Sunny 9 for 2008 March

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[Comments] (1) A princess with pierced ears: Yesterday, on the way to Costco Lily was talking about how she wanted earrings in the car. I bought her a little sticker earring and ring set at the dollar spot at Target, and she has been dying to get her ears pierced for a long time. She loves looking at my jewelry and keeps asking me when she can get her ears pierced like mommy. Aaron wanted to wait till she was older and she could make the decision herself, and I did too, so whenever she would ask we would tell her it hurts really bad and does she really want a sharp thing poked in her ear?

That never deterred her. She was very determined to get them so on the way to Costco we made a stop at Shops of La Cantera at Claire's to get it done. We kept telling her that it was going to hurt but she would insist, "No, it's not going to hurt mama." When we got there I asked her which earrings she wanted and of course it was the PINK! ones. They were actually a flower with pink crystal petals and a yellow crystal center. She flinched a little when the guy brought the gun to her ear, but no crying and no objections. When it was done she said, "See mama, I told you it wouldn't hurt." She kept looking in the mirror admiring her earrings.

I have to admit, she looks pretty darn cute in them. When I go to clean her lobes with a Q-tip she jars away and warns me not to take them out. She really likes them...They gave us 20% a purchase in the store since we bought a piercing package so Lily picked out a Dora purse. When we got home, Lily hung her purse up on the hook where I hang my purse. She also asked me the kinds of things I put in my purse and then she showed me what she had in hers...a toy Big Bird and Boo the character on Monsters Inc. She also put her sippy cup in there. So random.

Aaron bought Lily a piggy bank for Valentine's Day and lately we have been paying her money to do chores. 5 cents to get me a diaper for Gunnar. 25 cents to help clean up the living room, stuff like that. We tell her to save up and when she earns enough we will go to Chuck E Cheese. Well, her piggy bank has since broken but she keeps her coins in this Matrioshka Nesting Doll that we bought for her while we were on our Anniversary overnight trip for when we got home. Luckily she had that in her purse because later that evening we were out and about and we promised ice cream for her thinking we were all going to go to Cold Stone after the store, but Aaron and I didn't feel like it after Gunnar's fit in the car so we pulled into the Mc Donald's right there for Lily because she was looking forward to it. We had no cash and I didn't want to charge $1.08 on our debit card and I remembered Lily was carrying around her "piggy bank". I asked Lily if she had her money and her face lit up and was so excited to hand it over to us. Aaron and I looked at each other and laughed because we felt like such losers that we couldn't scrounge up a buck eight to pay for our daughter's treat. Lily didn't mind one bit and she felt like such a big girl for earning her ice cream. It was pretty funny and cute.

I guess it is only fair that this is a long post about Lily since I just did an update on Gunnar too. I'll have to add this too, at church today Lily's primary teacher was wanting to fill out a little thing on everyone in the class and she was asking what Lily wanted to be when she grew up. So I asked her and of course she said "a princess" without hesitation. Her favorite primary song was Twinkle, Twinkle. Try explaining to her that it wasn't one of the choices of primary songs. Also, last Sunday was her first talk in primary. Of course I had to forget because I was so worried about the Valentine's Dance that we (the activities committee) had to set up for and throw (David being the DJ and me having to help make a play list and stuff). So I was so stressed about that all Sat I totally forgot to write her a talk. Luckily, Aaron winged it and it didn't matter anyway because she wasn't talking into the mic and you couldn't hear what she said anyway. She did like getting up though, which is good. I hope she doesn't hate speaking in public when she grows up like I do. Pictures of her pierced ears coming soon.

Another day another drama: Lily woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Starting at 4:30AM she was wandering around aimlessly, crying, in the family room mumbling something that sounded like my pink sippy. I might not have gotten up except her crying would have kept me from falling back asleep anyway so I went to remedy the situation so I could get back to sleep.

Apparently, her pink sippy cup was under her pillow and she was mad she couldn't find it and thought maybe I had taken it after she went to sleep and switched it out for a blue one. I know these delusions stem from last night when we were putting her to bed I couldn't find the pink sippy and so Aaron got her a blue one. She refused it and whined and cried until I agreed to go look for her pink one. I found it and came around the corner to give it to her and I see the blue one tossed on the floor in the hall with Lily telling me to give that one to Gunnar. It's a frickin cup, you get what you get, but fine, whatever, I will pick my battles and this one you can win. Your utensils, plates, cups, and bowls will either be pink or Dora so I can have some PEACE. Lily's dad still hasn't figured it out yet. It is not worth putting a yellow cup of milk in front of her at dinner because she will escalate from emphatic remarks to screaming in 0 to 3 seconds. You may think I shouldn't indulge but like I said, I'm picking my battles here.

So after I found her cup and tucked her in bed and left hearing Lily open the door all the way instead of the alloted crack we give her, and she telling me she wants it open that much. Fine, whatever, just go to sleep. So this morning was a nightmare getting Lily ready for preschool. First off, I forced her to wear a green shirt. I know, how dare I. Secondly, it was long sleeved, I've got some nerve, right? And I made her wear jeans. Heaven forbid I make her dress warm when it is in the 30's. She always wants to wear short sleeves and skirts, and tells me 'I'm hot'. I let her win the battle over shoes. She got to wear sandals instead of socks and shoes, so what she is just going to take them off anyway the minute she gets to preschool. Keep in mind trying to get her dressed was 20 minutes involving a time out and lots of snot and maybe a convulsion or two. She finally got dressed when I told her she wouldn't go to preschool if she didn't and that if she wore her outfit she could change right when she got home into whatever she wanted.

It makes me mad because she has had this green long sleeved shirt this whole winter and has only worn it 3 times. Had I known she would act like this I probably wouldn't have gotten it but I was trying to mix things up a bit. Then after preschool, she went into complete hysterics when I cut her sandwich in half. That took another time out and lots of snot lasting about 20 minutes to get over before she came and ate her sandwich. If this is any sign of whats to come when she is 13, I don't know what I am going to do. She already wants to listen to music loud--"turn it loud mom" and is the king pin at the preschool. Seriously, such a boss. I guess Aaron could stay in the military and we could live in some remote country where there won't be much to fight over because we barely will have electricity let alone a mall/boys/options.

[Comments] (2) Incredibly easy: Not to mention delicious. The other night I made a dinner that is like last resort before I go to the grocery store and every time I make it, Aaron loves it. It's pretty common sense, just throwing things into a pot but here you go:

Taco Soup

1 can corn w/ juice, or frozen, whatever you have

1 large can beans, or 2 small cans (same or mix and match)--I use whatever I have in the pantry but it is usually black, pinto, red, or garbanzo beans, they all taste great.

1 can diced tomatoes

1 cup broth or water, you can use water with bouillon cubes

a few shakes of dried onion, or you can chop some if you want.

a shake or garlic powder

1 packet of taco seasoning or if you buy it in the spice aisle at Costco, a couple shakes of that

*if you have left over grilled chicken or fajita meat, chop/shred and add, or you can leave it vegetarian too. Any of these ingredients can be left out or you can add more like a bell pepper or whatever.

Bring to a boil, and then simmer with the lid on for an hour or two or three. Whatever you have time for, and stir occasionally. You could probably crock pot it, but I don't because mine is so big. I use my 2 quart pot that is really easy to clean.

I serve it over tortilla chips, Doritos, or Fritos. Whatever you have left and you want to get rid of. It doesn't matter if they are the dregs of the bag either because you just crunch them up anyway. I like to add sour cream and lemon juice on top as well. Cheese if have/want it but it is really good without it.

Another recipe: When Aaron and I first got married he always complained that I never prepared pork chops with an egg wash and flour, then fried. My mom had literally never fried pork chops before so it was very foreign to me. We always grilled them. I finally found a good "fried pork chop" recipe rather than the boring egg wash and flour method. I got it off and it is an Emril Lagassee recipe. When I "fry" pork chops, I will sometimes go all out and get our deep fryer out and fry sweet potato french fries in peanut oil as well. Here are those recipes as follows:

Easy (if you don't count the clean up) Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potatoes (buy the small ones, they are less stringy) I usually get about two per person. (They go fast.)

Cut them into strips, not too thick but I like mine to be meaty. About the thickness of your pinky or ring finger.

Fry them in the deep fryer until they start browning on the edges. Cook longer if you like them crispy.

Set them on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels.

Sprinkle salt and brown sugar.

I like them with ketchup too. My kids can't even tell the difference, and Aaron didn't know either the first time I made them. We got the deep fryer at Costco for $40. You can save the peanut oil for a few fryings too.

Fried Pork Chops

22 saltine crackers, finely crushed

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt, divided, plus more for seasoning (I personally don't add any extra salt because the salt in the crackers is enough for me)

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided, plus more for seasoning

3/4 teaspoon Emeril's Original Essence, recipe follows

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 large eggs

1/3 cup whole milk

8 boneless breakfast pork chops (small, thin cuts, about 1/4-inch thick each) Me--I use a little bit thicker cut but it takes longer to cook. I just like them thick.

2 to 2 1/2 cups peanut oil (enough to have the pork chop halfway submerged while frying.)

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

In a shallow bowl combine the crushed crackers, 3/4 cup of flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, Essence, and baking powder.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the eggs and 1/3 cup of milk. Season pork chops lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper on both sides. Dust pork chops, one at a time, with the cracker-flour mixture and then dip in the egg mixture. Dredge pork chops with the cracker-flour mixture a second time, pressing to coat, and shaking off any excess flour.

Heat the oil to 375 degrees F in a large skillet with 2-inch deep sides. (The oil should be about 1/4-inch deep.) Add the pork chops to the preheated oil, being careful not to over-crowd the pan. Pan-fry the chops for 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn the pork chops and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Place the pork chops on a paper towel-lined plate.

[Comments] (3) Batboy: I took Gunnar to the eye Dr. for his check up a couple weeks ago to see if his vision has worsened with age. Unfortunately, it has gone from a -3.0 and -3.25 to both eyes being a -4.5. So we got new lenses for his same frames and Gunnar got to go a whole day without glasses while they worked on them. I liked being reminded of what he looks like without them once in awhile.

The Dr. kept asking who was the person in the family that has bad vision. That would be my mom's dad Earl Whitney. My mom has a pair of his glasses that are the token "coke bottle" glasses. Poor Gunnar, thank goodness glasses have come a long way. His eyes do look a little smaller in his new lenses but probably nothing more than a mom could tell. Back again in another 6 months...hopefully his vision stabilizes by then.

[Comments] (2) I hate goodbyes, shh...just go: Conversation overheard this morning when Aaron was leaving for school.

Lily- Bye, daddy. Don't hit or kick or push at school.

Aaron- Okay, Lily, I won't. Bye.

L- And listen to your teacher at school.

A- I will.

L- Bye.

A- Bye.

L- See ya soon.

A- See ya soon.

L- See ya later.

(door closes)

L- See ya later, daddy, see ya later. Mama, daddy didn't tell me see ya later.

This is Lily's way of saying goodbye and if you don't parrot it back to her, she will keep saying it over and over and over. At least I know that Lily knows the rules for school. Hopefully, she keeps them at preschool.

[Comments] (1) Divorce Inheritance: I guess one good thing that came out of my parents getting divorced was the free stuff we got as a result. Having a family of 7 kids, and being good Mormons that my parents were, you can imagine the food storage stash. But when my mom moved with the rest of the kids at home, from the house of my youth back to the house of my childhood they were renting out and reclaimed, she did not have room for boxes and boxes of #10 cans. That's when I got about 10 boxes of 6 cans each. "Hey kids, were getting divorced but here's some free furniture and food storage."

The flour and sugar cans went first, but not fast. It took me a few months to even realize they were in there. Then it was the cornmeal. (I have a killer cornbread recipe, just ask Aaron.) Nowadays, I am looking around my house trying to do some spring cleaning and organizing and decluttering, and combining and get the picture. If you know me, you know how I love to use up and throw away stuff. At first I wanted to save my food storage if you will, in case I needed it for whatever natural disaster or faminine, but I recently realized that this stuff was canned in 1999. We are coming up on a 10 yr self life so far. My thinking now is I better use this stuff before it has to get chucked.

So I looked through our food storage boxes to see what might be useful. A few things surprisingly...oatmeal, lots and lots of oatmeal. So I have been eating it a lot for breakfast. Also, dried apples. I put them in my oatmeal and they are quite tasty. I opened up some dried carrots. They kinda make your pantry smell, but they go well in pastas and such. Soup mix is on the list to test out. It looks alright, but I am not a soup person so this will have to wait when I have no food in the house and I need to go to the grocery store since I put it off as long as I can. Powdered milk. I hate powdered milk. But it is wonderful because Gunnar doesn't know the difference. He likes it, so he gets it when I need more milk or every so often just for fun. I have enough beans to sink a ship. I am no good at cooking old beans, they always turn out crunchy it seems no matter how long I soak them or cook them. I just made some last week into bbq baked beans and they tasted great, but the texture was, well, crunchy a little. Brand new beans from the store I am better at, but it isn't the same as canned beans.

So it's kinda nice having this extra food around. I am glad it is being put to good use and that I won't have to move it in a year.

[Comments] (3) Pros and cons: Of living in SA, Texas. Pro- great food. Con- Trying to stay away from the great food. Pro- Great winter weather. Con- Terrible summer weather. Pro- In the "mission field". Con- Some people are away from their family (however not me). Pro- Lots of culture, always something to do on the weekend to that effect however I am more of a homebody. Con- Sometimes being the minority sucks (ex middle school). Pro- Fiesta Texas, Sea World, malls, Zoo, close by convinces. Con- Traffic (I think SA has the worse city planning when it comes to roads). Pro- Inexpensive homes low cost of living. Con- High property tax. Pro- No income tax, offsets property tax. Pro- 45 minute drive to outlet mall. Con- 2 day drive to Utah or a long drive to anywhere else. Pro- Small town feel with big town amenities. Pro- You can drive down the road without offensive billboards for strip clubs/movies (CALIFORNIA, Vegas, NYC-is there even a street that doesn't have a porn shop?, even Houston) and for the most part you don't even see those adult related places of business. I think I can count on one hand where the ones I have seen and this city has a pop of more than one million.

For me I really like most things about San Antonio except summer and traffic. Even in the summer though, there are fun water parks and stuff. I remember living in Utah and feeling like it was miserable heat. I think anytime it is hot it feels unbearable. Everything else is great for the most part. I feel bad for people who don't have family nearby because that would suck, and anytime you want to live nearby family that is reason enough to not want to live here. I guess some people like it that way though. I can't even count how many wonderful friends I have met here. There are so many people that are in the same situation as us and there are tons of great people to be friends with.

Anyway, this post is mostly for you John ;). I know Joe always touts Texas. I guess it really depends on what you are looking for. For me it fits. I just wish it wasn't so dang hot in the summer but at least we don't have endless winters which can be depressing (it's been proven). For the record, there are some proud Texan hillbillies however you don't really get much of that in SA because much of it is military or not that "country". People here don't even have accents. Anyways, I am not trying to patronize anyone, it is just why I like.

Donor: I donated blood for the first time yesterday. A lady in our church was organizing it, and I had been wanting to donate blood because I'm like that. I dragged Aaron with me because he has rare blood. When we were discussing blood types when we first got married Aaron said his was rare, and I thought mine was too, but it turns out his is more rare than mine. So I made him come even though he is all squeamish about needles and stuff.

It was no big deal for me because I used to donate plasma for a living in college. Hey- gas and grocery money! I didn't get all woozy at all, and I feel good today. Aaron did really well too. He was nervous on the way there, but then after the fact he said it wasn't bad at all. I would say chances of repeat donation are 100%.


© 2003-2009 Kristen Smith.