>I’ve decided from now on to mention something I’m thankful for each Friday. I think it’s important to remember what is good in your life on a regular basis, otherwise you run the risk of falling into the “woe is me” slump. Well, at least I do.
So today, as corny as it is, I’m going to talk about Chris. I know that it’s a bit silly talk about the fact that you are thankful for your spouse, but honestly, a lot of people aren’t. Also, a lot of people don’t have really great spouses. So, anyway, let’s get to it.
What made me initially think of this is that Chris walked in the rain last night to get Chinese food for us and then put the leftovers away and cleaned up after. Even better, he did it all on his own, completely unprompted. Sure, sure, he needed the counter space because he was going to cure some bacon, but he still did it.
Plus, he does stuff like this all the time. He’s always cooking great meals, cleaning dishes, folding laundry, fixing things, running errands, and taking Jack to do fun stuff. Although he does give me plenty of sass, he makes me laugh at least once a day and he’s always very kind.
I know many people who struggle with their husbands each day, and some can’t even stand to be around their husbands. I’m glad I have him, and I’m thankful each day for that.
I had hoped to wake up and see to my delight a text message on my phone from the school district to notify me of a snow day. I even set my alarm to wake up extra early for this. When I ran downstairs and grabbed my phone, I knew today was going to be fabulous. I saw on my screen that I had a message from the district. Before I even opened the messaging part on my phone, I knew what it was going to say. Now I just had to call my work and tell them I couldn’t come in. Thankfully, my manager has a kid as well, so I was granted the day off, as well as tomorrow, if the conditions are the same.
I went back to bed. Sleeping is one of my most favorite things. I wasn’t even actually asleep for very long, but continued to lay there and watch the snow falling outside. Jack and Chris went out to shovel and Jack began to build a snow fort. They convinced me to get up and come outside. I bundled up and went out to help with construction of the fort. Then I built a really hideous snowman, complete with a beard and mustache made out of dead hydrangea petals.
For lunch we walked through the slush to a deli down the road and gorged ourselves on delicious, fattening foods. Now we are being super lazy while Jack builds a blanket cave and pretends to hunt for diamonds.
To make it even better, I didn’t have to babysit tonight. Instead we are probably going over to HMF’s house. Maybe I can even get my craft on, because I’ve been a major craft slacker this week.
If I was rich, every day would be like a snow day.
Two things I love: Carbs and Easy Cooking
Recently I learned that you can freeze pancakes. Seriously, why did nobody tell me this years ago? I’ve been doing it for a few months now, and it’s amazing! I know that they sell frozen pancakes next to the frozen waffles but I just assumed they did some sort of crazy flash freezing thing that couldn’t be duplicated at home.
I must say though, I have never had extra batter or extra pancakes/waffles, so the idea of making extra and freezing them never even came to mind. We usually have pancakes or waffles on the weekends so I’ve been making a double batch now. I just separate each pancake with wax paper and seal in a freezer bag. Now, on weekdays, Jack isn’t limited to cereal or PB toast. I literally pop them in the toaster and they come out just like freshly made pancakes. It’s nice to be able to give him options, since I’m the Breakfast Nazi, and I don’t want him to get bored with the same thing every day.
The other night Chris gave me the link to this pizza crust which was recommended by a coworker. We didn’t use chilled flour or let it sit in the fridge before using it. I also don’t have a dough hook yet (I finally ordered one) and I just did the mixing by hand. It was insanely easy. It was really tasty too. The recipe says it can make 6 pizzas but I think it’s assuming that you are going to make a paper thin crust. Ours ended up making 3 crusts worth. I rolled the other 2 in EVOO and placed each in its own freezer bag.
I love that I just have to move a ball of dough to the fridge a day before and I can have super fast pizza for really cheap. We just use pasta sauce instead of pizza sauce so we usually have all of the ingredients on hand. This week we had some fresh spinach from the market so we put that on and it was tasty!
***Update*** Here is the recipe for the pancakes. You definitely want to sift the flours and I melt the butter and let it cool back down a tad before adding it. The buckwheat flour is good, but can be a little finicky. If the butter is super hot or you don’t sift, the batter gets clumpy. I also add ground flax seeds, vanilla extract, some other seasonings like cinnamon and nutmeg, and sometimes I add blueberries as well. Jack doesn’t like the blueberries so the frozen ones are just plain.
Ok, I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a perfect mom, not by a longshot. I will also say that my own mom was way more patient, organized, calm, nice, rational, and generally more maternal than I am. Also, I love being a mom, it keeps life interesting and it really is rewarding (yes, cliched, I know). I’m sure that people have seen me interact with Jack and been absolutely aghast. I’m just very open and honest with him about things, perhaps too much at times. I’m also a stickler for proper behavior. We aren’t classy by any means but I’ll be damned if I can’t take my own child out to a nice restaurant every once in awhile because he doesn’t know how to act properly for an hour.
Although I am fully aware of my shortcomings, I can’t help but get very annoyed at other parents sometimes. I don’t think “my way” is perfect, or what they are doing is wrong, but things just get under my skin. I also know that how a kid acts is not always the reflection of the parents, but a lot of times it is. I don’t know why I’m like this. I suppose I’m sort of like this with non-parental types too though. That’s me being really honest.
I need to stop it though. It’s silly and immature. Plus, it’s just not very kind. To say that I have grand dreams of being as pleasant as the Dalai Lama or Mother Theresa is simply outrageous. I don’t want to be prim and proper and bite my tongue at every little thing, but I should start to cut people some slack a bit more. Grrr…why are there always so many areas that need improving in life?
>As I embark on the seemingly endless task of building an emergency cache of stuff, I decided to consult with a good friend of mine who is Mormon. In case you are wondering why I would go to a Mormon, it’s because they are supposed to have a year’s supply of food for everyone in their home. I figure, if tons and tons of people have been doing this for a long time, they’ve probably figured out a good system.
She told me to check out Provident Living and I found some interesting stuff. It stressed just getting a little extra of non-perishables that you normally eat each time you are at the store. It also advised against spending more than you have trying to build your storage. My only problem I’m running into is that I’m trying to get away from boxed/canned foods, so knowing that I have to eat what we don’t use in 6 months to a year is pretty hard. I’m trying to stick to what we would normally eat, or things that aren’t that bad that are already canned. I figure, since we like to go hiking and camping, I can always use those trips as a good excuse to use up some things that are about to spoil.
It also mentioned that many things that are dried can last up to 30 years if stored properly. That’s good to know! I can easily package up some rice and beans, and it won’t cost much either. I’m going to look into getting a used copy of a cookbook that deals with cooking from your food storage.
Additionally, as I was poking around, I noticed it had a lot of stuff about saving money and getting out of debt. A lot was stuff I already knew, but it had some good info on budgeting and making a debt payoff plan. I thought it was really cool that it stressed not buying beyond your means, and how buying “stuff” may create temporary happiness, but in the long run it’ll just create stress if you have put yourself into debt over it. I’m getting a lot better about asking myself “Do I really need this?” when I have a desire to buy something. I especially ask myself this when walking past the shoe section at Target, because that is one of my weaknesses.
I’m going to look into some MREs as well. Again, good for hiking and camping, and they pretty much never go bad. My plan for this week is to write up a list and start figuring out what I really need so that when I’m out shopping I can buy the stuff gradually. Then it’s just a matter of going into my scary basement to organize it. That’ll be the even bigger challenge.
>Since tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, I figure I would share with you my most favorite poem. It’s not what most would consider a love poem, but to me, it feels oddly romantic. It’s by Jim Carroll, who I think is an amazing writer. He wrote Basketball Diaries, which I’ve read countless times. He also wrote a follow-up to that book and several books of poetry. I believe he still lives in NYC and if for some strange reason, I ever get to meet him, I’d be elated.
Little Ode on St. Anne’s Day
You’re growing up
and rain sort of remains
on the branches of a tree
that will someday rule the earth.
and that’s good
that there’s rain
it clears the month
of your sorry rainbow expressions
and clears the streets
of the silent armies…
so we can dance
We watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics last night. It was really amazing. I mean, for $40 million, I would hope so, but it was very creative and touching. For someone who hates sports, I really love the Olympics. There is something incredibly awe-inspiring about so many young people, from all around the world, doing what they love and competing with each other.
It sounds corny but there is a great feeling of hopefulness that people from countries who normally hate each other, can come together as athletes, and there is peace between them.
I also like the fact that there is so much tradition and ceremony with the Olympics. I have been known to even cry during the medal ceremonies. It’s very cool to see people living their dreams, even if their dreams are vastly different than my own.
Last night, Joe Biden and his wife were interviewed after the ceremony and he mentioned that these people are role-models for our children. I know Jack doesn’t currently have a very athletic spirit, but it’s great that there are people out there like Shaun White who can make snowboarding amazingly fun to watch. Don’t get my wrong, I love snowboarding, but I imagine a lot of adults think it’s just for goofy kids, when it really is a great sport.
The Olympics are also the only time I find myself really rooting for my country. I’m not particularly patriotic except for when I’m watching the Olympics. I hope we beat the pants off of those sissy Canadians. I also hope that the small team from Georgia wins a bunch. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to compete a day after losing one of your own.
>The last few days have been busy, in a good way. I’ve been getting more hours at work and babysat for a long time today (where I read over 200 pages of a new book in about 4 hours, which I will review in a few days when it’s complete), and had a hectic weekend.
Saturday was Chowder Fest and it was awesome, as always. It was crazy cold though, and by the end Jack was frozen and weepy and just wanted to get home. I did too. When I got home I sewed my second dress and it was super easy, I still can’t believe I did it in a night. Sunday we had our normal ritual of cleaning and cooking. Yesterday after work I managed to get lots of chores done around the house in the hour and a half before Jack got home, then made bread, and faxed docs to switch our auto insurance (which I now realize I should’ve done much sooner since we are going to save a ton of moola).
I feel very accomplished in these past few days. I’ve also been doing mock-ups of some craft things that I want to sell. I’ve made two bracelets and I’m going to start another in a few minutes.
I don’t know yet what we are getting back for a tax return but I know it should be substantial. I also know that we almost have a student loan completely paid off. I am really shocked when I realize that, for the most part, we will be debt free before we are 30. When I think of how many people there are in this country who are drowning in debt and they are in their 40s and 50s and on 2nd and 3rd mortgages, it makes this seem even more amazing. By no means will we be rich, but it’s good peace of mind for sure.
I feel like I went into this year with a very positive attitude and it’s really paying off. I know that the second month isn’t even over yet, but I feel like things are really “going our way” already, and are only going to get better. I have to laugh a bit when I think about how different things are now than just over a year ago. Back then if you would’ve told me I’d be working part time for minimum wage and suddenly I have more disposable income, I really wouldn’t have believed it. It’s amazing what happens with time and ingenuity.
So I’ve decided to start making even more things from scratch and this week I’ll be trying some things out. When we started this whole adventure, I wanted to make my own pasta. I haven’t done it yet mostly because pasta is so cheap in the store. I know it isn’t hard but I didn’t really feel a huge push to do it.
The other day I was reading SouleMama and she was talking about making pasta and it inspired me. This week I’m going to make a bunch and freeze some in meal sized portions for future meals.
I was also inspired by Kitchen Stewardship because she mentioned how to make a mock “Cream of X” soup. The only canned soup I’ve been buying is cream of mushroom or cream of celery and I’ve just been using it in a few casserole dishes. I’m going to make a bunch of this as well.
I was talking with Chris about this the other night and then I realized that pretty soon I’ll be to the point where I will only be buying necessities at the store. Things like soy milk, spices, flour, dried beans, rice, etc. I know that there are things I could make all the time like cereal and crackers, but I get most of that now from Job Lots which is super close and they sell really good, organic brands for dirt cheap. It’s pretty crazy to think about. In under a year we’ve made a ton of changes with the way that we eat, I’m amazed to think about where things will be a year from now.
>Well, I finished the cloth napkins (pics soon) and I have 70 pages left in my book, which means it should be done before the weekend.
Today is craft day at HMF’s house. Not sure what I’ll be doing but it will involve yarn. This means that Sunday I should be able to start working on my 2nd dress.
Yesterday I mustered my Pioneer Girl spirit and got a lot done. I was proud. Today will be filled with accomplishments too. I just know it!