Monday, February 28, 2011

Pancake Success!!!

After a 2 day absence (sorry about that, I was moving then tired from moving), I am happy to be back blogging and am double happy to report pancake success!!!

I found a pancake recipe here that I doctored so I would love it. I added a tablespoon of sugar to the dry ingredients and a tablespoon (splash LOL) of vanilla to the liquids. I let it sit for a minute, as I would do with my Aunt Jemima mix then poured slightly under 1/2 cup of batter on a preheated griddle (preheated to 350 degrees), let cook on one side and flipped once then let cook on the other side. DO NOT press down with the spatula or you will end up with flat pancakes instead of fluffy ones. This recipe made 1 pankcake with nothing in it for my nephew then split the batter into 2 bowls -- one for banana pancakes (made 6) and 1 for chocolate chip (also made 6), so total this recipe made 13 pancakes. It was a great success. And if you knew how long I've been addicted to Aunt Jemima and unable to find a pancake recipe that I could tolerate compared to my premade pancake love, you would know just how happy I am to have found this recipe! And if you look here , there are directions for how to premake this pancake mix. Its really easy and should cut down on morning breakfast making time. I will have to let you know how much time it cuts out when I get a chance to try premaking it.

Happy breakfasts to you until we meet again :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Moving Toward Minimalism

Moving is not fun. It involves a lot of culling and organizing, figuring out what's really important and wondering why you have 20 drawings that look exactly the same while simultaneously looking like nothing recognizable. And if you've ever seen my parents' basement (or even if you've just ever met me LOL), you would probably conclude (as I have) that the likelihood of me having minimalistic genes (as opposed to hoarding genes) is not very high. Although, now I'm wondering if their basement looks the way it does just because they wanted to keep everything we ever touched and never moved so never had to consider whether it was really important, which I can totally sympathize with at this point.

Genetic predispositions aside, I have recently developed an appreciation for minimalism. Less stuff = less stuff to clean, keep organized, find a place for and keep in its place. Its a beautiful thing to aim for and I appreciate the opportunity to cut down on the clutter. And yet, somehow, that does not make this any easier.

Add a very cranky 3 month old who just wants to be held all the time, and 2 gorilla girls who just want to play with the boxes (even though you would think the 6 year old would have outgrown the box fascination by now) and a 2 year old who wants to nurse all the time and that just makes anything you're doing harder, especially if its something you don't want to do.

There are 2 lessons to take from this. The first is enjoy the time you're in (I read a great post about this lesson here today). Regardless of your circumstances, it could almost always be worse and even if it couldn't be, its the only time you have. The past is gone, the future isn't here yet and whatever you're doing will not last forever and the parts that will last the longest are the impact you will have on the lives of those around you, not how clean you get your house. That's a hard one to remember. One day you might even miss whatever you're wishing away now, even if you can't imagine ever missing it. The second is do it right the first time. Yes, it takes longer to do it right, but if you do it right, you won't have to do it over again. Which in the long run will take less time.

So I am sitting here with Rory, enjoying her little gummy smiles and little baby coos, waiting for her to go back to sleep so I can go back to packing.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Have you earned your hazmat certification today?

OK, so maybe cleaning poop out of the bathtub isn't considered by OSHA to be true hazmat clean up, but I think that's partially because being a mom isn't considered an "occupation". We aren't paid a wage that can be taxed by the government, so even though we deal with a variety of bodily fluids on a daily basis that might make a caregiver or even a nurse wrinkle their nose and even though we deal with every hazardous material that comes out of or is anywhere in the vicinity of our children, there are no hazmat classes out there to help us.

That's just fine. I mean, I don't really want the government imposing regulations regarding the proper way to fish poop out of the tub or the appropriate rag to use to soak up an improperly contained urination. We can deal with our hazardous materials all on our own. But I still think a little recognition would be nice -- some kind of certification, a medal, a ribbon, a piece of paper to hang on the wall saying that we are the official go to person for any hazardous or bodily materials that anyone in our household might come in contact with. Yes, we are the unofficial experts, but I think it would be nice to make it official. Not that it would make the messes any less frequent, but who knows? It just might change the attitude of the one mom clean up crew. . .

Of course, I may just be preoccupied with this because it is 11:30 am here, which means we have been up for maybe 2.5 hours, and already I have cleaned up no less than 3 pees, 1 bathtub poop, and a noseful of snot that needed constant maintenance. There have been tears, spit up, spit out, none of which were mine. Yet. And when I'm done cleaning up all that, I get to clean the bathroom -- again -- because there are 2 baths worth of water on the floor -- 1 pre-poop and 1 post-poop.

Oh, they joys of motherhood. . . So tell me, have you earned your hazmat certification today? How?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My favorite Psalm

People are forever quoting Psalm 23. It is said to be the universal psalm, can apply to any situation, can comfort you no matter what situation you are in or what you are needing at the time. In it, it promises that the Lord will provide for you (I shall not be in want), give you rest, relaxation, peace, He will restore your soul, guide you, rescue you from death, protect you, lead you, make you victorious, give to you abundantly until your cup runneth over. Its a great Psalm. But its not my favorite.

My favorite psalm right now is Psalms 127. It tells me to prioritize my time and make sure I am using it for the Lord's will because only the Lord's will will be done and any efforts made not according to his plan are futile. "Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain." I don't know about you, but I do not want to spend my time doing anything -- even if its what I think is right -- only to discover later on that I accomplished nothing. I do not want to do anything in vain. Which is not to say that I am boycotting any of the many, many repetitive actions that are part and parcel of the whole mom lifestyle (cleaning up the same mess over and over, changing diapers again, cleaning up after kids period, washing clothes and putting up toys, etc), but I am making every effort to learn more about God, to discover what his purpose is for me and to do my best in everything I do as if I were doing it just for Him.

I also see in this Psalm the importance of sleep (which, let's face it, most of us moms don't get enough of). "In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat -- for he grants sleep to those he loves." There are so many places in the Bible where God reminds us that he cares for us and will make sure we are taken care of, but its a nice reminder that the Lord cares that we get enough sleep, too. I read this Psalm before I go to bed at night and I meditate on this part. I thank him for loving me and ask him to grant me the sleep promised in this Psalm. My neighbor, Lisa, once told me that she asks God to allow her to sleep in his bosom at night and I meditate on this image before I go to sleep as well. Its an amazing image, sleeping in the Lord's bosom, cuddled up, protected under his arm, right next to his heart. That is the most peaceful image I can imagine and usually makes for a great night's sleep.

And then come the verses known by Quiverfull mamas everywhere "Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate." I am a quiverfull mama. I choose not to use any type of birth control, believing and trusting that God will not give me more children than I can handle. I am grateful for my 4 beautiful daughters and enjoy every minute with them. I am saddened by the thought that Rory may be my last child and treasure every minute with each of my girls. I hold out hope that one day I will meet a good, Christian man, will marry and have more children, at which time I will still choose not to use any type of birth control and still choose to trust God not to give me more than I can handle in any aspect of my life.

Sorry this is so rambling, but its late and I am tired. I'm going to go sleep in the Lord's bosom now. Have a great night, everyone :)

Monday, February 21, 2011 SALE!!!

If you use G-Diapers or disposable diapers and you are a new customer, you can get 30% off your dipes on using the code BCDIAPERS30PCT to get 30 percent off with a max discount of $60. You can use the code BC10PERCENT to get 10% off anything else excluding diapers (not sure if it works on cloth diapers, though), gear closeouts and certain brands that have opted out of the sale. You can see the list of brands here. I don't know if you can use both codes at the same time, but I hope these codes help someone. Happy diaper changing, Mommies :)

Venison Spaghetti

1 pkg venison (approx 1 lb)
2 cans tomato paste (I get the ones that has tomatoes as the only ingredient)
1 can petite diced tomatoes (again with tomatoes as the only ingredient)
1 onion
1 bell pepper
4 cloves garlic
garlic salt
1 pkg whole grain spaghetti or angel hair pasta noodles

Place 2 cans of tomato paste, 4 cans of water, and diced tomatoes with juice in a large pot.
Place onion, bell pepper, and garlic in food processor and dice finely (I process until mush because then my kids don't even know its in there), add to pot.
Brown venison, add to pot.
Add oregano, basil, salt and garlic salt to taste.
Cook noodles.
Drain and add to sauce.

This recipe made enough sauce for the entire box of noodles and my family of 5 ate spaghetti for one meal a day for 4 days. We loved it. If you prefer, you could also cook less than the package of noodles and add spaghetti sauce per plate then freeze the leftovers for use later. I was just in a spaghetti mood then and decided to eat it all then :)

The past few months of my life

Hello, my internet friends. I bet you've wondered where I've been and what I've been doing since I haven't been blogging. Well, I have been busy, let me tell you.

Yes, let me tell you, but let me warn you, its a long story.

As some of you may know, last year was a very difficult year.

In January, I miscarried. I estimated that I had conceived sometime about November 2009, at which time I got really ill. And stayed ill until a couple weeks after I miscarried. It was a very hard time for me.

In February, my husband lost his job. Well, he really told his boss to shove it and thereby quit. He decided to join the Army. He signed his oath of enlistment the day after we found out I was pregnant again, sometime in March.

In May, he left for basic training. We drove to visit him in July when he graduated. We got to spend 2 days and 1 night with him. Then he headed off to AIT in OK. We drove from GA to OK to visit him for Labor Day, which was a fun trip in and of itse;f and resulted in us all being sick off and on for months after our return. The good thing about AIT was we got to talk a lot more. They let him keep his phone on him at all times since I had a higher risk pregnancy due to my miscarriage in January. The bad thing about AIT is they let him go out drinking a lot. He got a taste of the single life and he decided he liked it more than the married with kids life he had. Well, I guess there was a lot of bad things about AIT in my opinion.

He came home from AIT in September. He had a 2 week Hometown Recruiting program he was a part of so that we could have 2 more weeks at home before we had to move. That was nice.

He left us October 4th. I was 35 weeks pregnant with our 4th daughter. He brought his girlfriend and her baby (who had followed him to GA from OK and spent the weekend with him while he told me he was on a recruiting trip) into my home to collect his belongings and leave us. He cleared out our joint bank account, bought himself and his girlfriend phones and a new phone plan with Sprint, bought himself a new truck and took 2 weeks of leave (vacation time) to spend with his girlfriend in OK. He left us penniless (actually worse than penniless as he had overdrawn our bank account) with no food in the house since we were supposed to move with him the next day. He left me, sick with bronchitis and huge and pregnant and hormonal to be with his girlfriend. He left his children to spend time with hers. He deprived us of support so he could have play money to go out to eat with his girlfriend and buy himself new toys. Every month since then except for December, I have had to contact his superior officers to get him to support us with the little the Army requires him to send ($650 a month to support myself and 4 children) despite the fact that in that time he received $7200 for his bonus after taxes and filed taxes, claiming the children, and received the tax return, all of which he blew away. Last month he only sent us $125. He has still not met his youngest child and she was born November 9, 2010. Over 3 months ago.

You would think I would be used to this all by now, but it still hurts to type that. I am lonely and hurting and this has probably been the worst time in my life. Bar none. But it has also been the most clarifying time of my life. It has probably been the time in my life when I experienced the most spiritual growth. And it has probably been the best time of my life as well.

Despite the unhappiness and the pain, I have come to recognize who truly cares about my children and myself. I have felt the hand of God guiding me throughout this ordeal and I have chosen to trust in Him regardless of the circumstances and how I feel at any given moment. I have realized that God, in His infinite wisdom and with his all-encompassing perspective and all-encompassing love for all 5 of us, entrusted me with 4 beautiful daughters, knowing my husband would leave me, knowing the struggles we would go through and knowing all 5 of us more intimately than we know ourselves. He knew they were what was best for me and I was who would be the best mommy possible for them. For me, that is a wonderful and sobering calling, challenging me to live up to the potential God knows I have and to always do my best for them and for Him. I am learning to prioritize and spend my time more wisely.

So that about covers our past few months. It hasn't been fun, but, like nasty tasting medicine, has been good for us.

In the immediate future, we will be moving in with my sister and her family so that I can continue to take care of my children and be here for them since I cannot rely on my husband to support us. Soon I will be a divorced mom of 4. That's something I never thought I would have to say.

Once Rory is sleeping through the night, I plan on getting a part time job stocking shelves or cleaning offices, something that allows me to work while they are sleeping so that they do not miss out on time with me. I am choosing to continue to be poor and to sleep less in order to take the best care of my children that I possibly can. I am choosing my children over money and sleep and a home of my own. Because they are more important to me. I am also choosing to read my Bible daily and continually learn more about God so that I can teach them about Him. Because he is the most important of all. Most of my blogging from here on will be either about my kids, taking care of them, recipes, things that make life easier as a mom of 4, and what I am learning in my daily Bible reading and how I apply it to my life. I do intend on blogging, so please feel free to poke me and keep me accountable if I don't live up to my intentions. And please feel free to ask any questions you might have. Send me an email or leave me a comment. I would be happy to answer them:)

Nie Nie Dialogues

Today, I read a blog that truly inspired me. Its called Nie Nie Dialogues. I really like and highly recommend this blog. You should check it out. Really. Like, now ;)

Seriously, though, I like it. I like that it inspires me to enjoy motherhood more, even if motherhood at the moment consists of a huge mess and 4 screaming kids. Fortunately, I have 4 napping kids at the moment, which is the only reason I am able to post this, but anytime one has 4 kids, there is that huge mess and 4 screaming kids potential.

It also inspires me to blog more since I've gotten lax in that arena. Or maybe I was naturally lax in that arena to start off with. Either way, I am renewing my commitment to blog. I know, I know, I keep saying that. I'm not sure I'd believe me either at this point, but I'm going to try anyways.

However, I will warn you that I can only read so much of Nie Nie Dialogues before I feel sorry for myself. Its nothing to do with her blog and everything to do with where I am at in my life right now. Its really sweet that her and her hubby are still in love and I'm glad they are. I enjoy seeing people who are in love and who are happy. But stuff like that just makes me sad right now and kinda brings out the green eyed monster.

So to recap, this blog does make me happy to be a mom. It just makes me miss being a wife and being loved at the same time. So if you are a happily married mom, you will love this blog. . . But either way, you should give it a shot. Really. Like, now ;)