Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fried Zucchini, and Chicken.

I made dinner! I'm so happy about it that I just have to share it with you; besides it was really good. 

Nick got chicken breasts, mushrooms, zucchini and green beans when we went shopping the other day--his only stipulation was that I leave half of it all for him to cook with.  Except the green beans, those we got for Thing One; he eats them raw (so do I, for that matter).

I cut up my half of the chicken into nugget things slightly larger than how they serve it in Chinese resturants and fried that in a little oil with salt and pepper.  When it was nearly done I blanketed each peice with a generous amount of hummus and topped that with slivered almonds. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Welcome to Advent!  It's time to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ!  And I think Nick and I, and his family, are taking it a bit more seriously this year.  Nick's grandfather died on the last day of the liturgical year, and we have been thinking a lot about what it means to die a "happy death," and what the coming of Christ is really about; and it's a strangely fitting thing to think on at the beginning of Advent.

Grandpa was an extraordinary man; and I think he died much like he lived--joyfully.  I have never heard of anyone more ready to meet his Lord than Grandpa was.  I don't really know much about him, and I only met him twice, but everyone says he was wonderful, and that he was one of the holiest men they knew.  I do know that his was a very fulfilled life.  He lived as a child of God should, and there was nothing more he needed--or need do when he died.  His life on earth was filled and he was ready to move on to something better. 

That's why I didn't post anything on Friday.  We had gotten the news that he was on his deathbed, and we threw some things in the car and left.  Nick wanted to get there in time to say goodbye before Grandpa died.  And he did.  We spent all day Friday driving there, and all day Saturday driving back.  But Nick got to see him, and that's all that mattered.  And Saturday night, after we'd gotten back and gotten the call that Grandpa had died, we sat down and raised our glasses in his honor.  I think most of the family has. 

So here is the next drink recipe, and in honor of Grandpa, I would recommend adding a shot of rum!  And Grandpa, please pray for us who have yet to finish our journey.

Fall Drink

2C orange juice
2C milk
2pint orange sherbet
4 bananas

Combine all in blender and serve topped with whipped cream and chocolate chips.  

*I haven't actually tried this one yet, but I've always thought it sounded good.  And something like rum, or triple sec, would be a perfect addition.  The paper said this makes 9 servings.   

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Autumn, Winter, Holidays and Beverages!

It's that wonderful time of year when the weather turns cold (sometimes miserable), and people drag out the fuzzy sweaters and turn on the Christmas music.  Right now I have "Winter Wonderland" running through my head (although I absolutely refuse to listen to the music until after tomorrow).  And the "holiday blends" and seasonal drinks at the coffee shop are some of my favorite things. 

I admit that I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with enough food to write about; my knee has been giving me some trouble and it's been hard to cook food the way that I like to.  It's getting better, but I haven't cooked anything worth writing about for a while (tonight I made mac&cheese).  So it's time to pull out my recipe book and look at what I have for seasonal drinks!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Blender Saga Continues!

I'm very glad last week is over, and the Christmas Bazaar is as well.  I stressed so much about getting ready, and I still didn't get all I wanted done.  Oh well.  The Bazaar went about as well as could be expected in the current economy.  I had a table in a small room in the very back of the church hall, so I didn't get a lot of customers.  But I did alright.  Everyone who stopped by got a laugh from the fact that the priest I was raffling was made to look like their parish priest; most of them bought raffle tickets because of it.  Nick dropped me off in the morning, and then took the boys over to his parents house.  He and his dad apparently had a good time talking about stuff.  Everyone had fun; and I'm glad we don't have to do it again until next year!

The other day I was going through all of the things that people have given us because of something they've read on this blog; and I realized just how blessed we are to have such good friends.  I've told you about the fondue set (that we plan to use again during the holidays) and the bread machine from Katherine; but I don't think I've mentioned the lovely salt and pepper shakers that Nicole gave us.  They are a set of two peas in a pod.  They are so darling;  I've pictured them before, and I will again so keep an eye out for them! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Home! And Chicken Fajitas.

We've been home for a few days now, and I finally feel like things are getting back to normal.  I still have to email all the pictures I took to my family, but otherwise, life is coming along like it used to.  

My craft fair is this weekend, and the drawing for the raffle prizes will be that afternoon.  You don't need to be present to win, but you can't win if you don't have a ticket.  Just to re-cap:  First Prize is a Nativity Play Set, with the Holy Family, Wise Men, a shepherd and an Angel; Second Prize is a Catholic Priest; and Third Prize is an Angel. 

Tickets are priced as follows:  one for $1.00, seven for $5.00, or fifteen for $10.00.  There is a handy button on the left side bar if you wish to purchase them online, otherwise you may email me for other options. 

I made chicken fajitas for dinner last night.   I needed something that was fast and easy; I was taking dinner to Nick work.  I had gone shopping for the first time
since coming home.  I had found a package of ground chicken on sale and decided that that was what we  were having for dinner.  I didn't know what I'd make until I actually had the pan out, but they turned out well. 

I fried the chicken with an onion, garlic, salt, paprika and sage.  Then I stirred in some sour cream.  That's all.  We spooned it onto tortillas, and had a salad on the side. 

Tonight I made fried rice, with onions, carrots and broccoli.  Simple, fast and filling.  The boys and I are inhaling it.

I had planned on making some cookies tonight, but I don't think that will happen.  My knee went out on me, and when I finally called for some advice I was told that I should not walk for the next few days.  I'll try, but with two small boys that just isn't practical.  So we'll see how that goes. 

I did say that we are learning Italian, the thing is it's an all audio program, so I'm not learning how to spell anything!  Oh well, I'll get that some other day.

Ciao!  Zizi

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Finale!

This is going to be short, because we have to start packing soon.  We are leaving to go home today! We've all had a very good week together, and made a lot of new memories.  And now we are ready to go back to our daily routine, and our wonderful husbands.  So here are the pictures of our last days; and next week I should be back to writing about food.

Down in Pappy's man-cave, playing with trains!

Thing One and Thing Two would like us to get them some cats.

Then they can go cat-fishing whenever they want.

Dropping the uncles off at the fire-station.

"When I grow up, I want to be a fireman!"

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Family Reunion--Day Seven!

He's been having the time of his life!
Well, we're surviving each other.  We are starting to get kind of tired, though.  This is the longest that my younger sister and I have been away from our husbands, and back home, since we moved out.  And we have underestimated some of the changes that have happened in that time.  Not that it's bad, we've just forgotten how much energy it takes to be around this many people for this long.  So please forgive me if this post is rather short, and if I don't get around to posting anything on Friday. 

I thought I'd give you the link (follow this link) for the recipe that my sister used for the pork chops we had on Saturday.  She had to alter it somewhat, as Mom didn't have all of the spices that it called for, and she was doing twice as many chops as the recipe says.  But I thought they were really good.  I've come to like my food a little salty, and I thought the pork chops were about perfect.  As sides we had cheesy mashed potatoes and sugar snap peas. 

They were playing this game to see who could jump the
highest.  Yes, that is a lint roller. 
I made fried rice for myself for dinner tonight.  And, as my mom has grape seed oil, rice vinegar, sunfflower seeds, garlic cloves, olive oil and a green pepper, I added those to the onion and soy sauce that I generally use.  My sister and I had bought some avocados when we went shopping for the week, and I chopped one and put it in after I had turned the heat off.  It's good, although I would recommend light olive oil.  The dark oil is about the only thing I can taste. 

Thing Two is at my elbow crying for some food and some mommy time.  The poor boy might be all funned-out. 

Ciao!  Zizi

Monday, November 7, 2011

Family Reunion--Days Four and Five!!

I was a little out of it on Friday after my appointment with my mom's Muscular/Skeletal Pain Therapist, and didn't take any pictures that day.  Which is okay, nothing really happened; we were all still a little travel weary, and the kids were too wired, for any of us to really do anything. 

By Saturday we were more on top of things.  We actually made lunch, and then my younger sister and I went out to get a few things for the weekend.  We took our youngest brother with us, and he was sweet enough to buy us some candy.  We also stopped at a coffee shop to get coffee like we always used to do.  It's not the same. 

Saturday evening we just sort of chilled and did girl things with our youngest sister.  It started with a conversation about hair, and me realizing that if I wanted my hair to look good, I'd have to spend more time on it than I do now.  So I curled my hair.  And then (and Mom had asked me to do this before she left!) I worked on my youngest sister's hair.  Auntie M is growing up, and she decided she wanted something different.  My sisters and I do have a habit of making these change-of-life hair decisions when our parents are gone.  Sorry, Dad. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Family Reunion--Days One and Two!

My sisters and I, and our first-born children.
It is my grandmother's seventy-fifth birthday in a few days, and my parents decided to fly home for the celebration.  I was to come and watch the kids for the week; and my sisters would come and hang out and we'd make a party of it.  However, we have no plans to drape the house in crepe paper and spaghetti. 

My next few posts will most likely be a series of picture posts detailing our adventures.  This first picture was taken at my place, before we drove to Mom's and Dad's.  It is a re-creation of a picture that was taken almost thirty years ago, of our mom, her sister and sister-in-law all nursing their first-born children. 
The bottom of the Blue Ridge Valley, VA. 
I took this one for my brother, Joe, who is stationed in Okinawa; and he's coming across as being a little homesick.  He's so young still, and discovering that the Marines are not all Blood-n-Glory, that someone has got to wash the dishes.  I love the Marines, and I'm so proud of my brother for what he's doing.  He just needs to "feel the love" that we all have for him.  Ooo-Rah! Joe!

These are my sisters babies.  They were born a month apart at the end of spring and this is the first time they've met.  We had stopped for lunch along the way, and the thermostat was broken in the restaurant and we were all freezing. 
Thing Two loves hats!
Pappy loves to buy toys for the grand kids!
There has been so much fun and excitement, it's almost been too much.  Thing One has been too busy playing to eat, and he hasn't slept so well either.  But then, who sleeps well their first night in a new place?  Well, all that much fun led to an inevitable crash . . . .
His youngest uncle was so wonderful, and sat with him, and read to him, and told him stories until he fell asleep on Granny's bed.  The poor boy slept for three hours! He's not napped at all for weeks, and not that long for months.  I was so happy!
The best part so far has been picking up the uncles at the firehouse, where they volunteer as junior fire-fighters.  Thing Two loved that there was so much space to run around in, and hats to put on, and things to point at. 

But it's only the end of the second day, and we've got so much planned--there is even a hint of leaf piles and roasted marshmallows!

And yes, I will be working on the Magi for my Nativity Scene while I am here.  Let me re-cap that for those who've missed it:  my Etsy shop will be on vacation to participate in a craft fair at church, and I will be doing a raffle at the same time.  The first prize is a Nativity Play Scene (thus the aforementioned Magi), second prize is a Priest and third prize is an Angel.  Pictures of them are in my previous posts, and more will follow.  I've got a button on the side bar here so you can purchase tickets online, and the prices and options are in the drop down menu.  So, that's all  of that. 

I have a chiropractic appointment in the morning (courtesy of Mom) and we get to babysit the granddaughter all day.  There should be some awesomely cute pictures by the time I post again on Monday.

Ciao! Zizi

P.S. Mom, you're going to have to come home to get your copies of these pictures ;P

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Joy of Parenting, or Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches.

Being a little boy!
The other day my sister said that she was creating a new extreme sport: Letting your Kids Cry Themselves to Sleep.  Yeah . . . .  I was once told (I think during marriage prep) that one of the purposes of marriage was to help your spouse get to heaven; I posit that children are the fail-safe.  I love my boys; I practically adore them.  And there are times when they frustrate me, like now.  I’m dutifully not noticing how Thing One is disobeying me.  I’ve put him in bed four times and carried through with a threatened spanking.  And he’s still up.  This time I’m not going to bother putting him back to bed.  Thing Two had stopped crying, and opening that door would start him up again; and Thing One would just get right back up.  He won’t go to sleep until Nick comes home and says “goodnight” to him-- sometimes not even then.
Not that I’m complaining about my children—alright, I am.  Sometimes it’s just that hard.  I guess I’m what I’m not complaining about is being a parent.  I love being a mother.  It’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of being, and doing.  And I’ve realized that just because you’re an adult, or have children, doesn’t mean that you’re done growing up.