my adventures

There was a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good, she was very good indeed, but when she was bad, she was horrid.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Nonconventional Christmas list

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine;
Love was born at Christmas;
Star and angels gave the sign.
~Christina Rossetti


This year is the first one that Alex has really "gotten" Christmas.  He has been so excited - to get our tree, to put up the Christmas lights, to play with the manger scene, etc, etc.  Today the first presents appeared under the tree and it has been TORTURE for him.  I'm totally convinced that you don't really appreciate Christmas until you have kids.  But this post isn't about all that...

I asked Alex what he wanted for Christmas.  He told me that he wanted "a toy".  I'm pretty sure this will be the last year presents for him are so easy.  Next year I'm sure he will have a long, very specific list.  And if he's anything like his mother, it will be color-coded and sortable by several columns and available in a variety of media.  And if he's anything like his father, it will include a price-comparison analysis of several major retailers and detailed specifications regarding why it has to be THIS EXACT MODEL.

On a side note, Alex did volunteer that Mark wants a little donkey for Christmas.  (I'm not sure where he comes up with this stuff except that we've been reading the Christmas story and singing this song which I link to mainly because the camel cracks me up.)  Conveniently, a while back, I saw a Craigslist ad for a "Real Nice Donkey" that I could purchase for $500 or trade for something worth $500.  I'm sure the donkey will fit in nicely in the backyard with the dog and stegosaurus.




Because my son was not specific about what he wants for Christmas, I have created a Christmas list for him.  He didn't mention any of these items but, because of the amount of time he spends playing with these types of things, I know he would be totally delighted to receive any of them.

1. Box - any size
2. Rock - again any size
3. Stick - preferably large
4. Cooking tongs
5. Laundry basket - preferably large enough to get in
6. Vegetable steamer basket
7. Rolling pin
8. Tupperware or Gladware - any sizes, with or without lids

I provide this list as a joke but it occurs to me that there are those (Nancy, Michael, I'm looking at you) who would actually give these things to my son.  And, while he'll be delighted, I'm going to think it's a little strange.

Have a terrific Christmas!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Stegosaurus-related conversations with Alex

“Man, I so sick of dinosaurs. They wasn't extinct, I'd go out an' kill 'em myself.”   ~Lawrence Block
 
Alex: Quick, quick, we gotta hide.  A stegosaurus is coming!
Me: Really?  Where is it?
Alex: Oh, that's not a stegosaurus, that's Doggie.
Me: What a relief!



Alex: Mommy, there's a stegosaurus under my bed!!
Me: I can say with reasonable certainty, there's not.  Go to sleep.



Alex: Quick, quick, we gotta hide.  A stegosaurus is coming!
Me: If there is, in fact, a stegosaurus roaming along Mill Plain Boulevard tonight, I'm taking it's picture.
Jeff:  If there's a stegosaurus around here, we're taking it home.  And we're not turning it in or anything like that.  We're going to keep it and make a million dollars.
Me: Who would you turn a stegosaurus in to?  The Humane Society?  Animal control?
Jeff: It doesn't matter.  We're not turning it in.
Me: We have enough trouble picking up dog poop.  You really think a stegosaurus is a good idea?
Jeff: That's a good point.



Me: Quick, quick, get out of the tub.  A stegosaurus is coming!
Alex: No, Mommy, there's not.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ambiguous Acronyms

“brb, ttyl ok? wow, i saved a 'ton' of time with those acronyms.”   ~Stephen Colbert
I picked up this flyer at play school recently:


Apparently FISH is an acronym (though no one seems to know what it stands for) for a charitable organization that collects food.  I'm glad I checked because this is what I was going to donate:


I picked this up at Kahneeta last weekend:


There were two of these originally.  I used one, liked it and brought the other one home.  But then I began to wonder: "Is it LA Fresh, the letters L and A like Los Angeles or La Fresh like La Pine or La Center?"  It's not a big deal but if I'm going to ask if Target carries this brand of makeup remover, I don't want to sound like an idiot.

And, while I'm on the subject, I don't begin to understand why those towns are called "La Pine" and "La Center".  How does it make sense to combine the Spanish feminine word for "the" with "pine" and "center"?  I would really like to know what the people who named these towns were thinking.

And again, while I'm on the subject, where do you stand on the toiletries provided by hotels?  I am usually of the "use some while I'm there but leave it all behind when I leave" school of thinking (the obvious exception being the recent makeup remover wipes).  Jeff, on the other hand, is of the "use the bare minimum so we can pack it all up and drag it back home with us" school.  It's not a point of friction in our marriage or anything, I just think he's crazy.

Finally, here is a recent Facebook conversation that took place between some of my friends and I that seemed to fit in nicely with the theme of this post.  "TCC" for those of you not aware stands for "The Country Church."


Major shout-out to my Mom: you're the best!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hot Water, Family and Clean Clothes

“There is profundity to explore, but also laundry to do.” ~Bruce Feiler, The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me
This past weekend we actually had plans.  We rarely have plans but, since we did, there was, of course, a major catastrophe.  Last Wednesday my washer died.  I thought it was a small, fixable injury but it wasn't.  And, of course, there were no clean clothes.  So on Thursday I did a massive amount of laundry at my neighbor's house (God bless her).  And on Friday we took off to Eastern Oregon.

We went to Kahneeta, swam and played and had a very good time.  Here's a picture of Alex at Kahneeta:
Then we went to my Uncle's house.  My cousin Dennis leaves for the Navy at the end of the month.  Here is a picture of him with my Uncle John (his Dad) and our Great Uncle Bill.  My beautiful Great Aunt Joyce is in the background:
Here's a picture of Alex playing with corn cobs (gross, gross, gross).  You had to hold onto your corn because he would take it away before you were done if you weren't watching:
Here's a picture of Mom and Mark and me that I like because we're all smiling:
And here's a picture of the whole family (everyone who counts that is, there are others but they didn't show up for the festivities so I've crossed them off my Christmas list):
No, I'm not crying.  I don't know why it looks that way.
And, finally, here's a picture of the new washer we bought when we got home:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A trip down Highway 99

"If you still persist in writing, "Good food at it's best", you deserve to be struck by lightning, hacked up on the spot and buried in an unmarked grave."     ~Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

The Grammatically Correct Tagger loaded her offspring and camera into the car earlier this week to take care of some things that had been bothering her:



I choose to believe that the "U R" is due to a lack of letters rather than laziness or the bringing of text-speak to signage.  I'm probably wrong but thinking this way makes me feel better.  After taking care of business at this establishment, I drove away quickly to avoid the salesperson who was rushing toward my car.  That seemed simpler than trying to explain what I was doing there.

Let me preface the next picture by saying that we eat regularly at the restaurant to which this sign belongs.  The waitresses recognize us; in fact, one waved to me as I drove in to their parking lot to take this picture. 


Because I like this restaurant's breakfasts, I will acknowledge the possibility that this sign's creator meant to say "Best Pie Is In the County" and is correctly using "Pie's", a contraction of the words "Pie" and "Is".  Because the phrase appears in quotation marks on the sign, there is also the possibility that it is a quote.  Perhaps this restaurant was reviewed in a newspaper and the journalist writing the article misplaced the apostrophe.  I would like to think that journalists, or at least their editors, would know about proper apostrophe positioning but, it's possible, they don't.  While these are valid options, the most likely scenario is that the apostrophe was incorrectly placed in a plural word which is why the sign has drawn the attention of the GCT.



Monday, September 26, 2011

Is that a wildebeast?

“I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.”   ~Anna Quindlen
One of my original ideas when I started this blog was to do regular "What are you reading" posts which would include reviews of the books I was reading and, hopefully, comments from readers about books they recommended.  I was feeling a little bad about this because the only books I've talked about in my blog, so far, have been children's books.  Then I realized that is because the majority of the reading I've been doing lately has been kid's books.  I did recently read 2 books age-appropriate for me which hopefully I'll be able to review soon but, for now, more children's "literature":

Dinosaur Roar! used to be Alex's favorite book.  (He has since moved on to The Cat in the Hat.)  For months we read it every night before bed.


The last page of this book looks like this:



When we got to this page, Alex would point to each dinosaur and asks "What's dat?"  At first I would answer, "It's a dinosaur," "It's a dinosaur," "It's a dinosaur"...but that soon got old (keep in mind we read this book EVERY NIGHT).  So, I started answering like this: "I think it's a cow," "Is that a chicken?" "Maybe it's a horse."  To which Alex would respond every time: "No, dat's not a <<insert appropriate farm animal here>>, dat's a dinosaur."  (It's impressive to me that he can pronounce "dinosaur" but has trouble with "that".) 

Soon, however, the speculation regarding farm animals grew boring to me (again, it was EVERY FREAKING NIGHT).  So I started coming up with more and more obscure animals and intentionally choosing words I knew he would struggle to pronounce: "I think it's a wildebeast," "Is that a platypus?" "Maybe it's a wallabee."  And my sweet boy, every time would answer, "No, dat's not a <<insert obscure, mispronounced animal here>>, dat's a dinosaur."

And so, for your entertainment and mine, I had Jeff film us reading this book.  (God bless my husband for keeping me mostly out of the video.)  Alex is humoring me here because he really wants to watch a show on TV so I zip through most of the book to get to the last page.  For your amusement:

video

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Wiley Rinonsaskwintz and Quaker Wake

"There are two kinds of travel: first class and with children."   ~Julian Barnes


We took a crazy road trip with two small children.  It started Thursday late afternoon and ended in the very early hours of Saturday morning.  Here's a map of our route:



We drove from home (point 1) to Roseburg (point 2) Thursday evening.  Friday morning we left our hotel, visited Wildlife Safari (point 3), drove around Crater Lake (point 4) and returned home.  It was about a 600 mile trip and fortunately we had the rest of the weekend to recover.  Here's a recap:

Friday morning we met my parents for breakfast in Roseburg and then, with them, went to the Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon.  It was far and away the best animal-related venue I've ever been to. 

When I quizzed Alex about the animals we saw, he told me we saw big, stinky cows (yes) and big pigs (no) and a "rinonsaskwintz" (I'm not sure what that is).  Here is a mosaic of what we actually did see:



There were also lions, tigers, rhinoceroses (rhinoceri?), wildebeasts, cheetahs, several different kinds of antelope and many other species that I've forgotten.  Sadly no rinonsaskwintz. 

After leaving Wildlife Safari and saying goodbye to my parents, my husband decided that we should drive to Crater Lake.  According to the map he'd found online this would add about 30 minutes to our total drive.  The map lied.  We did get there eventually though and Crater Lake was amazing.  Alex kept calling it "Quaker Wake".  Jeff, who feels like proper pronunciation is tied with cleanliness in the pursuit of godliness, kept correcting him but it cracked me up and made me think of this:



I didn't see a water skiing Quaker however.  Here's what I did see.  The photos look almost fake but it really is that beautiful:



Please note: Jeff's and my cheesy grins are a result of wondering when the camera was going to stop flashing and take our picture.  It was the 1st time we'd experimented with the delay feature on our camera.

We got home around 12:45am Saturday morning.  My boys were great travelers which is encouraging because I've been thinking about Yellowstone for next summer...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Seriously, MiniMart?

"Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese."   ~G.K. Chesterton (Alarms and Discursions) 


On Saturday, my friend Nancy and I went garage saling saleing to a bunch of garage sales.  We stopped at a local MiniMart for sustenance and I waited in the car while Nancy ran in.  Here is a recreation (I didn't have my camera) of the homemade sign on the MiniMart window that was directly in front of my car:


There are so many things wrong with this that the Grammatically Correct Tagger doesn't know where to start.  (Nancy did point out that I'm just a virtual tagger which makes me feel like a slightly wimpy superhero - like AquaMan kinda, what real powers did he have anyway? - but I'm not ready to face the possibility of arrest even if what I'm doing is for the good of society.)

After wrestling with all the issues presented by the MiniMart's sign, this is what I came up with:

Friday, September 2, 2011

Scatological Studies


"And now I've got to explain the smell that was in there before I went in there. Does that ever happen to you? It's not your fault. You've held your breath, you just wanna get out, and now you open the door and you have to explain, 'Oh! Listen, there's an odor in there and I didn't do it. It's bad."    ~Ellen DeGeneres (My Point...And I Do Have One)


I googled "why do we call them a pair of pants when they're only 1 item" earlier and found this website which entertained me for about an hour.  The answer to the pants question is here in case you're wondering.

In my studies I learned the following things which, upon final inspection, all fall into the category of bathroom humor.  This was not my intention.  My only explanation is that my recent focus on potty training has somehow warped my subconsious.  I have to get out more.

1. Symbols of the sun and moon were used on outhouse doors in Colonial times (when only a small portion of the population could read) to indicate whether the outhouse was for men or women.  Sun = mens' room.  Moon = womens'.  Because the facilities for the ladies were better maintained, the sun symbol was eventually lost.  This is why outhouse doors traditionally have a half moon carved in the door.

2. Before toilet paper was invented, the following items were used:
   - Corn Cobs
   - Mussel shells
   - the Sears catalog
   - Books of poetry
(Yikes, thank God I'm living now and not then.)

3. Noticeable drops in water pressure, attributed to mass usage of bathrooms across the city, have occurred in New York during the commercials of the following television programs:
   - the last episode of M*A*S*H
   - the Academy Awards
   - the 1st moon walk

4. Though not conclusively proven, it is likely that the "g" in "G-string" stands for "girdle."

5.  It is practically impossible to catch a disease from sitting on a public toilet seat.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Erma said it best

A series of quotes from Erma Bombeck that feel relevant to my life:


"Housework can kill you if done right."

"Sometimes I can't figure designers out. It's as if they flunked human anatomy."

"When a child is locked in the bathroom with water running and he says he's doing nothing but the dog is barking, call 911."

"If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it."

"No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed. I have known mothers who remake the bed after their children do it because there is wrinkle in the spread or the blanket is on crooked. This is sick."

"All of us have moments in out lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with a white carpet is one of them. "

"Humor is a spontaneous, wonderful bit of an outburst that just comes. It's unbridled, it’s unplanned, it's full of suprises."

"In two decades I've lost a total of 789 pounds. I should be hanging from a charm bracelet."

"Anybody who watches three games of football in a row should be declared brain dead. "

"Enter my first neighbor - a woman who spoke in complete, coherent sentences, who ate with a knife and fork and who only cried at weddings. I couldn't help myself. In a dramatic gesture, I bolted the door and threw my body across it to prevent her exit. She understood."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hair, Hooked and Harry


"Everything is funny, if you can laugh at it."   ~Lewis Carroll

I could have blogged about my son's birth - Alex, not Mark, because his birthday was over the weekend and I was thinking about the goodness of God to me.  And I could have blogged about all the apples that my Mom and I sauced and buttered and dried and froze today.  But I'm not because, yet again, I've been distracted by the internet.

So, because I like the sentiment at the end of the video and because I want my own bike if I'm ever to ride off into the sunset:



And because literal videos and the Hoff make me laugh.  (Please throw a fish at me!)



And because sometimes you just feel like dancing.  (Go ahead, try and watch this one and not do a little boogie in your chair.  I dare you.)


Have a great one!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My big boy turns 3!

"Is it my birthday again? Already? Where does the time go?" "Behind us --or in front. It depends on which way you are looking."   ~David Eddings (Belgarath the Sorcerer)



Alex's 3rd birthday was this past weekend.  Here is a collage of pictures of him - going clockwise from the top left: Day 1, 1 Year, 2 Years, 3 Years.



Here's a picture from right after he blew out his candles.  He's saying "More fire!"



And finally, here's a couple pictures of what happened when Daddy left him unsupervised for approx 5 minutes and he found the cake mix I had intended to use for his birthday cake (no judgements, I was pressed for time):




Thursday, August 18, 2011

Motivation


"Elmo's Potty Time is brought to you by the letter P and the number 2!"


What's motivating Alex to become potty-trained:
1. Popsicles
2. His mother
3. Popsicles
4. Jelly Bellies
5. Popsicles
6. M&M's
7. Popsicles
8. His mother
9. Popsicles

(The moral of this story is that my child will pee for an ice cream.)



What's keeping me going during this somewhat messy adventure: 
1. The musical stylings of Kelly Hernandez
2. Popsicles
3. The firm belief that my son will figure this out at least by the time he turns 18.
4. Jelly Bellies
5. With the money I save on diapers, I can buy a new purse (which I don't need but definitely deserve).
6. Ice Cream


And finally, something new that I've said and am a little horrified by:

"Stop jumping like a frog so I can wipe your bottom."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What the cool kids are wearing

"I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking.  And I plan on finding out what that is.  ~Derek Zoolander (Zoolander)

My son Mark has a ton of clothing.  99.999% of it is hand-me-downs from his big brother and cousin.  Quite a bit of it Alex never wore because of the size, time of year, etc.  As a result, I'm encountering some of these outfits for the 1st time.

May I present a little fashion collage featuring Mark wearing clothing with animals I never expected would appear on children's clothing:



No, I cannot identify the generic rodent on his shirt in the top left-hand corner.  Chipmunk?  Woodchuck?  Poorly drawn beaver?  You decide.  I imagine he held his big horn sheep sweater up like that (top right) so you could get a glimpse of his chiseled abs.


And finally, two honorable mentions.  The first, a picture of Mark wearing his orange, fox leisure suit.  This one receives honorable mention because he looks so darn cute and because I can never figure out why it says "sniff, sniff":


And, second, a picture of Mark looking very startled and wearing an outfit featuring the most ridiculous animal to ever appear on an article of children's clothing:


Sunday, August 7, 2011

My alter-ego

"That’s a pretty lame superhero name,” I told him.  "Scooby-Doo is already taken,” he said with dignity. “Anything else sounds lame in comparison."   ~Patricia Briggs (Bone Crossed)
An actual conversation my neighbor and I had (as closely as I can remember):

Me: Nancy, do you see the sign for that new pizza place over there?  How would you pronounce that?


Nancy: Blazz Inn.  That's not right.

Me: Thank you.  Jeff suggested we try their pizza.  I told him I can’t eat there simply because of how they spell their business name.

Nancy: I have to agree with you.

Me: He also tried to tell me that it’s okay for them to spell “blazing” that way because “pizza” has 2 Z’s and they’re being cute. 

Nancy: He’s wrong.

Me: I think I’m going to become a superhero called “The Grammatically Correct Tagger”.  I will fix those kinds of signs with a can of red spray paint.  What do you think?

Nancy: That’s a good idea.  You’ll have to fix that one too.

And so my alter-ego was born…
I'm proud to present:




I'm still working on the GCT's equivalent of the bat-signal so, for now, you'll just have to email when you're in need of my corrective spray paint.  And I'm a new kind of superhero so there will be no wearing of spandex.

Friday, August 5, 2011

What's in a name?

"Could you just call me Pigeon?” he asked the teacher when she read his name.
“Does your mother call you Pigeon?”
“No.”
“Then to me you are Paul.”
...
“Nathan Sutter,” the teacher read.
“My mother never calls me Nathan.”
“Is it Nate?”
“She calls me Honeylips."
~Brandon Mull (The Candy Shop War)
When I was pregnant with Mark, we consulted Alex about what he thought the baby's name should be.  His suggestion was "Santa" which Jeff and I (taking a clue from Victoria Beckham) rejected.  Here are 10 more names that we did NOT consider but which have all been encountered as the name of a real person by someone I actually know. 

10 names I did not consider for my baby
or
Real Names which assure that a baby will never be elected President

10. Charlotte Webb
9. Shallac
8. Tearful
7. Shredder
6. Star Dog
5. Weaselhead
4. Lemonjello (pronounced La Mon Ja Low) and Orangejello (pronounced Or On Ja Low)
3. Felony
2. L-A (pronounced La Dash Ah)
1. The Squirrel

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"See Me" book

"A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest." ~C.S. Lewis

Alex really likes this book.


Today he read it to me.  Here is a picture of him reading the page with the kitten on it. 


Here's a picture of him reading the page with the cow on it. 



Here's a picture of him reading the page with the rooster on it:




I think this is an incredibly dumb book (and I'm pretty sure you can see why I feel this way) but I sure love this funny kid.




Monday, August 1, 2011

Quiche

"This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!"   ~Julia Child (My Life in France)


I know, I know, 2 food posts in a row.  But I made quiche this morning and since it's one of my favorite things, I had to blog about it.  I started making quiche when I was pregnant with Mark.  I'm not good about making breakfast but since quiche is great as left-overs, it works perfect for something you can make the day before and reheat when you're ready.  I had gestational diabetes while I was pregnant (I'm pretty sure that's the only time you can have gestational diabetes) and found that quiche didn't affect my blood sugar a great deal.  So that's good news too.  You can make quiche with whatever you have on hand.  There aren't very many rules.  It freezes well, reheats beautifully and tastes great. 

The recipe below is how I made the quiche this morning but, as you will see, you can use whatever you have on hand to make your own version.

Quiche

The Essentials
1 9" pie shell
3 whole eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream or milk or a combo thereof

The Options
9-10 strips of bacon
4 Crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 handfuls of fresh spinach

Bake your pie crust as you would for a 1 crust pie.  While I know how to make pie crust, I used a frozen one this morning.  (I'm aware that there are those who say that only a lazy slut uses frozen pie crust and I'm okay with that.)  I baked my frozen pie crust on a cookie sheet for 9 minutes at 400 degrees because that's what it said to do on the package.

While the pie crust was baking, I cut the bacon into lardons (that's a fancy French word that means "small pieces") and crisped it.  I then removed the bacon from the pan using a slotted spoon and let it sit on a plate lined with paper towels.  I sauted my sliced mushrooms in the bacon fat.  (Don't you just love bacon?  Really, who doesn't?  I'm pretty sure even vegetarians like bacon - and if they say they don't, they're probably lying.)

In a big bowl, I mixed together the eggs and whipping cream.  I gave them a whisk or two to show them who was boss.  A note on the dairy piece of this: most quiche recipes call for whipping cream but you can use milk instead.  Or you can use part milk and part whipping cream - just so the total amount is 1 1/2 cups.  The quiche will set up fastest with all whipping cream.  A little extra baking time will be required if you use all milk or add milk to your whipping cream.

I added the crisped bacon, sauteed mushrooms, cheeses and spinach to the eggs and whipping cream.    I stirred until all the ingredients were all combined and poured them into my cooked pie shell.  It was VERY full - which is why it's important to put the pie shell on a cookie sheet when you're baking this.

I baked the whole thing at 350 degrees for 45 minutes - or until it was set in the middle.  You don't want any jiggle.  Like I said before, if  you're using milk instead of whipping cream, it may need extra baking time.  I took it out of the oven and let it sit for at least 25 minutes before cutting it.  Here's a picture of it sitting on the world's oldest cookie sheet:


I ate a piece, covered the rest with foil and put it in the fridge.  Leftovers are super easy - cut yourself a piece and nuke it for 44 seconds or until warm through.

Options: Quiche is extremely versatile.  If you don't have bacon, you can use whatever you have on hand - leftover ham, chicken, steak etc.  Or leave the meat out competely.  Change up the cheeses.  My Mom likes pepper jack in quiche.  I've found that where quiche is concerned it matters very little if you use parmesan from a green can as opposed to the real stuff.  Leftover veggies like asparagus and broccoli work well.  If you're going to use frozen spinach, make sure you thaw it and squeeze ALL the water out before adding it. 

Freezing: Sometimes I make up 2 quiches at once and freeze one.  I wrap the whole thing in foil, stick it in a gallon freezer bag and pop it in the freezer.  When you take the frozen quiche out of the freezer, you want to let it thaw in the fridge and then reheat initially in the oven.  Approx 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until it's warm through.  Reheating in the oven will recrisp the pie crust.  If you just thaw and reheat it in the microwave, you'll have a soggy crust.  (After you reheat in the oven once, the leftovers can be microwaved.)

There are 1000's of different ways you can make quiche.  Go crazy.  Experiment.  Report back with your results.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Apple Crisp



"If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."   ~George Bernard Shaw


I'm a huge fan of any kind of crisp or anything with a crumb or streusel topping.  Since I'm also a big fan of desserts that I can make from items I have on hand all the time, I end up making Apple Crisp a lot.  Here is the recipe I use.  It's an adaption of several I found online but with enough changes that I'm comfortable calling it "mine" now.


Apple Crisp

Apple Mixture

6 McIntosh or Fuji apples, peeled, cored and thickly sliced (approx 1/2")
Juice from 1/2 lemon - approx 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the kind that comes in a bottle
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 T sugar

Topping

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 pound (1 cup) cold butter, diced

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine apples, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar.  Pour apple mixture into a greased 9x12 baking dish.

To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, oatmeal and cold butter in a bowl using the tines of a fork and/or your fingers, working until even, small crumbles form and butter is the size of peas.  Scatter evenly over the apples.

Bake 40 minutes until apples are just tender and topping is golden brown.


And for you visual learners (this is my 1st attempt at food photography - I'll get better):

Here is the apple mixture in the pan.  I took this picture for those of you who, like me, wonder if you're cutting the apples to an okay size:




Here's a picture of the topping mixture.  You can see that I use a very loose interpretation of "butter the size of peas":


Here's a picture of the topping sprinkled over the apple mixture with a cute kid in the background:


Here's another picture of that cute kid, entertaining his brother while Mommy cooks:


And here's a picture of the bowl you fix yourself as a reward when both kids go down for their naps.  Ice cream or whipped cream would have been a nice addition but I didn't have any:


Let me know if you have any questions.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Three things to cheer about

"Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted."  ~John Lennon


I was going to write a blog post about soup but then got sucked into watching videos that make me smile.  Here are three things to cheer about:

Librarians


Period Montages


Craziness onboard the USS Enterprise


Have a great day!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Grammatical musings

"Yes," she said. "'I Been Working on the Railroad.'There's just two things I'm worried about with that: the grammar and the use of slave labor."   ~Lorrie Moore (A Gate at the Stairs)
 
Recent irritation with a crossword puzzle that used the word "elks" as the answer for the clue "Caribou's cousin", had me doing grammatical research online.  Apparently "elks" is perfectly acceptable as the plural of elk, although "elk" can be considered both plural and singular and is my personal preference.  You can say either:

Cara shot the biggest elk of all the elks in the forest.
OR
Cara shot the biggest elk of all the elk in the forest.

I guess as long as Cara is able to fill her tag and it gets the right Boone and Crockett score, the grammar isn't a big deal where elk or elks are concerned.  Still, "elks" sounds a little dumb, right?

I did also learn the following interesting tidbits:

"Platypi" and "platypodes", though both technically incorrect, are colloquial plurals for "platypus."  However you would never say "On a recent sojourn to Australia, I was charged by a herd of platypodes" because, apparently, they don't travel in herds.  And it's probably a good thing they don't, because male platypi have a spur on their hind feet that can deliver a venom capable of causing severe pain to humans.  Who knew?  Thus says Wikipedia.

"Weed-ate", "weed-eated", and "Weed Eatered" are all acceptable past tense forms of the verb "to weed eat" when used in casual converation.  Although, since Weed Eater is a brand name, it's better to say "trimmed" when speaking or writing formally.  Which leaves me wondering how much formal writing is done about Weed Eaters. 

Finally, the word "Defenestration" means "a throwing of a person or a thing out of a window; or a usually swift expulsion or dismissal."  This was a new one to me - it appeals to my sesquipedalian (also a new word) tendencies. 

Extra points to anyone who uses the word "platypodes" in casual conversation this week...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Things I've actually said...and am a little horrified by

"Some people have a way with words....some people....not have way."   ~Steve Martin (Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life)


1.  I don't want you to hand me your boogers.
2.  I'm sorry your bottom hurts but, no, I will not kiss it.  Will it feel better if I kiss your face?
3.  Stop touching doggy's penis.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Those who fail to plan…aren’t me


"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch." ~Orson Welles


In the past, I’ve been very bad about planning meals.  (I say it this way because I hope I’m changing.)  When I was working outside the home, my husband would call me every day on my way home from work to ask “What do you have in mind for dinner?”  Even though I knew this call came every day, I was never prepared for it.  And now, as a stay-at-home Mom, I still find myself casting about at dinner time for something resembling a well-balanced meal.

The other day when I was struggling with the “what’s for dinner” question, instead of just cooking something, I did what any normal 30-something would do and googled “meal planning help”.  (I like to think of myself as normal.  Please don’t burst my bubble if that’s not actually the case.)  I read advice from several websites, sent my husband to pick up take-out (I promised myself it would be the last time for this month) and created a plan.  Admittedly, I would almost always rather plan something that actually do it.  And my plans tend to quickly become overly complicated and cumbersome.  But here’s what I did and, so far (I’m on day 2 of the plan), it seems to be working:

  1. I made a list of the main dishes I fix for dinner.  I made separate lists of the side dishes and veggies that I fix.
  2. I categorized the main dishes.  These are the categories I used:
    1. Meals that are good for left-overs
    2. Meals that I only fix when we have certain, special ingredients – like steaks or ribs when they’re on sale
    3. Meals that require little or no pre-prep time and don’t require anything be unthawed from the freezer
    4. Meals that take 2 or more hours to cook
  3. I figured out what days of the week work well for what categories of meals.  For instance, my husband works Monday through Thursday so I tried to focus meals that are good for left-overs around those days so he can use the left-overs for his lunches.
  4. I came up with 7 themes for meals.  These are the themes:
    1. Chicken
    2. Soup
    3. Chinese Food
    4. Italian Food
    5. Mexican Food
    6. Long Cooking Time Meals
    7. Sandwiches
  5. I created a calendar and started writing in meals.  I assigned 1 meal from each theme to each day of the week, keeping in mind the meal categories so that the meals I picked fit with our schedule. 
  6. I picked side dishes and veggies to go with each main dish and wrote them on the calendar as well.
  7. I figured out how long each meal would take to prepare and cook and wrote down the time I had to start cooking for that meal to be ready at 6:00.
  8. At the bottom of the calendar, I listed alternate meals.  These are meals that require no defrosting and that I can make at any time from items I always have in my pantry.  This is my contingency in case our schedule goes crazy or I forget to take something out of the freezer in time to thaw.
  9. I made a grocery list of the main items I need for the meals for the rest of the month.  I may have to make more than 1 trip to the grocery to get fresh veggies and other perishables but I should be able to do most of the shopping for July in one trip (a miracle it seems to someone who is used to going 2-3 times per week).
So I have meals planned for the rest of July and I’m very proud of myself for doing this.  Yesterday I fixed beef stroganoff with broccoli and homemade bread.  Stroganoff was a new recipe for me.  My husband actually liked it (a miracle as he tends to resist new foods) and I know what small modifications I will make the next time I fix it to make it even better.  (More on this later.)  Today we’re having Mexican casserole and tomorrow it’s chicken soup with butter rolls.  I love having a plan.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Funny things are everywhere

"When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles and the bottle's on a poodle and the poodle's eating noodles...they call this a muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle bottle paddle battle."   (Fox in Socks)
"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells." ~Dr. Seuss
  
I like Dr. Seuss better than a lot of the other children's books out there.  While there's the real possibility you'll end up tongue-tied, he's funny, interesting and clever.  My issue with his books is this - I still don't have an answer when asked, "Mommy, what's that?":

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sometimes it's okay to be naked

"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."  ~Mark Twain

These are my children:


My older son Alex will be 3 next month.  He is mostly naked in this picture because he elected to remove all of his clothes, save his diaper, just prior to his nap and, now that he's up from his nap, he doesn't want to put his clothing back on.  Clothing removal is a recently acquired skill for him.  This morning I left him unattended for less than 5 minutes.  He was watching TV when I left but the sounds emanating from the basement soon made it clear that Mickey Mouse Clubhouse was failing to hold his interest.  I returned quickly to find him, standing in the bathroom, completely naked and soapy.  I was, admittedly, a little impressed because I didn't realize he was able to take off all his clothing and diaper without assistance.  When I inquired about what he was doing, he replied with every parent's favorite response to this question: "I don't know."

My younger son Mark will be 2 months old in a few days.  He is mostly naked in this picture because I had just finished bathing him when I heard Alex saying "Mommy, I need help."  After rendering assistance in the form of fast-forwarding Tom & Jerry, I decided to take their picture.  No, Mark doesn't look that way because he is scared that his big brother is holding him.  In fact, he looks startled or concerned most of the time.  You probably would too if I were your parent.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Getting Started


"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one." ~C.S. Lewis


I’ve been reluctant to start a blog.  It seems a little like hubris to think that anyone would want to read what I write and I probably should be paying closer attention to the mountain of laundry that is threatening to avalanche down on my household instead of writing.  But, I have things I’d like to record and, it’s possible, one of my little adventures will resonate with someone else. 

I’m a very good planner, organizer, and goal-setter.  What I’m not really good at is implementation, follow-through and finishing.  My plan is to have a good blog with interesting, informative and funny posts.  My goal is to post regularly and not fizzle out after a few weeks.  We’ll see how it goes.  Thanks for joining me on this adventure.