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Archive for October, 2009

Today was one of those days where I have been SO glad I am blessed to now stay home. It is so weird to me, how the past couple of years at this time of year, I was consumed with marketing Medicare Advantage plans throughout the country and barely even being home, enjoying seeing the response rates – the fruit of my efforts and that of my team, and yet today I did mom things and was happier than ever.

We played with the chalkboard after the boy actually said “chalk,”

The boy, the chalkboard, and the eraser

He really likes erasing the art that mommy has drawn

we made sugar cookies and the boy even helped dump in the flour, we played outside, we visited with neighbors, and just laughed. Our little boy is so much fun that it is so hard to remember a day without him.

I had seen a magazine article with these awesome fall leaf cookies so I had to make sure on the grocery list this week was a leaf sugar cookie. Mind you, mine did not come out looking quite as good as the magazine but I don’t think they turned out too bad.

Fall Leaf Sugar Cookies

Here are just some of the fall leaf sugar cookies I made

Our neighbor and the sweet boy and his dad thought they really tasted great!

If anyone wants to know how I did the colors on the cookies, or the sugar cookie recipe, just post a comment and I’ll stick it up there. I figure most everyone has a good sugar cookie recipe they like to use.

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Where some people are blessed to live next door, down the road or in the same town as family, our closest family members are about 25 minutes away with 1/2 of our family closer to 4 hours away.

Just last week I read about the importance of your kids interaction with family, and at almost the same time was introduced to Skype.

Now with just the use webcams my mom, brother, and in-laws can all see the boy any time during the day.

My nephew, who has never been to our house, has now seen our cat. The boy’s Grandmas: Mimi and Grammy can seem him interact at home on days they wouldn’t have been able to.

It’s funny how in high school we used to learn about how everyone would interact through video conferencing. Each time we’re on there it’s like I should be on the Jetson’s (sans the flying cars of course).

It makes the days and weeks without seeing immediate family, not seem quite so long, and with a growing boy, they are all getting the chance to know him a little bit better along the way!

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I’ll admit, on my quest at being domestic, and actually cooking in our household, not every recipe goes by the book, or keeps my kitchen and appliances looking clean.

On one recent recipe, okay – the potato chip chicken fingers – I used my pampered chef stoneware sheet to bake the chicken. I didn’t think about the butter that I drizzled over, dripping into the bottom of my stove.

Then on the next day when I decided to make a ham, I didn’t think about the ham drippings overflowing over the edge of the shallow pan in which I baked it in.

I’m learning what kinds of baking dishes to use quickly.

Fast forward to today, we got back from our weekend up to my family’s and the Purdue vs. Illinois game, and we decided to make garlic bread in the oven at dinner time. I should have taken pictures but the house looked like it had caught fire with all of the smoke from the drippings sitting in the bottom of the stove just burning.

I just want to tell the world how AWESOME a box of baking soda, a paring knife and a metal kitchen pan scrubber are. While it took me approximately 56 minutes, I have finished cleaning the bottom of the stove and it is cleaner than it probably has ever been.

I just repeatedly dusted the bottom with baking soda and scrubbed it with a wet metal pan scrubber.

This is one of the things where it isn’t a big deal to the rest of the world, but if you’re anything like me, it gives you a SUPREME sense of accomplishment. I am loving opening the oven door and looking at the spotless inside of my oven. (okay, I may need to consider expanding my horizons sometime soon)

So the next time the bottom of your stove is a disaster, and you can’t cook in it, let alone use the self cleaning feature grab the baking soda. My mom had given me the tip so I have to give kudos to her wisdom.

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An example of what they looked like

An example of what they looked like

Last night, I was looking for a recipe for chicken fingers that didn’t involve Onion Soup Mix or French’s Fried Onions. Here is what I found. I’m not sure what website I found it on. Probably another blog, but here it is. These were really good and the boy liked them a lot too!

Potato Chip Chicken Fingers
2 cups crushed Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips
1 pound boneless chicken breast or chicken strips
1/3 cup melted butter
1 egg
2 Tbsp milk

Beat the egg, and mix in 2 Tbsp milk in a small bowl.
Dip the chicken pieces in the above mixture and then into a separate bowl of the crushed potato chips.
Place the covered chicken pieces on a baking sheet. Once all of the pieces are on there, drizzle with the melted butter (I didn’t use as much as it called for). Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

This afternoon I’m sticking a Kentucky Legend Ham in the oven for dinner. It’s my first attempt at a ham but how hard can it be right?
Have a great day, it looks like it is going to be beautiful!
Cut the chicken up into 2 inch pieces.

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Our son decided recently that he LOVES fish, so in honor of the Purdue vs. Ohio State Game (Purdue victory by the way), we decided we would buy the boy a fishbowl and some fish.

We bought three, and named them: Wiggs, after Carson Wiggs the Purdue kicker, Sabbathia, after CC Sabbathia of the NY Yankees, and E’Twaun, after E’Twaun Moore of the Purdue Basketball team.

Needless to say, I’ve been hoping to post a picture of them since we got them, but tonight, we found them at the bottom of the fish bowl one by one. Don’t know the cause, but a friend had said not to name them, that it would be the end of them. I guess he was right.

Despite the deceased fish, it was a beautiful day today. On the chilly side, but very pretty nonetheless.

Today, the boy learned about animals (and how some of the animals don’t make it), and that God made each of the animals. We lined up his stuffed animals on the couch and went through them all. I tried to put them back in the bin, and he got them back out and sat them on the couch. We played farm with his Little People farm set and again, learned about more animals. Too bad the day had to end with the death of his fish. All part of his animal lesson I guess.

This afternoon we played outside. The kid loves basketball! Tonight, we all spent some time outside again. We all love to be outside so much.

For dinner, NY Strip Steak, marinated in Allegro seasoning for several hours at room temperature this afternoon. I tried a new Mashed Potato recipe:

Fluffy Mashed Potato Casserole:
2 Cups Mashed Potatoes
1 beaten egg
1 8 oz package Cream Cheese
1/2 tsp onion juice
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 cup French’s Fried Onions crushed.
Mix all but the Fried Onions together with a mixer. Pour in a casserole dish. Top with the Fried Onions. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. It was fantastic. I had found the recipe on http://www.allrecipes.com but modified it a bit.

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Wow! What a game. We sold our Purdue vs. Ohio State tickets to some friends at the beginning of the season. If you had told me at the beginning of today, I would have told you NO WAY.
I am so excited and proud for the way our team has continually fought and tried to play despite some coaching issues so far. None of that mattered today.
Here’s to a completely new start! Looking forward to the next game!

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Our sweet boy has just gone to bed for his afternoon nap.  He has been such a great boy all day!

After his morning nap, we headed out to the library on this once again rainy day. There we visited with my husband’s cousin Holly, and checked out some new books.

Last night, a friend recommended to me a book by Dr. Laura Schlessinger entitled “In Praise of Stay at Home Moms.”  Not wanting to spend the extra money to purchase it, when we got to the library, I checked the computer system while chasing the boy at the same time and they had the book and it was in.

So although there isn’t a lot of extra time to read these days, I think one evening soon I’ll sit down and take a look at it.  I’ll let you know how it is.

While he’s napping, I’m off to dust the master bedroom and the dining room.  I only got the family room done yesterday, then if time allows, I’ll clean bathrooms.

I know it may not sound glamorous or to exciting, but I am loving this newfound domestic divaness (okay so I know divaness is not a word), but I’m enjoying even the most menial tasks.

Tonight for dinner, on tap:  Madras Steak not Madras Plaid.  I love this recipe, it came from my mother-in-law.  While I’m not sure where it originated, I hope you enjoy it too.

Madras Steak

1 pound round steak cut into serving pieces

1 large onion, sliced thin

1 Tablespoon Flour

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 Large carrot sliced

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon mustard

Pepper to taste

Sear the meat in a skillet, then place in a casserole dish (I usually use 9 x 13).  Top each piece of meat with one of the slices of onion.  Between the meat I place a piece of carrot ( usually 3 inches long).  Combine remaining ingredients (Flour, Worcestershire, salt, sugar, mustard) with water to make 1 cup of the mixture.  Pour this mixture over the meat and vegetables and Bake covered at 300 degrees for 2 hours.

Enjoy!

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So it has been a good day, for a horribly rainy day.  Looks like the next several days should be much of the same.

The boy has stayed on his schedule, which makes him much happier.  It also enabled me to get all of my floors mopped with the exception of the dining room.

I did make the small mistake of giving him a bowl of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish to eat following the completion of my clean floors.  There is now goldfish dust throughout my kitchen, but a very happy little boy with a stomach full of goldfish (the edible kind of course) makes it worth it.

When I was working full time and before the boy came along, I have to be completely honest and admit my floors rarely got cleaned.  The other day I was trying to figure out just how often that occurred and I think in some instances it was quite a while.

Now I average twice a week on the kitchen floor, once a week on the bathroom floors.

I’d be interested in knowing just how often some of you do routine household chores such as mopping the floors, dusting each room of the house, a good thorough cleaning of the refrigerator (mine is overdue), etc.

I now have a phobia of germs, and have to be honest that I’m wiping down much of my house with Lysol disinfectant wipes quite regularly including door handles, light switches on the wall, remote controls, telephones, etc.

Please share and let me know how you compare by leaving a comment below.  In some cases I know you’ll put me to shame, in others, maybe you’ll make me feel a little bit better about myself.

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So I thought to myself, it could be the last nice day for a while.  We’ll try to get out and take a walk.  He had been such a great boy all day.  We played outside for a bit, then headed out with the jogging stroller.  I had brought several things to keep him occupied, thinking we would get around the walking trail before heading home.

I was wrong.  We got to the corner on the main stretch, and I thought, okay, let’s head on the trail.  That was when the screaming began.

We were now half a mile from home, and the boy was SCREAMING!  I’ve dealt with clients who had issues, and with outstanding customer service, resolved whatever arose.  A 1 year old, half a mile from home, who wants to get out of his stroller, pull off his hat and run the other direction is another matter all together.

I decided to carry him for a while up what I call “the hill of death” in our neighborhood.  He then decided NO – he wanted to get down and go whatever direction I was not in and SCREAM.  So here I am carrying him the best of my ability until we finally get in front of our neighbors, where I put him down, and he proceeds to throw himself down and scream even louder.

Rest assured we finally made it home.  We walked in the house.  I took a deep breath, and went to get him some Infant Motrin since he is teething, and I know a few teeth are bothering him (maybe the culprit for the outburst).  He is now in his crib for a nap and I am typing with very tense shoulders.

With clients I could always easily rectify the situation, or provide an answer that took us to the next place or helped us come to a mutually beneficial solution.  A teething one year old who doesn’t want to ride in the stroller is a whole other situation.  Hard to rationalize with one of those.

I’m quickly discovering there are challenges whether you are home all day, or at work all day with a bit of variation.

I guess I shouldn’t complain too much.  He made it through grocery shopping and the meat store with ease.  At least now we were in our own neighborhood…

I think I need a nap too after all of this!

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So I struggle with what I should say and what I shouldn’t.  Should this blog be full of those helpful tip type things, daily life, poetic ramblings?

Should I tell you that the Crock Pot liners from Reynolds are AMAZING?

Should I note that my husband is extremely difficult to cook for?  (We’re both very picky so this is a challenge on several counts) How I spent time putting together a nice dinner, only for him to decide he doesn’t like white rice now, or green beans?

Should I make life sound beautiful like some mommy bloggers when in reality, I was just on my hands and knees with Lysol Disinfectant wipes cleaning up the 1/2 a bottle of baby gas drops that got spilled  on the tile while I was trying to squirt them in the boy’s mouth?  How do you make that poetic?

I’m still trying to figure out what path this blog will take, but it has been a good day.  Full of sunshine, time outside on a nice fall day, chasing the cat around the house with the boy, playing with tractors on the carpet, super cleaning the kitchen sink (some website said to soak it in bleach water for an hour to make it shine – It does!)

Each entry will probably ramble like I do and contain a little bit of all of the above.  That’s me – rambling.  Probably a tribute to my attention deficit disorder!

Now former Purdue Boilermaker Dustin Keller is on TV playing for the New York Jets, so all in all, not a bad end to the day.

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