Friday, May 28, 2010

Because I have to feed them

Fridays are cooking prep days, no getting around it.  Sometimes its mostly it's minimal  work. Getting menus written out so they know what's to eat,  getting meals or ingredients ready so that they can fend for themselves while I am at my other I made Drip Beef in the crock pot. 
I was tempted to make a sammich right then and there.
Once it was cooled I put it into the fridge and labeled it.  It will be really delish  tomorrow for lunch.  I also cut bell pepper and onion into strips for grilling along with fajita meat.  And, I made pico de gallo with the rest of the overripe tomatoes and cilantro that was on it's last leg. 
I love pico de gallo!
Sunday's meal is chicken in the crock, which I can start before I leave for the day.  I will start out with frozen chicken since my crock pot goes turbo even on low. It's a pre-packaged crock pot seasoning packet.  It looks good - I will have hubby fix red potatoes and some sauteed squash to go with. 
For tonight, its Pizza Rolls:
 They kinda look like homemade Hot pockets. I totally made them up. Kind of like the oven sammies  only I roll  up the dough with filling like a cinnamon roll.  I like how you get multiple layers of crust, cheese, sauce and pepperoni's....
It was pretty good, and it cooked in about 35 minutes while I re-covered an old boating cushion my husband cannot seem to part it's new home is on the patio on his anti-gravity lounger.  I won't bother posting a pic, it was not a stellar project...and why I have to add more stuff to do at 6 p.m. on a Friday is anyone's guess...and speaking of that, time to get ready for work tomorrow.
Hope you have good things to eat this weekend, too!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Summer Top 10

We love summer! Here's what we will do to keep from being too bored  (haha):

1.  Movies
We love 'em. Yes, we buy candy at Walgreen's and sneak our contraband into the dollar theater. Occasionally  I spring for popcorn and then it's gotta be the giant size and we've gotta refill it once before the movie starts!  And Bubbie and I will check out the free movies, too! It's nice to sit in their A/C!
2.  The pool
I'm ready. I bought a new torpedo toy thingy and some splash bombs and the boys and I have our suits ready and I have a jar of money saved called 'Mom's Mad Money' that I will use to finance our admission, and our snocone habit.
3.  Sonic
I have been known to announce 'We're going to Sonic!" to anyone who's at my house and that's the signal to jump in the car, shoes are optional. and take my kids and whatever neighbor kids are at my house to Sonic for Happy Hour.  Ahhh...vanilla Diet Coke....we love it, and The Girls works there so sometimes we are hooked up with free onion rings...shhhhh
4.  Library
No, you can't turn your brain off just cause it's summer.  In years past, I also made my kids do Summer Bridge workbooks , but there was a general revolt about 3 years ago and I decided it wasn't worth the stress and screaming. They liked them, and they got rewards for completing them, but there was a lot of prodding involved... plus, all of them are really good readers. As in, Commended on the TAKS Test Good Readers.  So , the library is a weekly thing, after which we hit the pool. Shocker.
5.  Bopping around exploring
This is one of my favorites. We head out, destination unknown, and try a new place to eat, or new shop to visit, new park to play in, new museum to explore.  Some of the best summer lunches we had were after I said "I'm turning right into the next restaurant parking lot I come to".  Fun!
6.  Science and nature night on PBS
Usually watched with Dad after a hot and long day, with dinner in the den.
7.  Field Trips
Back when I first went part-time I ran my household of 4 kids during the summer like Summer Camp - we had a schedule that we stuck to for lunches, snacks, rest, pool, etc.  We still loosely follow something like that, but we can be more flexible on where we go since now there are only three of us.  One of our favorite places is Sweet Berry Farm. Another is Brenham to visit Grandma. We also go here, and here.
8.  Sleep in
Not to be lazy, but please...after a year of getting up at 6:30...let's just say we're ready.
9.  The boys will do summer camp with Dad and Boy Scouts; mom and The Girl will visit Texas State for an overnight visit and eat here and here.  And the girl will get to know her way around the campus. And mom will relive memories of college days...and take deeeeep breaths...
10.  Nothing.
That's right. Nothing.  We will have days when mom has chores and crafts and cooking....and the kiddos will hang out at home or at neighbor's houses, making the rounds, eating snacks, playing with their electronics, listening to music, laying on the couch.  In a way, this is the best summer activity of all!

Linked to:
'cause we love summer!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Little touches and fun to do

I like to spend money, yes I do.  That's not always possible, but I do like it just the same! Check out the cute owl switchplate cover I bought a couple months ago from Anthropologie:
He was  pricey - I justified it by working a little OT.
And I do love owls.
He brightens up my little office nook.  Which makes me want to change out  a few other switch plate covers  around the house, but not spend as much as this one cost. (Or anything, really!)
So,  I fished around in my scrap box for leftover fabric from the last project, and got my Modge Podge out...
I cut out a piece of fabric just a little bit bigger than the switch plate. Coated the front of the plate with MP, laid the fabric over, and secured on the edges with bullfrog clips. then brushed more MP on the front of the switch plate to crisp up the fabric so it would be easy to cut out the holes for the switches.  I just cut an "x" where the screws would go. These utility knives were less than $2 for both at Wal-Mart.

Love it!
This is the switch right across from the laundry room.
This print is so perfect and matches my cute little baskets 
above the washer/dryer.
Couldn't stop there - had to do one for the front room:
I so love the colors in this one - matches the basket under my desk, and it even goes well with that old Martha Stewart green!  Now I am looking around at other switches in the house - the bedrooms, perhaps? since I need so little fabric, I can get some really beautiful ones!  Cheap thrills, right?

My garage OCD

I can be sort of a freak about organization.  I take the old "everything in it's place" to extreme.  And, if you share a house with me, I believe your stuff should be in it's place, too! This causes hubby great concern over me throwing out his "stuff".  Which more often than not, is trash we should have pitched long ago....anyhoo....I got my trusty helper to help me neaten up the garage Friday. It was making me crazy. er.
When I saw the "after" photo, I was still cringing.  You could barely tell we'd spent 2 hours in the heat and dust. We just own too much crap, plain and simple.  All that crap isn't enriching our lives or making us happy in any way. And taking hours to straighten and organize it actually lessens the joy of having a home that's comfy for us all...just my opinion.

I can see a little glimmer of more space here - at least everyone has a place for their bike.  Parking a car in here would be out of the question, though...

And we can actually get to the back door without injuring ourselves tripping over stuff. Even if the stuff is shoved into every nook and cranny...yikes...26 years of accumulated "treasure".
Of course now, we have to rid our garage of a rather large pile - analog TV's, broken stereo speakers, a cabinet I was going to paint and didn't.....and why do we have a sandwich board?  I envision a place where the boys can hang out with a dart board, table, and a few folding chairs....if I could only get hubby on board with clearing out the unnecessary clutter....


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mom not feeling so good...

If the mom is the cleaner of the house, buyer of the food and supplies, cooker of the meals, washer of the dishes and clothes, payer of the bills, scooper of the litter, emptier of the recycleables, planner of the household calendar, changer of the sheets, reminder-er of the kids and comforter of the sick family members,  and works outside of the home....who takes over when she is ill?

Rustown Art

Hint: close your eyes and who do you see?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Creamy jalapeno dressing, ole!

Heartburn or no heartburn, we are having taco salads tonight!  And I found a recipe for creamy jalapeno dressing like they serve at Chuy's, a popular Austin restaurant.  So here's what I needed,and please pretend I remembered to add mayo, because I did!
Creamy Jalapeno Dressing
Pickled japs in juice, a packet of ranch dressing mix, 1/2 cup buttermilk, 
1 c. mayo (the real thing), and 1/2 a bunch of cilantro, chopped with stems removed.  I dumped the japs into the blender with a little juice and chopped them up, then added all else and blended together.
Looks good, smelled even better!
The recipe suggests you make it hours before you want to use it.  I think hubby will be very happy to see this beside his taco salad - it's his favorite thing at Chuy's.  I will toss a bagged salad with black beans, green onions, avocado, tomato, and a little seasoned, cooked ground beef.  Yum....need to go buy some beer to go with. TGIF, ya'll!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

You know it's getting closer to summer when...

I guess the natives neighborhood kids are restless.  They are practicing a blatant disregard for the usual evening school night schedule by hanging out in the garage way past dinnertime, with the radio cranked up, singing loudly, practicing fake French accents, just basically being silly. Boys, even!
Believe it or not, they were actually debating what Superman would do if he dug to the center of the earth...huh?  What have you done all afternoon, boys?
No, you cannot come inside my house.
No I really don't want to debate whether Superman would call out a la Ozzie for a "sammich" from Sharon.  Who are these kids?  I think the late spring heat has gotten to them. And, like I said,  it's a school night. And they need to come in now and eat.  Tomorrow is just another school day...and one day closer to summer.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

On the dinner table: pizza meatloaf of my favorite things to make, even though it's really too hot outside. I forgot to buy salmon for tonight. ): Well, I just have to thaw out some ground beef, sorry; salmon another day!  But I'll make this:

I learned to make it in high school from an old cookbook of my mom's.  Simple enough for a kid to make, but really filling and cheesey!  It was a family favorite back then and Hubby really likes it. We usually have it with potatoes of some sort (these are roasted), and a veggie (like these buttery carrots).
If I were feeling creative I might also do rolls....but..yeah. Not tonight.  However, I did make Cornflake Cookies since the oven was hot anyway.  Here's the meatloaf recipe - try it, you might like it!

Pizza Meatloaf

Mix 1 can tomato soup with 1/4 c. water and 1/2 tsp. each of crushed oregano and garlic salt.  Ladle out 1/4 c. of it into a bowl and add: 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef, 1 egg, 1 c. bread crumbs, 1/2 chopped onion.  Shape into loaf and bake at 350 for 50 minutes.  Drain fat off.   Pour the rest of the sauce over it, top with cheese, and bake til cheese melts. Cook the tatoes and your veggie at the same time in the oven.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Message on a plate

Who among us hasn't felt like 90% of our job as a mom is to remind and nag and teach - sometimes all in the same breath?  It gets a  little tiresome, and sometimes I think my kids aren't really listening... today I found a way I can impart a little wisdom and/or advice to my family for a whopping $3.  A large melamine platter from Wally World, and a dry erase marker.  Originally, I was going to use chalkboard paint and ceramic platter for the same idea.  but I haven't found the platter I like yet.  
This will do for now:

I'm not sending you out in the world with low expectations of your character and behavior,
and Dad and I expect for you to look within yourself to get what you truly want.
You can't expect others to be more vested in your future than you are,
and it's unreasonable to be picky about the results, unless you're the one who's doing the work!
It only takes a few words and a sincere smile to let others know you appreciate them
and common sense married with the Golden Rule will take you far.
If all else fails, I can use it to post the menu!

Monday, May 17, 2010

No stress cake

This is the cake that greeted my new graduate when she returned home from commencement.  It was a huge hit!  It looks like a lot of candy, but each slice has only two skinny Kit Kats  and a handful (or less) of M&M's.  Find the recipe at Texas Monkey - there are lots of variations.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sweet Sunday evenings

Rustown Art

I never get tired of Sunday evenings, even if I feel tired from work...they hold the promise of an entire week at home, taking care of my dear ones in  many ways..the purely physical tasks that keep our household up and running and comfortable and secure.  Sometimes it seems like drudgery, but most times it feels like pure luck, that I could have this arrangement of working 7 days a week - two in the medical field, the rest as full-time mom.  For us it was the perfect fit, allowing us to say good bye to daycare forever, and still have a house to raise kids in with everything we needed to provide for them.  And Hubby has done a very good job of being full-time dad on weekends and working 40 plus hours each week, while being fully engaged with our kids  and their various activities. 
So, Sundays are a very good kind of tired because I know that tomorrow I will be my own boss and give myself permission to get things done on my own schedule and give myself a break! 

Friday, May 14, 2010

One last reflection...

Scout, age 2

It was a very nice week - Mother's Week, I like to call it.  Why do we get only one day? Should be a whole month.  With 4 kids and all the photos and art that comes home from school, I need a month to reflect and think back on it...and to look forward to the future.
It ought to be more than a day, right? 

But it was a lovely week...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's almost that time...

And I'm dragging  my feet a little because I don't want the girl to grow up and leave. Most days.
Some days I want to help her pack. 
Not today.
  I'm trying to plan a celebration for her graduation from high school, and her heading off to begin her college life.  And I'm starting to stress just a teensy bit.....dragging photos out to make a special collage for displaying at our house that afternoon:
Yikes. This is gonna be hard...13 years worth of school photos to dig through and I'm hoping hubby has the wallet sizes I need to fill in the blanks! Plus, I need to locate the cap and gown pics - what have I done with those?!  I guess it's good I'm getting started on this now...

I finished it!!  I even attached a sweet note for her to find - it's taped onto the back.
So proud of my sweet girlie who is off to great things!


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