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As much as I wish I was talking about these beautiful flowers, I’m not. I’m actually referring to my to-do list…

I suppose it would help if I could keep the days of the week straight.  I don’t know if it’s pregnancy-brain or just working-from-home-fog, but today (Wednesday) is the first day this week that I have remembered correctly.  (Wednesday)  And that’s only because I keep reminding myself!  (Wednesday)

It started on Monday, which you’d think I’d recognize, since it comes right after Sunday, which was Easter, and we went to church and there was an awesome special service, AND it’s the first day after the weekend that Hubby goes to work.  I mean, hello?

Well, our small group meets on Monday nights.  So, Hubby came home from work, and after dinner we sat on the couch, where Hubby took a quick nap and I watched TV.  At about 6:55 pm (our group meets at 7:00 pm), he woke up and mumbled “Hey, what time are we leaving?”

I actually cocked my head to one side and squinted (because that always helps me think more clearly) and mouthed the word “leaving…” before I jumped up exclaiming, “Oh crap, it’s Monday!”  Hubby had a good laugh and said, “Well, what day did you think it was?”  I really didn’t have a  good explanation for that one, except that in whatever time zone my brain was in, it wasn’t going to be Monday until tomorrow, somehow…  Yikes!

So then, the next day, I still couldn’t get it together.  I got the mail from the mailbox and put in a book that I needed to send out for my online book swapping club (Paperbackswap.com – it’s awesome.  You should check it out.  Tell them I sent you. :)).  When Hubby got home, I asked him, “Did you check the mail?”  He gave me a funny look and said, “Um, no…the flag’s up.  Doesn’t that mean you put something out there already?”

And somehow my brain had migrated back to La-la-land Time Zone, because my response was as follows: “Oh, I wasn’t sure if I had picked up the mail from yesterday, but that wouldn’t make sense, because yesterday was Sunday!”  Oh.  Wow.  Really?  Hubby used that tone of voice that’s saved for people who wake up with amnesia, “No…honey…today…is…Tuesday…”

I was SO embarrassed!  But!  I DO know that today is Wednesday!  So I’m giving myself a point for that one.  Mostly I keep reminding myself (Wednesday) because last week I forgot what day Thursday was, which happens to be garbage day, which turned out to be the smelliest mistake I think I’ve ever made. 😦  Eww…

So, since today is Wednesday, that means I can put that stinky bin out at the curb (and AWAY from the house) as early as this afternoon, since the garbage heros come at the crack of dawn tomorrow.  Which is Thursday.  See?  I’m getting the hang of this! 🙂 

*Update:  After the garbage truck came and took away the stinky garbage, Hubby came home and hosed out the bin with soapy bleach water.  He’s my Superman. 🙂 

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So, there’s this blog called The Daybook that does a feature called “Awkward and Awesome Thursdays.”  Several other people have joined in the fun, and I find their posts quite entertaining!  I’m gonna give it a shot, but I’m just going to sum up the month of April so far (events will be listed in the order I remember them, not chronologically…let’s not put too much pressure on a brain that I have to share with a growing baby).  For the record, today is Thursday. 🙂

Awkward

– Filing taxes on your own, well technically with the Hubby, during the tax year when all the experts are saying this was the most confusing year for tax laws.  (For the record, interpreting your real estate documents to figure out what you owe on your tax credit will probably make you want to shoot someone/something.  Just sayin’…)

– Sweating in April.  Southerners call 82 degrees “a nice Spring day,” but the land I hail from just got 3 inches of snow, and despite complaints of annoyance, nobody there thought that was strange.  So yes, sweating in April is awkward for me.

– Planning a trip to visit said home state in a few weeks and realizing that most of the clothes that fit my growing frame are summer clothes…hmm…

– Even though I am the one that is pregnant, due to circumstances beyond our control (like tendonitis and allergies), Hubby has had more doctors appointments than I have! 

– Not being able to open any windows because of Hubby’s allergies to all things Nature.

– Feeling pregnant without looking very pregnant.  I can’t keep more than one thought straight in my head, and I get tired a heck of a lot quicker than I used to, but unless I pointed out the ultrasound picture on our refrigerator, you’d probably just think I had too much to eat for lunch.  Which I probably did.  But whatever…

– Trying to compensate my forgetful, pregnancy-hormone-filled brain by putting reminders in the calendar on my phone…but forgetting to set the alarms so that I would actually be reminded…doh!

– Having the neighbor who never speaks to anyone shouting and banging on your door at 7:00 a.m. to ask you for a jump or jumper cables because she left her headlights on all night and her battery died.

– Continuing to be ignored by the neighbor whose car you jumped at 7:00 a.m.

– The overflowing baskets of clean laundry that I have yet to fold.  No really, that’s clean…it’s just…a little wrinkley…  I am so in trouble when this baby comes…

Awesome

– Despite the frustrations with taxes themselves, TurboTax is pretty awesome.  I would recommend them.

– Being surprised by Hubby with a trip to home state to visit my family.  I heart him!  A lot! 😉

– Getting a part-time, at-home job that allows me freedom to run errands, clean house and cook dinner during the day, leaving my evenings free to hang out with Hubby.

– Making new friends through our new small group from church.  We all seem to like each other, which is awesome.

– Having a neighbor (different than the awkward one) who refers to me as “Little Mama” and habitually brings us desserts. 🙂  Miss Pruney is awesome.

– My new-found LOVE for raw fruits and veggies.  So far, this baby has pretty good taste in cravings (no pun intended).

– Getting ready to plant a veggie garden next week! 🙂

– Getting our second dog spayed, which means I will only have to change one little being’s diapers from now on, and it will be a human being.  (Seriously, dogs in heat are awk. ward.)

– Exercising my dogs by blowing bubbles for them in the backyard.  They do all the running, I do all the laughing.  Totally.  Awesome. 🙂

– Looking forward to the 5 year anniversary with Hubby.  Again, I heart him.  He’s my best friend, my hero, and my dearest love.  And he’s planning a big surprise for that day.  Surprises are awesome. 🙂

– Also looking forward to finding out whether this baby is gonna be a boy or a girl.  No, I don’t have any instinct about it.  I just want him/her to be healthy!  Again, surprises are awesome. 🙂

There you have it – my awkward and awesome life so far this month!  Good stuff. 🙂

Don’t forget, this post is brought to you by The Daybook.

Those who know me know that I try my very best not to be a wasteful person. Need groceries? I have coupons. Something broke? Let’s figure out how to repair it ourselves. You’re hungry? There are leftovers in the refrigerator.

Ah, leftovers. In a perfect world, I would always be able to turn my leftovers into a new, tasty meal. Alas, this has not always been the case, and has left us (on more than one occasion) eating the same dish for dinner, lunch, dinner, and sometimes lunch again. But not today! Today, I took my leftovers, waved my magic spoon, and transformed them into a different dish. And I didn’t do too bad, if I may say so myself. 🙂

Here’s the low-down… On Thursday, I made Brown and Wild Rice Pilaf (recipe found here) and salmon burgers. Quite tasty. On Friday (yesterday), we had more Brown and Wild Rice Pilaf (note to self…1 cup uncooked brown rice + 1 cup uncooked wild rice = way more rice than two people are capable of eating!). As I pondered my leftover rice (mostly because I wanted to head off any “this again?” comments at our next meal), I remembered my favorite soup of all time: Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup from Panera (insert angelic chorus here). I suspected they wouldn’t share their money-making recipe with little ol’ me, so I started looking through different recipes online. I ended up choosing 2 different recipes and doing what I like to call “Pirate Cooking.”

Side note: “Pirate Cooking” is a nod to the first Pirates of the Carribean movie, where Captain Barbosa explains to Elizabeth Swan that The Pirates’ Code is more like a set of guidelines than rules. This is my usual approach to recipes. I read over them, often comparing several, and then use the general concepts to make something up on my own. It usually works out. I mean, we’re still alive, anyway. 🙂

Ok – back to the recipe. The soup turned out great, although a tad thick (after we ate our first bowlfuls, I went back and added a bit more broth to what was left in the pot). Here’s how I worked my magic (please note most of the measurements are estimates, but it should be more or less accurate :)):

Cream of Chicken & Leftover Wild Rice

3 cups chicken broth (I only used 2 cups tonight, but 3 would’ve been better)

2 chicken breasts, diced

2 stalks celery, chopped

3 small-medium carrots, chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2-3/4 cup (more or less, to taste) leftover wild rice

handful chopped fresh parsley

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup butter

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1 cup half-and-half or cream

In large pot, add broth, chicken, and chopped parsley; bring to boil and reduce heat. Simmer until chicken is cooked, then turn off heat. In a small bowl, mix flour, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, set aside. In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add celery, carrots and onion; cook for 5 minutes. Add dried thyme, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper; cook 5 more minutes, until veggies are tender. Gradually add flour mixture to veggies, while stirring constantly, to create a roux. (Go ahead and click on the link – I didn’t know what it was until about an hour ago.) Mixture will be soft and thick. Saute for another 3-4 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Add half-and-half or cream, again stirring constantly until smooth. Cook 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. While that cooks, add your leftover rice to the chicken and broth and simmer (since the rice is already cooked, you only need it to warm up and let the broth absorb some of the seasoning). When creamy mixture is ready, add it to the chicken, rice and broth, and stir it up. Cook over medium heat for another 15-20 minutes and serve. Makes about 4-5 servings.

This is what my soup looked like (again, mine was a little too thick; I'll use more broth next time).

There you have it! I think even Panera regulars would be happy with the results. I’m thinking this is going to be even tastier tomorrow, after the flavors have all had a chance to marinate together. Yummy! 🙂

P.S. Let me know if you try anything different that you enjoyed (added a spice, used a diferent amount of some ingredient, etc.). I’d love to hear your ideas! Go ahead and throw a parrot on your shoulder, strap on an eye patch and cook up something delicious! 😉