Monday, June 21, 2010

Hello, Out There!

Sooooo, I still do not have a computer, which means I am using the computer belonging to my Mom.  It is not good.  Why?  Why am I using such asynine sentance structure?  Because if I use the apostrophe key, the whole computer goes nuts and I cannot type.  I did not realize the vastness of my dependance on contractions. 

I am also not sure when I will be getting a new computer.  I really want an imac, but my funds for such a purchase are dwindling due to a money hemorrhage I like to call Daisy Dog.  She now has a cast on her leg and a cone on her head to keep her from removing said cast.  I would show you a really cute picture of her, but apparently the computer belonging to my Mom hates to upload photos as well.  Humphhh.

I miss my little bloggy :(

I wish I didn't hate debt so much, because I would be slidding the card so fast right now and gett(apostrophe)in myself a (apostrophe)lil imac lov(apostrophe)in.  

For sure.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Comuter Woes

I am not disappearing, but I won't be able to blog until I get a new computer.  Mine decided to lose it's motherboard, which apparently costs a motherload.  So, I will be back soon!  Hopefully I will have another pc by next week!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Life Work

After a weekend of family fun and strict observation of a Sabbath "day of rest" (aka--not doing dishes after every meal and not walking around picking up stuff and putting it away), Monday morning dawned on a very messy house.  I knew I needed to stay home and get things shaped up for the week.  But, I was struggling with "homeschooling mother guilt," which is of another species than the usual forms of mother guilt. 
If I am good at home management today, I will be bad at homeschooling. 
I can only be good at one thing a day. 
I don't know how to overcome this phenomenon. 
Except that my kids will homeschool themselves. 
Science happened in the form of Curlyjo and Tiny Love finding no less than six snails in the back yard and creating a habitat for them:

In between vacuuming, laundry, and cleaning out kitchen cabinets, we looked up some information in our trusty nature guide:

We identified the snails and found out what they need to survive in the habitat.

Later, Tiny Love ran into the house to begin another science lesson with her latest find:

We discussed it's beauty, the amazing precision with which it was crafted, and the mighty God who could created creatures who just knew how to do such intricate and wonderful things.
And then we talked about bird lice.
So, science, health, and theology.  Done.
After they cleaned the garage and their room (life skills), they went outside to play have PE:

At lunch, we had a little reading time:

I didn't want Brother to miss out on all the fun, so I made him a little to do list, you know, to help him focus. 
It has nothing to do with the fact that he doesn't seem to hear me when I talk.

Yes, he wrote, "Can't do it!" on the bottom of the page.  But you know what?  He did do it.  All of it!
What a productive day. 
Maybe homeschooling really is a lifestyle. 
Maybe it really doesn't need to be a source of guilt, but one of joy and wonder. 
Maybe, but I think I will err on the side of seat work tomorrow. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

You want to participate in Menu Plan Monday?  Go to here.

We had such a great weekend!  We did some swimming with family, had a little campfire time, saw my Mom on the webcam, and attended a wonderful church service.  I feel ready for the week!

The plan:
Monday:  Kale and White Bean soup, bread
Tuesday:  Beef Stroganoff, egg noodles, frozen veggie
Wednesday:  Grilled chicken (I will invent a marinade), healthy risotto, veggie
Thursday:  Taco Pizza, salad
Friday:  Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, veggie
Saturday:  Spicy Shrimp, brown rice, salad
Sunday:  Leftovers!

Confession:  Sometimes I don't make what is on the list, or I switch the days around. 
I still like having a plan.
I leave you with a couple of weekend pictures that put me in a great mood this Monday morning:

The most beautiful place in the world, my family's farm, also known as "The Compound."

My sweet little family, just being together.

The Roo, who is always doing something looking deep into the eyes of Curlyjo's doll.

My lovely sister and her family.  And the most glaring portion of the picture...her husband's farmer's tan. 

Brother and The Husband, having a chat. 
I think. 

Gratitude.  For all the precious memories we created this weekend.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Romantic Asparagus?

Ahhhh, Saturday.  I had my Lentil Burger lunch around 11:00 am today, so by 2:00 pm, I was ready for lunch number two ;)
So, I cooked again.

Tomato Soup
Better than Campbell's, cheaper than Campbell's.

1 can tomato paste
2 1/4 c. water
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried basil
3-4 tsp. real maple syrup
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper, to taste
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Put the tomato paste into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the water and whisk until combined.  Add all other ingredients and whisk.  Bring it to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for five minutes.  Ladle into bowls and top with cheese, if you are using it.  I say go for it.  It is even better after it sits for a while!

Two lunches down, and it was time to go couponing. 
I went to the Wal-Mart in my town, which always proves annoying and fruitless.  I usually go to the store in another town, as they are much more cooperative and...nice.
I had coupons that enabled me to get lots of goodies free or nearly so, which wigged out the cashier. 
The loot the lady thought I was stealing:

Nice!  It was worth the ten minute argument with TWO cashiers. 
I came home and cooked again. 
Oh, and I got a bouquet from the Husband today!

Local, organic asparagus for one.  He knows the way to my heart :)

Lentil Burgers

Yesterday I did not cook anything for an entire day.  Somehow I still had tons of dishes, hmmm. 
This morning I just needed to cook something.
And I really needed to clean out the fridge. 
"Necessity is the mother of invention."

Homemade Lentil Burgers
Serves 6

2 1/2 c. cooked brown lentils
3 tbs. tomato paste
McCormick Steak Seasoning, to taste (I used about 1 tbs.)
chopped green chilies (I used about 2 tbs. of the canned variety, but do this to taste)
2 eggs
1 c. bread crumbs
1/2 c. quick oats

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a non-stick baking sheet with cooking spray.  In a food processor, place lentils, tomato paste, seasoning, and eggs.  Pulse until it is blended.  Pour it into a medium bowl and add the chilies, bread crumbs, and oats. 

Let stand at room temperature for about five minutes.  Shape into patties. Heat 1-2 tbs. olive oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet. Cook the burgers in the skillet about three to four minutes per side.

Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven.


I really like these!  Next time I will add some finely chopped onion and garlic, to make it a little more interesting.  I loved that they were not soggy in the middle.

So, the burning question:
Do they taste like meat?
The answer:
Of course NOT.

But they are tasty and healthy.  And I don't like things that aren't meat that taste like meat. 
Because that is just weird. 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Homemade Pizza

Homemade pizza has always been comfort food for my family.  I remember when my mom used to make it when I was a girl, and it was such a treat!  Fast forward twenty-five years, and I am making it for my little family (and Brother and a few of his friends).  I like to make the crust with some whole wheat flour, because it makes me feel virtuous. 
Homemade Pizza Crust
courtesy of

Into a mixer, pour 1 1/2 c. warm water, 1 tsp. sugar, and 1 Tbs. yeast.  Wait 10 minutes for the yeast to "proof," or look foamy.  You can just stand there and watch if you want, because it is kind of neat.  Not that I do that.

Add 1 Tbs. olive oil and 1 tsp. salt.  With the paddle attachment of the mixer, mix this together.  That may have been a little redundant.  Or thorough, depending on how you look at it.
Next, add 2 c. whole wheat flour. Mix on low speed until incorporated.  Then add 1 c. all purpose flour and mix until it comes together.  Dump it on a floured surface.

Start kneading in the flour.  You will use another 1/4 to 1/2 c. of all purpose flour in the kneading process.  It is hard to really say how you know you are done kneading, but it should take about five minutes. 
Half way through:

Still bumpy and not quite elastic.

Smooth, elastic, and very pretty. 
Put it into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a towel.  You could use the mixer bowl.  Why not.

Go see what everyone else is up to while it rises. 

Some people may be destroying the living room in order to have a comfortable place to read.
Others may be just too drowsy to participate.

About an hour later, I had this:

Yeast, man.
Punch it down (no, really.  Punch it.) and cut it in two.  Place both under a towel to rise again, just for about 20 minutes. 

When it is done rising, kneed it a little and then roll it out on a floured surface into a circle.  Or something like a circle.

Place it on a pan or pizza stone, top it as desired, and bake in a preheated 475 degree oven for about 8 minutes.  Just look at it.  You will know when it is done.

Because it will look like that, and you will want to eat it...if the teenage boys don't get to it first. 
Luckily, the recipe makes enough dough for two pizzas.
"Party on, Wayne." 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Get a Web!

For an entire week, every time I go into the upstairs bathroom, I see this:

I know, you need a close up.

I don't think he got the memo about the whole web thing. 
I am scared of him.
Why don't I just kill him, wash him down the drain or otherwise disposed of him? 
Because I read this book to my kids:

Now I can't even kill a little brown spider. 
Who is getting the education here?