Tuesday, December 30, 2008

technical difficulties

The addhousewife is currently experiencing technical difficulties.

Before our trip to Ohio, our computer died. It's older, so it will cost as much to fix as to buy a cheap-o low end model and we'll probably come out with a better computer.

But we're also being good little Dave Ramsey followers and waiting til we have the cash in hand to get the new computer...which means I'll have very limited (read: library time) access for the next little while.

Ohio is COLD. But, D likes it and wants to add it to our list of possible places we want to move to when we get to that magic "everything paid off but the house" point. We've had a good time visiting Boonshoft and today we went to the National Air Force Museum. Both places were very neat, tho my energy level went very quickly.

We may be home by this weekend, but that's still up in the air. D wants to go home a bit early so he can take care of this ticket he got. It's not a legitimate ticket and he can prove it, which is always a bonus. The ticket was for driving without a license. He had a license; it was expired. BUT he has 60 days from the expiration date to renew the license without getting a ticket. The ticket was written within his grace period, so it's not valid. The officer should have never written the ticket. But, this is a loophole in the law that most people won't even investigate and they never point out the grace period unless you ask. He took a day off to take care of it, but it wasn't in the system yet. The next time he went, they were closed for the holidays. *sigh*

Saturday, December 20, 2008

ho ho hoooly cow! it's 80 degrees!

Christmas in Alabama! It was 80 degrees yesterday. Today mid 70s.They "say" it's going to cool off by Christmas in to the upper 60s, with a few days a bit chilly. Still, no white Christmas for us. That will make us really appreciate our drive to Ohio next week :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

sick sick sick

I'm sick of the cold.

I'm sick of feeling sick.

I'm sick of work. More specifically I'm sick of the garbage associated with being the manager. I want to be just the photographer. I don't want to deal with all the other stuff involved. No, I take that back, I'm just sick of one person and I'm really wanting to tell that one person exactly what I think of the way this person is doing, or rather NOT doing, her job.

I'm sick of missing special events of my kids because I'm working.

I'm sick of not having enough hours in the day to work, clean the house and most importantly, spending time with my family.

Sorry for the downer post, but this is the place where I'm supposed to make all my confessions. And, I confess, I'm just not feeling very Christmas-y right now because of work related issues. It's sucked all the joy right out of my life. It's just one person who is creating way too much drama. :(

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

jelly bean testers

Here's a confession...I love jelly beans. Jelly Beans and licorice are my big weaknesses. My kids also share my fondness for jelly beans. My favorite is buttered popcorn. It took one of my friends to convince me that the buttered popcorn jelly bellies weren't going to kill me.

I've taken to buying the bags of belly flops at the dollar store because they are so much less expensive than buying a similarly sized bag of jelly bellies. Belly flops are irregularly shaped or colored jelly bellies.

I was at a store last week looking for a small treat for one of the kids and came across Bean Boozled. These are similar to the Bernie Botts beans they had for awhile in that there good flavors and nasty flavors...except with a twist. You can't tell rotten egg from the buttered popcorn.

Naturally, I bought a box and gave it to the kids because they will eat just about anything and laugh about it.

This led me to thinking...who taste tested these things? I mean, who in his right mind would eat something that quite possibly tasted like vomit or skunk spray? How many taste tests would one have to endure before getting to the right combination? That person must have a stomach of steal. I feel like I'm going to wretch just thinking about that poor taste tester.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Funny

I love my job. We have the funniest things happen. These are just a couple of the funniest stories of the season...

A mom brought her two daughters in and pulled them aside, like many parents do, to go over the list. We like to eavesdrop so we can give the big guy a heads up on some of the unusual requests. This time, we got a big giggle...mom was heard telling the girls: "Do NOT ask for boobs!"

It's pretty common for the kids to be scared. We're good at our job and have a system set up. Santa hides behind the chair and the kids never have to see him. He comes around the corner with a present and we snap the picture. Kids aren't scared and the parents have a non-screaming Santa picture. This particular little girl was beaming on the chair while she was holding a present. The parents agreed to seeing how she'd react to Santa. This little girl was TERRIFIED! I'd say PETRIFIED, but that would imply she was too scared to move. She jumped over Santa's footstool and took off running, leaving her shoes behind!

At the end of the day, sometimes it's slow and the kids can have more time with Santa than is typical. Two tween girls came in with mom and were completely hamming it up, doing silly poses, pretending to steal Santa's gifts. One did the classic "Lucy" wail face and the mom asked "Where did you learn to make that face?" and she said "Have you ever heard of the show 'I Love Lucy'?" Oh boy...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Normally, I tell people how wonderful the winters are here. I may hate the summers but the winters are so fabulous. Usually on Halloween, it's in the low 80s. Thanksgiving, we can usually eat outside in the mid to upper 70s. Christmas lights go up and I'm wearing shorts. We even had 80 degree weather in January! It's great!

The summers...eh, not so big a fan of humidity and high temps. But, we have a/c and so does everyone else...so it's really not a huge deal.

However, this past February, we had snow. Enough for my kids to build a snowman. It was gone quickly. Just enough to have fun with, but not enough to make me hate it.

We are once again experiencing unseasonably cold weather. I sit here thinking "What happened to global warming?" Quite frankly, I would welcome some global warming! The low tonight is supposed to be 26. That is CRAZY! Tomorrow the high is not even 60.

Needless to say, work has been slow because no one wants to go outside to walk around an outdoor mall to find the place where Santa is. They are going to wait til it's warmer...which may not be til later this weekend and hopefully next week. Santa and I go outside to wave at people in passing cars. He's nice and toasty in his suit and being from the North Pole and all, not phased by this weather. Me, on the other hand, have a turtleneck and two jackets on and I'm STILL shivering. We come inside and I have a cup of cocoa to warm up. It's no surprise I can't get rid of this rotten cold.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

the big day

Yesterday was the big opening of the Santa photos at the mall. It was CRAZY! I have never worked so hard and been so tired in my entire life. I put in about 12 hours yesterday.

It's going to be a long six weeks!

Monday, November 10, 2008

busy busy

Wow...I can't believe how crazy things are right now. We're getting ready for Christmas in full force. I know, it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but I work a seasonal job and we start Saturday! This is my first year as manager and I'm incredibly stressed. I want everything to be perfect and to achieve our sales goal.

I'm also hostessing Thanksgiving. We're just having the missionaries over from our church, so that's just four extra people. Not like years past where it was 10 extras. I am hoping I can keep the food under control! I have a tendency to overdo the food thing at Thanksgiving. I could probably feed 30 people with the amount I usually cook. I told D we're only doing two pies, and he wants three. Three pies for 11 people. I don't think so.

My menu is looking pretty basic right now. Turkey, two varieties (half recipes of each) of sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green salad, the funky jell-o/cottage cheese salad from D's family, two kinds of pie, and deviled eggs...and some homemade rolls. Yeah, that sounds like too much food, but everyone wants their favorites. *sigh*

I'm also working both the day before and the day after Thanksgiving. This means we're eating on nice paper plates.

I also have a ton of sewing and things to get done at some point. And at least two school functions I have to figure out how to manage. hahahaha yeah...all of this is going to happen with me working 40+ hours a week. I already told my OB I can't make it back in until January.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

finally my new apron

this is the lovely apron I received in the hot apron swap.

It is my absolute favorite apron right now :)


and here's a close up of the detail on the pocket. I think this is what makes the apron so wonderful.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hot Apron Swap!

I participated in an apron swap over at yarnigras and received my swap package yesterday. the package was full of wonderful goodies and a FABULOUS apron from Kellie. I'm going to post some pics later. :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pink or Blue?

Looks like our house is going to be full of more pink. The boys are really outnumbered now!

Monday, October 27, 2008

It's Monday...Menu plans




Here's what's on the table this week:

Sunday: Bacon Chili Cheeseburgers

Monday: Chicken marinara

Tuesday: Hula Joes

Wednesday: Church fall festival

Thursday: Tacos

Friday: individual pizzas

Saturday: clean out the fridge

I really have to rave on the bacon chili cheeseburgers from last night. D was skeptical only listening to the name of the recipe and not hearing that I said there were no actual chili beans. It's just the flavors of chili in the burger. D snacked heavily before dinner thinking it was going to be a complete disaster. He was incredibly disappointed at his choice since the burgers were incredible! It was the sort of burger you'd find at Red Robin. It's probably one of the best burgers I've ever made.

For the church fall festival, I'm bringing a crockpot chili. I'm not exactly sure what I'm putting in to it, but I'm sure I'll figure something out before Wednesday night!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Feels like fall

It finally feels like a real fall here. I'd be lying in saying that after four years here, I was used to the fall. I mean, there's only so many days of 80+ degree temps and sunshine you can handle. The summers are downright miserable. The winters are great because it never does get too cold. Last winter, we actually had snow...for a couple hours at least.

But today is special. It's a day that's like the falls I grew up with. The high today is only in the mid 60s and it's raining. It's like a little taste of home.

Days like this actually motivate me. I'm excited to actually do some fall sewing...like those Halloween costumes I need to have done. And, I think I'm going to change up dinner plans. I want to make a soup. It's a soup day. Or maybe some sort of chicken stew. Either way, I need to google and find some recipes before noon so I can get it in the crockpot. I'm also in the mood for some homemade bread.

Yes, definitely a nice fall day.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Stay at home

Today is one of those days where even tho it's my "day off" from work, I'm not really getting a day off. It's the day where I get to spend time catching up on all those things that have fallen by the wayside while I've been working and tending sick children. I used to think it would be nice to have a weekend with nothing to do, like D gets every weekend. Then he pointed out that I usually have a long "honey do" list for him. heehee

I got a jump start on things yesterday during the few minutes I was home. The girls cleaned their rooms and somehow managed to give me about five loads of laundry. I do not know where they were putting it all, but I swear Kari just dumped her dresser into the laundry basket. Today, I'm tackling blankets and the laundry in the boys' room.

Oh and I need to really address the kitchen. I need to do a major reorganization before my stomach completely gets in the way. The last time I was expecting, we hadn't completed our kitchen remodel yet. Now that it's done, I can't reach the cupboard with all the cups. I need to find a place for the cups that I can reach. I'm not sure what should go in that upper cabinet.

And I'm going to get all of this done by 3:30 today. hahahaha

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Menu Plan Monday



I'm extra organized this week, so I'm bringing menu plan monday out at day early :)

I'm sure excited this week because I am trying two new recipes, one of which is a lot more labor intensive than I'm used to. But from the taste of it, well worth the effort.

Sunday: Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwiches

Monday: goulash

Tuesday: Turkey ham and potatoes

Wednesday: Bird's Nests with chicken and broccoli

Thursday: buttermilk chicken and smashed potatoes

Friday: Mini Pizzas

Saturday: leftovers

I really ventured outside my "under 30 minutes" mantra for dinners this week with the pulled pork. But, the giant picnic roasts were down to $1.29/lb and I wasn't sure what else to do with it. I only shredded about half of it up. The other half will be shredded but popped in to the freezer for later use. I'm really going to get my money's worth out of this $10 roast. I expect to have quite a bit of leftovers tonight even if the boy is starving.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

pizza reviews

We had pizza night a day early. Call it a pregnancy craving. I watched an episode of Rachael Ray earlier this week where she made two wonderful looking pizzas and that was the end of it for me. I had to have pizza.

Unlike most recipes where I tweak them here and there to taste, I made these two pizzas according to the recipe with two exceptions...I can't get fontina cheese so I had to use mozarella and I used homemade crusts. It was one of those rare instances where most of the ingredients were already in my refrigerator.

The first recipe I was completely drooling over was a spinach and mushroom deep dish pizza. Spinach pizza is one of my favorites (and several of my children, as a matter of fact!) We were really excited to try her version which just piled on the spinach. I am not sure exactly what was off with the recipe but it just didn't taste as good as we had hoped. Maybe it's because we were anticipating the same yumminess that's in a spinach alfredo pizza. If you enjoy spinach florentine then this recipe is probably a good choice. It's not very creamy and not nearly as cheesey as we'd have liked.

The second recipe featured on the program was a bacon carbonara pizza. I'm not a fan of carbonara at all, but really made this pizza for Alex who loves everything that has bacon in it. He's like the little dog on the snausages commercial who goes around sniffing everything and thinking "BACON!" I was not at all expecting to like this one, but it was so delicious beyond my expectations. It was wonderfully deep dish with just the right balance of flavors. Not overkill on the cheese, much to the delight of D who hates cheese, and just the right amount of bacon for the boy. Even lizzy ate an entire slice of this very thick pizza. I would have gone back for seconds, but the children gobbled it up.

It's a good thing I made a few other mini-pizza creations! One of our "grown up taste bud" favorites is a buffalo chicken and mushroom pizza. Spread a generous layer of buffalo wing sauce on the crust. Top with chicken, mushroom and jack cheese. Cook til it's nice and gooey melted cheese. Another favorite is the hawaiian BBQ pizza...teriyaki BBQ sauce, followed by chicken, green onions, pineapple and jack. It could stand some green peppers but somebody doesn't like green peppers so i always forget to add them to my half.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

bummer

I lost the Project Runway pool. I was really hoping my person would win. She was in the final two, tho. Too bad I don't get a consolation prize. Winning all that fabric would have been beyond fabulous. Of course I really don't *need* any more fabric.

I picked some up today using the gift card I won at the fair. I had to restrain myself on some fabrics because I knew they were going to be going on sale soon. In fact, I have a coupon for 40 percent off a fabric purchase. I found some adorable retro owls. I may buy about 6 yards in one cut since I know the girls are going to want matchies out of it. Much better to do it with the 40 percent off.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The end of the fair...

The fair ended with a whimper, not a bang. We were really hoping to really do it up with our great chicken recipes Saturday night, but it seems that the stars were aligned against us. I think Mercury is still in retrograde hahaha

We didn't even make it to the chicken cook off. As we were attempting to leave our horrible failure of the sweetened condensed milk bake off, my van wouldn't start. This isn't that uncommon when the kids leave all the lights on in the van. I was parked next to a police officer who kindly gave me a jump. The van went about three feet backwards before dying again. After a few more tries at getting it going, it became painfully clear the alternator was no longer alternating, or whatever it does. I had to call a tow truck, or wrecker as they are called here in the south, and hauled the van the entire five blocks home.

On the bright side, we did take home two additional ribbons for sewing. I'll have to post pictures of the outfits that won later. But, we did take a third place ribbon for under 6 special occasions outfit. The dress that won, was a small black and floral Mary Englebreit fabric ottobre pattern which was very easy to put together and not the pain in the rear Hillary pattern. We also received a FIRST place ribbon for another pattern from otto. I swear, I'm only entering otto sewing at the fair next year. I probably got bonus points for the the French Seams and the fact that I was able to do them on a curved edge, which supposedly is very difficult. So, Yay me LOL

Friday, October 10, 2008

Great Spam Cookoff...Spam recipes included!

It's sort of amusing, when I told the kids there was a Spam cooking contest at the fair they looked confused. At first I thought it was because they'd never heard of Spam before, however, they were trying to figure out how to cook junk e-mails.

Once I explained that it was a canned meat, they were willing to give it a try.

Alex is really in to wrap sandwiches right now, so his choice was fairly easy. Teriyaki Spam Wraps. You place a couple tablespoons of your favorite teriyaki sauce on a wrap, add Spam, some green leaves (Alex prefers spinach) and some pineapple, wrap up and enjoy. It's too bad the judges didn't enjoy it.



While I was overseeing Leelee's creation, Alex spent his time on the computer researching Spam and it's history and obscure facts. Alex may not be the greatest artist or kid chef, the child is a sponge for useless information. He's going to be great on Jeopardy! one day. At the competition, the audience could win prizes for answering Spam trivia. Of course Alex knew pretty much all the answers. He won a Spam shirt and then began telling other people the answers to questions so they could win. LOL

Leelee wanted to do some sort of Spam sushi. After thinking about it, we decided judges in the south probably wouldn't be too keen on eating much of anything wrapped in seaweed. We had to come up with a plan B. She really wanted to keep it Asian and settled on Spam potstickers.



They look pretty tasty, like something you'd want to eat even if you didn't know it was filled with Spam instead of pork or chicken. The recipe was incredibly easy. The sauce recipe is one of the best gyoza sauce recipes we've found. It is just the right amount of sweet and quite thick. You can't even taste the Spam in the recipe, which, IMO is a huge bonus. The judges agreed and Leelee won third place!




Spam Pot Stickers

2C shredded cabbage
5 green onions
1 can Spam, run through a food processor to resemble mush
package of wonton wrappers
1/4 C water
1T sesame oil
1T veg oil

Heat sesame oil in a pan. Add shredded cabbage and onions and cook for 2 minutes. Toss in the spam and cook until cabbage begins to wilt.

Place 1T of spam mix in middle of wonton wrapper. moisten the edges and seal. Put 1T veg oil in another fry pan. Fry potstickers on each side. At the end of cooking, add 1/4 C water cover pan and steam.

Serve with:
Simple Gyoza Dipping Sauce Recipe
2 Tbsp sesame seed oil
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
2 tsp fresh minced ginger
1 Tbsp finely chopped scallions

In a small pot stir brown sugar and sesame seed oil over med-low heat until sugar melts. Stir in teriyaki sauce and ginger and bring to a simmer. Take off heat. Pour into a sauce bowl and sprinkle with scallions. Serve with gyoza.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fun At the Fair...pumpkins!

We've been crazy busy at our house with the fair. Yesterday was the best day so far. The kids had the day off from school and were entered in several contests. We ended up with three very happy children and one rather sad one. But, that happens sometimes. We're trying to show him what he is good at...like useless trivia...I'll get to that a bit further down.

First, the kids participated in a no carve pumpkin contest. We didn't have the camera with us, so we were stuck with cell phone pictures. Kari spent nearly an hour putting spots on this ladybug. She won third place in the "wee ones" division, which is for kids 7 and under. They didn't put her pumpkin up correctly in the display, but well...Kari just turned 5 and did her very very best...



Ben also competed in the "wee ones." He spent a lot of time decorating Harry Potter. He won first place! Some of the paint got smeared in the transport to the display window.




Leelee was in the older kids division. She made Wilbur and attached to the top is Charlotte and her web with the words "some pig." She took third place!



Alex did his very best in making R2D2. But I guess the fair people aren't big Star Wars fans. He didn't place :(

I kept telling the kids how important it was to just have fun. It's not about the ribbons or the prizes, it's the memories and the fun. Hopefully the message sinks in.

That evening we did the Great American Spam Cookoff competition. I'll write on that tomorrow. We're taking a break from competitions today and tomorrow, it's Pie Day at the Fair. I'm entering Nutella Banana Pie. If I don't win, I can share the recipe with you all...so I guess you better hope you don't see the recipe posted hahaha. We'll only be posting *one* of our two Spam recipes. :) Too bad you are stuck with only the losing recipes!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sassy Apron Swap...Fall

i decided I needed just one more thing on my plate and signed up for an apron swap. I like aprons a lot so it seemed like a great idea. I sent the halloween themed apron I created off to a lucky recipient in New Mexico and I finally got my apron yesterday. Leelee decided it fit much better on her than me and was much more her coloring and since i have so many aprons, I really needed to give this one to her.

Yes, I know it's only a matter of time before we're having this same conversation about my shoes. She'll be 10 next month and wears a size 6 in women's. I wear an 8. We have giant feet in our family. Alex (11) wears a 10 in men's. My husband wears a 10.5. I am hoping Alex is like a puppy and will just grow in to his feet rather than those boats keep on growing.

So here's a picture of Leelee modeling my...uhh... her new apron. And yes, it does fit her a bit better than me. I hate it when she's right.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

something interesting

I wish I had something interesting to say or post, but I don't. The fair is starting tomorrow, so we're just focusing on getting things ready. Have to bake some cupcakes for the cupcake decorating Saturday. Oh, and I decided to enter the biscuit contest. No real reason. I'm making cheese biscuits using pepper jack. I'll post the recipe once I iron out the kinks.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Menu Plan Monday



This week isn't all that exciting. Of course it's never that exciting around here LOL

Monday: Taco Pockets

Tuesday: Ham and potatoes

Wednesday: chicken curry

Thursday: Zucchini Ham and Potato Soup

Friday: breakfast for dinner... not sure what we're doing this week. maybe some real homemade french toast

it's been requested by a certain mini aspiring chef that I make some Strawberry Pudding and clotted cream so I may give that a whirl. She is just completely obsessed with Alton Brown. She credits him with helping her receive an honorable mention in the science fair last year with her demonstration and scientific explanation of why onions make you cry. I have no idea what we're going to come up with to top that this year.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

tagged for a meme

I was tagged for a meme by the author of Aunt Daisy's Cottage a great little blog that has crafts, decorating and all the stuff I never seem to get around to doing :) Go check her out.

I am supposed to tell you seven things you may not know about me. Hmmm

1. I hate spiders

2. I am a reality TV junkie. OK, so you may already know that, but I love to watch shows like Ghost Hunters and A Haunting

3. Which leads to the fact that my home was built on an old cememtery. The graves that were marked were moved. A half dozen graves remain and are visible from our front door.

4. I do not believe in ghosts

5. Watcher in the Woods is my all time favorite scary movie, even tho it is a Disney movie. It's freaky. Trust me.

6. My other favorite Disney movie that I can watch over and over is Lilo and Stitch.

7. The last movie I saw in theaters was Wall-E.

I'm tagging the following ladies:

1. My SIL Shannon who will probably get around to doing this in a week or two LOL

2. Victoria at Sew Inspired

3. Necessary Chocolate

4. The Plaid Post

5. Michelle's blog

6. Tara's Blog...mama mojo

7. and finally Better Full than Empty

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesday

It's Tuesday. Time to really crack down this week on getting our entries together for the fair. I am turning the display entries in this Saturday. The kids better get crackin' on their entries! I don't think we are going to be able to get a scarecrow together by Saturday. It's disappointing, but we're just running out of time to do it properly.

Tonight is Enrichment meeting. I missed the official announcement of what is actually supposed to happen. I know it's something about crafts and card making and preparing for the holidays. I have boxes full of homemade greeting cards so I really don't need to go to make more. I do plan on bringing fabric, tracing papers and patterns and just to a massive precut of the outfits I'm entering in the sewing contests next week.

I'm feeling pretty good about it not being 11 a.m. and already having dinner in the crockpot. My recipe for chicken and dumplings isn't all that earth shattering. And since dumplings in the crockpot are a bit more difficult, I do them in a big pot on the stove.

OK...so the recipe, with my oh-so-exact measurements

place all in the crockpot:

1 bay leaf
2 big pinches of kosher salt
several turns of the pepper grinder
3-4 stalks of celery including leaves, chopped
1 small onion chopped
1-2 carrots, chopped
a bunch of potatoes cut in large chunks. I use enough to get a double layer on the bottom of my oval crockpot
4 chicken thighs
cover with water

cook on low all day.

towards the end of the cooking, you're going to pull off 3-4 cups of broth into a big pot. You may or may not want to replace the water in teh crockpot. Depends on how many you are feeding. Since I'm feeding an army, i replace the water.

Dumpling recipe

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 scant cup milk or water
handful of parsley, chopped
2 T sugar

Mix dry ingredients and parsley; stir in milk or water gradually to make a soft dough. Drop by spoonful into boiling salted water or simmering stew. Cover tightly. Cook 10 to 15 minutes before lifting cover. Test for doneness. Drain. Serve at once.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Menu Plan Monday + an organizational tip



So this week's menu is a lot of leftovers of things we didn't eat last week. I am trying to clear out the fridge, freezer and pantry so I can do a really good cleaning without fear of Miss Dumps-Everything-Out making a ginormous mess in my kitchen.

Monday: Spaghetti

Tuesday: Crockpot chicken and dumplings

Wednesday: Pad Thai from a box

Thursday: Ham and Scalloped Potatoes

Friday: Breakfast for dinner (kids choice)

Saturday is grocery day this week and I'll be making a new menu for next week based on what's on sale.

OK, now for my earth shattering big organizational tip. Are you ready? Good.

I'm short. This isn't a newsflash to those who know me IRL, but online people, I'm short. I also have tall cabinets. This is not a good combination. I'm constantly after D to get things down for me. The other alternative is standing on a chair but that requires far more effort on my part.

To solve this problem of making my spices easily accessible, I purchased three of these plastic cube boxes for storing CDs from the dollar store. I labeled one for SPICES and put all the spices I use for cooking in it. The other is labeled BAKING and contains things like food coloring, cinnamon, vanilla, etc. I also have one specifically for seasoned vinegars and oils. When it's time to cook or bake, I just pull down one box and rummage through. It keeps everything so nice and neat.

Friday, September 19, 2008

braids

The older sister of the girl across the street asked if she could braid the 9 yo's hair. She's been wanting hair like her best friend for awhile, so how could I say no? I haven't done it because I don't have the patience to sit there and braid for *hours* at a time.

She sat for more than an hour and a half and they are only half way done. She goes back tomorrow morning to finish.

Leelee is beyond thrilled and wants to keep them in long term. I would have preferred them going down straight but she wanted them to the side... with this being a three hour project, that is the way they are going to stay for now!






Thursday, September 18, 2008

best laid plans

It's only Thursday and my meal planning has gone right out the window LOL

I went to WalMart for groceries this week and walked out without quite a bit on my list. First, I was excited to see oranges at a very reasonable 74 cents/lb. I got to the checkout to find out they were 74 cents EACH! And these weren't big oranges. These were the small ones not much bigger than a mandarin orange. Second, the potatoes on my list...I didn't even buy those. They wanted $7.95 for a FIVE lb bag of potatoes! That's highway robbery.

Today at Costco, I picked up a 10 lb bag of potatoes for $6. Much more reasonable, especially since they were baby reds. I also found boxes of pad thai for 3.95. The bad news at Costco is the extra lean ground beef which a month ago was selling for $1.99/lb is now $2.85/lb! Talk about a shock to my meal planning and grocery budget. I need to pay a bit more attention to the local sales flyers again to make sure I'm getting the best deal. Or better yet, beg a friend to buy meats for me at the commissary (shhhhhhhhh).

Sadly, the taco soup, which I filled in my 7 qt crock pot didn't generate enough leftovers for an entire second meal. We used to call it the endless soup because it felt like we ate it forever, even from the freezer. I guess with the kids getting bigger, we are just plain eating more. We did manage to get one lunch and two other servings out of it, which was fine.

And, no chicken and dumplings tonight! I got home from work and errands at 3 p.m. and naturally didn't do the crockpot before I left. We'll have to have that another night.

I bought the latest issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray and found a great recipe for a German Potato Pie. It calls for a pie crust, shredded potatoes, bacon and sauerkraut. Of course I'm changing it up a bit to accommodate the foods I have stashed in my freezer. I'll post the recipe after I have it all worked out.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

100 days til Christmas? Are you KIDDING?

49 days til election day and 100 days til Christmas. You might as well just shoot me now.

While I am trying to focus more on being just a few weeks away from the Fair and not having all of our entries even ready, I still find little ways to remind me that the clock is ticking away on so many other things.

Like, the fact that Kari's birthday was three weeks ago and we still haven't even found a date for her party and Lizzy's birthday is 5 weeks away and Leelee's birthday is a month after that. Maybe I need a good dose of Christmas to take my mind away from crazy birthday party madness.

I was checking out some links to help me get organized and found One Hundred Days to Christmas a blog dedicated to helping you get organized for the holidays!

We already know what we're buying the kids for Christmas this year, but still, who doesn't need help for all the other stuff going on during the holidays? I will probably be working my seasonal job during Christmas plus my part time job...I don't expect to have much time to think about Christmas after Thanksgiving. Maybe having it all laid out in front of me with a planner will make it all nice and easy. A girl can dream, right?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Menu Plan Monday




OK, so I've been stalking a few blogs linked on The Sassy Apron Swap and saw a couple of the gals were doing something called Menu Plan Monday. I thought it was a great idea, so I'm participating now :)

I'm only doing Monday Through Friday this week because I can't think beyond Friday LOL

Monday: Taco Soup

Tuesday: Baked Potato Buffet using leftover Taco Soup

Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner...pancakes and eggs (aka mom's working at night and dad has to cook)

Thursday: Chicken and Dumplings in the crockpot

Friday: Taco Night

I know, tacos twice in one week, but the kids pick for Fridays and Saturdays and this week, they want lots of tacos.

We may make apple tostadas for dessert. You take a tostada shell and top with apple pie filling, toss on a few cinnamon red hots and shredded cheddar cheese and heat in the oven til the cheese melts. It's basically an apple grande. We don't have Taco Johns here and I haven't been to one since I was about 9, but I sure do remember eating these!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday Sunday

For the second week in a row, I've been home with a sick child. I feel like I haven't been to church in ages. It's a bit depressing. I have to go next week as I'm teaching in Relief Society, the women's organization at church. I've taught the third Sunday lessons for the past four years.

I really do enjoy the calling, but sometimes I wish I could teach a different lesson, like fourth Sunday. Fourth Sunday lessons usually have more room to play with creative ideas for teaching. I think in order to get a new calling, I have to stop wanting another calling!

Anyway, D's been going to church instead of me because he is Sunday School President. Apparently this calling involves more than just ringing the bell to let people know when to change classes. In all seriousness, this is a very busy calling as he's never able to sit down and does have to attend early morning meetings with the bishopric and find substitutes for teachers who didn't show up. And he has to be prepared to teach classes at the last minute. It's a good thing he's a great teacher or else this calling would seriously stress him out.

I usually make a very nice Sunday dinner, but like the last several weeks, I've just not felt well enough to do something more than toss a few things in a casserole dish and walk away. Tonight we're doing spaghetti. It's not one of D's favorites. In fact, he hates all types of noodles. He also hates cheese. If I had knows this when we were dating...

Anyway, I am putting forth a bit of effort tonight as I'm breaking out the expensive dough mixer aka the bread machine. I don't actually bake bread in it because it just tastes weird and ends up with that hole in the bottom. I just use it to make dough. I'm also one of the few people to actually wear out bread machines. I'm on my third or fourth one.

I'm trying to decide between two recipes in my favorite (and only) bread machine cookbook. Both are basic breads. One is a simple french bread that doesn't call for butter. The other is a nice Italian loaf...and typical...I just looked at the recipe and realized I don't have semolina flour. That made the decision very easy. Pain Ordinaire au Beurre it is.

I'm hoping to make some mini cupcakes for dessert tonight as well. We'll see...

Friday, September 12, 2008

project runway

Spoilers are up for Bryant Park. I have Korto in a pool. If I win, I win an obscene amount of fabric. Thank goodness her collection is actually wonderful!

I didn't care for Leanne's at all. It just seemed more of the same as to what she did during the season...but on the same token her work was always wonderful.

Korto always seemed to be the bridesmaid during the season, never the bride. I have a sinking feeling I'm going to take second place in the pool.

sewing lament

After weeks of feeling horrible, I'm finally feeling well enough to sew. I'm pretty excited because I have to clean out my fabric stash. It's taking over the house...or else that's what you'd think listening to D complain about it. I don't hear him complaining much when I sell my creations, though ;)

My lament is this: On one of my favorite sewing websites they are playing a stash game. You get points for whatever you use that you didn't have to buy. Not that I'd actually ever win the bragging rights, but it would sure be motivation for me to keep sewing!

I've managed to complete several projects recently and I'm really pleased with how they've turned out. I've even purchased some vintage patterns for myself that I need to sew up very soon because I'm running out of clothes. I lost so much weight since I had Lizzy that none of my old maternity clothes fit! I'm trying to find patterns that I could easily modify back into regular wear.

We also have the state fair coming up next month and I do plan on entering my sewing again. I want to win first this time and not second and third. We are entering several cooking contests, too. Oh and the family may make a scarecrow together. We'll see.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

More happy news

Things are going pretty good right now. Had a great week at work. I am really loving my job. I also had enough time to sew somethings up this week, which is always a bonus.

D is also having fun at work. I don't remember if I mentioned he's teaching 8th grade math this year. He's at a new school. We were a bit nervous because this school had a reputation, which apparently was quite unfounded. It's super close to our house, which is great. He's commuting a total of 20 miles a week! He's driving the van and I'm taking the car since it's more fuel efficient.

I have another job opportunity in the works that I'm really excited about. I'll post more about it as it gets closer. A friend is quitting her extremely part time job and is going to recommend me. This is a job that should help me towards my IBCLC.

The other fun news is we are very close to paying off our first credit card via debt snowball! If you aren't familiar with Dave Ramsey, you should get familiar with him! I'm really excited to see things start to pay off. We have set goals as a family and everyone is working towards this. People may think we're crazy for working all these extra jobs and never having any time, but we are really looking at the big picture...being debt free in two years.

We do well enough with D teaching, but we'll be slaves to debt forever at that rate. I'd like to be complete FREE from that burden.

Like Dave Ramsey says, "Live like no one else so you can live like no one else"

Thursday, September 4, 2008

not much to say

Just trying to keep up with things, I suppose. The hyperemsis has set in and although I am taking zofran, it's not really helping as much as I'd like. I'll spare all my readers the details, but suffice to say, I will be very surprised to find if I am gaining any weight despite my pooched out belly.

I am desperately trying to keep my head above water. I am off my add meds because I can't keep them down. I do well enough on a good multivitamin and omega 3 supplements, but the omega 3 supplements have this sort of fishy taste and well, that's not a good thing right now.

My brave husband is having to rescue dinner many nights. He's a good sport. I'm not making any of my fancy meals I get from all the great foodie blogs. We're down to tater tot casserole and spaghetti. In fact, we're having two variations on tacos next week...the traditional taco and taco salad. Tacos are one food I can reliably keep down. And as vile as it sounds, lunchables taco wraps don't make me sick at all! I think I've eaten more processed foods in the last 9 weeks than I have in my entire life.

I can't wait til say, Thanksgiving-ish, when my stomach should quiet down enough for me to enjoy real food again.

Friday, August 29, 2008

life in flux

I really do not know how moms who work full time outside the home do it all! There are simply just not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Even with four kids in school and working just four hours a day, I feel like my life is in total chaos.

This morning, I managed to get the kids to school in time, just barely. Even though I had lunch money in envelopes in backpacks, Alex still managed to lose his lunch money by the time he got to school. I looked all over the house and was completely unable to find it.

After running the kids to school, I swung by the pharmacy for my Zofran. I wasn't exactly dressed. Just tossed on some clothes and didn't have on a bra. My hair wasn't brushed and neither were my teeth. It wasn't pretty. I didn't care because the pharmacy has a drive up window...and much to my dismay, it wasn't open at 8 a.m. I had to drag my trashy looking self into the store to get my medicine. The only bright spot was finding out that a generic was now available.

I raced home and looked again for Alex's lunch money. I showered, got ready for work, changed Lizzy's clothes, grabbed lunch and out the door we went. I got to work relatively on time, which for me, is always a huge accomplishment. I set the clock in my van 6 minutes ahead to help me get places on time.

After work, Lizzy and I ran to the fabric store where I found some cute fabric for Kari's Halloween Costume.

By the time we left the fabric store it was already 1 p.m. and I had to be at the school by 2 p.m. for Kari's birthday treats. A mad dash home where I ate more lunch, fed Lizzy, sat down for about 10 minutes, changed my clothes and off we went to the school. Cupcakes and juice bags. Kari read a story with the help of her teacher. Kari is so cute and has been desperate to learn to really read for ages. Hopefully the snail pace they are going at school won't bore her to tears.

Left the school and ran three more errands. Made it home with five minutes to spare before the kids got home. Read all the important papers and directed the kids in doing chores. D got home at 3:40. I saw him for all of 30 minutes before he had to leave. He gave me a list of things he needed from WalMart. That was one more errand that needed doing before dinner. We were late picking up Leelee from school because Kari couldn't find her shoes.

Then I realized my ultimate stupidity was heading to WalMart at 5 pm. It's a mad house and the kids are hungry. It made it for a very fast trip since we managed to make it out of the store by 5:30.

Needless to say, I was exhausted and we had TV dinners tonight.

I still have about four sewing projects that must get done this weekend. And if you notice, not once have I done anything today that actually went towards cleaning the house! It's a wreck.

Like I said, I have no idea how moms who work full time manage to do it all. I am in awe. They must have some supermom gene that I am sorely lacking. LOL

Monday, August 25, 2008

Fay Fay Go Away

It seems like Fay is the storm that keeps on giving and giving and giving. Saturday wasn't too bad. Sustained winds of about 30 mph with gusts up to 55. We've been through worse. But Fay just won't leave already!

We had tornado watches yesterday afternoon but it was relatively quiet.

This morning, however, I was nice and snug in bed after hitting the snooze when the tornado sirens started going off. Tornadoes don't usually come on our part of the city, but Ben is freaked out by them ever since we had a bad one come through town in 2006. So I knew I needed to get moving to keep him calm.

Got everyone out of bed and tried to get ready for school. I had this idea that the storms would blow over quickly and I'd be able to drop the kids off and get to work. Boy was I wrong!

The sirens didn't stop for nearly two hours!

At one point the National Weather Service said the radar indicated a tornado that was over our part of town! That is soooo not cool. I herded the kids in to the bathroom and I finally joined them when I saw the rain on the ground blowing *towards* our house. We live on top of a hill. So when the rain is blowing up, it's never a good thing.

Thankfully, the radar indicated tornado never actually touched down. No damage to report so far at home. Just very very wet.

Weather forecasters are predicting Fay will be with us for a few more days as she has stalled over Mississippi. Joy of joys. I guess this means we're not in a drought any more!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

whole 'lot of nothin'

I don't know what is causing more difficulty in getting things done right now...starting a part time job or being pregnant. I am exhausted pretty much all the time. I work 4 hours a day chasing little kids then come home and nap with Lizzy, We get up for our nap long enough to do a quick clean of the house before the older kids start filing home from school. We get homework done and by that point, D is home and has picked up Leelee from her bus stop. At that time, we're now getting ready for dinner. Once dinner is done, I have enough energy to load the dishwasher and sweep the floor. i then go take a small NAP again. If I feel up to it, I'll fold some laundry and suddenly realize it's time to put the kids to bed. I am able to last about an hour past the kids going to bed before I fall asleep on the couch in a vain attempt to catch up on TV.

I told D that if we could get the house sparkly clean there's really no reason for it not to stay that way since I pretty much spend all my hours sleeping and the kids aren't home long enough to really mess things up.

I've found I ony have enough energy to really get one room really clean. Today, that was the living room. Let's see how long this lasts LOL

It's 230 and I'm feeling like I need to nap again!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Milk Noodles

I don't know why, but I've been thinking a lot about the foods my grandmother used to make when we were growing up. She came to this country in the late 50s and didn't do a whole lot of German cooking. She made a mean rueben sandwich and an incredible hot potato salad, but there wasn't a whole lot of ethnic cuisine she passed on. I've managed to find a few recipes here and there that grandma has said taste like something her mom used to make, but sadly few family recipes.

One I've been looking for a long time was Milk Noodles. It was something we had for breakfast. Sweet milk and noodles. I don't know what prompted me to look, but the internet is an amazing thing...

NOODLES WITH MILK

1 3/4 pt. milk
A little salt
A knob of butter
9 oz. noodles
2 well heaped tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Put the salt and the fat into a pan with the milk and bring to the boil. Add the noodles and simmer gently until tender. Serve the noodles mixed with the sugar and cinnamon or sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. Cooking time: About 30 minutes. The noodles may be served with bread crumbs and stewed dried fruit instead of the sugar and cinnamon.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

poor neglected child

Poor Lizzy. Every day this week, when we've dropped the older kids off for school, she's cried. She's especially been upset that Kari is gone. Today she cried, "Ree! back!" when Kari climbed out of the van.

Lizzy has never been without a playmate. She has spent the better part of the school days asking where her brothers and sisters are and wanting to know when they were coming back.

It's been a long time since I've had to entertain just one toddler. She likes music so we've been listening to quite a few show tunes.

We're going to the zoo today before lunch. Sadly that will only take about an hour but maybe she'll take a good nap after!

Monday, August 11, 2008

And so it begins...

The big push to purge! My COPE goals for today are small. I'm tackling one room at a time. Today, it's the living room.

1. pick up stuff off the floors
2. organize computer desk
3. organize closet
4. clean out lizzy's toys
5. wash the floors.

I'm keeping it modest but attainable. I also have to do the regular kitchen/laundry chores.

I'm really anxious to get back in to my rhythm again. but I don't know how that's going to work with little miss lacking a play mate. I may make some playdough and see how long that keeps her occupied.

Friday, August 8, 2008

yay!

I got the job! I'll start in about a week.

The other big yay! is Lizzy is potty training herself. She's been going unprompted since Monday.

My big push to organize isn't going as smoothly as I'd hoped. I managed to clean out the front craft closet and my sewing materials and moved my scrapbooking supplies in. All the sewing supplies that didn't have a home (in other words they were stored haphazardly all over the house) fit on the bookshelf with no room to spare. I left enough room for my lightweight sewing machine and my serger. My singer won't fit so it's still under the counter in the kitchen.

I ended up leaving the bookshelf in Leelee's room because it's closer to where I sew and I'm lazy.

Meanwhile, I have major sewing to get done this weekend. I have three grocery bags to sew for a customer, an apron for a swap, and I have a vintage dress cut out for Lizzy.

I should have plenty of things to post over the weekend.

I also have an abundance of pears that need to be baked up. I don't anticipate having a spare moment at all this weekend.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

WOHM?

Today I go for a job interview. I don't normally work outside the home except during the holidays when I take pictures of kids with Santa at the mall. I really love that job, but it's obviously not a year round thing. And, with four of the kids in school this fall, I've been thinking about having something else to do. Poor Lizzy has always has a playmate and I think she will be just lost without Kari.

So, I've applied for a job at the YMCA in the child watch. I know it may seem like a complete waist of my impressive education (BS in communication) but to be perfectly honest, I don't really enjoy sitting behind a desk. I do enjoy children. And, if I'm home I chase after Lizzy. If I go to work at the child watch, I chase after Lizzy and a few other kids. It's not really all that much different than what I do every day anyway; I might as well get paid for it!

Confession: I have this fantasy that if I'm working, even part time, that the house will be more clean and organized. I have nothing really to support this. Maybe it's because there will be less time spent in the house to mess it up? Maybe with me having to be some place every day at the same time, it will help me get everything else organized.

If the YMCA job doesn't pan out, I'm still thinking about substitute teaching.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Major to do list

It's hump day, which means the week is ending fast and all those things I've been putting off have to get done quickly!

Top on the list is reorganizing the sewing supplies. But like most things, in order to get to that I have about five other jobs that need to get done first. I just wish it could be easy! The big push then today is to get a prioritized list of what needs to get done in order to accomplish the big goal. I also need to put the kids to work doing the jobs that will likely distract me, such as picking up the living room and running the roomba. I will add that having a roomba is wonderful! I want the scooba for Christmas...it will mop my floors for me!

Anyway, my priority list

1. Empty my dresser
2. Empty one of the girls' dressers (not sure which one yet)
3. Move my dresser somewhere, not sure where yet.
4. Clean off small bookshelf
5. Move small bookshelf to kitchen (temporary)
6. Move one of the girls' dressers to where the bookshelf used to be
7. Move my dresser into the girls' room
8. Move the bookshelf from girls' room into my room where my dresser used to be
9. Refill dressers
10. Put sewing items on bookshelf.

I have a sinking feeling all of my sewing isn't going to fit on the bookshelf. Part of me is wondering if I should empty all the sewing FIRST and see if this is even going to work.

I need to develop a new system for storing my fabric. It's completely out of control.

The other problem in this is we're switching the boys' and girls' room at some point. But D wants to refinish the floors and do all the painting before we switch them. I'm just not sure that's going to happen. I may just pick a day and switch it all and do a major purge. They are going to come home from school one day and find their rooms all primed and next day, painted, I guess. It just depends on how much I can get done during Lizzy's nap!

Further complications will occur if I get the job at the YMCA. I'm really hoping things will stay more organized if I'm working part time and not in the house all morning :)

Monday, August 4, 2008

It's almost vacation time!

School starts back in session next week, which means my vacation is about to begin!

Don't get me wrong, I love my children and I do enjoy having them home in the summer for the most part. What I don't enjoy is the utter chaos that happens when you have five children and a husband home all day.

I have a very definite need for routine. If I have my routine, I'm very happy and relaxed and things in my life flow. It's wonderful and peaceful (most of the time). Summer with the kids, that routine goes right out the window. My husband doesn't need a routine and is very anti-routine while he's on vacation.

For me, next week really begins a vacation for the workload of excess laundry, running the dishwasher 2-3 times a day, cleaning the living room extra times, etc. I'm so looking forward to waking up in the morning, taking four of the children to school, sitting down to eat breakfast, surfing the net, and then starting on my daily routine. I can get all my work done in less than an hour! I can't even get one room in my house to stay CLEAN for an entire hour during the summer.

so yay! I get my clean house back in a week!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

kung pao CHICKEN mongolian CHICKEN sweet and sour CHICKEN...do the moo shoo

I'm betting maybe three of you are singing along with the title today. Every time someone in the family mentions any type of Chinese food, someone else breaks out in to this Silly Song from the Ultimate Silly Song Count Down.

Last night I made Kung Pao Chicken, so everyone was singing. It's madness.

I have to give a shout out to Suzanne who blogs over at Creating Post it Notes for her awesome Kung Pao Chicken recipe.

My kids' have very unusual tastes in food and I was really hoping they wouldn't like the chicken. It was so delicious I wanted to save it all for myself (I planned to share with D, at least). But sadly, my kids loved it. They loved it so much, I barely got any at all. They left me with the peanuts and a few pieces of chicken. It was really not fair at all!

I suppose it's good my kids like a wide variety of foods, including spicy things. I almost think me telling the kids ahead of time they probably won't like it makes them want to like it.

I'm on the hunt for more delicious recipes to share with my readers. I've been so obsessed with food lately that I've neglected my other hobbies. This happens frequently with ADD. I start to hyper focus. On the plus side, I've been spending so much time looking at recipes that nothing actually sounds good to eat, so it really helped with the weight loss.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pie hopes

I'm a glutton for punishment. Today we had our pioneer day celebration at church and one activity was a pie contest. I don't really know what possessed me to attempt a pie. Stupidity? Denial? Momentary lapse of judgment?

I thought with the help of Alton Brown I could surely make a delicious pie. After all, every other recipe of his has been an absolute success.

But, I forgot that pies and I don't get along.

I can, and have, ruined every single pie I have participated in making. I've ruined them from scratch, ruined pre-packaged crusts, graham cracker crusts; it doesn't matter. Two Thanksgivings ago, I ruined the Mrs. Smith's pies we bought from the store! All I did was check on them in the oven. And somehow, they ended up burned.

It has been requested that I never attempt pie baking ever again.

But, this time I came armed with Alton Brown and an absolute no fail pie crust. I've managed to not screw up this particular pie crust recipe. Naturally, that means the filling for my pie was going to be a complete and utter failure. And, thanks to the humidity, my lemon meringue pie was pudding by the time we got to the church. It was beyond awful. We ended up throwing it away.

On the bright side, I also made Paula Dean's Coleslaw and it was an amazing success. I'm not a coleslaw person but I even liked this. The other coleslaws on the buffet table weren't touched til mine was gone! I changed the recipe up a bit by substituting zucchini for the carrot and red onion for the green.

And because I'm a complete glutton for punishment, I decided to try to make another pie to use of the rest of the pie crust dough. Rolling out pie crust in humidity is not fun. I do not know how southern bakers do it and keep a smile on their faces!

This time, I returned to allrecipes and picked the most highly rated apple pie I could find. Surely with nearly 1500 reviews all with five stars, even I could do it. I read the reviews and added 1/4 t cinnamon and 1 t vanilla to the syrup and used a crumb topping instead of lattice because I was out of crust. I cooked it at 425 for 10 minutes, then 350 for 30 minutes.

And...drumroll...it WORKED! I made a pie that was edible. To be truthful, it was more than just edible. It was absolutely the best apple pie I've *ever* had. The filling didn't ooze out. the crust was tender and flakey. And D asked for seconds. Heck, the kids asked for seconds, too!

I think with my small changes, I may just enter this pie in to the fair in October!

Friday, July 25, 2008

That's My Kid!

The school was running a program this week where for $5 you could send your kids to school from 8-11 to get a "jumpstart" on the new year. School actually starts on Aug 11.

Kari *really* wanted to go and for $5, it was totally worth it.

Today they had a program to show to the parents what they've been doing. The kindies stood on the stage and sang a song. One little girl looked like she was going to throw up, she was so scared. LOL

Next, the kids got a chance to tell what they liked best about school. At the beginning of the week, Kari declared school was boring because she already knew everything. She is very far ahead of the other kids, but we already knew that. The kids who did the program have the parents who are the most involved in school and the kids generally are the best prepared. Many students come in to the school not even knowing basics like colors. It's scary. But with this group of kids, the teachers decided to just start in on the reading program since they already had the basics.

Anyway, the kids are all saying they liked reading, math, shapes, etc. Two of the kids (including the girl with obvious stage fright) refused to say anything.

When it was Kari's turn, she marched across the stage in her little pigtails and said "My favorite part of school is snacks!"

ROFLMAO

The snacks at school were not typically what I allow my kids to eat, so I think this was why the snacks stood out the most to her. She said "But they were so delicious!" and she was so impressed at all the different kinds of chips they got to eat.

When we went to leave, I spoke with the teacher Ben had for kindie and she said "at least Kari's honest" heehee then she bent down and gave Kari a little kiss on the forehead and said "see you in two weeks!" and very quietly said that she just let us know our class assignment for the fall. YES! We LOVED this teacher and Kari would have been completely heartbroken not to have her.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

a bit of sewing

I have a new to me machine again. This time it's a circa 1965 Singer. It's an oldie but goodie. It's been very well cared for and in some respects is easier to use than my brand new brother that's currently broken. In fact, this Singer can sew through about 8 layers of heavy weight fabric without too much trouble!

So the new machine and I have been getting to know each other the last couple of days. I've managed to put together one dress for Lizzy and, in my piece for the environment, three reusable grocery bags. I even did some applique on the bags. They aren't very pretty as I'm still trying to work out the kinks in my design. So far, I'm liking french seams instead of a lining. It makes for a very durable bag.

Monday, July 21, 2008

My TV confession

I love iCarly. It cracks me up every time. I know it's for the kids, but i makes me giggle. The Pee On Carl episode called iWant More Viewers...best EVER. Check it out some time.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Yumm-o!

We're addicted to the Food Network. We watch so many of the shows and it's become a "girl thing" for Leelee and I to watch The Next Food Network Star together. We did the same thing when Top Chef was on and are looking forward to Project Runway next week.

This past week, the contestants went on my favorite day time TV show, Rachael Ray. I know some people can't stand her, but I'm like her biggest fan. Her cooking really fits in to our family's life style.

One of the contestants, Adam, made this BBQ chicken packed pita that my kids were just salivating over. We didn't have all the ingredients, so naturally I made my own version with what we had on hand.

Our version looked like this:

ingredients:
2 bone in chicken thighs
2 T BBQ sauce
3 T olive oil
bag of mozzarella cheese
1 clove garlic
6 flour tortillas
massive amount of fresh spinach, washed

Place 2 chicken thighs in a baking dish, drizzle with about 1 T of EVOO and salt and pepper. Bake in 350 degree oven til it's no longer pink.

Once the chicken is cooked, shred it up in a bowl. Mix in 2 T BBQ.

In a large skilled over medium heat, add 2 T EVOO and grate one clove of garlic in to it. Add the huge amount of fresh spinach. I think we used 4 big adult sized handfuls. Cook the spinach down. It really cooks down a lot, btw.

In a smaller skillet over medium heat place a flour tortilla, top half of it with a good handful of cheese and some chicken. Pile on the spinach. Fold in half and flip to brown the other side.

My pictures aren't pretty but i never claimed to be a food stylist. :)

testing 1 2 3

blogger seems to be having some hiccups today

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

brand new bag

The good news is I was able to create this bag/pattern before my sewing machine died. Yes, the sewing machine I just got back from the shop yesterday. The one I had to drive 100 miles to the nearest repair center to get fixed. He fixed the symptom and not the actual problem. Brother customer service is taking care of me, but I don't know how long they are going to have the machine. Meanwhile, I'm looking to beg off a machine from someone else.

without further ado ... my new bag

oh forgive the bit of a smudge on the lense. blasted humidity.


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lining fabric...once I get the beast back from the repair shop, I will be sewing in a button. I like buttons.



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the pocket. perfect size for my chocolate phone :D

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Friday, July 4, 2008

injury central

Thank goodness our insurance is now offering a nurse line so i can call when certain nine year olds drop kitchen appliances on their feet and the bleeding won't stop.

So we're doing some home treatment and hopefully the bleeding will stop as soon as she stops moving around LOL I know the dr would just dermabond, so we're going to see what we can do here first.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Four eyes :)


Ben got his new glasses today! We always said Ben couldn't find an elephant in the middle of an empty room...then we got his eyes checked and his vision was 20/70 and he has astigmatism. He was really excited to get his glasses but the novelty has already worn off. He's discovered that with big temp changes, the glasses fog up and if you have sticky fingers and touch your glasses, the lenses get mucky.

I know I'm biased, but I think he looks positively adorable in them.

Maybe he'll be better at picking up after himself now that he can see! A mom can dream, can't she?

This week has been the usual craziness, plus two. And we had an ER visit this week. We hadn't been since February, so we were due. Only two visits this year (well, that first one was a double visit, but it still only counts once). So overall, we've been very accident free.

Kari ended up taking a swing to the face and sliced open her nostril. The good news, after waiting a couple hours in the ER, was the giant gaping hole slowly closed up as the swelling went down. They cleaned her up and told us it was swelling and she didn't need stitches. I didn't quite believe the doctor, but decided to wait it out. This morning, her nose looked pretty normal. No gaps. The doctor took one look at my dirty from playing outside child who already, at age 4, has a file at the ER and the battle wounds to prove it, and declared that this would probably not be her last visit LOL I guess this is what happens when you send kids outside to play all day instead of keeping them cooped up indoors watching TV.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My clock says 8:02

My clock says it's after 9 a.m. eastern time. In fact, the TV shows that come on at 8 my time are on. So WHY is customer service not open yet??

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Mama ain't happy

That means pretty much no one in my house is happy right now.

I'm babysitting this week for a friend and the extra kids in the house is raising the stress level. It was all fun and games the first two days...today...the honeymoon is over and they are all trying to kill each other. Saturday can't come soon enough when these kids can go HOME. I love the kids to death, they are the sweetest little ones, don't get me wrong. But the fighting. I can't handle the fighting. Heck, I can't handle my own kids fighting.

My one escape, my sewing, is gone from me. My new sewing machine broke. I have to send it away for servicing. I don't know how long it will be gone. I can't call until tomorrow.

I got two 4th of July outfits done. Two out of five. *sigh*

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Confession: My oldest child is not normal

Yesterday, we're standing in line at the discount bread store and Alex began talking to me about gas prices.

Let me back up, Alex listens to NPR *every* morning. he's weird. I get that LOL

He thought it would be a great idea for the government to step in and set controls on gas prices like other countries do. I patted him on the head and said "You're becoming a little socialist"

Alex asked me why that why socialism was so bad. Mind you, this is a child I was having a conversation about the French involvement in Vietnam at age [b]8[/b]. I looked him square in the eye and said it counterproductive to our free market economy. :p

He said "oh" like of course every 11 year old boy knows exactly what that means.


There was this old couple standing in line behind us and they both had the biggest grins on their faces. You could just tell they were trying not to crack up.

We got home and the kids were outside playing so I decided to watch the news...err the Daily Show.

Alex came in and started busting a up laughing and said "Mommy! I get it! I actually really get these jokes. This is really funny!" and then started explaining the joke. He wants to watch the Daily Show with me now.

I swear, I've ruined this child.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

One small step

We love movies. We have so many there wasn't enough room on our entertainment center to store them all. Friends come over to "rent" from our DVD library.

We needed to do something...aside from ditching the collection.

Someone gave us the brilliant idea of ditching the cases and putting the DVDs into a CD wallet.

We have 170 movies!

eek!

But they are now in one case...woohoo!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

show off!


OK here's a pic of me...down a whopping 42 lbs! hard work, diet and exercise! the good old fashioned way :D

Friday, June 20, 2008

some good news and some great news

I had an appt today with my GYN to talk about the horrible ovarian cysts rupturing. Last time I went in to the dr the one ovary was orange sized and covered in walnut sized cysts. I had a cyst rupture a few weeks ago which prompted me to final get myself to the dr.

The good news is that the cysts on the right ovary are GONE and it's still enlarged but it's not going to be causing me huge amounts of pain. THe left is still covered in cysts, but they are small, so it's cool.

The great news is I stepped on the scale. I know, how great can that be :P Well, A month or so ago, I met my big goal...I had lost 36 lbs and was really happy to be where I was. I was thinking it might be nice to drop another 10 lbs by the end of the year, but I was feeling really just happy with losing the 36. It put me in the top range of my weight according to WW. Anyway, without really doing much rather than keeping where I was with diet and exercise, I managed to lose SIX pounds! I now weigh well within the normal range for my height and I'm at my lost since....drumroll....1998! Yes the weight on my driver's license is once again a lie...but a good lie...because it's higher. :D

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summer routine

Well, the chaos is getting to us and D has finally decided we need a summer schedule. Nice to have him on board now!

I have gotten so much accomplished already today! Yay!

The kids are off cleaning their rooms, which is great.

And the good news is D finally has a job for the fall! He's teaching at another yukky school, but there aren't too many non-yukky schools around here. He'll be teaching 8th grade, which is pre-algebra. Good thing because the incoming 7th graders are a real handful. The neighborhood grade school feeds in to the school D will be teaching at, so we've already heard a lot about this particular group of kids. :/

Saturday, June 14, 2008

about that list

I managed to make on pair of shorts, clean the living room, got to Costco and dollar tree, prepared my lesson and wrote Kari's talk. Oh well...I still have a few more hours to go before it's tomorrow *sigh*

Today

Today I've got several things I MUST accomplish
*sew shorts for the boys
*sew some church clothes for Leelee
*sew dress for myself
*help Kari write a small "talk" for primary
*prepare my lesson for Relief Society
*Create D's Father's Day present (we're burning some video on to DVD)
*clean the living room and kitchen
*organize my bedroom
*organize my sewing space
*pick up three bags of fabric from a friend
*go to dollar tree and the grocery store

No wonder I'm tired LOL

Friday, June 13, 2008

Je suis fatigue

It sounds so much nicer in French. I am so tired the last few days. I took a four hour nap in the middle of the day and then slept 9 hours last night. I've already taken a two hour nap today and I'm still totally wasted.

Before anyone gets too suspicious of why I'm this exhausted, I'll fess up. I have allergies and I took a small dose of benedryl. Me and benedryl don't get along. If I take a full dose, I will need to sleep for two to three days.

The worst part is I only get the allergy relief for a few hours. Claratin hasn't been touching my allergies.

My eyes are watery and my nose is runny and I'm sneezing constantly.

I'm not getting anything done around the house because I feel this way. Very frustrating. Heck, I even drank a dr. pepper to help wake me up and all it did was make me fall asleep.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Rock Star

I promised some pictures of what we found on our mining expedition. We had so much fun. These are emeralds and rubies. The largest of the emeralds is supposedly 4 carats. I am not sure it's worth what they say it is. I'm skeptical that we found a little rock worth more than $500 LOL



I believe we found most of the kids birth stones which means I will be able to use real stones instead of cheap colored glass for my mother's ring. It will mean so much more since the children found the stones themselves.

We also found golf ball sized chunks of amethyst, some topaz, garnets, citrine, aventurine, obsidian and tiger's eye.

Friday, June 6, 2008

And chaos reigns

This is a little glimpse in to life around here.

We returned from our spur of the moment vacation on Tuesday night. Wednesday, D had to drive his car and so we had to unload the tent from the van. Wait, I need to back up to that little story.

D is very much a man. He finds it annoying and slightly amusing that while we are camping I still feel it is necessary to bathe. Tuesday morning, I went off to shower (gotta love state campsites will showers!) and he decided to take down the tent without waiting for me. I got back and he and Leelee had it folded up and packed in to the van. They made pretty quick work of it.

As we are about to leave he asks me where his keys are. Oh, dear...I had his keys the night before and had tossed them into one of the inside pockets of the tent and he had folded up the tent and had packed it down in to the van with the keys still inside!

Thankfully, I had my keys and we made it home. This is why Wednesday, the tent was unpacked. The ice chest was brought in Tuesday night because there was food still in it.

Thursday I never really got around to unpacking the van. I tidied up a few other things, did some laundry and ignored the van.

Today, food was a priority which meant a trip to Costco which meant I needed to have room to put food in the back of the van. This meant we needed to at least clean out the back. And that's about all that got done.

We piled in to the van to go to Costco and there's still a bag of oranges, several books, towels, shoes, toys, most of a deck of playing cards, at least one suitcase and who knows what else still in the riding portion of the van. And, the portable DVD player is still missing.

I'm extremely proud of myself for at least getting the two bags of clothes and most of the towels from the trip washed! Laundry is sooo not my thing.

I had the living room cleaned until all the stuff from the back of the van was brought in to the living room. I bribed the kids to put things away but I still have a coleman stove, the griddle and an assortment of our camping cooking and cleaning gear in the living room. D said he'd put it away. I'm wondering how long it's going to actually sit there. *sigh*

I also wonder why we always seem to be able to pack up the van to go places and everything fits and when we come home it seems like we have more than we left with?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sometimes you gotta get away

At the very last minute, D decided we needed to get out of Dodge. The stress of the job search, the kids being kids, and a slew of other things just pushed us to the point where we needed to leave NOW. I was given just a few short hours to plan a trip!

Normally, when we go camping we plan for weeks and it's a well orchestrated event. Not so much this time. I looked on a map and did a google search and picked Helen, Ga. We debated whether or not to take two vehicles. If we took two, then we'd be able to bring all of our gear. We have a very elaborate set up that people usually stop to look at. It's very impressive. But two cars would mean extra gas and at nearly $4/gal, I guessed we could make do with hot dogs over the open fire and sandwiches and a couple meals out...and bonus, I don't have to drive.

We didn't get to leave early enough to make the campground and had a hotel the first night. Once we got on the road the next morning and found the campground no thanks to the GPS, we realized we were better off finding another spot to camp. The campground was not what we were used to. I made a quick call to Unicoi State Park and we were back in business. Again, it wasn't what we were used to as far as camping but this we could at least work with. Very small spots and up the side of the hill. Our tent barely fit. Our full camp set up would NOT have fit.

We had a few fun stops on the trip like mining for gems, tubing down the Chattahoochee and Babyland General Hospital where we watched the birth of a cabbage patch kid!

I'll be posting some pictures from the trip and more details over the next few days.

Friday, May 30, 2008

easy dinner night


Tonight I opted for something really simple because it's Friday and I'm lazy.

I adapted a recipe I saw on Rachael Ray for Asian Cucumber Cups. They were absolutely wonderful!




Asian Cucumber Cups

2 C shredded chicken (i made mine from the chicken left over from a batch of stock)
3/4 C cabbage
2 green onions
3 T honey
4 T soy sauce
2 t sesame oil
2 t chili powder
1/2 chow mein noodles
4 large cucumbers cut in to chunks and hollowed out with a melon baller

mix all ingredients except cucumbers together in a bowl. Fill cucumbers with salad mix and enjoy!

For an added bonus, I saved the inners of the cucumbers and tossed them with some rice wine vinegar and soy sauce and chilled. This is a nice Asian twist on the vinegar cuke recipe.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I hate summer vacation

I need routine. I need it so I can just keep up with all the things I have to do. It takes me a long time just to develop a routine that works and even longer for me to really get "in" to it.

Summer vacation throws it all out of whack. I now have five children and a husband mucking up my plans every day. Not only are they disrupting my routine, they are creating larger and more frequent messes and chaos. And they fight. And they won't help like they need to.

Needless to say, I'm not coping well. My house is falling apart. I can't seem to keep it clean and organized. As a result, mama ain't happy. mama is having trouble focusing. mama is going to blow a gasket.

Meanwhile...it's 1030 a.m. and *daddy* is sleeping still because he was up past 2 a.m. playing computer games.

NOT. A. Happy. Camper.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Chicken Stock and a casserole

We've recently added a new recipe to our rotation. and it's a real budget stretcher.

It may seem like a lot of effort, but it's really not, and you get a lot of bang for your buck.

First, pull out your crockpot.

4-6 bone-in skin on chicken thighs (I get mine at Costco for 99 cents a pound)
3 carrots cut in chunks
3 onions cut in large chunks
3 stalks of celery chopped, including leaves
2-3 over ripe tomoatoes
6 cloves garlic
1T peppercorns
salt to taste

Dump all of this in your crockpot and cover it all with water. Let it simmer for about 10 hours.

Once it smells really good, strain out the veggies and chicken and save all the lovely [b]CHICKEN STOCK[/b] you just made! In my 7 qt crockpot, I can get about 10 C of broth. I freeze them in 2 C increments.

This poached chicken is very very tender and will just fall off the bones. You can substitute this for any recipe that calls for shredded cooked chicken. You can also freeze it.

Chicken Tortilla Casserole

2 C shredded cooked chicken
2 cans rotel tomatoes (do NOT use del monte as it doesn't have enough flavor)
1-2 limes
1 medium onion chopped
1 bag of tortilla chips crushed (or you do like I do and put all the broken chips from a couple bags worth in a ziploc bag and save them)
2C chicken stock
3 C sharp cheddar
sour cream

Place shredded chicken in a bowl. Juice the limes over it and lightly salt. Add in the chopped onion and rotel tomatoes with their liquids. Stir together. Mix in the tortilla chips.

Put the mixture in a 13x9x2 baking dish. Pour the chicken stock evenly over the chicken mix. Top with the cheese.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until the cheese is melted.

Serve with a sour cream.

Depending on your tastes, you may decide this needs salt. I couldn't tell while I making it that it needed salt. It wasn't until it all came together so...salt at the end. Kosher works best.

I can also see adding a can of drained and rinsed black beans to this. Super yummy!

The recipe as it is, serves 6-8 people. It fed my family with LEFTOVERS and there are 7 of us eating.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Veggie Stock

As per Laura's request, here's how I did my veggie stock:

4 large over ripe tomatoes cut in half
3 stalks of celery, chopped including leaves
2 large onions quartered
6 cloves garlic, peeled
3 large carrots, cut in to chunks
1 T peppercorns

Place all of these in large crock pot. Cover with water. Simmer overnight. salt to taste.

It really is *that* easy to make your own stock. I got a tip from someone else to save all your veggie peelings and chunks you cut off throughout the week and use that as the veggie base for the stock. This would give a large variety of flavors as it would change each time.

I was actually out of carrots when I made stock the other day, so I added some asparagus.

This is also my basic recipe when making chicken stock, as well, except I add in several chicken thighs. Cooking the chicken this way poaches and makes it super tender. It's a fabulous way to get shredded cooked chicken for a dish and have plenty of stock. It really kills two birds with one stone.

Monday, May 19, 2008

From the kitchen

Today marks the sort-of-first-day-of-summer-vacation. The boys' teachers stopped taking attendance so there's no point in sending them when all they will do is watch movies. They can do that from home and I don't have to get out of bed or argue with them about getting ready for school.

Leelee has some cool stuff going on at school this week, including a field trip on Wednesday and her honors assembly Friday. But she woke up this morning with one eye swollen. D thought it was pink eye, but a nice dose of benedryl quickly proved she's having an allergic reaction to something. No idea what.

Now, I have all five children home with me and for one of them, the drugs are starting to wear off! My plans of cooking and sewing today are completely shot.

I did manage to make good use of some of the tomatoes. I made a very lovely vegetable stock. I was out of carrots so added some very pathetic looking asparagus instead. It simmered in the crockpot for about 14 hours and turned out quite flavorful.

Leelee helped me divide up the stock in to 2 C freezer bags. I explained to her that most moms don't make homemade stock. She is always quite surprised that most moms don't do the things we do at home, such as from scratch cooking and sewing.

A big surprise to me is D thought he was going to be eating whatever was in the crockpot for lunch. He didn't know what it was but said it smelled very good. I think he was a bit disappointed to find out he was getting egg salad LOL

Saturday, May 17, 2008

What was I thinking?

I don't know what possessed me. Maybe it was the great spirit of the Happy Homemaker, but I bought 5 lbs of soup tomatoes at the farmer's market for $3 today. It seemed like a really good idea/deal at the time.

I know I can use it to make my stocks, but I won't be making *that* much stock over the next week! And, I made 10 cups of chicken stock last week.

Now what?

I'm open to any and all suggestions!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Two biggies this week

First off, I hit my weight loss goal! After nearly 10 months, I've lost 36 lbs. It's a great feeling and I'm going to relish in my success a bit before I try for five more pounds. I'm trying to keep the goals realistic.

Secondly, my mother's day gift is what kept me away for so long. Hubby refinished the hardwood floors! They look FABULOUS. Friends came over today and the first thing one said was "Did you get new floors?"

Third, having company for dinner and serving a delish tortilla casserole. Will post the recipe with my modifications later.

Fourth. School is out very soon so my time will be much shorter as I have the children to tend to.

Fifth, back logged on sewing again. Oh well. Have to make a living somehow!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Teaching moments


One of the best things about being a mom is teaching skills to my children. It is so cool to see them grow and develop personalities and interests and it's even better when those interests mirror yours and want to learn from you.

My nine year old loves to cook. I've mentioned before she's in love with Alton Brown and will watch any program he's on. She watches Food network for fun and will choose various cooking shows over cartoons. Strange kid. She also loves watching Top Chef. Now that Project Runway is done, it's our weekly date. Every night at dinner, she comes running in and asks "Mommy, can I be your sous chef tonight?" It makes mama very proud. Tonight, there was actually fighting because my 6 year old wanted to move up from dishwasher to sous chef.

After dinner, we spent the evening sewing together. She wanted to make her teacher a gift for teacher appreciation week. It would have been much easier to buy something for Ms. S, but I couldn't let the opportunity pass to spend this time with Leelee. For this project, she got to use the serger! The apron was very basic and included very few things to trip her up. She did an excellent job!