Sunday, September 11, 2011


Ten years ago, I actually got to sit down with a cup of coffee, turn on the tv and watch a little 'Good Morning America'.  Usually, the tv was being used during the early morning to watch Dora, the Explorer or some other PBS or Disney show.  My kids were 5 and 3 and they liked their morning programs...but for some strange reason, that morning, they had quickly eaten their breakfasts and run off to play. 

I was actually excited to sit for a few minutes...until I turned on the tv.  It seems a plane had hit a building in New York and there was chaos on the television.  No one seemed to have any information...and I and the entire world then looked on in shock as a second plane hit the other tower.  We all knew then that it wasn't some terrible accident, we knew that it had been orchestrated but we didn't know by who.  In that moment of horror, my thoughts went to my husband, he was at work.  If we were being attached, he needed to know. I called his place of work and quickly told them to turn on a television.

In the hours that followed, I tried to maintain a normalcy for my kids.  I took my son to his violin lessons that morning, stopping to get gasoline.  The line was so long, I guess everyone needed to do something so filling up their tanks seemed like something rather than nothing.  I was also told that the local blood bank had a line as well. 

We, in the fly-over states, felt so helpless to help those who were hurting. We didn't know what to do or say so giving blood seemed like something.  Our lives changed forever that morning.  Oklahomans knew that feeling.  After the Oklahoma City bombings, we had our innocence taken in a way that only terrorism can.  We realized that no one is safe, that in an instant, our lives can take a turn that we can't control.

But we also realized that we can survive and thrive.  I see that now.  We are Americans, we have always risen from adversity and we will continue to do so.  I am proud to be an American.  I am proud of the sacrifices that others have made for me and my family. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Try, try!

Well, we got some rain last week. First time in over a month and now they are finally going to take us off the burn ban! We also, for the first time in a long time, went for a few days without going over 100 degrees!  I was so happy to see clouds!

I've had nothing much in the garden this was too hot to set tomato fruit or anything else so I had just a few piddly tomatoes, a few cucumbers, no peppers and not much else. We certainly would be hungry if the family was relying on my garden!  I have had enough okra and eggplant to do a batch about once a week....nothing to write home about this year!

Fall is going to be better...I keep telling myself that.  Ok, I'm an Oklahoma State fan, we're used to looking forward to a better 'next' season!  I went out today and replanted cucumbers and swiss chard...still too hot to plant spinach, lettuce or turnips.  I also planted some little gourds, maybe I'll have some for Halloween and Thanksgiving...

That's the thing about gardens, if you fail one season, there is always another season right around the corner! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

School Starts Tomorrow!

Tomorrow this time, I'll be the mom of a ninth grader and eighth grader. don't know if I'm ready to tell you the truth.  As a high school teacher myself and a ninth grade teacher for more years than I want to scares the soup out of.  He's now playing for all the marbles.  Mistakes cost a lot!  Mistakes can sidetrack your entire life....I don't know if he's ready...

I'm sure he'll be fine, I just worry...

Tomorrow is supposed to be almost 100 degrees again.  We broke last week after over a month of over 100 degree weather.  My garden is toasted but there are signs of life now that we got about 5 inches of rain last week and even a day that didn't hit 90!  I honestly was getting worried about large shrubs, we were so dry! I am just thankful that we don't have to live this winter of off what I've grown this summer....very few blackberries, very few tomatoes, peppers, anything else!

Hopefully, my fall garden will be better than this summer garden.  I pulled most of it a few weeks ago and put it out of it misery.

Now back to worrying about tomorrow! First day of school...SCARY!!!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Getting Ready...

School's starting around here in the next few weeks.  I'm ready.  It's too hot to do anything else, I'm tired of having so much fun....I'm tired!  We need to get back into a routine at my house.  The month of July, I usually stop making meal plans and we just fly by the seat of my pants.  The kids are running all over, I never know who will be here for dinner or lunch for that matter.  I could be cooking for two or twelve.  The pool is overflowing with teenagers and that's ok with me!

But about the first of August, I begin to yearn for normal.  I printed out four months of meal planner calendars yesterday and today, I'm filling August completely up using my stockpile in the freezer and pantry.  I've started penciling in kid cooking nights.  This year, each child will be cooking at least once a week, using pantry items.  This keeps them from coming up at the last minute with strange items that I have to buy last minute at full price.

My daughter cooked penne pasta with tomato sauce and fruit salad on Monday, my son will be making Hamburger Helper.  He is not happy about participating in this exercise.  I don't care, I want him to learn basic cooking....he says he already knows...we'll see! 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Gardens is everything else..

I am so very thankful that we will not have to rely on what I'm growing this year for our winter's bounty.  Claremore hit 115 yesterday and the last rain, even a few drops, came at least a month ago.  I have been carefully watering young trees, shrubs, perennials and my fruit plants.  Today, many communities have started water rationing and threatening rolling blackouts on electricity if we all don't cut back. I desperately don't want a ban on outside watering! 

We have an in-ground's over 90 degrees in the it's not really refreshing.  I've told my husband and kids if we go on water rationing, the pool will be drained to save the trees and plants.  It's really getting bad, as bad as I've ever seen it.  I keep praying and praying for rain and fall....and football season!

In Oklahoma, football season is an exciting time.  Mostly because it's the beginning of fall, and the end of hot, hot, dry, dry weather!  The entire state is waiting on football!  and a hurricane, which is what the weather people say is the only thing that will break our while those on the coast pray for no hurricanes, we, in Oklahoma know it's the only thing that will save crops and animals.

I guess what they say is true, one man's misfortune is another man's misfortune.......

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Checking in...

Wow! It's been almost a month since I've last posted! I've been so busy going, going, and going that I have forgotten to type anything. We spent almost two weeks in the great state of Washington...see the pic above.  It was glorious! I took that pic while standing on the northwesternmost tip of the continental US. 

I often wonder why people are so in a hurry to leave our continent to explore.  I am 44 years old and still haven't been and seen everything here yet!  I'm pretty sure once I do see it all, I'll need to turn around and do it over again as I will have forgotten half of it!

Summer is here in Oklahoma for the duration. I'm trying hard to keep a few things alive around my yard.  I will be yanking most of my garden up in a week, once I get back from summer church camp, because we are so dry and hot that nothing is producing.  I'm so very glad that my family does not rely one hundred percent on my produce for it's winter sustenance or we would be very hungry this winter!  I have nothing producing except eggplant, lots and lots of eggplant!  We've had it fried, sauteed, in pasta dishes and grilled.  I'm thinking that once summer is over, no one will want an eggplant for a while!

I'm truly hoping that after church camp, I'll start getting better about posting.  It will be the first of August, time to get started settling down for school.  I'll try to get everyone back into some routine because we certainly have not been on one this summer.  I'll also be starting meal planning and big batch cooking again. I've taken the month off since we have been gone so much! 

I'm kind of looking forward to August to tell you the truth.  I like order and summer is definitely order around here! Everyday is different, everyday ends differently. I never know who will be here and when.  Yep, I'm looking forward to August!

Monday, July 4, 2011

My Thoughts on Freedom

As we celebrate the Fourth of July this year, I look back at my past year and reflect.  I hope I have gathered a greater understanding of freedom this year with a few of the activities I have been involved in and really want to remember those lessons into the next year.

As we all here in the good old USA start our grills and drag out our fireworks and red, white and blue t-shirts, I want to remember that the freedoms we enjoy as citizens have never been 'free'!  The rights we enjoy as citizens were fought and paid for by our forefathers and mothers sacrifices.  Sacrifices that, I'm sure, were giving freely but not without pain.  Sacrifices that required giving to others, others they surely did not know or hope to know.

Looking across the nation today, I'm not struck by sacrifice and service but instead by selfishness and wanting to be served by a  government who has allowed itself to grow to big to really be 'of service' to anyone.  A government who only lives to grow larger on the backs of it's citizens.  It is egged on by a public who wants it all, thinks they deserve it all, and wants to take it away from someone else. 

Over the last year, I have had the privilege to help and serve numerous people.  No, I didn't serve in the military, no I didn't go fight a war...the last time I checked middle-aged women were not allowed in either! He! he!  I may not have done big things to ensure our freedom but I hope to think my little acts of service and sacrifice helped shape our future generations to look outside of themselves and past tomorrow. 

I think our country is at a crossroads this summer of 2011.  Do we continue to allow our leaders to herd us down a direction that is counter to what most of us Americans know is right or do we exercise our 'rights' as citizens and change the course of our destiny by not being afraid of standing up and saying 'enough!'  I pray that we stand up and say 'enough' to our leaders. 

Moving forward will require sacrifice and selfishness.  It will require us to do things that are hard and are not necessarily 'fun'.  It will require saying 'no' sometimes to those with their hands out and some of those hands will be our own! We are used to 'having it all and having it now'.  It's time to be grown-ups.  It's time to do the hard work and stop blaming everyone else for our problems.   We are the grown-ups.....It's time we act responsibly and do the right thing for ourselves, our children and our world.....

We need to be the USA!  We've never wanted to be anyone else....why stop now?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Red, HOT and Blue!

Remind me again why July fourth has to be so stinking hot each year?  I remember when I was a kid, I didn't do too many firecrackers because it was just too hot to stand out in the sun...I mean really, you can only blow up so many ant holes and then you start suffering from delirium from the heat!

We are planning to attend a friend's cookout again this year and luckily, they also have a pool.  That will at least keep the kids know when it's too hot to swim, it's hot! 

I've been charged with bringing chips and salsa again this year.  Apparently, it was such a hit last year that I'm a repeat!  I always laugh when someone asks me to bring the same thing over and over again.  I have friends that I do the same thing to because I enjoy something they make.  I guess I should only be worried when someone asks me NOT to bring what I brought last time!  We used to laugh at school and say we were going to have a carry in dinner and tell everyone what they had to bring...we would take votes of everyone's favorite dish that each person made.  It would have made an interesting dinner!

I'm usually the salad lady.  I love salads and so my salads are pretty creative...oftentimes, people think of a salad as an afterthought but I love making and trying new and creative salads.  Plus, for me, they are usually a quick and easy way to make a one dish meal and at this stage of my life, that's important!

As you celebrate our country's birth this weekend, think of all those who have given up to gain our freedom.  There are thousands serving our country even now, giving up their 'weekend off' serving in far-away lands.  I'm hoping that 2011 will be the year we begin to bring our troops home!  Personally, I'm getting tired of paying with American lives...well I won't go into that now! 

I support our troops and love the United States! 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Simple Seafood suppers

It's only going to be 104 degrees farenheit today in Oklahoma so cooking has kind of stopped being a priority. I'm looking for easy, quick and cool to prepare foods for a family who's appetite is somewhat reduced due to the heat.  I have turned to seafood and salads.

So far this week, we've had a cold tortellini salmon salad and a hot pasta with shrimp and mussels.  Both were hits with the family, both took less than 30 minutes to put together and neither needed a recipe book! All amounts are for my family of one is a small eater!

Cold torellini salmon salad
3 small salmon fillets - I cooked these in the microwave with lemon pepper and then placed in the fridge to cool them
1bag of frozen tortellini - cook according to directions
1 cup mixed veggies - I used frozen, place in the colander that you are going to drain the pasta in, the hot water from the pasta will cook and steam the veggies until just tender, exactly what you need for a cold pasta dish!
Italian dressing to taste
I cooked the salmon, tortellini and veggies, tossed it all together and added the dressing and then put in the fridge for an hour.  I served this with bread and brushetta!  Easy dinner

Mussels, Shrimp and Pasta
I found a box in my seafood area of my local grocery store called Steamers in 5 mediterranean mussels in sundried tomatoes.  You just poke a hole in the plastic cover and microwave for 5 minutes.  Perfectly steamed mussels in a very good light sauce!
I put about 1/4 cup butter in a skillet and added some already cooked shrimp and then the mussels and sauce and then added cooked pasta. I served this with a green salad.
I have to say the presentation on this dish was amazing!  It looked very similar to a dish I had seen in San Fransisco and the entire meal cost less for my family than the one dish was in San Fran!

Both of these dishes were hits at my house!  It's challenging to come up with light simple meals when the weather turns this hot.....we sometimes just eat a fresh veggie meal when sweet corn is in season but this year, my daughter is in braces so I have to cut the corn off the cob for her...that makes it more difficult!  Oh well, she'll be out next year so we'll be eating sweet corn off the cob again!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Too hot to cook!

Well, we've had a hot spell in Oklahoma and it looks like we're in for a long, hot spell!  I'm glad I've got my watering systems running so I don't have to constantly drag hoses all I just have to water the potted plants every night!  I set my zones on timers to come on early morning and water so I don't have too.  It saves me so much time and my plants and garden thanks me!

Looks like it is going to be a lean tomato year this year because of the heat.  When the nights are over 85 degrees, tomatoes don't set fruit well.  I have about 15 tomatoes on 20 plants!  Not good odds but nothing I can do.  My okra is going great though and my eggplant likes hot weather also! 

When the days get over 100 degrees, I really have a hard time getting motivated to cook.  I hosted families from England and Australia last weekend and cooked for 13.  I had work ladies and kids over Monday and made lunch for 12.  I'm kind of burned out now.  It's too hot to cook so I look for easy no-cook or low cook meals.  Salads and sandwiches fit the bill.   I absolutely refuse to turn on the oven...not so with my son. He's on the bad list right now because I came home and he had cooked a frozen pizza in the oven so the air conditioner is running!  We have a convection oven!  USE IT!!!!!

He also is on the bad list because all his and his buddies dirty dishes are all over.....that will be remedied soon.
I don't clean up after him, he's almost 15, he knows where the dishwasher is! 

Back to dinner, tonight, we are having a chilled pasta salad.  I've got some leftover crab salad from the luncheon so I'm going to toss it with cooked rotini pasta and add a light ranch dressing.  I've got cucumbers from the garden and I'm calling it dinner! 

Tomorrow night, we're having grilled chicken taco salad.  I grilled extra chicken on Saturday so I have plenty in the freezer for at least three or four meals.  It really does get too hot to grill in Oklahoma!  I usually grill early in the day from now until about mid-September....I get tired of my face melting off standing over that hot grill!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Almost back to normal...

Well, the house is quiet again.  One child is home from camp, the other comes home tomorrow.  We've had a steady stream of company since June 10th!  It's been wild around here! 

I got to visit with my best friend, she came down for a few days while my kids were at camp.  My husband would have gone out of town for the duration but I think he promised the other husband and that he would stay and 'supervise'!  We're kind of like Lucy and just never know what we'll do!  We did lay out in the sun by the pool and burned our would think that two middle aged women, with college educations and kids would have better sense than to lay out all day!  Oh no! We burned ourselves to crisps!  But it was a fun, fun kids to bother us, no snacks or lunches to make, no laundry....just us laying out.  On second thought, it might have been better had we gotten up a few times!

My daughter came home from working at camp this week.  She was a server and she's oh so tired tonight.  I was proud of her because even though the teens 'in charge' of the group turned out to be really bad at being in charge, she took it like a Christian lady....her mother would probably not have taken it with as much grace. She can teach me a lot sometimes.

My son comes home tomorrow from a leadership camp.  I've been praying that he learns and grows a lot.  I am anxious to hear about his time....I've only spoken to him once the entire week and that's because I called yesterday to make sure he was still alive!  I guess it's a good thing, no news is good news at camp!  My daughter called several times to have someone to gripe too....she didn't want anyone at camp to know what a rotten time she was having.  She finally did start having a better time when she stopped worrying about trying to be perfect and just do her best. 

This weekend will be wild and then hopefully, all will settle down!  I'm hosting families from three different continents this weekend, malaysia, austrailia, and england!  I'm cooking good-old American fare, that's what was requested.  My menu will be a fusion of several types of dishes....appetizer is chips and homemade salsa, main dish, grilled chicken with pasta with vodka cream sauce, brushetta and bread, green beans, sliced cucumbers and a green salad.  I'm making hummingbird cake and tiramisu for desserts.  I'll be sharing some of the recipes this next week!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Busy, busy, busy!

Sorry I'm not posting this week! We've had company since last friday night and I'm so busy entertaining that I can't get anything posted!  I'll catch up next week, I promise!

It's amazing when you look at your town as a tourist, there are so many fun and interesting things to do around my town!  Try looking around your own town through a tourists eyes!  You may decide that 'staycation' isn't going to be so bad.  Something I'm trying to do is not do my normal cleaning chores this week.  If I was staying at a rental house, I wouldn't feel like I needed to wash the windows or sweep the floor I'm not feeling bad this week if a little dust builds up or the bathroom mirror has a little toothpaste spit on what, I can clean next week when the guests are gone!

I'm not going to Martha this up! I'm going to be Mary a little!  I'll catch you all next week!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Deal on Bananas....

Got a big bag of bananas today at the grocery store for $1.49.  I love when I can get that bargain!  This means banana bread!  I recently made a couple of loaves and they were gone almost before they came out of the daughter and husband almost came to a wrestling match!   This time, I baked a couple of loaves for the company we're having this next week. I'm going to wrap it and store it in the downstairs fridge so no one will eat it!

I had a bunch of leftover bananas even after baking two loaves.  I peeled them, cut them into thirds, put the over ripe ones in a freezer bag for future bread and smoothies and then dipped the rest in chocolate that I bought after easter!  They are in the freezer for tonight after the pool!

Here's my recipe for banana bread. I've used this recipe for 20 years. Got the recipe from the Thomas family recipe book my mom gave me in 1988 for Christmas. Must have been a fund-raiser book, I enjoy it and use it a lot!

Banana Bread
Sift Together:
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix together:
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs (one at a time)
1/3 cup shortening/butter
1/2 cup chopped nuts - I use pecans
2-3 cups (1 cup) mashed bananas

Add dry ingredients and pour in 1 greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 55 minutes.  I double and make 2 loaf pans at one time. Let cool 10 minutes then turn out onto a cooling board.

This bread freezes well.  let cool completely before wrapping and freezing

Friday, June 10, 2011

Grilled Veggies...

This is my favorite new seasoning! Well, it's not new, I've already been through 3 bottles....I guess it's my favorite summer seasoning!

I usually use this on my green salad but I've started using it on my grilled veggies and it is sooooo good!

Grilled veggies

Yellow squash, zuchinni, potatoes- white or sweet, carrots, green beans, eggplant, onion whatever is growing in the garden that needs to be eaten; cut into 2 inch squares or 1/2 inch slices.

Chop the veggies and place on  heavy duty aluminum foil that has been sprayed with no-stick cooking spray or drizzled with olive oil.  Sprinkle with Cavender's greek seasoning(salt-free) and chopped garlic.  You can add extra fresh basil or parsley.  Seal up with another aluminum foil sheet.  Place on hot grill for 10 minutes, flip and cook another 5 minutes.  Remove from grill and carefully open packet to check for doneness.  I will sometimes, put the foil packet back on the grill if it needs a few minutes to cook or open it up and cook it while my meat is cooking so the veggies get more oven baked instead of steamed.

Serve with more of the seasoning....oh it is so good.  make sure you cook extra, a fritata using this veggie combination makes for an easy weeknight meal!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Homemade Salsa

My local grocery store had good looking tomatoes for a dollar a pound this week....I'm thinking homemade salsa!  We love it and it's so healthy made at home! My kids will definitely get their five servings of veggies when homemade salsa is around.

I use about 5 pounds of tomatoes when I whip up a batch because usually, I end up sharing with others.  This is one of those recipes that you add as much as you like to your taste recipes.  I'll just give you the basics.

Chopped tomatoes.  I use about 5 pounds but you can use as many or as little as you can use.  I usually hand chop but you can use a food processor if you promise not to pulverize them!

One can- diced tomatoes - put the contents (not the can! I'm being silly today!) in a blender, not a food processor. don't ask me why but a food processor just doesn't seem to work as well.  you'll have to ask a food engineer to explain the difference, school is out for me!  Blend until chunky.

Chop 1-2 onions, I use a sweet white onion this time of year.  I also will chop a few green onions so it is pretty.  Add to the tomatoes to taste.

Chop red/yellow/orange peppers - add to taste, for my 5 pounds, that's one pepper each.

Chop cilantro, garlic and add to taste.  For my 5 pounds, about 1/2 cup cilantro, 1/4 cup garlic.

at least one jalapeno pepper/serano/your pepper of choice - I will add a little and wait a couple of hours before adding more.  Each pepper will be uniquely hot so don't assume what you added last time will be the same this go around.....experience speaking!

cumin, for 5 pounds of tomatoes, about 1-2 tablespoons
Lemon juice, 1/2 cup for 5 pounds of tomatoes
add salt to taste or diet preference.

Mix all together and let sit for a couple of hours before adding extra pepper, spices.  This tends to get better as time goes on!

I have frozen this before in freezer containers and just added a green onion once it's thawed.  It's not fresh salsa but it's pretty close in December!  I usually can't keep it around that long though.....

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

One Crust Blueberry Pie

I love this recipe! I took it from a pick your own website.  I adapted it a bit for me but I usually do!  I also use the basic recipe with blackberries but add a bit more sugar! I like that it only has a bottom crust, I'm not a fan of crust, I like a brown sugar topping instead.

One Crust Blueberry Pie

one pie crust, you'll need a deep dish pie pan; many recipes for pie crust out there....I use pillsbury already pie crust...I hate making pie crust!
5-6 cups frozen blueberries; put blueberries in a colander, run warm water over them to thaw and let sit to drain
mix together; 2/3 cups granulated sugar and 7 Tablespoons plus 2 T tapioca (omit if you use fresh blueberries); 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Add to the dry mixture:
2 Tablespoons lemon juice and 3 Tablespoons grape juice or other dark juice - cherry, pomegranete, etc.
Place drained berries into prepared pie shell and pour mixture over.
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour (can be whole wheat)
1/4 cup butter, slightly softened
Mix these three ingredients by cutting butter into the sugar and flour until it resembles coarse crumbs.  I use my kitchen shears to cut the butter!

Sprinkle the topping on top of the pie. 
Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour until the crust is golden.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and you're family will love you for at least a day! 

PS- there will be no leftovers,  if there are by chance, cover loosely and store in your're husband will eat the last piece the next morning for breakfast with yogurt and call it fruit and yogurt!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer cooking...

It's always a party at my house in the summer...I'm either cleaning up from a party or preparing for a party!  Summertime means living least that's what someone must have been a man because I never seem to be living easy!  I love to entertain, I feel that it's serving someone else to entertain and I love when my kids or my husband invites someone to share our home.  I am just feeling a little overwhelmed after this week!

We have hosted someone or a bunch of someones the last three weekends.  This weekend, I cooked big meals on both friday and saturday nights.  Sunday, I declared a day of rest and after church, we headed to my favorite mexican restaurant and then had leftovers for dinner; remember to always cook more than you'll eat on the grill!  I did make a blueberry pie for my father-in-laws birthday.....I guess I just can't stop myself! 

Grilling played a big part in the meals and my husband is not the grill king.  His family never grilled...I mean never.  My family, on the other hand, would grill everything they could!  So---when grilling season hits, and that's pretty much year round in Oklahoma, I hit the grill!  Since it's been over ninety-five degrees this week, I grill while I'm hot and sweaty and then put the meat in the crockpot until I'm ready to serve it.  That way, I can shower and change before the company arrives!  I marinated chicken for one night and port tenderloin the next.  I used the same Okie marinade I've posted on works for chicken , pork or steak.  I then put the cooked meat in the crockpot with a liner(no clean-up at midnight), and pour a little pineapple juice and soy sauce over the meat and lay fresh pineapple slices on top.  Keeping the crockpot set on warm ensures that the meat stays hot but doesn't overcook. 

This allows me to time everything a bit easier...I hate to be waiting on the meat or forget the meat and have charcoal..  Kate loves it, me...not so much!

Speaking of Miss Kate, she's the best dog in the world!  I went out to start and clean the grill and carried out my tenderloins.  I started, cleaned and started back in the  house to get my grill tongs.  As an afterthought, I called back, 'do not get that meat!'.  My husband was coming into the kitchen and stood off watching this scene.  He said, 'you realize you just told a dog not to eat something?'  'Yes, I replied, she won't eat it, she knows that she'll get a bite after it's cooked.  He laughed and laughed and said he'd run into town later to get me more meat.....she didn't eat it!  He couldn't believe it!  I told you she's the best dog in the world....she likes the scraps mixed into her nightly food...she's a food snob, what can I say?

I'll post my recipe for blueberry pie tomorrow!

Monday, May 30, 2011


Today is Memorial Day so like many in the United States, we all have the day off!  Many in Oklahoma still call it Decoration Day, most of us also decorate graves.  I didn't go this year but both sides of the family decorated graves of all the grandparents.  My grandparents are buried within a mile in the same town, one set in the National Cemetery, my grandfather was in the navy,  and one set in the town cemetery.  My husbands grandparents are buried in the same cemetery, out in the middle of nowhere.  Many people in Oklahoma decorate graves and have family reunions this weekend.

We decided, well I decided at least, that last night, we'd take a picnic and go to the lake in town.  Our little Claremore Lake is quite a jewel for our town.  It is so pretty and well taken care of.  The town has built a walking path around it and is is clean and nice to walk in the evening.  It is usually very busy with families, both old and young, taking advantage of the pretty view and level paths.  We stopped and bought some chicken to round out the meal of baked beans and oriental slaw that I made. 

The kids took their bikes and after eating, they took off on their bikes while hubby and I walked around the lake taking in the scenery.  After my son and daughter had a falling out over a bike chain, she started walking with us.  I had splurged on some store bought cookies for our picnic and we were talking about the kind I bought.  They are iced oatmeal, my husbands favorite store bought cookies.  My daughter started talking about them.....

'We always had those cookies at night before bed.  You would put three on each plate and we had a glass of milk.  Dad would bring the plates and set them on our tv trays and we could watch cartoons for thirty minutes.  Oh yeah, you'd sing some song about milk and cookies!  After we finished watching our cartoons, it was time for bed.  You'd either read to me or dad would read to me and the other one would read to bubby.' 

It amazed me that she would remember something so normal.  This was not a big, fancy vacation or a monumental moment in her life....this was just normal life.  She gave me a great look into what she would remember about her childhood, what she would take on with her when she became a mother.  Milk and cookies, cartoons and books before seemed like such a simple thing back then....I didn't realize it would make into big time memories!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Party Weekend...

Well school is now out for everyone in the family! I'm so happy!  No longer are we tied to a rigid schedule of getting up at 6:30am!  Now, if I so chose, I can sleep in to 7:30am and sit for a bit with my coffee and newspaper before starting work! 

Yes, I'm working during the summer but it's not normal school stuff.  We're meeting and getting policies in place for fall.  Not dealing with the grind of grading and calling and grading and calling. It will be refreshing to be doing something different! Plus, letting me sleep in until 7:30 each day feels like vacation time to me!

This memorial day weekend, my thoughts go to all my former students around the world that are working hard to keep me safe.  I literally have students scattered across almost every continent in the military.  I am thankful for their sacrifice and the sacrifice of every man and woman now and in the past that have served my country so faithfully.  It takes a very special person and a very special family to be a military family.

We, in my family, have two birthdays this weekend.  Mine is the 30th and my niece's in the 31st.  She was born when I was forty.  I decided that I wouldn't celebrate mine anymore in deference to her birthday....didn't want to steal her thunder! He! he!  She sure gets more excited than I do for another birthday to roll around that's for sure.

We've partied with her today.  Tomorrow is church and then Monday is my birthday.   I've asked for a clothesline...yes, a clothesline.  With a pool, summer is one long towel washing after another.  They bought me a folding clothesline several years's still in the barn because we couldn't decide on a place to put it, well, I had a place, hubby wasn't so sure. So it sat in the barn as the towels piled up and up. 

So this year, on a big yellow piece of construction paper, stuck on the fridge with yellowstone magnets, I placed my birthday wish list.....#1 Put up my clothesline...#2 a pool that order!  We'll see what I actually get....something tells me that I'll be lounging at the pool and the towels will keep piling up!  Well, I have a post hole digger and now I have a son big enough to use it!  Next week, he'll be digging me a hole!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Big batch cooking day!

I'm big batch cooking a bit today....we've got a lot coming up and I've just about depleted my store of food in the freezer ready to heat up! Today, I'm cooking about 10 pounds of seasoned ground beef. About half of it will go into one pound freezer bags and one-third will become sloppy joes.  The last one-third will be seasoned with taco seasoning because my son his having his big end-of-school year, beginning of summer party friday night! 

He's hosting a swim party for the gang of boys at church. Out of about twelve boys, they attend about five-six schools, including three that are home schooled!  They are a really great group!  I'm having a nacho bar for them.  That seems to be a favorite with the boys.  I've made the ground beef, bought a couple of BIG bags of chips and am ready to make the nacho dip!  I'll also have kidney beans, lettuce, tomato, onion, sour cream and salsa out too and I usually put out a bowl of rice in case someone wants a rice bowl instead of nachos.  This is an easy, easy way to throw a party on the cheap because I can buy most of the stuff with coupons on sale and store until the next party. 

I'm planning to big batch grilled chicken tomorrow because I used all my frozen grilled chicken last week in salads.  When I big batch cook for summer, it usually is just the meat since we eat few casseroles as I do not like to heat up the kitchen with my oven.  I'll just grill a bunch of meat and have salads as a quick and easy meal. 

Another tip I do for easy, quick summer meals is to wash, dry and tear up my lettuce all at once.  It will store quite well in the crisper for at least five days.  This way, when you need a quick meal, just thaw out a type of meat, grab the lettuce and you're five-ten minutes from dinner!

We have managed to dodge the major storms that have been hitting Oklahoma and Missouri this week.  Last night, I was ready to go. We had the storm closet cleaned out and ready but luckily it was just a drill....I'd like it to stay that way!

Thoughts and prayers go to those we know and those we don't who have lost family and everything they own to this latest round of storms! It's amazing, when we start thinking we're big stuff, a storm comes along and we have to hide in the ground to keep from getting killed....