Thanksgiving Plans

This year we will be having Thanksgiving here and it will be the first time since 2009 that I’ve cooked here. Since Marshal will be home for the holiday and we all want to eat together Aidan suggested I just cook here. Then my dad was giving me a small guilt trip so I invited he and my brother and my mother. Then Regina asked if her boyfriend could eat with us. So..  Now we will be having 10 people for dinner.

Ten people is actually a small amount compared to the Thanksgivings I used to host. In the past it was usually double that, no joke. All in my small house. Ten is a good number though and as long as we can keep the liquor hidden it should be a quick and nice visit.

I used to get all fancy with the food and try super elegant recipes, which were okay but they weren’t worth the work or hunting of ingredients. This year my motto is “keep it simple” so turkey, stuffing, potatoes, 2 veggies and rolls.

This year I’d like it to be more structured than years of the past. I’d like everyone to sit together at the same table (or tables pushed together) and for it to be set nicely with a centerpiece. In the past everything and everyone were everywhere because of the way my house was set up and my lack of planning. I can’t promise that this year will be different but I will try my hardest. At least the planning part..

What are your plans for the holiday? Will you be cooking or being a guest? Any black Friday shoppers out there? That’s as much of a holiday here as Thanksgiving is!

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Dinner’s back on the menu

I decided to get back on track with cooking. I’ve been off the rail for what feels like months, maybe it has been that long, but probably more like weeks. Anyway, skimpy dinners of what ever or take out are done.

Yesterday Regina and I did a decent sized food shop and I planned out a menu for the week. Nothing fancy, but loads better than hot dogs or hamburgers and Chinese. Last night I made sloppy joe’s (homemade Pioneer Woman’s), tonight I am making Chicken and white bean chili, Tuesday will be kabob’s on the grill, Wednesday is zuppa toscana, Thursday will be leftovers, Friday is frozen pizza and salad and Saturday will be something with ground beef, maybe empanandas.

It feels good to have a plan in place and everything I need to do get it done. Having a plan saves my brain during the day and make Aidan happy that we aren’t wasting money on pizza.

We should be using the grill more but Aidan broke his toe last week (split it from the tip to his foot — OMG it’s bad) and I don’t want him to have to be on it more than he should. As for me — I have never grilled before! Seriously, maybe it’s time to learn. On Tuesday when he gets home from work I’ll ask him to show me how to light the grill and what to do. He can boss me around from a patio chair ;)

Well, the babies are up and fussing already. I am going to try posting some pictures later today, we will see how that goes :)

Avoiding the monster kitchen by writing

Freezer cooking round one — check!

Yesterday I finished cooking up the chicken breasts that were marinading in the fridge. These too are for the freezer but I used a few for dinner last night as sandwiches and they were a crowd-pleaser.

There are a few more pasta recipes and casseroles that I want to make for the freezer also but guess what.. I don’t have any room left in there! That thing is filled to the brim. It’s a nice feeling but also aggravating when trying to get something in or out.

Marshal and a school update..

Yesterday was a follow up for Marshal’s truancy court. He still isn’t in a smaller school and the judge was pretty fierce about the school dragging their feet. In all fairness to the school winter break happened so that took a week and a half away for them but it has been a month so I’m glad that the fire was lit. I’m super happy actually. So was Marshal. I’ve not seen him smile that hard since Christmas and before that his birthday.

I love him so much and just want him to be happy and get a high school diploma. And not go to jail. Or be bad. Or not have a hard time socially. Okay, well you get the point. Anyway I think he will feel better around kids who have struggles the same as him and hopefully it will work out for the best.

The stupid dirty kitchen..

Today I’ve gotta deep clean the kitchen. Again. Always.

All the cooking I did left a film of grease on the counters and floor by the stove and it’s gross (and dangerous). I feel like most of the time spent cleaning and deep cleaning is done in the kitchen and I am getting sick of it. If we had a hood vent it wouldn’t be half as hard. Of course it would be one more mess to clean so I should stop wishing my chores away :)

1.4 Billion Dollars..

How about that lottery? I know it’s on everyone’s mind, a least a little bit! I really hope we win. Like, really hope it. I know what the odds are but like I’ve said here before I tend to get things that have really high odds. Aidan reminded me they were all bad things to have really high odds on but I think winning the lottery would even it all out.

I can’t even begin to imagine what would happen if we won that kind of money. Or any money really. But a BILLION dollars? Seriously, I have no idea what I would do. Aidan has a few ideas that I don’t necessarily agree with. I told him we’d split it to prevent trouble. Then we’d join most of it, to prevent trouble :)

I did tell Marshal that I would take him and Regina on a vacation, just the three of us, to somewhere like Hawaii or something. That would be so awesome. We’d have a blast and it would be great for the three of us to just hang out like the old days before Aidan and the babies were here. I love having Aidan and the babies, I wouldn’t change it for a second, but it would be fun to just be the three of us again for a week or two.

The only two things after that thought would be paying off bills and planning a beautiful wedding. I’d want to invest and take care of my family and start some kind of non-profit for either at risk youth or domestic violence victims but all of those would take a lot of thought, research and a team of people.

Oh my gosh — can you even imagine? Being a mega millionaire (after taxes)? From having a plain struggle working class life to not having to worry about how to pay your bills and afford extras ever again? What would you do if you won this 1.4 billion jackpot?

 

I cooked the shit out of life today.

So..

I read that they removed the word so this year from something. A dictionary? Etiquette? Proper writing? Speaking?

Yeah..

So..

I cooked my ass off today. I have been struggling with making dinner since Maddox was born so I decided to do something about it. Since I received the Pioneer Woman’s new cookbook as a Christmas gift and she has a whole chapter on freezer cooking I opted to take advantage of the little’s being with Aidan at his parents today.

I made 150 meatballs.
I cooked 5 pounds of taco beef.
I cooked 8 cups of taco chicken.
I prepared 6 burgers.
I marinated 12 chicken breasts.

There should be no reason that I can’t come up with something to make for dinner on any given night this week and next. I still want to make pasta dishes and chili but I need a few more ingredients. Oh and chicken pot pie.. Yes please.

Anyway..

I cooked a lot today and I feel good about that :)

What Would the World Be Without Friends or Hot Chocolate

My beautiful blogging friend Jahaira who writes at Figuring It Out Mommy recently commented about being a hot chocolate snob and I just had to share this delicious recipe with her and anyone else who might love a great cup of hot chocolate now or when the snow starts falling this winter.

I have two warnings for you though — first: this makes a large amount of hot chocolate, so unless you have a ton of people to drink it you may want to half it; second: this is really, really good but very, very filling; you’ll drink more than one cup but more than two will put you into a coma :)

This recipe comes from the Better Homes and Gardens Simple Slow Cooker Recipes book. I have made it a lot more than a few times over the years but I am always surprised with how good it is. Really. It’s a great recipe!

Three Way Cocoa

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
8 cups milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
Marshmallows or whipped cream (optional)

In a 3&1/2 to 5 quart crock pot combine sugar and cocoa.
Stir in milk.
Cover and set to low for 3-4 hours or high for 1&1/2 to 2 hours.
Before serving stir in vanilla.

If desired:
– carefully beat cocoa with a beater (or wisk) until frothy
– top with marshmallows or whipped cream.

Variations:

Spicy Cocoa:
Add 1 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg with cocoa powder

Mocha Cocoa:
Stir 3/4 teaspoon instant coffee into mug before filling with cocoa

I always just make the plain cocoa but thought I’d include the variations for anyone who is a little more daring than I :)

Plenty to Say

After it being pretty cold here for the past 2 days the temps are going back up into the 70’s for the rest of the week. I’m happy about that.. It’s too early to have the heat on, but it’s been on because it’s dropped below freezing already. Nuts, right? Since it’s going to be warm again I will be taking advantage and getting the kids to the park. Logan has been on a “no home” kick lately and I suppose I can’t blame him. It does get boring around here.

On Sunday we went to my nephew’s 4th birthday party. There were 4 kids there (5 if you count Maddox)  and a lot of adults. Logan had the time of his life. My nephew has ever single toy in the world (well, not every one but pretty dang close) and Logan was in Toy Story heaven. He played the whole time with the toys and had to be forced to eat something. He had a nice time with the other two boys, but they were older so they played together and Logan was mostly by himself, but he didn’t mind. Yesterday he kept saying “Where the peoples? Where’s Zurg? The party. Go back Minions? No home” It was cute the first few times but after a few hours of it I was starting to get annoyed lol

Speaking of Annoying..

Another thing that’s been an annoyance is Maddox and teething. It seems way to early for it to start but apparently it’s not. He is super duper fussy and drooling like mad. He’s also shoving everything in his mouth that he can and having a hard time nursing. When he is given Tylenol he seems to feel much better but I don’t even feel any teeth yet, so I can see he is going to be a fun guy to get through this phase.

The aggravation doesn’t stop there though — the office where I have been meeting with my therapist called me the other day to let me know that my therapist no longer works for them. I’ve only met with her twice but now I feel upset that I need to find someone new. They don’t have any openings with their therapists until January and I had a hard enough time setting up something in the first place because I was reluctant. Argh. Figures, right? So. That’s great.

Even better, yet — Regina informed me yesterday that she was fired from her job. She said it was because they were cutting back hours for the season but I think she tried calling out (probably one too many times.) That’s obviously on her but I worry she will become depressed. She has a pretty good lead at the salon she goes to, they are moving locations and said she could work there when they move, but they don’t know when they are moving. I reached out to my BFF to see if she could get her into Ulta, working with her, but they don’t hire under 18. So. That’s great, too.

Better Things to Talk About

I’m back to meal planning and cooking. We have been spending entirely way too much on takeout and are going to stop. Last night I made chicken fingers, corn and mac and cheese. Logan was thrilled, I think it’s his favorite meal. He kept saying, “yay, so excited! delicious!” He’s the best. Tonight I am making Nachos then Wednesday ground beef and pasta, Thursday I’ll make Black Bean soup and Friday French Onion Soup. I don’t know about the weekend but I’ll figure that out. I really enjoy cooking and even though I am not making anything fancy or complicated it feels good to get back into the kitchen nightly with a plan.

The increase in my prescription for Zoloft seems to be working better. I haven’t had a panic attack in 2 days and my mood seems to be on the up and up. That is fantastic. I hope it lasts. I’m still feeling anxious but when don’t I? Hopefully in a few weeks that feeling will go away also.

Well, have a great day everyone and if your where it the weather will be nice for the next few days, enjoy it!

Moving Forward

After doing some research on the medication that the dr. wants me to take I’ve decided not to take it, at least until I am done breastfeeding. There is no research done on taking the medicine and breastfeeding and I feel it is to risky to take any chances. In the pamphlet for the medicine it says choose one or the other, so I am going with the safe route. I have been without this type of medicine for 37 years so I think waiting another 9 months will be fine. I’m going to call the dr today and tell him my decision then go from there.

Aidan has accepted a new job offer and I am really happy for him. The new place seems like it will be a good match for him and a pretty decent place to work. He will be getting a nice bump in salary along with better benefits. They also seem to be pretty family friendly and do a lot of activities that our kids can be involved with. He’s waiting on the official offer letter to arrive before giving notice at his current job but will probably be starting at the new place in early November.

Holy crap, November. Can you believe it is almost the end of the year? I can’t! This year has flown by so quickly. I suppose as you get older they go faster, don’t they?

Well, I don’t really know what else to say, except maybe mentioning that I made butternut squash soup last night and it was delicious. I usually don’t care for it, but I experimented and made my own using a base recipe (link above) and it was really, souper good. ;) Have a nice day everyone!