Monday, March 30, 2009

1930's Menu Plan

I was going to start this post with something snarky about deciding whether or not you'd be requiring maid service for your family dinner, but as I read along, I found this quote from the 1937 edition of the "My New Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook" that I just love. Here is what Better Homes and Gardens had to say about the dinner table in 1937:

"The table is an important axis in home life. From it should radiate physical, mental, and social refreshment to family and friends. It should remain a happy memory in the minds of all who are privileged to enjoy its hospitality."

To my mind, this should still hold true today, even if our recipes have changed.

Should you desire to take your family on a tour of a 1930's dinner table, here are a few ideas for your meal.

For starters:

I'm certain every three year old will come running to the table with a smile on her face when she discovers that mom has so very carefully placed asparagus and chopped lettuce into a molded tomato jelly. If by chance she snubs her nose at this, try "Jellied Tomato Soup with Celery, Stuffed Olives, and Nut Meats."

Be sure to remember that your salad should be served on lettuce and that your "Lettuce should be a cup that holds the salad. If the leaf is flat, split halfway from the stem end and lap one side over the other to form a cup."


I have to admit, this recipe for Chicken Mulligatawny not only makes me think of the best sitcom ever(Seinfeld), but sounds quite delicious! I may have to give it a try. You can too!
Chicken Mulligatawny
3 pounds raw chicken
1/4 C sliced onion
1/4 C chopped celery
1/4 C cubed carrot
1/4 C butter or drippings (if in 2009 you don't know what drippings are, or why you would have saved them, don't worry, you don't need to know...just think "heart attack")
1 T flour
1 t salt
1 t sugar
1/8 t black pepper
1 t curry powder
1/8 t mace
2 cloves
1 t chopped parsely
1/2 green pepper, chopped fine
2 sour apples, cored and sliced
4 qts cold water
1 C tomatoes strained

Cook chicken, onion, celery, and carrot in the fat until brown. Add remaining ingredients and cook slowly until chicken is tender. Remove chicken and cut meat into small pieces. Strain the soup and rub vegetables thru sieve. Add chicken to strained soup. Add more seasoning, if desired, and serve hot with boiled rice. (serves 10-12)

If you don't feel Mulligatawny is for you, I'd be happy to forward the recipe for good ol' oxtail soup. The recipe calls for just one small oxtail, so it has potential to be very budget friendly.

Now for the main course.

I'm going to suggest a baked bean loaf. Its like crime and punishment all together! Could it be possible for a loaf made of lima beans, canned salmon and eggs to go wrong? If canned beans, canned salmon and eggs aren't for you, feel free to try option B: Smothered Rabbit. Be sure to read the instructions on how to properly skin said rabbit prior to smothering it. You wouldn't want poor Danny Boy to choke on intestinal tract while enjoying his delicious milk-gravy-smothered pan-fried rabbit.

You say your meal is not complete without desert? Well, never fear, desert is here! And what, in all truthfullness, could be better than the idea of a 1930's desert dish? I'm thinking homemade pie/cobbler/brown-betty, you get the idea! In honor of spring, I'm going to give you Deep-dish strawberry and rhubarb pie. My mouth is actually watering right now!

3 T cornstarch
1/8 t salt
1 1/3 c sugar
2 C strawberries
1 1/2 C diced rhubarb
1 T butter
1 recipe pastry (you have a favorite go ahead and use it, and I won't tell if you use the one that comes from the refrigerator case at the they had those in 1937!)

Blend cornstarch, salt, and sugar. Add to fruit and mix. Place filling in deep pie pan, heaping center of filling slightly above top of pan so that it will support pastry. Dot with Butter. Roll pastry, cut several gashes in it and place over filling. Trim edge, leaving 1/2 inch margin beyond edge of pan. Turn margin over, moisten rim of pan, and flute edge of crust, pressing firmly to pan. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake in hot oven (425) until crust is browned and rhubarb tender, about 30 minutes.


I hope you've enjoyed this little 1937 tour of the family kitchen a'la Better Homes and Gardens "New" cookbook. Nextweek, the "Household Searchlight" recipe book.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Patience My Dears, Patience.

Anybody that knows JP and I very well at all knows that Patience is not our strong-suit.  In most areas one of us balances out the other, or occassionally we find that we share the same strength.  But when it comes to patience, neither of us take very well to waiting on things which seem out of our control to come together.  We prefer action to inaction, and while a bit of patience can actually enable better action, we don't always see it that way.  

Once again, we are finding ourselves in a moment where only patience is required, nothing else.  In fact, taking too much action at this very point in time might throw an even bigger wrench into our plans.  And so we wait, for somebody else's decision to determine what action we shall take.  

It occurrs to me that this is an opportunity to submit.  It is an opportunity to put all our trust in Heavenly Father above and say "I will go where you want me to go".  In fact, it even feels just exactly right to say it out loud.  "I will go, where YOU want me to go"...and I will, and I'm fine with it.

If things go the way I think they will probably go, by June we will be moving out of this neighborhood, into an as yet undetermined neighborhood.  We don't really want to leave, but if we need to we need to.  We could look at it as an opportunity to "upgrade" but we're happy with where we're at, we don't feel the NEED to "upgrade".  Our rate of rent works for our budget and even allows us to set aside  a little each month.  There are no "Joneses" in the nieghborhood, which works quite nicely for me, who admittedly, has gotten caught up in keeping up at points in the past.  Our children have made friends in the neighborhood, and we love the mountain view.  We would love to stay.  But we also know this is not the only neighborhood in the area that will suit our needs.  And so if we must move to a new one, that will be ok too.  But until our landlords get some answers on decisions they are trying to make, we have nothing to do but wait, and that is where the frustration begins.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dust to Dust

Not that I would know this first hand or anything, but in case you were curious what happens to a boneless pork chop when left on the BBQ grille, (set to high) for lets just say 2 1/2 hours, or somewhere there abouts, it turns to absolute DUST! A charcoal black lump of DUST that disintegrates the moment it is touched in order to retrieve it off the grill. Its true, but I don't plan on trying it, I'll just trust this not-so-tasty little piece of info I've happened upon quite accidentally.

uh huh.

Friday, March 27, 2009

vicious cycle

I know money can't buy happiness, but a sufficient amount to meet a family's needs certainly seems to be able to remove quite a bit of stress. In June, Jp and I will celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary. This past year has been the first time we've really had sufficient money for our needs and a small (very small) surplus that has enabled us to do some of the things we have missed out on- like dating!
Ironically, our time together has actually been diminished. Jp works nights, and therefore requires daytime to rest. He asked me to please considering taking a job outside of the home, in order to a: help with the finances, and b: leave the house quiet everyday so he can rest. Sometimes I feel bitter about working outside the home. I loved being at home with the children, having playdates at the park with buddies, doing all the stuff that mom's who stay home get to do. But I'm also really enjoying having peace of mind about financial obligations, and not always feeling like I have no right to spend 10 dollars if I want to. But if Jp's schedule changed and he worked normal hours like the rest of the world, I would probably be begging to just stay home. But it would mean giving up some of the things we are now enjoying that we've missed out on during the first 5+ years of marriage. Its all a vicious cycle. I guess for now i'll be grateful that I have just about the perfect job. I can bring my children with me when necessary, I can ask for as much time off as I need, occassionally I get to be creative while helping customers put together different looks for their home. I get to meet new people, and learn new things. And beyond that, I get Friday Night Date Night, and that has been GREAT! I'm actually not so sure I would give up my job if I knew it would mean giving up our date-nights, they have become that important.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


It seems that perhaps my children know me even better than I know myself. I didn't think I was so terribly predictable, I like to try new things, I appreciate a new adventure. But apparently there are a few things I never vary.

Consider this morning's conversation between me and 3 year old Lily:

Lily: I'm hungee, I like some cereal.
Mommy: You are going to work with me today and we are out of milk, if we leave RIGHT NOW I will take you to Jack in the Box for a Breakfast Jack.
Lily: I can have a chocolate milk?
Mommy: sure
Lily: You can have a Diet Coke?
Mommy: (laughing) you betcha!

To tell the truth, my thought process had not actually gotten as far as "if I take Lily to get a breakfast jack then I can have a diet coke." i was just considering that the breakfast I had made her into which I had folded orange-creme flavored mucinex (at daddy's request to get her to eat it) and been left untouched except for the single bite she took where it was determined that orange-creme-mucinex flavored scrambled eggs wasn't going to be the next taste sensation.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Where the Heck did my Mojo go?

It used to be I had so many ideas, I'd make multiple entries a day and schedule them out sometimes as much as two weeks in advance.  I haven't had an interesting thought in two weeks.  And heck, if I'm not interested, I know you aren't going to be!  Maybe I could have written about the sharks jumping on shore in last night's dream, or the time I woke up realizing that all night long I had been a 14 year old black boy in my dreams...but there's gotta be some crazy psychology behind all that and while I'm not against you thinking I'm wierd or silly, I am quite against anybody knowing how disturbed I may or may not be.  I could write a travelogue, or not!  I was kind of thinking of throwing down a 1930's menu planning post to go along with the 1930's housewife test tag/meme.  I have two really great 1930's cookbooks that have some really fun stuff in them (if you consider soaking your squirrel overnight in saltwater to take the gaminess out "fun").

It had occurred to me write about my adventures using FitDay, but I have to say, its not that great an adventure!  We had a one-day trip to San Diego, which was fun, but nothing particularly unique or funny happened, except when the google-maps directions went hay-wire in a big way, but nothing particularly interesting happened out of that, we just got out of the place it sent us and drove to the place we were trying to get too, big whoop.
So, I have to say, unless you send me a topic you're dying to hear my perspective on, it may be a long, dry, spell.  And so what?.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Lately I've heard Gabe try out a few "slang" words. I don't remember the other couple of words he used, but this morning he came in to tell me about the Ben10 episode he just watched. I think his use of the word was extra funny to me because the reason he was telling the story was to tell me that they said "Shut-UP" on the show (which he isn't allowed to say). It seemed so strange to hear him use slang, and in the same breath tattle about another word. It was just a simple little sentence, but coming from a 5 year old as part of his first attempts, it sounded funny.

Gabe: "On Ben10, these two bad guys tried to JACK the camper, and then Ben turned into 4arms and they looked at each other and started arguing and one of them said SHUT-UP!"...all with really wide eyes for emphasis.

I know the retelling isn't that funny, but I wished I could remember what he said the other day that made me laugh, but since I didn't write it down, I couldn't remember it. So know the "Jacked" story is written.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hooray !

time to play house for 5 days.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A limerick I thought about writing
so funny you'd laugh at my joke
i readied my fingers
i sat at the 'puter
please somebody give me a poke!

(because the creative juices are not running today, maybe I need diet coke!)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

two possible lessons to learn from this

So, by the name of our family blog here, you may have gathered that we are not famous for fabulous hair. As a rule, we as a family have squirrely, crazy, uncooperative hair. We have found some products that help tame the "Cave-iness" out of it, but this morning I didn't use any.

You all have seen pictures of Lily with her cave-hair. Even freshly combed, one 3 minute ride in the carseat later, and it looks like pidgeons have roosted in it. (we test this theory every Sunday morning, and in fact, it takes only 3 minutes to go from adorable to horrible...the exact same amount of time it takes to get from our driveway to the chapel doors.)

This morning, Lily got a finger-comb through her hair, a pair of jeans (clean, not handmedowns) and sweatshirt (clean, and not a handmedown), and a perfectly horrible pair of "princess" ugg type boots we paid 3 dollars for at walmart that she has worn into a horrible, stained, Ugg-ly mess. For the record, I hate them and find them innappropriate for public viewing, but they are her favorite...thus the condition...and its Saturday and if she wants to put on her princess boots, who cares?

We went to McDonalds to play with cousins at the play-place, we walked into the children's area, frankly looking quite a bit cleaner than some of the other patrons, but still in Saturday morning, "A finger comb is good enough" mode.

Lily walked past an old man who was having breakfast with his wife (at McDonalds, in the Children's play area on a Saturday---lets keep this in mind) and I see him look at Lily, shake his head, look at his wife and say "i'd be surprised if she even has underpants on." I looked at him, shocked, and said "She's mine, she does have panties on, and they are even clean, thank you very much." Then I turned around, totally and completely mortified to be on the recieving end of that kind of criticism.

So here are my two options for lessons learned:
A: Never EVER leave the house without perfectly coifed children. Clean clothes are not enough, hair must be done. If I know 3 minutes can destroy the "do", keep a comb, curl-enhancer, and spray-mister with water in my purse at all times. (which I have actually considered doing from time to time.) Don't enter public places unless cave-hair has been tamed.


B: Be a little less judgemental of others when I see dirty kids running around after school or on a Saturday. Maybe, it really is just Saturday afterall and the condition of the kids at mcDonald's on a Saturday morning bears no reflection on their homelife.

In the end, when the man left, Jp very politely approached him and said "I think you owe my wife an apology"...and the man very kindly offered one, agreeing that he had spoken out of place and had forgotten where he was when he made his remark. I accepted the apology, but I still feel really embarrassed. Partly because I knew I hadn't put much effort into looking appropriate for going out in public, and partly because I know I am guilty of being critical of other mother's in public.

What if I've said something that hurt another mother the way I felt hurt today?

It's a terrible feeling.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I am not participating in the recession

I'm not trying to trivialize the economic state of our country, but I refuse to let the news tell me to be afraid.
Its Friday. Turn off the news today. Don't listen to NPR, don't listen to talk radio (except you Ramona, I know you HAVE TO...)don't engage in "the economy is making me so nervous" conversations. Spend one day committed to living your life without the news telling you what your life is like. See if you can stretch it into an entire weekend. Don't you have some shopping to do? Go, do it. And have a HAPPY weekend.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

We have now entered "busy season".

Last month when we looked ahead to March to try and plan a short vacation, we quickly realized that the entire month of March had already been planned for us! With Birthdays, karate testing, spring break, hopefully some visitors, some changes in work schedules, and church obligations, the calendar is FULL! Add in some frustrating behaviors coming from a certain 5 year old we know and love which is requiring trips to school and meetings with teachers and admin, creative parenting, and making sure the 3 year old doesn't get jipped in the parenting department, you may have noticed that I am semi-absent from blogging. I've also been haunted tirelessly by that treadmill that is sitting next to my PC at home, so I've had to give it the love and attention it requires so it will not haunt me all night long. Things are busy.

And actually, I like it that way. I love to sit down and blog a bit. I find it even more relaxing and invigorating that kicking a pigeon, but its good to have other things to do too.

So next week we have two days that are as yet unplanned, except for that we are planning to have some recreation those two days. I was thinking about going to Montezuma's castle, which is some cliff dwellings in north/central AZ. But I'm also thinking about telling JP to get in the passenger seat and taking him on a drive that my sis and I did last year. It was a little hairy the first time, never having driven anything like it before (think Mule Trail, only I was driving a Dodge Durango). The only thing is he'll probably want to drive, and I don't think I could handle that ride as a passenger. I'm not real big on mountain roads to start with (I think my dad used to hit those curves excellerating just simply to scare me! LOL) and I do get carsick. But I feel up to the challenge if he would let me drive. The scenery is spectacular, and last time it was dark for half the ride, so I'm sure we missed alot. It is 44 miles, and last time it took us 2 and a half hours to traverse that little peice of wilderness, without any stops. This time I think I would want to make stops and check it all out. I dunno, we have never been to Montezuma's castle, and I've been wanting to get there, and it is straight interstate all the way there.

I love living in this state. There is so much to see!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I did not trek into the mountains, or lose cell service

We opted for the zoo with a good friend and some kids in tow.  Perhaps not exactly high adventure, but "safe".  I only had to navigate idiot drivers who weren't concerned about photo-radar and insisted on making illegal lane changes to make their point while angrily getting around my carefully set 9 miles above the speed limit cruise control (the radar goes off if you're 11 over).  Mountain Lions might have been more pleasant, and even if they were starving, probably less aggressive.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Its Time

I need a change of scenery, and a change of schedule.  Today should be grocery shopping day, but I really just want to go adventuring.  There is a whole mountain range to be explored within eyesight!  Did they invent cell-phones so mom's could pack up 3 year olds and head into the wilderness without filing a flight-plan first?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Not just a greeting your elderly neighbor calls over the fence, no longer just an exclamation of Joy. Woohoo---short for Wittle Willy Woo Who, correctly translated as Little Lily Lou-Who, is celebrating her 3rd Birthday today!
WOOHOOO. Party on Twisted Sister.
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Monday, March 2, 2009


You know those end-of-winter blahs?  The ones that make you head into "spring cleaning" early and make you yearn for color and excitement?  The one's that make you want to look out the window, hear a little bird chirp, spy the first blade of green grass popping through the snow? 

Well, since we're in Arizona now, we're not dealing with that specific set of yearnings, but I was finding myself yearning for something new and different around the windows.  Its the time of year when we open them up and let some fresh air in the house, enjoy the view of the next door neighbor's electric meter, and enjoy the low hum of the neighbor tuning up his quad.  What with all that scenery and ambience, I really felt it was time for some new window coverings and accoutrements.  Just a little something to brighten my day, you know?

So, I was having difficulty deciding between something fresh and modern with a crisp graphic look, and something more traditional.

These are the pictures of some of the ideas I had

I really loved the cream color, the light airy feel of the glass lamp, the little figurine, etc.  I wasn't too sure about the mirrored table. In theory I love it, but in practice, not quite sure it would fit in my home without redoing the whole house.
This set up felt like me all over.  I loved the earthy, organic colors, the simple clean lines, the no-fuss casual feel.  
I almost placed a poll on the blog to let you all vote on what you liked best, but then I went ahead and just decided.
Here is what I went with.
Don't you adore the cheap white blinds combined with black aluminum?
Lets pretend its lovely, shall we?
p.s.  the remodel here was adding this lovely behemoth to our front room (it wouldn't fit through the doorways to get it into a back-room).  It is right next to the computer though, so it haunts me, which can only be a good thing.  right?