The Trials of a Busy Mom

Month: January 2010 (Page 2 of 2)

Don’t let your ponytail sag

I was doing daughter’s hair this morning, (and by that I mean putting it into the standard ponytail) and I placed the ponytail 3/4 of an inch higher than she usually wears it.

Let the freaking out begin.

She HAS to wear her long blonde hair in a ponytail every. single. day. and she won’t let me vary that ponytail in the slightest. Even when I pointed out that her hair is starting to break off from the constant pressure of the ponytail. I calmly stated that we need to at least vary the height of the ponytail, either putting it slightly lower or slightly higher. Or perhaps a braid or two ponytails.

Not happening.

So, this morning, I put the ponytail slightly higher than normal, told her stop freaking out and I would give her a brownie for her lunch. Seriously. It looks the same. NO ONE is going to notice if the ponytail is the tiniest bit different!

As she was leaving (stomping out the door, actually), I called, “Don’t let your ponytail sag.”

“What does that mean?” she asked.

“You know, like it would sag if it weren’t happy. You want to stay happy, keep your ponytail nice and perky and happy. Don’t let your ponytail sag. It’s my new slogan.” I said.

She rolled her eyes at me. I had it coming.

So, there you go, folks. It’s my new catch phrase. “Don’t let your ponytail sag!”

Eat from the pantry challenge–week 1

One week down, and I’m proud of how we’ve done. We’ve eaten soup, corn dogs, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti,meatball sandwiches, meat gravy over mashed potatoes, and some leftovers.

Around Thanksgiving, I bought a HUGE bag of yukon gold potatoes, and I’m having a hard time eating them all. This week I noticed that they are starting to sprout, so I took action. I cooked up three big pots of potatoes, then mashed them, adding only chicken broth. Then I froze them in freezer bags so that I can have quick mashed potatoes later. I also made up a big batch of potato salad for Megan, my potato salad lover. I don’t know if we’ll be able to get through all of these potatoes before they go bad, but I’ll try. This week we’ll bake them up as fries, or maybe loaded potato skins.

I’ve also gotten some “help” in my challenge.My neighbor called and asked if I needed fresh eggs. I had JUST gone to the store, so I told him I could only afford 18 eggs, and he said, well, how about if I give you two dozen, but only charge you for one dozen? Well, that’s a good deal for me, so I got two dozen fresh eggs for only $2. Yes, it went over my $25, but I’ll try to cut back by $2 this week. My sister-in-law even gave us her leftover ham from Christmas! Hey, we’ll never turn down ham.

By Friday night I was kind of tired of cooking, and I told Cole he was in charge of thinking of something to have for dinner. He said How about Ramen noodles? Sounded great to me. I like it that the kids actually WANT to eat ramen noodles. And since Ryan was out of town, there was no need to make a “real” dinner. Although last night we did have a roast (from the freezer) with sweet potatoes, yukon gold potatoes, and carrots. So we’ll have some leftovers from that dinner to use up this week.

I only went to the grocery store one time this week, and I almost stayed within my $25 budget. I did go over by a couple bucks, but I actually put some things back, when I realised I hadn’t bought the right item that was on sale and went with the coupon I had.


That’s not a whole lot of food, is it?

This week I’ll need more fruit, as I was getting tired of apples and canned fruit, but I guess that’s the point, right? We had bread in the freezer, but we’re almost out of that, so I’m going to have to make my own bread or buy some more this week. This week we also ran out of the cheese that the kids like. It’s the presliced American cheese that I buy in a huge block at Costco. But I don’t think I can go into Costco and ONLY spend $25, so that cheese might just be a no no.

We also did some baking. I brought out a bag of muffins I had stored in the freezer. The kids gobbled up those muffins and asked that we make some more. So on Sunday we made a bunch of two different kinds of muffins for the kids to grab and eat.

The hardest part for me is seeing the deals on cereal and other stock up items that I can’t buy right now. We do NOT need cereal, as I buy lots of it when it’s on sale, but I hate to pass up a deal. I’m also getting low on diet coke, so I’m going to have to add that to the list this week.

How are you doing? Did you eat from the pantry this week and avoid going to the grocery store? Well, if you didn’t, it’s not too late to try.

Home improvements?

Last week I went out to dinner with some friends. It wasn’t a “birthday outing” exactly, but since it was in the week of my birthday, I counted it as such. Actually, one of my faraway friends was in town, so we used that as an excuse to get some friends together and go out to dinner.
new year 2

When I came home, I walked into our disaster of a mudroom (imagine coats, boots and shoes for not just the normal 7 people who live here, but for 13 people! All over the floor of the mudroom! Seriously, a disaster!) to see my brother-in-law standing on the counter in the mudroom, yelling into a hole in the wall. Yes, a HOLE in the wall. When I first walked in, I thought he was yelling at ME for coming into that room, but I quickly realized that was not the case.
The kids were running around and when they saw me, they said, “Mom! Dad made a HUGE HOLE in your bathroom!!!” They were so excited to tell me, and all I could think was, “Oh, joy.” I went upstairs to the master bath to see my husband laying on the floor, yelling into the hole. Really, it wasn’t a hole, he’d just taken off the front piece of marble that usually hides the innards of the tub.

Oh, and here’s another shot of the “hole” with my cute curtains in there. Since I’m showing you my bathroom and all. (Sorry I didn’t clean it for you.)

And I have no idea why this picture turned itself sideways as I put it in there. Ugh.

We had talked about doing this little project, I just didn’t know beforehand that this was the night to do it. You see, our hot water has always been kind of sluggish in getting to our bathroom. It is, after all, two floors up from the water heater to the bathroom. So, they installed some kind of direct circulation line from the water heater right to the bathroom.

It’s NICE. I mean, we have this nice shower with two shower heads, but it’s taken so long for the hot water to get up there, I hardly ever used the second shower head.

In other home improvement news, my husband finally ordered our boiler! I know, you’re wondering why we need a boiler when we have a water heater, but the boiler is for the radiant floor heating.
When we built the house, we installed all the pipe and everything for our warm floors, but we didn’t have the money to buy the boiler at that time.

We’ve decided it was time to order the boiler. There’s a tax rebate, so we got that ordered by the end of last year. Hooray! I’m not sure when that’s going to be installed, but I’m looking forward to some WARM cozy floors.

Ryan is out of town this week. He’s in Vegas at CES. He’s schmoozing, and explaining, and **EEK– a big spider just ran by. I tried to smoosh him but I missed. I may have to leave the room**

Ahem. Ok, I’m back. I’ve regained my composure.

While Ryan’s out of town, I usually like to tackle one organizational project. Last year I did the closet. This week I’ve been rearranging the bedroom. Because I’m kind of a rearranger. When I get bored or dissatisfied with my furnishings and start to wish for new stuff, it helps if I just clean and organize everything, sometime rearranging it in the process. Because of all the windows in our bedroom (3 of them, on two different walls), it makes it a little difficult to arrange the furniture in there. I don’t have a decorator’s eye, and I wish I knew someone who did, because I just arrange and rearrange the same furniture trying to find the right fit.

Before Ryan even left, I had him help me move the bed from one wall to another. It’s kind of hard to move a California King by myself. I got the bed settled in it’s new place, then during the week I got the dressers and other stuff moved around. But once I got things in place, I realized that I couldn’t put the dresser and mirror over by the window. I singlehandedly moved the BED, the heavy dresser, AND the nightstands.
It turns out one person CAN move a big bed by themselves. Just imagine me on the floor, pushing at the bed frame with my feet. No, it wasn’t graceful, and it wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done. It feels nice to get the clutter out, all the clothes put away and the room cleaned. The baseboards are dusted (it was VERY scary to see the amount of dust that had collected on those baseboards behind the bed after 5 years of neglect), and the silly pink garage sale curtains even got taken down and washed. Ick. There was a lot of dust on those curtains.

Now I’ve got the room cleaned organized, and rearranged. I even went shopping yesterday for fabric for new curtains. I don’t know how long it will take to get new curtains made and hung, but I’m excited about it.

I also like this little corner over here. I moved my tiny bookshelf and a chair to make a cozy reading corner. Isn’t that great?

The only thing I haven’t moved yet is the dresser with the tv on it. For one thing, it’s a heavy beast, and I don’t want to break anything in the process. And, if I unhook my tv, I’m not sure I would be getting it hooked back up again. And I do enjoy having a tv in my room.

So now I need to figure out what kind of curtains I want to make, sew them, hang them, and then find some decor for the walls. Piece of cake, right?

Big plans

It’s a Thursday morning, and I have NO plans for the day. Seriously, NO PLANS! No meetings, no volunteer time at the school scheduled, no pressing grocery shopping needs (since I’ve already spent my $25 for the week –sigh–), and no sick children home. No parties to plan, no rehearsals to go to, no house guests, nothing! I’m still in my pjs and it’s almost 9:00. Woo-Hoo! I’m thrilled. I think I’m going to work on cleaning up my room, maybe bake some whole wheat bread, or start working on this disaster I call my office. Or maybe not. MAYBE (evil laugh) I’ll crawl back into bed! How would THAT be? Oh, the excitement is overwhelming!

I’ll check in later and let you know what I actually did with my “free time” from now until noon, when John comes home from school.

Because some days are like that

The other day, after a day full of normal Christmastime activities like school parties, wrapping gifts and shopping, I was just the tiniest bit grouchy (“What? You grouchy?” I KNOW!) John had a friend over to play, and they didn’t seem to be getting along to well, either. They kept arguing about what to do. When I was upstairs changing laundry, John came upstairs and said that his friend had got out the perler beads, and John didn’t want to play perler beads today. This kind of ticked me off a little bit, because EVERY time this kid comes to play, he wants to play with the beads. Then he makes something that ends up getting spilled on the floor before I have a chance to get out the iron and iron it for him. I don’t mind if they play with the beads, but the fact that he just went into my office and got it out without even asking irritated me a little bit. I mean, there were presents in there. Plus the fact that it irritated John. So, I went down and asked him to please put away the beads, we weren’t going to be doing beads today. He didn’t really like that idea and did NOT start to put away the beads, and in fact, totally ignored me. I raised my voice a little bit and asked him to PLEASE put away the beads, that we would be doing a game or a puzzle or something else. He finally started to put them away. But not so willingly. I was around the corner, but I could still hear him singing in his little 6 year old voice, “John’s mom is SO stupid. John’s mom is SO stupid. John’s mom is so stupid.” What a nice little song. Do you not realize I’M STANDING RIGHT HERE AND CAN HEAR YOU!?

As he turned the corner and saw me standing there, I’m sure I did not look very friendly. “We do not talk like that here,” I said very firmly. I demanded an apology, then told him to go and put away those beads immediately, and NEVER talk like that in our home again. I had to walk away and calm down.

After that, that kid couldn’t leave soon enough for me. Too bad his mom wasn’t home at the time. When she did call a bit later and ask that we could get him ready so she could pick him up in 10 minutes, I helped him find his shoes and his coat and we were both waiting outside on the porch for when his mom came to get him.

So, yeah, I was feeling a little bit grumpy. Then my other kids came home, and through no fault of their own, they were annoying me. Too loud, too hyper, too excited, too hungry. Really, they were acting normal for this time of year. They were excited for Christmas and all the fun of the season. I ate some more Christmas goodies and went upstairs to do something at least semi-productive, but hopefully away from the noise. I avoided looking into any of the kids’ rooms, and went to my room, which was also pretty much a mess. I decided to call a friend so I could vent. That helped. Robin and I talked. “I hope it’s PMS here, because if it’s not, I just hate everyone,” I said. She laughed, and sympathized. While we talked, I cleaned up my room a bit. I hung up clothes and put things away, which made me feel a tiny bit better. But there’s still so much clutter and crap in there. “I want to throw EVERY last thing that I see away,” I told her. “Then you should!” she said, “throw it ALL away and get it out in the trash before you have a chance to change your mind.” She’s a bit of a minimalist at times. I did NOT throw everything away, but I did get most of the clothes put away. Talking to a friend and cleaning up helped my mood a little bit.

As I look back and laugh a little bit at myself and this experience, it just brings to mind how thankful I am to have good friends.

To all my friends out there–thank you!

Eat from the pantry Challenge

Money Saving Mom is working to encourage you to shop less. The idea is that we all have so much food in our pantries already that we regularly forget about. Instead, we end up shopping and spending more when we don’t really need to. This month, the goal is to try and use what you have on hand, which will force you to be a little bit more creative than usual and will help you save money in the process.

I’ve decided to join in this challenge. My goals are:

* To reduce our grocery spending to $100 in January

* To “clean out” our freezer and pantry

* To learn to “make do” with what we have!

I think that we have enough food storage that I should be able to “get by” with just buying a few fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, and maybe bread.

I’ll try to post once a week about what we’ve eaten, if we’ve had any failures or successes, and what we really need to add to our food storage for next time.

If you’d like to join this challenge, it’s not too late.

Here’s to a healthy and frugal 2010

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