Saturday, February 21, 2009


It turns out my niece is a vegetarian. So my meal plan is out and I'm struggling to reinvent everything without having to spend more money. We'll see.

I'm also struggling with the impulse to *splurge* while she is here... you know... cinnamon rolls from the corner, chinese food buffet, indoor rock climbing.

How much sleep did you all get last night? How much do you think you get in general?
I need more sleep. I was having an awesome dream about living in an apartment in Venice when someone woke me up this morning...

I got my new Tivo receiver for the basement (yay!) so hopefully I'll be back working out before the weekend is up. I really want to get back in the shape I was in last year. It will, obviously, be a slow road for me but I'm determined to stick with it.

We're off to the hands on museum to see what 1,000,000.00 looks like.

I'm currently reading 3 financial books and looking into ING saving accounts... all the frugal peeps are doin' it.

Two months of strict food budgeting... one month with a big monthly stock up and one month without. The verdict is in and it was much easier and cheaper to have the house stocked.

Pizza dough recipe to come... with step by step photos for how to take your dough from sticky goo to pizza party. But if you can't wait for it... I adapted it from THIS one. Keep in mind I have several changes... no MSG for one... and that recipe makes WAY more dough than you need for one 9 x 13 pizza... you can easily make two. And you do not need a bread machine to make it.

Does anyone live in Vancouver? We like to think it rocks there.

I'll leave you with this....

"It looks like a tornado went through there." Mrs F remarks to Kid after surveying the living room.

"It did. A tornado hit." Kid explains.

Oh... in that case... awesome creative play... carry on.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pre-Teen Dichotomy

I couldn't help myself. This morning when I peeked in the girls' room I just had to share it with you. My niece is here for the week. She is twelve... as in the real twelve... not twelve going on twenty. She brought her cell phone and her doll.

Her visit reminded me of something. I different time when I wanted to be somewhere else.

In July 1999 I sat on the sweltering wood dune steps overlooking Lake Michigan. I was with my nieces. My older niece was 6. She said she wished I lived in Michigan. I looked at her and told her I would... in about 2 years.

I have always loved my nieces like you love your own children. They were born to young parents and I spent the first year and a half of my oldest nieces life still at home... and was able to spend a lot of time with her. Then I went to college and stayed working in New York. I was always heartbroken to be missing out on their lives. So when she said she wished I was in Michigan I wished it too and I wanted to make that come true.

I couldn't have known all the things that would come to pass in the following two years. Not even a week later I met Mr F. I had a job and a life. But two years and one week after I had that talk with my niece... Mr F and I moved into our house in Michigan just a mile from my nieces.

And it isn't that I was trying to fulfill my two year promise. It just happened that way. I had actually completely forgotten about that foreboding conversation at the beach. But everything lined up. Of all the people I could have met and married... I met Mr F who didn't balk at leaving New York or moving his business. Moving to Michigan made perfect sense to him.

So my point is this... long before "The Secret" (which I have actually not read) or vision boards... having a direction for your life can lead your life to that outcome. I really believe that. And so I will be thinking of New York (or maybe DesMoines or Madison... or Rome...).

Thursday, February 19, 2009

More Compacting In The Kitchen

I wrote a post about our "compacting in the kitchen" and how we had taken our food budget and knocked it in half without sacrificing the quality of our food (organic fruits & vegetables & diary & grains & eggs, hormone & antibiotic free local meats).

Well, I've been at it for another month and have come up with even more ways to cut our food budget. I am now under $400 a month for our family of 4 (without cutting coupons). Check back and I'll write out a list of what we're doing now.


#1 On Sunday night I buy a rotisserie chicken. I cut off the breasts and legs and put them in a tupperware for sandwich meat. I set aside the carcass with the wings. On Monday I put it in a pot with onion, celery & carrot and cover it with water. I simmer it for 2 hours and drain it through a mesh sieve. That's stock people. I then pick off the remaining chicken and add that with some honey, plenty of salt, diced carrot & celery and whatever else I feel like throwing in. That's soup.
On Friday whatever chicken may be left from the legs & breasts I shred and put on our weekly pizza. It's delish. One chicken... 5 lunches... 2 dinners.

#2 Ground turkey is my friend. I buy a pound every week. I brown it up with salt, pepper, garlic powder & ground oregano. It's now good to go in just about anything. I usually divide it into two 1/2 pound portions. One I use that night and the other I put in a freezer bag. The day you are going to use it put it in your fridge and it will be thawed by dinner. I take 1/2 pound and add it to 1/2 jar of pasta sauce w/ 1/2 T sugar and I have meat sauce. I take a 1/2 pound and add it to a can of drained balck beans heat it in a skillet w/ salt, chili powder & cumin and I have taco filling. Make chili, make shepard's pie, top your pizza with it! It's so freaking versatile... I want to marry it!

#3 Random veggie storage tips... cause if I paid $3 a pound for organic produce I do not want them to go bad!...
Asparagus - trim the ends and put them in a glass of water... like a bouquet... they'll stay fresh & firm for days
Heads of lettuce - remove the twist tie, discard any bruised leaves, and shake off all excess water (from the sprinkler). Wrap in paper towels & put back in your plastic vegetable bag. Take off leaves as you need them and wash them then. Your head of lettuce will stay fresh over a week (probably over 2 weeks). If you want separate leaves for sandwiches at the ready... take them off wash and dry them (gently so not to bruise) and layer in a tupperware between paper towels... they'll also stay fresh over a week.
Keep your potatoes & onions in your fridge.
Once something is ripe and you don't want it to over ripen put it in the fridge... ie avocados, stone fruit... it will help retard the ripening and you may be able to eat them before they are too far gone on your counter. Bananas will keep the same way but the peel will brown.

#4 Make your own pizza. I'll post the full recipe for this another day. I use my bread machine but you can do this in a mixer or by hand with little extra effort... I used to make it by hand all the time. I make enough dough for two pizzas and once it is kneaded divide it up let half rise and put the other half in a oiled freezer proof tupperware in the freezer. The next time we make pizza I just take it out and put it in the fridge that morning. Before dinner I let it rise on the counter. It really takes little effort and I can roll it out and put it in the oven WAY faster than the pizza guy could ever bring it. Plus we use up all sorts of stuff as toppings.

A Sign Of The Times

"Why is there so much rice and not very much meat?" Kid asks at dinner.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Worst Fears

Today the thing I fear most happened.

Well... the thing I fear most that is the precursor to the thing I fear most Monday - Friday 9 AM - 2:30 PM... happened.

ring ring

Before I even answered the phone I saw that it was Kid's school and I started to tremble with adrenaline.


"Hello... Rachel?" The woman asked.

"Yes." I replied with a bit of fear.

"Um... It's Jessica" Kid's teacher said.

And that's when I knew it wasn't the office calling about something administrative. It's also when my heart may have stopped beating

"Ruby..." She continued hesitantly.

And I swear these long awkward pauses aren't for effect... that is how she was talking.... and I just wanted to scream "I can't take it!!! Just say it!!!"

"...doesn't feel well. She says her stomach hurts." She finished and I could hear the anxiety in her voice.

"I'm coming." I announced and hung up the phone.

In less than 3 minutes I had Baby dressed and buckled in the car.

I forgot my shoes. I was shaking.

Then I sat at the unbearably long light wishing I had cut through the gas station.

I had my spiel ready in case I should get pulled over by a cop on my way. I really didn't trust myself not speed down our 20 MPH road. I figured it helped that I was already crying.

It took me 5 minutes to get there and I was reminded why we chose this school and why I refuse to have Kid bused across town. I need to be able to get there in 5 minutes. Period.

Things had gotten settled into a safe rhythm around here. We want to have faith, or hope, that Kid is one of the lucky ones... but we never forget, and can never stop the hypervigilance of preparedness. It's our job. And her life does literally depend on it.

When I got out of the car I took a second to absorb the fact that an ambulance wasn't there. And I didn't hear one coming.

I walked in the room and could see the weary look of concern and fear on the teacher's face. She did not want to have to endure a day of worry and watching and disecting every potential clue.

Because this is how Kid's seizures start.

Or don't.

And you won't know until you know.

Does Anyone Else Hate Helen?

My heart was breaking for Shannon in the elimination room. She obviously wanted to stay. And should have.

Monday, February 16, 2009

This Week The Plan

Hey remember when I used to put up a weekly plan?! Remember how boring those posts were to read? I sure remember how boring they were to write.

The thing is... they improve the quality of my life. Well, they improve the quality of my productiveness. Feeling more productive makes me feel more in control... and feeling in control makes me feel a little less like killing myself (I jest).

So the weekly plan makes it's triumphant return... TODAY!


Sunday - Black Bean & Turkey Soft Tacos; mint brownies

Monday - Chicken Soup w/ Dumplings (in Cook's Country - this recipe rocks the house); mint brownies

Tuesday - Honey & Orange Glazed Salmon w/ smashed potatoes & asparagus; sugar cookies

Wednesday - Turkey Meat Sauce w/ Penne & California Mix veggies; sugar cookies

Thursday - Scallion & Ginger Shrimp w/ Noodles; sugar cookies

Friday - Homemade Pizza w/ salad; chocolate cake

Saturday - Frozen Chinese Food (ALDI); chocolate cake

Kid's School Snack & Lunch:

M - leftover pizza, hard boiled egg, yogurt, milk, kiwi

T- leftover soup, hard boiled egg, yogurt, milk, pineapple

W- school pizza day, hard boiled egg, pineapple, yogurt, milk

Th - leftover salmon, potatoes & asparagus, hard boiled egg, pineapple, yogurt, milk

F - leftover shrimp & noodles, hard boiled egg, yogurt, banana, milk

Diet & Exercise:
Well my body is falling apart. I'm having all sorts of body pain again... not just the tailbone. I really need to get my core strength back... but I'm not sure how I can. So this week I'm just going to start walking (no incline) at 3 mph for 30 minutes a day and focus on my posture. That's really all I can do for now.
I'm also going to get back to calorie counting.

Chores & Errands:

Sunday - house pick up, major grocery shop

Monday - laundry

Tuesday - put away laundry, vacuum, Baby's class

Wednesday - make sure we have all tax documents or have requested them

Thursday - start organizing tax documents

Friday - organize craft supplies, clean off counter

Saturday & Sunday - do whatever the hell I want

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Now You Tell Me

The other day, while out doing errands, I pulled up behind a car at a light.

They had a bumper sticker on their rear windshield.

It read:

Don't Move Here

Blog Widget by LinkWithin