Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas is over and all the decorations are put away for another year. Maggie is all set up to be a bag lady with her shopping cart and Will has more Play-Doh toys than he knows what to do with. Tyler and Will made a creepy looking snowman which has mostly melted. Tyler has the rest of this week off so he is going to paint and work in the kitchen.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The last few days I have been working on taking the wallpaper off in the kitchen. It's coming off easily and it's almost done except for the ceiling which I hate doing because it kills my shoulders and neck. Tyler is going to do the rest of it for me. We haven't been outside since Sunday and I'm debating whether or not I should get the kids dressed and go to the library after Rachael Ray. I made buckeye candies a couple days ago and they are so good. I am going to make a peanut butter mousse cake to take to my parent's house on Saturday and the buckeyes are going to go on top of it. We are going to celebrate Christmas with them this weekend.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

We took a different approach to pictures today. I told the photographer to be very subtle when taking pictures of Maggie. By the time she started snapping pictures, Maggie was somewhat comfortable with the room and the presence of a stranger. So we got some good pictures of the kids.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My mom is here for the night and one of the things we have done the past couple of years is a gingerbread house. I do not like to have to actually make the gingerbread so I have been experimenting with graham crackers houses(last year) and this year my friend Emily showed me a rustic log house made out of pretzel sticks. It looked so cute and easy in the book, but alas, my gingerbread(pretzel house) would be put on the neighborhood blight watch if there was such a thing for gingerbread houses. We didn't even finish putting all the candy on because it was falling down a little bit every time another jujube was attached. Will said my house was great and that is all that matters, right? It's sitting on the stovetop right now and Maggie keeps on climbing on the drawer under the oven and picking little pieces of frosting and chunks of pretzel off. We also decorated the tree. It's nice to have my mom around while we are doing that or I think the kids would overwhelm us. I would not decorate my house at all if it wasn't for Tyler's great disapproval of such grinchiness. I get into holiday baking and food, but not so much into the decorating. Tomorrow we are going to get the kid's pictures taken, though I don't know why we even try with Maggie. She's such a little screamer. She won't even go into the Picture People willingly. Will is a good little cheeser, though there were a couple years where he was like Maggie.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Yesterday we went to Castleton Mall to kill some time. Will loves to go there because of the park area in the food court. Holiday shopping is obviously in full swing because there were people waiting outside of Macy's when I got there. I have been trying to think of ideas for Tyler's Christmas presents. He recently bought himself a saw and declared that that would be his present, but then seemed disappointed later when I brought that up.

It was a good day to visit the mall because they were handing out Bliss chocolates at at least 3 places in the mall. So I got some free chocolate which is always a bonus. We ate at Chick-fil-a and got a Blizzard, so we all went home happy. But, no presents.

Tyler is busy trying to hang our over-the-range microwave. He's been working on that for a couple weeks now and seems to feel confident that it is just about ready. He had to build a cabinet from which the microwave hangs so he finally got to use his woodworking tools in the basement.

Here is a squash recipe that I love:
Sauteed butternut squash with ginger and orange
2 tsps vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups shredded butternut squash
4 tsps minced fresh ginger(I used a lot less since we don't like ginger much)
1 medium shallot, minced
1 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsps sliced fresh chives or green onions
2 tsps butter
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Cook squash, ginger, shallot 2-3 minutes or until squash begins to wilt, stirring frequently.
2. Add OJ and salt, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook 5-7 minutes or until squash is tender but retains some texture. Remove from heat. Stir in all remaining ingredients.

I also happen to be a big fan of brussels sprouts, in spite of their bad reputation. I melted a couple tablespoons of butter, threw a bag of halved sprouts in, salted them and seared them, then baked them in a 375 oven for about ten minutes.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Here are some Halloween and fall pictures. Maggie did not cooperate with her costume on Halloween, so she ended up staying home with my dad and watching him hand out candy. But Will had a blast running from door to door with Ethan and Kailyn. Will was Peter Pan and Maggie was a witch. Of course they loved decorating cookies with my mom. Maggie's lips and tongue were black after she ate some frosting. Because of the beautiful weather we went to the park a few times this week and of course now Will is running a temp. I swear I put hand sanitizer on when we get into the car and give their hands a good 20 second washing with soap when we get home, but they still get sick. Both my kids puke whenever we try to give them Tylenol or Motrin from the bottle so if they won't drink a doctored cup of juice we have to give them suppositories. It is kind of difficult to give an almost 4 year old one of those. He screams and squirms and tells me later that he doesn't like those pointy things. Too bad, buddy.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The first phase of our kitchen renovations is done. We had a new countertop installed and a dishwasher. The past year and a half without a dishwasher hasn't been that bad. I don't mind doing the dishes by hand. What I mind is trying to do the dishes and take care of two kids that need something every 30 seconds or are clinging to my legs, screaming. Hopefully the dishwasher will streamline things. Tyler is going to take care of the gap left by taking the two cabinets out and replacing it with a smaller dishwasher. We're thinking a pull-out trash can or vertical cookie sheet storage.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Maggie has finally gotten 2 more teeth. She has had only 4 teeth for the past 5 months and now she has two molars on her right side. You can see the rest of her teeth right under the surface but they are taking their sweet time.

We have been enjoying time outside the past couple of days. This is the coldest October I can remember, but then again, I do have a terrible memory. I HATE having to get coats and shoes and hats on the kids and trying to stuff them in their car seats every time we go out. It makes me just want to stay home.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The past few days I have been working on bringing my tropical plants indoors. Over the past year or two I have kind of gone a bit crazy on buying tropical plants. When we moved into our house I was always kind of jealous of those green thumbs in our neighborhood who had lush jungles on their front porch during the summer. Walmart has cheap tropicals so everytime I went there I would end up buying another. Now that it's cold out I have to bring them in and I am having a bit of trouble finding sunny places to put them. You would think that with all the windows we have that it wouldn't be a problem, but I can't stand the thought of the sun beating in and bleaching our floors. Oh well, I might just have to suck it up. I went to my favorite lawn and garden place, Frady's, yesterday because they always have fabulous ceramic pots 50% off at the end of the season. I got two for my larger plants and I love them. My plants are going to be sad to be indoors. They always get so anemic looking during the winter.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The past 5 days Will and I have been dealing with a cold. I think it is about over now, thank goodness. Will absolutely hates to have his nose wiped and he starts screaming if you try to get him to blow his nose. Myself, I have probably gone through 4 rolls of toilet paper, trying to keep my nose in check. I adopt an attitude of hopelessness when it comes to trying to keep illnesses from the other child. I still let them share food and drinks and touch the same toys. I think it is pointless to follow the sick child around, washing their hands after every time they sneeze or cough and spraying everything with Lysol. I sometimes will put hand sanitizer on them but they always put their hands in their mouths to taste it and I can only imagine how awful that is.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Yesterday we went to two festivals, Mississinewa 1812 and the Riley Festival. The 1812 festival focused on the war of 1812 as fought in this area. Before we left I asked Will if he wanted to go see soldiers fight and he freaked out so I had to tell him we were going to Target. When we got there he complained a bit, but soon started to enjoy the seeing the cannons being fired at the river battle. It was very muddy out and the whole festival was on rough terrain so I didn't use the stroller. I had to carry Maggie about 2/3 of the time. The rest of the time I coaxed them along with Goldfish and other treats. After we left that festival we went to Nanny & Poppy's house for a visit and then came home. We went to Riley Days for dinner where they had the usual fair food vendors.

Have you ever kept a food journal? I find it is helpful when my weight is on the upswing. But there are some days when I just would rather not document what I ate. I will give you a sample of the foods I ate yesterday of which I am very ashamed.

1 pork chop

1 cup of apple cider

1 medium frybread with cinnamon sugar and apple butter

1/2 bag of popcorn with delicious sugar coating

1/3 of a bloomin' onion

a few bites of gyro meat

2 chocolates and 1/4 of a red velvet cupcake

So you might say I ate my way through two festivals yesterday. And how do you think I felt last night? Pretty sluggish and bloated on top of the fact that I smelled like wood smoke and carnies. But I slept well and will try to make up for my poor diet yesterday by eating better today.

Monday, September 21, 2009

This weekend we went to the Indy Irish fest on Friday night. It was pretty fun, we ate, listened to some bands, watched a sheepherding exhibition, and saw the biggest dog I have ever seen. It was an Irish wolfhound, and it was as large as a pony. It was ugly, too. But there are always weirdos out there that have a soft spot for animals like that. On Saturday Will and I went to "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs". We have the book and love it for it's clever story and wonderful pictures, but I can't recommend the movie. Definitely a rental. I love taking Will to stuff like that. He gets so excited. He told Maggie about 20 times that she wasn't allowed to come, she was too little. I'm starting to think he would rather be an only child.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Yesterday on our way to church, I had put Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" into the CD player. Will must have been listening because he said "This is like Elmo's Christmas movie". I had to laugh, but I was a little annoyed because he only knows this wonderful music because Elmo dresses up as a nutcracker and dances to it. Oh well...at least I know he is listening. We need to start watching what we say and do. A month or two ago and Pepsi truck pulled up to us at a light. The only thing on the truck was the Pepsi symbol and Will pointed it out as a pop truck. I guess marketing really does work.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I am enjoying one of those rare mornings when the kids sleep in and I get to be lazy, watching tv and playing on the internet while drinking a pop and eating chocolate chips(I already ate breakfast). It feels so much more deliciously indulgent because at any moment the kids could wake up and end my fun. We went to my parent's house this weekend and went to a book party at my sister's home and a bridal shower the next day for my cousin. Just one more cousin left to be married after her! Tyler stayed home and with the help of a handy friend, wrestled our huge window air conditioners out and took them to the dump. The one in our living room had a bird family living in it! The windows are in great need of some love so that may be our fall project. The weather has been lovely and we've been so lucky with the cool temperatures this summer. Thanks el Nino!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My baby is growing up! This morning she woke up at 8:10 (a record for my children). This was the first day ever that she hasn't taken a nap. The past couple of weeks I have been limiting her naps to about 30-45 minutes so that she isn't still awake at 9:30 and now I think she might be changing her sleeping habits herself. Will was 20 months before he stopped taking naps. Maggie isn't yet 17 months yet. I happen to like the non-nap schedule. But it does mean that if we go anywhere after 11 in the morning I have to try hard to keep her awake, even on a short car ride. I have also weaned her pretty much completely. Will was easy to wean at 16 months, but Maggie has been a lot harder. She still cries "bahboo" and pulls at my shirt. Definitely time to be weaned.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The vegetable pushers are out in full force right now. You know them...they stand in the church parking lot and shove bags of zucchini and cucumbers as big as your calf (you know they keep the small ones) and tomatoes that would feed a family in Africa for a week. I used to be one of them until I realized I would let others grow those vegetables for me and I would only grow the ones that I could eat myself. Well, here's a recipe I found that could help you deal with a couple of the giant zucchini you have sitting by your back door.

Zucchini Ribbon Pasta Salad with Parmesan Curls

3-4 medium-large zucchini (2 lbs) (I used two large zucchini but didn't use the seedy parts)
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp salt,divided
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp pepper
4 oz. cooked fettucine (if you wanted to be a raw foodie, you would omit this and use more zucchini)
1/3 cup julienned fresh basil
1 tbsp grated lemon peel (i didn't use this)
2 oz Parmesan chz, shaved into curls

1. With vegetable peeler, shave zucchini into long ribbons
2. With side of chef's knife, mash garlic and 1/2 tsp salt of the salt on cutting board into paste. Combine zucchini ribbons, garlic paste, oil, lemon juice and pepper in large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
3. Cook and drain fettucine, cool.
4. Toss zucchini mixture with basil, lemon peel and remaining 1/2 tsp salt. Add fettucini, toss. Add cheese curls.
Last night I went to see the new movie "Julia/Julie". It was about a blogger named Julie who tried every recipe in a Julia Child cookbook during the course of a year and blogged about it. I've often looked in my cupboard full of cookbooks and wondered how many recipes I have. It would take a lifetime to try all of them.

This afternoon at the garden plot as I was racing to the playground set to save Maggie from falling to her death a bee got in my sandal and stung my big toe. I screamed like a baby from fear/disgust/pain until I got the stinger out. That is the last time I ever wear sandals in an area that contains bees. Fortunately, I've entered the stage in my life where my feet need extreme support from tennis shoes. I understand the Mennonite women who boldly wear long skirts with their sneakers. I used to get a chuckle out of them, but now I have only sympathy.

Monday, August 10, 2009

On Saturday we went to the State Fair. The only other time I've gone was in 2005 when we went to see Garrison Keillor and Prairie Home Companion. This trip was a little different since we have kids now. We went first thing in the morning because it was going to be in the 90's that day. It was fun to see all the animals and the other exhibits. The kids had a great time, especially Maggie because she loves to see animals. That morning I made a vow not to eat any fair food, but I promptly broke that vow with a peach drink, then maple sugar candy, tenderloin, and funnel cake. But hey, we only go to fairs twice a year, right? I probably would've eaten more(freshly fried potato chips, chocolate covered bacon?), but Will was getting really cranky so we left.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Ox

Have you ever found a song that could be your own theme song for the particular stage of life you are in? Ever since Pioneer Day when we sang "The Oxcart" in Primary I have felt like that describes my life. The imagery is especially strong when I am pushing the kids in the stroller or pulling them in my bike trailer. "Here comes the oxcart, oh how slow! It's pulled by an ox, of course, you know. The wooden wheels creak as they roll along. Creak, creak, creak, creak is their song." It's one of the very, very few songs in both the hymnal and the children's songbook that ends in a minor key.

Last week I pulled out my fondue kit that I got for Christmas 5 years ago and never used and we did fondue. I made a very pleasant discovery that I can actually use it as a deep fat fryer. So, I made homemade donuts yesterday (perhaps a contributing factor to my ox-i-ness). They were so delicious fresh from the hot oil. I rolled them in cinnamon sugar. I think that fresh homemade donuts must be one of my very favorite things.

Friday, July 31, 2009

We got back on Wednesday from our trip to French Lick. We had a good time, for the most part. The hotel at West Baden was amazing. It's worth a trip down there just to tour it and the grounds. The second night we stayed at an indoor water park hotel. Will had a blast in the water park. It would have been more fun if Maggie hadn't been with us since she didn't care much for the water park, but we still had a good time. Tyler and I agreed that 2 nights is about all we can handle of vacation right now. Maggie didn't sleep well and that always makes for an unhappy mama during the day. The scenery down in southern Indiana is so much different than in central Indiana. It didn't even feel like we were in the same state. Driving up and down hills and the curving roads made me terribly carsick. I never got carsick when I was a kid, but since I entered my teen years I've had it quite frequently. I took Dramamine on the way home and I almost could not function for the next 24 hours. I did sleep well, though. We went on a 2 hour train ride through Hoosier National Forest and the surrounding areas and that was really cool. Will loved being on the train and Tyler and I loved the scenery of the forest. Maggie was the only who didn't much care for it and I can't wait till she's older and can do more things.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tyler is finally done with his MBA! We are so excited! It's been 3 long years since he started. We are taking a mini vacation next week to celebrate. We are going to stay at the West Baden Springs Hotel in French Lick (don't even want to know how they came up with that name!) for one night and then we are going to stay at a hotel that has a water park in it the next. We plan on going to the railroad museum (for WIll's sake) and go on a choo-choo ride. I can't wait to see the West Baden hotel. It is a restored hotel that has a huge dome on it.

This Saturday is our 6th anniversary. We are going to eat in downtown Indy and walk around and pretend to be city folk for an hour. Yippee! Our first date this year!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

On Sunday night, we went for a walk as a family with Will riding his tricycle. He broke his bell and spent the next 30 minutes screaming, "my bell, my bell!" over and over again even as he was drifting off to sleep. We went to Target the next morning and I gave him the choice of a clown horn or a bell. He chose the far louder and more annoying clown horn. I let him keep it with him on the 20 minute car ride home and he managed to keep Maggie awake the whole time. I put it on his trike and we took a walk with him tooting his horn the whole time. I would feel bad about disturbing our neighbors in such a fashion if it weren't for their extremely annoying dogs that bark day and night.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I'm back online! Tyler changed the password to log on our wireless internet and I have been too lazy to put it into my computer myself and I finally got him to put in. I was busy finishing my Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian the past month or so. Those are probably my favorite books now. It is a series of 21 books and the quality of the stories and the humor is consistent throughout all of them. In other series I have read I have found that after the first couple of books, the storyline gets pretty stupid and the characters get annoying. Not with these books. I actually got a little teary-eyed when I checked my last 3 books from the library.

I also finished reglazing and painting my dining room windows. That felt pretty good but I am going to start the windows on the west side of our house now. THose windows get a lot of sun so the paint and putty is cracking and peeling.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Yesterday, we went and bought a Father's Day gift for Tyler. It was a gas trimmer with an edger attachment. Needless to say, he wasn't too impressed. There is nothing I love better than perfectly edged sidewalks. I hate grass and weeds growing over onto the concrete. The gift screams "work" and I think Tyler is getting sick of work related gifts (the trashgrabber, for example). I wasn't the only woman who wanted to send her husband a message; there were two other women in the Sears appliance store getting manly gifts, too. Then I think about gift presentation. It is more fun to get a nicely wrapped gift as opposed to someone telling you, "It's in the trunk". I should make more of an effort in that direction but I am terrible at wrapping.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

It seems like I haven't blogged or even been on the computer for a long time. Computer use must be a cold weather hobby for me. What have I been doing the past few weeks? I went to the Indy Parade of Homes the past two Saturdays. If there is one thing I love, it's seeing other peoples houses. I definitely get it from my Mom who is also a house peeper. I love to see how homes are decorated and see the newest trends, even if I can't have them in my home. That's very true of the homes I saw on the Parade. The most expensive home I visited was 3.7 million dollars. I often wonder what kind of lifestyles people who can afford homes like that have. What do they do with all that space? Certainly they don't have children because even one kid takes you down a few notches as far as money is concerned. Oh well.

I've also been slowly working on my windows. I got all the paint off the frame and I've caulked it. I just have to paint it now and then start working on the sashes, getting all the old glazing putty and paint off those.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Maggie's bikini bod. No dieting needed for her!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Another week has gone by. Tonight is Tyler's 2nd class out of the 10 that he has to go to. We are truly at the end of his MBA! This past weekend was nice, nothing out of the ordinary. We had planned on inviting people over for a cookout on Monday but when the first family turned down our offer, we got lazy and decided to have no one over. But fortunately, Nanny & Poppy came down to eat with us and visit the kids for a little bit, so we weren't too bored on our holiday.

Maggie is walking further and further every day. I know from sad experience that I will still have to carry her around for a couple more years, which I am getting mighty tired of doing. I think she is also getting her second tooth now that she is almost 14 months old. I don't mind about that since I hate brushing kids' teeth.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Last week we went to my parent's house in Goshen. Had a good time hanging out with the fam. Did some shopping, watched "Doubt" which was a very good movie, and got a bit of time away from the kids. Tyler starts his classes tonight. We went to our garden plot this morning and as always the kids ended up in tears and I in frustration. Must I entertain them at all times? I started a outdoor summer project this afternoon. The paint on the windows that are exposed to strong sunlight is starting to peel and crack, as well as the putty that holds the panes in. I started scraping the paint off, but not all of it came off so I am going to have to get some chemicals to help me. Two years ago I did all the putty on our steel casement windows in our old house so I am relatively familiar with windows. That was a huge project that took up most of my summer and our new house has twice as many windows. That's what I get for buying an old house.

Tyler's 30th bday is tomorrow and I actually got him some presents. I already gave him one of them. It was a trash grabber. Living on Main Street/US 40 means there is always trash in our front yard. Last week while I was weeding I found a Black Cat condom wrapper(fortunately the condom was nowhere to be found), a balled up sweat sock, and numerous candy and beef jerky wrappers. I left them all for Tyler to pick up since he now has his trash grabber. I told him that I bought him a present on our Sony card and he looked up the company but couldn't figure out why I would buy him something from a janitorial site. Hey, I never said I was a good gift giver. I have a couple small gifts to give him, but none so cool and useful as the trash grabber.

Monday, May 11, 2009

This past weekend we went to Chicago overnight. This is the first vacation we have taken as a family ever. We've gone places with my parents, but we have never gone anywhere as the Ellis's, family of four. We had a great time. We went to Navy Pier on Friday night. By the time we got there, Maggie was starting to get really cranky so we power-walked the 2 or 3 miles back to our hotel. Trying to maneuver the double stroller in crowds is not easy and we side-swiped a blind man. That made me feel really bad, but at least he didn't know who did it. Tyler and Will brought some food from a hotel restaurant and we ate our second deep fried meal of the day. Maggie took a few steps for an onion ring. We went to Shedd aquarium first thing on Saturday and took a quick tour of that. We were there only about 1.5 hours, but that was enough for the four of us. We were all getting cranky. We ate lunch at a dairy farm called Fair Oaks Farms that caters to tourists. I wanted to take a tour of the dairy because one of their promotions is that you get to see baby cows being born. Tyler has seen both of our children being born and for him that was two too many. Someday I will see a calf being born!

For Mother's Day Tyler played with the kids much of the day so that I would have some me time. He grilled some chicken and then did the dishes. It was a lovely day!

Monday, May 4, 2009

We got such a kick when Will got in the doll stroller and wheeled up to Maggie. She knew what to do! This is a favorite activity for the two. I don't think that Will's 27 pounds puts too much stress on the stroller.
This past week we finally completed our bedroom furniture set by getting the headboard. Today's Bedroom One was liquidating and we went and bought it. Now our bedroom looks a little more complete. We still haven't hung any pictures on the walls or put up any drapes, but I think we will do that once T is out of school.
This year I decided I was actually going to buy some annuals and put them into planters. I have been looking around for some coleus plants that are cheap but haven't found any. I went to the Home Despot this morning and was again disappointed when I found the plants were almost $5 for a small pot. The 8-packs weren't much better and after a busy planting weekend all the healthy looking plants were gone. I think I will start more annuals from seed next year. When we moved last year I was able to dig up a miniature rose before we left and it did beautifully in the pot last year. I put it in the ground over winter and it survived so I think I am going to dig up a few more of the existing mini rosebushes from our gardens and use those in our planters. The rosebushes of death(named for the overabundance of thorns) already have tons of buds on them and I can't wait to see all the blooms. I am not digging those up, though, because my hands would be torn up even with canvas gloves on.

Monday, April 27, 2009

This is Tyler's last week of classes for the semester. Yippee! He has to finish a couple finals this Saturday and then he will have two weeks off before his class starts for the summer. After his summer class he will graduate. We can hardly wait to start doing stuff together again. On Saturday Tyler finished his work in the afternoon and he took the kids to the park for an hour. Then we went to Walmart for some hamburger supplies and a kite. We got this really cool Macaw shaped kite but we couldn't fly it. Does anyone know how to fly a kite? Are we just incompetent outdoor activity people? It was certainly windy enough, but the bird just kept on crashing down. Will started to freak out because he wanted to be the one to hold the string, so our attempts to spend some time outside together ended in tears. We went home and Tyler made his delicious burgers and we put the kids to bed and watched a movie. We are pretty good at watching a movie. The last two nights the kids have slept wonderfully, therefore I have slept wonderfully, too. Will slept for a full 12 hours Saturday night, went to bed on SUnday around 8:45 and slept all through the night again and woke up at 6:30 this morning. No accidents, either! Maggie even slept through the night last night, but she went to bed at 9:15 and woke up around 6:30, too. I am always amazed at how much happier I am when I get a good night's rest. I wish it would happen every night.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I wonder what I have been doing the past couple weeks. No major projects, only a few books, a few movies. Who knows where the time has gone? We did have Easter at the Ellis house, an Easter egg hunt, another Easter egg hunt with Yammy and Grandpa. Will loves searching for his toys and candy. M&M's at 75% off at Target! I stocked up, of course. Can't resist the 75% clearances. Peanut butter ones, too! Bonus! My favorite toy Will got is the bug vacuum, but Will is afraid of bugs, so he freaks out when I try to show him the bug I have sucked up. I have sucked up a spider and an ant so far. I have also been trying to combat a nasty case of cradle crap on Maggie's head and I can't seem to get her hair from looking oily. I think I will need to douse her head a few more times before it's gone.

I planted a row of mesclun mix salad seeds last week. THey were seeds left over from last year so I don't know if they will grow. I was feeling kind of bad that I hadn't visited my garden plot yet, but only one other gardener had planted a row of what looked like broccoli, so I didn't feel so bad. I started some basil seeds inside and I think some of them will make it. I left the clear plastic lid on during one of the really hot days and about half of them got scorched.

I went with my parents to Architectural Antiques in Indy this weekend. A junk collector's dream! They had some really neat stuff that's been salvaged from old houses.

THe kids are both crying, so I must cut my posting short.

Monday, April 6, 2009

We stocked up on black beans during our last canning session. We love them! Here is a great recipe. Just use a couple cups of cooked beans for the can of beans here.

Cornmeal-Crusted Black Bean Cakes
1 (16 oz.) can black beans, drained (not rinsed)
4 green onions, finely chopped
½ cup diced red bell pepper
½ cup corn flakes, crushed or unseasoned dry bread crumbs
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp Ancho chile powder or chili powder
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp garlic powder
1-3 dashes hot pepper sauce
1/3 cup cornmeal
2 tbsp olive oil
1. Combine all ingredients except cornmeal and oil in medium bowl; refrigerate 1 hour.
2. Place cornmeal in large shallow bowl. Shape bean mixture into 6 (3-inch) patties, using 1/3 cup per patty. Gently press each patty in cornmeal to coat.
3. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Gently cook patties in batches 6-8 minutes or until slightly browned, turning once.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

spring cleaning

This past week has been a pretty busy one. I have cleaned the pantry, basement and entire house. Is it the spring weather prompting me to spring-clean? Is it some hormonal abberation? Are the stars and planets aligned in such a way that is inspiring me to clean? Or is it the presence of Martha Stewart in our home? I got her new book, the Encyclopedia of Crafts from the library on Wednesday. All of a sudden I feel like I need to be surrounded by order and beauty. I have great respect for MS. I have always liked her clean, simple style and am amazed by her business empire and how she maintained her popularity even after prison.

I have been wanting to learn how to bead, but I lack the motivation and creativity needed to do any kind of craft. But I did like the beading projects in The Encyclopedia enough to try a simple flower. I am quite impressed that I was able to do it. I want to try making the bath fizzers, but have no idea where to find citric acid. Any ideas?
Have any of you tried Mr. Cleans Magic Erasers? My mom recommended them to me to clean up shoe scuffs on our floors (grrr) and I love them. I tried them on our bathtub to get the soap scum off and it worked wonders where nothing else would. It also cleaned up the tile in our bathroom beautifully. They are truly magic!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

The gutter people have started replacing our gutters. They had to bring in a cherry picker because of our crazy house and how far the away the gutters are from the side of the house. Will loves having people here working on our house. He loves their equipment and the noises and trying to communicate with them. A few men get a kick out of Will, but most of them ignore him. Will is not ignored well. He is like a mosquito buzzing in your ears. We went to Walmart and the Home Despot this morning and as I was loading Maggie and the bag in the car he told the men that we were going to look for new shoes for Maggie at Walmart. He was ignored and like a broken record, he kept on repeating until I grabbed him and put him in the car. When we got home he tried to tell a man about the pumpkin seeds that we bought, with the same results. It must be tough being a kid, not having people listen to you.

Maggie had her 1-year checkup this morning. She has gone down a lot in the percentile charts. She was 18 lbs, 28.5 inches. Will was 1/2 a pound heavier than her at 1, but the same height. She had been in the 85th percentile in height at 6 months, but now she is in the 30th. For weight she had been in the 30th percentile but is now in the 8th. I have realized it's more convenient to have small children because you can carry them around more easily. Will still likes to be carried whenever possible and at 27 lbs, I can do it, but not for long periods.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Maggie's 1st

Happy 1st birthday Maggie! I can't believe it's been a whole year. Today the Kreuter clan flew down here for a few hours(my dad is a pilot). Will was excited because of the prospect of special visitors and a party complete with cupcakes and presents. He has already taken possession of Maggie's new teapot and picnic table and was seen stabbing a spoon into the Cabbage Patch Kids face.
Since most of you don't know Maggie, I will tell you a bit about her. She is around 18 or 19 pounds, has blue eyes and soft, sweet blondish hair. When she was born, she had a long pointy nose that was smushed to one side, but fortunately has turned into a cute button nose. She has made it her life's mission to climb anything she possibly can. She also loves to bug Will and already is adept at doing it. She loves soggy Cheerios since she still doesn't have any teeth, as well as graham crackers, yogurt, bread or anything that is sweet. She hates anyone who isn't Mama, Papa, or Will and tolerates few others. She loves to play peek-a-boo and have her feet tickled by papa's beard. She isn't much of a sleeper and still wakes up at least once a night and naps only about 1.5 hours a day. She has a terrible fingernails-on-a-chalkboard screech whenever she isn't happy about something. She loves the baby swing at the park. I look forward to another year with her and getting to know her better. Love you, Maggie!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Will's new tent

I have been wanting to get the tent that goes with Will's bedding from Target for a long time, but held off hoping for a clearance, but I finally just bit the bullet and bought it for him. He LOVES it. It took me a while for me to put together with Will yelling "wrong piece" over and over in the background like a talking parrot, but I finally got it put together. I am hoping it will make him stay in bed a couple extra hours in the morning, though i know my hope is in vain. If anything he will wake up early and want me to play with him. I will probably end up taking it off at nightime since it interferes with the blankets.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Yesterday, we went to the bank and refinanced our mortgage with under 5% interest. Can you believe that? I'm glad we can benefit from the bad economy, for once. Mike and Nancy watched the kids while we were resigning the next 30 years of our lives away. Maggie was a stinker, but Will sure loved having them here. I loved having some else deal with the fury of Will's bowels for once in the past week. Thanks M&N!

Last week, I signed up for a garden plot at the parks department. Ever since we moved into our house I have wondered how I would get a garden into our rather small backyard. There are just enough trees to be considered shady. But, my problem is solved. The park people even till up the ground and fertilize it for you. It doesn't get much better than that. The only bad thing is that having my garden where other people can see it will bring out my competitive side. I am a very messy and haphazard gardener as I am sure the people who bought our house last year found out. I will have to put in a little extra work to keep up with my garden plot neighbors. I think I am going to plant some sugar snap or snow peas, green beans, zucchini, pumpkin, carrots, and swiss chard. I grew parsnips(my favorite veg) a couple years ago and liked those a lot, but they take too long and the plots are only open until the beginning of October.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Will is over his fever and puking, but he has been pooping like Old Faithful the past couple days. Last night was the worst, though. He pooped around midnight and I went to go change his pullup and as I was doing that the next round started. Now, no matter how many times I wash my hands, I still think they smell like sick-person diarhea. That must be what nursing home employees think all day long. We were supposed to have the missionaries over tonight but it feels wrong to prepare a meal for outsiders while my hands still have a poo smell. Maggie is perfectly healthy now and I am so glad that TYler and I never got it. I ate plenty of candy on Wednesday and Thursday, thinking I would just be puking it up so I might as well enjoy the forced bulimia, but alas, it didn't happen, so I must suffer the results of too many calories. I truly love chocolate covered pretzels!

I escaped my sick baby last night and went to see Duplicity. It was a great movie, though very confusing until the end. And of course, Clive Owen was hot and I loved Julia Roberts outfits. I think I need to watch it a couple more times before I understand everything.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Welcome to the Amazing new Ellis Weight Loss Program, where you can lose 5 pounds in less than 24 hours. Just give my kids a kiss...on the lips is more effective...there you go! Now just sit back and enjoy the ride. You can feel the effects of the Program within a few hours. See, it's starting already. Oops! You didn't make it to the bathroom in time? That's ok, free laundry facilities are included in the package. Just take your bedding or underwear to the basement, you will see the washer. I have diapers for the kids, but not for one so big as you. On second thought, you might just want to throw those away. They will never be the same. While you are at it, could you take the kids bedding too? They are on the same weight loss program as you. This program works for everyone, but is particularly effective for those who don't eat well or exercise. Try it! It will work for you!
On Monday we went to Goshen to spend a few days with the Kreuter clan. We went to go see 5-day old Camden on Tuesday and we were supposed to have Maggie's one-year pictures taken today. That didn't happen because around midnight Will started puking his guts out. I just hope that nobody gets sick because of Will. So far Maggie and I haven't started puking, but we will just have to wait and see. We came home today and are trying to relax the rest of the day. Will is watching Caillou and hasn't puked since we passed through Leesburg about 3 or 4 hours ago.

In happier news, Maggie is finally getting her first tooth. She will be 1 year old on the 28th.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Another week gone by and another week closer to Tyler's graduation in July. We are both looking forward to Tyler's being done with his MBA we can hardly stand it. He's not the only one with senioritis.

Will has been getting so sociable lately. His shyness really worried me and then just the last couple months he has been making friends at the library and wherever else we might be around kids his age. I have always admired the ease in which kids make friends. Not that they are lasting relationships, but it is interesting. There is an outgoing 18 month boy at church that Will seems to really like. At the chili cookoff on Friday and the Primary activity on Saturday, Will ran around with him, pushing him around a little bit. I didn't feel bad about that because Ashton has 2 older brothers and certainly knows how to push back. Will gets really anxious when Ashton goes near Maggie because Ashton is a bit rough with her and makes her cry whenever he comes near. Making her cry is not hard to do. Any stranger who comes near her makes her cry. It is funny to see Will being the protective older brother.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

We've been having a weekend of very warm weather for March. On Friday I decided to try pulling the kids in the bike trailer. It went pretty well, considering I haven't gone bike riding in well over a year. Will actually enjoyed it and Maggie screamed only a bit. We rode to the library and played for a bit until I kissed Maggie's forehead and found her quite feverish. So, after unwittingly contaminating the library toys with Maggie's virus, we went home. The wind was quite stiff coming home and I thought I was going to die. Will wasn't helping the the wind drag any by opening the trailer and sticking as much of his body out as his belts would allow while Maggie was screaming pitifully in her illness. We were going so slow that we were almost not moving. But we made it home eventually. Maggie had a rough time of it on Friday and Saturday, but she seems to be getting a little better today. She will not take Tylenol the traditional way, so Tyler had to go and get some fever reducing suppositories. I also made him learn how to take a rectal temperature reading, which I felt like he needed to know, although he felt differently. Our thermometer seems to be wildly inaccurate, so I made Tyler do it 3 times. When Will was a baby I don't even think he knew that I was taking his temp, but Maggie seems a little bit more disturbed about it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I finished my "Bloody Jack" books and I think they rate pretty high up there with my favorite books. I listened to the first two on cd and believe that's the way to go if your library has them. My library only had the first two on cd. The first book starts out with an orphan girl at the beginning of the 19th century who is in a gang of street urchins in London and has to leave because of some gang fighting. She dresses up like a boy and becomes a ship's boy on a British war ship, and so begins her adventures.

Now that I am in the mood for nautical adventures, I have started reading the "Master and Commander" series. I love the movie with Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany. I think I want to buy a sailboat and sail the oceans blue, or at least Lake Michigan.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It seems like it's been a while since I did my last post. I have been immersed in a very entertaining book series called "Bloody Jack". I just finished my fourth book and need a bit of a breather so I can clean the house. Whenever I am reading a book, most everything else goes untended. There are puzzle pieces and socks lying all over the house and I think the kids need some attention, too. Maggie has been so crabby the last couple days so maybe she is finally getting a tooth. She'll be 11 months old on the 28th and she doesn't have a single tooth. I always like to blame fussiness/meanness on teething.

This past weekend we finished Will's bday festivities with a party with the Muncie crew. Will got a bunch of presents again and our big, old house is nearly bursting. I will have to start a toy rotation so not all the toys are out at once.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

This weekend has been the start of Will's birthday festivities. My family came down from Goshen on Friday afternoon. We ate some pizza and brownies and Will opened his presents. He got a Buzz Lightyear spaceship and figurines, Diego puzzle, Cars sticker book, and Cariboo among other things. Cariboo is kind of fun and fortunately not confusing since I am terrible at playing games. After we opened presents we went to the Holiday Inn where the fam was staying and we went swimming. Will was excited to go swimming but as we were putting his swimming gear on, he chickened out. I originally didn't want to get in (it's February and I am always cold!), but I am glad I did. Ethan and I had a good time. Playing with kids often reminds me that my movements are too utilitarian and joyless. Kids move for the sheer joy of it, unlike adults. The only other time I feel that way is when I am on my bike, although I might not feel that way pulling two kids behind me in the trailer. We will have to see about that. There was some kind of a state wrestling championship that weekend and some of the wrestlers were staying at the Holiday Inn. We got out of the pool just in time because as we were leaving a gaggle of teenage boys and their families piled into the pool area. There is something about the thought of teenage boys swimming that makes me want to skim the pool and pour a couple buckets of chlorine into the water. They are just dirty by their very nature, no matter how many hours they spend in a hot shower.

On Saturday my mom, sister, and Maggie and I went to the Fashion Mall to window shop. Then we went to the Cheesecake Factory for the Kreuters to get their CF fix. Big Mistake. Never go out to a restaurant on Valentine's day weekend. Especially the CF. The line to just put your name on the list was way out the door, even in the middle of the afternoon. But, we finally got in and ate and the kids were really good (Will had Buzz with him). My day was made CONSIDERABLY brighter when we went out to the parking lot and some foolish teenage boy had gotten his big white truck stuck in one of the remaining snow drifts. It looked like the undercarriage of the car was stuck in the highest part of the drift. I'm sure that ruined his Valentine's Day date. If I were his date I would've called for someone to pick me up and never gone out with that fool again. At this point you may wonder if I have something against teenage boys. I don't know about that, but if I do I only have 10 years to get over it before Will arrives at that stage.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I have been loving this warm weather! I know it's just a teaser and that it will get cold for another couple of months, but I am determined to enjoy it while i can. Yesterday we went on a walk to the post office to drop off some mail. When we started out I had a long sleeve shirt on, a light polar fleece jacket and my heavy winter jacket(it was still only in the 40's). By the time we walked the 7 blocks to the p.o. I had shed my winter jacket. I even got a couple of "hey baby" honks from a couple of grizzled fat men on mopeds(hey, I take compliments when I can get them). I plan on going on another walk in a couple of hours.

Friday, February 6, 2009

We went to the photographer's today and got Will's 3 year pictures and some V-day pictures of Maggie. She is the sweetest little angel in these pictures, but she was being a bit of a stinker while we were there. I couldn't get a smile out of her.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ahh, our taxes are done. At least I hope. Even though I graduated with a degree in accounting, doesn't mean that I know how to do taxes. That is something that people always mention when I tell them what my degree was. IT IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE! It is also not true that I am very good at math. That was my weakest subject, by far. All I got in college was a head stuffed full of theory. While studying for the CPA exam I crammed my head full of this knowledge, which emptied out as soon as I was done. Tyler can attest to this. He thought I might be helpful in some of his accounting classes, but I was not. I tried to help him with some of his problems, but I simply could not. It was like I am operating on a whole different level now that I stay at home. My mind is occupied with different things, now. And what are we going to do with our tax return? It's all going into the gutters. Of our house, I mean. Our house desperately needs new gutters.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I love being a stay-at-home mom. I get to stay inside and watch the snow fall and see Chuck Lofton with the evil glint in his eyes as we get 11 inches of snow. The man is in his element. What do people who work do when their kid's day care is closed and they still have to go to work?

Yesterday I made a trek to Target and ran into a boy I went to high school with. I suppose I need to start saying man/woman because we are well into our twenties now. I still think of my classmates as boys and girls as if they are stuck in May 2000 and cannot progress unless I am in touch with them. This boy was kind of goofy, sometimes a jerk. I am always glad to see that we all outgrew our high-schoolishness and are good citizens, marrying, having kids, employed.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ahhh, the kids are asleep. Time for some me-time. Actually, I shouldn't complain, Maggie took 2.5 hour long nap today while Will watched tv. I took a 45 minute nap and read a book. As I type this, my eyes keep on straying over to the cover Parents magazine. I've started to get annoyed by magazines like this. "6 Ways to Have a Friendly Baby". COME ON! Maggie only tolerates 3 people: Me, Tyler, and Will. If I had my own magazine with which to teach people what I know and give advice, the cover might go something like this:
1. How to Raise a Needy Baby
2. How to Gain 5 lbs in 5 days!
3. Cook a Dinner Your Whole Family Will Hate (except you)
4. Learn How to Make Poor Real Estate Investments!
5. Try our New All-Chocolate Diet!
6. How to Have Children Who wake up every 3 Hours at night
7. The Best Places to Poke a Snoring Husband

The list could go on and on. I have so much knowledge that the world needs to know.

Anywho...If you are going to stay home all day, is changing into a different pair of pajamas getting dressed for the day? It is for me. I plan on staying inside the house Tuesday and Wednesday because we are going to be getting a little bit of snow the next few days.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I really love having church from 1-4. Tyler doesn't have to leave for his meetings until 9:30 and today the bishop is out of town so he doesn't have to leave for another hour. I am able to soak in a bath while he watches the kids and get ready without having to hold someone or wipe someone's nose or butt. Today my hair was already kind of wild so instead of curling it under I curled it out. My hair now looks like it has wings and I'm going to fly away. I'm sure by 1:00 the effects of the curling iron will have worn out and it will just look really weird. But for now it looks as though I styled it. There is one part of my hair that refuses to be curled. It is the part that I usually put behind my ears. It remains in that same position even if I scorch it with the curling iron. Oh well, that's what you get when you never learned how to do anything with your hair when you were young. You get stubborn hair.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Will started hating baths about 3 months ago, but with I put Maggie in the big bathtub last night and the sibling jealousy did wonders for WIll's attitude about baths. Note that Will's hair is not wet in the picture. His bathtime happiness ended when I tried to wash his hair.

Here is a picture of Maggie's room.

My favorite project was the light fixture. I went all HGTV on a brass light fixture I got at a thrift store. I spray painted it and I think it makes the room.