Meatless May

Colorful vegetables and fruits

The Mak family is going Meatless for the month of May.  Why you ask?  Well, I devised this little plan/challenge for lots of reasons. The biggest reason is that I’ve always wanted to try going totally veggie.  We already eat meatless at least 2x each week, so we have lots of yummy recipes. 

We also have a goal of not eating out as much. No cheeseburgers = no fun eating out :).  Also, DMP and I are, um, chubby lately, so I think meatless and not eating out could help with that too.  Also,  it is good for our health and the environment.

This should be a fun and interesting challenge. We have decided that eggs, cheese and fish are OK (DMP couldn’t QUITE face no meat at all). It is our anniversary this month and I’ll be travelling, so that will be challenging. Good thing DMP and I both love sushi!

Wish us luck and if you have any good veggie meals, send them my way!

April 29, 2009. Tags: , . Uncategorized. 16 comments.

An appropriate Monday Story…

Lately (like for the last week or so, every other day) Birdy has been commanding me not to go to work. She sweetly grabs my hand and say “No go to work”. 

I started out by telling her “But honey, Mommy has to go…” but that quickly turns into a “no”, “yes”, “no” discussion that ends in tears when I have to leave anyway. 

So I started to try a new tactic. I say “Why don’t you want me to go to work?”.  She’ll reply with something like “Because I luff you” or “Stay and play with my kids” (meaning MY kids, not hers…). 

It breaks my little heart.

April 27, 2009. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 3 comments.

An open letter to DMP

Dearest DMP,

In this tough economy, I understand that it is difficult to find a job and that you are having a tough time filling all of the time you have on your hands.  I suggest you take up a hobby for which you are fantastically suited for and that utilizes the talent you posess that all of the brothers-in-law are jealous of- your ability to grow lots and lots of facial hair.


You see, today it has come to my attention that there are beard clubs (they let people with moustaches in too!) and, best of all, a World Beard and Moustache Competition!  I suggest you consider the following categories:

Imperial: The "Imperial"

The Styled Moustache:


I really think you have a chance. Particularly I think you could have an edge by utilizing actual pictures of some spectacular moustaches from the past.  Personally, I think you could take some tips from the distinguished facial hair of my forefathers.  For instance, you could go with a well-groomed distinguished moustache like a young Henry Clegg Jr:


I’m also a fan of the flowing goatee sported by Fredrick Lewis (Henry Clegg’s wife Ann Lewis’ father, BTW):


Of course, the best ancestral beard has to be Joseph S. Murdock, sporting the “natural”:


Just a thought. Or, you know, you could look into taking up another hobby, like collecting bottle caps.



April 26, 2009. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 4 comments.

Stuff I love- Sarah Jane Studios

I love, love LOVE the artwork at Sarah Jane studios. I think my sister Bek turned me on to her artwork (or maybe it was Cynj).  Every time I visit her Etsy shop, I want to buy everything.  I have this print on the girls little bookshelf:


I love the new family tree artwork she just released. I’m trying do decide between the blue/grey or the pink/brown:


I seriously recommend checking out her shop. Her illustrations are just beautiful and capture an idyllic childhood and are just so sweet.

I also recently discovered her blog, and it is fantastic. She posts about childhood, life, things that are pretty, and all sorts of things.

April 24, 2009. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Awesome EJ Story: Guest Post (DMP)

We purchased a new (second-hand) computer desk and hutch today.  I had put both girls down to take a nap and was putting the desk together when I thought I heard some crying. I headed upstairs to investigate.

I found EJ sitting on the cedar chest at the top of the stairs. She was sitting right in the corner, with her legs pulled up to her chest and sobbing. I sat down next to her, put my arm around her and asked her what was wrong. I wish that I had the audio of the ensuing conversation. I will attempt to do it justice from my memory.

“Why are you sad?”

“I’m going to miss you when I go away.” (It actually took several tries to decipher this response amidst the sobs.)

“Where are you going?”

“I’m going to live with Emily.”

“Why are you going to live with Emily?”

“Because you’re not doing a very good job.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“I guess you take good care of me, but you don’t give me snacks whenever I want, and you don’t just let me get down when my food is not finished.” (This is actually pretty close to a direct quote. It stuck with me.)

“We do those things to keep you healthy. They aren’t really a reason to leave.”

“They aren’t? But I’m just going to miss you, and Birdie, and Chester, and Mom, and Ollie.”

“Why don’t you just stay here? You can still be friends and play with Emily and you won’t have to worry about missing us.”

“Can I watch TV?”

April 24, 2009. Tags: . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Food Storage Auditions- Black Bean Burgers and Chicken Salad

Last week, we auditioned two more potential 3 month food storage candidates. 

First we tried the Black Bean Burgers from the excellent Safely Gathered In blog:


Before we proceed with the results of the audition, I want to add my standard disclaimer to this as well as any and all types of “veggie” burger.  If you are expecting it to have the texture and taste of a ground beef burger, you will always, always be disappointed. If you are expecting a delicious grilled sandwich- you may be suprised that you like it in spite of the missing meat.

So- back to this recipe.  It was excellent- one of the best bean burger recipies we’ve tried (and one of the easiest).  We did almost double the amount of salsa called for in the recipe, and we added about a 1/4 or 1/2 coup of corn (about 1/3 of a can). 

They cooked up nicely on the stovetop, too- crispyish on the outside and mushy (creamy?) on the inside.  We served them with melted cheddar, salsa, tomatos and lettuce.  Kid rating was a double-thumbs-up- Birdy ate her whole sandwich (which is the ultimate kid test). 

My only issue is that I wonder about the suitibility for “shelf storage” since it relies on buns (which, technically I could make- you know, if they have a “hamburger bun” recipe for the bread machine).  However, I think for the practical purposes of the 3 month supply, it gets a “pass”.

On Saturday we went to the zoo.  We have a new commitment to NOT eating out, so we decided it was a perfect opportunity to bust out the Chicken Salad  recipe (also from Safely Gathered In) and give it a try (Pic from Safely Gathered In- not mine):


I only became a Chicken Salad sandwich fan recently, and have been pretty committed to a great recipe that my sister  found on one of my favorite recipe sites,  It is awesome, but definately not food-storage friendly.

We really enjoyed this chicken salad. The canned chicken suprised us again by being really good. The craisins gave it a great shelf-stable sweetness and the toasted almonds provided the crunch. Our only complaint was that it seemed a bit dry and we had to add a good 1 1/2 extra tablespoons of mayo.  The girls also thought it was great and ate up their whole sandwiches while watching the rhinos.

So now our total is up to 4 recipes and we have started shopping and collecting ingredients.  I’m curious, readers, shall I continue these reviews? Are you interested? Do you care? Do you want me to just send you our final list/recipes?

Let me know in the comments!~

April 23, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. 4 comments.

Comment- Or else…

fairyOK lurkers, I just read an astonishing blog post that I really think is true. It is titled ” Every time you read a blog and don’t leave a comment, a Fairy dies“. 

She says she is just kidding, but do you really want to take chances with Tink and the gang? I think you should comment on this blog post and then clap your hands and say “I believe in Fairies” just in case.  My fairy-loving niece will thank you. 

Besides, I’m curious as to who reads my blog besides Kate, Mom, and my other sisters occasionally. Philips clan- are you out there? Holla!

April 21, 2009. Uncategorized. 18 comments.

This is why we have a dog


Everyone in our family has a part to play. DMP’s job is to be warm in the winter. EJ’s job is to pick up toys. Birdy’s job is to pick on her sister, apparently.  Chester- he is soft, fuzzy and picks up food that falls on the ground.

We got a dog so that we wouldn’t have to deal with all that tedious sweeping. Serously- I was jealous of my friends who had dogs and small babies eating in high chairs. Dogs slurp up the dropped food lickety split.  It doesn’t count as feeding them “people food” that way- right?

April 20, 2009. Tags: . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Easter 2009


Birdy is excited about her treasures!

We had an awesome Easter. We went to Aunt Cynj’s house where it has become a tradition to have an egg hunt with the cousins. 

My sister totally outdid herself with a great crepe and min-pancake breakfast.  Then, after the egg hunting, she made a ham dinner, funeral potatos (yum!) and all she let me contribute was some measly asparagas (that J cooked on the grill- very yum!).   It was a delicious meal.  Then, to top it off, she made Aunt Venta’s pioneer peach cobbler- the best ever.  *Sigh* I love food.

The girls LOVE their cousins and EJ in particular loves to hang out with Sam and her other cousin Sarah.  Aunt Jenn, Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Brad were all there to join in the fun. It is always great to hang out with the big family and the day was beautiful for it.

EJ, Sarah and Sam- on the hunt

EJ, Sarah and Sam- on the hunt

As awful as it is, the Easter Bunny came to my girls 3 times this year. Yep, 3.  He left baskets of toys and treats in the morning before we left to Aunt Cynj’s.  Then he hid eggs all around her yard. THEN he hid eggs in our house when we got home while the girls and I were walking Chester.  Amazing! 

Look at Sam's game face. All the kids had flower leis. I don't know why.

Look at Sam's game face! All the kids got leis. I don't know why...

We went for a walk a little while after we came home and EJ kept asking if the Easter Bunny was going to leave stuff for them to find when they got back. DMP and I said that we thought 3 times in one day is his limit and he was probably tired.  That night she prayed for the Easter Bunny that he wouldn’t be too tired!

In all it was a fun Easter. There was good food, fun with family, sugar meltdowns, and sunny spring weather. The perfect holiday 🙂

DMP was photographer and he took mostly cute birdy shots...

DMP was photographer and he mostly got Birdy shots. Favoritism?

April 18, 2009. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 5 comments.

Book Plots that Bug Me


I’m really bothered by book plots that feature a long-time married woman (usually with grown/teenage kids) who feels like she is in a rut and then either has a crush on or an affair with a man and it somehow suddenly makes them feel desireable and awesome again. (No – I don’t read THAT kind of book- I’m talking Maeve Binchy, the Memory Keepers Daughter, or “The Mermaid Chair” by Sue Monk Kidd (my current read)).

I realize that the “Who am I aside from Mom/Wife” is an understandable and common dilemma. However, I think these women bring it upon themselves. They are so dependent on the “love of a man” to make them feel exciting and like they are an independent person so when their life gets mundane and their husband isn’t providing that, they have to seek it elsewhere.

I suppose it is the literary extension to the problem with Young Adult (YA) fiction that my friend and YA author Kim recently blogged about here and in a follow up here.  She talks about how it is annoying that in books like Twilight and other romantic YA books, it is portrayed as all-consuming and exciting all the time and the concept of “real”, comfortable, love is non-existant.  If you start your relationship with expectations of eternal fireworks and all-consuming excitement, then you are bound to be disappointed at some point.

April 16, 2009. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Next Page »