Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Big Helper

When my boys were little, I used to read about how to start your children early helping in the house, but I never had much luck.  I now realize where I went wrong - they were boys, not girls!  Three year old boys are pretty much an extension of the tornado that is the two year old boy.  Three year old girls, however, are almost human.  And at least mine seems to genuinely enjoy being helpful.  Now don't get me wrong, I love my boys, and now that they are 7 and 6 they are genuinely sweet and helpful, but my daughter continues to amaze me.  Case in point: I sat down to fold towels this afternoon and asked if she would like to help.  "Of course, Mommy!", she tells me, and proceeds to do this.

She folded washcloths, dish rags, and burp cloths while I did the big stuff.  She loves to match socks and unload the silverware, too, and I daresay she is better than some adults at separating the different sized forks and spoons :-). She also sat playing with Rachel this morning for a good half hour while I cleaned upstairs.  Speaking of Rachel, what is it about these things that are so irresistible?!

The baby is crawling...lock up the Legos and the doorstops.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Progress and Paper

I have been trying hard all week to keep the house picked up and put forth some effort with dinner and I've seen some good results.  Even with my husband gone for a birthday trip, I managed to get a good cleanup done.  Then I woke up yesterday morning and realized it was the day for the bug guy to come.  This dude is my worst enemy because although he is super nice, I have to have the whole house picked up AT THE SAME TIME so he can spray.  For obvious reasons, he wont spray spots with clothes on the floor, etc.  and I hate scorpions with a burning passion, so it is in my best interest to get as much picked up as possible.  I did the downstairs pretty quickly and got the kids rooms picked up pretty well since I had cleaned them out last week.  I got the trash out upstairs and even cleared our closet floor of laundry.  It was as good as things have looked in a while.  From this angle, the living room looks great.

Unfortunately, if you walk around the steps and look at it from the front door, this is what we (and everyone else) see when we open the front door.

Paper and junk all over the table.  After it sits there for a while, I truly stop even noticing it.  So, I walked around downstairs and gathered up all the visible papers to deal with this afternoon.

If I don't resurface in a day or two, send a search party.  Today the job is to sort this.  Tomorrow I will tackle the receipts and papers in the closet.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


In my little corner of the world, the Shrove Tuesday pastry of choice is the Fasnacht.  It's pretty much a doughnut with a varying degree of brickiness.  Some of the makers seem to think it should remain in your stomach until Easter, when it may finally be done digesting.  Since I can't exactly hop down to the market here in Tucson and get some, I decided this year to make them.  It was better than yet again having to be grumpy that I wasn't noshing on at least one.

I used the recipe from my trusty Mennonite Community Cookbook.  I did it just as is, but made only 1/3 batch (one egg worth) since I didn't want too many staring at me tomorrow.

They turned out quite tasty.  I tossed half in powdered sugar and the others in cinnamon sugar.  I liked the cinnamon sugar better, but I'm a total sucker for cinnamon toast, so maybe that's it.

I also managed to clean up, dust, and vacuum my family room and do a load of wash.  Imagine how productive I will be tomorrow when I'm off the rest of the interwebz!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Living Lent

For Lent this year, I'm giving up alcohol, which I've done before.  I'm giving up Facebook and all but a few blogs, which I've done before.  But I'm also going to try something new.  I'm going to give up myself.  I'm going to give up the part of me that says I need the approval of people on Facebook for how I live my life.  I'm going to give up the part of me that feels like this life is beneath me because I used to get paid a lot for the work I did.  Truthfully, if I approached my real job as halfheartedly as I've been approaching my work at home, I would have been fired.  

Jesus spent 40 days fasting and praying to prepare Himself for the Passion.  He was blameless and yet was persecuted and put to death for our sins, for my sins.  And yet, if I'm not careful, I will spend this time of fasting and preparation feeling persecuted because I am asked to deal with never ending piles of laundry, little boys who couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, much less a toilet, and a baby who STILL won't take the bottle.

I'm going to try to document some of this, to remember a little joy and a little progress from each day.  For now, I will start here, with a load of laundry to fold, a baby trying to chew a tooth through, and a floor that is at last Lego-free and safe for her to squirm on.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Organizing Uniforms Quick Fix

One consequence of not posting anything for two months is that I've actually accomplished a few things! 
This is one easy fix I came up with to take care of Christopher's school clothes.  He's lucky enough to have started a school where they wear uniforms, and I didn't want to fight with him every morning about why he couldn't wear his Ninjago shirt and elastic waist shorts from his drawer.  One of those pocket organizers would've worked but I didn't have one.  I did have clothespins and hangers, though, so this is what I came up with.
Shorts and socks (with no logos or animals) get pinned to a hanger

Shirt goes on top and everything goes into the closet

Now it's easy to see if he has clean school clothes and he knows to just take out a hanger with his preferred shirt color and get dressed.  This has also taken care of the navy shirt and navy shorts combo I see some kids wearing to school!

Shirts are sort of boring - here's a shameless cute kid shot of Christopher being a great big brother!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Year of Faith

Two posts in one day, this is insanity!  Just go with me here...

On the subject of new beginnings, Pope Benedict just kicked off the Year of Faith yesterday. The focus of the Church this year is to be helping its members grow in understanding of their faith.  Along those lines, I decided to sign up for a wonderful Flocknotes group that aims to Read the Catechism in a Year.  Each morning they send an e-mail to your inbox with a few sections of the catechism.  I'm a repeat Bible in a Year dropout, but I'm hoping to be more successful with this!  I'd love to have you join me.

Thank Goodness It's Spring, I Mean Fall

Wow, I didn't realize it's been two months since I posted.  I always struggle the last few weeks of summer, but it seemed worse this year.  Summer for us in AZ is like winter everywhere else.  The heat sucks the life out of you and makes you hide inside, running from air conditioned house to air conditioned car to air conditioned school/store/wherever.  The downside of all this inside is that like winter in the north, I get a little stir crazy and very unmotivated until it's finally below about 90.

This week it has cooled down somewhat and in a fit of downright pleasantness the high today is below 80.  Be still my beating heart.  I took this opportunity to crack open our gardening in the desert books and decided to clean out the garden and the sad little rosebush in the back yard.  Here our big vegetable growing season is winter, when the days are cool enough not to burn the plants, so I'm going to try carrots, broccoli, lettuce, and some herbs again.  I don't have any seeds yet, though, so I contented myself with cleaning out the old stuff, breaking up the baked soil, spreading the compost bin over top and watering and raking it all together.  Hopefully some of that compost goodness will leach into the surrounding soil before I get the seeds in a few days.

Here we have the before - with two helpful men adopting their best supervisory pose and a photobombing toddler trying to walk on the gravel without falling.
Our super-expensive compost setup.  Actually we wanted it to be pretty incognito since I'm sure it's against HOA bylaws to be composting in your backyard.  This bad boy was pretty much full.
The after, all cleaned up, composted, and watered.  It looks like I missed a piece of paper when I was cleaning up the compost - there's always a bit that doesn't get broken down well.

I also pruned, cleaned up, and fertilized my little rose.  I had put it under a tree next to the wall for the hottest part of summer when I saw it was burning badly.  I think the lack of sun made it go a bit dormant, but hopefully a nice feed and some clean-up pruning will perk it up.