Monday, September 12, 2011

Revamping and Redoing

I've been a SAHM mom for one year and 5 months, and I still have no idea what I'm doing.  No one tells you how hard it really is to be home with your kids.  Or if they do tell you, very seldom do you believe them.  I mean really, how hard can it be???

Well, believe me, it's a lot harder than it looks!!  Between the running and doctor's appointments and cleaning and laundry, it seems like nothing is EVER done!!  Factor in a child with a medical condition, and that amplifies it.

I must admit that now that school has started for my oldest, some of the chaos and craziness has died down.  The end of summer means no more baseball until next summer.  But it brings with it a whole new array of appointments.  Now it's back to Girl Scouts, church and Sunday school, and homework.  The scheduling for all the running had to be peared down so that I can make it home in time to pick Beau up from school.  Every now and then, I do have to find someone else to pick her up or drop her off, but most often it's just me.

I tried making a schedule to follow for basics during the day.  Turns out I can't keep to a schedule.  Either can the little man.  He doesn't nap when I schedule him to.  He doesn't play quietly during his 'scheduled' time either.  I guess with a 3 year old, trying to maintain a set schedule is just not in the cards.  Yeah, I have my list of "to-do"s, but I think that's going to be the best I can do.

Today's list of to-dos??

Scrappy is working a little harder on potty training right now, so he's ACTUALLY wearing underpants - which is really big for him.  So obviously, I have to have some laundry going so I can wash up his accidents.  I'm almost out of laundry soap so I'm going to try making some homemade from a recipe I got from a friend.  I'm about 2 meals behind on dishes, so I have those to do.  Clothes to put away.  Vacuum.  Cooked down my chicken yesterday, so today I have to sort it all out and strain it and clean the meat and hopefully can it.  I'm really hoping the weather doesn't get as hot as predicted.  (Supposed to be 90 today, but I think I'd prefer the 70's.)  And, at some point, I need to get some reading done - I have a paper due Wednesday for school....

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Domestication :)

I have to admit, I love being a housewife.  I love being domesticated.  I love spending an afternoon cooking up a storm to feed my family a good hearty meal.  It's even better when my husband decides he's going to do the dishes for me :)  (Yes it happens quite often too!!  He's the best!!)

I know it's early for nesting for this little one.  Actually what I'm doing is preparing.  The plan had been to make a bunch of freezer meals so they can go right from freezer to oven and we can still have yummy home cooked meals every night this winter without much work.  Well, considering my 7 cubic foot freezer is full (and I mean FULL) already, why not do some canning?!  (No, it wasn't originally my idea - it was Opa's).  I have 23 quarts of fresh tomatoes from my Opa's garden that we blanched and froze, plus 8 quarts of green and yellow beans.  Thursday we decided to do 'a few more' tomatoes since he wanted some canned to take on the road.  We ended up with a total of 18 quarts and 18 pints of tomatoes.  I know I could just say 27 quarts, but we did them in both sized jars so we each have 9. 

A lot easier than I thought!!  1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp salt, then add your tomatoes and squish the air out.  Opa told me to be sure there's about 1/2 inch of headroom too.  We kept the juice separate (since the tomatoes had plenty of their own) and he cooked that down for a few hours, skimmed off the water after letting it sit and cool over night, strained out the seeds, and froze it.  Perfect for homemade soup :)

I thought today would be a good day for doing some more canning - the weather was beautiful, in the 70's, and the kids could play outside while I was working in the house.  Hubby was gone, putting some hours at the shop, so it was perfect.  Kids and I went to Farmer's Market (one of my FAVORITE places in the summer and especially the fall!!  Yeah, some stuff is a little more expensive, but you can't beat the freshness!!)  I made the mistake of letting the kids pick out my onions and ended up with one bad one.  But we got 2 good sized bags of apples for $2, 2 pumpkins about the size of volleyballs for $4, a pimento pepper for $0.50, and a couple onions for $1.

Picked the ripe tomatoes and a couple yellow peppers from my garden, so I put tomato sauce on my list.  Found out my cousin absolutely LOVED the pumpkin butter I gave out for Christmas last year, so I promised I'd make her some more.  Beau was begging for homemade applesauce for lunch, and I didn't want to open a jar I'd already sealed, so why not make some more :)  Also decided better use up the ham hocks and ham pieces that were in the freezer so bean and ham soup was added to the list.  And while I'm at it, why not make chicken stock and can some chicken too??

Well, that's NOT what happened :( 

Yes, the applesauce was made, courtesy of my Pampered Chef goodies (since I only had a few apples to do, I didn't get out my apple peeler/corer/slicer, but I DID use my serrated peeler and my apple corer.)  Super easy - I can't say I really have a recipe, since I cook like everyone's grandma - a pinch of this and a pinch of that.  My method?  Once the apples are peeled and cored, I cut them into quarters (since they're small apples), add a little sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little water, and cook covered about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  After that, I remove the lid and cook until desired tenderness, mash with my potato masher, and cook until desired thickness.  A little taste test here and there and maybe a little more sugar or cinnamon.  I don't have a preference for a type of apples (besides free - that always works good for me!!), but I have been getting Wealthy windfalls from FM.  They are a little bruised, but that doesn't matter.  If it's too bad I might cut it out, but so far it's been pretty good!!

While the applesauce was cooking, I started what was going to be tomato sauce but ended up turning into spaghetti sauce.  (I thought it tasted really good when done, just a little sweeter than the canned stuff.)  I started out with blanching and shocking my tomatoes so I could remove the skins.  The tomatoes were pretty firm, so they didn't give off a lot of juice when I did this.  I cut out the stems and threw all the tomatoes into my 4 quart soup pot (it was about 1/3 full), cut a yellow pepper into big chunks and added about 3/4 of that, 1/4 of an onion in big chunks, some Italian seasoning, and about 2 tsp of garlic.  I had to crush the tomatoes down a little at first to get some juice for it to simmer in, then used my immersion blender to chop things up a little more.  I let this all cook a couple hours, sampled (needed a sprinkle of salt to combat the sweetness), then removed this lid to cook down a little more.  I REALLY hate it when the tomato sauce splatters all over the stove, so I went to the Devil Store (WalMart for those who don't know DS) and had gotten a screen to prevent grease splatters for bacon - works great with the tomato sauce too!!!  Didn't can this one - just ended up in the fridge in a Tupperware container.

Got my bean and ham soup started too!!  Super easy - add 2 bags of dried beans (no, I don't pre-soak mine) and the package of ham hocks and just boil the crap out of it for a few hours until the beans are soft.  Scrape the meat off the bones, discard the rest, add the already-cooked-leftover ham, then can it!  Ended up with 4 quarts.  Unfortunately that was the last thing I made for the day.

I LOVE homemade chicken noodle soup.  My mom and I had canned some chicken and broth a couple years ago and it was really good and makes it easy to make soup whenever I want, and it tastes so much better than using bouillon.  Even though hubs doesn't like chicken noodle soup, I can still use the canned meat to make chicken gravy for biscuits or other things like that - or hot dishes.  Decided I wanted to do that today, but didn't have everything I needed.  Made my shopping list, plus I had to get a few things to make Snicker salad for the family reunion tomorrow. 

I was putting my shopping list into my purse, stepped on a toy that had been left out, and hit the hardwood floor.  Hard.  It hurt.  So, of course, I didn't go anywhere until hubby came home.  Called him, in tears, and told him what happened, plus I was having horrid pains in my side.  Felt a little better by the time he got home, so I convinced him to take me to the store, but went pretty slow.  But I got all my stuff I needed.  Hopefully I'll get my chicken started tomorrow - it takes 2 days to make.  Once I make it, I'll share the 'recipe' since I don't use a real one.  Same thing with the pumpkin butter.  But for now, I'm off to bed.  Hoping to get updated again in a few days, hopefully with some pictures too!!

Oh, and to update the TOPS weigh in and pregnancy weight loss/gain:  I was down 1/2 pound this week, bringing my total loss to 13 1/2 pounds.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Back to School

It's been a week since my last entry - so much for every day or for every other day!!  (I AM working on getting this into my schedule!!)  I did get my kitchen cleaned and organized - for the most part.  Beau and I spent 6 hours working on it.  Crazy, I know!!!  But it's nice being able to use my kitchen again.  It just seems like so many things have gotten away from me when I was on bed rest and it's taking forever to catch up!!!  I've documented a lot of the stuff we buy, and I've made some new rules for the house.  I also have a couple new dry-erase boards that have been added to the fridge, in addition to the one that's already by the phone.  There is also a corkboard that has been next to the phone for some time.  The dry erase board there is for frequently called phone numbers:  our CF nurse, Shopko pharmacy, a few friends.  Also when checking the answering machine, any one who needs to be called back gets written up there with their phone number until we no longer need it.  The cork board holds various notes and business cards.  One of the boards on the fridge is our running grocery list.  The other is for notes/to-do list for mom and dad.  Yeah, at my 'old age' and with the baby brain going on, I don't always remember all the stuff hubby and Beau ask me to do.  Write it down and I can't forget it :)  Today, for example - call vet (girls need meds), Beau needs allergy meds, call CF nurse about Scrap's meds, order replacement hose for vest.  I never would have remembered if it wasn't right in front of me!!! lol!!

Made a couple batches of applesauce yesterday - ended up with 5 pint jars and 9 half-pint jars, plus some I put right into the fridge to have with meals.  Scraps hasn't really tried it, but everyone else seems to think mama did pretty good.  We bought the pint jars and the half pint jars were given to us.  The initial investment will be worth it (along with the 'canning supplies kit' hubs got me - the tongs, funnel, and magnet) because right now for generic applesauce, we pay $2.99 per jar.  For ALL of the applesauce I made, plus about a quart I made on Saturday as a test run, we paid $9 for the apples at Farmer's Market.  One of the bags was only about 1/2 a bag since the kids had eaten some of the apples throughout the week.  Hubs was able to get some really yummy apples from a customer for free too.  Next time I think we might just wait and get them from him!! I told hubs that if he can, to get 2 more bags, then we should be set for the next year until apples are ready again :)

Another huge step in this past week was specifically directed to me - being lower maintenence, especially with Baby on the way.  So... I cut my hair.  A lot shorter.  12 inches donated to Locks of Love.  I almost cried, but didn't.  Kinda liking the new style, makes it easier to brush, don't have the snarls I did before.  Hubs is happy I can't put it in a bun anymore (my go-to style when I have time for nothing else).  I'll also save a TON on shampoo and conditioner.  It's easier to wash now too since I have to do it under the bath faucet cuz we don't have a shower.  Some of my traumatic shots:

It FEELS so much lighter too!! Don't think my hair is going to be giving me too many more headaches :)  I'm still not COMPLETELY used to it, but it's working a lot better for my daily routine.

My oldest also started back to school today - 3rd grade already.  Of course, we had the usual fight last night because she wanted to finish watching WWE on tv.  But much to my surprise, she was already up when I got up at 630 this morning!!  Ate breakfast then hopped in the tub with only being asked once.  Very smooth first day!  My little man didn't even throw the normal fit of not wanting her to leave or wanting to go with her (we live too close for her to ride the bus, so Scraps and I take her to school every morning - she's not old enough to walk on her own!!).

Of course one couldn't get pictures taken without the other one getting them too, but that's fine with Mommy :)

Now I'm off to try getting some homework done and get lunch made for the little man and mama :)