Jan 31, 2018

A Day in the Life (Normal-ish)

Well, I was planning on attempting to do a more typical Day in the Life post, but Dell Harper was feeling a bit puny, so she stayed home on the day at hand.  Such is life! This is from last Thursday:

Middle of Night and Crack of Dawn:
Dell Harper got in bed with us around 2, preventing anyone from sleeping, and explaining her subsequent  reluctance to attend school.  Deeds then woke up at 5:30 AM, and crawled into our bed too.  Morgan decamped to the couch, and I shushed them for thirty minutes, before handing over the iPad (against my normal policy) at 6 AM.  This also totally messed with my plan to work some early this morning, because I can barely open my eyes.

6:30 AM Tommy is up, and I rouse myself out of bed.  The kids are still watching shows on the iPad.  This will end badly, but I'm still too tired to care.  I generally don't let them play on Morgan's iPad because they pitch fits when it's time to stop, and generally have bad behavior after using it.  I feed everyone . . .something.  I was too foggy to document or remember.  Coffee helps me, and I begin to come alive.

I make the executive decision that DH can stay home from school today, as her tummy is bothering her and she is worn out.  Flu has been crazy around town, and I don't want to take any chances.  I pack the boys' lunches, and they are not exactly nutritional powerhouses today.

 Apples, strawberries, leftover Chick nuggets, and cheese and crackers for T-Man.
 Two kinds of cheese, crackers and apples for Deedster.
8:45 AM Deeds is dressed and loaded into Morgan's car for school.

DH and I take Tommy to his school.  I'm signed up to go to my group training class, but I also really want to get some cardio in to up my energy level. I decide to split the difference and do half of a jazz class, and half my weight routine.

9:00 AM Dell Harper is downright perky now.  We go to jazz, then head over to my group training place.  We are a little early so she is amused with taking pictures in the parking lot.

My weight routine for the day.
10:30 AM After grabbing a couple things from the grocery, we head home, so I can attempt to finish a work project.

 I work in my office, while Dell Harper plays quietly in the playroom.
I get stuck in drafting my document so I take a ten minute break.  The bad and good thing about working at home is that instead of zoning out, I have domestic matters calling for my attention.  I decide to prep dinner.

I chop an onion, 5 bell peppers and prick 8 Italian sausages. Throw in a ziplock with a splash of olive oil and dinner is ready for the oven.  And I have to get back to struggling through a tough section of this document, boo.

12:30 PM Lunchtime!  Dell Harper keeps it simple with a banana, applesauce and some cheese and crackers, as her tummy still feels a bit funny.  She is still bopping around, so I can't tell if it's really bothering her or if she is running the long game.

I have the last bit of leftover broccoli cheddar quiche from Monday's dinner, and some cherries.
And a precious ten minutes with The Potlikker Papers, which I cannot put down!  So good!  Also so good?  My much needed daily Diet Coke.

1:15 PM-I work for another 40 minutes, then we head out to pick up Deeds.  On Thursdays I have an awkward 45 minute window from his pickup to Tommy's pickup time.  We normally hit the carwash or library.  Dell Harper and I went to the library yesterday, so carwash it is!

 They love to vacuum, especially Deeds!
 He also loves to sport his headphones!  Which are playing nothing. . .

2:30 PM- We pick up Tommy from his school, and head home! Before throwing them in the recycling, I give the kids a bunch of old magazines, scissors, markers, glue and paper.
 Deeds normally isn't much one for crafts, but he gets into this.  Tommy has a snack while they craft.  He naps at school, so he is ready to roll with us for the remainder of the day.

Banana and Nilla Wafers for the baby win.
 I have a little snack myself- about half a cup of pureed winter vegetable soup that I had leftover form earlier in the week. And another 4 minutes with my book while everyone is occupied.

3:30 PM- The sun is shining and weather thankfully mind, so a scooter ride, walk is in order!  I throw on an IcyHot patch (HA!), put Tommy in the Baby Bjorn, helmet up the kids, put Buddy on a leash, and off we go!

 I love this picture- there was a really cool plane that looked like a rocket ship, so it was must see TV.

4:15 PM When we get home, Dell Harper wants to work on her art some more, and Deeds would like to watch a show on "Wexa", aka on our Amazon Echo thing.  He watches a "If You Give  a Mouse a Christmas Cookie", his current favorite.

I remember that I have a birthday dinner for a friend tonight at 6:30.  I call the friend who organized and beg off, since I'm behind with work thanks to having DH home today, and being up all night/not getting head start this morning.
 Tommy is ready to play, so I chase him up and down the stairs, before settling in the chair in the nursery.  I'm ready to look at Instagram and catch up on the news of the day.  And sit for a second, whew.

 Instead this cutie brings me a book, as he knows I am physically and mentally incapable for refusing reading requests.

4:35 PM- the big kids get a quick shower!  I soap them down, then get them cozy in robes and slippers.  Deeds gets to finish his program.  I throw the sausages in the oven for 45 minutes at 425 degrees.
 Kiddos play, and I try to straighten up a bit.

5:20ish PM- Morgan is home!  This is super exciting because he's had work stuff past ten o'clock the previous two nights.  I'm thrilled to have him home early tonight!

5:45 PM- We eat a quick dinner- freshly baked Italian bread, and the roasted sausages and peppers.

 I'm always trying to get more green in my life, so I throw mine over a kale salad with some parmesan.

6:00 PM- It's time for Tommy's bath.  The big kids come upstairs with me to play while I bathe Tommy, and Morgan "Buddy-proofs" our dinner remains, feeds Buddy his food and cleans up dinner mess.

6:15 PM- Morgan comes up and starts books with big kids, while I take Tommy to nursery for some books, a sippy cup of milk, and bed.
6:45 PM I go into Dell Harper and Deeds' room to finish reading books, sing songs and give nighttime hugs and kisses.

7:05 PM- I head downstairs.  Morgan reminds me that we have a new The Good Place on at 8:30.  This is perfect incentive to whip through my work and really focus. I work until 8:15, then hop in the shower.  In clean PJ's, I feel renewed!  I finish cleaning up the kitchen, reorganize the dishwasher (sorry, Morgan!), fold remaining laundry and get Dell Harper's clothes laid out for tomorrow.  

8:55 PM- I'm ready to watch!  We watch The Good Place, and part of a Drunk History.

9:45 PM  Morgan and I are both exhausted.  We cross fingers for a restful night and go to bed!

Jan 29, 2018


We (as in my children) had a big weekend.  Dell Harper turned six on Saturday- I'm still in shock that I have been a mother for six years.

Deeds got to have a sleepover at my parents, while Dell Harper had two friends over for her first sleepover! I took them to have nails painted, then we played dress, rode the biplane, had a dance party, played games, watched a movie, had pizza and ice cream cake, then pretended to go to bed until late.  I finally had to pull out the "I am not afraid to call parents to come get you!" card around 10:45.  I heard nary a peep after that.

This little big girl is so brave, kind and spunky.  The other day she said "I love me, Mama, because I look just like you!".  (This made up for the night before when she said "I feel like you have a baby in your tummy, then patted my pooch.".  In her defense, whenever a baby gets around Tommy's age in our house I seem to have another, but that ship has sailed).

All in all, I just love her to pieces.

Jan 26, 2018

Five on Friday- Old Lady Edition

I don't know if it's the cold, or hauling around a 25 pound sack of not-walking-yet sugar, but I am feeling all my 36 years lately.  I am TIRED.

I blame these three little monkeys.  They keep me hopping!

1) Icy Hot Patches-

Oh, man. I put one on today before talking a walk with Buddy and my kiddos.  With Tommy in the Baby Bjorn, I was feeling good. . .thanks to my old lady patch.

I'm hoping Tommy starts walking before I need to medically investigate this lower back pain.  Until then, these will do the trick!

2) Heating Pad:

I wish I was doing this exact thing right now.  Morgan got me this Sunbeam heating pad for Christmas, and I am obsessed!  It's fuzzy, the cover doesn't fall off like my previous heating pads, and it's so hot!  Our bedroom has been freezing, and I love going to sleep with this every night- especially since it has a two hour automatic shutoff option.  It's killer for helping cramps as well.

3)  Homemade Medicine Ball Beverages

A combo of hot ginger tea, wild orange Tazo tea, and Vitamin Water Zero lemonade with a drop of peppermint extract.  Warm and delicious!

4) Epsom Salts with Activated Charcoal

Back to the achy bones and muscles!  I love Dr. Teal's epsom salts, and this new on is a winner- especially after a tough workout.  Note- Walmart has the best selection of Dr. Teal's.  Detoxing that involves soaking in a hot bath, and not subsisting on juice?  Done and done!

5) Kindle Unlimited Magazines

Did y'all know Kindle Unlimited includes magazines?  Good ones!  And the selection changes each month!

Here's some current picks!  So go have a hot Friday night old lady style.  Hot bath with some epsom salts and new mags, then go lay on your heating pad with a hot tea beverage and an IcyHot patch.

I'm telling you, this gal knows how to par-tay.


Jan 24, 2018

Cumin Lamb Meatballs and Mediterranean Sides

 Y'all, this is one of my favorite meals.

Lamb meatballs, homemade tzatki sauce, garlic naan, and either roasted cauliflower in the cooler months, or Israeli salad in the warmer.  It's easily adaptable for various dietary restrictions, and a wonderful meal to bring to friends who need a meal.

First, for the roasted cauliflower, I simply core and break apart a large head of cauliflower.  Toss with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper, and 1/4 cup chopped Italian Parsley.  Bake at 425 degrees for 35 minutes.

Now for Melissa Clark's divine Cumin Lamb Meatballs from her New York Times column:

3 garlic cloves, minced
1 ¼ teaspoons coarse kosher salt, plus a pinch
1 pound ground lamb
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
           Black pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon chile powder
1 scallion, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

  1. Heat broiler with an oven rack placed 3 inches below heat source.
  2. Using a mortar and pestle or the flat side of a knife, make a paste with garlic and a pinch of salt. Put half the garlic paste (save the rest for our tzatziki or yogurt tahini sauce) in a large bowl and add lamb, 1 teaspoon of the salt, cumin, hot sauce, pepper, chile powder, scallion and 1 tablespoon parsley. Mix to combine.
  3. Shape lamb mixture into 1 1/2-inch meatballs and place on an oiled rimmed baking sheet. Make sure meatballs are spaced at least 1 inch apart. Transfer baking sheet to oven and broil meatballs for 8 to 10 minutes, or until browned on top and slightly pink on the inside.
  4. I double this recipe for our crew, plus the leftovers are fantastic. You can use any ground meat you prefer, but the lamb is really excellent.  If you follow the link, it also includes a recipe for yogurt tahini sauce.
  5. As for tzatziki I use whatever combination of whole milk Greek yogurt, dill, cucumber and garlic I have on hand.  Sliced cucumbers, some olives, and warm naan? Done and done!!

Jan 23, 2018

A (snow) Day in the Life

How about a day in the life post?  This was from last Tuesday, but alas, school was cancelled the entire week so I am behind on life.  Our county is a large one, with lots of rural and mountainous areas.  If it snows, we are out for a while until everyone can get out.

7:00 A.M. We all wake up slow as school was announced closed for snow the night before.  Of course, the snow is still hours away.  Dell Harper requests some hot tea, and the big kids get to cuddle on the couch with a show.

 Tommy is sleeping in, so I take advantage of the quiet to revise some documents for work and sending e-mails.
 Time for breakfast- the kids' latest favorite is cinnamon toast with our favorite bread.

Everyone has some cinnamon toast and scrambled eggs, including Tommy and me.  Morgan manages shopping centers, so he was off early, anticipating a long day of making sure everything is salted and cleared.

9:00 A.M.  Knowing it's going to be a long week bereft of me or work time, I take the kids to jazzercise.  They get to play with a bunch of buddies who are also out of school, and I get to shake it for a bit.  Peremptory stress relief.  

10:00  We live a bit early, as I booked them in childcare at our club where they can play and eat lunch, so I can lift some weights and then take care of a few pressing work matters.  I also worked late the night before since they cancelled school.

 The gym has the greatest view (what's missing? snow!).
 I do these sets.  Normally I go to group training classes, but have been unable to lately- sick Tommy, Christmas break, and now snow has had me out for about six weeks.  My trainer was kind enough to write me out a bunch of routines to do on my own.

Requisite gym selfie that makes me look skinnier than I am.
 After working out for about 30 minutes, I head upstairs to work and lunch (1/2 a turkey club on wheat and Caesar salad).
12:00 I grab the kids, then it's back home for Tommy's nap.  The big kids want to "cook", so they slice up some crudités.
1:30  After we get done with carrot and cucumber snack, they notice it's started snowing!
 I rush to get my wreathes down before it really gets snowy and cold. Procrastination at its best.

 Back inside for some hot chocolate and warming by the fire.
 2:00 P.M.- Tommy wakes up.  His latest word(s) are "What's dat?"  He is especially intrigued by the snow and stand at the window asking over and over again what it is.  Consider me charmed.

 The big kids are dying to go out, but it's too much for T.  I suit them out in their snow bibs, hats, gloves etc.  and peep in on them from the windows and screen porch (a friend of mine calls this "70's parenting").

They're having a blast.  It's freezing outside, and I'm still wearing workout capris.  I start to put proper snow clothes on, when the doorbell rings.  It's our neighbors wanting to sled.  Perfect! Except the kids are out the door, we can't find our sleds, I'm not fully prepared, and Tommy is still in pjs because I can't find snow gear.  And the kids are starting to lose it because it's close to 5 o'clock and they're cold, tired and hungry.

 I make the poor decision to head to the neighbors' house for more sledding, thinking perhaps a change of scene will help.  It does not, and I have to push the double stroller back with a howling baby and a whiny 5 year old inside.  It's tough going.

5:30 P.M. However, I get everyone cozy, and heat up some soup for the kiddos, along with homemade grilled cheese.  Morgan pops in to see how I am faring.  He shoulders some of the meltdowns and I get it together.

The night before I prepped biased beef short ribs, and I had that cooking all afternoon in the oven.

6:00 PM While the kids decompress, warm up by the fire and play in the playroom, I snarf this down.  It's delicious and warm.  Morgan entertains the big kids before he has to go back to work, while I take T up for bath.

 I can't cut this curl mullet quite yet.

Deeds and Dell Harper arrive for their bath.  While they splash, I get Tommy dressed in pjs, then let him crawl around while I tackle this mess.

6:30 P.M.-  A little better- and at least the hamper is emptied of clothes.  Kids' bath is finished and they are pajama-ed. They get to demolish my attempt at straightening their room, while I read and put this little fellow to bed.
After a couple books and songs, it's time to read 4-5 books to big kids, as we snuggle on their loveseat.  They get a couple songs, and a few more snuggles, then it's lights out.

7:30 P.M.- I need to tackle my disaster of a house, but decide it's pretty much futile, as it won't get above 24 degrees tomorrow.
 Instead I enjoy the fire and watch The Good Place without Morgan who is still working.  He comes home halfway through and busts me, but is very understanding.
 We catch up on our days, and I take care of the kitchen and dishes.

8:30 P.M. I take my nightly hot bath, put on clean pjs, and dive into a new library book. A perfect ending for a long day!