Tuesday, January 22, 2013

holy guacamole, batman!

I made salsa-topped pork chops for supper.  I had tortillas to make tacos out of them if one wished, and I had avocado.  Anyone who knows me knows my love for guacamole.  Anyone who knows my girls know they share this love.  So really, having avocado on hand should have excited everyone female in this house. 

Natalie and Sarah refused the avocado.  Insistently, repeatedly, inexplicably refused.  Natalie almost panicked at the thought of avocado on her plate, begging me not to put it there.  Sarah haughtily informed me that while they liked guacamole as much as ever, they did not wish to partake of plain avocado. 

Grumble, grumble, grumble. 

I am not a short order cook, and I don't usually offer alternatives to the meal that is there.  However, I don't force-feed either.  Either child is perfectly welcome not to eat any part of a meal--they just shouldn't be surprised when I don't offer anything else.  So I really wasn't going to make an issue of the avocado, even though I found it ridiculous. 

But.  Natalie kept going on about it.  To the point of being rude and disrespectful.  I did something I've never done before.  I told her that if she made any further comment about the avocado, I would be feeding her a bite of it. 

Her eyes grew wide.  I figured the problems was solved.  But a few minutes later, she popped off again.  I put a small amount of avocado on the spoon and gave it to her. 

And lo and behold, she remembered how much she loves the stuff.  She started begging for more.  Suddenly Sarah was intrigued, and she started eating the avocado too.  Both laughed at how much they enjoyed it.  They happily put away several slices.  It was like some weird, infuriating version of Green Eggs and Ham.

Sheesh.  Don't mind me; I'll just be over here banging my head on the table. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

writer's block again

So once again I can't think of anything to say here.  :-p  Funny how often that happens. 

School continues pretty much normally.  Natalie has been begging to do school as well, so I have been doing some freebie preschool activities with her.  She must be enjoying them, because today she wanted to start school immediately while Sarah was dragging her heels. 

Sarah did have a brief lesson on using a dictionary today.  She then proceeded to look up about half her spelling words in the dictionary, just because she found it interesting. 

I snagged some free timeline cutouts at co-op last week; I hope having a visual reference will help as we study more of history.  

We found a YouTube video of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech that we watched today.  I can't hear the speech without getting a bit teary.  The "I've Been to the Mountaintop" is even more chilling since it foreshadows his death so eerily;it's like he knew.  I appreciated John Piper's tribute to Dr. King

And now I've probably rambled enough.  Sorry for not having anything terribly profound or humorous.  Mostly just life plodding along.  :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

circle of life

Yeah, I know. Cue The Lion King music! But as cheesy as the title is, it fits.

This past Friday (January 11), my cousin gave birth to her second child. She had a boy, and she named him after my late grandfather. It is a lovely tribute, and I know my grandfather would have been thrilled. My cousin and her baby are both healthy and whole. We rejoice with her.

This past Friday was also the day that my husband's grandmother died. She had been battling cancer for a long time. She was an incredibly kind, sweet, gracious lady. We mourn her loss.

My brain and my heart are having a hard time reconciling these two events on such opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. I truly rejoice for my cousin and her husband. I truly grieve the death of Grandma. It seems so strange to have both reactions dueling within me.

And yet...isn't that life as a whole? Isn't that how it so frequently goes? We laugh. We cry. We dance. We stumble. And sometimes, we do it all at the same time.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

spellingg bee

Yes, I completely stole the title of this post from the TV show Psych.  I'm a fangirl.  Sue me.  You can have all of my student loan debt if you win.

Anyway, do you remember this post from last year? 

Today was the day of this year's spelling bee.  Sarah was very eager to try again.

She still remembers the word she missed last year, although she can joke about it.  "I missed 'harsh!'  That is harsh!"

Numbers were waaaaaaay down this year.  Apparently some sort of plague is making the rounds, and many were unable to participate due to illness.  Both bees had a much smaller turnout.  The upper grades' bee had only eight children--I know there were at least twice that many in it last year and probably more.

The younger kids' bee had two children--Sarah and another girl.  Not much of a bee, but they enjoyed it.

They honestly were quite evenly matched.  They both got quite a few words correct and went several rounds.  Then the other girl missed a word.  Per the rules, Sarah still had to spell her word correctly to win.  But she missed hers too.  They went a few rounds with both of them missing words--it was comical almost how similar their levels of spelling prowess were.  I knew it was anybody's bee, and it would possibly come down to a fluke.

In the end, Sarah won.  She is thrilled with her medal and thrilled to have won a spelling bee after being disappointed last year. 

I'm proud of her, of course, although a two-person spelling bee isn't much of a competition.  But I'm proud that she wanted to try again.  I'm proud that missing a few words didn't frustrate her to the point of losing her concentration and making dumb mistakes.  I'm proud that she thanked everyone who told her she did well.

I'm especially proud that she told her opponent what a good job she had done, and that the opponent also smiled and congratulated her.  Such good attitudes from both of them.

And I'm glad it's over.  It's nerve-wracking when your kid is up on that stage!  ;)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

follow-up to yesterday: kitchen disasters

So between the French toast breakfast and the supper that pleased everyone (nigh near impossible in this house), I was feeling pretty pleased with myself and my culinary prowess yesterday. 

Pride goes before destruction, I guess. 

I had planned these positively delicious-sounding sour cream enchiladas for supper tonight.  Then I realized: I was out of cheese.  We never run out of cheese in this house, but we managed it thanks to that lovely but unplanned mac I had made last night.  Drat.

Okay, no biggie, just figure out something else to make with chicken.  My casseroles tend to involve cheese as well, so those are out.  Not enough time to make soup really.  Sweet and sour chicken!  That's it!

I've not been successful making sweet and sour chicken since the discovery that I can't have soy sauce.  Darn, I miss soy sauce.  But I forged ahead. 

Some nights you really just need to grab a $5 pizza and give it up.  :-p

While my rice cooked, I started chopping my chicken.  Rachael Ray says to do your chopping next to the stove, so you can dump things directly into the pan when you're done.  I was kind of in a hurry, and it sounded like a time saving step.  Only I don't have room next to my stove like she does.  So I set up my board on the stove--I wasn't using all of the eyes.

You so know where this is going, don't you?

I set up my pan on the back eye so I could dump my chicken into it once I was done chopping.  I chopped and dumped and turned on the eye to heat the pan.  I added my fat to the pan.  I got ready to dump my chicken.

I frowned.  Why wasn't my pan heating up?

Because I of course turned on the wrong eye.  Yep, I now have an eye-shaped burn on my cutting board.  The stove eye is coated in nasty melted plastic.  Arg.

I also over-cooked dinner--which didn't have any flavor to speak of anyway.  It filled our bellies.  That's really about all you could say about it.

Grumble, grumble, mutter.

*raises right hand*  I, Karen, do solemnly swear never to brag about my cooking accomplishments on this blog again.  It's just not worth it.  Sheesh. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

kitchen capers

I had made a couple of loaves of sourdough bread last week.  I had some bread still left over, so I decided to make French toast this morning.  I mostly used this recipe, although I upped the cinnamon and vanilla, added nutmeg, and used Natalie's almond milk instead of whole milk.  Still, it made for a very yummy breakfast, especially since we splurged on real maple syrup with one of Christmas gift cards. 

Speaking of gift card splurges...I also bought a jar of almond butter with that gift card.  I love almond butter.  I wanted it on a piece of sourdough toast for breakfast one day last week.  However, I discovered something terrible.  Someone had opened the jar at the store--and used their fingers to draw a smiley face in the almond butter.  :-p  YUCK! 

I had already thrown away the receipt, because I don't keep them after the charge has cleared the bank.  Thankfully, Target was gracious and exchanged the product anyway.  Sadly, apparently this isn't unusual, although the manager said that it was normally cosmetics that the culprit opened and defaced.  How utterly spiteful and wasteful! 

I meant to use some leftover chicken in tonight's supper, but I ended up making homemade macaroni and cheese instead.  We ended up doing kind of a "meatless Monday" even though I hadn't planned it.  I'm pondering trying to do it more often though.  I also made these pumpkin muffins, although I used white whole wheat flour, almond milk, and again increased the seasonings.  Oh, and I omitted the chocolate chips because of Natalie. 

I'll probably make more sourdough bread tomorrow.  Gotta to keep using the starter regularly so that it doesn't go bad or lose its "oomph." 

I'm tracking our grocery spending this month, trying to lower it from last month's total.  However, I'll confess up front that the gift cards will certainly help with that.   The real test will be next month!  ;) 

Rather boring post, I know.  Maybe someone will find the recipes useful. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Happy New Year!

I always love the "fresh start" feeling that a new year brings.  There's just a feeling of renewed hope and another chance and sense of promise.  "It's been a long December, and there's reason to believe that maybe this year will be better than the last."  I always think of that song lyric on New Year's Day.  I think that's what we all wish for when the calendar page flips--a better year than the year before.

I didn't accomplish even close to everything I wanted in 2012, and as such I loved this blog post from A Holy Experience.  I often find encouragement and inspirations from Ann's words, and this post was no exception.

I do have goals and such for the new year, but I'm not making any big "New Year Resolutions."  Instead I'm trying to break things down into shorter term monthly and weekly goals.  I recently read the book Tell Your Time by Amy Lynn Andrews, and it provided some food for thought as to how your overall goals should dictate how you budget your time.  It's not a new idea--Steven Covey talks a lot about the same principle in his books--but it's presented in a very practical, easy-to-read format.  I have a shiny new planner to map out my ideas (and it even has its first coffee stain, so it is truly MY planner now).  I'll post more about how it's going throughout the upcoming weeks and months.

One goal I will share now is to procure an AP Stylebook with a gift card I got for Christmas and study it.  I need to brush up on the peculiar quirks of AP style that differ from conventional grammar.  Then I can retake the proofreading test offered by the company for which I write and have  more jobs available to me.  I'm always going to continue working on writing more frequently so that I can increase my writing speed.  I am a very slow writer, taking too much time to ponder every word.  I also tend to "over-research."  The experts I've read all assure me that writing more often will help me write more quickly.  I will make more money if I write more articles.  Writing more articles will only happen if I write more quickly.

On a completely different note, one thing that is rather exciting to report is that I ended 2012 by going a full two and a half weeks without a migraine.  TWO AND A HALF WEEKS!!!  That is an extraordinary record and very exciting.

Naturally, I broke my streak on New Year's Day.  Do I know how to ring in a new year with style or what?  ;)

Anyway, best wishes for a wonderful 2013 for everyone.  (Please excuse any mistakes you might find in this blog post).