Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends. To everyone else, hope you are having a nice Thursday. Right now I have a limited amount of time and I can either blog or nap. Given that Zoe puked all night so I’m on the short side of sleep I’m going to use this time for sleeping. The kid hoard is doing well, Lars is cooking, my pies are already done and all I need to do is decorate a birthday cake and set the table.
Ps. congratulations to my mom for completing the writing version of Nablopomo – she wrote 50k words of a book and it is done as of yesterday. I don’t know what is more of an achievement, that or running a marathon. Now she has to tie up the ending (because 50,000 words didn’t quite cover it) and find someone to publish. Maybe there is one or two steps in between but either way, congratulations to mom!
I’m jumping in the deep end making a 5x recipe for banana bread that I have not tried in the past. Hey, its banana and butter and flour and some other regular stuff that goes into a normal breadie cakie concoction plus I added chocolate chips so that should help.
The massive multiplier is because I will have 4 extra kids and 3 of them are boys and if I know one thing about boys is they can EAT. I also had a ton of bananas and then I mentioned I was doing this and a friend piled on her ready to ditch bananas so I had 5.5 cups of mashed banana.
this was supposed to happen over the weekend but the weekend was not as planned. Other things happened like going to costco and kohls and stuff like that. Oh well! So anyway, I used the Cooking Light recipe (click the picture to go to their site) and I only changed a thing or two other then multiplying by 5
1. I added 2.5 cups of squash to the banana pure, this was part of my 5.5 cup count
2. I did not make the sauce but I did add chocolate chips to the top of each loaf
I made regular sized loaf pans, and, mini loaves in the pampered chef stone. 5x yielded 3 regular loaves and 2 rounds of the 4 mini loaves. The outside is crispy/chewy, the inside is moist. The overall taste is not in your face banana but still sweet and a great breakfast bread. It is a fairly low calorie item since it uses low/no fat dairy and no yokes but I’m not sure how the stats change with my addition of squash. I feel full and fine after eating my half for lunch but I’m eyeing Lars’ half too because it tasted so good.
The min loafs took 45 min and while the center looked a tiny bit underdone but upon tasting it was fine. 1 hour exactly for the full loaf.
Tomorrow is clean all the things and make room for 6 people to sleep!
Yesterday fate dictated that I go to Polaris so I took the drive I took thousands of times but not in the past 17 months. Over those 17 months I have thought about work less and less as other things take front and center on by brain but certain times of year trigger the itch to do a certain ‘work thing’ (a lot like how september makes you want to buy school supplies). If I was at work right now I would be compiling end of year ‘stuff’ like tidying up the stats on my suppliers, harassing them about pricing for next year, and setting up reviews and expectations for the year to come. Honestly I don’t miss much of that but I do miss being good at it. I’m sure if I was there I would be grinding my teeth about doing the same thing again for the 9th year in a row because I seriously doubt any of my issues with the company would have changed but with time comes nostalgia…
So the reason I had to go in was that 5 years ago or so I bought a trailer from a coworker there and since it never went anywhere I never registered it. Now I have a buyer for the traier (yippie!!!) but I must legally own it to sell it. The paperwork I have tenaciously held onto for years should have been fine BUT it was not. The nice ladies at the DMV firmly yet politely said no to the form he had given me because of a tiny thing but you don’t argue with the DMV when the fix is relatively easy. An email, a conversation, a meeting is set for the previous owner to sign on the line but that does bring me back to the building I left in my past.
I convinced myself that I would know practically nobody there and that I would have been forgotten. I could not have been more wrong. Not only did I see one of my favorite engineers in the lobby but at least 10 other people stopped to say hi or waved. The company is big and far flung so it is conceivable that I just work in a different location and that is about how I was treated, as if I still belonged there. That was a nice feeling even if it is not really true. I belong here now, and somewhere else in the future. Going back would be the equivalent of trying to wear stretched out yoga pants; they might be comfortable and easy but not going to get me anywhere.
I drove away far more happy and peaceful then the last time so that was a nice bonus.
**this would have been a perfect place to end, all up note and happy, HOWEVER**
After a nice morning of breakfast and race to the bus and a few chores and a few games and a trip to target I settle in front of the computer to do the things that require a qwerty keyboard and right on top of my inbox was an email about OLD WORK! Specifically asking me about a set of parts I moved maybe 5 years ago. I did know the answer and I like the person who asked so I answered but said I would bill for future e-mails. On the bright side, I like to be needed and relevant even if it is for ancient info.
Since I am still writing and nobody is crying, I have to say that the same-but-different feeling I got there is creepy feeling. I always get this feeling when I visit a place I used to go all the time like my old high school or my hometown or the grocery store we went to when we lived in a different town. Anyway, this one was even stronger because people who always sat together were still sitting together, eating the same lunchbox food and following lunch with a brisk walk. It is creepy to feel like NOTHING changed and the place is in a social bubble, but, seeing a major addition to the building (that looks exactly like the first half) and a ton of people I didn’t know. This is not a new or unique or even very interesting thought so I am going to just wrap this up and go do something useful.
Happy ending, I sold the trailer we were not using and was killing our grass, lets just stop here.
As you might have guessed, this month is THE blog every day month and there is a nifty long list of people all signed up so I like to click on the list and see who I can find. My neighbor this year is The Mahogany Way and she is a mom and a crafter and I can easily get lost in her day to day stories because the are so similar (but different) than mine. Today she is participating in a carnival style post where a bunch of people write on the same topic and today the theme is ‘Nurturing Creativity in the Home‘. I looked back at the original organizer and found that there are 3 more post topics coming up in the next three weeks and they are all things I would love to write about so I’m officially signing up for them, however, I was too late to sign up for this weeks (but that won’t stop me…)
After reading Ms Mahogany I could basically say ‘me to’ to how she nurtures creativity. I too put all the kid friendly art supplies in easy reach, I even let the baby use markers although she eats them far too often. I do not have the paint or glitter in super easy access but they have come out without my knowledge in the past and we are still alive. Niamh LOVES to ‘project’ and I actually even have a drawer in the art cart dedicated to random project stuff for them to be inspired by. I sew while they eat dinner all the time and they love my scraps for barbie clothing. This all is fairly common, I think; let kids at the stuff, stand back, love what they create even if it was messy and might look like poop (figuratively and literally) and always be a good example about being creative and crafty for them. Check, check, and check – just look at yesterdays post, that is a 17 month old with a screwdriver using it basically correctly, she is either a genius or good at watching me.
Here is my slight tangent and where I start to diverge from the true mother-earth style mothers. I think commercial toys are just fine too and we have plenty. I know there are tons of people who only want wood and non specific toys for their kids so their imaginations are always engaged but I think that there is a balance. We have tons of blocks but the girls love to just stack anything.
We have My Little Ponies galore, including their castle, but the kids manage to include all the animals in pony games and often creatively decorate the castle to suit their mood
They use the garish colored Dora kitchen like its their job, but, in playing with it I’ve heard them play restaurant, wedding, bakery, hair salon, store and house. Fiona likes to open and shut the doors and move things around, Niamh is actually putting food together that might even be edible (if it were food) and Zoe is excited to make crazy combos but all this with highly specific food items in a play kitchen. To the cooking point, Niamh was inspired by Master Chef Jr to start learning to cook so even TV is allowed to teach my kids and I think they are doing well for it.
I know the toy industry isn’t hurting but the huge number of ‘no toy’ families I run into grate on me as much as the ‘must collect every. single. one’ families. I also allow and encourage toys in every room of the house. That is another trend I see often; the ‘no toys outside of xyz room(s)’. At this point in their life they love toys and I want them to play where I am and with us all so that means toys everywhere. I’m decently organized and in all but the play room there is a designated spot for toys so it can all go away but yes, there is a dora kitchen in my livingroom. I think part of nurturing creativity is not putting it in a box. We don’t have craft time, we just have time when we might craft if the mood hits us. We don’t have a play room, we have a house that includes 3 little girls and what they love to do. Creativity is part of my every day life (see monday’s post!) and I hope that is passed down to my three.
ps. I did not overly mention that I get this creative gene naturally and was raised in a house that allowed art and creative mess BUT that is actually one of the topics to come so I’m saving the good stuff.
I don’t know how but I’ve frittered away my ‘free’ time between Halloween and Thanksgiving and it occurred to me today that we better get a turkey or something. My sister and her crew are all coming to visit so we will have a very full house for 3 days. Menus must be planned in advance to feed 7 kids and 4 adults, can’t just look in the fridge and figure it out.
Thanksgiving being later means Christmas is coming even faster than I thought. I know, time passes at a constant rate (allegedly…) but Niamh asked me today how long until my birthday and I asked the date and with the answer “November 19th” that means my birthday is in 30 days. Not that my birthday is a national holiday with fireworks or planning but it does precede Christmas by a mere 7 days so I need to get going on that beast of a project. I have good ideas for a little gift for all my aunts and uncles and cousins, I can bang it out assembly line style one weekend and I’m happy with the idea. Other family gifts I have not given much thought but we are going to NY for christmas so with 30 days to go I had to hop on airline tickets. With the wonders of the internet and Lars right there I managed to find tickets at reasonable prices with zero layover at times that are good for avoiding traffic and maxamizing normal kid schedules so I call that a massive win. The fact I did the entire transaction in under 10 minutes makes me nervous on one hand but feel like a travel pro on the other. Anyway, NY here we come (in a month) ((anyone want to feed our cat?))
I need to get going on my massive to-do list that just had ‘shop for turkey’ added so until tomorrow~
Isn’t that the way? I need a weekend from my weekend and ironically my weekends are rarely well planned because of the husband factor. I want to include him but then he still has a pretty random and sometimes demanding schedule for work on weekends. Anyway, we got quite a bit done over the weekend including 2 birthday parties and moving our elliptical down to the office so Lars can ‘treadmill desk’* but today I get to do all the ‘normal’ things that make the house a good place to be and creates clean clothing. Ah Ha! are you bracing yourself for a description of my laundry method?!?
Nope, on day 18 of everyday posting I’m answering an emailed question on ‘how’ I manage to remember/do so many different things with kids. I was very pleased that someone finds me organized and I’m happy to pass on my version of 5 steps for a (mostly) organized life with 3 kids under 6
1. Routine. I’ve always loved it and days go better when I have a general plan. I also put specific things on specific days and that is when it gets done. Laundry is Monday, I do all 5 or 6 loads from the week. Barring massive puke, all dirty laundry just gets to wait until Monday. I do a load here and there when I really need to and diapers are done a different day but I learned this from a workflow specialist; do things in order and do not get distracted in the middle. Her example was to not pick up the phone at work while you are in your email hour and vice versa. I never went that far but having a time to do things does help. Key takeaway; make a plan for when you will do a thing and it does save time from doing it daily or randomly or waiting until it is overwhelming.
2. Use my people resources. Lars likes to cook so he cooks most nights and that is a major burden off me. He also works a million hours so he does not have much time to do other things but I still tap him to do things I know he can. For example, he has time at work that nothing is happening but he has to be right there for when something does happen. For those breaks I have a little list of stuff for him to look up. It helps me because he does have time to concentrate and I don’t, and, we have something to talk about. Most recently I asked him to research what plants would winter and what won’t. Took about a week to get an answer but hey, now we both know. I also ask other people for advice/help that I trust because it is tons faster than starting from scratch or diving into the internet. Finally, I have a daycare budget – I am very fortunate – 2x a week Zoe does preschool and 1x a month Fiona goes for a day and those days I really catch up. Key takeaway; outsource where possible – you don’t have to do it ALL alone
3. Writing lists. I’ve recently taken to the bullet journal method. I got a nice hardback blank book and I use it for all my to-do lists. At the beginning of the week I ‘move’ all the things that didn’t get done in the previous week (and still need doing) and start a fresh list. I also can keep track of projects and dates and ideas plus I’m writing little notes about the day that I would not put on a blog like when I notice someone starting to cough so I don’t’ have to rely on my memory. The bullet journal is described really well here and for me I like to make a ‘master’ to do list for the week and then daily my specific to-do tasks. I think the index is genius and so simple and now I don’t loose my post-it or envelope back lists or the undone things on those lists. Key takeaway; find a system to keep track of your to-dos
4. Use technology when it makes life easier. I use my google calendar and phone alerts for things that happen daily like the bus or vitamins or bedtime so I don’t have to constantly watch the clock or worry about forgetting. My smart phone makes my day go much more smoothly since I can quick look up something or check something without disappearing down to my real computer. I really only check my e-mail or facebook while nursing Fiona but multitasking in that time makes me feel much more in touch and in control. Technology is a rabbit hole too, be careful not to spend a million hours on ‘time saving’ apps that don’t suit you and you either can’t use fast or you don’t look at daily because if you are like me they get forgotten quickly. I especially look for systems that auto sync so I can depend on the info on all platforms. For some financial peace I set up auto pay on many of my recurring payments so paying bills is something that takes 10 min of checking up rather than an hour of writing checks. Key takeaway; use what tech works for you
5. Try and mix fun and work. This is a balance to be sure… I’ve said plenty of times I would rather do a craft then do the dishes but the dishes also do need doing. My theory is I try and do one fun/craft/creative thing a day so I have something other than laundry, diapers, dishes, picking up the toys, vacuuming, sweeping, scrubbing (repeat repeat repeat) to look back on in my day. Sometimes my projects take days to finish, some are fast but usually I can include the kids a bit so I don’t have to wait until they are sleeping (ha!) or otherwise engaged. Doing things with kids, like cooking on the floor, takes some tweaking to make work, and, it won’t be as fast as doing it alone but hey, it gets done and who knows what they are picking up on. I suggest if you are using tools to have extras on hand if you are working with the under 2 crowd. Key takeaway; some play some work every day
I think organization with kids is a blend of working with them and working around them. I like to write things down so I don’t have to over think or remember what to do next. I also like reminders and timers for the things that slip because they are everyday things. I hope this helps the person who asked and maybe one or two other people trying to find the unicorn of an organized life with kids. It goes without saying I hope that you need to be flexible too, too rigid a system is bound to go off the rails. If you build in a fail safe, like auto pay and moving to-do list items, you drop the fall far less when life gets all lifey on you.
*my mom’s idea for moving the elliptical worked, thanks mom!
** the bullet journal came to me via fellow blogmom http://www.misszoot.com/2013/09/26/speaking-of-bullets-bullet-journal-ftw/ who I have read for years and years and gotten countless good and new things from.
BTW. This is how I did things when I worked full time too so it can be adapted to a working timeframe too – however – part of ‘outsourcing’ for me was to hire someone to do some of the cleaning, something I now have more time to fit into my day (technically speaking…)