7 Random Facts About Myself

My great friend, who I just nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award, at Damnit, Woman, brought up that I had not completed all the rules that comes with award. I was, in truth, supposed to fill out 7 facts that you don't know about me. I've decided to do this, faced with the fear that my sense of smell will never return, and my ovaries will shrivel up (I'm not sure if this is a threat haha). So here they are, 7 facts about me.

1. I am brutally honest. If you are getting on my nerves I will let you know. If I have a beef with you, I will let you know. Sure I will brood on it a week before I will do so, but you're gonna eventually hear it from me. Oh and those jeans do make your butt look fat.

2. I am one with nature. Ok, not really one but I adore the mountains (way more than the beach baby). When I work at camp, I feel ridiculously at home. As soon as we pull up and I smell the trees and the river, and the earth; all stress leaves me right then and there. Working weekends is less like work for me and more like a refresher in life.

3. I will never, ever, discuss politics with you. This is because if I do, you will probably hate me.

4. I can bleat like a goat. Very convincingly too.

5. I'm a big fan of peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. Before you barf, try one. Thanks!

6. I have had three moles removed, and have all the scars to prove it.

7. I have never had surgery, or been hospitalized for anything but labor.


How to save a burnt chicken dinner...

My loss of smell also seems to mean that I have lost all cooking ability. The other day I made roast chicken (which is normally awesome and delicious). I calculated the cooking time to 2 hours for a 6 lb chicken, and it really really really overcooked. It was burning and I couldn't smell it.

The skin was delicious at least! So the inside was really dry, and I had no other option but to make chicken gravy biscuit sandwiches. If you have any drippings I'd recommend using those to make your gravy, but since I burnt my bird to a crisp there was none to be had. I had to use packet gravy.

Mmmm partially hydrogenated oils, preservatives and chicken flavoring!

The chicken is really easy to shred when it's overcooked. Just stir with a fork. I'm not kidding.

Just add gravy to shredded chicken and pile onto biscuits! The gravy covers up the dry chicken and make it a lot more palatable.

I made homemade biscuits to go with this because they are so easy! I used butter instead of shortening, because my shortening had gone rancid. It looked pink but I couldn't smell it, so I asked A to. He about gagged. So glad I couldn't smell.


5 Reasons why losing your sense of smell rocks

I have viral ansomnia at the moment. About a month ago now, a friend and I both got really sick; her more-so than I. After we both recovered completely, we realized we had lost our sense of smell (and in relation, taste). It actually really sucks, especially since it's fall and full of smells I absolutely love- cinnamon, baking, falling leaves. We're both hoping it will come back, and I'm noticing some smells and tastes now so maybe that's a good sign. I'm trying to stay positive so I'm making a list of why not having a sense of smell is awesome.

1. Dirty Diapers, really, need I say more?
2. Dutch Oven, no not the kind you cook with.
3. Sorting through the trash to see if a small child of mine disposed of our remote wasn't as horrible as I thought it would be!
4. When a certain friend of our's brother leaves the bathroom, I can't smell what has been likened to a dead dog that shit itself. Yay.
5. Body Odor is no longer an issue. This is handy when going to Wal-Mart. However, this might not be such good news for my friends as I can no longer smell my own.

Those are the good things. Here is what I really miss:

1. Tasting my grilled cheese sandwich (hello blandness).
2. Being able to smell what I'm cooking, or taste test it.
3. Being able to tell when I'm burning food (did this with chicken this weekend!)
4. Heck being able to taste, period.
5. Ethan's baby smell is gone. I can't tell if that's because I can't smell or he just isn't a baby anymore :(


I'm a versatile blogger!

Wow, so this is my first ever blog award, I'm quite thrilled! First off, it's really amazing to me that anyone even reads what I write, so for that, thank you! Secondly, it's nice to know that people do read. It makes what I'm doing and writing about feel a little less futile, and it takes the monotony out of being a stay at home mom! I have always enjoyed writing, even as a 8 or 9 year old I was always writing ghost stories to entertain myself and my family (there is nothing, nothing, better than a really good ghost story in my opinion).

I just received this award Friday from Marie (view her blog, Improving the Silence). I really had no idea she read my blog, but I'm totally stoked to find out someone does! The award was bestowed on fifteen people (including yours truly), so I must also give this award to 15 other blogs, and so on and so on.

If you receive this award from me, here are the rules:
Thank and link back the blogger who bestows the award on you, and then hand it on to 10 other blogs that you enjoy reading! It's as simple as that!

I decided to reduce the amount of blogs from 15 to 10 because I didn't want to just pick a random blog to fill in space; I actually read and like the ones I posted and I hope everyone will check them out!

Here are my 10 recipients of the Versatile Blogger Award:

Meal Planning Monday 9/19

I know it's late but here is what we are having this week!

Monday: Pork Tenderloin, Green Beans, Bicuits
Tuesday: Whole Roast Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli
Wednesday: Chicken in White Wine Sauce, with Mushrooms and Brown Rice
Thursday: Chicken Pot Pie (weather permitting, I make my own pie crust; much cheaper!)
Friday: Dinner at Casey's Pub in Los Angeles, time for my brother in-laws birthday!
Saturday: Pineapple Pork Chops, Brown Rice, Peas
Sunday: Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells, Salad

Mmm, I can't wait to eat!


I wish it were Fall (in California)...

I've been dreaming about it. Beautiful trees covered in orange, crimson and gold. A brisk wind moving over my face. Pumpkins on porches and leaves on streets. Alas, I was born in the wrong place. In California, Fall is just an extension of summer. In fact, while we may not hit the 100s all summer long, it's much more likely to do so in September and October! Sure we get the added benefit of no snow in the winter months (but yes, it does get cold and it does get overcast!), but I am at the point where I would gladly trade snow for fall.

So, I'm going to be decorating for "fall" soon, just to convince my cave dwelling self that it is going to happen at some point at time. Pinterest has been a huge huge tease for me. I freaking love Pinterest, it combines my love of lists and my love of pictures...it's the perfect planning website. Here are a few of the best fall decorations I found.

1. Cute Pumpkins
I really love these cute pumpkins I found on Pinterest. I really do try to stay away from a Halloween theme (mostly for religious reasons), and I like that these are simple and pretty without being a "Jack O' Lantern".
Darling Pumpkins!
2. Beautiful DIY Vines from Martha Stewart
These vines are so dainty and pretty it's hard to believe you can make them yourself!

I can think of a dozen uses for these.

3. Candles, candles, and more candles
I absolutely LOVE candles. I think they spruce even the barest space up. Candles are warm and inviting, calling to mind the most basic needs of men: fire. There are plenty of fall scented candles out there, I really love Slatkin and Co. and Yankee Candle Co.  While they are a bit pricier, they make up for that in scent. They will really last quite a while too. 

4. Beautiful Paper Wreath
Another craft from Martha Stewart (the woman is the craft goddess for a reason!). I just love the detail on this wreath, and something about the paper is so charming. If I were to do it (and I may, if I do I will show and tell!), I would definitely use an older book that shows it's age, it would look marvelous!

This will look awesome using an old book as paper!

5. More Pumpkins...wrapped up!
Beauty is in little things, and in this case it's these super cute, mini pumpkins. I think I may go haywire choosing ribbons to make these!

Too cute to eat!

Eventually, A and I may move to Idaho. A grew up there and it has been sounding nicer and nicer as the years go by. While dealing with the snow is certainly a little nerve-wracking for this native Californian, I feel that perhaps it may be the right choice for us in a few years. That's then and this is now. I may have to make a little trip up to Big Bear just to feel the seasons change!


Ethan's First Birthday: Puppy Invites

So I've been putting off making these for a while. A great friend of mine loaned me a Cricut Expressions machine, and let me tell you - it is so awesome! I feel like I can do anything with this machine (yes, anything). Fortunately instead of tackling world hunger, I decided to make Ethan's birthday party invites.

The Cricut makes it really easy to be creative (I don't feel like I have a creative bone in my body). It really just cuts it out and all you have to do it paste the layers on top of each other. Super easy. You can really do this card for any type of animal theme; I used the Create-a-Critter cartridge for the puppy and doghouses.

Blurry picture of the Cricut at work.

The finished product after all the layering and pasting is done.
To make the card bases I used 8.5 by 11 cardstock, and cut it straight down the middle with my Fiskars Paper Trimmer. I really love this trimmer because it has a handy wire down the middle, so you can see exactly where you are going to cut.
I folded the paper in half with a boning edge. Makes the edges nice and crisp!
For the sky I cut blue paper that was 4.25 inches by 5.25 inches. The grass was 4.25 by 3 inches, to allow for room for the border punch. The punch I used was Fiskars too, but I'm sure you could use any decorative edge and it will still look great!

Bottom sky layer with the punched "grass" pasted on top.
The final product!

Finally, I used pop dots to paste the puppy and the doghouse on the grass. All I need next is to print out a "Party" font, and the insert that will show the details for his birthday! It was a lot of work but I had a ton of fun!

Ethan decided he wanted to help. It was not very helpful.


Off the grid is sounding nice about now...

If you know my husband he will assault you with constant talk of living "off the grid". While normally the thought actually scares me, right now it's sounding really nice. Austine and I owe a lot of money, and despite the fact that he finally has a steady, awesome job, we are still living paycheck to paycheck. There really is no way to remedy this besides buckling down and cutting back, and we have cut back a lot. Currently our cell phones have been disconnected, this is the first time in 6 years of having a cell phone that this has happened. It's embarrassing to say the least, but it just comes to show that we need to do some creative money planning in order to get past this.

As a result, I am now looking for another nanny position, one that will allow Ethan to accompany me. I know that this will be hard to find, but I'm praying that it is out there for me, with the perfect boss and perfect child to watch. Ideally, it would only require me to be there in the morning hours so that I can come home and cook dinner for my family. Ideally, the baby I would be watching would be the same age or around the same age as Ethan, so that they would be able to get along and relate with each other. Ideally, I woudln't even have to leave my home.

So there are my qualifications for a position, it does look like I am being picky. I am going to add these qualifications into my rosary everyday, and hopefully I will see something happen. We really need to extra money right now to pull us out of this hole, so I'm hoping it'll be soon. I"m also considering starting to coupon, but I can't find any "experts" in my area. I would love to learn how to save even more money (beyond having a whole chicken every week haha). Does anyone have any experience couponing? How do I start?



So I finally got around to going to the optometrist after four long years of insurance-abstinence (not voluntary abstinence mind you). I had a great appointment, walked out with some new contacts (YES), and a prescription in my hand. Insurance really flipping rocks! The only way I survived these past four years is due to Zenni Optical. This is the part where you should just thank me now. That's right, go ahead. Scroll down, alll the way down. Click the comment button, now write "Thank You Meat and Potatoes Mama". Ok, now scroll back up.

You can get dirt cheap, cute, amazing, brilliant, glasses for 10 dollars at Zenni Optical. The last pair I had lasted me four years. Four amazing years until I had a beautiful little boy who thought chewing on glasses was his idea of a "good time". Zenni really has an amazing website that allows you to virtually try on, compare, and order your prescription glasses. You can get polycarbonite, you can get anti-glare coating. Transistions, they have them! Want sunglasses you can actually see out of (yes please)? You can get tinting in a variety of colors. They have over 3000 different kinds of glasses, sunglasses, and even ski goggles, so you can imagine picking the ones you want is pretty hard. This is where you come in! Please, in the comment section (yes even you lurkers), tell me which pair looks the best on my face. I will love you forever. Ok, maybe I already do, but it is a shallow love that will only grow deeper if you comment.

 Numbers 5 and 6 I am looking at getting tinted to be awesome sunglasses! Please help me decide!