Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Where Am I?

Sorry for the absence.  We enjoyed a very busy Thanksgiving weekend, splitting the days between my family and Nate's.  Yesterday there was no time for blogging because I did five loads of laundry to catch up from the long weekend.  Last night around midnight I was very thankful I did all that laundry.  Julius must have caught a stomach virus over the weekend and he puked all over his bedding and the bathroom, giving me plenty of more laundry to do.  So with that, I must return to my sick little man and get back to my laundry duties.  I hope to talk to you all some more soon.

As for my Thanksgiving to-do list, all that remains are a few more bins and a bit more Christmas shopping.  I am sure that I will be writing up a new list soon.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Can I Get 'Er Done?

As I continue to work my way through a small mountain of bins, I have a bit of doubt in the back of my mind.  Can I really get this all taken care of before tomorrow?  We will see.  Let's take a look at the list.
  • Get back to daily school work 
  • Finish "Ruby Holler" chapter book with the kids - we had more left than I realized.  We are on page 253 and need to get to 310 to finish, lots of reading today!
  • Wash all the dirty towels and sheets
  • clean both bathrooms
  • clean off fan blades in our bedroom (it's gross!)
  • Use up any remaining food in the fridge and grocery shop 
  • Sort through clothing bins and store away clothing that is too small - more bins done, but as you can see above, lots more work to do!
  • Find good dinner roll recipe for Thanksgiving - I am going with these Buttermilk-Onion Pull Apart Rolls
  • finish Christmas gift ideas for our kids - one gift ordered online, three gifts purchased this weekend from store, just need to finish ordering a few more gifts online  
This year I don't have much Thanksgiving cooking to do, so I thought I put a little more effort into the rolls I was assigned (pun intended :).  So today I need to work on the dinner rolls and work on finishing this list.  I am super excited because I don't have to cook dinner tonight.  I purchased a voucher online that will get me 4 sub sandwiches for only $10 from a local sub shop downtown.  Whoohoo!  I thought that was a pretty good deal and Lenny's makes some tasty subs.

Best wishes to everyone as they prepare for tomorrow's Thanksgiving.  Remember to try your best to be "hushed and not rushed" this holiday season, just as Mrs. June Fuentes recommends. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Curry, Squash, and Black Bean Soup

Since I tend to make soup on the fly, Nate suggested that I write down this recipe to remember it in the future.  We eat soup every week, so this Indian spiced concoction was a nice change from some of our regular soup recipes.  This is a comforting soup in cold weather!  We enjoyed it with a jar of homemade applesauce from our friend Amy.

Curry, Squash, and Black Bean Soup Recipe

1 large pot of homemade beef or chicken broth
1 bag of black beans, soaked overnight and cooked until tender
1 large can of petite diced tomatoes
1 medium to large butternut squash, peeled and diced
1/3 head of cabbage, chopped
2 onions, diced
5 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
2 heaping tsp. sea salt
1/2 to 1 tsp. black pepper, to your liking
1 Tbsp. curry powder
2 tsp. dried cilantro or 2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 to 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (add enough to brighten the flavor)
Optional - 1 lb. cooked ground beef (really beef, pork, chicken or sausage would all go well with this soup, but it would be good without the meat, too.)

Place all ingredients into large soup pot.  If using fresh cilantro, wait to throw it in until the last 10 minutes of cooking.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, or until squash and onion are tender.  Throw in cooked ground beef and add apple cider vinegar.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Reorganizing School Stuff

I keep the kids school and craft supplies on the bottom shelf of the pantry, mainly because that is the space I have available.  Because the kids have access to it, it tends to get a little messy in there!  I decided to divide things up according to each child, making them responsible to return their things to their own basket/box.  I even put their names on them to avoid any confusion.  It has been this way now for weeks and is staying pretty nice and neat.  Occasionally Gunnar will stick his things elsewhere, but Layla and Julius are really good about putting things back where they belong.  Let's see if we can make it through the new year without getting junky again!

Friday, November 19, 2010

No More Room

What will Beepaw do when there is is a new baby girl who wants her share of lap space, too? :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Making Progress

So I am making some progress with my to-do list.  We all know that there are always parts of our to-do list that are easier to get moving on than other parts.  "Sorting bins and packing away too small clothes" has been on my list since September!  It just seems to take more effort to go to the basement, bring up bins and work my way through all the baby and kid clothes.  I am trying to donate items that I am not especially fond of and throw away anything I may have stored that is stained.  My goal is to end up with a few empty bins to store the large laundry basket of small clothes I have hidden in an upstairs closet.  I hate spending money on more bins if I can find some to use in the house.  One sad moment did come when I started sorting through a "mystery" unmarked bin.  It contained some 3T girl clothing, an 18 month boys winter coat, and a small pile of boys 9-12 month clothing that I never got to use with Gunnar.  There was some really cute things in there and it made me want to cry that I never found them when they would have been useful!  It just serves as motivation to really get the rest of my bins sorted and better organized.  I am sure there is bound to be a few more mystery bins discovered. 

So my list is looking more like this now:
  • Get back to daily school work 
  • Finish "Ruby Holler" chapter book with the kids
  • Wash all the dirty towels and sheets
  • clean both bathrooms
  • clean off fan blades in our bedroom (it's gross!) - can you tell I am avoiding this?
  • Use up any remaining food in the fridge and grocery shop  - um, I really need to do this tonight to avoid anymore take-out dinners!
  • Sort through clothing bins and store away clothing that is too small - Progress is being made!
  • Find good dinner roll recipe for Thanksgiving - I am thinking about this recipe
  • finish Christmas gift ideas for our kids - some progress, but need to write a complete list and more importantly order stuff online
This publicly made list is helping hold me accountable.  If you feel you need an additional push of accountability, add your to-do list to the comments section and see if making your list public helps you accomplish more!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Getting Back On Track

With the events of the past week and a half, we just set aside our normal daily activities to focus on higher priorities.  But now, out-of-town family have returned home and regular life must resume.  The kids haven't even glanced at schoolwork during this time.  I have only done just enough laundry to keep clean underwear and fresh towels available.  Add to all this that Thanksgiving is only 10 days away, and it makes it very apparent that there is lots of work to do!  So my goals for the next few days are:

  • Get back to daily school work 
  • Finish "Ruby Holler" chapter book with the kids
  • Wash all the dirty towels and sheets
  • clean both bathrooms
  • clean off fan blades in our bedroom (it's gross!)
  • Use up any remaining food in the fridge and grocery shop 
  • Sort through clothing bins and store away clothing that is too small
  • Find good dinner roll recipe for Thanksgiving
  • finish Christmas gift ideas for our kids

What things to you want to get done before Thanksgiving?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nate's Grandpa

Last Wednesday, Nate's grandfather collapsed at the grocery store.  He was taken to the hospital.  Because he was alone, it took the family a bit of time to find out what happened.  We received news that evening.  What a shocker!  I guess you never can quite be prepared to hear such news.  By Thursday afternoon, Nate's parents from Missouri and Nate's brother from Chicago were here in town and the whole family gathered by Grandpa's bedside.  The news was bleak.  It was a brain aneurysm and their was lots of hemorrhaging from it.  This summer after needing a heart stint, Grandpa expressed that he did not wish for much intervention should he encounter life and death situations in the future.  There was the option to fly him to a nearby hospital who could repair some of the damage in the brain, but even with that, the odds of his regaining consciousness were slim.  Grandpa's wife and children made the decision to take him off the ventilator Thursday evening.  This was probably the hardest time for everyone because we didn't know what to expect.

Without the ventilator, everyone seemed to expect that Grandpa would pass quickly, but he surprised us all.  He slept peacefully and breathed steadily the rest of Thursday and Friday.  The family stayed by his side and waited.  I count this time as some of the best Grandpa could give us in this situation because it allowed everyone to stop what they were doing and just be together.  Work was postponed.  Laundry was forgotten.  Less important responsibilities set aside.  Family was together and we had fellowship right in the presence of Grandpa for that time, telling stories, eating lots of food, drinking lots of coffee, laughing, crying and not worrying about anything else but our present situation.  At least for me and my little family, it gave us time to come to grips with the situation.  We had time for the shock to wear off.  Our raw emotions had time to be shown, but then give way to peace.  For my children, it gave them time to grasp what was really going on.  I feel because of that time they understood that Grandpa would not be getting better and they understood his coming death in a way that they wouldn't have if he passed suddenly.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, Grandpa's strong body gave way and he passed peacefully to heaven.  The next two days were filled with visiting Grandma and other family and just spending more time as a family.  Monday was visitation and Tuesday the funeral.  Layla, Julius and Gunnar gracefully handled both of those events.  The Lord really helped them understand and have peace about the situation.  I will be forever grateful and amazed at how they dealt with such a difficult time in life.

We have the privilege of having Nate's parents in town the rest of the week.  Layla today recounted to me and Nate's dad, one of her favorite memories of Grandpa.  She said he would sit in his big recliner and have her, Julius and Gunnar run past him.  He would try and grab them and they would all scream as they tried to keep from his reach.  She said that she loved that game.

Grandpa was a kind and gentle man.  He knew what he liked and what he didn't.  He was a man of few words, but he made sure that when he spoke, it was with purpose.  Grandpa knew Jesus and loved Him, so we account his passing as a joy.  He no longer has to deal with the trials and tribulations of this world because his Savior has overcome them for him.  We love you, Grandpa!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Not What You Think

These may look like items that the kids carelessly left on the floor, but don't be fooled.  This is a carefully designed obstacle course!  I started to tell the kids to pick some things up, but they quickly showed me how they were using these items for their competition.  I love their creativity!

Monday, November 8, 2010

You Will Be Missed

We love you Grandpa!  You will be missed.  Thank you for all the great memories you gave us.  May we be so blessed as you with long and joyous life.  We know you are fully enjoying Jesus now!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Naturally Fermented Sauerkraut

With some of my birthday money, I purchased two 2-gallon stoneware crocks, perfect for fermenting.  Our first project in the crocks is sauerkraut.  Nate graciously took the bull by the horns on this one and shredded all the cabbage in the food processor and packed it in the crock with plenty of salt.  All  I really had to do was clean up and take pictures!  It should be ready any day now.  I am excited about this, not only because we are learning to do this ourselves, but I have been paying over $5 a jar for naturally fermented sauerkraut.  A whole head of cabbage is less than half of that, and I dare say we will get several jars from that.  Don't know the benefits of naturally fermented, probiotic foods?  Here are a few links to check out.

The Healing Power of Probiotics Impresses Researchers
Fermented Foods: Top 8 Reasons to Eat Them
Proactive Probiotic Foods
Baby Step: Eating Cultured and Fermented Foods

Enjoy the reading.  I will let you know how the kraut turns out!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween 2010

 At first, Gunnar did not want his costume on, especially the hood.  But after catching a glimpse of himself in the mirror, he was smitten with being dressed up like a giraffe.  Julius picked this costume out for himself last year, but when we got home we realized it was too small for him.  So we laid it aside until this year.  Perfect fit for Gunnar!
 Layla knew as soon as she saw this costume that it had to be hers.  She likes to be pretty, girlie things for Halloween the past few years.  I would have to recommend looking into thrift and consignment stores for costumes.  Layla and Gunnar's costumes came from a consignment shop and they were each only $8!  I thought those prices were great for the high quality of the costumes.  Julius' came from a thrift store for only $3.  He saw Sponge Bob and his mind was made up!
All evening long, Julius could not keep his hands off of his Sponge Bob eyes, thus confirming another very good reason God created the male and female anatomy different, lol!
 The kids chose to paint their pumpkins this year instead of carving them.  To say Daddy was quite happy with this decision would be an understatement.  Last year Nate labored intensely on the kid's pumpkins.  This year he was happy to just help the kids along with their creations.

If you are interested in seeing what the kids looked like last Halloween, go check "Halloween 2009" out!  I can't believe how much they have grown this past year!

Monday, November 1, 2010

18 Week Belly Pic

So I had really great intentions of taking a picture yesterday in a very cute polka dot maternity dress that I wore to church.  But, after getting home I quickly put on my pajamas (because that's what I do on Sunday afternoons, lol!) and then remembered that I needed a new belly pic.  So, instead of looking all snazzy in a nice dress, you get to see me in my sloppy jammies!  Oh well, maybe next time!  I am still managing to keep ahead of the game with my weight!  I am at 20 pounds gained and only 18 weeks pregnant!  Oh boy!  Every pregnancy I tell myself that I will not gain so much weight, but I think I am beginning to come to terms with the fact that I just naturally get huge when I am preggo.  I have really cut back on desserts this time around and I feel like I am not eating that much more than I eat when I am not pregnant, and still the numbers are flying upward!  Must be the way I am designed, lol!