Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween, and Happy Birthday to My Sweetie!!

So the big day is finally here. The kids could just pee themselves with excitement. LOL I had to get up insanely early this morning to take The Girls to a Girl Scout event. They earned their first patch today. Awwww :) I'm supposed to be taking a nap right now, since I was up late doing party prep stuff.. But what am I doing?? *eyeroll* LOL One our way home from the girl scout thing, we stopped and got Daddy some balloons and a couple cards.. and we brought him breakfast from a really yummy mexican bakery/restaurant that The Husband loves. I couldn't find him a clip on earring that he likes for his Mr. Clean costume.. so he's considering going and having his ear pierced today! :O I asked him if he was having his midlife crisis or something and just using the costume as an excuse. LOL I am going to DIE laughing if he comes home in a little while with an earring. LOL

I'm pretty excited about today. We decided to keep it simple for the food... there is too much to do just getting the kids ready and myself ready.. I don't have the time for ambitious party food like stuffed shells. Hell it takes 20 minutes just to break down a butternut squash. So.. We decided snacks instead. The Husband is going to make some Salsa, I'm going to make The White Dip (creamy garlic jalapeno ranch... MMM), we're going to do crackers with a couple toppings.. cream cheese with roasted raspberry chipotle sauce, pimento cheese salad, summer sausage and cheddar cheese... And I'm thinking sweet and sour meatballs.. So easy.. frozen meatballs, a jar of grape jelly and a bottle of chili sauce all in the crockpot. Maybe some deviled eggs, if I have the time.. and I think we're good. I've got two kinds of sweets (aside from bags and bags of halloween candy.. I promise I only ate a little.. well, maybe a moderate.. okay, I ate a lot of it.. but there is still tons LOL).. Anyway, back to the sweets I'm baking. Dave loves carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.. but I didn't want to have to deal with the whole cutting the cake ordeal and neither did dave.. So instead I decided I'd do carrot cake cupckaes, and I'm going to put a little candy corn on the top of each one..and then put them on my silver and crystal petite fours tray that The Mother got for me two Christmas' ago and I've never had an occasion to use. :) JD- Je n'ai eu l'orthographe française, là-haut et ici correcte? :P Anyway.. gonna do the cupcakes (and I'm hoping to find some cute Halloween cupcake liners).. and I made some big soft sugar cookies that I'm going to put some orange colored buttercream frosting on, with halloween sprinkles. :) I still need to make the cupcakes.. and all the frostings.. but that's about it. Everything else is just sort of open it up and put it on the table. :)

I'm excited, I think it's going to be a fun party.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Five

Compliments of JD's blog...

1. What were you doing the last time you really had a good laugh?
Ummm.. I guess it's been a while since I had a really good laugh, because I can't remember. I'm sure the party tomorrow night will bring a few. ;)

2. Who was your first CELEBRITY crush?
Johnny Depp. Yum. I still have a thing for him

3. What is one talent that you wish you had?
I've always wished I could play the piano.

4. How often do you and your spouse go out w/o the kids? Is it frequent enough?
Not very often.. once every couple of months, maybe. Not very many people out there willing to babysit 5 kids. One of the downfalls of having a big family. I envy my friends who only have one or two kids and go out with their spouses all the time.

5. What colour(s) is your bedroom?
Well the walls are white (rental).. but all of my bedding and decor is red/cream/gold/chocolate.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Laundry Shame

This one's for JD. :)

So during my laundry renegade moment.. In the bottom of the hamper next to the washer (aka the black hole) I found a long sleeve shirt of Justin's that I haven't washed since LAST winter. Seriously people. Last winter. Top that!! LOL When Justin went to hang it up.. He says "Oh cool!! My yellow old navy shirt!! I thought it was gone forever!!" LOL Last winter. *hangs head in laundry shame*

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Paula, Paula, Paula...

Paula Deen just made rice a roni on her show. Rice a Freakin Roni. C'mon now, Paula. They gave you a COOKING show. You should COOK. Not use Rice a Roni and cream of crap soup and a CAN of artichoke hearts. For real. *shakes head* At least Sandra Lee admits to using convience foods. I don't get mad at her. I don't really like her show, but I don't hate on her when she uses the prepackaged stuff.. It's the premise of her culinary point of view.. Her show is called "semi-homemade".. not Paula's Home Cooking. You ain't "home cookin" if you're just opening up a bunch of cans and boxes and throwing it all in a bowl. I mean Giada doesn't tell you she's going to teach to you make spaghetti sauce and then tell you to open a jar of Prego and "follow the package directions". Seriously, Paula actually said to just follow the directions on whatever brand of "rice mix" you choose to buy.. She got a chicken flavored one. LOL Maybe I'm just being a snob. But it's my blog. :P
Since my last post, I have done another 5 or 6 loads.. I have an 9 foot long dining room table that at one point today was completely full of stacks of clothes that were all at least 2 feet high. The Kids came in from school and one of them said "Look! The Laundry Fairy came". LOL This is a standing joke around our house.. Whenever I let the laundry go for a while and it is overflowing the hampers and no one has anthing to wear.. which is uhmm.. "quite often" *cough* ahem. Well anyway, whenever I go into laundry renegade mode and do 15 to 20 loads of laundry over a two day period (now remember..we're a family of SEVEN..looooots of laundry).. DH will say "The Laundry Fairy came" when the kids are around.. and when their not.. our private joke is "Hey look, Baby.. that bitch that does our laundry finally showed up!!!" LOL Sometimes I beat him to the punch. LOL

So I made Chicken Marsala tonight.. For the first time ever, actually. I've just never bothered to *look* in the wine section for Marsala wine.. and knew better than to get "cooking wine". Well, at The Grocery (I swear, it's my favorite place.. so many pretty things lol ) that has all my special ingredients that the regular store doesn't carry (fresh basil, low carb pasta, san marzano tomatoes, The Husbands low carb diabetes friendly milk.. and special sauces).. Well, my regular grocery store (Ok, I give.. it's walmart.. damnit, they're cheap and we're a big family) does not carry table worthy marsala wine.. so I've never made Chicken Marsala. Well The Grocery.. the one with an entire section of hundreds of imported cheeses *swoon*... happens to carry a couple of different kinds of Marsala so I grabbed it on my specialty item trip.

Okay.. can you tell I *really* like the grocery store? I mean I just wrote an entire paragraph talking about the things I like getting each week but can't find all in one spot. LOL That's kinda sad. LOL

Okay.. back to making Chicken Marsala. I consulted a couple of different recipes but didn't print anything out. I wanted to just go for it and see what I came up with. That's how my devine tomato sauce came to be.. And I've done it again! I measured stuff as I was going.. to keep track of it to write my own version over at It was really easy, and to my amazement.. ALL the kids loved it. Even Justin.. The Pickiest Eater In All The Land...

Here's what I did. These notes are more for me, so I can remember what I did when I put it into actual recipe format... Jamie, you get my recipe writing style, so this'll probably make sense to you :)

I cut chicken breasts into medallions..lay it straight up and down and then cut it in half horizontally then lightly pound the thicker half so they are all the same thickeness. Season with salt and pepper and dredged through some seasoned flour. Shake off the excess and brown in olive oil over medium high heat until they're golden brown on each side.. turning just once and not fussing with them while they are cooking. Leave 'em alone for a least 4 minutes before peeking to see if they're getting brown. My family is large so I did this in two batches. Remove the chicken to paper towel. Add more olive oil to the pan to coat the bottom and crank the heat to screamin high.. then toss in some sliced baby portabella mushrooms. DO NOT SALT THESE YET! Lay them all flat in the pan and leave them alone for 2 or 3 minutes until they get really golden.. then stir them around to turn them over and brown up the other side. Once they're golden salt them with a pinch or two and grind in some pepper then grate in 3 or 4 cloves of garlic. Give it all a stir, be careful not to burn the garlic. Return the chicken to the pan and pour about a cup of sweet marsala wine into the pan to deglaze it. Add in about 1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken or beef broth, a handful of rough chopped fresh basil (a lot of people say to use parsley, but I like basil better)...Give it a taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I like a sweet Chicken Marsala because I'm a big fan of sweet and savory.. especially with pasta. So, at this point I would add a pinch or two of sugar if the wine isn't sweet enough. Give it all a good stir, pop a lid on the pan.. off to the side a bit to let some of the steam out.. Simmer it on medium-low for 20 minutes.. While it's simmering, boil up some linguini in heavily salted water. When it's al dente, drain it and toss with a few tablespoons of butter and a handful of chopped fresh parsley. When the sauce has reduced and thickened up nicely, stir in a couple tablespoons of butter (REAL butter, if you don't have it, just skip this... you're doing this for creaminess)and turn off the heat. Serve the chicken medaleons and sauce on top of the cooked pasta.. make sure to put enough sauce on each plate to coat the noodles well.. it's a YUMMY sauce. If ya make it, enjoy!!!

In the time since I started this novel..I think the dryer has finished. One more load before turning in, I think. :) Yep.. The Laundry Fairy was definitly here today. So was The Yummy Food Fairy ;)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

This Week's Menu

Grilled Beer Brats, Potato Salad, Macaroni for the kids

"Mammas" Ginger Shrimp (that was last night and was freakin DELISH)

Chicken Marsala with Linguini a salad and bread (tonight.. can't wait)

Wild Mushroom Ravioli with from scratch tomato, basil, and garlic sauce (plain spaghetti for the kids.. they hate mushrooms)

Then with the leftover sauce (since I always make too much LOL).. I'm going to make some meatballs and do a Baked Ziti with Meatballs and chunks of mozzarella. Yum.

Sounds like a pretty yummy week, huh? :) Now I just gotta figure out what kind of snacks I want to make for the party Saturday night. And I'm going to make Dave a from scratch Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting for his birthday cake. Oooh.. Maybe the Cheesy Autumn Deliciousness Lasagne would be good for the party.. Hmm. I will have to ponder this and consult with my partner in party planning crime..aka The Sister(who is actually The Sister-in-Law.. but when you love someone and are this just sorta drop the "in-law" part). :) God I'm happy Halloween is on a Saturday this year. Makes it so much more fun for us. :)

ETA: Oh man.. I just went to check out this blog she made butternut squash stuffed shells... !!!! YUM!!! And how freakin good would that be for the party?? And way easier to serve than cutting a huge lasagne would be. OH. MAN. I think I just figured it out.. thanks to this bloggers yummy blog and my obsession with it! LOL I'm not going to do the same thing the blogger did for my stuffed shells, though. Just borrowing her idea and adding my twist. I'm going to take my ragu that I did for the lasagne, mix it with chunks of fresh mozzarella and stuff the shells like that. I can't wait to tell The Sister about this idea!!!

Busy Mamma

It's been a busy busy day. But busy days are always the really fufilling days. I've washed folded and put away about 10 loads of laundry... eek! Two weeks of not feeling good and barely doing the basics around here really caught up with me! I'm pretty tired today.. but feeling good about all I've accomplished. I didn't fall asleep last night until after 3am.. I was on a roll with getting the laundry started and then I just plain couldn't fall asleep. Then this morning, I thought I'd reward my latenight hard work with sleeping late.. No such luck. My back was really bothering me and I couldn't get comfortable enough to fall back asleep after the kids went off to school. So, I ended up just getting up and making coffee and surfing the net for a while.. Then ended up getting right back to the laundry. Mid day I figured I would get out and finish up the grocery shopping for the week and get the last few Halloween items I was still needing.

I found the purple and black striped tights I was looking for to go with my witch hat and purple glitter eyelashes. :) I'm kind of excited to be dressing up a little bit. I'm just going to do the tights and the hat (the hat is sparkly with the purple band).. with my knee length flouncy black skirt and a black top. And to go with my cute as hell tights... My knee high stilletto boots, of course!! Or maybe my peep toe 4in heels. Haven't decided. And I got some cute purple glitter spray stuff for my hair, and purple body glitter. Can you tell I like purple and black for halloween? I am nothing if not well coordinated. ;)

And I found a cream colored turtle neck to go underneath Heather's "Belle" costume. It's perfect and close enough to skin color that it shouldn't be too noticable under the cute yellow off the shoulder dress. I got the twins some cute glitter eyelashes, too. No whether or not they'll be able to hold still enough for me to get them on their eyelids straight remains to be seen. But I found some glitter mascara, too.. so *maybe* that will work if the eyelashes don't work out or don't fit their eyes.. we can use that. I'm not very hopefull.. the last time we had a "girls night" and did makeovers.. mascara was NOT something that worked out very well. LOL They blink a LOT and make it damn near impossible. LOL I'm sure it's going to be a very funny adventure getting them ready. I got ribbons to help decorate their hair, too. Heather is going to be one of the fairies from the "Tinkerbell" movie.. Silvermist. Her costume is really pretty purple and turquoise kind of swirled. She has a really cute turquoise long sleeve shirt that matches it perfectly to wear underneath it, since the weather is going to be chilly.

The boys are all being "scary" preteen boy costumes this year.. Justin is the grim reaper and Andy is doing Jason from Friday the 13th. Ugh, I hate those costumes.. but they've been begging and I'm sick of the fight. Last year was SO much cooler when they all dressed up as Gothic Punk Rockers. Now that was something I could get into. Spiked hair (Justin's was totally cool.. 7 inch long spikes painted bright orange and blue!) white faces and dark eye makeup. But nooooo this year we gotta do the typle boy adolecent crap. Even when I let the twins dress up as witches a couple years ago and the way I'm dressing up as one is cutesty.. not blood and scary masks and crap. Whatever. *eyeroll* Jason is the only one doing something I don't completely hate. He's wearing all camoflauge with camo face paint and a helmet.. but of course needs to carry a bright orange and green machine gun that makes clicky noises and a big "ammo bullet belt" thingy. His costume is at least something he's passionate about. He watches this show on the history channel all the time with some intense guy that talks about the history of different cannons and guns and other war weapons and why certain wars started, and who won, etc. He's *really* into military stuff. So at least his costume makes a little sense for him. He really wanted to be more specific with it.. 1942 WWII Army Soldier. But we couldn't find the brownish green military coats or pants.. so he decided just plain camo would be okay.. if he could have the ammo belt and the big machine gun thing. *eyeroll*

Even with the boys crappy costume choices, I'm really excited about Halloween this year. Halloween is Dave's birthday and usually we have to pick.. great costumes for the kids, or do something fun for Dave. Well, kids come first in our marriage.. so of course we rarely ever do anything. Usually we go to dinner on November 1st. But this year, we've been planning and buying a little here and a little there.. And have been graced by God to have been having a pretty good October at Dave's shop.. So we're managing both the kids Halloween fun.. and a party for Dave!! My mom brought up 5 huge totes FULL of Halloween decorations for my The Sister and I to split up. Once I had all of this Halloween decor up both inside and out.. I started feeling the itch to throw a party. I mean my house is totally cute and I want to show it off!!! Since most of our friends have kids, they are all coming to our neighborhood for trick or treating.. and then hanging out for a grownup party while the kids get snacks and movies in the back of the house. Dave is even dressing up!!! Well, sort of. He's been shaving his head for years, but he has a beard and a moustache... So, he's decided he's going to shave off the beard and moustache, get a clip on gold earring and wear a white tee shirt and be "Mr. Clean" for Halloween! LMAO!! If you know my husband, you are totally rolling on the floor laughing right now, aren't you? It's such a Dave thing to do. And he's totally built like Mr. Clean (God I love my husbands big arms *swoon*).. I'm a little nervous about the no facial hair thing. I've always been of the opinion that if a guy shaves his head.. he REALLY has to balance that out with some facial hair. But it's for a good cause and should grow back within a week. :P

Happy Halloween everyone!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Vacation Food

So we went to The Beach twice this summer. The first time was on our "parents only" weekend with The Bestfriends while all the kids were at summer bible camp. While in Port A, we ate dinner one of those nights at a place called Seafood and Spaghetti Works. It's your typical island restaurant.. it's not too fancy, but not a total dive, either. Now I love me some fancy places, and I *totally* dig dive restaurants (Hello.. my fav food network show is DDD with Guy Fieri LOL)... So a middle of the road mix of the two totally my thing. When we ate there, I was actually not feeling really well.. because two days of "no kids are around, I can drink all day" caught up with me and my ulcer was on FIRE that night. So...I, who am usually a total Food Whore and practically orgasm just reading menus (lol), wasn't really up to par that night. But I read the menu with enthusiasm and ordered something called "Jason's Ginger Shrimp". It was fried shrimp on a bed of wild rice with raisins, sauteed peppers, onions, and mushrooms with a dark sweet tangy spicey "ginger sauce". It was DEVINE. I could only eat a couple bites before my stomach erupted into flames. But I adored those couple of bites and boxed it up to take back to the hotel and eat when I felt better (totally not as good reheated, but I enjoyed it anyway).

The taste of the sauce reminded me of a sauce I once bought at the grocery store a few months back. It was a jamaican jerk sauce made by Spice Island Co. I used it on pork tenderloin when I bought it.. I even used raisins in the sauce I made for the pork.

The second time we went to The Beach, when we took the kids (pictures to follow in another post :D ).. We went back to The Restaurant.. this time I was feeling just fine... and so of course I *HAD* to order Jason's Ginger Shrimp.. just so I could fully enjoy it hot and while the shrimp were crispy and fresh. O.M.G. YUMMY!!

So anyway, yesterday I was at the grocery store that carries this particular sauce (my usual store doesn't carry it).. so I grabbed a bottle.. Along with some fried shrimp, some bell pepper, some mushrooms and raisins...and a little nub of fresh ginger and a wild rice mix. I am SO making "Mamma's Ginger Shrimp" for dinner tonight!!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Good Hubby

So not only did The Husband close our bedroom door and let me sleep blithely under my sleeping mask until after noon this morning... But he also went and got donuts. Now he gets donuts almost every Saturday morning.. it's one of our little traditions. But this morning, not only did he go to Dunkin Donuts like usual for my Pumpkin Spice Latte and Maple Glazed Donut, where he also got me a Heath Bar Cake Donut (OMG!!).. But just because I said something about Shipley Donuts sausage kolaches last night.. he went to Shipley after Dunkin and got 18 sausage kolaches, and ANOTHER maple donut for me.. this one with crushed pecans.. YUM!!! What a good hubby I have!!! I'm swimming in donuts and a yummy latte, and watching my ass expand every time I take a bite. :P

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jack and Jill...

Only a Young and the Restless fan would get this.. But I think it's pretty damn cute and witty and I'm kinda proud I thought of it...

"Jack and Jill ran up the hill to run Jabot together.. Jack fell down and Jill came down carrying a hammer" LOL C'mon, that's funny!!! JD, you should watch Y&R for me.. it airs a day earlier in Canada.

Cheesey Autumn Deliciousness

The aforementioned lasagne will from here on out be known as "Cheesey Autumn Deliciousness". Even when I make it in spring or summer. Perhaps it could be shortened to just "cheesey deliciousness" during those times.

Can you tell I had another piece today? And would you believe it got BETTER today? I didn't think that was possible. But it was. Oh man. Made me happy happy on an otherwise crappy day. :)

Rainy Day Blues

I thought it would be a great day. I woke up and it was raining.. I slept late, as I love to do when it rains. And then as I was about to get my day started and call to refill Jason's meds.. And then my day went downhill, I forgot to refill Jasons meds, I've gotten nothing done, I have a wicked migraine, and I haven't eaten anything all day.

Sad :(

Hurting. Just really hurting. God I miss her.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Lasagne..

Words failed me. Upon the first bite, my eyes closed, I jumped up and down and I squeeled in utter delight. It was THAT. DAMN. GOOD. It was *exactly* what I imagined it would be. The only thing that would have been better was if I had a pasta roller and actually made the noodles. I think next time it's going to be an all day project and I'm just going to roll the noodles by hand.

I tweaked a few things.. The grocery store *and* the farmer's market were both out of fresh sage, so I had to substitute dried... that really bummed me out. It would have made SUCH a difference. It was still almost unholy in how freakin good it was... but fresh sage would have just.. *made it*. I added a LOT more cheese than called for. Like a least a pound or two of shredded mozzarella. LOL And I also added a bit of dried basil and oregano to the ragu of squash and sausage. After it was cooked and reduced(I added a little more than a cup of chicken broth so it could reduce nicely), I took my potato masher and gave it about 4 mashes, to thicken up the sauce a bit.. but not destroy all the cubes of squash. Also the recipe made a HUGE amount of bechamel sauce.. I think a standard 4 cup thick bechamel would be *plenty*... 6 was wayyyy to much.

I think I will only do one thing different next time (aside from the fresh sage).. I think I would like to add some carmelized fennel to the ragu. I think it would really add a nice sharpness that will blend well with the sweetness of the squash and sweet basil in the sausage. Basil and fennel play really well with one another, so I think it's going to really make a nice addition. We shall see... :) Of course Dave and I barely at 1/4th of the pan I made tonight... so it's going to take us a while to finish this one up before I can make another. LOL

Heather was the only turkey brave enough to try mama's crazy lasagne.. And she LOVED it!!!! :) Everyone else opted to make themselves a sammie or cereal. Crazy kids. They're lucky I let them get away with that crap every now and then. Usually what gets put on the table is what's for dinner. I just couldn't bare to watch them groan about not liking my beautiful yummy lasagne. I would have taken serious offence and there would have been bloodshed. It was better for ME that they just do their cereal and sammie thing. LOL I mean how could they resist THIS:

Holy Crap! The pictures worked!!

Dishes and groceries and laundry, oh my!

So, I've got the dishwasher running, the countertops have been washed, the groceries have been purchased and put away, there's a pan of chocolate chip cookie/brownie marble bars in the oven for girl scouts, and there's a load of jeans in the washer and towels in the dryer. Whew!!! Not bad for a couple hours work. :) Now I'm off to print out my lasagne recipe and start all the prep work on that :) I got a nice loaf of whole wheat french bread to go along with it.. I thought a nice whole wheat garlic bread would stand up nicely to the hearty richness of a butternut squash lasagne filled with bechamel and tons of cheese :D

Giada is making butternut squash risotto on Everyday Italian right now.. SO YUM. One of my new Thanksgiving dinner staples. :)

P.S. After a nice long nap, Andy is doing pretty good. He was a total trooper through the grocery store. I almost let him stay here by himself, but he said he felt good enough to go. He even carried all the grocery bags in the house for me.. My sweet helper. Anytime you need something done.. Andy is your man. :) Just like his daddy. :) :)

Getting my groove back

Well after a week of being down with what I am 99% sure was the flu.. I am starting to feel a little more like my old self again. Whether it was the swine flu or the "regular" flu, I have no idea. I wasn't subjecting myself to the ER just sit around for 6 or 7 hours to find out. Several bottles of nyquil and ibprofen later, I'm starting to feel human again. Still coughing and a little congested, but no worse for the wear. I'm awake.. and it's before noon... That's a really good sign! LOL

The kids all went to school today. Jason and Andy had to stay home yesterday, as they were both still feeling crappy and throwing up.. Of course by 10am they were running around, playing with the eye toy on the playstation and *destroying* my house. Jason tried to con us into letting him stay home again today... but once I told him "that's cool.. but I'm going to need your play station, your ds, your xbox, and the TV is going to need to stay off.. You can read in your bed if you want, but mostly, you'll need to be sleeping... And you obviously won't be able to see any of your friends when they get home from school, either. You'll need to stay in bed." He was suddenly well enough for school!!! LOL Funny how having no chance of playing any video games all day makes you feel well all better! He tried to call me from school, but the nurse saw right through him too.. he's done this before ;) You'd think he'd figure out that we caught on a lonnnnng time ago.

I have a long day ahead of me.. and I hope I've got the stamina for it. My kitchen is a wreck, the laundry is about attack, and there is nothing to eat in this house. I have barely cooked a thing in the last week, it's been all throw togethers and convenience foods.. But this week I'm in the mood for some good food. I *need* to cook something really good. So, I'm defintily giving that butternut squash and italian sausage lasagne recipe a shot this week. Also on the menu: chicken with basalmic vinegar and garlic with roasted new potatoes and green beans, and the kids requested that we make chili this week.. so we'll do that along with all the usual toppings (cheese, sour cream, crackers, corn chips, etc). I'm pretty sure I need to give this recipe for Nutella marbled pound cake a whirl this week, too. LOL

Tonight is girl scouts for the twins and Alyssa... and I'm supposed to bring a snack, so I need to figure that out too.

Well, shoot. Andy just called from the nurses office.. he threw up in PE. :( I guess this will have to be finished after I pick him up from school.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Damn Mercury

Mercury is in retrograde right now. I read about this a couple of weeks ago, but it didn't dawn on me. No wonder things in my life are getting tested. Well, I'm strong enough to withstand damn mercury. However, good stuff is happening inspite of damn mercury. Very very good stuff that I've been daydreaming about for years... :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

House of the Plauge

Title says it all.

I got sick last week... then managed to give my cooties to everyone else in the house. By Saturday all the kids were running fevers and laid out on the couch.. and The Husband was getting a tickle in his throat.. By this morning we had a puking Jason, fevers all around, coughing look-a-likes, a daddy that slept till 1pm, and a mom that has really had enough of being sick.

Whoever wished a pox on my house.. I hope they get it back.

It's a sign.

Twice in the past 24 hours I have seen something about butternut sqaush lasagne on the internet. It's a sign. I must make it. This is the one that's really making me drool...

Serves 8
by Deborah Mele

Lasagna Noodles:

4 Cups Unbleached Flour

5 Extra Large Eggs

Pinch of Salt

To make the pasta, mound your flour on a large pastry board, or the counter, and make a well in the center. Break the eggs into this well, and start to scramble each egg with a fork as it is being added. Start to incorporate the eggs and flour by slowly bringing more flour in from the inside edges of the well. Continue adding the flour to the eggs until they are no longer runny. Using your hands now, bring the outside edges in, forming a large mass on your board. Use only the amount of flour needed to form a soft ball.

Begin to knead the ball of dough as you would bread, pushing it down with the heel of your hand. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and satiny, for about 8 minutes. Wrap the prepared dough in plastic wrap, and let it sit for about 30 minutes.

Use a pasta roller or roll by hand to make long sheets of pasta 1/4 thick. I use my Kitchen Aide table mixer with the pasta attachment and roll my past to the third last position. After rolling, cut into 12 inch long strips. Precook in boiling water for 30 seconds, then place in ice water. Dry and set aside on clean kitchen towels.

Béchamel Sauce:

8 Tablespoons (two sticks) Unsalted Butter

1/2 Cup All-purpose Flour

6 Cups Milk

Pinch of Ground Nutmeg

Salt And Pepper To Taste

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Once it is completely melted and bubbling, add the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon. Cook for a minute or two until the flour just begins to take on some color. Slowly start adding the milk, whisking continuously to prevent lumps from forming. Continue to simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, stirring often. Season with a pinch of salt, white pepper and nutmeg. Set aside until you are ready to use, by pouring the sauce into a glass bowl and covering with a buttered sheet of plastic wrap.

Sausage and Squash Sauce:

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 1/2 Pounds Sweet Italian Sausage, Casing Removed

10 Fresh Sage Leaves, Chopped

5 Cups Diced Butternut Squash (About 1 Large Squash)

1 Medium Onion, Chopped

2 Clove Garlic, Minced

3 Tablespoon Fresh Chopped Parsley

1/2 Cup Dry White Wine

1 Cups Chicken Stock

Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper To Taste

3 Cups (About 3/4 Pound) Shredded Mozzarella

1 1/2 Cups Grated Parmesan Cheese

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and sage and cook until sausage is evenly browned with no pink showing, about 5 minutes, breaking up the sausage as it cooks with a fork. Remove the sausage to a bowl. Add remaining one tablespoon of the olive oil, butternut squash, onions, and garlic to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften and just begin to brown, about 7 minutes. Return the sausage to the skillet and add the white wine, stirring to 'deglaze' the bottom of the pan. When the wine is almost completely reduced, add the chicken stock. Bring to the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Set aside to cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread 1/2 cup of the béchamel on the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish rubbed with butter. Set aside 1 cup of the béchamel sauce for the top. Arrange lasagna noodles over the sauce in the dish, trimming them to fit if needed. Spread 1/2 of the sausage and butternut mixture over the noodles, top with 3/4 cup of mozzarella and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, then spoon some of the béchamel sauce over to cover. Repeat layers, ending with noodles. Spread the reserved 1 cup of béchamel sauce over the noodles, cover and bake at 375°F for 35 minutes. Remove the cover, sprinkle the top with the remaining Parmesan cheese and cook until lightly browned and bubbly, about 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Buon Appetito!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Being Erica

I'm feeling chatty tonight. LOL

So one of my *favorite* shows is back on soapnet. It's called Being Erica. I love this show for so many reason.. one of the biggest being that it takes place in Canada.. Montreal to be exact. And they say phrases and pronounce words that make me "Aboat". ;) I also love it because she's Jewish and I've learned a lot about the Jewish faith from it, and being the foundation of Christianity.. I am very intrigued by it. And I love what the show is about. Basically this woman, Erica, is a 32 year old single woman who's got a great education but her life is no where that she expected it to be. Her friends have all gotten married and have great careers and babies.. etc. And she feels like she's made all the wrong choices and that's why her life is where it is.. So then she meets "Dr. Tom".. who gives her the ability to go back in time to have a "do over" to her big list of regrets. And in the process she finds out all sorts of things about herself, fate, love, family, and the season finale is *heart wrenching*... So anyway... they are replaying all of season 1 in anticipation for season 2's premier in November..and I am so freaking happy and loving it. It's a great show for people who have regrets, and have always wished they could do something differently.. and eventually figure out that everything, even the bad stuff has a purpose. Basically, JD (if you're reading...) you would LOVE it.




Have you ever gotten to reconnect with an old friend? I got that chance last night. It was so great talking to someone who's known me for so long....Someone who knows me inside and out, and loves me just the same. It was even better when we started finishing each others thoughts like we used to. We laughed, we talked seriously, we talked about food and special fajita spices and grape juice wine, we teased each other the way we used to.. it was great. It's nice when you can pick up with someone like you never really left off. :) Now where are those damn yahoo emoticons when you need them? :P

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Five

Compliments of JD's Blog...

1. What phrase, or phrases, do you say a lot (holy cow, geez, seriously?)

Unfortunately.. the "F" bomb is part of my vocabulary more than it should be.. I'm workin' on that. Other than that.. Seriously.. or holy crap. LOL

2. Swimming: Are you a kamikaze off the boat, take the plunge from the deep end, or a gradual, slow submersion from the shore or shallow end kind of person?

Well.. as an avid lake goer... We all know that it's best just to get it over with and sink your body in all at once. ;)

3. Have any tattoos? If not, what would you get?

*impish grin just like JD's* Yes... I have a red butterfly in the small of my back and I *love* it. It's beautiful and it means a lot to me.

4. What is your favorite tree?

Easy. Weeping willow.


5. Two pronged question: What is your favorite non-physical thing about your spouse? What is your favorite physical thing about your spouse or significant other?

Non-physical: His heart. He has such a goodheart. He's an amazingly GOOD man. Sometimes I don't feel worthy of him.

Physical: His back. Especially the spot right in the middle between his shoulder blades where I lay my cheek. I lay my cheek there and the world is right as rain again.

Friday, October 9, 2009

My birthday was great... And it's back to business as usual.

I spent time with The Bestfriend, The Husband took me out to dinner *and* bought me some pretty fall flowers (and got the most romantic card ever!). The kids showered me with homemade cards that told me I was so so so so so so so so so so great. I love those.. the homemade cards. Even when the twins use up an entire package of construction paper and bring me 50 birthday cards that all say the exact same thing.. It's my favorite. :)

I had Andy's goal setting conference at school this morning. He's really reading below grade level right now. Which I knew. I don't know how he passed the dyslexia screening last year. He's still reversing a LOT of things. B's and D's almost all the time. E's and 3's. He is even writing his 5's backwards a LOT. He gets word placement in a sentence mixed up. She gave him a simulated TAKS test (Texas' state standardized test) and he passed 8% of it. 8. That's NOT good. He couldn't even finish it. She finally had him stop because he was getting so discouraged and she didn't want to bring his confidence down any further. Bless her for that. So, she's got the folder started for the dyslexia re screening process. She's also got him in a small reading recovery group with the dyslexia therapist that works with Justin. I told her that I don't *want* Andy to be dyslexic... but that I just really feel that he is. And when Justin started seeing the dyslexia therapist in 2nd grade, it just made a world of difference in his reading strength and confidence.. and I just want that for Andy. She agreed.. She told me what a sweet boy he is and how much she really enjoys having him in her class. He has such a good heart.. like his daddy. :)

Hannah's goal setting conference was last week and it was much the same as Andy's. Both of the twins are showing the dyslexia warning signs just like Andy. It frustrates me that 4 out of my 5 children struggle SO much with reading. Reading was always a strength for me in school, so it pains me that they don't find the same in enjoyment and escape into reading that I always did. For them it's a frustrating battle of decoding words and by the time they've decoded a particularly hard word, they've gotten so frustrated that they've forgotten most of the story. It's sad to me. I want them to get into the therapy groups like Justin did, and the sooner the better. Justin is finally able to read for pleasure. And that excites me and warms my heart. I want that for Andy and the twins. Hannah's teacher also said that she's really lacking in vocabulary and conversation skills. She doesn't pay attention very well. So we've been working on teaching her how to have a proper conversation and not go off into twin land and start talking about whatever pops into her head instead of actively listening and processing what's being said to her. Honeslty, it's ADD at it's ugliest with the twins. We have that screening going on right now, as well. I hate feeling like there is something "wrong" with each of my kids. If it's not a learning disability, it's a behavior issue or a mental illness. But, as much as I hate labels like that..labels come with action plans for solutions. And that makes successful kids. I just wish I could just send my kid off to school, they learn normally without extra intervention, and act normally, without extra intervention, come home to lead a normal life. I was given 5 special kids.. I feel honored and overwhelmed all at the same time.

But I find that keeping a "business as usual" attitude makes it all fall into place. It's only when I tell people or teachers what it's like afterschool in my house.. making sure everyone gets a healthy snack and the chores get done, and making sure Jason takes his medication, and how I scatter the homework times for each kid so that I am able to having one on one help time with each of them... and then they look at me in disbelief and say something like "I don't know how you do it, you're amazing".. and I just think, "no I'm not". It just the way it is in my house. It's what needs to be done. It's not amazing. It's just business as usual. I find I enjoy the hectic pace most of the time. It gets overwhelming and I feel like I'm drowning in a sea of permission slips and practice spelling tests and announcements that I get 5 times because they haven't figured out I have more than one kid and I don't need to know that there is a PTA meeting on 5 peices of paper. But the times that I'm sitting on the couch helping someone with a math problem.. or snuggled up reading a Magic School Bus book with someone.. those times make me realize, this is being a mom. And I love it. :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Now I really feel old...

So it's my birthday. Woo hoo, I'm 31. I kinda thought turning 30 sucked, although it was a lot of fun because my friends made it a lot of fun. But turning 31 seems worse. Not sure why. But whatever. LOL

I started thinking about my friend Carolyn.. who's birthday is in two days. She became a grandmother this year. At the age of 36. The baby that she had at 18 had a baby at 18. And it got me to thinking. Oh shit. Justin is 12. I got pregnant with him at 18 and had him right after my 19th birthday. If he were to "follow in my footsteps"... That's only 6 or 7 years away. Umm. NOT COOL. SO NOT COOL! To put this into perspective... I've lived in my home for almost 7 years. I saw my very good friend JD(Hi Sunshine!! it's been too long!!) right after we moved in here. And honestly.. that seems like it was maybe last year. Time has FLOWN by. Years have flown by. I can't imagine how fast the next 6 or 7 years is going to go by. And what if my kid does what I did and knocks some poor girl up and makes me a grandmother in that same amount of time??? NOT COOL!! LOL I called The Husband and told him of my feeling old woes... and he laughed at me. I told him, oh sure.. you can laugh. You're already in your 40s... in 6 or 7 years you'll be close to 50.. that's a perfectly respectable age to become a grandfather. Then I told him I'd kill Justin if he follows in my footsteps. LOL Hopefully that apple fell nice and far from the tree. LOL

So there you go. Crazy as ever. Worrying about stuff that hasn't even happened... as usual. Happy Birthday to me!