Archive for August, 2007

Not at all normal

Posted in Uncategorized on August 31, 2007 by depechemom

Normally, right about now, I’m strapping my little girl into her booster seat to bring her home from school.

Not today.

My Belle wanted to ride the school bus home today. Today! When her teacher is out and won’t be there to escort her to the right bus.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I wrote her bus number on the note I sent in to the substitute as well as on her nametag (leftover from the first day of school-she didn’t wear hers because I was picking her up) and I also asked one of the other K teachers to help make sure she got on the right bus.

Now if she just remembers not to get off until she see me…

Can you tell I’m a little nervous?

Update: She made it off just fine. She loved it! Next time, I’m going to try to get the driver to bring her down our street to drop her off so I can leave Little Lamb asleep if I need to.


What are your tips??

Posted in Uncategorized on August 29, 2007 by depechemom

A few people have been contemplating ways to save money on groceries so I thought I’d pass the idea along here. You all know we’re pinching our pennies here and I believe we’ve all got some tips so share. I always try to keep frozen corn, peas, and carrots on hand. I can throw together a great pasta or chicken noodle soup at a moments notice. I also try to keep homemade chicken stock in the freezer as well as spaghetti sauce, pesto, and/or green chili cheese sauce. Keeping a well stocked freezer really helps spread the meals out when I need to make it a few more days before going to the store.

In Texas, I bought toilet paper and other such stuff at Sam’s and saved quite a bit that way. We haven’t joined here in VA. Mostly because I often found other things I “needed” and spent the savings on other junk.

I try to shop the sales at the grocery store, but I get annoyed with the 4 for (sale price) but 1 for regular price deal. Sometimes I go ahead and get the extra ones for the deal, but other times I just forget it altogether. One of our grocery stores often has great deals on meat so I stock up then. But it’s not organic stuff, so I know that tip doesn’t work for everyone.

I try to use coupons as much as possible. I have the greatest Dad in the world who goes through his coupons, keeps a few for himself, then sends the rest to me. All cut up and everything! The trick is to only use the ones you need and not buy something just because you have a coupon for it.

One thing that I cannot do is shop at Wal-Fart*, even if it would save us money. Back in TX, I went through a period of driving across town to Wal-Fart to shop. I hated the dirty carts and filthy floors, but was willing to withstand it to save money. The thing is, my husband absolutely despises the store-for many reasons that I shall not name at this point, but that are not completely unreasonable. Maybe I’ll share that tale another day. Anyway, we would get in a fight EVERY time I went. Ultimately, I decided it wasn’t worth the stress on our marriage to save the money. Plus, I got pregnant with Little Bear and spent as little time off the sofa as humanly possible.

So I’d like to know what you do to save money. What kinds of snacks do you eat or serve your children that don’t break the bank? How do you get fresh fruits/veggies without spending beaucoup bucks? Ever tried making your own laundry detergent? (You’ll have to scroll down to the “Works For Me” post) I’m going to give it a try if I can get the nerve up to ask the bakery ladies if they have any 5 gallon buckets to spare. I’ll let you know about that when it happens. 🙂

Flashback Fri…err, ummm…Sunday

Posted in Uncategorized on August 26, 2007 by depechemom

Here’s one from when Belle was 2.5. She’s wearing one of my old dresses, which is just so much fun! I was just barely pregnant with Little Bear-just as the nauseu was starting but didn’t have me stuck on the sofa yet. She was having so much fun playing peek-a-boo behind the big brick planters on the front porch.


We had a great weekend with J’s brother and his family. We are all so very happy to have him back, but none so happy as his wife and daughters. The kids played and played and played themselves silly. Tomorrow begins Belle’s first full week of Kindergarten. Yikes. I fear she may be a zombie by mid week.

This is what happens

Posted in Uncategorized on August 23, 2007 by depechemom

when your 2 year old decides to feed the baby when you’ve run to put the noodles in the boiling water:


Can it be?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 23, 2007 by depechemom

That my sweet little Belle is officially a Kindergartner?!? She was off without a hitch, even saying she was a “little bit” excited about the start of school. I saw her nervous little smile-the good one, not the about to cry one-coming across her face as we walked to the building. We were greeted by the school counselor and then headed to her classroom. There was only one other boy in the room at the time-the buses had not arrived yet-so we kissed and hugged and I turned her over to her dear teacher Ms. L. Here’s a couple of photos of her from this morning with a most prized toy from Mimi and Grandad to celebrate the big day (said to be the BEST TOY EVER!!).



All set to go!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 22, 2007 by depechemom

Her lunch and snack are all packed. Her clothes are ironed (yes I actually ironed her shorts…don’t fall out of your chair!). Hair accessories are picked out. Camera is charged and ready to go. Backpack is all set out. The picture of J and I (and Hannah, the cat) is ready to go in her pocket. I do wish we hadn’t have run out of eggo’s, her favorite breakfast! Maybe cinnamon toast will make it all better.

I’ll post the pictures of her tomorrow all dressed and ready for her first big day of Kindergarten. Because of the stagger-start, she goes to school tomorrow but not again until Monday. Then it’s regular schedule.

Some good news-I’ve found 2 boys to care for during the day while Belle is at school. One I will watch on Monday mornings (JS-2.5 yrs old) and the other (JT-4.5 yrs old) I will watch M-Th afternoons. I’m actually watching JT all day right now until preschool starts at the first of Sept. It makes for a lot of work, but I’m extremely thankful for the money. Things have been pretty bleak around here all summer. Unfortunately, JT’s mother isn’t able to pay me very much at all-it’s borderline insulting, actually. But I have to believe that she is in a difficult place as well, having decided to go back to work after being at home with her older 2 kids.

At first it was so nice just to have a real paycheck when we started residency. But now that we’re a year in, that niceness has worn off and I find myself wishing for some of the benefits of having no actual income. You see when you do medical school like we did-J in school and me staying home with the kids-you have to live exclusively on student loans. Now if you want a humbling experience, go sign yourself and kids up for Medicaid as well as WIC-that’s food vouchers for things like milk, eggs, cheese, etc. It will make you very thankful for all that you have.

Wistful longing is a funny thing. I try not to fall into too much because it’s generally more harmful than helpful. But I do find it interesting what we wish for. The last two weeks I’ve found myself wishing for that free cheese, milk, eggs, and peanut butter more than ever before. Whereas my husband wishes for the relentless studying of the first two years of medical school. Seriously, can you imagine anything more painful than that?? Hour upon hour of reading, rereading, writing notes, reading more, highlighting, rereading again. UGH!! And yet, he loved it. He loved the freedom of setting his own hours, going to a coffee shop, plugging in his ipod, and studying the day away. He was what they called a “homeschooler”, which means he only went to class when it was required. Ultimately he didn’t learn anything sitting in class, hearing the lecture. He had to bury himself in the books and notes to get the material. And he enjoyed it! Crazy!!

Anyway, I’m completely rambling now. I’ve spent too much time working around the house, plotting various posts, and too little time writing. And now I’ve spewed all this out all jumbled-like. Sorry about that. It’s just my ADD tendencies coming out. 🙂

What’s even worse is I never took a moment to say how extremely happy we are that J’s brother has returned from Afghanistan safe and sound!! We are hoping to see him and his family this weekend. We’re looking forward to the kids running around having a great time with cousins and us having real adult conversations!!

Flashback Friday: Guess who?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 17, 2007 by depechemom

I thought it would be fun to start posting old photos on Fridays as a way of looking back at how much we’ve all changed.

This one involves a little game. I’ve chosen a photo of each of the three kids at similar ages. Now you have to guess which one is which!

A. highchair1.jpg

B. bath-fun.jpg

C. yummy-biscuit.jpg

Leave a comment telling me which picture (A,B, and C) goes to which kid (Belle, Little Bear, and Little Lamb).

Recipe: Vegetable Soup

Posted in Uncategorized on August 15, 2007 by depechemom

I know most people like soup when it’s cold. Me, I never liked soup much growing up, so I make it whenever it sounds good. I actually like this one, and it makes great baby food too!

This recipe came from a good friend from medical school days. She’s originally from Czech and makes some amazing food.

4 large carrots
2 white potatoes
1 large sweet potato
1 bunch broccoli
2 TB unsalted butter
2 TB flour
salt and pepper

Wash and peel all vegetables and cut into small pieces. Add cut vegetables to a large pot (dutch oven style). Add water just to cover veggies. Bring to a boil and cook on high until vegetables are soft but not mushy.

While cooking veggies, begin making the roux by melting the butter in a small saute pan. Once melted, add the flour stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes to cook the flour. Set aside from heat.

When the vegetables are ready, add the cooled roux to the soup, mix well and boil for 10-15 minutes. This process will thicken the soup a little.

If you are serving a baby, split the soup in half. Add salt and pepper to taste in adult half and put the second half in the blender. Make it as smooth as you like for your baby. Freeze any unused portions in small containers or ice cube trays and defrost as needed.

I also added a little of the blended soup to ours to make it a little bit thicker.

The recipe called for a few other ingredients that I left out for budget and lack of availability. She suggests adding 2 large roots of parsley and a couple of parsley leaves, 1/2 a root of celery, and a bunch of cauliflower. Feel free to add those things in if it suits you!

I’ll be honest and say that Belle and Little Bear did not love this soup. They both gave it genuine tries, but didn’t go for it. I don’t remember what I gave them instead, but I don’t mind giving them something else when they really do try something new. Little Lamb, on the other hand, loves it! I was able to freeze 5 additional servings for her which made me very glad!!

Call me slow, but not completely stupid

Posted in Uncategorized on August 13, 2007 by depechemom

So every night after I get the chitlins to bed, I sit down at the computer and catch up on the day’s happenings. I’ve usually cleaned up the kitchen by then and often bathed a kid or two. Lately (read the last few weeks) I’ve noticed this weird smell as I rest my head in my left hand. And each night I think…what is that smell? My hands are clean…what could it be?? Well tonight it struck me! I got a new Timex Ironman watch for Christmas that has an elastic band. I like how it fits snug around my wrist, doesn’t move around much, and doesn’t have those annoying little straps that always break rendering the band completely useless. Well it seems to harbor strange smells-kind of a mildewy smell. Sounds appetizing doesn’t it?

Recipe: Spice Rub

Posted in Uncategorized on August 12, 2007 by depechemom

Here’s a recipe I made up tonight. I’ve been creating a lot of my own recipes lately and this is the easiest place to collect them. One of these days I’ll get things in categories and that ought to make it easier on myself when I want to look back at something.

1 tablespoon Onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
several grinds black pepper

I combined all the ingredients straight into my pyrex dish and then rolled the meat in the rub. You could certainly multiply it to make more and keep it in a little container. I put this on half a pork loin and then grilled it until it was 160+degrees. I LOVE my digital thermometer. This rub made the pork so yummy. I actually was really dreading eating it-we had the other half night before last fixed differently-it was quite good and I figured that was kind of my last good one. Our grocery store frequently puts pork loins on buy one get one free deals so we’ve had them a little too often.

Anyway…my point is this was surprisingly yummy and was made even better by serving it over white rice (Belle’s favorite). The spices from the pork flavored the rice and it was all quite yummy. We also had red jello in individual bowls.

White rice, red jello…doesn’t get much more American than that does it??

FYI-I was watching TV while posting this so please forgive the rambling.