So Christmas is over and I'm ready to get back to normal. Between hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas, and doing the myriad of other holiday activities between, I became a bit of a disorganized mess. I let us get pretty lazy with Claire's school stuff and dinners were more than a few times a mess. I don't want ALL the fun to be over, by any means, but I'm trying to get a bit more "together" in the New Year. For one, I've been planning about 5 meals a week and getting them on the table for the most part. This is a picture of a pie I made from PW's "Key lime pie sorta" recipe that was very good, but I've been making a lot of her recipes for dinner these last few weeks as well. Her ceasar salad took a while but was very good. The stir fry was good and tonight I'm making her cajun meatloaf.
A fun thing we've thrown in is making ice cream with the new ice cream maker that my mom and dad gave us for Christmas. It's one of them fancy kinds war you don't need no ice or salt or nettin'. (Please excuse me. I've been reading Lois Lensky's Strawberry Girl with Claire and I want to talk like that all the time now). Claire was helping cut up peaches to put in the creation we made last night.
It works really well (and quickly) and I even managed to find a non-dairy recipe for me and Sammy-Sam so that we don't have to eat it and then run directly to the nearest bathroom. The one I found online was 2 cups coconut milk, 1 cup almond milk, 1 c sugar, and some vanilla. We added about a cup of peaches at the end.
The nights are still dark early, so cooking has been a decent way to pass the bewitching hours between 4 and 7. But another thing we've been doing a lot during that time has been reading a lot of library books.
I need to incorporate a really regular time of going to the library every few weeks because the kids LOVE getting a big pile of new books and even some kid videos which I can pop in while I make dinner. And if the videos are those kinds where they basically read you a book while showing the pictures, I don't feel as bad as if I was letting them sit around in front of a bunch of cartoons.
Another thing that has been helpful has been my attempts at getting us better organized for Claire's school lessons. I went through all her books and figured out how much we needed to do each week in order to get through everything by the end of May. Then I made up these little weekly charts for her with stickers so that she can be more independent in getting her work done.
We still do history and read-aloud books together, (she's reading the Grandma's Attic series to me, and I'm reading Strawberry Girl to her) but she's doing well having a few things she does on her own.
All in all, things are feeling pretty normal again around here and this house is starting to feel a tiny bit more like home. It's amazing how even giving a little more structure to some activities like cooking and school give us so much more sanity, (don't ask me when I've scheduled cleaning the house, however. That's a lost cause.). Eatting our dinners together as a family has helped me have some sanity about food as well. Since I'm not being a short-order cook for the kids, they either have to eat what is in front of them or nothing. Sammy was getting WAY to used to telling me what he liked/didn't like and what substitutions he'd prefer. I guess most moms already know that structure/rythm is best, but I'm just figuring this all out. I'm sure by this next child I'll be a totally on-the-ball mom. Maybe.