type='text/javascript'/> A Latte Talk: 2008

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Did I mention it's cold.

-3 degrees.

I got up early this morning to take my Sister and Brother-in-Law to the airport and I *almost* jumped in one of their suitcases.

They're flying back to San Diego. Of all the cruel, cruel places they could be going.

Grumble, grumble.

I know two people who biffed it bad just yesterday on the ice and snow. One took a trip to the ER and the other will be sore for many days.

On my way home from the airport, as I was entering our neighborhood, I saw a blind woman walking down the street, presumably to the bus stop. She climbed over the snow berm into the street and crossed the slick ice, back over another berm and down the icy sidewalk.

She was smiling and singing.

Lesson 101 at 6:00am today:

Count your blessings, name them one by one. Thank the One who gives you those blessings.

And then maybe you will smile.

Even if your teeth are chattering.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hellooooooooooo out theeeeeeeeeeere...

Under threats of disowning, I hereby re-enter blog land.

For at least a day.

It feels good just sitting here staring at a blank screen. I'm warming up my writing juices. They're frozen from under-use.

And, we DO live in Minnesota, so they freeze more quickly up here.

Speaking of Minnesota, you know I can't go a whole blog post without talking about how flippin' freezin' cold it is. It snowed 6 inches today, and tomorrow it's supposed to be blowing around at about freeway speed.

We have family from San Diego coming in a few days.

Muwahahaha. Snicker snicker.

So. It's Christmas time. Time for some holiday cheer.

I have a confession. I think Santa is creepy.

Call me a fuddydud.

But, we celebrate Jesus' birth on Christmas, and what more amazing fabulous thing is there for us to be celebrating? And Santa has a way of upstaging Jesus at His very own birthday celebration. That bugs me. Really bugs me.

So, last year, I was all about telling my kids that Santa's just a pretend man. They never thought he was real, so we never dashed their hopes. Case closed.

Case closed, right?

Fast forward 12 months to yesterday. Out of the clear blue, Corene brings a clay snowman up to me and says, "I'm going to give this to Santa".

(Rembmber, this child isn't one of those story-teller types. She's my black and white child. She doesn't do imaginary pretending unless she's saying, "Let's pretend ___fill in the blank___". She's serious about this.)

Me: Really? How?

Corene: I am going to put it on a plate by the fireplace next to his cookie (!!!!!!) and put a sign that says, 'For Santa'.

Me: Huh. (thinking... do I dash the imagination? Or do I let this go on?)

Me: We used to put out cookies and milk for Santa when I was a kid.

Corene: (Eyes LIGHTING up) REALLY? Cookies and MILK? Can WE do that, TOO? Does Santa LIKE milk?"

Me: I don't know. I think it was always gone on Christmas morning.

Corene: (Thinking....) But, Mom... what if Santa's allergic to milk??

Me: (Laughing) Should we give him some of your soy milk, just in case?

Corene: But he drank your milk when you were a kid.

Me: Yes, I guess he did.

Corene: So I think it's ok. Let's give him some regular milk.

Me: (Big sigh) OK. That sounds good. (Gulp) I think he'll like that.

Corene: (Big, big, beautiful smile) Me too.

Well, my big conviction of no Santa just went kaplooee. Right down the drain. Something about her sweet belief in something just so utterly unbelievable (reindeer on the roof, and a rather large man coming down the chimney?) warmed my heart and made me smile. I just couldn't spoil the fun.

But, Christmas day? It's a birthday party for Jesus. Birthday cake and all.

How do you make the day about Jesus?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tidbits of Wisdom

If you hear a little Taz voice saying, "Ready, Set, GO!!" followed by peals of laughter, coming from the bathroom, you may just find yourself a wee little mess of hand soap squirted all over the counter, the floor, and on the hands and clothes of Taz. And, if the moment you walk in to the bathroom, Taz throws himself on the floor in a fit of laughter and glee, you will know that it is time to put new jammies on him and to put the little hyena to bed.

If you hear a little girl say "I'm so tired" at 6:30, walk over to the couch, lay down, pull the blanket up and say, "I want to go to sleep", you will know that it is time to put the sweet girl to bed.

If you turn around and another little girl is standing at the door, lower lip out, shaking, and looking forlorn, and when you ask her what's wrong, she says, "I... I don't KNOW! I just... I think I just want... to... CUDDLE!!!", and then bursts in to tears, you will know that it is time to put her to bed.

And then after an extended cuddle-fest, you will put them all to bed and smile.

Because it's only 7:30PM, and all your children are fast asleep.

If all three of the above scenarios happen within 15 minutes of each other, all before 7:00PM, you will THEN know that they stayed out REALLLLLLLLY late last night having fun with Auntie Dawn and Uncle Lee (While Mom and Dad had a cozy alone-night IN eating Carne Asada Tacos a la Jenny...)

Yerrrr the BEST-y.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Playin' catch-up

Life is so good.

Even when we're going at breakneck speed, God is gracious to me.

Even when I'm stressed (over something big, or something stupid), God gives me grace.

I'm thankful for that.

Can I tell you about my new fun thing I'm doing?? So I mentioned before that I was looking for a job, and I found it! In my basement!

Really.

We have a Mother-in-Law apartment kind of set up in the basement of our house, and my mom lives with us. She has this little Ebay business where she buys women's clothing at thrift stores and garage sales, and resells them on Ebay. So with my help, we're doubling her output of items for sale, and I have an instant job!

It's great, because I can work at whatever hours I want (often after bedtime, during naptime, video time, etc...), and it's completely flexible. It's also great because part of my job is... shopping!! Am I lucky or what??

It's not all roses and chocolates, though, because I have this thing called a Taz who happens to come with me to shop pretty often. Taz has this little habit of being a ter.ri.ble. shopper. He has learned nothing from his big sisters who, from a very young age learned the love and art of thrift store shopping.

They would sit in their little carts and eat an apple for an hour. If they got fussy, I'd hand them a hanger and they'd play with that for a while. They were just a little bit heavenly. As they got older, they would flip through the clothes, just like I do, and hold the dresses up to themselves, twirl around, and choose which ones were their favorites.

Taz? Not so much. I have discovered one trick: food. Problem is, it lasts a mere 15 minutes, and then he's bored and full. His idea of shopping is climbing through the clothes and "hiding" from me. At home, it's really cute to see two little feet sticking out from underneath my curtains, while he's hiding from us. It's a game we've played. I've encouraged it. He cracks himself up, it's completely cute.

But not so cute at the store when I can't see his feet and he's crawled 15 feet through dirty women's clothes, where he's sitting on the floor hiding, in the midst of long flowing THRIFT STORE DRESSES with who-knows-what in and on them. Gag me.

Picture me, shouting, "Isaac! Isaac!" as I wade through racks of women's clothing, looking for my "lost" child. The looks I've gotten have been a bit sharp.

So, we have a bit of work to do to perfect the "Taz WILL learn to love shopping" training regimen. Any tips from you die-hard shopper mommies would be welcome.

So, overall, this explains my breakneck speed... we do what God calls us to do, and I'm learning to be content in my situation, to have fun with it, to Praise God in all of the craziness. He is a gracious God.

As you might have guessed, I'm ditching Foody Friday. I can't keep up with it. If you want to adopt it, let me know! It's yours. I'm sure I'll post some if someone else wanted to host it, so if you're interested, let me know.

I'll close with a little 6-year old conundrum:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. A simple command, right? What if what you would have them do unto you is to NOT do something? Then it's DON'T do unto others what you would NOT have them do unto you. So if your brother pours water over your head, and you DON'T want him to do that, then, according to this clear charge, you should...? Well, pour water over HIS head, right??

"But, Mommy! You said, 'Do unto others...'"

"YES, Do to them what you want them to do to you. You don't want him to do that, so don't do it to him!"

"But it says, 'DO unto others'. It's so confusing, Mommy. I don't get it!"

(Continue conversation ad nauseum for 10 minutes)

"Forget it. Pouring water on someone's head is mean. Taz, please don't do that. Corene, please don't do that."

"Oooooooooh! OK, Mommy!"


Monday, November 10, 2008

My Brain! It is FULL!!

I could tell you about what I've been thinking about MMS (Martyr Mom Syndrome).

I could tell you about what I've been thinking about re: entitlement. That's deep. Can't go there tonight.

I could tell you how incredibly, disgustingly messy my house is right now.

And how, somehow, I don't care.

I could tell you what fabulous parents and in-laws I have and how much they bless me.

Or I could tell you about my new fun job.

Or, I could tell you that I do NOT currently suffer from Martyr Mom Syndrome and that I'm NOT going to go clean my house. I could also tell you that instead of finishing this post, I am going to go take a bubble bath by candlelight.

I guess that's what I'll tell you. I need to go empty my brain.

Catch ya later, when my thoughts aren't nice little bullet points, flying at me like I'm in a Star Wars simulator.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The many faces of fall

There was much work to be done...


My kids are always very serious about their work...


Some might call it child labor...


But we make him forget about soaking his parents in that lawsuit...


He wouldn't SUE us, would he??

NAH...

It was 100% fun.







Thursday, November 6, 2008

Foody Friday - Freezer Meals


First off, I know you want the candy update. Remember my promise of no-candy-by-Nov.3?

Failed.

We still have candy.

However, it is disappearing quickly and the plan still seems to be a good one. My new hope is that by the end of the weekend, it will be gone.

Really.

OK, onto more important business. You might be wondering if maybe I should change the name of this blog to "A Litte talk" since I haven't been too talkative lately.

I've had a few people ask me if we're doing ok, and I assure you -- we're fine. We're actually doing really well, but blogging just hasn't been high on my priority list lately.

Part of it is that along with the rest of our fine country, our little pie slice of the economy is in a financial meltdown, and so a good portion of my free time has been spent looking for additional income opportunities, as well as penny pinching, which has been a bit time consuming (And FUN! Y'all, it's fun. Most of the time.)

My current work project is also fun, and demands a whole post of it's own, which will be forthcoming.

The bottom line is that I'm working after bedtime, and therefore blogging has been relegated to a lower priority. Humph. !! :)

In the spirit of our busy life, freezer meals are my best friend. Especially in the winter when fresh food isn't quite as plentiful, having meals ready to go in my freezer is awesome.

There are so many ways to approach this, and I will briefly touch on two ways:

A) Simply double/triple your meals you are already making, and freeze leftovers. This takes only a small amount of extra time, and it's fabulous home cooked food without the work later on. Many many dishes are suitable for freezing: soups, casseroles, quiche, fillings for tacos/burritos, etc... no special recipes necessary, just a little bit of planning.

B) Buy a book that has freezer-specific recipes, and set out to batch cook, tripling recipes, and have a "day of cooking". This could be great done with friends. I have a couple of freezer meal cookbooks, but my favorite is "Don't Panic- Dinner's in the Freezer". I have used many recipes from this book.


Here is one of my favorite recipes from that book (this recipe is for one batch, easily doubled or tripled):

Chimichangas


1t salt
2lbs lean ground beef or ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2t ground cumin
2t oregano
1/2 cup canned green chiles, chopped
1/2 cup taco sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cider vinegar

Serving day
1 cup butter or margarine, melted
9 7-inch flour tortillas

Cooking day instructions
Sprinkle salt in a medium skillet. Place over medium heat. Add beef garlic, and spices. Cook until meat loses pinkness. Stir in remaining ingredients. Remove from heat and cool. Freeze meat mixture in a freezer bag or container.

Serving day instructions
In 8-inch skillet, melt butter or margarine. Dip both sides of 1 tortilla into butter; drain off excess. (alternately: spray both sides of tortilla with olive oil cooking spray, or skip the fat altogether by simply warming in the microwave) Mound 1/3 cup thawed filling on center of tortilla. Fold tortilla in envelope fashion. Place seam side down in ungreased 11x7 baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Bake until crispy, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and return for a few seconds. Top with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and additional sour cream.

Yum.

Please, join in below if you have a freezer-suitable meal to share!



Thursday, October 30, 2008

Foody Friday - Par-TAY


I admit it. Halloween is not my thing. If Halloween suddenly went away, I would shout and sing.

But, it IS fun for the kids, and there's not a lot that's cuter than all the sweet little kids dressed up at my front door. Emphasis on LITTLE. Big kids in grotesque masks aren't so cute.

The worst part of Halloween, to me, is being the mother of 2 previously sweet children, who become frightening monsters when on sugar. Not to mention the next 30 days when the greedy factor goes up and an unbelievable amount of time is spent counting, sorting, and planning the various tastes, flavors, and available highs of the candy in their stash.

The link at the bottom of the post is to a group of recipes, and one I'm personally SO excited about, because it works into the Halloween Candy Master Plan '08. Here are the specs of the plan:
  • Halloween night: Children of candy-eating age are allowed to eat as much candy as they want, no limits. Buckets will be on hand, just in case.
  • Post-Halloween-candy-binging: Mother confiscates all candy wealth to be redistributed via rationing.
  • All-Saints Day, Nov 1: Mother makes candy brownies for all to enjoy, and the Halloween candy will be "used up" very quickly.

This plan was implemented in hopes of preventing a recurrence of the Great Whiny Kids Fiasco of November '07.

The candy will be gone by November 3. Mark my words.

Here is a website that will give you a vast plethora of ideas for using up that Halloween candy.

You're welcome.

Join in with your partay/ appetizer/ fun/ random recipe below!



Monday, October 27, 2008

I will rejoice with you

A few years ago, a group of young married couples that Matt and I were involved with embarked on a discussion that is vivid to me. I've been rehashing it in my mind lately. It was this:

How do we handle rejoicing with those who rejoice when we are grieving the very thing in our lives that they are rejoicing in?

and

How do we handle sharing our rejoicing, when we know there may be people around us who are grieving that very thing in their lives?

I'll just bare my soul here and tell you that for us, the dangling carrot is a satisfying job for Matt with a steady income (And, like, with a few little wee health benefits, maybe??!!). It's the green grass on the other side of the fence for us. It is, hands down, the area of our lives that can easily become an idol to us ("If we only ________, then everything would be fine!").

For another, it is the desire for a child. How can a woman grieving her infertility rejoice with a sister who is announcing a pregnancy?

Another woman might desperately want to have a marriage that is fulfilling. She wants a mutually trusting and loving relationship where she can feel completely at ease. But instead, there is abuse, anger, and heavy disappointment.

There are countless scenarios where one person is struggling, and her friend is rejoicing.

How do we handle this? I know how we should handle it, Romans 12:15. But it doesn't always feel that simple.

I have my own thoughts on the matter, but I want to know:

How do you handle it?

Why is it so hard?

What, if anything, should we do differently?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Enough Already!

So, I've been thinking that for newbies to A Latte Talk, it's been a bit confusing that I post the theme for Foody Friday just a few days before, and then don't list any recipes, etc...

Admittedly, I don't feel like giving a whole lot of info when I'm madly typing out my theme post.

SO, I added a little list in my sidebar that lists out the themes a few weeks in advance. For all you planners, this will give you some thinking time. :)

And, if you ever have suggestions, PLEASE, drop me a note and I'll add your idea!

This will be the last you will hear about Foody Friday, unless, of course, it's... Foody Friday.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Foody Friday - Egg-o-rama


I love eggs. We had them for dinner tonight, actually. They're quick, yummy, healthy. What more can you ask for? Scrambled eggs, served with turkey breakfast sausage, toast and bananas. An entire meal for my family in 10 minutes and under $10.

I'm going to give you two recipes.

The first one is my standard comfort food assemble-it-the-night-before-and-pop-it-in-the-oven-in-the-morning delicacy. It never did win me the "Freshest Idea" award at MOPS, but it SHOULD HAVE! It was always GONE... eaten... devoured... just no award.

I'm not bitter or anything.

CAUTION: For you healthy peeps, you can skip this one. It has fat, preservatives and chemicals of every kind interlaced throughout.

Sausage-Egg-Yumminess

(OK, it's not really called that. It's a casserole. But it is yumminess)

(And, yes. Yumminess is a word. I just made it up.)

  • 1 pound pork sausage
  • 1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent roll dough
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  1. Place sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  3. Line the bottom of the prepared baking dish with crescent roll dough, and sprinkle with crumbled sausage. In a large bowl, mix beaten eggs, mozzarella, and Cheddar. Season the mixture with oregano, and pour over the sausage and crescent rolls.
  4. (Insert here: cover and put in the fridge overnight)
  5. Bake 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. (Increase time if you refrigerated it overnight - probably more like 40 minutes)

OK, healthy ones... you can start reading again. I currently have 2 of these babies in my freezer, waiting for a quick meal. It's unique in that it has pizza seasonings in it and mozzarella cheese. It has a very different taste from other spinach quiches I've had (Usually with feta or gorgonzola or another type of strong cheese). My kids loved this.


Spinach Quiche



  • 1 (9 inch) pie crust (I use this recipe)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced and quartered
  • 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well (or 1/2 lb fresh spinach, chopped)
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring the pie crust to room temperature.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; add the onion and cook until onion becomes transparent, about 5 minutes. Combine the spinach with the onion, cover the skillet; turn off the heat, and set aside.
  3. Unroll the crust and press to fit into a 9 inch pie plate. Trim the edges.
  4. Beat the eggs in a large bowl until light colored and frothy. Add the garlic, thyme, basil, cheeses, and spinach mixture, and stir until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the spinach mixture into the prepared pie crust.
  5. Bake in preheated oven until the top is golden brown, and an inserted tooth pick comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
If you're new here to Foody Friday, take a moment to read the rules of how to play, and please join us!




Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Foody Friday Theme

This Friday's theme will be...

Drumroll, please....

Egg dishes.

It's cold outside. There is nothing, I repeat, NOTHING more fabulous than waking up on a chilly Saturday morning and popping an egg dish in the oven, to be enjoyed later alongside a vanilla latte.

Egg dishes even make very nice lunches, or easy pop-in the oven dinner.

I also like the fact that I can make a relatively cheap meal when eggs are my protien, compared to meat.

So.

Eggs! It's what's for dinner!

Wait. Wrong slogan.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The New Ava Translation (NAT)

She started with the popular verse, John 3:16 -

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal lice."

Monday, October 20, 2008

And they weren't even axe murderers!

I had me a little get-together with some bloggy friends Saturday morning.

def.
bloggy friend (n): (1) A person you probably know more about than your next door neighbor, and yet you don't know their last name, and in some instances, their first name either. (2) A person you hope is not an axe murderer in disguise, when you go meet them at a local restaurant for breakfast.

I had to tell Corene that I was going out to breakfast with some friends "that I met on the computer". Tell me that's not going to come back to haunt me in about 10 years...

These ladies were great! What a fun morning. Many of us confessed to each other that our husbands were a bit skeptical about just who we were going to meet, and were we sure that they weren't crazies?

Well, I'm not sure about the part that they weren't crazy. I do believe that they were all crazy. But in a different, sleepy-coffee-drinking-we-all-have-preschoolers-crazed-mommy sort of way. This title is one I wear with pride. It is only a season that we get to be crazies, why not have fun with it??!!

Given the above definition of the attendees, you might assume that we consumed a mighty lot of coffee at our table.

You would assume correctly.

We were waited on by the fabulous Fernando. (wait - Eduardo? Ricardo? What was his name??!!!!)

At any rate, he was gracious when we asked him to split our checks, and then double-gracious when we each handed him cash that he needed to give change for. He walked up to the table with 7 checks, and 7 stacks of change, all orderly and organized.

He won my praise, though, when he even took pictures for us with 4 different cameras. With a very weary smile on his face. Needless to say, I tipped him well.

Anyhoo, here's the group picture taken by Senor Waiter:

From left to right, Rachel from Badgers on the Loose, Heather of the EO, Kelly of LoveWell, Sara from Butterville, Whitney of Baby Tunnel Exodus, Moi, and MinnesotaMom.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Role Reversal

Only from a firstborn...

Often, when the kids all go downstairs to play or watch a video, I'll say to Corene, "Can you keep an eye on Isaac while you're down there?"

(She's actually very responsible in this job, she takes the role very seriously. If Isaac is getting into something, it's a millisecond before I hear her correcting him and redirecting him... and usually, she does it gently, and he responds well. Aaaahh, this is one reason why I maintain that having 3 children is easier than having one child.)

(Behind the usually, of course, there are the times when this doesn't work so well, and I have to come intervene when Isaac is SCREAMING and Corene is "helping".)

Anyway... yesterday I came downstairs and sat on the floor where the kids were playing, and Corene walked up to me and said,

"Mommy, can you keep an eye on Isaac for me for a second while I go potty?"

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Foody Friday - Stuck in a rut recipes


Thank you to Jenna for the theme idea! Jenna, of whom I have not seen in bodily form for at least 3 weeks and who I'm currently feeling withdrawl pangs from. Any typos in this post can be attributed to the twitch I've acquired from withdrawl.

These are the recipes you actually WANT to get stuck in a rut making. For me, the recipes I don't get tired of and make over and over are the ones my family is SO done with after the second time. And the ones they usually want me to repeat are too boring for me. So we do a little bit of give and take :)

However, here at Foody Friday, it's my party, so I'm giving you a Jenny-doesn't-get-sick-of-it recipe. Don't ask my kids or family if they like eating it (I'm making it this week for the third time since it's gotten cool).

There are three basic all-consuming, beautiful ingredients:

Sausage
Greens
Half and Half

Ummm.... I'm weird. I am. But my CSA share from this summer has turned me into a LOVER of the green stuff. Especially if you put it with sausage and half and half.

You might argue that you could put anything with sausage and half and half, and it would taste good. That may be true. But Kale really REALLY does taste good this way.

I am going to be la-zy and just linky to the recipe. I don't do anything different than what's written except omit the bacon. But mostly because I'm a crunchy bacon kind of girl. And bacon in soup kind of loses its crunch. Oh, and I do use half and half instead of heavy cream.

Zuppa Toscana

Please, join in! What have you made over and over again?


Foody Friday! Tomorrow!

Quickly, the theme for tomorrow (sorry no warning) is what's your current recipe that you make over and over again, either because it's SO yummy or SO easy, or SO fast, or that you just LOVE. One of those meals that you could eat once a week and not get sick of.

Warning: For me, this meal falls into the "so yummy" category, which, this time of year, is comfort food... mmm...

mmm...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dearest Doctor

Dearest Doctor,

You must have underestimated the God-given gift of Mama Bear in me when you so rashly perceived my little bear cub as having a bad attitude in our visit to see you yesterday. Let us recount the facts in this case:

This child is 6.
This child had just had a long pointy Q-tip shoved in her throat, causing her to gag.
This child does has never met you before.
You are a MAN. Sorry to be sexist, but there is no shame in being sexist when you're six.
You are an OLD man. Sorry to discriminate based on age, but again... no shame.

When a child is curled in the fetal position and refuses to look at the Doctor who just walked in the door, it would be reasonable to assume that she is nervous, shy, even afraid...

Unless, of course, the girl was 16, and not 6. THEN, if she is demonstrating the above behavior, you just might be reasonable in saying,

"Well, her attitude could be better... THAT'S for sure!!"

But not to my 6 YEAR OLD.

I felt the need to write you a note, as we will not be seeing you ever again.

Blessings on your day, may you rest in retirement very soon,

Mama Bear

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Foody Friday - Soups


Before I launch into the single most yummy thing you could possibly put in your tummy on a cold night, I must tell you something about myself.

I am not consistent about anything in my life.

I try to be a consistent reader-of-my-Bible and quiet time have-er.
That's hard.

I try to be consistent mothering my children.
That's harder.

I try to be a consistent blogger.
That, my friends, is nigh impossible.

I try to be a consistent Latte drinker.
Wait. That's not hard.
I AM a consistent Latte drinker.

Anyway, when I'm either inspired to write, or if I'm feeling like my life is in good balance with a little extra free time, I enjoy prolific blogging. But it's hard to be consistent. So, when I logged on tonight to write FF for this week, I was SHOCKED that LAST Friday's pitiful post saying I forgot to do FF was my last post!

So, now you know that I've had no inspiration, and I've been busy. You don't really want uninspired, rushed posts to read, anyway, now, do you?? That would just bore you.

One thing that I am consistent about is eating. I eat every day.

The following soup may make you have heart palpitations. It is so good. Warning:It may not do anything for your hubby, if he is a meat and potatoes man, but he will eat it and smile and then sneak some peanut M&Ms and chicken bones for dessert.


Acorn Squash Soup

Ingredients

2 large acorn squash
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup rice
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 cups water
2 cups milk
4 tablespoons veg oil
pinch sugar
salt and white pepper to taste
chopped parsley

Peel the squash and cut it into cubes. Place them in a soup pot and add the chopped onion, rice, chopped celery, and water. Cook the soup, covered, over medium heat until vegetables are tender.

Strain the soup through a sieve or blend it in a blender. Reheat soup and add the milk, oil, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir and bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley just before serving. Serve hot. Serve with some crusty bread.

*I have also cooked the squash in the oven until soft and reduced the water, scooping the cooked pulp into the soup after it's cooked, and that's much easier than peeling and cubing. However, I don't think the flavor was as good. The squash cooked along with the rice and onion really makes the flavors blend fantastically.

AND, I just saw Acorn Squash at Aldi for $.99!! This is one inexpensive meal if you get the squash in season for a reasonable price! Yeehaw!

Join in below!

Friday, October 3, 2008

I got nothin'

Oops. I was going to do Foody Friday - Soups today. But I'm just a little bit behind, so we'll do it next week. EVERYbody has a favorite soup recipe, right? And it is most definitely soup weather. So, next Friday. Promise.

I just want you all to know something really really important. The very most best thing to consume while drinking your latte and blogging? Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate with Mint filling.

Oh MY. Yes sir. A-mazing.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Perspective

Sometimes my life feels like a movie. Or a sermon illustration. Really, most often it's a sitcom.

Today it feels like a poignant 20/20 Special showing the vast differences between my life with all it's "trials", and the life of those who are truly facing difficulties.

Just one week ago, I wrote a humorous post about my Terrified Children and the great rain incident of September 2008. The post was humorous at the expense of my Terrified Children, you know, because on this here blog, we get a Latte Laughs out of poor innocent children who are screaming.

But, really, they were extremely frightened. And the crash of thunder in that story was quite possibly the LOUDEST thunder I have ever heard. And my kids were in my car, all by themselves. However, they were

Dry.

Safe.

Out of harm's way.

In Haiti, just a few weeks ago, thousands of children ran from their homes,

Wet.

In danger.

Fighting for their lives.

The Flip Flop Fleet has partnered with C3 Missions, based in Kansas City, where they are bringing a Semi-truck full of supplies to Haiti. This Christian ministry has orphanages in several countries, and one of their orphanages in Haiti was destroyed by the storms.

Please watch this video (it is short), which briefly documents the trials these children have faced.



Now imagine with me this. This orphanage was COMPLETELY destroyed. Those children are currently staying in a LEAN-TO up on a HILL. I don't know all of the details about when and how they got to where they are now, but I do know that they were in danger during that storm. They were wet and frightened and probably fighting for their lives.

These are little children, just like yours and mine tucked safe in their beds. Does this not just make your lips get all shakey and tight, and make a pitiful little cry squeak out of your throat?

We are so blessed. A little bit of perspective goes a long way.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

You might have mommy brain if...

  • You come very, very, embarrassingly close to wiping your husband's nose with a kleenex, before realizing you meant to be going for the nose of Mini-Matt.

  • You stand with your hands full of groceries trying to unlock your front door with your remote car beeper.

  • The top of every single form from your child's school looks like this when you turn it back in:
Child's Name: Jenny Corene Lattetalk


I think this might just have to become a series, I could probably add to it daily. Any you'd like to add?

Hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Foody Friday - Convenience foods


Let's do a comment festival today! No Mr Linky, just comments, so everyone can play.

Tell me your favorite convenience-y food that you make on nights when you're not organized enough to pop a previously-prepared casserole in the oven, don't want to spend the money or ingest the calories of eating out, and don't want to eat cereal for dinner.

MY favorite convenience food, which I dare say I should have pulled out tonight.

Trader Joe's Orange Chicken. With rice. And steamed veggies.

Yours?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Murphy's Law and God's sense of humor

We buy milk from a local dairy farmer who has pick-up locations at homes in different parts of the city. Tonight we went to a new location, after realizing it was closer and easier than the one we were previously assigned.

On our way there, the sky darkened, and it started to rain a bit. I had trouble finding the house at first, driving round-an-round, do-si-do, trying to find this home. Finally we found it, an old home with a driveway back to a carriage house-style garage.

"I'm going to run up to the front door and find out where the milk is, I'll be right back." I said to the kids.

As I stepped out of the car, I clicked the lock...

Immediately, as if on cue, the skies opened up, and God poured a swimming pool of water on my head. I kid you not, from my car to the front door, I was completely completely drenched.

I spoke to the homeowner, who informed me that I needed to go around to the back, in the garage.

Suddenly, my car alarm started to go off, the side slider door opened, and Terrified Child #1 emerged, shaking, running through the downpour to my side on the porch. Terrified Child #2 was standing at the door of the car crying, pleading with Terrified Child #1 to PLEASE come back.

So TC #1 and I ran back to the car, jumped in and shut the door.

Let us pause and note a few observations here:
  • It might be a good idea to note that my van has a safety feature where the alarm goes off if the doors are opened from the inside while the car is locked. This does a good job keeping people out. This doesn't necessarily do a good job keeping people IN. Particularly when those inside are Terrified Children.
  • When God dumps a swimming pool of water on top of your minivan while you are in it, you will experience a decibel level similar to if you were sitting on the wing of a jet engine during take-off.
  • When you experience a decibel level as described above, everyone in your minivan will be crying, but it won't really matter because you won't be able to hear them anyway over the roar of the water.
  • Don't bother trying to sing to pass the time while waiting for the rain to slow down. Nobody will listen to you be able to hear you.
So. We I sang. We I acted silly. We I tried to act like this deafening noise was really no big deal, how thankful we should be that there's no thunder, and how it was going to stop ANY TIME NOW!!!

Finally, I said phooey, I'm not waiting any more. I told the girls to be brave while Mommy runs out, up the driveway and in to the garage, and as quick as a wink, I'd be back to the car.

So, I stepped out of the car, I clicked the lock...

I was back into the torrential rains, fjording the 4 inch deep river that was their driveway.

I was one FOOT from their garage, when I saw it. A blinding light. I closed my eyes, and thought, "NO, Lord." But, yes, it was true... A second later,

CRACK!! BOOM!! BOOM!! RUMBLE rumble rumble

Oh... Boy... That was one of THOSE cracks of thunder, the kind that would wake you up if you were sleeping... I knew what was coming next, and sure enough, while I was loading up my milk,

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

I made my way back through the rapids and to the car, where I could see AND hear 2 Terrified Children.

My car alarm is going off.

I am 10 pounds heavier from water weight.

There are 2 of MY children standing at the door of the car, hugging each other and sobbing.

And one silent barefoot child who was picking lint out of his toes.

I kid you not.

And, the ending? Why, you know the ending... it's Murphy's Law.

Tell me, just WHEN exactly did the rain STOP?


Murphy's Law = The Soveriegnty of God + A sense of humor



Saturday, September 20, 2008

A random winner and a recipe

_____________________________________

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

4

Timestamp: 2008-09-20 13:39:34 UTC

_______________________________________________________________

Congratulations, Yvette! Let me know when I can bring this to you!!

I love giveaways! I never win them, but it brings great joy to be on this end of the giving!

And, as foretold, I am sitting here drinking my latte and eating caramel rolls. And, because these are SO easy and SO yummy, I am going to post the recipe below. Awesome for when you have company, to put together the night before. They're perfect!


Yummy Sticky Caramel Pull-apart Bread

18 frozen Rhodes Dinner Rolls

1-3oz package regular (not instant) Butterscotch pudding mix

2 sticks butter

1 cup brown sugar

Cinnamon

Put frozen rolls in a well greased bundt pan. Sprinkle pudding powder over rolls. Melt butter in pan and stir in brown sugar- pour over rolls. Sprinkle lots of cinnamon over rolls. Let rise on stovetop for a minimum of 8 hours or overnight covered with wax paper and a towel.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes and turn out of pan immediately (watch out because there will be a TON of caramel and it sometimes splatters).


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Foody Friday - The "chipper" Chicken


Remember that line from Father of the Bride? Martin Short? One of the best characters of all time. It's been years since I've seen that movie, and my gut starts to erupt in laughter just thinking of that crazy wedding planner.

ANYWAY...

Chicken. A standard. I try to buy chicken (any meat, really) in one of two ways...

I wait until I find a really good deal on chicken, most often a buy one, get one free deal, and buy as many are as allowed (usually limit of 4 or 6 packages). Then I'm set for a while.

OR

At Super Target, I look for the little $3 off stickers on their meats. I see them maybe 30% of the time that I'm there, and a lot of the time it's like on Filet Mignon or something (Gee, $32 and then $3 off... not much help!). This can be a really good deal. though.. I bought 5 - 1 lb packages of stew meat once and ended up paying like $.90 each.

ANYWAY, Take 2...

Here is a recipe I created this week. It's a little odd, because of what I happened to have on hand (LOTS of fresh sage from our CSA, and a ton of arugula - I know, sorry, more arugula); what I didn't have on hand (breadcrumbs); and what I had left over from another recipe which was 1 day from it's expiration date, so I needed to use it pronto (Heavy cream).

So, what do you do with fresh sage, arugula and heavy cream? And Chicken, because, well, it's the FF theme this week.

Well, first of all, you throw away any idea that this is going to be a healthy, light meal.

Goodbye.

Then you throw away the idea that you are going to get ANY leftovers for yourself.

Adios.

Here's what I did...

Greeny Fettuccine Alfredo with Herb-Crusted Chicken Breasts

16 oz fettuccine
3-4 large leaves fresh sage (or 1t dried sage)
2 cups seasoned croutons (we used garlic Caesar)
20oz package boneless/skinless Chicken Breasts
4T canola oil
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 green onion, sliced thin (white and green parts)
1/4 cup packed fresh sage, chopped
1 cup packed arugula (or spinach or other green), chopped
2/3 cup Heavy cream
a sprinkling of flour
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook Fettuccine noodles as directed on package.

Meanwhile, pound out chicken breasts thin with a meat mallet (get creative with a heavy flat object if you don't have one), easiest done between two pieces of saran wrap. Slice the breasts into 2 or 3 pieces, so they are a manageable size.

In a blender, whiz up the croutons and sage until they are fine.

In a small dish, coat both sides of chicken with the crouton/sage mixture.

Heat oil in a large pan (cast iron is my favorite), and fry chicken until brown and crispy on both sides (since the breasts are thin, they will cook through fairly quick).

Remove chicken onto paper towels. Drain any excess oil from pan (I leave a little bit).

Add the garlic to the pan, stirring quickly, until garlic is starting to brown. Add onions, and saute for one minute. Add sage and arugula and stir until wilted.

Add heavy cream all at once, stirring and scraping the pan to incorporate all the flavors.

If the sauce seems too thin, whisk in a sprinkling of flour.

Season with salt and pepper, pour over the fettuccine noodles on a serving platter, and top with chicken.

NUM. MY.

OH, and don't forget to comment on the giveaway post! I'll pick a random winner on Saturday morning, while sitting in bed drinking a latte and eating cinnamon rolls and reveling in the care I will be recieving following a small and unmentionable surgery I am having on Friday. They say I need to take it easy for a day. Or was it two? Can I get two? THREE!! SOLD!



Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Fleet of Flip Flops

How many children in the world do not own even one pair of shoes? I Googled that question and tried to find a page that would even venture an educated guess, and I could not find anything.

So I asked the question on Wiki Answers. I haven't gotten an answer yet, but you can see it here if you want.

It's interesting how just a few months ago, we were reading all over about how poor the nation of Haiti is, we read how their food prices went up and people in that nation are eating cookies made out of dirt. The average yearly salary in Haiti is $60. Sixty dollars. A year.

Now, of course, Haiti is in the news again because they were hit over and over again by storm after hurricane after storm. Just in the past month, they've endured 4 different storms.

The people of Haiti are impoverished. They are hungry, thirsty, and hot. Many Haitians have little or no clothing, most of them have no shoes. Many of them are in spiritual bondage, practicing the religion of Voodoo, which is terrifying if you know anything about their practices.


Haiti has a special place in my heart because we have 2 cousins who live there. Patricia and Philippe are my little loves that aren't home yet. They are Dawn and Lee's kids, in the process of adoption (a very long process...). I love these two children with a passion that is indescribable. And they're not even mine! Patricia and Philippe have been touched by hunger, thirst, heat, and lack of clothing. And, they have been touched by evil.

They are currently in a fabulous Christian orphanage, with food and water, clothes and shoes. And school. And Bible lessons. With a family waiting for them.

Can you say, BEAU-TEE-FUL???!!!

P&P are safe and having their needs met, thanks to the wonderful people who support and run their orphanage. But there are still many outside their gates that are in the street, shoeless so their parents can afford to buy them food, even when that food is dirt cakes.

I am honored to be a part of a brand-new organization that is desiring to live out these verses. We are trying to see this need, and think "I can DO something about that!" and then MOVE.


The Flip Flop Fleet's mission is "To collect and distribute flip flops and sandals to those in need so no parent has to choose between feeding their children or getting them shoes."

The Flip Flop Fleet is Gospel-centered to the core. Providing physical needs in the name of Jesus, with prayer in each pair of shoes, knowing that little feet will inhabit each and every pair.

There is a special opportunity RIGHT now that YOU can help with, all over the US. In one or two weeks, this opportunity will be gone, so now is the time to MOVE.

It is the end of summer, so many stores are clearancing out their summer shoes/flips. WALGREENS (which are everywhere!) has kids' flip-flops that were originally $1.99, for 75% off.

That's $.50/each!

But WAIT, there's MORE!! (Do I sound like a cheesy infomercial yet??!!)

If you go in to your local Walgreens, ask to speak to the manager, tell them about what we're doing, and just simply ASK, there's a good chance that they will agree to selling the flips to you for .$25 each. I say this because so far we've been in about 8 different stores, and have not had a single manager even bat an eye at the request. "Absolutely" "Yes, definitely!" and "You're actually doing ME a favor by getting these off my shelves!" were just a few of the answers we got today.

I bought 24 pairs of flip flops today for $6. For 48 little feet.

If any of you feel a little tug on your heart, and have a Walgreens near you, we would LOVE to have you join us. Email me at alattetalk (at) gmail (dot) com or comment below if you're interested in jumping on board our fleet!

Thanks!

Matthew 25:35-40 (New International Version)

'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Monday, September 15, 2008

FF Theme

Chicken.

Boiled, fried, braised, rotisserie, grilled, baked, crock-pot-ed, broiled, or sauteed.

A Fun little giveaway

My very first giveaway. A little spontaneous...

I mentioned in this post about our favorite new story Bible. It's called The Jesus Storybook Bible, subtitled "Every story whispers His name".

It is so great. It's really not a Bible, in the true sense. It's an extremely simplified and augmented storybook to explain and make the stories real at a child's level.

We love it, the kids love it, and it always strikes up the most fantastic spiritual conversations. AND the illustrations are excellent. I highly recommend it.

So, leave a comment and Saturday morning I'll draw a random winner.

And, even if you don't have a blog, you can still leave a comment with your name and a way to get ahold of you.

Have fun!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

You have to see it to believe it

You know, it's times like this... One kid is throwing up while another kid is pooping, and the third kid is feeling fine, but crying [read: screaming] because she's afraid she'll throw up, too- times like this that I think, "No one ever told us about this [part of parenting]!"

-Mocha Man



Yeah, but, if they had told us, would we have believed them?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Foody Friday - Lunches


Lunch. I simply do not have any good ideas. I sure hope that you, my faithful Foody followers, will add your ideas because I simply don't do exciting lunches around here.

I'm a dinner girl. I'll gladly spend hours preparing a fabulous dinner, while I'll throw bread crumbs at the kids for lunch.

Well, it's not THAT bad. Leftover meat in a tortilla with cheese and salsa, leftover whatever from last night, PB&J, Pitas and hummus, scrambled eggs, occasionally Mac and Cheese or Broccoli Mac, like this one.

But I'm so glad that Shari suggested this theme, because apparently, I really need it, as I look in my fridge and cupboards at the lunch ideas.

I'll offer one recipe idea. Smoothies.

In a blender, put yogurt, frozen berries, and agave, honey or sugar to taste.

Add what you want: orange segments or juice, soy milk, bananas, flax seed powder, wheat germ, spinach, grated carrots, apples and cinnamon, or ... use your imagination!

We've tried all of the ingredients above at different times, and all have been yummy.

Seriously, I could put dirt in there and the kids would go, "SMOOTHIE! YUMMY!" and they would down them.

Last winter when it was like 50 below zero (wind chill) (not kidding) (ok, maybe I'm exaggerating) (but not by much), we put on hawaiian costumes and swimsuits and watched a movie and put out beach towels in front of the fire and talked about how hot it was outside, then made smoothies. We had a BLAST. Just tuck that in the back of your mind, to escape the winter blues in, oh, say, 3 weeks.

Or should I say, 3 days? Our CSA farm reported this week having 2 nights of frost already, so our zucchini and cukes are gone :( Boohoo.

Anyway. I sure hope some of you have ideas that beat mine.




Wednesday, September 10, 2008

But for the grace of God...

Hearing about tragedies always always causes me to think about how life is so fleeting. How we don't know what will happen tomorrow, or even 5 seconds from now. I imagine people going about their daily lives, not having any idea that life is about to drastically change. Or end. It causes me to ponder the Sovereignty of God. The goodness of God.

There have been many tragedies for me to ponder. They seem to go in waves, where I hear about one tragedy after another. Freak accidents. Children with cancer who Jesus heals in heaven instead of on earth. A child with a harmless ear infection turned meningitis. Millions of impoverished people with no food and water, in the wake of 4 storms, one on top of another.

It is staggering to me how many tragedies involving children I have heard of in the past several months.

Especially in the world of blogging, you don't have to look too hard or long to find a website with a gazillion hits every day from complete strangers, watching and caring about a sick child or sick mommy. There are SO many people that are hurting. Deep, wrenching, heart-splitting sobbing kind of hurting.

I have to say that I am scared to death to post the following story. I'm not altogether sure I'm ready to share it with the world. But Someone is drawing me to, and so I will. But know that I have a big fat pit in my stomach as I hit "Publish Post".

Early this summer, on a Sunday after church, we drove up to our home. It was the first hot day, at 84 degrees outside. I was in a fog (I had a terrible headache), in a rush (we were hungry), really stressed (that evening, Matt and I were both performing in a recital, and we had yet to secure a babysitter for our kids), and generally, we were just out of our element. Not at all acting or feeling like ourselves.

We went about our business, rushing around to get lunch ready, I was on and off the phone with several potential babysitters, and some friends, trying to nail down exactly what we would do with our children that night for the recital. 20 minutes passed, with all of us going everywhere all at the same time. Can you imagine the scene? It was chaos.

All of a sudden, it hit me like a load of bricks. "Where's Isaac?". I hung up on my friend.

Matt: I don't know. Didn't you put him in bed? I thought you put him in bed.

Me: NO. I did NOT put him in bed.


PANIC. Chaos. I ran upstairs to confirm that I wasn't crazy. No, I didn't put him in bed.

My heart was racing and my chest hurt. We had been outside. Were the gates open and he wandered off? I didn't remember having seen Isaac in a long time.

Then, it occurred to me that I didn't remember seeing Isaac AT ALL since we got home.

(a horrid thought)
Me: Did we get him out of the CAR??!!

Matt: I think so?... I'll check.

Matt ran outside, and as I glanced out the window I was so. relieved. to see my poor sweet baby boy, being unbuckled and lifted out of the car by my no-color-left-in-his-face husband. Isaac was drenched in sweat, and when Matt handed him to me, he just flopped down on me like a doll. He didn't look well. His skin was bright red.

My relief turned to panic again. I whipped off his clothes and went and got the thermometer.

98.9. "He's fine. It was only 20 minutes. He's fine. He's fine."

He's fine. My boy was fine. But his Mama wasn't.

I have re-lived that scene and every potential could-have-been scene related to it. I have been angry at myself. Angry at my husband. I told him right after this happened, "I can't decide if I want to hug you or strangle you!" I was so upset that day, I actually threw up. And then had to go perform in a recital (something I hadn't done since college!). Suddenly performing felt like nothing.

My son was fine. But we could have killed him. By the grace of God, he was fine.

That awful scene with a "happy" ending has haunted me. Since then, I have been fearful about things I'm not normally fearful of. Soon after this happened, while I was backing out of a parking spot, I ran over a crack in the blacktop and the car bumped a little bit. I had this flash of the idea that it was a child, and I panicked. I pulled back in, even though I realized it was nothing. And I shook. And cried. I had to get out of the car and breathe some fresh air to get my body to stop shaking.

It's just so humbling, and brings me to my knees when I become so keenly aware of how life is a vapor. We are here for such a short time, and the truth is, we don't know how long. We don't know what tomorrow holds.

But for the grace of God, Isaac would have been out in that car all afternoon. I shudder. to. even. write. those. words.

But it's happened. We've all heard the stories.

But for the grace of God, we'd all be dead. That sounds so incredibly morbid and depressing. Until you add in the fact that God delights in us, delights in our Praise. Has plans to prosper us. And he Loves us with a perfect Love that is keeping us alive!

It's just such a different perspective... If it weren't for God's grace, we'd be dead. Let's see... I'm alive. Praise God! I'm alive!

That day in the spring, in my heart, a relatively loose grip on my children turned into a vice grip. I feared almost every day that something might happen to them. As I've preached to myself and let the Bible preach to me these past several days, I am loosening my grip again on my children. They are God's children first. God has entrusted them to me for a little while. But they are His.

So. Instead of worry. I'm pushing hard after the TRUE meaning of life. I'm passionate about following hard after Christ, trusting in my heart of hearts that He is in control and that I need not worry.

Not that this is the end of the story. It's going to be daily, "Lord, they're yours." "Lord, they're YOURS." It's a mother's heart's tendency to hold on. We need to be letting go.

Last night we read the Passion story out of our favorite new children's Bible story book, which does a fantastic job writing explanations of what's going on in the story. This version of Jesus in the garden before his arrest is so moving. It took us 15 minutes to get through a few short pages because there were so many questions from the girls, and there were many tears. There is NOTHING like a story falling on little ears with soft hearts to prick this old heart of mine.

"Mommy, WHY is he so sad?" "Because he knows he's going to die soon" (tears)

"Mommy, WHY does he ask God to let him not die?" "Because it's going to be very painful, and God is going to turn his back on Jesus while he dies, because he can't look on sin" (tears)

"But, Mommy, Jesus didn't sin!" "I know. It's our sin that God is turning his back on." (tears)

THIS is life. THIS is what I'm here for. THIS is WHO I'm here for. Not for myself or for my children, or my husband. I let go of that grip, put myself in the loving hands of Jesus and... ahhh.

There is great Joy.




Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sportin' a new look

I'm seriously giddy about the new look. And, I hear that blue and brown is the new pink and brown. Ain't it cute?

I used up an entire quiet time of Taz's to create the header, so now I'm behind on life.

But, ain't it cute?

Teehee.

I will have a real, thought-out, actual post for you tomorrow. My heart has been in "pondering the depths and purposes of life" mode in recent days.

I'm just sayin'. Don't tell me I didn't warn you.

Monday, September 8, 2008

FF Theme

Foody Friday TWO weeks in a row, can you stand it?

This week, my honorary Theme-picker-Foody-Friday-Groupie is Shari.

She requested lunch ideas. This could be unique lunchbox ideas, or it could be lunch-at-home ideas. Easily put together, or easily packed, or... both.

I have to say that I'm going to have to think long and hard about this one. We eat either peanut butter and jelly or black beans out of a can almost every day for lunch. Maybe I'll just turn it over to all of you for inspiration.

*I'm joking about the black beans out of a can. I WOULD eat black beans out of a can, but I don't generally serve it to my children for lunch. Which leaves us with... Peanut Butter and Jelly. That's pretty much it.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Serious. Randomness.

I will go in order, from the most pure, beautiful news I have, to the most offensive.

Starting with the lovely.

How much cuter COULD you get on your first day of school?

Who am I kidding? That is a stupid question, considering my audience is a bunch of moms with kids they think are just as cute.

You're all brainwashed, you know.

Corene hereby loves school. She adjusted to her teacher and classroom in 5 seconds flat, which in and of itself proves there is a God. And I'm not at all being sarcastic. God has indeed blessed us.

____________________________________________________________________

Secondly. A miracle has happened. I think I might actually decide that I like a political figure (a sentence that in and of itself sounds like an oxymoron, since I don't think I've ever really liked a politician before).

Sarah Palin has OBVIOUSLY demonstrated proper baby-grooming technique, which her daughter has learned perfectly. This little gem of a snippet was caught during Palin's convention speech:


I've watched that video like 17 times. I giggle and slap my knee like an idiot every time.

SHE'S SO STINKIN' CUTE.

____________________________________________________________________

I am heading to bed somewhat early tonight because I cleaned up puke all day and it will not surprise me if I have to sanitize a crib tonight in the middle of the night.

I've often wondered to myself, "What would happen if my kids ever actually got hold of one of those sippy cups of milk that rolled under the couch and sat for 4 days before I noticed it? What would happen if one of them actually drank it?"

Well, I can now answer that question with all authority. It will make them sick. They will throw up on you and all of your belongings multiple times all day long.

Just leave it to Taz to like the taste of spoiled, bacteria-laden milk. He handed me the stinky sippy cup that he got from who-knows-where approximately 3 hours before he first got sick and said, "More".

Good night.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Foody Friday - Quicky Healthy


Oh, crazy Fall. It is here. This was my schedule today:

8:45 Corene at school (1st day of Kindergarten, WOOHOO and BOOHOO, all at the same time!)

Go home and clean up, play with the kids, wash and put away 2 loads laundry

11:30 Pick Corene up

12:00 Celebratory lunch of Jimmy Johns (YUM) with Aunt Sarah and Uncle Bernhard.

1:30 Well child doctor visits for Corene and Ava. No shots, phew.
This appointment was with a new pediatricians office, so we were there for 2. hours.

4:00 Corene's 1st Irish Dance Class.

5:30 Impromptu invitation to go out with Sarah and Bernhard again for Chinese (DOUBLE YUM), where in a family trip to the bathroom, Taz threw himself down, with utmost drama, face-first on the floor of the bathroom (for no apparent reason, it seems this is what Taz's do for fun in dirty public places). When I peeled the boy off the floor, I noticed a big wet mark right there on the floor of the bathroom that was the size and shape of a TONGUE.

I did a little bit of dry-heaving for good measure before I toted him OUT of there.

**INSERT BLUSH BELOW**
7:00 Trip to Dairy Queen to satisfy bribery employed in dance class to help motivate certain child to be brave and go out on huge dance floor and dance, when the teacher was a man (this is a very big deal in our world), and all the other kids in her class were twice her size (I'm guessing age 16, 12 and 12). She did it, was brave, and... um, earned herself a sugar bomb. Not to mention that in 60 minutes of bravery, she fell in love with Irish dance. I'd say the 57 grams of pure unadulterated sugar was worth it.

Hopefully she won't completely crash tomorrow in day 2 of Kindergarten.

Hopefully I won't completely crash on day 2 of Kindergarten, and, like, forget to go pick her up.

Now. Y'all. This is not a typical day. Oh no. The food of 3 different eating establishments entered my mouth today. That is nigh unheard of in my world. I've had my eat-out quota fulfilled for quite some time.

I need some good, fast, healthy, recipes to make, because although I won't have a crazy marathon day of firsts like today very often, our schedule will be plenty full of running around, and not so full of time to spend in the kitchen. So we need recipes!!

Recipes like this, compliments of Cousin Kathie in Denver:

Put chicken (I use skinless boneless breasts, but you could use a cup of leftover cut-up chicken) in the crock pot. Add a can of black beans, a cup of frozen corn, and a cup of salsa. Cook on high 3-4 hours o low 6-8 hours. Serve with cheese in tortillas or over rice.

Pizza: use halved bagels, french bread, pita bread, etc. Spread that leftover spaghetti sauce on. Add cheese and whatever toppings you have on hand. Or use leftover cooked chicken and BBQ sauce with cheddar cheese. Bake in oven till cheese bubbles.


Or this one, which sounded too good to leave in my comments, from Becky in Columbus (the wife of my childhood BFF's brother, and who also happens to be my brother's childhood BFF's wife. Got that?) :

Veggie Quesadillas

sliced veggies - peppers, onions, mushrooms
black beans - drained and rinsed
sliced green onions
white cheddar cheese or pepperjack
hot sauce
whole grain tortilla wraps
salsa & sour cream for toppings

1. saute chopped veggies (peppers, onions, mushrooms...whatever veggies you've got or like)
2. assemble quesadilla - sauteed veggies, black beans, sliced green onions, desired amount of hot sauce & cheese.
3. cook quesadilla in skillet or in George Foreman grill.
4. garnish with salsa & sour cream if desired.

***if you have leftover grilled chicken, throw it in for a little extra protein


When I'm short on time but want a healthy delicious meal, I usually either:

  • Make this type of "Jenny creation" meal, basically pasta, pesto, tomatoes, spinach, cheese, and whatever else calls my name. This is a weekly staple at my house.
  • Freezer meal, something that I have made previously and frozen (this will be a FF theme soon, a theme near and dear to my heart).
  • or a crockpot meal (I use this more in the winter), something I can assemble in the morning, and basically just scoop out when it's time to eat.
  • Buy a cooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and put it in the middle of the table and give everyone a fork. I'm kidding. But, that's not a bad idea, eh?
Here is a recipe that is easy to make, with one caveat: you must make your own meatballs, and for me this is much easier to do ahead of time. So I don't follow the recipe completely, I put pre-made, homemade, frozen meatballs in the broth. Or, if you don't mind MSG, use the premade ones from the grocery store. Although, homemade ones taste 10,000 times better. You just have to put the time in to making them ahead.

ENOUGH rambling.

Albondigas (Mexican meatball soup)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 quart water
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 2 small potatoes, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa, medium or hot
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/3 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • chopped fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large stock pot, bring water, carrots, potatoes, onion, salsa, and bouillon cubes to a boil. Reduce to a medium simmer, stirring occasionally, approximately 10 minutes.
  2. Mix the beef, breadcrumbs, and milk together in a bowl. Form into 1-inch meatballs, and drop into boiling broth. Once soup returns to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low.
  3. Cover and cook 20 minutes, or until meatballs are no longer pink in center and vegetables are tender. Serve with sprinkled cilantro for garnish.

I'm banking on the fact that THOUSANDS of you are going to come out and share your culinary wisdom with me, so I will explain the rules on how to play:

  • Write a post on your blog with a recipe you love, including a link in your post to A Latte Talk.
  • Come here and link with Mr Linky to your blog (write your name AND the name of your recipe in parenthesis in the name line). Enter the URL of your actual blog post, not the general blog URL.
  • Leave a comment!
That's it, piece of cake and lots of fun.

Happy Foody Friday!


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back in the saddle

FOODY FRIDAY! I miss it, do you? Tell me you do.

Lets start 'er up again this week.

With school starting (both for our kids and for Matt and I as teachers), the schedule around here is looking a little daunting... and I'm a little afraid we're going to be resorting to chicken nuggets and hot dogs and mac and cheese alllllll too often.

So the theme this week will be quick and healthy meals. Meals that can be thrown together made in a limited amount of time, say 20 minutes or less.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labors Day

This post is a fun little meme from Rocks about me (me), and my labors, well, because it's Labor Day.

I know, sometimes blogs seem so self-centered. I try not to always be writing about me. But, today, I am.

How long were your labors?

#1 - 9hours, 15 minutes of pushing

#2 - 1.5 hours, cough, didn't push, cough*.

#3 - 3 hours, 3 pushes. That's poetic.

*This child came out of me with the water when the midwife donned the big crochet needle (props to Missy). It was Ava's very first waterslide. And, really, I did not push. I SCREAMED, oh yes I screamed. But didn't push.

**Please, don't hate me for this. Trust me. My close friends know that along with babies leaving your body this fast, come consequences. Ahem.

How did you know you were in labor?

#1 - Water breaking

#2 - 10 minutes of mild contractions followed by sudden STRONG contractions that sent me to the hospital quick. (See above for how quick)

#3 - After doing the "bumping down the stairs"* maneuver earlier in the evening, at midnight I was awakened by my water breaking.

*This maneuver is pretty self-explanatory. My brother, a doctor, suggested we go on a bumpy car ride to get things shaking. Matt said, "Why don't you just bump down the stairs on your rear. Won't that do the same thing?"

So, like a crazy chica(and you all know that any miserable, huge, dying-for-labor-pains-mama-to-be IS indeed a crazy chica), I bumped down the stairs on my bum.

In front of my father-in-law.

3 times.

Hey, don't laugh. It WORKED!

I will show you my technique some time if you ask me to.


Where did you deliver?

#1 - North Memorial

#2, 3 - Methodist

Drugs?

Nope.

But don't get me wrong. I am NOT one of those militant no-drugs mamas. I am thankful that I was able to have natural births, I did want it that way.

And, yeah, the fact that I had torpedo babies helped me out just a wee bit.

But if I had any longer, more difficult births, I would have been all over that epidural.

C-section?

No, thankfully.

Who delivered?

A doctor for #1, midwives for #2,3.

OK, I better go read the (so far) 184 labors day stories on Rocks in my Dryer.

Shhh... my family thinks I'm napping...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Next year, I'm starting in June

This past Monday morning, I sat down at my email, with my latte in hand. Little did I know I was about to open an email that would change our year. It for sure changed my week.

It was an email saying that Corene had been called off the waiting list (she started at #11) for a school that was our #1 choice of a charter school for her to attend. It's close by and a very good school. There was no way we could turn it down.

Hello, heartbeat. Hello, hyperventilation. Hello paper bag. It's 9 days before school begins and we're switching schools.

Our uniforms were already purchased (new school=different plaid, different colors)

Thankfully, the uniforms were returnable.

Our school supplies were already purchased (new teacher=different supplies)

*Note: How different would you think school supplies would be from school to school?? Answer: A LOT different. We had to return almost everything (thank goodness for Target's receipt look up with your credit card!!) and purchase completely different supplies.

But, let me just say that by August 28, 99% of the children of America had purchased their school supplies. And Target only stocks enough school supplies for 98% of the children in my area.

Which means instead of Crayola classic colored pencils, Corene is bringing NEON pencils.
Instead of PlayDoh, Corene is bringing Crayola dough.

We cheated and purchased RoseArt products where Crayola (the required brand) was out.

Kindergarten supply lists of 2008 look like the supply lists for the UofM's ART101 class. Paint and modeling clay and paint shirts and sketch pads. All with specific brands required.

After trips to Target. And Michael's. And Walgreens. And Rainbow Foods. The supply list is all crossed off. Corene was my little secretary, making sure each thing was inventoried, categorized and placed in it's proper receptacle.

I almost had her make me an Excel spreadsheet.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Kindergarten was NOT like this when we were kids.

It's intense.

And we can't. wait.

All of this craziness was 100% worth it.

I am so excited for her.

Dang it

Excuse my language. I took the most-est HI-larious video of Isaac today, from my cellphone, of course, it turned out perfectly, uploaded onto my computer fine, but none of the upload options give it good sound. It's so bad, actually, that all you can hear is the very loudest parts, and it sounds like banging. I can hear it fine on my computer. But Blogger video and YouTube both had the same problem. I even tried sending it directly from my phone to YouTube, and SAME. PROBLEM.

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH.

I wanted to post it. So. bad.

Blogging is a swirling vortex of terror in my head right now. I am going to post this ridiculous post right now and then sit down and write about something that matters.

See you in an hour or so.