Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm gonna be a millionaire...

Well, not really. But I will be saving $3.40 each time I pass up a Starbucks Green Tea Latte (grande, nonfat, no melon, extra matcha, 100 degrees), because I have finally found matcha!! Don't know what matcha is? It is green tea in powder form, rather than in leaf form, and I love it hot or cold in nonfat milk. I haven't been able to find any in the random stores I have looked, but a few weeks ago I found it at Fred Meyers near the Tully's Coffee cafe. I was so excited and made myself a warm latte as soon as I got it home. Aahh ... yum! It tasted identical to Starbucks (when they get my order right!) and now I can enjoy my matcha anytime I want.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I am so done!!

So I spent hours in the kitchen tonight ... I thought I was better prepared to attempt a couple recipes in The Sneaky Chef cookbook I ended up getting, and I must have spent a good 2 1/2 hours prepping, cooking, baking and cleaning. Ugh! I had some spinach and blueberries in the fridge to make the purple puree for the brownies I made. I boiled the spinach leaves per the books instructions, and then pureed the two together. The brownies called for a flour blend consisting of whole wheat flour, white flour and wheat germ. The flour blend was the easiest part. After several steps and ingredients, the brownies were baked and ready within 50 minutes. I had to cut Maddox off at three! He didn't even taste the spinach and blueberry puree. My hubby and I could though ... they weren't bad, but they definitely didn't taste like Betty Crocker!
The second recipe I put together was for dinner ... crispy chicken tenders, only I used turkey tenders. This too, had a lot of ingredients, including a bread crumb mixture I made from scratch! This recipe used the orange puree, which is carrots and sweet potatoes. It wasn't a huge hit with any of us, but at least we got our protein. The flavor was kinda bland, and needed ketchup. There was one member of our family who loved every bite ... Sadie Girl. Our Husky was pretty thrilled with her dinner tonight!
Needless to say, I am done with the sneaky cooking! I think the concept is a great idea, but I do not have the extra time or energy in my day to make such elaborate and time consuming dishes. The prep and clean up times alone give me headaches!! My boys definitely don't like me spending so much time in the kitchen either. We are simple folk who enjoy the classic meals we are used to.
As for the cookbook I just purchased? I put it on the shelf with the rest of my collection. I will definitely go back to it for more simpler recipes, like dips or snacks, but for now I am back to our family favorite recipes.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Deceptively Time Consuming!

My sister-in-law, Jackie, just got a new cookbook, Deceptively Delicious. Jessica Seinfeld (yes, Jerry's wife) came up with special recipes that kids would eat - recipes with hidden vegetable purees in them. I had heard of this fine art of veggie hiding last year with the book, The Sneaky Chef, and had contemplated trying some recipes out with Maddox - my 4 1/2 year old who gags on ALL fruits and vegetables! I came to the conclusion back then that he would eventually learn to like these foods and didn't buy the book. To this day, the only vegetable he will eat is cream style corn and refuses all fruits.
After hearing the enthusiasm in Jackie to try out her new recipes, I invited myself over to make a mess in her kitchen. We bought fresh carrots, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes (which, by the way, were not orange like we have usually known ?!?), and started steaming our veggies at 1pm this afternoon. By 4pm, I was tired, had a headache, and was cleaning up my section of the counter. The boys had made a nice little mess of their own on the deck, and I was ready to call it quits with the purees.
Prep time took about a half hour just to get the veggies cleaned and peeled. The sweet potatoes (can anyone tell me why they were not orange??) took an hour to bake before we could puree them, and then mashed down to about a cup of puree. Each recipe usually calls for a half a cup or more. The cauliflower and carrots both took about a half hour each to steam in Jackie's new steamer, then took a little while to get them fully pureed. We used a mini food processor, a Magic Bullet, and a full size blender - talk about a mess to clean up!! Each puree has to cool completely before being stored in ziplock bags, so we used lots of bowls and spoons, too ... more dishes to clean (So Sorry, Jackie)!! Bleh!
After leaving Jackie's house with my three little bags of purees, I told myself that I would not be doing that again! I am a simple person. I don't like a lot of prep time and long cooking times for the meals I make. I don't even use my crock pot - and that makes the meal for you!! Later this evening, we had mom and dad, Pat, Jackie and Luke over for dinner and I made loaded mashed potatoes as a side dish. I put in about a cup of the cauliflower puree into the potatoes along with my cheeses, sour cream and bacon and wondered if anyone would notice the extra veggie. My potatoes were a hit! Jackie and mom knew my hidden secret ingredient, but the guys, including Maddox, didn't suspect a thing! You honestly couldn't taste anything out of the ordinary.
Before leaving Jackie's house this afternoon, Jackie made one of the fruit dips from the book - a chocolate peanut butter dip. The secret ingredient: carrots! It was a simple recipe of peanut butter, chocolate syrup, and cream cheese, along with pureed carrots. We tested out the dip on Mr. Picky Eater, and he practically licked the bowl clean (mind you, he ate it with a spoon and not with the apple slices)! He even asked for more!!
My son got 2 extra servings of vegetables today and he enjoyed every unknown bite of them! As drawn out as the process was today, I am pretty impressed with this sneaky way of cooking. I offered to pay my sister-in-law to make my purees for me so I wouldn't have to hassle with it, but I am definitely willing to give it another try. It was fun hanging out today, chatting and testing out Jackie's new cookbook. I am amazed that these purees really are hidden, yet the nutrients are there! I may even go get The Sneaky Chef for more recipe ideas! More to come ...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Scrub a dub dub ...

Oh how I love my shower time!! There is nothing I look forward to more in my evenings than taking a shower. Another simple and necessary thing that I so much enjoy! I shower at night, right before bed. It is my little tranquility I get after the boys go to bed .... ahhhh!
As I got out of the shower the other night, I reassured Tim that I wasn't losing my mind and grabbed my camera ... to take pictures of the products that make my shower time so much more relaxing! A couple months ago I started trying Burt's Bees products ... I was so tired of lotions and washes that made my skin feel dry and itchy. This line of products is kinda on the spendy side ... the Milk & Honey lotion is about $9 for the size bottle shown, but my skin has never been so hydrated and smooth! I use the Milk & Shea Butter body wash, and the Peach & Willowbark scrub for my face. Once a week, I like to use a body scrub, and I love The Body Shop's line! The cocoa butter one is a great moisturizer, even though it isn't the prettiest smelling. They have a ton of different scents though and I like to switch them up. They usually last a while, too and aren't very expensive. One last must-have that I keep stocked up on is a body wash by Dial - Soy and Almond Milk. Oh my goodness - this is the absolute best smelling soap I have ever used!! Tim loves it for the bath, too (yes, my man takes baths!). You can find it anywhere - Target, Walmart, grocery stores and is usually only a few bucks. Next time you are shopping, just open a bottle of this stuff and smell it ... YUM!!
So there you have it ... a little insight into my personal world of showering! Hope you all enjoyed, and if you have favorite products you want to share, comment and let me know!! I am always excited to try new stuff!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Summer Reading

My doctor recommended reading at night before bed to help with the insomnia, so why not give it a try, right? By the way, it is currently 2:40 am!

I just finished reading the book 90 Minutes In Heaven by Don Piper. It is about a pastor, Don Piper, who was in a horrific car accident back in 1989, and died instantly on the scene of the crash. EMT’s had pronounced him dead upon arrival, and Piper immediately went to Heaven. Ninety minutes after the wreck, a minister was praying for him while still inside the mangled vehicle, and Don Piper had come back to life. This book is Piper’s testimony of his experience in Heaven, his long and painful recovery, and the struggles he endured physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

First and foremost, I have no right to judge. I do not know this person, nor could I possibly know the actuality of his visit to Heaven. I am simply giving my personal opinion, and do not want to offend anyone who may believe otherwise. I am going to admit though that after reading this book, I am pretty skeptical of Don Piper’s claim of visiting Heaven. Do I believe that he was in a horrible accident and died for 90 minutes? Absolutely. Do I believe that through the power of prayer, he came back to life? One hundred percent. But, do I believe that he went to Heaven and experienced streets of gold and the ‘pearlescent’ gates, deceased people from his past greeting him in human-like, healthy forms, and a choir of angels? Not so much. Why? Simply because there is no specific scriptural support for near death experiences.

I don’t feel as if Piper is trying to deliberately deceive or harm anyone. He states over and over again that his goal in sharing his ‘experience’ is to bring people to Christ. And in many cases, he has done just that. I think he truly believes that what he experienced was Heaven, but in my own opinion, I don’t think that people are allowed to just take a peek into the most glorious Kingdom and get sent back to earth for a second go-round at life.

Overall, do I recommend reading this book? Sure. Don Piper struggled and suffered through unimaginable pain and recovered from a car accident that he should have died from. The details from the moment of the accident to his present day life are truly amazing to read about. I would be happy to lend out my copy to anyone interested in reading it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Gotta love us!

Another fun blog from myspace ... Understanding Women's Vocabulary

1. Fine : This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

2. Five Minutes : If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

3. Nothing : This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine.

4. Go Ahead : This is a dare, not permission.
Don't Do It!

5. Loud Sigh : This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to #3 for the meaning of nothing.)

6. That's Okay : This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That's okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

7. Thanks : A woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. Just say you're welcome.

Whatever : Is a women's way of saying F@!K YOU!

9. Don't worry about it, I got it : Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking "What's wrong?" For the woman's response, refer to #3.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

x o x o

I did this survey on my myspace profile and thought I'd repost it here for all to enjoy. Feel free to snag it for yourself ... I would love to see how you met your hubby!!

How I Met Tim
A little info about how I met my hubby!

Where did you meet?
Eastside Athletic Club. I worked there in daycare and at the front desk, and Tim saw me one night when I was with the kiddos. He then asked my co-workers 'who that girl was'. The next night I was working at the front desk and he scheduled a massage and was put on the locker wait list ... I had no idea he did all that just to talk to me! A few days later, my co-worker told me that Tim was asking about me.

What was the first thought that went through your head when you met?
He was an older boy ... he was 20 and I was 17, so I was pretty excited. He was really cute ... a surfer boy style with a sweet personality.

Do you remember what he/she was wearing?
work out clothes, shorts and a sleeveless tee

Where was the first time you kissed this person?
He kept me hanging for a few weeks! Kisses on the cheek were his way of building up to the perfect moment ... the first night of snow in January 1999. Awwww .... it was like a movie!!

Where did you go for your first date?
Red Robin ... he orderd my dinner for me! Clucks n Fries and a strawberry shake. I was very impressed! We then went and saw a movie ... Patch Adams.

How long did you know this person before you became a couple?
We went on a few dates before we became 'official'. I didn't know him before our first date, even though we had attended the same high school together!

How did he/she ask you out?
My co-worker had told me that he was going to ask me out, so I was all excited and giddy. When he came out of the locker room from working out, he just walked right passed me and left! I was bummed, but I went back into the daycare with the kids. A few moments later, as I was changing a diaper, Tim knocked on the door and peeked in. He asked if I would like to go out sometime, and I casually said yes. I didn't want to seem too eager .. lol!

Has this person ever proposed to you?
Oh yes!! I completely had no idea he was going to propose!! We had been dating for 2 years, and I was bugging him to get engaged. I was only 19 and Tim wanted to wait another year or two. On Christmas Eve, Tim had set up a slideshow of all the pictures we had taken while we were dating and played our song along with it. At the end of the show, Tim got down on one knee and asked me to marry him .... awww, the memories!!

Do you and this person have kids together?
Two beautiful boys, Maddox and Sean

Have you ever broken the law with this person?
Partners in Crime, LOL!!

When was the first time you realized that you liked this person?
Right away ... after our first date I knew that I could fall in love with him!

Do you get along with her/his family?
Yep ... better than my own!

Do you trust this person?
Absolutely! With everything!

Do you see them as your partner in your future?
He is my world ... we will be together forever and always!

What is the most expensive thing they gave you?
He supports my shopping addiction! LOL!!

What is the thing you do that gets on his/her nerves?
Anytime I have a bad, 'don't care' attitude

Where do you see each other in 15 years from now?
Maddox will be 19 and Sean will be turning 17 .... with our boys almost out of the house, we will be making our vacation plans!!

What causes the most arguments?
We really don't argue that much! I have learned to be submissive and let him be the leader of our pack. I'll speak up when need be, but for the most part, we get along great!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

what's on my DVR?

I find it so amazing that I can randomly come across a TV show and fall obsessively in love with it. My first love, the beautiful Gilmore Girls. For 7 amazing seasons, Lorelei and Rory made me laugh, cry, and anxiously await each episode.

I then randomly stumbled across Ghost Whisperer one Friday night. Jennifer Love Hewitt has always been a favorite of mine, and watching such a suspenseful, scary, yet heart-warming show has me recording it every week.

Anyone heard of Wildfire? I devotedly watched each episode of the short-lived, two season series on abc family. Let me tell you … this show had me wanting to own a ranch and a few horses! The drama, the romance … loved it!!!

My latest adoration is with Army Wives on Lifetime. If you
haven't seen an episode yet, go online and watch one of them!! You will get hooked!!

I may be the only person I know that watches some of these shows, but they are my little escapes from reality. My little doses of love stories, dramas, and excitement.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

simple things.

It’s the littlest things in life that can mean so much. A quick phone call to see how my day is going, a lingering hug from my baby boy, a smile from across the room …. Last week I received these beautiful flowers from Tim and Maddox. How sweet of them to think of me while they were out. Maddox was sure to remind Daddy of my favorite color, purple. I love my boys, and the flowers they treat me with!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Do they have meetings for this?

Hi, my name is April and I am an insomniac!!
Ever since I can remember, I have been a night owl. I have pulled many all-nighters - one just last week! Why I have trouble sleeping at nights, I really don't know. I don't drink a lot of caffeine, only the natural amounts in the teas I drink. I don't drink pop (New Year's resolution), and I am not stressed! My days are busy ... full of errands, play dates, lunches out, shopping, etc ... There is rarely a day when me and the boys stay at home. I am a mom who likes to keep myself busy. When I lose momentum, I lose motivation.
There is one thing that I love most above of all other things on my to-do lists .... bedtime!! Not only for my boys ( ahhhhh .... peace and quiet for me!! ), but for myself. I love crawling into my bed with my big fluffy pillows and oh-so-soft comforter. My body just melts into relaxation and I know my poor feet appreciate the break! So why can't I just go to sleep???
My doctor has told me to make sure I turn the TV and the computer off at least two hours before bed, and to basically find a good book to read in bed with soft lighting. I guess boring myself to sleep is an option, but my mind always leads astray with the 'Oooh, I should watch that show I recorded a few nights ago!' or 'I need to update the boys' website.' When my mind gets fixed on something, I can't let it go! My brain won't shut down and I'll toss and turn all night long. I'll get a renewed source of energy, and will want to get up out of bed to work on projects, or watch hours of TV because the remote is in my hands - no sports, or kids shows.
The only time I will get a full night of uninterrupted sleep, is usually when I am sick and need to take Nyquil! That stuff knocks me out (and cures me of my colds, too!). I am not into taking sleeping pills, or unnecessary medications, but I need to get on a better sleep schedule!!! I have briefly looked into herbal remedies, such as Valerian, but haven't heard of too many personal experiences with it. I seriously don't know where I find the energy to go about my crazy days that I have EVERY day. I can only think that a burnout will be up ahead, and I really don't want to see that happen. I hear about all the health risks that lack of sleep can cause, and I want to make sure that I stay healthy - not only for myself, but for my family who depend on me so much.
Does anyone have any advice? After reading this loooong blog, I have probably put you all to sleep!! Ha,ha!!

A Fond Farewell ...

Wow! Is December already upon us? Good golly this year has flown right by! I have been a busy girl lately, hence the blog break. Unfortu...