Find Good In Every Day

One mom's attempt at finding good in every day of this chaotic world.

Living Without A Stove July 18, 2013

Filed under: Daily Blog — Robin @ findgoodineveryday @ 2:21 pm

Since we moved in at the end of May, we have been living without a stove/oven.  The sellers had left one, but because we were going to get a new one immediately, we never tested it to ensure it worked.  And before we even moved in, Jeremy lugged the old thing into the garage and did not handle it with care thinking we were just trashing it.  Between all of our other renovations, we had an energy audit done.  It was very useful, and we can’t wait to take advantage of the incentives offered to re-insulate the 50-year-old home.  When we found out that we could get even more incentives if we were gas customers, rather than oil, we thought it would be prudent to just check to see if it was even possible.  After a few weeks of waiting, we got the good news!  There was gas in the street, and we would only need to pay $800 to get it connected to the house.  (Note – that does not include the cost to convert the heating system to gas, which is a whole other beast in and of itself.)

We are so excited to have gas heat instead of oil – not only for environmental reasons but cost as well.  And even more importantly, I get to cook with gas rather than electric.  Have I mentioned I hate using an electric stove?!!  The problem is that it is a very long wait.  We immediately returned the new electric range we had purchased right after buying the house (it hadn’t even been delivered yet.)  But we’re waiting to purchase a new gas range until the utility company actually comes out to bring the gas to the house.  So right now there is a big hole in our kitchen where a range should be.

And this also means there is a big hole in my meal planning abilities.  Thank goodness it is summer and using the grill is easy and expected.  But we’re still living without fresh-baked goodies (you know I love to bake!), pasta (oh how good does a plate of spaghetti sound right now?), and other simple meals cooked on my stove or in my oven.  I won’t lie.  It’s been a major struggle.  I think we’ve eaten out a lot more.  I think we eat a lot of sandwiches, but we also eat a lot of salads so hopefully the carb levels balance out.  Knowing we still have at least another 6 weeks before we’re all gassed up, I figured I better take this challenge by the horns and figure out some go-to meals.  Here is a list of some great stove/oven-free meal ideas.

  • Chicken “Cheesesteaks” on our Griddler (deli chicken sliced up with sliced peppers)
  • Backwards Dinner (pancakes, sausage, bacon, etc. using our Griddler served with a side of fruit salad)
  • Teriyaki Chicken Stir-Fry using our electric skillet and served over Trader Joe’s Frozen Jasmine Rice (just 3 minutes in the microwave!)
  • Asian Chicken Wraps (Asian marinated grilled chicken with jasmine rice, carrot sticks, lettuce, and peppers) My favorite so far!
  • Slow-cooked Chicken Soft Tacos
  • Slow-cooked Balsamic Roast Beef Sandwiches with Au Jus and Grilled Potatoes
  • Slow-cooked BBQ Pork Sandwiches
  • BBQ Pork Nachos (perfect for leftovers!)

This list does not include the obvious choices of turkey sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken tender salad (chicken cooked in our toaster oven), grilled chicken, etc.  I’m trying to be innovative, but mindful of time and costs and summer heat!  Next up is innovative oven-less desserts…  (I tried a brookie in the crockpot and wasn’t impressed.)  Thankfully it’s easy to get ice cream around here.  But if you have any suggestions, please let me know!  Another 6-8 weeks of this?

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Conversations With Cooper July 16, 2013

Filed under: Daily Blog — Robin @ findgoodineveryday @ 6:06 pm

At the end of Mason’s school year, the entire school put on an Arts and Music Night for the community.  Each grade had a theme and created artwork and performed a show based on that theme.  For Mason’s first grade, the theme was “America.”  For weeks leading up to the event, we heard Mason practicing several America songs.  From “Yankee Doodle” to “Grand Old Flag” to our National Anthem…

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Little did we know that Cooper was learning the songs as Mason practiced.  And now (especially following the Fourth of July), the kids are constantly singing these songs.  Subconsciously I start singing “You’re a grand old flag, you’re a high-flying flag…” in the shower.  Or while I’m cooking dinner, I’ll be belting out “Every heart beats true for the red, white, and blue and forever in peace may you wave…”  While I love me some America, I’m a little over all the songs and have mentioned it to the kids several times in hopes that they would stop singing them.

As Cooper got out of the shower tonight after camp, he started belting out, “…YOU’RE THE EMBLEM OF THE LAND I LOVE, THE HOME OF THE FREE AND THE BRAVE!”

Me: Could you please stop?  I can’t get these songs out of my head, and I want it to stop.  (in a Mommy-whining voice)

Cooper: But when I sing them, I think of Grandpa John.

Me: ….  (Exactly.  I was speechless.)

Oh how I wish my dad could have been here to sing right along with us and meet these two awesome children that I am so lucky to have.  He would have loved them even more than I do.

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Our Journey “Home” July 12, 2013

Filed under: Daily Blog — Robin @ findgoodineveryday @ 4:52 pm

** Beware of a picture-heavy post! **

For the Fourth of July holiday, we drove back to Maryland and Virginia to see family.  We had been counting down the days and looking forward to the trip for a long time.  It had been several weeks, if not months, since we had seen some of our family.  Too long!

Our first stop was in Maryland to stay with Jeremy’s parents.  We enjoyed the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and fireworks at Oregon Ridge Park with Nana, Papa, Kristin, and a couple of other families.  Despite it raining all day, right as we pulled into the parking lot, the skies cleared and a rainbow appeared.  Seriously!  It was like a good omen for the night.

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Between the potluck food and our own food, we were definitely stuffed by the time fireworks started.  We were very nervous that Cooper would want to leave early since he hates loud noises and has been miserable in the past.  Thankfully we had brought ear plugs, and Nana rolled up a towel for him to wrap around his head as well.  He made it through the whole show and even said he liked it!  (I think Jeremy’s promise of a bomb pop the next day if he made it through had something to do with it.  But I’ll take it however I can get it.)  I have so many pictures of the fun, but here are some of my favorites.

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After a very late night, we dilly-dallied the next morning.  At the last minute, we decided to try to make it to the Towson July 4th Parade.  With roads blocked, we took a very circuitous route to find parking.  When we finally got there, it seemed like the parade was near the end (aren’t fire trucks always the last to come through on a parade?)  Well, after an hour the parade was still not over!  It was a lot of fun, but we were getting hot and hungry so off we went.  We packed up a picnic lunch planning to eat at the Liriodendron, which is the mansion Jeremy and I got married at 10 years ago.  Thinking there would be no one there since it was a holiday, I hadn’t called ahead.  We got there and were taking pictures for about 5 minutes before someone came out to ask us to leave so the wedding that was happening inside could continue out where we were.  Oops.  I was a little flustered, but we managed to get the shots we wanted and then found a shaded spot next to a baseball field at a private school nearby to have lunch and hit a few balls.  It all worked out in the end.

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After an afternoon of chilling, a delicious BBQ dinner and a good night’s sleep, we headed down to Charlottesville to visit Jen, Scott, Hayes and Rhys.  And Meema joined us too!  It was so great to have the kids and Jeremy finally meet Rhys.  And we got to see their new home, which is beautiful.  Between the spray park, Dr. Ho’s pizza, Bodo’s, and their CSA farm, we relaxed on their screened porch and ate, drank and laughed a lot!

Rhys is so much bigger than when I saw him in April.  And it’s always fun to see how Hayes interacts with Mason and Cooper.  As he gets older, his reaction to them changes.  When he was younger, Hayes really looked up to Mason and was unsure of Cooper.  But now that he is getting to be a big boy (he’s 3 now!), he was really watching Cooper.  I kept having to remind Cooper that Hayes would do anything he did so he had to be careful and not do anything stupid.  By the time we left, I think Hayes learned to bounce down stairs while riding L’il Rhody, play swords with pool noodles and escape his bedroom gate by putting both his poufs on either side of the gate and climbing over.  Not my proudest moment.  (But I think it was Cooper’s!)  Again, more pictures than I can share, but here are my faves.

 

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It was such a great week, and we’re thankful for the time we got to spend with our family and friends.  Luckily we don’t have to wait too long before seeing our family again.  We have a few things planned for the summer, and we’re so looking forward to each of them.  Because no matter where we are, when we’re with our family, we’re “home.”

 

Milestones July 10, 2013

Filed under: Daily Blog — Robin @ findgoodineveryday @ 11:12 am

I’ve been too busy lately to realize, but a few recent milestones have come and gone.  First of all, my last post was my 400th one!  Holy cow!  How did that happen?  I started this in 2008, which might imply I should have a lot more than 400 posts.  But considering it’s only been about 240 weeks since I started this good ole blog, 400 is better than my “once per week” goal I had set for myself.

Also, we hit our one-year mark of living in Rhode Island.  Ironically we finished our drive from Maryland and moved into our rental on July 2, 2012.  And on July 2, 2013, we packed up our car for a road trip BACK to Maryland.  No, not as in a move back to Maryland – just a little visit.  We started our new life in Rhode Island celebrating Independence Day and fireworks on the beach last year.

Can't forget Cooper's unwillingness to stay long, though.

Can’t forget Cooper’s unwillingness to stay long, though.

And this year, we celebrated yet again but with old friends, family and traditions in Maryland.  It was a great way to recognize how far we’ve come in a year but also that everyone and everything we left behind are still a part of our lives.

Crazy kids (forgive the horrible iPhone photo)

Crazy kids (forgive the horrible iPhone photo)

A lot can change in a year, which you all, as readers, have seen through this blog.  Thank you for following along, and I hope you’ll continue to as we make our new house and town our HOME.