Saturday, January 29, 2011

New mommy.

Just one of the 1,000 converstations I've had today with Skylar......

Her: I'm gonna eat you!

Me: Don't eat me!

Her: I AM gonna eat you ALL GONE!

Me: If you eat me all gone then you won't have a mommy anymore.

Her: I'll get a new mommy!

Me: You're going to get a new mommy? From where?

Her: From Wal-Mart (pause).....and HER will give me lots of treats!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

You need to read this.

**Update: Micah brought to my attention that I never gave the author's name. It was written by W. Cleon Skousen about thirty years ago.

I am currently reading this book, and it's amazing.......It's shocking how little we Americans (especially me) know about our nation's history, the Constitution and our founding fathers. I'm attempting to better educate myself on a topic I always thought was boring, and I'm finding it's completely fascinating. In fact, I've been really convicted about the importance of getting back to our roots and understanding what has made our nation great. If history isn't being taught adequately (or accurately in some cases) in schools then it's up to us to seek out the truth.

The book discusses the 28 principles that our nation was founded on, and how they have resulted in more progress in 200 years than was made in the previous 5,000 years combined. So far it's been fascinating, and even though the subject matter is "academic" it's not the least bit dry. It's nice to feel like I'm actually stimulating my brain cells again. It's been awhile:)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

For the love of marshmallows.

This little girl will do just about anything.......
...for a few of these:

Even overcome her irrational fear of her little pink potty.

And then become brave enough to use the big, loud, scary, child-eating potty at the bowling alley. Twice.

Instead of saying, "I have to go potty" she tells me, "Mommy! I need to make some pee-pee so I can have marshmallows!"

Okay, so she may be missing the point a little.

But I'll take it.

I will also take a zip-loc bag of mini-marshmallows in my purse wherever I go.

And I will gladly participate in the crazy three minute, screaming, jumping, marshmallow eating, pee-pee victory dance that she requires of me.


Because she only has about ten weeks to get completely out of diapers, and firmly in those teeny underpants before the process repeats itself.

So I'm pulling out the big guns.

Rainbow marshmallows......

They have "pee-pee party" written all over them.

Now that I've identified her weakness, I intend to use it to my full advantage.

I saw heart shaped ones at Wal-mart today. Those might be next.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

For all the stain-removing warriors.....

I mentioned in my last post that Cascade Complete (not the same as regular Cascade--the "Complete" part really does make a difference) was a good stain remover, and since Marie asked for more specific instructions and I have nothing better to do, I'm just going to blog it.

I'm a proud housewife. This is important stuff......right.....?

I got this tip from a dentist's wife who said her husband would come home with cement from doing fillings in his clothes, and this was the only thing that could get it out. I immediately went home and tried it on Skylar's clothes and it worked so well that I started pulling out all kinds of stained things and trying it. It worked for almost everything.

I buy Cascade Complete with Bleach for the dishwasher, so that's what I use on the clothes regardless of the color, and it has never bleached them. I've used the orange Cascade Complete too, and it works just as well. My point is: the "bleach" part is irrelevant, and it's never ruined the clothes.

I use the bathroom sink and wait until the water is steaming hot, then plug it and squirt some cascade in there to dissolve (a couple of tablespoons). It's important to dissolve the detergent before you add the clothes. I've applied it directly to the fabric before and the blue cascade will sometimes stain a light fabric blue, and then you've just replaced one stain with another.

After it's dissolved, I add the item(s) of clothing and leave it for a couple of hours. If I check it and I can still see the stain, I repeat the process and just let it sit overnight before washing it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Getting the stink out.

When it comes to soap, I am set in my ways.

Ever since I read a consumer reports study a couple of years ago on laundry detergent, I'm a Tide girl. Even though it costs a little more, it killed the competition in cleaning power. (I do waver if there's a great bargain on a runner-up brand).

I only use Cascade Complete in the dishwasher--no exceptions with this one. Micah went shopping and came home with a generic brand last summer, and that bottle is still under the sink almost full. It took two or three runs through the dishwasher to accomplish what Cascade does in one cycle. Nothing else works as well.

Added bonus: A tablespoon of Cascade Complete with Bleach dissolved in really hot water gets almost every stain out of clothes. Even old stains on clothes that have been dried in the dryer. Even pomegranate juice, which otherwise would have destroyed 90% of Skylar's wardrobe. (She's obsessed with pomegranates). And it does not bleach or otherwise harm your clothes.

When it comes to hand soap, I am loyal to Method. I was (a little too) excited to see they have come out with a couple of kitchen sink versions of their hand soap in a bigger bottle for just .44 cents more. It smells amazing and supposedly gets rid of even garlic and onion smells on your hands. I have yet to put that to the test--so far the Lemongrass smell is enough to make me compulsively wash my hands.


I have used one of these stainless steal bars for years, and if you don't have one you need to get over to Bed, Bath and Beyonce (as Andy likes to call it) and pick one up.

You just rub your hands with it when your washing them, and it really does eliminate all garlic, onion, fish, etc smells completely. (You can rub your hands on anything stainless steal to neutralize odors, but who wants to use a clean pot or the inside of a dirty sink? It's all about convenience folks).

Okay, I think I've reached the end of my unofficial product reviews. Now go forth and smell good.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Just a little bit.

There's something about untouched snow that's impossible to resist. You just have to be the first person to tromp through it.......
This was the morning's accumulation on the driveway. Just a few inches, not enough to warrant shoveling around here.

Skylar's parka and boots are designed for -40 degrees, so there's really no excuse not to go outside. (I realize that gear with a lifetime warranty is overkill and completely ridiculous for a toddler, but I wanted to make sure when she was whining about being cold that she was just whining and not really cold).

Most mornings when we wake up I take her to the window and show her the new snow. A couple of days ago we had gotten about 6 new inches. I took her to the window and said, "Look Skylar, it snowed last night!" and she said in a completely unimpressed tone of voice "Just a yittle bit mom". Um, okay.

The next day we were out running errands with a high of 14 degrees and I said "Wow, it's pretty cold out here!" to which Skylar replied in that same bored tone "Just a yittle bit cold mom".

Well alrighty then, I guess she's a North Country girl now. Either that or her down parka is really working.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Unmotivated.

Decorating for Christmas is fun.

Taking down all the decorations is not.

The Christmas tree has been disassembled and sitting in pieces on the dining room table for eleven days.

ELEVEN DAYS.

Why is it so hard to carry it to the attic?

I don't know.

But it is.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Spinach and Artichoke Dip--the skinny version.

I won't lie and say this is the best Spinach and Artichoke dip you'll ever eat--it has no mayonaise or sour cream, two primary ingredients in the original that make it so fattening and delicious. But it is still very good and guilt free with only 1/3 of the calories of the original version, so for all of you spinach and artichoke lovers out there, it's worth a try.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup of flour

3 1/2 cups of protein and calcium fortified nonfat milk such as Skim Plus (it's thicker than regular skim--I just used 1%)

1/2 c. finely diced red onion

1/2 c. finely diced red bell pepper

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 cup grated Romano cheese

1/2 cup of grated Parmesan

1 bag of thawed frozen spinach, drained and squeezed dry

1 can of artichoke hearts, chopped and squeezed dry

1 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper

1 diced plum tomato and fresh shaved parmesan to garnish

To make:

-Whisk flour and milk in a large saucepan until blended; stir in onion, bell pepper and garlic. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until mixture starts to bubble and thickens to the consistency of heavy cream.

-Reduce heat to medium low, whisk in cheeses and stir until melted.

-Add spinach, artichokes, salt and pepper and simmer uncovered on low heat, about 5 minutes. Spoon into serving dishes and scatter top with diced tomato and parmesan cheese. Serve with chips.

As a sidenote: I actually found the flavor a bit bland and added a big shot of red pepper flakes to mine. I think some dried mustard would be good added in there. And I wasn't a fan of the frozen spinach, so next time I'll use fresh like I do in my full-fat version. If I were making it for other people, I would stick it under the broiler for a minute or two to melt the top layer of cheese and brown it up a little bit.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Monday, January 3, 2011

Looking Ahead.

So 2011, you are here.

Skylar's still holding on to the holiday season and yelling "Merry Christmas!" to people. And still begging to make Christmas cookies and eat candy canes. It's hard to come down off those candy canes......
I have mixed emotions going into the New Year. I was feeling really sentimental putting Skylar to bed on New Year's eve. Another year of her life gone. A year we can't get back. It's all going by so fast. Her daddy is missing so much. And we only have 3 more months until her little brother will rock her world.

It's not that I'm not excited about having another baby, but it's really hard to imagine another person in our lives. I love being able to spend all my time with Skylar. She wears me out, but I wouldn't have it any other way. We're "battle buddies". So it makes me sad that I won't have as much time and attention to give her with a newborn.

Then there's that wee (okay big) part of me that's a little (or a lot) terrified of having a newborn again. I love that babies are tiny and snugly and don't argue with you. But I think back to those first two months with Skylar and I am overcome with fear. Surely the Lord knows what I can handle. I am praying for a nice fat baby that sleeps well and eats well. Not another scrawny little thing that is colicky, doesn't gain much weight, can't nurse, and doesn't sleep through the night for years. (She woke me up screaming "Mommy" from her room 4 times last night....I'm a little bitter).

There will be no husband in the delivery room. He won't be here to offer a moment's relief or a shower break. There will be no down time. No one to take a shift. I get overwhelmed just thinking about how exhausting it's going to be. I don't want to let the anxiety take away from the miracle of another child, but it's definitely there.

This is also the year that my father begins (and hopefully ends) his battle with prostate cancer. He was diagnosed a couple of weeks before Christmas. As of right now he is going to have surgery to remove his prostate, but first they are going to run a battery of test to ensure it hasn't spread. If it has spread then the surgery won't happen and he'll undergo chemo and radiation instead. Obviously, the first scenario is the best one, but either way his recovery isn't going to be easy.

This is also the year Micah comes home, but figuratively speaking we are only on mile 6 of the marathon. I am already tired and there is so far still to go. I can't even think about the finish line yet.

And yet Micah and I regularly talk about the fact that we are exactly where God wants us and none of it is an accident. This is the life we've been called to (at least for now). He will equip us with what we need when we need it. And I am learning to rely on that which I can't yet see or understand.

Along those lines, I want to share an excerpt from a book I read last fall called What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lisa TerKeurst and pretty much sums it all up:

"A life that requires very little faith is not a life that God will use. When we are willing to embark on a life that requires faith, we are more aware of God and His ability to provide for us in every detail of our lives. We won't wait until everything in our lives is in order......We will never have everything in order.......Faith is learned through life. Through the messy and unpredictable everyday events that often stumble us, we become aware of our desperate need for God".

So with lots of prayer, a sense of humor and the biggest Toblerone I've ever seen......

......I am taking on this new year.

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