Sunday, October 31, 2010

A little space for me:)

I'm a procrastinator.  (Insert collective 'gasp' here...)  Ok, I know this is a well-known fact to anyone who knows me, but I have a VERY hard time doing little bits of projects to keep up on things.  For example, I can't fold clothes bit by bit, but would rather fold a week's worth of laundry in an evening.  Same with groceries.  Or cleaning.

But, I'm worst with papers.  I've had this little room under an eave in our house that I've been dying to turn into a crafty space for quite some time now.  Bryan has all of his "toys" in the basement now, and that space has just been sitting there for me.  And sitting.  And sitting.

For some people, this isn't an issue.  But with my weird brain and it's lack of normal functioning, I couldn't let myself do ANY little projects until this room was ready.  And yet, I couldn't bring myself to get through this entire room at once because it was such a big job.

So, finally, last Saturday night, I got through it all.  (With some help from Bryan, of course).  I had to actually throw away some of our wedding and baby shower cards and really determine which projects will actually get done (we'll save my hoarding issues for another post), but I managed to do it.  And, 3 1/2 hours later, it looks awesome, if I do say so myself.  Which I do.

My little hideaway!

Was given this table from my mom-in-law and we've had these shelves forever.

Lovely close-up of the yarn.

You may ignore that this part is still a little messy.  Because I do.  Underneath are all of my photos, stamping, etc.  And, yes, that tv does have a vcr.  Other fun note: this table was actually the first kitchen table my parents had and it's still going strong:)

L-shaped desk also from my mom-in-law (how lucky am I!?)  TONS of storage!!

Side of the desk--storing baskets, frames, etc. underneath.

Love this one.

Bought 1 large sheet of peg board from Home Depot and asked them to cut it into 2'x2' squares.  Bryan hung them for me (after I measured:) and I painted them with some leftover bathroom paint.  Turned out great--cheap and easy.

Close-up of the peg board with the ribbons:)

And, there you have it.  Funny note--Bryan knows WAY more about photography than I do, so he said he's help me take some nice pictures (the close-ups are his).  I went in the room and found him lying on the floor taking pictures at an angle.  Now, that's dedication!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rhubarb Custard Pie

I love rhubarb.  Especially when paired with sugar:)

This recipe is from an old Ohio State Grange cookbook and is as close as we've come so far to the one Bryan's grandma Mary used to make.

1 c sugar
1 T butter, softened
2 T flour
2 eggs, separated
1 c milk
1 c cooked rhubarb (I cut fresh rhubarb in chunks and boil in a pan of water until very soft)
(I added a sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg and just a hint of cloves to mine and really liked the flavor)

Cream sugar and butter. Add flour and egg yolks, mix thoroughly. Add milk, rhubarb and lastly fold in beaten egg whites. Line glass pie dish with pastry, pour in above mixture.

Bake at 425 F for 20 minutes. Turn oven down to 350 F for 10-15 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between center and crust comes out clean.



Baked Kale Chips

Ok, I know these don't sound delicious.  Or kid-friendly.  But, why would I post it if they weren't?  I promise that if you eat these when they're still warm they are delicious.  And easy.  And kid-friendly.  I found this recipe in Kiwi magazine and tried it out multiple times this summer.  Big hit!  It's become my summer addiction once the kale is ready in the garden...yum!

Here's what you need:

Fresh kale stalks
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt or kosher salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Take out a cookie sheet with a lip around the edge.  Tear off the kale leaves from the stalk and spread them out on the cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with a little olive oil and use some tongs to turn them over, making sure both sides are coated.  I find it best to err on the side of not enough oil and then add a bit more rather than having too much on the pan.  Sprinkle kosher salt over the top.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until the leaves are crisp.  (Ok, the smell isn't amazing, but you have to trust me here!)

Enjoy still warm for the best results.

Sleeping through the night

Thankfully, we have resolved most of our "kid sleeping" issues.

We put Wardie down for a nap and typically, about 5 minutes later, he's out cold. (Except for that one time last week when he was doing laps in his crib and giggling. But, that was a fluke, I think.)

At night, we have a routine of songs and milk in a sippy cup and a binky (yes, I know he's getting a bit old for it) and he goes to bed. And he sleeps. Hard.

I think a few things have contributed to this.

1. We REALLY try to tire him out during the day. Outside play is a MUST and he needs space to run. And run. And run.

2. We have a consistent bedtime routine. Typically dinner, play, bath, more quiet play, binky, milk and songs, bed.

3. (The real key). We stopped listening to everyone else's advice about sleep a long time ago and decided to do what works for our family.

Usually Ward sleeps through the night (about 8:30pm to 7:00am) in his own bed. Except when he doesn't. About every 2 weeks, he ends up in bed with us in the middle of the night for some reason or another. Maybe he had a nightmare. Or he's getting a tooth. Or he just won't go back to sleep in his crib.

We figured out early on that we are not a "cry it out" family. I just can't do it. And Bryan thinks he can, but he can't do it either. And, clearly, Ward doesn't want that. So, we're flexible. When he needs us, he snuggles up in between us and we all love sleeping together. Except when he kicks me and I turn over. Or he pushes Bryan up so close to the wall that he can't sleep at all. But, generally, we just love that snuggly time and wouldn't trade it for anything. But, we also love the nights when he sleeps in his own bed. ALL night. It works for our family.

I have lunch with a great group of moms with young kids at work every month or so. One of the best things I learn from them on a regular basis is that all moms want the same general things for their children: love, happiness, health, good overall behavior, etc. But, each of us travels the road to those ends in such different ways. I love talking about what works for us because it takes away so much guilt and also helps me not to judge other moms.

I'm learning, slowly but surely, to make decisions on what works for us and to enjoy our family.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

In Too Deep

Ok, so I think we've all determined that I'm officially not going to be on any type of schedule when posting here...sigh...

I was listening to my Pandora at work today when a Sum 41 song came on: In Too Deep. Now, I'm not traditionally a huge fan, but this song is so upbeat, even though it talks about sort of a depressing subject...

'Cause I'm in too deep, and I'm trying to keep
Up above in my head, instead of going under

Maybe we're just trying too hard
When really it's closer than it is too far'

I really love it when a song comes on that finds me where I am right now...

Some people call it mommy guilt and others would identify my issues stemming from my perfectionist tendencies, but as a whole, I hate being an underachiever. And, if you really want to see me lose it, find me when I'm feeling that way in all aspects of my life all at once.

Now, don't get me wrong--I LOVE my life. Not just like, really LOVE. But I have those moments when I feel like nothing is being done really well and I'm just sort of operating on half a tank with everything. Not enough time at home with Wardie, not enough time with my husband, no time for continuing education for me, not enough time at work to keep up with the demand, not enough time hanging out with co-workers to develop relationships, not enough time for relaxing, not enough time for cleaning and house upkeep, not enough time for others, not enough time for myself...

Clearly, the contstant here is "not enough time." Does this ever change? Do we ever feel like we have "enough" time? Some people would say that I'm just trying to do too much at once and need to relax. Perhaps. But, when I think about life and what I want to get out of being alive in the world, I want to look back in 30 years and remember all of the things that have happened in my life--I want to do so much that my life feels full or even overfull. After all, who wants to look back and remember the times I was resting...boring!

So, maybe it's just about paring down--working to make sure that I get so much out of life, but that those things include playing in the leaves with Wardie or watching a movie with Bryan or taking a class I'm interested in just because I'm interested in it. Maybe it is about doing as much as possible, but making sure each of those things aren't being done to please others, but because they are meaningful to me and pleasing to God. Maybe if I can line my life up with those principles, I'll stop being overwhelmed and just feel pleasantly tired at the end of each day and, hopefully, at the end of life.