What’s New This Week 11.27.13

Hi, friends!
Tomorrow is the day! The whole month has been leading up to this. Thanksgiving. Let’s make it a day about giving thanks (duh!)…but really. Let’s not beat ourselves (or anyone else) up for not posting what we’re thankful for any of the 27 days before. Don’t fret over how ungrateful we’ll once again realize we are.
I was recently reminded by a friend (who shall remain unnamed for now, but who needs to start her own one of these blog things…her name starts with a B. ok that’s all I’m saying) that life is a vapor. So much of what we think is important or urgent or will improve our lives somehow just isn’t. Is it wrong to list what you’re thankful for? Heck no! Keep it up! Is it wrong to be a scrooge? Uh, yes. But let’s not forget that we each need a daily head-to-toe bath in grace.
Let’s just make it a far more regular tradition to gather together, to open our homes to those who have none, to cherish the ones we’ve been fit into this vapor with, to pray with humble and genuine hearts that God’s Hope, Love, Peace and Joy would change our perceptions of priority. Let’s live out thankfulness.
That’s my spiel. I love you all.
Now here’s what’s been happening in our house for the last couple of weeks:
Listening
  • The Rend Collective Experiment
  • “Cold Weather Music”. Mind you, this is NOT holiday music…just as close as I can get without anyone singing the word “Christmas”

Reading

Learning

Cooking

Our 2nd Annual Breakfast for Dinner Thanksgiving Feast! I say annual, but who knows if we’ll do it again. We tried it out with some equally exhausted fellow parents of a newborn a couple of years ago and loved it! Who doesn’t love bacon?!

Creating

  • Our super simple (and cheap!) advent calendar
  • An advent wreath (Also cheap…it’s kind of our thing)

Doing

  •  Looking for just the right little elf to encourage kindness and wonder in our home a la The Imagination Tree.

Enjoying

  • The feel of the rain on my head and in my shoes last night.
  • Money for good food.
  • People to share life with.

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What’s New This Week 11.4.13

I did my stretches, I jogged in place, and attracted more than a few stares as I careened through the aisles of Costco, gathering a mountain of food for this first ever monthly menu plan attempt. Today, friends, is Bean, Meat and Chicken Day. This house will reek of black and pinto beans, lentils, ground and “bacon-y” turkey, and I will be elbow-deep in chicken grease as I tap into my Biology 101 skills and dissect three rotisserie-d beauties.

Oh, and I’ll also need to return a few perishable (Costco-sized) items that I bought in my uber-planned haze, but won’t need for three more weeks. You can have a bullet-pointed list or you can have your brain. You can’t have both, folks. Bananas, Spinach and Pepperoni Pizza, I’ll be back for you…in three weeks. It’s nothing personal, Mamma just wasn’t thinking.

It the midst of what may turn out to be The Time I Cried Over Baked Beans, I’ll take heart in the following. Be strong, friends, and, if you see smoke or hear cursing, be a doll and call the Fire Department. Kthanks 🙂   

Listening
 
  • Bluegrass (Kylie wanted to hear “cow music”????)
  • Fleet Foxes

Reading

Learning

  • We just finished up our “M” for “Music” unit study. We talked about, listened to and played music (on the only instrument I could “craft”–a toilet paper tube “flute”, er, wind instrument). Music history is not all that interesting to the girls just yet. We covered the basics (using The Children’s Book of Music) and it was fun! 
  • For the next two weeks, we’re studying “A” for “Art”!!! I’ve been looking forward to this one. We’ll be going through The Children’s Book of Art and this series as we hit the high points of art history, make collages, forage for art supplies, paint, sculpt, and generally just get messy. I hope the girls are as excited as I am!

Cooking

Creating
 

Doing

  • Filling our Thankfulness Notebook with anything that strikes us as wonderful.

Enjoying

  • Cool breezes under sunny skies. 
  • New growth in our garden! Hooray for not killing it!
  • Free bike seats (Thanks, Kampfe’s!!!!)
  • The fountain out back that sounds like a waterfall from just the right angle.
Have a marvelous Monday, friends!

What’s New This Week 10.2.13

“The days drag on, but the weeks fly by”. Is that a thing? Or did I just hear one person say it and make it a thing? Either way, it sounds like a pretty appropriate summation of life lately.

Now, now, don’t go feeling sorry for me (or tell me to be quiet–I might punch you…in love…no, it would just be a punch). We’ve just felt a bit like our world is still spinning since our move. Yes, it was six months ago, but I guess making the change back to East coast time threw us for more of a loop than we realized. I say that with a smile, but it’s probably more of a panicked, self-assuring grin than what I think of when I think of a smile. We’re happy knowing that we are where we feel we should be, but some days (ok, alot of days) I feel like I’m balancing on a tiny little rock that offers just enough surface area to keep my nostrils above water.

So, ya. There’s my little brain vomit for you. Bleh. I’m good. I’m pretty happy. Potty training could be better, but she’s a really cute kid, so I just remind myself that “this too shall, one day, not happen any more”.

Here’s what I’ve gotten decently right this week. Just know that there’s been plenty of behind-the-scenes imbalance to balance everything out. Happy Wednesday, friends. 

Listening
 

Reading

  • Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots by Sharon Lovejoy. It’s one of the most successful blends of useful information and sheer cuteness I’ve seen in a long time. 

Learning

  • We’re testing the homeschooling waters this year. The focus is on unit studies–one for every letter of the alphabet. This week is the letter “G” and we’re studying G-G-Gardens! We chose our plot in the community garden, bought our seeds and are studying the life cycle of seeds and anything else a 4 year old is interested in falling under the general subject. Planting this weekend! Side note: Would anyone be interested in a link to the unit studies? I’m winging it, but happy to share!

Cooking

    • Gluten-free pancakes:
      • 1 egg
      • 1 cup gluten-free flour (we use the Namaste brand)
      • 3/4 cup milk
      • 1/2 tbsp honey
      • 2 tbsp applesauce
      • 3 tsp baking powder
      • 1/2 tsp salt
        • When we don’t have maple syrup, we whip up some fancy pants fruit spread (just fruit preserves and water)…delish!
    • Gluten-free blueberry muffins (lots of substitutions, but so worth it)
    • Sub sandwiches! It’s been so long since we’ve made these! I’m willing to cook gluten-free for my sweet husband, but there was no way in the world I was going to pay that much for two tiny sub rolls. Until last week. I found these guys at a local, amazing discount food store (still well within the range of their expiration date) for $.20 per each pack of two. I bought 10. Victory tastes like gluten-free sourdough, my friends. 
    • Gluten-free meatloaf:
      • 1-1.5 lb ground beef or turkey
      • 1/2 cup oatmeal
      • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
      • 1 cup finely chopped carrots
      • 1/2 cup milk
      • 1 egg
      • 1/2 cup chopped onion
      • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
      • 1/2 cup ketchup (spread on top of loaf) 
        • bake at 350 for 1hr to 1hr 15min
    • Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal
    • Smoothies (right now our favorite is a mix of blueberries, bananas, pineapple and apple juice)
    • Tacos with plenty of pico de gallo and guacamole
    • Big ol’ salads (the “Italian Sisters’ Salad”)
    • Apple Crisp (except times 10)

Creating

  • I’ll be totally honest here. I’m not feeling very creative this week. Yesterday I colored in the illustrations on the “life cycle of a seed” worksheet for our lesson today. It wasn’t for creativity’s sake, though; we just don’t have a color printer. 

Doing

  • Menu planning and budgeting. I let this slip a little last month and I had to pray for forgiveness when I cleaned out the fridge last week. Eeek.

Enjoying

  • Cool mornings. Fall is coming! Fall for Florida, anyway. Anything below 75 is jacket weather for me! Wally and Adele (my Maine in-laws), if you’re reading this, don’t judge me, please.
P.S. I want to share my thankfulness with you. As a reminder to myself (and to you if you’ve forgotten), I’ll be taking our thankfulness journal from the notebook on the kitchen table to the interwebs. It will hopefully remind me (and you) that there is so much good to be really and truly blown away by. 

What’s New This Week 7.22.13

Happy Monday, Misters and Misses. Can you believe we only have one more of these bad boys left in July? Holy Encroaching Autumn, Batman! There are Christmas decorations for sale at Hobby Lobby already! I almost walked out in protest the other day, but then I remembered how much I love that wonderful black hole of a store.

Listening

Reading

  • Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan (If you haven’t heard of him–well, we’re probably not friends if you haven’t–go watch his stand-up on netflix. Then we can talk about the friendship thing.)

Learning

  • Trying to remember how we potty trained our first born. It’s little sister’s turn now, but I think your memory gets erased (like Men in Black style) every time you have a baby. I bought more chocolate chips. This is the one area of parenting, for me, where there can never be enough praise or bribery.

Cooking

  • Mexican Pork Bowls
  • Squash Rolls (Contrary to my former belief, these are in fact not dinner rolls stuffed with squash…because that would be disgusting. One of the greatest fears of a “texture person” like myself. Also, I’ll be subbing honey for the sugar. Just in case you want to join me.)
  • Blueberry Muffins 
    • Substitute unsweetened apple sauce for any oil in your recipe
    • Substitue maple syrup or honey for the sugar. For each cup of sugar the ratios are:
      • Maple syrup: 1/2 to 2/3 cup (Reduce the recipe’s liquid by 1/4 and add 1 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of syrup)
      • Honey: 1/2 cup (Reduce liquids by 1/8. Reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees and cook a bit longer)
  • Chicken Spring Rolls (rice paper and sweet chili sauce…mmmmm)
  • Homemade Tortilla Chips

Creating

  • A leeetle something for a friend who’s growing a leeetle baby in her body. Seriously, our bodies are crazy awesome.

Doing

  • Getting up at 5:30 with the hubby. The 30 minutes of sleep loss is totally worth the difference it makes when you can beat your children up…meaning, to be awake before them…not to start your day with violence (which may or may not have been how I felt like starting some days that began with me getting simultaneously drop-kicked in the face and asked for milk). It’s shocking! I loves me some sleep, but I’m seeing the wisdom in this early bird deal now.

Enjoying

  • Catching small glimpses of two little sister-girls becoming friends. Precious.

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Link Likes 7.6.13

Here’s your weekend glimpse into just how weird a bunch we have over here at the Cox House.
Screen shot 2013-07-06 at 3.12.28 PM
(Part of yesterday’s Library Bounty. I’m on the left. Gabe is on the right. This was our date last night. And we liked it. I promise we can be super fun, but sometimes you just need to sit in bed and read about cooking without electricity.)
And now for the randomness:

Having a Big Family is Good for You! …and cheaper? @ The Telegraph

Amish: A Secret Life (what I’ll probably be watching tonight as I pour over my stack of cookbooks from the library). Holy goodness, what have I become? I would be more devastated if I didn’t like it so much…said the girl who used to stay out until 3 AM.

What’s New This Week 6.24.13

Ah, sunshine. It’s one of those things that make life lively! Shining through the kitchen windows this morning, it made even my dirty floor look like a palace. Good stuff. Kuddos, God.

Listening

Reading

Learning

  • Re-learning how to create some semblance of a menu plan. Oy. I can.not. remember what we ate before we moved!

Cooking

  • We’re experimenting with the bounty of almond meal we have left over from our Homemade Almond Milk. We’ve tried Paleo Banana Bread (subbed honey for agave and omitted the almond extract…going to try dates to give them some “glue”…very crumbly). These Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies will definitely be happening and we might even try Almond Cheese! Then we’ll take a two-year break from all things almond.
  • Chicken Soup
  • Something with ground beef
  • And These Bad Boys 

Creating

  • Raiding the scrap stash and giving our $.99 Goodwill grapevine wreath a makeover. We’ll see what happens!

Doing

  • Giving a DEEP DEEP clean to our craigslist find: A double bike trailer/stroller that is currently encased in a fine fabric of spider webs and dirt. What’s the saying? “Don’t look a $40 craigslist trailer in the mouth; especially not after you just haggled (within reason) the poor woman who ‘just wants it out of her garage'”? …something like that.

Enjoying

  • Hearing the girls watch the ducks out back with Daddy. They love that man, the outdoors and water fowl something fierce.

What’s New This Week 6.10.13

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Monday, Monday. I still have mixed feelings about this day, but due mostly to my own weirdness about getting things “right”–I WILL do all 5,000 pounds of laundry today! It WON’T sit in a basket waiting to be folded until next Monday. Oh, maybe one day…

For now,  I’ll work on Mt. Smelly Socks, correct the kiddos a little less and hug them a little more, smooch my hubby and thank God for it all.

Listening

Reading

Learning/Experimenting

  • I’m experimenting on our kids again. We don’t have a ton of toys, but darn if those things don’t seem to multiply on their own. The books, art supplies, and kitchen knives are still readily available, but today the girls each picked out a favorite animal and most everything else is “napping”. We’ll see how this goes. Please don’t call Child Services on me.

Cooking

Creating

  • Plenty of “nature art”. I keep finding faces made with the rocks, shells, flowers, leaves, etc in our Nature Tray (a thrifted printer’s tray full of found treasures) and out just about anywhere. Leave them to their own devices and magic can happen!

Doing

  • Never say never. This weekend, we’re attempting potty training boot camp (running around the kitchen with a naked baby…she’ll love it!)

Enjoying

  • The silly copy cat games our girls are playing with each other these days. Giggles and funny faces abound.
P.S. By “kitchen knives”, I meant “kitchen knives”…but they’re not readily available just yet. Just keeping your brain in shape, people. You can thank me and the creators of crossword puzzles later.