November 26, 2008

Wonderful Wednesday!

I haven't done one of these in a while so I thought I would revive Wonderful Wednesday. Today's Wonderful Wednesday product is my Apple/Peeler/Corer/Slicer from The Pampered Chef. Its a mouthful but without it, there would be no apple pie for Thanksgiving. I seriously don't have the patience to hand cut and especially peel 5 apples for my apple pie. The APCS does it all in a few cranks of the wheel. Really it's an old fashioned tool that does the job perfectly. They can't really improve on this one. Even making it automatic would not be helpful because I still like to think of my pie as "handmade." If you don't have one, I would suggest you get one, it will change your life! Apple cobblers become a breeze, dried apple slices, so easy, apple pies a dream, and your kids can do it too!

November 20, 2008

My Home Is Not A Haven: Today's List

OK so the list thing worked too well for me. I haven't made a list since last Friday and what has happened? My home has become a dump, definitely not a haven. So I guess I have to make a list to get anything done. Even if I don't check everything off of my list, it will be much more productive than sitting here thinking "what should I do now?" I also found that writing the list down on paper for only me to see doesn't help me either. Posting it here where everyone sees (including my husband) gives me much more accountability. So here is today's list, may it make me productive today.

* Clean Kitchen counters
* Laundry (all day)
* Shopping List (took longer than I thought)
* Lunch (Grilled Cheese! YUM)
* Shopping for next week (Done! But I can't believe how much Thanksgiving is costing this year!)
* Nap (short and sweet)
* Pick up Kindergartener
* Baths for the girls
* Dinner (Pizza - need something fast)
* Kindergarten program at the school
* Bedtime for kids
* Make brownies or cookies for Tomorrow's Thanksgiving Feast at school
* Crash into bed

I'm tired now, I need a nap, but that will have to wait. Too much to do today!

November 14, 2008

Making My Home a Haven: Inviting

Thank you Monica from The Homespun Heart! It has been a revealing, fun week for me this week.

Well, since my husband has been away on business for most of the last month and a half, we are really just looking forward to a quiet weekend at home. But with Thanksgiving around the corner we are hoping that our friends will be joining us. With family far away, we find it lonely around the holidays. Most of our friends live close enough to drive home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it would take us at least 3 days just to drive home! Leaving us the only ones in town, it seems. This year we have invited some new friends for Thanksgiving and though they haven't officially gotten back to us yet, we are hoping to have them for Turkey day. On that note, I want to encourage those of you who have family close to invite at least one of your friends who is far from family to join yours for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Being invited to be part of a family helps a little when your miss your family.

So here is my plan for the day, not much in inviting. We're carrying fun Thursday over to Friday!
*Get 5 year old to school - complete with lunch in hand today!
*Library with 3 year old
*local Firehouse with our playgroup!
*Dollar menu lunch
*Straighten up counter tops
*pick up playroom and media room with help from 3 year old
*pick up 5 year old from school (devotion and knitting in the carpool line)
*Read/play with the girls
*dinner- Pizza tonight!
*Mommy goes scrapbooking!

So that's our day. A mixture of fun and duty today. Hope all of you have a blessed day!

November 13, 2008

Day 4 update: Fun

Today's plan was pretty simple: have fun! So we did.

I only had a couple of to-dos other than playing with my girls and I was able to complete them.

I got my 5 year old to school unscathed.
Ran to Super Target and got some fruit and the needed bread,
Ran home to make a lunch for my 5 year old then ran it to school.
Played Candy land, Chutes and Ladders and Dominoes with my 3 year old. How does she always win?
Had lunch
Made Cookies (burned one pan thanks to my timer that makes one weak chirp when it goes off)
Ate Cookies
Napped with 3 year old
Picked up 5 year old
Announced my plan to feed the ducks and go to the park which was turned down for playing in the driveway with their various vehicles and chalk. (5 year old doesn't like ducks?)
Still playing while I am typing.
Getting ready for dinner and a night of more fun (so glad Daddy is home!)

Since I want to focus on being real with everyone, I want to be clear that things do get derailed from time to time, it's really an unspoken part of my plan. I'm not usually a lister but after this week of being focused on my home, I think I will make more lists. Like I said in my comment on the last post, I feel like I was able to get a lot more done. And if something were to get in the way, oh well, I can put whatever got missed on my list another day. I'll get there eventually!

And on a spiritual note, today I found myself thinking of those dealing with cancer a lot today. I think its because of my knitting. I decided to pray over the piece that I'm attempting to make for someone I don't even know, who may not even know they are sick yet. I pray for healing and comfort and that they know the maker of the universe and his love.

Hope everyone else has had a successful day! Thanks again Monica from The Homespun Heart for hosting this challenge.

Pictures from Day 3 and 4
The beginning of the knitting project (ok, I had to start over a couple of times after this picture)

The first game with the 3 year old (can you see how far ahead the red marker is from the blue? Yep, that's me in the blue, she caught all the breaks and I wasn't even making it easy for her)

Making My Home a Haven Day 4: Fun

Fun! Woo Hoo!

I'm sure our house hasn't been too much fun lately thanks to my husband being out of town (he's back!) and me being sick. Today we are going to do something fun! Here's my list for today.

Get 5 year old to school on time and fed (hair brushed is a bonus)
Make another quick grocery run (I have to get bread to replace the 1/2 of a loaf that I discovered with a big bubble hole in it- that gives me an idea)
Play board games with the 3 year old (Candyland and memory)
Make cookies with the 3 year old
Pick up 5 year old
Take a walk to the pond by our house and feed defective bread to the ducks and then on to the park
Dinner: Roast Beef and Augratin Potatoes (back to real meals since hubby is home)
Read books and spend family time together in the play room (maybe more board games)

Got to go have fun! hope y'all do to!

November 12, 2008

Day 3 update

Well, today I accomplished a lot, even if it wasn't exactly everything on my list. The day went like this:

*Got the child to school (properly dressed and even fed!)
*Picked up pictures at Walmart, among a few other things
*Got home and organized pictures
*Got started on sanding the cabinet. I worked on it until my hand cramped up and got about 40% covered
*Bonus project: spray painted frame that I am going to use to display Girls' artwork
*Another Bonus: began teaching myself to knit. I really want to join a group at our church knitting Chemo Caps for Cancer patients so I am trying to learn how to do it. Uh, it was interesting.
*Skipped nap (bad idea)
*Picked up 5 year old. Started feeling sick at this point.
*Laid down while girls played around me- not getting better.
*Didn't go to church because I started feeling really sick just cooking dinner (Husband's out of town, so I couldn't pass the responsibility)
*Managed to eat some noodles but couldn't even stand the smell of the hotdogs!
*Still feeling sick and can't wait until bed time!!

So at least it wasn't a total failure. Now I think I'll go care for my body and lay down.

Making My home a Haven Day 3: Cared For

Today I had to come up with a project that I have been putting off that needs some attention. Hmmm....what to do. Since I always have everything done that I want to have done, I have to be creative with this one. NOT! I have a lot of things that I could put on this list today. I could put them all on my to do list today but then I would feel defeated by the end of the day so that's not really productive. So I think I will choose a couple and hope that I get it done!

To Do:
Get 5 year old to school
Pick up pictures from Walmart (didn't make my walmart run yesterday)
Organize pictures for Scrapbooking crop on Friday night
Sand Radio cabinet in the garage to prep for painting (will probably take the rest of the day)
More sanding
Pick up 5 year old (devotion in the car while waiting in line)
After school snack/read books with the girls
Dinner- Probably Hot Dogs tonight because of Church
Wednesday night church activities

Wow, that still looks like a long list. Wish me luck! I added the link to my radio cabinet, maybe you have an idea of what to do with it. Right now I just plan to prep it, then I will decided to paint or restore it.

November 11, 2008

The end of day 2, Making My Home a Haven

Thanks Monica from The Homespun Heart for hosting this challenge!

I'm loving reading all of the comments and I'm hoping to be able to return some of those comments tonight, if I don't fall asleep typing. That would be unfortunate because I hate drool on the keyboard. :-)

Anyway, today I was able to accomplish everything on my list! I was through everything but the floors when I was hit with a crazy headache. I pushed through it for an hour then had to take a nap. That was difficult because my 3 year old decided she didn't want a nap today. Anyway, I did get the floors done in the evening. I will admit though instead of swiffering and sweeping the tile floors, I just used my vacuum cleaner on the bare floor setting (did I mention how much I love my new vacuum cleaner?) I also got two bonus things done today. A HUGE pile of laundry folded and PUT AWAY! Yeah, quite an accomplishment. Also, a very long talk with my dear friend, which was very fun and the highlight of my day.

I'm excited to see what tomorrow brings.

After Pictures of Day 1 and Day 2 Plan

Making my home a haven...

Here are my after pictures from yesterday. You probably couldn't tell what was under all that stuff! I felt really good because I got all of this done before lunch. In addition to the effectiveness of lists, I learned that I really don't have much of an excuse to not get things straightened up. It didn't take that long and I felt more comfortable in my house all day long! Instead of walking into the kitchen and being stressed by the mess, the energy from the room was much more positive. And my bedroom felt more like a retreat at the end of the night. The only thing I didn't get to was the car, but it really isn't bad, just need to throw out some papers that seem to accumulate.

So today I am going to follow the Challenge and Clean. Here is my list for today:

Clean up Kitchen dishes
Clean downstairs bathrooms (upstairs bathrooms don't get used very much)
Vacuum downstairs and the stairs (I vacuumed upstairs last weekend) I LOVE my new vacuum cleaner so this will be fun!
Sweep and Swiffer tile floors
Clean the inside of the fridge
Clean out the Microwave
Wipe up the front of the oven and the dishwasher
Walmart run
Nap (I might as well admit to my blogging friends that I am 7 weeks pregnant and need to take about a 30 min nap in the middle of the day to function)
Read devotional while waiting for daughter in carpool line
After school Snack and read with the girls
Dinner- Chick Fil A school night (Like I need an excuse)

My devotional this week is on Leah. Interesting character. She was the unwanted bride of Jacob. Her sister was the one he wanted but their father tricked Jacob into marrying Leah first then working more years to get Rachel, the wanted sister. What discord must have existed between the sisters for all of those years. I will pray that my home and yours is one of peace and unity.

November 10, 2008

Making My Home a Haven: Day 1

I am taking the challenge from Monica of "the homespun heart" to create a Haven out of my home. Today's challenge is to tidy up, declutter and to make time for quiet time with God. Here is my plan for the day:

Laundry (all day)
Unload clean dishes from the dishwasher
Declutter kitchen counters
Declutter bedroom dressers and side tables
A hot cocoa break with my 3 year old
Declutter bathroom counter
Devotional time in the car while waiting in carpool line for my 5 year old (Women of the Bible, great book!)
Re-organize the cabinets and shelf in the laundry room
Declutter the car!

Whew! Kind of a lot! but I think I can do it if I start now! If you want to join in the Making My Home a Haven Challenge this week, check out "the homespun heart." I will post before and after pictures too. Here is my before - I'm being vulnerable here!

Update: I am more than half way through my list and it is only 11am! Sweet. Something I have learned: Lists are good motivators. (duh) I should have known that making a list would motivate me, I love to cross things off and get that sense of accomplishment!

November 8, 2008

Turkey Day Menu

I love cooking for Thanksgiving! Its a new joy I have discovered since moving away from family in Washington. I get to select the menu , which means I don't have to make or smell oyster stuffing!! I also leave out cranberry sauce because none of us like it. I do make yams (sweet potatoes here in Texas) but only one serving for my husband.
So here is our Turkey Day Menu (along with where I got my recipes), my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Roast Breast of Turkey with apple scented pan gravy - Pampered Chef Celebrations Cook Book.
- Great for our family of four we get plenty of left overs and if you want dark meat just get a couple of turkey legs to the pan. I've safely served 7 adults and 2 kids this turkey and still had a little left overs. Its great because it only takes a couple of hours and requires very little prep.

Sage, Sausage & Apple dressing- Food network
- I started the apple theme because we are from Washington and it was our homage to home, but the dressing and the gravy are extremely tasty and now a staple at our Turkey table.

Mashed Potatoes- From the Box
- I have never been able to do real mashed potatoes from potato to bowl so I resort to the Potato buds from the box. I always add fresh garlic or herb and garlic spice mix and lots of butter!

Candied Yams (Sweet Potatoes)- Nothing special: butter, marshmallows and yams
- I HATE Candied yams but my husband seems to like them so I make a small dish for him. Its really simple and makes him happy.

Green Bean Casserole- Food Network- Alton Brown's Best Ever Green Bean Casserole
- Of course! What would Thanksgiving be without Green Beans Casserole? I think it would be the same as no Turkey.

Herb Carrots- Another simple one: steamed carrots with fresh parsley and topped with butter at the last minute.
- Just adds another great vegetable to the table. And they taste so yummy!

Creamed Corn- From the can
- Nothing special but it is another must have for my husband, the girls like it too.

Corn Bread- Package recipe
- this one is for me. I love corn bread, top it off with honey butter and you're set!

- I think I'm going to try to make these from scratch this year if I find a good recipe

Dessert (the best part)

Pumpkin Pie- Food Network - Paula Deen!!
- Yeah, it has a ton of butter in it (it is Paula Deen's recipe), but it is sooooo worth it!! Her Pumpkin Gooey Cake is great also!!

Speedy Strussle Apple Pie- Pampered Chef Season's Best s/s 01 Cook Book
- I have to have apple pie too.

Frosty Pumpkin Dessert- Pampered Chef Celebrations Cook Book
- Another alternative to the pumpkin pie but I usually make all three of these desserts because I can't decide which one to do without!!

There it is, my Turkey day dinner.

November 4, 2008

Don't tell me your vote doesn't matter.

I just don't want to hear it because it isn't true. You may make the argument that one little vote isn't going to make a difference. But add up all of the people who stayed home and didn't vote because they felt their vote didn't make a difference, they might make a difference. Tomorrow, I don't want to be one of the people who didn't have any say. And frankly, if you don't vote, your opinion of the election and its outcome doesn't matter to me.

That's my opinion. For what it's worth.

November 3, 2008

Cleaning On My Mind

All I can think about today is how much cleaning I need to do in this house. This is the day that I curse all 3000 square feet of our house! So here are some of my cleaning practices that might help you get your square feet shiny and clean. Some of these ideas have been collected from other sources, so I can't take full credit, but it really helps to have a game plan when cleaning.

1) Take all cleaning supplies with you in a carrier, so you don't have to go looking for them once you start cleaning.
2) Include laundry basket (cause laundry never seems to get to where it is supposed to go) and garbage bag in your supplies.
3) You can use a stroller to contain all of your supplies if you need to. Think "hotel housekeeping."
4) Clean one room at a time, do not leave that room for anything until you are done.
5) Items that need to go to another room can go in your laundry basket or stroller and get dropped off as you clean the rest of the house.
6) Give helpful kids a Swiffer duster (they love to dust and it gives them something to do).
7) Take a short break between rooms (makes you feel like you aren't abandoning your kids!).

These tips help me stay focused. I tend to get distracted if I leave the room I'm cleaning and it takes ten times longer to clean. If I focus and stick to one room, not only is it faster, but I feel like I do a more thorough job.

Now, off to work! I look forward to the sweet smell of a clean house!