Wednesday, March 31, 2010

making meatballs

A few days ago, Stephanie said she wanted to learn how to make meatballs. This kid loves spaghetti ~ always has. For her first birthday party, we made sure to serve spaghetti because it was her favorite. How can you make spaghetti even better? Well, meatballs, of course.

Last night we set out to make spaghetti and meatballs. She did the meatballs all by herself as I stood to the side and instructed. She giggled and giggled when she first put her hands in the cold meat to incorporate all the ingredients.

Once she got the hang of what size to make the meatballs, she made perfectly shaped ones that were pretty much all the same size. Awesome for her first time!

Handy tip of the day ~ cooking meatballs in the oven is soooo much easier than in a skillet.

While she worked on the meatballs, I made the sauce. We made this recipe for spaghetti and meatballs. Very easy and delicious.

I'm so proud of her and her desire to be in the kitchen (for activities other than doing the dishes). Now I just have to remember to slow down enough to let her be in the kitchen. Maybe next week we'll have Swedish meatballs for dinner so she can make meatballs again.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

chicken and noodles

Do you have a go-to meal? You know, a meal that's a little more substantial than fend-for-yourself, the blue box (hi, Amber), or another kind of box?

A while back I was experimenting in the kitchen and came up with this recipe ~ for which we almost always have the ingredients on hand. It's probably a knock-off of something fabulous and I botched it up. And I never knew what to call it, so we call it Chicken and Noodles. It's a meal I hardly ever put on my menu plan, but is a regular attender at our dinner table when I don't know what else to make or don't feel like making much else.

2 chicken breasts - cubed
8 oz. penne or rigotoni noodles
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can sliced mushrooms
olive oil
worcestershire sauce
parmasean cheese
Montreal Chicken Seasoning

Start the water for the pasta. I like to use penne or rigotoni noodles, but really, any kind of noodle will do. Cook pasta according to package directions.

Cube raw chicken and sprinkle with Montreal Chicken Seasoning. Pour some olive oil in the pan and some worcestershire sauce ~ maybe 2 tablespoons of each. Cook chicken until done. The chicken will get a lovely color from the worcestershire sauce and caramelize just a little at the end. 

Once the chicken is done, pour in the cream of mushroom soup. Mix well, getting the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the mushrooms, stir. When the noodles are done, stir those in as well. Heat for a minute or two. Sprinkle the top with the parmasean cheese. Turn off the heat and let it sit for just a minute to let the cheese start to melt before serving.

There you have it. Nothing fancy, but delicious.

Bon apetit!

Monday, March 29, 2010

one-post recap

The past week and a half has just whizzed by, yet has gone so slowly in some respects. Lots of things happened, yet nothing happened at all. Make sense?  Of course it does! It started off strong and promising ~

Heather and Maddy had extended their sleepover to second night.  They had a grand time outside getting some Vitamin D therapy.

The weather was gorgeous and they were happy to be a part of it. 

I spent a fair amount of time working on a project that involves burning the edges of fabric. I worked on this while the kids played outside.  Then I used my needle and thread during our family movie day last Sunday.  Here's just a peek ~ they are not all finished yet.  Burning the edges of fabric? A little addicting, I have to say.

Greg and I were watching Good Eats and got inspired.  We made homemade soft pretzels.  The results were totally easy and tasted amazing!  You should try them.

This is not the performance ~ just goofing off.

Stephanie had her Orff Festival performance at the university.  Thirty schools from our area participate in a performance that involves singing, dancing, and playing instruments.  Only eight students from each school are selected.  Stephanie was honored to be selected. She and her classmates practiced once a week after school since about October. Then there were two long Saturday rehearsals with all the students. Stephanie was awesome!  She has quite a stage presence and smiles the whole time she's up there. She had a great time.

Then...Monday came along.  Monday brought along with it a bout of nausea, vomiting, and well, other.  Lovely, right? It took me the rest of the week to completely recover.  Every time I thought I was going to be feeling better, it hit again.  I spent a lot of time on the couch with my friend, TiVo.  A week whooshed right by me.  A week that Greg had off work.  We should have been going to the museums we'd planned.  We should have been outside.  We should have been doing something else besides what I was doing.  On the up side? A least I had the time to just be a blob on the couch and didn't have to deal with a class full of little people or call in sick.

Right smack in the middle of it all, I was feeling just fine on Wednesday. Suzanne and Aiden came to visit.  The girls took him for a ride on the swing after I showed him the progress of my Greg's prize winning broccoli.

He was duly impressed.

I got some lovely fabric in the mail.  What will I make? Any ideas? Any requests?

Greg is finding new uses for the hurricane sitting on his end table that is currently empty. Maybe that's a hint to put something cute back in them.

And as long as we are riding the classy train, we brought Heather's mattress downstairs and plopped it in front of the television.  When Heather fell asleep while we were watching t.v., we didn't have to wake her to put her to bed ~ she was already there!  Living room sleepovers at their finest, I tell you.

It makes for some convenient morning t.v. viewing too!

Monday is upon us again.

Greg had to go back to work this morning. Sniffle.

I have to work on the yearbook, lesson plans, and report card comments this week. All on spring break. Ok, maybe I shouldn't have procrastinated this long.

Heather is laying on the bathroom floor moaning and crying because she feels like she's gonna puke, but can't. When is the last time that floor was mopped, I wonder?


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

wait and see garden

Last year, we planted some romaine lettuce in the winter.  Greg enjoyed homegrown lettuce for his salad lunches in the spring.

A few months ago, Greg planted some more lettuce seeds.  And some other stuff.  He planted some seeds in the planters in the island since we don't have plants there right now. He just tried out a few different spots in the backyard.  But then, when the shoots started coming up, Greg didn't remember where he planted which seeds.  Ooops. It looks like we have a wait and see garden.

As the first sighting of green, we tried to guess what it was.  He was certain that he planted more lettuce, some carrots, and beans. After the shoots came up more, we were able to tell which were the carrots and lettuce.  The others?  Still a mystery.

Until now.  This plant is broccoli.  Yay!  We love broccoli. 

But right now, even the biggest head on the plant is pretty tiny.

Look what else we found growing in the backyard!  Ha ha!  Heather's buddy, Maddy, had a sleepover at our house last night.  Rumor has it she might be staying another night.  Check out their matching missing teeth.

honeysuckle vine 

Sleepovers in the middle of the week?  Double sleepovers, even?  Say wha?  That's right ~ we're on track break.  And what's even better than track break?  Yesterday started Greg's almost two-week vacation. We are well on our way of messing up our sleeping schedule by staying up too late and sleeping late the next day.  Alarm clock?  What alarm clock?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

go, go, go!

Stephanie is having a sleepover tonight. Since it's her sleepover, she's in charge of most of the house cleaning today. Seems fair enough, right?

There's a lot of rushing around and deep-voiced, staccato shouting going on ~ punctuated with go, go, go at the end.  Heather informed me they are playing "Army Cleaning." They have a mission and the enemy is a messy house (which isn't even really messy). I was even briskly instructed to plug in an ipod for charging with a sweet little please at the end.

Hey, whatever gets the job done.

Over and out.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

pay it backward


Let me just start by saying I debated about sharing this with you because it's kinda braggy. But then I decided to share it with you as an invitation to a challenge.

Suzanne shared a story with me about a girl we know who was having dinner in restaurant with her husband. When it was time to pay, they were told that someone had already paid for their meal. They don't know who ~ just a random act of kindness.

Inspired by this story, a little later while in the drive-thru, Suzanne paid for the order for the car behind her ~ paying it forward ~ well, I guess it's paying it backward. She was at a drive-thru close to school and it turns out she paid for the order of one of our friends without realizing it. Later she found out whose order she paid for. They had a little laugh about it.

I had been pondering doing that very thing right around the time Suzanne told us this story at lunch. Hearing her story inspired me to ACT

Yesterday, I was bringing lunch home. As I paid for our meal in the drive-thru, I looked in my rear view mirror to see if someone was behind me. I told the clerk to run my card again to pay for the car behind me. I don't know who it was. I don't care. They don't need to know who I am. I do sort of wish I could have seen their face, that look of surprised disbelief, when the clerk told them that their lunch was free. But I felt all squishy and warm inside knowing that I'd done something that would made someone else's day. Being "sneaky" about it added to that feeling.

So here's the challenge ~ perform your own random act of kindness. Do it soon. You can pay it backward like Suzanne and I did. Or maybe you can find another way to put joy in someone else's life ~ on the sly. 

Do the unexpected.

Make someone's day.

Feel warm and squishy inside. 

I dare you!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

count it a good day

I've got a puker in my class. He wasn't a puker at the beginning of the year.  But now he is.

He doesn't often make it to the bathroom. The floor, down the side of the trash can, his lunch tray, or in his hands then into the trash can I shoved in his face have been the spots of choice lately. I think the feeling surprises him every time. He should be able to recognize those belly signs by now and get himself to an appropriate vessel ~ preferably one I don't have to witness. The day I saw him spew his intestines into his lunch tray was traumatizing. It.just.didn't.stop.

At first they were sending him home when this happened. Now? They clean him up and send him back to class. No fever, so Mom says he can stay. Uh, great, thanks. Frankly, I'm a little hesitant to stand too close to him. A girl peed on my sandals once ~ I don't know how I will react if he pukes on my feet. It's a little sad, I know.

He's puked three out of the four days this week.  Lately, I count it a good day if I do not have to witness or hear about him puking. Today was not a good day. There was puking. I feel sorry for the teacher who witnessed it, but relieved it wasn't me.