Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sticker Shock

Why did no one prepare me? I was completely unaware that a middle school band instrument cost roughly the same as a small used car!!!! That saxophone should come with wheels and a rearview mirror. At that price, he'd better still be playing it when he's in the nursing home! But this is an investment in his education, right? Enriches his development? It won't be just a phase, like soccer...t-ball...guitar lessons... Eek, I feel the grey hairs popping out all over.

Let's talk something a little more pleasant, what's for supper tonight. I figured we'd go out on a limb (since I'm already dangling there) and try something new. We'll be guine pigs together. This came from that free magazine you can get from Kraft Foods. It sounded good, and easy, and I could use a little of that. Anything that calls for grilling pineapple is worthy of a shot to me. Let me know what you think of it.

Sweet BBQ Chicken Kabobs
Don't forget to presoak your wooden skewers so they won't burn or you can cover the exposed ends with aluminum foil.

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in 1" pieces
2 c. pineapple chunks (1 can or 1/2 a fresh pineapple)
1 each, red and green pepper, cut into chunks
1/2 c. bbq sauce
3 Tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Using 8" long wooden skewers, (2, side-by-side for each kabob--this makes it easier to flip and keeps it from falling in the grill) thread chicken alternately with peppers and pineapple onto skewers, to create 4 kabobs. Mix barbeque sauce and juice; brush on kabobs. Grill kabobs 8-10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, brushing occasionally with remaining sauce.

Monday, August 30, 2010

New Cookie Recipe--Tall Glass of Milk Required

I tried a new cookie recipe on Saturday. Meredith was in the baking mood, so we made cookies while the boys were at an archery tournament. They were really yummy, but really, really sweet. I changed some things in the recipe and would change the amount of peanut butter. The recipe I'll give is for how I'd do it next time. If you love peanut butter (and overdosing on sugar) you can double the peanut butter and powdered sugar, that's what the recipe originally called for. It also called for canned chocolate icing instead of sprinkles, but that would have led to some sort of diabetic coma. Even I, with my sweet tooth, could tell that. Don't know what they were thinking. Maybe they have stock in spandex...or find cellulite very attractive...

Peanut Butter Brownie Cookies

1 pkg brownie mix
1/4 c. butter, melted
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
chocolate sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, beat brownie mix, butter, cream cheese, and egg for 50 strokes with a spoon until well blended. Drop 24 rounded tablespoonfuls of dough on ungreased cookie sheets; smooth to round edges. In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar and peanut butter. Form into 24 balls; press lightly onto cookies. (They'll stay this shape so if you want the peanut butter spread more over the cookie, flatten the peanut butter ball before pressing into cookie.) Apply sprinkles onto peanut butter. Bake for 10-14 minutes. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets. Cool at least 30 minutes.

Menus for the week--
Tuesday--Sweet BBQ Chicken Kabobs, Rice, Fruit Salad
Wednesday--Sour Cream Bread, Bacon, Special Eggs
Thursday--Ultimate Grilled Steaks, Au Gratin Potatoes, Broccoli Salad, Rolls
Friday--Homemade Pizza
Saturday--out to eat

Friday, August 27, 2010

Late for Our Date

Sorry I'm behind today...and that I messed up. I went to visit with some friends at our friend Louise's house today. Her yard is beyond amazing. And she can make or create anything. For instance, she was showing us a beautiful picture frame today. She'd bought it at a yard sale for 25 cents and it was missing a whole portion of its ornate frame. You'd never have known it because she took wood putty, molded it, and made it look exactly the same. My plan was to take pictures and share some images from her house. Guess who forgot their camera! Yep, not a single picture of her wonderful plants or treasures. Instead I'm sharing a picture of one of my roses after our rain shower. It reminds me of a song we used to sing at church--"I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses..."

And here's a picture of one of my boys with their new toys--compound bows for the archery team.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The 'It' Number and Insanity Chili

Insanity chili? Well the chili's not insane, unless you count insanely good, but I don't think I'd go quite that far. Delicious...really good...but insanely good would require more tinkering with the recipe. Oops, I'm rambling--back to the point. I call it insanity chili today because my making it is insane. Do you know what the temperature was when I passed by the middle school entrance sign yesterday? 104!!! And I'm making chili. That's why I said insanity chili. I've just had a hankering for it lately. We'll just have to follow it up quickly with ice cream. It'll be a nicer meal for those of you who don't live in the giant oven we call south Georgia.

Apparently there's a new number. Well, an old number that's been repurposed. I didn't want y'all to be left behind so I thought I'd share. I've learned so much since Meredith started kindergarten. Here's the official transcript from her bedtime last night, after the obligatory kiss, hug, and great big squeeze.

Mommy: I love you bunches.
Meredith: You're the best mommy in the universe. I love you zero.
Mommy: Zero? Zero means nothing, not at all. You don't love me at all? (Thinking I'm so clever for sneaking in a little math learning at the last minute.)
Meredith: No, I love you lots. Zero means lots. Nowadays.

Y'all, the girl actually used the word 'nowadays'. It never ceases to amaze me, the things that'll come out of a kid's mind. I thought you'd all want to know. I don't want you behind the times. I wonder if we could go buy a car with zero dollars. Do you think the salesman would buy it if I told him an expert says zero dollars is really a lot...nowadays?

Don't forget today's Thankful Thursday! Here's my list.
1. Air conditioning!!! A southern necessity.
2. Fall. Can't come soon enough.
3. My little expert. She keeps me informed.
4. I'm finally getting well.
5. Our transition into the new school year, especially with two going to new schools, has been so smooth.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Version of Ruby Slippers

These were sitting by the island (kitchen island, that is) and I thought they'd be good for today since it is Rednesday. I like these shoes, so bright and cheery. I like my shoes with a little side of sassy. So let's put our sassy shoes on and have a great day. Unfortunately, I'll be donning mine just for cleaning around the house. But, we all need those days too. The recipe for tonight's supper is one I've already posted. You can look on the side bar and find the post time. Sassy toilet cleaning, here I come!

Question for today--What do you wear that puts a little sass in your step?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Seven Layer Dip

I thought I'd share this page from an old, old math book I have. I love old school books with the pretty pictures, like the 'Dick and Jane' series. This one's seen it's better day, but it's still great to look at. It also has another page that has a beautiful big picture with seven of everything...it's kids playing cowboys and indians at a picnic. But for now, here's the recipe for our SEVEN Layer Dip.

Seven Layer Dip
The longer this sits in the fridge, the better it tastes! Make it in the morning before a party in the evening or, like us, for a fun alternative to regular supper.

1 packet Good Season Italian dressing mix
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 c. sour cream
1 (16 oz.) can refried beans
1 1/2 c. salsa, drained
1 (2.25 oz) can olives, drained
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 c. grated monterey jack cheese
2 green onions, chopped

Spread beans on a serving plate. Blend sour cream and dressing mix. Spread over beans. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Top with remaining ingredients. Serve with tortilla chips.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday menus

Our weekly menus, hot off the press.

Monday--Ritzy Chicken, Mashed Potato Supreme, Glazed Carrots
Tuesday--Seven Layer Dip with Chips
Wednesday--Country Fried Steak, Rice, Green Beans, Rolls
Thursday--Chili with Cheese, Fritos
Friday--Stuffed Shells, Salad, Garlic Bread
Saturday--Homemade Pizza
Sunday--(Dinner at church) Pork Loin, Vegetable Casserole, Rolls, Pear Cobbler

Friday, August 20, 2010

Turning 100...funny, I don't feel that old.

Well, technically it's the blog. This is my 100th post! Can't believe it. That's gone by quickly. I had planned to retry the jelly and send it out today, but alas, I've been foiled again. That jelly is giving me such a fit. I don't like having things hanging over my head, waiting to be done. I did realize that people would probably rather have me wait until I wasn't sick to prepare their food. So the jelly jars still sit on the counter...mocking me. Happy 100 day!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thanks a Lot!

I've got to get back in my routine today, sick or not. I'm starting with getting back to Thankful Thursday. Here's what I'm thankful for, what about you?

1. Medicine. It works when you need it. And, unfortunately, I need it. I'm thankful I live in a place where what I need is readily available to me.

2. Traffic flow. I know, that sounds weird. But I've been so amazed at how well the back and forth to the two different schools has worked...at a busy time of morning...on one of the busiest roads in town.

3. My husband. It's anniversary time. What a great life we have.

4. My kids. They continually surprise me how well they adapt to new situations. They are doing so well in school and handling all the changes we've had lately.

5. People. God has put so many wonderful people in my life and I am thankful for them all.

Maybe I sound mushy today, but sometimes we all need a little mush. Have a great (and mushy)day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Givin' Rednesday a Try

Our friend Debbie at flittingandflying.blogspot.com has convinced me to try my hand at Rednesday. This morning all these red things kept popping up around me and I decided today was my day. Too bad I didn't get a picture of Meredith in her red socks before she headed off to school. Maybe that can be for another week. To check out all the Rednesday entries, visit http://suelovescherries.blogspot.com/
In honor of back to school, here's a couple of Jack's books. Guess they like red too.

Here are some of the cayenne peppers from our garden.

Some of my neighbor's canna lillies that are peeping over the fence.

Meredith's bottle of strawberry bubbles.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Runny Nose Blues

A runny nose,
a stuffy head.
I want to crawl back into bed.
A hacky cough,
a throat that's sore.
I don't think I can take much more.
A little gift
from starting school.
Hey Meredith, this kind of sharing
isn't cool.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back At It

I don't know why Monday won't wait when you're sick. Seems like it could hold off a day or too. Only one left at our house that doesn't have it. I know it's late, but I did manage to get you the menu for the week. I didn't get around to it until after supper. My lateness means you get to see a picture of what it actually looks like. I'm no fancy edge fluter, but it tastes good just the same.

Monday--Chicken Pot Pie, applesauce
Tuesday--Mini Meatloaves, Mashed Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole
Wednesday--Creamy Herb Pork Chops, Rice Consumme, Peas
Thursday--Chili Dogs, Mac & Cheese, Jello
Friday--Out to Eat
Saturday--Homemade Pizza

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Fog

I seem to be having some sort of brain fog this week. I thought I'd have more energy once school started and it was quiet. I think instead my summer is catching up to me. While I take a break from my normal routine today I thought I'd share someone who does have some words of wisdom. This is a quote from the old book Home-Making.

"We are all making in our todays the memories of our tomorrows. Whether these shall be pleasant or painful to contemplate depends on whether we are living well or ill. Memory writes down everything where we shall be compelled to see it perpetually. There have been many authors who, in their last days, would have given worlds to get back the words they had written." J.R. Miller

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Potato, Pork, and Chicken Recipes

Sorry, I have been very bad about getting some of the recipes to you. I thought once I got everyone in school things would slow down a little. I'm still waiting on that. I've already got one home sick. She has that just started to school and I've gotta build up my immune system virus. This is my third child, so I've seen it lots of times, but I would've been perfectly satisfied to do without it. Oh well.

Pan-Roasted Pork Loin
This is an adaptation of one I clipped from a magazine. It originally called for chops instead. If you'd rather use them, increase your oven temp to 400 degrees and only bake for 6-8 minutes.

1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. dry mustard
2 tsp. celery seeds
2 tsp. packed brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp. season salt

3 lb. pork loin
1 Tbsp. oil

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together all rub ingredients. Pat rub on all sides, coating evenly. (It won't take all the rub, you can store the rest for another time.) Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add oil; heat until hot. Add pork; cook, turning until evenly brown on all sides. Transfer to oven and bake for 2 hours.

Pecan Coated Oven-Fried Chicken
When I made this, I was in a hurry. I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead and cooked it on top of the stove. I simply heated the butter in a frying pan and "fried" them until done. It cut the cooking time more than in half and tasted great.

2 1/2 lb chicken
1 c. Bisquick (I was out and substituted all-purpose & 1 tsp. baking powder)
1 1/2 tsp. salt (I used Lawry's)
1 tsp. paprika
3/4 c. pecan meal
1/2 c. evaporated milk (I just used plain milk, works fine)
1/2 c. melted butter

Wash chicken, drain, & pat dry. Cut into serving pieces. Combine Bisquick, seasonings, and pecan meal. Dip chicken in milk then coat with mixture. Place in a 13x9 pan. Pour melted butter over the chicken. Bake uncovered one hour at 350 degrees.

Dijon Scalloped Potatoes

1 medium onion, chopped
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 (14 1/2 0z) can chicken broth
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 1/2 lb. potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (3 medium sized potatoes)
2 c. Ritz crackers
3 Tbsp. parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 tsp. fresh chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a large skillet with cooking spray; heat on medium-high heat. Add onion; cook 5-7 minutes or until tender, stirring often. Add cream cheese, broth, and mustard; mix well. Remove from heat. Spray a 13x9 dish. Toss potatoes with cream cheese mixture; spoon into dish. Combine crackers, parmesan, butter, and parsley; sprinkle over potatoes. Bake 50 minutes until potatoes are tender. Let stand 5 minutes. Makes 16 1/2c. servings.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Walk Around the Yard

I thought I'd share a few pictures today from the world outside my door. Enjoy.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Sound of Silence

It's the sound of silence. Well, more like the sound of the vacuum, but close enough. Who knew I could get this much done this quickly? Before I get back to the scrubbing, let's plan our menus for the week.

Monday--Ham Slice, Rice Consumme, Vegetable Casserole, Rolls
Tuesday--Pecan Coated Oven-Fried Chicken, Glazed Carrots, Salad, Fresh Fruit
Wednesday--Spaghetti with Italian Sausage, Breadsticks, Salad
Thursday--Pan-Roasted Pork Loin, Dijon Scalloped Potatoes, Corn, Rolls
Friday--Pineapple Burgers, Macaroni & Cheese, Fruit

Friday, August 6, 2010

School Daze

It was back to school today at our house already. Might as well, it's too hot to do anything else. Here's everyone as we're getting ready to go. Hopefully they'll still be this eager later in the year (a mama can dream). Meredith's report from her first day of school--it was the best day of her whole life because she made new friends, the teacher made her color the circles red and wouldn't let her pick her own colors, recess only lasted five seconds, and she couldn't understand why they didn't let her call me on their cell phone when she did a perfect 'e' at school. She said, "I raised my hand and everything, and they still didn't let me call." The report from fourth and sixth grades were good as well, just not quite as colorful. The guy version of the first day of school--"fine".

Here is a little something else we made for school. It's Meredith's kindermat cover and blanket for naptime (she was the only one who didn't sleep, of course).

It's Friday, so we've got our study to do. Today's instruction--"serving the Lord". Keep in mind from our past weeks, our reason for loving. There are people who are hard to love. There are times when we're tired or upset and we don't feel like showing love. But the key to choosing to show love is to remember the purpose behind it. Let's take a look at someone who understood this well. Read Acts 20:18-20. "You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into province of Asia. I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews. You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house."

How did Paul serve the Lord? He did it with all humility and with tears and trials. If anyone had a reason not to feel like loving other people it was him! This was a man who was beaten, stoned, plotted against, thrown in prison. But he kept coming back for more because loving others enough to tell them about Christ and strengthen other believers was his way of serving the Lord. He had been greatly loved. He had been shown much forgiveness. Therefore, he was willing to show great love through much hardship.

We too have been greatly loved. We too have been shown much forgiveness. We to have a reason to serve the Lord.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Will Be

It's Thursday, which means it's Thankful Thursday. Today and tomorrow are incredibly hectic for me, so I decided to do things differently. I decided that my thankfuls will be "will be"'s.

1. I will be thankful (oh so amazingly thankful) if my brochures make it here on time.

2. I will be thankful for the totes selling well and for the t-shirt ordering to go smoothly.

3. I will be thankful if I can get to both open houses in good time and not looking completely frazzled.

4. I will be thankful if I can get everyone to school on time tomorrow and the pre-k/kindergarten breakfast is a success.

5. I will be thankful even if none of the above happens, because life may have a lot of hiccups, but there's always much to celebrate.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Chicken Purse, Pie in a Paper Bag, and One Little Ham

Here's my chicken purse. I snagged it at a local second hand shop for $1.50! I think it's the cutest thing. It's perched on my chicken rug. I know, I have a love for farm animals.

Here's my Berry Peach Pie I made for tonight's dessert. The recipe called for it to be cooked inside a brown paper bag in the oven for an hour. After only a few minutes, the paper bag was starting to smell funny. Not ha ha funny, like we might have to call the fire department soon funny. I took it out of the bag and cooked it regularly and it turned out wonderfully. I don't really know what the bag was supposed to do, except contain any spills that might happen, but I'd definitely skip that step.

Finally, here's my little ham. She insisted on having her picture taken for the blog. And here's the famous Hello Kitty lunchbox, ready for action on Friday.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A New Week

This is going to be a really busy week for me. My babies start school at the end of the week! I can't believe it's here already. They'll be flown the nest. We are packed with the usual back-to-school activities. I've also got my PTO duties to take care of. We had a great teacher breakfast this morning. Now for two open houses and a kindergarten breakfast. A hectic week calls for non-fussy food. I need easy but yummy.

Monday--Layered Enchilada Bake, Corn, Salad
Tuesday--Spiced Chicken with Tangerine Sauce, Rice, Green Peas
Wedesday--Grilled Steak, Twice Baked Potatoes, Salad, Vegetable Medley
Thursday--Meatball Subs, chips, jello salad
Friday--Out to eat to celebrate the first day of school
Saturday--Homemade pizza

Layered Enchilada Bake
I think this one came from Kraft, but I can't promise. I thought it sounded good. We'll spice things up at the beginning of the week. I haven't tried it yet, we'll experiment together.

1 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 c. salsa
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1/4 c. italian dressing
2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
6 flour tortillas
1 c. sour cream
1 pkg. mexican four cheese, shredded

Line a 13x9 baking dish with foil, with ends of foil extending over dish; set aside. Brown meat with onions in a large skillet on medium-high heat; drain. Add salsa, beans, dressing, and chili powder; mix well. Arrange 3 of the tortillas in a single layer on bottom of dish; cover with layers of half meat mixture, sour cream, and cheese. Repeat all. Cover with foil.

Cook now-Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake, covered, 30 minutes. Remove foil. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting to serve. Makes 8 servings.

Cook later-Freeze assembled uncooked casserole for up to 3 months. Preheat oven, bake, covered, 1 hour. Remove foil. Bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes.