Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I Wish I Bled Blue and Gold

The day started out on the rough side. I called the Humane Society in Yakima to get more information about the dog Sierra was hoping to adopt only to find that she’d been given a home a few hours after we left. Which is good, right? Of course but Sierra took it pretty hard. I hate it when I can't make it all better. I know that's not always my job but still.

Tonight was the Blue and Gold Banquet at church. For those unfamiliar with Scouting, it’s an annual celebration of Scouting Anniversary Week, sort of a birthday party for the program. The boys do a few presentations about what they’ve done and they receive ranks, badges, and other awards. I’m not sure if it’s universal but I think most have a cake decorating contest for the Cub Scouts and our Boy Scout families brought a main dish to share. We’ve got a Cub Scout and Boy Scout so I had a few things to take care of today.

Marsha told me it isn’t this way in her ward but in ours, the deal is that the dads are supposed to make the cakes and decorate them with their Cub Scout. Possibly, we could pull this off if it were a weekend. Not that I need more obligations to fill up my Saturdays but this would be the only day Michael could do it. So anyway, I made the cake. It was lame and sort of ridiculous but I didn’t care even a tiny bit because our Cub Scout had no interest in coming up with a design. Good enough. I made the lemon cake Kellie posted the other day:

Lemon Cake

1 package yellow cake mix

1 (3.4 ounce) package instant lemon pudding mix

1 3/4 cups water

3 egg whites

3/4 cup nonfat milk

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1 (1 ounce) package instant sugar-free vanilla pudding mix

1 (8 ounce) container frozen light whipped topping, thawed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a 10x15 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, mix together cake mix and pudding mix. Pour in water and egg whites. Beat on low speed for 1 minute. Increase speed to high and beat for 4 minutes. Pour batter into prepared 10x15 inch pan.

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

4. In a large bowl, combine milk, lemon extract and vanilla pudding mix. Beat on low for 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping. Spread over cooled cake. Store cake in refrigerator.

I wasn’t listening carefully when Sierra read the ingredient list to me during that painful shopping trip the other day so I bought lemon cake mix instead of yellow. It was pretty good but I suppose it would be a little less lemony with the yellow cake. Anyway.

In the ongoing spirit of This Is My Journal, I guess I should just come out and fess up that I hate evenings like this. I hate them because I see how much time and effort people have put in just to have my younger ones spill water on the paper table clothes and destroy Styrofoam cups in seconds. The section of table wherever we sit inevitably looks like the bottom of a hamster cage. Next, unless you have a real order fanatic in charge, you wind up with chaos as everyone is welcome to rush the food tables at the same time. In another ward I remember something far worse but it only happened once: the dessert tables and the main dish tables were opened at once and the children had most of the sweet stuff taken care of before the adults were done with dinner. But honestly, who cares that much? Mostly we just eat what we brought and are fully amenable to a trip through the McDonald’s drive-thru on the way home.

Tonight I brought something I found on the Taste of Home website yesterday. I chose it because I had all but one ingredient already:

Artichoke Chicken Lasagna

2/3 cup butter, divided

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon pepper

3 cups milk

1-3/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips and halved

2 cans (14 ounces each) water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and quartered

1 teaspoon dried thyme

9 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, melt 1/3 cup butter. Stir in the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, nutmeg and pepper until smooth. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

In large a skillet, cook chicken in remaining butter until no longer pink. Stir in the artichokes, thyme and remaining salt; heat through.

In a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish, layer about 1/3 cup white sauce, three noodles, 1/2 cup sauce, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese and about 3 cups chicken mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles, sauce and Parmesan cheese.

Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. Yield: 12 servings.

I didn’t feel like buying regular lasagna noodles when I had five boxes of the oven-ready variety my mom bought at Fred’s in Yelm for 50 cents a piece. I didn’t figure it would make a huge difference and guess what? It didn’t. I would definitely make this again because it was easy and tasty.

Back to the banquet. Like I was saying, people put a lot of time and effort into this. The boys and leaders got up and attempted to talk but the sounds of children was deafening. My two youngest were as much a part of it as anyone’s. There was a bitter dispute over a helium balloon and Sam wanted very much to go and play with the other children. These things just aren’t ever as fun for me as I think they should be. I have a funny feeling that it’s all mental. That I need an attitude adjustment.

I also hate these things because I am completely unfamiliar with Scouting. I want to love it. I want to want to know all about it. I want to be that mom who manages her boys straight through to their Eagle. I simply feel overwhelmed and this is just one more (albeit a very important One More) thing I have to figure out. I think because Scouting is part of what we do at church and not something we’ve gone out of our way to seek out and participate in, it just feels like one more obligation vying for my time. Not something we’ve chosen specifically to participate in but one more thing under that umbrella of "Obviously". I have a son who wants me to tell him exactly what to do and would like me to carry the bulk of the responsibility for this. To me this seems counter-intuitive. But you know what? What I really, really wish is that my husband had scouting experience and could lead our son along with enthusiasm that comes from having lived the program. But Michael’s as clueless as I am and probably twice as busy. We both just completely lose at this.

So I’m feeling lame tonight which is obviously totally unproductive. It just makes me unhappy, tired, and overall not Miss Congeniality. I need a plan, like I do for the running I’m doing. Every day my app tells me what’s next. Looking ahead to next week and seeing a 20 minute run may shake my resolve a little but it’s still a plan. I am such a visual person; I think I need a chart. And one for the Duty to God program. And the Faith in God program for Kenny and Sierra. And another for keeping my house clean. And meals planned. I need a wife. That’s all.


  1. I feel ya. Larissa has been begging me to sign her up for girl scouts. Never been there, haven't done that. Totally clueless and already at a loss for time.

  2. Both of those recipes sounds DELICOUS. I printed them out and will give them a try. Thanks.

  3. I feel pretty much the same way you do about scouting. I wish I could be more excited, but I just feel that it's just one more thing to do on an already crammed full schedule. Glad I'm not the only one. Your casserole was really tasty though :) Cynthia


So, what do you think?