Sunday, November 30, 2008

Singapore Rice Noodles

Okay Brian and I really like this, they have much more of a "thai" flavor to them. I like that they have so much tumeric in them (that spice Dr. Oz is always raving about). So I figured I would share for anyone that ever wanted to try them (stop LAUGHING Rob and Heather!!!!)


1 package rice sticks or vermicelli
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used tenders)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion cut into thin strips
2 tbsp peanut oil
6 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp red pepper flakes (really to taste, that could be super spicy)
2 tbsp yellow curry powder
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (I use one can)
2 tsp sugar
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 can bean sprouts
3 tbsp lemon juice

Okay so these are the ingredients below. What's that you say? Why is there a can of Healthy Choice soup on the counter? Okay so I had no chicken broth since it was right after Thanksgiving, and I imporvised, I strained the broth from that can of soup. There also isn't Canada Dry ginger ale in it... my drink just got in the shot.

Place rice noodles in a pan of hot water, covered, for 10 minutes. Drain when softened.
coat chicken with tamari or soy sauce. Sauté onions and chicken in peanut oil and garlic. Add red pepper flakes. Cook until chicken is no longer pink, and onions and peppers are soft.
In a small saucepan, combine curry powder, coconut milk, sugar, chicken stock, peanut butter, and lemon juice. Heat for a few minutes on low-medium. Remove from heat, and add peanuts, bean sprouts, and basil.
Add curry/coconut sauce mixture to the drained rice noodles. Add chicken and vegetables and mix well.

The kids refuse to eat this. It smells way to "exotic" for them. So they had fishsticks and french fries.... LOL.

Holiday Highlight Reel

Because of Brian's schedule, we celebrated Thanksgiving on Wednesday. It went really well, I was nervous just because I was having to make almost everything from scratch. The big hits were the brined turkey from alton brown and the cranberry dipping sauce from alton . I will never ever cook a turkey any other way. I made the mashed potatoes with heavy whipping cream, and they were awesome. Everything else turned out wonderful, except for the gravy, it was disturbingly mauve. Its very hard to get past mauve gravy. The recipe I was using called for red wine, but seriously, it went all mauve. My mom told me later that kitchen bouquet would be my friend if it ever happened again. Live and learn!

The next day (every one else's official thanksgiving) we went to see Bolt in the afternoon. It was so awesome, the hamster totally stole the show, I really enjoyed this movie, I even teared up a little at the end. For dinner that night we had the soup I made from the turkey, homeade rolls, fruit salad and pie! Emma wanted to have wassail and she helped to cut the little orange slices that are garnishing the cups. While we ate, we read and talked about the thankful leaves the girls and Brian had created while I was cooking. These kids are just the sweetest, and their daddy is a big cutie too.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Love is a sweet tyranny

We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.
~Author Unknown

The 25th was our anniversary, and I still feel like the luckiest girl ever. We hadn't really prepared in advance, hadn't gotten the babysitter nailed down and it kind of snuck up on us. I know it seems horribly unromantic to put it that way, but we are old folks who have been married for enough time that its not the world hinging event it once was. Plus it is right before Thanksgiving, so most people are in the mad dash for that. Wanna make Thanksgiving dinner fun? Go and elope two days before and wait until Thanksgiving to announce it. Gee our families both loved that. So, anyways, we ended up taking the kids with us. I know, are we crazy or what?! But actually it went really well, and the girls felt very special to be included. We made it into a special day with painted nails and hairdos that would have made fancy Nancy drool, oooo la la.

Brian took us all to the restaurant we had enjoyed before called Chabuca, its a brazilian style steakhouse. (P.S. in case you are ever headed there, its apparently not romantic to do the Chewbaca yowl every time the name is mentioned). The basic idea is that they bring around all kinds of different meats, some exotic, that have been on a rotisserie. The surprise hit of the night was the alligator, the kids loved it and the frog legs.

The servers didn't always speak the clearest English, but we could usually tell what the meats were, pork, beef, or chicken. But then they brought out these round balls, and the waiter says, "you want bbmmmhmmmrrmm balls?"
And I look at Brian, who shakes his head that he didn't understand either.
"Um, what was that again?" I asked.
The waiter says "bbmmrrhhhmm balls? very good".
"Ah, okay I am really going to have to know CLEARLY what these are before I eat them". I was not going to end up eating sheep testicles. Finally we deciphered out that they were Boudin balls, so we were on safe territory.

I think Brian was slipping the waitress some money on the sly to make my mojitos stronger than normal. If that nice piano player had gotten bored, I could have done an awesome fire eating act, my breath was flammable! I almost never have the opportunity to drink, maybe I'm just a total lightweight these days but wowzer!

It was an awesome time, and especially this year I realized how fortunate I am to have such a wonderful man for a husband. Not only is he a great guy, but he seems to think I am the cat's meow. He has always supported me, even when I just changed my mind from the polar opposite opinion. I had the opportunity just the week before to give a character reference for Brian. The lady interviewing me asked me if I thought he was of good moral character, and honest. Unequivocally, Brian is the best, most honest and moral man I know, possibly that I have ever met (besides the ones I am related to). My favorite part about him is that he isn't just honest when people are looking, or when anyone would know the difference. Even when it would benefit him to sneak by, even when no one would ever know, he will always do the right thing, the honest thing. Even though when he is called away for work I miss him, when he is home, he is 100% mine and the kids. He is very selfless in that way. I can't think of anyone else I would rather spend the rest of my life with.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I plan to do some blog catch up later tomorrow.... but for now.... this year has been so sweet, so full of things to be thankful to God for it seems appropriate while my house is quiet (that should DEFINITELY make the list) to list them (in no particular order).

  • I am grateful that I am married to my best friend, who completely GETS my sense of humor. I am so glad that we have the same set of priorities. I am so thankful that after all these years, and all these children he is still the person in this world I most want to spend time with and that he feels the same way. He still makes me giddy, still makes my day. We are a matched set, and I if I searched the world over I couldn't find another like him.
  • I am eternally grateful for my children. They have taught me spontaneity, how to live in the moment. My life would not be liveable without each of them. They are the reason my world goes round. They are each absolutely, undeniably perfect.
  • I am grateful for our extended family. I didn't grow up with that sense of "family" and I am so grateful that it is something we have now.
  • I am thankful for good friends who have completely different ideas than I do, I most value friends that open my mind, or challenge my opinions, or change my notion of possibility.
  • I am thankful for good books, and good ideas.
  • I am thankful for finding balance and order in my life, for choosing a simpler way of life.
  • I am grateful for the little moments each and every day that remind me how surrounded by love I am.
  • I'm grateful for the outlets I have, crafting, blogging, the things that let me feel I am "creating" something

Monday, November 24, 2008

Craftasmic Monday

Sing it with me....!!!!!!!

I love Krabby Patties!
I think they're swell.
They're so neat
And quite a treat
And how I love the way they smell...

Okay so I had to break today into two manageable chunks of blog. This is part 1.

So we have been watching some Spongebob, I mean, how can you NOT love that little yellow guy, and in honor of him we had Krabby patties for lunch today (us grown folks call them crab cakes). They were a huge hit, just because of the SB reference. And the kids are eating spinach because Popeye has convinced them..... Im thinking of all kinds of evil ways to bend this to my will. Maybe Pooh bear and brussel sprouts? Or Superman and Asparagus?

We had art class at our house with our friends from our homeschool group. We made thanksgiving bracelets. The heart was for the religious oppression, the white for the sails of the mayflower, the three blues for the long ocean voyage, the green for finally seeing land, the brown for the native americans who helped, the red for cranberries at the first thanksgiving, the yellow for corn, the brown turkey and the orange pumpkins.

Then we made blowpaint turkeys, we put the paint on the page and blew it around to make the feathers. I was proud of myself for breaking out the paint, I am still suffering from PTPD (post traumatic paint disorder). See my post a couple of days ago for more info...... yikes.

Then we glued beans to pictures..... and frankly, this may be the only way my children ever accept lima beans.

Eureka!! I struck gold.......or chocolate

I have to break today into two posts, there is just too much to fit into one post. SO this is the afternoon part. I finally found the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe I was looking for thanks to my dear friend heather. Its actually her Mother in Law's recipe, now for those of you doubters, THAT is what they are good for..... recipes. All kidding asdie, these were wonderful and all the chocolatey goo on my kiddos faces is the proof. We LOVED them while learning to play Uno. John didn't so much play, as much as he was our "vanna white". He flipped over the cards for everyone, Isn't he lovely folks?

Princess Leia Sparkle Trex at 9 weeks

Well, she is nine weeks old now and has hit quite the growth spurt. These are pics of her in her thanksgiving dress we got her, she has a little string of pearls that go with it. Its nice while she fits into all this, I have a feeling she is going to be a big girl. She DEFINITELY hit a growth spurt here in the last few days. A few weeks ago I had bought her a dainty little leash, one that would not be too heavy for her neck, yeah, that snapped off. She doesn't so much go for a walk, she goes for a good lope. More great news, she is sleeping through the night (without howling) Hooray!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Affluena: Never before has so much meant so little, to so many

Advent Conspiracy is an international movement restoring the scandal of Christmas by substituting compassion for consumption.

Affluena, this possibly is my new favorite word. I got an email forward in my inbox recently that reminded me of it. I had seen a documentary years ago about it and the topic seemed especially appropriate considering that we are about to enter the holiday shopping season. **warning** this is a long winded post.

Affluenza: A painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from dogged pursuit of more, Because clearly what you have is never enough. Otherwise known as "keeping up with the Joneses".

Before we had kids, both Brian and I were definitely not consumers. We have always tended to value intellectual pursuits, or ideas about things. We are SOOO nerdy that way, which is probably why we have 7 bookshelves that are bursting with books. We were pretty simple people, and we lived a pretty simple life.

But enter kids into the picture and we found ourselves having different feelings, we wanted to give our children EVERYTHING and it made us feel like such good parents. I mean sure, for those five seconds when they were "so happy" we all got some immediate gratification. But later, those same toys were forgotten, and months later I was trying to figure out where to store them. And all the time I spent shopping, really, could have been spent in a better way. Well and factor in that our family is mixed religiously, and we have Hanukkah to negotiate too.

I realized that with our lavish generosity, we were breeding greed and unfullfillment in our kids. We were robbing them of a sense of purpose, meaning, and contentment. What we were doing, if we had kept it up, was damaging to them. We were teaching them how to be bottomless pits that were always waiting for the next great thing to be dumped in their laps. In a way, we were teaching them to never be content, to never be satisfied, that it was quantity that counted. Plus, we were giving up our power to the "Joneses" whomever they are, and we are just too stubborn to do that.

I also have found that when I am most susceptible to this Affluenza, its when I feel the least confident, and the least grounded (like as a new Mom). Sometimes, when we are the most insecure, we need to surround ourselves with swirling chaos and materialism in an effort to find something outside of ourselves that will satisfy ourselves. It seems like people are a little terrified sometimes of being quiet and slowing down, of getting to know themselves and who they really are, what they really want.

As someone who has recovered from Affluenza, I can tell you that we are MUCH happier (but not in the transient way, in the content way), we have a much better quality of life since we have embraced a simpler, slower way of life. Our family has never been so close, or so perfectly content.

When I decided enough was enough (which was about a year ago), I sat down and made a list of priorities for our family based on what I wanted to teach my children, the values that we as a family would hold to. I didn't count anyone else's opinion (well, other than Brian's) and I have found that this had trickled right into every other area of our life, Especially how we spend our time. We are a little more jealous of our time together. We also turned off the TV, and we stayed out of the malls and shops, we started being very conscious of shopping locally.

Here are some interesting facts.....

  • On average, we shop an average of 6 hours a week and play with our children only 40 minutes a week. (and for those of us stay at home moms who think we are off the hook, this is quality time, playing time not just being in the same vicinity time).
  • In 1998, more than 1.3 million Americans declared bankruptcy, more than graduated from college.
  • We work more hours than we have ever worked in our history on average, so we see our families and spouses less in order to fund a more materialistic lifestyle... it really is no wonder that so many families have "grown apart"
  • In 90% of divorce cases, arguments about money play a prominent role.
  • The number of "very happy" people peaked in 1957, and has remained fairly stable or declined ever since. Even though we consume twice as much as we did in the 1950s, people were just as happy when they had less.
  • The most affluent countries are the same ones that are experiencing the most stress.
  • In a society that values people based on what they own, is it any wonder that self esteem is at an all time low?
So as we enter the holiday season, what are our family's plans??? How on earth will our children survive without scads of presents everywhere??? Just like last year, we will choose a few (we are doing three, like the gifts of the magi) bought gifts and the rest we will sneak around hiding and making. We will celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, spending time volunteering our time to others who need it while we remember the story of compassion that Christmas is. We will take the time to read stories and drink hot chocolate, to play board games as a family, watch Christmas specials snuggled up in the living room, attend Christmas plays and the ballet, and hang out with family and friends who are dear to us. Somehow it never winds up feeling as though we missed anything.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Divine Design: The Preschooler Edition......

I was sooo proud of myself for getting all the painting done, I should have known better.... I must make it look way too fun because the children decided to help me redecorate.

I broke out the paint supplies so that we could do some handprint turkeys today, and everyone was done with their turkeys, but Chloe and John wanted to keep painting. The phone rang, and it was someone wanting a phone number, so I went into my room to answer the phone and get the info. I was only gone for five minutes tops... and when I came out, this is what I found......

I had left them in a very clean kitchen, and I screamed, not in a mad way, and not at the kids, but in the same way that you scream on a roller coaster, or at a horror movie. It was like a painting crime scene, it was shocking. I totally lost my mind. I was kinda coming back to my senses when I saw where they had gotten it on the walls I had just painted the night before. And I screamed again. So off to timeout they went, mostly for their own protection...... I needed about fifteen minutes before I could get hold of myself. For their part, they were strangely MORE than happy to get away from the crazy lady.

Of course these things happen when their daddy is out of town, its that Murphy's law again. And I didn't even tell you about what the bathroom looked like, where they had gone to "clean". Yeesh. I had to trash the tablecloth, repaint the wall because of course it hadn't totally cured, and Im going to have to recover the chairs, YIKES.

However, that being said, the mess is all cleaned up (it was part of the perpetrators restitution) and we have some great hand print turkeys, but next year, we might use crayon.... and I think I need a long vacation on an empty beach.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Snakes, why'd it have to be snakes?

Yes my nerdiness does absolutely extend into Indiana Jones territory, after all, he was also Han Solo. So the kids and I went to the ETHSA show, its a show for breeders of snakes lizards, and other reptiles. Fortunately for my kids, my phobia is not snakes. Its rodents, which makes me like snakes even more. We had a good time looking at all the different kinds. We are trying to do more "guy" things with John. The poor kid has had to live in pink and purple pony princess land his whole life and its about time we added a little testosterone to the family outings.

It was a little disconcerting how they store the snakes in the little cake boxes.... and the evil twin who lives in my head was thinking it would be fun to bring grandma (who is deathly afraid of snakes) a "snake cake". She would literally kill me though.

Oh and the puppy is growing and growing, we had to buy her a sweater since the weather has gotten cooler. Is that not the cutest thing ever? Poor thing can't keep herself warm. Wow is she an eater, I'm starting to think she has a tapeworm. She has discovered the fine art of annoying the cat, the cat is no longer speaking to us.

My thanksgiving update.. I got the whole list accomplished for today, and it nearly killed me. I painted the kitchen plus the rest of the list, the whole shabang. I would like to pat myself on the back, but I can't fully turn to the left after all that painting, I also can't bend over, or reach for anything above my shoulders and there is a nerve running down my left leg that I am VERY aware of right now. This is going to be a problem, because my list for tomorrow is even longer and it includes breaking out the steamcleaner to do all the carpets and we had a thanksgiving lunch we were supposed to attend. If I wake up all frozen, that is going to kill alot of those plans, and that would be a bummer because then I would spend the morning watching Martha Stewart, and we all know what happens when I watch Martha.....