Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Redemption, a quick history lesson, and the outfit that does not exist...

Well, I think I redeemed myself from Monday night's raw chicken dinner.

Have you ever heard of the Moravian Church?  No. Well let me enlighten you.

The Moravian Church was established in the 1400's by John Hus.  He was against the idea of indulgences in the Catholic church.  He also did not believe in Purgatory and felt like priests should be able to marry.  Because he had these ideas 100 years before the Reformation, many historians say that the Moravian Church is the first Protestant denomination.  (It started in what is now the Checz Republic and eventually, a tiny remaining group of followers moved to Moravia, Germany in the early 1700s.  In the mid-1700s the Moravians led a small group of missionaries to Pennsylvania.  This mission was established on Christmas Eve and they named their town Bethlehem (now Bethlehem, PA).  About 10 years later they came down to North Carolina and founded Salem which is now Winston-Salem. 

And what do the Moravians have to do with my dinner?  Well, I was raised Moravian and every good Moravian knows what chicken pie is! 

Chicken pie is basically pot pie with no vegetables - just chicken and a thick broth inside of an upper and lower pie crust.  Every Moravian church has a ladies group that hosts chicken pie fundraisers throughout the year.  And what's funny to me, is that the Catholic church I attend has an annual Moravian Pie fundraiser!  Very ironic, don't you think?

My Uncle David is retired and actually helps with the chicken pie suppers at two local Moravian churches and has become quite the expert at making them.  And he kindly gifted us one this past week.

I popped that baby in the oven while Sarah was at swim practice and served it with mashed potatoes, homemade chicken gravy (my husband loves gravy and was thrilled when he saw this!), green peas, and I even went the extra step and opened up a can of cranberry sauce (luckily my family likes the canned stuff).  I also made a blue cheese brocoli coleslaw (that was delicious but no one touched but me. They don't know what's good.).

When the kids got to the table, one of them declared, "It's like THANKSGIVING!!!"

So, dinner was a hit!  Redemption is good.  Thanks, Uncle David!

This was not the acutal pie we had.  We were too busy eating it to take pictures!

And in other news - this Sunday afternoon we are having our family pictures taken.  It's been years since we've done it, actually almost 10.  Every year Sarah asks when we are going to have another one taken and every year I say, "This year!" and then I never get them scheduled.  But our PTO is having a mini-fundraiser and one of the moms at school who is a photographer is donating her time and talent for mini photo sessions.  So we basically have 20 minutes to get a couple of good shots. Hopefully at least one will be frame and Christmas card worthy.

The issue is finding just the right outfit for me that will take off 20 pounds of fat and 10 years of wrinkles.  Do you think Kohl's has an outfit that fits that bill?  I sure hope so because I have a 30% off coupon!

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

They can't all be winners!

Every Sunday afternoon, I sit down with my grocery list app, my Pinterest boards, and my calendar and I meal plan. 

I look at the calendar to figure out which nights we will be eating late due to activities, which nights will need crockpot meals because of said activities, which nights we won't be home (my favorite because that means momma doesn't cook), and which nights we need a full-on meal.

And then I go through the recipes I've pinned or when I'm feeling old school, I get out my recipe binder and I figure out what we are going to eat on which nights and then I create my grocery list.

I do this every Sunday because every Monday morning I head to Aldi and Wal-Mart to get groceries for the week. I have done this for years. In fact, I guess I've done this ever since we had kids.  I have to have a meal plan or we would be eating Domino's pizza every night for dinner. Which if you ask the kids would definitely be preferable.

I'm not one of those talented people who can walk around the grocery store without a list and manage to make it home with all the ingredients for a weeks worth of meals and then actually be able to open up the pantry at dinner time and look in and think, "hmm, let's have chicken casserole, mashed potatoes and green beans for dinner" AND actually be able to find all the necessary ingredients and cook them and have them on the table.  Nope, that's not me. 

I've always admired those people but that's not how my brain works.  I tell you all of this because last night, I went rogue.  Yep.  I veered away from normal meal plan and tried to be adventurous.

Typically on Monday nights, Peter and Dan go to Boy Scouts and twice a month Sarah has Girl Scouts.  But, last night, the Peter did not have Boy Scouts and in the afternoon Sarah's meeting got cancelled so instead of the chili I was planning on having, I decided to move lots of things around and decided that we would have a sheet pan chicken and veggie dinner since we would all be at home.

But then, and here's where things go really wrong, I decided to sub out the chicken from the sheet pan dinner with a chicken recipe that I just found that sounded really good.  The only issue was that the chicken wasn't cooked in the oven but in a skillet.  I hate cooking chicken in a skillet because it always (and I mean ALWAYS) takes longer than the recipe claims and then your chicken isn't done but everything else is and sits there getting cold while the chicken is still cooking.

But the marinade for this chicken recipe sounded really good and it got a lot of rave reviews so I decided to go for it.

The chicken breasts were different thicknesses (aren't they always?) so I pounded them out. Well, actually Sarah pounded them out for me because she said she had some aggression she needed to work out. There was one really big one that she didn't quite get pounded out thin enough but I decided I would just cook it longer.  No big deal.

I had the chicken in the skillet and the veggies in the oven and everything was humming along nicely.  Peter called out to me from the office and said the printer had a paper jam.  I went in to fix the jam and then he asked me for some help getting his math project printed out.  There were some spacing issues and I was trying to help him.  It was taking longer than I expected and I could hear the chicken sizzling in the pan.

The heat was up a little higher than I realized so when I finally got to it, the chicken was really charred on that side. I flipped it over and turned the heat down and let it continue to cook on the other side.  I used the meat thermometer and the smaller pieces were done so I took them out and let the two bigger pieces continue to cook. 

We finally sat down to dinner and I was very excited to try this chicken only to cut into my piece and one part of it was very undercooked.  Peter's had the same problem. 

Dan's and Sarah's were cooked all the way through so I guess perhaps when I was checking the temp with the thermometer I wasn't putting it in the thickest part of the two undercooked pieces. 

Dan gave Peter some of his chicken.  Sarah offered me some of hers but I let her eat it all and I just ate cookies after my dinner of carrots and potatoes and brocoli.

You know how you can think back to your mom's kitchen and recall the meals you loved her to fix when you were growing up?  Well, I think my kids are going to be reminiscing about all the times they almost got salmonella. But I guess that's what good family stories are made of!

Monday, October 16, 2017

The weekend in review....

It was a full weekend here in our little neck of the woods.

On Friday evening Peter, Dan, and I went to the Homecoming game.  Sarah stayed home because she's not a sports fan and she wanted to get her homework done because she too had a busy weekend scheduled.

Our plan was to hit the food trucks but when we go there, the lines were long and we didn't feel like waiting.  So, we took our impatient selves to Dairi-o and got burgers there.

I always love the thought of food trucks but in reality it's usually waiting in long lines to order, waiting in long lines to get the food, and then looking for a place to stand while you eat the food.  BUT - if you do go through all of that, the food is usually really good! 

On Saturday, Sarah had a Girl Scout biking and camping trip.  Unfortunately, we weren't good scouts and didn't even check the air in her bike tires until 10 minutes before we were supposed to leave.  And of course, one of the tires was flat.  Dan tried to pump it up and realized that lthere was a hole in the tube. So we lowered the seat on Dan's bike and she took that one. It's always good to have a plan B. 

Sarah had a great time.  They biked for 13 miles around Quarry Park and Salem Lake and then went to a corn maze and ended the evening with a camp out. 

 The girls are standing on an overhang that looks out onto the quarry and in the distance you can see downtown Winston-Salem.

Saturday afternoon was spent working around the house. Peter and Dan took care of the yard work while I did laundry and other exciting chores which included cleaning out the refrigerator. 

How in the world can a refrigerator get so dirty??  When I took out the bottom drawer to clean it there were enough crumbs underneath the drawer to keep at least one mouse full for the winter and several petrified blueberries.  I spent the majority of the weekend pondering how all those crumbs got in the fridge in the first place (it's not like we are eating in the fridge) and then how they got underneath the drawer.  If anyone has any answers, I'd love to hear them.

On Saturday evening, Peter headed to a friend's house to meet a bunch of other guys who were going to the dance without dates.  The friend's parents served them burgers and cherry pie before they headed out. 

Peter said he had a good time when he got home but I didn't ask a lot of questions.  I tried on Sunday morning and was met with terse answers and eventually, "Will you stop asking me so many questions!  Geez, mom." 

I will be glad when Sarah gets to that school next year so I can finally know what's going on!

On Sunday we went to Mass, had lunch at my parent's house, fixed Sarah's bike tire, watched football and ate queso and guacamole for dinner. 

I'd say it was a good weekend!  Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, October 13, 2017

FIVE days! In a row!

Well, would you look at this!  It's Friday and today makes FIVE consecutive days of posting!  I can't even remember the last time that happened - if ever!

Do you remember waaaaaaaay back in blogging's heyday when every November there would be challenges to see if you could post every day during the month?  I never did that because sitting down here and figuring out what to say for 30 days in a row was a little daunting.  But look at me now - FIVE DAYS!  However, tomorrow is Saturday so unless something really extraordinary happens between now and tomorrow, don't count on a weekend post.

....and the whole internet weeps....

The picture Peter's vice principal took yesterday  morning was one of the pics posted on the school's Facebook and Instagram accounts so he was very pleased with that.  And he managed to keep his makeup and wig on all day except for PE. I would have loved to have seen Peter running around during PE in his gym clothes and his face painted white and black. I'm sure he looked like some strange metal zombie.  

Tonight there will be tailgating and food trucks in the parking lot before the game.  We are planning on getting there early enough to eat from one of the food trucks.  I hope there are some good ones there.

Tomorrow night is the dance.  I'm not 100% sure if Peter's going or not.  One of his friends was trying to get a group of guys to go together but that friend has since asked or been asked (Peter wasn't sure) by a girl and some of Peter's other friends are going with girls as well.  So it sounded as if he wasn't going.  But there was some texting last night and it sounds like he might be going after all.  He's got money to buy the ticket but we'll see if he comes home with one or not. He is his father's son though so I would not be at all surprised if he chooses not to go. ( The Cotell men do not like to dance or socialize for that matter!)

Sarah's going biking with her Girl Scout troop tomorrow and then they will be camping afterwards.  She's looking forward to that.  Peter and I will be getting our flu shots.  We are not looking forward to that.

Dan is feeling a little better each day but he's still not back to 100% yet.  Hopefully next week this time he will be back to his old self!  This surgery was definitely more than he expected.

And with that, I'm going to leave you with a little Wally montage.

Whut dis?
Why momz dodrent here?  Wally must attack.

Wally killd it Mom.  U saf now.

Why was my deodorant on the floor you might ask.  Well, if you must know, I had a mammogram earlier in the week and you can't wear deodorant.  I put my Secret in the middle of the floor so that I would remember to put it in my purse on my way downstairs so that I could use it after the mammo.  My doctor's office has a can of aerosol deodorant in the changing room but I can't deal with a cold shot to the arm pits so I always take my trusty Secret solid to put on right after. TMI?  Probably.  But you asked.

Have a great weekend and I'll see you back here on Monday!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

No analogies??

"That was the most boring thing ever!"  That's how Peter summed up the PSAT.  That and, "Oh, I did horrible on the math." 

Math isn't Peter's strong suit anyway so that was expected.  Plus, I'm assuming the math is more advanced than what Peter has learned so far because he's only in the 9th grade. 

We were discussing it at dinner and Dan chimes in  with, "A cow is to a barn as..." and before he finished, Peter said, "Nope.  There were no analogies on the test."

WHAT???  Those were my favorite questions!  Apparently, according to Peter, all the non-math questions consisted of reading "very boring essays/articles" and then answering a bunch of questions.

He did tell me that there were a lot of funny memes floating around about the PSATs yesterday but got annoyed with me when I asked him to describe some of them.  According to Peter he couldn't becuase:  #1 - I'm too old to understand some of the pop culture references, #2 I didn't take the test so I would not be familiar with the essays or questions they were mocking and #3 - Memes can't be explained, they just have to be understood.

Not wanting to be left out, I went online and googled "2017 PSAT Memes" and found a bunch.  And he was right, I didn't get them because I didn't take the test. I guess some things need to be left to the youth of the world. 

In other Peter news, (and yes, I am aware that I have a daughter but there's not much happening in the 8th grade right now that I'm allowed to discuss so...) today was the much awaited Character Day.

He got up early this morning and got into character if you will:

On our way to school, Peter said, "Hmmmm....I hope there isn't a no face paint rule." 

He probably should have thought about that prior to 5 minutes before arriving at school.  When we pulled up, the vice principal was monitoring the parking lot so I figured if face paint wasn't okay Peter would come chasing after me as I pulled out. 

Halfway home I got a text from Peter saying that the VP loved his costume and actually took a picture of it.  Whew! 

And lest you think my boy sits around ALL DAY and listens to death metal on his head phones while playing video games, here are two of his recent drawings:

Today I'm having lunch with my bestie, my BFF, my girl Jenny from the block (okay not that Jenny From the Block) but Jenny from my block.  I'm excited to catch up with her because it's been a couple of weeks! 

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Don't forget a good night's sleep and a healthy breakfast!

Today is PSAT day at Peter's school.  I mentioned to him last night that it might be a good idea to look through the booklet they sent home and he grudgingly did.  He headed out to school this morning with extra #2 pencils and his calculator so I guess he's ready. 

A good mom would have made him bacon and eggs and toast but y'all - breakfast food is the worst and the thought of eating all of that first thing in the morning makes me queasy.  Luckily Peter and Sarah feel the same way way.  A bowl of cereal is all they want in the mornings.  Dan on the other hand loves breakfast so he's he only one getting a raw deal with my loathing of breakfast. 

We do all love bacon though and sometimes on Sunday evening I will make a pack of eat for us to snack on (or put on BLTs when we have fresh tomatoes).  My mom makes a huge lunch on Sundays and we're never really hungry on Sunday evening so we just usually snack.  Bacon makes everyone happy! 

Yesterday Peter wore Dan's old Patriots jersey to Mathletes vs. Athletes day.  Unfortunately, in typical Peter fashion, he didn't try it on until yesterday morning and the fit was really odd.  It was an "authentic" jersey so the shoulders were really wide (I am assuming for shoulder pads, because you know, most fans put on shoulder pads when they are watching the game....) so he said that he had to wear his sweatshirt over it for most of the day because it kept falling down in the front and in his words, "I didn't want my nipples showing all day!" Ha!

Most kids were wearing sports jerseys or uniforms but I did see some very good nerd outfits complete with pocket protectors, suspenders, and taped eye glasses! 

Peter gets out early today so he and I will be heading back to the Halloween store.  The wig I got him yesterday was too heavy metal/glam metal according to him.  He has a very specific look he is trying to accomplish for character day (in fact, it's a particular death metal singer) and I'm just not sure if we are going to be able to pull that off or not.  We're going to try though....

Sarah had swim practice last night and it was so hot at the pool.  I was sweating just sitting in the bleachers.  The kids said the water was hot too and they all had red faces when they got out.  It didn't help that when we got in the car at 7:40 to head home the thermometer was reading 85.  I'm a summer/hot weather girl but even I would like some cooler temps. 

That's it for my daily update.  As I mentioned previously, I'm trying to post more regularly so be prepared for lots of boring details of our life! 
Blurry photo of Sarah at swim practice.  She's the one in the middle doing backstroke!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Dan went to our family doctor yesterday and diagnosis?  Uvulitis!

Uvulitis is  an inflammation of the uvula and can be caused by many different things.  Most likely though, Dan picked up an infection at the hospital when he was having his surgery.  So, that's comforting....

He got a nice shot of steroids in the rump and came home with some very large Augmentin pills.  He said his throat was feeling a little better this morning but we were hoping it would be like strep and the antibiotics would start working immediately.

I'm kicking myself for not forcing him to go to the doctor on Saturday morning.  Our family doctor has clinic hours every evening from 4:00 to 8:00 and on Saturday mornings from 8:00 to 12:00 where you can just walk in and be seen by a PA or NP.  It's super convenient and we discussed going on Saturday morning but Dan takes a more wait and see approach where I am more, let's go get it checked out and get the meds going if needed.  Next time, I will force the issue.  Had I done so, he could have saved himself 3 extra days of extreme pain when swallowing.  It's the diet plan he did not want!

I'm heading out this morning to get the necessary items for Peter's character day costume.  Hopefully I can find what he's looking for without breaking the bank.

PJ day seemed to go well.  It ran the gamut from sweats, to plaid sleep pants, to shorts and tees, to onsies, to full on button up old man pjs with bath robes.

Today is Mathletes vs. Athletes.  Peter wore Dan's very old Drew Bledsoe jersey.  Drew was the quarterback of the Patriots before Tom Brady if that tells you how old the jersey was.  Although, his name isn't on the back just his number - 11, which is currently the number of Julian Edelman.

I can't wait to see if anyone dresses up as a Mathlete - which I am assuming is full on nerd gear.

And since I don't like to have a post without a picture, and I'm pretty sure you don't want to see Dan's extremely inflamed and spotted uvula, I'll leave you with these:

This can will curl up anywhere!  So cute but I don't allow cats on kitchen tables or counter tops because that's just gross!  So, no matter how cute he looks here, he had to come down!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Weather, hernias, and Wally. Just another day in our neck of the woods.

Here's a picture of the tree in our backyard.  I love this old tree!

It's been rainy and HOT here and today looks to be no different.  It was so muggy when Dan and I stepped outside at 7:20 last night to pick up Sarah from Confirmation class that he declared it felt more like a July evening than and October evening. He was right.

Even as I type at 7:30 AM the air conditioning is running because it's 76 degrees right now according to my outdoor thermometer.  The weather forecast is calling for rain all week so it will LOOK like fall outside but it will NOT feel like it.

Now that I've covered the weather,  I know you really all came by for today was a Dan update.  Right? 

He's doing better.  He's finally able to stand almost upright as he slowly walks around. For most of the time since his surgery he has walked hunched over like a little old man.   He's still very stiff and sore but that is improving each day.  And he went to work this morning.  His problem now is his throat.  It has been sore ever since the surgery. 

The first couple of days we attributed the soreness to the anesthesia as that can be a side effect according to Google.  But we are 5 days out now and the pain is getting worse and his uvula (the little hangy down thing in the back of his throat) is covered with white spots.  I think it's strep but the white spots aren't spreading and he has absolutely no fever. So, who knows?   He said the nice thing about the throat pain is that it takes his mind off of the pain around his incisions. He is going to the doctor this afternoon so hopefully he can get some answers and some relief.

Peter headed out the door this morning  in his new pjs for the start of Spirit Week.  He seemed less than thrilled with the whole thing and even though I thought about taking a picture, I didn't even dare to ask. 

So, picture if you will, a tall lanky brown haired kid with a semi-scowl on his face wearing plaid pajama bottoms, a grey tee shirt and a blue sweatshirt and you've got Spirit Week in the Cotell house! 

And just because I can't leave you with the image of a surly teenager in your minds, here's my baby:

Somebody can't get enough of mommy!  :)

Friday, October 6, 2017

Seven Quick Takes: Homecoming Edition

Let's do some Quick Takes!

1. Next week is Homecoming at Peter's school and they are having different dress up days.  Monday is pajama day (which always annoys me - not a fan of people wearing pjs in public and then to wear them all day to school - blech).  This one is easy enough to do because Peter has pajamas.  However, they are too short because - who cares?  No one sees them but us.  But I picked him up a new pair from Walmart (nothing but the best for MY baby!) even though he said he didn't care if they were too short or not because "it's just pajamas".  I don't like his reasoning because  high water pajama pants  are still high water pants when you are wearing them out in public. 

2.  Tuesday is Mathletes versus Athletes and the kids are supposed to dress up like jocks or nerds.  Peter will be wearing one of Dan's very old Patriots jersey's from before the Tom Brady era (assuming I can locate it from the nether regions of the closet).  Fingers crossed it hasn't disintegrated yet!

3.  On Wednesday all the 9th, 10th, and 11th graders are taking the PSAT and the Seniors are off so there's no dressing up on this day.  However, there is an early dismissal so Peter's very excited about that! However, I conveniently scheduled an orthodontist appointment to fill the void.  He's less excited about that.

4.  Thursday is Character Day and Peter is thrilled with this one.  He's going to dress up like a rocker.  Not sure if I mentioned it on the blog or not but Peter is VERY into Death Metal music.  Before you get too excited, it's not as bad as it sounds.  Well, the music is as bad sounding as you think but the themes of the songs aren't about death.  Most of the bands Peter listens too write extremely long songs about historical events or battles.  It's very odd to me but Peter digs it.

I have been instructed to purchase a long straight black wig and wrist spikes and black and white face paint.  I told him I could probably get him an 80's hair band wig or an Elvira wig.  He said it COULD NOT be an 80s hair bad wig because 80's hair band music is for POSERS.  Obviously.  So I guess I will be getting an Elvira wig and trimming it a little.  I feel a trip to the Spirit Halloween store in my future.

5.  Friday is Blue and Gold Day.  I guess he will just wear his Bishop tee shirt with his Bishop sweatshirt and call it good.

6.  Friday night is the Homecoming Game.  There will be tailgating in the parking lot and food trucks at the school before the game so we are planning on getting there early.

7.  And last but not least, there is a Homecoming Dance on Saturday night.  Peter said he's going. (He has a tendency to change his mind at the last minute so we will see.)  It sounds like several of his guy friends are going without dates so at least he will have a group of guys to hang out with if he does go.

And look!  Just like that - Seven Quick Takes!