Thursday, April 30, 2009

tater tot casserole recipe

i realized i forgot to post this last week when we had it.  i actually like it a little better than the hash brown one, but both are good.  it’s VERY similar.

once again, this is something i’ve made so many times that i just kind of wing it now, although i do have the recipe that kate sent to me after she made it for my family when micah was born. i like to keep the recipe because it has some little ‘britishisms’ throughout, just like kate! ;-) who, by the way, rocks, having called to check up on me the other evening when she saw that the power in our area was out AGAIN!  thanks kate, smooch smooch! but now i’m getting distracted… big surprise.

here goes.

you will need:

  • 1 lb or so ground beef (or ground turkey)
  • 1 chopped onion
  • a bunch of veggies (kate’s recipe calls for a ‘tin’ of mixed veggies, but i use fresh carrots & celery if i’ve got’em, frozen beans, peas, corn, whatever).  maybe 2-3 cups.
  • 1 can (or tin) of cream of something soup (i use celery usually)
  • grated cheese (i use cheddar)
  • 1 bag of frozen tater tots

brown the beef and onion together (i usually add some garlic powder and maybe some parsley). while i’m doing this, i steam the veggies. you must do this if you’re using fresh or frozen so they won’t be crunchy! in a big enough bowl, mix together the meat, veggies and soup and then pour it into a casserole dish (9X13 or 2.5-3qt.). sprinkle with a little cheese. cover the entire top w/ tater tots (in rows, rings, whatever – depending on how OCD you are) and then cover them in a good layer of grated cheese.  bake, uncovered, at 375* for about 45 minutes.

i often make a double and stick one whole casserole in the freezer before i bake it. i just wrap it up good in plastic wrap and foil, w/ masking tape around it. that makes a good place to write the baking instructions.  just pull it out the night before you want to eat it and put it in the fridge to thaw a little. if it’s still a little frozen, you might have to bake it a little longer.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

meal plan wednesday

so i’ve yet to make it to the store, and it’s taken me all morning just to put a week’s worth of meals and a shopping list together, but i think i’m finally done.  we’re out of literally everything, and i hope my $$ holds out this week!

  • wednesday: upside-down pizza casserole; green beans
  • thursday: chicken burritos; salad
  • friday: pizza; green beans
  • saturday: hamburgers; tater tots; carrots
  • sunday: scrambled eggs; bacon; toast
  • monday: roast beef; carrots; baked potatoes
  • tuesday: leftovers

i’m using chicken for the burritos leftover from what we had last night (if you read fb, you know about my adventures preparing this chicken), so i don’t need to buy that. i’m also super excited about the roast beef on monday because it means that wednesday of next week is one of everybody’s favorites, french dips!!!  yay!

i guess i’ll have to go to the store today if we want to eat tonight, but i feel a little guilty going since both of my younger children still have snot pouring out of their noses and nasty sounding coughs.  plus, now i’m coughing too.  JOY!  why is it that every cold seems like the cold that never ends with them. micah’s officially been sick for a week now.

***edited to add*** finally made it to the store. had to wait until shane got home because of micah’s nap. if there was a record of worst shopping trips ever, this one would come in second. of the 3, micah is the only one who got a cookie at the end, and i only wound up with a dollar left over… if that wasn’t bad enough, on the way out, layla decided to stick her ‘thank you’ sticker on the hood of the car… where part of it still remains. ugh.

on the up side, i was able to get my jasmine tea this week. i made a cup as soon as i got home… i don’t think it was *strong* enough.

Friday, April 24, 2009

why must i overanalyze EVERYTHING????


everything would be SO much easier if i could just LIVE LIFE!

but no, every stupid little thing requires hours and days and months and years of contemplation.  WHY? why me? why can’t just be one of those people who just lives?

there are people out there who have kids, put them in whatever diapers are cheapest, clothe them in clothes that are on sale or they think look cute, and send them to the local school when they’re 5.  end of story.  these people also attend whatever church is closest or suits their denominational preference, go to the store when they need food, clean things when they look dirty, etc, etc, etc. doesn’t require a lot of agony.

not me.

yes, i realize i’m oversimplifying here and a little bit of thought about important matters is not only good, but necessary.  but…

that person i just described is the COMPLETE AND TOTAL OPPOSITE OF ME! and i’m therefore going crazy, as usual.

why oh why must i live in my head???  i literally paralyze myself with contemplation. second guessing every decision i actually get around to making, but usually putting off making the decision because there are too many angles to analyze before making it and whatever conclusion i come to is displeasing to me in one way or another and so i can’t move forward.

will somebody please come and get me out of my head?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

i need a fire extinguisher!

metaphorically speaking.

my children are driving me nuts.  completely batty!  and i don’t mean that they annoy me.  well, sometimes they do, but that’s the least of my concerns.  i’m genuinely concerned about them.  why?

they’re horrible! they fight: pinching, hitting, kicking, pushing, etc. etc. they tattle on each other. they don’t listen AT ALL to us. they complain and throw a fit when asked to do something totally reasonable.  it’s awful!

i have yet to find some sort of effective discipline measure that will make any sort of improvement. 

but this is only the day to day.  this is the least of my concerns.

why? because these are just symptoms. these are the little fires that flare up all day long. i feel like i spend my day stomping them out.  one after another, often the exact same fire i just finished stomping out 5 minutes before!  but there’s this raging inferno all around us and as long as that’s burning, there’s nothing i can do but just keep stomping while it continues to grow and close in on us and sparking even more and more of these little fires.

at any rate, i’m exhausted, hot and sweaty, and really starting to feel the pressure as this thing closes in.

what is it?

i honestly have no idea… but i’m pretty sure it’s of my own making.  years of reactionary parenting, and assuming this was just ‘part of having children’, yelling and allowing of negative influences seem to have caused a massive combustion that i now feel powerless to put out.

i guess i feel like it’s closing in now because my oldest is almost 10.  that’s scary! i know what is coming for him and i don’t feel like i’ve done anything to prepare him for it.  mainly because i don’t feel like i know how. my teenage and early adulthood years were an absolute disaster!

so for now i deal with the day to day… brainstorming with my husband, trying to enforce rules, devouring books that might shed some light on the subject for me, praying for guidance… and i try to figure out how to deal with the inferno. 

in a day to day sense, i want peace.  i want children who do as they’re told. i want children who treat each other nicely and treat us with respect.

but in the long run, what is it i want? i want them to be responsible for their own actions. i want them to know right from wrong and make their decisions accordingly. i want them love each other and treat each other as such – not just because they will get in trouble if they don’t. i want them to be honest. i want them to be respectful and compassionate toward others. i want them to be faithful and love the Lord – and not just because it’s what their parents do. i want them to see the things that teenagers are attracted to (dating, sex, partying, idleness, slacking, etc.) for what they really are, and not just for the ‘fun’ they seem to be. i want them to be content with what they have – and not constantly trying to gain more and more worthless treasures or selfish pursuits.  and i want them to be happy - not because of the things they have or the stuff they do, but REALLY, truly happy.

yes, i realize these are kind of lofty for children ranging in age from 18 months to 9 years old, but i’m thinking long-term here, not just right now.

but here lies the problem. having not possessed a lot of these qualities in the past, or even now, i have no idea how to instill them in my children.  that, combined with the fires that are currently working against me on a daily basis, makes the situation seem utterly hopeless.  but i’m not willing to give up. especially not on shane, although his age and his many ‘issues’ make this a very intimidating cause.

here’s to finding that fire extinguisher!  or maybe a whole battalion.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

meal plan wednesday

i think i’ve officially converted to wednesdays.  i was getting a little frustrated with sale items being out when i got to the store on mondays or tuesdays. it’s hard to plan a week’s worth of meals based on what’s on sale and then have some vital part of it not be at the store when you get there.  flying by the seat of my pants doesn’t work so well when it comes to trying to create a meal in my head while at the store with my kids and remember what we need for it and what we have at home and what all the recipe calls for, etc. etc.  so, since the flyers come out on tuesday and the sales start on wednesday, i’m going to try doing my shopping on wednesday.  i only had last week planned through monday, so i really needed to shop yesterday, but micah woke up in the middle of the night with a fever and a bad croupy cough, so i decided to forego it until today, and we were able to scrounge for dinner last night.  most of us had some frozen costco chicken strips with peas and layla wanted scrambled eggs and bacon.  miss never eats anything must be growing because after she ate her 2 pieces of bacon and 1 egg (and i had washed the pan) she requests more!


  • wednesday: chicken; rice; salad
  • thursday: tater tot casserole
  • friday: pizza; green beans
  • saturday: hamburgers; carrot sticks; chips
  • sunday: waffles; sausage
  • monday: loaded baked potatoes; salad
  • tuesday: leftovers

i went to qfc today because they had a good price on ground beef and i was out of oatmeal. they sell my favorite brand of instant oatmeal, mom’s best, which is all natural and about half the price of the not-so-natural quaker or store brand.  i will definitely not be bragging about how i did today, since for the first time ever, i had to put something back in order to make my $100 limit.  grrr.  i also somehow managed to forget my list, which wasn’t a total disaster and the only ‘vital’ thing on it that i forgot was hamburger buns. i guess i’ll have to figure that out, come saturday.  i’m kinda sad because the thing i put back was a box of jasmine tea, which i’ve been out of for almost a week now and i’m really jonesin’. that’s been my current afternoon vise and the more i talk about it right now, i’d really really like some.  oh well.

at any rate, for this week i guess “that’ll do, pig. that’ll do.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

northwesterner kids

around here, there’s an ongoing joke about how crazy people go when the sun comes out!  yes, as i write this, i have no doubt that the lake beaches in the area are filled with half-naked, truant teenagers sunning themselves.

if a 70* day in april causes your child to feel the need to don a swimsuit and fill up a kiddie pool…

you might be from seattle.

Picture 110

yes, that’s a slide in the water. and yes, she’s using it. and no, she hasn’t gotten hypothermia yet, but i’m sure it’s coming.

Monday, April 20, 2009

weekend stuff

the pnw experienced a lovely weekend (yes, it is getting to be spring). i’d like to be able to say that we accomplished a ton outside, but not so much.  i started out good on saturday, working on the remaining 1/4 of my garden, but fizzled out and wound up taking a nap all afternoon.  dave, however, washed both cars and cleaned a lot of junk out of the toyota. AND he mowed the lawn.  3 weeks straight now, but it’s getting to the point where it might have to start happening twice a week… at least until july when it quits raining and the grass all turns brown. i’d love to be one of those people who watered and kept the lawn nice and green all summer… but green grass means you have to mow it, and it also seems like a silly waste of water/money.  then again, if i were the type to do that, i’d probably  be the type to rid the grass of all the weeds and moss that has invaded it too. much as i’d like to do that, i’m just not willing to spend the money on nasty chemicals… oh well, at least weeds and moss are green.  saturday night we had our first ever (i think) family meeting, to brainstorm some family ‘rules’ which desperately need to be established.  will follow that up soon and i’ll let you know what we come up w/ and how that all works out.

yesterday we did a kid swap w/ the hakalas.  they took sean home from church with them; we took robin home.  the ladies entertained themselves indoors and out, and then we all met up at marymoor for a picnic and play. it wound up being a bit of a long day for layla, who melted down the WHOLE way home. then dave had soccer and i had the distinct privilege of putting 3 kids to bed by myself! that’s always fun! before we left for the park, our neighbors were using their truck to pull out a bush. we joked about them coming over here when they were done and pulling out this dead lilac bush at the end of our driveway.  ann, the across the street neighbor, had said that she was going to have dave (her significant other) take his chainsaw to it.  we said, ‘go ahead’.  well, while we were gone at the park, they really did it! we now have a stump and a pile of branches in our side yard!  so now we have some work there, and a bunch of fire wood!  and hopefully, we can encourage some of the new growth around the stump to turn into a lovely new bush.

that’s it. it’s monday morning and i’ve slacked enough. time to throw the kids into some clothes and get on w/ the day…

(oh, and now i’m hearing layla down the hall in her sing-songy voice, “mooooommmmmmyyyyyyyyy…… come wiiiiiiiiiiiipe meeeeeeeeee!” … and thus begins another week.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

hash brown casserole recipe

so mary asked about this, and since it’s a family favorite, i thought i’d post it.  there was, at one time, a recipe for this casserole, but i’ve made it so many times it’s kind of evolved (as these things tend to do).  so i’ll give you the recipe according to me… and if you like specifics and measuring things, then bummer for you! 

so this is what i do:

  1. take a 9x13 pyrex dish and line the bottom w/ frozen hash brown patties.  i can usually fit about 7.  (you could also use a bag of the shredded kind, but it’s not as good.)
  2. add about 2 cups or so of veggies.  carrots, green beans, peas, celery – whatever you’ve got. (corn is not so good in this recipe, so i don’t recommend it.) you should pre-cook the veggies so they aren’t crunchy – or i guess you could use canned, but i think they’re gross so i use frozen, with the exception of the carrots and celery which are fresh.
  3. add a bunch of chopped, cooked chicken – whatever you’ve got leftover or a can or two, if you go that route, on top of the veggies.
  4. pour a can of cream of something soup (my favorite is cream of celery) into a 2 cup measuring cup. fill the rest up with water (to make it measure 2 cups). 
  5. add about 2 tbsp of dry onion soup mix to the liquid and mix it all up w/ a fork.
  6. pour over the chicken and veggies and bake for about 30-40 minutes at 350* or so. 

that’s it.  pretty simple, and similar to another of our favorites (and, incidentally, the duggars as well, although i think ours is better) tator tot casserole - which really isn’t ours, it’s kate’s, or whoever she got it from.  i’ll post that some other time.

***edited to add*** i forgot to mention that you should cover it w/ foil while baking; remove for the last 10 minutes or so.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

meal plan tuesday

just got back from the store.  i did really good this week. $64.71! which is great because i didn’t do so well last week. my total last week was .22 over budget and i had to dig a quarter out of my purse.  this also didn’t include our easter dinner, which my parents provided most of, but i still had to get some things for dessert. so on sunday i had to borrow $20 from this week’s grocery money for that.  at any rate, i knew in my planning that i was going to need a cheap week so i planned a couple meals out of the freezer, and another casserole that can use some leftover chicken from last week.

so here goes:

  • tuesday: beef stew; sourdough
  • wednesday: hash brown casserole
  • thursday: white chicken chili; sourdough
  • friday: pizza; green beans
  • saturday: hamburgers; carrot sticks; chips
  • sunday: breakfast burritos; hash browns
  • monday: leftovers

i have to make a costco run this week too, but not for many food items, mostly diapers, wipes and pull-ups, and whatever else on the list i can afford after that.  gotta love this budgeting stuff!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

my first sock!!!

Picture 098 Picture 099 so there it is… my first knitted sock is done.  no, it’s not good, but it’s done and it fits my foot.  what else can i ask for?  well, maybe it’s mate.

i’ll start that tomorrow.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

the zoo

yesterday, the last day of spring break (well, weekday, at least) and shane had had enough of not doing anything expensive interesting. so we packed a lunch and went to the zoo. it was a little cold and rainy when we left, but by the time we got there, the rain had stopped and it turned out to be relatively warmish.  Picture 067 Picture 034  Picture 035Picture 038 Picture 040 Picture 043 Picture 048 Picture 053 Picture 056 Picture 059

layla was determined to see some fish. i guess we should have gone to the aquarium, but we did manage to find her a few fish. i think her favorite was the super huge reticulated python that actually moved while we were watching.  well, the top 3 feet or so of it moved. the remaining 5 or 6 feet of it stayed coiled up where it was.  we probably spent the bulk of our time in the “zoomazium” which is a fabulous indoor playground type area.  there’s a huge tree that layla and shane spent time doing laps through.  you climb up the inside (think mcdonalds playland climbing structure) and then slide down a big twisty slide.  there was also a toddler section that micah had a blast in. they had a zoo employee that did a little presentation and the kids got to meet a bearded dragon close up.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

ponderings of a typical, long-winded, rachelish sort…

so i have been struggling lately with what i have come to assume is a facet of my own personal human nature.  essentially, i’ve come to realize that i’m lazy and selfish.

harsh, huh?

well, may as well call a spade a spade. (why we say that, i have no idea.)

i am lazy and selfish with the way i want to spend my time, and it seems like everything else in my life is affected by that – because really, what else do we have in this life but time? how we use that limited time we are given is the true testament of what our lives were made of.

so here is a sampling of the many areas of my life that are affected by this lazy and selfish nature and some things i’ve come up with.

housework:  i’ll start here because, as the sub-text of my blog title would indicate, i consider myself to be ‘domestically challenged’. by definition, i consider this to be my lack of training (and therefore, ability) in the profession of homemaking. for one thing, my mother worked a good share of my childhood. for another, i didn’t care one smidge about learning to cook, clean, launder, organize, orchestrate, rear, host, etc. i don’t know what i thought i would be doing when i ‘grew up’, but somehow it didn’t involve doing any of the things i’m currently doing.  this is odd because i had NO career goals to speak of (other than being a professional figure skater and marrying someone who was a good cook). so now, having found myself in this position, i’m kind of figuring it out on my own and trying desperately to live up to an idealized picture i have of myself. currently, my dishwasher needs unloading, my floors need mopping, my bathrooms need cleaning, my bedroom is a pit, my living room needs dusting, my kitchen peninsula and computer desk are covered in any and all forms of random junk, the chicken we’re having for dinner is still in the freezer, and i have laundry i should be doing. and don’t even get me started on my garage. yet here i sit, at 9:48am, in my jammies, blogging. somewhere along the line, i got it into my head that “because i don’t want to” was a legitimate excuse for not doing what i need to do. and getting that out of my head has proven to be impossible. ::sigh::

hobbies and time: moving right along in that direction, if i don’t want to be doing the above mentioned things, what is it i DO want to be doing? in no way am i suggesting that we shouldn’t have hobbies. i love my hobbies. if we didn’t have hobbies, so many of the art-forms of the past would simply die because there is no need of them in our fully automated world of today. i have recently taken up knitting. i love it. i love to see some real thing emerging from a ball of yarn. in the past, people needed to knit so their families had socks and mittens and hats and woolen underwear to keep them warm. i’m not saying i shouldn’t be knitting, but i think i let it take over times that i should be doing something else: doing the housework that needs to be done or spending my time with my family. it also eats up a lot of money. knitting is certainly not cheap. it seems that every project requires a new set of needles, and quality yarn is outrageous. and what is it i’m knitting? while i think that hand-made gifts are generally far superior to some trivial trinket bought in the store, how much of this stuff does anyone really need? i would hate to contribute to anyone’s pile of stuff. i know i have too much stuff and the problem with hand-made stuff is that, even if you don’t use it, you can’t really get rid of it because it was hand-made for you. i currently have about 50 million baby blankets that people have made for my 3 children. what do i do with them? i don’t need them. they certainly don’t need that many baby blankets. but someone made each of them, specifically for that child.  by hand. so i need to store them. ***edited to add*** it occurred to me that that whole spiel sounded a little harsh. i’m not meaning to imply that i don’t like, appreciate, or value those hand-made gifts – especially the blankets, which are all very beautiful. it just makes you think, when you are starting at a pile of them, what is it you should do with them now? and how do you best store/display them without ruining them or keeping them packed away so that you may as well not even have them? in other words, how do you best honor the gift given by the person who lovingly made it, without the item itself becoming clutter.*** i have other hobbies besides knitting but this is just an example of how these hobbies (which are are much more desirable way to spend my time and money) can take an inappropriate place in my life.

children: my children (as most children) benefit from a consistent schedule. i do pretty good about keeping meals and snacks, micah’s nap and bedtimes at consistent times, but what about the rest of the day? for the most part, i prefer they entertain themselves, and/or each other. not that this is entirely bad. i think it’s important for children to be able to entertain themselves, and to spend a good share of their time in open-ended, unscheduled activities.  this is what childhood is about. this is how they ‘really’ learn the valuable lessons of life. no classroom lesson will duplicate the experiences children will have digging in dirt, collecting rocks, stomping in puddles and testing the bounds of their own abilities and the properties of nature. but when my child shows up asking me to play a game? gosh, i really just don’t want to! isn’t that terrible?i feel strongly that it is my responsibility to raise the children that God has blessed me with myself, but i sometimes realize that i’d rather they do their own thing (not really because i think that’s what they should be doing) but because when they do their own thing, i can do my own thing. this leads to my next dilemma. homeschooling. shane is currently homeschooled, but not by me. my mom does it. they are both generally happy with the situation and i firmly believe in the benefits of homeschooling. it has been my desire to homeschool since long before shane actually began school. when it became clear, half-way through 1st grade, that regular school was not working for shane, i was working full time, and my mom offered, and that’s how we wound up in the situation we’re in now. but i have to say i feel a little weird about it. i don’t know where i fit in to this situation. while i think it would be beneficial to join a support group or co-op sort of thing, i don’t feel comfortable in that situation because i’m not actually the one doing the teaching, and i’d feel like a bit of an imposter. and then there’s the impending dilemma of layla. turning 4 this summer, i’ve not signed her up for preschool, and don’t really think there’s room in the budget for it. and, having worked as a preschool teacher, i am confident i could easily have her ‘prepared for kindergarten’ by the time she’s 5 myself. bringing us to my next dilemma. school or not? i have a strong desire to homeschool ALL of my children (even shane), but seriously doubt whether there is room in my lazy, selfish way of life to commit to undertake such a hugely important responsibility. i know that when it comes down to it, i would be fighting with myself each and every day to stay on schedule, to work through the attitude problems that kids reserve for their mothers with patience and love, to get off my butt and go do the things we should be doing to give my children the rich and well rounded education they should be receiving through homeschooling. and then there is the always-present fear that i would be a total flop. and then there’s the consistency with rules and discipline. oh! what a disaster! you know how sometimes it’s just easier to dispense yell wisdom orders from your chair? that’s me. in the past there have been rules established about the tv; those shows which are allowed and those which aren’t, and how long, etc. but, because of my laziness, those often go ignored. shane, especially, knows all sorts of ways to push around my “rules” and how to get to do what he wants. he will ignore them, disregard them, beg, plead, pout, be generally obnoxious, and usually, just not bring it up and hope i don’t notice. and generally because i’m lazy, i’ll let it go, and because i am selfish, don’t want to deal with the fuss and unpleasantness that comes with enforcing it. yeah, a disaster! and i can see clearly the evidence of the damage done by both the shows and my inconsistency, but once again, lazy and selfish… and so it persists.

husband: wouldn’t it be great to say that my best efforts and energy were reserved for my husband, the one i have vowed to love, honor, be faithful to, etc. for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, as long as we both shall live? yeah, that would be great. unfortunately, i have to admit that he often gets the leftovers of me – what i have left at the end of the day, and whatever mood i happen to be in when he walks through the door. and let me tell you, that’s not always anything i would want to come home to. 

money: i have always been irresponsible about money. subsequently, i’ve never had much of it. but i have always wanted to live like i do. for the first time ever, dave and i have more or less established a budget. super fun! but i’m trying to have a positive attitude about it and stick to it, although it’s exceedingly hard for me to postpone that instant-gratification thing. aside from my knitting (or other hobby-related) spending, my other passion is clothes shopping. while i love to shop for myself, my biggest stumbling block is shopping for my kids. you all know how much i love gymboree. and although i shop sales and use gymbucks and attempt to do it most economically, i’ve really been feeling convicted lately about this little obsession of mine. why is it i like gymboree so much? yes, the clothes are incredibly cute. yes, they are well-made. but really, i think it’s what those clothes say about my children, and as such, what they say about me. people who shop gymboree clothes, KNOW gymboree clothes. you keep up on the latest lines, you know what’s new, what’s old, what is on the way out, and where on the sale scale it is. when i see children wearing gymboree clothes, i recognize them, and i know that other moms recognize them on my children. in general, it’s a snobbery associated with children’s clothes. super! i don’t believe that adults should dress in a way that draws inappropriate attention to themselves (ie, attempting to look provocative or blatantly advertise how big your clothing budget is w/ designer clothes), so what is it i’m teaching my children to do? i know that’s a bit of a stretch, but by dressing my children in a way is intended (however subtly) to draw attention to me, then am i not teaching them that the purpose of their clothing is to draw as much attention to yourself as possible? and if so, what are the future implications of that, especially in the case of my daughter? this is something i’ve been struggling with lately. i’m certainly not saying that gymboree clothes are bad, and i’m not saying that it’s this way for everyone who shops there, but for me i think it is. in addition, i think it’s an inappropriate use of our money and so, for the time being, at least, i think it’s a vice that i need to put on the shelf.

well, i know i’ve become bored with this post, and if you’re still reading, i’m sure you are too, but i’ll end with this:  i’m not intending this to be some sort of self-loathing pity party and i’m not fishing for a bunch of pep rally comments here.  it is simply me using this venue to sort out some of my personal issues. perhaps the reader may have some ‘helpful’ comments that would encourage me in that which i need to change about myself. perhaps you’ve been there and have some wisdom to share.

and now, i think i’ll unload the dishwasher!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

meal plan…. wednesday?

had this done yesterday, AND the shopping, but didn’t manage to post it.  too busy being outside.

  • tuesday: shrimp; peas & carrots; sourdough
  • wednesday: pork chops; couscous; green beans
  • thursday: chicken; baked potatoes; broccoli
  • friday: pizza; green beans
  • saturday: hamburgers; carrot sticks; chips
  • sunday: easter
  • monday: leftovers

Monday, April 6, 2009

weekend busyness and weirdness!

it was a fabulous weekend here in the northwest. temps reaching the 70's, sun, the constant buzz of lawnmowers making their first passes of the season. this includes ours.

on friday, we acquired sophie, for a weekend visit. for those of you who don’t know, sophie is the black lab ‘puppy’ i got when i was 20. she’s lived mostly with my parents due to college, housing arrangements which didn’t allow pets, and times when she and i both lived with them. so she’s, more or less, their dog, although technically mine. so she’s here for a little visit – hair and all. (i’m a bit overly-sensitive to the little black hairs everywhere at this point and my floors have never been cleaner. she cleans up all the crumbs, and i sweep and vacuum obsessively to get up the hair before the tumbleweeds form!)

saturday was spent outdoors (of course). i’ve been working to clear the garden and have about 2/3 done right now.  so layla and i did the first planting – sugar snap peas. i also worked on tediously clearing out the strawberry patch, so that the only ‘plants’ remaining were the actual strawberry plants.  dave mowed the lawn and then we took a walk to the park with sophie and the little kids.  shane was at his buddy’s house and we could see them across the lake driving his rc boat and then getting in a canoe.  came back and i gave sophie a bath (because she’d gone in the lake, but she stunk before that anyway, so she needed one). then dave grilled some hamburgers for dinner.  YUM!

yesterday, after church, we did more outdoor stuff. shane washed the car, i finished clearing the strawberry patch and dave cleaned up some of the junk in the backyard. i pulled out the water table and cleaned that up so they could play with that.  we had a bit of a parade of neighborhood kids coming through to play.  then we had to leave to get shane to a birthday party (and pick up a present on the way – to be more prepared than that would be shocking) at 5:30.  and that’s where it gets weird.

i didn’t know the kid whose party it was. it was someone from shane’s hsn classes.  it was at a ‘jumpy place’ so i really didn’t want to have layla and/or micah with me, because they totally wouldn’t understand that they weren’t invited.  so dave dropped shane and i off and took off w/ the others.  assuming i wasn’t going to know anyone at this party, i brought my knitting along. thank goodness!  as people started arriving, i started to feel a little bit out of place. there didn’t seem to be anyone else from classes there, as it turned out, the birthday kid was the only one shane knew there, and everyone else seemed to know each other quite well. but that’s not why i felt out of place. we’ll just say that there were more tattoos in that jumping arena than at a harley-davidson convention, and EVERYBODY was dressed like johnny cash.  seriously, black from head to to! and a lot of skin…  me? i was wearing a long, beige-ish linen skirt and a pink blouse.  yeah.  out of place doesn’t even begin it describe it.  so i sat there and knit.

so after that bizarreness was finally over, dave picked us up and we went back to my folks’ which was just down the road.  they bailed us out on dinner, since the party was at an odd time AND they only fed shane cake and kool-aid.  SUPER! i was so thrilled. but we got home, FINALLY, and put everyone to bed (including me, since i woke up at 11:30 in shane’s bed.  oops!)

but i got to sleep in, since everyone went to bed late and here we are today. another fabulous day is in the works, so i’m plotting what i’ll do today. a neighbor just gave me some sweet pea seeds that i need to find a place for, although micah promptly dumped them on the ground and ate some… so i’ll plant the ones i have left, and i guess he’ll be pooping sweet peas.

just another fun day in the life……

***edited to add*** it occurred to me to check and see if sweet pea seeds might be poisonous. they are… but only in large quantities, so we should be good.  yeah. superfun!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

my monolith

yesterday we had a bit of a wind storm.  i knew nothing about it, of course, since i never watch the news unless someone mentions that it might snow. but just before lunch, this storm blew in.  now i live out here in the sticks and there are LOTS of BIG trees.  i mean BIG!  i consider it a very fortunate thing that we moved here AFTER the big storm back in ‘06. i figure that any tree that was going to come down, did then.

anyway, as i was fixing lunch for the kids, i heard a weird thump, followed by another thump.  i had noticed that it was kinda windy, so i told the kids i’d be right back and went out to check things out.  just out my front door, i see this:Picture 281 Picture 280 Picture 279 this HUGE tree branch was stuck in my front yard!  and just for some perspective, when dave came home and went to pull it out and hack it apart, it was about a foot taller than him as he was standing next to it. when he pulled it out, i’d say it was 9 or 10 inches that had been stuck in the ground.  that’s huge! 

there was another, smaller branch on the roof and as i’m running around outside taking pictures while the wind is going crazy and things like THAT are flying out of trees, i realized that probably wasn’t the smartest thing.  so i went back in and finished cooking lunch.  good thing too, because as soon as it was done, the power went out.  that was just before noon and it didn’t come back on until around 7pm.  craziness!

and speaking of weather… i just looked out the window and noticed that the rain is polka-dotted with white.  hello!? it’s april!


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