Good Weather + Ambitious Husband = Victory for ME!!!!

My husband has been busy this weekend. In an effort to stop me and the kids from slipping and sliding in the mud between our deck and the cars, he decided to recycle some paving stones the previous owners of our house left behind.

As you can see, this is a work in progress. He laid out a path from the driveway to the deck, and then another from the deck to the detached garage. He has been hard at work, digging out the squares, sinking the pavers, and leveling the whole mess off.

I helped too…that is, I kept him supplied with cocktails and tried to look far too delicate to do any heavy lifting.

Hopefully, he’ll finish this section soon, but in the meantime, I can get to my car now without my heels sinking into two inches of mud. For these small things, I am grateful.

Alarm Clocks are Not Necessarily the Spawn of Satan

It doesn’t matter how early I go to bed, how much sleep I get, or how good the sleep in question was.

I still take it as a deeply personal and intentional insult when I wake up to an alarm clock. At 6:01 a.m., I firmly believe that the alarm clock is a self-righteous, annoying  spawn of Satan, who lives and breathes to tick me off.

I am seriously not a morning person. I thought I would outgrow this after high school. Then I hoped I’d out grow it after college. I REALLY hoped it would get better once Demon Baby slept through the night. I REALLY, REALLY hoped I’d get used to it when I went back to work.

But, alas, I now have to chalk this one up to genetics, nature or some voodoo hex I’ve yet to discover.

In the meantime, my family will just have to maintain the morning safety perimeter until I’ve had my Diet Coke, lest they ask for breakfast too soon and draw back a nub.

Spaghetti Casserole for a Faux Snow Day

Today is yet another Louisiana “snow day.” Unlike last week, when we had an actual real snow day, today was once again a day when school was cancelled under a threat of mythical snow that never materialized. I guess the real snow we had on Friday made everyone a little overly optimistic. I am not complaining, however. I’ve managed to tackle my sentient laundry pile, bake some bread and brownies from scratch, and talk to my mom for longer than five minutes at a time.

Work has been so busy lately that our meals, though homemade, have been the thrown-together variety. Yes, I am the mom who served her family French toast and sausage for dinner last night…sue me.

When I do actually have longer than thirty minutes to feed the heathens, I try and make food we all can agree on, and Spaghetti Casserole certainly fits the bill. Want to satisfy three hungry, excessively picky guys? Here’s what you need:

Spaghetti Casserole

  • Print

-1 pound lean ground beef

-1-1/2 cups of your favorite pasta/spaghetti sauce

-a small onion

-8 ounces of spaghetti noodles

-1 can cream of mushroom soup

-2 cloves garlic

-1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (yes, I cheated and used the Velveeta crumbles…I was feeling especially lazy)

-1/2 cup water

-2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

-wine of your choice

To get started, pour yourself a glass of wine…and celebrate the fact that it’s Tuesday, five o-clock, sunny outside, the Mardi Gras season or whatever other reason you can think up:

While you are at it, get a large pot of water boiling to cook the spaghetti noodles in. Next, chop up the onion:

In a large skillet over med-high heat, brown the ground beef and onion together, stirring occasionally:

While the meat is browning, chop up the garlic cloves, have a sip of wine, and crank up the music:

Once the ground beef is browned, add the garlic to the skillet and cook for a minute or two:

In the meantime, cook the spaghetti noodles according to the package directions:

While the noodles are cooking, add the cream of mushroom soup, ½ cup of water and 1-1/2 cups of the pasta sauce to meat mixture:

Reduce the heat to low, stir and simmer until the beef mixture is well-combined and looks like this:

By now, the spaghetti noodles should be about done. Drain them and add them to the skillet with the beef mixture, stirring gently to combine:

Pour the spaghetti mixture into a lightly greased 9×13-inch casserole dish, and spread it around evenly. Sprinkle casserole with both the cheddar and parmesan cheeses:

Bake the casserole at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until bubbly.

As you can see from the top picture, I just served it with green beans, garlic bread and called it a done deal. Sure, the heathens complained about the green beans, but I did get super-mom credit for the casserole.

That’s about all a girl can ask for, I guess.

Recycling K-Cups and Plywood into Seed-Starting Trays

A few days ago, I posted about how my husband figured our coffee K-Cups were the perfect size for starting seeds. In an effort to recycle these plastic cups, as well as the plywood scraps from our Halloween decorations, he created some impromptu trays for starting seeds. I was really impressed with what he was able to throw together, using only materials he recycled from other projects…and it gave me a good excuse to drink more coffee while I ogled him with the power tools. All we needed for this project were the K-Cups, plywood scraps, a pencil, an electric drill and a jigsaw or circular saw. We also ended up using some screws we had leftover from Halloween as well.

To get started, my husband first laid out some of our empty K-cups onto a plywood scrap in order to try and see what the best way to arrange the cups was. We wanted to maximize the use of the plywood scraps, while still giving enough room for plants to actually grow. Also, he wanted the trays to be smaller and more maneuverable, so that we could easily move them around as needed:

Once he had the design, I traced the base of the cups onto the plywood, and he drilled holes using his 1-1/2 inch drill bit:

Next, he used his jigsaw (though admittedly a circular saw would have worked too), and trimmed down the plywood scrap into a rectangle:

We used this first rectangle as a template, and quickly traced it repeatedly over our larger plywood scraps, so that we could speed up the process:

Once he had cut out the rectangles, my husband free-handed a design for legs, so that the trays would be supported and allow the K-Cups to drain well when watered. We cut out two for every rectangle:

In the meantime, I put my oldest heathen to work cleaning out all our collected K-cups and punching drainage holes in the bottom…because why have kids if you can’t make them do a little manual labor every once in a while?

Finally, my husband screwed the legs onto the rectangle, and the kids dropped in the K-Cups:

Overall, we made nearly a dozen trays in a very short amount of time, while using only materials we had on-hand. In our slow efforts to be more environmentally conscious, we’ve accomplished two goals with this project: we found a way to recycle and repurpose some things, and we are even more motivated to get our garden going this year.

As long as I keep my green-thumb-of-death contained, this should be a good year…

Whimpering Under My Desk

Work is so busy lately that I am amazed my brain has not degraded into Swiss cheese. By the time I get home at night, I am ready to fall down.

Laundry is threatening to overtake my office, dinner needs cooking and my home in general could benefit from a good wipe-down.

I know this too shall pass, but I need to get my second wind soon…otherwise the few functioning brain cells I have left may decide to go on strike.