Sunday, January 30, 2011

It's cold outside. It's Saturday and we're out of ketchup. Heaven forbid you run out of ketchup in this house. Especially on a Saturday when Mama is home alone with the boys. I really had no desire to drag 2 boys to the grocery store on a Saturday afternoon to get a lousy bottle of ketchup.

I dug through my recipe binder and found Tosca Reno's ketchup recipe I copied out of one of her books months ago. I always meant to make this, but never did. Now that I have finally made it, I don't think I am ever buying ketchup again. Is it really possible for ketchup to taste amazing? I mean, it's only a condiment after all. But wow. This stuff is good. The boys wanted to eat it out of the bowl with a spoon. I can't blame them. It really was that good. I saved and washed out our old ketchup bottle. From now on I think I'm going to make a double recipe so I can fill the bottle. And it's so cheap too! Here's Tosca's recipe with my tweaks in red.

1 can tomato paste
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp Sucanant sugar (1 1/3 Tbsp Agave nectar)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves (I omitted because I didn't have it)
2 Tbsp cider vinegar

In a small bowl mix all ingredients together. Place in a tightly sealed glass container.

That's it. Easy peasy delicious! Try it and let me know what you think!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I shocking got a ton of stuff crossed off my to do list in the past few days. Now just to find the time to blog about it all!

I have to say the thing am the most excited about crossing off is cutting and sending off my fabric to the boy themed I Spy Swap sponsored by Stacey at Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy. I have wanted to make an I Spy quilt FOREVER and this will give me the perfect opportunity to do so. I sent off 200 squares of 10 different fabrics and I will be getting 200 squares of 200 patterns of fabric in return! Now my new dilemma is do I make one big quilt for the boys to share, or do I make 2 small quilts each with 100 squares. Hmmm..........

Dill Pickles went with me to the post office to mail off the squares. He had a bit of a meltdown there because I was sending away "his" bowling pin fabric. Bowling is one of his newest obsessions and one of the fabrics I happened to pick up had bowling ball and bowling pins. Dill did not like that someone else was getting his bowling pins and demanded the post office lady return my package "right now right now!" I assured him that we could go to the store and buy some more fabric for him. He requested a bowling pillowcase. I told him will do. That brought the meltdown to a slight constant whine. Boys.

Friday, January 21, 2011

We're in for a big one this weekend ladies and gentleman. And no, I'm not talking about the most heated NFC championship game to be played in the last 70 years. I'm talking about a potty boot camp this weekend for Sweet Pickles.

Little Sweetie will be 3 in May and it still not potty trained. He knows you have to go on the potty. Every once and a while he will do it. He can put on and take off his clothes. He tells you after he's gone and done it and wants to be changed. But little Sweet Pickles seems to just care less. Carrie at This Mama Makes Stuff shared how she potty trained her little guy. Maybe potty bribed is more like it.

I'm not above bribing. She shared what motivated her son and I think it is the perfect motivator for Sweet Pickles: a wall of Hotwheels cars. Every time her son pooped in the potty, he got a Hotwheels car. Mama Pickles stocked up on cars when they were $0.49 just before Christmas and now we have a wall of Hotwheel cars just a waitin' for some poop in our bathroom.

I'll let you know next week how it's going. And maybe I'll even get a pic of our bribe, er, um, reward board up too. As long as I have the patience for my computer. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It's Wednesday so I guess that means I should have more confessions for you.

#1 I got on the scale the other day and almost fell of backwards and hit my head on the counter. I can't believe the number I saw. I am disgusted with myself. I am making an appointment with a nutritionist/dietitian mere minutes after getting the written orders from my doctor on Friday afternoon.

#2 I haven't updated my personal family blog in 2.5 months, but I am too irritated with my computer to upload the pics to it. We still haven't been able to get it up and running back to where it should be and it takes F.O.R.E.V.E.R. for the pics to load. Same reason for not posting here much either. I just have no patience for a slow computer.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

When I was a lot younger I listened to a radio station that had a bit called Confession Wednesday. I'm glad I don't remember any of them because I'm sure they were highly inappropriate for my age.

It's Wednesday. I have two confessions for you.

#1 I have a horrible Diet Pepsi habit. I'm talking like 5 or 6 cans a day. I keep trying to wean myself down, but haven't been successful yet. Maybe by putting it out there I can keep myself mroe accountable.

#2 The other day I found myself saying to my children, "I am not the entertainment director on a cruise ship. Go find something and play!" I just wanted 10 minutes alone. I felt bad about it later because as part of Dill Pickle's issues he isn't really capable of sustained play on his own for a good period of time. All I wanted was a few minutes of Mommy time. Is that so bad?

Monday, January 10, 2011

When there's a birthday in Dill Pickle's class, the kids are allowed to bring a pre-packaged store bought treat. Most of the time it is something that Dill is allergic to. His teacher has a mini fridge/freezer in the classroom and lets me put a few cupcakes or muffins in the freezer for him. This way he can still have a special treat when there's a birthday in the class and not feel left out.

I checked the birthday poster the other day when I dropped him off and I noticed there was a birthday over the weekend. The birthday girl would surely bring treats today so I figured I had better make something. I went to the fridge and the cabinet and saw that I didn't have the ingredients I thought I did, so I pulled out my recipe binder. In this binder I have all kinds of recipes- ones we love, ones to try out and ones that will never be made in this house again. I found this Fruit and Veggie Muffin recipe from Erin at $5 Dollar Dinners. I've never made it before and I had all the ingredients.

1 cup flour
3 T canola oil
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup mashed or grated fruit or veggie ***See ideas below!
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In bowl, combine eggs, oil, sugar and mashed fruit or veggie. Whisk. Mix well.
3. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix until it forms into batter. Add nuts if you like.
4. Pour into muffin cups.
5. Mini muffins: Bake 8-10 minutes. Regular muffins: Bake 15-2o minutes. Tops will turn golden.
6. Cool on cooling rack and then serve to hungry little people!

***Fruits and Veggies: 1 cup mashed banana, 1 cup grated apple, 1 cup squash and 1 cup grated apple (double the recipe), 1 cup grated carrots (add 1/2 cup raisins if you like), 1 cup peeled and grated zucchini, 1 cup blueberries, 1 cup bananas and 1 cup strawberries (double the recipe)…or 1 cup of any other veggie you like…just mash or grate them up!

I made these muffins with 1 cup grated carrot and 1/2 cup raisins and of course omitted the nuts. I also used 1 cup whole wheat flour even though she suggests 1/2 cup white and 1/2 cup wheat. We are trying to cut white stuff out of our diet so I don't have any white flour in the house. The muffins smelled heavenly while baking and they taste great too!

I like Erin's recipes because not only are they frugal, a lot of them are also dairy and soy free too! She is having a book signing for her new book The $5 Dollar Dinner Mom Breakfast and Lunch Cookbook at a nearby Borders this week. I just might go.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The sickies have hit The Squishy Pickles. It started last Saturday morning with Dill Pickles. He woke up with a fever and was vomiting. All day. The vomiting subsided a bit Sunday, but then we were greeted with a lovely rash. Huh? What could he be having an allergic reaction to? He hasn't eaten anything since Friday at dinner and all he has been drinking if G2 Gatorade. Daddy Pickles and I decided a trip to the doctor was in order on Monday.

Scarlet Fever. When you hear it, makes you kinda go aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!! right? Run for the hills before you get some crazy illness from centuries ago!! Turns out Scarlet Fever isn't anything more than strep throat and a rash. Dill got a script for some antibiotics and the doc said "Don't worry about Sweet Pickles. Scarlet Fever only happens in those 3 and over." Wow. Glad we escaped that one by 4 months. But guess who started vomiting right when Mama and Daddy Pickles were ready to hit the sack that night? Little Sweetie. Back to the doctor the next day. Yep. Scarlet Fever. Guess we like to buck the rules around here.

Which brings me to what I originally wanted to write about. Somewhere in time, Dill Pickles got it into his little head that when you are sick, you need a pukey pot. Not a pukey bucket or even a pukey garbage can, a pukey pot. Of course it had to be my 8 quart Farberware soup pot. When there's puke flying everywhere, you're going to grab what you can to contain it, so I let him throw up in the pukey pot. I washed it out every time and then used a lysol wipe and also tossed it in the dishwasher and made sure to run the sanitize cycle.

I was ok with this for a while. Then we went through the latest round of illness and I decided that is was just wrong. Even though I sanitize the life out of it, I just can't let my kids go puking in a pot that I use to make chicken soup. Yuck. Gross. Awful to the extreme. So tonight while Dill Pickles was at basketball, Sweet Pickles and I hit the thrift store looking for a new pukey pot. No luck unless you want a 2 quart sauce pan. Somehow I don't see that making a good pukey pot. I will keep searching though and hopefully before the next round of illness hits The Squishy Pickles we will have a brand new pukey pot so Mama Pickles can use her pot to make some chicken soup.

How about you? Do you have a pukey pot?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I just read the funniest book I have read in a looooooong time. I was laughing out loud so much, Daddy Pickles came into the bedroom and asked me what I was smoking. When Did I Get Like This?: The Screamer, The Worrier, The Dinosaur-Chicken-Nugget Buyer, & Other Mothers I Swore I'd Never Be had me laughing so hard I cried. I marked passages to read to Daddy Pickles so I could show him that I'm not that loony. There are other moms out there who think and feel the *exact* same things as me. Gosh, there are so many stories in her book that I want to tell you about, but then I'd be afraid I'd spoil it for you. Run to your library and get this book. Now. You will need it. It will make you smile and be happy to be a mom. Amazon even has it for Kindle. I'm not an affiliate, I just want to make it easier for you to get to this book. Go. Now. Do it. Push all other books to the side of your nightstand and give this one a read.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Not a thrilling post, I know. But I learned the hard way that things on your hard drive don't last forever. My laptop crashed the weekend before Christmas and I was able to save a lot of stuff, but not all. So next year when I go looking for library books for December I can come right back here and know where it is.

A City Christmas Tree by Rebecca Bond
Christmas for Ten by Cathryn Falwell
An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco
Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney
What’s Coming for Christmas by Kate Banks
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell by Lucille Colandro
The Night of Las Posadas by Tomie dePaola
Four Friends at Christmas by Tomie de Paola
Sharing Christmas by Kate Westerlund
The Spirit of Christmas by Nancy Tillman
Little Owl and the Star by Mary Murphy
The Bakers Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale by Aaron Shepard
The Friendly Beasts by Sharon McGinley
There Was No Snow on Christmas Eve by Pam Munoz Ryan
Mary, The Mother of Jesus by Tomie dePaola
Mortimer’s Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson
The Gingerbread Boy by Richard Egielski
The Story of the Three Wise Kings by Tomie dePaola
A Pinata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas by Pat Mora
Joy to the World by Tomie dePaola
All for the Newborn Baby by Phyllis Root
The Mighty Santa Fe by William H. Hooks

I'm not sure what our book theme will be for January. Last year I'm pretty sure it was snow. I don't know if I want to do that again or not. I guess I'll know when I hit the on-line card catalog and see what's available at my library. Wish me happy hunting!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My goodness. I didn't post a darn thing in December, huh? I guess that's what you get when you wait until the middle of November to start sewing a birthday present and 4 Christmas presents. Every year I say I am going to start sooner. Go back and check my posts if you don't believe me. :) And each year I don't. Hrmph. Maybe one of these years I'll learn my lesson.

I have ben composing lots of posts in my head; do those count for anything? I'd like to post about the awesome capes, shirts, crowns, masks and arm cuffs I sewed for Christmas for my sons and my nieces. I also need to get around to documenting the Christmas books we checked out of the library so I know for next time. I guess I'll need to get right on that because most are due tomorrow.

And I've also decided I just need to take time for me. I love Daddy Pickles and my little pickles with all my heart and soul, but I just need to make some time for Mama Pickles. My sister gave me the book Run Like A Mother for Christmas. I've only read the first chapter or two, but it is already kicking me in the butt to start running again. I ordered new running shoes yesterday because I'm sure my pair from February are just too worn out as they have become my daily shoe.

I'd also like to clean up our diet. Daddy Pickles and I keep trying to eat healthy food and we succeed it at for a little while. Then slowly, bit by bit, all the junk ends up in the house again. I have no willpower. I don't. No matter how hard I try, if it's there, I eat it. Daddy Pickles promised me that he will stick to it this time. We're starting off slowly. No more store bought cookies in the house. I'd like to move on to chips and the like next, but Daddy Pickles wants me to cut out my Diet Pepsi. I don't know about that. I don't drink coffee so that's my morning joe. Who knows. I guess we will just have to wait and see.