Names have been changed to protect the innocent...and my husband...and me...but not the dog. His name is Dexter.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Random Update for September

So, I haven't been all that good at posting lately. It seems I have more things to do than there are hours in the day. But surely, I must be the only one who feels that way! Y'all have no idea what that's like, right?!

And because a coherent sentence is such a challenge these days, I've decided to post a bullet point list of random thoughts especially for your enjoyment.
  • Lolly no longer takes naps. Enough said.
  • I decided to do preschool with Lolly every day to spend some extra time with her and to help her, ya know, learn things. Also, to keep her out of trouble.
  • Babs doesn't like preschool. She is especially offended if it is done during what should be her nap time.
  • Oh yeah, the day I started preschool with Lolly, Babs decided she didn't need to nap anymore either and would rather scream. For two hours. Yep, good times.
  • Happily, after two weeks of screaming she has conceded and naps well...for now....
  • I used to use nap time to clean the house. The house is very messy right now.
  • Lolly loves preschool and just amazes me with how smart she is.
  • I think she must get it from her Father ;o)
  • Babs is so cute that it totally makes up for her sleeping issues.
  • I'm happy to report that I have started on Christmas stuff! Pictures will be posted eventually as I get things done.
  • Last Friday was my day off to get some stuff done, which is my excuse this time for not having a Friday Favorite. Someday I will be more organized. Right?
  • I have so many things to blog about:Bear Lake, the Zoo, and our trip up Emigration Canyon to name a few.
  • When we put our house on the market last spring we packed half our lives into a pod for long term storage. We have now crammed all that stuff back into our living space. What we didn't get rid of, that is. Crowded? A bit.
Now you know why I haven't posted all that much lately, but it'll get better. We've just got to adjust to our new schedules and start new routines. And when I say "we" I mean "me".

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Recipe Swap Wednesday-Italian Soup

Wow, it's Wednesday already and I'm barely getting around to posting. What's super exciting about this is that, as of this point in the post, I haven't decided on what recipe to post. Hmmmm....what to post, what to post. I think I'll go with what I made for dinner last night since it's fresh in my memory. This particular recipe started out as an Italian Sausage Soup. It was a recipe that I had been wanting to try and so I jumped right in and realized later, of course, that I didn't actually have all, or even half, of the ingredients. Surprising, I know!! And did I mention that I was also taking the soup into a neighbor who had recently had a baby?! I always seem to do that...making something I've never made before to take to someone else because that's the best time to try out a new recipe! *sigh* So here is what I ended up with.

Food Storage Rotation Italian Soup!
5 cups chicken broth
1 can of corn
1 can of green beans
1 can of carrots
1 can of kidney beans
1 can diced tomatoes-undrained (I use the kind with garlic, but if using plain diced tomatoes add a clove of garlic, chopped)
1 tsp. rosemary herb seasoning (I use a seasoning mix, but the seasoning listed for the original recipe are:1 tsp. basil, 1 tsp rosemary & 1/4 tsp. dried sage)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 package Polska Kelbasa, about a pound, chopped
1 cup pasta shells

Combine all ingredients, except the pasta, in a large crockpot and let simmer. About a half hour or so before dinner add the pasta shells. They can be cooked seperately and then added to the soup, if you would prefer.

That's it! This recipe is great with homemade biscuits if you're feeling ambitious. I'll eventually find the perfect biscuit recipe and pass it on. I'm adding the Mr. Linky thingy here in case anyone should get an out of control urge to swap a recipe. It's looks a little more complicated than it actually is, but I totally dare you to try it. I double dog dare you!! ;o)

Happy recipe swapping!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Proud Moment In Our Marriage

When I first met CG he was happily reading the Harry Potter series, so I assumed that he was a reader. He was the one to get me to read the series and I have been a devoted fan ever since. But when we discussed it later he said that he actually wasn't really "a reader". It took a while for my brain to register those words. Not a reader. That's like a foreign language to me. But eventually I did and married him anyway! Ha ha

Along with our various marriage vows, I mentally included bringing him over to the dark side...the side where people stay up way to late when they get into a good book. You know, the readers side. So, each Christmas and some birthdays he has received books from me. I've spent a fair amount of time researching books that I thought he would like and also got him books that he had requested. And these were not easy reader books, by any means. Lord of The Rings, anyone?! And he has enjoyed (I think) his journey to becoming a reader and is always looking for a good, new book to read during his lunch time or commute.

But we have achieved a major milestone around here this weekend. CG is reading three different books at the same time!!! I'm so proud. He really has made the full transition to the dark side and we're loving every minute of it. He's even gone so far as to read books that I really enjoy so that we can talk about those books together. Sadly, I can't say that his efforts have been reciprocated because I just cannot bring myself to read Lord of the Rings. But I will support him in any effort that he makes to read one of my books. Because I'm a wonderful, supportive wife like that!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Favorites-Heard Around Here

Today the Friday Favorite is going to be dedicated to the cute things my girls have said this week. Kids say the funniest things and it's so hard to remember them all so I do try to write them down one place or another. Here's a few from this week...

As we were out for a walk we passed a lavender bush (I think) that she loves to smell. On this particular walk she said, "Do you know what's in those flowers? Shampoo!"

Yesterday just before lunch Lolly announced, "I love ravioli, daisies and chocolate!" All wonderful things, although I never would have put them together the way she did.

Babs is just learning to talk and so everything that comes out of her mouth is adorable! But I have a couple of favorites to share.
She loves talking to her Daddy on the phone (even if no one is actually on the phone, she's talking to Daddy) and we've been teaching her a few good words.
Hello: Hewow
Love you: Wuv woo

And the Sesame Street word of the day is Nernie. She's pretty good at Elmo (of course) and Bi-Bowd, too.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Recipe Swap Wednesday-Chicken Spaghetti

Yes, I know it's actually Thursday. A day late and a dollar short...that's how I do things sometimes. We've (I've) been adjusting to a new routine around here. A couple of months ago Babs reached that beautiful milestone that is one long nap a day instead of two short, slightly painful naps a day. It was a good time in our household. But now Lolly no longer needs a nap and Babs, who has always been a delicate sleeper, is feeling the loss. Plus, I'm left with an entirely too intelligent for her age three year old that needs entertaining during my previous break. So, now we do preschool every afternoon. We've just started it this week and it's gone fairly well, all things considered. Lolly loves it and I'm really enjoying the one on one time with her. She can be pretty entertaining! ;o) The complication that has unfolded before me now though is that not only am I doing the full time mom thing, but trying to toss in the cooking, cleaning, laundry & sewing around the preschool lessons. May the force be with me. On the bright side, I found a cute little thing to help Lolly learn the days of the week and hopefully that will help me remember them too!

Now, onto the much awaited recipe. This is an oldy but a goody. If I remember right, I saw this recipe done on a local morning show a few years ago and it has been a hit ever since. Except for when I went through my wheat pasta phase. I'm not sure if CG has recovered from that one yet.

Chicken Spaghetti

16 oz. pasta (uncooked)

16 oz. sour cream

2 cans of cream of chicken soup

2 cans milk

1 box of stuffing

Cooked chicken

(1 large can of chicken or about 1 lb cooked & shredded chicken)

Mix together sour cream, cream of chicken soup, milk, a small portion of stuffing packet (for seasoning), chicken and pasta. Pour into 9x13 baking dish. Cook the remaining stuffing and spread over the mixture already in pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Note: I often use 1 cup milk and one cup water instead of 2 cups milk. When I use wheat pasta, I add extra water. You can also precook the pasta, use less liquid (about half) and bake for 30 minutes.

Hmmm....this is sounding good. Maybe I should go grocery shopping a make a real meal tonight. In my spare time and all...... ;o)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wonder Woman!

This picture is worth way more than just 1,000 words!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Latest Projects

For many moons now I have been working on a quilt for Lolly. I actually started on the little squares while I was in a quilt class during my pregnancy with Lolly. It's been a few years. And yet, it's still not done. I just couldn't decide exactly how I wanted to do it. But now I finally have decided what I want to do so it makes working on it much, much easier. There are quite a few hand embroidered squares and I'm finding that it's taking more time than I realized. Or maybe I just don't have as much time to work on those things while raising my two kids. ;o)

This picture is a part of the center square for Lolly's quilt. I'm only showing a corner of it because it has her full name and birth information on it and that would sorta, kinda undo the whole "internet anonymity" thing. Those simple little flowers took me FOR. EV. ER.
And this is a little project that I decided to do on a whim while looking at jillytacy's cute little blog. She has several tutorials on her side bar and they're just fabulous and she gives great instructions. This is my version of her cute cherry needle holder. I saw it and thought, "I totally need one of those" since I often take my embroidery/sewing on the road with me. But I thought I wouldn't have time to do something so cute in the 20 minutes I allotted myself to make this project. Yes, I know....unrealistic expectations. Anyway, I highly recommend going with her tutorial because I think that in the long run I actually spent more time doing it with my "shortcut" than I would have if I had copied hers. Although I did have fun with the polka dots. I just used some felt that I had at the house and it worked out pretty well.
Not the best picture but you get the idea.
Half open, half closed to show all the exciting details!Babs cute little grabby hand. Next project....Christmas. I'm hoping to post pictures as I get things done way before Christmas time. Yeah, I know....I'm laughing too! Maybe with starting in September I'll have a shot!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Favorite-Clean Laundry

To be perfectly honest, I'm not one who really enjoys housework. Oh, I love the feeling of a clean house and bask in that glory at least once a year, but I'm just not the type of person to enjoy the process one goes through to achieve a clean house.

The only household chore I find even remotely pleasant is laundry. There is just something so calming about it...the timeless process of laundry going from hamper to washer to dryer to basket to it's folded perfection where it will, hopefully, make that journey towards it's rightful place of storage. Unfortunately, that rightful place of storage can vary widely between a drawer or say, the bedroom floor, on occasion....ahem, cough, CG. ;o) It's wonderful because I can just zone out while I fold the clean, good smelling laundry and not have to worry about the task that I'm doing. It has a definite zen quality to it that I admire. And knowing that we have enough clean laundry to get us through the next hour, at the very least, is very calming.

It seems to me that this blog is becoming more like a confessional of my lameness. I totally just wrote a blog about laundry. *sigh* Well, at least I'm being consistent and I'm all about being consistent! Happy Friday Everyone!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Recipe Swap Wednesday-Chicken Enchiladas

Once upon a time I was reading a wonderful book called "Twilight" and the main character, Bella, made chicken enchiladas and I thought, "Ooohhhh, that sounds good". So I decided to just hop on the internet and find a nice and easy recipe for chicken enchiladas. Well, that was much easier said than done, my friends. So I looked at several hard recipes to find the similarities in ingredients and made up my own easier recipe. Now, it has been made several times and gone through the entire trial and error experience so it is now suitable for public knowledge.

Chicken Enchiladas
Chicken (3-4 chicken breasts)
Green chilis (2-3)
Garlic Salt (a couple shakes)
Ground Black Pepper (a couple shakes)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1-2 cups milk
Mozzarella Cheese (also works with Cheddar Cheese)

In a large skillet cook the chicken with the garlic salt and black pepper in a bit of vegetable oil. While the chicken is cooking, I chop up the onion and green chilis. Then I remove the cooked chicken and cut it up while the onion and chilis are sauteeing in the skillet. Return the chicken to the skillet and cook a bit more. Add the 2 cans of cream of chicken soup and milk and bring to a low boil.
Remove from heat and place chicken mixture into tortillas. I use a straining spoon to remove most of the sauce from what goes into the tortilla. Add a tiny bit of cheese to each enchilada before rolling and placing in a greased baking dish. Repeat until you run out of tortillas or space in your baking dish, whichever comes first. ;o) Then pour the remaining enchilada mixture (which will be mostly sauce) over the top of the enchiladas. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese across the top. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese melts, about 20 minutes or so. And enjoy!

Now, here comes the tricky part. If you would like to participate in the recipe swap, leave your information in the Mr. Linky thing that is supposed to appear at the bottom of this post. If it actually works!

Welcome Baby Boy!

We are so excited to welcome a new little chaos cousin to our family!
He was born around 4 am (bless his Mama's heart) and weighed in
at 6 lbs. 8 oz. & is 21 inches long.
This baby has been a long time coming and we are so happy that he's here!

Monday, September 8, 2008

One Good Book Swap-a swap for kids

I have some very exciting news! Jillytacy over at Life With Nature Girl is hosting her very first swap and it's a book swap for kids. All the details are posted over on her blog and I highly suggest signing up. Swaps are lots of fun to do, especially with your kids, because they can get involved in making the package to send and will learn for themselves how fun it is to do something nice for someone else. Plus, they get their own package in the mail. The REAL mail. Very exciting. This would even work if you happen to be, say, pregnant with your first baby....hint, hint. ;o)
Also, I just happened to meet jillytacy doing a swap at the beginning of this year and she has become a wonderful friend that I enjoy exchanging emails and crafty goodness with. So, you never know what you're going to get out of a swap! And Lolly, who helped me out, still asks about her friend Nature Girl.
Now, head on over and sign up! It's fun. I was totally nervous to sign up for my first swap so I did it before I thought too much about it. That's what I recommend! I'm totally signing up for Lolly and Babs. I'll see you there!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Chinese Chicken Casserole

So, here's my latest attempt to help me remember what day it is. Or to have something to post that is actually worth reading. I'm going to start doing Recipe Swap Wednesdays! I'll post a new recipe every Wednesday, either one that I tried and loved (like Hairyshoefairy's creamy crock pot chicken) or a recipe that I have made up which is usually an alteration of a recipe that I've gotten in the past. To kick off this exciting new development, I'm going to post my recipe for Chinese Chicken Casserole. This is a yummy casserole that actually started out as something else and has been altered beyond recognition so now I can claim it as my own! ;o) So without any further ado I give to you......

Chinese Chicken Casserole
3-4 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
2 cups stir fry vegetables (I use frozen)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cans (10.5 oz.) cream of chicken soup
1.5 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (the garlic salt & pepper measurements are a guess because I just sprinkle until it looks good)
1 cup rice
1 cup water
Chow Mein Noodles (8 oz.?)

Combine chicken, stir fry vegetables, onion, cream of chicken soup, milk, garlic salt and pepper and set aside. In a 9x13 casserole dish put the rice and water. Spoon chicken mixture on top of rice. Sprinkle chow mein noodles over top of casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

I like to serve this with crushed pineapple to add a little something to it, but it's good without it as well. This is a pretty popular recipe at our house which says a lot considering I have a 3 year old.

And as a bonus, I'm going to throw in the original recipe that started this whole process.

Chicken Salad Casserole
1 Chicken (about 3 pounds) cooked, skinned and removed from bones
2 cups diced celery
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
5 ounces chow mein noodles

Cut chicken in chunks. Add celery, onion, cream of chicken soup and water chestnuts. Sprinkle half of the chow mein noodles in bottom of greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Spoon chicken misture atop noodles in baking pan. Top with remaining noodles. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Unfortunately, this poor recipe was doomed from the start because of CG's dislike for cooked celery. But I thought it sounded yummy and began the experimentation process, which is always lots of fun. I think we've finally got what we've wanted and I make it a couple times a month.

Now, here's the exciting part of Recipe Swap Wednesday! Ha ha ha! If anyone should choose to participate in this, just let me know and I'll put a link up to your site and the name of the recipe that you're sharing. (I got this up a little late in the day, but I'll try to do better next week.) I've seen this done on other blogs and it looks like so much fun so I thought I would copy. And pick a day so that I could keep track of my days! ;o)

Bon Apetite!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I Dream of IKEA

IKEA is my my happy place. We went there this past weekend to pick up a fabulous bookcase for our front room (post & pictures sold separately) and had so much fun. That may just make me the lamest person on Earth, but it was wonderful. Being all designer-y in my past life, it is the perfect place for me to roam and plan and be. I was actually thinking of titling this post "IKEA-Hallowed Be Thy Name", but you'll soon find out why I changed my mind on that one.

I have pretty much redecorated my entire house from the IKEA catalog that I go to whenever life gets too hard. ;o) Some of it is most likely going to happen and other plans are just a pipe dream, but it's fun all the same. Sadly, since we went to the actual "Warehouse of Happiness" I actually dream about various IKEA furniture and kitchen cabinetry finding their place in life in my home. And it's so lovely and organized. This is probably where the "lamest person on Earth" part comes in. Of course, my lameness is really a surprise to any of us though, right?!

Our house seems to be in a constant state of construction. Or evolution, if you will. We've spent some quality (read:painful) time in various home improvement stores and always leave with a dazed and confused look on our face and missing at least one necessary component to our project. Luckily, we end up returning to the store at least once for that item, along with a bunch of other items we never knew we needed and still have never used. Overwhelmed doesn't even begin to describe the way I feel about attempting another "project" in our house, and now with 2...exuberant...toddlers to add to the excitement.

Which leads me straight into my IKEA commercial. It's a fabulous feeling and a huge change of pace to leave a store with a project in mind and actually feel like we'll be able to finish it without having to call in the professionals. And by professionals, I mean mental health professionals. But on Saturday as we left with our bookcase and a cart load of hope, I felt like there was a chance for us. We set up the bookcase yesterday and it has worked out even better than we had hoped. Which prompted CG to install our new medicine chest in our bathroom as well. Everything went smoothly and all pieces were included. We may even be brave enough to attempt a kitchen remodel and that, my friends, is the true miracle of IKEA. That and you can pick out the desk you want to use in your not-yet-remodeled kitchen for $50 and then just happen to find it on KSL two days later for $15. Miraculous. And it came with a chair.

I think I'll become an IKEA-ite....maybe even their leader!
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