Monday, October 31, 2011

Talking to myself?

I do this regularly. As I told Hubby this morning, when I say something out loud, it makes more sense, or I see the absurdity of it. Pre-Peanut I tried to keep this talking to a minimum when out and about at stores and such. But these days, I just "talk to Peanut".

I'm sure he gets something out of it, word acquisition and such. But goodness, it makes life easier to me!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Book Review: Shepherding a Child's Heart

Shepherding a Child's HeartShepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A little over a month ago, we participated in the baby dedication at church. The idea is that as parents, we dedicated ourselves to raise our child in the fear and knowledge of the Lord. And the congregation, particularly those that are apart of your life, dedicated themselves to assisting and exhorting you in that endeavor. Its nothing all that fancy, but its one of those rituals or sorts of things that help to impress something on ya.

At the time, we got a gift bag with a certificate, a book and a set of CDs. The certificate went into Peanut's baby book, the CDs next to the CD player and the book next to my chair.

I have enjoyed this book. At first, I struggled with his writing style. Honestly, its written at a popular level, which means 5th or 6th grade. He writes with short, choppy sentences that could use some editing to make them smoother and more readable. But once I got past that, Tripp has some good things to say.

This is a sort-of discipline book, as in how to discipline and train your children. But, as the title suggests, it about dealing with your child's heart issues, not just his behavior. The book assumes that the reader is interested in raising children who love God, know God, and are interested in using Biblical methods to raise their children.  The first part of the book provides the foundation and goals of child rearing and the second part discusses the theory and method.

Much of what Tripp says made sense to me. I'd seen this sort of child rearing in the home I grew up in and in a few other homes that I had close contact with. It was nothing new to me, but it was presented in a way that I feel far more confident now to implement these ideas.

Yes, he advocates spanking in specific, controlled circumstances. He lays out the parameters of when, where and how to spank. A spank is a specific tool with specific purpose that is only used in specific circumstances.

Although what Tripp advocates makes sense to me and seem reasonable and wise, I'm not sure I buy his argument that this is the "Biblical" method. The Bible does set out goals for your children, and some basic guidelines... "Fathers, do not anger (or embitter)your children", "Children obey your parents", and such. But the Bible doesn't really lay out specific methods out side of "talk about these things when you rise, when you sit, when you... [you name it]" You can, however, draw out basic priciples. Tripp does this excellently, but then calls them a "Biblical Method". I think that takes it too far.

So, if you are coming from the same view point of wanting to train your children in the fear and knowledge of the Lord, and you take the same basic worldview, this book has lots of good stuff to tell you. Even if you aren't on the same page, it's still good stuff, but you might have such a beef with what he says that you'll get nothing from it.

View all my reviews

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Angie's Chai Tea

I enjoy tea. The folks from India who stayed with us, left a package of tea, so I've been making "chai", which is really just tea. In Chinese, "chai" (with the right tone) is "tea".  But, to the last few cups I've add a few cardamon pods, some cloves, a few black pepper corns and a cinnamon stick (half of one, less would be okay, too). It makes a flavorful tea when a touch of sugar is mixed in.  I"ll give the recipe below.

As I sat and drank, I remember the first time I'd had this version of chai. It was in 2001. I was living in China, and had met a gal, Angie, when I was on holiday in Thailand who was living in Kunming at the time, which was an day's train ride west for me. It was the national holiday week, so I took the week and went west to visit her. That was the first week of October. It was just getting a touch chilly then, and Kunming is set up in the mountains so the nights were down right nippy.

We had a great time that week. Angie and I really hit of off. Two single gals, both of rather independent spirits. Both fairly well educated, and both in need of a good friend as we were both on our own in this new place. We were both studying Chinese, and spent several days scoping out and finding the spices needed to make "Chai". Its not easy figuring out how to say things like "nutmeg" when you aren't sure what the whole spice looks like. Google images wasn't available to us then. We had a few misses, but after a few days we'd found the spices, and knew the names in Chinese.  We made the tea and savored it while singing to Angie's guitar playing. We drank it while chatting late at night, and in the morning before breakfast.  Those were good times.

We both eventually returned to the states. I went to grad school, Angie returned home to work, and I learned later, met a boy and got married. Last time I saw her, she was married, and pregnant with her first (a boy if I remember correctly). That was fall of 2005. And I was figuring out what to do with this boy showing me all this attention (he's now my Hubby). Last I heard, she was pregnant with her second, living in Singapore.

Angie -- should you read this, I'd love to catch up and see where life has taken you!

Angie's Chai Tea


You will need:

loose black tea

cinnamon sticks

whole cloves

whole nutmegs

whole cardamon pods

whole black peppercorns

sugar (I figure you know what sugar looks like)

For 1 cup:
Use about 1 tbsp black tea, a single half-stick of cinnamon, a few (3-5)whole cloves, 1/4 or so of a nutmeg (use a knife to cut up), a few (4-5)cardamon pods and a few (3-4) peppercorns. Cover them with a mug full of milk, and heat over medium heat, stirring regularly.  When hot, strain into a mug and add a spoonful of sugar. Enjoy!

For the next cup:
Adjust the spices to fit your taste. I tend to like a bit more cinnamon and a bit less clove and peppercorns. Also, if you don't have one or two of the spices, its still good. More than that missing and it is a bit bland.

You can also make it with water: Use more of everything, but not a ton more. Bring it to a boil, then let cool and seep overnight. Strain and store in the fridge. Add about half of this very strong tea and half milk to a mug and heat. Add sugar to taste.

Keep in mind, this isn't exact! And its all very flexible.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A good day so far!

Woot, I like it when days start out good. And its nearly noon, so hopefully, it will stay "good".

That second tooth finally finished cutting through, on Thursday. Here's to hoping that future teeth act more like the first one and not the second one.

The cold front that moved in would be more accurately called a "chilly front". We did get some rain out of it, about 1/4".

Now, lets see what I can get done today!

Here's my attempts at getting a picture of the teeth.

Do you see the one? This was pre-second tooth.

No, Peanut, gotta move the tongue.

Oh, so close. Centering off. If you look close, you can see the teeth!

Can you hold still? No? I should of known.

I think he really likes the camera and get excited when I pull it out and point it at him. I'm guessing he gets that from me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Days like this

Do you have days where you just don't want to do anything, but read and chill out?  Yes, its that kind of day for me. I think Hubby is having a similar day. Its not that life has been too crazy of late, though its been busy. Perhaps it has something to do with the two new teeth Peanut has. The first one came in quickly, and fairly painlessly -- based on his lack of fussiness. This second one has taken a fair bit longer and he is far unhappier.

Tooth #1:
Peanut had a hard time going down for a nap and then bed time. Next day, hard nap time during morning, and new tooth appeared in the afternoon. All good from there.

Tooth #2:
Fussy-fussy on Sunday... and Monday... and Tuesday. Hard time going for naps. Low grade fever on Monday. Tooth seems to be making an appeared now, Wednesday morning. Still generally unhappy.

I'm thankful for Tylenol, and plastic rings.

Sorry, no tooth view here. He really is not interested in showing off those new teeth.

And now, today, I desire to be lazy. Luckily, there are only a few things that *need* to be done today.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Carpet cleaning

Carpets can get really nasty. And they aren't that easy to keep *really* clean. As Peanut is rolling like a champ, and working hard at sitting, I decided it was time to clean the carpet in preparation for his crawling. I figure if he's got his face in the carpet, I'd like it to be clean.

Friends of ours have a Bissell steam cleaner. Their son has crazy allergies, so it makes sense for them to own such a machine. I borrowed it, and have loved it. I so want a steam cleaner now... but if I'm going to clean the carpets twice a year, or so, is it worth buying one? Still thinking on that one.

Anyhoo, it was easy, and I was able to do a room a day. I started on the guest bed room, then did the hallway and nursery the next day. I got the living room on Saturday, as Hubby was around to hold Peanut if needed. Today, I got the master bedroom.

So, in prep for cleaning the carpets I vacuumed. I went ahead and vacuumed all the other rooms as well, just to start a new habit of vacuuming weekly. Oh, my goodness. Normally, our vacuum dust bin is quite full after I vacuum the house. And its usually a dark grey/black color. Lots of carpet fuzz, cat hair, Mommy hair and dirt. Today, however, after vacuuming the guest bedroom, nursery, hallway and living room, I had a small ball of carpet fuzz, cat hair and a bit of dirt/dust. And it was carpet colored. I know my carpets are cleaner than they've been since we moved in. Then I vacuumed the master bedroom (pre-cleaning vacuum). Yuck. I emptied more from the bin from just that room than I did from the rest of the house. WOW! I'm looking forward to vacuuming after the carpet is dry just to see how little I pick up.

As for the steam cleaner... its a Bissell  Proheat 2x. I like that the soap container is separate from the water container, and the cleaner is easy to use. I don't like how small the clean water container is and that it is open to the dirty water container. The clean water is contained in a bladder inside the dirty water container, and there isn't a way to close off the clean water bladder. I'm somewhat certain that the clean water was a little soapy at one point. After reading reviews on Amazon, I did pick out a different one, that should I chose to get one, that's the one I'd want. Its a Hoover, and has great reviews.

The cleaner did pull up a fair bit of fuzz, as does the vacuum cleaner. I suspect if I cleaned the carpet too much, it'd be thread bare sooner than otherwise. But I know dirt is just hard on the threads and causes them to break sooner than otherwise. So, I'm guessing a cleaning twice a year for living room, and once a year for bedrooms would be enough.

Those who clean their carpets regularly, how often to do clean them?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Book Review: The Naturally Clean Home

The Naturally Clean Home (Second Edition, Fully Updated)The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received this book as a gift from my sister a holiday or two back. I started reading it from the front cover and was initially unimpressed. Several of her recipes call for combining baking soda (an excellent cleaner) and vinegar (another excellent cleaner). Just because they are good individually doesn't mean they are good together. Why? Because together they react to release carbon dioxide and leave water. That's what all the bubbly is about when building a volcano.

Recently, though, I've found some good recipes from this book. I was cleaning carpet spots and ran out of foam cleaner. Rather than put the project aside till the next Walmart run, I made my own foam carpet cleaner from her recipe. I like it. It works, its easy to make, and its cheap.

This week, I've borrowed a friend carpet steam cleaner and I've used the recipe for carpet steam cleaner to clean the carpets. I like it. (And the carpets look so nice after being cleaned!).

Overall, I think she's got some good recipes for cleaning, but the reader will need to pick and choose. I like her use of essential oils and she has a nice chart at the front for what the different herbs are reported to be used for. The recipes are simple with easily found ingredients. If you need a reference for cleaning recipes, this isn't a bad one to have.

View all my reviews

Friday, October 21, 2011

Lubbock? Seriously?

So, one of my few... ahem... many vices is watching the various CSI shows and offshoots. I've decided that CSI Miami effectively lowers my IQ by a few points each time I watch an episode, but I regain them when I blog... so it all evens out :P

I'm currently watching episode 3 -- "Blown Away". The crimes happen in the midst of tornadoes (yep, in Miami of all places). So the storm chasers mention an 'armadillo', to which the detective says "The only armadillos I know of are in Lubbock".

What? Lubbock mentioned in a nationally syndicated TV show? I always imagined my home town was a dinky little place, but it seems it more of a place than I imagined.

By the way, the episode isn't worth watching just for the comment. Its a rather dorky plot, and dorkish characters.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


You might remember several months ago, I wrote about a weekly routine and commented that laundry needed no real routine as I didn't have that much to do. I was wrong, very wrong.

I realized quickly that I had an under estimated view of our laundry production and I was actually doing quite a bit more than a mere 4 loads a week. I do closer to 8 to 10 loads a week.  Currently, my routine goes something like this:
Monday -- diapers, light clothes, dark clothes, towels (4 loads)
Wednesday -- diapers, light clothes, dark clothes, sheets (4 loads)
Friday -- diapers (1 load)

I've got some laundry line up on the porch that I've used some to dry laundry and I'd like to use it more. But when I'm doing 4 loads in a day, there just isn't enough room to hand everything. And now that its cooler, it takes longer for clothes to dry. Plus, with both Peanut and Little Bobble, I find it hard to get out to hand clothes and then take them down. What's a girl to do?

Here's what I'd like... diapers on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; clothes on Monday and Thursday; towels and sheets on Friday. And if I'm to hand stuff to dry, I need a lot more line. Maybe I can put the lines closer together to fit more lines on the pergola? Perhaps. Maybe I aim to at least get the routine right this week.

We figured, based on a website, that drying 1 load of laundry is about $0.30. Diapers take longer, so they cost more, I'm sure. If I line dry all our laundry, that saves about $3 a week in electricity. Not a negligible savings, I don't think, but I also don't feel bad about using the dryer when I'm feeling tired, crazy or overwhelmed.

Peanut really enjoyed Sujatha, as well, who is Srinivas's wife. We had a great time with them.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Yep, this is my home town

I remember dust storms growing up. Sounds like this one out did anything I ever saw!

Dust storm magnitude startles even long-time residents | Lubbock Online | Lubbock Avalanche-Journal:

'via Blog this'

Day time Naps

Peanut has never been a good napper. He sleeps great at night, though. I figured out sometime in month 2 that if given the chance, he is happy to go to bed for the night at 7 pm, and would get up about 630 or 7 the next morning. True, he would wake me to nurse several times and night (though most recently, I'm up 1 or 2 times at night only), but each time he went back down very easily. I'm uncertain he actually woke up during those nursings.

But the day time naps are a different story. I'm sure that first week or two, he slept fine, but from sometime in month 1 and on, he would sleep 15 to 45 minutes tops 2 or 3 time a day. Which means he is an utter pumpkin by 5 pm.

This last weekend, with our guests, has meant a change in sleeping locations. Usually Little Bobble naps in the guest bedroom, but for this weekend, I put her in the nursery and put Peanut in, ahem, our closet. Yes, our closet. Does this make me a bad mother? I hope not, because he naps great in there. We are guessing it has to do with it being so much darker in the closet than his bedroom. The absence of windows will do that!  I found that first nap time in the closet went for 1 1/2 hours. Twice his longest nap time. Amazing. I thought maybe he was just tired. But this has held out. Consistently, he will sleep 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours in the closet.

When is he napping? I've wanted to get onto a more consistent nap schedule for a while. Little Bobble is very consistent, she gets up about 9 to 930 am, and naps from 1130 to 130... very nearly on the dot. Peanut has been forced into a schedule based on this. He gets up by 7 am, and goes down for his first nap at 9 am. Since starting napping in the closet, I'm now waking him up at 10 am or so. He is ready for nap #2 by about 1230 or 1 pm. This is unfortunate, b/c it gives me very little time to myself while both Peanut and Little Bobble are both napping. Ah, well, I can deal. I am thinking I want Peanut up by about 2 pm, so he can get a third nap around 4 pm. This takes me through to bed time very  nicely with out turning pumpkin before about 630 pm.

Of course any day I run errands, or when we go to church, or I go to Bible study messes with the schedule. But I guess that's life.

Peanut loved playing with Srinivas, who was our guest this weekend. It was a ton of fun watching them!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Oct Food Budget Update

Well, as I mentioned before, its only half way through Oct and I have already spent more than $200 on food.  There are some good reasons, but nonetheless....  Hubby suggested that I aim for $2400 annually, rather than a monthly budget, as some months are more expensive. Why?

This month, I purchased several staple items that I won't need to buy again for 4 to 6 months. This includes:
rice (both short grain and basmati)
chocolate chips
baking soda

And several items I won't purchase again for 1 to 2 months:
whole chickens
chicken breasts
pork loin
lunch meat
whole, peeled, canned tomatoes
peanut butter

Also, we are hosting some Indian friends this weekend, and as they are vegetarian, I've purchased (1) more vegetables than I would normally in a month, and (2) enough to feel 2 more adults. I purchased the basmati rice as a treat for them and us. And the 20 lb bag of basmati cost more than the 50 lb bag of short grain; this is quite the treat!

We are looking at joining the local CSA. I see a few pros and a few cons to this...
a chunk of veggies at less than I'd pay at the store
fresh, pesticide free veggies

likely to get some veggies we just don't like
more veggies than we could eat... if we aren't intentional.

Yes, I'm looking for a friend to go halves with us. There are only  2 of us, and we are only learning how to eat veggies in larger amounts and more regularly. It doesn't come naturally to either of us.

I'm thinking October will round out to about $300, which means I've averaging $250. I do think I going to aim more to keeping the average around $200 rather than each month at $200.

How are you doing with your food budget? Have you started any new strategies? I'd love to have a conversation about this with others with similar goals!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Teething, food and life

Goodness, every now and then, life sneaks up on ya and takes over, doesn't it?  So has it been for me this past week. Yeah, its been near on a week since I last posted, hasn't it.

Lets see...
The weather has cooled off, such that we can open windows at night and get the house down to the low 70s and sometimes, the upper 60s. That's so very nice! I've decided that 69' is the near perfect morning temperature... I need socks and a sweater, and I can drink my coffee enjoying the heat.

We have guests! Yep, a paster and his wife, who our church supports, from India are staying with us this weekend. Its been a wonderful chance for me to learn how to cook India style, and I've learned that curries are all teh same, its just the ingredients that are different. This makes sense once you see the process. Heat oil. Add chopped onions and peppers (make sure they are spicy, spicy). Let those cook till they are nice and tender, then add vegetables. Tomaotes have been in ever curry we've had so far, but I guess just about any vegetable will work, so she tells me. I honestly dought that squash would really work, but that might be just me. Oh, yeah, add the spices when you are cooking just the onions and peppers. Serve with rice, eat with you right hand. Mix the curry with the rice, and scoop it up in your fingers, all 4 of them. Then use your thumb to push the food into your mouth. Quite easy, if you don't mind getting your hands messy.

Peanut is getting his first tooth! I noticed a few days ago that he was chewing even more and had become a major slober machine. I've been checking to see if I could feel a tooth begining most days, but nothing till this morning, and then, this afternoon, we could see the tooth poking up! He's been a bit fussy, mostly this afternoon and evening, but nothing like I expected. Maybe that comes later?

And Peanut has started to beg for food. I usually put him in his high chair when we eat, and he will watch us very closely as we eat. If one of us is holding him while we eat, he will grab at teh food or our hand, and he's been sucessful at disrupting the process a time or two. Well, last night, I caved and let him have a very small piece of pizza crust (from the inside where it is soft and not sause or cheese on it). Wow, he liked it. Today, he got a few grains of plain white rice, and wasn't as crazy about it. And this evening, I had a leftover piece of pizza and he actually fussed at me while I was eating... till I gave him a small piece of crust. It was quite humerous. I'd get a piece and as I approached him, he would open is mouth wide and grunt, like he does when he's about to nurse, and he would eagerly gobble the piece of crust when he got it. So cute.

In the movement area, Peanut is rolling regularly now.

I've broken the October food budget. I've already hit $200 and it only half way through the month. But then, I bought a lot of staple items. More details soon.

And last, but not least...
the coolest baby on the block!

I swear, I put him square in the middle of the baby gym. He's not crawling, but he can get around!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Oh, is it raining!

We have prayed for rain nearly every night since last March or April.

It feels quite amazing when your prayers get answered.

The rain gauge is reading 4 inches and its still raining. Its not a crazy fast rain, which is nice, but hard enough that its really cooled everything off.

Thank you, Lord. You remind us of what a blessing something as simple as rain is when we've gone without. Thank you that this wasn't a crazy 3 year drought (2 Kings... think Elijah vs. Prophets of Baal).

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Officially Frustrated

Yes, I am.

See, I purposed obtained 4 boxes of Kellogg's Mini Wheat (which I do like) for the codes to get a free up to $5 book from Sweet.

I got enough codes for 2 coupons. At $5 a coupon, that's $10. Not bad.

I found 2 books, board books, that were each less than $5, added them to the cart. I got through the process of address, etc, and get to adding the promotion codes. And it only lets me add 1 code. Yep, seems I have to order the books separately, which means paying shipping twice.

And because I was a teacher before, its all screwy and keeps wanting to know my current school. Or the school my child attends... so, I registered as a teacher of a homeschool -- but it can't find my school, so I can't order today. Argh.

Scholastic -- why are you making this so difficult? I just want a couple of fun books for my little boy.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

Its been busy around here. I've not really gotten the hang of making use of my time to the fullest, which is frustrating, but I"m getting better. Often times I wonder, at the end of the day, what I'd accomplished. At first, I feel like I got nothing done, but then I begin to remember... I got the diapers washed, hung out, taken down and put away. I ironed 3 of Hubby's shirts (they look so much nicer ironed!). I took a nap with my baby boy. When I spend a fair bit of time just nursing (and reading while nursing), I feel unproductive until I really start thinking about it.

But today... what's going on today?

{Pretty and Happy}

I'm making apple butter! I got to use my mother's peeler/slicer/corer, which was fun.

I started in a pot too small, so I had to move it when it started to boil.

My plan was to donate these to be sold at the Arts and Craft sale, Nov 13, to raise money to help Leah Grace in her transplant costs. But I added in some leftover applesauce... which has high fructose corn syrup in it. Drat. Wanted these "all natural". So, I guess this batch is for me and I'll get more apples to make for the Arts and Crafts sale.

{Not really all that funny, but its fun}

I'm trying to figure out ways to use up fewer things. So, I'm trying out freezing meats and such in "reusable" containers, instead of ziplocks. 

{So very Real}

And Peanut is working hard on his basic dexterity. Look at this!

He pulled the chew toy off from the rings. That's a strong little boy!

Can you tell he is currently an only child?

Find more {Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Here
round button chicken

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Amazon Store and my recommendations

For those who actually visit the blog, you might have noticed the Amazon "My Recommendations" on the side bar.  Yep -- I've become an Amazon Associate. That means if you purchase the item via a link on my blog, I get a bit of commission. I promise to only recommend those items and books that are truly useful and deserving of such recommendation.  I've begun putting links in individual posts, e.g. book reviews, so that you can go directly from that post to purchase the book or item.

Luckily, I'm a fairly opinionated person, so I should be able to offer you plenty of opinions of the various objects I use!