Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

So I had Easter plans this year.  I invited two of my girlfriends over and their families.  I hoped for some help eating the roast I was making for Dr. J and the ham I was making for myself (we are still having this argument 10 years later).  But I digress.  Then this morning I woke up feeling horrible.  I thought I had that stomach flu that kept going around.  I texted my friends and said, "DON'T COME OVER!"  You have to understand illness has been going through our friend group for months.  The very idea that I could pass something on, well it just made me feel horrible. I stayed home from church, didn't eat and slept.  Dr. J came home from church and I slept some more.  A deep sleep that I couldn't rouse myself from.  Finally at five I got up and now I feel pretty good.  Who knows what was going on.  Sorry I cancelled ladies.  I was so looking forward to our ham bananza/Easter egg hunt.  I will have to have you over later this week to make up for it.  But luckily for the kids we do all our Easter basket stuff on Saturday so my weird illness did no effect their basket fun.  Lucky for mom nana provided most of the basket fun.  All I added was a chocolate bunny for each kid, two packages of Peeps, and one bag of Cadbury Eggs.  She sent all the gardening tools and seeds which the kids have already started planning outside in random parts of the yard :)

Here are some pictures from our Saturday fun.

Cheetah was very happy with her haul.  Her favorite part the tiny Chocolate Easter bunny I got her.  Unfortunately for her she hasn't figured out how to eat through the wrapper.  We have found her about ten times on the table eating Cadbuy Eggs.  

 Captain E was most excited about his chocolate bunny and his little blue squish pet.  He collects these squishy balls from target and he was like, "OH my gosh mom now they have a pet!"

 Little Miss Peach loved her bunny ears and her little purple bunny.  It has had a blast velcroing it to her leg and running around the house like a crazy person!

 For Gigi bear it was all about the chocolate bunny.  She got that thing out and before I knew it had him dancing.

Last night we also decorate three dozen eggs. The kids had a blast.  I pulled out a bunch of crayons and they had a good time drawling all over them before throwing them in the dye.  I also had this brilliant idea to put rubber bands around them and throw them in the dye, then put more around them and throw them in a new color.  Turns out it wasn't so brilliant and a couple of eggs were crushed that way.  But I did have one successful rubber band egg.

All and all I think it was a fairly nice holiday, if you exclude that whole excruciating pain ruining my dinner party thing :(  Also included in our holiday was the reading of end of Jesus's life and the Resurrection in the Bible, and then today we also watched The Lamb of God on Youtube.  Turns out the only copy Dr. J could find at our house was a VHS.  Luckily we were able to find it on the computer although his first attempts to find it on the Church of Jesus Christ website were thwarted, so he turned to Google and found it within seconds.  I know I've said it before but I'm going to say it again, "Church you really need to work on your search function on your website.  Seriously finding stuff on your website is the worst I've ever seen!"

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Storing Carrots In The Garden Through Winter

 Did you know you can use your garden as a root cellar in the winter?  Well I didn't, not until this last year, but when fall hit my husband was complaining to his grandmother that we had a bumper crop of carrots we were never going to get through.  "Just cover them up with leaves and leave them in the garden over winter," she said, "And you can harvest them in the spring."  Honestly we both couldn't believe this was going to work, but the woman did grow up on a working homestead/farm and we had so many carrots we decided to take her word for it.  One day while we were raking leaves we just threw a couple of huge arm fulls about six inches deep over the carrots that were still in the ground unharvested. The snows came and I completely forgot about them while we hunkered down for winter.  Last week when it was about 45 degrees and spring was on the doorstep we went out to check on the carrots.  I was hoping the ground had warmed enough that we wouldn't be digging in frozen dirt.  We pushed back the frozen leaves and snow mess and found we could just see the former green steams, brown, gross, and shriveled.  I started to think it hadn't worked but then G bear worked one of the carrots out.  The root was perfect!!!!  We got to digging and harvested the whole bunch.  In the end we had two gallon sized bags of beautiful homegrown organic carrots at the very tail end of winter/beginning of spring.  I have always enjoyed eating the fruits of my garden labors and this just opened up a whole bunch of new gardening possibilities for me!  Other crops you can supposedly mulch to save through the winter, beets, parsnips, turnips, celery, rutabagas, cabbages, leeks, kale, and spinach.  You had better believe I'm going to be trying other stuff this winter.  If you live in a super cold area you will want to add a little extra dirt before you mulch, and then maybe up to a foot of dried leaves.  If you live in a warmer area you won't need as much mulch.  Straw can be used if you don't have access to leaves.  We have raised garden boxes and this still worked.

A few of my carrots pulled out in the snow waiting to be washed.

My little helper eating dirty snow and chewing on carrots.

Monday, March 25, 2013

When Your Mom Only Gave You Three Sisters You Improvise

The hardest part of living in the Midwest for me is the isolation I feel from being so far away from my family.  My sister and I talk about this often, how nice it would be when we were having a bad day to just go and sit with each other.  To be able to take our kids to each others houses and just let them play when we need a break.  It would be great for us and I think it would be great for them as well.  As it stands now we get to physically be in the same room once a year but thanks to apple and a little program called facetime our kids can see each other whenever they want.  Which is awesome, and yes the kids love it!  

 We got a ton of snow last night, a ton, and it is still snowing this morning.  At first the kids were excited and went out to play, but the novelty of a late march snowstorm soon wore off and they came back in to play.  We pulled out some dress ups.  Poor Captain E, when you mom only gives you three sisters you have to improvise to get your Mario. We put Cheetah in a padded lady bug costume to be our little mushroom but we couldn't keep her still for pictures and she wouldn't leave the hat on that Captain E made her.  Oh well.  Viva Mario!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

This Is a Post About Food - Lots of Food

 This is a post about food, lots and lots of food.  When I was a girl I used to tell my dad I loved different food items and he used to tell me, "You can't love food.  You can only love people."  Well dad I'm sorry to say I'm 32 years old and I still love food.  It is necessary, it is delicious, it brings families together.  So here is a post about food.  

Photo: Getting serious about pi
So first pic is from the 14th, national PI day.  We decided to celebrate with a strawberry pie.  It was delicious.  Do you like the can of whipping creme?  Personally I'm a fan of whipping my own but the kids love the stuff in the is the spray ability.  They go crazy for it. Before we ate our pie I taught the kids how to find the circumference of a circle using pi, using the pie we had in front of us and a quick measure of the pie's diameter.  That's the kind of math I like, the delicious kind.

Photo: Spanish spaghetti via Bridget Palmer #itlooksdelishSpanish Spaghetti
I have a couple of girlfriends that I met in Jordan almost seven years ago that because of the power of blogs I've stayed in contact with even as we and they have moved all over the place.  One recently posted about a dish called Spanish Spaghetti that her family has been making for years and that her Filipino house helper loves so much she took a couple of pans full to a wedding she was going to.  Did I mention Bridget lives in the UAE.  I think since I've known her she's lived in three different states, and three different countries.  She's just cool like that.  Anyway I read the recipe on her post, The Journey of a Recipe, and thought, "Um yes this sounds delicious."  So two days ago I tried it out.  Here are her instructions as I did them.

Spanish Spaghetti  via Bridget Palmer
One Box of Pasta
Bacon (I used turkey and chopped it before I put it in the pan)
One Chopped Green Pepper (I used half a yellow, half a green)
One Chopped Onion
On Can of Diced Tomatoes (or fresh)
Two Cups Grated Cheese
Black Olives, Sliced

Boil the pasta.  In a separate pan cook the bacon.  Saute the onions and peppers with the bacon.  Strain the pasta.  Combine all the ingredients in a 9x13 pan and stir until mixed.  Cover with foil and bake 30-45 minutes in the oven at 350.  So good!  Thanks Bridget!

Photo: If you are my kid not loving salad is a non option :)
Asian Chicken Salad
I love Salads.  I just do.  We have a salad available with almost all of our dinners.  In the summer we probably eat salad for dinner at least twice a week.  Recently I've been really into this Asian Chicken Salad.  I eat it all the time.  Sometimes I eat it for lunch.  Sometimes I eat it for dinner.  Sometimes I even eat it for breakfast.  My favorite part, the dressing. I make tons of it.

Asian Dressing
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons rice vinegar

I pour it all in a mason jar, put the lid on and just shake it up!

Photo: Our Irish dinner.
Today was St. Patrick's Day so we made Irish food to celebrate.  I threw a roast, a bunch of potatoes, a diced onion, and 1/2 a bag of baby carrots into the crock pot.  I cranked it up to high for 4 hours.  Then the last hour I threw some cabbage in.  Gigi loved it, cabbage and all.  Captain E thought it was good, all except the cabbage.

Photo: I'm a sucker for advertisement...obviously I've been watching too much Hulu :)
I get sucked into commercials.  It's bad news and a reason that it's good that I don't have regular TV, but I do watch hulu and my hulu must know I "love" food because they keep flashing me the commercials of muller yogurt.  I got this one at Costco this week.  The fruit stuff is weird.  The yogurt is yum.  I've got to get my hands on the nuts one.

Photo: Making some strawberry freezer jam....yum!!!!
Strawberries have been super cheap this week so I bought a ton.  I bagged and froze a bunch of them and then I made strawberry freezer jam.  Yup, it's loaded with sugar, but it is delicious.

Photo: Horchata this mini Mexican up!
We went out twice this week.  The first time was for Mexican food.  The food was so/so but the horchata was delicious.  Man I love horchata and apparently so does Tiny T.
Photo: Five guys with my one guy!
Our second time out was to five guys.  We've never been there before and it was pretty yum.  That being said I decided while I was there I was pretty much done with fries.  I just like the burgers better.  I want to waste all my calories on that.  So there you go.  Please don't temp me with fries anymore.

Photo: Sweet and savory crepes for dinner!  Yum!!!
Finally one night when I just didn't feel like making dinner I made crepes.  We did sweet crepes and we did savory crepes.  They were so good.  So dad I don't know what to tell you.  I love food.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Inadvertently Breaking the Law

We are not law breakers by nature, okay we speed but let's be honest few people in the United States actually consider that law breaking. I am also generally considered a very cautious person.  We always have heath insurance, life insurance, disability, home, car...I'm just cautious, which is why what I figured out last night was so horrifying.  I had been expecting a bill for our car insurance to come but it hadn't.  I waited a week, than another, than another.  Finally I decided to go online to see what the hold up had been.  That's when I found out we've been driving FOR SIX MONTHS WITHOUT CAR INSURANCE!  I was SICK!  I mean just SICK!  I quickly, like immediately paid and got the insurance current.  Then I spent an hour saying, "I can't believe that happened.  What if we'd been pulled over?  What if we'd been an accident?"  Then I spent time trying to figure out what had happened.  Turned out when we moved I hadn't changed the address online.  The first bill that was due got forwarded to our house with all the other forwarded mail.  A year later who knows what happened to it.  There was an e-mail attached to the account but it was one of Dr. J's little used accounts.  He doesn't even keep up with his well used accounts, so it's not surprising that if they sent a bill via online that it didn't get looked at.  So now the e-mail is updated to my account, the address is updated, the bill is paid.  I sort of miss the days when you had a local insurance agent who would call you up when a bill wasn't paid.  On the other hand, when I had to reinstate the insurance that had not been current for 6 months the only question Geico asked me was why we weren't covered, and when I typed in "Failure to Pay" they really didn't care.  OH MY GOSH!  I still can't believe this happened, but I'm glad I figured it out, even if it was six months to late :(

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mommy Juggler - An Exercise in the Rediculous

Sometimes being a mom of four with a husband who is never home is just an exercise in ridiculous.  I often find myself in a balancing act, not a figurative one, like an actual honest to goodness balancing act.  I have to balance time.  I run from activity to activity, school functions, doctors appointments, church responsibilities kids in tow, a bag full of electronics, snacks, toy, and books to try and stave off boredom.  I have to balance children.  Multiple children at a time, tiny tots and the olders.  I'm always in a rush, I'm always under stept, I always probably look crazy, but like any great circus performer the show must go on.  Most recently the need for my skills appeared at the Green and Blue Banquet for the cub scouts of our stake.  A certain Older in my house was receiving his wolf badge.  He had worked really hard to push through and get all his stuff done in time for the banquet.  We'd gotten into scouts last summer and done pretty much nothing.  When at the last awards ceremony he didn't have any awards to receive mom guilt kicked in and I start having him work on projects every day.  In less than two months he had completed all the wolf requirements and was ready to receive his award.  His completion culminated with the Green and Blue Banquet, a stake affair where all the cub scouts in his troupe would be meeting for dinner and awards.  It was on the North Side of the city, a fact that I find exceptionally annoying but will leave for another blog post.  It took probably an hour to get there, while only twenty or so miles away the North Side traffic is horrendous  even on a Saturday afternoon.  The one positive, Dr. J and I had looked at several houses in that area and while I dragged along in stop and go traffic and construction I thanked my lucky stars that we choose the house with the shorter and more convenient commute.  When you have very little time with your family wasting any of it on driving seems like a crying shame.  We finally got to the building.  It was then that I was faced with my first problem in acrobatics.  While driving Peach had fallen asleep.  Now the thing you have to understand about Peach is naps are of the devil.  It turns a normally adorable, slightly stubborn girl into a tiny terror.  Think irrational ogre child.  So she was upset and I was carrying a crying three year old and a fussy 15 month old.  We got into the meeting and found our den.  GG ran off to chase kids around the stage.  Captain E went to the bathroom to change into a scout shirt.  Peach cried, she screamed, she insisted in sitting in a chair that wasn't hers.  TT kept trying to escape.  A friend from our old neighborhood came up.  She gave me a hug and teased me about my boisterous children.  Finally it was our turn to get food.  Peach was still crying.  I was carrying TT.  I was trying to keep an eye on Captain E and GG and make sure that they didn't spill plates of Sloppy Joes as they went down the desert and sides table.  TT was fighting me to get down.  Peach was clinging to my leg actually sitting on my foot crying her eyes out.  I was literally dragging her along.  My friends took a look at me and started laughing.  It was so ridiculous :)  "Kodak moment" my friend Michelle with three kids said.  Luckily my friends came to the rescue.  They took a kid, they helped me carry food.  We made it through the line and back to the table.  Once the kids start eating everyone settled down, even Peach Pit became Peach Jam.  We got to see Captain E get his award.  Captain E we are so proud of you.  I love watching you in scouts, camping, crafting, running around with the boys.  I might look crazy running after you guys, juggling time and babies but when I see you guys doing all this cool stuff it is worth it.

So unfortunately I have no picture of my dragging Peach along but I have this lovely one from Christmas, just me juggling the babies!  Mom, I'm a magician!  

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Secret of Nimh in Real Life

When I was a child one of the first movies I can remember seeing was The Secret of Nimh.  I loved this movie.  I loved the book.  I think the rat Justin was probably my first love, followed quickly by the Fox from Robin Hood.  I was four.  I had no real concept of the fact that they were animals, I was just in love with their gallant deeds :)  There is a list of movies from my childhood that I loved so much I knew that when I had children I would have to share them.  Beauty and Beast, The Little Mermaid, The Secret Garden, Fox and the Hound, but the Secret of Nimh was at the top.  For those of you who did not obsess over movies from the 80's the story follows a mouse widow whose sick child makes it impossible for her to move homes when the farmer prepares to plow his field.  In order to move the whole house she approaches the Rats of Nimh, a colony of incredibly smart rats who years before escaped from a lab.  There is science, magic and love, a few scary parts but good eventually triumphs over evil.  In one word it is perfection.  

Yesterday while I was listening to NPR I heard a story that gave me a jolt.  They were talking about Glial cells in the brain, the stuff that surrounds the neurons, the glop keeping our brains together.  For years they were virtually ignored by the scientific community, passed over for the sexier work in neurons.  Just within the last ten years scientist have begun to look at them and what they mean for our thought processes and our intelligence.  It turns out that Glial cells are very important, that ours in particular are evolutionary different from the Glial cells you would find in other animals, that they also engage in chemical signalling, and that most amazingly of all if scientist inject human Glial cells into newborn mouse brains that those cells will grow up with those mice and that while those mice will act like all the other mice, they learn faster and are measurably smarter.  "Oh my gosh," I yelled out in the car, "They're making the Rats of Nimh."  This is amazing work that has huge implications for humans as well as major implications within the field of Bioethics.  This is the stuff of the science fiction!  If you are science geek like me or also had a love of the Rats of Nimh check out the full story here on NPR: To Make Mice Smarter, Add a Few Human Brain Cells.  

Monday, March 4, 2013

Forever Rounding

"Can you look back in your notes and tell me about his kidney functions?"

"Wait, are you talking to me?" I asked my groggy husband. "What kidney functions?  Whose?"

"Of course I'm talking to you.  Who else would I be talking to?" he says, "I've looked everywhere in your notes and I just don't see what the cause could be.  Why are his kidney's failing?"

"Do you think I'm your intern?" I choke out over a laugh.

"No, No!" he shakes his head a little in confusion and then buries it under the pillow, "Look why are you laughing?  Is this too difficult for you to understand?  Your notes, where are your note?  Kidney functions, failing, notes, sleep,..." and then nothing.

This happens all the time when Dr. J comes off a 30 hour shift.  He'll take these brief naps and then when I come in to ask him about something he'll seem totally engaged in the conversation and then I'll get this.  Total medical dream la, la land.  I've come to the conclusion that even in his dreams Dr. J is rounding, forever rounding and as of this year grilling interns.  Meanwhile in my dreams I'm making out with Matt Damon, because my other option is to do laundry, and personally I think I already do too much of that awake.  Who do you think has the better end of that one :)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Unfortunate Events

So I guess you could say I just haven't felt like typing recently.  I blame you, my family and friends.  I posted a video of the cutest tapper ever and only one person commented on it, only ONE PERSON!  The cutest tapper EVER!  Family you are letting me down!  Regardless lets talk about some other parts of my life that are currently letting me down.  My car for one.  My trusty little van that we bought right before Peach was born died on me this weekend.  We tried to jump it and it was dead, dead.  We decided we'd have to take it to the shop but unfortunately we had to drive to the shop to see if they could pick it up, because it turns out that our phones are dead as well.  For five days now we have had no cell phone service in our neighborhood, so no phone.  Sprint right now I HATE you!  It is almost impossible to deal with your phone company when you don't have a phone to call them.  The first two days I had to chat with them online.  "Don't worry they are just working on a tower it will be up soon enough."  Day three Dr. J was home so we drove to the garage to ask them if they could come and tow the van.  I called sprint again.  "We understand, we understand, we're working on it."  This was the day I had an anxiety attack.  No car, no phone, I've been in the house in the winter for three days, Dr. J has been on call and the worst part, I've been cleaning for three days straight and I kid you not, you could not tell.  I was actually hyperventilating.  Luckily our car guys texted us, yup they couldn't call, they had to text.  Turns out the battery was super dead.  Like never going to work again dead.  Luckily we had a warranty on the thing and were able to get a new battery for free...well if you don't include the money we spent have the car towed and having the problem sussed out.  So then I had a car again, but I was still down a phone.  I called Sprint again.    "Every tower in your area is broken.  We're working on it."  Well obviously not very hard because this morning I woke and I still have no phone.  And at loss with you Sprint.  What can I do?


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