Thursday, September 23, 2010

Eeking By (As if.)

Before I tell you what I came here to tell you I want to tell you something.  I restarted a 90 day spiritual/health journey on September 15 and one of the exercises has you make a list of 25 things you want to have, be or do.  One of the things on my list was "blog 3x/week on Towngirl".  That was eight days ago and this is my first post in nearly three weeks.  Ahem.

On to more pressing things, like my freezer.  Every once in a while I like to, either out of financial necessity or an overwhelming feeling of guilt of our First World problems try to make it a week or two living out of just my pantry and freezer with minimum grocery purchases.  I know for some of you that is an every day occurance and I truly stand in awe of some of you who can live out of your garden for months at a time.  The last several times I have tried to put something in or pull something out of my refrigerator freezer things have fallen out of it.  Partly because we're slobs and just throw things in there when we're done with them but mostly because we have TOO much food!

I was making a grocery list today and wanted to make Pasta Primavera (is that supposed to be capitalized?) and wasn't quite sure if I had shrimp on hand.  How can you not be sure if you have shrimp?  It's not something I stockpile but Meijer will occassionally have it for an insanely cheap price and I often buy a bag when it's cheap.  I had to dig (DIG!) for it.  And while I was digging I saw the boston butt with the '09 date on it and the meatball mixture I bought in March and the french dips that we only consumed a portion of the package and on and on.  I thought, here I am making this elaborate grocery list when I have perfectly good food right here in my house already.

So I erased my whole menu plan and we're winging it next week.  Again, I know this is old hat to most of you but I'm a slow learner.  Hebrews 5:11 was written with a special dedication to me.  Here is my tentative menu:

Thursday: Breakfast Casserole (made with the 1 pound of cooked, crumbled sausage and the last 6 Rhodes rolls I had in the freezer)

Friday: Honestly not sure on this one yet because Mr. Steady works until at least 5:30 and we have church at 7:00, might eat out, we'll have to see.

Saturday: We'll be at a wedding and the boys will be at a friend's house

Sunday: Carry In - taking Chicken Dill Rice and an Old Fashioned Applesauce Spice Cake

Monday: Salmon and Pollock with lemon pepper noodles

Tuesday: Hot Dogs and Sausage with homemade mac and cheese

Wednesday: French Dips with Risotto

Thursday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes

Friday:  The guys will probably eat out as I'm leaving for Ladies' Retreat and they think that's a good excuse for White Castle - blech.

Saturday: Ham Loaf, Hashbrown Casserole

Sunday: Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Breakfasts and lunch will be a mishmash of things, I have several packages of deli meat in the fridge along with chicken nuggets in the freezer.  A box of cereal.  We are way better at the cereal thing than we used to be.  We used to have three or four boxes of open cereal and we hardly ate cereal.  Now we have it twice a week and I don't buy a new box until the first one is almost empty.  I used the last of the peanut butter today so that is probably out.  Mr. Steady will be lunching on a variety of single-serve frozen items that I am evidently saving for the Queen of England.  I do have to buy some foods, like bread and buns, 1 lb of meat for the meatloaf, and some fresh fruit and eggs.  Other than that I have everything I need. 

Isn't it sick that I have meals for nearly 8 days and yet we stand there in the kitchen saying "We have nothing to eat"?  We do, it's just not stuff we WANT.  Or are in the mood for.  I have bags of dried beans that I *want* to use but have no idea how to and forget to find out, boxes of cake mix, tubs of frosting.  Not to mention four more meals that I intentionally stuck in the freezer but don't want to use "just in case".  It's sick.

I even found a few stray snacks in the pantry, a lone bag of fruit snacks, half a bag of colored mini marshmallows (that's one snack you never have to hide from or share with me - blech), those weird pirouette cookies, one last bag of 100 calorie chocolate covered pretzels.  Plus I have hidden snacks that they are unaware of that I can pull out in case of emergency.  As if our "emergency" is anything close to the actual definition of it. 

This would probably be a very good week to check out Hungry Planet from the library again.  There might be some complaining that will need to be squelched.  Because we are such a sad little nation full of abundance and discontentment.  And my family and this author is no exception!  In fact I would love nothing more than a fountain Coke right now.  {Sigh}. I am so over myself and my first world problems.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Another Yoplait Prize Pack Giveaway

Yoplait and MyBlogSpark also generously sent me a second product to try - Yoplait Whips!  I have tried these before but the texture was a little off for me, I like my yogurt creamy, not fluffy.  They sent a cute popsicle set in the shape of ice cream cones and asked me to try Yoplait Whips! frozen.  Yum - I'm game! 

Yoplait Whips! yogurt is currently available in nine delectable flavors – Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Raspberry, Key Lime Pie, Lemon Burst, Orange Créme, Peaches ‘N Cream, Raspberry Mousse, Strawberry Mist, and Vanilla Créme.

We tried chocolate mousse, vanilla creme, orange creme and then, because we had some leftover a layered vanilla creme-orange creme combination.  They were delicious!  The texture of the frozen whipped yogurt was delightful.  It was creamy, not icy.  And the pops held their shape nicely even as they thawed.
MyBlogSpark has also graciously let me give a prize pack away to one of you!  You will receive a VIP Coupon for a free sample of Yoplait Whips! yogurt, a canvas cooler bag and a set of four ice cream cone shaped popsicle molds.Same rules as with the Yoplait Splitz, just leave a comment stating which flavor you would like to try frozen.  "Like" Yoplait on Facebook, "follow" Yoplait on Twitter, or blog about this giveaway on your blog and enter another comment for each like, follow or blog; up to four entries per person. 
Contest will end Sunday, September 12 with the winner announced Monday, September 13 before noon.


The winner of the Yoplait Splitz is entry #1, I will let The BlogSpark people know and they will ship you your prize - congratulations!

Ever So Grateful

holy experience

46. Mr. Steady turning one year older
47. Helpful children
48. The freedom to learn at home
49. Serving humble meals to grateful hearts
50. Worshiping the risen Savior
51. Quiet solitude with Jesus
52. Cooler weather
53. Pumpkins
54. A clean porch
55. "Free" paint

The Thorn

Beverly Lewis, noted and beloved author of Amish series is releasing her newest book, The Thorn, today.  Bethany House publishers provided me with a copy and asked me to review the book and I was thrilled as I have long enjoyed Lewis' books.

Rose Kauffman, a spirited young woman, has a close friendship with the bishop's foster son. Nick dresses Plain and works hard but stirs up plenty of trouble too. Rose's sister cautions her against becoming too involved, but Rose is being courted by a good, Amish fellow, so dismisses the warnings. Meanwhile, Rose keeps house for an English widower but is startled when he forbids her to ever go upstairs. What is the man hiding?

Rose's older sister, Hen, knows more than she should about falling for the wrong man. Unable to abandon her Amish ways, Hen is soon separated from her very modern husband. Mattie, their young daughter, must visit her father regularly, but Hen demands she wear Amish attire--and speak Pennsylvania Dutch, despite her husband's wishes. Will Hen be able to reestablish her place among the People she abandoned? And will she be able to convince Rose to steer clear of rogue neighbor Nick?

This book had some characters not often seen in Lewis' books.  Hen truly wrestles with wordly things once she has a child and sees the destruction it is creating in her daughter's life.  And the side story with the English widower and his "secret" is very interesting as well.  Lewis' main characters often struggle between lovers and this book is no different but what is different about this one is Rose Ann doesn't realize she is struggling until it's nearly too late and you see just how naive and pure her motives are.  I also appreciated seeing the human side of the Amish bishop and getting a glimpse into his life as he confides in his friend the struggles he faces with his foster son.  This first volume of the newest trilogy had me longing for more, just as every time I read a Beverly Lewis book.

This book was provided to me by Bethany House Publishers, all opinions and comments are mine.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Room(s)

It started over five years ago, I'm not sure exactly when.  I had a dream.  At the time it was funny;  A couple we knew from church had a humble home, a nicely decorated but not overly appointed home.  And yet behind a hidden door there was a modern art display.  All white with only the art as the focus.  Spotlights and gallery lights shone on the masterpieces.  In my dream I asked my friend about the art and why she had never told me about it.  She shrugged and said she didn't think it was an important thing to share.  A few days later when I saw her in real life I told her about the dream and we both laughed at the craziness of it.

Since that time I've had many, many dreams of houses with hidden rooms.  The house is usually different but I've dreamt several times of my parent's home and "my" home although it's never been the house I've lived in (or ever lived in).  My brother-in-law had a hidden sports & media room, graciously decorated and decidely different from the rest of the house.  My cousin had a mall under her house with a grand marble staircase and running the entire length and width of a city block.  I've never been to her house but I've seen pictures and I know she doesn't have a mall there.

In my dreams of my parent's house we have found hidden staircases, gigantically huge attics, including one attic that had an apartment in it.  In one of "my" houses there was a cozy but large family room with a kitchen in the back of the house we had never known about.  In another there was a little room off the side of the house, with a whole wall of cabinets, fully stocked with paper products, an old plaid couch with my deceased mom's winter coat laying on it.  This dream was the only dream that I had where I found the room alone.

Last night I had the dream again.  This time our family was living in a tiny house on the railroad tracks, an old clapboard house with badly peeling paint.  It was a seedy neighborhood as I went outside and saw the shadowy figures of two men and walked back in the house and locked the doors.  But once inside the house the space opened up to an enormous square footage.  Suddenly I had this feeling that we had to move and so I started packing up things.  As I opened a closet I walked into a room, a spare bedroom with a full bath.  It was not as nicely decorated as many of the other rooms I had dreamed about but it was fully furnished and I turned to Mr. Steady, broken hearted.  I said "This is just like all those dreams I had, we had this space all along and didn't use it!  We could have let your mom stay here instead of in that tiny nursery".  And when I woke up I realized not only was it just like all those dreams, it was yet another one of those dreams.

I have only shared this pattern of dreams with Mr. Steady and my friend Kenny D.  I am not completely sure why I am sharing it here.  I have no idea why I have these dreams, I don't know what they mean, but I do believe they are from God and I do believe there is a reason for them.  When I woke up this morning I kind of felt like maybe we all have gifts ("rooms") that we don't know are there and so they sit there unused.  I don't know?

I do know that I have probably had this dream over 20 times over the years.  The rooms are always a surprise to me, though every time I dreamed of someone else (my friend, my brother-in-law, my cousin), their rooms were being used and they knew about them.  The rooms are always clean, without cobwebs, clean windows, etc.  There were always very useful things in the rooms I found, antiques, fully equipped kitchens, completely stocked cabinets, bedding, etc.

Do any of you have any insight into what these dreams could mean?  I have been praying for God to reveal the meaning to me but today is the closest I have come.  I'll keep you informed if I have any more or if God reveals any more meaning to me.  Until then I'll be your weird friend with the dreams :o)