Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sarah's New Spanish Chicken Recipe

This is the best food I've eaten all week. And I just made the recipe up.

Spanish Chicken
Serves 4

1 chicken breast, cubed
1 bag frozen Spanish rice (mine came in a microwaveable bag)
1 cup frozen spinach
cheese sauce:
2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
8" by 8" casserole dish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cook chicken in skillet (you may need 1 tablespoon butter or oil)
3. Melt butter in 1 1/2 quart saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat.
4. Gradually stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in cheese until melted.
5. Stir in spinach and chicken to sauce.
6. Microwave or cook rice according to directions on bag.
7. Put rice in the bottom of casserole dish. Spoon sauce mixture over it.
8. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.


* Denali shoveled it in, forgot to swallow, and wanted seconds. Emlyn said "in a dream I knew that this is yucky."

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Choices

I was reading this post about a mom who recently decided that judging people isn't the way to go. I wanted to write a little more about it here.


I am a stay at home mom, but the reality is I'm rarely home. I am off visiting people or on errands. When I am at home, I try to play with the kids for a good part of the day, and I try to keep the house at a fairly clean level. I also LOVE books and blogging (or at least reading others' blogs). These are the choices I've made.

Some days I envy people who have a clean house most of the time, because that would be a cool thing to have. Or I envy people who seem to spend so much time playing with their kids. Or making money. And sometimes I start to get a little uppity about it.

"Of course I know I could keep the house clean but I have got to have friends, right? And this is a really deep, profound book I'm reading here. Obviously this other person doesn't get to see friends as often and must be sad about it."

The truth? We all make choices about how to spend our day, and the choices are all different. Even those of us with jobs make choices. Some people choose to make more money and have less time for other things. Some people choose jobs that let them have the hours they want to work. And lots of us are great Christian people. So which one of us is right?

None of us. We are all just trying to "eat, drink, and be merry" in a fallen, meaningless world. I need to stop comparing myself to others and make sure that the choices I've made are good for me. Currently I am appreciating books. They help me get through this meaningless life. Others have taken a spartan view of life and keep their minimalist house clean while appreciating the quiet of their own home. That helps them get through the meaningless life.

And that's okay.

For those of you who know me well, I want you to know that I respect your choices. I am just reminding myself of it.

If you want to know more about the meaninglessness of life, read Ecclesiastes from the Bible.

Thanks for stopping by. I'm off to fold a load of laundry and then read my book some more (I have less than 50 pages left).

Monday, August 28, 2006

A Momentous Day

Denali and I had a great time at the library by ourselves. Even if we were early and had to wait 20 minutes for them to open.


Emmy and her beautiful pink and purple princess backpack. Notice the detachable heart-shaped lunchbox. I know it's sickening but they were half-off at Kohl's.



Today was truly a memorable day.

It rained for the first time in about two months. We scored about 1/2 inch and might get more tonight. At the first CRACK of thunder my heart jumped and I was outside almost immediately.

Denali almost died.
Do you ever make a decision, the whole time thinking "this is a bad idea. You should stop." I let the kids take a ball into the front yard. Our lawn slopes ever so slightly. Yes, the ball went into the road. I ran after it. Denali ran after me. The ball almost got hit. I almost got hit. Denali really almost got hit. Luckily downhill was towards traffic, so people first saw the ball, then me, then Denali, so they were already on their guard. Thanks to my neighbor who let me know he was in the road, I got him pretty quickly. I just scooped him up and ran inside with the kids. Then I yelled a little bit out of fear and then we played in the backyard which has safe fences and no cars.

Emlyn started preschool. She has not been in an official mother's day out program or preschool yet. It was sad and weird. Denali and I ended up hanging out with a good friend who was watching some other kids, so there were still two 4 yr olds and three toddlers, but no Emmy. Then I was the dorky mom who is 20 minutes early to pick up her child. She is such a big girl and I am so proud of her. Denali said "Emmy" all day long whenever he realized she was gone.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Playdough Recipe

Well I know there are a million sites with Playdough recipes, but I thought I'd post here the one I used today. I got it from this site: http://www.kinderplanet.com/playdo.htm

You will need:

* 1/2 cup salt
* 1 cup flour
* 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
* 1 tablespoon oil
* 1 cup water
* food coloring (I used about 25 drops)

What to do:

1. Combine ingredients in a saucepan. Heat gently, stirring all the time. When the dough has a good consistency, take it off the heat and allow to cool.

Pictures

As promised, here are pictures of Ruth's sendoff to college and the gratuitous cute kid pic.


Ruth and Emmy having a silly time at the Japanese restaurant.

Granna and Denali showing the menu for the night.


Ruth in her new room before things were unpacked. Notice the stylish dorm furniture.

Granna and Grace posing for the camera.

Thanks to Grandma for this cute helicopter outfit. Denali is officially in 2T clothes now.

Boy Gets Bigger

Well he can open the back door. And climb into his carseat and high chair. He is definitely getting to be a big boy. He loves to follow his sister around and do everything that she does. In fact if they are both doing something quiet and still I can sit and watch him watch her and check to make sure he's doing everything right. He'll adjust his feet, or wiggle a little to make sure it's just right. Sister, meanwhile, loves the attention and thrives on it.

Today I made my first-ever batch of playdough. I love how the colors turned out so vibrant. We did yellow and blue.

Yesterday we once again braved the excessive heat and walked to a neighborhood pool to swim with some new friends. That was pretty fun but also VERY hot on the way back.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Walking to the Bookstore

We finally have a bookstore within walking distance of my house. My rule is that I have to walk to it in order to go. So today instead of going to the gym we piled some water into the jogging stroller and set off. Emmy did a great job walking there, and since we left at 9 am, it wasn't too hot and there was lots of shade. We got there in about 30-40 minutes and spent some time cooling down and looking at books. I realized that I didn't have much energy left for browsing, especially since the kids were with me. But I picked out a couple good ones. Then we crossed the street and had a snack at a submarine sandwich shop. Finally we trudged back home. By this time it was about 10:30 and much warmer. Most of the shade had disappeared. Emmy got tired about 1/4 of the way back so I helped her figure out how to stand on the back of the stroller. This way we made much better time, which was nice because it was so hot. We got back about 2 hours after we started. I think it's a great way to spend a morning. We were ready for lunch and then nap time. I spent about $25 and got some good exercise and books. Emlyn picked out something as a present for someone and Denali got a Noah's Ark book.

I bought Little Debbie's brownies at the HEB yesterday and have been gorging on them. There's a reason I hardly ever buy them.

We are desperate for rain here- it's been almost 2 months since we've gotten any measurable rain.

I'm reading "Hyperion" and it's pretty interesting. A little Dune-y but not too bad. The characters are fairly well developed. It's a pretty long read, which is nice, but I hope it has a satisfying conclusion before moving on to the next book in the series.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Have Fun, Ruth!

This weekend my sister Grace, the kids, and I drove to Abilene to see my sister Ruth off to college. We bought her a bunch of stuff at Target and took her out to a Japanese steakhouse and helped her unpack her stuff. I think she's going to have a lot of fun and meet some really cool people. And of course it was nice to see my alma mater. She is in the same dorm I was in 9 years ago. That makes me feel old.

Probably the best part was seeing her meet her roommate and check out the campus. The saddest part was seeing the place where my favorite tree used to be, the one Joel proposed to me in.

Here's a few pictures. Just kidding. I too have problems with Blogger pics sometimes.

I'll post the pictures later.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Name That Character!


Can you guess who this is? Nope, it's not Emlyn!

My Great Husband

Our "check engine" light came on a couple days ago, and instead of taking the car to the mechanic, Joel bought a diagnostic code checker and checked and cleared the code. Evidently I have been tightening the gas cap too tightly, which I didn't know you could do. I am so proud of him for learning something new and saving us money.

EDIT #3 to Toy Library

So I went today and returned the complete sets of toys and picked out some new ones to check out and realized that I didn't have my library card, and their new policy is that you have to have your library card to check items out. Grr.

So I cried at them and stomped out. It'll be a while before we get back there.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

EDIT #2 (Read Last Entry First)

Well after spending most of the day looking for those dumb toys, we drove to the toy library to return them and I got there 20 minutes after they closed. I give up.

Toy Library Woes

I love our toy library, and I love getting toys for free for the kids to play with for a little while. What I don't love is when a toy gets lost. Today it is a little magnet mounted in a plastic block. It's what Emlyn used to build the Neighborhood of Make Believe the other day- these magnetic blocks. And one is missing. My current theory is it's either upstairs or in the car...

Last December I went to wrap some gifts and as I pulled out the tubes of paper two wooden beads fell out of the tube. These beads had been there for at least 5 months. So you have an idea of how long the lost pieces can stay lost. I don't think we've ever permanently lost anything, but after a certain amount of time I end up paying for the piece anyway, and then finding it much later. Joyous.

Anyway wish me luck in finding it because it's due today and there are late fees incurred if turned in late...

EDIT: It was IN THE TOYBOX. Who would have thought? After checking everywhere else, I said to myself "every time you go through the toybox you find another magnet piece. Why don't you do it one more time, toy by toy, and see if it's there?" And yet I almost missed it again.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Allergy?

Well we went to see the allergist, and based on Emlyn's symptoms, he did not do a skin test. He said it sounds more like contact dermatitis relating to some of the chemicals they use to treat rubber before putting it in clothes. So basically we get to try and find underwear and swimwear that does not contain this elastic with chemicals. Good luck with that.

The praise is we didn't have to stay there for a long time waiting for the skin test results, and we didn't have to pay for skin testing. Let's hope her latex and chemical sensitivity doesn't get worse.

Books and Allergies

Please pray for Emlyn today as we are going to have her tested for allergies. I'll let you all know the results after the appt.

Some of you may be wondering how I came to give away books. Surely that's heresy for Sarah?

Well, I have been organizing the children's library at church, and so far we've received about five to six hundred books as donations. It's absolutely stunning.

The problem is most of them are not Christian, a lot of them are very old, and some of them are not good literature.

Every week I get another box-full, and now we are at the point where I can be more discriminating and only keep the best of the donations for the church. I keep the good-literature-but-not-good-for-church-library books, and then I give away the rest. I also give away adult books that are not worth keeping, and old magazines.

So most of those books I just gave away were not any I had spent money on. I am getting quite a good collection for my teaching library that I will need 4 years from now.

Well, gotta go get ready for the appt. Catch you all later!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Freecycle

Yesterday I freecycled one sewing machine, two boxes of books, and one large bag of toys. I feel better about the clutter now. I also have one pair of shoes on ebay and another on craigslist. Now I just have to tackle the laundry and the papers in the office.

The kids need baths- 2 days in a row they played in the water and last night we got home too late to bathe them. We went and dropped them off at a friend's house for five hours and then Joel and I ate dinner, visited Amy and Eric, and went to a Round Rock Express game. We had to leave the game early, but that's okay because it was a boring game.

Now I'm making banana-blueberry bread. And you can't have any!

Friday, August 11, 2006

TOYS!

Once again I find myself trying to figure out what to do with these millions of toys. Every six months it gets overwhelming and I try to change things up.

The fact is there are too many. I don't care how you slice it. There are just too many.

There are different strategies for keeping all these toys in order. And I don't like any of them. I just want to get rid of some.

My husband doesn't really understand- he thinks if we could just get them all upstairs in the kids' rooms that would solve the problem.

But I believe that a cluttered bedroom leads to a cluttered sleep.

We have had a (not too large amount) of toys in Emmy's room and she just can't keep them in order. After 1 afternoon of playing they are all over her floor, and she doesn't clean them up. I could do it with her EVERY night, but that would get old really quick.

So.

Back to square one.

Sorting through the toys to give some away.

We go to a toy library and borrow toys, so ideally we could get rid of most of the toys and still have access to similar toys at the toy library. But how to convince my husband of that wisdom? I don't know.

I'll let you know if God tells me what to do.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

HACKED!

Well I got home tonight and while obsessively checking my email (I check it constantly throughout the day and get razzed for it) I discovered some suspicious emails from ebay showing what I had recently listed.
"Me and my husband playing together"
My brain went into panic mode and I opened a new tab and went to ebay (I do know better than to click on links in suspicious emails).
I had been hacked, and these were real listings.
A pornographic picture was on there.
My husband is bigger than what was pictured.

Long story short, I was using an OLD version of Firefox which my husband did not know (he has the latest on his login), and must have visited something recently which harvested something I typed.
And I was doing what a lot of people do and using the same password for a few things.

Lesson learned. If you have been using your password for a while, please go change it, and make it difficult to hack.

Luckily I don't think much damage was done but it was scary for a little while there. My brain just shut down and I couldn't think.

I am now using some crazy secure passwords that are painful to type. Hmph.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Neighborhood Of Make-Believe


Emmy made a picture of the Neighborhood from Mister Rogers. From the back to the front, in an arc, are the eiffel tower, the castle, Corny's factory, the museum-go-round, the platypus mound, and Daniel's clock. In the middle are the trolley and the tree.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Dessert

I signed up to bring a dessert to a function tonight, and then forgot to buy ingredients for a dessert. Then just now I realized that I could make carrot cake, where the only special ingredients are carrots and cream cheese.

And I have both of those things!

So I will be making a delicious cake. Too bad you can't have any!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

More photos than you know what to do with

I thought I would do a quick photo-laden update of our happenings the last few days.


Grandma made Emmy a beautiful new dress with matching accessories. Here she is, modeling for the camera. Thanks, Grandma!



Denali and Emmy have gotten much better about playing together. It's so nice when they entertain each other. Here they are hiding from me under the blanket together.


Here are my Birkenstocks I bought a couple months ago. Paired with the new ones I bought tonight, these are my only shoes.



Well, you will all be happy to know that I did get to go back (after 8 pm) with my sister to buy some shoes. Famous Footwear was doing a buy one pair, get the other pair 1/2 off, and so I got some tennis shoes for me and some for Emlyn as well. She calls them "power shoes" and I actually prefer that term for them.

I really like mine- I was hoping for some really trendy skechers but they just did not fit right. So I went back to Oasics.

She will absolutely bust when she sees these- princesses and pink and hearts and flowers. And they light up. Right up her alley.

Also the other day Denali came up to me and said "poo poo" so I took him to the toilet and he pooped in the toilet. I guess we are now "potty training." I reassembled the potty and he thinks it's pretty cool, although he has not repeated the action there. He just turned 19 mos, and that's a little young, but I'm all for capitalizing on the kid's knowledge.

So you know you wanted to see him on the potty- here he is. He is very skillful already at hiding things he doesn't want the camera to see...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Footwear

Today I tried to go shoe shopping with my kids.
It went horribly.
Depending on your perspective I guess.

Emmy was being all right, just loud. But Denali was getting into everything and heaven forbid I should leave him buckled in to the stroller!

So I gave up even after finding some cute ones.

The good part is I didn't spend $50-$100 on shoes. And I did buy some shoe inserts to try and extend the life of my old shoes.

The bad part is I really wanted some new shoes!

This is why I usually do all my personal shopping after 9 pm.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Yes, that's my daughter

wearing heels in the pool.

Ear vs. Nose

Thanks Robyn,

An ear is cheaper than a nose.

After 4 phone calls, 5 months, and a visit to the billing office today, I finally got Emmy's "foreign object removal" straightened out.

Instead of paying $200 to remove a bead out of a nose, I paid $150 to have the bead removed from her ear.

When I went in to the office they told me it had been fixed.

Thanks for the phone call! *sarcasm*

I'm just glad they didn't send the bill to collections. That's what I thought they would do with it.


Tried to move a stepping stone shaped like TX from the front to the back yard and accidently broke off San Antonio and the Mexican border. Think that means anything significant?


Time to go take a little nap. In the middle of the night last night Joel said "Goober!" and I said "what?" and he started explaining something about pthreads and linux stuff to me in this intellectual voice and I said "are you talking in your sleep?" and he said "No!" and kept explaining. Then I started laughing hysterically and had to go pee.