Monday, February 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

This weekend, I bought chicken for pretty cheap (1.88/lb for b/l s/l chicken breasts) so I foresee chicken in our immediate future. I cooked up some of it last night, but we ate that amount with the company we had over, so for this week, we will have:

  • Chicken fajita salads (love love love these!)
  • Chicken noodle casserole
  • Homemade pizzas
  • Leftover bar
  • Breakfast for dinner
  • Potato bar
  • Enchiladas (chicken or beef, depending when in the week we have this)
That is not the list in the order of when we will eat the meals, but rather a guideline for our dinner plans. I can't wait to get the rest of that chicken made up later today! What I make up today, I will set aside for the meals for this week and the rest of it will be stored in my Tupperware Freezer Mate containers. Love those things!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tackle It Tuesday

Today's tackle has been working on attacking Mt. Washmore (laundry anyone? I have plenty to spare!), getting our bedroom ready for our new bedroom set that comes some time tomorrow, and trying to get the adhesive and some black covering thing pulled up out of our basement and take it back to the cement floor. Oh and we also pulled up the carpet that was in the basement and took that and an old couch out. Both will be on the curb next week for trash collection day. Unless I get motivated to take it to the landfill before then. Highly doubtful as I have lots of other projects going on first.

Things that I have tackled and accomplished this past week, include rearranging furniture, moving bookshelves to our living room and unpacking multiple boxes of books to stock the shelves with. Going through the boxes and weeding out the books that I don't want to keep. Let's see, we also cleared out our den, moved in our couch and loveseat, took down vertical blinds from all of our bigger windows and sliding doors, put up curtains instead, put together an exercise bike, created chore lists for the kiddos that seem to actually be working! (yay for that one!), cleaned out my front closet, yeah...I think that's it. Or mostly it? I'm so exhausted. But I'm trying to get a number of things done before this weekend. I want my house to be in nearly perfect order before this weekend. I know that truly perfect order is not attainable, but I want the entire house to be company-ready. I don't care that no one ever goes into my basement, I want it to be done so that if a person ever were to need to go down there, they wouldn't be frightened. :)

I may go around and take pictures later on today, but for now, I want to get the post up. You can check back later for some pictures of the dones and the to-dos. It'll be fun, I promise!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

It's Monday and that means it is time to plan this week's menu. So without further ado (because I have a household full of various projects), here it is:
Monday: take-out (major projects happening today)
Tuesday: dinner for the kids will be at Grandma's house, Hubby and I will do sandwiches or leftovers
Wednesday: beef stroganoff
Thursday: beef enchiladas (I made some this weekend that the kids said were the best that they have ever had and Hubby feels he needs to correct this, so he is making enchiladas to attempt to regain his status as resident best cook)
Friday: homemade pizzas
Saturday: chicken casserole
Sunday: tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches

That's our basic plan for the week. It should work out fine. And since the menu is planned, it  makes my life so much easier! :) Gotta love that!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Finish It Friday

Well, with it being Friday, I am supposed to be finishing up something that I started this week. Let's see...since I didn't do much of anything today, this may be a tougher post that I thought it would be. I guess for starters, I finished up Freddy's vet visits. Tuesday, he went to the vet for his rabies, distemper and two other vaccines. Today, he went to the vet's office for a grooming. They have a nice service there, that is affordable plus they express his anal glands as part of the grooming process, which is awesome. Because let me tell you, when my dog farts, it can make a dead skunk smell like a bed of roses. Seriously. Yuck!

Another thing that I wrapped up today was a job contact. I called someone earlier this week about a job and today I had my interview. It will be a while until I hear something for sure due to insurance regulations and such, but that is something else that is finished up today.

The other thing that I was starting to think that I finished up was my ankle. As in, done for. Not to be utilized again. I didn't use crutches yesterday and wore my brace only part of the day while we were working on things around the house. In all honesty, I know I overdid it yesterday. But I knew that I was scheduled to work tonight and I was planning on going in, despite the doctor's note saying that I couldn't. But I was just trying to prepare for the night. And yeah, no go. Once I was done with my interview today, I picked the dog up from the groomer, came home, put my foot up, had Hubby put my air cast back on and took pain medicine. It may have just been over the counter, but it helped some and then I fell asleep because that was the only way I could deal with the sheer amount of pain that I was in.

So, that's that, I suppose. Dog appointments and job leads. Complete for this week.

Relax and enjoy the skin you're in

It has been stressful for me the last month or so. You can certainly tell that by Wednesday's post which makes today's post seem all the more important to me. You see, I"m a day late for Thursday but wanted to do it anyhow, which means it's my day to do something for myself, encouraged by Katie. In addition to that, Rachel Anne's points for today are also for doing something for myself so that makes it doubly easy to get something in for today.

I have had a lot going on today so my plan for today is to steal away some "me" time by locking myself in the bathroom, filling the tub up with nice hot water, throwing in some bath fizzies and just relaxing. Oh my gosh, does that ever sound wonderful?! Plus, with my ankle, I'm supposed to stay off of it as much as possible and showering pretty much guarantees standing on my foot.

Plus, do y'all have any idea how long it's been since I've been able to just kick back and enjoy a nice long soak? Bliss, I tell ya. Pure and utter bliss. And there's a lock on the door. So that means kidlets and Hubby will just have to fend for themselves the whole time.

I'm linking this up to Katie's "Time For Me Thursday" post and Rachel Anne's "Home Sanctuary" post for today.

Points for today:50 points!
Points for February: 430 points!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

When It All Comes Crashing Down...

I'm kind of in a dumpy mood tonight. Yesterday, I had some things that I wanted to get done and in the end, I was only able to accomplish a small portion of it. While coming down the stairs from the bedroom level of our house, I rolled my left ankle and fell down the stairs. It hurt like crazy and I just laid there for a minute, trying to get a grip on the pain and inhaling deeply. And also realizing just how badly our carpet needs to be cleaned. Pee-eww!!!

But I managed to get up and spent the rest of the day trying to do the best that I could. My foot and ankle hurt but I just stuck it out and did my best. The pain mostly went away until later in the evening. Then it was back and absolutely horrible so I went to sleep.

Woke up today and could barely walk on it. Decided to go ahead and get it checked out. The good news is that it wasn't fractured. It is just a sprain. The bad news is that it is a sprain. Did you know that bones take only 6 weeks to heal whereas ligaments and muscles can take up to a full year?

The doctor put me in an air cast, which is like a splint. It has two air chamber thingies that I blow up with a tube and then I strap it onto my leg. The two chambers are connected to each other by this strap thingie that is under my foot. And so I am supposed to wear this until I am able to walk without pain or 3 days, whichever comes last. And he put me on crutches, which I am supposed to use for the next week at least. It's just depressing.

We have had such a horrible run medically since I started the job in the little town. I have been in two car accidents, I had a sinus infection that was so bad, it blew out both of my eardrums, JoNo has had bronchitis, Hubby had influenza, then he had to have emergency oral surgery, I had bronchitis, I sprained my ankle. And then of course, there are other illnesses that are of a less severe nature. I'm just done. I'm exhausted with this stuff. And I'm afraid that I'm going to end up losing my job.

I have been looking for a new job anyhow. Technically, I shouldn't be working at my current facility because of the family supervising family rule. And there are some issues between me and my co-workers. And I really prefer home health to facilities. But I haven't gotten any of the jobs that I have applied for. It doesn't help that my attendance at my current job has sucked either. But it isn't like there was a lot I could do about it either.

In other news, I have another job interview on Friday. This one is for private duty home health, which is my absolute favorite. And I will probably try to see if I can get some hours with my other private duty lady as well. I'm seriously scared about the future of our financial status.

It will work out though. I know it will. And it doesn't help to worry about it because worrying doesn't solve the problem. What does solve the problem is taking action and that is what I have done. I have put in applications, I have had interviews, I make contacts daily and I keep my job search open.

So if I can get the job on Friday, that will help and if I get some hours with my other lady, that will help even more. It won't be enough, but it will be some extra. And I put an ad on craigslist tonight to try to generate some more leads as well. We'll just have to see how that goes.

And the whole parenting thing - yeah, that's going a bit rough right now too. I am trying to figure out the best way to handle screen time and chores and allowance and privileges and I thought I had a good system worked out and then today, my system turned on me. Hubby and I had decided to limit the kids to one hour of screen time per day during the week. And it only happens after their chores and any special requests have been completed. Then on the weekends, they can have up to three hours each day, but once again - only after chores are done. Allowance will be given every so often (we were trying to decide between weekly, every other week or once a month) and the amount was to be $1 for each year they are old. So Natty would get $10, JoNo would get $7, Punky $4 and Boo $3.

But then yesterday, JoNo buckled down and really kicked tail on helping out around the house, knowing that I was in pain and I totally appreciated it. I didn't even ask him to do anything beyond his room and to just do a quick sweep through the den. Oh yeah, and he also cleaned up the yard outside too. Meanwhile, Natty moaned and groaned and complained about having to do any chores and not being able to just play video games right away, so on and so forth. In the time that it took JoNo to clean up his half of their room, the bathroom, the den and part of the kitchen, Natty got almost half of the living room done. It was ridiculous.

Then today, JoNo brings home his book order and shows me the books he wants to get out of it and asks how much he earned for helping out yesterday. When I tried to explain it to him again that chores just needed to be done before screen time and that allowance was going to be a set amount every so often, he got tears in his eyes because he had worked so hard yesterday and he was wanting to use the money that he earned to pay for some new books.

Yeah, I suck. So I need to figure it out. I'm thinking that they will have their set chores to do to earn their screen time, they will have their allowance that they get at whatever interval and they can earn money for doing extra work and going above and beyond. I think that might be the best solution. I just don't know. This parenting gig is tough!

I just have lots of things to sort out and figure out and hopefully soon, it will all come together. And in the meantime, my carpets really need to be cleaned and I'm not supposed to bear weight. Oh Hubby!...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tossed It Tuesday

 Well, if you read my last post, you would see that I had cleaned out my pantry. From my pantry alone, I tossed out 8 boxes of expired foods, around 12 cans of expired food, and a bag of potatoes. I also got rid of some old chairs that were breaking and weren't in good enough condition to repair. We finally got the high chair out of the house too. I sorted though some books and got rid of some of those and of course, the great laundry sort continues!

Some things that I am planning to get rid of this coming week include: a couch that has been water-damaged from our basement flooding.

Some carpet that has also been water-damaged from our basement flooding.

Shoes. I am finding that we have TONS and TONS of shoes.

Tackle It Tuesday

My tackle this past week was the kitchen pantry. Oh my word. I could not believe how junked out it was! I had no idea what I had on hand, I was buying products that I already had on hand, while not buying the products that I was low on. It was pantry disorder at it's finest. Absolute craziness!

So I started off by taking EVERYTHING out of the pantry. And I mean EVERYTHING. I grouped all the like items together. After doing that, I then decided to pull out everything from our overflow cupboard as well. And our spice cupboard too. It was a big ordeal! Unfortunately, I only got pictures of the pantry before - not the spice or overflow cupboards, because I didn't intend to get them done too. But it was necessary. Items in there belonged in the pantry and vice versa.

So, pantry before pictures:

Things were grouped together in there but there were some duplicate items in different areas and it just needed a good overall clean out. It also needed to be organized in a way that made more sense.

Things were just tossed in here and while they were grouped together, it wasn't exactly the best plan. Plus there were many outdated items in there. Also, do you see the bag of potatoes? Down there at the bottom? Let's just say that potatoes do not belong in the back of the pantry at all.

And here, there were many outdated boxed goods. And I had too many items that I don't use on a regular basis down low while the items that I was using was up high on the upper shelves.

So, I decided to use the upper shelves for the overflow and store extra of the items that I already had down below. Instead of trying to keep it all completely grouped together, it meant that keeping an amount down below on the shelves that I would typically go through in a certain amount of time, and keeping the extras of those items up on the shelf. Rather than having 30 cans of peaches down on the shelves, I have room for six. The other 24 cans of peaches would have to go up on the overflow shelf. I can just replace what I need from my overflow shelf first.

The area behind the pull out on the left is my baking good center. I have cake and muffin mixes on the top shelf. The second shelf holds crisco bars, powdered sugar and brown sugar. Shelf three is home to flour and sugar, while the fourth row has a container with butterscotch chips, a can of evaporated milk and a cookie mix on it. There's an empty shelf and then on the bottom, there are three jugs of cran-apple juice.

The right side of the pantry behind the pull out shelf has all of the pasta and sauces and helpers. Top shelf is boxed pasta. Lasagna noodles, manicotti noodles. Second shelf is more boxed pasta. Elbow macaroni, penne pasta, mac n cheese. Bagged spaghetti calls the third shelf home, while the fourth shelf holds pasta sauces and a can of yams (may seem odd unless you know that you can use yams to stretch the pasta sauce).  Fifth shelf is refried beans and taco shells. And the bottom shelf is Hamburger Helper boxes.

This is the shelf and cabinet above our stove. On the right side of cupboard area, we have our overflow or less commonly used spices. On the right, soup bases. The shelf has my Tupperware containers on the left that hold powdered milk, instant potato flakes, splenda packets, pink lemonade mix and two empty containers. On the right, our more commonly used spices. So handy to have all of this stuff right here above the stove.

Before, this was our spice and overflow cupboard. I hated it. It was cluttered, there were so many things in here that didn't belong in here and it just wasn't nearly as convenient. Now, it holds only what it needs to. Top shelf is for currently unused items on the top left, and cooking oils on the right. Middle shelf has a sandwich section on the left (peanut butter - SIX jars - no kidding!), honey and strawberry preserves. The right side has two 24 packs of microwave popcorn. Extra butter and light butter. Bottom left is more baking supplies - baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch, and yeast. In the middle, there's the citrus juices - lemon, lime, and key lime and then a can of french fried onions. On the right is a drink mix center. We have hot chocolate mix, coffee, cappuccino mixes, malted milkshake mix, apple cider packet, crystal light packets, and tea packets.

So there you have it. That was the tackle that I did this past week. And once again, I apologize for the poor quality of the photos. At that point, I was still taking pictures with my phone. I have since gotten a new power cord for my camera. Well, sort of. I bought Hubby a camera that was similar to my own, that I was pretty sure would have the same power cord as mine (it did), and so I am using his until I actually locate my own.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

Today's small thing was to let someone know that you were thinking of them today. I did this before I even read Rachel Anne's assignment for today. This morning, when I got onto Facebook, I dropped by the walls of a number of friends and wished them a Happy Valentine's Day, sent them my love and let them know that I was thinking of them.

The one friend who stands out most right now in my mind and my heart is my friend, Erin. Her hubby recently deployed and she's home with their three kiddos, adapting to yet another period of time with him gone for the military. She is one of the most incredible women that I know and she knows that I think that too. I wish I was there today to bring her flowers and chocolate and coffee and to give her a chance to relax and rejuvenate, but we live many many miles apart and it's just not possible. But she was the first one on my mind when I got onto Facebook this morning. I visited her page, another friend's page (who doesn't like Valentine's Day - and then to boot - her grandpa died today too), and many more.

This afternoon, Hubby and I sat down and talked with the kids about some changes that we have decided to make around the house involving screen time and chores. We have decided to limit the kids' screen time to one hour per day. I am so tired of screen time being such a huge focus and the kids not knowing what to do with themselves without a screen in front of them to entertain them. We also decided that allowance will be freely given, chores will be done before screen time is allowed and it will be done with a cheerful attitude or screen time will not be allowed at all.

Natty complained and whined and cried about the changes, while JoNo buckled down and got right to work. JoNo went so far above and beyond that there will be little for the kids to do tomorrow. Well, there will still be plenty to do, but in comparison to what there was to do today, there will be very little.

Natty was incredibly upset and at one point, we sent him up to his room, where he laid on his bed, whining and complaining about the changes. I laid down on JoNo's bed across the room from Natty and we talked. He poured out the troubles that were in his heart and I just listened. Sometimes that is the hardest thing to do. I want to jump in, give him advice, tell him how to fix it, analyze it, whatever... But all he needs is someone to listen. Which, thankfully today, I did. And it seemed to do wonders for him as well. As I was leaving his room, I told him that he was welcome to come back down whenever he felt ready to.

Then, Natty and I made supper together tonight. We did a breakfast for supper, which is a family favorite. I let him do all the measuring and mixing for homemade pancakes. I didn't even supervise directly. I just told him what he needed and let him measure and pour, stir and mix and all of that. It also gave him a chance to show off some of his math skills, since we were doubling the recipe. Amounts like 2 1/2 cups of flour, he was quick to know was 5 cups with our modified recipe. And 3 teaspoons, he immediately knew was actually 1 1/2 from the original recipe. We changed it up and some of the time I would tell him the amount from the original recipe and some of the time I would give him the amount from the modified recipe. I figured a bit of a confidence boost would be good for his spirits and it was. He is very proficient in his math skills and I knew that having the opportunity to show those skills off and to cook at the same time would be a major mood lifter for him.

He also wanted to make a special pancake for Boo - so Boo got a Mickey Mouse pancake. Then he wanted to make a special one for Punky - so we made her a flower - complete with petals and a stem. I made a car-shaped pancake for JoNo, which he loved. It looked like a VW Bug. It was cute.

And to show my Hubby my love today, when I was helping the kids get their Valentines cards finished up before school, I also stashed away a bunch of mini bars of Hershey's milk chocolate. We had gotten a mixed bag of mini bars - Hershey's milk chocolate, Hershey's special dark chocolate, Mr Goodbar and Krackle. Hubby prefers milk chocolate to any other chocolate and I wanted him to know that I was thinking of him too, so I grabbed a bunch of the regular milk chocolate bars and "hid" them in a decorative cup next to the container where I put all of the leftover Valentine's candy. I let Hubby know about his "secret stash" of milk chocolate and he seemed quite pleased that I had thought of him in this way today.

But it is late now and I am tired, so I am going to end this now and tally up my point totals.

Points for today: 50 points!
Points for February:  380 points!

Friday, February 11, 2011

'Round the table they go!

We have four children. Four messy eating children. We have six chairs at our table, one for each of us. I try to get the chairs wiped off at least once a week. My grandmother did it every single time she did dishes (which was directly following each meal and then once before bed - four times a day in all!), but well, I'm not that accomplished. Although, I suppose if I did, it'd be less of a job for both the chairs and the dishes to get done. Hmm...something to think about.

Today's task is to clean off the chairs around the table. I did it the best that I could. At some point, Boo has gotten pink paint on a couple of the chairs and I have not been able to get it off. Although, let me tell you! I have most definitely tried to do so! I wiped down the chairs, getting the magic marker off of one, crusty milk off of another, and then just giving them all a good overall cleaning. Which is great because Hubby wants to have guests over tomorrow for dinner, so provided that the chairs stay clean, they will look as great as they can for our guests.

Nice timing on this one, Rachel Anne! :)

Points for today: 40 points!
Points for February: 330 points!

(There were extra points available for today - an extra 30! But I didn't wipe down an extra set of chairs. I got distracted by some other jobs that I wanted to get done and well, yeah, it just didn't happen!)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Time For Me Thursday

Thursdays are the days that Katie had deemed as a day to blog about some time that we spend on ourselves. As a parent, a spouse, an employee or whatever, it's hard to find time to really do something for yourself. You spend so much time focusing on your kids, your mate, or your job, that you don't often stop and take time just for yourself. Katie's designation of Thursday to blog about this is also my reminder of my need to take this time for myself.

I consider blogging to be something that I do for myself. It's my time to get my thoughts out of my head and into written form. It's also a place to share the things that I am working on around the house or with the kids or whatever, that the people in my regular, everyday life are really not interested in hearing about. And who knows? Maybe you all don't really want to read about it either, but it's still there. :)

I have not had much chance to knit recently, so I am contemplating that as an option of something to do today. Maybe a little bit of knitting and some Grey's Anatomy on the agenda for tonight. Sounds like a date with myself to me! :) That is my plan for this evening. Knitting and Grey's, pure bliss!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Workin' Out Wednesday

I have joined a friend on their weight loss blog and I have been working out quite a bit and trying to watch/limit my calorie intake and so far in the last three days that I have been really working on it, I have done really well. I joined a site called "Lose It" and I have been using it to really monitor my calorie intake and my exercise. It's been a real eye-opener, let me tell you! Oh and if you are also working to lose weight or exercise more or whatever, and decide to join (it is free, by the way!) leave me a comment and we can be friends on there and encourage each other!

So, today I want to share about my work out summary and goals for the coming week:

Monday, I had planned to do my Jillian Michael "30 Day Shred" dvd, but every time I moved my right shoulder and elbow or my left knee, it was just bone on bone grinding, which neither sounds nor feels good. So instead, I did some vigorous housecleaning and weight lifting.

Tuesday, I did some weights again and also did the exercise bike at the inlaw's house.

Then today, I did some sit ups. My stomach muscles are definitely not what they used to be! Oh wow! But it still felt good to do that.

After reading some information, it says that you need to give your muscles a day off between working out, so if I want to work out every day, I need to make sure that I'm working different muscle groups. So I think I will do arms one day, legs another day and abs a third day. That way each muscle set will have two days off between workouts. I think that is a good plan.

Quiet Corner

Hmmm, my own corner...well, that used to be in our bedroom. We have an old brown recliner in our room that came from Hubby's paternal grandparents (I feel the need to distinguish this because there is a pink recliner in our living room that came from Hubby's  maternal grandparents) where I often would spend time on my laptop or reading or just relaxing.

I have not been able to do this much recently because our room has been undergoing some major changes (new drapes, planning on a new bedroom furniture set sometime soon, hopefully) and well, my corner is currently buried under boxes that need to be gone through and sorted and well, honestly, I don't have time for that at this point. Also, I need to do a number of other tasks before I can deal with that one.

So, I decided to do my second corner, which includes the pink chair in the living room. It is my second choice for reading, writing, relaxing and reclining. I tidied this area up, vacuumed, cleared off the table, brought up a small pillow I like to tuck in behind my lower back and even sprayed the chair with some fabric refresher just because I like the scent. So nice and comfy and pretty looking (and smelling!) now.

There was also a secondary assignment to enjoy the space for 10 minutes, which I definitely did. I sat down and relaxed and read blogs and typed up this post and did some hunting online for exercise bikes. I'm sure I spent way more than 10 minutes on this assignment. But um, I just wanted to make sure that I had a chance to enjoy the corner before the kids got to it again! LOL!
Points for today: 40 points!
Bonus points for today: 20 points!
Points for February: 290 points!

Wordless Wednesday

I snapped this picture of Miss PunkyPie yesterday afternoon. She had been playing around putting sunglasses on her stuffed animals and on our family dog, Freddy. Then she asked me to take a picture of her and her little brother's stuffed puppy. I complied because, honestly, who could say no to this face:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Back Door

Yesterday I posted about our launch and landing pads and today's assignment from Rachel Anne is to clean up the area near our back door. Well, this is really easy. We actually have two back doors. One we refer to as the back door, which is directly opposite the front door and goes out to the yard behind our house. The other back door opens to one side of our house and we refer to that one as the side door. But that door often gets mistaken as our front door because we live on a corner lot and our address is on that street, while our front door is actually facing the other street. It confuses delivery people to no end!

So, for this task, I actually did the area near our side door. The reason that I said that this was really easy is because during the winter, we keep this door closed and locked and don't use it at all if possible. The main reason is because it's a sliding door that opens directly onto carpet and I don't want the salt and mud and wet coming in onto the carpet.

However, there was some tidying up to do down there. And I also needed to get things ready for later this month when we will be changing out the window coverings. We live in a rental and it has vertical blinds covering this door. We want to put up some energy conserving drapes. They have a thermal back and they also block out light. I don't know if I want to get rid of the blinds completely, but I do want the drapes up over them at the very least.

So I prepared the area for that and overall did a quick tidy of the area. It looks so  much better now! And I didn't even think it looked bad to start!

Points for today: 40 points!
Points for February: 230 points!

Tossed It Tuesday

This week, we tossed out a bunch of stuff. I cleared off our entertainment center and got it all nice and neat. I also did the same thing to our bookshelf and our desk area in our kitchen. There was plenty of items from those two places alone that got tossed out.

We also have a number of boxes and bags of clothing for donation/consignment that are ready to go. As I am working my way through our laundry and our stored clothing, I have been weeding out as much as I can right now. It is a process that I am sure I will be working on for months to come. So don't be surprised if you often see clothing on my "Tossed It" list.

We also sorted through the kids' toys and eliminated the ones that were broken, missing pieces or just not  played with.

Still have a long way to go but I like where it is heading,

Shameless Brag

This is my NattyNu. He's ten years old and in fourth grade. He is great at math, okay in reading and a terrible speller. He loves to be active and he plays hard. He can be a tremendous help around the house. He is also an emotional kid, who feels things very deeply.

Today, he went to a friend's house to play after school. JoNo went to another friend's house to play as well. Hubby told them both to be back at 5:00 but then our plans changed and so Hubby picked Natty up from the friend's house on his way home today. JoNo had already come home on his own.

Anyhow, when Hubby went to pick up Natty, the friend's parents commented to Hubby how happy they are to have Natty there and how wonderfully behaved he is. They said that they were grateful to Natty for being patient with their son, who is extremely shy and has a hard  time and major fear of making new friends. They said that Natty is a joy to have over at their house and that he is more than welcome over there anytime.

Those words made this mama's heart swell with love and pride. I am so proud of my Natty for being patient with his friend. I am happy that the two of them have become friends. Natty has a hard time making friends sometimes too. He tends to think that people are his friends when really they aren't. He doesn't understand all the fine nuances of relationships and communication. But he is learning. And he has found a new friend in this other child as well. I am so happy for both of them.

It was also nice to hear those words because kids often behave differently at other people's houses and in different social situations. Well, really, that is true for most human beings, not just kids. But I don't always know how his behavior is when he's away from me and sometimes I'm concerned that the behavior is not as good as it could be. But this report, well, it warms my heart.

Thanks Natty for being such a good friend. And thanks for being so well-behaved and showing good choices when you are away from home. I love you Buddy!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

This week's Menu Plan is going to be mostly from my freezer and my pantry because I like those challenges that I have seen on other people's blogs for eating from the pantry and freezer without having to go to the store - or going to the store for minimal amounts of groceries.

So, here we go:

Monday - beef roast in the stockpot (It's simmering as I type...smells DELICIOUS!) mashed potatoes and mixed green veggies

Tuesday - homemade beef stroganoff and mixed green veggies

Wednesday - chicken noodle casserole and carrots

Thursday - goulash (ever have it? ground beef, tomatoes, macaroni noodles, a little of this and a little of that)

 Friday - leftovers

Saturday - kids pick

Sunday - chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans

Menu Plan...

 Well, this is something that I do when I link up every Monday to Menu Plan Monday with Org Junkie, but I really like the concept of this menu plan idea. And it will be easier for me to do because it will change up the menu more frequently, which I am sure that my family will definitely appreciate!

It also goes along with the home management binder project that I have been working on recently as well. I haven't had much chance to post about everything that I have been working on. And trust me, there is a LOT going on right now. Hopefully, I will be able to come back and get some of the stuff posted about. But anyhow, moving on...

I did it and I was able to come up with over 3 months' worth of menu ideas! That was incredible! I have the ideas listed and I can pick and plug them in based on what's on sale, what's in our pantry or freezer and what we have going on each week! Woo Hoo! Love it! Menu plan made easy! It was a lot of work first, but it was most definitely worth a lot of hard work now for an easier time later on!

Points for today: 100 points!
Points for February: 190 points!

Tackle It Tuesday

Tackle It Tuesday originated with 5 Minutes for Mom and then Katie put her own spin on it and is doing assignments, so this post will be linked up both places. Oh - and please excuse the poor quality photos. They are taken with my phone because I STILL have not found my camera cord and I'm too cheap frugal to buy a new one.

For starters, Katie suggested we clear off our entertainment centers. For me, this is a huge necessity because I use it as a dumping ground all of the time. It's the highest place in the room and the Punky and Boo children do not have access to the top of it.

I bought these three crosses at Christmas time that I figured would be nice to have on display year round, so I have placed them up here, but it's all the junky clutter that piles up there that drives me mad. Also, the little DVD player that is up here. We rarely use it now (since we got cable installed again) and I have a mind to tuck it away, but I think it is something that is still used often enough that we should keep it there. It does need to be kept up though, because Boo is just a little too, um, investigative, with this item.

And actually, while I am at it, I should clear off these shelves too. They are a fright! I had attempted to make them nice and neat and sort like items into similar containers, etc. etc. but it just doesn't work for me like this. Plus, when you pull out the containers, you can see the other stuff that has gotten mixed in with it. Yeah, definitely does not work for me!

So, that was the challenge. And here are the results:
Top of entertainment center before:

Top of entertainment center cleared off, leaving only the three crosses, the DVD player and some (old!) pics of the kids:

First shelf of the entertainment center before:

And after:

Second shelf of the entertainment center before:

And after:

Third shelf of the entertainment center before:

And after:

Bottom shelf of the entertainment center before:

And after:

And the area under the television before:

And after:

The whole entertainment center before again:

And the whole entertainment center after:

Looks so much neater now, doesn't it? And in reality, it only took about an hour to clear it all off and make it neat and presentable again. Yay for quick projects! And here I thought I didn't have time for any projects right now. But in reality, if you make your mind up to make time for something, you can do it. It also helped that I had a couple of nights off from work due to having bronchitis.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Week #2 Challenge - The Launch Pad

The second weekly challenge from Toni at "A Bowl Full of Lemons" is our launch and landing pads in our home. Well, technically, it's from Laurie, of "Handy Man, Crafty Woman" who is guest posting on Toni's blog for this week's challenge.

So here I am to show you our launch and landing pads. Our system maybe isn't the greatest, but it works well for our family. And I need to apologize right now for the pictures, I have misplaced my camera cord so I am using the camera on my phone to take pictures with and it's not the greatest quality.

First off, when you come into our house, you are standing in our living room. Our living room is mostly carpet, except for the part of the floor that you are standing on when you first come through the door. That area is about 3 feet by 5 feet and is linoleum. I hate linoleum, by the way. But we live in a rental and the flooring is not our choice. If it were my choice, the whole area would be hardwood.

So, anyhow, we have a rug here where we put our shoes and boots while they are wet and/or muddy. With six people in our family and with each person having mulitple pairs of shoes, we have a LOT of shoes, so we try to keep only one pair of shoes in use at each time. The rest we try to keep in the front closet, which is just beyond the linoleum.

We have four hooks on the wall above the linoleum (and behind the door). These hooks are used predominately for the kids' coats and backpacks. It's an easy system for them because they all have hooks at their schools as well. Plus, it seems to be easier for our kids to keep their coats picked up when we remove as many extra steps as possible, such as opening a closet door and using a coat hanger. When we have guests over, we move the kids' coats to the closet and we use the hooks for our guests' coats and purses.

We also have a little shelf with three hooks on the wall next to the door. I use these hooks for our keys as they are really not sufficient for coats and such. I also will occasionally hang a gait belt on one of the hooks so that I don't forget to put it on before leaving for work.

For our kids' paperwork from school, I go through their backpacks once they are on their hooks and pull out all of the papers that I need to look through, which I do at the kitchen table. That is also where I sort through the mail. It's convenient because it is also right next to the trash can and the recycling bin. I sit down with the kids' paperwork and have them rapid-fire decide whether to keep it or toss it once I have had a chance to look through it. I do the same thing with the mail. I sort through it and then toss out anything that doesn't need to be kept. I need to come up with a better plan for organizing the bill paperwork, but I recently brought up an old plastic file box that I can use to sort it. I plan to keep it under the desk.

There is also our large family calendar on the wall close to our kitchen table, so I can mark down our activities as well as the due dates on the bills.

That pretty well covers most of the landing and a little bit of the launch. For the kids, our launch includes their backpacks, coats and shoes being ready and accessible by the door and the things that need to go back to school being already in their backpacks.

For Hubby, he doesn't really need to launch each day so he is kind of on his own for that. For me, I keep my work bag and my suitcase in my car, so that I don't have to try to remember it. Because here's a little secret - I constantly forget it otherwise. :)

So that is our home and our launch pad.