Tag Archives: Around the House

Home for the Holidays

*cue up *NSYNC*

As I write this, I am currently enjoying watching the TDs veg out with toys, books, puzzles and Netflix. Despite currently fighting allergy/sinus issues, I am thoroughly enjoying being home with them on their winter break. It’s been mostly relaxing, entertaining and full throttle (because apparently kids go on break, but they don’t break….go figure!)

But I have to be honest, I was a bit of a scrooge leading up to the holidays. I dreaded Christmas and wanted to just skip it. I may have even complained about it to a few dozen people. There was very little Christmas music (which I’m sure pleased T-Daddy). I didn’t change my ringtone this year (though I really need to change it, period). We were kinda late decorating the tree and getting Princess (formerly known as Strawberry better known as Elf on the Shelf) here from the North Pole.

Then it was time for the girls’ holiday program. Almost everyone in the family came, which made the girls really happy. And that made me happy. It worked out that both their uncle and their grandparents were in town that day and we were able to arrange for them to be there. Then their uncle spent many days of his trip here with them. TD1 was so excited to be the one to show him how to make root beer floats and give him his first one (not really, but somehow she came to that conclusion).

As a family, we ate all kinds of “bad” food and laughed and joked. We watched movies and played games. We put together puzzles and played with their new toys. We attended church for the first time on both Christmas Eve and Christmas. And we got to see both sides of the family on Christmas day without tons of driving, family politics, tension and stress. Everything, everyone has just been easy peasy this holiday season.

It’s been as if the universe knew exactly what I needed to lift my spirits. It’s been so nice to relax and enjoy my girls in their elements. To not have to yell at them to hurry up because we’re behind schedule. To just take a break. Soon, we’ll be back to the grind of things, but for now, I’m enjoying being home with them on their break. After all, it’s the first time since TD1 was a baby.

Back on the Meal Plan Wagon

When I quit my job, I kinda expected everything to magically fall in place and the chaos to disappear. (More on that in another post.) But, it didn’t and now that the girls are back in school, it’s become even more obvious that I needed some kind of magical “Chaos Be Gone.” Since that’s not available in my neighborhood Costco, I decided to go back to the drawing board for solutions to help give us smoother mornings and evenings. At the same time, a mom from my mom’s bible study shared a free cookbook with recipes for cheap meals. (The premise is that, on average, every meal in the book will cost about $4 per person.) At that moment a lightbulb went off and I decided to jump back on the meal planning wagon.

Meal planning takes the stress out of trying to figure out dinner each day. It also helps because I’ll know ahead of time if I need to defrost some meat or soak some beans. Once I’m done planning meals for the week, then I start cutting up and packing veggies and fruits for snacks for the week. Every Sunday, I sit down with my laptop and phone and plan a meal for each day.

About a year ago, my friend told me about an app AnyList, which is like the app of all apps. It’s a recipe app and shopping list in one. I do pay the $11.99/year for the premium version which allows me to meal plan, import recipes, access AnyList from any web browser and share my meal plan, recipes and grocery lists with T-Daddy. Once recipes are imported into AnyList, I can then add the ingredients from the recipe straight to my grocery list. I can also pick a recipe and assign it to a meal (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack) for any day. I use the AnyList for Mac app to import recipes from Pinterest and to copy and paste the recipes from the cookbook I found. For me personally, I like using the iOS app when I’m cooking versus trying to find recipe on Pinterest or a website (mainly because the app stops my phone from falling asleep and I don’t have to unlock it with food on my hands). So I’m spending a little time each Sunday, building up my recipe list. If you can’t tell, I’m in love and highly recommend the app.

Here are the meal plans I made for last week and this week. I normally just do dinner because breakfast is pretty standard and lunch is usually leftovers from the night before. I also included links to the sites for the recipes I used, unless they came from the cookbook (noted) or it’s something I don’t use a recipe for. I usually don’t meal plan for the weekends because we usually have things going on which will involve food:
Week of September 18:
September 18: Thai Pineapple Fried Rice and Baked Chicken
September 19: Pineapple Cucumber Lime Salad and Greek Marinated Chicken
September 20: Corn Soup (from cookbook)
September 21: BBQ Chicken Cornbread Skillet
September 22: Nachos
September 23: Pizza and Salad

Week of September 25:
September 25: Sautéed Spinach, Baked Chicken, Rice
September 26: Cold Asian Noodles (from cookbook) and Roasted Chicken
September 27: Dal (from cookbook) with rice or noodles
September 28: Chickpea Stew
September 29: Chimichangas
September 30: Leftovers

Meal planning really has helped relieve a lot of my stress surrounding dinner time and feeding the girls. Since I’ve been prepping their snacks when I meal plan that has also helped my mornings run a lot smoother. It’s one less thing I have to do in the mornings to get us out the door. And it’s amazing to me how this one little thing has already made such a difference.

BONUS: When I wrote about TD1’s birthday, I briefly mentioned that she and I made some treats for her classmates. She wanted to use the cookie cutter to give them fun shapes which meant we had to make a lot…and we had a lot left over. So I did the right thing, and I shared graciously. I hadn’t expected it to be such a hit. So for everyone that asked, here’s the recipe: Jam-Filled Granola Bars. I found this recipe looking for a variation of the Peanut Butter and Jelly Granola Bars I made from the cookbook.

Bye Bye Fishie

When TD2 turned two, my loving aunt decided to get the girls a fish for TD2’s birthday. It was a Betta fish and she was kind enough to provide the tank and food. Still, I protested. “If the girls didn’t scream my name, I’d forget to feed them. There’s no way imma be able to take care of this fish.”

Fast forward 16 months and we were doing good. Until we went to Nebraska last month. We were only gone 2 days, but as soon as we got back, one of the first things I did was feed Fishie (TD2 named it).

“Baaaaaaabe!!!! Come here. Fishie doesn’t look too good.” 

For the first time since having Fishie thrust in our lives, I felt something. I immediately began googling to see what was wrong with him. At 11:53 p.m. on a Friday, I raced to a new Walmart (because our regular one didn’t have what I needed) to get some medicine and a different kind of food to help a fish I had never been emotionally invested in start to feel better. The tears were beginning to well up in my chest. Oh God! The girls are gonna be so sad. God please let this work.

Over the next three days, he began to look better. I woke up Tuesday and raced to the fish tank. It had become a part of my morning routine and I was eager to see how much Fishie had improved. He hadn’t. He had regressed to the point of no coming back. I told T-Daddy and then I just kind of kept staring at the tank, hoping I could will him back to life.

When the girls woke up, T-Daddy and I decided to tell them together and give him a proper flushing before T-Daddy left for work.
T-Mommy: Girls, Mommy and Daddy have something very important to tell you.

T-Daddy: It’s also very sad.
TD1: What is it?
T-Mommy: When Mommy woke up this morning, Fishie…
TD1: Died? I wanna see.
TD2: Me too!!

img_6701
NOT Fishie. May he R.I.P.

The TDs seemed entirely a little too enthusiastic about seeing a dead fish. TD1 asked if we could bury it in the backyard instead of flush it. When I told her that we didn’t have a backyard to do so, she wanted to bury it in the park. We attempted to go to the park later that day and the next, but we never made it. I flushed Fishie on our way out the next morning and we had a short moment of silence.

Every so often, TD1 will tell me, “Mommy, I sad our fish died. Can we get another one?” “Yes, sweetie we will. Mommy’s sad too!”

The Adventures of TD1 in Invisible World: Healthy Food and Allergies

One day TD1 came up to me and told me that I wasn’t her real mom. Her real mom (Invisible Mom) lived in her Invisible World and TD1 came here through her Invisible Mirror. In Invisible World, TD1 is really 8 years old (coming through the Invisible Mirror made her 4.5), and things are quite different than they are here in the real world. These are TD1’s adventures as told by her.

Invisible World as drawn by TD1

In my Invisible World, everyone only eats candy and fish because that’s all that’s healthy there. But I’m allergic to fish, so I can’t eat it. Everyone else eats it though. I just eat candy because that’s all that’s healthy in my Invisible World. I’m only allergic to big fish though, so if my Invisible Mom cuts it into really small pieces I can eat it. I’m not allergic to small fish, just the big fish and I really like it in my Invisible World.”

Our Amazingly Pleasant First ER Visit

So….it finally happened. TD2 finally got an injury that couldn’t be fixed with a band-aid and hug and kiss from Mommy.

A few Saturdays ago, she was playing around…as usual. Being a daredevil…as usual. Climbing stuff…as usual. And then she fell. And hit her face on the floor, causing her bottom teeth to go into her upper lip.

OUCH!

TD2-ER-VisitThere was lots of blood and a gash, which resulted in stitches. FIVE OF THEM! We called her pediatrician’s clinic to see if they’d see us, and after a painful and crying-filled over-the-phone consultation, they directed us to take her to the ER. So off we went. We’d opted to go to the ER connected to their pediatrician’s clinic to make it easier for their doctor to access the records later. (Their doctor is the type to stop in on a sick visit once she finds out they’re being seen by someone. Also, not knowing what to expect, I wanted to be prepared in case there was a follow-up visit prescribed).

I have never had such an awesome experience at the emergency room. From check-in to check-out, it was as smooth and painless as one can expect with two kids – one of which is in incredible pain and the other who is worried about her sister and needs to make sure the doctors are going to fix her.

When we checked in, everyone had to get a wrist bracelet with TD2’s info except TD1, but not wanting to be left out, she asked where hers was. Before I could respond, the receptionist had given her one. It was a generic one, but TD1 didn’t care. She was just happy to not be left out. We were immediately taken to our room where the nurses came right in, followed by the doctor. They took a look at TD2’s mouth, decided on a course of action and then went right to making her comfy via pain meds and cartoons.

After giving the meds a chance to kick in, they came back and strapped TD2 down and started the procedure. That was the most painful part. She was strapped in a blue, child-sized straight jacket while the peidiatric tech held her head straight and the ER doctor poked through her lip with a fishing hook and fishing thread. He did two first like he had previously told us, but then decided she would actually need 1-2 more. She ended up with five.

TD2 kept cutting her eyes at me, pleading for me to pick her up and all I could offer her were ineffective “Shhhhh” and “Mommy’s right here” while rubbing her leg through openings in the straight jacket thing. About 20 minutes later, and it was all over. Once they freed her, she jumped in my arms and held on for dear life.

The nurse returned with a stuffed animal and two popsicles – one for TD2 and one for TD1. We were discharged and home we went.

The rest of the day TD2 was clingy and laid around, but the next morning she woke up with a lip five times its normal size and the energy to match. It was as if she was hell bent on getting the right side of her mouth to match the left.

Maybe that ER visit was too pleasant.

TD2 Is An Ar-teest

We recently put TD1 in Awana* (but that’s another story), and as I was working through her workbook with her, there were a few activities that required drawing.  Of course, TD2 wanted to draw as soon as she saw Big Sister with the crayons. So I got some crayons and a couple of scrap papers for TD2.

I continued going over the lesson with TD1, which included learning that A is for Apple, God loves us, A is also for all, and all have sinned. Occasionally, I’d stop and check on TD2 to make sure all walls and floors stayed clear. Suddenly, I hear: “Maaaaaaa, look! Looooooooook! Eat apple. Eat apple!!!!! He ea’in Apple.” So I took a look at what she was pointing at.

I can’t tell you what it is exactly, but I can tell you that it’s something.

She shows me the picture she drew of what in her words is someone eating an apple. I must say my mommy grin got really cheesy.

  1. She’s only 2 1/2.
  2. She can’t even write her letters yet (we’re working on it).

BUT she drew this.

It also makes me wonder which one of her uncles have been been practicing with her……

*Awana is a year-long Bible study for children where they learn the Bible through activities, games and songs and can earn badges. Kind of like a Boy/Girl Scouts, but for the church.