Thursday, August 28, 2008

I'm in Texas...

...and keeping quite busy, so I may not be able to respond to previous comments for a few days. My parents' church recently bought a new building and my brother Jesh and others have been transforming a wing into living quarters for the new pastor and his family. We spent a few days there this last week, helping out; the place was humming with activity--painting, tiling, new doors, trim, etc. Mom and I repainted the kitchen cabinets and replaced the handles. It was very satisfying to see those hideous yellow cabinets transformed into something beautiful...(ahem) well, tolerable at least. (Sometimes there is only so much that you can do.) I enjoyed working at the manse (parsonage) in part because I enjoy that sort of work, but also because I had nice company, like Mom and my brothers. :)

One person I haven't seen much is my little sister, but as she is getting married tomorrow, she has a good excuse for not being more sociable. Today she tried on her wedding dress for a few last-minute alterations (she looked lovely of course), and I got to think a little more about how my little sister is all grown up, and leaving home for the first time. I also scoped out her room, since I hope that the boys and I will be able to move in now that there's a vacancy. :) Well, not right away, but before too long.

I've been taking lots of pictures and will hopefully get some posted soon, maybe on Saturday?

I can't believe that my visit will be ending so soon (Monday). Perhaps I can just skip my flight back and stay here for good! (kidding, kidding, though I'm tempted).

Adios for now.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I got a new stroller!

...not the double jogging stroller I've been wishing for, but a single jogging stroller, which is a big step in the right direction. I found it cheap at a local rummage sale. The fabric is faded, but it's sturdy and a good brand (baby jogger) and has the fixed wheel I wanted, and it turns on a dime, and I can drive it straight over a curb without stopping (an advantage of great big wheels). I love it! Now I can make trips like I did yesterday--Noah in the stroller and Elijah walking on the way there, and Noah on my back and Elijah in the stroller on the way home (a mile each way)--only the trip will be sooo much easier with a nicer stroller.

My neighbors had a yard sale of their own today, and thoughtfully included a few items of mine that I wanted out of the house--some of them big, like an extra twin mattress and a broken computer desk--and sold them for enough to compensate me for what I spent on the stroller. I feel good about getting some of those big unwanted items out of my way, and (effectively) getting a new stroller in exchange!

Please don't take this post as an indication that I'm "done" with the last one--I'm still welcoming comments and meal suggestions. :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

cooking inspiration

I've been lacking inspiration in the kitchen lately. Seems like every day I go into the kitchen, open the fridge and stare into it, open the freezer and stare into it, and open my pantry and stare some more, all the while thinking, "What on earth am I going to cook?" Finally after eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner the second night in a row (Elijah's idea--he LOVES peanut butter and jelly sandwiches), I thought, "Something has to change." So I went to for inspiration, and discovered something new--a budget cooking page! I'm so excited! One of the first recipes I came across was sloppy joes. Of course my first thought was, "Sloppy Joes! Why didn't I think of that?" Sloppy joes are a perfect freezer food. I like to make big pots of food and then freeze some to thaw later--makes for less time spent cooking, in the long run. So I made a triple batch of the top-rated recipe. However, I'm not sure that any will make it to the freezer, as it's pretty good!

I have a lot of good meals in my repertoire, and I tend to be quite successful with new recipes as well (probably because I don't attempt anything particularly complicated), so I think our lackluster meals of late are mostly due to bad planning on my part. With some proper meal planning and a little browsing on allrecipes, I'm sure I will find myself re-inspired.

If my cooking readers would like to comment and mention two or three of their family's favorite meals, perhaps that would help. :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Stroller frustrations

I decided this week not to use the car at all until Saturday. Then of course I ran out of milk, which is a big deal because coffee is just not the same without milk. :) So the boys and I walked to a local pharmacy and got a gallon of milk. For this trip, Elijah went in a small umbrella stroller, Noah went on my back in the mei tai, and the milk, once we got it, went in a bag which I hung from the handles of the stroller. Of course every time Elijah hopped out of the stroller to investigate something, over the stroller went with a thunk because the milk hanging on the back made it so unbalanced. I had to keep reminding him to stay put. LOL

I am very grateful for our big double stroller, which was a gift from friends at church. Without it, I would not be able to get out nearly as much as I do, especially not for our longer (more than a mile) walks. However, I'm starting to get frustrated with some of its limitations. It's a swivel wheel, which means if I'm going along a sidewalk which slopes towards the street, the stroller keeps wanting to turn and roll into the street, and I'm fighting with it the whole way. And it has the boys positioned one in front of the other, which means it takes a lot more muscle to turn it, as I don't have as much leverage with the narrow handlebar. On rough surfaces like gravel, the front wheels shake and rattle alarmingly, causing a very jolt-ey ride, and even some dead stops as the wheels manage to turn themselves sideways. And whenever I encounter a curb, I have to haul back on the handle (with my foot on a crossbar at the back) to lift the front of the stroller up--very difficult to do with one of my heavy guys in the front seat. Needless to say, all of these features add quite a bit of exercise to our excursions! On the bright side, I am getting very strong!

SO....I have done a lot of research, and concluded that my dream stroller would be a side-by-side double jogging stroller with 16" wheels, a fixed front wheel, and an aluminum frame. I have a specific model in mind, and I am checking Craigslist and the local children's consignment store on a regular basis...but no luck so far. I'm beginning to think that I will either have to wait till winter, when more people are willing to sell their used strollers, or buy new. But new are so expensive!

The thing is, I really think that with a good stroller, I could walk a lot of places that I now drive. So by driving less I would be saving money, which would somewhat offset the cost of the stroller. But do I really NEED a new stroller, or can I make do with what I have?

Sometimes it's hard to have to make all of these decisions by myself. It can take me forever to make up my mind! I did however make a rather impetuous decision today--I ordered a steam carpet cleaner! From initial idea to purchase in less than two hours!

Now that I have this post typed up, I realize that it's probably not going to be particularly interesting to anybody, but I stayed up so late typing it that I'm going to post it anyway.

EDIT: my stroller may not be as bad as I thought! See the comments section!