Monday, June 30, 2008

I love babies :)

Usually I wake in the mornings when Noah climbs out of his crib and into my bed. Well the other morning I guess I was sleeping a little more soundly than usual, because I woke to find Noah's chubby little arms wrapped tightly around my neck. He was struggling with all his might to lift my head off the pillow. He was grunting with the effort, "Oooooof! Eeeeerrrrf!" It was so adorable that I will confess, I pretended I was still asleep, so that he would keep doing it. But when he got tired of trying to lift my head, and instead tried to stick a finger up my nose, I got up in a hurry. :D

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Now for a happy post. :)

Hi friends. I got tired of seeing the grouchy post at the top of the page whenever I would check for here's a happy one to replace it :)

My brother Jeshurun (college student in Texas, for those who don't know him) recently drove to Ontario to visit/work for a friend who has a farm up there. He tried to stop by my place for a visit on his way through Indiana, but was prevented due to the crazy flooding we had--he tried three different possible routes to get to Bloomington, but all three were flooded. So we didn't get to see him on his way up. But on his way back from Ontario, a couple of weeks later, he was able to stop here for a couple of days.

It's been nice to see him again. He's been busy both helping me with a project--installing ceiling fans--and working with pencil and graph paper to plan his next project. His next project is to help renovate a church building (his church will be purchasing a new building next week, and they are renovating a wing to house the pastor and his family). At the moment Jesh is working on the ceiling fan in my bedroom actually--so I won't be able to get to bed for a while I guess. Good excuse to brew some tea and eat more if I haven't had enough caffeine and sugar today already. :)

After a few days of grouchiness about the state of my house, I have returned to my usual state of optimism. Yes, my basement smells musty, but thanks to the dehumidifier I found on Craigslist for a great price, the odor has greatly diminished, and the carpet is finally dry again. Yes, my dishwasher is malfunctioning, but I bet I can find a good one at a local used-appliance store, and they aren't all that difficult to replace (right??). Yes, I have a lot of unfinished projects around the house, and the unfinished trim in the living room/kitchen/entryway has been kind of bugging me, but I just discovered that I can run the miter saw in the basement at night without waking up the boys upstairs, so I bet I will be able to finish that project soon. Etc. etc.

Other nice things going on in my life: Noah has been the cutest thing lately. He is very affectionate and likes to laugh at things. I love hearing him laugh. I get the best laughs when I put lotion on his neck after his bath--he is very ticklish. Elijah is making good progress with potty training, and at random moments will tell me, "Mama? I love you most in the whole world." We've been enjoying Bryan Park and the farmer's market on a regular basis. And I have my sister's wedding to look forward to...and all of my plants look fantastic these days...and I have other nice things going on in my life too, but you get the idea. :)

Okay, I'm sleepy.

Monday, June 16, 2008

feeling overwhelmed

Hello folks. I have a computer overnight so I suppose I should make use of this opportunity to update my blog.

The last few days I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed. My basement flooded a couple of weeks ago, on an afternoon in which we had some torrential downpours. Fortunately it wasn't too bad--I just had a soggy carpet, and it was limited to one room, and nothing was damaged. But it was a big hassle to clean up. I comforted myself by telling myself that the flooding was a fluke event, not likely to reoccur (I have seriously never seen a downpour like the one we had that day).

Well I had just succeeded in getting the carpet completely dry, when it flooded AGAIN! And we hadn't even had that much rain. Well two times in two weeks was just too much for that poor carpet, and now it smells, well, musty. To be more precise, it kind of stinks. Can you imagine how embarrassing this is? I don't even really know what to do about it.

I think I really need a dehumidifier. But they're expensive. I'm looking around for a used one, and perhaps I will rent one over the weekend as a temporary measure.

I wonder if sprinkling baking soda over the carpet would help? I have lots of baking soda. Anyway, besides the carpet, I am just feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the work that this place needs. (Did I mention that my dishwasher is also smelling rather unpleasant? I think it may not be draining properly. Oh, and it's leaking, too.)

I'm learning that I'm capable of doing a lot of repairs and upgrades myself, which is good because I don't have a lot of money to hire professionals to take care of things. The problem is, since I'm not a professional, it can take me a lot of time to get things right (see the post about my bathroom sink for an example of this). Sadly, I don't have much spare time.

Perhaps it would help if I used the spare time that I do have to work on things, instead of updating my blog. :)

On the bright side, my wonderful brother Jeshurun will be stopping by next week on his way back to Texas from Ontario. If he has time, he will be helping me install ceiling fans. I am very excited about the possibility of having ceiling fans. And perhaps he will even have time to help me with something else, like replacing my dishwasher. But even if he doesn't have time, it will be nice to see him again, since I don't get to see my family all that often. :)

Okay, I've wasted those precious hours between the boys' bedtime and mine, updating Facebook and my blog. I guess I'll go sprinkle baking soda on the carpet with a flour sifter--this will be kind of fun--and then I'm off to bed.

EDITED to remove some of the whining. :) I'm feeling better now because the HOA has done some repairs to the gutters and drainage systems that should prevent future flooding. Also, the baking soda did help.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Just so you know...

...I am now computerless. :) I've been using a borrowed computer for the last...uh...six months? And it is now finally returning to its owner, so I will be without a computer until I find a new one of my own. I will still be checking e-mail a couple of times a week but I don't know if I'll have time to update my blog, so be forewarned, entries will be a bit sparse for a while. :)

I hope all who read this are doing well. Stay in touch!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Baked Oatmeal

I've often wished I could properly appreciate oatmeal, as I know it's such a healthy breakfast, and the kids really enjoy it. But I could never really get into it...too sticky and goopy and bland. WELL...finally the other day I tried this baked oatmeal recipe, and wow, it's great! I love that I can prepare it the night before, and just pop it into the oven in the morning for a hot breakfast.

Baked Oatmeal
1/2 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar (or less)
4 eggs
1.5 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
3 cups regular oats

Blend all ingredients. Pour into a greased baking dish.  Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, sprinkle 1 tbsp of brown sugar on top, and bake at 350 for about 35 minutes or till firm in the middle. Serve hot.

My boys eat theirs in a bowl, crumbled up, with milk.  I like mine with a bit of butter and a sprinkle of brown sugar, or some honey.

This recipe is highly adaptable. You can add nuts and raisins or dates or dried cranberries, if you like that sort of thing. Or apples and extra cinnamon and a bit of cloves and nutmeg.  Or pumpkin and some pumpkin pie spice.  Whatever floats your boat!

The baked oatmeal in the photo above had the following modifications: I doubled the recipe, then substituted 1/2 cup flax seed meal and 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut for 1 cup of the oats.  I also added a bit of cloves and ginger, and a diced apple.  It was great!