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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Yummy, simple sauce

We had tortellini for supper tonight. I mixed up a simple sauce to put on top. I was the only one who ate it, but it was really good. Here's what I used:

Minced garlic
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1/3 cup diced roasted red pepper (I used half of a small jar)
10 kalamata olives, chopped
Crushed red pepper flakes
Fresh basil, oregano, and parsley (because I just planted herbs--dried would work, too)

I sauteed the garlic in some olive oil, added everything else, and cooked it until it was warm (and the tortellini was done). I put some shredded Parmesan on top and called it good.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Future rock star?

Emilia loves it when Brent plays the drums.

Glasses update

Turns out I freaked out for nothing. They were just very poorly adjusted. All better now.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Those new glasses...

I wore my new glasses today, and by the end of the day, I kind of had a headache. During a meeting after school, I noticed them digging into me, so I took them off and started examining them. That's when I realized my brand-new $400 glasses are really children's glasses--about one size bigger than Ella's. No wonder I had a headache. That also explains why the girl at the doctor's office had such a hard time adjusting them yesterday.

I have no idea how this happened. Guess I'll be calling the eye doctor in the morning. Now I'm stressed that it will be a big huge hassle. I'm not even sure when I can get back to Garden to take care of all of this. At least I kept my old glasses.

Monday, April 27, 2009

New glasses

Ella and I picked up our new glasses today. I think I look a little sleepy in this picture, but that's probably the way I really look all the time, anyway.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

For the love of coffee

Emilia seems to have inherited her parents' love of coffee. Here she is trying to drink Ryan's coffee.

Her favorite toy right now? The cardboard sleeve coffee shops put around a hot to-go cup of coffee.

This sleeve came from the new coffee shop, Common Grounds, in Hugoton. We ate lunch there the Saturday before Easter and were quite impressed. My latte was good (not just "okay for a small-town coffee shop that doesn't really know what espresso is," but really good--I would put it right up there with Starbucks and Peet's).

My coffee shop cravings have diminished significantly since I got a Moka Pot, a stovepot espresso maker.
Mine cost about $20 from Amazon, and it makes the best coffee! I use cheap espresso from Target and mix it about with warm skim milk. A $4 container lasts me a couple of weeks.

If I only had a good milk frother, it would be really compete with a latte from a coffee shop.

Frugal Friday: Earth Day Edition

Grandma Burrows may not realize it, but frugal and green go hand in hand. In honor of Earth Day, we bring we you suggestions that are both kind to the earth and easy on the wallet.

First, reduce your cleaning supplies. You don't need Clorox wipes, Windex, or Scrubbing Bubbles toilet bowl cleaner. Heck, you don't even need bleach. Grandma gets by just fine with dish soap and vinegar. (If you've even been in her house, however, you might not think she gets by just fine....)

Second, recycle. Grandma and Grandpa have been picking up aluminum cans and crushing them under the car for years. A few pennies here and there really add up.

Third, reuse. The key here is to reuse creatively. Sure, we all save our empty cool-whip and margarine containers because we're too cheap to buy Tupperware. (Well, at least I do.) But do you use the leftover communion wine from church to make holy jelly? That's what I call reusing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Guest Post: A Kitty Named Mitzi

By Janis Grover

So, you may or may not be aware of the upheaval in the Grover household as I've had to tackle the curious questions of life from my almost 7-year-old son. It all began when one of his classmates began talking about her father's upcoming vasectomy and went downhill faster than a jumper on the Empire State Building. It was a painful time to be the mom of a clueless, misinformed first grade boy who had heard about the "naughty spot down there" and that this surgery would keep boys from having babies. He didn't know boys could have babies, and I was quick to assure him that girls are the ones who have babies. I should have been more specific, but who would have guessed it'd come back to bite me so fast?

Well, we'd pretty much gotten to the point that the vasectomy questions had wound down.finally.and I was beginning to think I might have actually handled it okay and wouldn't have to deal with any further curious questions for a little while. My mistake.

We got a kitten a few months ago from a family who could no longer keep her in the house because they'd had a baby. My husband went ahead and brought her home, and after an evening of observing the hell-raiser, we named her Mitzi. She's a pretty kitty, except for that occasional psycho streak that exists in all cats, and she adjusted to living with us okay, so we decided
we'd keep her. Jaylon had wanted a pet anyway, and since I'm not a dog person, this was a nice fix.

I'd been out to my folks' house this past weekend and saw several of the mama cats on the porch. They were all so teensy except for their bulging bellies, and I told Mom that Mitzi was huge compared to her cats even thoughshe was only about 7 months old. Then came the question that rattled in my head for two days, "Are you sure Mitzi's not a boy?" Well, the previous owner had said she was a girl, and I didn't want to traumatize her with a
full-body search right after coming into the house, and after she'd been with us a few days, I didn't think about it again. I'd even called the vet to find out how much it would cost to spay her. But after the conversation with Mom and because I was getting bothered enough by her size and the fact that she hadn't gone into heat yet, I chased Mitzi's butt down and gave her
a physical examination last night.

Yep, you guessed it. Mitzi is a mister. *sigh*

So I told Jaylon this morning that Mitzi is a boy.

"But Mitzi is a girl's name!"

Yes, I am aware of that.

"Is she still gonna be able to have babies?"

No, Jaylon, Mitzi is a boy, so he won't be having babies.
"Then why did *insert name here* have a vasectomy?" which was quickly followed by an
agitated "Why do we even have boy cats?"

We have to have boy cats and girl cats so they can have babies.

-And he's in full panic mode here-"BUT YOU JUST

Not what I needed at 7 a.m. while trying to put on eyeliner. Not what I needed.really, ever. I hope Jaylon didn't end up balled up in a corner crying after I dropped him off for school. Jeez.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The family that cross dresses together...

Along with topless Easter egg decorating, dressing up in various costumes and wigs is another beloved Burrows family tradition. Over the Easter weekend, the cousins got a hold of the hair from Ella's Build a Bears. Here's the result.

My nephews are awfully pretty, aren't they? Here's one of Anya. The wig matches her hair perfectly!

I don't think Ella had any idea this was going on, and had she known, she would not have approved.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I've offended the Internet gods

Our Internet went down a couple of weeks ago, and after an hour on the phone and a visit from the phone company, we discovered our router was bad. We bought a new one, and I finally got around to installing today. Two hours and a long phone conversation with a nice young man from India later, I discovered we bought the wrong kind of router. I didn't even know you could buy a router that wasn't wireless, but apparently, you can, because we did it. What a waste of time and money.

The good news is I got the modem to work again (after undoing everything I'd spent two hours doing), so we still have Internet, just no wireless connection for the cute little laptop. Oh well.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Easy Alfredo Sauce

This is the easiest recipe for Alfredo Sauce.


8 0z. cream cheese (regular or low-fat)
1 stick butter (regular or light)
2/3 cup 2% milk
2/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Put everything in a saucepan. Cook on high heat until the butter melts and the milk starts to bubble. Turn to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth, about 20-30 minutes. That's it. How easy is that?

If you use low-fat cream cheese and light butter, the sauce will be thinner and less rich, but it's still good. I like to serve this with sauteed mushrooms and steamed broccoli. I add a little red pepper to the broccoli sometimes.

We had a potluck dinner at school today, so I cooked up some Rotini (I used the kind with extra fiber and protein--can't remember the brand name), mixed in the Alfredo sauce, mushrooms, and broccoli, topped it with some shredded mozzarella and Parmesan, and baked it until it was bubbly. (Actually I stuck it in the fridge over night and baked it in the home ec room at 350 for about 40 minutes.) Yum!

Frugal Friday

Lessons from Great Grandma Burrows

Today's Lesson: Don't Go Shopping

Grandma Burrows follows two shopping principles:
  1. Anything you need can be found at the grocery store or the pharmacy.
  2. All shopping should be done on foot.
Consider how these rules could affect your spending habits. How much could you save if you never went to the mall? Or Target? Or Walmart? (And don't even start thinking about Internet shopping--Grandma Burrows has never even seen a computer, let alone shopped on-line.)

And if you could only buy what you could carry home, you'd think a lot harder before you'd toss something into the cart, now wouldn't you? You might be wondering how Grandma purchases things like clothes that you can't buy at White's Foodliner. Well, the answer is, she doesn't. If, like Grandma, you wore the same pair of pants for 40 years, your checkbook balance would look more like Grandma's and less like mine.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pretty girls

These are all pictures of Ella, Anya, Ally, and Emilia on Easter morning. Emilia was trying to get Ryan's coffee in this last picture. She threw up most of the night but seemed fine by Easter morning.

Ella slept on the futon in Grandma's toy room. She got up in the morning and reported that she couldn't sleep a wink because there was something small and hard in the bed, and no matter which way she turned, she could still feel it. Can you tell her favorite story is The Princess and the Pea?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Grandpa Bob!

Today is Grandpa Bob's birthday. Ella drew this picture of a candy machine to wish him a happy birthday. She says the candy from this machine is even better than Dairy Queen, so it must be pretty darn good!

Monday, April 13, 2009


A favorite Burrows family tradition is topless Easter egg decorating. Grandma Apple told the kids they could do whatever they wanted with their eggs...

I don't think she was expecting Ashton to do this.

Ally decided to drink the dye. At least she didn't try to eat the dye tablets like she did last year.

Here's Preston playing outside in the rain.

Grandma Burrows and Emilia.

Sunday afternoon the kids couldn't wait to hunt more eggs. Grandma Apple always makes it into a scavenger hunt. Chandler's was really hard--he had to know math and history, and be able to find the eggs.

Emilia has developed separation anxiety. If someone else is holding her and I walk by, she reaches out for me. She cries when I leave the room. She's gotten really picky about who holds her. Grandma Apple can only hold her facing out so she doesn't know who has her. She's pretty iffy about Grandpa Larry, and she's absolutely terrified of Uncle Stacy. She screams whenever she gets near him. Ryan tried to hand her to Stacy when she was asleep, and she still cried. Does Uncle Stacy smell? We don't know.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hunting Easter Eggs in the Rain

Saturday was the Elkhart Easter egg hunt, and even though it was raining, we loaded up all the cousins to find some eggs. (Except for Emilia--she stayed in Rolla with Daddy.) It was pretty rainy. Of course, our kids have all grown up in Kansas, so they think rain is a fun novelty. Here's Ella and Ashton sharing an umbrella. Poor Grandma Apple spent the whole time worrying that someone would get an eye poked out by the umbrella.
See the rain drops on this egg?

Here's Anya with her eggs.

Here's Ashton.

Preston and Ella hunted eggs together. It was a good thing, too. Ella needed Preston to defend her when other kids tried to take her eggs. (Based on the people we saw, I think there must have been a rumor that there would be meth in the eggs.)

Poor Ella just lacks the killer instinct needed to do well at an Easter egg hunt. She lets the other kids push past her, so she only found four eggs. And then she dropped one, and somebody took it from her. (She redeemed herself at the Sunday School Easter egg hunt--sort of. Her teacher told us that Ella found "the lion's share" of the Easter eggs. Ella later told us she was the only kid in Sunday School.)

Luckily one of the eggs Ella found was a good one--she won this Easter basket!

Here's a picture of Ella and Emilia on Easter morning. I'll get more pictures posted later.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Frugal Friday

Lessons from
Grandma and Grandpa

It may have taken a recession to make the rest of the country discover the value of frugality, but Grandma and Grandpa have been living on less for years. Who better to teach us ways to stretch a dollar? Today's lesson:

Just because you have a car doesn't mean you have to drive it.

Grandma drives (or rather doesn't drive) a 1998 Mercury Sable. Last time we checked, it had 12,000 miles. If Grandma needs to go somewhere, she walks. If the weather's uncooperative, she just stays home.

Now if a 90-year-old grandma can walk to the grocery store, can't you? Consider doing a few errands on foot, and soon, like Grandma and Grandpa, you'll be watching the Weather Channel with some extra change in your wallet.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The first signs of spring

It was finally nice enough to play outside.
We found the first grape hyacinth....

And the first dandelion.

Here's Ella playing.

Emilia started sitting up independently (without leaning on her hands) today. Pictures to follow later.

Grammar Geek

As I was watching The Real Housewives of New York City Last night, I noticed the housewives repeatedly committing the same grammar faux-pas: saying that they feel badly for one another. For example, Kelly told Bethenny she thought Bethenny's behavior at the charity meeting was innappropriate, and Kelly felt badly for her.

Here's the deal, ladies. When you use "feel" to refer to emotions, it functions as a linking verb rather than an action verb; it should therefore be followed by a predicate adjective, not an adverb. So you feel bad for someone, not badly. If you feel badly, that means you're trying to touch something but not doing a very good job.

So housewives, please, when you're being condescending and catty, tell one another you feel bad for them--just like I feel bad for you for being so shockingly self-centered.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Thoughts on the Internet

Last week, I spent two days without Internet access at my fingertips, one day at home, one day at school. Now mind you, these were separate days, so I was never completely without Internet access; I just didn't always have it when I wanted it. Here are just some random musings on the experience.
  • Being without the Internet makes me nervous. I get this jittery feeling in the pit of my stomach. I'm not sure what I'm nervous about--missing out on something, I guess.
  • I use the Internet for lots of little things that I don't even think about but I miss when the Internet is down--checking the weather, for example. Remember when you had to watch the news to see the weather forecast? Online forecasts really are a luxury.
  • I send a lot of email. A lot.
  • Without the Internet, my computer seems almost worthless. At school, attendance and grades are both Internet based, so with Internet access, there was really no reason for me to even turn my computer on.
  • I have lots of habits that are based on the computer: I eat my breakfast while checking email. I feed the baby while reading blogs. Every time I walk by the home computer, I check for new mail. At school, when I hear the "ding" that tells me I have new email, I start thinking of reasons to walk by computer to see if it's important.
  • What did we do before high speed Internet? It's only been four or five years since we got rid of dial-up. I can't imagine going back.
  • When I graduated from high school, most people weren't even using the Internet. I remember using gopher to search on line. Everything was text based back then. Netscape Navigator (remember that?) was groundbreaking. My email was text based for years after that. It seems like a whole different world.
  • My husband contends that social networking sites make people anti-social. What he means is, "Get off that computer and do the dishes."
  • I haven't been on Facebook very long, and I'm already starting to think of my life in status updates. Pathetic, huh?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Today's reading assignment

If you want to get all warm fuzzy weapy, go read this:

Necessity is the mother of all invention

So I had this idea that was going to make me rich (especially once I got my father-in-law in on it)--teething jewelry. Emilia is constantly gnawing on my necklaces, which can't be good for the jewelry or the baby. On Sunday, Emilia's mouth turned blue after she gummed the dye off one of my friend's necklaces.

The solution? Jewelry for moms that's indestructible and safe for babies to chew on. It's genius, huh? After weeks of saying, "Someone ought to make this," I finally decided to google it. Turns out, several companies make it. The good news is I've already ordered a necklace. The bad news is that, once again, I discover I have no unique ideas.

Now here's an idea that hasn't been developed yet, at least as far as I know: a nebulizer holder. Emilia is currently taking Pulmicort twice a day and Xoponex three times a day. That's a lot of time holding the nebulizer in front of her face. A lot of time. I don't have a lot of time. I've tried rigging a stuffed animal to hold the nebulizer, but it just doesn't work very well. I need a stuffed animal (or something) specifically designed to hold the nebulizer and point it at my baby's face.

So here's my plea: I'm just a visionary. Someone steal my idea. Get rich off my idea. Make my life easier. Please.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lily finds love

Now we know what was wrong with Lily--she needed love, and she's found it. Leanne, be careful; Lily's movin' in on your man.

Brent, Lily wants to know what you're doing for supper tomorrow.

Easter Egg Hunt Pics

The community Easter egg hunt was this afternoon. Ella loved getting her face painted. She didn't find many Easter eggs, but the face painting and cookie decorating made up for it. (At least, that's what I told her. She might feel differently.) This picture also shows how she's still recovering from the time she turned the scissors on herself in February. (And yes, I'm still a little hacked about it. I know all kids cut their hair at least once, but this was her second time.)

This is Ella's friend Addison with her face painted.

Here's Ella ready to go hunt eggs.

Emilia discovered a love for Corner Express drinks--or at least the cups they come in.

For more Easter egg hunt pictures, check out our Sunday School blog.