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Monday, February 28, 2011

Buttermilk Syrup with a side of German Pancake!

Just in case you haven't made Buttermilk Syrup yet--you MUST!  It is so easy and comes out as a divine gooey caramel sauce.  We usually put ours on German Pancakes, but it tastes delectable on just about anything.

Buttermilk Syrup
3/4 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine everything, except vanilla, in a large pot (syrup will boil up) and start stirring.  Bring to a boil and keep boiling for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently.    Syrup is done when it  turns a light golden brown color.  Remove from heat and add vanilla. That's it!              

German Pancakes
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
6 eggs

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Toss butter into a 9x13 in. baking pan.  Place pan in oven, while it is heating, to melt butter. Combine milk, flour, and eggs in the blender and blend well.  Pour mixture into hot baking dish and cook for about 20 minutes until golden and puffy.  Eat right away! 

For Volcano Pancake variation top with cheddar cheese immediately out of the oven.  Last night, I topped mine with raspberries, syrup, and sour cream that I mixed with a little brown sugar.
This was my first serving of five!
I needed to double my German Pancake recipe for my family of 6.  Just one batch of Buttermilk Syrup makes plenty.  My kids and husband kept stealing extra syrup even after the pancakes were gone!

Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  Eat something a bit healthier for dinner tonight.

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

I survived! The Best Birthday Party Ever-Completed!

Oh my...what a day!  I came down with a terrible cold last night and 10 little girls laid seige to my house this morning-it was...memorable.  We really did have fun, but, (WOW!) I'm glad it's over.  

We did a Crazy Backwards Birthday.  The girls all had to have crazy hair and wear colorful or backwards clothes.

All of the 6- and 7-year-old girls were so cute and sweet, but one of my daughters friends had a laugh that morphed into a sound identical to my 2-year-old's cry!  Ahhhh!  I kept looking around for injuries, only to find the source of the "cry," laughing hysterically.  I'm not sure if she was intentionally doing it or not, so I didn't ask. 

The Biggest Hits of the Party:
  • The girls all wore name tags with their names spelled backwards.  Have you ever spelled your name backwards?   In all my 35 years you would think I would have tried this, at least once.  My name is Eanaj, by the way.  We also had a Nodnol,  Nagaer, Nalyd, and my husband was Tterb.  The amusement of their new names lasted through the entire first hour of the party.  Who knew?
  • The favorite game of the morning was definitely Hot Potato Baby.  The kids passed around a baby toy as the music played.  When the music stopped, the person holding the toy had to take a bite of baby food.  The girls giggled through the entire game. Everyone had their own spoon and some of them, surprisingly, enjoyed the mashed green beans. 
  • Because it was a backwards party, my daughter gave each of the girls a present to open when she opened their presents.  These gifts were straight Dollar Tree's party favors section, but the girls loved them!  I heard about half of the girls say, "this is the best birthday party ever!"

Except for myself, all of my family is finally healthy after a three-week-long sick bug pass-around game.  So, as you would expect, my husband has now taken my three oldest children to a germ loaded inflatable jumping place.  I'm betting at least one of my kids will be sick again by Monday.

I didn't ask permission to use pictures of the kids so here are a few birthday party pictures, minus all extra children.

My favorite crazy hairstyle

Did I mention my daughter LOVES treats?

My sweet girls, after the bash
Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  I will not eat yucky leftover birthday cake just because it is there.

On a sad additional note, I have failed.  My daily organizing and sweetness goals were crushed yesterday after a hard fought 7-day-long streak.  In honesty, I am not too devastated.  I will still continue in my quest to organize the house, but being nice all of the time is too draining.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Welcome to Our Hall of Fame (Children's Artwork Display)

My first name is Janae, but as a child, my family nickname was, "Fast Nae."  Everything I did was not only fast, but rushed, and often sloppy.  I'm still working on that.  And now, I have been blessed with my own mini-me.

My 6 year old is a bright girl, but has not only inherited my fast trait, she has mastered it.  She's started bringing home loads of sloppy work from school and my husband and I have been racking our brains, trying to come up with some ideas to help her.

We know she's always motivated by candy, but in an effort to lower our family cavity rate,  I thought we should try out some different forms of motivation.

Here's one idea I came up with: The Davis Family Hall of Fame

To make this, I bought (4) 14x14 in. frameless bulletin boards and a pack of very stylish push pins at Walmart.  Then I found some fabric to cover the boards and giddily purchased my very first staple gun-oh the power!

I just stapled the fabric to the boards and hung them in our hall.  This was so easy, even for my craft impaired, slightly ADD self.

I thought the brown would be cute, but now I'm thinking I might redo these with more colorful backgrounds.

We plan on using the boards for artwork, stories, tests, or any project my kids really make effort on and try!  As a family we will be taking fun guided tours of our Hall of Fame regularly so the kids will know that we are proud of them and will, hopefully, want to do their best.

Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  Tell each of my children how proud I am of them.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Muddy Shoe Game

My spirited 6 year old daughter has started coming home from school with wet muddy shoes on a regular basis.  Last week I'd had enough.

I asked her, "Really?  Again?  Why? "What could you possibly be doing at recess that would get your shoes that muddy!?!  Well???" I say.

She looks at me, wheels churning, "It's just so wet at recess...too many swamps.  I play this game.  I just can't help it!"

Yesterday, I found out her game.

I went to pick my daughter up from school.  As I was waiting in my graham cracker crumb filled mini-van, I spotted her a distance away.  All of the other children are quickly running or walking away from the school.  Not my daughter.

She is standing on the grass, just off of the walkway, on the precipice of what appears to be a gigantic lake of water--a 10 foot long puddle!  I see her innocently dip the toe of her shoe in and I know there is little hope.  The puddle is beckoning her and, sadly, I am too far away to save the shoes!

Suddenly, she makes her decision.  She leaps like a sprinting deer and bounds straight through the length of puddle!  Noooo!

We have now started the Davis Family Footwear Foundation and will be accepting mud-free shoes and rain boots in a child size 11.

Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  "I am grateful for my spirited daughter." Now repeat 5 times.

Everyday Goals, Day 7: Do something nice for someone.  Organize--anything!

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

You Know You Could Be A Better Mother When:

You stray from your cereal routine and give your daughter a breaded sausage for breakfast.

Like most days, you run out of time to pack her a healthy lunch for school, so you tell her to buy school lunch.

She comes home from school the same day and says, "Mom, this was the best day ever!  I got a corn dog for my breakfast and a corn dog for my lunch!"

You check the school lunch menu and, sure enough, her options were Southwest Rice Bowl or Pancake Sausage.  Was there really any question what she would choose?

You decide to stick with the theme, but switch it up a bit.  You give her a real corn dog for dinner.  OK, just kidding about the the corn dog for dinner.  We actually had McDonald's.

Grumpy Mom Goal of the Day: I think it's pretty obvious.

Everyday Goals:  Day 6: Do something nice for someone.  Organize-anything!

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Husband's New Friend

My husband has this new friend he adores. She is beautiful, dark, sleek, and not nearly as squishy as me. He met her through work.  He tells me she makes his life easier. She is so smart and does everything.  My kids even love her.  She plays with all of them.

She and my husband have been spending more time together at night.  Apparently, she knows how to make soothing sounds that help him relax.  I don't make soothing sounds.

At first, I wasn't thinking rationally.  I thought I might  accidentally splash her with a little water, but I refrained.

I've since worked out a few easy measures to ensure our successful cohabitation:

-She is forbidden to show her face when my husband walks in the door from work.  
-She is permanently banned from dinner.  
-And, she is not allowed to interrupt conversations. 

Things are a better now.   The magic between my husband and his friend  has dwindled, a bit.  She and I even hang out from time to time.

I also have a friend.  He is cute, but not so smart and sophisticated.  He doesn't make soothing sounds.

I miss our simple life before the technology took over.  On the other hand, I think I'll go get myself a new friend.

Grumpy Mom Goal of the Day: Learn to accept my husband's friends.

Every Day Goals, Day #5: Do something nice for someone.  Organize-anything!
 Samsung Continuum Android Phone (Verizon Wireless)

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Monday, February 21, 2011

4 Young Children and Thomas Jefferson--Fascinating!

I love learning about U.S. history.  I just can't seem to remember most of it!  I've been teaching my kids the U.S. Presidents song, but, for today, I thought it would be easier to learn about one President at a time.  #3, Thomas Jefferson is our President of choice. You have to check this out!  He's fascinating.

Amazing Facts I'm Teaching My Kids:
-He was in debt most of his life, and died in debt.
-He had red hair and bad posture.
-Martha and Thomas had six children together.  Four of them died as babies or children. Another died at the age of 25, during child birth.
-Martha, his wife, died before Thomas became President.  Their daughter, Martha, served as First Lady.
-After being sworn in as President he went back to his boarding house for dinner and, upon arriving, all seats were taken and no one stood right up to offer him a seat. 
-He had a fear of public speaking and only gave 2 speeches while he was President
-He was known to receive White House visitors in a bathrobe and slippers.
-He had a mockingbird named Dick at the White House that got to ride on  his shoulder whenever possible. 
-He started the tradition of shaking hands instead of bowing.
-He was the main writer of the Declaration of Independence.
-He owned slaves and, most likely, fathered at least one child with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings.
-He proposed a bill to outlaw slavery in all new territories.  It was defeated by one vote.
-He is said to have introduced waffles, french fries, and spaghetti to the U.S.  He even ate a tomato in front of a crowd to prove they weren't poisonous.
-Thomas Jefferson and John Adams(2nd President) died on the same day, July 4th, 1826, exactly 50 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed!  They were friends, then enemies in life, but in their later years became good friends again.
-He wrote his own eulogy and epitaph before he died and did not mention he had served as President of the United States.

My Yummy Waffles
In honor of the President, we had waffles for dinner last night and we're having spaghetti for dinner tonight. My husband will then pretend he's Thomas Jefferson while he teaches the kids all of the fun facts.  Yes, I am making him do this against his will.

Grateful Mom Goal of the Day: Try not to make fun of my husband
when he pretends to be Thomas Jefferson.
 My organizing and sweetness goals are still going strong--today will be day 4!
Everyday Goals: Do something nice for someone and organize--anything!

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Family of Snackoholics

my sweet snackoholics
I'm creating a small legion of snack obsessed children.  I've been cracking down, but I'm no match for this group. 

All of my kids are phenomenal eaters.  My 2 year old's church nursery teacher said, "I've never seen a child who can eat sooo much--EVER!"  And this is common remark I hear about my kids.  I've heard it at birthday parties, play dates, and restaurants; my kids always get our money's worth as they giddily make their way through the smorgasbord of snacks at The Golden Corral.

Even my picky eater, Evie, can hold her own. She is the only girl in her preschool, but her teacher just told me, "Wow, that girl can pack it in.  She always out eats the boys--all of them!"

And, thankfully, most of my children eat most vegetables too.   When I break out the carrots or barbie trees (broccoli) the kids chow down.

We've had numerous children over for lunch or snack time, so I know this isn't normal.  The majority of our visitors are cute little birds, picking at their food here or there.

Where are my birds?

I'm certain I have unintentionally created my snackoholics by my own extreme love of food and snacking.  My husband is a snacker too.  Currently, I am trying to encourage him to refrain from getting a bowl of cereal immediately after every dinner.  He is not too fond of my encouragement.  

My sister-in-law once told me she lets her eight children get snacks whenever they would like.  She says, because of this, they aren't so snack obsessed.  That seems a little risky for my bunch.

For now, until I come up with a superior plan, I will keep encouraging/forcing my apparently starved children to have one snack, maybe two and wait for dinner.

Grateful Mom Goal of the Day: Rid my home of unhealthy kid snacks.

Goal update, Day 2:  For my sweetness goal I gave my husband a shoulder massage.  As for my organization goal, with the under appreciated help of my baby, I did a quick fix for the fridge--that's more cleaning than organizing, but I'm counting it.

Every Day Goals: Do something nice for someone. Organize--anything! 

Ahhh...much  better

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Life as a STASHER

I have a 5 year old stasher at my house.  Candy, gum, clothes, toys-- anything she deems takable, she stashes at various secret locations throughout the house.
 This morning my husband couldn't find his keys.  He asked Evie (the stasher) if she had seen them.  She said very coyly, "let me go check the van."   Evie came back with a collection of about 7 keys!  I'm still not quite sure where all of those came from.
Two weeks earlier I quickly needed to find $1.50 for my oldest daughter to take to school.  I said "if anyone can find me some quarters you will get a cool surprise." Evie quietly walked away and came back with a little pink coin purse full of about 5 dollars in change!  I gave her a marshmallow.

She's a stasher, probably a stealer too.

Update:  Day 1 was successful!  For my nice thing of the day I wrote my husband a sweet note and had my kids color it.  My organizing goal didn't get the grand kick off I had planned, but the silverware drawer is indebted to me for my efforts.

  Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  Take inventory of the stasher's stashes. 
Everyday Goals:  Do something nice. Organize--anything!

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Oh So Needed Goals

Today, I'm going to shake things up a bit!  I'm getting a little crazy!  I need to make some changes so I'm starting here.  Just a couple of simple things really, but it's long overdue.

First, goal #1.  I need to be nicer.  That should be easy, right?  I think I've gotten out of the habit of being my normal darling sweet self.

 Each night at dinner we ask the children, "what have you done nice today?" This hasn't been entirely successful.  My oldest girl, Dani, will often scramble to give someone a hug before answering, "I gave a hug."  While my 2 year old, Mase, usually tells us about who he hit that day--but they'll get it eventually..I hope.

So, I'm going to set a better example for my family.  I'm going to start doing my additional nice thing for the day too.

On to Goal #2.  I'm a stay at home mom, who should probably get demoted, maybe even fired when it comes to keeping my home organized.  Baby #4 is not an excuse anymore.  Right now I would cringe at the thought of someone looking behind almost any closed door, cupboard or drawer.

So, I'm going to organize at least one thing a day (Sunday excluded).  I know truly organized people do much more, or maybe less, because they're so organized, but for now--baby steps.

  My plan is to stick with it for a year, but I'll start with a month and when I'm successful I'm having a celebration dinner (only for the organizing--I probably shouldn't get a reward for just being nice) with my husband at a restaurant of my choosing, within our budget.  I haven't mentioned this to my husband yet, but how could he not celebrate such an uncommon event.

Grateful Mom Goals:  #1. Do something nice for someone.  #2 Organize anything.

My husband--extra handsome as he unloads the dishwasher

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lost Boys, Extra Hugs, and the Rogue Red Crayon

I went searching for a little boy yesterday.  He was autistic and had wandered off after taking a tumbling class in the neighborhood.  I had even seen him as I was picking up my own daughter, but I assumed he lived nearby.

When I got home and heard he was missing I rushed my kids back into the car and started looking.  I drove with teary eyes and a prayer in my heart, hoping someone would find that little boy before it got much darker. My neighbor, shortly after, flagged me down to tell me he had been found.  He had walked about 6 blocks and was just standing on the sidewalk crying.

I also lost a little boy once--just last year.  He and his older brother had come over to play with my kids.  As the mom left she didn't click my gate shut and I didn't think to do it either.  The 3 year old was playing in my sandbox on the side of  my house.  The rest of the kids were playing on or around our trampoline just behind the house, not far away-it's a small yard.

 I ran inside to get a camera and was watching the kids jump for just a couple minutes.  The 3 year old was probably only a foot or two out of my view.  I went to check on him and he was gone, the gate pulled open.  I ran to the front yard, then to his yard next door.  I still couldn't find him.  I told his mom.  She was much more calm than I was, but visibly panicked and went to find him.  I started calling neighbors to help.

After what was a 15 minute eternity-- she found him!  He had gone on an adventure--wandering down the street about a block, then turned the corner and just kept happily walking.

When it was over, I felt so grateful, but terrible.  I had been careless. The mom was very gracious about the whole thing.  I stopped having play dates with 3 year old boys.

I know things like this happen too much and don't always end so happily.  Yesterday, once again, reminded me I need to be more aware of children in my neighborhood and continue to keep a close eye on my own.  Everyone got extra hugs at my house last night, except for my 2 year old, who pushed my hugs away then head butted me.

On a lighter, but still serious note, a single red crayon besieged a load of my clothes yesterday--the laundry may be ruined, but the crayon held up rather well I think.
rogue red crayon
Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  Make today special for my family.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Embarrassing Secret

before the relapse
OK--I'm getting it out there.  It's a little embarrassing.  And, I don't expect anyone else to admit to having my condition, but there has been something plaguing me on and off since college.  I was in the in the bathroom yesterday morning, checking out my kid induced eye corner wrinkles in the mirror and--I saw it.  One small white speck.  I looked closer--thankfully it's not too noticeable yet, but it's definitely there--eyebrow dandruff. 

I'm thinking this isn't normal, so, for the first time, I googled it.  Surprisingly, it's not all  that uncommon and there were even numerous suggestions on how to rid myself of this problem.  Here are some remedies I hadn't heard before:

The Amazing Ash Gourd!
#1. Regularly apply the peel and seeds of the ash gourd-obviously.

#2  Apply toothpaste and scrub--apparently the toothpaste helps smooth the skin--hmm.

#3  Use dandruff shampoo--I guess this should have been my first option, but for some reason I feel a little funny about shampooing my little brows.

#4. Finally, some thoughtful person suggested I should shave my eyebrows off and redraw them with a sharpie.

So many possibilities.  I will need to ponder my new found remedies, but I'm thinking I'll just try to find some thick face cream for now.
My Valentine's chocolate indulgence
 On a wonderful note, for Valentine's Day my husband has redeemed himself!  After a chocolate cake free birthday, Brett finally decided my instant gratification was more important than my health.

And, more exciting news:  With much effort, I actually skipped The Bachelor last night!  The skipping of future episodes is yet to be determined.

Grumpy Mom Goal of the Day: No more chocolate cake today.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Have Kids--Must Make--Easy Cheesy Pizza Casserole!

Doesn't sound so fabulous-right?  I didn't think so the first time I made this--but it is surprisingly eatable-even very tasty-and has become one of my family's favorite dinners. 

My kids are such complainers when it comes to eating something two days in a row, but never with Pizza Casserole--not once. OK, I had to come back and edit this, today, of course, my picky eater Evie just complained that we were having it for lunch--again, but she ate it, after picking out all of my craftily hidden spinach.

This recipe makes three casseroles but it's very simple to cut down to one or two.  And, it's so easy to make--the ingredients don't even need to be exact!

Easy Cheesy Pizza Casserole (x 3)
2 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 lbs ground beef
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasonings
Spinach--2 large handfuls
Rotini pasta, 29 oz., cooked and drained (I used two boxes of Barillo plus bowties because that's all I had in my pantry.)
Spaghetti sauce 3 to 4 (26oz.) jar-your favorite kind
Mozzarella cheese, about 8 cups shredded
Pepperoni-small package (I use turkey pepperoni--my kids like it just as much.)

To start: Add onion, garlic, Italian seasonings and ground beef to oil and cook until beef is brown.  Drain beef mixture. Next, add the spinach and cook until wilted. 
 (I usually cook mine just enough so my kids won't notice it.)
Combine beef mixture with pasta and 3 jars spaghetti sauce.  Add extra sauce according to your desire for extra sauciness.  Stir in 2 cups shredded cheese. 

Divide into three greased 9x13x2 in. pans.  Sprinkle the rest of cheese on top, then add pepperoni. (I folded pepperonis in half, two at a time, and used scissors to cut hearts for our Valentine's casserole, then used the heart leftovers on the middle casserole.)
Bake 350 for about 30 minutes or until really hot and delicious.
To freeze, I cover with one layer of saran wrap, then cover with tin foil.  Thaw in refrigerator overnight and cook for about 40 minutes.  Be sure to take off saran wrap before cooking.

Serve with garlic bread and lots of veggies.  Enjoy!

Grateful Mom Goal of the Day: Make Valentine's Day special for my family.

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

I Am Jack Bauer

I had an epiphany this morning.  No, not so much an epiphany as an image seared into my psyche.  I am Jack Bauer. 
Today was our usual circus.  I am home, again, with my two sick boys, and I was trying to get my five-year-old, Evie, and six-year-old, Dani, ready for church.

After an hour long struggle to get them bathed and dressed was finally victorious, Dani still didn't have her shoes on. I said, "please get your shoes on" in my loveliest mommy like voice, but she is an oblivious buzzing butterfly.

Dani has now turned some music on and she and Evie are both flitting around the room.   Dani lands and holds very still, while Evie continues flitting.  I say again, more sternly, "Get your shoes on.  It's time for church."  But my butterfly has suddenly taken off again to continue her fluttery performance.

At this moment my lovely Mommy voice is not so lovely. I take hold of her arms and say, "Dani, get your shoes on, NOW-WA."  This is my sternest mommy voice used in accordance with my meanest mommy stare and it is usually effective, at least fourty percent of the time.

It is successful this time and that's when my grand realization came "I am Jack Bauer!"  Now, if you are asking, "Who is Jack Bauer?" this post may not be for you.  I apologize that I have lured you to read thus far.  To my lone reader that is left, (hi Mom) I will now reveal to you  my so called epiphany.

I am one of those people that just hates to be late--I was NEVER late through all five years of college--crazy huh--not once!  That includes trudging through the Idaho snow for a seven am french class (everyday) for a semester.  You would think I had straight As with such a impeccable attendance record, but that was not the case, and is much too long of a tangent for this post.

Since I have gotten married and had kids I can't control everything.  Quite often I find myself running late.  Thus comes my intensity, everyday, to BE--ON--TIME.  I am racing and jumping and buckling from one place to the next, all surprisingly within ten minutes of each other.  I am Jack Bauer.  

My mission is a noble one.  My methods are sometimes questionable and may need to be reevaluated.  I have bribed and cajoled.  I have told my children to go to their rooms "for the rest of your life!"  I will probably even steal some of their Valentine's candy tomorrow when they aren't looking.  All for a good cause--my sanity.  I am not trying to save the world, but I am fighting every day for the safety, well being, and timeliness of my family. I am Jack Bauer.

It's a stretch, but I think my husband is the President on 24, you know, the first one, the good one.  I am working with the President.  He has stopped trying to give me orders.  I am too much of a renegade with my ways.  But we are here to assist each other in keeping evil out of our home.  I am Jack Bauer.

My children are the people I am trying to protect, and I'll be honest, some days, they are the enemy.  This morning an informant told me a small bomb went off in our basement.
Our morning spaghetti bomb
And, just like Jack, I didn't have time to clean up the aftermath, there was a new bomb about to go off just minutes away--I could feel it.  Now where was it.  "Dax-the baby!  I raced for the bathroom and just in time.  Dax had his hand outstretched --just seconds away from another toilet bowl catastrophe.  I rush in and swooshed him out of danger, saving the day...for now.   I am Jack Bauer.

My weapons are less severe, but more vast.  I carry diapers, hair brushes, snacks, water, toys, books, crayons, paper, chap stick, and wet wipes, always wet wipes.  

"I am mother extraordinaire Janae, and these days may be the longest days of my life."  I feel like that sometimes, like I will always have young kids and be permanently in crazy mom phase.  But the logical side of me knows I'll look back longingly and lovingly at these years.  Because, just like 24, all things must come to an end.

Grumpy Mom Goal of the Day:  I will not be so much like Jack Bauer--you have my word.

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

My Family Jail

You may not believe this-but it's true!  When I was little, I used to have a jail in my house-a real one!  The prisoners were kept where you would expect them to be-- just down the hall from my kitchen.

Except for a 6 hour break on Sunday, my mom or dad had to be at the house 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! My mom did everything for the prisoners, including feeding them 3 home cooked meals a day.  At one time she had 13 prisoners and no dishwasher! She also watched her 2, then 3 children, and even took on some other child care in her home. As for me?  Those prisoners were so lucky--I would break out my  easybaker oven on occasions and make them the most amazing cake like creations.

We moved to a new home when I was 6.  Before the move, I just couldn't understand.  I would ask, "Doesn't everybody have a jail in their house?"

So now, when all of my dishes are piled up, the living room is trashed, the laundry room floor in covered with clothes-again, I just remember my sweet hardworking mom and am grateful everyone does not have a jail in their home.

My grandparents,  brother, and little me--behind the bars
 Click here to check out my old home!

Grumpy Mom Goal of the Day: Remember, it could always be a little worse.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Top 10 Ways a Mom Celebrates Her Birthday

#1 Your husband makes breakfast and actually gives you a few minutes to shower.  You get a little nutty and decide to shave your legs.

#2 It's your birthday!  So you take it easy as the house slowly morphs into a disaster zone.

#3 At the party, your camera is dropped for the 100th time by your 2 year old and meets it's near demise--the digital screen in now permanently black.

#4Your helpful kids open all of your presents.

#5You hint to your husband that you want a Kindle for your birthday.  Instead you get--a Slanket?

#6Your husband doesn't buy you the chocolate cake you were lusting after.  You ask him in your sweetest voice, "Where's my chocolate cake?!" He then tells you he knew you were trying to be healthier and didn't think you wanted it-"happy birthday, honey" he says with a smile.

#7 You eat cookies and cream frozen yogurt until you feel a little ill--wait, that's most days.

#8 Your kids get especially wound up on sugar and start acting wild and naughty--also most days.

#9 You get tons of hugs kisses, a beautiful homemade card, and even a container with a thousand small pieces of colorful paper which will later get dumped on the floor.

#10You appreciate almost every minute of it because you know that days like this are precious..

Hope your mommy birthday this year is as magical as mine.

Grateful Mom Goal of the Day:  Take time to enjoy more precious moments.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Bumps of our Magnificent Money Pit

our adventurous abode
Why didn't anyone tell me!?!  I had no idea that owning a home could be such a potholed endeavor?  Is this normal?

Our home is 10 years old, only 10 years!   We bought the home 5 years ago, but, since then, we have had multitudinous (yes that is a word) home--bumps.

This is our newest investment bump--we found out the water heater is corroded--"that's normal --water heaters nowadays only last an average about 10 years" my plumber neighbor told me.  That's normal!  
Our woeful water heater

On an exciting tangent, I did make a grand windfall off my blog ads yesterday--$3.13!   That's way up from my normal penny a day average. Despite our impending water heater investment, I am throwing caution to the wind.  I am planning to make a lavish trip to the dollar store and spend, spend, spend!--at least 3 dollars.

Back to my money pit.

Here is a sampling of our latest home adventures:
Our newly finished basement has flooded-- twice!-- due to a rebellious window well that we just can't seem to fix.  The first time it happen was amazing!--I have never seen the kids so excited in my life!  Our basement had become a splash pool--what could be more fun!?!

Then there was the time we found out our back cement patio was floating--really floating!  Almost all of the ground underneath had receded and there was a vast cavern of empty space.

And, our fridge recently gave up the ghost, spoiling all of the food.  Then, as you would expect, our new fridge also died two days after we bought it and all of our new food spoiled.  There is a bright side to this story--I now am the proud owner of a refrigerator ice maker--this has been the highlight of my year!

Oh the bumps and benefits of home ownership. 

And another tangent, there is my sad barren home interior.  A contractor recently visited our house for the first time and and commented, "Did you just move in?  Because it looks like you just moved in?  There's just no decroations-anywhere"  I have been meaning to decorate the house for the past 5 years, but our funds always seem to be needed other places-repairs, kids, kids, kids.

And, this may shock a lot of people, but--I AM NOT CRAFTY!  Maybe it's just a Utah thing, but everyone here is crafty--really crafty.  I would like to be and I do try my hand at a good kids level craft every now and then, but usually my ADD kicks in after 20 minutes.

 Over Christmas I went a little crazy and had my first decoration splurge ever--I bought this lovely homemade craft on etsy.  Doesn't it look like I expertly made it myself!--that was my secret plan--now I fit right in with all the crafties.

Look how crafty I am
And now I conclude today's rambling by adding that I am sincerely grateful to have a home.  I am grateful my husband has a job right now that can keep us in the home.  For all of my grievances, nothing could ever put a price on the joys, laughter, and happiness we have experienced here.  A home that is a true place of unconditional love...usually.

Grumpy Mom Goal of the Day and Every Day:  Count my blessings.

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cellulite, Swimsuits, and Insecurities

Does anyone else still have their baby cellulite?  You know, the cellulite you had as a cute chubby bundle of joy that just NEVER went away!?!  No one has to answer that.

I'm not even complaining about my lovely ripples today, rather I'm wanting to change my perception of them.  I see those women, many of you, who are do I say it--out there!  Not hanging out there, just confident with your body.

And I'm not overweight right now, so I really shouldn't be complaining, but I think I will anyhow.

Warning! Warning!

I must give a warning for this next story.  If you continue to read you should be prepared for a conversation that makes me look extremely insecure, naive and little stupid,--you have been warned. And let me remind you this was 9 years ago!  On with the story:

I was and am an active LDS girl, which means, no "relations" before the wedding night.  My husband and I had been friends for two years before we got married and had been dating for several months when we got engaged. But, as our wedding date quickly approached, there was something very somber we needed to talk about--something that had me deeply concerned.

So, we drove into the mountains and stopped at an unpopulated trail head.  A few minutes down the path we had a seat on some rocks--it was time.  "Okay, you love me right?"  "Unconditionally?"  "OK,"  My future husband stared at me, mystified, with a very worried look on his face. "Here goes"  I said, "I hope you really love me, but you're going to find out sooner or later." I stalled...then finally. "I have cellulite" I blurted out.  "Oh" he said.  "That was what all of this was about, you had me so worried that is was something serious."  My husband's really not so bad.

These days, I try to portray confidence, especially around my children, but, once again, my insecurities reared their ugly head this past year:

My mom was visiting shortly after I had Dax and she was determined to take the kids swimming-with me!  My swimsuit didn't fit--more importantly my swim shorts didn't fit--nothing fit! So, I headed out in search of a suit and quickly settled on this amazing tangerine contraption, complete with swim skirt--it looked decent enough in the store mirror.

Off to the pool we set, but I soon realized the error of my ways.  Not only did I look like an adult sized tangerine, my seemingly fabulous swim skirt kept floating up--revealing my cellulite legs to anyone with a set of goggles.  I could just feel all of those eyes mocking my pasty white rippling legs.  Even after nine years of body image progress--still?

Now --I don't want any emails saying I'm being ridiculous--I know I'm ridiculous!  Where does this current perception of my need to have perfect legs come from?--OK, I admit it!  I've been watching the Bachelor!--I'm not proud.  I truthfully fast forward through all of the steamy scenes, but I love that he's searching for his wife--very sweet--and the drama--it's the best. Still, I am ashamed of watching this waste of time show and have told no one until now--except for my husband, who, gratefully, doesn't watch it with me--but I digress.

I think they need to put more "normal" women on the Bachelor and all shows for that matter, and magazines, billboards--the list goes on.  And, would the bachelor even consider the normals, with all of the non-cellulited seemingly perfect looking women thrown in his path! And, would anyone watch?  I'm thinking I know the answer to that.  I'm not bitter.

To all of you women who are-"out there", that don't care about cellulite--I am in awe and admiration. My goal is to be that person.  I'm not saying I want to flaunt my cellulite, just have acceptance from myself, acceptance of all flaws. 

But...for now...I will be buying a new pair of swim shorts and will be keeping my beautiful ripples covered.

(No pictures today, sorry to disappoint.)

Grumpy Mom Goals of the Day:  Tell my girls how beautiful they are, inside and out.  Stop watching the Bachelor.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Large Heads and Potty Words

Does anyone else allow their kids to say potty words--all day long!?!  Maybe I'm the only one. OK, not real potty words, I mean more like potty training words.

My sweet potty mouthed boy
I have been blessed with short large headed children--really big!  My 2, almost 3 year old Mase is off the the charts--above the 100th percentile for his beautiful noggin!  Destined to be a genius--I am sure! 

But despite the massive noggin and his still genius potential, I noticed early on that he was behind on his speech, at least 6 months from where my girls were, maybe closer to a year.  No big deal I thought--he'll catch up. But, he didn't.  I had him tested, just to be safe.  When the results were in Mase landed in the 2nd percentile for speaking!  Huh. Well, at least he beat out that 1 percent.

With speech therapy help, Mase has slowly started to improve this year. And, while most of his words are still pretty hard to understand, those potty word--clear as day!

"kno, kno" says Mase
"Who's there?" I say
"Poop" (follow the most joyous 2 year old laughter you could imagine).

And on and on and on the jokes continue with a variations of our family's potty words.

I know I need to put an end to this eventually, but not just yet.  Quite frankly, if it keeps getting my little guy to speak clearly, then I will just let the potty words fly.

Grateful Mom Goal of the Day: Take time to appreciate the laughter in my home.

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Attack of the Peppercorns!

Don't you get excited when you know you are making something that will be delicious.  That's how my evening started out--Fettuccine Carbonara--yum!

I've made this recipe before and it was awesome!   Surely I could duplicate that previous experience, BUT it was not meant to be:

First came the burnt bacon--who burns bacon!?! Yet there was a bigger calamity to come.

We ran out of peppercorns a couple weeks ago.  Fortunately, my husband comes home from the dollar store last week with a frugal find--peppercorns, with a grinder, only $1!

Pesky Peppercorns
As I finished my beautiful recipe, I thought I'd just finish it off with a quick sprinkle of pepper.  But that dratted cheap peppercorn grinder foiled me--the top popped right off as I was grinding!

No problem--I scooped all of the peppercorns out and saved the day!--if only.

We all sat down, blessed the food, and started eating our beautiful meal.  Suddenly, my husband started hacking...severely coughing, wheezing---and it began--attack of the peppercorns.
Our Delicious Meal

I was next--teary eyed gasping--help--water!!! 

Those pesky little corns (some of them very small) had weaseled their way into every nook and cranny of my magical recipe.

Thankfully, my kids were spared as they weren't too excited about eating the pasta after that--so dinner was salad and a store bought roll, which, luckily, is one step fancier than the previous night's dinner of cottage cheese and fruit cocktail.

Grumpy Mom Goal of the Day: Make something delectable for dinner tonight, without peppercorns.

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