Saturday, January 31, 2009

Let's play "Which Baby Is This?"

There are a couple of sure-tell signs, but you'll have to give it your best guess and check back later to see whether you are right!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Home Made Swedish Meatball Sauce

Since I couldn't find the Swedish meatball seasoning packet at three different grocery stores, I decided to make my own. I cheated and purchased the meatballs already made this time. Maybe I will tackle those next time around... if I still can't find the seasoning. (It wasn't just 'out of stock'; there weren't even spaces where it should have been.)

Here is how I made the sauce. This was for two packages of meatballs. I poured it over whole wheat egg noodles since I didn't buy any potatoes and served it with fresh, home made cranberry jam (sauce) in lieu of ligonberry jam as well as oval Vlassic dill pickles instead of pickled cucumbers...

a couple of Tablespoons of butter
2-3 Tablespoons of flour (maybe a little more, I added a little arrowroot powder because I didn't think it would ever thicken enough... it ended up a little thicker than I wanted...)
2-3 t teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
beef broth or beef stock - I used 1 can
heavy cream (or light cream or milk?) - I used 16 ounces
sour cream
salt & pepper to taste
dash of cinnamon or nutmeg
other seasonings as desired

If you make your own meatballs and cook them in a skillet, remove the meatballs to make the sauce in the same pan to use the meat drippings. Otherwise, melt butter in heavy bottomed skillet. Stir in flour and allow to turn golden. Remove from heat and add in broth while stirring, then do the same with the cream (or milk). Return to medium heat and let boil, stirring often. Mix in Worcestershire sauce and other seasonings and add in meatballs. Serve over boiled or mashed potatoes, or in my case, noodles.

Menu Planning and Grocery Lists... on a Budget

Today is menu planning day and grocery list day. This is quite a process for me. I love it and hate it at the same time. I plan for two weeks at a time. We have a reasonable budget for groceries, and I am very thankful for that. My goal is to have a cooking day after grocery day and pack away most of our meals in the freezer for the two week period. I have only been successful or semi-successful in this venture a handful of times.

Many times I plan the menu, buy what I need and then don't follow the menu as I would like. I usually plan 14 main meals or less but plan to double for leftovers. Last time was a little better. The last two weeks' menu was supposed to be as follows...

Home Made Pizza - success
Peppy Pizza Pasta - success
Kathy's Kitchen Spaghetti Pizza - success
Tex-Mex Tomato Hamburger Stew - success
Taco Crescent Bake - success
Hanky Panky's - success (but will probably change recipe next time)
Fruity Curry Chicken - success
Easy Cheesy Chicken Fajita Skillet - haven't made yet
Chicken Marsala - haven't made yet (this will be my first attempt, and purely for my dh)
Swedish Meatballs - haven't made yet (I have looked at 3 grocery stores for the seasoning packet to no avail... did they stop making it? So, I guess I'll learn how to make it from scratch. Probably healthier that way, anyway.)
Tacos - didn't happen either

We did realize this week, once again, how much we don't care for Velveeta type cheese. I planned two recipes using this ingredient this meal period in order to use up what I bought, but I've only made one and may not make the other. I guess I forget after a time that we don't like it.

Anyway, I don't like to make the same foods over and over. I like to find new recipes or old ones that we haven't had in awhile (hence the Velveeta issue). This takes time during menu planning. Not to mention that my menu planning sessions are never in one chunk of time.

But I really do enjoy cooking and learning to create new foods and flavors in the kitchen, especially if I can make it more nutritious as well as more delicious. I rarely make the same thing the same way twice. And there are many nights I take some of this and a little of that and create something yummy but can never completely recreate because I didn't write down what I did.

So, this menu planning period, I think I will go with these meals...

1. Home Made Pizza - this can be made different every time
2. Chicken Tortilla Soup
3. (Turkey) Ham & Pineapple
4. Sweet & Sour Chicken
5. Crock pot Sloppy Joe's
6. Chicken Marsala
7. Pasta with Tuna and Tomatoes
8. Chicken & Cheese Enchiladas
9. Cheeseburger Casserole
10. Our Favorite Meatloaf
11. BBQ Chicken Pasta
12. Calzones of some sort
13. Chicken Tetrazzini
14. Shredded BBQ Beef Sandwiches
15. Lasagna

Now, to plan side dishes, the occasional dessert, lunches, snacks & breakfasts, and I'll be done! Maybe I'll post recipes and updates as to whether I accomplish a Cooking Day and follow my menu plan.

The Twins are 38 Weeks Old (+ a few days)

My cousin's wife (cousin-in-law?) has chronicled their son's life week by week on her blog. I was so impressed when I visited recently that I decided to give it a try with the twins. Of course, I am a few days late, but if I don't do it now, it may never happen!

Saturday was their 38th week. They were born at 38 weeks, and now they are 38 weeks old. That translates to almost 9 months. I will try to tell you a little about what is going on with the twins.

Let's see, Daniel (Baby B) was the first to sit up and first to crawl (at just before 7 months). Dennis (Baby A) was the first to clap his hands and get teeth. Dennis has both bottom teeth and the top two mostly in. Daniel has only the bottom two so far. Daniel is pulling himself up to standing all the time and tries to take steps. He doesn't always wait till he has something to hold on to when taking the next step either. Dennis has just in the last few days figured out how to sit up from a tummy position and yesterday started the "army crawl". He seems incredibly determined to 'catch up' all of the sudden.

They both are champion eaters. Neither care much for peas or carrots plain, but will even tolerate those foods if they must. I haven't tried spinach yet, but they have eaten nearly everything else we have given them - home made and store bought. Both are doing fairly well trying to drink with sippy cups. I think I may get the kind with straws. They enjoy their water so much.

They are so much fun. I love to watch their similarities and their differences. I LOVE having two babies at the same time. We find it very interesting how much Dennis is like Kynzie and Daniel has similarities to Max. Maybe I will post about that ... someday.

They both love to be tickled, to laugh and to smile. Dennis loves to look at your face and touch your nose, lips, eyse, cheeks, etc. but prefers to face outward if you are holding him (same as Kynzie). He likes to see where he is going, I guess. He doesn't want to miss out. Daniel will cuddle when you hold him and lay his head on your shoulder (same as Max). He will just relax and trust you to take him where he needs to go. Unless he can get there himself, then he prefers that mode.

Dennis has a little bit more stranger anxiety than Daniel at this point. Dennis knows faces. And if yours isn't one he "knows", he has to warm up to you a bit. Daniel doesn't mind other people and may not even notice who you are for awhile if he is busy playing. And he is busy playing often, but don't be deceived by his contented playtime. He needs his cuddle time, too. Dennis seems to need more interactive play but not necessarily as much cuddle time. (He gets as much cuddle time as he will allow us all to give him, though!)

I think that is one reason why Kynzie gets along so well with Dennis at this stage... she needed (and still does) more one on one play and interaction. Max can play by himself or look at books or whatever for long periods of time. But he too needs to have cuddle time. He still seeks out a good cuddle from time to time throughout the day. Max enjoys playing side by side with Daniel.

So, Kynzie and Dennis maybe get their love tanks filled with quality time. We used to say Kynzie would spell love T-I-M-E. And, maybe Max and Daniel's tanks are filled with physical contact. (You know, from the Five Love Languages. What's yours? My highest are quality time and receiving gifts. Scott's are acts of service and physical contact. We are so opposite.)

Okay, anyway, this was supposed to be an update on the twins. It is late and I am rambling. I will try to get the picture of the twins from Saturday up tomorrow. I waited up a bit late because I thought the babies would wake to nurse pretty early tonight since their last nursing was earlier than usual. But they didn't. I need to go get some water, some vitamin C, some garlic, and some rest so I can fight off this sudden and strange beginning of mastitis... 'Night.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What Makes You "Oisty"-Eyed?

Today Kynzie told me that one of the babies made her eyes "oisty". I love the way she mispronounces certain words. It is so adorable. I think Delainey was close to seven before I finally relinquished and corrected her last mispronounced word. (It was 'smarshmallow', in case you were wondering.)

I do correct Kynzie's wording, and we do work on certain speech issues, but sometimes when she is experimenting with new words... well, it makes my eyes "oisty". I think this word is a combination of some sort of teary and moist or misty and moist? I dunno.

But, on with the story, Kynzie was hanging out with the babies and me in the babies' room while I was nursing (one at a time) She was being very helpful by playing with the baby who wasn't eating. At one point, she leaned in to hug Dennis, and he seemed to hug her in return. She thought that was the sweetest thing ever, and she told me about it, oh, seven or eight times, using different wording each time.

While she was talking about it, the edges of her eyelids reddened a bit, and I knew she was a feeling a little emotional about it. She said that it "put precious hope in her heart" and her "heart was crying" which made her eyes oisty with tears.

She then repeated with Daniel, but since he is not so much a face to face kind of baby like Dennis, he didn't hug her back like she thought he should. She was a little despondent about that, but I encouraged her to keep playing with him, and that he's just as sweet and precious in his own way.

Since I was nursing Dennis, I didn't see the trigger she found, but Daniel laughed out loud (he loves to laugh out loud) and lunged toward her with open arms. She thought that was brotherly love at its best and expressed how precious this episode was for several minutes ending in tears once again. She explained to me that these were happy tears, and sometimes it is okay to cry if your heart has happy tears.

"I am so proud to be their big sister."

That put precious hope in my heart.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I really do want to blog more...

Here are some photos... Maybe I'll take time later to tell a little about the pictures, but maybe not!