Friday, May 29, 2009

It's That Time of Year Again...

Swimsuit season is here! Not for me (thank goodness), but for my daughter. She starts swimming lessons tomorrow. Big Kid swimming lessons. Which means that I will have to put her in the hands of a swim instructor (who will probably be only 17 years old and have no idea how scary it is to put your child's life in the hands of a stranger). Can you tell I'm a little apprehensive?

When we took swimming lessons last year, each parent was required to be in the pool with their child. I much prefer it that way. Instead, now that she's nearly 4 years old, they make the parents watch from the side, so as not to interfere. You can bet I'll be as close to the action as possible, though. I am driving myself crazy, picturing the chaos of 6 different-leveled classes going on in the pool simultaneously, knowing that it will be physically impossible for my daughter's instructor to have 2 hands on her at all times. However, I am putting on a brave front for the sake of my child. She is very sensitive to begin with, and she picks up on my nervous energy easily --as most kids do. I certainly don't want to project my fears onto her and ruin the whole thing. So far, I've been successful: she's very excited about tomorrow.

So, in effort to focus on the positive experience that's in store, we went bathing suit shopping. Can I tell you how much I love that she doesn't care what she wears (yet)? I still get to pick everything out for her, which thrills me. Dress-up has always been one of the many perks of having a daughter. I pulled several suits out for her to look over. She oohed and ahhed over all of them. Since I have a fondness for cherries that probably borders on obsession, I chose the adorable cherry swimsuit. It comes complete with a belt/bow combo and a ruffle. I was giddy when I discovered that there was exactly one left and it was in my daughter's size!

So, we're all set for a summer of swimming (if I let her get in the pool, that is). :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Birthday!

We like our cake around here. "Cake me!" is one of my daughter's favorite phrases (I'm supposing she's heard her dad joke one too many times, "Beer me!"). When we celebrated my husband's and my nephew's birthday on Saturday, my sister made the most decadent ice cream cake:Think Oreo cookie crust, a thick layer of chocolate fudge ganache, crushed peanut butter cups and crushed Oreos, two kinds of ice cream, more ganache, and topped with peanut butter cups and whipped cream. Oh my! So much better than any specialty store ice cream cake I've had. I will see about getting the recipe for it.

In the meantime, I've added my recipe for brownies, below. My husband's actual birthday is today. He wanted brownies and ice cream. So, being the dutiful wife that I am, I made brownies for him (it doesn't hurt that I love brownies myself).

I'm by no means a brownie connoisseur, but I do know what a good brownie tastes like. The more dense, moist, and fudgy the brownie, the better. I'm not a fan of light, somewhat dry, cake-like brownies. When I googled brownie recipes, it was amazing how heated the battles are regarding which is better: cake-like or fudge-like. It is purely a matter of personal preference. But, since I like fudgy, this recipe falls in that category. I looked over half a dozen recipes, and sort of combined a couple of them together. They are beyond sweet and far beyond rich! My advice? Cut them into small squares. Small! You can always go back for seconds! :)

Fudge Brownies with Mocha Icing

For the brownies:

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbsp water

2 Tbsp butter

1.5 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 8x8 pan.

In saucepan, combine sugar, water, and butter and bring to boil. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips til melted. Mix in eggs, vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in separate bowl. Stir flour mixture into chocolate mixture. Don't overmix. Spread evenly into pan. Bake 20-25 minutes. Do not overbake! Remove from the oven once the center is set and the edges are just pulling away from the sides of the pan. Cool completely.

Mocha Icing:

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 cup strongly brewed hot coffee

3 cups confectioner's sugar

1/3 cup melted butter

1/8 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients except the confectioner's sugar in a blender. Blend well, adding the sugar 1 cup at a time. Scrape sides as needed. Blend until thoroughly mixed. Icing will be thin, but don't worry. It will thicken as it stands. Spread over brownies in pan. Refrigerate until icing is thick and set. Cut into squares. Serve alone or warmed up (almost to the point of being a melted pool of chocolate) and topped with vanilla ice cream!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Setting the tone for tomorrow

I've posted in the past about my daily/weekly schedule of homemaking tasks. Since I love taking a peek at the way others organize and schedule their days, I thought I'd share a bit more about the rhythms I try to establish in my home. Today I'm going to talk a bit about my evening schedule of "haven-ing" my home. There are some things that, if done during the quiet hours of the evening, make for a smoother and more peaceful morning. Obviously, these things have to wait until after the messes of the day have culminated into a huge heap to be tackled. Thus, after the children go to bed! Phyllis Diller hit the nail on the head when she said, "Cleaning the house while the children are still growing is like shoveling the walk while it's snowing." But, as senseless as it seems sometimes to clean something that will be undone as soon as I blink, it must be done.

Imagine if you will, coming downstairs at the break of dawn (or even before that), after a mere 3.5 hours of sleep (not in one consecutive block, mind you ---but broken down into 7 tiny chunks of time), and seeing a smattering of this and that on the countertops and a few stray dirty dishes in the sink, toys littering the floor, and, well, you get the idea. That is not a scene that says, "Good Morning!" Unfortunately, I don't have to imagine that scene, because it is my reality more often than I'd like.

So, through experimentation, I found that doing a few things at night during my "me time," really helped start the next day off on the right foot. Sure, I'd rather be sewing or watching a movie or reading during my quiet evening hours. And, unfortunately, I tend to just collapse after the kids are asleep. I really have to force myself to do these simple tasks, knowing I will be glad I did, come the morning. And, if I just do them and get them out of the way, I can enjoy the rest of my evening, with nothing hanging over my head.

Let's just jump right into my list, shall we? It goes something like this:

*Wipe down counters

*Clear off the dining room table, wash placemats and hang to dry

*Sweep kitchen and front hall.

*Saturate dish wand sponge top (I use Scotch Brite soap dispensing dish wand) with water and microwave for 1-2 minutes. Yes, these sponge toppers are replaceable, and I do replace them regularly. But, I still sanitize them between replacements, because I am germophobic and can't stand the idea of washing my dishes with a bacteria-laden sponge. So, once the last dishes are done for the night, I sanitize the sponges and let them dry overnight.

*Load all dirty dishes and run dishwasher, if necessary.

*Spray the sink with sanitizing spray (did you know that the average kitchen sink harbors more germs than a port-a-potty? I'm not trying to pass along my germ paranoia to anyone, just throwing a little trivia out in the ring).

*Put all toys in their respective cubbies, all books in the book box (we really do try to have our daughter clean up before bed, but we often run out of time. You know how it takes three times as long as it should when the littles clean up? I guess that's why we often skip this step in the before-bed routine).

*Pre-load the washing machine. This is crucial in order to stay on top of the laundry pile. When we get up in the morning, I'm carrying my son and my water jug that I sip all night long. I've got one hand in front of my daughter as she climbs down the stairs holding her water cup and whatever else she wants to bring with her. I simply don't have enough hands to also carry a basket full of the day's first laundry load. Sometimes, I don't make it back upstairs (and thus, to the dirty clothes hamper) for hours after we get up in the morning. This puts me woefully behind schedule when it comes to laundry. I usually do 2 loads per day, including cloth diapers and cloth wipes.

But, if I gather the next day's first load and empty it into the washing machine the night before, it's ready to just start up when we come down in the a.m. I leave the lid to the washer up, as a little visual reminder to start the laundry before I make breakfast. Such a simple thing to do, but it's helped me immensely.

*Check the calendar for any appointments, bills to mail or pay online, calls to make, etc. for tomorrow.

*Make sure my husband's lunch, wallet, keys, etc. are ready to go for him in the morning.

*Lay out clothes for me, the kids, and my husband. Yes, I know he's an adult and this sounds either really old-fashioned or really controlling. But the truth is, my husband has a horrible short-term memory and would wear the same shirt to work two or three times per week (cleaned between wearings, of course) if I didn't pick out his shirts for him. I used to delay washing his clothes so he would be forced to pick something different from his closet each day. But I couldn't stand letting his laundry sit for a week at a time. The better solution seemed to be for me to pick his clothes for him. That way I could wash his clothes as often as I wanted, but not worry about him wearing what he just wore 2 days earlier!

So, in a nutshell, this is what I aim to do each night before I go to bed. It seems long and drawn-out, but it really goes quite quickly (at least that's what I tell myself when I don't feel like getting off the couch and doing it). If anyone has any lists or schedules they'd like to share, I'd be very interested in hearing about it. As I've stated in the past, I love lists!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Homecoming

I treated myself to a trip to the bookstore this evening. I was only gone 2 1/2 hours because that's as long as my little guy can go without eating. But, it's long enough for me to recharge and have "my time."

It's funny because I find myself chomping on the bit to go. I hop in the car and I'm probably driving a tad fast and definitely being a touch impatient when hitting the red lights. These red lights, after all, are cutting into my 2.5 hour time-frame! As anxious as I am to begin "my time," I find that at the end of the 2 or so hours, I'm driving just as fast and impatiently on the way home, ready to be back with my family. I'm feeling refreshed and ready to hit the motherhood trenches again.

Tonight, I came home to find the children tucked into bed, but both wide awake. My daughter quietly clapped and raised her arms above her head in celebration when she saw me walk in the door to our family's bedroom. I bent down and kissed her and she hugged me so tight I almost choked. I'm hit with a familiar feeling: "Nothing tops being a Mom. Nothing."

As I lay in bed nursing my son (We co-sleep and love it--it works for us), my daughter (whose twin bed is only about 6 feet away from ours) and I go through our little wordless, goodnight ritual. I wait until she glances over to us, and then I wave. She pulls her arm out from underneath her quilt and waves back at me, in that cute, child-like: open-whole-hand-and-close-whole-hand fashion. Then I wave at her with just my index finger. She waves back at me with her index finger. I switch to thumb waves, and she does the same. I follow thumb waves with pinky waves. She mimics me. Finally I close with wild waving, using my whole hand and arm. She does the same. We both erupt into hushed giggles, enough to disturb my little man, who pauses from drinking and looks up at me with a smile. He settles back to eating while I blow a kiss to my sweet girl. She happily settles back on her pillow, pulling her quilt tightly under her chin. Even in the darkened room, I can see her smiling ear to ear. These are the moments I cherish. The ones I know I'll always remember. These are the kind of moments I daydreamed about having, if ever the chance came along. My chance is here and I'm not going to waste it. It's nice to get out for a few hours, but the homecoming is the best part.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A feast for the senses...

It's here! The orders I placed for wool felt have arrived. I'm so excited. When my husband and my daughter came back from the mailbox carrying packages, I could hardly contain myself. Like a child on Christmas morning, I was!

I even waited to open the packages until after the children went to bed, just so I wouldn't feel rushed to look everything over while trying to also manage dinner and bedtime, etc.

I ordered 100% real wool (organic, plant-dyed and premium all-wool from A Child's Dream Come True) and a few pieces of a wool/rayon mix from Prairie Point Junction's Wool Felt Central. Everybody told me I would instantly notice the difference between wool felt and that thinner, cheaper acrylic felt that you find in the craft stores. Ooh, they were right. It's soft and thick and I am so happy I special ordered it.

I have two June bugs celebrating their 1st and 4th birthdays this year. I thought it was high time I made some birthday crowns for their special days. I also have big plans for some homemade felt characters for a flannel board I'm making as a Christmas present. Plus, I think I'm going to make some little fairies/gnomes and outfit them in some cute, wool clothes. Keep in mind, these are my plans, not necessarily what will actually be accomplished! Except for the crowns. I will be making those. I'll plan on posting the finished products here as incentive to complete them on time!

A stack of wool, ripe with possibility, is where I found my snippet of sunshine today, where's yours? :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Life is Messy

A few days ago, I let my daughter bring real flour into her play kitchen. I naively thought that she would keep it contained to a bowl or two. Ha! She's not quite 4 years old. I constantly amaze myself when it comes to my ability to miscalculate and misjudge the "mess-capacity" of a situation.

I always fly solo when it comes to messy projects and the children. My husband refuses to do anything that will require smocks, paint, glitter, glue, food, or a change of clothes afterward. He's kind of like that Steve Martin character in the movie Parenthood: "I hate messy. It's just so...messy!"

So, the next day, I spread out a huge waterproof play mat and gave her all the fixings a young, inspired cook could desire: flour, water, sugar, salt, pepper grinder filled to the brim, and dried pasta. Then I added an assortment of bowls, pie pans, measuring cups, measuring spoons, and a potato masher.

She set to work. There was pouring, mixing, and spooning. There was also splattering and spilling (more of that than pouring and mixing, actually).

Several times throughout the mad cooking experiment, she asked if she could put her water and sugar/salt/pepper/spaghetti and flour pie in her play kitchen oven upstairs. After countless attempts at negotiation, she accepted that I would most definitely not let her take that mess of a pie up to her wooden play kitchen.

While cleaning her up, I took many deep breaths and reminded myself that being messy is part of her job description as a little one. The flour and water mixture had turned to a glue-like substance and it was everywhere. That play mat is fired for not doing its job.

But, I remained cheerful and I bit my tongue. I did not chastise or lecture her about the mess and being careful. I just happily cleaned her up. While doing so, she said quietly, "I just love you so much, Mommy." I think she was so relieved that I kept a cheerful attitude regarding the mess. Lately, I have struggled to remain cheerful in the face of constant disaster around our house. I am ashamed to admit that she was probably bracing for a lecture about keeping the flour and water on the mat. Instead, she got just the opposite. My positive attitude made her feel so accepted and so safe and so okay to be herself. She is at the age where pleasing me is high on her list. And I hate to think I unconsciously put pressure on her to please me. I never want my kids to feel like they have to struggle to gain my approval. I love them, all sides to them (messy, neat, angry, whiny, happy, affectionate), always.

Then, after a change of clothes and a warm foot bath, she was clean and happy. While I was kneeling in front of her, drying her feet, she patted me on the shoulder and sighed, "You were right...we shouldn't gone upstairs." :) Music to a Mama's ears: "You were right." That phrase is a rarity with the preschooler crowd!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Homemade Samoa Cookies

As a little extra something special, I included a plate loaded with these delightful cookies and gave one plate each to my Mom and my sister with their Mother's Day presents. I came across these through By Sun and Candlelight. They are basically Girl Scout Samoas, in bar form. The recipe came from here.

I probably don't even need to point this out, as it is quite evident from my picture, but they didn't turn out as pretty as they were supposed to. I definitely had some issues.

My first issue was cutting them into squares. Even though I waited until they had cooled, I still noticed the coconut-caramel topping was peeling off the shortbread base as I cut. When I switched to using a pizza cutter instead of a knife, it was better (I think the up/down motion of cutting with a knife was dislodging my topping). Then, I had additional problems when it came to dipping each square into the melted chocolate to cover the bottom. There is supposed to be a nice thick coating on the bottom of each piece. However, each time I dipped one, the shortbread would stick to the chocolate and separate from the coconut-caramel topping when I lifted it up. I was left with a shortbread square stranded in a bowl of melted chocolate, and the golden brown topping in my hand. Frustrating doesn't even begin to describe it. I ended up spreading the chocolate on the bottom of each one with a knife and leaving them upside-down to set. Then, I turned them over and drizzled the remaining chocolate on the top. It was a lot of work.

You might be wondering if it was worth it. And, begrudgingly, I'll admit that they were worth it because they were quite tasty. And when the combination of flavors turns out this good, I'll put up with a little extra work. So, yeah, I'd make them again, but I would allow for more time to do so, and expect less-than-perfect results. On second thought, I think I will just buy extra boxes of Samoas next time the Girl Scouts make their rounds.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Reflections on motherhood...

Happy belated Mother's Day to all the moms, moms-to-be, and all women who share and cherish the bond they have with their own mothers or other special women in their lives. It's been a busy few days and I've been away longer than I planned from this space. It's that balance thing again. I just haven't found the correct "tweak" yet! So, for now anyway, it's spotty posting when I can grab a few extra minutes (or hours, when you add up all the choppy time segments it takes for me to complete a post).

I spent Mother's Day with my family. Lots of good food and good company. I marveled at the changes in my little ones and myself since my first Mother's Day several years ago. I feel so abundantly blessed to have these two precious people entrusted to me. This picture is of my oldest baby holding my youngest baby, almost a year ago:

(Note those fists, that seem so permanently clenched when they're so young!)

In this season of my life, I feel so depleted of energy, patience, creativity. It's been a roller coaster ride this past year. So many days I have found myself screaming, "Stop the ride, I want to get off!" But, as quickly as that "swallowed-up, overwhelmed" feeling hits, it passes and I feel at peace again with my place in this world. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else, doing anything else, other than raising these children.

My daughter, so full of life and light and imagination. She makes me want to be a stronger woman, a better person. My helper when it comes to anything: cooking, cleaning, entertaining her brother. She brings intensity to everything she does: good and not-so-good! Just like her Mama.

My son, brimming with spirit and persistence. My all-or-nothing boy. Full of curiosity. Always testing and pushing limits (and my sanity, if I'm being honest). He's a charmer who never fails to bring a smile to my face, even (or should I say, especially) when I'm on the verge of tears with frustration. His affection, toward those he loves and trusts, melts my heart.

My children are the marks I want to leave on this world. Sure, I have plans and goals and wishes for myself. But, when it comes down to it, they come first. Always. The way I raise them (through my words and my actions), the things I teach them, the people they become...that is what truly makes my life purposeful.

In the words of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: "If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do matters very much." It's hard to disagree with that, isn't it? Have a beautiful afternoon everyone!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My Mean Mother...a poem for Mother's Day

Several years ago, on my first Mother's Day, my Mom gave me this poem inside the card she made for me. I'm not sure of the author, but I thought I would share it, as I'm sure many of you out there also had a "Mean Mother" and are now (or planning to be) "mean mothers" yourselves.

My Mean Mother...

Someday when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a parent, I will tell them, as my Mean Mom told me: I loved you enough to ask where you were going, with whom, and what time you would be home.

I loved you enough to be silent and let you discover that your new best friend was a creep.

I loved you enough to make you go pay for the bubble gum you had taken and tell the clerk, "I stole this yesterday and want to pay for it."

I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your room, a job that should have taken 15 minutes.

I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment, and tears in my eyes. Children must learn that their parents aren't perfect.

I loved you enough to let you assume the responsibility for your actions even when the penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart.

But most of all, I loved you say NO when I knew you would hate me for it.

Those were the most difficult battles of all. I'm glad I won them, because in the end you won, too. And someday when your children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates parents, you will tell them.

Was your Mom mean? I know mine was. We had the meanest mother in the while world! While other kids ate candy for breakfast, we had to have cereal, eggs, and toast. When others had a Pepsi and a Twinkie for lunch, we had to eat sandwiches. And you can guess our mother fixed us a dinner that was different from what other kids had, too.

Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times. You'd think we were convicts in a prison. She had to know who our friends were, and what we were doing with them. She insisted that if we said we would be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or less...
We were ashamed to admit it, but she had the nerve to break the Child Labor Laws by making us work. We had to wash the dishes, make the beds, learn to cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry, empty the trash, and all sorts of cruel jobs. I think she would lie awake at night thinking of more things for us to do.

She always insisted on us telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. By the time we were teenagers, she could read our minds and had eyes in the back of her head. Then, life was really tough!

Mother wouldn't let our friends just honk the horn when they drove up. The had to come up to the door so she could meet them. While everyone else could date when they were 12 or 13, we had to wait until we were 16.

Because of our mother, we missed out on lots of things other kids experienced. None of us have ever been caught shoplifting, vandalizing other's property, or ever arrested for any crime. It was all her fault!
Now that we have left home, we are all educated, honest adults. We are doing our best to be mean parents just like Mom was.

I think that is what's wrong with the world today. It just doesn't have enough mean moms!

After reading this poem again, I think I'm going to go call my Mom and thank her for being so mean! I hope my kids will do the same for me someday. :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mother's Day gifts in the making...

I've been whipping up some little gifts for a couple of special women in my life: my Mom and my sister. For my Mom, I did a trial run on a handprint "flower" pillow cover. I sewed a nice, heavyweight canvas cover and then had the children make handprint "flowers" and unopened "buds" using their thumbprints. Later, I added in the green stems and leaves. Then I just slipped it over an 11x14 pillow form I bought at Joann's. I used Tulip Soft fabric paint (matte), if anyone is wondering.

Getting Roo's handprint was a piece of cake, but Rascal's was a little tricky. He's still in that baby stage where he balls up his fingers against his fist when you try to open his hand. So, with non-pliable fingers, I had to make the best of it and get his handprint any way I could. But, I think it makes it look almost cuter that way, because it's another reminder of how much he's still my baby boy.

This one below (and please excuse the horrible picture--I ran out of time and daylight to photograph the pillow on the couch), I'm going to keep for myself since yellow and green are more "me." For my Mom, I'm going to use two different colors for the flowers (one color for Roo's hand and one color for Rascal's) and a lighter canvas for the actual cover fabric.

For my sister, I made a sign for her garden. She is a skilled horticulturist and grows an amazing garden every year. I sanded and painted a plain piece of wood from Michael's. I chose a cheerful, buttery yellow. Then I used my rubber alphabet stamps and soft green paint for the quote (I've always liked this quote--I even used it in Roo's baby book on the page showcasing her growth from 1 month to 1 year of age). While stamping the words on there, I realized how much I hate my old-fashioned rubber stamps. They're the kind that are backed on wood, not the newer, clear version. It's nearly impossible to line up the individual letters when you are blindly stamping them on there. Ugh! Nothing says "homemade" like some seriously crooked letters, right? :) Oh well. All that's left to do is pick up a wooden stake at the home store and paint it too. Then I'll have my husband screw the plaque onto the stake and spray a water-resistant varnish over the whole thing so it can withstand the elements.

I think it turned out well. I'm most proud of the fact that I did the whole sign while Roo cooked in her play kitchen, just 3 feet away from me. I was tasting "food," spelling and plotting letter placement, painting tiny alphabet stamps, and responding 22 times to the question, "Are you finished yet, Mommy?" Sure, the play room/craft room was in absolute shambles by the time I was finished (letting her bring real flour from my kitchen, to use in her play kitchen, was a mistake of gargantuan proportions), but I'm thrilled that I was able to work on a craft while my girl worked beside me. I can't wait until she's old enough to do her "thing" while I do mine. Together, the two of us: creating and dabbling and just "being."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Is this the shower or the produce department?

As I try to take a more natural approach to all things in my daily life, I replaced our phthalate and phosphate-loaded shampoos and conditioners and replaced them with Dr. Bronner's pure castile soap. It was a good switch: I love using these products in place of regular shaving cream on my legs. And they work great as a body wash too.

What I love most are the scents. The peppermint scented one was our winter staple. Using it made our bathroom smell like a candy cane making factory! Definitely strong, with the potential to be overpowering. But, fortunately, I love the smell of candy canes because it makes me think of Christmas. And anyone that knows me, will tell you that I am a Christmas fanatic. Although, you do need to be careful with the peppermint soap. It produces an invigorating tingle on your skin. Which is great if you're lathering up your feet, but be careful around your eyes! In fact, I'd recommend not using it on your face. But, that's just my two cents.

Oh, and while I'm adding my two cents, I have to say that I don't recommend using it to wash your hair if your hair is long. I have long hair and I find it really hard to wash out without leaving tons of oily residue behind. The products are made with essential oils, after all. However, my husband LOVES using it as shampoo. He doesn't find it leaves any residue at all. So, it all depends on hair length and thickness, I suppose.

I've also tried the eucalyptus, the tea tree, and the lavender scent. After the first time I used the lavender, my husband hugged me and asked, "Did the baby throw up in your hair today?" Nice. I don't think that was quite the reaction the product manufacturing team was going for with that one. And there goes our chance for any future endorsement deals.

Because we have said so long and farewell to old man winter, I decided to purchase a fresh scent for Spring. I got just what I was looking for too: this citrus-orange one delivers. If I close my eyes, it smells like freshly-squeezed orange juice is pouring out of the shower head. Really. It smells heavenly (if you like the smell of oranges, that is). So fresh and fruity. Great products you can feel good about using.

So, that's where I found my snippet of sunshine today, where's yours? :)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...May 4, 2009

Outside my window...our new plants in the garden are thriving after all the rain showers we've had recently. We planted some neat moss in between the flagstone pieces that encircle the base of our tree, and I can see that it's starting to spread. Yay for gardening success!

I am thinking...about balance and how to achieve it. The children, the house, my husband, myself, blogging (!), and so on. If anyone has uncovered the key to this one, please let me know! :)

I am thankful husband's support regarding the raising of our children. I am constantly running ideas and plans by him and he always demonstrates such trust and confidence in me as a mother. I think he believes in me more than I believe in myself.

From the kitchen...Meatloaf (one of my husband's favorites), baked potato fries, lemon-hazelnut green beans.

I am yoga pants (with a hole in the knee, no less. Workout or yoga pants in black take a beating around here--I must go shopping for new ones); a brushed-cotton, turquoise top that is super soft and fast becoming one of my favorites; my hair up.

I am creating...a detailed to-do list for the next two months: celebrating many birthdays in our little family circle and planning a mini-vacation we just decided on this past weekend. Oh, how I love to make lists (things to buy, to make, to borrow, to confirm, to cook, to pack, etc. etc.)!!!

I am work on a special gift for my Mom for Mother's Day. I hope it turns out.

I am watch a movie with my husband this week. It's been sooo long since we've watched anything because our littlest one wakes so frequently during the evening (well, all night long and into the morning, actually). But I think we will just try and see if we can watch an entire movie in one night. That would be such an accomplishment!

I am hearing...the cheerful babble of my nearly 11-month old boy and the thundering footsteps of my nearly 4 year old gal running around the house.

I am praying...for God's guidance regarding some big decisions we need to make affecting our family's future. So I told my husband that we should be quiet and listen, wait for Him to point us in the direction we are to go.

Around the house...laundry is in full-swing; the recycle bin is overflowing; and the sewing machine is calling my name! :)

One of my favorite things...the giddy squeals and look of sheer pleasure when my daughter finds a worm in the garden (and how she will dig out there for hours, getting just as excited about the 20th worm as she did the 1st one!)

A few plans for the rest of the week...sticking with my weekly cleaning schedule (got off track with in-town company, and never got completely back on again); some sewing and painting; order a few items for some upcoming birthdays; a library run. Perhaps an early Mother's Day treat for myself: a trip to the bookstore to sip something yummy and browse around!

A picture thought I am sharing...probably one of our favorite morning rituals (other than snuggling in bed): waiting for our breakfast guests.

Be sure to swing by Peggy's Place for more Daybook viewings...