Thursday, October 22, 2009

On the road to recovery

Well that was one of the longer 48 hour periods of my life and I am not completely convinced, based on reports of others, that I am out of the woods yet but I think I can see the edge of the trees.

For the first time in two days I appear to be nearly fever-free without meds. That is an awesome feeling. Now the cough and sore throat are still here but they are much better than they were too.


I like this.

I do not recommend getting this flu thing.

I am off to find the spray can of Lysol.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cold or Flu?

So is it a cold or is it the flu?

Meh. Who cares what it is called.

Bottom line is that whatever this viral nastiness is with its chills, sweats, headache, sore neck and cough is horrible and can take a hike any time now.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Another new recipe

I found a new recipe to try last night. Actually I found it a few days ago and wanted to give it a try then and every day since but circumstances have conspired against me. For example the first evening I wanted to try it was forced to go on strike and prove to my children that I do expect them to listen, respond and do what is laid out for them to do. They quickly discovered that I am not their maid/slave who will soldier on through a pile of dirty dishes to make their dinner. You see, my girls are expected to empty the dishwasher, refill it and generally tidy up the kitchen each afternoon. After repeated reminders, I was ticked so I went on strike and left them to fend for themselves in the dirty kitchen. It would have been made infinitely better if I was not too tired to run out and get take out for myself and DH but alas I was.

Anyhow, I finally got around to trying the new recipe last night and it was delicious. It is a Pioneer Woman recipe. You can find her post here complete with all her fabulous pictures. I made three little adjustments, leaving out the chicken stock and fresh herbs because I didn't have any and leaving out the nutmeg because I don't care for it in savory dishes.


Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1 14.5 ounce can artichoke hearts (quartered or whole), drained
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chicken broth, more as needed
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste
1 pound thin spaghetti
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped chives or other herbs

Cook spaghetti till al dente. Drain and set aside.
Melt olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add onions and garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add artichoke hearts and tomatoes. Stir and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
Reduce heat to low. Stir in cream and chicken broth.
Add salt and pepper to taste (do not undersalt!) Cook over low heat until heated through,
then turn off heat.
Place drained pasta in a large bowl.
Sprinkle with 1 cup Parmesan. Pour sauce over the top.
Add chopped chives.
Toss lightly to combine and coat; add a tiny bit of reserved pasta water if sauce seems too thick.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New Recipe Challenge

A challenge has been suggested by Judy over at Scrapshare to try a new recipe each week. You can see the initial thread here and this week's challenge thread here. I encourage everyone to come join in with us. Many of us are recipe collectors. We see something in a magazine and clip it out intending to give it a try. We do this time and time again with the best of intentions but just never get around to trying all those wonderful recipes. Add to that all the wonderful recipes one can find on the internet and you can have quite the backlog of recipes cluttering up your life. This challenge encourages us to get out all those random recipes and start giving them a try in the hopes of cutting the clutter and finding some new staple recipes to add to our meal line-ups.

I took up the challenge because I have many, many recipes I keep intending to try. The idea is to commit to one night a week, each week to try a new recipe. I have tentatively picked Wednesday nights because there is rarely anything going on that takes us out of the house on that night. This challenge was suggested today and as it happened I was already planning to try a new recipe tonight so I went ahead and gave it a shot.

I have had a version of Indian Tacos that was commercially produced and I love them. I found a recipe for the fry bread recently along with a recipe for the tacos themselves at this website. It sounded really good and pretty easy so I gave it a shot. These turned out great and were super easy to make though I did modify the topping recipe a bit. I added a can of chili and a bit of taco seasoning to the meat to give it a bit more ommpff. The whole family enjoyed it. This one is a keeper.

I encourage you to give it a try.

Indian Taco Recipe - How To Make Indian Tacos

1 pound lean ground meat (beef, lamb, venison or pork)
1 cup diced onion
4 cooked Navajo Fry Breads (see recipe on right)
1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
3 tomatoes, diced
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 (3-ounce) can diced green chiles, drained
Sour cream (optional)

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, brown ground meat and onions until cooked; remove from heat.

Place Fry Bread, cupped side up, on separate plates. Layer ground meat, lettuce, tomatoes,
Cheddar cheese, and green chiles onto top of each Fry Bread.
Top with sour cream, if desired, and either roll up or serve open-faced with a fork.

Makes 4 servings.


Navajo Fry Bread Recipe - How To Make Navajo Fry Bread
by Cynthia Detterick-Pineda

Fry bread is wonderfully lumpy (puffed here and there). It can be served as a dessert or used as a main dish bread. Our family will often take them and stuff them, much like one might use bread or tortilla to dip into their food.

1 cup unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powdered milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup water
Vegetable oil for frying

Sift together the flour, salt, powdered milk, and baking powder into a large bowl. Pour the water over the flour mixture all at once and stir the dough with a fork until it starts to form one big clump.

Flour your hands. Using your hands, begin to mix the dough, trying to get all the flour into the mixture to form a ball. NOTE: You want to mix this well, but you do NOT want to knead it. Kneading it will make for a heavy Fry Bread when cooked. The inside of the dough ball should still be sticky after it is formed, while the outside will be well floured.

Cut the dough into four (4) pieces. Using your floured hands, shape, stretch, pat, and form a disk of about 5 to 7 inches in diameter. NOTE: Don’t worry about it being round. As Grandma Felipa would say “it doesn’t roll into your mouth.”

Heat the vegetable oil to about 350 degrees F. NOTE: You can check by either dropping a small piece of dough in the hot oil and seeing if it begins to fry, or by dipping the end of a wooden spoon in and seeing if that bubbles. Your oil should be about 1-inch deep in a large cast-iron skillet or other large fryer.

Take the formed dough and gently place it into the oil, being careful not to splatter the hot oil. Press down on the dough as it fries so the top is submersed into the hot oil. Fry until brown, and then flip to fry the other side. Each side will take about 3 to 4 minutes.

Indian Fry Bread can be kept warm in a 200 degree F. oven for up to 1 hour. They refrigerate well and can be reheated in a 350 degree F. oven for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

It's been a year

We talk about how quickly time goes by and that it seems a year slips away so quickly. It seems like time moves so fast and we want it to slow down. However, for one special family that I know, this past year has been a rollercoaster of excruciating proportions. A year ago this week they lost one of their precious children to a rare brain tumor. What was most rare and stunning was how quickly they lost him. He went to the ER one day and only days later he was gone. It has been a year and it is a painful reminder of just how fast life as we know it can change. Donnanne and her family are still trying to find a new normal without their sweet Danny. Please help me to remember this family in prayer over this week. Also, hug your kids and live in the moment because none of us have any idea how fast that moment can be gone.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Something new

I am trying something new. I have this box of tomatoes that has been sitting on the table in my kitchen for quite some time now. Normally I make tomato sauce and canned tomatoes for use in all kinds of dishes. I love the freshness of homegrown, home canned tomatoes in the dead of winter. However I finally had to admit to myself that I just was not into it this year. I mean, I have every morning free now days since David is in kindergarten but still the tomatoes are still sitting in their box. If I did not find something else to do with them, they were just going to go to waste. What a shame that would be. So in a desperate attempt to save them from such an awful fate, I have decided to try freezing them. Now the instructions I found online said to freeze them individually and then bag them up. Well, I just do not have the space to do that so I took a chance and stuck them into big gallon sized Ziplock bag and tossed them in the freezer tonight. Well, part of them anyway. I ran out of bags so I have to run to the store to get more tomorrow. I am just hoping this works as well as the testimonies claim.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Teen TV

I have been watching Degrassi with my DDs. I am amazed, concerned and impressed all at the same time with the topics that are tackled in this program. From school shootings to teen pregnancies to drug/steroid us, etc. I am sure that many parents do not let their kids watch this program because of this but I have taken a different tact. The girls (ages 9 and 13) need to learn about these issues and my stance on them. Watching the episodes together gives me the opportunity and opening to discuss these topics in a nonthreatening way. Today we were watching reruns in preparation for tonight's season premiere. It struck me that I am so not ready for my girls to grow up and take on some of these issues. High school is a scary, threatening place. I have many fears about sending my kids there. The oldest starts next year. I need to be sure that I can maintain the lines of communication, which is something I am not always really good about. So I find myself watching teen soap operas so I have the chance to hold conversations with my kids. It may make me uncomfortable and it may be downright scary at times but I am so glad that the programs are there to give me the opportunity.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Portrait Photography

I enjoy reading Pioneer Woman's blog. In particular I enjoy her photography and cooking blogs.

Occasionally Ree or one of her contributing bloggers issues a photography challenge. She has a Flickr group set up for all her readers to contribute their selections. You can check it out here. I enjoy seeing what others contribute.

This week's assignment is to find your favorite portrait. I am by no means a professional photographer but I will claim some pretty cute subjects so I decided to go through my photos and pick a few to feature here. I have not decided if I am going to contribute to the flickr group or not.

Here are some of my favorite portrait photos:
My oldest girl and a friend's puppy. I just love the softness of her face.

My second girl with her rocket. She spent all day with Daddy working on it and then firing it off.

My boy's eyes. They are so expressive.

My friend and her new husband during their first dance. The sun was just right and that smile. Oh my!

My grandmother. While not the most technically correct portrait, I love this one because it is the last one in which grandma looks really healthy. It was taken just months before she passed away at nearly 96.

DH and I. A self-portrait utilizing my timer and tripod.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Seeing it happen

This afternoon I saw a wonderful thing happen.

My darling boy started kindergarten this fall. He has been less than thrilled with it. Don't get me wrong, he likes the school and his friends that he is making. I think he also likes his teacher. However there is a great big list of things he does not like. He does not like getting up in the morning and getting ready for school. He does not like doing his "morning seat work" each day when he arrives at school. To his credit, I don't particularly like coloring seemingly (to his young, 5yo mind) meaningless worksheets either. He does not like handwriting. He most especially DOES NOT like homework.

The kids' school is a charter school. It is a school with high-powered dreams mascarading as a small country school. It is great. We added a new curriculum this year called The Riggs Method. You can learn more about it here. It is a total immersion English language program. It is a great program that promises great things for our kids. But, and this is the biggie, it is new, a bit scary and a lot of hard work for the students. My two girls, 8th grade Jessie and 4th grade Emily, are adapting well enough but the boy is having issues. It is a big adjustment from "play"school, i.e. preschool to all this work. DH has been dealing with the morning issues and I have been dealing with the homework issues. It has not been fun until today.

Today I finally saw what this program can do. I think my DS finally saw what he is working so hard to achieve. He did not have any homework today so instead we got books to spend some time reading. He just happened to grab a book titled "Go, Dog, Go!" With the Riggs program the students learn the letter sounds as their mode of identification versus their names. For example, A has four sounds in the English language. The letters/sounds that the kindergarten has worked on so far are A, C, D, F, G and O. As you can see, this book that he chose was perfect. Three letters and all ones he has been working on already. With a little prompting, my DS, the one who has not wanted to do the work and has been fighting us every step of the way realized that HE CAN READ!! Yes it was only two works, three little letters but HE CAN DO IT! This program is working. Furthermore the book has a lot of color words in it which is something else they have been working on in class. He is starting to get those too.

Let me say this again....MY DS READ WORDS TO ME!!

I had the pleasure of seeing that the program is working. Furthermore, I had the pleasure of sharing this success tonight at the PTC meeting. Now granted I got emotional about it but really, it brought tears to the eyes of many in the room, particularly the ones with whom I have shared my frustrations with over the last few weeks. I am so excited. I am so ready to see what comes next.

Seeing it happen, seeing that look on my DS's face when he realized that he was actually READING makes the frustration and the difficult times worth it. I am quite sure that there will be more bumps in the road, after all, DS is a stubborn little bugger but for now, for today, I am just going to revel in what we accomplished today.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Monday Menus

I am trying to be more money conscious, organized and eventually health conscious. So I have started working on having a meal plan in place at the beginning of each week.

This week's menus are:
Monday: Pork Chops, Zucchini, Corn on the cob, rice
Tuesday: Sara's Crab Chowder
Wednesday: Chicken and Noodles
Thursday: BBQ Beef Sandwiches
Friday: Beef Pot Pie

I have a crazy week ahead with so many things going on, this will help me make sure we are not hitting the take-out menus to survive.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Apparently ice cream for dinner is not the way to go. Who knew?

I had a turtle sundae in a chocolate dipped waffle bowl from Dairy Queen for dinner. This was apparently a bad idea as my body is now adamantly telling me.


To-do lists

What is it about to-do lists? Why do they never get any shorter? I work and I toil but never does that list seem to get any shorter. The more I do around here, the more appears to replace the things I have crossed off the list.

I have been participating in the Manage Your Life forum at Scrapshare for about a year now and I have noted that I am not the only one who has noticed this phenomenon with our lists.

So my current to-do list looks like this:
Can tomatoes
Can beets
Shred zucchini
Sweep/mop kitchen floor
Completely clear/wash microwave counter
Clear out/organize food container cabinet
Take fall pictures of kids
Put away food dehydrator
Clear/clean island counter
Clear/clean sink counter
Collect all printed recipes and organize
Clean out/organize island cabinets
Dust every flat surface in house
Do some fall decorating

I have to stop there. There is so much more. And that is not even getting into the big projects that need to be done like building a hay storage area for Jessie's goat feed/hay, fixing the leaky spot in the shower rail in the master bathroom, closing out the garden, etc., etc.

So, short of hiring a cleaning crew, I can't figure out how to make the to-do list get shorter. There is only one me and since Matt is spending his every-other-Friday-off sleeping, I am guessing from long experience that no help is coming from that quarter. The kids are in school and when they aren't, well, let me just say I have not trained good workers.

Anyone got a magic wand they aren't currently in need of? Because I could put it to good use!