Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Motherhood

Before going to the library, I put a book on hold. It was another book on housekeeping and decluttering. I'll let you know if I let it change my life. But we also reached another milestone in The Boy's life of literacy! I asked him if he wanted me to put a book on hold for him, and he said that he wanted a book on monsters. So I scrolled through the list of disturbing adult monster books, and found a LEGOLAND book on monsters. Which he chose. His first ever book on hold! I, being the true nerd I am, was very pleased.
My husband recently read a statistic, from who-knows-where, which stated that 2/3 of low-income households do not have children's books in their home. For the sake of the children, I hope this is not the case. And I hope that those families have library books in their house, or at least make trips to the library.
At our library, The Baby found a plastic bin of green, purple, brown and gray Styrofoam pieces, with little dino skeletons, and two plastic shovels. It was an archeological dig kit! How adorbs. In all our time there, I had never noticed it before.
As always, we had a great time at our library.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mango Cookies Part 2

I made my mango cookies again, because I recently bought a 20 pound bag of flour and two cases of mangos. Goodness. Anyway, we made the cookies again, the boys helped, and I think they are more delicious this batch than last. This time I added a little more mango, almost a cup. I softened the butter, and I packed the brown sugar. The brown sugar ended up being about 2/3 cup. Delicious! I maxed out on four big cups.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Mrs. Dunwoody

I got a book from the library, called Mrs. Dunwoody's Excellent Instructions for Homekeeping - Timeless Wisdom and Practical Advice by Miriam Lukken. It was copyrighted in 2003, but the content is much older, around the late 1800's. It reiterates the need for a housekeeping schedule, for a personal schedule, and for the comfort of home. I particularly like the way it elevates the homemaker status, really emphasizing the importance of homemakers, the act of housekeeping, and the artistry this all entails.
I do feel that when one's home is well-kept, when one is ready for the next event/activity in a timely manner, when one is aware of the importance of having a home that brings comfort, then that person is able to go forward in life in a way that makes that person feels good. Perfection is not the goal, but neither is merely surviving.
I would like my home to be a launch pad for it's residents, to be a source of comfort, of joy; a place of memories and memory-making. I would like my home to be organized enough so that I do not have to struggle to complete tasks (I'm doing ok on this front, much better than I used to).
Homemaking and homesteading are on the rise, I feel, in part due to a need to get back to 'our roots', or 'how things used to be'. Which is, of course, romanticizing the past in a way that I'm not sure is helpful. But I do relish the idea that homemakers and homesteaders will once again be a valued part of society, and that people will find that these careers fulfilling. I do.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Stay Home

For the past few days, we've been on a go-go-go schedule. I've been trying to get the best deals, sign up for the best classes, and organize the greatest field trips. And my house is suffering. And I've been slacking on the projects we like from the preschool book we got from the library. What's a mom to do?
I'm thinking that we need to focus more on the home and hearth. I want to go back to scheduling one trip out of the house a day (not counting walks or outside yard time). This strategy will save my sanity, allow me to focus on the house, and cut down on personal pollution and gas usage, and it will streamline my out-of-the-house planning. One trip out a day will mean I need to get my errands/activities done in one trip, and it mean I will lose out on some deals. Which is fine.
I'm going to try my one-trip schedule again, and we'll see how it goes. I'll let you know.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Mango Cookies

The kids and I were on point today. I thoroughly explained to them what was going to happen next, followed through, and had a great time.

The Boy went to his last YWCA swimming class today, and he did really well. I'm so proud of him! And I totally recommend YWCA.

I thought that we would be able to get our free cone for Free Cone Day at Carvel Ice Cream Shoppe, but we could not. Bummer. On the upside, we got to play at a nearby playground. The Boy, unprovoked, pushed another kid, who burst into tears. Luckily, the kid's grandma was not upset.
The Hubs got home later than expected, so me and the kids ate without him. We had sautéed kale and white rice. The Boy liked it. The Baby only liked the rice.

The Boy and I made cookies, and I realized that I was a little hard on him about making the cookies 'right'. I don't like him getting his hands in everything, but that is just the kind of guy he is. We made mango cookies (I bought a case the other day). Recipe is here:
I did not pack my brown sugar, and I think me and The Boy mixed our dough a little too much (he likes the handheld mixer). The cookies were a little dense. And they are not as sweet as I thought they would be. But I like 'em!

The Hubs came home, and we all played outside in the yard. It was so nice to be at home.

Good day, all around.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


At Jewel today I saved 92%. I had a $15 Catalina coupon from a previous purchase, two Monopoly card coupons, and I shopped the dollar sale... buy 10 for $10, get the 11th free. My kids both got a free cookie, and a free piece of fruit (limited to a Red Delicious apple or a non-organic banana, but I'm not complaining). For $1.78 I  got:
2 packages of Hillshire deli meats
3 packages of store-brand toilet paper
2 loaves of bread
6 jars of store-brand pasta sauce
1 bottle of store-brand soy sauce
I say I did pretty good.
Too bad I can't brag about the state of the house.

Sunday, April 17, 2016


I seemed to have inherited my father's style of cooking, which can also be described as 'jailhouse cooking'. We like to use the ingredients on hand, following the recipes rather loosely. I feel like I am getting better at knowing what certain ingredients will do when combined with others. That being said, I found a recipe from Nestle for chocolate chip cookies. Instead of the chocolate chips I used a few yogurt chips, two mini 3 Musketeers bars, and a lot of Nutella. According to my husband, they are delicious. I haven't had any because I totally over-ate today. Which is a discussion for another time.

Friday, April 15, 2016


The boys and I went to a yard sale this morning. I had a list of things we 'needed', and The Boy asked someone who was working there if they had bouncy balls. The dog ate his yesterday, so he wants a replacement. Anyway, I shopped fast, my kids listened well, I got stuff that was on my list, and we got a great deal. I asked if the guy would take $7, but he was already giving me the broom for free. Stuff was marked, so I knew he was adding correctly. He took $8, and I got a free broom.

After the yard sale, I drove down the street and saw a good-looking park. We still had 45 minutes before naptime, so I parked and let them play. It was great! I think they got some energy out, it was a nice surprise, we had fun, and it was a beautiful day. Yes!

We finally had a playdate with a much-missed friend I haven't seen in a while. We tore up her house, cleaned it up, played outside with balls and bubbles. She and I talked about mothering, and it was nice to see that we are pretty much on the same page. I'm so glad we made time for each other.

We're looking forward to another great day tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Screening

I took The Boy to a preschool screening, to get checked for cognitive, social/emotional, hearing and vision, and speech. I parked in the wrong parking lot and me and The Boy had to walk a few blocks. He wanted to play on the school playground and came up with lots of different ways of asking. Sadly, I had to say no because on the way to our appointment we were running late and on the way back we had to hustle because I had my stepdad watching The Baby.
If The Boy does need speech work, there are so many different ways he can get help. I didn't realize it, but he could go to group classes, individual sessions, and I can work with him at home. If he doesn't need early intervention (what a different meaning that word has now) then we'll just wait for him to outgrow his verbal pausing.
My mom told me about the preschool screening; I had no idea it was even a thing. My tax dollars at work! I'm so grateful it exists, and that my mom wants to help, and that everyone at the facility was lovely and non-judgmental (or they hid it well). They were not alarmed about my thoughts on doing homeschool preschool. I'm looking forward to getting the results.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Smith Research

I was away from my babies for five hours today! I went downtown for a focus group, and its about an hour commute. And the group was 2 1/2 hours long. It was an interesting group and topic; and I am pleased to note I wasn't particulary nervous or stressed. Got myself a free Diet Mountain Dew, three Girl Scout cookies, two cups of coffee, and half a Jimmy John's veggie sandwich. I was also paid $150. $5 went into each kid's piggy bank. Can we still deposit our piggy bank insides at the bank?

Sunday, April 10, 2016


The Boy and I signed up for a yoga session at the Morton Grove Public Library. I waited until we were almost late to wake him up from his nap, so he was crying and didn't want to go and missed lunch. The Hubs said that I was bogus for doing that. And we got mad at each other, for a misunderstanding, I think.
In the car, The Boy was back to his usual, cheerful self. We got there late, set up, and I realized we were the only one who brought her own mat. And I was the only adult doing the moves. And The Boy was the only kid who wasn't. So it goes. We had a great time. Afterwards he played nicely with a bunch of other kids.
I helped him find some monster books and I found a preschool activity book and a mommy novel for myself. I'm really excited about the preschool activities. I hope I remember how to search for a book by myself, with the call numbers. Haven't done that in a while.
I also hope The Boy can get down with some yoga soon.

Saturday, April 9, 2016


I had my stepbrother and his wife and their 9 month old over for a playdate. Mostly I chatted with my stepbro and his wife. I am now feeling guilty over my lack of attention to the children. I don't think I actually neglected them, it just feels like it because I wasn't focused totally on them. We gossiped, and talked about kids, and our kids played and it was really fun. Next time we'll go over there. But not stay as long.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


Sometimes other adults address only my children and I am unsure how to proceed. Since obviously the adult was making nicities to my kids, I make sure my children respond. When someone is speaking to them, I want my kids to be able to look at them and answer clearly. (I still have problems doing that, but I know its the right thing to do!) When an adult asks a question that is obviously meant for me, but directed at my child, I get even more awkward. Partly because that is a dumb thing to do, on their part. So I usually answer, but as my child. I say,
"Can you say, '...'"

We are blessed enough to have access to an indoor swimming pool, for free, at my grandmother's residence. I try to go there about once a week, but scheduling can be difficult. Today while we there, The Boy demonstrated what he learned in swimming lessons, and his approach around water and the pool area is markedly different. I am so proud! Anyway, a resident was coming out of the pool and we were getting out of her way, and she asks The Boy how old he was. He held up three fingers and yelled the number. Then she asked his name, which he provided, although not that clearly. My grandmother moved in a told her how we spell the boy's names, which is a little unusual and she remarked,
"Oh, so you'll be spelling your name to everyone you meet in life."
which I thought was an odd and irritating thing to say. So many names are spelled in several ways, I'm not sure what the problem is. I always tell people how to spell my name, it relieves the possibility of bizarre mix-ups.  After she had moved on to The Baby, The Boy volunteered his last name, and my husbands name, and my name, which is 'Mama'. I was thinking about the implications of his sharing personal information with people, when she asked if he was going to school. Dang it! Then she assumed that he would be going to school next year. I didn't comment, because it really isn't her business. For the record, I want to do homeschool preschool, with their first formal schooling experience to be kindergarten. My husband is sort of on board with idea, but I feel very strongly about it. Anyway, I was a little offended and annoyed that this woman would assume to know what my boys are doing with their lives. But perhaps I need to let it go. Done.    

Monday, April 4, 2016

Soup and Kisses

This morning I had no plans, so I just puttered around trying to get stuff done. The kids asked for projects, so we did a few. During the time that I was puttering (and getting stuff done) I noticed that my kids tear into things like none other. I'm not even sure how it happens, but it seems my house is always a wreck. I have decided that unless the stuff will be ruined (like my paperwork and jewelery) I do not care. It is what it is.

It took us 45 minutes to walk the two blocks to the mailbox, and back. We started our trip with the dog, but I had to put her back in the house because it was to hard. I felt bad for the dog, who looked real sad. We walked through the alley because that is where the best stuff is found. The Boy loves to point out all the great things he finds,
"Look at this, guys! Wow!"
It is usually a piece of trash, but we found an Easter egg and a marble and a candle. Score!
I got so mad at them, for moving to slow, for not listening when I said not to go in other people's yards, for not putting the chicken bone down...and it made me feel sick inside. What is the big deal if they get dirty or this errand takes a long time? We have an in-house washing machine and no where else to go. By the end of the walk, I was feeling much more relaxed. In the future, I really want to be relaxed at the beginning of the field trip. I hate that I get a tone with them.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Pledge Drive

Hey guys! Long time no write! I've been working on a new way of getting stuff done. I suspect it is just as efficient as the old ways, which is to say, not very. But it makes me feel pretty good, so I'll keep doing it.

My kids and I go to a Unitarian Universalist church, and I want so badly for them to have a similar experience to mine. I loved my youth group, and the trip to Boston, and all the projects and bonding and learning we all did together. Even when learning wasn't cool and church on Sunday seemed atrociously early. These days I love the services, and find myself tearing up in the back row. I'm so pleased I finally joined a church group; we meet on Thursday nights. My religion feels so much more holy to me now, and I have a reverence for things I didn't before. Yes, this story is going somewhere...despite my love for my church, and despite believing that some charity is a good idea, I find our pledge drive and the church's insistence on receiving funds leaves me feeling guilty, annoyed, resentful, and irritated. But also willing to help. That being said, I know that it is part of our duty as members to help support the congregation. But I'm not sure how rock-solid the budget is. I come to thought as a frugal, sometimes cheap, coupon-clipping mama. I made my pledge, and without asking anyone if I could, I decided to payment-plan my funds. Every month, the plate will get my pledge in the appropriate envelope. I can only assume the finance committee will be able to handle it.
Also, our religion (and us, of course) believe that social action is part of our responsibility as people. We strive to eradicate injustices and to give back to the community as well as ourselves. We believe that everyone is part of a inter-connected web of life.
As of now, although I am still a mite resentful of our pledge drive, I realize that in order to get from the church, I must give. I have eased it into my budget and will adjust accordingly.