Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Back to school breakfast

My kids go back to school next week and I am not ready. We have all the supplies neatly tucked in the backpacks, all the forms have been filled out, money paid, classroom assignments arranged, gym clothes purchased,but I am not ready. I enjoy summer with the kids so much it is one of the reasons I really don't want to get a job outside the home. One of the only and major drawbacks for me getting a job would be the loss of freedom to hang out with my terrific kids for the short amount of time I get to have them at home. I know I could get a job at the school part-time to keep with their school schedule, but I would still have the hassle of vacation time, volunteering in the classroom, field trips, and in short, I just don't want to.

One of our struggles about going back to school is breakfast. It is my favorite meal of the day. I love all foods breakfast. In the summer we enjoy hearty breakfasts every day. If I ever skip a meal, and it is not often (I don't get it when people say they forgot to have lunch! I never forget a meal) it is not breakfast if I can help it. I like breakfast so much that during the school year I still get up early enough to cook a hot meal every morning. Sometimes I take Fridays off and we don't have time Sunday morning before church, so those are cold breakfast days, but other than that...

This is one of my recipes that we use about once a week or more during the school year and summer as well. I double it and either keep the extra batter in fridge, (it will keep for a week and a half or so) or I put it into muffin cups and freeze it. Then just pop them out of the freezer into muffin pan (no thawing required) and bake for about 25 minutes instead of the 18-20 minutes. It is a great healthy breakfast with a couple of slices of turkey bacon for some protein to start the day. Hope you enjoy! I like to use my stoneware muffin pan from my Pampered Chef consultant days. That way when you finish your yummy muffin and come back for more the stoneware keeps it warm.

Classic Bran Muffins

1 1/2 cups wheat bran

1 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

2/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup raisins (optional) - I don't add these, I like them, but I am the only one in the family who does.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners. - I use silicone cups. Love them. Easy to wash out. A tiny spritz of Pam and all you will have to do is turn them over and lightly squeeze, the muffin will fall right out. Easy clean-up.

Mix together wheat bran and buttermilk; let stand for 10 minutes. - I don't wait ten minutes, Just however long it takes to get the other ingredients together.

Beat together oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and add to buttermilk/bran mixture. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into buttermilk mixture, until just blended. Fold in raisins and spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.

Bake for 15 to 20 mintues or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool and enjoy! - I eat mine warm, split in half with a little pat of butter or jam. They are great with fruit butters in the fall!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Subway sandwich made me cry once

Do you remember the first time someone asked for the last four digits of your social security number? If you are like me you did not just blurt it out immediately, you had to go through the whole thing. 449-60-2978. That's not my real SS#. I made that one up. Don't bother trying to steal my identity. Do you know how they come up with that number? The first three are area numbers. It depends on where you got your SS card. The next two numbers are group numbers. They are kind of random and just break things up. The last four are serial numbers. They just start at one and keep going. At least that is what I just read on wikipedia. My point is, it probably took you several times of being asked for the last four digits of you social security number to be able to just blurt it out without having to go through the whole thing.

Which brings me to Subway. I have a problem with the way they have things set up. I went in on a lovely day to pick up lunch for me and some friends. I was in a great mood. This particular Subway was a bit busy that day. I moved on down the line and when it was my turn I gave my order. One footlong turkey and bacon with extra mayo and everything, one 6" teriyaki chicken warm with dressing, lettuce, cucumber, green pepper, tomato, a 6" ham and cheese with everything but hot peppers. What kind of bread? Bread? Ah, white. He cuts and shoves it down to the next person. She asks me what kind of meat. Ah, Turkey and bacon. While she slaps that on, guy number one repeats what kind of bread? White, all of them white. He cuts and shoves. Meanwhile, girl two has the new white bread and asks what kind of meat. Um, the first was turkey and bacon the second is teriyaki chicken. Which one is this? Two. So far so good. Then guy three, who is now holding sandwich one asks what do you want on the turkey and bacon. Everything. Not bad. I am doing okay. Lady number two now has the bread for sandwich number three. What kind of meat? Okay so one was turkey and bacon, two was teriyaki chicken..... She interrupts me because quite a line is now forming behind me. I just need to know what you want on this one. But I am just not ready to blurt out, 2978. That is not how I rehearsed it in my head so that I would not forget. I rehearsed, One footlong turkey and bacon with extra mayo and everything, one 6" teriyaki chickien warm with dressing, lettuce, cucumber, green pepper, tomato, a 6" ham and cheese with everything but hot peppers. Nonetheless, I now silently run through the order in my head until I get to the part she wants and blurt out, ham. Guy three is now interested in what to put on sandwich two. Girl two wants to know what kind of cheese. American, or white whichever is easiest. But now, I have just remembered that sandwich one is supposed to have extra mayo. And he has already wrapped that one. I tell him anyway. Guy four steps in. He is the cash register guy. He hastily unwraps and mayo's sandwich one. Mr. Three is still asking about sandwich two. I have learned, I am silently going through my list 'til I get to his part, when lady two asks what do you want on the ham. I hold up a finger to silently tell her just a minute and blurt out guy three's necessary info, and then turn to girl three to ask what info she needs when guy four at the cash register is interested in what kind of sandwiches I am getting so he can ring it up before it is made. I don't even know what sandwich girl two is working on, and she is really agitated. Guy one has cut another piece of 6" white bread and wants to know what kind of meat I want. I am confused after giving the whole order to cash register guy and tell him ham and cheese. Girl two wants to know what veggies. Everything but hot peppers. Anyway, I ended up with four sandwiches instead of three, I wasn't sure what was in any of them, the staff was irritated with me, the line was piling up, and I was willing to buy the mystery sandwich just to get out of there.

Why can't they have an order sheet that moves along with the sandwich so you don't have four people asking you what to put on the sandwich all at the same time? It is just not nice. No other sandwich places do it that way and with good reason. I love their sandwiches, but that system is just enough to drive me crazy.

When you are feeling stupid, just say to yourself, "There are other things that I am good at, this just isn't one of them." I am not a great multi-tasker. I am easily distracted. And my memory is not so good. If you want a sandwich from Subway, you are going to have to get it yourself. I am not going to order for you. It was embarrassing wiping that tear from my face in front the cashier guy.

Would you like to share some of your own humorous shortcomings? I wish you would. It would make all us schlepps out here feel so much better to read about it. I wish this is the only embarrassing moment I have to share, but there are so many more available I will have to save them for future blogging days so as not to overwhelm you all.

Monday, August 11, 2008

She's 9!

I threw a small birthday party for my daughter. I offered to let her invite more friends, but she only invited 5 people and 3 of them were able to come. Here is what we did:

We started with a craft I found from Family Fun magazine several years ago. The girls had a little bit of a hard time with it, but they turned out great.

You get 20 guage wire and cut 2 1/2 feet. Make a loop at the top for hanging. Then thread beads on about 1" apart making a "z" shaped bend in the wire (bend in one direction at the top of the bead and the other direction at the bottom of the bead) to hold the bead in place. At the last bead wrap the wire around the bead two times to secure the end. Then wrap the wire about a thin spice bottle from your pantry. When you slide it of your spice bottle you will have a corkscrew shape suncatcher like this:

Then, we played games. I found this great game when surfing the internet for great outdoors games for the kids for summer. It is called Bucket Blast. The genius is in it's simplicity. They give instructions for 15 games to be played with buckets, beanbags, cones, and blindfolds, all of which are provided with a nifty little mesh bag to keep it all in. The games are great. At first I thought only my 9 year old would love it, but now see that my soon to be 13 yo would have fun with this with his friends. Perfect for family get togethers. Here is the link to their website:


Read the reviews on Amazon too.

I even baked and decorated the cake myself. I love Baker's Joy spray! Look for it in the grocery store near the Pam products. It is oil mixed with flour that you spray right into the pan! You don't have to grease and flour anymore. It is so easy and cakes come out of the pan easily every time. I took the picture from the top so you can't see how lopsided it is. After I did my goofy job of decorating I remembered I have the Pampered Chef cake decorating stencils, which would have been easier, but, oh well. On the inside it is pink and blue swirl party cake. The box said best if used by '06, but it was just fine in '08!

All in all, it was a simple success.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

What got me started?

My sister started a blog. I was having so much fun thinking of creative responses to her posts! She gently nudged me out of her nest and politely invited me to get a blog of my own. My husband's cousin has a cooking blog. My sister's is kind of like a journal. I have seen sewing blogs. I wasn't sure what I should blog about...

And then I remembered - I have something I want to say.

At the end of the school year I was trying to arrange some meetings at my child's school. One day I got home to a message on my home phone. It was one of the school administrators. She was totally exasperated with me. "We had a meeting scheduled for this morning at 9 am! I left you a message on your cell phone to let you know the date and time. You missed it. Please call to reschedule."

I did call to reschedule. In fact, we were able to meet that day. She asked me what my schedule was. I told her it was open. Whatever time would work for her, I could work my schedule around it. Having a flexible schedule is one of the benefits of being a sahm.

I tried to kindly let this woman know that for future reference, my cell phone is not my primary number. I really don't even use it very often. It is best to leave messages on my home phone first and cell phone secondary. "REALLY?" she says.


"What do you do?"

"I am a stay-at-home mother."

"Both your kids are in school?"


"Oh, (Clearly this has taken her off guard and she is shocked. There is now an awkward pause while she thinks of what to say next)I wish I had time like that. It must be nice."

"It is." - I let it go at that. I may be oversensitive. But it seems to me that this lovely woman got the wrong impression of what my life is like.

Let me just say it from the start - I respect working mothers. In fact, I am in awe. You amazing women manage to do in a matter of hours what it takes me all day to do.

But, I don't just sit around with free time on my hands!

I remember being a kid and leaving for school. I remember coming home and asking mom what she did that day. I don't remember her answer. I do remember assuming it wasn't much. I am a mother now. I remember finding out that I was WRONG - PERIOD.

I am not June Cleaver, though I aspire to be like her, clean and organized house, well dressed, good cook, have all the answers and dish them out with kindness, patience and humor. I am nowhere close, but I do believe that good homemaking takes real skill. And I am truly passionate about things like sewing, cooking, (notice cleaning does not make the list) parenting and especially my wonderful husband.

So, this blog will be my answer to every child's question, what does my mother do all day? I intend to share some recipes, parenting tips and faux pas, what helps me stay in my budget, I think I'll let you know what is keeping me busy, I might do some product reviews (I love gadgets!), I'll probably share some rambling, random, humurous anecdotes, if I ever get to it, I will share my projects completed and it is entirely likely that I will do just whatever I feel like at that moment, on that day.

That is how my blog started.