Saturday, May 8, 2010


photo credit

I've been trying out new recipes the last few days. Well, one was a repeat- banana bread- but I really needed to use those bananas, and it's such a rarity for bananas to get to the banana bread stage that I wasn't going to waste them on something I new to be less than fabulous. Although I did reduce the sugar by half, omit the oil, and add 1/2 c of applesauce to the mix, because I thought about it, had applesauce on hand, and wanted to make it healthier. I hate adding a cup of sugar to anything, it's just so excessively gross when you've accustomed your body to not having that much sugar. Thank you, Colin!

So in addition to the banana bread, what worked: dairy-free oatmeal pancakes, which were, in fact, so good that I think I will make them more often than normal pancakes from scratch. A little more work, but definitely worth it! Challah in the bread machine. I really had doubts about this one. But it worked. And it is good.

Dandelion fritters, which Heather gave me the recipe for a few weeks ago. Our yard was ripe for harvestin' before the lawn guys came to cut it. So Brennan and I harvested half a bucket of dandelion flowers (that part was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed spending the time with only him), then while they were supposed to be taking their naps, I made them into fritters. They take a little getting used to, but they really weren't that bad. They were much better drizzled with honey. Crockpot Chicken Adobo. I found a new food blog, A Year Of Slow Cooking. Last time Matthew was gone for an excessively long time I found Smitten Kitchen. Look them up. Drool over the pictures. Cook a lot. Anyway, back to the chicken adobo. It was pretty good. The vinegar flavor was a bit strong on the veggies, but the rice evened it out a little, and the leftovers cold for lunch today were phenomenal. The vinegar had mellowed out (or maybe it was because I'd drained most of the liquid), the chicken was still moist and yummy, the bits of pickled carrot and onion that were left were perfectly delightful. I couldn't decide last night if I wanted to make this again, but I think I will, and will refrigerate it and serve it cold next time. It would make a really good summer dinner, cold. Maybe toss it all together with some pasta for a pasta salad sort of dish. Mmmmm!

What didn't work: yogurt. Maybe I did something wrong, maybe I didn't use the right type of milk or starter yogurt (though from what I've read previously, I probably did something wrong. It probably needed to be kept warmer than it was). I tried it twice, and the best I got was the whey separated from the curds, and the curds tasting like sour milk. Wait a minute, curds? In yogurt? Yeah... I think something went wrong. I found a different method for making it in the crockpot (at the aforementioned site, again), and I know of a different method still that would probably also work better. I'll try one or both eventually. But for now I'm going to buy another couple tubs of the ready-made kind. And more flour. Because the co-op won't be ordering again for another couple weeks, and I need flour before then.

So, I'm happy with what I've accomplished in the kitchen. I still need to make some more granola bars, and I'm itching to just go off the deep end and bake fifty things at once, but for the sake of our health, I'll probably abstain. And maybe bring some of this bread to church tomorrow. Or maybe not. I don't like sharing yummy stuff. Though I probably should, if I want to make more. Maybe I'll make a care package for Matthew.

In other news, we got a dog a few days ago. He's a 3-year-old collie named Boomer. Colin loves him. You'd think no boy has ever had a dog before, that's how happy and proud he is. It's fun watching him. Having the dog hasn't been quite so bad as I thought. I really feel a lot safer at night, and I can just send him outside if he's getting to be too much. It's also given Colin something to focus his attention on, instead of his little brothers. I think this has turned out to be a better choice than I first thought it would be. Brennan is really freaked out, but he's getting better. The first night he wouldn't even let me put him down, and I've never heard him cry that way before. He was really afraid. He's gotten a little bit braver now. He's actually okay walking past Boomer if he's laying on the floor, and tonight even let him sniff him for a minute without starting to cry. Another week or so, and he should be okay with him. Just in time for us to go to DC for the weekend. He'll probably end up regressing.

I got the living room rearranged, and unpacked the rest of the boxes out there (I think). Still need to get stuff up on the walls, and finish unpacking the rest of the house. And I really need to start on my bedroom. It's a disaster, which is sort of amazing considering almost everything is still packed.

But anyway, that's all for tonight. Today seemed to be about three days long. I looked at the clock this morning and was shocked and dismayed that it was only 10, when I would have sworn it was at least lunchtime. The day didn't get much better from there. I'm exhausted, and we're going to church in the morning. Goodnight!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sooo busy today!

Today was rather overcast and drizzley and yuck. And I just wasn't feeling like going to playgroup because Colin is the oldest one there by a long shot, and I was feeling sorry for him, even though he really doesn't care. I guess I was just being emotional because Matthew's gone.

So after doing a load of dishes and a breakfast ordeal involving far more omelets than I had intended to make (and really, if you're going to pick everything out of the omelet, why not just eat scrambled eggs?), we went to Target to look for a cake pan for Colin's birthday. Didn't find one there, but I did find some couch covers that I liked, so I got those, and some coordinating pillow cases for the pillows. Next stop, Michael's, where we found a 3-D car cake pan. I'm almost as excited about making it as Colin is to have a car cake!

After that we went to Chick-fil-A for lunch and playtime, and saw the pastor and another lady from church. I'm completely drawing a blank on her name (Denise? I don't think that's right), but she lives near our old house, and has a son a little older than Colin. They had a great time playing together.

After lunch we went to Sam's Club and Walmart, and got groceries and a bunch of stuff I've been putting off buying. Poor Brennan fell asleep between Sam's and Walmart, and I felt horrible about waking him up so we could finish shopping, but I really just wanted to get it done. And hey, it meant he and Colin both fell asleep early tonight! I put them to bed by 7:20, and they were both asleep by 8:30. Nikolai just fell asleep a few minutes ago, after fighting, spitting up, and everything else. Usual routine, not that I want to keep it that way. Ugh. I'm tired. Too tired to fold the laundry and wash the dishes that I've been trying to catch up on. But that's what tomorrow is for. There has to come a point every night where you say "enough". This point is it. I did clean up the living room after we got home, because I couldn't stand it anymore, and tired was one thing, but that messy was another. It got cleaned, and I got happy :)

Talked to Matthew for a bit, chatted with Misty online, now Heather's on the phone. I like having people to talk to.

I still haven't heard from our landlord about whether we can get the dog or not. As much as I want a dog on the one hand, I'm kind of hoping we don't get it on the other. We'll see what it turns out to be.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Home Again

And here we have the reason for the name of the blog. We've moved, again. We're still in Jacksonville, but our landlords at the old house said they couldn't renew our lease this summer because one of their mothers would be moving in. Bummer. I hadn't wanted to move again this enlistment. And, that ended up tying for shortest amount of time we've lived in a house: eight months. The other one we lived in for eight months was our second house in Hawaii.

Our newest house is pretty nice. In some ways, I like it better than the last one. The back yard is even bigger, and more fun, and has a mulberry tree (!!! squee!!!), there's a playroom/second living room built onto the back, a huge shed, wood floors throughout, and only one bathroom. I'm happy about that because I really don't like cleaning bathrooms. Although the bad part is, I have two young boys who make it necessary to clean the bathroom almost every time I need to use it. You gain some, you lose some.

Some of the things I don't like: the only phone jack in the house is in Colin and Brennan's bedroom, our bedroom closet has the air filter thingummy in it, which takes up half the closet (which is tiny to begin with, so small, in fact, that we bought a freestanding storage closet unit that's bigger than the closet!) The laundry room is outside, there's no dishwasher, and the last people who lived here had problems with a Peeping Tom. Which leads me to:

I'm getting a dog. Male collie, three years old, named Boomer. I'd been debating, even while asking permission from our landlord, but Delaney next door came over and introduced herself this evening, and told me about that little incident, and that sealed the deal. Dog will be acquired as soon as I get the go-ahead. And no, I do not do laundry at night anymore.

I'm getting the house all cleaned and unpacked and in order, getting rid of more stuff (a perpetual task, just like doing the dishes or laundry). I've gotten horribly behind on the dishes, partially because I took Saturday off to spend the day with Matthew, and also on the laundry. The playroom was a disaster this morning, but has been cleaned up. Yesterday I unpacked eight boxes, the first boxes I'd unpacked in about a week. I don't know what I did all last week, but it must not have been anything useful, if I'm so far behind on everything now!

But anyway, the house is starting to feel like home again. I first started thinking of things in that perspective about a month after we got to Hawaii. Matthew was gone, and I'd just discovered one of Nathan's CDs in my CD case, Blackmore's Night, Fires at Midnight. There's a song on there called Home Again, and it's about travelling the world, and discovering that home is where you belong. One line that repeats in the chorus is "Oh, it's good to be back home again." I was listening to that song, nearly five years ago now, and realized that I was home again. I belonged there, then, in that little housing unit with my flowers and herbs on the porch, hardly anything in the house at that point, but it was ours, and it was home, even if Matthew was gone on an exercise. I was home. Each move, I've taken a deep breath, and smiled, and told myself I'm home again. Today has really been that day for me for this move. The living room is a little less "boxed", things are getting cleaner, my hot spots are occuring again, routines are falling into place. I'm home again. And I don't want to be anywhere else in the world.