Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Busy with Busyness

That's what I am.

I'm not certain that I'm accomplishing anything, but I'm busy nonetheless.

Our leftovers are all gone, and now I'm forced to make meals again. And you know what that means.
Grocery lists.
Forgetting to Defrost.


Such is my life.

But I will have fond memories of this

and this

And now I have a handy reminder that we have 26 days to enjoy the season before Christmas is here.

And I have more than 26 days of things to accomplish in that time.
To think that when I was a kid, the days of December passed so slowly.

That picture of the tree was taken right after the kids decorated it. Alex was reaching as high as she could to make sure the top part of the tree got some ornaments.
And Derek was obviously partial to one spot.

We've since evened it out a bit.

In other news, Derek's allergy appointment the other day was encouraging. The doctor gave me permission to try either milk or eggs in a cooked form with him. For example, if I make a dinner that has a cream of mushroom soup mixed into it and is then baked, I can try giving him some.
Oh, I cannot tell you how much easier my life would be if I could make one meal for dinner.

A couple of you have asked me if I have given up on Colorfuel.
For the last couple of months I haven't been sticking with it like I initially did.
I want to. I loved the way I felt when I was eating the healthy foods, and seeing some weight come off.
But I ended up making 3 dinners every night. My Colorfuel one, one for Josh and Alex, and another for Derek.
I need to get on the ball and spend one night making up all of my foods for the week so that I can have them handy.
This requires forethought, yet I specialize in procrastination.

But I have hope! If we can get Derek eating more of the same meals as the rest of the family, it would become more manageable to make a separate meal for me. So keep your fingers crossed!
We haven't tried any new food with him yet. After 3 years of avoiding it, it's been hard to take the plunge. And I've been waiting for a day that he's completely healthy, without a sniffle or cough to be misconstrued as an allergic reaction.
At the rate we're currently going, he may not get a bite until summer.

We were back at the doctor's again today for a follow up on the ER visit. I was not planning on making him a follow up appointment, since we had seen the allergist a few days after the incident.
But then a dead president called my house this morning and insisted that I bring Derek in to the peds clinic.
And who can argue with that?
(Seriously. The nurse's name was Lyndon Johnson.)
When the doctor asked what brought me in, I no kidding told him that a dead president had called me house and demanded it.
He didn't think I was funny.
He and LJ must be pretty tight.
Anyway, Derek had woken up coughing yesterday and was wheezing again. So now he's been put on a twice daily inhaler medication.
(small print: asthma medicine. But we don't like to say that out loud.)

I'm hoping tomorrow might be the big day that he gets to test out a cooked milk product. 

Does anyone else think this post is getting long and boring?
Me too. 

Well I'm not done yet. 
My dearly beloved was promoted today! Yea!

Here he is taking the Oath of Office

Here is Exhibit A as to why pie for breakfast three days in a row was unneccesary. 

And here is the little guy helping pin Daddy's new rank on. 
 Congratulations Major Schore! I will be sure to polish off my salute.
December is a great month for a pay raise  ;)
p.s. We're getting old.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Checking In

Hello out there!

I've been missing in action for awhile. It's because one fateful day I decided that procreating would be a good idea.
Life's never been the same since.

That, and I picked up a good book at the library. I'm not good at multitasking.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and are just enjoying some quiet family time this weekend. Josh is my Black Friday shopper, so he went deal hunting today while I lounged around nursing a cold.
And a plate of leftovers.
And then a plate of pie.

(Rinse. Then repeat.)

The weather has been amazing, and if the ten day forecast holds true, we will be ringing in December with temps in the 60's. After 3 years of Idaho winters, it's a welcome thing to me!

This evening we put on some Christmas music while we decorated the Christmas tree. Alex and Derek were fairly wiggling with excitement. Their ages are so fun for the holidays.

Now the kids have been tucked in, my motrin has kicked in, and I'm feeling very blessed, indeed.
I still need to upload the Thanksgiving day photos, but here are some I snapped on Tuesday after school, when the leaves were just right for some jumping.

And coming soon to a blog near you-- in honor of one very special girl who started really reading on Thanksgiving Day, there will be a giveaway of a pair of fancy leg warmers like these Alex is wearing!

My friend Erin has opened an Etsy shop, and handmakes these cute accessories. So check back in later in the week for the giveaway, you can win an item for a boy or a girl. They make great gifts as well :)

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Happy Holidays from the Schore family!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

True or False

I have a little quiz for you to keep you up-to-date on our weekend activities. Below I've listed 5 events that may or may not have occurred this weekend. Your job is to figure out which ones are true.

- Josh and Alex had a hot date at the bowling alley
- We called 911 to request a ride for Derek to the ER
- Our whole family walked around on the top of an F-15E
- I booked a cruise to the Bahamas, without my husband
- I got my Thanksgiving shopping list ready to go for tomorrow's trip to the grocery store 

Got your answers all ready?

Here we go...

Josh and Alex had a hot date at the bowling alley.

Only Alex wore a more bowling-appropriate outfit than this lady.
She has her Daddy wrapped around her little finger. All she had to do was hint that it had been a long time since they'd last had a date, and he was asking her where she wanted to go.
They went this afternoon, and had a nice time together.
Josh claims to have gotten 5 strikes in one game, but that seems suspect considering there was only a 5 year old there to verify it.

We called 911 to request a ride to the ER for Derek.

Sadly, this is also TRUE. On Friday night, he woke up suddenly with a barking cough and stridor. (Stridor is a high pitched sound made when you breathe in, it indicates upper airway obstruction.) He was using neck muscles to try to breathe and he seemed panicky. After a few minutes of trying some interventions at home to see if we could calm it down, we opted for the safer route of calling an ambulance. With his history of anaphylactic-like allergies and reactive airway, we felt that it was warranted.
Erin, M.D. thinks he was having a sudden onset of croup. The PA at the ER wasn't sure if it was that or some type of reactive airway relating to an allergen. However, Derek wasn't barking like a seal anymore by the time he was seen, so she may not have gotten the whole picture.
Thankfully, it cleared up almost as suddenly as it appeared, and we were back home in under 3 hours with a prescription for steroids to keep the inflammation down.
And maybe to give him some bigger muscles.
We have an appointment with a new allergist on Tuesday, so we're hoping to put the pieces together and see if we can manage to avoid further incidents of airway issues.

Our whole family walked around on the top of an F-15E

 Also, TRUE.
On Saturday, we went to a hanger on base for our annual jet photos. We usually just sit in the cockpit, but this year we were able to walk to the back of the jet and sit on one of the engines. It's always a cool thing to me to be on/in or even near the plane that Josh flies.
When we get the pictures back, I'll try to find all of the ones from the past years and post them all together. 

I booked a cruise to the Bahamas, without my husband

Cue the Husband of the Year award music-- this is TRUE!!!!!!
The other day, out of the blue, Josh asked me if I ever thought about just getting on a plane and heading out of town on my own for a little getaway. (He clarified that he did expect me to come back at some point.)
To be honest, I've never really thought about it. But I think I may have dreamed it a time or two.
As tempting as it sounded, I knew that heading off somewhere on my own would be a little lonely. What's a fun trip without someone to share it with?
So I called up my friend Heather, who knows how strange I really am and still wants to be my friend. She's also got a wonderful husband who didn't even blink when she asked him how he'd feel about keeping the kids on his own while we go off on a trip.
Based on our mutual love of lounging around and eating, we chose to go on a 3-night cruise! So excited for this upcoming trip in February!

Last one...
I got my Thanksgiving shopping list ready to go for tomorrow's trip to the grocery store

And here we have the token FALSE.
But I thought it would be a good closer for this post, because I do intend to head to the grocery store tomorrow morning, so I'm off to make my list...

Hope you all had a great weekend that did not involve an ambulance.
Or a skanky outfit at the bowling alley.

How'd you score on the quiz?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday Strikes Again.

If I didn't already believe that Thursday was conspiring to kill me slowly, I would for sure after today.

(It really works best if you picture me seething and shaking my hand in the air.)

The day started out promisingly enough, as Thursdays are wont to do.
They are sneaky like that.

Derek slept in late, probably because he expended a lot of energy having a meltdown before bed last night. He's normally a pretty low-key kid, but the combination of an early wake-up, no nap, and a late night at Puggles was more than he could handle.
He was so upset when we told him there was no time for a book before bed that his crying rendered him unable to spit the toothpaste out of his mouth while having his teeth brushed.
Life is rough.
So he was told that his outburst had cost him his morning show.

And if you're a three year old boy, and the first thing you think about upon arising is getting your fix of the Cat in the Hat, this is a big deal.

Anyway, he slept in until 15 minutes before he was due at Mother's Day Out, so he didn't have much time to complain.
I quickly lulled him into complacency by shoving a pop tart in his mouth as I dragged him across the street.

Mama needs a new pair of shoes, buddy, and it's my shopping day.

Then I was off for a pleasant few hours of shopping at the nearby outlet mall. 

Like I said about Thursday: Starts off nice, goes downhill fast.

I picked Derek up, and headed home for naptime.
After about an hour, I could still hear him playing in his bed. I didn't want a repeat of the whole fall-asleep-right-before-I-have-to-wake-him scenario, so I went into his room to let him play quietly with some books.

I went in.
I sat on the edge of his bed.
He gave me a hug.
I sniffed.
Something smelled.
Not a good smell.
Kind of poopy.
I asked him, and I quote: "Derek, have you been making stinky toots?"
He smiled at me and said "Yes."
I felt relieved.
Then he says, and I quote: "And my bottom was itchy, so I put my hands down there and scratched it."
Then I peeled those little hands off of my shirt, and very cautiously raised them to my nose.

I have no words.
Other than that his little grubby fingers that were all over me and my clothes, and they smelled like butt.
Poop, to be exact.

Then I ran screaming out of the room and dove fully clothed into a bath of sanitizer.

Not really, but close.

I had to take away his "aminals" who were smelling like his hands, and decontaminate his bed.
Thursday was rearing it's ugly head.
Of course, it was time to go pick up Alex, so I had no time to do the laundry right then. But I could look forward to it later, because that boy does nothing without those aminals, least of all sleep.

We picked up Alex. It was uneventful, thank goodness.
We went to dance class.
I sat on a grubby old couch and tried to keep Derek occupied for an hour. He just wanted to touch my face a lot.
All I could think about was what might be lurking still under his fingernails.

After dance class, I grabbed some McDonald's on the way home.

I've never clicked on that "Click here and you'll never eat McDonald's Again" link on Facebook, so I'll just continue to assume that eventually their little bodies will digest their dinner. Whatever it is.

Dance class is about 3 miles from our house.
Aaaaaaaaaaand it took 45 minutes to get home.
Broken Railroad crossing lights and barriers.

Finally home.
It's 5:45.

1 hour and 15 minutes til lights out.
Just enough time to finish feeding bottomless pits, throw load of bedding and aminals in the wash, hate my procrastinating self when I realize the dryer is full of clothes waiting to be folded, get even more angry when I remember that it's a load full of socks that I have to match, defrost meat to make dinner for me and Josh, wish he were home, help Alex with her homework, give baths, read books, put kids to bed.


Josh comes home. We eat dinner. I rant on my blog and realize that if you don't count the whole anal scratching incident and the drive home from dance at an average of 3mph, it really wasn't too terrible. 

So sorry about the complaints. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday Schtuff.

Today I went grocery shopping.
And so did 500 of my closest friends. 

Apparently there is this thing called Thanksgiving right around the corner. You may have heard of it.
And as luck would have it, it revolves around food.

For the first time, I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner here for our little family as well as some friends.
Don't worry, our friend Nicole is helping me.
She's very handy, and knows all sorts of things like how not to sicken our guests with half-cooked turkey, and which utensils go where.

You know, the little nuggets of information that were not passed along to me in my childhood.

Ahem. Mother. 

She could have at least signed me up for a cooking class or two.
Or maybe finishing school.

Do those really exist? Because I could use some finishing.

Anywho, I still have to go back to the store next week to get all of the fresh ingredients.
And the turkey, but that's neither here nor there.

Moving on--
The leaves.
They are beautiful. Colorful. Lovely.

My dear son is enchanted.
"Mom! A different color tree!"
"Mom! A yellow tree!"
"Mom! A red tree!"
"Mom! When do I get to go trick or treating again?"
"Mom! I have to tell you something. I like to go to Disney World."
"Mom! A green tree!"

So I figured I would take advantage of his enchantment. I told him that we could go on a walk and look at different color trees, but he needed to stop in front of them so I could take his picture.

He's a sucker, so naturally he agreed.
Commence photo shoot with one of my two favorite subjects.
And the verdict:

This one is over-edited. His face looks ghostly.

This one could be sharper.

This one makes me want to kiss on him a little. 

This one shows his naughty face.

This one makes me want to lock him away.

And this one?

More kisses for sure.


Is it only Tuesday? For some reason this week feels long.
Maybe because my hubby hasn't made it home before the kids' bedtime yet.
Facing the hours between 5-7pm on my own makes me want to hide under my covers in bed.

But they always find me.
Then they jump on me.


Today Alex got a "straight face" at school. They come home each day with a happy, straight, or sad face.
To date, this is her second straight face. Every other day has been happy.

So no big deal.
I guess she was playing in an off-limits part of the playground. (Though she protests that she was just playing near it.)

I asked her a few questions before I let the issue drop.
Me: Were you playing by yourself near the woods?
A: No, Madison was there too.
Me: Oh. Did Madison get a straight face, too?

A: No. She got a sad face. She does lots of naughty stuff all the time. Know what, mama? Madison's mom likes it when she gets straight faces.
Me: Well your mama doesn't.

So then we talked a little about making wise decisions even when others might not.
Alex seemed to be paying close attention to my instruction.
A: Mom, can I ask you something?
Me: What is it?
A: Can I have a piece of candy from my pumpkin?


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Picture Pages

Raise your hand if the title of this post makes you sing a song from your youth that involves Bill Cosby.

Please, somebody raise your hand.
I have to know if it was a recurring dream, or if I really watched Bill Cosby draw pictures with a talking magic marker.

Hold on...

Okay, I'm back.
I was right. I googled it.


This is a post about pictures.
Every so often I am asked what kind of a camera I use, and whether I edit my pictures. So I thought that I would answer those questions here.

First, I would like to say irrevocably, unequivocally, expressly, unambiguously, and specifically that I know very little about photography.

And categorically.

And explicitly.

Taking pictures and then fiddling around with them is a fairly new hobby for me, and something that I wish I knew more about. Hopefully with time and practice, I will learn more and more.

Two years ago I decided to invest in some photography equipment because:
1) JC Penney's photo studio just wasn't doin' it for me.
2) A professional photographer is expensive.
3) I like bacon.

Sorry. Not sure how that slipped in.

So for Christmas I was gifted by my darling husband with a Canon Rebel XSi, which is a perfectly nice entry-level DSLR camera.
I clicked away on automatic mode. The speed of the camera made me happy, but the pictures weren't everything I had hoped they would be.

So I read a little more, purchased one inexpensive lens (50mm/F1.8), got a basic photo editing softwear (Photoshop Elements), and learned a few things:
1) Flash=no good. Natural light= good
2) Automatic mode= okay, Exploring other settings= better (specifically, I shoot in aperture priority setting and use a single focus point. I'd be happy to expound on this if anyone is interested in the nitty-gritty details.)
3) Almost every picture can be made just a little better with some simple tweaking.

Now I am happy with the pictures I am able to turn out, I love that I don't have to schedule appointments for photographs. I just grab my camera whenever it suits us, and snap away.

The real trick for me is to just take a ton of pictures. Because for every picture I like, I've deleted 10 others that were no good.

On to editing-- a few clicks can make a big difference.

This is Brooke:

 Isn't she cute??  I liked this picture of her playing in our backyard.
But it didn't really pop.
My preference is for sharp pictures with bright colors.

I used to adjust the sharpness and colors step by step in Elements.
Then I figured out how to use presets, and now it really just takes a couple of clicks to dial up the picture to something like this...

Warmer, brighter, happier :)

Here are a few more before & afters:

A little editing can also salvage a too-dark picture into something useable.

So there you have the basics of my photo skills*.

*Term used loosely.

I'm thinking of upgrading to a new lens this Christmas...but it's quite pricey, so I'm trying to determine if I've been a good girl this year.

I might have to try harder next year, and hope for Christmas of 2011.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

This and That. And the other.

Months ago, Derek latched onto the song "Zacchaeus was a Wee Little Man" and has not let go.
We must sing it together before each psuedo-nap and before bed each night.

It gets a wee little old.

I had some coffee mid-morning, and I'm feeling a little hyped up. That can be the only explanation for the fact that while putting him down for his quiet time, I just turned that little ditty into a rap.
Complete with beatboxing.

No wonder he doesn't nap. That's not really a lullaby, now is it?
He just laughed at me and said, "Mom, you're silly."

I can't disagree.

The kids and I like to grooveshark together, but there really is no accounting for my taste in music.
The other day, I had just finished belting out "In Christ Alone," which is obviously a praise song. Then Eminem came on and I started lip-syncing and doing the running man.
The children almost died laughing at me.
I dance a little like Elaine Benice.

I'm like a sideshow around here.
My kids have zero chance of being "normal."
Whatever normal is, anyway.
(All I know is that Erin=not normal.)

Also, a Facebook friend posted about these the other day and I haven't been able to get them out of my mind.
Can it really be?
Jeans that feel like pajamas?

Ooh, and that reminds me. I forgot to share this link with you. Would you please just go and see the pancake art that this man is capable of.
It makes me feel very low.
Low indeed.
I just want to make the flat, traditional kind.

I am inspired.

Oooh. Tomorrow I'm going shopping with a friend in Raleigh.
Without kids!

Is it wrong that on Veteran's Day, I'm leaving my military man with the kids and taking off on a shopping trip?
Well if it's wrong, I don't wanna be right.

This is one Thursday that's not going to beat me!
I'll even throw a crock pot meal together before I leave so that we can have dinner together when I return.

That is, if I make it home by dinner.
And if not, then Josh will have something to eat on his holiday.

Hey, I'm a Veteran too, you know.
Of course, my greatest sacrifice was wearing the maternity uniform.
And it was a big sacrifice.

And tent-like.

And huge.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pictures from this weekend.

 She's looking so grown up to me these days!

I combat that by keeping this guy in footie jammies. It helps retain some of the "baby" about him.

I love these two pictures of my handsome boys!

Have I ever mentioned that I dislike pictures of myself?
Well I do. But I don't want the kids to look back and wonder if they actually had a mother.

We had a relaxing weekend full of playtime, lots of book reading, and football.
(Of course)

Looking forward to another week of beautiful fall weather!
Happy Monday :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Menu Monday

Back on Wednesday, I cried out to you to save my self esteem from certain destruction by sharing your domestic prowess in meal planning.

And you did!
Thanks to those of you who left me planning tips and recipes, both in the comments and by e-mail.

I've never felt very confident in my kitchen skills.

Or laundry skills.
Or housekeeping skills.

Then I had kids, and started to have concern over my parenting skills.

Good thing I have my other skills as backup.
You know, like nunchuck skills, bowhunting skills, computer hacking skills...

Oh, wait.
That's not me.

It just so happens that all of those skills I lack confidence in are the only ones required for my current job.
So after 5 years of sulking about it, I've decided that I should consider working to improve them.

Right now, the only thing that keeps me in business here is that I'm the only person in the house who is capable of turning off the light as I leave a room.
I'm not sure how many more years of employment that will give me.

In case there are more of you like me out there, I'm going to share with you my dinner menu for this week. That way, if you need a new dinner to throw into your mix, you can try one out.

My end goal is to find 30 recipes that are fairly simple and that my family actually likes.

If you are so inclined, feel free to either e-mail me or leave a recipe in the comments section, and I'll try to post a week's worth of dinners on Mondays, until I've come up with 30 that pass the test.

And without further adieu, here's what's for dinner this week:

Day 1- Southern Baked Pork Chops & Rice 

1 can cream of mushroom soup (10 3/4 oz.)
3/4 soup can of water (using the Campbell's or other brand soup can)
1 cup regular long cook rice (not minute rice)
3 to 5 pork chops (bone in or boneless)
Salt, pepper, or other seasons (like Goya Adobo All Purpose Seasoning)
1 onion (optional)
1 green pepper (optional)

Spray a medium-sized baking dish 9 x 9 or similar (can vary depending on how
many pork chops are being baked) with Pam (butter-flavored is very good).
-Spoon the mushroom soup into the baking dish.
-Pour water over soup and stir until mixed fairly evenly.
-Stir rice in with soup mixture and use a spoon to spread out the mixture
 evenly in the baking dish.
-Slice onion in rings, and/or green pepper, on top of the soup mixture.
-Put 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and heat to medium high.
-Sprinkle pork chops with preferred seasonings.  Note that the canned soup
  has a good bit of salt, so salt is not needed unless the family really
 likes salt.
-Brown pork chops lightly.  They bake, so the meat does not need to be
 cooked through. Browning just gives a nicer color and also seals in the
-Place the browned pork chops on top of the rice in the casserole dish.
-Cover the baking dish with tin foil and crimp around edges or use a
 casserole dish with a lid.
-Bake the pork chops with rice for an hour at 350 degrees F.

I plan to serve this w/ steamed broccoli. Thanks Ashley's mom!

Day 2- 
Turkey Burgers

Ground turkey breast
Seasoning of choice
Sandwich thins as buns
Toppings of choice (Sometimes I top it w/ avocado & mango or pineapple slices, sometimes w/ lettuce and tomato, and when I'm lacking in the produce, just some bbq sauce)
Swiss cheese

Mix turkey w/ seasoning
Form into patties
Reunite with your George Foreman Mean Lean Fat Grilling Machine. Or however else you choose to cook your burgers. 
Just cook 'em. 
Put the cheese on them.
Then slap 'em on the sandwich thins & add toppings. 

Serve w/ a veggie of choice, french fries, & fresh fruit
Or don't, your choice.

Day 3- Seasoned Grilled Chicken served w/ sweet potatoes & saffron rice
Chicken breasts
Seasonings- Paprika, Cajun, salt & pepper
Sweet potatoes
Saffron rice

I usually cut the chicken breasts in half, or pound them thin so they grill quickly.
I season the kids' portion with paprika and salt & pepper, and add a little cajun seasoning to the grown-ups portion. 
Again, I like to use the George Foreman, because it makes grilling in the winter easy.
Grill (or bake) the chicken, and while it's cooking, throw some sweet potatoes in the microwave. 
(My microwave has a "potato" button, which then asks how many potatoes you are cooking. I have to tell it twice the amount, and sometimes have to cook them even longer than that. But it's still a lot faster than the oven.)
Cook rice according to package. My family enjoys the "yellow rice" as a change of pace, but use whatever kind you like.  (Have you ever tried Jasmine rice? So good!)

Day 4- This shall be my Thursday recipe, because you know how I feel about Thursdays. And so I need a crockpot meal for that particular day. Or I might cry at dinnertime.

This one was from the Southern Living website. 

Chicken Thighs w/ Carrots & Potatoes (Crock Pot)
1  medium onion 
4  medium-size new potatoes (about 1 lb.)
 2  cups  baby carrots 
1/4  cup  chicken broth 
1/4  cup  dry white wine or chicken broth 
1  teaspoon  minced garlic 
1/2  teaspoon  dried thyme 
1 1/4  teaspoons  salt, divided 
1/2  teaspoon  pepper, divided 
1  teaspoon  paprika 
6  skinned, bone-in chicken thighs

Halve onion lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Cut potatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place onion in a lightly greased 6-qt. slow cooker; top with potatoes and carrots.
Combine broth, next 3 ingredients, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Pour over vegetables.
Combine paprika and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper; rub over chicken. Arrange chicken on top of vegetables.
Cover and cook on LOW 6 hours or until chicken is done and vegetables are tender.

Day 5-  Cajun Shrimp & Rice
This one is from Cooking Light on myrecipes.com. My friend Ashley sent me a bunch of links to recipes online. Thanks Ash! I'm excited to try this one. 

1  (3 1/2-ounce) bag boil-in-bag long-grain rice 
2  tablespoons  olive oil, divided 
2  pounds  peeled and deveined large shrimp 
1  tablespoon  Cajun seasoning, salt-free 
1  tablespoon  bottled minced garlic 
1  cup  frozen bell pepper stir-fry, thawed (such as Bird's Eye) 
1/4  cup  chopped green onions 
1/4  teaspoon  dried thyme 
1/2  cup  canned Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained 
1/2  teaspoon  salt 
1/8  teaspoon  black pepper

Cook rice according to package directions.
While the rice cooks, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the shrimp with Cajun seasoning; toss to coat. Add shrimp to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until done. Remove from pan; keep warm.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add the pepper stir-fry, green onions, and thyme; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in cooked rice, shrimp, tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.

Day 6- Spinach Lasagna
Serve w/ garlic bread and salad

This is a no-frills lasagna, but the prep is quick, as you don't have to boil noodles or cook meat. My kind of dinner!

No-boil lasagna noodles
Large jar of spaghetti sauce
Ricotta cheese (med-sized container)
2 cups mozzarella cheese
Italian seasoning
Garlic powder, salt & pepper
frozen chopped spinach

Thaw frozen spinach under running water
Combine spinach, ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella, and all seasonings.
Pour enough sauce into a 9x13 baking pan to cover the bottom
Lay one layer of noodles
Spread 1/2 of the spinach mixture on top
Repeat layering- sauce, noodles, last half of spinach mixture
Cover with foil, bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees
Remove from oven, top with remaining mozzarella cheese, and bake until cheese melts.

Day 7- Everyone deserves a day off, right?
Have leftovers, or breakfast for dinner.

So there you have it. My grocery list is made and hopefully by planning ahead, I wont forget to thaw the necessary meat.

But I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thursday continued to hate me. But now it's Friday.

I felt like a bit of a Debbie Downer after my rant against Thursday yesterday.

I even considered updating it to say that generally speaking, I have a great life. Maybe I shouldn't pick on Thursday so much.

But then...

I went to go wake Derek a few minutes before we needed to leave to get Alex. I usually just scoop him right into the car, and let him have some milk and a snack on the drive. It helps ease the transition a bit.

So I went into his room, rubbed his back a little, and talked quietly as I picked him up.

Then I noticed that he was completely soaked.
With urine.


Derek, upon the unfortunate circumstance of finding himself woken up, covered in urine, stripped down, and thrown into the bath, decided to just cry for the next 10 minutes.

Then off to school.

What with all the trauma I had inflicted upon the boy, and the fact that the rain was pouring down, I decided that this was the day to try the "car pick-up" lane. You know, the one that's essentially a drive-thru, except instead of a milkshake, you get your spawn.

Once you get into the lane, you're kind of committed, as there is no way out of it.
I pulled into the lane at 3:20.
TWENTY minutes later, I finally have my kid in the car.


It is 3:40. Her dance class starts at 3:45.


So I do not take back my rant against the day.
Nay, I increase it.

But I'm going to do my part to put the past behind me. Friday's been a drastic improvement.
I mean, it really had nowhere to go but up.

Here's to a great weekend! Looking forward to spending some time playing with these sweet faces...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thursday hates me.

As of late, it seems that Thursday doesn't like me very much.

If there is a heavy, steady downpour of rain, it seems to come on Thursday.
Library books will be due on Thursday.
Unfortunate appointments of the cervical-cell-scraping-type occur on Thursday.
I will grocery shop and forget things that are necessary on Thursday.
Derek will nap on Thursday.

I know that last one doesn't seem to fit in, but hear me out on this one.
The boy tends to actually fall asleep about one day a week, sometimes less.
More often than not, he sleeps on Thursday. This is likely due to the combination of 1) Being up late for Awanas on Wednesday night, 2) Spending the morning at Mom's Day Out, and 3) Payback to me for when I used to suction his boogers with that scary green bulb syringe.

But why is napping a bad thing?

You see, Thursday is also the day that Alex has dance class. And it is the one day of the week that I have to pick her up from school, to get her to that class on time.
Mother's Day Out is over at 1pm, I have to leave the house at 3pm to pick her up.
Derek goes right down for his nap, talks to himself, plays with his "aminals", and let's face it, probably touches his penis a lot for the next hour.
Then he falls asleep.
Thus, at 3pm when I go to wake him, he is utterly miserable.

It is cold and dreary and, of course, raining cats and dogs today.
I shall have to park in the far away and muddy lot, and carry the disconsolate boy up to the school to pick up his sister, and then trudge back to the van.

This morning I went grocery shopping after my oh-so-fun appointment.
I forgot to buy the three 2-liters of soda that I signed up to bring to the squadron coffee tonight.
The one that I cannot attend because my husband wont be home from work until late.

So after I take Alex to dance class, help her change into her tights and leotard while trying to keep Derek from touching anything in the bathroom, he and I will have to run to a store and get those things. And then beg a friend to take them to the coffee for me, so I can avoid getting the kids in and out of the car one more time.

In the cold rain.

Conclusion: Thursday Hates Me.

The feeling is starting to become mutual.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Things I am thinking about

- I haven't had much to blog about the past few days. I haven't passed any more animals gettin' it on in the middle of the street, and I haven't attempted to make any pancakes lately either.

- Alex was a bit of an overachiever yesterday at wiping her bottom, of which the end result was an overflowing toilet.
While I was cooking dinner, and Josh was at work, and the kids were bickering.
It was not my finest hour.

- The upside? I finally got around to mopping the bathroom floor. 

- Also, I was suddenly (and necessarily) motivated to launder the bath mat.

- Alex earned a new patch for Awanas last week, and I was excited to see that it was an iron-on. I was feeling a little haughty about my success, until the patch came home in her vest pocket tonight.
Domesticity, why do you hate me so?
How did I mess up an iron on patch?

- Every time I sit down to make a list of meals for the week, I feel like a total failure. Why can I never think of anything?
What do you cook? Please, for the love of my self esteem, tell me what you are eating.

- That reminds me that I'm hungry.

- And I'm sulking because I have an unfortunate appointment scheduled for tomorrow. You know, the annual womanly type appointment.
I use the term "annually" very loosely, as I have not been to that appointment in three years.

-The upside? Motivation to shave my legs.

-The downside? Well, there's really no need to go into all that, now is there.
I'm sure you all know.

-And if you don't know, then you should be out toiling in the fields, because that's your curse.

I think I shall now go drown my sorrow in Halloween Candy. And while I chew on some laffy taffy, I'll ponder what is worse: gynecologist or dentist?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trick or Treat, and Trick or Treat: Part Deux

Josh missed Halloween last year because he was deployed.
(He also missed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and sexual relations, but that's off topic.)

The children, of course, love to trick-or-treat. There really is no down side to getting to stay up late, roam the streets, and demand candy from strangers.
They had this strange look on their faces, as if it were too good to be true.

And it kind of was.
Because if they thought that all of their chocolate was still going to be there in the morning, they would have been wrong.


But it was nice to be together as a family, taking part in a pagan holiday.

Ahem, again.

Alex had been planning all along to be Ariel, mermaid princess.
Derek was going to be whatever we put on him, in this instance, a lion.

At the last minute, Alex decided that she wanted to be Snow White. Again.
And so she was.

We had a nice time. Derek was over the moon for the whole thing. He would go up to houses and say "Trick or Treating," then run up to us waving the candy in the air. He seemed so surprised each time he received a piece.

Like, each and every time.

As in, he never seemed to take for granted that he would be given candy.

I think we need to put away a little more in his college fund.
I'm not sure the scholarships will be pouring in for that one.

But fun was had by all on Friday night.
Yes, I said Friday night.
Our county randomly designated the 29th as trick or treating night.
Odd, I say.

I will await further word on when we can celebrate Thanksgiving. I heard they might be moving it to a Tuesday.

The Air Force base, at which my husband works, but on which we do not live, was having trick or treating on...Halloween.
Strange, isn't it?

So to make up for last year, and for next year when we will likely be sans Daddy, we took them trick or treating again.
Are we the coolest parents, or what?

Or what.
Yeah, I know.

This time Alex wanted to be Ariel.
Derek stuck with the lion, mostly because that was his only option.

Much fun was had at Trick or Treat: Part Deux.

And now it is 10:21pm, so whatever else I was going to amuse you with must be delayed.
Because the alarm goes off at 6:45.
And that's early.
And I'm tired.

Goodnight Friends!