Thursday, January 28, 2010

Book Report

I've had Ms. Austen on the brain a bit lately, since PBS is showing a new adaptation of Emma. I watched the first part on Sunday night, and I like the switch back to a blonde Emma. I really liked Gwyneth Paltrow's portrayal in the Hollywood version, but this one seems to take away some of the elegantness and make Emma more childish. It's easier for me to see her as 19 or 20, and her flaws (conceit, uppitiness) are much more evident. That's not a criticism, by the way - that's my favorite part of my favorite Austen novel. I love that Knightley loves ALL of her.


A long time ago I won this book from Carmen at Mom to the Screaming Masses, and she had one stipulation: I had to pass it on. Well, it's taken me awhile, but now I'm getting around to it. And I'm going to do another giveaway right here on the blogitty-blog!

It's Mr. Knightley's Diary, and apparently the author, Amanda Grange, did a whole series from the perspective of Jane Austen's heros. What a great idea! It was a fun read, and although I haven't looked into the other novels, I assume that they would be entertaining as well.
Here's how to enter: leave a comment telling me your favorite Jane Austen character. You don't even have to have read the book - I'll accept a movie. I'll leave the giveaway open until next Thursday at midnight. Hopefully I'll draw the lucky winner next Friday (unless, you know, I forget.) I would love it for the winner to pass it on when they are done.
Go to it!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My coffee, however, was perfect.

The other day I lugged all three kids to Target, since weather had cancelled school for Leah. (Yes, that's right - it may have been too yucky for kindergarten, but not for a shopping trip! That's the way we roll here in the frozen North.) Since I got myself a coffee, it was only fair that the kids got an Icee - and then they were much happier about walking instead of riding in the cart (which was my goal the whole time - a little exercise in an otherwise stationary day). We got the drinks and were setting off to get diapers (grrr) when Leah yelped, "My drink is spilling!"

She was holding her drink upright and it was still spilling out the top of the lid. I'd only filled the cup to the top of the lip, not the domed lid, but evidently it had continued to swell. The stuff was gushing out the hole around the straw, and no, it didn't just leak and stop. It kept coming. It was like an ice-cold volcano, and I was now stuck with it in MY hands, in the middle of the aisle, with two kids walking and a baby in the cart.

So I did what any logical, loving, caring mother would do.

I deserted the kids and went to save the drink.

I skedaddled over to the beverage station, dumped some out, and wiped it all off with napkins AND THEN realized that I'd left the kids back quite aways. Now, I've never been accused of being overly attentive or obsessive about my children's whereabouts, but I usually do like to keep them within view when in public.

Once I came to my senses, I wiped the drink off the floor by the cart, dragged the kids back with me to the trash/beverage station, wiped Leah off, grabbed some wipes intended for disinfecting cart handles to clean our hands, and headed back off to finally get to shopping.

During this whole fiasco, not ONE of the lovely Target employees even noticed anything going on. The store was a long ways from busy at that hour, and several folks in red were walking around, and I surely could have used someone to help clean up - I was even wiping the floor in front of all the check-out lanes, and no one offered assistance. I love me some Target, but I was not impressed with the lack of helpfulness. Especially since usually people see a mom with three kids and react with utmost sympathy.

But the lesson I'm taking from this? Fill that Icee cup only half way, just in case it's a mutant.

What's the stickiest situation you've ever been faced with in public?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Great Parenting Advice. Kinda.

I was quoted in the local paper this morning regarding letting my kids watch TV before age 2. The article referred to THIS Modern-Day Jane post, which I'm repeating here.

I was talking to a group of mom friends the other day, and as everyone was leaving, I was able to visit one-on-one with a younger mom, C. She has one adorable 2 year old boy and is expecting their second baby.

She was expressing frustration with the constant entertainment demands of a little person. You know, how Mommy is their favorite person to be with, and because they love love love you so much, they must constantly be talking to you, or sitting on you, or both?

Needless to say, I can completely relate, and assured her that after a couple years, having two kids would lessen that problem considerably. Leah and Ben entertain each other for a good portion of the day, and Ben is learning to play according to Leah's rules, lucky boy. However, I could do without Leah's new habit of attaching herself to my leg while I'm walking.

Anyway, she sent me an email today about some other stuff, and at the end thanked me for the parenting advice. And what was the brilliant suggestion I had given her?

To let her kid watch TV.

Yeah, I'm that mom.

I told her about a study I'd read (article which is no longer available, but here's another one (and one more) with a similar point) about that said that educational children's television was shown to have no impact on attention span, even for kids younger than 3. The shows responsible for the bad rap are non-educational ones, such as Sponge-Bob, Power Rangers, Scooby-Doo, etc. Which is why I have limited guilt for all the PBS that my kids watch.

Kind of. Of course, I still wish I was doing something more productive and educational with them, but can I really compete with SuperWhy? It's basically taught Leah how to read. And it's not like they are watching at all hours of the day. They watch an hour in the morning while I shower and get ready, and then maybe another hour in the afternoon while I'm - ideally- getting dinner set up.

So friend C said, "I've rented a Curious George video, and O is quietly watching it while I type this! I think I'll go take a shower!"

You go, mom.

Monday, January 25, 2010

It was EPIC.

Last night was the loss heard 'round the country. Or at least THIS part of the country, where being a Vikings fan almost goes along with griping about the weather, regardless of what it is. (Yes, I know there are some renegade Packers fans in town, and I personally have several Colts fans in my family - and to you I say, GOOD LUCK!)

We had some folks over for the big Vikings-Saints game last night (Mom & Dad, cousin K & her hubbie & baby, friends the Gs) and the evening was full of yells and exclamations from the football viewers. The other mommy & I kept watch over the kids and the guacamole bowl. With 5 kids running around and 2 babies, there was a LOT of activity. But what threw Ben the most was when the two G boys put on Leah's dress-up tutus. He just could not deal with that. He said, "Boys no wear tutus! Boys wear cowboy vest or cape. NO TUTUS!" Guess I need to work on expanding the dress-up selections! And a disclaimer: We've NEVER said that boys can't wear tutus. Or dresses, really - I told him the boys were just being silly. Which they totally were, regardless of the outfit.

But I digress. Although it was terrible to see the Vikings lose such a close game, it wasn't all that unexpected, was it, folks? So where does the "epic" part come in?

AFTER the game. The kids went to bed during the 4th quarter, and at about 9:30, after everyone had gone home and Aaron was trying to put doors back on their hinges (that freezer is having some long lasting repercussions) and I was watching Emma on PBS Masterpiece, we heard a kid wailing. It was Ben!

I went up to check on him, and he continued sobbing for another five minutes, during which I moved Leah to our bed so she could continue her beauty rest, uninterrupted. He finally calmed down enough that I could ask him what was wrong. And the poor baby managed to get out, "Me no LIKE the Vikings!" I almost laughed, except for that he was so miserable.

Finally I was able to return to Emma (this version, by the way, seems to making the point that Emma is a flawed heroine. Which is kind of why I like this book of Austen's in the first place -Knightley knows her faults and still loves her.) Ben had one more sobbing episode before we headed to bed at around 11pm. But never got to sleep, thanks to Adam, who started his OWN wailing. Usually we try to ignore him and he calms down in a few minutes, but he kept it up so I checked on him. Pacifier still in mouth, happy to see me, but really ticked when I left. Sorry, buddy - we don't play that game around here!

Back to ignoring. For thirty minutes. Finally I went in and nursed the little stinker so Aaron and I could get some sleep. It was midnight by the time I got to bed for reals. Around 2am Ben came in complaining that his blankets needed fixing (a common issue) and we sent him back to fix them himself (there's a concept, dude!) A minute later he was back needing help, so I stumbled down the hall to do the honors.

At 2:45 Adam was yelling again. After five minutes or so of that, I grudgingly nursed him AGAIN. (This is why he is so chubby and I keep having to buy new jeans.)

I woke up at 7:20 with Ben trying to snuggle. For some reason, the 6 hours of non-consecutive sleep actually felt sufficient, although I was more than happy to cuddle my two big kids for a few minutes. I was all set to start the cheerleading needed to get us all out the door for school, but after retrieving the newspaper, decided that I should see if there was school...and there wasn't! Ahhhh.

Looking back, I think we've probably had rougher nights. It's just that Ben was sooo upset - and Adam was sooo persistent. Thankfully Leah slept well. Three emotionally distraut and sleep deprived kids? Now that WOULD be something.

What's the funniest/oddest thing you or your kids have said in their sleep?

Modern-Day Jane now has a fan page on Facebook! AND I'm on Twitter. It's pushing over-exposure, I know - but it's a risk I'm willing to take.:)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tomorrow, it's steak and potatoes.

I will say it again: Finally. Adam finally started eating cereal today. He is 7 1/2 months old, but we started trying at 6 months. (We started at 5 months with Leah - she didn't take well to it, then we took a trip, then she got a we tried again at 6 months and it went much better. We learned our lesson.)

And that baby gagged like we were stuffing the spoon itself down his throat, instead of gently putting to his lips a spoon of almost-water baby cereal. It was the complete package - eyes watering and turning red, coughing, shuddering... So. Much. Fun. He loved it too, and you could tell by the way he'd clamp his lips shut after the second spoonful.

After a few more trials, we decided to try different flavors - but peaches and applesauce were met with a similar reaction. (And NO, I didn't try mixing breastmilk with the cereal instead of water. I'd gone 6 months without pumping and didn't want to start!) However, he loved to gnaw on a pizza crust. Until he'd break off a chunk and it'd hit the back of his throat - then there was more gagging.

A few weeks ago I broke down and bought a set of these, and Adam loved it! He ingested a good amount of banana by chewing the little bag thingy. We thought we had a winner! And then Aaron tried putting applesauce in there. Adam clamped down on it and immediately got a mouthful of goo - which he gagged on. Aaron freely admits to ruining him on that new feeding tool.
But today I decided to try cereal again. And I almost did a little dance when he SWALLOWED, without the usual dramatics! Both this morning and at dinner, he actually consumed a measurable quantity. Of course, he did have to add his own personal flair by blowing raspberries into the spoon, so that cereal would fly all over his face and bib.
But you know what? I'll take it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Future vegetarians. Who eat meat.

Today we brought Leah's classmate C home with us for a playdate. As they finished playing on the huge (like 2-story) snowhills with their classmates at recess, they ran up to me saying, "We found a dead rabbit!" Although they were full of excitement and enthusiasm, not revulsion, it was still hard for me to decide how to react.

Grossed out? (Ewwww!)
Practical? (It probably starved or froze.)
Like-minded? (Very neat!)

I went with ambivalent. (Really? Oh!)

More details came out as they piled into the van and we headed home.

It didn't have a head. And it's back legs were stuck together. Wonderful.

I got to overhear their conversation:

Leah: I wonder how it died?
C: Someone probably stepped on it.
Leah: But why wouldn't it have a head?
C: Maybe someone sliced it off?
Me: (I was trying to get away from HUMANS here) Or maybe an animal ate it.
Me: Yeah, like a dog...
Girls: EWWW!
Me: Or a cat...
Girls: EWWW! Why would a CAT kill a RABBIT?
Me: Well, if the rabbit died from the cold, and the cat found it and was hungry...
Girls: EWWW!
C: Why would it eat it's head?!
Leah: Yeah, even the EYEBALLS!

At this point I pretty much gave up. They were excited enough to tell Aaron when he came home from lunch, and he thought the whole topic was pretty gross, as well. I just couldn't believe that after seeing the dead rabbit and discussing its absent head, what really bothered them was the idea that another animal might have been responsible.

Clearly, these are not farm girls we're talking about.

This reminds me of another carnivore topic. We love the new PBS show Dinosaur Train - it's on at the perfect time, has cute dinos (which I love), and has the greatest topics mixed in with the facts & theories about the giant lizards. All the dinos are friends with each other -the carnivores, herbivores and omnivores all hanging out together. Which I totally get. However, one thing I think is hilarious is that all the carnivores eat "carrion" which they describe as "dead meat". Conveniently, they don't say what KIND of meat it used to be.

How have YOU handled kids finding dead animals?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It's like Christmas every week!

Since we JUST got rid of our advent calendar today (it still had about 8 rings left...oopsie), it seems appropriate that our next big day to count down to is...(drumroll....) GARBAGE DAY!

It's been this way since the week after Christmas. That week, because of New Years, our pick-up was moved forward one day. Which I totally forgot, of course, until I opened our front blinds and saw the neighbor's trashcan on the curb. At 10am. And of course that is about when the truck comes by.

So I scurried around in my bathrobe (YES, bathrobe at 10am - it was a huge deal for me!) getting a few bags of trash together, and just as I was opening the garage door...the truck zoomed by. So I was appropriately grumpy and went back inside.

And then at 1pm the garbage actually DID get picked up. The previous truck had been for recycling. So I missed it twice in one day.


The next week, our first priority to get in the garbage can was the contents of the diaper pail. Everything else was second priority. Three bags were left over.

Then this week we started a small-ish remodeling project and I hosted a party. And had two sets of overnight guests, both of whom changed their share of dirty diapers.

That brings us to Monday, which had us celebrating that garbage day was only 3 days away. Because the can is already full, and thanks to the new garbage system, we get charged for any extra garbage on the ground.

Our plan? Ask the neighbors if we can stash some trash with theirs- cause they don't even fill up their smaller sized can. What a shame.

How does your family mark time?

Monday, January 18, 2010

At least the fumes have dispersed.

Do you ever feel like your mood is determined by the state of your home? When it is tidy and everything is put where it belongs, I feel calm and in control.

And today? Well, let's just say that there's grit under my slippers, planks of wall trim in the kitchen, the shop-vac is once again in residence, and the dryer, freezer AND washer are not in their proper places.

That's right, there's another remodeling job in progress. ALL I WANTED WAS A FREEZER.

But that lead to taking out cabinets. Which led to tiling some floor.

And then replacing the baseboards. And painting the walls. And ceiling. And doors & trim. And buying new light fixtures.

It's not all done yet, but I took the kids to a friend's house this morning, and Aaron made huge progress while we were gone. I tell you, that guy's amazing. If I had been in charge of this project by myself, I probably would have put a piece of plywood in the space where the tiles were missing and called it good.

But no. He has to go and do things the RIGHT way. At least he doesn't waste any time - right now, the walls, ceiling & baseboards are painted, and he's cutting the baseboard into the appropriate lengths.

My job is to try to keep the floor somewhat clean, dust off the sanded doors & trim, and figure out exactly how I want my newly enlarged entry to be configured. Hooks for adult coats? Drawers for hats & mittens? What exactly is needed?

Do you have a favorite organization system? Ever have a home project morph out of your control? What external factor most determines your mood?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Just do it!

I've wanted to post this dude for awhile now, and today is the big day! Please leave some sort of comment to reveal yourself as a reader...(chirp chirp...chirp chirp)

What!? You say you don't know what to say? Well, this isn't a thesis paper, friends. You can just say "Hi!"

- What is your favorite "odd" food? We are trying tofu for the first time tonight.
- Are you a Valentine's Day person or not? I am, but not so much for romance as friendship.
- Have you held onto any of your college textbooks? If so, why? I am contemplating clearing mine out, finally.
- Do you have any questions for me about books, movies, parenting, decorating, etc? What my life goals and dreams are? ANYTHING?

Okay. Hopefully you have something now. If you have never left a comment before (or even if you have, I'm not picky!) please do so today. And I'll leave you alone for another year.

(The only rules: Remember, if you know me in real life, please don't use our last name or Aaron's job. Just trying to keep everyone safe.:)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Vitamin A (and x-ray vision) is next.

Today I've had a series of odd experiences:

* flipped my cooked egg on the floor, trying to get it out of it's little microwave cooker & onto an English muffin

* smacked my head on the washer retrieving the wet clothes

* zipped Ben's chin up in his coat

* tried to toss Leah her apple slices while she was sitting in her booster in the back of the van - overshot, and they ended up in the "trunk"

To what do I attribute all these events?

That amazing Vitamin D supplement I started taking today. Man, those scientists better watch out - if all of us actually got all of D that we are supposed to, there may be some super-moms (and dads) out there!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mostly Odds

Ben a"mazes" auntie Kate with his maze skills. Yes, I did SO just go there. Pun-tastic.

* Remember how Ben is kinda accident-prone? Or just, "impulse-control challenged"? I have two more rather drastic examples. A few weeks ago I retrieved my hand mixer from the large drawer on the opposite side of my kitchen island. I left the drawer open, since I was coming back for the appropriate attachment, but I wasn't fast enough. Ben came charging out of the bathroom, and smacked his little forehead right into the corner of the drawer. Incredibly, while a good sized egg & bruise arrived rather quickly, it never actually bled.

Adam gazes adoringly at his uncle Aaron.

Unlike his foot on New Year's Day. He was trying to help make peanut butter & jelly sandwiches by getting the jelly out of the fridge - but dropped the jar. Aaron (I wasn't home at the time) thinks that the jar hit his foot first and then shattered on the tile, but either way, he had a cut about a half-inch long on the top of his foot, and also a bruise surrounding it. I have to hand it to him, though - he was pretty tough. After the initial drama, he was proud to show off his Diego bandaid.

* Recently I have decided that the only way for me to be interested in cooking (I mean REALLY interested, not just out of hunger or necessity) is to torture my kids. No more cooking only kid-friendly stuff that I know they'll eat - it's time to experiment. Not necessarily every meal or every dish, but frequently enough so that I'm not bored stiff with pasta or rice and a meat.

"Thanks for the paper dolls, Grandma!"

* Yesterday I went grocery shopping. As I was grabbing 2 bags of parsnips, a fellow shopper stopped and asked, "Can I ask what you are making that you need TWO bags of parsnips?"

Is this odd? Has anyone else ever been interrogated about their produce selections?

Anyway, I'm making parsnip pancakes tonight. Leah loves parsnips, although usually I just roast them. She also LOVES pancakes. Ben doesn't really like either too much, so I'm preparing for battle.

* Going along with the "trying new foods" project, I'm also giving time-outs quickly and frequently these days. It seems that a time-out given (usually to Ben) before we even sit down is pretty efficient - he hates being left out, AND he's hungry. I just make him try a few bites of the new/disliked food. But bedtime snack is a limited portion. "Oh, you're still hungry? I guess you should have eaten more for dinner!"

* Television is just the greatest, don't you think? How did people ever amuse themselves without it? Oh yeah - they were actually DOING stuff. Poor folks.

Anyway - we are enjoying new episodes of Castle (yay for more romantic tension! "He's all yours!") and I enjoyed the first of two parts of Return to Cranford on PBS's Masterpiece. Aaron refused to watch "that old stuff" (yes, I DID tell him that Judi Dench was in it AND nominated for an Oscar last year for her role. Somehow, that didn't impress him much.) and chose instead the second hour of the new Chuck.

When I went to the site for that PBS link above, I saw that the Emma that will be on after Cranford is a NEW adaptation! (With a blonde Emma! I just can't see her as a brunette, many apologies to Kate Beckinsale.) I will be doubly sure to tune in - and Sunday evenings after that will be booked as well, since Northanger Abbey and Persuasion will follow. I can't wait. *Sigh*

* Adam is definitely growing new hair, so his cue-ball-like state is slowly diminishing. He does not, however, like cereal or any solid food any better. This is not making his sole source of nutrition (me) very happy. On the up side, though, I have no reason NOT to eat a huge bowl of ice cream and/or five cookies.

Rolling is not going so well, either, but he is a pro sitter-upper. At seven months, we are getting a bit antsy for him to be able to retrieve his own toys, but the upright posture is a good thing.

So what odd things are going on at your house? What new food are you trying to introduce to your family?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Found: All your old socks.

So we bought this new freezer, and I thought all my dreams were about to come true.

But first things first, right? First the cabinets had to be removed. These are cabinets that I have never used, because I didn't want to become attached to them.

One feature of this cabinet set is a really deep, really heavy, hamper pull-out thingy. Aaron's mom has one in their bathroom, where it works very well for dirty towels. Trying to think of a way to recycle the set, I thought it may be good for sports balls, but it would be way too easy for fingers to get smashed. Ouch. This hamper was the first part to tackle, after the easy task of removing doors.

And after pulling it out, we got a nice surprise...

A lovely pile of dirty laundry. Remember how I've never used these cabinets? So this is the previous owner's stuff, which, really, is bad enough since we've lived here for a year and a half. But that red thing in the upper right? That is a pair of kid socks. And the former owners had adult children. I'm really hoping they were from the grandkids.

Although you can just see the edge of a VERY 70's print towel... Anyway. I picked it all up with a bag over my hand and threw it out.

Now, if you are following me on Twitter (hint, hint - mdjane!) you may have seen my dig at Aaron for putting in a new surround sound system instead of installing the freezer. Well, I was a bit unfair. There's more to the freezer situation than just moving it into place, or trust me, I'd have done it myself.

The tile floor of the kitchen/laundry room is not original to the house. It was put in about 12 years ago, and when they did it, they put it UP TO the cabinets we removed, not under. Which means that there is a 3ft x 1.5ft area that needs to be tiled and made level with the rest of the floor. We do have enough extra tiles, and thanks to my parents we have almost all the tools needed for the job. What was holding Aaron up was the grout - we don't have a tool for removing it (to take out the pieces that were cut to fit the cabinet). But now we do! Thanks to one of his co-workers who so generously lent us his brand-new Christmas gift.

Work has begun. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 8, 2010

More time needed here. Preferably between 11pm and 7am.

Folks, it has been 10 years in the making, but I think I finally have a stylish, calming oasis from which to be woken 2-3 times a night by a screaming child. A couple projects from the last week (and a few done Much, Much earlier) provided the finishing touches.

Here, let me give you a tour!

Starting from the left, a Billy bookcase from Ikea, lamp and chair from Target, white throw from Ikea, and 2 accent pillows handmade by moi and detailed further later in this post. The wall hanging is comprised of fabric purchased at the Bay Window Quilt Shop in Perham, MN and artist's canvas stretcher bars from Hobby Lobby. A word or several about the bars - these things are awesome. They come in various lengths, and have fancy corners that hinge together so that you can make a rectangle or square of any size. You can even take them apart later on and do something else with them! To make my wall hanging, I used my handy-dandy staple gun to attach the fabric to the other side of the bars. DONE!

On with the tour: The nightstand and lamp are also Ikea, bed was a wedding gift from my parents-in-law, duvet set (by Echo, but no longer on their website) whose search I detailed here. The bedskirt I ordered online from somewhere. I was struggling to find a fitted white bedskirt, but now I think I was looking in the wrong places maybe?

Aaron and I made the headboard together a few years ago. It is basically an extension of the memo boards that I have made in the past - Aaron cut the basic shape from particle board, I wrapped it with quilt batting and then pleather, and stapled (man, I love our staple gun!) it to the back. I even used some other fabric to cover up all the mess back there. In the front, I wanted the upholstered look, but couldn't figure out how to attach covered buttons through all that material. So I got out the trusty hot glue gun. After stapling the fabric where I wanted each button, I glued the button over the top of it. And this worked very well.

Until we started finding the buttons laying on our pillows. After a few days, there was only one still attached. Aaron was all, "I TOLD you that hot glue wasn't going to hold!" And I was all, "Yeah, whatever...don't know why it didn't work..."

And then I walked in one day to see Ben in the process of pulling off that last survivor. I asked him, "Did you do this to the others?" And he nodded yes. (This is in those pre-speaking days.) VINDICATED.

The other lamp and the matching nightstand are of course from Ikea, also.

We are so, so lucky to have a large bedroom with an extra large window. Even though the window faces north, we still get quite a bit of sunlight in the room, and that plus the size makes the dark brown walls seem cozy, not oppressive. I am a big fan of them, and so glad I chose to go with the neutral instead of the blue. Also, it will be way easier to redecorate in the future, since I won't have to convince Aaron to repaint. Hopefully.

The lamp in the corner is one of two Ikea floor lamps that have finally provided enough light when the sun is down. Plus, they have that wonderful crisp, modern feel that I love. Another two wall hangings made from the same fabric and stretcher bars as before, except that these are square. The chest and boxes on the floor are not permanent, although they may remain there awhile. Also not temporary, the nasty Berber carpeting. It has GOT to go. Alas, Aaron is not so horrified by it, so it may be hanging around a while longer.

Here's a closeup on the fabrics. I love how the small graphic print of the wallhangings plays off the big print of the duvet cover. The larger, square pillow's fabric is this stuff, and the floral is from Hobby Lobby. That ball fringe on the square? FROM HELL. Yes, I so DID say that. It took me about an hour to sew that very simple pillow case together, and that was my second attempt. The flange-edge on the oblong pillow was MUCH easier, and I highly recommend it for an easy way to dress up an accent pillow.

Yes, the square pillow is reversible to a more masculine print. If there is such a thing.
There! I hope you like it as much as I do - I hate to throw my ugly orange cardigan on the chair, but it so much more convenient there when I have to go to Adam's frigged room for his 1am meal. But if you come over, I promised I'll throw it into closet, so as to not ruin the lovely effect for you.
What room are YOU trying to polish off? Is your bedroom an oasis or a...not an oasis?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I want CANDY!

My Ben has a sweet tooth. Almost every day he asks for a piece of candy. This is how the conversation typically goes:

Him: Mommy, me hungwy. Me want a frack (snack).
Me: What kind of snack do you want?
Him: Hmmm, piece of candy.
Me: That's not a snack.
Him: Fwuit frack?
Me: No, fruit snacks are a treat, not a snack. (despite the misnomer) How about (banana, Goldfish crackers & Craisins, granola bar...)
Him: Yeah!

Now, I have no problem with him having some candy once in awhile. But of course I don't want him to think that it's okay to eat candy or treats when you are really hungry!

Moderation is the key in life - deprivation could lead to gorging when he actually DOES get his hands on some sweets, and over-indulgence of course leads to excess weight and unhealthy eating habits. So if the kids ask for candy, they usually get a piece. As in, ONE. And I stopped buying fruit snacks in bulk from Sam's Club, just so I wouldn't be so tempted to hand them out more often.

On a separate (but soon to be related) topic, I love my husband, but "words of encouragement" or just compliments are not necessarily his default setting. So the other day, when he was talking the kids about treats and said something about "Mommy's good idea," it stuck with me!

He was talking about our candy bowls. I know, this sounds like a bad start. But stay with me.

For the last several years, whenever the kids bring home birthday goodie bags, they get a treat or two and the rest goes into the bowl. The same goes for parades, holidays, etc. After a day or two of the goodies being available but essentially out of view, they forget all about it.

Mommy and Daddy, however, can not only SEE it, but EAT it without asking permission.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It'll make me a better mom. I promise.

I have all sorts of reasons why we need an upright freezer. In fact, I've already blogged about it here, and since then a whole new set of reasons have cropped up, one of which seemed to tip the argument in my favor: Adam.

It's awfully hard to make & freeze your own baby food in an almost entirely full chest freezer. And since the other two kids ate almost no Gerber, I'd sure hate to start now with #3. This was the clincher for Aaron, and since Adam is just about 7 months, we figured the time was getting pretty close. For any other baby, the time would be past, but THIS baby still hasn't gotten used to baby cereal, so the other food are still a ways off (and yes, we DID try a few - applesauce & peaches- with no further success).

Anyway, my other reasons for wanting an upright freezer - and I was shooting for the largest possible size- were numerous. And I may not live them all down.

1. I have a really hard time finding anything smallish in our current freezer - like a regular size block of cheese, or a half-bag of hamburger. Chopped onion doesn't even stand a chance.

2. Buying in bulk is not really an option. We get some stuff from Sam's, but not as much as I'd like. And when things are on sale (like green beans this week at CashWise) I can't stock up.

3. Popsicle molds are taking up space in my cupboards, but I can't make my own popsicles in a chest freezer. At least, not one this full.

4. Ditto homemade granitas.

5. Eventually we will have 3 teenagers. At that point (or maybe sooner), I think buying a quarter or half of beef would be a good idea. For that reason, we are also storing the chest freezer in the basement and not selling it.

6. I have occasionally contemplated making meals in advance, but you guessed space.

Aaron didn't think we needed the enormous version, but I thought the small version wouldn't be that much of a size increase. So we compromised and got the medium/large model. I can't wait to organize the sucker and fill it with goodies. Or casseroles. Either way.

What appliance addition has most changed your life? Which one are you SURE would make your life sooo much better?

Already Getting Behind...

I've been meaning to write so many things here over the last week! But stuff keeps coming up. So here is what's been keeping me away lately:

* Playing "Guess Who?" with the kids. Leah got the game for Christmas from her Daddy, and it's one kids game I can handle. Ben and I are a good team, even tho (or especially because?) Leah usually wins.

* Figuring out Adam's sleep schedule. Not only has he become super-smart at parent manipulation (crying until we pick him up- which we stopped doing when we figured it out - the record was 1 1/2 hrs.) but he has also decided that 3 45 minute naps are really ideal for him. Those naps come at about 10am, 1pm & 3:30pm. Not the most convenient, but at least he's getting more sleep.

* Buying a freezer! Yes! I finally convinced Aaron and on New Year's Day we trotted over to Sears and picked one out. It will be delivered on Thursday this week, but some minor renovations are needed before it can go into will prove if it gets accomplished or not.

* Hosting guests. My friend Clarissa and her five (yes, FIVE) daughters spent the night last week, as did our friends Jess & Raf and their two sons (on a different night, thank goodness!). Our nephew Marlin also stopped in for dinner last night, which was so nice since he lives in Michigan! (Oh, the life of a college student - to be able to visit friends while out of class...)

* Doing laundry. All those guests means lots of sheets and towels, dude.

* Finished projects. Like sending out our New Year's cards, undecorating the tree, sewing a couple pillows for our bedroom and a hat/neckroll for Ben... Had to clear out the project pile so that I could start...

* Planning more projects. Many of them are from the baby sewing book my lovely sister got me for Christmas. Hmm...that may be a good idea for a giveaway one of these days.

* Twittering. Yes, they finally sucked me in. Follow me! I'm aiming for different content than on the blog, so you'll be constantly amused by the hilarity of my kids. Or at least roll your eyes at my attempts to be amusing. Anyway - I'm mdjane. See you there!

What have YOU been doing this first week of 2010? Do you have a New Year's tradition?