Friday, December 12, 2008


The cornbread recipe below: FABULOUS!!! So yummy!
The nachos: quite scrumptious.
Unfortunately, the brisket was a bit dry; I think I should have cooked it at a lower heat than it suggested. But the marinade...Oh my, so great!
EVERYONE TRY THE CORNBREAD RECIPE! (Michelle says she adds a Tbsp of sugar to her cornbread; that sounds even better!)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Menu for December 8-14

This week, I’m taking food to the Bullios on Monday and Saturday. And I’m going to be very ambitious and try five new Pioneer Woman recipes! (Why do I do this to myself? Oh yeah, I like good food…) And I’m going to make more divinity this week. I made some a couple of weeks ago…sooo yummy. I got that recipe from
Note on the brisket: That was the most money I've ever spent on a hunk of meat in my life! Except for Chad... Oh well, it's going to feed us AND the Bullios. And it's going to be scrumptious.

Monday: Brisket, crash hot potatoes, green salad
Tuesday: Nachoes using the leftover brisket meat, sliced apples
Wednesday: Beans, Cornbread, and rustic spinach salad
Thursday: Italian tuna sandwiches (I was going to make that last week, but didn’t end up doing it)
Friday: take out
Saturday: sweet citrus chicken (an old favorite), broccoli
Sunday: Chinese chicken fried rice

Brisket (a Pioneer Woman recipe) Save the leftovers to make nachos.

Crash hot potatoes (a Pioneer Woman recipe)

Nachos (a Pioneer Woman recipe)

beans and cornbread (a Pioneer Woman recipe)

Rustic Spinach Salad
8 cups baby spinach leaves
2 small apples, thinly sliced and cut in half
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breasts
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ cup peanuts or cashews
½ cup Italian dressing
Toss all ingredients in bowl just before serving.

Italian tuna sandwiches (makes 1 sandwich)
When we went to Italy in 2004, we order a tuna sandwich from a stand, expecting it to be mixed with mayonnaise. But it was more like this, and it was delish!
2 slices bread, toasted
½ can of tuna, drained
1 slice of mozzarella cheese
¼ avocado, sliced
sliced onion
sliced tomato
Spread mayonnaise on one piece of toast and mustard on the other. Lay the tuna on top of one piece of bread. Add the slice of cheese. Add slices of onion, avocado, and tomato.
Serve with carrot sticks and/or cucumber slices.

Sweet Citrus Chicken
1 2/3 cup boiling (or near-boiling) water
1 pkg stuffing mix for chicken
2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
2/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp butter, melted
Add boiling water to stuffing mix; stir until just moistened. Set aside. Place chicken in 9x13 pan. Mix juice, sugar, and butter. Pour over chicken. Top with the prepared stuffing. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Chinese Chicken Fried Rice
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 Onion
1 1/2 pounds cooked, cubed chicken meat
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, diced
3/4 cup fresh pea pods, halved
1/2 large green bell pepper, diced
6 cups cooked white rice
2 eggs
1/3 cup soy sauce
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft, then add chicken and 2 tablespoons soy sauce and stir-fry for 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in carrots, celery, red bell pepper, pea pods and green bell pepper and stir-fry another 5 minutes. Then add rice and stir thoroughly. Finally, stir in scrambled eggs and 1/3 cup soy sauce, heat through and serve hot.

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped pecans or candied cherries for holidays
Be sure to make divinity on a dry day; candy will not harden on a humid day. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, heat sugar, salt, syrup and water to boiling, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Set candy thermometer in place and continue cooking over medium low heat, not stirring, until the temperature reaches 266°. When the temperature reaches 260° beat the egg whites with electric mixer at high speed, until stiff peaks form. While beating, pour the hot syrup slowly into the egg whites. Beat for about 2 to 3 minutes, until mixture isn't glossy. Add vanilla and turn to low speed. Continue beating until the mixture holds its shape when dropped from a spoon. It will probably be too thick for the mixer at this point. Stir in pecans or chopped candied cherries with a wooden spoon. With a lightly buttered teaspoon, drop onto waxed paper. Work as quickly as possible. If mixture gets too thick to work with, add a few drops of water. Let stand until dry. Store in tightly covered containers.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I cook and eat

First of all, here are two of my favorite pies that were at my house on Thanksgiving Day. Here's Benji-pie
And here's Ethan-pie.
Now, I have to show you a picture of an early Christmas present from Chad's mom. New pots and pans!!! Aren't they cool? They are Emeril Ware. They are stainless steel and heat up pretty quickly and hold the heat well. They're shiny and pretty too. Now, tell me, can you look at these glorious pots and pans and NOT get excited??
On Thanksgiving Day, I got into the "holiday spirit" as Chad called it, and I cooked up a storm. Boy, oh boy, did I have fun! I made three things I've never made before. I made homemade cranberry sauce:
Home made rolls! (I know; I can't believe I did it either. But don't worry; I've recovered, and I won't ever be making home made rolls from scratch again. Not worth it. Pillsbury is just as good).
And my first ever chocolate chip pecan pie. The reason it looks a little over-baked is because I over baked it a little.
And I also made my de-de-delicious pumpkin dumpcake. SOOO tasty; I can't even describe how happy your taste buds are when you eat this. It's beyond delectable.
And I also made sweet potato casserole, but forgot to get a picture of it.
Today is Friday. I got up at 5:20 am, got dressed, nursed Benji, and went shopping! I got such a thrill walking out to the car in the dark and silence! So much fun. I went to only one store looking for a brown sweater for myself, and I found 2! I bought them both because they were so cheap. It was really fun to do that. I haven't gone shopping on Black Friday in about 4 years. Then I got home and found that Ethan had been awake since 5:40 am!
Today is also cleaning day, and look what I did to my stove! Have you ever seen a more sparkly and clean stove? Only Edward's skin in the sun could be more sparkly than this.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Twilight movie

I went with a gaggle of girlfriends last night to see Twilight. I haven't done that kind of thing since college: getting to the theatre an hour before show time, waiting in line, desperate to get a good seat. I was just as enthralled as the teenage girls packed in the theatre: I too squealed when Edward first came on the screen. He is definitely the most mesmerizing and devastatingly handsome vampire I've ever seen. My heart beat fast when he and Bella spoke words of love to each other. I clenched my fists in excitement when he rescued Bella over and over again.
Why am I, a 28-year old woman with a love and family of my own, so mesmerized by a movie that was made to entertain girls ages 12-18? Is it bad that I am not mature enough to calmly sit and not be absorbed by teenage romance? That, I too, will be completely swept away in a glorious love story because I am so deeply moved?
I don't know. The girl side of me says no; the adult side of me says, "Get a grip."
But, then again, there really is nothing more inspiring and moving than a great love story. And the vast majority of women really crave romance, whether we want to admit it or not. We want a manly man who will save us from danger, fight off other guys for us, looks at us with longing in his eyes, be protective and strong, loyal, wealthy, and of course, devastatingly handsome. Now, Edward really is perfect because he's a vampire; he's so easy to like because he has all those admirable qualities. But some human characters are almost as good: like Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, Gilbert in Anne of Green Gables, Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility, and Henry in The Time Traveler's Wife.
Enough of those rambling thoughts. Let's just say that I LOVED the movie!! And I LOVE the books! And I wish I could be half as cool as Stephenie Meyer.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Menu for November 24-30

Monday: beef stew
Tuesday: pasta with sauce, parmesan zucchini
Wednesday: steak, couscous, broccoli
Thursday: THANKSGIVING DINNER (see a couple of recipes below)
Friday: Thanksgiving leftovers
Saturday: Italian tuna sandwiches, carrot sticks
Sunday: Southwest salad

Beef Stew
1 onion, chopped
1 pkg Lowry’s beef stew seasoning mix
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 cups chopped potatoes
1 pkg chopped beef (the package should say “Beef for stewing”)
Boil all ingredients until cooked through (about 40-45 minutes). Drain enough water out that the stew will not be too watery. Add the seasoning packet and stir.
Note: Also a great crock pot recipe!

Pasta with sauce
Use whatever kind of pasta you like. I always use jarred sauce. I think this week, I’ll use alfredo… If you want to add some meatballs, go for it. (It’s a vegetarian night for us).

Parmesan zucchini
3 zucchinis, sliced lengthwise in ¼ or ½ inch slices
2 cloves garlic, pressed
Parmesan cheese
Place zucchini slices in a baking pan. Sprinkle garlic over the slices. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes until tender. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Couscous, steak, broccoli
(This is our last bit of steak from Angel Food … sniff sniff).
Chad will grill our steaks after I marinate them. For the couscous, I use the boxed kind from Albertson’s (Far East is the brand). I’ll steam the broccoli and just put salt and pepper on it.

Thanksgiving dinner: We’re eating dinner with our friends at their house. We’re buying a ham this year, instead of cooking a turkey. I’m making a couple of dishes, and she’s making some. I’m just going to put down two recipes that I’ll make. They are SUPER yummy, and the pumpkin dumpcake is TO DIE FOR…it’s so great because of all the butter! Read on…

Sweet Potato Casserole
4 cups yams, peeled and cooked
1 cup white sugar (or brown for that matter!)
¾ cup margarine or butter, melted
1 tsp nutmeg (I always add more because I like that spice)
2 cups mini marshmallows
4 eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp cinnamon (I add more, like 2 tsp)
1 cup coconut, optional

for the topping:
1 ½ cups crushed cornflakes
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup melted butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 400. Grease 9x13 glass baking dish. In large bowl, mash potatoes, sugar, eggs, margarine, evaporated milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, and marshmallows (and coconut if you want). Put mixture in baking dish. Bake 20 minutes in oven.
In small bowl, mix the ingredients for the topping. Spread topping over casserole, Bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Note: if you prefer, you can sprinkle the marshmallows on the top with the other topping. That’s what I did last time.

Pumpkin Dumpcake
30 oz can pumpkin pie mix (NOT pumpkin!)
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 box yellow cake mix
2 sticks butter (I told you there was lots of butter … it’s so worth it!)
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Mix pumpkin pie mix, milk, and eggs together. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle the cake mix evenly over the top. Slice the sticks of butter into very thin slices, and place them over the top of the cake mix. Sprinkle pecans over the top (optional). Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Italian tuna sandwiches (makes 1 sandwich)
When we went to Italy in 2004, we order a tuna sandwich from a stand, expecting it to be mixed with mayonnaise. But it was more like this, and it was delish!
2 slices bread, toasted
½ can of tuna, drained
1 slice of mozzarella cheese
¼ avocado, sliced
sliced onion
sliced tomato
Spread mayonnaise on one piece of toast and mustard on the other. Lay the tuna on top of one piece of bread. Add the slice of cheese. Add slices of onion, avocado, and tomato.
Serve with carrot sticks and/or cucumber slices.

Southwest Salad
(This recipe is really easy and quick. And it's a good vegetarian meal. Think of all the money you're saving not buying meat!)
1 can corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 pkg Knorr Lipton Spanish Rice mix, cooked
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup picante sauce
½ cup cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
2 Tbsp lime juice
Mix all ingredients together and serve.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tagged by Rena

7 Things I Can do:
1. Read cool books
2. creative writing
3. Clean
4. Cook yummy food
5. Organize and de-clutter
6. Be a (pretty) good mommy
7. Listen and sympathize

7 Things I Cannot do:
1. sleep in past 7 am (oh, the sacrifices I make because of my children...)
2. Run as many miles as Rena
3. Be calm, cool, and collected in stressful circumstances
4. Take my time
5. Forgive easily (It's terrible; I know)
6. Be a size 4
7. Shop as much as I'd like to

7 Things that attracted me to Chad:
1. his love for God
2. his analytical mind
3. his love of music
4. his calm and easy-going nature
5. he thinks I'm beautiful!!!
6. his patience
7. his desire to make me happy

7 Things I say most often:
1. I have a crush on Edward Cullen
2. Ethan,please stop whining
3. Benji, stop fussing
4. Chad, please take out the trash
5. Cairo, don't vomit on the carpet again!
6. Lord, give me patience
7. God, help me

7 Celebrity Admirations
This is totally shallow, but the only reason I like these people is because they are beautiful
1. Angelina Jolie
2. Anne Hathaway
3. Penelope Cruz
4. Reece Witherspoon
5. Jessica Alba
6. Daniel Pattinson (a new favorite!!)
7. Katherine Heigl

7 Favorite Foods
1. chocolate chip cookies
2. oatmeal raisin cookies
3. brownies
4. dark chocolate
5. tri-colored potatoes with yellow curry sauce from Joe's
6, Wing stop wings with lemon pepper sauce
7. The Barefoot Contessa's curried chicken salad recipe

7 People to tag:
1. Brooke W.
2. Bridget B.
3. Michelle P
4. Jen H.
5. Jessica R.
6. Whitney D.
7. Amber S.

Menu for Nov 17-23

Monday: yum yum potatoes, cooked carrots
Tuesday: barbeque chicken pizza, green salad
Wednesday: bacon wraps, sweet potato fries
Thursday: sausage pasta dish, broccoli
Friday: take out
Saturday: tortellini with pesto sauce, garlic bread, green salad
Sunday: split pea soup with ham

Yum yum potatoes
(This is a dish I made for MOPS recently. It was yummy, so I’m making it for dinner. I’ll use fat free sour cream and 98% fat free cream of soups so that it won’t be too terrible).
1 large bag frozen hashbrowns
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 medium onion, chopped and sautéed
1 ½ cups sour cream
1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese
Mix all ingredients together and pour into a 9x13 baking dish. Bake uncovered at 350 for 1 hour; let sit for 10 minutes.

Barbeque chicken pizza
1 pizza dough from Joe’s
barbeque sauce
½ a purple onion, cut in ½ inch long slices
1 chicken breast, cooked and diced
mozzarella cheese
Roll out pizza dough and place onto a pizza pan. Spread barbeque sauce over the dough. Sprinkle with onions. Put the diced chicken in a bowl and cover each piece with barbeque sauce. Sprinkle the chicken on the pizza. Cover with cheese. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
Serve with a green salad.

Bacon Wraps
8 slices bacon
4 (10 inch) flour tortillas
4 tablespoons Ranch dressing
1 avocado - peeled, pitted and sliced
1 tomato, chopped
1 cup shredded lettuce
Microwave (or pan-fry) the bacon. Warm tortillas in microwave for about 10 seconds each. Spread 1 tablespoon Ranch dressing down the center of each tortilla. Layer bacon, avocado, tomato and lettuce over the dressing. Roll the tortilla around the other ingredients.
Serve with sweet potato fries from Trader Joe’s.

Sausage pasta dish
1 lb pasta (I like the spiral ones)
1 large jar of marinara pasta sauce
1 pkg spicy Italian sausage links (uncooked)
½ onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
Squeeze the sausage out of the links and brown it in a pan. Drain and set aside. In the same pan, sauté the garlic and onion. Cook the pasta according the directions on the package. Put pasta, pasta sauce, sausage, and onions into a 9x13 pan. Mix together and smooth the top. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, top with cheese, and bake 5 minutes more.

Tortellini with pesto sauce, garlic bread, green salad
I bought a package of dry tortellini from Joe’s. You just boil it and put a sauce on it. I like Knorr’s creamy pesto sauce mix. You just add milk and olive oil, and it’s really yummy. I’ll serve it with garlic bread and a green salad. I like the pre-made garlic bread that comes in the foil package at Albertson’s; it’s really tasty. If you prefer, you can always buy frozen garlic bread, or make your own.

Split pea soup with ham
(We get dry beans, peas, or lentils with WIC, and I got peas last time. I’ve never tried pea soup, but I’ve heard it’s tasty).
½ pound green split peas (dry)
4 cups water
1 ham hock or meaty ham bone (I’ll probably use a package of pre-diced ham)
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped carrots
½ tsp salt
1 garlic clove, pressed
Wash, sort, and drain the peas. Combine all ingredients in large pot with lid. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered, approximately one hour or until cooked through; stir occasionally. Before serving, remove ham hock. Cut ham off bone, dice, and add to soup.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Menu for Nov 10-16

I’m not buying any new meat this week; we’re using the rest our Angel Food meat. I’m trying some thrilling new recipes (the fried chicken, the quiche, and the ribs). Oh boy, I’m excited!
Monday: chicken curry with vegetables
Tuesday: quiche and fresh fruit
Wednesday: steak, potatoes, and grilled corn
Thursday: oven-fried chicken, dinner rolls, Parmesan zucchini
Friday: take out
Saturday: leftovers
Sunday: Ribs, baked yams, peas

Chicken curry with vegetables
This recipe does take awhile. I work on it throughout the afternoon while the kids are napping.
1 onion sliced (I use purple)
fresh or frozen broccoli
2 chicken breasts
about 3 cups of diced potatoes (I like the tri-colored potatoes from Trader Joe’s; for this recipe, I’d use about half the bag)
six carrots, sliced
one bottle of red or yellow curry sauce from Joe’s (see note below)
Heat oven to 350. Place chicken breasts in a baking pan and drizzle both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle both sides with olive oil. Place in the oven for 20 minutes. Take out, turn over the breasts, and add the sliced onions. Place back in oven for about 20 more minutes. Put chicken and onions to the side.
Place potatoes into the baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Put in oven (at 350) for about 45 minutes, stirring once or twice as it cooks.
Meanwhile, steam the carrots and broccoli in a pot. Drain and set aside. Dice the chicken when it is cool enough.
Toss the potatoes, chicken, cooked carrots and broccoli, and onion slices together. Serve with curry sauce over it.
Note: If you don’t live near a Joe’s, you can make your own curry sauce with one can of coconut milk or light coconut milk and some red curry paste or yellow curry powder. (Red is more spicy than yellow). Just heat up the milk in a saucepan and whisk in the curry to taste. You don’t need much red curry paste to make it spicy, so be careful.

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 onion, chopped
5 eggs
1/2 cup Ranch dressing
1/2 cup milk
1 (8 ounce) package Cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
½ a can of Rotel, drained
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion until soft. Whisk together eggs, Ranch dressing and milk. Stir in shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in ½ a can of Rotel (drained). Pour egg mixture into a glass baking dish (8x8 or round). Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.
Serve with fresh fruit.

Steak, potatoes, grilled corn
It’s grillin’ night! I’ll marinate the steak all day, and Chad will grill it. For the corn, you can either wrap it in foil before you grill it, or put it straight on the grill if you prefer it a blackened.
For the potatoes, cut into small pieces (I’ll use the remainder of the tri-colored potatoes from earlier this week). Place potatoes in a baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, stirring once or twice as they cook.

Oven-Fried Chicken (from The Barefoot Contessa: Family Style)
About 8 chicken pieces (I’ll use breasts, drumsticks, and thighs)
1 quart buttermilk (to make your own buttermilk, add 1 Tbsp of vinegar to each cup of milk and let it sit for 5 minutes)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil
Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and pour the buttermilk over them. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat over to 350. Combine flour, salt, and pepper in large bowl. Take chicken out of buttermilk and thoroughly cover each piece with flour mixture. Pour oil into a large stockpot to a depth of 1 inch and heat to 360 degrees on a candy thermometer.
Place several pieces of chicken into the pot at a time, fry for about 3 minutes on each side until coating is light brown. Remove chicken from oil and place each piece on a metal baking rack set on a sheet pan (I don’t have a rack, so I’m just going to use a regular baking pan). Allow oil to return to 360 before frying the next batch. When all chicken is fried, bake for 30-40 minutes, until it is no longer pink inside.
I’ll serve with store-bought dinner rolls (or maybe the pre-made Pillsbury ones) and steamed broccoli.

Parmesan zucchini
3 zucchinis, sliced lengthwise in ¼ or ½ inch slices
2 cloves garlic, pressed
Parmesan cheese
Place zucchini slices in a baking pan. Sprinkle garlic over the slices. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes until tender. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Campbell’s Honey Barbeque Ribs
Four pounds pork spareribs (we only have 1 ½ racks of ribs)
1 (10.5 ounce) can Campbell's® Condensed French Onion Soup
3/4 cup ketchup
1/3 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Cut ribs into serving pieces. Place ribs in 6-quart saucepot. Cover with water. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 30 minutes. Drain. Mix soup, ketchup, honey, garlic powder and black pepper in 2-quart saucepan. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cook 5 minutes. Place ribs on lightly oiled grill rack over medium-hot coals. Grill 20 minutes or until no longer pink and glazed, turning and brushing often with soup mixture.

Baked yams
I bake them like regular baked potatoes. I peel them first, rinse them off, dry with a paper towel, and wrap in foil. They need to bake for at least an hour at about 350. If they’re too tasteless, you can add cinnamon and a little sugar.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vampires and Werewolves

Just a quick post to say that I am completely obsessed, consumed, and bewitched by the Twilight books. I read the first one in 3 days, and I'm working on the second one. It is so hard to put down. These books are INCREDIBLE! Everything else in my life is being placed on the back burner because I've been so addicted: blogging, emails, dirty dishes; everything except my children, and some sleep. Oh my gosh, these books are amazing! There is just nothing more inspiring than a great love story. I think I want to start a cult of people who are in love with these books. If you have read them, join my cult! If you have not read them, you must.
I really hope the final book has some closure, because Edward Cullen has been haunting my every thought.
BTW, the author is Stephanie Meyer, and the books are Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Menu for Nov 3-9

Last week, we picked up our first box of Angel Food (, so we get to have steak this week.
Monday: Greek grilled cheese and tomato soup
Tuesday: pork chops with green beans and rice
Wednesday: chicken fajitas
Thursday: couscous, steak, broccoli
Friday: take out
Saturday: leftovers
Sunday: hotdogs, green salad

Greek grilled cheese and tomato soup
(Both Chad and my neighbor’s husband Pedro get home late on Monday nights. We usually eat together outside our houses at the picnic table while the kids run wild. Silvina wants me to show her to make the grilled cheese sandwiches this week, so we’re having them again. And that’s okay because they’re yummy).
1 ½ teaspoons butter
2 slices whole wheat bread
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
2 slices mozzarella cheese
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 tomato, thinly sliced
1/4 avocado, sliced
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Butter one side of each slice of
bread. On the non buttered side of one slice, layer the feta
cheese, mozzarella cheese, red onion, tomato and avocado. Top
with the other slice of bread with the butter side out.
Fry the sandwich until golden brown on each side, about 2
minutes per side. The second side always cooks faster.
Serve with tomato soup.

Pork Chops with green beans and rice
6 Tbsp Italian dressing
2 Tbsp apricot jam (I’ll use the orange marmalade already in my fridge)
4 pork chops (about 1 lb)
1 ½ cups minute rice, uncooked
2 cups green beans
1 can chicken broth
4 sheets of tin foil
Preheat oven to 350. Mix dressing and jam with whisk. Brush 2 Tbsp on chops. Let stand for 10 minutes. Place rice into centers of sheets of foil, top with beans. Make foil into a bowl. Gradually add chicken broth and remaining dressing mixture over beans. Close foil packets. Grill packets 20-30 minutes till pork is cooked through.
Note: Cook them with a sheet pan underneath to catch any drippings that come out so you don’t have to clean your stove.

I don’t have a recipe written down for this. I heat up some oil and sauté sliced peppers and onions for about 4 or 5 minutes. Then I add some water and let them cook till they’re really soft. I add a packet of taco seasoning, or you can sprinkle fajita seasoning over it.
I’ll be using the chicken fajita strips (pre-seasoned!!) I got from AngelFood. If you cook your own chicken, throw it in there (already diced) with the peppers and onions and cook it in the oil for about 8 minutes.
Serve with tortillas, sour cream, salsa, lettuce, cheese, and tomatoes.

Couscous, steak, broccoli
Chad will grill our steaks after I marinade it. For the couscous, I use the boxed kind from Albertson’s (Far East is the brand). Even Ethan eats it! Joe’s has a whole grain couscous that is fiber-licious, but it’s more dry. I’ll steam the broccoli and just put salt and pepper on it.

Need I explain hotdogs? Either Chad will grill them or I’ll pan-cook them. I might serve them with chili … from a can.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Kidds go to the pumpkin patch

Ethan, Benji, and I went to the pumpkin patch today with the Verano playgroup friends. Here's the 3 of us right after we got there...while we're all in good moods.
Benji poses with the pumpkins.
Ethan clambers over pumpkins with Kate.
Ethan pets a goat in the petting zoo. He also closely examined some fresh goat urine before I could stop him.
A lovely self-portrait.
King Ethan and Queen Kate on their throne.
A Kodak moment -- look at that smile!
Boy oh boy, was I tired when we got home! It was 90 degrees today, and we were all sweaty. The patch was also very dusty, so Ethan and I had to take a bath before naps.

What we've been up to the last few days

Sunday: Chad is gone in the morning for part of a UCI philosophy conference. Benji is sick with a runny nose, so I can't leave him in the nursery at church anyway. We stay home and Benji takes a short morning nap. In the afternoon, we have friends from Texas come. They are staying overnight. Ethan starts to get congested in the evening, and he hardly eats any dinner.
Monday: Chad's gone in the morning to work out. Our overnight guests are sleeping on the couch bed downstairs. When the kids wake up earlier than usual and our guests are NOT awake, I contain them upstairs for nearly an hour and a half (!!!), despite my subtle hints for the guests to wake up by going downstairs with both children to get Ethan a drink and make him some toast. The guests finally get up at 8:20, after the kids have been awake almost 2 hours. I'm already exhausted.
Chad's taking most of the day off to be with our guests. They go on a long walking tour of UCI, while I stay home and Benji takes a long morning nap (2 hours!) Then we walk to Aldrich Park and have a picnic, then we put the kids down for a nap. Ethan wakes up after an hour and a half, and vomits over the side of the crib. When I get him, I run for the bathroom and catch the rest of it in a towel. It's very mucousy. Benji wakes up early too.
That night, Ethan eats a lot of pizza, and after being in bed about 45 minutes, vomits copious amounts ALL over (carpet, sheet, mattress pad, crib bumper, blanket, and BLANKIE! How will he sleep without blankie while it's in the wash? (He does; I was amazed).
During the night, Ethan wakes up FIVE times, and Benji wakes up once. We are feeling weary.
Tuesday: I contain the kids upstairs for about 45 minutes, but this morning, I let them make as much noise as they want. The guests get up this morning at 7:40. I can't go to music class this morning since Ethan is sick, and we have to quarantine ourselves from other kids.
Chad takes the guests to the train station around 9 am. I start to clean up the aftermath.
We are allowed to play with Gugi since he's been sick with the same thing. This is my sanity today. Ethan seems okay; we play outside for nearly 2 hours, then he seems not so great, so we go in, and he watches a movie. We eat some lunch, then I put the kids down for naps.
Benji wakes up every 20 minutes for an hour and a half. Ethan wakes up after about an hour crying. I have to call Silvina to take Benji for me while I tend to Ethan. He sits in my lap for 30 minutes, heaving and almost vomiting, but never actually vomiting. Then he says he's ready to play and seems like a different kid.
We play outside till Chad comes home at 5:15. I gratefully escape to the gym for step aerobics, but work out very hard and come back in a worse mood because I'm so tired.
Ethan eats crackers for the dinner, goes to bed, and wakes up 5 times again. Benji wakes up once.
Wednesday: Ethan seems to be feeling much better. I'm hoping for a better day, and I think it will be. He didn't throw up yesterday, so I guess he's on the mend. He still has some stuff in his throat, and he voice doesn't sound great. We're going to Tanaka Farms (a pumpkin patch) today with the play group...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Menu for Oct 27-Nov 2

Next week’s menu
On Saturday, we pick up our first box of Angel Food (, so I won’t be buying meat for awhile.
Monday: Margarita pizza, caprese
Tuesday: spaghetti and meatballs, frozen veggies
Wednesday: pumpkin soup, garlic bread
Thursday: hamburgers with frozen sweet potato fries from Joe’s
Friday: take out (have you noticed? This is a tradition we FAITHFULLY carry out every Friday night)
Saturday: leftovers
Sunday: pork chops with applesauce and stuffing, broccoli

Margarita pizza
1 whole wheat bagged dough (at Trader’s Joe’s)
Pizza sauce
Mozzarella cheese, grated
Half a purple onion, cut into small strips
Tomatoes, sliced
Parmesan cheese
Roll out pizza dough and put onto pizza pan. Spread a layer of pizza sauce over the dough. Sprinkle with onion strips. Cover with mozzarella cheese. Place slices of tomato over the cheese. Sprinkle a little parmesan cheese over the top. Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes. Let sit for another 10-15 minutes.

Caprese (Tomato, Mozzarella, and basil salad)
Slice some tomatoes, however thick you want. Slice fresh mozzarella and layer on top of tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil. Place fresh basil leaves on top of the mozzarella.

Spaghetti, meatballs, and frozen veggies
The AngelFood box contains pasta, a jar of marinara sauce, frozen prepared meatballs, and bag of frozen veggies. Presto! Dinner is done!
I’ll make home-made meatballs another day…

Soup from a Pumpkin
(The pumpkin soup recipe is from Ethan’s Highlights High Five magazine. He wants to try it out, so I’ll be letting him “help” me cook. They say to serve it in a scooped out, clean pumpkin, which I will have on hand anyway to use for pumpkin carving the following day).
2 cups canned pumpkin
one apple, diced
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp nutmeg
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup apple juice
½ cup half and half (I’ll probably use 2% milk)
Put pumpkin in a bowl. Add sugar, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir. In a pot, cook the apple in the butter for about 5 minutes, till soft. Add the pumpkin mixture to the pot and slowly add broth and juice. Heat thoroughly, but do not boil. Add the half and half and serve.
I will serve it with pre-made garlic bread from Albertson’s.

Hamburgers with frozen sweet potato fries
Chad will be grilling our hamburgers. I’ll serve it with frozen sweet potato fries from Trader Joe’s (they are TO DIE FOR!)

Pork chops with applesauce and stuffing
2-3 pork chops
1 pkg stuffing mix for chicken
1 ¾ cup very hot water
4 apples - peeled, cored and chopped
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pour stuffing mix into a mixing bowl. Add the hot water. Mix together and leave for about 5 minutes. Spray bottom of pan (I’ll use a glass 8x8 dish). Lay pork on the bottom of pan. After stuffing mix has soaked up hot water, layer the stuffing mix over the pork chops. Cover with foil. Cook at 375 for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make applesauce. In a saucepan, combine apples, water, sugar, and cinnamon. Cover, and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are soft. Mash with a potato masher.
When pork and stuffing is done, serve with applesauce on top.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Next week's menu

Next week’s menu

This week, I’m not buying any new meat. I have a bunch of frozen chicken that needs to be eaten before it gets too old, and I’m going to use the shrimp leftover from one of last week’s recipes.
Monday: Fiesta Chicken Pasta with tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad
Tuesday: curried lentils with endive, walnuts, and blue cheese salad
Wednesday: shrimp scampi with asparagus
Thursday: Greek grilled cheese and tomato soup
Friday: take out
Saturday: leftovers
Sunday: chicken enchilada skillet and broccoli

Fiesta chicken pasta
2 cups uncooked spiral pasta (I’ll use whole wheat pasta)
1 Tbsp oil
1 lb chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups chopped red peppers
¼ cup Italian dressing
1 Tbsp chili powder
½ cup salsa
½ cup sour cream
½ cup shredded cheese, optional (I’ll use mozzarella, since I bought a large 2-pack of it at Sam’s)
Cook pasta. Meanwhile, heat oil in skillet and cook chicken. Add peppers and dressing, and chili powder; cook 3 minutes. Stir in salsa and sour cream. Toss pasta with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.

Tomato, Mozzarella, and basil salad
Slice some tomatoes, however thick you want. Slice mozzarella and layer on top of tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil. Place fresh basil leaves on top of the mozzarella.

Curried Lentils
(We get lentils free with WIC. I don’t love the taste or texture of them, but they are incredibly fiber-licious, so I eat them. And they are full of protein, so it’s a good vegetarian meal).
2 cups (1 pound) lentils (I use green ones)
1 large onion, diced
1 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp curry paste
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 clove pressed garlic
1 can tomato sauce (14 or 15 oz can)
Wash lentils in cold water. Put in a pot with water to cover, simmer covered till tender (add more water if necessary). In large skillet, sauté onions in the oil. Combine curry paste, curry powder, tumeric, cumin, chili powder, salt, sugar, and garlic in mixing bowl. Mix well. Add curry mixture to onions and cook over high heat, stirring constantly for 1 or 2 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and reduce heat.
When lentils are tender, drain briefly. Mix the curry base into the lentils and serve immediately.

Endive, walnuts, and blue cheese salad
(I’m trying endive, never tried it before. It better be good because its was expensive! The blue cheese crumbles are leftover from last week).
Cut endive leaves to bite size. Sprinkle walnuts and blue cheese crumbles over the leaves.
Serve with the following vinaigrette:
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp white wine (I’ll probably substitute rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar)
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp pepper
½ cup olive oil
Whisk all ingredients (except olive oil) together. While whisking, slowly add olive oil until the dressing is emulsified.

Shrimp scampi with linguine
Vegetable oil
Kosher salt
1 ½ lbs linguine
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
5 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp minced garlic (about 9 cloves)
2 lbs shrimp (I’m only using the ¾ lb that I have leftover from last week)
½ tsp pepper
¾ cup chopped fresh parsley
grated zest of one lemon
½ lemon, sliced in half-rounds
½ cup lemon juice
Drizzle oil in pot of boiling water with 1 Tbsp salt. Add linguine. Cook for 7-10 minutes. In another large pan, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté one minute (be careful; the garlic burns easily!) Add the shrimp, 1 Tbsp of salt, and the pepper and sauté about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat, add parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon slices. Toss to combine.
When pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and put it back in the pot. Add the shrimp and sauce and toss well.

The trick to cooking good asparagus. Boil water in a large pan. When it comes to a boil, add the asparagus and cook for 2 or 3 minutes ONLY (depending on thickness of asparagus). Drain immediately and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with parmesan cheese or salt or whatever spice you like.

Greek grilled cheese and tomato soup (A NEW FAMILY FAVORITE!)
1 ½ teaspoons butter
2 slices whole wheat bread
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
2 slices mozzarella cheese
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 tomato, thinly sliced
1/4 avocado, sliced
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Butter one side of each slice of
bread. On the non buttered side of one slice, layer the feta
cheese, mozzarella cheese, red onion, tomato and avocado. Top
with the other slice of bread with the butter side out.
Fry the sandwich until golden brown on each side, about 2
minutes per side. The second side always cooks faster.
Serve with tomato soup.

Chicken enchilada skillet
1 Tbsp oil
1 lb chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can fat-free chicken broth
½ cup Ranch dressing
2 Tbsp flour
6 tortillas, cut into small pieces
1 cup shredded cheese
½ cup salsa
Heat oil in skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook about 7 minutes, or until cooked through. Mix broth, dressing, and flour until well-blended; gradually add to skillet, stirring constantly. Add tortillas; stir to combine. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
Sprinkle with cheese, cover. Simmer 3-5 minutes, or till cheese is melted. Top with salsa.

Oh no, a political post...

Why I’m not voting for Obama
The most important are the abortion issue and the stem cell issue. It’s that simple. First of all, if you care to see pictures of what partial birth abortion looks like, see here, but be prepared to cry:
If you care to read a description of how a partial birth abortion is done, read here. I could not even read the entire thing; it is too heart-wrenching.
Although there is currently a federal law banning partial-birth abortion ( that has been in effect since 2003; several states enacted laws specifically banning the IDX procedure (“intact dilation and extraction,” as the medical field calls partial-birth abortion) and defining a “born-alive infant.” In the state of Illinois, in 2001, 2002, and 2003; a state bill was proposed. It defined “born-alive infant” as a baby who showed signs of life apart from its mother, even if the baby survived an attempted IDX. Obama chaired the committee that voted this down before the bill made it to the floor. Obama voted against this bill, thereby showing me that he is okay with letting newborn babies die, not to mention killing unborn babies. Read all the details here:
I CANNOT, with a clear conscience, vote for a man who doesn’t believe what I do here. This issue is the one I am the most passionate about and that I will not compromise on. I believe that life begins at conception ( Obama says he doesn’t know when life begins (see the Rick Warren interviews). Even if the partial-birth abortion legislation wasn’t an issue, early abortions are still an issue for me. He believes that abortion is okay; I believe it is murder. He even says that he wants abortions to be available for his daughters. I will not vote for a man who believes these things.
Also, because I believe that life begins at conception, I am against embryonic stem cell research (adult stem cell research is fine). Below, you’ll see one article all about how Obama promotes embryonic stem cell research.
I think that Obama would make a good leader. He says he’s a Christian, and he seems like a good, well-qualified man. A lot of his policies are excellent. I think he could do a lot of good for this country. But, I generally prefer small government to big government. My loyalties lie with the Republicans on most issues. For me to actually vote democrat would be a huge deal. And mainly, I just can’t do it when my ethical views clash this loudly with his. Sorry, Obama, I like you a lot, but I just can’t do it.
This article is too long to cut and paste, but it's really good. It's includes a paragraph on how Obama wants to clone human embryo stem cells for the purpose of killing them in research. Need I say more?'s%20Abortion%20Extremism_.xml
But Obama's record on abortion is extreme. He opposed the ban on partial-birth abortion -- a practice a fellow Democrat, the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, once called "too close to infanticide." Obama strongly criticized the Supreme Court decision upholding the partial-birth ban. In the Illinois state Senate, he opposed a bill similar to the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which prevents the killing of infants mistakenly left alive by abortion. And now Obama has oddly claimed he would not want his daughters to be "punished with a baby" because of a crisis pregnancy -- hardly a welcoming attitude toward new life.

Michelle Obama, the attorney wife of pro-abortion Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, is coming under fire for a letter she wrote defending partial-birth abortions. The 2004 letter, written to help Obama in his campaign for his U.S. Senate seat, opposes the ban on the abortion procedure. In February 2004, Michelle Obama penned a fundraising letter to help her husband Barack raise funds for his Illinois-based Senate seat. The letter contends the federal ban on partial-birth abortions "is clearly unconstitutional" and "a flawed law." Though the three-day-long partial-birth abortion procedure involves the partial birth of a baby during the middle trimester of pregnancy and the jamming of scissors into the back of her head to kill her, Obama's wife describes it as "legitimate" medicine. "The fact remains, with no provision to protect the heath of the mother, this ban on a legitimate medical procedure is clearly unconstitutional and must be overturned," Michelle Obama writes in the letter. She also said the Bush administration should not encourage the abortion practitioners who sued to reverse the ban to drop their lawsuit to make it unconstitutional. The Supreme Court later sided with Bush and Congress in saying the ban is legitimate.

As a nurse at an Illinois hospital in 1999, I discovered babies were being aborted alive and shelved to die in soiled utility rooms. I discovered infanticide. Legislation was presented on the federal level and in various states called the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. It stated all live-born babies were guaranteed the same constitutional right to equal protection, whether or not they were wanted.
BAIPA sailed through the U.S. Senate by unanimous vote. Even Sens. Clinton, Kennedy and Kerry agreed a mother's right to "choose" stopped at her baby's delivery. The bill also passed overwhelmingly in the House. NARAL went neutral on it. Abortion enthusiasts publicly agreed that fighting BAIPA would appear extreme. President Bush signed BAIPA into law in 2002.
But in Illinois, the state version of BAIPA repeatedly failed, thanks in large part to then-state Sen. Barack Obama. It only passed in 2005, after Obama left. I testified in 2001 and 2002 before a committee of which Obama was a member.
Obama articulately worried that legislation protecting live aborted babies might infringe on women's rights or abortionists' rights. Obama's clinical discourse, his lack of mercy, shocked me. I was naive back then. Obama voted against the measure, twice. It ultimately failed.
In 2003, as chairman of the next Senate committee to which BAIPA was sent, Obama stopped it from even getting a hearing, shelving it to die much like babies were still being shelved to die in Illinois hospitals and abortion clinics.

Barack Obama believes we owe it to the American public to explore the potential of stem cells to treat the millions of people suffering from debilitating and life threatening diseases … As many as 100 million Americans may benefit from embryonic stem cell research. As president, Obama would:
Promote Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Support Medical Advancement and Innovation
Expand the Number of Stem Cell Lines Available for Research
Ensure Ethical Standards
Obama introduced legislation in the Illinois Senate to ensure that only those embryos that would otherwise be discarded could be used and that donors would have to provide written consent for the use of the embryos.
Source: Campaign website,, "Resource Flyers" Aug 26, 2007

In 1999 he was the only Illinois State Senator to vote against a bill barring early release for (criminal) sex offenders. He voted against filtering pornography on school and library computers and he voted for sex education for kindergarten children through the 5th grade. Also, in 2001, he voted “present” on a bill to keep pornographic book and video stores and strip clubs from setting up within 1,000 feet of schools and churches.
Just as unsettling is his voting record on abortion. Twice, Obama voted against bills prohibiting tax funding of abortions.

Obama on Abortion
No litmus test; nominate to Court based on their fairness. (Oct 2008)
1990: Wrote law article that that fetus cannot sue mother. (Aug 2008)
FactCheck: Abortions HAVE gone down under Pres. Bush. (Aug 2008)
Ok for state to restrict late-term partial birth abortion. (Apr 2008)
We can find common ground between pro-choice and pro-life. (Apr 2008)
Undecided on whether life begins at conception. (Apr 2008)
Teach teens about abstinence and also about contraception. (Apr 2008)
GovWatch: Obama's "present" votes were a requested strategy. (Feb 2008)
Expand access to contraception; reduce unintended pregnancy. (Feb 2008)
Rated 100% by NARAL on pro-choice votes in 2005, 2006 & 2007. (Jan 2008)
Voted against banning partial birth abortion. (Oct 2007)
Stem cells hold promise to cure 70 major diseases. (Aug 2007)
Trust women to make own decisions on partial-birth abortion. (Apr 2007)
Extend presumption of good faith to abortion protesters. (Oct 2006)
Constitution is a living document; no strict constructionism. (Oct 2006)
Moral accusations from pro-lifers are counterproductive. (Oct 2004)
Pass the Stem Cell Research Bill. (Jun 2004)
Protect a woman's right to choose. (May 2004)
Voting Record
Opposed born-alive treatment law because it was already law. (Oct 2008)
Supports Roe v. Wade. (Jul 1998)
Voted NO on defining unborn child as eligible for SCHIP. (Mar 2008)
Voted NO on prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion. (Mar 2008)
Voted YES on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Apr 2007)
Voted NO on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions. (Jul 2006)
Voted YES on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives. (Mar 2005)
Sponsored bill providing contraceptives for low-income women. (May 2006)
Rated 0% by the NRLC, indicating a pro-choice stance. (Dec 2006)
Ensure access to and funding for contraception. (Feb 2007)

Monday, October 13, 2008


I have a nephew!!!! Jeremiah David was born to my brother Mark and his wife (and my dear friend) Shonda on October 11, 2008 at 10:22 pm. He's a cutie! Congratulations to them, and hip-hip-hooray to Shonda who did it without drugs!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Simple Mathematics

Tom + Katie = Tomkat
Ben + Jennifer = Bennifer
Brad + Angelina = Brangelina
McCain + Palin = McCailin
Or should it be McPalin??
Cast your vote here.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Next week's menu

Monday: pesto pizza, mandarin orange salad
Tuesday: buttered whole grain noodles with sausage, green beans
Wednesday: broccoli quiche, garlic bread
Thursday: shrimp cobb salad with croissants (never tried this recipe before)
Friday: take out
Saturday: leftovers
Sunday: dinner at the neighbors’ house

Pesto pizza
1 whole wheat bagged dough (at Trader’s Joe’s)
jar of pesto
Mozzarella cheese, grated
Half a purple onion, cut into small strips
Feta cheese

Roll out pizza dough and put onto pizza pan. Spread a layer of pesto over the dough. Sprinkle with onion strips. Sprinkle with feta cheese. Cover with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes.

Mandarin Orange Salad
One bunch of green leaf lettuce
One can of mandarin oranges

Tear lettuce into smaller pieces. Toss with drained can of mandarin oranges. Serve with a vinaigrette.

Buttered whole grain pasta with sausage and green beans
One package of whole grain pasta
I pkg heat and serve beef sausage (on sale at Albertson’s this week)
Can of green beans that’s been in my pantry for a long time

Cook pasta according to package direction. Add some melted butter or margarine, just enough to make it not so dry.
Slice sausage and heat in the microwave. Add to noodles.
Serve with the green beans.

Broccoli quiche
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, minced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups chopped fresh broccoli
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 eggs, well beaten (I used five because we get so many with WIC)
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add onions, garlic, and broccoli. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until vegetables are soft. Spoon vegetables into an 8x8 glass baking dish. Combine eggs and milk. Add salt and pepper. Stir in melted butter. Mix egg mixture with the vegetables. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes, and if possible, let sit for 15-20 minutes.

Hope’s Amazing Garlic Bread
Grated cheese
Mix equal parts butter, mayo, and cheese (I use less majo than butter). Add pressed garlic to taste. Spread on bread, and toast in toaster oven.

Shrimp Cobb Salad
A Barefoot Contessa recipe (This salad actually calls for lobster meat, but that’s way too expensive, so I’m substituting frozen shrimp, which is on sale at Albertson’s Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with a coupon)

For the vinaigrette
1 ½ Tbsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup lemon juice
5 Tbsp olive oil
¾ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp pepper

For the salad
2 ripe avocados
juice of 1 lemon (I’ll probably use my bottled lemon juice)
1 ½ lbs cooked shrimp
1 pint cherry tomatoes (or other tomatoes cut up)
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ pound lean bacon, fried and crumbled
¾ cup crumbled English Stilton or other crumbly blue cheese (I’ll probably use the feta that I’m buying for the pizza)
1 bunch arugula, washed and spun dry

For the vinaigrette, whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients.
For the salad, cut avocados into ¾ inch dice and toss with lemon juice. If arugula leaves are large, cut in half crosswise. Put shrimp and tomatoes in bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss with enough vinaigrette to moisten. Add diced avocados, crumbled bacon, blue cheese, and arugula and toss again. Serve at room temperature
I will serve with store-bought croissants.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Who says television violence doesn't affect children?

We have a Mickey Mouse DVD with a show on it where Minnie Mouse chases her cat with a broom because the cat tried to eat her pet bird.
The other day, Ethan came into the kitchen and got the broom out of the pantry saying he wanted to sweep. But then he started chasing Cairo with the broom. Chad said, "Ethan, do not hit Cairo; that is not nice."
Ethan replied, "But Mickey Mouse do it."
One word: SCARY!!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

pb and j

Um...has anyone ever noticed that "pb and j" not only stands for "peanut butter and jelly," but it can also stand for "Pam Beasley and Jim"?
(Yes, I'm an "Office" fan).
Or, it can stand for "plum brownies and juice"
"pine, beech, and juniper"
"perfect blogging and jumping"
I could go on and on...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Baking with Toddlers and other Near-Death Experiences / September 27, 2008

How could I not write about yesterday? Even though the whole day wasn't harrowing, the part with the cake was so wretched, it did taint the entire day.
Our friends the Rhodes are moving on Monday. Yesterday, we had a goodbye party for them at the Commons, a simple enough party, and yet, enough to make me stress about it. Then again, I stress over anything. Yesterday morning, Benji took a 2 hour morning nap, generally unheard of because we are usually out and about and so he just doesn't sleep that long. After he woke up, Ethan, Benji, and I went over the Rhodes to help clean. Jacob was gone, so Ethan watched Elmo on some Sesame Street game. I threw things away and did minor cleaning and generally felt useless. Jessica said I wasn't useless.
Then we went  home for lunch. Benji was super sleepy again at that point, so I had to go put him down for a nap. What was I to do with Ethan in the meantime? More tv! What else was I to do? I had no trouble getting Benji down, and I left him sleeping soundly.
Then it was time to start the cake for the party. I asked Ethan if he wanted to help me, even though I knew he wouldn't be helpful and that it would make me come close to heart failure. But I want him to learn that helping is good. I let him help dump the cake mix into the bowl. A minor amount of the dust flew out onto the kitchen floor. Then he held the measuring cup while I poured oil into it. With my help, almost all the oil made it into the bowl. Then it was egg time. I cracked the eggs, with Ethan repeating his new favorite phrase,
"No, I do it, Mommy!"
I stepped over to the trash can to throw away the egg shells, and when I turned back, Ethan had hold of the  cup with the raw eggs in it. Sensing impending disaster, I grabbed the bottom of the cup just in time, and the eggs slid into the bowl. I breathed a sigh of relief.
The rest of the cake made it into the pan, and I put it in the oven.
After naps, from which Ethan woke up way to early and cried after for 20 minutes, it was time to ice the cake. It was 4:25; only 35 minutes till Chad came home. I was eagerly watching the clock. Ethan stood on his chair, and I gave him a small spatula. I opened the container of icing (what, did you think I was going to make it from scratch????). We began icing the cake with minimal problems when the phone rang. I ran upstairs to get it while Ethan stabbed the cake repeatedly with the spatula, creating a large hole. After resisting the urge to bang my head against the wall, I was able to repair the hole and cover it up with extra icing.
When we were done icing the cake, I told Ethan he could lick the icing off the spatula. He licked the spatula, but kept watching me open up the sprinkles, and when he did so, the spatula slowly came too close to the cake, and I kept having to say, "Ethan, don't let your spatula touch the cake." That happened about 4 times. Once, he said, "I'm done," and started to put the spatula back on the cake! Luckily, I stopped it.
I looked at the clock: 4:30. How could only 5 minutes have passed??
We started to put the sprinkles on the cake. I let Ethan pick up some of them to sprinkle over the cake. Of course, they all landed in one spot on the cake. Great.
Then it was time to write "We'll miss you, Rhodes" on the cake with icing. I got out my squeezable icing containers and opened the blue one. I began the "W," only to find out that it wasn't icing; it was food coloring! Now, we had a large blue dot on the cake. I blinked back a tear and looked at the clock again. Four more minutes had passed. I scraped the blue dot off the cake, put new white icing over the spot, and blended it in. It looked much better.
But how would I write the words with icing? Ever the resourceful goddess of the kitchen, I put the icing in a bag, cut a hole in the bag, and squeezed out the icing. The writing looked a bit ghetto, but that's okay. Now it was complete. I sent Ethan out of the kitchen, and got some plastic wrap to put over the cake. But, alas, before I could get it tight around the pan, its lightweight film drooped in the middle and stuck to some of the letters. I cursed the day that plastic wrap was invented and made a wish that God would wipe it off the face of the earth in a large fire.
I threw the plastic wrap away and used foil instead.
In the grand scheme of things, it was one afternoon and one cake (that turned out fine and even tasted good). As to why the day's mishaps were harder for me to handle, I don't know. Stress because the school year has officially started and that means I'm on my own more with two squirrelly children? Likely.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, I did survive until Chad made it home at 5:00.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I'm so jealous!

Per a recommendation of my friend Rena, I finally checked out The Pioneer Woman's website: I spent over an  hour of my valuable time (that's how hooked I was) checking different links, completely in awe of this woman. I have her on an enormously tall pedestal right now, and I am gazing up at her in admiration and jealousy that I can't be as cool as she is.
Seriously, is there anything this woman can't do? First of all, she is an amazing website, obviously updated regularly, and it's quite intricate, which shows that she is internet-savvy. She has four children, and she home schools them.  She must have infinite patience and endurance. She cooks delicious-looking meals from scratch, and somehow finds time to post the recipes with photographs on her website. She does photography and posts her photographs online, and they are good photographs too. She has several photography tutorials online. She's writing a novel of her husband's and her love story. And, finally, she has a home and garden section on her website with accounts of how they renovated some cabin, etc. My goodness! Seriously, how does she have the time and energy to do all those things?? I don't think she's super-human, so I just don't know.
Oh, and, she's beautiful too.
And, she's very witty and funny. She's good at writing.
The only thing I'm not jealous of her about is the fact that she lives on an isolated ranch. No thanks, I prefer the city; I admit it.
You should really look at her website. But if you do, be prepared to spend a long time sitting at the computer, getting carpel tunnel, with your mouth gaping open.
Just don't let any drooling happen while you're gaping.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

confessions of a Crystal Light addict

Well, I think the fog of PPD may finally be lifting. I hope I am not speaking too soon, but I definitely feel much better than I was.
Okay, check this baby out. This is my new Nalgene bottle. I am desperately in love with it. Well, not desperately, but it is pretty cool. Doesn't just looking at it make you want to drink more water? See, even the outside of the bottle has beads of water on it, which means the whole bottle is practically bursting with freshness. I bought this awesome thing with birthday money designated for this very purpose. (Thanks, M and D!)
So, before I bought it, my problem was that I don't like the taste of water. I like Crystal Light; I could even be addicted to it. Let its multi-colored beads and fake sweetener wash over me like a tidal wave. And I like iced tea. But I just don't like water. I wish I did. And I wish I drank more water. So, I thought maybe if I hook myself up with one of these cool babies, I would. My new goal is to drink one full bottle of water, eventually working up to two full bottles. One bottle is 32 oz. I've had this bottle for 3 days, and I've done it two of those days.... But I've also gone to the bathroom about 10 times more per day than I used to, which isn't always easy carrying a sleeping infant in the sling and pulling a resisting toddler behind me. However, drinking more water is the new point on my new campaign for health, and I want to persevere. Water just tastes better coming out of a Nalgene bottle. You too should get one.
Finally, for my birthday, Chad got me new bedding. I picked it out. He wasn't gung ho about the purple, but he said it was okay. Aren't they super fun? I'm pretty excited about it. And, yes, this is the normal disarray in which our bed usually is. Before Benji, I used to make it up in the mornings; now it just doesn't fall into my list of important priorities. This is where I take naps, nurse Benji, have nightmares, read books, snuggle with my pillow, and dream sweet dreams.

Tamale Pie

This is one of our favorite meals. I always make it with ground turkey, so it's more healthy. In fact, I've been using ground turkey for so long in place of ground beef, that when I tried ground beef recently (90/10 beef), it tasted nasty to me. That was a side note. Don't be impressed, because I can still eat 4 large cookies in one sitting.
If you have a skillet that can go into the oven, use that. Otherwise, you'll have to transfer it into an 8x8 baking dish.
Okay, here's the recipe.
1 or 2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chipped
2 Tbsp chili powder
optional: cumin powder to taste
salt and ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 small can of mild green chilies
1 lb ground turkey
1 (15-oz) can kidney beans (or black beans)
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes
1 cup shredded cheese

Cornbread topping:
either a cornbread package mix or the following:
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3 Tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk (or milk)
1 large egg
3 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled (or you can accidentally measure out more butter than that, like I do)

Heat the oil in a skillet and add the onions, chili powder, and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook till onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds. Add ground turkey and cook until browned. Add can of beans (UNDRAINED), can of tomatoes (UNDRAINED), and can of chilies. If you want to add cumin, add it now (I add about a tsp). Remove from heat, then stir in cheese. Don't skimp on the cheese. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, make the cornbread topping. Whisk all dry ingredients together. Add buttermilk and egg and stir. Add butter and stir until just combined. Pour cornbread batter over the mixture in the skillet. Put in a 375 oven for 45 minutes, till cornbread is cooked (test by sticking a knife into the middle of it and see if it pulls out clean).
Let cool 5 minutes, then serve. YUM-O.

Monday, September 15, 2008

scary pictures / September 15, 2008

First of all, it's my mother's birthday. Happy birthday to her!!!
Okay, folks, here is something to make you feel better about yourself. I am hereby publishing some pictures of me not looking my awesomest. Usually, the only person about whom I don't care seeing me as I really am is Chad. But today, I'm feeling strangely brave, so I will post them for the world to see.  First of all, we have a lovely self-portrait. Yes, folks, that's me. Did you know I have that many freckles? I actually don't mind freckles...luckily.
Secondly, we have an exciting image of me with how my hair looks when I wake up in the morning. It's wild, huh? I kid you not, that's what I look like when I get out of bed. Even if my hair is dry at night and semi-controlled when I go to sleep, I still wake up like this. Fabulous, eh?


Going green / September 14, 2008

Purely by coincidence, for lunch today, we had an all green meal: pasta with green pesto, asparagus, and kiwi fruit. It was so random, I just had to take a picture. And since I've finally taken the time to figure out how to add a picture, I'll put it here JUST FOR YOU! Consider yourself important.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

good news, bad news, and two observations / September 4, 2008

A. I'm happy to announce that with the help of some weight watchers, a lot of exercise, a lot of nursing, and making overall healthier choices; I am back down to my pre-Benji weight!! Yay for me! However, my shape is permanently damaged; this little belly is probably not going anywhere.
B. I'm feeling depressed because no one responded to my last post. I thought it was a very interesting observation and that lots of people would have a thought or comment about it, but no one did. My self-esteem drops one level.
C. For about three days, Benji was really unhappy. He cried a lot, fussed a lot, drooled copious amounts, and chewed on anything he could get his little paws onto. And lo and behold, one point of a tooth made its grand appearance yesterday. I think that Benji doesn't have as high of a pain tolerance as Ethan does. I think Benji is a sensitive little dude; I don't think that's bad or anything; it's just an observation.
D. Ethan has been doing SO WELL with all the traveling we've been doing. I've been so proud of him. He's been sleeping quite well overall, even in different rooms from us in a strange house. He's done great on car rides, and has adjusted to each new venue quite well. He's also enjoying having attention from all the grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lamentable or satisfactory? / August 28, 2008

Today, Chad, his mom and dad and grandma, and Ethan all went to Chuck E Cheese. Ethan was ecstatic and had a great time ... and ate 3 pieces of pizza! That child is a fiend for pizza.
I took Benji to visit my maternal grandfather who lives in a nursing home in Cleburne, about an hour from Chad's parents' house. Every time we're in Texas, we go to see him. Often he does not seem coherent; he cannot carry on a conversation; sometimes he doesn't seem to know who I am; he is not in touch with reality. When I go, it is always very awkward; I talk to him, but I usually get a blank stare in return, and he doesn't answer back, and one-sided conversations are very bumbling and unweildy. I never know what to talk about, so beforehand, I make a mental list of things to tell him about. Then I get there, and I say them all within five minutes, left to fill the rest of the 55-minute visit with who knows what.
Being with him and seeing him like that makes me so dispirited and melancholy. But seeing all the patients of this facility make me feel that way. I feel so sorry for them. I pity them. But, here is what I thought about today: is that right? Is it right to pity someone in that state? What if they are happy the way they are? What if the world in which they live, even though it is not reality, not my world, is good enough for them? What if they're happier as they are, in their states of Alzheimers or recovered strokes or low mental capacity, than the rest of us? What makes me think that they deserve to be pitied, that their lives are somehow less valuable or not as satisfying as mine? If they don't know what they're missing, then are they really missing anything at all?
When I see my grandfather stooped in his wheelchair, only the right half of his body with motor skills, drinking his pureed food, and not responding to me, I feel deep sadness for him. (A tear is threatening to seep out right now). I wonder if he remembers his days as a working physician, all the patients who loved him, his wives, his family, the people he loved. But if he doesn't remember these things, if the nurses who care for him daily at the facility are his new family, and if he doesn't remember the taste of a good steak with potato wedges instead of pureed food, then is his state even lamentable?
When I see the white-haired lady in room 682 lying on her bed watching a soap opera, as she has been doing literally all day, I feel sorry for her because she's alone. But what if she likes it that way? Maybe she doesn't know any other life. When I see the brittle old man in room 654 sitting in his wheelchair grinning at everyone who walks by, my heart nearly breaks that he doesn't have a wife by his side or children sitting on his lap like an old man should. But that is what I think would make an old man happy. Maybe this man is completely content making conversation with the other residents.
As human beings, I believe it's our nature to have difficulty seeing beyond our own selves. Unless I stop to think about it, I assume that what makes me happy will surely make someone else happy. I can't help but feel sorry for these people when I visit the nursing home, but today, I am second-guessing whether any of these people actually are abject and commiserable. Perhaps their world is their own little reality and they are satisfied in it. Maybe my pity for them is rude of me. Like I said earlier, what makes me think that my life is more fulfilling to me than their lives are to them? The question remains...
Any thoughts on this, my readers?

In the land of the free, the home of the brave / August 27, 2008

We're back in the flatlands, the land of pick up trucks, the land of Sonic and Taco Bueno, the land of accents and southern belles, the land of heat and humidity: the land of Texas. The more I've been here, the more I find out how Californian I've become! It's terrible. I do love California weather.
The kids were AMAZING on the flight. It was Benji's first time in an airplane. He slept all the way up and all the way down and wasn't very fussy mid-flight either. It was incredible. And Ethan played with the buttons for the lights, was kept entertained by Chad, and watched "The Backyardigans" on Chad's laptop till the battery died. He did great too. I was so proud of my children. BTW, moms, when your kids are well-behaved in public, don't you just feel bursting with pride, and aren't you almost offended that not everyone around you says, "Oh my, your children are so well-behaved. What a good mother you are"? I get that way. Maybe that makes me weird. But at least I can admit it.
Anyway, we're now in the Fort Worth area, visiting Chad's family. We've been here since Tuesday and will stay till Monday.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

avid readers and woodland creatures / August 20, 2008

I found out to today that I have an avid reader! My self esteem goes up one notch. :) Thanks, Michelle!
Ethan ate a popsicle yesterday (because he ate his broccoli), and it got everywhere. He was slimy down his front and back with juicy orange slobber. His mouth had a ring of orange around it too. It was hilarious, but then it made my spine tingle when he came inside the house. Why do I care so much about messes and when will I let that go? My friend Shannon says that a mother either has to let that go or will end up in the mental institution. I'm afraid I'm already headed for the latter...
Benji has been sleeping for the past 3 1/2 hours. What a nap! I'm happy about it.
For the past two days, we've had two different squirrels come to our back yard to eat the birdseed that Ethan threw out there. Of course birds have come too. I like having the woodland creatures come to my yard. It makes me feel as if I'm Sleeping Beauty and that I'll burst into song any moment about how my prince will come some day.
BTW, I highly recommend the movie Enchanted. It is hilarious, especially the part where the prince character gets run over by bicycles.
Today's post really fits the description of "Hope's rambling thoughts."

Monday, August 18, 2008

Touchee! / August 18, 2008

Okay, I'm going to admit it: I've met my match having two kids. I am having a really hard time! I think for the first 2, maybe 2 1/2 months, I was feeling very euphoric about Benjamin, and I wasn't having too much difficulty handling both of them. But now, I guess the euphoria has worn off, and I am really struggling. Having a two-year old and an infant is SO HARD!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

a sweet story at last / August 16, 2008

I pick 3-month-old Benji up and hold him in the crook of my arm to nurse him. He is kicking his legs, wiggling, and grunting impatiently as I pull up my shirt and unhook my bra. As soon as he latches on, he seems to breathe a sigh of relief, and his legs stop kicking. He sucks happily. He looks up at me with his deep blue eyes. Sometimes, I smile at him, and he smiles back at me, and my nipple falls out of his mouth. Little milk dribbles slide down his cheek. It makes me laugh. He latches back on and sucks hungrily. I offer him my finger and he makes a little fist around it. He opens and closes his fingers around mine. His eyes start to roll back in his head. He lifts his right arm up and rubs his hair with it. He can barely keep his eyes open now. Finally, I hear the swallowing noises stop, and he's just sucking for the sake of sucking, his eyes closed, his little face peaceful. I pull my nipple out of his mouth, and for a second, he makes a little frown. Then he stretches both arms over his head, grunts, and falls asleep.
In moments like this, I feel more love and gratefulness that I can describe.

Friday, August 15, 2008

another day in the Kidd empire / August 15, 2008

Oh boy, it was another fun day in the Kidd empire. It started out with Benji waking up at 6 am, very fussy. Finally he went back to sleep around 6:30 for another 40 minutes. Then at 7:05, Ethan woke up fussing. Two crying babies.
Benj was ready for a nap by 9:30, but wouldn't go to sleep. I took both kids to Ethan's Messy Muddy Toddlers class, the mess of which stresses me out and makes me want a Zanax. Today's theme was food day: painting with cooked spaghetti, carrot sticks, and potato mashers. Benj did fall asleep in the bjorn for about 30 minutes (NOT long enough!) then woke up. After class, Ethan played on the playground for awhile, then we came home because Kate was going to come over for lunch for an hour before nap time.
We go home, Benji very sleepy and fussy. I don't know how else to get him to sleep, so I turn on the tv and tell Ethan to stay downstairs and watch tv (mind you, this is after he's already watched his 1 hour of morning cartoons!). I go upstairs and nurse Benj for awhile, swaddle him, and put him down good and asleep. He wakes up 10 minutes later! In the meantime, Ethan's been eating meatballs for lunch.
I put Benji in the sling and he quickly goes back to sleep. Then Ethan chokes on his food, starts coughing, and of course, vomits copious amounts onto the couch, the coffee table, and the floor. Since I'm holding a sleeping baby in the sling, I have trouble doing much about the vomiting until it's too late and it's everywhere. I put Benj down in the bouncy seat, start to clean Ethan up, and then Kate and Bridget come to the door. I want to burst into tears, but can't just yet.
Bridge takes all the kids upstairs (including Benj, who woke up only 5 minutes after being in the bouncy seat) and keeps them occupied for 15 minutes while I clean up meatbally vomit, trying not to throw up myself.
At 1:25, I start to put Ethan down for nap. Benj is asleep again in the sling. I read a couple of stories, but Ethan is whining and crying because he's trying to crawl inside his clothes hamper like a bear cave, and it keeps collapsing on him. This carries on for about 10 minutes. I can feel myself growing more gray hairs.
Ethan is put down at 2 and falls asleep around 2:20. Benj has been put down in his co-sleeper and sleeps for awhile. I finish my lunch, do some dishes, clean up the front porch, wash vomit out of couch covers, and start the laundry. Then Benji wakes up. I nurse him and get him back to sleep. Then Ethan is crying in his room. Why is he crying? He wants a toy that is on the floor. Good heavens! I rock him in the chair, give him the toy, and put him back down. I walk out of the room, lean against the wall, pray "God give me patience" for the tenth time today, rub my temples, then go downstairs.
That was ten minutes ago; I am now venting on this post.
I probably say too much on this blog. It's just so much easier to say too much when writing than to tell people in person.
BTW, Chad asked me (regarding yesterday's post) why I wanted to be paid for what I do. Perhaps I should explain. Money is valued by everyone. If someone is paid money, he is recognized universally as having done something valuable. Even though somewhere in the back of my head, I know that what I am doing is valuable, it would be nice if I was given something that is universally appreciated and said, "What you are doing is worthwhile."
Besides, getting money for things you do makes it not seem so much like work. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

my waves of self-pity / August 14, 2008

Well, we all managed to sustain major injuries yesterday, not including Benji. I badly bruised my toe, as described in the last post. Chad fell off his bike on the way to work and skinned his knee. Last evening, Ethan tripped over a pipe sticking out of the ground and scraped his ankle up. He cried about it for a whole hour. He was even whining about it when he went to bed. What a day. And, yet, we somehow manage to survive.'s only half over, and I feel ready to collapse. How can motherhood be so draining? I wish someone would banish me to solitary confinement for the afternoon. I got the kids in the stroller and walked with Bridget and Dina and their kids to Starbucks. Ethan had a choco milk; I had a passion iced tea. Then we went to the cyber cafe playground for close to two hours. I talked to the ladies, and Ethan played, and Benji fussed. He didn't want to go to sleep except for the 15 minute nap he took while we were walking. Ethan sustained another two falls off the picnic bench and said he wanted to go home. On the way home, I was holding a crying Benj in the sling with one hand on his head to support it because he arches so much, and I was one-handedly pushing the stroller which is not easy to steer. This time of day every day I start to feel really sorry for myself. A car drove by as I was crossing the street and using lots of force to get the stroller up the curb on the other side. I'm sure I was a sight with a screaming baby arching his back against me, using one hand to push a stroller with a toddler in it, my hair a mess, my face sweaty, and my shoulders drooping. But I wondered if they looked at me and sympathetically thought Poor woman struggling with those kids. I don't know how she does it. I wanted them to feel sorry for me.
Sadly, these waves of self-pity wash over me nearly every day around that time. I'm sure it's the combination of hunger, tiredness, and the looming thought of trying to get two children down for naps without one of them having a meltdown, or me losing my temper.
Something is not right with my attitude here. I realize and believe that mothering is a high calling and requires dedication, selflessness, and hard work. And I love what I do most of the time. But there are those moments every day, more than once a day, where I wonder why I'm doing this, why I'm not happy, and why it can't be easier. At the same time, while I'm thinking those things and feeling sorry for myself, I know that in 5 years, I'll look at Ethan and Benjamin and think I wish they were tiny again. I loved that age. It was so much easier.
I don't know. If I sat any mother down and got her talking, I'm sure she would admit feeling these same things at some point, but I am so conflicted. I AM happy doing what I do, I wouldn't be happy working full time or being away from my kids. I KNOW that my work is absolutely invaluable. But I also wish it was easier, that I had endless energy, that I never lost my temper and felt sorry for myself, and that I wasn't too self-conscious to chase Ethan with my breasts bouncing up and down and my bottom jiggling. And then I feel guilty for thinking these things, for not simply being grateful that I have two very healthy, very wonderful children who bring me more joy than I thought possible.
I know that motherhood pays in joy, love, satisfaction, fulfillment, and laughter. And yes, these are worthwhile and should be enough for me.
But I wish that it paid in cold hard cash too.