I sliced 2 pounds of strawberries on Saturday night and let them sit in the fridge with a little bit of sugar on them. or maybe a little bit more than a little bit. They were so sweet and juicy the next morning. I made the crepes from scratch and filled them with strawberries and whip cream, and topped with powdered sugar and more strawberries. If we have a lot of fruit, sometime I will spread it all out on the counter and the kids get to maker their own. This time is was all about the strawberries. The kids were sad at first about no options, but by the end of the meal the only complaining was when we put the food away and said no more!
Saturday, February 26, 2011
This week our basket seemed a little weak.
We have a 3 pound bag of potatoes, 3 tomatoes, 1 pound asparagus, broccoli, lettuce, 2 bananas, 1 mango, 8 baby pears, 1 cantaloupe, 1 pound of strawberries, and a coconut.
Bekah says its not a coconut, cause coconuts have 3 holes in them like a bowling ball.
We also paid $11.50 extra to get 8 pounds of strawberries. On Monday it seemed like a really good price, but I just checked ads and they had them a little cheaper at Fry’s. kids have already eaten 1 pound of them fresh. I will also do some dips to go with them, make some into fruit roll-ups, and make some type of strawberry desert for the Thurston family get-together this weekend. Maybe throw in some strawberry crepes too.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
I was having a good day, making a yummy dinner, kids were cleaning, we were listening to good music, and then it all went wrong.
For dinner I was making “chicken rolls” or maybe you could call them home-made hot pockets. Canned chicken combined with cream cheese, wrapped up in Pillsbury crescent roll dough, and cooked till golden brown. I love it- the first time I had it was in the hospital after the birth of one of my little ones (one of the first 3 cause I was at the yucky hospital). I had already eaten my completely forgettable hospital dinner when my mom brought these in, leftovers from what she fed the fam at her house that night. And a little container of chicken gravy to go with it. So simple, and yet so delicious. Now it is on my list of ultimate comfort foods that I don’t make as often as I would like. I enjoy the chicken rolls as left overs plain, but the first night the gravy is what makes it for me. So like I said above- everything is going great- rolls turn out perfect:
and then I go to make the gravy. I opened one packet (yes- packet, only store bought mixes make the cut in my house. I want nothing to do with that made from scratch nonsense!) and it was fine, opened the second packet to dump in the pot. It wasn’t till I dumped it in, forever mixing it with the first, that the smell reached my brain and I realized it was the wrong gravy. Why on earth did I even have a packet of Brown gravy in my house? (Chase!) And if I had realized that one of them was wrong, I would have only used one and we would go light on the gravy and it would be fine. but it was to late, and we had “Brown Chicken gravy” that made me gag, and no car to get the right stuff. Chase and Brad insisted it was fine, the other kids usually eat it plain anyways, but I couldn’t do it. I had mine plain and was very disappointed in myself for the rest of the night for ruining my own dinner by not looking at labels. Bleh. It wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. The agony of it was eased a bit the next morning when I had my leftover plain chicken rolls for breakfast and they were exactly the way I wanted them then.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
I love using my treadmill at least a little bit each day. But I find myself missing the fresh air and sunshine from when I would rollerblade. So now after each workout, I go outside and lay on the trampoline. I enjoy the beautiful Arizona weather, feel the sun on my skin, and marvel at the blueness of the sky.
And the craziness of Sam’s hair.
It may sound silly, but just spending 5 minutes doing nothing in the sun is a major morale booster. You should try it. Even with Sam interrupting my peacefulness I feel better.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
On Sunday night me and the kids were watching food network (they still haven’t turned off our extra channels) and they had shows about cupcakes. Which made me want cupcakes. And thinking about it- I didn’t really want to eat the cupcakes so much as have fun making them. On Monday morning I went to Wal-Mart and got all of my supplies before Chase headed to work. We used 3 different boxes of Pillsbury cake mix, homemade frosting, sprinkles and enough food-coloring to make you poop rainbows for a week. The kids loved them, and they are probably my best cupcakes ever. And they were pretty.
We did one pan of 24 mini cupcakes, and only 6 of them made it to the frosting stage.
And I suppose sometime I should invest in proper cupcake storage pieces… so I don’t use up practically every plastic food container in one day.
This made for a fun activity while the kids were out of school. As I was reaching in to take one pan out of the oven Sam came running into the kitchen screaming, it made me jump and bump my pinky into something hot and reacting to that my hand it the top of the oven. My pinky has a little blister on it now, but the oven oven just took away some of the skin on the back of my hand. Yesterday the blister hurt worse, today it’s the missing skin. And I guess I should be thankful that it’s the back of my hand and doesn’t get bothered to much from using it.
Monday, February 21, 2011
On the surface Chase didn't seem to concerned "don't you know you aren't supposed to cook you hand?" but I know he loves me cause he spent part of his lunch break getting me tacos and diet dr pepper.
And I did make my best cupcakes ever. (its not hard, I haven't made a whole lot of cupcakes in my life) And I do intend to post pictures of their multi-colored awesomeness tomorrow.
So I tried to put Sam’s hair into a mohawk on Sunday. And I think I might finally agree with Chase that Sam needs a hair cut.
He really went to church like this… But my hair gel was not up to the challenge, and by the time he got home it was just sticking up strange.
Chase made me show Sam in the mirror what he looked like. In hopes that Sam would hate it and I would fix it. But not, Sam loved it! he thought it was very cool. and gets mad anytime Chase mentions a hair cut.
Sam is a rock-star, and he will Chop you!
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Once again Chase went and picked up our basket this morning, and I slept in for a little bit. And here is what we got:
3 mangos, 6 baby pears, 4 apples, 1 cantaloupe, bananas, 1 lb. strawberries, 2 pounds of carrots, 1 bunch of spinach, 6 yellow squash, 11 sweet potatoes, and 5 chunks of mysterious root thing.
We already ate the strawberries (soooo good, kind of wishing I had paid for extra strawberries). I will have to slice the mangos up and put them in the dehydrator for my kids to like them. The difficult things this time around are the squash, sweet potatoes, and the root things. We will have to get creative.
Bountiful Baskets just posted on Facebook that the mystery root thing, which we thought might be ginger, is actually a “Jerusalem Artichoke or Sunchoke”. And while I may have a name for it, I still have no idea what to do with it! Any ideas?
Update for Emily- my “sunchokes”?
Friday, February 18, 2011
We have had extended advance digital super should be expensive cable for the last 3 months. And the kids have gotten super spoiled having so many good kids shows for their viewing pleasure. But our free trial is up, so we packed up the cable box today and took it back to the cable store. For now, with the cable just going into our TV we still get some extra channels. But pretty soon a worker will be out to switch it back to just the basic cable we get through our HOA. A whopping 22 channels. Our children will be sad, but I am not spending $50 for the couple of channels that were safe for our kids to watch. What are you doing to keep household expenses under budget?
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Me and Chase are trying harder to budget our money. We really really want to be out of debt, and I keep doing stupid stuff to get us more in debt. There is plenty of money coming in if I make good choices, and if I can get more debt paid off. And if I do really good this year, I am getting a new sewing machine for Christmas. So for this week I thought I was doing really good- I was only a tiny bit over budget, and I wasn’t supposed to be using the debit card again till Friday. I got into the car to take Brad to the dentist on Wednesday and realized we were going to need more gas. But if I filled up with gas on Wednesday, it would throw off the whole budget for next week, and that tank of gas wouldn’t last us till the next pay day. So I panicked. And put it on the credit card. Then at the dentist I had allotted a certain amount from our checking account for the dentist, but I panicked and didn’t use the debit card at all and put even more on the credit card. I had this idea stuck in my head that I needed to hold onto all of my money to feed my kids. That afternoon I received a discover gift card in the mail. it will help with the groceries. It may have even counterbalanced the extra tank of gas had I not used the credit card. And silly thing was, I knew it was supposed to be coming. I was doing everything right, putting all my money where it was supposed to be, and I have one little setback and panicked and made the debt even worse. If I had a little more faith, and a better memory, I could have had a little less stress in my life this week. The 25th we get a bigger than normal paycheck, plus our tax refund should be getting here around that time. I will be putting as much as I can towards debt and then running the numbers again. Apparently we need to increase the budget for gas- I don’t think getting a gift card on the day I need to pay for gas is going to happen all that often.
And here is some of Brad’s artwork, he is very imaginative:
“2 guys are trying to get a walking-talking piece of gold that broke out of a box, but they fell on spikes that makes their blood come out, and then the blood turns into lava.”
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Several of you have asked for my roll recipe. I haven’t been ignoring you, just procrastinating. I got it from my mom, and I don’t think she minds me sharing it.
1 1/3 cups warm water
1 stick of butter
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup dry milk
2 teaspoons yeast
Starting with the wet ingredients I put it all in my bread machine (an awesome birthday present from my mom) and end with the yeast in a little indention at the top. and then I turn it on to the dough setting and let it go. I use “bread machine” yeast, but it might work with regular yeast too. Sometimes I make my store bought bread flour last longer by substituting 1 cup of it with home ground wheat flour.
When the bread machine beeps at you you take out the dough, form rolls and let rise for 20 minutes or more. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. I am sure if you are a good cook you could figure out how to do these rolls without the bread machine. I am perfectly content not trying that.
Last night we used the wheat flour in the dough, and used it as our pizza crust!
I think fry’s has cheese on sale again this weekend, and I still have some Ragu in the fridge, so we will definitely be having this meal again. The only problem was that I ate too much of it!
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
I hope every one of you had a good valentines day! My day turned out all right in the end, although I go into it thinking the worst. The thing is that I have a husband who doesn’t believe in it. He says that he would rather do nice things for me year round instead of just on one day when they jack up the prices of everything and make it about money. I think he should just man-up and be good to me that day. I will get him trained right eventually. We have all eternity to reach perfection. But this year, it didn’t even matter if he wanted to spend money on me, the money wasn’t in our budget to be spent on each other. But I still felt a little bitter about that at the start of the day.
Hannah, Brad and Bekah had parties at school and got to exchange valentines and treats. Brad’s teacher sent several notes home requesting “healthy snacks” for valentines, but we ignored it and sent snickers. it seemed that most everybody else did to since he came home with more junk food than Hannah did! He was a very good big brother though and shared willingly with Sam since he was the only one that didn’t get a party. And he didn’t just share the bad candy- he let Sam have anything he wanted.
I went to my best friends house and had a jack-in-the-box taco pity party focused on our unromantic husbands. We were hoping our little ones would play together, but they were mostly just shy and it wasn’t until we only had 10 minutes left that they started playing good.
After school I was very good about not eating the kids candy- I had one sugar cookie (delivered by a very kind sister-in-law) then drank diet soda and walked on the treadmill for awhile. The kids did their homework quickly, and there was no fighting. By the time Chase got home from work I was very happy, and was in the mood to lovingly cook dinner for my family. And I didn’t feel bad that all my valentines were from Chases sister, my kids extras that I paid for myself, or home-made by my kids. I was happy that my family was happy.
And it helped that I lost 2 more pounds.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Ever heard of it? It’s a fabulous, multi-state food co-op. You put in you $15, they combine it with everyone else’s $15, and then they buy as much fruit as possible, get it trucked in to hundreds of pick-up locations and it is all split evenly between participants. Did I mention it is not a business? Everything is volunteer based. the entire $15 goes towards fresh fruit and vegetables. There is a $1.50 fee added on and I am pretty sure that goes towards costs of keeping up the website, and transporting all of the fruit, but for sure it is not making anybody rich.
Some weeks are better than others. This week in my standard $15 basket (you can also pay extra to get an all organic basket) I got: 1 lb. strawberries, a bunch of bananas, 1 cantaloupe, 7 Minneola oranges, 5 Braeburn apples, 3 lemons, 2 bunches of broccoli, 1 lb. carrots, 8 ounces of mushrooms, 4 orange peppers, and a small sad bunch of romaine lettuce. Anyone want to go to the grocery store and tell me how well I did? Meh, I think its worth it, and now that we have all of it we have to eat it and be a little healthier. They also have “add-ons” each week, extra products that cost extra. I added on 5 loaves of Alpine Valley 9 grain bread for $10. I love it, but the kids aren’t fond of “seed bread” and Chase thinks it’s a waste of money. I will freeze most of it, and everyone else is forbidden to touch my bread. It makes such yummy toast in the mornings. They also offer bulk fruit or veggies (based on the season) other types of bread, tortillas, cookies, I think they even offered pumpkins in the fall. Its always changing each week, and it’s fun to see what they offer. If interested check out: http://http://www.bountifulbaskets.org/
They have the offerings up for order on Mondays and Tuesdays, and then pick up is on Saturdays. If you do decide to try it out there is a $3 first time fee, to make sure the site you pick up from has baskets there to put your produce in. When you go to pick up remember your own basket or box or grocery bags to transfer your food into. Now I am going to go have a yummy breakfast of toast and fresh fruit!
Friday, February 11, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
I did all the routine things today: got big kids to school, laundry, walk on the treadmill, feed the kids, make sure they don't kill each other. But, as i was making dinner (a super healthy kraft Mac n'cheese) Sam came into the kitchen saying "funny diaper! Funny diaper!". I looked down at him to see him wiggling his bum making his very soggy diaper swing back and forth. So i ask him, "Sam, do you need a new diaper?" his reply was to run away, screeching "no no no no, funny diaper!". So i neglected to add changing diapers to my routine list of things to do? And my kid is totally ok with that, entertained even. Great.
I got a letter from school about Brad, apparently i have been letting him stay at home to much. One more absence from school and he will be considered "habitually truant" and him and his parents may be required to go to court. So how many absences equals the school sending out letters like this? They listed 3 in September and 1 in January. Bahahahah. One more makes it habitually? Great.
We have plastic plates in lots of different colors for the kids to use. Sam made it to the table tonight first and started eating off of the purple plate. Bekah was devastated, how could she possible eat off of the remaining blue or green plate? She tried to convince sam to switch, when that didn't work she threw a royal, the world is ending, tantrum. She went to her room and screamed for 5 minutes, and you know what I did? I caved, and i got her a new purple plate and switched her food over. Teaching my kid to scream until she get what she wants. Great.
So... We finished out the evening by watching wipeout. Which was actually pretty great too. Especially when asked "mommy, if you won wipeout, would we have enough money for Disneyland?
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
I let chase sleep in this morning and got kids off to school, treated myself to a qt diet dr pepper and jacks tacos for breakfast, drained the massacre fish tank, took chase to work, walked 3 miles on the treadmill, did a load of laundry, picked up kids from school for early release day, made brownies, helped kids with homework, ground a bunch of wheat with a hand crank grinder, made wheat rolls, picked chase up from work, finished making a yummy dinner, hemmed chase's pajama pants that we got over a year ago, made Hannah's school shirt skinnier so she would wear it again, did some other mending and swore off any more sewing projects till i can get a new machine, flossed 3 sets of teeth that aren't mine, tucked children into bed, got a shoulder massage from Chase, and now I am trying to blog from my iPad. It was a good day.
But... Bekah and Sam have been wearing the same pajamas for over 24 hours, and my kitchen is a disaster. I didn't actually do any cleaning today. I still have time to clean up, but i think i am going to just veg in bed watching tv till i fall asleep.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Well… Chase is Chase.
He goes to work everyday and brings home the money that I get to spend. This month he has been helping to train and “mentor” the new employees, so his schedule shifted from being there 7-3:30 to 10-6:30. I have started taking advantage of this by sleeping a little bit later in the mornings and letting him get everyone to school. I have to do all the afterschool homework stuff and dinner without him, so I figure it all evens out.
He didn’t get a promotion this last time around, but his friend with baby #5 on the way (or maybe here already- he doesn’t tell me these things) did get it, so how can we be unhappy about that?
Good news from work is that Chase got 100% on a quiz and won a drawing or something and is getting a small bonus (I guess small is relative- it’s big enough to make me happy, and about equivalent to one day’s pay) and although he didn’t get the promotion they have asked him to pretend like they did when need arises and I think he will get better pay for the time that he does that. But even if he doesn’t get better pay, it is at least a step in the right direction.
He started our taxes this morning, and I was getting all excited, thinking about what we will do with our refund. But because someone was super slow in getting tax laws organized, or something, we can’t even turn our tax forms in till the 14th.
And on Monday he came home on his lunch break and made me some super yummy food because he loves me. And I didn’t tell him that I already ate, because I like it when he makes me food. And it was yummier than what I made for myself.
Monday, February 7, 2011
I can officially say I am 10 pounds less fat! I bought myself a treadmill, (no- I can’t afford it, it went on the stupid credit card!) and set up shop in the living room. That way I can use it everyday while I watch the kids. The sad thing is that this is not the first time I have gotten to this point. Last year I started rollerblading every day and I was losing weight really well till I crashed and messed up my face enough to make me never want to do that again. (Click here to see the picture, i am not posting it again) And I started to put all the weight back on. So here I am, again finally, but this time I am going to keep going. next goal is 6 more pounds and I will weigh what I did right after Sam was born.
Friday, February 4, 2011
I have a big fish tank. 50 gallons or so. It is filled with fancy guppies. Beautiful fancy guppies that are like the Rabbits of the aquarium world. There are 7 store bought adults, and 80+ home birthed babies. I seriously don’t even have to do anything besides feed the parents, and they are multiplying like crazy. The one other fish in the tank was a gross, 5 inch long, chocolate brown plecostomus. (Think those ugly fish that suck on the glass and just hang there.) Yesterday I noticed it’s swimming pattern wasn’t quite normal, kind of looked like he was bumping into things a bit more than usual, but I didn’t think much of it. But after the kids were home from school someone pointed out that it was acting funny. It had twisted its body into a u shape and was wiggling much more than normal… like full body spasms. So I told the kids it wasn’t feeling well and turned off the tank light. Fast forward to this morning, I turned on the light to feed the pretty guppies, and the gross fish was now an even more gross dead fish. I try to be tough and not rely on chase for silly things, for instance I kill spiders all on my own. But I hate taking care of the dead fish. If it’s a little tiny one, I can handle it. All you really need to do is net it and flush it. but the bigger the fish, the more I don’t like doing it. This one was a job for Chase. I told him it needed to be done, but somehow he left for work with the dead fish still there. Crap. my visiting teacher was coming over with 2 of her kids, and I have this big ol’ scary dead fish in my living room. So I went ahead and did it myself. Sam saw me with it in the net and ran away screaming. Bekah was yelling “not in the girl bathroom!” but I wasn’t listening, it was shortest distance. I dropped it in, and it made a bigger splash than I thought it would, and I quickly flushed as Bekah and Sam watched. We had successfully taken care of the body. But then, just as I was reaching to close the toilet, it came back! I screamed and then the kids screamed, and I flushed again, and it didn’t go down, and then I tried to flush again, but the tank hadn’t refilled yet. I slammed the lid shut, and got out of the bathroom as quick as I could. Just great. Now I had my visiting teacher coming over and I had this big ol’ scary dead fish in my guest bathroom. She usually doesn’t have to go, but sometimes her kid does, and how scary would that be? To see that thing floating around when you go to pee. Bye-bye potty training progress. This was seriously stressing me out. Finally I went back in and flushed again. Thankfully it finally went down, Bekah has agreed to use that bathroom again, and I had just enough time to calm down before people were knocking on the door. They had no clue that we had a crisis in our house today.
This is my current favorite cheap meal. $1 box of fettuccine noodles, white sauce made from scratch (butter, flour, milk, garlic, pesto and anything else in the spice cupboard that smells good) and homemade rolls. (my mothers yummy recipe with one cup of the bread flour replaced with home ground wheat.)
The kids scarf it down and me and Chase fight over the leftovers the next day. Only problem is Sam. The kids start with 2 rolls, if they finish the noodles they can have a 3rd roll. Sam always wants just a couple of bites and unending access to the rolls. He is always the last one done, and he tries to sneak in and get them off the pan if we aren’t watching close enough.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Brad does not like homework, and he doesn’t have much patience for it. I do not like homework, and I don’t have a lot of patience for Brad not liking his homework. Homework time is not a good time to be in our house, and it usually drags on and on and on, especially with Chase working a later shift this month and not being home to help. Some days Hannah does a better job helping Brad than I do. But we finally made a break through. Brad’s favorite song ever is “I gotta feeling” by Black Eyed Peas. Having it playing on repeat while he is doing homework, or even chores, somehow allows his brain to focus on the task at hand and get it done. Problem is I don’t always think of it until we've already spent a considerable amount of time working on homework.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Hannah has had a bit of a cold this week. She seems mostly ok in the mornings, but by the time she gets home from school she is a tired, sniffly, grouchy girl. And I have been telling her and Chase “that’s it! Tomorrow she is staying home to rest and get better.” But when tomorrow gets here, she seems fine, and she loves school so much that she hides and symptoms from us so that we let her go. Does anybody else have children that fake being well just to go to school? This is my Hannah Banana zonked out on the couch at 4:30 in the afternoon. 2 seconds after this picture Sam fell of the couch and was crying loud enough to wake Hannah up, and then Hannah was crying cause Sam woke her up (as if he had done it on purpose!). I pointed out to her how yucky she is right now, and she finally agreed that tomorrow she needs to stay at home and watch house shows on HGTV. Problem is that I will probably have to convince her of that again come morning.
Every week I have to wash 2 loads of towels. It seems like every time I turn around there is a new towel in the laundry hamper. And no one will admit to it. The extra towels are kept under the sink in the kids bathrooms… which is probably why they are using no restraint in using them ALL. So as I was doing laundry yesterday, instead of getting mad and frustrated at the entire family for the mystery towel user, I found a new place to put them. Each child gets one towel. The rest are going on the high shelf in the laundry room.
Hmmm… I don’t make very neat stacks… I will add “laundry room cabinets” to my list. Now hopefully I will spend a little less time doing laundry, and pay a little less for energy and laundry soap.
And I just found 3 more dirty towels.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I finished the blueberry fruit roll-ups… And I am not a fan. They have a grainier texture, and leave a funny taste in my mouth. Blah. I am not telling my kids this- (power of suggestion) and hopefully they will like them and they don’t go to waste. I will stick with strawberries from now on, or maybe mix a little bit of blueberries into the strawberries.
A couple of weeks ago me and my husband had a pretty big fight. like, not talking for 3 days big. We made up, and all is well. The most lasting thing from that fight is that I added $400 to our debt from buying a treadmill (not what started the fight, but it only made it worse). I love the treadmill, but the whole fiasco gave me a reality check on our debt amount. I keep saying we want out of debt, but then I do stupid things like that. Chase isn’t getting much overtime lately, they increased our monthly premiums for health insurance, and I insisted Chase enroll us for dental insurance again, and Bekah turned 5 and is no longer eligible for food assistance from WIC. Meaning I have a smaller budget to work with and not much of a buffer zone if I go over budget. I went to the store on Saturday night, got everything on my list, and went over by $20. Not good, it means I have even less to get through the next week with till it resets at the next paycheck. I got home and realized that I hadn’t put any snacks for the kids on my list. Instead of stressing out I realized I could just make some. I have stuff to make chocolate no-bake cookies sometime in the next week or so, my kids love the “gorilla poop” but I am not thrilled with giving them chocolate for afterschool snacks. Then I thoughts of my frozen strawberries and blueberries that I keep on hand for making healthy smoothies for my breakfast… when I actually feel like being healthy. So yesterday I got out the blender and the dehydrator and the strawberries and got busy.
Strawberries, a bit of sugar, and some water to thin it out. (with the lid on)
I spread plastic wrap over the dehydrator trays to keep the liquid contained. Then started the dehydrator. It took a lot longer than expected cause the crack in our dehydrator seems to get a little bit bigger each time we pull it out of the cupboard.
After the kids were sound asleep in their beds and it was to late for snack time, the fruit was finally ready to be rolled up. I just start at one end and roll up into a long tube, then I use my kitchen scissors to cut each roll into 4 pieces. I then store them in a air tight food container to keep them fresh longer.
It’s a bit cheaper over all than store bought fruit roll-ups, it has a lot more fruit, and even though I added sugar, I know exactly what my kids are eating.
My kids love them, I love them, and I feel good that I didn’t spend any extra money on them this week.
Today I am trying out the blue berries. We have never tried that flavor before, so hopefully the kids like it!