Saturday, January 31, 2009

Don't Spill the Beans

The kids and I played a little game yesterday. (It's actually one of the practical exercises from this little book.) It kept them entertained for about an hour and only resulted in half the beans being spread all over the kitchen floor. (At least they were very easy to sweep up.) It turns out they both need some practice pouring, though I think it'll be a little easier next time when I let them use rice, which is suggested in the book. (We didn't even have one grain left before our trip to the grocery store last night.) Once they master the rice, we'll move up to water in a little pitcher. fine day, they'll pour themselve a glass of water from the fridge.

Travelling Companions

First Son is settling into a cardboard box with some favorite books and the big cushy blanket from his bed, ready for a leisurely voyage into the unknown.

First Daughter, forlornly: "You're leaving without me!"

So he invites her aboard, with her own books and big cushy blanket.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


My slow cooker is dead. It had a small illness last weekend, but we blamed it on the outlet. Tonight, though, it just won't turn on. Of course, I discovered this after filling it with all the ingredients for oatmeal that was supposed to be warm and inviting when we awoke in the morning, using half of the remaining milk and all of the walnuts and almonds from the freezer. Hopefully the ingredients won't be a total loss as we're going to try to bake it in the oven first thing in the morning.

Oh, but my slow cooker! I've gotten very used to cooking with one. And now they make small kitchen appliances so disposable that no one will even try to fix it for us (at least not for less than we'd spend on a new one).

At least I don't have to alter my menu and shopping list for next week. I've already done it and at 10:30 pm I don't want to tackle it again. I wisely chose non-slow cooker meals (except for that oatmeal that I thought I might make again if we liked it).

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

So Glad It's Not Me

Matthew Archbold at Creative Minority Report on his Super-Dad skills on getting kids out the door and to the doctor's office, almost on time.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Yummy Baby Gruel

We started Second Daughter on some rice cereal today. She actually ate it pretty well, though not very much. Neither of the older two wanted to taste her food, but both very much enjoyed watching her eat it, especially when she would spit it out.

She seemed pleased with herself.

There's a butternut squash in our cupboard with her name all over it. I think I'll be cooking that up for her tomorrow.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Confession Time

I baked a lot today: banana nut muffins, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread and some wheat bran bread. I love baking, of course, especially muffins. The kids only like muffins sometimes. (They're both on "watch" and only get half a muffin at first, to see if they're really in the mood.)

That's not the confession, though. Are you ready? I don't go digging for stray eggshells. That's right. If there are tiny bits, they stay in.

No one has ever complained.

But now you are forewarned if you eat baked goods here at the Range.

That's my random post for the night, because you hadn't heard from me in a while. Back to laundry and photos...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Another Well Child Visit

It's that time again. Second Daughter is six months old, so off we went to the doctor's office.

Weight: 18 lb (85th percentile)
Length: 27" (90th percentile)

We'll be starting solids soon. We have the booster seat (for First Daughter, so Second Daughter can have the high chair) and the rice cereal. To be honest, I'm delaying a bit because solids mean more messes...and taking food along if we're going out with Baby. It's fun, though, too.

First Son's first baby gruel:

First Daughter's first baby gruel:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Super-Duper Stain Remover

I have a great book (which I've mentioned before) for recipes for home-made cleaners and stand by them, every one. However, for tough stains they suggested buying a stain remover and I just didn't have luck there, especially here at the new house where the water is pretty hard even after going through the water softener. Then, I read this guest post over at Money Saving Mom. Michelle's Go Stain Go recipe is absolutely perfect. The dishsoap goes after all those tomato-based stains (pasta sauce and ketchup feature prominently in Range recipes) and the glycerin attacks stains I thought would never come out (blackberry and blueberry, to name a few).

I will never buy stain remover again.

For those of you interested in trying this out, check your local natural foods store for vegetable glycerin. We found it in with the liquid vitamin stuff. I can make this stain remover two or three times with a small bottle that cost me about $4. I've used a couple of different dishsoaps with equally good results, at least one being a very cheap (but still phosphate-free) one.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Our Big Little Girl

I became a little suspicious during bathtime and quickly swooped in to scoop up First Daughter and put her on the potty just in time for lots of cheering.

It's her first success despite sitting on the potty a lot (and yelling "Nothing's coming out!"). Even if she doesn't repeat the performance for a while, that's one diaper we didn't have to change!

Someone's Praying, Lord

Well, someone out there must be close to God because your prayers were answered. I found the missing library book at the bottom of the Little People box earlier today. I can't think why I didn't look there before as I thought I had emptied every single bin in the living room in my earlier searches.

I'm so thankful I'll get all but $7 back!

(I thought I was going to have to end this post with another missing library book, but I found it tonight between our bed and the co-sleeper.)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Where I Have Been

It's been quiet here on the Blog Range mainly because Second Daughter hasn't been sleeping well in the evenings. I'm blaming our recent vacation (though she's also the right age for growth spurts and teething). Anyway, since my blogging time is the time between baby-bedtime and my bedtime, blogging has been on the back burner.

It seems to be getting better so perhaps I'll be back to a more regular posting schedule soon.

In the meantime, I'd appreciate prayers for the safe return of The Mitten. I'd really like my $30 back and I have 90 days to get a refund.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lost on the Range

I've lost it. I've looked high and low, on bookshelves, behind shelves, under shelves. I've looked in all the likely places, all the probable places and all the possible places. The only places left are the highly improbable, and I've looked in some of those already, too.

Oh bother. I think I'm going to have to pay for it, and I just know it'll show up in a year or two because it must be here somewhere!

Who's the saint for missing library books?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Furbert and Ankar

First Son regaled us with a story at dinner tonight of Furbert and his roommate Ankar. They are giants and astronauts who don't have eyebrows, arms or legs and who can change into planes and cars that drive really fast. I think it's the first time he's made up a story like that and just went on and on. It was very entertaining.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


The dryer is running.

The dishwasher is running.

The washing machine will run as soon as the dishes are clean.

And I'm about to settle down in front of Lost from Netflix (shh...don't tell me what happens!) for the second night in a row with three loads of laundry to fold.

The kids and I are spending two days (and a night) away from home so Kansas Dad can tackle those fume-producing jobs (painting and something with the bathroom floor that involves bleach) while the weather will be warm enough (in January!) to leave doors and windows open. Who knows what wonders will await our return on Saturday night?

Those pictures are still waiting to be organized and there are thank you notes still to write, but I'm happy with my lot.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Digital Age

I love my digital camera. I really do. I love taking pictures with it, finessing them on the computer (getting rid of that pesky red eye) and ordering prints online. I just slide them into albums in date order and love flipping through them. (So do the kids.)

But after a big vacation, I do not love going through all the picture one by one. I've finished one day's worth and am up to this:

First Son and First Daughter all snuggled up and ready for the long drive to my parents' house.

Only about a hundred to go.

I did skip ahead to bring you this, though:

We had a little leak which Kansas Dad thought he had clamped shut until he could repair it, but apparently some water was still escaping. It's at least six feet across and a foot tall. It's not growing anymore, but it's not clear that it's melting, either, despite at least a few hours above freezing every day.

Kansas Dad plans to splice that hose back together this week (and get our ice maker up and running again).

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Our Christmas Vacation

  • Twelve hours in the car to my parent's house (almost to the minute). It was a little less getting home and we would have made even better time getting home if we hadn't run into some wicked fog.
  • Eight adults, 9 kids (8 of them 6 and under), 2 dogs (one an 8 week old puppy) and lots of visitors.
  • Only a few coughs and colds, and one fever.
  • First Daughter declaring "I don't want to be safe!" Oh, so true!
  • Over 150 pictures (not counting the ones on First Son's new camera).
  • First Son's first college basketball game. He watched half (which we thought was pretty good) and spent the rest of the game engrossed in a handheld "educational" game.
  • Christmas celebration with Kansas Mom's extended family and even a few additional visits, including one amazing aunt and uncle who arrived with homemade applesauce, apple butter, salsa and whole crushed tomatoes...and venison jerky!
  • A generous cousin and her family who arrived for a visit with their X-Box 360 and Rock Star game, much to the delight of First Son and First Daughter.
  • Miserable weather - icy roads and bitter cold that even kept us housebound on Christmas (no mass for the second year in a row).
  • Many thanks for the whole house generator that kept us going for at least 18 hours straight one day (and a few times on other days), even if the carbon monoxide alarms did go off. (At least we know they work! And the kids were thrilled with the visit from the volunteer fire department.)
  • Kansas Dad and I had a wonderful dinner with some high school friends of mine and then had the opportunity to try out the Wii for the first time. I got a strike at bowling! (So did Kansas Dad.)

I couldn't possibly say how wonderful a time it was, especially for me. It has been a year since I was home and it's safe to say I'll be homesick for a few days yet. I hope you all had as marvelous a holiday as I did!