Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Screw It, I'll Make My Own

Today Binny and I went to Target to get some supplies for the house. We made our way through the store and past checkouts without too much trouble, other than Binny's minor avalanche of bar soaps in Aisle 7. I paid for my purchases and was immediately overcome by the smell of fresh coffee from the Starbucks directly across from the checkouts. It's almost unbearable for me to walk through Target on an empty stomach without coming out of the store with something very unhealthy hanging out of my mouth. I rummaged around in my messy purse, found the almost 5 dollars needed to buy my coffee while steering my cart to the back of the line. Then I saw her. The wife of one of my husband's co-workers. She's not a bad person, in fact she is a very nice person, but way too much for me. She's also a SAHM (stay at home mom) so we end up running into each other fairly often, usually at Target. Our children are about the same ages (she has 2 boys) so she thinks we must be friends. Our kids have never played with hers, the closest they came to being friends was last summer when her youngest and Binny (my youngest) had their tonsils removed on the same day. Her son's hospital room was right next door to Binny's so she popped in all day long to chat, and insisted I go get myself a cup of soup from the family lounge. "It's free, ya know."

So I did what any person who hates awkward and painful Target run-ins would do. I whipped that cart around so fast, I don't think she saw me. I saved 5 bucks, and didn't have to talk to that crazy woman. I came home and made myself a cup of instant coffee. Not a Starbucks Mocha but it did the trick.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Let's Play 3 More Bites!

Yes, 3 More Bites. The exciting hour-long (if you're lucky, usually ends up taking all evening) dinner game full of exciting prizes. Exciting if you are like me and consider my fabulous chocolate chip cheesecake an exciting prize. But sometimes even the promise of delicious desserts isn't enough to make a winner out of my children. They just don't seem to like to eat. Weird huh?

Well no, not really that weird as I may be partially responsible. I have always been a light eater. Don't get me wrong, I love food, but eating an entire meal has been one thing that I can rarely do. I know that portion control in this country is out of control and the rate that many Americans eat their food is downright alarming. Seriously, in the time it takes me to eat my salad or butter my roll, most everyone I know would be rummaging around for dessert or grabbing seconds. At home my slowness is not out of the ordinary because I am the mom and at dinner time that makes me the runner, so I'm always late to sit down after fetching milk and napkins and cleaning up spilt milk and retrieving more napkins. My slowness isn't limited to our house, it happens out at restaurants too. I confess, I am a slow eater, but then again I have never had a weight problem so it seems to be working for me.

I am afraid my children have caught my slow eating gene and it has morphed into an "I am so full, I can't take another bite gene." I just hope they pass it on to their kids so I can sit back and watch the bargaining. Oh yes the bargaining, apparently you've never dined with us. My brother calls it a 3 hour commitment, so seriously if I ever invite you to my house for dinner, be prepared, you'll be here a while. I may even refer you to this post before you may accept my invite.

It's not that my kids are overly picky eaters. Granted they refuse to eat fish and my husband's grandmother's cooking but I can't blame them, I do the same. Other than the aversion to fish and Grandma's mystery casserole, they are fairly adventurous eaters, more so than most kids their ages. I know this by the number of reject snacks I get back on snack day. What kid doesn't like bananas or veggie pizza? Almost all of the veggie pizza (the kind where you flatten out the tube crescent rolls bake it, slather on cream cheese then add fresh veggies to the top) came back in the container I sent, of course it came back to my house in horrible condition after riding around in my daughter's backpack for an hour, but I'm pretty sure it was in an edible state up until the bus ride home. Same with the bananas. I sent 18 half bananas (dipped in lemon juice so they wouldn't turn brown, thank you very much) and got 12 back. Is my math that bad or did my snacks get the thumbs down?. Anyhow, what I mean to say is that my kids don't have a problem with variety, just the volume.

Last night I didn't feel like cooking (yeah it happens to all of us) so to further irritate the devout Christians in my community I committed the ultimate sin and ordered a pizza on Sunday. Hey, they were open! I plopped one small piece on each of the girls' plates and instantly got the stink eye. They love pizza but still they complained. After Hubby and I were done and putting dinner away, they still had hardly touched their food. Then almost simultaneously they both asked "how many bites?" For the first round Hubby and I try to set the mark high with an answer of 7 or 8. As time goes on and I start to lose patience, they whittle me down to 3 bites. "But they better be good bites, no funny business!" If I'm lucky they'll finish their 3 bites, but more often than I'd like to admit, the girls are still sitting at the table when it's time to get ready for bed. Then never fail, they say they are hungry right after brushing their teeth. I can't win.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Snow

As predicted, it snowed today. We all bundled up and went outside to enjoy the last snowfall of the year... I hope. This was the first time Hubby was able to use his new toy for plowing snow.

Then he knocked over our mailbox.
Mae thought it would be fun to throw snowballs at her sister...
but Mae didn't realize that Binny had a weapon shovel. A quick "Hey!" from me stopped her mid-swing.
A special thank you to blogger Heather from 2 Brits, 2 Yanks, and 2 Dogs for encouraging me add a copyright symbol to my photos. I have been wanting to for a while, but I didn't know how to go about it and didn't feel like fighting with photoshop. Well, that was the encouragement I needed to just do it. I made a transparent-ish watermark first, but I didn't like the way it faded into the photos.
So I made just a simple black one that I think will do me just fine. Thanks Heather!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Barely Spring

Yesterday we played outside for a little while, but it was much colder than we expected. The rest of the afternoon the girls helped me make cookies.

Sorry no photos of the cookie making. After a whole winter of taking photos inside, my camera needed the light.

Snow predicted for this afternoon. Grrrr! Could be worse, my home state of North Dakota is experiencing some nasty flooding. Goes to show that Mother Nature has a bitchy side.

I guess my job does have one perk... the beautiful country views. I have been eyeing up this tree all winter. Stalking it really. I finally captured it on camera last night.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Caution: A Political Post

Tuesday night I watched a Frontline special Ten Trillion and Counting on PBS. It offered a great explanation of our nation's debt and how we got so far in the hole.

As we all know there was a budget surplus handed to President Bush from President Clinton. 2 wars, massive tax cuts and Medicare part D drained the surplus and sent our economy into a deep recession topping 10 trillion dollars ($10,000,000,000,000). During the first six years of Bush's presidency with republican controlled congress spending was out of control. In those six years, he never once vetoed any spending measure including his ever popular tax cuts.

Watch the video on the PBS Frontline website. The video is arranged in five parts. I would have put them in this post, but the embedding didn't work. If you missed this Frontline episode Tuesday night I strongly encourage you to watch it online or read through some of the analysis here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wardrobe Wednesday

Hubby was home sick again after a night of very little sleep. He coughed all evening. I offered to take him to the ER but being the stubborn man he is, he managed to fall asleep before I had the chance to drag him out to the car. He went to the clinic this morning and was prescribed an antibiotic for the lung junk. While he was gone, the girls set sail in my kitchen with laundry baskets, and dressed like they were planning to go ice fishing.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Please Read This

Blogger Shady Lady has asked all of her blog friends to post this link about a family who needs help. It's a messy custody case that seems to be tearing a family apart and 2 young children are caught in the middle. If there is anything you can do to help, please contact Shady Lady at her blog.


Spring Break Day 2

I think we have finally recovered from our fun little weekend cold. Hubby went back to work and I took the girls to the children's museum in the city today. (does that statement make me sound like a country hick?) I packed up the girls this morning and shoved my camera in purse and we headed out. About 10 minutes down the road Binny starts wiggling around in her seat. "Binny, what's the matter?" "Nothing Mom" The wiggling stops for about a minute then her wiggling picks up in energy and now her legs are kicking into the seat in front of her (thankfully the empty passenger seat and not mine. Although I am really short and have the seat all the way forward-granny style so her feet don't quite touch). "Binny do you have use the potty?" "uh-huh" "Well, you're going to have to hold it until we get to Grandma's house" (half-way between our house and our destination). Her complaining got worse and before I could reach the next exit, she announced in a very deflated voice, "I peed my pants" or more accurately her tights, skirt, and booster seat. Yay! I haven't carried around a diaper bag in years, so what is a mom to do? I pulled off at the next exit and into a Starbuck's to use their huge, clean bathroom and to order myself a much needed Mocha to go. I followed Binny and her big wet spot into the bathroom and helped her peel off the wet layers. She finished up as I washed out her skirt in the sink. I made her pull up her clingy wet tights and undies minus the now super wet but clean skirt. We got back in the car and I did the next logical thing... I laid her wet skirt on the defroster to dry, and WOW did that work like a charm!

By the time we made it to Grandma's house the skirt was dry, then and I did a switcharoo. I gave her the now dry skirt to wear around the house while I washed everything including the booster seat cover and dried it all in the dryer. Not quite as quick as the defroster but that just seemed too weird even for me to have that much clothing on my dash as I make my way through downtown.
We made it to the museum, had a great time and I made sure we made a stop in the bathroom before leaving for home.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hopped Up On Cold Meds Again

Yeah we're sick again. It all started last week when Binny started sniffing and snotting. I kept her home from school on Wednesday but sent her on Thursday because she was feeling better and it was her turn to provide the snack for the class. It always seems that snack day falls on a day when my kids are sick or some other huge pain in the ass that makes snack preparation all the more fun for mommy. But really that's a whole other post!

No big deal, just an ordinary head cold but of course x4 and it lasted all weekend. Starting today I'm feeling better and the girls are up and running around. ...Oh yeah, no school this week. Spring Break, yippee! When do I get a break? Seriously, this morning I woke up to an elbow in my side and Hubby saying, "come on, get up, you gotta get MaeMae ready for school." Hello! Spring break? Am I the only one who pays attention around here? I shouldn't complain, he did make dinner last night after I said for the thousandth time "I'M NOT DOING IT, FEED YOURSELF!" Frozen pizza for all!

My goal for today is to catch up on blog reading (seriously, you people are making me look bad)and clean my kitchen floor because apparently being sick also makes us very clumsy. My girls must have spilled at least 3 glasses of juice over the weekend. There is nothing I hate more than a sticky, dirty floor. And I'm sure there's a whole basket of snotty hankies to wash.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Is It Acceptable to Treat Someone Like Crap If You Buy Her Kids A Present?

In short NO!

Last week at the farm my crazy employer had a bit of a temper tantrum because she didn't like the way I was sweeping the manger. The cows had not finished all of their hay from the morning so she wanted me to remove the uneaten (the reason they wouldn't eat it was because it was lousy hay. Full of sticks and kind of stinky.) hay and feed it to some other animals in a different pen. So I decided to do one side of the long manger first, sweep it all up, then do the other side, like I always do. Well she came over to make sure I was doing it right and of course I was not. She snatches the broom out of my hands, swears at me then proceeds to drag all of the shitty hay through where I had just cleaned. I tried to stop her, but she was all wound up over SWEEPING! I was about ready to tell her to stick that broom somewhere her virgin ears had never heard of, but I bit my tongue and went about my business. After an outburst like this she tries to make excuses for her actions and over explain why she wants things done a certain way, to prove that she's right and not crazy. Well, she ain't foolin' me. The rest of the night was terrible. She picked apart every little thing I did and went out of her way to prove that she was right and I was wrong about stupid shit like sweeping and where to set the milk pail. "no no, 2 inches this way!" I am so not joking about her pickiness.

In the 3+ years that I have worked for her, she has gone through over a dozen employees because she couldn't get along with them. I think she knew that my way of sweeping would have been perfectly acceptable (made more sense to me even) but she is my boss and it is her farm. This is not the first argument we've had and not the first time I've thought about leaving and never returning. On my first night there she lost a hook for the milking machines in the straw between the animals. She ordered me to "get down there and find it!" As I was digging through straw and cow shit, she forced a giant cow over in my direction which made the cow step on me, kick me in the back of the head and throw me into the back wall of the barn. Really f*cking nice! I still have a hoof print on my left shoulder, and I continue to go there twice a week. What the hell is wrong with me? I always return hoping that she will calm down and not fly off the handle over stupid stuff.

Fast forward to this week. After her mid-way through chores potty break, she enters the barn holding something. I tried not to pay any attention and go on about my business. She comes over and says "here, I bought this for the girls, so they have something to keep themselves occupied next week during Spring Break." She bought them a CD of kids songs. Nice gesture or I'm sorry without ever saying the words "I'm sorry"?

I would love to quit my job, but my husband has a high level of respect for this woman. He started working for her when he was 11. He's now 31 and still goes over to fix things for her and occasionally does chores when she calls last minute and I refuse. The extra money always helps too, but still I wonder if it's worth the trouble and stress for $200 a month and the extra work load for my washing machine?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Grilled Chicken Satay

When I was a kid my mom would help out with church fundraisers, and this recipe always seemed to be a crowd favorite. Our church would sell hundreds of skewers over the course of a weekend during the big downtown festival. What can I say, the Unitarians know their food, although many of the Unitarians I know don't even eat meat, but I guess that eliminates the temptation to nibble on the goods. Either way this recipe is fantastic!

Satay Sauce

3 cloves garlic finely chopped

2 tsp. fresh grated ginger (if dried only use 1 tsp.)

2 T. Oyster Sauce

1 T sugar

1 T sesame oil

2 T Hoisin sauce

3 T white wine

2 T Ketchup

1 T chili powder
[I also add one dried red chili-chopped. We like it hot so omit the pepper if spicy food makes you nervous.]

1/2 C peanut Butter

salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients and divide in half. Cut chicken, beef or pork (you could probably use tofu with this too, but I never have) into strips or chunks then add to one half of the sauce and let the meat marinade in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to overnight. When you are ready to grill, thread the meat onto wooden skewers then place on the grill, grill pan or broiler pan.

They only take 2-3 minutes per side. To keep the wooden skewers from burning on the hot grill or under the broiler, place a piece of alum. foil under the skewers if on the grill, or over if using the broiler.

Use the rest of the sauce for dipping or for a batch another day. This sauce keeps well in the fridge.

I served the chicken satay skewers with rice and steamed asparagus... and of course a glass of white wine. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wardrobe Wednesday

Mom Jeans

If anyone ever sees me wearing this high waisted, yeast infection causing, fashion nightmare, please shoot me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ice Fishing

The weather over the weekend was fantastic. Sunday's high temp was in the fifties, so we packed up the kids and Hubby's new toy and went over to Grandpa's house for a day of ice fishing (and whatever hubby and Grandpa did on the ATVs).

My In-laws have a beautiful pond on their property full of fish, so we try to take advantage of it several times a year. Not that we eat fish (yuck!) but fishing is a great family activity. We mostly catch the little ones (blue gills and other assorted pan fish) but there are some larger bass that we will occasionally get lucky and catch. No luck with the bass on Sunday. We did have one tip-up flag and from what I've been told by our guide (my brother) it was a fish that was taking out line, but got away. Cue the game show loser music.

This was the last ice fishing day of the year for us, as the warm weather gods are shining upon us again, but on Sunday there was still 17 inches of ice on the pond. I fished and took pictures all day. It was beautiful and nobody complained about being cold!

learning from Uncle T

Doesn't she look thrilled?

Now here are some photos of what Binny was doing when she wasn't waiting for the fish to bite, which seems like an eternity to a 4 year old.

Shadow maybe should have found a better place to sit...
That's all I'm going to say about that.

Missed fish

Smallest fish of the day

Today is supposed to be gorgeous with a high of 67, so hopefully I can get some yard work done. Maybe even find the grill that's buried in my garage and make dinner outside tonight.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Get Your Scrolling Finger Ready

My kids love puzzles, especially Binny. This is a new puzzle from Grandma N. It's a drink coaster, hot pad... I guess I'm not sure what it is. The backing is some sort of rubber-ish material with heavy fabric and a company logo on the front. It looks like it would have an actual purpose, but I guess I don't know that much about advertising.
Besides being a really fun puzzle, all of the pieces are attached, so we don't lose any! A bit of a mind bender too, but after putting it together only a few times, she's got it figured out.
Puzzlin' start to finish in 13 photos:

Oh duh! It's a mouse pad. I have never used one so I guess I just erased that 1990s office essential from my cluttered mind. What can I say, It's Monday morning. We had a full but very fun weekend! We made a visit to a friend's new house, went ice fishing, had a fun time with the grandparents, ate lots of great food... and puzzled of course.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Those Crazy Kids

I called my brother this morning to wish him a happy birthday. I interrogated asked him what his plans were for the day (this is the one day of the year I can be so nosy). He said he was going to partake in some pre-St, Patty's day festivities and also join in a game of Ass or Face. What? He gave me a quick overview of the game and I soon realized that only being a year and a half older than him, I am much too old for this sort of activity.

So how do you play Ass or Face? There needs to be even numbers of partially clothed guys and girls, a blindfold and some dice. Roll of one die determines which sex the contestant must kiss, and the roll of the second die determines which body part must be kissed while blindfolded. Then the contestant must decide which body part he or she just kissed. Sounds like some sort of sexual experimentation/drinking game to me.

When I turned 27 I already had 2 children and no time to play silly college drinking games. Trust me the only butts I come in contact with are cute little kid butts running around after a bath. Sometimes I wish my life were as simple as his. He has no children, no pets, no person of real significance in his life (that I know of at least), he doesn't even own a car or a cell phone. He comes and goes as he pleases, eats when he wants, sleeps when he wants. A simple life of hard boiled eggs, coffee and a short walk to work from his little compartment. A bachelor to the core complete with duct tape, but that's how he likes it.

Happy B-day bro and for goodness sake wash your hands!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Explosive Diarrhea, Pole Shed, Chainsaw, Mom Pizza and Bed Hair

Today I kept Mae home from school because she has explosive diarrhea. Lovely! Hubby told her to "sit down for a while" then insisted that she was well enough to go to school. She barely made it the 15 feet to our bathroom, I figured that if I send her I would be running to school in an hour with a change of clothes. So, we are all home today and I'm starting to have that queasy feeling too. I'm not sure if it's actually a stomach bug or just the smell of my (previously clean) bathroom that is making me nauseous.

Hubby is up on the shed replacing the skylights, thanks to last Sunday's wind/ice storm.

I guess we lost a tree too. It was an ugly tree and in a bad spot so I guess it was just as well. At least it didn't fall on our rickety garage. My FIL was happy to come over, cut the tree down and make firewood.

Last night we made pizza for dinner. Of course I make my own dough (don't roll your eyes at me! I saw you) it's super easy and tastes so much better than store bought. Plus the girls like to kneed the dough, so I didn't even have to do the hard part.

I made one big pizza and only mommed up one side with pesto sauce, spices, artichokes, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli onions and mushrooms. The other 2/3 of the pizza had standard sauce, pepperoni and some of the same veggies from my side.
Mom Pizza
I took Binny to get a haircut yesterday with the hope that it would help her bed hair problem.
Nope, didn't help, but it is a cute cut.