Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Musings

Things I learned this week:

1. I am technologically dependent ... nay ... addicted.

The internet went out this week and I was basically cut off from the rest of the world. No phone. No email. Nothing.

It was nice in some small way not to be so connected. But I found that I actually communicate more via email and facebook than the telephone...and it was hard not to have access.

I also missed facebook, reading blogs, and writing on my own blog.

2. I get a little cranky ... nay ... ornery ... when i don't have internet.

Getting the internet back was an ordeal. I had to call comcast at least a half dozen times. And the phone system wasn't working properly, so after getting through a gazillion menus it hung up on me. Six times. It made me crazy...and cranky. Sorry Troy.

3. I don't like comcast ... nay ... i hate comcast, but verizon wasn't any better.

After getting fed up with comcast's customer service, I called verizon to switch. Well, after being on hold for 20 minutes, I decided that if they couldn't answer the phone to sell me something, they probably weren't going to pick up the phone to fix it.

4. I really like ... nay ... love my primary class.

They are such a great group of kids and I really just love watching them learn the gospel.

5. I really love ... yes ... love my "tough guy" husband.

Troy gave a talk in church today and it was really great. Of course he had to say how he was going to ruin his "tough guy" image by crying.

Mikalya said, "Dad's a tough guy?"

"No dear. He was just being ironic."

So glad to be up online again!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Snow Day. Serious?

So... we about a 1/4" of snow and naturally just had to have a snow day.

Here we are at about 10 am:

And here we are at 1 pm:

Dude. Why didn't we have school?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Menu Monday

Nearly two months of cooking big dinners and my waistline is starting to notice. I have gained 5 pounds.

So...this weeks recipes will be brought to use by the cooking light website.

But...before we get to this week, let's review last week.

Can I just say how good the meals from the taste of home website were?

Asian Chicken Thighs -- these were soooo good and soooo easy! I thought they had a good flavor -- and it's hard to go wrong with thighs. They always end up moist. KEEPER

Chickaritos -- these were super good as well, however, puff pastry is super expensive and for that reason alone, I probably won't make these again.

Corn Bread Taco Bake -- ohmygosh. This is as close as I will probably get to making a casserole -- and when you haven't grown up on them -- they are not something I really make. But this was so GOOD! I mean it. REALLY REALLY good! KEEPER

Creamy White Chili -- this dish was delicious...and about 30 minutes to make start to finish. KEEPER

Light Chicken Cordon Bleu -- I realized after I made this that I don't really like deli ham -- so, although this was's not a keeper for me.

Savory Pumpkin Ravioli -- I did not end up making this dish. With a 2 hour prep time, I just wasn't up to it. But I do hope to make it some day. Cause I just love pumpkin pasta!

This week:

Pizza Margherita
Mushroom Bolognese
Thai Basil Beef
Roasted Chicken and Bow Tie Pasta
Curry Ginger Butternut Squash Soup

Sunday, February 20, 2011

O, My Aching Back

Oh my aching back.

But I did it. I finally got the garage clean. And I have the after photos to prove it. 

Honestly...I only have after photos because I was just too embarrassed to take before photos. 

But...everything is put away and organized and I have a MASSIVE salvation army pile. Can't wait to give it all away. (It's that pile on the right in the first photo -- and that's just a part of it!)

Still on my list is the basement and redoing my office. I envision many more advil filled days as my back protests all the cleaning...but I'm so excited to see the end results!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Domestic Bliss

I went out to lunch with a friend today...and I told her I had made my own laundry soap.

The look on her face. Priceless.

But really...I did.

I know. What's next? Wheat germ and granola?


I was reading this blog about homemade laundry soap and how much it helped her daughter's eczema.

It got me to thinking that maybe this would help Katie.

So, I made a batch and I have been doing the laundry with it for about a week.

It cleans just's all natural and it's inexpensive.

I am still waiting to see if helps Katie's skin, but I have high hopes.

So... how do you make it?

Well it's just: Ivory Soap -- the bar kind. This cost $3.50 for 10 bars. This is enough for 5 batches.

Borax -- This cost about $4.50 for a box -- this box is actually enough to make 10 batches.

Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (NOT baking soda -- LAUNDRY soda) -- this cost about $4.00 and is enough to make about 5 batches. (I had to look around for this -- and I found it at my local Harris Teeter.)

1 batch of this laundry soap will do about 80 loads of laundry -- So with just one of each of these products, you have enough raw materials to do 450 loads of laundry. For $12.00.

Seriously. That's a lot of laundry soap!

Start with the ivory soap and your food processor. Shred 2 and 1/2 bars of ivory.

I thought that this might be difficult, but it shredded up... no problem.

It kinda looks yummy, doesn't it?

Change the blade of the food processor to the chop blade.

Add 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of laundry soap to the food processor.

Turn the food processor on and blend the mix for a few minutes until you have a fine powder.

Place into a container with a lid.

Use 1 Tablespoon of laundry soap per load or 2 Tablespoons per heavily soiled load.

It was super easy. And I was even able to put the parts of the food processor into the dishwasher -- except for the blades. Those needed to be washed by hand.

I'm so domestic.

Oh my.

editied to add: I got the question if this would work in a High Efficiency Washer -- and I don't know. But I will say that one of the qualities of soap for HE washers is that it doesn't created a lot of suds...which is also one of the features of this homemade laundry soap.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

murphy's law

well. it's been a day.

and the post i had planned for went out the window when i accidentally deleted the photos.


so's a few of my recent scrapbook pages:

here's joshy's 2nd birthday. he totally freaked out when he saw the candles. lol!

this is when mikayla donated her hair to locks of love.

this one is about joe...finally learning to love to read -- thank goodness for harry potter!

becky made this great chalk drawing. I had to scrap it!

this one is about emma's new haircut.

had to scrap mikayla at all county orchestra.

love this photo of katie -- just wiped out.

emma and katie in the snow.

our house in this last snow.

phew. it's so nice to be creating again -- all it took was a six month break! : )

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

oh, there you are perry.

Josh had his pinewood derby tonight and I am so proud of him!

He made a snazzy little car, he was a good sport, and he had a great time.

What more could we ask for?

Josh won the award for best mammal. I thought his car was awesome!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Menu Monday

Well...I have to say, the cooking is going is well. We are all eating well and gaining weight.

**big sigh**

But...I'm determined to keep it up and am working hard to burn a few extra calories during the day. Hopefully my motivation will come back soon. If you've seen it, please...send it home. : )

Last Week's Menu Review:

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Maple Cream Frosting -- this was very good, however, the carrots freaked some of the kids out. They suggested next time I make the pumpkin pancakes with the maple cream frosting...cause really, the sweeter the better. lol! 

Puffed French Toast -- this was also pretty good. It tasted just like funnel cakes. But I think next time I will save a step and just use this delicious bater and make funnel cakes instead.

Potato Quiche -- this was so good...I made a HUGE pan and the kids ate it all! KEEPER 

Huevos Ree-os -- this was just yummy. only the older kids liked it, but it was easy to make with and without the salsa. KEEPER

Biscuits and Gravy -- I adore biscuits and gravy and I was so dang proud of myself for making it. And it was YUM - O. Again...easy to eat these with or without the gravy -- so everyone was happy. KEEPER

Make Ahead Muffin Melts -- making these tomorrow, I'll let you know.

So..onto this week.

Do you have a favorite cooking magazine? I have LOTS! One of them being Taste of Home. And of course, taste of home has a wonderful website with tons of great recipes. So this week...we are having:

I have never used puff pastry nor made my own I am super excited to try these new techniques.

It's been fun to be cooking...I am actually really enjoying it. And in addition to feeding my family really well...I'm also able to stay in my grocery budget with these detailed menus. 

Are you guys cooking more? Have you tried anything new you like?

go away sweet valentine

You know Troy and I have a terrible track record with valentine's day. 

So bad, in fact, that we have totally given up on it.

In case you don't know our history...

So, this year...instead of writing a mushy post about all the things I love about Troy...instead...I've got a different type of list in mind.

10 Things You May or May Not Know About Troy

1. He is super optimistic...earning himself the nickname "Miss Merry Sunshine." He is most chipper at 5 am -- coincidentally...the time at which I feel least chipper.
2. He will not skip work to play hooky with me...dang work ethic.
3. When I tell him about my bad day...he always looks for ways to "fix" it. I'm pretty sure it's a man thing.
4. He uses the skills I have taught him about listening on other people. Everyone thinks he's a great you know why.
5. He will wear socks with holes in them until I secretly throw them away. oops. Don't tell him, k?
6. He takes great pleasure in demonstrating "chi" running and "facercise" -- no matter how much it embarrasses me. Please...feel free to ask for a demonstration...I'm working through my issues with it.
7. He still wears socks with sandals even though he can at long last acknowledge how incredibly unfashionable it is.
8. He has no lack of humility about his game playing skills. He loves to tell the story about being the mission hearts champion. Again...feel free to ask him about it.
9. His standard answer when you ask him how you look is "fine."
10.  He would never write a list like this, because he is just too nice. Dang man.

Really...I love this man. And I hope he has a good valentine's day. Even if we are no longer celebrating it.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Music and More

We have had quite the musical week...Joe, Emma, and Mikayla had a middle school concert this week, and they did so well. I cannot believe how well they perform -- only having taken lessons at school. The 6th graders in particular were superb!

And then yesterday, Mikayla performed with the All County Orchestra. She was the only student selected from her entire middle school! I am just so darn proud of her!

These students were so incredibly good. Especially the junior orchestra that Mikayla performed with. It was so impressive.

They practiced for two days...and those two days were the only time they had ever performed together It was incredible!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy Birthday

My sweet Troy is 38 today. know the drill.

38 things I love about Troy.

1. You can't say cliches right to save your life. I find it endearing. I even look forward to it now.
2. You love crumbs. Makes me think you were a mouse in a former life.
3. You wear a hat to bed. I actually look forward to when it gets cold enough for you to break it out.
4. You still have to ask me to pick your outfits...I love knowing you still need me.
5. You like to show me your biceps...makes me smile every time.
6. Every time you pour soda, I know you're going to try and stir out the bubbles. Makes me laugh.
7. You let me tease you about practically everything and always take it in stride.
8. Along the same lines, you are an incredibly good sport about letting me write about you on the blog.
9. You are a list maker...always writing it down and planning ahead.
10. You are a fierce game player and I have almost learned never to accuse you of cheating...almost.
11. You are forever reading and tearing out or tabbing things that you think I need to read.
12. You are still in denial about your poor hearing. I think you secretly like it that you can't always hear me.
13. Your taste in music is eclectic. I love that you have both Patti LuPone and Lady Gaga on your playlist.
14.  We know all your stories by heart well, that we can even tell them for you.
15. You're still a morning person...and frequently let me sleep in...i'm grateful.
16. You still have a penchant for greasy diner food. I can always count on you to order a grilled cheese.
17. You have finally realized that you can wear colors other than blue. It's only taken...38 years.
18. You are a risk much so that it makes me nervous.
19. You are incredibly forgiving...especially when i'm a brat and pick a fight. You really are a good guy!
20. You are very thrifty...but you have come a long way...thank goodness.
21. I love that you can tie cherry stems into a knot with your tongue and pick up things with your toes.
22. You are my biggest fan...what more could a girl ask for?
23. You are such a genuinely happy person...some of it has even rubbed off on me. Dang it.
24. You almost always let me have it my way...even if I don't always think so.
25.  You love to travel...and even love to take me with you. Where do you want to go next?
26. You are always expressing your love to notes, in soft touches on my so many ways.
27. You are very handy...I am continually surprised at what you know how to do.
28. You still have the cutest bum...there's a reason HHS voted you best buns.
29. You are a very thoughtful person....always going to extra mile.
30. You are beyond did I get so lucky?
31. You are my most avid blog reader.
32. You are very spiritual and have a strong testimony.
33. You are incredibly supportive of all my hopes and dreams. I'm so lucky!
34. You are a hard worker...too hard sometimes.
35. You are a very deep feeling person, and actually very tender hearted. I forget that sometimes.
36. You are so talented...I am always amazed by what you can do.
37. You are incredibly loving and always try your best to make sure those you care about feel loved.
38. You are the best husband and father I could ever hope for.

I'm the luckiest girl in the world...and I hope you have the best birthday ever.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Potty Training Blues

Katie has been diaper free for quite some time.

You would think that this means she was potty trained..but no...unfortunately for me, that isn't what it means at all!

She actually has stretches where she is dry...then...for no reason, she will have accident after accident.

I just couldn't take it anymore.

And I certainly didn't want to put her back in diapers.

So...the solution?

m&m's of course!

So...Katie has been dry for the past two days.

She has also eaten about 50 pounds of m&m's and she is bouncing off the wall.



Can't you see it in her eyes? you we back off the m&m's and move back to accidents, or do we allow her to continue with her sugar high?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Credit Is Due

I know Troy thinks I only post the funny, sad, embarrassing things about him...but really, I have to say, I give credit where credit is due.

And this man is due.

Look what I found last night on the kitchen counter:

And then this morning...I found this on my desk:


I'm one lucky girl.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Menu Monday

Attention: Blog Stalkers, Lurkers and People Who Read Without Commenting.

Oh yeah. You know who you are.

Before I post this week's menus, just wanted to make a request for additional cooking websites that you have tried and liked. If I am going to continue with my quest to cook everyday for my family, I am going to need a few more websites to try out. So come...leave me a link to your favorite. review last week's menu:

Red Thai Curry: I thought this was just okay, although Troy really liked it. I am going to keep looking for a thai curry that I really like.

Chicken Parmigiana: This was A-MAZING. I love it and will definitely be making it again.  KEEPER

Beef with Snow Peas: This was really good, and one that the kids really liked as well. KEEPER

Pioneer Woman's Favorite Hamburger: Omyword..I LOVED this one, as did all the kids. It was just the best hamburger -- I did not use the tabasco...since Troy doesn't like that flavor. And I added avocado, red onions and teriyaki sauce to the burgers.  To die for!  KEEPER

Pan Fried Pork Chops: I thought this was okay...however, I prefer just to season my chops with season all and pan fry them without oil. Healthier and tastier. Not a keeper.

Josh's verdict? He was just glad we had pasta one night...that he could eat without sauce. **big sigh**

Since this has all been very hard on Josh who has just been getting by at dinner...eating small bits of this and that...I decided we would change it up a little for him and try and make a majority of meals he would like, rather than continuing to torture him -- although, I am sure he will feel plenty tortured next week when I go back to cooking normal meals.

So...what are we having this week? Breakfast for dinner.

Tonight we hand Pioneer Woman's Perfect Pancakes. Which, although very good, are not nearly as good as Jennifer Thomas's seriously kick butt pancakes -- since it is a family recipe I won't post them here until I check with her first.

For the remainder of the week:

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Maple Cream Frosting
Puffed French Toast
Make Ahead Muffin Melts
Potato Quiche
Huevos Ree-os
Biscuits and Gravy -- although she uses store bought dough, I will be making these biscuits instead.

And remember, if you know any good food blogs, send me a link!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Full House

It looks like we are going to make a habit of having a house full.

We had the Brisco children staying with us while their mom was out of town. My kids were ecstatic to have their friends come and stay. And I have to didn't seem so bad to have three more kids. (Don't get any ideas Troy.)

Luckily, we got over the icky sickies before they came to stay.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Final Frontier

The kids had a science project that required us to go to the National Air and Space Museum.

It was my first visit to this particular Smithsonian and it was a really great museum.

Since many of the 6th grades choose this for their project we had a pretty good little group to take into the city.

I think a good time was had by all.

dang it all

We've got the ickie sickies here...and the kids are passing it around.

heaven help us.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Singing the Blues

I have gone an entire month with drinking coke zero.

I know there were those of you out there who did not think I could do it (you know who are).

And even though it's been a month, I still miss drinking it every day. **big sigh**

I need a little inspiration...I am trying to be healthier and make better choices...but honestly, none of those better choices seem very fun.

In addition to giving up coke zero, I have also been exercising more.and eating better.

But whenever I exercise, I find that my scale actually goes up.

Does this happened to you?

Now...let me just say that my clothes fit the same...and I don't think I look any heavier.

(If you think differently...just please keep it to yourself.)

But...I must say, it's a real disincentive to being good. me out here...what do you do to stay motivated? If your scale goes up like long before it starts to go down?

Because honestly...fat and happy sounds real good right about now.
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