Sunday, March 30, 2008

You should really make these

But only if you like chocolate.

Take one brownie mix.

Prepare according to package directions and pour into pan.

Unwrap your favorite individual chocolates.

I have a thing for Dove. Greg keeps me stocked year-round. :)

I used caramel.

Press the chocolates down until they are even with the batter:

Bake as directed on the box.

Can't even tell there is a little surprise in there, can you?
Oh, but there is.

And try to share.

Your family will thank you.
Just make sure they brush their teeth reeeeeally good. :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

More on Easter 2008

Note to self:

Don't wait until after church, after lunch, and after egg hunting to take pictures. You know where that puts you ?

Nap time.

I'd say these turned out pretty well, considering I learned this lesson by experience!

I mentioned earlier wanting to share about our Pastor's Easter sermon.

He read from John chapter 20 when the women had come to the tomb and found it empty. All but Mary had left. She didn't realize she was talking to Jesus; she thought he was the gardener.

The key verse was this one:
"Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?" John 20:15a

Bro. Bryan made some very good points stemming from these two questions.

He said if you don't have Jesus as your Savior, it is easy to know why you weep. You weep because you have no peace.

Saved people should have no need to weep in despair, but we should weep for 2 other reasons:
1 - weep for the lost
2 - weep for joy for what Jesus has done for us.

The 'whom seekest thou' should be fairly easy to guess what the answer should be.
There is nothing this world has to offer that is worth our time, attention, and devotion more than Jesus.
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

WFMW - My new favorite children's book

If you have young children, you must get this book:

I borrowed it recently from our Library, and I love it so much I will be buying a copy to keep for our kids forever and ever.

It is not a substitute for the Bible, but a wonderful extra to have. It contains 44 Bible stories, retold in beautifully descriptive, yet simple language, and vividly illustrated. Woven into each story is God's plan to rescue his people through Jesus.

Some excerpts:

From the introduction -

"There are lots of stories in the bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them....
at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every Story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle - the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture"

From the time God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac -
"Many years later, another Son would climb another hill, carrying wood on his back. Like Isaac, he would trust his Father and do what his father asked. He wouldn't struggle or run away. Who was he? God's Son, his only Son - the Son he loved. The Lamb of God."

From when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments -
"But they (the Israelites) were wrong. They couldn't do it. No matter how hard they tried, they could never keep God's rules all the time. God knew they couldn't. And he wanted them to know it, too. Only one Person could keep all the rules. And many years later God would send him - to stand in their place and be perfect for them. Because the rules couldn't save them. Only God could save them."
EVERY story is like this. Every story points to Jesus and our need for him. Our Rescuer. The chapters on the crucifixion and Resurrection do this beautifully. Simple language, but very well-said.

Again, there is no substitute for the Bible, even for kids, but to reinforce Bible stories and to help give your kids the Big Picture of the Bible, this book is wonderful!!

Be sure and go see What Works for others!

(P.S. Yes, this was originally posted in March... but in March I did it incorrectly and it never made the WFMW lineup. Oops! So I'm trying again!) ;)

Monday, March 24, 2008

T'was the night before Easter...

This "taking my kid to the doctor" thing seriously eats into my blogging time! Alan had an appointment today, which meant getting ready and going to bed early last night, leaving at the crack of dawn this morning, and then being gone allll day.

But I'm not complaining. No sir, not one bit.

He's so worth it. :)

But still... no blogging time. And I have so much to blog about!
I have all sorts of things for show & tell about Easter.

Like pictures of the boys in their matching outfits.

And the wonderful sermon our pastor gave.

But I'm going to start with this:

We were invited out for a family barbecue Saturday night, and my Aunt and Cousin put together an egg hunt for the kiddos. With lots of eggs. And every egg was filled with candy!

I hadn't really ever thought of it before Saturday, but Dale had never been on a 'real' egg hunt.
We've hidden a few eggs in our own backyard for him, but he's always the only hunter, and the eggs are always empty.

So Saturday night was a first for Dale.

And....well ...he sort of missed the idea, bless his heart.

Here's what happened. PawPaw got one big, unique, fancy egg and hid it himself.

The kiddos lined up for the hunt, and PawPaw told them about The Prize Egg. Explained how it was the only one, and whoever found it would get a special prize.

And Dale, he had his eyes on The Prize, you could say. And on the prize only. Here they are right after "on your mark, get set, go":

See? Focused. From the get-go.
Now. There are some things you need to watch for in this next video. I want you to notice:
#1 - Dale's sweet little cousin. This ain't her first rodeo. OR her first egg hunt. That girl is on a mission.
#2 - Can you count how many times Dale shouts "Prize Egg"? I can't. It's a lot.
#3 (and most importantly) - Watch what happens when Dale picks up a yellow egg and shouts "Is this The Prize Egg?!?!??" Sweet Cousin (without EVER LOOKING UP) says, "no, it's not!".
Watch what Dale does then:


Because it wasn't The Prize Egg.

Go ahead. Watch it again.

Bless his heart.

This went on for the whole. egg. hunt. If he shouted "PRIZE EGG!" once, he shouted it 47 times. But he appeared to have a blast, even if he didn't go home with The Prize Egg (the prize was $1, by the way), and he did manage to end up with a decent number of candy-filled eggs (even after he and Sweet Cousin hid and hunted and re-hid and re-hunted together about a half a dozen times).

And I so hope you ignored the crazy woman behind the camera shouting sophisticated things like "Just pick up a bunch of 'em" and "Get 'em ALL Dale."

I don't know her.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I've been shopping again. :)

What a splendid treat! Mom and I got to do a little shopping today, just the two of us!

Together! Shopping! With no kids!

It was magnificent.

The main objective was to get summer church-clothes for Dale and find (hopefully matching) Easter outfits for the boys. Even though Alan won't be going to church, since we are supposed to keep him out of public for as much as possible for the first 3-6 months after transplant. But I still want to dress him up and take pictures and all that. :) I also figure this will be the last time I will be able to dress them in matching clothes. Dale still fits into a 5T, which is often on a rack with things all the way down to 24 months, which is what Alan wears. Once Dale grows out of 5T, by the time Alan catches up with them, I imagine he will be too old to want to dress like his little brother! :)

So.... off we went.... shopping.

Our first store was the last place I had found success in shopping for Dale, and it was a great disappointment. As was store #2.

It seems that little boys don't wear pants to dress up anymore. All I wanted was a pair of khaki pants and a pair of navy pants, with a few shirts to match. Was that so much to ask? Apparently so.

Most of the dress-up stuff was short sets! Well, there was that one rack of pants for $36 a pair.

No thank you. Greg and I don't pay that much for our pants. Why would I pay that for a pair that isn't even 3 feet long?!

But then there was stop #3. Bingo!

Not only did I find very nice khaki & navy pants for half the price of store #2, plus two different matching shirts for the boys (one set was even 40% off!)....

but I also found...

Winter. Clearance.

Brace yourselves.....

I brought home 13 winter items for Dale for under $35!

Several shirts, 3 pair of pants, 2 two-piece sets (corduroy pants and a heavy shirt to match), 1 three-piece outfit (sweatsuit), and a jacket.

Get out!

I was SO excited! I presented Dale with about half of it when we got home, and the rest I hid away as surprises or birthday or Christmas gifts for later. Between the winter stuff he saw today and the new summer church-clothes and the new summer shoes I also got, he had a blast!

So for those of you interested... let this be your reminder.... the time is right to find winter stuff on clearance. Go shopping!! And pay a 1/3 of the price you would find yourself paying next October. :)

*However.., I wouldn't recommend doing your heavy-duty clothes buying trip on the same day as a big grocery trip 2 days before a big Sunday Dinner holiday. Go ahead....ask me how I know. And yes.... we're exhausted! But it was oh-so-worth-it! :)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What We've Been Up To

I'm going to try to do this in a few words as possible, because my blog posts keep getting longer and longer. Soooo....

Monday - we wanted to get out and enjoy some spring weather before it rained for 2 days straight. We headed out to my parents' land. I wanted to find something cool like
this or this, but we mostly just dodged thorn bushes. What can I say? We're amateurs. ;) Dale took it all very seriously though, and seemed to enjoy himself. At one point he plopped down on a fallen tree and asked me to take his picture "on this log". I'm not sure where the crossing his arms across his chest came from. I think that's a first - him striking a pose for a picture!
Even though we didn't make any grand discoveries it was nice to get out and just be outside. I think when all the mud dries up (in a month or two!?!) we'll go again. And pack a picnic this time! :)

Last week Greg looked at me and proclaimed (out of the blue), "I just thought of the perfect gift for you." Tuesday he handed me a sweet card, and inside the back of the card was taped this:
Next to it he had written "Call Sam".
What an exciting gift! I felt all fluttery!
I 'met'
Samantha just over a year ago online through Liver Families, a forum for parents of children with liver disease. She has been a tremendous friend this past year, and I adore her 2 girls. In fact, it was Sam's blog that inspired me to start one of my own!

Anyway, Sam attempted to call me several times throughout the 7 weeks we were away for Alan's transplant and I...uh... well.... I kept forgetting to send her the phone numbers for wherever we were staying that week.

After emailing about the gift, I sat down yesterday afternoon to call at our arranged time, and it was So. Much. Fun.

Oh yes, have I mentioned Sam lives in England?

It was amazing to be talking 'live' with someone for the first time, and to know she was so far away! I could go on and on, but I don't think I could ever accurately put it all into words.

At least not while attempting to keep this post short. (ha)
I'll just say again, it was So. Much. FUN!! :)

Other events from yesterday were not so fun.

Just after lunch Alan was pulling up to stand and slipped and bit his bottom lip.
On the inside and out.
And it bled. And bled. And bled.
And no wonder: the child is on ASPIRIN as part of his post transplant meds.

And then?
Several hours later we were all in the kitchen getting ready for supper and Alan was playing under his highchair.
He tried to stand up.
And was too tall.
And he fell back down.
And bit his top lip.
And it bled. And bled. And bled.

And then it swelled to match the other one:
It didn't seem to bother him too much. We all sat down to eat and he had a great time.
I was afraid his mouth would swell shut, what with both lips about to meet in the middle, but he did just fine.
He's pretty good with a fork. He usually prefers to eat with one instead of just his fingers.
Look at him go:

Later we watched him spear carrots.
It went like this:
Fork in right hand. Stab carrot.
Use left hand to remove carrot from fork and put carrot into mouth.

Whatever floats your boat, kiddo!

(so much for a short post)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday - Germ control

Even though we are getting to the end of cold & flu season, there are always plenty of germs floating around. Who hasn't had a "summer cold", or been bitten by a nasty stomach virus at any time of year?

We decided to eliminate the hand-towel from our bathroom. Even changing it as often as once a day, it can still get loaded with little germs from little (or big) hands that didn't get as clean as they should while washing.

Paper towels were a good replacement at first, but thy were bulky and seemed wasteful.

So here's what we do instead:

I bought a cheap-o pack of 30 washcloths for $5. One hand-drying per washcloth ensures no sharing germs. I bought white so they can be bleached every other wash or so.

Dale (4) folds them after they've been washed (which works double for me - it's a great chore for him, and one less job for me!) and we keep them stacked in a basket on the bathroom counter. 30 washcloths for the 3 of us that wash our hands in the bathroom last about 3 or 4 days. There is usually a need for a whites load by then anyway, so this doesn't even cost me an extra load of laundry!

A simple solution for less germ spreadage works for me!

here for more WFMW tips. :)

Spring Banner

It's done!! And it was oh-so-fun!

My 'I' pennant. The challenge was to use an inchie. An inchie is a one-inch square. Crazy, I know.
'N' - The challenge was needle-work. And my conscience won't let me publish this post without saying that my mom cut & stitched the flowers for me. Was I capable? Yes. Did I need the boost to get it done? Yes.

I wrote 'new' as in new life, etc.... but it looks like I'm advertising some new product. I guess I could use it to advertise mom's new challenge. Talk about oh-so-fun! You should
go read about it. Really! And join in! Yes, really!
'G' The challenge was to use some gems. I was aghast to find out I don't have any gems laying around. I should be ashamed to even consider myself crafty. But, it's true, my supplies are limited, as is my space to store them, time to use them, and opportunities and funds to shop for more. So I used what I had. A couple of shiny gel thingies. One is in the center of the sunflower.
The whole thing together. Again, because of limited supplies, it isn't connected. I'll have to go "shopping" in mom's ribbon box to see what I can find. ;)
And, just for fun. Because who doesn't like to play with their new pretties they just made?

To see some really outstanding spring banners, and to find out all about the new challenge (which you should really play along in) go HERE.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Da-da De-ja-vu.

Either we are doing something wrong or we have genetic issues. It has to be one of the two.

The background:
When Dale was 10 or 11 months old, he pointed to a picture of himself on the wall and said "Day-da".
Baby! Yes!

I wrote it in his baby book as his first word.

And then he said, "da-da"
Yes, Daddy!
Word number 2!

And then word number three was another variation of 2 syllables, both begining with the letter D.
As was word number 4.
And numbers 5, 6, & 7.

Pretty soon just about everything was "da-da". It was obvious he wasn't going to be much of a talker. Thankfully we were also learning baby signs which eased frustrations on both sides.

By the time his 2nd birthday rolled around Dale communicated with over 50 signs and sound effects, some we had taught him and some he'd made up on his own.

2 months later, we arranged for speech therapy. Two ladies came to the house to evaluate Dale. They were amazed and impressed with his cognitive abilities, which were above his age level. But they whole-heartedly agreed his speech was not where it should be.

Within a few weeks of begining his once-a-week sessions we were amazed at the progress he was making. Soon he was calling me "Mama" instead of "Ba-ba", asking for "more" instead of his sing-song whiney sound, and saying "train" instead of imitating a train whistle.

After 5 months, the speech therapist said he was talking better than any of her other students (and had been for several weeks) and there wasn't much else she could do for him, or us. In the end, it was decided there was no reason physically, enivironmentally, developmentally or any other "ally" to explain why Dale hadn't learned to talk like any other kid. It was just a fluke.

Or was it?

Fast forward a couple of years.

You want to guess what 16 month old Alan says for almost everything?



We had such high hopes.

Daddy? "da-da"
Dale? "da-da"
Mama? "da-da"
book, eat, go, bath, shoe, night-night, computer, outside, & any other word a 16-month-old might need? "da-da"

There is at least one interesting variation. Train = "go-go". That's fun. Random, but fun.
And we've got him saying something that sounds a lot like "chicken". Because 'chicken' is such an important word in toddller's vocabulary.

Here's the thing: based on all research and common sense, we are doing everything "right". We read to our kids, even as babies. We talk to them, sing to them, narrate our day, limit tv time, and get down and play with them.

So you know what that leaves.


But not mine, thankyouverymuch.

Nope. It's got to be the Buffalo genes.

Seriously though.... does anybody have any idea what is up with these kids o'mine?

After all we've been through it really truly is a minor thing. But it certainly is an odd, curious little thing.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

St Paddy's Egg Hunt with a wee bit o' Astronomy

Thought you might be interested to know....

Over a month ago someone gave us a helium balloon. It's still floating.

I have no idea how.

And with that random fact out of the way....

This week is Greg's spring break. I am suspending the usual Bible story & alphabet lessons Dale is doing to do spring stuff instead.

I am in such a time warp. Being gone from home in a completely foreign situation for 7 weeks does weird things to you. Today I saw something dated 12-10-07 and didn't think it was that long ago.


Anyway, so in some ways it is hard to believe that it is Spring and Easter already. Of course, both Easter and the time change came very early this year. Which reminds me - have you gotten that email forward about this being the earliest Easter has been in something like 95 years and will be for a long time?

It was the kind of thing that was supposed to make you say "wow, neat" or something to that effect, but instead it made this funny feeling come over me, like it was Twilight Zonish or something. But pay no attention to me... I was terrified when Haley's Comet passed by when I was little. Terrified. I have no idea of what or why. I just remember sitting inside crying while everyone else was outside oohing and ahhing.

Come to think of it, I behaved much the same way about a meteor shower 7 or 8 years later.

I am happy to report I have almost fully recovered from that odd condition. My phobia of astronomical phenomena.

Wow. That sounds really scientific doesn't it? "Phobia of Astronomical Phenomena"

Maybe even fancy enough to distract you from the fact I said I have "almost" fully recovered. Yeah. We won't go there. Just know that sometimes me and the dark don't get along very well, astronomical phenomena or not.

Hmm. Didn't plan on divulging that little bit of information when I sat down. I was just going to tell you that I got Dale's Easter basket down today. He was playing in the back yard and I thought since it was already just one week until Easter it would be a good time to hide some eggs.

Want to guess how many plastic Easter eggs survived last spring to make it to this year?


Turns out that is a blessing in disguise. We took turns hiding and hunting.

My turn to hide them always involved a lot of peeking from Dale, some haphazard egg-tossing by me, and then a few hints for Dale as he hunted for the ones I had actually put a little effort into hiding.

His turn to hide went something like this:
"Hide you eyes, Mama. ....Okay! They are all hid! The orange one is right behind you! The blue one is in the shed! I'll get it. There's the pink one! Yep! You found the green one!"

The end.

A complete Easter egg hunt in less than 30 seconds.

I think many more than 4 eggs would have worn us both out.

And in other things springish... tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day. Don't forget to wear your green!
I tried to make some shamrock pancakes this morning. You may notice there are no pictures.
Shamrocks are a tougher shape than I would have guessed.

They were some pretty ugly pancakes. But Dale didn't mind. Yay for preschoolers!

I'm off now to make sure I wear some pj's with green in them so I start off tomorrow on the right foot. I have always wanted to take the wearing green thing seriously.

And it always bothered me in elementary school when the teachers would pin little green construction paper shamrocks on all the kids who didn't wear green so they wouldn't get pinched all day. That is soooo cheating. Of course I understood why they had to do it. But still. It took all the fun out of it for the rest of us.

I won't even go into people trying to pass off some pretty shady colors as green. Or those who claim their green is on their underpants. Come on people. Surely you can do better than that!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I'm ba-ack!

So. Did you miss me? ;-)

We’ve been back in the hospital.


In a lot of ways it was such a “no big deal” type thing.

Except for that part about being away from Dale. And home.

And Alan having to get needle stuck a couple of times a day.

Those parts aren’t so great.

But the rest of it is ok. I get to have Greg on a random weekday. That’s fun.

I don’t have to do dishes. Or cook. Food is delivered right to our door!

And I have my computer. With internet.

EXCEPT…. apparently the hospital’s internet service now blocks Blogger blogs.

About half the blogs I read are Blogger.

Including my own!

So I had to get more creative with my computer time.

And just *gasp* do something else! Like read a book!

I was able to finish book 3 of the Chronicles of Narnia. Or apparently book 2, depending on how you count it. Can anyone explain that to me? Why does The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe get counted as the first book so often? Why is The Magician’s Nephew looked over? I don’t get it. But I like the books. I highly recommend them. But start with The Magician’s Nephew. Book 1. Or Book 0.5 - depending on how you count it. ;)

So now we're back home.

Back to life as usual. For now. ;)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Does this count as date night?

I was looking through my favorites folder this afternoon, looking to visit somewhere I hadn't lately or often and headed for Organizing Junkie.

I soon found myself looking through pictures and posts of how different bloggers had decluttered and (re)
organized their kitchens.

This reminded me of my own cluttered spice cabinet I have been wanting to get to for days, and I was inspired to get up off the couch and tackle it.

Hmmm.... that's probably how this whole mommy-blog thing is supposed to work. Motivation and commiseration and all. You think?

Calling this cabinet a "spice cabinet" is kind of a misnomer. It actually houses (from the top down):
salt, baking soda, etc
drink mixes (cocoa, tea, gatorade, etc)
at least a dozen jars of baby food that it still in date, but I'm sure Alan has outgrown
coffees & all that paraphernalia
peppercorns, pepper grinder, garlic cloves, bay leaves
and a much larger assortment of sprinkles, nonpareils, colored sugars, etc than I even knew I had

I'm not putting up a 'before' picture because I do have some sense about me. There are some things that are just too personal to share. The mess that was my cabinet is one of them.

(I'm also not putting up an 'after' picture. If you've seen one cabinet of nicely lined-up kitchen necessities you've seen them all, right?)

The whole project took just a few minutes.

Which makes me glad I got to it now instead of say, May, when it would have taken the better part of an hour, I'm sure.

The biggest problem was the medicines that had taken over the cabinet. I like keeping vitamins and pain relievers in the kitchen. Everything else should go in the bathroom, in my opinion.

In our case, a wide assortment of anti-coughin' snottin' drugs had congregated in said kitchen cabinet, which is really gross if you think about it. Do you really want to be dosing that stuff out of your kitchen?

But I have to admit, when Dale does have a cold, I usually keep the one or 2 cold meds we are currently giving him in the kitchen for simplicity's sake.

I am a study in contradictions.

So, evicting the mucous meds and putting everything else back in it's assigned area by like product took just a few minutes and made a big difference!

Which brings me to my next project....

...the bathroom closet. Now that one... that one is bad.

One shelf if loaded is medicines, first aid, and extra health & beauty aids. It's like a store.

A store that a tornado came through.

I've also been wanting to tackle this one for several days.

Only problem is, it must be done when Alan is asleep.

It just wouldn't do to have the baby digging through the cough syrup, licking the razor blades, and sampling the travel sized toothpastes. You know what I'm sayin'?

And the problem with the whole working-while-Alan-is-asleep arrangement is this:

The closet is just inside the bathroom, which is directly across from Alan's bedroom door. And he is a very light sleeper. And this project will require much sorting and shuffling.

What to do?

After my satisfying results in the kitchen, I really want to get to the bathroom project.

So I grabbed a big box...

...emptied everything from the shelf into the box...

...and put it Out of Reach of Children.

And tonight, when both boys are in bed, Greg and I can spread everything out in the living room and make sense of it all again!

I can't wait to tell him the big news.

I'm sure he will be thrilled.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Look what I did!

I have been wanting for several weeks now to bake bread. Baking bread is something I've done just a handful of times in my life, but I think it is something I'd like to do more.

Last Saturday on my big grocery trip, I bought a 3-pack of yeast to do a test run or 3. I figured if I had decent success with those 3, then next time I might buy a jar.

I didn't have a plan, except for to strike when inspiration did.

It turns out inspiration came yesterday. It rained all day, with the promise of snow to come during the night. I was planning a salmon chowder for supper, and all I could think of to go with it was a nice crusty bread.

I remember reading somewhere recently that it isn't good to bake bread on humid days (is that true?) but there are more humid days than not around here, and I really, really wanted hot crusty bread to go with our chowder.

So off I went. And do you know what? For all the hype, I didn't think it was that hard at all! People carry on like it is something really difficult and a lot of trouble, but I thought it was fun! And I was so happy about my results:

Isn't it pretty? I'm not sure why I went with a braided bread.... I think it was the fact that I was so hung up on wanting the bread to be 'crusty' and that was the only recipe I found that promised that.

Next I plan to tackle using an actual loaf pan. Hopefully for sliceable bread? And wheat flour!

And yes.. the bread is sitting n@ked on the counter. I was in a hurry to take the picture, and I coudln't think of anything right off hand to put the bread on, so the counter it was. Because the sheet it was baked on is UG-LEE.

But let me tell you.... that bread was the perfect thing to go with our chowder. And ... (shhhhh.....) we ate it all in one sitting! Or almost all. The last little butt end was my breakfast this morning with coffee and orange marmalade. Mmmmm. :)

And.... in case you are interested in the Salmon Chowder, which was also very good, I'm including the recipe below. But be warned: cooking fish soup can totally ruin a good 'fresh baked bread' smell!!! :)

Salmon Chowder, as written
1 c. smoked salmon, cut in chunks
2 Tb butter
1/2 c. chopped onions
1/4 c. sliced celery
1/2 c. chopped green pepper
2 Tb flour
1 1/4 c. chicken bouillon
1/4 c. sour cream
1 tsp fresh dill, minced, or dill weed
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Tb chopped parsley

In a saucepan, melt butter, saute onion, celery, pepper. Stir in flour, add bouillon and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until reaching boiling point. Add sour cream, dill, pepper, salmon; heat 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add parsley before serving. 3-4 servings

Salmon Chowder, my way:
I didn't have smoked salmon. I used the canned stuff. De-boned. And I poured the juice in too, for good measure.

I didn't have any green pepper. The chowder managed just fine without it.

I used a pint jar of frozen chicken broth from my freezer. Thawed, of course.

I didn't have any dill. I thought about pouring in a bit of dill pickle juice, but (wisely) decided against it. I used a teaspoon or two of lemon juice instead. Brightened the whole thing up very nicely.

I didn't have any parsley either. Oh well.

I followed the directions for assembly except for the stirring constantly after adding the salmon. I wanted to still see chunks of salmon in my bowl, thank you very much.

We lit a candle during cleanup and the fishy smell didn't linger a bit. :)

And, back to where I started this post... the bread. More bread will defintely be coming. Do you have any tips? Recipes? Suggestions, hints, or ideas? I can hardly wait for my next loaf.... maybe tomorrow! Depending on the humidity, of course. ;)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Come on in - I'll introduce you to the herd!

Hey! It's a party! A great big blog party!

Had this party been In Real Life I would have spent days poring through my cookbooks and magazines to come up with just the right menu.

I love cooking and all, but now that I think about it, I'm glad this was a virtual party, lol.

Not that I wouldn't have served you some nice party food. Because I seriously would have.

And really enjoyed doing it.

It's just all those dishes to wash, ya know?

Anyway... welcome to Buffaloes & Butterfly Wings!

Named that because of the 3 males that live here with me. You can read more specifically about that name
here. Or you may have some males at your house that do rough, tough buffaloish things and then you know exactly what I mean by that.

Here's our herd, starting from the bottom up:
Alan - 16 months. Loves to eat cheese, dance to any kind of music, really loves his bathtime with his big brother, knows how to use a cell-phone and a remote control.

10 weeks ago Alan had a liver transplant.

8 weeks ago we almost had to say goodbye.

God was with us that day, carrying us just like He always has. We never have to worry what the future holds, because no matter how unbearable or uncertain it may seem, He walks ahead of us. He holds us and all our circumstances in the palm of His hand. And most importantly, we have trusted Him with our eternity. He has taught us so much through Alan, and we are so blessed, and so thankful for each day with have with him AND WITH....

Dale - 4 1/2. Dale began pushing toy cars and making motor noises at 6 months and hasn't stopped since! He loves everything with wheels, some of his favorites being Thomas the Train and the characters from Cars. And all the NASCAR folks too. :)

Not only is he a fan of wheels, he is also:

Dale also:
talks all the time
loves chatting w/family on instant messenger

We are easing into homeschooling with a little preschool stuff here and there and will begin kindergarten in the fall.

Daddy Buffalo - Who I normally refer to as "Greg" but "Daddy Buffalo" is so fun to see in writing that I may just have to start calling him that all the time. At least here at the blog. :)

I won't embarrass him by going on and on about his good qualities. But he's mine, and I love 'im. :)

And he is very musical and a great daddy and

And I'll quit there. Because I said I would. :)

And then there's me. The dainty (ha!) butterfly cleaning up the mess of it all.

Feeding the buffaloes, washing their clothes, scrubbing their tub...

and loving (almost) every minute of it.

I really really really intended for my party post to be short. Oops.

So if you are still reading, I thank you. Can I squeeze in just a coupla more things about me?

I like to:

I'm learning to:
do stuff in Photoshop

Someday I want to:
knit and/or crochet and/or make a quilt
learn html-ish type stuff so I can design my own blogs, etc

So if you are STILL reading (and I really, really thank you) I'm giving something away!

A butterfly would have been really cool, but I have dragonflies. So you get a choice! Of the sparkly blue-green one or the also sparkly rosy one.

Please leave a comment and tell everyone:
- Does your house have more buffaloes or butterflies?
- What are you currently learning or what is on your wish-list of things you want to do?
- Which dragonfly is your favorite?

On Saturday, March 14 the Baby Buffaloes will help me randomly choose a commenter. Please be sure and leave an email or a blog address.... any way for me to get in touch with you if you are the big winner. :)

Thanks again for stopping by... and for sticking with me all the way to the end of this very loooooong post. I hope you will come again!

And now I'm going to spend the next week Blog Partying with everyone at 5 Minutes for Mom! :)

*S*P*R* :)

This Wednesday marked Week 3 of a 6 week challenge hosted by my mom, a.k.a. Simple Journeys, and I thought, hey, better late than never! And sat down tonight and made these:
So much fun!

The challenge is to make 6 pennants, S-P-R-I-N-G that will be put together to form a banner that spells, well, you know.
The extra challenge for each week so far has been to incorporate:
S - some sparkle
P - Pattern (plaid, argyle, etc)
R - Round things

Be sure and go see the rest of this week's "R pennants!"

I'm sitting eating cheerios with the boys and blogging, but I should really be cooking supper.

It's pouring rain outside.
It's been raining all day.
There is more SNOW on the way - in March!

I'm sitting down to a blank blogger page, not sure of what I'm going to post, and there is a very small, very wet bird hopping on our windowsill. (On the outside, of course). :)

Our days at home are beginning to have a little bit of predictability. (Except for all this SNOW business... but I am far from complaining about that. I love weather of all kinds.) :)

Anyway... days at home. This week we have gotten an early start every day. I would prefer to get up 30 minutes to an hour before the boys, but than can be tricky. Dale has been an early riser all week, and Alan, well.... you just never know about Alan.

Most mornings I make TWO scrambled eggs for Alan, and Dale and I have cereal or whatever sounds good that morning. This morning we all had pancakes. Later on in the morning I came back into the kitchen and the lingering smell of coffee and syrup was so comforting & homey! But I still don't think I'll be making pancakes every day. It takes too long, lol.

The mornings are pretty busy. Laundry, housekeeping, a little bit of school for Dale. Not necesarily in that order. Or in any order. Just kind of all mixed up. I'm just glad to be getting those things done. Order and routine will come in time.


One day this week Dale was practicing writing the letter 'C' and I asked him what were some words that start with C. I ws thinking he'd say something simple, like maybe CAT and we'd write it at the bottom of the page.

But noooo....

Without even thinking about it, Dale says

Quite the creative one isn't he?

Do you ever read

She has a post category called "Rambling all the way to nowhere" which, if it wasn't, you know, copying, is exatly what I would label this post o' mine.

Happy upcoming weekend friends. Stay warm, okay?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Polish Reuben Casserole

Aww... you guys make me feel good, all asking for my recipes & stuff. More to follow from our Big Ten menu, but since we started with this casserole on Saturday, I thought I would start with it here, too. It has such a distinctive taste, it isn't something we have very often - probably just 3 or 4 times a year, if that often. I think it would be easy to burn out on. So don't do that, ok?! :)

Polish Reuben Casserole

2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 Tb mustard
2 16 oz cans sauerkraut, rinsed & drained
8 oz. uncooked egg noodles
1 1/2 lbs Polish sausage, cut in slices
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
3/4 cup bread crumbs
2 Tbs butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Combine soup, milk, onion, & mustard. Spread sauerkraut in pan. Top with uncooked noodles. Pour soup mixture evenly over noodles. Cover with sausage. Top with cheese. Combine bread crumbs & butter, sprinkle over cheese. Cover with foil; bake 1 hour or until noodles are tender. (8-10 servings)

Now let me tell you, they weren't kidding when they said 8-10 servings. I halfed (halved?) this recipe for us the other night, and we didn't even eat half of it! We reheated the leftovers and ate them on whole-wheat rolls sandwich style - something we will definitely do again!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Three days ago I was wearing capris.

And Dale was showing me how he could do this: And then last night, this happened:
We told Dale it was probably going to happen.

And he woke me up at 6:30.

We didn't get up that early on Christmas morning!

Dale is not an early riser.

Not usually anyway.

But by 7:00 this morning he was outside doing this:

But then I called him in for breakfast.

And put all his clothes in the dryer to get ready for round 2.

Because we aren't really equipped for snow around here, as far as clothing goes.

Anyway... Dale asked if I was going to make him a snowflake muffin for breakfast.

I did this instead:
Snowflake toast, with marshmallow flurries! :)

And hot chocolate.

And oatmeal.

Which doesn't seem to photograph well. Ick.

And then I had to take another picture, just for fun:

Alan didn't seem to care too much about the snow.

The eggs? Bring 'em on.
But the snow? Unimpressed.
But I bundled him up and took him out anyway.

Because there were pictures to be taken.

Doesn't he look like he's having fun?
I think he was. Really.
No really. He smiled right after the above picture was taken.

And I captured it!

But I was so off-center I cut half of Dale out.

I am a wicked photographer.

And I was cold.

But before I went in, I told Dale YES, he could throw a snowball at me.

He made a good one.

And chunked it at me.

And missed:
I don't think his feelings were hurt, do you?

And how 'bout those "Snow Club" jammies?

I love it when something works out right.

Did YOU get any snow last night?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Well whaddya know.....

One of Dale's jobs is to empty the clean silverware from the basket in the dishwasher.

This morning he opened it up, looked at the siverware, and with up-turned palms said:

"Huh! The same ones as when it when it was dirty!"

Oh what fun! It is to buy! Food for the fam-i-ly!

When we got called away in the wee hours of the morning on December 30th, we had just been grocery shopping 2 days before. Which means we left behind 2 full gallons of milk, a new loaf of bread and a full pantry. Not to mention the leftover and yet-to-be-made holiday goodies.

So when we got home on February 14, there was a lot that had to be thrown out. (I am happy to report, though, that my sister rescued the milk the first week in January and she, & Nana & PawPaw & Dale drank what they could before it went bad.)
Of what didn't have to be thrown out, there were lots of meal-making treasures to be found in the pantry and freezer. For 2 weeks now, I have pulled some pretty good suppers out of the hat with just what I had. Well, and the fresh milk, eggs & cheese Greg has brought home. We seem to go through a lot of milk, eggs& cheese at our house. Is that just us?

But today... today, I planned out 10 (TEN!) meals, made a grocery list, loaded up Dale and drove 30 miles to the nearest Supercenter.

And my friends? I've still got it.

I bought what I needed for those 10 meals. I bought breakfast cereal. A few fresh fruits & veggies. Milk, eggs & cheese. And quite a few treats & impulse buys (ice cream cones anyone? specialty coffee?)

And for all that I paid.....



Oh yes, I am good.

Well, ok. I've been taught well and God has blessed. But still... it sure was fun to get all that and only spend $120! Plus it was just fun to be out! Without Alan! In a store! :)

Here's how I do it:
- I almost never ever ever buy name-brand. I usually buy the store-brand, and always check the price per ounce to make sure it is the best deal.
- This time was an exceptionally good trip because this menu is fairly simple. When I search my magazines or watch too much Food Network I end up needing more specialty ingredients and spend a little more.
- I tend to go light on meat. I like to stretch it and make it go further both for the sake of being frugal and for the nutritional benefits of going heavier on veggies instead.

Those are the main things. It also helps that we drink mostly water, and not a lot of juice, soda, etc. I buy frozen vegetables more often than canned or fresh. Mainly green beans, peas, broccoli & Brussels sprouts.

Interested in the Big Ten menu? In no particular order, here's what we have coming up:

Cheesy Crock Pot Chicken, with noodles & broccoli on the side
Crock Pot Pork Chops, with noodles & Brussels sprouts
Stir Fry
Polish Reuben Casserole
Black beans, rice & sausage
Sweet Potato/Black Bean burritos
Pintos & Cornbread
Salmon Chowder
Crock Pot Thai Chicken
Crock Pot Chicken & Dumplings (made with carrots & onions), with green peas