Monday, September 28, 2015

Week of September 27th

Last week, I authorized an upgrade to my computer for Windows 10.  I was sucked in by promises that it would be more like the old windows I know and love (I'm not a fan of Windows 9, I basically don't use it and keep my computer in desktop mode the whole time, only interacting with the rest of the system if I'm forced to.)

I'm usually the kind of person who will not allow upgrades until I absolutely have to because all too often it comes with changes that I don't like, I tend to not appreciate change.  So, with this upgrade that was supposed to be a change back to what I'm used to, I decided I'd go for it.  My computer ran the upgrade, all was well and good until I realized that it got rid of the scroll-ability (yeah, not really a word, but I don't know what else to call it) on my touchpad! Do you know how annoying it is to try to use the interwebz without scrolling capabilities?!  Awfulness.  I should have just stuck with my non-upgrading habits.

So I spent 2 days suffering, unable to scroll, until some googling, and random clicking (my husband LOVES when I do things with the computer beyond general browsing) I somehow fixed it!  FIXED IT!  Myself! Wheee!  That was my win for last week and it was definitely noteworthy enough to share.

In other news, Molly and I hit up a consignment sale and she was the only 2-year-old there actively shopping.  I'm talking, browsing through the racks the whole time and picking out her own clothes and approving/disapproving my picks.  This girl is trouble when it comes to clothes!

She's already very particular about what she wears from her hair, to her outfit, to her shoes and other accessories.  I am not used to dealing with this as Jack still barely cares what he wears.  Most days he throws on whatever, only rarely does he have a request and I can easily talk him out of it if necessary. His only real request is that as many of his shirts have vehicles on them as possible.


We finally accomplished some more progress on the floor!  We're *so close* to being done.  We just have to finish up installing the quarter round, right now we probably have like 20% of it done?  Maybe less.  And we still have to deal with the bathroom.  Laying the flooring will be easy peasy, how much work it is overall is going to depend a lot on how tearing out the old flooring goes.  ::fingers crossed::  But for now, I have a whole floor down and that's enough to leave me feeling pretty happy after dealing with having only a partial floor for the last few weeks.

I busted out the Old English Scratch Cover, which is magic in a bottle, to fix up our existing baseboards.  I first discovered this bottle of awesome when we were getting our old house ready to sell.  It's some sort of wood oil/polish stuff that you rub on with a cloth and then buff off and I'm telling you it is magical!

I think I spent like $7-$8 on the bottle at Lowe's and you only use a little bit at a time and it makes wood with shallow scratches look like new.  Well, maybe not BRAND new, but very much improved.  It hides some scratches completely and well camouflages others.  We laid down this nice floor and it only highlighted the fact that the baseboards were all dinged up.  Well, Scratch Cover to the rescue!  They look so much better.

I thought for half a second about putting new baseboards down, but then I watched Jack slam a truck into the old, scratched up baseboards and was reminded that spending time/money/effort on new ones would only make me sad when they got beat up by little kids and their toys.  I'm happy with how they look now. As you can see, we still have quarter round to install in this area, that's why there's a seam along the edge. Sooooon!

Menu for the week:

Sunday:  Grilled Burgers with Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Monday:  Chicken Apple Cranberry Salad with Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Tuesday:  Sweet Potato Enchiladas with Guacamole

Wednesday:  Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday & Saturday:  Out

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Week of September 20th

Book reading season 2015 has begun!  You weren't aware of the season opening?  Well, it happens to directly coincide with football season.  This time of year Mark watches all the football and I read all the books and it works out pretty nicely.  With football on alllll day Sunday, Monday and Thursday nights, and allllll day Saturday I'm tempted to watch even less TV than usual and get plenty of reading done.  Fine by me!

I ordered an area rug for the family room and ended up not liking it, so that's going back.  I ordered another rug that's maybe arriving today?  I have to like it because I'm over the rug buying thing already.  I guess if I don't like it, it will just lay there taunting me forever because it's staying.  Buying a rug is hard.

Decorating is just not my forte.  I really, really dislike the decorating process.  I assume some people like it?  Not me.  I don't enjoy decorating, just the end result.  I want my space to be nice, but don't like the work of getting there.  First world problems, eh?

This past weekend feels like the official end of our crazy summer.  My weekend was filled with appointments, but looking at the next month to six weeks my calendar is blissfully open.  Sure I already have a sprinkling of commitments, but just a sprinkling.  I feel like I can breathe!  This summer amidst buying a house, renovating a house (mostly DIY), getting a house ready to sell (all DIY), moving, selling a house by owner, AND taking care of 2 littles full time I also took 2 doula clients a month every month and had a sprinkling of advanced trainings in there.  Crazy.

Looking back, I'm still not sure how I made it through in one piece.  Or, in one piece, minus a few pieces of my mind that I lost along the way.  ::releases held breath::

Moving into the holiday season I've decided I'm going to scale back my birthwork calendar and only accept 1 client a month through the end of year at least, probably for the first couple months of 2016 as well as the holiday season runs right into birthday season in our household.  That means I'm fully booked for the next several months already, now I just need to stick to my boundaries and not take on any more clients.

I love what I do and I'm thankful to be busy, but I need to make sure I'm doing a good job of balancing everything and this summer left me feeling like I ran a months long marathon. Time to recover a bit and have some space to focus on other things that need attention, there's plenty on the list.

Menu for the week:

Sunday:  Smoked Ribs with Corn Pudding and Baked Beans

Monday:  Paleo One Pan Italian Chicken w/ Spaghetti Squash

Tuesday:  Tacos

Wednesday:  Grilled Sausages w/ Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday & Saturday: Out

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tried & True Recipe: Chicken Apple Cranberry Salad with Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Fall arrives in less than 6 days, but with temps still in the 80s I'm not yet ready to transition to all those warm yummy comfort foods (like soup!) that will surely start popping up on my menu in a few weeks.  I love to eat salads during warm weather months, just like I love to eat soup during cold weather months.  It drives my husband a little nuts, but I'm definitely one of those people with strong weather-related food associations.  Warm weather is for grilling, salads, lighter fare, and food that doesn't require heating up your house for hours to cook it.  Cold weather is for sooouuuppps(!), stews, comfort foods, and things that can cook away for hours heating up your kitchen before they heat up your belly.

Salad is on our menu nearly weekly during warm weather months.  It's easy to throw together, versatile, everyone can top their salad to their preference, and leftovers are good.  The very best salads have a variety of ingredients with different, complimentary flavors and textures.  I've already shared one of my very favorite summer salads, allow me to introduce you to it's late summer/early fall counterpart: a chopped salad with chicken, apples, dried cranberries, blue cheese, and pecans, topped with sweet and tangy honey-balsamic vinaigrette.  This salad is well-balanced, fall-ish, and takes advantage of seasonal produce (apples!), but is still light and refreshing.

Chicken Apple Cranberry Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette inspired by Brown Eyed Baker

For the vinaigrette:

2T Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 c Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2T Honey
1/2 T Dijon Mustard
1/4 t Salt
1/8 t Ground Black Pepper
1/8 t Garlic Powder

Combine ingredients in small mason jar or other container with a tight seal.  Shake until well combined and set aside.  Can be made in advance and keeps well stored in the refrigerator.  Yields ~3/4 cup.

For the salad:

Romaine Lettuce (or other lettuce of choice: spring mix/spinach blend, baby kale, or rubbed kale would be good here)
Diced Grilled Chicken (we season ours with salt, pepper, and garlic powder)
Diced Granny Smith Apple (I like Granny Smith's for salad because they're firm and crunchy and have a nice tangy flavor, but whatever you prefer)
Blue Cheese (or Feta)
Pecans (or Walnuts)

Combine ingredients to your preference and top with honey-balsamic vinaigrette.  Easy peasy. Obviously, the ingredients are super flexible, that's another thing I like about salad.  Switching a few things up will make a similar, but slightly different salad!  Bacon would also be a good addition, because bacon is always good.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Week of September 13th

This week is feeling quite fall-ish with temperatures in the 60s and much chillier overnights. I'm steadfastly clinging to the last bits of summer like I do every year and temps should be back in the 80s leading into the official start of fall.

It's not that I don't like fall, I actually appreciate living in an area with four distinct seasons, but I often appreciate it more in theory than practice.  The first few weeks of fall with the sunny, crisp weather is great.  Who doesn't love that?  Bake up an apple crisp and watch some football (if you're not me), great, but then too soon we get into real fall weather and it's rainy and cold and gray and we won't see the sun in any reliable way for months.  That's not weather I actually appreciate on a day-to-day basis.  Same with winter, it's all well and good at first.  Snow is fun, in theory, but then January hits and it draaaggggssss on and everything is so bleak you feel like you'll never see the sun again.  I'm really much more of a warm weather person so I'm kind of sad to start down this path of cold, sad weather.  It does make me appreciate spring and summer all the more though.

Friday through Sunday I was at a postpartum doula workshop.  It was fun learning the postpartum side of doula work.  It seems that more people are aware of what a birth doula does than what a postpartum doula can offer.  Postpartum doulas are experts in the transition that happens once you add a new baby into the mix.  They help assist you through that shifting dynamic whether it's your first baby, or your fourth (or more!)  They help you get breastfeeding established in those early weeks and make sure that your needs are attended to while you're caring for your baby.  They help you figure out how to do this whole parent thing and balance it with the rest of the areas of your life. Think back to your first baby especially, how amazing would  it have been to have a knowledgeable, comforting presence sitting with you on the couch reassuring you when you wondered if breastfeeding was going ok, or standing there encouraging you as you gave baby their first bath, or throwing in a load of laundry, bringing you a nutritious snack, and refilling your cup of water while  in those early days of all encompassing parenthood?  Pretty awesome, right?!

When I started my journey as a birth doula I wasn't all that interested in postpartum work, but to be honest I see such a need for it that it made me interested in offering the service.  I'm really looking forward to providing continuity of care that extends past birth and into the early weeks of parenthood. New parents deserve support!

Jack didn't have school on Monday, which I actually forgot.  I was tiiiired from being in this training all weekend and I dragged myself out of bed first thing Monday morning.  Made breakfast.  Packed lunch.  Pulled out the folder from his backpack to sign his weekly progress report and saw the calendar for the week that no one else had laid eyes on that said a big old NO SCHOOL on Monday.  Ugh.  I actually had previous knowledge that there was no school on 9/14, but at that point I didn't realize what the date was and it just wasn't something I was thinking about.  So anyway, that was kind of annoying, but it was nice  having him home for the day.  The weather was gorg, but Mark accidentally took the carseats to work with him so we couldn't go too far.  We decided just to walk to our little neighborhood park, which is such a nice thing to have.  Because school was closed there were other kids to play with there and a good time was had.

I feel like this past weekend with the workshop was kind of the unofficial end to a crazy busy month to six weeks that I've had.  I say unofficial because I do have kind of a busy week this week into the weekend with miscellaneous things, but next week things should slow down considerably for about a month.  Looking forward to it!

Dinners for the week:

Sunday: Post-workshop pizza with friends

Monday:  Skillet Eggplant Parmesan with Salad

Tuesday:  Grilled Burgers w/ Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Wednesday:  Salad w/ Chicken, Apples, Cranberries, Blue Cheese

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday & Saturday:  Out

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Week of September 6th

The holiday weekend was dominated by flooring for us.  I've found it's one thing to consider replacing over 500 sq ft of flooring yourself and another to actually DO it.  It's been a lot of work, but so far well worth it. Mark may not have felt the project worth it he spent most of an entire day tearing out the tile in our entryway...

Late afternoon on Friday I came home from a client visit to find that Mark had torn out most of the carpet.

Day 1

We spent the remainder of that evening prying up a million and one staples and roughly a linear mile of tack strips.*

*I might be slightly exaggerating the quantities, but it felt accurate at the time. 

Once the carpet was up we were able to see that the entryway tile was laid on plywood, not directly on the subfloor so we were hopeful the tile would come up relatively easily.

Saturday was spent tearing out the entryway tile.

Day 2

It did not come up easily.  The hardest part was getting it started and figuring out the best technique, but Mark really had to work to get every bit of tile off.  Then the wood it was laid on needed to come up and that was a whole other project as well. One would think it would just come up, but nooooo.  It was nailed down with a million* little nails. So the wood came up slowly and stubbornly as well.

*perhaps exaggerated.

I was at a birth all afternoon and evening so Mark was on his own with the tile and the kids for most of the day.  Lucky him!

Sunday we still had a little more work in the entryway to contend with.  Mark ripped up a few last bits of the plywood and I ripped out toooons of nails.  Then we did a good sweeping and vacuumed with a shop vac to get all the debris cleaned  up.

Then it was finally time to start laying the wood flooring!

Day 3

Ahhh, progress!

I wish we had more progress to show for as many hours as we spent the first day laying flooring, but the first few rows took a disproportionate amount of time.  We had to figure out what we were doing and because they are installed by clicking and locking each plank into place those first few rows kept shifting around because they didn't have enough weight to stay in place.  Annoying. Once we finally seemed to hit our stride we got to the little hallway over there on the left in the bottom picture and had some challenging cuts to contend with, which really slowed progress.  Alas, we ended up getting maybe 1/4 of the room done.

Monday brought more progress.  We jumped in bright and early and were able to really chug along.

Day 4
We had to knock off a few hours early on Day 4 because we went to my parents' house for dinner that evening, but all in all we were able to get probably 85% or so of the main flooring completed, yay!

We still have this little strip, which includes the entryway and we also have to lay flooring in the closet, which is a small space, and tackle the bathroom, which will be a project in itself because everything is going to need to come out, and flooring will need to be torn out of there before we can lay it.  Eeek!  Buuuut, hopefully this coming weekend will find us putting the finishing touches on our main living space!  Once the floor is all laid we have to install quarter round, but we're definitely in the home stretch.

Unfortunately for Mark I'm going to be a postpartum doula training workshop all weekend so we'll see if he's able to make any progress on his own.  I had grand ideas of getting some work done on my own this week, but I'm scared to use the circular saw.  I wouldn't get far without an assistant so I'm going to leave it to Mark.

And now... I need to choose a rug, which is a task that's way more intimidating to me than it should be :/

Food for the week:

Sunday:  Out

Monday:  Parents' house for dinner

Tuesday:  Paleo Sausage Veggie Bake

Wednesday:  Salmon with Mango Guacamole and Garlic Green Beans

Thursday:  Homemade Pizza

Friday & Saturday: Out

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Week of August 30th

We've had a crazy couple of weeks around here.

Jack started school on a Friday.  Two days later on Sunday Molly woke up sick, Jack seemed to be okay until Tuesday night, the evening before his second day of school/first day with everyone there and promptly had to miss school.  Such poor timing considering the kids are rarely sick!  Luckily he was sick for about 24 hours and was able to return to school on Thursday.

First school project.  #likeaboss

Last week was Jack's first full week of school and I had lactation counselor training scheduled for the whole week.  With a lot of help from family, and friends, and of course Mark, the kids and house were tended to so that I could attend my training.

What a week it turned out to be as I ended up with not only a week long training, but TWO semi-unanticipated births!  Babies come when babies come, but poor timing for me!  One of the births was the latest (gestationally) I've attended yet as a doula, the other was the earliest I've had.  They also happened at the same time.  And at the same time as the training I wasn't allowed to miss.  What are the chances?!?!

So I ended up missing a day of my training, and one of the births (because I'm only one person, thank goodness for having a great backup doula in these sorts of crazy situations!), and plenty of sleep, but we got it done.  Because I missed a day of training I wasn't able to sit for my exam even though I totally could have passed it even having missed some class ::shakes fist::  On the bright side I will have an opportunity to make up the class and exam in October without having to travel too far so I'm looking forward to that.

Ugh, what a week!

So this week I'm playing catch up and trying to get into the groove of our new routines with Jack being in school and saying goodbye to a good friend of mine (and doula backup) who will be moving out of state and oh, it's suddenly September!  WHERE DID THE SUMMER GO?!  Basically my head is spinning.

I feel like things will calm down a little and I'll get a handle on our new routine soon.  Hopefully. Maybe.  Perhaps that will come after we install this wood flooring that's slated to happen this weekend.  It's always something!

To be consumed this week:

Sunday:  Ribs w/ Corn Pudding and Bacon Ranch Potato Salad

Monday:  Going away party for my friend, I brought Feta Dip to share; Pizza for the fam

Tuesday:  Fish Tacos

Wednesday:  BLATs with Fruit

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday & Saturday:  Out