Friday, September 17, 2010

Watch "Hoarders: Buried Alive" and then strangely...get motivated!!

November 2006--that is the last time that the pantry shelves were bare! When we moved in, our friend, Mary Hunter, took on the daunting task of organizing the pantry. She did a wonderful job...but over was getting crazy in there! I took time this week to cull, organize and clean the pantry. There were some very awesome things that I found that I will be looking for a use for, such as:
saffron threads
nori seaweed sheets for sushi
anise extract
lots of really cute cookie cutters

Now I will not be using those ingredients/tools for one dish. I just don't want you waiting for an update on the seaweed saffron anise cookies!

 I know that it is a bit OCD to take pictures of one's pantry! I know, I know. I was just very pleased with myself!
Our friend, John, once said the if he got locked in our pantry and had to survive--he'd starve! He said that all we had in there was ingredients--not any food! That made me chuckle. But it did make a point: we are such an immediate gratification society PLUS we are all over-scheduled, over-worked, and over-tired.Too many families have found themselves getting trapped in that dangerous and unhealthy cycle of prepared foods. Do you realize how much easier it would be to pop some chicken nuggets in the microwave or to use "Hamburger, chicken, tuna, whatever Helper"? Hey, we all resort to fast and easy at times. It just bothers me that so many kids don't have a clue what goes into making a dinner. Just sayin'...
** By the way, do you see my neat little stash of Skyline chili stacked on the bottom shelf next to the tuna??? Mmmmm...can't wait for cold weather! Been saving it since a little fairy put it in my trunk during our Cincinnati visit this summer!

Oh yeah, my spice may not be able to tell from this picture, but yes...all the herbs and spices are alphabetized. I will never forget a couple of girls sneaking into my pantry during a Drunko, I mean Bunco, get together. They were in there for only a few seconds, but they totally screwed up my whole system! Julie! Cindy! You know who you are! All you could hear from behind the door was squealing and giggling! They knew that they had pushed my button!! During today's job, I threw out lots of outdated spices. I really wish that the manufacturer would put an "use by" date on the label. I did find a few that did have that. (the chili powder that said use by 9/00---I'm assuming that it was Sept. 2000. I tossed it!)

This is obviously my baking section. Do you see the huge collection of colored sugars, sprinkles and decorations that is on the second shelf, far right? It will be cookie time before we know it! Can't wait to do this with Anna Jane and my Mom.
And what pantry or closet is complete without a bit of wall art? The plaque, from our friend, Amanda, says,
"We will drink no wine before it's time. It's time."

Hope you enjoyed the tour! It satisfied my need to show my work!
Stay tuned for next week: cleaning out the sock and underwear drawer
just kidding!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Good Morning, Sunshine!

In order to rise and shine, one must have the means to rise on time! To prepare Anna Jane for kindergarten, we had been "practicing" getting up early. After years of 9am preschool 3 days a week and PJ Thursdays, it's safe to say that this household was a bit slack on morning wake-up time!
Luckily, Anna Jane's school schedule is not too brutal. Check-in time is 8:30-8:50am.  After searching on-line and one unsuccessful attempt--the coveted "Hello, Kitty!" alarm clock was procured! It is not ordinary alarm clock--it has: am/fm, CD, wake to music or buzzer (more on that in a minute) and the mandatory snooze function.
Anna Jane quickly programmed it for a lovely classical station, which would ultimately be her downfall...

The first few days of school, I think Anna Jane popped out of bed and into her clothes in record time. As the days and weeks have progressed...the newness of kindergarten has worn off. I would get up, shower and dress and listen for her footsteps upstairs. It became clear that she takes after her Mama in many ways; including having the ability to sleep through her alarm. This alarm is LOUD. When she goes to bed at night, she likes the "sleep to music" feature. Otis and I can hear her music downstairs. This is the same volume that is used to wake her, well that is supposed to wake her. After several mornings of having to rouse her from under the covers, we finally had to have a "heart to heart" talk. I told her that if she didn't wake to the music, perhaps the BUZZER function would have to be set instead. She became very upset by this idea. I couldn't figure out why she was so hysterical about losing the music. Finally, after letting her calm down, we delved into why she was crying. She said, "Mama, no one told me that the music was my alarm. I hear it and wake up, but I just add it to my dream and go back to sleep." Gosh. No one told her. We assumed that she would know. Our prior knowledge and her lack of experience set us all up for failure. We would never give her a game without explaining the rules. We wouldn't give her a toy without giving her the guidelines, like: only use this outside or when the light comes on--it's ready. We wouldn't ask her to help us cook without teaching her the techniques as we went along.
This episode has taught us a lesson. It's easy for forget that she is only 5 years old. I have shoes that are waaaaaaay older than her. She's only a little person even though she can talk and reason. Once the diapers and sippy cups are gone it's too easy to make our kids grow up too fast. I'm stopping to smell the roses along the way from now on...and the dandelions, which Anna Jane thinks are the prettiest flowers by far.
Again, knowledge will soon enough change that.

PS-she hopped out of bed with enthusiasm this morning and danced to her music! what a way to start your day!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Back to School Pool Party

Get more Myspace layouts and MySpace Graphics at pYzam.

Anna Jane hosted her first Back to School Pool Party. She asked all of her guests to bring a donation of school supplies to be donated to her school. The kids had a great time and we collected a BOX FULL of stuff!

It was so hot--do note how the frosting melted and dripped. None of the kids seemed to care. Goodies were gobbled up! We grilled hot dogs and had all the fixin's!

Hope we can make this a yearly tradition. Anna Jane really understood that some kids just don't get all of the supplies that they need for school without help.
Our favorite lifeguards!

Brownie Cake

Note to self: cream cheese frosting does not hold up to August heat!

Anna Jane presenting the donations to her teacher to be used for her school