Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Daily To Do list printables...Large Family Logistics style

I found these neat printables for your daily to do list.  I really like that they incorporate the reminders from the Large Family Logistics Yahoo Group. (She now has written a book about her way of keeping home.)

You can find out more about Large Family Logistics at her website or in her book.  My take on her style of home management is that she has applied the FlyLady principles to a large Christian homeschooling family.

 She even has reminders for things like:

  • lay out church clothes 
  • Phonics time since in large families it seems someone is always in the process of learning to read
  • Bible study, praying for your husband, etc
  • find Bibles and shoes
  • clip fingernails of little ones
  • scrub an area of your bathroom while bathing a little one
  • loads (haha) of laundry tips and tricks
  • load up crockpots (yes, plural) Saturday night for Sunday lunch
While I only have 4 children (trust me, in home schooling circles, 4 is a small family), I find that all of her reminders, tips, etc really and truly apply to my home centered life.  She also has a farm, like me and cooks mostly from scratch.  I love that she has little menu plans for lunch.  Seriously, there are days that coming up with a lunch plan is a major issue around here.  As a former teacher, I remember that the little kids at school have the option of a hot lunch every single day and try to at least have hot lunches for them some times.  However, I can never seem to come up with hot lunch ideas that don't also make a huge mess in the kitchen, so that's when I look at her menu plan.  They are all easy, minimum mess dishes.  She also has a crockpot lunch menu that works well too.  Anyway, that's enough about why I love her website and have read it for years.  This past month I stumbled across the Desiring Virtue website and the owner has created the most lovely daily printable to do lists utilizing all of the LFL reminders.  

So I just really wanted to share the printable with you, but I guess I got off on a rabbit trail and turned it into a whole informercial.  Anyway, check out some of these neat internet resources.  Now I better get off the computer and actually put some action to my daily plans.  

Many blessings,
Mrs. P

Friday, July 13, 2012

I can wish can't I???

Some things are getting done, and many, many more are not done.  I'll cross off as I do a few things because unlike my home making binder or a to to list, I won't lose this list.  This week, I hope to focus on our over-abundance of clothes.  I finally have accepted that with 8 years difference between my boys that hand-me downs are not going to work.  Even things like Levi jeans change styles in 8 years.  So that is going to free up some MAJOR space in my boys' closet and will be freeing to me to quit trying to keep it all organized!

So here is my "wish list" of things to accomplish before school starts in August.

Organize my daughter's American Girl Doll Collection.
Clean out the freezers.
Organize my sewing supplies.
Move furniture around and set up my office/school space in the upstairs loft area.
Get Baby C to sleep ALL night long without his 3:30 am songs to Momma from his gated room.
Get Baby C the remaining 10% potty trained.
Repot my house plants.
Finish weeding my flower beds. (actually hubby took the weed eater to them, can I take credit for that???)
Mulch my flower beds in hopes of keeping the weeds at bay in the future.
Have my bedroom carpet cleaned.
Clean my ceiling fans.
Clean my barn!
Redo my stone walkway onto the porch.
Finish the first 5 lessons of Henle Latin. (1 down and 4 to the first 10 lessons of another text for reference sake)
Create Study sheets for weekly Algebra 1 lessons.
Create school supply lists, calendar, etc for Challenge 1 classes.
Spot clean sofas.
Cover my old sofa upstairs with the cool red duck cloth I've had for 3 years now!
Sew the patterns and fabric that I bought a month or so ago.
Wash my windows.
Scrub my porches.
Clean out my shed.
Clean out the children's clothes and hand me downs.
Be consistent about not eating things I'm allergic to.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

what's for supper?

A Family Favorite...or so Southern Living 2006 Annual Recipes says

I had a roast thawed for dinner and planned to make stew, but stew in July isn't all that appealing, even if we have been having record cool temps and rain.  So I grabbed a cookbook from my vast collection and chose page 133 of the 2006 Southern Living Annual Recipe book.  I had all of the ingredients and I knew I could convert the main dish to the pressure cooker.  So here are the recipes and the menu along with my modifications.

Weekday Supper Menu

serves 6

Easy Shredded Beef Over Rice
Seasoned Green Beans
Texas Toast or hot dinner rolls
Warm Cookie Sundaes
(flip to page 141) Key Lime Pie

It turns out their "shredded beef" is really just Ropa Viejo.  To pressure cook yours, bring up to pressure.  Reduce heat and cook under pressure for 1 hour.  Let the cooker pressure release naturally.  It seems like it would be a good candidate for the crockpot as well.

Easy Shredded Beef Over Rice
Prep: 20 minutes  Cook: 4 hours
1 (4-lb.) roast, boneless top chuck
2 t. fajita seasoning
2 T. vegetable oil
2 cans of Ro-tel brand tomatoes with green chilies
1 can of water
4 c. hot cooked rice
2 T. chopped fresh parsley (I skipped this, and think cilantro would be better anyway)

Rub both sides of the roast evenly with fajita seasoning.
Cook roast in hot oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until browned on all sides.
Combine tomatoes and water; pour over roast in Dutch oven.  Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 4 hours or until roast is tender.  Remove roast, and shred using 2 forks.
Skim fat from tomato liquid in Dutch oven, and discard.  Stir shredded beef into tomato liquid.
Combine rice and parsley.  Serve beef mixture over rice.

Seasoned Green Beans
Prep: 15 minutes   Cook: 10 minutes

6 c. water
1 T. Greek Seasoning
1 1/2 lb. thin fresh green beans, trimmed
1 T. butter
1/2 t. Greek Seasoning

Bring 6 cups water and 1 T. Greek seasoning to a boil in a Dutch oven over high heat; add green beans.  Cook 6 minutes or until beans are crips-tender; remove beans, draining well.  Wipe Dutch oven dry with paper towels.
Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add green beans and 1/2 t. Greek seasoning, tossing to coat; cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
*I just did the last steps to home canned green beans from my pantry.

Key Lime Pie
Prep: 10 minutes  Bake: 12 minutes

1 can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
3/4 c. egg substitute
2. t. grated lime rind
1/2 c. fresh lime juice
1 (6oz) reduced-fat ready-made graham cracker crust
1 (8-oz.) container fat-free whipped topping, thawed
Garnishes: lime wedges, lime curls

Process first 4 ingredients in a blender until smooth.  (I used the extra large smoothie setting on my Blend Tec)  Pour mixture into a piecrust.
Bake at 350* for 10-12 minutes or until golden.  Let pie cool completely, and top with whipped topping.  Garnish, if desired.
* I used real eggs (4 small ones), regular sweetened condensed milk, and real whipping cream sweetened with a little sugar.  

I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up! (REPOST)

     After last week, I'm  considering wearing a life alert button.  Even though I'm in my late 30's (well really just mere inches away from 40, but who's counting!) a recent fall showed me that I very well might need one.  You know that someone who lives alone would be the candidate for this, but did you know moms with little children might be as well?  I think they need a new commercial with a mom who has fallen in the dark in the upstairs loft.  And then the video could pan to the husband asleep downstairs with his loud fan in his face, up to the son who is also sleeping soundly with the fan in his face and then back to the mom, laying on the floor writhing in pain, and back to the girls room, where despite a puppy barking and cat pacing, both girls are sleeping soundly.  Yes, that is a whole new market that those life alert people haven't even considered.  And I am here to tell you that this can and did actually happen!

had the baby in baby boot camp
 have been transitioning the baby to his upstairs room from my bedroom.  In order to keep from going up and down the stairs a half dozen or so times a night, I was just sleeping on the couch upstairs.  I do know my limitations enough to know that I can't traverse the stairs in the dark half asleep, without some sort of accident.  I am just a wee bit accident prone, after all.  What I didn't know is that I am equally unsafe on level ground.  The first three nights of baby boot camp the transition went well.  When the baby got up, I would switch on the night light, attend to him and put him peacefully back to bed.  It was the 4th night that did me in.  The baby had actually slept until 3:30.  He slept from 9 pm until 3:30 and that meant that I had also slept more than 3 hours straight.  This was huge.  The baby had a series of ear infections back about 2 months ago and since that time, his sleeping schedule has been deathly less than desirable, thus the baby boot camp transition.  So I don't know if in my state of deep REM sleep, which I had not experienced in quite some time, or just through general stupidity (I don't claim to be overly smart) I decided I could navigate upstairs without the night light.  Very quickly I found out that I could not.  There is nothing quite so bad as knowing that you are falling and there is no way to stop the process.  And unlike when other people explain something as being over in an instant.  This fall was not that way.  It was in slow motion.  First I hit the childcraft encyclopedia and stumbled, only to find the file box with my knee.  At which point, it was all over for me.  I had no way to recover at that point.  I just did the best I could to protect the baby, who was completely safe and survived without a scratch even though I was holding him the entire time.  He only woke briefly to let me know he didn't appreciate our detour on the way to his bed.
     At this point, the puppy is barking like crazy and I'm wailing...just a little...ok a lot.  I kept thinking, my toe is really hurting badly.  I expected with the noise of my fall, the puppy barking, the baby crying, and my wailing that someone would get up and check on me.  Um.  NO.  Not one single human in my house came to my rescue.  The cat did come to investigate, but even the puppy quit barking and went back to sleep.  I called my son for about 5 minutes, before I realized that I would have better luck waking the dead.  Then I called Miss A.  And finally from the dark, I hear, "Yes, ma'am."  I told her to come quickly that I was hurt.  When she walks in she says, "I wondered what that noise was?" Really???  She heard the crash, yet lay silently in her bed???? So I had her turn on the night light so I could see my toe.  Sadly, the toe nail was half on and half off.  I sent her to get Mr. P and very quickly he came upstairs.  And truly, his rising from a deep sleep this quickly was nothing more than miraculous intervention from the Lord.  He does not wake in the night for anything.  So after commenting on my housekeeping and offering me a set of pliers, 
I threw the childcraft encyclopedia at him
 went downstairs to wait until daylight and figure out what to do about my poor toe.
     It turns out that the toe nail had to be removed and I have the utmost respect for podiatrists now.  Especially podiatrists that will come into their office to do such a task on Father's Day afternoon.  May God  bless that doctor!  The rest of my leg is nice shades of black, blue, and green and the toe is still pretty sore.  I guard it with my life, due to certain small people in my home who are determined to step on the poor nailess toe.  And I never ever will sleep without a night light on.  And as soon as my toe can handle wearing anything more than a flip flop, I intend to sleep in tennis shoes for ultimate toe nail protection.  And I might be looking into getting a life alert....just in case...


Sunday, July 8, 2012

How to Potty Train to at least 90%!

Let me just start by saying that if there is one thing I'm the least talented at, it would be potty training.  Now I have many things I do poorly and many things I have learned the hard way, but my abilities in the potty training area rival them all.  With my first, my husband was actually concerned she might have to wear pull ups to kindergarten.  The next two didn't train any better.  

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Apparently, in the first 3 potty training situations, I was insane.  There I said it, but just because I called myself insane doesn't mean that you get to.  You know the saying.  I can talk about my momma, but don't you dare say something ugly about her.  Same goes for me.  So anyway, I did the whole "pull up" thing the first three times.  Can I just say that I really was insane to think that switching to a pull up would in some magical way make the baby learn to use the potty.  Guess what?  A pull up is really a diaper that is marketed to moms who are afraid of poop.Yep.  It's a DIAPER.  Calling it a pull up doesn't make it underwear.  The poor child has absolutely no consequence to doing his business in a pull up.  Sure, they say they have "cool sensations" and other stuff like that, but really it makes to no difference to the baby.  They have spent the last 2 years sitting in their diaper doing their business so a cool sensation, while different, isn't all that effective at "training" the child.  In fact, I realize that it's up to mom to do the training.  So now that I've thoroughly gotten on my soap box about using pull ups to prolong an already dreadful task, let's get on to how I trained my boy to 90% success in a few short days!

Mr. P was headed out of state for 2 weeks of training so I took the opportunity to go into die hard potty training mode.  Due to on and off cloth diaper use with this baby and the lack of televised commercials touting the pull up propaganda, I decided to just go with underwear.  I started to buy the thin regular underwear, but decided I wan't that brave and bought the actual training pants.  They are a little thicker in the middle.  I actually planned on sewing them, but realized that I have not had time for sewing in years, so reality set in and I spent the $8+ per 3 pair at Wal-Mart.  I bought a dozen pair and started on a Sunday afternoon.  I only went to church during the first two weeks and he only wore underwear during the day and cloth diapers at naps and bedtime.  I wanted him to be fully aware of when he was doing his business.  

The first day:

In hindsight, if I had started in the morning, I would have needed 2 dozen pairs of training pants.  Or been on top of things and laundered halfway through the day.  As it is, he started to wear his underwear after lunch, wore a cloth diaper to nap in and then wore his underwear to evening services.  I went to the nursery with him and took him to the potty about every 10-15 minutes consistently.  To help with tantrums, I gave him 1 m&m for going without a fit and another if he was able to pee.  He almost never peed in the toilet this day.  He peed on me at least twice during this time.  By bedtime, all dozen underwear were wet or dirty and I threw them in to soak and wash while I rocked him to sleep.  

The second day:

I followed the same procedure gradually being able to take him about every 20 minutes.  There were many accidents and he was not yet telling me that he needed to go.  However, when he did wet he screamed, "WET!!!!"  He was in shock at how he went from dry and cozy to wet and miserable in a matter of seconds.  Another thing I did was only put a t-shirt and his underwear on.  I saw no need in washing a dozen pair of shorts, socks and shoes along with the underwear.  By the end of day two I saw that I still had 6 clean and dry pair of underwear.  I was SHOCKED!  That was a 50% improvement in 1 day. 

The third day.

By the third day he was starting to get the hang of things.  He didn't have any complaints about sitting on the potty. I weaned him down to 1 m&m per visit because now I just had to remind him to tee tee in the potty and he would go.  I also only took him about every hour.  He liked me clapping and saying good job, because on this day, when he went he would say, "Good Job Mommy!"  By bed time he only had wet his pants 3-4 times.  Seriously.

Days 4- now.

By day 4 he started to tell us he needed to potty and now he almost always tells me when he needs to go.  He either say "potty" or "baffroom."  The one place he is still having trouble is with #2.  In the last week he has only had one tee tee accident, but still is having several poop accidents.  He will start to go and sometimes make it.  Other times, he doesn't completely go in the potty resulting in an accident after he has gone to the potty.  I assume it will just be a matter of time before he gets the timing down on this one.  I also have been using pull ups while we are in town, so I"m going to blame his continued problems with understanding this on the evil pull ups.  ;-)  

So there you have it.  My last child is 90% potty trained and while those first 3 days were pretty hectic, it is way better than the 2 years that I drug out the potty training with the other 3 children.  I started potty training him less than a month ago and he is where the other kids were about a year into the process.  

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Vacation Bible School

Next week, our church will be hosting VBS and I will be teaching the 2nd grade class with Miss J.  I thought I would repost this post from last year's VBS experience.  By the end of the that weekend, every single person in our house had the virus, including Mr. P.  It was a horrific time!  Needless to say, I hope we don't repeat it this year!

The V in VBS Ain't for Vomit!!!

This week we have been enjoying Vacation Bible School at our church.  Since it's 13 miles from my house, I volunteered to help in the nursery so I wouldn't have to make 2 trips each day.  It all started nicely, but then on Tuesday, it happened.  A baby in the nursery vomited.  The lead nursery worker was holding an infant and saying how sweet he was to cuddle with her when BAM...he vomited all OVER her.  I ran and grabbed a can of Lysol in one hand and Clorox anywhere in the other.  The teen worker grabbed paper towels.  We cleaned her up as best we could so she could go home and change.  I then started the sanitation effort.  I say effort, because despite anything I do at this point, the babies are all exposed as are all the nursery workers.  And despite my efforts it is nearly impossible to sanitize an entire nursery, while tending to the remaining 5 babies and toddlers.  I sprayed the carpet with Lysol, put the 9 month old and my 11 month old into exersaucers so they couldn't escape and crawl into the "germ zone."  I got the other babies in another part of the room with toys and then filled the sink with hot soapy water.  I sprayed Lysol on everything in the room just for good measure.  I scrubbed toys. Do you know how long it takes to wash baby Legos, Fisher Price farm and Noah's ark??? Literally hundreds of small toy parts were washed and then sprayed down with disinfectant again.  The next day at VBS we sent another kid home in the kindergarten room.  Of course, that wasn't in my room, I was focused on the toddler that bit 4 times and sort of forgot all about the vomiting.  It seems that toddlers who are at VBS all week and not getting the amount of sleep they need become cannibals.  ;-) Those not protecting the babies from the biter, were very aware that we had another case of the virus.  Craft time was backed up 10 minutes while they cleaned vomit from the floor.  On the way home from VBS, I asked my kids what they learned at VBS and they told me that you can put cat litter on puke and sweep it up.  Not exactly what I had hoped they would learn.  Yesterday, the lead nursery worker's daughter vomited from her classroom all they way to the bathroom.  That took about 30 minutes to clean since it was on carpet.  I know this because my dear Father in Law cleaned it up.  I'm pretty sure that he received sainthood with this task.  Thankfully, the church has a massive steam cleaner that helped in the sanitation effort.  We wished the lead nursery worker luck as she left to take her daughter home.  I got new helpers and we had a pretty good rest of the day in the nursery.  All the babies managed to sleep good the night before and not one child hit or bit.  Around 11:00 the children's pastor brought me bottles of Germ X.  Nothing says love like a free bottle of Germ X.  Wal-Mart was probably concerned when our pastor came and bought them out of Germ X on a quiet Thursday morning.    Around 11:00, the napping babies wake up and are ready for lunch, diaper changes etc.  We all noticed right away that my baby was awake, but quiet.  He didn't smile.  He sat off by himself.  He didn't even play with the balls, his favorite toy ever!  We knew something was up.  We all sat and stared at him waiting for him to spew.  After all, it's apparent that this virus is spreading rapidly and it had begun in this nursery.  The rest of the time at VBS he wasn't his normal self, but no spewing happened.  He did finally play a little and even smile a bit.  We decided that maybe he just didn't get his full morning nap.    After his afternoon nap, he was his normal smiley self.  I thought to myself, "Oh Good!  We escaped the tummy bug"..UNTIL 4 am.  And at 4 am, he finally spewed.  I was awakened from a dead sleep with the nearly silent vomit of a sleeping baby.  A sleeping baby in my bed, of course.  I flew into action.  I turned on the lights and screamed, "We have vomiting!!!"  Mr. P flew out of bed, grabbed towels and washcloths.  He is amazingly quick and agile at 4 am.  Just remember, though,the key word is "vomit."  Any other word you say at 4 am will only result in further snoring on his part.  I got the baby cleaned up and was rocking him.  Mr. P was attempting to go back to sleep.  I looked at my poor sick Baby C.  Kind of like a cat hacking up a hairball, his little tummy was visibly lurching.  His face was pale and grimaced.  He would fall asleep, only to wake with this petrified look on his sweet baby face.  Around 5 am the last of his stage 3 Gerber Nutritious Dinner came up.  ( I kid you not, Gerber actually prints nutritious dinner on the jar!)  After that he slept until about 8:15.  So far we have only had one instant of dry heaving, but no more puke yet.  I'm taking full advantage of the lull to wash bedding and get it back on the beds before the next wave hits.  Miss A is headed to a youth conference tonight so we are praying that she doesn't come down with the virus while she is there.  Mr. P is on call in case I come down with it or the other kids come down with it while they are at VBS this morning.  My morning plans include getting the bedding back in his crib and my bed and if time permits, a bleach dip for the entire household.  What do your morning plans include this lovely Friday morn? Does anyone have hints on how to dip my entire household in bleach in  record time?
Mrs. P

Friday, July 6, 2012

Top 10 things that occupy my time....

I know that all 2 or 3 ... heck, who am I kidding...I think the one person who reads this blog  (Thanks Daddy!), might be wondering what I've been up to lately since I obviously haven't been here is my list, Top 10 style.

10. Packing clothes for various youth camps, business trips, 4-H camps, and preteen camps.
9.  Washing mountains of laundry from said travels.
8.  Potty Training Baby C to about 90% (more on that in a later post...with my track record, 90% ROCKS!)
7.  Training to be a Classical Conversations Challenge 1 Tutor and/or having information meetings
6.  Reading Challenge 1 literature, the Core, Teaching the Trivium and Henle Latin. Hint: don't read Latin just before bed ;-)
5.  Making Paleo diet food or other "healthy" treats and then throwing them away
4.  Did I mention laundry? and ironing? and dishes? and mopping? well, not mopping, but I should have been
3.  Picking up legos.
2.  Weeding my overgrown flower beds.
1.  Cleaning a dumped container of _______ off of ___________.  If you guess coffee, ovaltine, shampoo (x4), toothpaste or sunscreen off of floor, counter, new ottoman, or carpet, then you get BONUS points!

So what kinds of adventure is your summer bringing?

Mrs. P