Friday, November 30, 2007

I did it! i'm my own hero!


Amy from a family story is hosting a site on product reviews. Check it out!

All together now.. AWWWW

My husband called his little sister this morning at 7 to wish her a happy (14th) birthday.
Awww. And I didnt even remind him!

NaBloPoMo is over!

That's not quite as exciting as I was expecting it to be. I did make a few new bloggy friends and got to post about a lot of random stuff. The pantry thing didnt turn out to be a whole month thing, but that's okay too, I put a lot of my recipes out there for people to steal and enjoy! That made me happy!

Plus now it will be December, doh, 25 days until Christmas and this weekend its supposed to snow, ice, etc. starting tomorrow morning and continuing throughout the day. Wonderful. I guess I need to get to the store soon to stock up!

I am still pretty happy about having posted for a whole month. It gave me the impetus I needed to go ahead and forge forward, and as a result, I'm a lot more comfortable with posting. yeah!

So thanks for reading, and if you do want to hear anything specific from me, please feel free to ask, show me yours and I'll show you mine (within reason, people), or what have you!

Things I'm thankful for...

Nov 1 - For blogging buddies
Nov 2- For the income to afford take out a couple of times a month
Nov 3- For the luxury of heated homes
Nov 4- For an extra hour or two of sleep
Nov 5- For a hubby who says thank you for his coffee in the morning.
Nov 6- For a hubby that says he's thankful he has me every day.. aww!
Nov 7- For the ability to speak, read, and write. The right way.
Nov 8- For the unconditional love of children, puppies and God.
Nov 9- For family
Nov 10- For 2 ovens when you're drying 6 loaves of cubed bread.
Nov 11- For veterans (thank you)
Nov 12- For music that conveys so many emotions and memories.
Nov 13- For projects that never end -hey at least you're not bored, right?
Nov 14- For the kind of love that leaves you all tied up.. in knots.
Nov 15- For fluffy, fuzzy and feathery friends to feed.
Nov 16- For dreams that DON'T come true.
Nov 17- For less crowded stores before 10 am!
Nov 18- For making up after a fight :-)
Nov 19- For a husband that supports my efforts and listens to me.
Nov 20- For love.
Nov 21- For a nice warm night last night.
Nov 22- For a warm jacket to ward off the rain.
Nov 23- For peace and quiet.
Nov 24- For inconsiderate and rude people to remind me how to treat people.
Nov 25- For Christmas music on the radio.
Nov 26- For not having to work this morning. Boy am I tired! But thankful!
Nov 27- For doctor's visits without much pain.
Nov 28- For pain to remind you what it's like to live without pain.
Nov 29- For internet, tv, and radio. They keep us connected.
Nov 30- For the end of NaBloPoMo of course! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Real tree for Christmas?

Did you ever go to cut down a real tree for Christmas?
I remember we did a few times when I was little, and they were grown on sand, with those awful little sand burr things on the ground, when you'd step on them, they'd go right through your shoes and poke your feet.

The trees smelled pretty good back then. Now I dont know if I'd want to deal with all the needles and keeping it watered. Maybe in a few years. But for now, the artifical one works just fine.

Leg bones connected to the...

My parents puppies kept going up to the waterway/set aside in between the front fields while we were there for Thanksgiving. We figured there had to be something up there to draw them back time and again.

They got their answer. A large leg bone showed up. Then today, a rack of ribs. My mom couldn't believe it. I could, I mean, people do shoot deer and don't catch up to them, they wander off and die. Guess a big one died up in the waterway.

Mom was wondering why they weren't eating their food so well, mmm big deer to snack on, guess that beats kibble any day!


I just wanted to remind everyone that reads my other blog that I'm still posting over there, and I describe the situation that happened over the holidays in more detail. I'd like some feedback, if you would. Just click on the link for user profile on the left and click on "next generation."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanksgiving overview 2007

Well, let's see, my hubby put up a ceiling, I helped make 8 batches of noodles, cube 3 loaves of bread, make the stuffing, etc. I made 5 dozen deviled eggs for 2 events, smiled on cue, and only got pissed off twice. Once at each event. Because I was taunted. The rest of the time, I had a sunny disposition.

I cleaned and walked puppies and cleaned some more. I went without a shower, didnt make a fuss when my hairdresser bailed on me (again) and dealt with countless relatives from all stripes of fabric. I giggled at my aunt's tale of trying on spanx, put out fires (not literally) and kept them from starting.

In short, I made life a little easier for my mom with her 40 plus crowd at her home and didnt throw a stink (though I should have) when I was humiliated at my hubby's family gathering.

I just can't stand it when a. people ask questions when it's none of their business and b. make fun of "who wears the pants in the family" when you ask your spouse do help you with something.

Argh! Can't he just get a container off a high shelf without it being a penis-size debate among the men? Give me a break.

See, sunny disposition!

Ahh.. the holidays

Isn't it just great? It reminds you of why you only get together a few times a year.
It brings up good memories, and bad ones.
It means people sticking their noses where they don't belong. And then acting hurt when you tear their heads off.

Yeah, I've been hounded since BEFORE my husband and I were married (virgins) as to when we were going to have kids. By HIS family. It was like, um, duh, we're not having them before we get married. And I've been personally hounded ever since. My husband doesnt seem to get it. Of course, his life won't be the one drastically changed by pregnancy. He'll, like, have to go get ice cream and stuff. And since he'd be the one working, it would be like, um gee, I'll watch the kid tonight so you can take a shower this week. Not a 24-7 thing. That's the way the world works. Color me bitter, but sometimes men just don't get it.

As for his family, they can all bite me. It's none of their business.

By the way, saying " we're just having fun practicing" usually deflects the questions pretty well.

Internet trouble

i'm having internet trouble, it only stays on for 5 minutes at a time so bear with me until i get it straightened out..

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

okay, this makes me mad...

God bless Rachael Ray, seriously. I don't have anything against her. Or Valerie Bertinelli. But the pair of them made me really angry today. Here's the scoop:

Twenty something guy has a trio of nephews that need adopting, so he does. Word gets out. He's picked as "superdad" and since it's the holiday season, why not lavish some money on this guy. Okay, first of all, the circumstances behind all this I dont know. Maybe it was some tragic accident. Either way, he has 3 kids now. And he has 3 bosom buddies that help him out, crash on his couch to help with the kids. I'd personally think he was pretty well set. I don't know.

Anyway, these kids are like 3, 4, 5 years old. Stairsteps. Back to the holiday thing, the American express people decide that EACH kid needs $1000 worth of gifts UNDER THE TREE. That's right THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS for one holiday! They take the dad shopping and he just can't figure out what to buy, but he makes sure they get some clothes (kudos to this guy) as well. There's a bit of money left, cause, like how are you going to hide that much stuff for the kids in your house, and the little boys go and buy him an Xbox game thing and some games the whole family can play together. Fine. THEN. They cut back to the show and each of the 3 guardian angels that crash on the couch get a THOUSAND dollars to spend on their own Christmas. Fine.

THEN they announce that since it's so tough to get meals on the table, this guy is getting a free balanced meal delivered to his door for everyone every WEEKNIGHT for a YEAR. Oh and by the way, we called your boss, you're getting a raise and a Christmas bonus. Oh and by the way again, you're getting $50,000 to spend in any way you want on yourself. Go back to school, whatever.

I'm sorry, that's just WAY TOO MUCH! What's going to happen when next year, they've blown through all those toys and all that money and they're back to ho-hum how will we make Christmas for these kids match up to the THOUSAND dollars apiece that got spent on them last year. It's ridiculous. These kids won't ever know what to expect. They aren't old enough to get that this is a one time thing, they'll expect it next year too. And how is that guy going to keep up? How is he going to explain it?

And of course my other thought it, well, gee, that's nice, but what about all those other hungry, can't buy presents cause we're running out of money, people out there in this world. Sure, this is a good guy, but does he really deserve that much? Does it matter what he deserves?

I grew up in the 80's where downsizing hit our family hard, and even if it hadn't, we never would have had an Xbox, or a DS, let alone one apiece! Plus all those other toys. Give me a break. I don't think Christmas should be that commercial. What is it teaching those boys? You know, way back when, it would have been nice to have had 2 - $25 gifts, we had about one apiece plus the things we NEEDED such as clothes, gloves, and a few things in our stockings. That was it. And we thought we were in heaven. We (at least I) knew we didn't get as much as our peers at school, but that really didn't matter when you were in your pj's in front of the tree just playing with your my little ponies or GI Joes or whatever. You had time with family and thought about Santa and ate yourself silly on candy from your stocking before breakfast hit the table. We didnt need $100 apiece let alone $1000.

What do you think? Did they give those kids way too much? Is is going to confuse them the next time an event comes up and it's back to normal? Am I just being bah humbug? Is it just one more example of a corporation or a celebrity trying to make up for their bad behavior over the intervening year? (not saying either Rachael or Valerie is bad)

Doctor's visits...

Well I had my annual today (everyone be glad it's not you).
It wasn't too bad really. I also got a tetanus booster and my blood drawn.
That was quite the complicated adventure. Oh well!

The worst thing was the blood draw, yes, really, it hurt the worst. I couldn't
believe they gave me the tetanus booster in the arm! I expected a sore rear.
But I can't even feel my arm where it was! The blood draw, I can still feel. Argh!

And the rest didnt even seem bad at all. I got a lady this time. Small hands.

Well, all's well that ends well!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Fun Monday - I'll show you mine if you show me yours...

Blue Momma says: I want you to show me your......projects. More to the point, I want to see your unfinished projects. I have so many that I really need some reassurance that I'm not the only one. Home improvement projects are what I have in mind, but it you don't have any of those show me any kind of project - needlework, cooking, scrapbooking, etc. You can even show me your spouse if they qualify as a work in process.

Well, let's see, right now all I have that's unfinished is shopping and decorating for Christmas.** You can see the horsey cane and Santa Kiss on there in place of ornaments. We need to buy more lights to replace old ones that have duct tape on them. We havent had a big tree since 2003.

My parents have a ton more projects, but right before Thanksgiving my husband helped them finish one. The short story is, all the pieces were there to finally finish the ceiling in their basement bathroom, but no one got around to putting them up. He took Wednesday off from work and besides helping set up tables and such, he spent the whole afternoon finishing the track pieces and putting the ceiling tiles in. He even tracked down the local heating guy for them and got him to work up a piece to make the vent drop down to the drop ceiling and went and picked it up just before dinner. He put it in so dad could see it before dinner. Mom was so happy she made him a pie. Apple pie. After Thanksgiving. As a bonus. Isn't that nice? Three years ago we painted the bathroom right before Thanksgiving and this time we got the ceiling in. It's finally finished. Now all the other projects are going to have to fall into line. Mom's planning on moving into the basement soon and tearing up the upstairs and redoing it. At this point, I wish we lived closer so we could help. Or that Oprah would come help them redo it. Sigh.

A special bonus picture of the reindeer I got for Christmas a long time ago when Matthew and I were dating. He always gets a big hug and a shake when he comes out of the box (he has a bell on his collar) and then he gets a good seat somewhere near the action so he can see what's going on. I know, it's silly. At the end of the season he gets tucked back away with the Christmas ornaments until the next year.

** Okay so I'm totally lying, but my camera battery died again. I guess that goes on the list for things to buy. Darnit. Umm yes, I do have 2 scrapbooks that I would be much further along with if our printer would suck (pull in) photo paper and print on it. Don't know why it wont, it just won't. I have one almost finished for my hubby and a second one for my lil sis in law to be completed for her for High School graduation present. Shh. It's a surprise. Anyway, those are my 2 undone projects. That's the truth!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Hey ya'll, it's time to put up the tree while watching the Bears game. We have safely returned from all our travels, sorted through the junk mail, and emptied our luggage. We're 2 steps ahead. Now it's time to decorate for the next round of holidays.

Come back tomorrow for Fun Monday, which is hosted by Blue Momma.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Have you ever...?

tried to write a post with 2 black labs trying to "help you" use the mouse? no.. well you should sometime!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Crazy times

It really seems crazy that the holiday is over with. We still have to go to a dinner tomorrow. Right now we're puppy sitting. One of my parents old friends died recently and they were lucky enough to have us here to watch them, feed them, let them out, bring them back in, basically just treat them like little humans!

I'm glad to though, as it's comforting to have little snuggly things to pay attention to and to pay attention to us.

I didnt eat too much for once, although I have an idea I will still need to work out extra hard as I probably did take in more calories in the last 2 days than normal. Hope everyone had a great holiday. Check further into my blog for Christmas ideas!

Santa Kisses!

Another neat crafty thing for the season is the hershey's kiss holder. Now they can be anything, not just Santa, that's just what I happen to have laying around. The instructions for making these cuties can be found here. The one I have of course as you can see is not covered in fur, it's fully stitched. And a little dirty from all the chocolately hands that have held it over the years. You just pop a kiss into Santa's mouth and hang him on the tree!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Candy Cane Holders

I mentioned in my holiday traditions post about the horsey-head candy cane holders. They make a little stick horse out of the candy cane on the tree. I now have a picture so it's not all "what are you talking about, I can't picture that" - tada! I HAD ONE in my Christmas stuff. So here ya go!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Silicone baking cups- Gift Idea

Save a tree or two. Invest in these Silicone baking cups that can be re-used over and over! No need for paper liners!

This all started because i bought new sugar and powdered sugar and didnt realize that the new bag plus the old wouldnt fit in the container together. so..............i dumped the old stuff out into a bowl and put the new bag in the i have a bowl of sugar and powdered sugar sitting on the counter. i said, gee i'd like to get rid of the powdered sugar, but i'd have to make like cake or hubby jumped right on it. oh if you could make cupcakes i would take them to work.. mmmk.i was in for it. then i realized.. .duh no cupcake pans because i hadn't had them forever since we moved like 4 years ago they were all packed away. so we decide to go to the store. we poke around and finally find these.... they are bakeable freezable and also dishwasherable and i think for about six dollars for 12, they are a steal, and could be a great present.

Here's what you do... tada, you bake the person muffins in the cups and put them in a basket, and tie the box to the basket with some ribbon.tuck a dishtowel over the muffins and voila! a perfect gift. i would recommend 2 sets since cupcakes usually go in sets of 24 to a box mix. you wash them first and dry them out, spray a little cooking spray in them and fill them. stick them on a baking sheet and then bake them, pull the sheet out and let them cool. the cupcakes or muffins will pop right out. of course, if you're giving them away, just leave them in the cups so that they can see how they work, or have to wash them. duh! he he! and that's a gift with a baked good, which everyone could use a little breakfast muffin right? oh and of course a new tea towel and basket. still.. a good deal all around!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Take out containers...

I told you recently about the take out containers you could put on the back of those cute santa sleigh things... as a gift for a secret santa or someone else you dont know really well but must give a gift to. I bought these containers about 3 years ago from Crate and Barrel. However, I have seen them recently at Michael's craft store as well. They are typically less than $1 apiece and look just like chinese take out containers, down to the little wire handle and tuck in flaps. They are food grade, and I have used them for giving small gifts of candy and cookies at the holidays, or a small gift throughout the year. You can even get them in holiday patterns now. They also come in various sizes from what would hold around a golf ball to what would hold a quart of rice or a small stuffed animal like a webkinz or beanie baby. You could add a ribbon to the metal handle and punch a hole in a gift tag to attach it to the gift, or just stick a label on the box. If you don't put anything too greasy in it, or directly stick the label on it, the person could even re-use the box for something else, even another gift. Save a lot of paper this Christmas on your tiny trinkets.

Basic Pantry Staples ed. 19 & 20

Edition 19 Vanilla and 20 Cocoa powder

Did you wonder when I'd ever get to chocolate? Well here goes! Vanilla extract is a fabulous ingredient to have in your pantry. It's used in almost every cookie or baking mix. I get mine from the Watkins dealer, or rather, my mom does (it's not like drugs, really!) but Watkins is kind of like Tupperware, there are only certain dealers, and since I move so much and she stays put, she'd always have the same dealer and I wouldnt. Plus, I only use a bottle every 2-3 years, as I bake less than she does.

And cocoa powder. This I use in cookies, frosting, basically anything you want to chocolate-up. Recently I've used it to add to an angel food cake mix to make it "chocolate" angel food cake. My husband sure likes that. Today I'm adding a frosting recipe for you. It's taken directly out of the "Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book" and its a must for someone trying to please a chocolate lover, whether that be yourself or someone in your household.

Ed.19-20 Recipe
No-Cook Fudge Frosting

4 3/4 C powdered sugar (it says sifted, but i never do)
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 C butter or margarine, softened
1/3 C boiling water
1 t vanilla

Combine powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Add butter, boiling water, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed till combined. Beat for 1 minute on medium speed. Cool for 20 to 30 minutes or till mixture reaches spreading consistency. This frosts the tops and sides of 2 (8 or 9 inch) cakes layers*

*or the top and sides of a 9x13 or 24 cupcakes, basically anything you can make out of a boxed cake mix.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fun Monday -Embarrasing Story

Karisma is hosting Fun Monday. She wants to know: I want you to take a trip down memory lane, and keep right on going, right back to your childhood. And I want to hear "THAT STORY". You remember the one? Yes, you do! The one your parents, siblings, extended family or friends, would never let you forget, live down or get over!" I'm going to cheat on this one since I can't think of anything anyone still talks about...

I have a hard time thinking of anything that I did that no-one would let me live down. Although I can think of 3 things - all related to music that make me go - no I didnt do that, although I really did.

1. "Baby's got her blue jeans on" -It's a country song about a girl that stops traffic in her blue jeans. Yup as a little kid I went and put my blue jeans on and danced in the kitchen. I wanted someone to think I was that hot.

2. Singing in the shower - yup 2 older brothers outside in the kitchen listening as I'm beebopping my own made-up song about being in love with someone. Never sang in the shower again. They were laughing so hard when I came out.

3. Wrote a song - left it laying out. I wrote a note on the corner reminding myself to show a friend of my A from high school. I left it laying on my desk and my mom was in there just a bit too long to be plausible. From something my mom said one day in the last year or so, she thought I had a real crush on the guy - he was just really into music (gay) although no one would have dared to say it out loud 10 years ago, I got a message from him recently and he's in a good relationship. Yeah! More love in this world.

And the song, well I can only remember 2 verses and a part of the third -I'm guessing on that first line there (yup I was hung up on being a virgin - so what, I was like 16)... hey at least it wasn't depressing poetry that took up 99% of the time from age 12-18... here it is.... think Sarah McLachlan singing it- that's how I hear it anyway. The point was that ... well I don't know, like you can be in love with someone and not know them? Be in love before you meet the person... this was NOT written ABOUT anyone.. more about that someone special I'd meet one day. Oh and I did, I married my own crazy lover. And I'm so glad I did.

Crazy Lover

You sent me roses
one every hour
can you imagine my surprise
when the first flower arrived, at noon.

At midnight I was crawling into bed and
and you showed up at my door with the last rose.

Then you kissed my hand and slipped away beneath the moon.

You're my crazy lover,
even though we've never slept together
you're my crazy lover
in my dreams

...As I wake up to the dawn
And I reach out to find you gone..

You're my crazy lover,
even though we've never slept together
you're my crazy lover
in my dreams

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Who's Rubbed the Big Guy? I have!

Abraham Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site, Springfield Illinois
It is rumored to be good luck to rub Lincoln's nose.
The nose is about 7 feet off the ground.

Take out containers and a cute craft for Christmas

I dont' think I've posted about this yet, so here's a nifty gift for that hard to buy for co worker, secret santa at work... or a cute giveaway for a holiday party, decoration for your table, etc. If I can do it, anyone can do it. All you need besides candy is a pair of scissors, scotch tape, a bit of ribbon, string, or cord, and a little box or "take out" container. The candy consists of a regular hershey bar, a chocolate santa (both can be bought in sets of 6), 2 candy canes per sled, and some of the teeny candy bars for "presents" on the front. The take out containers (or small box if you prefer) are great to hold an ornament, a small present or like we did a check for our nieces and nephews.

All you do is take the Hershey bar (or your favorite wide bar), and tape the canes to the bottoms/sides of the bar. Line up the canes with the back of the bar, the bows of the cane rest just in front of the bar. Just use a length of tape and stick the edge on the bottom of the bar in front and back, letting the rest lie on the table face up. Set the cane on top, and roll the tape over it to the top of the candy bar. Try and keep the cane straight so it will "sit" level and the "runner" will not bow in or out. Once you get both canes/runners attached and adjusted so they're level, you're ready to finish your project. Attach your small box to the back of the bar with tape. Add the santa with a loop of tape on the bottom to lean up against the box. Add a loop to its back to the box if necessary. Make sure you still have room for "presents" at the front. I attached 2 of the mini candy bars together bottom to bottom with a piece of tape and tied a piece of cord or ribbon in a knot. I taped the knot down and then used the edge of a pair of scissors to curl the ribbon. Voila, Santa comes to visit with candy and a little gift, whatever you wish to add to the box.

Basic Pantry Staples ed. 18

Edition 18-Sour Cream

Sour cream is also a great thing to have in your fridge "pantry." It can be used in everything from potatoes to a tasty cake. Top a taco, stir up a dip. In this instance, it's combined with herbs and soup to make a "gravy" for the casserole.

Ed.18 Recipe
Chicken Crescent Casserole

9X13X2 pan

1 lb. (2-4 chicken breast) seasoned, cooked and cooled
1 8 oz. Pkg cream cheese
2 pkg crescent rolls
1 can cream of chicken and mushroom soup
6 oz sour cream
dried parsley, chives, or other herbs

Line greased pan with crescent rolls. Layer cream cheese with shredded chicken, spread over rolls. Add next layer of crescent rolls. Top with bread crumbs, if desired. Bake according to crescent package directions. Heat soup, sour cream and herbs in saucepan. Serve with dish. Bake additional crescents with dish.

Sad country songs...

make me cry. Happy country songs.. make me cry. Everything makes me cry right now. Bah!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Basic Pantry Staples ed. 17

Edition 17-Tomato Paste

Tomato paste is a thick tomato product often found in small cans or tubes. It can be added to the back of a sauce to give a hint of tomato flavor, or as a base to start making something as awesome as spaghetti or pizza sauce. If you have a recipe that calls for tomato sauce, you can simply add tomato paste and water to equal the sauce.

Ed.17 Recipe
Pizza Sauce

(I had already posted this as a bonus for Fun Monday).


If you do try any of my recipes, please be sure and let me know how they turn out. I always like to know. Thanks Jenni for letting me know that the Taco Soup turned out for you. A lady I knew made the same thing but warmed it in a little crock pot and used it as "Santa Fe dip" with chips like tostitos scoops, fritos, etc. Perfect to add to a turkey sandwich the day after thanksgiving. have a happy one everybody...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Family Photograph

Okay, let's play. You tell me which kid belongs to who. If you get them all right, well, I'd be really surprised and I'd have to think on it- you may get a prize. K? And if you know my family you can't play. Sorry. That wouldn't be fair to everyone else. Okay I guess I'll play a little more fair. One boy and one girl belong to one brother and the rest to the other. The kids are not grouped in any particular way. The adults are more or less grouped together. This is your first look at me how I look now, so don't gasp in horror. You've seen my hubby (dead center) and I'm right by him. We don't have any kids. I know, it's not pretty, but everyone else looked good in the picture, so I didnt' complain. I'll get a better picture posted once the camera charges up a little bit. Both girls are M so Redhead is M1 and the other is M2. Brown stripe is T, blue stripe is A, red stripe is D, white plaid is N and black shirt is B. Good luck.

Basic Pantry Staples ed. 16

Edition 16-Tomato Sauce

I use tomato sauce in a variety of recipes. It also covers a pizza in a pinch when you run out of pizza sauce. You can even get some with "flavors" now. I usually buy 8 oz and 15 oz cans. These are pretty inexpensive in general, but even on sale at a grocery store, you can still get tomato sauce a lot cheaper at a discount store like Aldi. The product tastes just as good and you're saving your pennies for other products you can't buy at a discount store. That's my 2 cents. Here's the recipe. This one came from a cousin's wife in the family cookbook. I modified it to make it easier.

Ed.16 Recipe

Package of flour tortillas

1 lb ground beef
1/2 C finely chopped onion
1/2 C sour cream
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
2 T parsley
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 can pinto beans (optional)

1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
2/3 C water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2- 2 t chili powder
1/2 t oregano
1/4 t cumin

Brown beef and onion, drain. Mix beef and other filling ingredients in a large bowl. (we add the beans for fiber- you could also add some cheese to the can of beans in a separate saucepan and make "refried beans" to add to your plate). Combine sauce ingredients in a small saucepan, heat to boiling and simmer for 5 minutes. Warm tortillas to make pliable. Place a spoonful of filling on tortilla, rollup and put into a "cooking sprayed" 9x13 pan. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. Pour remaining filling (if any) and sauce over enchiladas. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Sprinkle extra cheese on top and return to oven for 5 additional minutes.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Basic Pantry Staples ed. 15

Edition 15-Olives

Okay, so olives (black or green, or other) are great items to keep on your shelf. For one thing, if you are stuck with a potluck or food day and you have no idea what to bring, you could throw together a quick relish tray with what you have on hand in your cabinet. For another, they're great to put into a dish during the holidays (just remember to reserve some of the juice in the jar (stick it back in the fridge) or into a tupperware container in case the goodies are not all eaten during your party-then they won't dry out. You can also use them to garnish a dish, or a deviled egg. A few years ago I made several kinds of cheese ball and made into 3 balls like a snowman and used olive slices for the eyes and the "back slice" of the olive that looks like an X for buttons, a little carrot for a nose. I didnt manage to make arms but you could use pretzel rods or breadstick pieces for limbs.

Ed.15 Recipe
Muffaletta Subs

6 sub rolls (or large garlic or french bread loaf)
1 lb shaved ham
1 lb shaved salami
1 lb american, provolone or swiss cheese, shaved
1 C black olives, drained*
1 C green olives, drained
1 jar artichoke hearts in oil (6 oz) ***
1/2 T garlic salt **
1/2 C mayonnaise
1 T capers, drained (optional)

Chop the black and green olives and artichoke hearts in a food processor. Add the garlic salt, mayonnaise, and capers and process the spread until smooth. Split sub rolls; spread mixture on top and bottom of each roll. Evenly layer meats and cheese on rolls. Wrap each roll in aluminum foil and heat in a 200 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Serves six.

* I end up using a small pre-sliced can of black olives because I like the flavor of green olives better. ** I use garlic powder because the olives are already salty enough. *** note these are artichoke hearts, not aardvark hearts, like my brother thought, yup he was like 25 at least.

You can use any lunchmeat and cheese combination you like. YOU MUST LIKE OLIVES TO MAKE THIS DISH. The flavor of the olives really goes through everything. We end up using any combination of turkey, ham, pastrami (so good) and roast beef, and usually swiss or provolone cheese. Watch out for pits in the olives. We found the artichoke hearts in the special section above olives and pickles, and it was already chopped up with garlic in a spread. This is a traditional "New Orleans" - N'awlins dish you could easily make during Mardi Gras or to warm up the house in the winter time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Overprotective mom your ASS is MINE! GROW UP!

how about this for news? some idiot parent (assuming mom) got pissed off because their pwecious wittle baby got scaa-wed by that big mean ho ho hoing santa claus at the mall so now santa can't ho ho ho anymore. He has to ha ha ha in a higher tone of voice so as to not scare the little kids. WHAT? Umm hello?

What in the hell ever happened to 1. deciding if your kid is even old enough to see Santa Claus and keep them away if not 2. accepting fault and bowing out if not 3.explaining what is going to happen to your kid so he knows what to expect ahead of time, and 4. accepting the consequences of YOUR actions and remind your child that Santa ALWAYS ho ho hos and again, there's nothing to be scared of.

I have an idea that this mom (again assuming no dad is going to just run to the mall to see Santa) was embarrassed by her kid's crying and wanted someone else to pay for her extreme embarrassment. Instead of accepting the fault for herself, and comforting her kid, she blames the situation and ruins the visit to Santa Claus for all the other kids ( this could spread beyond one mall to all the malls in a town, or to the whole country) - I rebel. More dignified and better moms unite and tell that one mom that blabs out that she's insane and her problems aren't the world's. Accept blame where you should. And overprotective mom - Your ASS is MINE! GROW UP! Accept responsibility. What are you going to do, sit during organized sports and get the whole opposite team thrown out because your kid gets injured? Are you going to force them to take specific classes during high school and college so that they don't learn about sex ed? Pick out their spouse for them? Name their kids and raise them too? Come on!

For God's sake don't ruin a fun time for everyone else. Please! Accept responsibility for yourself and YOUR ACTIONS! If it's your fault, not the situation, think it over! Don't make life a little worse for everyone else because you have a cob up your butt. You can't do everything for your kid. You need to learn that they will fail, they will get hurt, they will learn and get better. You either A. Don't want to take the time to talk to them or B. really are dumber than you look.

Save Santa! HO HO HO! Merry Christmas!

Bronco update

We got the top on, weatherstripping in, some bolts in. It was a process, yes, it hurt, not me, my hubby took the top on his back and walked crossing about 6 inches from one tailgate to the other to put it on. I have no idea how he does that. I know he needs a mental check. sheesh!

Anyway, it all worked out okay, we've still got the rest of the bolts to put in tonight. Now I have to figure out what to make that either won't take long to fix, or will need to bake a long time so when I'm out there helping him, that dinner won't be too late!

Oh and my hubby thinks his bronco's really cute with the top back on. I think he said "I really dig that look" that means cute, right?

Basic Pantry Staples ed. 14

Edition 14 - Pita Pockets

Pita pockets are round pieces of a chewier bread that you can cut in half to make "pockets" to stuff "stuff" in. Really, their uses are endless. And they keep well in the freezer. I just took some out that had been stuffed in there since June and they were fine. I let them thaw on the counter. Usually a zap in the microwave (not unlike tortillas) will soften them up a bit and make them more pliable. They would make good pizza pockets (or use the rounds whole like a mini pizza), salad/wraps and more. You can also toast them for a richer flavor, although they may be a little tougher to fill that way. You can usually find them near the deli counter and in the regular bread aisle near the bagels and "flat outs" tortillas on the shelf.

Recipe courtesy of WIU's T- Hall kitchen. Thanks guys.

Ed.14 Recipe
Chicken Caesar Pita Pockets

Pita pockets
Cooked, chopped chicken (steamed, baked)
Mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
Caesar dressing (preferrably with peppercorn influence)

Cut and warm the pockets. Fill with layers of the remaining ingredients, reserving crutons for the top. It works out fairly well if you drizzle some of the dressing on the very bottom, that way if you run out of stuffing, the last bits of bread still have a bit of pizazz. Oh and ranch dressing does give a similar flavor if you don't normally have caesar, and don't want to add another bottle to your fridge.

Poll results -NaBloPoMo

only 7 people voted so it seems a little skewed (1 person accounts for 16% ?)

42% say great keep it coming
42% say tell us more/different things
16% say I'm boring - Thanks a lot. arse. Somehow I think it's probably a first time visitor that hasn't succumbed to my charms. By the way, the last guy that said that was told by all his friends that he was dead wrong and let a nice girl get away. oh yes, yes he did. thank god. I found out how to REALLY be treated by my hubby. SWEET!

Oh and I passed my 200th post thanks to NABLOPOMO. So thanks. That went by really fast!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This weekend in pictures...

Broncos Rule

If you're looking for the football team, check elsewhere, I'm a Bears fan, k? Alright, now, where was I, oh yes, my hubby loves his Bronco. Yes he does. Last night after he got home, I put socks and shoes on (blech) and went out to help him get the soft top hardware off. Yup. I'm a closet grease monkey. I probably could diagnose any engine noise you have. We have spent a lot of time and money getting that thing running. Now it just needs a transmission. Well, for now. Who knows what the future holds. But the thing is, now it's purring like a kitten, and if the transmission wouldnt slip, it'd be perfect. For now. It was "born" in 1977 for pete's sake. And, well, the first owners never changed a thing. It had the original factory spark plugs on it up until about 5 years ago. It's no wonder we've had to do so much to it. And, some of the stuff we have done twice, because we couldnt afford to do it the right way the first time, so we're doing it the right way now. Tonight I get to help put the hard top on. I have no idea how we will do this. It's going to require moving the 300 + pound top from the back of our truck to the top of the bronco. And it's just the 2 of us, with no lift. Umm. Yeah. We'll see how that goes.

Basic Pantry Staples ed. 12 & 13

Edition 12 -Canned Fruit and Edition 13 - Canned Pie Filling

Canned fruit can make a quick salad or refreshing snack. Pineapple could be used to top a ham, mango in a chutney, to make a smoothie, you name it. Fruit is low in calories and some of it is very high in nutrients such as vitamin C.

Pie filling isn't just for pie! You can use it to cover that mistake you made in frosting a cake, as an add on for ice cream, or to sweeten the deal on your cheesecake.

Ed.12/13 Recipe
Fruit Salad

21 oz can cherry or peach pie filling
11 oz mandarin oranges, drained
20 oz chunk or pineapple tidbits, drained
10 oz pkg frozen sweetened strawberries
4 bananas, sliced

In a large bowl, combine all fruits except bananas. Refrigerate until strawberries thaw. Add bananas before serving. Add additional fresh fruits to your liking.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Thankfulness in a song...

Being thankful reminds me of all these things, I especially like singing this hymn at the beginning of spring, it reminds me that warmer days and beautiful things are just around the corner.

In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree;
In cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody;
There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;
In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity,
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

Fun Monday- Mother May I? Photo Attack

Hootin Anni Photo Attack- It's all about your first glance after the giant/baby steps!!! [You will have 2 photos/stories for us- the 30 giant steps & the 15 baby steps going back]Don't forget---ask "Mother may I"!! And see who is playing! Oh yeah and bonus points (whatever that means) for the person that can tell me what on earth is wrong with my shower curtain. go ahead, tell me. The first 2 pictures are the shower curtain in our bathroom. The last picture is a bear I got for Christmas one year. He has a slightly chewed on nose from my first dog I trained in obedience. He was still a puppy then. And he's wearing a graduation robe, my high school honors cords, and my husband's graduation cap and tassel. My tassels and hat are underneath the bear. He's sitting in my old little rocking chair in the spare bedroom.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What did I do this weekend?...

  • Swanson broth on sale (only got 12 cans, will go back for more, sigh)
  • Found Bob's, (THE ONLY ONES TO EAT) they come in 48 ct. Oh well!
  • 4 hour drive "home" - bought dinner for mom and dad Friday night
  • Warm puppies to greet you like you're not a stranger. Stop licking me!
  • TV full of ghosts, computer hackers, scary situations & girls kicking a$$
  • Chopped 6 loaves of bread into squares and dried in the oven to make dressing/stuffing for church meal (95 people)-- (that's 12 sticks of butter if anyone's counting).
  • Mixed, rolled dough, and then cranked out noodles. 10 meals worth.
  • Pictures, pictures! Bronco top ensconced in pickup truck.
  • Lots of QT with the 'rents (and dogs, I guess) stop licking me already.
  • Mixed and stirred, stirred and mixed.
  • Savored the sound of a trumpet playing patriotic hymns.
  • Smells of heaven the whole weekend through.
  • Favorite foods in one place, before Thanksgiving. And again in 11 days!
  • Quintessential lil church lady homemade angel food cake.. ahh!
  • Spiritual contentment.
  • 4 hours home (2 hours of driving in traffic (for me hell on earth)-at dusk & dark, ick!)
  • Remembered to get a frozen pizza on Friday for dinner tonight. Bonus.

Basic Pantry Staples ed. 11

Edition 11- Pudding Mixes

Like Jell-o, but oh so NOT jell-o, is pudding mix. Quick to mix together to fill a bowl or fill a pie, pudding is a great pantry staple. Add a dollop of cool whip for a kid favorite. Or add the mix to any one of many recipes and sweeten up your life.

Ed.11 Recipe
Pudding Salad

1 20 oz can crushed pineapple with juice (can use tidbits)
1 pkg instant vanilla pudding mix (4 serving size)
1 or 2 small cans mandarin oranges (drained)
1- 1.5 C marshmallows
8 oz Cool Whip

Fold together pineapple, juice, and pudding mix. Gently stir in oranges, marshmallows, and then gently fold in cool whip. Serve chilled.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Basic Pantry Staples, Ed.10

Edition 10-Jell-o

Jell-o is a must for your pantry. Boxed mixes keep forever on the shelf and online recipes for salads and desserts containing jello are floating around everywhere. Mix up one for a potluck in a hurry. And, if you have a calm 5 minutes while something else is in the oven or before you have to switch the towels out of the dryer, you have enough time to whip up a batch of jello as a special low-calorie dessert treat for the whole family.

Ed.10 Recipe
Jell-O Pie

2/3 C boiling water
1 tub (8 oz) Cool Whip
1 pkg Jello gelatin
1 graham cracker crust (6 oz)
½ C cold water ice cubes

Stir hot water into gelatin at least 2 min. until dissolved. Mix cold water and ice to measure 1 cup. Add to gelatin, stir until ice melts. Stir in whipped topping until smooth. Refrigerate 15-20 minutes or until mixture is very thick and will mound. Spoon into crust. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Recipe Cards and preserving family secrets

Just as a reminder for anyone attempting to wrangle their recipes, here's the entry for you:

We created the template and saved it in Microsoft Word, and then every time we wanted to type in a new recipe we just went to file, open template and typed it in, hit save as, and voila you have a new recipe ready for printing. We just recently made a desktop shortcut to "family recipes" for my mom and I used a usb flash drive and stole the recipes. I havent done anything per se with them yet, I just have them as a back-up in case their computer crashes. So just some thoughts on how to keep your recipes in order and safeguard your family secrets...

and of course I'm spilling all my family's tried and true family secret recipes on a secret blog. Ha!

Friday, November 9, 2007

The hard things you have to do...even to strangers

Yes, it's an odd topic, but well fitting, I think. A couple of years ago, we were driving home on a nearly deserted 2 lane highway when we came up behind a vehicle that was swerving a bit more than usual. The third time the car crossed the center line (severely), I told my husband to call the police. I turned off the radio and read him off the plate number. My husband stayed on the phone and well behind the car all the while describing to the 911 operator where we were, and soon enough the police were on the way. At the T intersection to our town, we went left and he was stopped waiting to go right. We pulled out and heard and saw the sirens coming up from behind him. Soon, more police cars passed us coming from the other direction. Luckily, they caught up with the car before it got out onto the other highway, the one with more traffic. It's a scary thing to think about. What if it was someone who needed medical attention, then it was a good thing we called, and if they were a potential drunk driver, it was perhaps an even better thing that we called. It was a hard thing to do, even to a stranger. But at that time I just wondered, what if he'd slammed on the brakes, what if he'd crossed the line again with another car coming. What if there were kids in that car? Could we live with it if someone died because we didnt' take action? The answer was no. We made the call. I may not have been brave enough on my own. But at least while we were around, the driver of the car didnt hurt anyone. We never found out what happened. But it doesnt matter. We know that we made the right choice. For the greater good, we did the hard thing, we may have put someone in jail, or gotten an ill person to the hospital, a stranger. No regrets.

Basic Pantry Staples ed. 9

Edition 9-Canned vegetables (or frozen)

This is a no-brainer. Everyone should have a few cans or bags of vegetables on the shelf to supplement fresh vegetables, or in our case, totally make up our vegetable diet. It's a great way to add some color, flavor, and vitamins to any recipe.

Ed.9 Recipe
Green Bean Casserole

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
Dash ground black pepper
2 cans french cut green beans (drained and rinsed)
1 (6 oz can) French's French Fried Onions *

MIX first four ingredients and 3/4 of the onions in small casserole dish. Top with remaining onions. BAKE at 350°F. for 25 min. or until hot.

*This does call for more FFO than usual, but what good is a handful of leftover onions when you could make a much crunchier, tastier dish with the whole can tossed in? Also, you may bake it for longer than 25 minutes, the longer it bakes the better the ingredients combine and the flavor goes through the casserole.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Ripples Project

Okay, so some of you have seen this picture before. Today I want to focus in on the cards, go ahead and maximize the picture if you want, but this is what the card says: "You must be the change you wish to see in this world" -Mahatma Gandhi. After having posted for Fun Monday for several weeks, and blogging a while, I've realized that there are quite a few good people out there, no matter what it seems like the news is saying today. People who pay their taxes, teach their kids morals and cry when something awful happens to someone else-oh and then you post "I'm sorry" on their blog and suddenly you realize 20 strangers have reached out to someone having a bad day.

The idea of the Ripples Project started with a guy named Paul from Wisconsin. He is a motivational speaker and I heard him speak at a national conference for university and campus housing. You know, the dorms. Yup I was a geeky dorm leader in my past. Anyway, his premise is that you have more influence on the world than you think. That your world is like a smooth pond. Every tiny thing you do throws a stone into the pond and the resulting ripples fan out to the edges of the pond, sometimes the shore is close and the waves hit it hard, and sometimes the shore is far away and it merely laps the toes of those standing near. What have you done this week that has lapped the toes of those far away? What have you done that has radically changed the way that someone close to you thinks, feels, or operates? Even if it was by accident?

The quote from Gandhi ties in with Paul's message, as do many of the quotes in his "quote pond", on the title page it says "Explore the extraordinary power of tiny actions" - and I really believe this. That's why I put thought into every gift I give, every blog entry I write, every word that comes out of my mouth. That's why I send diaper coupons to my friends with babies and cards to acquaintances who are convalescing during an illness. That's why when I hear uninformed injustice spewing from the mouths of seemingly coherent adults or children, I point them in another direction. What change do you want to see in this world? What kind of world do you want for future generations? How are you going to implement small changes in your pond so that their toes are gradually wet with good and not negative thoughts, and how are you going to rock the shores of your own little ocean so that a dramatic change takes place in your own life?

It's all about the little things folks. Teaching your HUSBAND to say please and thank you, even at the dinner table with your kids will ROCK THEIR WORLD. Teaching them appreciation no matter whom they speak to (the waitress at a restaurant, the checker at Target, their grandparents) will influence how they in turn impact this world. How often have you had a door slam in your face because someone in front of you didn't take 10 seconds to hold the door? Teach YOUR kids better. Teach your GRANDKIDS better. Teach your nieces and nephews better. Teach them appreciation and respect for other people. That more than voting, more than cleaning their room (although that's appreciation in itself), or paying taxes, how they treat other people, and how they respect themselves, is what counts in this world. Teach them the golden rule for goodness sakes, that should be an all inclusive lesson that's easy to remember.

What will their pond look like in the future? Will some random Target shopper be thrilled and tell their whole families that a couple of nice teenagers helped them load something heavy into their cart, or will they complain that they raced through the store, almost ran into them, and didn't apologize? Oh and that they knocked over a display of merchandise and ran off without picking it up? What change do you wish to see in this world? What kind of pond do you want to foster for the next generation?

Basic Pantry Staples ed. 8

Edition 8-Catsup
Who DOESN'T have catsup/ketchup in their fridge or pantry to top those summer burgers and hot dogs? What to do with it in the fall? Well besides traditional french fries, you could use it as an ingredient in something as simple as....

Ed.8 Recipe
Barbequed Beans

1 lb. ground beef
1/4 C chopped onion
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t chili powder
1/4 t oregano
1 T worcestershire sauce
2 T brown sugar
1/2 C catsup/ketchup
1 T vinegar
1 lb. can pork and beans

Brown ground beef and onion. Add to baking pan with remaining ingredients. Bake in casserole dish for 30 minutes in 350 degree oven. (From family recipe book)

Okay, I haven't technically made this one, but I have eaten it, and it is pretty good. It would be good to take for a potluck event or for dinner with cornbread, fries, tots or biscuits. I would probably add some garlic to it. That's just me :-)

A Dog's Purpose

This is a great story, I'm posting it for my friend Tricia, who lost her young pup to a farming accident this week.

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt Shane might learn something from the experience. The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, 'I know why.' Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, 'People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?' The six-year-old continued, 'Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.'

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
Take naps. Stretch before rising. Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.
Be loyal. Never pretend to be something you're not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
Being always grateful for each new day and for the blessing of you.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Boom! Voices of the Sixties

In Tom Brokaw's new book Boom! Voices of the Sixties he explains with the help of 100"class of 68s" what the legacy of the 1960's was. He mentioned on the Today Show that he thought in some ways, they went too far.

I have to agree. (Disclaimer, I havent read the book, I'm speaking of personal opinion) - I totally agree that radical changes have been made on behalf of the "civil rights" and "feminist" movements. However, these are the 2 areas in which I think that the FOLLOWING generations have taken TOO FAR. And in some ways, haven't gotten NEARLY ENOUGH out of it. There is a serious LACK OF RESPONSIBILITY in PASSING DOWN THE VALUES OF THESE MOVEMENTS! They were about EQUALITY people!

Yes, women have gotten SOME places with the feminist movement, they are ALLOWED in the workplaces not allowed before, but we still don't get paid equally, and a lot of the younger generations took a bad turn when using sex in the workplace to get ahead. That means that to get ahead THE REST OF US have to use sex- or we dont' get ahead. And that's not fair. It's become common that you wear low cut shirts or flirt with your boss to get ahead. In turn, the sexual revolution allowed for birth control and women's control over their own bodies. HOWEVER it has gone TOO FAR in that we have 11 year olds getting birth control handed to them free at their middle school with NO EXPLANATION OF HOW TO USE IT, COUNSELING, ANYTHING!!! What? That's not progress! That's here, let the little boys take advantage of you. Please, please get pregnant... you can handle it, after all you're 11! And we have college girls having sex with their professors to get grades and having sex with all of their classmates (to their future shame) to "get their satisfaction-it's their right to have as much booty call as they want with anyone they want and no one should call them names." The more sexual partners you have, the more likely you are to get HIV, AIDS, and any number of diseases. Where did the message get messed up? How did we go from "I, as an adult, have right over my own body" to "I'm going to use my body to get ahead and cheapen myself." And the older girls that do this tell their younger sisters and neighbors and friends to do the same. Kids. Just little kids. And when young teens, especially don't even know what "gettin their own" acutally means. Without thought to the consequences, responsibilities or emotional fall out.

It is up to US, the kids of the boomers, the grandkids of the boomers, to TURN THIS AROUND! Teach your kids about sex being for love, no matter what the media says. Teach them about their bodies being their own, that they are NOT currency, that sex in exchange for something is wrong. That you won't get anything by having a random person's baby. Or by being a baby daddy. That it will slow down their careers. It's true. Don't even try and tell me that no one had to take one day off of work for a sick child or not accept a job because they like the school district their kids are in. Or have to work in a lower job than you are capable of because you couldn't finish your education. Youngsters shouldn't have to make that choice. That's an adult decision - which is why kids shouldn't have kids. (And dont write me hate mail because you had a kid young - I'm not talking to you personally. You probably know better than anyone what it feels like to have this ideal turned against you.)

It is up to US to lower the teen pregnancy rate that keeps going up DESPITE the availability of contraceptives, and that starts early. In the home. Teach your girls AND boys about the adultness, the responsibility, the life changing events that happen when you enter that world. If they can't handle the responsibility - pay for their own birth control, pay for diapers, sit and talk as an adult with their parents about sex and consequences, or talk to a health provider, to their future partner about consequences what have you - then they aren't ready.

On the second front, the civil rights front. The ONLY negative things I see about this are #1 good people are afraid they'll be sued or beat up for an offhand remark that ISN'T racial in the slightest and #2 people are suing for "past discriminances" such as slavery that none of us in the real world in 2007 can do a darn thing about. No, we can't help you, like we can't help ourselves as descendants of American Indians that were killed off by the millions or the Chinese who built the railroads. Sorry, we just can't. Yes, I know there are still unfairnesses in this world. I have to deal with them too, but I am pulling myself from lower class to maybe middle class by the time my kids are grown by hard work. You do the same. And how about asking what people mean by a statement before automatically filing a grievance? It may have had nothing to do with anything, and you'd ruin someone else's life because you have too active of an imagination?

Again, the ideals have been taken too far, by the next generation who wasn't there, and who has inflated the ideals of peace and equality to something that it was never meant to promote. This isn't about greed. Or "gettin what's coming to you." It's about equality. And since black men are paid more for the dollar than white women, I'd say they got a little bit farther than women did. Not equal, not fair, but a little bit farther. And this was done by rational thinking, not by suing for ancient wrongdoings. How would Dr. MLK Jr. feel if he saw his own people trying to get rich the easy way instead of proving themselves? That's not equality.

Take responsibility for yourself. Make the good changes in your life. Live honorably. "It's better to be hated for who you are than beloved for who you're not."

Basic Pantry Staples ed. 7

Edition 7-Powdered dip/seasoning mixes

You know what I'm talking about - the Lipton onion mix and Hidden Valley Ranch mix. Their websites have hundreds of recipes. One of my favorites is just to use a pound (16 oz) of sour cream and a packet of mix to make a quick dip for veggies, chips, etc. You can also use the onion mix with a can of cream of mushroom soup on top of a roast before you put it in the oven or slow cooker for some extra flavor and tenderness, or in meatballs in a pinch as a subsitute for onions.

By the way, did you know you could use tortillas and make your own chips in your oven? Spray your baking pan and slap the tortillas down. Add your favorite seasonings and bake for around 5 minutes at 425 degrees. The idea is to watch them. They crisp up really fast. Use your favorite pizza cutter to cut into any shape you want. For a rustic look, tear the tortillas up in random shapes before seasoning and baking.

The following recipe is courtesy of C.S.

Ed.7 Recipe
Taco Soup

1 lb hamburger
1 large onion chopped
3 15.5 oz cans mex style beans, undrained (use any kind of beans you want)
1 15.5 oz can whole kernel corn, undrained
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz can whole tomatoes undrained and chopped (or use diced)
1 4.5 oz can chopped green chilies (or use Rotel tomatoes with chilies)
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
1 envelope ranch style salad dressing mix (dip, seasoning mix)
1.5 C water

(Makes 3.5 Q) Cook hamburger and onion until meat is crumbly and onion tender. Stir in other ingredients to the beef mixture and bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered 15 minutes stirring frequently. Spoon soup into bowls and top with any or all of the following:
corn chips (a must!)
shredded lettuce
chopped tomato
shredded cheese
sour cream

It's Five O'Clock Somewhere

We all know the popular refrain "It's five o'clock somewhere" - I have 2 stories for you. One has a moral, that I will get to quickly, the other is just a cute family story, I guess.
Story 1- WGJ was an administrator where I went to college. I was present one time when someone asked him what time it was. He proceeded to hold his watch out facing away from him, and the person could read it perfectly. It took all of 30 seconds for us to realize that he was wearing his watch UPSIDE DOWN. He couldn't possibly read it like that, at least not practically. So, we asked him why. He said "because it reminds me that things aren't always as they appear."

Story 2-My family has an old clock that doesnt work anymore. No matter how often it's fixed, it gets off time and is useless except for decoration. To this day, it hangs on their wall stuck at one time. Dinner time. My dad's idea. He likes food, what can I say? Now we happened to get a clock for a wedding present from a dear friend. It eats batteries every 2 weeks. In that amount of time, it slows down by 20 minutes. We've nursed it the last couple of years on batteries and finally it was an hour slow. I gave up and took the top battery out and turned the clock to five. It now stays there. The pendulum still swings, as you can see in the picture it's leaning right - but as the song goes "it's five o'clock somewhere" or as my dad says "oh look, it's dinner time".

Things about me A-Z

Dreams are weird
Most likely to trip because I'm looking at the stars, leaves, animals, grass.
Negative (on myself)
Voracious appetite
Woods walker

Here are the rules - Use the letters A-Z, those letters must describe thee. Use one word answers where you will, play the game along with me. Negative NAY! Positive BE! Won't you play along with me?

Feel free to ask me questions...what do you want to know?

Especially in the spirit of the season of giving, sharing, and all that feel good stuff, ask me whatever you want. I will answer as truthfully as I'm willing to part with, and I will not lie. There are very few subjects that I can think of that I won't talk about, so if you want more/different material, what do you want to know?

Special Edition Witty Wednesday

Support bacteria!

It may be the only culture some people have.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Donate to your Food Pantry TODAY!!!!

In the town where I grew up, 4 years ago there were 50 individuals or families needing services of the local food pantry. The boxes they filled gave the people (depending on the size of the family) around 8 meals for the month. Eventually, the other food pantries in the county closed. The hometown food pantry became the County food pantry, and as time has gone by, it's gotten worse and worse. This month, they expect to serve 340 individuals or families.

This is the problem though! If you give one can of beef stew to them, they have to collect or buy 339 more cans of beef stew from the state food bank before they can distribute your one can. I'm not sure that all pantries are the same.

Check with someone via phone or email before you make your donation. $10 worth of your groceries might be 10 cans, but they might be able to buy 50 or 100 at the state food bank, so CHECK WITH THEM before you open your wallet this year. Ask them to be honest with you -they are going to say that no donation is turned away. This is true, but money might be better for them (like it is for the county food pantry where I grew up) than a few cans of beef stew.

Think about what I said though. Some of these people are disabled and can't work, they get a check from the state which likely covers maybe their bills and medication buy not likely a lot of food, and then standing in line for the food pantry nets them 8 meals. Please! Call or check on your local food pantry (check with your church or a church in your neighborhood to see who to contact, they WILL know) and see what they really need this time of year.

Everyone dontates at Thanksgiving, but I challenge you to donate year round, or find out when they need more donations (ask) or if they get a match at any point in time. At our home county pantry, donations in March and April are matched by a benefactor's estate (they applied for a nationwide grant) so we donate during that time period too so if you give $10 (possibly 100 cans), they get a $10 match (another 100 cans), so PLEASE! Donate to your food pantry, make a quick phone call or email and ask them what they NEED. They will tell you the truth (dont listen to anything is taken) - dig deeper and find out what they NEED. Forgo Starbucks this week and give an extra can of vegetables or can of tuna or box of macaroni to a family in need this month.

Basic Pantry Staples ed. 6

Edition 6-Powdered Sugar

I always keep powdered sugar on hand - mostly because if you want to make icing, well then you have the main ingredient. Pretty much no matter what icing I've made, they all call for powdered sugar. You could use it in a pinch if you dont have either white or brown sugar (to substitute one for the other) but I still recommend having both of the others...

Ed.6 Recipe
Chocolate Drink Mix

2.54 lb CANISTER Nestle's Quik
8 Qt Box Carnation Milk
11 oz Coffee Mate
1 C powdered sugar

Mix ingredients and store in airtight container. Use 1/2 C mix to 1 large mug of hot water.

They have changed the size of the Quik container again since last year. You could buy 2 small boxes at 1 lb 5 oz and use them, or buy the big canister, I am going to use all of the big canister. The coffee mate will either be 16 or 8 oz. Take your pick, you could use either the big one and dump it all in, or save the rest for your coffee (or visitors coffee), or you could use the entire smaller jar, I dont think it will hurt anything. I got non fat coffee mate (the quik and powdered milk are already non fat) And a cup of powdered sugar is plenty. Like I said, it's not very sugary and with marshmallows on the top, it's a win-win. Let your kids watch you dump the mix in the HOT water and see it disappear. It bubbles really cool. Stir it up and add marshmallows. I'd be interested to know how long the mix lasts for anyone else. My hubby read my blog and started in wanting some more last night. And he mentioned buying ingredients to make more was a good idea -doh! Guess that will go on my shopping list for next week. Oh, and 1/2 C is a VERY chocolately mix - I use an 1/8 C measuring cup (leave it in the container) and use it about twice for mine and more for hubby's cups. Use a couple and stir it -use the spoon to taste it, see how you like it, add more if you want. It's all about taste, and the good thing is that you control how chocolately it is!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Crazy Eights

I was tagged by Blue Momma to do the following:

8 things I'm passionate about:
1. My hubby
2. The golden rule and courtesy, politeness, respect
3. Diversity, inclusiveness, keeping an open mind
4. Being a positive influence on the children in my life
5. Better maternity, paternity & family medical leaves
6. Law and order and crime shows
7. Puppies - I love big dogs
8. Blogging

8 things I want to do before I die:
1. Give having kids a shot
2. Go to Ireland
3. Own a house
4. Publish something, sell something I created, etc.
5. Donate hair to locks of love
6. Make a large donation to a food pantry
7. Change the life of a stranger and find out about it later
8. Make a difference somehow!

8 things I say often:
1. I love you
2. Nobody loves me; I don't have any e-mail
3. I wish I could help in some way
4. Arf, ruff, woof, auuuuuu
5. Oh aren't you cute (to birds, rabbits, squirrels outside the window)
6. We need a puppy
7. I'm hungry
8. Give me a kiss/hug/etc

8 Books I’ve read recently:
1. Bones to Ashes - Kathy Reichs
2. Break no Bones -KR
3. Bare Bones -KR
4. Death du Jour -KR
5. Monday Mourning -KR
6. Cross Bones -KR
7. Fatal Voyage-KR
8. Grave Secrets-KR

8 Songs I Could Listen to Over and Over (This was really tough):
1. 1985 by Bowling for Soup
2. Let It Be by the Beatles
3. Not me by Keni Thomas, Vince Gill and Emmylou Harris
4. Fore she was Mama by Clay Walker
5. If you don't want to love me by Cowboy Troy
6. Anything by Garth Brooks (yes that's a total cop out)
7. Imagine by John Lennon
8. Wind of Change by the Scorpions

8 Things that Attract Me to My Best Friends:
1. They listen
2. They ask for advice
3. They provide honest feedback
4. They are different from me
5. They have heart
6. They make me see the other side of the situation
7. They are funny
8. They make me more "me"

8 People I Think Should Do Crazy Eights:
1. Amy W from A Family Story
2. Barnmouse
3. Happy Working Mom
4. Joy from A Spot of T
5. Deb from Pumpkin Patch
6. Karina
7. Heather Shibby Shabby
8. Target Girl

Basic Pantry Staples ed. 5

Edition 5-Vinegar

Whether you're using it in a salad dressing, saute, or not as food, but as a cooking method, vinegar is something you should always keep on hand. Whether it's red wine or rice vinegar, or straight up white vinegar like I use, keep one on hand. Today my recipe doesnt INCLUDE vinegar, it's used as an egg-cracking preventative. As a matter of fact, my recipe only has 2 ingredients, plus water and vinegar (again, not IN the recipe, just as a boiling agent)...

Ed.5 Recipe
Easy Deviled Eggs

Place one layer of eggs in the bottom of a large pan. Cover with COLD water. Add 1 T vinegar to the water. Cover. Bring to a full boil. Turn burner off and remove pan from heat. Let set 2o minutes. Pour off hot water and add cold water as needed until eggs are cool. Peel, and cut in half lengthwise. Put yolks in food processor and blend until a fine consistency is reached. Pour yolks into bowl. Add enough Marzetti's slaw dressing for creamy consistency and taste. Stuff reserved egg halves with yolk mixture and sprinkle with paprika, if desired.

Fun Monday-Holiday Traditions

The Humble Housewife is hosting Fun Monday. She says: With the holidays coming up I thought it would be fun to get an insight into holiday traditions in peoples homes. I want you to share a tradition, event, recipe or quirk that you or your family does or aspires to do during the holidays, whether those holidays be Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.

Okay as a bonus I listed Thanksgiving traditions on Sunday, so scroll down for more goodies and a recipe. Thanks to HMA for both recipes. Okay, for Christmas. Wow. Where to start. How about things we always do, things we do now, and things we wish we could do?

The Christmas tree always went up about a month to two weeks before Christmas. I helped decorate what I could reach and got ornaments out of boxes. I was too short to do much decorating. Mom always uses lots of silver garland everywhere. She has from time to time decorated indoors and out. It depends on the weather leading up to the holidays and the amount of wind blowing around. Santa brought presents until I could read tags. When I could, then it was to 'J' from blank. Then it was just from mom and dad. I still believe in the spirit of Santa Claus, the spirit of giving. As long as it's in your heart, you still believe, he exists.

We always went to Christmas eve service. There's always a part at the end where candlelight is passed from one candle to another until everyone is holding a lit cancle, the lights go dim, and Silent Night is sung. It's very spiritual and a final reminder of what this holiday is for, before the presents and the food and the sensory overload takes place. I have an idea we'll miss the Christmas eve service this year, as we're 4 hours away. I'm very sad about that.

As kids we always woke early and asked our parents if it was time to open presents. At 4 a.m. We were always told to go back to sleep -If only it were that easy.

We traveled once on Christmas eve and were snowed out. Away from our presents, etc. We stayed in town with my dad's boss and his wife. They played real records on a record player. That's about all I remember. We never traveled farther than church on Christmas eve again. A few years ago my hubby and I drove about 1/2 hour from home to church and I didnt know if we'd make it home or not. The road was white out (snowing so much you couldnt see the traffic) and somehow we made it home. We sang along to the radio and shivered, trying to get the heat to keep up with the harshly blowing snow/wind.

For years I have helped my dad shop for gifts for mom and helped him and from time to time a brother wrap presents. I.E. they leave it with me and have me do it.

Oh there's always candy canes on the tree. The have to be Bob's brand. Don't ask why, the other ones just taste fake. My mom has some felt horsey heads that you shove a candy cane in that make it look like a "candy stick horse" - if that makes any sense. She hasn't used them much in the past couple of years. And everyone has a stocking with their name on it now. 15 people to keep straight is just too much. Enter green and red glitter glue. Everyone gets some candy, usually peanut butter cups, maybe kisses, and little york peppermint patties.

From the time I was about 12, I've gotten out certain Christmas albums, actually they're the only ones I have. And play them a lot up until Christmas day. They're Garth Brooks Christmas albums, they're kind of peppy versions of songs like Go Tell it on the Mountain and Santa looked a lot like Daddy as well as Friendly Beasts which gives a voice to the animals in the manger. My favorite is probably Maria/The Bird Song we call it. I'd pay a lot to hear that live. They've been transferred over to mp3 on the computer now, so we should have them even if the Cd's (out of print) die on us.

We used to always be at home/home on Christmas day and now my hubby and I stay at our home together. Usually there is sledding at home and I call my mom if she doesnt beat me to it, and she tries to convince me to join them for the day. Last year my hubby and I took a long walk in the woods by our university apartment, enjoyed the snow, explored, had a great time. I dont know what this year will hold. I know it will hold a tree. We've only been able to have a big tree 2 years because we've been in University housing the rest of the time and couldnt get a tree in the place. I know after the first year of opening presents, it has felt a little empty once we're done with that. I assume that's a sign of some sort.

Something I wish I could do is an advent calendar, especially with a kid, because you can count down the days until Christmas with a focus on Christian values (and/or tiny presents to go along with that) and not focus on "shopping days until Christmas" - know what I mean?

Candy and cookies. I will always remember the candy cane cookies with red and plain sugar cookie dough twisted together to form the cane. Yum yum. My mom always makes peanut butter and chocolate fudge, and now, so do I. It's really yummy and makes great gifts. I have an easy fudge recipe if anyone needs it (you can get the same one on the back of a jar of marshmallow cream, by the way)... and I have from time to time made different things, chocolate caramels, which were good, but were hard to chew. My hubby had just gotten braces. Bad timing. Um... I usually make a couple of types of cookies along with the fudge. I like the peanut butter blossoms (just a hershey's kiss stuck in the peanut butter cookies) pretty well. In the past I have helped mom make cracker jack/caramel corn but not tried it myself, oh and I usually make at least one batch of chex mix (with extra garlic). Oh and we usually make a powdered hot chocolate mix that lasts us all year, last week, I got some of last year's out of the tupperware, stirred it into the hot water and voila hot chocolate! It's probably better for you than the swiss miss and tastes better, I think. It makes a big batch and is good for kids because it has more than one item that has minerals, vitamins, calcium, etc. and not a whole lot of sugar. I've had about 6 cups and we're finally getting low on it, so I need to stock up on the ingredients before my hubby gets a taste for it, he uses about twice the mix to water ratio that I do (another good reason to have your own mix instead of the packet stuff)... Oh and I have been known to dip stuff in chocolate. This year I'm going to try Payday mini bars. I snagged the last bag on sale from Halloween. Before it's been oreos, plastic spoons with sprinkles or marshmallows that you individually wrap and add as a "hot chocolate stirrer", etc.

Okay, last but not least, food. Much like Thanksgiving, there are always a few items that take billing. One of them is Homemade Noodles. If you ask my mom real nice, take her a dozen eggs and a bag of flour along with your manpower, you too can have a bunch of meals worth to put in your freezer. We did a dozen eggs and got 9 or 10 bags plus a half a bag, probably could have had 12 mostly full quart bags out of it. She has 2 pasta machines (they cut, not mix), but making them goes pretty fast. We've gone through umm about 9 bags in the last month and a half or so. Probably a bag a week. Yes, they are that good. Chicken and noodles, beef and noodles, etc. Yum yum. Now, can I convince her to help me make some more? With the church thing and Thanksgiving both coming up and needing probably at least 6 batches apiece of those? Hmm. We'll see.

Homemade Noodles

2 eggs
1/4 C milk
2 C flour
1 t salt

Combine all ingredients to make stiff dough. If you have a pasta machine, follow directions, or.. Roll out thin on floured surface, roll up and slice 1/4 inch wide, unroll, spread and let dry. Drop into boiling broth and cook uncovered about 15-20 minutes, or until tender. Makes 6 cups cooked noodles.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Bonus Holiday Traditions w/ Recipe

I thought since Fun Monday was all about Holiday traditions, that I'd use Sunday to write about Thanksgiving traditions and save Christmas for Monday.

First things first, we get an early taste of holiday fare in November at a church potluck. My mom always volunteers to make the stuffing (dressing, really) - nothing ever gets stuffed at our house, except the people, I guess. And she usually goes ahead and makes homemade noodles (more on that during Fun Monday) and takes those too. Not only that, but she usually makes both things for the family Thanksgiving dinner, on Thanksgiving day. No matter where it's held, she takes them and cooks them wherever we happen to be travelling. A few years ago, she held Thanksgiving at her house. Woohoo! No 1.5-2 hour drive! Well, this is her year again, and lo and behold, we live 4 hours from either town now. So it wouldnt matter where it was, it would still be a 4 hour drive. The ones that gather are the ones without big enough families to have their own event. Although I would argue that our family is probably big enough for it's own now. There's 15 of us. But then we'd never see the family. Since mom is hosting this year, my hubby is taking the day before Thanksgiving off and we're leaving Tuesday night and going down to help her prepare and clean her house, set up tables, etc. We expect about 40 people to be there. Oh boy. There's usually turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles and dressing, and then whatever else people bring. Always tons of food. Always a lot of pie. Mm. Pie.

Tired of boxed stuffing? Bad results from turkey malfunction? Try this instead. Prep bread the day before and store in a covered bowl or large roaster.

325 degree oven

16 C dry bread cubes (1 SANDWICH loaf-bigger than regular loaves)
1/2 lb margarine (2 sticks)
1 t sage
1 C chopped onion
1 t poultry seasoning
2-3 cans chicken broth

Cube loaf of dry bread (leave it partially open for a day or so-just helps make sure that the bread is super dry). Spread cubes on baking sheet in single layer in 300 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until lightly brown. Saute onion in melted margarine until tender. Add spices. Pour over bread cubes in roaster or large bowl and mix until well coated. Heat broth in pan and pour over mixture. May add hot water to find right consistency. Spray 9x14 pan and add dressing mix to it. Bake in 325 degree oven for 45 min to one hour or until browned and dry on top. Has a smooth, moist consistency and subtle rich flavor. No twiggy mouth feeling or dry bits.

Basic Pantry Staples ed. 4

Edition 4 - Cream of... soups

Cream of... soups are great to have on hand. Whether it be chicken, mushroom, chicken and mushroom, celery, etc. they can make a quick and easy gravy or provide the basis for a casserole. I like the 99% fat free kind. There is a particular name brand, which I'm sure you're all familiar with. m m good. They have a website full of recipes using the cream of soups, tomato soup, etc and whatever you have in the cabinet. An easy way to pick out your meal for the night. I personally like using them in casseroles. I generally keep 3 varieties on hand, chicken, mushroom, chicken and mushroom. We have a particular recipe that calls for the c&m one, but I'm not giving you that today. Today I'm giving you...

Ed.4 Recipe
Hamburger Stroganoff

1/2 C minced onion
1 clove/teaspoon garlic minced
1/4 C butter
1 lb ground beef
2 T flour
2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 4oz can of mushrooms, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup*
1 C sour cream
cooked noodles

Saute onion and garlic in butter until tender; add beef and brown. Add flour, salt, pepper, and mushrooms; cook for 5 minutes. Add soup; simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Stir in sour cream and heat through. Serve over hot noodles.

*the first time I made this I used cream of chicken. It was fine. So you can substitute the different cream of soups for one another if you dont have one in particular on hand.

the girl from Outback Steakhouse curbside take away

Noticed that my husband had gotten his braces off.
Should I feel good that she noticed or wonder a little bit about it.
Of course, she has them on too, I suppose that's why she noticed.
She said she couldnt wait to get her braces off.
Does that mean we've been there too much? I think it's 4 times
total since we moved here in June. I can't believe she even noticed.
But she stopped walking away, turned around, I rolled down my window
and she animatedly was going, your teeth look great, pointing at her teeth.
Odd. But she is pretty nice. She's been the one delivering it out to the truck each time.
And, my husband is pretty hot, if I do say so myself...

Hmm - should I be worried he's too hot now? Sigh...