Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Our New Book!

I know I said the last post was the last post, but I have another one for you. We have just completed our first book! It is in ebook format for Amazon's Kindle, and it is called The Princess and the Futon. Click here to see the book on Amazon, and to nab your own copy!

Also, click here for an excerpt of the next book we will be publishing!

Monday, June 24, 2013

The End!

This is officially the last post to this blog. It's been a good run, and fun while it lasted! But we have now permanently moved over to Trucks and Teacups, which better captures the whole of what we like to post online. It has not only recipes, but family life stuff, gardening, model building, funny stories, and a whole lot more. We are still posting, just in a different location. So check us out!

Monday, May 13, 2013

The New Site!

We have gradually realized that this blog was slowly gravitating away from its original concept (food) and towards a portrayal of just normal family life in our household. So we decided to try something fun: make a proper family-oriented site about the ups and downs of raising many children, that includes recipes but also lots of other fun material. It'll cover what we think of the latest political and religious issues, has a section for arts and crafts, a spot for talking about just fun family life stuff, and a humor section. And more than that, but we're still building it. So check us out here at Trucks and Teacups, our new site!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Table of Contents.

I have a very special request,  for you my dear readers. I would like to know which recipes and stories are your favorite,  and which you would like to see in a book.  I ask that you put the titles of your favorite posts in the comments section.

Thank you.
Zizi

Monday, April 15, 2013

Outdoor Adventures.

The weather is getting warmer and we are spending more time outside.  We have planted carrots, bell peppers,  spinach,  squash, pumpkins,  sunflowers and marigolds. I'm still looking at getting a rose bush,  but we'll see.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Jr. Cinnamon

I have been a little tense for the past few days, so when the boys started begging for cinnamon I decided to let them have it.  They started with a cinnamon and sugar mix, and then moved to small amounts of pure cinnamon. 


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Farewell, Winter!


 Just a few pictures of how we ended Winter.  Enjoy the cuteness!

Sleepy Cuteness.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Habemus Papam! And Alcohol Too!

Well, we got a new Pope on Wednesday. Pope Francis, may he live long and prosper! We took a small break from the usual Lenten thing to celebrate on Wednesday night, with Fuzzy Navel wine coolers and chips. I got the best collection of joyful family photographs ever. Enjoy!





Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Frugal Friday

Last Friday I was completely at a loss about what to make for dinner.  Of all the days of the week, Fridays are the hardest for cooking, because I don't have to cook enough to pack for Nick to bring to work the next day (Mondays are also rough, but only because there is nothing ready for Nick to bring).  It throws my routine off somewhat.  That, and last Friday we didn't really have a lot in the fridge.  There was a pound of hamburger, some chicken and sausage in the freezer, and a box of noodles that Nick said he had plans for.  
"Helping" me with the flour.

It turned out okay because I was in the mood for an adventure, and I also needed something simple and fast.  I don't remember how I thought of it, but I suddenly knew that I had enough ingredients for tortillas; and that I hadn't made them in over a year.  So in the midst of one of Thing One's tantrums I yoinked him into the kitchen and started mixing the dough (I don't think I've ever seen a tantrum end so completely, so fast!).

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Best Part of Waking Up....

Did I tell you that Nick got me a new coffee maker for Christmas?  He did.  And I am loving it!  The best part is that I don't have to spend an arm and a leg for those little K-cup coffee packs; this one has a filter basket, and I can just put my regular coffee in it.  

And I made a treasury for Elizabethan Craft celebrating coffee, tea and breakfast.  Look at all of fun things that people make about coffee!

And I am contemplating new project; I will share the details as soon as I figure it all out.  
Zizi

Friday, March 8, 2013

Breakfast Rolls

They wanted to pick the cheese off and eat it. 
Nick was searching the web the other night for some good recipes and he came across this one (go, look at it, drool over it; and then give in and make it!), and even in my half-asleep-stumbling-to-bed state I had to stop and admire them.  I fell asleep lamenting the fact that we didn't have any bacon, and thinking about how I would make them with what we do have.  I decided that I would make them with lunch meat (since we had it) and shredded cheese. 

When I got up the next morning I discovered that I was too impatient to wait for the yeast in the sweet rolls to rise, and why go to all of that trouble when I didn't have any bacon anyway?  So I made a standard biscuit dough (I just use the recipe on the back of the can of baking powder, but one day I will get buttermilk--and I will make buttermilk biscuits!).  I added garlic powder, parsley and sage to the dough; I was going for a sort of seasoned bread taste.  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Halfway Through

We are halfway through Lent and I am not doing any of the things that I said I was going to do.  On the other hand,  I am doing good with the one thing that I I've been trying to do but wasn't focusing on--my prayer life.   I guess God gives us what we really need,  rather than what we think we need.  

The next post should be about food,  I just need to sit down at the computer. 
Zizi.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Milk of Human Kindness

People are constantly looking at me wrestling the children when we are out and telling me that they feel sorry for me, or that I really have my hands full.  I always try to give some sort of vague and somewhat positive reply; what else could I say?  They can see that I'm having trouble, but it's also clear that they don't really understand just how much trouble small children can be nor do they know what to do to help.  If they did, they would not smile and tell me how much they pity me.   

Most of the time I do try not to let those people bother me.  They really do mean well, and it does no good for me to get upset with them when I'm already so busy trying to keep my children in line.  Actually, I kind of find those people amusing and I can't help smiling at them.  If they really understood, then they would do something to help.  

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Eggs and Pancakes

Our recovery is not going as well as I'd planned, mostly because Thing One got sick just as Thing Two was getting better.  But we're all on the mend now and praying that Nick doesn't get it.  I know that I am getting better because I wanted to cook breakfast the other day.  

He was recovering after a day of being sick,
and wanted some time with his sister. 
I was on facebook early one morning  while everyone was still asleep and I came across this blog, and she happens to be one if Nick's cousins.  Well, I saw this recipe, and I got the urge to cook.  Badly.  I was planning on making the frittatas the way that she did, but I went a little overboard.  I added about half a cup of flour and half of a teaspoon of baking powder to her recipe, and baked it in my quiche plate.  That got me thinking about all of the other quiches that I've made over the past few years, and wondering why I had stopped making them.  Eggs didn't really seem appealing when I was pregnant with Mimi, and I'm having some trouble remembering that I like them.  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The second week.

I was all set to write a post about how good I've been doing and keeping my Lenten sacrifices and such.  But it didn't happen.  I was good the first week and even exercised every day. But then,  for some unknown reason, I stopped. 

And just as I was starting to get back into the routine Thing Two and I got the flu.  Nick took the day off from work to take care of us,  cleaned up after everyone,  and he took Thing One and Mimi out so we could rest.  He has been truly wonderful about the whole thing. 

The kids and I missed Mass this morning because, while we are better now,  we are still not ready to go out.  But tomorrow we will be all better,  and I intend to pick up my Lenten sacrifices where I left off.   There is probably something in this about mercy and hope,  but my thoughts are not organizing themselves that well right now.   So I'm going to about and watch Mimi try to figure out what to do when she gets up on her knees.  

Zizi.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Lavender Sugar

A few years ago I came across a recipe for Lavender cookies, and now I can't remember where it was.  One of the things that I did remember from that was how to make Lavender sugar.  I did make some last year, and used it in my tea;  it took some getting used to.  But I am still interested in making the cookies.  So I started some more Lavender sugar.  All that you do is put a few tablespoons of Lavender buds into some sugar (I think the ratio is 2-3tbsp Lavender to 1C sugar) and let it sit in a dark place for a few weeks. The longer it sits the stronger the aroma will be.  I have my Lavender in a small sachet that I made.  You can put the buds straight into the sugar, if you'd like, they are edible. 

I will post the recipe as soon as I find and make it; and I will let you know how the cookies turned out.  
Ciao!
Zizi

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Our Lenten Challenge

I told you how we are taking the Lent to clean out EVERYTHING.  Well, I came across this article on Facebook and the title looked interesting.  That is basically what we are doing, but she said it so much better than I did (even Nick said it better on his blog).  I do like where she says that the size of the bag is not important.  I don't have 40 of the same size bags.  What's important for me is that I do get rid of something, everyday.  

That being said, I need to go look at my closet.  I know that Lent has already begun, but I challenge you to try this; to find out just how much stuff is cluttering up our lives.  
Zizi

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Parenting: Don't Take It Too Much To Heart!


This is reprinted with permission from an article written in August 2012 for The Social Continuum.

I tell you, you will learn more about life and love in one year of parenting than you will learn in fifty years of living the single life.

There is no sufficient way to describe the feeling of having your beauty rest interrupted by a screaming child, nor are there words for the joy of having your three-year-old son throw himself against your leg and declare that he loves his "daddy." My wife just redecorated the walls and floor of our bathroom with morning-sickness vomit and I had to clean it up, but she also dragged two feisty boys to our rental agency to pay the bill because I was too busy to do it myself. My children draw with chalk on the sidewalk, then decide it will be cute to walk through it with bare feet. But my older son figured out on his own how to draw a stick figure.

As I write this, both of my sons are sleeping peacefully in the room behind me, looking so adorable that it hurts.

As I said, I can't really express in words just how much I have learnt about life and love through parenting. And of course, I shall be cliche and say that there is always more to learn and that four years as a parent is comparatively small. But I must share with you all a little something that I learned over the past three months, about being a parent but also about being a child. I found it surprising and maybe even a little harsh, but true nonetheless.

My observation is this: of course there are parents who neglect their children and deadbeat dads and some deadbeat mothers. But of the parents who actually give a crap about what happens to their children, I have noticed that many of them take their role way too seriously.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but it seems the more I obsess about my children's future and consciously instilling certain values and habits in my children, the less effect it seems to have. It seems like I have the most effect as a parent when I just sit down on the floor and give a damn about them enough to play with them. Children, I realize more and more, are simply sponges that soak up love as fast as it is squirted at them. And like a sponge, when they are squeezed (and tickled) they tend to leak it back out again.

The real reason I say to not take parenting too seriously, though, is because I now can say I know how it feels to be hated by my child, at least temporarily. I have been hit by both my sons before because they didn't agree with whatever I was doing for them as a parent. They have both yelled at me. And I have done my share of losing my temper back at them. But I found that when I let their temporary hatred roll off my back and let the child cool down, then something special happens. That something is an understanding of sorts, that they don't really hate you, and that you are not really as angry as you thought you were.

Maybe this post is rambling a bit, but I have been suffering from a severe lack of sleep, an overdose of my job, and the looming prospect of an unborn child who was due yesterday. I hope this is an encouragement to those parents out there who give a care about their kids and yet lose sleep over those same kids' development and future. I am beginning to understand both those concerns.

Don't sweat it, you are all probably better parents than you think you are. However, it never hurts to try even harder. The next time it's a choice between washing dishes and playing with the kids, play with the kids. Those moments are when you are building up emotional capital to draw on when the time to discipline comes. You'll probably both be grateful for it later.

Be Aware, and have fun.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Beginning of Lent

I'm ashamed to say it, but we began Lent by taking down our Christmas tree. We had taken the decorations down a few weeks ago but we hadn't gotten around to putting the tree away. I figured that that would be a good say to start Lent. 

And then I got out a box for the things that we will donate after all of our cleaning.  I also started going through the storage closet and putting stuff on the box.  I came to the realization that in addition to having a shoe fetish I may also have a coat fetish. I put half of what I had had into the box, and it still feels like I have too many. But I like the ones that are still hanging there. 

After that I fixed the lamp in the boys room.  In the past few years they had managed to break it (although it still works), and I was never fond of the design.  So these are the before and after pictures.

We'll have more on what we're doing as the season progresses.
Zizi

Saturday, February 9, 2013

New Store, New Items!

I wrote a few weeks ago that Nick and I have opened a new store on Etsy.  This week we had some new items go up for sale (and we have a few more coming), and I thought I'd share them with you.  

In the Jewelry section of the shop we now have two jewelry trees, and a birds nest pendant.  I really like the bird nest pendants, and when Mimi was born I made one for myself.  The one we have for sale here is styled off of that one (which the boys have now lost); it has three pearl "eggs" set with brown and gold beads in a copper wire nest.  

And we are pleased to add an Art section to our store!  We are featuring two small original watercolor paintings done by one of Nick's brothers.  I love them, and have plans to get him to do a few for me when Nick and I get our dream house.  


And Nick has finished another wood-craft project, and taken a few photos of it--they are stunning!  I'm not going to tell you much more about that one, other than that some of the pictures were taken in a dark room.  We need to get a few pictures in full light, and then you will see it.  

That's all for now, and hopefully I'll be able to write more next week.  
Zizi

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Again and Again, and Again


I have figured it out, again.  The children need my attention for at least twenty hours of the day.  Two weeks ago I wrote that Thing One had had a growing-up victory;  since then he had refused to repeat this victory.  That resulted in too many spankings and more laundry.  Then I spent a day playing with him and suddenly this growing-up thing was easy to do. 

 Sometimes I wonder how many times I need to be told this before I will get it.  And sometimes I wonder what's wrong with me. Other times I wonder if I'm sick.   Then, last night I read this article, "A Meditation on the Shocking Idea That Maybe We're Not Just Lazy Whiners" on Conversion Diary.  Like most women, it hit me pretty hard.  I didn't start crying about it until this morning, when I had a chance to talk to Nick about it.  That's when I remembered that, on top of the depression, I do have Thyroid problems (that brings fatigue and irritable-ness). 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Literary Adventures

Thing One is curled up at my feet, Thing Two is building helicopters, Nick and Mimi are asleep, the snow is falling and water is boiling for tea.  My fingers are thawing around a hot cup of coffee.  It is one of the perfect mornings that I've dreamed about. 

A few posts back I told you that I had participated in NaNoWriMo last year (shortened even more to just NaNo); it stands for National Novel Writing Month.    It is a challenge put out by the Office of Letters and Light to write a 50,000 word novel between November 1 and November 31.  They say that 50,000 words is about 175 pages long, that's about the average length of a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys mystery. 

I started in late October intending to flesh out one of the story ideas that I've had floating around in my head, but two days before the event started I threw that idea completely out the window and came up with something else.  I went from writing about a selfish girl to writing about a group of merfolk.  My initial goal had never been to write a 50,000 word novel; my goal was to complete a book---from "Once Upon A Time" to "The End."   I've only ever done that if the story was less than five pages long. 

I finished my novel at just under 30,000 words, and with four hours to spare.  And I learned a lot about myself.  For instance, I write better when I have a simple, but detailed, outline.  Writing 1,667 words per day is a little bit much for me; I can do it, I can push myself that hard, but it's rough on the kids and that puts too much stress on me.  And, probably most importantly, I know my limits.  I know what I'm capable of, how far to push myself, and when I need to stop.

I didn't make the 50,000 word goal, but I am calling my NaNo participation a success.  Maybe one day I will write 50,000 words in a month; the novel I just wrote (titled "Out of the Blue) might reach that word count after the revision, but I'm not too concerned about that.  I have accomplished one of my goals. 

I'm setting another goal (as of right now) to have "Out of the Blue" ready for publication and release by December 2013.  That gives me the next eleven months to edit it, smooth out the plot, find a spell checker, and get Nick to draw the cover art.  We are planning on self-publishing, and I do want to make it available as an ebook.  It will most likely be sold for $3.00, and I'm already planning on having some copies printed out that I can sign for gifts or special sales. 

Pester me about it, and I will post a few excerpts for you during the year!
Zizi

Friday, January 25, 2013

Balloons! and Granola

Thing Two, this is how I feel today.
This post is actually going to be about food, mostly.  I also have this plan that I'm going to go to the bookstore and read "Food Blogging for Dummies"  so that I can make this blog a little better than its' already awesome awesomeness.  And I feel a little goofy today. 

Thing One had a growing-up victory the other day, and we had a party for him.  The boys had so much fun with the balloons!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Special Thanks To:

Nick and I were astounded this morning when we logged back into Blogger and found that people have still been reading this blog.  Recently, too.  I haven't written anything in a long time, and I'd though that the readership would dwindle away.  That, and I had actually written a goodbye.   I had thought that I was done with this and that people were no longer interested.  I am often wrong when it comes to things like that. 

A special thank you goes out to Josiah and Lauren of The Burlap Bag, and all of their readers.  I love reading their blog, and they are so friendly, and crazy, that I feel like I know them personally.  If I'm ever anywhere near Texas I'm going to stop by The Burlap Bag and say "HI!" 

Another thank you goes to Julia, of Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body, and her readers.  I love her recipes and have made some, and I've even wrote about it and linked back to her blog. 

The past few months were rather up and down for us.  I discovered that I was struggling with depression after Mimi was born; through November I cut back on how much I was using the Internet and spent more time playing with the kids.  That really helped.  I also participated in NaNoWriMo.   That was a big challenge; I set out to write all the way from "Once Upon A Time" to "The End"  and not worry about making the 50,000 word count.  I made that goal, and my novel is now waiting for it's first revision. 

We all got the flu over Christmas.  We had a particularly rough two weeks, but even that did so much for finally kicking the depression that I think I'm rather glad we got it.  And Nick got me a single serve coffee maker for Christmas!!   After that the kids and I had an impromptu week with my parents while they had the flu.

Finally, as promised, Nick and I have embarked on our next adventure.  We have opened The Indigo Onion, a small craft and gift store, on Etsy.  And we have started a blog for it also.  Both are rather small, but we just started them this week.  And we are excited about making them grow. 

Over the next few weeks I'll be writing short posts updating you on most of our adventures and goings on as I get back into cooking, and writing about cooking.  Expect more from The Indigo Onion, and more about my writing, and more about the kids (Mimi is growing so fast, and Thing One is learning to read!), and there is even a rumour about publishing a Food Pantry Feasts cookbook. . . . 

Zizi