Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner

This year, I had some friends over for a Thanksgiving dinner yesterday (we did it before Turkey Day so we could get together and eat good food without interfering with family gatherings). I cooked all the food. And I will tell you was all delicious! So good that I am sharing the recipes that I used, so everyone else can enjoy great food, too! I used recipes from the Internet, so to save from having to type them all out, I will be putting in links with my side notes.

The Turkey. This site may seem a little hokey, but I will tell you turkey was GOOD! I had a ten pound turkey. I let it thaw out really well (but when I was cleaning all the giblets out of it, there were still pieces of ice in the cavity.) I cut half a stick of butter up into slices and just put them between the meat and the skin. I also added some dried oregano. On top, I put pepper and coarse salt. I didn't have a lid for my roasting pan, so I made a makeshift one using the rack and foil. I may not use even that next time, though, because I prefer really crispy skin, and this was just somewhat crispy skin. When this turkey came out, it was just falling apart! Did I mention it was really good??

The Cranberry Sauce. This is actually made with pears and honey, too. It was very yummy! I didn't care for the shell of the cranberry, I didn't like the texture of it so much. But I did like the pear chunks. If I make it again, I will probably up the white sugar, do a little less honey, and try to strain the cranberry. (I don't know HOW I will do that....but I will try!) Also, you have to cook the cranberries a little bit longer to get them all to pop. Fifteen minutes works.

The Broccoli Casserole. Yummy stuff! I used whole wheat Ritz crackers. I also made it in a crock pot, which would have been fine if I had drained the broccoli a whole heckuvalot more before adding the cheese. (I didn't add the cheese until about half and hour before I was going to serve it.) This is a recipe that I should have doubled, because it is so good!

The Carrots. I wanted to find an awesome honey-glazed carrots recipe. And I did. The only thing that I would do with this recipe is either double the amount of carrots, or half the amount of everything else! So good!

The Potatoes. I didn't get this recipe from the Internet. I just learned it growing up in a home cookin' family! Peel and dice about a dozen potatoes (for 8-10 servings). Boil until tender. Drain. Add a whole stick of butter and about half a cup of milk. Mash (with either a hand masher or a hand mixer). Add more milk until it is the desired consistency. Add salt and pepper. Voila!

The Stuffing. Don't put it in the bird. Just follow the directions on the box. Can't go wrong!

The Gravy. This is another one of those learned-it-from-my-family recipes. Pour all the turkey drippings into a frying pan, turn the heat to medium-high/high. In a small cup, add about two heaping spoonfuls of corn starch and enough water to make it easily stir-able. When the drippings start boiling, slowly pour the corn starch mix  in while whisking. Whisk and add corn starch mix until the gravy is as thick as you like it! You can add salt and pepper...but I always forget to, and it still turns out great!

So, there is your Thanksgiving dinner!

I didn't make dessert this time, but if you want some good recipes, try this recipe for a super yummy pumpkin pie....don't forget to use real pumpkin! And if you want to make your own crust, here is a simple but wonderfully delicious recipe. This site also has lots of tips for pie making!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Toddler's House

It seems that nearly everything in my apartment reminds me that this is probably more Bug's home than my own. Let me take you through a tour to show you why:

Welcome to my Bug's house! This is the hallway. As you can see, nearly all of the shoes are out of the closet. I know this doesn't say "toddler" in and of itself (unless you count the toddler sized shoes among the mommy and daddy sized shoes). But, Bug likes to pull shoes out and wear them around the house, whether they are his or not.

This is what I normally would call the "guest bathroom". Right now, it has all of my makeup and hair supplies on the counter. That's so I can get ready on Sunday mornings without waking Bug up until I have to...or I can get ready while the Husband has Bug with him in the shower in the other bathroom (and I don't have to worry about the mirror being all fogged up). Also, note that the tub is full of toys.

Here we have the second bedroom. We have rearranged a lot since moving here. This room has been known as Bug's room (he never slept in it once), the TV room (we moved that to our room), the exercise room (HA! like that ever happens), and just "the other room". It is basically our storage room right now. It has a dresser in it, which may or may not full of Bug's clothes...depending on whether I have folded the laundry or not. It also has a toy bin and daddy's tools. Naturally, Bug likes to go in there to mess things up, so we usually keep the door closed so I don't have to clean that part of the house. Of course, that explains why my plant is turning yellow...I always forget to water it.

Now on to the living room. There are toys all over the floor. Bug thinks the living room belongs that way, because whenever I put his toys away, he promptly replaces them to the middle of the room. ("Excuse me while I put some of these toys back....HEY! I found Bug's other sippy cup that has been missing for a couple weeks! Oh, it's only had water in it...I think.") On our back door we have some of those gooey window decals that look like snowflakes. I thought Bug might think they were fun. And what do you know, he does think they are rip into a million pieces. So, that is why they are crowded at the top in the middle. Bug can't reach them that way. Nearly every paper on the computer desk has scribbles on it. Pen scribbles. Pencil scribbles. Marker scribbles. Highlighter scribbles.  There are some Cheerios in the couch and on the floor. I could have sworn that I just vacuumed this place. I think Bug got that box out of "the other room". He was having fun pulling pieces of the cardboard off of it. I have had to tie the fireplace shut. If I don't, Bug will crawl in there and get all covered in soot! I also just keep the diapers and changing mat on the floor right here in the living room. It makes it easier to change Bug's butt, and then let him hop up and get back to playing.

Now we are into the dining room. Shoved in the back corner (because I don't know where else to put it) is my yarn bag. As you can see, the yarn is all so tangled that I might as well just throw it away. The table is full of junk. Mostly our mail and my latest sewing project...even though I should just put it away, because it actually IS finished! There is Bug's high chair. It's at the head of the table. He's practically the patriarch of our family, didn't you know? Please don't look too closely at the carpet around his chair. It is full of crumbs and crusty, dried pieces of cheddar cheese (extra sharp). Oh yes, I still have bone to pick with you, mister "I-think-it's-a-good-idea-to-have-carpet-in-the-dining-room", whoever you are! The half wall by the sink hold nearly everything I own that I don't want Bug to touch. Ok...that may be a little exaggerated. But, it does have Bug's wipes on it. I don't want him to get those, because he pulls them all out of the box and tears them into tiny pieces or lets them dry out and wastes them all. Our sink is full of dirty dishes. Most of the dishes still have half nibbled food on them. (Those are the big pieces of food that I actually pick up off the floor when Bug announces he is done eating by tossing his plate off the tray.) Our fridge is covered in magnets...all the ones that Bug can reach, however, are lost forever under one kitchen appliance or another.

Through that door is the laundry room...and the trash can. I don't think I will show you in there.

Here is the hubby's and my bedroom. Shhhhh...Bug is actually taking a nap! Luckily, I folded the laundry today. If I hadn't, there would be a very large pile on our bed. (By the way, do you like our TV? It's huge, I know! I still can't believe that I let the hubs buy that thing.) There is a crib in that back corner. Don't know why. As you can see, Bug is fast asleep in the middle of our bed. (Poor husband nearly gets kicked off the bed every night these, I mean, nights.) You can also see that there are far too many books that are OFF the shelves. Oh, there's another toy bin. A baby towel on the floor. Toys in the bottom drawer of the dresser.

And, here is our bathroom. I can't believe I'm actually showing this to you! There are two baby toothbrushes on the counter. One is to use, the other apparently, is to lose. (Inevitably, when we lose the one to use, we find the one to lose. Did I make that clear?) That step stool is Bug's potty. He has found that he can slide it up to the sink to reach everything up there. He has also used it in other parts of the house. That kid is smart! (And strong. It is hilarious watching him tote that thing out to the bedroom so he can reach the top of our short bookshelves.) That roll of toilet paper actually came out of the package looking very neatly rolled. Even when I put it on backwards, Bug figures out how to unroll it. And apparently, he thinks he needs 50 squares. I keep telling his that is way too many. And then I try to roll it back up nicely, but it never works!

So, that is our place! I'm sure it would look a lot different if I didn't have any kids yet. And I'm sure it won't be clean until at least  a week after the day the last one moves out. But, in a way, that's alright...because it gives me an excuse...

"Sorry my place is a mess. You know how it is with kids!"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I know, I know...I seriously need to find a more creative title for this post. But at least I'm actually posting, right??? Right?

Anyway, I hate apples. Mostly. The last time I sat down and ate a raw apple, I threw it up just seconds after I had swallowed the last bite. (Of course, I was pregnant, but I don't think that counts as much, because I only threw up twice throughout my whole pregnancy!) I will tell you one thing, throwing up freshly eaten apple hurts!

I don't like apple juice. I don't like apple sauce. I don't like apple flavored candy (except Sour Punch Straws, sour green apple...yum!). I don't like apple tarts. And I can only eat apple pie if I pick out all the chunks of apple.

Unless I made the apple pie with my dad, then I can apparently eat a whole dang pie all by myself!

A couple weeks ago, I was at my parents' house during the day to visit with my dad. After we chatted for a while, he asked how long I was able to stay. I told him that I had several hours, and then he announced he wanted to make a pie. (He knows that I am an awesome pie crust maker.) My little sister had gone apple picking with her friend about a month before and they still had a couple dozen small apples sitting on the counter. The apples were soft. They weren't rotting, but they were soft. My dad figured the only thing we could do with them, other than throw them away, was make pie! So, he washed, cut, peeled and sliced all the apples. I measured, mixed, cooled and rolled the pie crust. Then we put together brown sugar, white sugar, flour, cinnamon, butter and apples inside the crust and created a lattice top on the two pies with the leftover crust dough. Shortly after the pies came out of the oven, I needed to go pick up the hubby, so I took one and left.

That evening, I tried a piece of apple pie with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. I was nervous. Afterall, I didn't want to run to the bathroom to upchuck the apples! I took a small bite. It was tasty. I took another bite. It was tasty, too. I was surprised that I was tolerating the apple. And I was surprised that the pie was the best I had ever had....and my dad and I didn't even know what we were doing! I called my parents right away to tell them the pie was a success. And to ask if they liked it, too....they hadn't even tried it yet. So I told them to stop waiting and try a piece of miracle pie!

Over the next week, I ate all but two pieces of the pie. (I left two for the husband. Oh, I did share bites with Bug, too). I didn't even vomit! In fact, I enjoyed every bite!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Reverently, Quietly

Every Sunday, I am reminded of why I dread Sundays.

I LOVE going to church. I have a stronger testimony of the gospel than I have ever had. I love to partake of the Sacrament to renew the covenants that I have made with my Heavenly Father. I enjoy teaching the sweet CTR 8 class (the 7 year old kids that have almost all turned 8 by this time of the year). I love socializing with the other members of my ward. I am happy to have a reason to dress up nicely, do my hair and wear make up. I love having my husband with me nearly all day long.

But....I don't like trying to keep Bug reverent and quiet during Sacrament meeting. The hubs thinks Sundays are great now that Bug is old enough to go into nursery for the last two hours of church. Unfortunately, nursery doesn't take care of the first hour.

I bring assorted snacks. A full sippy cup. Books. Puppets. Pens. Paper. LDS action figures (which are actually made by a Brother in my very ward!). And other toys. They don't work. Bug throws things. Whines. Screams, sometimes. Crawls around. And does everything he can to be generally disruptive and very irreverent.

I struggle to keep Bug as quiet and reverent as possible. Then, when my hair starts to get too messed up, and my face is flushed with the effort...Bug gets taken out to the hallway, by either the husband or myself. It is so embarrassing to have to leave the chapel so often. Because, you know when you come back in, Bug will only last five more minutes before he needs to be taken out again.

Sometimes, I feel like I am the only mom with a psychotic non-reverent, non-quiet kid. Please tell me you guys have irreverent kids, too!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


When I was in elementary school, I felt a strong connection to the planet Venus. I wasn't into astronomy. I didn't gaze up into the sky on clear nights. I really wasn't interested in planets. I wanted to be an alien. I wanted to be different. I wanted to have purple skin. And I wanted to be from Venus. The planet just sounded cool. It was supposed to be a place where nobody could live. Full of noxious gases. Constantly hot. Totally uninhabitable. But, I really wanted to be from Venus. And no other planet would do.

Years later, I can finally see the connection. I understand that desire. The name Venus, the connotation, the connections, the true meaning. When I was a kid, I wanted to be from Venus to have purple skin. But now, it is so much more. I don't want to be from Venus. I want to be recognized as being my own kind of Venus. Not the planet. But the goddess. I want to be every goddess that is praised for being a woman.

So now, I am Venus. Roman goddess of love, beauty and fertility.

And I am Hathor. Egyptian goddess of feminine love, motherhood and joy.

I am Turan. Etruscan goddess of love and vitality.

And I am Aphrodite. Greek goddess of love, beauty and sexuality.

I am Artemis. Hera. Epona. Persephone. Ishtar. Ba'alat Gebal. Juno. Frigg. Parvati. And Eve.

I love these ancient feminine ideas. These goddesses were full of love, beauty, happiness. And above all, they were mothers. They were worshiped for their ability to conceive and bear children. To suckle children at their breasts. They were depicted with full, round bodies. Soft. Curvy. It is the symbol of motherhood. Of being a woman. Of being a lover. It is beauty. I want to inspire my husband. I want to nourish my children. I want to be that. I want to be praised for being that.

I want to be a goddess.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Public Park Pet Peeves

This past Friday was absolutely gorgeous! I mean, October 30th and 78 degrees!?! I had the windows open and the back door open, too, but I still wanted to get out into that beautiful fall weather. Luckily, it was my week to have our car (being a stay at home mom in a single car family can be difficult sometimes)! I was able to throw our junk in the car (take off our jackets, "Why on earth did we even bring those?") and set off for the closest park, dubbed "The Helicopter Park". It is a Veteran's park, and has a huge helicopter on one corner of the ground. Aside from the fact that the park doesn't have much shade, I like it fairly well.

Erm...well....except for all the things I hate about the park. I don't like to be so negative about enjoying a day at the park, but I have some serious public park pet peeves.

1. Every public park should have great shade. It doesn't matter quite as much in the fall, I guess. But in the summer, that park is horrid! There is no escape from the blistering heat. It is almost so bad that I don't even want to go in the summer. Plus, what kid wants to scorch his bum just by riding down a slide while wearing shorts!?

2a. Smokers. Gah!!!! I dislike smokers at my public park more than anything! I can't even begin to tell you. Smoking in general is one of my biggest pet peeves, even outside of public parks. I am one of those infernally rude people who hack and cough loudly when they walk by smokers. I know, it is horrible...but so is blowing your nasty smoke into my clean and healthy lungs! This hate of smoking is compounded ten fold when it is at a park around kids. Especially my kid. ESPECIALLY WHEN IT IS A WINDY DAY AND YOU ARE LETTING YOUR SMOKE BLOW INTO THE WHOLE STINKIN' PLAY GROUND!!!! I hate it. Hate it. HATE IT! It takes every ounce of my energy to not go up to the smoker, knock their cigarette out of their hands and crush is with a super stomp and twirl. Ohio has a law against smoking within 50 feet of any public building (not that it is ever enforced..stupid cheap law that should be wonderful)...don't you think that it should be illegal to smoke at a park where children are, too?

2b. Cigarette butts. Like smoking at parks isn't enough, many smokers then choose to litter the stubs of their nasty addiction among the wood chips of the play ground. My curious 18 month old can then pick up the incredibly disturbing piece of trash, while I frantically try to get him to drop it before it makes it to his mouth and pull out wipes from the diaper bag. Lovely.

3. Mothers (or grandmothers) that are overprotective of MY kid, even though I am two feet away. My mother-in-law, bless her ever-loving heart, would probably fall into this category. (This weekend, at trick or treating, she offered a tissue to a couple of young, red nosed kids.) It may seem like a kind and loving thing to do, to be an attentive mother to a child that isn't yours. definitely has a way of making the real mother feel like she is failing at her calling in life. Bug is very adventurous, and will climb on the playground and slide down slides by himself. I stand close by all the time. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop other well meaning ladies from "helping".

4. Unfenced pond with a steep slope. Toddlers can run. Fast. But they can't stop very easily, especially if they are running down an incline. If my legs were any shorter, I would be jumping into the pond to rescue Bug, because he is almost faster than I am. Sure, a duck pond looks nice (just ignore all the crap on the ground). The only problem is the sign that says to not feed the water fowl (what fun is that?)....the steep slope with lots of rocks...the lack of fence...the unsanitary ground conditions...the potential drowning hazard. Maybe they should just save some money on the blue dye and fill in the pond with dirt.

5. Busy parking lot that is really close to the play ground. Remember how I said Bug is almost faster than I am? Well, he is. And it takes him about two seconds to run into the parking lot of our busy park....

...When I finally reach him, I figure it is about time to go home.