Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Becoming a Hoarder

I don't like clutter.  I don't like "things" everywhere.  I'm not one to collect knick knacks or souvenirs or have a special collection of some sort.  Yes, I'm totally boring.  Husband is the exact opposite, so you could say we even each other out.  Or we compensate for the other.  Ha.  I like things nice and tidy.  I thrive on organization.  My bedroom when I was younger was always spotless, neat and tidy.  I would go over to my best friend's house and clean and organize her room.  Or my sister's room.  It made me happy to put things away.   If my house is a mess I feel out of sorts and can't function until I sort through a few things (lately, it's just laundry.  But as long as things are put in a closet or a pretty box, I'm ok for now). 

With my appliance addiction, I've acquired a new addition (look at that alliteration, y'all).  It's a sewing machine!  I'm so excited.  Husband found a great deal and I convinced him to buy it for me now instead of waiting until Christmas.  The possibilities are endless.  Already I've attempted baby items and clothing for Princess's dolly.

However, my newest addition requires "things" to go with it.  Like fabric.  You know, to sew.  Seeing as how I'm cheap, I went into my garage, grabbed the bags of clothes we were going to donate, and tada I have a huge fabric collection (sorry donation place.  Maybe next time).  Right now the bags are piled in Flower's room, which I rearranged to fit a table with the sewing maching and all my other craftiness items.  It's a mess and it's driving me crazy.

Here's where the hoarding part comes in.  I can't get rid of anything now.  What if I could use it to create a super cute outfit for Princess?  Or her dolly?  I NEED these old shirts and buttons and elastic from this old bedsheet.  I could make something!  Seriously.  I think I'm going to become a hoarder.




Disclaimer:  I realize hoarding is a real thing.  This post was done in jest.  Please don't take offense or attempt to "educate" me.       


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

One of those Mondays

Monday was a rough day.  I gave four baths and had things thrown at me.  There was lots of crying, lots of screaming, and lots of mommy wanting to run away. 

It started off normally.  Husband got up, went to work, and the girls and I were left to our own devices.  I had just received my second CSA box and wanted to make something creative to use up a few of the items in it.  I had a ton of tomatoes (from the box, from my dad's garden, and from my own garden) that needed to be used.  Thus, homemade tomato sauce!  How hard could it be?  People do it all the time.

It's actually a lengthy process (when you have two children vying for your attention).  Peeling and deseeding a bunch of tomatoes is quite time consuming.  Then they get to simmer for a few hours.

Since I decided I could use my time a bit more efficiently and multitask, I chose to make zucchini bread at the same time.  I had zucchinis from the box as well that I could use.  That part was easy peasy.  I love the breadmaker.  Throw everything in it and it does the rest.  Seriously, no mixing, no mess.  Just measure, pour, and let be.  My kind of cooking.

Since tomatoes were going to simmer and bread was going to rise, I also decided to boil a whole chicken to make some chicken broth and get some chicken meat.

And boil some eggs.  Always good to have boiled eggs around.

And brown some meat.  Eggplant lasagna (with meat because Husband can't live without it) sounded like a nice meal to have.  I could use the sauce I was making with the tomatoes. 

I think that was it.

Anyway.

We had been out late the previous day so the girls got to skip their bath.  However, it was not to be avoided any longer since Princess smelled like vomit (she gets carsick and our long drive on Sunday was no exception).  Flower just smelled like sour milk.  Yes, I let them both go to sleep like that.

Princess played by herself all morning in her pajamas while I bathed Flower, washed a car seat and other various items (I have washed Princess's doll at least six times and STILL cannot get out the smell of vomit.  My next plan is to find an exact replacement somewhere), and started Googling how to do the tomato sauce.  I pestered Princess about getting into her bath, trying to let her make her own decision (plus, I didn't want to deal with a tantrum.  I figured eventually she would come around.  One of those pick your battles things).

Princess is great at excuses: "Right after I finish this, Mom." Or, "Just let me do this one more time."  Since she was entertained, I didn't push her to get into the bath until after lunch.  Then I reminded her I needed to wash her hair.  She HATES getting her hair wet.  I don't know what it is, but it completely freaks her out.  Subsequently, we rarely wash her hair unless we have something special going on, it stinks, or it's just been too long and I feel like I need to be a better mom and have a clean kid.  I had been reminding her all day that she was going to take a bath and we were going to wash her hair (we have to prepare her for things so she doesn't freak out as much.  Gives her time to process what's coming).  Once she was in the bathtub I reminded her again.  She told me, "Not yet."  After a bit, I told her I was washing it and that was that.  She did ok, but then wanted me to stop rinsing the soap out of her hair.  Which I told her no, and I would stop when the soap was gone.  Well, she didn't like that.  She got very, very angry and decided to start throwing all her toys at me and yelling at me to stop (I really hope the neighbors can't hear us).  I got up and left, telling her I would come back when she was done and ready to apologize to Mommy.  I swear I went back and forth from the kitchen to the bathtub at least twenty times.  It was the power struggle of the decade.  Princess screaming and yelling at me to come back, me telling her she needed to apologize for throwing things at Mommy.  She wouldn't, so I left again.  Repeat.  Eventually she caved (score one for mommy points!).  I finished her up, got her out and dressed, and she was good to go.

In the meantime, Flower decided that her digestion was up and running and let out everything she had for the past week.  Straight in the bath she went, a change of clothes and more laundry for me. That was bath number three of the day.

Somehow the time just goes by and pretty soon it's 5:00, Husband is about to head home from work, the house is an utter disaster, Flower has a tooth just barely poking through and doesn't want to be put down, Princess keeps demanding food, tomato sauce is splattered everywhere, the cat was in your way so you stepped on it, and you're exhausted from being woken up a million times the night before and you haven't been able to catch up.

Princess wanted to eat and I told her she had to wait until I was done with dinner.  I hadn't given her enough attention that day as I attempted to multitask the kitchen and she was at her breaking point.  She threw her dish as hard as she could past me and into the sink (she's into throwing things lately, I guess) and thought it would further her cause to yell at me that she wanted food NOW.  Well, the dish bounced out of the sink and broke on the floor.  I was not happy with how she was treating me (seriously, where does this come from?), and gave her a nice spanking on her bottom, made her pick up the pieces, and sent her to her room.

From which she then had to go to the bathroom (I really can't say no to that one, and she knows it).  Then she wanted to not go back into her room.  No way was I letting her out.  I told her she could stay there until Husband came home.  Cue screaming, crying, sobbing, screaming, running after me down the hallway after I forcefully carry her to her room multiple times.  Next I hear her throwing her toys down the hallway in a fit of rage.

Oy Vey.  I'm going to have to Google ways to help children express their anger.

Then I go back to the kitchen to juggle my messes and a crying Flower.  All the while Princess is screaming at me in the background.  Husband calls to say he'll be late, of course.

I put a crying Flower down to at least try to make some sense of what I have going on (it is so hard to think when children are screaming).  The meat is done, the chicken is done, the eggs are done, the bread is done.  I get the eggplant lasagna done and put in the freezer.  The sauce came out pretty good, although a tad burnt (oops), and I was able to get the kitchen cleaned up.  Princess did stop screaming at one point.  If you're wondering what she screams, usually it's just, "MOMMMMMM!!!!!!  MOOOMMMMMYYYYYY!!!!!!! MMMMOOOOOOMMMMYYY I WANT YOU!!!"  Over and over and over. 

Husband comes home and asks me why Princess is asleep in our bed.  Oops.  I guess when I was trying to ignore her while in the kitchen I missed her sneaking out of her room and into ours.  Where she had knocked over my nightstand and everything on it, as well as thrown items into the bathroom.  This kid is thorough, I gotta give her that.

Husband came home with a migraine, so he took some medicine and went to bed next to Princess.  I packaged up the dinner that I had planned, gave Flower her bath (bath number four of the day), and put her to bed.       

Then I went to bed.  In Princess's bed.   



  

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Preschool

Princess started preschool a few weeks ago.

It was a big debate in the beginning (between Husband and I).  Should she go, would it be worth it, could we afford it, couldn't I just homeschool, what about socialization, etc, etc.

We decided yes she should go.  Maybe not should.  Could.  Yes, she could go.  It's not something we are forcing her into.  She is so excited to go and play in a different environment, with other children.  I think she was so used to going to daycare every day that preschool has helped with her yearning to go somewhere else with other children around her own age.

She goes two days a week for three hours each time.  I drop her off, piddle away the time for a couple of hours, then go pick her up.

It's always fun trying to pull out of her what she has done that day.  I know they usually sing songs, she plays with the toys and other kids there, they might do some type of story (at least in their newsletter it says they do, she never remembers if there is a story), a craft, and a snack.  Princess's favorite part of preschool is the snack.  She always remembers what the snack for the day was.

Later she will come to me and ask me to sing one of the songs they sang.  I'm pretty proud of myself for using my YoutTube skills and three year old interpretation skills and I can usually find the song they sang in class.  Princess is pretty good about telling me if I have found the correct song or not.

I like that Princess is able to go to a different environment to play and learn.  The teachers are extremely nice and patient, and I feel that she is well taken care of when I leave.  There are only five girls in her class of fifteen students, which was surprising to me.  That just means all the girls tend to play together. 

One of the perks of preschool that I was looking forward to was meeting other moms.  And I have!  I've had actual conversations with a few of them and even exchanged numbers with one (granted, I haven't actually called or texted her or vice versa, but to me exchanging numbers means I made a friend).

We have Open House next week where we get to see what she has been doing in class and talk with the teachers.  I'm very excited to be on the other end of this game.  

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Window

I've slowly been learned Flower's personality and figuring her out.  She's a pretty happy, easy-going baby.  She loves to smile and make silly faces.  She did a face once where she scrunched up her nose, pursed her lips, and breathed in and out quickly.  We thought it was hilarious, so she continues to do it to make us laugh.  Of course we have to make the face right back at her.  She's so fun.

She also likes to sleep a lot.  I seriously don't remember Princess sleeping this much.  I've semi-mapped out Flower's sleeping habits.  She wakes up around seven am (unless Princess wakes her up earlier.  I usually have to fend her off every morning).  She will then have a window of about one and a half to two hours of happy awake time.  Then she will take a morning nap from nine to ten thirty or eleven.  She will wake up for a bit, then take an afternoon nap from one to three (give or take).  Wake up for a bit, then take a short evening nap around five.   She will usually wake up when Husband gets home and we eat dinner, around six.  Then she will take a bath and go to bed at eight.  She will wake up a few times at night to eat, then repeat the cycle.

Occasionally she will switch her schedule around a bit and be awake for a longer period of time.  This happens if we are out and about and she is curious as to what we are doing.  Then she might end up taking a longer nap later to make up for it.

I call her awake periods her window.  That's when we can plan to do things.  If we pass her window of awake time she gets very cranky and just wants to be put down to go to sleep.  If I pay attention to her sleepy cues (rubbing her eyes, burying her face in my shirt), then she remains a very happy baby.      

Friday, October 4, 2013

I Joined a CSA

 I joined a CSA.

A what?  Caesar Salad Association?  Crime Scene Assistant?  Cute Sister Academy?

Um, no.

Community Supported Agriculture.  CSA.

Let's do this interview style:


Q: What does that mean?
A: Well, it means I signed up to receive a box of organic grown produce from a local farm. I pay them directly and they deliver right to me (well, not really.  I have to go pick it up at a drop off location but it's pretty close).   They had options for once a week or every other week, and I chose every other week. 

Q: Why did you sign up? 
A:  In my quest to be healthier (and make my family healthier) and eat more fruits and vegetables, I thought this would help get me out of my comfort zone.  It's not a pick and choose type of deal.  Whatever is in season and ripe at the moment is put in the box.  I was hoping to use it as a replacement for buying my fruits and vegetables at the grocery store.

Q:  How much do you get?
A:  We've received one box so far and it's been plenty for two weeks.  When I made meals, I made enough to freeze half, so I think it's enough for us.  We still have quite a few items left, so I might even have a surplus. 

Q:  What was in the first box?
A:  In my box, I got three Asian Pears, a basket of cherry tomatoes, three large Roma tomatoes, a head of Kale, a bunch of tomatillos, two eggplants, two red onions, a bunch of small zucchini, a squash, a small watermelon, and four red spicy peppers.

Q:  Did you know in advance what you were gong to get?
A:  The farm I use has a website where they post what is in the box of the week.  It listed out most of the items, although it had said I would receive sweet peppers instead of spicy peppers (they sent out an apology email stating they had packed us the wrong ones).  Also, it listed things like strawberries OR Asian pears.  Thus, I wasn't completely sure which would be in my box, but I had some idea. 

Q: What did you do with everything?
A:  I'm glad you asked!  The teacher in me was so excited to sort through everything and start meal planning.  I compare it to lesson planning.  In lesson planning, you have a standard that you plan to teach, or an objective you hope the students will accomplish.  In meal planning, the produce item was my standard to work around.  I was able to do some online research, read reviews about what worked, and implement some recipes.  (I know, I'm a dork). I haven't used everything up just yet (this is a two week plan and I just finished the first week), but I'm on my way.  I don't want anything to go to waste.

Q:  So what meals did you plan?
A:  The first night I just did a basic steak stir fry with the kale and zucchini and peppers and whatever other items I already had (spinach, lima beans, onions, garlic).  That was delicious.  The others are recipes I found off the internet.  However, when I "follow" a recipe, I tend to look at it as more of a suggestion.  Thus, I don't always use measuring cups and all those fancy things.  I just toss items in as I see fit (Husband is not always a fan of my methods.  But, hey, I'm cooking!)  I'll link to the recipes, but keep in mind that my reviews are based on my interpretation of what I did, not on the exact recipe. 

The next night I made Slowcooker Beer Braised Beef with Kale.  A bit more prep than I am used to, but it turned out wonderfully.  I made a bunch, so half of it is in the freezer to be enjoyed at a later date.

After that, I had planned to do stuffed peppers, but the peppers I received are insanely spicy instead of the sweet that I was expecting, so that was out.

I attempted Crockpot Jambalaya with Eggplant but that was kind of a disaster.  It was way too bland for Husband and I.  I saved what we didn't eat and I'll experiment with adding some flavor at a later date. 

I'm currently cooking something else in the crockpot, but we'll see how it turns out before I post about it.  It smells good so far, although that's not always the best indicator of how it will turn out.

Q:  Why are all the meals in the crockpot?
A:  Because I'm lazy.  And I have two children who constantly want my attention.  Plus, I find it harder to mess up crockpot meals.

Q:  Do you recommend the CSA to others?
A:  At the moment, I recommend it to those who don't know what to get when they go to the farmer's market or produce section of the grocery store (that's me!) and for those wanting to support a local farm and business (also me!). 

I'll try to keep you updated as I continue this adventure!