* Cakes is loving school! She’s made a new friend (Sara), and likes her teacher. Every day, when she comes home, she gives me what I call “the potty count.” Ex: “Mom, I only went potty 2 times today!” I think this is because the issue of the automatic toilets weighed so heavily on her, but I asked her how she’s been doing with them, and she said, “Oh fine…I just put toilet paper over the sensor like you said.” I’m very entertained by the papers she brings home every week, especially her penmanship worksheets, in which her name is printed in block letters at the top of the page, with several lines below for practice. The first week, she wrote her name on every line in flowery cursive, except the last line, where her teacher obviously corrected her. When I asked her about it, she proclaimed printing to be “boring.” This week, she seems to be experimenting with spelling her name in different ways. What can I say? Cakes is a free spirit. I have sympathy for her teacher though – this might be quite a long year for her.
* Bee is relieved because, after my husband and I expressed our concerns to the school superintendent last spring, showering after P.E. is no longer required of 5th graders! (See The Shower Problem). It pays to speak up and advocate for your kids when there’s an issue that you feel strongly about (not every little issue – you must choose your battles carefully because kids need to learn how to solve problems, and you want to be taken seriously when you do need to intervene). Bee’s teacher told us that this was always a source of great fear and anxiety for all of her students, so she’s relieved that it’s no longer an issue. Also, she prepared and bound a special, advanced spelling book just for Bee, who completed the 6th grade spelling book in 4th grade, and is in a group all by herself. She said, “When students are as advanced as she is, I really like to challenge them!” We were so happy, because this is just what Bee needs! She’s also in challenge math, and she seems very content in school this year.
* DJ is doing surprisingly well without his sisters at home. I was concerned that he would be bored all day by himself, but he entertains himself remarkably well. He follows me around when I’m doing chores, keeping up a constant stream of chatter, and last week I was very amused when I was hanging clothes on the line, and he went into the garage, got his little plastic chair, and brought it out to the clothesline so he could sit and chat with me (I wish I’d thought to take a picture). When I was done, we went on a tour of the backyard, inspected the pumpkins, picked some crabapples, and found part of a bird’s egg, which he was fascinated by.
I suspect that he’s getting ready to potty-train, because he now shuts himself in his room when he’s doing his business, and also he likes to sit on the potty after his bath. The girls both trained a few months before their 3rd birthdays, so he’s right on time. This can’t come soon enough for me…I’m so ready to be done with diapers.
* We have lots of nicknames for our kids, and last week at the bank, a lady bent down to DJ and said, “Aren’t you a cutie pie?” DJ replied very indignantly, “I not cutie pie! I BUBBALICIOUS!” So then I had to explain that I sometimes affectionately call him “Bub,” or “Bubba,” which morphed into “Bubbalicious,” because that was a popular gum when I was a kid. However, this was no worse than having to explain to people that my daughter is not named after a snack food – we just call her Cakes because it’s short for “Babycakes,” which was her nickname when I was pregnant with her. When I first started blogging, people asked me about the kids’ nicknames all the time – they sincerely believed that’s what we named them, which always made me laugh. One commenter actually berated me, “I can’t believe you named your kids that? That’s horrible! What’s wrong with you?” Actually, my children all have quite traditional names, but I don’t routinely use their real names, my husband’s name, our last name, or even mention the state we live in, in order to protect them. I also remove all identifying information from photos, because I think bloggers with small children need to be very careful.
* I have the worst allergies this fall! I’ve never had seasonal allergies before, but every day I sneeze and sniffle and wheeze, and I’m bummed out by this, but I think I’m going to have to go back to using the dryer. I read that line-dried clothes can have a lot of pollen on them, and I certainly don’t need anything to aggravate my problems. It’s a shame because I love the clean, fresh scent of line-dried clothing, and the energy savings from not using the drier.
* I thought that I would have more time, and get more done with both girls in school, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. I feel like I’m always, always behind! I did accomplish quite a bit yesterday, though (probably a fluke). I made 2 bottles of glass cleaner, and 1 bottle of all-purpose cleaner, using these 5 inexpensive household staples:
These cleaners use very small amounts of already cheap ingredients, so the cost for all three bottles was less than a buck. I think both solutions work very well, so if you’d like to try them out for yourself, here are the recipes:
Homemade 409 (all-purpose cleaner)
-1 tablespoon ultra-concentrated Dawn, or 2 tablespoons regular strength Dawn. Use the BLUE Dawn only – it cleans better, for some unknown reason.
-1 teaspoon Borax
-2 tablespoons white vinegar
Pour one cup hot water into 32-ounce spray bottle (the hot water is just to dissolve the Borax – the cleaner will still work fine when it cools). Add other ingredients, and swirl to mix. Fill the container to the 32-ounce mark with water.
1/8 cup ammonia
1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
1/4 teaspoon blue Dawn
Mix all ingredients in spray bottle (you will probably find a funnel helpful here). Fill to 32-ounce mark with water. Add a couple drops of blue food coloring if desired, to distinguish it as glass cleaner.
* Yesterday, I also made big batches of onion soup mix, and taco seasoning mix, a really big batch of my roast chicken seasoning, and small batches of greek seasoning (similar to Cavenders), and yellow rice mix. I love spice-making day, because the whole kitchen smells like a spice cupboard! For more info, see Money Saving Mixes.
Spice making was even more fun yesterday because I bought this Groupon type thingie at our local bulk/health food store – $40 in groceries for $20 – and invested in an itty bitty box of saffron strands, and this pretty little mortar and pestle, so I could grind them and make authentic saffron yellow rice.
Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world (this tiny box – .018 ounces – was $4.65. OUCHIE!) but 3 little strands will season an entire dish, and it’s so delicious. If you’ve ever had paella, it’s what gives it that yellow color and savory flavor. Also, I’ve been making “poor man’s yellow rice,” a recipe sent to me by my reader, Tammy, and it’s very good, but I found that I did miss the saffron, so when that 50% off deal came up, I grabbed it!
If you’d like to make your own saffron yellow rice, here’s the recipe for the seasoning mix:
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground saffron
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
I triple this, and keep it in an airtight container. Use 1 tablespoon per cup of uncooked rice.
* I’m developing an easy-to-follow system for keeping track of what I need to do each day, involving index cards and a small file box. I’m doing this because I find that it’s easier for me to get over my emotional housework stumbling blocks if I break my work into small pieces, and focus on just one piece at a time – in this case, whatever is written on the card. I’ll post more in detail when I’m finished with it.
* I ordered my first organic fruit delivery from The Fruit Guys this week. A box of 25 servings of organic staples – apples, citrus, bananas, pears, and peaches – is only $34, delivered. I’ll let you know what I think of this service. If it’s good, I’m going to set up auto-delivery.
* I also purchased a “keeper.” I first read about this in the Tightwad Gazette, and it was also recommended to me by my friend and reader, Becky, who has used the same one for 10 years and loves it. It’s basically an internally-worn, reusable menstrual cup made of latex, or for those with latex allergies, medical grade silicone. It’s only $37, and there’s a 3-month guarantee. Since we’re on a septic system, this seems like a safer, environmentally-friendly, and more economical way to deal with Aunt Flo’s unwelcome monthly impositions, (sorry to my handful of male readers if this offends your delicate sensibilities, but it’s an unpleasant fact of female life). If you use it for 10 years, it works out to a monthly cost of only 29 cents, and since I have 2 girls also, well….you do the math.
So, I’m going to give it a shot, and I’ll let you know what I think!
* Finally, I have a nasty headache today that I cannot shake. If anyone has good headache relief tips, I’m listening, because Tylenol and Advil aren’t cutting it.
Have a great day all!