Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trotwood's favorites

Every night before Trotwood goes to bed, we read stories to him. He has a bookshelf full of all sorts of books that Mr. Rochester and I have acquired for him, including ones that we used to have when we were younger. And, yet, despite the ever-growing library of children's literature that appears on his bookshelves, Trotwood really only has interest in the following books:
For the longest time, I'm Looking for a Monster! was the only book Trotwood wanted to read. His favorite books are pop-up and touch-and-feel books and this one is a pop-up book. All of the pictures are also done in colors that contrast each other like black and red or black and lime green or black and turquoise. This book has actually gotten so much love that a few of the monsters have been torn and one of the monsters is actually torn completely off. Since it was such a favorite of Trotwood's, I've considered buying a newer copy just to have on hand.



We discovered Matthew Van Fleet books one day at Barnes & Noble when looking to see what kinds of pop-up books are out there. One of Trotwood's aunts bought him the Heads book for Christmas and we bought him the Alphabet book, also as a Christmas present. Although these books are a little pricey, they are definitely worth it. The art is wonderful as are the different interactive parts of the books. We recently discovered a Dogs book by Matthew Van Fleet. Since Trotwood is completely obsessed with dogs, I think this might be a good birthday present!

Someone gave us this Baby McDonald on the Farm book. Honestly, it's not my favorite book but Trotwood adores it. He loves the pictures of the farm animals and it's also another touch-and-feel book.


And just recently, Trotwood has started watching TV! I don't know if this is awful of me or not, but I'm so happy about that. Because now when I need to empty the dishwasher or cook dinner, I can put on a DVD for him to watch and he will actually sit down and watch it! This keeps me from worrying about whether he's "helping" put away the clean knives while I've got my back turned putting dishes away. Pretty much the only time we park him in front of the TV is if we're desperate to get a few things around the house done. It doesn't always work though because most of the time, he'd much rather be outside.We're not sure how this happened, but somehow, Trotwood discovered Elmo. I swear, one morning, he just woke up with the word "Elmo" on his lips. Months ago, Mr. Rochester and I had purchased The Best of Elmo's World, Volume 2 but we'd given up on that after many failed attempts. So, it had truly been months since Elmo's name had been mentioned in our house. Anyhow, he absolutely loves Elmo now and it might be about time for us to get The Best of Elmo's World, Volume 1.
Trotwood's other favorite movie right now is Bolt. Of course, he loves it because it is about a dog, but it is also very action-packed. Actually, it's a really cute movie. We're trying to get him to delve into other dog movies but usually he just wants to watch Bolt.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tornado Warnings!

Usually, I don't get all worked up whenever I hear about tornado warnings in our area. However, in light of the awful tragedy in Joplin, which is only a short distance from us, and an email that was sent out at the University yesterday entitled Today's Storm Potential, I began to consider the possibility that our area here could be hit by a tornado. Truthfully, I think the email is what really worried me. The email came from a local fire department that had participated in a weather webinar where the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stated that last night it was very likely our area would see "long lived, violent tornadoes..that multiple super cells will form and produce violent tornadoes with hail potentially the size of a baseball to softball, followed by a large squall line with intense thunderstorms, lightning, and heavy rainfall...the National Weather Service is predicting that today will produce the worst storms to date for our general area for this year." Now, I don't know about you, but that all sounded pretty darn scary to me and it was all supposed to begin in our area around 8 pm last night.

After discussing the potential awfulness headed our way, Mr. Rochester and I decided we would stay up late so we could be informed about any change in our climate situation. Usually, we'd just go to bed and let the thunder and lightning lull us to sleep. Around 9:30 pm last night we started loading supplies in Trotwood's bathroom, which is in the innermost part of our house. Once we'd gotten a few of life's necessities stowed away in the bathroom, we decided to go ahead and use the space available in our linen closet, which is the only other space in our house that doesn't share an outside wall and has a door. You may laugh at this, and that's okay, but I threw aside many of the linens in the closet and instead stowed away many things near and dear to our hearts that would be impossible to replace like photographs, scrapbooks, etc. Doing this reminded me of a time when I was kid and for some reason, I just knew our house was going to burn down so I packed all of my belongings in plastic grocery stores bags and set them by my bedroom door so I could grab them and run as soon as that fire started. Of course, our house didn't burn down and I eventually had to unpack my things, but the point is, I was prepared, and that's what Mr. Rochester and I were trying to do last night - to just be prepared! Anyway, last night it was a little unreal for Mr. Rochester and me to walk around our home with the uncertainty that we might not be seeing the walls of our home again the next morning.

Earlier that day, I'd had a traumatic experience at the dentist's office (any visit to the dentist, aside from a regular cleaning, is a bit traumatic for me - I rate dental work along the same lines as childbirth), and by 10:30 pm, I was exhausted. I collapsed on our bed and fell asleep while Mr. Rochester stoically sat by the television to hear of our impending doom and report it as soon as it was upon us. An hour later, I was awoken by phone alerts of tornado warnings in our county - we had three such warnings between 10 pm and 1 am. I got out of bed and paced around with Mr. Rochester until about 12:30 am when the tornado warnings for our county had all been cancelled. Then, we went to bed, grateful the storms had missed us while our hearts went out to those to the north and south of us who had been hit by recent tornadoes. We slept peacefully for the next six hours until Trotwood's oh-so-patient-yells woke us from our slumber. *yawn*

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cornbread Lover

Ever since my freshman year in college, I have been trying to find a really good cornbread recipe. When I was growing up, my mom would make fabulous cornbread by just slapping things together in the kitchen and I grew to love a good cornbread. Of course, I have not yet developed that talent of throwing ingredients together in a pan and producing a masterpiece - I still need to use good old-fashioned recipes, of which many are found on the good, old-fashioned internet! Many of my attempts to make cornbread have been disasters where the bread didn't cook all the way through and the entire bread pan turned out to be a big pile of mush. Another disaster involved me accidentally using a large portion of salt instead of the required amount of sugar. I believe the salt incident happend my freshman year of college, perhaps some of my old roommates will remember that debacle - I'm sure, at the time, I was sufficiently dramatic about my kitchen disaster.

Finally, I have found a wonderful cornbread recipe that goes perfectly with a nice pot of beans, which is just what we ate for dinner last night! I can't believe I haven't blogged about this cornbread recipe before. It wasn't too long ago that I discovered it and ever since then, it's the only cornbread that has graced our kitchen. It is Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread by the Barefoot Contessa and it is deeeelicious! Try it and you will never go back...unless you're just in the mood for plain cornbread...or sweet cornbread...both of which I am still searching for the perfect recipe.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Becoming a domestic goddess

On Tuesday night, I tried out a new spaghetti and meatballs recipe. Originally, Mr. Rochester was going to make this dish and he bought all the ingredients for it. It's finals week, Mr. Rochester is swamped, we needed dinner and I volunteered to cook the meal.

This spaghetti and meatballs recipe comes from our America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family cookbook. So far, we have enjoyed most of the recipes from this cookbook, especially because when we cook from it, we feel good about ourselves in the thought that we are at least trying to eat more healthily (of course, what I really need to do is cut out all the cake and chocolate that I like to eat on the side). However, these recipes are notorious for taking a long time to make. Despite the simplicity of a recipe for spaghetti and meatballs, this recipe would live up to the infamy of the last few we've made in taking a long time to make.

Because of a confusing note in the cookbook about which kinds of ground turkey to buy, Mr. Rochester made the mistake of buying turkey breast cutlets instead of ground turkey. I discovered this mistake after I'd already started making dinner and I didn't just want to throw everything away but I no clue how to make meatballs with turkey breast cutlets until...I remembered that somewhere tucked away, I had my grandmother's old meat grinder attachment to the old kitchen aid she used to have which I now use on a regular basis. After a few minutes of digging around in my kitchen, I found the attachment, cleaned it, googled how to use it and let me tell you, folks, much to my surprise and delight, I successfully ground up turkey breast cutlets to use in meatballs!

During the entire time I was trying to figure out my dilemma with the meat and the meat grinder, Trotwood needed something every five minutes and goodness it's hard to ignore those persistent screams to pay attention to him! I tried putting on 101 Dalmatians for him to watch but he won't watch anything for more than five minutes except Bolt, so after 45 minutes or so of an unhappy Trotwood, Bolt once again made his appearance on our television screen.

And so, three hours after beginning the spaghetti and meatballs, Mr. Rochester and I sat down to eat it. By this time, Trotwood had eaten something else and long been in bed. I was exhausted and you know what? It was alright. The food was tasty and I realized the next time I wanted to make that recipe, I'd make sure I wouldn't have to grind my own meat for meatballs. But in case I need to, I now know how to do it, which is just one more thing I can check off on the proverbial list to becoming a domestic goddess.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The apron

Trotwood to the rescue!

Trotwood has recently taken a liking to an apron we bought in Spain that Mr. Rochester likes to wear when he is cooking. Mr. Rochester recently most prominently displayed the apron on Mother's Day when he cooked a delicious dinner of pea and asparagus risotto. The dish, another one of those that takes awhile to make, was absolutely delicious. I think risotto is in my top five meals of dishes-I-never-want-to-do-without-and-should-make-more-often.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A sad day

Mr. Rochester's dad passed away this morning. Even though we've known for a year that this day would come, it is still so very sad. I'm so very grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the knowledge that we will all be reunited again someday.

We appreciate all the thoughts and prayers that have been directed towards us over the last year since we found out he had cancer. The funeral will be on Tuesday.

I have a few blog posts that I'd already scheduled to post over the next few days but I just wanted to let our friends and family know what was going on.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kashi Deliciousness

Yesterday, I ate this for lunch. I wish I had another one today! It's the first time I've tried one of Kashi's entrees and I can't wait to try some more. The Mayan Harvest Bake is only 340 calories and it is packed with fiber and protein. And it only cost around $3.50.

Mr. Rochester and I like to buy Kashi frozen pizzas to keep in case we're in a hurry and don't want to spend the money to eat out. We've haven't tried them all but so far, our favorite is the Mediterrean.

Planting

A few weeks ago, Mr. Rochester and I decided it was time we tackled the flower bed in front of our house. So, one Saturday we bought some mulch and some different plants and shrubs to plant and thought, "Oh, all we'll need to do is pull up a few weeds and we'll be ready to plant. However, the flower bed had other ideas. Apparently, we had actual grass growing in the flower bed...grass that was growing through old weed control fabric that had been put down who knows when! Plus, there were huge roots to old shrubs under the old weed control fabric. I battled some nasty weeds for awhile. Here I am holding up my prize.
Trotwood is just happy to be outside. We planted all sorts of different green and flowering shrubs and a few different decorative type plants. Although I feel that owning a house is making me more domesticated, I still cannot tell you from memory the names of the plants we planted aside from boxwood and rhododendron.
It took us a few weeks to find the time to finish our flowerbed and Mr. Rochester and I are really pleased with how it turned out. Also, we no longer feel like our yard is the complete shame of the neighborhood...although we still have a weedy yard and a tree that needs to come down. All in good time, I say.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Easter

I know I'm a week or two late, but we had a wonderful Easter! On Saturday, we met with some friends and had an Easter egg hunt at the church. Of course, the hunt was supposed to take place outside but due to the constant downpour, we moved the hunt inside.

At first, Trotwood wasn't quite sure what to do with the eggs. However, once he figured out there was candy inside the plastic eggs, he wasn't as interested in acquiring more eggs as he was in breaking open and shoving candy into his mouth with the ones he already had.

On Sunday, we had a visit from the Easter bunny. That's him below. He lives in our backyard under our shed and amazingly enough, he made an appearance on Easter Sunday between rainstorms, of course. (For those of you wondering if I am serious, I am - this rabbit actually does live in our backyard under our shed.)
As you can see, Trotwood cleaned up on Easter morning!
Once we began our Easter Egg hunt in our living room, Trotwood cracked open his plastic eggs and went to town on the jelly beans inside. Since he doesn't often eat candy, we let him spoil himself that morning. Notice his cheeks full of jelly beans as he reaches for another egg.
Then we went to church...and Trotwood had no nap before our 1 pm church. And guess who gets to be in nursery with him. Yep, that's me. A few months ago I was called as nursery worker. And can I just say that I think my child was not the only one who'd eaten lots of sugar and had no nap before church that Easter Sunday. Boy, did we have a fun and noisy bunch!

Weather

We've had some some pretty crazy weather around here lately. This was our backyard a week ago. Outside of the Philippines, I have honestly never seen so much rain in all of my life. And not just rain, but constant thunder and lightning! It was just unbelievable. The school here even closed at the very end of the day last Monday because we'd gotten so much rain, roads and buildings were flooding. Lucky for us, we (and all of our loved ones) avoided the awful flooding and tornadoes that hit this part of the South.

Most of the time during the storms, Trotwood had his nose pressed against our glass door leading to the backyard. The thunder and lightning didn't scare him a bit - he just wanted to go outside and play! And between thunderstorms, I would have considered letting him go splash around our lake of a backyard had it not been so cold. Thankfully, we have a bright, sunshiney day outside today. Ever notice how people's moods seem to be affected by the weather? I swear, it was one gloomy week at work when we were having all those downpours and now, with the sun out, everyone seems to be much cheerier! I sure am.

{On a side note, I absolutely love our neighbor's red metal roof...}