Saturday, June 30, 2007
On a weekday afternoon with the small town crowd (decidedly not crowded) I can peruse Costco to my heart's content, and then if I happen to walk by a sample and the tray is all set up, I will take one and enjoy it highly, especially if I didn't get much of a lunch.
Saturday afternoons however, are an entirely different story. Unfortunately D and the boys like going to Costco to look at movies, books and whatever else. If we are all going to go as a family it usually happens on a Saturday. Then my kids become suddenly starving and malnourished and they must shout out across the whole store when they spot that red checkered table cloth that means a sample is there. The whining starts, and they can't help but look in the direction of the food side of the store. I HATE going to Costco on Saturdays. For the most part my boys are fairly well behaved about the samples. There is a certain amount of whining, but there are no out and out fits generally. I don't let them crowd around the sample table waiting that five minutes for something to finish cooking. I have, however, noticed that other people will crowd around that table and wait for the food. As much as I enjoy eating, I am more of a take the opportunity when it is there. If I am pushing my cart by and there is a sample out and ready, and not many vultures around, then I will go ahead and have one. If there is a crowd, I am happy to walk on by. We even passed up ice cream with frozen berries on it (which looked really good) because there was a crowd. Today I actually saw a man walk up, step in front of a kid at the sample table and take the last sample on the tray right in front of the kid's face. I thought that took guts, and then the guy shoved it in his mouth and kept on walking like he was just passing through. The kid looked a little bit startled.
So what kind of a sampler are you? If I had the mental inclination and the time (I have no time because I have been trying to beat Zelda a Link to the past while my boys watch me play it on the TV. If that confuses you, check out this post on my other blog.) I would make up a little online quiz so that people could find out their sampling personality type. Since I don't have the time or the mental inclination, I will just describe a few of the styles.
1. The Vulture: Vultures seem to be the most common. This style involves circling the sample table or the nearby vicinity with an eye always on the appliance that is cooking the food. Vultures can be sly and sometimes will pretend they are looking at something else nearby, but who REALLY reads the label on a block of cheddar cheese?
2. The pickpocket: Okay, so there are really no pockets involved unless they are sampling pita bread. The pickpocket is the sampler who appears to be nonchalantly walking by and with lightning quick reflexes gets away with taking a sample. This one is also sometimes called the sly spy which involves the same technique but with a little more effort to be unnoticed by everyone around.
3. The bulldozer: This sampler gets in there any way they can, even if they have to squeeze in front of other people. Sometimes the cart is used to gain position over those that are milling around the table. The key to success in this case is to not make eye contact with anyone, just pretend they are not there.
4. The starving man aka the addict: This one always surprises me when I see it, but this is the one that involves people taking more than one of the same sample. Sometimes they will just stand there, eat the first, then take another and at times they are even bold enough to grab a third for the road. Sometimes I am mistaken for the starving man because in my efforts to avoid looking like vultures I will grab a few of the sample and then turn around and dole them out to the kids. However I am proud to say that I have not taken extras for myself. Once in a while I have been forced to eat some of the boys' samples that they didn't like, but that's just not the same.
5. The puppy dog: This is my boys to a T. They start out giving me the puppy dog eyes, and continue giving them to every person distributing the samples until they have what they want. The puppy dog generally works unless the puppy dog eyes turn into whining...see below.
6. The whiner: I have never seen an adult whiner in regards to samples, but I have seen plenty of kiddie whiners.
7. The hunter/huntress: This sampler will figure out the best route through the samples. Like the vultures they pay attention to when things are supposed to be done cooking but they know that it is more advantageous to make the rounds. While all of those vultures are distracted waiting for the hot wings to come out of the microwave, the hunter is stalking easier prey.
8. The scavenger: The scavenger only tries at tables with no crowds, usually ending up with the less desirable samples (such as pickled artichoke hearts ewww)
9. Out to Lunch: These are the bold samplers who don't even bother pushing a cart around the store. They are there for one thing and one thing only...Lunch. A cart can get in the way but the out to luncher can slip through gaps between other samplers and catch their prize.
10. The stressed out parent: This is the one that is pushing their cart full of goods usually with several little bodies hanging off of the cart or off of the parent. They are just there to shop, but their offspring have noticed the samples and like hounds to the hunt cannot be appeased. Please don't judge the stressed out parent too harshly. They just want to get through Costco with a minimum of meltdowns and confrontations. The samples distract their kids from begging, and from bothering each other. Yes, sometimes those kids can be embarrassing, but all in all they do pretty well. Also take into consideration that the samples might be the best nutrition the flustered parent has had all day. I for one spend so much time making sure my kids are well fed that I sometimes forget to feed myself.
So what is your style of sampling? I dare you to answer. (feel free to come up with more categories if you can think of them.)
Thursday, June 28, 2007
I have a friend whose Grandpa goes clam digging on a regular basis, and he always gives his clams away. We were talking about it on the phone earlier, and she mentioned that he had gone clamming this morning, and she had some clams she could give me. She made the 15 minute drive over to my house, and gave me a bag of clams. I would say there were 10 or so razor clams in the bag. It was pretty exciting to contemplate making clam chowder with fresh clams since clam chowder is one of my favorite things to make, and I have always used canned clams. I opened up the bag and this is what greeted me.
I should have taken a picture of my actual clams, but I wasn't thinking that it would become a blogging moment at the time. My clams looked pretty much like these ones anyhow, except their necks were stretched out a lot longer than this. Yes, they were a little on the ugly side, but I was going to eat them so I didn't really mind. Then something happened as I put them in a container and ran water over them...
They started to MOVE. Yes folks, they were still ALIVE. This is where I admit that was uneducated about what it takes to dig and actually use fresh clams. I thought that they died once they were out of the sand. Silly me...You have to KILL them.
So here I am with a sink full of clams. Clams who are stretching their necks out, and moving their clammy feet also known as diggers around looking for a place to dig in. This is where I became squeamish. My friend had given me no directions on the shucking and cleaning of the clams and I had assured her that I could look it up on my trusty teacher, the Internet. I had done this previous to seeing the clams move. What I was supposed to do, is use a knife to separate the muscles from the shell. None of the articles I read said anything about the clam still being alive when I did this. I went back to my Internet pal and looked again. There are two ways to shell a razor clam. One is the way described above. The other is to use hot water. I finally found an article that was truthful about the fact that when you pour the hot water over the clams, they die (meaning this was the only article that wasn't afraid to say that the clams were alive before that) and it also mentioned that if you were squeamish about killing the clams you could leave them in fresh water where they would slowly drown. (Remember where my clams are?) I began to feel horrible for torturing the clams like this. The water was boiling, and I had to do something. I also had three curious little boys looking at the clams and wondering what I was going to do. I moved the clams from the fresh water and into a colander. I debated with myself for a while. I thought about driving them back to the ocean and setting them free, but some of them were damaged during their capture and I knew those ones would not survive. I steeled myself, picked up the pot of boiling water and poured it over them. The clam shells opened and out came the razor clams. I had officially become a killer.
I won't go into the gory details of the rest of the cleaning process, except to say that I am more familiar with the insides of a razor clam than I would like to be. Half of the clams went into a nice batch of clam chowder, and the other half will be disposed of tomorrow. By the time anyone reads this and sends the authorities to take me away for cruelty to clams the evidence will be long gone...and yet...the guilt remains. Tasty guilt, but guilt all the same.
Monday, June 25, 2007
1. What would we do if I came to visit you for a day?
Well, since I live five minutes from the Pacific Ocean we would have to go to the beach. There are so many fun things to do here it would be hard to fit it all into one day. There is hiking, biking, and a lot of historic forts and museums. Riding the Astoria Trolley is always fun and its only $1 per person for about an hour of riding along the Columbia River with the Trolley driver pointing out cool places like the Goonies House. Of course I would also have to cook you a great meal. I like to find out what kinds of food people like and make special meals for them. Of course if you want to eat food that is native to this area we could do a nice salmon dinner. There would probably be a good share of junk food as well because that is just how I am.
2. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
That depends on if I could teleport or not. I am not a big fan of flying or being on a ship. If I could just get somewhere without the traditional hassles of travel I would choose Ireland. I have always wanted to go there. I like green places, I like their accents, their music and I like Celtic things (ooh and potatoes!). I was very disappointed to discover that in spite of a few generations of my ancestors living there, they always married Brits so we never got any Irish blood.
3. What was your favorite TV show growing up?
That’s a tough one. I will go with Wonder Woman. I spent many hours at recess perfecting my spinning technique and flipping my ponytail just right as I ran across the playground to thwart evil. I also loved the Dukes of Hazard, especially when it involved flaming arrows or dynamite.
4. What are 2 qualities you look for in a friend?
Honesty and for lack of a better term, balance. Honesty because if a person is honest in all things then they are usually also trustworthy. I have a very hard time trusting people and making close friends in general. Balance because its no fun in a friendship if you are doing all the work, and its also no fun if your friend doesn’t need you or appreciate you. I like a need and be needed kind of balance.
5. Why do you blog?
I started out blogging just for a creative release. I still blog for that reason. Its an escape of sorts that gets me out of my own sometimes dreary thoughts and into a moment of fun. To my surprise I have also found that there are a lot of lovely people out there in the blogging world and I enjoy their association, even if it’s only across the glow of our computer monitors. Sometimes it’s like having a girl’s day out, without having to leave home. Blogging is also just a nice way to get ideas and memories out there. I have always struggled with journaling, but blogging makes it fun, and even though it’s not all recording things I do every day, it is still a way to put my thoughts, ideas and who I am out there.
So there you go! A little bit more about me...Thanks Tori!
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Here at our house we eat "breakfast" for dinner about once a week. Its usually a meal that we can put together quickly, and it can still be a very hearty and filling meal. Here are some breakfast for dinner ideas that won't heat up your house this summer.
When we make these, we make bacon, sausage or ham (or a combination), scramble eggs and make some hash browns. We use large tortillas and fill them with the various ingredients, add some condiments (salsa for the grown ups, ketchup for the boys, and sour cream for those of us who like it) and grated cheese and enjoy. There is a little heat from the burner when making the filling ingredients up, but no oven heating up the house and it really is a filling meal. Add some juice and toast or an English muffin and you are good to go.
We love eating pancakes, waffles and french toast here. In the summer when it gets hot though, I sometimes feel like eating a meal like that with sweet maple syrup can be too much. Did you know that pancakes, waffles and french toast can also be great with fresh fruit? Applesauce, peaches, strawberries, any other kind of berry and etc are all great toppings for something like this. If you are feeling particularly fun you can add a little whipped cream to liven it up and cool things down. The best waffle I ever had was at a youth activity for girls when I was younger. It was a Belgian waffle and we opened a container of vanilla ice cream, sliced it in slices about 1/2" to 1" thick and put it on our waffles with strawberries and whipped cream. Maybe not the healthiest meal, but it sure tasted great and on a hot summer day it would be heaven.
We rarely buy breakfast sandwiches at fast food places. They are so easy and inexpensive to make ourselves. We use English muffins, or better yet, mini bagels and have eggs (we beat the eggs and cook them like pancakes), cheese and bacon or ham (or you could do sausage patties) in the sandwich. Once all the sandwiches are put together, we microwave them for about a minute to get the cheese melty and everything warm. Add a side of hash browns and some OJ or fruit and you have a great dinner!
We don't really do cereal for dinner, but on a really hot day, I can see having a bowl of cereal along with some fresh fruit and toast as a good way to keep things cool.
I hope you find some good ideas to keep your house cool when cooking this summer!
Thursday, June 21, 2007
First, a recap. Yesterday and today I had an opportunity to take a training course through D's work. D works in the finance department of a company that runs group homes for developmentally disabled adults. Because we have two children who are on the Autism Spectrum, I was able to take a class that teaches ways to intervene in certain situations, whether those be everyday power struggles or physical altercations. The training is designed in such a way that if you do have to physically restrain someone, or escape from a situation in which they are attacking you, you will be able to do it without hurting the person involved. The techniques used are designed to protect you as well as the person you are caring for. A lot of the training was spent talking about power struggles, resolving various issues, dealing with problem behavior, stress, self control, things that can trigger undesirable behaviors and a variety of other things you might encounter when caring for a developmentally disabled person. In this case I took the class to help me learn to diffuse some of the situations that happen when our boys have meltdowns or become aggressive with each other or with us. Our boys are very high functioning, and not as challenging as some of the adults that live in the group homes are, but I still feel like I got some good tools for dealing with everyday challenges at home.
Back to my topic. I knew that I was going to be doing the training Tuesday afternoon. D was able to work at home and take care of the boys so I could take the training. He went in to work during the morning, and then back after my training for a meeting. After his meeting we had to rush to the church so that I could go to a class and the boys could go to Cub Scouts. The way we had things planned already felt very busy to me. Tuesday morning I got a call from our Relief Society President (she is over the women's group at church). My calling at church is to be over the Enrichment Activities. We have quarterly activities involving all of the women at church, and monthly or weekly small group activities that are open to any women who are interested in the group. Tuesday evening's class was supposed to be a cooking class/demonstration about making cheesecake. Tuesday morning I got the call that the woman scheduled to teach the class would not be able to. So I took over. (I would not have done this if I didn't have a great cheesecake recipe). This meant that I spent Tuesday morning baking cheesecake for that night, and I also ran to the store to get a few things while D was home for lunch. Then I was off to my training, after which I came home so that D could make his meeting (scheduled 15 minutes after the training ended). He was at his meeting for a little over an hour. While he was gone I got all my supplies for the cooking class together, and got sandwich fixings and etc ready for dinner. As soon as D got home we loaded up the boys and headed over to the church. He fed them their dinner in the van while I went in to teach my class. Then he took them to scouts, and afterwards we all came home. My class went well, but I was very nervous teaching it. It felt like a full day, and I didn't have time to check blogs or do any blogging myself. I barely had time to check the email. Today I spent most of the day at the training, until late afternoon, and then I came home and finally felt like I could relax. Of course that meant catching up on my blog reading.
I realize that many of you have days that are that busy every day. I am going to tell you right now that I admire you for staying sane through all of it! Personally I am glad to be going back to being at home with the boys and having my busy time taken up here.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Sodak sent me a nice package with feathers, a good things book, some address labels and some origami instructions. I bet she didn't even know that I love making things out of paper!
Tori sent a lovely postcard from Texas with a recipe for Peach Cobbler on it that I will have to try. Thanks girls!
Friday, June 15, 2007
Our kitchen is both literally and figuratively the center of our home. Its the place where we share meals and many conversations. The table has been the site of arts and crafts projects, and its where we keep many of our family traditions like making chocolates at Christmas, coloring Easter eggs, decorating cookies, painting watercolors, planting seeds, and doing science experiments.
The kitchen connects me to past family generations as I cook recipes that have been passed down, or make recipes that are new to me but are native to the lands of my heritage. I love cooking for other people. Its one of the ways I show love to my family and friends, and its a great way to help people out when they are down. Cooking also connects me to my children as I teach them how to cook and to enjoy cooking.
I spend a lot of hours in front of the computer every day. There are days when I don't feel like doing the things that need to be done in the kitchen. As I type this I am thinking with guilty thoughts of the dinner I should be making right now. When it comes down to it, as much as I love my computer and the connections it gives me to people that don't live nearby, I have to say that the kitchen is still the funnest room in our house. The kitchen is the place that not only feeds our bodies, but where we spend time as a family, and that feeds our souls.
Monday, June 11, 2007
My Father in Law got us a set of Tortilla bakers for Christmas a couple of years ago. You can get them in two sizes but ours are the larger size. They fit the burrito sized tortillas we get at Costco perfectly. Basically all you have to do is place a tortilla in the pan, and bake it at 350 for about ten minutes to get a nice crispy bowl for Taco Salad. We have four bakers so in 20 minutes of baking I have enough bowls for all of us. I recommend pricking each tortilla with a fork several times to avoid your bowl getting air bubbles that expand during baking. To make sure the tortilla is snugly molded to the pan I usually put another pan on top of the tortilla and press it down. After taking the top pan off your tortilla should stay in place nicely. I also recommend making your tortilla bowls first thing in the morning before your house gets warm. That way you aren't contributing to the heat too much. You could even make them the night before and put them in a plastic bag once they are cooled down. They will stay crisp just fine that way.
Once you have the bowls done, all you have to do is decide what you want in your salad. For us we usually get the bagged salad from Costco. I cook up some meat (we use turkey burger) with Taco Seasoning, heat up some refritos (refried beans) and open a can of kidney beans or black beans. Grated cheese is also a must of course. You can feel free to add other ingredients such as sliced olives, onions, fresh tomatoes, sunflower seeds and etc. We also have tortilla chips with this meal. For me I usually spread some refritos on the bottom of my tortilla bowl, add the salad, meat, cheese and kidney beans. For dressing I use salsa and sour cream. (Our kids are not into salsa so they use Ranch dressing. D hates sour cream so he just uses Salsa for his dressing.) How you eat it is entirely up to you. After he gets his salad all together, D turns the bowl over and crushes it up to mix it in. I personally eat all the salad and then eat the bowl after. To each his own. The kids love having Taco Salad because they get to eat the bowl, and how much more fun can you get than that? All in all Taco Salad is a filling meal, and you don't have to heat up the whole house to make it. You can choose healthier options like whole wheat Tortillas...they work just as well for making the bowls, and because you bake the bowls you aren't adding any fat to get the bowls crispy.
Of course if you don't want to go out and buy a set of tortilla bakers you can just have the salad part and use tortilla chips with it. It will still be good and keep your house cool in the summer. Enjoy!
The thing is...school ended here on Friday, and now its been raining every day since then. How sucky of a way is that to start the summer? However, I know that when it gets hot I will just be wishing it would rain. I think I may just be hard to please.
Friday, June 08, 2007
Within a few weeks (if not a few days) I start to hear things like. "I'm BORED." The school that was the bane of their existence for the nine months previous begins to look attractive to them all of a sudden. They miss friends, recess, even school lunches. They miss the structure of the school day. I would be lying if I said I didn't miss school too. As much as I love my boys and love spending time with them, I start to miss the quiet time after they are all at school. There is less fighting, less begging for a snack, less destruction of property, and less all around chaos during the school year.
Living here at the coast, we have extra reason for summertime blues as well. Our beaches are suddenly crowded with inconsiderate tourist types, our grocery stores, gas stations and Costco are suddenly busier than at any other time of year with the possible exception of Christmas time. Traffic suddenly becomes an issue and going to the beach ourselves becomes suddenly less attractive. We like it during the quiet times of the year. Small town living suits us, and being able to enjoy the beach as a family without crowds is lovely. We have many more beach pictures of our family in winter coats taken on a sunny day in January or November than we do of us in shorts and sunglasses. Most of the time we don't hit the beach in the summer unless family comes down to see us.
So what am I going to do with five boys all summer? Usually we end up sitting around bored, running through the sprinkler, watching too much TV and playing on the computer too much. This year I am trying something different.
First of all, we are going to have homework over the summer. A couple of our boys have a hard time with homework during the school year, so I want to keep them in the habit. I am not going to torture them with it, but each of them will have to do a worksheet or two per day, and the older ones will be assigned books to read and give us reports on.
Next, we will have recess. Our yard has a lot of potential with its small grove of trees, blackberry bushes and open space. Its only a little over a quarter of an acre, but for around here its pretty big. We don't have a fence though, and that means I need to be out there to keep an eye on the three year old whenever they play outside. Luckily we live within close walking distance to the school and to the city park. I think that at least a few times a week we will be going to the park in the mornings before its too hot, and before the crowds get there. This will let the boys burn off some energy, and I can get some exercise walking the school track or walking the distance to the city park as well. On the days we don't go to the park, we will play in our yard and set up the sprinkler or the tent for some outdoor fun.
We are making a daily schedule. I mentioned this in my last post about the laminator. I think it will help if the boys see that there are things to look forward to later in the day.
Lastly we are having a weekly theme. My sister and I came up with themes together, and the boys and I will have different activities during the week revolving around the theme for the week. Some of the weeks the theme will coincide with family visiting or us visiting family. I will have more on the themes as they happen. I think one blog a week will I cover the theme and what we did to go along with it. Hopefully I can stick with it and make a good go of it. The first week we are just going to relax and enjoy summer before the boredom sets in. The second week we will start with a theme. The third week is cub scout day camp, so I will be doing a mini theme with the three younger boys while the big boys are at camp. I am thinking it will be a mini day camp for us at home. After that we will get into the meat of our themes. We came up with ten weeks of themes (more actually but we are using ten of them) and I will post about them and post links to ideas if they apply. Maybe some of you can get some ideas from it as well.
Wish us luck! Today was the last day of school and summer vacation has officially started!
Thursday, June 07, 2007
I tested it out by printing a dots game on a half sheet of paper. On the other side I did a tic tac toe board, and then I laminated them. The boys used them with a dry erase marker at church and it was a great distraction and kept them quiet. I think I may do a whole set of things for quiet use in the car and at church. Mazes, coloring pages, a hangman board, and various other paper games. I am going to invest in a set of wipe off crayons though, because they don't get on clothes the way dry erase markers do, and if the boys color a picture it will stay on the picture until I wipe it off. Wiping it off is a little harder than with dry erase, but the contained mess in my opinion is worth the extra effort.
I also have plans to laminate a set of Thomas the Tank Engine Stickers and Tracks and attach magnets to the back so that #5 can make scenes with them. You can get magnetic paint fairly easily and I am thinking of painting a wooden clipboard for him to use it with, or if I decide that is too much hassle, I will just get a small cookie sheet for him to keep his magnets on. Then he will have something to play with in the car, and the stickers will last so much longer than if he was just using them as stickers.
Of course the real reason we bought it is to make schedules for our family. Two of our boys have Asperger's, and they can get emotional when unexpected changes happen. They need a lot of structure in their day, and to be honest I need that too. Lately I have been just... unmotivated. With summer coming, I decided that we needed to try something different. At school the boys have a small folder with their schedules. Small squares with icons and words describing their different activities and subjects for the day are put in their schedules and they have a Velcro backing so that they can be moved around. We are going to try having a family schedule and a more structured approach to our days over the summer to see if we can reduce some of the stress. Wish me luck! I have never tried this before.
I have also printed out a list for myself of things I would like to accomplish every day. I will laminate it and check things off with a dry erase marker so that I can see my progress and feel good about what I am doing. Some days I end up sitting at the computer all day reading and writing blogs (please don't ask me if I am still wearing my PJs right now) and I need to be doing more around the house and for the boys. This will help to motivate me and get me off my rear end. I did schedule an hour of computer time twice during the day, so I have my reward.
What other uses for our laminator? I would love to hear your ideas. Here are some of mine...
Paper Dolls as gifts for our nieces.
Preserving Certificates and other memorabilia
Photo Collages to frame for family gifts
Wipe off practice boards for teaching the younger boys writing and numbers
A card game our family can design and laminate for durability
Favorite Recipes to protect them from food splatters
What are your ideas?
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Of course we can plan on eating more salads, having BBQs, eating sandwiches and I am sure to be on the hunt for hot weather recipes. Sometimes though I just want to eat an old favorite, and I want to do it without heating up the whole house.
Crock pots are a great tool for simplifying your day in general, and during the summer you can still make a good meal without worrying about overheating. We have a crock pot that was a wedding gift, and a little over a year ago, we bought a larger crock pot. The new crock pot is digital and I can set the time for how long I want it to cook on low or high, and it will automatically switch to keep warm when that time is up. It will keep food warm for several hours, so I can start dinner in the morning when I get up and actually have energy and I don't have to worry about timing it just right. We also have a rice cooker that lets you program how many hours you want the rice to be ready in, so I can literally fix it and forget it.
I thought I would share my recipe for Teriyaki Chicken.
5 to 6 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, thighs or mixture of both (if you have a small family or a small crock pot you can cut this recipe in half, or even 1/3 easily)
For the sauce mix the following in a bowl
1 1/2 C brown sugar
1 1/2 C soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger (fresh grated ginger works great if you have it as well) or to taste
3 to 4 cloves fresh garlic (chopped) or to taste (you can use garlic powder, dried garlic or another equivalent, but fresh is best)
4 1/2 T white vinegar (rice vinegar if you have it works also)
1/4 C sesame oil (you can substitute olive oil if you don't have sesame oil)
Stir the sauce well and pour over the chicken in the crock pot. I just put the chicken in still frozen unless I am in a hurry. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours or until done. Use a fork to shred the chicken and stir it into the sauce. Serve over the rice of your choice. Enjoy!
We buy our soy sauce and sesame oil by the gallon here, so this recipe is easy for me to make. It will still turn out well if you use one or more of the substitutes so don't be afraid to try it if you don't have everything you need. You can cut the sauce recipe in half and still use a large amount of chicken, but we prefer to have enough sauce with it to soak into the rice. This recipe freezes well also. Even with seven of us we always have leftovers, and I just throw the chicken and some sauce in the freezer and it makes a great quick meal when I don't feel like cooking at all. I hope you try it and like it!
Friday, June 01, 2007
My days seem to be filled with little people following me around the house, asking me questions, or asking me to do or get something from them. If I am sitting there, doing nothing, and completely ready to help them in whatever way they need to be helped, then they somehow manage to leave me alone. However, if I am trying to read a book or a blog, do dishes or laundry, cook dinner, go to the bathroom, or take a shower then I am suddenly the most needed person on the face of the earth. Sometimes I just want to run screaming down the street (carrying a good book of course) to find some peace and quiet where I can just relax for a little while.
D understands that I get to feeling a little bit crazy sometimes. He knows when I say that I need to run to the store to get some milk, that he shouldn't be surprised if it takes me two hours to come home. I take the cell phone along, just in case and spend a lot of time wandering around the store with a glazed look on my face.
The other day I went to Fred Meyer to get some fixings for #2's lunch. Usually the boys eat school lunches, but he was going on a field trip to the zoo, and needed a packed lunch from home. I took him along with me, and we picked out some lunch meat, and a few other things for his lunch. We got in line and I found myself standing behind a lady that goes to our church. I don't know her well, but we recognized each other enough to smile and say hello. She was widowed a year or two ago when her husband died of a terminal illness. I started thinking as I watched her standing there in line, about how lonely she must be now that her husband is gone. I am not sure if they have children or not, but if they do the children are all grown and moved out. After we paid, #2 and I went to the car, and I saw that she was parked across from us. It was fairly late, around 10 p.m. and as I watched her load her groceries into her car, I thought about her going back to her empty house alone. She looked at me, and we smiled at each other. Suddenly my own alone time didn't seem quite so important to me. I realized that what I have now...the chaos, the close quarters, the lack of personal space...will change as my boys get older. Later on in life they will find ways to be out of the house, and eventually they will grow up and move away. Someday, I may find myself with more alone time than I want. I drove home with a different outlook that day. I had a new appreciation for my husband and for the precious time we get to spend together. Of course there will still be days when I just need a little time by myself. I think we all need that sometimes, but I hope that my me time can be just a little bit shorter, so that I can spend that much more time with the husband that I love dearly, and those sweet boys that are going to grow up faster than I want them to.