Saturday, January 31, 2009

Menu for Feb. 1-7

One of my resolutions this year was to be more organized with meal planning. It's taken me a month to get started...but what else is new?

Today we spent just under $160.00 on groceries for the week. Our cupboards were pretty bare, so I had to get a lot of staples, too. We bought 20 lbs. of ground beef to stock up the freezer, and to take to church for fellowship Super Bowl party tomorrow.

Today (Saturday)
Chicken Enchiladas (the good ones---recipe below)
Spanish Rice
Refried beans

Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Sandwiches
Dinner: Eat at church--beef burgers

Breakfast: Banana Chip Muffins
Lunch: Chicken Packets
Dinner: Chicken Tortilla Soup

Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Ham Balls
Green Beans
Mashed Potatoes
Dinner: Leftovers/whatever you can find

Breakfast: Waffles with Carmel Banana Topping
Lunch: Cowboy Chili (with elk meat from Papa Ken)
Breadsticks (recipe below)
Dinner: Leftovers/whatever you can find

Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Spaghetti and Meatballs
Dinner: Leftovers/whatever you can find

Breakfast: Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
Lunch: Chicken Enchiladas
Dinner: Crockpot Potato Soup

Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Huddy's Favorite Casserole (I've never made this--don't know if it will be a favorite. Shannon made sure I changed it from 'hubby' to 'Huddy')
Dinner: Leftovers/whatever you can find

Chicken Enchiladas--I got this recipe from Stacey Ryal (used to be from Nevada, now Mason City)
4 T. Butter
1 c. Onion, minced
2 tsp. Garlic Powder
2 tsp. Cumin
2 tsp. Salt and Pepper, each
1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper or Chili Powder
16 oz. Sour Cream
6 T. Flour
4 c. Chicken Broth
8 oz. Diced Green Chilies, opt.
4 c. Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded and divided
6 c. Chicken, shredded and cooled
16-24 Tortillas

SAUCE: Cook onion, garlic, cumin, pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper in butter until onion is tender. Stir flour into sour cream and add to onion mixture. Whisk in chicken broth and green chilies all at once. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add 2 x. of the \shredded pepper jack cheese. Stir.

FILLING: Mix chicken and 2 c. pepper jack cheese. Add 1-2 c. of sauce and mix. Divide the filling between tortilla shells. Wrap and place in a greased 9x13 baking dish (or two). Pour sauce over. Bake at 350, covered, until heated through, about 25-30 minutes. Bake uncovered an additional 5 minutes. Sprinkle with toppings such as olives, cherry tomatoes, green onions, and shredded cheese if desired.

I use this recipe for pizza dough and the variation for breadsticks.

3 cups hot tap water (not hot enough to burn)
2 Tbsp.honey
6-8 cups whole wheat or unbleached white flour (approx. amount)
1 Tbsp. Saf yeast
1 Tbsp. Real Salt
1 Tbsp. Dough Enhancer

Put water, honey and 3 cups of flour in Bosch bowl. Mix until paste consistency. Add yeast and salt. Add additional flour quickly, 1 cup at a time only until mixture pulls away from sides of bowl. You may not need to add entire amount of flour or you may need to add a bit more.

If using all white flour, knead 5 minutes. If half white half wheat flour, knead 8 minutes. If all wheat flour, knead 10 minutes.

Add dough enhancer last two minutes of kneading.

Place pizza stone on oven and preheat to 500.

Roll crusts to desired shapes and sizes. Add toppings and bake on stone for 7 minutes.

Pizza crusts can be baked for three minutes and then frozen for later use. They will store up to two months. Thaw 1 hour before adding toppings and baking.

Spread with favorite pizza sauce. Add toppings of choice and sprinkle with cheese. Bake on preheated pizza stone at 500 for 7 minutes.

Variation: Add to water/honey mixture:
2-3 cloves garlic
2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. oregano

Variation: For bread sticks - use 1/3 Pizza Dough Recipe
1 cube butter (room temperature)
4 cloves garlic
grated Parmesan cheese

Pinch off dough and roll into rectangle 12"x 8 " (1/4" thick). Cut into 3/4" wide strips. Place on greased or parchment paper covered bun pan. Allow to rise until double in size. Bake on pizza stone 500 for 7 minutes until lightly browned. Press garlic into butter and brush on tops of cooked bread sticks. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

You can also use pizza dough to make calzones. Roll balls of dough into 6"-8" circles. Add fillings, pizza sauce and cheese. Fold edges over, (makes half moon shape). Pinch and eal with water. Run fork tines around edges. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes (until lightly browned and filling is melted).

"Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase;" Proverbs 3:9

Friday, January 23, 2009

Computer trouble

On November 2, 2007 Alex and I bought laptops, and purchased the extended warranty. My AC adapter broke about a month ago, but I was able to borrow Alex's as needed and never got around to calling and filing a claim.

On Sunday the 11th, Alex's AC adapter stopped working. The next morning I pulled our warranty information out of the file cabinet and made the call. I was on the phone for over a half hour relaying all of the necessary information. I got both claims filed and was assured that my power cords would be delivered by either UPS or FedEx within 3-5 business days.

I do all of my homeschooling record keeping, lesson plans, scheduling, etc. on my laptop. I track and pay bills. I receive over a hundred emails a day. I have several blogs that I faithfully check daily . I get my Bible in Year readings daily on my computer. I really hate not having the laptop running all day. Alex does his Geometry, Biology and Spanish on his computer.

I made it all the way to Friday without the computer. I filled in at the office with Shannon last Friday, and Papa Ken was kind enough to leave me his AC adapter while I "worked". I was able to get my battery charged up "in case of emergency" over the weekend, with the assumption that my new cord would be arriving on Monday--the 5th business day.

Monday (the 19th) came and I called the computer help desk to see if I could get a tracking number to verify a delivery date. After a bunch of run-around, I was told that the order for the cord wasn't processed until Saturday the 17th. I'm pretty sure there was smoke coming out of my ears. The customer service rep couldn't really explain why it had taken five days to process the claim and place an order with their supplier. It would be another 3-5 business days before delivery. There was no tracking number listed, but I could call back the next day to see if it had been entered.

I called back on Tuesday (the 20th) and spoke with a different customer service rep. He read through the notes on my account regarding the claims, and told me that I had been given some wrong information initially. Some parts are shipped within 3-5 days, but AC adapters are allowed 14 days for delivery. You should have seen the smoke coming out my ears!

On Wednesday (the 21st) I called back AGAIN and told them that since I had been given several different versions of the details of my claim, that I just wanted to see what the story might be on that day. I'm suspecting that by this point they had notes attached to my claim about a unreasonable, sarcastic customer, because they transferred me to a different department. I was able to speak with a woman who told me the AC adapters were BACK ORDERED and she didn't know when they would be available. I'm surprised the smoke detector didn't go off. Why couldn't they have told me that on Monday, or better yet, the week before? We were on Day 9 of my claim timetable, and I was still without a laptop.

She explained that we could do a "Buy Back". If I went out and purchased the AC adapters, I could fax a copy of my receipt and model/serial numbers and they would reimburse me up to $90 apiece within 10-15 business days. FINE. I loaded up in the car, headed 40 miles to Waterloo. I went to Best Buy, Staples, and 2 WalMarts before I found the adapters for $89.99.

I paid for them, brought them home, and we were back up and running. I faxed all of the required information to the product care plan on Wednesday afternoon. Twice. If they don't reimburse me, I'm out $192.34.

Thursday morning I called to verify that they received my fax. I was told that it was way too soon to expect them to have entered a reimbursement request. I said I'd call back the next day.

This morning (Friday the 23rd) I called to see if they had received my reimbursement request. Yep, they have it. I will be receiving two checks for $96.14 apiece. In 10-15 business days from today. Good. I filed the paperwork in my basket in the cupboard. It's no longer sitting on my kitchen counter.

Today Shannon got stuck in the snow up the road about 3/4 mile. We spent 2 hours working, shoveling, pushing, shoving in the COLD and WINDY weather. The UPS truck pulled up while we were working, trying to determine if she could get her truck through the hip high drifts that Shannon was stuck in. She turned around and went back the other way. The neighbor man finally came out and helped pull the car out of the snow. Shannon went back to work. The boys and I went home.

Sitting on my freezer in the garage were two boxes. Each contained an AC adaptor. The UPS lady had dropped them off while we were scooping.

Now what am I supposed to do?

"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so." Proverbs 3:27

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday School

Today during Sunday School the subject of tithing and its relevance in today's day and age was raised. We had a really nice discussion about the topic, and were able to use the scriptures to determine God's take on the subject.

The discussion reminded me of another blog I read last week. The author shared her thoughts on tithing and giving here. I have been reading her blog for a few weeks, thanks to a referral from Mary. I find her thoughts and posts encouraging.

Shannon and I discussed this some more while cooking lunch, and observed that it is often said when discussing tithing and offerings that "Whenever you give, God will give you more in return". This is true, but not necessarily monetarily. He may choose to bless us with friends, spiritual growth, or simply contentment with our circumstances. It's also important to remember that the bible also says to first give yourself to the Lord--for service (II Cor. 8:5).

"He who gives to the poor will not lack..." Proverbs 28:27

Friday, January 9, 2009

Two Years Old

Today is Hudson's 2nd Birthday.

Wow. It doesn't seem that long...yet seems much longer. I can't remember what life was like before him.

This morning Alex made Hudson chocolate chip cookie dough for breakfast. Then he let him lick the beaters. That was his gift to him.

Colton, Katie and Naomi each wrapped up a stuffed animal for him. Grandma Shirley and Papa Ken stopped by this afternoon and brought along some dump trucks. Hudson thought they were great.

Hudson is a typical two year old Clark boy. He doesn't sit still for long, except when he is getting tired. When he is getting sleepy, he will snuggle up on my lap. He sucks his left thumb, and likes to have a blanket or something in between the index and middle fingers of his left hand. So cute.

Hudson doesn't say a whole lot, but he makes known what he wants. His vocabulary includes: mine, no, yep, daddy, momma, tank you, and each of his siblings' names. Once in a blue moon he will look at me and say "I yuv ooo".

Hudson is a little monkey. He's not afraid of anything, and tries desperately to keep up with his older brothers. His biggest downfall is his tendency to run forward while looking backwards to see who may be following him. He's gotten several bumps and bruises this way.

He's quite adept at getting the fridge door open, grabbing a gallon of milk, getting his sippy cup off of the counter, and bringing everything to me to get him a drink. He has also been known to help himself to hot dogs.

Hudson has a sweet disposition. He is generally smiling, and rarely has a grumpy day. He likes to watch Sesame Street, and I think Elmo is his favorite.

Although he loves to throw the football, he needs to work on his aim. If one of his brothers says "down!", he will assume a three-point stance, wait for the command of "set, HIKE!", and he will take off for the tackle.

He insists on having a turn at praying before meals. He'll fold his hands, bow his head, and say some unintelligible words. He'll triumphantly finish his prayer with a hearty " 'men! ".

He's a joy to have around (for a little monster!).

"Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding." Proverbs 4:1

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

LOL Funny

These have been around the internet for years, but I still laugh out loud every time I read them. I decided to post them here so they could brighten your day, too.

They're Back! Those Wonderful Church Bulletins! Thank God for church ladies with typewriters. These sentences appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services (Summer, 2007 Release).

  • The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
  • The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.' The sermon tonight: 'Searching for Jesus.'
  • Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 PM in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.
  • Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
  • The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.
  • Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you.
  • Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.
  • Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I Will Not Pass This Way Again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
  • For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
  • Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
  • The Rector will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing: 'Break Forth Into Joy.'
  • Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24th in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
  • At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.
  • Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
  • Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
  • Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.
  • The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
  • Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - Prayer and medication to follow.
  • The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
  • This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
  • Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.
  • The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
  • Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.
  • The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
  • Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use the large double doors at the side entrance.
  • The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday : 'I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours'

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." Proverbs 25:11

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Comb-over Contest

So. It's been a loooongg Christmas break, and the natives around here are getting a bit restless.

We're iced in again today, and I've had all of the Xbox and Wii I can take. Shannon is gone at a deacon's meeting, and I needed to do something to get the boys up and moving. I got my inspiration from Hudson as he toddled up to me after his bath with Chase. He was all squeaky clean straight from the tub, and as I combed his hair, I gave him a lovely little comb-over.

Then I twisted everyone else's arms to get them to participate. Some were more willing than others, but they love me, so they complied.

Here are the contestants, in no particular order.







Leave us a comment and let us know which is your favorite comb-over.

Maybe we'll award the contestant with the most votes a grand prize or something. Since there are only about 3 or 4 people who read my blog, I don't anticipate a ton of votes. Surprise me!

"Blessings are on the head the righteous..." Proverbs 10:6

I Dared Him

I just dared Shannon, the man who can do anything, to go bake Texas Roadhouse Rolls. As of my typing this, he is refusing to accept the dare. I'll update if the situation changes.

"He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray." Proverbs 5:23

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Christmas 2008

On Christmas Eve we spent the afternoon in Reinbeck at Grandma Shirley & Papa Ken's house. We opened gifts and had an early dinner. We left for home early due to blowing snow issues. We made it home without incident, but our road was filling up in a hurry.

Hudson's new tricycle

Naomi's geography game

Katie got a Fur Real dog

Colton got a Wii game

Bryce's Wii game


Jackson and Alex waiting their turns



Grandma Shirley

Papa Ken trying out his stadium chair

We spent the evening at home playing some of the Xbox and Wii games the kids received as gifts.

On Christmas morning the kids woke up about 7:30. We make them all gather in the upstairs hallway, then go downstairs from youngest to oldest. First they get their stockings, then we sort out the gifts. I was a bit of a Scrooge this year, and we didn't even put up a tree or any decorations. By the time we got an afternoon of decent weather, it was a week and a half before Christmas, and it seemed like too much hassle to traipse through the snow and chop down a tree. We took the money we would have spent on a tree and bought canned goods for a family that our church sponsored.

We didn't have a ton of gifts to open this year because we are giving the kids a lump of money to plan a trip (or trips) with. They get pick when and where, as long as it fits within the allotted budget. Our goal was to avoid buying a bunch of gifts just for the sake of buying a bunch of gifts, and allow the kids to create some memories, instead.

Despite the small volume of gifts, we still had a fun morning. After the unwrapping was done, we played with some gifts, then I settled in for my nap, and Shannon got started on preparing our Christmas dinner. Ever since I can remember, it has been our tradition that Shannon cooks on Christmas. This year we had lasagna and garlic bread. It was delicious. We got the crystal goblets out and had some sparkling grape juice, and the kids thought they were very special.

**Shannon and I were just discussing when the cooking tradition began. Back when we lived in Nevada, when I was about 5 months pregnant with Colton, we were expecting a house full of guests, and I came down with the flu. I don't remember ever being so miserable. Shannon took over, and did such a great job that I've allowed him to continue the tradition.**

Christmas afternoon we went to Papa Joe's to spend some time with Shannon's family.

Papa Joe

Shannon's sister Carrie

Carrie's husband Jason

Cousin Will

Cousin Ben

The evening ended in a trip to the ER. That's a tradition we hope not to continue!

Katie's lyrics to "Jingle Bells"
Jingle Bells, Christmas Bells
Jingle all the way.
How much fun
It is to ride
In a one foot Christmas sleigh.

"...and every man is a friend to one who gives gifts." Proverbs 19:6b

Mom, I accidentally spilled paint...

This is not what any mom wants to hear on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Of course, if it hadn't been a LAZY Saturday afternoon, the paint would have been on the wall, not on the floor in the entryway.

Last night Shannon and I bought paint in order to finish up the french door project that we started in October. It's still not done. We initially wanted it done by Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Year's Eve. No such luck. We haven't even sanded the mud from repairing the drywall.

I thought buying the paint would motivate me to get the job finished. I'm planning to paint the one wall in the family room, all of the living room, and all of the dining room. I just can't get in the mood to do it. I think what's holding me up is the fact that I need to prime before I paint. Ick. I like the instant gratification of putting up one coat of paint and being done.

Anyway. About 2:30 this afternoon, as I was sitting on the couch snuggled up in my blanket with the laptop on my lap, Katie came into the room and said, "Mom, I ACCIDENTALLY spilled paint". It sure better have been an accident! She dropped the can and the lid popped off. I stood for a bit and assessed the damage. Then I grabbed the camera. Might as well record this for all time.

I grabbed a stainless steel spatula and began scooping the paint back into the can. Fortunately, I had vacuumed the rug about a half hour before the paint incident, so there were no floaties in it. About half a quart had spilled, and I was able to get it to within about 3/4" of the top of the can.

As I was cleaning, Katie, Naomi, Hudson and Colton were sitting next to me "helping". Katie tapped me on the shoulder and said in a little voice, "Mommy, do you forgive me?"

"Of course I do" I replied. Then she said, "Good, that's what you're supposed to do. No matter how naughty I am, you have to forgive me. Good thing I'm cute! "

I wonder where she's heard that?

Fortunately, the paint spilled on a cheapo Walmart area rug that has a rubber backing. The flooring underneath wasn't harmed. I'm going to have to replace the rug, but at least it wasn't the carpet elsewhere in the house.

"Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding." Proverbs 4:7

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year 2009!

I'm heading off to bed now...but wanted to wish everyone in blogland a

Happy New Year!

I'll post some pictures from Christmas and our annual New Year's Eve/Day party after I've caught up on some sleep. We're finding that we're too old to stay up until 4:00am!

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 1:7