Saturday, May 31, 2008
Italian Chicken with Mushrooms
from 101 Things to do with a Slow Cooker
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
1/4 c. water
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
2 bottles whole mushrooms (drained) (These are fairly small bottles, like 4 inches tall, I'd say)
Place chicken in greased slow cooker. Combine salad dressing mix and water, pour over chicken. Cover and cook on high heat for 3 hours. In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and soup until blended. Stir in mushrooms. Pour over chicken and cook 2 more hours on high.
Serve over egg noodles.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Hurricane: Mommy, I milk. (Mommy, I want milk)
Mommy: OK, I'll get you some. (Mommy walks to the fridge and grabs the sippy cup full of milk and hands to Hurricane)
Hurricane: NO! Mommy! I RED one!
Mommy: :::sigh::: OK, her you go (puts back the blue sippy and hands her the red sippy, while coming up with explanation for resident princess in her head as to why her milk cup magically changed colors mid-day. Maybe a unicorn did it? And yes, my 4 yr old still gets milk in a sippy, as long as her sister is awake anyway, b/c if HRH gets milk in a NONsippy, then the Hurricane must have milk in a non-sippy and that just spells disaster all around the castle. HRH understands she doesn't NEED a sippy, she's doing it to help Mommy out and Mommy is properly appreciative. )
Hurricane: NO! Mommy! I DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!! YUYU DO IT! I BIG GIRL! NO WANT-A MOMMY GET-A MILK!!! (side note - do all toddlers go through this Italian-speaking phase or is it just mine? I think it's darling :) ) MOMMY MOOSH OVER!(our house's way of saying "move and push together). YUYU ALL MYSELF.
At which time she opens the fridge door, puts the red cup back on the shelf. Closes the door, and gets the red cup, taking a big drink and looking supremely satisfied with herself.
HRH: Mommy, Lulu's crazy.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
So, my trusty sidekick neighbor and I and the girls planted one with cherry tomatoes and one with yellow crookneck squash (my girls and I could eat our weight in this stuff!) We sprinkled chives seeds in the top of the tomatoes and dill weed seeds in the top of the squash and hung both pails on an old laundry line that I have in my backyard. It's an eyesore and I keep meaning to plant some ivy at the base to let it at least be covered. I need to do that soon. But, still, it served its purpose well in this. This picture was taken through the screen on my breakfast room window, that's why it's a little fuzzy :
The tomato was a little damaged in the planting process (note to self..... letting a 2 yr old, 4 yr old, and 10 yr old do the actual PLANTING of the delicate tomato plant upside down? Probably not the best move). I had my doubts, but pressed on. The squash looked gorgeous! One week later, the tomato? No bueno. :( The stem had become all yellow and soggy and limp. Sad, sad, sad. I mourned the loss of potential perfect red juicy tomatoes that I was going to halve and skewer with mozzarella chunks and basil leaves and red onion and grill (IF they made it to the grill before I started snacking). A moment of silence, if you will..........
OK, pity party over. We still have our beloved squash! Right? Right! Right?!?!?!??! A week or so ago, we had some torrential downpours in the middle of the night. I was up at 2:00 AM, checking the Weather Channel and Fox News for reports of an ark being built and people sprouting webbed feet, but nothing yet. Anyway, about two days later, I noticed that my squash plant was starting to look soggy. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! STOP!!!! What the heck is going on!?!?! I can't figure it out. I keep reading online about how people are having all sorts of success with these upside down plants, what am I doing wrong?!?!?!? My squash is dead, no hopes of revival! :*( Thankfully, the growing season is so long here that I'm going to grab a plant or two and put them in some large pots I have. We'll still get some squash, by golly. There is no chance of replanting in the upside down pots, either, b/c the chives and dill are growing like crazy, lol!! Oh well, maybe next year? For this year, we'll have to stick with downside-up, I guess.
On a brighter note, my grape tomato plant has two little green tomatoes and LOTS of blooms! Yippee! Now if I could only see some blooms on my strawberry plant!
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Throw in a dash of Larry the Cable Guy and you get what I was seeing :X Ruh Roh. Where the heck is PAPA BEAR?!?!?!? I steel myself for a confrontation (which I HATE). McP Sr. comes up to me and says "Is everything okay here? I saw him shoot her in the face.... is she okay? He's really sensitive, so don't worry about his crying, he has to know he can't do that". :X Wow. Judge a book by the cover much, Juli? That'll learn ME. He was really nice, Punky McP DID apologize after all, so the kids started playing together again and all was right with the world. ::::Sigh:::: I love summer :)
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
It's not 100% about the money on the Swiffer brand ones, let's call 40% for the environment, ok? 20% for the inconvenience of having to go to the store to actually get them, and the last 40% for the fact that as I fork over the $3-5 for them, my mind is saying, "this could buy me a yard of Tutti Frutti plisse that's on 50% off right now at Hancocks!!!!!!!!". Fabric.... it's a disease. An addiction. Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Juli and I'm a Fabriholic. And I have no desire to be rehabilitated..... Prince Charming, on the other hand, might like to get the stash reduced a bit, or at least not INCREASE it any more, as it now occupies a chest of drawers in the garage, half of his storage closet in the garage, and the majority of open spaces in my dining room :X
On an unrelated note, the Hurricane has fully grasped the concept that I have a name other than Mommy now. We are thrilled, as this would have come in handy during the Great KidzFest Disappearance and subsequent Taking 30 Years Off of Mommy's Life..... but her walking up to me and saying "Juli, I like-a Goldfish peese" isn't quite as endearing as the "Mommy, I weally hungwy" :*)
Monday, May 19, 2008
1/2 c. Crisco
Sunday, May 18, 2008
~My little email loopie friends. I've only ever met one of these ladies in real life, but I talk to them on a constant basis. Sometimes upwards of 100 emails a day. Before you gasp, keep in mind that these are conversations akin to girlfriends chatting over coffee. So each email is one little snippet from a conversation. Sometimes it's just a "LOL!" or an "I couldn't agree more". But I love these ladies and would be lost without them. When I go on vacation and don't have access to email, I miss them. Prince Charming can't quite believe it when I get a text message from one that my email inbox is full (meaning I have 1000 emails). I think he sometimes thinks I spend too much time on the computer, but some days, this is the only adult conversation I get and therefore what keeps me sane!
Saturday, May 17, 2008
What a few weeks!!! I had a bad case of bronchitis (of COURSE during teacher appreciation week), then HRH was up all night throwing up and had to miss her last day of school :*(. She was crying at 3 AM, saying "I don't want to miss my last school, Mommy".... awwwwwwwwww. That was Thursday. And NOW the Hurricane is throwing up. It's not a really bad virus, they act like they feel fine, and then BLWAH...... throw up everywhere. Lovely, I tell you. And the Hurricane did it earlier and I didn't think anything of it, I thought she had gagged herself b/c she always has her hands in her mouth, and as soon as she finished, she asked for pizza. Let me just tell you now that three slices of pizza is NOT easy to catch in your hands :X Even if you are 6 feet tall and have big old German potato-picking hands like me! Especially if you're simultaneously talking on the phone to your mother and trying to convince your resident princess that she MUST rush to the kitchen and get a towel as fast as she can..... then you have to tell her that it doesn't matter WHAT color towel she gets..... no, you REALLY don't care.... nope, no preference between green or white.... yes, you're telling the truth, you just want a towel as fast as she can bring it, thank you very much.....yes, a yellow towel would be PERFECT! And could you get the phone from Mommy's ear and tell GaGa I'll call her back and press the blue button? What a good helper you are!
Thankfully, I had some Zofran on hand still from last October (doesn't expire until next September, yippee!) when the Hurricane caught a bug at Texas Children's downtown and we hadn't even opened until HRH was sick last week. So I administered Zofran (her) and a Samuel Adams Summer Ale (Mommy). And don't you know that my niece and 3 month old nephew were over today for about 30 minutes. I really don't think she touched him, but I had to make that dreaded "um, my kid's sick" call :X. And another friend came over today with her 9 month old... ACK! If you're reading this, Neile, I tried to call you!!!!!!!
SO......... I have kitchen counters!!!!!!!!!!
Look at Prince Charming working ::::sigh:::: aren't fix-it men dreamy? ;) He even installed our new cooktop, which I'm LOVING......
except now I'm convinced that I need a new wall oven. Him? Not so much.... I'm really proud of us that we did everything ourselves except for the countertops. We still have to glaze the cabinets and do the backsplash. I'm 99% sure we're going to go with a tile like this:
I just have to figure out how to do tile now! LOL!!!!!
Sunday, May 11, 2008
This will be a LONG post, so if you're not into sewing, just skip it, LOL!! And if you're a by-the-books sewer? For your own sanity, you'll probably not want to read any further. It'll drive you crazy!
This is a three-tiered skirt and ruffled bottom. My top tier and ruffle are the same fabric, the blue floral. My tiers are all going to be 5 inches tall un-sewn. I'll add two inches to the top tier to account for the waistband. So, I cut a 30 inch by 7 inch strip for the waistband. Then I cut a 45 inch (top tier x 1.5) by 5 inch band for the middle tier out of the pink paisley. Then a 67.5 (middle tier x 1.5) by 5 inch band for the bottom tier of the stripe. The ruffle is 135 (bottom tier x 2) by 4 inches. I know that sounds tell for a ruffle, but there's a no-hem trick coming up later :)
You start at the bottom and work your way up. It's easier to attach the gathered layers, and also you get the hardest part out of the way first! Win-win!! To make the ruffle, you're going to fold it in half, wrong sides together, you *can iron it, but you don't have to. I don't if I'm working with anything other than a cotton woven.
You're going to set your sewing machine's stitch length as high as it can go (check your manual, it's different for all machines. I told a friend to set hers to 5 and she almost drove herself crazy trying to figure out what the heck I was talking about. Turns out, hers isn't measured that way, LMAO!). Technically, you SHOULD sew TWO gathering stitches, but I never do. Don't tell anyone. The reasoning behind this is that if your thread breaks mid-gather (and it will one day if you do this enough times, trust me!), you'll have the other one to keep going, instead of having to start over from scratch, which sucks (again, trust me! LOL!). You'll sew a straight stitch (set on the longest length) to close your little folded ruffle. Sew it about 1/4 inch from the edge.... a quick guide is that on most machines, you'll have just a teeny bit of fabric showing out of the edge of the sewing machine foot. I just use the edge of the foot as my guide. You'll notice that my fabric is coming out already a little ruffled. You can do this if you adjust your machine tension as high as it can go, I turn mine to 9. The only thing you need to remember if you do this is to turn it back to normal immediately when you're done.
This is what you have so far, if you look at the right side of the fabric:
Now you'll do the exact same thing to the next tier. Make a gathering stitch (or two) (don't' forget to reset your stitch length as long as it can go!) in the striped fabric and then pin it to the pink paisley fabric.
Then you sew the gathered stripe tier to the pink paisley tier. Don't forget to set your stitch length back to normal! Finish it off by zig-zagging. Here's where we are now:
Now we're going to attach the top tier, we're going to make the waistband after we attach everything. Do it exactly the same as the other two tiers. Make your gathering stitch on the top of the pink paisley. (Set stitch length long!) Pin to the blue floral. Then sew together (Reset stitch length!) Finish off by zig-zagging. And presto! We're almost done!
Now we need to close the skirt. You'll sew a seam down the side (right sides of the fabric together, wrong sides facing out), making sure to catch the ends of the fabric so there aren't any holes (voice of experience speaking here!). Finish that seam off by zig-zagging. (Mine looks just a little different b/c I serged the seams, but you get the general idea).
OK, waistband time. Fold over about 1/4 inch of the top of the material, and press with an iron.
Then fold over about an inch and press again.
Now we're going to close the waistband, except for about 2-3 inches of it. You have to leave that open to put the elastic in. Stitch the waistband closed, leaving that opening.
Cut your elastic. I like to use non-roll elastic, for this one, I used 3/4 inch. HRH's waist is 20 inches, I cut the elastic 19 inches. I generally do about an inch less than the waist. Get a large safety pin to use to thread the elastic through the waistband.
When you get close to the back end of the elastic being pulled through, I usually get a straight pin and secure it, b/c you don't want it to go through the waistband yet.
Pull the elastic all the way around, the fabric will gather as you do this.
Now you need to stitch the elastic closed. I overlap about an inch or so.
Then I sew it together with a zig-zag stitch.
pull the waistband to get the elastic back in the casing and stitch it closed.
And the novelty of the new dress wore off after about an hour and HRH decided this was the preferred outfit of the day:
Friday, May 9, 2008
~Summer coming. Today, we went with some friends to their neighborhood swimming pool and it was SO much fun to just hang out with pals and let the kiddos splash around in the toddler pool. It was also the first time the girls have gone swimming this year, and they looked SO stinking cute in their swimsuits!
~Sewing. I'm really enjoying myself lately. I love letting the girls pick out some fabric, and then whipping out a couple of cute twirl skirts that they can wear with tanks for the summer, since they have both declared that they will no longer wear shorts or pants or jeans, they MUST have skirts or dresses. They won't even sleep in jammies, they need nightgowns!!! Here are two of the tutorials I like : twirly skirts , tiered skirts, and pillowcase-ish dresses. The next one I want to try out is this: button shirt to toddler dress . I'm on the hunt for some vintage mens' Hawaiian shirts, I think, lol. If all else fails, I may use a guayabera. :)
~HRH's way of looking at things and talking about things. She has such colorful ways of saying things. A month or so ago, we went to Luby's for supper (that's a cafeteria chain down here), and she was eating fried okra and said "Mommy, these are just MAGIC!" :) She also calls marshmallows "snowmen", which I love. And until probably 5 or 6 months ago, when she counted, she said "eight, nine, ten, love you, twelve, thirteen". And when she smelled something, she'd say "I smell like _______" LOL! It's just so darn cute.
~The Hurricane's ability to make us laugh. She is so adorable. She's a pill, a tornado of a two year old, but oh my gosh, she is such a riot! I can be so frustrated with her that I'm ready to toss her out in the backyard and leave her there, and she'll do something so sweet and cute I just melt! Her daring is amazing, too. Her favorite thing to do nowadays is climb up on one arm of the couch, walk ACROSS the back of it (and no, it's not up against a wall, of course), get to the other arm, and dive head first over the end table to the leather recliner, taking out the lamp most of the time mid-dive. ACK!!!
~$5 pizza. Seriously, if you have a Little Caesar's near you, you just can't go wrong! We're running late coming home from a playdate? No problem! Nothing in the fridge or pantry for supper? No problem! Mommy doesn't feel like cooking? No problem!! And they even have a drive-thru, LOL! PERFECT! And I firmly believe that pizza is a near-perfect food. And good for you! It has grains (crust), fruit (tomato sauce), dairy (cheese), and meats (for those who like pepperoni or hamburger). What could be better? We ate one tonight for supper. And they have this super yummy buttery garlic dipping sauce, too. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
~Prince Charming. Even on the occasions when we're not so thrilled with each other, it's nice to know that he can never stay mad at me :) He works so hard to ensure that I can stay home with our girls, I really appreciate that. And he puts up with me :)
~Farmers Markets. With summer coming, fresh fruit and veggies beware! I'm coming after you! I planted some tomatoes, grape and cherry ones, but I think the cherry ones didn't make it :X I also planted some yellow crookneck squash, it's a family favorite. We're growing them upside down! So cool. I planted dill in the top of the bucket. I also have a lot of fresh herbs growing.... basil (of course!), oregano, thyme, chives, dill, rosemary, parsley, and spearmint. I think I spied cilantro coming back from last year, too, I need to check on that. And the spearmint means my mom's mint tea! YUM!
3 c. boiling water
12 large sprigs mint
4 family sized tea bags
1 c. orange juice
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 c. sugar
6 c. water
Pour boiling water over tea bags and mint. Let steep until cool. In pitcher, combine orange juice, lemon juice and sugar. Strain cooled tea mixture into pitcher and add 6 c. cold water.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008
~My nephew is quite possibly the cutest stinking three month old on the planet right now :)
~Hurricane Lu has fully embraced her inner terrible two-ness. A blog I read somewhere referred to it as TWO-berty. LOVE that, LMAO! And so appropriate!!!!
~Still waiting on the granite. The one we picked was out of stock, so we went to Ubatuba Green. Still love it, and we're on track for getting it installed mid-week next week!!! ::::::snoopy dance::::::
~Teacher Appreciation week at HRH's school is next week. I'm the coordinator, again. I enjoy it, but it sure is crazy. Right now, I'm in the middle of embroidering 40 tote bags with the teachers' monograms. I hope they love them :)
~Top Chef this week..... was it just me, or did they all sound a bit elitist and snobby when they were stunned by the fact that someone could have to prepare a meal for a family of 4 on $10. Whatever. I could feed a family of 10 on $5 if I had to. That irritated me. And I was sad to see Mark go, but it was his time. I'll miss his accent, though. :)
~DWTS - HRH is SO upset that Shannon Elizabeth is gone now. She said, and I quote, "but her boy was the prettiest!" :X LOL! I like her, but am I the only one who thought she looked a little like Baby's sister Lisa in Dirty Dancing when she's practicing for the talent show? :X
I feel bad for saying that, but it's not the first time I thought it :X
~Hell's Kitchen - Gordon has absolutely lost his fricking mind this season. These people are blithering idiots. I wouldn't eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich from them!!!! I find it hard to keep watching, but there's something strangely fascinating about it..... kind of like a car wreck.... or PerezHilton... or wrestling. I'll shut up now.
~Thong underwear..... there's just something a little funny about putting some on when you're getting dressed in the morning (to spare the general public from the dreaded VPL), especially when your children look in horror and declare "Mommy, your panties are broken!!!!!!!!!" :X