Apr. 1st, 2012

cifarelli: (Ember)
Remember those New Year's Resolutions I made back in January? 

1) Do the grocery shopping during the week so that we don't have to squeeze it in during our already packed weekends any more.

I've been keeping up with this one.  Tuesday morning is our usual grocery shopping day now, though occasionally it ends up being Tuesday afternoon after preschool or Wednesday morning instead.

2) Try to cook something new for dinner once each week, at least long enough to find some new dishes we like and can throw into our rotation so we don't feel like we're eating the same things week in and week out... [exposition cut]

I've fallen off the wagon a bit with this one; I got lazy over the past few weeks and started reverting back to old standbys that are easy to throw together.  I tried to make up for it a bit this week, though, and fixed TWO new dishes. 

On Friday, we had Chicken Paprikash, a crock pot recipe that Andrew picked up as part of a booklet of "Healthy Crock Pot Recipes" distributed at work by our health insurance company.  It was really easy -- throw boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the crock pot, and mix together cream of mushroom soup and paprika, and put the mixture in the crock pot with the chicken.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours, remove the chicken, and stir 1/2 cup fat free sour cream into the remaining liquid.  I ended up having the crock pot ready to start about 7.5 hours before we wanted to eat, so I did it for the 1st 2 hours on high, and then turned it down to low for the rest of the cooking time.  I think this may have been a little too much cooking, as the chicken thighs were so falling-apart done that I couldn't remove them before stirring in the sour cream.  The chicken mostly shredded in the course of my stirring in the sour cream.  Fortunately, I had also cooked some rice to serve this over, so we had chicken-paprikash-and-rice for dinner.  Everyone but Ian liked it. (And I'm not sure Ian bothered to try his.)  I used low-fat sour cream instead of fat-free because the only fat-free that the grocery store had was in a HUGE container, and I only needed a half-cup.  This one will definitely go into the rotation since it was so easy.  I may try it with cream of chicken soup, though, to see if it comes out a bit more chickeny that way (even if the lack of mushrooms makes Andrew pout at me).

Tonight, we had Chicken & Roasted Garlic Risotto, a recipe I got off of a Cambell's soup can, of all places.  This one was really a hit, as even Ian liked it, and both Corwin and Ian had seconds.  I should clarify -- Ian liked the rice and peas, but didn't eat his chicken.  Yes, you read that right -- this dish included peas.  And even *I* ate it!  This one involved browning some chicken breasts, removing them from the pan, adding cream of mushroom with roasted garlic and cream of chicken soups along with two cups water, adding instant rice (I used instant brown rice instead of the white rice called for) and a cup of frozen peas and carrots (I used a frozen peas and mushrooms mix because the grocery store had no frozen peas & carrots when I was there last week), adding the chicken back to the pot, and cooking for 15 minutes (the recipe says 5, but the brown rice required 10, and the chicken wasn't quite done after 10 so I left it for another 5 minutes additional).  I suspect it could be fixed without the chicken and served as a side along with a different protein, and I could change up the veggies for variety.  The only drawback is that it fixes 2 cups of rice (you need that much to absorb both soups plus water), which leaves us with lots of leftovers.  I'll have to see if the kids like it as much as leftovers or not.

3) Re-adopt a more frugal financial mindset; we're not in trouble financially, but over time I've gotten away from really asking myself if I needed something or REALLY wanted it/would use it enough to make it worth its cost. Also, we now have two kids, and I need to keep my spending on them in check as well...

Still struggling with this one.  Andrew's annual raise goes into effect this month, so we'll see if that helps any.  I need to get him to fill out the paperwork to direct deposit some of his paycheck straight to savings, but he's grumbling about doing that.  (Unfortunately, HR paperwork for his job is one thing I can't do on his behalf.) 

4) Finish last year's resolution to get the boxes of china in my dining room unpacked from our move. My sister spent a couple evenings helping me with that last year, and we got through 4 of the 7 boxes. Still 3 more to go, though; I'm disappointed I didn't get them done last year -- I had a whole year.

Done.  My sister helped me when she was here for a long weekend in March.  Thanks, Rebecca!
cifarelli: (Ember)
I only wish all the things that happened today could be chalked up to April Fools. 

We got the call this morning that Andrew's grandmother passed away this morning.  It was expected, but still not news we wanted to hear.  She was 96 years old. 

About the only good thing for today is that I took Corwin to the Easter Egg Hunt and party at The Little Gym this afternoon.  It was only an hour long (from 1-2) but since that is prime Ian nap time, I actually got to spend some one-on-one time with Corwin, which he loved.  He had fun hunting for eggs, though the eggs themselves were a bit disappointing as they all held a tootsie roll and a temporary tattoo.  A little variety would have been nice.  There was also a trackless train, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and free play in the gym.  Corwin go to show off for me a bunch of the skills he's learned, which was nice because I really don't get to pay that much attention to what he's doing in his class due to having to keep a close eye on Ian.

On the way home, I stopped to air up my tires, because the tire pressure light was on in my car.  When I got to the rear left tire, I couldn't get a pressure reading above 22, and it didn't really seem like any air was going into the tire.  And the tire pressure light didn't go off in the car, either. So I came home, feeling incompetent, and asked Andrew to go check my tire pressures (I cannot for the life of me get a consistent reading with the pressure gauges we have).  He came in, said the rear left was below 20 and looked visibly flat to him.  (Why it didn't look visibly flat to me, I don't know.)  So I was going to take it to a tire place this afternoon, but Discount Tire (my preference) is closed on Sundays and the NTB I called said they were swamped and wouldn't be able to do anything with it 'til tomorrow.  So I figured I may as well just take it to Discount Tire tomorrow when they're open.  Andrew put the spare tire on for me, and said that once he got the flat tire off, he could see that there was a chunk of metal embedded in it.  So I suspect I'm going to be buying new tires tomorrow.  Really not looking forward to it, as I'll have to take both boys with me, and waiting for however-long with both of them to keep entertained is going to suck. :( 

And lastly, I suspect there's a problem with our AC.  We've been hot in the house most of the day, but just assumed it was due to having the AC set up at 78 for energy and cost savings.  But the AC is supposed to go down to 73 at 9:30 p.m. (and 75 around 8:00 after the kids go to bed) and as of 10:30 the thermostat was still reading 78.  Now at 11:27 it's down to 77. I can hear it blowing, but it doesn't seem to be cooling very well. So I need to call an AC company tomorrow as well....and figure out how I'm going to be at home to let them in at the same time I'm at the tire company.  :P  I'm hoping it hasn't frozen up again....it did that two summers ago, and the warranty company ended up replacing the unit.  But the AC warranty was only for 2 years....so if it's frozen up again I suspect we may be on the hook for it.  Plus that time it leaked water into the kids' bathroom through the fan vent over the toilet and caused some water damage to the ceiling, which the builder took care of free of charge under the warranty. 

I'd ask if anything else could go wrong....but a rhetorical question like that just seems like a BAAAAAD idea today. :(

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