Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Throw together meals

Ok, before I get on topic here, I must admit something. I am a rock of love junkie. It REALLY cracks me up. This morning our local radio station had this cheeky advertisement which said (in the voice of J Peterman from Seinfeld):

"Dear Bret Michaels,
Enough with the bandannas and the hats. We get it already, you're bald!

Simon Archer"

And for some sick reason I find this highly amusing. LOLOL


I am knee deep in a complicated project and low on groceries and cash so this has been an "eat from the pantry" week. I am never sure if I should be comforted in how many days we can actually eat decent meals from my pantry or freezer or horrified, but I guess that's neither here nor there.

It isn't as if I am a fancy cook on any given day anyway. (You all remember my love affair with that Rachel Ray, right?)

I like food that generally requires little work.

So, I wondered if anyone has any favorite throw together type meals they would like to share? I am getting a little bored with the usual over here.

To get us started I will share one of my current, easy, awesome for warm weather favs:

Make it up as you go Greek Pasta salad

Pasta (whatever you have works, I always have some sort of tubular Barilla thing on hand)
Red onion
Feta (we buy giant tubs at Costco)
Chick peas
Red pepper (if I have one)
Greek Dressing (we LOVE St Louis Bread Co Greek Dressing, they might market it as Panera where you live)
Chopped olives for the top.

Toss and eat with garlic crusty bread.

And one of David's favorites, which was a Rachel Ray thing that I adapt a little:

I think she calls it BBQ chicken cornbread pizza

Make 2 boxes of cornbread for the crust, bake until lightly brown.

In the skillet:
1/2 lb of meat (she calls for ground chicken, I find that weird to cook with so I use ground beef)
Can of kidney beans
1 onion
1 red pepper
3 cloves of garlic

Cook until the meat is browned then add:
1T hot sauce
1T Worcestershire sauce
2T brown sugar
1 cup tomato sauce

(It makes something like a sloppy joe.)

Put it on top of the cornbread, top with cheddar cheese and pop in the oven until the cheese melts. (At whatever temp you made the cornbread).

(Told you I was a lazy cook! LOL)

Your turn. What do you throw together for easy pantry meals?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A little adventure

Yesterday there was a city wide yard sale in a small town in Illinois, about an hour away from us. I happen to LOVE city wide yard sales in little towns, and since we had a fairly quiet week, off we went.

It was hot and the junk was not spectacular, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself, stopping at nearly every single yard sale (surely there were more than 60). Even Jack enjoyed hunting for treasure, though he was disappointed to still have his quarters in his pockets when we started out for home in the afternoon.

Let's look at some treasures, shall we? (I really wish blogger had not changed the order they upload photos in.) A pretty old quilt. Ratty perhaps, likely suited for cutting, but we all know I would never do that, don't we?
In place of batting she has used an old blanket.
LOVE that fancy edge.
Gorgeous old fabrics.
Still as pretty as can be.
A super cheap piece of Hull pottery. In perfect condition and white!

When I started collecting pottery I thought I wanted all white. Other stuff seemed to find for me a long time, now the white seems to be finding me.
A few ornaments. Neither the bird nor the bells are old, but I like having the reproductions ornaments on the family tree in the basement.
And a tablecloth. Carnations I think this time.
I really should get it washed so I can get it on the line while the sun is still shining, the forecast calls for a lot of rain this week.

I picked up some other small stuff too: notions for sewing, a pattern, and a lamp that is the mate to one I bought last year at a flea market. At the time I was really sad to have to leave it's mate behind, but I didn't have the money to buy both. Finding a match felt very lucky yesterday and I think I squealed with joy when I saw it and slammed the van into park!

Quite a nice break from Dullsville, don't you think?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Welcome to Dullsville

Welp, this about sums up life here right now. I have been doing a whole lot of nothing. No making of anything, no painting anything. Just laundry and cooking and sweeping.

Oh, and plenty of sitting in a blazing hot car. Jack has been so tired that he has been falling asleep in the car every afternoon and I have been sitting there with him while he sleeps for an hour or more sweating my butt off. LOL
I've been cleaning drawers and closets.

But clearly not this one.
I managed to buy a plant stand thingy at the one yard sale I went to last week and plopped some flowers that Jack planted on it.

Yard sale season is REALLY slow to start again this year. March was so nice and warm and it seemed to be off to a great start. Then April came and it has been wet and cold and insanely WINDY. Not great for yard sales.

Of course today is 90 degrees. Pfffffffft.
My peony tree actually bloomed, but they do NOT smell as heavenly as my pink peonies. What's up with that?
I thrifted a cuckoo clock, but it needs a pendulum and weights. Pffft.

Let's see, what else is going on around Dullsville?

My wrist is killing me.

I am still coughing. (Yes, two weeks of that. Enough already.)

I've been getting repair estimates for the van. While doing so I went to the shop of an old high school friend. It was totally WiLd to see him after all these years.

I've sort of purposely avoided all the people from high school for a long time now. I didn't really have any interest in them. Or maybe more accurately I wasn't interested in being connected in any way to the life I had when they were part of it. (Which, FWIW, was not negative because of them, it was my family I was running from.)

Facebook has changed all of that. It has caused me to do a lot of reflecting.

Mostly that's a good thing.

It weird to see how people remember the person you were in those days...the things that still ring true about yourself and the things that are long forgotten.

Oddly enough the thing that blows my mind completely is how much the *boys* have changed. The girls are more or less recognizable to me, but the boys, well, that's a whole 'nother story. Men obviously age totally differently. It seems like they didn't acquire their *manly* faces until after high school.

They did NOT seem baby faced to me at the time, but seeing them as grown men I realize they certainly were baby faced young things when we left high school.

Ah well, so much for that "we are so grown up and cool now" thing, eh? LOLOL

Oh how high school makes me laugh now!

As soon as I get a chance I am going to scan some old photos from those days.

So, that's life on the range here. Maybe things are more exciting for all of you?

I certainly hope it's at least a bit more thrilling than refolding all the pillowcases...

Happy Friday y'all.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Write this down

Jack and his security blanket, "dandy", have been inseperable for years. Dandy has riden his bike, played in the sand box, gone on vacations, been through potty training, and been in bed with him every single night since he was less than a year old. Dandy is the reason we dumped our first preschool program. (They were NOT dandy friendly.)

Dandy has been the best friend a boy could have.
Every time I took Jack to school I would leave him there, holding Dandy, and would pick him up in the afternoon and find him still holding Dandy. This year when school started I put Dandy in his backpack so he could get it if he wanted it, but it would be a little more "out of sight, out of mind".

He has needed it a few times, but less than a handful of times at that.

Last Friday we were running terribly late to school and Dandy was left at home for the first time. Jack worried about it a little on the way, but when we picked him up from school in the afternoon he proudly reported, "I didn't need Dandy today!"

Which was followed immediately by, "Mom, did you bring Dandy for sleeping while we are camping?"

Of course I did baby.
So this morning we are getting ready for school and I asked Jack to stuff Dandy in his backpack.

He didn't do it.

I asked again.

He answered with, "Mom, I don't think I need Dandy for school today."

So Jack is at school today without Dandy.

And while I am super, super proud of him* this mama needs a minute to compose herself.

*And of us too to be honest. I still sucked my thumb when I was 12, clearly Jack is feeling very secure.

Monday, April 20, 2009




Bike riding, running and more running, s'more making, marshmallow roasting, hot dog eating, hiking and plenty of cold, wet, rain and mud.

Camping + Friends + Jack = heaven.

Watching Jack gain a tremendous amount of independence the last few months? Priceless.

Friday, April 17, 2009


I have had this nice little post composed in my head for a few days about rescuing. I was going to tell you about how I found this old duvet cover in the thrift store with these HUGE HIDEOUS white patches on it, but after some poking around I decided that the original fabric was pretty well intact under the patches and so I bought it for a dollar thinking I could just remove those big white patches and rescue it.
And then I did just that, even though it took nearly 3 hours to get all of that ugly white stuff removed (she had REALLY sewn it on there! lines of stitching every six inches, oy vey). And how underneath that ugly white stuff (which was on both sides), there was just one small tear.
And I couldn't imagine why she had covered up this perfectly beautiful aqua fabric that way. And how I was glad I took the time to rescue it.
And then I was prepared to tell you that in a true "sign of the times" I have taken to patching Jack's jeans, rescuing them for a few months worth of use until it is warm enough for shorts. And how this is the first time I have actually patched clothing in something like 15 years, despite being thrifty. (And how Jack will wear them, but he says he will NOT wear them to school. How early it starts.)

And then I was going to tell you that we are going camping this weekend. And even though the forecast says it will rain I am desperately looking forward to the break from cooking and cleaning and nagging. Time to sit with our friends and their kids and cook out and maybe do some reading and some hand sewing and some fishing and some hiking and on and on.

And so yesterday I decided I had better take down the Easter stuff before we left and I needed just one more bin for the big foil bunny Dave bought me this year so Jack and I trotted off to Target to get the job done.

And then it all fell apart.

As it turns it out was *me* that was going to be in need of rescuing.

On the way to Target some totally crazy broad decided to make a right hand turn from the left lane and came smashing into my minivan.

I pulled into a bank parking lot, made sure the Jack attack was ok and got out of the van. And the next thing I know said crazy broad is in my face, screaming and crying and flailing and wailing and it was like nothing I have ever seen before.

That combined with her having just smashed into my car WITH MY CHILD IN IT sent me into overdrive. I am normally a pretty damn laid back person. It takes a lot to get me "het up" if you know what I mean. I was just trying to get to a phone to call the police (I don't have a cell phone) and she wouldn't stop her carrying on in front of Jack, so I started to yell and throw around a few choice words and then I went inside a bank to get someone to call the police. (It really triggered some sort of mother bear thing for me and her carrying on about her own 2 year old did not help. Does she act like that in front of her toddler? Good lord.)

She carried on inside the bank so much that I am sure people thought they were being robbed. The manager came running out yelling about calming down and finally dialed 911.

Thank goodness the very nice man behind me had stopped and waited with me for the police. I am not sure I could have handled all that craziness by myself.

And of COURSE, she is uninsured (yes, you are required to have it by law, but the law really does not enforce that here). Knowing she was uninsured she called here like 16 times yesterday, which makes me insane. (And to add insult to injury in all of her carrying on in the bank she said she had just had an accident last week! WTF?)

So, my car is smashed, Jack's car seat needs to be replaced, and my back is hurting a bit still. But we are ok. (And really, she turned it into SO much more drama than it needed to be.)

And with that, we are still going camping, and I have absolutely NOTHING together. And only about 3 hours to get it all together.

Here's hoping it goes smoother than the trip to Target.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Totally random

We are sick. You know how much I hate coughing.

I have nothing of interest to say except did you all see this scherenschnitte video on Craft today?

Totally freaking awesome.

And the music is pretty rockin' too.

Except when I do that here it looks nothing like that. It looks a lot more like a crazy woman trying to do very difficult cutting while a 4 year old is bouncing around on the couch like it's a trampoline. Throw in lots of "you're going to poke your eye out" and "one of us is going to get hurt" and there you have it.

And no, I did not curse at you. :-) I just think the fancy pants German word is more fun than "papercutting."

Before I go back to my self imposed exile I have a question. Does anyone have a kid that has a favorite gadgety type learning toy that might work for my kid too? LOL Jack has a v smile and a my first leap pad but he is well beyond those already. I am thinking maybe a leapster?

It's hard to find toys for him right now that are stimulating enough and yet age appropriate*. Most of the stuff marketed to his age is WAY too easy, but the stuff marketed to the next age level is too mature for a 4 year old.

Does that even make sense?

It's a bit of an issue with board games too. The only suitable one I can find right now is Monopoly Jr. Oy.

*He can read around a first grade level and do simple math.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

At the end of the day

The eggs have been dyed;
and written on;
and redyed;
and Daddy has created egg masterpieces;
Easter bunnies have visited;
candy and toys have been enjoyed;
Mama has taken the obligatory rabbit ear photo of the year (this gets harder every year);

church has been attended;
Easter egg hunts have been refused (I don't know...he actually passed up the chance to get more candy!);
ham has been consumed (not by me, blech!);
and the Easter fun is over for another year.

P.S. If you haven't clicked through from a feed reader in awhile I have updated the links list and the header. There is good new stuff in the links list, check it out!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thank you Easter Bunny

I really do love Easter. When I was small my Easter basket was HUGE and my grandmother would fill it so full that I could barely lift it.

Every year now I always have so many Easter crafts I want to get done and I never seem to have enough time to finish them all. I have been working fast and furious on a few still.
Yesterday I made refillable felt eggs, tutorial here . I think hers must be stuffed in her photos. I tried experimenting with making them larger (the yellow and the blue ones) so that it would be easier for Jack to get the candy out, but it does make them less egg shaped.

It hardly matters though. They are cute and they will do the job. And Jack will like them. I want to try and squeeze in one more so I have half a dozen, but I will warn you, they are slow going.
At nearly the last minute Jack told me he wanted a stuffed rabbit this year. (Well, he actually said he wants to fill up his whole bed with stuffed animals. LOL)

So I've been working on this one after he goes to bed at night.
He is cute as can be, but underneath that ribbon is a serial killer mess of a neck! The pattern has you hand sew the head on, and if I were going to do it again I would alter it so I could machine sew the head on. (The colors are not great since it is rainy today, but I had to sneak to take the pictures so the rabbit will be a surprise on Sunday.)
This years visit with the Easter bunny went a little smoother than last year. (We had an almighty tantrum last year because the Easter bunny was hours late.) It did take about 10 photos to get one with Jack's eyes open though!
Over at Eileen's place everyone has been showing themselves in their Easter dresses and I happened to have a photo of a wee me that I keep on my bulletin board.

Someone somewhere mentioned finding an old dress pattern that seemed obscenely short for a little girl and I am obviously a testament to the super short dress fashion of the day! (I think I am 3 there. Ok, I went and looked, it says Sarah, 2 years, 1977. I must have been the world's biggest two year old. LOL I kept wondering why my face looked so much rounder than Jack's does, but I was still a babyeeeeeeeeeee.)

Before I go I have to tell you one more thing. Yesterday I was cooking dinner when it seemed like Jack had been way too quiet. I went in the sewing room to discover that little stinker had gotten out my little screwdriver and he took apart my sewing machine!

I nearly had a heart attack. And then I had to try not to laugh. I am proud of his curiosity, but not my sewing machine please!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Hopping down the bunny trail

I know that some of you have hardly had a chance to look at yesterday's post, but Good Friday is already tomorrow and I have a few more Easter posts in que I need to get going on!

How about a look at some of the Easter stuff before it all gets put away?

It seems like just a few years ago I hardly had any Easter stuff. Somehow (cough) I now have a metric ton of it, so I tried to pick things I hadn't shown before. Maybe.
These are new this year, a set of nesting rabbits. I might not have bought it, but when I picked it up it seemed like the bunnies just kept coming and coming. The last one is the size of a thimble!
A jar full of blown eggs. Some are the last remaining ones from when I lived in Florida, some were picked up by the dozen at a yard sale. It's incredibly hard to keep these things from year to year, they are so fragile.
A jar with a nesting robin.
Those tiny apothecary jars refilled with eggs from the wreath project. And a little bit of one of Jack's Easter preschool crafts on the kitchen window.
I have some old Easter die cuts that I really, really am crazy about. The colors are wonderful.
I always put different die cuts in the hallway frames for each holiday.
And now I REALLY need to paint that hallway because there are a million pinholes!
The wire tree that never, ever photographs well. We used to have a wonderful holiday store on main street where Dave would buy me little glass ornaments for the holidays. I put them on this tree, where they are up high and safe. Bunnies, ducks, fuzzy lambs, and a chick or two. The little ducks are my favorite.
An old honeycomb Easter bunny head complete with interesting reflections from the mirrors.
A peek inside the big Easter feather tree.
And the whole thing.

In years past I have been a lot more rigid about what I put on the small holiday trees - all wooden ornaments, all striped eggs, etc. But I liked the Valentine tree so much this year with a big mish mash of stuff that I just started putting everything that didn't have a home on the tree. The scherenschnitte (papercut) eggs, some honeycomb eggs I found this year, tiny wooden ornaments, plastic lambs that were old light covers, tiny chenille chicks, and some larger hallmark ornaments that Jack picked up at a yard sale.

I think I like it a lot better this way.

Ok, Jack and I have to take some eggs to church for the egg hunt, and he wants to play Pat the Postman, so I had better get on it.

I will try and take a second to go back and label the previous years Easter trees so you can click on the label at the bottom of the post to see them all.

And I will be back soon with this years visit to the Easter bunny!