13 Kids & Counting "Not all who wander are lost." J.R.R. Tolkien

Best Laid Plans

April 15

As the saying goes, “The best laid plan of mice and men often go awry.” (And yes, I know that’s not the original saying.)

I had all these plans of posts outlined and my editorial calendar planned out. And I think I planned too much to do. Because I simply didn’t have the time. Plans are great, but if you’re working full time with a house full of kids, chances are you don’t have as much free time as you think you do. I quickly figured out that my grand plans and expectations were a bit unrealistic.

Every day off that I had, I had activities planned with no consideration for what else might be going on in my life that day. Sick kids, errands, just preferring to sit and knit or crochet made my plans unreasonable. So I’ll try again.

But I think I’ll spread out my posts more. Maybe start with one a week. So I’ll be back and I’ll see you all soon!

Homemade Pizzas

February 13

Are your kids like mine? Obsessed with junk food? Specifically pizzas, tacos, and hamburgers?

I have discovered at least that mine like the homemade versions of these better than the fast food versions.

That means that I can sneak in a little more nutrition when they aren’t looking at least!

We hadn’t made homemade pizzas in a while so I decided to make those yesterday on what was probably one of my busiest days off ever. Not my best idea ever I’ll grant.

But I had found a pizza crust recipe that I wanted to try out, so in between an eye doctor appointment for myself (the first in 15 years!) and Mario’s & Pookie’s parent teacher conferences, I made up a double batch of pizza dough & left it to proof on the kitchen counter covered with a clean towel while we went to those conferences. It doubled beautifully and was ready to go when we came home.

 

A couple things that the author of that blog failed to mention and I had to do a little digging to find is:

#1. Poke the pizza crusts with a fork, otherwise they puff up like pita bread. (And I still forgot to do this with the first batch!)

#2. Pre-bake the crusts with no toppings for 8 minutes at 375 degrees.

I had some assorted toppings: mozzarella cheese (of course), pepperoni, green pepper, white onion, pineapple, sliced black olives, and jalapenos (fresh, not pickled!).

We made individual pizzas so that everyone could have exactly what they wanted.

Cookie just wanted the green pepper. She didn’t even want the crust lol. She just kept snagging pieces of the pepper out of the bowl! But I did make her one with pepperoni, green pepper, & pineapple. She picked off some of the toppings and left the rest.

Everyone else loved the crust though! The double recipe made enough for 14 individual pizza crusts.

And a few things that occurred to me after the fact:

#1. Don’t wear a black shirt when rolling out pizza dough.

#2. Use a little bit of olive oil spread on the tops of the crusts when prebaking so that they brown a little better.

#3. And next, I want to try making my own pizza sauce!

 

Seriously some of the best crust we’ve ever made! I really encourage you to go give it a try!

White Chocolate Cherry Cookies

February 12

IMG_2882These are a family favorite! I thought I’d share as I’m making them tonight to put in the kids lunches.

1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 – 16 ounce package of white chocolate chips

12 ounces of maraschino cherries, drained & chopped

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well.

In your mixer or large bowl, cream the butter & sugars together. Scrape down the sides.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well.

Then add the vanilla, mixing well.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. I add it in one heaping tablespoon at a time.

Once the flour & butter mixtures are thoroughly combined, (Don’t worry if it seems a little stiff, no matter how much you drain the cherries, when you chop them, you’ll be adding some liquid into the batter.) gently stir in the white chocolate & the cherries.

On ungreased cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper, place the batter a tablespoon at a time, approximately 2 inches apart. (I was out of parchment but they still didn’t stick!)IMG_2877

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 2 minutes on sheet, then move to wire racks to cool completely.IMG_2880

This recipe makes about 3 -4 dozen, depending on how large you make your cookies! Mine made 45 cookies.IMG_2887

In Honor of Library Lovers Month – My Favorite Books!

February 9

My favorite books have changed and evolved and some have lasted through the years.

Maybe it would be more appropriate to say there are books that have stuck with me through the years. Books that I read and re-read just for me. Books that I read once and made a big impression. And books that I may have only read once but are on my list of books that I want my children to appreciate as much as I do.

 

Books that I read and re-read:

Lord of the Rings Trilogy

I can’t speak highly enough of these. One of my prized possessions is a 50th anniversary leather bound edition of all three in one that my dear husband bought me about 12 years ago.  I’m on my 16th read through of these since I discovered them in middle school.

The Harry Potter series

I’ve read these through about 3 or 4 times and I’m in the middle of reading them aloud to our Pookie. (We’re 2 chapters from the end of Prisoner of Azkaban, so I’m hoping to start Goblet of Fire next week. So, this one fits on the list of books for my kids, too.)

The Complete Sherlock Holmes

I read these all by the time I was about eight or nine. I return to them from time to time.

Somewhere in France

I only discovered this book last year. I’m not really a big reader of historical fiction, but the picture of the lady in blue on the cover drew me in. Captivating is the only word I can think of to describe it. I read it twice before I had to return it to the library.

 

Books that I read once and made a big impression:

Pool of Radiance, Pools of Darkness, & Pool of Twilight

Another trilogy, this one by James Ward & Jane Cooper Hong. Based on the role playing game by the same name as the first book, this is the first Dungeons and Dragons series I ever read.

The Dark Elf Trilogy

This is another Dungeons and Dragons series by R.A. Salvatore. Fabulous series! So much so, that when I worked at Book Culture in NYC, and I was given a chance to recommend a book for the wall, that the first in the series, Homeland, was my pick.

Sense and Sensibility as well as Emma.

Both classics by Jane Austen. Both I was inspired to read after seeing movies based on these books. Both much better than the movies. Except maybe Colonel Brandon. Alan Rickman just blew that role out of the water. He was made for it.

Eat, Pray, Love

 

Books that I want my children to appreciate as much as I do:

Little Women

Another classic book. This one I read when I was about 10 or 12. I don’t think I will ever get over Beth.

The Little House on the Prairie series

I’ve started reading bits and pieces of Little House in the Big Woods to my kids. Even Jalapeno said he may have to rethink reading that series. But being as he is in high school now, I’m sure these will only be read at home.

The Outsiders

This one I discovered in middle school, along with Rumble Fish. Both books about society’s misfits. I identified with them both probably more than I should have and probably more than my parents would have liked (if they’d ever actually read the books).

 

So, what books make your lists?

 

Motivation

November 29

It’s hard to find the motivation to do anything right now.

I want to go for a walk but it’s bone-chillingly cold outside, and, quite frankly, I’m just exhausted.

I am currently working 2nd shift s0 I’m not getting home until after midnight, averaging going to bed by 12:30am and I’m still getting up usually by 7am.

Occasionally, I’ll get a nap but not every day.

I have all these projects that I want to do, like I’m still working on Mario’s Dr. Who quilt, a secret surprise for the kids that I have to finish by the 1st of December, spinning some wool, getting the Christmas decorations up, but all I want to do is sleep, sleep, sleep.

What do you do to get your motivation back or keep it up when winter hits?

My battle

September 30

So I got on the scale on September 14th and was faced with an unpleasant truth. I now weighed more than I ever have, even when I was pregnant. I’m too vain to give you the exact number on the scale, but suffice it to say, it actually made me concerned for my health.

Therefore, starting the 14th, I started keeping track of what I eat and on the 16th, I started walking. So far this month I have accumulated almost 17 1/2 miles. I’m still slow. My fastest speed yet is 3.8 miles an hour or about a 16 minute mile. I’m not setting any time records but I’m doing it. I’m hoping to walk 80 miles by New Years. That’s my short term goal.

I’ve lost 8 lbs so far and I’m pretty happy about that. But the best part is I’m actually feeling stronger and I’m already not as winded when I walk. I can get to the top of the stairs in my house without breathing hard. I’m really happy about that!

So, in an effort to keep me going, I’m making this public. While giving me crap still isn’t ok, helpful encouragement is appreciated.

12 Years

September 8

It’s been twelve years now since I was woken at 3:30 AM with that horrible phone call. Or was it 4:30 AM? After twelve years, it’s growing a little fuzzy. I remember thinking it was my father who had passed away, not Joey. I remember thinking my mom was confused in her grief. Expecting to jog her out of it, I asked to speak to my dad, thinking for sure that she’d recognize her mistake and tell me it was him who was gone. And then I heard my dad’s voice and I knew, irrevocably, that she was right the first time.

Two years ago, I was still waking up at that time every night. Now, I can’t remember exactly what time it was.

This year, for the first time ever, I missed the anniversary of his death. Just tonight, 9 days late, did I realize that the anniversary of his passing had come and gone.

I hesitate to say that I’ve finally gotten past the sense of loss and the feeling that he was taken too soon. I feel that may be courting trouble so to speak. No, the loss is still definitely there. I still talk to him on a weekly, if not more frequent, basis.

But maybe, finally, the intense stabbing pain in my heart may be lifting. He’s still the angel on my shoulder, seeing me through the dark and the light, and maybe making things a little easier for me. But now, there’s more rejoicing in his life than mourning his loss.

And maybe that’s my next step.

Most Beautiful Women in the World

April 28

You want to see the most beautiful women in the world??

 

Go to any local grocery store between 6 and 7 am on the day of an elementary school field trip.

Specifically, go to the aisle where the Lunchables reside.

There you will find them.

Some of them in pajamas, some of them dressed completely, some dressed but wearing slippers.

Notice I did not say these were the most prepared women, or the most put together women.

(Those women have prepared ahead of time, hand made a disposable, completely organic bento box full of goodies for their perfect angels.)

But let’s go back to the Lunchable aisle.

Look at their faces. The love they have for their children just oozes from them.

They have rushed to the store in the early hours of the morning because they have forgotten about the field trip until that morning (or the night before when they were already in their pajamas, in bed, after putting their kids in bed for the night, nursing their youngest) but they are determined not to let their munchkin(s) down.

I’m not saying the mothers who have it all together don’t love their children but the very real women who make mistakes and forget about things and still get up early to run to the store still need to know this: You are the most beautiful women in the world simply because of the love you have for your children and your desire to put them before yourself even if it means that you have to lose that extra hour or half hour of sleep that you so desperately want and need.

Which one am I? The totally put together woman with the disposable bento box full of yummy goodness or the one standing in the Lunchable aisle at 6:30 am looking for her sons favorite nacho Lunchable that he only gets for field trips?

I’ve been both… minus the organic part because those weren’t readily available when I actually had it together that one time…

Garden

April 2

We are starting to look at planting our garden for the year. Decided what to plant and where to plant it is always an engaging time.

I’m also looking forward to trying some new plants and seeing what I can make from them.

For instance, I’ve never grown eggplants or lettuces.

Lettuces are easy to use up but how about eggplant?

Anyone want to send me some recipes for eggplant?

February 2015 Update

February 14

I’m:
Reading… Groundbreaking Food Gardens
Playing…Not much lately, new job is limiting my play time. Mostly some Match 3 FB games
Watching… Still Big Bang Theory! “Why is your tongue blue?” lol
Trying… To convince Cookie that it is time for bed
Cooking…Pinto Bean Stew (The dumplings weren’t that great but I made the stew on my stove, just cooked it on low & it was amazing!)
Eating… Butterfinger Cups
Drinking… Can of Coke
Calling… Still no one
Texting… Also no one as we gave up our cell phones.
Pinning… Gardening & Embroidery posts
Tweeting… a lot of quotes lately
Crafting… Dr. Who Quilt for my son Mario
Scrapping… can’t think of anything
Doing… troubleshooting training at work!
Going… to sleep soon
Loving… Cookie giving out kisses!
Hating… That Cookie just dropped a toy on my toes!!! (OUCH!)
Discovering… That Cookie likes to climb up on chairs that are pushed up to the table and getting stuck! (She’s laughing about it!)
Enjoying… Baby Kisses!
Thinking… It’s time for sleep!
Feeling… Sleepy
Hoping (for)… the winning Powerball or Mega Millions ticket
Listening (to)… 5 Little Ducks Went Swimming One Day…
Celebrating… fantastic new job that I love!
Smelling… Butterfinger Cups
Thanking… My honey for the beautiful roses and card I got today!
Considering… this update to be almost done!
Finishing… Butterfinger Cups & a Can of Coke
Starting… Up the stairs to bed! Good night everyone!

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Welcome to Life in My House. My husband and I have 14 kids, 8 of which live at home. Plus my parents live with us, too. The age range in our house is 10 months old to 80. My husband and I both work full time and it truly does take a village to raise a family when you both work. Join me to learn what it’s like to have this many kiddos, share my joys, my frustrations, and watch me figure this whole working mom thing out.


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