Sunday, January 31, 2010

Crock Pot Fever

I don't have to tell you how much I love park days and park mamas. They are a life line that I could not live without. I look forward to Fridays like a starving man to the buffet. We were talking about crockpotting and I was asked to add a couple of recipes. This is for you, Miss Connie.

I have not tried either of these so I'm not sure how they will turn out. I will tell you what I plan to do to change them, because I just cannot leave a recipe alone. The first one I got off of, which is fabulous. The second I got from a magazine of recipes, but since the boy cut it out, I don't have a clue what the name of it is. If any of you know, please share so I can give proper credit.

Crock Pot Shredded Turkey:

1 (12 oz) can of beer
1/2 cup butter
1 (1 1/4 oz) package Lipton Onion Soup Mix
10 lbs thawed whole turkey breast

Pour beer into crock pot. Add butter and onion soup mix. Stir together. Place turkey breast into crock. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or overnight. After cooked, seperate meat from bone and discard bones. Do not discard liquid. Using two forks, shred meat. Serve warm on rolls.

That's pretty simple. I actually do not have 10 pounds of turkey breast, so I am going to use a whole, cut up chicken. I thought I had a whole chicken, but apparently I cooked it already. I also am using dry Italian dressing mix instead of the soup mix. I think with the beer, it will give it a really different flavor.

Here's number 2. I really like the sound of this one and am excited to try it. Don't let the number of ingredients intimidate you. You mix most of them together to begin with.

Sesame Pork Ribs:

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbls cider or white wine vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
5 lbs country style pork ribs
1 medium onion, sliced
2 Tbls sesame seeds, toasted
2 Tbls chopped green onion

In a large bowl, combine the first nine ingredients. Add ribs and turn to coat. Place onions in a 5 qt slow cooker, arrange ribs on top. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160-170 degrees. Place ribs on a serving platter, sprinkle with seeds and green onions.

I don't have the cider vinegar, so I am going to use just regular white, but add a little more brown sugar or honey to sweeten past the sour. I also don't have sesame seeds, don't have much call for them, so I'm not going to buy any. I am going to add just a touch of sesame oil, which I do have, for that flavor. Sticky, white rice (we buy Calrose) is what would be goodwith this. It would be just as good with brown, jasomine, or basmati. I've never had those, but I'm sure they're good. You could plate it on lettuce leaves. The leaves would wilt a little from the heat, and would soak up all that good flavor. My mouth is watering already.

That's what I've got. If you try these, let me know what you think. If you tweaked it, too, let me know what you did and how it worked.

Have a great day!

Friday, January 29, 2010


Hubby is bidding a job in Texas. He has actually bid a job in this town before, interviewed for it, but didn't get it. It's a small town. Not as small as where my mom lives now, but still. It's about 2 hours away from my sister and three from my mom. We live 16 hours away now, so that is a great improvement. We have wanted to move to Texas for quite awhile. Change is scary for me, so I need to list the pros and the cons and get some opinions. Oohh, I get to use bullet points!

Here are the pros:

  1. I will be closer to home. I miss my family. No offense to anyone, but I am a mama's girl. I always have been. I really wanted my kids to grow up closer to their cousins, their Auntie, and of course, Mermie. We would get to spend Christmas and Thanksgiving together. We would actually get to go to my nieces' birthday parties instead of just get invites. We don't actually spend that much time with the family we have here anyway, which is a waste if you ask me.
  2. I would be back in the great country, I mean state, of Texas. I really want to go back. It has been a goal of ours to get me back to the land where I come from. I like where we live now, don't get me wrong, but it is nothing like Texas. There isn't anything like Texas.
  3. Tex Mex food rules. There really isn't a great place for that kind of food around here. And they closed all the Whataburgers. Who's crazy idea was that?
  4. We would be just as close to great theme parks and historical places of interest as we are here. Remember the Alamo? San Antonio is a beautiful place, I love the Riverwalk, and they have SeaWorld. Austin is a great place to visit and as the capitol, offers such a great learning opportunity.
  5. We could still homeschool. Texas has very liberal homeschool laws, like ours. It may be odd in the new town, but we could definitely raise awareness. There may already be homeschoolers there.
  6. The housing prices are really good in that area. Hubby found a 4 bedroom, 3 bath, 3000 square ft. home for $98,000. Not too shabby and I might have a homeschool room.
  7. It is extremely close to a huge resevoir where the fishing is awesome. That does not hurt hubby's feelings, or the kids', at all.
  8. Hubby's brother works for a major company that rents moving trucks and equipment. That expense would be minimal.

So, now for the cons:

  • It would mean leaving everything my kids have ever really known. Our church family is here. Hubby's family is here. Our homeschool family is here. We would have to start all over without a guarantee of finding eveything we have or want to have. We would have to find all of these things, all of these people, all of these places, all over again.
  • We would need to sell or rent our house. I would prefer to sell, but with the economy the way it is, that may be difficult. We could rent it out, but would need to depend on others to oversee the renters. And you never know what you're getting with renters.
  • We would have to pack up almost immediately and go. There really wouldn't be a great lag time in taking the job and moving, so all decisions need to be made quickly.
  • It might mean putting off our vacation a couple of years. We may need the money we get from our taxes and in our vacation fund to move. Hubby's company doesn't pay moving expenses.
  • We would need to find another organic co-op or something equivalent to that. I really don't want to go back to eating pesticide laden produce. If I don't eat produce, I'll wind up weighing 800 pounds. We'll have to check it out.
  • FEAR. That is a huge con right now. Change is never good for me and we have to start from scratch after all this time. Eeeekkk!!!

The one thing I can say is that all this may be for not. Hubby may not get the job, something different may come along, or it could continue to be status quo. There are all kinds of things that can happen or not. We just need to take things one day at a time, and worry about it when, and if, it happens. In the meantime, please be in prayer with us as we ponder our future. We need all the prayerful guidance we can get.

Have a great day!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Happy Birthday, Big Boy

Today is the day. Nine years ago, the Big Boy made his grand debut. And what a life he has lived since. I cannot imagine how boring and staid my life would be without him. He is our funny guy, charmer, super smartie. Here is my salute to all things Big Boy.

When he was born, the doctor said, "I think he winked at me." I'm thinking he did. He loves the ladies. The best part, the ladies love him back. I always say that the woman who gets him will be sooooo lucky. He spends so much time with his mom and sisters that he knows all about women. He can sympathize and empathize. He knows when to hold your hand, or hold you. He understands about our moods. Like the song The Gambler, he knows when to hold 'em, and he knows when to fold 'em. He knows what to say to make you feel good or to make you feel better. He is a natural charmer. And if he gets a hug from a pretty lady, all the better for him. And he is an equal opportunity lover. He doesn't care how big or small, short or tall. He doesn't care what the hair color, eye color, skin color. He loves the ladies.

Way too smart for his own good is that boy. He listens to things around him, picks up those subtle clues that most people miss. He knows what you are talking about better than you do. Freaking creepy if you ask me. Hubby says he gets it from me. I'm not sure about that, I just know you have to watch what you say or he will be bringing it up later. Usually in front of company, but isn't that the way with kids? Common sense he has covered. He doesn't always use it, but what a great world it would be if we all did. Book smart does not even begin to cover the boy. He taught himself how to multiply before I could get to him. I didn't believe it, but once he showed me, what could I do but hide in the corner and rock back and forth in a quivering ball? Now if he could spell...

He loves the Lord. He is very passionate about his bible study. He loves to learn about the bible and Jesus. He is the go-to guy during the children's sermon at church. They ask a question and his hand goes up. 9 times out of 10, he's right. Sometimes it's stuff we haven't talked about yet, but that's the picking up clues I mentioned earlier. I give credit to his Sunday school teachers as well for instilling in him that love for Jesus and the knowledge he has. He wants to go and spread the word of Christ through out the world for others to know what a gift we have been given. I just smile and love him and thank God every day for him.

He is a great protector of his sisters. Nobody messes with them when he is around. He has come to blows with little boys that were messing with his little sister. He may fight like cats and dogs with her, but nobody lays a hand on her when he's on watch. He's the same way with the big girl. Nobody touches her. He thinks his big sister hung the moon just for him. I think she's pretty special, too. He has always followed her and aspired to be like her. I tell him he is in the best spot possible. He is a big brother and a little brother. That comes with a ton of responsibilty that he is still trying to figure out and work to his best advantage. But, like I said earlier, he's a smart boy. He'll get it figured out.

My boy is the perfect compliment to this family. He is kind and loving and hard headed and smart and funny and so many other things that can't be defined. I love you so much, Big Boy, and I am so very grateful to be your mama. I could not ask for a better son. I think you are the most special boy ever. Happy Birthday!

That's my boy. I love him and I wouldn't trade him for anything.

Have a great day!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Here We Go again

I am beginning to really dislike computers. If I didn't need them to blog, Facebook, look up coupons and recipes, school my kids, and about a million other things, I wouldn't own one. A couple of months ago, the desk top died a slow and painful death. It was actually quick and very painful for me since I needed it for school. Now, it's the lap top.

It's being extremely slow. It took it almost 10 minutes to boot up tonight. If there is one thing (just one? Wouldn't that be great!) that irritates me, it's slow computers. It costs us an arm and a leg to get the DT fixed, and I cannot imagine what it would cost to fix the lap top. I may just bite the bullet and buy a new one when our taxes come in. The problem with that is that I really wanted a wireless printer. Of course, if I don't have a lap top, I don't need a wireless printer. Great googily moogily!

Hubby went by an major office supply chain and talked to them about their free PC diagnostic. That free diagnostic could end up costing us almost $500. I don't have that kind of cash and if I did, it would go towards the purchase of a new lap top. Trade in the old and get a new. Of course, that means I have to reload iTunes, because I have to have iTunes. We have dial up and that could take days. I finally got Adobe reloaded. I still don't have my Word, and Excel, and PowerPoint. I do, however, have OpenOffice. It is a Microsoft product and is compatible. The best thing about it is that I like it.

If for some reason we end up losing the lap top we lose a bunch of games that I really like to play. I can find games at that office supply chain 2/$9.99, so not a huge loss. But I did pay for them and I would lose those. When the desk top crashed, the computer guy was able to save my pictures and all my documents and music. He wasn't able to save the games, which bites. At least I have the important stuff. And now that I have Adobe, I can do all my viewing and printing from the DT. It's attached to my printers so I don't need a wrieless. If the lap top crashes, I still have a computer. I'm trying to focus on the positive.

I'll keep you updated as to what happens. Or, if you never see another post, you know what happened.

Have a great day!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Decisons, decisions

I wish that would end like the commercial for the game of Life. Pay me! It doesn't. It's good to dream. January is here and that means only one thing: the hunt for curriculum for next year is on. We use our tax refund to buy the books that we need. This year I have so much running through my head, I'm having a hard time.

The big girl will be a seventh grader. When did that happen? I started with her because I have had a clear picture of what I wanted for her. For language arts, I want something that will cover a wide range of topics like spelling and vocabulary, grammar, poetry and literature, and I feel like we need to start focusing on writing reports. She is a great creative writer, but it's time to bring something new to the table. The problem has been finding a curriculum that will cover all of that. Short of a text book used in schools, I'm not finding what I want.

I am finding that there is great curriculum that covers different areas. I have been online for two days now just researching language arts for her. I have come across some that focus on parts of what I want, and is easily supplemented. I have found some that covers one thing, but none of the others. I think I have made my decision. I think that this year we are skpping grammar. We have focused on grammar since we started homeschooling and I think it's OK to skip a year or two. How many times can you review what a noun is? Parts of speech and usage and all that bores me and I know it bores her. And isn't that one of the glorious things about homeschooling? WE get to pick and choose what we want to learn.

For math next year for the big girl we are doing pre-algebra. Depending on how she does for the next few weeks and what the pre-algebra curriculum looks like we may skip that all together and just go straight to algebra. I think it would be better for her to do the pre-a, so we'll see. I have found that it is harder to find a middle school math. This is a time of transition to higher math like algebra and geometry and the like. How many times can you teach addition and subraction, even of decimals and fractions? Boredom sets in for teacher and student. That will be my next foray into the world of curiculum research.

Hubby and I are going to try to go to the convention this year. I went last year with my friend C and had the most amazing time. It was overwhelming at first, and even for a couple of days after. But I set everything aside and looked at it later, when the dust had settled. The curriculum I was still thinking about was what I focused on. If we do go to convention, that means I have to wait to buy the books we need. Can I wait that long? Convention isn't until May! I also need to check if it coincides with our dance recital. I like to be able to go and touch the books, and look at the actual book we would be using. I love the smell of curriculum in the morning.

I already have our history and science for next year. For our history we are going to take a break from our Story of the World and study the Constitution. Not so much American history yet, just a look at what our country is founded on. There has been such a hullabaloo about our rights lately going on in politics, that I want the kids to know what our rights really are. I want them to know the difference between a right and a privilege. I have some unit studies we'll be using that I downloaded for free. And I already have a couple copies of the Constitution to use as well. Our science is the human body. I already have the curriculum for that. The boy is next and he'll be easy. LifePacs for him. The baby is another story. First grade and everything is new. I haven't done first grade so we'll see how crazy I drive myself with that. Tomorrow, I'm back at it.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A little Down Time

I've been away from the blog. I know you noticed. I've been missing it a little, but I needed to be away. Hubby has had some much needed time off and I needed to be with him. It was nice to have him home for a little while. I always get incredibly spoiled when he's here. It was nice to spend some time as a family, just focusing on us. We get incredibly spoiled with that, too.

Christmas was nice and relaxed for us. It was a welcome change from the past when it seemed very rushed and loud and tense. This year it was just us. We went to the late Christmas Eve service and it was wonderful. I greeted. Love that. There was no greeter at the door when we got there, so I decided we needed one. It is one of the busiest days at church and to not have someone standing there, making you feel welcome when you arrive is just wrong. Hubby said I did it to show off my new zebra print shoes. No, but it was nice when they got noticed.

New Year's was quiet as well. Since the kids have come along, we have decided not to travel on that night. It's more important to us to start the new year and end the old one with the people that matter to us most. I made some finger foods, which seems to have become a tradition, and we snacked all night and played games and had tournaments on the Wii. Lots of laughter and fun and kisses when the clock struck twelve. And we all slept until about 10 the next morning. I don't remember the last time I slept that late. That was lovely.

We started back to school yesterday. We've been off for three weeks, so it was time to get started. The kids weren't as ready as I was. At least they say they weren't. I could tell, though, that all the mostly unstructured days were starting to grate on them. And when it grates on them, they grate on each other. Even though we had a rough start, they seemed thankful to have something to do. The boy almost drove me off the deep end, but that's what he's good at. I have a feeling that if he was in public school, the teacher would want to medicate him. He speaks out of turn (wonder where he got that?), likes to make funny sounds, and generally tries to always be the center of attention.

We get back to our regular activities this week. Dance starts this week and co-op next week. I'm ready for both. I miss my dance class. I've been practicing the Broadway step as often as I can. I love it. I'm trying to become more confident so maybe one year I'll do the recital. We'll see if that ever happens. I have planned a field trip for the co-op to a local radio station. I am very excited about it. We listen to the station all the time, and we are excited about meeting some of the personalities that we hear every day. I am planning one to a local carriage museum. Hubby was fixing their phones yesterday and asked about field trips. They even offer a bus. If the bus is free, we may take advantage of it. If it costs money, not so much. I'm trying to set up a trip to the local airport, but good luck finding someone to talk to about it. There's not really a person to talk to about it since they don't have a tower. They do have a customs agent, but good luck finding that number in the phone book. It's all 800 numbers and I am not calling one of those. They list things like Drug Smuggling. Thanks, but no.

We've actually completed a couple of big projects. One has needed to be done for quite awhile. We replaced the faucet in the kitchen. It's been leaking and every now and then when you lift the handle, water would go spraying across the kitchen. Stand in the wrong spot and you get sprayed. The problem with that is you never knew when it would spray and you never knew where. I finally have a new one that doesn't spray. Well, only when you press the button on the sprayer. I really like that feature. It makes it easier for getting gunk off the dishes. The living room got rearranged. We put it back to what it used to be. It got to the point that I was feeling way too pinned in. We cleaned it up, got rid of some stuff, put some stuff in other places, and opened it up. It is so much bigger and has really opened up to usable space. We do need more light in the evening time, but that is a project for another time. We have enough room to do yoga as a family instead of all scrunched up.

We finished The Incredible Journey. That was a great book. I even cried a little at the end. Hubby had even asked me to wait to read until he was home for dinner. He didn't want to miss any of it. I hadn't read the book before, and it was nice to be able to share it with my family. Our new book on CD is The Black Stallion. I haven't read it, either, so we'll see how this one goes. Being able to share books with my kids and introduce them to new things has been amazing for our family. I bought Chik-Fil-A calendars and they have a literary theme. It has inspired me to find kid friendly versions of some of the books and have that as our nightly read. Our first one is The Three Musketeers. I am really looking forward to it.

Other than that, we've been pretty boring. I like it that way. I'm trying to keep a low profile and stay out of trouble. Good luck with that. My goal this year is to blog more, while spending less time on the computer. That means not so much meaningless time when the computer is on. I have an opportunity to write a couple of articles for a health magazine that a friend is buying. We'll see how that goes. One day soon, I could be a published writer. When it happens, I can mark that off my list. I like marking things off my list.

Have a great day!