Monday, August 31, 2009

Flying in a rented furnished house

So much going on today. The boys started back on their school schedule. At 1:00, their teacher (me) declared early release to help mom (me) with chores. I had spent the entire morning working on the littles room and now the rest of the house looked like a bomb, (or 4 boys left unattended for 4 hours) hit it. The morning went well though. I have decided to use Gaynor's blog as a place to log his school work, and projects. He will also be adding thoughts and ideas here and there as well. later this week, click on his picture to the right and see if i actually followed through and then call me out on it if I did not!

I realized part of my problem with getting my house under control was actually out of my control. We rent, and the house was furnished when we moved in. I literally stuffed all that i could into closets and the cellar but they are all full now. There is clothes, bedding, dishes, artwork, and books, as well as furniture. This was their vacation home and also a vacation rental before we moved in. There is nothing I can actually do about it, so i just need to get over it and move on with the mission. I am getting rid of a ton of stuff since there is no place for it. Here is what I did today.

Clothes storage is a major issue in our family of 4 boys. I keep it all to hand down to the next, but with the big gaps between ages, it means a lot of bins full of clothing. but organized, its not bad. I put most of the bins in the other bed room, under gaynor's bed and the rest in the corner.
I know we need curtains! The floor is just a sub floor, not pretty but no worries of damage from boys and puppies. It honestly doesn't bother me other than that i can't really wash the kitchen floor. We actually have a floor to put down in the kitchen and eating area this winter. I also need curtains for the cubbyholes above the dressers. I was thinking about making these for the big blank wall. not sure what they will say. but curtains first. wish i had taken before pics of the playroom, lets just did NOT look like this!

behind the green curtain is our TV, hidden away and barely used these days. Especially now that the computer monitor is larger than the actual television and since when we do watch, we usually stream what we are watching any way, it ends up being everyone gathered around the computer. We are working on making it more functional/comfortable before Lost and Heroes start back up.
Tomorrow I am working on the computer/school room/dining room. If i finish, i will post pics. I do have to grocery shop and run errands, so bare with me. Tomorrow is Forrest's first day at Foster Tech! I think Mike and I are equally as excited as he.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Our two WHOLE weeks of summer have come to a close, and I'm thinking about Christmas????

Sorry, it was just a little complaint. But honestly 2 weeks is about all we got. We had a nice 3 day vacation with my family in nearby Rome, Maine. My parents did all the cooking and meal clean up helped with the boys (forrest and Mike stayed home) so it was unexpectedly restful for me. I took a kayak ride with my sister, and even got some knitting done.

It's just about time for our first hard frost here in Maine. As sad as I am about our non existing summer, and my barely existing garden. I am very much looking forward to fall. The Common Ground Fair is coming right up, an Organic Maine Tradition. Columbus Day will bring our trip up Sugarloaf Mountain to see the amazing fall view of the mountains and hopefully our Christmas picture. And we are planning another "grown-up" vacation. I know the last one didn't actually happen, but i have a plan this time! We will be going with our good friends Sarah and Andy. Now other people are depending on us to pull through, so Mike can't talk me out of it. We are swapping houses with my parents (oh ya, they get 4 boys and 2 puppies with mine ha ha!) and site seeing in Boston and on Cape Cod. Kind of funny since I grew up there, but I have never done the FREEDOM TRAIL or biked the Canal at the Cape. It's going to be a great time!

Our school year starts Monday. I have made up the boys schedules and posted them on the fridge. Forrest has been excepted into a half day(every other day) technical school as a "Bio-Tech" student. He is sooooooo excited. It's going to be a little crazy trying to work "school" back into our school day. Luckily they are going to let him take the bus and drop him down the street on their way back to the regular high school. This will save me close to two hours of driving time daily. His days will be busy if he wants to complete all the courses he has started but i know he can do it. Sometimes I find, the busier you are, the more you get done.

Gaynor will be continuing with his Oak Meadow (Waldorf based) curriculum and Math-U-See plus Rosetta Stone French. Harland will be playing and working on his reading and writing. He has stared writing phonetically on his own, making lists of characters from books and movies.I am still amazed to see this child, who has never been exposed to a traditional school model, learning all he needs to learn, basically on his own. My older ones were not this way when I took them out of school. They still feel they need a curriculum and "work" and that is fine, it is just very different for Harland. I am secretly looking forward to a more scheduled day. Although, I am quite sure Indigo has other plans.

My house is slowly coming back to me. The play room looks awesome. I got rid of tons of toys. Our school area is more organized, there is still work to be done though. I have lots still to do but I am happy with the results so far.

I have all ready started holiday knitting. I am hoping for a homemade/local Christmas. We have not followed through on this plan yet, maybe this will be the year. It really is totally mental for me. I need to get over the idea of my boys having tons of gifts to open. Quality not quantity. It just continues to be harder than expected to wrap my brain around this change. Sarah has convinced me to work on developing new traditions for the season and the big day. Maybe if I start planning now I can accomplish this goal. Got any advice for me? Bring it on! What type of non gift traditions do you have for Christmas day? Games? Meals? I would love to hear what you are doing. Yes, I realize it's still August.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Beach Compromise and plans to "get it under control"

Yesterday Sarah and I headed for the beach with my three youngest. We had originally planned for the ocean, but alas, common sense got the best of me. It's no longer a free day of fun when We have to drive around two hours to get there and two to get back. Have you seen the price of GAS????

So, Instead Sarah suggested Dummer's Beach or "Dummahs Beach" if you are a true Mainer. I am an ocean girl, but as far as fresh water goes, it was lovely! It's at a campground so we payed $5 to get in. It is a small but sandy beach and the lake is big enough to produce some little waves, but shallow enough to walk way WAY out and still stand. Plus you really can't beat the view!

Indigo, my fearless child, ran right out into the water several times ending up under water before I could grab him. He didn't care in the least! I finally convinced him to stay on the shore and dig in the sand. Plenty of Snacks and sandwiches with homemade bread and homemade jam alah Sarah made the day complete. And only a 20 minute drive! We might even get back before our very very short summer is over.

New Plans on the home front. I am kicking the FLYLADY thing into high gear this week. Sarah is trying it out too. So I decided to post a little about the system, my thoughts on it, and my progress over the next few weeks. It is, after all, almost fall and I need to get this place under control before we start up school work again. For the real deal though, go to let me know if you get on board.

Baby steps is what this is all about. Starting with a shiny sink. I have been down this road before and when i think back to what my life was like while full on FLYING I have visions of peaceful days full of fun, yummy dinners prepared on time and waking up to a clean kitchen, coffee made, breakfast dishes laid out. I need this back!

Shining your sink is where it all begins. Mine has been truly shining for 3 days now. It really is amazing how just a clean sink can change you attitude. Flylady gives full instructions on how to get really clean and you don't even have to wash all those nasty dishes first!

Day two of baby steps is dressing to lace up shoes! I fought this one big time my first time around. I hated the look of sneakers. 6 years later, this is pretty much all I wear. Her theories have proven true. You won't kick them off and you will truly get more accomplished. My feet thank her every day. As far as just getting dressed. It can be tough as a stay-at-home mom especially in the winter when i have no place to go. But, pj's equal lounging and I am a professional! The simple act of putting on clothes, even fresh clean work out type clothes (not frumpy sweats) help me to treat my life more like a job that needs to be done and done properly. It has also saved me many times from running to my bedroom when someone shows up on my doorstep unannounced.

This is where I am at so far. yup, just day two. But I all ready feel better. It's like when I was a kid and my mom would send me to "clean my room" I would cry and even fall asleep there with out doing a thing. I just litterally had NO idea where to start. i am simply not a BO (Born Organized) or even close. I need it broken down and then it is no problem.

The most interesting thing, I think, about the Flylady system is that it is not just about cleaning your house. it's about taking care of yourself first! FLY stands for "finally loving yourself" it's not implying that your a depressed or needy but let's face it. As mom's we often, VERY often put ourselves last. She compares FLYing to putting on your oxygen mask before your children's. Makes sense right? Trust me, give this a try with me! You will love it!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

mmmmmmmmmmmmmm Tomatoes!

Man, All I can think about is tomatoes! Not gross grocery store tomatoes but yummy, local, organically grown goodness! I happen to have tomato plants, but no tomatoes in my garden. Six weeks of rain and my inability to garden in the rain contributed to this. So sad, but........These wonderful people have some of the most amazing tomatoes I have ever EVER tasted. Black Krim, Orange Banana, Striped German, Green Zebra, the list goes on and on. So, what to do with tomatoes.

Well my all time fave is a mile high tomato sandwich, with veganaise, fresh basil and salt. but here is a recipe I love for dinner its super easy and you only have to cook the pasta so no hot kitchen.

Summer pasta

no measurements here. you have to make enough for your family and it tastes great the next day too. Here is an approximate for a family of 6

6-8 large tomatoes chopped to bite size chunks
2 cloves of garlic pressed (this is the best way)
a good solid drizzle of olive oil (don't be afraid, its good for you)
about a cup or so of balsamic vinegar( you want a good amount in the bowl to drizzle on the pasta)
a few good fist fulls of fresh basil leaves chopped well

mix it all together and let it sit covered on the counter while you cook your pasta

in my non vegan days, we added fresh buffalo mozzarella diced just before serving, not too early because the vinegar can pickle it.

dish out pasta, something with lines holds the vinegar,
drown in tomato mix, salt generously

mmmmmmm, seriously delicious!

This next recipe has been requested and it does involve tomatoes so here goes

L&J's Tofu Sandwiches (for my sister, its originally her's)

1 pkg extra firm tofu drained and pressed for an hour **see below for pressing inst.
sesame oil
canola oil
1 haas avocado, peeled and sliced
1 big and juicy local tomato sliced
veganaise (or mayo)
Dijon mustard
balsamic vinegar
toast slices, something wholegrain and yummy

slice pressed tofu thinly into rectangles
coat slices well in tamari to marinade (just for a minute or two is fine)
heat a cast iron skillet on med to low heat
add a few table spoons of canola oil and a drizzle of sesame oil
fry tofu until well browned on bottom and flip, ( i like em crispy like bacon)
place on paper towel

if you have a splatter guard for your pan, use it! I use a giant oven mitt and extra long tongs! ha ha!

make a little dressing with dijon and vinegar

stack up a good fatty sandwich with mayo on both side, drizzle with dressing and some salt(yes I like-a-the-salt)

makes at least 4 sandwiches, probably closer to 6 if Mike is not eating at your house

enjoy! tastes like a fancy BLT for all you non tofu eaters, even my kids like it!

***pressing tofu****

new to tofu? this is an awesome recipe to start with! just slice it nice and thin and let it get good and brown Bacon, I SWEAR!

pressing tofu

take two plates and a 2 piles of about 10 paper towels each ( I have been known to use dish towels or cloth napkins to be earth friendly but i compost my paper towels too)
fold up the piles to the size of of the tofu
place one pile on a plate
put tofu on top
place next pile on top of tofu
put another plate on top of that and top it with a nice heavy cast iron skillet and leave for 30 minutes, check and replace towels if saturated, leave for 30 more minutes
the idea here is to squeeze all the water out to make room for the marinade. trust me, its well worth it!

let me know if you try these!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Look Who's Two

I know there is no sound, i took it on my regular camera, He is saying "Happy BEE BEE, TWO! Its the best I can do!

Today is Indigo's second Bee Bee (that's Birthday to you and me). We had a little, and I mean little, party yesterday but it was quite nice. Sarah and Andy came over and we ate like pigs for hours. I feel like my younger two get jipped when it comes to Birthday parties. When the older two were younger we threw crazy parties. We have had carnivals which included jugglers on stilts (mike and his plastering stilts) Halloween birthdays with cauldron cakes and Dinosaur parties with a giant plaster skeleton of a T-rex buried in the sandbox waiting to be excavated by little paleontologists. They were a blast. But we have moved away, have far fewer friends and are much more careful with our money. Anyway, my idea was to make it as much of a "party" as I could even with only two guests. I think it went quite well.

It was um like 90 degrees or more but I am definitely not complaining because, you know, this is the very first, VERY FIRST weekend that it has not rained at least once all summer!!!!!! S&A brought their easy up and we set up a nice table outside.

I cooked like 30 people were coming but we made a good dent in it. It was delicious.
Indigo slept through most of lunch but when he woke up he opened his presents and was so excited. All he talks about is BAHHHHNNNNS! So we got him a Melissa and Doug red barn. He LOVED IT.

Indigo and Harland started playing with it first thing this morning

Sarah made an absolutely adorable bag for Indigo. I was super impressed. A Quilt top with needle felting and cross stitch! Adorable. I think it will make a perfect library bag for Indigo's library selections. Inside the bag were new sneakers, and just in time!
Please note this is the end of the day, hence the sticky dirty watermelon face! I always say you can tell if a kid is having a great time by how dirty they are.

The boys also gave him a gift the day before the party. Forrest was leaving for his trip to Massachusetts. They gave him a little cutting set from Melissa & Doug. Too cute. Indigo cut fruit for hours!

After presents, Mike and Andy took the boys swimming in the river, we have a great little swimming hole right on the property. Sarah and I stayed to clean up and play with Indigo and the barn. It was a lovely day with great friends.

Happy Birthday Little Man!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Peace is.......................

Peace is,

an almost 2 year old with his first buzz cut. Love rubbing that head!

still finding vegetables like treasure among the waist high weeds

20 minutes of yoga without any fighting, crying or yelling

sunny days after 6 weeks (yes literally) of rain

Ends meeting

Great new friends who feel like great old friends

local tomatoes

mountains, swimming in morning mis, just outside our window

getting on a bike for the first time in over 15 years!

laying quietly watching my babies sleep

knitting gifts for a far away friend's first baby

lilies lilies everywhere

coffee in the morning all alone

What brings you all peace. Lets hear it!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

see my boys in action!

here is a little ad Forrest and Gaynor did years ago for Kaiju Big Battle. They never got back to do the voice over so the voices are not theirs but the acting is 100%. I could watch it over and over. Cracks me up!

Minion Munchies Commercial