Monday, May 2, 2016

Menu plan for the week of May 2

Five weeks and counting, people.

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole. Healthy, easy, and cheesy!
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Supper:



Lunch/other:

https://h2savecom.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/make-a-skillet-cookie-with-just-one-bowl-hip2save-com.jpg
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Friday, April 29, 2016

Tidbits

I haven't forgotten about you, my friends!  It just seems like every time I think I should write a blog post, there are other, more pressing things to take care of, like...well, I'm not sure exactly.  I've got 28 minutes before I need to be out the door for my next adventure (because a walk with a friend followed by a trip to a warehouse store definitely qualifies as an adventure), and I intend to fill them with writing random thoughts and sharing random unedited photos in this blog post to you.  Because I love you.

You're right.  That makes no sense.  But!  It doesn't have to :)


My turkeys!  Love them!

My youngest son, Bubby, has worn his shoes on the wrong feet so often (including to the dentist the other day, where the hygienist noticed and commented on his foot-shoe placement), that now, they feel wrong when they're right.  I'm sure there's a philosophical extrapolation we can make in this instance, but now I'm down to 22 minutes, so let's move on.

Bubby is in 2nd grade.  And AKD wanted me to show you these pictures.


Bubby finally consented to me reading the Chronicles of Narnia to him.  We have all seven books in one volume, so it's a really big book.


What I didn't exactly expect, was for him to be so wrapped up in the story that he would insist on reading it himself when I wasn't available to do so.


Yup.  He read all that.  I'm contemplating reading The Hobbit next, but since we don't own a copy, I'm trying to decide if I think we can read it in the amount of time the library is willing to let us borrow it.

I guess I should mention that these pics are not in chronological order.  You're ok with that, right?


AKD is in the STEM+ Academy at school.  No, I'm not sure what the + is.  Here he is posing with his group for their interdisciplinary collaborative project for fall semester.


I love how they're all wearing tennies with their fancy clothes.

Bubby went to work with his Daddy one day in March.  And when I say he went to work, I mean, he really went to work.


There were some organized activities for the kiddos, but there were also times when the kids were just with their parents.  Bubby and some of the kiddos decided to build a factory.  Here he is on the phone with the design group.  And in the conference room with the core team.


The boys and I went on a hike during spring break.







Doesn't necessarily look very springy, does it?


Two minutes left!  I'd say this was a successful photo dump.  I still have all these random thoughts to share, but those will have to wait until next time.  Til then--love y'all!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Menu plan for the week of April 25

Guess what, y'all!  Only six more weeks of school left.  I know this because I printed out the last school menu the other day, and thought to myself, what?  Last school menu for the year?  I know.  Crazy, right?

I say this to prepare you for the fact that I'm a slacker during my kids' summer "break".  I might publish some menus, but it certainly will not be every week, and maybe not at all.  It'll be ok, though.  I've got you covered--there are more than two years' worth of menus in the archives.

In the meantime, here's what's on the menu this week:

Supper:

Other:

Monday, April 18, 2016

Menu plan for the week of April 18

My friend gave me her bread machine, and I got a chance to test it out last week.  Truthfully, I was a bit disappointed by the loaf it baked.  It was super fun to listen and watch as the machine did its thing, but the loaf sunk in the middle and the crust was pretty thick.  Then, of course, there's the whole hole in the bottom where the blade was issue.  I also used the dough cycle to mix, knead, and rise my pizza dough the other day, and that bread machine did a phenomenal job.  That dough was so smooth, and elastic, and window pane-y.  I am so pleased, and excited by the bread-making possibilities.  Now I just need to figure out how I can do two loaves at once.  This week I'm planning on having it knead some whole wheat dough for me to make into cinnamon swirl bread.  Nummy!

Today is day 10 of my latest friendship bread cycle, and I'm sending my yeasty friends off to the freezer for another extended stay.  Before I do, as a last hurrah before hibernation, I'll be making Pistachio Pineapple Coconut Friendship Bread Cake  and Chocolate Chocolate Coconut Friendship Bread Muffins.  Not because I'm particularly fond of coconut, but because these recipes both sound special and delicious--I'm hoping the chocolate coconut will taste a little something like Mounds.  I'm planning on pawning off most of them to unsuspecting teachers and Hubby-coworkers.

Here's what else is on the menu this week:

Supper:

  • Kielbasa cauliflower stir fry, applesauce, carrots
  • Tacos, tortillas, taco toppings
  • Chicken pot pie, mixed veggies, salad
  • Rice burgler, broccoli/cauliflower/carrots, salad
  • Pizza or zucchini crust pizza, salad, fresh fruit
  • Hot beef sandwiches, buns, cooked carrots, salad
  • Grilled pork chops, baked potatoes, grilled green veggie, applesauce

kielbasa cauliflower stir fry 1
Kielbasa and cauliflower stir fry
from Center Cut Cook
Other:

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Crazy Dreams

I have been having some wild dreams lately.  Every night.  It's actually kind of fun, because I never know who's going to show up or what's going to happen in my dreams.  I'm not used to dreaming every night, or at least not remembering that I dreamed every night.

It was fun, that is, until the night I had a dream that reminded me of being 7 or 8 or even 13 years old, lying in my bed in the dark, afraid.  I remember trying to be as still as possible, with my blanket pulled up over my mouth and nose, not even breathing for fear that if I moved or made a sound, some unidentified threat would find me.

I woke from that dream, and I was right back there.  Lying in the dark, paralyzed by fear, except not, because I knew it wasn't real.  And after that dream, I can so understand why my boy wants reassurance in the middle of the night when he's scared.  He, at least, is brave enough to get out of bed and find comfort.

Interestingly, since I began having these crazy dreams every night, Bubby hasn't woken me up once.  I wonder if his dreams have transferred to me.  And, just in case you were still wondering, yes, I dream in color.  I remember that green ooze vividly.

Savage Chickens - Bears
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Monday, April 11, 2016

Menu plan for the week of April 11

It's my middlest child's birthday today.  He's a teenager.




According to my other, slightly older, teenager, that means we're going to need a lot more food now.  Good thing I have a plan.  Including MC's birthday dinner tonight: hot dogs.  And chips.  Can't forget the chips.

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Supper:
chocolate ice cream:
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Other:

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Vat o'


Who buys baking powder 3.75 pounds at a time?  This girl.  I don't know why--we certainly don't need this much baking powder all at once--but it makes me peculiarly happy to know that we have this big ol' vat o' baking powder at our disposal.

And it's no mess!  Bonus!

I bought the vat o' baking powder in anticipation of baking lots of friendship bread.  Yes, it was totally excessive considering each batch requires a piddling 1 1/2 teaspoons of the stuff, and I'm planning nine, maybe twelve at most, batches this go-around.  Know how many 1 1/2 teaspoons are in my vat o' baking powder?  Two hundred thirty-six.  And a quarter.  Yeah.


I made these cinnamon twists on Thursday.  No baking powder required.  Aren't they just so stinkin' cute?!  They smelled heavenly.  I'm serious.  I'm pretty sure heaven smells like freshly baked cinnamon rolls.

I loved working with this dough--it was super easy to put together and super easy to work with--and I loved that the twists rose overnight, so I was able to easily get a warm, tasty treat on the table for my boys on a weekday morning.  I will definitely be making these again.

Know what I'm really enjoying about this round of friendship bread making?  It's knowing that my friends have some of my starter, and they're on the same schedule as me.  We're feeding our starter on the same day, baking on the same day, chatting about recipes and variations.  I think of my girlfriends every time I stir my yeasties, which is a couple of times a day since they've been so active.  The yeast, not the girlfriends.  It's given me such a feeling of community.  And that feeling of community has inspired me to share my baked treats with unsuspecting innocents, too.  I dropped off cinnamon twists for two different families on Thursday, and I made Hubby take 3 dozen friendship bread snickerdoodles to work with him Friday.  So. much. fun.

In conclusion, I have a vat o' baking powder, and I like baking with friendship bread starter.  Let me know if you would like some of either.

P.S.  I'm pretty sure I could make a rather impressive mess with that baking powder if I really put my mind to it.  Possibly even without trying very hard, or at all.  I'm skilled like that.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Menu plan for the week of April 3

Happy Monday, y'all!

I've been thinking a lot about making bread lately.  Our family eats a lot of bread, and it's inexpensive to buy, but it's also inexpensive and easy to make.  And my homemade bread doesn't have preservatives or high fructose corn syrup in it.  I would like to start making all the bread for our family, but there's one thing holding me back.  The need to knead.

I have been making yeast breads for a long time, which means I've been kneading for a long time, but recently, like in the last half year or so, I've been wondering if maybe I'm doing it wrong.  Because you know how recipes say to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic?  Yeah.  That never happens to my dough.  Ever.

I even watched how-to knead videos.  And I feel like what I'm doing should work, but I've never ever gotten a bread dough to pass the windowpane test, until the other day when I made friendship bread cinnamon twists.  The recipe said to use a stand mixer to knead the dough, but since I don't have one, I used my hand mixer.  And it worked!  That dough was so smooth and so elastic and so windowpane-y.  But I'm afraid of burning out the motor on my hand mixer if I attempt to knead a larger or heartier batch with it.

I started wondering if I should try to find a bread machine to do my kneading for me, but at the same time, I'm afraid that if I had a bread machine, I would never want to bother hauling it out to use it.  So I put it out there on Facebook.  I asked my friends if they had a bread machine, and if so how often they use it.  What I suspected was correct: lots of people have them, but few of those people ever use their bread machines.

In any case, I'm getting a chance to find out: one of my friends had actually just cleaned out her pantry the week before, and during the pantry clean-out decided to get rid of the bread machine that she had used once in 15 years.  It was sitting in her mudroom waiting for her to take to Goodwill, and she said I could have it.  I'll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, here's what's on the menu this week:

Supper:


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Other:

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Gap

A friend of mine was looking for soccer cleats.  Size 5 1/2 soccer cleats.  I thought we might have some we could spare, so I took a look in our soccer box.

Yes.  We have a soccer box.  Doesn't everyone?  The soccer box is filled with cleats, shin guards, and socks from past soccer seasons, waiting expectantly for the youngest Bluefield to grow into them.

I was right.  Sort of.  In the box, I found two pairs of size 5 cleats and two pairs of size 6 cleats, and I passed one of each on to my friend.  Know what I didn't find?  I didn't find any soccer cleats in Bubby's current size.

I don't know where these gaps come from.  You see, we have three boys.  That means that we have two boys who are older than our youngest boy. One would think that after clothing and sports-equipping those two older boys for a cumulative twenty-eight years, we would have all of the clothing we need, in all of the sizes we need, for our youngest.

MC played soccer when he was Bubby's age.  Why don't we have Bubby-size cleats?
But we don't.  And I have no idea why we have gaps.  I don't know why I am all of a sudden having to buy soccer cleats and shorts and t-shirts and who knows what else for that kid.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Toilet troubles

 65788 Super Toilet Plunger
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We are having toilet troubles at our house.  It's been going on for a while, and we were able to make it work with generous applications of the plunger, but it finally came to a head* a couple of months ago when one of our toilets refused to flush.

We took it apart and cleaned out the trap.  We poured water down the drain.  We poured water down that drain in copious amounts, and it went down ok, so we were sure it was the toilet itself that was the issue and not the waste pipe.

But then we put the toilet back and it's not wanting to flush again.  There is one more thing we need to try before giving up and calling the professionals, but at this point, it's not very useful to us.  Well, me specifically.  No one else seems to be having any trouble, as long as they're flushing only liquids (read: no TP...or anything else!).

On Monday, someone, who shall remain nameless, but I will say it wasn't me, broke one of the hinges that holds the seat onto another of our toilets.  It's still usable, but it's...shall we say...precarious.

We have another toilet, but that's our last one.  If anything happens to that one, we're plumb** outta luck.

Last night, my husband (I am not even joking.  I wish I was) said to me, "maybe we should buy a new toilet and I can use the old one for parts!"

I laughed.  Out loud.  Because, what?!

Now, I'll tell you, I wouldn't mind getting a new toilet or two, because then we'd have working, shiny clean potties in our house (because let's face it: at this point, after years of boys with less than perfect aim using these toilets, no amount of scrubbing will be able to get some of the crusty gunk off).  But there is no way.  Absolutely. No. Way.  That I'm going to let him keep the old one.

Unless he does this.
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The end.

P.S. I think we're going to move the seat from the non-flushing toilet to the broken-hinge toilet.  It's not like anyone is using it over there anyway.  And Hubby's always wanted a urinal.

*Ha ha.  The toilet troubles came to a head.
** I know.  But I couldn't resist.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Menu plan for the week of March 28

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I brought my friendship bread starter out of stasis in the freezer.  It's doing great, enthusiastically bubbling away.  And guess what, y'all!  I actually handed some starter off to not one, but two friends last cycle!  So that means that, in the almost 2 years since I started this starter, I have given away a grand total of ... four?  Wow.  I am super friendly.  Day 10 is Thursday,  so I'll be baking.  I think I'll do one more cycle, then freeze my starters.  Unless any of you wants one?  Really, I'd love to share.  After all, I'm super friendly.

Here's what else we're eating this week:

Supper:

  • Angel hair or zucchini noodles with meat sauce, grilled garlic toast, broccoli/cauliflower/carrots
  • Tacos, tortillas, taco toppings
  • BLTs, carrots, fresh fruit
  • Wild rice casserole, green beans, pears
  • Baked almond chicken fingers, carrots, salad
  • Pizza or zucchini crust pizza, salad
  • Fish or hamburgers, chips, fruit, carrots
Other:

Friday, March 25, 2016

Climbing hills

I climbed a hill yesterday.  It was a long hill.  It was a steep hill.  It was a long, steep hill.  It was the kind of hill that, just when you think you're reaching the top, you walk around a bend and realize the hill continues.

It was hard.  And there was a point, about halfway up, but not really, because of the hill continuing beyond the bend, when I wanted to stop and turn around.  I really did.  I did not want to climb that hill.  I really didn't.

But then I remembered what I did want.  I did want to walk a circuit around the river formerly known as Little Falls Lake.  And in order to do what I did want, I had to do something I didn't want.  Sure, I arranged my path to make it the easiest I could, but there were still obstacles in my path, including that hill.

So I continued.  I kept lifting up one foot and placing it in front of the other until I reached the top.

That's life.  In order to do what we really want, we have to do some things we don't.  And there will always be obstacles in our path.  Things that are hard.  In the face of obstacles it is so easy to forget our overall goal.  And if we let those things discourage and defeat us, we will never accomplish what we set out to do.  That's when we need to just do the next right thing.  We need to keep moving.  We need to take the next step, in faith, putting one foot in front of the other, not knowing if ultimately we will be successful, but knowing for certain that if we give up, we will not succeed.

whole staircase
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My friends, what is the obstacle you're facing today?  How can you do the next right thing?  How can you take the next step?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wisdom from old me

I came across this post today.  My menu from a year ago.  It caught my eye, number one, because it had snowed, and we're staring down a snowy forecast for tonight into tomorrow, and number two, because I was planning to have chicken taco casserole this week last year, too.  In individual ramekins, which is a fantastic idea.

It's ok, and not conceited, for me to say that my own idea is a fantastic idea because I'm not really that person anymore.  So much has changed in this year, in me, in my family, in my home, in my community, in my nation, in my world.  So that idea that old me had, a year ago?  Fantastic.   I think I'll do that this year, too.

But here's what really caught my eye in that year-ago post:
...it's never a waste of time to do something you love, something that fills you up and gives you a smidgen of joy.
Old me was talking about shoveling, which, you know, most people wouldn't associate with anything even approaching joy, but old me was really on to something.

So here's new me's challenge for you today: do what brings you joy, even if the world thinks you're foolish for doing it.

What brings you joy?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Spam

Although I generally don't, lately I've been checking my Spam filter.

{Source}
Not that kind of spam, sillies.  The unwanted email kind.  

I do wonder what a Spam-of-the-weird-processed-food-kind filter would look like, though.  What do you think?

Anyway, I've been checking the email that my spam filter has caught for me and I noticed a new one.  I've been seeing the "Suspicious Activity on your Account" one for a while.  I always go, separately, not clicking the link in the email, to the site to check.  And there's never any suspicious activity.  But this morning there was an Order Pick-up Failure notice.  As in, I ordered something for in store pick-up, and they had notified me five times that it was available, but I never showed, and I needed to pick it up.  Now.  Except I had to click on a link to see what I had ordered and even at which location I needed to pick it up.

Unfortunately, these tactics must work, because the scammers keep using them.

Here's something interesting, if you're wondering why spam is called spam.  Might be true, but only the originators know for sure.

And in conclusion...for your Spam-y viewing pleasure...


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