Tuesday, March 30, 2010

No camera = Slow blog

My corner in Blog Land has been unusually quiet lately because *sob* I have no camera. But don't tell my mom - who gave it to me for Christmas - that it only lasted 3 months in the hands of her supposedly responsible daughter. She'll probably call me and use my middle name "Caitlin Mayme!" or something. I discovered the dead camera about 2 weeks ago and a reader of this blog suggested putting it in a Ziploc bag with rice and it might regain life. It is still in that rice bag on my fridge and utterly lifeless. It's terrible - Easter is around the corner and my girls have so many fun celebrations and egg hunts this week and I'm learning new crafty skills and slowly becoming a runner and making new friends and there's just so much worth capturing in pictures and I'm left camera-less for the time being. Hope to remedy that soon!

Monday Meal Plan

I believe I mentioned before that I am now cheating on menu planning. By doing this I know I am giving up any kind of Martha Stewart Award but using E-mealz has been the best thing that's happened in my kitchen since it gained a dishwasher. Seriously! No coupons, no recipe books/websites, no list-making, no nothing. Well, except visit the website and print and then off to the store I go. The only downside is that I feel like I'm cheating by continuing to post "my" meal plans each Monday. So they're not mine; but they make my life easier and happier so please accept my disclaimer and my family's un-original meal plan:

Monday: Country Style BBQ Ribs, Roasted Onion Potatoes, Apple Peanut Cole Slaw

Tuesday: Poppy Seed Chicken, Steamed Rice, Hot Peas

Wednesday: Beef & Cheese Enchiladas, Lime Cucumber Salad, Tortilla Chips

Thursday: Chinese Roast, Steamed Rice, Stir-Fry Vegetables

Friday: Broccoli Cheese Soup, Crackers, Apple Slices

Saturday: Italian Casserole, Steamed Green Beans

Sunday: Beef and Artichoke Pasta, Steamed Broccoli, Garlic Bread

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday Meal Plan

Monday: Cajun Steamed Shrimp, Baked Potatoes, Simple Salad, Crusty French Bread

Tuesday: Incredible Baked Ziti, Steamed Green Beans, Garlic Breadsticks

Wednesday: BBQ Pockets, Mandarin Orange Salad, Mixed Veggies

Thursday: Parmesan Baked Fish, Brown Rice & Mushrooms

Friday: Rio Grande Soup, Cornbread

Saturday: Bacon Cobb Pitas, Chips, Grapes

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday Top 10: Oddities in housekeeping

I had company from out-of-state over the weekend and am just now getting back into the swing of things. Besides, this sun and fresh air puts me in the cleaning mood. A day in the life...

1. I have 2 heavy drinkers in the house (milk, that is). So there are sippy cups with us wherever we go. One particularly drippy sippy went unnoticed into the diaper bag with my camera. Yeah. Now there is 2% inside the camera and behind the screen that made a heart-sinking squelch when I picked it up. :(

2. $5 in the dryer - woohoo!

3. There are raisins pressed firmly into the electrical outlet holes behind the highchair. Neither kid was electrocuted, I just checked. Child-proof outlet covers are now on the shopping list.

4. Our garbage man (that's probably politically incorrect, sorry) decided to leave my dumpster-size trash bin on the front porch even though the garbage pick up happens in the backyard. Thanks, pal!

5. While cleaning out the stroller I find an unopened jar of homemade cherry butter that I most certainly did not make or buy. Odd, but I'll take it.

6. Tampons. Everywhere. Apparently someone decided to save me the trouble of unwrapping them and went so far as to remove them from their casings and tucked them back in the bathroom cabinet.

7. Up to my arms in dirtied cleaning water and mop-cloth in hand, I hear from behind me "Mommy is very pretty today." That made me smile as I scrubbed her dried bananas from the kitchen floor.

8. One toilet down and one to go and the Clorox cleaner runs out. Makes me wish I knew some home-remedy/recipe for making a quick batch of cleaner, but I don't so it'll have to wait. On the list it goes under "outlet covers".

9. It is essential to set up a a blockade against invading toddlers after each room is tidied up. Their ability to deconstruct any sense of order is not to be underestimated. This tactic only lasts about 10 minutes but for some reason I still feel compelled to try and thwart their efforts anyway.

10. So that's where all the little socks went. Tucked neatly and out-of-sight between the mattress and bed frame in Charli's room. At least that's one thing that can come OFF the shopping list!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Meal Plan

So, big news in the meal planning department! I'm not doing it anymore!! That's right, I climbed aboard e-mealz.com and the people there are going to give me menus and grocery lists and send me on my lovely shopping/cooking way. It does cost me $5/month (even less with the coupon code I used), but it's such a load off my busy brain and they coordinate with my local Kroger to pick the best meals to fit the store deals so I should come out ahead. Here goes week 1!

Monday: Chicken Poulet, Apple Green Salad

Tuesday: Egg Casserole, Strawberries, biscuits

Wednesday: Corned Beef Brisket, Carrots, Potatoes & Cabbage, Rolls

Thursday: Tangy Pork Tenderloin, Cheesy Broccoli, Corn On The Cob

Friday: Oven-Fried Chicken, Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans

Saturday: A-1 Pork Chops, Baked Mashed Potatoes, Peas

Sunday: Loaded Nachos, Black Beans and Corn

Sounds yummy so far, right? It's already more colorful than what I typically come up with. We'll have to wait and see what my soldier and toddler think, the real judges....

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Last minute business trip, turned pleasure

In light of an ongoing battle to get a new Verizon phone (long story), a trip to Nashville, TN became necessary. Just under an hour away, it was borderline "too far to go for a day" with two nap-needing toddlers. But we're new to town and had never been to the famed Opryland Hotel so we decided to just go for it. Go for it we did and what fun we had!
This would be Charli, ready for adventure!

And Claire, who is always up for anything. And down with it all.

"Look, mom, a boat!" We ran around after that tour-boat for an hour. All four of us were mightily impressed by sheer size of it all. Not to mention the smells of spring and fresh food and the feel of tropical air. Now I can't wait to go back withOUT kids!

Taking it all in...

Um, yeah, that's my kid picking the decorative floating flowers out of the fountain pool.

Claire cannot wait to walk; it's torture for her to see the big sister running free and not being able to keep up.

Taking a breather,
watching the ducks...
I think this has to be where the term "lucky duck" was coined. Wow, talk about a life of luxury for those little quackers!

And off we go again!

The glass elevator ride was a BIG hit.

We were brave and took the girls to a fancy restaurant in the hotel. Crayons go a long way in keeping us all sitting nicely!

"Whatcha drawin' daddy?" She was extremely impressed with the cuteness of the house he drew just for her.

My littlest Love.

Silly times are never far off with this daddy and his girl.

Now, how on earth do we get out of here?...

My clowns at the circus

A few Saturdays ago we decided to check out the circus that was in town. It was no big-city Barnum and Bailey production, but it nevertheless successfully entertained our almost-1- and 2-year-old clowns. I'll try not to ruin the mood by mentioning the fire hazards and sardine-style bleacher-packing. All in all, it was a great time!
Claire and I waited and watched while Charli rode the ponies in the center (and only) ring.

She loved her $5 ride around the circle. All girl, she already has a thing for horses and she still talks about riding the "baby horsey."


Family photo fail.

She wanted to sit by daddy. He had the cotton candy bag and willingly doles out more sugar than her momma. Lions and tigers and sugar - oh my!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Things I Didn't Teach Them

So I'm having one of those basic realizations today. We're getting to the point where not everything my kids know are things I've taught them or exposed them to.

For example, where I can claim the credit for teaching the importance of sharing or difference between red and blue, I cannot explain why my 2-year-old is terrified of bugs. Its this odd and sudden-onset phobia: she sees a no-see-um flying harmlessly in the backyard and is instantly hugging my leg for dear life. If a whisp of her curly blond hair tickles her neck unexpectedly, she shrieks. And while I'm not a big fan of the class Insecta I know for a fact that I've done nothing to instill this fear in her. Hopefully she'll soon grow out of it, but it's a strange and (mostly) cool thing to see her very own traits and personality glitches develop. We all need glitches, after all.

Oh, and then there's the shopping thing. And not shopping just anywhere. "My favorite store is Old Navy. Wanna go to OLD NAVY, daddy? I miss Old Navy...." I seriously shop like a man. I have my list; I go in, find my product, make the purchase, and head out. Not this girl. She caresses the manikins on her way to the toddler section. Her face truly glows as she takes items from off the racks exclaiming "Oh this is TOO cute." She'll carry them around until mom decides it's time to leave. Then she hangs each of them back up on the correct rack, smoothing wrinkles as she goes. It's one of those things; I never imagined I'd have a kid who would work in retail one day but it seem to be innately her thing. Well, at least at the ripe old age of 2.

Let's not forget about the Claire-bear. If everything she knew and enjoyed came directly from me, she'd have a science brain drawn to the puzzles and toys with interesting gadgets and levers and whatnot. I mean you should see her room - it's filled with blinky-lights and low-level educational entertainment options. But no. Her happy place is with a super plush lovey and relaxing tunes. She coos and grins and her eyes roll back in her head with pleasure when she can sink her face into a stuffed lion or puppy dog. And while I like music, I've never been particularly musically-inclined or gone crazy over any band. She will be different; I can tell already.

These are small steps away from the apron-strings, I know, but I am still struck by them because I've spent 2 years of my life and the entirety of their lives directing experiences and information flow and all of a sudden the influences are coming from outside and from within them. It's not all about me, again! (I learn this lesson a lot.) It's good. It's the way things should be. I'm excited to see their next development of loves and hates. But I know I'll need reminders that when I can't drive and direct it all, to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday Top 10: I'll Always Remember

After the end of next week I will officially no longer be the mom of an infant. My babies are growing up. And I'm so glad; I'd have to run away from home if they were diaper-wearing, night-waking creatures forever. But at the same time *sniff*, I'm experiencing these precious moments for the last time as my little Claire masters each new milestone and it makes me realize how fast time really flies. So as we prepare to celebrate her 1st birthday, I am taking the time to acknowledge the precious and fleeting moments that I'll Always Remember.

1. Taking 5 minutes to hold you close and breathe you in and kiss your head in the moments after you were born before calling your daddy (all the way in Iraq) to tell him his baby was safe in my arms.

2.3. The way a warm bath would turn any bad day around for you.

4. How few bad days you've ever had. I love your perpetually content and joy-filled spirit.

5. The way you'd hold my bottom lip with two tiny fingers while I nursed you.

6. Your intensity! That look in your eye when you want something or need to get somewhere NOW. Not frustration or impatience, just enthusiasm and zeal.

7. The eager whispering you do when you've just woken from a nap; as if you've got a world of dreams to tell me about quickly and quietly before the noise of the world interrupts our few peaceful minutes together.

8.9. Laying on the sun-room carpet with you in a house on Northrup Street. You watched the wind-chime sing in the breeze and I watched you. Felt your soft tummy rise and fall under your onesie with my hand. Loved you more than ever, just like every day before and since that day.

10. The way you happily go to bed at night when your older sister does and then an hour later, without fail, call out to be brought back downstairs where you can pretend to be an only child for the rest of the evening. You are snuggling quite contentedly on daddy's lap at this very (late) moment.

Claire, you are my treasure. I love you in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, and underneath the moon. Happy birthday, sweet girl!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday Meal Plan

Monday: BBQ on sandwich thins, broccoli sunshine salad, apple wedges with caramel dip

Tuesday: Creamy Tomato Sausage and Tortellini Soup, rolls, salad

Wednesday: Chicken and Beef (grandma's recipe), brown rice and beans, roasted carrots

Thursday: Barbecue Pork Roast, Rebekah's favorite potato casserole, steamed asparagus

Friday: Poppyseed Chicken (Mom P's recipe), Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes, rolls

Saturday: Round Steak (grandma's recipe), green beans, scalloped potatoes

Saturday, February 27, 2010

From the archives of my youth...

Don't Give Up Now!
By Chris Morsink, known to me as "Mom"

On a particularly cold day in February, circumstances at our house were rapidly moving from bad to worse - much worse! Our six person household is usually busy but this day made history so I jotted down a few notes - in case I lived to tell about it.

I was up to my elbows in a cow's stomach that I was hosing out in the basement washtub. Tomorrow this stomach would be part of our cooperative home school study of the digestive system at the VanBronkhorst's (our pastor and family's) house. Grandma and Grandpa Proctor were coming for dinner in about 30 minutes and I wanted to get this chore done before they arrived.

As I worked to clean out the final chamber of the stomach, it seemed that perhaps there would even be time to throw in a load of laundry before our guests came. All four of our laundry baskets / hampers were full of dirty clothes around my feet. Alison toddled by and the smell she left behind meant I would have to get her a clean diaper before I started the laundry.

"Mom, my nose is bleeding again!" Michael came down the steps trailing great splotches of blood. I dropped the stomach and grabbed a towel to hold under the nose. Oh, no! Now the kitchen floor would need cleaning.

"Owwww! Oowwww! Mommy!" John had fallen off a ride-on toy and couldn't seem to walk. With a quick warning to Michael not to bleed on anything I raced to evaluate the bruise on John's leg. "Wahhh - wahhh! Don't touch it!"

RIIIING RIIIING RIIIING "Mom, telephone for you," Caitlin called.

Right. One child bleeding, one child crying, one child needing a diaper change, at least eight loads of laundry, guests coming for dinner, and one enormous stomach in the washtub. And GUESS who was on the phone! Mick O'Hearn, WOOD TV weatherman, calling for details about speaking to our homeschool group. Ha! Sob. To laugh or to cry?

Have you had times similar to my February Crisis Day? The work God has given us to do seems impossible. The stress is too great. The end product of our best efforts is too far off to see. It seems the logical response to the day is to throw up your hands and quit. Scripture disagrees.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that engangles, and let us run with perseverence the race marked out for us." Hebrew 12:1

Friday, February 26, 2010

Hopscotch and Friends

We discovered this great indoor playplace this week. It's similar to our Playworld in concept, but geared more for infants and toddlers. Perfect for us!

Everything is padded, which is fantastic for this wannabe-walker.

And the blow up playgrounds are awesome for my monkey. She gets braver all the time!

With carts for shopping, a huge playhouse, dress-up, and babies galore...this girl's in heaven! Speaking of shopping, how many 2-year-olds have a favorite store brand? Well, mine likes Old Navy. She asks for her "Old Naybe" outfits every morning. Not sure where she gets it; I'm not a big shopper by any means. Just a girl thing?

Ready, set, whee!

(This is random, but cuteness :))

Rockin' it with our new friend, Breannah.

And then we went to the mall for rides and lunch.

Somber little aviators.