Saturday, August 14, 2010

Buzz Lightyear and the Comcast man.

Whew, am I glad that the Comcast repair guy has young kids of his own! Otherwise, I'm pretty sure he'd have run screaming out the door.

Imagine being a guy going to a house to fix a faulty cable box. The door opens slowly and...Buzz Lightyear (a.k.a. 4 year old Alex) answers the door. In August.

Yep, that's how we greeted the cable guy. He took it in stride, said "Hello Buzz" and got to work on the cable box. No sooner had he said up shop, the questions from Sky began.

"What are you doing?"
"What is that screen?"
"Why doesn't it work?"
"Can you fix it?"

The great part was that the repair man was very quick on his feet and had awesome, sarcastic answers to all these questions. He told the kids that the box had a sensor that notified Comcast when kids hadn't brushed their teeth, and then Comcast called parents. Sky laughed, undetterred, and kept up the constant interrogations. Alex got nervous and asked every few minutes how they knew if his teeth weren't brushed, for the duration of the visit.

It REALLY got exciting when, because of his good mood and willingness to banter, the kids decided the cable guy was awesome. This meant that they MUST show off. So Skyler starts jumping up and down and spouting random knowledge. At this point, I'm heading back in to the living room to shoo the kids off (of course he came right in the middle of my dish-doing), and I hear Alex say "WATCH THIS!". Note: In the case of children, this typically means some rule is about to be broken.

Apparently, Buzz Lightyear can fly. As I round the corner I see Alex, all coiled up like a tiger about to pounce on the coffee table. At the same time, my ears are registering "TO INFINITY AND BEYOND", and Alex is leaping off the coffee table....and straight in to the tv screen.

Holy cow. Thank the good Lord that Comcast hires people who had a good sense of humor, a "kids will be kids" attitude, and the ability to at least mask their judgements of moms with crazy kids until they get in the van.

Someday they will be old and grown and I'll miss the Buzz Lightyear/20 questions phase. Until then, can I have a glass of wine?

Friday, April 2, 2010

How children are like dogs.

It's all in good fun, people. All in good fun.

How are children like dogs?

-They often smell funny, and you can't usually figure out where the smell is coming from.

-Children whine a lot.

-Children pee on carpets.

-The best way to get a child to stop peeing on carpets is to give them food treats.

-Either you have a leash for your child, or it has crossed your mind in at least one desperate moment that it sure would be nice.

-Children will eat the strangest s***.

-Children often greet eachother in ways that make you wonder what planet they are from.

-Children know how to make you SOOOO mad...then give you that face that says "but I'm so cuddly and cute, you know you love me".

-A child's best command is usually "ignore me".

-Go ahead and try to get your kid to clean his room. Then ask your dog to clean it. See which one gets done first. (Note: if you try this, you'll probably eventually wind up giving up on both of them and doing it yourself)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's been a while!

But here I am!

These last few weeks have been rewarding but challenging. We are really trying to stay healthy 'round here, which is sometimes easier said than done!

So here are some basic updates:

-Both boys are signed up for baseball/t-ball. Alex is so excited! He just wants to be on a team- any team! Games and pratices won't start until April, and I'm not 100% sure that the Y won't call and say Alex is too young, but I sure hope they don't! He is so ready to play ball!

- Both Nemo and Franklin have adjusted to life in our house and are loving it. Franklin got a new cage which makes it much easier for him to avoid being eaten by Dillon. Dillon seems to have gotten the idea that he isn't supposed to threaten to eat the guinea pig. Georgia still rules the pet roost 'round here, especially if you ask her.

-Dusty and I are feeling good about life, and are adjusting to our new schedules, especially with help from Mom, who is around to make life less crazy!

-I have given up Starbucks and fountain drinks for Lent, and am putting the money I would have spent on those things towards a project that is building wells and taps for clean drinking water in Haiti. Today I'm donating $20 to the fund, and aside from a massive mocha craving, I am thrilled about it!

I am so sorry I've been a bit non-existant lately in life outside of work and my house. I am really trying to catch up! I'm sure some day this whole working mom thing will feel like the norm. I'm just not there yet.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My day in 10.

1) I really am clumsy. Ugh! I managed to knock over a display on the Starbucks' drive through counter with my rear view mirror. It was so embarrassing- coffee all over the drive!

2) Tuna fish smells gross. Nope. Not kidding. Like, gag me gross. But I'm a trooper. I made it through a whole day of smelling tuna casserole and only had to run out of the kitchen 2 times for water so as not to vomit.

3) Some people just like to yell.

4) Today I was the person that "some people" like to yell at.

5) But it's ok, I still love my job!

6) Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakwel is not a good movie...if you ask Dusty or I.

7) Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakwel is AWESOME...if you ask Sky or Alex.

8) A pedestrian was hit and killed in our area today. We drove by as 911 was being called. Life is so delicate sometimes it scares me. Enough people were stopped that we didn't feel we could do anything but pray, which we did. We ask that you all pray for everyone involved as well, please.

9) Should you trip and fall, then manage to regain your balance, look where you're going. Otherwise all that effort spent trying to not fall on your face will be for nothing when you slam your face into the wall that seems to have come out of nowhere. Anyone care to guess how I learned this?

10) MEASURES 66 & 67 PASSED!!! Schools in Oregon still aren't sitting pretty, but at least we aren't looking at more devastating cuts to our children's futures. THANK YOU, OREGON!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Yummy dinner tonight!!!

Pappi joined us for dinner tonight. He leaves Monday and will be up at the mountain tomorrow, so tonight was our last dinner with my dad for awhile. We are going to miss him!

Pappi brought tilapia, which is my new favorite fish. I LOVE it. It cooks easily, has a mild flavor that takes on other flavors well, is low mercury, and is super fast. Oh, and did I mention it isn't that expensive? Love it.

I walked past fresh basil at New Seasons today. A woman was stocking them and I just happened to walk by as she threw some on the display, which sent the smell of fresh basil my way and made my mouth water. Suddenly basil was added to my menu. So here it is, the dish I wound up with:

Broiled Tilapia On Citrus Basil Greens

1 onion, chopped and divided
2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 lemons
1 lime
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar (or white wine- I just didn't have any)
1/2 bunch fresh basil
1 bunch kale
2 baby bok choy
4-5 tilapia filets

(You could easily substitute whatever greens you have- spinach, kale, bok's all good!)

Turn oven on to broil. Set up broiling pan- on bottom, put 1/4 of the chopped onions and pour some olive oil over it. Spray broiling rack with cooking spray and lay the fish on it. Squeeze 1/2 of a lemon and 1/2 of a lime on the tilapia, sprinkle with pepper and repeat on the other side. Set aside.

Sautee 3/4 of the onion and garlic in 1/2 the olive oil, juice from 1 lemon and the white wine vinegar 5-10 minutes. Add greens mix and basil with remaining olive oil, sautee 5 minutes at medium high heat. After 5 minutes, turn heat to low, cover and let cook 5-10 more minutes.

Put fish in the oven and broil 3-4 minutes on each side.

Make a bed of greens on the plate, top with fish and ENJOY!

Today was a beautiful, sunny day here. I wore sunglasses, rolled down my window (for 2 minutes until I realized it was still REALLY cold!) and enjoyed myself. This dish was the PERFECT way to end a day like today- fresh and light with basil and citrus to remind me of beautiful summer days.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bike rides and chocolate!

Another week has passed, and I'm ready to rest. (You know, rest? The stuff that includes laundry and dishes and cooking and childcare? Oh...wait. That isn't rest? Guess I'm out of luck.)

Work was awesome again this week, and totally reassured me that I am meant to do this. If we can only get the morning struggles and laundry worked out, I think things will be awesome! Oh, and sleep. Sleep would be a nice bonus, too.

Sky's school had a fundraiser at Papa's Pizza on Thursday. It was fun! I can't wait to hear the amount made for the school, but I think it will be pretty successful, just judging by the amount of fundraising flyers I saw up behind the register. We now begin with Mission: Valentine's Candy. Skyler is selling See's Candies chocolates until Wednesday, January 27th. If you've got a sweet tooth, let us know!

Skyler had his first basketball practice was this week. He is ready for a new season of slam dunks and showing off. I will announce game times and such later on, but games will be on Saturday mornings and we'd love to have family and friends come out!

Alex was in heaven this week as he had Pappi around to babysit him. He got to ride his new "big boy bike" for the first time out of the garage, go to Costco, and just in general hang with Grandpa. Alex is still adjusting to having to get going in the mornings. He seems to have my appreciation for the afternoon and evening, and distaste for the morning hours. This worked brilliantly when we didn't have to go out and about, but is proving to be troublesome nowdays. I think that within a few weeks he'll be adjusted to our new family schedule!

Franklin went to the vet today to have his nails trimmed, and was given a clean bill of health by the doctor. Nemo hasn't died yet, which I think in goldfish terms means he is healthy, so we're good on the fish front. And aside from smelling like dogs who go out in the rain a few times a day, Georgia and Dillon are doing very well. I am happy that Dillon is here now that I am working out of the home full time. I think it would be very hard on Princess Georgia to be home alone that often!

Hope everyone is happy and healthy!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I'm loving rotisserie chickens!

Last weekend, an exhausted me asked Dusty to pick something up for dinner. He stopped by Safeway, where rotisserie chickens are sold for $5 on Fridays. He also picked up french bread since Skyler was with his dad and gluten containing bread is the thing I miss most since Sky went gluten free.

We made open face chicken sandwhiches. To die for. Seriously. Not the healthiest thing I've eaten, but I've been craving them ever since. The best part? They took me about 5 minutes to assemble. Then we got to throw the rest of the chicken in salads and just eat it plain for the rest of the weekend.

For this mouth watering don't-feel-like-cooking dinner, you need:

1 rotisserie chicken
Gruyere cheese
French bread (or other bread, if you're going for nutritional value- I threw that out the window for this meal)
Olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Spinach or dark lettuce

Heat the oven to 350. Slice the french bread (2 pieces per adult, 1 per kid) and place on a very lightly oiled cookie sheet. Top with chicken and enough thinly sliced cheese to cover the chicken. Sprinkle wth freshly fround pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Put it in the over for 5 minutes or so, until the cheese is melted. Pull out and top with lettuce.

This is my new "Quick! Sky isn't here- bring in the gluten!" treat!

My awesome job!

Ok, I've been intending to write an update all week, but as it turns out- adjusting to a new job and routine is exhausting! So here it is, Saturday. First week of my new job is officially over. I got lots of rest last night, and I'm not really prepared to start on the mountain of laundry just yet. What better time to update, right?

I LOVE my job. It is amazing to go to work and feel really, really good about what you do. Every single day this week, I left feeling like "WOW, I just helped so many people- AND I got paid for it!". Loaves and Fishes is such a great organization, and I am so happy to get to know first hand just how much good they do in our community.

Every day, hundreds of meals are served to the seniors in our community through the meals on wheels program and the in center dining. I think what amazes me most is that I am one of only 3 employees at that center- the rest of the needed help comes from so many volunteers that it just blows my mind. It is just astounding to realize how many people there are in our community who give up their time on a daily basis in order to help others. Talk about boosting my faith in humanity!

The biggest challenge this week is in getting the boys on a routine (Skyler, you REALLY have to get dressed for school...Alex, we PROMISE to pick you up from daycare...) and getting my body used to shifting from mommy mode to work out of the home mode. The job itself is so well suited to me that I felt used to it the minute I walked in. Hopefully by the end of next week, the dust will settle here at home!

I hope you all have an amazing weekend!

P.S. Please, please, please vote YES on measures 66 & 67- without these measures, Sky's school district alone faces cuts of 17 school days OR 72 (out of less than 450) teaching positions. And our school district has fared better than many others in the state. We aren't voting on "extras" in education anymore- those are gone. Skyler has a 1/2 time principal, PE only 1/2 the year, music only 1/2 the year, a part time school middle school he gets to look forward to the only extra curricular activity being track, large class sizes and probably no outdoor school. Schools are already in shambles. But the basics of education- time in the classroom and teachers to teach, are now at risk. We can't possibly lose more and expect our children to learn.

A yummy cooking accident!

You know those nights when you haven't been shopping in awhile and don't have your stand by ingredients- leaving you feel perplexed and uninspired? Well, I had one of those!

I came home from work tired, with hungry kids, and thought "hey- spaghetti is fast and easy". So I got the ground turkey out, chopped up some leeks and garlic, threw it all in a pan and got the turkey browning. Then I proceeded to the cupboard only to realize we were all out of noodles.

So I thought- AHA! I have a yummy curry sauce- I'll cook some rice, toss the sauce in with the turkey and call it good. Got the jasmine rice started, grabbed the sauce...and realized I should have frozen the sauce so as not to allow mold growth. (EEEEWWWWW!)

Now I'm down 2 ideas. Number 3 was to make a casserole and use the rice as left overs- until I realized that the cream of mushroom soup in the back of the cupboard isn't gluten free (DUH. How did I not know that?).

At this point I have rice over 1/2 way cooked, turkey with leeks and garlic all browned...and that's it. Here is what I wound up with:

Faux Thai Turkey
1 lb. ground turkey, browned with garlic and leek or onions
2 cups water
1/2 can pineapple in juice
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2-1 tsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3-4 Tbsp. flour or gluten free baking mix (to taste)
1 1/2 tsp. Xanthan gum
1/4-1/2 package lowfat cream cheese (I used 1/2 package, but in the interest of a slim waistline, I probably shouldn't have)

Mix the sugar, curry, GF baking mix, xanthan gum, cinnamon & nutmeg together- set aside. Pour the water and pineapple into the ground beef. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer. Add dry mix, stir well. Let simmer until sauce is reduced by 1/2, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream cheese. Serve over rice.

This was a total accident, but there is no question that the family wants it again. I was pleasantly surprised with how a dinner plaugued with roadblocks turned out!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Yes, Georgia- we KNOW there is a rodent in the house!

Ok, the time has come where I ban anything else with a heartbeat from entering these walls...well, except the ants for the ant farm the boys got for Christmas (ironically, it came from the Grandparents who own a pest control company!).

Here is the household tally now:

2 adults
2 kids
2 dogs
1 goldfish
1 guinea pig

T-Rex/Nemo (Alex changes his name daily), the goldfish, came to us via Ashley...sort of. He came our way when I made the mistake of asking Ashley to take her 3YO nephew to the look at the fish while I checked out at PetSmart. Next thing I know, Alex comes running up to me "MOMMY! MOMMY! I have enough monies to buy a fishie!!!", while holding up a handful of we left the pet store with dog food AND a goldfish.

After T-Rex/Nemo lived throughout the entire winter break (to my surprise), I decided he probably needed to get out of a pickle jar. So after finding a 10 gallon tank of Craigslist and spending a whole day setting the thing up (apparently they are more work than I thought!), Alex has a fish tank on his dresser and a new best buddy.

Skyler has had his heart set on a hamster for over a year. We kept hoping that he'd forget about it, but we started thinking perhaps the desire wasn't going away. Still, I held out. Hamsters run on hamster wheels. All night. And they are squashable, and the die soon, and in my experience, they kinda smell like peanut butter (gag).

My cousin Laura had adopted Franklin, a black and white guinea pig. Turns out, she's allergic to Franklin. So after the really hard realization that Franklin and Laura couldn't co-habitate, she posted on Facebook that she had to find him a new home and I decided that a guinea pig would be WAY cooler than a hamster! Skyler quickly agreed with me, and after telling everyone he came in contact with that he was getting a guniea pig until the thing got here (and telling everyone he HAS one ever since), Skyler has a new friend now also.

Bringing a rodent in to a house with 2 large dogs was a bit unnerving. So far, though, it seems to be going well. Dillion could care less. He's Dillion- he pretty much only cares about tummy rubs and dog bones. Georgia, on the other hand, is obsessed. But judging by her body language, I think she is more curious than anything. She seems to want to know about him rather than eat him (much to my relief!). I don't think we'll ever leave them in a room alone, just in case...but overall it seems to be much better than I had worried about!

So there you have it- we are now a household of 8! And we're done! We are happy, but we're done!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Really, really easy (and yummy!) clams.

When I brought these to our New Year's gathering, I'm not certain that the hostess believed me when I said I made them because they were SUPER easy. But, really- they ARE!

Steamed Clams in Garlic and Wine

2-3 pounds clams (weight will depend on the size of the clams)
1 cup white wine
4-5 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
1/2 stick butter, cubed
Freshly ground black pepper

Rinse the clams well. Place clams in a large crock pot. On the stove, heat wine, butter, garlic and pepper in a skillet until boiling. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes. Pour wine and butter mixture over the clams in the crock pot.

Turn crock pot on high, leave for 45 minutes-1 hour and done. That's it. (I promise!)

My version of Mike's yummy roast beef rolls.

So my awesome father in law makes these simple but delicious appetizers: a pickle, slathered with cream cheese and rolled in roast beef or pastrami. Sounds simple, right? They are SO good!

Well, for New Year's I made my own version (partly to experiment, and partly because I couldn't get the deli lady to come help me for the life of me). I certainly wouldn't say they were better than Mike's- just different. Mike's version is perfect for an afternoon football party, but mine dresses them up a bit for an evening cocktail party or the like.

My appetizer rolls:

-Proscuitto, baked flat at 350 for 5-6 minutes.
-1/2 pickle slice (I bought the quartered pickles to begin with and it was easy)
-Cheese mix (6 oz. cream cheese, 4 oz. goat cheese, 2-3 oz. mascarpone, fresh grated pepper, basil all mixed in my KitchenAid)

Don't put too much cheese mix in. I found that the ones I really loaded up were a bit much. This recipe made a HUGE batch- perfect for a party. Enjoy!

Friday, January 1, 2010

The holidays are over!!! (May I please nap now?)

Whew! That was the usual whilwind, wasn't it? I'll just give you the basics so that I don't bore you or make you as tired as I am.

Christmas was fun! We did the usual Christmas Eve carols and great grandma and grandpa's house, followed by gifts with Grandma Val. This year was a bit different because Skyler wasn't with us for Christmas Eve festivities, but he had so much fun with his dad's family that it was hard to be upset about him not being with me. In a last minute stroke of awesomeness, Skyler came home on Christmas Eve and I got to wake up in the morning to both my children in the house!

Santa brought Alex a bicycle, although it took Alex at least 5-10 minutes to realize that the bike was a gift for him and not just a holder for his stocking (which was emptied out in no time!). Once I pointed out that perhaps the bike was meant for him, Alex began riding around the living room and kitchen with glee. Skyler slept in until 8:30- what is that, by the way? Of ALL the days to sleep in?!?!? When Skyler woke up, he was thrilled to see some Bakkugan stuff (apparently he "gets" Bakkugan- I do not) and a 3D writing notepad...and chocolate, of course!

Christmas day at Grandpa Mike's house was fun as usual, and pretty relaxing once we wrestled the boys into the car loaded with food, gifts and excitement. I was thrilled that Mike let me do a bit of the cooking this year. I did NOT stick to the usual health minded ingredients. What's a New Years resolution for if you didn't just pig out for the last week of December? Mike gave me recipes to make my first ever green bean casserole, and a yummy spinach and artichoke casserole, as well. Both were so loaded with cheese and creme fraiche that it probably would have been healthier to skip the veggies. But the taste made them worth it!

Pappi has been in town and we've had a great time having him around. Alex and Skyler LOVE having grandparents around! Alex has become enamoured with the carosel that Pappi takes him to, and Sky will just always be a Pappi kid. The holidays didn't feel totally complete without Grandma Marcia, but we hear she's been busy feeding horses and probably spoiling them as much as Dillion and Georgia gets spoiled when she is here!

Dusty and I got to have an awesome date. Well, two actually! One was supposed to be a dinner at Ruth's Chris and a showing of Rain, the Beatles tribute. When a snow storm hit, freeways closed and we couldn't even make it out to Mike's to drop the kids off, we got steaks at Roadhouse and played Sorry Sliders before family bedtime stories. Not the night we'd planned, but awesome anyhow. The next day we unexpectedly came accross Blazers tickets (Thanks, Val & Bruce) and Dusty and I got a wonderful alone date after all. We had appitizers at Southpark Seafood after the game. Wow. Seriously- I love crab cakes. I REALLY love very, very, very good crab cakes. That place has taken food to a whole different level!

New Year's eve was awesome! We went to a small kid friendly gathering and had more whole family fun than I can remember in a while. The kids all kept each other wound up and even Alex was awake to ring in 2010. We are tired today- what a perfect day to watch the Rose Bowl and recover from all the holiday fun.

I've posted a few pictures from the holiday, including a cake I make for Aunt Pat. I do have a few recipes to share but this post is already entirely too long already, so those will follow soon!