Saturday, May 30, 2009

It Was Just Her Imagination

(with apologies to The Temptations....)

Miss M has been doing a lot of pretend play lately - most often pretending that she's a cat. We were out on the porch this evening and she was crawling around meowing. I asked her to climb into my lap and she snuggled in while I rubbed her back. During her bathtime tonight, she told me she needed to wash her paws. As she crawled into bed, I handed her one of her favorite stuffies, Kittycat.

"That's not Kitty cat, that's Miss M," she told me.

Oooooh, okay. I get it. I can play along.

"Time for prayers," I said, half expecting her to start meowing. She didn't, but I still said, "Night, night, Kittycat," as I tucked her in.

We've always joked that she's a drama queen. Tonight, she was playing the part for the long haul! I wonder if they let kitty cats go to Sunday school....

Skip the Drive-Through

One of the first changes we made when we participated in Financial Peace University was to cut back on how much we were eating out. I was shocked and embarrassed by the percentage of our monthly income that we were spending at restaurants and drive-throughs. Especially when we compared it to what we spent at the grocery store. The numbers were very lopsided. We have cut back a great deal since then, and usually eat out only once a week.

Eating out is still a big temptation for me, though, especially when it's an opportunity to get together with other moms and their kids. Sure, there are times when we meet friends for a spur-of-the-moment lunch. Many times, though, we have enough notice that we can pack a lunch and meet at the park instead.

I took this step a little further a few weeks ago, and packed the kids' lunches for a recent trip to Grandma's house. We were on a pretty strict schedule for this trip so we wouldn't miss Aunt L's graduation, but I just didn't want to spend the money on a drive-through, fast food meal. The kids were happy that I'd packed their lunches, and I got a few minutes back in my schedule since we didn't have to stop to pick up lunch. Grandma helped us refill our lunch boxes before we started our trip home - saving money once again! And, since we didn't need to stop at a restaurant on the way home, we did this instead. Saved money, went somewhere we'd never been before, and had a little extra quality time together. Win, win, win!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Poolside Snacks

I packed the kids' LLBs intending for them to be snacks while we were at the pool today. We got delayed by a pop-up shower this afternoon, so the snack turned into a light dinner instead.

Each of the boxes contained:
Half of an apple, cored and cut into slices
About 2 1/2 strawberries, hulled and cut into pieces
Half of a navel orange, peeled, sectioned, and cut into smaller pieces
Pita wedges filled with hummus - equivalent to about half of a pita with 1T hummus
Seasoned oyster crackers - enough to fill in the space around the pita wedges
Carrot sticks with hummus (an additional 1T) for dipping

I cut things up a lot more than I would have if we were eating at home - for a couple of reasons.
1) Less messy for the kids - especially with the oranges
2) The LLBs hold a lot, but some foods fit into the inner containers better if you cut them into bite-sized pieces (oranges - because the sections were large, pita, apple).
3) I was trying to fit enough in the LLBs that I could snack, too. As it turned out, I actually packed quite a lot of food!

Have I mentioned that I've ordered two more LLBs? Now that we've had some experience with them, I want to be able to pack my own lunch and snacks for the pool, picnics, and the rest of our summer adventures. And, we want Big J to come along (and have his own lunch!) whenever he can. And, I'll be packing two lunches when school begins in the fall, so I'm sure having the extra containers will be helpful.

(Yes, I post a lot about our Laptop Lunch boxes. No, they aren't paying me to do it. It's just good, old-fashioned, spreading the word because I like the product. Just wanted you to know.)

Duck, duck, goose!

What was so important that Daddy called us out to the front porch on his way to work one morning? Hint: He told us we had to be quiet before we came outside.

We walked out on the porch, and looked out between the rails for a closer look.

Another hint: Geese sightings are a regular thing in our neighborhood, but this time was a little different.
Need a closer look?

These geese had babies! Nine goslings! We got to watch them eat our neighbor's grass, and the big one was on "high alert" as a car passed by on the street.

We were pretty excited, but managed to stay quiet and not scare off the geese. After we watched them for a little while, we decided it was time for our own breakfast - we were hungry!

Food Allergies from a Parent's Perspective

There's a great article mentioned in a post today on Food Allergy Buzz. Hope that you will check them both out!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thursday Thanks #10

What a week it's been since my last Thursday Thanks Tank post!

My Mom came to visit for five days! While she was here, she got to spend some time with her sisters, one of her brothers, and her mom, all of whom live in the area. Of course, we all enjoyed her visit, as well! I'm especially thankful, though, that she came to help me with a huge task. I've been sorting through boxes of 'stuff' that have collected over the years - sorting, tossing, organizing, and getting ready to have a garage sale. I also went through the kids' toy room a couple of weeks ago, but didn't quite finish. Mom and I pretty much wrapped that project up, too, though Mister J will have to make a few decisions on his own this week. I'm ready to set a limit on the number of toy cars around here, and I also want him to decide on a few other toys (keep or sell). I think he's old enough to start learning that we can't keep it all forever.

As if having my mom's help wasn't enough, I have an awesome former neighbor who is letting me use her vacant-for-now garage to store my 'stuff' until garage sale time. Her house in under contract, but won't close until the end of June. In a week and a half, I'm going to wake up early, walk next door, open the garage door, and hopefully sell everything in sight! I can't even begin to explain what a blessing her generosity has been, even though I'm sad that she moved (across town). I'm being completely honest when I tell you that if her garage hadn't become available, I don't think I'd have been able to get motivated to clear out Chez Chaos.

Today is the first day of summer break for us! While I would LOVE to be sleeping in, I am counting down to that garage sale, making the most of our pool membership, watching a garden grow, and looking forward to Fun Day Mondays with our church family (more to come on those later) and all of the other activities summer has to offer. I'm also starting the Countdown to Kindergarten. I'll keep you posted on how well I hold up!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday

Everyone's trying to be a little more "green" these days - whether that's recycling, reducing waste, or reusing things you already have. I've been recycling for a while now - my family started when my sister learned about recycling kindergarten a few years back (um ... in the very early 90s). After participating in Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University through our church, I've also examined the reasons I purchase all of the "stuff" we fills our lives with. As a result of both my desire to develop 'green' habits and my desire to spend more on real needs and (far!) less on wants, I'm repurposing items in our home that have outgrown their original purpose.

The item I'm sharing today has been around since Mister J was a baby. I repurposed it when Miss M was around a year old - about two years ago. Originally, it was a travel container for liquid gold - that is, Mister J's baby formula. So, what have I done with it? It now serves as a storage container for Miss M's ponytail holders. (OK, so those ponytail holders aren't very 'green' - it's a process!) I have also used it to keep her bows from getting smooshed when we travel!

Check it out!

I'm always excited to repurpose items or get 're-newed' things that I can put to use in my home. What items have you repurposed to some new, unexpected use?

By the way, check out more Works For Me Wednesday posts at We are THAT Family!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Our Little Vegetable Patch

Now you remember how much my kids like to garden, don't you? Well, we have outdone ourselves this year - so I hope it works!

Check out our vegetable and herb garden! (And ignore my pasty legs!)

Mister J and I did some research online, he built these awesome frames, and I did some plant shopping. The kids pitched in over the weekend when we were ready to plant it all. We have heirloom tomatoes, sunflowers (thanks, H!), cucumbers, squash, carrots, cilantro, chives, basil, thyme, and a mystery plant that we think is zucchini (only time will tell!). We also tried some bell pepper and cantaloupe seeds. We passed on watermelon, even though Mister J requested it, since we only have 24 square feet to work with (we are trying square foot gardening, by the way). It'll be several weeks before we have anything harvestable, which will be quite trying for Mister J. After a rain shower this afternoon, he walked over to our garden and was disappointed that the plants haven't grown noticeably in the past 3 days....

However it works out, it will be a learning experience for us all and perhaps a great supplement to the co-op we have joined. I'm already starting to wonder what we'll want to plant next summer!

School's (Almost) Out!

Today was Miss M's last day of preschool at our current preschool. Mister J's last day is tomorrow. (They will both attend public magnet school next year that serves students from Pre-K 3 through 5th grade.)

We spent some time last evening on cards for their teachers, which they gladly delivered this morning. They are very excited for summer! They were not, however, excited about my desire to take a couple of pictures of them before school this morning. It was one of those overcast-but-bright mornings, so they both wanted to squint for the camera. Still, here's this morning's best shot, compared similar ones from about 9 months ago.

May 2009

September 2008

Don't they just look so much more grown up? I can't even imagine what they'll look like come August!

This Post Brought To You By...

Hello, Friends! If you haven't noticed the new badge on my sidebar, I'm now a sponsored blog! is the sponsor for another blogger that I read - Kristen over at We Are THAT Family - and now they are sponsoring me, too! So what does that mean? Well, let's take this ride together and find out! You can click on the badge (that one, right over there ---->)
or you can see what Kristen had to say about them. Either way, I think this could be fun!
(By the way, Kristen hosts the Works for Me Wednesday blog carnival. Check in tomorrow - here and there - for my first WFMW post!)

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Good Reason to Be Up Late

I was going to go to bed at a decent hour tonight. Really, I was. But after dinner, I sat down with the kids so they could draw pictures and write notes to their teachers. And Big J had the excellent idea of giving Mister J some lined paper for his notes to his teachers. (Really, it was such a good idea, and I'm feeling a bit silly for not thinking of it myself....) And then the kids drew some really cute stuff. Mister J drew a picture that I scanned before I finished up all of the cards. Then I wrote a few notes, stuck their drawings into the cards, and sealed up all of the envelopes. I put all of my scrapbooking/cardmaking supplies away, tucked the cards into my purse for delivery tomorrow morning, turned off all of the downstairs lights, and went upstairs with a copy of Mister's J's drawing of "Flying a Kite with My Dad" to show Big J. As I was telling him about all of the other cute drawings, it occurred to me that I should have just scanned them all. (Tonight's artwork was that memorable. They don't draw stuff that like that everyday. At least not for us!) So, I came back downstairs, turned some (but not all) of the lights back on, opened all of the envelopes up (glad I have some extras...), and scanned all of my kiddos' artwork. Now I'm going to write new envelopes, stuff them, lick and stick them, put them with my purse ... you get the idea!

I know that you just might want to see that artwork, but I don't think it's fair to let you see it before the intended recipients. So you'll have to wait. But I promise it will make an appearance on the blog, perhaps with another bit of art by Miss M, who seems to have a tiny interest in outer space (so she's definitely her father's daughter!).

Also, I'll try to post pics of the garden we planted this weekend, but only if you will promise to ignore my pasty whiteness. (Yes, thanks to Grandma RL, I'm actually in some of the pictures!) I do go outside, but with sunscreen, since I'm a "burn, don't tan" kind of girl. Also, ever tried to get your kids to wear sunscreen without putting your own on? If you need better self-care habits, I promise you that having a child is a great motivator. Especially one that's old enough to question your every move - but more on that later. See, now you have a few good reasons to come back!

Friday, May 22, 2009

"I Despise This"

My daughter is allergic to peanuts and eggs. For those living with food allergies, sometimes all of the label-reading we do still doesn't keep us or our kids safe, and that stinks. I know that every one of us faces risks every time we walk out the door. For those living with food allergies, sometimes the danger follows us home, a stealthy, silent intruder.

A bloggy friend of mine sent a Twitter update last evening -
"Nerves are shot. Son had allergic reaction to cake batter. No nut warning included in allergy warning on cake mix."

And a later update:
"Trying to relax. My son is okay after a allergic reaction to Duncan Hines cake mix (nuts were not included in the allergy info)"

Her husband posted about it on his blog this morning. She will post about it later on, and I'll link to her post at that time.

While everything is OK now, it was a scary experience for them and their peanut-allergic son. If you know someone with food allergies (tip: even if you aren't aware of it, you know someone with a food allergy), I hope you'll go over and read about their experience.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Miss M's class picnic is today, and we having fun in spite of a few sprinkles. Notice the new 'do? (For having a wiggly little girl last night, I think it looks OK!) Even more importantly, did you notice that she smiled and looked at the camera for this picture?!?

Thursday Thanks #9

Now that we are in the final countdown until summer, I think it's most appropriate today to thank our preschool teachers for everything they have done this year.

Most of the moms I know - myself included - love preschool for the kid-free time we get a couple of days each week. Kid-free time during daylight hours. Kid-free time during time during daylight hours that we spend running errands with only our purse/keys/cell phone to keep track of - things that don't usually wander off alone while we ponder the merits of two different dishwashing detergents. Or maybe we just meet up for coffee with friends. Coffee with friends that is not interrupted by someone that wants another milk/juice/cookie or that dropped a crayon. But that's certainly not what preschool is all about, and these are the least of the reasons for which I am thankful.

Today I want to tell you what I truly appreciate about my kids' preschool teachers. This is by no means an exhaustive list - mainly because I'm so exhausted already, and summer's not even here.

I am thankful for our preschool teachers because:
  • They take a personal interest in our children, worry about our children, pray for our children, and pray for us when we have challenges as parents
  • They are teaching our children lessons and Scripture from the Bible, as well as the lessons that they need to be successful in school. We also have a great music teacher who loves the children, and who the children look forward to seeing each week!
  • They really know our children - their likes/dislikes, their health issues, and other very child-specific details
  • They have the patience to do to love a job that exhausted me after one day of substitute teaching
  • They don't hesitate to call when they have questions or concerns, or to take time out to meet with me when needed
  • They make special days really special - like the Christmas and Spring Music Programs, 100th Day Party, Mother's Day Tea and yesterday's graduation
  • They encourage our children to reach beyond their limits and celebrate their successes
  • They never fail to comfort our children with a hug, whether it's needed for separation anxiety, a boo-boo, or some other source of disappointment
  • They never fail to comfort me with a hug - because certainly we moms need comforting sometimes, too!

Our preschool also has two wonderful administrators who keep things running smoothly. They wear so many different hats - including many of the above! My gratitude extends to each of them as well for the work they do for the children, the parents, and the teachers!

As this year comes to a close - the last year Mister J and Miss M will be at our preschool - I'm reminded of just how important these people have been in our lives over the past two years. Although I'm looking forward to enrolling them in our new school - and continuing to have them in the same school - it has been very bittersweet for me to think about them leaving preschool at the same time. Too many milestones for this mama, but I know we I will make it through!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pomp and Circumstance

My little guy is now a graduate. Yes, that's right, he graduated today. This morning was his preschool graduation, including caps and "diplomas." I have several photos and a video of all of the children singing, which I will upload soon (-er or later). There was a picnic following the ceremony in the Family Life Center/gym/'Sanctuary with a Scoreboard' (thanks, Bob!). Along with the lunches I'd packed, the kids enjoyed running about and playing with all of the other graduates. The kids in Mister J's class all know Miss M since they see her at drop-off 2 of 4 mornings a week, and they were glad to include her in the fun (she was not in class today).

Sorry, not so great with the editing yet. Or remembering to use the zoom feature on my camera....

Miss M's class picnic is tomorrow - her next-to-last day of preschool for the year. Her next-to-last day of preschool at our church. Oh, this is a bittersweet time for me!

She'll be sporting a new haircut at school tomorrow. I gave her a cute little bob this evening. It'll be much easier for summer, especially since we'll be spending lots of time at the pool! I'm not the best at haircuts on young wiggly children, but I think it looks ok. Of course, it's not totally dry, slept on overnight, and combed out the next morning for other (perhaps more competent at hairstyling than me) adults to see. But she likes it!

Overheard #17

Mister J: "When I have a house, I'm going to put money all over it."

Later on in the evening...

Mister J: "If I had 600 dollars, I would stick all of them to the fan."

Where do they come up with this stuff?!?

Friday, May 15, 2009


We had a whirlwind trip to Grandma RL's to see Aunt L's graduation Thursday evening, and also got to visit with Grandpa H and MeMaw. Want to see some pictures? C'mon, you know you do! (Blogger is acting up and rotating pics that don't need it, so I'm only putting out the ones that play nice.)

We were rather far away from the stage during graduation, so no pics of that (sorry, L!). Miss M fell asleep during the processional and slept for most of the ceremony. Mister J was very well-behaved, thanks to some Cheez-Its and a coloring book that Grandma brought. Mister J looked through the entire book, coloring pages and working puzzles here and there. Then, he found the answer key in the back of the book. Here he is using the answer key to unscramble the word motorcycle.

After the ceremony, we met at a local restaurant to celebrate. Mister J and Miss M enjoyed playing in the kids' area.

They were plenty spoiled that night, since they were showered with quarters on this particular occasion. Perhaps the adults who were providing the steady stream of coins were enjoying watching the kids have so much fun! They took turns, with each other and with two other kids, driving the car. They also enjoyed a 'virtual' roller coaster ride - check out Mister J whooping it up! There were many other toys as well - which they cleaned up after dinner with only a little bit of adult help.

Miss M and Grandpa H playing a little game before we all said our goodbyes. The kids were exceptionally well-behaved this evening, especially considering the late hour. We finally crawled in bed at midnight!

On the way home today - I told you it was a whirlwind visit! - we took a little stop off the beaten path for a late lunch and some time to stretch our legs. I packed the kids' lunches before we left Grandma RL's.

They had soybutter sandwiches, cantaloupe and grapes, cucumber slices, and hummus. Miss M also had tomatoes, which Mister J doesn't care for.

After lunch, they stretched their legs checking out this covered bridge from end to end.
(This is my favorite picture from the park)

We also enjoyed watching this little guy
and a butterfly that I couldn't get a good picture of - but we did get close enough to see its beautiful blue and black wings.

We walked the paths and footbridges in the little park, and also got a little adventurous.

There were steps leading down to the rocks in the creek, so certainly they were meant to be crossed! Mister J was speedy and sure-footed today, and Miss M wanted her own chance to be free of Mom's grasp. She got it on our second crossing, once she was safe on a very large, very flat rock. I let go long enough to satisfy her and to snap a photo, then we made our way back to the steps together. Meanwhile, Mister J was making his was across for a third time, completely on his own.

After a late night last night, a 4am wake-up call when somebody fell out of bed, some afternoon rock-hopping, and no naps on the way home, the kids were exhausted. They were asleep before 6 o'clock.

They barely woke when I carried them up to bed, but I think I should probably expect an early wake-up call Saturday morning!

Upon Request

I've been asked to keep posting snaps of my kids' lunches, so I took pictures when I packed their Laptop Lunch Boxes again last week.

On Wednesdays, Mister J goes to Lunch Bunch after preschool. That means an extra hour before Miss M and I go pick him up. What do we do in that extra hour? Most often, we have our own little picnic. I pack a lunch for Miss M, she eats what she wants, I snack on the leftovers, and then I have my own lunch after we get home (while the kids have quiet time). Here's what I packed last week:

A small salad (lettuce, bacon bits, cheese) tossed and dressed before packing - I used a non-vinegar dressing so the lettuce wouldn't wilt
Strawberries and blueberries
Pita chips (made the day before, seasoned with garlic salt, pepper and basil)
Hummus for dipping
Cranberries and chocolate chips for a sweet treat (they always dig out the chocolate chips first!)

If I'd planned better, I would have put the salad in the lidded container - I'm still on a learning curve with the LLBs! Since I didn't, I used a small piece of waxed paper to keep the salad from spilling, and it did the job quite well.

I packed their lunches again on Thursday - sorry, no pictures. They had pita chips and hummus, fruit, cucumber slices, and Craisins. We were travling to visit Grandma RL and Aunt L, so the kids ate in the mommy-van (Their unanimous choice - I offered a picnic before we loaded up, but they were ready to go!). We'd never used the LLBs on the road before, and I was very impressed with how well they worked for the kids.

I'm ready to order a couple more LLBs - so I can have my very own lunch when we picnic, and so we can invite Big J along, too! I hear that there's a discount code available right now, and there are also some specials running. If you want to check them out, the code is dinner.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thursday Thanks #8

Delicious fruits and veggies from the co-op we joined last week. I'm looking forward to eating healthier meals (with more veggies) and snacks, saving money on groceries, and trying new recipes (cantaloupe smoothies, cantaloupe popsicles, cantaloupe....)!
Sweet snuggles with my son
Best.Mother's.Day.Ever - including a renewed back porch and a sweet Mother's Day Tea
My father-in-law - who came up last weekend to work on our house, when surely he has his own to-do list. We couldn't have done it without him, though!
A spontaneous evening of scoops and sparkles!
My son's unknowing encouragement Tuesday afternoon to get out and run on a day that I wasn't feeling motivated

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Overheard #16

Mister J is learning about rhyming words at preschool. On the way home from our spontaneous evening, he piped up, "Grass... A$$... Do they rhyme?"
As soon as Big J and I stifled our laughs, I said to Mister J, "Yes, Sweetie, they rhyme," stifled another laugh, and continued, "Mister J, that word you said after 'grass' wasn't a nice word."
Mister J looked at me and, as if I couldn't remember the other word, said, "A$$."
"Yes, that word. It's not a nice word."
"I know."
Oh, my!
He still hasn't told us where he heard the word, even though we have told him that nobody will get in trouble. I can tell by the look on his face that he does know, he just doesn't want to tell me. That's a battle for another day. For now, I'm just hoping that he won't be telling Mrs. E, his preschool teacher, about the latest rhyming words he's discovered.

Sweet Spontaneity

It was Family Night at Chick-Fil-A tonight - and the theme was princess night! It was also Free Cone Day at our local Ben and Jerry's Scoop Shop, which opened last week. We decided to treat the kids to a surprise dinner out followed by ice cream. The weather was perfect, and we had a great time. Here are just a few snapshots of our fun, spontaneous evening.

Miss M is making a Princess wand, Mister J is making a pirate necklace. On the way to our next stop, the kids were in the back trying to use the wand to turn the mommy-van into a 'log with wheels' (since a log without wheels wouldn't roll and we'd miss out on the ice cream!).

A perfect evening - a magic princess wand in one hand and a free scoop of vanilla in the other!

I couldn't decide between these two of Mister J as he enjoyed his scoop of strawberry!

What a sweet, special, spontaneous evening!

Can I scooter with you?

That was just the boost I needed to get out and run this afternoon. So off we went - Mister J on his scooter, Miss M in the jog stroller, and me on foot. I had a good run, but stopped just a bit early when Mister J wiped out on the scooter. On the walk back to the house, I realized that Miss M had fallen asleep.
Oh, sorry, did you want to see a close up?
Once we got home and parked Miss M in the shade (see the first shot, which was actually chronologically the second one), I stretched out and did a few outside chores before heading in for a shower.

Best. Mother's Day. Ever

Yes, it's the Tuesday after Mother's Day. Yes, I'm just getting around to telling you about the weekend. But the Mother's Day celebration didn't end on Sunday. I'll tell you abut that, too.

So, how did I spend my weekend? Helping Big J and Grandpa R on Project Re-New the Back Porch 2009. My back porch has been pressure washed and re-screened, and the porch furniture has been cleaned. It was a three-person, 2 ladder project, and I am excited to say that I'm spending the 2nd afternoon in a row on the porch while the kids are having 'quiet' time. It's like having an extra, very clean room in the house. The lovely weather this afternoon - sunny, 70s, light breeze - makes it even more enjoyable.

As I mentioned, the celebration didn't end when the pressure washer was put away. Today was the Mother's Day Tea at preschool, hosted by the four-year-old classes. The tables were decorated with pink tablecloths, vases of pipe cleaner "flowers", place cards for each mom, and a flower pin made by each child for his/her mom. When the children came in, they sang four sweet songs before they joined us at our tables for refreshments and gave us gift bags with special goodies they made themselves (a book about moms, a photo magnet, and a list of questions that each child answered about their mom - by the way, I weigh 600 pounds, but it's ok since I'm 1000 feet tall!). It was such a sweet and special treat, and of course I took several photos. My favorite one, though, is this one (even though you can't see the flower pin that Mister J made for me):
Mister J was so excited for today! He's worked very hard to keep the special songs a secret, and only sang one of them to me before the Tea. He didn't tell me about the gifts at all, so that was an extra-special surprise. Thanks to all of the teachers for making this such a special morning!

Updated: Can't believe I left this part out! When we were in line for refreshments, Mister J turned to me and said, "Mom, I think this is the best Mother's Day ever!" :)

Back Porch Snuggles

It was unseasonably chilly and overcast yesterday, but I still spent some time out on my back porch while the kids were napping. When Mister J woke up, he wandered downstairs and out to the porch. He had his fleece on, so he must have known where to find me. I figured we'd have just a short time before Miss M woke up, and dinner was simmering on the stove, but I still took a few moments for some one-on-one time with my first baby. I pulled him into my lap, and he curled up and snuggled against me. We had a few sweet moments together before the chill finally got to me. I'm sure he'd been cold from the moment he walked out, and maybe that was the biggest reason for the snuggles, but I'm still thankful for those quiet, sweet moments together.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Fruit and Veggie Fairies

I visited with the Produce Fairies this morning. This gigantic box barely contained their bounteous offerings.

You can barely see it all, but I wrote a list because I can tell that you want to know just exactly what they brought me.
  • 2 huge heads of green leaf lettuce
  • 1 box of organic baby spinach (prewashed!)
  • 4 pounds of potatoes
  • 4 bell peppers - 2 each red and yellow
  • 1 pineapple
  • 2 big cucumbers
  • 3 gorgeous zucchini (yes, that's the technical term)
  • 2 pints of grape tomatoes
  • 5 navel oranges
  • 5 D'Anjou pears
  • 1 pound of broccoli
  • 1.75 pounds of red seedless grapes
  • a 7 pound cantaloupe
I've prewashed most of the produce (including some strawberries and blueberries I picked up in addition to the fairies' provisions) so that the kids can snack on it at anytime. My scavengers have nearly polished off the grapes already, helped themselves to some bananas (a rare treat around here), and snacked on some fruit salad in addition to lunch.

Did you know that half of a seven-pound melon yields an IQ of 70 approximately 4 1/4 pounds of fruit? I am not completely sure what I'll do with this much melon, but I am already thinking about popsicles or some other frozen treat....

Oh, and for those of you who want details about the Produce Fairies... we didn't get the box from actual fairies. We joined a co-op, and I get to go pick up a lovely box like this every Saturday morning at 8am (until the week it's my turn to do the shopping at 6am...). The fruits and vegetables were more beautiful than what you see in the grocery store, and the price was unbeatable. I can't wait to see what comes each week, and excited about the new recipes I'll be trying with all of these fresh fruits and veggies!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What I Did Today

I took a break from the Big Toy Purge of '09 today. Instead of sorting through toys, reuniting missing pieces with their mates, and explaining to the kids that we really don't need 629 kids' meal prizes, I....

Zested and juiced these...
Eighthed navel oranges worked well in my citrus press

Then measured, mixed, stirred, and baked. The final result was two dozen of these.
Orange Blueberry Muffins

I don't think I'll ever go back to 'plain' blueberry muffins. I'm enjoying baking from scratch, and if I'm going to go to that effort, I might as well add in the orange zest and juice, too! I did not add the cinnamon sugar topping today, and I like them better that way. Instead of mostly noticing the cinnamon sugar, I really noticed the orange flavor. Yum!

While the muffins were baking, I grated, measured, kneaded, and scooped this...

To make over six dozen of these....
Sausage balls

Then I fed this...

I promise she does smile!

And this....
He's glad to be feeling better after a rough morning.

It has been a cool and rainy day after weeks of warmer weather - a perfect day for baking since we were staying inside anyway!

Chocolate Monster

In addition to the room-moving and toy-wrangling this weekend, we had some fun, too!

Miss M had a blast when Daddy gave her a chocolate ice cream sandwich!
Look out - it's the chocolate monster! Roar!

After the kids were in bed, I had fun with my scrapbooking tools and some beautiful paper. I made some gift card holders for an event later on in the week. I can't wait to see the response when they are given away!
They look a little more yellow in the photo than in
real life. The colors are very vibrant and lovely.

I'm looking forward to a little more paper-crafting time later on in the week - I need to make some anniversary and birthday cards!

Friday, May 1, 2009

They're Not Babies Any More

It's been over five years since we first purchased a crib mattress as we prepared for the arrival of our first child. A couple of years later, we moved that mattress to a toddler bed. Before long, it was time to get the crib ready for the 'new baby.' We purchased a second crib-sized mattress. Then, the day I caught an 18-month-old Miss M starting to climb out of the crib, we decided it was time to move Miss M into the toddler bed and Big J got a 'big' bed. Today, Miss M got an upgrade to her own 'big' bed. I swapped the kids' bedrooms around today, we purchased a new mattress and box springs, and tonight I tucked each of my children into their own twin-sized bed. There is no longer a crib-sized mattress in use in our house, for the first time in over 5 1/2 years. Part of me is so, so happy - I have always looked forward to my kids reaching the next milestone and celebrating their development. But there is a part of me that's sad - my babies are not babies any more. Still, how can I not celebrate with them? They were both so excited to have 'new' rooms, and Miss M has been looking forward to putting her big bed together for a few weeks now. Doesn't she look happy?