Friday, December 12, 2014

Not to beat a dead horse...

So not to beat a dead horse or anything, but I just have to revisit onion rings.  Based on my Phd in Greasology, I went ahead and declared onion rings a health food the other day!  Given my extensive onion ring background, I figured it was legit.  My intern and boss were both skeptical though so I started searching for supportive evidence and turned up this Onions RULE article.  As we munched on Turks onion rings, I gently reminded my coworkers that onions are plants and as such they are basically guaranteed a spot on the health food wall of fame!  Duh!  Now there is some concern that once you beer-batter and deep fry them, any nutritional benefit is negated, but I am going to go ahead and dismiss these concerns as unlikely and annoying and move along...

It's called Mulligan and kids it's what's for dinner again. 

I know it looks kind of gross, but trust me it is not!  This is an excellent venison recipe that is a staple in our home.  The best part about this one is you can mess with it quite liberally and it still turns out.  Given my track recipe following directions, this is a very good thing.  Tonight was my biggest "messing with it" to date and it was still YUMMY. But to be honest, I will probably be messing with this recipe until the day I die because everyone loves it! Tonight I added mushrooms and used an old can of Manwich (expired 2013 from the pantry) and instead of ground venison I used venison steak cubed because it was from 2011 and it needed to go! Chester actually evicted the venison steak because it quit paying the rent! Geesh he can be so heartless at times.  I mean it is right before the holidays!

The results of my messing:  It was more like a stew and not as thick as it generally is, but my husband actually said and I quote, "this is the best Mulligan you've ever made!"  Check out the recipe I make it in a dutch oven and that works like a charm!  You layer each item in the dutch oven and then bake it for 1-1.5 hours at 350 until the potatoes are done!  If your husband is a hunter gatherer type like mine, you will love this recipe ladies!

1/2 onion diced small
1/3 cup rice uncooked
2 large potatoes sliced thin
1 pound ground venison or chunked venison steak
1 large can baked beans
fresh mushrooms optional (possibly makes it more watery like a stew)
1 can of tomato soup (plus half cup water, v8 juice, salsa or Manwich) on top
poke holes through the layers so the moisture gets down to the rice to cook it.

So we were decking the halls a few weeks ago and my oldest two kids warmed my heart with this one!
Holiday love

 I frickin' love science in our kitchen! 
My third grader came home the other day from school and as I prepared ants on a log for snack time, she set up this experiment for her brother and sister to enjoy!  So cool and it worked too; 
we ended up with a half red and half blue piece of celery.  SCIENCE is AWESOME!

In attempt to improve my relationship with Maxine the Mixer, I gave her the night off while making peanut butter cookies last night.  I am trying to form an appliance alliance with some of my key appliances so that I can finally take Irma down and get her to cooperate during ironing time.  I will let you know how it works out for me!   So yep I mixed the cookies up old school with nothing more than a spoon and a wish.  And guess what?  The cookies were AWESOME despite my messing with the recipe. I really need to learn to follow recipes, but it just seems so BORING!

The cookies were a special treat for my friend who just had a baby. Yeah, I probably should've made an exception and followed a recipe since they were a gift, but I actually think I am incapable of following recipes.  Seriously, I read recipes and immediately think about ways to make them better.  Make them MINE.  I just can't help it.  Except when I make Eggs Benedict and then I follow the recipe very precisely and with the utmost perfection and they still never turn out exactly right!  Wait...maybe that is why they never turn out!   

Anyhow,  Happy Holidays I am crazy busy the next few weeks so you may not hear from me for awhile, but I have an exciting announcement upon my return!

Vern Out

Monday, December 8, 2014

A cleaning disorder, that's what I've got!

I have a habit of doing much more than is probably advisable.  I scurry about full of seemingly endless energy doing stuff.  All. Day. Long.  It is just how I roll.  Yes, Without a doubt, I DO TOO MUCH!  I have a real knack for overbooking myself.  It is both a blessing and a curse.  If I didn't do so much, the reality is a lot of stuff wouldn't get done; but doing so much means I am often rushed and stressed because I am in a hurry and you know,  doing so much.  It seems I need to find a better balance...


As I was standing in the grocery store line yesterday, five minutes before a scheduled running date (and just an hour before a bunch of people were coming over for dinner), worried that I might be late for either one of these self-imposed obligations, I pondered this very basic, yet often overlooked, reality of mine.  I decided right then and there to think about my epiphany some more; Later when I wasn't so darn busy.  (Even then in all the busyness of the moment though, I had the burning desire to somehow turn my thoughts into a story for my blog)

And then I forgot about the entire experience because I was busy doing stuff. Laundry. Dishes. Dinner. Homework. Bath Time.  Hair Brushing. You name it, I was doing it!  Yep I completely forgot about my epiphany until I sat down to write on here last night.  Then I really had to rack my brain trying to remember what the heck I had wanted to write about and then when I finally remembered, the dryer dinged reminding me there were clothes to fold, AGAIN.  So I folded clothes. And then I sat back down to write. And then Hazel woke up scared from a bad dream so I snuggled with her and dozed off for a few minutes.  And then I sat back down to write, AGAIN. And for a few minutes, I could not recall what I was going to write about and...

This is my life CYCLE.  This is my REALITY.  This is VERN.  This pretty well sums up my diagnosis:

In short, I am a horrible housekeeper, just ask anyone who has visited me in the past decade and they can vouch for me!

Irma. I forgot to tell you about Irma!  Today in all my doing stuff, I also ironed all Jeff's work shirts.  Yes I had another go 'round with Irma, the iron, and let me just say this, "I Still HATE ironing".  Despite my attempts to make it more enjoyable (and less like torture) I still had an awful time of it!  I even had Christmas Vacation on in the background to booster my mood and even that could not enhance my ironing experience enough to matter.   Oh and I have been nothing but nice to Irma.  I give her free drinks. I talk to her. I listen to her.  I ask her pertinent questions.   And I tell her personal stuff too.  Real personal stuff.  Irma could so easily blackmail me and make a killing at it!  Oh and the best part, from her perspective, is I barely ever use her!  She is pretty much a freeloader who gets free drinks and knows all my deepest secrets, but she still is unappreciative.  Irma doesn't have a demanding workload like Chester or Brenda either; I would totally understand if one of them had revolted.   Yet Irma continues to defy me.  She fails to cooperate and refuses to make Jeff's shirts wrinkle-free.  She gave me such difficulty in wrinkle removing yesterday, I had to have a drink (or three) just to get through the thankless chore of ironing. And I was really busy.  I don't have time for all her antics.

so after DOING all my stuff today including ironing, I stumbled upon this one on Momastery and thought to myself, AMEN...

And I went ahead and stopped doing stuff, took my pants off and went to bed.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Shirtless guys ROCK

Disclaimer:  I by no means, or any stretch of the imagination, pretend to be a parenting or marriage expert.  But I am a mom and a wife so by default I know a thing or two about these matters.  Someday I will share my infinite wisdom ...until then read on!

Anyhow, my very best parenting moments always to seem happen when I have an onlooking audience. I do best as a parent with an invested crowd, preferably in a public area that is kid-friendly.  When it is just me and the kids at home WATCH OUT because that is when the wrath of Mommy is often unleashed!  And unfortunately for whatever reason, my husband doesn't get to count as a spectator.  Why is this?  It seems like the kids can be wonderful right up until the moment he walks in the door; And then I run out of patience, the shit hits the fan, and things get ugly right just as he returns home from a hard day's work.  It is beyond frustrating.   (sigh)

More importantly though, why doesn't my husband notice when I am struggling as a parent and help? Or better yet, why doesn't he ride in on some dreamy white horse (or a brown one would do if he looked like this guy) with his chest well-oiled, wearing something seductive (or nothing at all) to sweep me off my feet and save the day?  He could so easily be like a knight in shining armor in these mommy struggle moments

and I would be so appreciative.... (Sigh again).

Oh what's that on your face?! I think it's drool!! Wipe it off and get back to my story would ya!

But I am not here to solve the parenting woes of the world today or to complain about my husband. I just need to vent momentarily and then move along to the rest of my story...Here we go!

So I sent Jeff school snack shopping last week at the Dollar Store. Unlike last time when I sent him shopping at Sam's Club, this time he didn't come home with every type of junk food known to mankind.  He did real good.  It was like a breath of fresh air, or a pair of matching socks coming out of the laundry, or a cup of coffee first thing in the morning.  REFRESHING.  I was tickled pink to get snacks for the kids and toothpaste without having to go to the store or adding any additional inventory to Chester!

Now speaking of junk food, I am simply blown away at the vast volume of junk food options available nowadays.  Seriously!? If researchers spent half the time they spend creating new junk food focusing on creating healthy options for people, the obesity problem would probably be solved.  There are so many kinds of candy and chips and crap out there in the great white grocery store abyss that I get overwhelmed and oftentimes find myself in the fetal position on the floor at Meijer; In fact, this was happening so frequently that I gave up shopping at Meijer all together.   I just can't handle it!  So tonight I fought back and bought the fixings for a nutritious salad!  I have eaten Kale salad every day since Thanksgiving!

 Kale, Apple and Cranberry Salad!  It's what's for dinner tonight!  Along with Venison Meatloaf, Roasted Potatoes, Corn and Biscuits.

So what do you get when you cross a super cool mom with the most forgetful, squirrel-chasing, idiotic person on the face of God's green earth? Why, ME of course! da dum!

PS My boss created a new spin on the traditional soup and salad combination! She went ahead and threw the rest of my latest batch of quinoa salad into her pot of squash soup!  Apparently it was delightful so the next soup day I have, I am following her lead and adding the salad directly to my soup!

PPS Rifle deer season is over and Jeff has gotten no deer.  This is both good and bad.  Good because now I might actually empty Chester and that goal was my driving force to creating this blog in the first place.  Bad because we might actually have to buy meat at some point during 2015.

PPPS  My brother-in-law got two deer so I am pretty sure they may have some venison for sale at some point in the future.

PPPPS  Of course then the Chester emptying is less likely to happen if I start buying more meat...

PPPPPS  Maybe we will just have to become vegetarians!

Vern Out

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Lovely Rita


 Guess who arrived yesterday!?!  

Introducing our new vacuum, Rita Hoover Constantine.

Yes she is a ginger.  And yes she is a bit of a flake and a little too girly for my taste, but I love her ability to remove dog hair from our furniture!  Her hair removal talents have already had a positive impact on my husband's mood and our marriage. And that my friends is priceless!  So after just two days Rita already holds a special place in my heart.

You may be wondering what happened to Victor!?  You probably think I just threw him out in the trash or something. You probably think I am cold-hearted like that. Or if you know me at all, then you know I am a sensitive chick and I cry a lot and I would never throw a functioning vacuum out in the trash (even if it is special needs and doesn't work very well).  I would take it to Goodwill or Love Inc!  Well you'll be happy to know that Victor will continue to live in our home and be properly cared for and loved, but he will no longer carry the burden of trying to clean our nasty floors on a daily basis.  Yes, Victor is in semi-retirement.  He is taking golf lessons and brushing up his tennis game.  He'd like to travel and play cards as well.

On a somewhat related note, I now understand why my sister is addicted to Amazon.  I mean it is just so convenient and even technologically challenged people like myself can easily maneuver on Amazon. And the prices are so darn competitive.  So yes, Rita was a mail order vacuum (kinda like a mail order bride, but without the expectation of sex and the promise of a green card), but please don't judge her or me.  She had to get out of that vacuum factory. It was a real sweat shop and she was being treated very poorly; Even a life of servitude here in our hairy home will be a major improvement for her. And we all know I need all the help I can get managing my housewife duties. Rita arrived three days after we ordered her too! That is FAST!  And I wasn't kidding about my sister, she truly is a complete and total Amazon addict.  It was my listening to her describe her many Amazon shopping experiences that inspired me to try it out!  My sister is even a member of the amazon TP club!  She actually receives an automatic case of toilet paper on a regular basis (based on her family's specific demographics) without so much as a click of a button.  It sounds amazing so I may check it out!

Now speaking of buttons, Staples tag line, "that was easy" with the magic red button is a complete farse. It really is and it ticks me off!  For months now I have battled back and forth with Staples.  Their processes are not EASY in my opinion.  Today I finally had it with Staples and so I finally drove my butt to the local print company Verduin Printing in Grand Haven and well what I learned is that I should have taken that drive a long time ago because the employees at Verduin are nicer, the printing costs less and they have a real knack for problem-solving.  Staples made the process of trying to print double sided business cards in less than 72-hours seem impossible and their employees were not friendly nor helpful.  Verduin, on the other hand, was the best customer service experiences I have had in a very long time.  It truly was refreshing!

Switching topics suddenly and without warning, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays primarily because I LOVE to eat and secondarily because I LOVE to be social.  It is a holiday created just for people like me!  I will share a Cliff's Notes version of my Turkey Day experience to explain why this random salad picture is placed here.  So I drank some beer Wednesday night which led me to make a last minute change to my original plans. This change ultimately led to my winning the small race (as the winner I will be required to dress as Sacagawea next year when I run the race FUN).  Then I ate a TON of food.  Yes I ate my way through Thanksgiving focusing most of my caloric intake on dessert which was a buffet of home-made cheesecakes and finished off the day shopping at Walmart with my mother, aunt and brother-in-law!  I could've lived without the shopping experience, but the rest of the day was SPLENDID!

In an attempt to counter act the effects of all the cheesecake I have consumed in the past week, I have been eating fresh kale salad, green beans and sweet potatoes in record amounts.

Say cheese. No wait say "kale salad!"

And that my friends is how Rita came to live in our home and how I have been living the past ten days!  I will leave you now with this thought:  My favorite exercise (other than running) is a cross between a lunge and a crunch... I call it LUNCH!  Eat on my friends, Eat on!

Vern Out