Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring Fever

As the semester winds down, the weather is warming up.  It's days like this that make or break our resolve to finish the school year well.  My husband is grading around the clock, prepping exams, meeting with students who are panicked about final grades, and excavating our back yard by hand in order to create a nice patio surface out of a hilly clay mess.  I am trying to get 20 hours of observation completed at a local school, keep up with 7 credit hours of course work, homeschool our boys, take care of our little girls, and keep life running smoothly.  Yep, trying! 

It is hard.  Like high-five-your-spouse-on-the-way-out-the-door, frozen-pizza-for-dinner-Pepto-Bismol-for-dessert, my-kids-watch-too-much-Netflix HARD. 

But we're managing it.  Our house is not as neat and tidy as it was after our big organization project, but it will just take a few hours (read: days) of intensive cleaning to get it back into shape.  With sunshine and nice outdoor temperatures, I know that getting everyone outdoors as much as possible is the priority.  And so I sit up late at night, knocking out deadlines, reading until my eyes won't stay open, and thinking only as far as what I need to do tomorrow.  And little by little....it gets done. 

This is the time for easy meals and simplified routines.  Laundry gets washed and dried.  Want it put away? Go right ahead! You wore that outfit yesterday, but it doesn't have any biohazards on it?  By all means, wear it again! Lunch and dinner consist of a protein, a starch, and a veggie.  Done!  After that, we're gonna hit the bike trail with our small army of kids and parade this freak show (any family with more than 3 kids in the OV) all over the place...because they are awesome, and we just don't want to miss out on this great time in their lives! 

Want an example of a simple meal?  Here's our Tuesday Taco meal:
1-2 chicken breasts baked (this can be done in advance) 
Cut the breasts into strips, fajita-style, but for younger (or picky!) kids, leave these unseasoned. 

Pepper and Bean Fajita Filling (Not a meat eater? Serve this with rice!)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 red and 1 green pepper, cut in strips (frozen are fine!)
1 onion, diced
Saute the peppers and onions in a bit of oil until the onions become translucent.  Add 1T cumin, 1t chili powder, and 1/2t paprika.  Add 1t of lime juice. Add the beans and let them heat through and soften for a few minutes. Salt if needed.  Not a meat eater? Serve this with rice!

Homemade guacamole (make this while the peppers and onions cook)
1 avocado, cut in half, pit removed, insides scraped
1/4c salsa
1t lime juice
1t cumin
2T cilantro (opt)
Salt as desired
Mix this together with a fork or a stick blender, and you've got fresh guacamole!  My 4-year-old daughter gets all the ingredients out for this one because she loves some guac!

Put some shredded colby-jack, some lettuce, some whole-wheat tortillas, and some good organic blue corn chips on the table, and let everyone decide what they want on their plates.  This is a favorite meal for our family, and it's really easy to make.  I eyeball all the measurements and can have the thing ready in 30 minutes.  

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