Friday, December 31, 2010

Home Sweet Home

We're home now from our whirlwind trip to Missouri.  It was fun, had nice weather and got to see both family and friends.  Saw Oklahoma State cap off the football season with a record eleven wins.  I'm so glad we bought season tickets this year! 

But now, I'm glad to be home with nothing but cleaning to look forward to in the next few days.  My daughter and I took down the ornaments and lights on the tree and my husband helped me wrestle that thing into it's bag and out the door for storage in the barn.  I almost had a heart attack when something grey jumped out of the bag in the middle of the living room floor but then realized that my cat, Josie, had crawled into it while we were wrapping bungee cords around the tree.  I'm always afraid that something will move into the tree during the summer and I'll bring it into the house.  She sort of looks like a possum/lemur cross so she startled me quite a bit when she came jumping out of the bag!

Next, I'm doing the real cleaning.  Vacuuming up all the junk that has settled out of the tree over the last month.  Christmas trees, whether dead or alive are just really messy when you let them live in your house.  Although, I'll miss Christmas, I won't be missing the mess!  Now, I just have to contend with the woodstove.  It's messy but oh, so wonderful on those cold days! 

Since tonight's New Years Eve, my kids both have plans.  I'm not much of a late night person so my husband and I probably will just go to the movies and come home.  My daughter has a slumber party, my son is having a friend over for a night of video games and food.  Perfect boy stuff!  I'm making Chinese to eat.  The boys requested it. 

I haven't really given any thought to my new year's resolution yet.  I usually don't do much.  One year, I resolved to get the family to eat five fruits and veggies a day.  We usually now get that done.  One year, I resolved not to purchase anything for the house that I didn't want to dust the rest of my life.  That one still keeps me from buying cute little things.  This year, I think I need to resolve to not get all stressed out about the little things, to take ten minutes out of each day and just go outside with Kate and play.  I need to thank my family for the things they do that I generally don't notice or think they should be doing them anyway.  I need to laugh and dance more and frown less.  I need to realize that I'm no longer a parent of little kids, I'm the parent of two pretty great teenagers (one almost a teen). 

I think mostly I need to just lighten up a little more each day.  At the end of the day, I need to see more humor, love, patience and grace in my life directed to those I love the most.  I'm going to start everyday with prayer for my kids, not just on the days when I have time.  Everyday.  First thing in the morning I'm going to bath my family in prayer.....

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Summertime Picture

My favorite picture of 2010.....

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Branson - Here We Come!

We're on our way to Branson today to visit Silver Dollar City with our kids, and my brother, sis-in-law and their two kids.  I'm really looking forward to seeing all the lights and riding rides! 

I'm a little kid at heart and I love big roller coasters.  SDC or as some our local friends call it "Steal Your Dollar City" has just enough roller coasters to make mama happy.  I usually have to ride by myself since the kids are too old to walk around with old mom and dad anymore.  This was the first year we let them go off together and I was really sad.  Luckily, my son gets a little sick before my daredevil daughter does so I end up riding with her after she's worn him out.

We'll probably spend a lot of time in the kiddy area with my nieces too.  I like the kiddy area because it's fun to watch them have such a great time riding all the rides. 

Best of all, no laundry, cooking or pesky pictures to download while your out of town.  Branson used to just be a little bitty nothing town until about 15 years ago.  I used to ride up with my parents and grandparents when I was little.  There was really nothing in Branson except SDC and a few music shows.  It is now a thriving little city with more family stuff to do than you can do in a week!  This summer, we spent four days
 lounging around the lake, going to shows and shopping and having a great family vacation close to home. 

We're going to get to see SDC all light up in the Christmas lights.  I'm looking forward to it........

Monday, December 27, 2010

Why Are Women Responsible For Pictures?

Dumb question....why is it that in every family I know, the woman is solely responsible for organizing the pictures of the family?  I guess I'm just cranky now that Christmas is over and I know I've got a week of taking down to do.  I don't like to organize pictures.  Never have.  I don't make cute little scrapbooks.  I called my kids baby books 'guilt in a box'. 

I like to look at pictures and I'm glad that over the years, I have always spent time to put each and every picture into an album.  Our entire married life is categorized in chronological order.  My daughter can pull out 1997 and look at her cute face.  She can pull the book titled 2008 and look at our family trip to Hawaii with my entire side of the family.  My husbands family doesn't do group trips.  They don't do much of anything together but we have pictures of birthday dinners and Christmas get-togethers.  My mother-in-law is really good about making the kids scrapbooks and she keeps adding to them each year.  I'm not.  I don't like it.

I'm spending time today, hours actually, downloading pictures, uploading pics onto a website and trying to order pics to place in the albums.  I know that my kids appreciate that I spend this time doing this.  I just wish that it was something someone else had to do.  I'd rather be plucking my eyebrows!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

All in All

All in all it was a very fine Chistmas.  We didn't get the blizzard like last year and for that, I am thankful.  My daughter got me up at seven in the morning, it was still dark but she just couldn't stand it anymore.  We had to drag the boy out of bed.  Since he's fourteen and a half, getting early is not as much fun as it once was on Christmas morning.

Last night, after my daughter went to bed, he just kept hanging around in the living room.  I finally got tired and took their stockings down and went to my room.  He followed his dad around and finally asked, 'is this about when Santa comes?  I want to see him!' My husband took him into our bedroom and sitting on my bed was Santa! She even had on a red hat!  He laughed and laughed and went to bed....if I'd have known it was that easy to get him to bed, I'd have done that years ago!

My in-laws came over this morning for our traditional breakfast.  It was relaxing to sit and just visit for a few hours.  They went off to pack for the trip they are leaving for in a few days.  We goofed off for several hours, playing with all the toys and picking up.  It's fun to see the kids play with the new things they get every year.  Now, it seems, that mostly it's electronics but that's the age they are now.

 When we sat down to eat our late lunch, it was baked ham with cherry sauce, twice-baked potato casserole and salad; we thanked God for allowing us to be together.  It was a quiet Christmas dinner at home.  We decided during the meal that after we'd cleaned up, we'd go into town to our church and help out a bit.  Some our church members host a Christmas dinner and give-a-way for those that need it in Claremore.  It's for people in our church who don't have a family close or those in the community that need a warm meal.  The church donates mostly kid stuff for people to 'shop' for after they eat. 

It does amaze me that there are needy within my community.  I tend to forget that not everyone has a warm home and as much 'stuff' as they can stuff into their surroundings.  It felt good to help out in the small way we did. 

All in all, it was a very good Christmas!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Jesus!

I'm posting this a little early so I can be with my family this morning.  As you read this, I'm probably opening presents and getting the traditional family breakfast ready.  We sit the table with the fancy china, crystal glasses, candles, tablecloth and advent wreath the night before.  After we open presents, we sit down to a really good breakfast of sausage-cranberry quiche, cinnamon rolls, fresh fruit, coffee and orange juice. 

As we are waiting for the food to finish baking, my husband reads the Christmas story, the family lights our advent candles and we sing some Christmas songs.  We sit around and talk and talk.  It's a great time to remember why we are doing something so special on this day.  When the kids were little, we sang 'happy birthday, baby Jesus'.  Oftentimes, we had a special cake for dessert.  Now, we talk about how blessed we are and how much we take for granted.

I truly believe that within my lifetime I will see Christians in the United States being persecuted for our beliefs.  We are already beginning to see the tide turn from not being a Christian nation, even our president has said so.  This makes me very sad.  God has blessed this country for many years and yet we are not willing to even acknowledge His presence. 

For today, I will celebrate Christ's birth with my husband and children.  I will celebrate being able to openly worship the God I serve.  I am truly blessed.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve!

At last, it's finally here! Christmas Eve, that's when my daughter gets to open the present under our tree marked to her to open today!  She's so excited!  The truth is, she knows what it is and most people would think it was crazy!

You have to know the story......several years ago, some friends sent us a gift box with smoked sausage, cheese, mustard, crackers, etc.  You've all seen those gift boxes from Pepperidge Farms.  When I was a kid, my grandpa always got a big one from someone and he'd open it on Christmas Eve.  I loved all those little miniature food items.  Well, so does my daughter.  We ate it that year on Christmas Eve with soup I had made after we got home from the Christmas Eve service.

The next year, she asked Santa for one of the boxes with food in it.  Took me awhile to decipher that one!  But sure enough, there was one under the tree with her name on it a couple of days before Christmas.  The next year, her brother bought it for her and the last few years, I've purchased it for her to open up on Christmas Eve so we can eat it that night. 

Some years, we eat it at our house, some years at another family members but it's turned into a fun tradition that we all get to enjoy.  Sausage, cheese and crackers, who knew something so simple could bring so much excitement!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Good Neighbors

We are blessed with good neighbors.  We always have been, wherever we have lived.  That's always the thing I miss most when we've moved, our neighbors.  Having a good relationship with the neighbors doesn't take much work but it is more than worth it! 

Now, I know, some people are just crazy and hard to get along with.  Some neighbors don't want to be good neighbors and there is nothing you can do about it.  We've always been blessed with people who feel as we do and I know that doesn't always happen.  Our neighbors range in age from our age to over seventy years old.  Some have grandkids that live close, some have taken our kids as their own.  My son has done chores for a few of them.  It benefits them both.  He learns about working for someone other than his dad and I and they get some help with something they may not be able to do anymore.  We watch each others homes when we travel and come to each others aid when we are needed.  We borrow from each other tools and eggs.

I always bake goodies for our neighbors at Christmastime.  Around here, we don't live in a 'normal' neighborhood.  We don't have an addition.  We live along a road and I consider the 5-6 people we live around our 'neighborhood'.  Even though it's not a traditional neighborhood, we all stick together closer than some people who can see in each others living rooms.  That may be the reason, we give each other our space!

This year, I baked two kinds of biscotti.  One was a shortbread biscotti with dried fruits, the other was a double chocolate.  I packed the biscotti with an assortment of tea and chocolates.  The son delivered them throughout the neighborhood a few weeks ago. 

I don't send the packages with hopes of getting something in return but it is fun over the last few weeks to see the neighbors and sample their holiday goodies.  One neighbor commented that they enjoy each year getting all the stuff because it's like a up-to-date cookie exchange.  We're all so busy, we can't commit to a single saturday to exchange so we all do it whenever we can.  About once a week, from thanksgiving to Christmas, someone shows up bearing gifts we can eat!  Yummy!

I got my last visit last night, kind of made me sad to think we're done for the year.  We've had homemade chocolate dipping sauce and cookies to dip, caramel popcorn, chex mix, apple bread, chocolate ice cream sauce and homemade salsa from the cooks garden.  We decided that next summer, when my blackberries come in that we're going to do a jelly making party.  And by the taste of this salsa, I'm hoping for a salsa making party also!

Get to know your neighbors.  Along with all the other benefits, it can be very tasty!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cranberry-Sausage Quiche

Had this recipe for many, many years.  We've had it only for Christmas morning breakfast each year.  It's pretty, easy to make and tastes special on Christmas morning!

Christmas Morning Cranberry-Sausage Quiche

1 9 inch pie shell
1/2 lb sausage, mild or medium
1/2 C chopped onion
3/4 C dried cranberries
11/2 C monterry jack cheese, this can be a blend on mj and chedder
3 eggs, lightly beaten
11/2 C half and half
Preheat oven to 400F. Bake pie shell for 7 minutes. Don't prick the pie shell before cooking.  Reduce temp. to 375F.  Crumble and cook sausage and onion.  Drain.  stir in cranberries.  Sprinkle cheese on bottom of pie shell.  Top with sausage mixture.  combine eggs and half and half.  Pour over sausage mixture. Bake 40-45 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes.  You know it's done if you put a knife in the center and it comes out clean.

I bake the pie shell and make the sausage and eggs the day before.  I just put it all together Christmas morning and start baking.  Then we open presents!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What to do today?

I'm sitting here trying to decide what to do today....should we make gingerbread cookies first or do the house cleaning?  Of course, I'd like to forget house cleaning altogether and just bake but someone has to clean....and that would be me!

A few years ago, when I started working outside of the home, I felt overwhelmed by Christmas duties.  I sat down the family and asked what they most needed at Christmas.  What did they absolutely need to have a Christmastime for it to be Christmas.  My daughter said 'gingerbread cookies and a gingerbread house.' My son said  'Christmas tree.' Typical boy, as if we'd not have a tree!  My husband said toffee.  I noticed no one said, 'house decorated from top to bottom inside and out.'  Everything they said seemed to center around food and being together.  For me, it was the sunday night advent meal that we have.  Some nights, it ends up being on Monday night or Saturday night because someone has to be somewhere on Sunday night but it's a once a week time when we sit down, light candles, read the bible and remember the Reason for this Season!

Puts it all into perspective for me.  Reminds me that it's ok not be completely ready for everything.  Mary and Joseph certainly weren't....they traveled to Bethlehem without a reservation at a hotel!  If they could do that, I can certainly trust God to take care of me and the family.  He's done a great job so far!

I don't get all bent out of shape when everything doesn't get put up at Christmas.  I don't get bent out of shape if the outside lights look like three reindeer and a camel.  I don't get bent out of shape if the gingerbread people look like people who have been through a nuclear meltdown.  It's not about perfection, it's about being together and making memories. 

Sure made Christmas more fun!  I'm going to bake gingerbread.....I'm hoping an elf will clean house!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Busy, busy, busy!

Christmas is coming! I am busy making and baking goodies for all the get-togethers that are coming in the next week.  I've made oodles of chocolate dipped pretzels for my kid's youth group party and my husband's work guys.  I've made chicken salad, salsa, brushetta and cheese logs for the ladies at my husband's work.  They are so good to him all year, letting him 'forget' to  bring things on eating days but still eat.  I try a couple of times a year to send a full lunch so he can stay in their good graces! I remember how the men at my work always were.  They never brought anything but were always the first in line to eat!

I'm making chocolate candy canes and baking cake mix cookies for the kids party on Wednesday.  There will be about one hundred kids and they will all need SUGAR!  I'm sure there will be enough sugar to get the entire town on a rush that will last a few hours!

Yesterday, I had the entire family sit down and decide what our Christmas breakfast and dinner would include.  Usually, everyone has their favorite dishes.  I tend to overcook so I decided to let everyone tell me what they wanted.  Green bean casserole - good bye.  Oven french toast - you're toast this year.  One by one, they deleted from the menu extra stuff I always made that they really didn't care for.

The menu for breakfast will be; cranberry-sausage quiche, homemade cinnamon rolls, fresh fruit, orange juice and coffee.  The dinner menu will be: baked ham with cherry sauce, twice-baked potatoes, mixed veggies, strawberry-feta-lettuce salad and hot rolls.  A lot less than I usually make but since the family chose the menu, I decided that we'd just make what we wanted.  Of course, they'll be several desserts including a cherry pie.  We always have to have a cherry pie for my son.  It won't be Christmas without a cherry pie!  And gingerbread men and women.....and fudge.....and toffee.....and coffee! 

My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  I've got to go roll out some more cheese logs!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Not Feeling it Yet!!!

I'm not feeling like Christmas yet....I'm still in school and my skin has started turning green, grinch-like green! It's a good thing that tomorrow is the last day for this year or I'm sure my heart would start shrinking and I'd have Kate, the big black dog, drag me around the brown yard in the wagon! 

Teachers all over the country and probably world get like this around this time of year.  From Thanksgiving till Christmas break, oops, I said Christmas break, teachers try, try, try to keep everybody on task at school.  This is like hearding cats.  Can't be done! Even the teenagers lose their focus.  I know, THAT'S A BIG SURPRISE!
Teenagers losing focus!  Well, teachers try to keep them focused and by this week, we're just worn down.  Then that kid, you know who you are, that hasn't done one thing all year comes up and asks, 'is there anything I can do over Christmas break (yeah, the kids call it Christmas break too!), that I can do to bring up my grade to a D?

This is the kid who has done nothing all semester! They have a 10% average! Are you kidding me?  I've called your parents fifteen times this semester!  Are you kidding me?  Really, Really, you are asking me this now? 

About now, the kid realizes that they have made a deadly mistake.  The teacher is laughing hysterically and suddenly runs out of the room and into the teachers lounge,  a few minutes pass and the teachers lounge erupts in loud laughter!  I wish teachers lounges had margarita machines in them.  We'd all have a better December!

The good thing about being a virtual school teacher is that I can take a break after an email like the one above and take a walk.  I can go outside and play with Kate before I come back in, make that call and say, 'Really, Really........'

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cake Mix Cookies

I've been busily baking for every event under the sun lately!  I've still got a lot to do and a lot of parties and get-togethers that need my baked goods!  I've made these cookies for years, I got the recipe from a lady in Indiana.  She brought them to a teachers party and I had to have the recipe.  I was so surprised when I got it and it was easy!  I buy the cake mixes on sale in the fall and can easily whip up a batch of these in no time at all. 
They always get rave reviews from kids and grown-ups alike!

Cake Mix Cookies

1 cake mix (strawberry, lemon, german chocolate, chocolate, etc)
2 eggs
1/4 C vegetable cooking oil
Mix well and place in the fridge for about an hour.  Roll about a teaspoon of the dough into a ball.  Now the fun begins. 
Strawberry/lemon - roll in powdered sugar
German Chocolate - roll in coconut and chopped nuts
Chocolate, mix in mint chips and roll into balls
Slightly flatten on cookie sheet.
You get creative and make your own combinations! Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, do not overbake!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thinking of others......

We're in the process of coming up with little gifts for all the extra people in our lives.  The sunday school leaders, the piano teacher, the youth leaders who spend a little extra time helping my kids.  Now, we're not wealthy.  Most years, it's homemade gifts or little gifts I've picked up on sale over the year.  I've made soup mixes, bath salts, hot chocolate, homemade baked goods, etc. 

As someone who, over the years, has been the recipient of little gifts like these, I know how much they really mean to the person who gets them.  No, it doesn't have to be expensive.  But when someone actually spends a little money or a little time to make or purchase something with me in mind, it tells me that they noticed the things I did throughout the year.  I don't volunteer so I can get things back, I don't expect anything in return. That's what makes those little things even better.  It's nice to be noticed and thanked, even if it's just a card thanking me for my time. 

My challenge this season is to remember a person that maybe most people look over.  A person that isn't expecting anything as a gift.  Give them a little something, a baked good, a card thanking them, just something.  Something that lets them know you  noticed their service over the year.  You'll make their day!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Geez mom, everybody knows your organized.....

In the paper today, there was an article about not getting stressed over the holidays.  I laughingly commented that I hardly ever felt stressed over the holidays....maybe every other thing, but honestly, not the holidays.  He said one word as he ate his leftover stew we were eating for lunch, ' organized'.....I just about choked on my stew, 'organized?!' I asked?  'Mom, you are so organized.  You have it all down so none of us ever feel stressed about Christmas and stuff.  We know what we're going to do every day.'  'Like what?', I asked.  'You know, Sunday night is advent night. Each week, we take turns reading and lighting the candles. We put the outside decorations up the week before Thanksgiving but don't turn them on until after Thanksgiving.  You put the tree up and all the inside decorations after Thanksgiving.  You've already bought the gingerbread house and all the stuff that we'll bake.  I've already delivered all the baked goods to the neighbors.  The week we're out of school, we'll decorate the gingerbread men.  We'll have soup and bread after church on Christmas eve, usually nanny and poppy come over.  Christmas eve, you'll set the fancy table for Christmas breakfast and we'll have that yummy french toast.'  He took a long sip of his soup as he looked over at me, 'Geez mom, everybody knows you're organized.' 

I was speechless for a full minute.  How in the world had my son, who can't even seem to find his shoes anymore by himself, list all the stuff in order that I do each year? It dawned on me that it was because each year I do things in the same order.  I guess I am pretty organized!  And golly, he had actually noticed! 

Maybe there is hope for him afterall!  He recognizes that being organized keeps the stress away! I'm hoping that some of that extra planning may be sinking into that teenage brain so when the smoke clears in a few years around that brain of his, he'll come out thinking a little extra planning is a good thing! 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Making Frugal Gifts....

I'm going to post this week some frugal gifts that we have made over the years.  We like to make gifts for just about everyone from grandmas down to sunday school teachers.  I think it's nice to be remembered, even if it's just a little something.  That little something shows that you appreciate them and thought of them.  It goes a long way......I've been there.

Here's a recipe for candy cane bath salts I've made many times.  I've used mason jars (you'll need the tall jelly jars) and gone to discount stores and found cheap, funky containers to put it in.  One year, at a glass manufacturers sale, I found a decorative jar that let me put miniature candy canes in the lid.  Usually, I just tie a candy cane on with a pretty ribbon.

Guaranteed to make your house smell wonderful!!!!

Candy Cane bath salts

2 4lb cartons Epsom Salts
4 pounds sea salt or kosher salt (buy this at the supermarket in a big bag)
1/2 teaspoon glycerin
12-15 drops peppermint essential oil (health food stores will carry this)
12-15 drops red food color

Empty one carton Epsom salts into a large mixing bowl.  Add 1/2 the salt and stir well.  Stir in 1/4 teaspoon glycerin and 7 drops of the peppermint oil.  Mix well.

In a large plastic bag, mix the remaining epsom salt and sea salt. Add the remaining glycerin, oil and the food color.  Mix well, color should be even.  I put this is in a large plastic bag because it's easier to mix around the food coloring.   I use a trash bag and tie it closed.

Depending on the size of container you have, layer about one inch of the white then one inch of the pink until you reach the top.  Close tightly and decorate. 

I usually make a pretty handmade tag to tell the recipient what it is and how to use it:
  1/4 cup in a warm bath

Monday, December 6, 2010

Frugal Teachers Gifts

As you already know, I'm pretty frugal.  I like to get a deal and I really like to be able to pass it on.  Since I'm a teacher, I'm pretty confident in getting gifts for my kids teachers.  My son is easy, I'm his teacher! I'll find me some good chocolate!

Let me say this once.....MOST teachers do not want an apple themed gift! I'm sure out there somewhere in teacher land, there is this one teacher, who still wears jumper dresses, that adores apple gifts and has her house decorated in them.  She probably even dresses her cat, that's the only thing that will live with her, in apple costumes! OK, OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit.  I've been told that I do that.  My husband and best friend used to call me the 'exaggerator' because I would make the number a bit bigger to make the story better.  Like instead of ten worms in the salad, I would say ten million worms! Hey, it wasn't a lie, it just made the story more exciting!

Anyway, I think I'm pretty good at teacher gifts.  I've given gift cards to coffee shops, sonic (teachers love happy hour) and even walmart.  Those are always appreciated, but since I'm also frugal, I like getting something I would love at a great price and gifting someone.  This year, I purchased expensive coffee travel mugs at a very discounted price.  They were only $1.50 each because they were father's day cups.  The bottom was removable to put a picture of you and your dad inside.  I took out the liner and replaced it with really cool black and white wrapping paper and 'presto' I have very expensive looking coffee mugs on the cheap.  Teachers do dig coffee travel mugs because they keep that morning coffee hot until you can make it back to the teachers lounge for a refill!  I filled each with hot cocoa, tea bags and chocolate bars.  Everything a teacher needs for a day on the job!

My husband made fun of me in August when I came up carrying an armload of father's day mugs and my daughter was they think they look great and my daughter is wanting to take them monday to give away!  Total cost for four teachers gifts,.....under $6, including the stuff inside. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hit at Thanksgiving!

This year, I was in charge of bringing salads to thanksgiving dinner.  I like to make different salads and they travel well so I could leave my house and they could sit in the back for a few hours while we drove over.  This salad was the hit and it is super easy to make! I like those two things in any dish I plan to bring.  This travels well, tastes great and is so easy but it is really a pretty dish.  I had to send the recipe to my mom and sister this week. 

Marinated Mushroom Salad

2 1/2 quarts water

3 T lemon juice
3 lbs fresh mushrooms ( used 2 boxes of fresh mushrooms)
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced
1/2 medium red pepper (could use any color)
1 small onion chopped
1 T fresh parsley
1/2 cup sliced stuffed green olives
1/2 cup sliced black olives


1/2 cup italian salad dressing
1/2 cup red or white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t salt

Bring water and lemon juice to a boil, add mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and cool. Place mushrooms and the rest of the salad ingredients in a large bowl. combine all dressing ingredients and pour over salad. cover and refridgerate overnight.

This would make a great make-and-take dish to potluck this season!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Three Reindeer and a Camel!

Ok, I was telling you how I got the boys of the house to get the outside lights up one warm Saturday.  What I didn't mention is that I went Christmas shopping and was gone most of the day.  They like it that way.  Anything that keeps them from having to go to Tulsa and shop all day makes the two men of the house very, very happy!

When I got home, I realized that the two deer from last year didn't get put in the trash like I had planned.  They were almost ten years old and I had to wrap lights around them last year to get them to light up.  I think last year, I stayed in and put up decorations when they took them down....or maybe went shopping, I can't seem to remember!

Instead of two nice, new deer I purchased last year after Christmas, we had four deer standing in the yard.  Two nice, new deer and two things that looked like they had been mangled.  I managed to get one looking almost good but the other one...he'd lost his antlers over the summer and so I said he'd had a sex change operation and was now a doe.  He'd also somehow managed to get the lights I had carefully wrapped around him last year wadded up into a ball in the center of his body!  I just pulled them out around his/her body and called it good. 

The night of light up was a few days ago.  I was not pleased with my he/she deer.  I have finally made peace with it.  It's not a deer after all! It is actually a camel! That's what it looks like and I've just told the family that whenever someone comments on him/her to tell them I purchased a camel off the internet.....that actually sounds plausible if you know me! 

Now I kind of like my camel!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Decorating for Christmas!

We are in the major throws of decorating at my house.  The outside lights got put up a few weeks ago on a really warm week-end.  I informed the men of the house that since it was going to start getting cold, that we'd put them up on the warm week-end.  I lose serious interest when I have to bundle up to string lights.  My fingers get too cold to work! 

The tree is up and decorated in the living room but the other trees will get put up as the week progresses.  It's a busy week because on saturday, our church youth group is in the Christmas parade downtown.  Guess who offered decorations and help?  Oh yeah, it's me!  It will be fun!

Saturday is also the Christmas home tour in our town.  A bunch of girlfriends and I take the morning off and become peeping toms throughout Claremore!  It's always a good time of gabbing, lunch and usually, I feel very blessed by my own home when I return.  My house may not be the biggest or fanciest, but I truly love my house! 

Gotta go!  My daughter is hauling up the trees from the garage!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Back to Work!

Had a nice Thanksgiving week with the family.  We visited family and went to our last college football game of the season.  Our team didn't win but they and their fans were good losers and to me, that's what is all about.

As I sat at the football game with my two children around me, I began to wonder how we have gotten so crazed and fanatical as sports fans.  It seems that when you are in a sports stadium, everyday reason and common sense gets thrown out the window for insanity.  Grown men and even sometimes, women, act like jerks and worse. 

I remember as a child, we hosted a preacher in our home.  He was preaching our revival and he stayed with us over the weekend.  To say he was a big fan was an understatement.  I lost respect for the man when, as I child, I witnessed him kneeling down and praying to God for a win!  Even as a kid, I wondered if he truly believed that God cared about who won? 

Going to the games has been fun.  Most schools we've hosted have been very nice and good sports.  The men, dare I even call those boys that, have exhibited good sportsmanship whether winning or losing on both teams.  It is sad that just a few jerky fans can ruin an entire program.  This last game had jerky fans, no one else this season did.  I guess 9 out of 10 ain't bad!

We'll definitely go back next year.  It was a fun time with the entire family.  We reconnected with old friends by tailgating.  I hope my husband and I are showing our children how to win with grace and lose with dignity.  As a grown-up, I realize that it's only a game.  I wish more grown-ups did.....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mother Daughter Date Night!

My daughter and I traveled to Tulsa last night to see the musical Wicked.  I splurged this year and bought season tickets for the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.  I really love live theater but haven't been able to since the kids have been born to see more than one performance a year.  This year, my kids have decided that soccer is not for them and honestly, I am extremely happy!  It sure leaves a lot of time to do other things!

We started our night with a hair appointment.  It was a real luxury that I didn't plan!  It just happened that I made the appointments and then realized that it was the same night of Wicked!  It was so very, very nice to not have to worry about my hair all day long.  I just had to pick out something to wear. 

We then went and ate at Olive Garden.  We were hoping to eat sushi but our restaurant was closed on monday.  Oh well, Olive Garden is my daughter's second favorite restaurant.  We shared an entree because we had our eyes on the prize.....dessert!  We don't normally get dessert out but this was a special night!  Of course, it was chocolate!

Wicked was terrific!  It was really special to see and hear my daughter laugh with her eyes all lit up!  She is finally old enough to sit through the entire performance and understand the dialogue and songs.  I'm hoping that I'm growing up a child that loves live theatre as much as I do! 

She's already made a play for the next performance because it's ballroom dancing.  I'm sure my husband doesn't care!  I think I'll let her chose who takes her, it may be time for a daddy-daughter date.  She loves those too! It is important to take your child by themselves out occasionally.  You can talk without distractions and without their siblings you sometimes see a different child.

I'm planning to take my son to the Aluminum show later in the season.  They beat on aluminum, maybe not my favorite, but I'll bet he likes it and I'll enjoy spending time just with him.  Yep, these may be the best tickets I've purchased in a long, long time!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thanksgiving traditions

By now you know that I'm all about traditions.  Each and every holiday has a tradition and sometimes I make up special things for those poor months that kind of got jipped in the holiday department.  When I was growing up, we did the same thing.  My mom made a cherry pie on Washington's birthday!  I always think that traditions are what keep a family together even if they are physically far apart.

Years ago, when I first got married and moved 750 miles away from my parents, brother, sister and all other family members, that first Thanksgiving was hard.  My parents and siblings even came to visit, but it wasn't the same.  The only thing that was the same were the dishes that we made for Thanksgiving.  We all went to my new in-laws house and although it was a wonderful dinner, it wasn't the dinner I wanted.  I wanted my momma's dressing, my momma's turkey and all the stuff that went with it. 

The day after Thanksgiving, we traveled back to our little apartment and as we went in the place, my mom stayed back and told the guys that we were going to go grocery shopping and would be back soon.  We shopped that night for all the 'stuff' that I craved.  The cornbread dressing with lots of onion and celery and sage, the jalapeno-corn casserole that was so tasty as a leftover....all of it! The next day, we ate leftover turkey with my families traditional dishes.  It didn't make them leaving in a few days any easier but it sure filled a empty spot in the old heart!

I dug out my mom's jalapeno corn casserole yesterday so I could make sure that I had all the ingredients for next week.  I ususally bring that now over to the family gathering.  The card is looking kind of bad, it's covered with over 20 years of making it splashes and smears but it's written in my moms handwriting.  Along with making the recipe that first Thanksgiving, she also left me the recipe!

Jalapeno-corn casserole

1 C uncooked long grain rice, this can be brown rice
1 green pepper chopped, optional
1 cup chopped celery
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup melted margarine or butter
1 Tablespoon sugar
1-2 jalepano peppers, chopped
2 (17 oz.) cans cream-style corn
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
pepper rings, cherry tomato slices for garnish, if desired.

Cook rice according to directions and set aside.
Saute onion, celery and green pepper in margarine until veggies are tender.
Combine rice, sauteed veggies and next four ingredients, stirring well.
Spoon mixture into a lightly greased, 13x9 inch baking dish.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes.
Garnish with pepper rings and cherry tomato slices.

I hope you have your own Thanksgiving recipes to share in your family this year!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I'm a Christian, I'm not Jesus Christ!

My post today may offend some, don't read it if it does.  I'm sorry but I'm just more than a bit miffed at people who try to put me up on a pedistal because I'm a practicing Christian.  It seems that they just stand around looking for the one time when I step out of line, never looking at most of the time when I'm out there doing good, so they can publically humiliate me by saying stupid sayings like 'Judge not, least you be judged' or 'way to turn the other cheek' or you fill in the blank if you've been there with me!

I do know that I'm not Jesus, I don't even pretend to be.  Follow me around for about five minutes and you'll quickly see that I'm not.  I know it, I know I'm not even close to being perfect.  I try to do what is right, to treat others the way I want to be treated, help out in the community through service and try to live my life like someone who has a wonderful gift of grace would love to share it with anyone willing to listen.

But I do get angry, upset, hurt, say bad words sometimes, lie and do all those other things that every human on the face of the planet is also guilty of.  It doesn't make me less christian, it certainly hurts my witness sometimes, but I'm still a child of God because He doesn't expect me to be perfect.  If He did, He would not have given His son's life to pay for my crummy sins. 

I have to take a deep breath sometimes when that tiny, little person starts in on me when I've messed up.  Usually, they need more prayer than anyone and it seems they enjoy pointing out that I've messed up so now they can say Christians are just as sinful as they are.  Yes, yes, we are.  Some of us are more sinful than most.  But that doesn't make us less Christians. 

There, I've posted my rant for the week. I know it won't help those certain people who like to find fault in everyone so they can feel better about themselves. But it made me feel better!

Monday, November 1, 2010

My pear tree

When we moved here almost twelve years ago this month, I was really excited because the property had pecan and pear trees and blackberry bushes. I found out that one pear tree has the little tiny pears that are for grinding, which I won't do; one pear has larger pears but they never get soft and one pear that has perfect eating pears!  I use the large hard pears to cook with and today, I made two pear cakes using a recipe from a friend years ago gave me. 

It is soooooo good and certainly makes me feel that fall has arrived!

Pear Cake

4 cups, peeled and diced small pears; the hard ones work best
2 cups sugar
1 cup chopped nuts
Mix these together and set aside

1 cup oil or 1/2 cup oil with 1/2 cup mashed banana, applesauce, pumpkin puree, etc
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 beaten eggs

3 cup flour; I use 1/2 white, 1/2 whole wheat
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 t salt

1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Mix dry ingredients with pear mixture.  Bake in a well greased and floured bundt cake pan 1 hour 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
Or:  bake in a greased 9x13 pan for about 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees

Let cool, then drizzle with 1-2 cups powdered sugar and 2-4 tablespoons water.   

My house smells so good and I'm making tea to have with my pear cake.  I also made an extra for my husbands work.  The ladies are always bringing treats and he always eats them so I try to send goodies every so often to treat them!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


My husband and I went and early voted today.  We usually vote early on saturday because it makes it more convenient if we both go together.  Sometimes, during the week, it gets so hectic that I'm afraid I'll forget.  I have always been a voter.  My parents and grandparents always voted.  They had to travel about twenty miles round trip because of where we lived so the entire family went.  I grew up knowing that somehow, voting was important. 

Exercising your right to vote is important.  I don't care if you are a democrat, a republican or an independant, it is important that you vote.  I don't care, well maybe I do, how you vote but it is important that you vote.  We, as citizens of this great country, need to exercise that right.  It always amazes me that these non-presidental election years brings out so few voters.  We, for some sad reason, feel that the only important person to cast a vote for is the president.  How far from the truth can that be?  The president is important but the congress and senate actually make policy for our lives. 

Don't forget to vote. It is important.  Plus, you can't gripe about our government and politians if you don't vote!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fall may really be here....

Sometimes I battle seasonal depression at this time of year.  The days are getting shorter, the sunlight is fading earlier and earlier and plants are beginning to pack it in and go into the dormancy of winter.  I was thinking of this today as I was going to pick up my daughter from school.  I was waiting for a train, something that happens quite a bit here in Claremore, looking out the window and daydreaming.  Even though it was just before three, it looked quite closer to five.  The shadows were growing across the open field that was showing definite signs of death.  That old claw of depression began to creep closer.

Suddenly, I really for the first time began to see the beauty of that moment.  Here I was, in the car, all by my wonderful self. Listening to soft music on the radio.  Gazing out of the window at a very beautiful, clear, blue October sky.  I found myself thanking God for the sky, thanking God for the many shades of brown that lay in the field, thanking God for the ability to drive to pick up my daughter after school!  That old depression suddenly was as far away as it is on a warm, sunshiny, June day! 

It's easy to slip into a meloncholy mood during the fall and winter.  I think it has to do with both seasons and hormones for women.  I've found the way to keep that dark mood at bay.  Being thankful!  By actively looking for things to be thankful for, I can remember just how blessed I truly am.  A person, who is so blessed and knows it has a hard time sinking into that fall moodiness.

About that time, the train passed and I met my daughter at our normal pick up spot. We laughed about her day and she as she ate her apple for snack, she said, 'I think I really need a cream slush, mom.'  I had a choice to make then, do I do the 'mom' thing and say 'no, not today. I have too much to do at home.' Or do I take that moment and enjoy my little girl, who is very quickly becoming a woman,  with two cream slushes?  I chose the cream slushes.  I chose the the thirty minutes of sitting in the car and talking.  There will always time to do the chores, read the paper and clean the floor.  There will never be enough time to enjoy my childrens childhood.....

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pork Roast and Fried Apples

Fall means apples at my house.  Fried apples to be exact. Last night was pork roast and fried apples. It was good and because I made a very large roast, I now have enough leftovers in the freezer to have a repeat later in the month with very little work!

I cooked my pork roast in my big crock pot.  I just dumped it in and pour about two cups of apple juice over the top.  About half way through cooking, I slathered apple butter on the top.  Just before serving, I deboned it and took off any fat.  Kate loves these nights! I strained the juice and cooked noodles in about half of it and froze the rest apart from the extra meat.  This allows me options to either have pulled pork sandwiches or pork and noodles later.  I can always use the broth in other recipes.  It's a bit sweet with the apple juice so I usually use it to cook noodles in.

Now for the apples, this is so super easy that it's embarassing I'm actually  printing a recipe!
At least one apple per eater.  I usually make more because they are really good for breakfast with oatmeal or over waffles.  Peel the apple and slice into thick slices.  I usually make six to eight large apples.
1/4 or less butter
1/4-1 cup brown sugar
dash cinnamon
dash nutmeg, if desired
Place the butter in a large skillet and let it melt over high heat.  Add the apples and turn the heat to medium.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes.  You don't want them to turn to mush!
After about 10 minutes, add 1/4-1 cup brown sugar to taste.  I go for less, I feel the apples should be a bit tart.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg, if desired.
The butter and brown sugar will carmelize and they are so good!

I serve these alongside pork at this time of year.  But they can also be served as dessert or over ice cream.  You can add pecans or other nuts or any dried fruit.if you like.

My husband was scarfing these down and asked how I made them.  I told him and he just looked at me and said 'is that it?' I started laughing and asked, 'did you think it was really hard?' He shrugged and commented that they were so good he just figured they were hard to make!  Little does he know!!!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A song in my heart

We are studying in Sunday school about songs.  Our teacher stated that God planned for us to have a song in our hearts.  My husband gave me one of those looks.  You know the kind.  For me, this time, it meant, 'I think she's talking about you!'

I'm always singing.  All day, everyday, I'm usually singing and since I usually listen to Christian music radio stations, that means that I'm usually singing some Christian song.  It's nice to have a song running around in my head all day.  But I don't just leave it in my head.  I sing out loud.  Sometimes really out loud!

Another oddity that I have, is that I can hear a song a few times and know it by heart.  I still remember the songs that we used to sing when I was a kid at church.  I used to wake up my parents on saturday mornings singing the choir songs at the top of my lungs. 

I've never really thought about this much until lately.  It seems as I've gotten older, I've become less aware of when I'm singing out loud and when I'm not.  I've actually gotten compliments in the grocery aisle from total strangers, if we can be total strangers in my small town!  I hear a song, I join along.  It's what I do!

My sister used to say that I could make up a song about a lid and a straw and she's probably right.  I can usually make up songs on the fly too.  Words, rythm, it all just is running around in my head.  I could never have been Amish. I read a book about them and they are not allowed to sing except at church and church songs.  Well, I sing everywhere and it does not have to be church songs!  I would have been kicked out a long time ago.  Well, my foremothers would probably already have been kicked out before I ever got the chance!

Back to the sunday school lesson, the teacher stated that joyful people sing.  That usually the more joyful you are, the more inclined you are to break out in song!  I began to think about times when I have been less than joyful.  I realized that during those times, I didn't sing much.  It is true! The more joyful I am, the more singing I do. 

Now the question remains, do I sing because I am joyful or do I sing to keep me joyful? 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Feeding Anne

I said I would let you know how Anne liked my beef stew.  Well......she liked it! She said she would love to come and eat it again and again!  I used a basic beef stew recipe that I've used for years that has potatoes, carrots and sweet potatoes in it.  I served it over plain white rice.  Both Anne and my husband love plain, white rice.  She kept telling me how much she likes rice! 

I also served platters of fresh fruit; grapes, strawberries, mango, bananas and mandarin oranges.  Anne loved the fresh fruit.  In Kenya, she said that what we had was much closer to what you would normally have if you went to someones house for dinner. 

I must confess, we had a chocolate dessert!  I know it's not true Kenyan to serve dessert but I had a leftover pan of my chocolate caramel wow! cake.  My daughter had a spa night the night before and we had some leftovers.  Anne and I ate some out on the patio while soaking in the sun. 

As I was driving her home, she began to tell me how strange the seasons where to her.  In Kenya, trees don't lose their leaves all at once and she'd never seen snow until she moved here.  She said that learning in school about four seasons is a lot different than living them!

Anne is such a special person.  I am truly blessed to have her in my life!  I hope she feels the same way about my family.

Sickies at my house!

Well, it's been sprite and chicken noodle soup for my two kids at my house today.  They aren't quite sick enough to stay home and not do school but they just aren't up to normal.  I have suspended all afterschool activites, dance, etc until everyone gets rest and recuperated.  We have fall break this week and I want everyone well so we can celebrate!

I'm really sad this year because, since we're building and our yard is a mess, that we are not going to have our traditional halloween bonfire and party.  I started a few years ago when the kids decided that they were too old to trick-or-treat.  The first year, halloween was on a friday night so it was perfect.  Last year, my daughter wanted to trick-or-treat so we just had the party on a friday again.  This year, since it's on a sunday night, I guess it's not so bad.  Next year, we'll have another blow-out party. 

I like decorating the house for holidays.  Every holiday!  I've got the pumpkins, the gourds, the spider webs out.  I guilted my daughter last night into helping me put the rest of our stuff out. 

One of my favorite quick desserts this time of year is caramel pudding.  It's super easy and uses up the last of the milk that's close to the use by date.

Caramel pudding

1 box of cook and serve vanilla pudding (do not use instant)
1/4 cup marzettis caramel dip for apples

When you've finished cooking the pudding, stir in the caramel dip and pour into four indivual cups.  let cool until warm.  Easy and quick and the kids love it!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Anne is coming to dinner!

My friend, Anne, from Kenya is coming again for dinner.  This time, I'm cooking a more traditional Kenyan dinner for her.  I hope she likes it.  I know it won't be exactly like what she eats at home but hopefully, it will be close!

I'm making a beef vegetable soup served over rice and a selection of fruit.  I tried to make something that my family would eat along with Anne.  I researched and this seems to be a normal diet for many Kenyans.  I'll let you know how it came out!  The really nice thing is that they do not normally serve any sweet dessert so I'm off the hook for dessert!

I enjoy talking to Anne.  She is always such a positive person and is very drawn to my daughter.  She wants to get out of nursing school and go back to her homeland to help young girls.  Many are mistreated, I haven't asked her about her own life.  I'm sure it was much different than my own daughter's experiences.  It is amazing that people can live so different than us.  I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that fact.  I just get used to my own little world and don't think much about how other people live. 

I'm looking forward to hosting Anne again...  each visit gives me a glimpse of what my life would have been like had I not been fortunate enough to be born in the good old USA!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Been a while!

I know it's been a while since I've posted.  I've just been busy, busy, busy!  Our building project is moving along.  We have now lost the useage of the garage, the floor has been raised, and we no longer have a driveway platform.  Hopefully, we'll have a foundation for the new garage by next week.

The kids are so excited but it will entail a lot of packing up and moving around.  But with that, they know that eventually they will get bigger rooms and closets and some new furniture.  It's kind of nice to be doing it right now because they are beginning to outgrow many of the toys/books/furniture that carried them through childhood.  These new rooms will be decorated to transition them into young adults.  Makes me a bit sad though. 

I stay busy with my new job, which I enjoy, and running all over the town carrying two young people to whatever event is going on that night.  I have resorted to my cell phone alarms to remind me what day is what.  I was driving myself crazy trying to keep it all straight.  Wednesday night, my alarm went off about 4:30pm and I couldn't for the life of me figure out what was going on!  My son had entered in a reminder to get him to youth group early to practice.  Thank heavens he had entered it! I had already forgotten.

I'm picking pears off the tree now and storing them in the fridge until they become ripe enough to process.  This particular tree isn't the best for eating out of hand but is good for cooking.  I'll probably cut them up and freeze them for cakes and breads this winter. 

I just planted my lettuce, spinach and turnips for fall.  I'll put my glass window over the lettuce and spinach when it starts getting cold.  I should have lettuce and spinach until early December using this method.  I'm hoping my turnips will give me greens and then a few to cook and eat.  I'm the only one who likes them at my house so there is no point in putting up a lot.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Helping others...

Sometimes I look around and realize that my life has been so easy compared to others.  Don't get me wrong, I've been dealt bad deals over the years that literally knocked the wind out of me.  I had to crawl to the corner and regroup before I headed back out into life.  But I've never been completely knocked out.  I've never dealt with the death of a child or the loss of a parent.  It is inevitable that one of those things will happen in my life.  I think we are programed to accept the death of a parent, they are older than you. 

But it's not supposed to the other way around.  You're not supposed to lose a child.  You're supposed to watch as your child grows up and goes out on their own.  You're supposed to be there when they graduate college, get married and hold your first grandbaby.  You're not supposed to plan a funeral for your child, they are supposed to plan yours.

And yet, sometimes, God choses to take them home.  I had to read about Samuel in the bible again today.  I had to remind myself that the child belongs to God and that we are just the privilege to 'raise' them. 

I can't imagine the feeling of losing a child and ,quite honestly, I hope I never do.  All I can do if offer my support and my prayers to those who have to face this terrible crisis.  But one thing I do know, with the support of God and our little community, those going through this will not be going through it alone.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Small Town America!

This past weekend my family and I attended a harvest festival in the town my parents and sisters family live.   It coincides with the homecoming celebrations at the local high school.  Everyone in the town either takes part or watches the big parade down mainstreet.  The churches sell food and snacks, the local crafters sell handmade cuties that I usually buy.  You see old friends or meet new people that may become friends. 

People who don't live in small towns just don't understand the small town festivals and parades.  People who live in small towns can't imagine living in a town that doesn't have festivals and parades.  I love them.  I knew I loved my town when I attended three parades in three months the first three months we lived here.  It's so much fun to watch the kids run out and grab a piece of candy that a clown or the local queen or football player tossed out.  I also love watching my own kids as they march in the line or ride on the float.  They are becoming part of this town.  They are putting down real deep roots in a small town where everybody knows your name and your parents. 

It's a good life. It's good when people know who you are and where you go to church and are watching your every move.  Too many people have lost the 'otherness' of a society.  Too many people don't care what the neighbors think.  I want my neighbors to like my family and know that we live by certain principles and morals.  I want people to watch me and hold me to a high standard.  I want my friends and neighbors to call me when they see my kids step out of line.  Living in a small town is a good, good life.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sunday Pot Roast

Yesterday, I cooked the traditional sunday dinner for the family.  Pot roast with potatoes and carrots.  I usually buy my roasts when they are on sale and then cook at least two when I cook. I put my potatoes and carrots on the bottom and then place the roasts on top.  I sprinkle onion soup and some beef boullion over.  Then I pour about two to three cups of hot water over.  I cover the potatoes and carrots.  I only cook enough potatoes and carrots for one meal or a little extra for a quick beef soup later in the week.  Since veggies don't freeze well, I just freeze the extra roast and gravy. 

Now, since I'm pretty frugal, I usually buy the cheap cut of roast that has to be cooked for an extremely long time.  My husband teases me but while we're eating like pigs he never complains!  I freeze that extra roast and gravy to add noodles later for beef and noodles.  This makes a very easy Sunday meal for later in the month. 

When we're all sitting down on Sunday after church talking and eating all the extra planning I do for those meals is well worth it!

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Baby Sister is 40!

I really don't know how this happened but my baby sister is turning 40 today!  Somehow she is now older than me because I'm only 39 and have been for a few years!  Turning 40 wasn't so bad.  I figured that once you got over 40, you can pretty much do whatever you want and people just pass it off as being old. 

No really, I've become aware that I am now more of a mentor to younger mothers than the young mother.  I've been there, I've seen it and they want my advice.  Sometimes it suprises me that anyone would want my advice because I don't feel old enough to be giving anybody advice!  But then I begin to think about the things that I've experienced, the joy, the heartbreak, the sadness, the high times.  I begin to realize that I've survived over forty years, I may actually have some tidbits of wisdom to share. 

Now this does not mean that I know it all.  I certainly do not.  Age has also given me the wisdom to look for mentors in other people, people who have experienced more than me, or have a special gift for discernment that I do not have.  I think that's why old people are percieved as wise.  They begin to realize that it's ok to ask for help when they need it and it's always ok to pause and think about it before answering or reacting. 

My grandpa used to say, 'It's easier to change a no to a yes, you can't take back a yes." As I've gotten older, I am learning how true his words were.  I use the word no more and don't feel guilty about it.  I feel that if an activity I'm asked to join in I carefully weigh it against how it will effect my family.  Sometimes, the answer is yes, but often, the answer is no.  If it will not help or have a positive effect on my family, I simple turn down the offer.  It may be a very worthwhile cause but I can't do everything and often I am so pulled that I can't get anything done.  Saying no, opens up time for my family to fill it with postive things. 

Getting older is not so bad.  Especially since I'm living to 100! 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Turkey Apple Paninis

Tonight I'm making sandwiches for dinner.  I make sandwiches a lot for dinner.  I've had people tell me they don't like homemade sandwiches.  When I press them, I find out they mean white bread, meat and mustard/mayo sandwiches! Yuck! I don't like those much either.  It has gotten very pricey for our family to even grab a sandwich out.  My son can eat a footlong of whatever and by the time you add drinks and chips, it's usually at least twenty dollars for a sandwich meal!  I can make steak at home for that!

When I make sandwiches at home, I make them like we get when we order out.  My son's friends think I'm the sandwich queen.  Pretty high praise for fourteen year old boys!  Well, tonight, since I'm hoping to transition to fall sometime soon even though it's still ninety degrees outside, I'm thinking apples.  Turkey apple paninis to be exact.  Slap a fancy name like panini on it and my family lines up to eat!

I don't have a panini maker.  I don't need another kitchen gadget that's difficult to clean and store.  I just use a heated up iron skillet that I've had over twenty years and bought it used at an auction.  Love that skillet, it's like using a nonstick pan.  I simply heat it over a seperate burner and slap it on top of the grilled sandwiches while I cook them.  The only thing my paninis don't have is grill stripes and that's ok because my daughter thinks they are burn stripes anyway!

Turkey Apple Panini
Makes 4 - 1 for each of us

split hoagie rolls - 4
apple butter
honey mustard
deli turkey
provolone or cheddar cheese
very thinly sliced apple, like a gala or fuji

On the bottom of the hoagie rolls, spread a mixture of apple butter and honey mustard to taste.  I don't like much, the rest of the family likes a lot.
On top of that, place the sliced turkey and then the apples and cheese.  Top with the top of the hoagie bun.
Melt a tablespoon of butter in a large skillet and grill the hoagies until brown.  Flip over and place a heated skillet on top or you can cook in a panini griller!

Serve with carrots and ranch dressing or if would ever get cold outside, tomato soup!  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Payday! Again!

I'm on someone's payroll again!  It feels lovely!  Although I'm only working part-time, it is exciting to open up my bank email on the first and the fifteenth each month and see a little more money going into the account.  It doesn't define me and we're not going to get rich by any means but it is exciting.  I've been very mindful not to say, 'now that I'm working, we can now buy.....'.  That's a quick way to undo all the frugality that I've established over the last year. 

We've always been frugal, my husband and I.   We're just not spenders.  We've always lived below our means and that is just fine with me.  I don't want to ever feel like I have to hold down a full-time job just so we can pay our bills.  It doesn't hurt that I don't especially like to shop and don't have a ginoreous(not sure that's a word) closet.  I look at my closet, it's full, I don't need anything new! Simple, isn't it!

A couple of years ago, I became absolutle certain that I could go the rest of my life and not buy any new clothes and die with clothes.  Well, maybe I'd have to replace underwear because for some reason, those wear out quicker than other stuff.  And maybe socks after a few years.  But for the most part, I have way too many clothes.  I decided that I'd only start replacing stuff when it was worn out.  Seems to be working.  I've only replaced a few tops and shoes in the last few years.  Saves plenty of money!

I got paid today and instead of rushing out to eat out or buy something new, I think I'll just sit here and smile.  Saving that money for a nice vacation this winter with the kids! Memories last a lot longer than a new pair of shoes!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Football, football, football.....

I like football.  I like to watch it, not play it.  I'd be the guy that turned tail and ran screaming in the other direction.  Definately could not play!  Since we are knee deep in football season, I thought I'd ramble a bit about my love of this lovely fall sport.

My husband, who is notoriously more cheap than me, I'm frugal, he's cheap.  He'll do without because he doesn't want to spend the money.  I'll save over here so I can spend over there.  I like to travel so my frugalistaness goes to traveling.  Anyway, my husband was talked into buying season football tickets this year to his alma mater, Oklahoma State.  I did the talking.  He got a raise and was feeling really good and I said, 'why don't you buy them this year?' He did in a moment of weakness. 

I didn't realize what a wonderful, great, loving wife I would be depicted as for talking him into buying tickets.  He was so over-excited last Saturday when we arrived on campus in time for the 'Walk'.  That's when the football team walks across campus to the stadium.  Then, we went to some friends to visit at their tailgate set-up.  All the way, he just kept saying, 'this is great!' over and over.  In fact, all week, he's been saying it.  I'm glad he had a good time. 

Ok, I did talk him into the tickets. I did threaten the children not to complain as we were slepping all over the campus following dad around in the hot sun.  But here's the secret.....I enjoyed it almost as much as he did.  I like sitting out in the stands on a cool fall evening cheering and listening to the band.  I've already bought our family pass to our hometown's football team.  Football means fall and I like that just fine!  Just don't tell the hubby that I really enjoy it.  He thinks I'm the greatest wife ever right now and I don't want to spoil it!

Monday, September 13, 2010

When did it Change?

I was hanging out with a bunch of women recently and I overheard a couple talking about their bathrooms.  This is never a good thing, me eavesdropping on conversations, but alas, it happens often.  I have extreme hearing and I just can't help it!

Anyway, they were discussing their bathroom themes.  Themes!  When did bathrooms need a theme?  It's not a restaurant!  I remember my grandparents bathrooms.  Pink and green were the prevalent theme.  Maybe there were a few decorations on the wall, someone made in ceramics.  There was a little crocheted dog made out of a bar of soap.  I think that was for smell?  That or maybe if you were ever completely out of soap it was a rescue dog! 

There wasn't a hundred dollar shower curtain.  There wasn't an expensive rug on the floor.  There wasn't a two thousand dollar shower or jetted tub.  There also wasn't a theme!  It was a bathroom, plain and simple.  And you know what?  It worked! I have a feeling the rest of the world looks at us and laughs.  The are in on the joke!  Bathrooms are for doing your business, not for decorating to look like House Beautiful!

Friday, September 10, 2010

First Cool Weather!

Soup, soup, how I love soup! I seriously could eat soup everyday.  Now that I'm home during the day, I usually do eat soup once a day, either for lunch or dinner.  This last week, we finally had our first little brush with cool, fall weather.  It was soooo exciting because it was also the first football game for our town's high school.  I decided it would be a soup night!

My daughter and a friend were going to the game so I invited the family over to chow on soup and salad before the game.  I made a southwestern chicken and rice soup.  To be honest, it was a chance to use some leftovers as that is what I use soup for mostly, to repurpose leftovers into something I like to eat!  I had some chicken broth in the freezer that needed to be used, a couple of grilled chicken breasts and some leftover rice from a meal earlier in the week.  I dumped it all in, added a can of rotel, some frozen corn, spices and a can of Campbells Fiesta Cheese soup.  I love that stuff!  Adds just the right amount of cheesy flavor without overwhelming the entire dish.  I cooked it all in my big crockpot and served it with a green salad and homemade bread.  We ate until we couldn't move!  It was a good thing to send them off to a chilly football game.  Their stomachs filled with warm, homemade soup. 

I love fall!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sushi Bowls

Ok, I'm first going to say, this is not gourmet food!  I never said I was a gourmet cook.  I've always said that went out the window when the kids were born.  So please don't email me and gripe that I have dumbed down sushi.  Remember, it has to be quick, easy and kind of healthy at my house!

That said, my family loves sushi.  My kids would eat it every night.  I can make it but it is a time consuming mess that takes up most of my afternoon.  I love to go out and eat sushi and my husband and I do it as often as we can.  I hate to pay for the entire family to go eat sushi because dropping sixty to one hundred dollars for a meal, just kills me.  I'm pretty frugal remember?

I woke up in the night thinking about ways to make eating sushi with the kids easier on mom.  I came up with the idea of a sushi bowl.  I know all the sushi chefs out there are impaling themselves on their sushi knives but large appetites call for desperate measures! 

Here's what I did:
I made my sushi rice and let it cool slightly.  I then mixed nori cut into small strips into the rice so it would be nice and soft.  While the sushi rice was cooling, I cut up crab, smoked salmon and rinsed and drained small salad shrimp.  I also diced carrots, avocados, cream cheese and cucumbers.  I put all of it in small bowls and sat them around the rice and nori mixture. 

We filled our bowls with rice/nori and then topped different areas with what we like in our sushi.  I had a california roll area, and several other ones I just made up!  I mixed my soy sauce and wasabi and just dumped it over all of it.  The rest of the family left theirs on the side and dipped each bite into the sauce. 

Although it was not traditional sushi by any means, it seemed to pass the sushi test from the kids!  They loved it and loved making each persons unique to their own tastes.  Both kids voted to have this recipe again.  My daughter wants it once a week.  Probably not going to happen but it may be a once a month treat!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

September Menu Planning

I sat down and started my September menu planning.  Yes, I know, it's already September.  Well, with school starting, a new job, home schooling, dance and piano lessons starting, I've been a bit busy!

I'm beginning to transition out of summer foods and into fall dishes.  More pork and apples, less salads.  More pancake nights, less sandwiches. I even put chili and stew on the menu in late September ! We are eating the last of the Oklahoma peaches and are savoring each one.  I found a great sandwich recipe for ham peach panini.  I found it in the All You magazine.  I don't have a panini press and am not planning to purchase one.  What I have is a non-stick skillet and a cast iron skillet.  It works just fine.

Ham-Peach Panini

Bread, I've used regular sandwich or bagette; One section for each person
Sliced ham
Thinly sliced peaches, I don't peel them
honey mustard- the recipe called for dijon but I don't care for dijon.
Peach/Apricot jam or butter
cheddar cheese

On the bottom bread, spread the mustard and jam.  I go easy on the mustard and heavy on the jam.   Place sliced peaches on each bottom bread then cover with ham and cheese.  Top with the other piece of bread.  Grill in a little butter until browned then flip over and place the iron skillet on top to smash it down. 

So good, even my picky daughter ate it!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Last night, we finally had some rain!  It was so enjoyable, we all gathered on the back porch and sat and watched the lightning show and watched as the rain moved in.  Lightning used to scare me when I was a kid but my mom would sit on our front porch with me and watch the storm move across the sky. 

Powerful is the word I would use for lightning.  These big, bright streaks across the sky brought with it welcome relief from the intense heat and drought we were having.  Such excitement!  Living on the edge of the great prarie, I often wonder what it was like two hundred years ago when lightning came bringing rain but also the threat of fire.  Fire was good because it burned off the old, dead grass so new, fresh grass would grow and bring the buffalo.  You'd maybe lose your home to fire but you'd also probably have fresh meat.

For now, I'm just content to watch God's light show in the sky and marvel at it's awesomeness!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tired of Gardening and Canning

I'm tired of gardening and canning. I'm ready for a freeze but now it's time to pull up a bunch of stuff and plant veggies for fall!  If I don't, I'll be sad in a month because I'll have to start buying lettuce from the grocery store instead of my own. 

Maybe, I'll just plant a little.  I don't want to feel sad.....Gotta go, I've got work to do!

Now's the time when I savor the last of everything.  I'm still getting okra to fry and a few cukes and tomatoes and eggplants but almost everything else is giving up from our august heat. 

I'll pull out all the dead stuff and plant in it's place a few more cukes, a fall tomato that I've been babying in a pot through this heat (I grow cherries for fall) and lots of greens.  It does make me happy to be picking stuff in november here in Oklahoma!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Naked Ladies in my Yard....

Since we had some rain last week, I now have naked ladies springing up all over my yard!  Now that I've got your attention, some of you may call them suprise lilies.  Those of you who worry what other people think, probably call them that.  That or you didn't have a grandma who called them that because she liked saying it I think! Naked ladies, suprise say tomato, I say luscious round red orbs of deliciousness! ha! Calling them naked ladies sounds like some exotic flower.  Well, they kind of are!

One day my husband called me from work and asked me if I knew what naked ladies were.  When I said yes, he then put me on speaker phone for all the ladies in the breakroom.  They had apparently been discussing them and my husband put his two cents in.  They didn't believe he knew what they were and I was there to settle a friendly bet!

These are those plants that you see about now in Oklahoma springing up all over old homestead places and old homes in town.  They don't ever really look like anyone planted them because usually they were planted so long ago that the flowerbed or fence or whatever they were planted beside is long gone.  In the spring, they send up green long leaves that just sit there in the sun soaking up those rays.  Not long around Memorial Day, they just die and everyone forgets they were ever there.  Until now.  When we finally get a good soaking rain about the end of August, they put up a stalk and on that stalk is a cluster of light pink lilies that smell heavenly!  They are so unlike plants of August that it's a relief to see them. 

I love naked ladies (he, he) because I know that the end of summer is almost here.  The next thing that will appear are the chrysanthemums but they aren't a suprise.  I can see them setting the buds so they will be here in a few weeks.

Here's a little southern speak lesson if you aren't from around here:  Do you know that naked can actually be pronounced two ways?  My husband, who has lived here most of his life, didn't either.  This is actually my own rendition but here goes....two pronunciations of naked.

       Naked- naked, without clothes - this is the one you know about. Example, Adam and Eve were naked in the garden.
       Naked - necked pronounced in two syllables, neck-ade; this is without clothes doing something you should not be doing.  Example; Bobby and JohnnySue was neck-ade in the woods!

My little lesson on southern speak for today!

Hope you smiled a little today!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


School started last week.  For all of us!  Since I'm starting a new job, I'm training everyday for about four hours online.  It's hectic at our house!  I told my husband that I feel like I'm in a big building with no windows and all the hallways and doors look the same.  I can't find my way around or back where I started again.  That's what I feel like training in the computer school!  I'm sure it will get better, everyday I'm beginning to remember more and more but it sure is difficult at first learning a new system!

My kids are fareing better than I am in their prospective schools.  Both seem to enjoy what they are doing and are learning the ropes of getting around much better than old mom.  This week, we have open house for our daughter's school and next week, a phone call conference with my son's teacher.  We seem to be settling into a routine pretty quickly.  I'm ready to get there!

Yesterday, a cold front moved through Oklahoma bringing us some much needed relief from the hundred degree days! This morning when I stepped outside, it was pretty chilly!  Today will only be about eighty-five so some people will be wearing sweaters! My daughter actually did.  She says it's because the school is pretty cold in some rooms but I think she just was wanting to wear some new fall clothes....

I'm resorting to easy options for dinners these next two weeks.  Quick things that I can make ahead in the afternoon and get out fast before we rush off to whatever event is on my kids calendar.  Tonight, it's asian chicken salad.  I've made it before and posted the recipe.  The grilled chicken is in the fridge thawing and I can just throw it all together and serve it in big bowls so clean-up is also a breeze.  Which is a good thing because my kids have youth group at six tonight about the same time my husband gets home from work.  Afterwards, they have a swim party until nine. 

Next week, starts dance for the daughter and Oklahoma State football games for all of us! Bring on fall! I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Charlie, my little green snake

Ok, ok, I tend to name almost anything that lives in my yard or I own.  Hence, my van, Suzi Q who gets treated like a member of the family and Sarah, the wild turkey (she is a bird, not a drink!).  Actually, my neighbor named her, we're quite a bit a like.  I also have a green snake named Charlie.

Now, you know that I don't like snakes by now if you've read any of my posts.  I am terrified of them because they are just so sneaky and since I'm usually wandering around not paying attention to anything, the snake seems to jump out of nowhere and startle me out of my wits.

Except Charlie.  I kind of like Charlie.  He's been here for at least five years and he lives over in the east side in a flowerbed.  He likes irises because that is usually where I see him.  The first few years, I swear he would try to scare me.  I would be up to my eyebrows weeding the irises and suddenly, there he would be, staring at me eyeball to eyeball.  I think one reason that I don't like snakes is that they don't have eyelashes.  Staring into an eye that is naked is kind of weird.  If God had given snakes eyelashes, they would seem so much sweeter.  Take a snake and put big cow eyes on it and suddenly, that old snake becomes cuddly. 

Since Charlie is only about a foot long and bright green, I've simply grown accustomed to him.  I expect to see him draped over the iris leaves.  I think he knew that, so he's moved to the lilac beds to keep me on my toes!  I was watering tonight and almost reached in to pull a bright green weed when it suddenly moved.  I imagined that Charlie yelled out 'Gotcha!'  It's good to have friends in the yard!

Monday, August 23, 2010

I survived!

My husband and I in a moment of pure insanity took our two kids and two of their friends to Branson, Missouri over the weekend to go to Silver Dollar City.  If you've never been to SDC or as the locals call it, Steal Your Dollar City, you're missing out.  This is the only theme park my husband can be talked into that is within a two days drive.  He liked Disney World but who can run over there in a weekend?

Silver Dollar City is like an old town set in the 1800's.  It is clean, shady and full of people that love their jobs and love people.  It is a Christian based theme park that is not overt in it's Christianity but you know that morals and values are important to the people who own and run the park.  It has lots of rides for all ages but it also has music and variety shows and arts and crafts buildings.  My husband calls it arts and crap but that's not what they carry.  They have local artisians doing painting, metalwork, woodwork, pottery and other real crafts.  It's interesting to go and watch these artists make beautiful objects and speak directly to them. 

We took four kids and set them free in Silver Dollar City for the day.  This is the first year that they have been able to go off on their own.  Of course, all four had their cell phones with them so they could call at any minute but it still was a little unnerving to let them out of my sight!  The kids had a ball, riding rides until they were sick and buying the snacks and drinks that they wanted not what I thought they should have.  When they wandered off my husband turned to me and said, 'they really are growing up aren't they?' We hadn't been alone in Silver Dollar City since we had traveled there twenty-two years ago on our honeymoon! Sure hasn't seemed like that long ago!

The kids survived, we survived and I think we all had a good time.  We only had to stop once on the way home to break up a fist fight in the back of Suzy Q.  Our own lovely adorable children were punching away on each other so my husband had to remove them from the vehicle and have a 'little talk' to the two of them.  We were all tired from having too much fun in the sun and were a bit cranky at that time. 

But we survived! I had a friend once that would say of any experience that you'd either have a good time or a great story, I think we have both from this trip!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Flip flop!

No, I'm not talking about those sandals I love so much this time of year.  I call them thongs and it embarasses my kids to death!  We had an entire discussion one night at the dinner table about what is a thong?  It is something that slides between two things!  My take on the Webster defination.  It's not my fault this generation has completely given that simple word a very graphic meaning! 

I remember when I first started teaching high school in Oklahoma in 2002.  This was the very height of thong wearing season.  Almost every girl in the school wore those awful underwear and it was also right in the middle of those hideous low slung jeans that looked good on almost no one!  Imagine for one moment what my computer typing class looked like to me since I only saw the backs of people and no one would ever push their chair up to the computer.  I loudly explained one day that if I saw another slot I was going to put a penny in it, just as the principal walked into my room.  Just as quickly, he turned and walked out!  He always teased me that observing for me was 'unique' because he never quite knew what we'd be discussing that day!

My flip flop is actually that I will be working this fall after all.  I had come to terms with God that if He wanted me to stay home, He wouldn't give me a job.  I had a peace that staying home was fine.  God had provided extra income and our stress level as a family was greatly reduced since I was home all day. I got a job offer this week from the virtual school my son is attending.  I'll be working part-time teaching their high school sciences.  This job will allow me to be home all day, help my son when he needs it and supervise all his work, pick up/drop off my daughter; pretty much everything I was doing as a full-time stay-at-home mom except for a few hours a day I'll be teaching!  God was in control all along.  He just needed me to stop running around like a chicken with her head cut off and let him lead.  I have seen a chicken with it's head cut off, more than one actually, and it's really a funny but grotesque sight!  I'm sure I looked just like that too! No direction, no plan, just run, run, run! 

I'll keep you posted this fall on how this is working!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First Day of School!

This is it! The first day of school! So exciting, new school for the daughter, new program for the son.  Finally getting back to a schedule for me!  I took pictures by the flowerbed that I've always do.  It is amazing how much bigger both of the kids have grown and the how the flowerbed has changed over the years. 

Different hairstyles, different styles of clothes, bigger and bigger shoes!  It's always amazing what outfits my kids choose for the first day of school.  My daughter, who is in her own right a self-proclaimed fashionista, makes her choice weeks in advance and changes it every other day until the night before.  She wants to show everybody how nice she can dress.  My son, who would still be letting me choose his clothes if I would, simply reaches into his closet or floor for something that would pass for clean. 

Yesterday, my daughter was still agonizing over which jeans to wear, looked at my son and said, 'you're lucky you're doing homeschool this year, you don't have to choose what to wear on the first day of school!'  My son, never one to miss an opportunity to be sarcastic to his sister, I think he got that from dad...never from me, said, 'I never chose what I was going to wear to the first day of school when I went to school! I just grabbed whatever!'  She audibly gasped in horror.  To think that he didn't even plan his wardrobe!

Hopefully, she'll have a great day! We went and got the schedule well in advance and took a tour of the school.  She already has many friends that will be there to help her and she even got to meet a few of her teachers.  I dropped her off this morning with a smile and a wave and DID NOT walk her in! I have great faith that she'll do well.  Middle school is tough but my daughter is better than most!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Needing Rain and Armadillos!

We really, really, really need rain right now in Oklahoma! Did I mention we really need rain! Oh we do!  I am so tired of dragging around hoses and setting up and taking down watering systems.  The birds are so very happy when I set up the sprinkling system around the yard so they can get a much needed bath.  It hasn't helped that the average temperature for the past fifteen or so days has been over 100 degrees!
Yesterday, we finally got that good soaking that we have so desperately needed and boy I am glad!  Now I won't have to water for a few days at least.

My hummingbirds are not faring well either.  It seems they are in the middle of congregating here in Oklahoma until they leave in October or so.  They are draining my two feeders about every other day.  I usually don't have that many hummingbirds, I have about six normally.  Today, I counted between twelve and fifteen.  Those poor little guys are hot, tired and drinking up a storm!

Last night, as I was making my rounds in the garden, I had quite a start.  My big, black german shephard, Kate, and I heard a snort in the woods behind the garden.  We had apparently spooked a deer and it was giving us a warning not to come any closer!  Suddenly, my dog, who had been poking around in the gourds looking for bugs was standing in front of me guarding me from the snorting!  I started to calmly talk to the unseen deer and it eventually snorted off deeper into the woods.  Kate was really excited that she had scared that mean, old deer away from her mistress!

As I picked tomatoes and okra, I noticed that my garden had been visited by a pesky armadillo! This creature had dug up my eggplant, my baby swiss chard and several peppers!  Luckily, it was cooler today, only  91d egrees, I think the plants survived.  I rewatered them and spoke quite firmly to my dear dog, Kate about guarding the garden all the time, not just when I was in it!  Time will tell if she really heard me or if she was just looking at me with those big, brown eyes!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Growing up....

This sunday was promotion sunday at our church.  My daughter was especially excited about this because it marked her first sunday as a youth!  This had several meanings for her; she got to start going to the youth building for sunday school and she no longer was expected to sit near a parent, either us or another one during church but she was expected to sit with the youth group.  She has been planning this moment all summer!

Promotion sunday is not such a big deal in the adult departments.  We really don't move, the class just reclassifies itself as an older one and we keep going.  Occasionally, a couple will 'move' on to an older class but most of us just keep going, and going, and going to the same class.  When we first started going to this church about eleven years ago, we went to a young married class.  We were between the ages of 25-35 so we fit right in.  We are still classified as a new married class but most of us have youth and some even have college kids!  We all laugh that we are the oldest young married class in the history of Baptist churches! 

Growing up means different things to different people at different stages of life.  To my daughter, growing up means sitting apart from us at church.  To each of us though, it means more responsibilities and higher expectations.  Sitting apart from your parents means you have to take it upon yourself to not talk, pass notes and generally act like a kids.  To an adult, growing up means getting a job and making grown-up decisions about your life; where to live, who to marry, etc. 

I think back to when I was a new youth.  I was so excited to pull away from my parents and become someone different.  Now, looking back, I see that I've pretty much come full circle.  I pulled away, but like a  june bug on a string, I circled around and am now back in the same spot that I left my parents years ago.  Except this time, I am the one standing still while my own children are pulling away.  Makes me look at my own parents with new eyes.  Eyes that have new appreciation for what they have done......

Monday, August 16, 2010


This post is not for men today, sorry.  If you're a man that normally reads this either; a) turn your computer off and walk away or b) read and try to learn something about the innerworkings of a madwoman since most of you know someone close to you who goes through this status once a month!

I hate PMS! I've always suffered some form of PMS from moodiness and insomnia to migraines and periodic bouts of insanity!  Each month, when my little friend, George, that's what we called it in middle school, showed up, I'd have a really crappy couple of days and then I was back to normal.  Nowadays, many, many months will go by with pretty much nothing and then WHAM!!! all of George's pent up frustrations would be taken out on me in a couple of days.  This month was a WHAM!! month.  The days leading up to greeting George makes you want get the M in PMS started already!

I've always told my husband that I needed a little dot in the center of my forehead, kind of like Hindu women have, so he could gauge my mood swings from afar.  You see, he comes in and before he gets too close, he sees that the dot is green so he kisses me and asks, 'what's for dinner?' If the dot is red, he sits down, out of arms range and says, 'what say, I take you out for dinner?'.  It would be so much easier on him if I had one of those dots.  Instead the poor man and now the poor children are left to wonder who is standing in the kitchen; normal mom who can take just about anything and laugh and joke about while making up silly songs and dancing kind of like Paula Abdul or psychomom who either cries at the drop of a hat, or ice cube, or sock or is screaming and yelling like one of those congressmen up in Washington when they aren't getting their way!

I usually don't realize that I'm in that mood for at least a couple of hours when it hits.  I know that it's a few days before George is supposed to hit but since this doesn't happen each month, it always sneaks up on me.  After a few episodes, I realize I am in full PMS mode.  Doesn't matter though, even though I know that I am being meaner than a snake, I really don't care!  That's where the crazy comes in! I sometimes like it! 

Then, just as suddenly as it came on, the pendulum swings the other way and I'm weepy and sad.  Oh hormones, why do you mess with me so?

Now days, my daughter is experiencing the joys of womanhood too.  The last time she had an episode, she almost killed her older brother.  He was horrified because she's normally a very mild-mannered child and puts up with almost anything her older bro can dish out.  I stepped in and led her to my bedroom and calmly explained the situation.  I made her lay down, propped her feet up with a pillow and handed her the remote.  I then brought her a piece of good dark chocolate and a dr. pepper.  When she emerged from the bedroom a few hours later, she was a new creature.  Her brother, however, began to understand that she could be a formidable opponent when she wanted to be.  I think he looks at her with new respect!

Oh the joys of womanhood! I just can't wait until menopause!