Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Hugging a Valentine Balloon and hysterical because I told him we need to throw it away soon. It's 1 1/2 months old and just stopped floating the other day. He is adamant that we have to keep it forever.
This is a tantrum because on a coldish day, we went and played outside and then it was time to come in. He did not want to come in. I even filmed this tantrum to show him so he could see how crazy he was being, I'll save you from having to watch that.
This is the little boy that I want to be hanging around here.
(This is his super cute smile he gives to all the babies he sees to get them to smile at him.)
Friday, March 27, 2009
AND, the other day a woman from Rhodes Bread emailed me to thank me for doing a fun post about making Gorilla Bread out of Rhodes frozen dinner rolls. As a thank you, she wanted to send me some of their new products for free. Yea!
Fastward to today when the FedEx man knocked on my door (and I wasn't in my pjs ((hooray))), and had a big box for me. I had no idea what it could be. Then I read the side and it said perishable. This was super exciting, I've never received something in the mail that was packed in a cooler. So I got a cooler with dry ice and four packs of the new Rhodes Bake n Serv rolls.
The Garlic and Butter Rolls sounded perfect to go with tonight's dinner*, so we tried them out:
In a crockpot, cook 3 chicken breasts** sprinkled with Good Seasons Italian dressing mix (an envelope of powder) for about 3 hours. Shred chicken and return it to the crockpot. Add 8 oz. of cream cheese*** and two cans of cream of chicken soup***. Cook an additional 2-3 hours. Serve over egg noodles.***
**The original recipe I found called for frozen chicken breasts. The first time I made this recipe I made it this way and it turned out fine, I just used the full time so it was cooking 6-7 hours. But I worry about frozen chicken in a crockpot, so this time the chicken I used wasn't frozen and after the first 3 hours with just Italian dressing seasoning, it seemed a bit dry as I was shredding it... but turned out fine once everything else was added in.
*** Since we're trying to be healthy and all, I used 1/3 fat cream cheese and fat free, low sodium cream of chicken soup and served it on top of whole wheat noodles.
Congratulations! My husband bought the chocolate covered sunflower seeds for me today, and, well... we're supposed to be struck by a blizzard tonight and tomorrow, so hopefully I'll have them mailed to you at the beginning of next week. I'll email you for your address.
Thanks to everyone who entered. This was fun, I'll have to do it again sometime.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
*There's also apparently another product I found at Amazon.com while trying to find an image of the Urimate to post.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Strawberries were on sale at the grocery store last week. I love strawberries... LOVE THEM. Like I could eat them all day - LOVE THEM. And I remembered spotting this recipe in my Kraft Foods Food and Family cooking magazine when it came a week ago. And I knew all the ingredients from memory!!
This pie is easy. Summery. Delicious. Has only 6 ingredients (Cool Whip, cream cheese, frozen lemonade, sugar, strawberries and a graham cracker crust). Healthyish (I used 1/3 the fat cream cheese and Cool Whip Lite). And if I do say myself, even mine turned out looking beautiful.
*Both of these pictures are mine, but it didn't look this beautiful after cutting into it. We didn't have the 4 hours of time in which to refrigerate it until it set, so ours was a creamy pile on our plates. It does need the full refrigeration time, and I might even stick it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes before cutting to give it a nice, clean cut. And I almost forgot, it was almost too lemony... so I might use a little less lemonade concentrate next time I make it.
PS/Buddy/Baby XAfter Princess Sparkley was born I saw this cute idea on the wall of a nursery in a Pottery Barn catalog. So, much like I have bought books after seeing them on the kids bookshelves in a Pottery Barn catalog, I copied this little craft. I did it again with Buddy and used all four of our handprints (Mom, Dad, Little Girl, Baby Boy). The plan was to try and do the same for Baby X, but PS and Buddy's hands are only about 1/4 cm. different in size, and they aren't that much smaller than mine anymore. So I cut out their hands in cute paper, and stuck them in the innards of the frame before I put it's back on, so we'll at least be able to compare.*
*And to satisfy PS's cries of protest and unfairness.
**Sorry, I forgot to turn off the flash for two of the pictures, and am way too lazy to go back and do it all over again.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Overall, it cost just over $100 for 3 yards of upholstery fabric, a staple gun, two packs of staples, and ScotchGuard to reupholster 8 chairs and give our kitchen table and chairs a much needed, and much improved new look.
*As you can see, I need to get a new little knick knack for my table... although what is usually there is a box of crayons and the 8.2 million drawings or notes that Princess Sparkley generates in a day, along with our laptop. Originally I was trying to find fabric that was blue with a yellow accent to match the little jar on my table, along with my white and blue dishes. Then I found this fabric that I loved, so I guess I'll have to find a new little knick knack.
Chocolate covered sunflower seeds... native to Kansas since the sunflower is my state flower (I think).
And if you want, you can make these.
So here's how to win them,* leave a comment, any comment. Maybe about your favorite candy. Your favorite food local to where you are. How much you love my blog. Etc.TO BE CONSIDERED FOR THE CONTEST, YOU MUST COMMENT BY 6 PM CST, Friday, March 27. WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN AT RANDOM (possibly Princess Sparkley will pull your name out of a hat) and will be announced Friday night.
*I asked Jed what I should have you do to enter this contest (ie: answer a question, just comment) his suggestion was have you pay for the candy and the cost of shipping it. His other suggestion was have you bid on it. Helpful. (He would also prefer that the random drawing selects one of my local readers so we can just hand it to them at church.) :)
Monday, March 23, 2009
1. I would never be one of those new parents with only one kid who doesn't notice anything but the glowing greatness of their own one child (or several children for that matter).
2. I would never be one of those parents with an older child, or with several kids who talked down to new moms like I am the all knowing, all powerful, all experienced person who does everything 100% better than everyone else.
I hope that I am not this person to anyone. Jed had to deal with someone like this today who let their baby empty my entire diaper bag onto the floor during a meeting because their child "was really having fun." And "isn't he/she cute!" Thank goodness all my embarassing stuff, like feminine care products were zipped up and not pulled out for all to see.
And no one ever wants to deal with someone who treats them like they are inexperienced. Or maybe some new moms do want all that advice, but not while being looked down upon. I hate the, "oh, you started your baby with rice cereal at 6 months, that's just what doctors tell you. I started all my babies on solids when they were 4 months old and they are all geniuses because of it" sort of attitudes.
Please let me not be this person to anyone. If I am... I am SO SO SORRY!
I read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares and enjoyed it so when I was at Sam's Club several weeks ago and I saw this, I immediately went home and requested it from my local library.* When it finally became available (darn all those teenagers who read the books I want to read), I went and picked it up and finished it in a couple of days.
The title led me to believe that this would be some sort of continuation, or spin-off of the Sisterhood books. I thought maybe they'd do something like Disney did with The Parent Trap and The Parent Trap 2. The twins (played by Hayley Mills, not Lindsay Lohan) from the first movie, are the adults from the second movie and one of them has a daughter who is trying to get her divorced mom (one of the twins) to hook up with her best friend's single dad.** I digress. The summary page for the book didn't lead me to believe that it was connected to Brashares famous series at all, but it is, a little bit.
3 Willows is a similar sort of story. In this story, there are three fourteen yera old girls and it's the summer right before they start high school. These three girls used to be best friends. This is their story of rediscovering the importance of their friendship that once was. Polly struggles with who she is and how she looks and having never known her father. Ama has to learn how to be outdoorsy instead of bookish without letting her immigrant family, or her own hopes down. And Jo has to deal with her parents' separation, the death of her brother several years before, and whether she wants to be one of the cool kids or not.
How is it connected to the girls with the pants? These three girls are in the same town as the original sisterhood, and about to start at the sisterhood's old high school. The original sisterhood is legendary to them. Polly, babysits for Tibby's younger siblings and Tibby's boyfriend, Brian, makes a very very brief appearance. Another of the new sisterhood hooks up with an older boy who turns out to be Effie's (Lena's little sister's) boyfriend.
This story is sweet and innocent in a way that the Sisterhood series stopped being when the girls got older and there were pregnancy scares, etc. It's a great coming of age stories as these three girls figure out who they are, who they want to be, and how they don't want to let go of their childhood friendship.
*When Jed and I were first married we had a rule that for every new book we bought, we needed to put a dollar into a jar to save up for a bookshelf. That didn't work out nearly as well as we thought it would and thus, we have way more books than bookshelves, or house for that matter. So, with Jed back in school, no where to put all these books we'd love to own, and the discovery of a great library that will order me just about any book/dvd I ask it to, we are now huge library patrons. I'm actually very proud of the fact that all but a handful of books I read each year are library books.
** Does it scare you that I know this much? I've even seen The Parent Trap III and I think The Parent Trap IV : Hawaiian Honeymoon. All because I loved the orginal, 1961 Hayley Mills The Parent Trap so much. I used to be able to quote almost the entire movie. I even liked the Disney remake with Lindsay Lohan (before she became who she is now) and Natasha Richardson (so sad that she just died) in 1998.
But you should never judge a person. The title of the book Walk Two Moons (by Sharon Creech) comes from the phrase, "Don't judge a man until you've walked two moons in his moccassins." So, basically, don't judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes.
Jed has given me this assignment to write a book lengthed manuscript by our next anniversary. Unfortunatey, our anniversary is quickly approaching. I have one month and one week remaining and I've only written about seven pages.
This is what happens. Each night after the kids are finally in bed asleep I'm supposed to write. First the stuff I actually need to do gets in the way. Stuff like loading and starting the dishwasher, picking up the house, loads and loads of laundry, etc.
Then the other stuff gets in the way. Stuff like, watching Arrested Development : Season 2 on dvd with my husband, checking my email 14 times, logging into Facebook, catching up on blog reading, organizing all of my writing music into a playlist on Napster, then downloading more music.
And when I'm finally sort of settled in, thinking I really should write something, I look at it's after 11 and I need go to bed.
So this is why my "book" is only 7 pages long and I'm going to bed.
Friday, March 20, 2009
1. The book Candyfreak by Steve Almond which made me appreciate candy on another level, and made me want to try it all.
2. London, or more specifically Cadbury chocolates and Cadbury chocolate vending machines everywhere I looked.
3. My good friend, roommate and grocery shopping buddy when I returned from studying abroad in London. When I should have stopped my London habits of eating candy nonstop, I'd go shopping with her and she'd always get a candy bar at the checkout... a part of the store I'd almost always ignored before then.
4. My dad who is addicted to chocolate in all forms, but mainly semi-sweet chocolate chips and peanut M&Ms.
5. The yummy candies of the world (peanut butter M&Ms, Cadbury mini eggs, Dove chocolate, Twixes, 100 Grands, Riesen chocolate covered caramels, Peanut Butter M&M eggs at Easter time, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Nestle Turtles, etc.).
If you hadn't guessed, my no candy diet didn't make it through Spring Break. It didn't even make it to St. Louis which was our Spring Break destination. We were part of the way there, fighting boredom and falling asleep when I said to Jed, sort of jokingly, "we need a candy stop." We also needed gas so it worked out quite well for us that gas stations carry a wide variety of candy. We stocked up (something we really don't do... as much candy as we eat, our kids don't get nearly any of it). I even let my kids get their favorite candy (Buddy= Skittles, PS= Mike & Ikes) which is something they never get. I made a vow that the candy diet was off since we were on vacation.
Then we were in Chicago and Jed picked up Cadbury mini eggs at Target and I figured since we'd already broken the candy diet, we might as well indulge in the good stuff since it's only around at Easter.
Then we were walking around downtown Chicago and we passed a Fannie May candy store which a friend from Chicago had just told me about, so I went in and bought her favorite kind, Mint Meltaways (or at least what I think is her favorite kind) for Jed and I to try.
Then we were home again, back off candy (for about half a day), and I had a coupon for Dove chocolates (which I almost never buy because they rarely go on sale). They were on sale AND I had a coupon. Plus, they had peanut butter M&M eggs on sale for Easter and I love those as well.
So basically I've fallen off the bandwagon. I'll try again after Easter since the next candy holiday isn't until Halloween... right?
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Me, on St. Paddy's Day, in front of Lake Michigan.
Walking around with a camera is a good way to look like a tourist. Taking pictures like this
is definite proof that not only are you a tourist, but you're a tourist from a small town.
I like this shot.
Just before leaving out hotel to walk around downtown Chicago, Jed read in the little booklet/magazine in our room that they dyed the river green on March 14. This was bad news since Princess Sparkley made me promise we'd take a picture of the green river. Luckily, this bit of river still looked green.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
photo from travelandleisure.com
*When I think of the river in Chicago being dyed green I think of the movie The Fugitive with Harrison Ford. And then I realize that almost everything I know about Chicago I know from entertainment sorts of things: Never Been Kissed, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Chicago, The Oprah Winfrey Show, etc. etc.
When I told Jed my movie list, he came up with approximately 15 more Chicago set movies just off the top of his head. So here are a few more: Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Adventures in Babysitting, While You Were Sleeping, Breakfast Club, Return to Me, My Best Friend's Wedding, The Lake House, The Untouchables, etc.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
2. Dip the pinky side of your fist in green paint (or use a paint brush to paint it).
3. Press it on paper (a window, tile floor, etc. if it's water soluble paint).
4. Dip a finger in the paint and add toes.
There you have your mischievous leprechaun footprint.
Then we'd leave a note from the leprechaun in charge (Usually Patrick, Ian or Shawn) about a magic treat we left for the kids in the class. We'd take the Pistachio Jell-O pouches out of the box so it was just a plain white pouch and we'd leave instructions for adding however much milk was needed in the recipe. The next day my mom would pour the Jell-O powder (which is white) into a large bowl, and when the milk was added, it turned green... MAGIC!
Friday, March 13, 2009
in no particular order
Put laundry away.
Pack for quick Spring Break trip.
Don't forget to pack food for Baby X.
Don't forget PS's phonics workbooks so we don't fall even further behind in phonics.
And we should probably bring some math workbooks.
Threaten the kids that if they don't clean their room, I'll give away all the toys not put away.
Someday, follow through with this threat.
Sleep. Because Baby X was a nightmare last night.
Finish reading Evil Genius so I can judge if it's appropriate to give my 12 year old nephew for his birthday in a couple weeks.
Figure out what book to get two year old nephew for his birthday at the end of the month.
Write, because I only have like 6 1/2 weeks or so to finish my novella lengthed thing.
Read a manuscript for a friend.
Take out trash.
Pick Jed up from work.
Pay energy bill at grocery store.
Pay a couple of credit card bills online before Monday.
Yell at the kids for several hours after bedtime because they are still awake.
Bake banana bread since my bananas are already brown and aren't going to wait for me to get back from Spring Break.
PS's homeschooling for today (mostly).
Designed, printed, copied, cut and placed in closet at church the reminders for an upcoming kid activity.
Wasted time at all sorts of craft stores looking for stickers to fix the bad copy job that made the cute bunny slippers on the top of my reminder handout look like blobs once I copied them.
Unload dishwasher. Load the dishes from last night's dinner that didn't fit into the dishwasher last night.
Attended music class at church.
Reminded Jed to bring his paycheck home that he's forgotten at work for a week now.
Picked Buddy up from a playdate.
This year Princess Sparkley's Virtual School education specialist has little computer sessions with her. Our cellphone (also our only phone) doesn't have a speaker phone option, so I had to tape the earpiece into PS's ear. Notice she's in her PJs. This is the best part of homeschooling... although I wore PJs to school in high school a lot, so maybe that isn't the awesomest thing about homeschooling. Right before she got on the computer with her "teacher" she said to me, "I'm glad no one can see me, I'm in my pajamas" all embarrassed sounding.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
*Except for the soda I have sitting on my counter waiting to be used in a crockpot pork recipe.
Monday, March 09, 2009
Jed's paternal grandma was of Bohemian (now the Czech Republic) ancestry. She's a nice wife, so my mother-in-law makes Kolaches for her husband since his mom used to make them for him. In my last Taste of Home magazine there was a recipe for Ice Cream Kolachkes (or Kolaches). I was excited about this as a new recipe to have for a family night when we learned about different ancestors, and because it's a pastry with ice cream as a key ingredient in the dough.
Ice Cream Kolaches (halved)
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
2 cups flour
1 TBSP sugar
1/2 can (6 oz.) apricot or raspberry ckae and pastry filling
powdered sugar to sprinkle on top, optional
Heat butter in microwave for about 20 seconds to soften since you forgot to take it out of the fridge several hours ago.
Heat ice cream in microwave for about 10 seconds for the same reason.
Beat butter and ice cream until blended (it'll appear curdled). Add flour and sugar; mix well. Divide dough into two portions. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
On a floured surface, roll dough out into a 12 inch by 10 inch rectangle. Cut into 2 inch squares. Place a small spoonful of the filling into the center of each square. Overlap two opposite corners of the pastry and pinch them together tightly to seal.
Bake at 350 for 11-14 minutes (mine took 15-16), or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool for a minute then remove from baking sheet. Sprinkle with powdered sugar to your hearts content. Try not to inhale powdered sugar.
They turned out okay. Jed and Princess Sparkley really enjoyed them. Buddy and I liked them a lot. They aren't my favorite dessert, and I haven't had my mother-in-law's in quite awhile so I can't compare them as far as Kolaches go (and she's also not the one with Bohemian blood, it's her husband, so hers might not be authentic either.) The recipe said it made 10 dozen. I halved it and ended up with about 1 dozen. Maybe I didn't roll my dough out thin enough. The recipe also called for the entire can of pie filling (actually, it called for two and I halved it), I have half a can of pie filling sitting in my fridge waiting for me to figure out what I can do with it.
Buddy inquired after the trains and if there was a subway.
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Me: You guys are going to have to start liking salad because I think we should start eating a lot more salad.
Me: It's good for us. And it's yummy.
PS: But salad always has carrots in it.
Me: What if I didn't put carrots in it?
PS: I guess I would eat a taco salad if you didn't put all the stuff you put on your salad, like tomatoes and stuff.
Me: (shocked) So you'd eat the lettuce with all the taco meat and beans and cheese.
PS: (with a horrified look) Not the lettuce, just the other stuff. The stuff I like in my tacos [meat, cheese, beans].
Me: So still not a salad.
We've tried over the year to get PS to eat a salad. She gagged horribly on the tiniest piece of lettuce that could still be considered lettuce. She has to eat the littlest carrot in the bag when we have carrots with lunch or dinner and she gags trying to chew it down. I once paid her 50 cents to eat a raspberry (which she claimed to love but hasn't had once since). But she's not picky about casseroles (Buddy is) unless there are green things (peas, celery, green onions). Buddy will eat all veggies (except lettuce) and all fruits. PS is okay with most veggies, but none raw, and definitely not carrots or lettuce. She won't eat fruit except raisins, dried cranberries, banana chips and the occasional banana slices or peeled apple. If I could combine them into on kid, they'd probably make one normal eater.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Here's my problem, when I hunt for healthy recipes all the recipes sound good until I read the ingredients: tofu, artichokes, turkey, alfalfa sprouts, etc. And if it is something I would eat (like I don't really have a problem with artichokes) there's no way my kids are touching any of this stuff.
Where do you find healthy recipes? Or do you just make your regular recipes healthier?
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Monday, March 02, 2009
Spread 2/3 of it into a 9x13 pan.
The recipe didn't specify grease or ungreased, mine is greased.
Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes.
Mix 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter with 1/3 cup milk. It looks like this at first. I couldn't imagine it ever blending... but it did.
When the bottom layer is done baking, cool 3 minutes. Then spread with peanut butter mixture. Drop spoonfuls of Mallow Creme and the remaining dough. Sprinkle with chocolate and peanuts. (I used chocolate chips rather than chopped up baker's chocolate. And I didn't actually enjoy the peanuts, so maybe leave them off.) Bake 18 minutes. Cool.
The kids loved this. I liked it okay. Jed liked it okay.
The peanut butter layer doesn't stick very well to the chocolate layer, so when you're setting up your bites, it's all falling apart in layers. I liked the chocolate and peanut butter together, the marshmallow factor was okay, but not great. I didn't care for the peanuts at all.