Monday, June 29, 2009

Scary Monday

I try to set aside at least some Mondays for doing chores around the house. During most the of the week I end up doing a lot of straightening but not a lot of cleaning. Well, except the kitchen counters and the dishes - I'm pretty sure I do that about six times a day. But other cleaning is always at the bottom of the list, and I never get down that far. And during the weekends it seems that we are running from one thing to another, leaving destruction in our wake. So on Mondays I work on putting it back together, doing some (always overdue) cleaning, and doing the laundry. OH, the laundry.

This week Zack was entertaining himself while I was doing some work around the house by drawing things to scare me. He drew a wolf twice and hey, I played along. I squealed "eeek!" and jumped back. Apparently my reaction wasn't quite what he had hoped. He moped a little, saying "Mo-om, I wanted to you be scared."

"I was scared, honey. I screamed, right?" I responded.

"But Mom, you weren't really scared."

I shook my head. "Zack, what's really scary is this mountain of laundry."

He ran off, and returned, giggling with this:
My screams indicated an appropriately satisfying level of terror this time.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Gift in Use

Lately this baby gift we got when Sammy was born has been getting a lot of use. A dear friend that we don't get to see very much made it - isn't it cute? She did a great job, lining the bag and adding some satin ribbon trim on the small folder. I've been using the bag for Sammy's overnight bag, so we've been pulling it out quite a bit. And the small envelope-bag holds an emergency stash of diapers and wipes in the map pocket of my car - handy for when I didn't quite plan correctly!

After sewing my stroller tote (which is still so handy!), I can see how this went together and it seems like a fabulous handmade gift to make for others - I know I'm enjoying mine!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Chopped Vegetable Salad

This is a great, easy cold salad that's a good change from a green salad. Chop a combination of the veggies you have on hand, dress and serve topped with herbs and crumbled cheese. I used carrots, celery, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, cucumber, red onion, and olives. I dressed it with my favorite lemon vinaigrette, topped it with basil and crumbled parmesan, and served it over a little shredded lettuce. It would have been even better with blue cheese!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Range: After! (and Before)

While I was shopping for dishwashers, my research kept spilling over into ranges. I would be waiting for a salesperson to come back with some bit of information about a dishwasher and the ranges would call me over, whisper to me that they had a level cooking surface and an insulated oven, that they could be turned down low enough to simmer something, that they would be so nice to my food...

I did mention that appliances were looking like a slippery slope, right?

The other motivator I had was the shopping. Researching this stuff takes forever. At least, it takes me forever. I feel like I need to do my due diligence to be responsible with a major purchase, which means absorbing the main body of information. However, since the internet has so much information, it's a major project to make a purchase! And then (I know this from repeated experience), when it's put aside for "a few weeks" to think about it, all the stores and selections and model numbers and prices change and I have to start over. So, I decided this time I was going to press on until I got to a decision - and boy is it a nice one!

The top is so level. The old one was sadly sagging in the middle so that there was no way for the burners to sit level. And I can turn on the oven, even today when it was 105 degress (but my car said 113) and not notice an increase in the temperature of the kitchen, much less the whole house. I haven't used some of the fancier features yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

Next project in line? Not sure, but I have a lot of good choices: the island countertop (it has fruit tile on it - fruit), the cabinets that would surely look better painted, the cabinet base damaged by the dishwasher leak, the floor damaged by the dishwasher leak, the gas line position that makes the new stove stick out four inches from the wall... yeah, lots of options!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Kitchen Plans

Remember my old dishwasher? Well here's the shiny new one.
The replacement has touched off a whole kitchen plan. Because if you are going to buy a new appliance, and you don't like the color of your current appliances... well, you get the idea. It's a slippery slope. And now I've got a multi-phase kitchen plan in the making.
But, now that I think of it, that plan started quite a long time ago. I love our house, and it's very nice, but I've been on a long, slow spruce-up of the kitchen area. When we moved in, there was ivy-patterned wallpaper border at chair rail height and at the very top of the wall. That's two ivy-patterned wallpaper borders in one 12x18' kitchen - yikes. You can see part of it in the background where I'm feeding Zack, below. There were also ivy-patterned bubble valences (do you know what I mean - the poufy fabric valences that people puff up with wadded up paper?) on the breakfast area windows and a lot of plastic ivy on the tops of the cabinets. The bubble valences and the plastic ivy were gone before the ink was dry on the closing papers. The wallpaper took a little longer - you can see that Zack was 20 months old (which would make it 21 months after we moved in) when my mom and I took down the borders and painted the kitchen. It's now Daybreak - a light yellow with green undertones that I love with my Silken Web family room paint (love that Silken Web too, but that's a story for another day).
Now that we needed to replace the dishwasher, we had to decide on a path for the appliances - they are all fifteen year old builder-grade models and they are all black. I know people like black appliances; I just don't. I actually like white appliances (quit shuddering, appliance connoisseurs!); I know other people don't like them, I just do. But, the more I looked at kitchen pictures (which was started by Cameron's post here), the more plastic-y the white began to look. I finally decided I was willing to go for the stainless. Hence, the shiny shiny new dishwasher. It's really pretty. And it works really well. And it's so big I run out of dishes before it's full.
And I'm making grand plans for the future. Some of those plans are for the somewhat distant future, but some are happening right away. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


These videos are so cool.

I must must must make something. Right away. But my Hobby Room has become an Unfiled Papers Room. Grr. I guess I need to work on that first. After realizing last weekend how much undone tasks were weighing on me, I decided to devote this week (which has a bit of extra time with Zack at VBS) to checking off my list as many annoying items as possible. I'm making some progress.

Monday, June 22, 2009

San Antonio Trip

How was my trip? Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

No, there is too much. There is so much to tell that I find myself unable to work up the energy to do it justice. And really, wouldn't you rather be overwhelmed with pictures than overwhelmed with words?

A few bullets for you:
  • The Drury hotel is awwwwwesome. We got it by luck of the draw, using up some Hotwire credits from an earlier poor experience. This experience more than compensated. Boy, is there a lotta free food at that hotel (BIG breakfast buffet, big happy hour reception, evening sodas and popcorn). One morning Sammy ate six pancakes, a scrambled egg, a full carton of yogurt and a very large banana for breakfast. And I didn't have to track it down or lug it in my bag anywhere. Free food makes traveling with kids easier. So do all the other ameneties there. Recommend.
  • The San Antonio Riverwalk was more lovely than I've ever seen it. I really enjoy the area, and it was better than ever. It was crowded, but in a happy way.
  • The San Antonio Zoo is very fun. The Tiny Tot Nature Spot is great for the little ones. It was quite hot though.
  • Sammy is very proud of his walking abilities.

  • Zack is officially a Museum Person. In the car on the way he asked, "Does this city have any museums? Any museums I've never been to? Are we going to any museums?" I asked if he wanted to go to a museum, to which he responded, "well, uh, yeah," as if I had asked the most ridiculous question ever. Although my husband is a Museum Person, I never have been. I might have to convert now, as I am clearly surrounded.
  • The Witte Museum is very hands-on and makes science fun. Recommend.
  • It takes four pulleys before I am strong enough to hoist my own weight six feet into the air.
  • Even if you know the cantilever will keep you from falling, riding a bicycle on a rope two stories above a river is a little nervewracking.

  • I really did feed Sammy a bowl of salsa with a spoon. He liked it. A prize will be sent to the commenter with the best redneck/Texas/Arizona/Tex-Mex/Mexican Food remark.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Lovely Long Weekend

Lovely long weekend in progress.

I hadn't realized how much was weighing on me until I got some things checked off my list. So far this weekend feels like a big exhale. We're enjoying so much.

More later.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Seeing the Resemblance

Sammy's Grandad

When my sister found this old photo of my dad as a toddler, she thought it looked like her son as a young baby. I'm guessing that if I had seen in when Zack was younger, I'd have thought it looked like Zack. But right now, I really see the likeness to Sammy, don't you?

Maybe we always see those we love, in who we love!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Oh sure you can take some pictures, honey

Letting Zack borrow my camera can buy me several completely peaceful minutes to finish something up. And just look at the photography we get out of it. I can't figure out what some of these shots even are.

Actually, to be fair, he does occasionally get a good shot. And since he's the only one who takes pictures of me, I ought to appreciate getting to show up in our photographed life. Even if I am not too thrilled at the time!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Book Review: Outliers

Have you read Malcom Gladwell's books? I think they are some of the most entertaining non-fiction out there. Outliers is his latest book, after earlier titles The Tipping Point and Blink.

Gladwell has a fascinating way of addressing the world. In Outliers, he discusses how certain people become sucessfull outside the common pattern. He doesn't talk about how some people are smart, talented or determined, but how some smart, talented, determined people (not all smart, talented, determined people) excel beyond the usual. The Beatles, Bill Gates, Mozart, and many others are the subject of his investigations, but it's the phenomena he describes along the way that are so interesting.

You wouldn't think that the number of syllables in the aisian languages' words for numbers would seem so relevant in every day life, but after reading this book, that's exactly what comes to mind when I'm trying to remember an appliance model number.

That's what I really like about Gladwell's books - the observations and stories come back to me over and over when I'm in the midst of figuring out other things. Plus, you really don't want to put them down! I definitely recommend this fast-reading, smart, interesting read.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Restart Button

Little angels, aren't they?

Sure. Sweet boys, both of them. But lately...

Lately my brain feels like it's been fractured into little pieces by the simultaneous fussing of two children. How do people with three and four (and more) handle it? It's not that the boys are fussing all the time. It's that when they are, it's both of them. It isn't a feeling of scatterbrained (though as you heard yesterday, I can be that!), it's that I feel like a person with a broken half of a brain and a half-portion (or less) of patience and consistency. I know we all go through ups and downs with the discipline thing, but it feels like this down is specifically driven by the progression from one kid and a baby to two kids. Two mobile, hungry (I don't mean that metaphorically), interested, demanding kids.

My discipline philosophy has always depended on trying to say only what I'm willing to follow through with, apply consequences the first time, and be calm myself. But lately, I'm not calm; I'm repeating myself and just fussing (or worse, yelling) as the response to poor behaviour.


What does a mommy do when she hates the sound of the words coming out of her mouth? I'm crushed when I hear myself saying, "I've told you that over and over!" or "Why would you do that!? What is wrong with you?", but at that time I'm still so frustrated that the sorrow doesn't creep in until later. My faith tells me that patience and the perseverance to be consistent don't have to come from my will-power, but they can't come without my willingness to turn around and take a different path.

Time to hit the restart button. Which is a nice way of saying I have to face that this isn't what I want and surrender to the practices it takes to get what I really do want. Today I'm returning to what's been so good for us. So that when the scene looks more like this:

(yes, that is my purse dumped and my sunglasses Sammy is squishing. And that's Zack's "crazy-acting" self-portrait), I can be calm.

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Friday, June 12, 2009


The other day C. Beth relayed a scatterbrained moment, after reading a similar tale from a friend of hers. I laughed out loud at the story, and it reminded me of one of mine:

One Sunday morning, when I was pregnant with Zachary and my parents were visiting, my husband and I took separate cars to church. He had to be there early (um, now that I consider it, I think it was because I'd forgotten to recruit anyone to fill the communion trays and he was fixing the problem by doing it himself), so my parents and I came in my car a little later. We parked, went in, attended class, attended worship service, visited a while (we're always the last one out of the building), and finally headed back out to the car. I was digging in my purse for the keys as we walked, slowing and finally stopping in the center of the lot as I continued to look for the keys. I looked up to say, "Mom, I really can't find my keys," to see my mom and dad standing at the car, incredulous, with the doors open.

"What?" I asked, puzzled.

"It was open," my dad replied, laughing and shaking his head. Well, I guess it was, since the keys were in the ignition and the car was running.

My first thought was, "Do we have to recount this episode to James? He'll just freak out," but James arrived just that moment as I was still standing in the middle of the parking lot. He said, "Deanna, do you always do this?" My mom could barely get the words out through her laughter: "Yes, she always leaves the keys in the ignition, the car running and the doors unlocked, in downtown parking lots, unattended, for hours!"

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Buttermilk Beet Soup

Now about that new soup!

Let me say first that reviews were mixed. It's a simple style of a summer borscht (unlike a winter borscht that is hot with chunks of beef). I liked it a lot. Zack initially declared that he loved it as much as the peachy-melon (very sweet) soup. But then, after James made a yucky face upon tasting it, Zack declared that he didn't like it after all. Now, I'm not certain the two were related, but... James later said it was good, it just was hard to process the beet flavor in a soup. He had a (very tiny) second helping, I think trying to be supportive. That's something, right? Zack didn't come back around, though he did finish his small initial serving (our policy is that he doesn't have to eat anything he doesn't want to, but that if he doesn't finish his food he's clearly too full for seconds or dessert. He loves dessert, so you understand how it goes).

Sammy was another story - Sammy loved the soup! He had four servings of it, after already having two crab cakes, some olives and an entire banana! He kept making his version of the sign for "more" (which looks a lot like clapping) until we cut him off and found him some more fruit. After all, I can't remember if he's ever had beets before, so how much should he really eat on first exposure! He liked it so much he was content to play with the spoon and bowl, trying to get just one more bite.

Maybe you'd like it too. It's definitely pretty!

Buttermilk-Beet Soup
2 cups buttermilk
5 small, cooked and peeled beets -or- 1 can beets, drained
1/2 t salt
1 t dill (or 1 T fresh dill) + extra for garnish
chopped cucumber for garnish

Puree buttermilk, beets, salt and dill with a few ice cubes. Serve chilled, topped with dill and cucumber.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Goodbye Dishpan Hands

See this beauty? I'm saying goodbye! She's 15 years old and already been repaired at least once. This repair would have been the entire motor/pump assembly and with the differences in appliances now, it just wasn't worth it.

After a week and a half of unrelenting comparison shopping (that's what we did the day before the triathlon when the kids were staying with grandparents overnight: shopped for dishwashers. Sad, right?), I was tired, sticker shocked, annoyed and excessively knowledgeable about decibels, energy ratings, wash arms, motor horsepowers, cup clips, delay starts, cycle times, oh should I stop now?

I finally decided on a model at a local shop. It was a really solid deal, cheaper than Home Depot or Lowes, good features- a couple of tradeoffs but that's what you expect, right? I went looking for the phone number online only to stumble on a set of reviews of the shop itself. The reviews were terrible. There were 20 (a lot more than similar shops) and only one was positive. The stories were just the sort of customer service nightmares that make you feel like your head is going to explode. They were focused on appalling disinterest, deceit and in-your-face rudeness by the sales staff and the (new) owner that all began the second the sale was final. I considered that they might not be genuine, or could be sandbagged by a competitor or... but it just didn't seem like the place we wanted to work with.

Today I went to one last local shop (one with good reviews online), with the plan that if there wasn't anything there, I would go back and check with the Better Business Beaurau, etc. and see if I thought it would be wise to buy the one we had picked out. What do you know? Great selection, great prices, great service, a good warranty/service policy, and no tradeoffs. Just everything we were looking for. So, I jettisoned my usual "never make a major purchase on the spot" and "better sleep on it" policies and bought one. The salesman did some trading of inventory so that I can get it tomorrow morning! I still feel like I need to cross my fingers.

And now back to summer cooking

Many warm thanks to those who celebrated my triathlon goings-on with me. Your positive comments, both here and in person or by email, mean so much.

And now back to the ongoing topic of summer cooking!

I'm not sure what makes salmon cakes summery, but they feel summery to me. They were last night's dinner along with salad and a new chilled soup. Although I know fine salmon cakes are usually made from fresh salmon, I tend to use it as a quick, pantry-friendly meal. So, I like to use canned salmon. I have found buying canned salmon has been a bit challenging. It's not all that quick and easy if you have to pick the bones and skins out. And taste! - if it's overly fishy tasting, I'm not interested! Eventually I found that Costco had a good quality version in their store brand that we really enjoyed. But then, after learning about the downsides of farmed salmon (didya' know it isn't healthy like wild is? and the color comes from dye they feed it? and that it escapes and endangers wild salmon populations?), I read the cans more carefully and couldn't find any that weren't farmed. I quit buying it for a while but recently I've found canned wild Alaskan salmon - again in the Costco brand. So, we're back in business!

This is a recipe that I modified to be more seasoned and avoid purchased stuffing mix, but you could substitute stuffing mix if you wanted:

Salmon Cakes
Makes 6 servings, 2 patties each

*4 slices bread, oven dried & chopped
*1/2 t onion powder
*1/2 t garlic powder
*1/2 t season salt
*1/2 t pepper
*3/4 c chicken stock
1/3 c mayo
2 cans salmon, drained
1 T lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t dill (or 1 T fresh dill) (optional)
1 c shredded mozzarella

Mix all & refrigerate 10 min. Shape into patties 1/3 c each (can refrigerate up to 24 hours). Cook in hot non-stick skillet 3 min on each side.
*Substitute Stove-top stuffing mix and 3/4 c water for starred items if desired.

Ready to hear about that pretty pink soup? I'm ready to write about it, but I'm out of time for writing. More tomorrow!!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Tri Report

It was a very positive experience out at the triathlon yesterday!

Three thoughts about the day:

First, triathlon is such a positive, encouraging sport. The Danskin is a particularly supportive race, being all-women and designed to lure newcomers into the sport, but that isn't all of it. Maybe the sport itself is inclusive. Maybe it draws people who enjoy putting the pieces of the puzzle together. Maybe the challenges of it make everyone there feel like every fitness level is really accomplishing something cool. I really enjoyed the women I talked to, ran next to (ahem, actually they ran past me), and shouted with.

Second, James' family is exceptionally supportive of me. They kept the kids for me to train, kept the kids overnight and brought them to the race, hauled a small city of gear, cooked and cheered. It's so impressive, and such a blessing. I left saying prayers of thanks for them, and I'm still saying them. Oh, and James is great too!

Third, I'm a bit crazy when it comes to numbers. I had a number in my head, 1:45. My estimates for the various components added up to 1:50. But I really really wanted to do 1:45. That's a big discrepancy, but I get numbers in my head and they feel like the key to everything (yes, that's the crazy part). My training went so well but I was tired of saying "considering when I started" about how well it was going (oh gee, another crazy part). I just wanted to make that 1:45. REALLY badly. James and I hashed and rehashed my expected times and it didn't seem possible but the magic number was stuck in my head anyway.

How it went:

I admit it, I struggle with promptness. But not on tri morning. It's just not worth it to not arrive when they first open the shuttle lines. So even though I had about two hours sleep (anxiety, plus mystery thumb pain that bothered me all night and all day, then magically went away), we arrived as early as they'd let us and I had plenty of time. The family set up a little camp, I got myself set up and ran through all my little tasks. I had to run back to our camp and put sunscreen on my face - almost forgot!! I met three cool women as I was setting up transition - two first timers and an experienced person. I met a cool woman in line for the swim, a first timer. Two more cool women in line for the portopotty, a first timer and a third timer (sensing a pattern here?).

The swim was the calmest it's ever been. The water was totally smooth, which has never happened to me before. It wasn't my fastest swim, but it was the easiest. Maybe I should have been pushing harder, but sometimes it seems like I just get tireder without going any faster! When I came out of the swim, I saw that my family had made me a cool sign with big letters and my name on it- wow!! That's the big smile on my face!

It was a good first transition (you run into a big area, find your bike/stuff, put on helmet, shoes, etc, and walk your bike out to where you can get on and ride). My only complaint with the setup was that they didn't have near enough carpet on the (barefoot) run up from the lake to the transition area. There was a chorus of "ooh, ow, ouch, ooh, ah, ow!" coming from every direction as we ran over muddy rocks before we hit the grassy transition. Still, fastest T1 I've had.

The bike was very good. When I did a test run a few weeks ago I was really slow, especially on the first third when it didn't feel like I was really into the real course yet. For the race, I felt focused, and got to be supportive of a lot of people. One hill halfway through really got me and I had a hard time recovering, but once I did, the rest sailed by.

The next transition (put your bike away, ditch the helmet, change shoes) was speedy too. Nice. The run... well, running is hard. On my training runs with the jogging stroller I was frustrated because I was averaging (I'm not kidding, people) 13 minute miles. Training materials categorize that as "fast walk" but I wasn't walking! During my last couple of runs I was able to pick it up and had select sections that were under 11 minute miles. During the race, I kept looking at my watch, but it was too soon to tell how I was doing time-wise. The woman I met in line to start passed me and chatted a second, which was fun. At a water stop they told us "Just a mile and a third!". My mind wouldn't do the math but I could tell that was left me enough time I might just be able to do "good" on this run! I ran the next downhill section crazy-fast (crazy-fast for a 13-min-miler, let's keep it in perspective). They said it was just .7 miles and I was at 1:35! I could actually make my time goal! It felt like I was really moving! Then I hit the uphill. The just-don't-puke-really-it-isn't-worth-puking uphill. I crawled up that thing. I could not have been going slower, but it was all I could do. Then, just at the last bit of the uphill, there was a previous coach of mine on the sideline. Most of the run is isolated, so she had just walked down there to be there and cheer. That was very cool, we exchanged a few limited pleasantries and a high-five and what do you know but the hill was over! Then I could hear the finish line so I thought I'd be able to pick it up, but I couldn't. I just couldn't make myself move any faster. Finally, I saw my family. My awesome, helpful, supportive family, and I finally took off again. My watch said 1:45 but I sprinted to the finish line. They announced my name, I was a little dizzy, and I stood to let someone snip the timing chip off my ankle. I stepped out of the way and finally thought, "my watch! I haven't stopped it yet!". I hit the button at 1:46:58, but there was a window in there so I didn't know my final time.

I hate to say it, but it's true: If I made 1:45:anything I was going to be thrilled, and if I made 1:46:anything I was going to be bummed. It's the number thing. It's so far off winning, there's no reason to get stuck on a number. It's not my fastest time, or even second fastest. But that's my brain.

I had to wait until the results were posted last night to get

My Official Time: 1:45:56


Saturday, June 06, 2009

Triathlon tomorrow!!

Wish me luck! Hopefully I'll still have a smile on my face at the end of it (like this picture of the last time!).

Friday, June 05, 2009

Sweet as Pie

As I suspected, the boys of the house were won over to cold soup by the sweet version.

I should have taken a picture before we started, because there were no leftovers. Zack declared it the best cold soup ever, which doesn't really hold a lot of weight as the other cold soup he's tried was spicy cucumber avocado, and that isn't a bit sweet.

I served this as a side dish with an easy grilled supper. I intended it as a first course that we could eat while the food was cooking on the grill, but I didn't get it ready in time. Are those last few minutes getting dinner to the table a challenge in your house like they are in mine?

Chilled Peachy Melon Soup
1/2 cantelope, seeded and peeled
2 peaches, pits removed
juice of 1/2 lemon
3-5 cubes of ice

Blend well and serve! [I have a hefty blender so the peach peel was just pretty bright flecks in the finished soup.]

p.s. Did you notice that every person in our family has their own spoon-shape preference? Just call us the three -er, four- bears.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Kale Fail

You didn't want to hear about good dinner ideas, did you? No, no, you're tired of posts with tasty recipes, or at least edible recipes. You want to hear about failures!

I tried to make some sauteed kale to go with our dinner. I used a recipe that I usually use for swiss chard (it's a good recipe, I promise), but I guess I wasn't paying attention because I put the kale stems in, then realized they were never going to get tender and picked them them all out... but by that time the entire pan-full was bitter and terrible. It was so bad I let Zack spit his out. James ate his small portion (I'm not sure why) and then we threw it out. Bummer!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Al Pastor

I mentioned summer cooking yesterday and these tacos are a great summer standby.

First of all, they are a rollover recipe - based on remaking leftovers from a previous meal. Second, they are fast to put together, and have a fresh, sweet flavor we all love.

I use leftover pork tenderloin, mix it with spices and pineapple, and saute it up to make my shortcut take on the traditional Al Pastor. I serve it in corn tortillas, toasted over the flame on the gas oven. I serve them with shredded cabbage, sweet onion, cilantro and either lime wedges or a creamy salsa. Yum!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Summer cooking

Are you like me, feeling the need to revamp your cooking for summer?

I might need a new system. Well, not a system; that sounds very official. I don't really want to be that official. I just want some easy summer meals that don't require turning on the oven and can be pulled out of the hat on nights we want to spend our time at the neighborhood pool.

And, now that I'm dishwasher-less and need to expend some energy on deciding what to do about repairs, I'm even more motivated to keep it simple. But, I find that if I don't keep my cooking interesting, I dread it, and it turns into a chore. So, I'm looking for some simple but tasty recipes to become summer staples. I've got a stack of cookbooks checked out from the library and some lists started, but I bet I've got some dishes of my own that I had forgotten about!

I started by cooking up a bunch of chicken to use in tacos, pizzas, and oh yeah, soups. That's what's on the menu for tonight: Black bean soup with chicken.

Monday, June 01, 2009


Our dishwasher leaked, which we discovered from the swelling up of our pergo (or other brand? who knows) floor in the family room, about three feet from the actual dishwasher. When the first spot appeared we thought we'd spilled something there without realizing it. Not so. Now we're out one dishwasher and several pergo boards in a color which has likely been discontinued. How convenient.