Showing posts from July, 2015

Summertime Dinner Lethargy? The Slow Cooker's Got Your Back!

I can go for very long stretches of time without eating meat (as can the kids).  I could be good with a salad every night.  But no one else around here would be fine with that, and Allen gets antsy without some meat on the daily.  Luckily for me he has pretty cheap taste as far as meat goes: poultry, lunchmeat, and hot dogs.  This means that at least once a week I need to get my act together and cook chicken.

That's fine and dandy in the winter, when a nice warm meal in the stove is a pleasure. But in the summer, it's hot and I don't want to be standing over the stove or turning on the oven.  Oh, and I don't have a microwave, so unless I remember the day before to take out the chicken from the freezer, it's going to take some extra cooking time and therefore extra heat.  What to do?

Let the Crock Pot do all the work and take all the heat, that's what!

In the morning I'll put in a couple of frozen chicken breasts and douse them liberally with some kind of ta…

Pluggin' away...

First things first: a huge "THANK YOU!" is in order to all who have contributed either materials or money to our Home Improvement Round 2 project.

Because of the materials donated (flooring for the kitchen), we were able to knock off $150 from our goal price!

Now, thanks to donors both known and anonymous, 72% of that new goal has been provided!!!

I think the part that is the most touching is knowing that some of the people who have donated have "come out of the woodwork."  That is, they are people I have not been in touch with for a long time (very long, in one case...someone who babysat me when I was a kid!) and yet they saw fit to give us some of their hard-earned money.  It really, really means a lot.

It's easy for me to look askance at social media for all of its ill uses and abuses, but it really has made it possible to be in touch with people from all over the world and from all stages of your life...or even from strangers.

So far, we've gotten the…

7 QT (Plus 1!): Before and After House Pictures (FINALLY)

1. These are long overdue. We bought the palace last March; Allen spent May-July working tirelessly to take it from unlivable to very livable.  Throughout the course of the year there have been improvements made (painting; curtains; rearranging furniture and hanging artwork; and countless little fixes).

So why am I just now getting around to posting some before and afters?  Well, I think it's for a reason pretty common to moms: wanting everything to look *picture perfect*.  Of course, that's delusional.  My house is never going to be showing up on Better Homes and Gardens or Real Simple or anything like that.  I'm just not that homemaker, and this structure was not made for greatness.  As the bard might say, it had greatness thrust upon it.

Still, I kept lingering and putting off the "after" post.  A discussion at my mom's book group not too long ago helped me to realize that it was time to go Nike on this and just do it. The book we read, Momnipotent had …

Answer Me This

Another Sunday, another link up at Catholic All Year...

1. At what temperature do you keep the thermostat set? Summer, winter, day, night? Don't have a thermostat, bahahahaha.  In the summer it is hot, in the winter it's not unbearable (although we do wear sweaters and socks). 
2. What is your favorite frozen beverage? I do love a Starbucks Frappucino.  I love them too much.  I no longer have them, because none is easier than one.  One makes me want more, and they are expensive!!! But that's probably my favorite.  Iced coffee with half&half is my favorite cold drink...and I've become a big fan of cold brewed coffee after learning that it was even a thing one could do.  
3. Where do you keep your keys? On a lanyard in my purse.  Best to avoid putting them in pockets, especially in the winter when I'm wearing many layers and have mini freakouts about which layer's pocket they are in.  
4. Have you ever really been lost? One time that I was really lost and really …

Answer Me This: 4th of July Edition

Linking up with the lovely Kendra at Catholic All Year...

1.  How did you celebrate the 4th of July?

In style!  We went over to Allen's aunt and uncle's house in Mulino for their annual 4th of July get-together.  The kids zoomed upstairs to the play room and only came down to snack on blueberries and chips and to have a bit of time outside in the sprinkler and kiddie pool.  It was a nice time hanging out with them and with Andy and Alishia, too.  After that, we went to our next event of the day, a dinner potluck and party at the Fuller's house.  Let me tell you, it was big!  There were about 50 people there, and kids outnumbered adults. Luckily, they have a nice, big, shady backyard and the kids had a blast playing with each other while the grownups chatted, ate, and relaxed.

Lauren, not being content merely to provide us a place and yummy burgers and hot dogs, ALSO planned a scavenger hunt for the kids and water balloons for a water balloon toss.  There were also sparkle…

7 QT: Beat the Heat (or Sweat Trying)

1.  It is unusually hot here in the Willamette Valley.  Temps in the 98-103 range.  Thankfully, it's a dry least compared to my experience of humidity growing up in St. Louis.  When you stand in the shade here, it is cooler. There are occasional breezes which refresh.

The trade-off is that many houses here don't come with central air, since it's a rarely needed feature.  Our house is one of them.  We are keeping curtains drawn and sitting near all of our fans to stay cool...and I can't lie, eating a lot of salads, sandwiches, and cereal because I can't bear to increase the heat by doing much cooking.

But on the cooking front, the crock pot has been very helpful. It doesn't heat up the kitchen much, and I've taken to throwing in some frozen chicken breasts in the morning, dousing them liberally with sauces or salad dressings until they are covered (and maybe adding a bit of water), and letting them cook on low for the rest of the day. By dinner …