November 17, 2008

Menu Plan Monday...

Monday -- TX Cowboy's Pie
Tuesday -- Chicken Fried Rice (Bear's favorite, a sure winner)
Wednesday -- Mac and Cheese
Thursday -- Marsala and Polenta
Friday -- Left Overs
Saturday -- Tacos
Sunday -- Provolone Wrapped Chicken
and biscuits

Here it is, my first official Menu Plan Monday.

I have been trying this for months but it does not work for me. I'm not sure why I keep trying. I love the theory, I just can't master the application. In fact this plan is already off. We went out this evening. I think I will take out the Mac and Cheese and shift everything.

At first, I only shopped for the minimum ingredients of the plan. But inevitably something would happen, my husband would want something on a different night, I would change my mind, I would have too many leftovers, something. I ended up with a lot of rotten food, an empty pantry, and a very hungry husband. Heather's idea at What What You Have made me think it would be better to keep a fully stocked pantry with everything I might need. In other words, shopping to top off instead of shopping to fill up. I have only tried this for one week so I don't know if it works or not.

I am hoping that a combination of keeping a full pantry and making a meal plan will work. At least it will provide enough structure and ability for flexibility until I master the art of feeding a family...

Get some other meal plan ideas at I'm an Organizing Junkie. Maybe I should go get some ideas too!

November 15, 2008

I'm back...

I didn't completely finish because Bug woke up and "politely" requested a snack from the Boob Cafe. I'll finish tomorrow because we both need to go to bed earlier than we would if I finished tonight.

I'm estimating that I got out two of the big, black yard bags worth, plus a box or two for books and fragile items. I know full well that I let some things slip by but it is a start!

Most of it was maternity clothes. Not hard at all to get rid of. It was all hand-me-downs from my aunt and let's just say she has the tiniest obsession with floral print. The thing that I thought would be hard but surprisingly wasn't was my rocks.

For years I have collected rocks. Not particularly amazing rocks. Just ones that caught my eye with an interesting feature or color.

For years my mother begged me to get rid of the rocks. She made me personally carry them every time we moved in hopes that I would realize they were not the most convenient collection. She made me take them to college. She was shocked when I brought them into the house of my husband.

Well, tonight the rocks went. Not all of them, I wasn't going for a miracle. 57 stayed and 102 left. And it wasn't all that hard. I must be growing up...

First purge of (hopefully) many...

I have come to realization that I am beat down by the guilt I associate with things I don't need. This article by the Organizing Junkie fits me to a T. I have been feeling so overwhelmed lately and today is the day I am fixing it.

We have a second bedroom filled to the brim with things we don't need or use or want. It is the culmination of a pack rat (me), a person who doesn't think getting rid of things that "don't take up that much space" is important (Bear), and a marriage (read: two of everything).

I'm going in...

November 09, 2008

I am ruined…

I don’t understand how people can say that boys and girls aren’t different. They are. Very. As the Mama of a two month old Bug I can firmly say that a baby girl would never do the things my son does.

Last night I gave him a bath because he peed in his ear. When I told my husband he said, “Wow kid! Good aim. But when I was your age I took out the TV.”

We tried ECing (more on that to come) and he would only pee peacefully in God’s Great Outdoors. My husband’s response? “That’s my boy! Just have to let ‘em air out sometimes.”

He gets the biggest kick out of burping, spitting up, farting, peeing, and Lord knows what else. I can’t count how many times I’ve wiped his precious bottom and seen that little butthole pucker and heard a tiny rush of wind. (Having a child has brought new meaning to the phrase, “I’ve changed your diapers.”) And he ALWAYS has the HUGEST smile on his face. Last night, after I figured out exactly what the liquid was in his ear, I looked up to see his round little face broken out in a dazzling, self satisfied, toothless grin. I looked back at him with the frazzled, worn out, tiered look of a new Mama and said, “I’m ruined kid. You will be the death of me.”

And he smiled bigger. (“Wow, only two months and I’ve already got her!”)

And I smiled back…and kissed his belly.

The soup saga...

Bear told me a while ago that when it became obvious we were going to be married he thought, “Well, it’ll be great to spend the rest of my life with her and all, but I’m going to have to teach her to cook.” Let’s just say that my bachelorette days in the kitchen were not the most glamorous. I couldn’t get the hang of cooking and shopping for one so I always had things getting scary in the back of the fridge. A good part of my life was spent as a vegetarian, so by habit, most of these things were various articles of produce.

Now my mother felt that her childhood was used up by excessive chores and cooking. Both parents worked and she was expected to take care of her younger sister (by seven years) and cook a predicated meal. The required ingredients were never available so as a result, my mom became a genius at substituting ingredients and making up recipes. Unfortunately she passed none of this knowledge onto me because she overcompensated by releasing me from almost all kitchen duty. One thing she did teach me was when fruit is going bad, you should make a fruit smoothie. The veggie equivalent to this wisdom: soup.

I always had vegetables going bad. I ate a lot of soup. I lived on soup. I swam in soup. I made really crappy soup.

Three problems: pasty rice, too little liquid, no seasonings. Not to mention the monochromatic assortment of not-quite-right veggies. The result was a cream colored mush with the flavor of cardboard, the appearance of something already digested, and a smell with a faint resemblance to a compost pile. My mom was always pleased when I told her I cooked at home most of the time. Had she seen what I was eating, she would have begged me to go to McDonald’s. It’s a miracle I didn’t die.

Anyways, during our dating period, Bear choked down a lot of Tater soup. I’m flattered that the pleasure of my company outweighed the unfortunate meal. But after we did get married, I made a vow to do better. I knew it was bad, I just had a really low standard when it came to cooking for myself. I figured if he loved me enough to make that commitment, it would be really rude to kill him off. So I armed myself with the Walmart Family Cookbook, Kraft Food and Family Magazine, and and went to town. I cooked every night and had a warm plate waiting when he got home. I surfed the internet for hours to find his favorite recipes. I made bread from scratch, and refried beans, and yogurt. It was cooking nirvana at our house. But no matter how many times I proved myself, his smile would plummet if I ever mentioned making soup. No matter how many great recipes I showed him, no matter how many glowing comments people left about the creation, I was not allowed redeem myself.

Eventually I got to try a few attempts. He wasn’t happy about them but he ate them in relative silence. I had some flops but even the good ones didn’t garner comments. My rotten soups were so scaring and so ingrained in his memory that I guess they all tasted horrible. I think there’s a psychological explanation for that…

But last night, I had little time and few ingredients and the first recipe I found that fit those two requirements was Cheesy Potato and Turkey Soup. I prayed a little and went for it. As I presented him with a steaming bowl garnished with crackers I said, “Honey, you won’t believe it but I think I finally made a soup worth eating.”

I go back into the kitchen and strain to hear the accolades. “Tater, these crackers are amazing!” He would. “Thanks Bear, I worked all day on ‘em.” I get myself a bowl and sit down beside him. “So what about the part that DIDN’T come out of a package?” No answer.

We ate, he got up to get some more and I followed. I asked, “Are you having some more because you actually like it or because you’re just that hungry?” “Oh, it’s ok.” He looked at me sideways. “And by that I mean it’s pretty darn good.”

Me: 1 Soup: too many to count

But hey, I have that one. And that’s one step closer to being a better Tater.