Saturday, February 28, 2009

Our Day

We had an interesing day. Ray is on duty this weekend, so he has to go in each day for a few hours. I went to a new tea room with our friend, Mo, so I dropped Adam off with Ray at the airport when I met her (he was leaving for home soon anyway). Then when I got home, Ray went in to play games. So we both got to do something fun.

Adam wore 24 month clothes today. They fit pretty good. I'm not sure if we are completely putting away 18 month clothes yet, but we are close. Adam is also getting VERY good at climbing, the little hoodlum! He can get on the couch sometimes, his toddler bed (which we aren't using yet, of course, but is in his room as we got a great deal on it) always, and can also get on the end table in the living room! That one surprised Ray today!

It was really warm here, then got cold and warmed up again today - we are all over the map for weather! Mom said they were gettings lots of snow in AK. I wouldn't mind some more of that really, either, although I guess spring is on the way - the spiders and skunks are back out! I saw THREE spiders in my kitchen today. I informed Olga of her duty....

More Reading

I finished the rest of the available books in the Simon Shaw series by Sarah Shaber. I really enjoyed that series - I sure hope it continues! I liked the idea of solving murders with primary sources! The last one, Shell Game, I didn't think was that good - no primary sources since it was about ancient bones. Plus it got rid one of Simon's close friends (he was the murder victim). The others were very good, though.

I also read Whispers of Lancaster County by Mindy Starns Clark. This was her second stand online book, and while better than the first stand alone, I still think there is room for improvement. Not that I didn't enjoy the book (I did), but I think that she has some continuing changes to make in her evolution from series to novels. I honestly like series better, so I think she should just go back.:)

I hate Facebook

Seriously....that site is a disease! I just joined because I pretty much had to, but whenever I go there it like takes forever to find anything - there is just TOO MUCH JUNK there. So don't have time.....
Rachael Ray has a Lenten Recipe page. It even includes some background on the Lenten fast rules. I thought I might try that New England Pasta Bake, only use hailbut instead of clams and throw in some chicken broth to add in the liquid from the can. Thanks to Madeline over at Everyday Rachael Ray for the tip!

War Gaming Geekdom passes on....

This is our friend, Tye's new daughter, Aria. As you can see, he has made her a War Gaming shirt already!

Friday, February 27, 2009

1776 Copy of Declaration of Independence

Man, I would love to see something like this! But I do have to agree with Virginia on this - it would be hard to trace that back to Maine!

New Recipe Carnival

The newest recipe carnival is up.

1.5 million year old footprints

This is pretty cool - they found footprints (size 9!) that are 1.5 million years old!


I got an email recently with a quote supposedly from Cicero - it is a greatly augmented quote, not a true one:

Can you name all of Handy Manny's tools?

I can! Yes, Adam likes Handy Manny. It actually is a pretty decent show, as far as cartoons go. That and Sesame Street are our favorites! We still also watch some Baby Einstein.

Reading list

I am very excited because I just got Joanne Fluke's newest book, Cream Puff Murder. While I'm waiting for a paper to upload (just finished grading those Dante papers...they were very good!), I thought I'd share my recent reading list.

I read the next two books from the Lulu's cafe series - the pastor's wives ones. I really enjoyed both of them, although I would have liked to get to know their husbands a bit better. At the end of the third book, it turns out they all know the wives have been meeting (which makes sense) and they have actually met a few times - I would have liked to hear about that! Maybe a future book...I don't know if they plan to continue this or not.

I finally finished the new installment (well, new several months ago) in the Crewel World series, Thai Die by Monica Ferris. I have really enjoyed this series, but I wasn't too impressed with this one. First of all, there was very little shop time, we didn't see many of our regular characters (we barely even saw Goddy), and little needlework. I also thought the plot (a super rare Chinese silk stolen and ending up in Minnesota?) was pretty far fetched. I also have really been missing Jill Cross Larson, who was really integral in the first few, in these later installments. This has such great potential - I hope it can rebound! The fact I put the book down in the middle and didn't finish it for a month says something, I think!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Is it Lent already?

Seriously Ash Wednesday sneaks up on me every year! While we usually go to Mass on Ash Wednesday (and yes, I know it isn't a Holy Day of Obligation, but still, it is a good way to start Lent), we didn't make it this year. The Mass times just didn't work for Adam's schedule and with how he'd been, I didn't want to take a grouchy child to Church - not conducive to prayer and reflection! We didn't do anything last year with a month old baby in the house. Ray is giving up pop again this year (he always does and it always kills him...he says he feels so much better at the end of Lent, but yet, he goes right back to drinking the stuff!). I'm doing chocolate again - that always gets me! I also try to make a commitment to something spiritual as well. I think this year it is going to be reading my Bible. For as much as I read, I'm terrible about my Bible reading! So, my goal is to actually try to read a few nights each week from my Bible. If I put it here in writing, hopefully, I will be able to live up to it!

Now, back to grading Dante papers. Reading about Hell should motivate me, right? But seriously, so far the papers are good!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Catching Up

It always seems like it takes forever to catch up no matter how short of time you are gone! We had a great weekend in Michigan - Ikea was AWESOME! But two big days really took their toll on Adam. In addition, we forgot we had dinner plans for Monday (Mo's birthday) and so we were out late again - the third day for the little guy. Its been a rough few days and he's cutting another tooth, so he's had it hard. We've been home for two days and he finally seems to be getting back to himself. It doesn't help that there was a bit of accident at KSU and so Ray has had that to deal with (read the news if you want details). No injuries, but still a mess to deal with for everyone.

I also have a class ending this week and one next week, so that will keep me hopping. Ah, the life of a teacher....

Mo's Party

We were at Mo's birthday party at the Saffron Patch on Monday. She did a scavenger hunt first that only Ray did - Adam was still napping, but he said it was fun. It was an Indian restaurant. I don't like curry...and yes, I've had I tried the Tandoori chicken instead. It was good, but nothing to write home about. The only thing that stood out was the color (it was bright red from cooking in the clay ovens). I just wasn't that impressed with the Indian cuisine since half of the menu was curry I knew I wouldn't like it. Not that I don't think many people would love it (as many people like curry), but I don't. It was a type of restaurant, though, that I could see Rachael Ray at on one of her shows. Although, honestly, I thought it was really expensive. I mean you got tons of food for your money, but still everything started on the high end. We did like naan, but really, it was just bread, again nothing special.

Adam and the Watering Can

Adam has discovered how to make noise with the watering can!

David's Memorial

We went to David's memorial in Michigan on Sunday. It was at a little church in the middle of nowhere Michigan. It was very pretty there. There was a lot of people there - about 50 or so.

Adam and his Aunt Andrea
Adam sitting on a REAL chair eating cheerios while we were there

LRSC Shirts

I got us all LRSC shirts (the school I work for in ND) and we tried to do group pictures. Adam sort of coooperated - this is the best of the lot.
Ray and I (that one was easy!)
This one came out the best even with Adam's hand up there

Adam and I - not looking at the camera, of course!

Ray and Adam

This one, even with the funky hands, turned out pretty well as well.

New Jacket

Uncle Brian and Aunt Brittany sent this jacket for his birthday - it is just a little large! It is a 6T, but he'll grow into it sooner than I think!

Pigging out at PaPa's!

Adam's New Remote

Grandma and Great-Grandma sent Adam a new remote - Sesame Street! He took to it right away!

PaPa's Pans

Just like at home, Adam went right for the pots and pans!

Adam in PaPa's Pantry

Adam loves playing in the pantry! We finally did get him to leave the cat food alone!

Adam Playing with a Big Ball at PaPa's

There were two balls - Adam, of course, liked the biggest one!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Spring Pea-sto with Whole-Wheat Penne

This actually turned out really well, but we have to admit, we just don't like pesto. This was my last ditch effort as I had all the fresh basil. Seriously it looked perfect, was easy to make....but we just don't like pesto! But since it is a great recipe, I decided to post it here for anyone who does like pesto.

Spring Pea-sto with Whole-Wheat Penne

1 pound whole-wheat penne pasta [this has a lot of fiber and actually tasted pretty good]
1 package frozen peas, defrosted
1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
1 cup packed basil leaves [from my aero-garden!]
6 to 8 sprigs fresh tarragon, leaves stripped [I didn't have fresh tarragon so I used parsley and thyme.]
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano, a couple of handfuls, plus extra to top with
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil [you are looking for a consistency, not a specific amount]
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of water up to a boil then season water with salt and cook penne to al dente. Heads up: you will need to reserve 1 or 2 ladles of starchy cooking water, 1/2 to 3/4 cup, before draining the pasta.

Place 1/2 of the peas in the bottom of a large serving dish. Place the rest of the peas in a food processor with the pine nuts, basil, tarragon leaves, lemon zest, cheese and olive oil. Add a little salt and pepper then process the pesto into rough paste, adjust seasonings.

Pour starchy water over peas in bowl then add pesto. Pour hot, drained pasta over the pesto and toss vigorously to coat and combine. Adjust seasoning and serve, passing extra cheese at the table.

Adam is having fun at Pa-Pa's

Adam has been "Adamizing" PaPas!

Friday, February 20, 2009


It took most of the week, but I'm mostly caught up. The big issue simply was that Adam wasn't sleeping well - not even napping that long - and I had papers and tests to grade. Just meant for a long week. The papers also weren't that good, which NEVER helps. The exams were pretty good, though.

We are off to visit Dave for the weekend, which will be good for all us. After last weekend, Ray needs some time away from here. We haven't seen Dave since we got back in January either because he was sick for Adam's birthday and everything has been crazy around here (and for him).

We got some snow yesterday, but not a lot. Ray says the weather won't be that good over the weekend. We are going to David Drinkhouse's Michigan memorial on Sunday, on our way home from Dave's (it on our way).

I've read some great books lately and will post on those soon! So that's about it from here.

2500 Languages Threatened

Isn' t this sad?

The world has lost Manx in the Isle of Man, Ubykh in Turkey and last year Alaska's last native speaker of Eyak, Marie Smith Jones, died, taking the aboriginal language with her.

Of the 6,900 languages spoken in the world, some 2,500 are endangered, the UN's cultural agency UNESCO said Thursday as it released its latest atlas of world languages.

That represents a multi-fold increase from the last atlas compiled in 2001 which listed 900 languages threatened with extinction.

With globalization continuing, we see the push to know the "big" languages and the little ones get pushed aside. I would bet that regional variations are also dying as we stress inter-connectedness. Not that it isn't great that everyone can communicate easily with each other, but we will lose all these great variations.

Tender Beef Brisket

This is delicious and so easy! It has a nice tang to it and is a nice change from a regular roast! We had this on Saturday when Michelle and her son were over for dinner. It was winner all around!

Tender Beef Brisket

Modified from Taste of Home's Simple & Delicious
***needs a crock pot***

1 beef brisket (not corned beef) (4 lbs) [I actually used a regular roast here and it was fine.]
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (12 oz) beer
1 cup chopped green pepper
2/3 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp prepared mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper

Cut brisket into thirds, put in a large crock pot. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; pour over the beef. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until meat is tender.
Thinly slice across the grain. You can thicken the pan juices if you desire.

Makes 10 servings.

But the best present still is....


Adam's Lawn Mower

Adam and his lawn mower! Grandma and Great also sent him this. He'll really enjoy it this summer and we'll take it outside and he can mow with Daddy!

The BIG Vacuum

Adam can SO tell which is cooler...ours of course! But if ours is put away, he LOVES his. Ray unplugged this one and Adam tried to replug it in!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Our Vacuuming Guru!

Adam is loving his new vacuum!

In this last one, he and Daddy had actually been vacuuming together, but, of course, as soon as I grabbed the camera, Adam quit using his!

Carnival of Recipes

Some back editions of the Carnival of Recipes:
Adam got his OWN vaccuum. He LOVES to vaccuum! You should have seen his eyes light up at the sight of this! I can hope this will continue....vainly, I'm sure!


Would you believe this is the last group picture of all my cousins on my mom's side? Considering those babies are now 15, that's a bit sad!

Real Shampoo!

Adam's hair is so long (we'll probably have to cut it soon), we switched to shampoo (baby, of course), over just soap.

Storm Damage

We had a big storm go through - you can see the branches and whatnot, but the real damage, for us, was part of our back fence! It wasn't in good shape anyway, but now we have to fix it.

Hayes Center

Michelle and I took Adam up to the Hayes Center on Saturday. It was fabulous! They have a new exhibit on First Ladies. They are in the middle of a major renovation, which was a bit of drag because they are talking more about that than the family. There is some really cool Chinese stuff that their son brought back - he was in China during the Boxer Rebellion (Colonel Webb Hayes). Adam was a really good boy and we even did a horse ride around the grounds (it was really cheap, $3) ande it was lightly snowy and just postcard perfect! We ate at Denny's on the way home and Adam gobbled french fries! He loves fries!

With the Clydedales from the sleigh ride.

The Hayes House

Birthday Presents from Aunt Maureen

Adam got birthday presents from Aunt Maureen - of course, he and cat enjoyed the bag and box the most!

Ray had to comment on this shirt - he doesn't like the Dallas Stars! He says Texas shouldn't have a hockey team!

Adam's Oven Mitt

Adam has figured out how to put on the oven mitt!

The Triangle of Adam

For some reason, especially when he is tired, Adam likes to be a triangle!

Ray then decided that he should flip over!

In the closet again...

He just loves the closet!

Won't this embarass him later?

We actually didn't even mean to do this - Ray was taking a picture of the cat when the baby escaped!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Picture of the Month!!

Isn't this hilarous??? This is coming home from the Hayes Center. Adam finally got himself to sleep - with a sock in his mouth! Michelle and I were cracking up for 10 minutes over this!


Yes, that's my opinion of the weekend. I had a great day on Saturday - Michelle and I took Adam up to the Hayes Presidential Center, but that big day meant that Adam didn't have the best day today. In addition, Ray had a really long weekend and we hardly saw him and really none of us have slept well. So I'm actually glad tomorrow is Monday. I'll catch up my pictures and post from the Hayes Center tomorrow.

Where did Adam go?

Adam's Picnic Basket

Adam was running around with his picnic basket!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Congrats to Ray!!

Ray applied for a grant for work and actually got a partial one - YAH!!!!

Beating myself up....

Seriously, I have really been messing myself up lately! I banged up my toe badly, I have a blister sore in my mouth from my mouthguard, my feet and hands are really dried out and I did something to my stomach/thighs. I always have trouble in the winter with my feet, but because I'm washing my hands (or they are wet from pulling stuff out of Adam's mouth) more because of Adam, my hands are also really bad. I've been trying to remember to put lotion on them, but it seems that as soon as I do, I end up washing it off! Then I think I pulled something on the exercise bike (Ray and I are doing better this term with exercise -about 5 nights a week!) and I also think Adam stepped on something - he thinks I'm a jungle gym now.

Adam and I are off to go grocery shopping this week. I have a couple new recipes to try - I have all those fresh herbs, so I've picked recipes that will use them! I'm really excited! I also have to go to Target for a few cleaning supplies. Last weekend I made a huge score for Ray - white t-shirts, new mesh shorts (which I have a tough time finding) and brown socks! All but the socks were on sale and things he REALLY needed. I also got his Valentine's Day card. Ray will be working on V-Day (that FIRC), but I still wanted to get him a card. We don't usually do much anyway, although Ray propsed on the 13th - he was going to do it on Valentine's Day, but it was the middle of the week and I was busy (if you haven't heard the story, you'll have to ask...its Ray's favorite story!).

We had a huge storm last night and part of our fence came down! I'll put up a picture late. It was rain - we've really warmed up here. I actually have the door open with the screen door locked so Adam can look out, which he LOVES and has missed over the cold months. So have to take advantage of this break.

Well, its about Adam's food and nap time, so I'd better get going for now.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Gram S is doing well in her rehabilation center - she is hoping to be home by the weekend, but it all depends on her progress. Grandma C got her anniversary gift and liked it alot. It actually only took 3 days to AK, which is unheard of for us! I got two new books in the mail - one in that Lulu's Cafe series I mentioned, so I'm excited. My herbs are doing really well, so I'm planning on cooking with them next week - wish me luck!

Adam is doing pretty good - hopefully we'll be bottle and binky less within the month! My big problem is that he doesn't like to stop so it is hard to get him to drink his sippy cup. One sip and he's gone. So today I made him stay in the high chair, with just the sippy cup, until he drank a good portion of it. He did NOT like it, but he did drink about half of it, so I think we'll continue that. Pretty much, he's not allowed to leave the table until he finishes his food! He's also SO close to really talking. He loves to yak, but currently very little is actually understandable. I'm sure he THINKS he's telling us stuff! He did dump an entire cup of milk on the floor today (the lid came off when it hit) - that did motivate me to mop the floor when he napped, which I've been putting off for a week.

SNHU's term 4 is getting close, so I have to get my shell updated tonight (what fun). We are in week 6 (of 8) of Term 3, so I have to get motivated. Its all there, I just have to change dates/check links. Not really exciting, but necessary. My math class at LRSC is taking a test this week, which is a nice break for all of us. That class has been really active with questions, which is AWESOME, but definitely keeps me hopping. My history class there has a paper this week (The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, which I seriously HATE, but is a good book for the class, which is modern US history). My SNHU class is reading Martin Guerre this week, which I LOVE, so that's a nice contrast.

Ray is going to have a very long weekend, with the FIRC, but Adam and I are going to Hayes Center with my friend, Michelle - that will be tons of fun! The following weekend we are going to Michigan to visit Dave (who actually had a date last weekend, but then felt really guilty...that will take awhile, but it is good for him just to get out) and then we are going to David Drinkhouse's Michigan memorial on the way home (in Ida, MI) so we'll get to see Andrea and her family.

I think that is our life in a nutshell. I did finally order myself (and Adam and Ray) LRSC t-shirts - I'm excited!

Adam's Food Progress

We are working on weaning Adam off the bottle. As of today, we are down to just a bottle before bed! We take everything in stages and slow - don't know if that is the best way, but its our way. We are planning to officially get rid of the binky when he loses that last bottle as he'll have to learn to go to sleep without a bottle anyway, so why not make it binky-less at the same time? Adam likes to try whatever is on our plates, so I make sure there is always something he can try now. I want to encourage him to try lots of foods.

Helping Pack

Adam was "helping" pack Grandma and Grandpa's anniversary gift - which they got today! In ONE piece!!! YAH!!!

Showing off those teeth!

Adam's Pot

Adam's Hats

A little big maybe?

Adam's Pot

Adam playing with a pot

Making a Sandwich

Melissa and Doug is a great toy company that does really cool toys for the 12-18 month age kids (plus more). I think it can be hard to find good toys for Adam's age. Anyway, these are "fill and spill" toys - they make some sort of noise (rattle, squeak) and some even come part in big pieces. Anyway, Adam LOVES them. We have this (a picnic basket), plus a tool set and a bug jar. He's getting good at this sandwich!

Is that big enough for him?

The next great CHEF

Adam is going to be the next Food Network Chef!

Patroitic Adam!

Adam likes this little flag I have, but he hasn't figured out that it is not attached yet!

Dancing Adam

That boy can dance and sing!

Adam and the Closet

Adam really likes our closet now that he knows how to work the doors

Where's Adam

One of Adam's favorite games!

Adam Clapping

Adam's new skill!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Free Barley

I made barley chili again tonight (seriously, I love that stuff!) and when I went to add the barley, lo and behold, I didn't have enough. I hate that - I had checked my pantry and had barley so thought I was good, but it turns out I didn't have enough left in the box. Anyway, so I put the dish on hold and when Adam got up from his nap, we ran to the grocery store. I check out and look at my receipt and see that the price is wrong. I was debating going back, but I remembered that Giant Eagle has accu-scan and guarantee their prices and you get the first mis-scan free. So I went back and got my 2.09 back (it was supposed to be 2.00). So I got free barley! Not quite as good as the free diapers I got out of them once, but still good!

I finished the next book in the Sister, Ink series yesterday, Scrapping Plans. I really like this series and this one was good, but I didn't like how they did Joy's (the main sister for this book) chapters. It just read funny to me. The one complaint I have for this series is that we barely know their husbands. Like in this book, Joy's husband, Scott, just doesn't get enough time. I mean I know it is about the sisters, but I would like more on the men. I think it would flesh out the entire story better. The guys should all be friends of some kind and that needs to be explored.

People can't drive...

Just thought I'd share that nugget before going to bed. I just finished grading homework, but seriously Adam and I went to the post office today and people are MORONS. Gram Stannard did get out of the hospital today although she's staying in a nursing home for a few weeks while they do rehab.

It is REALLY warm here - everything is melting. Not sure if this will last though. Well, I'm off to bed.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

First Impressions

Our first impression of St. Joan of Arc in Streetsboro was good. Hopefully it will continue. I like that they already seem much more kid-friendly (they have the kids go out to learn about the Gospel rather than just sitting for the homily). They also seem friendlier. There is a school associated with that parish, so that might help. Anyway, we are going to give it a month or so and I want to try an event and we'll see if we are going to switch parishes or not.

Adam had a pancake last night - he thought that was pretty cool! I made a new recipe tonight (see below). Other than that, today was pretty low key, which was good - we all needed that. Next weekend is going to be a zoo around here, so a quiet day was good.

This was tonight's dinner - turned out pretty well. It is a cream based sauce, but even Ray liked it and he doesn't usually like cream sauces. I thought it was a little too peppery. The chicken was so TENDER though!

Saucy Chicken with Veggies and Rice
Modified from Simple & Delicious

3 cups celery, diced
3 cups carrots, sliced
2 cups onions, diced
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (5 oz each)
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/3 cup white white or chicken broth [I used broth]
hot cooked rice

Place celery, carrots, onion and chicken into a 5 quart crock pot. In a small bowl, mix soup, soup mix, thyme, pepper, and tarragon. Pour over the veggies and chicken. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours (chicken has to be 170).

Mix cornstarch and broth until smooth, stir into crock pot [I use bullion and so have to boil the water, so I put some cold water with the cornstarch first as you can't mix hot liquids and cornstarch straight.]. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until the gravy is thickened. Serve with rice.

Serves 6.

Herb Progress

They are getting tall - I'm going to try to use some in the next week or so!

Sshh...its a surprise!

This is my grandparents' anniversary gift. I just finished it today and now just have to figure out how to mail it! I found this frame in a going out of business sale and couldn't resist! What took me so long was finding the right pictures and then sizing them correctly! What a hassle, but I think the final product was worth it!

Adam's New Towel

Adam got this duckie towel from Grandma and Great-Grandma!

Adam's Pancake

We let Adam try a pancake last night!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Our Day

It's been raining off and on here all day and a lot of melting is going on. No idea if it will stay warm though. We even opened up the house for a bit today to air it out. Ray is teaching a FIRC (flight instructor refresher course for you non-pilots) next weekend, so is working on prep THIS weekend. We are mainly just trying to get caught up. Adam and I ran out to do a little shopping to get Daddy some time to work on his stuff. I actually found Ray some clothes, which is hard to do - his taste is so simple, its impossible to find! But I hit the jackpot at Target today. Adam has been grouchly today - he hasn't been sleeping well. Tossing/turning a lot, etc. Hopefully he has a good night tonight. We are trying St. Joan of Arc tomorrow - I'm really sick of our current parish for a lot of reasons and I finally ready to give up on them. I shouldn't have to BEG to volunteer there and there needs to be events offered that hit all age groups. I just feel that we don't belong with that parish. The Masses are fine - good homilies, etc., but I want more than that in a church - I want to be able to take my kids to stuff and enjoy the group spirit as well. The priest's lack of interest in pro-life topics has been the final straw (not that he isn't pro-life, just that he isn't that supportive of any efforts on the pro-life committees part...again here, I'm technically on this, but never get called for anything....). Oh, well, we'll see what Streetsboro is like. We have plenty of choices around here. I'm hoping it isn't too much to ask to find a parish where I can make friends!

Friday, February 06, 2009


Isn't that huge with him?


As you probably noticed, I finally got caught up here. We've been busy and I had a few downer days. Just everything - including a REALLY lazy student. But I'm better, just have been off my game. I've read a few books, tried some new recipes, so I'm sharing those here. I'm working on an anniversary surprise for my grandparents - hopefully it will turn out well! I'll share pictures here when it is done. My grandma Stannard had heart surgery and is still in the hospital, but doing better. Ray had the FIRC coming up and I have to get ready for the next term at SNHU. Adam now has FOUR teeth and can say "kitty" (see videos). He is eating more and more table food and interested in everything. Our new favorite show is Handy Manny. I swear I'm going to learn Spanish by the time he does! Always something. Anyway, just checking in.

Oh, congrats to Allen and Christine on their new baby boy - Andrew!

Chicken Tetrazzini

Chicken Tetrazzini
Modified from Southern Living

3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 (10-ounce) container refrigerated Alfredo sauce [I used jarred Ragu and just used part of it - I ate the rest on some pasta - much cheaper!]
1 (8 oz) pkg of mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry sherry [and I actually used this - I think you can taste the difference, but this stuff tastes nasty normally - I tried an experimental sip -YICK]
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
7 ounces spaghetti, cooked [they used vermicelli]

Saute mushroms in butter. Stir together chicken, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, cooked mushrooms and all but pasta. Then stir in cooked pasta. Spoon mixture into an 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Southern Living also had about 5 variations of this recipe. I actually used part of one (the fresh mushrooms versus canned), but I like the peas one for later as well as the carmelized onions. Ray could put up with this (good for a cream dish) and I really liked it. I also froze some, as it is supposed to freeze well - I'll let you know if it did later!

Chocolate Chai Loaf

This is really good!

Chocolate Chai Loaf (mini loaves)
Modified from Taste of Home

The Bread
2 squares (1 oz each) semisweet chocolate, chopped [I often use chocolate chips in a place like this, but since it was only 2 oz, I used the regular - easier to measure.]
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
3 tbsp chai tea latte mix [I used my own, so chai mix without any tea.]
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream

Frosting [I made this to try, but I like it better without and won't use this again...also I feel a little better about eating it if I skip this!]
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp butter, softened
1 tbsp chai latte mix (again, mine)
1/2 tsp vanilla
4-5 tsp milk

Melt chocolate with water in the microwave, stirring periodically, until smooth. Cool slightly. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well each time. Beat in vanilla, then add in chocolate.

Combine flour, chai tea mix, baking soda nad salt. Add to creamed mixture alternatively with sour cream.

They used three mini loaf pans, I used one regular sized one. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes (in larger pan, it took me 50 minutes) or until it passes the toothpick test. Cool for 10 minutes before de-panning to cool.

For frosting, combine, the sugar, butter, chai tea, vanilla and enough milk to get the right consistency.


This is great because it is so versatile. I used what I like in it, but you can change up the veggies, the cheese or even the meat! I also think this would be a great appetizer, served in mini form (I plan to try it soon). I like with the queso, Ray doesn't it, but he LOVES the basic version!

Beef Empanadas
Modified from Robin Miller

2 (9 inch) refrigerated pie crusts
2 cups cooked shredded beef (I use leftover French Dip meat, which I always have a TON of)
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
1/4 cup green pepper, diced
1/4 cup onions, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Vegetable Oil
Queso, optional (for dipping)

Preheat oven to 425. Sauté garlic, onions and green pepper in oil. Unroll pie crust. On each quadrant, put 1/2 cup of beef, 1/4 cup of cheese and about 2 tbsp of the onion mixture. Top with second pie crust. Cut into four equal sections. Pinch the edges with a fork to seal. Slit a hole in top.

Put on a baking sheet and cook for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with queso, if desired.

Two New Authors

I found a couple great new series. First Secrets from Lulu's Cafe - I've read the first book, Desperate Pastor's Wives. I really liked it because most of their problems are like mine - crazy kids, house stuff, etc. I also really liked that it was a variety of religions and not all generic religions. I get sick of "community" churches with no definition so as to be so broadly appealing. Drives me nuts! This one has a Baptist, a Methodist, a Community Church (one is okay), and Assembly of God. Plus the Catholic Church is actually portrayed WELL - such a nice change! I'm planning to buy the next two in the series.

I also found Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia series. The first one is Silent in the Grave. I have also read Silent in the Sanctuary. The second one is better, I think. This is a historical mystery series (Victorian) and I tend to go back and forth on these. This is pretty well done, some of the family dynamics are over the top. First, I like them to be someone who could have really lived in this time period and here we go back and forth. Sometimes I think she's doing well, other things I question. One of Lady Julia's sisters is gay - not that it didn't happen, but this can be a bit overdone at times. We'll see how Book 3 goes before I make any final judgements.

I also just read Bookmarked for Death, the second in the Booktown series I found awhile ago. This one did a good job of a follow up and I thought I had it figured out (as did the sleuth), but we were both wrong! A nice twist at the ending!

Daddy's Tie

What a ham!

Running with Daddy's Tie

Ray's New tie

My mother and grandma sent Ray a few new ties.