Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow . . .

No, Mr. Simple hasn't got a job yet, and no, I am not just trying to cheer myself up. Flower was in a production of Annie Jr. at our local elementary school in early May, and I kept meaning to blog about it, and just kept forgetting.

She tried out in January, and got selected as one of orphans - Tessie. There were LOTS of practices. Like at least twice a week for two months and then more leading up to the performance. But I must say, the practice was worth it. It was an AWESOME performance, and I'm not just saying that because Flower was in it. Hats off to all the kids, parent/teacher volunteers, and the music teacher! We couldn't take pictures of the actual performance due to copyright issues, but here are a couple pictures after the show:

Flower with "Annie" played fabulously by one of my friend's daughter

Grandma S, Flower and Aunt N

Great Job Flower! I'm sure it is just the first of MANY performances we will be at! Flower has definitely been bit by the acting bug!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

OK, here are some things I've learned since we started using our food storage

1. My kids prefer white bread from the store over homemade wheat bread. However, they will eat homemade bread.

2. I should have had more cold cereal in food storage. I would really prefer that my kids NOT eat cold cereal, but the truth of the matter is that at least one of the children strongly prefers it, and on some mornings, I just don't have time to cook eggs or oatmeal.

3. I should have had more canned chicken. I do have some whole chickens in the freezer, and that IS more economical than doing canned chicken, but again, sometimes I don't have time to cook a chicken, even if it is in the slow cooker all day when I am doing other things.

4. Related to #3, my food storage is somewhat lacking in the meat department. We do have plenty of beans and peanut butter for protein, but I only had a week or two worth of hamburger, chicken and fish in the freezer when this happened. And meat is still currently the biggest expense for me when we do go to the store. I have already altered our menu planning, and we may have to do even further cutting.

5. Also related to #3, when we get back on our feet, I am going to make sure and donate canned chicken to food pantries. Green beans and soup are great, but sometimes, it makes it hard to feel like a dinner without meat.

6. Having a garden has been VERY helpful. I should have planted a little differently, and I will change things next year. I will have a whole 4x4 bed just for lettuce, spinach, kale and chard, and I will plant a square of each for 4 weeks so it is more successive. I will also plant more peas. I will plant more cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower too, but I will tuck them in my front and side beds instead of using up so much room in my 4x4 vegetable beds. I will plant potatoes.

7. It has been good that we were used to not having much variety in our fresh produce. We have had plenty of broccoli, lettuce, spinach, and chard to eat out of the garden, so I haven't had to buy any of that at the store. I only had to buy one kind of fresh fruit a week, and then fill in with the strawberries that we have growing in the strawberry patch.

8. I really try and restrict our purchases to NEEDS - so that, for us, is eggs, milk, butter, cheese, cereal, one kind of fruit, and a couple pounds of ground meat, and a whole chicken. Oh, and garbage bags. And toilet paper. :) Speaking of garbage bags and toilet paper - I should have had more of those kind of things in my food storage too. Another thing I will make sure and donate to food pantries too when we get back on our feet.

9. I only go shopping at farmers market once a week and the grocery store once a week and I don't go to any other stores. Otherwise, I'll suddenly remember things that I "need" or I'll be tempted to buy stuff or I'll go and just depress myself. So I just try and stay out, for the most part.

10. I've learned that I have friends that will help me out :) I've had people donate food to me. I had a friend who let me use her wheat grinder to grind wheat. And I've had lots of friends who have lent a sympathetic ear, which is VERY helpful right now.

I am a bad mom . . .

Well, not in a "you better call the department of child services" sort of bad. But here are a few examples:

1. I rarely let my kids go play outside in our yard with anything involving water - the pool, the sprinkler, the slip n slide, the hose, etc. I hate, hate, hate with a passion water play. It isn't the water that bugs me so much. It is the mud that ends up all over my house, and the GRASS that is in every room between the backyard and their rooms. It is the water that gets on the hardwood and the carpet from the backyard to the bathroom as they come in 17 times. Each. In 15 minutes. I'm not super crazy about all the screaming that seems to be involved in water play either.

2. I only let my kids have popsicles at the table. Otherwise, there are sticks and papers in the yard. Because somehow, it is just TOO far to go in and throw them away. (But of course, not too far to troop in and go to the bathroom when they are wet, see #1.) My kids have never had Freezer Pops at my house because I hate having to cut them and then find all the ends and get them into the trash, and then part of the Freezer Pop always lands on the table, or the floor, or whatever. Same thing with Snow Cones. I think my kids have had one once. And it was a free one at a Library thing.

3. I told my girls that they were going to have rats living in their room if they didn't do a better job of cleaning their room. Yea, I told them that there would be RATS.

4. I must have been touched out at some point when I had a newly 5 year old, a 3 year old, and a baby because now when they all want to lean on me or hold my hand or they all want to sit on my lap or something, all I can think is "How long is long enough before I can gently move them off me?" I love them, but I don't want them all laying on me!

5. Jelly Bean, my 9 year old, lost a tooth recently. Then she told me "I have a bump by my tooth." I assumed it was the tooth that she just lost, and I said "That happens sometimes when you lose a tooth and the new one is coming in." We went to the dentist this week, and she has an gum infection! On a totally different area than the lost tooth. That I would have realized if I had actually looked.

6. I think the school called me at least 10 times during the last month of school to tell me that I had a negative food account balance. To be fair, most of this was NOT exactly my fault. I would give the money to Flower (age 11) and tell her to turn it in at the office. Then she would forget, but still get lunch, and so then we would owe even more. Sometimes, this would go on for two or three days. Finally, I just started paying on-line, which I should have done instead of giving to Flower, but I generally had cash on hand, and it was "easier" than paying with my debit card.

7. I have recently started using my girls as my "errand" girls. I give them money and the cell phone, and have them go to the library to return/pick up books. Or to the grocery store to get a few things. Or to the convenience store to get me a soda. :)

8. Super (age 6) seems to be unable to control himself from starting conversations with complete strangers. Most of them start with "Did you know that I am the best swimmer in 6 and under?" I am sure that they didn't know, but I am pretty sure they don't really care. Most of them are still nice about it, but he comes off as if he is totally bragging (which is basically is.) I have talked to him about it and told him that it isn't really appropriate to do, etc. But yet he still does it. Along with talking about his body parts/body functions in inappropriate ways to complete strangers. Or anybody else for that matter.

9. I have forgotten at least 3 birthday parties that my kids were invited to this year. Two of which I RSVP'ed for. And yes, I have an iPhone. That has a calendar/alarm function.

10. My 11 year old recently caught me rolling my eyes when she said that she couldn't find something she was looking for. (She is NOTORIOUS for saying that she looked for something, and then you go down to her room, and it is sitting right in front of the door, or something equally obvious.) She said "I saw you rolling your eyes Mommy! That isn't very nice!" Oops!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I should have known better . . . .

I last blogged a couple weeks ago about how I had a plan.

And then life happened.

If life was fair, then I would be able to have some semblance of control. However, life is NOT fair, and as it sometimes seems to be the case, my life seems to be fairly often, NOT fair, and so fairly often, things are outside of my control.

My big plan was to go back to school in Fall 2012 and get my masters degree in English. I'd stop doing daycare then, and I'd get an assistantship, and I'd take classes, and learn things, and in the end, I'd graduate with a degree that is actually useful, especially in the city that I live in.

And then after I got my degree, I'd teach English 101, etc. at the local community college. I'd talked with the director of the Writer Program over at the community college (she is a friend from way back in the day) and she said that they have openings all the time for adjunct English instructors. I could teach two or three sections, I'd have summers off if I wanted, I'd make about the same money that I'm making now but working a lot less hours, and I'd be using my skills. It would be great.


Except that it probably isn't going to happen. Well, it still might, but I've got a much more pressing problem right now.

Mr. Simple lost his job last week.


So now, everything is on hold. Even the gardening. I mean, I have 4 raised beds and I've planted things, and I'm even harvesting things already, but I wanted to build at least one more 4 x 4 bed, two 2 x 4 bed now, and another 4 x 4 bed in the fall. For now, I'll just need to be grateful for the beds that I got in, and use the food from the garden wisely and be grateful for the produce.

Speaking of thankful, I am thankful for lots of things right now. I'm glad that I do have food storage. I'm grateful that we are very frugal already. I'm glad that we are pretty minimalist already. I'm glad that we are fairly self-reliant. I'm glad that there was a free clothing exchange today and I was able to get Super a bunch of clothes for the summer and fall that he needed.

But mostly, I'm glad that Mr. Simple and I have wonderful friends and family. It is comforting to know that we have love and support during times of crisis.

Mr. Simple is applying for jobs and we are hopeful that he will find something soon. I will also be looking and applying for jobs soon. We are hopeful that one or both of us can find something relatively quickly.

And back to that dream . . .

It was just a dream, you know. I HAVE done things with my life. And if nothing else, I always muddle through. Maybe not always happily. But I don't give up. We WILL get through this.

And maybe I will get back to school, maybe even by Fall 2012. Or maybe I won't. My life hasn't gone according to MY plan yet. :)