New Years Day is always one of my favorite days of the year because we take the Christmas tree down and get the house back in order. While I love Christmas, I get so tired of the clutter by the end of the month. Today, Ken and the kids all pitched in and we got things straightened pretty quickly. Afterward I took Chase and Karli to the store because Chase had a couple of things in mind that he wanted to purchase with his Christmas money. When we came home the kitchen smelled wonderful. Ken had made the most perfect chicken and dumplings. My stomach was growling when I realized that I was so busy all day I hadn’t eaten anything except a handful of chips and salsa. I’m so thankful that I have a husband that knows his way around the kitchen and does a pretty darn good job cooking. He’ll often make grocery lists and do all the cooking for the whole week. We always follow the “I cook, you clean” rule and it works great for us.
Karli has been such a great helper to me here lately. She helps with cleaning, folding laundry, organizing her room, and the list goes on. Even when we took the Christmas tree down she participated the most with putting everything away. Now don’t get me wrong, she can destroy a room quicker than anyone, but she knows she has to clean it up afterward. I suppose that’s to be expected being the only girl and all. I love the little notes she writes me and how she shares hugs and kisses every night before bedtime. I love how hard she works at dance and the pride on her face when she learns a new move or perfects a tumbling trick. She’s been my little shadow since the day she was born and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
The kids scores are on the left, Ken, Andrew, and I on the right.
Ken forced us to get up early today and by early I mean 10am. We have been on a terrible schedule all of Christmas break, but unfortunately it ended today. We took the kids bowling as we do every winter break. I love that we have this tradition with the kids. I hope we continue to do this with the kids forever, even when they are all off and married and have children of their own.
We aren’t very good bowlers, but I guess that’s to be expected when you only bowl once a year. Chase gets pretty upset when Karli beats him which is pretty much always. They are almost like twins that way, so competitive with one another. Afterwards Chase, Karli and I did a little shopping. I tried to buy the Naked 3 palette, but once again they were sold out. I give up – I’m just going to order it online.
Other than this horribly cold weather I have really enjoyed our winter break and I’m sad to see it come to an end.
My sweetest little pup Tori was spoiled this Christmas. I have always thought about buying her some steps so she can climb up into our bed by herself and I finally got them for her. She got used to them pretty quickly and it only took me one night of running into them in the dark to get used to them as well. Tori is a bit of a baby and probably receives more attention from Ken and I compared to the other dogs. We play with them all equally, but she gets spoiled with laying in our bed and cuddling more often than the other dogs. Shaggy sleeps with Blake and the two Poms still sleep in the kitchen. (Small dogs are the best, but the very worst when it comes to potty training.) We also chat with Tori more than the other dogs. Ken and I are constantly asking her questions about what she did when she ran away from home for two nights/three days this past summer. We’d love to know what she was up to that entire time. If only pups could talk. That whole thing is a time in our lives we will never forget. I still thank God for that everyday. Makes you believe in miracles after going through something like that. Yes, I do refer to all my dogs as pups even though they aren’t puppies.
Yummy Crockpot Beef Stew
We had this yummy beef stew over the weekend. Super easy…just toss all the ingredients in the crock pot and after 6 hours on high the meat just falls apart in your mouth. I don’t measure anything…just toss it all in the crock pot and cook on high for 4 – 6 hours.
3 lbs beef stew meat
4 cups beef broth
bag of carrots
1 cup red cooking wine
about 1 tsp each of salt and pepper
about 1/2 tsp each of garlic, rosemary, basil
I had woke up early to go to Chase’s wrestling scrimmage and just as I had warmed up my car and scraped the icy snow off the windows Ken texted me and said I could stay home because there weren’t too many kids in Chase’s weight class. That made me quite happy since I didn’t feel all that great. I ended up crawling back into bed and stayed there the majority of the day. Thank goodness for weekend movies and evening mindless television. I would cry without my ABC lineup – The Bachelor, Revenge, and Betrayal. Then I caught the end of Crazy Stupid Love on TV – right at the part with Ryan Gosling’s “photoshopped abs”. The night ended on a good note at least.
I guess you good say I felt grateful for a household that can function by itself on days that I just don’t feel up to par. The kids all felt grateful for school that was closed for Monday due to snow and extremely cold temperatures. I was a little bummed considering I haven’t worked in over two weeks and I am ready to get back into the swing of things. But hey, I won’t complain about another day of sleeping in.
View from my office.
Snow day Monday = No school. Wish it meant no work…
I realize how lucky I am to work from home on days like today. Not having to go out in the below zero temperatures and high winds is a nice perk for sure. Working from home also has it’s challenges on snow days because the kids are still home and that always makes it harder to work. I decided rather than do my regular work duties I would use the day to get all of my tax stuff organized. Normally I wait until Spring to get all of the final numbers together, but I decided why not just get it off my To Do list now. What a good way to start off the new work year, right? Plus we have to pay 4th quarter estimated taxes by January 15th and I would certainly rather have more definitive numbers to go off of rather than sending too much like I usually do.
I always start out the new year with good intentions of keeping my tax stuff, business deductions primarily, organized so I don’t get slammed at the end of the year. I actually did pretty good considering my spread sheets went all the way to September when I stopped and just ended up putting everything in a file folder. It only took me a few hours to finish it all as well as file a bunch of receipts and stuff that has piled up over the holiday. Feels good to be organized. Feels like I am starting fresh for the new year!
See that little blue light in there? That’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. That blue light means our bodies remained a steady 98.6 degrees today rather than freezing to death.
We woke up to our furnace not working and the house was really cold. I remember waking up a few times thinking that it was unusually cold, but I assumed it was just the record breaking -15 °F temperature outside. But nope, it was worse than that. The furnace wasn’t running and the pilot light was out as well as the pilot on the hot water tank. Our gas was working so it wasn’t that unfortunately. We made a couple of calls to get someone out to check it out ASAP and got “We are closed”, “We can come in two days”, and “We will add you to the list”. None of those answers made me feel any better.
Ken and I just ended up doing what we do best when things stop working. Unplug them, turn them off and on over and over again and continually accuse one another of not knowing what they are doing. He ended up going outside to make sure the vent wasn’t clogged and it did have a little bit of snow around it which he scraped away, but it wasn’t obstructed at all. But somehow magically when he came back in and turned the switch on that is directly on the furnace the pilot lit and we had heat! We followed the directions on the outside of the water heater (turn off, unplug it, turn the thermostat all the way down, plug back in and turn it on) and that worked as well. Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! I have never been so happy to see that little blue light before.
Thank goodness it was nothing serious. I mean, I still don’t know what happened. A couple of people told us maybe an air pocket in the gas line? Who knows, I just hope this darn furnace keeps on trucking because it is as cold as Alaska out there. Actually I think it’s warmer in Alaska right now than here in Michigan.
Yep, I was right. It’s currently -8°F here and 26°F in Anchorage, Alaska.
So I’m not feeling to happy about the weather today, but I am grateful that we are warm and safe in our home as I know others are probably dealing with all kinds of problems caused by this horrible winter storm.
Hope everyone is safe and keeping warm!!