Sunday, January 31, 2010

January Recap

I can't believe January is already over!

Healthy Eating

I picked up the Jan/Feb issue of an interesting magazine called Clean Eating. I wanted to add more healthy recipes to my cooking repertoire and tried a whole bunch from the magazine. I ended up cooking with a lot of things I never have before:turnips, rice milk, quinoa, leeks, even tofu. (Which my family still doesn't know I served them!)

Unfortunately, most of the recipes weren't well received by the family. I did learn ideas from cooking them to make small adjustments to our regular recipes to make them healthier. And the recipes for Squash and Chicken Casserole, Amazing Baked Apples and Apple Grilled Cheese were all yummy.

I'm not sure the family was very happy with my little experiment. Emily had to type up her new year's resolutions at school and wrote, "Eating healthier, because that is one of my mom's resolutions and she is dragging us all down with her."

As a consolation for being such good guinea pigs I decided one day to make them a from scratch turkey pot pie, complete with a traditional unhealthy homemade crust. I did make sure I put in plenty of vegetables, 5 to be exact. Two different family members walked in as I was prepping the veggies and asked, This isn't another new vegetarian recipe, is it?" I promised them it wasn't. Then, ironically, after putting the finished pie in the oven I realized I had forgotten to add the turkey to it. It was still good added after.

I did also try to add some other fun treats, such as making cinnamon rolls and bread pudding. Because I think that healthy eating doesn't require eliminating all special foods, just having them in moderation. I checked out Martha Stewart's Healthy Cookbook from the library and am planning on trying some of those next.


I set out with the goal of downsizing and organizing the whole house. Didn't happen. I did manage to get a lot of it more organized than it has been in a long time. My kitchen and pantry, the art cupboard, my desk area, my closet, under my bed, the whole nursery, the downstairs hall closet, the blanket closet, the video/camera equipment, the books and my sewing stuff all got addressed.

We put away the Christmas decorations and pulled out all the winter decor. Mostly a bunch of snowmen stuff. I got paper whites on clearance after Christmas and forced them into bloom. They are so pretty! The are often described as "fragrant", when actually they stink. Which is why I don't do them very often.

Maddy, Elsie and I cut out a bunch of snowflakes out of coffee filters. We leave the undecorated tree up through Maddy's birthday on the 4th of Jan. This year we covered it with the snowflakes and it looked so pretty we kept it up till my birthday on the 18th. Now the snowflakes are hanging in the windows.

We also started a new chore schedule. I decided I was tired of reassigning chores all the time and not knowing whose turn it is to do what. So, we started a monthly rotation. Each of the older children has a meal chore (such as clearing or washing dishes), a bathroom to maintain and a "zone" or area of the house to maintain. Then we rotate through them on a monthly basis. It seems to be working out well. I have seen a sense of ownership over areas and a pride in cleaning an area really well that I didn't when our cleaning was more randomly assigned. I just wish that having kid's do chores didn't require so much oversight and consistency on my part!


I created a sewing area so I no longer had to drag all my sewing stuff out from the basement. Everything I need to sew with is now very accessible. I love it! I started doing prep work on our Christmas stockings and making new pillows for the family room. I am using a new technique called thread sketching in them. I will have to post pictures when I am done.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Wildlife is Hungry.

It's been cold and snowy. And I have felt too lazy to trudge through it all to fill the bird feeder. So, I had the brilliant idea of putting it in the little space just outside the patio doors, where the overhang keeps the snow from piling up. And where we could see the birds more easily anyways. I figured the chipmunks, squirrels and bears are all hibernating, so no problem, right? Last night as we sat on the couch and watched an episode of The Office, we noticed a couple of deer outside the window. Thought nothing of it and went to bed. This morning the bird feeder had been knocked over, the lid taken off and all the seed was gone. The deer tracks gave away the culprits.

They also showed that one of the deer "took the stairs" instead of walking up the hill. Maddy called it the civilized one. She also says they checked out their igloos and she thinks one of them slept in hers. I don't know about that. They are definitely hanging out at our house, though. Mostly because the snow has covered most of the food around, but our front jungle hill of broadleaf evergreen leaves seems to be quite tasty. On Christmas Eve, DH and I walked outside to go visit a neighbor and startled a mini herd of them down there.

We saw two new birds in the last couple days, too. Yesterday, a Northern Flicker woodpecker was digging in the snow, trying to get to the ground for some food. It made Elsie laugh the way he flicked the snow out with his beak. I wonder if that is why it is called a flicker?

We also had a Carolina wren hopping about outside the window cleaning up the seeds the deer missed. He was a darling, fat little fellow.

As much as I complain about the wildlife eating my garden, I sure enjoy seeing them up close all the time. That is one of the things I really enjoy about living here. (Between the deer, rabbits, voles and the chipmunks, there wasn't much vegetable garden left for us this year.)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I'm Back!

I cannot believe that I have let my blog sit unattended for so long! Two posts ago was my 2009 New Year's Resolutions post, and here it is again, time to make new year's resolutions once more.

First to review last year's successes and failures:

Learn how to do my new calling and try to do my best at it. (And now I am trying to learn two new ones!)
Plan something fun for our anniversary.
Help Emily earn her Faith in God Award.
Help Marvin get his Teacher Duty to God Award and advance in Scouts.
Teach Marvin to drive.
Restart preschool with Elsie. (And it is going beautifully this time!)
Learn how to better help Maddy with her specific needs.
Wean Cyrus (Can you imagine if I had failed to do that one!)
Make the raspberry jam, finally.
Restock freezer meals. (Done multiple times)
Pay off a significant portion of the student loans.
Plant everbearing strawberries. (Which the bunnies and chipmunks thought were delicious!)
Paint pantry closets.
Continue to work on our year's supply. (I need to rebuild on this again, but did make significant contributions.)
Downsize and organize. Simplify my material environment. (Still in progress!)
Train for and run a 5k.

Do better in my personal scripture study.
Keep up with the SS study plan.
And fully read the church magazines each month. (The usual spurts in these 3 areas)
Do the 14 days of Valentines for dh again
Potty train Cyrus.
Find one and one time with each kid. (I did do better, but still not where I want it.)
Finish the 72 hr kits.
Finish renovating the kitchen.
Finish redoing the kid's rooms.
Blog more regularly. Make a blog book. (Ha ha!)
Participate in Book Club.

The successes are slightly longer than the fails, so that is good, right?

So, for 2010, I will try to...

Have daily personal morning devotional.
Grow enough in my calling to do it well. Rely on lots of prayer to manage this.
Help get the temple work done for dh's grandmother.
Attend the temple at least every 3 months.

Do a service as a family every month.
Have a meaningful fun family activity every month, even if that means skipping out
on other activities.
Go on a Church History Tour with my family and see the pageants. Watch church
history dvd's to prepare.
Go camping!
Go to Cape Cod
Have Pioneer Days again.
Start blogging again to record our family history.

Work with kid's every week on scout, D2God, FinGod and PP.
Potty train Cyrus.
Complete preschool with Elsie before summer.
Start preschool with Cyrus in the fall.
Help Marvin accomplish his eagle.
Make sure Marvin prepares for and takes the ACT and SAT.

Eat healthier, and learn to cook healthier meals for my family.
Do P90x with the ward exercise group.
Run another 5k when we are done.
Then continue to exercise regularly.

Provident Living
Pay off even more student debt.
Figure out how to make my garden grow better and survive the wildlife.
Finish the 72 hr kits.

Try to maintain a cleaner, more organized home.
Work on one room a month, doing painting and otherwise making it more beautiful
Seek fun meaningful moments, foods and activities to make our home a place of

Learn to draw better.
Complete one sewing project each month. (Including Christmas stockings!)

That is a lot to work on! I will be really happy if I get half of it done.