Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mornings at the Moss House

People have asked this past month, "how are you enjoying being at home with your children?" and I've said it's been wonderful. However, we have still had the blessing of my last June paycheck to use in July. Financially, July has felt no different than any month these last four years. This Friday, August 1st, we will be making a serious budget effort to stay within our very meager means. That provokes great anxiety in me with the price of gas and other things much higher than when Philip and I sat down and worked out a one salary family budget in January.

When that anxiety hits the roof in the coming weeks, I will come back and look at this sweet picture. I was getting more coffee this morning and heard Helen babbling away, happy as a lark. I returned to the living room to find her playing on the floor with Little Philip. It is a morning like this one that my decision to be at home is affirmed.

Monday, July 28, 2008

My first successful smocking project!

I say successful because there was another project but it was definitely a first attempt, one that helped me understand what mistakes I made (constantly) and how to correct them without totally ruining the project (constantly). So, this is my first completed smocking project that Helen is now wearing. I must confess that I bought this pink gingham bubble off ebay because it was already sewn together and pleated, ready to smock. So all I did was smock the design. My next big hurdle is to learn how to actually sew the outfits together.
I have to thank my hubby for driving to and from Brownsville this past week when we went up for a visit to the Mosses. It's a 4.5 hour drive each way, which accounts for about 80% of the smocking time it took to do this, which begs the question - how on earth does anyone have time to smock ALL of their children's clothes or handsmock for a living?! Still, it is a new skill that I am enjoying learning about and something I will continue if time permits. Maybe I will get faster as my skills improve.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Goodbye Diet!

Anyone who is around me for more than an hour knows I have a weakness for icing. It is, by far, the biggest reason I will never be in a bikini ever again. When I married Philip, my only instructions to the baker that made our cake was to put double butter cream/almondine icing on the outside with a really thick layer of raspberry cream cheese frosting in between the layers. I was warned that before the cake made it to the table, a "wall" of icing might collapse. It was a risk I was willing to take.

So I'm watching the Today Show this morning with my friends Kathie Lee and Hoda and they introduce the latest fad, ICING SHOTS! A quick Google of this simple concept shows that many bakeries are offering these tantalizing little sugar treats. I've not seen it hit Birmingham yet but then again, I've been avoiding bakeries since Helen's birth. I'm feeling like there will be some vulnerable days coming soon where I might have to explore the city for favorite icing flavors!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Big Weekend

We had a wonderful weekend celebrating Helen's baptism and also having a family birthday party for Little Philip. Mommy is exhausted but happy we had such a good time with family and friends celebrating these memorable moments in life!
Disclaimer: Helen did NOT consider her photo opportunity a memorable moment. This girl has lungs.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Kitchen continued

Did you hear something? I didn't either. That's because we installed the new dishwasher that is super quiet! Our master bedroom is just off of the kitchen. I usually load the dishwasher after putting the family to bed, and let it run while we sleep. The dishwasher is about five feet from my head if you disregard the wall in between. The old dishwasher sounded a bit like a fighter jet but I kind of got used to hearing that roar each night. This new dishwasher is super quiet and has all these fun places to hold little plastic forks, bottle parts, sippy cup parts, and other things that the old dishwasher seemed to eat or absorb. It is also the kind of stainless steel that is fingerprint proof. In terms of love, this dishwasher is a close second to my new oven.

We also installed the new counter tops. We've gone from never-was-in-style-marbled- verdigris to granite. Well, almost granite. Actually granite patterned laminate (analogy: granite is to laminate as diamond is to ziamond). The edges of our old counter tops were in the "waterfall" style which means that the under edge of the counter top was exposed particle board wood. Because of this our old counters were crumbling away due to water damage around the sink. Our new counter tops have a curved but flattened edge where the laminate covering goes all the way underneath. That way, the wood base is never exposed to water preventing any potential damage. We also put in a stainless steel sink, a vast improvement over the old white ceramic sink that constantly stained and showed every little speck of grime.

Note that one of the above pictures shows the nasty wall that will be covered soon! When we removed the verdigris marbled wall covering from the wall behind the sink, we found that the wall was in horrible condition, partially covered with mold from a long since repaired roof leak. Layers of paint and wallpapers from each decade since 1940 were cracking and peeling. It is quite disgusting but will soon be covered with a brushed nickel back splash. Unfortunately, the sheets of the back splash do not arrive for another week and then we have the daunting task of figuring out how to install them, making sure that the design pattern lines up and also tin snipping for electrical outlets without cutting our fingers off. I'll be sure to post the pictures of this final step having been completed, marking the end of our modest kitchen remodel.

I couldn't resist posting this picture as well. When I say "we installed" all of these things I mean we hired a plumber and a handyman to install the counter tops, dishwasher, and sink. We did everything we could ahead of time to cut down on the time required by the professionals, especially with a plumber that works by the hour. One of these efforts involved Big Philip unhooking all the lines and garbage disposal from the old sink, in the hopes of saving an extra hour on the bill. Little Philip could not resist getting under the sink to help his Daddy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Conversation With Our New Oven

Hi there new Frigidaire stainless steel convection oven with smooth cook top and handle to hang a purely decorative dish towel. Let me just say that you are stunning, really. Not that I won't miss my 1940's Hotpoint complete with olive green trim that had stove eyes sitting at a 45 degree angle. Yes, we are really going to miss those crescent shaped pancakes but the upside is Little Philip will finally know that pancakes are traditionally round. Whoah, now watch it with that door, it can really burn little fingers. Especially since you have a window on you that will entice Little Philip. He's not used to that. You know, he is not allowed in the kitchen while something is baking because of that. Oh really? You are a cool touch oven with a door lock during cooking? Amazing! Wait a minute, be careful whipping that door open like that-

- OOOOH. You are gorgeous inside and self cleaning! Look how big you are in there! Why, I could cook a huge turkey! Not that I would, but you know, if I wanted to I could now! It's so spacious that it is going to be easier to turn the baking dishes every ten minutes during baking time to be sure that they cook evenly - what? I don't have to do that anymore? You mean, you cook food at an even temperature throughout the entire cooking cycle and in every nook and cranny in there? You are something else, you know that? Why, it makes me want to run out and get you that fancy stainless steel surface cleaner spray right now but I have to watch my time before little Helen wakes up from her morning nap. Let me just run into the living room to check the clock. What's that? You have a clock on you too? AND A TIMER? Boy, if I wasn't already married to the most wonderful man in the world...

Monday, July 14, 2008

This meal brought to you by ALDI and about that 3...

First of all, I am NOT pregnant with number three. I've received a few chuckling emails today. It did not occur to me that the title of that last post implied we were going to be a family of five. Yikes! I have the utmost respect for those women stronger than I am to take on the challenge of having three very young children but it is not for me, especially as we change into big boy underwear pair number six today. We have again embarked on the mission to potty train and so far, I'm in need of much encouragement to stay with it. That being said, and let me be sure I make myself perfectly clear....The only number three we were celebrating is our little boy's birthday. Rumor stopped? Good.

Now, I'm completely obsessed with ALDI now. It's an addiction to see how cheap we can go without ending up in the ER or losing the sense of taste in a freak allergic reaction. It's a rush to take that gamble. So, here is our ALDI meal tonight.

Black Beans and Rice with Sausage

2 can of black beans (.47 x2)
1/2 package of polish sausage (2.29 / 2)
White rice (approx .59 of the box)
Goya spice pack ( about .25)

Roma tomato salad - from our garden (free)

Total cost for tonight's meal? $2.93.

3 Is a Magic Number

Happy third birthday to our sweet little boy! We celebrated by filling his room with balloons while he was asleep. He woke up in a sea of balloons that was hard to ignore as we tried to get to church on time Sunday. After church we opened our present, a dinosaur puzzle, and a music card. Philip LOVES those new music cards that sing songs when you open them. In fact, by Monday he had received three music cards that are an absolute joy to listen to 24/7. Philip lays the cards out on a table and then opens them all at the same time and then repeats, and repeats, and repeats, dancing around the room. Ah yes, there is nothing like listening to MC Hammer's Can't Touch This, Old MacDonald Had a Farm and the Wiggles singing Toot Toot Chugga Chugga Big Red Car all at the same time, over and over and over... I wonder what the battery life is on those cards?!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Catching Up!

This is the second full week I've been at home full time with the kiddos and I'm loving it. In that first week I stressed about how messy the house was and I tried to make a dent in things...unsuccessfully. I decided to back down from that daunting goal and instead, decided to soak up quality time with the family. I actually sat down and explored some old cookbooks and read a Southern Living almost cover to cover. I am trying to learn to smock and have checked a big giant how to smock book out from the library. I made my friend Jenn's famous King Ranch Chicken casserole, a delicious and hearty shepherd's pie, and made several dessert pies from recipes found in our new church cookbook (highly recommend the margarita pie!). I also started a routine of going to the library with the children most mornings, because of the wonderful activities associated with the summer reading project. In two of the pictures in this post you will see Little Philip diving in to watermelon with Poppy and Aunt Lizzy after we heard from an Olympic gold medalist in diving. The other picture is of Lily the dairy cow as Little Philip and about a hundred other children learned how we get milk from cows. We've gone swimming a few mornings at our neighborhood pool as well as accepting the kind offer to swim at another community pool with friends. We have also attended a wedding in Mississippi and celebrated at an incredible Fourth of July party here in town with Robert and Tiffany Adams. Because of all of this, I haven't had much time to sit down and post pictures and blog. I promise next week I'll have more time because we have exactly five weeks to potty train before Little Philip starts 3K on Tuesdays and Thursdays!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Getting to Lick the Beaters

For mother's day this year, we gave NeeNee a card and on the cover it said "Good moms let you lick the beaters." On the inside it said "Great moms unplug the mixer first."

I made some pie yesterday and turned around to see our little boy peering up at me. It reminded me so much of my childhood that I just had to give him one.