Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Oil Change, take two

For the three of you that read my blog, you know that I can't stand to take my car in for oil changes, etc.  We did not have a great experience the last time I took it in Iowa.  I try my best to schedule oil changes, etc. when Todd is able to do it.  But, before Christmas, I knew the oil needed changed before we traveled for the holidays  and that Todd would have no time to do that.  He barely has a day off and I knew he would not want to spend it at the car place.  So, off we went.
Well, this was a little better than our time in Iowa.  It is not close to anything we can walk to, so we had to stay put.  But, they had a decent waiting area complete with a separate child's area with a slide.  So, the kids had a good time.  Those places are never clean enough for me, but I just tried not to look.  A few germs are good for kids, right?
I'm telling you all this because I've wanted to post this video clip since we were there.  We were cracking up!  The thing with plastic toys inside with heating is the static electricity.  It didn't take long before the kids figured this out and had a great time seeing how much static they could get and shock each other.  It, of course, did not phase Callie.  She thought it was the funniest thing ever!  Of course her ever accommodating brothers let her run into them over and over again.  If you turn your sound up really loud, you can hear the shock when she gets close to them. 
Callie's Shock
Callie's Shock 2

Little Boys

I only have a few more months of having a five-year-old little boy. There is nothing cuter than a five-year-old boy. They are smart, usually well-behaved, and always funny. Gannon just says the funniest things. I wish I would stop and write all of them down, but I don't. What makes it even funnier with Gannon is that he is usually pretty quiet. So it is even funnier because he catches you off-guard! My other boys are funny. But, they are older, so it is planned. So, funny in a different way. In May Gannon will be six, then the little boy will start disappearing. (sniff, sniff). I love my big boys, but I will so miss having a little boy around.

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So handsome!

A couple of weeks ago he got to spend the weekend with his grandparents, by himself. He has been waiting on this for years! When we moved to Iowa he wasn't really old enough. Kellen and Garrett have both been able to go to Grandma and Grandpa's by themselves, but it has never worked out for Gannon. The way the brothers talked it was like going to Disney World! Well Gannon finally got his chance.

We met in Claremore at the Will Rogers Museum. A nice stop where we could stretch our legs and visit with Grandma and Grandpa before Gannon was off. He of course kept asking if it was time to go, he was ready to be done with us!

He had a great time. He looooves to be "on his own". He is a little more of a loner, he doesn't always have to be in a pack so to speak, so not having two brothers (and a sister) bossing him around was heaven on earth! Grandma asked him before he got there what he liked for breakfast and he did not hesitate telling her he liked Cocoa Puffs, cereal mama won't buy! So, he ate Cocoa Puffs every morning, got to get on her computer whenever he wanted to, eat out. He was loving it.

On Saturday he went with Grandpa to run errands then went to the OU Women's Basketball game with Grandma and Aunt Dwan. His favorite part was the ice cream Aunt Dwan bought him. (Can you tell the boy loves to eat!)


On Sunday he went to church with Grandma and Grandpa then got to go to cousin Mason's birthday party. Mason turned six January 13. It was a skating party and he has never skated before, but I think he did ok. He had a good time, so that is all that mattered!


Mason and Gannon are great buddies!


Here they are hugging the wall skating!

On Monday Grandma brought him home and she spent the night with us. They stopped at the Vinita McDonald's. He got ice cream telling Grandma "it was probably his last chance". She said she felt like she was bringing him back to prison! ha! FYI: We have ice cream occasionally, but not every day like he would like!

Gannon had the best time. He can't wait until his turn to go back. He said on the way home that they saw a hat that said "Spoiled by Grandma". Gannon told me Grandma said "maybe we should get that for you". Then he told me, "I don't know why, I am not spoiled. I get to do whatever I want!" Obviously he doesn't know there is more than one meaning to spoiled!

I wish I could remember the funny things he says and does. Here a few things...

In a conversation in the car after having spent time with our cousins during the holidays:

Garrett: "Did you know that Mallori likes Michael Jackson?"

Mama: "Really."

Gannon: "Is he still disguised as a girl?"

Of course Kellen informed everyone he was dead and all that entailed. Thanks Kellen.

Gannon's Christmas list included a laptop and deodorant. I think this is directly related to being the third of three boys (one of those almost a teenager)!

Gannon told me recently, in all seriousness, that he wasn't going to work. He was going to have a bunch of kids and make them do everything. You don't think that is what he thinks we do around here do you?!

Last week Callie pinched Gannon, something she does on a regular basis. This was right on the cheek, left a big place. He was crying, she was crying. I told her she needed to say she was sorry. Of course, she didn't want to. Just sat there and cried and looked so pitiful that finally Gannon gave her a hug and told her he was sorry. He didn't do anything! He felt so bad for her he couldn't take it anymore. She came around about thirty minutes later and said she was going to say sorry, marched in his room, said she was sorry and hugged him and went on about her business. (She has to have things on her terms. Don't know where she got that!) This is not a funny story, but so sweet. Gannon really is the sweetest, he just doesn't always like people to know it! He is so good to Callie it warms my heart. :)

So, a few more months of innocence. I know it will not magically disappear on May 19, but I know that it will gradually be gone. I always say "this is my favorite age", then my kids will get bigger and that will be my favorite. I guess I like all ages of my kids! But, there is just a sweet innocence that little boys have...sniff, sniff.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Once-A-Month Cooking

Well, I did it. I've talked about for years. My sister-in-law Kerry and I used to discuss it, but we never got around to making it happen. When I was trying to get our schedule together for the new year, it seemed like meal time was always in the way. Don't get me wrong, I like to cook most of the time. What I don't like is going to the store with four kids. I don't like being busy up to meal time and then trying to get it all together. I bought the Once-A-Month cookbooks a long time ago. I've had them a while, I know I bought them in Iowa at least a year ago. Anyway, while I was organizing my kitchen, I saw them and decided to go for it. So, after much planning and making lists, my fridge went from this:

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to this in my freezer:

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The grocery shopping was never ending. I hit Wal-mart, Sam's, and Aldi. Once the shopping was done, there was no turning back!

It was the longest day ever! I messed up by not following all the rules. Does that surprise you? The cookbook gave all these helpful hints and one hint was to wear comfortable shoes. I didn't wear shoes at all and I paid for it. My back hurt for days!

I had help, of course. This was our school for the day. Lot's of math!

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Callie just stole bites of food. Especially the freshly grated cheese!

january2010 032Gannon did a lot of supervising and sampling!

I planned to take pictures of things as the day went on, but there wasn't really a stopping point! Once you start, you just have to keep at it. Too much money goes into buying a months worth of food for six people. I wasn't about to waste anything!

We learned a lot that day about what to do differently next time. We have a list of things to try and buy for next time that will make the job easier. A lot of dishes can be frozen in 9x13 dishes. I was going to just buy a few more at Wal-mart, but they are more expensive than I remembered. I don't know if I have ever even bought one. I think the ones I have now were wedding gifts! So, we're going to look for some at garage sales and places.

I have planned (but not cooked) weeks of meals at a time for a while. I have cooked more than one meal sometimes, or cooked and frozen a few things, but never a months worth. I even included some stuff for lunches and breakfasts when we cooked. So, it was a LOT. One reason I had put this off for so long is that I thought it would be a lot of casseroles. It's not. I made very few. So far we have like most of what I made. We mixed some new recipes with some of our tried and true go-to recipes. Now that I have the idea of how this works, it will be simpler to do with almost any recipe.

In the end, it has been soooo worth it. The pluses are having a meal plan, I know what we are having for breakfast, lunch, and dinner up until Valentine's Day. I have most of the food in my freezer and fridge. The only things I don't have are the few fresh items that we pick up each week. Another plus is the amount of time I spend in the kitchen at dinner time. I am still cooking, but it is quick. Think Hamburger Helper, but good and healthy. I am spending more time on side dishes, which we are enjoying. My favorite is that there are very few dishes after dinner! We are able to put what we use on the table in the dishwasher and we can go to bed with a clean kitchen. (I do not hand wash dishes!) I am loving this part of it. I like to be done after dinner. Of course, a mom is not done after dinner, but at least the cooking and cleaning can be done! Also, I tried to make sure and make the recipes so that we would have enough leftovers for Todd to take a lunch, so another bonus!

But, the absolute best...I haven't been to the grocery store with four kids in weeks! I have hardly been to the grocery at all. Woo-hoo! Now that I haven't been, I realize that this is really what has been stressing me out. I love to shop, don't get me wrong, but not for groceries. It is so nice to have all the time that I would have normally been going to the store. I am thinking it is probably saving us money too. I haven't set down to figure that out yet. I need to get through a whole month and see what I spent all together and compare to another month where I didn't do this.

So, we will probably try this again. I already dread the day of cooking! But, this time I know the reward will be worth it. Think there could be a lesson in this?