Y is for You Only Live Once

That is, you only experience each day one time for real, then from the moment it passes, that day can only be relived in your memory. That’s why it’s so important for me to write these days down, simple or uninteresting as they may seem. These days are fleeting, and the memory is even more so. I write this blog only partly for you, but mostly for me–so that I can know that things were accomplished and life has been lived.

I suppose now would be a good time to explain that one of our cars was stolen on January 1. Not just any one though. The good one. The reliable one. Not the one that needs a new transmission and radiator. Not the one that cannot go in reverse. No, that’s the one we have left now.

Without going into too much detail, we can suffice it to say that no one was physically harmed in the theft, and it was not stolen anywhere near our house. Things are slowly working themselves out between police reports and the insurance company. It will probably be awhile before we are a 2-car family again. But honestly, this is nothing new.

We’ve had so many car troubles over the years, and this is just another one of them. We are both taking it pretty well, just rolling with it, and making due. Once again though, God is providing so much support to us during this time.

Friends and family have expressed their willingness to help, and that came into play on Saturday when Legolas offered to drive me around town to run errands, one of which was going grocery shopping.

2014-01-04 12.28.40

I am extremely grateful for her help in driving and carrying groceries and stopping at Starbucks so I could find a cup of wakefulness. God is definitely taking care of us.

By time we finished the errands, put all the groceries away, and relaxed a bit, it was time to start dinner for the kids. Fish fillets, ham and potato soup, and fruit were the fare because I was too exhausted to be any more elaborate than that.

Angel came over around 6:30, and she, Legolas, and I spent the rest of the evening watching the second season of BBC’s Sherlock. It was quite fun! Angel ended up spending the night because the weather was pretty wicked, and we didn’t want her parents to have to come out so late to pick her up.

Meanwhile, Heath had gone to a friend’s house to hang out while I had the girls over, but on his way home, the car (did I mention it’s also bad on snow and ice?) got stuck. He walked the four blocks back to his friend’s house and spent the night there so that they could help him free the car in the morning.

Yeah, that’s how we roll. :-/

Sunday, we obviously could not make it to church not only because of the roads but also the fact that we had no car to take us there. But it was nice to sleep in a little. Angel took off mid-morning, and we got some laundry started. My parents stopped by to visit the kids, and I contemplated whether or not I should start my weekend house cleaning.

As it turned out, I needed to do some website work, and that took a lot of the morning and some of the afternoon. My parents took the kids with them to run errands, so Heath and I were able to get some things done.

When everybody came back, I went out with them to Walmart, where I procured my 2014 calendar finally and a space heater to use in my office or the family room–wherever it is needed downstairs at the time. We also had dinner at a Chinese buffet where the kids practiced their skills at breaking into crab legs. That was pretty fun to watch!

I love going through the last year’s months as I transfer significant dates to the new calendar. It’s always a beautiful little trip down memory lane. Remembering things like…

…how Elraen was still living with us at the beginning of 2013, and Julie played her violin in front of an official school district orchestra judge…

2014-01-06 00.26.15

…how we had all kinds of visitors and crazy things going on the first weekend of the CleanPlace Moot…

2014-01-06 00.25.14

 

…how Julie ate ALL her dinner on June 27. XD

2014-01-06 00.24.48

A couple days ago, I was reminded by one of my Inkaholics teens that were going to have a get together over winter break. In the midst of life’s chaos, I had totally forgotten. So we hastily scheduled a movie night for Sunday, and three of the kids came over at 6:00.

It was so great to see them again! I always seem to forget how much I miss them between our get togethers. It’s time to get another Ink group going ASAP. We started off by watching an episode of Sherlock because one of them had only seen the first two episodes.

And since I did NOT want to be the one responsible for exposing him to season 2, episode 1 (if you know the show, you know which one I mean), then we browsed Netflix for a suitable movie instead. Jack Reacher was somehow picked, and Jerri and I spent half the time mocking Tom Cruise. It was a blast.

Now it’s 1:00 AM again, and I have no idea where the weekend went. Tomorrow, we’ll be hitting Monday hard with a workout in the morning. Then some productivity will follow. Here’s hoping!

X is for X

Today was a bit of a rough one. Well, the last two days have been rough to be honest. Some parts might have been best left Xed out. Like I flipped the pop cap and got a “Not a winner – Please try again” on this particular 48-hour time period. Let’s just say that I’m really excited for school to start again next week so we can get back to the predictable chaos. 馃槢

20140104-013614.jpg

The day started off pretty fine. Julie went off to work at my mom’s store for the second day in a row, leaving Everest with me to entertain himself while I worked. When he gets started on something specific, he is usually good at staying with it for awhile. But it’s the coming up with those ideas that’s difficult, and he usually likes to be with someone while he’s doing it. And he loves talking. This is not conducive to getting work done…

Somehow I managed to get the minimal amount of things done that I needed to before Julie got home, and Everest finally had someone to play with. Dinner was somewhat hurried when 4:00 rolled around and the kids got suddenly hungry really fast.

So I took four frozen steak burritos, put them in a pan, poured enchilada sauce, cheese, and corn over them, baked it for 30 minutes, and called it good. Turning on the oven on these chilly nights has been good to help keep the house warm. I also whipped up instant chocolate pudding, carrots, and corn chips for the sides. Oh yeah, winner dinner right there, eh? In my defense, we are overdue in going grocery shopping due to extenuating circumstances. But that should be remedied tomorrow. Well, the lack of shopping part anyway.

We had a family movie night with dinner and Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, which was a terrible sequel to a classic, but it was entertaining enough to keep the kids interested. It even opened up an opportunity for Julie to say she wouldn’t act like the silly tweenage girls in the movie who were making stupid choices. That was pretty cool.

Being Friday night, it was my standing date with my Muse girls in the evening. Angel has been the only one able to come lately, but that’s still been good. We’ve had lots of great talks about life and the future. :)

Tomorrow is going to be unspeakably busy, and I need to get up early. So off I go to fall asleep to the sounds of my Sherlock Holmes audiobook.

W is for Wallpaper

A few of the rooms in the new house were wallpapered, and wallpaper is not my thing at all. However, removing wallpaper is even more not my thing, so I checked online for options about painting over wallpaper. As it turns out, it IS possible to do so and still make it look good if the wallpaper is in good shape. It seemed in pretty good shape to me, so I went for it.

First, I did the master bathroom, which had some textured, flowery wallpaper. The design was fine, it just wasn’t me. So I painted one wall green and the other ones yellow. I actually like how the texture came through with the paint over it. Here are a couple before and after shots:

Before
Before
Partial After
Partial After

The downstairs bathroom had some flowery wallpaper in there too, of which I did not get a “before” shot. I painted it the same purple as what we used in Julie’s bedroom because…well, because my downstairs bathroom HAS to be purple. I can’t explain it. It just does. And if you are familiar with our townhouse’s downstairs bathroom, the way this is decorated will look somewhat similar, because…well, reasons.

2014-01-02 21.07.48

The only wallpaper that did not get covered over was the front hall, dining room, and kitchen wallpaper because they were actually pretty nice as is. Not to mention that the kitchen wallpaper was yellow and fabricy and thus easy to clean. So it all stayed, and the kitchen colors reminded me so much of home after I got the Christmas lights hung up around the ceiling. Even Julie said “NOW it looks like home!” when she saw them up. :-)

In other painting news, I finally finished painting our master bathroom’s water closet area. It was originally this peachy color, which was fine but not nearly bold enough for me. Loving the way it turned out!聽I had extra paint leftover and therefore felt compelled to paint some trees around the house too.

2014-01-02 09.51.22 2013-12-28 19.49.00

December was a month of finishing up school programs, trying to stay warm, buying presents on a shoestring budget, and having our first Christmas-New Year’s-Birthday holidays in our new home.

Since we now had room, we decided to upgrade our tree. The Arc had some really nice ones there on one of the weekends we went for something else. I waited until it was half-price day on that tag, and we got a fantastic tree for only $20!

We didn’t really have any special ornaments, so I let the kids each pick three half-priced ornaments at the Arc. Plus, we had spent some time the previous week making our own ornaments with homemade clay, and the kids brought home some made at school. The tree turned out absolutely beautiful and very much US.

2013-12-14 13.27.55

We also had some fun times making gingerbread houses from graham crackers and candy from the dollar store. Legolas joined us and, of course, coming in on the heels of The Hobbit: The聽Desolation of Smaug, she had to make a gingerbread dragon.

2013-12-14 15.17.25

Our Christmas morning was pretty chill. My parents had dropped off some Legos for the kids the night before, which I planted in their rooms while they slept. The ploy worked perfectly as they spent the early morning putting together their sets upstairs so Heath and I could sleep in for a couple hours.

DSCN4524

My parents came over around 10:00, and we had a breakfast casserole that I had put together the night before. Heath got a fire going, so it was all cozy and lovely and relaxing time of being together as a family. The gifts were not overwhelming, and everything was much appreciated.

This year, we let the kids have a $20 budget to buy presents for each other, but the rule was that they had to buy at Goodwill or the Arc or another thrift store. It worked out fabulously because they were able to pick out a lot more for each other than if they went to even Walmart.

What a happy Christmas cat, eh? No?
What a happy Christmas cat, eh? No?

Everest’s 7th birthday was super fun for the whole family. He had decided that he wanted to do something with just the family as opposed to having a big party with friends. So we planned out a whole day together, and it was QUITE a success!

First, we went to Red Robin for lunch and took Legolas with us–because she’s family too. 馃槈 Afterward, we picked up a custard cake at Culver’s and dropped it off at home. We turned around and headed out for a couple games of bowling as a family. We got the kids their own lane next to ours, and it worked out great.

2013-12-31 14.30.50

We returned home, had a snack and a little rest, and took off to go see a movie at the dollar theater. It was a fun way to top off a fun day! Everest was very happy, had fun, and I believe he felt very celebrated. :-)

Our New Year’s Eve night was pretty relaxed too. Heath went out for his annual Sunrise Summit hike, where he leaves late and night, drives to a mountain, and attempts to climb it timed in such a way that he gets to watch the sun come up on a new year from the top of a 14,000-foot mountain.

Since the kids were exhausted from the birthday activities, they went to bed pretty easily. Then Legolas and I got out the snacks and a few celebratory drinks, and watched several episodes of Heroes, season 4, with the fire blazing to keep us warm. Such an easy night, but very fun!

2013-12-31 20.15.01

 

That brings us up to today.

I should also mention that this week, Legolas and I started going back to the gym together. We went three days in a row, then took off New Year’s Day. I took off today too because Julie was going to spend the day working at my mom’s store, and I knew it was going to be hard to concentrate on work with Everest having no one else to talk to but me.

Heath had to work a double shift, so we made dinner super easy: canned chicken noodle soup, ham and cheese quesadillas, and yogurt, with birthday cake for dessert. Not terrible at all because they loved it and ate everything. I call that a success.

This evening has been spent catching up on emails, going through pictures, chatting with Midget (online) and Legolas (in person), and writing this blog post. I’ve got a load of freelance stuff coming up on my list, which is great, but that will have to wait for tomorrow…

 

 

V is for Violin

2013-09-03 14.50.05

Sometime in September, we went to the music store to get Julie a violin rental because she had been looking forward to joining orchestra for a second year all summer long. As it turned out, they had just gotten in some inexpensive but still high quality violins for purchase. We checked one out, and the Jewel was in love. Between the money she had saved in the bank, what she had from working during the summer at my mom’s store, and a little loan from me, she was able to get her very own violin and case.

She was thrilled beyond belief and has had even more determination to practice and continue with her playing. She definitely has a musical talent, one that I hope we can encourage as much as possible even though we can’t afford lessons right now.

2013-12-10 19.09.34

Throughout September and October, we spent a lot of time setting up the house. My parents began their process of downsizing from the house they have lived in for almost 30 years (where I did a lot of my growing up too) to a new condo. Since they had to get rid of a lot of furniture, we ended up getting quite a bit of their stuff, including some wood cabinets, leather couches, lamps, end tables, and all kinds of things that definitely helped fill in all this square footage that we found ourselves swimming in.

2013-09-11 08.40.40
2013-11-16 19.37.30

At the end of October, we enjoyed our first Halloween in our new neighborhood. We didn’t have time to bake for treat-back bags, but the kids DID still want to do it. So we labeled and stuffed a bunch of small zip bags with candy to give back to the people who answered the doors and kids we met on the street. Angel came over and walked from door to door with us too, which was great fun!

2013-10-31 16.48.23
2013-10-31 18.10.16

The other fun thing about our Halloween this year was the fact that we now live in a place where people will actually come to our door to trick or treat! Our plan that night was to go door to door for an hour or so, then come back and hand out candy and cups of hot chocolate from a station in our garage.

2013-10-31 17.40.29

It was a total success! By time we finished doing our own trick or treating, there were lots of kids out on the sidewalks. We had set everything up beforehand, so when we got home, all we had to do was get inside and open the garage door. The parents got hot chocolate and marshmallows while the kids got candy. When we ran out of hot chocolate, we started offering hot apple cider. It was a chilly night, so lots of parents told us, “You’re the best house on the street!” as they thanked us for the hot beverage to warm them up.

Julie had so much fun with it that she actually said that next year, she just wants to stay at home and do the candy/hot chocolate stand instead of going door to door. Heath could take Everest out door to door while Julie and I would stay home and man the station. Sounds like fun to me!

November was another busy month of continuing to settle in and settle into new routines. We began to discover the challenges of heating a gigantic house, and they were not pretty challenges! Our saving grace has been the fireplace in the family room. It creates great heat if you can get it going hot enough, but of course having enough wood has been an issue. But I think we have found some good ways to control the heat around the house and make sure everyone is warm where it counts.

Since my parents were in the middle of their move, we hosted Thanksgiving at our house. Mike and Kate came and stayed with us for a couple days too, which was fabulous. We haven’t had them stay with us for years. Heath kept the fire going all day, I cooked in the kitchen with intermittent helpers throughout the afternoon, and everybody had space to chat and play. It was lovely!

The dining set that we bought from the previous owner seated all 12 of us perfectly; we had our family of four, Mike and Kate’s family of four, my parents, plus Joey, who came early and spent the day with us, and Legolas, whose family finished their dinner at lunchtime, so she joined us for a little bit of our meal. It was so wonderful to have so many loved ones in the house together at once.

More holidays to be revealed in the next post and then hopefully we will be all caught up to the present…

U is for Unbelievable

un路be路liev路a路ble
[uhn-bi-lee-vuh-buhl] adjective –聽 1. too聽dubious聽or聽improbable聽to聽be聽believed:聽an聽unbelievable聽excuse.

I’ll tell you what’s dubious and improbable to be believed–the fact that my last life update was a rundown of June 2013, posted in the middle of July. Good Heavens. Well, it’s the new year, and while I am not a fan of saying I’m going to stick with something just because it’s January 1, this day does seem as good as any to get started updating my blog again.

After all, another dubious thing around here is my memory, and I will soon forget all the crazy happenings and blessings that occur in this place if I don’t write them down. Already, July and August are pretty much a blur. As it is, I’m going to have to go through my photo gallery on my phone just to remember the major things.

One thing I can remember is that July and August were fairly insane as we packed up our townhouse in preparation of the move. We finalized all the paperwork for the new house, found renters, fixed everything we could in the townhouse, and began moving things into the new house. It was all very crazy and fast-paced. Living in the townhouse as it slowly emptied out was incredibly depressing, but part of me is glad that it was.

2013-08-04 10.08.30

Seeing our personality leak out the doors via cardboard boxes from the liquor store helped me release the place so that the parting would later be more of a bittersweet goodbye than a painful heartbreak.

A lot happened during August actually. There was a lot of packing and moving of boxes, painting parties, school starting, and moving into the new house a week early (by the previous owner’s invitation). My Inkaholics teen writers were extremely helpful during moving and painting days. I love those kids.

2013-08-03 12.50.19

 

We also made a trip up to northern Colorado to visit Mike and Kate’s family. The weekend was strategically timed so that it coincided with Heath having the carpet done and the house professionally cleaned. Time was running out, and we just didn’t have time to get to everything.

So the kids and I headed up for a 3-day visit and had a fun time doing everything from playing at parks, to going to a fair, to visiting a couple museums, to seeing Nana and Papa for lunch in Denver.

We had more painting parties as the move-in day grew closer, and the Inkaholics turned up once again! I didn’t get a chance to feed them the second time, so I promised them a movie night in a couple months. (Which we did have several weeks later at the new house.)

I was super fortunate with the paint situation. If you have purchased paint anytime recently, you know that it is around $25-$40 per gallon, depending on what you get. We did buy paint for the kids’ rooms and a gallon of yellow for the bathroom and one of the library walls, but I had to wait on any other paint.

Thankfully, two things happened that completely saved us from having to buy more. First, I opened the paint cans that had been in the crawlspace from painting our townhouse over ten years ago, and ALL the paint was perfectly preserved. It just needed a good stir, and it was good to go!

Second, my mom bequeathed unto us several cans of paint from their house that was leftover from various projects both finished and never started. The red she gave me was the exact red I wanted for a wall in my office, and the beige was perfect for our bedroom. The rest of the colors, I actually ended up mixing together to get the hues I was looking for. I’m truly amazed at how well everything turned out.

We were officially moved in on September 1, and on that same day, we welcomed a dear friend to come live with us. Legolas is now renting the basement bedroom and things have been working out swimmingly. She has her own space and does her own thing, so we never really get in each other’s way. The kids respect her living areas and even knock on the basement door before coming down to see her. We’ve had lots of good times together already, and I think this has been a positive experience for all involved thus far.

2013-10-13 14.16.55

The only real challenge we have faced is that her cat, Kale, is a bit of a grump and doesn’t get along with anyone–least of all the cats. Simon, of course, is asserting himself passive aggressively (except when they get into scuffles), while Sally and Peppermint avoid her altogether. Meanwhile, Peppermint regards Sally with simmering loathing, and Sally expresses her hissing hate for Simon every time she sees him. Yep. It’s a regular feline soap opera around here.

2013-11-24 23.14.11
Kale has no idea Simon is under there. He’s just waiting for an opportunity to freak her out.

This is a pretty long post, and I’ve barely gotten out of September at this point, so I had better save the rest for tomorrow.

Happy New Year, ya’ll.

Basic Potatoes

Potatoes are wonderfully versatile–and frugal too! There are a few varieties that are almost always available in any produce section. They last a good while in a cool pantry before they start sprouting (depending on where you live in the country), which is another nice way to have potatoes available when you get toward the end of the groceries. Here are some character traits and uses for the different types:

White (russet) potatoes–mashed potatoes; soups; scalloped potatoes; anything where potatoes can get a little mushy and it would be OK
Red potatoes–keep their shape; thin skin is easily edible; perfect for the broiler
Yellow potatoes–buttery taste; keep their shape (though not as well as red); scalloped potatoes; pan fried cubes; hash browns

Now, I’m not saying that you can’t use one or the other of these interchangeably, so don’t take that restriction away from this post. (Red or yellow potatoes are awesome in soups too!) The one real restriction I have found is that white potatoes are really the only ones that make good, smooth mashed potatoes. The others don’t get soft enough to mash into a consistency that my family likes.

Here are a few potato recipes that I pull from my mental cookbook when I have some potatoes on hand to bring to the table.

2013-07-30 17.28.10

Basic Mashed Potatoes
4-6 white potatoes
1/4-1/3 C. of a dairy element (sour cream, milk, or softened cream cheese; healthier option: chicken broth)
2-4 Tbsp. butter
salt & pepper
garlic powder (optional)

Wash potatoes, then peel if desired. Cube into roughly 1-inch pieces. (The smaller the cubes, the faster they will cook; though don’t make them too tiny or they may mush in the boiling water.) Put potatoes in a deep pot and fill with just enough water to cover potatoes by an extra half inch or so or water.

Put it on the stove, cover, and turn it up to boil. Once it starts boiling, remove the lid and continue boiling, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are soft enough that a fork plunged into a cube goes in easily. Cook time depends on how big you cut your cubes. For me, it usually takes 15-20 minutes. Once they are done, pour out the pot into a colander. No need to rinse!

If you have a standing mixer, pour cooked potatoes in the bowl and attach the beater. Otherwise, put them back in the dry cooking pot or a big bowl. Add butter, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Then beat (on the lowest setting) or mash the potatoes until they begin to break up. Add dairy element a spoonful at a time and mash until the potatoes are the consistency you like.

———————————————–

Herbed Red Potatoes
Red potatoes
various herbs: rosemary, thyme, parsley
cooking oil (vegetable, olive–whatever you have)
salt & pepper

Cover a cookie sheet with foil (for easy clean up). Spread cubed potatoes across the sheet in one layer. Sprinkle with oil (or saturate with cooking spray) and toss gently. Add herbs, salt, and pepper, then toss again. Place potatoes under the broiler for 10-15 minutes.

———————————————–

Super Easy Scalloped Potatoes
3-5 white potatoes
Sliced or diced ham
Diced Onions
butter
milk
flour (GF flour works fine in this)
butter
salt & pepper

Peel potatoes if desired, then cut into sticks about the width of skinny French fries (but half as long). Place sticks in a microwavable dish, then add salt and pepper, butter. Sprinkle with enough flour to coat the potatoes lightly; add a spoonful at a time to gauge how much you need. Dot with butter, then add a goodish splash of milk. (The milk will sink to the bottom, that’s fine.) Add onions and ham and give another gentle stir.

Cover with plastic wrap, leaving a little vent, then microwave at 5-minute intervals, stirring in between, until the potatoes are cooked all the way through. This also works fine in the oven if you would rather not have to babysit the microwave. Add shredded cheese before the cooking phase if you wish.

———————————————–

Baked Potatoes

Did you know that potatoes can be baked in the microwave? Yes! Just puncture the skin several times with a fork, then microwave for several minutes on high or until a fork plunged in the thickest part goes in easily.

If you want to do them in the oven, it will take longer, but they will taste much, MUCH better! Toss the potatoes with oil and salt, then put them directly on the rack in the oven. Bake at 375-400 degrees for 40-50 minutes.

———————————————–

Hope these recipes are helpful when you find yourself with only potatoes and a few other things on hand!

4 Ways to Use Canned Chicken

A friend recently requested the recipe for a Mexican chicken and bean dish I’d made when she came to visit because it used canned chicken, and she wanted to be able to make something other than chicken salad with it. Understandable!

There are a lot of ways you can use canned chicken. In fact, you could use it in any just about any recipe that calls for diced, cooked chicken. (And vice versa of course; one can of chicken equals 1 to 1-1/2 C. diced, cooked chicken.)

Here are a few recipes to get you started on using up your canned poultry reserves. (Sorry there are no pictures, but since I’d written these up for my friend, I figured I would put them here too.)

NOTE: Remember to adjust the quantities for however many people you’re cooking for. My recipes are usually good for 2-4 adults (depending on how hungry they are).

——————————————

MEXICAN CHICKEN & BEAN DISH…THING
2 cans cooked chicken (with liquid)
1 can pinto beans (with liquid)
1 can black beans (drained & rinsed)
1 can diced “Mexican” tomatoes (a.k.a. “diced tomatoes with green chilies”)
1 can corn & peppers (it’s a thing, but a normal can of corn is fine too; drained)
Diced onions & bell peppers
Minced Garlic, Parsley, Salt & Pepper
Chopped Green Onions (Scallions) to garnish if desired

In a big pot, add chicken, onions, bell peppers, and garlic with a splash of olive or vegetable oil. Cook til veggies are just barely softened, then add the beans, tomatoes, and corn. Stir around. Cook until heated through; maybe 15-20 minutes. Serve over rice.

——————————————

EASY CHICKEN TACOS
2 cans chicken (drained; cats love that liquid)
1 can tomato sauce
diced onions
1-2 tsp. cumin
1-2 tsp. chili powder

Heat the chicken and onions in a pan until warmed up. Add spices; stir to coat chicken. Add tomato sauce and heat through. Serve on taco shells or tortillas with whatever taco fixings you like.

——————————————–

PSEUDO-ASIAN CHICKEN
2 cans chicken (with liquid)
Sliced onions
minced garlic
1-2 Tbsp. soy sauce
Honey
Orange Juice
Sesame Seeds if you have them; otherwise, crushed cashews, peanuts, or almonds would be great
Chopped Green Onions (Scallions) if you have them

Heat chicken, onions, and garlic in a pan until onions begin to caramelize (turn a bit brown). Add soy sauce, a generous helping of honey, and a splash of orange juice. Stir to coat chicken. Add sesame seeds and/or nuts for a crunchiness. Warm it all up, then serve immediately over rice or even plain ramen noodles. Would be great with chow mien noodles and chopped scallions as a garnish.

——————————————–

MINI CHICKEN POT PIES
2 cans chicken (with liquid)
1 can chicken broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
shredded cheddar cheese
minced garlic
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
mixed frozen veggies
salt & pepper

1 can refrigerated biscuit dough (like Pillsbury, but generic brands are fine)

In a large pot, add all ingredients except the biscuits. Heat through until bubbly and delicious. Now, there are two options as you continue:

The Cute but Hard Way–
Bisect biscuits lengthwise (so you have two circles) and press one circle into each cup of a large muffin tin, pressing the sides so that it forms a little cup. Spoon the chicken soup mixture into the muffin cups, then top with the other circle of the biscuit.

The Easier, Faster Way–
Coat a large, deep casserole dish with cooking spray. Pour chicken mixture directly into the bottom, then arrange the biscuits on top however you’d like.

Either way, you can top the biscuits with more cheese if you wish!

Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes (muffin ones) or 40-45 minutes (casserole dish). If biscuits get too brown, cover with foil for the rest of the baking time. Tastes great served with something cold and sweet like fruit.

——————————————–

I hope these recipes have helped or at least given you some good ideas!

T is for Tangential

tan路gen路tial
/tan藞jenCH蓹l/
(Adjective) 1. Of, relating to, or along a tangent: “a tangential line”; 2. Diverging from a previous course or line; erratic: “tangential thoughts”.

Where were we? Oh yes, the letter T. How often do I stray from the point of things! June was incredibly busy and so much happened, that it is almost silly to try to catch up. No, I take that back. It’s not “almost” silly, it’s actually quite silly. But I suppose I could just summarize as best I can…

At the end of May, we adopted a new cat. Everest named her Peppermint. She is our first white kitty!

2013-06-06 08.42.48-1

The first weekend of June, I headed out to Texas to see my dear friends Elraen and Jordan get married. This was the event that Elraen had been anticipating for so long as she lived with us for 10 months. It occurred to me later that the weekend of her wedding marked nearly the same dates when she first arrived in Colorado. How quickly a year can pass.

The wedding weekend was absolutely wonderful in regards to spending time with people I care about and making at least one new friend. The weather was sadly worse than I expected, but everything else that happened made up for every drop of sweat.

Of note for particularly fun times in Texas were getting to meet all of Elraen’s famed siblings; having breakfast with Linny and going on a quick tour of the LeTou campus; randomly meeting and having dinner with Caleb, Emerwen, and Midget; and listening to hours of awesome music and laughing til I cried with Flynn and Midget.

2013-05-31 15.24.28

The Friday after I returned from the south, one of my dear young friends, Angel, accompanied me up to Denver to catch They Might Be Giants in concert at a tiny theater in a seedy part of town. It was much fun! Very fist time I ever saw TMBG in concert after having been a fan since 9th grade. Of note was the fact that the smell of marijuana smoke was so intense that even John and John made mention of their disdain of it on stage. Ugh.

The very next day, my wonderful friend Silver came in to town to stay in Colorado for a few weeks. She only stayed with us for a few days, but that was okay. She spent the rest of the time at Eleanor’s and got to have her own space there. I don’t blame her because who really wants to be woken up at 8 AM by noisy summer-vacation children? We still got to see her practically every day though, which was lovely because it always seems like such a long time in between visits.

2013-06-12 18.45.53

Meanwhile, a fire broke out in Black Forest and went mad with rage. So many of us remembered all too well the horrors of the Waldo Canyon Fires in June of 2012. It was like it was happening all over again, except this time they hit structures much more quickly. Thankfully, the fires were contained and the loss of life was minimal. Some amazing stories have come out of this tragedy which further prove that God is in control.

2013-06-11 19.04.34

Roundabout the second full week of June, Elraen and Jordan came back onto the grid after having honeymooned in Colorado. We got to see them quite a lot as they ended up coming over for dinner or visiting just about every night until Moot (and then afterward!). I was incredibly thankful to have the opportunity to see my dear friend again. I truly miss her presence at our house so very much, but I’m absolutely thrilled that she is getting to start this next phase of her life. The kids were positively enamored by Jordan (whom they had met many times before) and had a blast playing with him.

2013-06-17 20.30.49

More friends came into town as the CleanPlace Moot approached near the end of the month. We got to see Lissi (whom most had not seen since 2008), Legossi, and a host of others. I love Moot time because there is a buzz in the air as all these old friends come together again. Legossi stayed with us before and after Moot, and the kids adored her. She even spent an evening babysitting for me, for which I was extremely grateful!

2013-06-27 16.41.51

On the last day of Moot, in the evening, there was another concert to attend. This band is one of Elraen’s favorites, to which she has personal connections, and that I had heard of so often from her: Disciple. The concert goers were Elraen, Jordan, Legolas, Mercy, Silver, Eleanor, and me. It was an epic experience to be sure! All those awesome people and at an awesome concert? It’s hard to express how amazing it was!


2013-06-27 21.49.16

Oh, and somewhere along the way during the month of May, we found ourselves a situation that would allow us to move into a new house–still in town, not far from where we are now. Yes, I know, that really shouldn’t just be a side note. It’s kind of a big deal. But I think it is still trying to sink into my brain that we’re moving, so my excitement comes and goes in waves. The kids are ecstatic; they’re about to get their own personal rooms! Which honestly is the main reason why moving is even on the horizon.

We’ve been packing and fixing things up around the townhouse to get it ready to rent. I am strangely at peace about renting this place to strangers. I think God has been preparing my heart to let it go. Still, as I look at the emptying walls and the barren shelves, I can’t help but feel a little melancholy about the whole thing. Maybe if the packing wasn’t so drawn out, it would be easier. We move in officially on September 1, but that seems simultaneously so far and yet so close. I’m sure it will be here before we know it.

In other news, we have resumed our Sunday dates with the kids as best as we can when both of us are in town. They have been up to their usual antics and craziness. It’s quite clear that having more room in a new house will be beneficial for all though. We need to be able to spread out so we don’t drive each other insane. Thank goodness it has finally started being cool enough in the evenings to go to the park.

On a final note, to bring us up to today, the Jewel started working at my mom’s store this morning/afternoon. She’s on a mission to save up money to buy a car when she’s 16. After we picked her up, she wanted to go straight to the bank to deposit her earnings. I do hope she can keep it up and stay interested and focused on her goal. We’ll see how long this lasts.

Starting Over 1


I’m going to try this thing again. Time and life gets away too fast, but the fact remains that I need to take care of myself or I won’t live long enough to climb all those 14ers with my husband. Time to start over.