Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Too Much Makes You Sick, A Little Is Fine

I know I must be doing something right, when my Oldest asks me to make chinese food for dinner with "broccoli and carrots and onions and everything!" I had already planned to make fried rice and stir fry for dinner, because with this pregnancy, I am craving fruits and vegetables, but it was a nice surprise to see Oldest ask for it and specify certain vegetables, too! At dinner time tonight, I was even more pleased when Middle requested more vegetables than what I gave her and even went back for seconds!

We talk about bodily functions with the girls. I don't know if that's what other people do, but we do. We explain to the girls how food goes in the mouth then down the throat and into the stomach. After a while, the food will go into the intestines and then the hard stuff will go out the "poop hole" and the liquid stuff will come out the "pee hole". The girls are very aware of how their bodies work and I have a big Mayo clinic health book with all kinds of pictures and diagrams of the human body that the girls love to look at. We tell them that what they eat can affect their poop. Too much breads and sweets can make it hard to poop and eating vegetables and fruit make it easier to poop. I like to think that Hubby and I are setting good examples by the way I cook and what we choose to eat and drink.

We don't deprive the kids of sweets, but we do limit what they can have and how much. We normally make our own sweets and it's not often that we buy bags of candies or chips. I made mint fudge the other day and of course I am getting lots of "pretty pleases" and "can I, can I" requests for fudge. I tell them that they can have 1 piece, but that's all, because too much sweets aren't good. A little is fine, too much can make you sick. The same goes with chips and salty snacks-- a little is fine, too much can make you sick.

I really think that "a little is fine, too much can make you sick" applies to just about everything in life. Too much exercise can wear you out, a little keeps you healthy. Too much alcohol makes you a drunk, a little is ok. Too much going out makes for one busy person, a little bit creates a balance. Even too much money can spoil a person, and a little keeps you realistic. Too much swearing makes you a potty mouth, a little swear word here and there has more effect. There is one exception to this: love. You can never have too much love from the people around you.

The interview last week that Hubby felt so good about, ended up being a disappointment. He was told to call Monday, but the guy was still interviewing and told Hubby to call back Tuesday. This morning he called and found out that he hired somebody else. (insert swear word here) Hubby has another interview Wednesday morning so he plans to go to bed early and has all his paperwork together. My aunt told me that a Bob Evans in Ohio put out an ad for a job opening and over a million people applied for the job. I don't know if that was true or not, the number sounds kind of exaggerated, but I wouldn't be surprised if they got flooded with applications. Times are tough. Too much time off of work can make you broke, a little keeps you refreshed!

Too much blogging takes me away from my family, a little keeps me sane! :0) Til next time!

Sunday, January 27, 2008


We have only one computer, and that was never a problem before. Between Hubby and I, we would take turns and all was fine. Now that Oldest has some computer games that she likes to play, it has become sort of a struggle to give up the computer so she can play her educational games. Then as soon as she is finished, Hubby and I both scramble to claim the computer again. He usually claims it in the morning after he wakes up and feeds the cats, makes his coffee, and give the girls a drink. He gets off when I wake up about an hour and a half later so I can check my stuff online. Afternoons are for the kids to play their games, and then Hubby likes to get on again before dinner and then I have it for the rest of the night.

Hubby has started to hint for a second computer and I wish we could afford one. Another computer would be nice and no more fighting over computer time, especially when Middle is starting to get upset when Oldest won't let her play, too. Then in a couple of years, Youngest will want to get on the computer, and then it'll be 5 people vying for on-line time! Yikes! When Hubby starts working again, we have a short list of things that we need / want to get and a second computer is one of them. It's funny how we manage to get along fine with certain things and then there are other things we find we cannot do without.

When we lived at the old place, it was just an acre of land with trees on the edges of the property. We didn't need much by way of lawn tools, and bought a cheap chainsaw for minor tree cutting. We never dreamed that we would move to where we did and found that our pitiful chainsaw is a cheap excuse for a chainsaw. This is where paying for quality pays off and getting what you pay for applies. The chainsaw we have spits and struggles to saw through 10 inch logs of oak or pine, hard wood or soft, it doesn't matter. It doesn't idle when you put it down and cuts off the minute you let go of it. You cannot do any adjusting to the thingamajig unless you send it off to the factory for a fee, whereas a quality chainsaw allows you to make adjustments and repairs. We have learned our lesson. We are humbled and will do more research on future purchases in lawn tools. Living where we do, a chainsaw is a necessity, to cut up fallen trees blocking your way, to clear away rotten trees that have fallen long ago, cutting up logs for firewood, and big thick branches that need trimming and a saw just won't do. When our finances get back to the plus side again, that will be one of our first major purchases-- a chainsaw.

Number one on our list of things is a new water tank. We have well water, and a well pump and the water goes into a holding tank. When we turn on the water, the holding tank sends water to the house, either to the hot water tank or straight to the water main if it is cold water we want. The water tank is going bad and needs to be replaced. Next on the list is a new hot water heater. When we had the house inspected, the inspector warned us we would probably have to replace it in a year or two. Sure enough, almost 3 years later, the hot water tank is starting to go. We still have hot water, but it leaks and thankfully it leaks out of a relief hose and it drains into a bucket we have placed under it. It used to take about a month to fill before we had to empty it, but now it takes only a few days before it is full again.

I feel like this is all a reminder that tells us just because we may be ok financially (whenever Hubby finds a job), it doesn't mean we can go back to spend, spend, spending. I never thought that we would return to our old spending habits, though there are times I have imagined myself running to the stores and spending $400-500 easily on stuff we have gone without for so long. This tells me that we have priorities first to deal with, and then to sock some away for the next emergency and when you own your own home, there will always be some kind of emergency! A home requires continuous upkeep of all sorts of things, ranging from minor paint jobs to electrical to plumbing to roofing.

I used to hear "An unlived-in house falls apart faster than a lived-in one". I thought that was strange because if no one lives in it, then there is no wear and tear on it. But now, I understand, things happen to a home that you have no control over: bugs move in and start eating the walls for dinner; leaves fall into the gutter and decompose causing water to back up and overflow onto the eaves which cause rotten wood which weakens the roof; a small leak by the base of a toilet that goes undetected will soon weaken the sub floor and eventually causes the floor to cave in, and the list goes on.

Tomorrow we find out how the job interview went last week and we are crossing all our fingers and toes, knocking on wood and praying that there will be good news for Hubby. eBay helps, but it is no substitute for a steady income with benefits. Hopefully, the next time I write, there will be positive news!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Doing Fine, Fine, Fine!

Hubby is out today on another job interview. I have lost count of how many interviews he has been to and how many applications he has filled out. He got hired by Jiffy Lube in the beginning of this month and we were so excited for him to finally get an offer from someone! He was scheduled to begin a 3 to 4 day training where he would be put up in a hotel until the end of training. He was to start on a Tuesday morning and be home either Thursday night or Friday, depending on how quick he completed the training. The training was about 2 1/2 hours away, so he had made allowance to pack early and planned to leave at 4 am to get there in time for the 8:00 starting time. Monday morning, he was all set and ready to go and even called a friend that lived in that area to meet for coffee.

On Monday afternoon, he called the office where he would start working after completing his training to double check on the training dates and times. The manager that hired him answered the call and told him that he was so glad he called, that he made a mistake in hiring him and that no, he didn't get the job. WTF?! If Hubby had not called, would they have even called us to let us know?? Would he have made a 2 1/2 hour drive only to be told to turn around and go home? Needless to say, Hubby was quite mad and he went outside to chop some wood to work off some of his anger.

We are over the "Jiffy Lube incident" and after talking about it, we think maybe it was a blessing in disguise. When he was called back for an interview with them, and he showed up on time, it turned out the manager had left and went home without cancelling his interviews, so Hubby had wasted his time going down there and had to reschedule another interview time. Then when they failed to inform Hubby of their error in hiring him, we both realized that working for a company that doesn't take responsibility in making calls or have the courtesy to keep people up to date, is not a company worth working for.

Since then, Hubby has filled out more applications, both online and in person, endured hundreds of background checks and more questions, but for some reason or other, does not get the job. If it wasn't for the things we sell on eBay, we would not be able to keep our heads above water. I don't know if it is because it's a new year, or what, but we are feeling very optimistic about our financial situation. As I sat down to pay the bills, it was sort of like Russian roulette: pay this one or that one? Can't pay both... We get phone calls everyday from someone wanting to know where the payment for this is and if it has been sent yet. We check the ID caller before Hubby answers the phone and by now, we have recognized when it it is a creditor and we decline to pick up the phone. I never thought I'd be playing hide-and-seek with the phone, but it's kind of funny. The phone will ring and we'll check and see that it's our "friends" calling and we'll look at each other and laugh. It's all we can do now. I'm confident that someone will offer Hubby a job soon, and then we can answer the phone when our "friends" call.

On the bright side of things, we have each other and there is lots of love and joy in this house. I am now 4 months pregnant and doing just wonderful! My eBay sales are going well and I'll be able to pay a couple of bills next week if it keeps up. Oldest is doing great in her school work, Middle is figuring out how to get away with not doing chores and Youngest is slowly getting the hang of being potty-trained while showing a few signs of those "terrible twos". Life is good. We have learned to live within our means and any job that Hubby can get will feel like we have hit the jackpot, and first things first, we will pay off those "friends" of ours!

**I've been asked by a couple of people what my eBay name is so that they can see what I have up for sale. I sell mostly vintage items like Pyrex and other kitchen items along with vintage toys and cars. Then I also throw in a little bit of what I find at yard sales and thrift shops. My ID is Daisyblue73 Feel free to take a look and if you see something you like, by all means, bid! :o)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Doing My Part-- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

It has been bitterly cold here, and lots of time has been spent in the warm house doing crafts and playing games. I have lots of vintage fabric from my trips to the yard sales and thrift shops and decided to do something with them. I re purposed some old kitchen curtains and made up some napkins from them. I want to do my part in reducing our waste and we go through quite a bit of paper napkins when you add up the total at the end of the week: 5 people x 3 meals x 7 days =105 napkins!! And that doesn't count the messy 2 or 3 napkin meals we have now and then.

When I spotted these curtains at the thrift shop one day, I couldn't resist the pattern and colors, though I knew I'd never use them in my own kitchen. Why do I feel like I am committing blasphemy when I cut the fabric into smaller pieces? Is it only me or do you feel the same way? I guess I feel like it is vintage and once I cut it, that's it, there's no more! I know I am doing something that will make it more useful to me instead of having it sit there collecting dust, but I still feel a little guilty about cutting it up. On the other hand, I made 10 napkins and they look so cool and the pattern with the fruit and farm scenery on it just fits in so well with our style! I plan to make 10 more napkins and I'll still have some fabric left and I'll save that for another project. There are 2 different fabrics here-- one with fruits and flowers and another with a house and barn and flowers. Colors are the same and I didn't realize the fabrics didn't match until I got them home.

The girls were asking why I made the napkins and I went into this whole "Saving the Earth / Going Green" spiel with them. I told them that napkins come from trees and if we use less paper, we save the trees. With less paper, we have less trash and we save the earth from being covered with garbage. Buying napkins cost money and we save money by reusing cloth napkins. By recycling fabric, I am not spending money on buying new fabric and saving old fabric from going into the trash. Everybody wins! And from a personal standpoint, the cloth napkins look so much nicer on the table than the crumply paper ones do!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Today is Middle's 4th birthday!! We made monkey bread for her birthday breakfast this morning and then the heavens opened up and dumped about 5 inches of lovely, fluffy snow on us! Of course, the girls begged to go out and I had the foresight to make sure the girls visited the toilet before dressing them in layers and layers of winter outfits!

Here's the lovely birthday girl posing as a popiscle!

As a special treat, we made snow ice cream with the fresh fallen snow and it was SO good! I'd never made it before, but I found plenty of recipes on the internet and the girls were just tickled with eating snow ice cream! What a perfect day for a birthday! I promised the recipe and pictures of the monkey bread... The monkey bread was gobbled up too quick for pictures, but here's the recipe:

1 can Pillsbury's grands biscuits

1/2 c sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 c butter

1 c brown sugar

Mix together sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut biscuits into fifths and roll in sugar and cinnamon. Drop sugared pieces into a greased loaf or bundt pan. (I like using a bundt pan cuz then there's more crispy edges!) Melt butter in a small saucepan and add the brown sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves and pour over dough pieces. Bake about 20-25 minutes at 375 or until lightly browned. Flip upside down onto a plate while still hot. Serve when warm and watch the "monkeys" grab for the pieces and gobble them up!

On a serious note, it has been a frustrating week... I check my bank balances online and noticed some charges on there that couldn't have been made by myself or my husband. After making some calls, it turns out someone has gotten ahold of my credit card number and has been spending on my behalf. Arghh! After several calls to the bank and then a personal visit to the bank, we have gotten it straightened out and my card has been cancelled, a new card will be sent to me, the money has been put back into our account and the bank will now take over the investigation. I had to sign papers stating that it wasn't me that spent at those times, that the card has never left my possession, that I have never given out my card number to anyone and my pin number is not known by anyone else but me. Then because of someone using my card, my balance went into the negative digits and I got charged for insufficient funds! So more calls to the bank was made and that was reversed and the charge was deposited back into my account.

It really burns me when there is someone out there who has the skills or the capabilities to do this kind of thing and uses their power for bad instead of good. I wish they would take those skills and apply them in a positive way instead of taking advantage of innocent, hard-working people. If I had never checked my account, I would have never caught that in time and the checks I have written would have bounced and caused me even more charges from both the bank and the people I wrote the checks to. I have enough money problems without someone out there stealing and making things worse for me. I have enough things to do and do not need to add to my busy schedule by running to the bank and making endless phone calls.

I hope this will be the end of that but now I worry about other things like how in the hell did this person get my card number and is there anything else of mine floating around out there? Like my social security number? Am I going to have to worry about identity theft now? For my own peace of mind, I'm afraid I am going to have to go to one of those background check places and do a search on myself to make sure there is no new credit cards popping up in my name that I didn't apply for. What a friggin' pain in the you-know-what!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Party Time!

Well, we survived! We had a double birthday party for Youngest and Middle on Saturday and I spent Thursday and Friday getting everything ready for the party. Thursday, Hubby went 2 hours east to pick up my Mom and bring her here for the week. I really like having her here when we are having a party because she can help keep the kids occupied and out of the kitchen while I'm in there.

I have always made my own party food and cakes and this party was no exception. I made 2 cakes and decorated them with snowflakes for the winter birthday girls (I have a daisy cake pan for the summer parties). We had hardly any leftover cake, so I'm glad I made 2.

The day before, I made and baked 3 pizza crusts and then assembled the toppings the morning of the party. We also had a little veggie platter with dips and some strawberries and melons. We had zero leftovers and I like when that happens! I had the girls cut construction paper and make a paper chain for decorations and we used all the cool colors, blue, greens and purples and they were so proud to see them hung up on the walls.

The party was great! It was all family and the girls seemed to have fun with all their aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins. After everyone left, Middle commented that she didn't have any fun. When asked why, she said that there were too many people here and it was too loud. I have noticed that she doesn't do well in large groups of people and often covers her ears when things are loud, so I wasn't surprised to hear her say that. But my Mom was in awe that a little, nearly 4 year old child, could state so clearly why she didn't enjoy the party and much preferred to have just us without all the extra people and noise.

Middle's birthday is on Thursday and I will make monkey bread for breakfast and then probably all the foods she likes for lunch and dinner. I like to make their birthday special and making their favorite meals makes them feel like it is their day. Oldest had a few jealousy issues with some of the new presents her sisters got and I had to explain to her that when her day came, she would get presents but not her sisters. I know it doesn't seem fair at the time, but her birthday will come and with it, maybe her own new barbie doll.

It's snowing up here now and I hope we will have enough snow for the girls to go out and play. Supposed to snow off and on all day, and I don't know what the predicted amount of snow we are going to get is supposed to be. The girls have their faces pressed against the windows and have already said they hope more will come down so they can go out and play. If it is snowing where you are, enjoy the pretty winter scenery outside your windows! Happy snow day!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Life Lessons 101

Since having to shop on a really tight budget, I've learned what we can live without and what becomes a necessity. I remember back in high school, in my Career Education class, they taught us how to create a resume and other life skills for the future and they touched briefly on finance. The teacher was saying something along the lines of figuring out what is a luxury and what is a necessity and then try to budget accordingly. I wish I listened better before I went and got myself in credit card debt and instead put more money into some sort of savings account. If I were to teach a class, I think I would be sure to stress the importance of saving for the future and investing wisely.

I also participated in "apartment lifestyles" for a semester in high school, where we would live in a dormitory where the rooms were more like studio apartments with bathrooms and kitchens. One semester was for boys and then the next was for girls. You needed to apply and if you got accepted into the program, you would have a roommate and every week you had to collaborate and come up with a menu and meal plan, then they would give you an allowance and bus us down to the food store to do our shopping. Once a week we had to invite one of the dorm staff to dinner and they would rate our meals, our living quarters and so forth. They also taught us about rent and paying the bills along with food. I loved living in the apartment and it was so nice to be able to cook our own meals instead of going to eat in the cafeteria.

The deaf school that I went to, I think was unique in that it had a lot of programs like the apartment-living and also with the career education classes. As much as I enjoyed my regular classes, I had more fun with the "shop" classes. I loved wood-working and metal-working, I excelled in sewing and home economics, made a final grade of 104 in cooking (that's from making 100 on tests plus answering all the bonus questions right, too!), and was so disappointed when the school budget dropped the ceramics class from the art department. When I went to art classes to learn charcoal drawing and oil painting, I would eye that pottery wheel and ask the art teacher if I could just please please please try it, and she would look at me and shake her head no. They had auto mechanic class, but they stopped with that program the year before I went in. I would have signed up if they still had it while I was there!

All this goes to say that I have always preferred to do things with my hands. I like to make and create with whatever medium I can get my hands on, whether it be food or fabric or wood. When I went to college, I went to Rochester Institute of Technology, where they had a deaf program there called National Technical Institute for the Deaf. I wasn't sure what I wanted to major in yet, but I knew it would be something hand-related. They gave us 2 weeks of trying out different departments and when I went into a jewelry-making class, I knew I found my niche! I let my financial sponsor know of my major choice and then started going to classes. I finished the first tri-mester and started on the 2nd, when I got a bill from the school and I was confused. Wait a minute, I thought this was paid for. I contacted my sponsor only to learn they didn't approve the major I picked because they felt it was not financially life-supporting. Instead of telling me so I could change majors, they just dropped my funding. I barely finished the 2nd trimester before I realized I would not have any money to pay the school and I dropped out.

I don't regret the choices I've made in life, though there are a few sour moments here and there. The good things wholly make up for those sour times and I've had some great times. I traveled to most of the states with my friends, I spent 2 summers at the beach, and I met some really great people along the way. All those experiences made me who I am today and if I had a different path, I would not have met my husband and had our beautiful girls. All those experiences have helped me deal with this frustrating budget I have to follow. Because we had a savings plan, we have been able to go this far without Hubby working. Because of that apartment program in school, I already knew the basics of budgeting for paying the rent (mortgage) and other various bills. Too bad they didn't have a magic class that taught us how to make money grow on trees, that would have really helped! Because of all those shop classes I took, I am able to make and create things to sell and earn money. Because of my Mom's love for thrift shops and yard sales, I learned to love going thrifting and that has helped in that we don't mind buying secondhand and it also helps me to earn money for our family by selling my finds on eBay.

I've learned in life that you have to take the bad things with the good. Things happen that will shape your future, and though you might not see it, though it really sucks at the time, in the long run, you'll be thankful for the experience and finally understand why it happened. I know there is a lesson in this moment that my family is going through right now, why it is so hard for my husband to find a job, and someday, I'll be able to look back and understand what we gained from it. I have also learned that an optimistic attitude goes a long way in making things bearable. The minute I start letting myself think negative, it will drag me and my whole family down into the pits. Everyday is a new day, another chance for someone to call my husband and tell him the words he has been waiting to hear: "You're hired!" Another chance to sell something on eBay that nets me more than I expected it to sell for. Another chance for my girls to try asparagus and say they like it instead of wrinkling their noses while chewing it down. Another day, another chance...

Monday, January 7, 2008


We hit two milestones this past week. First, today is Youngest's 2nd birthday! Happy Birthday to my big girl!

Second, Oldest lost another tooth a few days ago! That makes 2 bottom teeth gone from her beautiful smile.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

You Reap What You Sow

I have wanted to be able to provide for my family by growing my own fruits and vegetables and getting some chickens and a milking cow would be nice, too. I don't know if I will ever go so far as to have a cow, but it is something I think would be nice to have. I like to can and preserve my own foods and there is something about looking in my pantry and seeing foods that I have made that sustain my family. I know there is so much more I could do, and I am looking forward to exploring my options and making it happen.

A greenhouse would be a dream come true for me, and I think of all the lovely garden-fresh foods my family could eat year-round. I may not be able to get one this year, but I do have a sun light that I rescued from the trash a few years ago. I am thinking up ideas on how I can put it to work on a little indoor potted garden and trying a few things. It would also be turned into a little science project for a home school lesson, teaching the kids the life cycle of plants and how they grow.

If more people would grow their own foods, made more meals from scratch and bought less processed foods, think how much healthier we all would be. First, we would be out in the fresh air, physically working on a garden which equals exercise; secondly, we would be eating organic fruits and vegetables that have no preservatives or chemicals that you cannot pronounce. That alone equals better health right there, because it has been shown that some of those preservatives and chemical agents and dyes can cause health problems. Thirdly, by growing your own foods and incorporating that into meals made from scratch, you know exactly what is going into your body and it tastes so much better than something that came from a box. Finally, you are helping the environment by driving less because you need less food because you are growing your own, so it all equals into using less gas and sustaining your family yourself instead of depending on a country halfway across the world for a head of lettuce.

It really isn't that hard to grow a garden. If you have never had one before or are hesitant to try, start small. Try a potted garden by using a few large pots and planting one tomato plant in one container and some herbs in another. Water every so often and you'll be able to reap the rewards in a couple of months. Try a small plot if you have the space, and make a little 5 by 5 foot square. You can work that size by hand easily with a hoe and plant a couple tomatoes, some lettuce, a zucchini plant, snow peas and maybe a compact cucumber plant. There are all kinds of possibilities and lots of missed opportunities to grow your own food.

Gardening is something that has been done for generations before us and sadly, it is becoming a lost art. There seems to be a surge in eating organic and buying and eating locally grown foods, but why not try growing your own foods, if you haven't already? Many of the blogs I frequent are gardeners and it feels like it is a growing trend, but when I step out of Blog world and into reality, I can see that it isn't happening here. There aren't enough people trying it for themselves and seeing how easy it is. Living in the mountains like I do, there are a lot of old-timers here that garden and preserve their own foods, and I see ads in the local papers offering up surplus potatoes and tomatoes at the end of the summer, but the younger generation isn't continuing that tradition. I would hate for people to become so dependent on grocery stores for food and microwaves for cooking that they have forgotten where food comes from. That they would think nothing of forcing a farmer off his land so they can build their 25 room house on an acre of land and then the poor farmer has lost his livelihood. That they would never eat a tomato right out of the garden, still warm from the sun and taste it's sweet, juicy goodness.

Mom, who grew up very poor, had a mother that grew her own fruits and vegetables and preserved the bounty from the garden, had chickens and pigs that she butchered herself and stored in the cellar. Worked on a farm in the summer to help two farmers with chores while they were busy with planting and harvesting and came away with food for them and some for her in return for her work. She always used to complain about canning and how much work went into it and told my Mom that if she could, she would buy from the store. Easier and cheaper, time-wise, she said. So my Mom never learned to can and preserve her own foods. She might have helped do the prep-work, but she didn't learn how to can. I remember having a garden only once in my childhood and the next summer, a pool was plopped on top of the old garden plot.

When my Mom sees me canning my own food, she can't understand why, because all she remembers is how much her own mother complained about it. I tell her that I enjoy canning because I want to do it, because it tastes so much better than store bought and because I don't have to do it. I could easily go to the store and buy a can of corn and a can of peaches, but in a taste test, they don't beat the corn I have frozen in the fridge or the jar of peaches in their own juice and not a heavy, sugared syrup. My grandmother had to do it to survive. Doesn't any chore become a burden when you are forced to do it? Gardening is enjoyable to me because I know the rewards at the end are so much sweeter than anything I could ever buy at the store, grown halfway across the world and picked before it was ripe.

What else do I have to say to convince you to grow a garden?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Control Issues

I love my kids. There's no doubt how much I love my kids. But I find it hard to let go and let them do things that would be easier if I did it myself. Take for example, last night, when we decided it was time to take the Christmas tree down. I let the kids take out the ornaments and hang them on the tree. I'd rather be the one to take the ornaments off, wrap in tissue paper (the breakable ones) and place in the storage container. The girls wanted to help. Thanks, girls, but.. shoo! Oldest is behind the tree grabbing ornaments, Middle is pulling on an ornament that got wound up around a branch and Youngest is reaching for the delicate ceramic ones and I am about to explode! It took all my strength not to puff up and let loose with a mighty roar and fling them all aside with one swipe of my mighty arm. But I did yell. Kinda loudly. Loud enough to get Hubby's attention.

It's the same in the kitchen. My kitchen. Mine, mine, mine! I don't wanna share! I don't like when all three girls crowd on both sides of me wanting to help, sticking their fingers in the dough or batter or touching the knives or a hot stove. Oldest and Middle have both burned their palms on the stove and have learned to stay away from the stove. Youngest has no idea except when I say, "HOT! Don't touch! HOT!" I like to make the least amount of messes in the kitchen as possible because quite frankly, I don't like to clean. My kitchen is clean but I don't want to make more work for myself if I don't have to. When I relinquish control and let Oldest stir the cookie dough and she stirs too hard and flour goes flying, inside I am silently growling. I am thinking to myself, agh! Now I gotta clean the counter! When she wants to be the one to pour in the cup of milk and she spills it on the floor, I am crying inside, oh! Now I gotta mop!

It is easy for me to let the girls do things on their own, in their space with their things. But it's hard for me to let go of my space and my way of wanting to do things in a certain order. Hubby has learned this, too, after we first moved in together. He learned I like things a certain way and there is an order to the way I want to do things. He figured out I am a Virgo just like his Dad. He recounted stories of his Dad wanting him to do things a certain way, even cutting the grass back-and-forth and not in circles. He would be helping his Dad before he got shooed away with,"I'll do it myself". Then Hubby goes and marries a Virgo! I think he likes the challenge!

I am aware of my tendencies to want to "do it myself" and I try to stay on top of that. How else are the girls going to learn unless I let them try it for themselves. I am getting better at letting Oldest do things and helping me in the kitchen. She is getting older and understands better to be careful and has developed better eye/hand coordination. I am still struggling with Middle and Youngest wanting to help and crowding me while I prepare and cook meals. Youngest has amazed me by getting the step stool from the bathroom so that she can be eye-level with the counter. It makes me nervous because she is now eye-level with the stove top and I dread the scream that comes with a burned hand. I look forward to the day I finally finish my island project and then I can move the prep-work for meals to the island and the girls can now stand opposite of me instead of crowding me.

In the meantime, I'll continue to growl inside, silently and clean up the mess afterwards. They'll learn eventually.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Plans for 2008

The first day of 2008 is nearly past and it has been a good day. We spent the day with Hubby's family eating a traditional meal of black-eyed peas that are supposed to bring good luck to the new year. Before we left, Middle wasn't eating her breakfast. She said she wasn't hungry. I had toasted cinnamon-raisin bagels with cream cheese for her and she didn't want it. Hmm.. offered her a favorite: pop-tarts. Still not interested. I knew then that she wasn't feeling 100%. She felt warm and we debated going to dinner at his parents' house, a 2+ hours drive one way and I was worried she would go downhill once we got there and I didn't want to pass her illness onto her cousins.

We decided to ask her how she felt and if she wanted to stay home or go to Grandma and Granddaddy's house. She said she was fine and wanted to go. So we went. Stupid me, I didn't think to bring along any medicine because I was reminding myself not to forget the other stuff we were bringing. All 3 girls and me konked out on the drive over, which in itself is quite unusual. Once we got there, both Middle and Youngest were burning up and after checking their temperatures, they were both over 101. Should've stayed home.

After convincing Middle to chew and swallow a baby aspirin and hiding Youngest's in a bit of chocolate, we ate, we talked, we left. Poor Hubby is coming down with a head cold and so far, Oldest and I are feeling ok. We came home to a COLD house and quickly started a fire in the wood stove. After shivering a bit, the house warmed up and the girls were put in their beds. Hopefully the girls will feel better tomorrow, as will Hubby and I hope, hope, hope that Oldest and I don't catch their ills.

On a brighter note, I am already dreaming of a better future for my family this year. I am thinking of what I want to plant in the garden this year, where I want to transplant my rhubarb (they didn't do well in their current location) and the new kitchen garden I have been dreaming of for awhile now. We will have the main garden area, which will have the tomatoes, squashes, melons, corn and such. The smaller kitchen garden will be right outside our back door and will have herbs, snow peas, cherry tomatoes and a few other items that will be used nearly daily in our meals. There is currently a blue spruce tree planted there by the previous owners and it is too close to the house. We will try to dig it up and transplant it, but if it proves to be too big of a task, then it will be cut down. Hopefully, we can save it and it can grow happily elsewhere.

The first year we moved, before we bought a tractor and had a chance to till the bigger garden area, I planted 10 tomato plants in that area and they did so well, that I know a small kitchen garden would be just perfect there. I can better keep an eye on some of the plants that got ravaged by the groundhogs and deer, knowing they won't come so close to the house and the cats will help keep them away anyway. Truthfully, I don't know if I will get the bigger garden extensively planted because by the time Spring comes and it is time to plant, I will be 7-8 months pregnant and if my previous pregnancies were any indication, I will be HUGE by then. I think I will be able to do my corn and squashes, melons and cukes, but I think that will be all for the big garden. I'll mostly concentrate on the smaller kitchen garden which I think will be more manageable for me and my big belly.

I've also been thinking of getting some egg-laying hens for our own fresh eggs and to help peck at the bugs around the garden. I need to get Hubby to build a coop first. Our old neighbors had chickens and I don't know if they ate the eggs, but we sure enjoyed watching them peck and seeing the rooster strut his stuff. I need to read up more on what it requires to raise chickens before we make our decision, though.

I have hope that 2008 will bring Hubby a new job, and will bring us lots of joy and love. We are already happy as a family, I just want stability in the financial department. The fact that I still dream of things just tells me that I am optimistic about our future.