Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas recap

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas recap
Current mood: thirsty

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas! We've had a great time so far. We've had not one, not two, but FOUR Christmases so far, with one more to go. First at my Mom's last Sunday, then at Billy's folks' Christmas Eve, then a quiet Christmas morning celebration here to see what Santa left, Christmas dinner at my Dad's, and soon we'll travel to see extended family for our final Christmas. Sheesh! The downside of this is, of course, all the traveling and organization involved. But it has several benefits, not least of which is that I didn't have to clean my house for company, and did not have to cook for anyone other than ourselves (and not much of that). So even though I love having everyone over to my house for Christmas, this year's plans worked well.

Santa did a good job choosing gifts this year. :) Littleman and Sweetcheeks both love their gifts (and each others' gifts too!). First thing, they grabbed their swords and shields and mounted their "steeds" (scooter for Littleman, Rody pony for Sweetcheeks) and had a little joust of sorts. Too cute! It's a good thing there weren't too many things to open, because they were having so much fun that they weren't very interested in what else might be waiting under the tree. Eventually they got around to the rest of their gifts, and appreciated them too- but Santa's gifts win the prize this year. :) Makes me feel good.

There's more I could write of course, but I am tired. I'll just leave you with today's thumbs-up:
(other than Rody, who is a HUGE hit)- the award goes to these "meditation rooms" (more at ). Check them out, and breathe deeply. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cookies! And a link for knitters.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cookies! And a link for knitters.
Current mood: sleepy

Cookie Success!
Sweetcheeks' Montessori class has a holiday party and cookie swap on Friday. I'd hate to send store-bought cookies, and I also wanted Littleman to have the opportunity to help bake- but I knew trying to handle all three boys singlehandedly while simultaneously baking and monitoring Littlemanm would be cookie chaos. SO, I arranged for Auntie G and my Mom to come help. It was great! Between cleaning, laundry and caring for Babyman, unfortunately I didn't actually do much cookie preparation. But Mom and Auntie G had that covered, and both Littleman and Sweetcheeks had a blast helping! They made my Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal cookies for the swap, Sugar Cookies to roll, cut and decorate, and regular chocolate chip cookies because Auntie G requested them. :)

The Cranberry White Chocolate cookies are my own invention, created by modifying existing recipes. They are my favorite of today's baked goods:

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cup uncooked quick-cooking (not instant) oatmeal
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
just a drop of almond extract
3/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Sift flour with baking powder and salt.
- Stir butter and sugar together until just blended. Mix in flour, oatmeal, eggs, vanilla and almond extract.
- Stir in cranberries and white chocolate.
- Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls two inches apart on a greased baking sheet.
- Bake 15 - 18 minutes or until lightly browned, and tops spring back when touched. Transfer at once to wire racks to cool.
Makes approximately 3 dozen.

Oh and incidentally, this morning was really chaotic: poor Billy accidentally broke a plate, which cut his hand so badly that he had to get stitches! Good grief, the excitement never stops around here. ;) So between that, cleaning and cookies, we've had an exciting day.

* * *

Today's thumbs-up is for a blog that I just found today (thanks, stumbleupon!) but I already love:
Yarn Ball Boogie

It's for knitters, and I think it's quite cool. :)

Also, I wanted to expand a bit on the last "thumbs-up"- the hotslings. I have a hotsling pouch, and it is so awesome! I am using it a lot with Babyman, and he loves it.

I am falling asleep at the keyboard.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

grocery success, fermented grape juice and Ron Paul

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

grocery success, fermented grape juice and Ron Paul
Current mood: busy

Well, I did it!
I did in fact hustle all three kids off to the grocery store yesterday evening, and complete my lengthy shopping list. I did not lose my mind, bellow madly at anyone, or run screaming from the store while pulling all my hair out. The boys were on excellent (which is relative, but we'll take what we can get) behavior. Babyman was all cozy in the sling, simply looking around peacefully at all the new sights. Eventually he went to sleep. Littleman and Sweetcheeks were driving the "car" on the shopping cart. Those carts steer like a wounded battleship, but they sure are helpful when you have multiple little ones to shop with. I only had to pop Littleman's skull once (not hard, really!) to remind him to quit touching everything on the shelves as we rolled past. Luckily, nothing fell off and smashed on the floor, but we had a few close calls. Seriously though, they were patient and pretty obedient. I breathed a sigh of relief when we hit our last stop in the frozen foods section. I rewarded them at the end of our trip by buying peppermint ice cream, which I later used as a bribe to get them to eat their dinner. (YUM! I really like peppermint stick ice cream). That was the hard part: getting everyone fed and taken care of at home in a somewhat timely fashion. But I muddled through.

I know future trips won't all be so smooth. But at least I know it's possible.

* * *

Tonight we are eating pasta with spaghetti sauce (the sauce was a gift from a friend, and YUM!! It's good), and I decided to open a bottle of wine that I've had around for some time. (It's white, and since Billy doesn't drink white wine, I was waiting for someone else who would drink it with me. Tonight I decided "screw it", and I opened the bottle anyway. I'm thoroughly enjoying a nice cool glass with my dinner). Anyhow, I bring this up because Littleman was asking me about wine, and what it's made of. I let him taste it. He asked me if there's "grapes in there". I told him that yes, wine is basically fermented grape juice. I wish I had a pic of his expression- he looked at my glass so incredulously, as if to say "Why on EARTH would anyone do THAT to a perfectly good glass of grape juice??" LOL- yes, adults are weird. :)

* * *

The day before yesterday was the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. To coincide with that, volunteers for Ron Paul's campaign organized a fundraiser to support his bid for a presidential nomination. They raised over 6 million dollars in one day. If I'm not mistaken, that's a record amount. The vast majority of his supporters are individuals and small donors, rather than the big-money sources that pour funds into more likely candidates. This really is an amazing grass-roots phenomenon.

Now, I have heard many people comment that Ron Paul hasn't got a snowball's chance in hell of getting the republican nomination, let alone of winning the presidency. I've been told that supporting Ron Paul is a waste- of time, of money, of a vote if it comes to that. (I've also been told that voting Libertarian is a "wasted vote"). I would just like to note that such comments really irritate me. No vote is wasted, if you make an informed decision and vote for those you would most like to see win. This idea- that you should never vote for an underdog because your choice would be unlikely to win- is mislead, even manipulated. It is why our screwed up two-party system (two parties as unlike each other as two peas in a pod) continues to thrive. People have been bullied, confused and frightened into believing that they cannot vote for a third party, or else THEY (whichever party is "THEY" to the particular voter) will win! You don't want THEM in office, do you? Don't "waste" your vote! In the same way, people don't want to support Ron Paul. They feel he has no chance of getting the presidential nomination, therefore he's not worth paying any attention to- no matter how much they might agree with his platform.

I'd like to say that I sincerely hope Ron Paul's fundraising successes cause more people to seriously consider him as a possible presidential candidate. It's probably true that someone else will get the republican nomination. Probably. But what if? What if someone new, with fresh, more libertarian ideas and a decentralized, grassroots support system actually gives the rest of these politicians a run for their money? Dare I write it, what if he WON? It's unlikely but I'd like to say it is not impossible. I would like to say that hope is not stone-cold dead in American voters. I'd like to think that we could muster up the balls to vote for an underdog. Even if he Ron Paul does not win, if he does well enough to scare the established system, if he opens more eyes to fresh ideas and other possibilities, then he will have done well. I hope he does well.

* * *
I'm thinking I might do a regular "feature" in my blog: my thumbs-up for the day. Today's thumb-up goes to Hotslings, for their fantastic baby carriers. Check them out.

Chaos has erupted around me and I'm typing so fast my fingers are smoking. OK, not really but I do have to go.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Squash recipe

Monday, December 17, 2007

Squash recipe
Current mood: frustrated

The other day, I was so proud of myself: I actually managed to cook something from scratch to feed the boys! It was a quick thrown-together idea (I had no time) that worked. Unfortunately, it did not meet the approval of my preschool taste-testers, but I think it's yummy. (Of COURSE they wouldn't eat something I'd gone to so much trouble to make for them! Sheesh).

Winter Squash with Sausage and Cranberries

1 winter squash (I don't know what kind I used- it was similar to butternut squash)
1 small summer sausage
1/2 - 3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup applesauce (I didn't have any, so I used a baby food jar of pureed pears instead)
1 Tbs butter

- Cut squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out seeds. Place halves in a glass baking dish, peel side down. Put a bit of water in the bottom of the baking dish.
- Peel summer sausage and cut into small pieces.
- Mix sausage pieces, cranberries and applesauce in a bowl. Spoon mixture into the cavities of the squash halves. Dot with little bits of butter.
- Cover baking dish and microwave on high for 10 - 15 minutes, or until squash is tender. (Cooking time will vary depending on how thick the squash is).
- I like to scoop the cooked squash out of the peel and mix it all up with the filling before serving, but you could also just serve a piece of the squash to each person with the filling in the cavity- it looks rather nice that way.

* * *

Hmm. I wonder if Babyman will let me put him down so I can go eat some right now.

Incidentally I need to go grocery shopping. It's an intimidating prospect. Just getting out to do anything requires major effort, and the thought of then schlepping all 3 boys through the grocery store somehow, while keeping them under control, getting done before Babyman gets fussy, holding onto my sanity (not good for me to lose it and have my head start spinning around Poltergeist style right in the middle of the cereal aisle at the grocery store), and ACTUALLY get all my shopping done. . . well, I can tell you that thus far, I've not managed to even try. We might make it after the boys have a nap. Or we might not. It depends on their behavior, (I'll have to have some sort of cooperation) and babyman's needs. And dinner.

Yeah, I'll cross that bridge when I get there. I need to fuel myself. (I am in awe of Moms with larger broods: how do they DO it?? I guess they have an older child who can help. . . is that the key? I don't know).

Sunday, December 16, 2007

my morning, and a cool link

Billy worked extra late last night, and so had requested that he get to sleep in this morning. This means that I single-handedly:
- rushed through brushing my teeth, going to the bathroom and throwing some clothes on, and
- policed Littleman and Sweetcheeks in an attempt to keep everyone quiet, while I
- nursed the baby, and changed his diaper, and managed to get him to lay down for a few seconds so I could
- take Sweetcheeks to the potty, put a clean diaper on him and help him get dressed, then
- tell Littleman for the five hundredth time to put some clothes on, for heaven's sake- and
- hurry to pick up Babyman, who is starting to fuss, then
- carry the baby downstairs as I hold Sweetcheeks' hand and carry the hotwheels cars he asked me to carry for him, and
- tidy the kitchen table and set out the cereal bowls, spoons, cereal and milk,
- holding Babyman and fielding endless questions all the while, then
- get the boys to sit down and eat, while I
- put Babyman in the swing for a moment, and
- start collecting the breastpump attachments so I can
- pump milk to clear a painful blocked duct (explaining the whole process to the curious boys), then
- add more cereal and milk to their bowls, then
- nurse the baby again (who was fussing), and put him back in the swing while I
- put the pumped milk away in the freezer and wash the pump attachments, and
- mediate a disagreement between the older boys, then
- tidy the table a little and get a bowl for myself, but
- Babyman is fussing again and wants out of the swing so I
- hold him and walk around to calm him, and
- hold him and walk around to calm him, and then
- Billy comes downstairs and I can pass off the baby-holding so I can make coffee and eat some cereal!

Then of course, it's not long till Billy must leave for work and I start the whole marathon over for the rest of the day, all through bedtime and NOW, miraculously, I have a moment to sit quietly and write about my day! Whew.

* * *
Check out this cool website- play the vocabulary quiz game and for every right answer, you help feed the hungry around the world.

* * *
And there's babyman waking. Guess this is it for tonight!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Yule Tree

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Yule Tree
Current mood: blessed

Things are blissfully quiet, but I am very, very tired so this should be brief.

Today, we went to a tree farm and cut ourselves a lovely Yule tree. The older boys had a blast with Daddy, running around with sticks, choosing and cutting our tree, exploring the farm, drinking cider and toasting and eating (too many, in Littleman's case) marshmallows. What bliss. Babyman and I helped choose the tree, and then spent the rest of the time nursing, changing diapers and sitting near the van. It was OK by me, as I had my book (I am rereading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett- a really great read) and some hot cider to sip. The weather was gorgeous- too warm, in fact! Our tree is cool- I forget the variety, but it's sort of bluish gray-green, and intensely fragrant. The Christmas tree smell is very citrusy.

We enjoyed wine and take-out sushi while listening to Christmas music and decorating the tree. We found and set up the baby swing, which kept Babyman happy on the sidelines. And Mr. Sweetcheeks only broke one ornament. :P (Really remarkable, actually!) Then we all had eggnog. Mmm. I just realized we forgot the popcorn Littleman had requested, but I think I will spend an evening soon showing him how to string popcorn and cranberries. We can munch and string and sip more eggnog together, and then decorate a bush or something for the birds and squirrels to enjoy. Maybe we'll make peanut butter- pinecone- birdseed ornaments too.

I just LOVE the smell of a fresh Yule tree.
Good night.

PS- not only can I no longer adjust the font size, but my myspace smileys have disappeared too. Hmm.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

trying to steal a moment. . .

Thursday, December 06, 2007

trying to steal a moment. . .
Current mood: stalked

If I am going to blog at all these days, it seems I'd better do it earlier than I used to. Night is hard enough, getting everyone fed and to bed at a sort of reasonable hour, while still taking care of babyman- I used to be able to sit and blog after bedtime, and still get enough sleep. Now I'm lucky to get to bed before 1 or 2 am, and that's by caring for kids non-stop from dinnertime on. Many nights it is tough to brush my teeth and pee before bed, because babyman typically has a fussy time every evening when I simply cannot put him down. (At least he's generally easy to soothe, as long as he's held!) So every night I think I might blog, yet I never quite get the chance.

On the flip side, sitting here trying to write carries it's own challenges now. The boys are not eating their dinner, nor are they cleaning up as they are supposed to. They are arguing over toys, throwing things down the stairs (a particular struggle right now, that habit of throwing things down the stairs)- and in general trying to distract me, egging each other on and pushing limits.

Here comes one now, crying crocodile tears and whining "mooommy!".

Ha, that was short-lived. You don't get much more fake than that. But the question remains: WILL he pick up the puzzle pieces? Or will there be a greater mess when I venture downstairs?

Now babyman (in the sling) is starting to wake. I bet he's getting hungry. And one of the older boys is coming with real tears, this time.

Now I remember why I always waited until they were asleep. Maybe I'll get the chance to try again later?

ETA: hmm, I used to be able to get smaller text??

Saturday, December 1, 2007

just random:

Saturday, December 01, 2007

just random:
Current mood: tired