Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Borrowing someone else's idea...

Go HERE and read THIS and you'll see one of the reasons why I love THIS WOMAN'S blog.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Judah, in the bathroom...

kinkled= tinkled= our word for peeing.

*Judah shouts*

Mama! I kinkled!


I kinkled.

Dith mah peenish.

Good job peenish!

check out more toddler funnies at The Monkeys and Me!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Thank you!

Boy, I got so many great ideas from y'all last week when I asked for new recipes! If you haven't taken the time to look through the comments on that post, you totally should! You might get some new ideas yourself :)

In addition several people were kind enough to email me some suggestions and I wanted to post them as well.

Here's a Chicken Curry Recipe from Hosanna:

This is not a real complicated curry, and I used the crock pot to do it. It was pretty tasty; but not as spicy as I like. So I am going to be trying another recipe that is far and away more complicated; with the ginger root and the lemon grass and all. But this is cool for busy weekdays. I halved it for just the 2 of us, though.

1 chicken, cut up; or equal poundage or things, breasts, or leg quarters. ( About 2 -3 lbs)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. chopped garlic (I get it in a jar. I'm a cheater.)
1 tsp. peprika
3 Tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp. sugar
1Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. red pepper

In a skillet, fry onion in a little olive oil until just browned. Keep stirring over med. heat. Add cinnamon and bay leaves. Add all other spices except lemon juice and red pepper. Add tomato paste. Place in crock pot. Add chicken pieces and add just enough water to barely cover the chicken. Cook on High until done. (4-6 hrs.) Before serving, add the lemon juice and red pepper.
Serve over hot brown rice. (Or white. I use brown though)

If you don't want to go the crock pot route, do this in a dutch oven, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until chicken is done; an hour or so.

And she sent me an idea for making my own sour cream!

Make sour cream: 1 cup buttermilk, 2 cups heavy cream: mix together, leave sit at room temp. for 12-24 hrs

Here's a fish recipe from Laurie-- a taste combo I can't wait to try, since I'm stuck in a rut of always using citrus when I cook fish...

The recipe is for Broiled Tilapia Parmesan but you could really make it with any kind of mild white fish, like flounder, or something else.

My recommendations: I don't pay any attention to the amount of poundage of fish I am buying, I just buy one large fillet for Matt a smaller one for me and the smallest I can see for Joey. I make the topping exactly as the instructions say for whatever amount of fish I buy and then if I have extra to spread on, it just tastes richer! (If I were going to serve more than about 4 people, I'd probably double the ingredients, but just for us I always make it the same!) Also once you actually have the topping on, they should only broil a few minutes and watch closely! The cheese on top makes it more prone to over-browning/burning.

And a new chicken one that makes my mouth water!

This is super easy too, it is Feta Chicken. mmmmm!

My recommendations: I read many of the comments and the best combination seems to be: Use garlic and herb feta instead of tomato basil. Also cut up a small amount of sun-dried tomatoes (in oil, that's usually how they come) and add a few leaves of real basil. This is so easy.....crumble up garlic and herb feta, add a few sliced up sun-dreied tomatoes and a few leaves of fresh basil and then cover in the bread crumbs and bake. Sometimes I drizzle some of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes over the finished crumb-coated chicken pieces before they bake, it helps to soften up the bread crumbs. You could also melt some butter and drizzle that on top. It's a very easy recipe but usually needs to cook for longer than recommended. I don't think I've ever been able to cook it in under an hour. If you want to save time, you don't even have to pound out your chicken breasts, sometimes, if I have really thick ones, I just cut them most of the way through and then stuff the inside and close them up with toothpicks. You can stick in as many toothpicks as you need (just remember to pull them out!) the entire time they bake. I can't do it without at least 3 toothpicks per piece of chicken....
Laurie also recommended this Chicken Pastina recipe from the Food Network:

Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina

And then, all by my lonesome self, I found this jewel!

Penne With Vodka, on Recipezaar

I predict it will be a new family favorite-- even J loved it and had LEFTOVERS-- TWO SERVINGS-- for lunch the next day. Can anybody say "Winner"???

Thank you all so much for sharing! I'll be sure to post once I try each of the suggestions and don't forget to go check out the comments to see all the other good ideas :)

A Cynical Parental Observation

Don't you just love how your children say "But I don't WANT to..." with all the conviction that it actually matters what they want in a given situation???


Saturday, January 16, 2010


I desperately need some new recipes. Not the fancy, company-coming-over, hours-in-the-kitchen kind. I need some new basic, dinner time, get-food-on-the-table-asap kind. Like Chili. Or macaroni and cheese. Only not those. And I'm particularly looking for things that are fairly cheap and healthy-- no canned stuff or packets of seasonings and such. Also, veggies are good. Got any ideas? When you're pressed for time and need an idea do you have a favorite website you head to? What's your family's favorite meal?

I've been using for years now, but I'm starting to get bored. Also, they do tend to use a lot of "short-cuts", like canned soup and flavor packets. I recommend it, though. Have any of y'all tried it before?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Would you join me?

I'm sure you've all been hearing the heatbreaking stories coming out of Haiti this week. For our family, the news is a little bit more personal than usual as our Compassion Child lives in Haiti. We haven't had an update on his situation yet, but I'll be trying to see what I can find out in the next day or so. I'll let you know. His name is Dieune and he is in the sixth grade. Would you all think of him in particular as you pray for Haiti?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

*twitch* *shudder* *scratch* *blink rapidly*

You all know by now that I have issues with dirt. Specifically grit and dirt on floors. Matter of fact, just saying the word "grit" makes my left eye twitch. I put up with clutter and the general disorder of daily life with children in a small house fairly philosophically. But dirt, grime and grit on my floors, food leavings on the dining room table and dust on the furniture is my kryptonite. I can't stand it. It really makes me crazy. I'm surprised my vacuum cleaner is still working, with all the mileage I've put on it in the last eight years (weddings present). For instance, today I've vacuumed the entire house twice. I also vacuumed it on Sunday afternoon. And Saturday. See? I'm telling you, it's an unhealthy obsession. Part of the family OCD issues making their appearance, I reckon.

Also. My children are not allowed to play in Mommy and Daddy's bedroom. I have been censured for this. I specifically remember one friend (who shall remain nameless and unashamed) who waxed eloquent over her memories of hours spent cuddled in her parent's large bed, reading and playing with dolls and other toys and romping in childish delight. Uh-uh. Nope. Not my bed. This bed (I'm sitting here in bed with my laptop as I write) is for Other Things. I will not go there at this moment, but I'm sure you can just fill in the blank. This room is my sanctuary. I love my children and accept the fact that for the next fifteen or twenty years our house will be filled with all manner of kid paraphanalia on every stackable surface. BUT! Our bedroom is for OUR stuff. No kid things allowed.

Trust me, I am going somewhere with the above two seemingly completely unrelated paragraphs.

This afternoon, while I was teaching, the children took their snack of crackers (*shudder*) and sesame sticks (*twitch*) into MY BED AND ATE IT THERE.

Also on my bed was a load of clean, but not yet folded laundry.

There were crumbs on the floor. All over the floor. There were crumbs all over the duvet. There were crumbs under the duvet on my cozy fluffy blanket. There were crumbs on the bedside table. There were crumbs ON MY PILLOW!! There were crumbs in my shoes sitting beside the bed. There were crumb-y children covered in crumbs ROLLING AROUND IN THE CLEAN LAUNDRY and making tiger and kitty noises at me when I walked in an hour later.

*hysterical laughter and tears*

Tiger and kitty noises!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Getting creative in the cold

I recently read a headline on Reddit (if you don't know, you don't want to know-- trust me.) where a man was asking for advice for keeping his two young children entertained during this cold weather when you can't just ship them outside to burn off some steam. Although we are still making sure the kids get plenty of fresh air, I thought I'd also share with you some examples of J's creative ideas for fighting the winter blues :)


Balloon Volleyball

I really don't know what to call this one:

Monday, January 11, 2010

Stop the presses!!!!!


I won an honorable mention for Best Title in the Everyman Photo Contest!!!


you have to scroll down a good bit :)

Things you never thought you'd hear yourself say:

You know how you have those moments in life when you hear words coming out of your mouth you never thought you'd ever hear? Particularly in parenting moments, but also other times... Here's a compilation that I hope to add to over the months :) Please add your own in the comments!

"No, Violet, don't lick the floor."

"Judah, you may not put the lawnmower in the pool."

"No, Violet, don't lick the car"

"The hilarious thing about Louis XVI is..."

"Honey, Lanolin is not for your hair."

"Son, you may not use your violin bow for a sword."

"I don't want to hear your opinion. I just want you to give me the right answer."

"No, Violet, don't lick Judah's boots."

"Honey, go put your underwear on and you may not get naked any more."

"No, son, don't lick that coat."

"Judah, no. Take the snake out of your snack."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What we had for dinner

Remember my Facebook status the other day? Well. This is what we had :) Although, to be fair, I'd made it the day before and we were just eating the leftovers...

This is an amazing way to cook venison! My parents have been supplying us with generous amounts of venison this year, so I've been searching out new ways to cook it that can help mute the gamey taste that so many non-eaters-of-venison complain of. This recipe takes the crown, so far.

Here's the recipe with my alterations written in, because I never have everything I need for any recipe I try-- even if I did just go shopping for all the ingredients. Also, I did the metric conversions for you.

Olive oil, for cooking (I used plain cooking oil, but I would normally have olive oil on hand)

150g (I used about six slices) smoked bacon, chopped

1kg (2lbs) boned leg or shoulder of venison, cut into large chunks

3-4 tbsp plain flour, seasoned

250g shallots, peeled and roughly chopped (I used about six green onions)

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed (I totally know how to crush a garlic clove now! I rock!)

2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped

1 medium swede, peeled and roughly chopped (a swede is the English name for a rutabega. ESSENTIAL to this dish. DO NOT substitute. It has a really unique, smoky/earthy flavor that you will definitely miss)

Few thyme sprigs (I used dried sage. Only thing even remotely similar that I had)

2 bay leaves

1 tsp mixed peppercorns, crushed

500ml (2 cups, I used a Cab Sav) red wine

500ml (2 cups, I used chicken bouillon) brown chicken or beef stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1-2 tsp raspberry vinegar, to taste (couldn't find raspberry vinegar in the grocery, so used basalmic-- and about 2 tblsp-- but taste carefully and add slowly!)

20-30g (2 oz) dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids), grated, to taste

1 Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4 (350 degrees F). Drizzle a little oil into a large ovenproof casserole dish and sauté the bacon for 4-5 minutes over a moderate heat until lightly golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2 Put the chunks of venison in a large bowl or plastic bag with the seasoned flour and toss well to coat. Shake off the excess flour. Add a little more oil to the casserole and fry the venison in batches over a moderate to high heat, until browned on all sides. Remove from the casserole and set aside with the bacon.

3 Add a final drizzle of oil to the casserole dish and tip in the shallots, garlic, carrots, celery and swede. Sauté the vegetables with the herbs and crushed peppercorns for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the shallots are soft and golden.

4 Return the bacon and venison to the casserole and pour in the red wine. Give everything a good stir with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the dish to loosen any sediment. Bring the wine to the boil, then pour in the stock and add some salt and pepper. Return to the boil, then cover with a lid. Transfer to the oven and cook for 1½ hours, or until tender. (I simmered mine on the stovetop, because I had sourdough bread in the oven)

5 Remove the casserole from the oven and strain the meat and vegetables through a large sieve or colander, set over a saucepan to catch the sauce. Discard the bay leaves and thyme. Tip the meat and vegetables back into the dish and cover to keep warm. (I just spooned the veggies and meat out into a bowl and called it a day)

6 Add the raspberry vinegar to the sauce and reheat gently. Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the chocolate until it melts and the sauce is smooth. (If it turns grainy, pass it through a fine sieve.) (I just turned the burner low and carefully stirred the chocolate in. It didn't get grainy.)

7 Taste and adjust the seasoning, then pour the sauce over the venison and vegetables and stir well to coat. Serve immediately with creamed cabbage and mashed potato. (We skipped the cream cabbage)

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

For Mina...

...because everyone needs a little LOLCat in their life!

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

funny pictures of cats with captions

Friday, January 8, 2010

Some Quick Takes with a little more joy

I am by no means a regular participator in this lovely meme, but I thought it might be a good way to balance out Wednesdays depressing post.

1) Thank you so much to all the lovely people who commented/emailed/called me to cheer me up :) I feel so much better. And also a little guilty for getting so low when I have so many things to be thankful for! Which things I will now discuss.

2) Sofi went for her well-child doctor visit this morning. She was given a clean bill of perfect health. She is in the 92nd percentile for both height and weight with a bmi well within the healthy range. Wonderful news for the part of me that worries about our family medical history (diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, among many other things).

3) Judah has learned to pee standing up! Hooray! You can laugh, but that really had me worried...

4) We've only had to fill our oil tank once this year, despite all the unusually cold weather! Thank the Lord for our wonderful, warm, cozy and efficient wood stove! And free wood! Thanks, J, Dad and Zeke :)

5) I have finally figured out how to shop at Goodwill. I spent $12 on six items for the kids. It's all about scanning the racks super fast and skimming past all the worn items. You gotta just zoom in on the crisp pleats and fresh fabrics and then you can avoid the endless hours of culling through stained, smelly, wrinkled and torn old rags. I snagged some pretty good deals today. Very encouraging, as Sofi is now in junior sizes and Judah is pushing his 3Ts.

6) I got The most awesome Christmas present Ever this year from Dad. Hopefully I will be able to post pics of it fully installed early next week. Live in anticipation till then....

7) I have chocolate :) And this recipe made me laugh!

head to Jen's for more Quick Takes

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Back. Sort of. For now.

1) A dear friend found out at her 20-week ultrasound that her unborn daughter has some severe and as yet not completely diagnosed heart malformations. My heart is heavy for her on a daily basis.

2) We are not going to China after all, due to some unforeseen issues with the agency with whom we were applying, that arose right before the holidays.

3) J is sending his CV out to half a dozen other places all around the world. Literally. Needless to say, this puts a bit of a kink in the works of any long-term planning for house/school/jobs/extra-curricular activities/etc.

4) I should have know that a post about all my great friendships would come back to bite me in the butt. The less faithless side of me would say that the Lord is testing me in the area of friendships right now-- and pointing out some inconsistencies in my previous theories regarding my role in said relationships.

5) I have once again over-committed myself beyond all reasonableness and am stressed out to the point where I truly believe an ulcer is the inevitable result of my current emotional state.

6) I've developed a senseless addiction to two mindless computer games and spend my days like an addict going from uppers (my commitments and other stresses) to downers (these mindless games) and back again.

8) J will be working two extra jobs this semester. I will be whining a lot on this blog about how hard he's working and I don't ever get to see him and life is not fair. But you should be used to that by now.

9) The economy sucks. This sucky economy means that people no longer find room in their budgets for music lessons for their darling children. This means my studio tightens it's belt another notch every semester. It's not even really a studio any more-- more like a stdo.

(did you see that? did you see how I did that right there? turning "studio" into "stdo" as though the tightening belt squeezed out the 'u' and the 'i'?? see? I haven't comPLETEly lost my sense of humor. there's hope for me yet!)

10) When I don't blog for a long time, Stuff gets a little backed up. I need this space to let my thoughts flow, my emotions get sorted out and my creativity have an outlet. I have missed you, blog. It's good to be back. I promise not to stay so depressed.

I will be joyful.