Friday, February 27, 2009

Quick Takes Friday!

We got our new digital camera this week (yeah!) and we took a trip to the park to do P.E. on Wednesday. Hubby downloaded the pictures to the computer for me, so here area few shots...notice how nice the motion shots are...I really should post a few bad pics from our old camera, but I'm not feeling that ambitious. Also, hubby found out that our new camera cord works for his beloved cell the smaller pictures are from there (just in case you couldn't figure it out by picture quality alone!)

Speaking of Wednesday...Ash ALWAYS amazes me at how many people show up for Mass on Ash Wednesday! Our church was packed at 7:15 PM, and we didn't get home until after 8:30, then we gave the girls the quickest and most drama queen inducing of baths ever and sent them to bed. When we went Thursday night for Mass, the parking lot was empty (there were 4 other people at the Mass, and I think only 2 of the 8 of us stayed for stations of the cross...I'm hoping some other people showed up after we left!)

Charlotte is finally on an antibiotic. We had to take her in AGAIN on Monday (they wouldn't just call one in for her...) and our doc was booked up again, so I tried another one. I've decided that I like him for sick kids...maybe it's just because Charlotte didn't scream her way through the appointment, and the appointment ended with a prescription...

About an hour or so ago, I told Eva to go get dressed. She asked why, and I said so we could start school...she burst into tears and said "I don't want to do school today!" we are skipping school until tomorrow. It turns out the breakdown wasn't an "I hate school" moment...instead of doing HER school, she wanted to teach Charlotte hubby and the girls are in the girls room right now teaching Charlotte school.

I had my second appointment leading up to gastric band surgery...this one was with the dietitian. So, on Tuesday hubby was off, and the four of us drove with hubby's mom up to the front range for her appointment (infusion for her MS) and mine. A lot of times, she'll have multiple doctor's appointments, but this time it was just one for her at 2pm and one for me at 2 pm (about 20 minutes away from each other), so we all took the girls to Chuck E Cheese's. Talk about good advertising on PBS...Eva's been seeing their sponsorship of her favorite PBS shows for years, and I didn't think too much of it. You would've thought we were at Disneyland! The girls had such a great time, and by the end, Eva had a pack of kids she was dragging around, and Charlotte was flirting with a bunch of little boys...I'm in so much trouble with those two!

Along with my appointment with the dietitian, I had to do some blood tests and an EKG. I was a little freaked out by the idea of an EKG, but actually it was really easy! It took the woman doing the test longer to place the electrodes on me than it took to run the test. When I got down for the blood work, I found out that I was also supposed to do a breath test for some sort of stomach bacteria...but that I had taken some medicine that I couldn't have for two weeks before the test, so I'll have to go back in and do that test when I go up for my psychological evaluation and sleep study in two weeks.

Charlotte was so impressed by the ashes for Ash Wednesday, that she's been able to talk about little else since then...she keeps pointing to her head and talking about ashes (particularly when we are at church, because the bowls that were used for the ashes are part of the Lenten decorations. Our parish is really into symbols (which I have to admit, I really don't get...but when in Rome...) and the symbol they have for everyone to take home this lent is a makes sense, but I am not bringing home a nail (they aren't sharp or anything, but I see no good that could come from one in our house this Lent) now, our parish has a HUGE number of small children (the 12 ladies currently in my bible study have 27 kids...and the 3 who have dropped out for now have an additional 10, with the oldest of all these kids being 7...not to mention all of the other women in our parish with little ones...) so why a NAIL seemed like a good symbol, I guess I am just not understanding!

There are as always, more quick takes at Jen's blog...and her new baby is due on Monday! How exciting!!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hurley has a blog!

Okay, thanks to Danielle Bean, I now know that Jorge Garcia (who plays Hurley on LOST) and I am really enjoying it...I particularly related to this post involving coupons!

Oh yeah, and an update on the digital really does seem to be broken, so we researched cameras last night and ended up purchasing one...we're just doing our part to stimulate the economy! (And I am really looking forward to that kids and pets setting!)

Friday, February 20, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

It's payday!!! YEAH!!! We actually didn't quite make it to payday this time, since the girls got sick. I took some funds out of our medical sinking fund for a prescription, pedialyte, Popsicles, a few groceries (including really expensive frozen squash that the girls wouldn't eat...the doc recommended it for helping Charlotte's poo hold together...but they DID eat it in muffin form, and didn't know any better!) and BLEACH. I have bleached Charlotte's sheets about 4 times this week.

A quote from last night's dinner. "Other than the throwing up, Dinner was REALLY good!" hubby spoke those words...Charlotte did the throwing up.

I am really blessed to have my MIL (even if she is a little bit nuts...) She had an Altar and Rosary meeting a few towns over from ours, and afterwards she was going to come see the girls. Well, shortly before her visit, Eva took a horrible turn for the worse, and was whiny, her ears hurt, she was crying and flopping around. I don't know how much of it was genuine, but I have a feeling a big portion of the dramatics was due to not getting as much attention as her I called MIL to see where she was. She asked if she should stop and get me a mocha on the way here, and I told her that it would be very appreciated...particularly if she picked up something for Eva. So, she brought us all drinks from the coffee shop AND she had apparently stopped at the grocery store on the way here to get a few things for her house, and she got a bunch of stuff for our house, too!

Among the Twinkies and jello and chicken soup MIL brought ingredients for a salad she had in San Diego the night before they went on their cruise. It was SOOO good that I'll put a sort-of kind-of recipe here:
1/2 head of leaf lettuce (I'm not sure what the original salad had...we only have two varieties available out here)
1/2 bag of baby spinach
1/2 small package of blueberries
1/2 small package of blackberries
1/2 container of blue cheese crumbles
1/2 c. or so of sugared walnuts (I toasted some in a skillet with butter and brown worked for me!)
She told me that it didn't have a dressing at all, that the fruit just kinda made a dressing...well, maybe they had juicier fruit out in California...but I added a little bit of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil to the top...

I just checked our bank account (to make sure that hubby's paycheck really did make it in there, etc...) and found out that OUR TAX REFUND FINALLY MADE IT!!! WOO HOO!!! (Okay, I have been obsessively checking for it since last Friday when it was supposed to arrive...) That means that we have 1/2 of our fully funded emergency fund in there! YEAH!!! And some money to work on some home improvement stuff. The bad news is that I think I broke our digital camera today (I was trying to upload a picture of my week, but it's not working for me...) so I may have to start looking for a new one...

I am in the middle of planning a bridal shower for my BIL's fiancee. Her maid of honor is giving her one up where they currently live, but I think she needs a small town family shower. My family shower when coming into this family was a spice shower...really, that's only a good idea in a group of people who cook with more spices than chili powder, garlic powder and garlic salt...I got about three each of those. So, I've proposed an "around-the-clock" shower where each guest is assigned an hour to pick a themed gift for...and maybe a brunch to go with it. We'll see what the bride-to-be (they always call them "bride-elect" in the church bulletin...I'd never heard that term before we moved out to the boonies...) thinks about all of that. I've been having fun working on a photo card invitation at snapfish. Anyone have some good tips for bridal showers? Better theme idea? Fun (not dorky) games? Healthy food options for a shower?

Last, but certainly not least, hubby's cousin Brittney is having surgery today. So, please say a few prayers that all goes well for her. Thank you!

As always, more quick takes are up at Jen's blog!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Meatless Meals

I can't believe how soon Ash Wednesday is...once I'm done with making weird meals out of what's left in the fridge and pantry preceding payday (3 cooked meals to go before I can go grocery shopping! YEAH!!!) I'm going to have to start worrying about fasting and abstinence from meat.

So, since Faith and Family LIVE is having a meatless meals collection, I thought I'd add my two cents.

Lentil Rice Casserole (I may have posted this before, but I didn't want to check through 3 years of posts...I know it sounds lame, but my girls eat this better than almost anything! The original recipe came from the tightwad gazette)

Combine in crock pot
6 cups water or broth or stock
1 1/2 c. lentils
1 c. brown rice
1 T. or more of whatever spice you feel like (I usually use spice combinations like Italian Seasoning, Southwest Seasoning, Asian Seasoning, Moroccan Seasoning)
Add chopped onion or garlic if you like it and have it on hand
Cook on low for 6-8 hours, a few minutes before serving, sprinkle about a cup of cheese over the top (maybe mozzarella if you do Italian, cheddar if you do southwest, feta if you do Moroccan, etc.) Serve, watch kids devour.

Fried fish (I think I originally got this off of was during one of those times when I was trying to cook solely from my stockpile without going to the store)

Take white fish (whatever type you like or can find...we don't have a lot of fish options out here in cow country...) dry off any surface moisture. Let soak in a pan of Sprite (7up, etc) for a couple of minutes, turn and soak other side. Dredge in pancake batter and pan fry in a little bit of oil until crispy and cooked through.

Pizza (Cheese pizza is the end all be all of meals around here...okay, they like pepperoni pizza, too...but for Lent, we are all about the cheese...) I've used this recipe for years, so I don't now where I originally found it.

Pizza Dough (makes 2 crusts)
2 1/4 t. yeast (one packet if you do it that way)
1 T. sugar
2 1/2 c. warm water
2 T. olive oil
1 T. salt
2 T. wheat gluten (nice to have, but I ran out a while back, and haven't replaced it yet...still works okay if you don't have the gluten)
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
5 1/2 c. white flour

Dissolve yeast and sugar in water; let stand for 10 minutes. Stir oil, wheat flour, gluten, salt and 4 cups of white flour into yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time. when dough has pulled together, turn onto lightly-floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl; place dough into bowl and turn to coat with oil. cover with a damp cloth and put into a warm place to rise (approximately 1 hour). Deflate dough and turn onto lightly-floured surface. Divide into third and form rounds. (If freezing extra dough for later, at this point, seal inside a gallon zip top bag and put in freezer.) Cover round(s) with cloth for 10 minutes. Roll out or toss dough; place on pan or baking stone sprinkled with cornmeal and top with spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce or garlic oil, then cover with cheese. Bake pizzas for 20 minutes at 425.

Store leftover dough in freezer, keep frozen shredded cheese in freezer (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups per pizza) and freeze leftover spaghetti or pizza sauce in ice cube trays. I use three cubes full of sauce for 1 pizza...if you like saucy pizza you might do 4 or 5 cubes.

So, there are some of my favorite meatless meals! Check out more over at Faith and Family LIVE.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Alone in a crowd

Today at Mass, the readings began with a description of Old Testament requirements for isolating people with leprosy and ended with Jesus healing a leper. Father mostly focused on the metaphorical sense in which these readings could be taken, with physical illness being symbolic of spiritual illness, i.e. sin.

One aspect of Father's homily that I really connected with was an anecdote about how, when he was a seminarian and helping teach a parish's first communion class, he had exlained Hell to the seven-year-olds. When asked about it, he told them that it was a state of being seperated from the presence of God forever. The kids really didn't understand this, despite several tries of wording it differently, so Father used the analogy of, "Imagine you are in a huge, crowded mall with your mommy, and you're holding your mommy's hand. Then imagine that, somehow, you lose your grip on her hand and suddenly, you are completely surrounded by people you don't know and can't find your mommy, no matter how hard you try. That's what Hell is like."

This idea, Father said, is basically his response when people-mostly men, he says-blithely laugh off the idea of Hell by saying something like, "Well, at least I'll have plenty of company there." Even if that were true, he said, each of those people would be isolated from God and, therefore, somehow isolated from one another (even if not actually physically). They would each be in their own personal Hell, even if it "looked" to an outsider like a huge crowd.

One of my favorite songs in high school, recorded by Dave Matthews Band, included the lyrics, "People in every direction; no words exchanged, no time to exchange them." I think I really struggled with this feeling back then, and still do to some degree (although this has been hugely reduced by being married and having children). Maybe you know the feeling: like you're alone, even in the company of many others. Maybe you've noticed, when you meet someone on the sidewalk, the tendency many of us have of averting our eyes-avoiding even the momentary connection you might make with someone else.

God, please help me to remember that you made us to love one another and to share our lives with one another. If artificially seperating ourselves from one another is what it's like to be seperated from you, help us to find healing and come together in our families, our communities, and our world. Amen

PS: As you might suspect, Father did admit that the whole class of seven-year-olds wound up in tears. Oops! :-)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Kinda depressing...but...fitting...

Well, one of my favorite overly opinionated bloggers stole this from someone else, so I'm stealing it from her...(and if you spend any time there, make sure to read the category "Stupid Fascist Bastards"...just sayin'...)

7 Quick Takes Friday

I think that my MIL and my girls are probably all going through withdrawal...They haven't seen each other in 13 days...I'm actually pretty sure that this is the longest period of time since Eva's birth that they have been apart...MIL and FIL got home from their cruise, and FIL got on Tuesday when I hosted bible study at our house, hubby had to take the girls over one town to DQ and a basketball game instead of up to visit grandma. THEN, MIL was going to come down and help me out/hang out with the girls yesterday (hubby was out of town for most of the day), but SHE ended up getting sick, so she couldn't make it Eva and I are getting the 13 days may drag on even longer!

Continuing with my ambition in the kitchen, for bible study I made homemade fajitas and homemade tortillas...then I fell off the made from scratch wagon. I ended up using a Wanchai Ferry Chinese food from a box (cashew chicken, yum!) thing, which was really really good, and made me want to learn how to make Chinese food. I bought Edamame last time we were at WalMart (not something sold locally) because I thought it would be fun to try. Hubby wasn't so sure that it would be turns out that the girls LOVE edamame, and so I am thinking I may have to grow some this summer.

Hubby is working in another town, it (naturally) snowed last night (and of course, I didn't make the girls pick up all the outside toys yesterday because they of course had to come in the house and start whining at me while I was actually trying to accomplish something) and I woke up in the middle of the night to take some medicine, then Eva woke up about an hour later and we gave her some medicine...then hubby reset his alarm because he thought that the snow was going to keep him from traveling to the other town to work. So, he woke up at 5:30...called the boss at the out of town office, found out that he still needed to go, and jumped in the shower. I made him coffee, breakfast (toaster strudel still counts as making breakfast, right?) and gave him some cash for lunch. Then, I was about to head back to bed, and right when I was about to turn off the kitchen light, the phone rang (at 5:50 AM) so, I gave the guy hubby's cell phone number...there's really nothing like the phone ringing before 6 in the morning...

Hopefully the roads will be okay this evening. One of the churches in the next town over is showing the movie "Fireproof" and offering free childcare...I'm very excited about the free childcare thing...and I've wanted to see Fireproof for quite some time now.

Update on the library book on tape that Charlotte destroyed last Friday...hubby went into the library for me to see what we needed to do...they told him to bring back the special book on tape bag, but that our girls could just keep the book. They said we didn't need to replace it, because they were planning on buying a hardcover version of the book in honor of one of the women in town.

I am anxiously awaiting our tax refund...according to TurboTax's first estimate, we should get our refund today...of course, it is not there yet. Then the IRS estimated it would be here by the 17th when I checked last week. When I checked this week, it said by the 24th...I'm really hoping for the 17th. Once it is in our savings, we will have 50% of our emergency fund funded...and we'll also have a little money for home improvement projects (hubby is sooo excited...not...)

I recently subscribed to Cookie Magazine...I'm really not sure what my thinking was when I did so...I like getting magazines because sometimes that's about all I can handle. My favorite, of course, is Faith and Family. I used to get Good Housekeeping, but it grated on me after a while because of its idea of "budget" items, etc. So, after that ended, I subscribed to WonderTime (still have that subscription, too) which has some pretty good stuff, but is a little bit yuppy. I'm thinking that I thought Cookie might be a more family friendly good housekeepingish magazine that dealt with moms of younger kids...but I just read my first issue yesterday (I got two, so we'll see if I like the second one any better) and half the magazine was about s-e-x...and not in a good Catholic way, either...there's even a line drawing of a woman in a thong and garter on one I don't even feel like I can keep the magazine at kid level and not get questions...

More quick takes, as always, over at Jen's blog!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Now, I know I'm insane...

...but this made me laugh until I cried...

7 Quick Takes Friday - In Case You Were Wondering??

First of all, I went on retreat last weekend. The retreat billed itself as a "healing retreat", and I dragged my SIL along with me. I was the first person there in the morning (SIL missed the turn for the Knights of Columbus hall), and so I sat down at one of the tables, opened my folder, saw this, and contemplated running away...

In the end, I did stay, and I am much more comfortable with the concept and the practice of the "woo woo gifts" (as my table leader liked to call them...) Hubby, on the other hand is still VERY suspicious...particularly of speaking in tongues and being slain in the I'm thinking that when our church has a charismatic retreat this summer that I might make him go!

I changed our theme on gmail yesterday (to ninjas...just for hubby who thinks he ought to have been a ninja or a of his coworkers told him that he snorts too much to be a ninja...and that's definitely true..) and it asked me to put in our I did...and Gmail told me that I did not input a valid city name. In the end, this time I put in Denver (I don't know why Gmail needs to know where I am located for a ninja themed e-mail browser...) The last time this happened, I was entering a sweepstakes (a very dorky hobby of mine...wait...I don't have any non-dorky hobbies!) I think maybe it was for an RV...when I put in our city name, it told me that it did not have enough letters (as though I have control over how many letters are in our town's name...) that time, I got creative and used the name of another town that shares our zip code (and has about 100 people in it...)

Last week for story time at the library, they met at the local museum and talked about buffalo bones and the Indians that used to live around here. So, Eva has been telling us all about the museum ever since. Hubby had Wednesday off, and really wanted to take the girls on a field trip (he wanted to do the Denver Zoo or Museum of Nature and Science...but as it was BEFORE PAYDAY, we ended up doing the closer and way more affordable local museum...) It's a good thing we didn't go much farther, because I don't think we even spent 45 minutes there...Naturally Charlotte pooped her diaper on the walk up and smelled terrible the whole time (that child WILL be potty training soon...) and we took the tour at Eva speed. It is a pretty neat museum...much better organized than the one in hubby's hometown.

Continuing with my goal to make more things from scratch (such as the hot dog buns and tortillas I posted about already), and continuing with my new tradition of cooking steaks the dinner before payday (we're working our way through half a quarter beef...) we had a really tasty dinner last night of rib eye steaks, Au gratin potatoes and glazed carrots (The only veggies currently in the house are some carrot and celery sticks, a bag of frozen soup veggies, and the last bag of corn we put up this summer...) I really need more practice on timing from scratch items. Hubby grilled out the steaks, and also grilled a bunch of chicken legs while he was at it, so I have a meal for today half done already!

You don't want to know how many times a day the girls want to watch the "Pug Summer" video that hubby posted here last week...not to mention the "Bad Pugs" video that if you want to see, you'll have to go over to YouTube (think really bad singing with words changed to relate to a pug using the theme song from COPS)

Today is FILs 50th birthday. Most likely he is being harassed at meals on their cruise. I am wondering how the whole cruise boat thing is going. MIL called me right before they left (they were on the lido deck, with frosty beverages in hand) because they told her that cell phones wouldn't work once they set sail (MIL without her phone for a week is an entertaining thought! She's worse about her cell phone than hubby is about his...and he updates facebook mobily quite a bit now...) The cruise ends tomorrow, then they fly home on Sunday.

I hope that they are having a good time, but I am REALLY looking forward to them getting see, we get their dog when they go on vacation (I guess it's only fair, since they get our dog every time we go out of town...) She's a pug (Bubba's older sister) and her face is even more squished that Bubba's face. Well, she is used to being fed wet dog food that makes her smell (she's getting mostly dry here), sleeping in bed with MIL and FIL (she gets a pillow on the floor here) and getting lots of table scraps (it's a dog eat dog world around the kids don't drop too much, so she's really screwed...) She is a very sweet dog...but THE SNORING!!! I don't know if I can take it much longer...I'm already suffering from sleep deprivation, and I still have two nights to go!

Of course, there are plenty more quick takes over at Jen's blog!


So, I just finished up school with Eva, and part way through I noticed that Charlotte was playing with the library particular a book on tape. I told her no, and to put the book back...she left it alone for a while. I looked up later, and noticed she had the book out of the bag, and told her to put it back...she couldn't so she brought it to me, and it was then that I discovered to my horror that she had pulled all of the tape out of the cassette...and actually severed now hubby is going to stop by the library on the way home to find out how we can deal with this (if I can just order a new one for the library, it will be about $8...I remember library replacement fees for books to be $25 when I was a kid...I shudder to think what the standard replacement fee might be now...) Not a particularly good start to the day...

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Not to pat myself on the back or anything...

...but I just have to say that I rock!

Okay, so I'm a dork, but anyone who bothers to read this blog knows this already...

Our fridge is getting to be VERY pathetic looking, as payday is not until Friday. So, I've been getting a little ambitious with meal prep (other than the totinos pizza rolls for lunch yesterday since hubby had a last minute schedule change...)

On Monday, after my weekend retreat (more about that on Friday...I need to scan in a picture...) I made homemade sloppy joes, served with apples and homemade pickles. I got dinner in the crock pot early, and made Moroccan chicken casserole...then we decided to go up to my MILs house so that I could clean her kitchen while she is away on her cruise (and hubby had a meeting to go to up there) and I brought the crock pot along.

Yesterday night, I made homemade mac and cheese and dessert (a special request by Eva). We had a little leftover, and had that with brats on my homemade hot dog buns and homemade pickles for lunch today.

And tonight, I had 4 chicken thighs left over (uncooked) from when I made the chicken casserole, so I needed to get them used today. I didn't quite know what to do, so we decided on tacos. We roasted the chicken meat, defrosted a bag of my homemade refried beans (made last week in the crock pot), pulled out a little cheese, a jar of homemade salsa, and I made tortillas from this recipe. Served with corn that we put up this summer, I am feeling very pleased with myself.

And now a word from Eva, who was informing me that I could change the color of my text...

"Dear grandpa and grandma. I want to see you here but you are on vacation and I want to see you again and go on vacation with you."

...and now Charlotte

I sit. Mommy and daddy talk.

There you go...and I am going to go play sequence for kids now!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Beautiful pro-life music video

You might want to watch this without kids in the room, just because it's a love song to a child who was never allowed to be born...and your kids might not be old enough to have that conversation yet. Plus, if you react like I did, they will probably wonder why you're crying. (just a little, though!)

h/t to American Papist