Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

Picking up the pace

Sigh. I miss summer already. This past weekend Maria had Life Teen activities at church, and the boys had something for scouts. Our co-op started last week. Dance starts this week. Vacation is over, folks.

School is a little....limpy. We are working, but we aren't on schedule very well and I find myself spending a lot of time putting out fires. I'm having a hard time finding a groove. Ok. I'm lazy. There, I said it. I feel lazy. In order for the days to really flow smoothly, I need to either...
a. stay up later than the children and get some things done, or
b. get up earlier than the children and get some things done.

Neither has been happening. I mean, I've been up, both early and late, but I'm not actually *working*...I need to be doing some housework, folding laundry, grading and prepping school work. Instead I either...
a. stay up later than the children, eat fourth meal, and watch reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond, or
b. get up earlier than the children and sit on the couch watching the news and drinking coffee.

I've got to kick myself in the can. But first I need to decide which way to go, up early or up late? Last year I was getting up early. I'm just too darned tired to actually work on laundry and cleaning and such at the end of the day. And the littles go to sleep (and stay asleep) better if I just lay down with them. But I don't seem to be able to kick it into gear very well this year. Which works best for you? Getting up early? Staying up late?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

banana bread

I am seriously addicted to it right now. Here's my favorite recipe.

1 cup of butter, softened
2 cups of sugar
4 eggs
3 cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
3 bananas
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts, if you have them

Cream the butter, sugar, and eggs. Mix dry ingredients separately, then add to butter mixture. Add sour cream, vanilla, and bananas. Stir in nuts. Pour into two greased loaf pans and bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Now, ignore all that. Because! It has way too much fat and sugar! Yikes! It's yummy, believe me, but wow...I feel like I might as well give the kids a snicker bar for breakfast. Here's my tweaked version...not as sweet, but still very, very good and something that I can feed my kids without a guilt complex. Henry loves it!

1/2 cup of butter
1 cup of sugar
4 eggs
3 cups of whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
3 bananas
1/2 cup of applesauce
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts, if you have them

Add applesauce with the bananas. I rarely use all whole wheat flour when baking. It comes out like a doorstop. But it actually works really well in this recipe. The kids had no idea it was whole wheat. I tried it accidentally when I was in the middle of baking some and found out I was out of white flour.

You did know that you can freeze bananas whole, right in their skins, right? I buy them in those paper bags at 25 cents a pound. We eat up what we can, then I toss the rest right in the freezer as is. When you are ready to use them, you just defrost them, then cut the stem end off with kitchen scissors and goosh the banana right into the bowl. They turn really dark but are still just fine for baking. And if you have any little boys around, they will love to make the bananas "poop". Yes...we are easily entertained.

Monday, August 08, 2011

I forgot

I know I said I was going to post everyday for a while,,,but the truth of the matter is that I keep forgetting to post when I'm at the computer! Ah well. Anyway, today is our first day of school...sort of. I'm still waiting for some of our books to get here. A car repair, and air conditioning repair, and that trip to St. Louis put off my book ordering a bit. The rest are ordered but not in my hands yet. But we are starting today anyway with what we can do. I have most of what I need for Kain. I still need quite a bit for Maria, and some things for Jack. Maria will be starting slow anyway. She is taking two classes, grammar and religion, online this year, and so she has to follow their schedule...they don't start until September.

Hopefully I'll have some first day pictures soon. Our schedule looks very different this year than last year. Tess is starting preschool, officially, which mostly means some Montessori activities and a slow progression through Little Saints. Jack is starting first grade. Gosh, he's made so much progress over the last year. Kain is starting fifth grade. And Maria is starting HIGH SCHOOL! Gasp! I KNOW! We are enrolled in Mother of Divine Grace for the first time this year, so now I am officially accountable to another human being, something that I'm sure will stretch my organizational abilities to their screaming limits.

Monday, August 01, 2011

a change of pace

We were supposed to go to a family reunion this past weekend. Then, on Wednesday night, Jack got sick. Vomiting, chills, 104 fever sick. So John went with the two biggest kids and I stayed home with the little kids. I fully expected Tess and/or Henry to get sick, but they did not. So by Friday, Jack was much better (but still not well enough for mixed company) and I was alone until Sunday night with the three littlest ones. It was such a change of pace. Just as busy...but slower, if that makes sense. I concentrated on just the basics because that's all I could do...and remarkably, they got done. We made a huge batch of hot pink, vanilla scented playdough. We took long bubble baths until toes were pruny and water was cool. We blew bubbles for the dog to chase. We broke out checkers that no one was old enough to play and lined and stacked them up on the board. Meals were very simple, wake up times were ignored. It was rather lovely, really. But quiet in a way. There was no one to *talk* to, and it made me realize how much conversation actually happens between the biggest kids and I.