Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Working hard...

So in May I decided to switch teams at work, because most of my work is in the contracting/construction area, so I switched to the construction team.  Makes sense, right?

They've been asking me off and on to switch for years.  At one point I decided to switch, but since I was pregnant at the time, they told me to hold off.  After that, I just decided to stay where I was.

Now I am having major buyers remorse about the move.  I have moved to a team where the managers there do NOT want me.  I figured it wouldn't bother me much, because pretty much my whole life I have been around people who were rude and/or passive aggressive.  But, I guess the fact is after going to work and being around negativity all day, it's hard to come home and be around more of it.

Like with friends and neighbors make snide remarks that normally you let slide, those things bother me now.  And I think it is because I come home and am spent and have little patience left in the tank for my family.

It is Tuesday and the house is empty this morning.   I am feeling sad since none of the kids came and gave me a hug good-bye, it is supposed to be 110 degrees this week (disgusting!), and the world sucks.

The world always sucks, but lately with the violence and cop-killings, my gut hurts more.  I got stuck in protest traffic last Wednesday for two and a half hours.  On a bus.  The blessing that came out of that was I had a wonderful conversation with the black women sitting next to me.  She wanted all those people to be arrested and was talking to me about her life and how she had always been treated by people growing up.  You see, she had a white grandmother, so she was never black enough for her friends.  Her grandmother was Italian and she loved her grandmother dearly.   She said she got picked on all the time, called all sorts of names, didn't talk "right" and so she always made friends with other kids.  She wished me a "beautiful life" and she told me that it never expires.  We talked about work, had some connections there, life, gardening, and the cows that sometimes break out of her neighbors fence, get into her garden, and eat her plants.  I was really glad I had her to talk to for the hour and a half we just sat there.  I hope I see her again someday, but I doubt it, since after that day, she said she is going to avoid the bus and downtown Minneapolis for awhile.

Well, as usual, Tuesday is the day I get to kick my own ass.  But, this afternoon may be fun.  I have to go upstairs, start on chores, make Evan's birthday cupcakes, go pick up Evan for an 11:30 ortho appointment (poor boy, his first of very very many I am afraid), but then I may take him to see a movie.  It's his birthday week after all!  There is also a special family fun night tonight in Blaine from 6-8 with bouncy houses for free, so maybe I will take him to that too.

It is simply too hot this week to mow lawn, so we will probably let it grow.  After all the yard work I did last week, I am really not into it today.

Chris leaves for a week on Sunday, and I am always nervous about anyone flying anywhere, but now twice as nervous with all these terrorist attacks.  I know God's in control but it doesn't feel like He is.  It is the County Fair too next week, so he won't be around for that, so I am wondering if we will go, unless we go on Friday, which I don't really want to do given how busy it is.

Nathan's bday parties and a trip to the Dells...

Evan got to have a friend over this year for Nathan's party he had with friends, so that was nice.  Thanks Ashton for coming!  

We also had a get-together with the Johnson family...and Ken's bday is right around the same time, so he had to blow out the candles too.

In November we took a long weekend and went back to the Dells.  Hopefully this year we would have no sickness...ha!  

I think I may have blogged about how Nathan got sick, and Glen passed away on our way to the Dells...see this post for that detail:  Fierce 2016

Anyways, here are some pics from the trip.  The boys made me two Mooses!  Well, they made their own mooses, but they sure were fun to haul around!

Hanging out in the room...we didn't take as many pictures this time...we mostly just enjoyed the vacation...

We go to where we have a full kitchen so we don't have to eat out, spend money, or get dressed.  Love doing this!

The boys enjoy the bunk beds.  First they argue over who gets the top.  Then they argue over who gets the bottom.  Then they get scared and end up sleeping in the same spot anyways.

Nathan was finally tall enough this year to do the body slides by himself...he must have gone up and down 30 times one day...

On the way back home they were a little tired...Mommy and Daddy wanted a rest too!! 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Fall photo shoot

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves on these...

My favorite one!

Jeffrey is like, "i ain't chillin' with these guys!"

Mom don't make us hug!!!

This area is the woods in the back of our house.  I love it, and will miss it dearly when we move...

Boys with toys.  I do not understand the appeal...most be a boy thing.

Friday, July 8, 2016

My own lettuce wraps

Yesterday after fishing I was picking some veggies in Grandmas garden.  She had beautiful pea pods, perfect radishes, and huge leaves of romaine lettuce.

Chris and I have felt like the holiday weekend was too much indulging, so this week we planned on eating better and no drinking.

So, while I was picking veggies I thought to myself, I should make lettuce wraps out of these.  I know we don't have any ground chicken though, so I could pick some up on the way home.  Well, Chris got in the truck when we were leaving and he said, "we don't have ground chicken, but we do have a lot leftover.  We should just grind up what we have and use that."

So we did!  He came home and ground up the chicken we had (already cooked), and I made lettuce wraps using this recipe below.  I based it off one I found on the internet.  We had one from my SIL, but I couldn't find it...anyways, we decided this one was way better since it was less sweet.

Here we go!

Renee's (Fabulous!) Lettuce Wraps

Olive oil
1 pound ground chicken (we used chicken we had leftover; it was a different texture, more mushy, but still delicious flavor)
1 large onion, diced
2 or 3 small zucchini, peeled and diced
Fresh pea pods
Radishes, sliced very thin
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2/3 cup hoisin sauce (I use a whole small container lots of times...)
2 T rice wine vinegar
1 T ginger
2 T Siracha (I probably added more, since we love spice)
3 T soy sauce (I also added more to this, to taste, because mine was a little dry)
1 can water chestnuts, sliced into small pieces
2 or 3 scallions
Black pepper (with the soy sauce added, you don't really need salt, but taste to check)
Any lettuce you enjoy you can wrap up

So, I browned the chicken in the olive oil, and then added the garlic and onions and cooked until they were done.  I think next time I will brown the chicken, and then cook the garlic and onions separate, and mix together to keep the chicken from over cooking.  Anyways, next I added all the other ingredients except for the pea pods, radishes, and scallions.  I let it all simmer, served in the lettuce and garnished with the pea pods and radishes, which gave it a great crunch.  I am pretty excited to make this again.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Thanksgiving and prep for Christmas

November used to be kind of a quiet month...but now it is jam packed with school, Christmas prep, and holidays at multiple households/locations.  

We always have to start the baking early or it simply won't get done.  I didn't even make some of the things I usually make this year due to a hip injury.  

Here we are dipping cookies and sprinkling...the older boys are getting good at doing this.  

Jeffrey wasn't horrible either...but it took him awhile....

This below picture didn't rotate.  I don't know why.  Anyways, the past two years I have whipped up the classic sugar cookie recipe of my moms, and then I just randomly call her to see if she has a day to come over and bake.

This past year was the first year I baked without any children around (we did it on a Tuesday).  They were a little upset when they got home that they didn't get to sprinkle...but,

Boy did my mom and I have fun!!  We decorated cookies all day, sipped coffee, then brandy, chatted, and had a pizza for lunch.  She wrote me a note when the container came back this year that said, "that was great!  same time next year!"  :-)

Note the cat was there the whole time watching us....

My brother and SIL wanted to do a Turkey Trot this year on Thanksgiving Day.  Chris and I didn't really want to pay big bucks to go jogging...so we just did one around the house, and we made our own t-shirts.  It was fun!  I put a fox on the t-shirt chasing the turkey...so then we called it "Turkey Chase 2015"...

More cookies being made...bonbons!

Classic Turkey Hanging...

The week of Thanksgiving we always take the kids to see Santa and then to DQ for their discounted meal.  Tradition in our house!  

We got another great picture again this year...

Geez these pictures are out of order...here are the Turkey Chasers the day of the race!

This is Jeffrey post Thanksgiving dinner...

This is Jeffrey during Thanksgiving dinner...