Taco Salad

I’m always up for some easy summertime (or anytime) recipes. Works for Me Wednesday at We Are That Family recently did a “Summer Recipe Edition.” Econobusters posted this recipe for One Bowl Taco Salad. It looked like an easy lunch idea, motivating me to try it, like, NOW.

The picture I took is not that great, but the recipe turned out well and it was very tasty. Not to mention, more economical than picking one up at the drive-thru.

Since I have “issues” with recipes, finding it hard to follow them, I basically poured a bag of salad into a bowl, cut it up some more with scissors, turning the bowl over and over  to get smaller pieces. I threw some cheese on top of that, cut up two small tomatoes, threw them on top. Took a thick slice of onion, diced it up; added it. Crushed about 7 handfuls of taco chips; sprinkled them on top. Squirted an eyeballed amount of Catalina and tossed away.

I loaded up a plate for each of the boys (the 3 younger ones) and myself, added about 1/4 cup of leftover ground turkey taco filling leftover from last nights’ meal, and voila. Lunch.

We added a dollop of sour cream to our salads. The kids thought it was a pretty yummy, fancy lunch. I thought it was easy, tasty and just as good as take-out.

Jon & Kate Plus 8

jon-and-kate-plus-8 The internet is a buzz over Jon & Kate plus 8 (reality TV show on TLC)and the sad situation their family is in right now. I don’t keep up with it, honestly, beyond what I’m not practically forced to know by the magazines at the check-out counter at the grocery store. It bothers me.

I just know that way back when they were first on television, something didn’t sit right with me. It just seemed like such a gamble, to have life be chaotic enough with twins and then the subsequent birth of multiples. I remembered my own house when the twins were born. Two kids in school, one in diapers, plus nursing twins. I couldn’t imagine having cameras flocking around us on a routine basis. It wouldn’t have been a pretty site – nor would it have been good for our establishing family.

If you watch the show you can see how the house transforms, how the mom changes from flustered new mom of a multiples, to a reality television star with frosty hair and metallic sunglasses. How on earth did it come to that? I mean, are you serious? Their faces on mugs and t-shirts? Videos? Like winning the lottery and completely imploding over the course of a few years. I’m convinced that people can have too much of a good thing. Children, especially. No child would likely benefit from a life where they are toted around Hollywood, jetting from city to city (to promote… yourself — how weird is that?!), in front of the media, made a spectacle of at sporting events, the list goes on and on.

Too many options, worrying about what sponsorships to accept, appearances to make, what trip to film, what make-up to wear — and way less focus on the precious years of raising children, stealing moments with your husband.

I suppose you could be envious of the sponsorships, the trips, the free plastic surgery. But then you can also see what “deal with the devil” had been made. At the sacrifice of a marriage, of your children’s childhood? Hindsight is always 20/20, but reality TV doesn’t really care about who they are filming and what the ramifications of the intrusion of their subject’s lives will be. But possibly more thought should be put into shooting reality TV when it involves children. Time will tell if these reality TV “child stars” face the same issues as the child actors who seem prone to confusion, drug-abuse and issues with parents and their hard-earned fortunes.

What do you think?

Warm For Winter – Knitting Project

I received an email from a woman named Sis. She said she used the Chunky Ribbed Hat pattern posted in the knitting section of my site. She said it was perfect for a knitting group she has that makes hats for homeless people in the Seattle area. The program she is working with is called, “Warm for Winter”  — A program sponsored by the Interfaith Council of Washington. Sis’ specific group goal is to make 100 hats by winter 2009. Can we help her?

I think we can.


Here’s a little information from Sis:

…I have been very involved with knitting, started two groups at my Temple and along with this I thought it would be nice to give an afghan to each new renter. I had labels made with my Temple’s knitting group name – “Knitzvah” which is knitting for a Mitzvah. Mitzvah in Hebrew is acts of good deeds. Most of the people we have put into apartments are women with children and each family gets an afghan. I started out having folks knit strips which I put together but it got to be so much work that I figured why not make the whole afghan and came up with a pattern. I have folks knitting in Florida, Arizona, Maryland, California and locally. We have made close to 100 afghans and have placed close to 100 families into apartments; mostly women with kids. Then… I also got my folks knitting for hats for the homeless. I watch for yarn sales and put together both afghan and hat kits and give them out to people I meet at book events, etc. around town.

If you’d like to knit a hat (or two, or three – with the Chunky Ribbed Hat pattern, or a pattern of your own) for the homeless, fantastic!!! Whip ’em up.

Completed hats should be sent to:
Sis’s Homeless Hats
T.B.A. 2632 NE 80th St
Seattle, WA 98115

Thanks so much!!! Send me a picture or link if you have the time. I’d love to see your hats. Feel free to link to this post to help spread the word. (*Hats pictured above are made from Sis’s own hat pattern, which you can find here: Sis’s Hat)

Arby’s – Bring Back the Martha’s Vineyard Salad!!

I just wasted $15. It is my own fault, and my own choice to spend the money.

After work, I decided to swing by Arby’s to pick up a couple salads for myself and my daughter. The drive-thru was roped with cars; I was about fifth in line. As I pulled up to the speaker, another car pulled behind me. I eyed the menu, looking for old familiar: Arby’s Martha’s Vineyard Salad. I saw three salads. But none of them were my Martha’s Vineyard.

“Don’t you have Martha’s Vineyard?” I asked, when questioned on my order choices.

The answer was NO.

No? My favorite salad in the entire world of fast food?! Gone? The almonds, chicken, lettuce, cranberries and cheese salad sold by a chain restaurant directly on the path I take home from work? The salad that I add walnuts to and eat with oil and vinegar when I get home? The MAIN reason Arby’s even gets money from my pocketbook?


I ordered a consolation turkey-something salad and a crispy-ick salad instead. And some of the new eggrolls that they had, just because I was already down in the dumps, so why not? And a Diet Pepsi since I’d at least KNOW what that would taste like. My van sulked all the way to the “first window.” I could, should have just waited for an opening and burned out of there, spitting dirty snow in the face of The Man. Drove off. But I was lazy and hungry and trapped by the drive-thru.

Neither salad was worth $5, not even on a day when there’s no time and I’m lazy and hungry. Nu-uh. Nope. Sorry. I guess I have to pursue other means of fast-food salad happiness.

Gmail email emoticons

Call me a dork, but I’m totally excited that Gmail has (finally) added Gmail emoticons. Hoorah. I love my gmail, having had it when you needed an invite to get it. I use it for work and personal use, but it has lacked some of the traditional bells and whistles of rival web-based email (Yahoo, Hotmail). It is nice to see these little improvements coming along. Hopefully we continue to see improvements being made in Picasa as well. Keep it up, Google.

Clotheslines Are Beautiful

I was reading The Simple Dollar, one of my fav-o blogs, and as I went through the posts (Note: readers sure are great for those of us who are skimmers.), one that particularly caught my eye was about clotheslines and his decision to choose not to install a clothesline because of the perceived “poverty” it (may) imply. I decided to come jot down my thoughts on the Simple Dollar’s post, before reading the comments that followed.

Growing up we always had a clothesline. I remember mom hanging out clothes in our small town house. I remember using the poles for a multitude of imaginary play (kissing the boyfriend-pole, as a soldier husband/boyfriend returning from war, twirling around the pole as a dance partner, etc). When we moved from small town house, there in the bigger city backyard was a clothesline. My first apartment didn’t have one, neither did my second. But I often hung clothes in the shower, or on the deck. Not a lot, but often enough. I was very pleased when our first house had a clothesline in back. It felt like home again.

One of the first signs of Spring is the ability to, hang clothes out on the line. In Winter I will sometimes hang clothes indoors, but it isn’t the same. I hang clothes out of habit. It is free, simple and brings me joy, the simplicity of it all. I was once told that each load of laundry dried in the dryer is about $1. I’ve seen it quoted as less, but in my head I stick to that dollar amount as motivation to hang it outside. As if I needed it. I love the smell of line-dried clothing. Sheets dried under the sun make slumber that much more sweet.

Sometimes when I’m hanging the clothes out to dry, the neighbor will tease, “When you’re done over there, you can come hang mine, too!!” We laugh about it. A friend of mine saw my lines and asked if I used them, “What a little homemaker you are, line-drying your clothes.” That was the first time I realized that, duh, not everyone hangs clothes out to dry.

Never did I think it might be a sign of poverty. Never did I think that someone might think it absurd or “ghetto” to dry my clothes on the line. I enjoy the sight of sprinklers and clotheslines, toys in the yard and people on porches. To me, it is neighborhood life. Personally, I don’t think I could live in a neighborhood where line-drying was unacceptable, and the pressure to not have a clothesline in my yard kept me from doing so. Although, I would simply overlook that pressure and do it anyway. That may not be the comfortable choice for Simple Dollar, though. But there is an alternative: an Indoor Clothesline!! Ooh-la-la. Make the neighbors happy, while being able to line-dry clothes. You miss the nice bennies of the sun, fresh air, etc. But for pure frugality? Can’t be beat.