Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's no secret...

I love food.
I think one of the coolest things I've been able to do since being home is actually learning to enjoy cooking. To enjoy the process of it. I remember when I was working...around 4 o'clock I'd look up from my desk at the clock on the wall and would almost start panicking about what to make for dinner. I'd pray that I actually remembered to take something out to defrost. I'd hope there was a jar of spaghetti sauce in the pantry. At 6 o'clock I'd run in, take my shoes off and immediately get a pan going on the stove. (meanwhile kids running around the kitchen island screaming at me...they hadn't seen me all day and I still couldn't give them 100% of my attention.) I hated it. I dreaded it. Not always, but most of the time anyway.
Anyway Pete and I were talking about it the other day...In the past year I've almost eliminated "boxed" food from our house. Except for the occasional box of Mac-n-Cheese, I almost always make home-made. No more Hamburger Helper, frozen lasagna, pasta in a bag. Don't get me wrong...I don't make everything (I still buy jarred spaghetti sauce--it's good!), but our consumption of pre-made, packaged food has dramatically decreased. And we all like it. I enjoy the process of making it, and my family enjoys the process of eating it. :)
I still have plenty of days of dreading making dinner, or not having a clue as to what to make but it is so much less stressful than it used to be.
Two things I've made lately that my family really liked:
Steak Fajitas-in the crock pot. Mmmmmmm! I really wasn't too sure about this one, but I decided to try it out anyway. The best thing is, it cooks in the crock pot, but not all day. I put this in at 2 on high, and it was done by 5. I turned it down to low until we were ready to eat.
Throw some steak cut into strips (the recipe called for flank steak but I used tri-tip b/c it's what I had) into the crock pot. Slice up some onion and bell peppers, put it on top of the meat. Salt. Pepper. Open a can of diced tomatoes and dump it in. Dump in about a tablespoon of chili powder and a teaspoon of cumin, a clove or two of garlic, and some cilantro if you have it. Put the lid on and turn it on.
The meat was SO tender and yummy. Inside a tortilla with cheese and sour cream--YUM.

The 2nd is a home-made alfredo sauce. Sure they make it in the jar, or even in the 'fresh' pasta at the store, but this is so easy. Plus my kids totally love it.
2Tbls butter
4oz cream cheese (I use the low fat stuff)
Melt the butter and then add the cream cheese. Melt it all together until it's creamy. Add a cup of milk, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, a little garlic powder and some black pepper. Use a whisk and stir it all together. It will thicken up if you let it sit for a bit. By the time your noodles are done cooking, the sauce is ready. It's so good!
Anyway, just thought I'd share.
I'm still patiently waiting for our vacation, but my mood is much much better this week. I'm still sewing like crazy. Who knew I would like it so much? Why did I wait all this time to get the machine out? My grandma taught me how to sew when I was a little girl and I really didn't enjoy it. It wasn't enough instant gratification for me. But that doesn't seem to be the case anymore.
Oh, and I'm still doing Pilate's just about every day. I think it's been almost a month now. I'm seriously loving it. It's so weird to say that... I don't think I've lost any weight, but Pete swears my tummy is flatter. I really don't know, but if he says so well I guess that's good enough!
Ok now I'm just starting ramble so I better sign off before this post loses all it's luster (ha ha)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Crabby Patty.

Boy have I been in a cranky mood lately. I have been in a funk over a week. And honestly, I can't even begin to say why. I don't know. It's the kids, it's the weather, it's the fact that I've wiped the same counter over and over and over again every single day, it's the fact that I just cleaned the floor yesterday and now it's sticky again, it's the "but moooommmy"s after every single thing I say, it's the never ending dishes and laundry......
I need a vacation. WE need a vacation. March 11th can not get here soon enough. Two and a half more weeks.
Today I vowed to get myself out of this funk. To not be so short with my kids. The morning started off a little rough. I lay in my bed at 7:30 just barely awake when I hear Jake in his room banging on the wall. I don't know what it is...but neither one of my kids will get up without me telling them they can. They will both stay in their beds and yell at me (or bang on the wall) until I get up and tell them to get up. Isn't that weird? I don't think I've ever said "you're not allowed to get up". But they don't. And seriously, why is Jake pounding on the wall at 7:30 in the morning on Saturday, but I can't drag him out of bed at 7:15 on a school day?
So yeah...the banging on the wall did not start me off well this morning.
But this afternoon seems better.
Jake is outside playing with the neighbors.
Megan and I have been playing nicely together.
I bought some remnant fabric at WalMart this morning (why is WalMart the only 'fabric' store in my town??) so I could practice sewing a bit more. I made Meg a little blankie for her babies and then she and I sat in her room and played with all her dolls and her little kitchen set for about 2 hours. We had a good time. And now, thankfully, she's taking a little nap. And....I think I'm going to take one too.....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rain. Rain. oh...and more rain.

It has been raining. All. Day. Long. And the day before that. And the day before that.
That's all I have to report.
We've done nothing but watch Nim's Island and Flicka 45million times each.
I'm tired of winter.
I'm ready for warmer weather and sunny skies!
See...this is exactly how boring it's been around here.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Sometimes (ok maybe all the time) I really hate having a lock box on my front door. Our house is still up for sale. We haven't had much activity on it at all. (hello, the economy sucks, real estate market sucks, etc..etc...) But every now and then I get some idiot real estate agent who thinks just because they have a lock box key, and just because every other house with a for-sale sign in the neighborhood is vacant, they think they can just unlock my door and walk right in. Walk. Right. In. Without knocking. Without ringing the doorbell.
This has happened twice in the past 2 weeks. TWICE! Since when do you just go tromping through neighborhoods opening doors? Aren't you supposed to do some research in the office before you take your clients out? Call the listing agent? Look at the MLS??? Our listing clearly says to call first. I know the market is different now, but COME ON! Do I need to post a sign on the door? "THIS HOUSE IS NOT VACANT"
I feel like taking a sledge hammer to that freaking lock box and throwing it at someone (not to be named).
In other neighborhood craziness....Jake comes home from playing outside the other day and casually says "I got in a dog fight today mommy". A dog fight? Yeah. Background story: My neighbors behind us 'rescued' a stray dog a while back. The dog has previously shown very aggressive behavior. I have no idea why they keep this thing. I love dogs, I really do...but if they are dangerous to others than something needs to be done. The dog has charged at Pete once and once at Jake. And I'm not being overly dramatic. I'm not afraid of dogs, but this dog scares me. So anyway Jake says "I got in a dog fight" and come to find out it was this particular dog. Apparently Jake was just walking home and the dog charged down the ally, barking with his teeth showing as it ran and jumped on Jake from the back and pushed him down to the ground. Jake has a huge scratches all the way down his back from this dog. The owner came running out of her house, sicks her dog off of him, and then tells Jake to stay away from the dog. HELLO! Keep your freaking attack dog in the yard! They know the dog has issues, and yet they keep it. This is the 2nd time it has done this to my kid. They are SO lucky nothing major has happened. Their going to be really sorry when some body's kid gets bit. And it better not be my kid!
In happier news...
I've been planning our Disneyland trip. Pete didn't find my notes all over the house too humorous. ha ha!! He laughed though. He says "women always have to go over the top to make a point". What ever works, dude!
Anyway, we're all getting really excited for our trip. Jake keeps telling Megan:
"And we're going to sleep in a hotel!"
"And there's going to be an inside pool and an inside hot tub!" That's all he seems to really care about. There's been no mention of Mickey Mouse or magic or rides, just the inside pool. Kids are so funny.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Pilates and Disney

I just finished a 30 minute Pilates work out for the 3rd day in a row. For those of you who know me, you might be wondering who or what invaded my brain to make me do such a thing. I do not exercise. I do not like it. I especially hate to sweat. But you know the fact of life is...if you don't move a little, you're eventually going to turn into Jabba the Hut. And well I don't wan to be Jabba the Hut. I went to the doctor last week and discovered that I had gained back about 12 of the 27 lbs. I lost in 2007. Ok, so I didn't just discover it. I had just been ignoring it. But seeing it for real on that blinking digital screen made me say "yep, I don't much care for that number." So, I was at Target the other day and I found this Pilates video for 10 bucks and decided to go ahead and buy it. Why Pilates? I don't know. But I know it's not cardio. I was going to try yoga...but I don't think I'm really in to the whole "clear your mind and be one with the Earth" thing. Which, I'm sure is a complete stereotype. I have no idea. But I have visions of Hippies from Berkeley wearing Birkenstocks and hugging trees doing yoga. Forgive me if you actually do yoga. I'm not making fun of you at all! This is just me trying to be funny and talking about something I know absolutely nothing about!
Anyway so it's been 3 days. I'm not sure your supposed to do the same type of exercise 3 days in a row. But I'm kind of afraid that if I skip a day....then that will be it and I'll forget all about it. And.....please don't repeat this because it could totally ruin my reputation.....but..... I kind of really like it.
What does any of this have to do with Disney? Nothing really. Except that we're going to Disneyland in 38 days. Do you think my tummy will be flat in 38 days? I didn't think so either, but one can dream, right?
So here's the story about Disneyland. We've been trying to plan a trip down there for a while. Like seriously over a year. First we were going to go in December. I really wanted the kids (and Pete) to see the holiday decorations. Disney just goes over the top at Christmas and it's just so cool. We were very close to going and then decided against it for financial reasons and just being too close to Christmas. At that point we decided definitely: February. We usually always go in February anyway so we'd just stick to that plan. So last week I started finalizing our plans..looking for hotel and ticket deals and securing the dates of Feb. 11-15th. When all of a sudden I hear Pete talking to his business partners about getting this shipment of pigs for the ranch....coming all the way from Canada...should be here the 2nd week of February. Ever since I've known this man he has been notorious for double booking himself. Constantly. Anyway I don't mean to blame Pete. It's really not his fault. He's getting these pigs for a steal and there really is no set date as to when they'll be here. SO we are pushing back the trip AGAIN until March 11th to be on the safe side. But I told him I'm not delaying this anymore. We're going in March and that is that! And he agreed. But he also said "Put a note on the fridge with the dates so I don't forget". I don't know why he constantly needs to be reminded, but he does. So today I put a sign on the fridge....Then I went to Michael's and bought a huge poster board and wrote DISNEYLAND MARCH 11-15TH and taped it to the garage door. Then I went and got a pad of sticky notes and proceeded to stick Disneyland reminders on: the computer monitor, the phone, the coffee pot, next to the toilet paper in our bathroom, on the bathroom mirror, in his sock drawer, on the lamp next to the bed, on his pillow, on the dashboard of his car, on the rear view mirror, and in his lunch box. Do you think that will do the trick?