Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Nothing Says "Fun" Like...

Going to the grocery store with 2 kids in tow. Wonder if bribing them with mac & cheese when we get home will work? First we go have to go to Walmart & then to Kroger. At Walmart there's only one seat in the cart, so Addison gets to walk. This makes everything take twice as long. The upside is that I'm no longer that harried looking woman with a baby strapped to her body screaming his head off from the time we set foot into the store until the time we walked out (for some reason, the overhead lighting perhaps?, Sullivan HATED the grocery store with a passion for his first few months of life). Yes, in those days complete strangers walked up to me & offered to help me with my shopping or my baby. I'm sure mostly to just make. it. stop.

At Kroger there's at least a 2 seat cart, a sample of turkey lunchmeat & a free cookie from the nice bakery lady. Ahhh... Can't wait till we get to Kroger! I've literally spent 2 hours cutting coupons & looking online at the Kroger sale ad. Hopefully I'll save some $ this week!

I guess I should go get the kid who napped when he was supposed to and the kid who played for 2 hours before crashing for 30 minutes. She should be all kinds of fun!

I'm thinking dinner is going to be veggies, applesauce, $3.99 Kroger rotisserie chicken & some of the "bribery" mac & cheese. I'm already exhausted thinking about shopping.

On a bright note today- my sweet husband moved the TV that's been hanging out on our bedroom floor for months downstairs to it's new "holding" place on the dining room table. I'm thinking it'll be much harder for me to get a daily bruise on my thigh from smashing into it in the dark there. :) That's what we do here- move things from one holding place to another (yet another example of why I named this blog Ignore the Mess). I did manage to get rid of 2 bags of clothing from my closet over my vacation & went through the pile of coupons today. Small victories.

**Update: saved $8.34 with coupons. For some reason though not all my coupons doubled at Kroger, so now I have to go back there & find out why. With 2 kids. More fun.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Bread (aka "Easter Bread")

Today I made my 2nd Zopf...it's delicious. This is traditionally Sunday bread in Switzerland, where my mom is from. The funny story is that the entire time I was growing up I thought it was Easter bread, because that's what my mom called it & that's the only time she ever made it. My brother & I took a trip to Switzerland a few years back & when we stayed with my cousin Karin, she made it for us. Our reaction was of course and awed, "Oh, you made Easter bread for us!!" And her reaction was of course loud & prolonged laughter followed by the explanation that in Switzerland people make this bread on Sundays. Every Sunday. Not just Easter Sunday. As I'm sure you can imagine my mom was quite amused that her ruse had been discovered...and she still only makes this bread on Easter.

The first one I made went to my parents house the other day. My brother was here visiting & after all the cooking my mom did for Thanksgiving I thought it would be nice for her to have something special made for her for breakfast the day after. I got one piece to see if it tasted okay the day after they had it (because you can't always trust that your family is being serious & not just nice when they say it turned out great)...but of course that wasn't enough, so I had to make one for our house...and after all, today was Sunday!
Now I just have to work at the braiding part- she makes a cross & then somehow braids the 4 strands. I watched a video online, but they did it too fast; read several explanations online & tried to re-create those with string- again, a disaster; so I opted to do a 3 strand braid like you might do hair. It's the only way I know. So my zopf isn't as pretty as it should be (until I get my mom to show me with dough in person!), but it still tastes perfect!

Here's her recipe:

500 grams all purpose flour

1 package dry yeast

50 grams butter (1/2 stick)

1 egg

1 dash salt

1 grated lemon rind

1/4 liter milk (just a hair over 1 cup)

All ingredients have to be room temperature.

Sift flour & yeast together into cuisinart (I did it in Kitchenaid…turned out fine), cut butter into small pieces on top of flour, add next 4 ingredients, turn machine on to mix everything well, then add lukewarm milk slowly.

Mix for 3 min.

If dough is soft or sticks to bowl, add 1-2 tbsp flour & mix again.

Cover with plastic wrap & let rise in warm place till doubled (about 45 min) My mom heats the oven to 140 degrees, then turns it off & lets the dough rise in there.


Put on greased cookie sheet (or better yet, parchment paper), brush with egg yolk.

Bake in center of oven for 30 min. at 400 degrees. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Housekeeper of the Year...Ummm...That Would Be a "No"!

Yeah, I'm never going to win that award. 4 dogs, 2 kids. Enough said. By Friday every week the house is a wreck- fur everywhere, sink full of dishes, piled up laundry, nose prints & finger prints everywhere...so you'd think it would be time to clean it all up. Probably. But then the weather today was just gorgeous- not a cloud in the sky, warm enough to not wear a jacket- so being out there definitely looked better than being in here. Cleaning can wait. While the kids ate breakfast I packed a picnic lunch- ham & cheese sandwiches, juice, yogurt, goldfish & some cookies and then off we went.

I parked at my parents & we took a long walk in the stroller to the playground, enjoying the fresh air & sunshine. Then we played at the playground with our sand toys- me, 2 kids (and of course all the other assorted kids that wandered over to join in the fun). We made castles, moats, knocked down the castles over & over. When we got tired of the sand toys we played on the swings, slide, ran in the field till Addison announced that she was ready for a picnic. They ate way more (& more enthusiastically) than they usually do. Then we played some more before walking back to my parents house.

It was one of those perfect days filled with sunshine, laughter, smiles & all-around happiness. One of those days that you know you're going to look back at when they're grown up and remember happily (hopefully in a general way, "Remember all those times we _____" because there have been many of them).

Perfect day. Coming home to a messy house didn't even stress me out. :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tot School Trays

These are our new Tot School trays that I got from Oriental Trading. The shelving unit is "new" for us too...thanks to my parents for doing some redecorating in their kitchen. Ignore the mess on the kitchen counter above- there's always something up there (grrr!)
On the shelves I'm keeping some of the kids' more "educational" items. I got the Tot School idea from Carisa at 1+1+1=1. If you're interested, head over there for lots of great information.
Basically each day I put out about 5 trays of activities for Peanut. These are all learning activities (although she calls them her "games"). Shown here L-R are foam stickers to put on a paper (fine motor, and believe it or not, stickers are one of the hardest things for her), M & Ms to sort by color (and then eat), animal mommy/baby puzzles to match, mommy & daddy name puzzles. All the activities are pretty quick, which is perfect for a 2 year old.
Peanut has caught on to sorting by color really well and LOVED having a special M & M treat. Now my challenge is figuring out some things for Monkey to do while Peanut is working! Having a little brother is great, having a little brother who is in constant motion & trying to get into everything you're doing- not so great. Peanut and I have actually started calling him Bulldozer because of his ability to go over, knock down, and destroy things. :))

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sand & Vomit

Yep, it's 2 pm and that's been my day so far! Had the kids all ready to head out the door by 9 am for a walk & then to play at the playground (because the later you wait in the day here in ATL, the more like Hades it becomes- hot, hot, hot!) when I discovered one of the dogs had broken into the playroom and vomited all over the place. I didn't mention that in my initial post. Dogs vomit. I'm usually the one that discovers it & get the joy of cleaning it. The best part is that our playroom is covered in these big soft puzzle pieces, so they too had to be washed. I ended up deciding that all 60-some of them needed a "spring cleaning" (yes, I know it's summer!) and pulled them all up. Washed the ones with vomit, threw the rest out on the front porch & away we went (an hour later). What were the kids doing during all this? I threw them in their chairs at the kitchen table while I was performing this triage and gave them some cheerios & daddy's apple jacks for entertainment. Mom 'O the Year!

Walk went great- exercise for me. Peanut walked about 1/2 the way, stayed on the sidewalk & was a good listener. Lots of stopping to admire trees & tell me they were "mommy, daddy, Peanut, or baby" trees. Played at the playground with our sand toys- had a wonderful time making towers and moats and tunnels. Then it happened. Peanut had a shovelful of sand and quickly turned- throwing sand right into my face...and wouldn't you know it, my eye happened to be wide open right at that moment. A whole new kind of pain for those of you who haven't had the pleasure of having this experience yet. I wear contacts & I believe you've probably never seen anyone rip one out of their eye so fast. Stuck it in my mouth (how else was I supposed to get the sand off?) and proceeded to sit there & let the tears "wash" the sand out of my eye while keeping my good eye open & on the kids to make sure Monkey wasn't eating rocks and Peanut wasn't walking in front of any swings. Finally got that sucker back in my eye (no other option- I'm so blind without them the eye doctor likes to joke when he takes off my glasses, "Find the wall! Ha, ha, ha!!") Continued on with fun at the playground, but I will be much more aware (read: paranoid) when we are playing in the sand in the future. Maybe I'll wear ski goggles for those outings. Hmmmm...


Jimmy said to me the other day that it sure is going to be tough when I go back to work and fun mornings with mommy are replaced with Barney, snack, & juice with daddy snuggling in bed. Awww, come on, they LOVE that too! (I know I do!!) Peanut is waking up every morning and asking, "Where are we going today?" OR with the inquisitive, "Adventure today?" Pretty funny the standard that I've somehow set in the few weeks I've been off work for summer vacation. Hey, I must be doing okay if the kid thinks every day is going to be an adventure upon waking!

The big goal around here right now is potty training for Peanut who is now 2~ and she's doing quite well at it. The first 2 days were rough- more accidents and holding her pee until nap time when she excitedly exclaimed, "Pull up, I'm so happy to see you!!!" I've read so many things about potty training & it seems the advice is all so conflicting (and then there's my own mother's advice- apparently I was some kind of pottying wunderkind & was easily potty trained, day & night, significantly before the age of 2. I think time may have faded the memory of her potty training struggles!) I sensed that Peanut was stressed at the underwear only approach & I was stressed at the thought of leaving the house with her in underwear only, so we're doing a combination underwear at home, pullups at nap/night and out of the house till she gets better at it. On day 3 I guess she finally figured I wasn't going to let her have her beloved diapers back and I stopped asking her if she needed to go to the potty and just started saying 100x/day, "Let me know if you have to use the potty"~ and VOILA! She started asking to go & actually doing something on there!! Woo hoo!! She's also gone out in public on her special folding potty seat (love that thing!)- resulting in a run across the WalMart a few days ago with her yelling, "Here we come potty, here we come!!!" at the top of her lungs. I just didn't make eye contact & concentrated on getting there as fast as we could. She made it there dry & peed in the potty. Woo hoo again!! It's just amazing to me how riveting another person's bodily functions can be once you're a parent. Peanut has also stopped asking for treats (this must just be a gift from God, he must know I don't need another thing to have to wean her off of!) Apparently wiping, carrying the pot, emptying it, flushing the big potty & saying, "Bye bye pee pee!!", then washing hands with special purple "Barney" soap, & replacing the pot is enough excitement for her (or all those steps require so much concentration that she forgets there was once a prize of 2 skittles involved the bribing her to go in the first place). I am absolutely wiped out at the end of the day from all this potty training business. I think it's really more about if the parent is willing to commit to the pain in the butt, time consuming, patience testing experience that potty training is than if the child is ready! I will survive...and then I only have one more to go!!