What Else Should We do on a Friday Night?

Today brought about disappointment to the nth degree for one Pieper daughter.  And her mom.  And then in true fashion, a whole lot of anger as well.  Tears were shed, ninja skills were brushed up.  I wanted to be that angry mom who sent a poignant e-mail to a couple people, but I know better.  Instead, our family rallied around the dinner table.  We even had “Rally” cheers.  All the time, I was making my mom hit-list.  No one was safe.  Don’t mess with a mom.

Air 1 played in the background and we heard the same 10 songs they play over and over again – funny how one chunk of words sticks out at certain times.  Tonight it was something about how good comes from bad, and today, that good was knowing that two brothers love her deeply and also can make her laugh and laugh and forget for just a little while.  And oh did we laugh.  Six of us busting so much I had to get up and go to the bathroom before I peed my pants.  Aging sucks.  Today sucked. 

And then, because this is what we do when we can, we locked the outside world out, baked, and put up Christmas decorations.  We cried more and planned more ninja-ing, and hung garland and balls.  Dangling balls make me smile.  Even when we are breaking my rule that Christmas doesn’t belong in our home until after Thanksgiving. 

Tonight was Thanksgiving cheesecake baking night.

We made two new ones:

Carrot Cheesecake


Death by Chocolate Cheesecake

Tomorrow,  we finish up shopping and wrapping some things,  but tonight belonged to the beautiful girl who’s heart has been crushed but is still concentrating on decorating our banister.

And this has nothing to do with boys…yuck, who would want that kind of drama around here?  God, please help me get these kids through their teenage years with some sort of self-esteem left.  I still want to send that mean e-mail.

You know what else I have learned lately?  I have learned that I can admit how angry I am, and then wisely also state that I am not going to talk because nothing good will come out.  Except tonight – we made a family deal that everything we said tonight would be forgotten in the morning, so we let it fly.


McShort Pants

It started around supper time.  My kids had spent the day on the lake and were famished.  I had packed all the fixings for chicken fajitas and was ready to cook up a delish meal that would be devoured.  It was at that moment that the powers to be decided to draft for our family’s fantasy football league.  Kinda a “What the crap are you thinking?” moment.  Undoubtedly, being a mom outranks kicking FF butt, so I stuck to the skillet and handed my drafting duties over to JP. 

Why JP?  He doesn’t know anything about football and from what I hear, wasn’t even following the draft process because he was deep into a texting conversation with some girl who I have yet to meet.  You should see my team list.  It is very sad and losingly.  I know that isn’t a word, I don’t care.  The one thing he did right was to draft a namesake.  Last year,  team McNutt did pretty well.    This year, team McShorty Short Pants (named after Cecil Shorts) SUCKS.   Sidenote:  JP also drafted Montee Ball for me because he thought that McShort should have balls.  This is how it is going down this season.  I am 0-5.  And he thinks it is very funny.  I have become that girl who doesn’t even change my starters when players have bye weeks.  Don’t care.  FF ‘13 is dead to me.

So on Sundays, instead of watching football, I have gone back to the kitchen where I kinda am a big deal.  Pinterest + me = fun new stuff to feed the little minions.  Easy supper recipes that have been big hits include Loaded Baked Potato Soup, Cajun Chicken Pasta,  and One Pot Cheeseburger Casserole.  I sent these Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Bars to a XC team meal and JP said they were good but very rich so they couldn’t inhale them, which I think is a win-win – Yummy and slows down the ravenous teen collection – score.

I am working on a whole new list of recipes to try and will pass them on if they are good enough for the Pieper kids.  Or at least 3 of them.  We all know by now that daughter #2 isn’t about to try anything new.  Except saxophone.  She is blessing our home with the sounds of another reeded instrument. Why not? 

And that is what is going on around here.  Minus Princess’s play, JP and Curly’s running, Crazy Man’s hunting and all the little things in between like football games, pep band, Stampede week at school, bonfires, chili feeds, drum lessons, school meetings, Scout meetings, youth group, and all that makes life worth living.   Loving my kids more and more, even when they draft me completely unworkable FF teams.



What is important?

This weekend, we were slated to attend a very important family wedding.  Why so important?  Because it involves family, family we haven’t seen for quite some time, and family we would really have liked to see.  We knew it would be impossible to get all of us down there, so we RSVP’d that half of us would come, hoping one of us could sneak the non-runners down to the farm while the other stayed home and did parent duty.  As the day got closer, we had to accept the truth that we weren’t going to get there at all.  My dad decided to buy Crazy a bow and introduce him to bow hunting, which I was in favor of, not realizing this weekend was opener – so up to Northern Minnesota Crazy went.  JP has XC and Band practice Saturday.  Curly actually had a XC meet.  Princess, after learning we would be staying home, booked herself a trip to the mall and an overnighter with a friend.  All doable for a single parent.  But then Bill ended up working the majority of the weekend and it was all over but the crying.

I thought I would feel guilty, but I didn’t.  I felt sad.  We missed something that was really important to attend, but didn’t have an option.  We really wanted to see everyone.  Our kids’ activities run our lives right now, and that is ok, that is how it is supposed to be, right?  And guess what?  Princess just got a part in the fall play, so add drama at the other middle school to the list.  We will be picking kids up all over town for a while, and again, that is ok.

Sometimes what is really important just isn’t doable because of a busy schedule.  Coming to realize that is just the way it is sometimes, even if we really want to be there.

That is what I am wrestling with this weekend.

With a little self-inflicted kick in the butt today, I got around to getting some cooking and cleaning done since I was home. 

New recipes I made the past two weeks:

Homemade Egg McMuffins  Haven’t tried these yet – they are in the freezer waiting for the kids to devour them.  I did use ham instead of sausage because I had it in the house.

Skillet Lasagna  An expensive recipe for sure!  I liked it, but it was very rich.

Spicy Sausage Pasta  This was a total winner!  Spicy and perfect.

Chicken and Black Bean Enchilada Casserole   Another great win this week.  I think the grown ups liked it more than the kids, thus, it also made great lunches for us.

Cilantro Lime Chicken, Chicken Cacciatore, and Freezer Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie  This site actually has a ton of good lookin’ food!

Hopefully, this is enough prep work to get us through another week of life.  I just love following my kids all over, cheering for them whatever it is they choose to do.  Never a dull moment.


Feeding the Flock


Kids eat a lot.  I mean a lot.  Nights I am sure we will have left overs for lunch, I am left with an empty dish.  That is all good – teenagers need their nutrients to do all that teenagery stuff, ya know, like sleeping a lot.  And playing Xbox, there is always time in a day for that.  A little running thrown in there amps up the appetite. 

I am always making stuff I know I will like and I hope they will like and let me tell ya, there is one in every crowd.  We generally can please all but Curly, unless it involves only peanut butter, bananas, chocolate, or brown sugar – then she is all over it.  She makes herself a lot of toast.

This is just a little linky list of a couple of the Pinteresting recipes I have made recently:

Italian Drunken Noodles – this was tonight’s supper and although I can’t taste a thing, it seemed really good and JP ate about a gallon of it.  Bill said it tasted like pizza.  The trio wasn’t minding the meat part of it, and also the noodles, but they don’t like peppers.  Too bad, I do.

These two recipes are super similar in that they taste about the same and are not fat free:

Chicken Alfredo Skillet   Creamy Garlic Pasta 

This was my favorite:  I made the chicken and ate it with refried beans, which were really easy and good.  And I cut up lettuce and tomatoes to top the stuff and it was an awesome lunch to take to school.  I will do this often – a supper of chicken tacos and lots of yummy left overs.

Crockpot Mexican Shredded Chicken with Crockpot Refried Beans 

I am just trying to fuel these kids of mine so they can kick school butt and run like the wind. 

Run, Forrest, Run!!

Today was the extremely awesome Fargo Marathon!!  For our family, that means two guys running the half marathon while the rest of us pack the camera (and this year, the umbrellas) and attempt to find them in the massive crowd.


When in a crowd that supports running as a sport or a life skill, it is easy to get caught up in the “Yes, everyone needs to be doing this” hoopla.  I find myself all inspired to join in, but then I get home, eat a couple pieces of pizza, watch everyone post pictures on Facebook, and think to myself, “If it weren’t for us non-runners, who would take all the pictures to post?” and I settle in for a nap.


I did get up early this morning to be the best supporting mom/wife in the world.  I am a pretty good mom/wife of a runner.  Three days ago, the request was put in to pasta it up like crazy for them, and I went to my favorite ole stand-by, tried and true Basil and Tomato Pasta.  It is what JP loves to eat for lunch before track meets and it is perfect because it doesn’t require refrigeration.  This time, I was told I needed to use whole grain noodles because Bill is now taking a nutrition class and he learned about noodles.  Apparently, whole wheat is not good enough.  Ok.  So I also bought whole grain linguine and made this awesome salad: Asian Noodle Salad.  I thought it was awesome in every way, Bill ate it because it was “healthy” enough, and JP wouldn’t eat it.  Whatever.  He told me I should have stuck with spaghetti.  Whatever.

Today brought an early rise and shine for us.  The runners left the house at 6:00 and we left at 6:30.  That is what the running paparazzi does.  A photographer such as myself must find the perfect place to spot the two out of a bazillion.  Last year, Bill wore purple and he was pretty easy to see.  This year, I had to go by time.  I am getting pretty good at that too – I found the pacer around where they were expecting to be, and located the two of them.


Of course, JP and his legs of youth were ahead of dad who trained for months.  The most JP has run at one time since his last half marathon in October was around 5 miles.  Sure as rain on a marathon morning, he was off for a nice 13.1 mile jog, soaking up the love from the spectators.  There he was, just to the right of the guy wiping his nose with his shirt and left of the guy running in super short awesome dude running shorts.  He rounded the corner, ran out of sight and we turned our attention to Bill.


A little harder to find this year because he wasn’t wearing his Barney (purple) running shirt, we looked high and low.  But not for long – Bill didn’t look nearly as close to death as he has the other two half marathons he has run.  Usually by mile 10, he pretty much looks, well, pained.  NOT TODAY!  He trained differently for this one…and it worked.  We even got a nice wave as I told him that his son who had not trained was about 5 minutes ahead of him.  At least he left his shirt on, unlike the guy to his right.


And he rounded the corner and disappeared, back into the abyss of runners, swallowed by mile 11.


And, because we had picked such a great vantage point, we got to see them run by again!!

20130518_091138_9561  20130518_091359_9563

It was a very successful day for all!!  Running and photos to prove it!  And ice.  Seems the other knee wants to play mean…dang tendonitis.


I am very proud of my guys – one who worked super hard to set a PR by 14 minutes, and one who decided to run this race about a week ago and ran through some pretty crappy knee pain to beat his dad.


It may take a couple days for the elder to recuperate, he is downstairs studying more nutrition.  Not JP – he is out mowing lawn and will take his Scout swim test at 3 o’clock.   I might still be napping because all this taking pictures stuff wore me out.  And I am famished – the calorie burn from my 2 miles walked and 3 hours standing has depleted me – I might need a DQ later.   Tomorrow I might start training for my next event.



“Mom, will you please make us pancakes?” 

“Uh, are you serious?”

“Yep”  with cutest smile a 15-year-old can muster.

“Buddy, do you know how much I have to accomplish on weekends to pull off this?”  I replied as I show him next week’s schedule. “Eat cereal.”

Oh yes, we are in that time of year when all good things must come to an end and before that happens, each of those good things has to pack extras onto the calendar.

Scouts Sunday and Monday

Track – 2 meets Monday and one Friday.  Slower week, thank goodness, because,

Academic Awards – Wednesday

Jazz Concert – Thursday

2 boys touring Jazz on Wednesday and one on Friday (still trying to figure out how one tours with Jazz and also goes to Track meet.)

And, a scheduled scout weekend we will have to skip this coming weekend.

“Also, we need clothing from the 60’s.  See if you have any.” 

“Girl, how old do you think I am?”   A kid at school asked me if I was born in the 1800’s, so maybe I need some fancy wrinkle cream or somethin’.

Made these bars today to give to two new moms/dads who pumped out precious little baby girls!  Well, the moms did the work – probably the dads just watched.  So we didn’t taste test them, but we are pretty sure they are good, because come on, peanut butter cup bars?  YES!

We also made and delivered this broccoli cheese soup recipe which was new to us.  I did steal a spoonful and thought it was pretty good…I will wait on pins and needles for the official review.  Just in case it was gross, I also brought them ham and potato soup, which I have made for them before and gotten rave reviews. 

Last weekend, I also tackled this lemon strawberry cake – my very first Bundt cake.  The way this week was, the clean Bundt pan is still waiting to be put away.   At least it is clean.  Anyways, I could have just eaten the batter – Wowsa, it looked and smelled so good.  And it was.  End of story.  Make one. 

After all this baking and cooking, we came home from holding precious babies to eat cheese melted on chips, known by the fancy name of nachos.  Delish.

My house is a wreck – guess what Sunday brings? 

“UGH!!!  I hate cleaning my room.  We should get a maid.”  Yeah, I agree.

“This room needs a little TLC.”   “I HATE TLC!  I’ll clean my room when it is dirty enough” says the girl with piles so deep you can’t see carpet.

When we look all pulled together, it is just a facade.

Little Bit of this…Little Bit of that

Here is the dealio.  We have this weather today (blue means snow):

Photo: Lisa: We've had a report of 3.6" in West Fargo so far. Totals in the region range all the way up to 16.2" in Bismarck!

Yes, it is (let me double check) April 14th.  Last year at this time, I was wondering if summer would ever come; this year, we are wondering if spring will ever come.  Last year, I was wearing flip flops out to my grill, which this year hasn’t made it out of the garage yet.  This year, I am bumping up the heat and wearing slippers.

Anyway, I have to cook  regardless of the weather, so today was snow day Chinese food day.  I have never been to China, bus I assume these recipes are legit Chinese food.  Of course Pinterest would never steer me wrong.  I didn’t take any pictures because I was hungry, so follow the links.  I made Panda Express Chow Mein -  and if they serve it at Panda Express, it is as Chinese as Chinese jump ropes.  (I wonder if Chinese jump ropes are as French as French Fries?)  We served it with Honey Sauced Chicken and found that if you put it all together, it is very delish.  Everyone who ate it gave rave reviews and the one who couldn’t even stand the smell made herself toast.  The sauce for the Honey Chicken was too runny, so at the very beginning, to the sauce dumped into the crock pot, I added 2 tsp of corn starch and then popped it in a 350 oven while I made the Chow Mein – thickened up a bit.

Also, for lunch today, we made homemade pizza of a different kind.  It was semi-homemade, I guess, because the crust was this:

Spicy Italian Packaging

It was a HUGE hit in our home – each of us made our own and LOVED the outcome.  It says “grill-able” on the package too – so some day, probably in July, we will try this.  Highly recommend for a quick meal.

I should be cleaning and organizing because on Thursday, me and my man are heading out of state, assuming another blizzard doesn’t ground our flight out.  (SHHHHHH, I know, I shouldn’t jinx it!!)  We are heading to New York for some R&R with life-long friends while “Grandma of the Year” comes up to take care of the kids.   But instead of being responsible, I wasted the entire afternoon.  Something about this never ending winter has zapped my energy.  Maybe it isn’t the weather, maybe it is my lack of caffeine – oh yes, still on a roll with that – going on 5 months without it.  I still dream of drinking a fountain Coke from McDonalds once in a while – seriously, I do.  Either way, I should act my age and clean a toilet or two.

I also quit losing weight and decided it was because my calorie intake was too low.  I bumped that up now.  I will let you know how that goes after the season of bulky sweaters ends.  Today, it meant that I could eat more of yummy lunch and supper.

Princess got her contacts in in a quick-like manner yesterday.  We now have 5 contact wearers in the house and have run into problems – mostly while camping.  I have put in JP’s before…yes, gross.  I didn’t die or become all Pirate-y-like.  It is all ok.  Because I went to Wal-mart (and came home to bleach down) and found this beautiful set:


Wal-mart to the rescue.  Although tomorrow I need to run to Pearl Vision and get her another contact because it seems after crying for 20 minutes trying to get her left contact out, I decided to help her.  When I went digging in her eye, low and behold, there was no contact in it (hmmmm….) and she has no idea where it is and when it came out.  Only her.  Seriously.

Also, Minecraft to the rescue.  Again.


Soon, we will have to wash all the winter gear up, pack it away, and get out the gardening supplies.  Dreaming of that day…


…I guess they have now shut down the interstates heading north and west from here – since we’ve no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.  Or not, that would be even nicer.  We need to have school tomorrow because we are at that time of the year when we add days to the end, and that (close your eyes if you are a prude) SUCKS!!   And, we still have a looming flood to deal with…oh the fun that awaits.

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