Feb 28, 2011

Many Monday Mumblings


Princess Belle was experimenting with paper cup phones and having a blast with it. It was fun hearing the kids playing and giggling with them. It really is the simple things that make you smile

It is a bright sunny day and it feels like Spring could actually come at some point in the future.


When our lease is up on this house, it looks like the owner is going to be moving back into it. So that means we will be moving at the end of this year again. Knowing this far in advance means we can plan and organize and do it right. I am beginning to feel like a Nomad.

I have been incorporating some parts of the Waldorf Homeschool in our days now. It is nice to see how much the girls really respond to them.

I am rediscovering my creative side again. It is so fun to feel my creative juices flowing again. I am very inspired and am looking forward to some sewing and felting projects in the future.



I made french toast for breakfast this morning. It was kind of frustrating to hear Princess Belle declare that eggs and bread didn't sound good and she was just not going to eat and then after much fussing and complaining to eat all of hers and half of her sister's too.

I have some steaks out for Prince Charming and the girls to have for supper and I have no inspiration at all as to what to do with them. I am taking suggestions at this point!

Feb 27, 2011

Hard on ourselves

It is funny how sometimes I am hard on myself. I have a headache (AGAIN!?!) and I was looking at the kitchen and how it was untidy and how I was having a lazy day and not getting much done today. I went off to explain to Prince Charming how I was being lazy today because of my headache (he can never understand why I feel the need to explain these things to him as he wouldn't notice a mess if it came up and kicked him in the butt). Anyhow . . . as I started to explain it occurred to me what I had actually done so far today:
  • regular every day care, feed and changing of bums for kids
  • clean out Princess Snifflefritz's room, including areas that don't get done much like the change table.
  • pack up three boxes books to put away out of the kids reach before they completely destroy them.
  • Put out two bags of garbage
  • Make supper
And all that was by 1 pm. It seems to me that I can sometimes be hard on myself. If I look around and see untidy, I can hear my mom's voice whispering in my ear how disappointed she is in the kind of housekeeper I am and what a bad housewife I am.

Well . . this bad housekeeper is off to change bums, feed and then cuddle her kids for while. (Note: my guilty conscience insisted, I now have a tidy kitchen too.)

Feb 26, 2011

White Knights

Well, the bread I made yesterday is my favorite by far. It is light and fluffy and yummy. Now I did use water instead of milk, I let it rise a little extra and I didn't use nearly the amount of flour they said, but it was pretty much perfect.

I went out and replaced our windshield wipers today. They were bad and needed to be replaced, but after I replaced them, they started acting funny. Well, to be fair they acted funny occasionally in the past, but not enough to be a problem. But, after we replaced them, they one wiper fell off. I went back I got a more expensive wiper and bought it instead. It stayed on, but the wipers still acted funny, they were getting tangled up in each other, or it was going to far to one side and getting stuck off the side of the windshield. Either way, it was raining and snowing and the wipers weren't working hardly at all now. I was upset.

After a lot of stress and trying to figure things out, I took the van to the Ford Dealership and of course, the parts and service department was closed for the weekend. When I was told that by the salesman, I just lost it and walked away crying. I just couldn't afford an expensive part replacement and I had spent all my extra money on those darned expensive wipers! I guess he felt bad because he came out and looked at the van. He even went in to see if he could get any tools to see if he could help me out. But all the toolboxes were locked and he couldn't help me out. I was so grateful for him being kind enough to try.

I then went to the Canadian Tire. The man behind the desk gave me an price estimate and he told me to drive right in. Well, I am embarrassed to say at this point I was crying again. I guess I was over-tired, over-stressed, and over budget and I just didn't know I was going to make all this work. The man lifted the hood, fixed it up and when I pulled out my wallet, he kindly waved me on my way without charge.

I was lucky enough to meet two White Knights in Shining Armour Coveralls who were willing to help a damsel in distress an over-tired mommy. I don't usually cry in public and I kept apologizing for crying this time, but I am glad they helped me out. And I am glad my dear best friend was there with me to help me hold it together.

Feb 25, 2011

Friday Five


  • Cleaning up including things on both our daily cleaning list and our weekly list. Today was scrub the bathrooms. It is probably one of my least favorite jobs, but it feels good to be holding myself accountable.
  • made another batch of bread. This one mades 4 loaves of bread. I gave away two of them because it seemed to turn out so well. I haven't tried it yet, but it looks good.
  • Prince Charming's work made a change for him, so I have hope that he will begin to like it a little better. They really do seem to value him as an employee and to understand his concerns. I hope it works out.
  • I am anxious for Spring to come. I want to start getting the girls out of the house again. It feels very claustrophobic here these days.
  • I have fallen off the diet wagon hard this week, but as of tomorrow, I am back to being a good vegetarian girl who cooks for her omnivore family but eats only healthy, low fat vegetarian food for herself.

Basic White Bread

Baking Time
25-30 minutes.

Ingredients

2 tsp sugar
1 cup water, warm
2 envelope active dry yeast
2 cup milk
4 tbsp butter or margarine
4 tbsp sugar
3 tsp salt
1 cup water, warm
10 - 11 cups White Flour

Preparation

DISSOLVE 2 teaspoon sugar in 1 cup warm water in large bowl. Sprinkle in yeast. Let stand 10 minutes, then stir well.

HEAT milk to lukewarm. Stir in butter, 4 tablespoons sugar, salt and 1 cup warm water. Add milk mixture and 4 cups Robin Hood Best For Bread Homestyle White Flour to dissolved yeast mixture. Beat with wooden spoon or electric mixer until smooth and elastic.

STIR IN remaining flour gradually. If necessary, add more flour to make a soft dough which leaves sides of bowl. Turn out on floured board. Round up into a ball.

KNEAD dough, adding more flour as necessary, until dough is smooth, elastic and no longer sticky (about 10 minutes).

PLACE in lightly greased bowl. Turn dough to greased top. Cover with greased waxed paper and tea towel.

LET RISE in warm place (75°-85°F/24°-29°C) until doubled (45-60 minutes).

PUNCH DOWN. Turn out onto lightly floured board and divide into 2 equal portions. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

SHAPE each portion into a loaf. Place seam side down in 2 greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 2 3/4" (1.5 L) loaf pans. Cover with tea towel.

LET RISE in warm place until dough rises 1 1/2" (3 cm) above top of pan in centre and corners are filled (45 to 60 minutes).

BAKE at 400°F (200°C) on lower oven rack for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from pans immediately. Brush top crust with butter if a soft crust is desired. Cool on wire racks.

Nutrient Content Per Portion

Calories 214
Protein 6.9 g
Fat 3.4 g
Carbohydrate 38.9 g
Sodium 451 mg
Cholesterol 8 mg

MathRider – TOS Product Review


Product: MathRider Math Software Download

Price: $49.95 Currently on SALE for $37.00

Recommended Ages: Anyone who needs to solidify or brush up on their addition, subtraction, multiplication or division facts.

Math Rider is a downloadable game for kids to practice their math facts. Kids can practice their addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The more they play the better they get. Each child creates their own rider. The game runs on Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. The cost of the program is $37 and you will get an instant download. You can go to their homepage and watch an informational video HERE. Children do not need really good typing skills to succeed at Math Rider.

Princess Belle loved this game. She really picked up quick on the math facts and enjoyed playing this game. She found the game controls to be very easy and she liked that a lot. She is easily frustrated when trying to figure how to use controls and how to answer questions when she is trying a new learning game but with this game, that was not a difficulty for her at all. She just needed a few minutes of instruction and she was all set. She really has a problem with math so any product like this that can make it fun for her is a real plus. I really think that MathRider is for anyone that needs to practice their math facts.


To look at this or purchase, just click HERE.

For more reviews of this product and others, visit the TOS Crew site.

*Disclosure: I received a free trial of this software for review purposes.

Feb 24, 2011

Thursday Thoughts.

Well, this will be short as I am still sick but I am trying to push through the things I want to get done.

I am finally getting on top of washing all the kids clothes. (They have a LOT) so within the next few days I hope that I will be able to go through their clothes and pare it down to the 10 - 12 outfits each that I have planned.

Prince Charming is not enjoying his job. I hate to see him like that. I hope he either starts to find more enjoyment in it, or finds something else soon.

Princess Snifflefritz saw her pediatrician again yesterday. He said that she seems to be growing fine and she is now meeting her developmental milestones that she should. His only concern was that she can't hold her bottle (or sippy cup) up to drink, she has to lay down to drink. So we are going to check into that but other than that, it seems my little teeny beany is growing just fine.

We may be making peanut butter cookies today. I wanted something easy that the kids would like so here it is:

Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup peanut butter (I am going to try using extra peanut butter)
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a medium bowl, cream together the margarine, peanut butter, and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into the peanut butter mixture. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the unprepared cookie sheet.
3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Do not overbake: cookies will be soft and chewy. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Feb 23, 2011

It's my turn

Do you remember when a few days ago my girls looked like this. . . .

Well, that is how I feel now. I am getting through homeschool and the bare minimum in cleaning, but that is about it. UGH


My Review of Deluxe Stainless Steel Bread Box

Originally submitted at CSN Stores

This deluxe stainless steel bread bin helps keep any bread items fresh and organized. It keeps bread off of counter space and in one consolidated area providing more room for cooking. Its stainless steel assembly measuring 17" wide, 7" high and 11" deep, is perfect for a...

Just right

By Twisted Cinderella from Newfoundland on 2/24/2011

5out of 5

This was a welcome addition to our counter top. It stores our bread in an attractive way and keeps it fresh as well. I was very pleased with the service and the product!

(legalese)

Feb 22, 2011

Random Tuesday Tidbits


I am sick today. Too many days in a row cuddling sick kids has caught up with me and now I am sick too. I am trying to carry on with all my plans. We will see how it goes. I have gotten homeschool, lunch and a load of laundry done, but I still have to do our baking and cleaning up for today. I am just sooo tired. I have no time for getting sick . . . can't I just schedule this in for next summer some time??

I figured I would share my thoughts on the bread we made yesterday. It wasn't bad. It wasn't as good as the bread I used to make. I would actually let it rise some more for my taste and I think it needed a little something extra. So, I am moving on to my next recipe in a couple of days. The kids liked it and had it as grilled cheese today for lunch.

This morning little Princess Magpie was very sweet. When her baby sister, Princess Snifflefritz was crying, she hurried over reassuring her and even sharing beloved Fuzzy that she sleeps with to try to help her stop crying. I guess she figured that her Fuzzy always makes her stop crying so she would try with her sister. Too sweet!!

Princess Magpie also joined in with circle time this morning. She had fun with the singing and activities. We have one song that goes (Tune of If your Happy and you know it),

Parent sings: Good Morning , CHILDS NAME, how are you?
Child sings: I'm Fine
Parent sings: Good Morning , CHILDS NAME, how are you?
Child sings: I'm Fine
Parent sings: How are you this special day? I'm so glad you came to play. Good Morning , CHILDS NAME, how are you?
Child sings: I'm Fine

Well, we sang it to her and she did her parts just like her big sister. She loved it. I am glad that I decided to start our days with circle time as it really does start us off with a smile and a good attitude.

Every day, we also sing the days of the weeks and the months of the year, go over a calendar and a song that includes spelling out all our names. This has been great for Princess Belle who has had a hard time remembering and understanding these concepts.

Prince Charming found this Youtube clip of Bon Jovi doing a cover of "Sylvia's Mother". I LOVE Bon Jovi, I always have. And I love this song. This rendition putting them both together is just wonderful!



Here are the two kinds of biscuits we are making today:

Coconut Biscuits

Servings: 18

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup flaked coconut, toasted

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; cut in shortening until crumbly. Combine milk and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in coconut. Drop by 2 tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 425 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Fluffy Biscuits

Servings: 12

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
2/3 cup milk

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Beat egg with milk; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

2. Turn onto a well-floured surface; knead 20 times. Roll to 3/4-in. thickness; cut with a floured 2-1/2-in. biscuit cutter. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Feb 21, 2011

Monday Madness


Well it has certainly been a full Monday at our house today.

We did homeschool this morning and I am liking having the classroom upstairs as it means we can get an earlier start on the day and then be done and accomplishing other things so much earlier in the day. It is a bit of a pain having Princess Magpie in there pushing furniture around and trying to make a nuisance of herself, but we will work that out.

Even though I am still sore as heck from my fall the other day, I even went out and shoveled off our bridge so that the mountain of snow we got in the hurricane is now gone and we are free to use both doors to our house again. I am so glad!!

We embarked on our new baking bread journey today too. We have a nice batch of bread rising on the counter as I type this and I am looking forward to trying the rewards of our labour. I used to make all our family's bread when I was a teenager and I would be happy to do so again. I just wanted to try different recipes than the one I used to make as it make a LOT of bread. So I told Princess Belle that we will try a few different recipes in the future and maybe we would be making all our own bread from now on.

Prince Belle washing her hands to bake with me. She is really love this new part of our daily life

I have made a cleaning schedule and stuck it to our fridge. We have been doing a good job at sticking to it so far. We have even been making our beds every day and I am ashamed to say that that was something that didn't get done every day in our house in the past. I have always thought that my mom would be ashamed of how I kept house compared to the way that she did (Prince Charming says she is obsessive complusive about it) but I am confident that these days she would be as proud of my house as I am. Well, she would be if she came by after the kids go to bed. I will admit that during the day while the kids are up, my house is a mess. I haven't found a way to have three kids around all day long and not have it be a disaster. I am working on it, but I haven't found it yet. For now, I content myself with knowing that every evening after the kids go to bed, the house is tidied and remains that way until they get up again the next day.

I still have some thing that I want to accomplish. I have been wanting to learn needle felting and wet felting. I think it would be so much fun for me in the evenings to sit down and do needle felting while relaxing with Prince Charming. Here are two videos I have seen which inspire me:
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GychGBLkEO4
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-4s9IWqAms

Once I get doing some felting, I am planning on making a nature table for our classroom. I would like to include things we make as well as things we find outside. I would like to spend some time every day outside and a part of that will be collecting things to put our seasonal nature table.

This is the recipe I tried for making our bread today:

Easy Bread

Ingredients

* 1 tbsp. active dry yeast
* 2 cups warm water
* 1 tbsp. sugar
* 5-1/2 to 6 cups flour
* 2 tsp. salt

Instructions

1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water, which should feel pleasantly warm when dropped on the wrist. Whisk in the sugar. Add 2 cups of the flour into the bowl. Whisk the mixture well, then let it "proof," or sit for 10 minutes. If tiny bubbles appear and the batter looks slightly expanded, you're on the right track.

2. Stir in the salt, then add the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured countertop. Knead for 10 minutes. (To knead, fold the dough in half and push it down and away with the heel of your hand, rotate the dough, and repeat until it is smooth and elastic.)

3. Place the ball in a bowl rubbed with vegetable oil and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a draft-free area for 1 to 2 hours, or until it has doubled in size. Punch the dough down. Knead it again to remove air bubbles. For no-frills bread, divide the dough in half and roll each half into a rectangle. Fold it into thirds as you would fold a letter to put it into an envelope. Turn the ends under and place the dough, seam-sides down, in greased loaf pans. Cover the pans with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a draft-free area for about 45 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake the bread for 30 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven; if the bottom of the loaves sound hollow when tapped, the bread is done. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Rub with butter or margarine for a shiny finish, if you want. Cool the loaves and wrap tightly in plastic until ready to eat. Wrapped loaves can be frozen. Makes 2 loaves.

My thoughts remain with Princess Notsosnowwhite as she goes through this tough time of losing her father. I know she has so much to deal with right now and I wish I could ease her burden in some way.

Feb 20, 2011

Sunday Sum-up

Well my girls seem to be feeling a little better today. they are more themselves, which does this mommy's heart good.

Today Princess Belle and I made Apple Cinnamon Loonie Pancakes. It was a fun recipe that I found and she really liked making. She loves reading the recipe, doing the measuring, and mixing and learning how to make things. I like that the small size pancakes cooked very quickly. I can't wait to try to teach her to make bread!

Apple Cinnamon Loonie Pancakes

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
1/4 cup Canola Oil
1 apple, shredded
1 1/3 cups All Purpose Flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preparation

Combine milk, egg, oil, and apple in medium sized bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix until incorporated.

Lightly grease a 10" (25 cm) frying pan and warm over medium high heat. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls (15mL) into hot pan. Cook until bubbly and puffy. Turn and cook other side. Serve hot with maple syrup.


Edited to add:

my best friend just lost her father today and my heart breaks for her. I know he was sick for a long time, but I still ache for the pain that she is going through now. I LOVE her with all my soul and I am here for her in whatever way she needs me to be.


Feb 19, 2011

Sick Girls

All my girls are sick. I am cuddling and snuggling them all like crazy. Princess Belle is only a little sick and she is being a wonderful big sister and helping me out with the babies.




Here are the muffins I made:



I took advantage of the little bit of time I had while the girls were sleeping to put a casserole in the oven for supper. It should make everyone who is up to eating very happy.

I am halfway through changing the classroom to the dining room. The girls are really excited and have been playing school in there. It is too cute.

Feb 18, 2011

Friday Five


  1. We had a pretty good day today and yesterday. Princess Belle and I made blueberry muffins and she and the girls just loved them.
  2. Today I changed most of the stuff to move our classroom upstairs to our dining room. I am looking forward to the ease of having our classroom upstairs where the rest of the girls like to be. It means that I won't need to rely on Prince Charming's help or naptime to get the homeschooling done.
  3. I was worrying about getting approved for homeschooling with my new curriculum choice and I was second guessing myself, but Prince Charming told me that he agrees with my decision and we will fight for it if we have too. It is good to have his support and the HSLDA to rely on.
  4. I love that when we moved the little desk upstairs to the new classroom, Princess Magpie claimed it as hers right away (it was anyway, but it was cute). She likes to "read" and play there. It was also cute when the girls were playing school in the new classroom today.
  5. I fell down yesterday in the girls' room. (Yes, I appear to have gotten very clutzy the last few days, I think I am just hurrying to much all the time.) I had the baby in my arms and I was careful to fall in such a way that she didn't hit the floor at all, but I bruised myself good. Every time I move today, I find a new muscle that hurts.

Blueberry Muffins

Makes 12

Ingredients

* 2 cups flour
* 1 cup sugar
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 egg
* 3/4 cup milk
* 3/8 cup oil (that is 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons)
* 1 cup of blueberries

Directions

* Stir together dry ingredients in a large bowl.
* Add wet ingredients and and stir just until moistened.
* Add blueberries and mix through
* Scoop into greased muffins tins (an ice cream scoop works well for this).
* Sprinkle the tops with sugar if desired, and bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until done.

TOS Review - Kid Scoop


Product: Reluctant Reader Solution & My Kid Scoop Newsletter
Company: Kid Scoop
Price: 97$ for the Reluctant Reader Solution and a year subscription to My Kid Scoop News.
Extra Info: Full 365 day money back guarantee
Recommended Ages: Grades 2-8

I am always happy when I get something to review from The Old Schoolhouse. But, I was really excited to be allowed to review The Reluctant Reader Solution as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. Princess Belle is getting more and more enthusiastic about reading, but really did start out as a reluctant reader and we are still working together to give her a love of reading. With two more coming up to homeschool in the future, anything I can do to make it better in the future is always welcome.

When you order Reluctant Reader, you are getting two different products. The first is The Reluctant Reader Solution e-book. This comes as a downloadable pdf file.

Once you order, you get an email with a link to download the product and a link to review instructions on how to use the product. The instructions are also contained in the downloadable pdf.

Kid Scoop offers a Reluctant Reader Solution package - 365 worksheets and 12 month subscription to their Kid Scoop News for the low price of $97 per year. This is a money back guaranteed program that is quickly delivered to your email box after purchase.

The worksheets consist of mini unit studies on 60 different subjects of high interest. I used Christopher Columbus with Oldest, Golf for Middle and Immunizations with Youngest. These are in black and white and come in PDF form. Oldest was studying Columbus so it dovetailed well with his history lesson - map activities, math exercises, proof reading/editing, puzzles and the always popular word search.

The E-book is jam packed with 365 pages of activities that make learning and reading fun as well as a Parent/Teacher guide. 60 different units consist of the usual topics like national holidays, sports and different animals along with some more unusual (and exciting!) topics like Optical Illusions, Kitchen Creativity, Heifer International and S’Mores. Each topic consists of a 5-7 page activity book that children can read and then complete different activities like word scrambles, fill in the blanks, word searches, matching etc. These are engaging units that could be easily expounded on if your family follows a Unit Study approach!

The online, interactive newspaper “Kid Scoop” is really fun! Each month you will receive a full-color, 20 pg. online newspaper that is fully interactive. You can choose to read it online, print it out to complete the different pencil activities and listen to it on audio. Generally, the kids would read the newspaper online and only print the pages with the pencil activities they wanted to complete.

The Kid Scoop website also has a lot of information and links, when you look around you will definitely find that there is a treasure trove of info.



To look at this or purchase, just click HERE! Be sure to stop by the TOS Crew Blog to see what my Crewmates had to say about their experience with the Reluctant Reader Solution by Kid Scoop!


Photobucket
Just to let you know: I received the product free of charge for review purposes but my opinions are my honest thoughts on the product.

Feb 17, 2011

Random thoughts


Well, I am still snowed in but last night my neighbour offered to babysit the kids while I went to get groceries and given my extreme need not to go another day without coffee, I took her up on it. She is fabulous and offered to babysit anytime I want to get groceries. She also told me to go on into her place and help myself any time I run out of coffee again!

Princess Belle and I made Prince Charming a Valentines present the other day that I forgot to mention. We made a bakeapple and blueberry pie for him. He LOVED it. I am glad it turned out so well.

I have been watching this show in CBC called, "Village on a Diet". I have been really enjoying it. I really like the fact that everyone on the show is doing this while dealing with real every day issues. Don't get me wrong I LOVE "The Biggest Loser" and I would love to be able to dedicate that much time and effort to just being a healthier me, but I can relate more to this show because it is so real.

Princess Snifflefritz is sick. I hate it when my babies are sick. I spent most of the night up cuddling her. She just seemed to need me so much, my poor little baby. And, she isn't eat well again. Just when I had her on track and eating and filling out more, she gets sick. UGH.

Feb 16, 2011

My Day Today

We are having a not-so-lovely blizzard. And to top it off, two doors in our house blew open in the night, one door won't close right and everything is soaked.



her hand is being held at the level the snow is when you take one step outside our door.

I am snowed in with no coffee, but luckily, I get to look at faces like these every day:

Feb 15, 2011

Still Simplifying and Organizing


In my efforts to simplify, organize, focus, and improve my household. I have decided to come with a daily and weekly cleaning list for myself. As most of you know, I am a organization loving mommy. I LOVE lists and containers and shelving units of all kinds. I found this great website that I am using to give me ideas of things to put on my lists (so that nothing gets left out).

Another thing Prince Charming and I have decided to do is move our classroom upstairs. Right now it is in the basement, far away from the rest of the house, but with him gone at work all day, it would be easier to just turn our dining room into our classroom and put the other room to a different use. So stay tuned for pics when I am done.

One change I love since purging the girls toys is that they are playing with the ones I left so much more and enjoying what they have so much more. The toys I left are things that inspire their imagination. With Princess Belle leading our decisions, we left such things as; building blocks, their favorite dolls, silk scarves and dress-up clothes. I love to listen to their imaginative play now.

We had a simple breakfast this morning, but our plan is to make a treat together later today. Here is the recipe we plan to make:

Simple Shortbread

4 dozen

Ingredients

* 1 cup butter
* 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
* 1/2 cup white sugar
* 4 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
2. Cream butter and sugar. Add 3 to 3 3/4 cups flour. Mix well.
3. Sprinkle board with the remaining flour. Knead for 5 minutes, adding enough flour to make a soft dough. Roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into 3x1 inch strips. Prick with fork and place on ungreased baking sheets.
4. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes.

Feb 14, 2011

Even though I was really really tired on my whole 2 hours of sleep yesterday, I had a productive day. We had our berry biscuits for breakfast, homemade turkey soup for supper, the house got tidied, more laundry got done and I went through and did a serious purging of the girls room. I had meant to keep only 15 toys, but it ended up being more like 20 toys between them, with some things like one bunch of dressup clothes counting as one toy. All the same, there is a HUGE difference in their room.

Here is all the stuff I purged from the room, the garbage bags are filled with toys, and all of this is getting donated to Goodwill.



Today, Princess Belle and I made blueberry pancakes. They were a huge success and she was proud of herself for helping. She read the ingredients, told them to me, and then I helped her measure them. Once the first pancake was done, she was too busy eating to help any more. LOL. I got pics of her sisters eating their pancakes, but she was too busy licking out the bowl to be in the pics. (The eggless blueberry pancake recipe is below)




5 Minute Blueberry Pancakes

o 1 cup flour
o 3 tablespoons sugar
o 2 tablespoons baking powder
o 1/8 teaspoon salt
o 1 cup soymilk (or milk of your preference)
o 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
o 1/2 cup blueberries

Directions

1. Set out all your ingredients.
2. Set a stove element with a pan to medium heat.
3. Combine the 4 dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder -- two Tablespoons, not two Teaspoons as some have suggested, salt) in a bowl.
4. Add the soy milk and vegetable oil to your mixture.
5. Mix until smooth and stir in blueberries.
6. Now the pan should be ready for your batter, so spoon one pancakes' worth of the mixture into the pan.
7. Flip [carefully] when you see bubbles in the middle of the pancake, or if the edges are looking stiffened.
8. Repeat until the batter is gone, and try not to eat them all while you're cooking them.

Feb 13, 2011

Good Days

Things are changing for the better all ready. Yesterday as I said, I was conscious of spending more of my time actually involved with my girls: dancing, playing, reading, watching them do carpet angels in the living room.

Today, after spending a full night being tag teamed awake by my babies (only 2 hours sleep total), I still got up, made Country Berry Biscuits with Princess Belle and then cleaned up the kitchen all before 9:30 am. Later, amidst tidying and cleaning, we will also do some Valentines crafts for fun and get some more dancing fun in the living room too.

I want them to remember fun times with me. They are growing up way to fast and I just want to make sure that they remember me for more than meals, cleaning, homeschool and being on the computer.

Can you believe that she is only nine years old??

Here is the recipe for the biscuits we made:

Country Berry Biscuits

Servings: 8

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup margarine
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk and berries; stir only until combined. Drop by spoonful on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until golden.

Feb 12, 2011

Saturday PhotoHunt: Education



The theme this week is Education. I have lots of pics on the education theme because I homeschool. Here are some:




Re-focussing my life

I have decided to make some changes in my life. I want to simplify and re-focus.
  • I want to be more present in my own life.
  • I want to spend less time on the computer and more time with my kids, more time taking care of the house, more time doing old fashioned cooking.
  • I want to get up in the morning and get my kids cleaned up, get them dressed, and then make them a real breakfast that doesn't involve the microwave or the toaster and I want to focus more on them.
  • I want to rid our house of a lot of superfluous things like sooooo many clothes, (I think 10 outfits each is fine).
  • I want to simply their toys and limit them to 15. They are in this with me and Princess Belle at least seems enthusiastic about it.
  • I want to be more creative again. I want to have more natural things around our home. I want to bring nature into our home.
  • I want to spend time with my kids outside.
  • I want to remember that learning happens too when you are simply learning to live in our world. I want to teach them about the world and how it is.
  • I want to do more bulk shopping and simplify our menu.
  • I want to do more baking again, including fresh bread sometimes.
I am really enthusiastic about this endeavor. It will take some time to implement, but a part of it is slowing down and enjoying the every day time with my kids and making better use of the time that I have.

Like today, I turned on the music and the kids and I danced ourselves silly. It was great fun, we all got involved (even Princess Maggie and Princess Snifflefritz) and Princess Belle said it was the highlight of her day.

Feb 11, 2011

I have a secret


My baby girl (Princess Snifflefritz) has been waking me up at earthshatteringly early hours the last little while. It has resulted in a very tired mommy. I make jokes about how the sun will actually rise whether or not I am there to see it, I talk about intravenous coffee drips to keep me going and I go to bed early to try to counteract the effects.



But here's the secret . . . in the early morning hours, with my one-year-old baby girl cuddling me in the dark, I actually don't mind. She is so sweet and cuddly and gentle and relaxed at that early hour, I just soak up the baby-ness of her. She always so busy during the day chasing around her sisters, stealing their toys and sneaking snacks of their plates, that I don't get a lot of cuddles.

She is such a Daddy's Girl that when he is around, the cuddles are all his. But in those early hours, before the sun has even thought about rising, when most normal people are still snug in their beds . . . we cuddle on the couch, warm and snug under a blanket and just love on each other a little.

After my last baby girl goes back to bed, I go into the kitchen and try to get one cup of coffee in before my next baby girl (Princess Magpie) wakes up and wants her morning snuggles too.

Feb 10, 2011

Hmmmm . . .

There is a weird phenomenon at my house. For some reason when Prince Charming isn't home, I am inspired to get things done. This is the time when I am alone with the three very busy, very active, very messy kids (two of which are toddlers). I should be getting less things done when Prince Charming isn't here. But instead I am inspired to get things done, homeschool, take care of the kids as usual but also clean the kitchen, do extra laundry, do extra tidying. I actually try to get everything cooked, tidied, and done before he gets home. I don't know why I do this. But it does feel good to get things done.

On a side note, Princess Belle is doing amazingly well in math the last couple of days. I am really proud of her for getting it. I am thinking on Monday, we will just have fun doing lots of fun, easy Valentines day crafts. Any suggestions?

Here is something she came up with using a leaf (ssh she took it from my plant) as well as some play dough. She was really proud of her tree.

update


It went surprisingly well homeschooling with a toddler around. She enjoyed circle time a lot. She ran around excited by being in the classroom. She had her own crayon and notebook which she enjoyed. She looked at books and played with the broken computer and an unplugged phone. It was less disruptive than I thought and it made it so that homeschooling was a relaxed fun atmosphere . . . even for math.

Feb 9, 2011

Changes

Well Prince Charming is on his first day of work at his new job. I am pretty excited. Wish him luck as he had a bad feeling about this job and I would like it to work out.

Today is my first day of homeschooling with him gone and two little ones. Wish me luck too. I plan to go down to the classroom with Princess Belle and Princess Magpie after Princess Snifflefritz goes down for a nap.

Feb 8, 2011

Sleep, my long lost friend

You know how hard it is to get a nice posed picture of three small children, right? You will always have one that is looking in the wrong direction, getting bored, playing with something, or getting up to leave. Well, in my house it is like that with sleep. I just can't get all three kids sleeping and waking up at some sort of normal schedule. While Princess Snifflefritz keeps me up late at night, Princess's Belle and Magpie get up so early that I have to wait for the crack of dawn. This mommy is exhausted and I don't know how to fix it. I am seriously considering giving up my room to have each child in their own room, locking them in at night, getting earplugs and sleeping on the couch . . . okay so maybe I am really not considering that. But in my more sleep deprived moments, it doesn't sound so bad. I am just so tired. My baby is over a year old now, will this ever end?????