A Dollop of Sour Cream

I'm not much into spicy food. I have recently discovered that if a meal is just a tad too spicy for me, I can put sour cream on top and make it not just palatable, but wonderful. This blog is devoted to doing the same for life.



For Kendal: Rice Casserole

I actually used this recipe quite a bit before I got married, but I have to say that it is one of my staples now that I -am- married. Since Kendal expressed interest in recipes, I decided she ought to have one of my best as well. (I got this one from a bachelorette friend. But it's sorta become one of my trademarks because I use it for new baby meals, etc so much)

Rice Casserole

2 cups uncooked rice
leftover cooked meat cut into bite-size pieces.(in a pinch, bologna and other sandwich meat works)
2 cans cream-of-something soup
frozen veggies to taste.

Make the rice up according to the directions.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together rice, meat, soup, and veggies in a 9x13 pan (I usually use my Pyrex glass dish for this)
Cook for 30 minutes to an hour. (Depending on how brown you like the tops of your rice and how long you have before having to rush it over to where dinner is.)

If you have spare shredded cheese, you might want to top with cheese after serving :)

That's it.

Thoughts on Infertility (And the fear of)

We are in a Newly Marrieds class at church with 35 couples. We do meals for those who have children. (It isn't technically JUST for newly marrieds. But, rather, for anyone who wants to work on their marriage. Some of the couples have been together for 6 or 7 years. I don't -think- we have any "old married folk" there, yet, but I know they would be welcome.) It's to help the new parents out, etc -- and we have a LOT of babies too! we had around 6 right before last Christmas, 6 more over the spring, 3 over this past summer, and have at least 4 women pregnant in our class. (that I know of)

At the same time, though, there are 5 or 6 couples that -want- children and for whatever reason, aren't having them. (I admire their courage to keep coming. I'm not sure if I could. Keep coming, keep asking for prayer. I know one couple just finally finalized the adoption of their twins. So that was one prayer answered -- but there are still so many...)

And I ran upon this quote over at Quiet Life that I want to remember:
"It took 3 years to get pregnant the first time. Which compared to "never" is not a long time but when you are going through it you know that it COULD be "never" so it seems like an eternity." Yeah, it may have "only been 6 or 7 years" max for these couples -- but there is always that niggling doubt in the back of your head. I've even got it, and I've barely been married that long -- the "what if I can't have kids" doubt. I can remember thinking same ever I was a child -- that I wasn't going to have the desire of my heart -- to be a mother with a family of my own. I don't know why I "assume" that God doesn't want to give us good things. That's certainly not true. And yet, that is how my mind went.I want this so badly, I obviously won't get it. Then, when I was barely 29, I finally met my now-husband. So there is at least more chance now than there was before -- and yet the doubt lingers.

I need to work on that more. To believe and not just say that I know God wants the best for me. To want God's best for me even if that best turns out to be different than what I think it is -- even if, in the midst of receiving God's best for me, I get scorned by those who I respect and deeply desire the approval of because they look at me and don't see what they want to.

And to always keep my heart open -- to those who are older and yet without husband prospect, despite deeply desiring them. To remember how it feels. And to remember this as well. The fear. Because there is nothing new under the sun. And what I am going through others have gone through before, and will again.


Cook or Pack?

Maybe it's just as well I'm not pregnant yet. I'm not cut out to be a mother. I fixed dinner tonight. However, because I cooked dinner I didn't get ANY packing done. I am positive this is not supposed to be an either/or thing. Mothers can manage, somehow, to get it all done.

Anyway, the recipe I did -- the chicken part was good. But it was too salty. So I'm trying to figure out a way to modify it to not use so many purchased pieces.

Chicken Surprise

1 box Stove top stuffing mix (I used the cornbread stuff... I think it was supposed to be different because this one had no spice packet)
1 can cream of chicken soup (cream of celery, cream of broccoli...)
1 pkg boneless breast or chicken tenders (I used 1.3 lb)
Butter, just to cover bottom of baking dish
1 med. baking dish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter bottom of dish. Place meat in dish. Cover chicken with breading mix (only. From stuffing). Make soup and add season mix to soup (from stuffing). Pour soup and season mix all over breading mix. (make sure it gets mixed together)

Cover dish. Place in oven for 45 minutes. You may remove cover 15 minutes before removing from oven.

...(OOps. I just realized I cooked for 45 minutes covered then 15 uncovered)


Where I grew up

Northwest Park
First-time buyers drawn to community
By Katherine Feser
Houston Chronicle
Affordable prices have made the 1970s tract housing in Northwest Park attractive to first-time buyers who want to get out of an apartment and into a house for an average of $600 a month.
"There are no shared walls," says realty agent Tom Caine of Re/Max Airport I. They are separate houses with four walls of your own and a two-car garage, Caine says.

Northwest Park is located south of Beltway 8, just a few miles from a slew of neighborhoods along FM 1960. Willowbrook Mall is about six miles away on Texas 249, which borders the subdivision.

"It's kind of just out of the cusp of the high demand area," says Lee Tews, an agent with MGM Realty. "But because of that, it's a very economical place to live - lower tax rates, MUD (municipal utility district) rates and home prices."

Over the past year, 48 homes have sold in Northwest Park from $41,000 to $81,900. Currently, 27 homes are on the market, priced from $51,900 to $79,900. Some of the more expensive homes are new ones filling in about 14 vacant lots in the subdivision. Four houses, priced from $65,000 to $84,000, have been built by Barton Homes.

"We're selling at $50 a square foot. It is an excellent value compared to other areas where you can buy a new home," says Terry Kaiser of Builder Sales Associates, who markets the properties.

An elementary school, middle school and recreational center with pool and tennis courts are located in the neighborhood. Metro's Seton Lake Park and Ride is adjacent to Northwest Park. A yearly assessment of about $255 provides for a contract deputy security program, street lights and maintenance of common areas.

Enforcing deed restrictions has helped with the upkeep of the neighborhood, says Dora Young, a resident who administers the security plan.

The civic association has hired a management company to survey the neighborhood for violations.

"I send out about 200 first and second letters a month," says Judy Gordon, a property manager with Chaparral Management Co.

The letters seem to be working. "I see a lot of improvement," Gordon says. "I see people caring. I'm kind of tickled about it."

Neighborhood facts and map
[We lived on Sandswept Lane. Carmichael Elementary is in that square between Trail Valley and Silver Star. Shotwell Middle School is farther up Trail valley, in the white rectangle.]
Number of homes 1,849
Median price $52,400
Median price per square foot $35.55
Median size 1,596 square feet
Median lot size 7,150 square feet
Median year built 1978
Average number of bedrooms 3.1
Average number of baths 2.0
Median estimated tax $1,678
School district Aldine Independent School District
Schools Carmichael Elementary, Shotwell Middle and Eisenhower High

Source: Crawford Realty Advisors

Another thought about Rita

Many of these people evacuating from Houston NOW previously evacuated from New Orleans. Just think of these poor folk; they probably are feeling pretty harassed by the weather along about now.



Rita hits a bit closer to home.

I grew up in Houston. Just earlier this year, I took my husband back and we got pictures of the house I grew up in. Hopefully it can survive this storm... But I remember during New Orleans thinking how thankful I would be if this was Houston and my house was one of those destroyed, that we'd made that trip and got those pictures this time. I almost didn't, figured I could always do it later.

It is worrisome in that my sister and her family live in a mobile home in Bryan/College Station, TX. Fairly far inland... but with how strong it is, the projections still have hurricane force winds going that far.

Thankfully, they were planning to go visit the in-laws this weekend. And they decided to pack for bug-out instead of a weekend visit. Taking both vans, valuables, etc.

It appears that people are evacuating for this storm. And so much pre-warning is nice too. (or maybe it just appears that way. After all... Wednesday-->Friday isn't really farther in advance than Saturday-->Monday.)


Tropical Storm Rita looms


What happens if there are more than 26 storms in a year?
Do they start on the next year's list of names?



The “what-ifs” increase exponentially when your heart is walking around outside of your body wearing Buzz Lightyear light up shoes.


Karen, maybe you were more prescient than you knew.

...I'm beginning to wonder if I am pregnant after all. Not the first time I've wondered. and certainly too soon to even buy a pregnancy test to find out. But I'm -- still. Wondering if that is what these feelings mean. Of course, it's probably just a different manifestation of "that time of month" -- but I wonder. and hope.

Those of you who have kids -- How did you tell when you were pregnant? Did you miss a period, or were there hints before?


Moving and Mold

So-- Boaz and I have decided to sell our place in our current (we think) high market and find a place to rent that is bigger (2-bedroom at least, to make room for "baby makes three") (And all our stuff)

Pray that I can find things to get rid of as we work on preparing for the move. NOT paying to store things that I will later get rid of is a good goal, I think... But getting rid of stuff is a lot harder.

I went out and rented a second storage unit today to hold all the stuff that we have to move out of the house in order to sell, even if we aren't going to get rid of it.

So, with the realtor coming over tomorrow to give us a first idea of what we need to fix up to give this place a real chance, tonight I decided to clean up a bit. I scrubbed down the bathroom, and discovered that nothing I can think will get the dark spots off of the linoleum :( or the "foggy" parts.

My husband, meanwhile, reorganized his dresser to make room for my stuff so I can try to get rid of my dresser. AND he pared down stuff in the closet, in the process discovering that TWO of them have what appears to be mold on them! Yikes. What does one do about mold on clothes?


Baby Torres died

Little Susan Torres died after surgery last night. Babies often die, esp. when they are born premature. After how her family struggled for her life, though, this feels very different. Pray for their peace.


What kind of Christian am I?

Thanks to Blest With Sons, I took this quiz.

The results are interesting.
Top is predictable: Caregivers draw near to God through caring for and serving others.

The others... not so much: Intellectuals draw near to God through their minds. -- ...maybe. I don't feel very intellectual at all. I'm a LOT more likely to respond to my heart than my head.

Ascetics draw near to God through solitude and simplicity. -- Anyone who sees my house knows the last thing I'm about is solitude or simplicity.


John Roberts for Chief Justice and more on Katarina

I just heard this morning, President Bush switched Mr. Roberts' nomination for his mentor's seat -- Chief Justice!

And it looks like Washington is going to get 2000 Katarina refugees. Which will most likely mean that the Puget Sound area gets most of those (just because we are the most densely packed area) So it looks like I'll have the chance to help more concretely after all!


I'm popular!

I just got my first piece of comment spam! Yay!
(Don't bother looking for it. It's gone)

Too much

So -- I took a night and day off from the news about Orleans. I know, I know -- there are a lot of people that CAN'T take a day off -- but it was tearing me up too much with nothing I could do. And when I found myself on the phone last night crying at my parents, they suggested I take a break. So I decided to. (And good thing because my husband came in with a fancy knife under his arm and, thinking it was a gun, I dissolved into tears again at the reminder of all the calls yesterday (implicit as well as explicit) to own your own gun in case something like New Orleans happens again. Poor Boaz. He though he'd done something wrong when he meant to bring me a nice gift because the knife is covered with wolves!)

Regular events for the night turned out to be cancelled, so I rented some movies ("Pieces of April" and "Ella Enchanted" both VERY good... Ella better as a kid or fluff film and Pieces one that I need to see again when I'm dealing better... all the way through, I kept thinking "This is what some of these families were worried about a week ago and now they are waiting for a ride out in New Orleans, trying to hide from the gangs with guns!) And even without regular news, my head went around and around it.

I mostly stayed away today, until tonight. But thing I aw at The Common Room made me think of something I've been thinking.

Comments on an interview between CNN and FEMA -- Evidently FEMA was not aware of places that the CNN had been reporting badly needed help -- because they weren't watching CNN. And no one (including CNN) bothered to tell them. They assumed they "knew" cause it was "on CNN"

I had already started to wonder if some of the bad feelings at helicopters, etc... came from these people seeing helicopters flying around up in the sky, evidently seeing them -- but no help ever coming. Because the helicopters were reporters... Maybe all this footage we've been getting is a BAD Thing. Because they got the feeling that they were being spied upon, and dying for the amusement of the rest of the nation... I saw them go close up on a woman sitting in "one of those orange" floating boxes -- and the reporters even mentioned that she was obviously very ill. But they didn't do anything to help, just kept filming. And, evidently, they aren't even distilling the information they get to turn it over to those who ARE there to help!

Unexpected aspects of Levees -- The levees that failed were the newly upgraded ones, not older ones. This is speculation (with an engineering background to give it some heft), but a newly upgraded levee needs time to settle in. The fact the earth around these failed leveees had been recently disturbed for the upgrades may have been what allowed the massive rain to weaken it more than firmer, more established soil designed to lower requirements.

ETA. Just found a quote I like. At Captain's Quarter That's the problem with ankle-biting -- a plethora of ankles.=