Friday, April 30, 2010

Feeling a little ripped off

We have been buying the same brand of t.p. for years.

Imagine my surprise when I saw the first roll from the new pack (on the left) next to the last roll from the old pack (on the right).

They've decreased the amount in each pack (but still call it a mega roll), yet they've likely increased the price.

I shake my fist at them!!

How about you? Have you seen any changes in the products you buy?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Oatmeal Coconut Cranberry Cookies

I went to an event last week where we were invited to bring a side and/or a dessert. I took glazed carrots and these cookies. They were some tasty cookies! I found the original Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe here, but I felt like doing things a little differently. These are a very soft, moist cookie with just the right amount of texture to give you something to chew on. Here is the recipe I ended up using.

Preheat oven to 350F.
~Cream together
1 c. butter (2 sticks), softened just a tad
1 1/4 c. packed brown sugar
~Beat in:
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. honey
~In a separate bowl, sift together:
3/4 c. all purpose flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp. nutmeg powder
~Slowly incorporate dry ingredients with wet ingredients.
~Gradually add in:
2 c. oats
1 c. coconut flakes
1 c. dried cranberries
~Mix well
~Drop by teaspoonfuls onto unprepared cookie sheet. Bake (at 350) for 12-13 minutes. Put cookie sheet on wire rack for a couple minutes, then remove cookies to wire rack to cool completely. Try not to finish all the cookies in one day.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Goofing Around

(A little heads-up: This post is picture heavy - so enjoy!)

Boys will be boys.

Ajay's newest discovery is that he can stand on his head. Alex, of course, wants to do everything Brother does.

Ajay has also been practicing "super-dee-duperty" hard on blowing bubbles with his gum. He finally succeeded a couple days ago. I don't have any pics of the bubbles, though. And when Alex tries, he just ends up spitting his gum out onto the carpet/tile/brick patio. Oops.

Boys love dirt, right? At least that is what I was informed.

And you know when they come in that they'll be filthy. I asked Ajay after taking this picture "Why is Alex so filthy?" and Ajay's response was "Because we got filthy, and we like getting filthy." Honesty is the best policy.

The boys love their Gracie. Ajay has asked a couple times to have his picture taken with the cat:

Alex got ahold of some stickers and decorated himself. The first picture looks innocent enough, but in the second one he looks like quite the little rascal!!

Alex enjoys painting....but he'd rather not get paint on the paper. Instead, he reserves the bold colors for his skin!

I hope you've enjoyed the latest installment of "How many pictures can Kalinda squeeze into one post?"

Saturday, April 24, 2010

New Poll

I went to the grocery store yesterday after picking Ajay up from school. I did I could do to get in and get out with just the one thing I went in for. I thought "I'm here, what else do we need?" However, I knew Biju would be making a run to our regular store (with better prices) and I needed to get home to make the boys lunch (which was what I went to the store for in the first place). No time for looking around just to see if there was anything else we "needed." As it was, I still grabbed something else that was on the shelf next to the thing I went in for. Alas, I walked away from the store with three items instead of just the one...but it was less than what I could've bought!
So there is a poll (to the right of the page) asking how well YOU do when you go to the store for just one thing.
Happy voting!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day!!

Today is Earth Day. Earth Day has been around for 40 years now, but in reality, every day should be Earth Day, right? Do you plan on doing something more earth-friendly that may be a little out of the norm for you? Need some ideas? Here are some:

Here are a few ideas:
Shut off or unplug anything that draws electricity that isn't necessary. (Toaster, Coffee Maker, Computer, extra T.Vs, Radios, etc)
Walk or bike to your destination.
Rethink your cleaning routine - What chemicals can be replaced?
Doing laundry? Hang a load or two out to dry (either on an outside clothesline, or on one of those collapsible laundry umbrellas)
Buy (or make!) some inexpensive cloth napkins to use in place of paper.
Visit your local farmers market and support environmentally-friendly farmers.
Pick up trash in your local park.
Start (or improve upon) recycling.

Brainstorm - what else can you think of?
Let me know some other ideas - put them in the comment section.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Chick Pea Curry

Biju made up a Chick Pea Curry the other day and it disappeared pretty quickly! He gave me his recipe (which was hard for him since he doesn't measure!). I tried my hand at it last night and doubled everything so it would last longer. (The recipe listed is already doubled, so you can cut it in half if you don't want as much.) It tastes a bit different than what he made, but it was still good. He says you could use just about any bean with this (we've used kidney beans in the past). The base is also what he uses for Boiled Egg Curry (see the end of the post for how to make this version).

2 T. Oil (we use canola)
1/2 T. Mustard Seed
2 Red (purple!) Onions, chopped
1 28-oz. can Diced Tomatoes
1/2 T. Turmeric
1 T. Garam Masala
3/4 T. Cumin
1 T. Corriander
Salt to taste
3 cans chick peas (garbanzo beans) - drained, rinsed
1 Bunch Cilantro, rinsed well, chopped
Start cooking rice with your preferred method (we use our rice cooker).
Heat a dutch oven to med/med high heat, add oil. When oil is hot, add mustard seeds. Once seeds have popped, add in the onions and cook until tender. Stir in diced tomatoes and cook for about a minute. Add turmeric, garam masala, cumin, coriander and salt:

Mix well and cook for about 3 minutes. Stir in the garbanzo beans and about a half a can of water (more or less, depending on your preference). Cook about 10 minutes. Add in the chopped cilantro...

... and cook for another 5 minutes.

Serve over rice.

And if this applies to you, try to keep the kids off the table when you call them in to eat!

For the Egg Curry.... boil your eggs when you start cooking rice. Instead of adding the chick peas, peel your eggs, put a couple slits in them, then immerse them in the tomato/onion base. You can serve this over rice, too, but it goes really well with Idli (My mother-in-law gave me a recipe for this but it is quite involved and I've yet to make them! I REALLY want to try making them if I can get my courage up.) Sometimes I just take our regular sandwich bread (whole wheat) and eat the Egg Curry with that.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Catching up on pictures

Howdy. It has been awhile since I've put a bunch of pics of the boys up, so I thought now would be a good time for that :)

Ajay was quite tickled when he learned Mommy had special powers! Even more thrilled when he learned he could do the same trick!

As usual, the boys enjoy eating outside. Be it lunch or a snack, they'll happily eat it at their little bench.

Biju was fixing the trim in Alex's bedroom and Ajay wanted to get in on the action.

I hadn't taken any sleeping pics for awhile, so I grabbed my camera when Alex was sleeping too long. I went to wake him but snapped a pic first. The flash woke him, and then he started playing with me:

The boys are absolutely loving Spring.

Ajay and his vivid imagination

Here he is cutting up our salad for dinner. Anyone else want some grass clippings cut up with a stick-knife, tossed with a few stalks of dandelion?

Alex has decided he quite enjoys climbing up the slide in addition to riding down it.

And let's not forget the all-time favorite: hanging like a monkey!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cleaning my cast iron

Many years ago I decided I wanted a cast iron skillet, so my grandma got one for me for Christmas. It took me awhile to use it, as I wasn't sure the preseasoned skillet was actually seasoned enough for use. (In fact, I didn't even understand what the seasoning was for - I've since learned that the seasoning is to help keep foods from sticking.) It just became one of those things I wanted and had but never used. I finally got brave enough to use it once or twice. A couple summers ago, Biju used it for something on the grill. It then got left outside. Over the whole winter. Ouch! We discovered it last spring covered in rust.

We didn't know what to do with it. Sad to say, we almost threw it away thinking it wasn't salvageable. Instead of chucking it out, though, we just left it in the garage. Fast forward a year to the beginning of this Spring. I had done some research and was ready to try my hand at getting the rust off. I got the skillet a bit wet, sprinkled it with some salt and got out my Norwex spirinett. I used an old wash cloth to hold on to the spirinett and keep my hand from getting all yucky. I scrubbed for a few minutes and now look at it!

I'm thrilled with the results, however I'm still a bit embarrassed to say I haven't used it since cleaning it. I need to season it. I need to season it well so nothing sticks. If I can get the use of this smaller skillet down, then I'd like to find some bigger cast iron pots and pans to use so we can get rid of our (poison riddled) Teflon coated pans.

Edited to note: I just noticed the dates on the pictures are off. The batteries died while I was taking pics, and I must've input the wrong date when I put in fresh batteries. I think the date was off for our Easter pics, too. Too bad I don't know how to look at a calendar!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Beanie Weanie Mac-n-Cheese

This is in no way a healthy "recipe" but it is actually purdy tasty and fairly quick to whip up. Some of you may think I've gone round the bend with something like this, while others (mainly those in my family) will already have this recipe, or their own similar version.

In a medium sauce pan, make up a box of macaroni and cheese according to box instructions.
In the meantime, cut up some onion, if you like, and saute it in a pan with a smidge of oil. Cut up a few hot dogs (we use turkey dogs and count one per kid, two per adult), add to the pan to cook. Once they're cooked to your liking, add in two cans of pork-n-beans. Add in some brown sugar and barbeque sauce (we like KC Masterpiece Original) to taste and maybe a bit of salt and pepper. This is the point where my younger brother, Jeff, adds in a lot more - garlic powder, onion powder, liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, etc. Let the beans and weenies simmer and thicken up a bit. Once the mac n cheese and beans are all done, you may either eat them separately, or, like we do often times around our house, mix it all together. Don't forget to add in a fruit or veg to complete the meal!
For a variation on this, my brothers have made a casserole of sorts. I can't remember exactly, but as I recall: Omit the hot dogs and mac n chs. Brown some meat (they use beef, we would use ground turkey), and mix it in with the "baked" beans. Put this mixture into a 9x13 pan, spread cheddar cheese over top, then add a layer of tater tots over that. (I could be wrong - it could be mixture, then tots, then cheese - I guess just experiment if you want.) Bake at 350 until everything is nice and bubbly. Let cool, then dig in.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Apple Chicken Stew


(I found the base to this recipe on, I think, but I messed with it a teeny bit. And remember, when I give a measurement, like a teaspoon, a quarter of a teaspoon, its usually a guesstimate, because I just sorta toss it all in.)

Layer at the bottom of a crock pot:
4 med. potatoes, cubed,
4 med. carrots, sliced
1-2 celery ribs, chopped
1 med. onion, sliced,
3 (frozen) boneless, skinless chicken breast
about a tsp. salt
some black pepper
1-1.5 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp. caraway seeds (original recipe called for more, so you can add more if you like this flavor. 1/2tsp. I think.)
1c. peeled, chopped apple slices (calls for tart, I just used whatever was in the fridge)
1.5 c. apple juice (or apple cider)
2c. water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1T. apple cider vinegar
1 bay leaf.
Cook on high 4-6 hours.
The original recipe said 6 servings. If you divide into 6 servings, they are big servings (which is actually kinda nice). If you do it this way, each serving is 5 points for those using Weight Watchers.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

I think I've overloaded on candy. I guess it's better me than the kids, right?? They had quite a bit today as it was and I don't think we need to go "there" again!

The morning started with a little visit from the Easter Bunny. He figured we could all share a family basket. I had colored some eggs yesterday for the Bunny to put with the treats. The yellow eggs were boiled with turmeric, the grayish-purple eggs were boiled with grape juice and the middle egg is supposed to be orange, boiled with paprika. The Easter Bunny was nice enough to leave not only the 4 little bags of Sun Chips, but also the rest of the little bags, too - I think he must've gone shopping at Sams ;)

We then got ready for church. I had picked up new pants and shirts for the boys earlier in the week - the shirts fit fine but they both ended up "swimming" in their slacks, so we had to fall back on other pants. This year our neighbors invited us to go to their church services. We thought we'd try it out. Before the service we checked the boys into their age appropriate classes. They each got to do some hunting for Easter eggs, and Ajay said he saw a video (I saw a bible video playing when we dropped him off). Biju and I both thoroughly enjoyed the service. We actually got to pay attention to what was being said (we're normally trying to keep the boys in line)! The pastor was very well spoken and you could tell everyone there wanted to be there. (Not saying that Catholics don't want to be at mass, but it was a different atmosphere.)

After church we came back, took a quick picture, then enjoyed some chicken curry that Biju had made.

We all took a nice afternoon nap then went outside to play.

Alex thought a tree needed swept:

Alex also thought he needed to be on the bike instead of Ajay:

Biju put some pork chops in a marinade early this morning and stuck them out on the grill early this evening. I made up some sweet potato fries to go with, so they got put on the grill, too.

Biju called India a couple times to wish his family a Happy Easter and I called my folks a couple times, too. My mom says they all went out and played a little baseball! I'm looking forward to see those pictures, for sure!

Hope you all had a blessed day, full of love and comfort!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Playgroup and the zoo!

We're double dipping today, and I'm giving you two posts for the price of one.

For the last 4.5 years, we've belonged to a parents as teachers group through our school. We really have enjoyed what they have to offer. Once a month for three years (except for a couple months during the summer) a parent educator would come out to visit Ajay to see how he was doing developmentally. She would bring games for him to play, crafts and activities for him to do, and would occasionally do testing on him to be sure he was not lagging behind in any specific area. Unfortunately, 3 years is the limit of having someone come to your house, so Alex was only able to be a part of the home visits for about 6 months. Even though we no longer get those visits, we still take advantage of one of the many playgroups offered. Just as Ajay got attached to Ms. Sheryl, Alex is now attached to Ms. Diana. Our routine on Thursdays is to drop Ajay off at one elementary school then drive to another school not too far off and play around, experience new things, try different art and get some social interaction. We pulled up to the school yesterday and I heard Alex in the back singing "I'm gonna see MissDinah! I'm gonna see MissDinah!" My sister has started bringing her younger two girls with her to our playgroup. Last week, I busted out my phone and snapped a few pics. (This camera on my phone is supposed to be better than my last phone, but I'm not finding that to be true. Outside pics usually turn out okay, but inside shots are all blurry.)

Ajay doesn't normally get to go to playgroup with us since it is during school hours, but on this Thursday, preschool wasn't in session (because of Parent/Teacher conferences).
Here he is dressed as a fireman (that big blue thing behind him is a slide, the kids love this!):

Alex with a straw hat:

Ajay has now changed his profession and is a doctor:

Getting a check-up:

Shelly with "Laundry" (thats what Alex calls Audrey):

Audrey and Kyleigh:

Ms. Diana giving Audrey some tummy-time:

And though you really can't tell it, this is me with the boys:


It's that time of year again - time to head out to the zoo for some animal adventure. This year we actually splurged on a membership, so we can look forward to many visits.
We met up last Friday with some friends - you might remember Alex as a buddy Ajay made while doing his 3-year-old preschool thing. His mom and I became pretty good pals, too, so it is fun for everyone involved! (She even switched her littlest babe (now almost 10 months) over to cloth diapers when she saw our Alex wearing his bumGenius cloth diaper.) We've got a lot in common - Mom is from America, Dad is from another country, two beautiful sons with dark brown hair and brown eyes.

Here is our group, minus Rylan (the baby) and myself.

Ajay and Alex. Alex is 6 months older. (Keep in mind that Alex is sitting on the saddle and Ajay is not - so while there is a bit of a difference in their sizes, it isn't quite as much as it seems in this pic.)

In the petting zoo. (It was supposed to be warmer than it ended up being that morning. I ended up putting Ajay in a spare jacket we had in the van to keep the wind from making him too cold. Our Alex was under a blanket most of the time he was in the stroller.)

This was one of the many newborn lambs we saw that day.

We packed a lunch for that day and I guess the boys enjoyed eating in a different location, because I didn't pack anything different or exciting, yet they ate everything given to them! After lunch they got to play in the playground area. Since it was a Friday morning and a bit chilly, we didn't have to share the space with too many other children. We're looking forward to going again (and again, and again).

Friday, April 2, 2010

Crafting fun!

In one of my recent posts, I commented that I was able to finish up a couple of projects. Now that each party has received their gift, I can post a pic!
I actually made up four of these bags. They were all supposed to be Christmas gifts, but two got delayed in the making.
SIL Jaime got a bag made with blues and grays (without lining), SIL Brandi got a bag with browns and oranges (lined with some sort of mesh material), Mom got the green one shown below (she got to hold it at Christmas, still attached to a yarn ball, then had to give it back so I could finish it!), and sis Shelly got the purple one below for her birthday, which was last Friday.
I am no seamstress - by any stretch of the imagination - so the lining is a little funky. But I've seen the purple one in action, and the lining makes a huge difference.

I got the pattern here - I thought they could use them as actual market bags. I do believe 2 of them are being used as craft bags (Brandi keeps losing her crochet hooks through the mesh/crochet!) and Shelly has used hers as a diaper bag.
I'm currently working on another project, but as that is intended as a gift, I can't tell you what it is. I do hope to find myself a nice poncho pattern to make for myself. I've been on the hunt for just the right pattern for months now!!
Are you working on a project? Please, do share!