March 23, 2010

Where's Chef Ramsey when you need him?

I am sick to death of all the meals that I serve at home.  And by all, I mean the three things that it seems like we eat on a never ending rotation: spaghetti, pork chops, and spanish rice with hamburger.

Okay, I MAY be exaggerating a little bit, but it really doesn't seem like it.

In almost 15 years of marriage, I think I have found 2 recipes that the WHOLE family likes.  My heaven on earth would be an evening where my quiet, well-behaved children (if you're going to dream, dream big I always say) ask me what's for dinner.  After I tell them, there would be a total absence of gagging noises, declarations of "I'm not eating," or a mad dash for the milk and cereal.  When I'm really daydreaming, these angelic children even voluntarily clean the table and do the dishes without being forced, shortly before heading off to a quiet evening in their rooms, doing their homework.


Anyhoo, back to reality!

Because I'm so bored with everything we eat, and because I'm always on the lookout for some magic recipe that will be universally loved by all, I have been on a "new recipe" binge.  When the hubby or the children ask me "what's for dinner?"  my slight hesitation always lets them know that mom's at it again.  Anguished cries are sent heavenward, but I figure that's what they get for not giving me any ideas when I make up the weekly grocery list.  Bwaahahahaa...

Last week I tried a recipe for turkey steaks and potato stroganoff.  The recipe came on the turkey steak package, and it sounded wonderful.  I'm an Idaho girl through-and-through, so anything with potatoes wins me over.  I bought all the ingredients and rushed home to make my newest masterpiece.  I thinly sliced oodles of potates, diced onions, and chopped mushrooms, mixed it with the cream of mushroom soup and sour cream and spread it in my cake pan, just like the recipe instructed.  I added the turkey steaks, and poured the remaining soup mix over the top.  It didn't fit quite as nicely in my pan as it probably did in their test kitchen, but no matter!  I wrapped it sturdily in aluminum foil and shoved it in the oven for 1-hour of baking.  Dinner would be delicious and, best  yet, ON TIME!

An hour later I came back, peeled off the aluminum foil, and speared a potato slice.  Hmmmm... they didn't taste very done, so I put it back in, checking on it every 10 minutes.  After 40. More. Minutes. (now after 9:00 p.m.), I tried another potato.  Still not as tender as I'd have liked, but at least it was edible.  In addition, the soup mixture had boiled over the sides and made two very large, lovely pools of gooey mess on the bottom.  It had to be done, right?

I proceeded to dish Tom's plate, but when I tried to snag a turkey steak, it broke apart into a gooey, red mess.  It was NOT done at all.  At that point I had a small mommy melt-down, and we all ate cereal for dinner.  After finally calming myself down, I dumped the whole shebang into the crockpot, figuring that I could cook it in that the following day, which is what I did, for many, many hours.  The turkey was done but the potatoes STILL weren't.  I threw the recipe away, and started looking for my next "must try."

Fast forward to last night.  I was making my easy chicken parmesan, which has to be cooked at a fairly high temperature.  I had the oven pre-heating while I sat at the table, engrossed in a book (damn that Twilight series!). Evan wandered in, asking what all the smoke was from.

"Huh?" I said.  "What smoke?"

Around that same time, I glanced at the oven to see quite a large fire, burning away...  In my panicked state, I couldn't remember how to put out the flames other than smothering it with salt.  I couldn't find the large container of salt, so I was frantically shaking the little 99-cent salt shaker at it, which, no surprise, wasn't worth a pinch of salt ;-).  Luckily, Evan was a little brighter than his mom, and beat it out with his t-shirt.  Guess I'd forgotten to clean up the turkey-gravy mess that had spilled, one of a zillion chores I had planned for last weekend. 

Tom knew better than to even ask when he got home; he just made some comment about the house being awfully smelly (this after a freezing hour-and-a-half with the windows and doors open).

 "Hush, and eat your charcoal!"

March 10, 2010

You're as Cold as Ice

For some reason, I'm getting more adventurous in my old age than I ever used to be, even during my "wild" (not!) teenage years.  This past weekend, Braden, Savannah, and I rented snowshoes and went snowshoeing with some friends of ours from church, my first time ever.  If you haven't ever been, you really owe it to yourself to try it!  The day was beautiful and the snow was perfect, and even though we probably hiked 2 or more miles, my legs still functioned the next day... ;-)

The next day I dragged Tom out for a small snowshoeing excursion.  Aside from the beauty and fun of the outing, it also gave us a chance to REALLY enjoy each others company and visit with each other - beyond the usual "How was your day? Really? That's Nice..." "What's for dinner?" and "Goodnight" that normally passes for in-depth conversation.  During this, our talk turned to the kids.  I happened to mention to him how handsome I thought Braden was becoming.  In fact, I couldn't just leave it at that; I had to embellish a little, saying something along the lines of "if I were Braden's age, I would definitely have a crush on him - and he's such a kindhearted kid too!"  

So tonight, Tom was trying to butter Braden up a little.  As he was leaving the room to go downstairs to bed, Tom called him back. 

"Hey Bray!  Do you know what your mom told me the other day?  She said that you're a total stud; that if she were your age, she would totally be after you, etc. etc. etc." 

This was met with embarassed silence from both Braden and me.  He quickly grinned and said goodnight, then practically ran for the stairs. 

A minute later he popped his head around the door again, just enough to show his impish grin.
"Hey mom!  If you weren't like 100 years old and didn't look like a dinosaur and you were my age..." 
 Is it too late to take back that part about him being nice and kindhearted? 

P.S.  As I was downloading photos, I received a text message from my little hottie:  "Good night my love. If you don't mind, I would very much like it you could start singing "This land was made for you and me" loudly to soothe me to sleep."  :-)  Did I mention what a dork he is also?!

How boring would life be without kids!  They truly make it all worthwhile...

March 3, 2010

Running the Rat Race

Has anyone seen where February went?  I turned my back for just a minute, and now it's gone...!  So far, March seems to be racing away too.

So, a quick recap of the last few days:

Saturday: breakfast with my honey, followed by umpteen loads of laundry, cleaning the bedroom, and FIVE. LONG. HOURS. of cleaning my closet (which before this you literally had to shoulder to get the door shut and to keep a cascade of stuff from tumbling out.  The closet that was NOT messed up by me!  After slaving away for all those hours, I stood there admiring the floor, when Savannah came in to see my handiwork.  Her eyes got really big, and she asked "Oooh, can I hang my stuff in here?!"  I believe my head may have spun round on my shoulders a few times, eyes shooting sparks, as I hissed a very sound "NOOOO!"

Sunday: Church (we were actually ON TIME for the second week in a row! Or maybe they're just starting later.  Whichever... it works for me!).  Home to do 4 hours on a dissertation review, a particular form of torture I regularly inflict upon myself in the hopes of earning a little extra spending money.  This year I am particularly lusting after a Digital SLR camera which, unfortunately, doesn't grow on a tree.  I really enjoy editing (cough * cough * English nerd!), but it seems to be getting harder and harder to give up what little "free" time I do have on the weekends to do the work.  I'd really like them to just give me money, with no particular due-date in mind!

Monday: Just another wild day at work; lunchtime spent meeting Evan at the cell phone store to replace yet another of his cell phones (at least he didn't drop this one in a toilet, instead he left it on the hood of his vehicle and then forgot to pick it up again.  His girlfriend found it smashed to pieces on the road in front of her house); back to work, followed by a grueling workout at the gym. I've "unofficially" committed myself to run a 15K this summer with another crazy friend, so I've been trying to get my sad little self in gear so I won't drop over dead on her come July!  Monday I decided it was time to kick it up a notch, and boy did I feel it.  The sad thing is, I am still sooooo far away from being anywhere near being prepared, and the way time is flying, July will be here the week after next.  If nothing else, I'm pretty sure I can walk 9.6 miles!  Anyway, then a quick run-through at Wal-Mart randomly grabbing ingredients for at least 2 meals since I didn't get grocery shopping done this past weekend; home to cook dinner (baked spaghetti which only Tom and I would eat), then back to do another hour or so on the dissertation review.  Bedtime already?!!!!  Also had a wildly funny thing happen at work, but I'm still trying to figure out if I can blog about it.  Don't want to get in trouble!

Tuesday: Work, lunchtime wherein I ran to the bank and made the house payment, got our "lunch allowance" for the next two weeks, ran to the thrift store to drop off all the clothes and crap miscellaneous from the great closet-cleanout, ran to the used bookstore to drop off all the crap books I cleared from the bookshelves, ran to the local craft store to check out a great sale I had heard about, talked myself out of a Cricut personal cutter because I have to keep my eye on the prize (the camera), bought lunch, made it back to work but had to park in the "Timbuktu" lot, and made it back to my office within 1-hour! More work, followed by my workout at the gym.  Savannah went to a friend's house after school.  When I gave my permission, I told her: "Make sure that R's mom knows that I won't be there 'til almost 7:00 to pick you up."  Her reply? "She already knows."  So when I drive to R's house to pick her up at 6:45, there's nobody there, and nobody answers the phone either. ???  Right as I was getting ready to call again, my cell phone rings.  They had to go into Logan for a function, so they dropped Savannah off at the gym where I no longer was.  Easy misunderstanding, so I drive my gas-guzzler back to town and pick her up.  She looked so tiny and orphan-like sitting inside the doors, forlornly waiting for me.  As we're getting ready to head BACK home again, Savannah reminds me "Don't forget that tomorrow's my play.  And I need a costume."  ACK!  The play was on the Boston Tea Party - where on earth am I going to get a costume for that at 8:00 p.m.?  We high-tailed it to the local thrift store, and with 20-minutes to spare before they closed found a dress that not only looked remarkably like we wanted, but it actually fit well too!  I'm pretty sure God knew I was at my breaking point... ;-)  Home AGAIN, but too late to make dinner so Tom and I had leftover baked spaghetti.  I'm pretty sure the kids scrounged up something, but I was too tired to check.

Wednesday: I arranged with my boss yesterday to take today off so that I could actually accomplish some things that I never get done on the weekends.  I curled Savannah's hair in approximately 357 ringlets for picture day, did 4 loads of laundry; unhooked our computer which has had a broken CD/DVD drive since about 2 weeks after I bought it and took it in for repair, hooked up the old computer (which I'm typing on as we speak.  It didn't take more than about 5 minutes to remember WHY I got the new one as this one sucks.  It has already crashed on me twice in the time it's taken me to type this blog); stopped at the hardware store to find the little "thingies" that hold up shelves in our kitchen pantry (currently a half-empty case of diced tomatoes and cream of mushroom soup is all that's keeping the shelf from collapsing); bought a new rug to go in front of the kitchen sink; downloaded the tax program I bought a month ago so that I can do our taxes; did our taxes; cried quietly over the fact that we're getting $1300 less back this year than we did last year; took Savannah back to school for the "Boston Tea Party" play that they did in support of "Literacy Night," always a chaotic time; bought MickeyD's for the kids' dinner; heated up yet another serving of crap baked spaghetti for me, and here I am.

And now I'm off to bed.  Gee, I can hardly wait to see what tomorrow holds... Sigh.