Monday, August 31, 2009

Grace Abounding, Steps of Progress




With the girls and boys separated and happy in their respective rooms, I've been furiously working as quick as I can to get the kitchen in some sort of order. A friend offered a brilliant idea - add shelving to the kitchen! Yes! But how?

I checked online (using Swagbucks, of course, and landed another $5 Amazon gift card!) and it seemed a Baker's Rack was my best option. But they were expensive. Or at least I was not willing to pay what they were asking for what I wanted.

It was time to turn to good old Craigslist! And guess what we found? This sideboard:


It's a HEAVY sideboard. It's a bit banged up and slightly special looking so it is completely our style! One day (i.e. when Joshua's big enough to help Daddy carry it outside) we'll paint it and make her look all prettyfied. (I know. It's not a real word!) Until then it is completely functional and a huge blessing! I'm using it as my pantry for the most part but since it has silverware drawers and all, I've been able to move my serving utensils in it as well as some other hard to stash stuff like my crockpot and waffle iron. I'll probably reorganize about three more times but for now I'm satisfied.

The other addition we purchased from Craigslist is a shoe cabinet. This was another one of those poorly measured pieces that only fit by God's grace as the measurement given were not very accurate. I was thinking I'd have room along one side to still hang some of our coats. Nope! But it's big and I think it will greatly help our shoe dilemma. Oh, here's a picture of it:

And the other evening just before bedtime I was able to fire up the Bosch for the first time to make a big double batch of Chocolate Zucchini Cookies! Oooo... is it so nice! Joshua helped me by shredding zucchini. He does quite a good job! Every day he tells me he wants to shred more! Here he is hard at work:


Maybe one day I will get the food processor attachment for the Bosch... On second thought, why would I do that when I've got such good help!?

And the other night I was short on time and needed a fast, semi-healthy dinner since Daddy was going to be home. (I often make noodles with parmesan cheese or fish sticks or chicken nuggets or something kid-appealing when Daddy has lots of meetings.) I didn't take anything out of the freezer and my kitchen was still a wreck so my options seemed slim. But then I remembered a recipe I had printed out and was looking forward to trying...




Well, that's not really what they are called but that's what Papa-Bear calls them. I got the recipe from Laura at Heavenlyhomemakers.com. I made a few minor adjustments but I hate following directions. Plus, I don't have the healthy sugar she uses. One day, perhaps! (And if you visit her blog, check out her other recipes! She's got one for homemade vanilla extract that I so want to do one day!!!)

I made a double batch of these Muffin Dogs but we ate them to quickly. I'll have to look out for a good hot dog sale!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Give Me Your Thoughts!

I am a bit afraid of the comments or emails I'll get with this post but I realize 2 things: 1) I don't know everything and 2) I need the help of others.

So, here goes. I am considering using cloth diapers again.

There. It's out there.

Here's why.

1) We will have FIVE children in some sort of disposable product, at least for nighttime. That's pricey.

2) Pull-ups/disposable training pants just don't work for us. We still have to change/wash sheets (i.e. more laundry) and then either put the kid back into another pull-up or diaper. Again, more $$$.

3) We did it when Joshua was a newborn and it wasn't terrible. Of course, we stopped shortly after introducing solid foods. I think we'd be a it different this round and our parenting has changed a lot!

4) We experience running out of diapers or wipes and that is a terrible position to be in. (Thankfully, I do have an assortment of sizes and types which "get me through."

5) I HAVE to do laundry daily or every other day or someone is without a necessary item of clothing. Again, much of this is due to "accidents."

So, give it to me! What's your counsel? Have you cloth diapered your kiddos? What your take on doing it with multiple kiddos? How much do you think the initial investment should be (I got rid of my old stash after storing them for a couple of years.)? My hubby thinks I'm crazy to even consider switching but admits it wasn't terrible during those newborn days with Joshua. Plus, when I told him that on average, it costs $1K per year to use disposables. Multiply that by five! Even if we only spent HALF of that (from couponing and deal finding), it's a lot more than we want to "throw out!"

Oh- and I suppose I should tell you my initial game plan IF I go ahead with this:
~ cloth for Baby #5 (and possibly PJ, if she fits the same size as the newborn range, which is very likely!) except when we are out and about
~ possibly cloth nighttime training pants for J and S

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Progress Being Made

Because of God's kindness, progress is being made on the Baby #5 Preparedness List!

My (sexy) husband moved lots of furniture before and after work and I got lots of baking done Friday. We were busy. As a result, I've got whole wheat rolls, zucchini brownies, and zucchini bread all frozen and ready for post-baby time. And the girls love their new girly room while the boys are thrilled with their new space as well.

Here's a look at what things are looking like. Much more still to go though!

This is the boy room. We separated the bunkbeds. (I was always too short to change the top bunk easily.) This will be much easier!
This is the other side of the boy room showing Kadin's bed.And this is showing Joshua's bed, the bookshelf I moved from the Schoolroom and a desk formerly in the guest room.
See the zucchini brownies, rolls, and zucchini bread I made? I doubled the rolls recipe and made hamburger and hot dog rolls to go with our dinner Friday. I made them with the kids help and William said to me, "They taste better then they look!" I clearly need some practice in making hot dog bun shapes!

Oh- and I got this new mixer which will greatly help me in my preparations! Yes, a brand new Bosch Universal Mixer! I've wanted one for a couple of years now and thanks to an unexpected (and undeserved) monetary gift I was able to get it. William and I are a bit unsure how our nob and tube wiring will hold up though. This monster has an 800 W motor! Isn't it a beauty! I haven't used it yet (and won't till my kitchen is a bit more orderly) but I'll let you know how I like it! (picture below from www.PleasantHillGrain.com)

Bosch Universal Plus 250op 3_bl.jpg


Friday, August 21, 2009

My (Practical and Wishful) Baby #5 Preparedness Countdown List

Since BLee (our old housemate) has moved on to bigger and better things (i.e. preparing for marriage!) and our guest run has ended (shout-out to Aunt Beryl and cousin Krystle who left on Tuesday), it's time to get serious with preparations.

William has already graciously worked with my crazy spur of the moment plans that come to me at 1 am during potty runs. Last night he worked fast and furiously to help me complete the room changes upstairs before bedtime. It was a tense, loud time and I doubted the wisdom in my idea. But, God, in His kindness, granted us the grace necessary to get the major things done.

In fact, at bedtime last night, as we all sat in the new girls room singing the Gospel Song and praying, I was so affected by the Lord's unbelievable generosity. I remember thinking, "O Lord, help me to remember this sweet moment!" I can't quite explain in words why it was extra sweet to me. Some of it has to do with seeing Paloma in her Daddy's arms as we were singing. Some of it has to do with remembering Kadin 2.5 years ago sleeping in our closet back in our condo never imagining a boys room and a girls room. Some of it has to do with seeing Joshua and Saraina hold hands. Some of it has to do with hearing the voices of my kids singing together with us.

But there is more work to get done! Wanna know what's on my (Practical and Wishful) Baby #5 Preparedness Countdown? Take a look! Please send me ANY tips you have!

Freezer stocked

Pantry stocked

Weekly needs (dairy, fruits/veggies) list created

Advent season planned

Boy room set-up

Girl room set-up

Nursery/Guest room set-up

Full bathroom thoroughly cleaned and organized

All ceiling cobwebs removed

Windows washed

Kitchen cabinets cleaned (inside and outside)

Kitchen organized (cabinets, microwave cart, refrigerator)

Add shelving in kitchen

Schoolroom bookshelves organized

Winter clothes - assessment and purchases

Update storage tubs

Newborn items freshly washed

Newborn/size 1 diapers stocked

Paloma's diapers (size 3 & some 4) stocked

Baby wipes stocked

Christmas gifts purchased

Fall and winter bday gifts purchased

Curtains in Office installed

Paint girls’ room

Curtains in girls’ room

Kadin potty trained completed

Bench for dining room table

Family picture (boys, girls, kiddos, Daddy/Mommy)

Kiddos trained in doing chores with minimal assistance

Circle Time planned through Thanksgiving

Wood floors cleaned at least once

Purchase a Bosch mixer

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Baby #5 Countdown is ON!

Today I'm 31 weeks pregnant. Translation: I've got about 2 months to get prepared for our newest arrival!

My question to whoever is reading this:

Any tips on good foods to make ahead and freeze or store in the pantry?

Some of the things I'm considering are:
~ making and freezing waffles
~ making a pancake mix (dry ingredients only) to store in the pantry
~ cooking and shredding chicken then freezing in various portions
~ making (but not baking) cookie balls and freezing for treats


And because we may end up with a solid amount of zucchini and tomato (and possibly pumpkin!), I'm probably going to:
~ chop and boil zucchini and freeze
~ de-core tomatoes and freeze
~ shred zucchini and freeze