Seven Quick Takes: Mother’s Day Edition

— 1 —

I wasn’t sure how Mother’s Day would be, since Mr. SJ tweaked his back on Friday and wasn’t able to do as much with the kids, but other than needing me to handle all diaper changes and dirty dishes, he did all right. That might sound awfully suspicious, but washing dishes is generally tough on him because the height of the sink is bad for him, and that’s also what gets him with changing diapers. Eh, just give me some time to sit in peace and quiet and read without interruption and I am quite happy to change the diapers.

— 2 —

I made myself the delectable King Arthur Flour Chocolate Indulgence cake that I discussed in my birthday planning 7QT. One of the nicest things about this cake is that it is way too chocolatey for Mr. SJ to want to eat it, so it’s all mine. Fortunately it freezes nicely too. :)

Mine wasn’t quite that pretty, but it tastes just as good as it looks.

— 3 —

I thought about taking myself (and the baby) to the library for a bonus visit – usually I go only ever 3 weeks (the length of time a book can be checked out). I was too lazy to want to drive down there however, and instead just stayed home.

— 4 —

I also passed on the opportunity to go to Target by myself (or just with the baby.) Again, the pull of my books was stronger than the pull of wandering the aisles in peace.

— 5 —

Because the boy is generally so insistent that he be near me, unless he’s working with daddy (mowing the grass, cleaning up the garage), his dad ended up taking him to a nearby park for a walk on Sunday to give me some quiet. Of course the baby woke up not 5 minutes after they left, so the quiet wasn’t quite what he was trying to provide.

— 6 —

Last week Mr. SJ was very weird about telling me that he was taking the boy out. They were going to the store. I was starting to ask him more in depth what he was doing because he was being so odd about it, and then I realized: Mother’s Day and my birthday are both approaching. I’m sure they’re going to go look for cards.

Yup, that’s what they were doing. The boy picked me out a very nice Mother’s Day card with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy wishing me a happy day. As Mr. SJ said, there was absolutely no doubt which card he would pick once he saw that one; only perhaps if there had been a Lightning McQueen one might there have been some hesitation as to which one would win.

— 7 —

My mom and mother-in-law pretty much always send me a card for Mother’s Day. Not this year, which made me laugh. However, one of my sister-in-laws sent me a really sweet card for Mother’s Day, and I wasn’t expecting that!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Vacation Recap

So, if I was following my pattern this week I’d have a house progress post.

But, we had a vacation this month and didn’t make a lot of progress on the house, so instead I’ll just give a little vacation recap, to complement the Seven Quick Takes: Vacation Edition post I just had. With more pictures!

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We drove from Indiana to Florida. Yes, drove. 18 hours. With a 2 1/2 year old and a 8-month old. No, we don’t have a mini-van with a fancy in-vehicle entertainment system. What we do have is mom, sitting in the backseat, squished between two car seats. And a portable DVD player that played Cars and Cars 2 over and over.

The boy was great, thanks to the DVD player. The girl was ok. She wanted to get out of her seat and be held by me, and was not happy about having to stay in her car seat for so long. We timed it so that we did a lot of driving at night so that she’d sleep, and that worked well.

What didn’t work so well was driving during Daylight Savings Time, because we got into the hotel at 3:30 AM thanks to delays leaving, and a long detour, and then thanks to the time change it was like 4:30. Ugh.

Fortunately Mr. SJ got enough sleep to get us safely to my folks Sunday evening.

Monday we recovered and let the boy play with his cousins and explore my parent’s backyard and playset.

Tuesday we went to the Zoo! Much fun was had, and it wore the kids out (horray!)

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Wednesday Mr SJ & I went to a baseball game, leaving G-man with my family. It was delightful not to have to worry about him. :)

Thursday we were going to go to the beach but it was CRAZY busy and instead stayed home and let the boys play together.

Thursday night the vomiting began.

Friday the vomiting continued, and Mr. SJ went to another baseball game by himself.

Friday night the vomiting continued.

Saturday we had a sad little boy who didn’t have a lot of energy, but he still played with the toys at the house (they have a LOT of toys.) Saturday evening friends came over for dinner so there was a lot of visiting.

Saturday night was vomit-free (horray!).

Sunday was spent monitoring the kids for any signs of puking. We were going to go to a nearby park but didn’t because G-man still looked fairly listless.

Monday afternoon we headed out for the long drive home, but thanks to leaving on time, no detours, smooth traffic, and no time change, it was a much better trip. Tuesday afternoon we were back home.

So, the vacation wasn’t very traditionally vacationy. One outing with the boy. Two outings for me. No trip to IKEA like I’d hoped. No beach introduction for the kids. No swimming thanks to my parents pool being out of commission. G being sick really didn’t motivate us to do much of anything away from the house.

But still? It was vacation so that’s hard to complain about. I did almost no cooking. I did almost no dishes. I did zero grocery shopping. That alone made it a vacation for me. There was a lot of laundry involved, so I’m glad we were at my parent’s with easy access to a washing machine. :)

Seven Quick Takes: Vacation Edition

— 1 —

I’ve made lots of comments on the blog lately about our upcoming vacation, but I was somewhat vague on the specifics of when and where. I didn’t especially want to announce it to the world that “HELLO, WE ARE LEAVING. PLEASE COME ROB US.”

But, um, we’re back! Yes, my post last week implied that vacation was still to come, but we were actually at my parents when it was posted. I’m sorry for the misleading writing. I wrote the post before we left and scheduled it because I wasn’t sure if I’d have much computer time while we were gone. Yes, I do feel slightly guilty for the misdirection and prewritten posts.

As it turns out, I had very little computer time (as in about 30 minutes one day), so if you left a comment or anything, sorry about the delay in replying, but I wasn’t able to respond until yesterday. Yay for computer breaks!

— 2 —

So, vacation. We leave and the weather in Indiana turns FANTASTIC. Thanks a lot for that timing there Indiana. You don’t have that many spectacular spring days, so I hate missing any of them. The weather in Florida sure was nice too at least.

What’s not so nice about Florida in March is that everyone else is also headed to or from there. Fortunately we weren’t trying to hit any of the major amusement parks or find a hotel on the beach because I think most of the Midwest was also visiting.

— 3 —

We were going to go to the beach on Thursday, but saw the picture in the paper Thursday morning of one of the local beaches. It was wall-to-wall people (or should that be condo-to-condo people?) thanks to the local schools also being on break. We passed on the beach, not wanting to deal with hoards of people.

— 4 —

We took the kids to the zoo for the first time, and that was quite a treat. Not because of the animals, because G-man just didn’t seem to care all that much, but he loved exploring the new areas, and that zoo has a water play area for kids which was all kinds of awesome. The Indianapolis Zoo needs to get one too, because it was so fantastic to have a place to cool off after a hot day.

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— 5 —

G had a great time playing with his cousins (I wasn’t sure how he’d do) and while there was a bit of toy-jealousy, it wasn’t too bad. The boys were 4, 2.5 (mine), and 1.5, so I wasn’t sure how they’d all do with each other. Baby H just had fun playing with whatever she could get her hands on until someone took it away from her. Actually though, the two older boys were good about at least bringing her a substitute toy if they wanted the one she had, and she didn’t care if she was chewing on the red truck or the blue car or whatever.

— 6 —

On Wednesday Mr. SJ & I went to a Spring Training game, taking the baby with us. We got lots of comments on how cute she is, especially thanks to the adorable hat she was wearing. She was great during the game, although I did have to get up more often than usual and walk around with her. We’d specifically gotten seats in the shade so she wouldn’t get too hot or burn, and no one sat on either side of us, so it ended up being really easy to have her with us.

— 7 —

The not-so-fun part? All three boys got sick Thursday night . There was a lot of vomiting and cleanup. The next day the oldest cousin was better, but G-man and his younger cousin continued puking throughout the day Friday. And Friday night. And even some on Saturday.

Fortunately he was never sick on our drive, and he didn’t share it with us or his sister. He’s still not himself, although he’s no longer puking at least.

You know it’s bad when daddy ends up getting in the shower with him at 1:30 in the morning because that’s the easiest way to get him cleaned up. Yes, it was that bad.

Now poor G-man just has to get used to being at home, as boring as that is. No cousins to play with. No dog to harass. Just a sister who has the nerve to try and play with his toys, because he thinks they’re all his toys. All while still trying to get back to feeling like himself completely.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

One Bite at a Time: Project 20 {Plan In Advance For Holidays}

Project 20, Plan in Advance for Holidays, is another one that’s fairly easy for me to address.

We just don’t do all that much for any holidays. I already have a line in our budget for birthdays and Special Occasions (my catch-all category for any Holiday or other rare event spending), so the money aspect is handled. I keep a running Amazon wish list for the kids with ideas of things to get for them and my husband (it’s a private list, so no worries that he’ll see what I’m thinking.)

I’m sure it will have to change as the kids get older and have opinions of what they want, but for this stage, I feel like I’ve got a good handle on dealing with any holidays.

It’s so nice when I recognize that there are areas of my life that are organized and under control. It’s so easy to always notice the areas where I need to work, and gloss over that there are areas where I’m doing well.

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Happy Valentines Day!

Source: i.imgur.com via Sheila on Pinterest

One Bite at a Time: Project 17 {Create an Essential Papers File}

Project 17, Create an Essential Papers File, is one I should have started ages ago.

Both because I should have it, and because it’s going to take more than a week to get it done, so I’m not yet finished with it.

I will be *so* happy to have it done however, because it’s one of those nagging things in my brain that I know I need to do, but just needed a final push.

I’ve started with the simpler stuff – I already had a file which included things like passports and birth certificates, so I’ve used that as a starting point.

I’m working my way through compiling all the financial info into an easily-usable form for Mr. SJ. I do all the bill-paying and taxes and everything else dealing with financial paperwork, so if something were to happen to me he’d have a awful headache trying to figure out what we’ve got where.

And, I’m embarrassed to admit this, considering that we have two small children, but we don’t have wills. It’s one of my goals for the year, to get that done and a guardian officially named. We did do-you-own wills several years ago, but neither of us are entirely sure that they’d be valid, so they’d probably be nothing more than a hint as to our wishes, and wouldn’t be binding.

Being a responsible adult is so not fun sometimes.

Part of our deal with not taking care of it sooner is the whole how do we find an attorney issue. So, if you’re in the central Indiana area and have an attorney recommendation for putting together a will, can you leave a comment or send me an email? We don’t have any sort of complicated situation or anything, but we do want to make sure our kiddos are taken care of if anything were to happen to us.
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Thanksgiving Recap

For the first time ever I cooked the entire Thanksgiving dinner, and it really wasn’t too bad! I planned it all out in advance and scheduled what I would do when, both in the days leading up to Thanksgiving and the day of.

In hopes that it might be a help in the future, here’s a recap of what I did and how well it all worked, and what I’ll do differently next time (because I’m sure there will be a next time.)

Menu:
Cheddar cheese ball & crackers (from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2008)
Fresh veggies & dip
Relish tray with olives & pickles

Turkey breast (Butterball, preseasoned)
Mashed potatoes (recipe from my mom)
Dressing (Stove Top)
Glazed carrots (blended about three recipes together)
Green bean casserole
Rolls (from a now-defunct website)
Cranberry sauce (from a can)
Gravy (from the packet that came with the turkey + a packet of mushroom gravy.)

Pumpkin pie (from A Passion for Baking)
Apple pie
Peanut butter fudge pie (from The Baker’s Dozen Cookbook)

Biggest success was the turkey breast (juicy & flavorful), mashed potatoes (so good), and the peanut butter fudge pie (amazingly tasty & pictured above).

Biggest disappointments were the rolls (for homemade, they really weren’t any better than frozen), the carrots (too much cinnamon), and the green beans (they weren’t bad, I just still haven’t found my perfect recipe and will keep looking.)

Working ahead was very helpful to keep the day of from being too stressful. I made the dough for the rolls on Monday. Tuesday I made the cheese ball. Wednesday I made the pies and prepped all the veggies except for the potatoes. Thursday morning I drew up a schedule of events so I wouldn’t forget about things like shaping the rolls or reheating dressing.

Next time I’d like to try a different green bean casserole recipe, skip the carrots all together (we had more than enough veggies thanks to the appetizer of raw veggies & dip), try pumpkin rolls, and make my own dressing. I’ll probably try different pie recipes just because I love to do that, but all three pies were a success.

And if I get really ambitious, maybe try a roasted turkey roulade, because that looks amazing.

Did anyone else fix their first Thanksgiving dinner? Have success with any new recipes?