Friday, March 14, 2014

Magic Eraser

I was cleaning the kitchen the other day and Eliza was doing her usual playing about the house in and out of the kitchen, playing with her dolls, chasing Scooter, when I realized she was in the kitchen with me, doing something on the floor. I turned around and she was drawing on the floor with a rogue crayon! We keep crayons safely stored away, but somehow this one managed to get into the hands of a toddler and I had her artwork all over my tile floors.  Oh well, it was the day to mop the floors anyway. I took the crayon away and put it on the butcher block island safely away from little hands and went about cleaning the kitchen. Then I moved everything (including the island) into the living room and went about vacuuming the floor (I love that my Dyson vacuums my kitchen.) Eliza was happily and quietly playing in the other room.  Which was my clue that something was wrong, am I right? As I passed through the living room to get the mop I noticed that she had climbed up on the kitchen chairs and was playing on the island. As I passed back through the room with the mop I noticed what exactly she was doing. She had found the crayon and was thoroughly decorating the butcher block! Oh Eliza! This was NOT the day for decorating the butcher block. So, I turned to Instagram and Facebook and posted a picture asking for help! How do you clean a butcher block? Magic Eraser, people! Magic Eraser magically erased (most of) the crayon! And the Swiffer Wet Jet took care of the floor. The morning continued with Eliza emptying all of the spoons and utensils out of the drawers in the island and then chasing Scooter around with the spoons and generally wreaking havoc while I was trying to clean. Nap time could not come soon enough! But then in the afternoon Eliza turned into my little helper shadow following me around while I vacuumed the rest of the house with one of the vacuum attachments, pretending to vacuum and "sweeping" up after me.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Toddler Chores

I believe in letting Eliza help around the house, to her capabilities. Which lately means that she puts her dirty clothes in her clothes hamper and she helps feed Scooter. But she's 20 months, which means this doesn't happen every day and is very dependent on her mood. But she actually does a great job of feeding Scooter. We have his food measured out into tupperware and she dumps it into his food bowl.

The other day Eliza was playing in the other room and I hear her yell "Cooter!" (She sadly no longer calls him "Ga" which was super cute, but "Cooter" is pretty cute too.) Usually Scooter ignores her but this time he took off running to her. And a minute later I hear him eating out of his food bowl. I had already fed him and figured he must have left a bite or two, but I decide to investigate anyway. And there's Eliza holding a measuring cup of food and pouring it into Scooter's bowl. The 20lb bag of food was open (but still standing) and she had figured out how to pull off the clip closing the bag and feed Scooter whenever she felt like it. Of course Scooter is THRILLED with this new prospect of extra meals. Momma and Daddy feel like we're constantly one step behind her in terms of toddler proofing our house.  What can she possibly get into next?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Salt N' Peppa

Lately the Toddler loves to play at the kitchen table.  She can move the chairs just enough to climb up on them and reach whatever is on the table. Today when she was playing at the table I moved a few dishes and some papers that I didn't want her playing with and the porcelain salt and pepper shakers we got in London a few years ago. I handed her a plastic cup and the metal salt and pepper shakers and let her keep playing.  About ten minutes later and she was happily and quietly still playing but I decided I had better check on her. She was covered in salt and pepper. The table was covered, the floor was covered, the chairs were covered, salt and pepper were everywhere! The dog was covered! I didn't know that much salt and pepper were even in the shakers! So, I did what any good momma does, grabbed my phone for some pictures and went to work cleaning up, laughing for a good solid ten minutes. And in case you're curious, the Dyson does pick up salt and pepper on my tiled kitchen floor.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I Didn't Burn the Dinner

I made dinner the other night.  Something pretty adventurous, Quinoa Cakes (like a crab cake minus the crab) with lemon garlic aoli and some roasted asparagus. I was in the middle of pan cooking the second batch of Quinoa Cakes when the smoke alarm started going off.  I will repeat the title of this post, I did NOT burn the dinner.  I think my smoke alarm had it out for me that day. So I did what anyone would do, I grabbed a kitchen towel and ran to fan the smoke away from the alarm. It didn't work. So, I opened the front door and windows. That didn't work. I turned on a fan in the kitchen. That didn't work. I opened the back sliding door, which sent Scooter running outside to enjoy his freedom. Which made Eliza try to run outside too.  In bare feet in the winter. So, I closed the back door much to the dismay of the toddler who started screaming along with the smoke alarm that was still blaring the most annoying, headache inducing beeping.

I went back and forth between the alarm and the stove to make sure I didn't actually burn the dinner in my attempts to stop the smoke alarm. I grabbed a stool and tried every button on the alarm, that didn't work. I tried to pull it down only to find out it is wired into my ceiling. Ugh. After ten minutes of this I called my husband who was about 5 minutes away and then took the dog and the baby downstairs where the alarm was still annoying but not as headache inducing.

Within 30 seconds of walking into the house Shawn had stopped the alarm. I asked "How did you do that?!" and he said he waved a towel in front of it. But what happens when your alarm goes off for 15 minutes? It runs out of battery. Which it apparently has in addition to being plugged in to the wiring in our home. So instead of quiet bliss for dinner, we had four alarms running out of battery and chirping every 30 seconds. FOUR ALARMS!

"Why do we need four alarms within a 10 foot radius?" I asked Shawn.

"It's code." He replied.

Because if the smoke alarm went off at 2:00am the one five feet away from my bedroom isn't enough, but I also need one IN my bedroom and in the other two bedrooms off of that hallway. I'm not a fan of the code.

But then I found this:




A smoke alarm that will tell you in a patient human voice where the smoke is coming from. A smoke alarm that you can wave your hand in front of if you burnt the dinner and it will stop. A smoke alarm that will tell you in that calm, patient human voice when it is running out of battery. I want it. I want it very badly. At $129 it's a little too expensive to run out to Home Depot and replace our four demonic current smoke alarms, but I will be saving my pennies for this smoke alarm.

And while we're at it, I also want their learning Thermostat. Look it up. It's awesome.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Just Not Quite Right

I'm a recipe follower. Like I can't cook without a recipe.  Even when I'm making a dish I've made a dozen times I still follow the recipe and check it between each step. Last night I had this dream over and over again about Fried Rice but with Quinoa instead of rice. (Side note, why does that happen that you dream over and over again about the same mundane thing? Or is it just me?) So when Shawn got home and we started thinking about dinner I pulled up Pinterest and VOILA! I HAD pinned a dish of Fried Rice with Quinoa. I was determined to make it work. It's the end of the month and since we're trying VERY HARD to stay within our budget, and since our grocery budget is down to "save this money in case you have to buy milk before the end of the week" I was determined to use what we've got in our pantry. As luck would have it green onions, mushrooms, and fresh ginger were the only items I didn't have, and I felt they were all pretty optional anyway. I read over the recipe a few times and then decided "I got this" and I winged it! I was proud of using the half an onion and carrots that were in the fridge as well as the peas and corn from the freezer. And since Shawn's been asking for a Quinoa dish, I felt pretty good about pulling that out as well.  I do wish I had remembered the frozen ham before it was too late to defrost and add it. But the dish looked like the picture and I was feeling pretty awesome about making something without being so strict about the recipe AND using what we had available. 

I was feeling awesome that is until I tasted it.  Oh man, SOMETHING in the recipe was off.  Way off.  Maybe the soy sauce was old or the onion was just that side of being good? Shawn loved it and had three bowls, but I had a hard time choking down my first serving. Or maybe it's me.  Sometimes when I work really hard at a meal I just can't eat it. It can smell delicious, it can even taste good, but somehow in the process of making it I've lost my appetite for it and can't seem to eat it. 

Does that happen to you? That after making a meal it just doesn't meet your expectations? Isn't that so disappointing? 

I'll probably try quinoa fried "rice" again, but before I do I'm going to have to figure out which ingredient wasn't working this time.  Right now I'm thinking we need a new bottle of soy sauce.  How long does soy sauce stay good anyway?

A Goal

I have a goal. I want to buy a new camera.  A fancy schmancy (to me) beginner DSLR camera. I love taking photos of Eliza, when I travel, of just things that strike me as beautiful. What I don't love is the quality of photos I end up getting. I want to understand photography. I want to take pretty pictures. But fancy schmancy DSLR cameras are expensive, especially when you are living on one salary and working really hard to live within your means and save money and be responsible and all that.  It's pretty hard to justify spending $500 on a camera for me when I also think about needing new tires for the car and plans to travel to Alaska to visit family and the fact that we're getting pretty close to needing a new stove in our kitchen. And I know that the camera is just the beginning, I'll also want to take a photography class to learn how to use the camera, and I'll want to get something like photoshop to edit my photos. And then there are SD cards and camera bags and maybe one day another lens. So the money is adding up quickly. But this is something I've been thinking about and wanting for years.

What is a goal without a plan? I'm working at saving my pennies and even selling things to save the necessary cash for a camera. We're not talking about selling tupperware or other items that require me to invite my friends to parties. (Though I will confess I've recently thought about becoming a Jamberry Nails consultant) I looked in my closet one day and realized that I don't wear about 50% of my wardrobe. Either it doesn't fit (thank you post-pregnancy body!), or it's more appropriate for an office than for playing with my toddler. I may love my suits but not enough to subject them to grape juice and peanut butter hands just to wear them again. So, it's time to part with some of my beloved, well curated clothes. But when I get sad about seeing my navy blue sailor pants get sold I remember that I'm $25 closer to my goal. So, I've listed my clothes on three websites devoted to buying and selling used clothes, Poshmark, Vinted, and Threadflip. (I'm @SaltLakeAnnie on all three if you want to find me.) And I'm getting excited about having space in my closet and earning some extra cash.  I feel a little bit like a teenager saving money from babysitting jobs to go to the mall!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I Had Days Like This Too

Eliza is sick. And the hard thing about Eliza being sick is that you don't really know what she's got. She refuses to eat and she's coughing which leads me to think that she's got a sore throat.  Her nose is running and she's extremely cranky.  It's been a full week leading up to this, but it seems to have really hit her today. Which leaves me feeling so guilty for taking her to Cardio Barre this morning. I needed to go, I needed a workout, and when she woke up this morning she seemed fine. But when I went in to get her from the daycare after class and she was just sitting at the table staring into space not playing with anything and not watching the movie, I knew immediately that something was wrong. It's been a full day of trying to help Eliza feel better. From having her play in the bathroom while I showered so the steam would help her cough to trying five different things for lunch just to see what she would eat, to taking extra long to put her down for a nap (which she never fell asleep for) to watching YouTube videos on my phone while holding her hoping she'll go down for a late nap, to scratching the nap and aiming for an early bedtime, to watching Tangled on the couch to pass time and finally she fell asleep 20 minutes before I was going to start the bedtime routine.  Now what? A 20 minute nap then wake her up, feed her dinner, bath, stories and bed was the final plan of the day. Until waking her up just made her scream, and the thought of food made her scream more. So, I changed her diaper, put her in her sleep sack in the clothes she was wearing today, and tried to help her fall back asleep in my arms. Except that she hates my singing lately and it just made her scream more. So I put her down in her crib. And then climbed in with her to rub her back and comfort her. Which made her even more mad, and visions of the crib falling apart with both of us in it motivated me to climb back out and leave a screaming baby in a dark nursery while I discovered what mischief the dog has gotten into while my back has been turned.

And I write all of this just to say, I had days like this too.  Days that never seem to end when nothing you do seems to be the right decision and the problem is just getting worse. Days when you want to throw in the towel. And the day is probably still not over. I'll take a few minutes to myself then do what I can to make the house a little bit tidier before Shawn gets home. I'll aim for an early bedtime so that when Eliza wakes up in the middle of the night I have enough energy to get up with her. At least that's the plan, but so far nothing has gone according to plan today.