right now

right now

Apr 9, 2011

New Day- New Food!

Huge sigh of relief here about last night's "ball drop".  Enough said about that, I'm exhausted from dwelling on it.

On to more FOOD!  Thanks everyone for the tips on rutabagas and turnips, they were a success!  I made a crock pot style root veggie stew, but put just enough meat in there to calm the family down :)

Potatoes, Turnips, Rutabagas, Carrots, Onions, Celery - YUM!

Lesson learned - look for small turnips!  The ones they had at the commissary were huge and very woody, but the few small ones were very good and I snacked on them raw as I was preparing dinner.  The rutabagas added nice color.  At first I was skeptical when I saw they resembled sweet potatoes (I do NOT like sweet potatoes, unless made into fries with sea salt, and even then...) but they didn't taste like sweet potatoes.  The kids tried them all, since it's hard to tell them apart after cooking, LOL!  

I am now hopping on the rutabaga & turnip train!   I would have added parsnip too but there weren't any at the store.  What's next?  Conquering rhubarb?!

Apr 8, 2011

can't think straight...

Warning, I need to rant to get on with my regularly scheduled day...
I'm trying really hard to not dwell on things I cannot control, but it looks like we will need the garden more than ever this year, and maybe a tent!  An agreement has not been reached on the spending bill as of right now, and it appears to be too late for the military pay due to us on the 15th.  I just checked, it's already been submitted to our banks and is less than half the amount due to us.  The latest news coming in is that the survivors' death benefit to our fallen service members will not be paid either.  I am angry, worried, stressed and now distrustful and ashamed of the government that my husband and I spent and are spending years to protect.  It is unbelievable to me the feeling that comes from putting your life on the line for NOTHING, truly nothing - no pay and a government that we no longer trust for allowing this to happen.  The average enlisted member makes between 20-45K a year, and has a one-income family, let that sink in.  Not because the spouse doesn't "want" to work, but who wants to hire a military spouse when they may be leaving soon or has an upcoming spouse deployment and must be available to raise the family?  Most jobs that will hire spouses are in the high turnover retail and service industry and only pay minimum wage, certainly not enough to pay for daycare and still allow the extra care and attention that children of deployed parents need.  I have never complained about this, nor do I know many other spouses who have, it's simply what we do and we accept it and make it work and even love supporting our spouses by being at home so they can concentrate on whatever task is at hand for them.  I am so tired of hearing about how people with family incomes of 40-60+K a year have such a hard time making ends meet, I would feel rich if I had money like that!  Our service members put their lives on the line yet many are on public assistance programs as well.  

Here is the bright side of things - we have family that will love and support us whatever the future holds, we will never be homeless - but I can't help but think of the thousands of military families who for whatever reason joined the military to get away from family/childhood/relationships that were destructive, they joined to make a new life for themselves and do not have the same people they can rely on that we do.  At least I can pack up the kids and go home, not sure how my parents would feel about the crowded house LOL, but I know they are there in any way we need.  As for hubby, well, he'd be sleeping on the ship, I would think that's the least the government could do to keep him working for free is to give him bunk!

I understand many of you are affected in many ways, I can only muse about our thoughts being  a military family, and the fact that there is no furlough for us, no daddy being home to take care of the kids while I go try to find a job, only that he has to go to work tomorrow morning and every day after that, surrounded by hazmat, weapons, a dangerous flight line and possible deployment for no pay...

I hate hearing the news reports but can't seem to switch off the t.v....

One more thing and I'm done ranting... if I hear ONE MORE person interviewed complaining that they are having to cancel their vacation because of this I'm going to scream!  I feel badly for our park service employees this is affecting, but I am tired of the wanna-be vacationing morons on the sidewalk they are interviewing.

Okay, I feel better now...  on to another subject!

the seedlings really need to be planted - I'm kind of rushing their hardening off!

Below, the Hosta are up!

I can't wait to stop pacing long enough to catch up on some of your blogs, I really need some good news and pictures of farm babies!  :)

Just heard of a free concert at the Performing Arts Center here this evening put on by our area's youth... we'll be there!  Sounds like an excellent coping strategy for the time being - music, kids playing music, listening to music with my family, and free!

Apr 6, 2011

Post #2 News in case you were wondering...

I've been asked a few times about the possibility of the military not being paid as a result of the what looks to be imminent government shutdown.  I don't like to speculate about such things as I was in the service the last time this happened in the 90's and we did indeed get paid, with a budget pass at the last minute.  It appears though, that this time things may be a bit more serious.

Here's the latest on what's going on:

Report: Shutdown would hurt military families - Navy News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq - Navy Times

Basically, military personnel would indeed get paid next payday, but it would only include pay through April 8th, and no pay after that.

What the government is doing is absolutely insane.  The military must report to work just the same every single day, no furlough or any other stuff that other government employees get.  Let this sink in... that means we have personnel that will die on active duty fighting a war and not get paid for work that day - not only will their families have to deal with deployment, but also their sacrifice will get them the pleasure of having to call the mortgage company to say they can't pay, or not be able to buy groceries.  Most of us live paycheck to paycheck, we don't have "matching" plans in our 401K's, things that many take for granted.  Please send your good thoughts and wishes out to the military members and the families they support.  We need them!  They have til Friday night...Pass that budget!

Field Trip!

Yes, I went to the grocery store the other day, but it was really just a stop-gap Trader Joe's trip to get the ever-needed milk and some other essentials (can you believe milk is cheaper there?!).  I've been putting off the "real" trip as long as possible, since I've been using up much of what was hiding in the cabinets, it always amazes me how much I actually have when I root around in there.  I also hate grocery shopping with a passion, so I put it off as long as possible, but every 8 weeks or so, I have to do this, in between are just visits for milk and lunchbox items I run out of often with the boys.

Today was the day, and I'm taking you with me to visit the base commissary, and what a strange trip it was...  I am always amazed at what packaging and items are offered these days, and they seem to get "stoopider" every week.

Some of you may uber familiar with base commissaries, but for those that aren't, well, now you know :)

It's less than a mile from my house, the entrance seems innocuous enough -

Just around the bend, here it is!  It's huge, think of a S@m's on steroids but not club pack stuff, all regular grocery stuff.  Not all commissaries are this big, but we have 3 in our metro area that are all this size.  We are the largest Naval base in the world and every service is represented, with thousands of retirees in the area, so they stay busy.  The parking lot below was when I entered right at opening time, by the time I left an hour later people were stopped in the lots with their blinkers on, just waiting for people to leave so they could have their spot.  Pity the fool who actually tries to shop here on military payday, ooooh, it's bad!

The first thing I chuckled at - watermelons in April :)

Then I passed the lazy food shelves, you know, for the people that "kinda wanna eat healthy, but can't seem to eat fruit the regular way"... LOL it's squeezable fruit and pre-sliced apples!  Anyone shake their heads at this stuff when they see it?

Oh look!  Sweet Corn in April :)

I'll admit this one stopped me in my tracks...

Really?  Was the minced stuff in the jar too much trouble so now it has to be squeezable? Like the squeezable yogurt, LOL.  Someone actually saw me take this photo and it was pretty funny, they were looking around them like maybe someone was filming Army Wives.  Nope, just a blogger.

So what do I buy in the produce section?  I would love to be able to say I buy nothing, but I can't grow and store enough root vegetables in my climate so I do have to purchase potatoes and onions, as well as apples.  I added rutabaga and turnips today with a couple of ginger and horseradish roots today.  I can honestly say I haven't purchased any bell peppers, hot peppers, salad greens or tomatoes in several years now, so that's progress at least.

One new addition to the store I am really digging...

Another "like" is that we have lots of ethnic foods at the commissary as well as hard to find varieties of veggies.  We have lots of foreign spouses and family members that keep the nice selection going.  Notice the mile of rice?!  Huge sacks of every variety imaginable.

Wow... apparently folks need pre-portioned spice recipe packets?  The packaging waste here is what gets me.

You might live in Virginia if...

The checkout line - it wraps from that sign all the way down the other end and back, there's like 40 registers, but it's not as bad as it looks, they are all manned and the line is truly fast.  On payday the line can wrap around the back of the store.

It's not as cheap as you might think, either - some things are a good deal, but we have a "surcharge" added to our total based on the amount of purchase and we of course have to tip the baggers.  They always bag and take everything to the car, but considering how quick they are for how much families buy on one trip here, I think they deserve it.  I really wanted to get a photo of the "rules and regulations" sign at the entrance but they check ID's at the door and somehow I don't think they would think much of my blogging camera :)  Let's just say it's full of stuff you won't see at W@lmart - "no profanity, dress code, uniform regulations, behavior rules, etc", it's kind of amusing when you think about it, but it's not like it's putting a damper on my normal behavior LOL

Now I need your help - rutabagas & turnips!  These are a Minnesota staple, yet this girl has no experience with them!  I'm admitting I need help here, anyone?  What should I do with them?  Mama Pea, I know you would throw a rutabaga at me right now if I were in tossing distance, LOL 

Speaking of throwing things...

once again I tuned in too late, don't know who she is but she's rockin' the dress again-

thought I'd give you a laugh...

yours truly, doing my impersonation of her... that is as dressed up as I ever get, I'll have you know!

So there went my whole day, I somehow think sewing won't be in the cards for awhile now.  Back to garden work for the foreseeable future, 7 day forecast is normal for us finally... 70 days, 55 nights - that's what it should be, but hasn't been!

Apr 5, 2011

Just food...

Definitely no gardening today.  I woke up to a severe thunderstorm warning and winds gusting over 50 mph, so this food will have to suffice for a garden post, there's a little of the garden in each one, we are quickly getting down to the bottom of our freezer and canning stash of veggies.

More bangers & mash - this is quickly becoming a staple around here, but I'm soon going to have to sub out those potatoes for salad and Guinness for water since this dinner will definitely sneak up on waistlines before we have time to even notice!  Bangers & Salad?!  Not sure if the Irish in me will be able to handle that.  This one just has frozen onions from the garden and fresh parsley.

This bread was not as good as it looks, LOL.  It was kind of doughy still in the middle but I had a feeling it would be since I waited so long to start it, then at 6:30 pm with it still trying to cool the kids were "starving" so we had to slice it!  This one had fresh basil, peppercorn & parmesan.  Those are my freeze-ahead stuffed shells which makes dinner prep fast, they have my canned tomato sauce in them and fresh basil (those poor basil seedlings are taking a beating!), also still trying to eat to the end of the frozen garden bean supply.

This was a nice surprise at dinner last night...

  After hurriedly getting the kids ready for school this morning before we lost power, I decided that the library and sewing would be the perfect way to spend the day, since the driving sheets of rain and 40+ mph winds were expected to last all day, with temps dropping like a rock after noon.  Was 80 yesterday, tonight in the 30's?  A.D.D weather...

I did get to the library first thing, and this is what's on the reading agenda this week...

and then life got in the way of my sewing plans... I realized we were low on milk and a few other things so that turned into a whole grocery shopping ordeal and literally rained on my sewing parade.  When I got home, I had exactly 1.5 hours left before Thing 1 and Thing 2 get home from school, and that doesn't leave me with enough time to properly get any sewing planned or started, so I decided to do some more cooking:


I made made meatballs!  These are simmering in my canned tomato sauce and canned stewed tomatoes and will be dinner tonight with pasta, and also dinner for hubby to take to work tomorrow.  The rest of the meatballs were quick frozen on a baking sheet and dumped into a bag for ready-use later.  I'm trying really hard to always cook ahead and store things, since it helps keep us from eating out on busy nights.  I'm hoping if I do this for long enough it will just become habit and I'll forget all about my favorite salad bar and sandwich place in town!

So no sewing, just cooking... think of me this way:
 (I'm still so puzzled by her!)
yeah, right! 

One more thing, we are resuming family reading tonight!  We were working our way through the Little House series before hubby left for deployment.  These were my favorite books as a child, and when I found out hubby hadn't read them, it became top priority to inflict my passion on those around me!  He was enjoying them so much while we read to the kids nightly, that when he left for the Middle East I stopped at the end of 'Farmer Boy', and waited for him to return so he wouldn't miss any.  So tonight we begin 'By the Shores of Silver Lake'... I can't wait!  When I was a kid I loved Laura Ingalls, but now that I'm all grown up, I love reading these over again this time channeling my Ma Ingalls, now that woman knows how to homestead!  :)

Apr 4, 2011

Talking to the plants again...

"Listen weeds, I spent 8 hours with you today and only covered about 75 sq feet.  A girl gets a lot of thinking done while scooting around for that long.  I've been silent long enough.  

A poor attempt at grass you are here-

Okay, now I realize that a weed is "just a plant out of place", or "a plant in an undesirable location", or any of the other technical descriptions you can dream up, but hey - read between the lines, why don't you?  You are unwanted!

Just look at yourselves, I mean, really?

Weed, don't even try to feed me any of your "you can make wine and salad from me" B.S. - if I am going to let someone get me drunk, newsflash, it ain't gonna be you, so go, neither the time nor the inclination...

Oh yay, here's you doing your impersonation of a snuggli for my birdbath...

Here's you again, impersonating a wanted plant... take this Sheen-ism, "not winning"...

See that space I call a lawn out there?  That's your space, I don't care what you do out there...

What's that, weed?  You ask why the below plant infiltrating my perennials was spared?  Oh, look, it's parsley - that's why you dumb weed, "winning"!

Oh, look at what you were suffocating here... a beautiful creeping plant of mine - take note, a plant with an even growth rate, note the absence of scrubby highs and lows...


I can't even compost you, since you don't have enough restraint to stop producing seed for even a week

I'm giving you permission to take a vacation!  Go ahead, go somewhere nice, Switzerland, maybe?  Get some work done on yourself while you're there, I hear they do great things.  Who knows?  If you show up next year Hollywood-ready, I may be able to help you out."

got weeds?

I sure do.  After the last 7+ days of temps in the upper 30's and low 40's, rain, hail, and sleet - I woke up to temps of 60ยบ at 7 am today, woohoo!  You know where I'll be all day...

pulling weeds!