25 July 2011

Grocery Store Madness

I was in the grocery store this afternoon. With all 5 children in tow. Thinking to myself: "What things do I need?" Needing to THINK, because the ever-so-handy list that I had diligently made was sitting on the front seat of the Suburban on the OTHER side of the parking lot. So, row by row, I pushed my cart. And row by row, it got heavier. Not with groceries. With children.

Surely there are other mothers who take their broods with them when they go places, aren't there? Surely there are other moms who save on food money because once they load the children into the cart there isn't ROOM for food?!? I'd like to believe that there are other moms who: a) stay at home because they don't want to go insane prematurely by taking their children with them; or b) mom's who drag their children around because they (the mom's) need to develop more patience.

I think I'm of the "needing patience" variety. I suppose I could do my grocery shopping all alone in the middle of the night. Would't that be nice. Actually having energy to go shopping all alone in the middle of the night. But that begs the question... "When do I sleep?!" Oh yeah. I WOULDN'T!!! By the time 7:30 PM rolls around, I am so tired from chasing children - or being chased by children - leaving the house is almost the LAST thing I want to do. Almost.

Our arrival back home signaled time for chaos to begin.

Esbe took a drink through a straw of some liquid that had been left on the table and sucked an earwig into her mouth. The earwig, not liking being sucked into someone's mouth, pinched her - prompting spitting and the ensuing cry from shock.

Sweetie Pie started wailing because someone blinked. I'm dreading puberty with her.

Bud wanted a drink, and immediately forgot how to ask politely.

Bug tipped the ironing board over on top of herself, getting stuck.

Boo got hungry, and cried because she needed to eat.

Somewhere in the middle of this, the phone rang.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to unload and put groceries away, shoo the kitten out of the house because Bug can't open the door and she's the one who brought the kitty in to show me... AND put out all the immediate fires of attention. All without loosing my temper or laughing at the bug bite or crying myself because sometimes crying is contagious... I truly believe that the Good Lord Above has a sense of humor. He wouldn't have given me five children otherwise.

24 July 2011

Personal Relationship

I have always been taught that Prayer is just another way to develop a personal relationship with Heavenly Father. Tonight, I heard a prayer that puts MY personal relationship on a totally different - and by different, I mean... I'm not sure I have this close of a relationship with my Heavenly Father... level.

I was watching Sports Center tonight with my Hubby for our date night. One of the highlights was a Pastor in Nashville, TN who was starting the beginning of a NASCAR race with prayer (how is it that NASCAR races can start with prayer, but school can't???) The portion of his prayer that was highlighted went something like this: "Dear Lord, Thank you for my SMOKIN' HOT WIFE and my two children (insert child's name here) and (insert other child's name here) ... Bless this race to go smoothly and without accident... In Jesus Name; Boogedy, Boogedy, Boogedy, Amen." And I'm not making the boogedy, boogedy, boogedy part up.

I had no idea Jesus was named Boogedy, Boogedy, Boogedy.

All I can say is: That is ONE CLOSE RELATIONSHIP. I mean, I was always taught to talk to Heavenly Father as a friend... I'm not sure I'm there yet - having heard this prayer. I would never stand in front of a congregation and pray for my "SMOKIN' HOT" ANYBODY... Although I would laugh really hard if someone prayed like that in church. And added the Boogedy, Boogedy, Boogedy part.

21 July 2011

This one's for...

Jill. And her eternal love for S'MORES... Several weeks ago I was in Target looking for the PERFECT birthday present for Bud. (Turns out it's a miniaturized baseball mitt and ball...) As I wandered, my thoughts turned to S'mores. (Kinda hard NOT to when every single display has one ingredient or the other stacked on top!)

And then I found them. StackerMallows. (They're new from KRAFT...) Marshmallows that look as if someone took all the air out of them and squished them flat. So I bought some. And then they sat. In my cupboard. Right next to the Brownie mix. Just BEGGING to be turned into S'Brownies. Chocolatey Fudgey Gooey Brownies - topped with Marshmallows, topped with crushed Graham Cracker, and drizzled with Chocolate.

Tomorrow we're eating them. After I get the crushed Graham Cracker and Chocolate Syrup to drizzle them with. And then, I'll take a picture of them so you can see what they look like and hopefully NOT drool all over your respective computers or desks or phones...

Now... Who else just gained 30 lbs???

16 July 2011

Ode to the end of an Era...

Our fantastically fabulous babysitter is leaving us. She's headed to college. I don't know what we're going to do. She's been our babysitter for the last 4 years. Exclusively. Why do I love her?

She doesn't take any guff from any of the children or let them tell her things that we don't normally do.
She doesn't tolerate fighting from the children.
My house is always clean when I get home.
The TV is rarely on when I come home, instead, she's reading a book or studying.
She can drive.
The children love her. I mean... the children LOVE her!
She knows how to work my wood cookstove.
She has been the Easter Bunny to my children.
She doesn't let me pay her, no matter how hard I try.
She's my friend.
She's become part of the family.
She's someone that my children want to be like when they grow up.
She's smart and has ambition.
She's not afraid to tell me that she really DOESN'T want to hold the baby because baby is really small... but then she holds baby anyway because she can see that I need a fourth arm.
She IS my fourth arm...

I'm really going to miss her.

So... T.J. Westerberg. May the force be with you as you head off to college. I get first dibs when you get home. After your mom, that is. And I promise to send fudge and packages and call often.

15 July 2011

There is Madness in my Method...

I am a person who functions much better when I am organized. There are some, my DSH (dear sweet hubby), who would successfully argue that I am not an organized person. Most would be on spot with that argument 99.99999% of the time. I am, however, trying to become more organized. In ALL areas of my life - not just the diaper bag part of my life. And yes, the diaper bag is organized. If it doesn't go on the baby's bum or isn't used to wipe the bum, it's not in the bag. I don't want to have to dig for an essential.

But. I digress.

In an effort to become better organized in my grocery shopping, I set up a numbers system for my menu. I have 36 different breakfasts (soon to be 37 since I invented a FABULOUS breakfast this morning...); 25 different lunches; and 115 different dinner ideas. (Yes, you read that correctly. 115 DIFFERENT dinner ideas) Theoretically, I can have a different Breakfast and Dinner every day for more than a month. (I can go 3 months without repeating the same dinner! Theoretically.)

Here's how it works.

Each menu item has a number attached to it. At the beginning of the month, I sit down with my handy-dandy-list of ideas, and ask random people (sometimes I'm at work) to pick a number between one and whatever the highest number is. Sometimes, they think they're winning something. They're not. (If no one wants to play, I draw numbers out of a jar... Or close my eyes and point to something. It's really quite entertaining...) I'm just planning my menu. I'm not allowed to repeat the meal, and try really hard to put meals next to each other if they're going to use a lot of the same ingredients - that way I'm using leftovers and don't waste food. I start with the first day of the month and put the first number down. Sometimes, if I know that I won't be home and there will be a babysitter, I'll put in a meal that doesn't require cooking (I'm not taking time to teach a babysitter how to operate my wood cookstove. Sorry. It's not in the contract.). Once a week "Smorgasbord" falls on the menu. (Some people call this "Cafeteria Night". It's really just a glorified name for "Left-Unders" (Left Overs means that it's become a science experiment. Left Unders means its been in the fridge under 4 days.))

Once the menu for the month is complete - (and I have to add here that I have two separate seasons for cooking: Wood Stove and Barbecue. I do plan in crock pot days because I want to make sure that my children eat, but we cook exclusively on a wood cookstove or on the barbecue (amazing what you can make on the barbie!)) then I plan out my grocery list for the month. I end up shopping at the grocery store twice monthly for a cartload of stuff - and hit up the store weekly for milk and fresh veggies. I have a form that I use to determine what I need; it's divided into categories.

Why do I do this? Because as much as I love grocery shopping (and I'm totally serious. I LOVE grocery shopping!), I am not insane. Yet. My children are all still young enough that I'm NOT carting them all over the store. And I'm NOT pushing one of those oversized-hard to push-never wants to turn-shaped like a car carts. Boo is the only one who gets to go. Sometimes I have to take Bug or Bud or Sweetie Pie or S.B. or ALL of them, but those are the days that they all go to bed early, and I bite my tongue to keep from yelling. So I have a list. I also have a budget. It's just over $300 for the month. If I have a menu, I keep within my budget. If I don't have a menu, I have to listen to "What's for dinner?" and "When are we going to eat?" (this last because I spend too much time trying to figure out what's for dinner...). AND, if I don't have a menu, I may as well forget about the budget.

The beauty of my system is that anyone can do it. And it can be personalized according to what your family will eat. The bonus of the system is that you don't have to eat macaroni and cheese 3 nights a week because it's now 15 minutes before bed and no one has eaten. And yes, I've done that.

If you'd like copies of my list, click HERE and send me an e-mail. If you want my menus because that's easier, click HERE and send me an e-mail. If you want recipes, let me know in the e-mail. Not only will I send you my lists, I'll send you my grocery form that you can personalize monthly. It's fun. You should really try it. Looking forward to hearing from you!

13 July 2011

Date Update...

I was right. The date to the dentist will NOT be on the tops of my list. Ever.

I have a good dentist. Really I do. I am not, however, one of those people who hates food (is there really a person like that?). As a result, I did NOT get my milkshake, and I couldn't feel my left eyeball until close to 4 PM. Something about numbing the entire face so that they could put a crown on a tooth... who knew?!?!?

I was a source of entertainment for Andrew who kept asking me to smile... because only one side of my face would comply.

Now, I am left with feeling in my face, a sore mouth, and an inability to eat solids until my teeth stop hurting. I'm sure I don't want to eat the baby food in the pantry, but yogurt may get old... hmmmm... maybe I'll have a smoothie for dinner.

So we went to a popular restaurant for lunch after my root canal and 6 fillings (yes, there really were six...). I ordered fresh salmon. It wasn't fresh. It just tasted really fishy. I'm an Alaskan. If I can taste the fish odor, it's not fresh. (If ANYONE can taste the fish odor, it's not fresh!) I did something I have never done before, and sent it back for a replacement dish of Cheese Enchiladas. Really what I wanted was the sweet corn dessert that they put on the enchilada dish, but the enchiladas were perfect too. Too bad my mouth hurts too bad to eat it! Maybe tomorrow...

Ah well. I am now off to the kitchen to see what I can come up with for dinner for my children who are convinced that they are starving to death.

12 July 2011

Forgettable Dates

A couple of weeks ago, my dear friend Jill asked a question about dates on her blog. Her question was along the lines of "what do you do on a date with your significant other - what has been your favorite date - how do you make time for yourself?"

I have an answer to the first question. It's more than likely NOT going to make it on the list of favorites. How do I know this when I have yet to GO on the date? Simple. I have to have a root canal. My significant other has to have his teeth cleaned. We scheduled them so that they are concurrent with each other. His will be, undeniably more pleasant than mine. I've never had a root canal. I'm not looking forward to it.

Our last date was also to the dentist. It's also not on the list of favorites. It ended with me sitting in the dentist's chair for what was supposed to be a 1 hour cleaning for a total of 3 hours. Now. Before you go judging me for poor dental habits, I have to clarify a couple of things. I have, in the past, in the recent past, not had good dental habits. I now brush AND floss at least 3 times daily. Secondly, I haven't been to the dentist in several years. Moving lots does that to you. Spending the majority of the last 5 years pregnant also does that to you. Being pregnant leaches calcium that would ordinarily go to your teeth... it's killer all around. So...

Lucky me, I get another date with my husband... to the dentist. Maybe this time he'll buy me that lunch he promised last time..... I think I want a milkshake.

11 July 2011


A few months ago A and I took the children to spend the afternoon with my cousin and her family. We had THE MOST DIVINE pork roast I have ever had. I love pork roast. I grew up eating pork roast baked in the oven and loving it. This was, however, the most tender roast I have ever eaten. Hands down. And it was cooked in the Crock Pot. Her secret? Milk. It also turns out that Martha (yes, THE MARTHA) knows a thing or two about cooking too...

Turns out that not only does Milk do a body good (pass it on...), it also does a Pork Roast good. It's not something that I would ordinarily think of as a tenderizer - and I'm not sure how it works. I do know, however, that it's one of two ways that I'll cook my pork from here on out! (The other way is Cafe Rio way, but that's for another post at another time...) Now - I have to add here that I don't cook my pork roast in the crock pot. Ever. It's way too dry for me, and there are few things worse than a dry roast...

Tonight, I cooked the same tender roast - albeit with a different flavor - this was my first time cooking pork in milk, after all - as my cousin did. A informed me that I should NEVER, and I mean NEVER cook a pork roast in the crock pot any other way (unless it was Cafe Rio way...).

How? Well... first, I should have seared my roast in a cast iron pan in olive oil and butter with some kosher salt and pepper. But I didn't. Next time, I will. Instead, today, I just put the roast into a small crock pot (it wasn't a big roast), sprinkled a package of pork gravy mix on top, and added 3 cups of whole milk. Personally, I don't think the pig cared if it was whole milk or 2% - but I had whole on hand, so used it. And then, I turned the pot to low and let it do its magic for 5 hours. Then... I turned the roast to high, and let it continue to cook for another 1.5 hours. It was tasty. Very Tasty.

Next time... I'll take a photo, use the drippings from the roast to make gravy, and see how well that works. I'll probably also use Martha's recipe as follows:

This delicious recipe is courtesy of Stephane Reynaud and can be found in his cookbook "Pork and Sons."

  • YieldServes 6


  • 1 Boston butt (3 1/4 pounds)
  • 8 3/4 cups milk
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 dried bay leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Place pork in a large Dutch-oven. Add milk, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves. Cover, and transfer to oven. Cook until milk comes to a boil, about 45 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until milk is evaporated, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

    Discard herbs and serve pork hot or cold with milk sauce.