Oh What A Night/Morning This Is Going To Be

Around 8 pm hubby was getting tired. He had been up since 3:30 this morning, and worked 11 1/2 hours with an hour commute on each end of that, so I suppose being tired was warranted. πŸ˜‰ I thought well, I can’t go to sleep now. The toddler was “napping”. He had been cranky around 5:30, so I put him in his crib with a movie to watch so I could get some things done before dinner. He fell asleep, like I knew he really needed to. 

I should have woken him up for dinner, but the house was peaceful. πŸ˜‰ I just didn’t think to wake him, and when I did think about it, I also thought he might just sleep through the night. 

I had put the baby to bed around 8, and then the rest of the family just hung out in the livingroom using devices and watching tv. Hubby did fall asleep on the couch, but around 10 I woke him to go to bed. I guessed that the toddler would wake up as soon as I decided to lay down, but no, it was the baby who woke up as soon as my teeth were brushed. I took him to bed with me, so I could nurse him and get some rest. He ate for about 30 minutes then fell asleep. I figured it would be too risky to take him to his crib, since he shares a bedroom with the toddler. I really wanted to get at least 2 hours of sleep. Lately the baby has been up every 2-3 hours to nurse. The baby slept on my chest, and I tried to fall asleep. Around 11:15 the toddler was calling out a request for pizza through the monitor.:(

It was time to carry the baby to bed, and switch to toddler mode. πŸ˜‰ I changed his diaper, got him a drink and made him a pizza. He’ll be up for hours. 😦 

So, he’s got Paw Patrol on, a couple of toys to play with and his tablet…he can’t just focus on one thing. Especially his “dinner”, he’s only had a few bites of that pizza he was calling for as soon as he woke up. 

My eyes are feeling heavy, and I just want to pass out. I don’t have a set time to be up, but we have a busy day ahead of us, and I wanted to be well rested. I guess that won’t be happening. πŸ˜› We have to go to the library,  drop the car off at a garage, pick up a rental car and grocery shop. We would like to get everything done early, to be home at a reasonable time. The library was to be our first stop, and they don’t open until 10am, so I suppose I could still manage to get a few hours of sleep. I’m hoping the toddler will be satisfied with his meal soon, and happy to go back to his room if I offer another movie. We’ll see. Until then, I guess I will just read some blogs. 

How Our Garden Grows

We don’t have a huge yard, but we like to get out in it. Since having a baby in the fall of 2014, and another in the fall of 2016 admittedly our yard has suffered. We have lots of leaves to move, and we plan on moving our current vegetable garden. 

We have daffodils, lillies, irises, and hosta plants that do well where they are. Unfortunately we have had trouble with some of our trees. We lost an awesome pear tree after a transplant one year, our flowering dogwood that was new last year didn’t survive the winter, and we’ve lost a crab apple too. My magnolia has never done well,and is just puny. We have decided to purchase a different variety of magnolia in the future from a nice nursery. We just need to save $175.00 for that purchase.πŸ˜‰

This is my pathetic magnolia.😞

We have a couple of lilac plants, some holly bushes, azaleas, rhodedendrons, a concord grape vine and a few more miscellaneous plants around the property. This year we will be adding some more grapes, since the concord variety aren’t great for snacking on, and we will try to grow kiwi again. I forgot to mention we lost 2 kiwi plants in the past too. It’s very sad to lose plants, almost as sad as losing a pet, since they bring us such joy when they thrive. 😞

This is my grapevine,  which we moved from the area by our strawberry plants. It seems to be doing well so far.

Here is our peach tree with some blossoms. πŸ˜€

Here is one of our apple trees.

We now know we need to prepare our soil better to supply plants with what they need, and we need to make sure we plant them with sufficient sun/shade.

I want to plant a few veggies this year, but with 2 little ones I don’t know if we can get a garden ready in time. Outdoor planting in our area will probably be safe to do in just a couple of weeks. I have asparagus and strawberry plants that need to be moved out of the current garden that has been dismantled. 

My asparagus plants are in a row lined up with the little arborvitae shrub. The strawberries are in a row in front of those, and the newest retaining wall/garden area my husband built is in front of them.

Right now I just have to remind the boys not to walk through the asparagus area, because only a couple of shoots have popped up so far. The strawberries are much more visible and easy to avoid.

My husband built this bridge and these stone steps to cross the ditch separating our driveway and garden area.

We have so many projects that we’d like to work on. We have lumber to build a tree house for the boys… it’ll be a get away for the 11 year old mostly. We have a pool to fill/clean, rocks to move, stumps to cut back lower to the ground, a fire pit to build and basic tidying up to do.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Walnut Cookies

I loosely followed a recipe from the Quaker Oats website for these cookies. I say loosely, because I’m an idiot. Lol! I thought my batter seemed a bit too moist so I checked the ingredients list again. Sure enough it called for one cup of pumpkin, not one can. Oops! 

I just added a bit more oats, flour and sugar. I had already deviated from the recipe by adding nutmeg and allspice too. πŸ˜‰

I know baking is sort of a science,  and the ingredients really matter so we’ll see how they turn out in a few minutes when the first batch comes out of the oven. 

Ok, so I may have made the first cookies a bit too big. They were browned nicely on the bottom, but since they are so thick a tad too moist. They are bit gummy and cake like.

I think the flavor is good. I LOVE pumpkin pie, but the rest of my family could take it or leave it. πŸ˜‰ If they really hate these, I will have to freeze them. I never freeze baked goods though, so I wonder what they’ll be like thawed. Hopefully my family thinks they’re edible and I won’t have to find out.

I’m making the next batch smaller, and just watching them closer so they don’t burn.

They are smaller, but a bit darker. πŸ˜’ I think they will be just as cake like as the first batch too. Oh well, not every recipe will be a winner. (Especially when the recipe isn’t followed exactly.)

I offered the 2 year old a cookie, and he wanted one until he saw it. He called it yuck! It’s official, the 11 year old doesn’t like them either. πŸ˜›

Another Car AccidentΒ 

My husband was leaving work yesterday, while still in the parking lot he had an accident. 😞

Where we work there are designated travel directions in the parking lot, and you have to back out of your parking spot. As my husband was traveling in a lane, a car backed out without looking. My husband honked his horn, but the car kept coming. He swerved to avoid being hit, only to hit a parked truck. 

The driver who backed out without looking did stop, but never got out of his vehicle. He said it was his fault,  then drove away! The incident was caught on camera by the security system and the person who viewed the tape said it happened just as my husband described. The person who owns the truck he hit handled the situation well, but my husband could tell he was annoyed. Who could blame him? His vehicle was parked and he was working. 

My husband was able to drive home after he and someone from work taped up parts that would have rubbed the tire. I never would have risked driving it, and possibly have the tire blow out. Men are stubborn like that though. πŸ˜‰

Here are some pictures of the damage.

We’ve only had this car 3 months! We bought it to replace the one I totalled when I hit a patch of ice and spun off the road into a tree. This car should not be considered totalled since it’s newer, but it will be an expensive fix.

I think the driver who backed out without looking should be held responsible, but their vehicle never hit ours. If my husband didn’t naturally swerve, and just let the car back into him this would be his responsibility. The police can’t even hold him accountable for leaving the scene. 

Since there is video evidence I’m sure my insurance company will hold them accountable if they can.

Thankfully nobody was injured…. well, my husband did cut his hand while taping the fender so he could drive home. πŸ˜’ It was a minor injury though.

We will have to bring the car to a garage Tuesday, and pick up a rental. Right now I am stranded with the kids for a couple of days. There’s no way I’m going to risk driving that car, and hubby had to take our second vehicle to work. He better not have another careless driver cause another accident. 

Another Saturday Crock Pot Meal

The picture doesn’t look great, but it smells yummy. πŸ™‚

This Saturday crock pot idea is really working well for me. Tonight we are having a pot roast with carrots and potatoes. I went to bed around 10 pm, but the baby was awake at 2:30 to nurse, and the 2 year old was awake at 3:30 with a poopy diaper. 😦 I wasn’t able to fall back asleep until 4:30 so, I did not feel very rested when the boys were both awake for the day at 8:30. Thankfully they woke up the 11 year old too. πŸ˜‰ He helped me with the 2 year old while I nursed the baby again. By 10 am I was able to have dinner going in the crock pot.  

My husband used the crock pot this week too. He cooked up some chicken breasts for dinner the other night, and made enough for lunches for a couple of days. He simply put 4 frozen breasts in the crock pot with some spices and let it cook all day. He was able to shred the meat with a wooden spoon since it got so tender. For dinner he made mashed potatoes and gravy to go with the chicken. I had made a batch of cole slaw the night before so that went well with it too.

For lunches we made wraps with the chicken, some salad mix and honey mustard dressing. They were satisfying, and a nice healthy choice. The fact that chicken breast is so much cheaper than the deli meat we were buying for sandwiches is a bonus too.  

Unfortunately leftovers won’t work for my husband’s lunch tomorrow, but I know what I’ll be having. πŸ™‚ 

I’ll probably make some more chicken tomorrow so he can have a nice wrap Monday, and the rest of us will be able to make wraps or tacos out of the chicken for our lunches too. These little time and money savers are making my hectic life a little less so. 

Mom’s Chicken Pot Pie

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I knew what I made wasn’t really my mom’s pot pie recipe, but I didn’t think it was too far off. Tonight, I checked my recipes to find my copy of my mom’s pot pie recipe only to realize I wasn’t even close to the original. I guess I can say this is my own pot pie recipe. πŸ™‚

I won’t be sharing exact measurements for much, since I don’t measure the ingredients. I just wing it every time I make it. πŸ˜‰

I use frozen chicken breast, sometimes 2 large ones sometimes it’s 3-4 of varying sizes. I usually put in about 3 medium potatoes. I like using red skin potatoes, and I do keep the skin on them. For other vegetables I use Normandy blend, which is a combination of broccoli, cauliflower, yellow squash, zucchini and carrots. My husband does not like peas, so we never eat them. My mom’s recipe called for both onions and peas, but my family does not like them. Her recipe called for a can of cream of celery soup, and sometimes I will use one. Usually I use Β cream of chicken soup.

The first step is to get a pot of water boiling. It has to be large enough to hold the chicken and vegetables with enough room to boil without spilling over. I season my water with poultry seasoning, garlic salt, pepper, a bay leaf and sometimes I’ll add a dash of oregano or basil. Next I put the chicken in the pot. I put in whole frozen breasts. While they start to cook I wash and cube my potatoes into bite size pieces. I add those to the water, and take out a chicken breast. I cut the chicken into bite size pieces. At this point it will still be frozen in the center, but it cuts easily. I toss those pieces back in the water and cut up the rest of the chicken the same way. At this point I preheat my oven to 350 degrees and add some of my frozen Normandy blend vegetables to the pot. I don’t measure, so I just put what I think will fill my pan.πŸ˜‰ The pan I use is 13″x9″. While the mixture starts boiling again I work on the pot pie filling. I melt a stick of butter and pour that in the pan, then I add the can of cream of chicken soup and a cup of the water from the pot stirring it all together. My next step is to mix the topping, which is equal parts milk and Bisquick. I use 2-2 1/2 cups of each. By this point it’s time to drain the chicken and veggies. I usually don’t save the liquid, but it feels like a waste to dump all those flavors down the drain.😞 I make sure I pull out the bay leaf I had seasoning the liquid and spread everything into the pan, coating it with the soup mixture. Finally the Bisquick mixture gets poured over the top of the meat and veggies. I try to poke any of the bits under the topping to make sure the topping covers it all well. Then it goes into the oven until the topping is golden brown. My new oven cooks faster than my old one, so it only takes 45 minutes instead of an hour.

I know it’s not a traditional chicken pot pie, but my family really enjoys it. I still think of it as my mom’s pot pie, since I have taken a few steps from her original recipe. πŸ˜‰

The End of 6th Grade

April 23rd, and the school year is done! Well, sort of. πŸ˜‰

My son used Switched-On Schoolhouse this year, and he has completed his work. My husband and I still need to go in and grade a few things, and adjust some grades where the program didn’t grade correctly. That was my son’s biggest problem with the program. He knew he gave the correct answer, but the program would mark a problem wrong. My husband and I would go over the problem with him to find he was right. After reading some reviews on the program that was a common complaint.

We have been discussing unschooling, and we plan on heading a bit more in that direction. We have some state requirements to meet for homeschooling, so we will still have a bit of a curriculum to follow. We basically want to work on life skills, and what is practical/useful. My son (The only one of 3 who is schoolaged) has been interested in the medical field for career options, so if he continues on that path we will have to make sure he meets the requirements to enroll in college courses for those options. He has been interested in phlebotomy, and radiology over the years. Most recently he has been less interested in college, and more interested in working in fields that only require on the job training. 

I explained to my son, that with unschooling there may be schoolwork over the summer. When the weather is nice we have more opportunities for field trips, and lessons in the garden. Obviously I want him to enjoy his summer, and part of unschooling is for the child the choose what they want to learn about. I hope that he will choose to learn over the summer. πŸ™‚ I told him that we might look into buying a new tree for our yard, so I might request that he research the soil type, or amount of sun that tree needs to thrive. He thinks that would be easy, so he’s willing to do it as long as there isn’t a report involved. His father and I appreciate nature, and like improving our property.  I see the tree project as a practical/useful lesson, but maybe he’ll be a city dweller with no garden to tend when he leaves home. Will it be a waste of his time to do such a project? I know he has a curiosity about plants, because right now he is trying to grow some acorns that he collected in our yard. In years past he has had his own row or two in our vegetable garden to grow his own plants too.

I don’t want to force my interests on him. I want him to develop his own personality/interests. Right now he is reading the Harry Potter series for enjoyment, so I don’t want to push him to take on more reading.  I plan on having him use our local library to borrow several books on a subject that interests him and see what he gains by doing so. If he likes the subject he will have no problem sharing what he learns verbally, but I wonder if I should require anything in writing to keep a record of his “schoolwork”. I also plan on having him be more involved with meal planning. I want to make sure that he won’t rely on take out, or convenience foods when he moves out on his own. I’ve had him help find a new recipe to try, and he made the meal with only a little guidance from me. I think he enjoyed cooking, and since he’s a picky eater being part of the planning meant he was willing to try it. πŸ™‚  

He is a very curious child, and likes to learn. He enjoys sharing what he learns too. (Sometimes while I am trying to read, blog or nurse the baby) ;P

I think I’ll give him at least a couple of weeks off before I start requesting “work” from him. He did work hard to earn his time off by doing extra work daily in subjects as others were completed.