My grandpa went back into the hospital this week Tuesday. He went in because he was having breathing problems and found out the cause was pneumonia. But they also discovered that he has congestive heart failure and likely will never be well again for the rest of his life.

I cannot express in words what Grandpa means to our family. I know everyone feels the same. He has served so many people in his life. He has always been very active and strong. He and Grandma helped me and Brian define our relationship and without their love, encouragement and approval, I don’t know if we’d even be married. Grandpa and Grandma celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last year. They are such a great example of what a strong marriage looks like.

We love them very much.

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Trying new (food) things

DISCLAMER: Not everything I make turns out great. Brian may say it all does but I think he’s blocked out some of the bad ones… like the crock pot bbq chicken. GROSS!

Over the last few months, I’ve been trying out new recipes much more frequently. I got bored with cooking and eating the same things over and over again so I started collecting. I’d ask my mom for favorites when visiting, my mother-in-law gave me a subscription to Taste of Home (I’ve gotten some good ones out of there). Craftster, blogs and have helped too.

Over the last few months I’ve tried shepherd’s pie (got my husband to eat veggies, including peas, without complaining), chocolate chip fudge cookies, and baked spaghetti.

We’ve talked about making spaghetti sauce to freeze this summer from our garden tomatoes, I found a really tasty looking recipe for pretzel rolls, and have saved at least a dozen others as photos in my phone.

I can’t wait to try them all!

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Baby crack

I was reading a blog earlier written by a woman who had a baby three weeks ago.!

Photos of tiny babies are like highly addictive drugs.

For a woman without children who likes babies as much as I do, that was dangerous territory. Baby photos turn me into some sort of baby-addicted crazy lady. I feel like I need to post a disclaimer: I’m not crazy, I swear but seriously, who can resist such a kissable, lovable face?

(I seriously considered posting a photo of baby feet but changed my mind. Because, eh, feet? *shudder*)

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Wish I was here….

Or that the weather would just warm up already!

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We’re trying to do this new thing called Sabbath. Actually, it’s not new at all but our family has been out of practice for a long time.

Sunday we will do nothing we consider work: no computer work for Brian, house cleaning or major errand running for me.

Sunday we will do everything we consider restful and fun: naps, cook and eat a good meal, read, play games, watch movies, craft, be outside, just sitting.

This is our second Sunday in a row of rest and it has quickly become our favorite day of the week. I know that I am personally more motivated to do a ton of work in Saturday if I know that I have the entire next day to do all the fun things I normally put off. I get stuck in a rut of bit wanting to do work but in trying to avoid it, I don’t even get to enjoy my fun hobbies. This is changing and I like it.

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It’s spring!

Allergens are running around, the kitties have more energy and weeds are sprouting in the lawn. Ah, lovely. I’ve been itching to go out and start turning my garden beds but need to pace myself still. It’s only halfway through April and chance of evil frost coming to stomp out all my garden-y dreams.

Brian needs a new computer and new software, we need to pay off the credit card, my car needs repairs, we still owe money for state taxes, and, yeah, we want to pay off some loans so maybe we can afford to have kids sometime soon.

Why are we not getting anywhere with this? Right. Self-employment.

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I never really know how to update this thing. The Internet can never really be a confidential place to share.
I regularly read several blogs where the authors are able to spill whatever stuff is going on in their lives but I don’t think I’m at that point here.

Can one be judged by what is written in her personal blog?

Do you have to think about what you share online in order to keep things away from the general public?

(Can you tell I was feeling kind of blah?)

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Pantry Challenge Day 22

I had a pantry fail and a meltdown all at the same time this week. I anticipated the failure from the start but I was hoping we’d be able to hold out until February (selfish, I know). There are a few items that I never stock up on because they are either rarely on sale or they take so long for us to use up that things would be sitting around the house for a long time.

I’m almost out of the lotion I use in the winter to keep my skin from cracking (Eucerin), face moisturizer, and Brian’s leave-in conditioner. The Eucerin I bought last fall/winter at Costco for $15 for two 14 oz bottles. That’s a steal since most stores carry the 14 oz bottles for around $12. Brian’s leave-in conditioner I can only get at Target and when that brand (Garnier) is on sale, it is usually for $2.99 for all styling products but that is the normal price!

My meltdown was caused by a certain store *coughmeijercough* no longer carrying the kind of face moisturizer I’ve used for years. It really didn’t warrent an all out moody fit but it happened. I’m proud to say I didn’t get upset with the store employees, just myself. It was enough to keep me home that night even though I had plans to go out.

Lesson Learned: Sometimes planning ahead doesn’t work. We’re still really close to our goal of spending only $25 on groceries this month!

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Pantry Challenge Day 11 or What to do when you burn your hand

Last night, on the evening of pantry challenge day 11, I made my first ever frittata.

I know, I know. Hold the applause. It was one if the easier new recipes I’ve tried. I had to figure out if any of the skillets I have are oven safe. Turns out that both my 10″ skillets are, one to 350• and my bright orange Rachael Ray one to 400•. Since the recipe called for the frittta to be baked at 400•, I used the orange one.

The recipe went really smoothly. The potatoes and onions browned nicely, I didn’t spill any of the egg mix while transfering the pan to the oven. And then, I took it out. It was beautiful (as beautiful as food can be). Stupidly, or just not thinking at the moment, I grabbed the handle of the pan to keep it from sliding on the stove. It was HOT! I burned a lovely circle in the palm of my left hand. Through the pain and then the icy stabs of really cold water, I realized that it could be worse. I could have burned my right hand and then really been up a creek.

I will be repeating this recipe, all except the burning part.

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Pantry Challenge Day 8

We are more than a week into our month-long pantry challenge. The menu hasn’t been too varied this week compared to our normal fare but I’m sure that will change as the month goes on.

The most interesting thing we’ve had to do so far is to dip into our supply of dry milk that I bought long ago for “emergencies.” Normally, I wouldn’t think anything of stopping at the store after work to pick of a gallon of milk if we had ran out but this week, we’ve already spent as much money as we’re allowed. So far, we made mac and cheese and tomato soup with the dry milk. The soup was just as good as normal. The mac and cheese was so-so. I don’t know if it was the milk or the slightly overcooked noodles.

For groceries this week, I spent $5.92 on (4) cans of tomato soup, (1) can of Select harvest soup, (1) box of Mrs. Grass’s soup, 1 lb of romaine for a dinner with friends on Tuesday, conditioner for a curly haired someone and a CHEAP bottle of flavored coffee creamer. Not too shabby. Next week we need milk, block cheese and bread. That might be all we have money to spend on.

Happy weekend!

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