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Archive for January, 2009

Rice Pudding

Ingredients:
2 cup milk, divided
2 1/4 cup cooked rice
1/3 cup rapadura (or sugar of your choice)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbps butter
1 tsp vanilla
fresh nutmeg

Cook 1 1/2 c milk, rice, and rapadura over med heat for 15-20 minutes or until thick and creamy.

Combine remaining 1/2 cup milk, beaten eggs, raisins, and cinnamon. Temper and add to rice mixture. Cook an additional minute or two unless you want the eggs to remain raw (know your source and you’ll know if it is safe.)

Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Serve with a bit of grated nutmeg sprinkled over top. Wonderful warm (my favorite) or cold. We often double as it is the twins’ current favorite food.

Recipe found on recipezaar.com and altered to our preferences. Original recipe is titled “Yummy Creamy Rice Pudding” and is easy to work with and hard to mess up.

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On top of the near constant snow we have had, it has been darn cold.  They are saying it’s the coldest winter in ten years.  I believe it.  In the last twenty-four hours we have gotten a foot of snow on top of what was already there, just looking outside makes you feel cold.

So what’s a person to do during times like this?  Here’s a little of what we’ve been up to:

Sleeping. I have done more than sleep, but for some reason I do get sleepy in the winter.

Scrabble, I always win, though my margin is shrinking…he is gaining on me.

 

Cook comfort foods like pot pies, rice pudding, and cookies.  Rice pudding is a go to at our house for breakfasts or desserts (I’ll add the recipe on here soon.)  Cookies are what winter is all about, they are perfect with tea or hot milk.  These pot pies were on an off day for me.  I couldn’t for the life of me think of what to bake them in (turns out I have lots of options, was thinking too hard.)  I ended up using these old pot pie pans that I have various people save for me to use for painting, crafts, etc.  They were easy since I had leftover chicken in gravy, leftover cooked mixed veggies, and had found puff pasty in the back of the freezer.  They look pretty and tasted even better than they looked.

Bundle the kids up and send them out the back door with their daddy to watch the snow fall.

craft- I am trying to plan some things I could sell for next Christmas and see what I have a knack for.  This wreath was fun.  It needs a few more bulbs and a wide satin ribbon to hang from.

pattern research-spring is coming and I am wanting to make the girls all a fun dress for spring and summer.  Here is the Miss Madeline pattern I think I am going to order from The Handmade Dress.  It has lots of options for fabric (sleeves could be a different fabric, top and bottom different fabrics) and I like that is has the option for an attached apron.

School, lots of school.  May 15th is my target completion date this year.  So far we are on track for that.  I would love to be done at the beginning of May, but that will really push the girls.  Once May hits, the weather gets so nice that it is hard to keep the girls (and myself) inside.

*can you tell which of my photos were taken with my phone?  I’ll give you a hint, there is only one taken with my real camera.  I take my camera nearly everywhere, but have a habit of leaving in the parked car.

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CHAPTER 2: DADDY VERSUS THE GLASS GLASS

It started out simple enough (as all good intentions do before things turn bad): A dad just wanting to have supper with his daughters. Three daughters to be exact, because the other was away with her mother (who, ironically, was away for another Saturday.  Can anyone else see the foreshadowing?). The Daddy to female ratio was greatly decreased (at least greatly to him), giving him a sporting chance to do something semi-masculine this evening. Of course, over the course of one wife, four daughters, and a quirky female canine, the definition of masculine has evolved (eroded, declined, shrank, retreated, denigrated: you pick) quite a bit. Whereas it could hold a meaning of lifting weights, watching football, watching a war, western, or action flick, and/or (but not limited to) playing a war/fighting video game, it now means checking email, reading the news, or a bowel movement without interruption (“This must be what Heaven is like!”).  Do you see the masculinity in that list?  Neither do I, but missing is also femininity, which in this house is about as manly is I’m gonna get!  

The soup had been on since noon, so it was hot and ready-to-serve. The grilled cheese sandwiches: completed and ready to be served. All that remained was to dish the soup into bowls. Open the cabinet door. Grab a bowl for the older daughter. Pull bowl out of cabinet. Turn head in other direction. Hear a loud CLANK. IMPACT #1: Turn and see another bowl (either suicidal or was so attached to the bowl I took, it couldn’t let go) laying there and a glass glass, half broken, rolling toward the counter edge. And what do you do in that situation? You can’t grab the broken glass to stop it from falling off the counter. So, in the midst of panic, you watch it roll right off the counter and land on the floor IN BETWEEN YOUR FEET, shattering into many countless, varying in size, but all certainly sharp, pieces. Hence, IMPACT #2. Well, then fun begins.

“EVERYBODY STAY AWAY FROM HERE!”

“Oh goodness, Daddy, what happened?”

“NO dog, get away, there’s no food here!”

“Daddy you OK, daddy you OK?”

“Oh MAN, why didn’t I insist we go all plastic!”

“Daddy I ’ungry, Daddy. I ’UNGRY!”

Needless to say, I made it away from the shards without becoming that scene in the first Diehardmovie. Get shoes on, give the girls sandwiches. Then, you know the drill. Get a brown paper sack (which we wouldn’t have unless Trying Traditional didn’t occasionally shop at natural food stores, like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, who abhor plastic). Sweep with dust pan and broom. Mop. Sweep with vacuum. Mop again as needed.  Oops, forgot the glass shards still on the counter from IMPACT #1.  Rinse and repeat.

“Daddy, I need more sandwich!”

“There isn’t anymore right now.”

“Daddy, I hmmkshsf, adsfasdlkjsfd.”

“Please chew and swallow before talking.”

“Daddy, can I get some water yet, so I can give it to the dog?”

“You almost never water the dog without being told first. What’s changed in the last 10 minutes!?”

Lift off mixer. Lift off toaster. Lift off basket, hot water pot, coffee maker, dirty dishes, etc. and sweep and mop for glass on the counter. Now comes my great debate: Did I get it all?  Is that glint on the wet paper towel a glass shard, or just glitter? ‘Cause I have girls, and they love their glitter! Everything into the paper back. Open the vacuum cleaner to empty the canister, and hear a CLINK, CLINK, CLINK. Look down and see a piece of glass, AGAIN by my feet. Reason: Vacuum canister too full and should have been emptied before I started. Argh! Oh, look, everyone’s done with supper and I’ve just started. Go figure.

Now for the blender. Milkshakes had somehow been mentioned from adults as a possibility for a treat after supper. That, of course, was taken as a promise to young ears. So here we have the blender. Homemade frozen ice cream from the summer. (Here’s a link to one such recipe:  https://tryingtraditional.wordpress.com/2008/07/15/our-week-in-meals/  It’s at the bottom.)  Now add milk. Mix and serve. A quick and easy treat.

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I’ve never read the blender instructions before, so they’ll probably answer this. But why so many different settings for one blade that does nothing but spin?

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Chop? Really? How’s that different from Grind, or Puree, or Blend? It’s all the same blade that spins in the same direction, right?  Come on, they’re laughing at the blender factory, every time they assembly these, I’m sure of it!

 

Enough whining. Here’s the twins, after downing round 1 of the shakes, practicing anti-ice cream headache maneuvers.

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They learned this from an in-house, anti-ice cream headache official: Their older sister.

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Resolute

How resolute are you?  Did you think of some goals for 2009?  Are you keeping any of them?  What’s your progress?

Here is where I stand:

My house- as I have posted a couple times I am slowly working on it.  I am not only wanting to physically re-do my home, but functionally as well.  Something I’m giving a try right now is a load of laundry every day.  I’ve tried it before and it didn’t stick, but it just sounds so much more appealing than waiting until everyone is out of socks.  Here’s what my plan looks like:

  • Sunday-hopefully none as we try to keep this a more relaxed day
  • Monday-mediums
  • Tuesday-towels
  • Wednesday-whites
  • Thursday-reds
  • Friday-jeans
  • Saturday-sheets

The above are my main “catagories” when doing a load of wash.  Occasionally I have other odds and ends and I know these will creep up and need to be done.  I’m okay with that.  Spending all weekend doing load after load of laundry, though, is just not cutting it for me.  I have other simple ideas like this that I want to try, but first I try this one for a few weeks and see if I can’t get it to stick.

Myself:  Yoga is still kicking me in the pants.  I am really out of shape, my strength and balance being the worst.  Thankfully I still have good flexibility.  Since the New Year, there has been a n illness working itself through the house.  I had it, Liz has it now, Forest had it…It’s been spread out enough that I haven’t spent any extra time at the Y.  I figure during illness and bad weather (our Y closes if it is really bad out and we’ve had quite a bit of snow the last couple weeks) if I make to at least one class a week I am doing good.   This next week looks very promising to make it to at least two Yoga classes and I hope to start working in a bike ride as well.

My Faith:  I’ve started in a little, but nothing substantial to report.  I’ve slacked here, I admit it.  Time to push this one up a little!

Something that I feel falls under home and self both is crafting.  I like to think I am a creative person.  I love working with fabric and paper both.  I can quilt, knit (this is new for me and I like how it’s portable without planning ahead), scrapbook (though this is not my favorite), sew for the home and my family, and paint.  My friend and I are thinking of opening an online store and I personally would like to it by fall of this year (see D~ I’m setting goals for us.)  For right now I am trying to research what people want to buy that is handmade.  I’m also trying to find what I can do effectively.  For instance, I love to quilt but it takes forever, is hard to find the fabrics I like (vintage prints, and some of the more modern designers)  in our small part of the middle of nowhere.  I also find that it is something that take me a good long time.  It ends up being hard to price out.  I also haven’t found people willing to drop a few hundred dollars on something they only see pics of on Etsy.  So, I have to find the right niche.  I love to create things and hope to make a little bit of extra cash.  Doing something you love makes you happy, keeping it picked up and in order helps my home. 

How are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions?  It’s still January, don’t lose hold of them yet!

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I resolve

I started writting a post about how I was doing on my New Year’s Resolutions, went to link up to it…it’s not there.  Figures.  Come to find, I have three complete posts that for some reason I hit save instead of publish.  No wonder my blog is looking so sparse!  I guess the best place to start is at the beginning.  This one was written New Year’s Eve and lays some ground work for some of the posts I have and have not posted. 

BTW, if you haven’t already read the previous post,  my husband hijacked my blog.  I was gone for less than a day and supper apparently was quite the production.  If any of you know my husband in real life, you’ll appreciate the humor and perhaps even get a bit of insight into what life with him is like 🙂 

So here it is New Year’s Eve.  Phew am I glad.  2008 was a rough year for so many people, ringing in the new year tonight we be with a sigh of relief for me.  I love fresh starts and new beginnings…even if they are, in all actuality, just another day. 

I rarely, if ever, make resolutions for the new year.  For some reason, this year I could not resist.  Perhaps it was because 2008 was a year that  I felt I had to trudge through.  Perhaps it’s because there are a few things I desperately want to change in my life.  Regardless, I’ve made a few and am sharing them with you and hoping that someone out there will keep me accountable to them.  It has taken me a few days to narrow down what about my life needs improvement and to sift what is really so important as to have a strict goal in that sense. 

1.  To be a better Christian.  By that I am not saying go to church more, tithe more, or sing in the choir.  I really want to focus some time this year in the books that Paul wrote in the New Testament.  What is my role in my home, my church, and my world?   I haven’t talked much about my faith on this blog.  You won’t see me talking religion…I grew up with religion and it didn’t take too well.  You can bet it will be showing up more in my posts.  I am a firm believer that Jesus Christ died for my sins (as well as yours) and that he rose on the third day after crucifixion.  I am a firm believer in the Holy Trinity and that the Bible is not just a collection of stories, but God-breathed and as much for my life today as it was for generations past.  I have to wonder how many are still reading at this point  : )

2. To shape up physically.  I’ve never been petite and won’t pretend to be.  I am 6 ft tall, big boned, and have put on weight on top of that.  I am as clumsy as they come and want to run and hide when a ball starts flying around.  Yeah, I’m a sissy when it comes to sports.  I did start Yoga, though, and plan to continue it a minimum 2 times every week.  I also would like be on a bike for 30 minutes minimum each week.  I have no idea if this will get me into shape, but I have to start somewhere and it certainly can’t hurt.  The Y is less than 2 blocks from our home and we are members…shame on me for wasting the resources available to me.  They even have a child-watch center that is free!  This (like all of my goals, now that I think of it) is not just for me, but for my children.  I want to model a healthy lifestyle and want to be able to romp on the floor with grand-kids in the very far off, distant future.  Nothing like planning ahead, right?

3. To shape up my house.  I am awful at keeping house…there I said it.  It embarrasses me to no end.  If people  just stop by I get so crazy nervous because my house is always cluttered and messy (not dirt mess, stuff  mess…though I do need to dust and vacuum more often.)  I’m not just saying it, either.  I wish it were as simple as dog hair in the corners or the kids books on the floor.  I know much of it is because my time is divided between homeschooling, cooking three meals, helping family, and your standard daily goings-on.  I know the other part of it is that I just do not know where to begin.   I’ve had so many people say “don’t worry about the house while the kids are little”…they have not seen my house.  It gets to the point that you can’t find what you need, that you can’t set something down when you need to, and there are days I want anything but to be at home.  Ultimately, I want a pretty house: cohesive colors, pictures on the wall, and my favorite things not just there, but in use.  For this year, I will settle for de-cluttering and cleaning up.  There is much to go through, most of it not necessary and I am anxious to start.

Well, this post took all of 3 hours to write and I am officially going to post it now or it will not get postedalong with the other three I have started.  Besides, the kids are hungry and I had better feed them before going our friends’ house where there will be junk food to no end.  Mmmmm, I love party food.  On a side note, I did really well avoiding junk food this Christmas.  All the baking I did I kept at my parent’s house or in the freezer in the garage.  When I went to parties I took the smallest plate available and filled it up with the healthy stuff first.  After eating that I had given myself plenty of time to decide which of the more “junk-type” foods I really wanted to try.  For one Christmas it was the meatballs, another was the orange cinnamon rolls, the next one was tough but I settle for good (tapioca cooked with lots of brown sugar and no milk with whipped topping, nuts, and bananas…mmm), cookies at the following one, and the final one I had a Belgian waffle with blueberry syrup oozing all over it and a popcorn ball.  Ok, the food talk talk is making me hungrier.

Happy New Years to you all and I hope 2009 finds you more content than 2008 and that you are able to ring it in with those you love!

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CHAPTER 1:  QUICK AND EASY PORK CHOPS
“No, no, you go ahead and go, dear. I’ll be fine. You need a day away with a friend anyways.”  I’m a daddy, I can handle it, right?
Quick and Easy Pork Chops for dinner. Serve over rice.  I can do that.  Sure. Let’s see that recipe…8 hours in the crock pot! Shoot, I have to start making this right now. I’ll get dressed later.

5-6 Center cut pork loin chops.  Got them right here. 

3 Tablespoons of oil.  Olive oil for us.  No problem, right here.

Brown the chops in skillet with oil.  Brown? Hmmm. What does that mean? When you brown hamburger, you get all the hamburger brown. Well, let’s start.  Maybe medium-high heat.  (5 MINUTES LATER)   Hmmm. Eight hours in a crock pot means it’ll be cooking for eight more hours!  Which means….tough, overcooked meat!  Yikes.  I guess brown means “sear “ in this case. Crap! Well, these 2 can go near the top in the crock. That should help, right?  (10 MINUTES LATER)  Okay, everybody into the crock pot.

1 Medium pepper, 1 medium onion: dice. No problem. (15 MINUTES LATER) Just don’t cut your fingers, man. Nice and steady. Quick and easy, my foot.  Into the crock with you.  Now what?

 

 

 

Everything's in the pot

8 ounces of tomato sauce.  Ah, the joys of trying traditional. Homemade sauce in a jar. Kind of soupy. Oh, well. Now for the lid. Hmmmm. Can’t…get… off…ouch, the fingers can’t take any more. That’s tight seal.  Now what? Maybe I should pry it. But with what? Ah, a butter knife. Just a little pressure…….AAAHHH!  Well, it came off, but the sauce is everywhere. Funny: most of it is on my pants and sock.

 

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Aw, man, it went between the stove and cupboards.  How am I supposed to clean there?!  Don’t swear, you don’t swear, kids are around, just relax. Clean it up. Quick and easy. Yep. Well, at least the dog’s helping.

Shoot, are tomatoes poisonous to dogs?!?!?! Better check. (10 MINUTES LATER) Great, just great.  Half the websites say tomatoes cause tremors, the other half list dog recipes that have tomatoes in them!  It was only a little sauce on the floor. Again, I’m wearing most of it, but it still hasn’t dried yet.  Kind of cold.  I’ll just have to keep an eye on her. Okay, back to the Quick and Easy Pork Chops.

3-4 tablespoons of brown sugar. BUT don’t use the brown sugar, use the rappidura…rapadurrah…rappederra…whatever. The natural substitute for processed brown sugar. Got it.

1 Tablespoon of vinegar.Yeah, but apple cider vinegar or white vinegar.  Is this like red wine versus white wine with supper.  Pork is a white meat so it gets a white wine, right?  Let’s just try for the white vinegar and avoid an added apple flavoring.

1 ½ teaspoons of salt.I haven’t seen store salt in weeks. Let’s see. Trying Traditional recommends Celtic Salt. Celtic? Do I sing Enya while using it? Wait, was she even Celtic? I haven’t heard an Enya song in years.  And does it start with a ‘k’ sound as in ‘kick’ or an ‘s’ sound, as in Boston Celtics? Nevermind.

2 teaspoons of Worcestershire Sauce. Finally, an easy one.

Okay.  Everything’s in the crock pot.

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Just have to turn it on…”DADDY! WE HAVE STINKY PANTS UP HERE!” Argh.  Better take care of that.  (Step-step-step…)

”Daddy I stinky.”

“Yes, you’re stinky.”

”Daddy I stinky.”

“Yes, I can smell that.”

“Daddy red on sock.”

“Yes, daddy is messy.”

“Daddy messy. (Cute laugh.)”

“Yes, daddy got messy.”

“Daddy messy. Messy daddy! (Adorable and goofy laugh.)”

“Yes, daddy is…Good grief, what did we feed you!!”

(10 MINUTES LATER) Okay, where was I…Oh, yes, the Quick and Easy Pork Chops! Right.

8-10 hours on low. Let’s see, that means it would be done at…BEDTIME! AAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Okay, let’s just turn it up on high for an hour or so and then we’ll go low. That can work, right?

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birthdays

Birthdays at Trying Traditional are a fairly low-key affair.  The  older two have had one party with friends…one.  It sounds awful to some and a dream to others.  Here’s a bit of a shocker for you.  I have a really, REALLY hard time dealing with a room full of children…especially other people’s children.  I know, this coming from a mom of four who would have more if she could figure it all out.  I can handle mine, though my husband will tell you that when the noise level gets too high I get cranky.  I guess with mine I know what to expect (for the most part) and know what needs to be done if they are out of line.  More importantly they know what to expect out of me.  It isn’t that I do not like kids.  A room full of kids, though, is like a nightmare to me.   Twice I have helped at church with VBS (or something of that nature) and both times I have had an anxiety attack and vomiting.  It’s odd, really.  My girls are lucky they had the one “friends” party they had two years ago and their amazing Aunt Jodi stepped in and made it a real hit.  (I had been home with the twins for about 2-3 weeks, still not sleeping well, and Aunt Jodi set up a princess photo shoot complete with costumes!)  Not to say they won’t have one again, in fact, I am thinking next year might be the year to tackle it again.

Back on track.  The average birthdays around here include:

  1. choice of meal served on china (the china part is new this year)
  2. cake of choice
  3. family (including grandparents and great-grandparents)
  4. a few gifts

That’s it.  No games with prizes, no goodie bags to send home, no closets overflowing from all the gifts they got (wait, we have that still from Christmas.)  Perhaps it’s because the girls’ birthdays are so close to Christmas.  The costs associated with Christmas as well as the influx of “stuff” into house associated with Christmas, that is. 

We do try to keep it pretty simple, but deffinately tailored to the girls wants.  We’ve had multiple princess birthdays, Strawberry Shortcake, Pooh Bear, etc.   This year they are growing up, 8 and 7 to be exact.  The choices this year were an artist birthday and a cooking birthday.  Here are the cakes from this birthday season:

a gourmet cake for my little chef, Liz

a gourmet chocolate cake with raspberry filling for chef Liz

 

artist pallet for Jane the artist

artist pallet for Jane the artist (with name blurred out)

I have always ask the girls what they want to eat for their birthday meal.  This year we added a new twist.  Mom gave me one set of her china when they moved.  It’s a set she bought piece by piece when her and dad got married and I’ve always loved it.  So now we eat a meal of their choice on the china for the birthday.  We never used the china growing up, it’s time to put some food on those plates!

green pancakes and scrambled eggs for supper

I love that my fancy dishes will mean something to the girls, that it is something special that they look forward to.  I enjoy seeing my Great-Granny’s sherberts in use (though it  makes me nervous seeing as they are so old…Granny was born in 1896.)   I enjoy putting green pancakes up high on the cake plate, steaming up the glass cover while waiting to be served.  Pouring syrup into the creamer dish, watching the girls stick out their pinkie to sip milk with the saucer held high underneath the cup.  The only down side, hand washing all those dishes!  If that is my only complaint, though, it’s worth creating the traditions and memories with my girls.

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