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Friday, September 30, 2011

Five Reasons Why I' Should Trade in My Car for an RV

I've been thinkin', and I think I have come up with the PERFECT solution to help working moms keep their sanity:  Trade in that SUV or mini van for mobile home!

I think if you take a peek inside my beloved Acadia, you'll see why...

 Front Passenger Seat:
Complete with misc. school supplies (for homework in the car), my coat for unpredictable
temps, a gently used old kid coat to donate to the Coats for Kids, and assorted magazines,
sale ads and coupons to read and sort while I'm waiting on the girls. 

The Front Floor Board:
Now, I did go to the trouble of tidying up for you a bit... you're not seeing the four
empty water bottles and the assorted Kleenex and granola bar wrappers that were there
the day before. I do keep an ample supply of snacks (the Wheat Thins are mine) and audio
books for some quality commuting time. The green thing is a folder with a wide array of
restaurant coupons and grocery ads, because what good are they at home?

Back Seat:
This is the Daughter Zone. Baby wipes (in the enclosed container, so they all don't dry out
when someone doesn't close the lid!), school bags, a change of clothes (I think these are have
been there less than a week--we're making progress!), and a stash of granola bars, pencils and hairbrushes
in the basket. You can't see the gallon carton of Goldfishies under the pink shirt.
Are you noticing the used Kleenexes peeking out?
Yeah. Ick.

Way Back:
You think the way back is any better? Hardly! I can't put the third row of seats up--where would
I keep all the stuff??? Like a cooler with sandwiches to everyone before a late tennis practice, 
folding camp chairs for watching matches, a cooler with water bottles, rackets, a bag full of rain ponchos and wind breakers and, what?, don't you keep a couple dozen tennis balls and the school's
ball thrower in the back of your car? 

Are you with me on this? Don't you think a drive-around RV would simplify my life??

I know, on the surface, you might be thinking that's a dumb idea-
-where you going to park it? 
-don't they get bad gas mileage?
But, hear me out...

 These are my top reasons why I think an RV is the perfect MomMobile:
5.  I can organize and stow all the clothing changes the kids and I need. This is especially helpful this time of year, when it's 51 degrees when you leave the house, soars to 76 degrees by 4:30 tennis team practice, the suddenly bursts out raining. No more forgetting tennis shoes or a sweatshirt... It's all right there!

4.  Food!  With an on-board fridge and microwave and sink, dinner will be a snap. We don't have to pack coolers or run through the drive-up.

3. Space. Sometimes I feel like we're living in my car. We eat there, read there, study there, change clothes there, wait for extended periods of time there. Wouldn't it be great to have a table and chairs and a couch to spread out homework or watch a movie while you wait for the next after-school meeting or whatever? 

2.  My very own bathroom. What could be better than that? Especially when we're at an away game at another school. Some of those joints put their restroom facilities on the other side of the nowhere! And, 9 times out of 10, they're out of TP when you get there! Bathroom Bonus:  Fewer cooties!

1.  A bed. Let's be honest:  Sometimes, after a long day at work, all I really want is a short cat nap between meetings or sports team stops. Compared to the front seat of my car, the thought of a bed in the back of my RV just warms my heart. And, besides, it's not just for me--sometimes the girls could use a nap, too.

Now. Tell that doesn't make a lot of sense.
Do you think the automakers are listening? I think this could be a whole new category for sales.
Tell me this wouldn't solve all my issues...
Now, I just might have to sell our house and actually live one like this... 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hunk O' Meat Monday: GP's Pulled Beef Sandwiches

Just in time for Hunk O' Meat Monday over at Beyer Beware, I tried out another recipe from Gooseberry Patch's Slow Cookers, Casseroles and Skillets:  Pulled Beef Sandwiches.

Now, I'm a sucker for comfort food. And, while I enjoy trying new recipes, I have to admit I enjoy getting stuck in a rut on some of my favorite foods. Well, this one got me out of my rut for what to do with a chuck roast. I think I have a new favorite--and not just for me. The whole family loved it. (I think the leftovers were breakfast for one of the girls.)

You don't need very many ingredients...

Sprinkle the meat tenderizer on the beef.

Add the water, beef stock and garlic. And cook all day in the slow cooker.

After cooking, the beef shreds easily with a couple of forks.
Then put it back in the slow cooker liquid and add the onion soup mix.

Serve up the pulled beef on soft buns. Yum!

Like I said, this is a winner at our house!

Hunk of Meat Mondays

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Can't We Just Go Home and Eat??

I feel like the family isn't eating much at home lately.
I feel guilty that this week I threw out some zucchini, a couple of peaches and salad mix that turned on me in the fridge. Horrible victims of poor planning on my part. For the near future, I think I'm not going to buy any fresh food. I'm sticking to frozen and canned, because I can't stand the waste.

The girls have had a lot of late tennis team practices and/or matches the last few weeks. We're nearing the end of the season in just a few more weeks, so I guess there's hope. They did get a practice night off Friday, only to allow for their school's fall festival. Which meant eating at school.

Tonight? We were at a wedding.
You'd think I'd appreciate not having to cook. But, in reality, I'm missing some good ol' comfort food. I could really use some chili right now.
And, the situation isn't helping with my Gooseberry Patch project cooking.

The buffet at the wedding offered up the best fettuccine Alfredo I've ever had. LittleD decided to gorge ourselves with seconds of the pasta and go light on the cake. (Good move, as the cake was a little dry.)

The funniest thing that happened at the reception was two well-dressed men of Indian descent (I mean the country, not Native Americans) came wandering through the reception hall, with a small table tent name card in-hand, looking a little bewildered until the found a hall staff member. The funny part was this banquet facility had two wedding this evening:  the 200-person one we were attending, chock full of white people.

The other, which took up several of the ballrooms at the site (including the ones closest to the entrance) for a very, very large, festive wedding of an Indian couple. When I stepped into the lobby to use the restroom, every woman I saw was decked-out with some variation of a bright, gold-trimmed, colorful sari (lots of bling). It just struck me as so funny that these two guys would wander 2/3 of the way into our wedding, before figuring out they were in the wrong place!
All I could think was:  Men everywhere are just alike:  oblivious!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Showin' Some Love for a Friend

How do you show love and support for someone who is miles away and dealing with a recent cancer diagnosis (for the second time!)?
With a little lovin' link up.

Some of our bloggin' buddies are sending out some love bombs to Leontien today. We're hoping she'll know she's not alone.

She's such a fun and funny, spirited, gal, who loves cows even more than I do (good thing, since she's a dairy farmer!). In fact, she's the one who first turned me on to my Big Plans to start a cow-cuddling enterprise.

If you get a few minutes this week, swing by Leontien's blog to bomb her with some encouraging words!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Gooseberry Patch Recipe 1--And It "was actually good"

So this is my first recipe from the Gooseberry Patch's Slow Cookers, Casseroles & Skillets.
This is part of the Real Farmwives of America "In the Kitchen with Gooseberry Patch" project.
Over the next couple of months, I'll be blogging 10 recipes from this book, then giving away a copy.

Now, I know that's a rather pathetic-sounding title for this blog. But, I felt like I had to quote The Husband's review of the "Hannah's Lemon Chicken & Bows" I made last night.
Actually, his full review went something like this:
The Husband:  "This was actually good."
Me:  "What's that supposed to mean?"
The Husband:  "Well, some of the stuff you come up with isn't... (thinking carefully now)  so great. Kinda weird, sometimes."

Yeah, I'm not afraid to try new recipes all the time now and then to liven up the boring meals around here... And (sniff) they aren't always appreciated by my chicken nugget-eating family...
Let me tell you, I don't see anybody losing weight at my house, so my culinary creations can't be that bad.
But, I digress... Let's get back to the recipe:

Hannah's Lemon Chicken & Bows

Most of the ingredients are pretty basic items, except, maybe the lemon.

I started with some basic ingredient preparations, which means...

Get your daughter to start zesting a lemon, chopping onions and cutting the chicken.

Saute the onion and garlic in a skillet with the olive oil.

When they've cooked a few minutes, add the cubed chicken breasts.
Now is the time to start the water boiling for the bow tie pasta.

Next add the basil and half the lemon juice

Meanwhile, get the lemon sauce started by melting a stick of butter.
Then add the flour to thicken.
Keep stirring that chicken and the sauce.
(This is where the kids come in really handy!)
When the sauce is thick and bubbly, add the chicken stock and the rest of the lemon juice.
Keep stirring.

Finally, when the chicken is cooked, the pasta is done and the sauce is ready,
combine them all and serve. 

With a couple of family members who are sauce-averse, I don't usually combine
these types of dishes until I they are a proven favorite.
(Yes, we're that family that eats mashed potatoes without even thinking about gravy.)

Ultimately, the lemony sauce was very good (even The Husband said so!).
But, there was an awful lot for us. Next time, I would cut the sauce recipe in half.
(Actually, I'm going to try to freeze the remaining half, so this dish will be even easier to whip up next time!)

I served it up with a side of steamed broccoli, on-sale cherries and sliced plums.

This meal is definitely a do-over.

Thanks for the fine folks at Gooseberry Patch, who provided two copies of this cookbook to me. Stay tuned, because after a cook a few, I'll be giving one away!