When Life Gives You Lemons …

WaterfallI started this post on Monday, but then realized it had nothing to do with menu planning, so it was moved to its own post.  

The picture above is from a vacation a few years back that we took to the U.P. of Michigan.  It was actually the first vacation we took with our foster kids.  My husband has fond memories while I remember all the work it took … now I can look back, smile and be thankful it is no longer that much work with the kids.

As the day progressed it was clear that the Plan was not going to work out.  This turned out to be a day where it was best to focus on the thing right in front of me and not worry about the thing coming after it.  I’ve kept my head all day, even when the kids decided “put on your shoes so we can go” meant “read the tag on your sibling’s coat and then argue about what it says (two non-readers), turn in circles on the floor, stare at the wall, take your cousin’s shoes and sit 6  feet away from your own shoes then stare at me dumbly when I walk back into the room 3 minutes later and ask if you are ready to go”.  Wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t washed 5 loads of laundry, made breakfast, called the furnace repair guy and figured out what to do with our furnace while we were gone so it wouldn’t overheat, gathered up nephew’s things, collected items to send home with my parents, strip my bed after realizing a little one’s pull up had leaked during the night – after they had climbed into our bed (load #6), and gathered up their swimming stuff all before 9 a.m.  At that point I had very little tolerance for being ignored.

Swimming was nixed and the grandparents came to my house instead to take the kids out for hot cocoa.  While I was folding a load of clothes a knock at the door turned out to be the technician for the internet company, we were switching providers.  He was there to install our router.  Surprise!  Good thing we didn’t go swimming.  He left a bit after noon.

We ate lunch out.

We had ordered our food, but nothing had arrived yet when the furnace repair guy called and said he would be at our house in 30 minutes.  Good thing we were only 3 blocks from our house.  So it was decided that I would go back and my parents would bring all the kids after the meal.

Then the restaurant informed my husband they didn’t have the meat he was wanting.  Change of plans (again).  He went home to eat a sandwich and work on his computer there while the repair guys came and I finished lunch with my family.

The afternoon turned out okay, though I figured out one kid was sick which explained the lack of appetite and moodiness.  Laundry was not nearly the daunting job that I had thought it would be, as I worked my way through all baskets of wet clothes, folding each dryer load as it came out of the dryer.  What really got me was the hour, plus, spent talking with the internet customer service people.  It all worked out in the end.  The end however was 15 minutes after supper should have been on the table.  Now what?

Going through my list of quick meal options I realized we had french onion soup in the house since we hadn’t used it for the Salisbury steak today for lunch.  What could have been a bad thing suddenly turned good.  To the soup I added left over cornbread and a loaf of day old bread we had gotten from the bakery the day before.  15 minutes later supper was on the table.



Tuesday found us still having internet troubles, not getting the speed promised.  Now what would we do?  Pay a bit more for less speed or call and cancel.  Thankfully the ‘old’ provider (Company B) hadn’t disconnected us yet, so we called and canceled with the ‘new’ company (Company A). (Again after time spent on the phone trying to figure out why it was slow.)  It was a bit sad, as Company A was the one we had been with for years.  We had left Company A a few months back with the thought to save some money on our monthly bill in the long run.  I wasn’t too sure about Company B as I had heard bad feedback from people in our town.  So when we were looking to go back to Company A, paying a bit more for a faster speed, we had no thoughts of issues arising.  When it turned out that we would be paying more for slower speed it didn’t take us long to agree that Company B had actually turned out to be a good company, that we had no qualms with them, and that we would rather be saving money than paying more for less.  We are good with math that way.

Tuesday also turned into a snow day for the kids, Wednesday found them back at school only to be kept home on Thursday due to cold temperatures.  My internal clock is off as I’m not sure exactly what day it is.

What I do know is that the week got better as it went on, the kids are maturing a bit and better able to handle change, and not wanting to go out in the below freezing temperatures has meant I stayed home and worked on some long overdue projects.

  • I was able to get the ceiling in our bedroom patched.  Turned out to be only the paint bubbling and peeling, not the plaster.  I would have jumped for joy but for the fact that I was standing on a ladder.
  • Since I had the spackling out I also fill a hole made by a door handle, two places on the bathroom wall where hooks pulled off, and a gouge left in our dry wall by electrician who was installing a switch.
  • Our above fridge freezer was cleaned out of things I didn’t need for the upcoming week.  All the extras were moved to the standing freezer.
  • I filled in next week’s menu with items we already have on hand.
  • The bread ends, from the freezer, were broken into pieces, dried and made into bread crumbs.
  • The dried egg shells on the kitchen counter were blended up, since I had the blender out anyway for the bread crumbs.  These will be used in the garden when I plant transplants, especially tomatoes, as they supply calcium.
  • The remaining croissants in our freezer were thaw and baked.  They were past their prime so they didn’t raise as well as they should have.  That is okay, though, as they taste the same and the kids don’t care – food is food.
  • I took down the first piece of wallpaper in our spare bedroom.  One of the preschoolers was excited to help.  With an outlet nearby I didn’t want a little one getting things wet, so I waiting till the paper was the appropriate height and let the preschooler help pull it off.  It was so much more fun.  When asked why I was using water I explained that the wall paper was put up with “special glue that goes on with water and comes off with water …don’t you dare try gluing paper to the walls.  This is special glue, not like you use.  DON’T glue paper to the walls.”  Yes, this one needs that disclaimer.

picked up bedroom

My husband came home Friday exhausted and fell onto the bed.  He asked how my day went.

“It has been a good day.  The kids have behaved very well.”  Then I felt a bit of teasing was in order.

“Oh, by the way, Miss So-and-So called. (From our foster care agency.)  They are having trouble finding a place for an 18 year old.  It is just for the night.”  I stopped for a dramatic pause, knowing what he would say.

“No!  We can’t do it right now.  Only kids younger than ours from now on.  They know that.” Once he looked at me he knew I was teasing him.  I smiled and told him the rest of the story.  Miss So-and-So also knew what I would say as I have told her previously we aren’t taking any new placements right now.  It was on a technicality they had to call us.

Our first foster child (16 yo) was the result of such a call, as was our second (also 16 y.o), but that was a different time.  I know there is a home out there that may work well for this kind of situation, but it isn’t ours right now.  As much as I want to say “Yes” to everything, I have learned that for the sake of your sanity and family it is good to say “No” at times.  And just like all the other times I had to say “No” a prayer for the kid and the situation followed the phone call.

kids painting bird houses 4

Now, I’m being summoned to act as art director and get out water colors.  Off I go.  And in case you find yourself with too many lemons, here is a great gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and refined sugar free lemon dessert.  (No I am not changing my dietary requirements.  A friend of mine has some of the limitations, but it is also good to have these on hand ‘just in case’.)