Monday, August 25, 2014

Menu Plan Monday 8/25/14

Since I haven't blogged in more than two years, I'm going to start slow. You know, like going back to the gym after a long absence. Sharing our menu plan for the week was always an easy way to ease back into blogging and Lord knows I like to talk about food.

Monday--Skillet lasagna. (The kids like it better if it's called lasagna. It's cheese ravioli with meat sauce with mozzerella melted on top. I've had REAL lasagna lessons and have felt guilty about the name of this dish ever since. It's so far from the same thing that I pretty much live in fear that my Italian friend is going to find out and never speak to me again.) 

Tuesday--Beef and broccoli. This one is a crowd-pleaser. The recipe is here. The only change I make is to double the sauce, because the sauce is the boss!

Wednesday--Salmon over pasta. Easy & quick: a thin spread of Grey Poupon over salmon filets, bake it and serve atop fettuccine that you've stirred a little pesto into. 

Thursday--Red beans and rice. I recently had a life-changing epiphany. (Is that redundant? Are all epiphanies, by definition, life-changing?) I've been making red beans & rice wrong for the last twenty years. My cajun friend Robin finally convinced me to put in the time and make them right, from dried beans, soaked overnight and cooked all day. Seriously, they taste like heaven this way. Add some cornbread and some sauteed spinach, and we are all blissed out.

Friday-- Matthew West is doing a concert at our church this Friday, so we won't have time to do our normal homemade pizza & movie thing. Guessing we may grab some restaurant food. We've really been into this place called Cosi lately. 

Saturday--Homemade pizza night, because I forgot about the Matthew West thing while doing the shopping, so we already have all the ingredients. It would be a shame not to use them, right??

Sunday lunch--Chicken broccoli pie. Recipe here. She does individual pockets for her family; I just load it all into a pie plate. I use my grandmother's pie crust recipe instead of using a packaged one. Using a pre-made crust saves a ton of time and mess, but c'mon, this is Sunday lunch we're talking about.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Day One of LOAD

LOAD1, originally uploaded by Wendy.A.
LOAD stands for "Layout a Day" and for the month of February, I am participating in a challenge to create at least one scrapbook page each day.  Each morning I get a prompt via email. Using that as a springboard, I came up with this layout about cooking with my kids.

Just between you and me, I fully expect to tweak this page a little before it goes into an album. It needs a little something-something to make it pop.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Some Unwelcome Excitement and an Epiphany

You may have heard that Texas is in need of rain. Oh, that doesn't even touch it. We're basically 261,797.12 square miles of tinder. While we have been relatively far out of the way of the wildfires, the level of devastation in Bastrop has weighed heavily on everyone.

So you can imagine how my heart came up in my throat when I pulled out of our garage and saw this:

Since we were already in the car and headed out, it seemed best to keep going with that momentum. So off we went to get a new football helmet. Fiddling while Rome burned, and all that. Within a mile of the house, about 15 fire trucks raced past us. My blood pressure jumped up a few more points and I decided there was no reason for me to be freaking out all by myself when I have a perfectly good husband--with firefighting experience, no less--who should definitely be let in on this.

His advice was to go on and get the helmet, then go ahead and go to football practice. Because, you know, this is Texas, and you don't miss football practice because of the mere THREAT of disaster. And thank goodness for smart phones, so that I could keep up with developments via Facebook. One of Katie's classmate's grandmothers lives in the neighborhood next to us, so through the miracle of social networking, I was able to see that they were being evacuated. (If you're tracking my blood pressure through all this, add three more points here.)

And then, as I was waiting in the Whataburger drive-thru, I thought about all my stuff...the things that could be literally going up in smoke while I ordered us dinner-by-number. My antiques, my books, my Christmas decorations, my scrapbooks. I expected to feel another surge in my blood pressure.  I felt, strangely, nothing. Will & Katie were in the van with me, as was Krypto the Superdog. I would be sad to lose the stuff--I'm just sentimental like that--but I knew in a really profound way that as long as what was in the van was okay, everything was okay.

And that, my friends, was a holy moment.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Daybook September 2, 2011

For today, Friday, September 2, 2011

Outside my window... it's hot. It's dry. Enough said about that.
I am hearing... Will and Katie are working on their math assignments right now, so I only hear the whir of the fan and the scratch of pencils on paper.
I am thinking... that my phone has gone AWOL (with a dead battery, of course) and I'm going to be in a world of hurt if I don't find it quick.
I am thankful for... AIR CONDITIONING!!
I am wearing... a brown skirt and white tank top
From the learning rooms.... School is back in full-swing, and it is going to be a great year! We are studying Rome to the Reformation in history. Will loves it; Katie hasn't quite decided yet. I can really tell that our work over the summer paid off--their basic skills are much stronger this year and their confidence is nice and high,
I am creating.... I haven't scrapbooked in weeks. :(  I've still been scouring Pinterest and finding all kinds of creative ideas. Actually, I've tried a number of the ideas with varying success. (Let's just say the tie-dye swirled manicure where you float polish in water and dip your nails in was an unmitigated fiasco.) I hope that I'll have time this weekend to download first-day-of-school pictures from my camera and maybe do something scrappy with them.
From the kitchen... It's Friday, so we're making pizza. Everybody has their own highly-customized version. Right now I like pepperoni, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers and garlic. Mmmmm!

Around the house...  Things are running fairly smoothly, given that we're in the midst of back-to-school chaos. I'm keeping up the day-to-day stuff surprisingly well, but no guesses on when I'll have the time/inclination to tackle the backlog of clutter and projects.
Looking ahead this week: Football starts!! Will is on the same team with his best bud so it's going to be fantastic!  Katie is also playing a sport through the Y this year--volleyball. We don't know yet who is on her team but she is plenty excited to get started.

A picture to share:
No, we don't have a new kitty, but after 7 years, I'm starting to feel ready. Katie saw me looking at kitty profiles on the Humane Society website and saw one she loved. "Look how cute! Get that one, he's winking at the camera!!" I didn't have the heart to tell her that he only had one eye. Is it bad that I laughed? 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

my latest scrapbook page

(I'm terribly disappointed that I can't make this look better online, but every single bit of technology in my house is conspiring against me at the moment.)

I've been on a West Wing kick the last couple of weeks. (I do this from time to time, obsess over a TV show and watch the whole series from beginning to end. Thank goodness for Netflix.)  In one of the episodes I recently watched, somebody said something in the midst of a volley of witty banter and it caused me to remember a moment from my childhood. It was more of a micro-moment--definitely not one of the moments we retell and retell. ("I didn't fall, I was tripped!" and "The lady gave me a free hamburger for being able to write my name," would be examples of stories that get told ad nauseam.) Even though I would bet all the guacamole in Texas that I am the only one who remembers this little exchange, I remember it with perfect clarity. It makes me smile, and anything that makes me smile is great scrapbooking fodder.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Daybook for July 14, 2011

For today, Thursday, July 14, 2011

Outside my window... From inside the house, it looks gorgeous. The sky is blue and there are just a few puffy white clouds. After quickly checking a weather stats, I'm surprised to report that it's only 91 degrees, with 39% humidity, 

I am hearing... the hum of the air conditioner and the dog sucking her teeth. My life is SO glamorous.

I am thinking...  about what to make for lunch.

I am thankful for...children who, although they are growing up much too fast, have reached the age where they'll let me sleep in.  

I am wearing... a black knit skirt and purple top.

From the learning rooms... even though we're on our summer break, we're working consistently to maintain and strengthen fundamental skills. One thing that has been both fun and beneficial is a little CD called Sequencing In A Flash. It helps improve memory and concentration by having you reproduce random strings of numbers, in both visual and auditory modes. 
I am routines around the house. Hopefully this will soon translate into some free time to scrapbook and cook!  

Pondering these words... "
A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner, so if one's life is cold and bare he can blame none but himself." --Louis L'amour

From the kitchen... Last night we spontaneously had friends over for dinner, and it was so much fun. Tonight it's just going to be the four of us and some chicken. I need to flesh that plan out a bit, obviously. Some fresh corn sounds really good, but a trip to the store sounds really not good. 
Looking ahead this week: We're meeting my niece and nephew at a Children's Museum about halfway between our place and theirs. Should be lots of fun! Scott also has the afternoon cleared on Sunday to watch the soccer game. 

Saw this cake on Pinterest and made it for Will's birthday. It was cute and it was yummy, but y'all!!! Too much sugar!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How to spend a summer day

Yesterday was a gloriously wonderful day. The smidgen of rain we got yesterday brought temperatures down to the low 80s.  (We were back up to 100 by dinner time, but those few hours were delightful!) After completing some chores around the house, we had breakfast with Maria and JB at Las Palapas. Chips and salsa! For breakfast! And the day only got better from there!

After breakfast, we headed off on our big adventure. We drove out to Bandera, Texas--a charming little town if ever there was one--and spent the day at the waterpark of the Flying L Ranch. What a blast! It was a small waterpark, as waterparks go, but it wasn't crowded and the water was cool and plentiful. What more can you ask for, really?

Our kids played together for a while, then started branching out and making friends. The boys joined a group of kids building a fort out of deck chairs under the water-dumping bucket, then later teamed up with a couple of guys who had water guns. Meanwhile, Katie met a 6 1/2-year-old Real Mermaid named Carson. There was, as I'm sure you can imagine, much discussion about that little nugget. Maria finally solved several problems in logic by pointing out the reason that we couldn't see Carson's mermaid tail was that mermaid transformations require salt water, not waterpark water. Maria has an enviable gift for connecting with children.

Maria and I spent most of our day enjoying the lazy river. We even walked a couple of laps to burn off our snow-cones, nachos and chicken salad sandwiches. (I can't speak for Maria, but the walking seemed to only make me hungrier.) Toward the end of the day, we grabbed tubes and just floated around and around and around. It was bliss.

Oh and PS, we all got sunburned beyond recognition, even though I repeatedly and diligently applied sunscreen. Will and Katie  achieved a shade I like to call "medium-well" whereas I am sporting a lovely look that Scott is calling "La Langosta."