Baby, cleaning, time management

Going Back to Work

I start back to my day job in one week.  That’s one week left to hug and snuggle my baby all day long.

It’s actually not that dramatic.  I’m starting out on a two-day schedule and eventually going to a three-day schedule.  I’ll still be home for the majority of the week.  But, going back to work is a big deal to me, because it means major routine changes.

I’m a morning person.  No-doubt-about-it, I get more done in the morning than I do the rest of the day combined.  Morning is when I do dishes and laundry.  If we have time, I even tidy-up and sometimes squeeze in a vacuum run before we leave for the bus stop.  When I’m home, I have all morning to be productive, blog, clean, work on projects, etc.  By lunchtime, I’m tired and it’s Raegan’s naptime, so I nap, too.  Then I’m happy, rested, and prepared for to take care of the rest of the family when they get home.

That’s going to change.

I have a long commute to work, especially when there is traffic– I feel like it eats away my hours.  My work day ends at 5 pm, but that’s just the beginning of my trip home.  I have to pick-up Raegan at daycare — feed her (still breastfeeding) — drive — pick-up Landon at my grandparents — I end up talking to my grandmother while Landon finishes what he’s doing — drive — bring everyone and everything into the house (honestly, stuff gets left in the car every day).  By then, it’s time to put them to bed!  Homework gets pushed aside until morning.  We woof down supper and I’m lucky if I get the dishes washed.  After the rushed bedtime routines, I’m exhausted and usually put on a movie or read a book… then I fall asleep faster than the kids!

So what get’s forgotten when we’re rushing around like maniacs all evening?  It’s the cleaning.  My “productive” morning time is spent making up for the night before.  But, I can’t live in a cluttered house.  It stresses me out and I can’t be a good wife or mother if I’m stressed.  Home is a haven, where we relax.  I can relax in my home right now.  Now — while I’m not working.  That’s why I’m dreading going back to work.

So, this last week before I go back and the week or two after that, I won’t be writing as much.  I’m doing a little “spring cleaning” to get myself a little ahead, because soon I will start to fall behind.  You might say, cleaning doesn’t take all day… and it doesn’t.  But I’m also going to spend extra time rocking my baby, because soon she won’t want to be rocked.

This poem has played over-and-over again in my mind since Raegan was born.  Her tiny fingers and tiny toes just make Landon’s look so much bigger, more grown-up.  The seven years since his birth have gone by so quickly, so I’m holding on a little more tightly to the next seven years.  And while I still can, I’m going to hold them in my rocking chair.

Song for a Fifth Child
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

menu

Menu September 24 – 30

Wow.  Where did that week go?  We didn’t follow last week’s menu plan at all.

 

Monday:  Chicken Ranch Casserole {from the freezer}  Chicken Cordon Blue

Tuesday:  Chicken Parmesan & spaghetti Pizza date

Wednesday:  Chicken Cordon Blue Chicken Parmesan

Thursday:  Cheesy Bacon Chicken  Leftover

Friday:  Leftovers Dinner with family

Saturday:  Out to a restaurant Dinner with family

 

See, nothing went as planned 🙂

So, this week is just a lot of repeats.

 

Monday:  Cheesy Bacon Chicken

Tuesday:  Chicken Corn Chowder

Wednesday:  Pizza

Thursday:  Chicken Ranch Casserole

Friday:  Leftovers

Saturday:  Date night

Sunday:  Chicken salads

recipes

Pasta with Tomato & Garlic Sauce

When it’s just me at home for lunch, I get to play with new recipes and things I’ve never tried before.  That being said, I’m still a pretty conservative cook… So here is my new favorite pasta sauce for my lunches.

1.  Cook 1 box of pasta (I used Rotini) according to package directions.  Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water.

2.  Heat 4 tbsp of olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Add 6-8 sliced garlic cloves.  Yes, I love garlic. Cook until fragrant.

3.  Add 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water.  Add 1 can of diced tomatoes.  Cook until reduced to desired consistency.  I cooked mine until the tomato chunks were visible under all the liquid.

 

4.  Add sauce to pasta.  Stir.  Eat.

 

Confession:  I also added a ton of garlic powder when I poured in the diced tomatoes.  I’m sure no one else likes garlic that much.

Try adding any veggies you like and have to the sauce.  Enjoy another quick and easy lunch!!

Baby, family

Even “Big Kids” Need Mommy

Malachi 4:6a

He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children,
and the hearts of the children to their parents;

“You never spent time with just me anymore.”

He broke my heart.  In my rearview mirror, the look on his innocent toothless-grin face pleaded for my undivided attention.  Then the baby started to cry, and he reached over to soothe her.

He loves his baby sister.  Never once has he been resentful or jealous of her neediness.  He has such a helpful, kind heart for our new family member.  He begged for a sister.  He is a proud big brother.

But, he’s my first baby.  He was my one and only.  For the first five years, it was us against the world.  Us against the expectations.  And, we blew them out of the water.

Then God blessed us with a husband and a daddy.  And, he’s pretty awesome.

Then in June, our family grew by one more.

In my mind, I was still just a mother and a wife.  I spent the last month working on The Husband Project.  I made sure that I didn’t neglect my role as wife.  That’s the role I’ve been told gets neglected.

But, in the midst of being a “new” mom, I forgot to be a mom.  I forgot that seven-year-old boys are stuck in the middle.  Not yet a teenager, but not a baby anymore.  He can feed himself.  He can dress himself.  But, I forgot that this little independent person still needs me.  I forgot that seven-year-old boys need attention, even when they don’t cry and fuss.  I forgot that seven-year-old boys need conversation, even when it is about the design of his next birthday cake.

Tonight, I’m taking my little man out on a date.  Daddy is watching the baby so it will be just him and me.  One-on-one – to talk about spelling tests and Lego sets.. the things that really matter at this age.

Lord, thank you for blessing me with these beautiful kids.  Give me the wisdom and strength to raise them and teach them about your grace. Help me to remember to take time to love on them as individuals.  Amen.

 

Psalm 127:3-5

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.

menu

Menu September 16-23

Sunday:  Out to a restaurant for lunch, Sam’s Club Pizza for supper

Monday:  Chicken Ranch Casserole {from the freezer}

Tuesday:  Chicken Parmesan & spaghetti

Wednesday:  Chicken Cordon Blue

Thursday:  Cheesy Bacon Chicken

Friday:  Leftovers

Saturday:  Out to a restaurant

Sunday:  Lunch with a friend.  Take-out for supper.

 

DIY, freezer cooking, recipes

Waffles: Mix vs. Scratch

I used to make waffles from scratch.  I rarely made waffles because I had to drag out all of the ingredients, make the waffle mix, heat up the waffle iron, stand in the kitchen to make each waffle, burn a few, clean the waffle iron… I hated it.  But, my kid loves waffles.

Anything for love, right?

We were facing the possibility of a one-income household, so I was trying to cut corners anywhere possible.  When I took a look at our grocery budget, I noticed that a huge chunk of our monthly expense was PopTarts.

Yes, PopTarts.

But, it wasn’t just the kid.  It was all of us.  Especially me.  Between my son and I, we would go through a big box (6-packs) of PopTarts every two days.  Oops.  But they are sooo good with a tall glass of milk.

I’m trying to lose baby weight.  DH is trying to get in shape.  And the last thing our seven-year-old needs is sugar.  So, I started making waffles and freezing them to eat for breakfast.  And snacks.  And dinner when I’m feeling super lazy.

I read an article online (can’t find it now), explaining that it costs $2.00 to make waffle mix from scratch (yields 10 waffles).  And I thought I was saving money!!  Yikes.  So I grabbed a box of waffle mix at Aldi and did a calculation of my own.

1 box of waffle mix $1.49
8 tbsp of oil $0.24 ($2.89/48 oz)

This recipe (doubled the instructions on the box) yields between 32-40 waffles.  So, even if I come out on the short end of that, it’s $0.05 per waffle.  I was paying $0.19 per PopTart and we were all eating TWO at a time.  Now we all eat breakfast for less than a dollar.  Score!

Other Waffle Tips:

I use cooking oil to grease my waffle iron.  I use a spray bottle, even though the users manual says to brush it on the plates.  I hate washing my brush.

Cook waffles until the steam stops coming out of the sides of the waffle iron.  If you open it any sooner, the waffle top & bottom layers will separate and your picky seven-year-old will complain.

Freeze waffles.  If they last that long in your house… they don’t in mine.  No matter how many I make, they’re all gone within a week 🙂

Another short cut I like to use, is to mix up the recipe in a pitcher, for easy pouring.

 

 

Baby

Trial and Error Cloth Diapers: Month 2

We have a “full set” of diapers now!  We have a total of 24 pocket diapers, in addition to the prefolds, snappis, and waterproof covers.  It is such a relief to only wash diapers every two or three days.

I actually had to find a way to store the dirty diapers.  I was putting them on top of the washer because every other load was diapers.  Now I keep them in an old pillow case in a small laundry basket.

We started to have trouble with overnight leaks in the eBay diapers that I mentioned in my last post.  I had been double-stuffing the pocket with two inserts.  I started using one insert paired with one prefold, both stuffed inside the pocket.  We only had leaks every once in awhile with that set up.  But again, I was doing diaper laundry everysingleday.

We bought a set of Kawaii diapers (back-to-school sale, oh yea!) to complete our “stash”.  Two diapers were missing from the first shipment, but the customer service at theluvyourbaby.com  was great and they fixed the order right away!

We got 11 “original” and 1 “ultra soft”.  You can almost see a difference in the picture.. the “ultra soft” is the shiny cobalt blue diaper.  It fits a little snugger than the other diapers — I read some reviews that the elastic was actually too tight for some babies.

I really, really, really like the square tabs on the Kawaii diapers.  With the eBay diapers, we have a lot of trouble with “wing droop”, where the part of the tab that she’s too skinny to use actually falls down.  The square tabs have an extra snap, on a second row, that stops this from happening.  A-mazing.

The Kawaii diapers came with two inserts each, for a total of 24.  The new inserts are much more absorbent than the eBay inserts.  So much so, that I only need to use one insert (even overnight!!) in each diaper.  So, I use the new inserts in both the new diapers and the old diapers.

I still get leaks sometimes in the old diapers, and I’m not sure why.  Maybe the elastic is wearing out?  Maybe they don’t fit well?  Maybe something is wrong with the waterproof shell?

Either way, we’re still going strong in the cloth diapers.  The only disposables we’ve used were the leftover size-one diapers she was going to outgrow.  We have a box of size-two disposables that we were given as a gift — she’ll be taking those to day care with her next month.

Can I just say how disappointed I am that the day care will not accept cloth diapers?!  I’ve ask several times and I never really get a good explanation… maybe I can win them over 🙂

recipes

Egg Surprise

I love the Sorted videos on YouTube.  This one makes my mouth water every time… http://sortedfood.com/#!/recipes/eggsurprise/  DH isn’t a big fan of cooked veggies, so I make my own version.

Egg Surprise:

4 potatoes
2-4 tbsp oil
4 eggs

Dice potatoes.  Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Add potatoes to skillet and cook until soft.
Crack eggs on top of potatoes.  Cover with lid.
Cook until eggs are white and are no longer runny.
Serve with bacon!!  Because bacon makes any dish better!!

{As you can see, I ate most of the bacon while I was cooking…}

I love making this for brunch.  If DH isn’t around, I add green peppers, onions, and sometimes squash.  This recipe is quick! and cheap!

family

Husband Project: Week 3

This week was a lot tougher – I didn’t even get to do all of the projects.  I have noticed, though, that I’m redoing some of the projects from the first week, subconsciously.  I’m making a more conscious effort to “gossip” about him, wear something to impress him, and to pray for him more often (check out the new blog series, Revive Your Marriage, written by some of my favorite bloggers!).

Project 15:  What Not to Wear

Since the demise of my nursing bras, I’ve been trying to part with some worn-out favorites.  If I find something with a hole in it (not a mendable-ripped-seam kind of hole, but a worn -through-the-fabric kind of hole), I throw it away.  It’s tough to say goodbye to some oldies-but-goodies that have been in my closet for years.  I’ve been wearing my black cardigan, hole worn in the elbow, with the sleeves pushed up to hide the hole.  No black cardigan I find seems as comfortable or as well-fitting, but enough is enough.

Project 16:  Is It Getting Hot in Here–Or Is It You?

I remember my parents kissing goodbye everysingletime one of them left the house.  For some unknown reason, kissing isn’t part of our routine.  I’m just not touchy-feely.  I’ve been trying to be more affectionate.  I try to kiss him goodbye and kiss him goodnight (when I remember).  And, honestly, I feel so much closer to him and so much more in love.

Project 17:  Playing Hooky

I’ve been working in the evenings.  DH works during the day.  It’s great because we save on daycare costs, but it’s tough to give him some “time to himself”.  The first couple of days we were both back to work, DH stayed up late playing video games.  Usually, I would try to get him to come to bed, but instead, I gave him this chance to de-stress.  I’m still trying to arrange a night where he can come home and relax while I take care of everything else.

Project 18:  Dinner’s on Me

Like I said, I work at night and DH works during the day.  My best friend and her husband have done this since they were married — and I honestly don’t know how they do it!  We both want, so badly, to go out for the evening, eat at a restaurant, and just talk.  It’s only been two or three weeks since we’ve gone out, but it feels like an eternity.  I’m hoping we get a chance to go out this weekend.

Project 19:  The Service Here is Excellent

Today, I’m going to tidy up our room.  Rooming with a newborn means we have three-times the clothes, the blankets, and the socks that seem to hide in every corner.

Project 20:  Post-it Notes, Man’s Greatest Invention

We’re both exhausted.  We’re up late with the baby.  DH gets up early to get ready for work, while I feed the baby and desperately try to sneak a few extra Zzz’s.  I had every intention of leaving him notes in his car this week, but no motivation to get out of bed in the morning.  This one is still on my to-do list.

Project 21:  Car Chases and Karate Chops

DH has wanted The Jerusalem Countdown for the longest time.  We bought the movie last week, but DH says he hasn’t been in the mood to watch it yet (back to school is so stressful for us).  Last night, when I usually complain, whine, turn over, and go to sleep, I actually stayed up and watched King of the Hill with him.  Honestly, the show isn’t nearly as awful as I made it out to be.  DH fell asleep, so we only watched one episode, but I’m going to yield remote control more often.

 

So, the project is over.  But not for me.  I still have unfinished plans and bigger-and-better plans for some of the projects.  I really enjoyed the book and the challenges.  In this new season of our lives, when everything seems hectic, crazy, and unorganized, this project was a much-needed chance to reconnect and grow together.  I would recommend it to all of my married friends 🙂 and I can definitely see myself doing the project again in the future.

 

This post is part of the Husband Project Series.
Make sure you check out all three weeks!
Week 1Week 2, and Week 3