Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Baby

I'm an Aunt again! Congrats to my oldest brother and his wonderful wife, my first sister-in-law. So happy for you and the grand miracle of life! Isn't he cute?
“Babies are such a nice way to start people.” — Don Herold

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"What do you do all day?"

As a SAHM I don't talk with adults much, therefore whenever I get asked that question I'm a little shocked, just a tiny bit insulted, and I don't know where to begin. But today I got that question and it took me several minutes till I finished my answer.

Have you ever tried to cook, clean and do laundry for 5 extra people? It takes time. Add a little community service thru church and your children's school, scouts, band, piano and other extracurricular activities, help with homework and you'll never have time to say I'm bored. "You cook all their meals?" Uh yes otherwise they'd eat grass and twigs and that stuff doesn't grow fast enough. All I could think was, "Are there really people out there that eat EVERY meal out? Do they not know it's cheaper to make it themselves?" Granted I have to go to the grocery store a couple times a week to refill our fridge with fresh produce (I'm scared for when my boys turn teenagers because they can already eat as much as I do). We now run 2 loads of dishes a day, about 2 loads of laundry per day, and I'm still trying to find time to deep-clean the rooms and don't get me started on the growing list of home-repairs that need to be done cuz there's no way I'm paying someone else to do something I can do for free. That's the only way I can afford to feed and clothe everyone. If you want to make it more challenging duct tape bricks to your feet and a watermelon to your middle because that's what pregnancy feels like most of the time.

The truth is, yes, sometimes I just feel like sitting down and watching a 30 minute show or reading a book and eating chocolates. (V Chocolates has the best milk chocolate caramels with sea salt sprinkled on top just in case you're wondering.) But please don't judge me - I deserve a break after potty-training all day and cleaning up someone else's you-know-what.

The job's tough, the pay sucks but the rewards are heavenly when I see my freshly-bathed children fall asleep with clean clothes and a full belly.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have 3 bathrooms to clean, 3 loads of laundry to put away and some wallpaper to take down.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Wait, did I spell that right? :) I went to help out at the school today for the school's first Spelling Bee. Unfortunately I couldn't be one of the judges because 4th thru 6th grades were combined and Z was one of five kids chosen from his class to be in it. So I got to watch. They started out with about 45 students. He ended up getting third place overall and the tricky word was quarantine. I totally forgot my camera and my phone was dead so I took this picture when he got home. I'm so glad I married a smart guy cuz I'm pretty sure he didn't get it from me.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What's for Dinner?

Tonight for dinner, I'm attempting to make tamales for the first time. It looks easy - just takes a long time. Above is the link for the recipe with lots of pictures. I'll let you know how they turn out! What's something you've never made but would like to someday?

UPDATE: There's a good reason why people BUY these instead of make them. They took almost an hour to wrap up! I loved the chicken mixture though so I'm going to swap that into my enchiladas next time I make some.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Afghan finished

Couldn't sleep so I finished the decorative edge on the afghan and still couldn't sleep so... I made a hat. Tried to go back to bed for an hour, didn't work so I took a picture and ta-da! Here it is:
Maybe now I can go to sleep?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2009 Year in Review

A little late but here's a taste of what we've done this year. 2010 is sure to be even more eventful what with my parents returning from their mission, Z becoming a deacon, E getting baptized and the new baby's blessing. I can't wait!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Saving money by cooking at home

One of my New Year's goals is to save more money this year. I've been doing pretty good with price-matching, couponing and rebates but in order to save even more I know it's best when I cook from scratch. I recently saw that a 10lb. bag of pancake mix at the grocery store sells for $7. This homemade version below costs a fraction of that and it's a little healthier too because it has wheat in it. I store this in my fridge and try to use it at least once a week when we have pancakes or muffins.

Homemade Bisquick Mix:
In a LARGE mixing bowl combine 5 cups whole wheat flour, 5 cups white flour (you can adjust this however you want to get your family used to it). Add 1/3 cup baking powder, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 Tablespoon salt then stir around really well. Add 2 cups butter flavored shortening and use a pastry blender till crumbly (you'll get a nice arm workout). Store in airtight container in your fridge for up to 6 months.

"Now what do I do with it?" you ask.

In mixing bowl combine 2 cups mix, 2 eggs, 1 cup milk, a dash of cinnamon, and a dash of vanilla. This works well with powdered eggs as well and no one will know the difference! Cook on a hot griddle like you normally would. I like mine with a thin smear of peanut butter and some syrup. Other times I like a thick layer of applesauce and powdered sugar on top. Add some turkey bacon for a side and everybody's happy.

Blueberry Muffins:
In mixing bowl combine 2 cups mix, 2/3 cup milk, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 Tablespoons oil, 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1 mashed banana to make it moist and after mixing it all fold in 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen). Pour into a regular muffin tin (greased or use the paper liners) and cook in preheated 400 degree oven for 13-18 minutes. 425 degrees for high altitude but you'll want to check it and possibly cover it with aluminum foil the last 5 minutes so as not to over-brown the tops. Is that even a word? Oh well, you won't care once you're eating them. I like serving them with hard-boiled eggs. Kids LOVE cracking eggs.

There are few things more rewarding than being able to say, "I made that". As women we love to create and share. Cooking is a great way to do that. Now go get on your apron and try these new recipes!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Just because it's homemade doesn't mean it's cheap

I just got back from JoAnn's. I used several coupons and the other stuff I bought was already on sale and yet... I still spent more than I thought I would. It would've been cheaper to buy the dresses at a store but I want my daughters to have a dress made by their mother for their special day. I'm making E's baptism dress and the new baby girl's blessing dress. Now I'm terrified because I've never sewn satin before. I just have to keep telling myself, "I can do this". I feel like a big, pregnant blue engine looking at a big mountain made of white satin.

M4865 is the blessing dress and M5793 is the baptism dress (I'm doing the sleeved version but tweaking the design just a bit by adding a sheer skirt overlay) Check out these cute patterns (I got them for $1 each)

BTW, I've almost finished the shimmery lavender afghan (just need to decide on a decorative edge), made the diaper bag New Year's Eve and I've cut out the burp cloths so those should be done this week. Oh, and the carseat cover is done too. Check them out!