Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sneaux Day

     It's Tuesday afternoon, so by all rights I should be on my way to drop Monkey off before heading out to school, and I would be doing just that if it weren't for the fact that I live in the south and if it even looks like it might possibly freeze, sleet, or snow everything gets shut down.  Not that I'm complaining.  The drivers in south Mississippi are bad enough on a normal day, so I shudder to think how they'd handle driving around on something as foreign and as hazardous as an iced road.
     A day of no school also means extra time with Monkey.  Yesterday while everyone was at Wal-Mart stocking up on bottled water and canned food, Monkey and I were there gathering supplies for a few crafts to keep us busy.  Last night while she was sleeping I made Monkey a reversible superhero cape, using this tutorial I found on Pinterest.  It was super simple, and it only took me a couple of hours from start to finish.

Finally seeing her surprise.

She loved the personalized side!

"I'm Batman!"

You'll need:
Two types of fabric of your choosing, each measuring about 1 1/4 yards (I just got plain black cotton since I knew I wanted Batman, but I wasn't sure about the reversible side going into the project.)
Thread to match
Felt for your superhero symbol in appropriate colors (For free templets, click here)

Fold one of your pieces of fabric in half, and draw a rough cape-shape.  It should look like this:

You can use a small plate or a bowl to make the neck nice and circular, and I cut mine all the way to the end of the fabric.  If your child is shorter, you can always hem it later.  Cut it out.  Fold your next piece of fabric in half, and use the one you just cut out as a template to make sure they are the same size.  Make your superhero emblems.  You can either free hand them like I did or you can go here for a tutorial and printables.  Sew one symbol on each half of the cape, making sure to line each up in the middle of the fabric.  Once the symbols are sewn in place, lay out one of the capes with the symbol facing up.  Lay the other one on top with the symbol facing down.  Pin them together, leaving the bottom unpinned, and then sew all along the edges, except for the bottom edge.  Turn the cape right side out, and hem along the bottom once you've tried it on your child to get the length right.  You can either tie the cape, or you can add velcro or buttons to it to fasten.  Because mine was a little big on Monkey, I left it to be tied.

   She was so excited when she came downstairs to find it waiting for her.  She promptly put it on and dubbed herself "Super Bat Girl".  After that we made Green Eggs and Ham from her Paula Deen Cookbook she got for Christmas.  She loves that cookbook, and it has really simple and fun recipes for kids.
Even superheroes get hungry!

Paula Deen's Green Eggs and Ham
from Paula's My First Cookbook

3 eggs
1/4 cup minced ham
1 drop blue food coloring
Salt and Pepper to taste

   Have your little one crack the eggs into a medium sized bowl, and then let them whisk the eggs until well blended.  Add one drop of food coloring.  Add the salt and pepper as desired.  Have your little one stir the eggs again.  (Depending on their age you may have to take over here.)  Cook the minced ham over medium heat in a medium skillet for about 3 minutes.  Pour eggs mixture on top.  Scramble until cooked through.  This makes just enough for two people.

   After breakfast, Monkey planted Pink Cosmos and Forget-Me-Nots in her little greenhouse containers I found at Walmart for $1.00 a piece.  Freezing or not, I have a feeling the little seeds will be just fine in my warm house, sitting up my window that provides sunlight for more than 8 hours a day.  That's one good thing about the south, you can count on it getting warm again rather quickly no matter how cold it gets.

   Next we made bird feeders to put outside tomorrow after all the rain/sleet/snow has passed.  I remember making these as a kid myself.  You simply cover a pinecone in peanut butter and then roll it in bird seeds.  Add a string, and you can hang it from a tree near a window where you can watch for birds.  Monkey thought it was so cool that we were going to feed the birds.

I love the look on her face in this one, because she hates peanut butter.  She couldn't understand why the birds would eat the seeds if they had peanut butter on them.


    Now I better get off of here to make sure Monkey's really cleaning her room like she's supposed to.  I'm not holding my breath.  Before I go, let me share something I saw on Facebook that's rather fitting:

Winter in the South

Friday, January 24, 2014

But She Hurt My Feelings!

     I have been the world's biggest slacker on this blog lately; I blame school.  This semester will end in the next three weeks, so all the due dates for all the important things are coming up, and it's getting a bit hectic.  Thankfully, I don't have school on Fridays, so I'm free to enjoy this beautiful, sun-shiny day.  Or at least I would be if this day was beautiful....or had any sunshine.  Oh well, instead I'll hibernate and catch up on a few things I've neglected, like this blog for one.

     Let's see, what's been going on in my world?  Well for starters last night my four-year-old made me cry.  And not in a good way.  She's been going to a friend's house on the evenings I have class ever since J deployed.  It's been working out fabulously; Monkey loves it there, and she gets along great with my friend's daughter.  The only problem is that she's had so much fun over there that she gets angry with me when I show up to take her home.  Not to mention when I get out of class it's close to 10:00 at night some nights, so she's tired by the time I go pick her up.  Tired plus grumpy means it's a fight to get her in the car to bring her home.  Not that I can't handle that, but last night she added a whole new twist.  On the ride home she told me that she didn't want me to be her mommy anymore, she wanted my friend to be her mommy so she'd never have to leave their house.  I don't know why, maybe it was because it was late and I was tired, but I started crying.  I knew I was being silly.  This wasn't even the first time I've heard monkey say this; in the past she's asked to go live with her Nanny.  This time struck home though, probably because I've been worried about how much time school has been taking from her, and I was tired and stressed out last night, so when she said it I cried. And I cried.  And then I cried some more.  I was being quiet about it, though, and it was dark, so she didn't realize until she asked me something and I responded and she heard my voice.  That's when she got all sweet, and she asked me, "Mommy, why are you crying?"  The mature mother took over and whined, "Because you don't want me to be your mommy anymore, and that hurt my feelings!"  That's when Monkey started crying too (I don't know where she got that emotional side), and she swore that she would never say that again.  Did I believe that?  No.  Did I stop crying?  Yes!

     When we got home we hugged it out, and then resumed our usual bedtime battle of trying to get the Monkey to stay in the bed, and all was well.  Thankfully I went to sleep soon afterwards, so now that I'm well-rested there's not much danger of the little Monkey making me cry again.  That's not to say she didn't try when I told her she had to go clean her room O.o

      Well before you go I do have a recipe to share.  Unfortunately, I can't post pictures right now because I have to have my brother in law (who saved my computer again last weekend) teach me how to upload all my iPhoto files, because right now they're on my old hard drive.  But here's the recipe anyway:

Oven Tacos
From Mommy I'm Hungry Blog

2 lbs ground beef (or turkey)
1 small onion diced
1 small can diced green chilies
1 recipe for Homemade taco seasoning (below)
1 (8 ounce) can low sodium tomato sauce 
1 (16 ounce) can fat free refried beans 
2 cups shredded reduced fat Colby-jack cheese 
18-20 hard taco shells

Optional Condiments- Shredded Lettuce, Diced Tomato, Salsa, Guacamole, Sour Cream, Sliced Olives

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a large skillet brown ground beef and onion over medium-high heat. Drain off any excess liquid. Return to pan, add chilies, refried beans, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning. Mix well and cook for a few minutes if mixture seems runny. 

Spoon the taco meat mixture into the taco shells and place into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, standing up. Sprinkle cheese over the top of the taco meat in each shell. Place into the oven and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the tacos are heated through. 
Remove from the oven and top with any optional condiments for serving. 

Taco Seasoning
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

In a small bowl, mix all together. Store in an airtight container.
I used all of this on 2 lbs of ground meat with a little water mixed in. 



Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Third Time's the Charm

     It's quiet in my house, so very quiet.  That's always the first thing I notice when my husband leaves, the quiet and the stillness.  You wouldn't think one person's absence could make a house feel so empty.  But that's how it feels: empty.  Yet I don't think it has truly hit me yet that another deployment has descended on us.  This is our third, and it feels so unlike the first or second.  I shouldn't be surprised considering how different the second was from the first, yet I find myself wondering what on Earth could this one have in store for us?

     Today I watched Monkey as she played and laughed with her daddy all day long.  I saw how they chased each other around the house, giggling.  They've grown as thick as thieves over the past 12 months.  Her favorite playmate is her daddy, and to be honest, Mommy can be a poor substitute when it comes to climbing trees, wrestling, and playing Nerf guns.  When it came time for us to drop him off, she grew sullen, refusing to put on her shoes and socks so we could go.  It made me realize how much she's grown.  In the past, "Daddy's going on deployment" was the same as "Daddy's going to work", that is, until he didn't come home that night, or the next, or the next.  Today I saw that she understood that if we got in that car, she'd be losing him for a while.  I also saw how she managed to rally herself when she learned that he was going to help people on the other side of the world.  No; this deployment won't be like the previous ones, and that is both reassuring and frightening.

     Last night I said my goodbyes to him.  We spent the night doing our favorite things: playing cards, laughing, teasing, loving.  That was different too.  In the past I've pulled away from him before the separation came, in hopes that it would make the actual distant easier to manage.  Foolish, I know, but I truly believed if I "weaned" myself of my husband it would help ease the pain in the long run.  Instead it left me with a bed of regrets to lie in.  Not this time, though.  No; I've learned from that mistake.  This time, I made sure to have a handful of good memories to keep me warm on the long, cold nights to come.  I'm glad to say I succeeded in that.

     Yet it's not all somber and sadness; before he left, our conversations were full of "when you get home…".  I look forward to the fulfillment of those future plans.  I look forward to the excitement of homecoming, the buzz of anticipation, and even the readjustment period that follows his return.  All those things I look to and more.  I also look forward to the months alone, because over the years, I've learned how much I grow while he's away.  Every deployment brings its own set of lessons to be learned and experiences to be gathered, and I look forward to this one being no different in that aspect.  I also look forward to the time with my daughter.  In a way, I almost give her up to J when he's here, not entirely, but he takes the reins.  When he's away I have a chance to bond with her again in a new way.  Every time is different, because every time she's different, and considering how much she's grown and changed in the past year, I look forward to getting to know her all over again.

     So that's that.  We've come to our third deployment, and I'm hoping the old adage holds true: "The third time's the charm."