Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Treadmill: The Purchase

Well we did it.  We bought a treadmill.  We'll pick it up on Sunday, hopefully my hubby will put it together on Sunday, and by the end of Monday we'll be one day closer to being The Hot Youngish Parents.
Stand by for more updates.  Something's got to keep me honest, besides the disappointing fit of my jeans lately.

In the meantime perhaps I should run up and down our stairs in an effort to prepare for really sweating.  Exercising outside just isn't an option at this point.  even if the temp hits 50, there's still that very definite bitter winter chill in the air.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Time Management

Time Management is no piece of cake.  It's a struggle, a daily, minute by minute struggle.  This is nothing new to me, to you, to any of us.

But it's taken on a new meaning for me in the last couple months, because I am no longer "working," because my husband now comes home and even if he does not ask, I feel as if I have to give some sort of accounting of my accomplishments during the day.  Most often, I feel this urge when:  the laundry basket (with the pack and play "extras" in it, not clean or even dirty laundry) is still sitting in the middle of the living room for the second day; the kitchen table is still piled high with magazines, photographs, Christmas lists, receipts, random notes, used floss that I extracted from my purse; dog hair is actually floating above the coffee table and end table in the aforementioned living room.  "So what did I do today? " You understand my urge to explain, what with this incriminating evidence against me.  Not to mention the fact that I'm probably wearing the same black yoga pants I've been wearing for the last three days and I've got baby spit-up on my shoulder and maybe some lingering in my hair.

My problem seems to be that if I spend twenty minutes doing something productive, something I can proudly report at the six o' clock confession, I feel entitled to then spend thirty minutes doing something less than productive.  Such as checking my email.  Such as organizing my email into topical folders.  Such as browsing Sephora and creating a wish list - even though I know I won't pass it along to anyone and even though I use the same three color combos every day.  Such as browsing around on Facebook.  Such as reading my hilarious book (When did I get like this?: The Screamer, The Worrier, The Dinosaur-Chicken-Nugget Buyer & Other Mothers I Swore I'd Never Be) while having a leisurely lunch.

I can't blame it on this little cupcake, who has rewarded me at the end of his second month by taking periodic, peaceful naps wherever I put him.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

White Chicken Chili

It's a day for chili.  Gray, cold, breezy.  Chance of "precipitation."  If it's snow instead of rain, I'm complaining to the weathermen.  All in all, a day for chili.

I can't believe I've never shared my White Chicken Chili recipe with you.  Or maybe I can.  I guard it closely.  Because I want my White Chicken Chili to be the Best Ever, and if I share it all around, someone else may make it better.

Shame on me.  Here it is.  Let it enrich your life as it's enriched mine.  My husband requests it at least every other week in the cold fall and winter months, and he's a happy man when I make it.

We ate our White Chicken Chili as part of an all-white meal.  Not a purposeful thing.  It just happened.  I roasted cauliflower (yuuum) and made onion rye bread (from a mix).  Delicious.

A note on roasting cauliflower:  it's super easy.  Chop off the florets.  Toss them with olive oil and more sea salt than you think you need.  Sprinkle ground cumin and ground cayenne and toss around again (I toss them in my aluminum 9x13 pan for the fewest dirty dishes possible.).  Roast for 20 minutes at 375.  Rotate pan and/or toss cauliflower.  Roast 20 more minutes or until they start to smell yummy, almost like popcorn.

White Chicken Chili
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (seasoned*, cooked and chopped)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 can chicken broth
2 4-oz. cans chopped green chilies
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. whipping cream

Mix all ingredients in soup pot, except sour cream and whipping cream.  Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.  Slowly add sour cream and stir until melted.  Add whipping cream and heat thoroughly.

* I used Lawry's Seasoning Salt, ground black pepper and ground cumin to season my chicken, and I "sauteed" it in a nonstick skillet with cooking spray.  Some people just boil their chicken for this chili, but I think adding these flavors and sauteeing it gives it that extra oomph.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sassy Tailgate Sandwiches

I wish I could say I created these delightful sandwiches.  I didn't.  I'm just glad they're in my life now.  In fact, I'm so glad that I'm actually going to copy the recipe from the magazine onto a recipe card, so I won't lose it.

They're not just for a tailgate party, folks.  I can see them making an appearance in our home a lot this fall and winter.  Game night with friends, lunch on Saturday, with soup on Christmas Eve, with cut veggies and crackers Christmas Day.  And anytime in between.

They're quick and easy to put together.  I made them between spit-up episodes and didn't suffer any "have to concentrate on this recipe" stress at all.  I stuck them in the fridge and pulled them out an hour before we wanted to eat them, to pour on the topping and let it sit.

Another plus: the ingredient list is short.  Kitchen staples plus a few easy-to-find additions.  Note: if you buy sliced cheese instead of block, you don't have to do ANY chopping for this recipe.  Have I gotten lazy or what?

Check out the recipe at Taste of Home!

A Squirrel Feeder: Possible Problems

I've thought about it a bit more.  About the squirrel running across our yard, that I want to feed.

There could be a few issues with doing this.

One, would the squirrel feeder attract varmints such as possums and raccoons?  I don't want possums and raccoons running amuck in or around our yard.  They might get into the cat shed, where I might encounter them in the dark of the night when I put Murray to bed there.  Yikes.  There's not enough free space in that shed to comfortably flail around avoiding a wild animal.

Two, would Murray catch squirrels that innocently came to eat at the feeder?  I like the squirrels!  I don't want to see them massacred and brought to our back door.  I'm not sure if Murray's hunting abilities extend to squirrels, but this summer he caught his fair share of birds, mice and bunnies.  We freed those that we could, but not without extreme agitation, shrieking and shaking hands.  I'm not sure if I'm up for all that in freezing temperatures.

Three, I would have to sweet talk my dear husband into refilling the squirrel feeder periodically, because I despise cold weather and stay inside when possible.  He would not enjoy this chore.

Four, squirrels in the backyard would be one more thing for Haley to bark at.  That Dog.  Is On My Last Nerve.

It's a lot to think about.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lazy Day = Squirrel Sighting

Well sure I should get out of my bathrobe and take a shower.  Really face the day.  It is almost ten after all.

But doing that would mean I'd have to dislodge the sweet babe so peacefully snoozing on my shoulder.  Why do I feel like I have to be so productive all the time?

And if I weren't leisurely sitting here precisely five minutes ago, I would have missed seeing the squirrel who bounded across our yard.  I so enjoy watching squirrels leap around.  This is the first one I've seen actually on the ground in our yard.

I am definitely putting a squirrel feeder on my Christmas list.

Wow.  With that statement, I feel about eighty five years old.

But if you're a squirrel lover like me, check out this website.  It's all about squirrels, from what they eat to the various kinds.  Nerdy fun.  No offense meant.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hospitality 101: Using Camo To-Go Cups

It's a happy day for the hunters in my life!  They're getting Mossy Oak to-go cups for Christmas.  Before you start thinking this is a really weird gift, let me give you a little history.

My brother and sister in law have a lot of visitors who stop by their house on their way east.  (We are in the part of the country where you don't just go to a store or a city, you can also go in a direction or to "the city.")

They decided that, our family (and many of our friends) being the coffee fiends they are, that it would be thoughtful to send them on their way with some coffee to go.  Because of course when you have visitors you brew a pot of coffee.  Thus the surprising popularity of the to-go cup in our family.

Was I paid for this post?  No, I wish.  It's essentially a free advertisement for Chinet, Mossy Oak, and Walmart (where I found the cups).  $2.97.  Not a bad deal at all for a really fun stocking stuffer!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bad Breath... "That" Person

You're probably thinking I'm going to write about running into someone with really bad breath this morning at church.  Nope.  Not it.  I might be that person; in fact I might have already been that person in the last couple months.  So I'm going to give anyone with bad breath a free pass for the next six months or so.

Here's my confession.  When new moms used to say they sometimes "forgot" or "just didn't have time to" brush their teeth, I made judgments.  The judgments were just internal.  I'd say the right words, sympathize, laugh wryly with them.  But inside, I would judge.

Now I understand.  I don't think I've ever actually left the house without brushing my teeth, but I can't be sure.  Keep in mind that this is coming from a girl who used to brush her teeth immediately upon waking and then again before actually leaving the house, breakfast or no breakfast.  But when you're stumbling out of bed at 6 am to change and feed a squalling baby (after changing and feeding and cuddling him at two, and then maybe dealing with pacifier re-plug-in's until two thirty), oral hygiene is the last thing on your mind. 

My wake-up call to this came a couple weeks ago when I kissed my hubby hello when he came home for lunch and he hesitantly asked, "When was the last time you brushed your teeth?"  Not even "Did you brush your teeth this morning?"  The implication I got was more along the lines of "Have you brushed your teeth in the last forty eight hours?"

So let this serve as my apology to those new moms who I judged...  And if I am "that person" to you, please give just take a subtle step back and ask if my morning started exceptionally early.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Turtle Pumpkin Pie

You know Starbucks' annual special-edition Pumpkin Spice Latte?  I think it's achieved sort of a cult-like following.  Among my friends, the first day it is available results in a mass text frenzy.

So when I discovered this pumpkin pie recipe, that tastes just like that Pumpkin Spice Latte, I knew I had found a winner.  A pie that will stand the test of time.  A recipe that will skip right past my trial recipe binder and into my official recipe collection.

When you start with a puddle of caramel and chopped pecans in a graham cracker crust, you know you've got a good thing going.

And then when you combine vanilla pudding mixes with pumpkin and classic fall spices, and then add whipped cream on top of all that...  well, how can you go wrong?

You can't.  You just can't.

Enjoy this with friends, with coffee, and preferably with a cozy, roaring fire in the stone hearth behind you.  Yes, I have a vivid imagination.

Turtle Pumpkin Pie

1 deep-dish graham cracker crust
1/4 c plus 2 Tbsp caramel topping
1/2 c plus 2 Tbsp chopped pecans
1 c cold milk
2 pkg instant vanilla pudding mix
1 c pumpkin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
dash of ground cloves
8 oz whipped cream, divided

Drizzle 1/4 cup caramel into pie crust.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup pecans on caramel.

Whisk together the milk, vanilla pudding mix, pumpkin and spices.  Fold in 1 1/2 cups whipped cream.  Spread into prepared pie crust.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Before serving, spread remaining whipped cream on top of pie.  Drizzle 2 Tbsp caramel and sprinkle 2 Tbsp pecans on top.

Things I've Googled This Week

What's been on my mind this week?  Well, here are the topics I remember Googling.  If they're on your mind too, I hope you find it helpful that I've already done the hard work of typing in the search topic...

Can you transplant rosemary inside for the winter
Helping baby sleep through the night
When should baby sleep through the night
Letting baby cry it out
10K training plan
Can rosemary survive outdoor winter
Rachael Ray's French Style Tuna Melt
How much should a newborn eat
Carter's baby size chart
Baby projectile vomit definition
How much should 7 week old eat
Hello Kitty coloring pages

As my mom sometimes says (but it makes her nervous), "You can find almost anything 'on Internet.'"

Friday, November 4, 2011

Projects I've Not Completed Yet

Some peoples' blogs have themes.  They share knowledge and ideas.  They inspire and motivate.  They are cohesive and organized.
My blog is different.  Apparently I just want to write little snippets.  About my life.  About a random thought that passes through my head.  About a recipe I try and like (or make for the fiftieth time and still like).

I just wanted to get that off my chest.  I know my blog is a potpourri.  I know that you don't know what you're going to get when you come over here.  Sometimes it stresses me.  I'm sorry if it stresses you.  Now I feel we can continue with my list of Projects I've Not Completed Yet.  That "yet" says it all.  That "yet" explains why my projects sit in plain sight, unfinished, for months and months.  Because I honestly think that I will complete these projects!

1. Organizing my "recipes to try."  I've gotten the recipes corralled by a black binder.  They are sorted into categories such as pork, chicken, kebabs, pizza, etc. in manila folders.  The binder and folders have been sitting on one of our kitchen chairs since late summer.  When people come over I move them to our office.

2. Organizing my "home and garden ideas."  Same thing as with the recipes, except this pile lives in the office full time.

3. Going through each and every old magazine I have and pulling out recipes I want to try and home/garden ideas.  These magazines live in a basket in our office and under our living room coffee table and in a basket in our kitchen.  I have a lot of magazines.

4. Creating the family memory-genealogy book for my grandparents.  This has to be done by Christmas, so at least  I have a deadline.

5. Scrapbooking the first couple months of my boy's life.  With about seven hundred photos to weed through, you will understand my delay.  And the fact that I have a two-month old.  That's a factor too.  However, when I do find time, all the paper and stickers and photos are stacked in Idea Groups on our table and buffet downstairs!

6. Stacking the empty planters somewhere other than the far corner of our deck.  No, wait, that's a project my hubby hasn't completed yet.

6. Starting my Christmas Shopping Notebook.  It's where I first write ideas for each person for Christmas, then write what I've purchased and how much I've spent.  It's a great little resource, until the week before Christmas, when I throw caution to the wind and start buying "one more little thing" without writing it down.  Shh.  Don't tell.

7. Painting shapes for the nursery's wall art.  And then hanging the pictures my Mom painted.  In other words, finishing decorating the nursery.  Shame on me.  Bad mom.  Mother's guilt sets in early, I can vouch for that.

I'd like to say I'm wrapping up this post so I can start one of these projects.  In reality, I am going to take a shower.  Then I'm going to fold the laundry I started yesterday.  Then... we'll see.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Three Day Uniform (Don't Judge Me)

I have to wash my uniform today.

I'm worried.  I have a lot of questions, questions that don't have easy answers.

What will I wear during the approximately 24-hour drying period?  Will my other clothes be binding and restrictive and tight?  If they are, will they keep me from chowing down on chips and salsa or going through the drive through for an Oreo McFlurry?  If they do, will I be pleased with this discipline at the end of the day or will I beg my husband to take me out for that ice cream fix?  Will I stop wearing stretchy pants every day?  Will I again reserve them for evenings and weekends only?  Will this help me fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans faster?

Ahem.  My mind really started running there.

But it has to be done.  I can't wear the same stretchy pants and a baggy sweatshirt for more than three days in a row.  Even with two years and a baby under our marital belt, I don't want my husband to know that I am in near-daily danger of succumbing to my undisciplined, sleep-until-ten-and-eat-pizza-every-day self. 

Farewell for now, my uniform.

Startling Realization:  two years and a baby into it, he probably already knows my weaknesses.  I'm lucky he agrees to pizza every Sunday and kindly says "how about this weekend" most nights that I suggest a post-dinner ice cream snack.  He's a strong, wise man.

No Use Crying Over Spilled Oatmeal

I hope this isn't indicitave of how my day will proceed.

It happened when I walked into the office this morning, to check online if it's too late (or advisable at all) to transplant my thriving rosemary plant to a pot so I can keep it inside this winter.  You think November 3 a little late to just be starting to think about transplanting?  I have two excuses.  1) We've had a lovely Indian summer and the sunny weather fooled me.  2) The new man in my life keeps me pretty busy.

Anyhow, something happened when I walked into the office and sat down.  The oatmeal went kersplat.  The good news is, I was able to scoop it off the floor with a wide spatula in just one smooth move.  The bad news is, I have been eating oatmeal that congeals enough that it can be scooped up with a spatula.

So here is my second breakfast.   decided not to attempt another bout with oatmeal.  Peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich.  Tasty, no?

Here's to days that end better than they begin!