Monday, January 30, 2012

Anatomy of a Sick Day

If I put the medicine on a silver tray will that make them better faster?

Here is how this day came to be.

Day 1: My daughter's "neck" (read:throat) hurts
Day 2: sniffles start
Day 3: She is incapacitated on the couch with a massive cold, cough, and fever
Day 4: Stays home from school, but feels good enough to re-organize the baby's room
Day 5: Back at school
Day 6: My son gets a little sniffly
Day 7: He has a cough
Day 8: He is incapacitated on the couch with a cold, cough and fever
Day 9: Slightly better, but he is still sick
Day 10: The baby gets the sniffles
Day 11: Baby and boy are both sick
Day 12: Today. He is home from school, on the tail end of the cold, the baby is sick, and my older daughter wants medicine because her brother is getting it. She is the only one who will tolerate saline drops in her nose, so that's what she is getting.

If there was ever a universal cure for the common cold, it's chicken soup. My family's version comes from my German grandmother, Clunky Soup. I has a much longer, German name, clunkersomethingsomething, but we can't remember it, and Clunky sounds better to a sick kid. It's basically dumplings; or matzoh ball soup without the matzoh:)

The recipe can be expanded to accommodate more children, or adults, I generally go with 1 egg per person.

2 eggs
2/3 cup flour (possibly more)
1 quart chicken broth

Bring broth to a boil.
Beat eggs (I do this with a fork)
Add in flour, a bit at a time. You want to achieve a pretty thick consistency.

Spoon mix a teaspoon at a time into the boiling broth.
*Tip- I dip the spoon into the broth each time, it helps the sticky mixture come off the spoon.

Cook 3 minutes.


Linked to:
Tasty Tuesday
Measured by the Heart
Newlyweds Recipe Linky
What's Cooking Good Looking?

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Yearly Collage Frames

This is about as close to scrap booking as I come. Each year I buy a pre-made collage frame, stamp the year on it, and choose the top photos from the year that really capture the feeling of what happened. Obviously this year we had a new addition, so I wanted to make sure that she was prominently displayed:) This also means I was pregnant in almost every photo we took all year. I also added a pic of  me and my husband, no kids, just to remind us that we are a couple too. Oh, and I try to balance the number of times each child is shown, so they don't complain about it.

This one hasn't gone up yet, but it will join these other two from 2009 and 2010 that are already up on the wall.

This is the easiest way to organize my yearly photos. I still slide all the prints into albums, you never know when school needs pictures (hard copies!) of your child at every age, or on vacation, or in a particular season... The list goes on and on. Which is why we can't abandon real photos yet.

Linked to:
Between Naps on the Porch
Project Queen
Totally Cute Crafts
House of Heporths
CSI Project Organization challenge

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

You know you are a parent when...

We had a party on New Year's Eve. And when I say party, I mean a group play date, where two other families came over at 5pm, we ate, drank champagne and juice boxes, then everyone left by 8pm. To get ready for this, I put on nice jeans, a cute top (that I could easily nurse in) and did my makeup. Then it was time to "do" my hair. My one and only styling product? Johnson and Johnson No More Tangles spray.

Lucky for me my hair only has one style- stick straight.

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Capturing the Sprinkles

My kids love to bake. And cook. And make a mess in the kitchen. And pretend to bake, cook, and make a real mess in the pretend kitchen.

So last weekend, when we were baking chocolate cake and cupcakes just for the heck of it (because that's how I like to spend my rainy days at home), we got to my least favorite part of baking: the "decorating". I had already frosted everything and was just hoping the kids forgot about the stockpile of sprinkles we have in the pantry. They had not forgotten. By this point I had already put everything away into tupperwares. Time for an epiphany: decorate while IN the tupperware. This meant that their strategy of just dumping sprinkles on top would be OK. All stray sprinkles were contained by the tupperware, not a single one to be found on the counter. One point for me.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Early morning entertaining

We invited over a new family from our community so we could get to know them better. The call time for this? 8am. That's right, 8 in the morning, just a scarce half hour past when the sun rises on these dark, rainy winter mornings. And by 10am, their kids were heading downhill towards their morning nap and our baby was already asleep.

The menu? Coffee, Tea, juice boxes, muffins that were left over from the Big Brother/Big Sister Party (defrosted) and lots of fruit. The kids weren't worried about the food, they just wanted a chance to play together and explore.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Tale of Two Fireplaces, part one

When we designed the house, I was very aware of the main axis running from the front door, through the gallery to the kitchen wall. You can't end the first view through the house with a blank wall, so we put in a fireplace. This is a pretty classical approach.

Our other main axis runs parallel to the gallery, just 15 feet to the west. It runs through the living room, dining room and kitchen. Since you can see from one end of the house to the other it was important to have visual weight at either end. We used the range and hood in the kitchen and a fireplace in the living room.

When we were in construction, the contractor wanted to know what I wanted the fireplace mantles to look like. I pulled out a few pages I had torn from magazines (Pinterest, I could have used you!) and we started mocking up two complimentary fireplaces using wood laying around and the trim pieces we already had from all the baseboard, crown moldings etc. I was aiming for a slightly more formal living room fireplace and a more casual "kitchen" fireplace mantle. The living room firebox is 46 inches wide, the kitchen one is 36 inches, so the sizing goes along with my ideas as well. The kitchen fireplace is trimmed out with more emphasis on the vertical, which really works when you are looking at it from 50 feet away from the front door.

The Living room fireplace is trimmed out in a more horizontal emphasis. The lines and the trim runs all the way across the mantle, with no breaks, which goes nicely with all the long, low lines of the living room.

After spending so much time at the stone yard looking for countertop materials, we stumbled upon Lagos Azul, blue-grey limestone with nice figuration as our surround and hearth material. It ties in nicely with our wall colors, both the darker Charcoal of the living room and the lighter blue in the kitchen. I think the using the same materials for both helps tie them together.

The fireboxes themselves are designed in the traditional Rumford style, which draws really nicely, and allows us to have real fires in them without smoke or ash spilling into the house. The box is slightly lower than the hearth, which keeps the ash in the firebox as much as possible.

The hearth is a solid piece of limestone, set just slightly higher (maybe 1/8 of an inch) than the wood floors. I like that it gives us a clearly defined area for the fires.

We really do use the living room fireplace, it was a huge hit at Thanksgiving, our kids love it for S'mores on a rainy day, and it adds a bit of atmosphere when we are watching football on the big screen right next to it. Just think of it as adding some sophistication to the sports-palooza that happens when my husband and my brother-in-law get together.

I had fantasies of using the kitchen fireplace, putting a few armchairs in front of it, reading books to the kids, doing puzzles on a rug on the floor... And then reality set in. Once we installed the kitchen cabinets, and the counters, and then added barstools, there wasn't any space, so for now it's just for looking at, which is still pretty great.

Linked to:
Open House Party Thursdays
30 Handmade Days

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The most asked party question...

Where is your trash can?

For years we had a trash can out in the open in our kitchen, a pretty basic black step-can. The underside of the lid would get all gunked up if we overfilled it, the step would break, and it looked awful. Skip ahead to my (very long) list for my dream kitchen, a hidden trash can. And recycling. Because now we need both, and an open paper bag full of bottles, cans and newspaper was just gross, especially with inquisitive crawlers and toddlers around.

I was pretty used to the under-sink trash, but with our decision to get the largest sink possible, a fabulous 36" farmhouse sink, the re was no space left under the sink. And there are two dishwashers (yay!) one on each side of the sink, so no space for trash there. Enter the island, right behind the sink, so it's a quick pivot-and-throw maneuver. I also love that I can chop on a cutting board, slide out the trash, and wipe and trash into it with a quick swipe. The recycling is just behind the trash, with space on the side to hold the trash bags, a paper bags we use for recycling.

Linked to: Sundae Scoop

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Monday, January 23, 2012

A Big Brother/Big Sister Party

When we had our first daughter, we invited about 40 people over to our house (mostly my parent's friends) for a meet-and-greet with the baby. We scheduled it about a month after she was born so my in laws could all fly out (the new grandparents, aunt, uncle, even great grandparents all came).

When we had our son, we had a bris (a ritual circumcision 8 days after the baby is born). We styled this as a "Big Sister Party" for our daughter, and held it at my parent's house so we didn't have to clean up. About 60 people came, including many of our friends. The grandparents and aunt and uncle all made the trip out.

When we had our third child, a daughter, we had moved into our new house only 6 months prior. So we decided to hold the "Big Brother/Big Sister Party" at our house, so it could also function as a house warming (which I was decidedly not up to when I was pregnant). We invited our family (of course), friends, and our entire religious community (about 200 families). Over 120 people came (thankfully they all fit!), and only my mother-in-law was there from my husband's side. As an aside- we live 2 miles from where I grew up, so my entire family is here, something that we are incredibly grateful for.

My three take aways from all of this:

1) It is good to focus attention on the child/children who are sentient, not on the baby who only cares about where the milk comes from.

2) In-laws won't keep flying across the country for large parties where other people want to hold "their" baby.

3) A large party is the best way to get my house clean, organized and free from all visible clutter. We should do this (without the new baby part) at least twice a year!

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Look into the Future

I'm starting this blog off by saying I don't know where it will go, but I'm excited for the journey. Often as a Stay at Home mom, I don't get the same feelings of accomplishment from the work I do as I did when I commuted to a "real" office. I look forward to chronicling all of the home-based work I do, the work on the home, the cooking, baking, rainy day activities, and teaching. This is a combination to-do list and list of accomplishments. A visual, virtual tool for validating all of the work that is done in my home. Here's to the future!

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