August 31, 2011

Miscellaneous Meatballs

Dear friends, I am tired (news flash).

And not to be one of the many internet complainers who have nothing to say except barely veiled references to their never-ending litany of complaints (ie: "Good thing I brought my extra strength Tylenol today"), but I think Mr gave me Strep Throat.

Hopefully it will be Girl Strep Throat, and not Boy Strep Throat. (You know what I'm saying, I can see you nodding your head.)

I also may or may not be typing this without my shirt, because I'm too tired to move my arms to the right by a few inches and grab it.

Probably not.

Since we had Jane's Meatball Subs in the slow cooker yesterday, bubbling merrily along when we got home for supper, I was happy.

And they were good. Next time, I'm browning and crispifying (<--- totally a word) before I put them in the slow cooker, but they were good to come home to.


Puke break. Which turned into "lie on the couch moaning" break, which turned into "go back to bed while Mr takes the kids to daycare and then get up and go to the doctor break.

I'm fine. It might or might not be Strep. I'm going to work soon.

That is all.

(The puking had nothing to do with Jane's Meatball Subs).

August 30, 2011

Care Packages, Or Maggie Stiefvater Broke My Eyeball

A good illustration of the difference between mercy (not getting what you deserve) and grace (getting what you don't deserve):

I have been a recipient of lots of care packages recently, and I most certainly haven't sent any out (they're still snuggled comfortably in my imagination). I might not have even said thank you (yet) for some of them.

That's grace, my friends.

Here's a care package that surprised me so much I almost blew out my other eyeball laughing:

Don't get the joke yet? Lannis sent it to me. And it's autographed:

Lannis recommended Shiver to me in the winter, and it was the last book I read before the whole eyeball saga. Which means, naturally, that Maggie Stiefvater broke my eyeball (with Lannis' help).

Which reminds me of another book story, totally unrelated to the topic of care packages. (It's why you love me, don't lie.)

I met Bill Bryson, and asked him to sign my copy of A Walk in the Woods, which, graciously, he did:

But I couldn't figure out why the "still".

Until I looked more closely at a book I'd had for ten years:

That's probably why I've gotten so many care packages recently.

I obviously need care.

As in, "don't let her go out of the house unsupervised" care.

August 29, 2011

Project Grocery: Gold Plated Pecans

Saturday's grocery shop was the quickest one I've ever done with the kids (and - let's face it - Mr) in tow. We left at ten, my Mom was due at eleven to take me out for a little tea break, and we were back in time to put away the groceries before I left.

Nice. If only every shop was like that, I wouldn't long to get up at five - by myself - and get everything done with a coffee in my hand.

Shut up. I still would.

And - despite the mad dash through the two stores - we managed to spend only $100.99 AND we finally have enough Club Sobeys points to get $10 off next week.

This week, we're eating things like Jane's Curried Chicken Pie, Jane's Meatball Subs (see a theme here?), pork chops, roasted cauliflower soup, Kevin's Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich, and leftovers. Lots and lots of leftovers.

Which might make up for the fact that Sunday morning, in a run out to the Bulk Barn to get basil, cardamom and pecans, I spent $30.18. Even after using my favourite coupon.

And twenty-seven dollars of that total? Pecans.

Look at them sitting there so innocently. Jerks.

There's my new t-shirt: "I spent $27 dollars on pecans". I'll make myself wear it every day until I want to burn it ceremoniously.

Stupid gold-plated pecans.

August 27, 2011

Lannis: Apocalypse What Now?

It's true. I was eating. That is all.

* * *

It’s no secret that both the Mrs and I are Canadian.

Geez, if you really wanted to be stealthy, you could click on that Twitter link in my bio and discover it says Ontario, Canada in my profile.

(Cyber stalk me, I dare you. You’ll probably end up more confused than I am. — The Mrs and I recently discovered Pinterest. It’s a wormhole of visual crack. She deserves credit for the “visual crack” part of that definition, but the “wormhole” is all mine. Please visit the wormhole — we’ll share the visual crack. We like to share here. Recipes, goofiness, geekiness, procrastination, questionable parenting, it’s all up for grabs.)

Anyhow... I was saying...

Ah, beautiful Ontario.

With your picturesque lakes, your serene forests, your seemingly endless expanses of unpopulated land, and we can’t forget your earthquakes and tornadoes...


Wait, what?

Oh no, that’s right. I almost forgot.

On Tuesday I felt the earth move. (Sorry, Mr Lannis, not that way.)

And on Wednesday two cats decided to staple themselves to my legs, while I was unrolling kidlet sleeping bags in our basement and contemplating crapping my pants because thunder and lightning were entertaining each other on our roof(!) and according to Environment Canada, there was a serious chance we could have been relocating for a second time in one year and this time not voluntarily!

Did I mention Mr Lannis was at work during this apocalyptic storm?

And of course, the kidlets slept through it, as kids are wont to do.

The cats, of course, spent the entire time galloping through the house, terrified, enough so that Shakespeare’s next morning looked kind of like this:

And this:

And Minette just wanted to make sure her playhouse hadn’t blown away.

She seemed concerned.

The earthquake, though, that was kind of cool. (The Mrs missed it — she tells me she was busy eating.)

A quick jiggle of the recliner on a sunny afternoon — seconds after I’d watched Twitter alight with the news of an earthquake down south, or lordy, I probably wouldn’t have recognized it for what it was...

At first I’d thought Mr Lannis had bumped the chair on his way past, until I realized he was sitting. And that the gentle rocking was lasting way longer than it should have... maybe twenty seconds or so.

When I squealed “earthquake!” Mr Lannis and I leapt to our feet, all giddy with excitement, checking hanging plants and frames on the walls for signs of movement.

Lord help us if the Big One every strikes our neighbourhood — we’re dead for sure.

Zombies? We’ve baseball bats and Mr Lannis has a tidy stash of firearms locked in his gun cabinet. I regularly wear this shirt and it’s no joke:

It’s a freaking public service announcement.

But earthquake? A significant one? We’re definitely the dimwits hypnotized by the swinging of the chandelier when the lights shudder loose and come crashing down on our skulls.

Doorways? Wha? I thought you were supposed to get into a bathtub?

Oh? That’s for tornadoes? My mistake.

Oh, wait. Apparently that’s handy info for our neck of the woods, lately, too.

Speaking of, I don’t know about the rest of you Ontarians (Ontario-ers? whatever you call us in On-tari-o — shoot, now that song is in my head...), but I prefer my weather boring, and my buildings stationary.

Snow. Even soul-crushing, shoulder-high-piling, good-god-make-it-stop-please-I’ll-have-another-child-just-so-I-can-give-it-up-and-appease-you, four letter word: S.N.O.W., I will gladly take.

At least it melts. Eventually.

But this insanity? Heart-racing, panic-inducing, brick-lodged-in-my-chest-where-my-heart-should-be WEATHER?

It’s. Not. Cool.

And no, that’s not a joke about snow.

We don’t joke about snow. We’re Canadian. We know better.

Excuse me, I need to go build an igloo — I mean a bunker. For that apocalypse that’s clearly upon us.


Occasional poster at The Mrs, I'm Lannis - or Leslie, depending on which circles you're swimming. A while ago I decided that I don't care anymore, hence my general standards for life are lower than The Mrs' (but she still loves me.) [Editor: I do]

I live in a small town with my favourite people: my husband, Mr Lannis, and our two boys, along with two cats and one hamster.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might witness my issues with linear thought, road rage, spending more money on food than books, and potty mouth. Be warned.

August 26, 2011

Food Waste Friday: Eat It.

You can take that however you want. I'm going to take it as an invitation to eat something, instead of wallowing in guilt, angst, despair, and navel-gazery (<-----totally a word).

This week, I'm celebrating the fact that we didn't throw anything out by proudly displaying, uh...


Yeah. Another reason I'm not a food blogger (just a food-obsessed blogger): I forget to take pictures of the finished product, but forget that I've forgotten, and then have to post about soggy looking eggplant and zucchini.

We had these lovely specimens in the fridge, Mr wasn't feeling the greatest, and I was Hungry.

(You heard me. None of this plain-jane non-descriptive hungry wimpiness for me. I capitalize like I mean it.)

These soggy, greenish looking vegetable pictures are shown post-roast, after which they were thrown (without mercy) into my Roasted Pepper Pasta...and it was good. Not great, but good.

And I went from being Hungry to mildly peckish, so Mrs for the win!

P.S. Please join Lannis and I at our Pinterest party. We're having too much fun not to share. Yesterday she posted about seventeen pictures of Star Wars stormtroopers that almost killed me. (The pictures, not the stormtroopers. Although I'm still kind of scared of them.)

August 25, 2011

Fantasy Football For Girls

When I was dating Mr, and in the first years of our marriage, he swore up and down that he wasn't interested in sports. I couldn't prove him wrong, because we only got three channels on tv, all of which were - obviously - Canadian, and when sports were on the tv wasn't.

Enter the Philadelphia Eagles.

At first, I chalked it up to nostalgia and a longing for home. Then - Christmas Day 2006 - we watched an Eagles game in Pennsylvania, surrounded by Eagles fans. In which the Eagles demolished the Cowboys. Even for me, it was exciting.

And football entered our house. Gradually - game by game, season by season - Mr started talking about football more. Talking, that is,  to his Dad and his brother on the phone, because I certainly didn't have anything to say. Nothing positive, anyway.

You see, I felt cheated. I felt like I had married a guy who said he didn't like sports, and suddenly (by now we had cable) every Sunday afternoon and Monday night I was stuck watching football, a game I didn't understand and wasn't very interested in.

Until I signed up for Fantasy Football.

I know, a strange choice. But Mr and his brother talked me into it. (Don't forget, my brother in law can talk anyone into anything)

Here's a funny joke: in my first year playing Fantasy Football, my first three picks in the draft (10th spot out of 12, if you're wondering) were the Eagles defense, Eli Manning and Adam Vinatieri.

I came in last, if you were wondering.

In 2008, I came in second.

In 2009, I won - and that was the year we played in two leagues, one of which was for money. Guess which league I won in?

Last year, I came in dead last again (I blame Sidney Rice and Brett Favre), but did I have fun? I did.

Did I watch all the games with Mr, and was I interested? Sure did and sure was.

Did we talk about football? Obviously.

Football season is here again, and - now - I'm (almost) as excited as Mr. I might even subscribe to the CBS Fantasy Football podcast (because clearly I still need to work on my draft strategy).

Money (and time) well spent.

August 24, 2011

Out of Bed

Friends (also Romans and countrymen, but I figure we can lump you folks in with the friends, right?), I must admit something to you:

The only reason I got out of bed this morning was to put the diapers in the dryer.

I love you all, but after last night - what with the 1:44 Miss wake up, the 2:16 Jr wake up, the 4:10 second Jr wake up and Mr having the flu and all - well, I love my bed more.

And right now, in the dark, at 5:46, and knowing that the kids may sleep for another half hour or forty-five minutes...

Now that I've assuaged the barf-inducing morning hunger that the baybee in mah tummy gives me...

Now that I've written the. most. brilliant. blog post. ever...

That couch over to my right is looking mighty appealing.

Look! There's a pillow and a blanket and everything.


August 23, 2011

Google Salad

Let's have a chat about how you got here, you and I.

By "how you got here", I don't mean the birds and the bees.

And by "you", I mean those of you who found me by searching for crazy things that real people don't actually type into search engines.

(By me, I mean me. You know, me? Maybe you don't. Go eat a stick of butter - preferably in the form of boter koek, have a nap, look at my sad collection of food pins on Pinterest, and come back. Then you'll have a little more insight into my complex and multi-faceted character.)

Let's talk about what you're looking for, shall we?

thanks for remind me of

You're welcome.

better to close fridge

Yes. Yes it is. Especially if it is evil and wants to rot your food. Or eat your cats.

On second thought, leave it open. You can always buy more food.

bubble inside eyeball

I'm so glad I didn't disappoint you. It went away. Too bad, too, because it made a great conversation starter, and not just on the internet:

Stranger: Hey, is that a bubble inside your eyeball?

Me: Yes. It is.

Stranger: Is it going to pop?

Me: Dunno. I hope not.

Stranger: What's wrong with you?

Me: ...

cover completely with root beer pulled pork

Yes please. Let's be friends.

former spendthrift now a millionaire

Yeah, I'd like to find that person too. Sorry I'm not her...maybe check back in seventy-two years, give or take.

freezer "powered by blogger"

No it isn't. It's powered by electricity, but if you have an in with Google, I'm totally interested. I'll tattoo "Powered by Blogger" on my forehead, if it means my freezer runs on it.

how to bring dirt in a backyard

You've got the wrong idea, brother. We have plenty of dirt. It's flowers and vegetables we want.

how to make something in fifteen minutes

Sushi + Wine + The kids you already have are in bed.

Oh, were you talking about bread? I'm totally embarrassed. Maybe this post is about the birds and the bees.

i am having trouble coming up with something totally out of character

What? For like, a dare or something? Me too.

it's just food, root beer pulled pork

Who ARE you? And how did you get here, because clearly this is not a sentiment that we share. 

poems about pea soup for hungry kids

I don't know about your kids, but if mine were hungry, and I tried to read them a poem about pea soup, they'd jump me and eat my eyeballs. Probably. 

quicktax 2010 crack

Okay, well YOU are obviously in the right place, and are my kind of person. Let's do lunch.

she squeaked

I cannot for the life of me figure out what you were trying to get to with that as your search term. Email me, please. I'm so intrigued.

spaider soliters

Ditto. Except maybe skip the email.

stealth frugal living


August 22, 2011

Project Grocery: If

The awesome thing about excuses is that they're so user friendly: just take them out of the box and use them as-is.

So here's my latest excuse: if our grocery budget were still $120/week, Saturday's $119.66 would have been fine.

The excess can be blamed on two things (three, if you count Mr's spontaneous cake purchase - which I do not, on account of the excessive food network watching. It was inevitable): That enormous jar of Nutella I had to have, and the box of chicken wings right underneath it, because they were on sale and Mr needed to fill in some lunch gaps this week.

It couldn't possibly be because I've - apparently - been turning around and throwing out half of what I buy every week.

Nope. Still not over it.

The really rotten thing about excuses is that using them doesn't make them true. We should really do something about that. Is there a lobby group, or activist organization that's working on it?

In other rotten news - the bum rot kind - it appears that some of the tomatoes have escaped the rotten rear disease, and to celebrate their miraculous escape, we ate them.

My kind of celebration.

August 20, 2011

Lannis: Home Away From Home

Remember the lists pictured last week? No?

I can hardly blame you, what with that awe-inspiring image of armed potato men...

Those lists, though? They were my camping lists. My lists, because let’s face it, Mr Lannis (when not creating potato men) had been working all week and other than jotting a list over a cup of coffee in the hopes to outdo me (ha HA!), didn’t bother contemplating what to pack. His contribution? The only thing his list had that mine didn’t already?

Yogurt (ha HA! again!).

When I pointed out the ease of cheese-strings over yogurt cups, the yogurt was declared obsolete.

Items on my list and not on his? Plenty. And, granted, it didn’t rain and we didn’t end up needing the rain coats or boots, but it’s tricky to eat without plates, and we kind of need to remember that frying pan for the all-important bacon...

Oh, and we might want something to occupy the kids, too... you know, maybe.

How he managed to neglect toys is beyond me. A frog pond is great, but what’re they going to do on the five-hour drive?

Yep. Five hours. That’s with pit stops, but MapQuest tells me it’s officially 4:17 minutes.

This isn’t just any camping trip. Nope.

It’s family tradition.

Every summer our family makes a pilgrimage to Auntie’s house in gorgeous lake country to take advantage of her hospitality and fill up her yard with our tents and various sundry belongings (something’s always left behind, too — so far two mini butane tanks and a phone charger have made it onto my radar).

In the interest of full disclosure, this is not camping camping. But it’s sleeping in a tent for two nights and qualifies as such for kidlets. That’s what matters.

If you want to get down to it, my type of camping involves running water, satellite TV, and a fifth wheel trailer (thanks for spoiling me, Papa), but this is still far from roughing it.

And when I say “family” I mean “big crew.” Mr Lannis and I did a count, and it seems only three quarters of our clan made it up this year, and that still meant thirty people.

In tents. And campers. (Okay, twenty-four, because Auntie and Uncle had their house, and my cousin, her hubby, and their two little ones had the spare room.)

Want to see?

Of course you do! I’m going to show you anyway, because I’m a jerk like that.

Chez Lannis on the road (one tent for kidlets, one for parents):

Tents, tents, tents (as many as I could fit in one shot — there were more).

Papa and Gramma (my parents) had their fifth wheel, of course.

And one Auntie (my godmother) had her mini-camper trailer (can you tell we’re related?).

There was even an awning for adults to gather with lawn chairs kidlets to spread out their toys.

Can’t forget the lakeside pics — wonderful waterfront fun!

Including tubing!

Kidnapping four-year-olds.

Attempted frog capture (cousin Alan failed, or I’d have a better pic — boo, city boy, boo!).

A bit of child labour.

And answering important questions like: how many buckets does it take to fill a bottomless inner-tube?

We can’t forget the pyro/camping staple: bonfires. Have to cook food somewhere.

Or maybe the food was cooked here?

Only a little bit here, I swear.

(Yes, that might be a toaster oven you see. And a coffee maker. And a kettle for tea and oatmeal. And a whole whack of breakfast food already attacked or it would include far more fruit in that tray, stacks of bananas, and a carton of eggs that may have gotten hard boiled in that pot on the BBQ.)

No vacation is complete without plenty of junk food. Sez the kidlets. And S’mores pushers (Papa, I’m looking at you).

I don’t know about you, but I need a gratuitous shot of bacon. For memory’s sake.

And before I forget: ATTENTION PARENTS! No trip is complete without Monster Spray.

Yes, one squirt of this stuff (into a tent, out in the dark, on the path to the outhouse — or in closets and under beds at home!) will keep those pesky monsters at bay! Never leave home without it!

Of course, all the stuff that comes out of the van has to go back in, too... this would be about half of the load...

(I kept telling the boys to stay out of the van while I was packing and the four-year-old burst into tears because he was afraid I was going to forget to pack him! Ah, adorable innocence!)

The very best part of the whole ginormously packed weekend?

Hands down, it’s family. Always the family.

I already can’t wait for next year.

Occasional poster at The Mrs, I'm Lannis - or Leslie, depending on which circles you're swimming. A while ago I decided that I don't care anymore, hence my general standards for life are lower than The Mrs' (but she still loves me.) [Editor: I do]

I live in a small town with my favourite people: my husband, Mr Lannis, and our two boys, along with two cats and one hamster.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might witness my issues with linear thought, road rage, spending more money on food than books, and potty mouth. Be warned.

August 19, 2011

Food Waste Friday: Seriously, The Sequel

See, I'm not normally a serious type gal. I don't talk too much about my deep underlying philosophy, or the ethics of food waste. Mostly, I'm just cheap.

Butwhen something like this happens - due to my almost complete lack of effort in the past few weeks - I start to think harder about why I even care about how much food we waste every week:

Sorry. I know it mostly looks like kitchen scraps,but what you can't see is that this is just the top of an entirely full compost bin, comprised mostly of leftovers we didn't eat, and a half a watermelon that wasn't fantastic, but could surely have been made edible somehow.

The old mom standby - "There are kids starving in Africa" - is always true, although truer today than it sometimes is. And the completely edible food that I throw away because I don't feel like eating it is appalling me today.

I'm not easily appalled.

It would be easy for me to say that I'll do better next week (it would be hard to do worse), but I can't guarantee that my full energy is going to be thrown into monitoring my fridge and coming up with creative ways to make meh food more appealing.

I can barely guarantee that my full energy is going to go to anything, these days.

Easy excuse. Downer post.

Stay tuned next week when I slough off the guilt and go along on my merry way again...

August 17, 2011

Backyard DIY: The Rot That Will Not Speak It's Name

That's right, rot.

As in: "Oh, look! Our tomato plants have gone crazy and look at how many tomatoes we're going to have, let's panic and start looking for tomato recipes because we'll never eat them all!"

As in: "Look, there's a whole bunch over here!"

As in: "Ooooh, these ones are red!"

As in: "What on earth is this?! And why is it on every red tomato?!"

It so happens that one of my new favourite bloggers, The Tasty Cheapskate, has this affliction too. And it's Tomato Bum Rot.

Bum Rot. Do you not just want to collar strangers on the street to tell them about Bum Rot?

Of course, the first thing I did when I found out  - early Sunday morning - was to tell my brother, because that's what brothers were made for, wasn't it? To say Bum Rot to, and make jokes about Bum Rot, and tell your three year old daughter to say Bum Rot and laugh like hyenas because it sounds so funny coming out of her mouth?

And then, after hanging up the phone, I realized that Miss will never. stop. saying. Bum Rot.

Never, ever.

Especially not after having her be the one to tell Mr (also hilarious).

All Sunday - that glorious Sunday that really was pretty perfect in every way - she talked about Bum Rot. And, I must admit, it made me laugh every time, although by now that shouldn't surprise you.

There's only one good thing about laboriously digging up your backyard, moving a ridiculous amount of dirt around, carefully choosing and planting tomato seeds, lovingly nurturing the seedlings, proudly planting them in your new garden, and then watching your much-anticipated harvest succumb to what is - essentially - Food Waste on a massive, uncontrollable scale.

And that is the fact that the affliction is called Bum Rot.

And - no word of a lie - when Miss went to bed on Sunday night, the last wail out of her little room as we headed down the stairs was not "Don't forget your wallet", but "Buuummmm Rooooottttttt!"

Can't wait to see what keywords find this post.

August 16, 2011

Project Grocery: A Day Late And A Dollar Short

Or, to be more specific "A Day Late And Seven Dollars and Seventy-Three Cents Short".

Catchy, isn't it?

And by short - just to be clear - I mean under budget. Because I know, given last week's grocery extravaganza, that there could be some confusion.

This is what we came home with:

Yup. I see bread too. Because in the spirit of being nicer to myself, I'm going to stop punishing myself for not baking by not having any bread around. The punishment was too severe. Two loaves of bread = seventeen different meal ideas when you're out of time, and in my books, that's the best math there is.

And yes, that's another chicken, bringing our freezer total up to three. Stock up prices just keep happening, and since in less than a month there will be seven extra mouths to feed when we have Mr's brother, our niece, our friends Jeff and Amy, and their three girls to stay for just under a week, we're stocking up indeed.

And oh, so excited. So, so excited. (Breathe)

Which is why you don't see any whole chickens on our menu this week. Instead, we're looking forward to things like mini burgers, falafels in homemade pitas, chicken fried rice, shepherd's pie, and leftovers (of shepherd's pie).

Tomorrow - if I get my act together and get out to the garden with a camera this evening - I have a story about tomatoes for you, and while tomatoes generally aren't the funniest fruit (pardon me, Nix v. Hedden, I meant to say vegetable), I'm still laughing over this one.

When I'm not crying.

(Oh, the suspense! How will you ever wait until tomorrow?)

August 15, 2011

Bread Instead

We did go grocery shopping on Saturday, and I have the pictures to prove it.

I just don't have the receipts. Oh, they're around. They're just not here, and online banking hasn't updated my purchases yet (I'm up earlier than the bank), so I thought I'd do something completely out of character and tell you about some bread I made.

[Waits for the collective gasps of shock and murmurs of "I didn't even know she made bread" to subside]

Yes, it's been that long. And I've had this || much energy to devote to bread making. But yesterday was different.

Yesterday began with Mr sleeping in, and me waking up only slightly later than my normal hour, because of the not being able to sleep due to poached eggs. You may need to refer to Facebook for that one.

(A note on life chez Mrs without newborns terrorizing the place: Saturdays, Mrs sleeps in. Sundays, Mr sleeps in. And it's staying that way until one of two things happen: we find a church we can live with - oh! humans!  - or Bean is born.)

The rest of the morning was filled with reading stories, the aforementioned poached eggs with buttered toasties, stickers and a trip to the store to buy a night light (a story for another day).

The afternoon was filled with bread.

And cuteness:

Oh, yeah. And bread:

We made pitas that were sightly too thick but were unmistakeably pitas. How do they know to do that? My Mom says you just tell them that they have to be pitas now before you put them in the oven. I'm skeptical.

 The pitas were to have our falafels in, so the afternoon was also filled with falafels:

Tasty (and one of them is smiling at me). But wouldn't hold their shape when fried (maybe that's why it's smiling?). The floor is open to suggestions (about the shape-holding, not the smiling).

The evening was filled with a wagon ride to the store (for the kids, not me), eating falafels with my parents, taking a half hour to get the kids to bed, and - finally - Ceasers.

Not a bad day. One of my favourites, in fact.

P. S. Want to see how much shorter the flour bin has gotten since January?