Friday, January 28, 2011

Sabon love

Last week, my husband went to New York City for several days to visit a dear friend. They spent their days in Manhattan, seeing the sights and enjoying their friendship.

He came home on Saturday, bearing gifts. The kids were so excited as Daddy handed them each something special he had picked out. Then he turned to me and said he could give me my gift now, or at Valentine's Day. I chose to open it then. Before I opened it, though, he had to explain that he had employed "restrained splurging" when he bought it. We have been on a modified spending freeze for a few months, spending on "extras" infrequently. "I could have spent much more", he said, but he wanted to get me something special, so he chose to do it on a smaller scale.

I opened the gift - a Sabon hand treatment. Sabon is a high end body shop in NYC. My husband and friend explored the store, looking for a gift for me. He wanted to get me the whole hand line, he said, but since that would set us back hundreds, he chose the most important product out of the lineup. He knew how dry and cracked my hands get from changing diapers and cleaning and cooking, and he wanted to help heal them.

I was touched, and I enjoy the treatment very much. Several days later I saw the charge from Sabon on our Discover bill. It was a lot (for us) to spend on such an item. But, instead of feeling stressed about the money, I instead felt loved. My husband, though he knows money is tight, wanted to splurge on my work-worn hands. He showed me his love with this gift.

And my hands and I thank him.

Monday, January 24, 2011

What I'm reading

I just received a new book from Amazon on Friday and I've been poring over it since. It's called Family Feasts for $75 a Week, by Mary Ostyn. Mary is a mother of 10 and still manages to feed her family on a small budget. The book is chock-full of recipes (some of which we will be trying this week!), as well as many ideas about how to shrink your grocery bill.

I'm pretty frugal, so I realized I have already been using many of her tips, but the book goes further. She includes simple recipes for things like pancake mix and salad dressings, as well as ways to quicken dinner prep. One of my favorite suggestions is to have a "lunchbox party" on Sundays - a time to involve all the kids in prepping lunches for the coming week. One child fills baggies with carrot sticks, one child makes sandwiches etc. We did a modified version yesterday and I plan to go full tilt next week. Making lunches at 9:00 p.m. is one of my most dreaded chores, so I will throughly enjoy a way to lessen that task.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book, even if your family isn't quite as large as Mary's. I promise it will help you streamline your kitchen and save you money in the process. If you're interested in reading Mary's blog (I have read it for a year or two), check it out at

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The sun will come out, tomorrow

It's MOPS day. Usually that means I'm up early, ready to hang out with all our great MOPS moms, hear an informative and inspiring speaker and have some oh-so-yummy food.

Not today. Instead, here I am at home, in plaid lounge pants from college. Two of my kids are sick today, so no MOPS for me, boohoo. While staying home from MOPS is bad enough in itself, what makes today harder is that it is my fifth day in sweatpants and ponytails with barely a venture into the outside world. Since Friday, we have been treading water in a sea of science fair and learning fair projects, and also sick kids.

On my list of things to do today: workout, shower, take the baby to the doctor. Seriously. There are lots of other things to be done, but I am in survival mode, and the most basic of tasks must be listed so that I have some feeling of accomplishment today.

To make things even more fun around here, our dryer has been out for almost two weeks. I am hopeful that the problem will be resolved by Thursday so that I will no longer be a regular at the laundromat.

The good news today is that one of the kids is feeling better, and I'm hopeful the doctor will have some good news about sweet baby K and her frequent sinus/ear infections.

Tomorrow is a new day!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Snow, snow, snow!

We're snowed in at our house today, so we're playing with all the new Christmas toys we haven't had a chance to play with yet.

Easy Bake Oven mixes. . .the jury is out on how these pretzels will taste, due to some confusion over 3 1/2 teaspoons of water as opposed to 3 1/2 tablespoons of water. . . The outcome of Mommy's save the day technique of gradually adding flour to thicken the mixture is yet to be determined.

Primary Science Kit. . .many volcanoes have exploded on my kitchen island. I am now out of vinegar and baking soda, and my food coloring supply is greatly decreased. Many happy boys are wearing safety goggles and giggling. I mentioned to my 9 year old son that a scientist would never just dump the ingredients into the beaker, but instead he would measure them. My son replied, "Not if you're a mad scientist! Muhahaha!!"

Leap Frog Dominoes. . .fun game, good learning tool, somewhat difficult with toddler crawling on the coffee table during the game.

I have a few more activities on the agenda before we call it a day. The highlight of my day thus far has been the 3 hour nap my husband suggested I take (well, he suggested the nap, my body suggested the 3 hours). I can't imagine the last time I napped so long or well. Hallelujah!

In other news, our dryer stopped working on Thursday aka laundry day. I finished all the wash and dried all of it at the laundromat. We have a repair man coming on Tuesday, so I foresee another trip to the laundromat in my near future. Sigh. I am thankful, though, that if something had to go, it was the dryer and not the washer.

Never a dull moment around here!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I'm still here. . .

Hello dear readers,

I am slowly climbing out of the pit that is post-Christmas clean up. Today being Epiphany, I am preparing to officially de-Christmas the house (which is a bittersweet proposition).

These chores, and the general I-am-a-mommy-to-five-children-who-need-me is taking up the vast majority of my time. As usual, when life is especially hairy, I often think of blogging, but can't always make it to the computer to put coherent thoughts down.

I'm not sure this was a coherent thought either, but I hope to return here to the blogosphere soon. As soon as I can come up for air.

Happy Epiphany!