Jun 25, 2011

Ovens and Hammers, and Banana Muffins

This morning I needed to bake two dozen banana muffins for the blood drive.
So I turned on my oven and started mixing.
Then my oven turned itself off.
And wouldn't turn back on again.
<insert cuss words>
I did what any rational person faced with a time crunch and weeks of sub-optimal oven operations would  do: I went to the tool box and got the hammer.

Then I beat the tar out of the oven control panel.

My oven started working again.

I think it's scared of me.
What? You already know The Hubs has said we're getting a new one. As soon as he can show me the money, I'll go get it. Until then we are eating soup, stir fry and anything else I can make on the stove top.
Crisis one, averted.

Banana Muffin Recipe

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 t baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups smashed bananas
1/2 cup milk (maybe, I eyeballed it)
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs

Jun 23, 2011


Swimming lessons are over, thank heaven. During the second week, The Boy would.not.get.in.the.water.

It took him three days and losing the privilege of going to Cars2 on the second day to tell me why. He didn't like it when the teacher let go of him. SERIOUSLY!?!?! THREE.DAYS.

Tonight at dinner was more of the same. He was refusing dinner until I guessed that he wanted me to cut up his burrito. He was going to skip dinner, rather than tell me he'd prefer it if I cut it up for him.

We had a big fat discussion about how you get what you want faster, if you come out and SAY IT.

Shades of his father, coming through. I may try sticking my head in the still-broken oven again. Seriously.
At least The Hubs is learning. The Boy still has a ways to go.

This week he also said stuff like, "When is the world going to be over?" and "I'm ready for the world to be over". Talk about giving a mom a heart attack. He said it so solemnly, I'm considering taking him seriously...and to a child psychologist.

In happier news, Zsa Zsa has turned into quite the little fish. She's so daring and adventurous it's a little nerve-wracking. Every once and a while she scares herself and gets less (much less) adventurous for a while.
The Boy seems to really be enjoying tumbling. I'm not sure what I'm paying for since the  first day I asked what he learned, and he said, "jumping over a pillow". Every time we drop him off and drive away, Zsa Zsa says, "I lost my brother!" Once, she was sleeping at home when I dropped him off and when she woke up, she said, "Where my brother go!? Get my The Boy!" She's started to refuse afternoon naps because she's afraid he'll leave without her, which is kind of cute. MUCH cuter than making Mom guess what might possibly be wrong. Equally cute is how fast they both went to sleep tonight. The Boy was snoring before Daddy finished stories. That never happens. Thank you swimming, going to the movies and tumbling all in one da...zzzzzzzzzzz.

Jun 21, 2011

Nostalgia in Dinner Planning

I grew up in a home with no air conditioning. In the summer, sometimes it was just too darn hot to fire up the oven and cook. (We also didn't have a microwave until the 1990's, but that's a different post.) My mother was awesome at finding cool meals for us to eat and a frequent summer staple was Bush's Baked Beans and buttered toast (from homemade bread). Eating cold beans had the added effect of cooling us down, as well.

I adore Bush's Baked Beans to this day. I can't stand any other brand (again, a topic deserving it's own post). When the temperature topped 108 today, I slipped a can of Bush's into the fridge for dinner tonight. This being Arizona, the cans don't stay as cool as they did in Idaho (especially after we added on to the house and got a basement storage room for canned goods).

Come dinner time, I heated up Husband's plate of beans (because he didn't grow up eating them the right way-cold), toasted some bread and sliced the tomatoes. Then I called the family for dinner.

When Husband saw what was for dinner, he looked as though I'd kicked his puppy. Beans for dinner? And that's it? 

Normally, Husband raves over my cooking. Not so much tonight. It turns out he thinks beans and toast are a snack, not a meal. My response? "Well, I can open another can."

It's seriously too hot to cook. And I even own a microwave.

Jun 20, 2011

What Kind of Day?

Do you ever judge how good a day you had based on the number of times you had to use your kids' middle names?

How about by how much of you screaming, "GET OUT OF MY ROOM RIGHT THIS INSTANT!" got caught on the phone message you were leaving for a new sister on your visiting teaching route?

Do you ever judge your day based on the amount of chocolate/apple pie/sugar you ate to keep you from killing your offspring?

Yeah, me either. Just wondering.

Jun 19, 2011

Reading the Constructions, and Other Fun Stuff My Kids Say

The Boy is obsessed with pictographs. He's just certain he knows what everything says if there's a picture with the instructions. "Mom! I'm reading the constructions!" "OK, babe.

This past week was our first week of swimming lessons. One morning while putting on his suit, The Boy examined the clothing label, which had a pineapple on it. "Mom! This swimsuit makes it so you can EAT under water!"

He thinks he knows what all the traffic signs mean. He's nearly never right. Also, he's obsessed with no smoking signs and people who light up. He likes to tell me about the people smoking and how bad cigarettes are and how funny they smell WHILE we are walking right past the people smoking. Ferills. It's SUPER embarrassing.
The Hubs thinks it's great. Kind of like a public service, but I see this behavior spilling over into other areas of life. He talks about blind people and people who look different than us right in front of those people ALL THE TIME! Regardless of how often I tell him it's not nice. I can't tell you how I live in dread of the first time he realizes people come in different colors.  There's nothing like a four-year-old to promote humility in a parent.

Zsa Zsa has spent the week month, potty training. Yesterday she left the house for the first time without a diaper or pull up. Not only did she stay dry, she went potty at Great Grandma's house! I can't tell you how happy we were. I'm still bringing pull ups on our Great Northern Migration, next month. I may be brave, but I'm not stupid.

Zsa Zsa's also full of creative sayings. The other day she and I were running errands alone. I kept telling her how wonderful and sweet and clever she was, and she kept saying, "I not sweet. I ZSA ZSA!" "I not smart! I Zsa Zsa. Daddy smart, Sammy smart, I Zsa Zsa." That last one kinda broke my heart.
Then the next day, she hit someone else in the car, and I used her real name to let her know that wasn't nice. She said, I not ________, I a GIRL!" Then I think maybe she's figuring out adjectives are not nouns and more than one word can describe a person.

This morning she was galloping around the house saying, "Hi Daddy Forsey*, Hi Momma Forsey!" We would say, "Hi Zsa Zsa Forsey!" Her reply? "I not a forsey, I a Zsa Zsa!" So maybe not.

Two-year-olds are highly entertaining, and I wish my little girl would stop growing up so fast. I feel like I'm missing it.
*Forsey is Zsa Zsa for horsey, in case you don't speak Zsa Zsa.

Jun 12, 2011

Fresh Apricot Coffee Cake (Quick)

I bought a case of apricots from Bountiful Baskets a week ago. 24 pounds. I had every intention of preserving these apricots, but I didn't like the results of my dried fruit attempt, and I'm too lazy/busy/tired to try fruit leather, which had been my original intent. So I've been eating mounds of apricots. My family refuses to join me. In an effort to force the issue, today I made cake for breakfast. Apricot Cake.

 Everyone ate apricots today. :) <Dance of happiness>

So here's what I did.

Basic Quick Coffee Cake Recipe for 9x13 pan.
(Feel free to halve the recipe and put it in a 9x9)
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar (it IS a cake, after all)
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder

2 eggs
1 1/3 cup milk
3 Tbls melted shortening or oil (the flavor is different, texture is similar)

Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix just until dry ingredients are fully incorporated.
Dump out into a greased (Pam-ed) 9x13.
Wash fresh apricots. Cut in half and pit. Layer top of cake with apricots. I did four halves to a row width-wise and probably 6 or 7 rows.

Make a crumb topping of melted butter, cinnamon and brown sugar. I also added sliced almonds. Sprinkle over the top. Bake at 425 for roughly 25 minutes. I make no guarantees as to the amount of time this will take to bake. Currently my oven is having trouble maintaining a temp over 340 so I baked it at temps vacillating between to 310-340 for  at least 40 or 50 minutes. It was extremely frustrating.
It's super crumbly because it's 100% whole wheat. 
Also, I dished it super hot because we were starving.

A new oven is coming to the IdahoBecky Kitchen in the very near future. Heaven knows we need to make bread. It's been WEEKS since I've made bread. Seriously. I had to actually go to the store and buy it Saturday. My kids were begging for PBJ's, if you can believe. About broke my heart because I know that cellophane wrapped stuff tastes like cardboard. I don't know how people can stand it on a regular basis. Blech. Plus, my loaves cost about 75 cents to make and a decent loaf of bread costs over two bucks to buy!

PS I'm posting this instead of the open letter I wrote to my neighbors. The letter is MUCH more entertaining and informative. If you'd like to read it, let me know. The Hubs was worried they might somehow find out I blog, read the letter and be offended. Whatever. 

Jun 10, 2011

Alexander Kind of Day

You know the book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day?

That, but for moms.

I was going to give you a blow by blow, and then I was going to do bullets, but both were too depressing so instead I'll just tell you how my day ended.

I dropped off (underdone but dried out) dinner to a friend who'd JUST had a baby. I dropped it off in my frumpy clothes and ball cap.
My friend had her hair and makeup done, her kids were neat (all of them) AND her house was clean. Not just the front room, THE WHOLE THING.

I had just come from my kitchen counter covered in dinner making muck, kitchen table and chairs covered in Zsa Zsa muck, and newly steamed kitchen floor covered in apricot muck tracked about by kids who don't even belong to me. My whole house looks like goblins live here, because if we're being totally honest, two of them do. It stinks like pee regardless of the fact I just steamed all the floors in an attempt to erase the smell. It's a good thing we don't have a dog, or I'd have kicked it. I think there are laws about kicking you children, though, and they are the only other possible source. I can pretty much guarantee neither The Hubs nor I would choose squatting in a corner over the porcelain throne.

Clearly, I'm failing at life. I'd go stick my head in the oven, but it's not currently working. I'd probably just end up giving myself a tan. (See above statement about dinner)

Jun 7, 2011

Cars 2 Event

We heard Tempe Marketplace was hosting an event, for Cars 2: Agents On A Mission.
Since one of The Boy's fondest wishes in life is to drive Lightening McQueen, we piled our family plus a little girl I was watching into our teeny car and drove across town to "see" Lightening and Mater.

When we got there, we saw a line. While The Hubs stood in the line, the kids and I checked out what it was about. We didn't want to stand in line if it was just for bathrooms. :D
We found out you had to make your way through this line just to get inside. Nobody knew for sure what was in there, once you got inside, but they were all willing to stand in the line for it. Idiot Morons. (I can say that, because we did it, too.)
The other bit of info I gleaned was that the wait was about 2 hours. Yes. 2 hours. I did mention I forgot to put my brain in that morning, right? Luckily, I did not forget to bring sun screen and water.
We stood in this line, taking turns chasing kids and making potty stops. At one point, I even left the line to get some dinner for the starving babies. We are SUCH suckers. Really. I can not, in any way, express with the written word the inaneness of this event.
FINALLY we made it to the front of the line, right before the kid with the bloody nose. Oh, it was a special, special time.
Then my kids collected a poster, a key chain, a coloring page, and had their pictures "professionally" taken in front of each of the three cars.
Yep. That's going to make a great Christmas card. 
Am I ever, as in ever EVER going to put myself through this again? 
I may send The Hubs, though. 
PS I had better win that d@m car.

Jun 4, 2011

Beefy Broccoli Squares

This is a recipe I believe my mom invented, and if she didn't that's how I remember it, so that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

One recipe 12 stroke biscuits (recipe to follow)
one pound ground beef, browned and drained
1/3 cup sautéed onions ( I use a whole onion)
2 cups lightly steamed broccoli (because who likes overdone trees?)
2 cups shredded cheese (I used motz)
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. salt

Make biscuit recipe and flatten in bottom of greased 9x13 dish. Build up the sides about 1/2 inch.
Brown ground beef and drain. Sauté onions. Steam broccoli. Layer these ingredients over the raw biscuit dough. Sprinkle cheese on top.
Mix eggs, milk, salt and pepper until well combined. Poor over the other ingredients. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until set. If it's runny, it ain't done yet.

2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk powder (not instant) (if you don't have milk powder, sub 3/4 cup milk for the powder and water
3/4 cup water (only if using milk powder, otherwise, see note above)
1/4 cup oil
Whisk dry ingredients together. Add liquid all at once, using big motions (strokes) mix dough 12 times, until just combined. Over mixing makes for a tough dough, but it takes practice to get all the ingredients combined in 12 strokes. :)
You can also add two tsp of sugar to the above recipe for "Rich Biscuits" which can be used for cobblers, poor man's short cake, etc.
I made this dinner last night, and accidentally added a whole teaspoon of salt instead of a half, so I just doubled the recipe and used half for dinner. I added a little powdered sugar to the remaining dough and then made peach cobbler for dessert. :)

Jun 3, 2011

Groundhog Day

Lest you think this is another poorly timed movie review, let me assure you the title of this post has nothing to do with the actual movie, and more to do with my life at present.

My life is SO boring, so the same these days, I start thinking things like this: Exactly how much Vicodin would one have to take before "falling" onto a branding iron and cauterizing their own hemorrhoids?

I write witty/acerbic/snarky responses to other people's Facebook Posts and the delete them (usually) before I hit publish, because I don't actually want people to unfriend me, even if my witty/acerbic/snarky reply is spot-on. (Which it usually is)

I write witty/acerbic/snarky FB posts 15 million times a day I never post, see reason above.

I've started trolling the medical blogs so that I can write my witty/acerbic/snarky comments on the blogs of people who will appreciate them. We have a different sense of humor, those of us who've worked in medicine and particularly paramedicine (for the 3.4 seconds I did that job). Because really, you have to be able to find the humor in the guy so mashed up from the MVA that he fits in less than half the body bag. Otherwise, it would be impossible to go to work every day.

Along those lines, I've been looking for a job. I found the perfect one. Pretty much I'd fly all over the country harvesting non-transplantable organs from nearly dead people to use in demonstrations at medical conferences wherein we show the latest surgical techniques. Doesn't that sound like its EXACTLY up my alley? Let's count the pros:
1. The patients are already dead (mostly), but not yet smelly
2. I get to pretend I'm a doctor whilst carving up said dead people
3. I get paid for it.
4. Mostly on the weekends, so I don't have to get a sitter

1. None
It's brilliant. Also, it has the added advantage of not being what I do every day currently. As I said, it's brilliant.

Jun 1, 2011

Movie Reviews: Gnomeo and Juliet

Because this movie is already out on video, I'm just going to give you the lowdown: Red Box it if you must.

The story has been done to death. Putting it in the context of Garden Gnomes did not, in any way, take away the stench of overdone-ness. It also wasn't worth the extra money for 3D.
The only positive thing I have to say about this movie is, at least the 3D didn't make me sick.

The war between the owners of the two gardens was by far the most entertaining part of the entire thing. Catching the Shakespeare references also helped pass the time.

My friend and I took two ten-year-olds, two four-year-olds, a two year-old and a one-year-old to this movie.

The older kids sat through it, but didn't have much to say on the way home. My four-year-old liked it, because the pictures moved and talked! (He's easily entertained. Also, he likes Dora and Diego so maybe his tastes aren't the most discerning.) The other four-year-old was all over the place, but that's just kinda her general reaction to the world at large.
The two-year-old sat through it fine, and the baby had the most honest opinion: she kept trying to get up and leave.