Monday, August 3, 2015

A Weekly Round-Up

I remember thinking this past week would be quiet. I was a bit wrong. Ah well, better than boring, right? Lots of craziness, unexpected running around, water heater suffering a serious injury, two boys sent off to two different camps, Alan working the weekend, canning craziness on Saturday. Yup, craziness.

So the water heater was yet another unplanned expensive repair. But on a positive note, I can now take a hot shower again. Sigh, hot water is a wonderful thing. The main floor tv died. I found a working one of the side of the road for free and sent Bryan to pick it up. We were gifted free tickets to the chicken dinner at church on Saturday. I am so looking forward to the break from cleaning up the kitchen.

So while I was shopping on Saturday I happened upon a great deal on organic tomato soup, maple syrup (the real stuff), and some produce for canning. Now, keep in mind that I am of the mindset that everyone (yes, even you) should do their best to maintain a well stocked 3 to 6 supply of food in their home at pretty much all times. Just to make sure they are protected and prepared for things. And when that food pantry is full of home canned foods, my heart is seriously in a place of total happiness. So I am working on canning as much produce and such things as possible right now. And while I was putting things away and organizing the pantry the other night, I found myself talking to the canned goods. Yes, I am crazy. I admit that. But I have frequent discussions with the canned goods in the basement. They often include me griping about children putting the groceries away in entirely the wrong place (why is it so hard to understand that like all of the spaghetti sauce or peanut butter or whatever should be on the same shelf and not in 5 different places?),  someone not telling me they used the last of a certain item, and griping about how eating the food while hiding in the basement pantry and then leaving the empty containers/wrappers/whatever laying on the floor is a thing that really irritates me. Seriously, I will notice if you leave an empty can of fruit on the floor or twelve popsicle wrappers on the floor. But there are other days when I just kind of look at the supplies and breathe a sign of relief knowing that the family will eat well even when I am unable to go shopping after the baby is born. Or if Alan loses his job. Or if the medical bills spiral out of control. Or something. And maintaining the pantry is providing certain children with job training skills. They will be able to stock and rotate grocery store shelves with the best of them.

Ok, I am rambling. It is what I do.

Seamus has decided he likes to sing in church. Loudly. Thankfully he has learned  to mostly only sing when everyone else  is singing. So he  sings very loudly, with his hands over his ears. Seriously, it is adorable. And, yes, most everyone near us can hear him. Because he sings loudly.  Just enjoying life, that boy.

We finally have a  way to pull  pictures off the camera. So hopefully the next post will contain actual pictures. How amazing would that be?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Meal Plan

S: waffles, fruit (B), homemade taco helper (D)
M: oatmeal (B), sloppy joes (D)
T: egg breakfast muffins (B), leftovers (D)
W: bagels, fruit (B), cheesy beef and rice (D)
T: eggs and toast (B), leftovers (D)
F: cereal  (B), assorted snacks after the race at church (D)
S: not sure yet (B), dinner at church (D)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


So do you ever find yourself part way through this parenting gig and realize you have veered rather off the course you want for your family? My older kids had a much more involved parent. Not involved in the sense of entertain you every second of the day because, um, no way am I ever doing that.  But involved in the sense of going on field trips and exploring things together. Admittedly,  no air conditioning in the van means trips further than church just do not happen in the summer. The poor kids roast in the van because the back windows don't open. It is miserable for them. And a new van is not in the picture for the time being. I have come to view car payments as an evil thing and, well, we can either have a car payment or pay for groceries. Not both. Anyway, just trying to figure out how to add joy back to our life a bit. Or maybe just  some excitement. Or just something that excites me every so often.

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Snapshot of our Life, Without the Snapshots

Yes, I do have plans to get back to blogging. Really, I truly do. I know it's been a long time since much of anything meaningful showed up here. I have a bazillion pictures trapped on the new camera. Ok, just maybe 150 or so. But the only way to remove them right now is to track down the old camera and move the memory card to the old camera. Or wait until the replacement USB cord arrives. I know the camera  came with one. But it disappeared about 2 minutes after it was removed from the package. I kid you not. There is a black hole somewhere in the kitchen, I swear there is.

The kids are alive and well. Just ignore the child who is wearing snow boots in the middle of summer. It is not my fault he ruined his sneakers at camp and can't seem to find his sandals in his mess of a room. Also ignore the other boy who refuses to ever find his sneakers or put them on his feet or in general act his age, preferring instead to throw fits and cry and whine and expect other people to do for him what any child his age (including him) is capable of doing. Yes, Mom is clamping down on his attitude and he is slowly getting into line. Slowly.

I somehow managed to forget to order the 4th grade spelling and English books Abby needs for this school year so am waiting on the next discount shipping day. Don't ask me how I did that. It baffles me as well since I ordered the rest of her books and they all come from the same company. I also still need to order Sean's books for his college classes. Scratch that, just for his French class. The history class starts midway through the semester so I have time. And figure out his paperwork for the district giving that we won't  know what college classes he will take in January until, oh, December. Still trying to figure out the basics of planners and organizing 8 students this year with two surgeries on two different kids scheduled for the first 6 months or so of the school year. And that new baby thing. If you find someone babbling incoherently in a corner, that will be me.

I have several book reviews and product reviews I really want to get posted. Granted, one of said book reviews requires that I find the books because I asked on the kids to read them first (he loved them) and have not seen the books since handing them over. I know I can't be the only person this happens to, just perhaps the only one who will admit it.

Seamus just decided that he does not like formula. Smart boy, he is. That stuff is disgusting. Seriously. I know it is nutritionally sound and such stuff but  nothing compares to giving your kid the real stuff from the tap. Nothing else at all. Anyone who knows me at all knows how much of a heart break it was to not be able to continue nursing Seamus. Granted, some people are just plain clueless and make stupid comments anyway. I do not understand such people. With the issues the next little one is expected to have, nursing will be pretty much an impossibility there, too. This really bugs me. Oh so much. Terribly hard to accept. So I am praying that just maybe the issues will not be as severe as expected so just maybe some nursing will be possible.

So that is our life in a nutshell lately. Hope life is wonderful in your neck of the woods.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Meal Plan

Last week was the first week with all the boys back in the house. We seriously went through half as much food as normal the week all 4 older boys were at camp. Seriously.  4 teen/almost teen boys eat a ton of food. Just in case you were wondering.  So one of my goals this year is to work on teaching them how to choose foods that will actually fill them up and provide energy without being just a plain sugar rush. So, no, a bowl of cereal really is not the best snack choice. Protein is a necessary and needed thing. And, really, talk to your parents before snatching food without permission because I bet Mom had plans for the 3 lbs container of cottage cheese you just scarfed down. And, again, remove the empty boxes from the cupboards because otherwise you are just messing with my head and irritating me. But anyway, here's the meal plan for the week.  Hopefully.

M: eggs (B), tacos (D)
T: oatmeal (B), chicken azteca over rice (D)
W: muffins (B), spaghetti (D)
T: breakfast casserole (B), easy Mexican casserole (D)
F: pumpkin bread (B), bean dip, assorted finger foods (D)

I am working on getting the pantry shelves stocked again. With multiple military trips and lots of extra medical bills over the past year,  our pantry shelves were pretty much decimated. Combine that with the constant increase in food costs and the consumption levels of teenagers, and I have been fighting a losing battle in my attempts to restock. The goal for August is to work on both home canned foods  and store bought ones. Yesterday I managed to find an awesome deal on some produce and we made some progress by canning 7 quarts of pickled jalapenos. This week I hope to can triple berry jam, strawberry syrup, and blueberry syrup if I can get out to pick some more blueberries. We also have about 15 bell peppers to get processed for the freezer and rhubarb to process. Also hoping to get a triple batch of laundry detergent made before we run out of detergent completely.

And we are hoping for a calmer week. Two cars needed major repairs this week. Both died on the same day, at the same time, in the same location. One tow truck, one busted radiator, one really horrible messed up brake system. I have decided that no more money will be put into Alan's car because it really makes no sense at this point. And now that the radiator has been replaced on the teenagers' car, it will hopefully hold up well for a few more years.

On a more positive note, I won two raffles this past week. One from the library for a multi-colored cat shaped solar light (seriously, it changes colors all night long) and a gift card to Bill Gray's. Another one for two years worth of art classes on DVD. I picked the 3rd and 4th grade lessons. My crew seems to love DVD based art lessons and I love them now that the local college is no longer offering art classes to homeschoolers. This keeps  art classes much more interesting that what I can manage on my own and affordable. Seriously, that affordable part is what is really important here.