As if I weren’t already crazy

image from tacobell.com

Little Girl, my five-year-old, was eating a soft taco from Taco Bell in front of the TV.

(No one can say I don’t feed my kids the best around here!)

While I wasn’t looking, she started picking off the shredded lettuce and tossing it, piece by piece, on the living room floor.

It’s like she read a book called “How To Drive Your Mommy Insane in One Easy Step.”

I took one look at the pile of lettuce detritus and my head exploded.

Well, not literally.

But the reaction was severe enough that Little Girl actually cleaned up the mess without complaint.

Now I’ve got to find and confiscate that book….

Decor in the Twins’ Room

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We took off the twins’ closet door, and I hung up a curtain over the opening instead.

The curtain is made of both Princess AND Transformers fabric, in order to accommodate both twins’ tastes.

This makes things easier for the arrangement of furniture, and also makes the room safer. After all, Little Girl cut her finger off in that door last year.

You probably don’t believe that really happened. To read that story click here.

Still, now that it’s done, I recommend the curtain over the door concept for a kids’ room. It makes the closet into sort of a cool playroom.

If you’re interested in the rest of the story of my daughter’s finger, by the way, read these posts: (3/28/12) (4/6/12)

It grew back, by the way. Mostly.

(photo dated 5/19/12)

 

Homemade Pizza

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It’s a zillion times cheaper than ordering out!

(Okay, maybe not literally a ZILLION. Math has never been my strong suit.)

But seriously, I buy the crust mix (Just add water!) and a can of pizza sauce for less than a dollar each at the grocery store.

You must buy the canned pizza sauce, not the jar, in order to maximize savings.

(It is interesting that the same product is cheaper packaged in a can than in a jar. This is true in pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, fruit, etc. But I digress.)

On the pizza you can add whatever toppings you want. Just follow the directions on the package of pizza crust mix.

My kids love pizza but ordering delivery can get expensive. Homemade is a good alternative.

Extra-Easy Pizza
Betty’s Extra Easy Pizza

Betty Crocker also has a great recipe for easy pizza. Click on the picture to the right and view that one if you want to print it out.

And kudos to Betty for such a lovely pizza photo! My food pics are sadly lacking, I know.

Still, Betty didn’t tell you the cans-are-cheaper-than-jars trick. You heard it here first, folks!!

The Story of the Yellow String

Little Girl had a friend from the neighborhood (R) come to play at the house after school.

They ran ahead of me from the playground to the house, and when I arrived they showed me the treasure they’d found on the way.

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Oh hurray. A giant tangled ball of yellow string.

Both girls were yelling excitedly, “We’re going to untangle it!”

R added, “And then I’m gonna KEEP it!”

Little Girl nodded judiciously. “She found it first. It’s hers.”

This seemed okay by me, as that meant the string was only in my house temporarily, so I told them to have at it.

Of course, soon they had roped me into helping them –pun intended– and then soon after that they lost interest.

Somehow I ended up left alone for like an hour meticulously untangling yards and yards of string a couple of kindergartners found outside, possibly in the trash.

I know. I have no life.

This is what I was doing when R’s mom came to get her.

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She looked at me and said, “Um….”

I said, “The girls are upstairs. I’m just untangling this string they found.”

She said, “Why?”

This was a hard question. “I don’t actually know,” I admitted. “But I’ve been working on it for an hour and I’m not stopping til it’s done.” 

She said, “Oh…kay,” and went to find her child. I kept untangling; I was almost finished!

By the time R’s mom had located her kid, found her shoes and gotten her ready to go, I had the string wound into a nice neat ball.

R came up to politely say thank-you-for-having-me-over, and I handed her the ball of string.

R’s mom’s eyes almost popped out of her head at that.

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R said, “Yay! Thanks!”

R’s mom said, “Why are you giving that string to my daughter?”

“It’s hers,” I said.

“It IS!” Little Girl backed me up.

“I found it!” R said, hugging the ball.

“She DID!” Little Girl backed her up.

While the girls exulted over the string ball, R’s mom locked eyes with me over their heads. “You realize,” she said, “that the string you just spent all that time untangling, will be a tangled mess all over MY house in about ten minutes?”

“Yep!” I said cheerfully. “Sorry!”

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 As they left, R’s mom gritted her teeth at me. “I’ll get you back, you know.”

Oh yeah. I know.

Apricot and Mustard Chicken

Photo_9975EF65-D9F6-5A9B-C7DB-B56A19496C45 This is another recipe (slightly modified) from “Simple and Delicious” magazine.

It was super-quick, especially served with canned green beans and boxed pasta. (Pasta Roni Angel Hair with Herbs flavor, if you’re interested.)

My favorite kind of meals start with “canned” and “boxed.” But I digress.

RECIPE

6 chicken tenderloins
1/3 cup honey mustard
3Tbsp apricot preserves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Dash of salt and pepper

Set the tenderloins out on a foil-lined pan.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and spoon half the mixture over the chicken.

Broil on high four minutes, the turn the chicken and put on the rest of the sauce.

Broil it four more minutes.

That’s it.

This was super easy and I thought it was good. Unfortunately, my husband and kids gave it a rating of “Meh.”

Which is an official rating, characterized by the fact that no one hated it, but no one said it was all that good either.

Sigh. Back to the kitchen for longer and more complicated recipes….

Back From Death’s Door

I’ve been sick all weekend.

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And by the above title, I do not mean I was “Knock-Knock-Knockin on Heaven’s Door.”

It’s more like, “Scratching Helplessly at the Doggie-Door of Death.”

I don’t get sick often, although it’s interesting to note I got sick at this same time last year.

(To read that heart-warming story click here.)

In any case, this time it was step throat that almost killed me.

But I did not die. I rose from my bed of sweat and snot and sickness, and I went forth… to cook for and clean up after people.

What an anti-climax, right?

Overheard in the commisary

I was walking past the baked goods, trying to avert my eyes from the Little Debbie cakes, when I heard a child say in an awed voice, “Yay! White doughnuts!”

Her father answered succinctly, “No.”

The child was quick to clarify. “I wasn’t asking for them. I was just saying, Yay.”

This made me laugh. She was saying, “I was just cheering for the existence of white doughnuts, Dad. And reminding you that they were there. In case some miracle happened and I might get to eat a white doughnut. At some point in my life.”

I feel your pain, kid. I can remember looking longingly at various treats in the grocery store I knew my mom would never buy.

Sigh.

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But guess what? I’m an adult now. 

I bought a box of Swiss Cake Rolls.

And ate one.

Heh heh heh….

Barbecued Pork Sandwiches

Photo_44186D50-C61D-9CF2-7A56-A9EFFAA050C3I had planned to make BBQ pork in the crockpot, but it turned out we were out of barbecue sauce.

All I could find was a pair of sauce packets from McDonald’s.

But I did not despair! Here’s what I did.

In the morning I put into the crockpot:

1 Pork Loin, salted and peppered
4 cups water
4 beef bullion cubes
2 BBQ sauce packets

I cooked this on low all day and then shredded it with two forks about 30 minutes before serving.

Oh, and I bought some sauce and buns to top it with during the day.

Success!

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It tasted great and the kids loved it as well.

The down side is, my husband refused to eat it. He thinks shredded pork looks like cadaver guts. (One of the perils of attending medical school, I suppose.)

But I did manage to use up the leftovers in a stew that he likes, successfully hiding the meat’s appearance among the mixed vegetables.

Bwa ha ha…

Living in paradise is expensive

I had a weird craving the other day… for spaghetti squash.

And NO. I am NOT pregnant. Shut your mouth now.

I went to the regular grocery store to buy it since I didn’t feel like braving the commissary for only a few items.

(The commissary is the grocery store for the military, if you didn’t know. They give us a discount on food. And there is usually a big crowd there.)

So I found the squash I wanted at the regular store and grabbed a few other things. Then I waited in the short line to pay.

The bill seemed a little high. I checked the receipt as I left.

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That squash cost OVER NINE DOLLARS!!!!!

(See the photo if you don’t believe me.)

Next time I’m braving the line at the commissary.

My Award-Winning Chili

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EASY CHILI

  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans tomato soup
  • 1 can chili beans
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika

Brown the hamburger, and then mix all the ingredients in the crockpot. Cook on low for 3-4 hours. We usually serve it with cooked elbow macaroni.

This is my mother-in-law’s awesome chili recipe. I love it because any recipe based on canned food is my favorite.

And yes, it actually won the church chili cook-off once. FIRST PRIZE. Although we may have cheated just a bit.

Not intentionally. Much.

But it turns out than in a vote-based competition, placement is paramount. We were chili number one on the ballot  that year, having by some miracle arrived early. Being number one in line ensures more exposure and garners more votes.

Also it doesn’t hurt to have seven people in the family to stuff the ballot box.

And now I can call this recipe “AWARD WINNING!”

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On a side note, this recipe is in a handwritten book my mother-in-law gifted me and my sisters-in-law with.

It is a real treasure for grown children to have their mothers’ and grandmothers’ recipes in handwriting form.

So I recommend this as a gift to all you grandmas out there.

And if you want to put this chili recipe in your recipe book, remember to call it AWARD WINNING.

That’s very important.