Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thoughts On Coffee

How is that a woman can make it all the way through medical school and 3 years of residency, with many missed hours of sleep, and never acquire the habit or liking for coffee, but give her 4 small children and she soon cannot function without that morning cup?

You Know Mom Is Tired, #6

You know mom is tired when she gets up in the morning and starts sniffing the coffee beans (only used for cappuccinos!), while waiting for the coffee to brew.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Is It Strange?

Is it just me or would you think it was strange if your kids(the boys, mainly) wanted to lick the spoon you used to scoop out some shortening?

This has occurred on multiple occasions, so it's not like they don't know what it tastes like.

Friday, October 23, 2009

You Know You Are A Mom Of Boys...

...when you know the difference between a backhoe and a trackhoe.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Small Successes - 40

Since I haven't listed any of these in a while, I've been racking them up:

1) When we moved into our house over a year ago, we decided that the living room windows needed some kind of window treatment. There were faux wood blinds, but they needed something else. Plus, there were fancy curtain rods still hanging up from the previous owners. So, a few months later, we found these valances that matched the color scheme perfectly, so we bought them and brought them home. Well, you know how things like that are always creased when they come out of the package, but you just want to hang them up right away to see how they look? Yes, you know what I'm going to say. There they stayed, creases and all, for the next 10 or 11 months. Finally, a few weeks ago, I took them down, washed them and ironed them, and rehung them. Hooray, they look even nicer than they did!

2) I cleaned out my spice/herb cabinets (I have 2 small shelves by the stove and more shelves by the mixing area) and made a list of what was almost gone or used up. Before I went to the spice/herb sale at the grocery store!

3) I bought 36 pounds of apples at the grocery store on Tuesday for $12 (making them 33 cents a pound!). So far I have peeled and sliced half of them for applesauce. I have discovered that it takes 3 pounds of apples to make 1 quart of applesauce. My current total is 5 quarts in the freezer, a bunch eaten, and 3 quarts simmering on the stove as I type. 2 more batches to go! Simmering applesauce sure makes the house smell good!

Go to Faith and Family Live to read more Small Successes!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Humbling Moments

It doesn't take long for a new mom to realize that with parenthood comes the opportunity for many a humbling moment.

I took the kids to the doctor yesterday for Dominic's asthma checkup and all was going well until it was time for flu shots. They asked if I wanted to go ahead and get them for all the kids and I said okay. I tried not to say the word "shot" and it seemed to work. I've learned it's better just to surprise them at the last second. Well, then the nurse came in and said they were all out of the injections, did I want to give them the Flu-Mist? You might think this is a good thing, but I had intended to just get them all the same thing and Dominic can't have the Flu-Mist because he has asthma. I knew however, that he would be somewhat protected through herd immunity, so I said okay on the other three.

As the nurse left, I made the fatal mistake. "Guess what guys, you don't have to get a shot! You just get a little squirt in your nose!" The girls immediately started fussing and almost crying. What's the matter? It won't hurt. It might just tickle a little. "I don't like being tickled!" "Boo-hoo!" This of course spread to Joseph and he started to fuss a little. Here I thought I was off the hook. When the nurse came in Anne started getting hysterical, so I had them give it to Joseph first. He sat on my lap and it was over so fast he didn't even react. This of course didn't faze Anne, who was convinced SHE DID NOT WANT A SQUIRT IN HER NOSE! I was barely able to contain her and they got it in so fast she barely noticed. I thought, good, the worst is over.

Wrong! Dominic started crying because he didn't get one. Then we had to stop at the weight/BP/temp station so they could document vital signs for the vaccine recipients. Anne cried when they checked her blood pressure. Then to top it all off, Joseph refused to stand on the scales. So finally I had to get on there with him and listen to the nurse announce our combined weight. Then I had to step on by myself so she could subtract my weight to get his. ____ pounds, she announced loudly. At least it sounded loud to me and I mumbled something about oh, it must be that baby in Mommy's tummy.

Time to use the hand sanitizer and get the circus out of there!

I Swear I Feed Them!

The same kids who not long ago refused to eat the peels on apples, stood by devouring long strands of apple peels as I was peeling the apples for applesauce this morning. Maybe it's just more cool to eat them that way.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

You Know You Have a Bunch of Little Ones, #16

You know you have a bunch of little ones when the plumber asks if you run a daycare.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Pumpkin Patch

A few weeks ago, when it was still warm outside, we went to the "local" pumpkin patch.

Dan loaded up the kids for the "drive" to the Pumpkin Patch:

Here we are! Let's go pick some pumpkins!

Joseph stooped to admire some pumpkins close up:

"Look, Mommy, I picked one up by myself!" No, he didn't drop it.

Anne found one to carry:

Evidently something was funny. I'm not sure what it was, nor was Joseph. Maybe they had a premonition that I was shortly going to step backwards, trip on a vine, and fall on my you-know-what.

Mommy got in the picture:

The pumpkins were loaded up and it was time to go back home.

After the loooooooong drive back, the pumpkins (all 23 of them) got lined up on the front porch.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Want To Know A Good Way.. startle your husband when you are pregnant?

While cooking in the kitchen (make sure your husband is around), casually open the fridge and take out a can of beer and open it.

Dan, a little incredulous: "Are you going to drink that?"

Me, as I pour the beer into my flour mixture to make some beer bread: Big grin!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Cloud Soup

This should really be called Chicken Kenebel Soup, but my children have nicknamed it Cloud Soup and the name has stuck! Kenebel are hard little dumplings which go well in just about any kind of soup. This is definitely one of my go-to fall recipes! I first encountered Kenebel at my mother-in-law's house and it is a Volga-German tradition.

For this soup I started by sauteing 1-1.5 pounds chopped boneless, skinless chicken breast. I seasoned it with salt and pepper, and when it was nearly done, I added some onions from our garden. After a couple of minutes I put in chopped celery and carrots and sauteed another minute or two. Then I added one can of chicken broth and about 8-10 cups of water and brought it to a boil. I then let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes. I seasoned it with thyme and marjoram to taste and added salt and pepper as necessary. Towards the end I added a bag of frozen corn.

While the soup was simmering I mixed up the Kenebel(I've also seen it spelled Gnebble):

2 eggs, beat
enough flour to make a sticky dough (about 1 cup)
a little salt and/or pepper, or any other seasoning you might like
milk, if needed, if the dough gets too tough

As you can see, this is not an exact recipe, which is why I start with eggs, beat them up in a bowl, then add a cup of flour. If the dough is too wet, add a little more flour. If it is too tough, add a little milk. Season as you like, or not at all. You can also start with 4 eggs, if you want to double it. This is what it looks like in the bowl:
Bring the soup back up to a boil before you add in the dumplings. IMPORTANT: Use a small spoon to put them in, otherwise you will end up with large dumplings that aren't evenly cooked. I use a long-handled teaspoon. NEXT IMPORTANT TIP: Dip the spoon into the boiling liquid before you put it in the Kenebel mixture and then scoop a little out and dunk it in the soup. The dough will slide right off the spoon. This is what they look like cooking in the soup pot: As you can see, they expand a fair amount, and then float to the top of the soup. After about 5 minutes, they should all be done.

Serve, and enjoy!

*Variation: Start with a leftover ham-bone that has all the nice little chunks of ham still attached after you sliced the ham for your big ham dinner. Put it in your soup pot, add water to cover, bring to a boil, then simmer until the ham is falling off the bone. Remove bones and ham, chop the ham and put it back in the pot. Add bag of frozen green beans and simmer together. Mix up your Kenebel and add as directed above. No need for any seasoning for this version!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Do You Know What Crazy Is?

Crazy is when you take 4 children, aged 5 and under, clothes shopping with you. And you are pregnant. And you shop the clearance racks for toddlers, little boys, little girls, big girls, and maternity. And you have to find a person who works there (who suddenly seem nonexistent) to get something off a rack way up high out of reach. And you try on some maternity shirts with all 4 kids in the dressing room with you. Two were sprawled on the floor. One was mad because there wasn't anything for her to try on. "Mommy, I'm hungry." "Mommy, I need to go potty." "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!"

Even more crazy is when you prolong the punishment by going to the bookstore because it is the last day of Educator Week, and you finally made your ID card off the homeschool group template, and you really want to use that 30% discount. A big Yay to Borders for including homeschoolers in Educator Week! I really like the Kumon workbooks to have fun extra things for the kids to do. And I found a few Birthday/Christmas gifts.

We all survived, however, and it was a very productive morning. When had I switched out clothes over the weekend, I discovered that Catherine only had a couple long-sleeved shirts that still fit. Oops. I usually try to buy the kids' clothes ahead, but I must have missed those. And I did find some maternity shirts as well. It is crazy how low-cut a lot of them are. Obviously not made for a mom with little kids who has to bend over and tie shoes, etc. My pet peeves with maternity clothes could be a whole post in itself!

And I only got one comment the whole time I was shopping: "Do you have two sets of twins?"

Monday, October 5, 2009

Proud of the Pesto!

Here is a shot of our 3 pots of basil from this summer.
Since we had an abundance of basil this year, I decided to try making pesto, which I had never done before. Since I looked at a couple of different recipes and made mine different than both, I have to write(type) it down so I don't forget what I did. :)
I made it three times and each time was a little different, but they were all good. I was hoping to put some in the freezer, but we ended up eating it all. Next year!
2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
1-4 cloves garlic, depending on how much you like garlic (actually the 3rd time I made it, I was pregnant and I left out the garlic altogether, and it still tasted good)
1/8-1/2 cup pine nuts, or walnuts (I used pecans one time and it was good)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese (or just use all Parmesan)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Wash the basil leaves well and blot dry. Add and puree each ingredient in turn, as listed, in food processor (or blender), scraping down sides of processor after each ingredient is added and pureed. If you can, run your food processor while you stream in the olive oil and the pesto will become smooth during this step. This will make 1 to 1and1/2 cups of pesto. You can use it with pasta, or as a spread in sandwiches, or as a spread on grilled bread.
In the picture below, I sauteed some cut-up chicken breast, meanwhile making pasta according to directions. I tossed the hot pasta with the sauteed chicken, some black olives, and the pesto. Wow, was it good! I also made it one time without chicken as a side dish.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Small Successes - 37

1) Last Saturday morning was haircut time from Dan down to Joseph, which makes 5 haircuts in one morning, done by me!

2) Remember all those lovely tomatoes we picked? Here is what we've been doing with them, well besides eating them fresh.

Tomato sauce cooking down on the stove:

Tomato sauce ladled into quart freezer containers:

Hot salsa (well, I thought it was hot, Dan thought it was more medium-hot). I canned these one afternoon and it went pretty well. It was the second canning this season. The first was when Dan and I together did some pickled jalapenos (not that I'll be eating those!).

Then I put a bunch of Roma and Delicious tomatoes in the freezer. Here are some of them:
3) All the maternity clothes have been hauled out and placed into the closet. Oh, you didn't know I was expecting? You can read about it here!