Sunday, February 28, 2010

March change

Our One Small Change for March is something we have picked up this winter, but have yet to be completely committed: setting our heat at a lower setting during the day (65-67), and setting it to around 60 at night.
Previously, we just left it at 69-70 depending on how cold we were, day or night. We could just buy a programmable thermostat, but we are going the cheap route and just trying to remember to turn it down before heading to bed.
Now, since the baby is coming any day now, I am not sure how this will effect THAT! I know they say babies like it warmer, but I figure since it will be sleeping near us, there isn't much to worry about. We will play it by ear.

What is your change?

Our February Change results

So I am writing this away from home, visiting with my parents at their timeshare a half hour away from our place. Needless to say, we are not taking part in the family cloths away from home.
But we did however do pretty decently before my parents came to visit. Not as good as I was hoping, but let's face it: the last month before delivery extra laundry is not on the list! So I think since the baby will be in diapers we will be using these more often in the next couple months. Only time will tell, right!?

I would give us a C+ or a B- for effort for the month (January was an A, definitely). But this is something to improve upon and maybe continue as time and energy permits.

I think the One Small Change is a great way to really look at where you can improve on your awareness. So as long as we remain aware, I think it was all worth it.

Wish us luck on our March change!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Ten Things That Make Me Happy

*How both my kids have almost mastered sarcasm
*Blue skies
*A clean table
*Having family around
*Baby kicks
*A good beer or glass of wine at the end of a long day
*Hearing the kids talking from around the corner
*Finishing a project
*Spring growth coming through
*A tasty meal with quiet conversation

What are your TEN things?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Are you saving for your kids? And for what?

Together Tyler and I have decided to save on a monthly basis for our kids. However, I think we have different ideas than most do with how this money will be spent!
This may sound crazy, but it is not designated for college. In fact, I hope my kids choose NOT to go to college right after high school (unless they are absolutely sure that is the path for them). I would rather them choose to spend the money to travel around and gain meaningful experiences with people and nature in somewhere other than their "home". And I am pretty sure Tyler is right there with me.
Both of us joined the military a couple years after high school, and have found that was a great way to gain some experiences we would never have had. I for one, did not go to college before the military... which was a huge disappointment for a couple people. I had been one of 7 or 8 valedictorians from my small high school; I had received a large settlement from a 1986 accident (which my dad had invested for me since that time); and it was only normal for me to go to college. I just couldn't make up my mind on what to be. When I was little, I wanted to be a "fridgerator" (funny how I still love food!). I had no idea (still have no idea) what I want to spend my life doing. Tyler, on the other hand, went to a community college, but really had no clue as to what he was going to do either. So, we both joined the military. And we met (that is another story!), and fell in love (another story, too!)
And all this to say I have no pre- or misconceptions that my kids will want or need to go to college with the money we are saving for them. They each have a piggy bank to put coins and dollar bills in, and we save the allotted amount monthly, which will add up to a good amount by the time they are 18. Not to say they won't have stipulations. No guns or drugs! (that is a household joke, and I couldn't resist!) But seriously, they could use it for a car or like I said, travel, or...???
I hope the best for my kids, but they have to learn the value of money for themselves. Hopefully we will be good enough teachers to lead the way with guidance before they leave the nest. But only time will tell.
What do you hope your kids will use their money for when they get to make their own decisions? Is college the only way to go?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Picture a day 42-51

earflaps and booties
heart shaped tracks
jumping off the couch
filling Daddy's boots
Look at me
splashing in puddles
taking in the Lonepine view
rock climbing with an audience
waiting for Spring

Earflaps and Booties

I have finally finished a couple things for the babe that is to be here soon... and I couldn't be happier with how they turned out! The booties and hat are from the book, Knitting for Baby: 30 Heirloom Projects. I love this book, and have so many things I want to make, but narrowed it down to these for now! I chose this green, because it is one of my favorite colors, and pretty neutral for a baby, either boy or girl.

The swaddler is from the book, Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing for Baby. I got this book from the library, and LOVE it! Such simple projects that are easy to read and easy to put together. This turned out better than I thought, and I just love the little sea horse, and I finally practiced a little embroidery... love.

Our Valentine's Day

We had a fabulous Valentines Day. Tyler and I really didn't celebrate much... he got me some chocolate, I got him some Now & Later's... not even a card. But the kids got a little bit more... I made them each a thrifted outfit (so cute!) and each a little jar of sour candies.
Breakfast was yummy thick french toast, local bacon and some good orange juice... it was so good! Early afternoon, we headed up to the local state park, Lonepine, and did a little hiking. The kids were so independent and wanted no help from anyone! Hopefully this will be a precursor to this summer when they will be hiking a little on their own. Is that a basketball in your shirt?
How cute are they? Love it when they hold hands!
What a beautiful view! Can't believe we live here!
Tyler showing the kids how to be a monkey!

Then I made some manicotti for dinner, and that was also fantastic. I got my recipe out of Joy of Cooking, and it really was fantastic. I am a huge fan of ricotta cheese.
Then we watched some Olympics, while playing train tracks with the kids... some rousing games of memory and "Feed the kitty", and then off to bed.

Nothing is better than celebrating the feeling of LOVE with the ones you love!
Colton Vday outfit... he is into monsters lately, so I made a cute little monster, and the pants are from a t-shirt.
Ayla's outfit, her "I (heart) pink" pants... so cute! and "A" shirt.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Polenta Pie

Yesterday, I made some polenta pie. A recipe brought be none other than my favorite sis-in-law, Danielle! We made this last February when her and my mother in law were visiting, and it is delicious. Too bad Tyler isn't too fond of polenta! It is almost like I make a black bean casserole, but I layer that with tortilla (corn) and cheese in two layers... maybe next time I will do one of those.

Another great thing about it is that it makes one to freeze! I love having good ready made meals in the freezer... especially when you are about to have a baby. So here is the recipe:

2 TB veg oil/olive oil
2 bunches scallions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans pinto beans, rinsed (I used kidney instead)
2 cans black beans, rinsed
1 can tomatoes, in juice
1 tube polenta
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 tsp tabasco
1 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded ( I used cheddar)

* add in other veggies too, at the beginning: peppers, onions, carrots, etc; all chopped
* I also added a can of pureed butternut squash, and it was SO good with this addition!

In large pan (cast iron works great, and gives extra iron) heat 1 T oil over medium heat, add white part of scallion and garlic (and extra veggies). Season w/ salt and peper. Cook until softened. Add beans, tomatoes w/juice and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil and mash 1/4 of beans (with potato masher?) to release starch. Reduce to simmer and cook until thickened; about 10-15 minutes.
Brush 2 deep pie plates (one for cooking, one for freezing) with remaining oil. Slice polenta crosswise into rounds, divide between plates. Top with bean mix then cheese. Bake at 400 degrees 15-20 minutes.
TO FREEZE: After topping with bean mixture, let this cool completely. Put cheese on, and then cover with foil. Freeze up to 3 months. Bake in foil covered pie plates at 400 degrees until warm in center (usually 70-80 min. Remove foil; bake until cheese is golden brown (about 15 more minutes).
Another option to freeze would be do everything above, then after it has been in the freezer for a little bit, take it out, and let unfreeze SLIGHTLY, then take out of pie plate (or whatever) and put in plastic bag. This is a tip I learned from somewhere on this vast internet, but I really have no clue where!? That way you aren't using up all your dishes for freezer stuff.
I think you can run hot water on bottom of dish to loosen it up too.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Picture a day 32-41

Ayla helping in the kitchen with polenta pie (recipe maybe tomorrow?)
Kiddoes acting like monkeys while reading Charlotte's Web and Steinbeck
Prancing to Daddy
Trying to be coy
No, she is not biting, but kissing the belly... yes, I tried to hide the stretch marks in the B&W!
my finished masterpiece
Kids helping deflate the aerobed after a movie night/campout
strumming the guitar
Love this beautiful boy
How did they happen?!

Colton, my boy

My boy gets bigger every time I look at him. He says he is going to be a great big brother (again) and I really agree with him. He is fantastic with Ayla for the most part, and really helps me out when I am watching the other 2. He is hard to resist with his big beautiful eyes, and I find it hard to believe that he is born of me and Tyler!

He is absolutely going to be smarter than me... his memory skills are outrageous! Yet, he helps his sister find matches and even points them out to us! Letters are also something he works with on a daily basis. Always asking what this spells and that spells. He is truly amazing. He also helps Tyler build train tracks, and I think this time next year, he will be able to build his own!

I love him more everyday, even when he wakes up and in his stupor sits on the stairs and pees all over. It just means he is 3. Actually 3 and 1/2! My boy.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Ayla and her quilt

Here is the finished product! How beautiful is it (the fabric) and I think I did a pretty good job. Not perfect, but perfect for my little Ayla. She loves it... was so excited to sleep under it tonight.

Laying on Colton's bed... we stuff Ayla's mattress under Colton's bed during the day to make more room.

Her new haircut! I finally cut the back of her hair! It was just so blond and pretty, and I couldn't bring myself to do it, but I saw that she had a lot of chin length hair, so decided to cut it like mine was when I was a tyke!

Strumming on a guitar

My sweet little cookie

We were at the Dr's (my favorite doctor ever!!) last week, and we were hearing the baby's heartbeat. Ayla lifted up her shirt, sucked her belly in and out, and said "My baby's moving!"

Friday, February 5, 2010

just a little clarification

My parents are coming in a couple weeks to be here for the birth of number 3. My dad informed me last night that my mom was bringing her own toilet paper. I laughed so hard! (This is our one small change for the month of February) I informed him that we, in fact, have toilet paper in every bathroom. And it is just our little family that is doing the experiment! For them to assume we were going to REQUIRE them to use the family cloths just baffles me!!! Along with the fact that people (I won't name names) think that it is pretty disgusting. Why are we so caught up on poop? It is what it is, and nothing more!
No guests that come over will be required to use cloth wipes.

That's all I wanted to clarify.

Even Tyler says he would try to go number 2 at work. I guess that is still saving TP, right?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

update and 21-31 (for January)

quilt binding in progress(22:365)
Colton eating snow ice cream
Colton helping Tyler with the hammering needs in the house
Cats sleeping on the dryer (their only safe haven)
Kids playing out in the snow
Using the golf club as a snow scoop/shovel
Ayla in her outfit of choice over the past few days (seriously all day long)
(28: 365)
Helping cleaning out the fish tank (he got to scoop up fish!)
wondering around in the backyard
Big Brother (his shirt says) posing for the camera
Posing for the camera

Finally, here are some of the pictures for my month (year) of pictures a day. I plan on putting explanations on them sometime, so I can go back and remember what was going on!
I have been busy trying to get Ayla's quilt binding done, and it is a slow process, but turning out great! I absolutely love it.
But I did get distracted by making a reward chart for the kids. They have been horrible at going to bed (running around and screaming at the top of their lungs, unless we are sitting outside their door). So... I have devised a calendar of sorts, kind of like a felt board. They get stars when they go to bed without too much of a fuss, and unhappy faces when they don't. If they get more than one unhappy face a week, they don't get to go swimming (their favorite things as of late) on Saturdays. It worked last night... we will see if it continues.
I am still pregnant; although I have to say, that I am pretty itchy. And not just a little; all the time. And not just on the obvious areas of the belly and such; everywhere but the legs so far. Face, hands, back, shoulders, etc. I know my skin is stretching, so I am moisturizing - like 5 times a day. With everything under the sun. Eucerin, Cetaphil, Olive Oil, random lotions from my collection, Aveeno... massage oils.... nothing really helps for more than 5-10 minutes! But my liver enzymes are good (this is a cause for itchiness, I guess) and I probably don't have PUPPS (a form of extreme itchiness during pregnancy) ... so really I am just itchy, and I just have to deal with it for the next couple weeks!