Sunday, December 31, 2006

In case you were wondering...

It really was just PMS - The Flow started this morning right after I slept 11 hours with the kids last night.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Inspired by my friend Marie and her husband Roland, I made lasagna for dinner for the whole family + a guest (Joe's parents and Scott) last night (December 27). Just like canning, I was amazed at how easy it can be to do.

2 boxes of uncooked regular lasagna noodles
1 16 oz container of ricotta cheese w/ fresh minced oregano mixed in
10 oz frozen spinach sauteed in 3 cubes of basil pesto
3 quarts of pasta sauce
2 cups milk
some shredded Parmesan/Romano/asiago cheese
1 lb grated mozzarella
1 lb ground beef cooked up with garlic

Mix the sauce into the ground beef and heat
Mix the milk into the ricotta cheese

Spoon some red sauce into the bottom of the 13 x 9 baking pan. Lay down a double layer of lasagna noodles. Spoon on a layer of white sauce. Spoon on a layer of spinach - use half. Apply a light layer of the aged cheeses. Spoon on a layer of red sauce. Add a new double layer of noodles and press them down into the other layers - get out all the air bubbles. Layer white sauce, the rest of the spinach, the aged cheeses, red sauce, noodles then press down. Add the last of the white sauce and the last of the red sauce and top with a layer of the aged cheeses and the whole pound of mozzarella cheese.
Cover with foil, place on a cookie sheet to catch overflow and place into a preheated 375 oven for 1 hour. After the hour, remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 15 min - until you see it bubbling around all the edges and the cheese on top is melted and lightly browned. Let rest for 10 min after removing from the oven before cutting. Makes 12 servings.


Before all the gifts were opened

And after all the gifts were opened and some relocated to the playroom

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Oh Christmas Tree

This morning the kids opened the last door on their chocolate advent calendars - it was a big Father Christmas.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Chilly a bit

It was a bit chilly at the Market today and it rained lightly for the last hour. We were gifted our xmas pie (pumpkin harvest - just like the one we had at Thanksgiving) from Aunt Nita's Baking Company, a chipotle cheese ball for xmas lunch from Full Quiver Farms, extra milk from Finca Pura Vida to make rice pudding for our xmas breakfast and 2 poinsettas too. One of the poinsettas is a yellow one with curly leaves - so cool looking! I'll take a picture and include it in this post later.

We've got dinner with friends tonight at a fancy new steakhouse, III Forks. I'm sure that Joe will be stressed about driving with us in the rain but it's not supposed to get below 40 so the streets will be just fine - except for the holiday drunks out on the road and we'll just avoid them.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Twas The Night Before Christmas....Mom Style

Twas the night before Christmas, when all thru the abode
Only one creature was stirring, & she was cleaning the commode.
The children were finally sleeping, all snug in their beds,
While visions of Hot Wheels & Barbie, flipped through their heads.

The dad was snoring in front of the TV,
With a half-constructed bicycle propped on his knee.
So only the mom heard the reindeer hooves clatter,
Which made her sigh, "Now what is the matter?"

With toilet bowl brush still clutched in her hand,
She descended the stairs, & saw the old man.
He was covered with ashes & soot, which fell with a shrug,
"Oh great," muttered the mom, "Now I have to clean the rug."

"Ho Ho Ho!" cried Santa, "I'm glad you're awake."
"Your gift was especially difficult to make."
"Thanks, Santa, but all I want is time alone."
"Exactly!" he chuckled, "So, I've made you a clone."

"A clone?" she muttered, "What good is that?"
"Run along, Santa, I've no time for chit chat."
Then out walked the clone - The mother's twin,
Same hair, same eyes, same double chin.

"She'll cook, she'll dust, she'll mop every mess.
You'll relax, take it easy, watch The Young & The Restless."
"Fantastic!" the mom cheered. "My dream has come true!"
"I'll shop, I'll read, I'll sleep a night through!"

From the room above, the youngest did fret.
"Mommy?! Come quickly, I'm scared & I'm wet."
The clone replied, "I'm coming, sweetheart."
"Hey," the mom smiled, "She sure knows her part."

The clone changed the small one & hummed her tune,
As she bundled the child in a blanket cocoon.
"You're the best mommy ever. I really love you."
The clone smiled & sighed, "And I love you, too."

The mom frowned & said, "Sorry, Santa, no deal."
That's my child's love she is trying to steal."
Smiling wisely Santa said, "To me it is clear,
Only one loving mother is needed here."

The mom kissed her child & tucked her in bed.
"Thank You, Santa, for clearing my head.
I sometimes forget, it won't be very long,
When they'll be too old for my cradle & song."

The clock on the mantle began to chime.
Santa whispered to the clone, "It works every time."
With the clone by his side Santa said "Goodnight.
Merry Christmas, dear Mom, You will be all right."

Sometimes we need reminding of what life is all about. Especially at times during the Holiday season, when all we seem to do is clean and bake and shop and.... you get the picture. So stop for a moment and hug that little one that is so special, whether he/she is 2 or 22, child or grandchild, or perhaps even someone who is in a different category.
They all are gifts that God put in your life ... and such a gift should always be treasured.

So, why not send this on to the all the Mom's you know, for they will no doubt need this at this time of year.

I don't know the author of this as it was a fwd of a fwd of a fwd, so I consider it ok to post.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

"Tomorrow's Forecast Calls for Blue Skies"

From NOAA Weather:
Friday: Sunny, with a high near 68. North wind around 5 mph becoming east southeast.
We WILL be at the park all day, even will try really hard to get there before noon!
Oh how I love the weather in this town!
And oh how I love ELO, listen to this song and try to tell me that this isn't one of the greatest bands EVER!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Is Charlie Sick or Old?

We've had Charlie only 2 and a half years but this evening we discovered what looks like a cataract on one of his eyes. They live to be 2 to 4 years old but we have no way of knowing how old he was when we got him, only that he wasn't fully grown since he got bigger after we got him (either that or he was wasn't thriving in his previous home at WalMart). Hopefully it's only a bacterial/ick thing and it will go away in a week with treatment.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

I don't use this very often but when I need to clean something that nothing else will remove, the Magic Eraser is a kid lifesaver! I never have bought one - I'm still using the second one that I received as a free sample a few years ago. Remove Tough Grime and Everyday Messes, and Clean Everything from Your Walls to Your Floors with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser DUO.

Merry Christmas to Me or Osterize Me

'Joe' bought this for me for christmas last week: Oster Convection Toaster Oven. It actually only took him 1 day to notice it there on the counter! My old toaster oven (10 years old Black and Decker that was WONDERFUL) was getting 'hot cord' every time that I used it so I knew that it was time for a new one. So far I'm happy with this one. I especially like that it has a dehydrate function. I haven't notice yet that the convection function cooks things any faster. It fits an entire Digornio pizza inside because it has a curved back inside the oven. And in looking at the specs I noticed an error - it does NOT have an 'Auto-advance rack for safe and easy removal of cooked foods'. I've been happy with my new Oster Blender that I bought to replace my worn out 5 year old Oster Blender so I figured that the toaster oven would be a good purchase. This summer I bought one of the Oster Single Serve Blender Cups, it's good for making a single basic batch of green juice.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Jamie Said - followup

Jamie said: We've happened across a couple live shows of the B.B., but we can't really seem to get into them. And, Kayla will NOT watch their T.V. show either. The songs don't seem kid-friendly. For instance they were singing a x-mas song, but the changed all the words. Kayla's still trying to figure out the REAL words to Rudolph. Maybe they are for slightly older kids?? Tell us what it is that we're not getting. We'll keep trying and I'll let you know if our opinion of them improves.
December 17, 2006 8:39 AM

1 - The majority of the Biscuit Brothers' songs are traditional folk songs such as Comin' Round The Mountain (that was the one that they redid into an xmas song at Whole Foods), Oh Susannah, Old McDonald, Bingo, Froggy Went A Courtin', Wahbash Cannonball, Eirie Canal, Skip To My Lou, I've Been Workin On The Railroad, etc. We have a book of Folk Songs here at home that we've been singing together out of since Giselle was about 2 years old so she was already familiar with many of the songs before she ever heard the BB sing them.
2 - The BB are targeting 3 to 8 year olds for music appreciation - during the school year they do shows during the day at all the local elementary schools.
3 - Giselle didn't start going to any 'kiddie' shows or listenting to the music until she was a month shy of 3. That's when we started going to Sara Hickman shows and listening to Sara CDs (Paul was 4 months old) and Giselle was into it from the start. Yes, prior to that she loved to dance to Enrique Iglesias and Paulina Rubio but she wasn't looking for anything more than something to dance to. With Sara (and subsequently Joe McDermott and the BB) she could actually participate with the musicians while they were performing - actually become part of the show. That's why Giselle is so into these 3 performers - she actually knows them and they know her. They give her hugs and remember her name and recognize her when we run into them in 'non-performance' situations. She enjoys the Wiggles (we started watching them when she was 4.5) but it's just not the same as with the local folks.
4 - Paul knows them all (Sara, Joe & the BB) but it's only recently that he sings the Sara & Joe songs. He has the BB songs all memorized but that is mostly a result of having an older sister and mom who listen to the CD alot in the car. We've seen the BB enough in the last year that he treats them like they are neighbors who sing songs that he already knows.
5 - The two of the them still love to dance and 'sing along' to the Latin Pop & Rock that we listen to in the car (104.9 fm). Paul recognizes all the Juanes songs and Giselle can identify even brand new Julietta songs whenever they come on the radio.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Canning again

So this last Saturday the Market moved Finca Pura Vida to another spot due to the Sustainable Shopping Ball. This totally screwed them and we had loads of leftover product. Subsequently I went home with another 2 cases of Russian Black Plum tomatoes. I attempted making more sauce yesterday - this time I was going to make it more concentrated by cooking it for longer. Unfortunately in the last blenderfull of pureed tomatoes I added in an eggplant that was past it's prime - it had gotten seedy - and that added a bitterness that was impossible for me to get rid of. Doubley unfortunately I didn't taste it and notice the bitterness until AFTER I had been simmering it for 4 hours. So I turned off the burner, let it cool off and poured it out on my front garden as fertilizer. Fortunately I have 1 case left and I'm going to attempt it again, sans the eggplant!
Oh well, live and learn!!!!!

And Gayla said that if the lids sealed onto the hot jars and formed a vacuum then I did it right and the other sauce is perfectly fine - no botulism!

The last Biscuit Brother show of the year for us

Tonight's show was at Whole Foods and was the last of the year for us. In the meantime we'll have to live off of our DVD's and TiVo to tide us over.

The free show ended up costing us $30 for dinner from the Whole Foods carry-out bars - a meal of 1 chicken enchilada, beans, rice, sour cream and 2 strips of fajita beef for each kid, a bowl of fruit salad, some Greek orzo salad (really good - black olives, feta, orzo, cilantro, pine nuts, olive oil, and some kind of vinegar), some spicy sauteed zucchini and 1 small cup of gelatto ($30.26).

Gingerbread Houses

So we made one of the semi-premade gingerbread houses from Wilton. We started it on Saturday - 'glued' on the walls and roof, finished decorating it on Sunday and ate the entire house on Monday. That's the trick on them - eat them immediately instead of letting them sit around for 2 weeks.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Trail of Lights 5K

Last night's 5k is now over. We made a point to get there early so that we were part of the first folks to cross the start line - I felt that we lost a lot of time each year slogging through the walkers - and we crossed it within the first 20 seconds of the start (special thanks to Kathy for lending me her double jogging stroller!).

At mile marker 1 I was keeping a 12 min mile but by mile 2 I had dropped to a 13 min average. I ended with a time of exactly 42 min which I was content with due to the fact that I haven't 'trained' since I ran the TOL 5k last year. Oh and when I say ran I mean walk really fast - I don't care for the pounding that jogging does to my body so I walk really fast with a little trotting now and then. But since we finished relatively earlier than usual I fully expected there to be bananas left when we finished BUT NOOOOOO! We saw people eating them but they were all given out! What's the deal? EVERY year they run out of bananas within the first 45 min and I REFUSE to eat those nasty ham & cheese, chicken salad, pimento salad, & turkey & cheese sandwiches that they offer. The cookies were all gone too. My only option AGAIN was to eat a whole bunch of candy canes while the kids had some kisses and canes. They could at least make PB&J sandwiches for us vegetarians but of course they don't. So once again I left the race feeling stiffed somehow.

The lights were OK, you know, for as much money as Dell makes from this town they sure could do a better light display, especially in their designated section!

Saturday, December 09, 2006


So last Saturday Edgar gave me 2 cases of Russian Black Plum Tomatoes to can up - something that I had never done before. Gayla gave me a quick lesson in canning - it's a lot easier than I had imagined - and I committed to doing it. While Giselle was at Sunday School Paul and I went to HEB and got 2 dozen wide-mouth 1 quart canning jars and after church we commenced to cooking and canning pasta sauce. By the time that I quit at dinnertime, I had made 13 quarts of pasta sauce and still had 1/3 case of tomatoes left for making green juice for the week. I'll know in a few weeks when I try the sauce for the first time whether or not I did it right - if I get botulism then I did it wrong!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What Tarot Card Are You?

I am The Wheel of Fortune

Good fortune and happiness but sometimes a species of
intoxication with success

The Wheel of Fortune is all about big things, luck, change, fortune. Almost always good fortune. I am lucky in all things that I do and happy with the things that come to me. I should be careful that success does not go to my head however as sometimes luck can change.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

We Registered

The kids got registered for the Trail of Lights 5K yesterday - we'll go pick up the race packets on Friday before going to the park so that we are sure to get our tshirts now instead of mailed to us in 3 weeks.

One house down, one to go!

Closed on one house yesterday and we'll probably start the dance on the other one after the holidays - actually I just hope that I don't have to stress about that during the holidays!

Now Playing at Casa De Galletti

So this is the holiday station that I'm listening to . It's only classic holiday songs but they are 'modern' versions. There are still Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby versions but there are also versions by The Cocteau Twins and Brian Setzer and Chet Baker. I like it better than the XM holiday music channels on DirecTV since if I don't like a song I can skip forward to the next song - can't do that on the TV.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

night school

So Giselle and I often do some school in bed at night before she falls asleep while I nurse Paul. Tonight Giselle started it by saying that 10 + 10 = 20 and I followed up with 10 + 20 = ?. Her vizualization skills are not all there yet so we had to move it to the playroom/schoolroom and and after a significant amount of time spent on getting her to realize that the answers were actually written down right in front of her (although I wasn't going to GIVE her the answers) she now TOTALLY gets the concept of double addition and the ease of adding in columns. We were only adding 10's for the 5 problems that we did and I figured that I'd see for sure if she really got it so for our final bonus extra credit problem of the night I asked her to solve 22 +35 and she got it on the very first try = 57!
She is so proud of herself for realizing how easy it really is!

Friday, December 01, 2006

RunTex/AT&T Trail of Lights 5K - NEXT SATURDAY!!

Zilker Park, Austin, Texas,
Saturday, December 09, 2006 Starts at 6:30 pm
This year the Trail of Lights Festival will include the AT&T Trail of Lights 5K event. It will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 9, 2006. The course runs through Zilker Park and the awesome Trail of Lights, with more than 180,000 lights. The entry fee also includes a "Trail of Lights 5K" long sleeve t-shirt.
Awards will be given to the top 50 overall male and female entrants.
Entry Fee will be $22 if received on or before Wednesday, December 6th, $25 if received on or after Thursday, December 7th. $17 for children 11 & under.
Packet Pick-Up and Late Registration will be at RunTex Riverside: RunTex Riverside, 422 W. Riverside Dr. Phone: (512) 472-3254 The hours for packet pick-up will be: Friday, December 8th (11 a.m. - 6 p.m.) Saturday, December 9th (11 a.m. - 2 p.m.) Registration is only at RunTex Riverside on Friday and Saturday.
Parking A detailed map and instructions can be found in your race packet. Please READ!

personal note from Natalie: Register in person at RunTex NOT online (online registration costs an additional $3 per person).
The trick is to just register your kids and not yourself - and get the t-shirt in a larger size so that your kids can wear it when they are teenagers.