Monthly Archives: February 2012

Goals, Lists and Plans

When I first started reading blogs, I was a newlywed with no cooking skills so my focus was on blogs was whole foods, cooking and anything “green”.  Over time, I’ve really enjoyed a range of blog topics and in recent years, I’ve added blogs on parenting and home management to my reader.  My life has changed dramatically in the last 5 years.  I went from full time employment with a commute at a Contract Research Lab to full time as an Education Director at Sylvan in town.  And then, part time at Sylvan and parenthood.  And finally, I’m a part time work at home mom with 2 kids.  Everything can be a challenge.  It’s a worthwhile challenge, but a challenge nonetheless.  How do I function?  Lists.  Goals.  Plans.

I’m excited to share some of the plans, goals and lists here.  I have a binder with all of my vital information and work from it on a daily basis.  This works for me because I’m a very list-conscious person and I love organization, but it did take me almost a year to get the kinks ironed out.  My routine is fairly flexible just I have small children, but again, it’s what works for me.

Even thought it’s the end of February, I’m feeling very Springy.  It’s 49 degrees out and Sunny with a capital S.  The rest of the week is forecasted to be in the upper 40s and 50s.  I can’t believe it.  How strange our weather has been this year.  I tend to tackle big organization or cleaning projects when it’s sunny out.  And since the wind is pretty wicked, I am willing to just stay indoors and not blow away.  This week’s goals focus mainly on organization.  I started purging the basement storage area on Saturday and am proud to say that I’m over halfway to the 40 bag goal with a whopping 22 bags of stuff either donated or thrown away.   I need to finish the basement before our furnace arrives.  It’s primarily because I don’t want workers down in the basement tripping over the clutter, but also because the clutter embarrasses me.    And although I’d really like to list my giant to-do list and say it’s my goal for the week, I’m trying to be a little more realistic this year.  Nothing facilitates discouragement like over-extending yourself.  So for this week, only 5 goals:

  • Sort and organize the kids’ clothes, weeding out the things that are too small and makes notes on what is still needed for Spring and Summer.
  • Fix the chair in Liam’s room.
  • Sort and organize the living room bookshelves.
  • Make at least 1 trip to the VOA with donations.
  • SCRUB the kitchen floor.
Those are my goals for the week, do you have any?  Is there beautiful sunshine where you live inspiring you to get a jump start on Spring Cleaning?

Friday Quotidian

I’ve been thinking about doing a post on our daily life once a month in an effort to make this blog a little more personal and clear up any questions about how I spend my time.  Of course, the day I picked to be documented wasn’t a “normal” day, but that’s why we’ll check in again in a few weeks and see how that day goes!

615: I can hear Sylvi talking to herself.  Drat.  I was hoping to make it to at least 630 today.  I’ll just close my eyes again.

620:  Nope.  Wow this kid is loud.  I go into her room and she’s jumping on the crib mattress in anticipation as I come in.

640:  She unlatches, leans back and squeals at me.   This morning isn’t going to go slowly at all.  I get her dressed and note that I’ve got to make more wipe solution for her diapers.  Then, it’s off to get dressed myself and start the coffee for the day!  I throw a load of diapers in the wash.  I check the weather online and sit down for a few minutes to see what’s on my Blogger reading list.

734: I pull out of the driveway headed to the grocery.  I give myself half an hour.  I’m done and home in 24 minutes.  As I pull into the garage, I realize I forgot eggs.  That would explain why I got done so quickly.

840: Everyone is up and breakfasted now, and the diapers are in for another rinse.  Matt is working from home this morning and since Liam woke up in a moderately grumpy mood, he opted to stay home with Daddy instead of going to Mommy and Me Fitness class at the mall.  Liam was also concerned that when I asked if there was an elephant stomping around in his room, I was serious.  He set me straight before I left with Sylvi.

1010:  Phew!  Class is done.  I am sore.  A good sore, but sore nonetheless.  A friend shows up with her 2 boys in her new double stroller.  I ooh and ahh.  And then realize that she thought we were going to hang out for a while.  Since the stores in the mall are now open, we wander around for a little while and I buy Liam a tie to wear for our family photos and Easter.  Sylvi is content as can be in the stroller, sucking her fingers and smiling at anyone who makes eye contact.  An elderly lady comes over to ask how often we come to exercise at the mall.  She pats my hand and tells me that I’m going to “feel so good if I can keep it up.”

1130: Errands run, diapers changed, diaper load on it’s last rinse, Sylvi nursed, mail sorted, I attempt to get lunch put together and eaten so we can stay somewhat close to our normal day.  Today, Sylvi got to have some hardboiled egg for the first time.  She wasn’t really into it, but ate most of her millet patty.  Liam declared his egg “yucky”.  Vito was more than happy to take it off his hands.

1250:  Sylvi has usually been down for a nap for about 45 minutes by now.  We’ve finally gotten into a comfortable routine and naptime has been so nice for the last week.  Today’s didn’t turn out like usual because I ran around after class and Daddy was home.  Liam and I will have to spend some of our quiet time together later since I think it’s going to take some serious convincing for Sylvi to wind down and sleep.

100: Liam refuses to have me read him a story, tuck him in, or snuggle before nap.  He wants Daddy.  I leave the room and hear Sylvi squealing in hers.  I peek in to see her standing up in her crib and pulling back the curtain and blinds so she can look outside.  It is the funniest thing to see this tiny little person being so nosy so I sneak away to get my camera.  By the time I come back, she’s laying down.  Darn, that would have been such a cute photo!  I head downstairs to put the diapers in the dryer.

145: Sylvi was a little wound up.  You know, the bouncing and squealing while rubbing your eyes wound up?  It took 23 rounds of the lullaby from Lady and the Tramp before she settled down.   Liam is sound asleep and Daddy is gone to the office.  I sit down to figure out what I need to accomplish this afternoon.  I didn’t get anything done last night since I was so exhausted after our day in Columbus, so the house is a train wreck and there’s laundry on almost every available surface.  I’d also like a shower.  And to finish my cup of coffee that has now been reheated 3 times.

315: Liam is up from his nap and not happy.  I curl up on the couch with him and fall asleep.  He wakes me up to tell me he peed on the couch.  Argh.  Cushion covers in the wash, hysterical, embarrased toddler placated with a movie, I restart folding laundry and resign myself to the fact that Liam is in a mood that will probably make for a very difficult evening.

400: Sylvi wakes up and I get her changed and curl up in the rocker in her room to nurse.  I make every effort to nurse her in her room in the late afternoon.  She is just too energized and excited to see her brother after naps to settle down and actually nurse if we’re in the living room.  Once she’s done, I head out to the living room to let her play while I start the dough for pizza and breadsticks.

430: I put Sylvi in the doorway jumper since she apparently wants to jump and I can’t supervise her on the trampoline (which she thinks she can do all by herself).  The dough is almost ready for me to start the toppings, so I set things up and realize that Liam is pulling the doorway jumper back as far as he can and launching his sister into the air.  Of course, both of them are laughing.  I don’t react well to this clear safety hazard.   I throw together supper quickly so I can play with the kids… and referee a few inevitable fights over cars.

600:  Pizza and breadsticks are cooked, broccoli is steamed and Daddy is finally home from work.  Both kids are crabby and as a result, so is Mama.  Sylvi shoves as much pizza with sauce in her mouth as she can.  Her bottom 2 teeth are so close to coming in, but still not there and sometimes I get really nervous about her eating.  She gets really mad if I ration the food on her tray.  We all finish supper at different times, Sylvi being the last.  She picks every single last crumb up off her tray and lap before she lets me clean her up.  Apparently dinner was a hit with her.

645: I’m still folding laundry and haven’t yet managed to get the diapers out of the dryer.  Matt and the kids are playing contently so I make a trip to the basement for the diapers and put the couch cushion covers in to dry.  Gah!  And then I remember that the dogs haven’t been brought in from outside yet!  They are barking right outside the laundry window otherwise, I may have completely forgotten about them.  When I step outside, I discover the patio to be icy and a nasty mix of ice, snow and teeny hail to be falling.  Good thing we don’t have plans tomorrow!

730: Sylvi is in bed for the night (I hope) and we start the bedtime routine with Liam.  He likes to join in on Sylvi’s stories before bed and get at least another half hour of his own.  Liam loves books and can’t get enough of being read to.  He’s been like this since he was months old.  I love to watch him lay on his belly and flip through the pages of a book.  We usually let bedtime be his time with Daddy so I sit down to try and work on Sylvi’s photo book of her first year.

845: I downloaded the Blurb program, I uploaded my photos, and then worked for an hour on layouts.  Satisfied with my work, I close the program and check my email.  It is then that I realize I never saved any of my work.  In fact, according to Blurb, I don’t even have a book.  Hmmm.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have been trying to do anything that requires concentration while tired.

930: Well, I’m now sacked out on the couch with Matt watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix.    Eh.  I’ll finish the laundry tomorrow and restart the photo book and write.  It’s been another one of those weeks where Matt and I don’t see each other, so laughing to the antics of Barney Stinson seems to be a nice way to end the night.

1000: Bedtime for me, I’m beat.

1115:  Sylvi’s up!

1230:  Yay!  Sylvi’s up again!

200: I wake up to Sylvi crying, but she falls back to sleep on her own.  I get up for a snack and note that Matt is still awake, playing online with his friends.

330:  Sylvi wakes up again and I go in to try to nurse, but she falls back asleep almost as soon as she latches on.  I put her back in her crib, snoring.

400: Matt comes to bed.  I really hope our taxes did get finished after I went to bed.  :)

515:  Sylvi is bouncing in her crib waiting for me.  I regret having let her stay up to 730 last night.  Anytime I let her stay up “late”, she’s up super early after a less than restful night.  She falls asleep nursing, so I sneak back to bed and hope she’ll stay asleep a little while longer.

630:  Good morning!  Time to start the coffee and spend some time with Sylvi before the day begins.  And I wonder what it will turn out like?


Laundry day

It’s Wednesday and at my house, it’s the day of the week that I do the bulk of my laundry during the winter.  Come Spring, it will get spread out a little more throughout the week since my line only holds 2 full loads at a time, but for now… the morning after a hard leg workout in my Mommy and Me Fitness class, I struggle up and down the stairs in the name of keeping my leg muscles warm.  Anyway, in light of what I’m doing today and a recurring theme on laundry at the Green Phone Booth lately, I thought I’d make today’s post about laundry.  Visit the links if you’re looking for ideas on how to reduce your laundry or what environmentally friendly detergents to use.

Kelly posted about how to reduce your laundry load with 8 simple suggestions.

EcoYogini gave a review on 2 of her favorite eco-friendly detergents.

RetroHousewife talks about Soap Nuts (a regular in our laundry room).

Homegrown Mama (that’s me!) talks about how to keep your washer clean without drowning it in bleach.

Since there’s a lot of laundry in this house, there’s bound to be stains.  Spaghetti stains (Sunday night), blood stains (yesterday morning), paint stains (this morning) seem to be attracted to Liam’s clothes.  And Sylvia’s, too.  Did you know that banana slices leave marks?  Oh yes.  To combat the stains, I mix up a concoction of 1 cup water, 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide.  I keep it in my bathroom and shake very well before each use.  I’m a little bit of a recyclables horder, but after a few tries, I discovered that the salad dressing bottles made by Kraft are perfect!  (I do reccomend running any bottles through the dishwasher prior to filling with your stain remover, though.  Even if it has been over a year since you last used that Catalina salad dressing purchased during a pregnancy craving, there’s no reason to have little bits coming out because you were in a hurry to clean your clothes!)

And with that, I’m off to fold laundry before the kiddos wake from their hard-earned naps!


Meatless Monday… with Millet!

To be completely honest, millet doesn’t normally equal yummy in my mind.   It’s all in the preparation, I know this now, which is why, when I opened up my copy of Clean Eating and saw the recipe for millet patties, I decided it would be something I wanted to try.   I’ve been looking for good source of whole grain that will cover the nutritional bases and still fill me up pretty well.   The original recipe calls for the patties to be cooked in a skillet and then baked, but I just baked them.  And I swapped out the sunflower seeds for flax meal.   It turned out pretty tasty and paired just great with kale and goat cheese.  Sylvi ate right up and was a little mad at me when I ate the last bite.  It’s a great change from couscous and vegetables for any lunch! 

Millet Patties (adapted from Clean Eating Jan/Feb 2012)

  • 1 cup whole millet, cooked
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, finely shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup zuchinni, shredded
  • 2 Tbsp. flax meal
  • 1/4 cup. finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp. dried parsley (or 2 Tbsp fresh if you have it)
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. dried mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • Olive oil
In a large saute pan, pour some olive oil and bring to a low heat.   Saute the onion until translucent.  Add in the carrots, zuchinni and garlic and continue to cook until fragrant.  Stir in the millet and heat through.  Then, mix in the rest of the ingredients and form  into patties (use a 1/3 cup measure to scoop out the mixture to keep it uniform in size).  Chill in the fridge for about half an hour so the egg gets a chance to solidify the patties.  Then, in an oven preheated to 400 degrees bake the patties for about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.

Sunday Snack

Ahhhh… Sunday night.  Matt and I try to not have anything on our plate for Sunday afternoon or evening.  This way, we can just hang out as a family and be calm before another hectic work week begins again.  I like to start my week with a clean kitchen, full coffee pot and lunch packed for Matt.  Once all that is ready and the kids in bed, I end my weekend watching Once Upon a Time with a bowl of popcorn.  

I don’t remember microwave popcorn until I was in college.  How many students live off popcorn their freshman year?  Just me?  Ok.  Well, anyway, I have always noticed that after eating your everyday microwave popcorn, there’s a film on the roof of my mouth and my tongue feels strange.  I stopped eating the popcorn for a while because it was just too strange.  Oh and then, ConAgra was boldly stamped on the bottom of almost every bag I looked at.  Another strike.  And then… I realized the strange film might be due to the fact that microwave popcorn has a Teflon chemical, Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in it.  Awesome.  So, I threw out the popcorn and resigned myself to only having it when visiting my inlaws since my sister-in-law has one of those stovetop poppers.  We have a ceramic top stove and I really didn’t want another small appliance in my kitchen.  

One afternoon, I was wandering Pinterest I noticed a pin that was about popcorn in the microwave… with just a plain paper bag!!!  And it’s true.   Just plain old paper bags that you’d pack lunch in, 1/3 cup popcorn kernels and 2 minutes in the microwave and you have fluffy popcorn without scratching the top of your stove or taking up valuable counter space with another appliance.  I pop up a batch and then toss it in a few tablespoons of melted butter seasoned with either sea salt or a sundried tomato dip mix I found at the bulk foods store.  It’s wonderful.  It’s fresh.  And it comes free of Teflon and weird film on the roof of my mouth.