Saturday, December 27, 2014

January Goals

I swear, promising myself that THIS time I'm going to declutter and organize my home FOR REAL is like a chronic overeater promising themselves that THIS time they will STICK to their new diet....

Screw that noise.

I made up a list of goals for January that are real and meaningful and relevant and that I think I can do.

  1.  Game and time with family.
  2.  Watch and practice the tutorial videos for the Windows 8 operating system on my new two in one.
 Second, to keep doing (get back to doing) in January:
  1. Walk the dog once a day.
  2.  Morning devotions.
  3. One history lesson a day.
  4. Exercise at the Y twice a week.
  5. Four school subjects/ learning activities with Toa.

Third, to add to January:
  1. Buy a winter coat with pockets for carrying.
  2. Spend 30 to 60 minutes a day on the sewing project with Sweetling.
  3.  30 to 45 minutes literature/composition with Sweetling.
  4.  Make at least ONE trip to the range for practice.

No cute pictures. Just a bare bones, but doable, list.

I can get these things done if..
* I get up at 7, get dressed, reboot the dishes, fix my breakfast, and do devotions all by 8.
*Walk the dog from 8 to 8:30.
*Do literature with Sweetling till 9:15.
*History with both kids till 9:45/10.
*Two to three school subjects with Toa.
*Lunch at 12.
*Rest of Toa's school.
*Sewing with Sweetling by two.
*Start dinner and afternoon home rescue at 3:30.
*Leave for Y at 5.

The things I know are going to derail this plan:

--groceries. I can't ever contain the grocery shopping into a couple hours. Somehow this always consumes an entire day. I lose one day a week to grocery shopping. That's ridiculous. That needs to stop. So, grocery goals get their own sub category:
>menu and grocery list finished before bed Wednesday nights.
>leave for grocery store by 8:30. No excuses. 
>Kids can do history timeline and review lesson on Thursday on their own. We can roll into Toa's school when I get back, and pick up Sweetling's literature after Y.

--one morning spent at the range. This pushes everything after history back by a couple hours, and I don't have time to recover before swimming and Y activities. For one day though, we can skip a couple other things to make up for it.

--Wednesday child care at church. This is two Wednesdays a month. I gain an hour on Wednesday, because we don't have to leave for evening church activities till 6...but that still doesn't make up for the three hours I've given up in the morning. Hmmm....

Friday, November 14, 2014

Growing Pains

This conversation happened in our house around midnight last night. I was on my way down the hall to the bathroom. Toa of Boy was coming out of the bathroom, and Sweetling just happened to be coming out of her bedroom.

Toa: Do I have to go to bed?

Me: Yes. Goodnight. (I proceeded into the bathroom.)

Toa: Why does Sweetling not have to go to bed.

Me: (shut the bathroom door. I hear the rest of the conversation continue on without me.)

Toa (to Sweetling): Why do you not have to go to bed?

Sweelting: Because I'm practically an adult.

Toa: I can't wait till I'm practically an adult.

Sweetling: Well, it's a little be scary to think about being completely an adult.

Toa: You can do it Sweetling. Mommy's an adult. And she manages every day.

Sweetling: I'm not sure that counts.....her being *her* and all.

Toa: All teenagers say that about their parents.

Sweetling: No, some teenagers say stuff about their parents because they don't like their parents. I'm just saying, Mommy is more like a fairy princess or something.

Me: With unicorn slippers!!!

Sweetling: Yes. Just like that.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Week in Review: Beginnings and Endings

Despite the fact that I haven't published a post since May, I'm going to push past that and get back to blogging!

Here are my blogging goals:
  1. Publish a week in review each week.
  2. Publish at least two Two for Tuesday recipe posts each month. So, every other week.
  3. Publish one Making Memories or Cincinnati Dayscape each month.
I think that's doable!

And, without further ado, our week in review!

(That's even cooler, cause it rhymes!)

First of our "beginnings".

We started back to school this week (note "this week was actually July 21st).

We do this because
  • A--we are all want to finish by early May. 
  • B--we take every Friday in November and December off in addition to a two to three week Christmas vacation.
  • C--it is too unbearably hot and humid outside to go anywhere or do anything
  • D--when it does get nice in September, no one wants to be inside doing school, we all want to be outside doing we have lots of field trips in September and October. 
Our first day of school started with me making personal omelets in one of my new cast iron skillets. They stuck a little and fell apart as I was getting them out of the pan, but no one minded. Schoolwork consisted of devotions with Sweetling, literature with Sweetling, and history with Sweetling and Toa of Boy. (Here's the curriculum and resources we are using this year if someone is interested.)

Then we made a list of the basic school supplies we would need for the year and went on a scavenger hunt through the house to round up what we already had. After a quick trip to the store to get the rest of the items, Mama treated us all to lunch at Sebastian's. (Neither she nor Sweetling had eaten a gyro before).

It was a great, easy, fun, first day!

Here's our tentative daily schedule, for now at least. We don't follow it to the letter, but it helps to have everything blocked out to make sure it's possible. Sweetling's day is on the left; Toa of Boy on the right.
Sweetling looks like she has a lot of open time in her schedule. That isn't actually the case.

It actually brings us to our second "beginning" of the week.

I'm not sure how much info I'm allowed to post on my blog, but Sweetling is participating in a large fandom writing project. (I'll omit the specifics, in case this supposed to not be public info yet.) She submitted a story summary to the organizers of the event. All the summaries were then posted anonymously, and certain artists were invited to select a summary they would like to work with and represent. Sweetling's summary was the fourth summary selected, and it was chosen by an artist Sweetling really admires. Sweetling has been in touch with the artist, and is working hard on the writing. By Wednesday she had already topped seven thousand words.  Thursday night she did a lot of revising. She still has a long way to go. This will be a novella by the time she is finished!

(no photo of the Sweetling hard at work. boo hoo, boo hoo).

When I first put the schedule up on the fridge, the Jedi looked it over and asked why Toa of Boy had Pokemon as part of his school schedule.

Behold, our third beginning...

Last April, Toa of Boy decided he wanted to embark on a two year project to draw all 718 Pokemon. He did some research on-line, and decided he wanted to use copic markers in this project. Then we priced copic markers, and he despaired. I told him that if it was that important to him, he could ask for marker sets for his upcoming birthday. He did that. (How many other boys want art supplies for their eleventh birthday?) The Jedi and I got him one set and Mama and Tia went together to get him a second set. We got my old drawing/drafting table out of the garage and cleaned it up. We got rid of the large computer desk in his bedroom and replaced it with the large drawing table and a small computer cart. 

He has decided, that for now, he wants to work at the kitchen table, in a more guided drawing lesson. I sit beside him with my sketchbook and he sits with his bristol board. Then I draw, pausing to discuss how I'm looking for the shapes, the negative spaces, etc. He draws as I draw. Bit by bit we get a Pokemon drawn. Then he inks over the lines he wants to keep, erases all the rest of the sketch lines, and uses copic markers to complete the Pokemon.

I have pictures of Toa of Boy working, but I don't have pictures of his finished pieces. Even though I think they are quite good, Toa of Boy is dissatisfied with them and doesn't want them photographed. I can respect that, even if I disagree.

And, our fourth beginning...

We started work on our doodle devotions this week. Each week, we are going to focus on memorizing and reflecting on a Scripture verse. 

 The daily doodles help us focus on the meaning of select portions of the verse. I proposed this idea as a family devotional time each day, and it was well received by Toa and Sweetling. Eventually, I plan to put together and sell pdf ebooks, each containing 9 to 10 weeks of devotions. I just about have a sample week's worth of pages to distribute....which are the pages Sweetling, Toa, and I worked on this week.

Now for our endings...

We ended our summer with a week of VBS. Sweetling did a great job in the drama as a special agent on the Truth Force.

She also wrote a follow up drama skit that was presented during our Sunday morning worship time. Several adults expressed to me how impressed they were when they learned she had written it.

And, finally, we need to begin a new timeline for this year's history study. Which means, last year's timeline must come down. Before that happened, Sweetling and I worked at making a short video of the timeline. We played Peer Gynt's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" for background music. (Sweetling offered to edit in the music after the filming, but I just wanted the project finished. So I took the amateur route rather than the more polished after-filming editing option.) Sweetling used my phone flashlight as our camera lighting, while I rolled the video camera over our timeline from start to finish.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Menu: the cheddar cheese addition

Every recipe I find that I really want to make has cheddar cheese in it somewhere, somehow.

This menu is the revised, slightly less cheddar edition.

Thursday: banana pancakes, scrambled eggs (with cheddar cheese of course)

Friday: Chicken Parmesan. no cheddar. OR orange chicken, also no cheddar. haven't decided which recipe I want to make on our vacation day. OR Cincinnati chili, which does have cheddar.

Saturday: Seder dinner with Beth Messiah. No cheddar here either.

Sunday: Easter: smoked ham; butter beavers (sweetling's request); hot pineapple casserole; dinner rolls. The pineapple has cheddar (of course), and the dinner roll recipe needs cut in fourth.

 Monday: leftovers

Tuesday: sloppy joe squares. again with the cheddar. The picture is from Pillsbury's official version. Not sure which recipe I want to follow.

Wednesday: One of the three Friday options I didn't feel like making on Friday.

Other recipes that looked good but that I'm not making is Pioneer Woman's ranch style chicken (cheddar) and crispy cheddar chicken (cheddar) and pecan chicken casserole (cheddar.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Weekly Menu

Christopher Robin's menu board looks nicer, but my post has links. (Really, this is all about the links, having found my recipes, I don't want to lose them again.)

The clever reader will note that I haven't quite figured out some days. Very good, clever reader. 

Thursday: Taco night. It's like Taco Tuesday, but on Thursday.

Friday: Big Fat Nothing. Going to the symphony earlier that day (birthday treat from the Jedi), and then out to eat a SmoQ for lunch. By dinner, neither the Jedi or I will be hungry, but the rest of the family will still want food. Silly them. Maybe I can talk Sweetling into making baked salmon.

Saturday: Omelets

Saturday gaming snacks:

Chocolate Lasagna

Apple Pie Tacos

Sunday: Beefy Biscuit Cups, butter beavers, corn....wanted onion rings but Aldi's didn't have any.

 Monday (St. Patrick's Day): maybe corned beef hoagies, fries. What is a maybe corned beef hoagie? It was my menu option, until I learned that the Jedi doesn't like corned beef. I might pick up corned beef from the deli for some of us, and roast beef for the Jedi.

Tuesday: Grilled Chicken & Pineapple Quesadillas. Of course, I don't have a grill, but that won't stop me from trying this.

Wednesday: yeah, I don't know. I was going with Crescent Chicken Bake, but Toa of Boy has been asking for Chicken Curry, so I might have to suck it up and make a curry. Which of course requires the making of naan bread.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Two for Tuesday: Slow Cooker Ham and Potatoes; Pioneer Woman Dinner Rolls

I have two delicious recipes to share. I didn't come up with either of them, but I did modify both of them.

The first is from Rachel Ray, but the original involved mushrooms (which Sweetling and the Jedi hate) and fresh thyme (which I never have). I don't even have any dried thyme. So, I have no more thyme. Yeah, I kept myself amused with thyme puns while I was tearing through my spice drawer. You should all count yourselves lucky I only included one of them here.

Here's the recipe, with my thyme-less modifications. *Grin*

Slow Cooker Ham and Potatoes

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 sliced yellow onion 
  • 1 bag sweet chili peppers (someone at co-op said, oh, those genetically modified things? I guess so...I like sci fi. I don't mind mutant peppers when they taste this good.)
  • 4-6 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and submerged in a bowl of water
  • Mrs. Dash (yeah, I didn't measure)
  • several slices leftover ham (I had a bunch of ham leftover and needed a way to use it up)
  • 1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (or homemade chicken stock)
  • 1 cup heavy cream (next time, I'm going to try a cream substitute, but this time I just used real cream and took a lactaide pill when I ate dinner)

Directions: (don't be intimidated by how long it looks. I promise it's super-easy or I wouldn't have made it!)

  1. Wash, peel, and slice the potatoes. Submerge the slices in a bowl of cold water as you make them. Let them sit there. The water keeps them from discoloring and also does something magical to the starch in the potatoes, or so I'm told.
  2.  Wash and slice the onion and peppers. Melt butter in a large skillet and toss the vegetable slices in. Cook for a few minutes (3-5), till the onion turns just slightly translucent. You don't want to cook them down, just 'sweat' them a bit. (By the way, I leave the onion and pepper slices large so that certain people can pick them out of their food. I warned Sweetling and the Jedi that vegetables were involved, but that the vegetables were large and easy to remove. The Jedi said to Sweetling, "Mommy used to love us." And the two veggie-phobes leaned their heads together in sorrow.)
  3. Slice the ham. This could have been done as step 2, but I forgot. 
  4. Thoroughly spray a crock-pot with non-stick cooking spray.
  5. Grab a few potato slices, shake the water off them, and layer them in the bottom of the crockpot. When you have covered the bottom with a single layer of potatoes, season them with Mrs. Dash. I didn't use salt, so I was very generous with the Mrs. Dash. Sprinkle in some shredded cheese Repeat with a second layer of potatoes and Mrs. Dash. These two layers should use up about half of your potatoes. If your crock pot is deep but not wide, you might have to do three layers of potato slices before you go to step 6.
  6. Spread half of the onion pepper mixture on top of the potatoes. 
  7. Add a layer of sliced yummy ham.
  8. Add a big, big handful of shredded cheese. (When I made this on Sunday, I didn't put enough cheese in and wound up have to try to insert handfuls of cheese after the cream was hot and bubbly. Much easier to just increase the amount of initial cheese.)
  9. Go back to adding seasoned potato layers (with some shredded cheese between the potato layers). 
  10. When you've used up all your potatoes, spread the rest of the onion/pepper mixture on top.
  11.  Add a final layer of ham.
  12. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.
  13. After 4 hours, pour a cup of heavy cream over the top of everything. Cover and continue cooking for another 30 minutes.
  14. Now, the original recipe said to turn the crock pot off and let the meal sit for an hour before eating. You know that didn't happen in my house. We were hungry. I did let it sit for 15-20 minutes, but that's all the rest time it got before we dug in.
And once again, let me stress how easy this recipe was. The part that took the longest was peeling and slicing the potatoes. It was so easy, I threw it together on Sunday afternoon in between church and driving 45 minutes to an afternoon swim meet I had Mamma at home to add the cream if we weren't back in time for that, but as it was, we were. I had Mamma add the cream anyway, and I took Jupiter for a walk before dinner.

And it was super rich and delicious.

The second recipe I want to share is No-Knead Dinner Rolls from the Pioneer Woman. Another super easy, super delicious find.

 I made these almost exactly as directed. I did halve the recipe, and it still made 24 rolls. I also used almond milk instead of milk, because we had a dinner guest that couldn't tolerate any dairy whatsoever. And I topped them with margarine instead of butter for the same reason.

Photo is from the Pioneer Woman herself, because you know she takes way better photos than I do:

Friday, January 17, 2014

The World According to Jupiter

The Leash:
I know what that is! I'm ready! I'm ready! Here I am! Ready! Ready!

The Walk:
All is good and right with the world.

The Jog:
Oh yeah, this thing? This thing we are doing right now? This thing is the way it is done.

The Point:
There. There it is. It is right THERE. THERE. No, don't pull me; my muscles are frozen in place. It is RIGHT THERE. THERE. THERE. Right THERE.

The Squirrel:
That's right. You better run.

The Rabbit:

The Cat:
Hey! Hey you! Hey you right there! Hey! I'm talking to you! Run, you! Why don't you run? Disrespectful creature. Hey!

The Other Dog:
Hey there. Hey baby. Hey handsome. Hey....come on over and play. I'll show you how to play, you sweet girl, you handsome boy. I'm not picky... come on over and play.

The Escape:
Who's the dog? I'm the dog! Can't catch the dog! Look at me! Look at me go! Can't catch me! Look at me sit. I sit so nice....come a little closer human...see how I'm sitting? PSYCH!!!! Can't catch me! I'm the dog!!!

The Coat:
What is that? I'm not wearing that. Gangstas don't wear coats. Ok, fine. You have it on me, but now I don't want to go outside anymore. How you like them apples?

The Dog Food:
What is that? I'm not eating that. I smelled what you ate, and it isn't that. I have no interest in that. At least, not while you are watching.

The Squeak Toy:
Squeak! Squeak! My squeak! Look at me with my squeak! I have a squeak! My squeak!

The Rawhide Bone:
Bone! Bone! My bone! Look at me with my bone! I have a bone! My bone! I must take my bone outside and parade around the yard with it.

The Ball:
Ball! Ball! I see the ball! You have the ball! Yes! Ball! .........Where did the ball go? I don't understand. What do you want me to do? I'm so confused. I'm just gonna bite my butt.

The Bath:
I hate you. I hate you all.

The Human Food:
I smell good things. I smell good things and no human is in the kitchen. The good things are mine.

The Garbage Can:
I smell good things. I smell a whole smorgasbord of good things. I must stick my face in it and feast.

The Thunderstorm:
Doomed! We are all doomed! Doooooommmmmed. Doooommmmed.

The Laundry Machines:
The thunderstorm is inside! Doomed! We are all doomed! Dooooommmed. Dooooooooooooooommmmm.