Tuesday, February 20, 2018

General Chaos and a Goal List Update

Whew! The weather here has been amazing the last few days, so I've been as far away from the computer as possible! Just a quick goal-list check in.

1) Lose the weight: Working on it. Trying to eat better and exercise more!

2) Take my girls to the beach. It may end up being the beach here in NC, but I've got something in the works!!!

3) Sell some artwork/lettering: I'm working on a piece right now that someone has already bought!

4) Do something wild with my hair: Stay tuned. Ella and I are both going to do something this weekend.

5) Learn to make butter chicken from scratch. Done! I made it and it was AMAZING!!!!

6) Buy a wafflemaker. Going to cross that off my list this weekend, too!

7) Start a family tradition. It's in the works!

8) Pay the adoption fee for a cat for someone at the Humane Society. (The cat won't be for me, sigh) It's in the works, too. Going to start a change jar just for that!

9) Rescue another cat. You guys saw that coming, didn't you?

Monday, February 19, 2018

Happy Homemaker Monday: February 19, 2018

Happy Monday! I meant to have this up earlier, but I ended up going to breakfast with a friend and then just got busy with the kids. It's Presidents' Day so it's one of those lazy days (except then I get caught up with a million little household chores), but I still  have to go to work in a few hours.

Moving on!

Breakfast time, what's on the plate this morning: It was chicken and waffles. It's one of those Southern things that I'd never had, despite the fact that I've lived here for almost 8 years. It was a bit weird, but I'm kind of into it.

On today's to-do list: Cook dinner before I work, go to work, pack up some more boxes for Goodwill and some clothes for Ella's little bestie.

Currently Reading: "Hidden in Plain Sight" by Karen Ann Hopkins. It's the 4th book in the series of Amish mysteries. Part of me would love to live the Amish life, it seems so simple...but the very fact that there are so many murder mysteries written about them makes me think twice, ha!

On the T.V. today: Criminal Minds and Drop Dead Diva, but mostly Criminal Minds. Matthew Gray Gubler is an amazing actor and his hair is the stuff dreams are made of!

The weather outside is: Cloudy but warm. I think I can handle it.

On the menu this week:
Monday: Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole
Tuesday: Ham Alfredo
Wednesday: Cheatin' Chicken Soup
Thursday: Denver Pot Roast, Potatoes
Friday: Every man/woman/kid for himself/herself (I may bring home a pizza or something)
Saturday: Pork Loin
Sunday: Turkey Spaghetti

If I have a few minutes to myself, I will: Work on those bookmarks. Something else got my attention this week.

What I am creating this week: Bookmarks. A cleaner home. Oh, and I just finished this. It's hard to see, but it is blue and gold.

New recipe I tried or want to try: I finally made Butter Chicken from scratch and it was incredible. I'm really impressed! Also, I made Eggplant Lasagna. Both definitely worth a make-again. Do you have any favorite low carb recipes?

Favorite photo from the camera: I honestly can't just choose one this week.

On Valentine's Day, I took the girls to two parks in town, and we had a great time. It was over 60 degrees that day, and it was just awesome to hang out with both of them.

You can really see that Ella is almost a teenager (whyyyy?!) and Josie would honestly live in a swing if I let her.

Bible Verse, Devotional: 

Have a great day!!!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Monthly Self-Care Project: February

Honestly, the only reason this photo was taken is because it's the 11th and I am committed to the project.
This last month has been ROUGH. Trying to balance a family and a household and work and trying to be a better person is hard.
I took this photo at Goodwill, where I took my 2 daughters and a friend to shop. I was pretty exhausted and I'm pretty sure that my "luminous" moisturizer wasn't holding it's own.
But, hey, I had my long-awaited rainbow baby in the carrier and two tween girls laughing through the aisles, and dang it, I was happy. 

I swear, something has to be done with this hair. And maybe some makeup wouldn't hurt?
I'm still working on this weight loss thing. 
Baby steps.
Gonna work on the put-together Mom look next month...unless something else comes up!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Desperation in the Kitchen: Cauliflower Kuku

Since Josie was about a month old, we've been receiving WIC benefits, and those help immensely. One of the ways we've benefited from them has been fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as eggs, dairy, beans, and baby food.  and  Another has been the magazine they put out for Kids, Chop-Chop. We get an issue every 3 months, and Ella loves them.

We found this recipe for Cauliflower Kuku, an Iranian egg dish in one of the first magazines we got. We love cauliflower and cheese and eggs and trying new things so this was an obvious to-make. I even converted my husband and boss, who both said this sounded "really weird." Boss is now looking for different variations to try, and my husband always says "yes!" when I make "that Iranian egg thing."

On Monday, I made the same dinner twice. Once for my boss, once for my family. It didn't take long, either time, and my boss even had leftovers for breakfast the next day (mainly because he doesn't have an always-hungry husband, an always-hungry 11 year old, and an a growing baby in the house). It's good hot or cold.

Cauliflower Kuku

What you need: 

*Olive Oil
*Garlic (I used garlic powder)
*Coarsely chopped cauliflower (I used a medium size head)
*Salt, pepper, cumin
*1/4 cup of water
*parsley (but dill is also incredible) 
*3 eggs, beaten
*Shredded cheese, to your liking. I used swiss this time, but have had great success using mozzarella, cheddar, and feta.

Also, I completely forgot to photograph the eggs, so you get to see them by themselves in all their egg-y glory.

What you do: 

Before anything, preheat your oven to 400 degrees

Saute the onion in oil, until it's translucent.

add cauliflower, water, spices, and parsley. Cook down until cauliflower is soft, about 10 minutes

push the cauliflower off to one side, and add more olive oil

add eggs and cheese, and cook until set, about 4 minutes

Bake for 7-8 minutes. Top with additional cheese, if desired. Amazing!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Happy Homemaker Monday: February 5, 2018

Good...afternoon! I had great intentions of posting this early this morning, but it didn't happen. My elderly neighbor is away on an Alaskan cruise (lucky gal!!!) and I'm feeding her cats. I got up early, fed the cats, and got the baby up. Then, my older daughter got up and I started on breakfast, then my boss called...and...and...and, well, you get the picture.

Let's get on with this week then!

The weather: Indecisive is the best word to describe it. One day, it's 50 degrees and sunny, the next we have an ice storm. Aurgh. Hurry spring, hurry fast.

As I look outside my window: It's beautiful! Everything looks like it has been sprinkled with powdered sugar. The mountain view off my deck is spectacular!!

Right now, I am: Making a short grocery list and trying to plan out my week.

Thinking and pondering: The above, and that I'm really glad that the liquid iron seems to be working. It's taken a little bit over a week, but I have more energy and I'm feeling more like my old self again. I'm also trying to reach 10,000 steps a day. This morning, I took a walk around the pond near our property. Baby steps to get to where I need to be.

On my bedside table: Solar phone charger, my sketchbook, art pencils, and a package of blank bookmarks I'm going to draw on (and maybe sell? hmmmm)

On my T.V.: Season 2 of The Great British Baking Show and Season 2 of Paranormal Survivor, which I can't take seriously. Anybody else watch Paranormal Survivor?

On the menu this week:
Monday: Cauliflower Kuku (an Iranian egg dish, recipe soon)
Tuesday: Country Club Chicken
Wednesday: Macaroni and Cheese with Ham
Thursday: Hamburger Gravy
Friday: Sausage and Rice
Saturday: Either Butter Chicken or Zuppa Toscana
Sunday: Stuffed Shells

I'm going to attempt the Butter Chicken from scratch on Saturday for a friend. If it's a massive fail, we will have Zuppa Toscana, which is one of my old stand by's. Wish me luck!!!

On my to-do list: Work, Mt. Washmore (aka the pile of laundry I need to do), start on a watercolor portrait for a friend.

What I am creating:  I finished a sketch this week! I've had a couple of people ask me if I sell my artwork (I do!) and one person asked me to do a portrait of their children.

It's not perfect, but it's not bad for being drawn freehand, in bed, in the mostly dark while the baby slept. Currently, I'm working on the watercolor portait and a goose-themed print to hang over Josie's bed.

My simple pleasure: Warm cookies and cold milk. Seriously, is there anything more comforting?

Lesson Learned this week: Rest is important, and it's not a crime to say "no" to people who want something from you. My father in law and I had a talk and he told me that I need to slow it down, and take care of myself...so I'm trying. Rest is not something I'm good at (seriously, ask my husband sometime about how well I fared during 13 long horrifying days of bedrest before Josie was born). But I'm trying. And rest isn't just physical either. If I take a walk, just for the sake of walking and thinking and praying, that's rest.

Looking around the house: THE LAUNDRY. Literally, everything else can be perfect, but THE LAUNDRY. Funny how we always focus on the one area that isn't perfect.

From the camera: 

Mountain and the frozen ponds near the house. 

Prayer list: Ms. Shirley, who is in the last days of her cancer battle. 
                    My family, near and far. 

Bible verse, devotional: 

Have a wonderful week, everyone!!! 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

General Chaos and a Goal List

So, I did one of these a couple of years ago, and meant to do one every year. LOL.
And then I got pregnant with my Twins..and then Thomas...and then Josie, our miracle of miracles who got to come home with me...my only goal at the time was to keep her safe inside me.

Josie is 8 months old now! (What?) And I figure it's time to jump on the goal train, and keep myself accountable. I'll be checking in as often as I can, so here we go!

My 2018 goals are:

1) Lose the weight. I'm going to start with 25 lbs, and go from there. I need this for my health and my sanity and my self-image.

2) Take my girls to the beach. Sorry, IL/WI, you're just not on my list this year. My sanity is more important.

3) Sell some artwork/lettering

4) Do something wild with my hair. Blue streaks? Maybe. Purple tips? Glitterage? Anything but a total dye job, because I've actually come to enjoy my silver streaks.

5) Learn to make Butter Chicken from scratch

6) Buy a wafflemaker. Laugh ALLLLLL you want, but my husband wants one, and we don't have one. If I don't put it on a list, it's not getting done.

7) Start a family tradition

8) Pay the adoption fee for a cat (not for me, just pay the fee for someone at the Humane Society, we've got our hands full with the Sphinx and Ren...for NOW)

9) Go on a date night once a month. I miss my husband, dang it!!!

I'm sure there's more, but that's all I can think of at the moment. Part of me is toying with the idea of adopting a senior tabby cat, but I'm already insane between children and cats at my home, so...

What are your goals?
Keep me accountable!!!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Tales of a Sometimes-Maid: Shower Door (and a lot more!) Cleaner

When Ella was a year old, we moved into a house with a glass shower stall. No matter how much I scrubbed and cleaned and begged and cursed, it NEVER looked clean. EVER.
I usually clean house on Saturdays, and one Saturday, the landlady and I met up in the shared laundry area and she asked me how I liked the living quarters.

"Great!" I replied, "I love the big rooms and the yard, but...that shower door. How did you clean it before we moved in?"

"I didn't." she said. "It's hideous, isn't it?"

So, I lived in the house with the evil shower door for another two years, silently cursing it every time I stepped into the bathroom. And then we moved out into a house with a tub and I never ever ever thought one single thought about it until the summer of 2010 when I started a job with a cleaning agency and every.single.flipping.rental.house had a glass shower stall. And I fought with them and fought with them, and tried EVERY SINGLE COMMERCIAL PRODUCT and it still wasn't enough, but the rental house people and the agency people were happy, so it was all good.

I don't work for the agency anymore, but I've been known to clean the odd house or two here and there, between my regular job and my household responsibilities. The house we live in has an amazing garden tub and NOT a glass shower stall, so for the most part I don't worry about it. Until earlier this week, when I found out I would be cleaning a seldom used bathroom with a glass shower stall.

Why was it seldom used, you ask?
Because glass shower doors were invented by the devil.
Actually, they were invented by Ralph T. Casebolt in 1964.
The bathroom is seldom used because when the current owner moved in, the shower doors were disgusting and horrible, and there were two other perfectly good bathrooms, neither of which had glass shower doors.

I looked around on Pinterest and found something that I thought I would give a try, especially since the cleaner itself is only two ingredients and I had both of them on hand.

And you guys, it worked. Like birds-flying-into-a-window worked.

All you need is:
one cup vinegar
one cup blue Dawn dish soap
two spray bottles
a glass measuring cup

You warm the vinegar in the glass measuring cup for about 30 seconds. Put the blue Dawn into a spray bottle. Add the vinegar. Shake, shake, shake. Fill the other spray bottle with water.

For posterity, here is the disgusting shower door.

Bleh. It makes me shudder every time I look at it.

You spray this stuff all over the soap scummy grossness, and walk off for 10 minutes.

Come back, spray the whole mess down with water, and wipe with a paper towel. Everything turned super soapy and white and I had a moment of "oh Lordy, what have I done? Have I made it worse?"

That STILL gives me a panic attack. Turn the shower on and walk away. Come back...

...to this!!! Both pictures were taken through the shower door. Incredible!!! Angels were singing. Well, not really, but the homeowner said the bathroom would be used and open to guests from now on. I also cleaned the sinks and faucets with this and they look brand new! Pinterest for the win!!!