Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hi, my name is Hannah.

After Vacation Bible Camp today, Punkinhead told me she didn't want to go home, she wants to sleep at church. So, I asked her if she wanted to be Samuel from the Bible and I'd be his mom Hannah. She decided she wanted to come home after all.

Then I remembered a rough night when she was a preemie in the NICU and I prayed that, like Hannah, I was giving her back to God. I prayed that if he'd protect her and grow her tiny body, she'd be His child. I didn't vow to never let a razor touch her hair though. But I think God wants us to take care of her at our place and not roam the halls of our church at night.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Unlocking the secret pancake

I've got lots of posts coming about our trip to Georgia for my grandmother's 100th birthday, but thought I start with the pancake experiments I've done that begun with Chip putting the "why can't all pancakes be as good as Cracker Barrel" wish into our world.

My first reaction was to answer - because we're not on vacation everyday and I can't spend $8 a person every time we eat breakfast. But then I began to ponder, really, why not? It's pancakes and syrup. I make a good version, but if Chip particularly likes the Cracker Barrel version, I'll give it a shot. As always......to the Internet!

I'd bought a bottle of their maple syrup/cane sugar combo so that Chip would have the same syrup the restaurant serves to comparison taste my attempts at home. Then I googled Cracker Barrel pancake recipe and came up with a couple to start with.

And it boils down to this: Add a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar to ANY buttermilk pancake preparation (store bought or homemade) and cook on a 375 degree hot griddle SWIMMING in unsalted butter and you will get a pancake comparable to the Cracker Barrel version. Even if you don't use their $9 bottle of specialty syrup.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Time to get my bake on.

So I watch my carb intake obviously since I'm a diabetic. I do indulge from time to time, but for the most part, I like to spend "treat" carbs on a glass of wine or a beer with a yummy dinner and forgo the dessert.

But I do LOVE to bake, so it's nice when there are events that come up where I can get creative for others. The church's annual Cookie Caper is coming up and I'm making some straight up yummy chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal-coconut cookies. I know that the oatmeal-coconut combo is not for everyone's palate, but if you enjoy coconut, these are divine.

The endeavor I'm most excited about is for the Punkinhead's Teacher Appreciation Salad Luncheon. I'm making the pasta salad we always ate at the lake house in spring/summer. So delicious with marinated artichoke hearts. But that's the cooking, not the baking. I'm making a Peeps Chica-dee cake. I have some left from Easter and was inspired by this:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Milk envy

Watching 19 Kids and Counting the other day (Josie Duggar Sisterhood episode) amazed me with it segment about how much milk the mom pumps. Thinking back to the Punkinhead's preemie days - my pumping days - and how little I produced, I was amazed by how blessed baby Josie is to have so much breast milk ready for her. 18 bottles a day pumping!!!!! They had a full deep freeze ready to go for her.

When Beanie had a blocked tear duct, I was told that an eye wash with breast milk often helps to clear it. My milk was long gone by this time, but a friend of mine generously gave me 2 oz of her own pumped milk. After I left her house, I pulled over to the side of the road and cried with gratitude. For her it was a small amount, but 2 oz in one session was the most I was ever able to pump for the Punkinhead so for me it was more of a loving sacrifice than she'll ever know.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Yeah, I'm ticked.

The other night Buzzkill was using my laptop and mentioned off hand for me not to touch it for a while - he was upgrading it. Now the upgrading part seems quite thoughtful and I'm glad I have a husband that stays aware of those things, but here's the part that ticked me off: I'd been waiting all day to have time to update all the Vacation Bible Camp database info I'd been needing to input and he hadn't even taken a second to pause and ask me if it was a convenient time for me to not have access to my laptop. He definitely wouldn't do that to a co-worker and I consider this laptop my business computer. I do VBC, kids stuff consigning, couponing, research on how to temporarily fix a broken dishwasher, etc. This laptop is required for the modern day stay-at-home-mom. And if it's going to be unavailable to me, that needs to be scheduled for a time that I plan for.

Plus, here's the kicker. The upgrade totally wiped out all my regular settings to sites I completely trust and have for ages. I also had to reinstall software for dozens of sites I use to coupon and consign with. It's added hours today to do things I regularly complete in under an hour. And I don't have extra hours, so this is going to cause stress for days.

I need to let out my anger here. Unfortunately, I now feel like I just wasted time I could have used to repair the mess.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

When you find a deal, buy it!

So, of course, I'm already party planning for Beanie's first birthday party. I love that custom printed cards are so readily available (and affordable) online. But with this spring being a rather, um, expensive one...I was nervous I wouldn't be able to get her something as special as the Punkinhead sent out for her first birthday party. Okay, parties!!!!!

As always, I've got a budget and sticking to it is critical. I've imputed all the Pampers Gifts that Grow points from diapers and wipes on their website - I'd saved over 900 points! Enough points to "buy" a promo code for 12 custom cards from Shutterfly.

Here's where the really good deal part comes in. The card I liked was temporarily 20% off and I had an email from Shutterfly for $10 an order because of their 10th anniversary. And a friend sent me another promo code for free shipping.

Cut to the chase: I paid $20.20 for 25 cards. Without the discounts and promo codes, these invites would have cost me just under $60! Money saved is going straight into the custom cake portion of her party budget.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Being a stay at home parent is not a luxury or "the easy life."

I work hard every day to do this. It's my career choice. And I do get a paycheck. It's the same one my husband works hard out of the home to get. I know folks that work out of the home work super hard and make tremendous sacrifices to provide a good life for their families. I give out of the home careers props all day long and extras on the weekend. How could the economy run without those jobs? It's a necessary component in this world that I'm grateful people go do.

But the deal is, I deserve respect too for equally hard work I do and the (different) sacrifices I make. THIS IS A CAREER TOO.

Why do folks that pay tons of money to have people take care of their children talk to me like what I do is easy? Do they think the folks that care for their children have easy jobs? If that was true, why is childcare so expensive? Or is it that they believe my kids just have sub-par childcare from me and would be better off with professional caregivers?

I'm also tired of folks saying, "Well, what a luxury it is that you can afford to stay home." Luxury? My clothes come from Walmart and Target. And they have to last a LONG time. My children get consignment store clothes, and hand-me-downs from friends and family make me dance like I've hit the lottery.

We drive 7-10 year old cars. That new kitchen the neighbor put in that looks so fantastic? I'll get one, but it's going to take us 5 years to save for it.

Anything we buy new, we've planned and saved for weeks or months and it also means that something else probably got postponed on the priority list. Sharing one income means no impulse buying in our household. Zero tolerance policy on it here.

So that's the honest truth......we live on a lot less than many people to have me stay home to work. That's the sacrifice Buzzkill and I make to have careers we both want to do.

I LOVE my life and have all my needs met. I'm also really grateful to be aware of the difference between my wants and needs.

PLEASE, stop acting like I've got a free pass on hard work. If I don't do my job, the consequences are exactly the same as everyone else - we go broke, we can't pay bills or eat food.

And also, sorry for the ranting, but I figured over here I could vent without starting huge drama on Facebook.