Tuesday, November 17, 2009

well, dammit.

So much for keeping up with the Joneses.

Yes, I'm lame, but it's been pretty busy here. We've had Lu's 2nd birthday -um, tears- with par-tay; we've enjoyed Halloween, not to mention the hubby and I have been working hard on our new business-not too much longer peeps! Then my birthday came and went in the dark of night-thank goodness, almost completely un-noticed, whew, so glad to be 29 again. We've had sickness, and had to argue our way out of certain vaccinations. Now, we are getting ready for winter in a house we have no idea how it's going to handle it. We have discovered a leak on the roof at our chimney-fixed. Shitty gutter downspouts. Heinous heaters and about to receive our first two cords of firewood since we can't rely on heaters or electrical to the aforementioned heaters. Then last night we found our carpet downstairs was wet -only about a 4ft by 6ft section along a wall and we found the culprit right away. So we think we've fixed why the water was coming in, but need to fix where the water was seeping in and it's where the wall meets the floor. Fun.

My three months of menus was thwarted when a couple of pages went missing and um...someone forgot to save them. So we had nine weeks of menus and they were partially successful. The next six weeks will be a bit more difficult and flexible, I will still prepare a menu, but with options.

Now, I've been using homemade laundry soap since last April and have loved it -there is no strong laundry smell, made from products that you can find in most grocery stores, and best of all YOU know what's in it. Crystal over at the family homesteadhas information on the products that you should use and the recipe that she's been using. I have researched and read tons of recipes and adjusted for our family's needs. Our family has sensitive skin and this has resolved those issues. It's is easy on your clothing and works really well with cloth diapers. Now for all you laundry loving fools, I have put together the recipe and pictures of the process below.

Homemade Laundry Soap
1 bar of laundry soap-Zote, Fels Naptha, Libria, Ivory
1 cup of Borax
2 cups of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1 cup of pure baking soda
6cups water
3 gallons hot water
3-6 drops of essential oil -lavender is our fav
5 gallon bucket
*grate up the bar of soap-most other sites only recommend 1/3 of a bar, I use an entire bar because I make nearly 5 gallons of laundry soap at a time, double the amount-remember four kids +one husband whose job requires the occasional jont in the woods + one mama who bakes without concern for mess = very dirty laundry all of the time. *Zote is what I used this time, probably never again -it's a little strong smelling-I've used Ivory and it's very gentle
*boil 6 cups of water in a pot, stir in the grated bar of soap and simmer until completely dissolved -be patient and STIR it.
*Stir in Borax, Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, and baking soda to the water/soap mixture -return to simmer, stir and wait for it to dissolve. If it seems too thick, add a cup or so of water to it, it'll help it dissolve quicker and don't forget to STIR.
*in your 5 gal bucket add 3 gallons of HOT water - I save my milk & vinegar containers just for my detergent.
*add your dissolved detergent mixture to the 5 gal bucket and stir until it is mixed well. Here is where I also add in my essential oil -stir that in and smell the deliciousness that will soon be your laundry!

I have so graciously offered to host Thankgiving-the day after, which we have dubbed, Our Food Celebration. And so it being an open invitation, I have no frickin' idea who is showing up -enter smiley face with beads of sweat or are those tears? no matter. More of that to come, I'll try to post some of my menu and recipes soon.

Oh, if anyone can remind me how to rotate these damn pictures, I'll send you happy thoughts

Monday, October 5, 2009

pork chops & applesauce...minus the lisp

Here I sit in my kitchen, looking out my amazing picture windows at the Olympic mountains. I am amazed at how incredible the weather has been the last couple of weeks and it reminds me of the weather sixteen years ago! It was my senior year of highschool and we had an indian summer much like we are now. I remember spending endless nights down on the docks at friend's houses -and swimming until who knows when. Not to mention partying and missing school, but we can stop there because we don't want to encourage anyone...especially a certain 13 year old who lives in my house. MOM NEVER DID ANY OF THOSE THINGS.

My mom and dad came to visit this last weekend to help us with some winter preparedness stuff. Heaters. We ripped out the baseboards and well, we hadn't replaced them yet. And all be damn if it didn't get cold at night. So that was the man project. Mom and I, we made applesauce. And of course I have no pictures proving that I actually did the process. Shame.

I do however have the end product and it is delicious. It was so much easier than I thought. I was figuring it was going to be incredibly tough because I didn't have a food mill, but we cooked the apples down enough that it wasn't necessary -we even had the peels in there. Out of about 8lbs of apples from our mysterious tree and 8lbs of Fujis from Sunny Farms, we got six quarts and four pints of the sweetest applesauce. The pint sized ones we added cinnamon to it. I really think the mix of apples made it for this sauce. We needed absolutely no sweetner. Yum. Now I have another 20lbs or so of apples in the garage and who knows how much more up in the tree. I also have about 6lbs of pears that I plan on making some apple/pear butter with. Maybe later this week or next we'll tackle that one. Mom also made a couple of jars of this blackberry/raspberry syrup/topping stuff. YUM!

This past week the girls and I spent some time at one of the many beaches near our house. The first picture is of the girls at John Wayne Marina. They loved it there, we were the only ones running up and down filling up the marina with rocks. It was awesome. On Friday, we hijacked the kindergarten/late preschool class's field trip to the Olympic Game Farm. It was great! We actually got a walking tour of the caged animals -sad sounding, I know. It seemed so much more scary then when we just drive through that area- they were right there, the lions, tigers, wolves, sturgeon- right beyond a little chain link fence. Frightening, yet so frickin' cool! Lucy was a crazy animal too! She was climbing that chain link fence that separates you from the carnivorous mammal, and throwing rocks at them. Actually, I was mystified that my girls were more interested in the rocks on the roadway then the snarling, drooling, licking their chops(not really) animals just behind a wee fence.

really if you ever get out to Sequim, WA you must visit this place. It is amazing. We live, literally across the street and a field from the farm. They are remodeling this winter and making bigger enclosures for the animals. Most of the animals are rescues from people that had them as pets when they were babies or they are retired movie animals. They also feed them raw meat-nothing alive, usually just beef & pork, but AMAZInG I tell you!

this was only a couple of days last week, I still need to post about my baking adventures and menus! Next post for sure!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I've been lost, stumbling mindlessly

seriously, the past three weeks couldn't have been any stranger. One week after Zak's chicken pox started, Lucy broke out, uh, that's putting it mildly, the pox unleashed on this child. She was blistered up one side and down the other and places where no one wishes to have them or anything...ever. Then just two days later Natalie broke out, and to not be outdone, Lucy broke with more. Natalie missed her first day of Preschool, actually her first week, but we played it off like it was preschool that was delayed another week. Sneeky, I know. Needless to say, we have ventured out and we definitely get the looks for Lucy -all scabby and cute. Alot of people asking if she's got chicken pox, we just look at the funny and nod. What would they do if we said no? Then this last week, Lucy started breathing funny-wheezing kind of, and her chest/stomach were doing this teeter totter thing. We took her to the pediatrician and they said that she was having an ASTHMA attack! I couldn't believe it. They gave her a treatment in the office and it seemed to help. They assured us that she'd be okay and that was it. No info. No reason. Just scooted us on our way with a prescription for Albuterol.

But no more than two hours later we were sitting down to dinner and she started again. It was frustrating because we couldn't give her more medicine for another two hours. We called the after hours clinic and they told us to take her in to the Emergency room. Well, at about the same time some jackass from California decided to go tearing through Port Angeles in his pick up truck, side swipe a jeep and then cross the center line to drive head on into a commuter bus. What does this have to do with Lu going to the ER, you ask. Well, the commuter bus had PEOPLE in it and they made it to the ER and were apparently in worse off condition than a baby who is struggling to breathe. FOUR hours later babe is seen and multitudes of tests are run and the results are that she doesn't have pneumonia, flu, swine flu, and no bacterial infections. Thanks.

Next batch of craziness is just so crazy that I can't really discuss it yet. I mean, it's just so mind numbing that you would probably just pass out from the thought of it, either that or we'd have to send the aliens over to your place. Or kill you, but I don't want to go there. I will go into further detail after paperwork has been filed and possibly have a website set up so I can send you there.

Lastly, what the hell is it doing? I mean we are already more than halfway through September already! We have volleyball under way, preschool going, and birthdays coming soon! The next three months will be even crazier with all the birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. Which comes to a complaint I have, WHY oh WHY must people be born around the holidays? I really wanted to make some homemade gifts this year and already with the house, school, and now our new big investment I'm finding a bit difficult finding the time for this. Maybe I'll do something little to go along with the other stuff. I have been dying to bake stuff so this past week I've done snack cakes, cookie bars, rolls, bread sticks, a loaf of bread, and more cookie bars. I've also done really well with the dinner menus and will post this past week's and next week's menus tomorrow.

So, I just finished up yet another batch of cookie bars, this time they were oatmeal scotchies and I have sweet'n sour meatballs in the crockpot. Husband and I are going to primer a wall so we can paint it this obscenely dark color, probably to just to mock it and reprimer and paint again. So, I will leave you with just some pictures and probably leftover chicken pox scabs. yum.

Monday, August 31, 2009

School? Whaat?? Where did summer go?

I am so sad to be the one to inform all of you that our summer has gone and school is quickly approaching. What? Wait, you already knew and you all are celebrating and you didn't call me!!! Okay, so seriously I already knew too. I've had the countdown ticker on my igoogle page going since school got out.

I'm having a hard time dealing with all of the school supply lists. I've been collecting some items as they have come on sale or had coupons for, but seriously, it's as if we have to supply the entire class! Four packages of four glue sticks!? How many collages can one fifth grader make? They even request a particular brand of pencil in which we must supply four packages of ten pencils -I do have to say that they are a superior brand, but with that comes a hefty price tag for a frickin' pencil. Here's a kicker, we must get a particular pen...not stick pens, not ball point, not marker -sharpies are already requested and this particular pen is not even carried at any office supply, walmart, art store in my town nor the neighboring city!!! We didn't even get the list until last week, because that's when you can officially access the information. WHAT THE EFFFFFFFin' me-oh-my?! Okay, enough of a rant, moving on.

This last week was a success with the meal planning and semi-quasi budgeting, with the exception of going through twice as much milk as I thought we would. Here is this week's menu:

Sunday: Roasted Chicken, potatoes, & peas.. eh hem, rice, leftover steak, & carrots.
Monday: Chicken kabobs on green salad w/ corn on the cob
Tuesday: sloppy joes & green salad
Wednesday: Spaghetti, french bread, salad
Thursday: Chicken enchiladas
Friday: Pancakes & pears
Saturday: leftovers/new recipe... BLT PIE!!!!

Sunday was a flop because I decided that I needed to drive to pick up the kids, to get out of the house. Good thing was that we had everything here in the house and it was ready when I returned. We made snack cake last night for dessert over the next couple of days.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

stroganoff ala chicken pox...ew.

Z was diagnosed with chicken pox on monday, which means saturday, when he was feeling rather ho-hum, that was the start of things. We had family out, cousins, and after spending a few days of seclusion at the family cabin, we took them to the Olympic Game Farm, which is near our house. Lots of fun and we parted ways. Imagine my freaking out on Monday morning when Z came to me with numerous itchy pimply spots, then followed the confirmation by our pediatrician. Good times! So, he has spent a few days in isolation. With the knowledge of our ped the girls will now have their day with chicken pox -JOY! While it can in no way compare to my TWO bouts of the pox and the last when I was 13, can we say pox on the eyelids, down my throat, and on the bottoms of my feet... it ought to be interesting.

I have had many requests for a "pox party", but then have also received the emails of how disturbing the thought of a pox party is. I had to ponder this, and when I responded I sort of let loose because they were targeting me... I didn't advertise that I was having a party, I just happened to have the infected child. As if I purposed exposed my child to the disease, when in fact he was vaccinated. Now, I am purposely infecting my younger two to the pox, but they were probably already infected long before I knew it was even in our house. In our home we selectively vaccinate. There are some that we do and some that we don't.

Z would not have received the varicella vaccine had I known that it was being given at that time. It was new, and apparently, they (the nurses) thought that everyone would want it. It wasn't brought to my attention until AFTER they had given it to him, he was only 15 months. At 2, Z developed serious food and outside allergies. Thankfully, he has outgrown most, but still the damage was already done and we have to live with the effects of that.

So, before you decide to attack or alienate people because of how they decide to raise their children, think about what their reasons may be. It may be their religious beliefs or maybe we feel the need to just get down and dirty let our immune systems and bodies develop a bit before we start injecting active diseases into it. It's nothing personal against you, but it's none of your damn business. I realize that you may think that we are out there, unvaccinated and possibly spreading our "diseases" to you, but we aren't the ones living with the viruses already in our systems. We are just building up our natural defenses.
My husband and I decided long ago, that a little dirt wouldn't hurt. We weren't going to be those parents who expected everyone to slather up on the anti-bacterial gel before they could touch our babies. We weren't going to run and hide every time someone coughed or sneezed. When we were little we were given the chance to develop a natural defense system, we turned out just fine, in fact rather healthy. So, why couldn't our children? We are rather lucky to have pediatricians, nurses, family, and friends who support our decisions. We just ask that we not be attacked or condemned when we share this info with you. If you don't want to come to our "pox party" then don't come. We didn't want you there anyway.

Now for food, we had this last night and it turned out soooo good! Sorry no pictures, we ate it all so fast that by the time I thought about a picture there was nothing left. It was that yummy.

Ground beef stroganoff

1 bag of egg noodles cooked per package instructions-rice and potatoes are also good
1 lb ground turkey/beef/whatever you like! -we combined turkey & beef
1 pkt of onion soup mix (beef onion would be really good!)
salt/pepper to taste
a couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce or more
1 cup milk
1 cup sour cream

brown ground meat, drain off fat.
add onion soup mix, salt & pepper to taste and stir it all up
add milk and sour cream and heat thoroughly
lastly add the Worcestershire sauce to taste, start with a teaspoon or so and shake a more if needed, stir up and WA LA!

Oh, then serve over noodles, rice, potatoes, whatever your pretty little heart desires!

Notice this recipe does not have the usual staple of stroganoff recipes... MUSHROOMS. I hate, no, loathe mushrooms. I vomit in my sleep over mushrooms. My whole body heaves and convulses at the sight of those nasty little buggers. However, if you absolutely must tarnish this recipe with satan's fungus-go right ahead. Some people like those kind of things.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

cupcakes & menus

Well, a big giant THANK YOU to Sara over at Our Best Bites for this wonderful cupcake recipe. Of course as usual I had to juggle stuff for what we had on hand, but this is a huge hit...well, at least the making and oogling over them part. We are saving them until we meet up with my husband's family tomorrow.

I will post the recipe with our changes added, at the bottom of this post.

We are heading down to the cabin at Lake Quinault tomorrow morning. We'll be meeting up with J's family-mom, dad, The weirds: sister, brother-in-law, and their three children-they live in Maryland and are visiting for the week. We are so excited! We haven't seen them in what seems like forever-the spring. I had no idea what to bring so, we will be bearing gifts of CUPCAKES!

Quickly, I will post my menu for next week(23rd-29th), since I am unsure when I'll be able to get back on to do it. If they work out and are a hit, I will post recipes.

Sunday: Baked mac & cheese, w/ green beans
Monday: Caesar salads w/ french bread or baguettes-Whatever I try to make that day!
Tuesday: Chili & cornbread -we'll be making a double batch!
Wednesday: Ground beef stroganoff w/ corn
Thursday: Taco skillet w/ lettuce salad
Friday: Extreme Nachos -big kids are gone, so it may end up being just chips/chz
Saturday: Leftovers or new recipe!

That's it!
Our Best Bites cupcakes
Okay, while I do have to say that ours did not turn out as beautiful as Sara's - they are in our eyes. Our colors may not be as bright, they may appear lumpy, and we are missing orange, we couldn't have had more fun making cupcakes. Ultimately we decided to make ours huge - we doubled the amount in each muffin cup, by mistake and I believe it worked out to our advantage. We only had half of the colors in the gels, so we just used extra drops of the regular food coloring. We also didn't have the paper muffin cups, but hey, we are trying to cut down on the waste. The below recipe and directions are from here I will note where I have changed it.

COLORBURST CUPCAKES or as N calls them "Rainbow muffin cupcakes"

1 white cake mix
2 eggs
1 C sour cream
1/2 C milk
1/3 C vegetable oil (*we used olive oil)

Combine all ingredients until incorporated (about 30 seconds). Scrape sides of bowl and then beat on med-high speed for 3 minutes.

Divide batter according to how many colors you are using. I used 5 colors and it worked out to a little over 1 cup for each color. *we used 4 colors and used 1 cup of batter for each color*

Use food coloring to color batter to desired intensity. I used a 1/4 t and they were very bright! *we started with 1/4t each, then added a couple of extra squeezes of the regular food coloring to get a brighter color.* You could easily make pastel rainbows using a little less. *Layer each color of batter, it said to use about 2 teaspoons of each color in each muffin... my child interpreted that as 2 TABLESPOONS... I thought it looked a bit much so I did about 1 tablespoon, and soon figured out that we were not going to get more than a dozen cupcakes out of this. In turn they ended up huge. We played it off as it was all planned. It was also suggested on the site to use a bit of water on your fingers to spread each layer of color. It definitely helped.

Bake them according to the package directions(*20 minutes was perfect for our cupcakes), until a toothpick comes out dry. Wahlah!********
BTW, I have no idea what I did to these pictures, I think I may have kicked your dog.

Monday, August 17, 2009

back to menu planning

this is not the jam I made today, but strawberry jam I made last winter!

We are back to planning our dinner menus. Not because we are incredibly busy or because of budgeting, per se, but because it helps me keep my sanity! There is no second guessing what's for dinner or running to the store at the last minute. I know exactly what we're having and I have plenty of time to get to the store if we discover we're low or out of an ingredient.

Today, I stumbled upon a blog that I automatically fell in love with. She offers everything that I look for in a good read. I found myself going over many of her posts thoroughly and wanting to highlight, write down, save, print, and reread again! Lindsay's Passionate Homemaking helped me make the decision to make freezer jam with my raspberries today. She gave me the extra bump that I needed to get back into menu planning. There is so much more on her site, and I can't wait to sit down and dig in further. I'm looking forward to trying out some of her many recipes that she has too! Thank you Lindsay!

I have decided to keep my menus on Google Calendar. If you haven't tried this feature it is worth checking out. While I used to use Microsoft Outlook for most of email, scheduling, and sharing information with my husband. We no longer use MS Windows applications and have really enjoyed the change over to the Google products. I figured since we share our calendars already, why not add our dinner menus to it as well. I'm sure I can play with it more, my menu looks pretty crude compared to others that I've seen online, but it's MINE! We will see how it works starting next week- that's when we start our new planned menus. I'm expecting a lot less of the "what's for dinner babe?".

I will post next week's menu, tomorrow night. The kids loved the idea of theme nights for dinners, (thanks again Lindsay!)so I need to adapt our menus to coordinate with the themes.

If you're interested in the recipe for freezer jam. I altered it a bit for what I had on hand. Instead of juice from lemons, I used limes and I used honey for the sweetner. I can't wait to have some tomorrow on my toast!

Friday, August 14, 2009

wow. ramblin'... yah, I'm that bored

I really don't have much to report this time. J's mom came out on Wednesday and she started work on the big kids' room. I had primed it earlier in the week for her and she painted 2.5 walls pale turquoise and the closet a shimmery violet. We'll finish the other wall before they get home on Sunday. She also picked up some fun bedding for their beds. Bright colors to contrast the walls -yeah, it means we're starting to settle in!

We are battling bees, wasps, the devils bug, whatever you want to call them -we've already had our bug guys out and sprayed the ones on and directly around the house, in fact they come once a month to bomb them buggers. But we discovered a lovely hole in the yard a couple of weeks back and the effers won't die! We've tried everything from wasp spray to stuffing a rag down the hole, drowning it in bleach, then adding ammonia to it to try and suffocate them with noxious fumes -per my farming uncle, he claims that would knock 'em dead. Then J wild hair up his ass and decided on a blustery evening to get out the Wd-40 and blast them w/ some flames! The result wasn't so much as dead bees, but the yard on FiRE!!! We ran around and got it out with a broom and hose, but they were still alive so since we already had the hose out, we shoved it down the hole(s), yes multiple holes. By this time they had decided their main route wasn't working anymore so they made more... The flooding seemed to work - we also did the humane thing and added soap, because it seems so much more nicer with bubbles. We've done that a couple of nights in a row and I think their gone! Either that or their moving in with the neighbors. Sorry Frances. You can have 'em Olga, you 'ol bag.

Tonight I hit up twitter. I went through and adopted some new friends. I am positive that they will adopt me back -Brad and Angie can always use another rugrat, either that or they won't even notice that I'm around. Regardless of who is following me I am a frequent tweeter - not so much when I'm out, but when I am home and on the putah. So please follow me!

I have nothing else to share tonight except this one tidbit I found online tonight. I stumbled upon King Arthur Flour while looking for a baguette recipe... I CAN'T Wait to try this one out! It looks so delicious! If I have time tomorrow we'll see. Oh shit. I'm out of flour. I wish somewhere around here sold King Arthur's in bulk, so I'll just go down to Sunny Farms and get some organic bread flour from the bins. I don't know if I can sleep now I am so giddy with excitement!

Peace my friends - sleep well and have a most enjoyable weekend

Sunday, August 9, 2009

okay... I'm a jerk or just preoccupied

I've been away too long and so much has gone on in the last umpteen months! I feel that I have left you totally neglected and that someone might report me to bloggy protective services or at least just pass me up. SO I'm BACK!!!! Please don't kick my dog... er, if I had one.

My parents came over for the weekend to help us on a couple of wiring projects in the new house and with them they brought us a new dinner recipe. I so wish I would have taken pictures of this beautiful dish. My dad found it online here and mom and I adjusted it to our liking. My husband and dad commented that it tasted like it was of good restaurant quality. Hey, hey! Two thumbs up for us! We are awesome, but we already knew that. I'll put the recipe at the end of this post.

Now, because we are a larger than life family we doubled the recipe. Here are a few of the ways we tossed this puppy up. We had fresh salsa, chopped tomatoes, a mexican variety of cheese (? four cheese and mom bought it-figures, cheater). The meat only marinated for 4hrs - I can't imagine how much more delish the meat would have been if it had been marinating overnight! I also took about a quarter of the meat and cooked it until it was brown throughout, I won't touch it if it's pink and have passed that nasty habit on to the youngest of my offspring. We DID NOT put our tostadas in the oven to melt the cheese -growling, angry mobs will make that decision for you. Our flank steak was cooked on the grill-so we had it on for a couple minutes longer on each side. That was it!

I am so making this again!

I have had many chaotic moments since my last post. I will follow up with that on later postings, no need for drama or to drag everyone down in one fatal swoop. So for now, please enjoy this easy, beautiful, delicious dinner!

Dr. Pepper Marinated Steak Tostados
Meat and marinade:
1 pound skirt or flank steak (we used flank)
1 (16-ounce) bottle Dr. Pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
1/4 cup thinly shredded
green cabbage
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into
thin strips
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 teaspoons malt vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
11/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
4 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
11/2 cups shredded caciotta or Monterey Jack cheese (mexican blend)
1/2 cup goat cheese crumbles

1. Pour Dr. Pepper over steak. Refrigerate 4 to 12 hours.
2. To prepare slaw, toss cabbage, bell pepper and cilantro together. Whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar and granulated sugar. Pour over cabbage mixture; toss. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry tortillas 8 to 10 seconds on each side. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt; drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
4. Prepare grill. Remove steak from marinade. Combine 1 teaspoon salt, brown sugar and pepper; rub on meat. Grill meat 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
5. To assemble tostadas, preheat oven to 350F. Place tortillas on baking sheets. Sprinkle with cheeses. Slice steak into thin strips. Distribute among tortillas. Bake 5 to 6 minutes, until cheese melts. Remove from oven and top each tostada with 2 tablespoons slaw. Serves 4.

Recipe adapted with permission from Grady Spears and June Naylor's, The Texas Cowboy Kitchen (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2007).

"Home at the Range," July 2009.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

poor neglected blog

Okay, never did I think that a job would keep me from spilling my guts. It has!!!!! I have not had time to even read up on my favs. Oh the humanity!
Seriously, this full time work/full time mom shit is hard! The house is in dire need of cleaning, ha! what's new? and I don't I have really cooked anything from scratch since the middle of last month. Wait, did I take a shower? Umm... yep. Oh wait, no, that was one of the kids. ARGH! Sorry, this again will have to wait - the kids are in bed and American Idol is almost over so I just might have time to get in there. Cheers until next time - much hugs, kisses, love, and don't forget to shave!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Meatloaf. 'nuff said

I love meatloaf. LOVE IT. Okay, not THAT Meatloaf. I love meatloaf freshly out of the oven, next day with mayo on a slice of bread, even the day after that -if there's any left!

Whenever I make meatloaf I always bake an extra loaf for sandwiches. The sandwiches are more anticipated than the dinner itself. If I ever think that there won't be enough for sandwiches the next day. No one eats. It goes straight the fridge and everyone gets cereal. That's the way I roll.

Who doesn't love leftover meatloaf? Okay, my kids don't, but they don't count. Here's a fun factoid about me, I haven't always been a lover of the loaf. I don't know if it was how my mom made it, what was in it(or what I thought was in it), or the fact that it had the word "loaf" in it, which in itself just sounds icky. Then when I was a sophmore in highschool I had a friend that brought a meatloaf sandwich to school. She asked if I wanted a bite. I cringed, but was captivated that her "loaf" didn't have stuff in it. It looked kind of good, like a smashed meatball- and hoova knows I love meatballs! So, I accepted and my tastebuds squealed in delight! I loved it!!!! From there on out Betty always packed an extra sandwich just for me!

I made meatloaf this last week. One in the crockpot, the other in the oven. I wanted to see which I loved more. While my crockpot loaf took the better of the afternoon, I was able to wait until evening before putting the other in the oven. I decided that I would share my meatloaf with the fam for dinner, the crockpot was finished first. When I started to slice up the loaf I was horrified at the "burnt" crust on the bottom. I had burned my loaf!!! And in the crock of all places to boot. Aw, the humanity! It was still good, but there was a lingering flavor that just wasn't right. What was left from dinner (no one except me had seconds) and the oven loaf went in the fridge for sandwiches. First to be finished was the crock loaf and it was much better on day two. The next two days was the oven loaf and it was heavenly!!!!!! I'm sorry all you crockpot fans (that includes me too) but meatloaf must be made in the oven. I don't exactly know what it is that makes it taste different but it just did and therefore the oven will have it - well, at least for my next day sammies!
sorry no pics of said meatloaf just cute kids

Here is my meatloaf recipe
I must warn you I make this to taste and I never measure!

2-3 lbs of ground beef (sometimes I'll substitute a pound ground turkey)
an egg or two
1 cup of breadcrumbs(homemade or canned), oatmeal, or cornflakes
a bit of dried onion
a pkg of onion soup or beef onion soup mix
a bit of milk
a couple of shakes of Worcestershire sauce (more than less)
a couple of squirts of ketchup and mustard

mix together and form into one or two loaves

mix a couple of squirts of ketchup, mustard and some Worcestershire sauce and spread on top of the loaves

bake at 350 f for a good 30-45 minutes, just keep checking it.

Sometimes for shits and giggles we'll throw some grated cheddar in the mix and also sprinkle it on top. THIS IS WAY YUMMY. What would make it inexcusable and sinful would be if we were too add bacon and butter and deep fry the bad boy. But that would clog up our arterties and send us to an early death - we'll hold off just a bit longer on that one.

Monday, March 9, 2009

snot for glue and a menu

Can kid snot be used as a substitute for gorilla glue? Seriously, I think the only thing that will get it off of my kids' face is by sticking their heads under a hot fire hose, heck, even then the pressure may not be enough. I wonder if I leave it there, if it will fossilize and tomorrow we'll find a little bird or lego guy's remains in there. Maybe a hammer and chisel will get it off. I'll be right back.

As I sit here watching Ghostbusters with my little girls (yes, they love, and we don't mean this lightly, L-O-V-E this movie)I'm listening to the kitty purr in my ears and catching the snow fall outside the window. I'm so glad that I had the day off.
Yes, this is the road I live on- but I was too lazy to go out and take a new picture this was taken one of the many times it has dumped on us the last couple of weeks.

Moving on.

Here is this week's menu for anyone interested in what we are eating.

Monday: Crock pot meatloaf potatoes and green beans
Tuesday: Homemade pizza
Wednesday: Taco Skillet (loved it so much we're doing it again!)
Thursday: Swedish meatballs w/ noodles/potatoes/rice
Friday: Teriyaki chicken w/ rice and salad
Saturday: Pork chops w/ yakisoba noodles
Sunday: baked macaroni

I am making my cinnamon rolls right now and will attempt to make these rolls from The Frugal Girl later this afternoon. I'm pretty confident that I will succeed but I do have two tired girls who don't want to give up tugging at my pant legs. sigh.

Oh, just in time. One of the legs on the ikea chair keeps coming loose, I think I'll just grab a kid and wipe their nose on it.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

food. work. airpockets.

Okay, I've been slack again but I totally have a good excuse. I have a job. I mean, I've always had the job of being a stay-at-home mom. Now, I have a worldly recognized paying job. I haven't worked for almost two years and then it was a three month stint, before that it had been two years, so really I haven't actually worked since 2005. The way it came about was funny, it pretty much just fell in my lap. I overheard my dermatologist and nurse talking during an appointment. I then overheard it mentioned how they were shorthanded due to some recent changes in the office. Later that afternoon I brought in my resume, thinking I might be able to lend a hand. Sure enough, it worked. One week later, I am now an employee. weird.

I have a feeling I'm going to be tired tomorrow, so I'm going to post my weekly menu and a recipe tonight.

Nothing out of the ordinary happened this weekend. Z has strep - always fun, therefore we took the other sick kid, L, in to be checked, thank goodness she has no sickness or infections. They concluded it was viral or a cold. Woo hoo. She still sounds like an old man who has smoked since he was 3. Also, along with her "cold" she has been clumsy as all get up! The kid has had some serious head trauma this weekend. We've had bruises, bumps, and cuts before, but usually one this week and a new one would appear just as the other had turned yellow. Nope, not L. Yesterday, while standing on her green Ikea chair she leaned, and as expected it tipped. She whacked her right eye/eyebrow on the jogging stroller(yes, it was in the playroom, having it's seat switched out) resulting in a beautimus scratch/bruise that runs over her eyelid into her eyebrow, also a little scratch on her nose. She had to finish the evening off by rolling off of daddy's back(they were laying on the floor) onto the hardwood floor and knocking the back of her head.

Then, this morning she managed to hit an airpocket which hurdled her into the round coffee table. Again, resulting in injury. This time a nice bruise/welt that runs from her right cheekbone up to her eye. So, she now has a complete package that we are sure will finish off with at least a black eye if not more. At least there was no major swelling (just the welt).

Ah... you've got to love a good farewell to no longer being a stay-at-home mom. I don't think I'll miss it one bit. *sniff*sniff*

On to this week's menu: ENJOY!
thank you evilmadscientist.com for that gem

Monday- Homemade pizza, pepperoni, salami, chicken, beef, cheese, veggies, whatev!

Tuesday- Rice-a-roni chick/beef (we were scheduled for this last week, but had a moment of weakness at costco and had pizza- ah costco, gotta love it!

Wednesday- Spaghetti/salad/french bread (freeze leftovers for another time)

Thursday- Breakfast night! -we'll try the egg bake, we didn't get to last time

Friday- Meatloaf/potatoes (we're actually going to be outta town, so this will be moved to Sunday

Saturday- Leftovers- this will be easy, we're outta town no need to do!

Sunday- Dinner ala mom! Meatloaf/potatoes/greenbeans! YUM!

This week's recipe is something that we were supposed to have on Friday night, Z spent the evening at the dr's so we improvised with leftovers/soup.

Taco Skillet -

Beef Taco Skillet
Campbell’s make in minutes
Prep: 5 min. Cook: 20 min.

1 lb. ground beef
1 can (10 ¾ oz.) Campbell’s Tomato Soup (Regular or 25% Less Sodium)
½ cup salsa
½ cup water
6 flour tortillas (6 inches), cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1. Cook beef in 10-inch skillet until well browned, stirring to break up meat. Pour off fat.
2. Stir in soup, salsa, water and tortillas. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 min. Stir. Top with cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Of course we are going to double this recipe to feed the masses. Um.. to feed our family.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I have nothing to share other than this

enjoy, 'cause I'm ready for it to go away. It's pretty to look at, but it doesn't belong here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I have nothin'

Today was a real disappointment of a day. I accomplished nothing. I got out and got my coffee, started to pick up some birthday gifts that I need to get out and decided that I just couldn't do it anymore. I convinced the girls that lunch was calling our names. N asked if it was McDonalds, and the answer was a big fat NO. Got home, did a load of laundry and a load of dishes and that was it. I had no energy, no motivation, nothing.

If you're trying to be frugal, trying not to let anything go to waste, don't do what I did today. Tonight, according to the menu, was to be chicken rice-a-roni. So, I pulled the chicken breasts out of the freezer to defrost. Then at six, grumbled that I really couldn't pull it together to cook dinner. So, we went to Costco.

Yes, I didn't have to cook - the kids had pizza. I ended up getting some groceries that I needed. However, I forgot about the chicken sitting on the counter and we've been back for at least two hours now and I'm pretty sure the chicken went bad. damn.

So, my advice for tonight

stick with the plans you've set, otherwise it all just goes down the crapper

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

in the field and not at playland

The baby cows are cute. They're my best friend. I want to go to their house.

Um... How exactly would you respond to this. I agreed that they were cute, and asked her where did you meet them. She stated that she met the baby cow, whose name is Elena, at playland and that she lives on the slide. Hmmm... She then insisted that we go immediately to playland. I then had to inform her that mommy was not in the mood for McDonalds and that the baby cows were in the field and not at playland today.

And amazingly, she left it at that.

Wow. I love how her little mind works and where it goes. Not to mention that at a mere 34 months, her imagination is on fire!

Get up each morning knowing that baby cows are cute and then drop it like a dead fly.

Monday, February 23, 2009

daily bit of advice... sort of

You can always try it again tomorrow, even if you didn't even try today.

This applies to all of us in some form. Procrastinators unite! While I did do my dishes today - I made more. Dammit. It's never ending.

Remember yesterday's advice? Go check out Not Martha we are making these this weekend! How did I not discover this sooner!

bleh. diapers and dirty dishes

It's monday morning and I feel amazing. I got up early enough (before the kids!) and went to the gym. Then, got everybody ready for school and was even able to run a quick errand while in town. I got back started laundry and walked into my kitchen. Now, I'm hiding. We had guests over Saturday night, and while I did do our sit down dishes that night, I put the serving dishes, and pots and pans to the side. Then yesterday M unloaded the dishwasher and everything else sat. We had fun yesterday and I couldn't ruin it by doing the dishes. So, there they sit, still. I made fried chicken and biscuits last night and it's just such a mess that I can't bring myself to going back in there. I know that I have to do it, it's just a matter of when. I need to make cinnamon rolls today and need the entire kitchen in order to do this. bleh.

Next on my list is diaper laundry. I've needed to do these and really I love doing diaper laundry. But here's my dilemma -I haven't done diaper laundry in a couple of weeks. ew. L started teething and I tend to use disposibles during times like these. She is still teething, but I am running out of sposies and don't feel like going and buying more -so cloth NEEDS to be washed. This is going to take all day because of sitting for so long.

If you are interested in some diaper coupons here is a link to Seventh Generation, if you sign up you can print their baby products coupon for $2 off twice.

Okay, so boring, but my to do list is something that I need to be accountable for and I'm accounting for it!


Monday - Pork Chops, rice, & broccoli
Tuesday -Crockpot night! Some chicken/potato dish, undecided
Wednesday -Chicken rice-a-roni
Thursday -Breakfast night! Egg bake w/ bacon
Friday -Taco skillet (new recipe for us!)
Saturday -Soup/Sandwich/Salad night
Sunday -Random surprise dinner a la mom

On Friday night I made this I love coffee cake and thought -Chocolate chips, why not? Um... not that it was bad, it just wasn't right. I loved the coffee cake, just not with chocolate. So, if you get an itchin' for a good coffee cake, this is one to try, just leave out the chips my friend.

I'll post more later, as I feel this is incredibly lame.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

dude. You need followers

Apparently, I need followers. It is the new cool thing to have. The new Iphone, the new Ipod, the wii, they were all the cool thing to have. So, in my desperate attempt to attract followers I will offer some advice daily. Not that you or anyone else is looking for advice, but just for the fact that I like to dole it out to unsuspecting recipients. No one asks for it and no one necessarily needs it, well except I think that you may need it. It may not even apply to you, but you look like you could use some.

So, for today's advice

Bacon, butter, and a hug make everything better.

Take a moment and really dig down deep. That made you feel better, didn't it?

Monday, February 16, 2009

no doubt, the gods are crazy

Well, the gods are against us. For reals people. Considering J and I never get to go out alone - ever. - and we actually had someone to watch the kids, this past weekend had looked bright. But as usual, we are forever being punished for something we did in a past life. To start things off, who in the hell starts their period the day before Valentines day? me. Seriously, not only is this cruel, but it is just plain mean. Very romantic, a real deal killer. Not to let anyone top that, they decide that L needs to get a new set of teeth. Molars to boot. The kid is a mess. Snot, drool, hacking cough, up all night, and just pitiful looking. Poor kid. Poor us. Needless to say, nana and papa did offer to watch the girls for a bit, and we were able to catch a flick. We then whisked our defeated family back to our compound to rest up in our own environment. Suck.

I'll just get down to the nitty gritty today - here's this week's menu:

Monday -Happy President's day homemade Pizza & Caesar salad-recipe to follow
Tuesday -Spaghetti & Caesar-using sauce that we made a couple of weeks ago and froze
Wednesday -Tacos
Thursday- swedish meatballs/potatoes/green beans
Friday- Teriyaki chicken w/ rice
Saturday- Veggie night -baked potatoes & Caesar salad
Sunday- Baked rotini/bread/caesar salad

Pizza Crust - this crust is a mix of a couple of recipes that I found and worked with what I had on hand and wah lah!

4 tsp bulk dry yeast
1.5 c warmish (bathtub warm) water
4 tsp sugar
1/3 c olive oil
4.5-5 c flour
1-2 tsp roasted garlic granuals

sprinkle and mix yeast w/ water, then add sugar, let sit for about 10 min or until fuzzy looking. Start by adding the olive oil, garlic, and yeast mix into mixer (I use a kitchenaid for the whole bit)let mix for a couple of minutes. Change out to the dough hook, and start adding 3 cups flour slowly to the mix until it starts to pull from the sides,it gets kind of spider-webby looking, let got for about 10 minutes. At this point add remaining flour until smooth.
I then leave dough in the mixing bowl, cover and let rise. Let sit for about 30 minutes, punch down and let sit for another 30 minutes(or whenever you remember to get back to it :)) Split into two balls, set one aside. Spray some Pam on that baking sheet or pizza stone and start to roll out the dough. I use a combination of my fingers and a pin. I put the pan aside, cover until I'm ready to use it. Add toppings and back at 425 for 20-30 minutes. Enjoy. The sauce I got from here I didn't exactly like it, I just used what I had on hand, but I have to say that garlic is a must.

Oh, the other ball that you set aside- cover with parchments paper or plastic wrap put in a labeled ziploc and toss in the freezer for next time.

Picture to come.

Also, I'm making croutons again. This time I'm trying a method that shouldn't take days. Hopefully, they don't end up chipping teeth and being used to sand the roads. Wish me luck, we'd really like croutons in our salads this week.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

dates, presidents, hearts oh my!

Okay craziness is my life and another chapter starts today! Much running around will happen today, starting in about five minutes! As I lined out yesterday, we are heading out today for the weekend and umm... I get to go on a date this weekend! What will I wear? Do you think he'll like me? Oh, what if my hair is frizzy? What will I ever do? Seriously, I don't think I could ever go through that again. The thought that I would have to spend more than 2 minutes fretting over that stuff would put me over the edge. I've got better stuff to worry about, like who's missing the potty in the middle of the night or didn't change out the toilet paper last. I'm just glad that he still looks me up and down when I'm in my flannel jammies, with that crazy look in his eyes - and no, it's not the "what in the hell is that?" look. My parent's have agreed (with some bribing of course) to watch the kids for us. We haven't been on a date in over 2 years. I haven't seen to a movie in... umm... you know what, the last movie I saw was Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby YIKES! Okay, I think we need to go see a movie!

The rest of the weekend will be up in the air - which is so fun! We love to fly by the seat of our pants! Considering we haven't been out to visit family and friends since before Christmas, we'll definitely be doing some visiting! So watch out people we know - we're coming over!

I hope that you have a fantabulous long weekend - we will!
Happy birthday President Abraham Lincoln - it's all about you today man!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

oh the humanity!

Craft magazine's last edition is the current issue. I am so sad. I have informed my husband that now is the time to invest in my future and get the back issues. Craftzine.com will continue, which is awesome, but I'm still sad. Please mourn with me.