Family Holidays

The middle daughter is home.  The presents have been received by the other two daughters.  Everything is ready for the holidays – I think.

Friday night will be video holiday with all of my family.  I’m looking forward to seeing their faces when they open their gifts.  I’m sure I’ll hear corny jokes, laughter, and all the other things which go with family gatherings.

I miss the times we would spend together playing games, watching movies and so on.  However, they are in Georgia and we are in Wisconsin.  Ken can’t get off around a holiday and Virginia is working every day except Friday.  We will adjust and adapt while we make the most of the time we do have together.

Saturday Ken will go to his family.  I don’t know whether I will go or not yet.  It depends on my sinus issues and the weather.

Sunday is my family gathering.  I’m not sure whether we are going or not – for the same reasons above.

Tonight Vicki and I will be clipping coupons, checking the rebates, and making a list for batch cooking.  At some point we are going to make some large batches of food for the freezer.  I’ll have to pay bills in order to figure out how much we will have to spend on groceries.  We’re going to make a list of where we’re going and what we need to pick up.  It will be a busy day on Friday.

Since I have off, Vicki and I will spend the day running errands, shopping, and getting ready for the family thing Friday night.  It will be a very busy day.

Next week will be full of cooking, crocheting, and spending time with Vicki.  I’m hoping to finish a few projects for her (writing up the patterns of course).  However, we’ll see what trouble we get into.

Long Long Day

Ken left for Georgia yesterday.  Vicki and I took him to the airport at 3:30 in the morning.  This meant we were up at 2:30.

Not being a morning person, this was not a great start to the day.  Vicki and I were home by 6:00 but we didn’t come back and go back to bed.  We stopped at Woodman’s.  We shopped for both her household and mine.  By the time we were done, we’d saved $57 in coupons, $6.25 in Ibotta rebates, and $2 in Checkout 51 rebates.

We came home so she could unload.  All the perishables got put away and some of the sorting out of what she wanted and what I wanted.  My mother and sister stopped by so they got to see Vicki for a few minutes.

Once they left, we made a list for Sorgs and I called it in.  Since it was Saturday Sorgs is always busy so we wanted to expedite our time there.  We stopped at Urgent Care because Vicki has a sinus infection.

The rest of our morning we spent time going to Shopko, Target, Penera, and Walgreens.  That finished our morning.  We came home to eat lunch.  I took a nap but she was bouncing all over getting things organized.

She brought home her laundry so she wouldn’t have to pay to go to a laundromat.  She did our laundry as well, so we folded and hung up several baskets of clothes.  Once we were done with that, we went to the kitchen.

The two of us made lasagne, chicken tetrazzini, and diced chicken which we marinated with dressing.  Once those were all done, we had lasagne for supper, did some more laundry, and then went back to the kitchen to make cranberry apple sauce.  Vicki canned the results of this experiment so she had to stay up long enough to get the ten pints in and out of the water bath.

All of this got done yesterday with only about three hours of sleep.  All in all, a good day but exhausting.  I kicked Vicki to bed at about 10:30 and got to sleep short after 11:00.  Today, I’m going to work on crocheting and watching movies or documentaries.  I’m planning to enjoy my peace and quiet.

Easy Sunday

Sunday I spent with Ken.  We watched movies and did very little else.  He picked me up some rope so I could try out a crochet technique, which I started last night.  It wasn’t the right size for the project I want to do but it gives me an idea of whether I will like the technique.

In the morning, I made microwave caramel which turned out pretty good.  I think I want to tweak the recipe a bit.  I also got coleslaw ready for lunches this week.  Ken made chicken on the grill for me and brats for him.  I had mine with munster cheese and canadian bacon.  It was quite good.

For supper, we had tacos.  Mine were grilled chicken and his were left over ground turkey.  It was quite good.  I wrote a scene in Wayfarer 10 and knew I wasn’t going to write more. I needed to do something different.  I worked with the rope to see how it would work up with this technique.

There was nothing big done but it was a good day.  We got a few smaller things done and enjoyed each other’s company.  One of those quiet and easy Sundays.


In my Prose Stylistics class, we had to write a paragraph using only active verbs and no passive verbs.  In case you don’t know passive verbs are the “be” verbs like is, are, was, were, will, have been, had been, etc.  Here is a good link for passive voice if you want to learn more:

The instructor wanted us to watch a pitcher or jockey or some other sports event.  You all know me I am so not a sports person.  Instead I wrote about Vicki cooking.  Here is the sample:

            With a jerk, she flipped the onion, peppers, and garlic in the pan.  The smell invaded the entire house as she stirred the fry pan filled with fresh herbs and vegetables.   The chicken breasts sizzled as she added them to the mix adding another layer of scent lingering in the house.  Steam billows from the pan of noodles bubbling next to her mixture of deliciousness.  With an experienced hand, she spills in cream for the sauce.  She tilts the spices in with a practiced air, knowing the exact amount to add without getting a measuring spoon.  The food simmers burbling and expelling tantalizing fragrance that makes the mouth water.  With a gush, she empties the noodles into a strainer and then plops them back into the pan.  She scoops out the noodles and tops them with the chicken and sauce for a delicious plateful of sustenance.    

There is no passive voice in this paragraph at all.  I used all action verbs as requested in the assignment.  Passive voice shouldn’t be completely driven out of our writing but there is a time and place for it.  Here is the different between two sentences


With an experienced hand, she spills in cream for the sauce.


With an experienced hand, the cream was spilled by her for the sauce.

As you can see active voice is more direct and interesting.  It keeps the reader’s attention by keeping the action going.  My professor was not happy in class because no one was talking about the use of passive voice.  She slammed down the stapler on the table and made us write about it using no passive verbs.  I hate busy work and this was definitely busy work.  Many of those who wrote about it in class described the stapler but I took a little different tone.  Here it is:

            It waits silently, prepared for the next invasion.  Flat and thin, they slip between the guard posts.  The general slams down and the sentries impale the invaders.  The invaders escape embedded with two spikes and a rail. 

I will concede you can’t really tell that I’m talking about a stapler but at least it amused me while I did the busy work.  The professor seemed to enjoy my little bit of fantasy. 

Batch Cooking

A former co-worker told me about batch cooking and how she does it with her sisters.  This got me thinking about how we could do it and from there it led to Vicki investigating it.  Now we are in full-fledged mode of batch cooking. 
Yesterday, I spent my day chopping veggies, making my garbage soup, making meatballs and mini meatloaf, assembling lasagna, and cutting up meats.  We chop up veggies like onions, mushrooms, and celery (and a whole lot more) in volume for all the dishes we want to make.  The chopped up items go into bowls so that when Vicki is cooking a dish all she has to do is grab the appropriate amount. 
The first dish to go in the oven was my garbage soup.  As I chopped up all the veggies, a portion of them went in to my big roaster pan.  Vicki also picked up a large can of the cream of mushroom soup I use to make this.  Buying larger is usually more economical.  In most cases the larger isn’t worthwhile for us but when we batch cook it is. 
Vicki started with making the sauce for the lasagna and boiling the noodles.  Once the two were done, she handed them off to me and had me assemble.  The thing about this is she doesn’t like to assemble and we made three pans of lasagna.  We switch off doing things like this to stay out of each other’s way in the kitchen but also to play to our strengths. 
I am not able to stand at the stove and cook.  My legs just won’t tolerate it yet.  Vicki is but she has issues with her thumbs so cutting things up is hard on her hands.  We play off each our strengths but dividing the tasks up according to whom is good at what and what causes the least pain for each of us. 

We spent all day cooking.  At the end of the day, we had three pans of lasagna, three pans of chicken carbonara – one of which was gluten free, Mexican stew, garbage soup, turkey meatballs, beef meatloaf, and finished baking the chocolate chip cookies Vicki stirred up on Friday.  We used up all our freezer containers – Ken even had to go buy more.  The freezer now is full of food for lunches for the next month.  The thing is these lunches are healthier and better than the frozen stuff you get in the store.  they are also more cost effective because we made them in bulk.  All the way around there are benefits – the only downside is at the end of the day we are damn tired and don’t want to look at food anymore.