Thursday, August 09, 2012


if you are my facebook friend, you know that i was looking for suggestions for what printer i should buy.  as it turns out, there are many an opinion out there AND many a printer.  we have not had a printer in this house ever...that's 7 years of printing stuff at work.  and really, there's was never TOO much frustration with not having a printer - every once in awhile, it was a pain but it was so rare.  

at christmas, when i knew i was going to be starting project life, i asked for a printer.  i thought it would be great to print my photos at home yada yada.  and i GOT a printer for christmas!  we got it out of the box and were a little surprised at how huge it was.  then we started reading the directions, trying to install the ink, and it was frustrating.  the ink wasn't callibrating (is that the word?) and we couldn't get it working.  right away, i was like, "augh!  i'll print the photos at walmart!"  we wrapped up the printer back in the box and returned it to the store then i used the money towards my new camera.

enter the new job.  after a week of emailing documents to tim to print off for me so that i could take them with me to meetings AND him sometimes forgetting to do know, because he's WORKING, we realized that we were long overdue for a printer.  two months later (this past weekend), we happened to be at a little fair in the pricemart parking lot which is next door to london drugs.  tim said, "let's buy a printer."  i went in, picked the epson workforce series 322/325 which was normally $99 and on sale for $59 and we walked out with it.

the great thing was that this particular printer had just been put on the floor because it was their last one and they'd put the ink in already but not even printed anything yet.  we got it home and didn't have to fool around with ink (which is the part i hate about printers).  i set it up on our wireless network and am now printing things from my laptop upstairs to the printer downstairs.  it may be huge (they all seem to be) but it can be out of the way since it's wireless.  plus, the day after we got it set up, my principal sent me a document to sign, scan, and email back to her and I DID IT!  normally, that would not have been an option.

so yes, we have entered the 21st century finally!  i've been happily printing away all week!  it's about time!

Saturday, August 04, 2012

the water table is still in use

the water table was a well-loved toy on the deck, summer of ben being 12 - 14months.  last summer, it came out but mostly had sand poured into it everyday from the sand box which drove me crazy.  this summer, however, i have another little one to play in it.  it has mostly stayed on the deck (far away from the sand box!) and avery has learned to pull herself up so that she can stand there and splash.  she loves it more when ben will stand there and play with her.  imagine her delight when we had two more kids playing in it the other night!

5 nights - 5 new recipes

so i failed at returning on tuesday to describe monday night's dinner BUT now that it's saturday morning, i have many new recipes to share.

monday night: the crockpot lasagna was great - not much different than regular lasagna actually which is a good thing in my opinion.  the great thing about regular lasagna is that you CAN make it early and keep in the fridge until you put it in the oven at dinner time so it doesn't really NEED to be a crockpot dinner.  so while this recipe was good, it only fed 4 adults and a couple of kids who barely ate anything so i think next time, i'll just make a larger lasagna in the oven.

tuesday night: i made honey sesame chicken in the crockpot.  i used chicken thighs which i don't normally use which are always yummy but because i'd originally planned to make honey garlic chicken, i had it in my mind that this was a low 6-8 hour crockpot meal.'s actually a low 3 hour meal - that's a big time difference.  i noticed that it was smelling a burnt around the 5 hour mark so i opened the crockpot, thought, "what the heck is wrong with this crockpot?" and then checked the recipe again.  augh!  i scraped the burnt parts out, added the cornstarch, re-added the chicken and turned it down to warm since there was still 3 hours til dinner.  i added rice at dinner and it tasted good despite the overcooking - i liked it a lot better than the other saucy chicken that i make in the crockpot but this DOES call for a lot of honey - 1 cup.  i used 2/3cup and that tasted great.  am definitely adding this meal to my meal list.

wednesday night: we had friends over for dinner so i'd bought 8 little boneless porkchops (they came in packs of 4) and made a recipe from my friend, laura.  a can of cranberry sauce mixed with a packet of onion soup mix, poured over the porkchops and baked for 40 min.  i served it with rice which worked well because there was a lot of sauce (though it was very liquidy - i was thinking that i should have added cornstarch to thicken it up but it tasted great so probably no need).  i don't know if it's just the cheap pork that i buy or if i over cooked them but i always think that pork chops are so tough and chewy.  does anyone know the answer to this?  anyways, it was a great and very easy recipe but i don't think i'm a big fan of the pork.  i might try it next time with chicken.

so proud of my fresh basil!
thursday night: we have a basil plant in our garden that my mother-in-law planted for us but i never make anything with fresh herbs.  i gave some leaves to laura but she was insistent that i start cooking with basil!  i found a basil pesto recipe that didn't need pine nuts (which was perfect because i didn't have any AND they're expensive) but i found that this recipe didn't make that much pesto.  in the past, i've made pesto in my tupperware chop n prep and it was great but this time, it seems so grainy...but last time there were pine nuts and more oil so maybe that was the problem.  i didn't use fresh parmesan so i bet it could have tasted a lot better if i'd done that.  i ended up pouring what i'd made in the chop n prep into my magic bullet and blending it in there which was better.  i mixed most of it in with my chicken while it browned and i was wishing for more of the pesto to mix in with my pasta.  at the last second, i added cherry tomatoes which was great.  this was a good meal but i think i'll look for a different pesto recipe next time.  or use the recipe that laura gave me which just calls for chopped basil, cherry tomatoes, and olive oil.
okay - not the BEST looking...needed more pesto.
friday night: while i tried to convince tim that we should go out for dinner, i eventually caved and went with what i had planned - vegetarian black bean enchiladas.  this is such a easy meal - i LOVE not having to deal with raw meat (like chopping chicken or browning hamburger) - throw black beans, bag of thawed chopped peppers (which is only a few bucks and worth it in the time you save), rice, salsa, and taco seasoning into a bowl.  mix and divide into tortillas.  buy the pre-shredded cheese and it's simple!  and i love simple.  it made 8 tortillas for us so i froze 2 and cooked 6.  i only needed one and i was full.  tim ate one and a half and ben left half on his plate until it was bedtime and he decided he was hungry enough to eat it.  yeah, it's not the prettiest looking meal to a 3 year old.  so now we have leftovers for lunch today and some for tim's lunch come work week.  LOVED this and tim said it tasted better than the beef ones that i make sometimes which is a lot more work so this will be a regular menu item for sure.  his exact words, "i'd order this at a restaurant".  haha.

so there you have it - probably the first time in my entire life that i made 5 new meals IN A ROW.  i was more willing to make them because i didn't know what they were going to taste like instead of thinking, "ahh, i don't want that for dinner".  also, by having all the ingredients at the beginning of the week, it was less daunting to come up with what to make.  AND i didn't have the weight of "what am i going to make for dinner?" on my shoulders all day...which sounds ridiculous but honestly, is how it feels to me sometimes as a girl who doesn't like to cook.

now, other meats that i bought on monday that i now have to use this week are 3 lbs of ground turkey and some more chicken thighs.  we'll see what i can find for next week.  and no, don't worry - i won't post in this much detail every week.  haha.