Archive for the ‘Lent: the first 40 days’ Category

The Rundown

So, the 40 days of Lent are over and we are now in the Easter Season, a season of joy! I have a few questions to answer:

1. Was I successful in my Lenten sacrifice of not eating out? I think the answer is mostly yes. I wish the answer was a definitive yes, but I had a few flubs and a few necessary diversions from my plan. I knew at the beginning that we would be road tripping to Nebraska in March. I actually ate out one less day than I originally thought because weather delayed our trip. Non-Sunday eating out for the trip was two days. I also caved and got a large Coke in the McDonalds drive thru twice. This is a practice I usually engage in once every two to three weeks because of headaches that I can’t seem to zap with Excedrin. I did try to keep Coke in the house during Lent to avoid this, but I had problems. I kept drinking it! I have serious Coke (cola, not the other!) issues, which is why I don’t usually have it in the house. Yes, I realize this contributes mightily to my super sized ass problem. I also ate out for lunch on my birthday. I probably would have forgone it, but my best friend was in town (to buy a house!!!!!!!!!!! in my hood!!!!!!!!!!) and I decided God would understand. That rationalization probably means I shouldn’t have. It’s similar to, “He has a good heart, but…”. Another part that was not 100% was the lunch making for the husband. It got especially bad there at the end of Lent. I don’t actually have a good count, but it might be as many as 4 or 5 days that he had to fend for himself.

2. Did I cook lots of new recipes? I made several new recipes. More than I had in the last several years. But, not as many as my original delusions of grandeur. I also failed to make two in particular that I even bought the ingredients for. The first was for mushroom bourguignon, the recipe can be found at Smitten Kitchen. The second happened this past weekend. I did not make PW’s cinnamon rolls. Here is what happened: After I wrote on the blog that I was going to make them, I went back and read the recipe again. I hadn’t glanced at it in over a month at that point. I immediately became concerned. A little bit about the quantity, it makes 40-50 rolls. But mostly about the icing. It calls for maple flavoring and 1/4 cup of coffee. These are not flavors I personally associate with cinnamon rolls. After talking it over with the husband, I decided to use her ingredients list for the actual roll part, but use the quantities from my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. And make cream cheese icing. The next challenge became when to make the rolls, so that I had time to do them, but they were relatively fresh for Sunday brunch. I decided that it had to be Saturday, but Saturday was crazy busy. And I’m not a morning person. We had tickets for a play Saturday afternoon and spent about 45 minutes at the Nasher. Then spent another hour at the new Whole Foods at North Park. By the time we got home, ate and got changed, it was time to go the Easter Vigil mass. That was over three hours long. I was finally convinced by my sister and friends at midnight while sitting in the Waffle House, that me baking rolls was not going to happen! After traipsing through Walmart for cans of Pillsbury and doing the flower arrangements for brunch, I went to bed at 2:30 AM.

3. Am I going to continue blogging? The answer for right now, is yes. I think I have another 40 days in me and I still think it’s fun. Starting tomorrow, April 6 thru May 15, I will be doing 40 Days Of…I’ll tell you tomorrow.

Forgotten flubs: While proof reading this post I remembered two big flubs. The Saturday evening a few weeks ago when I was supposed to have a dinner party, we took everyone out for dinner and only had dessert at our house (the source of my carrot cake binge). Sometimes when Aunt Margaret comes to visit, I get very ill and have trouble being out of bed. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you don’t want to. The husband had to work that entire day and could not help me get dinner done. Also, this past Saturday we ate a dinner of prepared foods from Whole Foods. I really didn’t have time to make anything that day, but I should have thought ahead and made something on Friday. I have finally come to the realization that preparedness is at least half the battle, if not more. And I suck at it.

I think I did okay with this Lenten challenge. And probably did better because of the blog than I would have without it. I think next year I need to do more. Give something up, but also try to do things that are good for me that I avoid or procrastinate about. How did you do with your Lenten sacrifice? Will you do the same next year, or change it up?

Guilt

Want to know how to feel really guilty? Write about your husband’s drunk, glassy eyes or his insane five year furniture purchasing moratorium on your blog in March and get a really nice gift from him in April. Or you can buy stuff at the Wisteria Outlet super sale when you are not supposed to, like I did last year. And then get really nice diamond earrings from your husband two days later. Aren’t I an awesome wife?!!! (And obviously a savant when it come to grammar and punctuation skills.)

My guilt started on Tuesday when I found five boxes on the porch from Replacements. As my birthday was coming up and our anniversary is two weeks later, I assumed these boxes probably contained a good portion of the wedding china we never received. And I was right! What a nice, thoughtful husband I have! Note to self: Learn not to be a hag in March, because April will bring husbandly thoughtfulness and guilt. Unfortunately for the husband, my guilt is usually of the fleeting variety. As Mr. Bennet says in the best P&P movie, “It’ll pass. And no doubt, more quickly than it should.”. (Of course it’s the Colin Firth one. If you don’t get what the big deal is about that version in general and Colin Firth in particular, I can’t help you.) If you have an obsession with dishes like me and want to see what the china looks like, click here.

By the way, have you ever taken the Jane Austen Quiz? It’s kind of fun. It tells you what character you are most similar to. My result was Elizabeth Bennet. Woohoo! I found the quiz through Mrs. Mama’s blog. It’s on her sidebar if you scroll down. If I weren’t such a lazy, computer illiterate blogger, I would figure out how to put it on mine. 🙂

I know I am posting this on April Fool’s Day. But the above story was not a joke. If you are feeling cheated, here is a good one: I turned 29 today. Ha ha! Okay, that’s enough laughing. If any of you are hyperventilating or crying from laughter, remember karma is a *#%!$ (I may need to eighty six the My Name Is Earl re-runs.). I hope you are all having a lovely, spring day. Bye!

Let’s Talk Food

I think I may have failed to make one new recipe a week during Lent. I need to go back and read my own blog. But if my memory is correct, there’s one week in there without a new recipe. I think it was last week. I guess that’s not surprising, since we were traveling for a couple of days. I did make an old recipe that I had not made for a couple of years. How does that happen? You have a recipe you make well and like and then poof, you forget to make it anymore.

My forgotten recipe is Mexican Style Stuffed Zucchini. It’s from The Healing Healthy Heart Cookbook. It is a meatless recipe, so it might work well for a couple of days this week. Let me know if you want the recipe and I’ll get it to you.

Now for baking! Sugar rules my world! In case you were wondering, this is a problem. Last Saturday I made these. Really good. And this Friday or Saturday I am going to attempt the cinnamon rolls from PW’s cookbook to take to Easter brunch at a friend’s house.

I am also contemplating this dip for Easter brunch. We’ll see how much time I have. My sister is coming on Friday!!! And we have lots of plans for Saturday. I hope everyone is making lovely plans for Easter. I am looking forward to my sister’s visit and brunch with friends. I am so grateful to our friends who are having over 20 people for brunch on Easter. It’s going to be lots of fun.

About Monday’s poll: It looks like J and I won with 50% of the vote. The remaining votes were split between options 1 and 4. Option 3 received no votes. I think if D hadn’t recruited votes, we would have won by more. But I don’t really care, it was fun. One of his recruits even bashed him in the poll comments! I love how guys can bash each other with no consequences. Sometimes it’s annoying that women (myself included) are so sensitive. I doubt these results will alleviate D’s sense of injustice, but it was worth a try!

What Happens In Vegas…

So, a doctor and a lawyer went to Vegas… It’s actually not a joke! It really happened in October. We met our friends D & J in Las Vegas to have some fun and attend the U2 concert (I will not enter into the tale of heinous logistics here. Suffice it to say if you are going to a concert in Vegas, make sure it’s on the strip.). While we all agree that we had a great time, there remains one blight on our time there in the mind of D. D is still so upset about the way J and I handled something, that he continues to whine about it every time we get together. The husband tries to be supportive of D’s position while still acknowledging that I had a point. Since it is a boys vs. ladies dispute, he doesn’t want to abandon his friend. On the other hand, he does not want to anger me into a detailed re-telling of his less-than-stellar behavior (my memory is a little too good sometimes and of course, I wasn’t drunk).

Here’s the deal: We all live in the Central time zone and Vegas is in the Pacific. So when we got there, it was two hours earlier in Las Vegas than where we live. At 11:30 PM Vegas time (1:30 AM to our bodies), J and I requested (and then insisted) that we head back to our hotel because we were tired. D and the husband did not like this idea. I should now mention that D and most especially the husband had already been drunk for at least two hours at this point. The husband had achieved the much dreaded glassy eyes in a lounge at our hotel around 9:00 PM. In the 17 years I have known the husband, I have accumulated much knowledge and experience with the glassy eyes. This caused me to be very worried (with good reason). The funny thing is, D has known the husband for the same amount of time and knows from experience that I am right. I understand D not agreeing with me when inebriated, but am baffled by his continued beating of a drunk horse (ha! get it?). How short his memory is! The husband and D wanted to keep walking around Vegas for several more hours and suggested that they go it alone. Not! We all went back to the hotel and fairly soon to bed. Since D continues to feel mistreated, I told him I would do a poll.

***After reading the above, I feel that I should clarify. J and I were not worried that our husbands would do something really immoral. We just didn’t want them to get into any drunken fights or gamble when drunk,or have such massive hang overs as to be worthless, etc…***

7 Quick Takes Friday

Check out all the links at Conversion Diary.

1. Driving from Texas to Nebraska and back is not fun and I don’t want to do it anymore. Waaaaa! I’ve become a giant baby! I’ve also become a horrible passenger. I was never a great passenger, but ever since I was in a car accident in July of 2008 I have become incredibly scared in the car. Especially in heavy traffic. Poor husband. He’s a pretty patient person, but he’s about had it with me. (We’ll discuss his scary, aggressive driving another time!)

2. If you are going to encourage your mother to buy a table in Texas, you should first figure out how it’s going to get to Nebraska. (I think my step-father would add that you should also be sure the leaves fit together correctly.)

3. It’s dangerous for me to live so close to Wisteria Outlet (source of the above mentioned table). Please join the husband in praying that I do not attend their Garden Sale today.

4. Another reason for our long drive was to transport some artwork. We even got to meet the artist, Anne Burkholder. She is a Nebraska landscape painter. Her paintings make me happy. You can view them here.

5. One of my labradors, Mr. Darcy, is getting even nuttier as he gets older. When I picked him up on Wednesday, he jumped in the car and barked at me. When we got home, he ran around the house and then came back and barked at me. Apparently, our little trip was not okay with him. He has a lot of issues and I don’t think Jane Austen would be flattered with my use of her character’s name. (In case you are wondering, the other lab’s name is Mr. Bingley 🙂 )

6. This has been a strange week for my Lenten sacrifice of not eating out. I did eat out on my road trip on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday, the husband worked so late I didn’t have to cook dinner. Last night I fixed a giant omelet. I need to redeem myself by fixing nice meals this weekend. Too bad, I have no idea what those will be.

7. We know three people who are coming into the Catholic church. We are excited for them and grateful to be witnesses to this process year after year. It helps us to be reminded of how thankful we should always be to be members of the body of Christ.

Have a lovely weekend!

I Lost The Battle Of The Suitcase

Actually, it was the battle of the giant pile of dry cleaning bags and hangers. I call it the “battle of the suitcase” because there was an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond where they get home from a trip and leave the suitcases at the bottom of the stairs. No one moves them because each is waiting for the other to do it. Ray becomes really miffed when he notices that Deb is wearing clean clothes that should be dirty in her suitcase. He is so set against being the one to move them that he takes a plastic grocery bag as luggage on a business trip. And before he leaves he hides stinky cheese in one of the suitcases. The cheese, of course, becomes smellier when he’s gone. And well, you can imagine what happens next.

Our “suitcase” was a very large pile of plastic bags and hangers from the dry cleaners. My husband got sick of a bunch of empty bags and hangers hanging on his side of the closet, so he took them down and put them on the floor. They were on his side of the closet, so they didn’t bother me! After a couple of weeks on the floor on his side of the closet, they must have started to bug him. So he moved the pile to the floor of the master bathroom. Here it became a bit more of a nuisance. Still, we continued to step over the pile (sometimes on it!) for another couple of weeks and wait for the other person to clean it up. It’s too bad those plastic bags are see through, because I totally would have done the smelly cheese thing. The husband would have wigged out and given in. It would have been a sweet victory!

I know what you are thinking. What on earth is the matter with these people?!! Obviously, too many things to go into just now! I will tell you that I was thinking, “I should clean these up. But now that they are all tangled up on the floor, it’s going to be too difficult to do my recycling. He put them on the floor, he can clean them up!” I have no idea what the husband was thinking. Probably something along the lines of, “Her job is the house. Why isn’t she taking care of this? I’m not doing it!” Little did he know, he should be thanking the dry cleaning gods for see through bags. Because some stinky cheese could have been headed his way!

Why did I lose the battle? Because we were going on a trip and I didn’t want people to see that giant pile if we died. That’s right, I’m crazy. There are a couple of other things I didn’t want people to see in the event of our death that I didn’t get to. But I’m actually too embarrassed (shocking!) to speak of them. Let’s just say that I didn’t take some of my own house faking advice.

So, I took a giant black garbage bag and I (If you are environmentally or ecologically sensitive, look away, look away!) shoved the whole mess in there. Done! I know you are thinking, “Was that so difficult?”. And the the answer is “yes and no”. It does usually take longer when I do the appropriate thing and recycle everything. And it was a little bit annoying. I don’t know that it was annoying enough for a month long stand off. But I bet something similar happens again. 🙂 Mind you, we haven’t spoken of this even once! What is the craziest/funniest silent battle you’ve ever had?

**Update: the husband called from work, laughing. He claims to have had no idea a silent battle was going on. **

A Gastronomic Tour of Lincoln, Nebraska

So we went on a little road trip. It would have been more pleasant if there wasn’t a blizzard in Oklahoma and southern Kansas on Saturday. Luckily, I listened to the travel warnings and we left on Sunday. Unluckily, there was was some snow and freezing here on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Short plea to Texas drivers: Please DO NOT brake every time you see ice. I know it’s scary, but slamming your brakes on ice only creates more problems. We have ice here at least once a year. Why can you not learn from experience? If it is simply physically or mentally impossible for you to not brake, then please stay home. Thank you. This has been a Tucker service announcement on Texas ice driving.

Now for food! Since I was not at home and did not have access to my kitchen, I got to eat out. And I had some great experiences. On Sunday evening after finally making it out of Oklahoma (don’t worry, I’m not going to start in on OK drivers:), we stopped at Runza in Beatrice. I know Beatrice is 30 or 40 minutes south of Lincoln, but they have Runza in Lincoln, too. I’m so glad we did stop at the one in Beatrice. It was great and not greasy. The last couple of times we’ve been to Runzas on the south side of Lincoln, it’s been really greasy. So Runza makers in Lincoln, go to Beatrice and re-learn how it’s supposed to be done! For those of you who have no idea what a Runza is: It’s a bread pocket filled with seasoned hamburger and cabbage and in my case, melted cheese. There are several different varieties. They also have great fries. It’s a “must eat” for us every time we go home.

On Monday we got to eat lunch at the fairly new Capital City Grill (good pick, Ken), in the Haymarket at 8th & Q. Loved it! The decor is nice and the service is really good. But the star of the show was the food. I had the Sacramento Capital City Bowl with three cheese risotto. It was awesome! Everyone we were with really liked their meals. I would definitely recommend it. For dinner on Monday, we ate at La Paz. It’s quite popular in Lincoln and with good reason. The food is good, the prices are reasonable and the servers are nice. I had the Taco La Paz with chicken – yum. I love the chips and salsa they put on the table. Everyone at our table loved their food. The chicken and cream cheese enchiladas got extra raves.

Two more “must eats” that we missed this time are Valentino’s and Venue. There are lots of good restaurants in Lincoln. These are just a few that we really like. Venue is especially good and we usually get to eat there every December.

Special note to friends and family that we didn’t get to see: We were only in town for 38 hours (which makes the 20.5 hours of driving we did seem even worse). Most of our time was spent at our Nephew’s confirmation (as was our intention). We hope to see you next time. And Aunt Sue: I did see you for about two seconds, but you didn’t see me. Love your new car!

7 Quick Takes Friday

It’s Friday and that means it’s 7 Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.

1. One is the number of times the husband ate fast food for dinner this week. I was REALLY unmotivated at the beginning of the week. My cupboards got bare and I became wowed all over again by people who live out in the boonies. Just think how prepared they have to be. I would fail miserably as a country housewife. I’m barely functioning as a city one.

2. Two is the number of pounds I gained this week. If you are wondering how on earth this happened when I’m not eating out, you will understand when you get to number seven.

3. Three is the number of white hairs I yanked out of my head this week. No Kate, I will not be highlighting or coloring my hair…yet!

4. Four is the number of times I should have ridden my bike this week. Zero is the number I did. This probably also contributed to number two.

5. Five is the number of times I was tempted to go to Chick-Fil-A this week. One time I was even in the drive thru. I’m not kidding! I was trying to convince myself that getting a lemonade wouldn’t be cheating. Luckily, God won. I hope I don’t associate Chick-Fil-A with temptation once Lent is over.

6. Six is the number of pages I read this week of the The Brothers Karamozov. I need to read like 100 or more.

7. Seven is the number of pieces of carrot cake I ate this week. It’s probably more, but I’m only copping to seven. There’s only so much I’m willing to admit to the twenty people (Yes, I think we’re up to twenty now!) who read this.

Have a great weekend! One of our nephews is getting confirmed on Monday. We’re really proud of him.

House Faking

I am a house faker. I was thinking about this a couple of weeks ago when April over at Coal Creek Farm mentioned it. Then I was reminded of it again last night when my Auntie V posted on Facebook that she almost burned down her kitchen because she forgot stuff was being stored in the oven!

I’ve been married and running my own home for almost 14 years. I was trained by my mom to be neat, but it never took. As the years have gone by, my house faking has expanded and become more convincing. So much so, that a friend’s husband recently doubted me when I said that my house turns into a crap hole at least once a month. I then emailed him pictures of the mess the next time it happened. He said it looked like a staged mess. Ladies and gentlemen, I have achieved at the age of 36, the pinnacle of house faking! I showed someone my mess and they thought I did it on purpose.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done in the realm of house faking? Mine is fairly recent. Last summer we threw a party for our dear friends who were moving away (don’t get me started on that trauma). I really did clean the house from top to bottom. Cleaned the porches, worked on the yard, sent the dogs to camp. But I forgot one very important task. Especially important when you are bringing in catered food – clean out the refrigerator! So I get home with the food and I’m running at least an hour behind. I open up the frig and I can tell it’s going to be a near thing. Taking up a lot of space right in the middle is a half eaten pan of rigatoni that is at least a week old. I’m in total panic mode. I haven’t showered yet and I’m making my sister use a tiny little lint brush on giant things like couches and carpet (yes, she’s still speaking to me, but I’m unsure why). So, I shove the rigatoni into one of my ovens. I wish this was the worst part, but it isn’t. Brace yourself. I didn’t remember to take it out of the oven for over TWO WEEKS! I will not even try to describe the horror. (Dear friend, you know who you are. Go breath in a paper bag for a while. You’ll be okay. :))

Why? Why didn’t I at least throw the food in the trash and put the dirty dish in the oven? The dishwasher was running when I went into panic mode. Let’s all pretend I would have made a better decision if there was room in the dishwasher. Thanks, I appreciate it. Why didn’t I put it in the freezer? I think there was room in the freezer. That would have eliminated quite a bit of the horror that was to come. Maybe the better question to ask is why was it down to the wire when I had known about this party forever. Because I am also a master procrastinator. But that’s a whole other therapy session! Back to house faking…

Here are my top tips for house faking:
1. Save paper shopping bags with handles. They are great for shoving paper clutter into and storing in a closet. If you do this with any frequency, you might want to date the bags. I haven’t dated mine, but I wish I had. It could cut down on Tucker Fits a.k.a temper tantrums by your spouse. This is of course, just a theory. No one I know ever has fits (wink, wink).
2. The really large, black plastic garbage bags are best for wrangling the clean clothes you haven’t folded. Or the dirty ones you haven’t washed. Just don’t forget where you stashed them! Who me? I would never do that!
3. Restoration Hardware sells scented Vacuum BBs that can help your house smell fresh and clean. Even if you have two stinky, old dogs living there.
4. Put your dirty, food encrusted dishes in the freezer, NOT the oven!
5. This one really put me over the top, but might not be possible for everyone. Have a house with: a. a three car garage, b. big closets, and c. “The Room Of No Purpose”.

After reading some of the above, I realize that this will be used against me when I end up on one of those “clean out” reality shows. Take my advice at your own risk!

A little food talk and meal planning. My one new recipe I made last week turned out okay. I made a roasted pork loin from the Building The Family Cookbook (thanks Lou). It tasted better than it looked. But it wasn’t as good as I was expecting. For Wed., Thurs., and Fri. the plan is green chile chicken enchiladas on Wed. & Thurs. (thanks Erika) and good old tuna noodle casserole on Friday. The enchiladas are a new recipe, so I don’t feel bad about repeating the casserole. There’s a debate going on right now on a Google Group I am on about St. Joseph’s feast day on Friday. No one seems to know whether you can have meat or not. I’m going with not. If anyone reading this knows the answer, please share your knowledge.

Now go fake your house!

A Dispute

The husband is annoyed about a teeny, tiny part of yesterday’s post: “Although, the husband seems to think there should be more empty rooms and more blank walls. Even when I get a great bargain, he still complains!” Those two sentences have renewed a fight discussion that’s been going on since August of 2008. That’s right people, 2008!

So here’s the deal: We sold our 3 bedroom, 2 bath home that we had lived in for 8 years. This home was an almost hour commute each way for the husband. We bought a much bigger home that is only a 20 minute commute each way for the husband. And I’m not lying about the commute time. People in the Metroplex actually lie about their commutes! It’s insane! You’ll be talking to someone at a party and they will tell the most outrageous lie with a straight face. Something like, “We live in (insert name of far flung suburb) and I work (insert name of somewhere at least 40 minutes away). My commute is 20 – 25 minutes. No problem.” I have actually become so disgusted that I now respond with, “On Sunday evening, maybe.” Or my all time favorite, “You’re on crack!”. There will be no denial of the crappiness of your life on my watch!

At the time we bought this house, the husband started proclaiming that since we were purchasing a home at the top of our budget, there would be a “Five Year Furniture Purchasing Moratorium”. I freely admit that he proclaimed this. But I never agreed. Life and marriage are not a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon. You can’t just proclaim things or make rules without the other person’s agreement (unless you are me – kidding). I further claim that the husband knew that I had not agreed. How, you ask? Whenever he brought up this craziness, I shut him down with, “Whatever!”. But I didn’t just say “Whatever!”. I said, (some of you are going to be scandalized) “Whatever, jackass!”.

Let’s be honest here. Most of you will have to admit that when you say “Whatever!” to your husbands, you really mean “Whatever, jackass!”. But they don’t know that unless you say it. They are not mind readers. So, it’s really much kinder to them if you just say it. That way there is no confusion. Those two words convey everything beautifully: 1. This discussion is over. 2. You’re wrong and I’m right. I’m sure it’s an abominable use of language. But it works. And I’m clearly not scholarly or a perfectionist when it comes to the spoken or written word. I do admit that you cannot go around calling your husband “jackass” all of the time. Especially, if you have little ones around. I think JA works, as long as he knows the meaning. I have been trying to reform myself, and use JA now. My success rate is about 50%.

We haven’t even discussed how crazy it is to buy a house that is more than twice the size of your old house, and expect your wife to not buy any furniture for FIVE YEARS. Looney tunes! Guess what doesn’t count as furniture, a new plasma t.v.. Shocking, isn’t it? But even bed linens do count according to the crazy man husband. Do your spouses do stuff like this? I can’t be the only one dealing with this!

Now that I have whined, moaned, complained and rattled on forever, I should say a few things. 1. Except for a few things, like his clinging to the furniture moratorium, the husband is amazing. 2. I have a very nice life, that I enjoy immensely. 3. The husband puts up with a lot, like this blog. And I appreciate it.