Sunday, September 26, 2010

September turned out to be a month that held a handful of disappointments for our family.
Jack was sitting down at the table just a few days before our planned trip to Canada going through paper work one last time. When he discovered something that he didn't notice before. His work visa was about to expire (as I write it expired just yesterday).
He said to me "no biggy go ahead and pack I will call the lawyer in the morning and get the paper work going". So I packed a bit and then went to get my fall hair appointment that next morning. When I got home he looked a little grey.
UM YEAH ITS A BIG DEAL! Turns out you can't work when your work visa has expired even if you do have papers that show a new one is in process and that you are currently in application for green cards. Also turns out work visa's have 90 day processing times. Which means ours is not expected to show up till 2 weeks before Christmas.
And so we jumped into action, paper in one hand calculator in the other hand, what could we do to lessen the blow of a very possible 3 month stretch of unemployment.
It became obvious within moments that the trip to Canada had to go, cause it would make a huge difference in our situation the next few months. Not an easy decision, but we believe it to be the wisest one given the options.
Jack was also able to get back on the schedule at his main job and therefore keep his holiday pay banked for our unemployment. His one day a week job also gladly took him back for the 2 weeks he had till his visa ran out and even gave him an extra shift. That and the fact that one of our reno/rental homes is finally complete and rented, is going to keep us through until we have that work visa in our hands again.
Oh I am sure we will hit a few bumps along the 3 month journey but God has never left us unfed or unclothed before and I am sure he is not going to stop now.
For now Jack and I are strangely in a way looking forward to a break from the 42 hr work weeks. His first plan is to finally clean out his workshop. Put it this way the place was such a mess he refused to let me take a before picture in fear of what his dad might say to him (I tried but he took my camera away from me by force! after that I couldn't exactly take a picture and post it behind his back) He and the kids emptied it out on Tuesday it took them over 4 hrs to empty it all into the main floor of our old home, so that he can build some shelves and then put it all back in an organized fashion. I think it should take him a few weeks.
After that he and I will bring down the plaster at the old house, demo. is FREE.
Other plans for the forced vacation, more naps, more reading, more walks, more family at home library free DVD nights, more time with friends and a bit more time to reflect and redirect life.
Why I bought a second bread machine

Whole wheat bread that is family approved! Sunday wheat buns!

Since we moved to our newly renovated home just over a year ago, I have made constant use of our $10 yard sale find bread machine.

I really have bought very little grocery store bread in the last year, nor buns for that matter, or tortilla's (although those are not done in the bread machine, but boy is rolling them out great for relieving aggression)

So just last Friday in which I was hosting my Fall Yard sale with 3 other friends at our old home location, I could not resist the $10 used twice bread machine my friend had out for sale.

Now at first I thought I would store it in the basement for when ours died, cause used almost daily bread machines do slowly over time develop under heating problems.

Then it struck me!!! I could make 2 loaves at once and turn the oven on only one time instead of two!!! BRILLIANT!!!

I can also have rolls going while bread is going or double batch of Garlic Focaccia bread ( a new family favorite served with balsamic viniger and extra virgin olive oil for 3 of the 5 of us).

I even branched out and tried homemade burger buns just yesterday, but I need to work on making them just a bit bigger, definitely more meat than bun today at lunch.

I only use the dough setting on my bread machines. I don't like the hole left by the machine when you cook it in there, and the crust tends to be thicker when left in the machine.
So I take it out and let it rise and then bake it in the oven.

I know you old fashioned bread makers are saying why not do it all from scratch, and the reason is its just too time consuming when I have homeschooling going on, this way the machine does all the hard work for me.

Jack loves my bread so much, he now encourages me to give it as gifts . He loves the buns so much he brings them to his work potlucks. And the kids, well Thomas loves the bread for his 1 lb of natural peanut butter a week habit. Aiden loves the buns that I make a batch of for nearly every Sunday lunch he finishes one in about 2 bites!!! Courtney loves it too, and proudly beamed from ear to ear when her little friend was over and said "man this is better than any bread my mother has ever bought, can your mom let me take some home"!!!

But truly I can't take much credit for it, the machine does the bulk of the work and the rest of it is the great recipes I have found for it at and . Both are hardworking homeschool mama's that see the value of a breadmachine.

(oh and as a side not I made just over $200 at my fall yard sale bringing my total for selling off things we no longer use this year to $1000 and I still have 3 months left)
The only Benefit of My Husband's Soda drinking Habit

I have tried for years to get my husband to stop drinking this stuff or at least to cut back from his FOUR CANS A DAY habit. Yes your read that right FOUR CANS A DAY.
In the earlier years of our marriage I tried buying just the no-name stuff, that back fired, he would just go out and get the name brand. Then I tried dispersing just a "daily amount" and hiding the rest. Darn man, he must have a nose for the stuff cause he always found it and helped himself to more.
Then for a while I just let it be, bought the name brand and complained about it only to the cashiers as I was buying it, oh and by the way don't say to the person behind you in line at the grocery store, MY HUBBY AND HIS DARN COKE HABIT IS ROBBING US IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE, unless you are sure they saw the 12 pk of coke-a-cola in your cart first". It will only lead to very judgemental stares, as you leave the store with your 3 young children toddling behind you, and only when you reach the parking lot will it hit you that some stranger now thinks you are married to a man with an illigal drug habit!!
Then news reports starting showing up in magazines about how coke robs your body of calcium, causes kidney stones. How the high amount of high fructose corn syrup in it, is linked to obesity. How they are linking pancreas cancer to those who drink more than a few cans a week. How in some people it robs them of concentration, and even seeing links to depression.
So I began to speak up again, knowing that didn't work, I began taping the mentioned articles to his coke cans. Also complete failure.
So now I am leaving it alone again and concentrating on the blessings of Coke, and that would be, a great website that lets me enter codes from his boxes of poison, and trade them in for free magazines in which I can read articles on how bad his Coke habit is for him. Got to love the irony of that one!!!
My Man Apparently Loves my Lasona

I don't often make Lazona, probably because not even one of my three food picky children like it. Jack and I however love it, so once and a while I will get in the mood to make it and just let the "kids eat cereal" (after their required 2 bites that is) (although one doesn't even like cereal so he has a peanut butter sandwich, which has to be the right brand of peanut butter and the right type of bread, I told you MY KIDS ARE SUPER PICKY EATERS).

Anyways back to the Lasona well a few weeks back I got in the mood to make some, I made 3 pans actually cause hey might as well fill the oven up if I am turning it on during summer heat. I put one on the dinner table and two in the freezer. I have collected glass pans like above with lids at yard sales and off discount store racks with 20% off coupons over the years to have a few extras for freezer meals.

After a dinner of much wailing from my children, which my husband and I blocked out, I put the remainder of the lasona in the fridge. Not even 48 hrs later I went back in the fridge to get myself some for dinner while Jack was away at work and the kids were eating hot dogs (yes all three will eat hot dogs, but again only certain types)

Back to my dinner discovery, the picture above tells it all!!! just 48 hrs earlier this pan had just 2 pieces missing. The rest is the work of my man and his stomach!! Apparently he loved it so much he ate it for breakfast with fried eggs (very weird combo if you ask me but, whatever) and then for lunch at work, and then as a late night snack after work. All that was left for his lovely lasona making wife was the slightly crispy edges!
My boys and their XBox

First to correct the title the xbox is actually Thomas' he bought it with his birthday money and the money he earned helping dad at our recent renovation home that is now rented. Aiden however has fallen in love with it probably even more than Thomas and so saved up his money to purchase his own remote and now several games.
HALO seems to be the boy's favorite series. It is violent if you ask me, but it is played pretty much every where they go, so best monitor it at home than have them yearning to leave home so they can sneak playing it else where is Jack and I's thinking.
This year they only get an hour a day of media till their reading books for the week are done (read my post a month or two ago about our school day to see what reading books are). Once they are done their two reading books then they are allowed 2 hrs, and a free for all Sunday afternoon as a reward for getting their reading done early.
"Media" here includes, all gaming systems, laptop gaming and on-line TV watching, and DVDs of non educational nature. Our family does not have TV like most families (cable or satellite) we figure what they have in video games and online and DVDs is enough! Plus we find they get way less "gimmes" since there is less exposure to commercials.
Right now the boys are anxiously awaiting the arrival of "Halo Reach" they worked hard the last while at chores to each reach the 1/2 way mark then combined their money and had me order it on-line just a few days ago. I am sure once it arrives, other boys will be sneaking their way over to my house to try it out.
My Daughter and the Jenga Blocks

I bought a set of Jenga for Courtney and I to play together about 2 yard sale seasons ago now. We now have 3 sets. No we don't play all 3 sets at once, although Courtney has contemplated this idea several times, only to have me remind her that tall towers lead to short games of Jenga.
We have 3 sets cause she loves to build things with them. I sold the old wooden blocks long ago, none of the 3 kids never really did play with them long, but their is just something about these Jenga blocks that seems to hold hours of Courtney's attention. Maybe it is because they are all identical in size making for symmetrical towers of all styles, maybe its because they are so smooth. Who knows what it is, but whatever it is I have many a shot in our family album of Courtney and her Jenga block collection.
Her towers could inspire architects, sometimes it leaves me wondering just how she balanced them like she does. I often find towers built not just on coffee tables, but under them. Then there are the messages "I love you mom" across the dining room table (melt my ever bitty heart) and like above "her name" or sometimes its the family dogs, or her brothers.
She plays with Lego here and there, with barbies in the tub (oh and I so happy to report that she finally allows ken to keep his head), or when a friend is over, but mostly Courtney finds satisfaction in her Jenga blocks!
My Boy and His big Foot

His daddy wears an 8 1/2 men's, his mother a 9 1/2 women's and now at age 14 he has a bigger foot than both of them: He wears a 10 1/2 (oh well at least he shares that 1/2 with us). One thing I have discovered, this size must be popular with men, because they are hard to find in the deep clearance rack of shoes (unlike his fathers' who can find tonnes of selection in his smaller than average men's size often scoring a pair of $120 runners for $30). Nope I searched the web over an hour, hitting all my favorite sites, I did get pretty good deals in the end but a pair of Nike runners and Adidas soccer shoes ended up costing us just less than a week of groceries for our family of five.

I don't think he has stopped growing yet either, I read somewhere boys between the age of 14 to 18 grow an average of 4 to 6 inches, . OH BOY I BEST GET USE TO LOOKING UP INTO THAT HANDSOME FACE cause that puts him in in the low 6 feet and something inches.

But having a child as big as me now comes in handy. He helps me move furniture when the urge hits. He can take things to the attic for me. I can borrow his sweatshirts and coats when needed, and most importantly His SHOES ARE REALLY EASY TO SLIP ON IF I NEED TO HEAD OUTSIDE FOR JUST A MOMENT!!!