5.11.2015

Weekly Meal Planning

Taco Tuesday - Fish tacos with homemade guacamole 

Wednesday - Beef Stew

Thursday - One Pot Pasta with Veggies

Friday - Pizza or chicken with rice & veggies

And a picture of me wearing a clown nose.


5.08.2015

Friday's Good Reads

Read any good books lately?

Because I just finished a really boring book. It got better at the end but... IT TOOK FOREVER to get through. I think this bitch of a book has been on my bedside table since... December? Maybe?


Drums of Autumn is the 4th in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. If you've seen the Showtime show, then this is the series the show is based on. It took me forever to get through the freaking middle of the book. Up next in the series is The Fiery Cross.



On my Kindle I have waiting for me The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I've only seen good reviews so far, so that's on my list to read next. I'm excited for a mystery novel, I haven't read a good one for awhile (I read Night Film but I just couldn't finish it - there were about 20 pages left and I thought the book had already ended at one part so I just thought "screw it, I'm leaving it and not wasting any more time!"). 

Got any books that you would recommend? Any that you wouldn't recommend? 

*********************

Next on my reading list is to catch up in Blogland. 

Currently I'm loving to read the following:







5.07.2015

Asshole Squirrels

This past weekend I put up a bird feeder.

Well, 4 bird feeders that hand on a stake.

I had to call Bimmer Man at the race track and ask if we had any mallets lying around.

THAT was a little awkward.

I don't think he really heard me when I said, "Well, I bought a bird feeder."

But what I had meant was that I bought a pole that needed to be staked into the ground.

AND THEN I PUT IT TOO FUCKING CLOSE TO THE FENCE.

Those asshole squirrels were HANGING from my bird feeders. I used a baffle and everything. I had never seen squirrels walking on the dog-eared fence before so I thought it was fine.

NO.

MOTHERFUCKERS.

That meant that I had to move the sandbox (which taking out 50 lbs of sand with one small cup and a three year old takes so much time), and dig out the stake and re-pound the damn thing into the ground.

GAH.

THREE HOURS LATER.

My bird feeders are now no longer accosted by flying squirrels. The sandbox is now in the shade during the hottest parts of the day since the neighbors directly behind us had their tree cut down (OMG, I thought it would fall in the next rain storm!).

So our backyard is much improved, and I've filled a few pots in with annuals instead of vegetables so there will be a bit more color in the backyard. I'm thinking we'll get more wildlife this summer without THE MONSTER around (which I'm still a bit upset that he's dead but such is life). I put finch feed into one of the feeders so I'm hoping we'll get to use The Monkey's bird watching book a bit this summer.

GAH.

I can't wait for summer! 90 degree days! Sunshine! Kiddie pools!

4.25.2015

Seedlings

The problem with having a toddler is that they like to get into stuff.

Move things around.

Take the labels off of your seedlings.

Move everything around.

Turn whatever they can.

Put all kinds of seeds into trays.

And generally mess with your shit.

I do not remember what seeds I planted, nor do I remember what seeds are in which tray.

No freaking clue.

Except the herbs. Sort of. The Monkey threw seeds into different planters. I labeled what I did. What The Monkey planted... well, that's a whole different story.

This summer's garden is going to be... interesting...





4.23.2015

Homemade Bread

I somehow ended up ordering a bread machine on Amazon.

I'm not quite sure how, but I was ordering our regular stuff (coffee, toothbrushes, etc...). It was in my "cart" and I have a habit of adding something to my "cart" and leaving it for a week. If after a week I'm still interested, or can't live without it, or it's cheaper than the grocery store, then I buy it. I'm not really one for buying things on a whim anymore. Definitely I'm a frugal person and I really think about what I purchase - comparison shop, etc... 

SO... when this thing showed up on the doorstep I was a bit concerned. I bought it and didn't really look at my Amazon cart.

Oops.

BUT I have been thinking about buying a bread machine since January.

I don't buy bread that often and when I do buy bread I really only want to buy it for a few slices and not a whole loaf. This thing can make 1 lb, 1 1/2 lb, or a 2 lb loaf of bread. AND it can make pizza dough. If there's one thing that I want to do more it's making homemade pizza dough. I used to make it from scratch all the time but I never got the dough quite right. I'm hoping the recipe that comes with the bread machine will be delicious. WE SHALL SEE.


This bad boy is working right now. I'm just starting off with a 1 lb basic white bread recipe. I'll make some grilled cheese sandwiches with it for dinner and see what it tastes like and see how much bread is in a small loaf. I'm hoping that it tastes great. Maybe I'll try a french loaf next week. 

4.22.2015

Trial And Error - Kids Crochet Hats

My goal this year is to use up as much yarn as I have now. That means altering some patterns, maybe making some items that I've been meaning to make for awhile, and in general, just using what I already have. 

Some of the yarn I'm not really a fan of - like variegated stuff where the colors look GORGEOUS all balled up but when you start working with it, it looks like crap. I don't know how to work with variegated yarn to make it look great, except for a few different brands where I know they'll look nice as stripes in a hat or together make a shawl look beautiful. Part of the variegated yarn is that the cheap stuff just looks cheap and handmade. I'm not a fan of it looking like cheap handmade - I'm more of a fan of making items that look like they could be sold in a boutique. 

All of the hats below were absolute trials and experiments. But you can see the green hat with the variegated yarn, it just doesn't look right to me - I used two strands of different colored sock yarn to make it thicker and to make the variegation blend more seamlessly. This yarn I got for free anyway, but still, I need to do more experimenting with the variegated yarn to figure out how to make it look nice and not so cheaply made looking. 

Since I've already weaved in ends, I won't be frogging them but I will put them in a "discount" pile at my next sale. I'm not happy with them all, but that's ok. Sometimes I just need to make something to see if the yarn will work for certain patterns.

The creative process continues...





Dining Room Chair Problem = SOLVED



Finally. We're not sitting on broken antique chairs anymore.

I bought an antique chair that needed some help for $3 (which I lovingly cleaned up, glued back together, and had found sandpaper to start refinishing it), when the Sunday paper came with an ad for 15% of dining chairs at Pier 1 plus a $50 off coupon. 

So Bimmer Man and I picked out chairs.

We ended up with the chairs in the photo above. They're nice and solid. I bought 4 chairs for now - when we have guests I can bring out the antique chairs. No need to buy more than what we need for right now. I bought a sort of surprising finish.

I've noticed the older I get the more I like the wood finishes instead of the solid black or white. Which is fine - I think eventually I would like a reclaimed barn wood dining table anyway, so these chairs will look nice. But that won't be for YEARS. At least until the sticky fingers, playdough, and paint phases are over and done with. So far The Monkey's chair has held up great to food spills, playdough messes and just this morning... the random sticky honey spill. 

WOO HOO!!!

I HAVE DINING ROOM CHAIRS!!!

4.21.2015

Mondays Are Hangover Days

I don't think I've ever talked about the struggles of being a Stay-At-Home-Mom.

Well, maybe I have. But definitely not this one.

Bimmer Man leaves for work between 6:45 and 7:15 in the morning. He gets home between 6:30 and 8:00 at night.

It's a really long day. For both of us. This happens 5 days a week. Most other stay-at-home-parents that I know don't have partners that work this much. Most partners of parents that I know leave at 8:30 and are home by 5:30. That sounds like a dream to me.

Am I complaining that Bimmer Man works too much? No. I'm definitely not - when he decided he wanted to be a lawyer, this is what I signed up for. I knew it. I agreed to it. When we had The Monkey, I knew I was going to be the "primary" parent because he would be working a lot, which is partially why I stay at home - if I worked, The Monkey would be in daycare and neither of us would get to see her much during the day during the work week. What we have now is what works for us and this is what makes us the best parents that we can be.

So when the weekend comes after a really long week, it's a real whirlwind of activity - The Monkey gets her "dad" time since they don't have as much time together during the week. They play, hang out, do a ton of stuff together, work on cars, play Legos, go shopping. We get to hang out as a family together, we see friends, we go to other play places, we are pretty much on the go all weekend long.

Sometimes I go to bed on Sunday night completely forgetting what we did on Friday or Saturday.

Then Monday comes.

The Monkey is pretty much worn out from all the "dad" time she got over the weekend. She's crabby because he's not here. She's irritated because it's "not as fun" without dad. She acts out because she knew she could get away with certain behaviors over the weekend when I wasn't around. She wants the tv on all the time because playing isn't as fun and she's not as creative because dad has been playing with her. It's a seriously irritating day for me.

Mondays really make me question my parenting skills.

Which is why I call Mondays "Hangover Days." Serious hangover from the weekend. Sluggish, irritating, lazy, and headaches abound.

As a stay-at-home-parent sometimes I feel really bad talking about the struggles of staying home because of all the "mommy wars" that you read about on Buzzfeed or blogs or Facebook groups. There's going to be that one person that says "you ungrateful mommy! you get to STAY AT HOME! while I AM WORKING AND AWAY FROM MY CHILD!!" So I'm putting this struggle out there. BECAUSE MONDAYS FUCKING SUCK. It doesn't matter if you have kids or don't. Stay at home or work. Mondays are terrible "Hangover" days for everyone.

Now that it's Tuesday, we're going to have a great day. HAPPY TUESDAY!!!

4.08.2015

2015 Garden Plans

Oy. Gardening. I feel like I have a lot that I want to do but so little time/money to get it all done.

And that's ok.

For right now!

Last year I planted pollinating plants on one side of the boulevard. Unfortunately I didn't get to the people that were re-seeding the construction areas in time so this year I'll be killing grass (naturally) and then adding in more mulch and a few more bee and butterfly friendly plants. So far I've got Bearded Lilies, Daylillies, and some random daisies. I want to move more daisies down to the boulevard and then also plant maybe another rose bush and more Bee Balm. Bee Balm spreads, so I'm hoping that if I move a few stalks when I see them come up in a few weeks, they'll spread for next year. Between plants I'll put down newspaper that I've been saving up to cut down on weeds and then mulch over the newspaper. I'm positive that my neighbors will like mulch instead of newspaper. It has to be somewhat attractive, right???

Then, since Rusty died (sad face here, poor Rusty), he won't be around to kill all the plants in the backyard. He's killed anemones, bee balm, basil, hostas, boxwood bushes, grass, and countless other flowers that I've tried to plant. He was so tall he was even able to pee in pots. That ASSHOLE.

In any case, the Monkey's great-uncle bought her a little gardening kits with seeds that we've started. I've allocated approximately 10 square feet for her little seeds and garden area - since she planted the seeds randomly in the seed-starting kit, it will really be a crapshoot as to what comes up (possibly peas, tomatoes, flowers, or something else, I don't remember). To get that area ready I'm going to need a pitchfork, and the compost from the bin to turn the soil over. We just don't have a big enough area to justify getting or even renting a tiller. No big deal. She can dig in the soil with me.

In the front, I'm going to get more newspaper down in the big beds and cover it with mulch. I've just decided I've really had it with as much weeding as I've done in the past (but not all weeds are bad - a lot of weeds provide food for bugs and birds. Weeds can be a great distraction for pesky insects that would otherwise feed on your nice flowers!). So that should cut down on my "garden work" this year. Plus the mulch that I buy is extremely cheap and pretty much composts back into the ground and helps to make the garden soil better. I'm thinking I'll need close to 20 bags of mulch (not including what will be happening at my mother-in-law's garden, which is also part of the reason why I'm mulching so much at home, we'll be spending a lot of time there this summer getting her house ready for sale).

So garden planning. Yeah. I've got my work cut out for me but that's ok. I LOVE gardening so I don't mind doing all this work. In the end, the flowers bloom and I get to enjoy it all!

4.07.2015

I Want A Giant Metal Chicken Sculpture

Or another giant animal sculpture for my front yard.

I guess I don't really care what animal it is (it could be an alligator jumping out of the front garden), I just want some sort of giant metal animal sculpture. I think most of our neighbors would laugh. Some would frown. At least one would probably call me "That Weird Hippie Lady With The Ugly Sculpture." And that's fine with me.

I JUST WANT A GIANT ANIMAL SCULPTURE.

So I'm buying Bimmer Man a welder for our garage.

Either I will make it myself (and hopefully not burn anything down).

Or Bimmer Man will help me.

Or I will bribe someone with beer.

But come Hell or High Water, I'm getting my giant animal sculpture.