Friday, January 30, 2009


I found out this week I failed my one hour glucose screening. My doctors office wanted me to go for the three hour test, but since I had gestational diabetes in my other 2 pregnancies, I didn't see the point. So I will be back to testing my blood sugar 4 times a day! Yay, whatever. I remember the first time I was so freaked out, second time it was an inconvenience and now, meh. I have been able to control it easily with diet, and I don't expect this time to be any different.

My dad is coming to visit us this week. I am looking forward to it. This will be Meat Week. For the last few years my dad has purchased and had butchered a cow, which he then divides with my brother and I. It is the best Christmas present ever. It gets us through most of the year without buying meat. I can't imagine the amount of money we save. Also the taste is far better than what we get at the store. Also, no hormones or what not.

Unfortunately, Maddie is not a huge fan of grandpa. It is so sad to watch, he desperately wants to hang out with her, and her whole personality changes. She doesn't play or talk, she just sits next to one me or Bud. I am hoping she will do a bit better this time.

My dad wants the guys, Bud, my brother and the two 5 year old boys to go skiing. The kids have never been and dad wants to see them go their first time. So his plan...... we all drive 3 hours to a ski resort and stay at a hotel. Then the guys will ski, I will stay in the resort all day, so when the little boys get tired, I can take them, so the big boys can ski. I know, sounds awesome! Why aren't I jumping on this? Bud is not pleased with the plan, he figures why spend all that money when the boys aren't going to ski that long. Also, Owen is not a huge fan of new things, he is a bit of a scaredy cat, and we are fine with it. So we don't think he will have fun. Bud has a 20 page research paper to work on and can't spend the time. So my brothers new suggestion is that Bud and I can stay home and he and dad will take Owen. I feel bad saying no, but seriously, the boy is 5, I know him, he won't enjoy himself enough to justify the trip. gahhhhh

So I am sure there will be a big guilt trip involved. Yippeeee, isn't it fun when family is in town?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pepper Steak

This is one of my all time favorite dinners. We had this for dinner last night, I have a bunch of round steak that needs to be used. The kids like this pretty well, Owen doesn't care for the peppers, but is able to pick them out. Remember all seasonings are approximate, feel free to adjust for your family.

The great thing about this recipe? You can make a couple changes and make Broccoli Beef. So on a Sunday you can make a huge batch, halfway through set some of it aside for later in the week. I am a big fan of cooking something time consuming on Sunday, then using it later in the week. As I have mentioned, we don't have a ton of time for cooking each night, so I try to make a few things over the weekend to make life tolerable during the week. So here it goes:

Pepper Steak

1 1/2 lb (ish) round steak

1-2 cloves of garlic

1/3 of an onion


2T soy sauce

1 can beef broth (or you could use bouillon, or not if it means another trip to the store)

1 28oz can diced tomatoes (drained a bit)

3-4 large green peppers (or other colors if they aren't $12 each)

Hot Rice

Cut the steak into smallish pieces, and trim whatever amount of fat suits you. For me that means not just fat, but anything that is sort of close to the fat. Put the meat into a tupperware with a bunch of flour. Put the lid on and shake it, til everything is coated nice. Throw a big blob of shortening into a stock pot, when it is nice and hot put the coated pieces of meat into the hot oil. When it is about halfway browned add the onion and chopped garlic. When the meat is browned and the onions are looking a bit cooked add the beef broth until the meat is just covered. I actually usually just use water and throw in some bouillon. Add the soy sauce and some pepper. Now turn it down to simmer with a lid for about 30 minutes. Stir periodically so it doesn't stick to the bottom. The flour on the meat will help the sauce to thicken. * Then add the diced tomatoes, when it is simmering again throw in the sliced peppers. If the sauce is to thin let it simmer without a lid, to thick? just add more liquid. In 10 to 15 minutes the peppers should be tender. Serve over hot rice.

*For Broccoli Beef, same directions, but after the meat has simmered for 30 minutes add fresh or frozen broccoli and a can of sliced water chestnuts. Again serve over hot rice.

These are both great as leftovers for lunch.

High Anxiety

The last few weeks have been stressful, and don't look to be getting any better. With the economy in the pooper, our state budget has been drastically reduced. The school budgets have been cut a lot this year, textbook budgets were cut in half, we can't even copy on colored paper. The governor originally said that they would freeze teacher pay, now he wants to also cut salaries.

As I have mentioned before Bud is finishing his Master's this year, and I am taking 32 credits this year. We have spent over $7,000 to take classes this year, but we figured we would make that back next year. But with the freeze they not only are eliminating raises for experience, but also raises for education. And the 6% pay cut is a real kick in the gut. If we knew that was going to happen we never would have pushed ourselves so hard this year. Also, anticipating our raises we decided to have another baby. The school district has already said they don't think that it is legal to do any of this, they believe they are still bound by various contracts.

This has turned into a huge public battle, angry letters to the editor, angry comments on message boards. Everyday I get to read that teachers are lazy, we should be happy we have jobs at all (we are), and if we don't like it we can all leave the state. Well, we already have a teacher shortage here, so I don't know that getting everyone to leave is the answer.

Right now we are short 40 math teachers. Which means there are substitutes with no math background teaching math classes. Can you imagine having your child in a class with a teacher not qualified? I would be pissed, but we just can't find enough qualified teachers. I can't see that this pay cut is going to help us fill in these gaps. Bud has 44 kids in one of his classes, 5 kids have to sit on the floor, and now they are saying classes will be bigger next year.

So I torment myself by reading editorials, and the online paper and their message boards. Seriously, don't threaten to cut my pay and insult me, it is too much. I get so irritated with people, then I start arguing with them in my head! Always effective and productive. I get all worked up into frenzy, by the time I go to bed I don't sleep well.

Whew, well that was boring! But I feel a bit better getting it out.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Italian Wedding Soup

Wow, is it late in the day. Maddie has come down with something, fever, runny nose, wicked cough and crabbiness. Also she is getting her two year molars, so I feel bad for her, and everyone else. Oh, and also I had a paper due this weekend! Woo-hoo. So today's recipe is a link for some tasty soup. Also I copied and pasted from

Owen has always loved soup, Tomato soup has been our go-to meal if he won't eat anything else. It was always his request at daycare for his birthday (instead of pizza!). So any soup is a winner for him. I like this one because it has spinach, how often do you get your kids jumping up and down for spinach?

1 pound extra-lean ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese ( I throw in extra cuz dude, it's cheese!)
1 teaspoon dried basil
3 tablespoons minced onion
2 1/2 quarts chicken broth
2 cups spinach - packed, rinsed and thinly sliced
1 cup seashell pasta (I used 3/4 cup of Orzo)
3/4 cup diced carrots

In a medium bowl, combine the beef, egg, bread crumbs, cheese, basil and onion. Shape mixture into 3/4-inch balls and set aside.
In a large stockpot heat chicken broth to boiling; stir in the spinach, pasta, carrot and meatballs. Return to boil; reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring frequently, at a slow boil for 10 minutes or until pasta is al dente, and meatballs are no longer pink inside. Serve hot with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

This can be time consuming with the meatballs, particularly since we get home at 4:10 ish and the kids are starving at 4:45. So I make it on a Sunday and double or triple the meatball ingredients. Then I use what I need for the soup and put the rest in the oven for a bit. Then I freeze them. I can pull them out to make another batch of soup on a weeknight, or throw them into spaghetti sauce for a quick dinner.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ultrasound #3

We had another appointment with the perinatologist today. They have been concerned out high levels of a chemical that should indicate spina bifida. But she looks great, the doctor said everything looks perfect. Yay. I have been so nervous I haven't really enjoyed this pregnancy much. I am trying to just let go and relax, and I feel like I can finally do that. She is moving around so much, I can start to see my belly move when she kicks.

I am still going to be labeled high risk, age (old), history of gestational diabetes which will come back and now this. But every pregnancy has been high risk, so that is what I am use to.

On of my fellow teachers gave me a gift card to a baby store, so I think I will go shopping for a few little things. We are set on clothes, but I would like a boppy cover, our boppy is a bit ragged. I also am thinking about getting one of those fancy sling carriers. I bought a carrier before, but it is a 20 foot piece of material, with complex directions to wrap it around myself. I don't like it that much, I end up looking like a cat caught in toilet paper when I try to put in on. Other than that I think we are set. Oh, but I need to find a dresser for Maddie. The one she is currently using is beautiful, my brother made if for me when Owen was born, but it is just not able to hold the clothing of an older child.

I am also feeling better after the nice comments about losing the one baby. I don't know why it helps to have others say it is ok to be sad, but it helps. So thank you! I also have been talking to my best friend and Bud about my feelings. Who knew bottling up = bad, talking = good. Craaaazeeee

Sunday, January 4, 2009


This Christmas while decorating the tree I found an ornament I had painted before having children. You know the kind you find at Michaels? The white ceramic. I use to buy them as soon as they came out in maybe August, I would pick out maybe 15 or so, then spend the next few months with teeny, tiny brushes painting, and mixing colors. I loved it, my family bought me a magnifiying light so I could get in the little cracks and crevices. Then babies came along and it has been hard to find 8 hours in a row to sit and paint.

After my son was born, my SIL and I took a pottery class. We learned how to throw on the wheel, and glaze our pieces. We both got really into it for about a year and a half. Some of our stuff was pretty good. But it was a 45 minute drive, and then two or three hours in the studio, so it was hard to find the time every week.

It is difficult to have an engrossing messy hobby with children, unless you count the children as the engrossing messy hobby (which I do). I miss my former hobbies, which I realized this holiday is why I love cooking more than ever. I have always liked cooking, since the first time I made a cake in fourth grade. I used my great-great grandma's coffee cake recipe and everyone loved it. I became the designated cake maker for all family functions, I liked the attention and the compliments. Since then I have always identified myself as the person who brings the food. And with kids it is a great hobby because everyone needs to eat!

I can't resist those little recipe books at the checkout, they are like crack to me. I have a ton of cookbooks, and now with the internet I can spend countless hours looking up recipes. So on Sundays I will start posting Sunday Suppers. Really nothing to do with sunday, and they won't always be dinner meals, but there will be recipes. Some will be family recipes, some will be new recipes I tried, and what I thought of them, some will be my own that I have been asked for numerous times, but I don't have a written recipe. This will motivate me to actually write down some of the things that I make.

Today is a recipe for Macaroni and Cheese. I adapted the recipe on the package of (Anthony's)noodles, based on what I had left over from baking, and other recipes I have tried.

2 cups uncoooked elbow Macaroni
1/4 C minced onion ( I used less, and I used dried onions)*
3 T butter
3 T flour
1 t mustard powder*
1/2 t paprika*
2 C Milk
1/2 C whipping cream* ( or use all milk)
1/2 t salt
2 1/2 C grated cheddar*

Cook the macaroni according to the package directions. Meanwhile, saute the onion in the 3 T of butter, then add 3 T of flour, mustard and paprika whisk until it is well blended. Gradually add the milk and cream. Heat til it is just about to boil, the let it thicken for a bit. Add the salt and pepper and the cheese. Once the cheese melts, see if it needs more cheese or seasoning. Mix the cooked noodles and sauce, and put the whole thing in a greased 2 quart dish. I put more cheese on top. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly.

The recipe also suggests sprinkling 1/2 C bread crumbs, but I didn't bother. * indicates changes I made.

My kids kept whining about wanting "real" mac and cheese (from the box), but they both loved it and ate a ton. We got two full meals out of this. I made a salad to go with this to ease my conscience.