Sunday, November 29, 2009

Have My Teenagers Lost Their Friggin Minds?!

Years ago when the kids were small I stopped being so anal about a clean house. First off I was really the only one doing any house cleaning. I didn't have the time or the energy with 2 small children to keep my house spotless. So, I went for a more relaxed standard. Keep things clean, sanitary and kind of sort of picked up. When any company was coming enlist the whole family to do a big declutter and cleaning session. To this day if any house cleaning is done they ask, "Who's coming over?" I tell them through gritted teeth that sometimes a home needs to be cleaned, because it's dirty not because someone is coming over.

So, clutter laying around seldom bothers me unless it's on a chair I want to sit on. On a printer I want to print from. On something of mine and hiding it from my view making me think it's lost. You get the idea.

I come home from errands a few weeks ago and as I walk past the hall bathroom really known as the kids' bathroom. I see a hanger hanging from one of my favorite pictures and I think steam tooted out my ears! How disrespectful to ones home is what I thought. Dirty clothes on the floor no problem, but a hanger on my picture? One step too far!

Now, I won't let them leave dirty clothes on the floor. "Really," I said, "Are you 4 years old?! There is a hamper not 2 feet away. There will be no more clothes on the floor and if I see anything but my picture hanging on the wall there will be a really dirty nasty chore in your future." The hall bathroom has stayed pretty clean since then. Now to work on their bedrooms.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cheeseburger Soup

Some sort of cold/flu bug is running through our family this month. First to succumb was my daughter and I made Chicken Noodle soup for her. Then I got sick. My son made Cranberry Orange muffins for me. Now my son is sick. I knew he wouldn't want any muffins and I know soup isn't his favorite, but soup is SO good when you're not feeling well. I had to ask anyways, "Would you like me to make you some soup?" Thinking he'd say no and the conversation would go to some sort of food I could comfort him with. He said slowly, "Cheeseburger soup?" We both chuckled at the idea. I told him, "You know what, I bet there is a recipe for Cheeseburger Soup on the internet." I did some surfing and sure enough there were several Cheeseburger Soup recipes. I chose the one I thought sounded the best and would appeal to my poor sick son.
Cheeseburger Soup

Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Ready In: 50 Minutes
Servings: 8

1/2 pound ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
4 tablespoons butter
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups cubed potatoes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups cubed Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sour cream

In a large pot, melt 1 tablespoon butter or margarine over medium heat: cook and stir vegetables and beef , until beef is brown.

Stir in basil and parsley. Add broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10-12 minutes.

Melt the remainder of butter in a separate small pot and stir in flour. Add the milk, stirring until smooth.

Gradually add milk mixture to the soup, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for a minute or 2. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. When cheese is melted, add sour cream. Put back on heat if you feel it needs to warm up a little. Do not boil.

Lynne's Notes: What I liked about the recipe was that I had all the ingredients right here at home. I like recipes that don't have fussy ingredients. I didn't add dried parsley. I think it's revolting compared to fresh parsley. Just my own personal problem there. I also didn't add the sour cream to the pot of soup. My husband abhors sour cream. So, the kids and I would stir a teaspoon full into our own bowls. We thought the sour cream really added a lot to the good flavor of the soup. It is a hearty soup. A real stick to your ribs during cold weather kind of soup. The basil doesn't over power the other ingredients and lets the tartness of the cheddar cheese and the sour cream shine threw in their creamy goodness.

After we all ate our soup we all agreed that it was good, but a few changes might be nice if we ever made it again. My son said it needed more meat, more cheese and that serving it in a bread bowl would be nice. I think if I served it in a bread bowl and maybe just sprinkle a little grated cheddar on top he'd love it.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Going To The Mall... Not So Relaxing Any More

I've been to the mall twice in the past week which is a world record for me. I'm just not a big shopper. Basically, if it doesn't involve something I know I need, feeding my family or crafting I just don't shop. Every now and then I get the urge to just do a little shopping. Especially this time of year when the holidays come into play. I like to go to the mall on a weekday in the morning. It isn't crowded and I like it that way.

Except when I went to the mall Friday morning I found the mall crowded with sales people. Not in the stores, but down the middle of the mall. All these little booths selling a whole myriad of things. Now there have been these types booths in the past, but only about 1/10th as many. Friday I was accosted about every 10 feet by some type of sales person. It felt very much like going into a grocery store and there is someone waiting at the door with some sort of charitable sale. Not that I'm not giving and want to help, but do I have to think about that sort of thing when I just want to buy some milk for my family.

Instead of saying "no thank you" or "not today" once as I enter a store I was asked questions every ten feet. They are trying to lure you in for a sale by pretending to start a conversation or do you a favor. "Can I curl your hair?" Me, "No thank you. "Would you like to jazz up your cell phone?" Me, "Not today." "May I spritz you with organic mango juice perfume?" Me, "No thank you." "Can I wash your hands in germ fighting eucalyptus water?" Me, "No thank you, but do you do feet? Hey, I am moving along no need to be rude!"
See evil booths beginning about halfway up the photo.

I'd only walked about 50 feet and I was exhausted. Part of going to the mall by myself is I don't want to talk to anyone really. I want a peaceful morning of just looking and maybe purchasing something. The mall I was at has 2 stories. I'd only gone about halfway through the bottom floor. I was already tired of talking. I decided to keep going even though every part of my being was screaming "leave the mall." There were 2 stores I really wanted to see the Disney Store and the Yankee Candle store. They were upstairs and due to the open air structure of the mall there is no center floor to put sales booths on up there. I would get some peace and quiet up on the 2nd floor.

I got to the center of the mall's bottom floor and noticed they had remodel that part of the mall and added a wing. They had moved the escalator that had been right there the equivalent of another half mall away. As I look down the wing I can see the escalator in it's new spot. I then notice between it and I was about five more sales booths. I'm sure loaded with lots more lotions, potions and knickknacks they are just dying to try and sell. Right then and there I said, "I'm done." I turned on my heal and headed back out of the mall. Listening to my inner voice saying, "If you want peace and quiet you need to leave now." I past the 10 or so sales booths that I had just seen and the sales people remembered I wasn't interested and swooped past me for new prey. Thank goodness, because usually you've walked the whole mall and they've completely forgetten who you are and once again you have to talk to each and every booth.

I know I'm sounding like a crazy agoraphobic hermit right now. Really I'm none of the above. I just don't like aggravation unless I'm prepared for it. Unless I'm willing to endure it. Like at Christmas time. One knows if you go into a store of any kind there will be people galore up and down the aisles and more waiting in lines at the check stands. I know this and I'm prepared for it. Like Costco on the weekend. One knows there are people galore up and down the aisles and more waiting in MILE long lines at the check stands. This is tempered though by snackies at the end of quite a lot of aisles. I digress back to the topic at hand. Like going to the doctor's office. You know even though you are on time your appointment will be late and there will be an office full of other people waiting for their late appointments.

So, when I go to the mall on a weekday morning I don't expect to be accosted by sales people. First off I'm not the kind of person who will buy anything they're selling. I'm not a lotion and potion girl. Never have been. I'm not a knickknack person. I won't buy a $30 dollar stuffed dog who's side rises and falls like it were breathing. Not from it's lungs, but from it's liver or spleen. They really need to work on the placement of that one. I'm not going to buy a plate with dolphins painted on it or it's matching candle holder. My cell phone works just fine with it's original black cover. Afterall, it's free, well sort of, it came with the phone.

I want shopping to go back to being a spectator sport. I want a spritz of organic mango juice perfume when I ask someone to come and spritz me and not a minute sooner.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bacon Cheddar Waffles... Oh my!

I bought a new waffle iron with my birthday money. I wanted a Belgium waffle. I have a very tiny crevice waffle iron that is convenient, but I missed having bigger holes to catch syrup. I'm not totally convinced that I like this All-Clad waffle iron and that I'll keep it. Doesn't stop me from testing it. The first batch of waffles was the Buttermilk waffle recipe that came with the waffle iron. It was tasty. Yes, the holes are bigger, but the iron squishes the batter so compactly that waffle walls are kind of thin. Thought I'd try a couple more recipes before I know for sure whether or not I want to keep it.

Tonight my son and I made Bacon Cheddar waffles for dinner. I searched the Internet for a savory recipe. This recipe is a keeper! See the steam from the waffles cooking. I am so full right now. I should have stopped eating at 2 squares not 3. We did not put syrup on them. Just ate them plain with a big side salad.

When the green light comes on the waffles are done.

Bacon Cheddar Waffles

1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 cups Bisquick baking mix
6 bacon, strips cooked and crumbled
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

In a medium bowl, beat 1 egg.

Add: milk, sour cream, melted butter.

Stir in Bisquick baking mix, mix well.

Fold in: cooked and crumbled bacon strips and cheddar cheese.

Spoon batter onto a hot waffle iron.

Close waffle iron and cook until golden brown. (Will be done when steaming stops -- 4-5 minutes).

Serve drizzled with: maple syrup OR fruit-flavored syrup.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Making a costume

My daughter's friend loves ketchup, so much so she wanted to BE ketchup for Halloween. When she was over helping my daughter make a piñata for their ROTC Halloween party she asked my daughter if she could be French Fries for Halloween. My daughter says, "I don't know.... mom can we make a French Fry costume for Halloween?" I said, "Sure." As I always think I can do something even before I try to do it. Why not. One doesn't know until you try. I have to say I don't think I've tried to do anything that hasn't turned out. Sometimes it's WAY harder than I thought and I'll never do it again. BUT a Halloween costume was right up my alley. I've made many.

I knew we wouldn't have a lot of time to spend making this costume. I knew we needed to make the traditional McDonald's fries for this costume to be truly recognizable and cute. I bought 4 sheet of red poster paper and one sheet of yellow. What was a bit annoying and I know the company must do this to be frugal, but the poster board is one color on one side and another on the other. The red was red on one side and green on the other. The yellow was yellow on one side and blue on the other.

First thing I did was find out how big my daughter wanted the costume. She said the width of the poster paper would be long enough. So, I cut it wide enough for here body. I then used the piece I cut as a template to cut the matching back piece and the piece I needed to line the back piece. Since it was green on the back I needed to cover the back with red, because it would show. I could use the pieces I cut off of the front and back to use for the side panels.

Then I cut a semi circle off the top edge of the front panel. I taped it to the back panel. This made it look like the McDonald's French Fry container. I used clear packing tape to tape the panels together and the half circle pieces.

At this point I had my daughter put it on and we decided where to cut the arm holes. Once they were cut I made straps for her shoulders using the clear packing tape. I stuck on piece to the front and back with sticky side up. Daughter being careful to keep her hair out of the way. I then stuck a similar length piece of tape sticky side down on top making a perfect strap. I did the same thing to the other shoulder. This way she wouldn't have to hold the box up all night.

We pre cut the French Fry strips. Folding them in half to cover up the blue color on the reverse side. We used hot glue to keep these permanently folded. Again my daughter put on the costume, so I could glue on the French Fries. She didn't want to put on the costume for this. TEENAGERS! But I made it clear she didn't want any fries sticking up in her face and annoying her all night. With it on we could put the fries on in a way that made it comfortable. With hot glued I added the fries.

We had pre cut the "M" out of the yellow before the fries. This worried me a bit. I didn't think we'd have enough yellow poster paper for the fries. We had just enough. Not a scrap was left. The fries didn't have to be too big. Just enough to peek out the top.

The "M" was all my daughter. She free handed the drawing of the "M." I hot glued it on the front. Then my daughter did the shading and trademark logo. This I feel really made the costume in the words of fashion designers "pop." It suddenly took on a cuteness all it's own.

What was great about this costume being put together with packing tape was it was very strong and flexible. The costume folded flat to be tucked away when one got too hot or wanted a break from the costume.

"Receiving an award for costume that is folded up in background. She needed arms to operate the piñata she had made. "
It held together great. I thought she'd lose French Fries, but she didn't. The only danger was at lunch at school on Friday she was chased around with teenagers wanting to bite her costume and one friend actually did.