Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I Have A New Home

Thanks to anyone who was reading this blog, but I have decided to kick it up a notch and start up a new one. It is a little more professional than the ramblings I have posted on here. I will still keep this blog, however, but it will not be updated nearly as often. Thanks again!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Why Can't I Remember?

This is ridiculous. I remember sitting at the computer looking at an invitation to something and asking my husband if that Saturday was clear on his calendar and if he would mind if I committed us to something on August 7th...but as I sit here trying to think of where it is I am supposed to be, or what it is I am supposed to be doing...I can't remember!

I've always heard that when women have children they develop "Mommy Brain," and I would like to blame my current memory loss on this theory. If I don't, that means I am going crazy, or developing early on-set Alzheimer's (thanks a lot book club for having me read Still Alice!).

I have gone through all my e-mails on all of my accounts and have checked calendars, evite, and even Facebook. Nothing. Hopefully I can remember by the time Saturday rolls around--in the meantime, I'll clean the house, just in case whatever it is that is supposed to occur is at my house!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mommy Is A Mess!

Okay, so I have been crying my eyes out for the past 12 hours. Why? My baby is going to a new babysitter today, since Daddy has to return to his teaching position, and Jonathan will be starting Kindergarten in three weeks. One of those alone is enough to send me into a frenzy! As if Jonathan going off into the world without me all day wasn't enough, but now someone other than me will be cuddling my little five-month-old. The ongoing battle of being a working mom! The guilt, the longing, the need to help pay the bills!

Both of them will be spending time with a young stay-at-home mom whom I have been slowly been able to get to know. We made the switch from the daycare ministry Jonathan was attending because he is going off to the big "K" and I would rather have little "T" in more of a home setting. You know, besides the fact that I was able to pick the kids up one day when Jonathan was playing on the playground with no teacher outside and drove off, no one the wiser. That's another story for another day! Let's get back to me being a mess!

Let's face it, I do not do change well. When it involves my kids, it is even worse! I love working-at least the line of work I do. And we really wouldn't be able to pay all the bills if I were not working, but the GUILT sometimes just kills me! And the debate of whether or not I am making the right decision plays over in my mind like an old record. I have been secretly glad that Jonathan is spending the first few weeks with the new babysitter, because he is old enough to grill when I get home. "What did you do today?" "What did you eat for breakfast?" "Did the babysitter commit any crimes while Mommy was at work?" you know, the usual.

Speaking of which, I should really call in to see how the "drop off" went. Be prepared for a bigger mess in three weeks...in the mean time, I need to do some stalking...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer Garden Recipes!

I love having a garden and my little piece of dirt is starting to produce some wonderful flavors! While I am still waiting for those luscious tomatoes to turn their brilliant shade of red, I have been delighted with the farmer's market 's crop of romaine lettuce and summer squash. I am in love with my latest salad creation! It isn't some culinary discovery, but it is easy and very tasty!

Summer Salad

Romaine lettuce ripped into pieces, tossed with Light Italian dressing, topped with dried cranberries and pecan pieces.

I prepared this salad for some mommy friends who recently had babies and got rave reviews back. Along with it, I prepared this yummy pasta dish that is meant to be a freezer dish--but works well as a meal meant to feed more than one family.

Ham and Cheese Penne

2 boxes of penne noodles

1 cup butter or margarine

4 cloves of minced garlic

2 tsp salt

8 cups milk (I use skim)

2 tsp Dijon mustard

8 cups of shredded Colby cheese (I buy it in a block, then shred it myself to save money)

16 oz of deli ham, cut into thin strips

*This makes (2) 13 X 9 casseroles

In a really large pot, cook the pasta according to the box directions and drain it. Clean the pot so that you can use it again. In a large skillet, melt the butter and roast the garlic. Add the flour and salt, whisking continuously. Place the mixture back into the large pot. This is easier than trying to find a skillet deep enough to hold the milk.

Cook over medium heat until all the lumps are gone. Once the mixture begins to bubble, slowly add the milk--again, constantly whisking. Once it begins to boil, allow it boil for about a minute before adding the mustard and cheese.

Continue to stir until the cheese is melted. Add the ham. Then the pasta. Pour the pasta mixture into the casserole dishes. Either freeze or bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes at 350.

If freezing, allow the dish to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking.

I have one more recipe to share...

Baked Summer Squash

While in past years I have fried the heck out of my summer squash, this year I was looking for a healthier way to get that crisp flavor. I simply sliced the squash into circles with a medium thickness, sprinkled them with seasoned salt, and bake them at 350 for about 10 minutes. I made this while family was visiting and all the children gobbled it up!

That's what I call summer lovin!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

31 Days of July!

We have declared July "family" month here at the red ranch! Since Daddy is out of school for the summer, but Mommy used all of her vacation time for her maternity leave, we decided to make a list of things we wanted to make sure we do this summer that were easy and close by...so here's what we came up with:

*Go to a parade

*Take a family walk

*Play mini golf

*Walk the trails at county park

*Go swimming at the beach

*Go see our cousin who lives in Chicago

*Go to the Ft. Wayne mall

*See the butterfly exhibit at the zoo

*Go to the train museum

*Ride the train at the zoo

*Go to the fair

*Go to Cedar Point

*Play school inside (I think this one is soo cute!)

*Pick blueberries

*See fireworks

I think that is a pretty good list! I made out a calendar and made sure to schedule the activities for a certain day so that we are more likely to stick to the plan. I made sure not to schedule every day, however, because I know we would get worn out and give up...especially with the other things life usually throws in to make things interesting! I also figured that if we couldn't do a particular event because of inclement weather, than there were plenty of other days to get it done! So, even though we are calling it the "31 Days of July," we didn't actually schedule 31 activities. That isn't to say that we couldn't, however, because there are always things that come up that I had no idea about until a couple of days beforehand--you know, like a great craft fair, or a show the little ones would love to see.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How Do You Teach T-Rex Manners?

Okay, so my darling five-year-old was a T-Rex yesterday. All. Day. Long. That means that when he came to the dinner table, he wanted to eat only meat and only use his two-fingered hands to eat with. (Because, a T-Rex only has two fingers, Mom!) Needless to say, it didn't sit well with this "you must watch your manners at the table" mommy. I can't stand it when I see kids of a certain age eating with their hands. With the exception, of course, of chicken nuggets and french fries. I also cannot stand it when children do not sit in their seats, and on their bottoms. Getting up and wandering around annoys me to no end.

I've heard other mothers say that as long as their child is eating, they don't care how they eat. That is just ridiculous to me!

That is why I really take the time to try and teach what I think is considered modern day manners. I don't expect my children to be seen and not heard--which is exactly what was expected of me as a child. Instead, I want them to be polite individuals that don't push people out of their way in public, say please and thank you, and don't gross me out or embarrass me at the dinner table. So, last night, my little T-Rex ate with his fork...albeit he only used two fingers to hold it, but that was okay. And just because my son's favorite dinosaur happens to be a carnivore, doesn't mean T-Rex can't try something new--so the veggies were eaten too.

Experts say that it is best to model manners to children. They also suggest correcting them physically, not verbally, at the dinner table. That is something I will keep in mind for the future, because I do tend to get in the trap of "complaining" about behavior at dinner, which doesn't make for easy digestion for any of us. Handing my son a napkin will probably give him a better clue anyway than telling him fifty times to wipe his face.

It is not often I get to dine with a T-Rex, so it was a rather fun meal and I think we were able to watch our manners and still remember that sometimes a five-year-old just really needs to be a five-year-old. We left the stomping and the growling, however, for after desert!