Pumpkin Oatmeal Walnut Cookies

I loosely followed a recipe from the Quaker Oats website for these cookies. I say loosely, because I’m an idiot. Lol! I thought my batter seemed a bit too moist so I checked the ingredients list again. Sure enough it called for one cup of pumpkin, not one can. Oops! 

I just added a bit more oats, flour and sugar. I had already deviated from the recipe by adding nutmeg and allspice too. πŸ˜‰

I know baking is sort of a science,  and the ingredients really matter so we’ll see how they turn out in a few minutes when the first batch comes out of the oven. 

Ok, so I may have made the first cookies a bit too big. They were browned nicely on the bottom, but since they are so thick a tad too moist. They are bit gummy and cake like.

I think the flavor is good. I LOVE pumpkin pie, but the rest of my family could take it or leave it. πŸ˜‰ If they really hate these, I will have to freeze them. I never freeze baked goods though, so I wonder what they’ll be like thawed. Hopefully my family thinks they’re edible and I won’t have to find out.

I’m making the next batch smaller, and just watching them closer so they don’t burn.

They are smaller, but a bit darker. πŸ˜’ I think they will be just as cake like as the first batch too. Oh well, not every recipe will be a winner. (Especially when the recipe isn’t followed exactly.)

I offered the 2 year old a cookie, and he wanted one until he saw it. He called it yuck! It’s official, the 11 year old doesn’t like them either. πŸ˜›

Another Saturday Crock Pot Meal

The picture doesn’t look great, but it smells yummy. πŸ™‚

This Saturday crock pot idea is really working well for me. Tonight we are having a pot roast with carrots and potatoes. I went to bed around 10 pm, but the baby was awake at 2:30 to nurse, and the 2 year old was awake at 3:30 with a poopy diaper. 😦 I wasn’t able to fall back asleep until 4:30 so, I did not feel very rested when the boys were both awake for the day at 8:30. Thankfully they woke up the 11 year old too. πŸ˜‰ He helped me with the 2 year old while I nursed the baby again. By 10 am I was able to have dinner going in the crock pot.  

My husband used the crock pot this week too. He cooked up some chicken breasts for dinner the other night, and made enough for lunches for a couple of days. He simply put 4 frozen breasts in the crock pot with some spices and let it cook all day. He was able to shred the meat with a wooden spoon since it got so tender. For dinner he made mashed potatoes and gravy to go with the chicken. I had made a batch of cole slaw the night before so that went well with it too.

For lunches we made wraps with the chicken, some salad mix and honey mustard dressing. They were satisfying, and a nice healthy choice. The fact that chicken breast is so much cheaper than the deli meat we were buying for sandwiches is a bonus too.  

Unfortunately leftovers won’t work for my husband’s lunch tomorrow, but I know what I’ll be having. πŸ™‚ 

I’ll probably make some more chicken tomorrow so he can have a nice wrap Monday, and the rest of us will be able to make wraps or tacos out of the chicken for our lunches too. These little time and money savers are making my hectic life a little less so. 

Mom’s Chicken Pot Pie

0423171826

I knew what I made wasn’t really my mom’s pot pie recipe, but I didn’t think it was too far off. Tonight, I checked my recipes to find my copy of my mom’s pot pie recipe only to realize I wasn’t even close to the original. I guess I can say this is my own pot pie recipe. πŸ™‚

I won’t be sharing exact measurements for much, since I don’t measure the ingredients. I just wing it every time I make it. πŸ˜‰

I use frozen chicken breast, sometimes 2 large ones sometimes it’s 3-4 of varying sizes. I usually put in about 3 medium potatoes. I like using red skin potatoes, and I do keep the skin on them. For other vegetables I use Normandy blend, which is a combination of broccoli, cauliflower, yellow squash, zucchini and carrots. My husband does not like peas, so we never eat them. My mom’s recipe called for both onions and peas, but my family does not like them. Her recipe called for a can of cream of celery soup, and sometimes I will use one. Usually I use Β cream of chicken soup.

The first step is to get a pot of water boiling. It has to be large enough to hold the chicken and vegetables with enough room to boil without spilling over. I season my water with poultry seasoning, garlic salt, pepper, a bay leaf and sometimes I’ll add a dash of oregano or basil. Next I put the chicken in the pot. I put in whole frozen breasts. While they start to cook I wash and cube my potatoes into bite size pieces. I add those to the water, and take out a chicken breast. I cut the chicken into bite size pieces. At this point it will still be frozen in the center, but it cuts easily. I toss those pieces back in the water and cut up the rest of the chicken the same way. At this point I preheat my oven to 350 degrees and add some of my frozen Normandy blend vegetables to the pot. I don’t measure, so I just put what I think will fill my pan.πŸ˜‰ The pan I use is 13″x9″. While the mixture starts boiling again I work on the pot pie filling. I melt a stick of butter and pour that in the pan, then I add the can of cream of chicken soup and a cup of the water from the pot stirring it all together. My next step is to mix the topping, which is equal parts milk and Bisquick. I use 2-2 1/2 cups of each. By this point it’s time to drain the chicken and veggies. I usually don’t save the liquid, but it feels like a waste to dump all those flavors down the drain.😞 I make sure I pull out the bay leaf I had seasoning the liquid and spread everything into the pan, coating it with the soup mixture. Finally the Bisquick mixture gets poured over the top of the meat and veggies. I try to poke any of the bits under the topping to make sure the topping covers it all well. Then it goes into the oven until the topping is golden brown. My new oven cooks faster than my old one, so it only takes 45 minutes instead of an hour.

I know it’s not a traditional chicken pot pie, but my family really enjoys it. I still think of it as my mom’s pot pie, since I have taken a few steps from her original recipe. πŸ˜‰

The End of 6th Grade

April 23rd, and the school year is done! Well, sort of. πŸ˜‰

My son used Switched-On Schoolhouse this year, and he has completed his work. My husband and I still need to go in and grade a few things, and adjust some grades where the program didn’t grade correctly. That was my son’s biggest problem with the program. He knew he gave the correct answer, but the program would mark a problem wrong. My husband and I would go over the problem with him to find he was right. After reading some reviews on the program that was a common complaint.

We have been discussing unschooling, and we plan on heading a bit more in that direction. We have some state requirements to meet for homeschooling, so we will still have a bit of a curriculum to follow. We basically want to work on life skills, and what is practical/useful. My son (The only one of 3 who is schoolaged) has been interested in the medical field for career options, so if he continues on that path we will have to make sure he meets the requirements to enroll in college courses for those options. He has been interested in phlebotomy, and radiology over the years. Most recently he has been less interested in college, and more interested in working in fields that only require on the job training. 

I explained to my son, that with unschooling there may be schoolwork over the summer. When the weather is nice we have more opportunities for field trips, and lessons in the garden. Obviously I want him to enjoy his summer, and part of unschooling is for the child the choose what they want to learn about. I hope that he will choose to learn over the summer. πŸ™‚ I told him that we might look into buying a new tree for our yard, so I might request that he research the soil type, or amount of sun that tree needs to thrive. He thinks that would be easy, so he’s willing to do it as long as there isn’t a report involved. His father and I appreciate nature, and like improving our property.  I see the tree project as a practical/useful lesson, but maybe he’ll be a city dweller with no garden to tend when he leaves home. Will it be a waste of his time to do such a project? I know he has a curiosity about plants, because right now he is trying to grow some acorns that he collected in our yard. In years past he has had his own row or two in our vegetable garden to grow his own plants too.

I don’t want to force my interests on him. I want him to develop his own personality/interests. Right now he is reading the Harry Potter series for enjoyment, so I don’t want to push him to take on more reading.  I plan on having him use our local library to borrow several books on a subject that interests him and see what he gains by doing so. If he likes the subject he will have no problem sharing what he learns verbally, but I wonder if I should require anything in writing to keep a record of his “schoolwork”. I also plan on having him be more involved with meal planning. I want to make sure that he won’t rely on take out, or convenience foods when he moves out on his own. I’ve had him help find a new recipe to try, and he made the meal with only a little guidance from me. I think he enjoyed cooking, and since he’s a picky eater being part of the planning meant he was willing to try it. πŸ™‚  

He is a very curious child, and likes to learn. He enjoys sharing what he learns too. (Sometimes while I am trying to read, blog or nurse the baby) ;P

I think I’ll give him at least a couple of weeks off before I start requesting “work” from him. He did work hard to earn his time off by doing extra work daily in subjects as others were completed.

Sticking to a plan

After taking a week off from meal planning, I can say that I like meal planning. πŸ˜‰

We could not keep the exact meal plans that I set up, due to having more food leftover than I planned on or being too busy on certain days to make the meal that I intended to make. It was nice to have a list of meals to choose from that I knew I had the ingredients for on any given night. Last night was a non-planned night, and we nearly ordered take out. We have been fighting illness, and lack of sleep so it was so tempting to order dinner. Thankfully my husband stepped up, chose what to make and made it. We really didn’t want to spend money on take out, since we both have been losing hours at work lately. We knew we had plenty to choose from in the house, and it was already 6:30pm too. He made cheeseburgers, mac & cheese and green beans. I was very tired, and about to pick up my phone to place an order. Hubby saved the day, and about $30 on take out too.

This week I am back to making a plan. I am more aware of what meals will create leftovers, and trying to separate those meals so that I don’t stuff my fridge with so many that we end up wasting food. My husband and I don’t mind having leftovers as lunches, or even dinner again, but my 11 year old has a phobia of leftovers. πŸ˜‰ Unless it is a pizza shop pizza. ;P He won’t even eat leftover homemade pizza. 

I’m also not sure what day will be grocery shopping day this week. I don’t venture out on my own to do the shopping on the weekend, so we usually shop on Tuesday when my husband and I are both off of work. That is the only day we get off together as a family though, so it’s hard to waste any of it to grocery shop. 😦 

This week will probably have some curve balls thrown in, because I need to make a dental appointment for my husband. If he gets in on Tuesday, then we’ll probably shop before or after his appointment and see how that affects dinner timing and the planned meal. Otherwise, his appointment will have to be after I get home from work one day, which would definitely throw off the timing of dinner, and possibly interfere with the ability to make the meal I was planning on. I think I have everything on hand for the meals I planned until next Saturday, but we will run out of some staples before then. Being flexible is the key to my meal plans being successful or not. If I was strict with myself, I would surely fail at this. πŸ˜‰

I think making a dinner plan helps throughout the week by providing easy lunches on days when either my husband or myself are home with the 3 kids. (2 of which who are very demanding of our time) It also makes lunch decisions easier to make if we know what dinner is going to be. I personally don’t like having something for lunch that will be too similar to dinner.

I have noticed a difference in my stress level when I have a plan in place. I’m sure that having a better routine will eventually be noticed by the rest of my family too. 

 

Sick Kiddos :(

I have 3 sick kids. 😦

My 11 year old son had an outing planned with his friend last week. His mother let me know the day before, that her son was getting over a cold. She said he only had a lingering cough, and no longer had a fever. Since this outing had already been post poned multiple times I went against my gut instinct to keep my son home and allowed him to go.  I warned him not to get too close, and to make sure he washed his hands often. So, he was picked up around 10:30 am, and his father and I picked him up at 4:00 that day. How many times did he wash his hands in that time? ZERO! He was at a NERF club too.  Who knows how many of those kids were also sick, or getting over an illness? 

I asked, “Didn’t you wash your hands before you ate lunch?” Of course not, he’s 11 and didn’t think to. (Even though I told him to before he left.) To make matters worse he tells me that his friend’s older sister was sick and miserable laying around on the couch while he was there. His mother didn’t mention that her daughter was in the middle of this illness. She did however tell my son that her daughter didn’t have a fever, therefore was not contagious. He knew better, and assumed she was contagious. It didn’t keep him from being infected though. 😦 He has since spread the illness to his brothers. His dad seems to have it a bit too. So far I appear to be healthy, but I have sneezed a few times.

I ALWAYS tell her if my kids, or anyone in my family is sick before we have the boys get together. I want her to be able to make an informed decision about what risks she is willing to take. It infuriates me when she does not give me that same opportunity. If her son was not my son’s best friend I would have ended this relationship long ago. I really have trouble expressing my feelings. I don’t know how to get her to respect my need to make informed decisions, and keep my son’s friendship intact. My son said he would have skipped NERF club to keep his 6 month old brother healthy. He feels so bad that he is so congested and miserable. (He also can’t stand his inconsolable crying fits.)

She also questions my son about our homeschooling curriculum. She homeschools also, and apparently doesn’t like how we do it. She doesn’t say it to us though. So, when my son tells us about how he is being grilled by her we don’t hold back on how we don’t do things her way either. Unfortunately our lack of filter (mostly mine) leads to him jumping in, and going on and on about all of the “crazy” rules she has for her family that he doesn’t agree with. I do tell him that it is her right to raise her family how she sees fit, and he needs to respect her rules when he is there.

I really don’t want to confront her, because we differ on many areas of life. I really don’t want to blow up in her face. πŸ˜‰ I have trouble bottling up my emotions. 

My baby is miserable, my 2 year old was coughing so hard he threw up last night and my 11 year old has been sick for days. We do go out into the world and come into contact with germs we aren’t aware of, but I try to avoid known germs whenever possible. I could have avoided all of this by trusting my gut. 😦   

A cruel April fool’s joke

This is just not right!

Seriously though, my husband had to drive to work in these conditions around 3:30 this morning. The roads had not been maintained well, and he went down a hill sideways in our SUV. He called me after it happened and I prayed right away to thank God for his safety. He still had quite a good distance to travel before he’d make it to work too, so I was a nervous wreck until he texted me when he got there. I’m sure the rest of his ride was stressful for him. Especially since the truck that was behind him when he slid sideways down the hill rode his bumper until he got to a passing zone. I don’t know what kind of fool would do that after witnessing what could have become a serious car accident. My husband was taking up both lanes of the road, so if anyone had been traveling in the opposite direction at that moment he would have hit them.

People are as crazy as New England weather! 

Update: My son measured the snow on the railing and deck. The railing had nine inches, and the deck had  ten and a half. The snow is still flying too. It’s a heavy, wet snow. Perfect for snowballs and snowmen, but my husband warned me that the snow thrower isn’t handling it well. 😦 He cleared a path this morning before going to work, but said the snow thrower was pushing it, so I will have to make multiple passes.