Last Saturday we went to a baptism at 4 pm, which meant that if I wanted real food (and I really, really did), a crockpot recipe was going to be the way to go. I opted for the first one I saw that I had the ingredients for, which happened to be this Creamy Crockpot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup; thankfully, it was just as easy as it looked. I even sauteed the onion and celery for a minute or two before adding it in, since I prefer the flavor that way, and it was still pretty fast to put together. We all more or less liked it, too, although I didn’t add enough salt and pepper. (I never do when it says “to taste” without giving a ballpark estimate, because I’m always afraid of adding too much.) I intentionally left out the cup of water, since thicker soups are easier for kids, and it worked perfectly well that night. (The leftovers thickened up quite a bit, of course, because rice.) I’m planning on playing with this recipe a bit, but I enjoyed it, and it made a TON–it filled my biggest crockpot, which just might be a 7-quarter. If you want easy soup to feed a multitude, go for this one!
I HAVE FINISHED A BOOK.
Okay, that sounds pathetic, but seriously. I finished one book in November (that’s not counting treadmill books, but STILL). Life is feeling exceptionally busy right now, and let’s be realistic–that’s not going to end until we’re done with December as well. Which is why I’m celebrating having finished a book.
The best part is that it was a delightful book; it made me laugh out loud and want to be friends with all of the characters. (True, Emily’s mother’s “if it’s meant to be, it will happen” attitude did drive me crazy–if she were my mom, I’d say that about my chores and then go read a book instead–but she was still actually lovable.) Emily is named after Emily Dickinson, and her English professor mother is sure she’s meant to be a poet herself, despite the fact that she doesn’t enjoy poetry (she prefers to copy her favorite romance novel happy endings onto index cards to save and write periodic letters to Danielle Steel). Their views on destiny come to a head when Emily’s most prized possession gets accidentally donated to Goodwill–right after she discovers that her father’s name is written inside of it. Her wild quest to track it down involves tree sitters, bookstores, a stray dog, and a smattering of other people’s poetry before reaching its (most satisfying!) conclusion.
There are possibly some plot stretches here, although several of them work when you consider the part fate plays in the novel; ultimately, however, I enjoyed it too much to care. If you’re a book lover, don’t miss this one!
Really, I’m making no promises, but I’m trying! I was looking through recipes on Sunday evening and this one for BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches in the crockpot caught my eye. I picked up a bottle of A&W at the grocery store on Monday and pulled out a hunk of pork last night; this morning I got it into my crockpot before I left for the day. Dinner!
I have to admit, though, that I didn’t read the end of the recipe carefully. The pork cooks for 7 hours in the crockpot, yes, but then you shred it and cook it for another hour, and THEN you drain the root beer, add the BBQ sauce, and cook it for ANOTHER 30 minutes to an hour. The steps were quick and easy, but I should have put it in an hour or so earlier. On the other hand, it was still easy and tasty, and the kiddos all ate it well. I could taste more pepper than I would have preferred, thanks to the Montreal Steak Seasoning, but I’m well aware that I’m freakishly sensitive to black pepper. (I doubt most people would even notice.)
Bottom line? It was easy and the (very tender) meat made lovely sandwiches, so I’ll likely make this one again. Give it a try!
I didn’t manage yesterday because it ended up being a later night than anticipated; today, instead of last Saturday’s new recipe, I opted to take the Light the World challenge and share a favorite scripture or three:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. (Mosiah 2:17)
I am mindful of you always in my prayers, continually praying unto God the Father in the name of his Holy Child, Jesus, that he, through his infinite goodness and grace, will keep you through the endurance of faith on his name to the end. (Moroni 8:3)
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
The highlights of my son’s doctor’s appointment:
1)Pre-appointment sobbing. Because he was miserable, AND because he got his kindergarten shots at his last appointment–four months ago.
2)The fastest positive on a strep culture I have ever seen. The doctor hadn’t even looked in his throat yet.
3)When she DID look in his throat: “YEAH, I can see strep there.” Also, “Those are some impressive tonsils, there, buddy.”
5)The token tower. The orange ninja made his morning.
Thank heaven for amoxicillin, folks. I cannot imagine being in this situation 75 years ago. Here’s to less sobbing tomorrow!
I HAVE OPENED THE BINS OF GIFTS TO BE GIVEN.
My observations thus far? Well, my oldest’s November birthday cut into what I had for her, but I thought of something else to pick up, so we’re good there. My son’s pile was huge, mostly because I grab cheap vehicular toys/puzzles/books/clothes whenever I see them. My youngest has a February birthday, so I’ll have to consider that as well. And there were things for my hubby that I’d completely forgotten about. Score!
How’s everybody’s Christmas shopping coming? I still have a ways to go for extended family!
Yes, I know, it’s still (barely) November, but doesn’t it feel like December? It isn’t just the weather, although it certainly contributes; it’s more the quantity of events and tasks on my calendar. Once Thanksgiving is over, preparations for Christmas take over.
If that weren’t the case, I would be reviewing the last book I finished, or the last new recipe I made, or Pie Night as a whole; instead, I’m looking at how tired I’ve been, my plans for tomorrow, and what still must be done in my house, and I’m freely confessing that while I’ll get to those things eventually, it’s not going to be today. I’m still on antibiotics from that miserable ear infection and my sleep schedule has gotten all messed up. And really, I’m assuming that most of us are, more or less, in the same boat.
It’s that time of year.
What I’ve decided to try and do, however, is to be mindful of the moments, and to be aware of why I’m busy doing certain things; when I remember to do it, it makes a difference. I am busy on behalf of my family, my friends, and my home, and these things matter. I watched this message tonight–put out by my church for this Christmas season–and I think it expresses what I’m feeling better than I can. Whatever your faith, it’s worth your time.
I finally took the time today to write down–on a calendar–all of the commitments that I know of for the month.
I kind of want to cry.
To be fair, most of them are happening in the beginning of the month; things should slow down remarkable about halfway in. How is it, though, that while I don’t feel like I overschedule my kids, there is still SO MUCH HAPPENING? Piano recital, family pictures, three separate dance performances, three Christmas parties of various types…
On the other hand, our tree is up. I’m just going to have to take it one day at a time.
Or minded, or something. I missed on Wednesday because it was Pie Night, which means packing up for a day or three at my in-laws’ (including overnight things–all those essential stuffed animals!) and then making pies until I drop. My Pie Night post will have to wait, however, because while dessert is very important, gratitude is paramount. I am incredibly grateful for my families–the one I was born into, the one I married into, and the one my husband and I are raising together. I am grateful for truly wonderful friends. I am grateful for a warm house in the winter and a cool house in the summer. I am grateful for modern medicine and what it does for us. I am grateful for my modern conveniences (oh, how I love my dishwasher!) and all of the plenty we enjoy.
Life is good, folks. We are blessed.
And it’s not fun, I have to say. I can’t hear worth beans out of my left ear, and it HURTS when I yawn. On the other hand, I did go to the doctor, so I’ve got ginormous pills to take twice a day…
Anyway. I finished Lower the Trap forever ago, but it kept getting pushed down on my list of things to post about. It’s short–125 pages of quite a large font–and simple; when Graeme Swinimer’s dad catches a giant lobster in one of his traps, Graeme desperately hopes that it will sell at auction for enough to take a dreamed-about trip to a famous aquarium. (They live in Nova Scotia, and Graeme wants to be a marine biologist.) He makes a deal with the cannery owner’s son in order to make sure it happens, but fulfilling his terms of the deal is not a pleasant job, and what if selling such a find isn’t really the right thing to do? As an adult reader, I knew that the lobster was going to come out on top eventually, but the how of it was actually surprising, and I enjoyed the book. Graeme’s philosophizing at the end feels like a LARGE leap forward in the plot, though, and I did wonder for most of the book if his sister was real and alive. He’s always calling out to her only to discover that she’s elsewhere, and while he watches his dad trying to catch up to her at one point, that’s more than a hundred pages into the book. (It shouldn’t take that long to be sure she isn’t a “Sixth Sense” plot twist, right?)
Bottom line? It was enjoyable, but partly because of the setting; the characters didn’t speak to me. Elementary age boys, however–especially those with an interest in or connection to the setting–are the perfect audience (I was not). Also, it’s part of a trilogy that tells the same story from three different parts of view, which can be especially interesting. If you have elementary schoolers and the plot appeals, give it a try; I doubt you’ll be disappointed.