Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This darn template

I have an issue with this blog template (and many others I've seen). It doesn't visibly date the posts, it just puts times. This is slowly annoying the crap out of me. Maybe my tech support team can figure out how to fix it without giving this template the boot. I'll have to see about that.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

He's the boss of me

My son has recently taken to crying every waking moment of his life if I am not holding him. He chases me screaming in his angry voice if I try to use the bathroom, or put laundry in the washer/dryer, or cook, etc. etc. etc. I'm ready to snap.

School was canceled today for no apparent reason. There is supposedly flooding, but it is nowhere near here. Julianne was home for the past 2 days with a throwing up illness. I have gotten nothing done in days. I was really hoping today would break that trend. It's not looking promising.

To end on a positive note, I just put Xander down for a morning nap, because he has been crying for 3 hours already and logic would suggest he needs one. Also, all of my daughters disappeared and I found them all in Bella's room happily playing "school". Maybe I can do something productive for a few minutes now. I better get on that...now.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pool Warm Up

Our pools will be opening for the summer next weekend. The girls are psyched. Bella is officially 48 inches tall, and that means that she can use the big water slides. I really wish we had the room/money to put one in the backyard, but alas...that is not the case. Mark my words, my next house will have a bigger backyard and a pool. I will also not pick out a house with 2 days to find one again either. Lesson learned. Anyway, on Saturday we pulled out the little pool and they had a blast getting mentally warmed up for swimming season.

Zoo field trip

I chaperoned Julianne's zoo field trip on Friday. Our school always has tons of volunteers, so another mom and I shared this group of 4. The boy next to her is rumored to be enamored with her. By rumored I mean, her teacher gave me the dirt in great detail at my parent teacher conference. Also, he bought her a smencil as a present...smencils are very popular around here. So, the evidence is fairly extensive, but she is largely oblivious to his pursuit of her. I would put up other pictures but: 1. I hesitate to put pictures of other people's kids on the internet without their permission and 2. I'm too lazy to photoshop their school shirts at the moment. So, pretend this photo of their backs is some type of artistic statement...m'kay? Thanks.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I'm behind on blogging at the moment. I have to load up zoo field trip pictures, etc. While I was working the other day, I came across this Will Ferrell video. I thought it was hilarious, and this blog needs an updated post. It looks like the embedding is disabled on the video, so here is the link.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How does your garden grow?

Our garden is coming along nicely. I got started late with the sugar snap peas, but it looks like we will still be able to get a decent harvest before it gets too hot.
The banana peppers are coming along, but I was misinformed about their size. I pulled one off because I thought they were supposed to be small. It turns out that the variety I bought makes tons of 8 inch banana shaped peppers on a miniature 20 inch height plant.
I have 5 tomato plants this year. 3 store bought: an Arkansas Traveler (which is supposed to tolerate extreme heat and is currently only in the flowering stage), a sweet grape, which is doing well as always, and a dwarf patio variety of some sort (which I have in a container). The other two were planted later and I grew them from seed. They are about to start flowering now. They will produce surprise tomatoes because of all the seeds I planted (for fun to see which would actually grow), the labels were lost long ago. They could be Santa Sweets, Sweet 100, Better Boy, or one of 2 rare heirloom varieties.

Other things currently in the garden which are starting to come up from the soil: pumpkin, cucumber, and watermelon. Today I added 2 yellow squash plants, and some zucchini seeds. I have a little space left for something low growing in the front of the beds, but haven't found anything to fit the bill for that space yet.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I'm having a super productive day

Having a super productive day is not good for blogging. While I'm scurrying about checking things off of my mental to do list, I hope you are all doing well. In the news around here: it rained like crazy this weekend (flooded really), I'm finished scoring tests for this current session tomorrow (yipee, no time to work), we're trying to plan Bella's upcoming baptism, and a summer vacation (which I'm taking familial heat for being overly concerned/high maintenance about the planning of), and Juli has her first field trip coming up this Friday (I'll be chaperoning). Those are the highlights in the form of a very long run-on sentence.

I went online a few days ago to watch a 20/20 episode that I had heard someone talking about. It was called Children of the Mountains. It was really interesting. You can watch it here. The part about the Mountain Dew was crazy. I'll be back, hopefully soon. Have a good day.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Do you see a resemblance?

Leia and Daniel were reading "A Perfect Party" last night. It is a Disney book starring Mrs. Potts and the Beauty and the Beast crew. In her usual fashion she decided to "weed to my-sewf" after they were finished. She likes to count how many times she can find the same character pictured in the book. Her counting usually goes, "Free, two, one!" Sometimes she'll go 1 through 6 in order, than skip to fourteen. The kid loves to say "FOURTEEN!" But I digress. She was a little bit fixated on Chip last night for some reason.

I started naming the characters, and she started pointing them out. Somehow the conversation turned to Mrs. Potts being Chip's mama. As the wheels in her little noggin began to turn, she decided that I would now become represented by Mrs. Potts. Of course, this was followed immediately by labeling herself as Chip. She proceeded through the book calling all the pictures of Chip, "me-Weia" and all the pictures of Mrs. Potts, "mama". There was a sad moment when she concernedly declared herself to be "bwoken" due to Chip's signature chipped rim.

The fun continued when she decided that the rest of the family must be labeled. The beast became "daddy". Cogsworth became "Be-wah" (I expected Belle would become Bella, but NO...logic has no place here). At some point I think Lumiere became "Jewie". We asked about Xander, but she decided to ignore his existence and not assign him a character...poor kid. In her defense, the only character left was Belle, so his manliness must have excluded that possibility.

Now, the question is...do I look like Mrs. Potts? She has a ridiculously round face, and she serves people all day...I'm thinking this kid is more perceptive than I give her credit for.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Baked bean recipe update

The Honeybaked Ham baked beans were pretty good. I added about 1/2 cup of strong bbq sauce to them near the end though. I tasted them and they were too bland for me, with the bbq sauce added, they were perfect.

It is happening

Xander is turning into a small boyish man type creature. See the pose above for evidence...he's got a million of them. More evidence that he is a man in training...

1. He flirts with all ladies between the ages of 1 and 99. If you are female, he will look at you, wait for your eye contact, then immediately turn away smiling. The dance will continue until you are drawn into a one sided conversation/monologue about his handsomeness.

2. He has enormous palms in comparison to his sisters, and unusually wide feet.

3. He has developed a distinct swagger. Now that he's a little more steady on his feet...he struts around like he owns the place.

4. He has a deep need to disassemble everything he comes in contact with. If it can't be disassembled, he will find a way to shove smaller pieces inside of it somehow.

5. He feels that he has an unalienable right to rest his hand and/or head on any boob within a 10 foot radius of his body.

The most troubling recent addition involves his development of his father's slightly crooked full lipped smile. It slays me, and he is much less judicious with the smiling than his more serious father. I do not stand a chance.

Why do kids have to be so loveable in specific and individual ways? I could develop a tolerance for these things if they were all the same. As it stands, each one has their own set of things that is heartbreakingly special about them. It wears me out.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Uses for leftover ham & Confession of yet another quirk

I have this mental problem with wasting meat. I feel like I can't throw meat away, because an animal died so that we could eat it, and throwing it away is like a crime against nature or something. This presents a problem after holiday meals, because I have a very difficult time thinking of ways to use up what seems to be an endless supply of one type of meat. We really don't eat very large portions of meat as it is, so it just seems to go on and on forever.

We had a Honeybaked Ham for Easter. We had traditional leftovers on Monday, then the side dishes were largely exhausted...but not the ham. So, I chopped some of it up and converted it into shepherd's pie last night, just substituting the ham for beef. It was actually pretty good.

I still have an emotional issue with throwing away the big hunk of ham though (the part that isn't really sliced and includes the bone, but also includes a lot of meat too). So, I found this recipe for Boston baked beans using a Honeybaked ham bone. I'm going to make it tomorrow and serve it with baked potatoes and fruit salad. It will ease my conscience that it was all used up.

Fortunately, this mental issue only extends to animals and animal products. I don't have issue with throwing away anything else. But throwing out meat, milk, cheese, and eggs, makes me feel like a bad person. The issue didn't extend to milk, cheese and eggs until I had and breastfed 4 children. The amount of effort that went into sustaining their lives with milk, particularly if pumping was involved has endeared me emotionally to the dairy cows.

I think I would be a vegetarian if I didn't love meat (in small portions) so much. Life without a little bit of steak or chicken on my salads, and no baby back rib fix on occasion is not terribly appealing. I'm sure I could do it...I just don't want to. I'm also notorious for being borderline anemic all the time, which I expect might worsen with a vegetarian lifestyle. Who knows?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Birthday Party

We had a little birthday celebration for Xander yesterday. I've been sick all weekend with a fever/sore throat thing that Bella passed on to me, so I didn't take a whole lot of pictures. I was lucky to still be standing when all of our guests left last night. Here are a couple of the photos I did take.



First Birthday gifts list (for posterity) ;-)
A big kid drum and various musical instruments
Little People airplane
stacking cups
matchbox cars
Imaginext dinosaur
wooden train set
checkerboard vans
police car
bath tub basketball set
card and cash from Nana

Thanks everybody!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

John 20:17
"Jesus saith unto her, touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. "


Friday, April 10, 2009

Strawberry Spinach Rundown...for Pam

I thought I would post this here instead of in the comments, in case anyone else wanted to discuss Strawberry Spinach salad.

Pam,
I've never made it before yesterday. I am in the experimentation phase.

So, I caramelized the pecans for practice yesterday. They were yummy but needed more sugar. I did them with 1 T butter, 1 T sugar, 1/2 cup pecans. I noticed some of the recipes online used equal parts sugar and pecans. I'm going to go halfway between those when I do them for Sunday.

Since I was just doing a pecan practice and wanted to taste them in the framework of the salad, I put spinach and sliced strawberries in a bowl, tossed on the pecans and used a little kraft balsamic vinaigrette. It was really tasty and I would do it again if I wanted an easy strawberry spinach salad. That is a great bottled dressing.

For Sunday I am doing 1 bag of baby spinach, probably 1.5-2 cups of sliced strawberries, 1 cup of caramelized pecans (I love them so I'm increasing the amount from the 1/2 cup recommended), and I think I may put some crumbly blue cheese on the side for those who want it. I haven't eaten blue cheese since I was a child, so I'd like to try it on this, as some recipes include it.

The dressing that I'm trying is 1/3 cup raspberry vinegar, 1 t dry mustard, 1 t salt, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup olive oil...blended (I'm going to use my magic bullet). Then add 1.5 Tbsp poppy seeds. I haven't been able to find raspberry vinegar yet. If I don't find it, I'll use a balsamic.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

1 Boy + 1 Smuggled Donut Hole = Trouble

Clearly the big birthday yesterday has increased his mental capacity. He stole this box containing one last chocolate donut hole, then crawled into my bedroom to crack open the box and devour it. I was distracted playing Mario Party 8 with Bella and Juli.

I need to have all of my carpet ripped out and install 100% washable surfaces. Maybe we should move into a cement house, like those old commercials. Does anyone remember those commercials? I tried to Google them unsuccessfully.

Easter Menu

I like to put holiday menus up here for my own personal record. Here is our Easter/Xander's 1st birthday party menu...

Honey Baked Ham and Nana's Ham Sauce
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Corn and Corn in butter sauce (I like to mix them together 1:1 or it is too buttery)
Cucumber Salad
Spinach and Strawberry Salad
Hawaiian sweet rolls
Chocolate and White birthday cake and ice cream

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

1 Year Old

My boyfriend turns one year old today. Here we are posing for his first 1 year old photo. I'm feeling very conflicted about it...trying to come to grips with the end of the pregnancy/infant years. Getting old sucks.

We are having a birthday celebration on Sunday with family over here. More birthday photos/details will be posted then.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Call 911

I'm drowning in work this week! No time to blog about my random thoughts. I'm literally going to have to give up some precious sleep in order to give the bulk of my attention to the kids everyday, and still squeeze in all of the work that I need to get done this week. I love sleep. Oh well.

I tried a butter recipe pie crust yesterday (for my chicken pot pie) because I never have shortening on hand when I need it, and I don't love the chemically taste of store bought crust. It was delicious. To distract you from my inattention to the blog right now, I am posting the recipe (from Land o' Lakes)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cold LAND O LAKES® Butter
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water


Combine flour and salt in large bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in enough water with fork just until flour is moistened.

Divide dough in half; shape each half into ball. Flatten slightly. Wrap 1 ball in plastic food wrap; refrigerate.

For 1-crust pie, roll out 1 ball of dough on lightly floured surface into 12-inch circle. Fold into quarters. Place dough into 9-inch pie pan; unfold dough, pressing firmly against bottom and sides. Trim crust to 1/2 inch from edge of pan. Crimp or flute edge. Fill and bake according to pie recipe directions.

For 2-crust pie, roll out remaining ball of dough on lightly floured surface into 12-inch circle. Fold dough into quarters. Place dough over filling; unfold. Trim, seal and crimp or flute edge. Cut 5 or 6 large slits in crust. Bake according to pie recipe directions.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Twin Day

Today was twin day at school. The girls decided to be twins with each other this year. This kind of sisterly bonding makes a Mama mist up a little. I'm banning myself from recreational computer use for the rest of the weekend. I'm wasting too much time on here this week. See y'all Monday! Happy weekend.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Walking Video


Xander walking...and falling...and drumming things from Erika on Vimeo.

Clearly I have too much free time.

That's a joke. I don't really have much free time...at all. However, teaching my coupon class on Tuesday reawakened the thrill of the hunt (bargain hunt that is) which has lain dormant for many months now. So, I made a quick run with the babies to Kroger this morning. Leia enjoys walking the store, pushing the stroller, and talking endlessly about every single thing that catches her eye. Xander enjoys chewing on every item I throw in the stroller, to mark his territory and surprise the cashier with a lovely coat of slobber while she scans. I'll post the details of my little run on my abandoned bargain blog later...for the weirdos who care. :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool

Bella thinks she is so funny. Back story...in nearly 3 years of school, she has never once gotten anything but green behavior marks on her daily school reports. Today she came home, and held out her homework/behavior paper with a big red dot on it. "I got red today!" she exclaimed, with fake tears/splashed water streaming down her face. "You did?" I questioned. "How did that happen?"

..."April Fools, Mama!" Yeah. Not funny. Giving your 30 year old mama a premature heart attack, wondering what happened to her angelic child. Sigh.

Confessions

Confessions are so liberating. I highly recommend them. Today's confession...avert your eyes mom and grandma, oh gosh now I'm thinking about all the people that may or may not be reading this, yikes...

Okay, let's try again...today's confession is: Every time I look at this picture of Daniel -->I want to make out with him...immediately. Butterflies in the stomach and the whole 9 yards. I can't quite put my finger on the exact reason, but this picture captivates me on many levels. Sigh. Now that's off my chest, I can stop thinking about it. The only problem with this confession is that I have now bumped the picture up, and must look at it on the front page for who knows how much longer. It's like I'm shooting myself in the foot.

5 Guys

I've heard (mainly) Utah people talk about 5 Guys Burgers and Fries repeatedly. I don't know anything about the place, other than the fact that I hear people mention it ALL THE TIME. I feel about it, sort of like my mom feel about Twitter. She recently said, "If I hear about Twitter one more time, I'm going to lose it." It's true. The media seems to be totally obsessed with Twitter lately. Anyone else noticed? But I digress. So, I clicked on the NieNie link to the 5 Guys website and noticed that there was an announcement about a Houston location that has opened. It looks like there are several Houston locations. Where have I been? I'm thinking I may have to head over and see what all the fuss is about. I'll report back. :)