Sunday, May 31, 2009

Thy Will Be Done

Well we're here on vacation and I've got quite a bee in my bonnet. We were watching the news when this story came on:

PACE, FL - There were a few suprises last night at Pace High School's Graduation.

After a federal court ruling banned school officials from promoting religion... Some graduates walked into the ceremony with crosses painted on their caps.Then, as Principal Frank Lay took the podium and asked students to be seated... A large group of students remained standing and recited the Lord's Prayer.

Take a look. http://www.weartv.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/wear_vid_1890.shtml

Principal Frank Lay, Pace: "Please be seated..."

Graduates: "Our father, who art in heaven hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven..."

The ACLU has been monitoring events at Pace High School.... Today, their attorney Benjamin Stevenson clarified their statement to Channel Three.

"Our feeling is that it's regrettable that the students took over the ceremony to impose their religious views on the audience who may not have shared the same religious views. School officials have a responsibility to protect the silently held religious views of others."

Stevenson went on to say he believes something should have been done to stop the Lord's Prayer at the ceremony. He said he'll be reviewing the case but it's too early to tell whether further legal action will be taken.Pace High School Graduation Protests.

And all I have to add to that is this- Keep on buzzing graduates, keep on buzzing!!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Because You Can Never Know Too Much

So I'm on the road today and am mostly certain that I won't have anything to say after 7 hours in the car with my family. So I cut and pasted the "25 Random Things About Me" meme from Facebook- just in case you were wondering.

1. I get great satisfaction from really scrubbing the bathrooms. (I don't get to do it often b/c SOMEONE beats me to it- but I'm not complaining.)

2. My greatest stressors are cluttered closets, unfinished projects, and dirty garages... Currently, we have all three

3. I really love to run...for long periods of time. I don't do it often enough because I feel guilty.

4. Guilt is my arch nemesis. Well, guilt and a really good cheesecake. I struggle with both of those things daily.

5. I want to go to seminary when the kids are grown. Not for any kind of new job endeavor, I just want to know more.

6. I have unfinished writing projects scattered all over my computer, bookshelves, and brain.

7. I love to read- and will read almost anything.

8. I feel most myself at the beach and yippee- I'm on my way

9. I love a good, hard, belly laugh- you know- a guffaw

10. AC has the best belly-laugh I've ever heard

11. My son has the quickest, most sarcastic wit I've heard in a long time. He's got excellent comedic timing.

12. I married a coach, who's also a Vanderbilt fan. 2 things I said I would NEVER do.

13. I was a pre-med major in college. I was 21 before I realized I don't really like sick people- the whining and complaining gets to me.

14. So naturally, I teach high school English- there's no whining and complaining there.

15. I am terrified of thunder storms and the noise that helicopters make. (The helicopter thing is Post-traumatic stress from Red Dawn)

16. I plan to celebrate my 40th birthday in Tanzania atop Kilimanjaro

17. I've never had a desire to see England or France- but I hear they are nice

18. My dream is to have several acres, a barn, and dozens of DOGS- I love dogs, and a lamb (just because I think they're cute)

19. When I was in high school I had a notebook with a 5-year, 10-year, 15- year, etc. plan which included living in the Blue Ridge Mountains, being a pediatrician, having three children (twin girls and a boy), and having a really cool kitchen (seriously, that's what it said)

20. I didn't do a single one of those things- the real thing was so much better than the plan (I'm still hoping for the kitchen though)

21. I have been on the brink of death- it's an empowering thing. I'm not afraid of that anymore.

22. I know there are things that are worse than death.

23. I didn't really see the big deal with the 3 Stooges or Seinfeld, but I think old Cosby Show reruns are hilarious.

24. I miss my grandmother every day.

25. My spices and the food in my pantry are in alphabetical order and organized into sweet and savory categories. I have been known to throw quite the hissy fit if someone disorganizes those spaces. It's a daily battle- but for some reason- it's one hill worth dying for... (I know, it's weird- it's my thing)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

And We're Off...Almost

7:05 am- AC comes in and wakes me up saying, and I quote, "I'm perfect as a princess."

Well, one could read a lot into that statement, but what she meant was that she felt fine. I pulled my iron-deprived self out of bed and took her temperature. 97.1. No fever.

As the day progressed, no call from the doctor to tell me she had strep.

So my friends, it looks like we escaped having to transport Amoxicillin from here to Florida.

The dogs and garden have a wonderful couple coming to live with them for the week at our home- Mack will be so pumped to have a new sucker to coax into hours of ball throwing.

The bags are almost packed. It's almost time to go.

All the excitement got Coach and I talking about childhood vacation memories.

Do you remember when you were a kid and your parents gave you a coloring book, a book to read, and a pack of Uno cards and you were left to fend for yourself in the backseat for a sweet forever until you got to a Stuckey's somewhere in Alabama for a potty break?

Seriously, my brother and I would trade off- one of us would sleep in the back window and the other would sleep in the floor. Obviously the floor was kind of a bummer because of the hump and all, but the person who was stuck with the hump was left with all the negotiating power.

At about hour 3 we would sit in the seat and make horrid faces and cars passing by and then we'd laugh. We'd laugh so hard the threats from the front seat would start.

"If you don't stop, I'll turn this car around and go home."

We'd keep going until the flailing hand started- you know- when your dad just reached his hand back and started swatting and he spanked whatever he hit.

Oh those were good times. I still laugh about how nimble my brother and I were, and how we were able to elude the flailing hand.

Sadly, our children will not be able to experience that.

I simply don't have the constitution for it.

So, we've packed DVD players and every DVD we own; 3 Nintendo DS's; 3 iPods all freshly loaded with new songs (thank you Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift); and even a book or two.

The way I see it, we've bought ourselves at least two hours.

After that, well...

Let the flailing begin!

Here's to vacation and to summer!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

T -2 and Counting

UPDATE: Okay so it's like, oh I don't know...15 minutes since I posted, and Coach who is NEVER in a grumpy mood has bitten my head off over a calendar, yelled at no one in particular about a t-shirt, said the "s" word (and I don't mean stupid) and "dad gummit". Now he's in the laundry room muttering nonsense to himself. I think illness or maybe "emotional lability" is about to claim its 3rd victim.

It's Wednesday night.

We leave on Friday morning for the beach.

Yesterday I spent 5 hours in AC's landfill cleaning out drawers, under the bed, and her closet.

I learned a lot.

For instance, one can indeed listen to Miley Cyrus sing "Hoedown Throwdown" upwards of a million dozen times and not have an aneurysm. Desk drawers have an uncanny ability to hold more glittery markers, sharpies, pencils, bookmarks, friendship bracelets, and clothing tags than the human mind can grasp. And finally- the most important lesson I learned yesterday- there are some things that are better done in solitude. AC wholeheartedly agrees with me on this.

But all was well because last night she got to go to Neme and Pop's house to spend the night and have her Adventure Day with Neme. (Neme and Pop have 7 grandchildren and Neme has an Adventure Day with each of them in the summer- some go to the bouncy house, some go to the Ocoee River to whitewater raft, some go to Chattanooga to the Aquarium, it just depends on what they pick) AC was going to the local pottery place to paint a plate today as her Adventure Day...

until...

She and Neme were walking into the pottery place and she projectile vomited right as they were entering the store. It was then that she admitted that her throat hurt and her stomach had been hurting. Her temperature? 102. Really?

Awesome.

Because, remember we leave for VACATION on Friday.

So I took her to the doctor convinced she had strep (which she probably does) and the doctor says "Since she took an antibiotic for her ear less than 30 days ago, the quick test probably won't show a positive"...and it didn't.

Again, Awesome.

So, we're suffering through like it's 1976 with Tylenol and chicken noodle soup waiting for the doctor to call tomorrow with the glorious news that she does, indeed, have strep.

But it's cool, I thought we'd listen to K.C. and the Sunshine Band and do latch-hook rugs until he calls.

And, not to be outdone, I dropped her off, turned around, and went to see my gastro doctor for a follow-up after my colonoscopy (too much information????). I've had some pretty impressive side-effects from what we thought was the medicine.

My favorite was when I told him I'd been really mean lately and not able to control it.

His reply was to look at me, and then remark and write in his notes, "Suffers from emotional lability." I don't know what that means, but I'm pretty sure I'm offended by it. (And I did spell it right- I think he's making up crap again.) Did you catch the pun? :)

After a fun little conversation where Coach convinced Dr. Fun to take some blood (Thanks Babe) we went home.

Then Dr. Fun called me back. Turns out I'm on death's door. Well, sort of. I'm anemic- seriously- my hemoglobin is scary low (have no idea what that means - just know it's NOT good) and my other number which I didn't listen to didn't register it was so low. Which means I have to take iron 3 times a day.

Have you ever taken iron supplements? Three times a day means three times the gas and bloating. I'll be a fun amusement on the 7 hour trip to Florida.

So with less than 48 hours until we pull out, illness has claimed two of us.

Stay tuned for what I'm sure will be an action packed Thursday!

Which is slower, a camel, a crawler-transporter, or a velvet mite?

Last Friday we all went to the zoo together. I thought it would be super empty, since it was the last day of school and a little rainy, but there were actually quite a few people there. Since Wes could watch Sapphire (and take pictures), the boys and I got to ride one of the camels. I was surprised how high up it is, and how much the camel . . . rolicks? rolls? undulates? Anyway, the ride was quite bumpy, but very fun.

Today Quartz yelled angrily, to Onyx, when he was riding his tricycle slowly around our yard and Quartz was stuck behind, "You won't even go as slow as a space shuttle carrier!" He is talking about the Crawler-transporter for the space shuttle, which has a max speed of 1 (one) mph. His favorite way to say something is very small is "small as a velvet mite". He says he is better at sneaking than Solid Snake (a character from one of Wes' favorite games, Metal Gear).

Sapphire likes to scream with delight when someone plays peek-a-boo with her. She also sucks her toes, rolls around, and chews on board books with gusto.

Onyx bumped into his fire engine while walking around, and said, very sincerely, "I sorry for bumping into you." When someone says he is cute, he says, "Yeah" in a resigned, matter-of-fact way.

This outfit was given to Sapphire by my ultra-hip cousin Christina -- I love the design! Her first cheongsam . . . I would have worn mine to match, but it doesn't work very well with nursing. Everyone at church thought she was so cute (and asked me where I got the dress). :-)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

S.O.S


She doesn't look like a slob does she? Well she is- a big S-L-O-B. So, with 2.5 days left until we pull out of here for the beach, she and I are going to tackle the landfill that is her room.

I must be honest. It is very likely that one or both of us will meet our final demise in this room.

I'm kind of counting on it being hers and not mine, but we'll see.

If you don't hear from me tomorrow, you'll know why.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Summertime and the Livin' is Easy

It's officially summer here...finally.


After 2000 meetings, end of the year parties, track meets, graduation parties, and all other manner of minutiae, we did finally make it.


And it nearly killed us all.


But that's okay because we leave this Friday for here...




Where I plan on doing nothing other than sitting in my float sent straight from God while reading fun girlie books that have no literary merit whatsoever, not even a little symbolism.

And the place we're staying this year has the most incredible pool and TIKI BAR (because no vacation is complete without one) and the kids are all excited because they have kiddie tiki drinks.

Coach, who is not really so pumped about the tiki bar, is pretty pumped about stopping by to see his college roommate. But what he's really pumped about is seeing the USS Alabama and all its sister aircraft and submarines.

Every year we take the kids somewhere educational on Saturday before check-in. (Now, before you start deciding that we are responsible and intellectual parents, let me just tell you we do it because Coach and I are both so excited to see the beach that we can't wait another minute and the tours keep the kids occupied until we can check in to our house for the week.)

Last year we spent a day in Savannah- a FULL day. We started at Bonaventure Cemetery (if you've not ever been- you MUST go and kids LOVE it) where we took pictures of beautiful statues, Spanish moss, and historical graves.



G ironically, had just finished studying about southern history in school, and kept trying to give us lectures on the first governor of Georgia and then the Jacksonian Era. We politely declined a million times.

V and AC listened to him, Coach and I played a very fun game of Ghost in the Graveyard (seriously- when can you actually play that game IN a cemetery? We can hear about the Telfairs and Andrew Jackson any old time)

From there we visited the First African Baptist Church (took a tour from a Junior deacon there- again, we ALL loved it- it's free and if you're anywhere close to Savannah- you must go). Then we went to the big fountain in Forsythe Park, saw the house where Juliet Gordon Lowe grew up (Girl Scouts), rode on public transportation- a new experience for all of our kiddos, saw the 2nd African Baptist Church where the Emancipation Proclamation was read (3 years LATER) to the slaves in Georgia, and finally, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist -which is beautiful- literally breathtaking.







I had a lot of fun messing with G there. He's very big on classification and order. So while we are Baptists by denomination, G takes it a bit far. He prides himself on being Baptist- and nothing else. So when we went in the cathedral and he saw the Holy Water (do you capitalize that?) he asked if he could touch it- I told him sure. When he did, I said "Congratulations Buddy, now you're Catholic"

He had a stroke; albeit a small one.

I love messing with him because he is sooooooo literal. Then we had to have a serious talk about how Jesus really never meant for us to classify ourselves as Baptist or Catholic or Methodist- but just wanted us all to be a part of the body and love each other. Then he decided it was safe for his little Baptist behind to enter into the cathedral again and look at the art work.

Then we had ourselves some dinner at Ms. Paula's restaurant because we all love her so much. And in Coach's immortal words: "Our kids put a hurt on the buffet there." So with full bellies, sunburned cheeks, and blistered feet, we headed on into Hilton Head for a week of rest and relaxation.

So, in 4 days and a few odd hours we will load them all up with iPods, DVD players, and books, and we'll be headed to the Gulf of Mexico this year for fun in the sun and a little military history. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it.

But for now I'll just say Happy Sunday- I'll put a hamburger recipe that is out of this world on for Memorial Day, and I'll wish you and your families a great beginning to the summer.








Friday, May 22, 2009

Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Brittany Ann on winning the sheet set. I used Random.org- have no idea how to post the time stamp page- but I finally got it to work!

Brittany Ann- send me an e-mail (you can use the momsense mail button above) and I'll get you in touch with Miss Mallory to get your brand new bamboo sheets!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hearts of Compassion

Meet Alex.


He's 8 years old and he lives in Kenya. Cute little guy isn't he?


Alex has a very serious heart ailment that you can read about here on the Compassion blog. His family makes $13.70 a month. That's right- I bought 3 sandwiches at Subway today and spent more than his family makes in a month.

Alex needs surgery immediately. With surgery, he can live a normal life just like we hope our own children will live. His surgery costs $8300.

Now, y'all know I'm not a math whiz, but this one is easy. $8300 is more than $13.70.

A LOT MORE.

We need to help him and his parents. If you can spare a dollar, go here and donate it. If you have an extra thousand, go here and donate. This is a fund set up especially for his heart surgery.
Every single penny you donate goes directly to this sweet little guy's heart - literally and figuratively.

Here is another chance to show a family a world away what Jesus looks like. Can you spare a dinner or two? A cup of coffee from Starbucks?

Imagine the relief his parents will feel will they know that their little guy will have the opportunity to live life abundant. And imagine what message Jesus can whisper into the hearts of everyone who knows this little boy and his family. Your contribution could very well have HUGE eternal dividends.








Life Without Video Games

I recently heard from a kid I know that they aren't allowed to play video games in her family. I guess I can kind of see where this is coming from (waste of time, negative influence, etc). But, to me, that's like saying, "We aren't allowed to play board games in our family" or "We aren't allowed to watch movies in our family". I mean, yeah, there's some games that aren't for kids, and they can eat up a lot of time for some people (and I totally agree with having the kids pay for a system if they are the only ones that want one -- those are expensive!), but to ban them entirely . . . ? They're just another form of media, not something intrinsically good or bad.

I would rather my little girl played Neopets and Pokemon video games than watched Barbie movies, but I guess some people feel differently about that. :-)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Summer Fun Starts NOW!

It's only May, but it's totally summer here! Here's some of our latest fun summer activities.

Went hiking on the Sandia Crest trail overlooking Albuquerque. Luckily, there are guard rails so that curious little boys don't go careening down the mountainside. This is a great hike -- nice and cool, and with varied vegetation (desert cliffs at first, then fir and pine forest, and a meadow).

Wes got a new grill -- here he is putting it together. I'm getting totally spoiled because he's been grilling every night -- steak, chicken sandwiches, fish, sausages for spaghetti, pineapple, asparagus, snow peas -- everything delicious! He's got a passion for GRILLING!

This was totally all Quartz's idea. I made him do everything himself, including pay me $1 for the limeade he made. He even helped make the poster, tracing over my pencil marks. He shouted "Limeade for sale!" at every passing car, and sold about 10 cups of limeade (the whole pitcher!). His customers included the county garbage man, a policewoman, and lots of kind neighbors! He was so excited about the $3 he made (and used to buy Legos).

We had some friends over for dinner, and we all played video games while the babies played on the floor. They gooed at each other, tried to smear each other with spit-up, and even smiled sometimes. Great fun!

Looking forward to more SUMMER FUN!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

My mother believes herself to be an animal lover. In truth, she is not. She swears she likes dogs, using the whole "We had dogs your whole childhood" excuse every single time we talk about it.
Mind you, while we did have dogs most of my childhood, there was never a time that a single paw made it into the house. It didn't matter what the temperature was, how bad the storm was, or what creatures that ranked above them on the food chain lurked outside, the dogs never came in...NEVER.

If you don't know anything about my mom...well, she's complicated. We're very different which was a barrel of monkeys while I was a teenager.

Me? I think that life is just not worth living without at least two dogs, and if I had my druthers, we'd have a barn and a whole herd of dogs. (Would you call it a herd?)

Naturally, me owning not one, but two dogs irritates the dog mess out of her. And she has taken a special disliking to the lug, Mack. It's a long story best saved for another day, but she really hurt my feelings the other day when she told me she was going to think twice before coming to our house for a cookout again because of Mack...


And I have no idea why...


What? Your dog doesn't nap on your table?

Let the Dog Days of Summer Begin!!!!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Southern Hospitality and a Giveaway!!!

"J. I'm going to like this one...you can tell she's a good southern woman, she's got her Bible and her Southern Living."

And that's how I met Bobby, J.'s little brother (fraternity, not fraternal) on my first trip to Tuscaloosa to see Tennessee play Alabama. That was the first time in 81 years that the infamous game played on the 3rd Saturday in October had been played in Tuscaloosa.

It was a marvelous Saturday in the South. (Tennessee won, thank you very much.)

Anyway, back to Bobby's comment, he was almost right; had I had my Diet Coke with me then I would've been ready to conquer the world. But I have to give him credit- most problems are easily solved with either the Bible or Southern Living. If it's really serious, you might need both.

Now don't get all offended about the Bible not solving ALL problems- use the Bible for child rearing, husband finding, soul searching, and most anything that ails your heart. BUT, if you want to know what kind of Hydrangea to grow in the shade or how to make real southern chicken salad (ALWAYS use real mayo, NEVER whipped salad dressing) - Southern Living is your best bet.

Anyhoo, we all know, a good Southern girl is only as good as her entertaining and her garden, and for the record, I must confess that mine is covered in grass because we have had more rain than you can shake a stick at.


Sooooo.... How would you like a little giveaway and some entertaining advice from my sweet girls at Karen Neuburger?


First, the giveaway. How would you like a brand new set of Karen Neuburger Bamboo sheets? Leave me a comment below before Friday, May 22 to enter the giveaway. Just tell me your favorite kind of party to give or go to- I need new ideas. I will do the drawing on Friday, May 22 after 3:00 pm.

Now for the entertaining advice on throwing a perfect summer party...


Jenna Lowe, Lifestyle Expert for the Karen Neuburger brand has great tips for pulling off a beautiful party in your backyard or home with friends.

Jenna explains, “As a lifestyle designer, I’m always thinking entertaining in a way that will engage the five senses – sights, sounds, taste, touch, and smell. It’s important to keep all of these in mind, especially when throwing a party during the summertime.”

TOUCH: Invitations
“Picking the right invitation and themes for the party is very important as it sets a tone and keeps party guests on the same page of what to expect,” Jenna explains. “One of my favorite summer themes is High Tea at High Noon. It’s a great chance to bring girlfriends together to sample light hors d’oeuvres enjoy one another’s company.

A great resource for invitations is BeforeYourParty.com, a design-your-own invitation website. Hosts and hostesses can personalize everything on the invite from the color scheme to the font, artwork, and layout ($100-$300 for 50 invitations). Or, to save on cost, try sending invitations from a free online, invitation website like http://www.evite.com/.”



Invitation available at BeforeYourParty.com

SIGHT: Setting the Table
“The table setting should be the main focal point to any party and take center stage. Create something whimsical and fun, and don’t make anything too formal. One way to do this is to mix and match tabletop pieces to create different looks. I’m obsessed with KN Luxury Home’s Willow tabletop line ($8-$32, http://www.bonton.com/). The ruffled design is feminine and whimsical and all pieces in the collection are microwave and dishwasher safe. I also love KN’s Rattan Charger ($12) new Thicket 20-Piece Flatware Set ($86), which is adorned with a nature-like design, perfect for summer.”




SMELL: Fresh and Clean
“Scent is an essential element to parties – more than people think. Instead of opting for traditional flowers that don’t last very long., why not set up beautiful diffusers? They add color and great scents to the party. Try KN Karen Neuburger® 6-Pack Trial Reed Diffuser Gift Set ($20, http://www.bonton.com/). The set features 18 reeds with 18 decorative and various scents including Pink Cashmere, Asian Pear, Warm Sugared Vanilla, Tranquil Oasis, Fresh Linen and Lavender Vanilla.”

SOUND:
“Before the party, create a fun mix of songs to keep the energy up at the party. Pick songs that really center around your party’s theme and don’t be afraid to mix genres or eras of music,” Jenna explains. Here are some of Jenna’s favorite picks for the perfect summer playlist:

The Beach Boys ''California Girls''
Red Hot Chili Peppers' “Dani California”Lynyrd Skynyrd “Sweet Home Alabama”
Yellowcard “Ocean Avenue”
Sheryl Crow “Soak Up the Sun”
Violent Femmes “Blister in the Sun”
The Beatles ''A Hard Day's Night''
Sublime “Summertime”
The Wallflowers “One Headlight”
The Monkees “Daydream Believer”

TASTE: Flavorful Food
“Finger sandwiches are an easy, affordable, and adorable solution for food at parties. Simple recipes include cucumber and ham and cheese sandwiches. Pair them with fruit and veggies platters and my favorite Shrimp Dip (find the recipe below).



Jenna’s Shrimp Dip Recipe

Ingredients:
2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese (full strength, not light!)
¼ cup of milk (1% is fine)
2 tbs Miracle Whip salad dressing (not mayo!)
1 cup of Parmesan cheese
2 tps of crushed garlic
2 4 oz. cans deveined shrimp
¼ tsp of paprika
Sprig of parsley

Directions:
Put cream cheese, milk and Miracle Whip in a mixing bowl
Mix with electric beater on medium until soft, creamy and totally blended.
Add the Parmesan cheese and crushed garlic, blend
Drain shrimp keeping a little juice for flavor
Fold shrimp and juice into mixture
Taste again and then garnish with paprika and parsley
Chill for 1 hour
Serve with your favorite dipping crackers

TASTE: Delightful Drinks
“What better way to enjoy a warm summer day than with lemonade? Serve it in a beautiful glass lemonade stand and jar ($18, http://www.surlatable.com/) and slice lemons to give extra color. Refreshing and totally chic – your guests will certainly go back for more!”


http://www.surlatable.com/ and KN Luxury Home Mocha Glassware Coolers, $26 http://www.bonton.com/

TASTE: Delicious Dessert
“I love serving macaroons for dessert. Try Paulette’s Macaroons (http://www.paulettemacarons.com/). They ship all over the United States and come in a variety of flavors and colors ($36 for 24 macaroons).”


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Holy Grail

Well, it took me a few days longer than I had planned, but here is the Holy Grail of restaurant recipes...

P.F. Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Special Sauce
¼ cup sugar
½ cup water
2 Tbls. soy sauce
2 Tbls. rice vinegar
2 Tbls. ketchup
1 Tbls. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. sesame oil
1 Tbls. Chinese hot mustard
1-3 teaspoons chili garlic sauce

Stir-fry Sauce
2 Tbls. soy sauce
2 Tbls. dark brown sugar
½ tsp. rice vinegar

Chicken Mixture
3 Tbls. vegetable oil
1 lb. ground chicken
1 cup diced water chestnuts
2/3 cup diced straw mushrooms
3 Tbls. chopped green onion
1 tsp. minced garlic

Iceberg lettuce leaves
Maifun rice sticks or Asian pasta

1. Make special sauce by dissolving the sugar in the water in a small bowl. Ad soy sauce, rice vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice, and sesame oil. Mix well, and refrigerate until ready to serve. At the table you will add the desired amount of Chinese mustard and garlic chili sauce (to taste)


2. Prepare stir-fry sauce by mixing soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in small bowl.


3. To prepare the filling, bring 2 Tbls. of oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan. Saute chicken until cooked- remove, but keep oil in pan.


4. As the chicken cools, be sure mushrooms and water chestnuts have been diced to size of small peas. Add remaining Tbls of oil to pan. Add chicken, garlic, water chestnuts, and mushrooms to the pan. Add the stir-fry sauce to the pan and sauté for a couple of minutes until heated through.


5. Spoon onto a dish on top of noodles.


6. Serve with the lettuce leaves.


7. Eat with the special sauce- be sure to add the mustard and chili-garlic sauce until you have it like you like it!

Enjoy! Tomorrow I have a fun party idea and a great give-away! I'm starting my spring cleaning and received an e-mail from a gal wanting to give away a pretty nice set of sheets!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

J&R Vintage Auto Museum

Went to the J&R Vintage Auto Museum in Bernalillo with the kids -- this was their favorite part. There were a lot of nifty antique cars, nicely restored, but they weren't for touching, which made it hard for the kids to enjoy it a whole lot. And Sapphire spit up on the floor, so I had to run and get paper towels. At least the guy working there was really nice -- he let the kids sit in one of the cars, kind of like a 1930's minivan. The middle seats folded up and were just the right size for kids. Pretty fun!

Swimsuit Edition


Well, it's been pretty warm (though still a little breezy), but none of the city pools are open yet during the day so we got out the wading pool! Onyx sat in it for about 2 minutes, then said he was cold and wanted to get dressed. Quartz has been playing in it off and on all day. Even Sapphire and I got in -- she loved it! She kept sucking wading pool water off my hands -- hopefully there's not too many germs in there . . . :-/ Sorry, no swimsuit pictures of me; though you can see my shadow in Sapphire's photo. It was the only way to get her to smile for the picture. :-D

With the help of some great friends and neighbors, we got all the gravel in the backyard, and now we're starting to build the playset! The boys love helping -- they practice their counting and now understand terms like "brace", "bolt", "nut", and "socket wrench".

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mongolian Beef Recipe

If you're here from Kelly's blog wanting the recipe...A while back I put the recipe for Mongolian Beef on the blog. If you want it the link is below. AND...

Tomorrow I swear I will put the recipe for chicken lettuce wraps on as well.

May your bellies be happy today!

http://dailymomsense.blogspot.com/2009/01/sunday-supper-asian-monday-edition.html

Sunday Supper - Edition 17

Happy Mother's Day! I hope all of you are enjoying a day much like mine with children arguing over the Wii remote and cries of "he's touching me!" Ah, the glorious sights and sounds of motherhood.

I'm kidding...well, really, I'm not kidding- they really are arguing over the remote and screaming at each other, but I guess it's just part of the deal, huh?

So, today is Mother's Day- and because of my chosen field of work- Mother's Day is a holiday that often gets overlooked for me because I have too much to do to stop and celebrate.

And that is precisely why I don't do anything the rest of the summer- it's all an attempt to make up for Mother's Day.

If you're wondering what we're eating tonight- I will put your mind to rest there-I'm not cooking. We're going to my parents to celebrate Mother's Day with my mom and brother and sister-in-law and their 4 small children. (Oh, yes- they have 4 children ages 1-6- a whole treasure trove of stories to tap into one of these days)

Anyway, I made a Coca-cola Cake (without nuts) and a hashbrown casserole to go with the hamburgers and whatever else there will be tonight.

BUT- for those of you who want to cook or are going to persuade your husband and/or children to cook why don't you try these recipes from Paula Deen?

She did a show this morning- "Pucker Up" that was full of citrusy recipes. It's a re-run and I've made all but the asparagus before. I can tell you it is all excellent and EASY EASY EASY.

So, why don't you convince your family to make these recipes for you, grab a good book, go outside, and listen to them argue and toil over your Mother's Day dinner?

Grilled Salmon with Key Lime ButterIngredients:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons key lime juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets

Directions:

Prepare grill by lightly oiling grill grate over medium-high heat.
In a small saucepan, melt butter add lime juice. Salt and pepper the salmon fillets modestly on both sides. Place fillets onto grill, brush half of lime butter over salmon. Grill salmon for 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Drizzle remaining lime butter over salmon before serving.

Asparagus with Sesame Citrus SauceIngredients:
1 bunch asparagus
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus a splash
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Salt

Directions:
Prepare the asparagus. Snap off bases of spears and discard. Bring a small amount of salted water to boil in a saucepan, add a splash of lemon; add asparagus and cook until tender. Remove asparagus and shock in an ice bath to stop the cooking and to keep its bright green color.
Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon sesame seeds and cook, stirring 2 to 3 minutes over moderate heat, until lightly browned. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons orange juice, drizzle with 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Whisk to make sure it's fully emulsified. Add salt, to taste. Add asparagus to sauce, and toss until coated. Serve hot and garnish with extra sesame seeds, if desired.

Lemon Linguine
Ingredients:
1 (8-ounce) package linguine
1/4 cup minced onion or shallot
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, divided
1 tablespoon milk
1 3/4 teaspoons lemon-pepper seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 medium lemon)
1 whole lemon, zested
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives

Directions:
Cook linguini according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.
In a skillet, cook onion or shallots and garlic in butter, stirring constantly until tender, not brown. Stir in sour cream, 2 tablespoons Parmesan, milk, lemon-pepper, salt, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour over linguini. Toss gently, adding chopped parsley, chives, and remaining Parmesan. Serve warm.

Orange-Citrus BarsIngredients:2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup cold butter, cubed
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 orange, zested

Orange Citrus Glaze:4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 orange, zested

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Crust:
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, and confectioners' sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan. Bake 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Filling:
In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, and juice until well mixed. Add 1/4 cup flour and baking powder, stirring to combine. Sprinkle in some orange zest.
Pour into hot baked crust, and bake 25 minutes, or until set. Cool the bars, so you may top with orange citrus glaze.
For the Orange-Citrus Glaze:
Add 4 cups of powdered sugar and 1/2 cup orange juice together, so that it combines to make a nice creamy glaze sauce consistency. Add orange zest. When all ingredients are mixed well, pour onto the citrus bars.
All recipes are from Paula Deen and can be found on http://www.foodtv.com/. Simply look up Paula Deen and the episode entitled "Pucker Up."

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Daily Dish

I have an obsession with dishes. I love them - I spend hours looking at table settings and catalogs and such. It's weird. I know it's weird. It's my thing. Get over it.

Anyway- the other day I got an e-mail asking if I would say a few things about a product that would make a great Mother's Day present.

To my surprise- the product was....dishes.

Oh, you simply must have one of the silhouette plates. I think they are the most beautiful things I've seen in a while.


But they also have these adorable plates with a drawing of a door (there are three styles) and your address on them. How cute is that? What a great wedding present they would make- and well.... Tis the season.

Check out the website : http://www.rustdesigns.com/ for more patterns - there are adorable place settings, platters, bowls, etc with birds, flowers, etc. There are holiday plates, birch tree plates, mugs, dessert sets, all sorts of dishy goodness to enjoy. I really like the Lovebug plates myself. The best part? All the items are personalized! Be sure to check out the fairy and construction plates for little ones while you're there!


This is one of my new favorite things to obsess and beg for. So- if your still hinting around for a Mother's Day gift- you might slip your husband/children the website and give them a little help.

Happy Friday! I'll put Sunday Supper up tomorrow!


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Metamorphosis

Because this is how I look now... (yes, even the errant hairs - thank you so much Prednisone)


Jillian and I are becoming quite tight. Well actually, Jillian is clearly already tight, and me.... well, not so much. But hey- who can't handle 20 minutes a day for 30 days? Especially if...


...you can look like this when you're finished.



Seriously???? She's had three children? Oh Jillian - please don't disappoint!