Ah, the last day of February!  Time to evaluate my month's goals and set new ones for March.

February's Goals: How Did I Do?

Bible: Study the Book of Romans (Um, no.  Again, I totally let this slip, and I feel awful about it.)

Craft: Learn to Knit (This I managed to do.  I made a couple of swatches (like this one) using the knit stitch.  I'm still learning to purl.)

  • Finish Entries for Festival of Breads (Done.)
  • Valentine's Day (Done, I guess.  DangerBear and I decided we weren't really doing anything special for Valentine's Day this year.)
  • Catch Up on Household Filing (Done.  Wow, does that feel great!  I had a stack of paper about eight inches high, but I forgot to take a picture.)
  • Start Tracking Expenses (Nope.  I just kept putting it off.)
No, I didn't accomplish all of my goals, but I did more than I would have done if I hadn't set goals at all.  I'm trying to look at what worked and what didn't, so I'll have more success in March.

Goals for March

Bible: This month, I'm going to try something different.  I have an audio Bible, so I think I'm going to try listening to the Bible in the car when I pick up/drop off Chickpea at school.  That should work out to at least an hour each week.  To keep me accountable, I've added a little widget to my sidebar.  Bible Shared will let me track my progress, in terms of chapters read.

Craft: I'm going to continue with knitting.  I thought I'd be able to pick up the purl stitch really quickly, but I still need more practice.  My goal is to make a pretty little square with a heart design.  It should go quickly once I get the hang of it.

  • Set up some kind of system to deal with papers, so I don't keep getting buried!
  • Research and start planning our garden (also known as Chickpea's farm business).
  • Straighten up the house at least once each day.
  • Completely clean the kitchen before going to bed, including unloading the dishwasher.
  • Follow my laundry routine.  (Wash clothes on Monday and linens on Wednesday.)
  • Take my multivitamin every day.
  • Drink at least three glasses of water each day.  (Our drinking glasses hold about 12 oz.)

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Over the past few months, I've been thinking of trying to start a small herb garden on my windowsill.  Nothing major, just a few small pots.  I've never had much success with growing things.  (Go ahead.  Ask me about the Soybean Fiasco.)  In fact, one year, a flower in the container garden on our balcony bloomed while DangerBear was away on business, so I took a picture to prove that it actually happened:

Anyway, back to the herbs.  Seeing as how it's the middle of winter, I wasn't expecting to come across seed packets.  A couple of weeks ago, though, we were wandering around Lowe's and I happened upon a gardening display.  Ooh, seeds!  I need some seeds!  So I bought some:

See the price in the corner?

That's what I paid for them.  It seemed kind of expensive, but I didn't think too much about it.

The following week, I found seed packets on sale for less than half that.  Chalk one up for impulse buying.

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Since I've had this cold, I've been drinking a lot more tea, which has inspired me to start using my teacup collection again.  When we moved into this house last summer, they ended up displayed on my hutch in the dining room.  Unfortunately, since we don't use the dining room very often, I kind of forgot about the teacups.

The other night, though, I gathered them up and washed them, and made myself some tea.  I firmly believe that coffee and tea taste better when served in pretty teacups.  My collection of teacups and tea-for-one sets is small, but I love them.

I found these two teacups at a gift shop I visited with my mother-in-law.  The first one is my absolute favorite:

The other night I took my teacup, with its dainty saucer, upstairs and sat in bed reading a book and drinking tea.  It was gloriously refreshing, and I might have to start doing that a lot more often!

Besides those two teacups, I also have two tea-for-one sets.  These include a teacup, saucer, and a miniature teapot that rests on top of the cup.  This first one I bought at a local coffee shop:

It's not very flashy, but I liked the clean appearance.  This last one I got at a local gift shop:

I probably use this one least of all, because the teacup is really too large.  Still, I love the flowers and color.

Currently, I don't have a teatime ritual, but I'd love to start one.  I might start with the bedtime cup of tea, because it was so relaxing.

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My 2009 reading list contains several books by James Dobson, and in January I read "The New Dare to Discipline."  This was not the first time I'd read the book, but I still marked pages so I could take notes:

If the number of Post-Its used are any indication, it seems I really liked the book.  =)  It's extremely practical, which was just what I was looking for.  As a psychologist, he goes into his theories of why children behave the way they do, but he follows that with suggestions of exactly how to implement his methods of discipline (both positive and negative reinforcement).

His discussion of how parents often unintentionally reinforce negative behaviors in their children really resonated with me.  I am definitely guilty of, for example, letting Chickpea's constant talking wash over me, and snap into action when she starts whining.  She interprets that to mean she needs to whine to get my attention.  Yikes!

This is a book that will stay on my bookshelf, as I'll probably want to re-read it from time to time.

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I was going to post about this anyway, but I realized it's Gratituesday, which fits perfectly!

This past Saturday, DangerBear asked me to make him a grilled cheese sandwich.  After I made it, he happened to look at my frying pan.  I've had the same nonstick frying pans since we got married over six years ago.  I'm not sure how long nonstick pans are supposed to last, but apparently we've been eating Teflon for a while.

He took me to some outlet stores in a Big City about 90 minutes away, where we found several kitchenware stores.  At the first store, we found shiny stainless steel pans on sale for a very reasonable price.  We bought two of them.  (I had four nonstick pans, and they all need to be replaced, but two is enough.)

Then we went to another store, just to look around, and we found a set of beautiful stainless pots and pans.  It was a good brand, and it even came with a coupon you could send away to receive a free tea kettle (a $70 value!!).  The catch?  It was $150.  Way more than we planned on spending.

But...  these were surely nicer than the other frying pans...  and maybe there's nothing wrong with the pots I have now, but these are so much nicer...  and the free tea kettle!

All of a sudden I wasn't very happy with my new frying pans.

DangerBear loves to give me nice things.  He's sweet like that.  So he asked me if I needed new pots.  I had to say no.  We decided not to buy the Shiny Set.  I know it sounds petty, but I was sad.

After a few minutes of silent self-pity, I realized how ungrateful I was being.  If I gave Chickpea a new toy and she started whining because she couldn't have a better one, I'd take away even the one she already had.

I decided to change my attitude.  I'm sure DangerBear knew I wanted the Shiny Set, but I made it a point to thank him for my new frying pans, and to tell him I was excited to try them out.

You know what?  I love my new pans!  They work beautifully, we're no longer eating Teflon, and they're very shiny.  =)

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I didn't sleep well last night, due to congestion, a sore throat, and general yuckiness.  At about 1:30am, I got up and headed to the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea with honey and to gargle some saltwater.  The latter wasn't quite as enjoyable, but it really helped.

The steam from the tea helped clear me up, at least for a little while.  The saltwater (a teaspoon of salt dissolved in a cup of warm water) was for my sore throat.  I'd never tried it before, and I was surprised at how good it felt.  It also didn't taste as nasty as I thought it would.

Now, I'm not against over-the-counter medication, so I also took some cough & cold stuff I found in the bathroom cabinet.  =)

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My head hurts, and we're out of Sudafed!

Last week Chickpea was sick, and I've apparently caught what she had...  Only not.  A few days before Chickpea got sick, she had a play date with a coughing friend.  Chickpea's main symptom was a fever; no coughing.  Now I'm sick, but not with coughing or a fever.  Nope, I woke up  the other day feeling congested.  Today, DangerBear also woke up sick, but with a sore throat.

What sort of mutant illness is this?!  All of us sick, but with different symptoms.  I am immensely thankful, though, that no one is throwing up.  I am also thankful that Chickpea and I were not sick at the same time, because that's totally no fun.

DangerBear has gone back to sleep, Chickpea is happily playing at her art desk, and I think I'll make some tea.

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What Happens When I Don't:


This is why I love digital cameras!  I can take lots and lots of photos (including a few by accident) and just delete the ones that don't turn out.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

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Back before Christmas, I needed a bunch of chocolate to make chocolate-covered Oreo lollipops.  Unfortunately, I accidentally bought unsweetened baking chocolate instead of semi-sweet, so there have since been several pounds of it languishing in my freezer.  I felt the need to make something chocolate yesterday, so I decided to use some of it.

Tasty Brownies

Not-Quite-So-Tasty Pudding :(

I had never tried either of these recipes before.  I was fairly happy with the way the brownies turned out, although I like my usual recipe better.  The pudding wasn't as smooth as it should have been, and I just wasn't too happy with the flavor.  Ah, well, at least I've had my chocolate fix!

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Last week, I posted about the new purse that DangerBear helped me pick out.  I usually pick out purses with lots of little pockets, but this one had just a few large pockets.

I knew the secret to keeping everything organized was to have smaller bags inside my purse.  First, of course, is my wallet.  For Valentine's Day, DangerBear bought me this adorable red organizer/wallet:

It has zippered pockets for coins and stuff, plus lots of card slots, pen loops, and a place for my checkbook.  It's so pretty and cute!  Plus, it has this:

A handy-dandy solar calculator that slides out.  There's a mirror on the other side.  I can't tell you how much I adore this wallet, and the calculator was the clincher.  I can't tell you how many times I've been in the grocery store and couldn't find my calculator because it was buried under everything else in my purse!

So the wallet holds my cash and cards, checkbook, pen, etc.

I also have a couple of little bags.  These were bags I already had.  This one, for example, used to be filled with lotions and things:

Now it holds lens cleaner for my glasses, a compact mirror, nail file, hair ties, chapstick, etc.

In this last picture, the bag on the bottom holds wet wipes for washing up when we're on the go.  The case above it is a tiny first aid kit.  I've managed to fit a tube of Neosporin, a few Band-Aids, and a couple of alcohol wipes.  This little baby scored me a few Wonder Mom points with the parents at Chickpea's pre-k last year.  On the way into class, she fell and skinned her knee.  I whipped out my little case and had it all cleaned up and bandaged in a jiffy.

Actually, if I ever come across those little cases again, I'm going to buy a second one.  It has a magnet on the back, so it would make a great little first aid kit to stick on the refrigerator.

I also have a little plastic case that I'm using to hold sewing stuff, but right now it only has a pair of sewing scissors and a plastic yarn needle in it.

So that's my Works for Me Wednesday: No more fishing through my bag for tweezers or a Band-Aid or whatever, because everything is organized!

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I'm grateful that there is a medical clinic in our small town.  There are no doctors there, just nurse practitioners, but it's run by a very good hospital about twenty minutes away.

On Saturday Chickpea started running a fever and by Sunday night she was miserable.  For nearly three days, she had a temperature of 103 degrees.  Tylenol made her feel better, but I called the clinic yesterday morning.  They were able to get her in that afternoon.

Of course, it's a little weird getting a check-up in a very small town.  We know almost everyone there from church.  I hope I never have any embarrassing health issues...  :/

She's feeling a good deal better today (even without Tylenol) but I'm not sending her to school.

So I'm thankful for the clinic, and I'm thankful that Chickpea is feeling better!

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Today was the entry deadline for the Festival of Breads, a national recipe contest sponsored by King Arthur Flour and Kansas Wheat.  I had to develop original yeast bread recipes, which I'd never done before.

I had grand plans to have everything finished and entered last week.  Ahem.  That didn't quite happen.  Let's just say I baked a fair amount of bread today.  I had to do the final testing so I could submit my recipes.

I baked:
  • 6 Whole-Wheat Rolls
  • 1 Whole-Wheat Boule
  • 1 Not-Whole-Wheat Boule
  • 2 Braided Challah Loaves (They're different sizes because one is a stacked three-strand braid, while the other is a six-strand braid.)
  • 1 Miniature Challah Loaf/Roll  (It's so cute, and Chickpea has claimed it as her own.)
The challah tastes pretty good, in my opinion.  It didn't make DangerBear gag, so I'd say it's a winner.  I can't say I expect to be chosen as a finalist, but I did have a lot of fun.  Like my first few batches, when I didn't realize my yeast had expired.  Good times...

Fortunately, bread freezes very well!

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The last few days have been unusually warm; nearly sixty degrees.  It is, however, still February, and the Lord reminded me today that it is not yet time for Spring.

It's just the right temperature for thick, fluffy snow.  I couldn't resist sneaking outside to watch it fall.

I've always liked the sound of snow falling, although I'm not sure it actually makes a noise...  There's just a peacefulness about it.

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