If Evolution Really Worked I’d Have Way More Than Two Hands

Man, I thought I’d be able to keep this thing up at least twice a week but life has taken over. Today is the first time I get to sit at my computer to write anything since my last blog post!

Lots of things going on in the Panda cage right now: Mardi Gras is Tuesday, the kids haven’t been to any parades yet but my house looks like we’ve thrown a carnival. This past weekend I spent in revelry with adult friends because well, I earned it. How’s that saying go, “Working mother is a redundant phrase”? Yeah, that’s me. So I had a blast, made gumbo for an army of people and went to a parade where I had tons of fun catching beads and throws for my friend’s daughter, Cadence. The panda cubs were with a sitter for the weekend.

At Wal-Mart, shopping for last minute lawn chairs. Yes, I dress in theme for most holidays. Don't mind the smeared makeup, I fixed it shortly after the picture was taken!

For Valentine’s day Maverick and I had more cupcake adventures, which were awesome. We made “sweetheart cupcakes”. Basically, devil’s food and strawberry cake batter baked in cupcakes. Hollow out the middle, and fill with a blended mixture of cherry preserves, cream cheese, and powdered sugar. Make a ganache, dip the cupcakes in the ganache frosting, and then decorate. They were DELICIOUS. We brought some to my grandfather and other family members on Valentine’s day and then last night I delivered the leftovers to some friends of mine, to prevent me from eating all of them.

Sweetheart cupcakes!

With the hollowed out middles of the cupcakes (as you know I’m frugal and don’t like to waste ANYTHING) I blended more cream cheese and then dipped in melted semisweet chocolate. VOILA: Cake truffles!

Cake truffles with sugar crystals!

Also last week we turned my rock garden into a raised flower bed for annuals. We have had lots of rain and back and forth between cold and warm weather so I haven’t sowed any seeds yet, but mostly will be planting wildflowers there. Maverick and I can just throw the seeds and wait for the pretty to happen!

This will be full of colorful flowers by summer time

While digging out the earth for the raised flower bed, Maverick made some new friends. Insects. Worms. Earwigs. All sorts of gross things. It’s always amazing to me how little boys will touch, hold, play with DAMN NEAR ANYTHING and not be bothered by it. We now have a pot of soil and worms outside, and he checks their progress daily. By checking their progress, I mean he pulls them out of the soil and flips them around in his hand a bit then puts them back into the dirt. I’m getting the creeps just thinking about it.

The tiniest worm on earth. His name is "Sam"

On the gardening subject, all of the tomato plants have sprouted true leaves, so that meant last night I had to ELIMINATE THE WEAKER ONES (MWAHAHAHAHA) ok that’s enough of the mad scientist gardner. So now, we have 15 tomato plants in our coldframe.

Here they are! In all their glory. Ethan took out the markers so I have no idea which pods contain what varieties but hey, all tomatoes are delicious so I'll be happy if even ONE of these makes it to bearing fruit. The two pots on the sides are sunflowers, the one in front of the tomatoes is a cluster of basil seedlings that is struggling to survive, and the aluminum pot has some violas. I'm hoping to make a window box with those, it gets too hot here for them to survive the summer outdoors. They are only a couple weeks old at this point. Gardening takes SO MUCH patience.

My little artists decided to draw on the sofa today, and I read on google that HAND SANITIZER and PAPERTOWELS would remove ball point ink. And it worked! So for all you moms out there with kids that are as creative as mine, commit that tip to memory. The last time this happened I paid to have the sofa cleaned… this time I just used a lot of elbow grease and remedied the problem myself.

I also would like to mention here that I am participating in a fundraiser for the Autism Society of Acadiana… and if you read this blog I’d like you to share it on your blog, or maybe donate. I’m 100 dollars away from my goal. Please, follow this link and read the story associated. Help in any way that you can. Rock for Hope

I hope that everyone has a blessed week, and I promise that once Mardi Gras settles down I’ll be posting more, it’ll be my Lenten Devotion this year: BLOG MORE OFTEN!

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Iced Coffee, Dollar General Shopping, and Baby Bobos

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Kind of fuzzy but that really dark spot is where the flap of skin got liquid stitched.

Today and yesterday have been an incredible whirlwind of emotion for everyone in this house.

Yesterday, Ethan fell and got quite the knot on his head. No long term damage, but the resulting injury looked so bad that I brought him to the emergency room anyway. Luckily for Ethan, the bobo was on his forehead, which the ER physician told me was the toughest part of the skull. Also, apparently babies are engineered to handle falls from walking height. Thank God for intelligent design, amiright? A little liquid stitch on the broken skin and some prescription infant pain killer for the next couple of days to ease the headaches and WHAMMO, Ethan’s first concussion!

Today was also the first full-time school working hours paycheck we received of Michael’s, which was a whole other added stress. It’s the beginning of the month so of course rent is due, utility bills are due, we just paid car insurance at the end of January… needless to say, things are very tight right now. Michael has more of a problem with this than I do, because I know that as long as the roof over our head is paid for, and our electricity and water are working, and I have some food in the house, my family and I will be fine. I think he may be reconsidering our decision for me to stay home with the kids, but if they were still in daycare we’d be spending well over 300 a week in gas and daycare costs, which was only a couple hundred less than what I was making. Not to mention the gas for me to and from work, the cost of working in general, etc. I stick by our decision and know that the next few years of living in frugality will benefit us in the long run. Example: I used to spend 100 dollars at the grocery store, minimum, per week to feed a family of four ONE meal a day and three meals a day on the weekends. We never ate breakfast or lunch at home. NOW, I can spend 50 dollars a week at the grocery store and feed us ALL breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’ve been couponing, shopping sales, buying reduced meat specials, and making really big, filling meals out of next to nothing. For instance, two nights ago I found two very large chicken breasts in my freezer. In the pantry I had about a half pound of spaghetti noodles, a can of crushed tomatoes, a can of tomato sauce, and a jar of parmesan cheese. Always on hand I have flour, eggs, milk, vegetable oil. I made chicken parmesan and spaghetti for all four of us, double servings. I don’t have a cost calculator but I’d estimate about 1.50 per serving, honestly.

For Christmas a very dear friend of mine gave me a basket full of Community Coffee, another friend gave me a french press, and Michael trumped them all by giving me a keurig coffee maker. Keurig pods are EXPENSIVE, so while I use it for its convenience I’ve limited myself to one cup a day and have been cold brewing coffee for iced coffee using the french press and gifted coffee grinds. It’s very simple.

Instructions:

Place 1 cup of coffee grinds into french press.

Cover with water. Stir. Place press on top of pitcher. Let grinds sit overnight.

After about 12 hours slowly depress plunger and pour into a pitcher.

Pour desired amount over ice with splenda and splash of milk and you have iced coffee, for approximately 40 cents a glass! Beats commercial coffee chains ANY DAY.

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Iced coffee (I don't like a lot of ice in it)

Today Started Early, in Crisis

Typically, I wake up my children around 7:30 AM. Typically, I give Ethan a quick sponge bath because he’s always covered in drool and snot from sleeping with his mouth wide open pressed into his blanket. Typically, Maverick gets dressed while this is going on. This morning was not a typical morning in my household, however.

I woke this morning to Maverick’s pained scream of “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM, ETHAN IS COVERED IN HIS POOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP” and Ethan making loud ‘dinosaur’ sounds as Maverick has recently taught him to. I roll myself out of bed and half walk, half crawl to their bedroom. “What the hell time is it?” I think to myself. It’s 5:45AM, the yellow numbers on my bedroom cable transmitter tell me. 15 minutes before my usual wake up time but I’ve only been asleep since about 2AM, six hours past my normal bedtime. I open the door to the boys’ room and the smell hits me immediately. Maverick looks at me as if I’m the one covered in my own excrement. Ethan is standing in his crib, both hands smeared with light yellow remnants of last nights’ dinner, poop all over the crib and his diaper halfway across the room. “MOM, ETHAN TOOK HIS DIAPER OFF AND HE THREW IT ACROSS THE ROOM AND NOW HE IS PLAYING WITH HIS POOP THAT IS SO GROSS!!”

I pick the baby up at arm’s length and carry him into the bathroom. He is shrieking at me with contempt because he wants me to hold him and I can’t. The smell has taken root in my nostrils so hard that it’s still there, nearly five hours later. I place shrieking Ethan in the bathtub without any water and move all soaps, shampoos, etc out of the way. In an attempt to erradicate my house of the smell I grab a plastic grocery bag from my collection beneath the bathroom sink. I gather up the blanket, fitted sheet, teddy bear, diaper, and Ethan’s onesie, all covered in poop, and throw them in the bag. I tie the bag at the handles, and place it into another grocery bag. I hurl it down the stairs on my way to bathe Ethan.

I leave the bathtub drain unplugged and run warm water, essentially rinsing the poop off my child as if he’s an object because I am so disgusted. The entire time he is laughing hysterically and Maverick is standing behind me, holding his nose, stripped down to his underwear, asking in a pinched voice “MOM WHY I CAN’T TAKE A BATH WITH ETHAN?” I correct him “Maverick, you can’t take a bath with Ethan because he is covered in poop and I am trying to get it off of him. Please go put on some clothes, it’s not your bath time right now.” Apparently, this translates in Maverick speak directly to “The second I turn around to plug the bathtub, take off your underwear and jump in!” Because that’s exactly what he did. NOW, it’s bath time / play time at 6:15 in the morning and all I want to do is stick my head in the toilet next to me because drowning has got to be easier than settling these kids down for breakfast at this point.

Ethan

"Hey mom's camera, all the poop is off me now!"

By 7:00AM both boys are out of the bathtub, Ethan’s butt is sufficiently covered in baby powder and the rest of him in cocoa butter lotion. Maverick’s teeth are brushed and the television is on Nick Jr. and they are both waiting for breakfast. Maverick assists me in making blueberry pancakes which he eats precisely one half of one pancake (from a batch of 10) and Ethan eats three whole. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. This morning I am thankful for my Keurig coffee maker, I have had six cups so far. I am thankful for the rain holding off, that was Ethan’s last pair of bedsheets (I just can’t stand the thought of touching the poop enough to wash them, not the greenest thing I could do and I’m aware of it but let’s face it… they’re five dollars at Wal-Mart and it’s POOP. GROSS.) and I need to make a trip to the store to get more. I am thankful for the giant ridiculous clump of trash bags beneath my bathroom sink which I complain about almost every time I have to grab a roll of toilet paper. I am thankful for my kids, because covered in poop or dirt or chalk or whatever mess they create, I always have something to laugh about.