Monday, January 5, 2015

Twelfth Night

Life went back to normal today.  I woke at 5:30 a.m., showered, woke Charlotte so she could shower, woke Parker after Charlotte was finished, drank coffee, packed snacks, drove children to school, drove myself to work, worked, went to the old house to grab a few things, went to the new house to bake a King Cake (Happy Twelfth Night!), picked up the kids from school, started supper, drove Charlotte to ballet, finished cooking supper, left it simmering on the stove so I could pick up Charlotte, attended a town board meeting (our town honored my father-in-law, who passed in December), served my family a delicious supper eaten only by my husband and I, cut everyone a piece of cake (no one found the bean!!!), no one liked the cake (again, only my husband and I- so we finished off everyone else's), cleaned up the kitchen, tucked everyone in bed, and sat down.

What is it with children and food?  How is it that I have given birth to such picky eaters?  I will eat ANYTHING.  And I do mean most anything.  I don't like chicken livers.  Or goat.  But other than that, I really can't think of anything that I absolutely will not eat.  

Supper tonight was delicious.  We had cheese tortellini soup (recipe here)- this recipe never fails!  It is so yummy.  The King Cake was delicious as well.  I got the recipe from this book, which I am really enjoying!

I've decided to go back and watch all the Downton seasons in order.  So I'm gonna settle into my chair with my laptop and my knitting and enjoy a little "me" time.

Good Night!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

No Rest for the Weary

The day began late, yet again.  Charlotte was up most of the night with a horrible cough.  I finally got her back to sleep around 5:00 a.m.  When my alarm went off at 8:00, she came in my room and asked if she could skip church and sleep in.  Of course I said yes, rolled over, and went back to sleep.  This is the last day of Christmas vacation- we should enjoy it, no?

I vowed to rest today, but Annabel had quite a mess in her room, so I tidied it up a bit.  She promptly came in and said "Thank you, mommy".  Such a polite, but very messy, little girl.

Charlotte asked if I would help her hang a few things on her walls, so I did something very out of the ordinary for me- I stopped what I was doing and went to her aid.  I'm usually "too busy" or "I will help you in a little bit", but not today.  Today we hung art!

She wanted to hang her bug collection- it was a school science project- so I did.  Then her bulletin board decorated with her instax photos (have you seen that camera?  It's so cool!); a little plaque she won at her dad's Christmas party this year; and 5 paintings that she did over the years.  I love her artwork- so bright and cheerful.

When I finished her room, I decided to move on to Parker's.  I ordered the super cool honeycomb shelves here last year and never hung them in the old house.  Those types of things always intimidate me.  Two screws with anchors in two places on each set of three shelves.  Takes precise measurement and I'm more of an eyeball-er!  I managed to hang them in my own special way.  Hey- I did it.  Cut me some slack!

The scripture painting was a gift from a dear friend and the frog he painted at art camp last year.  He loves to paint- any kind of art, really.  He is very creative.  The monkey was painted by local artist (my high school art teacher and very dear friend) Beth Hill.

Dinner was on time (6:30 p.m. on the dot!) and was delicious.  Egg noodles with chicken, carrots, celery & parsley, cooked in the chicken's broth.  Garden peas, homemade sourdough bread & homemade butter.  Charlotte ate her peas but barely touched her chicken.  Of course, she ate plenty of bread.  She eats like a bird!

With everyone bathed and settled into bed, it's time for the new season of Downton Abbey.  

Do you watch Downton?

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Baking Day

Even though I got a terribly late start, today was a good day.  I suppose the girls and I just stayed up too late last night (we were watching the original Annie- it was their first time.  They watched it again this morning!), so we slept in this morning.  We picked up groceries after lunch, then unloaded them and put them away.  It felt really good to clean out the refrigerator and get it organized.  I haven't had a chance to do that since we moved in- we've just been throwing things in there randomly which made it very difficult to find anything.  

I planned to do a lot more baking today than I actually did.  I had to go to our church, where I teach preschool, and clean up the preschool room.  The church had the preschool rooms painted over the holidays and what a mess they were!  There was a thick layer of dust on everything- probably more from the ceiling tiles being replaced than from sanding and painting- but a definite mess nonetheless.  The girls, well, just Charlotte- Annabel mostly made messes and scattered toys about- helped me get all the furniture back in place and clean all the surfaces.  The toys need to be washed but that's something we (the other teachers and myself) can take turns doing next week.  Overall, the room looks great.  Doesn't fresh paint make all the difference?

I let my sourdough rise last night, punched it down this morning, and baked it tonight.  Almost an entire loaf has already been devoured.  I may get used to this new routine- hot bread, fresh out of the oven, every Saturday night- yummy!  Charlotte and I made pizzas for supper tonight.  She made a pepperoni and I made a grown-up spinach, mushroom, mozzarella & parmesan drizzled with honey.  So delicious!

I hung my new Phoebe Wahl 2015 calendar today.  I filled in birthdays and other important events and I must say it is a pleasant addition to our "new" old kitchen!  You can get one here.  I love when a new year demands a new calendar.  In years past, I've used this calendar.  It was difficult to make a change, but I love having the extra space for writing in important dates & holidays.  I will probably order one anyway- maybe for our bedroom.  Hard to say goodbye!

Tomorrow is Sunday and the girls and I are going to church in the morning and then resting for the remainder of the day.  The boys have been in Charlotte all weekend for the Panthers game.  Despite the rain, it sounds like they had a blast.  Can't wait to hear more about it when they get home tomorrow!

What are you doing tomorrow?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Goals for the New Year

If I actually hit publish on this post, then I will hold myself accountable for the goals that I am setting.  I have worked tirelessly to create a plan for the coming year and it is with utter determination and preparation that I approach this moment of truth.

First things first,  daily work.  Over the course of the past year, I have formed a somewhat regular schedule of duties to be completed on a weekly basis.  I plan to alter my current daily duties to form the following new schedule:

Mending, Handwork, Sewing


Meal Planning

Budget, Grocery Order, Blogging

Shopping & Errands

Baking & Cooking


I won't be able to fully fall into this new routine until we have settled into our new home.  There are still boxes to unpack and rooms to organize- but once everything has found a home, I feel confident that I can follow this routine with great ease!

Next comes monthly work.  I am following the lead of The Weekend Homesteader by Anna Hess.  These books (separate or available combined) are great for those of us that have set a goal of becoming more self-sufficient.  January's work is:

  1. Soil Test
  2. Get into the habit of baking bread.
  3. Become media conscious.  (Our family has decided to have a "lights out" candlelight reading time every night.  We read a devotion most nights, so we are going to add a chapter book to our time together.  We are beginning with Heidi.)
  4. Replace/purchase needed household items.  (This month I purchased this and this.  I plan to melt down our current beeswax candles that are worse for the wear and make new ones.  The butter crock is a great way to keep fresh butter on hand.)
  5. Make your own cleaning products.  I ordered this book to help me.
I have been researching Christian feasts and celebrations to keep our family connected to Christ throughout the year- not just at Christmas and Easter.  During the month of January, we will celebrate:

January 5
Twelfth Night

January 6

January 11
Baptism of Christ

January 12
Plough Monday

I am using the following sources to help me navigate this new territory:

The Catholic Home  (Even though we are not Catholic, this book is an excellent source for understanding the liturgical year and why we celebrate these occasions.  It is a beautifully written resource that I highly recommend.)

I am beginning this year with Jen Hatmaker's study The 7 Experiment:  Staging Your Own Mutiny Against Excess.  I have read this book twice and really look forward to working through the study.  The first week, which I plan to spend three months on, focuses on food.  I really want to make over our family's eating habits- ridding our pantry of packaged, processed foods and concentration on making more & buying less, eating whole & organic.  I am participating in 100 Days of Real Food's Cut Out Processed Foods in 14 Weeks Challenge.  I have also set a goal of reading two books this month:  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and Food Rules by Michael Pollan.   These are two books that I already own but have not read.  With all the extra purchases this month, I thought it best to read books that I already have.  

I have set a goal to invite a minimum of one family over for dinner this month.  Our family is involved with three other couples- we call it "Supper Club"; we take turns hosting and meet every month.  My husband and I have also been having dinner with two other couples with grown children on a regular basis, which gives us the opportunity to have some adult time away from the kiddos.  Other than these two gatherings, I really want to get in the habit of inviting a new family over each month.  I formed a list- loosely based on the Christmas cards we received this year.  I am very excited about this challenge!

So, my goals are set and I am ready.  What are your plans for 2015?