"Lottery tickets are a surtax on desperation" - Douglas Coupland

"The lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math" - unknown

tonight was the mega millions lottery drawing. the jackpot was up to $640 million dollars. christian and i bought two tickets. i know it is silly. i know i hardly have any chance of winning. but for some reason i play, like a kid that is too old to believe in santa plays along on christmas eve... i want to believe it will happen for me.

when i was growing up we didn't believe in santa at my house. and we never bought lottery tickets. my mother and step-father were very religious. christmas was about jesus, and not about st. nick, or presents, or a tree (even though we always did have presents and a tree). the lottery was gambling, and likened to witchcraft. i was a kid, and i couldn't buy those tickets anyway. and i didn't wind up too messed up from the not believing in santa thing... in fact, i married a guy who grew up without santa as well.... and now we ponder what to tell our kids about the mysterious dude we never even dreamed about.

when i became an adult my fascination with the lottery began when tickets were bought for me as a gift... scratch-offs mostly. so. much. fun. i loved savoring every number and symbol, and calculating my chances as i "played" the games. i would dream about what i would do when i "won big"... i never "won big". however, once i did win forty dollars. and you know what i did with it? i bought more lottery tickets!

and lost.

last year i started buying scratch-offs every wednesday. i was home on maternity leave and while it was the happiest time of my life, i was a little bored from time to time. i would go on a walk each day. the same walk, again and again... i decided to start playing the lottery once a week to give myself a tiny treat to look forward to. i would spend ten bucks and buy a couple scratch-offs. savor them the entire walk home. wait until chloe was napping and dig the spare change out of my pocket. i would seek out a dime or quarter. pennies and nickles don't work as well because they don't have ridges. dimes are preferred to quarters because they are lighter, fit in my fingers better, and don't dig into the tickets as much. i would take my time, and gently scratch on the games of each ticket. dreaming of what i would do with my loot.

christian would laugh at me, but every wednesday he would ask if i had "won big", and act as though he was sharing my disappointment when i told him no. he informed me that the best way of winning was by playing the number games... you may not win the jackpot, but you could win a large sum of money. i thought about it for a couple weeks. came up with my numbers, and switched to playing powerball on wednesdays.

i would buy one or two tickets, always the same numbers, reasoning that if i play the same numbers over and over again they are bound to come up one day. chris and i would wait for the numbers to be posted on the internet, and dream of the things we would do if we won.

we dreamed of owning a cute itailian bakery, with beautiful pastries and confections. we dreamed of owning a brownstone in brooklyn that we could rent out now and retire in when we were old. we dreamed of paying off our student loans, and not needing to take any more loans as i continue going to school. business ventures galore! we dreamed of a vacation home in the mountains. private school and college for our children. we dreamed of storefronts, and a single home on a one way street. disneyworld, blentec blenders, dresses from anthropologie, more babies.

every week we would dream together about where we would go, what marvelous things we would do, and we never won. however, instead of feeling disapointed, we would go to bed together still dreaming.  we hadn't lost anything by playing the lottery - other than 5 or 10 bucks. our lives were still a-okay, and we had dreamed some pretty big dreams together.  it felt good to spend time together dreaming and scheming. it was fun. it was worth the couple bucks spent on the tickets.

we stopped playing a couple months ago. why? i am not even sure. tonight as we looked at our tickets we started to dream together again at the dinner table. of paying off student loans, and our mortgage. of having more babies and moving into a not so much bigger, but single home. of starting a small business and having a vacation home where we will retire once we are old. of private schools and college tuition... oh we dreamed big!

i stayed up to see that we had not won. i nudged chris, who was sleeping, and told him jokingly that we are losers. he smiled and went back to sleep. 

we may not ever win the lottery, and some of these dreams may still come true. it is good to dream. we spent 10 dollars on two tickets that gave us an excuse to dream big together. some may say it is a waste of money, but i think it is worth it.

did you play? what did you dream of doing when you "won big"?

Soup it Up!

soup has always been a favorite of mine - i like all types, but i have developed a few favorite recipes. my favorites tend to be quick, easy, and hearty. i like ones that i can grab a slice of bread with and be full when i finish the bowl. i love being able to make a pot of it and have it around on a whim as i need a quick meal throughout the week. today i will share with you the soup i made this week... it's a veggie with some chicken added along per my husband's request... because we must follow the rules.

the rules?

oh yeah! THE rules.  my husband has a couple rules for when i make meals. this may sound horribly overbearing, but i will be the first to tell you - it is really for the good of everyone. and there aren't many meal rules.. there are three:

  1.  don't try to make pizza.
  2.  meat must be involved in every other dinner made.
  3.  sriracha stays on your own plate, and not in the pot.

 see... if we don't follow the rules, well intentioned, yet horribly inedible pizzas get made, meat isn't consumed for weeks, and there is a good chance that sriracha will find it's way into things (or people) that it has no business being involved in. nothing against homemade pizza, nothing against vegetarians, nothing against sriracha - they are all great things, but we have found these rules ensure peace at the dinner table.

so, we didn't eat meat the day before, I had some chicken in the fridge, and it made it's way into this soup. you can surely make this soup without the chicken, and i think it would be just fine. you could add white beans or garbanzo beans instead if you want.

so, here is my soup recipe:

  • 2 leeks chopped up, and rinsed in a bowl to make sure any dirt is removed - use only the white and tender green parts.
  • 1 onion chopped - i like sweet ones, red ones are fine, and white ones are alright too.
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced- or less, but i like a lot.
  • 5 carrots chopped - trader joes has these awesome frozen yellow and orange carrot cuts that I threw in. yellow carrots - i know!
  • 1 large zucchini chopped

throw this all into a pot with a couple table spoons of olive oil:

while all that is getting nice and brown and soft you chop up:

  • 4 small red potatoes - no need to peel these babies, just wash then cut 'em up.

when all the veggies are starting to get soft, add your potatoes, a can of whole tomatoes with the juices, and some spices.

i like to add salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, parsley, basil. dried is good, but fresh is better. I used dried this week.... let it all simmer together:

it starts to look like this...
  • add your chicken cubed up. 
  •  i like to sprinkle a little flour into the mixture to thicken it up and give it a nice base...
  • then add 4 or 5 cups of chicken broth, slowly, one cup at a time. you can use vegetable broth in its place if that's your thing.
  • i add tomato paste - 1 can works just fine. 

i let this all simmer, i want the potatoes soft, and the chicken cooked through. after you feel the chicken is cooked you can taste it to make sure it is seasoned well, and adjust it as your like.

last year i bought myself an immersion blender. it cost me about twenty bucks and i have used it to make food; pancakes, baby food, smoothies, milkshakes - all kinds of goodies. i don't have the real estate on my counter-top or cupboards for a full size blender, so this works great for me. i like to blend up a couple cups of the soup with it and then return it to the pot to add some thickness to the broth.

i have blended up soups for chloe with the immersion blender and she has loved it... i try to go light on the salt when i am making the soup and add more into my bowl if needed.

i have also made dumplings/biscuits and dropped them into soups like this that have a bit of thickness to them. i don't have a real recipe for dumplings that i love. i have used a couple off the internet and still haven't found one i am wild about. if you have one you love and want to pass it along - please do! i would love to try it out.

so i guess now you eat your soup?

or play with your blue eyed love weasel while it cools down???

part of the reason i started blogging was because of other bloggers who i enjoyed reading, this post has been partially inspired by others who make soup and have generously posted their recipes.. here are a few of my favorites:

do you love soup? do you have a favorite soup recipe? have a good recipe for dumplings?

Photos, teeth, rasins, and more to come...

spring has come to philly! we have been busy soaking up the daylight and warmth. we have been going on walks every day, making many trips to the park, and chloe has learned the joy that is a swing. it is so much fun to see her little face smile as she dangles her little legs which are starting to look more and more toddler-like... and less and less like the rolly baby ones i used to chew on. she squeals as she glides through the air... and it is so terribly delightful that i need to stop myself from squealing along.

 she has been a little fussier and more clingy than she ever is - she is usually very content to play on her own and is always on the go. we think she may be cutting more teeth.... ugghh those teeth! she only has two at the minute, but ever since she got them she has been biting, and let me tell you, they are sharp! but they are also adorable, and if you are her momma, and if you ask her to let you kiss those teeth, she will smile her two-toothed smile big until you kiss her pink slimy bottom lip!  

while the teeth are painful, and as a mom it is horrible to see your baby unhappy... it is very sweet to have her cuddle into your arm and put her chubby little cheek on your shoulder. why is it that happy healthy babies don't seem to cuddle as much as cranky sad ones? it is one of the great dichotomies of motherhood.

she has been exploring more and while she loves exploring every nook of the house that is her terrain, she especially loves the kitchen and bathroom parts. oh, the pots and pans, tampons and toilet-paper - these are her favorites. however, as of late, you will often see her carrying around a random object, usually a toy, as she adventures through the house. the object changes day to day, and you never know what it will be... one day a stuffed monkey, and the next day a bag of raisins.... yes raisins.

i have not forgotten about this little blog... and once i am caught up on my homework, i have a few posts already in mind... including a couple video posts, recipes, and crafts! yes, lots of good things to come! but for now, oh, right now i have the cutest raisin-toting baby climbing my leg, with cheeks just begging to be chewed on.... and a few papers to write.

Meatloaf Royale!

so, this is my first food post. i preface this saying, i am not a good cook.

you are probably thinking right now, "then why are you doing a food post?"

well, wise guy, i am doing, and will do more food posts to show you that even bad cooks like me can put together something edible. even when they are home alone with no one to cook for. even when there is not a whole lot in the fridge. even when you don't have but ten minutes.

so there!

this meal was inspired by this post, and you can read more about weenie royale here. this is my take on this make-shift meal, using left-over turkey-veggie meatloaf in place of hot-dogs. however, if i had hot-dogs around i would have used them.

so, this meal is soooo easy! i made some brown rice, re-heated my meatloaf, fried an egg, put it all in a bowl and splashed some soy sauce over it. i could have gone a bit crazy and added some sriracha as well, because almost everything is a bit better with sriracha, no?

i tend to make spicier, easier meals when my husband is working. i will often break out some soup i bought from trader joes, doctor it up a bit and throw it over rice. it's easy, involves little clean-up, is more filling than a bowl of cereal, and healthier than a bowl ice cream. one of my recent trader joe favs is the lentil soup. joes recipe has a bunch of whole grains and flax seeds in it. for those of you scared of flax - i call you cowards and dare you to try this soup! it is thick, and delicious, and you can throw it on top of rice and add a fried egg to it... as well as some sriracha!
i am feeling the need to conclude this post as it is becoming silly, and i can't have that happening!

conclusion: tonight i ate meatloaf royale. i like fried eggs. i love sriracha. give flax a try.

Uncle Bubby Came for Dinner

on monday night i worked from eleven at night until seven in the morning. i came home to my little toothy-smile-lady, fed her, dressed us both, and hit the road. we went to retrieve my favorite stethoscope (my mack-daddy littman cardiology III) that i left on a floor i worked on over the weekend, then made our way to target. me - sans sleep, a squealing baby, and a credit card have no business being in target. let me tell you. i bought grey leopard print jeans, baby clothes that aren't even really our style, candy, candy, candy, a dinosaur, puffs, and a few essentials for dinner.

 we tried to nap when we got home, but she had already made the most of her travel time by sleeping so that she would have energy to play with sleepless mommy... all afternoon....!!!! she loves me so much.

 my brother justin, who my family has lovingly referred to as "bubby" since he was a chubby little toddler, came to visit us for dinner last night. chloe hasn't seen uncle bubby since she was only a couple months old, so at first she was shocked...

when justin walked in the door she seemed excited and started to crawl, at super-speed, over him... justin responded to by dropping down and crawling to her... they crawled right up to each other.... justin gave her a peck on the cheek.... and.... she lost it. we think she may have thought justin was chris and then realized he wasn't. or maybe she was freaked out by justin being  like a really freaky tall bald mommy. either way, she got over her fear of tall uncle bubby very quickly, and by dinner time she only had eyes for him.

i made my favorite turkey-veggie-meatloaf, five-alarm wasabi mash potatoes (i discovered there IS such thing as too much wasabi), and honey glazed carrots. chris had brought us home a heavenly bit of stock's pound cake, which we stuffed ourselves fat with. as soon as justin left, i finally went to bed. it wasn't even nine o'clock, but i had been up since sunday, so i was exhausted... exhausted, happy, and feeling fat!

This Week...

i was on break from school. i hardly worked at the hospital at all, and i stayed home most of the week getting much accomplished. So, what did we do???  

  • i got chloe on a slightly better nap schedule (from one, one-two hour nap a day, to two, closer-to-two hour naps each day). 
  • i caught up on my sleep too!
  •  i did some serious cleaning, scrubbing, and organizing around the house (while i try to keep the place tidy every day, the serious cleaning usually needs to wait until i can commit  some serious time).  
  • i got caught up on Downton Abbey.
  • i started sewing chloe a spring wardrobe.
  • i studied for the CCRN... critical care registered nurse certification... uggghhh.
  • i wore fake lashes around the house for the hey of it.
  • i dreamed of having another baby.
  • i attempted making pizza... again. and was reminded by my husband that i am never, NEVER, under any circumstances, to make pizza.... again.
  • chloe got her first tooth! finally.
  • and chris worked.... someone has to!

i had originally imagined getting out of the house more during this break (making a trip to the King of Prussia mall to window shop, and more importantly visiting some friends i haven't seen in too long), but it was good to just spend quality time at home with chris and chloe... especially since they weren't feeling too great last weekend.

somewhere during the middle of the week i realized that this would be my life if i weren't going to school full-time. i dreamed about how sweet it will be when i am no longer spreading myself thinly between work, school, and family. i regretted not staying in school and finishing before i had chloe. i texted chris and told him how i would give anything to just be a stay-at-home mom, something i never thought i would want for myself.

i love my work. i love being a nurse. it is not only what i do for money, but it has permeated parts of my being. i never want to leave nursing, and i have always dreamed of advancing my career doing what i love, while still being able to spend big chunks of time at home with my family. nursing is great to me as a mom. even when i worked full-time i was only at work for three nights during the week, and now i usually work two nights while chloe and chris sleep.

chris reminded me that i won't always be a student, and one day soon this will all pay off. being able to send chloe to a good school, being able to work a lot less and make just as much money, being able to stay at home with the next baby full-time, having more autonomy in my nursing practice... the future is full... and it is here with each passing day...

oh yeah, almost forgot...

 i made a blog!


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