Sunday, May 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: Memorialize THIS. . :)

I had to come-up with some recipes for a stake cookbook we're doing.  I thought long and hard about recipes that my family LOVES and I came-up with these 10.  I hope you find them useful. :)  I do have them as a word document, so if you'd like it emailed to you just leave me a comment with your address!

Hilary’s Cincinatti Chili


Loosely based off America’s Test Kitchen recipe, with a bit of tweeking. We like ours with chedder cheese and a little raw onion.

Ingredients

• 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

• 1 onion, chopped fine

• 1 garlic clove, minced

• 1 small can tomato paste

• 2 tablespoons chili powder

• 1 tablespoon dried oregano

• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

• 2 cups low sodium chicken broth

• 1 cup water

• 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

• 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar

• 1 1/2 lbs 85% lean ground beef

Directions

1. Saute onion in oil until soft and edges are beginning to brown – about 8 minutes. Add garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, oregano, cinnamon, salt, pepper and allspice. Stir for about a minute until spices are fragrant.

2. Add broth, tomato sauce, vinegar and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer, being sure to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

3. Add meat to sauce. Use a potato masher to break meat up into small pieces. Simmer just 15 minutes.

4. Serve chili over spaghetti. For "chili five ways," top with diced raw onion, rinsed and drained cannellini beans or kidney beans and shredded sharp cheddar.





Deals to Meals Whole Wheat Bread
THE softest bread I’ve ever made!

Makes 4 8/4 inch loaves.


7 c. whole wheat flour (grind your own if you have a wheat grinder)

2/3 c. vital wheat gluten

2 1/2 T. instant yeast



5 c. steaming hot water (120-130 F)



2 T. salt

2/3 c. oil

2/3 c. honey or 1 c. sugar (I like honey the best!)

2 1/2 T. bottled lemon juice



5 c. whole wheat flour



Mix together the first three ingredients in your mixer with a dough hook. Add water all at once and mix for 1 minute; cover and let rest for 10 minutes (this is called sponging). Add salt, oil, honey or sugar, and lemon juice and beat for 1 minute. Add last flour, 1 cup at a time, beating between each cup. Beat for about 6-10 minutes until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. This makes very soft dough.

Pre-heat oven for 1 minute to lukewarm and turn off. Turn dough onto oiled counter top; divide, shape into loaves place in oiled bread pans. Let rise in warm oven for 10-15 minutes until dough reaches top of pan. Do not remove bread from oven; turn oven to 350 F and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on racks. This recipe can be halved to make 2 loaves.

** Check your mixer’s instructions manual. I had to ¾ this recipe since mine doesn’t allow this much whole wheat flour.

**Another tip..when the dough is put into the bread pans, squish the dough softly into the corners of your bread loaf pans. This will make your bread cook more evenly and not have the large lump in the middle of your loaf.



Delicious Corn Cake
this makes a really soft corn “spoon bread” – just like Chevy’s!

Ingredients

• 1/2 cup butter, softened

• 1/3 cup masa harina

• 1/4 cup water

• 1 1/2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed

• 1/4 cup cornmeal

• 1/3 cup white sugar

• 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Directions

1. In a medium bowl beat butter until it is creamy. Add the Mexican corn flour and water and beat until well mixed.

2. Using a food processor, process thawed corn, but leave chunky. Stir into the butter mixture.

3. In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, sugar, cream, salt, and baking powder. Add to corn flour mixture and stir to combine. Pour batter into an ungreased 8x8 inch baking pan. Smooth batter and cover with aluminum foil. Place pan into a 9x13 inch baking dish that is filled a third of the way with water.

4. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven F (175 degrees C) oven for 50 to 60 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Use an ice cream scoop for easy removal from pan.



Candied Chicken
 My 9 year old’s FAVORITE dish ever.

4-5 chicken breasts (I often use drumsticks or thighs and take the skin off because they’re cheaper)

1 can chunk or tidbit pineapple, reserve juice for later

½ to ¾ cup ketchup

1 ½ cups brown sugar

2 Tbsp. prepared mustard

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice

1 onion chopped

Salt and pepper



Method:

1. Brown chicken (optional).

2. Place in 9x13 glass pan.

3. Pour sauce over top.

4. Bake at 325 degrees, covered, for about 45 minutes.

5. Uncover and bake 20 more minutes.

6. Let sit 5-10 minutes and sauce will thicken.

7. Serve over rice.





Hearty Salmon Cakes

Ingredients

• 2 strips bacon, cooked until crispy, crumbled, bacon fat reserved

• 1/4 cup chopped onion

• 1 egg

• 1/2 cup mayonnaise

• 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

• 1/2 teaspoon sugar

• 1/2 lemon, zested

• 1 (14-ounce) can wild salmon, checked for large bones

• 1 baked or boiled russet potato, peeled, and fluffed with a fork

• 1/4 cup bread crumbs

• 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

• Freshly ground black pepper

• 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon fat in a small saute pan over low heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Cool the onions for a bit.

Mix the bacon, onion, egg, mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, and lemon zest in a bowl. Add the salmon and potato, mixing gently after each addition. Form the mixture into 12 small patties. In a shallow dish, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and pepper, to taste. Coat the patties in the bread crumb topping. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat, and cook the salmon cakes in batches until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add more oil, as necessary. Arrange on a serving platter and serve.




Favorite Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

• 1 (8 ounce) package elbow macaroni

• 1 (8 ounce) package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

• 1 (12 ounce) container small curd cottage cheese

• 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream

• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

• salt and pepper to taste

• 1 cup dry bread crumbs

• 1/4 cup butter, melted

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, add pasta, and cook until done; drain.

2. In 9x13 inch baking dish, stir together macaroni, shredded Cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix together bread crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle topping over macaroni mixture.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until top is golden.





Tilapia Parmesean
(a great way to have kids eat fish!)

Ingredients

• 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

• 1/4 cup butter, softened

• 3 tablespoons mayonnaise

• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

• 1/4 teaspoon dried basil

• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

• 1/8 teaspoon onion powder

• 1/8 teaspoon celery salt

• 2 pounds tilapia fillets

Directions

1. Preheat your oven's broiler. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.

3. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish.





Best Tuna Casserole

Ingredients

• 1 (12 ounce) package egg noodles

• 1/4 cup chopped onion

• 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

• 1 cup frozen green peas

• 2 (6 ounce) cans tuna, drained

• 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup

• 1/2 (4.5 ounce) can sliced mushrooms

• 1 cup crushed potato chips

Directions

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

3. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix noodles, onion, 1 cup cheese, peas, tuna, soup and mushrooms. Transfer to a 9x13 inch baking dish, and top with potato chip crumbs and remaining 1 cup cheese.

4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheese is bubbly.





Sweet and Savory Pretzel Jello Salad

Ingredients

________________________________________

• 9 ounce package of pretzels

• 3 tablespoons white sugar

• 1-3/4 stick butter

• Filling:

• 8 ounce package cream cheese softened

• 1 cup white sugar

• 8 ounces frozen whipped topping

• 1 large package strawberry gelatin

• 2 cups hot water

• 20 ounces frozen strawberries

How to make it

________________________________________

• Crush pretzels either in blender or food processor then add 3 tablespoon sugar.

• Mix pretzels and sugar with melted butter.

• Press in glass rectangular baking dish and bake at 375 for 8 minutes then cool well.

• Mix cream cheese with one cup sugar and mix well.

• Add whipped topping and pour over crust.

• Mix gelatin with hot water then add the frozen strawberries.

• When cool pour over filling and refrigerate for several hours.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Four Favorites Friday: The final sippy cup version

Cooking Light (1-year)1.  Cooking Light Magazine.  I got this for a steal a year or so ago and I LOVE it!  There's more then just eating right, there's lifestyle info and lots of GREAT recipes (you'll notice on my menu plan Monday that a lot of stuff comes from here).  I realy like that they throw in a piece of bacon or a dash of cream every now and then too.  Just shows you can be healthy and have a little splurge every now and then.

2.  Sudafed.  Darn cold season is lasting forever around here.  Ibuprophen and Sudafed makers are GENIUS.  LOVE THEM!  :)

3.  Butternut squash.  Pre-cut courtesy of Trader Joe's.  It's delicious in tacos and P loves it for lunch, steamed.  I'm glad becuase the gal doesn't love a whole lot of veggies.  Shame on her.

Playtex The First Sipster Spill-Proof Cup 7 oz - 2 Pack (Colors Vary)4.  She picks up her own sippy cup!  I know -- blah, blah, blah sippy cups, but it's pretty big around here.  Sometimes you realize you just need to set the bar and the kids will rise to it.  Even if it takes a month. :)  We're switching to milk now (we had a bunch of extra formula cans) and she's a big, big girl.  Can someone hand me a tissue to dab my eyes... I miss my baby and her bottle time a little bit....  And I promise, last sippy cup (unless I find an amazing one, which is moderately unlikely. :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

DELICIOUS bread

Ok, you know I've been searching high and low for a good bread recipe.
Wait no more, I found it.
You might remember when I suggested everyone make their own tortillas and send you to the deals to meals blog.  Well, like a great blogger, she has some of her favorite recipes in her sidebar.  One just happens to be homemade 100% whole wheat bread.  Found here.
She's right, it's amazing.
It's SUPER soft (I actually, would like to find a recipe that is more desnse and tastes like Great Harvest, but until then I think this is the one I'll be using), and it stays great! 
FYI, you can find gluten at the regular grocery store with the bobs red mill stuff, usually.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it as much!  For my kitchenaid 6 qt I do have to 1/3 it becuase the kitchenaid can only take 8 cups of whole wheat flour (I actually use 1 cup of all purpose so I don't burn the mixer out).

I wish I could've gotten a bosch, but space is a premium here.  A BIG. FAT. PREMIUM. :)

Parenthood: The Blog

I really like the show Parenthood.  Sure, there are things that I don't love about it... but I feel like I learn about myself as a parent as I watch it.

I like how they fight.  They fight like normal humans who talk over each other.  Instead of taking turns so the mic can hear all of them.  I am terrified of having teenagers and I appreciate how this family has fights and reconciles.  It gives me a small amount of hope.

I like how it's supposed to be a Berkely.  It's nice to have shows supposidly based where you are.

There was this scene in the one I just watched (via DVR) where they're in the rain and everyone is shielding themselves with their coat (which is so CA... why not just WEAR your coat instead of putting it over your head?)... and the one mom (who I probably identify most with, she's a bit anal) comes out with a giant umbrella, and they all stand under it.

I thought about how props on a show, tell a lot about a character.

I thought about how the "props" in my life tell a lot about me.  From the compost bin, to the wheat grinder, to a 10 million year old sewing machine, to my box of mending, to the 22 scrapbooks in our living room.  That mom (back to the show) had an umbrella because she is always taking care of other people.  She is always the one prepared to help them (even if her neice slept with her daughter's boyfriend.... I mean, it is TV, of course there will be drama!).

Anyway, it's nice to have shows that make you think about your life.  What you've had, what's to come.... all with a little bit of enjoyment.  I'm mulling over cancelling cable and just living via hulu, our wii and netflix.... but television is a medium that will always be around.  I'm glad, I like it a lot. :)  Possibly too much... at times. :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What's Up Wednesday: Growing

Things are growing around here!

Remember how organic I was?  Well, I'm still organic with just a sprinkling of Corry's snail killer.  I couldn't get stuff to grow.  Period.  Well, I could get tomatoes and bigger plants but like lettuce and things that I wanted to grow from seed -- nada. {sigh}  Anyway -- now I go into the garden and I see a little trail of dead snails and I feel happy inside.  Does that make me evil?  When the choice is going completely organic or not having one at all I decided to allow a few non-organic items.  For the record, I did try eggshells with no luck.  My snails must be super snails!    Lettuce replanted, low expecations high hopes. :)  If only the worms were as abundant as the snails.

Last week we had open house at school.  I love open house.  It's so great to see all the parents there really appreciating what the kids have done all year!  In Kindergarten they get a special memory book full of crafts, photos and writing that they've done this year.  I love it.  It takes a ton of time and I REALLY appreciate all that the teachers put into it.  Spencer will soon start a bin like I have for Conner and all the schoolwork I keep for him (I should blog about that, I really like my system).  The first photo here is Spencer and his teacher (she is so hip and fashionable, I want to be like her).  The other one is a self portrait and next to it says, "I can count to 119" -- the kids all did a self portrait and put something that they learned how to do this year.  I love that wall. :)  Kindergarten is such a happy thing I am really going to miss it!

Conner, of course also had open house.  He has had a really great year for him.  His teacher has really pushed him, which I of course love.  His teacher actually usually teaches 5th grade, but had a 4/5 combo this year (we will, fingers crossed, having him next year as well).  It really looks like Conner adores him in this photo... doesn't it?  At open house they were supposed to teach us how to make these little graphic representations of a formula and I must admit I was totally lost... but at least he didn't have to put my name under the warning on the board. :)  Sad when your child is smarter then you.  At least I still have P, right?  To the right you see a cool drawing that he did.  Somehow I can't remember what this was supposed to be, but it was some sort of indian drawing... one of the moms in the class teaches art and she came and helped out with it.  They were very cool, and Conner was really proud of his.

Last, but of course not least -- Miss P is truly a walker now.  She'll stand up on her own, she's cute as a button and SO proud of herself (she does have a pretty large male cheering section).  I told my mom for EVER that I'd put a video up of it, and voila.  True to my word. 



In other news, this weather is crazy, I'm so tired of having a cough -- my allergies are really loving all this rain.  Maybe Corry's makes an allergy killer... Hmm....

Oh, and while we're telling what's up.  Call the Shots isn't renewing its business license.  I thought a lot about it and it's just not something I want to do anymore.  I will still barter (beacuse I LOVE to do that) but paid shoots are too intimidating for me (and time consuming).  Let's face it, I have a job and 3 kids and I think that's plenty for a gal's plate. :)  I know, you're all SO disappointed. :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

HELP: Couch Edition

Some avid readers might remember that I HATE my couch.  It's holy.  It's worn.  It's slouchy.  I hate it.  Did I mention I hate it?

Anyway, I'm about ready to buy a new one.  P is out of the phase of spitting up and while we're still going to spill stuff it's not as often....  So you, my loyal readers, I have two questions.

1.  Leather or microfiber?  Leather wears well, microfiber is comfy.  I just don't know.  I lean both ways.

2.  Sectional or loveseat/sofa.  We only have seating in our living room, we don't have seating in our family room (it's a playroom, and we have on big chair in there).  I am thinking I really want a sectional... but will I regret it?  I just want lots of seating.  Mostly, I don't want 3 kids on top of me on the couch.  Although, I doubt that's super likely to change. :)

Anyway, I plan to keep it in its current formation.  We don't have a lot of room in it -- it's a long rectangle as you can see here.  The exersaucer just moved out (and it was in the plae where the swing was in these pictures -- which are when we put our new furniture in last year) so I'm ready to fill in that area with something lovely.

YOU, READER.  I NEED YOUR HELP.  What to buy, what to do.  Assistance please.  Comments.  Now.  Locals are welcome to suggest places to shop, as well. :)

Menu Plan Monday: Five Star Edition

Still working on the recipes from 2 weeks ago.
  • Polenta with Quick Mushroom-and-Meat Sauce 7 points Guess what, I really like polenta!  It's also a great option for those who can't have wehat.  Who knew?  The kids ate it up too.
  • Fettuccine Alfred with Bacon 7 points  Just delicious as it sounds.  I think it's only 7 points, mainly because you only get a cup of pasta.  I needed at least 10 points to fill me up.  Sad news, but I'm sure a regular cream/parm cheese alfredo is at least 15 points -- for just a cup!
  • New England Baked Beans -- 7 points  Totally everything you think baked beans should be.  A great foray into dried beans for those who haven't tried them before.  I made them in the crock pot.  I cooked the beans on the stove and then for the 2.5 hours of cooking time, I did it in the crock pot (I did it more like 3 hours on high, I think I could've done 4 hours on high -- I wanted them a little more cooked).  Also, this serving size is high.  I could easily do a 5 point serving. :)
  • I made this for Family Home Evening tonight.  It looks absolutely delicious, but it's in the fridge.  I hope to give it five stars next weeks (5 points). 
 

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Day in the Life

I've been perusing some Mormon Mommy Blogs (I know, some of my non-LDS friends just gagged -- it is a pretty bad name... but they're good writers, some of them).  Anyway, I need to start doing some more snippets of our life... because this particular life of mine is very fleeting.

That P.  I coudl literally watch her eat for hours.  Those pudgy little fingers grabbing a black bean or piece of bannana and her little arm that unfolds and twirls as if to say hello.  I want to eat her up.  I want to freeze her.  I can't believe my life was almost without her.  She is giving me life as of late.

I spend a lot of time looking at clothes on the internet.  And by a lot of time, I mean a few minutes a couple of times a week.  Today I was looking at Shabby Apple and wondering if I'd ever fit into anything from that site.  Sure, I'm losing weight and thigns are going well but I always have a little perstering voice in the back of my mind saying I'm going to gain it all back and I'll always be fat.

Work.  Seems like people are fighting and I didn't even know about it.  I love that job though.  I feel realy blessed to have it almost every day of my life.  But, much like children sometimes I want to put a pillow over my head and let the chaos insue without me.

Spencer.  That guy is sure getting a raw deal many days.  This morning he came to me with the lost jacket face.  I mean, he hasn't lost a jacket ever but I started my regular rage of motherhood.  He didn't deserve it.  Just look at the adorable mothers day card he made me:

That's me.  I'm super mom.  Able to save kids from crazy monsters (like lost jackets or forgotten library books).  Or save them from the jail of never-ending monotony.  I love that little guy.  I need to read a book with him this afternoon.

I need to do that more then clean.

It's true.

Four Favorites Friday


1.  Artichokes.  My goodness, why haven't I had these before!  I am in LOVE.  It's like an event when you eat an artichoke.  You cook them (I do just 8 minutes in the microwave for a JUMBO one), and then you slowly peel and dip.  It's almost as good as chips!  I like just mayo.  It's 2 points for a WHOLE lotta delicious fun!

2.  My birthday.  Drew and I are celebrating on our own this weekend and I am SO excited for it.  Giddy, you might say.  Not sure why.  Just love my hubby I suppose.  I also love Fondue.  In case you care.

3.  Thrift stores.  I am having to put a cap on myself.  I'm just enjoying going and seeing what their is, and finding the right tags that are on sale!  I also love that I just bought a size TWELVE skirt.  Yes, it's a little tight but it's my current most favorite thing ever.  I have been on the lookout for a new jean skirt for... well, forever.  And I found TWO.  Happy times.

Munchkin 10 Oz Mighty Grip Spill-Proof Cup - 2 Pack4.  Sippy Cups.  I know, sippy cups, blah, blah, blah... but the girl now HOLDS HER OWN.  It's just so nice to work on something and see progress.  It's just kinda rare in our house as of late... she won't pick it up but once I put it in her mouth she holds it.  I am hoping next week to post that she picks it up AND puts it in her mouth.  Baby steps.  I also love baby steps. :)

There are a lot of things in my life not particularly up to par as of late... but I do enjoy finding the small things that bring me bliss.  Speaking of bliss, guess who's artichoke is done....


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Homemade Flour Tortillas

I just made homemade flour tortillas.
Seems like a lot of people are jumping on the fresh tortillas from Costco bandwagon... but they're SO expensive.
Well, these are SO easly to make.
I got the courage to do them after reading this blog.
Really simple, really easy to roll out and tasty too.  I ended-up just making cheese crisp with them but I'm excited to try it with tacos or tostadas. 
Really, give it a try! :)

Birthday Update

HELLO.

GREAT.  BIRTHDAY.  I will admit the morning was much like any other morning.  Got the kids up and dressed (but lunches magically appeared from the birthday fairy).  I helped in the classrooms, vacuumed, and then I picked up (Drew really wanted to but I was fine to do it... P enjoys her car rides).

Cook's CountryBut as soon as Drew came home (which was like 2:45... nice) he took over, and I sat on the couch and DVR'd myself to bliss.  Then came burgers (no counting points on your birthday... didn't I read that in the WW handbook somewhere?... I did still split with D because I also had some cheese fries), Yumi yogurt (HELLO, SNICKERS CARBOLITE... speaking of bliss....) and then presents.  I'm excited for some new yoga DVD's and a subscription to Cook's Country -- I've wanted that for a while!  The boys got some some jewelry (P will be in HEAVEN).  And again, I made Drew watch some seriously bad female television with me. 

Does anyone think that Wendy Williams might just be a crazy robot?  Man... that woman makes me question the human race, and then giggle.

Anyway, it was a great day.  Possibly one of my best birthdays ever.

I had some nice chats with lady friends about birthdays yesterday.  Seems like many a husband has an issue with it.  Hello, General Authorities... if you're out there, a lesson on proper wifely birthday etiquette may just be a great General Conference Talk... Just sayin'. :)

The fun doesn't even end THERE.  Drew took today OFF to haul the boys up to a baseball game.  That means he's taking and picking up from school, leaving me and P to enjoy some life to ourselves.

AND we even have a great date night planned for the weekend.

This life has a lot of joy in it lately. 

Oh, and in the ironies of all ironies I was thinking back to my mom's birth story.  She says that she was 6 weeks overdue with me (uh-huh) and I just wouldn't come and she finally went in and said she wasn't leaving without a baby.  So, the nurses gave her some cooling off and finally she had a baby.  Me.

Isn't it amusing that I chose the very career that my mom hated at the time of my birth?

And isn't it amusing that after being six weeks over due I was only like six pounds.

Just sayin'....

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spice Girl: I'll Tell You What I Want

I have a birthday, shout horray....
They say it's my birthday....
Happy birthday, happy birthday, happy, happy birthday to ME. :)




That's right, another year older (and wiser) too.

That puts me one year prior to the down slope towards 40.  Sad news peeps.

So, last year's birthday... well... let's just say that it left a lot to be desired.  I'd had a baby a couple of weeks prior, no clothes fit, there was a little glitch in Drew's brain preventing him from preparations....  There was a glitch in my brain causing me to cry at most any drop of a hat, bottle or onsie.

Anyway, since that day -- about monthly I have reminded Drew that this birthday WAS going to be better.  He would remember, he would buy me presents, he would make the day cheery and exciting.  So far, he's made lunch for the kids... so that's pretty cheery and exciting, since I hate making lunches towards the end of the school year. :)

Anyway, I've just made my wishes VERY clear.  That's something I have a hard time with.  I mean, shouldn't he realize he has 364 days to prepare for such a special day?  I just don't think men's minds work that way. 

Anyway I think it's important to remember that they're not mind readers, and it's not selfish to state what you want (especially when that is to be remembered on your birthday).

In other news, is anything more fun than Facebook on your birthday?  All these sweet people remembering my day.  I have PAGES of birthday wishes.  Love them. :) 

And now to make a big bowl of popcorn. :)  Happy times....

Oh, and in OTHER news, I am pretty sure this is my skinniest birthday since... um, maybe the year 1999?  I'm the healthiest I've been in years and THAT is surely something the celebrate.  I'm really proud of what I've accomplished on my body in this year and I'm excited to think what size I might be next birthday!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wheat Grinding 101

There is a great post on Everyday Food Storage about grinding wheat.

Some additional notes from me:

I have a Nutrimill and I bought it a Pleasant Hill Grains.  I called them and they were amazingly helpful.  I ended-up with the nutrimill because it has a liftetime warranty.  This blentec one looks great though, as small as it folds-up.

It's been about a year since I bought mine.  I love it.  I exclusively make my bread now.  I am at a point in my life where that works.  In some ways it does save money, but that doesn't include the fact that I spent like 500 bucks between the grinder and the mixer.

I do think it's healthier though.  I use at least 1/2 and 1/2 whole wheat/all purpose in my recipes now. 

I am still on a hunt for the perfect bread recipes but so far I've found some pretty great ones.

Anyway, good info on her site in case you're interested. :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Touch it not

Man, we have the sippy cup thing down, but SHEESH, the girl won't hold it save her life!  As soon as I put her hands on it she SCREAMS!!!
Of course, that didn't stop me.
It's just not fun.
Do you think she'll be picking it up herself by the end of the week?
Time will tell....
Do your kids do this?
Am I raising lazy buns?

Menu Plan Monday: Five Star Edition

While I planned plenty of meals last week, I wanted to share some of the Five Star ones that we tried:
  • Sausage Barley Soup  12 points  This time, insteazd of spinach I added a can of tomatoes and it was delicious.  Also, a 12 points serving is at least 2 bowls... I was very happy with a 6 point serving.
  • Carrot Cake Pan cakes 7 points  The only thing a little bit missing was some sweetness... I think I might throw a little more brown sugar in next time, but these are hearty delicious pancakes.  We actually had them for breakfast on Saturday and they kept us all going for a while.
  • Meatball Sub Casserole -- 15 points (ouch)  Again, a GIANT serving for 15 points.  I had a smaller serving and saved myself 5 or so points.  If you like a meatball sub though, you'll like this.  GREAT way to use up leftover french bread!
 

The Best Husband in the History of Husbandness

Drew gets a special award for responding to the call on Saturday night.

We had a babysitter and we were ready to go footloose and fancy free, and then I sprung on him that I wanted to make a trip to Savers to find me some new clothes.  Nary a proclamation of disappointment came through those lips -- he was happy to take me.

Two hours later I came out with 2 items of clothing.  I tried on lots of different things and I was happy to make it out alive.  I had a pair of pants and another jacket that also worked but I'm trying to keep it minimal and cheap since I am calling these "interim" clothing.  it was just about 18 bucks for a whole new outfit (skirt and jacket).  Both items are almost new and look great.  I had lots of compliments yesterday which was lovely (although, I have getting compliments right now, I take each one as a fact that I looked awful prior).

However, I want to head back to a thrift store monthly.  I forget how many amazing pieces of clothing you can get there for not very much money.  They had TONS of cute jackets (which was what I was in the market for) and lots of skirts.  Many of the items don't look faded or anything like that.

So, here's the question to you.  Do you shop for clothes at thrift stores?  Wanna make a girls night of it?  It is true that you need another eye when you thrift shop (at least I do).  Does it hang right, is there something I'm missing?  Also, do you have a favorite store?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Genius

I'm mulling over our plans for the fall around here.  Soccer, no soccer.  Karate, no karate...

And I came across this blog entry from another blog.

It's genius.

And it's true.

Of course, I teach piano lessons around here and while it's painful... it's cheap.

So, why do we depend on other people to do this for us?

I think I need to have a talk with my little peeps. :)

Thoughts?

Four Favorites Friday

1.  A great pediatrician.  Ours is outstanding.  We have gotten flipped around a lot in the Kaiser system but she is a real gem.  She even stays she's staying with Kaiser, which I will believe it when I see it.  Love her!  I will say that I love most pediatricians.  Many seem to be really caring people who love their jobs.  Except for a couple who I used to work for who will remain nameless (who were actually really great doctors with very poor bedside manners),

2.  Good friends.  I a really good, small girls night with a couple of really close friends recently.  It was so necessary I could've died without it.  They are the epinephrine to my heart attacks.  I heart my friends.

Playtex Sipster Cup 9 oz - 2 Pack (Colors Vary)3.  Sippy Cups.  We have a full, 100 percent sippy cup baby.  She'll take formula, juice, different types (which is good because those first year ones were leaking and breaking with as many washings as they were getting).  SO happy to not have to wash nipples anymore (except my own, of course). :) (you knew I was gonna go there, didn't you?).  And yes, I know these are making another appearance on the favorites friday but it's a pretty freakin' huge deal around here!

4.  Teacher appreciation week.  Even though I hate door decorating more than washing nipples, man -- we have some really great teachers at our school.  I love both of my kids but Conner's teacher goes WAY beyond what his contract is.  He is always there to help me brainstorm,  to back me up, to remind me that my child isn't a heathen, to remind me my child is a heathen.  He is everything and gets paid nothing all at once.  So, we gave him some post its and flowers this week.  I am saving his big present for the end of the year.  And yes, Mr. M I know you read this blog.  Get excited.  Spencer's teacher is also great.  I must admit she is kind of shy but he loves her so much.  I like how much she uses music and really teaches the kids to think things through on their own.  The sadness is that she is getting a pink slip and won't be back at our school next year.  I feel really blessed to have them both in our lives.  I know  that the flower and post its won't ever give them back all the time they spend helping our kids, but perhaps it can fill a tiny void. :)

So, go out there and find the happy things in YOUR life!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Is it Wrong?

Is it wrong to secretly enjoy it when your kids are sick?  Mine are usually the complete opposite of cuddly but Miss P, with her high fevers in the evening.  Just a tiny part of me loves it.

Because I love her, and I know the cuddles are fleeting.

Not fleets.  That's an enema.

Blogs

I just cliked to all the blogher blogs from each of my blogs.  Like a fool, I have 3 blogs and they each have 3 "more from blogher" blogs...

I had absolutely nothing to say on any of those blogs.

How sad is that?

I wasn't even intrigued by anything they had to say.

What makes a good blog, for you?

I guess for me it has to be relateable.  Kids my kids ages, someone who's a nurse, people of faith (but not TOO of faith, if that makes sense, although I'm sure I'm over the top with faith at times).  I am a huge fan of humor and self pity is just painful to read.  Informative positive blogs.  Maybe that's what I want.  I dunno, I just know it when I see it, I guess. :)

The Value of a Good Babysitter

P had an ear infection, I had to work.  An enthralling class on how to put out a fire if you somehow ignite in the OR.  And yes, I am serious.

Never fear, our favorite babysitter is here!

She's home from college for a few weeks before her mission and I was SO happy to have her come and watch miss P.  Good thing we hadn't planned on P going to a friend's because we would've been sending a sicko out.

Anyway, can you beat an amazing babysitter?  She's so amazing.  I love her. :)

I don't think people who don't have kids (or possibly haven't worked, because finding a babysitter while you're working is worse than finding one while you're out to dinner) realize how nice it is to have someone who is safe, and trustworthy.

Worth their weight in gold.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

In Other News

P has a nice ear infection.  It's at least a nice flaming one in one ear, and the wax was so prevelent in the other one she didn't want to bug her anymore.
Ahhh, antibiotics.  If only you were valium..... {for me}

Updated Plan of Care

Alrighty, last plan of care not working.  He stole again.  Here's the update {I'm sure it's boring many of you, but I think that someitmes it's nice to see other mom's train of thought on these issues}

Situation:  9 year old male continues to steal treats.

Background:  Have come-up with many consequences for this, none of them seem to be stopping him (continual probably for probably the last 5 or so years).  He says he is stealing both because he just likes the taste of treats (don't we all?) and that sometimes he does it because he is angry at us.  Prior consequences may have been making him more angry with us so that doesn't help with that one.

Asessment:  Had 9 year old come-up with 5 reasons why stealing/sneaking treats is wrong.  He came up with:
  1. He can get cavities 
  2. It is hurting my feelings 
  3. I won't buy/make any more treats
  4. He will get fat
  5. It costs the family money when he eats our food.
Recommendations:  Had 9 year old and myself brainstorm ideas for consequences.  He said he just woulnd't eat for the rest of the day, and I decided this wasn't do-able nor appropriate.  We came-up with a 3 sided consequence.
  • He will lose allowance for the week
  • He will have to run around the block (child is not a fan of running)
  • He will miss cub scouts that week
I feel like these consequences hit each of the issues for why it is wrong.  I am also going to make up some consequence posters and put them near the food so that he will remember what will happen.

And with all reports, we will re-asses daily or as status changes.

Possibility of 4 point restraints not ruled out entirely.  Either for mother or child. :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

{sigh}

He just stole again.
P is crying, I'm worried she has an ear infection.
It's just one of those months....
{sigh}

Plan of Care

I appreciate everyone's input (both here and on facebook) and it gave me a lot of things to think about.  Housework gives a woman a lot of time to think about things.  Sometimes it's one of my least favorite things, but I appreciated it yesterday.

Nurses make a LOT of care plans, especially student nurses.  They're taking a holistic approach to each patient.  So, here's my plan of Care for for Conner, I'm only doing it here in order to have a way to document it and I also had some people wanting to know what I'd end-up doing. :) I'll give in SBAR format, just like we do at the hospital.

Situation:  9 year old male stealing treats

Background:  Male was provided with plenty of healthy treats including string cheese, yogurt, banannas, pretzles, carrots, tomatoes.  Male stated (after some pressure applied) that he was stealing because he was mad at us and he could prove that he could.  Male also had a treat bag of his own that he had full discretion of if he took care of it properly (aka, not leaving them all out where P could eat them).

Assessment:  Main issue is a lack of trust.  He's obviously not overweight (although it could be an issue in the future) but when all these things are available for consumption he still chooses something that's not available to him.  Male is aware that if he talks to us, a treat may be an option.

Recommendation:  Male spent a day making his own meals, and was only able to do things that I trusted him to do.  I no longer trusted him to cook, hence he had a yogurt for breakfast, PB&J for lunch and cereal for dinner (and we had pizza, RN noted some liquid discharge beneath his eyelids during the dinner hour).  Spoke with male about trust issues, and I am restricting him from things that require trust.  Holding baby, staying at school to play, allowing him to be in his rooom alone, to go outside.  Male also will not have treats in his lunch or after school but will be offered a healthy snack.

Will make further assessments daily and as indicated.

He obviously does want to earn my trust and it's a big issue for me.  Did anyone go to Band Leadership Training and play the 1 and 2 game?  Essentially, everyone wins if they keep playing 1's, but once anyone plays a 2, that person gets more points and the other person loses.  BUT, if both people play a 2 then everyone gets no points.  I think I may play this game with him at FHE.

Thanks for the help blog peeps.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I'm trying to plan a couple of weeks in advance so I have a lot on my menu plan.  One even involves buying anchovies... which I have never done.  Yikes!
  • Sausage Barley Soup  Had it before, it's good.  Make sure to add the spinach in the last hour to 30 minutes(and frozen spinach is CHEAP compared to fresh stuff) 12 points
  • Incredibly Easy Seafood Pie  It's a Betty Crocker recipe that I can no longer find.  Similar to a crab dip but with some eggs and bisquick to make it a meal. :) 7 points
  • Baked Honey Mustard Chicken -- an all time favorite. Points of chicken plus 2 points
  • Almost Meatless Sloppy Joes -- Replaces a lot of the meat with veggies and beans. 7 points
  • Polenta with Quick Mushroom-and-Meat Sauce I'm not sure if I like Polenta or not... I'll give it a try though. :) 7 points
  • Carrot Cake Pan cakes (instead of shredding carrots I'll use the stuff from the Cannary, I am liking the dried carrots from there) 7 points
  • Chipotle Bean Burritos (no meat but there's cheese, and where there's cheese there's smiles). :) 7 points
  • Fettuccine Alfred with Bacon -- um, hello.  Excited. :)  Lara it only has 339 calories.... :) 7 points
  • New England Baked Beans -- this is going to make a lot, I think I'll probably have them with my honey mustard chicken.  I could only find it on that message board.  People on there say they're REALLY good.  And frankly, for 7 points, they should be.
  • Potato and Red Onion Frittata -- hmmm... looks like Taste of Home has taken their recipes under cover -- you can only see them if you're a subscriber.  This one looks delish (and I'll scan and email if you're interested).  Eggs, potatoes and cheese. :) 9 points
  • Meatball Sub Casserole -- I love me a meatball sub.  There, I admitted it.  This one looks pretty darn yummy! 15 points (ouch)
  • Corn and Cheese Enchilladas -- had these recently.  VERY yummy. 10 points
  • Sauteed Chicken with Tonnato Sauce -- Here's my anchovy one.  Do I find those by the tunafish? 9 points

Recent 5 Point Recipes
Weight Watchers Potato Salad, I like mine creamy and this one cuts the mayo with some vinegar... and it adds bacon.  HELLO.  Happy times.
Big Soft Ginger Cookies I made these prior at Christmas.  This time I substituted some applesauce for butter, and they turned out great.  Next time I'll go 1/2 butter 1/2 applesauce and I'll take out the 2 T of water.  REALLY great ginger cookies. 
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies -- I don't know if I featured these before but I LOVED them.  They're only 2 points/cookie and tehy're filling and sweet.  Soaking the raisins in vanilla water is a GREAT trick!  (scroll down for the recipe)

Hi. My LIfe is Falling Apart

I feel bad.  I shouldn't say it's falling apart but sometimes I just think it IS!  Let me ennumerate.

1.  The tailbone, it's getting worse.

2.  The cold.  It's lasting forever.  Really, I'm not trying to talk sexy with you on the phone.  It's the new me.  The new me that's always tired and has a headache.  I even tried a sinus rinse on Saturday.  That's serious.  And not fun.  Yesterday at church I'd cough and think my cheeks were going to bust open and my tailbone would shoot out and kill the baby behind me.

3.  P is drinking from a sippy cup, but not very much and won't hold it herself.  I keep repeating baby steps to myself. 

4.  Stealing.  Some of you might heard me whine about Conner stealing food all the time.  So, I went to the library and got a bunch of great books, we talked about it I bought a bunch of great snacks that he has full access to, and yet the stealing continues.  So we provided a lot of horrid punishments if it continued (including losing treats for a week, and me not cooking him food) the stealing continues.  My mom told me to take away the things he loves but I'm already using those as incentive to get ready in the AM's.  Basically, I can't trust him, and what do you do when you can't trust someone who lives in your house?

Take a nap?  Because if that's the answer I'm set.

Things here really are great and I am fully aware I'm complaining but I'm out of ideas on the Conner situation.  We've had talks about eating healthily and making good food choices and not eating because we're bored.  Nada.  I'm all talked out, our fridge is full of healthy snacks and the 5 dozen cookies I made last Thursday are down to about 10. {sigh}

Ideas people.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

The Power of Moms

I'm sitting here backing up all our files because our computer has been pretty wonky lately. {note to you, back up your files!}

I'm lookin' at the ol' internet because a gal's gotta fill her time somehow, right?

My friend Saren has a site called the Power of Moms.  They have a little video contest going on right now and I thought -- what the heck.

It just seems like all my friends are overwhelmed right now, it's the end of the school year and we're showing lots of appreciation to our teachers, there's STAR testing and extra activities and we're right at the brink of being DONE.  Many of us feel like we are unfairly yoked with our husbands, and perhaps their share isn't really what we are hoping for... it's just a lot.  I've had this talk with at least 4 girlfriends just this week.

Cue videos.

We have the hardest job in the world.  And that's not just something Oprah says.

It's constant.
It's crazy.
It's hard.
It's emotional.
And it's all ours.
And we woudln't have it any other way. 
Except for perhaps a housekeeper....

Anyway, the videos remind you why you picked this fancy life of motherhood.  Just like snuggling with a baby with her last bottle helps remind you as well.

Yes, P is done with bottles. 

So, watch the videos, feel great about yourself because you're changing the world -- one little brain at a time. :)  Go moms, you can do it!(frankly, you have very few other options).

Friday, May 07, 2010

Favorites Friday

1.  I bought a set kind of like these, but they're MUCH cheaper at Walmart.  I think they were like 97 cents.  Anyway, you know how some recipes call for you to add a million spices all at once.  I find myself getting them all out while I'm waiting for it to boil, or whatever but feel harried when I need to get them all in there.  This way, I just put them in my little cups and just throw them in at the right time.  Also, I am often measuring out 1/2 an ounce of cheese and while I enjoy playing guessing games as to how much is right, these make it really simple! (plus, they are almost exactly 1/2 an ounce of cheese).  Did I mention I like cheese?  I think I have too much pride to put it as one of my favorites though. :)

2.  Yoga.  I know, where did this come from? -- but I have to admit after 35 minutes of Total Body Workout from BYU TV yesterday I felt like I'd had a massage.  It was so nice to feel like I'd stretched all those muscles. Also, I started with a headache and ended without one.  That could be thanks to the ibuprophen and sudafed though.  I do feel like I am going to fall down a good 45% of the time, but she talks about being patient with yourself.  Just ask Drew, anything that provides me half an ounce more of patience is welcome in this house!  Also, she was talking about your chi or something like that... how you show the joy in your face by how much you enjoy moving your muscles.  This morning when I was reading my scriptures I was thinking that I find a lot of joy in motherhood, but it definitely doesn't show on my face.  I need to find the joy in each thing that I'm doing.  A learning experience.

3.  My job.  There are times when you feel like you are in a certain place at a certain time to do a certain thing.  Wednesday was one of those times.  I love getting a calm assurance that God loves me and he appreciates when I am thoughtful to others.

The First Years Take And Toss Spill Proof Cups, 4 Pack, Colors May Vary , 10 Ounce4.  These sippy cups did it!  I got my little P to drink from them last night.  It was a miracle.  A miracle that wasn't re-produced this morning, but it's all about baby steps, right?  I think it's time to be done with the bottles.  I think if I get her to take one again today I'm gonna put them in a bag for a friend.  I won't miss washing those suckers.  I hate that.  I am torn though, I love that bottle time with my babies.  I love looking in their eyes and stroking their little heads, a moment out of my day to sit down with them and drink them in.  I need to still find those moments, and pray that at some point she can hold the sippy herself (that, didn't happen last night... but baby steps, right?).

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Adoption

Last night I had a patient who was giving her baby up for adoption.  I think this is only the second or third time that I've had an adoption patient, we don't get them frequently.

I have a lot of really strong feelings about adoption.  I have a cousin, and a nephew who are both adopted.  Personally, I think it is the best way to get yourself out of a mess.  This couple was really clear that it wasn't the time for them to have a baby but they didn't want to abort.

They were making the best out of an awful situation.

But when that baby came out.  Uh, all the thoughts about how hard that would be, I was holding back a dam of emotions.  Then, to come home to my own sweet P and see what an amazing gift that is to give.  To turn your heartache into a gift.

Well, I think it's probably the biggest sacrifice a person can give.  I was so amazed at that couple.  They thanked me for being "amazing" and I told them that if anyone deserved amazing it was them.  I hope they get amazing.  I hope this is a turning point for them.  I know that God will bless them for their sacrifices.  I wish I could have been there when the adoptive parents came in, but it was all kind of a mess.  I also can't imagine what it would be like to see all your hopes and dreams sitting there in a bundle of blankets just waiting for you.

Just a lot of thoughts and feelings about it all.  Just wish more people would be smart like them.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Just One of those Days

Sometimes when it's your third, you think you've kind of got those kinks of parenthood figured out.  At least the parenting of the littles.  Conner still comes up with some things that stop me in my tracks but for the most part I feel like I'm on top of things.

Until yesterday.  Like a fool I prioritized Spencer going to school over P's nap and scheduled a well check right after school got out.  Conner then decided he had a couple of questions to ask Dr. G so he wanted to come along.  Drew dropped him off after he got out.  Things were going OK, and we had our visit... and while P was like holding water in your hands we made it through.  {Searching diaper bag} no Tylenol.  Phooey (I think I took it out when we went to Disneyland).  Head to pharmacy after dropping off P's immunization stuff to get in the long line (exceedingly long line, but I was marginally happy that I was able to waste some time at the pharmacy).  Turns out the pharmacy had a forever long line as well.  P is screaming the entire line.  I'm just looking around and smiling at people.  I have my hands full of stuff I needed to purchase (might as well get some nasal rinse and thermometer probe covers while I'm there) and my mild back-and forth of the stroller wasn't doing it.  She'd already thrown both shoes and was heading into hyperventilation when we got to the counter.  I asked Conner (who had spent much of the time while I was in line asking me if he could buy certain things, we finally settled on a toothbrush that lights up for a minute to remind you to brush that long) to take her on a quick walk down the hall while I pay (Spencer, meanwhile is sprawled out in the middle of the floor working on an activity book).  Apparently, a walk was him performing wheelies and dougnuts as I tried to pay.  The horrified pharamcy techs were like, "is she OK, should he be doing that?" to me while I just WANTED MY DANG RECEIPT SO I COULD PAY.  We make it over to the immunization clinic just as we're called in (miracle, thank you) and P is crying like bloody murder the whole time.  I was able to give her tylenol (which was wrapped like a nuclear bomb) and she got her shots and we're done.  They gave 2 of them in her arms though.  Has anyone here seen P's arms?  They're smaller than a suckling branch so I am glad she's doing alright today.  Since she was already screaming I had a nice time rubbing in the shots as we walked out (again, people were staring).

I do think that too often on this blog I put up the facade that things are going smashingly well.  And, while my children are spaced pretty far apart and I do feel like I have things pretty well together, there are times when it is glaringly not together.  I just thought I'd share.

I didn't scream or beat any of them.  Miracle #2.

In other news, P is in the 3rd percentile for weight (17# 3oz), and the 63rd for weight (29.5").  She is in the 3rd percentile based on weight for age. :) 
Spencer is in the 5th percentile for weight (38#) and the 27th for height (44")  HIs BMI is 13.41 whichi s the 2nd percentile.

Seriously.

And in even MORE other news I just read that I can schedule a phone visit with my doctor.  I mean, HOW. GREAT. IS. THAT.  No leaving my house, getting them around sick kids I can just talk to her.  Will Kaiser wonders never cease? :)  Just one of those days... (sadly, well checks can't be done over the phone.  What a shame.)

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Teach Me Tuesday: Something's eating my garden!

Grrr.... just when you think your garden is going A-MAZING.  Something eats a lot of it.
Bu-bye cucumbers, bu-bye canteloupe (twice), bu-bye watermelon.
So, I go out, I look I see nothing.  I cover them in bird netting thinking it's squirrels, and it's not.
Seedlings are coming up, but being immediately eaten.
So, what do I do?
I put slug-o out thinking it was slugs, and I think that's helped a little.
I wonder if I'm watering too much.
I think I might eliminate one of my early morning waterings.
Do I call it quits and buy stock in the produce store? :)
It's frustrating, but I'd like some advice from you master gardeners!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Somehow, I still have a lot of dinners left on my menu plan.
AND, it's so hot right now (casserole in the oven, feeding the missionaries) I'm considering just having PB&J all week.
Do you have any favorite summer dishes?
I could use one about now....

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