With a Cherry on Top

In a home with three small children, a dog, two cats and two business owners, schedules are a good thing.  It is a good idea to think ahead, plan for the worst and be prepared.  I try to do those things but I have always felt that it takes a considerable amount of mental focus for a person as right brained as me to follow a consistent set of activities.  No matter how easy my life is made by planning, it almost always seems easier to do it tomorrow.  
I am sorry Benjamin Franklin.  The reason you put things off for tomorrow what you could do today, is so that you don’t have to do them today.  Why did no one ever explain it to him?
After this long Memorial Weekend, I was able to hit the reset button.  I started to reflect on goals for my household.  I decided that it was time to let the homestead reclaim territory in my heart that had become over run by our family business.  I did not make any drastic changes or sit down to make a drawn out plan of action.  I did not allow myself to fall back into the all or nothing trap that leaves me overwhelmed and under accomplished.
Instead I begin to focus on a task at a time.  The major problems in my domestic prowess arise from laundry (Honey, I don’t have any boxers left!) and the groceries (Mom, I can’t find a pull up!).  I spent a great part of my weekend organizing and swapping winter for summer wear.  The final moments were devoted to organizing the menu for the week and crafting the shopping list with coinciding coupons.  Our air conditioner being out of commission meant that nearly everything I put on that list was meant to be eaten raw or fired up on the grill.
It nearly killed me.

Today I grabbed the envelope with my neatly written grocery list on the outside and coupons on the inside, my reusable bags to save the earth and two well fed children to do the shopping.  I already had our weeks meals written on our dry erase board by the day (Thanks Nicole!).  I even remembered to take the pop cans into the store with me.  I know.  I never cease to amaze even myself.

The rest of the day involved mopping  floors that had not been cleaned in…you know, like a day.  I can’t even remember the last time I mopped.  I have printed off summer reading and math lists for my son, accepted a credit card via remote access for the biz and general management of my home.  I felt kinda sorta in charge as I sliced cucumbers and filled a water bottle for our afternoon playtime. I even managed to drop off five items that had been on my errands list since before winter.

As I prepared to make a barbecue chicken salad, as my meal planner demanded for Tuesday evening, I was feeling unstoppable.  A little rushed, a little brain exhausted from all of the focus but nonetheless undeterred from my goal of becoming more focused on my home.  I lit the grill, put the chicken on and went back inside to prepare the salad.  The boys were playing out in the yard and picking strawberries. Idyllic.

I notice the clock.  Okay, twenty more minutes before Isaac’s gymnastic class and Isaiah’s fishing trip with a friend.  I went out to flip the chicken.   
Ice. Flippin’. Cold.

Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! The propane went out.  Not when I lit the grill. No! That would be too telling.  Then I would have known to put the chicken in our oven instead.  I would have known that my plans to keep my house cool by not using the oven would have been thwarted regardless of my careful planning. The propane ran out sometime after I put the chicken on the grill, closed it and went back inside.  

I am a roll-with-the-punches kind of girl.  I really am.  I can bob and weave the flare ups of parenthood like Ali.  I am typically patient to a fault.  It is days like these, when I try so hard to overcome my procrastinating, all or nothing behavior, that really get my goat…or, er…my chicken.  I was so mad.  I was furious on the inside.  On the outside I went immediately to plan B.  Snacks for everyone, chicken in the fridge to be cooked after all events and out the door.

After a day of moving like a well oiled machine, I was denied the cherry on top. Damn grill.

Barbecue Ranch Chicken Salad
Prep time 25 minutes…unless your propane inadvertently runs out.
 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1 head of romaine
1 pint of grape tomatoes
1 red onion sliced
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
Heat greased grill to medium heat.  Grill chicken 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until done (165 degrees) turning and brushing frequently with barbecue sauce the last few minutes. Cut chicken into strips. Toss greens with chicken, tomatoes and onions in a large bowl.  Top with dressing and cheese.* Refrigerate any leftovers.
Serves 6, 1 3/4 cups each.
*We never mix all the ingredients together.  That is one sure fire way to ruin the leftovers.
If desired, subsitute 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese for the cheddar crumbles. ~This sounds so yummy to me.  Maybe next time. :) 
This simple little gem came in my Kroger myrecipes.  Who knew?  

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