Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dinner in a pinch

What do you do if your mom calls at noon and invites herself and your aunt over for dinner?
You don't have much on hand -- too busy to grocery shop lately -- you've promised your kids a trip to the park and then there is t-ball practice at 5 p.m. You won't be home until 6 and the idea of whipping something up at 6:30 to be eaten after 7, while the kids claw at you crying about how hungry they are isn't something you want to deal with right now.
I have a big box of risotto that is in the pantry, so I figured I'd google to see if I can put that in the crockpot. Bingo!
Here it is, the easiest supper that will gain you tons of applause..
1.25 cups uncooked risotto
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 onion chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
3.75 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper
1 cup canned pumpkin
Put all that in the crockpot on high for about 2 hours.
Then, give it a stir and add about 1/2 cup fresh parm. Cook another 20 minutes or so.

So, we went to the park and played. Stopped at the market for some frozen garlic bread and a bagged salad. Came home and put all of the dinner stuff in the crockpot. Kids watched an episode of spongebob while I madly tried to straighten up a bit. Hit the restroom and headed out to t-ball practice. Got home about 6:10. Kids played and I threw in the garlic bread, tossed the salad and put out some cheese and crackers. Mom and Aunt Mo arrived right at 6:30.
Dinner was super yummy. Now, they could have been pulling my leg because they gave me such short notice and didn't expect much, but I actually thought it was tasty. So, give it a try. You probably have almost everything sitting in your kitchen.
Mom brought dessert and a bottle of wine.

It was so nice to get another visit with Aunt Mo. She goes back to Maryland on Thursday, so this was my last chance to see her this year. She's 86 now, so we don't know how much longer travel will be in the cards -- which is why it wasn't really out of line for Mom to push to invite them to dinner. Normally I would have invited them, but we saw them for a party a week ago and they've been "booked' ever since. I've been so busy that I didn't really think about it. I'm glad it worked out.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Vanilla cone

A while back I mentioned a lovely new frozen yogurt shop that opened up -- Golden Spoon. It is less than half a mile from our house and they serve up delicious frozen yogurt that contains very few calories. I'm always looking for ways to have a treat without adding pounds, so I was excited. Except, there is a nagging little voice in my head that tells me there must be something bad lurking in there to make it taste so good. If this had been a few years ago, I might have been visiting Golden Spoon every Friday with the kids, but at like $3/person, we haven't made it a regular thing.

Tonight, I was looking to get the kids out after dinner for a little treat because they've been really good today. I was prepared to drop at least $9 for dessert when Amanda chimed in that she wanted McDonald's ice cream. Give the girl what she wants. Luc, Amanda and I headed up to McD's and I slapped down $3.19 for three generous-sized vanilla cones -- the soft served ones with the swirls... you know, old school!
I forgot how fun it is to go hang out at a fast food place just for dessert. The kids enjoyed racing to see who could finish first (Luc won) and who could get the messiest (Amanda won). All this for about $3 -- I think we might be back.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Evolution for a 6 year old

I didn't think I'd be here this soon. I haven't boned up on my science and the origins of life on Earth enough to be confident I'm not misinforming my son.
We are raising our children Catholic, so of course they know that God created life and earth and all that, but we also believe in evolution and the big bang... it's just that God caused those events to take place.
Until now, Luc has been fine with the basics... God made us and made the Universe. After brushing his teeth tonight, Luc turned to me and asked, "Mommy, did an egg just come from outerspace and then it was there and so then there were chickens, or what?" And I ask, "do you mean, what came first, the chicken or the egg?" "Yes, did a chicken just come here and then start laying eggs or did an egg come here first?"
So, my non scienctific self started to describe how there were other animals here first and that eventually an egg was hatched that was the first chicken. Then he started asking, well, how did all those other animals come to be. I tried my best to mold some answer like life started as just a bunch of tiny, tiny animals and they changed over millions of years, becoming dinosaurs and then those animals died and then new ones evolved. He seemed to accept my answer. But now I really think I need to get to the library to find a book to describe evolution on a kindergarten level. I know for sure that I didn't have those kinds of questions until I was much, much older. I accepted the fact that God created the earth in a week and man was created on the 6th day. I didn't even question where the dinosaurs -- or chickens -- came into the equation.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The economy may be tanking but you can't stop spring

Just in time to boost our lagging spirits, spring has sprung around here. Walking around the neighborhood with Lucas this evening, the air smelled beautiful. Jasmine, orange blossoms, roses -- they are all popping and their scents mingle and just add a sweet scent wherever you go.
Luc and I popped a bunch of bulbs and some gerber daisies in the ground today. It felt good to dig in the dirt, play with a few earthworms and sprinkle our new charges with some water.

Hope you are looking forward to spring as much as I am.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Last time I checked I lived in California

We were at Target today shopping for a birthday present for one of Luc's pals. As we perused the aisles of crappy toys, we came upon an odd one. It was a firefly catcher -- a jar that says it gives off a light that attracts fireflies. They enter the jar and can't get out, until you release them.

The thing that strikes me as odd is that this was at a Target here in good 'ole So. Cal. If I have my facts straight, we don't have fireflies this far west.


Friday, March 06, 2009

Go get punched!

"Go over there and get punched!"
That was a phrase spoken to hundreds of elementary school kids at my son's school today. Why do these kids need to get punched? No, they aren't bad kids... they were running in the jog-a-thon and some of us volunteers had to punch their cards as they ran laps.
I just couldn't get over how funny this phrase sounded.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun to see these kids run, run, run. Some were so determined, you would think they were running the L.A. Marathon. Good job Cubs!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Prop 8 ramblings

It's baaaaack!!!!!
Yes, prop 8 is back in the news here in California because the opponents have taken their issue to the California Supreme Court.
I have mixed feelings and I am glad to read that the justices do, too. I am an opponent of Prop 8, as you can see from some of my previous posts. I won't go into it all and get all frothy at the mouth, but let's just say that I'm disappointed in the voters of California.
So, Maureen, why the mixed feelings?
Well, the voters who turned out did vote for this thing and should we expect that the court should just easily overturn the will of the people? I know I wouldn't want them to if it was an issue I supported. I want them to seriously take their time and debate what it will mean for our state if the court can just come in and overturn an amendment.
Now, don't get me wrong, I do not agree with prop 8 in any way, shape or form. I voted against it and argued with numerous people about it.

So, we have the will of the voters, but then that brings up another point. 7 million people voted for prop 8 in California. That is hardly a majority of the population. California's population stands at about 36 million... so you are talking about 1/5 of the population. Now, granted, some of the 36 million are minors, but, still, 7 million does not a majority make. So, I guess I should direct my anger at the people who didn't get out and vote. Where were you to put this proposition in it's place? Now we have to hear the arguments of people telling the court that the majority of voters voted for this amendment... but how do I know it is what the majority really wants?

I'll be watching this closely, because while I would be happy to see prop 8 go away, I'm not entirely sure it is something that should be determined by our courts.