Fresh Spring Rolls

By Sarah

Today, for my special day with Dad, we set up a bank account for me and went to the store on a mission. Our mission was to buy ingredients for homemade spring rolls. Our hope was that we could make homemade peanut sauce and spring rolls to surprise Mom. But, when we received the call that she was coming home, we decided to let her in on our secret.

As soon as she got home, she jumped with joy at seeing the ingredients arrayed out on the counter and we quickly explained our plan. She pounced on our plan with excitement and we got to work. We soon finished making the peanut sauce and started on readying the rice paper. We laid the rice paper in warm water and waited… Faster than we thought, the rice paper softened and we laid it softly on a dry towel. All the spring roll fixings were not so neatly put on the counter; lettuce, cilantro, baby shrimp, shredded carrots, and Thai basil.

Spring roll fixings

Spring roll fixings

We assembled, ate, assembled some more, and even more eating, and finally most of us were full. MOST of us. Mom, well just wasn’t quite. She could eat those for days and never grow tired of them.

Mom with her fresh spring rolls

Mom with her fresh spring rolls


Mom eating her beloved spring rolls

Mom eating her beloved spring rolls

Well, I must say that these spring rolls were a huge success and I wouldn’t be surprised if we made some more tomorrow.

Project 365 – Day 269
Sarah

Ps. Oh and eventually Mom filled up on spring rolls and reluctantly tore herself away from the kitchen, so no need to worry about her.

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School and Cats

Somehow we have become a family of cats. Not just one cat, but two cats live in our home and deign to let us take care of them. Of course, they have snuck into our hearts and we love them.

Most of us anyway. Tim tolerates the cats and insults them when he thinks we’re not listening. We all know he secretly loves them.

For some values of the word “love.”

Marco (Sarah’s rather large, fluffy, always hungry kitty) appreciates the time we take to do our daily school reading. He almost always comes up on the couch with us, finds a snuggly spot, and settles in for a nap.

School, art, and Marco

School, art, and Marco

David and I fight to have just the right spot for Marco, but inevitably he picks Sarah as his reading/napping buddy. Rachel’s cat, Misty, doesn’t usually join us for school. She prefers to nap upstairs in whatever sunny spot she can find. We all know she’s waiting for Rachel to come home. Which won’t be until Christmas, so it’s a rather long wait. Don’t worry, Rachel, Misty passes the time patiently.

A random blog post for the day.

Project 365 – Day 259 (Sept 16)
Kathy

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Bargain Shopping

A few weeks ago, Kathy and I restarted our practice of budgeting. It has never been something that we do well (or consistently), although the Lord certainly helped us to stick with it long enough to get out of debt some years ago.

We use the GoodBudget app on our phones, which is a higher-tech version of the envelope system. So far it has been rather constraining, but not impossible (which is, in my opinion, a hallmark of a reasonable budget).

Kathy is the one who mostly takes care of the actual recording, which is only fair, since she does most of the actual spending, as well. Even though I have the app on my phone as well, I pretend a certain helplessness so that she will take administrative responsibility. She does take a child-like glee in hoarding virtual money in some of the envelopes, so I guess it pays off for her.

Yesterday I heard that our neighborhood grocery store was putting a lot of items on sale — apparently they are trying to get rid of brands that they have discontinued. So on my way home from a doctor’s appointment, I swung by the store.

Sure enough, they had a boatload of things marked down to $0.50 each. I spent just under $40, mostly on asian foods and sauces. When I got home, I decided to display my cache on the kitchen table, so that Kathy and the kids could enjoy my triumph.

Not bad for $39.59, if I do say so myself.

Not bad for $39.59, if I do say so myself.

The grocery store helpfully displays the full sale price on the receipt and totals up your savings. I was pleased to note that I saved 82% off the full price (on average). If only we could shop like that all the time!

Tonight was date night, so of course, Kathy and I went back to the store and spent another $24 on more bargains. This time, we only saved 77%, but somehow we were able to make our peace with that.

As we were getting ready for bed, Kathy glanced at the table, darkly.

“You’ll put that away tomorrow, then?”

I guess my newfound status as a grocery hero only buys me so much credit. I can see I’ll be spending some time making room on the garage shelves, tomorrow.

Project 365, Day 261
Tim

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Sarah Cooks – Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole

We’re continuing with our meal planning. Hooray! It’s not difficult, but does require me to make an actual plan. The wonderful thing is that Sarah has gotten to the age (and experience) where she can do a good portion of the work.

And, it turns out, if you abandon her, say, and go off to a meeting, leaving her with a recipe and ingredients and strict instructions to feed her father and brother, she can do all the work!!

Gathering the ingredients

Gathering the ingredients

I had a Board meeting for our homeschool co-op, and I left Sarah with instructions to make dinner.

"Let me see if I understand everything here."

“Let me see if I understand everything here.”

She did beautifully – read through all the directions before I left. Gathered all the ingredients – again, before I left. And prepared dinner.

"I've got this, Mom!  Go to your meeting!"

“I’ve got this, Mom! Go to your meeting!”

I got a text from David in the middle of my meeting.

“Oh, Mom! I am soooooo stuffed! I ate so much of Sarah’s dinner. It was delicious!!”

Hooray, a success. Obviously I didn’t take any pictures of the final recipe (since I was gone), but it was taken from Pinch of Yum website and turned out perfectly. We used slightly less peppers, but otherwise followed the recipe.

Note to readers – MAKE THIS RECIPE!! So tasty.

This recipe was so yummy! I’m definitely adding it to our rotation again. I have found wonderful recipes on the pinchofyum site. And her photography is gorgeous! Visit this blog as soon as you can – it is a delight to the eyes and the palate.

Can’t wait to see what Sarah makes next!

Project 365 – Day 251 (Sept 8)
Kathy

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Mortality

September 11th is a day to remember those who died 14 years ago, and those who acted with courage to prevent more from dying. If you are an adult, you probably remember where you were when the towers fell, just as a previous generation remembers where they were when Kennedy was assassinated, or when the hostages were freed from Iran, or any of a number of other momentous events.

For me, September 11th is a day when I remember I am mortal. A little more than two years ago, I was diagnosed with kidney cancer, and underwent a rather exhaustive (for the surgeon, at least) procedure to remove the tumor. Each year since, I report to my oncologist for scans and lab work, to see if the cancer has returned.

By sheer coincidence, for the last two years, my ultrasound and labs have been scheduled on 9/11, and so I spend the day contemplating the fact that my body is quite mortal. It was sobering to listen to the ultrasound tech check off each of my organs and to watch her take pictures and estimate the size of each one. It makes one imagine the strangest of conversations:

Ultrasound Tech: “Well, sir, I’m finished.”

Me: “Did you see anything strange?”

Tech: “You know I’m not really allowed to interpret the images, sir. Your doctor will talk about it with you … ”

Me: “Come on, you can give me a hint. Everything OK down there?”

Tech: “Um, no. I wasn’t able to find your liver.”

Me: “No liver?”

Tech: “No sir. Seems to be gone. Have you been drinking a lot?”

Me: “Not unless you count Diet Coke. What should I do?”

Tech: “My advice? Make your will, tie up any loose ends.”

Fortunately, apart from commenting that one of my kidneys looks more like a football than the other, that conversation was all in my head.

It seems strange to wear a hospital bracelet for out-patient treatment ...

It seems strange to wear a hospital bracelet for an out-patient treatment that takes less than an hour …

Each day that you and I live is a gift. I think I am a little more keenly aware of that because of the kidney cancer. But in truth, all of us live under the sentence of impending death, 24/7, just as the people in the Twin Towers and on the various planes were under a sentence of sudden and unexpected death.

It makes me want to use my time wisely. So, Kathy and I took David and Sarah out for a combined Special Day™ to see the War Room movie, which she and I so enjoyed last Sunday.

Of course, we found an excuse to stop off for McDonalds’ soft-serve ice cream on the way home.

David hasn't quite gotten the hang of how to eat an ice cream cone ...

David hasn’t quite gotten the hang of how to eat an ice cream cone …

Project 365, Day 254
Tim

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