(The following is fictionalized autobiography. No Cheerios were harmed in the writing of this piece. If the style seems weird, go read Bridget Jones' Diary.)
Sunday: V. unhappy. House is disaster area. Need a better schedule to resolve chaos. Imagine! No more Cheerios underfoot. No more piles of whatever on the dining room table. No more wincing at the state of the bathroom mirrors. House will resemble Martha Stewart magazine spread.
Wednesday: dusting and sweeping
Thursday: vacuuming and mopping
Friday: general decluttering
Saturday: make up day
There! Will have plenty of time for all housework. Am v. pleased with organizational skills.
Monday: Cheerios on floor: 11.5 (v. bad) Laundry complete! V. pleased. Am domestic goddess. Dreamily picture sparkling, gorgeous home, free from chaos, Cheerios, and clutter. Will plan dinner party to show off stunning home and goddessness.
Tuesday: Cheerios on floor: 18 (v. v. bad) Bathrooms cleaned: 1 (v. bad) Had to abandon master bathroom midway, shutting door to keep baby and cats from hazardous chemicals left on all surfaces until baby napped, whereupon wiped everything clean quickly without inhaling.. V. disappointed, but remain hopeful. Remember Sunday is available as make-up day. Am still domestic goddess, but must remember Martha Stewart has legions of servants to keep things sparkly. Must not be discouraged by more real-world situation. Realize have not plucked eyebrows in recent memory. Do so to avoid frighteniing dinner guests and overshadowing gorgeousness of house, Must add weekly beauty masque and home pedicure to schedule.
Wednesday: Cheerios on floor: 22 (v. bad, but improvement) Grocery shopping done! V. pleased, except forgot several things and will have to return tomorrow. Realize forgot to put grocery shopping on schedule. Must not be discouraged by minor setback. Will be amazing domestic goddess by next week, with exfoliated feet and clean floors.
Thursday: Cheerios on floor: 32 (v. horrifying) Grocery shopping done again! Total bathrooms cleaned: 2 (improvement) V. pleased. Making up for early week problems already. Rather discouraged that large tasks for Wed. and Thurs. not completed. Must stay focused and positive and remember the weekend is coming. Remember that becoming domestic goddess not easy. V. disturbed to find Cheerio in living room. Perhaps they are breeding? Resolve to look into Cheerio reproduction or migration.
Friday: Cheerios on floor: 22 (v. good) Total bathrooms cleaned: 2.5 (excellent) V. concerned has taken most of week to accomplish Tuesday task. Wikipedia and Martha Stewart website unhelpful on Cheerio breeding issue. Accused (unjustly) of mumbling, "Bleeping Martha Stewart."
Saturday: Cheerios on floor: 12 (v. encouraging) Dusting finished (not counting books in bookshelves)! Will clean floors after errand to mall to find pajamas that fit. V. pleased to have lost weight, but pajamas now resemble circus tent. Spend two hours installing larger carseat as baby has discovered how to extract and eat stuffing of small carseat. V. concerned about polyester consumption. Locate lovely, fitting pajamas in fourth store, only to realize have forgotten special credit card with bonuses. Return with no pajamas (v. bad, so disorganized) but with baby ingesting no polyester (v. good).
Sunday: Cheerios on floor: 0 (v. exciting! success!) While on floor during Cheerio eradication, notice oatmeal spot on curtain. Follow logical trajectory from high chair to find oatneal crusted on wall. Am not domestic goddess, but unpaid CSI technician. Perhaps can feed baby out on porch in future, then use garden hose for cleanup? Return to purchase non-tent-like pajamas with bonus credit card. V. pleased. Place baby in high chair and sweep floor while performing riveting singing/dancing act, to great applause. Am clearly v. talented. Perhaps will perform at dinner party. Go to Target to purchase plastic dropcloth to place under high chair. Wonderful, beloved, amazing husband has vacuumed during outing. Manage to finish floor cleaning before collapsing in exhaustion. Am domestic goddess at last! Not excited about starting over tomorrow, however...
Knitting: I will announce the winner of the contest as soon as I have swatch pictures to put up, later in the week. You guys are awesome! Fantastic ideas all around!
Reading: Wow, this is going to be a long one. It looks impressive, but most of these are below my grade level. I read the four Peggy Parish books in a couple of hours.
Mr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange: This was surprisingly enjoyable. Quite fluffy, but fun. It's really superfluous, since you can tell in Pride and Prejudice what Darcy was thinking most of the time, but if you're a P&P fan, this might be worth picking up. I zipped through it pretty quickly, and really liked it. There are some conversations with Bingley and comments on Caroline that are entertaining, and we see a bit more of his relationship with Georgiana. And of course, we find out what happened when Darcy went after the eloping couple. Grange has also written Mr. Knightley's Diary, which I will have to pick up!
Molly Moon, Micky Minus, and the Mind Machine by Georgia Byng: This is the fourth in the series about a plucky heroine who discovers she has amazing powers. These are very cute, over-the-top adventures, beginning with Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism.
Key to the Treasure, Pirate Island Adventure, Clues in the Woods, and The Haunted House by Peggy Parish: Four of the six Liza, Bill & Jed mysteries. I've gotten nostalgic about childhood books, and sometimes I have only a dim memory of a book I loved as a kid, without remembering the author, the plot, or the character names. This makes it hard to search for a book! For this one, all I remembered was that there was a "treasure key" or "key to treasure" or something in the title and it had codes in it. Pretty quickly found Key to the Treasure, and I had completely forgotten it was the first in a series. These are good natured adventure-mysteries that are neither too adventurous nor very mysterious. These are really cute, wholesome mysteries. There are no video games or television shows, and the kids play outside and volunteer to do the dinner dishes without being asked, but they're not disgustingly sweet. They carp at each other like real siblings. I wasn't sure if they would still appeal to kids, or if they would be too dated, but they were recently re-released, maybe because people like me who loved them as kids are now having children themselves.
Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg by Gail Carson Levine: This was a fun fairy tale set in Never Land. Prilla, a new fairy, hasn't yet found her talent. Meanwhile, trouble is brewing for the Never fairies. There's not much suspense that Prilla's yet-unknown talent will play a key role in solving the trouble in Never Land, but the story is cute and the illustrations lovely.
Writing: None at all. Sigh. For Christmas, I want time to write. And a desk. That's all.
Cooking: I don't think I mentioned that I made sourdough starters, which is just as well really. I missed a day of feeding and the whole wheat one came over all moldy and the bread flour one smelled like one of Lilah's more horrifying diapers. I wasn't that committed, I guess, as I hadn't named them. I found a different technique I may try. It may have been the awful humidity around here lately, or it might be entirely my fault. At any rate, I was bummed, as I was looking forward to some sourdough bread.
I made Pad Thai. Sort of. Let's call it, Not Very Authentic But Fairly Tasty Pad Thai from Allison's House of Vaguely Ethnic Cuisine. I started out with the intention of making authentic Pad Thai by the delightful Pim, and shopping, equipment, and time issues foiled my plan. I have no doubt whatsoever that Pim's method is better than the makeshift method and ingredients I used. But I had already had two bean sprout purchases go bad while I tried to find the time and energy to make Pad Thai, and I decided to just do what I could and see how it turned out. The changes I ended up making were legion: 1. I couldn't find Light Soy Sauce (not low-sodium, but "thin" soy sauce" so I used 1/3 cup of regular. 2. I actually found tamarind, but when I opened the box, instead of a nice, soakable block, I found a bunch of pod things. When I broke them open, there was sticky stuff that I had no idea what to do with, so I gave up on that and used 1/2 cup lime juice. 3. I used 1/3 cup turbinado sugar instead of palm sugar. 4. I couldn't find garlic chives and got regular. 5. I didn't have a wok, so I used my chef's pan. 6. I needed to cook it all at once, so I stir-fried tofu and garlic, removed it to a bowl, cooked eggs and added them to the tofu, then stir-fried 14 oz. of dried rice noodle (soaked in boiling water), added sauce and beansprouts, stirred in tofu and egg, then added chives. Matt and I agreed it wasn't restaurant quality, but it was actually pretty good. Someday, I'll find an Asian market and try Pim's method.
I made extremely healthy muffins for a neighbor who can't have dairy and is chemically sensitive. She looked after our cats while we were in Michigan, and it seemed like a good thank you idea. I actually liked them quite a bit. They do taste 'healthy' and Matt didn't even want to try them (he said diplomatically that he wouldn't appreciate them the way I would) as he's not fond of whole wheat baked goods (except bread). In case you feel you're not getting enough fiber in your diet, here's the recipe for a dozen muffins. They freeze well, then you can defrost one in the morning for breakfast.
Apple muffins (chemically sensitive version)
Note: Next time, I will nix the topping, add two teaspoons of cinnamon to the batter, and sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar. I haven't tested it this way yet, though.
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce
3/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 cups apples, peeled and chopped
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
Combine all dry ingredients and set aside. In a large bowl, mix oil, applesauce, and honey. Blend in vanilla and egg. Gradually mix in dry ingredients until well-blended. Stir in nuts and apples. Pour into 12 muffin cups sprayed with canola oil. Spread topping over batter. Bake at 325 for approximately 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
2 Tbl canola oil
2 Tbl whole wheat flour
2 Tbl turbinado (raw) sugar
1 Tbl cinnamon
Mix all topping ingredients.