Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Wide Open Spaces

Facebook statuses that I almost just made Sunday night but thought the better of...

This was The Weekend that was NOT

I'm so extra glad my mom is coming to town to rescue me next weekend while Ian's at a conference.  I'm dying here!!!!

That moment when you are so pumped that the family channel has all kinds of movies on at the end of a long hard weekend so you record them all, sink into the couch to watch UP with the family, totally forget that the sweet old lady dies in the first 5 minutes and traumatize your 5 year old for life...ugh that moment.

So it's been an interesting few days.

Poor Ian caught my cold.  He was in and out of bed all weekend.  Unloading the dishwasher and taking Felix on walks around the block in between those boughts in bed.  That guy I tell you.  He singlehandledly disproves the whole "men are weenies when they're sick" thing (despite me trying to tell him to stay put!).

I cooked SO much this weekend.  I forget if the saying goes starve a cold or feed a cold, but we definitely fed it!
chicken curry soup with rice and blueberry coffee cake were the two big hits

He went to work despite still feeling bad Monday morning.  Thankfully he's much better as of yesterday.

So I started the week without the usual pep in my step from a restful weekend.  I was a bit worried about my exhaustion and getting through this week, especially because Ian leaves for a week long conference on Friday, but so far it's been great.

Ian lugged our fold up slide up to the deck and after cleaning it as best I could I lugged it into the basement.  This of course prompted a giant clean out/up of the space to fit it in.  There are few things that I love more than a good rearrange.

I feel like I've been through the ringer with this old house.  I've rearranged things so many times trying to find that perfect "ah" moment when you know you've got it right.  The thing is our needs are constantly changing, as our family grows, as our kids grow, as the seasons change.  I've given up trying to find the perfect place for everything and settling for what's perfect right now, and right now? it's wide open spaces.

Faced with winter coming soon and three little people to entertain for months I wanted space.  It can be hard to come by in our 1500 square foot home.  Too much furniture and stuff just makes it feel cluttered so quickly, add three little mess making tornadoes, well it can feel downright claustrophobic.  So I'm cleaning out (again, always).  Knowing that we spend most of our time on the floor playing anyways I've moved a few big pieces of furniture out to the back room in our basement and swung the big couches around to open up the rooms as much as I can.  It's amazing how big our home feels and how excited the kids are to have space to run a bit.

We're enjoying all the "new" spaces!

Also enjoying...

new play dough (Elsa colors!)


Ainsley's first doll dress made for Snowflake.  She made a pattern and cut all the pieces on her own, I just helped sew them together.  She is SO proud.  (Louise has since made a similar dress for her bunny, though I helped much more with that one)

Finished neck warmers for the girls (they each have one)

New QCT for Felix!  I opted for a kneepad look with these ones.  They're too dang cute.

Louise's sweater is FINALLY in the final stages.  This yoke is so much fun to knit, it makes all the fussy construction of the rest of the sweater almost worth it.

Today' Ainsley was back at school and Louise starts again tomorrow after a long break for conferences.  This afternoon is Ainsley's first ice skating lesson.  She's SO excited and I'm thrilled to have an activity to get us out again on this gloomy cold day.  (For what it's worth Minnesota, I'm totally jealous of your snow, so much better than this rainy 40 degree stuff)

Happy Tuesday to you all.  I hope you're having a great week!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday Nuggets

If I had to name this past week it'd be "crash and recoup". That's just what we did.  Monday morning I woke up with some screaming sinus pain.  I was so thankful for Ian to be able to stay home and watch the kids so I could lay my sorry head down for an entire day.  Tuesday I made it until lunch when I called it in.  Again he came to rescue me and again I slept all afternoon and night. It wasn't until Thursday that I truly felt up to snuff.  Felix has been off too all week with some tummy problems and worse than normal sleep.  It's been a doozy.

Even so, I flipped through photos and thought through our week and it's actually been quite good.  

I've rekindled my love hate relationship for the sensory bin and at any given moment you can now find tiny kidney beans all over the house.  But man does Felix (and Louise an Ainsley when they're around) LOVE it.  I'm currently working up my courage to get out the barbasol again some day.  Our dining room table could use a good cleaning ;o).
I'm having so much fun doing activities with Louise.  Her latest favorite is "scavenger hunt" where I make a list of household things for her to count and she runs around finding and counting and writing.   Most afternoons you can find us sipping on tea playing a game while we wait for kindergarten pick up.  She's really up for anything I throw at her.  I love that girl.
Ainsley had her 50th day at school this week. They were asked to dress in 50s apparel so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to make her a circle poodle skirt.  I just bought 2 yards of felt off the roll, measured her waist and cut a circle right in the middle, measured the length we wanted from her waist and cut the outer circle accordingly, cinched the waist with fold over elastic, added a felt poodle and yarn leash, ta da!!!! So cute and fun.  We spent a whole afternoon making circle skirts for dolls with leftover fabric.  After two very successful free skates with Ian I signed Ainsley up for ice skating lessons.  She starts next week and is BEYOND excited.  
Louise has been mentioning sports more and more and I found a park district class for preschoolers that introduces all sorts of sports in a 5 week course.  She starts that tonight and is also very very pumped.  She'd also like to start practicing to be Elsa in a broadway musical.  She'd very much like if I let her grow her hair long and dyed it white.
I keep talking about how when I was their age I took piano lessons, played T-ball and took dance classes but they have no interest.  It's so fun to see my little people emerge, get to know them better, what they like, what they're good at.  I love watching them learn.
Now that Halloween has passed I'm gearing up even more for the holidays.  I'm not going as nuts as I did two years ago with making gifts, but close to it. I need to plan carefully to get it all done.  So of course Im currently working on something totally unrelated to Christmas gifts (and loving every second).  I stumbled across the most beautiful skein of hand dyed merino when I was at our local knit shop looking for a skein for another more practical project.  It screamed MY GIRLS! to me and I just had to get it.  I've been wanting to make them both small cowls (neck warmers) since last winter and now seemed like the perfect time.  I'm using the honey cowl pattern again which shows off the variegated yarn so beautifully.  I totally want one of my own now.  Maybe for my birthday?
Speaking of impulse purchases, I bought a heated blanket at Costco today and it's one of the best decisions I've ever made.  The kids fight daily over the small heat pad we have so a giant throw seemed like a good solution.  As we speaking Felix is conked out bundled under it.  It's just the thing we need in this old drafty house on the cusp of winter.
Cooking is going well despot my sick start to the week.  I managed to make a chicken and rice casserole on Tuesday that we already devoured.  Ian's had a down week at work so as a pick me up Louise, Felix and I went to the store today to stock up for some fun food for the weekend.  Tonight it's penne ala vodka and white cake for dessert.  Tomorrow (or Sunday) I'm going to try my hand at authentic swedish meatballs.  Wish me luck!  Other than food we have no plans for the weekend, which I'm thankful for.  The weeks go by so fast and next weekend/week Ians' off to a conference, then Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  It's going to fly.  I'm thankful for the slow pace while we can have it!
Have a wonderful weekend friends!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Food This Week (11/3)

Oh how plans change.

Sunday night I had a list all ready for my food shopping for the week.  I'd watched a Martha's Cooking School that morning about one pot meals and was inspired to make some poached cod and a spanish chicken and rice dish.  Then Monday I woke up with some pretty screaming sinus pain and ended up in bed all day thanks to a husband who was able to take the day off.
This morning I revamped, knowing there was no way I was going to motivate to make two one hour meals this week.  I cracked open my Joy of Cooking, found some good comfort food, managed to get groceries this morning with Felix and now am just sitting here while the kids watch some TV waiting for Ian to come rescue me because the Dayquil is only doing so much.

Ham, broccoli (or spinach) and cheese strata (or quiche, whatever spirit moves me)

Chicken and Rice Casserole (from Joy of Cooking, homemade delicious mushroom cream sauce version) and carrot pennies (from Moosewood)

Pioneer Woman's Comfort Meatballs with cornbread stuffing with broccoli

Chicken Barley soup and bread (perhaps pumpkin?)

Red Lentils over rice (from the freezer)

Veggie burgers with leftover chili from our block party (I found a veggie burger Ian likes at TJs, success!)

I also got two bags of our favorite potstickers, tomato soup, Joe's Os and hebrew national franks, and frozen macaroni in case this bug holds tight a bit longer. And I restocked on some snacks this week.  String cheese, breadsticks and pub cheese, dried fruit, crackers. Sometimes easy food is the best food.

Now I feel ready to keel over.  Nothing like a doable meal plan and full fridge to help a mama sleep well.
I hope none of you get this cold bug.  No fun!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween and Beyond

Friday was insane.
It was the end to a busy week, Halloween to boot.  I somehow managed to get Felix down early so we could make Ainsley's 1:30 parade at school.  We bundled for the sub freezing winds and found our spot for the parade.  I almost missed my girl! Holding her class sign so proudly, wearing her kimono OUTSIDE of her winter coat.  Doing this Minnesota mama proud.  Then her spectacular class party with fruit treats and dancing with friends and her fun teacher.  It was almost too cute.  I loved every moment.

Then we walked the four blocks home, waited for Ian to come home early from work for tricks or treats.  It started to snow in earnest and the winds were howling.  It was beyond comical. I just laughed and laughed as we layered our little Mulans and our tiny Mu Shu (who's costume I somehow motivated to make at 10am that morning...I just had to).

The girls ran from house to house knowing just what to do.  Felix and I joined for just our block, then went home to hand out candy.  He was so excited each time he heard the knock knock and when the girls got home with Ian all three enjoyed handing out candy.

We had our block party that night regardless.  I ran over with a piping hot pot of pumpkin black bean chili, raspberry oatmeal bars and homemade macaroni cloaked in towels to keep it warm.  We huddled and ate with brave neighbors, sipping on hot toddies. It was kind of perfect actually.  I kept using the word "memorable" to describe the day.  That's exactly what it was!

Saturday was memorable too.  Ian drove us out west and I drove us home.  If you've been following you know I haven't driven on highways since a panic attack incident in March.  It was so scary to merge that first time but I knew I had to do it and knew I was ready and somehow I made it all the way home on the big bad 6 lane highway.  I was soaring for the rest of the day.  Which is probably why......

I spent all day today in pajamas.  Ian took the kids to the aquarium this morning and I watched two episodes of Gilmore girls and knit Felix a pair of mittens and baked a loaf of oatmeal bread.  They got home, they'd had a blast.  We ate the bread with soup for lunch and napped.  Ian took the girls ice skating.  Louise's first time!  Ainsley's second.  Louise worked up to skating on her own without the walker and Ainsley made a whole lap on her own with the big kids.  I'm so thankful for a husband who is almost completely my opposite at times.  Just as I'm happy to hunker down and make house my man is keen on getting out and entertaining out kids.  It's a good system we have.

I feel so unprepared for this week, mostly because I've had no time to think about what's to come.  We've started our thankfulness paper chain, starting thinking about the holidays to come, excited for a normal full week and the promise of fun holidays and family visits to come.  This is as good as it gets.  I am so fully aware of that.  It's a glorious place to be.

Happy November to you all!