Friday, February 27, 2015

Lots of Snow, Not So Much Food

The sun is sort of out and sort of shining on the 10" or so of snow that fell over the last couple of days.  We ended up with another snow day for the older two yesterday, you know so they could rub it in the faces of the younger two.  The High Schoolers are back in school this morning; our district really needs to implement a delay plan.  The younger two are out of school, again, today but this is a planned teacher in-service.   I seem to have picked up another bug, which is uber unusual for me.  Forecast has temps no higher than 20 and more snow. I don't see me leaving the house for the foreseeable future.

We were thinking of hitting up the fish fry at church tonight but homemade fish tacos sounded better.  Hubby has invited his brother and sister and their families to join us, for our regular In-Law Friday dinner.  I need to find a rice casserole to go with it and I'll probably whip up a skillet dessert, to finish.

The rest of my menu for this week came mostly from Taste of Home magazines and they were kind of misses, which is pretty unusual, too.  I did make one thing from Pinterest, and it wasn't even really a recipe.

This Turkey Bacon Ranch Flatbread sandwich was more of a "hey, make a sandwich" reminder than a recipe.  Sort of how I think of quesadillas - I pin combinations to remember since making a quesadilla isn't really a recipe, per se.  I was planning on making some oven-baked fries to go with it, but by the time I got home, I was pretty much over making anything.  I used those sandwich thins (they look like really flat buns or split flatbread) instead of flatbread.  Next time I'm in the mood, I'll make the fries and my own dressing; last night bottled dressing and potato chips worked just fine.

I also made these Chunky Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies.  My "we only like Chocolate Chip Cookies family" seem to be snarfing them down just fine; they don't typically like straight-up peanut butter cookies.  I looked for a pin to make life easy, but there wasn't one.  These came out of my Nestles Best Ever Cookies.
1 1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c creamy peanut butter
1 egg
2 cups (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c coarsely chopped peanuts
Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a small bow; set aside.  Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl until creamy (a couple minutes.)  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in chips and peanuts.  Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.  Press down slightly to flatten into 2-inch circles.  (NOTE:  I didn't press them down and in my oven they cooked up fine.)
Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 7 - 10 minutes or until edges are set but centers are still soft.  Let stand for four minutes; remove to cool on wire racks.  Makes about three dozen
Here's to a productive weekend.
Happy Friday,

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

We Are

  • We are living in a Pink Panther movie, and these two play Kato.  Luckily, to each other.
  • We are watching the storm blow in
  • We are going into "hunker" mode (photo credit to the 6 y.o.)
  • We are trying to get used to the idea that the first one is headed to college in a few months. . .can we get used to that before we start being bombarded about the next one?
  • We are super duper surprised to find a belated Valentine's gift in the mail (from hubby.)  My beloved but nowhere-to-be-found-in-town Cherry Hearts!
Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Snow and Paper Crafts (that aren't mine)

Yep, got the snow. . .sort of.  The storm stalled, slowed down - or so they say.  Dribbled out the forecasted amounts.  In the end, we had maybe six to eight inches of the powdery-on-top-frozen-on-the-bottom white stuff in the yard.  We might have gotten closer to the 12" they were calling for, but what fell first melted before finally sticking.  The roads were pretty sloppy, which means they froze up nicely when the temps dropped.

The school district cancelled events (on Friday afternoon) for over the weekend in prep for the big storm.  We were out on Saturday and it wasn't that bad, but I get it.  The two younger kids got a snow day yesterday, which was totally unnecessary.  The public schools were open - the older two were so happy to head out into the cold and crusted roads - and there was much ranting and gnashing of teeth on social media about schools being open.  People. . .heard of hats and coats?  Boots and mittens?  It's Colorado.  It's winter.  We get snow from time-to-time.  Sometimes we get a lot.  Sometimes not so much.  

Saturday I did hunker down.  I did some paperwork and made good progress.  Sunday we had a family dinner to attend.  I seem to have spent several hundred pages cuddled up with Jamie and Claire, which was more than I was planning.  I had a list in my head and a timer to go with it, "I'm gonna read until 12:30 and then go do x,y,z."  But I'd get to 12:30 and then hit the proverbial "snooze" because I wanted to "just get to the end of this chapter."  So, yeah. . .   

I had hoped to wander down to my studio.  I thought about it.  I actually was down there cleaning up a bit in case we had company.  I wish I could say I did this.  I could have done this . . . 

but Wendi Robinson created it using the February Card Kit.

I also could have pulled this together - the supplies are out on my work table. . .

but Nancy Longo did this one using the February Smaller kit.

I had the thought.  I had the motivation with my PageMaps class sketches.  I just couldn't seem to coordinate the two.  

Happy Tuesday,

Friday, February 20, 2015

Hold On To Your Blood Sugar

As I'm pulling this post together, I realize it's been a good while since I posted my menu.  But looking at the line-up below, you'd think all we've eaten is sweets.  I actually looked back at my menus and found that I haven't done any planning from Pinterest, except for sweets.  Most of the past couple weeks menus have come from Taste of Home magazines.

I usually make dessert twice a week.  One usually lasts to put into weekly lunches and one lasts one meal.  I made these Peanut Butter Chip and Jelly Bars on a Monday for dinner and the rest went into lunches.  They were good.  I used jelly I had on hand, which was Huckleberry.  They were sweet and nutty.  They would make a good after-school snack, too.

These Rainbow Sprinkle Cheesecake Cookies were another made-on-Monday dessert.  They were really soft with that tang of cream cheese; they received raves from the kids.  The only thing I will do different is cut down on the sprinkles.  There are sprinkles in the dough and then you roll the cookies in sprinkles again before baking.  That's a lot of sprinkles.  Next time I'll opt to just roll them in sprinkles and leave them out of the dough.

I discovered that I froze a ton of berries last summer and put them up in our larger freezer.  It's been cold and dreary and a taste of summer sounded good.  I remembered this Angel Food Cake from the Food Network and mixed it up.  I don't have a tube pan, and this one bakes up in a loaf pan.  I've made it twice now and it's pretty no-fail for me; Angel Food Cakes can be persnickety.  I topped it with a Blackberry (from our garden) and Raspberry sauce I mixed up. 

My 18 y.o. daughter made these Valentine's Fortune Cookies for her friends as gifts.  She tucked little notes of what she loved about each of them inside.  She did go through about three batches trying to get the correct thickness so that the cookie stayed pliable long enough out of the oven to fold in the "fortunes," yet were thin enough to cool to a crunch.  She had to work fast and found that working with two cookies at a time was the only way to get them folded before they cooled to much.  Once she figured out that they came together really quickly.  She used a sauce bottle to add hearts, zig-zags and swirls to the cookies before baking.  I can tell you from the tasting of the batches they were awesome.  Almondy, light and crunchy; way better than anything from the local Chinese restaurant.

I don't buy a lot of seasoning mixes anymore.  I'd rather mix it up, it's easy enough.  I've got a couple taco mixes I've tried, this DIY Taco Seasoning is just another.  I liked the flavor of this one, though the recipe didn't have standard of measure for a pound of meat, if you were making just tacos, so you'd have to start with a tablespoon and go from there.

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned I'm a Snickerdoodle fan, so when this Snickerdoodle Bar recipe floated up, I naturally had to make it.  Oh my.  Soft, chewy, cinnamon-y.  Just like a cookie, but bar-easy!

Just so you aren't in total sugar overload, I pulled the link for this New Orleans Gumbo, which we had earlier this week.  I love how easy it is to pull together and all the flavor in it.  I use chicken thighs instead of breasts, but otherwise stuck to the scrumptious recipe.

They keep saying we're going to get a lot of snow, so I'm trying to decide if I make my menu and hit the store today or take my chances.  Either way I see comfort food ahead for next week.

Happy Friday,

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Too Obvious Nothing's Going On?

In case my lack of posting wasn't enough proof, I'm here to report I have nothing to report.  I'm not getting much of anything done, even the things I NEED to be doing.  I think we're well beyond the being in a rut stage.  This rut seems to be the size of the Grand Canyon.  Maybe there's quicksand in the rut and it's just continuing to suck me down.  I don't know.

I'm may not be doing anything, but luckily the designers are, so I can show off (and be envious) of what they are accomplishing.

Nancy's been working with the Smaller February kit.  I love that she celebrates Valentine's Day, but I love more that she documents it!  She used the Pebbles line found in the kit.

Wendi Robinson always seems to be in her groove - and not in a stuck in it kinda way.  She's always got fun cards each month, and February's Card Kit is no different.

Did you know Card Kits come with complete instructions to create each of her cards.  How can you miss?   I love the sort of "Come on Spring" feel the kit has and what she created . . . so cheery.

I hear there's a big storm coming to our area.  Hopefully, it starts after my family is all tucked up safe at home.  Maybe the combination of the snow and the first of the assignments from the PageMaps 2015 Layouts class I decided to take will have the desired effect.  Only time will tell.

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

We Are

We are spending our time dealing with a mess of different things:  family that has moved back to Colorado, settling in and looking for a job.  Kids and school.  Getting a college-bound daughter registered for housing, financial aid; still need to get her to apply for grants.  Illnesses.  Testing.  Meetings.  Closets falling down in the middle of the night and pulling everything out of the wall.  Furnaces that seem to have issues.  And just the general chaos and scatter of day-to-day lives.  It's exhausting, but gotta keep the chin up and plug along as best as we can.

  • We are not surprised to find a war zone.  Nor are we surprised that there are only two boxes left for boys laying amid the rubble of picked-over overwhelmingly girl choices.
  • We are seeing this glory as the reward for spending two and a half hours inside a school, learning everything you wanted to know about registration (or not so much because this is your third high schooler attending this school in the last four years.)
  • We are raking in the goodies at the Valentine's party
  • We are enjoying the rare thrill of having big brother in the classroom
  • We are uber impressed with the daughter's ambitious Valentine's for her close friends.  Homemade Fortune Cookies with what she loves about each of her friends tucked inside.
  • We are cutting the packaging (and that's it, I just cut them out) for the above mentioned Fortune Cookies.  It's the closest I've come to crafting in months.
  • We are finding an odd assortment of selfies on my phone of this guy.
  • We are picking up the retreat-ers just as the storm blows in.
Happy Wednesday,

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

We Are

The past week was spent fighting Strep, though instead of with my kids, it was me.  Totally sucked.  Totally behind on everything because of it.  But I'm on the mend, I can swallow without thinking someone mixed broken glass with whatever I was eating and the fever is finally gone.

Now to do my best to salvage plans.

  • We are the 100th day first grader
  • We are celebrating this sweet-face girl's 18th.  Look at those little piggies!
  • We are surprising the thinks-she-knows-what's-going-on birthday girl.  We got her twice.  P.S.  Her friends are the best and the sweetest!
  • We They are attending Bob Marley's (the comic) show.  I wish I'd been there.
  • We are relegated to the couch and at the mercy of whatever is on TV.  Thankfully, this was on, which is always a good choice, no matter how fever-fogged.
Happy Wednesday,

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

We Are

We are . . . pretty sure the weather people are W.R.O.N.G. today.  The "oh 1-2 inches total" prediction had already fallen by 7:00 this morning and it's still coming down.  Driving has been, and will be, super fun today.

  • We are volunteering with the class while they are at the library.  How does he sit like that?
  • We are capping Catholic Schools Week with a Parent Appreciation assembly and the 8th grade's contribution is a tribute to parents set to the tune (and choreography) of "Uptown Funk."  It was awesome!
  • We are listening to the sweet voices of this one, and his classmates, reading the 1st Grade's poem to parents for their part of the Assembly.
  • We They are participating in the volleyball tournament that supports the week's Make-a-Wish fundraising event.  Hello team "Hard Pass."
  • We They are dancing the Color Fusion night away.  
  • We are ready for celebrating 100 Days in the first grade with our 100 Day poster.  We also reminisced about the three older kids' posters:  a paper doll girl holding 100 diecut balloons, 100 squares that made up the Death Star and 100 people on the deck of the Titanic.
Happy Wednesday,