Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why my kitchen is always clean

When I get stressed out or nervous, I like to cook or bake something. I have found that spending an hour in the kitchen helps me to calm down and helps me to organize my thoughts. I've been doing a lot of cooking and baking in the last 2-3 weeks. Brian's layoff set off a time bomb in me. We knew it was going to come, but it's still a shock. Luckily, he was offered a temp position at IUP to finish up some loose ends and so we could still count on a paycheck. But even that is short lived and so far with a couple interviews and a lot of applications filled out we are still without a permanent job. Then came the election, which we were pretty solid that Brian was going to win a seat on School Board, but still anything could happen. So I have been cooking a lot and that means a lot of cleaning up. I like to walk into the kitchen with clean counters so I can gather my thoughts and decide what I want to make. Sometimes, like dinner, it's already decided and I just have to fix it. Other times, I'll just decide it's time for some cookies or pie or crisp or bread. But I can't do anything if the kitchen is a mess. So I make it a point to keep my kitchen clean. I wash, dry and put away the dishes within a half hour of meals or my baking frenzies. The kids usually help me so I don't have to worry about not spending time with them. They love to help me measure and mix. And yes, the tasting is the best part. Or they dance and sing to the music that is almost always on in the kitchen while I do the cleaning up. I've even taken an end table and set it up as Noah's homework station when I need to get dinner ready and he has to do his homework. My kitchen is small and we run into each other a lot, but I think I'm happiest if I can be with my kids and cooking. But one thing you can count on, unless I'm sick or have run away, my kitchen will be clean.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Noah's progress

Brian and I met with Noah's 1st grade teacher on Thursday. I was a little shocked as we walked out of that meeting. Noah is one of his best readers and is off the chart for his grade. He's also one of his best in math. I am not so surprised at what Noah can do, but more at what they expect 1st graders to be doing. I don't really remember what all we were to do in 1st grade. I know that Noah is smart... hey look at who his parents are :). I wonder if the benchmarks for the kids are set low. I always encourage my kids to read and they see me and Brian reading all the time, the paper, a book, the Bible. I want them to love reading the way I do. Bridgette and Noah both help me cook and bake by counting and measuring. Noah has been helping when he shops with me by writing down the prices and helping me tally them so we know how much we're spending (it keeps me on budget). The other day while I was working on bills, I wrote down a couple numbers and Noah helped me calculate them by adding and subtracting. I feel like I spend such a minimal amount of time doing these things, but I guess that is all that is needed to help nurture their abilities and curiosity. Now the one main thing we need to do is focus on Noah's handwriting. It needs some work...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sharing my toys

One Christmas a long time ago I opened a present from my little brother. It was a brand new Ski Barbie! She was beautiful! Had cool shades. Her signature pink high heels could be switched out for ski boots that hooked into her pink skis. The only problem... I was either 12 or 13, I don't quite remember, but I didn't play with dolls anymore. I held onto her though, because she was so much nicer than any of the other dolls I had since she was new. So when my Dad called and said he had found a box of Barbies, I asked if Ski Barbie was among them. Sure enough, there she was in all her glory! I made sure to tell everyone that she was MINE! My sisters could not claim her. I brought her home and then promptly forgot about her. While cleaning out the basement "play room" I found her again. Along with Miko the Hawaiian Barbie, who was in that box too. And now that gift so long ago given has now been given to someone who truly loves it and has been playing with it since. She even accompanied us today on a Women's Club Coffee/playdate.

Thank you again Stevie!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pumpkins and Jam.

This was the first year that none of our pumpkins were stolen!  We have lived in this house for 6 Halloweens and I was shocked when I realized all 5 pumpkins were still present on our porch November 1st.  Maybe it was that we had the trees out front cut down.  Maybe it was the campaign signs in the yard.  Maybe it was just luck.  Anyway, I decided today that we needed to compost our pumpkins. Halloween is past and I didn't want to have to deal with rotten pumpkins, they were still in pretty good shape.  It was a beautiful, sunny and warm day, so I let Noah stand on the porch stairs and throw the pumpkins onto the sidewalk. It was so much fun to smash those pumpkins and Noah's laughter could be heard down the block. I wish I would have had the camera!  He had to take the big one up a couple times to get it to break up. I made sure that he understood why we were smashing them.  I want him to understand about other people's property and that the only reason we did smash them was because we needed them to fit in the wagon to then fit in the composter.  He also helped me pull some annuals that had been hit hard by the frost and trim back some perennials.

What else did I do today... I finally made some raspberry/strawberry jam!  Over the summer, I begged my mom to pick some raspberries for me from my Baba's house.  I had already picked and made one batch of jam earlier, but I couldn't get back down there to pick more with the kids in tow.  I think we were getting ready to go out of town.  Our last trip with the BTG.  Anyway, Mom picked me a bunch only to have Pap whiz by on the tractor as he was mowing and blow grass all into the container.  Mom was great and picked most of the grass out and then froze the berries for me.  So for the past couple months on my To Do list on the fridge it has said "make jam".  Today I told Brian I just needed to do it!  And I did.  2 1/2 hours, 2 pouches of fruit pectin, 14 cups of sugar, 3 cups of raspberry puree and 5 cups of strawberries (I picked at Polluck's in June) yielded 18 jam jars!  Plus a little more.
I love strawberry jam, but adding raspberries to it makes it so much better!  It took 2 1/2 hours because I had to stop in between batches to help make dinner and eat.  Luckily I had 2 pizza shells in the freezer that I had made a couple weeks ago.  I also had pizza sauce I made with our tomatoes from our garden in the freezer and enough fresh cheese.  Brian whipped up a salad to go along and it made a great supper!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Today was amazing and where did my baby go?

Today was such an amazing day.  Noah woke up last night at 4:30 and promptly started throwing up.  He got up a couple more times, but then slept in until 8:30.  No school for my 1st grader today!  I was worried he'd be cranky or have to carry a bucket with him all day, but God is good and he was past that part.  The morning went well with all three kids having fun playing together.  Then when Linus went down for his morning nap, Bridgette, Noah and I wrapped up in a blanket and read some books.  Noah read to me and Bridgette!  I'm so amazed by how far he has come with his reading.  I'm thankful for the wonderful teachers he has!   We basically just read books on fish, frogs and seals.  So I asked if they wanted to make some frogs and fish to put on paper.  They loved the idea!  Noah made a shark and I cut out frog bodies, feet, and eyes that they glued onto blue paper.  The masterpieces are on display on our cork board in the dining room.  After lunch started the next round of stomach bug fun, which prompted a bath for one child and a bathroom clean up.  Then Linus and Bridgette went down for their afternoon naps and Noah and I played Legos for over an hour.  He was so excited when I told him I would bring his table down so we could play while Bridgette slept in their room.  Then came another round and yet another bath and clean up... and an accidental early wake up for the nappers.  Thankfully, everyone was in good spirits and we had a successful movie night after dinner.  What seemed like a daunting day ahead after the fitful night turned out to be amazing. 

Where's my baby?

I figured that the third child might be a little quicker to pick things up than the other two were... I didn't realize how much!  Linus is just amazing me each day!  He's 9 months old.  He doesn't look big enough to be doing the things he's doing.  He stood for a whole 30 seconds without holding onto anything with hands at his sides just smiling at me today.  He also climbed up 4 steps before I realized he had even left my side and crossed the living room.   And he took our lovely pink horse Pinky for a walk across said living room, then pushed a small chair back to where he was.  He's been ahead of the game the whole time.  He got teeth earlier, rolled over earlier, crawled earlier.  I feel like I've missed his whole infant stage because it was over so quickly!  I wanted to savor the infant stage.  Document it fully.  This is my last baby I kept telling myself, but amidst school board, PTA, women's club, dance class and swimming lessons and school/preschool for Noah and Bridgette, I seem to have missed it.  I sat down today with his baby book and realized that the only place that a lot of his firsts are recorded is on facebook... 

My first post

I have thrown around the idea of a blog for years.  I finally decided that I would jump in with both feet and just create one.  I hope to share some slices of life raising 3 kids with my wonderful husband, Brian.  Noah, Bridgette and Linus are our blessings from above and they amaze us everyday!  Also, let's be honest, this is about me!  I have a lot of interests that I would like to share and this seemed a perfect outlet.  I hope you enjoy my journey.