Monday, February 28, 2011

Little Woman...

I never gave being small very much thought until just a few years ago.  I saw a picture of myself with some students at prom and one of the very tall boys said, 'Wow, I just realized just how short you are!', as if he was seeing me for the first time in that photograph.  He actually had seen me almost everyday of his high school life!  It struck me that, I never had realized how short I was either until he pointed it out....You see, I'm five foot three if I stand really tall and stick my boobs out and my shoulders back.  I'm also fairly thin.  Not extremely thin but thin enough that people say things like, 'go ahead and eat (you fill in the blank), you can afford the calories.  Yeah, right, I wouldn't be thin if I ate like that!

 My husband and I had one of those rare Sundays when both kids are doing something after church so we went out to eat!  We try to get in a little alone time when we can...doesn't happen often but it's fun when we do.  As we were leaving, a young woman came hobbling up on a pair of spiky black boots.  My husband poked me and said, 'That's what you need.' To which my comeback was, 'I already have a pair of black boots."  He then proceeded to point out that mine were not spikey like the one the girl was wearing.  He knows I don't like high heels so he thought he'd be funny!  'Nah;, I said,' I don't like wearing high heels because if you have to cut into a run to catch and woop-up on someone, they are a bit restricting...'   He stopped in the parking lot and said, 'only you would say something like that!' He was laughing and laughing as I simply got into the minivan and waited for him to start the car.

He's right, I'm like a little toy poodle who doesn't know just how little it really is.  It's never come up because when I'm mad, I apparently blow myself up like a puffer fish because kids, like big football player boys, tuck their tails between their legs and start acting better immediately.  I guess you could say I just have one of those personalities that seems bigger than the person it inhabits.......

Maybe it's the southern woman in me, you know, like steel magnolias.  Sweet and hospitable but don't get her mad, she turns into a water moccasin!  And my kids say the madder I get the more southern the accent comes out.  They know just how far to push  before my Scarlet O'Hare comes shooting to the surface......

Being little has never bothered me, I've never given it much thought......I've never been anything else.  I has it's rewards sometimes.  You get to stand in the front for a parade for instance.  You also never get asked to reach up and get something. You also don't have to worry about the dust up high,....I don't see it, it doesn't bother me, so if it bothers you, here's the dust rag!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Garden catalogs!

My gardening catalogs keep rolling in as a constant reminder that spring is fast on the way!  I know, I know, here in Oklahoma, we'll probably have at least one more ice/snow event but it will be a fast mover...they don't hang out long once we get out of February!  So come on March!

Everyday when I go to the mailbox, I usually get another seed or garden catalog.  I love looking through the pages at all the bright happy plants.  About this time of the year, I get the spring fever so I'm glad that I can get outside and dig around in the dirt cleaning out flower beds or sowing early seeds inside for my spring garden. I've already started my tomatoes and am patiently waiting......maybe not so patiently!  I want to get them planted outside today!  It's hard to wait for spring..

This year, however, I'm a bit hesitant for spring.  Since we broke record lows this winter, I'm wondering if I will lose some plants.  I worried about my new blackberries that I planted last spring.  I am supposed to harvest a crop this year but blackberries sometimes die back to the ground in really cold weather.  I'm worried about my strawberries.  It's a waiting game for some of the flowers too.  Will my azaleas come back, what about my crepe myrtles? 

To put a positive spin on things, my grandma used to say that the hard killing cold killed it's share of snakes, ticks and chiggers too!  I'm going to be really mad if my blackberries, strawberries and crepe myrtles bit the dust but the snakes made it......

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

One Year how things have changed!

So I was bored and looked back to see what my theme was a year ago on my blog....I was in a cleaning frenzy!  I was cleaning walls, floors, ceilings, closets and anything else I could get my hands on.  All I can say is 'my how things have changed!'  

Since we've started the building/remodeling project, very little cleaning is going on, at least deep cleaning.  I'm cleaning alright, trying to keep the dust down, the drywall plaster in the remodel area and basically trying to keep control of the panic attack growing inside me with all this mess!  My daughter has lost her room, she's now in the guest bedroom with closet space in three different closets!  My son, will be sleeping in the living room this week and probably next, lost his closet about a month ago.  They have things strung out from the upstairs down to the garage! 

My office is piled up with things from the guest bedroom and my bedroom has what wouldn't fit in the office.  Dusting is almost impossible because any open area has something stacked on top!  I keep going into the new family room, that now has walls and lights and drywall plaster on it, and envisioning all the extra space we will have in a another month or can't happen fast enough!

I'm actually pretty proud of myself, I haven't had a melt-down about the mess.  I do find that I feel really scattered and it's hard for me to focus on one thing for long.  I know it's because I don't like clutter, it makes me feel cluttered and disorganized. 

Hopefully, that will change soon and we'll be moving the kids into new rooms and have a great teen cave to start hosting again.  I'm resting now so after it's all done I can get my clean groove back on!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy President's Day!

Unless you're a government or bank employee, you may not have realized that this is President's Day!  When I was a kid, we celebrated George Washington's birthday and Abe Lincoln's birthday seperately but sometime in that forty years, someone decided to merge the two together.  As school kids, we didn't get the days off so it really didn't matter to me!  What did matter was that my mom always made a cherry dessert on old George's birthday.

I know the story about George chopping down the cherry tree is folklore, but it sure is nice to know that on that day, when you came home from school, it didn't matter what we were having for dinner because that night there would be dessert!  We usually didn't eat dessert after a normal weekday dinner, probably why none of us really struggle with our weight.  My sister says she does but she really doesn't, she's tall, thin and very nice looking!  Men used to ask her if she knew she looked like Julia Roberts!  Anyway, that's a bit off topic.....I'm talking about pie!

Today, I had to run into town to pick up some printer ink so my usual Reasor's grocery store stop was going to be a Walmart run.  I really have to gear myself up for Walmart.  It is my least favorite place to shop in the entire town, possibly state, maybe the entire country or world.  I just don't like it.  They are always moving things around so I can't find things, there are unkempt people shuffling around like they live there, and it takes so long to check out!

Today, I was just going to pop in, grab my printer ink, some frozen cherries for my pie and get out of that place!  Ha! Did I mention I don't shop there because they are like the Lowe's of the grocery world.....a little of this and that but don't ask for anything really specific because they don't carry it!  Yep, you guessed it.  No frozen cherries!  None!  I found frozen strawberries, frozen raspberries, frozen blueberries, a frozen mix of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries but not one cherry!  Frozen cantelope and melon mix but still no frozen cherry!  I thought maybe I was mistaken, so I asked a person dressed up to resemble an employee.  They looked and looked, basically where I looked and then declared that they must not carry them.

"Bummer, that means that President's Day is cancelled!" I declared.  Who ever heard of a store that doesn't carry frozen cherries!  Well, I did manage.  I bought a can of pitted cherries and had a bag of frozen cherries in my freezer(from good old Reasor's)!  The pie is in the oven baking as we speak.  The vanilla ice cream is waiting patiently in the freezer....oh yeah, we are really having dinner, cornbread topped chili casserole.  It's good but no one will remember it.  All they will remember is that we had pie....on a weeknight!

God bless our president's and president's day!!!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Beef jerky....the perfect gift!

So we exchanged small gifts on Valentine's Day.  I always get the kids some little something.  My  mom did it for me and my sister, I do it for my own kids.  We used to get heart earrings or red pj's or panties or something cute.

My daughter got a little pink pair of running shorts. They are hot pink and really cute.  She'll look so cute out running in them. Don't tell her I said that or she'll never wear them!  The point is, it's easy to buy something cute for her for Valentine's Day.....not so much with my son!

Teenage boys get tricky when it comes to buying gifts.  Heaven knows he needs more cologne or body wash or spray.  When he actually uses it, I can barely breath.  I think this bronchitis I have may have more to do with Axe body spray and less to do with a virus! My poor lungs!  But that's when he actually uses it....most days, I have to threaten to bath him myself before I can get him into the shower.   A mother of an older boy has promised me that he will eventually get the hang of personal hygiene but I'm not sure at this time....maybe in a few years when a girl is in the picture..I can only dream.  He keeps reminding me that he's living here until he's thirty and I keep reminding him that he's not!

I finally struck upon the perfect Valentine's gift.  An assortment of beef jerky! Perfect! He almost cried with joy when he opened the package.  Four different flavors so he could mix and match! He was in heaven.....for three days.  That's how long it took him to eat all four packages.....Easter basket shopping will be easy this year.  I've just got to figure out how to roll up the jerky to fit into the eggs!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I love the sunshine!  I really missed it during the snow days we had the last few weeks! I missed taking my daily walk in my mud boots with Miss Kate by my side.  Not much to see in the winter but I'm always checking the status of my daffodils and Miss Kate loves anything I do with her.  Dogs are like that...doesn't matter if I'm just digging in the garden, she likes having me with her.  I have fallen hard for this silly dog.....didn't see that one coming!

I've been out stalking the daffodils and guess what?  Some of them have made an appearance!  Yep, one week after we hit record lows, I have sweet little daffodils peeking up through the ground!  Sunshine and my first peek of daffodils in the same day....this is a good day!

Daffodils are pretty hardy little flowers.  They are sunny, bright yellow little flowers that store it's energy from last summer and lay underground all during all the hottest part of the summer.  They put on quite a show but it's short-lived and many times, in Oklahoma, is cut way too short by an ice or snow storm or a powerful thunderstorm.  That doesn't bother those resilient flowers, they store more energy and try it again next spring.  I think as I've gotten older, I've become a little more daffodil than I used to be.  When I get knocked down, I get back up again and try over.  Age seems to bring a resiliency that I didn't have when I was young.

I've lived long enough to know it won't always be easy, that things are going to turn bad eventually and how I respond will matter more than what happens.  That things will turn good eventually.  That success sometimes means walking away from the thing you thought you wanted more than anything.  That some people are the sum of what you see, there is nothing else to them.  That real friends can not talk for months, even years, and then take right back up where they left off.  That being a daffodil is better than being a rose.......

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Flourless Chocolate Cake- Not!

So Valentine's Day 2011 is over, we had a great time!  Unfortunately, my daughter had a numb mouth because both of the kids had dental appointments this afternoon for cleanings.  My daughter is getting braces next week so I wanted the braces put on clean teeth!  I moved up the cleanings and ended up with Valentine's Day, couldn't be helped.  Anyway, she had a partial numb mouth but I think she still was able to eat all the food and enjoyed it quite a bit.

I said earlier that I had a new dessert to try, flourless chocolate cake.  I made it yesterday and it was quite memorable.  My son and I had quite a laugh as we were making it.  He described it as an epic fail that turned out ok!

To start with, the author of the recipe said to use a nine-inch cake pan.  Well, the pan was about a half too small so part of the cake ended up on the bottom of my clean oven...well I had put aluminum foil on the bottom so I just scraped it off and ate it!  I also took off the pieces that fell on the oven grates, ate that too. 

The recipe said to cook for forty minutes.  It ended up taking about sixty minutes.  When I finally was satisfied that it was done, I let it cool for thirty minutes like the recipe said.  Then I was supposed to turn it over and dump it out.  Well, I had to eat some more of the cake that was hanging over the pan. That's when my son got in on the eating frenzy.  We ate all the stuff hanging over the side and I picked up the cake to turn it over.....and that's when it got interesting!  I picked up the entire top came off!  In a perfect heart, I lifted up the top of cake!  My son started laughing and laughing!  I gently laid down the top of the cake and proceeded to turn over the cake and it came out perfectly onto my cake pedestal.  I then picked up the top and placed it over the cake!  Looked pretty good actually, that's when my son decided that the epic fail turned into an ok!

I made a raspberry sauce to serve with the cake.  After our dinner of shrimp cocktail, tomato-feta salad, grilled steak and baked potato and homemade bread; we served the the flourless chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and chamomile tea.  I started calling it the earthquake cake because the minute that I started cutting it, it broke into a million pieces!  My daughter accused me of thinking that one up early in the day and waiting to use it all day!  I really didn't, it just came to me, I promise.....

It wasn't too bad, it tasted like eating chocolate meringue.  My husband suggested that next time we just have regular chocolate cake.  It isn't something I think I will make again.....

But we had a great valentine's day!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentines Day 2011

I almost missed it!  With all the snow and fluff outside, Valentine's Day came up fast upon me.  The family had talked about it last week when we had so much together time but I had simply forgotten that it was this week!  So today, I'm cooking for the big family valentine dinner....yup, it's almost the same as last year and the year before that and the year before that....

And that's ok, my kids chose the menu and they like it!  I was chuckling a couple of days ago to myself wondering when they are grown-ups will they have tomato-feta salad, grilled steaks and baked potato, bread and a chocolate dessert for their own kids....I hope they do!  I hope they feel that having fancy family dinners are important. 

It's fun planning and scheming and plotting and hiding those little gifts that we buy from one another.  It's fun setting the table with all the fancy linens and dishes.  It's fun watching my two kids grow-up and learn good manners that I hope (I hope, I hope, I hope) that they use those manners when they are out in the world without me.  I hope so, because my son does not always use them at home!

It's a way for me to show my love to my family, preparing a fancy meal.  It'd be much easier just to put something quick and easy on the table, like I do most nights!  But I want them to know that I value them and I enjoy doing things for them.  We don't have to have a fancy meal to sit and enjoy each other's company each night but it is fun to do it every now and then.  Every night would probably kill me!

We haven't always been able to have our dinner on Valentine's day, some years, one of their activities get in the way.  But, we always have our dinner!  I like it better when it's actually on Valentine's Day.  It makes it much more special to me....

My hubby and I went out over the weekend for a 'just the two of us' dinner.  It was nice to just be able to concentrate on speaking to each other, to get into 'in-depth' grown-up conversation.  And one day to soon probably, we will be having many more of those dinners.....Right now, every now and then is fun, I like that good old fancy family dinner!

We've made a pact not to buy anything big for each other.  With this remodel overtaking our lives and our wallet, we think the best thing we could give each other is a little time just to ourselves.  Nothing fancy, just time.

I'm making a flourless chocolate cake for dessert.  That's the only part of meal that can change, so I try something new each year.  I'll keep you posted on how it went!

Friday, February 11, 2011

The secret to the sauce!

Ok, I promised yesterday I'd tell you the long story of how I got the best bar-be-que sauce in the world! Well, it started with my've got to know, he was a bit of a character.  When he was 17, he lied to join the navy during world war II.  He saw a lot of action, got wounded a couple of times and nearly died.  He survived but wouldn't talk much about what happened until later in life.  He saw terrible things for a kid.....

When he returned, he became a plumber, pipefitter and welder.  He could fix just about anything.  He traveled around the country working on stuff like power plants.  When my mom was in the fifth grade or so, they settled down in my hometown and my grandpa traveled by himself.  By the time I came around, he was working around our town and doing well for himself.

Being a navy man, my grandpa could talk the talk.  He could also gamble and smoke.  So I've got to get back to the story......word is my grandpa did some work for the owner of the bar-be-que restaurant and when he asked how much he wanted for the job and grandpa told him he wanted the sauce recipe.  He was sworn to silence and he pretty much kept his silence on the recipe for years and years.  He would whip up a big batch sauce and pass it out to family and friends.  He only gave me the recipe when I got married and moved away.  I had to swear to keep the secret and I did.  As the years went by, he did loosen up and give it to a couple of other family members. 

We were sitting around at a family gathering after grandpa passed away and we began to talk about the sauce and grandpa.  I mentioned the story he told me about how he got it and my brother starting laughing at me!  'That's not what he told me!', he said.  My grandpa had told him that he won it in a poker game.....that sounds more like the real story to me.

Did I tell you that this was the same grandpa who used to shoot off a homemade cannon for fourth of july and noodle at the river......he was fun!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Another snow day......

So thankful that I am a work from home employee!  I honestly think I would be driving closely to the madness cliff if I didn't have something to do during all this winter!  We woke up yesterday to another eight to twelve inches of snow....can't tell because we couldn't find a place that didn't already have snow to measure except the front and back porches.  We had eight inches on one side of the house and twelve inches on the other side.  I think I'll just say ten inches. 

My daughter is close to losing her mind! She's missing her friends and wants to get back to all her activities!  Being stuck at home with mom and dad and big brother is no fun at all...there are only so many places to hide in our house so she's pretty much stuck in her room.  Luckily, her brother still has school so he's been busy at least a few hours each day. 

My husband has been able to commute to work for exactly two days since last tuesday.  His normal commute is an hour so when you can't even get out out of the driveway, it's kind of dumb to drive to work.  He can also work from home just as easily so the easy chair has been his office lately.  Makes cleaning the living room a bit difficult but I know that someday, I'll have that room back!

To say that we're all tired of winter is an understatement of the year! We are ready to book a flight to anywhere closer to the equator!  So last night, I made comfort food deluxe! Homemade pancakes, fried ham, scrambled eggs and blackberries and blueberries with syrup.  You put that on the table and everyone forgets their troubles of the day!  We had very little left after we pushed away from the table.  Of course, I had made enough to feed Kate some extra dinner tonight! She's tucked into her heated dog house but I still feel sorry for her out there!  She's the only one who seems to enjoy the weather.  She actually goes out and rolls in the snow!  She'll chase the ball through the snow even though the snow rubs her belly.  She sure enjoyed the eggs and ham too. 

Oklahoma is supposed to be getting warmer and warmer this weekend, the weather men are saying it's going to be close to sixty by next tuesday! WooHoo! We'll be bringing out the flip-flops.....I need a pedicure!

Tomorrow is snow day number ten for my daughter this year.....she'll probably be going to school until mid-June, while I'm sitting by the pool.  I haven't told her that would probably push over the edge.........

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Eating from the Stockpile

Ok, this is week two of the EPIC BLIZZARD of 2011 or as some are calling it SNOWMAGEDDEN 2011!  I'm ever so thankful that I stockpile shop!  I had to actually make up something last weekend so my husband had an excuse to leave the ponderosa and check out the roads.

I still don't need to grocery shop but my stockpile will be a bit depleted after this is all over.  We have been eating like kings though.  I've been able to keep to my menu as I typically have a two week delay between eating and buying.  Plus, I always have a few meals that I always keep handy for those just in case nights that are quick and easy.  Things like soup and spaghetti and a few frozen casseroles.

It's been nice to know I don't have to venture out and fight the crowds at the grocery store.  I can just follow my menu and feed my family.  Plus, I purchased most of the food with coupons on sale so I'm saving money too!  That deserves a little happy dance!

I actually had time to make the world famous bar-be-que sauce that I've been meaning to make.  I've been buying the items when I could get them on sale and finally had them all together.  I put up twelve pints so that should keep us for this year.  I can it so I don't have to store so much in the fridge.  I just put it into the canned food pantry along with the summer produce and fruit.  Here in Oklahoma, it's also a great quick gift for someone.  Everybody loves bar-be-que and everyone is always looking for the best sauce.  My son thinks I should sell it.

I'll tell you the bar-be-que story tomorrow.  It's full of intrigue and is steeped in family history!  Oh great, another family story.....

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Plague!

Well, the plague has hit me! I ended up in the emergency room on Sunday with, what my husband thought was a heart attack, but was really a pretty bad bronchitis attack.  When I went into the cold, I couldn't breath and then ended up hyperventilating.  Pretty scary really. 

If you want to get into a room fast at an emergency room, I'll tell you how to do it.  Sit down in the chair, and say you are short of breath, you feel numb and your heart is beating out of your chest!  Then almost pass out and immediately, they are wheeling you into a room and several people are working on you at once....maybe not the best way to get into a room. 

It scared my husband and daughter more than it scared me, apparently, I wasn't looking too good! My son, since he was listening to his ipod and playing a video game while we were driving to the hospital, didn't know what was going on....oh, teenage boys!  They live in their own world!

I'm ok now, got some meds and have been told to rest and stay out of the cold.  It's going around but I honestly didn't feel that bad.  Of course, I was moving slowly but I figured it was due to being cooped all this last week with the blizzard.  My kids are helping out a lot and checking on me when I go lay down.  My daughter keeps reminding me to drink orange juice and liquids.  She'll be a pretty good nurse when she grows up.

As of now, we are scheduled for another winter storm tonight.  My daughter hasn't been in school since last Monday. She's missing her friends and school!  I honestly don't mind being home.  I'm able to work since I work for a virtual school.  May 28th will be my last day of school for my kids and my son regardless of what the weather brings!   

For now, I'm just going to take it easy for a few more days.  I've got the humidifier going and the Vick's vaporub on my chest.  Being sick is no fun but it is a bit better when I can't go anywhere....staying home for the next few days is the best medicine!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Seeing the Big Picture....

I saw a cartoon the other about southerners and snow, of course, the first day it was all 'yeah, snow! It's so pretty, I'm eating snow ice cream, school's out!'  By the fourth day however, it was a totally different story! The poor little stick figure was laying there, almost dead because of boredom and beginning to go very true in Oklahoma!

We don't get much snow so it's fun, fun, fun at first.  That first or second snowday is like a little gift.  You get to sleep in and finish projects that you don't normally get to work on.  But the difference between us and the northern states is that we expect that snow to melt away in a matter of days, not weeks!  We want to see blue skys and sunshine as soon before the end of the week.  We don't have the equipment to clear the roads so we're stuck in our homes with our families!

We got out over the weekend to see how the roads were and take my son over to a friends for a few hours.  As we were driving out in the country, I looked at the snow covered hills.  It was so peaceful looking, like everything was covered in a powdered sugar blanket.  I began to think about all the plants and animals that were tucked safely under all that snow.

You see, snow is a great insulator and we've had record low temperatures this last week.  We've also been under a severe drought.  I've been praying for moisture each week.  So suddenly we have a lot of moisture and record low temperatures, God has a way of taking care of his creatures.  I wondered how many animals and plants would have died if we just had been hit with record low temperatures without the protective covering of the snow blanket.

I began to be thankful for this snow.....the precious moisture will be appreciated as it slowly melts into the ground.  The animals are thankful as they are able to burrow under the snow and stay warmer.  My little brain sometimes just gets so carried away with wanting what I want, when I want it and I forget to stop and look at the wonder of nature.  I need to just stop, look, listen and be thankful; for whatever comes my way.  I need to trust that God is faithful and He will provide for me.  If He cares enough to water the plants in Oklahoma, I'm sure He cares for me!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Party Cancelled.....

Our church cancelled our super bowl parties for tonight.  I honestly wasn't too sad, I was beginning to wonder where people would park and I certainly didn't want them spending the night!  We were hosting the seventh and grade youth kids.  Like I said, it would have been fun but the weather has made it not the best idea.....

I enjoy playing hostess for others.  I enjoy having people over and cooking for them.  It's just in my nature.  After being cooped up all week, I was really looking forward to having kids around.  So instead of cleaning and getting ready for the party, we moved my daughter upstairs.  I'm hoping for some progress on the new family room and bedroom remodel this week.  Everything came to a screeching halt this last week because of the blizzard. 

My husband did a few things in the evening after working but no one with any real skill came over! We quite possibly will be slow this week also because the wonderful weather men have started screaming that this week may be another last week! Someone told me this week they felt like they were living in the 'Groundhog Day' movie!  I was thinking this week that this must be what it's like to be retired!  Even though I was working, I actually began to lose track of what day it was! 

Normally, my week is marked by driving my kids here and there, everyday is different.  Not this week!  The calendar suddenly became empty so the sameness made me lose track....not actually bad, just different.

Well, it's almost time for the superbowl.  I really don't care who wins, professional football is really not my sport.  I like college, it seems to me when people begin to play for millions of dollars instead of simple bragging rights, something is lost.....

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Eating Local

So we woke up this morning, day number five of being stuck in the house. My husband actually thought he was going to work yesterday.  He commutes sixty miles one way normally.  Before getting twenty-three inches of snow! Did I say we got another three or so of snow yesterday?  I did the teenage eye-roll when he told me that he was going to work! I also said, 'make sure and pack some clothes, because you'll be there all weekend.'

He decided not to go when the weather service put us under a winter storm watch that was later upgraded to a warning.  The mood was tense at our house so after lunch, I suggested that we go into town and let me do my weekly Walgreen's coupon run.  There was a few really good deals I had coupons on so it gave the man an excuse to drive off the Ponderosa! Boy, he was excited!

Roads were bad, but the people were friendly.  Something about being cooped up for many days with only family makes total strangers fast friends!  Heck, we're just glad to see someone else!

As we were going into Walgreens, we met someone we know coming out.  They let us know there was no milk.  Why would I buy milk at Walgreens, I thought?  We have a dairy in town....Both my husband and I said at the same time, 'go to Swan's!'  You see we have a little old-fashioned dairy in Claremore. Swan Dairy has been around for a couple of generations and they sell good, old-fashioned non-pasteurized milk!  It tastes just delicious!

Some people get all freaked out about their milk being non-pasteurized but most of us drank non-pasteurized milk as kids or had parents that did.  A lot of times, we got milk from the neighbors in a cleaned out pickle jar!  I don't ever remember being fact, back then, it seemed most of us were healthier than kids are now.   Maybe it's because we're just so clean now,  kind of makes me want to keep the house a little dirtier so everybody will stay healthy! He! he!

Well, back to Mr. Swan.  His first name is Harley, although I call him Mr. Swan.  Used to sit by him and his wife in church until we had to move closer to the youth group, ask my son about that!  Anyway, I like knowing when I drive up to Swan's, I can see the cows through the window getting milked, if I go at milking time.  And I get a friendly wave from Mr. Swan and the other employees working there.  It's primarily a family affair so they are always there, no new employees working every week.  They also make great cheese, especially cheese curds.  Sometimes, I eat half of them before I get home.

So you see, it never occurred to me to buy milk at Walgreens or the grocery store.  When all the milk is gone in Claremore, I know where to find more.  The cows make it everyday no matter what the weather!  Buying local has it's rewards! 

If you ever get the chance to drive through Oklahoma, stop by the Swan Dairy in Claremore.  Stop and watch the cows getting milked and say hello to Mr. Swan and the family! Just don't buy all the cheese curds....I need some to put in my Italian salad!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Family Stories

When I was a kid, everytime we traveled through Honor Heights park in Muskogee, Oklahoma, my dad would tell us kids about the time he found a dead man leaning against a tree!  Well, he wasn't the only one that found him.  You see, he was in a boy scout troop and they were camping.

I could just imagine, as a kid, my dad, of course he was a lot younger and smaller, running like a banshee, a male banshee, through the woods at Honor Heights park with a bunch of other boys!  Running and playing and screaming and yelling and then Bam! a dead man! How cool for a bunch of little boys!  The poor man was actually a patient at the veteran's hospital on the hill and he had wandered off and sat down and died.  I often wonder to myself who he was and what kind of life he had lived...and if he would have laughed at having scared and scarred a bunch of boy scouts!

That was apparently, a pretty good trip because one boy also cut off another boys finger with a hatchet!  At this time in the story, I would always gasp in amazement and my dad would say, well he dared him to cut it off so he did!  Nowadays, if even one of those things happened at a boy scout camping trip the parents would completely freak out!  I know I would.  That was the fifties and they let boys be boys.  They didn't tell them to sit still and sing songs and feel good about themselves and others.  They just let them be wild and free and run and play with sticks. Those that were strong, lived and those that were dumb and dared others to cut off their fingers, grew up fingerless.  Oh, those were the days!  At least it seemed that way when I was a kid and my dad was telling it!

It's funny how some stories live on and on in families.  That story stuck with me because it seemed so fun and scary at once.  It also stuck with me because we lived close to Muskogee and went to Honor Heights park often and everytime we went, my dad would tell the story. After awhile, my sister and I would begin to tell it before him.  We thought it funny to beat him....

Well, now I don't live so close but I still go a couple of times a year.  Each time I go, I tell my kids that pappa found a dead man in Honor Heights park.  My daughter is horrified and my son wishes he had been there to see that kid chop off the other kids finger!  One day, my own children will probably tell the story......I wonder how the story will morph by the time their kids are telling it?   I also wonder how many of the old stories about my grandparents are not as factual as they were.  How many have changed just a little?  or maybe a lot?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Stir Crazy!

So my hubbie is officially stir-crazy!  Being stuck inside a house with two moody teenagers and cabin feverish husband is not my idea of a good time.....I don't know how many more days I'll be able to cope without hiking to town to see other people!

There is hope!  One of the nearby neighbors has a tractor with large wheels that can move in the snow so tomorrow, he'll hopefully be able to plow our drive.  He is using it today to clear their very long driveway and some of the older neighbors. By tomorrow afternoon, my husband may be able to get in his truck and drive in the one lane that is cleared to town and mingle with all the other stir-crazy men in this town!

I, on the other hand, like being stuck at home.  I'm a bit of a hermit anyway, so this just gives me a reason not to go out!  I have plenty of food and staples to last for at least two weeks so I'm in no hurry to visit civilization.  It must be a man thing as my daughter is happy at home and my son is crawling the walls!

The official snowfall for yesterday in Claremore was twenty inches.  On our property, some places have four foot snowdrifts so walking anywhere is tricky.  I walked up to the road and it took me about forty-five minutes just to walk up and back.  I was winded and tired, sweaty and cold and ready to go back inside! 

They've already called off school for  my daughter today and my guess is that she won't be back until Monday, that's if we don't get anymore!  Oklahoma is just not prepared for winter weather like this! We don't have the equipment to clear the roads like northern states do. It just doesn't make sense to purchase it since it only happens occasionally!

We broke the record for snowfall yesterday, we had more snow in a twenty-four hour period than since they started keeping records in 1900.  I told the kids to really look at the snow because chances are, they won't ever see this much snow in Oklahoma the rest of their lives.  I'm taking plenty of pictures too.  I'm hoping to post some tomorrow once I evict my husband out of the office so I can get to the computer I download pics on.  Maybe he'll get to go to town and I can get something done tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day Beef Stew

Since we're snowed in and probably will be the rest of the week, I've just turned my house into a clothes pit.  It is hard not to be grinch-like on snow days.  My kids get all dressed up, go outside for five minutes, roll around in the snow and then come back in before I even sit down!  Then they proceed to strip off all the wet, snowy mess in the sunroom and parade it all before the wood stove to dry.  So my sunroom looks like a dirty show store and my living room looks like my dryer has quit!

Oh well, we don't get much snow and I know for a fact no one will be visiting us unexpectedly!  Unless you have a snowplow, you won't be coming down this drive-way.  So I'm just going with the flow, let the snow day come, I'm putting on stew and heading outside to take pictures of our massive snow! 

Snow Day Beef Stew
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into cubes
1 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions

Add oil to a large dutch oven or large pan with a lid. Brown the meat, season with the salt and add onions.  Cook until the onions are tender.

Add the rest of the ingredients:
1 cup chopped celery
2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence
3 cups beef broth or beef boullion
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper
2-3 large potatoes, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 sweet potato, cut into 3/4 inch pieces (I add if I have...)
1 cup chopped carrots (I use baby carrots and do not cut)
 Cover and simmer until potato and carrots are tender.
Add 30 minutes before serving:
3/4 cup frozen peas

This is not a tomato based stew that is so good!  Add cornbread and you've got a great snow day meal!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Crazy weather - snow ice cream!

I was planting tulips on saturday in 75 degree weather and now I'm preparing for the BLIZZARD of epic proportions!  No really, they are saying that this could be the biggest snowfall that Oklahoma has ever seen...well this year at least!

People here are crazy when it comes to snow.  I'll wager that all the bread, milk and toilet paper is gone in Claremore, Oklahoma before midnight!  It is amazing to think that many people, who can afford it, do not have enough food in their pantry to go a few days without running to the grocery store.  I've been baking and making stew so if we need to warm up things on the woodstove.  I've cooked before on it and it's actually kind of fun, for a few days.

I'm preparing for the worst and hoping for the best!  I've gathered the batteries, radio, flashlights, lanterns, and charged all the cameras, video cameras, video players, etc, in case we are without power for a few days.

I did my normal weekly grocery shopping today to pick up the sales and had to make sure I had enough ingredients to make a few snow ice creams over the next few days.  If you haven't had it, I'll post my two favorite recipes today.  If I don't post in the next few days, you'll know that we had a little extra family time!

Don Woods Snow Ice Cream
1 can evaporated milk
1 egg - I use 1/4 cup egg substitute, don't want to give everybody salmonella!
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
dash of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 gallon clean snow
Beat everything but snow, then fold in snow.

I was given a snow ice cream recipe years ago that's just as good but easier to make.
Here it is:
8 cups snow
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 t vanilla extract
Mix together. This one is fantastic and really easy!

We'll probably be able to have them both in the next few days!