Friday, January 28, 2011

messed up weeks

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It's been a busy week.

I last posted about building furniture.  I never actually got to complete my pieces, so I'll have to make a trip back here in a few weeks.

N didn't do well with being without Mom during furniture building week. He's been like a little magnet - If I'm out of his sight for just a few seconds, or more than 50 feet away (like in a store, when he's safe with Dad) crying ensues.  We'll have to work on this. Both kids were sick Saturday night, so we decided to drive on home Sunday. E has been whiney and tired all week.  N improved and was his happy self (assuming I was close by) until today, where more fussing and crying has been the standard for the day.  I'm hoping it's just teething?  No fever this time.

I have an unpleasant cold. Running has been out this week, but I have done some walking on the treadmill.

I did have a birthday this week (Go 32!) and have been enjoying some treats.  Today I did a bit of stress eating (hello to 3 cake pops!) with the fussy kid.  We'll have to get a handle on that.

So, there we are. hopefully next week we'll be more on track.

I need to step up my health and fitness efforts.  I think I added a pound since 2 weeks ago.  Boo.  That's what whacky schedules, sick kids and stress eating can do for you...

Back to the dealing with the crying toddler...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

building furniture

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I'm at my parent's house this week to build some furniture.  Somethings like this:

Except adapted. I'm doing two sets, one for each side of the entry way.  I'm building them shorter, because my entry hall walls aren't that wide.  I'm building kind of differently, and apparently a little more complex, because my dad is cool, and he knows how to build stuff.  He built a toy storage bench for us, and the details on the entry pieces will match the toy bench.  That's why it's a little complex. Because we're essentially designing our own, and not using the plans on Ana White's (awesome!) site.

I came across Ana White's blog, and feel totally inspired.  I see a few other pieces I'd like to build.  Night stands, a shelf unit for the kids room, and maybe for our room.  My problem is, Jude keeps his tools with him at work, so if I want to build during the week, then I have to go somewhere else.  My dad's studio/workshop is ideally arranged.  Added bonus:  My dad knows how to use the equipment, so he can guide me when I have no clue what to do.

My dad did a lot of the major cutting for the shelves.  I'm not experienced with a table saw.  I was requested to leave the big cuts to the experts. No problem.

So, today is Thursday.  We started cutting and constructing on Tuesday, and I've been able to spend about 3 hours each day working on the pieces. I have the shelf units built, and now I am working on staining them.  Hopefully tonight I'll get some varnish on the shelves.

We might get to cutting the pieces for the bench units tonight.  Sick children and snow have been conspiring against me.  I hope I can have these finished by the time I need to leave (deadline is Monday).  That leaves me 3 full days.  If I can get some substantial work done tonight on the benches, perhaps, just maybe, we'll be able to finish them up in time for me to take them all home!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I am a runner

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I never thought I would hear myself say I am a runner.

Runners are people who... run. For enjoyment. Because they want to. Because they can. They are athletes.

I was a kid with asthma. I hated the running tests in PE. I have never described myself as an athlete.

Last Friday, I ran the greatest amount of time I have ever run continuously in my entire life:  20 minutes. I didn't check distance. Probably close to a mile and a half.  I was exhausted.  I was shaking.  I realized I was running a bit short on oxygen at the end (narrowing vision). But I made it. Six weeks ago, I thought running 2 minutes at a time was near to death.

Tuesday of this week, I ran on my mom's treadmill (love it! so much nicer than mine!) I walked 5, ran 8, walked 3, ran 5, walked 3 ran 8, walked a few more.  It was almost.... easy. Required effort, yes. Made me tired. I was glad to be done.  I wasn't desperate to be done.  I wasn't breathless.  I didn't have a cramp in my side.

After I finished my 20 minute run, my husband said to me, "You know, you will be able to run the entire race in April. If you can do this now, you'll be ready then." Or something like that.  It was a vote of confidence, and I appreciated it.

Yes, my army brother and I are going to run a 5k in April, in the Kansas City area.  I'm really excited, but a little bit nervous.  I'm not expecting to win, but I am expecting to finish.  I figure that even if I walked the whole thing I could do that in an hour.  So running it? Not a big deal.

I hope.

I'm a runner!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

O, say can you see...

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Okay, I must be feeling sappy.

I broke out into song (not an uncommon occurrence in my family) and it happened to be our national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner.  As I was singing, I started thinking about how much of it must sound like a foreign language to my kids, due to the uncommon words and arrangement.  And then I got to thinking about the words themselves. And I started tearing up.

Yes, I was near crying over our national anthem.

But really - think about them. Can you imagine what it must have felt like to be the writer of the lyrics (Francis Scott Key), wondering how the battle you were watching would end, wondering if, when the sun rose, you would see an American flag flying, or the flag of the enemy?  And then, the joy at knowing your fellow countrymen had indeed succeeded?

Putting my self in the place of the voice of the song gives me a different pespective.

Randomly - reading the lyrics, singing only the first verse sure seems incomplete.  It ends on an unanswered question, although we tend to sing it as a statement.

Here are they lyrics (we mostly know the first verse, but the fourth is quite powerful, too.

Check over at Wikipedia for more history of the song.

O! say can you see by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


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Nathanael fell asleep on the floor next to me while I was working at the computer one evening.

Sweet little man.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

green smoothie

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The one way to get my kids to eat spinach is to liquify it.  I know, sounds gross, but they like it!

Here are some ingredients that I use for a green smoothie. (Elizabeth asks for a green smoothie more than any other flavor.  Pink is a close second, though.)

Basic ingredients: milk, plain yogurt, a sprinkle of sugar, a bit of vanilla, a couple handfuls of spinach, a cucumber, and a few berries.  (not too many, though,  because it will change the color!)

The proportions I use are never consistent.  If I were to guess I would say around 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup yogurt.  Sugar and vanilla to taste (using my homemade vanilla here!) 

Put it all in the blender, and enjoy!

Okay, don't be too put off by the green.  I took a picture in a glass, but it turned out worse than the above pictures!  Must take photos in natural daylight.

Monday, January 10, 2011

snow days

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In celebration of snow days, here's a set of shots taken this past December.

Nathanael had some trouble moving around very effectively.

Elizabeth was totally into the snow, though.

Did mention she likes the snow?

Such a snow angel.

Nathanael likes the snow, too.  Except when he leans over to play with it, and falls face first into it, and can't get up because of his pants.  Stupid pants...

"Mama? Dold."

Elizabeth wasn't done playing, though.

Gotta build a snowman when it snows.

Friday, January 07, 2011

my C25K

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I still haven't come up with a handy moniker for my fitness and health journey this year.

I still am doing the C25K program. I'm repeating week 4, and day 2 was *almost* tolerable/enjoyable.  I think I'm learning to pace myself a little better. I think when next week rolls around, I'll move on to week 5, but I might do week 5 over the course of 3 weeks - you know, do day one for one week, day two for a week, etc.

I ran on my mom's treadmill over the holidays, and I think I like hers better.  There's more cushioning on the deck which is a little nicer on my knees.  But, I have what I have, and I can still run inside without really going anywhere.

Plodding along.

Maybe, just MAYBE I've lost a pound this week.  My scale lies to me, though - I weighed myself after a visit to the loo, and before eating or drinking anything, and it told me one weight.  I weighed myself again a couple hours later after showering, and it told me a pound and a half lighter. What?1?  Eat, Drink, and take a shower, and suddenly, you weigh less! 

I'm taking a very loose approach to slim fast, which probably isn't helping me.  I'm not counting the calories every day, because my perfectionism makes that a challenge.  Instead, I'm sticking to a range of specific things for breakfast, lunch and snack that are within the proper range of calories, and I'm trying to be aware of portion size and nutritional content at dinner.  I'm also eating more than the 1200 calories they aim for, and go more for about 1300 calories, since I'm still breastfeeding my son a few times a day.

One of the upsides of slimfast -because I don't eat very much at a time, my capacity to eat at dinner is more limited. I feel full faster.  The first few days of slimfast, I was hungry almost all the time.  It's better now, and I tend to get hungry just before a snack or meal time.

This past weekend, we ate out at a restaurant (see, not too strict!) And although I'm sure I ate more than my designated calories for the day, I still ate less than I would have just a few weeks ago. So, I'm getting my portions sizes back under control.

My sister-in-law is working on loosing weight too, but her caloric issues are totally different than mine.  Perhaps if we could just trade a few of our food issues, we might balance each other out!

I have a cousin who's getting herself in gear, too.  She's got the challenge of being a working single mom in the middle of the frigid, snowy plains, working some crazy hours.  She can do it.  I believe in you! She used to run cross country, I think. Maybe I should get her to do the C25K with me!

Maybe I need to find a 5K happening some time this spring, and invite my family to join me for a run.  That could be a twisted sort of fun.  What do you think?

minor accumulation

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If this is minor accumulation:

(and still falling!)

I'd hate to see significant snow fall!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

sneak peek

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photo copyright 2010 Jude Vickery
Inspiration image

 paint chip

a bit of our bedding set

The east windows and the door into the bedroom.

The west wall (and the other door to the kid's room)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

canning fail!

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This morning, I thought I still had 15 of the 48 (or so) jars of grape jelly that I canned back in September of 2009.  I now have 5 (or maybe less!) remaining.

Massive canning failure.

I popped open one of the jelly jars, and to my surprise, I found mold. I ran to the pantry, and grabbed 3 more jars.  Same thing.  The 5th jar showed no signs of mold or other indicators of spoilage, so I felt comfortable using it.  I peeked at the edges of two more jars.  They looked okay.  I went back to the pantry to peek in the sides of those jars, too.  Six had obvious signs of mold, two appeared fine.

What happened?!?  Ten jars? I've canned a variety of things over the years, using hot water bath, boiling water bath, and pressure canning.  The is new to me. The seals all sounded good when I opened each and every jar, but clearly, something happened in the process. I looked at the rims and at the seals, but I'm no expert.  There are some spots where maybe I didn't get the rims clean before putting the lids on, but could just be the adhesive in the lid stuck to the jar, leaving an odd patch. I used the recipe straight off the Sure-Jell package.

See my fuzzy little friends? Not to happy about that.

I went back to my Putting Food By book, and read up on mold.  After reading there, I'm totally okay with tossing all that bad grape jelly.  Yes, all I see is mold and I know some people would be okay with scraping out the mold and using what doesn't appear to be bad.  I feel that's a total recipe for food poisoning right there, and I'm not willing to risk my children on some grape jelly.  The book suggested that mold could grow in what appeared to be a well-sealed jar, and mold can eat enough acid to lower the acidity, giving room for botulism to grow.  Not something I want to mess with.

Note to self - be sure to be vigilant about every step when canning!


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Nathanael has quite the imagination.

He has made planes by holding two blocks cross-wise.  He makes trains out of sippy bottles.

Recently, he stacked a triangular block on a rectangular block, and exclaimed, "Boat!"

He "cooks" things - he stirs in pots and pours tea (with E's tea set when he can steal it from her), and brings a spoonful of pretend soup to us to eat.  He makes slurping and eating noises.

It's delightful for me to see this in action.  Elizabeth's imagination at a similar age was different.  Her pretend play was much more relational - playing with stuffed animals, playing ball, coloring, dancing and other interactive activities.

Nathanael likes to interact, too, but his independent play if much different.

Such a cute and funny little guy!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

my experience with Rockin' Green Shake It Up and Funk Rock

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During "Black Friday" after Thanksgiving, I bought a collection of products from Rockin' Green.  I was really curious to see how they all worked for me, as I've only tried the detergent, and I've generally liked it.

Two of the products I was especially interested in were Shake It Up Diaper Pail Freshener and Funk Rock Ammonia Bouncer.

Shake It Up - I'm not very impressed.  It doesn't put a dent in my diaper odor smells.  I have two scents, and I've been using them for more than a month (one I won in a giveaway sometime in October, I think).  When I first put it in, and on the next time I open the pail, I will smell the scent of the pail freshener, but it doesn't cover the smell or neutralize it in any way.  I would have to put so much in there that it would not be worth it.  I'm also concerned that it might make washing diapers more challenging, or in some way interfere with them (although that's just paranoia  - I'm sure Rockin' Green works hard to be diaper safe!) I put some in the bottom of my diaper pail, and then put the pail liner in.  I found that since the pail liner leaks, it just made a residue on the pail liner that took two washer to gt out. I've used Shake It Up on my carpet.  I'll probably continue to put some in my diaper pail, but I feel it's kind of a pointless effort. It smells nice, at least!

Funk Rock Ammonia Bouncer - I had a bit more success with this, I think, but still not wildly impressed.  I followed the instructions on the bag, and went through a whole bag in just a few days.  I washed only the inserts and prefolds, since that's where the problem is.  I soaked about 20 diapers each time in Rockin' Green detergent overnight, washed, soaked with 4 tbsp of Funk Rock, usually for more than an hour, washed another time to get the funk rock out, and washed with Rockin Green, and rinsed, rinsed, rinsed. I've been using a tbsp of funk rock in my prewash since then, too.

Many of the diapers lost the funky smell they had straight out of the washer.  Not all, though. Ammonia in the mornings or during the day is hit or miss - sometimes it happens, sometimes not.  Maybe if I'm feeling ambitious, I'll set aside the inserts and prefolds with the strongest scent, and try soaking them again.

I have most of a bag of funk rock remaining, which should see me through the end of the month.  Perhaps after that I'll have a different opinion.

But for me, at this point, I think it can work for some people, and I think it helped my diapers, but it's not the miracle I had hoped for.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

my new years resolutions

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I think new years resolutions are silly.  I know my self well enough that they don't stick, until I really decide to do it, and even then, it's iffy.  My self-motivation level is pretty low.

So, since I resolve to do nothing different, I'll put out there my "To-Do" list for 2011, of things I was going to do anyway!

Finally finish the painting upstairs! (we actually have all the paint purchased as of Dec 31!)
Then, finally finish the painting downstairs!
And lastly, Finally move into a bedroom that has it's own door!
Kick my extra weight to the curb!
Sleep more!
Yell less!
Remember to write the correct date on my checks! 
Clean my house more!
Procrastinate less!
Come up with a better to-do list (maybe tomorrow?)!

And there, my friends is how 2011 looks for me.

Happy New Year!
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