Just Because

I've spent large portions of this week tending to a sick/teething 9 month old and trying to nurture my 22 month old, all the while trying to keep our schedule as "normal" as possible (of course, with two under two, normal is extremely subject to change at the drop of a hat!). I can't even begin to tell you what all we've done this week because we've been home so much and our outings have been rather spontaneous. But, this week has included several visits with Gramma, attending Mom to Mom yesterday, and this morning an outing to Gramma's and to the mall for a walk.

Erin is a very "roll-with-the-punches" child, that it doesn't take much to keep her content and happy. Patrick, however, loves to explore. Therefore, my original intent for the day was to take the kids on a stroll through the cemetery (a really nice place to walk, actually!). But, it was on the verge of raining. So, I called Mom to see if she could keep Erin for her morning nap while I took Patrick to the mall for a walk/exploration. Of course, Mom takes full advantage of any opportunity to see her grandkids - I think she likes seeing me a little, too :-p - so she readily agreed.

I left Erin with Mom and off Patrick and I went to the mall. We walked (well, Patrick was in his umbrella stroller) around and around, exploring every niche in the mall there was to find. Patrick was enthralled as he sat, mostly silently, taking it all in. Every now and then, he might say "Oh WOW!" or babble in a language only understood by him, but it was a very nice mommy-Patrick date. After our exploration, we went back to Gramma's house for a short visit before I needed to get the kids home for their naps.

(Just yesterday, Patrick wailed as we pulled out of their driveway when I dropped Erin off before M2M... he wanted to go in, too! - So, I figured it was only fair to let him go in and explore there for a while, too. Besides, a visit with Mom is always nice!)

Tonight marks the arrival of another Scrabble Night. Daniel and I love Scrabble Night and are definitely looking forward to our date night at home. :)

All-in-all, it has been a good week - tiring, yes. But good. Thankfully, Erin seems to be on the mend, Patrick has nothing worse than a cough and I get to spend a relaxing evening at home with my husband. What more could I ask for? God is good!


"Guck - a - boo!"

Patrick still loves to play peek-a-boo... Here is a very short video of him playing this game. "Guck-a-boo" (rhymes with "duck") is his pronunciation of it. :)

(Sorry the video is blurry... I guess I didn't get it to focus properly before I started taping.)


Lentil Soup

I apologize for the severe lack of posting this week. We have been busy, but it has been a week full of joy and God's blessings. :) I hope to put up a proper post tomorrow or Saturday, but until then, this easy, yummy recipe will have to do.

Lentil Soup (6-8 servings)

1/2 lb (1/2 a bag) dry lentils
5 cups water
5 cups beef bouillon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
garlic salt, to taste - optional
2 teaspoons canola or olive oil

1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
1 large white onion
8oz tomato sauce
1lb bag frozen sliced carrots or 1lb fresh carrots, sliced
1 cup skim milk, reserved

In mid-size pot, combine first 7 ingredients (lentils-olive oil). Bring ingredients to a steady simmer and allow to simmer 15-20 minutes or until lentils have approximately doubled in size and are beginning to soften. In blender or food processor, puree 2 cups of the lentil mixture until relatively smooth. Return pureed mixture to pot. Add brown rice, onion, tomato sauce and carrots. Reduce to low-med heat and continue cooking another 30-60 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until rice appears to be cooked. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a while. Mix in milk once soup is no longer heavily steaming. Serve warm with pita bread or topped with sour cream.


Scrabble Night/Valentine's Day

Today is Friday - marking another Scrabble Night! However, since V-day is tomorrow, Daniel and I have chosen to change things up a bit for this evening. This evening, we're taking the kids to Panera Bread for dinner and then we might go walk around the mall for a while. Once we've gotten home and put the kiddos to bed, we'll probably watch 24 online. So, it won't be a true Scrabble Night, but it should be fun.

Daniel - I love you!!!!!


Cleaning Drains

I figured it was time for another "practical" post, so here is something I tried recently.

The other day, I noticed that our bathroom drain was looking a bit icky - I clean the sink and surrounding area at least once weekly, sometimes more - but drains totally gross me out. So, I was thinking of ways to try and avoid any kind of "hands on" cleaning approach to this.

Of course, my two favorite household staples came to mind - baking soda and vinegar. :) I grabbed the box of baking soda and my 1/2 gallon of vinegar and scampered back to the bathroom and proceeded to generously dump baking soda on and around the drain area. I added vinegar and witnessed that beautiful bubbling reaction. I repeated several times until the gunk right inside the drain was no longer noticeable.

All things considered, this worked beautifully. Sure, it may not be a super-thorough job, but I now deem the nastiness at least somewhat sanitized and minimized. And, best of all, I didn't have to touch any of it. :)


*Bump!* Erin's Newest Expression (with video)... priceless

And, now, the video showing the entirety of the facial expression - captured just today. :)


How to be productive with a busy (not to mention, tiring!) schedule...

I've never been much of a list-maker, but I grew up in a home where I saw my mom make a list or two on a regular basis. So, list-making is ingrained in my brain somewhere, though it may look a bit different to me than it might for someone else.

I've mentioned in the past that I am out of the house 3 mornings/week with my commitments to CBS and M2M. Of course, I wouldn't trade these commitments for anything, but they do make being productive a bit more challenging. What I've come to learn is to set modest goals for the days I am gone most of the morning. On the days I'm out, I usually make "mental lists" that look something like this...

1. Unload dishwasher
2. Feed, clean, and dress kids
3. Wash and dry laundry (I did not say fold or put away!)
4. Play with kids
5. Tell Daniel "I love you"
6. Make dinner
7. Clean up from dinner
8. Do not burn down house

By simply making a basic list of "must do's", in my mind, I am able to be productive on even the busiest of days. I suspect if you follow a similar principle, you will find that you can be productive on your busy days, too.