recipes and mini-vans and a shower, oh my.

I’m back! And I’m ramping up to meet the holiday scheduling “challenges” in our lives. It’s December 3rd!!!! There are currently only two advent calendars taunting me as they count down the days till Christmas in my house – with at least one more to be unpacked as we decorate for Christmas.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that my color coded calendar looked like a rainbow and I’m seriously focused on keeping things “normal” (whatever that means). We traveled to visit family in Georgia last week and I had to work Monday and Tuesday, so this is my first blog moment in nearly a week. I’ll be catching up on my blog visits in spurts. Oh. And while in Georgia, my windshield got whacked by a rock and now needs replaced because the crack is smack dab in front of the driver’s seat. I’m told that it will only take an hour and can be fixed in my own driveway. I REALLY hope that’s true.

But now it’s time for a little stress relieving stream of consciousness. oops. cold coffee. need to nuke (for the second time this morning and it’s only 9:13 a.m.)

Okay. Here goes.

Kitchen Tip Tuesday – LATE

If I’m not careful, we will eat out or grab takeout for the rest of the month. Monday, I had to work (thankfully, on Go To Meeting, and not on client site) and then I rushed to pick up PinkGirl from school at 3:00 p.m. (late) and then waited for FavoriteSon to saunter on over to the van at 3:36 – 6 minutes after 2nd grade bowling began (His punishment for being late was to ride past all his friends in my festive holiday “carstumed” van.)

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I fed them snacks in the car to avoid buying food at the bowling alley, dropped PinkGirl off at bowling, took FavoriteSon home as he did homework in the car, changed from shorts and sleeveless because it was getting cold, put on some make up because I looked . . . asleep, took FavoriteSon – still doing homework in the car, back up to the bowling alley to pick up PinkGirl, drove to pick up FirstHusband at a nearby parking lot where he left his truck while we picked up dinner at Wendy’s (dropping my driver’s side Rudolph antler in the drive-thru) on the way to FavoriteSon’s first basketball game – across town – an hour before the game started because they had to hand out uniforms at the last minute. Got in the van to come home at 8:30 or so, drove 45 minutes home stopping for McDonalds for PinkGirl and at Checkers for FavoriteSon because they were “starving,” (again dropping my driver’s side Rudolph antler in the drive through) arrived home with PinkGirl asleep in the back seat . . . it’s December. See what I mean? And we only allow one extra curricular activity per kid at a time. I can’t imagine life with kids involved in multiple activities.

Oh, and it seems I stepped off the bleachers a little too vigorously after the game. I felt my neck “jar” as my foot hit the ground, so, while I’ve not suffered a complete setback, I did take a few steps backward on the road to ruptured disk recovery. I’m going to schedule another massage for Friday afternoon after a few more traction and inversion sessions. We are taking PinkGirl and three friends to Magic Kingdom on Saturday for her birthday and I’ll have to be standing on hard surfaces all day, so I’m going to be a little proactive. I’m also going to be good and NOT ride any roller coasters either. Bummer.

So . . . those are a few of our recent scheduling challenges. I said this was stream of consciousness.

I need some serious meal planning, which is what I’m doing today. Yesterday I went for a tried and true favorite, Cream Cheese Chicken. Today, we have leftovers and for tomorrow, I’ve already pulled out my “easy” cookbook.

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I know Cambell’s soups aren’t the healthiest ingredients in a meal, but they’re a whole lot better than Wendy’s. Or McDonalds. Or Checkers. So, here’s the crinkliest page in this book:

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Chicken-Broccoli Divan (click here for a printable PDF version)

Ingredients:
4 cups cooked broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’s® Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 tbsp. dry bread crumbs
1 tbsp. butter, melted

Directions:
Place the broccoli and chicken into a 9-inch pie plate. (I use an oval Corningware casserole dish.)

Stir the soup and milk in a small bowl. Pour the soup mixture over the broccoli and chicken. Sprinkle with the cheese. Stir the bread crumbs and butter in a small bowl. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the cheese.

Bake at 450°F. for 20 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot and bubbling.

It’s fast, it’s easy, and the kids like it too! In a bind, I can use frozen broccoli florets and a large can of cooked chicken breast. I use lowfat or low sodium soup, skim milk, lowfat cheese, and Smart Balance margarine. So . . . not SO bad for us.

This morning, I forgot to eat breakfast, so three hours later I just made:

5 minute Oatmeal.

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One cup water, 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (not quick or 1 minute oats).

Nuke on 50% power for 5 minutes (I put a paper plate underneath because there can be boil over).

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See?

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Fast and easy.

Okay – I stepped away from the computer for just a minute – and it’s 4:40 p.m. Again. It’s December.

I saw a termite swarm in the back yard and our “termite guy” stopped by to check it out. There’s nothing near the house, thank goodness and while he was telling me how many termite colonies there are per acre in Florida and how the ones who fly are just looking for a girlfriend and not eating anything important, I got a client call and had to work for a while.

And if anyone remembers reading “With layers, I can choose to blow my hair out straight if I want, but I still have the option of wave or curls.” I’ll just tell you now. I did NOT blow my hair out straight today. I needed the 10 or so minutes for something else. I just don’t remember what the something else is right now. I’m going to have wavy hair for most of the rest of the year.

In other news, our new shower is almost done. I understand the only thing left to do is buff the floor. Check out our “broken” shower photos HERE. And now, our new shower:

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Next, I paint.

But first, I take PinkGirl to children’s Christmas choir practice (we broke the one activity rule for this one), walk for an hour with a friend, attend my own Christmas choir rehearsal and then come home.

At the moment, there’s nothing on my calendar tomorrow. Maybe it’s a catch up day? I love catch up days.

5 thoughts on “recipes and mini-vans and a shower, oh my.

  1. With 3 7 year olds and a 5 year old, I have a NO Extracurricular activity rule. The only thing I might bend it for is piano lessons. In our home. But that’s it. Ethan gets off the bus as late as 4:20. They go to bed at 8. I cannot imagine putting something else in between except worship practice (for mom and dad) once a week.

    Hats off to you for somehow making it work!

    Tina – More power to ya! That sounds like a tough rule to live by for adolescence, but the longer you can do it, the less stress you’ll have! And the better the gas mileage!

    We allow Wednesday night activities for PinkGirl because her Christian school has a “no homework on Wednesday” policy, knowing how many families participate in Wednesday evening church activities. For FavoriteSon, the same school doesn’t have the same policy for middle and high schoolers, so we have to make that call week by week for him.

    And I just realized we do break that rule for PinkGirl right now, but it’s working. She has podcasting club two Tuesdays a month, after school, AT school. I just pick her up at 4pm those days (I get to work a little longer too). So far it’s been working out because FavoriteSon’s one activity has been football, and now basketball and his practice gets out at 5pm. This week, I just watched his practice for an hour while she played with the coach’s daughter on the playground. (While dinner was cooking in the crockpot!) (by JSM)

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  2. Are those really several long shelves in the shower? Oooooh, I’m totally jealous! The shower looks great. I bet you can’t wait to start using it again.

    Sometimes the glass repair people can do a good job filling in the hole and other times, not so much. We’ve got two examples in our “fleet” right now. Mine is Good – my Husband’s is Bad.

    Kristin – YES! I LOVE my new shelves!!! We couldn’t wait for the machine buff – FirstHusband attacked the floor with cheesecloth last night after work and he and FavoriteSon used the shower for the first time this morning.

    I’ve been told that my windshield should be replaced because the crack is directly in front of the driver’s seat. So, I guess that’s what I’ll do. It won’t cost me any more to replace than repair and if it’s safer and longer lasting, that equals one future repair I’ll get to skip. (by JSM)

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  3. We should have had that one activity per child rule. Is it too late to introduce it….unfortunately I think so.

    Here we have swimming, hockey, Girls Bridage for 2, senior choir, junior choir, more swimming, 2 taking piano….and a partridge in a pear tree!

    JanMary – Too funny! When I sat down at my computer this morning, it appears FirstHusband had already read your comment because he had Googled the word “Bridage.” His search results lacking, I Googled “Girls Bridage Ireland.” The power of a good search string can’t be beat.

    As long as your schedule doesn’t “break” you and your kids don’t rebel when they are supposed to go to one of their activities, I think it works. I know we’re too busy when my kids want to skip stuff they normally enjoy – in order to instead, do NOTHING. (by JSM)

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