Archive for the ‘Everyday Life’ Category

Snapshot: A diaper-folding contest

January 16th, 2019

Tirzah Mae is no longer napping, but in the new year, I’ve decided that my sanity requires mid-day time without kids. So she gets “rest-time”.

I put the younger two down for their naps at 1:30 and Tirzah Mae stays up for the next hour working with me on household chores.

Today, we raced to see whether Tirzah Mae could put away the play dishes before I could put away the play food. (She won, thanks to a tomato that was hiding inside a jacket draped across the little table!)

Then we put laundry in the washer (Tirzah Mae pulled the knob to turn the water on), Tirzah Mae sorted yesterday’s (clean) diaper load, and we had a diaper folding competition.

Tirzah Mae and my piles of diapers

I won, narrowly, having given myself a handicap of snapping and folding all the diaper covers.

And then she went to bed with some books, to stay in bed for an hour until the pink noise (we use this app on one of my old smart phones) turns off.

And while she’s in bed, I blog or do my physical therapy stretches or read a book or eat a piece of chocolate (no sharing!) or knock out a few seams on my next sewing project – or just do whatever. It’s lovely.

The Prayer I Keep Coming Back To

January 14th, 2019

Last year, in an effort to strengthen my prayer life, I searched for lists of “things to pray for your children.”

I dutifully recorded the lists in my prayer app (PrayerMate) and began praying for each of my children in each of the suggested categories.

The app would tell me to pray for Tirzah Mae’s future – and so I would. “Oh Lord, grant that my daughter would have a future among those who fear you. May she know your salvation and cling to you as her only hope.”

The app would tell me to pray for Louis’s purity – and so I would. “Oh Lord, would you grant that my son would be pure in heart – that he would have the purity of heart that can only come by being washed in the blood of Christ.”

The app would tell me to pray for Beth-Ellen’s health – and so I would. “Lord, would you bring my dead daughter to life by your Spirit.”

And on and on.

Character. “Lord, would you draw my children to yourself. Bring them to life through the work of your Spirit and cause them to grow in Christ-likeness.”

Holy Desires. “Above all, would you awaken their affection for you, that they might desire your salvation and recognize their own inability to save themselves. Grant that they might fall upon the mercy of Christ.”

Salvation.

It’s the prayer I keep coming back to. May my children desire relationship with God. May they see their sinfulness. May they see the worthlessness of their own striving. May they fall upon the mercy of Christ. May they grow in the grace of the gospel.

Save my children, O Lord, I pray.

The Problem with Projects

January 9th, 2019

We got home from grocery pickup today just in time for me to put away the groceries and heat up some leftovers for lunch.

But as I turned the lazy susan to put away the dried beans, I was suddenly done. I couldn’t take it any more. Those lazy susans were driving me mad. I didn’t want them in the first place, but I forgot to specify that I wanted an ordinary corner cabinet, so I got them by default. They’ve been my kitchen’s Achilles heel from day one.

Cupboard 1

And now I was done. I couldn’t handle my food falling off into the unusable wasteland beyond the turntable. I couldn’t handle the horrid scraping that indicated that the weight of the food had (yet again) caused the tables to slide down their center pole.

Then the idea hit me and I was off.

Cupboard 2

I would move my less frequently used baking pans down to the lazy susans and keep all of my foodstuffs up above.

I began to reorganize my kitchen.

The Cupboard above the stove

The children got fussy because I wasn’t feeding them.

I put food on the table and returned to my project.

The kids finished eating. I continued projecting.

Cupboard 3

I projected until an hour after naptime, when it became obvious that I really, REALLY needed to put the little ones to bed. When I did, Beth-Ellen slept poorly because she was overtired.

And then I had to clean up the detritus that had landed on my (previously clean) countertops. And then I spent the rest of the day trying to frantically catch up on all the normal daily tasks that weren’t getting done while I was doing my spur of the moment project.

Cupboard 4

That, my friends, is the problem with projects.

But…my kitchen cupboards look nice :-)


An aside: Also, the problem with spur-of-the-moment projects is that you don’t get “before” pictures. And the problem of desperately-catching-up-on-everyday-tasks-you-ignored-to-do-projects means I forgot to take any pictures of those dastardly lazy susans that now hold my food processor, colanders, salad spinner, cake pans and pie tins, patty pans, and the like. The new contents are used less frequently, are bigger (and therefore less likely to fall off the tray) and are lighter (and therefore less likely to mess up the “spinny” mechanism).

An Apt Description

January 8th, 2019

Thomas More, in Utopia:

“I am out practically all day dealing with others, and the rest of my time is devoted to my family, and so I leave nothing for myself, that is for writing.

When I get home, I have to talk with my wife, chat with my children, confer with the servants. All this I count as part of my obligations, since it needs to be done…. As I am doing such things, as I said, a day, a month, a year slips by.

When do I write then? And as yet I have said nothing about sleep and nothing at all about eating, and for many that takes up no less time than sleep itself, which consumes almost half our lives. The only time I get for myself is what I steal from sleep and eating.”

An apt description of why I blog so much less frequently than I would prefer.

A Rather Pathetic Story

January 2nd, 2019

I made grand plans for 2019. I’ve already told you that. I started making them far in advance, as I always do.

But, as I usually do, I spent plenty of time putting finishing touches on said plans (and the accompanying documents) in the final couple of weeks and days of the year.

Which meant I arrived home from our Holiday trip to Lincoln (a whopping 12 days away from home!) with all sorts of things that needed printing.

Now, we have our printers hooked up to a wireless print server located in a closet away from our main computer. So when I started printing, I didn’t have any immediate feedback to tell me that my print jobs weren’t going through.

In fact, I didn’t realize until I got to the very last document (out of about a dozen) that the printer was not working at all.

See, the print server was set up using our old internet provider – and we’d had new internet installed the day before we left town. I needed to set up the server again on the new router.

Except we’d changed the default password on the print server and not saved it in either of our respective password managers (Daniel’s or mine). And my attempts at forcing a factory reset resulted in little more than numb fingers from holding down a little button for five minutes at a time (multiple times in a row), waiting for little lights to blink (which they never did.)

After a morning nearly wasted, I gave up and lugged the printer into the living room – and, lo and behold, the print server shows up on my computer dashboard having mysteriously undergone a factory reset.

So the print server works now, and my stuff has been printed and maybe tomorrow I’ll be perfect as planned. (If only pesky REAL LIFE doesn’t get in the way!)

What I Spent This Week (2018.10.19)

October 20th, 2018

Before I married Daniel, I barely drank coffee. I barely liked coffee.

And then he started serving me coffee from Wichita’s Spice Merchant. It was wonderful. I took it with sugar and sipped it all day long at work – until I realized the hypocrisy of telling parents to avoid letting their child walk around with (even just a splash of) juice in their sippy cup. I asked Daniel to wean me off the sugar and he did, putting less and less in my morning coffee over the course of a week or so.

I don’t miss the sugar one bit – unless I start drinking something other than Spice Merchant coffee. Then I need all the additives.

So really, the huge amount of money we spend at the Spice Merchant each month is for my health, right?


Saturday, October 13

We always go to the Spice Merchant on the second Saturday of the month, where our “Second Saturday” bag gets us an extra 15% off our purchase. We got our normal coffee – and then I went a little crazy with the teas. And they had red curry paste, which they’ve been out of for what seems like forever, so I had to get a couple of jars (’cause when you want a red curry, no other curry will do!)

Spice Merchant 2018/10/13

It’s a good thing I went under as much as I did last week. I have $199.85 to work with this week – or at least, I did, until I spent all of $93.08 at the Spice Merchant!


Sunday, October 14

I made an expensive mistake. I forgot to pack Tirzah Mae and Louis a snack for church. And since the snack is about the only thing that keeps them from talking the whole service long… I had Daniel run to a nearby grocery store to get some snack mix while I was setting up my Sunday School classroom.

$11.59 for snack mix and dried cranberries. The kids ate almost half. (My homemade mostly Cheerios snack mix is tons less expensive!)


Tuesday, October 16

Walmart 2018/10/16

I still have lots in the freezer for this menu cycle, so my grocery pickup (once I subtract the training pants and the vitamin D for the kids) is a very
reasonable $22.38.

More Walmart 2018/10/16

I’ve still got $72.80 left for ALDI on Thursday. (Hooray for eating out of the freezer!)


Thursday, October 18

$28.25

ALDI 2018/10/18

Folks, This feels nice.

What I Spent This Week (2018.10.12)

October 12th, 2018

Last week, Cathy asked if I “shop the ads”.

The short answer is no, not really. Apart from keeping a price book, I keep my grocery-list making process pretty lean. I do look through Sam’s Club’s “Instant Savings” booklet when it arrives in the mail and make plans to purchase bulk of any of the items we regularly purchase at Sam’s while they’re on sale. I also occasionally check ALDI’s sale flyer when I’m making my list for Thursday – but I’m just as likely to skip it. I do typically take a peek at ALDI’s meat selections when I’m in store and buy for the freezer when they’ve got cheap meat. Depending on how much I’ve got in the freezer already, I’ll buy a ham or a pork roast anytime they’re available for less than $1.50 per pound. Likewise, if there’s a good deal on the family pack of chicken breasts, I’ll buy a pack or two, cook them in my crockpot on low and then shred them and divy them into containers for the freezer to use later for anything that calls for chicken.

But I don’t routinely look through the ads and base my lists off of them.


Tuesday, October 9

Some weeks it seems it takes me nothing at all to exceed the $30 minimum for grocery pickup. Other weeks, I’m racking my brain to come up with more for my order. That’s the way it was this week, until I remembered that I need some more canning jar lids for the next time I get the yen to can.

Walmart 2018/10/9

Those come out of my “household – consumables” budget, so my $37.02 order only contains $26.36 in groceries.

Our Sam’s Club order was almost entirely household consumables. Daniel buys the cutlery for his work group’s “snack days” and they need more forks and spoons. And we’ve decided that we’re going to use paper plates and/or bowls for Friday dinners at home so that Daniel and I don’t have to do dishes (or, as many dishes) before our Friday night “reconnecting” time.

Sam's Club 2018/10/9

The only grocery item is our cheese, $6.43 for a 2 lb block.

So we’re at $32.79 so far – $103.11 left for the rest of the week.


Thursday, October 11

ALDI had apples back at $1.49 for a 3 lb bag – which means we bought more apples to make applesauce with. Thirty-three pounds, to be precise.

ALDI 2018/10/11

Beyond that, there wasn’t a terrible lot we needed since a lot of this next week’s meals are already in the freezer.

$39.16 for apples plus miscellany.

So we’re ending the week $63.95 ahead, which is wonderful since we spend a LOT of money on coffee on the second Saturday of each month – and that’s tomorrow!

What I Spent This Week (2018.10.05)

October 6th, 2018

I’ve officially decided what to do about our foster care stipend. I’m going to take whatever portion I allocated to groceries the previous month and divide it between the weeks of the current month. So, last month, I allocated $83.60 of the foster care stipend to groceries – which means I get an extra $20.90 per week to spend this month. So October’s grocery budget is $135.90 per week.


Saturday, September 29

ALDI had this-season Gala apples for $1.49 for a 3 lb bag – and I’ve been pretty bored with store-bought applesauce – so we made a special trip to buy 30 lbs for applesauce. My plan is to can one pressure-canner load (7 quarts) at a time as long as there are cheap-ish apples available. That way I don’t have to do any marathon canning sessions (while the house falls to pieces) – but I should be able to still get some sauce that has actual flavor.

Apples, apples, apples

Total cost of apples plus a quart of half and half: $18.03


Tuesday, October 2

Walmart Grocery Pickup was $58.91

Walmart 2018/10/02

Do you ever see anything name brand in my grocery pictures? There are three potential reasons:

  • There is no generic option (Cinnamon Life, now that Walmart stopped making a generic)
  • Daniel asks me, pretty please, to buy the name brand (Honey Nut Cheerios)
  • Walmart made a substitution (the Dole Pineapple in this picture)

If Walmart doesn’t have a particular item in stock for grocery pickup, they’ll sub in an alternate at no extra cost to you (they’ll also check with you car-side to make sure their alternate is acceptable to you). Generally, the alternate ends up being the name brand version instead of the cheaper generic I always buy.

Thursday, October 4

Sam’s Club didn’t have an open slot on Tuesday (first time I’ve ever not gotten my preferred slot!) so I scheduled pickup for Thursday.

Sam's Club 2018/10/04

$38.05

That left me $20.91 for ALDI – which just wasn’t enough. I spent $26.72

ALDI 2018/10/04

So not a bad week, but not a great one either.

Scratching a Nine-Month Itch

October 3rd, 2018

Beth-Ellen is nine months old now.

She’s increasingly independent, crawling and pulling up and standing by herself. She’s able to go longer between feedings, able to eat table food instead of just breastmilk. At the same time, she’s in the midst of separation anxiety, all too eager for her mama to stay near by.

I am nine months postpartum now.

Which means I am starting to realize that I’m something more than a mother of a little baby. I am ready again to be a woman, not simply a mother.

I look in the mirror and I care again that my face is blotchy with the acne that never left me after pubescence. I start to long for clothes that fit and flatter, not just ones that are accessible for the tasks of motherhood.

I realize that I’ve felt this way every time I’ve neared the nine-month mark.

With Tirzah Mae, I think I bought new bras. Having some that fit did wonders for my self-image.

With Louis, I went through my wardrobe and tailored outfits to my current size.

With both of them, I got pregnant not long after.

Because that’s the other way nine months makes me feel.

Like I’m starting to get the hang of this many kids. Like it’s time to add another member to the family.

I’m doing something about one of those feelings this time.

I’ve learned my lesson that clothing sizes are still in flux in this season of life – I’m not doing anything extravagant with clothes unless it can easily adapt to the ups and downs of pregnancy and postpartum.

But makeup.

I can do makeup.

So I rub on a little foundation in the morning. I color in my lips.

I think whether I have a scarf or something I can add to my “uniform” of skirt and t-shirt.

Three minutes worth of work each morning and I’m feeling like a someone again, not merely a substrate for milk.

And it feels good.

What I Spent This Week (2018.09.28)

September 28th, 2018

I went way over budget ($61.02) the second week of September and have been working to get myself out of that hole. I had to keep my groceries to just $77.71 for this week to come out of September on top.


Monday, September 24

I had an eye appointment right across the street from an ALDI and we needed butter desperately (I made tomato soup using oil and mac and cheese using schmaltz – that’s how desperately!), so I did my ALDI shopping for the week early.

ALDI purchases 9/24/2018

$28.71 leaves me and even $49 for the rest of the week.


Tuesday, September 25

Walmart Grocery pickup was $56.36 – but $4.17 of that was laundry soap and $9.33 was Vitamin D for the little ones, which means $42.86 for groceries.

Walmart Grocery pickup 9/25/2018

I DID IT!

I stayed under budget, even with buying formula!


Thursday, September 27

And then we had a doctor’s appointment and all of us got our flu shots – and the little ones were screaming and I had left bottle nipples at home so I couldn’t feed the littlest one her formula except by cup (which she was NOT happy about). So I promised the kids donuts when we went to Walmart to get some bottle nipples.

They desperately wanted to break the budget, suggesting that I purchase all sorts of expensive treats. (I’m not going to lie, I saw a rotisserie chicken that sounded SO much better than the cold beef salad sandwiches I’d packed for lunch). But I stuck to my guns, bought a $2 box of donut holes ($2.15 once taxes were done), and we’re ending September in the black.

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