Moms The Word

April 9, 2007

Suzy Homemaker Strikes Again

Filed under: Family, General Info, House and Home — mrslady @ 10:16 am

This week I have been shocking and aweing my family with delightful culinary masterpieces for dinner.  Is this a devious plot to ensure that my hubby will be rediculously homesick while working in Alaska and eating hotel food?  Absolutely not.  Yes.  Yes it is.

It is also because I want him to have something of nutritional value in his system before he goes because instead of eating normal food he just buys a bunch of pop tarts/cup o noodles to eat because he doesn’t want to “cook”.

So as I said this week is a feat of culinary proportions.  On Friday we had my super special meatloaf, on Saturday we had Nacho Beef Dinner Night which we all adore,  and yesterday we had Pot Roast

Tonights gastronomic gala?  Strada.  Wha?? You say.  Exactly-that’s why I’m posting about it.  It is one of my most favorite things of deliciousness, not to mention that it is rediculously versatile (think: of chili-like proportions).  Everyone has there own recipes for it, and you can find about a 1,001 recipes for it on Cooks.com (okay, 49). However, here is my recipe for simple egg strada for picky eaters (or people who have digestive issues-like me with the terrible heartburn induced by everything under the sun):

Pan

Butter 

8 Eggs

2-4 Cups of Milk

2 Cups of Cheese (any kind you like really, I usually do 1 cup of chedder and 1 cup of parmesan)

1 Loaf of French Bread

Spices

First things first-I don’t use spices.  I just use French Bread that already has spices on it.  (I like the Rosemary Oregano French Bread from Walmart for about $2.) Secondly, the reason that the milk says “2-4 cups” is that I do it by sight, but I seem to remember the recipe saying somewhere between 2 and 4.  I just add milk until it the eggs are a pastel yellow color (a little less milk than I use to make scrambled eggs).  And lastly, I will occasionally add bacon in the recipe.  If you do, make sure to pre-cook the meat before you put it in.

Strada is really easy-grease your pan (I like to use butter, but if you perfer something else I don’t think it would make a terrible amount of difference) then slice your french bread into medium thickness pieces.  Put a layer of bread down on the bottom of the greased pan then sprinkle cheese over the top.  Then put another layer of bread, then another layer of cheese.  If you want to add meat, just throw it in there after the cheese.  I like to avoid stacking them directly on top of eachother, like in a tall tower stack, but instead put them together like I’m building a pyramid (two on the bottom one on the top).

Mix eggs and milk and spices (if separate) together.  Pour it over the bread and make sure that you hit every piece of bread (hence, pyramid stacking rather than tower stacking).  Put it in the fridge and refridgerate at least 12 hours or overnight (whichever is longer).

The next day bake at 300 degrees for 1.5 hours or 350 for an hour.  Wait 10 minutes after pulling it out to cut it.

Like I said before there are all different kinds of strada.  If you can handle the spicey things you could do something like this Ranch Strada recipe.  You can even do a dessert strada like this one.  The only must-haves are bread and eggs-other than that YOU MAKE UP THE REST!

I hope you find a strada recipe that works for you because this is definately one of the easiest meals to make and one of the most yummy to eat!

April 7, 2007

In The Groove

Filed under: Blog Business, Family, Good Ideas, House and Home — mrslady @ 12:33 pm

As I’m sure you can tell, I had to change my blog look again, because every time I looked at my page there was something bothering me.  I couldn’t figure out what it was until I realized the print was so tiny I my brain was starting to hurt more than normal.  Maybe it was just me-I am kind of blind-but I had to fix it.  I think this layout looks nice, but we’ll see how it sits with me over the next couple of days.  Your input would be very appreciated seeing as how you deal with it too.  I wouldn’t want anyone to develop the squint eye trying to read my blog 🙂

In further adventures IRL, my lovely other half has ordered me to relax and do things that I want to do today.  I’ll admit it’s been a long time since I’ve even thought about what interests me…….the best I could come up with was going grocery shopping by myself.  Oh yes, that’s right-by myself like a grown up and everything. That means no screaming howler monkey curious toddler in the cart grabbing things off of the shelves and forcing me to buy them by throwing them on the ground or in other ways destroying them.  Who wants a jar of broken pickles?  Me either.  The twisted part is that it sounds so relaxing-I must be getting really boring.  Driving to the store blasting my music without worry of deafening my child, walking around the store without the worry that at any moment my child could be “done with shopping”.  [Grocery shopping with a toddler is like shopping with a dinner timer, but you can’t see the timer.  All of a sudden you just hear the “wwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh” and you know it’s all over.]  I’m so happy that I don’t have to do the “supermarket sweep” style of shopping-I’m going to lesiurely walk up and down every isle at least twice and actually bother to look at what I’m buying before I throw it in the cart.  I’m not going to leave the store until I make sure that I have not forgotten even the smallest and least significant item. 

I’m even taking a list.  I LOVE making my grocery list.  My new method is a fairly recent addition to my organizational arsonal (though others may have been doing it this way for years), but a lovely one if I do say so myself.  What I do is I write out the days until I next go grocery shopping (usually to coincide with payday) and then I make a meal plan for each day.  Then I look at the meal plan, go through my fridge and write down the things I need. This also helps if we’re especially budget conscious that week because then I can see what meals we can make with the things we already have.  It also prevents me from ending up with five bottles of vanilla and no butter (don’t laugh!  I’ve done it!).

And now-onward to my mommy safari 🙂

March 9, 2007

Hermit the Blogger

Filed under: Family, House and Home, Life — mrslady @ 11:37 pm

Let’s be honest.  I was never a supremely social person.  In perspective: if you do not count hunny, or the little bear, or anyone I am related to, I have had exactly FOUR friends in my entire life-none of whom I am in contact with anymore.  Not that I don’t “aquaint” with people.  You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a person, and occasionally you are bound to hit someone you kindof-almost-know-from-that-one-place with your dead feline friend.  But if you count people that I actually had some form of “bond” with-or even people who’s names I bothered to remember-you get four. 

((The hunny on the other hand, is like the Prom King of social skills comparitively speaking.  Of course, there are dogs with better social skills than I so it’s not exactly saying much. [They keep friends for life!]  However, I do think that he is especially more social than the average person because people genuinely seem to like him and even say hi to him when they see him in public places.  I personally try to avoid people saying hi to me in public, because they always know my name, but I never have the vaguest recollection of where I met them or any details about them, however minor.  It usually limits me to an awkwardly fake conversation.  “Hi there.  So you like this store?  That’s super.  How are you?  Super.  How is your family?  Super.  That’s great.  You have a good day.”  And I really hate fakeness.))

Anywho, back to me being socially incompetant.  I am.  I don’t know why exactly except that since I was a kid I have always perferred alone time to the company of others [exceptions being I love spending time with my other half, and with the baby].  Hunny is always encouraging me to branch out and “make eye contact” with another living being that is not in our immediate family at least once every three weeks, but I find this to be difficult, and frankly an overestimation of how much effort I am willing to put into people that I don’t know/am not related to.

“So,” you ask yourself.  “Why are you telling me how much you hate being with people?  I think I am getting slightly offended here.”  Please don’t.  I am coming to the point of this long and aimless story soon and I promise it ends very nicely in your favor.

Continuing on, recently the hunny has been promoted [yay] to a job that requires him to travel for a month or so at a time , being home only about 1 or 2 weeks in between months on the road [boo!].  This is especially difficult for me as I am as crazy for him as the day we met and miss him when he gets up in the middle of the night to pee. [Dead serious, but that’s another post.]  Also considering that he is the only person in the world I talk to about anything real.  He’s my best friend!  But if my best friend is working 12-18 hour days a couple of states away, and I despise “meeting new people”-then who am I going to talk to?  How am I going to make sure my head does not explode after weeks and weeks of having my only-half-english-speaking 3 year old to talk to?  And what about when the baby does that screaming thing?  I hate the screaming thing!  [My son-arms folded-standing in the middle of the living room shrieking at the top of his lungs completely inconsolable/undiciplinable for about 15-30 minutes at a time.  He doesn’t do it very often, but when he does!]  How will I take my mind off of the stress?

Then I discovered blogging.  The wonderful-whirly-vortex-o’-fun.  And you know what?  I LIKE virtually meeting people.  I am having a blast with my bloggy-pals, and meeting more and more bloggy pals every day!  I think it’s fun.  And while I’m certain that doesn’t count as “real” social skills-and is, in fact, probably a sign of a severe social disorder-I am certainly celebrating the fun I’m having and the new and great bloggy-friends I’m making.

Awww, see now?  I told you this ended very nicely in your favor.  Thank you for being my bloggy friend-without you my brain would explode!

March 6, 2007

Busy Mom Meals *Works For Me Wednesdays*

Filed under: Family, Good Ideas, House and Home, WFMW — mrslady @ 9:43 pm

Every mom knows there are those days when you just don’t have time to put a meal together.  When kid #1 has ballet, kids #2 and 3 have Bible study, and the Hubby has work to do, you need something fast and easy that you don’t have to put a lot of work into.  My suggestion?  Crock pot meals.  I was recently gifted with a LOVELY slow cooker, courtesy of my F/MIL and it has been a quick, easy, and delicious meal helper for those uber-busy nights. [Not to mention, you can do them VERY inexpensively!  For more information on grocery shopping on a budget, see my Frugal Friday post about grocery shopping on a budget]

The main misconception about crock pot meals is that they are boring, and not very tasty or fancy.  Well, let me tell you there are THOUSANDS of different, interesting, even “fancy” meals you can make with your crock pot.  Take these for example:

CROCK POT CHICKEN CACCIATORE  

3-4 lbs boneless/skinless thighs and breasts
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 large red or green bell peppers, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon each basil and oregano
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 bay leaves
1 8 oz can stewed tomatoes with chiles
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups burgundy wine
Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling before serving

Place sliced onions on bottom of crock pot. Add chicken.Stir together remaining ingredients and pour over chicken.

Cook on low 7-9 hours or high 3-4 hours. Serve over pasta, with a salad on the side.

SWEET & SOUR CROCK POT PORK  

1 pound pork chops (diced into bite size pieces)
1 can tomato soup
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 can water
2-3 cups frozen broccoli

Cook pork in frying pan until browned on all sides. Add all ingredients to crock pot, including pork. Cook on low for 7-8 hrs or on high for 3-4 hours.Serve on a bed of rice.

Of course, there is always the “old faithful”-Crock Pot Roast:

CROCK POT ROAST  

3-5 lb. roast (beef)
1 onion
5 or 6 large carrots, peeled
4 or 5 potatoes
1/2 lb. fresh green beans (optional)
1 pkg. McCormick pot roast or beef stew seasoning
1 pkg. sazon
1/2 cup catchup
1 cup water
adobo, to taste
small can of diced tomatoes (optional)

Chop onion and place in bottom of crock pot. Sprinkle some flour on the onion. Add some butter (1-2 tablespoons) and sauté until soft. Then place roast on top of onion.Mix McCormick seasoning with water and pour over roast. Add catchup and Sazon. Stir.

Cover and leave on high. Cut up potatoes and carrots and add to pot.

Sprinkle adobo on to taste. Turn on low and cook for 6 or more hours.

The longer the better. This recipe is very tasty, you will be surprised.

Editors Note: If you don’t have seasoning packets on hand, use 1 beef bouillon or 1 1/2 teaspoons Minor’s beef base, 1/2 tsp each garlic and onion powder or 3-4 cloves minced garlic and one chopped onion. A bay leaf can also be added and removed before serving.

You can find more quick and yummy recipes for crock pot meals at these websites:

http://www.tastycrockpotrecipes.net/

http://crockpot.cdkitchen.com/recipes/

Also, for moms on a budget (like myself) the great thing about crock pot meals is that you can put pretty much anything in your cupboard in the pot and it will taste good.  Pretty much this equation:

Meat+Vegitables+Seasoning=YUMMY CROCK POT MEALS

Have fun, and enjoy your night off!!

(P.S. For more tips from WFMW, go to Rocks In My Dryer!)

(P.P.S. For more fun stuff from my blog, go to my latest update by clicking this link,  side bar topic thingy that captures your interest, or go to the main page where you can access everything!)

March 3, 2007

The Party Keeps On Going….

Filed under: Family, General Info, House and Home — mrslady @ 9:34 am

There is a special kind of party I like to have about once a month, and I invite you all to join.  It is not for the faint of heart, or the paranoid packrat, but is a LOT of fun (kind of) and keeps your house looking a LOT more tidy and organized (really!).

I call it “Black Bagging” my house, but for the purposes of The Ultimate Blog Party week we will call it “The Black Bag Party”.  Here’s what you do-buy “super industrial size” black garbage bags (I usually buy 30 gallon bags).  Then, go through your entire house and THROW EVERYTHING AWAY. 

Okay, maybe not everything.  My general rule is I am not going to use it within the next month or in case of an emergancy and/or it doesn’t “have a home” it goes. 

To clarify if an object “has a home” ask yourself this-where do I put this item when I put it away?  Is it blocking something else when I put it there? Is it getting in the way of me doing something?  When I put it in it’s “home” does it look like clutter rather than something that has been put away?  If you answer yes to the last three questions, it’s probably better to just toss/donate it.

Let’s talk examples. Books.  Books are hard to categorize, since you don’t often read them once a month (except the really good ones).  However, do your books have a home on the bookshelf that is out of the way and doesn’t bother anybody or get in the way?  If they do, why not keep it?  Just make sure they go where their home is. 

If you find something that you really want to keep (I do this all the time!) but that has no home and no purpose, I will MAKE a home for it.  I just got files and started putting all the “loose paper” drawings my son did in the file.  Am I going to use them in the next month or in case of an emergancy?  No.  But now they have an out-of-the-way home.  [I wouldn’t have thrown them away anyway.] 

So in conclusion-if you have nothing better to do today and would like to get organized/tidy join me in my Black Bag Party of the day!!!

First stop, my computer desk…….

February 28, 2007

Why Snow is Good (Works for Me Wednesday Tip)

Filed under: General Info, House and Home, WFMW — mrslady @ 11:10 am

Believe me, I did not think that I would ever be posting ANYTHING under the title “Why Snow is Good”. I dispise snow! It is cold, and wet, and naturey-all things I dislike intensely. Also, I am VERY put out that tomarrow is March 1st and we just got almost two inches of snow! I am just not built for the antarctic-style climate in my new home, which is why I keep my house heated to “surface of the sun”. Just last night my in-laws were kidding about bringing shorts to my house in the winter.
(They were only half kidding.)

Now you understand the irony of this post.

However there is something good about snow. It is an EXCELLENT excuse to stay inside and do some tidying and organizing. It’s not even noon yet and I have already cleaned the main parts of my house and finished updating my address book/to do list(things not done as often as they should be!).

Want to get organized? Clean your house? Here are some sites that I have found that seem fun/informational.

*www.organizetips.com/feature.htm
Here you can find a list of free organizing helpers that you can print out, including a grocery list, a phone list, and a printable planner (if you don’t already have one).

*http://www.cozi.com
I haven’t used this one, but have heard good things about it! It’s basically a planner that is accessible to multiple users from any location. So you can your husband can share messages/calanders wherever you are-this might even be good for teenagers too! Wherever you have internet you can look on the planner. For instance, you can put on the schedule “Dinner at Grandma Johnson’s house 6pm” and then send a memo to everyone. I hear that it keeps things very organized when people in your family are doing a million different things.

*www.flylady.net
These tips seem like they would work very well. There is even a daily tip and newsletter than you can sign up for. The only part about the page that I don’t like personally is that it seems a little more abitious than I generally am. Still, the ideas on the page all seem like good ones!

Do you have organizing tips? Please share!!

February 27, 2007

All The Fun You Can Eat (To Do About Tuesdays)

Filed under: Fun Stories, House and Home, To-Do about Tuesday — mrslady @ 2:47 am

I tell you what, it is a near-super-human ability 3 year olds have of knowing when you’re really tired. I don’t know what happened the other morning, but my son woke up at like 8 am (after me going to bed at 330) and it was ON.

I crawled into the living room with my blanket and my pillow and layed on the ground in front of the tv. I popped in Veggi Tales, and tried to “rest my eyes”. Of course, in three year old this means “mommy wants to play!!!” So he stands above me and does that siren yell (you know the one):

“mmmmoooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!”

To which I open one eye and say “what?”-in the nicest voice possible.

To which my child responds “no”!

To which I close my eyes.

To which my child jumps on my back elbows first and screams “MOOOMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYY!”

To which I open both eyes (giving him the strict mommy face) and say “Yes. Aidan. Mommy. WHAT?” A little louder, but trying to keep my cool.

To which my son says “sorry mommy, love you” and blows me a kiss. I feel much better, tell him I love him too and close my eyes.

At which point my son jumps with full-body-force onto my knee caps, and starts bouncing up and down going “sorry mommy. sorry mommy. sorry mommy. sorry mommy….”

I say in my bestest-calmest-not-crazy voice “SORRY is for accidents baby. How can mommy help you?”

To which my son responds by starting to sniffle. Then he starts wandering around the house moaning-not crying, just this infuriating monotone“uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhh. *sniffle* wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh”-and driving his truck on his hand, on the wall, on the doors, pretty much everywhere except the carpet. Which would normally bug me, but at this point I don’t really care because I am so tired. But then he comes back.

In his whiniest voice he says “mmmmmooooooooooo”

“AIDAN DOUGLAS WHAT DO YOU WANT?!” This time in an extremely irritated voice-but not yelling. I try really hard not to yell.

“Drink”

“Okay fine. Here. Better?”

“Thank you”

At which point I close my eyes and he throws his cup on the ground (spill proof YAY!) and starts moaning.

“What?”

“Drink”

“You HAD a drink, but you threw it on the ground”

The logic escapes him.

“Drink!”

“Son, if you want a drink you will pick that right back up and drink your juice. If you want to go back to bed, you will stand there and continue to cry. Make a decision so that mommy can rest now.”

At which point he starts to cry.

At which point I go crazy. Not dangerous crazy. Just quiet crazy, in my head. I shove my head in the pillow and scream silently.

Then my son crawls down beside me and snuggles up to me and goes to sleep. I am not frustrated anymore but SHOCKED how he can go from cute to crazy to cute again in a matter of only 2 HOURS!

Which brings me to To Do about Tuesdays. This week: How to keep a 3 year old occupied when you are far too tired to run like a crazy person or explain yourself over and over.

What to do? One word-playdough. I know, it sounds crazy. Go with me here.

You roll up like a quarter of a tub of playdough into a ball and turn them loose on the kitchen linoleum. [Not recommended for carpets!!!!!] If your kids are anything like my son, they will be facinated by the ball of playdough itself-and the fact that it is a ball-for about a half hour. Then they discover it squishes, much to their delight. It is pretty much home-style self entertainment, AND it’s non-toxic for all of those who dare to try.

This is also a good rainy day activity, and can even double as educational when you get your energy back. Make shapes, talk about colors, it’s tons of fun 🙂

If you don’t want to buy playdough (which I don’t because you can make it so easy and so cheap) you can also make it a science experiment and make your own!

To make Playdough::
YOU WILL NEED:
3 cups flour
1.5 cups salt
6 tsp cream of tarter
3 tbsp oil
3 cups water
Food coloring

Pour all ingredients into a large pot. Stir constantly over medium heat until a ball forms by pulling away from the sides. Knead the playdough until the texture matches playdough (1-2 minutes).

Stored in plastic container, it should last for at least 3 months. Or your toddler can just eat it right away. [Not recommended in large amounts, or for animals~yet makes for some very interesting poo/vomit.]

Have fun and rest up!

February 22, 2007

Looking for Tips?

Filed under: General Info, House and Home — mrslady @ 5:20 pm

A big Thank You to my MIL who directed me to the blog Rocks in My Dryer for Works for me Wednesdays. 

The basic premise is this: Every Wednesday moms post links to their blogs which contain tips for everything from cookie making to chore charts.  You can even link YOUR blog, and give your own tips!  For more information on how to post/what it is, visit here.  To visit/post for Works for Me Wednesday visit here.

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