Monday, March 30, 2015

BLONDE & BLACK

No, I'm not talking about how our blonde kids are 1/4 black. I'm talking about the discovery we made several months ago that Naomi has black hairs mixed in with her blonde ones. The recent shaving of her head has shown us that she not only has some black hairs on top of her head, but she has a ton on the bottom and sides. Check this out.

Lots of blonde on the top.


Lots of black on the bottom.


This shot shows the line where the black hairs really kick into high gear just above her ear.


It's going to be interesting to see how dark her hair ends up as the years go by. If she's anything like an older cousin who was born with similar coloring, she'll end up looking way more mixed as a teenager than she did as a toddler. Time will tell!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

OF FACEBOOK, CREATIVITY, AND A CONTEST

I frequently link recipes from For the Love of Grub on my Facebook page, but I recently asked Facebook friends who use my recipe blog if they would find it helpful to have a Facebook page dedicated solely to linking recipes. Enough of them said yes that I decided to do it. I'll still link things on my own page when the mood strikes, but a separate page will be convenient for friends who use Facebook as their primary online hangout.

I started the Facebook page a week or so ago, but I didn't think about the fact that it needs a cover photo and profile picture. Two things I don't have because my site is just a plain ol' recipe file for myself and my friends to easily access, not a real food blog that's trying to drum up business. The problem is the page looks kinda naked without them. The other problem is that I have absolutely zero creativity or skills in the "let's come up with profile and cover photos" category. Actually, I could probably just take a shot of a regular meal at our house, do a collage of a few recipe shots from the blog, or just use some fun pattern for the cover photo, but I'm at a total loss for the profile picture.

That's where you come in, oh creative friends of mine. I would be forever grateful if someone could create a profile picture for the Facebook page. Really grateful. Here's what it needs to be. Simple (because I'm not a fancy kind of person) and ... well, yeah. That's the main thing. Simple. And square, because that's the shape of the profile picture space. The blog has a lot of blue in it, so something that coordinates (or at least doesn't horrifically clash) would be a bonus. 

If you want to contribute a profile picture for me to consider, then please e-mail it to me at missesweathersby @ gmail . com (spaces removed, of course) by the end of next weekend (11:59 pm on 4/5/15). Do not post them on Facebook. Just e-mail them to me. Assuming I get entries, I will look at them with the other Ws on Monday (4/6/15) and either make a family decision or post them up for a public vote. I'm not sure which it will be yet. Either way, the person whose profile picture gets chosen will get a $10 gift card to the place of their choice or $10 in their PayPal account. I know that's not much for spending time creating something, but maybe someone is bored and can bust out a cool profile picture in 15 minutes or someone wants to give the project to their kid for school or ... something. If no one gives it a shot, then I'll just stick with a naked Facebook page until I figure out something else.

Ready? Set. Go!



Saturday, March 28, 2015

ANOTHER ROUND OF CHICKEN

We picked up two cases of Zaycon chicken yesterday and this was our most efficient order yet.

The first time I didn't think of putting any in marinades until it was already in our house. I scrambled to figure out which ones I could make and did what I could.

The second time I planned marinades ahead of time and froze a bunch of the chicken in them. Tim helped for part of that round, making up some of the marinades as I cut chicken into palm-sized chunks.

This time I actually made the marinades a couple days before picking up my order, split the breasts without cutting them into smaller chunks, and dropped the split breasts into bags that Tim held open for me.

The work is the same no matter what order you do it in, but this was the fastest order day we've had so far and I'll definitely do it this way again from here on out. Little chunks of time over a few days instead of a large portion of an entire evening is much more pleasant!

Here's what my fridge looked like a couple days ago. Several bags of marinades and the veggies for a soup waiting to get chicken added to them.

Here's everything bagged up and ready for the freezer. It's 36 lbs. of chicken in marinades or with veggies and 44 lbs. bagged in 3-ish pound portions.


This time around I used do-it-all marinade (good with chicken and salmon), Jen's chicken (a sweet & spicy-ish kind of thing), Hawaiian chicken, coconut chicken, and hearty chicken vegetable soup (I'll just add broth when it's time to cook it). They'll all be cooked in the crockpot and I'll shred the chicken when they're done cooking.

We have an order of Zaycon beef coming soon, so I need to figure out if I want to freeze it plain or do some prep work ahead of time.


Friday, March 27, 2015

SPRING BREAK FUN

Yesterday was the only day during spring break that no one had anything on the calendar, so we claimed it as a family day. The little Ws were up until about 10:30 Wednesday night, so we all woke up alarm-free the next morning, then busted out chores, breakfast, and lunch-packing before heading out the door. The weather was gorgeous, so we went to Tryon Creek to breathe some fresh air and move our bodies. Our family has lived in the greater Portland area for almost ten years and Tim's lived here even longer, but none of us had ever been to this beautiful, huge park that's right in the middle of a metro area.

I wisely plugged in our camera in the morning so the battery would be full for our hike, then foolishly left it plugged in the wall when we loaded into the van. Thankfully we entered the world of smart phones a few months ago and Tim was able to get a couple pictures with his phone. They aren't perfect, but I'm glad we have some pictorial proof of our day together.

A bunch of trees, sunshine, and the 6 Ws.


The little Ws making silly faces inside of a tree stump.


I could have stayed there all day, but we hiked for a couple hours before the previous night's late bedtime started catching up with some of the Ws and we headed out. It was too late to have naps without messing up our night, so we did a few quick errands on our way home and then started a super calm afternoon and evening. All the little Ws took baths or showers, Tim worked on a project, and I got some soup cooking. Next up was 101 Dalmatians for the little Ws, blogging for me, and a combo of projects and watching basketball updates for Tim.



Naomi and Teebs went to bed super early, Silas and Devon watched Courageous with Tim and I, and we declared the day a success.

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

MENU: 3/26/15 - 4/1/15

Update: I'm coming back a day after this post went live because I forgot to mention that I have a menu on Frugal Living NW this week. I've given them two or three menus over the years, but they like getting menus from their readers and I've decided to be more intentional about helping out with that part of their site. You can check out that menu right here.

We tried two new recipes last week, one savory and another sweet.

* potato & cabbage soup - Tiffany posted this recipe at Eat at Home right about the same time I stockpiled some bargain cabbage. I had sausage in the freezer and some red potatoes that needed to be used up, so we threw this soup on the menu. Simple, but tasty.

* peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies - I was looking for a cookie recipe that would use chocolate chips (we have a stockpile of some bargain ones), peanut butter (we grind a batch or two each week), and oats (we buy it in 25 lb. bags). This is what I found. I love soft cookies!

ADVANCED COOKING (These aren't always planned, so they'll often be things I did the previous week.)
* I'm picking up 80 lb. of Zaycon chicken on Friday, so I'll be bagging some of it plain and bagging the rest in various marinades before popping it all in the freezer. I actually spent the last two days making the marinades ahead of time, so Friday should go by fairly quickly.
* I'll make peanut butter and crockpot beans, just like I do once or twice every week.

BREAKFASTS
* wheat germ whole wheat buttermilk pancakes/fruit & spinach smoothies
* doughnuts at church
* oatmeal with brown sugar, cinnamon, milk, homemade peanut butter, maple almond butter, raisins, dried cranberries, fresh or frozen fruit, huh-koe-pee milk, and/or energy mix as optional toppings x5

DINNERS
* sesame noodles/stir fry with a bunch of veggies
lentils & rice
* green salad - Asian style (crockpot with raw chicken in marinade from the freezer)
* kale, chickpea, & orzo soup
* Greek chicken (raw in herbs from the freezer)/rice/roasted cabbage
* tacos - seasoned meat, crockpot beans from the freezer, and some other toppings served in a tortilla, bowl, as a salad over a pile of greens, or with mound of rice
* leftovers 

SNACKS & DESSERTS
* banana chocolate chip bars
Crunchy Flax cereal (We scored a case of 12 for $4.99 at a local discount store, so we've been using it as a snack.)
produce 
* popcorn (kernels from the Winco bulk department that get popped in my Lodge Dutch oven, but you can see my thoughts on both the wonderful Dutch oven and the fantastic West Bend Stir Crazy in this post)

(This post contains affiliate links.)

3/26/15 - THANKFUL THURSDAY

I'm thankful for times when the little Ws make each other laugh.

What is something that you are thankful for?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A DATE WITH LUIS

Dad and Debra gave us cash (because online purchases of gift cards/certificates aren't available) for a date at Luis's Taqueria at Christmas, but Tim's basketball schedule kept us from going for a couple months and then we just keep forgetting about it. Tim's home because of spring break this week, so I sent him a text while he was out getting tires changed yesterday afternoon to see if he wanted to go for dinner. I already had dinner prepped, so the kids ate what I made while we headed a few blocks away for an hour or so. It was pretty spur of the moment and we weren't gone long because we had stuff to get done at home, but it was nice to get out for a little while, eat some tasty food, and talk about various things going on in our lives.



As a sidenote, I love tamales. A lot.