Wednesday, November 16, 2011

One Thing ALWAYS Leads to Another

Before I talk about anything else I want to let you know how the shopping trip went. Well, all-in-all it went ok. My deep freeze is near capacity and my shelves are beginning to look a little less anemic. It is in my opinion, however, that Dillons is still the best place to get the really good deals.

 Since this is the time of year that birds are plentiful, I am up to 4 turkeys acquired. One, a friend gave me who is attending our annual gluttony feast also known as Thanksgiving. The second was free with the purchase of a ham. This is a good deal because I get the ham and grind up half, divide it into freezer bags and use it to make ham salad for lunches all winter. The third I had a sizable coupon off and the forth was a special Dillons has going on that has them marked at .79 per pound. $11 turkey that I can make several meals out of is a good thing.

D had her first date this last weekend and I'm afraid we have embarrassed her to no end. She has had her photo taken with the young man and has had it posted on FB. She really doesn't like that kind of attention and it has garnered more than she is comfortable with. To top it all off she had a slight stomach ailment on Sunday and didn't get to say hello to the said young man at church. Instead she trucked right by him on the way to purge her stomach. She then went home and slept for two days. She is now fretting over being behind in school. So I want to say to her that I love you, baby and I'm sorry that the last few days have been so difficult.

So, I started on the kitchen. After looking over the inside back of the cabinets, I decided that patching them was stupid. I have therefore ripped out the offending plaster leaving the lathe in place. I then had to clean out the spray foam that we have been putting in there over the years to plug the gaps. This was sprayed in there to both keep out drafts and four legged vermin. The plaster took less than an hour, the foam took 2 to remove. Love and hate foam. Got all the mess cleaned out then added more foam in better locations between the remaining lathe. Much more efficient way of sealing it. I couldn't help but think that in a few months I will be cursing it again as we rip out the kitchen and the new foam in order to replace it all and insulate properly. But hey, It's fall now and anything I can do to prevent $400/ month heating bills, I will. Today, I shaved off any foam that expanded out. this is exceedingly hard on a manicure and knuckles. Cleaned up again. The next step will be to put in drywall and mud it in place, caulk around any remaining gaps and repaint. Since I'm repainting part of the cabinet and never do anything "just a little bit", I figured I can just repaint all the cabinets. I hate the color in there and while I know we will be replacing the entire kitchen "someday," the idea of hanging out in that drab kitchen for another winter has me thinking ahead. I have SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Fall is a dangerous time of year for me. While I love the weather, love the activities and everything Fall is, I cannot tolerate the low sunlight levels. The second worse time is immediately following the holidays. After holiday letdown combined with grey skies is not a good combination. My saving grace is that my children all have birthdays from Christmas on. Something to look forward to helps.

Anyway, brightening  up a room we spend the majority of our time in is a good thing. Of course if the cabinets are looking better then the walls will look like crap. I should paint those too. In fact, I've already bought the paint for both. Now before I can do the walls, I'll need to repair the cracks in the drywall that developed from the tree falling on the house. See how this goes? The kitchen will look better for Thanksgiving as well. That's a lot of people. Because, I'm cooking and storing so much food, I needed to prepare the oven and fridge. Oven gets cleaned tonight, cleaned out and washed the inside of the fridge today already. More stuff on the cabinets while I did this and it took time from working on the cabinets.  (I was sidelined)

Have you ever read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? or If You Give a Pig a Pancake? If you have, you will recognize the behavior. I really feel sorry for my husband. He has to put up with a lot.

Now that I think about  it, the downstairs bathroom and laundry room needs a second coat of paint...

Friday, November 11, 2011

All in All a Good Day

The house is half clean. Well, to be fair it's a bit less than half. Took some time to arrange a few things in the garage storage. That's an ongoing project. I'm installing a studio space in the garage. My art supplies have taken on a life of their own and are crowding the space a bit. Plus,I'm not even sure what all I own because it's spread out between the house, garage and barn. The eves need to be covered and a heater installed. Should be an adequate space. It is a bit of a sacrifice for my husband. He really wanted to put the Enclave in there this winter when it got bad.

I got the shelves installed in the basement and started cleaning out the lower cabinets in the kitchen.The extra storage space downstairs is allowing me an opportunity to clean out a space that desperately needed it. I'm planning on spray foaming some of the cracks that developed when the silver maple fell on the house over the summer. Rodents have jumped at the chance to sneak in. Really their loss though, Steve and Mo our feline security patrol, make short order of them. Always an adventure living in a house that was built in 1890.

The kitchen really needs to be gutted and replaced. It will be near the last of the rooms we are renovating due to the sheer amount of work that needs to be completed. It is my intention to purchase items a bit at a time then replace everything at once. Finishing cabinets poses a challenge I am excitedly looking forward to.

We started new workbooks for preschool today. The twins are really liking everything we have done. They are improving rapidly and I may have to start kindergarten stuff early. They are wanting to read. Everyone in the house is a reader.They see that and want so much to be apart of it.

There are moments when I know I've done something right as a mom. D spent the day volunteering at a VA hospital and raking leaves at a church. There are advantages to private education. Our school's sense of giving to the world is one of them. Today was Mission Day for the school. Volunteering isn't a new thing for her, nor is it only occasional. It is a part of her as much as her eye color is.

They are such good kids. It was fun to treat them to new shoes today. A's feet have finally caught up to M's and she needed new day shoes. They both also got dress boots. Apparently my penchant for footwear has worn off on them. G got her first pair of heels.We got a bit of a laugh at watching her try to walk in them. After a bit of instruction she was strutting like a star! D finally replaced the canvass shoes that she has literally warn to threads. She got a comfy, school approved pair and a kicky set of heels. They show both sides of her personality. (A bit like me she is). The old canvass ones are happily relocated to the trash. (I still can't believe I didn't buy myself a pair).

So, tomorrow is the shopping day. To confess I'm a bit nervous about doing well. I sat down and looked over the ad, plugged info into the coupon mom site and looked through my collection of coupons. While I will be making some good deals, it won't be as big a haul as I had imagined. Hyvee is harder to deal with. I prefer the deals I make at Dillons. Plus the added benefit of saving on gas with their discount card is hard to pass up. Hyvee does gas now too, but you have to keep your receipts and go into the gas station to redeem the deal. The other downside is there is only one Hyvee gas station on the opposite side of town, while any quick shop will take the Dillons card.

Of note, today is both 11/11/11 and Veteran's Day.

The date is a trivia answer at most and at least a whole lot of people got married with the naive expectation that somehow the numbers on that calender have anything to do with their success rate.

I am honored to be a vet. I did sign up with the understanding and expectation of being in harms way. That didn't happen. I never got to go over seas or really do anything significant. It does, in some small manor, allow me the honor of being counted among the ranks of my family to serve. My grandfather, my uncle, my dad, both my brothers have contributed their parts in a much greater capacity. Of them,I am truly proud.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Picture the Day

Busy but not hectic. The best kind of days for when I'm in that kind of mood. I like getting things done. I like being in a state of accomplishment.
The youngest three had "school"pictures taken today. A wonderful home schooling mom arranges for the locals to get shots taken.We had to shower and get dressed after taking D to school.I was struck by the fact that G is looking very grown up for ten.I can see how beautiful she is going to be in a way that isn't just a mom looking at her kid and thinking she is cute. M and A are tall for 4 and are quite wellspoken so most strangers mistake them for being older. This may have been the case with our photographer. They were working so hard at smiling that it just appeared strained and forced. he poor guy was trying. They will be interestibg shots to say the least.
I was on the other side of town so I picked up an ad for HyVee and grabbed some sour dough bread for lunch. (I failed to start my bread machine early enough) I am planning a big shopping trip with my developing couponing skills. Looks like Saturday is the day. (Yes, I will be explaining what I do soon.) Could be an interesting trip. In preparation and because I have a stupid amount of dry goods on my basement floor, I went to Lowes and picked up some utilitarian metal shelves to organize my bounty. I am humored by the fact that each shelf can potentially hold 1100 lbs. That would be a stinkin' lot of canned goods.
I also managed to teach 5th grade and preschool to my brood (LOVE this part of my day), got my nails filled,  dropped G off for a makeup scout meeting, pick D up from school and take her to said scout meeting (that's two seperate drop offs) and feed them. We totally cheated and ate at a local food place (The Pad. Highly recommend). M was feeling some sort of intestinal discomfort that she has had issues with on and off all day so we are ending the day like so many of them with little kids in front of a movie (Cars I), D in her room doing homework and me parked in front of the DVR.
Pretty typical run for us. Tomorrow is Friday. Clean the House Day. I'm actually looking forward to that. Gonna be a sunny day and sun shining on a clean house makes me all warm and gushy inside. We usually have pizza on Fridays and have movie night. We shall see how it goes.

FYI: I ended up with 105 banana muffins. I did not eat a single one nor do I have any plans to do so anytime soon. Not because I don't like them, I really do. I just couldn't stand the smell anymore. I think I may have a new diet idea.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My day was Bananas

My kids LOVE bananas. It is their favorite thing to get at the store and often fight over who gets to bag them up. That being said they will occasionally go on a banana fatigue fast and I end up with a mass of spotted fruit that no one will touch. They will eat them with spots cut off but when they go beyond a couple little brownish bits the stinkers refuse to consume them. I usually don't mind. Mixing up a batch of muffins is quick and painless.
I was getting the yucky ones so much that I couldn't keep up so I peeled them and put them in a freezer bag for future use. I read somewhere that it's easier to freeze them with the skins on so I took to just tossing them onto a shelf in the freezer. Flash forward a few weeks and I am confronted with quit a pile of fruit. So today I was feeling a bit industrious and decided to make muffins and freeze the finished product so I would have a quick grab and go breakfast for those super hectic days (Tuesdays).
I decided to make Chocolate Banana Muffins. What I didn't count on was how nasty, brown and runny thawed bananas were. The muffins turned out great! The extra fruit sugar made them very tasty so I am recommending the freezing process. As for leaving them in the skin? Well it was fun squeezing out the contents into a bowl instead of peeling them, just be prepared for the slug like goo. My kids loved that part almost as much as eating them.

Chocolate Banana Muffins
1/2 cp butter, softened                               1 cp sugar
2 eggs                                                           1 cp (2 med) bananas, smashed
1/4 cp milk                                                  1 tsp vanilla
2 cps flour                                                   1/4 cp baking cocoa
1 tsp salt                                                      1/2 cp chopped nuts
1/2 tsp baking soda
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, banana, milk, and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add to the banana mixture and mix just until combined, fold in nuts. Fill paper lined muffin pan cups 3/4 full. Bake @ 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Check with a toothpick to be sure they are done.

When they are cool, I put them in a gallon size freezer bag, seal and freeze until needed. We just pull out how many we want and pop them into the microwave for a few seconds. I recommend trying out how long, usually 5 to 10 seconds depending on how many you are reheating and how many watts your microwave is.


Welcome to the space between my ears!

Well It's been suggested enough times for me to do my own blog and now I've caved to peer pressure. I suppose the real question becomes "Do I have enough direction of thought to do it?" Note I didn't ask if I had anything to say. This is because anyone who knows me knows I talk A LOT!! However finding a direction to focus all that yapping could prove challenging. I am often scattered in direction. I find this very frustrating. I can't imagine how difficult it is for those of my friends and family to keep up with my processes. I am creative by nature. I rarely stay stagnate. I tend to jump into things with great enthusiasm often times to my detriment. I believe if your not living everything wholeheartedly your wasting your life. No matter what you do do it with gusto!!

So here I am doing just that. I hope I can at least entertain you with my antics.