Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pig Cold

Please. Can I get just a little more conflicting information about H1N1???


Clinic for kids age 6 mos to 4 years and caregivers of children under 6 months. Ok, great. I'm on it. Except.... it's the nasal spray.... a live virus. The NP recommended we NOT do that because we could shed the virus on the baby and give her the very virus we are getting vaccinated to prevent her from getting. (Did you follow that?) She was fairly surprised the health department was recommending the nasal spray to caregivers of infants.

Why don't these people talk to each other?

So, factoring in that we've probably already HAD swine flu (we've certainly had our share of Whine Flu at our house) I've elected to take the do-nothing route until the shot is available.

Am I doing the right thing?

Not sure.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Christmas by the Week WEEK 4

Week #4 - "Baking Week" Oct 26-Nov

Set aside the time needed to complete holiday goodie making.
Make lists of toys, books, and clothes that children would enjoy and keep the list handy for telling family members who ask what they would like.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Jingle Bells

My mom called last night... she got Sweet the new Transformers movie for Christmas. So it is genetic.... this early organization thing.

Elle has a post up about it as well. See? It isn't just me.

I'm planning gifts. I think both big kids are getting little digital cameras and new snow sleds. Tuff wants Snow White & Scooby Do dvds and a pink water bottle. Sweet wants Transformers and Bakugan. Bugsy wants.... I think Bugsy wants one of those star animal night lights. Now to decide... turtle, sea turtle or lady bug?

I'm making my gift list.... I want new cami sleep tops, Photoshop Elements, narrow clothes hangers & a curved shower rod.... all available at your local Costco. Also one and two-quart sauce pans and an addition on my house.

I'm also thinking of doing the "12 days of Christmas" in books.... you take Holiday books you already have and wrap them up and open one a night and read it.... I think I have 12 books if I include a few board books. Snuggle up for a little tradition..... sounds kinda nice.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


The veggie wars are on.

I was successful in getting rid of a lot of the sugar in my diet. I've relaxed a little but I'm still being very careful but sometimes I need a bowl of ice cream or some stuffed french toast.

So I've successfully integrated that habit.

Now to add more veggies. I've been eating a lot more salad lately. A small side Caesar with dinner or something. And piling the veggies on my bean burrito at lunch. And spaghetti squash. I love spaghetti squash. Now to make it a regular habit and get the rest of the family involved.... Hot likes salads and we've compromised on our lettuce style by getting hearts of romaine. (He likes iceberg, I like spring mix.)

I'm trying Elle's recipe for ribbons this week.

Last night each kid ate a bite of "cream of green" soup. But I got downturned thumbs from Sweet (and a request for raw broccoli & ranch) and a "meh" from Tuff (and a request for a pumpkin muffin and a pickle) and Hot wouldn't even taste it (and made himself short ribs for dinner). I really like it. What does that say about me? I'll make a bunch for lunches. It is super easy and ranks as "great use of stick blender" in my book. I'm so lazy I skipped the onion. And I used a combo of mozzarella and cheddar cheese because Costco doesn't sell mo-jack.

Broccoli Soup* (aka Cream of Green)

2 tsp olive oil
½ onion, chopped
1 med potato, peeled and cut into ½ in pieces
3 c broccoli, chopped
3 c low-salt vegetable stock
1 c reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

In a large stockpot, heat oil and sauté the onion for 5 to 7 minutes over low to medium heat. Add potatoes, broccoli, and stock; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes or until broccoli and potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
Remove the mixture from stove top. Puree with stick blender and top with cheese.

*To give credit I think this is from Health magazine.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Christmas by the Week WEEK 3

Week #3 - "Supplies Week" Oct 19-25

After inventorying supplies on hand, purchase non-perishables needed for holiday baking, supplies needed for gift making, film, batteries, gift wrapping, and Christmas cards as needed.

Friday, October 16, 2009

And the Powers That Be spoke and said, "Go to bed at 9:00"

Am I getting old?

Wait. Don't answer that.

The Powers That Be seem to be telling me, via the terrible TV available in the 9-10 slot, to go to bed early.

Every fall we sort of figure out what we want to watch..... "My Name is Earl" and "Chuck" were both favorites that seem to have disappeared.

So last night I was reading a trashy paperback and realized we aren't watching a lot of tv lately.

This is good.

So I looked at the lineups and listed the things I thought we'd consider watching.....

Monday: House at 7. Trauma at 8. Lie to Me at 8. Castle at 9.
Tuesday: That witchy woman a few seasons ago spoiled The Biggest Loser for us.... but the kids love Hell's Kitchen. And watching them play it cracks me up. We make dinner and they call me Chef and do my bidding. But it ended this week.
Wednesday: Mercy at 7. The Middle looks funny but I haven't actually watched it yet.
Thursday: FlashForward at 7. Bones at 7. The Office at 8. Grey's at 8.
Friday: You know... I once liked Law & Order.... no more.
Sunday: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition at 7. Tradition demands we eat dinner late on tv trays in the living room.

These are the things I'd consider watching but I'm not in love with any of them. And the only one in the 9 slot is Castle.... and it is kinda dumb. But Trauma and Lie to Me at the same time? So wrong. And Grey's & The Office at the same time.... killing me.

I wish we got A&E so I could watch Hoarders.... and I wish we got CBS so I could watch.... well, whatever is on CBS.

What's everyone else watching now that the new fall lineup is out? Should I just give up and get "Dexter" on my netflix list??

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Balmy 26

My kids are completely confused. They didn't want to wear mittens yesterday because it was a balmy 26 degrees. (Up from 2 the day before.)

We went to the park because it was almost 40 degrees out. Sweet asked if he could take his coat off. No. But he was running around with it unzipped.

Isn't this called the "Admiral Byrd Effect" or something.... how guys at the pole shovel show shirtless in ten below weather because they are so climatized?

Well we climatized early this year... usually it doesn't feel warm at freezing until February or so.

I'm not going to lie... when the cold weather hit I went nuts at Land's End. New coat for Sweet. (Already had a nice one for Tuff thanks to mom watching the clearance at LE last spring.) New fleece hats. New mittens and gloves. A pile of those "magic" knit gloves for everyone. Next up is good base layers for Tuff and a new underwear top for Sweet. I'm thinking Sierra Trading Post. Sweet has good boots. Tuff needs some. Bugsy is sporting the dark green fleece snowsuit/bunting that has served all three kids.... and will continue on down the line for next year's baby in the family....

We are warm and ready. The inflatable tubes are ready for sledding. The goggles and hand warmers are by the door. Bugsy has already figured out the baby sled and cries when it stops moving. Tuff can show you the position her feet/knees should be in to ski.

Bring it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas

from Elle
3 chicken breasts (boiled with garlic salt & pepper & chopped up)
¼ c onion (chopped in Pampered Chef chopper)
½ block cream cheese (softened)
1 can green chilies
10 tortillas
2 cans (or more) green chili sauce
shredded cheese

Put ½ can sauce on bottom of 9x13 pan. Spoon chx, onion, cheese, green chili mixture into 10 tortillas and roll up and put in pan. Top tortillas with green chili sauce, then sprinkle with cheese and finish with more green chili sauce. Bake 350-375 for 30 min.

Use lots of green chili sauce. These re-heat for great work lunches.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Girls

I love the word brassiere. Is that how you spell it?

My grandma always used that word.

SarahP commented on a recent post that every woman, after a baby, should go get fitted and get a new bra or two.

Here's my question.


I need some suggestions for good nursing ones.

Here's a funny story:

Before the wedding my mom came down and we took the two girls and went shopping. I needed shoes and a bra for my bridesmaid dress.

So we went to Macy's at 10:00 when they opened. Found shoes.

Shopped bras. I figured it was my only chance so I tried on lots. Tuff mimicked our every move.... holding bras out, checking the tags, holding them up to her front. Then she'd either shake her head and put them back or hang them on her arm.

So I had a LOT of bras to try on.... she was "helping" me by trying them on as well (picture it... now stop laughing) and then she went in the next dressing room and was playing "worker girl" with some extra hangers. Then she went out to find more bras.*

She brought in three bras and I will be damned if I didn't end up buying one of the ones she brought me.... how did she know my size better than I did??

*Now wait, before you think I was letting my child run wild let me assure you... it was 10am... the store had just opened and there were no child stealers in the store and, two, she was being quiet, polite and respectful and NOT making a mess.....

Pul Go Gi

Pul Go Gi
from my Uncle J

2-3 lbs thin sliced beef
1 c soy sauce
4-6 TBS sesame seed oil
4 TBS roasted sesame seeds
½ TBS pepper
4-6 cloves garlic (crushed & chopped)
1 TBS ginger
2-4 TBS sugar
Red pepper
1 small bunch green onions (chopped small)

Marinate & grill.

Ok, maybe not fall comfort food but so good eaten on skewers while watching football.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Christmas by the Week WEEK 2

Week #2 - "Browse Week" Oct 12-18

Develop and record ideas for gifts and decorations. Ask yourself the following questions:

* What would our ideal Christmas be like?
* What activities are particularly important to our family at Christmas?
* How much emphasis do our Christmas activities place on the spiritual side of Christmas?


Cube Steak Sandwich

2 to 3 pounds cube steak
large onion
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
Worcestershire Sauce

Slice onions and cook in 1/4 stick butter until soft and light brown. Remove and set aside.-Slice cube steak against the grain. Season with Lawry’s. -Heat 2 TBSP butter over high heat (in same skillet) until melted and beginning to brown. -Add meat in single layer. Cook one side until brown, then flip and cook until brown, about a minute on both sides. -Add 1/2 (at least) Worcestershire sauce, 5 to 6 shakes Tabasco, and 2 TBSP butter. Add cooked onions. Stir to combine.-Butter halved French rolls and brown on skillet.

Roll, meat, pan juice, top of roll.

This came from the internet but I can't remember where.... Pretty tasty even if your husband doesn't like worcestershire.

*Updated to add:  Source noted by Anonymous:  Pioneer Woman

Sunday, October 11, 2009


1 ½ lbs. hamburger
½ cup rice
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. onion, minced
1 small can tomato soup
½ cup water

Wash rice. Combine meat, rice, salt, pepper and onion. Shape into small balls. Heat tomato soup and water in cooker. Drop meat balls in soup mixture. Close cover securely. Place pressure regulator on vent pipe and cook 10 minutes with pressure regulator rocking slowly. Let pressure drop of its own accord.

I've also made these in a regular electric frying pan with tomato sauce instead of soup. Whatever.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Creamy White Chili

Creamy White Chili
From my Auntie A

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into ½” cubes)
1 med onion –chopped
1 ½ tsp garlic powder
1 TBS vegi oil
2 cans (15 ½ oz each) Great Northern beans, rinsed & drained
1 can (14 oz) chicken broth
2 cans (4 oz each) chopped green chilis
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground oregano
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 c (8 oz) sour cream
½ c whipping cream

In large sauce pan, sauté chicken, onion & garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies & seasonings. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream & whipping cream. Serve immediately.

I usually use dried beans instead of canned.... because my aunt is a bean farmer.

Friday, October 09, 2009

In Case You Were Wondering.....


(original recipe from Helen Schnitzmeier)

6 medium sized potatoes
3 T. margarine
3 T. flour
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ cup grated cheddar cheese
1/8 tsp pepper
1 small onion (chopped)
2 ¼ cup milk
1 cup cooked ham (diced)

Pare potatoes; slice thin. Melt margarine in saucepan; add onions and cook until yellowed but not brown. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Add milk and cook, stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly. Put half of potatoes in a baking dish; pour over half of the sauce; add ham. Top with remaining potatoes and sauce. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until potatoes are tender. 6-8 servings.

I often skip the onion.

What are you wearing today??

I'm wearing my favorite dark orange long-sleeved t-shirt and my dark jeans.... with crazy striped multicolored socks. What? It's Friday.

The on-going and ever-lasting clothing debate continues. I guess it isn't a debate but more of an ongoing discussion about finding your personal style.

Get Rich Slowly has a great article up about clothing. Go. Read the article and the comments. Come back. Tell me what you think.

Now. Here's what I think. Yup, right on. I began my quest to discover my style in January 2008 with the great closet clean out. I gathered my sister (you can borrow her if you want.... she has great style, is honest, and won't hurt your feelings) and a cup of tea. We started into my closets with the goal of not stopping until we were done.

I discovered what everyone discovers. I wear the same stuff over and over. So I ditched the rest.... to the tune of seven large garbage bags to Good Sam's. And later a giant tub of shoes.

Then I spent a little money on a few items shopping with Elle at Kohl's and getting some capris at Eddie Bauer.

So that was almost 2 years ago. I'm finding my wardrobe needs another overhaul. Frankly, that stuff I bought two years ago is WORN OUT.... I don't care how you launder it and don't put it in the dryer.... wear it every week and it wears out.

Plus I suffer with every season change. I'm moving out of my cute skirts/plain tops/sandals outfits and into jeans and fall clothes. I need something a little classier than my dark jeans three days a week at work.

I have some "Holy Crap It Is Hard To Ditch Baby Number Three Weight" clothes now that I am wearing to work but I need to anticipate Christmas. What items should I ask for to make the perfect work/play wardrobe??

Here's what I'm thinking:

The perfect black cardigan.... maybe cashmere.
Long-sleeved black shirts.... not crew neck... v-neck or something clever..... soft fabulous fabric.
A new scarf or two. I love scarves. Something shorter maybe?
One or two tops... those crazy trendy print ones.
Something fabulous and Eileen Fisher??
Pants... what pants? I have black knit ones (yoga pants) that I wear all the time. What else?

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Christmas by the Week WEEK 1

Week #1 - "List Week" Oct 5-11

Make your lists of gift recipients, Christmas cards, menus for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's, goodies to share or to give, favorite meals to prepare ahead, decorations needed, and gifts to make.

Christmas by the Week

I got this list somewhere.... I'll be posting every week....

Fall Comfort Foods

Elle just asked me for some meal inspiration. Which is a switch because I'm usually bugging her for help with school lunch packing or ideas for dinner......

Things are a bit chaotic here....

1. I'm still recovering from being sick (so tired) and I smacked my head yesterday (don't ask.... cleaning behind the pellet stove and that blessed elk mount.... need I say more??). So just getting things done is a challenge right now.
2. I'm putting things away from the evacuation pile and the wedding pile. And catching up on laundry... a challenge with no working dryer and below freezing temps outside.
3. We got our first real storm. It is cold here. Right around freezing. So we did the "dig out the winter stuff" from the shed.... it is all piled in the dining room. And I ordered some stuff from Land's End... mittens and hats and such. Sweet really needs a new winter jacket. He has one but it isn't very high quality or warm. And Tuff really needs new boots. And everyone needs those little liner one-size-fits-all knit gloves. Plus some heavy winter socks, and long underwear tops and bottoms. More shopping. Ugh. Paid Sweet a dollar to search for garden hoses under the snow and a dollar for every one he hauled to the lean-to for storage. Bought enough bags of pellets to get to the weekend... hopefully I will have time to take the pickup and get a ton this weekend.
4. Hot is on a diet. No carbs. He swears it works for him. I've been eating some sugar (leftover wedding cake and cinnamon rolls) this week but I finished that up last night so I'm back on the wagon. The no carb thing makes dinner interesting. It seems wrong to make big vats of pasta and eat it in front of Hot. On the other hand.... I could eat an omlet every night and be happy.
5. My "to do" list is multiplying exponentially. Paying off doctor bills from this summer, doing school stuff (fundraisers, book orders, math homework, reading homework, finding library books, checking out the teacher's Amazon wish list....), dealing with cold weather stuff (I must put plastic on the windows this weekend and blow out the flowerbed sprinklers and finish putting porch pots in the garage.... so much for my plans to put my flower beds to bed nicely...), the broken dryer isn't helping, trying to feed everyone healthy-ish but cheap and easy, oh my... it overwhelms sometimes.

So back to the recipe request.... I went for some comfort foods.

Inspiration: Fall Comfort Food

From my mom: Scalloped Potatoes and Ham (I won't mention that you can redneck it and use hot dogs....)
From my aunt: White Bean Chili (This is actually a great crock pot potluck item.... you can tone the hot up or down with green chilies or habanera)
From my grandma: Porcupine Meatballs (serve with garlic mashed potatoes made in the pressure cooker....if you make enough you can have meatball sandwiches the next day)
From the internet: Cube Steak Sandwiches (serve with salad)
From my uncle: Pul Go Gi (We like it with plain rice)
From my friend: Chicken Enchiladas (Elle's recipe)

Up first.... Scalloped (Scalped) Potatoes and Ham....

Friday, October 02, 2009

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Evacuation Warning vs Mandatory Evacuation

Friday was a hell of a day. I had a very long and very stressful day at work. Complete with picking up Sweet from school at 3 and going back to an off-site 10-5 meeting. He watched videos on his little dvd player and was an angel but still... It felt like a serious hit to my professionalism, ya know?

AND there was no place to pump.... so I was about dying and hoping nobody said the word b-a-b-y or they risked taking a full shot to the eye from chest level. My plan was to get the girls and stop at a park so the bigs could play and the littlest could nurse.... and then my cell phone rang.

"Honey, go home, sit tight, watch the horizon, and maybe pack a bag or two. I'll call you when I know more...."


Big fire. A few miles from our house. Not a big deal, right? But add to the equation a whole forest of red, dead, beetle-kill trees and predictions of high winds and, well, huh.... what IS important in your home?

My 5 minute plan is the kids, the dog and my purse. My 6 minute plan is the kids, the dog, my purse, the cats & the external hard drive. But what do I pack when I have hours and hours to stew about it?

First. Call the in-law's and let them know what is going on.... they are out of town and will be back early the next morning. Then spend much time on the phone talking to... everyone. Lots of people called to ask if we needed help packing up or needed a place to stay. Thank you. I talked to several neighbors including two who needed a place for their horses. Bring 'em down... I have water buckets and all the gates are closed.... just put them in an empty space and make sure they have water.

I paused to daydream about the items I would like to burn up.... the pink countertops in the kitchen, the couch, Hot's swim trunks, the washer and dryer.....

Then pack up photo albums that aren't available digitally, baby books (who am I kidding... the books are blank... but there is a box accompanying each that is full), taxes, last year's worth of bills, camera, various little antiques, jewelry, all the guns (please note: I'm only required to salvage the hunting rifle if it is a serious emergency), all the keys to all the gun locks, safe deposit key, various other paperwork that seems important, 4 days worth of clothing for each of us, hunting pack and licenses for Hot, all gift cards (what? It made total sense at the time), spare car keys, toys (transformers, bakugan, several baby dolls & leapsters)..... at this point I realize whatever I pack up I have to unpack later.... so I stopped.

Then I debated leaving my bridesmaid dress for this weekend. Then I packed it. And all the kids' wedding attire.

Then I called Hot and told him I was sorry to report his swimming trunks burnt in the fire. His "but I've had them since high school" trunks. Teal green baggies with a navy blue pattern. Yes, a speedo would be worse... but not much. So sorry.... all gone... bye-bye.

And I got the small cat carrier down from the garage rafters. And ran the dishwasher and did some laundry. And remembered my dryer is broken and I can't hang laundry out in the smoke. And I put the sprinklers on in the yard. And I took some photos for insurance documentation. And my in-laws helped me shuttle the pickup to town.

And we went to a birthday party on Saturday afternoon. Because, really, it is just a normal day in the rest of the world. But I know I was rattled because I forgot the gift.

And off to my sister's house to make centerpieces and programs. I discovered the fire was her fault. She said, "I hoped for an act of God to bring you to my house for Saturday AND Sunday... I'm very sorry...." We were only planning to go up on Sunday but ended up going on Saturday afternoon because of the smoke and evacuation warning.

But Sunday night was fine and by Tuesday it was cooling off. It rained and snowed on Wednesday.... so much that Hot called me and told me to open the "end of season" celebratory bottle of wine.

And that is the end of my story.....