Friday, November 19, 2010


My friend April isn't new to blogging, but rather I am new to reading her blog. April and I lived together for just three months back in the autumn of 2000, while I was going to school in Kansas City. We lost touch, but then found each other on Facebook and have started keeping tabs on each other again. She has some wonderful thoughts, and if you read my friends' blogs, I encourage you to read hers (she has two).

And in other "blog link" news..... The deadline is coming for some of you. After so long of not posting anything new, I'll delete the link. Harsh, but true.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stuffed Meatloaf

(And I would like to point out, in case I don't made it clear, that even though this is under the "Rachel's Recipes" category, it is not my recipe.)

Working on the church cookbook had it's advantages and disadvantages.... Advantages: Getting to read and re-read all those delicious recipes. Disadvantages: Getting to read and re-read all those delicious recipes! Depending on what I was working on, I would be craving Texas Caviar, Shrimp Etouffee, Monkey Bread, Double Chocolate Mint Dessert, Corn Casserole, or any other number of things by the time I stepped away from the computer.
One last-minute entry I got was from my friend Sabrina from church. "Stuffed Meatloaf." It got my attention, because we love meatloaf around here, and stuffing it..... Even better!

2 lbs. ground beef
2 large eggs
½ cup parmesan cheese
¼ cup onion
¼ cup bell pepper
1 tbsp. parsley
2 cloves garlic
½ tsp. oregano
½ tsp. basil
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 cup ketchup

Stuffing options:
4 oz. Deli ham or pepperoni slices and 8 oz. mozzarella cheese
Cooked bacon slices and American cheese
Swiss Cheese and mushroom slices
Spinach and ricotta cheese

Oven 350 degrees.
Mix all ingredients together except ketchup, and stuffing options.
Form meat mixture into an 8x10 rectangle.
Lay meat on top and then cheese (or whatever using for a stuffing).
Roll up like a jelly roll.
Place in a loaf pan and coat with ketchup.
Bake 1 ¼ hours
Drain fat. Cool 10 minutes; cut into 8 slices.

I made it two Saturdays ago, and had to make it again this week. Different variations, however, but still.... Pretty delicious.
The first time I made it, we used pepperoni, packaged bacon bits, and shredded cheese (about half Italian blend shredded, and half colby-jack shredded). It was really good, but we shouldn't have bothered with the bacon bits, because the pepperoni flavor took over.
This time, I actually fried bacon (Farmland spicy bbq version), and used American cheese (about 12 slices). I loved it this way. My only screw-up was that somehow I set the oven at 450 instead of 350, and didn't realize it until it had been in an hour. No damage other than a well-done top.
And I refuse to use simply ketchup on top of meatloaf. And despite Paul's repeated requests, I won't use barbeque sauce either. I use ketchup mixed with dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar. Don't ask how much, because I don't know. It's how my Mom did it, so it's how I do it.
And if you try this recipe, a trick to rolling it up: I used a smallish baking sheet with sides, lined it with wax paper, then pressed the meat into it. I arranged the toppings, then picked up the edge of the paper to help me start rolling it. It really helps make it into a neater roll without mangling it.
Oh. And we don't do green peppers in baking. Bleh. Fajitas: yes. Anything baked, boiled, or simmered: no.
The only thing I don't like about this recipe is that it uses two pounds of my precious ground beef. But it makes a big loaf - we have had two meals of it (with green beans and noodles), and there's still some left over. (And that's why I guess I don't mind using two pounds of meat for one dish.)
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! I would like to try all the stuffing options, but I doubt I'll be able to pull off the non-carnivorous options with the males in this household.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Random Thought

I told the story of Nicodemus at Cubbies last night. All through preparing it, I had the hymn "Ye Must Be Born Again" (by William T. Sleeper) stuck in my head. I've known the song forever, and probably learned it as a child.

A ruler once came to Jesus by night
To ask Him the way of salvation and light;
The Master made answer in words true and plain,
“Ye must be born again.”

“Ye must be born again,
Ye must be born again,
I verily, verily, say unto thee,
Ye must be born again.”

It wasn't until tonight, while singing it in the shower, that I realized.... That song is not Scripturally accurate. Twice in John 3, Nicodemus asked, "What do you mean?" If he had to ask Jesus twice, apparently it wasn't "words true and plain."
In our church, there are three "camps" - there's the Hymns Are Gods Chosen Music, the Hymns Are So Old and Irrelavent to Today, and the Why Can't We All Just Get Along? camps. I happen to be part of the last (and I'd say a majority of our church is, too). Even though I'm the worship leader, and 97% of the time, we only do new worship songs (meaning, songs less than 20 years old), I love the old hymns. But I think if someone is going to talk about praise and worship songs being "not Scripturally accurate," that they need to hold their hymns to the same standard. Just because the Church has been singing a song for over a hundred years doesn't mean that the writer couldn't have been just a bit off when he wrote it..... just looking for words that made him feel good, or even for words simply because they rhyme.
And, as an aside - I'd like to point out that I try to only pick out songs that do line up to the Scriptures. There are some I really like, but that aren't accurate (These are the days of Your servant, David, rebuilding the temple of praise. -Days of Elijah) and some that just don't make sense (You are beautiful my sweet, sweet song. -You Are So Good To Me) Some say, "Well, these new worship songs just say the same thing over and over." Well, the original praise and worship songs, the Psalms, do the same thing. Psalm 136, for example: Your faithful love endures forever...... 26 times. (I feel justified when we sing "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever." ☺)
Anyhow. Just a little thought/rant.

And I would like to point out that Jesus did make Himself perfectly clear, later into his conversation with Nicodemus. I think maybe His seemingly strange and evasive answers were to draw a thinker like Nicodemus in, to listen to the heart of His message, which was this:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Daylight Savings Time, How I Hate You.

I think Daylight Savings Time should not be used any more. Really, the reason it was implimented was to use less electricity and get more productivity during World War II. (Am I right on this?) But I've heard that nowadays, with current technology, it does nothing.
Nothing, that is, except completely screw with my children's sleep schedules.
My kids are very solar-minded. (Or whatever you want to call it.) They won't go to bed at night if it's still light outside, and they wake up as soon as the sun begins to light the sky. So you can see why I hate DST. In the summer, it's light until 10 PM for a few weeks. And then in the autumn, after the time changes, they are completely thrown off. Jacob woke up at 5:15 on Sunday.
Add to the Jacob sleeping complication, that he still wants to nurse if he wakes up. So when I go and pick him up, he does somersaults in my arms to try to get under my shirt. This had better end soon. I'm tired of the 2 AM screaming fits.
In other news: I got to enjoy my first taste of wine (or any alcoholic beverage) in four years. That's right: four years. I've either been pregnant, nursing, or "trying" (not preventing) since December of 2006. Actually, I guess we "tried" all of 2006, too, but things weren't happening on their own.
Our friends Josh and Tara came over for supper and brought over a nice bottle of wine. It was really tasty - Paul even said he liked it, and he doesn't like wine. I love the taste of wine, and really enjoyed it. I had two glasses! (Such a lush.)
(And for those of you that know us well, and know we aren't "preventing" - certain female hormonal events are presently occuring, so it's obvious I'm not pregnant, and thereby safe to have a drink.)
I'd like to announce that I would call Nathan completely potty trained. Ecstatic! Although, I told Paul I'm not sure I should consider any kid completely trained until they can wipe their own backside (properly!) and button and zip their own pants. But he's staying dry at night now. Back in.... August, I think, he suddenly started staying dry at night. I bought a package of pull-ups for nighttime, and three months later he still has nearly a dozen left. About two weeks ago, he asked to wear underpants at night, so we let him. Saturday night was the first time he'd wet the bed while wearing underpants. (Which resulted in a 2 AM complete stripdown of him and his bed. Lots of crying.)
We inherited a "project" from my grandparents. They had a calf born to them that was absolutely tiny; she barely came up to your knee. They thought she was about a month premature. The vet thought it could be that, or possibly that she was a dwarf. Either way, she wasn't quite "right" but displayed an incredible will to live. They started her on a bottle (she sucks with her tounge sticking out the side of her mouth), and after about a month, offered her to us for the boys to help take care of. I was excited to get into the "cattle business" but apprehensive about taking a calf with problems. She was recovering from an eye infection when we brought her home last Saturday (a week ago). We made up a nice pen for her in our unused dog pen, and turned her loose. She seemed to enjoy the tall grass. So after letting the boys talk to her through the fence, we went inside.
Just before bed that evening, I took Nathan out to feed her a bottle. As I shone the flashlight toward her pen, I noticed something large and red on her back. It was blood. Our dog had gotten ahold of her through the fence and ripped off large chunks of her skin from her back and the back of one hip. I was very angry at the dog. But he didn't act vicious toward her - I think he truly thought we had brought home the calf to be a snack for him. (She was smaller than the dog.)
I treated the wounds as best I could, and she really didn't act like they bothered her. The one on her hip that I couldn't cover with a bandage wrap got infected a little bit, but a vet that goes to our church said it wouldn't be a big deal, and told me how to take care of it. By Friday, the wounds looked pretty good, considering, but she seemed to be weak, and have trouble getting up. Saturday night when I went out to feed her her nighttime bottle, she was stretched out on her side, and pretty unresponsive. The inside of her mouth was cold. We brought her inside for the night, hoping that she had just gotten chilled and that spending the night in the warm house would revive her. But really we knew better. She died during the night on Saturday.
I know it may have been inevitable; that she may have died anyways, no matter what I had done. My parents aren't even sure it was the wounds from the dog.... She just wasn't "right," and it could have been the eye that was infected when we got her. But when something dies on your watch, you still feel responsible.
However, it made me realize how much I missed doing chores. Don't get me wrong - I didn't care for bundling up the boys every morning and taking them out in the cold, and trying to get them to keep their gloves on while I tended to the calf. But I liked having something to do, and something to take care of. Paul and I are talking about buying some bottle calves, if we can afford them after we finish paying hospital bills.
Anyhow. I am totally in a bloggy mood today. Later, I will try to upload some pictures to show what we've been up to. But first, I'm going to feign productiveness and see about cleaning that kitchen.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Kind Of

So, I finally have nothing else to do on the computer. So this will kind of be an update.... Meaning, I have so much to write on (It's been like a month and a half, somehow), but I know that one the boys will inevitably have a crisis with much screaming and drama before I'm done, so I'll get pulled away.
Let me refresh my coffee.....
Ah, coffee... How I have missed you. About a month ago, I woke up with a major craving for coffee (hence the Norwegian egg coffee recipe). I usually have a cuppa decaf about once a week, when we eat breakfast at Burger King or wherever on our way to church. (Despite trying everything - getting up earlier, fixing it the night before - every single time we try to eat breakfast at home, we are late - and since I lead the praise team, I can't be late. So we resigned ourselves to the fast food dollar menus.) I haven't been drinking "leaded" coffee because of nursing.... Jacob was apparently very sensitive to any trace amounts of caffeine - even as little of a half a can of pop would affect him. So I'd given it up. But the last month, I have been tired all the time. I know it's my bad sleep habits (averaging 5 hours or less whenever Paul works nights) - combined with still having to get up once a night with Jacob - and compounded by the fact I gave up naps in order to exercise. A year of this finally hit me. So I started drinking real coffee again. Jacob was on his way to being weaned, so since he wasn't nursing as often or as much, I managed to sneak in some morning coffee.
And - cue fanfare and drumroll - Jacob is weaned! The plan was to wean him two weeks ago, while we were on vacation. I figured all schedules and "comfort zones" would be out the window anyways, so it would be easy. But he came down with a virus the day before we left, and ended up with a high fever for three days. He refused to eat, or even really drink, the whole time, so I had to go back to nursing. So the "coming back weaned" idea got thrown out the window. But then... It just kind of happened. I was expecting lots of drama - with Nathan, I had to do a very deliberate step-by-step weaning, cutting out one nursing at a time, with much screaming at every stage. But Jacob was much more laid back (and maybe I was, too). I tried putting him to nap without nursing, and it worked. But then the next day, I did nurse him. And then I had Paul put him down at night, but I'd nurse it in the middle of the night. I kept changing it up. Really, it was centered more around what I needed (when I got full and uncomfortable), and he's just kind of went with it. The middle of the night is the hardest for him to give up. And, honestly, the hardest for me, too - it's much easier to give him what he wants to make him go back to sleep immediately. But in the long run, I know it's in his best interest to say no, so.....
We took both boys in for their yearly checkups on Tuesday. Nathan is 40 inches and 40 pounds. Jacob is 28(ish) inches and 24.5 pounds. She said they both look perfect, and I would have to agree. I fibbed slightly on how much Jacob talks. He does say "Dadadadada" and "Mamamom," but not often. I didn't want pressure to take him to speech therapy. He can hear fine, and he understands us - if you tell him to go give something to Daddy, or close the door, he will. And I have been paying attention this week: He "talks." You can't understand what he's saying, but it's obvious in his mind, he's talking. And whenever you hand him something, he always says, "Das." That's "thanks."
While we were at the doctor's office, we took him next door to the county clinic to get his next round of immunizations. We'd gotten a postcard in the mail, so I figured it had been two months. They looked at his records, and told me it was a week too early, so we couldn't do it. But they told me that he needed six other shots, plus his flu shot, to get him caught up. This kind of irritated me.... We can inject him with 7 shots for 10 different diseases, but we can't give one shot one week early. And they got huffy when I explained how we do immunizations: we aren't anti-immunizing, we're just anti-all-at-once immunizing. We get, say, the DTaP vaccine, and go back every two months, until we've completed the regimen. Then we get the MMR and go to completion on it. They will get all of their vaccines eventually, but I see no need to do all of them before they're 2. They like to tell me that I'm endangering any child they come in contact with, which is a bunch of crap, because the only child I'm endangering is my own. If other children have had their shots, there's no way they could pick something up from my child - that's the point of having them vaccinated, isn't it?
Anyhow. Sorry about that little rant. I just get irritated when people think they know what's better for my kid than I do. And: I do not judge anyone who goes ahead and gives their kids the vaccines at the recommended time. I figure you've researched it, and you feel fine about it, so it's your choice. Respect my choice, and I'll respect yours.
(Said crisis has occured. Back in a few......hours, probably.)
Okay, so that didn't take as long as I figured. I allowed myself to be distracted by the dirty kitchen and actually loaded and started the dishwasher.
Exercise and housework have been on hold for the last couple weeks, since we left for vacation. Obviously, I couldn't do P90X while we were in Colorado... I resolved to exercise and eat healthy. I did neither. I did hike one day, shop another, and another day I actually walked one lap around the lake at city park, and jogged another lap... A feat in itself - jogging 1/2 (or more) mile at that altitude (about 4000 feet higher than home). I admit I was pretty proud of myself for that one. Need for caffeine during driving led to buying of "meals" at fast food joints (rather than just a sandwich with water), which led to fries..... Not cool.
We got home and I exercised Monday and Tuesday, then I realized that I had a week and a half to finish the church cookbook. So every spare moment was spent at the computer, editing, reediting, and double checking that I got all the recipes in correctly. (I hope I did.) I printed it off yesterday, so I hope it's all right. I also exercised yesterday. *gasp* I have really got to get back to it. It's surprising how much jiggly stuff returns after just two weeks off. (This sweet tooth lately hasn't helped....)
The house also was severely neglected in that time. I'm pretty sure I didn't do a thing from last Wednesday until this Monday. It was BAD. So bad that Paul picked up two rooms without me even hinting for help. It's on the way back, but you know those piles that appear everywhere when you don't get stuff really cleaned for a while? Yeah, I've got about three of them I still haven't managed to get to.
Well, I came to a conclusion on what to do about Cubbies. We have one boy who comes, who by himself isn't a problem, but combined with several other rambuctious/disruptive boys (including my son), becomes a problem. Even though our Pastor has agreed to pay half the book cost (which brings the cost to the family to under $4), his mom still hasn't purchased it. In Cubbies, the book and working on it at home (especially the home work park) is required - 3 and 4 year olds can't learn stuff in an hour and a half once a week, so a parent has to work with them at home. I'm wondering if habitual lying is a part of their house.... I'm not sure how old this boy is - I'm wondering if he even knows. He has told me he's 4, 5, and 7. He's told me he's in kindergarden (which means he shouldn't even be in this class), and he's told me he's not in school. He's also said his mom said "no" about getting him a book, but then later he said his mom was going to get it for him. It really makes me feel for him. We met the mom the first week he came, but now she doesn't even come to get them. She has a friend/neighbor come pick them up (there's about 5 kids in the family), and the friend sends a little sister (about 2nd grade) in to tell him it's time to go. I made the sister go get the adult - I told them it's a new rule (which it is). Then I told the friend that we needed the mom to come in next week to talk to us. I'm going to have to put the ultimatum down that if he doesn't have his book by the end of the month, he can't come. This isn't a free babysitting service. I'm hoping and praying that she'll come see us with purchased book in hand, so all this will be moot.
Well, Jacob's poopy (again), and I have got to get bills paid. It's the 4th of the month, and I've only paid car insurance (and only because it was due the 2nd). The only thing that motivates me is deadlines, and they are fast approaching.