Saturday, December 29, 2012

Survival of the Fittest!

Well as the title of this post suggests, we survived!  I'm not talking about the end of the world, I'm talking about Christmas.  This was our first Christmas with a monkey of our own.

We celebrated Christmas four days in a row with a lack of sleep for all three of us, and now, we are paying for it.  We spent an evening with M's family, and all eight of the grandkids were there, as well as all of M's siblings that live within a short driving distance; this is something that doesn't happen very often.  It was wonderful to see everybody (almost) at the same time.  We stayed up late, playing UNO with
the kids and Grandpa.

We spent a day with my dad's family, which is always enjoyable.  My cousins, siblings, and I are all growing up; most of us are in college, graduated from college, and/or married.  Some of us live out of state, so the only time of the year that everybody is likely to be back at the same time is for Christmas.  It's great seeing everybody, but this year was difficult for me because I was busy running after a monkey, which made it more difficult to visit with everybody.

We spent literally all of Christmas Eve day with my family.  Mom and I made breakfast for everybody who wanted to come, and M even made some of his homemade cinnamon rolls.  Our little family hung out there until it was time to go to church, which is very late in the evening.  Even though he was in jammies and had been asleep for a few hours, the little man stayed awake during the entire hour-long service.  I love Christmas Eve service, but I was so tired that it was pretty pointless for me to be there; I usually don't feel that way after the service, but of course, this is the first Christmas that I had to chase around my own monkey.  It was late when we got home of course, and we had to unload everything - something I dislike very much.  After all that, we had to set out our presents for YY and leave cookies for Santa - I'm sure he didn't have enough cookies before he got to our house.  We were all so tired that we didn't even hear Santa in our house.

We had a wonderful Christmas Day.  M got to be home most of the day, a rare thing, and Monkey Man enjoyed playing with his wonderful new toys.  He got big fire truck from Grandma and Grandpa that lights up, has a siren, moves, and plays music (loves it) and a big 'ol John Deere ERTL dump truck that Santa brought for him (loves it too).

Did I mention that YY was also sick during all of this?  We almost skipped a day with family.  He is feeling better now, but it still a tired little babe.

On Wednesday, we could finally rest.  I was fortunate to get several days off from work.  Since I actually had some time to work with him on learning new skills, it is amazing how much he has learned in a week.  He has now mastered (or almost) walking, waving, standing up without giving himself a boost using a chair or something, and has even started to run a little.  I can't believe how big he's getting, and he's growing so fast.  He's also so darn cute that I can't help but kiss those squishy little cheeks.  However, I must add that he has mastered biting and hitting people when he gets mad at them, something that is bad.  I hear parents say things like, "Well, Joey learned to hit and bite from Little Johnny at daycare."  My child doesn't go to daycare.  He spends more time with adults than he does children.  Therefore, hitting and biting isn't necessarily something that children learn from each other; they simply learn by doing it because it is a natural thing.  As the parent, it is my job to correct the bad behavior; this is something we are trying to do already, but it is difficult because he's so young.  There are many things in this world that he doesn't understand yet.

Our refrigerator broke on us last week, just before the thundersnow storm hit the midwest!  We have only had it 17 months.  Fortunately, we still have the old one out in the shop that we could fall back on; the freezer on it doesn't work and the fridge is much smaller than one we have in our house now, but we managed.  Fortunately, we had the deep freezer to fall back on as well.  It just sucked when we had to put on our shows, quickly run out into the freezing cold shop to grab the things we needed from the fridge, and we had to do it all over again to put everything back.  Finally though, it is fixed.  For a while, we were afraid that we were going to have to buy a new fridge or pay $800 for a new compressor.  Thank God it turned out to be an easy fix because we didn't have the resources to do either.  I just can't get over the fact that a major appliance like a refrigerator only comes with a one-year warranty.  How ridiculous is that?!

I tried not to overindulge too much on food over Christmas, but since then, I'm doing a pretty good job with eating until I'm just satisfied.  Unfortunately, I'm snacking... A LOT!  Until we get to the store, chips is about all we have for snacks.  I take that back, we also have Christmas and Halloween candy.  My mom gave us in our stockings a few truffle chocolate squares and LINDOR Milk Chocolate candies.  Both are HEAVENLY, but I haven't ate just one in a day; I ate at least two of them plus some of the other candy we have (like Snickers Miniatures Candy) in a day.  That is bad!  So very very bad!  M isn't much for sweets, but we have both been "fighting" over them.  There are only two of the Lindor chocolates left, and Monkey and I are the only ones at home right now.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to not eat them both right now?!  I am trying to exert some willpower right now, so that M an I can each have one, at the same time, later when he is home.  Did I mention that there are also some Gummi Bears sitting on my counter, two of them?  I almost ripped them open once today.  The day isn't over, yet!
The next celebration we have to survive?  Our baby's first birthday.  I have mixed feelings about that one.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Growing and Changing

Well, lets just say long time no write!  What can I say, we've been living life, and life has been keeping us pretty busy.
Christmas is a week away, and we still have one present to buy before the weekend.  I love Christmas!  I have actually been listening to a little Christmas music, which is something I normally do only on Christmas Day.  I can't wait to watch YY see the wonderful things Mommy, Daddy, and Santa got for him.  I also look forward to Christmas Eve church service.  Each Christmas Eve, we go back and forth between which family we attend services with.  This year, we will be with my family at a lil 'ol country church in the middle of nowhere; services usually aren't done until midnight or later.  Something about that time of night leaving church is very special.  It's even better when there is a blanket of snow (not too much) on the ground and a clear starry sky.  I guess you could say that I feel more connected with our Lord than any other time of year, except for Sunrise Service on Easter morning.  It's also beautiful to drive home and see colorful Christmas lights on.  That is the one night my parents leave their lights on all night long.  This year will be very different because Santa will be coming to our house for the first time.  I will make sugar cookies to leave out for him (next year YY can help make them), and we get to start new family traditions because M and I have a child of our own.  I just wish that the time we spend with our families on the holidays didn't always go so fast.
Not only is Christmas almost here, but my baby will soon be turning a year old.  It saddens me how fast time is going.  He has grown like a weed this past year.  I hate leaving him, which doesn't happen very often, because I want to be there for every snuggle and every kiss, and I don't want to miss a single moment of it.  I have the rest of my life to do everything else, but my baby is only little once; I certainly don't want to miss out.
This is also a time of year when people make resolutions for the new year.  (Of course, we have to make it past December 21st when the world is supposedly going to end)  I have been thinking about this a lot here lately.
The last time I stepped on the scale, I weighed the same amount as I weighed when I was 40 weeks pregnant, and it shows.  That's right, I weigh 20 pounds more than I did before I was pregnant, and a week after YY was born and we came home from the hospital, I weighed 10 pounds less than I did before I was pregnant.  My coat is too tight that I can barely zip it up, my jeans and other clothes are getting tight, and the other night when I went to put my belt and buckle on for a very rare night out, I couldn't even put my buckle through the first hole in my belt.  That really hurt and struck a nerve with me.
I have never been one to count calories (that's no way to live), if I lose weight, that's great, but if I don't that's fine.  I tried not to worry about what other people thought of my weight because it doesn't matter, all that matters is what I think of myself and my weight.  If people don't like the extra amount of flab that I have, that's their problem.  I am not skinny now, nor will I ever be skinny; I don't want to be skinny.  M is very supportive of me and loves me either way; if he didn't love me the same chubby as he would a skinny me then I wouldn't have married him.  I love food, and you only have one life to live so I am going to enjoy it.  However, I need to get this under better control.  When I have lost weight (unintentionally) in the past, I eventually gained all of the weight back plus more.  That worries me.

I need to get this under better control for multiple reasons: 1) My feet, knees, etc. would feel a little better 2) To help my son learn to make good choices, like moderation, 3) I can't afford a new wardrobe or coat.

The thing is, I am a VERY picky eater and hate excercising, so going on a run every day and having a salad (something rabbits eat) for dinner and supper every day is not an option for me.  To give you an idea of how picky I am, here is pretty much everything that I will eat: hamburger, hot dogs, bacon, balogna, sausage, cheese, bread, pasta, potato, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, egg, strawberries, kiwi, lemon, lime, blueberry, corn.  That's most of what I can think of, and some of those I only like a little (the highlighted items are my favorite).  That's right folks, I'm a farm girl who doesn't like steak!  If you are from or have ever lived in the midwest, you understand that is a BIG deal around here.  I will admit that I'm a lot better than I used to be.  I am usually willing to try something new; before, I NEVER was willing to try something new.

Something I want to do is figure out why I've gained so much weight so that I can correct it, but I have to figure out ways to lose weight that are pracitical for me.  As I said in previously, eating salads every day and going for a run aren't practical for me.  I have to make changes slowly, and they have to be changes that I can stick with.  I have realized that since we have started giving YY snacks, I munch on his snack a little too if it is something I like, such as crackers.  I did it without realizing it, so now that I am aware of it I need to catch myself doing it before it goes in my mouth.  I mostly drink water.  It is rare that I drink coffee, pop, juice, alcohol, etc., but it does happen on occasion.  Maybe I should drink more water though.  I bought a huge 36 oz. Tupperware water bottle, so maybe I should make it a point to fill it up each morning and have every ounce drank before I go to bed.  M and I also don't sit down with YY for supper.  YY eats his supper, gets ready for bed, goes to bed, and M and I then eat supper, if it's ready.  Sometimes it's 9 PM before M and I eat our suppn er.  I've said this before - didn't stick to it though - maybe we need to eat supper at the same time every night, even if M isn't home from work yet.  Lets say we started eating supper at 6:30 PM, then the food would have quite a bit of time to digest before going to bed.  Who knows, I may end up feeling better when I go to bed and actually fall asleep faster.

One thing I've always believed is that you can eat anything you want, healthy or not, as long as you eat it in moderation.  However, I don't always eat things in moderation.  Sometimes, I just inhail it.

What has worked for you?

I also want to grow as an individual.  Whether it is being a better wife and providing M with more support and encouragement, being a better housekeeper (I hate cleaning), or growing as a Christian.

I am not one who goes to church every Sunday, and I probably never will be.  However, I want to learn more about our Lord.  I have developed a deep curiosity about what all is in the Bible and the religion that I was brought up with.  Recently I heard about a private organization.  I went there to check it out.  This place offers counseling, pregnancy tests, diapers, maternity clothing, etc.  You earn "money" to buy different things (diapers, etc.), and you earn the "money" by doing different things such as counseling, bringing your spouse with you, reading and reflecting on Bible verses, memorizing scriptures, reading about your child's development, attending their classes, etc.  I think it is a great program, and everything is free but has be earned.  It's not like WIC or any other government program which, in my opinion, gets too nosy and asks you questions that are frankly none of their business; my doctor actually told me to ignore what WIC tells me and just tell them what they want to here.  This private organizations program is much different.  You don't have to tell them anything that you don't want to tell them.  Part of the goal is for parents to educate themselves.  The last time I went to a  counseling session, she challenged me with things like, "If YY asked you about death, what would you tell him?"  That was something I had never thought about.  There is no, "You're right and I'm wrong" at this place.  It is filled with kind and understanding people who want to help you through whatever you may be struggling with, if anything.  I like that my counselor asked me those questions because it has given me some things to think about.  Something that I am guilty of and trying to work on is reading the Bible on a regular basis.  I started at the beginning (Genesis) a few months ago and am disappointed with myself to say that I'm not all the way through it yet.  I get on a good start reading, but then, life happens, I get busy, and forget about it for a while.  However, this is a step in the right direction for me.

Long story short, I would like to make it my goal to lose fit into my clothes again by changing my lifestyle a little to something that it doable for me, something that I can stick with forever.  I also want to grow as an individual.  I can't do this alone.  I need my family's support as well as the support from my blog.  I plan to blog about how I am doing at least once a week starting in January.  I will share with you my success and my failures; I know that I will have some of both.  However, I hope that keeping this blog updated, like a journal, will keep me on track.  Feel free to leave your suggestions and words of encouragement for me; I will be in need of both.  I know that this isn't something that is going to happen immediately, it will take me time, and some of these things I will never stop improving on.  Thank you for your support.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Yeah, I've been needing to make an update.

Things are going as good as they can over this way.  The drought (and heat) is really hurting the farmers.  We try to keep my flowers and our few vegetable plants watered, but we are more concerned about the crop.  One field of corn (not ours) is entirely brown, which isn't normal for this time of year.  M thinks we may be starting to harvest a little in a month because one of the fields is turning.  We have ears of corn growing out of the tassels of the corn stalk (very top of the plant), and on those stalks, there are no other ears of corn on it; this is not normal either.  We desperately need more rain.

In June, we got a new feline friend.  His name is Taz.  He is very calm and loving.  He reminds us a lot of Glycerin, which is nice.  He will sit on the top of M's head, similar to what Glycerin used to do.

Our lil man is growing like a weed.  He is crawling, teething, and sitting up on his own.  He has been eating solids since he was a month and a half old.  I have made much of his baby food myself, but we have store-bought food as well.  Homemade baby food really helps cut down on the cost, plus you can get more variety.  I plan to do a post just about homemade baby food when I get the time.

Over the weekend, I made another cake with pop.  I made red velvet cake with cola (generic version of Pepsi or Coke).  It was yummy!  I have been wanting to try that store-bought frosting of Duncan Hines, the one where you buy the can of plain frosting and a flavor packet to mix in.  Well I didn't have much time for the baking (it was just for a family dinner) so I got some of that frosting.  I chose caramel for my red velvet cake.  It wasn't bad for store-bought frosting.

Friday, April 20, 2012

I have discovered that if you don't have time to go for a walk or a drive in the country or something like that, a great way to just chill and think about things, even if it's for 5 minutes, is to soak in the tub.  I can get a little philosophical, you might say, about things at times.

Today, I was thinking about motherhood, college, and careers.

I am not now, nor have I ever been much of a career-oriented person, driven to get to the top of the company as fast as I can to make as much money as I can.  If that is your goal in life, fine, but it's not mine (afterall, I'm talking about me right now).  I have always just been perfectly satisfied with doing any job that I am able to do (and doing it well) and enjoy doing that job.

When I was in Kindergartern and asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I probably gave the interviewer a few things (mommy, auther, veterinarian, teacher, etc.).  When I was asked the same question in middle school, I think I said day care provider and/or teacher.  My senior year of high school, I said Preschool teacher, and I set out to do so.  As the end of my education at a community college drew near, I toyed with various ideas (4-H, desktop publishing, photgrapher, etc.) because I decided I didn't want to be a teacher, and I decided to switch to Agricultural Education to persue a career with 4-H by working at an extension office; I still wasn't quite sure about that either though.

The summer between community college (my only year of college that I didn't have summer classes) and the university, I toyed with the idea of not continuing my college education.  I recall my oldest sister telling me that if I didn't continue with my education, I would have to find a job somewhere and move out of my parent's house because I would be a working adult and couldn't live with Mom and Dad forever.  She also told me not to stress about pursuing a career in whatever field I chose because lots of people get college degrees for things they never use (ex: I know a carpenter with a degree in Literature).  This wise  grasshopper (sister) also told me that pretty much all you get out of college is how to think because most of what you need to know for your career is taught on the job.  To this day, I still think about what my sister told me; when I get to thinking about how I think the money I spent on college was a huge waste, I remind myself that I learned how to think for myself (expenisve thing to learn, huh?).  I did have some college instructors that didn't like when I questioned/challenged what I had to say, but I could see others look at me with a smirk on their face because they were happy about it.  I have learned though that sometimes in life you just gotta tell people what they want to hear and move on, rather than stir up a big mess just because they don't want to hear the truth; in those kinds of situations though I just try very hard to keep my mouth shut, or I just end up telling them what they don't want to hear (the truth).

Going back to what I was saying... I really wasn't sure what I wanted to do for a career.  The reason?  All I've ever really wanted to do is be a mommy.  You can't tell people as a high school senior that.  When your little and say that, people think it's cute, but if you're an adult (or getting there), they just think you're crazy or something if you say that.

Why is that?

Women having a career really is a relatively new idea.  My grandma and her mom (and her mom's mom, etc.) didn't even really have the option of being a career woman, not if they were going be a mother anyways.  Now that women have the option, if you don't know what you want to do for the rest of your life you are considered a slacker by some, and if you say you just want to be a mom, it's considered realistic.  That's just nonsense because there is room for both!  Girls, it is okay if you just want to be a mommy.  It's okay if you want to "break the mold."  That's one great thing about this country today... women have the option to work (if they want) and to be a mom (if they want).

Take me for example... My first job is as a mom and wife, my second job is whatever career I have chosen.  Currently I work part-time as a secretary.  I love being a mommy and wife!  I also really like the job I have.  I enjoy the work that I do for a living, and best of all, I currently have been blessed with the flexibility to bring YY to work with me.  (I'm lucky because so many don't have that option)  Afterall, YY is the responsibility of M and me so we should be the ones raising him and making all the decisions about how he should be brought up, not daycare.  Lets face it, by sending my child to daycare I get that person in charge (or persons) the power to make decisions about how to raise my own child.

Some examples: You may prefer to read books with your child, over watching TV, but if your daycare finds it easier to let children watch TV, your child learns to watch TV rather than read.  You may resort to a swat on the butt when a child is behaving outragiously, but daycare might just try "talking" to the child (i.e. lots of warnings but no action) repeatedly when they are behaving in a way that they shouldn't over and over.  Personally, I think imagination is one of the best things a child can develop, and parents should do everything possible to encourage it.  That is why I'd much rather give YY a pan and spoon to play with (when he's bigger) over a bunch of toys, despite how "great" they are.  (Not to mention we don't have the space for a bunch of toys)  How many toys do you have in your house right now that your child doesn't play with because they prefer to play with the empty shoe box?  I've heard my sisters talk about this a lot reguarding their own child.

Anyways, there is plenty of room for education, career, and motherhood without it effecting the most important role, motherhood.  I am fortunate to have the best of both worlds... I get to be with my baby every day and make money at the same doing something that I enjoy.   

Lets face it, YY's good looks doesn't hurt any.  Everybody wants to hold him and squeeze him and talk to him, and the little old ladies (and men) that come into work every day can't get enough of him!

Ladies... In a nutshell, don't be ashamed if all you want to be "when you grow up" is a mommy.  :)  Afterall, I truly believe the best years of one's life is when they marry; most start a family (not all), but the best part of it, whether you have children or not, is sharing your life with someone that you love.

Easter in Review

This was YY's very first Easter.  I remembered to use the video camera, but somehow I forgot to use the camera.  :)

On the days leading up to Easter, I read a book to the little man, called "The First Easter."  I liked it.  It was simple, easy to read (other than a few names I couldn't pronounce), and had pictures to go along with it, so as YY gets bigger he should be able to follow it easier.

The Easter bunny came.  YY got a basket with a couple onesies (Sesame Street and Curious George), bubbles (perfect for this summer), lotion, and some yummies for when he gets bigger.

We started the morning by checking out what that good 'ol rabbit brought for YY; you could see how thrilled he was in his face.  His look was, "You nuts woke me up for this?!"  As soon as we finished that, we hopped in the vehicle, and headed to church (started at 6:30 AM). 

After eating a hardy breakfast at church, we spent the rest of the beautiful day with family.  While the kids weren't paying attention, I hid the eggs outside.  By the time I got done hiding them, the monkeys were eagerly waiting at the door with their grocery sacks.  My sibli ng kept the kids corraled at the door while I got a new diaper and doggy coat on the lil man.  Long story short, everyone our way had an enjoyable day.  We celebrated the resurrection and love of our Lord and the beautiful day bestowed upon us.

I decided to upload some Easter goodies.  I helped my mom make her deviled eggs (best in the world).  We tried to make some of them take on a crackled egg shell effect, but since it didn't work we just made them all solid colors (peel, mix food coloring into cold water, let the eggs sit in the colored water until they are the tint that you want.

Peanut butter cookie, Oreo, Brownie

Moutain Dew cake with Mountain Dew buttercream frosting (next time I'm using my own recipe rather than the one I found on Pinterest, frosting was okay but cake was dense)

Is it a pizza or is it a casserole?

 The answer is... it's both!

Again, thanks to Pinterest I found another yummy recipe to try (Pizza Casserole).  It's so easy to make.

Simply cook your egg noodles (or the noodles of your choice), and layer the noodles with pizza sauce (always 1st layer), cheese, meat, and all your other goodies.

I'm a picky eater, as mentioned before, so rather than making one big one I made two smaller ones.

A's pizza casserole: noodles, sauce, LOTS of cheese (the most important food group, that's right I consider cheese a food group all on it's own because it's so yummy), and 1/4 pound (or so) of cooked sausage that I had in the freezer, leftover from some other time.

M's pizza casserole (the yucky one): noodles, sauce, pepperoni, cheese, bell peppers, cheyenne peppers, and mushrooms (I forgot the onions).

I think I baked them at 350 or so for 30-34 minutes or so (you'll figure it out).  M loved it so much that he ate all of his leftover casserole and mine.  He claims that he "accidentally" ate my leftovers because he thought it was his.  Yeah, right.  He lies!  :)

Before cheese

Before putting in the oven

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Outdoor Adventures

I don't know about the weather where you're at, but here, in the midwest, it has been oddly BEA-UT-I-FUL for March and early April!  When I went to bed last night, it was 79 degree ferenheit in our house.  Today, it was around 67 degrees outside.  We have been fishing in the farm ponds, mowed the yard twice, gone on walks, taken the dog for rides in the back of the pick up, and laid out where I am going to put a flower bed. 

A couple weeks ago we caught nearly 20 fish, only two were blue gills, and the rest were largemouth bass.  I caught 5 (blue gills and bass), and M caught the rest.  I'm doing great if I catch one fish, so it made my day when I caught 5 of them!  When I fish with other people and just so happen to catch a fish, I usual ly wind up catching the biggest fish.  Well, this time I caugh the biggest one, a 19 inchers; we don't have a scale to weigh it.

M was going to keep a few fish and put the rest in another pond to stalk it, but unfortunately, by the time we got there though they were all dead.  Therefore, the ones that we didn't release immediately after catching them were cleaned and froze for a fish fry at a later date.  (Yuck, I hate eating fish)

I love going fishing!  Farm ponds are the best place to go because they are much more peaceful.  The blue sky (or stars), the shining sun, the chirping frogs, but best of all the peace and quiet.  If you need time and/or a place to think, that is the best place to go and best place to do.  I find it easier to go out in the middle of nowhere, away from all the people to talk to God, especially when something is bothering me.  I guess you could say that it helps clear my head.

My 19 incher!

Cinnamon Rolls + Waffles

= Cinnamon Bun Waffles!

I used this Cinnamon Bun Pancake recipe to make for M and I the other morning.  I must say that they were mighty tasty!  I of course had to tweek a little.
Use the following dry ingredients and mix:
1 1/2 cups flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon cinnamon

To the dry ingredients add the following and mix:
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup melted butter
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Next, you can cook!  Among the pile of dirty dishes in my kitchen that morning was my skillet.  Well, I just didn't have the time to do dishes.  I decided at the last minute to make these and M would be up soon, so I went with waffles; it was a nice little change anyways.

For the syrup mix the following with a wisk:
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 Tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons milk

I thought the taste was rather bland, so I added some vanilla; I don't know how much because I always just dump in the vanilla (I LOVE vanilla).  With the syrup, you will of course want it runny so that you can just pour it over the top of your waffles/pancakes.  If it's too runny, add more sugar, and if it's not runny enough, add more milk.
This made four waffles.  Note from husband: one waffle is plenty for one person to eat.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

In loving memory...

A picture of YY and Glycerin
On Sunday, March 18, 2012 at 9:30 PM our loving Glycerin was layed to rest.  Our adoring kitty wasn't a year old yet, but what short of a life she had was great.  M and I both miss her.  Sometimes I catch myself about to call "Here kitty, kitty, kitty...," or trying to keep her from coming inside the house when I open the front door.  Then I remember, Glycerin is no longer here.  I miss her greeting me when I come home from work or anywhere else; she used to jump on the hood of my car as soon as I got parked.

Even Nitro misses her, which surprises me a bit.  He sniffs around the porch looking for her so that he can "attack" her, in a playful manner (Glycerin always just hissed at him and swiped his nose).  Since she died, he usually has a pan partially full of food when we feed him.

M and I decided to make a cross for where she is buried at.  The electric company recently sawed down part of a tree next to our property line, and all of the limbs are still lying in the ditch next to the field, so we used a couple of limbs and wire to make a cross.  I would like to make something to hang on the cross with her name on it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

New Discovery

Thanks to Pinterest, I just found My Fridge Food.  You can enter what food you have, and the website will give you recipe ideas that use the food you already have on had.  That's pretty cool!

Rice Exploration

I have a great cookbook (previously mentioned) full of low cost recipes.  I love it!  However, it doesn't have very many recipes that call for rice in it.  I've decided to use rice in my cooking as much as possible right now because well... lets face it, rice is cheap cheap cheap!  I'm going for what's cheap right now.  Rice can also be filling, and M of course made the mistake of telling me how much he likes rice! lol  I have had a bag of unopened rice in our cupboard since we got married; it is gone now, and I just bought a 10 pound bag of generic brand white rice for $6.09.  That is $.609 per pound of rice I use (cheap cheap cheap).  I also like to have leftovers.  We eat a lot of leftovers.  I take them to work a lot, which is great because eating PB&J and balogna with cheese sandwiches over and over and over again without any break gets old fast!  Here are the things that I've made so far with rice (and some without).

Rice casserole:  I actually haven't made this yet, but I had it a lot growing up.  It is just lasagna, but you replace the noodles with rice.  Also, my mom also used square cheese on top and parsley.  Good stuff!

Cheesey potato soup: I just kinda make it up as I go, so each time it is different.  In a nutshell it includes, potatoes cubed, chicken broth, cheddar cheese soup, cream of potato soup, American cheese cubed and melted, herbs and spices (oregano, basil, rosemary, or whatever else I decide to add), vegetables (this time I used sliced carrots and a little broccoli), and rice.  I sometimes add bacon (you could do ham too), but I don't like how the bacon tastes warmed back up in the microwave with this soup.  This was the first rice thing I made, and I forgot to follow all of the directions for cooking rice... it was interesting to say the least.  I made A LOT on purpose so that I could have some to take to work for my dinner, and I froze the rest for later.

Breakfast stovetop casserole: I usually make one package of frozen hasbrowns (cooked first), sausage (has to be J.D. brand, orginal, browned), 5 eggs (scrambled with some dry milk), cheedar cheese, and mozzerella cheese.  This time, I replaced the hashbrowns with rice, used bacon grease that we started saving to mix it all together in the skillet (usually I use margarine/butter), and for something a little different I cooked a few strips of bacon and crumbled them.  The result was tasty and filling.  We had plenty of leftovers for me to take to work for my dinner.

Rice and egg casserole: This is a layer of rice, with 6 eggs (scrambled without milk), a few potatoes cubed (cook on the stove in olive oil for a few minutes until they just start to soften before putting in the casserole), sausage (browned), cheddar cheese, and mozzerella cheese.  I had about 1/4 pound of already cooked sausage in the freezer that we have pulled out on occasion for pizza, so I just used that.  The results were tasty!  They only thing I would do differently is either use a smaller pan with a little less rice OR use more eggs.  [pictures]

Tacos: When I cook taco meat, I typcially cook two pounds at a time.  What is left gets stuck in the freezer, and we pull it out now and then for fast tacos (saves us lots of time so we can spend a little more time together that evening).  This time, I made two cupse of rice (with 4 cups of water) and mixed most of it into the meat.  That doubled the mount of meat I had.  As a note for us picky eaters that don't eat enough protein, I think I ended up eating more meat than I normally would without the rice mixed in because I put way more of the meat mixture on my taco than I do without the rice.

Meatloaf: A single friend of ours who, I guess you could say, works "over the road" eats at our house a lot rather than going to the grocery store; with one person in the house and him being gone so much the food spoils quickly.  Anyways, one night I made meatloaf for the three of us.  I decided to use the recipe in the Dining on a Dime cookbook, but I made it my own a little bit.  I have to put sausage (J.D. brand) in my meatloaf because meatloaf without sausage just doesn't taste as good.  I ended up putting 2 lbs. of hamburger, 1 lb. of sausage, and about 2 cups (before cooking) of rice in my meatloaf.  I still used a little oatmeal to hold it together.  I had never used oatmeal in meatloaf before; I usually use bread crumbs or cracker crumbs.  Needless to say, it was tasty.  Technically, I made meatballs, and I ended up with 12 very large ones.

Wondering what to do with leftover rice?  Put a little milk, butter, cinnamon, and sugar in with it and warm it up.  I've had that for dinner at work a couple times too.

I've also been looking for new grilled cheese ideas on Pinterest and  Thanks to this website I the idea to do a breakfast grilled cheese sandwich.  I scrambled some eggs and cooked some bacon first.  For the sandwiches, I used a square slice of cheese for each slice of bread and squeezed the eggs and crumbled bacon between the bread and cheese.  YUM!

When all else fails though and we don't know what to make, we made fried egg sandwiches, egg hole in the bread fried, or pizza.  We've started to make homemade crust using the recipe in the "Cooking on a Dime" cookbook.

Feel free to share your rice recipes or frugal recipes!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

It's a Keeper

M saw a picture of the Chocolate Chip Swirl Cake on the boxes of cake mixes, and said, "I want you to make this for me sometime."  One thing you have to understand about M, he doesn't eat sweet stuff very often.  When I make cake or something, if he eats any of it he only eats one piece.  Moving on... I recently made his Chocolate Chip Swirl Cake (, but I of course had to put my own spin on it for a few reasons 1) it's what I do and 2) lack of resources.  Below is what I did different than the recipe as well as a picture of the cake, not the one I made though because well... just keep reading and you'll find out why.

  1. I had an open bag of generic chocolate chips with just a few left.  I have no idea how much was left, but I just dumped all of it into the batter.
  2. I used vanilla cake mix rather than white, and I added my special ingredients that I always use when baking from a mix.
  3. Rather than reserving some batter and mixing the chocolate ice cream syrup into that, I just drizzled the syrup on top and swirled it in with a butter knife.
  4. I got the GENIUS idea to swirl caramel syrup into the batter as well.  I'm not a big chocolate fan, but if I am going to eatch chocolate I love love love to have caramel with it.
  5. That gave me another idea... why not make caramel frosting to put on top?  I was going to do buttercream because lets face it, in my world can frosting isn't real frosting; the only time I use it is when I make my Oreo cake (maybe I'll tell you about that sometime).  So I make caramel buttercream frosting ( - thanks Pinterest!)
  6. For the frosting, I learned to ignore the recipe a little and cream the butter by itself first so that it wouldn't be chunky.
  7. I love love love caramel, so I just poured in the caramel syrup until I reached the desired caramel flavor I was looking for.
  8. To top off the frosting, after I spread the frosting on I drizzled chocolate syrup on top (as previously mentioned I didn't have chocolate chips left for the frosting).  I then proceded to swirl the syrup in with a knife (don't do that, just leave it as it is).
The results were yummy, yummy, yummy!  It was moist, not too much chocolate (my opinion), and the frosting was perfect.  The chocolate chips all settled to the bottom, so I think I will try mini chocolate chips next time; I may even try chocolate sprinkles.

Why didn't I post the picture of my own cake?  Well you see... we shared our cake with some friends.  As we left their house, M was caring the cake pan by the handle on the top of the lid.  For some reason, the handle decided to pop out, which make the pan land lid side down one the floor.  (CAKE DOWN!!!)  No worries though, the cake was not wasted.  It was actually devoured!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Johnny Cash and the Power Rangers

Have you ever played Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" and do "sign language" to the song?  I recently experienced, twice in the same day.  It is a BLAST!  It's not real sign language, you just make up your own movements through the song.  It reminds me of what the Happy Hands Club does in the movie "Napolean Dynamite."  I had fun doing it with a group of people, or maybe I'm just crazy.  Of course, I am easily amused!  Give it a try some time and make a comment about it.

I was asked to make a birthday cake for a 6 year old.  He requested a rainbow cake with something Power Rangers on top.  Well, as fascinated as I am with cake decorating (I hope to get much better), I still have a lot to learn about it, so my skills are very basic.  When it comes to rainbow cake, I LOVE making them!  I have the technique down pretty well; I just need to work on the pop recipe more.  (The pop recipe makes tends to make the cake fall apart easily)  Anyways, the little man got a rainbow cake and cupcakes.  I did the lightning bolt from the logo and surrounded it with "Happy Birthday" like the logo.  His favorite Power Ranger is red, hence the reason the cake is red.  The cupcakes I frosted with the colors of the Power Rangers (NOTE: PRs have changed so much since I was a child, gold is currently one of them not black).  Since I didn't have anything edible that is gold, they told me I could just use black.  The cupcakes dont' have all six colors in the batter, they have two to three colors.  It is hard enough to get three colors in without using too much batter.  FYI the black scribble is the birthday boy's name scratched out.  Happy baking!

Blue, Red, Pink, Black, Yellow, Green Power Rangers cupcakes

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Room With A View

Pantry cupboad to hold YY's books.
This little lamb is great!  It makes four different noises: heart beat, rain, ocean, and whale, and it has a timer.  We use the heart beat at bedtime.
I am apparently on a roll today (as far as posting goes)!  I thought I would share some pictures of YY's room.  We didn't know if we were having a boy or girl, so we wanted a theme that was gender neutral (#1- didn't know the gender, #2- we will eventually have one or two other children sharing that room with YY), fun, and something that would grow with our children.  We went with outerspace!  You will notice a spaceship with a tiny blurred Cat in the Hat.  The planets (which includes Pluto), constellations (labeled until we have them memorized), stars on the dresser, and moons and stars on the ceiling all glow in the dark.
Man on the moon.  I thought about Americana theme as well, so I combined the two themes.
Outerspace just isn't complete without aliens.
Most of the murial.  Yes, until mid-September we had concrete floors in our house.
We changed the color.  In the book it is red and white.
The rest of the murial.

You will see a desk lamp that we use at night if we have to get up with YY.   We make homemade baby wipes.  There are toys, clothes, lotion, soap, etc. in the containers and baskets.  Some are still empty, but I'm sure we will fill them as time goes on.  Since we have a huge shop connected to our house, we move clothes, diapers, etc. into storage in the shop as he grows out of things; I'm currently in process of doing this which is why some things are just out of place.  I still have the baby shower guest book (an outerspace scrapbook page), picture frame, and shadow box to hang.  The piggy bank came from a craft store.  I bought scrapbooking stickers to put YY's name on it, as well as some star stickers.  I use the space under the crib for storing things like current diapers, etc.  Since I had no idea what brand to buy for diapers, I started buying different brands with coupons while I was still pregnant.

FYI I am having issues getting the pictures to format how I want them to and put them where I want to, which is why they aren't in a very organized manner.  Maybe it's just the blogger rather than the blog.  I just thought I would share.  :)


Obviously, a MAJOR update is needed.

First, Gossamer/Cousin It now has a gender and a name.  We were blessed with a wonderful baby boy at the beginning of 2012, YY.  I dreamed I would have a big, hairy, chunky baby, and that is exactly what I got; I just didn't imagine a baby as big as he was.  He has his daddy's handsome (that's not a biased opinion) looks, and the only two things YY has that I had as a baby was a full head of dark hair and chunky cheeks.  Oh, let us not forget that I was a 9 lb. 4 oz. baby with a 15.75 in. head, and YY was 10 lb. 4 oz. with a 15 in. head.  He was born after my due date 21 lbs. with him, if you can believe it, but when we finally got home from the hospital I was actually 10 lbs. less then than what I weighed right before I got pregnant.  And like the other times I have lost weight in the passed, I gained it all back, and I've always gained the lost weight plus more; hopefully that doesn't happen this time, but if it does, it won't be the end of the world because I'm happy just the way that I am.  That's all that matters.

The back of YY's head.  Look at all that hair!  He was a little stuck, so he had to be vacuumed out in a hurry, hence the sore.

Look at his adorable little big footies with our wedding rings.  His feet were so big that they barely fit on the stickers that the hospital put his footprints on.

The evening after his birth, YY was diagnosed with sepsis and took a helicopter ride to a WONDERFUL hospital.  All I will say about that who scary experience is that we spent a week with a group of wonderful doctors and nurses; we are so grateful to them all.  We thank God that he is now healthy and weighs over 14 lbs. now.  Apparently it is common for babies to get sepsis (infection in the blood that can lead to many other problems if not caught in time), but it was something I've never heard of until he was diagnosed.  Anyways, we are VERY happy to have him home; it was hard to leave his side in the hospital when we went out for food or to go to sleep.

It's amazing, being a parent.  All I think about is YY, and what I feel is best for him.  I love him so much, and I can't help but kiss his chunky little cheekies all the time.  Right now, he LOVES to snuggle with his mommy.  I wish that he will always want to snuggle with me.  I don't want him snuggling with any other girls (exceptions to the rule: grandmas, aunts, older and new baby cousins), which is why he's not allowed to date until he's at least 50 years old.  I know... that's not going to happen.  A mommy can dream though, can't she?

I bought him to little outfits last week, the first clothes I've even bought for him.  He is already wearing 6 month clothes!  Anyways, one of the outfits I bought him was a red onesie with a pair of blue and white striped overalls.  If you grew up in a rural community, you know exactly what I'm talking about, but if you didn't, below you will find a picture.  They are the cutest things ever.  I told my dad that he needs to take YY and me to the sale barn with him.  The sale barn is full of old farmers with blue and white striped overalls, not to mention they make very tasty food!

YY in his overalls.  Yes, I cropped out his face.

Moving on to non-baby related stuff....
I believe I have not told you about our cat, our outdoor only cat.  We brought home a four week old male kitten ("my cat") in June.  He came from a farm; the farm that had the chickens we bought (Yes, we have chickens, but that is a whole post in itself that will have to be disussed later).  I wanted a name that went with the dogs name (in case you've forgotten, his name is Nitro).  After some thinking, we decided to name him Glycerin.  Very fitting, right?  Glycerin is an all black cat with just a few (we're talking 5 or 6) white hair on his neck, head, and belly.  He is a beautiful cat.  I have to tell you this, M hates cats.  However, he loves Glycerin, even though M will never admit it.  Glycerin is part parrot, dog, cat, and lion.  As a kitten, anytime somebody pulled into the driveway he would hunch down in the grass to hide and pounce out at your toes like a lion.  He sits on M's shoulder while he walks around outside or in the shop to do stuff, just like a parrot.  He is a great mouser, like every cat should be.  He always loves to ride in the vehicle, like a dog.  We like to take little drives together as a family when it is nice outside.  Nitro will ride in the back of the pick up, and Glycerin will ride on the dashboard; that his his preferred spot.  M won't admit it, but when Glycerin does die some day he will cry like a little baby, just as much as me.  This is the kicker... In January we took Glycerin to the vet to be neutered; I believe it was a Wednesday.  Thursday morning, I got a phone call from one of the gals that works there (my former 4-H leader).  She asked me if anybody had called me the afternoon before.  I told her they had not.  She replied, "Well, Glycerin is a girl.  The vet opened her up and said, 'This cat has ovaries!'"  Moral of the story: even though you have checked the gender of cat's a million times, you could be wrong.  In my defense, we got her at about four weeks of age, M thought she was a boy too, and neither of us payed any attention after that. 
My oldest sister got a new cookbook a while back, and recently, I spent a brief amount of time looking through it.  Well, I fell in love with it and had to find one for myself.  The cookbook is called Dining on a Dime by Tawra Kellam and Jill Cooper.  They have a website called Living on a Dime.  The cookbook can be ordered there, or you can buy a used one cheaper somewhere else like I did.  If you are trying to save money, this is the book for you!  It doesn't have just recipes in it.  There are things like homemade baby wipes, homemade laundry detergant, mixes that can go in a jar, cleaning tips and strategies, and so much more.

Speaking of cleaning, baking soda rocks my world!  (Something else my big sis showed me.)  So far I have used it to clean my really dirty pans while doing the dishes, and it is great for cleaning on the stove top.  I love to cook and bake, but I tend to make a VERY big mess on the stove when I do; M is good at that too. The baking soda does wonders for cleaning the grease and goop that is stuck to the stove off.  What other uses have you found for baking soda, besides baking?

I must add one more update to my update.  I have apprently been hiding in a hole; I guess that's what happens when you are on maternity leave and hardly go anywhere.  Until my oldest sister told me about Pinterest a couple weeks ago, I had never even heard of it.  Well, now I am on it all the time.  I love all the ideas I find, especially the ideas for cakes and saving space.  I find it way more interesting and useful than Facebook, with the exception of the Facebook page for my lil home baking business.  Needless to say, I am in love with Pinterest, and M can blame my sig bister (my family's weird way of saying "big sister") for that.