Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pinewood Derby - Take 2

I posted a couple days ago about a video I had made of Josiah's Pinewood Derby Race. When I made the video I listed it as Private (thinking that - #1 my video making skills are not ready for the masses among other things). Unfortunately, I think I am the only one that can see it. So here it is again. Please forgive my atrocious spelling error during the end credits and my equally atrocious movie making skills. I made it primarily for Josiah's grandparents to see.

Anyhoo....I think I've fixed problem. I just posted it as listed (thanks to the advice of my friend, Cheryl).

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Unmentionable(s)

So we were watching TV. At least I was watching TV. The Studly Muffin was at work and Josiah was doing his nightly interpretive dance routine. That sounds a lot more impressive than running through the house, acting like all crazy-like. Back to the TV. A commercial came on advertising a local lingerie shop called "Adam and Eve." Josiah stopped in mid 'chasse."

"Are they talking about who I think they are talking about?" He said. Not sure where he is going with this I explained to him that the commercial is for a store that sells underwear. He gave me a strange look and said, "Are they selling Adam and Eve's underwear?" 

I looked at him a few times to see if he was serious. He was. And frankly, I just didn't know how to answer.  And then I was also a little squeamish with all the underwear and lingerie commercials to begin with. Personally, I am not ready for any questions about underwear...unless they are: 1) have you changed said underwear today? or 2) did you leave your underwear on the bathroom floor?

My grandma used to call them "skivvies." I'm considering reintroducing a movement that replaces all uncomfortable topics with nonsensical code words.

To my great relief, Josiah quickly changed the topic (as happens frequently). "Can we go to spiderman.com and stock up some cool spiderman gear?"  Turns out the interpretive modern dancing was actually Josiah perfecting his "spidey moves."


Monday, February 27, 2012

At the Races...A Pinewood Derby Movie

I'm in the video sharing mood tonight. Josiah took part in a Pinewood Derby race this past Saturday. I took some video and we had fun making the video into a movie. I posted it on Youtube, but it is not listed. But I thought you might enjoy seeing some Pinewood Derby action. You will have to excuse my Movie Making Skills. And my spellng spilllring spelling skills. There is a big typo in the credits and I can't take it back. This is what happens when you are trying to make a movie and cook supper at the same time.

I made this movie primarily for Josiah's grandparents to see. I love it that we can use technology to keep everybody connected.



News at 11. Or at least 4:15.

Josiah got a little video camera for Christmas.He is in the process of filming his masterpiece. In the meantime, I have had a little fun with with. I took it to the pool with me today with the intention of filming some of his swim lesson. But. As often happens with me, I found myself engrossed in a book on my Kindle once his lesson began. I did get this little gem. This is pretty typical Josiah. You can see first hand why it's easy for me to smile.I love it when he asks me if he is being "news casted." And another question. How did the chicken cross the road. Apparently, "why" is not as important. I love this guy.


Meal Plan Monday (And a little boot scootin' boogie)



I am linking this post up to Meal Plan Monday at orgjunkie.com.

Monday. Monday. Monday. Every week has to have a Monday. Yesterday (Sunday) I woke up feeling terrible. My temp was really low. I had a scratchy throat and achy body. Yuck.  I stayed home from church and spent the morning with a cup of tea and the Food Network. I still feel kind of on the 'edge.' But, overall, it's a much better day.

After all. There is This.



My baby did line dancing at Homeschool PE today. Another mom got the picture for me on her phone. His education is now complete. Last week he learned the Electric Slide. I'm thinking he needs to go on the road.

Anyhoo. It's already been a crazy/busy day. And it's not going to get any better. Swim/Water Aerobics/Homeschool. And the rest of the week looks to the same.  My Menu Plans have been a lifesaver! I'm hoping that whatever "sick stuff" I've been flirting with moves on. I'm drinking plenty of water, but I hope I have enough stuff in the Fridge my guys can fix just in case.

Here is my menu for the week.

Monday: Deli Baked Chicken, Crockpot Baked Potatoes, Salad. I found the chicken marked down in the deli this morning (one of the advantages of doing grocery shopping first thing in the morning). I can also take the leftovers and use it for a chicken salad for lunch tomorrow. The beauty of the deli chicken is that, while I could certainly buy chicken and bake it myself, sometimes it is worth it just for the sake of convience. I normallly don't buy them unless they are marked down. The Crockpot Baked Potatoes are genius. Josiah loves Baked Potatoes. We have even done a Baked Potato Bar some nights. I also got a head of lettuce for .59 marked down. It needs to be used fairly quickly...but come on! .59 cents!

Tuesday: Chicken & Biscuits. I saw this on the Food Network yesterday when I was home from church. It reminds me of a French Dish (and no, it's not Coq A Vin) that my mom used to make...In fact, it was the recipe that I requested on my birthdays are special occasions. One of these days (when I have a workable camera) I'll make the dish and post the recipe. This particular chicken & biscuit recipe is definitely more Cun-Tree (that's country for all you city folks). And because Tuesday is going to be our easy day this week I plan on spoiling my family with comfort food.

Wednesday: Crockpot Bratwurst with Peppers on a Hoagie.  I chose this dish specifically for The Studly Muffin. I found some Turkey Bratwurst links marked down (a little over $2) this morning. Wednesday is another busy day for us. I can put this in the crockpot and send it with him to work.

Thursday: Spaghetti. This is one of my go-to meals. It's easy to put together and is popular with everybody. And because I have a late Water Aerobics class I'll stick in the crockpot so all I have to do is heat the pasta.

Friday: Roasted Dijon Turkey Tenderlion, Oven Baked Brown Rice, Roasted Broccoli. I have a confession. I planned treating my family with Fry Bread Tacos last Friday for our Family Night. But by the time Friday had rolled around I was consumed with guilt about the Chinese Takeout I had indulged in on Thursday for lunch. And no matter how you try and get around it...Crab Rangoon is not the best choice for the healthy eater. Okay. I really wasn't that guilty about it. But I knew I need to lighten up my next couple of meals. So Friday night I fixed a Roasted Pork Loin, Oven Baked Brown Rice & Roasted Broccoli. The Studly Muffin practically licked his plate clean. He raved. And because I am need constant reassurance to survive I am doing a repeat. Except I am using one of those Turkey Tenderloins I found marked down last week. You can't beat 1.99. That's 1.99. Not 1.99 a pound. Just a 1.99. The Oven Baked Rice recipe is from Alton Brown (it's foolproof) and the Roasted Broccoli is to die for. I promise.

This is all I have. And that's okay. Just another little note. Tomorrow is National Pancake Day. I am incorpating into  Math/Breakfast/Creative Writing. Josiah could eat Panckaes 24/7. He's pretty impressed that the Pancake has it's own day!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pro-Cras-Ti-Nation (it's making me crazy)

Don't tell. I'm supposed to be cleaning house. We have our quarterly bug inspection tomorrow for our Apartment and while I am certain there are no bugs the condition of my dining room table alone might put into question my homekeeping skills. I don't want to traumatize the bug guy (or become the topic of the day at the supper table..."you should have seen"...).

Anyhoo. I've approached the Hot Zone Itself. My Dining Room Table. And from my vantage point I see that I'm in for a wild ride. Besides the wilting Valentie's Day flowers The Studly Muffin gave me, there is an assortment of books, homeschool projects, a water bottle (or 3) and a bottle of Real Lemon (why?). I'm also just a bit curious about the box of mac & cheese sitting beside the guitar book. Was this a big hint I missed for supper?

Maybe your house is pristine (lucky dog), maybe not (join the club). What I have found that when my surroundings are controlled and pleasant to look at I am more controlled and pleasant to be with.  Which might explain the big case of the grumpies I've been nursing for the past few weeks.

I blame it entirely on my schedule. And my son. And then there is stack of cereal bowls beside the computer that someone has been collecting while he plays his Tiger Woods Golf Game. I'm  not saying who it is necessarily, but his initials are Studly and Muffin.

Sigh. This is so typical "Me." I am easily distracted. Instead of tackling something (I am generally dreading) "head on" I find ways to deflect and distract myself (i.e. writing a nonsensical blog). I've done it all my life. My mom will tell you. She used to find me in my room sitting in the middle of a pile of shoes and books....reading Little House, The Hobbit, The Narnia Books...anything that would take me away from the mess.

So. Not to get all "psychobabble" on you. (I'm really not qualified...I never even took a psychology course in college...but I have watched my fair share of Oprah and Dr. Phil through the years...does that count?) Back to the point. I think that sometimes my tendency for escapism is a way to avoid the tough things or the unpleasant things. Goodness knows I've been forced to face a lot head on. And I imagine that because of that sometimes I give myself a free pass on the things that shouldn't be so hard (i.e. cleaning off the dining room table).

Here goes. I'm finishing up this post. I'm doing a spell check. I may or may not check for punction or grammatical errors (I never do so why start now). Then I am going to close my laptop. And take a deep breath. And take a big gulp of that Coke Zero with chocolate I got from Sonic earlier this evening (I had to go get that before I tackled my spice cabinet...I know. The bug man isn't going to care about my spices). And then I am going to start by putting that box of mac & cheese back underneath the cabinet. At least after I attach a post-it-with the words "better luck next time" written on it. I will ignore the perfectly lovely book I downloaded on my Kindle. I won't even tempt myself with a quick "internet look see" for all the latest happenings on Downton Abbey (I'm a little obsessed) or continue my campaign to get the current seasons of Dr. Who on my Netflix (I'm a little bitter).

It's on!

A Fairytale



My in-laws, Lonnie & Sharron Teague, celebrated 52 years of marriage this week.




Once Upon A Time (in a land where the corn grew high) there lived a beautiful girl with hair the color of a sunny day and eyes the color of a clear spring sky. This girl was a special girl. She danced. She played. She lived. One starry night. While twirling and dancing with her friends, she met him.. A boy from the Southland (where the sky is so blue). He had a devilish twinkle in his eye and a smile like Elvis.

So they danced and they played and they lived. They married on a cold winter's day. She carried white flowers and ribbons. And they played and they danced and they lived. And are still living. 52 years later. Together. In the land where the corn grows high. The End.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bathing Beauties


Happy Tuesday! And a happy day it is. Despite having to run to the bank early this morning (see yesterday's post), I feel productive today. Of course, the day is not over and my to-do list is long, but so far so good.

Josiah has his school work done for the day and we even had a viewing of "Mr. Popper's Penguins." We are reading the novel by Richard and Florence Atwater. So we did a contrast and compare. I love homeschool.

Later this afternoon we have swim (we always have swim) and then I am playing delivery girl for Troy's work. They are ordering pizza for supper tonight. I wonder if there is a tip involved? I probably shouldn't count on it.

(Cue corny segway..which is spelled "segue" for all you picky educated people) What I can count on (see?) is being easily entertained. We get our money's worth out of our Y membership. In fact, I am considering asking for my own office there. Not that they need to pay me or anything (though that sounds like a pretty good idea).

We are always there. I'm glad Josiah has found his "sport."  It has given him confidence and a whole new set of friends. One of these days (when I am in possession of a camera that doesn't require duct tape/takes a decent picture/actually works) I will have to post some pictures of his "skills." 

I, myself, can't swim. I blame it all on my overactive imagination. It's not fear. It's something darker. When I was a young girl growing up in the hills of North Central Arkansas (it always comes back to the hills) we lived not too far from Greer's Ferry Lake. Other than the "criks" that ran through the hills and hollers, the lake was our swimming hole. My parents tried to teach me to swim. It was going well until someone told me that Clinton (the town) actually used to reside where the lake was and the government moved it. Ack! I couldn't get past a town being where I swam. What if I stepped on somebody? After that I could only bring myself to stay near the shore. Ironically, it has been the water that has been a lifesaver for my orthopedic issues. I recommend it to all of my friends with similar "issues."

But, enough about my Crazy stuff. Let's talk about somebody else's Crazy for a minute. Last night Josiah and I were waiting for our Water Aerobics Class to begin. Josiah was waiting it out in the hot tub...and with him in the Hot Tub was a Big & Buff guy who frequently comes and sits after his workout upstairs. And he always sings. R&B. A little gospel. The acoustics are fantastic in the Hot Tub. I've been tempted to belt out a little Patsy Cline from time to time, myself. "Craaay-Z. I'm Craay-Z for feelin' so lone-ly." But (and maybe because I'm not Buff in the slightest) I can't seem to work up the nerve.

Anyhoo. The look on Josiah's face while this guy was wailing in the Hot Tub was priceless. He was mortified. I didn't know if he was worried that the Hot Tub Singer was going to ask him to join in a chorus of "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag," or what. It's possible. Josiah hates singing in public.

I also was privy (privy because I was the only one watching) to a very hairy man who did alot of hacking and snorting while swimming laps. Loogies and Boogies and Snot. That's all I'm saying. People! Keep your sinus infections at home! And BTW.  That is just bad manners. It ranks right up there with peeing in the pool.

And then there are those who need to cover up. You know who you are. Ladies. This is a public pool. Small Children are present. The sun can't even touch your skin down there in the basement of the Downtown YMCA. Good Grief! Find a swim suit that relies less on dental floss and more on fabric. I am tired of telling my 10-year-old that in all reality you are not allowed to swim in your underwear.

Enough of my rant. Not that I would even say a word to them. I'm still contemplating singing in the Hot Tub. "I fall to pieces....each time I see you again." Now that would be offensive. Fluffy woman in a stretched out bathing suit singing in the Hot tub.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Meal Plan Monday - 2/20



I'm linking this post up to Meal Plan Monday at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Ugh. Monday. I'm feeling it already. Some people have this President's Day off. It didn't happen at our house. And I got up bright and early to do my grocery shopping and my banking. Ooops.

Anyhoo. When I planned this week's menu I took a few things into account. First and foremost, Josiah and I have started a Family Water Aerobics class a few nights a week. Adding that class has completely changed our weekly routine. And there were a few nights last week I was lucky to get anything on the table. The Studly Muffin would have starved! (as if). 

I also had to consider the ole grocery budget. I did find some really good prices on meat, but most of the stuff I found takes a little more time and energy. So. I'm utilizing my crockpot this week and I'm doing some of my cooking during the day in between math, science, swim lessons and whatever else I can cram into my day. One thing about Homeschooling...Multi-tasking is a must!

So here is my menu for this week.

Monday: Turkey Tenderloin Sandwiches on Whole Wheat Kaiser Rolls and Salad. I got a terrific deal on marinated turkey tenderloins. I got a few so they will be making a return appearance over the next few weeks. Since our Water Aerobics class ends @ 6:30 and Troy comes home for a Supper Break @ 7 (during his 10 hour shift) I am cooking up the tenderloins this afternoon and whipping up a quick salad. That way if I get caught in the Hot Tub after class (it happens), Troy has supper ready for him.

Tuesday: Roasted Chicken with Baked Rice, Roasted Broccoli. Tuesdays are our "at least we are home some during the day" day. Whole chickens are a terrific way to go. I can usually get 3 meals out of them. I always brine my chickens. This is a link from Cook's Illustrated for the whole brining thing. It's magic.

Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie Soup. This is a lite recipe and a good way to use up some chicken stock I plan on making from my roasted chicken carcass. There is nothing like making your own chicken stock. I don't have time today to share my method, but I suggest you google "make homemade chicken stock." Alton Brown has a really good recipe.

Thursday: Crockpot Pot Roast with Potatoes & Carrots. I normally don't get to buy a Roast. They are usually not in my budget. But today I found one that was reasonable. And because this Thursday is a  "Are you kidding me?" kind of day, I needed something I could throw in the crockpot and let it sit all day.

Friday: Indian Fry Bread Tacos. This is a really big splurge for me. But I want to give my guys a treat. I have been actually making these for years. Fair warning: There is frying involved! This is our Family Night and it will make a fun supper.

Saturday: Who knows! Josiah has a Pinewood Derby race in the morning and that evening we will be driving to my Parents...I wonder if I can make my supper request right now...Ain't nothing like Momma's cookin'.

Sunday: Leftovers & Out to Eat. Simple.


I apologize for not having recipes for everything. I need to make my Turkey Tenderloins so I can head to the Y for class. The great/not-so-great things about schedules is that they often change. This is Josiah's last week of swim clinic, but will be starting Swim Lessons again on different days. How do you people with more than one child do it?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Pet?



I just had to share. This was Josiah's writing exercise  of the day. We are doing a unit study on Mr. Popper's Penguins. His writing assignment for the day was to talk about an animal that is not generally kept as a pet and why you would like that animal as pet. He's always wanted a Zebra. I had hoped our current apartment living lifestyle would have curbed that particular wish, but apparently not. I got a good laugh which I needed desperately :<)


My Pet Zebra



I love Zebras. They are cute. I have some toy Zebras, but I would like a real one for a pet. Zebras are black and white. Those are my favorite colors. I would ride my Zebra in my house. I would have to take it outside to use the bathroom. It would have to be somewhere they don’t mind poop on their lawn. Zebras eat oats and hay. We would buy hay from a store that sells it. Zebras are herbivores, so they wouldn’t like to eat hamburgers. I would have to keep the bathtub filled so he could drink water. I would like to kiss a Zebra. I know kissing a Zebra would be dumb, but I like kissing animals that are soft and don’t eat you up. I would name my Zebra Marty. Marty is the name of the zebra on Madagascar. I know my Dad won’t like the part about the poop and the kissing, but it’s the best I could do. It might be uncomfortable, but my Zebra could sleep with me in my bed. The End.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

An Honest Truth: Panic

It was a bright sunny day. I pulled my car up beside the gas pump and fumbled for my credit card. As I eased out of my car the smells and sounds of the gas station, along with the humidity of a late Delta summer, seemed to smother me like a wet blanket.  I yanked my cell phone out of my jeans pocket and hastily dialed my husband's office number. "I can't do it," I sobbed into the phone. My heart pounded so fast and furiously... as if it my burst up through my throat, past my crooked teeth and out onto the greasy pavement. "I can't think straight. I think if I go I might...." I stopped my train of thought. I looked out at the cars driving along the road in front of the gas station. "I think I have to go home." I could feel the curious glances of fellow customers so I slipped back into the drivers seat of my car. On the other side of the phone my husband's soothing words urged me to take a couple of deep breathes. "Just turn the car around and go home," He spoke gently. "You can lie down for awhile and rest. You aren't so far behind, whatever you miss you can make up."  I didn't hold out much hope for that. Just the day before I had slipped out of a harmless presentation in one of my classes on infant development. I made my way to a bathroom stall where I spent the next 20 minutes crying into a paper toilet seat cover. A friend found me that day, armed with chocolate. She had also showed up the day after I had lost the baby...with a big white bunny in hand.

That day at the gas station wasn't the first time I had experienced a panic attack. I suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after my car accident and the panic attacks were just part of the package. It got better. So much better, but whenever I had any kind of stress or change in my life they would creep back in....malicious, crippling, devastating. Before my carwreck I had coasted through life...I have always been phlegmatic and would as soon avoid conflict as anything. I never looked for a fight. Or tried to borrow trouble. But it seemed as if trouble had found me and not only assaulted my body, but had waged war on my mind on well.

I wasn't trying to get pregnant. In fact, I had been told it was practically going to be impossible on my own. I had done a few rounds of fertility drugs before my car accident...And then between the accident and heart failure (it had been a tough few years) my doctors had told me that it might be a good idea to put the whole baby thing on the back burner. So I thought of other things. Threw myself into work and school. Projects. Plans and more plans...none which included being pregnant. We had already been married almost 9 years. If I allowed myself to daydream about soft baby feet, onsies and playdates I felt as if I would never recover from the disappointment.

So being pregnant in the first place was a surprise. In the back of my mind I had the tiniest bit of hope. "This is how God is going to do it! It's a miracle." But there was also something else in the back of my mind. A wariness. And when I was put on bedrest after just a few weeks I started the process of withdrawing into myself. I started to build up a wall. Brick by brick in my mind. It didn't help. When I did lose my baby it felt as if I never was going to be happy again.

I did whatever self-respecting pastor's wife/daughter would do. I dragged myself out of bed, put on a happy face and started talking about "God's plan"..even if I wasn't so sure about it myself. And then the panic attacks began...with a vengeance. My body betrayed me. Again.

To make things worse, my semester in college that year (I was an early childhood ed major) centered around infants and toddlers. My classmates gathered around me....going with me when I had observations or even covering for me when I faltered.

My story has a happy ending. It was during that time of mourning that we were contacted about a little boy who was yet to be born. In a few short months we were parents. I was a mom. What a curious turn of events:<) And what a miracle!

Today. Just today I felt the familiar beat-beat of my heart. I could feel my stomach lurch and my chest tighten. There doesn't have to be a loss or a big event. Just a little stress. And if I haven't felt well. Or if I haven't been taking care of my body. Which I haven't. And there are those other little warning signs. The withdrawing into myself. The lack of energy.

I have been dealing with this long enough to have a few tools in my arsenal. Prayer. Seems like an obvious choice. But there have been times in my life I haven't been able to pray for myself. Been there? I'm thankful to have a supportive spouse. I also know to take a little time to regroup. I need some downtime. Some quiet time. I make lists and journal. I read encouraging things. I also treat myself. Maybe a new bottle of nail polish. Or a pair of dangly earrings. I drink plenty of water, eat my favorite fruits and add some exercise to my life. (Things are always better when I am able to move). And there have been times when I needed the help of medication. When I first started dealing with this it wasn't a popular thing for a Pastor's wife to talk about anti-anxiety medication. I am grateful that the Church has grown up a little.

I can't tell you why I was impressed to share this part of my story this evening. There certainly were other things I could have talked about. More pleasant things. But I don't want you to be sad for me. My story is one of triumph, ultimately. God has done a marvelous work in my life. He has given me so much to be thankful for. And I know that there are days that are going to press me down. There are going to be moments that are going to make me feel lost. But I know that I am never alone. The moral of the story isn't that I persevered and got what I desired in the end. It's about being vulnerable. It's a common human story. Troubles are troubles. And I'm here to tell you that you're not alone.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I Wanna Be....

I just had to share this. One of Josiah's assignments today was to write a paragraph about his future occupation aspirations.

Me As An Archaeologist

By Josiah Teague


I want to be an archaeologist when I grow up. Archaeologists like to discover and I like to discover. I would be digging up artifacts. Indiana Jones uncovered the Ark. He uncovered diamonds and the Grail. He also found the Crystal Skull. Archaeologists find missing stuff. It’s exciting when they find things that have been missing. I am probably going to find beautiful things. Let’s just hope I find silver and gold. I have a long way to go before I am an archaeologist. I have to go to college. Indiana Jones and paleontologists have to go to college. Indiana Jones looks good in a suit and a hat. I will get to wear a cool suit and a brown hat.

The End

Ironically, I wanted to be an archaeologist too when I was younger. In fact, it was what I wanted to before my parents made me go to beauty school so I could afford to go to college. I didn't  last long as a Hair Lady.

If I thought long and hard about the study of such things (archaeology and history) still appeal to me. And
if Josiah were not adopted I would attribute his fascination/obsession with this subject to genetics. Who says this boy isn't mine?

Josiah on his 7th birthday. He's 10 now. He was making plans for a career as Indiana Jones even then.



*Note: I do realize that we need to have a serious discussion about the "fiction" aspect about some of Indiana Jones discoveries. I wouldn't want him to think that all alien skulls are crystal :<)

Meal Plan Monday - 2/13



Woo Hoo! Snow Day! Not that it makes much difference for us. We are homeschoolers and everyday has the potential of being a "snow day." Which I love! For me, a snow day is a chance to cuddle, read, play...do something special and out of the box. Our school day will look like most of our school days...except we are going to miss our outside activities today...and I will be cranking out the hot chocolate and some snow ice cream might be on the menu today if it snows enough.

This was one of those great weeks where I planned my meals around what I already had in my pantry. I would recommend doing that from time to time. Some weeks our finances are such that I have to. This is one of those weeks, however, that the cupboards aren't so bare and I need to use up some of those great deals I've purchased over the past few weeks. I love weeks like this. There is nothing like having a pound of ground turkey fall out on your toes everytime you open the freezer. To me it speaks of abundance...and a few bruised toes :<)

So. Here is my menu for the week. I am linking this post up to Meal Plan Monday over at TipJunkie.

Monday: Beef With Broccoli. This meal is a carry over from last week. I had planned it for our Family Night (Friday nights), but we had a change of plans. We had a nice lunch out and then met friends at Panera for late night soup, sandwiches and some sweets. I love days like that.

Tuesday: Okay. Here is my plan. I want to get a Heart-Shaped pizza from Papa Murphy's to celebrate Valentine's Day. I also have a few other Valentine treats I want to make. Stay tuned. That is also a Swim night so Pizza sounds like a great plan to me :<) I always make homemade pizza, but I think I will take advantage of those $6 pizzas.

Wednesday: Crockpot Taco Soup. This is a lighter, super easy recipe.

Thursday: Spaghetti with Bolognese sauce. This is a lite recipe. I made it several weeks ago. It was a hit. I also found some pancetta marked down last night on a late night run to the grocery store for toilet paper on the way from church (too much information?) I'm excited to use it. It's usually not in my budget.

Friday: Taco Night! Friday night is Family Night and Josiah asked if I would make tacos this week. It remains to be seen what direction our Taco Night will take. I like making my own tortillas (homemade tortillas will change your life), but sometimes it just doesn't make sense.

Saturday: Mystery Meal. We commute on the weekends to our "other job" as assistant Pastors. Our Saturday meal is spent at my mom and dad's house.

Sunday: Leftovers and Out to Eat.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Smile Anyways

Today I needed to smile.

Every have days like that? Or weeks?  Or years? Bum-mer.

Instead of staying in bed with my favorite chocolate peanut butter cup yogurt from Brahm's (which I have not had in a year, at least), a bag of salt and vinegar chips (those are also no longer on my list of approved comfort foods) and losing myself  in one of my favorite "brooding" novels (Jane Eyre), I ventured out into the world.

I have been nursing achy bones and what appears to be a half-hearted attempt at a cold...And subsequently had made up my mind to put off any errands until Spring. I have a Kindle now and figured I could find "brooding" novels enough to last me at least until the Jonquils woke up.

I won't tell you what prompted me to take action. It could be that my son was starting to resemble the Wolf Man. Josiah and I hopped in the car and I took a coupon down to a Sports Clips not far from us. All the while Josiah was complaining that he wanted to go see our Hair Lady. We have a wonderful Hair Lady. But our Hair Lady takes 30 minutes and more gas to get there. Wolf Mamma is on a budget.

After his hair cut we went to a little Asian place downtown (where I had a certificate) and had a Mom and Son day. We filled up on Cashew Chicken, Beef Bulgolgi and Crab Wontons. It's amazing what a Crab Wonton can do for the soul.

I would love to post a picture of Josiah and his new "do."  But sadly, my camera has decided that it is no longer in my service. I'm not bitter. Not at all.

Instead, I thought I would post these pictures. This is a few years back. Josiah was probably only 2 or 3...so try 7 or 8 years back.  In fact, we were still pastoring a little church in the middle of our state. It was just after Easter and we had come "home" (at least, to my parents) for a visit. I know this was just after Easter because I had put Silly Putty in Josiah's Easter Basket. I didn't say I am all that smart.

This tale is a cautionary one.

Say, Buddy! What is that you have in your hair?


Isn't he a doll baby? Whatever he has in his hair is now also mixed with sand from the sandbox.


So Ama takes a look (Ama is what the grandkids call my Mom). Grandmas are the first and ultimate authority.


While it resembles Snot Ama thinks it might be Silly Putty. I immediately start sinking in my lawn chair. Silly Putty? Where would he get Silly Putty?




 Yup. That's Silly Putty.


And look. He's got some more to show us.



Papa tries to get said Silly Putty out of little boy's hair. Papa uses the "Scrub Till Your Head's Numb" Remedy.


It appears said Silly Putty is not going to come out that-a-way.


In which Mamma has to take matters into her own hands. Literally. Ama reminds Mamma they didn't send her to beauty school for nothing. If only to cut Silly Putty out of her son's hair. (It must be noted that I havn't cut hair professionally in 20 years...so don't call me for an appointment) I'm also noticing this many years later that Josiah needed his ears cleaned out. Did I check his ears before he had his hair cut his morning? Oh great.


Oh well. I needed a haircut anyways.


Sigh. That little face makes me long for those Silly Putty days.



But I have to say...this guy makes me smile. Wolf Man hair and all.


*We received word this morning that a dear acquaintance of ours passed away. Please pray for the family he leaves behind. Various ones have been posting tributes to him today...the words I have seen used the most have been Humble, gentle, servant, Christ-like. What a legacy! We know that tonight he is the presence of our Savior...He is no longer sick or in pain. Now that is a reason to smile.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Burn Baby Burn

We've all done it.

Well. Maybe not all of us.

Another Self Portrait by Josiah B.
I cleaned out my fridge this afternoon. I know it. I cleaned my oven last week. And colored my hair. But that is neither here or there.
While cleaning out my fridge (and buddy, did it need it) I found a bit of leftover bread (among other items which I am too ashamed to admit to). I can't tell you when I purchased it. Or what I used it for, but it was mold free and available. So I thought. Why not make some croutons? And why not share my crouton making method on my blog? 'Cause, after all, there are only a couple (or a trillion) recipes for homemade croutons on the Net.


I cut my bread in uniform pieces (you can even use shape cutters for some fun croutons).


See? Uniformish Shapes. Kinda.


I threw all my uniformish shapes into a bowl. Then I tossed them with olive oil, seasoned salt (I'm out of garlic salt), Parmesan cheese, black pepper and Italian seasoning...you can your favorite seasoning combinations. I used what I had.


Another bowl shot. My camera is on it's last leg. Currently it is being held together by duct tape. True Story. My picture taking has never been really great. Now I have an excuse. My camera is a mess.


So this is what happened. I put my croutons on my favorite Pampered Chef bar pan (which I have had for eons) in the oven at 350. Normally I always set a timer on my microwave. Oops. I might be the Queen of the Multi-Task, but even a Queen can have an off day now and again (mine seem to be happening more often)


Forgot completely about them. I won't tell you what I was doing while "waiting" for the croutons to crisp. But it had something to do with a Kindle.

I know, right?


And yet another self photo by my sweet baby boy.


Meal Plan Monday - 2/6



I really need to go to bed. Instead I am attempting to rid The Studly Muffin's computer of Malware. Whoever does all this Malware stuff should be drawn and quartered. I mean it. Or at least made to eat jello with chopsticks. My email also got hacked. So this all ranks up there with "you got to be kidding me." I've had a lot of those moments lately.
If you are a regular reader..(and I seriously thank all 3 of you that are)...you might have noticed I am in what seems to be a Mid-Winter Funk. Which is not out of the ordinary for this time of year for me. I am afraid I can be one of those "artsy fartsy" types whose mood changes with the seasons/hormones/or a good episode of Downtown Abbey. I am not so moody or melancholic....just a little crazy. And normally happily so.

Anyhoo. This time of year is pretty rough on my bones and joints and whatever I pulled, broke or tore whenever I had that nasty carwreck all those years ago. I have said this before, but I never could have imagined how one instant could affect the quality of my life...for the rest of my life. Winter seems to make all those pins and screws turn a little tighter.

There are all kinds of I can't change. But there are some changes I can make. I decided that this week I going to use recipes that have a pretty good amount of veggies in the main dish. That is one small change I can make. We eat veggies...I just want to increase our veg consumption.

So here's my Menu for the week:

Monday: Eggplant Parmesan. I found some lovely Japanese Eggplant at the whole foods store for a really good price. I also have some fresh mozzarella I got marked down last week. The recipe I am using is from one of my favorite lite sites. To be honest Josiah will not love this dish. But he loves salad and I will make him a little pasta to have with a few bites of Eggplant.

Tuesday: Oven Fried Fish, Baked Potatoes & Coleslaw. This is going to be a swim team day. So I want something that I can prepare pretty quickly. Plus, Josiah loves baked potatoes & slaw.

Wednesday: Chili with Cornbread Dumplings. This is church night! Which means I need something easy. This is a new recipe, but it looked super simple.  I'll post it if I like it.

Thursday: Chicken Marsala.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it. This particular recipe is a little lighter and a little easier than traditional Marsala. I also have some zucchini I got pretty expensively so I want to make as much yummy stuff as I can with them. I plan on making Roasted Zucchini with my chicken. I will also serve some whole wheat pasta. Probably.

Friday:  Beef & Broccoli with steamed rice. Fridays are our family nights. And unless I can talk The Studly Muffin into splurging on some Chinese Takeout this will be supper. Which is really okay with me. I love this recipe and it's really easy. And if I am so inclined I will make Egg Drop Soup.

Saturday: Mystery Meal. We are going to be at my parents so your guess is as good as mine. Sometimes I cook for them.

Sunday: Leftovers & Eat Out.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Confession


It is time to come clean. Have you ever had something you just needed to get off your chest? Well. They say confession is good for the soul so here it goes.

This week I have eaten things that have not been good for my body. Even though I am diabetic and I know said things will hurt me:
1 chocolate bar (I picked one up to put in a goody bag for my friend who is going through chemo...sorry, Lavonna...I'll get you another one)
2 Krispy Kreme donuts (what happens in Wednesday night Bible study should sometimes stay in Bible study)
A 10 piece chicken nuggets (I don't even have a good excuse for that one)

I colored my hair when I should have patiently been saving up money for my hair lady to do it...resulting in a a few tears (me) and my son telling me I could possibly scare little girls (he even used the word "creepy"). I know. It's just hair.

I cried at my husband (The Studly Muffin) and told him that I didn't think he paid attention to me knowing full well he loves me more than about anything. In spite of my harsh words spoken in self-pity he cleaned the bathroom and put away the laundry. I'm blessed he is my Studly Muffin.

I was impatient with Josiah during reading. It's not his fault that sometimes the letters look all squiggly and the words float across the page.

I put a small purchase on our credit card knowing full well it is only meant for emergencies. (yikes)

I could go on. But I won't. Obviously "my sins" won't put me in jail or jeopardize my relationships. But I won't necessarily make light of the fact that I need some perspective this week and possibly a "time out." But "us women" are good at the self-pity and wallowing in our insecurities and failings.

I'm not a good mom! I fail as a wife! I'm a pitiful housekeeper! I feel frumpy! I am frumpy! I look like my Great Aunt Jerry (and she wasn't even related by blood)....I'm a bad friend!

You see where it all can lead.

There is a scripture in the Bible that talks about God's mercies...and that they are new every morning. The Message version says it like this.

Lamentations 3:22-23

God's loyal love couldn't have run out,

his merciful love couldn't have dried up.

They're created new every morning.

How great your faithfulness!

I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over).

He's all I've got left.

It's great to know that no matter what today held. Or yesterday held. Tomorrow is a brand new day. God's merciful love doesn't have an expiration date. I will never be able to use it all up. And I know that God loves me and sees me for much more than the Older Than I Used To Be Frumpy Fat Housewife Who Hasn't Been Nice To Her Family And Probably Could Use A Chill Pill Woman.

Sigh. It's nice to know.


Rebekah













Fried Rice

It's Wednesday. And it's a beautiful day. But just because it's a Wednesday and a Beautiful Day does it mean that it's a Beautiful Wednesday. Hah! I need a little help.

Anyhoo. I thought I would share this very, very easy recipe with you. I didn't make it this week. A couple of weeks ago I did a blog post on using leftovers and other inexpensive ingredients to make a yummy Asian dinner (Vegetarian Egg Foo Yung). It was truly Delish, but in that post I also talked about making fried rice with leftover bits and pieces. And that is precisely what I did with this easy supper.


The beauty of this dish is that you can make it any way you want it. There are just a few things you have to remember. Cold Rice. That is the biggie.  When I make a pot of rice for any meal I generally make more than I really need. That way I have a nice size serving of Rice to make into a whole different meal. I have an almost full proof way to cook rice.

Okay. Since you twisted my arm I am going to give you my recipe for perfectly steamed rice. Keep in mind that this is for White rice. Brown rice is a different animal. Don't try the same technique...you will be sadly disappointed.

Measure 1 cup of Rice and 2 cups of water into a medium sauce pan. You can double or triple this recipe as you need to. Just remember that to use a 2.1 (water/rice) ratio every time. Add a dash of salt and place on medium low heat. When your pot begins to boil turn down the heat to low, put a lid on it and let it cook for 10 minutes. In fact, just go set your timer for 10  minutes and forget about it. When the time is up turn off your heat and let your rice just sit (with the lid on) until it's ready to serve. You might have to play with your particular stove adjustments to get it right. I have an electric stove. I put my burner on about a 4 or 5 to boil, then turn it down to a 3.

After I use whatever I am going to use my rice for I stick the leftovers in a plastic container so I can use it again.

On this day I decided I wanted to make a very simple fried rice. I had some leftover ham, pineapple and green onions. I, of course, wanted to add eggs...they are a good protein for the dish. And soy sauce. This is my new bottle. It's to die for. I also always add fish sauce. Don't be scared. Fish sauce is a wonderful ingredient. But for some reason on this day the fish sauce didn't make it into the picture. Oh and the garlic! You know I must have garlic!


Here's a good tip. Especially for Asian cooking. Do all of your chopping, dicing and whacking before you start cooking. Pretend you are on the Food Network and put all of your odds and ends in cute little bowls. I didn't want to wash that many dishes so all of my odds and ends are sharing space on the cutting board.


If you are using raw meat (chicken, bacon,etc.) cook them up first. Also any of your raw veggies...like carrots or onions. I had green onions on this day, but often I just use a plain ole white one. For this pan of Fried Rice I sauteed my ham and then added the pineapple and green onion. I put in a few good shakes of soy sauce and fish sauce and then scooted everything to the side. I made good use of my big ole skillet by cooking my eggs right along side. Put your eggs in the pan and give them a good scramble. I normally make my scrambled eggs pretty fluffy, but when they are hidden in a stir fry I don't care as much.

Here is another big tip. Make sure your pan is HOT! My wok is spending a few years in storage, but I rely on my big ole skillet. Hot! Hot! Hot!

Not a great picture I know. But you get the idea.


After all of my odds and ends were cooked I then added my rice. I just used my big ole spoon and separated any chunks. And then I just stirred and stirred. Now is the time to add more soy and fish sauce and any pepper if you are using it. I don't use salt in this recipe. The soy sauce is salty enough.


Put it on a plate and serve it up!


I found this fortune cookies at The Dollar Tree.  It made for a nice little treat with our easy Fried Rice.


If you are still a little nervous about making your own Asian Takeout at home I suggest you look at a few Youtube videos. There are all kinds of at home cooks ready to show you their techniques.

Here is my (general) recipe for Fried Rice

2 cups of COLD leftover rice
just a bit of oil
Leftover bits of meat (chicken, shrimp, bacon, pork chops, ham, steak)
Odds and ends of veggies (carrots, peas, broccoli, cabbage are some of my favs...I used pineapple)
1/2 onion, chopped or 3-4 green onions, chopped
soy sauce
fish sauce
2 eggs
2 cloves of garlic
a shake or two of pepper

Chop all that needs chopping...onions, meat, veggies....and set aside. Put your wok or big ole skillet on High heat. After the skillet is nice and hot add your oil. Saute meat, veggies and onion in the pan. Add a couple shakes of soy sauce and fish sauce. Pull to the side and then scramble up your eggs. Stir everything together then add the rice. Break up any large chunks and stir and stir and stir. Add a few more shakes of soy sauce and fish sauce and a few shakes of pepper. Taste to see if you need any more soy sauce or fish sauce. Feed it to your family.


Rebekah
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