back together without the covering and tried it. It ran so I put the covering back on and got myself off to work.
Well Friday I had promised to help my friend that helped me Thursday to move from the house he was living at back to his parents house because his mom really just needed him there. So we made two trips getting boxes and his bed, etc. That took us right up to the time where I had to get Katherine and then get home to make dinner so Brielle and Peter could have time to eat before they went to Friday Night Magic. At which point a friend of mine who is doing several medieval events and working on making her own tent asked me if she could come over to work on the tent. Katherine said that was okay because she wanted to watch movies Friday Night. Now I'm very proud of my friend the last time she came over I had to do the sewing but since then she's really progressing on using a sewing machine and other than giving some pointers on how to use my machine I was able to leave her be which is why I had time to do my 2nd 'Make It From Scratch' items. 

Saturday, Peter's parents came in town (darn the Eastern Seaboard for not having volcanos!). Peter worked in his mother's laptop and then we went out for lunch for Brielle's birthday. It turned out Peter's parents didn't need him so it juggled things so I let the kids play on their computers and I set Brielle up a Facebook account for her 13th birthday. Since my sewing machine was already out I tackled the sewing pile until about 6 o'clock at which point I figured I'd better wake Peter up from his long nap so we could go out to dinner for Brielle's Birthday. We normally don't eat out twice but lunch Peter's parents paid for and I had no plans for dinner because we normally do Birthday 'dinners'. 

And now today.... I've got a list as long as my arm that I'd like to get done today but I'm not going to push too hard. I think a little bit of down time (at least long enough to enjoy my coffee) would do me good. 

I hope everyone else had a productive week and hopefully next week I will do better on my 'To Do' List. I'm also trying to get geared up to do my own series  starting hopefully Monday, the 23rd. Covering Fall home prep. I've got a start on it on paper so now I just need to make sure I follow through. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Make It From Scratch Challenge: Color Tinted Glass (Day 2)

So my make it from scratch day 2 is the challenge day 5... Yeah life has gotten busy I'll go through that later. My project is a simple one but I always really loved that pretty colored glass and old ball jars. Now this isn't as usable aka I wouldn't put water into it but I think it came out beautifully!

The glass up front is the one I stained the one in the back is the exact same type of jar! Pepperoncini jars because we go through a lot of those with pizza night once a week.
Here are all the pieces of glass with no purpose I found around my house. 2 jars and 2 candle holders in total.

I followed the directions over on this site I found on pinterest .
Pretty simple from scratch craft but I did it and I'm proud of that.

2 out of 5 on the challenge... well it could have been 0 out of 5 so I'll call it a win for the week.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Make It From Scratch Challenge: Pumpkin Bread (Day 1)

So over on  she's been having a make it from scratch week. Well it's Wednesday and I'm jumping in at least for today. Make it from scratch means no box kits. It's not like buying a yellow cake mix and making a poke cake it's making the yellow cake without a mix and doing that. I didn't do anything so labor intensive as that instead I've been continuing to play with my breadmaker after rediscovering it from making egg bagels from scratch last weekend before this challenge started.

Tonight I attempted pumpkin bread in my bread maker. I had saw a recipe on Betty Crocker and it got my mind churning and ready for it even on these hot late summer days. Today I decided to do it since I had plenty of pumpkin around that I had found on discount a few months ago. Well I read into the recipe some more and saw a lot of complaints about it so I decided to go to my Betty Crocker cookbook and then halved the recipe and put it in the breadmaker and made an educated guess on it. This is a quick bread so I put it on the quick setting. Thankfully it worked out. I also mixed in half a cup of chocolate chips.

So it came out looking awesome!

Sadly though the look wasn't the same as the taste. It will definitely get ate but it didn't have enough of a pumpkin taste for my husband and myself. Pumpkin bread is quite literally an adjusted zucchini bread and I had remembered reading about how applesauce could be used to replace oil so I did some digging and it looks like pumpkin can be used in the same manner. I will come back to this recipe since my husband loves pumpkin and if it get the adjustments down correctly I'll make sure to post up the recipe for everyone.

It really can be amazing the tools you already have laying around the house but how finding that akward 20 minutes can seem like an impossible job. 

Which yes I have this listed as Day 1 because this is MY Day 1 they are now on like Day 3 but we do what we can when we can and be glad that we could. 

Happy Cooking Folks. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday Wrap Up

Well I survived Monday. I'm not exactly sure how I think by sheer force of will. I opened up the door late this morning to walk out to start my running around town and the heat and humidity hit me with such force there was nothing but determination that could have been my driving force to brave it.

Today's 'To-Do' List
  • Menu
  • Laundry
  • Vacuum
  • Organize Coupons
  • Clean/Put Away Pottery Wheel
  • Dust Livingroom
  • Drop off extra coupons
  • Pick-Up Cardboard
  • Return Katherine's Library Book
  • Take Brielle to Orthodontist  
  • Take Katherine for a Haircut
  • Finish 4-H Forms
  • Buy invitations for Brielle's Party & Fill out
  • *Additional I forgot to add to the original: Lunch with the Husband
I got everything except for the cardboard because the lady I was picking it up from had a death in the family so that was an understandable thing to reschedule. 

Do you know what this is?

Yup! It is an empty laundry basket and other than the clothes that were worn today & bath towels I am 100% caught up! Though I know that won't last long. 

And just to show I'm not fibbing...

Yup I got more clothes to put away but they are folded! I can't wait to get rid of the boxes to the side there but I am filling them with clothes we are getting ready to donate! Lots of 7/8s!

I also got my grocery shopping done. I got a lot more than I had planned to but a lot of it is restocking and a bunch will hit the freezer to hold us over for the next few months.

$70.83 - Kroger counts my savings or buying their stuff that was on sale & my coupons as $74.32
Brielle's orthodontist appointment went pretty well but they want to wait another 6 weeks to put in her platte spacer so the other appointment this week was canceled and two new appoints made for next month. 

Katherine got all of her points at school and brought home her mid-term report card and she got 3 A's and 1 B. Not bad though I think we can work on that B.

Katherine also has 2 tests this week. 1 tests is on latin terms and the other is over some of the states. 
We've been using flash/flip cards for the latin terms and mainly working on spelling for the state names because it is really quite difficult for the spelling impaired like my poor girl. So I pulled out my laminator because I was tired of going through paper and didn't want to print off any more maps. I purchased my laminator years ago and to this day am still glad I have it. A bit of dawn and a scrub brush and poof you have a clean sheet all over again. 

I'm looking at my kitchen right now thinking about how I made breaded pork and how the flour is going to set into concrete. I know I need to do the dishes but boy I'm tired. Eh I'll get a jackhammer out tomorrow. 

Hope everyone had a good Monday and good luck to you on the rest of the week!

Busy Monday Edition, September 9

Well it's Monday again. We really need to petition the government to give us a day between Sunday and Monday so we can prepare for another week. 

I'm on the tail end of this gunk I've had so I've started to get more active again! Thank goodness and because of that I put a good dent into the cleaning around the house yesterday. 

So let's get on with it! Lists, lists and more lists! My house is made up of lists and sticky notes! Sadly it does not make the best insulation. 

Today's 'To-Do' List
  • Menu
  • Laundry
  • Vacuum
  • Organize Coupons
  • Clean/Put Away Pottery Wheel
  • Dust Livingroom
  • Drop off extra coupons
  • Pick-Up Cardboard
  • Return Katherine's Library Book
  • Take Brielle to Orthodontist  
  • Take Katherine for a Haircut
  • Finish 4-H Forms
  • Buy invitations for Brielle's Party & Fill out
The laundry actually should be pretty easy just annoying. I have only 1! load of laundry to do and then just a basket full of socks mostly. I really dislike socks! I think they should automatically be attracted to their mate! 
As far as the coupons go I actually did get through a huge stack of them and then when I opened up my door this morning I saw that my friend dropped off more coupons for me to go through. At least I bought a new coupon organizer the other week so I actually can have a chance of getting this done. 
The library book thing has me worried. While Katherine was reading her book she found that one of the page corners was completely torn out! And not from us this was damage apparently the library never caught before. I'm afraid they are going to charge me for the book. It's not that I mind helping out the library but I don't want to be accused for something we did not do. 
Katherine has picture day this week so she's decided it's time to remove her bangs from her nose! 

So my menu item is already crossed off. I have a pretty simple menu this week. I'm getting better but I'm not up to par and I'd like to make sure we actually can feel up to following the menu instead of doing like last night and ending up getting take-out.

This Week's 'To-Do' List
I am trying to be a bit more realistic about my 'lists' so I will also look at a To-List for the week. If I can cross them off today then great if I can't well they are planned for later in the week anyway. 
  • Mow the yards
  • Clean the bathroom
  • Fix kids' door to playroom (No this hasn't been done yet! It is just leaning up in the doorway!) 
  • Brielle's 2nd Ortho appointment
  • Katherine's Picture Day
  • Buy Brielle a Present
  • Order Brielle's Cake
  • Drop off 4-H Forms
  • Pick-Up Cabinet (Yes, I was told they were working on my cabinet doors so I'll be able to pick-up my custom all wood corner cabinet for the laundry room this week if all goes well!)
  • Pick-Up Stain for Cabinet (Did I mention it was an unfinished cabinet?)
  • Repack canning supplies & store (This one is a 'maybe' we are going into apple season and the U-Picks have started and it's got me itching again even though I swore after the peaches I was done.)
I'm sure a million other things will come up during the course of the week and of course my #1 Goal is just to survive work. 

Well it's almost 8:30! EEP! I better get going on this day if I'm going to get stuff done!

Have a great week folks!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Egg Bagels


Oh yes we have bagels in the home! They are very funny looking though aren't they? And shouldn't there be 10 of them? Well yes, thank you for pointing that out there should be 10 but 2 look like crescent moons and we snacked on those.

So why bagels? Well a couple reasons the first was I was going stir crazy being home sick. Peter and the girls went out but I still was not well enough to venture out into the world (don't worry I washed my hands a LOT while cooking and thankfully I'm over my coughing fits so no worries there). So here I am with lots of time and this cookbook I got from the library a couple weeks ago called, The Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook by Tom Lacalamita.

I do recommend the book so far though this is the only recipe I've been able to try out of it and it has worked out well for the taste.

Now I'm not going to go through all the nitty gritty of when to pull out the dough and all that. Basically I'd suggest reading your bread machine's manual or googling it online. It is very possible to do this by hand and wouldn't be any harder than making any other kind of yeast bread at home.

I actually have a bread machine at home and while trying to prepare for this over the last few days I found out a few things that I never really bothered to pay attention to. 1. My bread maker can make jam? Who would have thunk it. 2. My bread maker has a bagel dough option!

Now what I made is egg bagels because we haven't been able to find those in the store for over a year and Peter really loves egg bagels.

Egg Bagels 

1-3/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast
3 Cups Bread Flour
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup Plus 1 TBS Water
1 Large Egg

My Notes:

  • Makes approx. 10 bagels about 2-3/8 oz of dough per each.
  • I would suggest weighing dough so you get about the same size bagels and they cook evenly.
  • Make sure all ingredients are at room temp. this includes the egg.
  • Only difference between an egg bagel and a normal bagel is quite literally the egg. Omit that and you get plain bagels. 
  • The recipe called for Dark Brown Sugar for everything I used Light Brown Sugar because that is what I had and it still came out good so use what you have.
  • Watch the mixing process if need be use a spatula or wooden spoon and move excess flour out of the corners of the bread machine. It will seriously look like there isn't enough water to get everything worked together but there actually is! 
Now the recipe says to work dough on cornmeal dusted surface. This is fine and to dust your hands with it is fine too. It helps it from not sticking though just like using flour (which I would guess you could also use very lightly though) it will dry out the dough some but not horrifically. I used white cornmeal but either would be fine. 

You can either take your piece of dough and roll it out between your hands or on a surface and then loop it back together but my experience with that is make sure your ends are well kneaded together otherwise you run the risk of them breaking open and you get the crescent moon shape. The other option which I found is a little interesting but by no means wrong is to work your dough together and then work your thumbs through the middle and stretch out the dough slowly working it. Then twist the dough around so the inner part is more towards the outer this doesn't need to be perfect. The good thing about this option, although I found it awkward to do, is that you run a lot less risk of the bagel making weird half shapes. 
  • Cover worked bagels with towel or plastic wrap and keep in a warm area for 15-30 minutes until bagels have rose again. People say 'doubled in size' but I've never quite considered dough to ever 'double'. 
During this time you want to take 3 quarts of water with 1 tablespoon of Brown Sugar (dark or light) and set it to boil and preheat your oven to 425 degrees. 

Once water is boiling and bagel dough is ready you want to take only about 3 bagels at a time and put them into the boiling water. 
  • Be careful not to press, squish, or pinch the bagels at this point. 
 Boil for 3 minutes turning the bagels periodically.
Using a slotted spoon remove the bagels at the end of the time and then place on wire rack so they can drop off any excess water. Should only need to sit up there for about a minute.
  • Dusted my bagels with cornmeal though not necessary.
The recipe says to put the bagels on a cornmeal dusted baking pan. I found out that the cornmeal was burning, the bagels were sticking and it because a fiasco! Grease your baking pan! I just took some spray vegetable oil and coated the pan real quick. You could probably very easily use shortening if you prefer. 

Bake bagels in a 425 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes, turn bagels over and bake another 10 minutes and then cool on wire rack. 

These were very good when first out of the oven no butter or anything! But they are also very good this Sunday morning, sliced, toasted and with a bit of butter. 

Now if you make egg bagels remember that they MUST be refrigerated! These are not the type of bagels you leave in your countertop bread box! 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Friday Fun

So I got up at 7am today and not because I went to bed early but rather I slept on the couch after finding laying in my bed made me very ill. So today I'm starting off broken again and all the wellness I started to gain back feel like a long lost dream. I'm really not as 'bad' as I was but everything went in my throat so that's hurting really super bad.

So what am I going to do when the house is asleep and I'm not up to par? Well I'm going to talk about Katherine and my Friday night.

So Peter takes Brielle out to play Magic the Gathering (a card game) every Friday night. During this one on one time with Katherine I generally take her down to the Y so she can use that overload of energy she has but this week as sick as I was I didn't want to be anywhere near that pool room. Katherine was disappointed even though I was suggesting really fun things and then I landed on playing with clay. Now to note if you ever thought about getting one of those pottery wheels... yeah the clay that comes with it is horrific!! I mean it is just bad! In any case though we got it to work well enough (yes this kids pottery wheel was a present to me for Christmas everyone thought I was crazy but there is something about working with clay even bad clay).

See! Now doesn't that look like fun! It was a horrible mess in all truth but she enjoyed every bit of it. Once the wibbly wobbly pot like thing which has walls so thick it'll take a century to dry... but she loves it... was done we cleaned ourselves up and moved onto our next thing. 

Peter had bought a white T-shirt for Katherine for school but the plan of the school was to cut it up so he instead traded it out for one of his old white undershirts and now we were left with a T-shirt! Oh the horror!  
(can you tell I haven't gotten coffee into me yet?)
Well we couldn't let that be so I found some T-Shirt print paper that I have had on my desk for at least 5 years! But we've never used it. Truthfully I know it was given to us but I can't even remember by whom any more. 

 Katherine really wanted a dinosaur so we found one she liked and we printed it and ironed it on. We had no clue what we were doing so of course this one turned out great. The key with these things is take your time and pretty much no such thing as over ironing.

By time we got to the second one I think just the picture was light but it turned out okay (see bottom dinosaur) but then Katherine got tuckered out as I mentally cursed the printer and fought with it for an hour and she just could not wake up long enough to help with ironing her name on. I, myself, was so tired that I didn't iron it on long enough! Oops :( But I think she'll still love it. We're already talking about how we need to get rid of a bunch of her shirts and give her a custom wardrobe.

So after I carried (yes carried which is very hard to do with a 9 year old) Katherine to bed because she just couldn't wake up long enough to do much more than look at me, mumble something, smile and then pass back out, I worked on cleaning up the house a little from all the clay, scraps, and other crafting goodies. She really ended up enjoying herself  having a night in as much as she didn't think she would.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Surviving Friday

So it's Friday... *week horray* I've been sick... I mean horrifically ill! Last week I went to the doctor and started treatment for a double ear infection and an upper respiratory infection and my oldest daughter, Brielle, had still a lingering cold going on. We went on our vacation anyway though and enjoyed ourselves though by Monday night I was very worn down but I thought it was just the drive home. By Tuesday I was pushing through work hardly able to focus and by Wednesday I was calling in sick along with Thursday. I've been bedridden those days and today I pushed myself to go into work because my supervisors tone sounded a bit off when I had called in the other days. I have plenty of sick leave but seeing how I am the only drafter for the entire plant things very often land on my lap. Example of what happens when I'm gone: Engineer came to me today with a marked up drawing 2 revisions old so half the stuff he was marking up was already on the newest revision.... probably more than half I'm trying to be nice here.
Anyway, so I went into work today and then was informed by three different people while I was there that I should have stayed home in bed. And what? Let work pile up on me? My job could easily be a 40 hrs/week job I just choose to work 20 hrs/week for my family's sake.

So to give credit where credit is due Peter did go by the grocery store earlier this week and picked up a pound of hamburger and made dinner one night and he has been getting Katherine from school this week. We have otherwise been eating ourselves out of house and home as I've been too ill to worry about a menu or a grocery list.

I finally forced myself to the grocery today after work.

So my $39.79 trip. Not very impressive at all. Word of advice don't go to the grocery store having not ate for the day. I don't really feel hungry because of this illness so I was kind of just grabbing things out of the feeling that we just needed food in the house.

I keep wanting to get up and start cleaning house but every time I start doing a lot of physical activity I go into coughing fits and then spend the next 5 minutes trying to remember how to breath again.

What happens when mom is sick?

Well first the dishes stack up. Now again to give credit where credit is due Peter did do one load of dishes for me back on Tuesday when I was first laid up with this ick so it's not as bad as it could have been. 

I think everything has started to migrate to the floor and flat surfaces from the deepest crevices of our home! 

Naw we don't have a laundry hamper in the laundry room. We've got a nice floor.... Anyone else experiences this daily? Truthfully I did pick up most of it yesterday before I nearly collapsed wheezing. 

I've been washing... It's been stacking! Sad thing is the dryer is full right now too! I think I might have clothes in the washer too everything is a bit hazy. 

So my goals for this weekend:
  • Find something fun for Katherine tonight while Brielle plays Magic with Peter... something fun that does not take a lot of effort on my part. 
  • Getting myself to feel better
  • Tackling the clothing monster because I just got confirmation our new replacement cabinet for the corner should be done in a week which means next weekend we'll be staining so I have maybe a week and a half to get things in order.... should be plenty of time if I don't procrastinate too much.
  • Dishes - Other cleaning I think I'm going to try and hold off a little otherwise I'll work against my second goal I already listed. 
  • Tomorrow is Free Magic Day (they have some other name for it like Magic Celebration but it's free so we call it what it is) across the country so the kids will be down at the card shop. I already warned Peter it's going to really depend on how I feel on if I can go or not. I need to not push myself so hard otherwise I'll never get well. 

I think I'll leave it at that. There are a billion things I want to get done. A billion more I never got done this past week but I really can't stand being ill much longer it makes me twitch and want to kill stuff because I feel so gosh darn useless! 

Hope everyone else has a great weekend!