Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chicken Ranch French Bread Pizza

Maybe it's just that I'm overwhelmed a lot. . . or something.

But I'm really bad about trying new recipes.

As in. . . I don't.  Ever, really.

I know what the kids like.  I make what the kids like.  I make what I know we'll eat.  And I make a lot of it.

Scrolling through Pinterest is fun.  I like looking at the the yummy things other people make.  My kids have made a few of the recipes, but I've resisted.

Waste time on something "creative" when the troops are hungry and we have to head out the door to a basketball game?  Whatever.

But I did have a moment a few weeks ago.  And inspired by something similar I saw on Pinterest, I created something new.  To the troops, at least.

We had leftover french bread from meatball subs - I buy these in big bags at Sam's - six per bag.  They have wheat, too.

So just slice them in half and drizzle on some olive oil, sprinkle on a little garlic powder, then spread with Ranch dressing.  Like so.

I had leftover shredded chicken that I re-heated in the microwave, then spread on the bread.  Followed by bacon - the "real" bacon bit kind (also from Sam's).  But actual bacon (as my kids say, because I feed them turkey bacon, as well), crumbled up, would work well, too.  I sprinkled a little parsley for color.  Tomatoes would be yummy, but the troops would balk.

Cover thoroughly with shredded Mozarella cheese - which I also had left over from the meatball subs.  Some Parmesan would be a good addition, too.  I'll have to remember that.

Then bake for awhile.  Maybe 10-15 minutes at 350.  I just keep an eye on it.  Then broil for a minute or two to nicely brown the top.

These pictures are from the second time I made this.  It went over so well the first time, I put it in the meal plan a few weeks later.

Unfortunately, at this point in the documentation, while I was slicing it up, the troops descended and devoured every last bit as we rushed out the door to a basketball game.  So I didn't get a good picture of a piece close up.  On a plate.

It is what it is.

Good stuff.

All I had to add was a big salad.  At least I would have, if we had actually sat AT the table and eaten it like civilized human beings and not while rushing around and heading out the door.  

(And as a P.S., this amount was sufficient for 7 of us - no Coach or big kids home.  Which at some level is depressing to me.  Ha!)

Catching Up. . . On Sitting

So I may have been cleaning trash out of the car, yesterday, after 1/2 day dismissal.  Yes, it's the kids' job.  Yes, I do it on a regular basis.  Don't judge - it's quiet out there.

Then I may have, with both hands full, tried to get out of the side door of the mini-van.

Then I may have, possibly, missed the running-board with part of my foot.

Then I may have, maybe, rolled my ankle, fallen out of the car, and landed smack on the floor of the garage.

Graceful, I'm not.

But you know what?  I'm tough.  I think.  So I got up, took a few careful steps, and continued on.  Finished unloading the car, put the groceries away (the kids felt sorry for me and helped with that part), and realized it was hurting pretty badly.

While we ate lunch, I propped it up on pillows in the chair and sat.  Like a lump.  Doing nothing.


So miserable, in fact, that I decided propping it up was for the birds, so Son (#1) and I hopped in the car with a couple of little girls in tow. . . and headed out to finish up the Christmas shopping.

Around stop three or four. . . I got tired of wincing with every step.  And I was even more tired, at that point, of Daughters (#5 and #6) imitating my every step/limp.

We were quite a sight.  The three of us limping around.  Son (#1) opted to wait in the car, for some reason.  Hmmm.

Anyway, I reluctantly spent the rest of the evening with it propped up.

This morning I hopped out of bed and thought, "I'm good.  It's not too bad.  Less painful than yesterday."  And proceeded to tackle the house (which was messy from last night) and a long list of errands.

At this point I'm regretting trying to be "tough".  I'd post a picture, but alas.  I have some sense of decency left.  Somewhere.

Think "cankles".  Except only one.

But on the bright side, I've put my to-do list on my iphone, created a Christmas gift spreadsheet, added school party "to make and/or bring" items to google calendar, and cleaned out my email inbox.  And I watched some goofy Christmas movie that I've seen before, while looking at Pinterest.

That's productivity at it's finest.

I'm horrible at sitting still.  And I'm bored with it, already.

So just for fun. . . and because my kids don't want to hear me whine about my ankle, anymore. . . I thought it would be fun to post a few things I've had sitting on my computer for awhile.

It'll keep me from annoying everyone on Facebook.

Temporarily, at least.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

He watches me. . .

I woke up TIRED, yesterday.  The head-throbbing, squinty-eyes, can't put one foot in front of the other, kind of tired.

Between the crazy-busy weekend (our girls - and the Coach - won their tournament on Saturday!), a nap FAIL on Sunday afternoon, Christmas shopping with Daughter (#2) - only to lose my phone at Target (it was found!). . . then several hours of online shopping that left me NOT ready for Monday with a house that was a disaster and lists that were longer than my brain could handle. . .

Sleep was somewhat illusive on Sunday night.

My first thought, realizing that it might be a rough day. . . was to tell my BFF.  Because I knew she would pray.

Then I put peppermint oil on my temples, drank a cup of coffee, and got at it.

Sometimes I think we are hesitant to pray for things we feel are "small" or unimportant.  My heart aches with the needs and hurts of those we love.  Cancer (what a horrible word), debilitating illness, broken relationships.  These things can be lifted up to our Heavenly Father WITHOUT CEASING.  And should be.

But when I lose my phone, or get overwhelmed, or wake up with a pounding head-ache and zero patience on the tolerance meter. . .

Does my Father care about these things, too?

If my phone hadn't been found?  He's still God.  He still loves me.  I can still trust Him.  (Although life without texting seems a dismal prospect, at best.  Ha!)

If my throbbing head had turned into a full-blown migraine and I had spent the day resting while Daughter (#6) and Little Man entertained themselves and watched movies?  God is still in control and I can trust Him.

I know this from experience.

Yesterday, we had a different result.  A productive day, a more clean/orderly house, finished school, masses of laundry folded and put away, dinner with the grandparents (and a nephew who dropped by), and the Michael Buble' Christmas special on TV with a cup of Chai Tea and my excessively silly big kids laughing so much I could hardly hear the singing.


Life is far from perfect at the troops.  But it's a whole lot better when I am moment by moment dependent on the Lord for His grace and strength.  Because whether I acknowledge it or realize it. . . I can't do this on my own.  This goes for productive days and miserable ones, alike.

The lists are still long, this morning.  But somehow I'm not feeling quite as overwhelmed.

Even though it's Christmastime (and I LOVE Christmas music!), I woke up with this song in my head. . .

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

(Civilla Durfee Martin)

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Finally Friday

This week has been a long one.  Tell me I'm not alone in feeling this way?

Turns out, Daughter (#5) wasn't almost over being sick on Tuesday night.  She's still home.  I DO really, truly, think she's lots better, today.  But it seemed wise to let her rest and head back to school on Monday.

I asked the Coach last night why it's always so crazy here.  Sick girlie, driveway construction, basketball tournament. . . and that's just this week!

He's so patient with me.  I somehow think we can get into a good routine.  At some point.  But it never really happens.  Not with eight kids (he frequently reminds me), a husband who coaches, sports seasons, 6 in school, homeschooling, and LIFE.

You'd think I would have learned by now.

Just as I clicked (Publish) on Wednesday's blog post, Little Man came running up to me.  He has this way of getting IN MY FACE that makes me crazy.  But there he was (having a "personal space" bubble does not make me the best mom).

"There is a FIRE, Mom! A FIRE!"

"What? Where?" I asked him, feeling my heart start to race.  He has a tendency to burn things.  Like toilet paper in bathroom candles.  But it's been awhile.

"In the microwave!" he yelled.  "It's on FIRE!"

Well, I was IN the kitchen, forheavenssake, but sitting in a spot where the microwave was out of sight.

I jumped up, ran over to the middle of the kitchen, and what do you know. . . there in the microwave were FLAMES!  A fire filling our microwave.


I wasn't sure what to do.  Open it to turn it off, obviously, but I was scared to get that close.

I'm talking FIRE, here.

Fortunately, when I hit the "Cancel" button, the flames died down.  I opened the door, and in spite of the thick gray smoke, I could finally SEE what was burning.

The rubber coating on a metal "to go" coffee mug.

Oh yes.

A METAL coffee cup!

In my microwave.


So now, we've learned yet another life-lesson here at the troops.

Life Lesson #142.3
"Metal placed in the microwave will heat to a high enough temperature to burn rubber."

Yes, it will.

The microwave appears to be uninjured.  But the rotating glass tray cracked in two.  Pretty sure that was one HOT fire.

Thank heavens for Google - I had a replacement turntable on the way in no time.  Whew.

And next time you want to reheat your hot chocolate?  May I offer you a ceramic mug?

Although the guilty shall remain nameless, it wasn't Little Man. . . although I think it re-lit his fascination with burning things. . . he keeps asking me, "Will THIS catch on fire if I put it in the microwave?"  Good grief.

Happy Friday.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Oh Dear. . .

On the way to the Choir Christmas Dinner/Concert last night, I made some comment about how we all need therapy.  My mom was telling the kids about getting sent to her room for laughing at the dinner table and I reminded her that she did the same thing to me.

But I'm not bitter.

Daughter (#7), sitting next to me in the big van, said, "Mom.  What is therapy?"

I said, "Well, I really mean counseling."

She said, "What is counseling?"

"Well. . . it's when you talk to someone who helps you understand things.  Like what the Bible says about relationships, how to forgive someone who has hurt you.  They help you if you are sad, or upset," I tried to explain.

"Oh."  She said. "Well. . . what if you are REALLY REALLY HAPPY???"  She giggled.

I told her that she should probably be the one doing the counseling, then.

"OR. . ." she continued, ". . . you could just invite everyone over for a BIG PARTY!  Then they would ALL be happy!"

Sounds good to me.  We're all about the parties here at the Troops.

At which point, Daughter (#6) chimed in.  "Give them cupcakes and alcohol.  That makes everybody happy!"


Amazing that it only takes 1.2 seconds for my mind to thoroughly evaluate my combined 17 years of parenting and wonder where exactly I've gone so terribly wrong.  Before bursting into laughter, anyway.

Later on she explained that one time she saw a "Monk" episode in which Monk drank wine and he got REALLY silly.  Right before he fell asleep.

Oh.  Well, that makes sense.


The concert, however, was BEAUTIFUL!  GLORIOUS!  WORSHIPFUL!

One of my favorite nights all year.

My kids are all blessings.  Every one.  An example?  Son (#3) offering to stay home last night with Daughter (#5) who is not quite over being sick.  Did I mention he also made her dinner, did the dishes, and folded the laundry?  After which they played Rumicub?  Yes.  I'm proud of that boy.

But something about having my two oldest sing in that wonderful choir (that I've been listening to since the Coach and were engaged) makes me cry with joy.

I know, I know.  I need therapy.

Maybe for today I'll just go with the cupcake minus the alcohol.

And when Little Man has graduated from high-school and I don't have any kids left to sing in choir. . .  you think they'd let me join, instead?

Happy Wednesday.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Sunday

Woke up with a START this morning.  Don't you just hate how your brain works while you sleep?  I wish mine would just REST - then maybe it would be more capable while I'm awake.  Well, mine managed to remember mid-wake that I forgot to pick up the 1/2 side of beef that was ready on Wednesday.


Can't. Keep. Up.

On a positive note, I've bought five Christmas presents and a few stocking stuffers.  Of course I have a million bazillion left to go.

Not really. Because I really AM trying to minimize the materialism this Christmas.  But as you all know, it's more work to buy with purpose (something that is needed or teaches or to read) than it is to buy all of those fun, trashy, junk toys.

More expensive, too.

And who has the ability to think coherently enough to come up with ONE wonderful, fabulous, unique gift idea for each person on your list?  Not me, for sure.

My kids make their lists.  Prioritized from "most wanted" to "least important" - top to bottom - and those become my shopping lists.  My online shopping list.  Because the mall?  "Ain't nobody got time for dat!"

This morning I'm going to enjoy the immense QUIET while Daughter (#5) sleeps next to me on the couch with a fever (boo.).  I'm going to relish the fact that, while sitting here with her, I've whittled the nightmarish email inbox from 300+ down to 48 emails.  Well, 49.  50.  51. . . it's hopeless, you know.  Just wait until Monday morning. . .

I'm going to be grateful that the Coach brought home leftover brisket from his Coach's meeting - HELLO Sunday lunch!  That the calendar for the week is updated and printed. . . assuming that all of the kids are well.

That it's another beautiful WARM December day.  December!  Can you believe it?

That the house is decorated for Christmas, the laundry is humming, the dishwasher. . . oh fudge - forgot to start the dishwasher.  So much for the lunch dishes fitting.

That I'm learning (slowly) to use my Young Living oils to help my kids stay well and treat them when they are sick.

OHOHOH!  For my new iphone!  Woot woot!  Loving it.  So fun.  Feel guilty how much I enjoy it.

For old episodes of Cake Boss on Netflix (before she fell asleep), that we've already seen but are still fun to watch.  For library movies.  For a safe trip to T-town and back on Friday night (in spite of the agonizing loss.  Sniff.)  For a quick visit with my BFF and her precious family, yesterday.  For a date night, last night, with my handsome Coach - there's nothing more romantic than trips to Home Depot, Lowe's, AND Target. . . all in one evening.

And OHMYHEAVENS we are getting a new driveway this week!!  Well. . . more like taking out the scant two-lane drive that's slowly become more like gravel and putting in a PARKING LOT, but I can't begin to say how excited we are!!  The cars at the troops are multiplying (Daughter #2) gets her license in February.  Whew.  There is already a big excavator sitting in our side yard.  It's going to be a mess, but it's going to be GREAT!

So, I may be overwhelmed, I may have a sick girlie (and it may be the start of more sickness. . . we'll see).  It may be the busiest time of year EVER.  But there is so much to be thankful for.

My heart is burdened with so many needs - asking God for miracles on behalf of others.  Asking Him to HEAL, restore, redeem the grief of living in a fallen world.  He will.  Eternally, if not before.

Most of all. . . MOST of all. . . thankful for the sustaining grace of God. Some days it's all that there is.  And it's enough.