Tuesday, December 29, 2009

To Do Tuesday

Now that the holidays are wrapping up it is time to regain some sembalance of normalacy. (I don't count New Years as a holiday because I am too old and encumbered by children to go anywhere. Besides, if it's midnight and I'm not sporting a pair of sweatpants things are gonna be ugly in the morning.) This weeks list is going to focus on putting Chrismas and pretty much all of 2009 to bed.

1. Return unwanted gifts to target.
2. Wrap Sister in law's gift. She bailed on us for Christmas eve, so we drank the bottle of bourbon we originally bought for her. (Retribution is swift at the house of delinquency) Turns out she stopping by tomorrow. Good thing I had a gift in reserve.
3. Take down tree.
4. Take down other decorations.
5. Clean upstairs bathroom. This bathroom didn't get cleaned during the pre-in laws arrival sweep because my husband dropped a mercury thermometer in there and it had to be quarentined for a few days to air out. Don't ask why we had a mercury thermometer because I haven't got a good answer for that.
6. Stop eating cookies for breakfast. This should be infinately easier once I've eaten all the cookies.
7. Clear out all the pants that are too small for boy2. The poor kid is starting to resemble Urkle.
8. Call cox cable to find out why my internet is sucking hardcore.


- Posted by Krista from my iPhone

Post-it note Tuesday

"Post it note Tuesday?" you say. "Isn't that just just some cheep cop-out to avoid writing a full post?"

Why yes, yes it is.








Sunday, December 27, 2009

Menu plan Monday - back to normal edition


Whew. Things are getting back to normal, and that can only mean one thing - it's back to planning the menu. Here we go.....

Monday - Turkey with mole. (that's mole - the Mexican sauce, not mole-the american rodent). This will finish off the Christmas turkey.

Tuesday - Cajun red beans and rice. I made this a few weeks ago and it was a huge hit with my kids. I may try making a double batch so I can freeze some.

Thursday - Chicken lo mein. I've had a craving for this lately.

Saturday - Jambalaya and greens with bacon and black eyed peas. Traditionally black eyed peas are eaten on new years day for good luck. The greens symbolize wealth and the rice prosperity. We should be well covered for the coming year.

Christmas - the aftermath


Well, Christmas is over. The gifts are all unwrapped, the cookies are delivered, and the in-laws are on their way home. I have to admit that as much as I like christmas, I love the days after christmas even more.

The kids are enthralled with their new toys, there are tons of leftovers in the fridge and chocolate (and just about everything else) is on sale at Target.

I learned a few lessons this Christmas season.

1. Baking 16 different types of cookies is overdoing it. Next year I vow to only bake 4 different varities of cookies. Seriously. Hand to God.

2. As my kids get older, their gifts get better. My son got a rocking DS game from Santa. He has to sleep eventually and then I will have that DS.

3. When roasting a turkey make sure that you digital thermometer is set to fahrenheit not celsius. It takes a really long time for a turkey to reach an internal temperature of 180 degrees Celsius. (I realized my error around 95 degrees Celsius, so the bird wasn't a complete loss).

4. Maybe the best part of christmas is when it's all over and you can enjoy a few days off.
- Posted by Krista from my iPhone

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cookie baking complete


12:32. The last cookie is baked and the oven is off. Photographic evidence when I have recovered. Now... Where is the wrapping paper?

- Posted by Krista from my iPhone

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Baking day continues


After my computer was comondeered for gaming by my 7 year old son, I managed to finish off the chocolate cherry hazlenut bars, and the rum balls. The rum balls still need to be dipped in butter and rolled in nuts. This part is a pain in the butt. These cookies are off the list for next year.

This morning I have baked the cookie part of the peppemint mocha cookies. I still have to make the peppermint frosting, but the cookies smell pretty good on their own.

- Posted by Krista from my iPhone

Monday, December 21, 2009

Baking Day



After two weeks of planning, today is when the magic happens. Today is the day that all the baking begins. Here's the score so far:


As of midnight last night the following cookies were done:

Gingerbread men



Fudge (which needs to be made again since my family ate it all)



Peppermint bark



Biscotti



Italian Wedding Cookies (also known as nut cookies)



UPDATES:
7:27 am - no coffee, making due with diet coke

7:58 am - First batch of molasses spice cookies in the oven

8:53 am - Last batch of Molasses Spice cookies out of the oven

9:04 am - Children requesting breakfast. Due to snowed in status all that is available is bran flakes. This development is not welcomed with enthusiasm.

9:07 am - Children are requesting cookies for breakfast.

9:08 am - Children are told absolutly not.

9:15 am - After intense negotiations, a deal has been struck involving one bowl of bran flakes and one cookie.

9:25 am - Nap time.

10:35 am - Nap is over...up next Sable cookies.

10:53 am - First batch of Sables in the oven

11:54 am - Sables finished.

Meal plan Monday



This is the snowed-in Christmas edition of menu plan Monday. Coupled with all the cookie baking this week is looking very busy. We haven't been able to get out of our subdivision for three days now, so we've been eating out of the freezer. Hopefully, I will be able to get to the grocery store tomorrow to do some shopping for Christmas dinner. So, here it is - a rather optimistic menu plan.

Monday - tamalie pie

Wednesday - Cacio e pepe. Yes, this is from last week. We had planned to go shopping on Saturday to get the cheese. That didn't happen.

Thursday - Christmas Eve. Traditionally, my in laws cook on Christmas eve. I'm prediction ham.

Friday - Christmas day. This is a big cooking day at our place, but my husband pitches in a helps a lot. Here is what we have planned.

Horseradish-Crusted Beef Tenderloin
Roast Beef Tenderloin with Dried Fruit and Nut Stuffing

Rustic Dinner Rolls

Scalloped Potatos
Green Bean Casserole
Brussels Sprouts Braised in Cream

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Whew!

- Posted by Krista from my iPhone

Saturday, December 19, 2009

David VS. Goliath


This is David. Actually, his name is Jaden, but I'm working on a metaphor here people, so try to keep up.


Jaden is a two year old little boy. He's cute as a button too isn't he? Well, if cute could cure cancer, Jaden would be right as rain, sadly, that is not the case. Jaden is currently fighting a nasty form of cancer called metastatic neuroblastoma. While none of this is even a little fair, Jaden is fighting the cancer like a champ.

As you can imagine, the medical bills for his treatment are staggering. So last month mommy blogger and former high school classmate of mine, SupahMommy, hosted a supah auction on Ebay to raise money to help Jaden's mommy and daddy. While initially Ebay promised to waive their fees for such a good cause they have now reneged on the promise and are requesting $453.70. While this is probably a pittance to ebay it would go a long way on the hands of Jaden's folks.

Please, click over to SupahMommy's blog and find out how you can let ebay know how you feel about this.

I'll be back tomorrow with more joyful tidings and most likely pictures of snow....lots of snow.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thoughts on the holidays - recycled post

Things are sorta busy here....what with the cookie baking, snow shoveling, kid wrangling, snow shoveling and gift wrapping....and did I mention that we're getting a bit of snow....

Since I'm a big believer in recycling....here is a previously written - but still applicable - post about the holiday season. Enjoy, and I promise new content tomorrow.....probably with pictures of snow.

--

Well, my friends, Thanksgiving is now safely behind us. I can't say as I'm sorry to see it go either. As I may have mentioned, I have developed a new found loathing for turkey day. As I was mashing the potatoes and trussing the turkey, I got to thinking about my Scrooginess. I determined that, in reality, the average person is set up to fail when it comes to the big holidays. Let me tell you why.
  1. The work load - Holidays, be they thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hanukkah (I'm actually guessing about the last two, but it seems like a safe assumtion) are a lot of work. As a kid your list of responsibilities pretty much begins and ends will writing a little note to Santa. As you get older you are expected to shop, cook, wrap, decorate....the list goes on. I, for one, an not big into work, so the added load sorta bums me out.
  2. The Family - Let's face it, we don't all get along with our families. Even if we do get along with them, you can have too much of a good thing.
  3. The Expectations - Add to the previous two items, the fact that everything is supposed to be perfect. I mean look at what we have to aspire to, such theatrical gems as "White Christmas", "Holiday Inn", "Christmas in Connecticut", and "Miracle on 42nd Street". I mean are you kidding me?? I can barely get my kids to wear matching socks, and yet I'm expected to break out in song with a choreographed dance number while baking gingerbread men?
So for the above reasons, I propose that holidays are impossible to enjoy. I, for one, intend to combat the over perfectification of Christmas. I will expect to screw it up!! I will accept that my family is going to drive me crazy. I will eschew the singing and dancing cinematic vision of Christmas. Give me realistic christmas fare!! Give me movies where the Chrismas turkey is stollen by rabid dogs, the Christmas tree bursts into flames and houses rabid squirrels, and finally allow the local police to open fire on a mall santa on my front stoop on Christmas Eve!!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Budgeted

I have a confession to make. I do not have a budget. Well, I suppose technically I have one, my financial planner makes me draw one up. I scribble a few numbers down invasion sheet of paper and then completely forget about it. The money guy then uses, what is essentially a complete fabrication, to determine our entire financial plan for the year. This is probably not an ideal situation.

One of my goals for the new year is to get on some sort of budget. I'm going to start small, probably just the groceries since that is where most of our discressionary income goes anyway. So how do i get started? Do I just pick a dollar amount and try to stay under it every month? How do I keep track? How do I get my husband on board? I know that there are a ton of budget minded mamas out there, give a girl a clue!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday To Do List - Epic Fail

Last week's to do list was almost a total failure. I only got about 6 of ten things done. I'm going to try to improve on this week's list. Here it is...some of it may look familiar.

To Do Tuesday 12/15

1. Address and mail Christmas cards
2. Cookie dough - 4 batches
3. Biscotti
4. Get prints for photo wall
5. Fix termite damage around the door
6. Clean off table
7. Finish brownie jars
8. Peppermint bark
9. Mail in rebate offrs
10. Finish Sweater sleeves

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Meal plan Monday 12/14


Hey!! It's meal plan Monday again!!

Here it is:


Sunday - peppers stuffed with spiced lamb and currants. This is such a great meal because it's all in one. There is a veggie, a grain and a protein all packed inone easy dinner. AND it makes left-overs. I think I'm in love.


Tuesday - Meatloaf with mac and cheese. A perennial favorite amongst the under 10 set here at the house of delinquency. The meatloaf is coming from the freezer and the mac and cheese is easy to make from scratch.


Thursday - Crockpot beef stew provincial. A little variation of standard beef stew.


Saturday - Cacio e pepe. This is just a fancy way of saying spaghetti with Parmesan cheese and pepper.


Last week there was a request for the fish stew recipe. Nearly all of my recipes originate from Cook's Illustrated. I would post the recipe, but I'm afraid of violating copyright. I do encourage you to visit their web site and consider purchasing a subscription!

Note: I receive no compensation from Cook's Illustrated, however, if they would like to send me something, I'll take a signed 8x10 glossy of Christopher Kimball and some maple syrup.

- Posted by Krista from my iPhone

Sleep deprivation

For the past three night we have been trying to convince Boy3 to sleep in his own bed. Through a devious plan involving sleep deprivation, terminal cuteness and biological warfare he has brought me to my knees and I am waving the white flag of surrender.



Clearly, I can't sleep while he is awake. Coupled with his uncanny ability to detect the presence of a crib mattress anywhere in the vicinity of his butt have resulted in three consecutive sleepless nights. My attempts to lull him to sleep through nursing are thwarted because all the nursing causes his diaper to fill and results in my getting peed on somewhere around 3am. The resulting diaper change does little to foster a quiet soothing environment.




I finally realized that he had won the war last night around hour 63 of sleep deprivation when I found myself wishing that he would just grow up and sleep by himself. But really, the last thing I want is for him to grow up, I would, in fact, prefer he stay a baby forever. Sleep deprivation and frustration were doing ugly things to our relationship.





Boy3 will be back in bed with me tonight. I suspect that we will both get a much needed night of excellent sleep as well as a serious reminder of where our priorities lay.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

dreaming

I remember a lot of my dreams. Most of them are complete nonsense and, fact is, I'm not really the type of person to put much stock in dream interpretation. The dream I had last night however....well it doesn't take a genius to figure this one one.


It all started with me in the car driving the kids somewhere...nothing odd there, except that I was steering from the passenger seat. (I don't know who was pressing the gas....maybe the cruise control was on.) Eventually, I decided that I should get into the drivers seat, but as soon as I did (and before I could put on my seat belt) I hit a puddle and the car started to spin around. I've been in an accident where the car spun around and it ended pretty quickly....but this dream spin just wouldn't quit. At first I was scared, not so much for myself, but for the kids. (Damn...I'm pretty selfless in my dreams.) But soon (still spinning) I decided that I better do something. I put on my seat belt (still spinning) and tried to regain control of the car. I kept traveling down the road (Still spinning) but couldn't stop the car. Eventually, the car stopped spinning and came to a stop at a red light, facing in the right direction and we all were completely unscathed and able to get on with our day.

So I guess everything is going to work out just fine....though I'm getting a little dizzy from all the spinning.

Going Organic??

The writer of a blog that I sometimes read has recently announced that she is taking up a campaign of "clean eating". This means that she is swearing off anything that isn't organic, and all natural. She has completely cleaned out her kitchen of all refined sugars, preservatives, and white rice. Now, let me be clear. I fully respect this decision. I think that it's great that she, or anyone, is choosing to improve their diet.

The thing is, I'm pretty sure that I could never do it. The woman in question is single, has no children and (I'm assuming here) has an income adequate to afford the increased cost of clean eating. My kids really seem to enjoy preservatives and refined sugar and all that "unclean" food. (Full disclosure.....so do I). I'm pretty sure if the fruit snacks, Cheetos and cocoa pebbles suddenly disappeared from our pantry my children would either stage a coup or just move in with their grandparents.

So here is the question....Do you think that "clean eating" is possible for those of us with kids and husbands (and taste buds...haha...kidding...). If you manage to eat clean at your house how do you do it? Did you start when your kids were little so that they just don't know what they are missing? How much more expensive is it for you to feed your family exclusively from the organic section? How do you avoid the pitfalls of birthday parties and playdate snacks?

Please .... fill me in!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

To Do Tuesday - 12/8

Okay, it's Tuesday, time for the to do list.

1. Ship gifts
2. Make 4 batches of Christmas cookie dough - this will keep me nicely on the battle plan
3. Get prints for photo wall
4. Take cat to the vet
5. Fix termite damage around the door - I don't want to talk about this, it's too traumatic.
6. Clean off table - Now that the photo wall is up I have no excuses.
7. Finish brownie jars
8. Buy bra for party - stupid strapless, low back dress.
9. Mail in rebate offers
10. Return stuff to target and michaels

Last weeks list was very nearly a complete success. I got everything except one load of laundry done. And in my defense, it is folded just not distributed.

I'm getting going with my Christmas preps this week. Hopefully by planning ahead I can suffer from only minor bouts of psychosis insted of a full on mental breakdown.




- Posted by Krista from my iPhone

Monday, December 7, 2009

I'm always amused at what sorts of google searches land folks at my blog. My favorite so far has to be "planning my attack for Christmas cookies". I'm sorry to say, that the visitor from Little Rock didn't find much guidance here. When I see a need I want to fill it. (I'm just that kind of girl.) So, I present, my 2009 Christmas Cookie Battle Plan.

First, the objective. Every Christmas, I make an extensive array of Christmas goodies. Many are standards, but I try a few new ones every year. Here is this years list:

Molasses Spice Cookies
Nut Crescent Cookies
Gingerbread Cookies
Chocolate-Cherry Bar Cookies with Hazelnuts
Chocolate Butter Cookies
Sable Cookies
Macaroons
Rugelach

Peppermint Mocha Cookies

Tallahassee Lassies

Italian Rum Balls

Pumpkin Whoopi Pies

Peanut Butter fudge

Chocolate walnut fudge

peppermint bark

biscotti



Background info:


Several of the cookies can be made well in advance. Both types of fudge will actually improve if they are allowed to "cure" for a week or two in an air tight container. The Biscotti is a very hard, dry cookie that is virtually indestructible and can last for a month. The peppermint bark does fairly well in an air tight container in the fridge (not freezer). These four will be made well in advance, probably during the second week of December.


The dough for many of the other cookies can be made in advance and kept in the freezer. I make the dough, portion it into whatever shape makes sense (balls for drop type cookies, disks that will thaw quickly and roll out easily for cut outs) and freeze them on baking sheets. Once frozen, I can put them into freezer bags to save space. I always mark baking instructions on the bag.


The following dough can be made and portioned ahead of time:


Molasses Spice Cookies
Gingerbread Cookies
Chocolate Butter Cookies
Sable Cookies
Rugelach


The nut crescents can last about 5 days if stored in an air tight container, so they can be made a day or two in advance. The Macaroons are fairly fragile, and go down hill pretty fast. I will make them last.


The remaining cookies:

Chocolate-Cherry Bar Cookies with Hazelnuts
Peppermint Mocha Cookies

Tallahassee Lassies

Italian Rum Balls

Pumpkin Whoopi Pies


are new to me, so I'm going to have to give them some thought.


The bar cookies are essentially a butter cookie with chocolate and hazelnuts on top. The dough should be just fine in the freezer and they will likely last at least 5 days after being topped.


The Peppermint Mocha Cookies will also be fine if the dough is made ahead. The frosting will be okay in the fridge for at least a week. Once frosted, however, the cookies will need to be served or given in away ASAP.


The Pumpkin Whoopi Pies have quite a bit of pumpkin in the dough, but also a lot of fats and flour. I think that the dough will be okay in the freezer, but the pumpkin content worries me a little. As for the filling, it is nearly all fats and sugar and should be fine in the fridge for a week.


The rum balls are another one where the dough should be okay, but the inclusion of the rum is a little worrisome. Again, these will need to be glazed shortly before serving.


Finally there are the Tallahassee Lassies. These are made in muffin tins and consist of a soft cookie base covered with a butterscotch filling. Since I really don't have much experience with these, the butterscotch will be made just before serving, but the dough should be ok in the freezer.



The Plan:


Ok, so how is all of this going to come together? Lets assume that I want my cookie trays to be ready for December 23.


Week of December 6 - Make freezable doughs for:

Molasses Spice Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies
Chocolate Butter Cookies
Sable Cookies
Rugelach
Chocolate-Cherry Bar Cookies with Hazelnuts


Week of December 13 - Make freezable doughs for:

Peppermint Mocha Cookies

Tallahassee Lassies
Italian Rum Balls
Pumpkin Whoopi Pies

Make Fudge, pepermint bark and biscotti


December 20 - make frosting for Peppermint Mocha Cookies

make nut crescents

December 21 - make filling for Pumpkin Whoopi Pies


make any dough that was missed, bake immediately

December 22 - Bake frozen cookies

top Chocolate-Cherry Bar Cookies with Hazelnuts

December 23 - finish baking frozen cookies

Make macaroons

fill, frost and coat required cookies.


So, there you have it. It may seem daunting, but if you break it down, and have reasonable expectations you can make an amazing array of holiday goodies. And remember, if you just can't get to all your cookies it's ok. Don't let one or two (or even 9 or 10) cookies ruin you holiday. If you feel yourself getting too stressed about it all remember that nearly every grocery store has a bakery over flowing with cookies for the buying!

Meal Planning Monday




It's meal planning Monday again so let's get right to it.

Sunday - Chicken and rice casserloe with chilies, corn and, Black beans. This is a favorite at our house. We make a triple batch of this and freeze two batches. This means that when the madness if Christmas finally overtakes me and I am carried off to the funny farm, my family will still have a hot meal.

Tuesday - Slow cooker ground beef chili. Chili and crock pot cooking. What's not to love?

Thursday - Fish stew. I alrady have the stock and the flavor base for this ready in the freezer. All I have to do is add the fish.

Saturday - Spanish tortilla. This is a cross between an omlette and a fritatta. I don't know why it's called a tortilla. It is also a good way to use up my free eggs.


Lynn, over at Lynn's Kitchen Adventures, is putting me to shame by planning not only dinner, but lunch and breakfast as well!! I'm not quite up to that level yet, but I am going to try out her Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal. My family will be astounded by a mid-week hot breakfast!!



- Posted by Krista from my iPhone

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas weekend #1

It's the first weekend in December and the Christmas planning is on full swing.

So far I'm off to a roaring start. I have purchased nearly all of my Christmas gifts. The only gift left to buy is for my sister-in-law and her husband. They have a boat, so I'm thinking something boat related, but beyond that I have no clue. Of any of my readers are boat owners, I'm open to suggestions.

We went to my husband's company's kid's Chrismas party yesterday. There are crafts and games. (Boy2 won an enormous candy cane). Santa makes an appearance for photos. (This particular Santa not only looks the part, but seems exceptionally jolly). There is a kid friendly lunch of pizza and chicken tenders capped off by a well appointed make your own sundae bar. It Is a really nice event, and we are lucky that my husband has such a great employer.




Between all the partying and shopping I even managed to whip up a few batches of Christmas cookies.

Next week, more cookies and gift shipping.

I might even get to the laundry.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Do Re Mi

I am not a singer....actually, the truer statement would be I am not a GOOD singer. Sadly, and much to the chagrin of those around me, I am in fact very much a singer. I like to sing, others just don't like to have to listen. Undeterred, I do sing to my kids. I find that until the age of about 4 or 5 they don't really know the difference between good singing and nerve rattling warbling.

I have a small playlist of songs that I like to sing to or with my kids. The list evolves slightly from child to child, but right now the list includes:

Don't know why by Nora Jones
Leaving on a Jet Plane by Jon Denver (A friend used to perform this song in college and somehow it's been a favorite since.)
Ripple by the Grateful Dead (This was the first song I sang to my oldest son only because it was the only song I knew all the words to.)

Recently I have added the Scooby Doo song because my middle son is fascinated by it.

What songs are on your baby singing playlist??

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Reclaiming the Breakfast Bar

This week's organizing challenge is more of a marathon that a sprint. This is my breakfast bar.

It is a disaster. The BB has several qualities that lead it to the dark side. First off, too many things live there. It is a good place to put stuff, so we have just put all sorts of stuff there to stay. My first plan of attack is to find a new home for some of that stuff.

Second, it is right near the kitchen which means that when anyone takes something to the kitchen the have a tendency to tire out before they actually make it there so they just dump whatever they have on the breakfast bar.

Finally, the proximity to the kitchen means that it has an increased likelyhood of getting splashed with sauces or covered with crumbs.

So the real challenge here will not be just cleaning, but keeping clean.


UPDATE: I was hard pressed to figure out what to do with the glass canister type thing hidden behind the blue vase thing. That was, until I saw this post my Mrs. Moneysaver. My canisters are a little smaller, but still....that has got to me kismet! I love that I can take something I don't really want anymore and make it into a gift that someone else can enjoy...yeah!!

- Posted by Krista from my iPhone

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

To Do Tuesday

Congrats to everyone who entered the McDonalds coupon give away. I wil be sending you all an email as soon as I have some time with my computer - and the use of both hands.

I have a ton of stuff to get done this week. In an attempt to get most of it done I am introducing - drumroll please - To Do Tuesday. I could undoubtedly write a list of 500 things I SHOULD, but that's really not very realistic. I'm going to focus on the 10 most important thing for this week. Here they are:

1. Complete this weeks organizing challange (more on that later).

2. Make vet appointment for the cats.

3. Finish Christmas shopping. It will be a miracle if this one gets done.

4. Hang photo wall (more on this later too).

5. Clip cat claws.

6. Mail out contest prizes. 3 sets of McD's coupons and 1 home depot GC.

7. Make at least 1 batch of Christmas cookies.

8. Fold and put away all the laundry. My hubby is in charge of the washing and drying while I'm in charge of the folding and distributing. He says that by this time tomorrow there will be 8 loads ready for me. Why do we have so many clothes?

9. Register Boy2 for swimming and gymnastics classes. Damn gymnastics is full....wait-listed.

10. Clean under master bed.

Do you have a to do list? If so, post a link in the comments section. Misery loves company.


- Posted by Krista from my iPhone

Monday, November 30, 2009

Meal planning Monday





I am actually generally pretty good about planning my meals for the week. Truth be told, we only do a big shopping trip every three weeks. We plan enough meals to last for those three weeks, but we don't really plan exactly when they will be cooked. That is done on a weekly basis.

I also only cook about 4 times per week. On Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday I cook enough to make leftovers for the next day. Saturday is reserved for one off meals like fish or ham burgers.

Anyway, without further ado I present this weeks meal plan.

Sunday - Chicken and dumplings.

Tuesday - red beans and rice. I have to remember to start soaking the beans in the morning. This is a new recipie, I'm always a little nervous when I try a new recipie.

Thursday - Chicken tikka massala. I bulk this up with chickpeas so this lasts an extra day.

Saturday - crunchy baked pork chops. This will put a nice dent in the individually wrapped porc chops that I got in sale at Wegmans.

- Posted by Krista from my iPhone

Saturday, November 28, 2009

aaaand we're back

Ahhh....We are safely back in Virginia after our trip to PA for Thanksgiving. I think that traveling to visit one's parents is vitally important if only to remind you why you moved out in the first place.

First a little housekeeping. It seems that my plan to end the design contest on the 25th was ill-concieved. I forgot that my parents painfully slow internet connection coupled with their 13 year old computer (not kidding) that is so ridden with viruses makes me want to strangle myself with the mouse cord every time I try to use it. Anywhoooo....according to random.org our lucky winner is commenter #1, Jane. I will be sending you an email shortly!!

For now I have much laundry and unpacking to contend with. Not to mention two very pissed off cats who somehow ate through a week's worth of food in 3 days.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Quick McDonalds contest

As the result of chairing an event at my sons school, I have 30 coupons for free apple dippers or fruit and yogurt parfaits. The coupons are only good for McDonalds in the Northern Virginia/DC area. They expire at the end of 2010.

Here's the deal, leave a comment down below and on cyber Monday (aka November 30th) I will choose 3 random commentors to receive 10 coupons.

Have a loverly Thanksgiving!



- Posted by Krista from my iPhone

Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas creep

I'm not a Scrooge, I like Christmas as much as the next girl. I mean I'm not a crazy Christmas person, but I don't dislike the holiday season. What does drive me a little crazy is the (not so) slow advancemt of the start of the season.

Back in my youth, only slightly after the origination of the holiday itself, it was considered gauche to put up any sort of Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. I still remember the year that a new family on our street put up their Christmas lights the week before turkey day. The entire neighborhood was aghast.

Around the time we all started wishing each other happy holidays, the department stores began to cautiously display wreaths and red and green themed decor items a week before Thanksgiving. You may have even see the occasional blue and silver Chanukah swag laying about.

This year, things have gone too far! Too far I tell you! It all started the day BEFORE HALLOWEEN when I caught several Target employees swapping out costumes and polyester spiderwebs for fake christmas trees and light-up lawn reindeer. I was a little rattled by all this, but managed to convince myself that the entire upper management at Target was suffering from collective dementia and had forgotten about the entire month of November. With the economy what it is, they are probably under a lot of stress.


Sunday night TBS aired "How The Grinch Stole Christmas". I mean come on people....Show a little restraint.

ABC Family Channel is currently in the midst of their "Countdown to the 25 Days of Christmas". What is that? The holiday equivalent of the warm-up for the pre-game show?

The I saw HIM. The big guy himself, Santa, at the mall.

It's official, it's a world gone mad! I suppose I should just cave in and hang up the Christmas lights...and I would, if I didn't think that they would call undesired attention to the rotting jack-o-lantern left over from Halloween.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Solid

This weekend Boy3 had his first tastes of solid food. Well, not really solid, more pureed, but you get my drift.

This is, for me, a bittersweet milestone. Up until this point in his little life #3 has been breastfed. Meaning that I have produced every ounce of food that he has consumed. Some portion of every cell in his little body initially passed through me. This is until Friday evening. He received nourishment that I didn't provide for him. Of course, I bought the food, heated it up, mixed it with juice, fed it to him....I'm still intimately involved in the process, but it's just not quite the same. This is the first little step toward him growing up, and I'm not ready.

Boy3 is, most likely, my last baby. With the first I anticipated every milestone. I eagerly anticipated eating solid food, walking, talking and going to school. With Boy2 I watched with great pride as he moved from baby to toddler and now to preschooler. With Boy3, I would be perfectly content to keep him at four and a half months forever. I would happily endure years of sleepless nights and days when I couldn't put him down even long enough to go to the bathroom just to keep the sweet, cuddly little baby I am currently blessed with.

The time when they will fall asleep in you arms and cuddle with you for hours on end are so fleeting. Today it is solid food, tomorrow it will be walking and then running. I feel like I didn't properly enjoy the babyhood of the first two, so for now, I will sign off...I have some cuddling to do.

video

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's hip to be square

I am not cool. Never have been, likely never will be.

I went to my first Bat Mitzvah when I was 12. It was a very nice little affair where there was, horror of horrors, dancing. I had never heard the song "Shout" before and had no idea when to jump and well, shout. (I should mention that I am also lacking in rhythm.)

Back in high school when all my girlfriends were swooning over the New Kids On The Block I couldn't tell Joey from Jordan.

Even amongst the tragically unhip I am an outcast. In college when Star Trek: Voyager premiered I was completely uninterested in attending one of the many, many viewing parties hosted by various groups on campus. I was always more of a Next Generation kind of girl.

It should come as no real surprise that I am just now hearing about this Twilight thing. And, even less surprising, I totally don't get it. Maybe I should actually read the book or see the movie. Though that didn't help for Titanic.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My day in Numbers

10 - Dollars spent on liquid caffeine delivery mechanisms
9 - approximate number of miniature Peppermint Patties eaten (don't judge me)
8 - Miles run this week
7 - Number of diapers changed
6 - Dollars spent to reclothe 4 month old infant at Target
5 - Days until we leave for thanksgiving
4 - hours of driving time to thanksgiving location
3 - children
2 - Parents (You do the math)
1 - Nerves remaining for my children to get on.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

organization achieved

I finished cleaning off the TV thing today. Here is a photo.


As silly as it may sound, this has made a big difference in my general attitude. I don't get to sit down and watch TV very often, but when I do I find that I am more relaxed now that I don't have to see all that clutter. The whole room feels a little more zen, less hectic.

In addition to my household organization, I have been trying to save some money. I say a report on GMA about a woman who feeds her family on something like a quarter a month (okay...not really, but something completely ridiculous.) While I can accept that I will NEVER be able to feed my family for anything remotely that little (She bought a lot more processed and prepared foods than we do.) I am dedicated to trying to save a little. I have been searching the internet for deals and clipping coupons and all that. Today I scored my first really good deal all on my own. Here it is:

Wegmans (My grocery store of choice because I love love love them!!) has cans of Goya beans on sale 2/$1. I also have a coupon for $1.25 off of 6 cans. So if you do the math:

6 cans @ 2/$1 = $3 - $1.25 coupon = $1.75 / 6 cans OR
$0.30 / Can

My family loves beans, and I had 3 of the coupons so I bought 18 cans of beans. I actually think I have 2 more of the coupons floating around so I may go back tomorrow for 12 more cans. This is what the couponing mavens call a "Stockupportunity". I'm totally down with the lingo!!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

TV thing update

As promised, here is the before photo of the tv thing.


Fortunately, it no longer looks like that. I was nearly defeated by the dust cloud that arose when I attempted to dust the top, but I persevered and was able to subdue the evil accumulation with a swiffer cloth and a can of old English furniture polish. It was touch and go for a while though. I have made some pretty serious progress and, baring and further filth uprising, should be able to finish it of this evening.

In some less harrowing news, I am starting up on my Christmas knitting. I have two major projects going this year. The first is these teeny tiny little sweater ornaments.

I'm hoping to make enough to decorate our small Christmas tree this year. In accordance with my Harry Potter addiction, I also plan to make a set of "Weasley" sweaters as well. Maybe a few Hogwarts scarves too.....

The second Christmas knitting project is the husband sweater....I'm keeping that one close to the vest for now.

- Posted by Krista from my iPhone

Monday, November 16, 2009

Next Mission

This weeks organization mission is the entertainment center....or as it's known in my house, the TV thing. The TV thing is a serious hot spot because it is just so damned convenient. It's way too easy to just set a coffee cup or unused toy on the TV thing. I'm considering erecting some electrical fencing around it after I successfully get it cleaned off because it will undoubtedly be a disaster area again in a matter of moments. The TV thing is going to call for constant vigilance to keep clean...I think I am up to the task.

Speaking of being up to the task (or not), I did take a before photo of the thing, but the batteries on my camera crapped out before I could upload it. This will just give you something to look forward to tomorrow.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Maintenance

Getting something clean is one thing, keeping it that way, I'm finding, is quite another.

I have been trying very hard to keep the buffet clean. This has been harder than I expected. When I initially cleaned the thing off there was a sort of "wow" factor. You know
"Wow! That's where I left my cell phone", or "Wow! who knew dust bunnies could get so large" You get the idea.

Keeping something clean is much less impressive. Once it is cleaned off there is only room for failure. The buffet has experienced a sort of clutter crawl. One day it was a few crayons. The next it was the remote for my laptop. Then my hubby put the crockpot on there. This is how it starts....so small...so innocent before you know it you are back where you started. I am proud to say, however, that I nipped it in the bud and cleared the blossoming clutter this evening.

This marks a whole week that the table has been clean....I believe that may be a record.

Stay tuned for next week's cleaning event...and it's a doozy let me tell you!! Also don't forget to submit your design ideas for the contest!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

November Decorating Challenge

One of my biggest homemaking challenges is my complete lack of style. You know that ability to know what color to paint an accent wall, to match curtains to carpets or to choose art. I don't got it. I don't know where I was when they were passing out the decorating gene, probably playing netrek or something, but I missed out.

So here is the challenge. Remember that buffet table that I so lovingly cleaned off? Well here it is again to refresh your memory.



Notice that bit empty space up there? Well, before today it was just a big empty space - now it is a decorating opportunity. I want to put something up there, but I don't know what. That's where you come in. Leave me a little comment down there and tell me what you think I should put in that space. There are a few ground rules. First off, I don't want to break the bank here. I'm sure that an original Picasso would look lovely there, but that's not really in the budget. Let's try to keep it below $250. Also, please keep in mind that I am not a plumber, electrician or master carpenter. I'm not going to knock out the wall and put in a picture window. (And not just because all you would get would be a lovely view of my neighbor's vinyl siding.)

Comments will be open until November 25th at which time I will randomly choose someone to receive a $10 gift card from the home depot. So get commenting---I need all the help I can get.

note: Just because you win doesn't mean I'm going to use your idea...I gotta live here you know.

another note: I have never actually played netrek...I'm not THAT big of a geek.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Operation freezer Recon complete

Both of our freezers are now officially inventoried and organized. I have developed a new system for keeping track of what is in there. I'm calling it a "list". The concept is fairly simple, you write down what you have so you don't forget. Then, and this is the important part, you have to not lose the list. It's not an overly complex system, but better than the old system that involved throwing stuff in there and never thinking about it again.


(Sorry about the cruddy photos, but the freezer is in the garage, which has some lighting challenges.)

So, what's next you ask? Stay tuned for tomorrow's post featuring my first contest with PRIZES!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tis the Season

Its about that time folks - the holiday season is upon us. For us here at the house of delinquency that means...well, in the past it hasn't really meant anything until somewhere around December 20th. At which time I would complain loudly and to anyone who would listen about how much work there is to do and how I have to buy everyone's gifts and wrap them etc. I would grumble as I logged into Amazon and shelled out serious coin for expedited shipping. I would fret about getting my Christmas baking done and getting decorations up. In short I would be miserable and stressed out.

This year, in my attempt at domestic divahood, I pledge that things will be different. Seriously....Don't think I can't hear you laughing. I have already started on my husband's Christmas present. I am knitting him something for the first time in our 11 years of marriage. Hopefully I am past the statute of limitations on the curse of the boyfriend sweater. I have EVEN made some of the dough for my Christmas cookies. I'm on this! STOP LAUGHING!!

The doing of the holiday season is second only to the giving. I'm hoping to be able to give a little more to those in need this Christmas. Last week I worked a sweet deal at Toys R Us that saw me buying 7 pre-school games for only about $3.50. Since my kids already have some of these games, several will go to toys for tots. I'm also looking forward to choosing a child from the tree at my husbands office to buy for. I always try to pick out a little girl, since I buy for boys all year round. This is fun for me and makes Christmas special for a child who probably wouldn't get anything otherwise. (Just the thought of a child waking up Christmas morning and finding that Santa has passed her by breaks my heart).

I know the economy is bad and many of us as just squeaking by this year. For those of us who are doing fairly well, this is even more reason to dig a little deeper and give what we can.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Roku Review

A big part of being a successful delinquent is having a high quality selection of entertainment available to occupy the time you would otherwise spend vacuuming or dusting or delousing your children or whatever. While I am trying to give up my unMartha like ways, I will not give up my Roku box.

The Roku box is a small device that allows you to stream video directly to your television. Currently, Roku supports streaming from Netflix, Amazon VOD and MLB.com. We have only used the Netflix streaming however. Essentially, whatever you put on your Netflix instant viewing queue you can stream right to your TV.

Setup was very easy. I mean ridiculously easy. you plug the box into the TV and into the wall. It detects your Wi-fi (if you have it, if not you have to plug the box into your Internet somehow) and you are off to the races. Not only is set up easy, but the user interface is dreamy! My 3-year-old can find and start Blues Clues or a Scooby Doo movie all by himself.

We got our box about 3 weeks ago. At that time we canceled our expanded cable subscription and haven't looked back. The kids love to watch the cartoons provided by Netflix. Some of their current favorites are American Dragon, Avatar and Angela Anaconda movies.



I like that I get to choose what they can watch, or more importantly what they can't watch (ed, edd and eddy I'm looking at you). I appreciate the lovely selection of Showtime originals such as Dexter, Weeds and the Tudors as well as a bunch of great movies like Pineapple Express and Notting Hill.

New stuff is added all the time, so when I have finally watched all 141 selections currently on my queue there will certainly be new content waiting for me. There has also been talk of adding new channels (though you may have to pay extra for that). If/when Hulu is added I may never leave the house again.

Finally, I have the option to watch what I want when I want. I can pause, rewind or stop the movie and come back later (Netflix will remember where you left off even if you watch other shows before you get back). I also like the fact that my kids aren't bombarded by a million commercials, and I'm not bombarded by a million requests for sugar coated lard cube breakfast cereal or whatever the kids are eating now-a-days.

I don't have any financial incentive for touting Roku or Netflix - I'm just here to make your life more entertaining.

Project freezer recon - update

I have successfully infiltrated the garage freezer. After eluding several million freezer pops that had (clearly) been breeding in the icy cold I was able to take stock of the contents. I won't bore you with the details, but I will say that if we should suffer an extended summer power outage I will thaw enough lasagna and meatloaf to feed most of my neighborhood.


- Posted by Krista from my iPhone

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mission buffet table accomplished


Mission accomplished. The buffet is clean and organized. Don't believe me? Here is photographic proof.


My next task Is a bit more involved. I am going to clean out and organize the freezers. I'm giving myself until Thursday to accomplish this one. Stay tuned.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, November 6, 2009

Confessions of a Domestic Delinquent

I am a rotten homemaker. I'm not proud of this, but it's the truth. I would like to be better, he'll, I'd like to be Martha Stewart. Realistically, that ain't gonna happen. I'm aiming for somewhere between Peggy Bundy and Brie Van de Camp. Currently, I often feel like I'm plumeting toward the housewives you see on cops.

I'm a big fan of small, easily achievable goals. Today's goal is to clean out and organize the drawers in the buffet in the dining room. I may even go crazy and clean off the top - but that would just be gravy.

I'll post a (hopefully) well organized update later.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, June 27, 2009

and nothing to show for it.....

I've been diligently knitting on the guilt induced striped socks...though you'd never know it. The are several possible reasons for this. Either I'm a crazy anal retentive perfectionist or I'm too stupid to plan ahead and knit a darned swatch.

After I knit the socks (from the toe al the way up to the beginning of the leg) I decided that I didn't like the way the heel looked (even though I had already re-knit parts of it 3 or 4 times). So I pulled out the whole heel and started over. After I re-re-knit I had my son try the sock on. Turns out it's too big. Not only is it too long, but too wide as well.

If I weren't a crazy perfectionist I would have just thought that he'll eventually grow into the sock. If I weren't too stupid not to knit a swatch I wouldn't have had this problem in the first place.

Either way...I pulled it back to the toe and started over...So I have nothing to show for my effort. Check back tomorrow.