We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature--trees, flowers, grass--grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...We need silence to be able to touch souls. --Mother Teresa

Friday, July 31, 2009

Food On Friday...Finally

My husband and his children have been dying to make homemade tortillas. Today during a weak moment at the store I gave in....and we purchased corn tortilla mix. Here's all you need....masa, warm water and wax paper. That's it. The directions are right on the package and very easy to follow.

Choose the amount of tortillas you would like to make, measure out corn flour and add warm water. And find a lovely hand model like I did. For free.

Mix thoroughly.
The dough should come together and form a soft ball. If it is crumbly, add a tablespoon of warm water until you can form the ball.

Would someone please invite this girl over? PPPPLLLLLEEEAAAASSSSEEEE!? She is nothing but silly.

Frick didn't think this was so great. Especially when "someone" started making cracks about balls. And how we had 18 of them. And it didn't stop there. Believe me.

You are supposed to roll it between wax paper until it is about 6 inches in diameter.

We got the tape measure out to help us. Then we kept one tortilla for a model. That helped a lot.

The directions call for a hot skillet or griddle. Hot like 475 degrees hot. We started with my electric skillet. Not hot enough. They wouldn't cook.

Out came the griddles. They got hot enough. Oh my did they ever get hot enough.

This is why we were making tortillas....we were having chicken fajitas for dinner. MMMMM....they rocked.

Nutrition information....bonus for a woman of a certain age...3 grams of fiber per serving....plus this bag was only $3.69. Really what a bargain. Except for the small fire we had. But we aren't mentioning that. Or posting pictures. Really. We aren't.

This is shortly before the "issue" that isn't being mentioned. Really. Not mentioned. My eyes are still burning but the house is no longer filled with smoke. But the smell oh the smell. Candles help. Really.

And once again....the kids plated their meals for your viewing pleasure.....Frack is up first. CG is torked because she called the purple plate.....

CG....being well, CG. Nothing but silly. Man I am gonna miss her in 2 weeks. She has been so fun all summer!

And finally.....Frick. He does plate a lovely meal. Through the smoke, that is.

Consensus on homemade tortillas.....eh.
Could be better.
Will we try again?
With some modifications....like possibly frying them in hot oil.
But the fajitas were fantastic. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Way Back Wednesday

So this is my 5th grade class picture. Can you find me?

It is 1978.

This teacher wasn't very nice.

And neither were her students.

This teacher had the pointiest boobs I have ever seen in my life. She could put an eye out faster than you can say RedRiderBBGun.

Just sayin'.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ozark BBQ

We hauled ourselves out of the lake on Saturday late afternoon to head into town. We went to Mass and then headed down to mile marker 10 for some BBQ. I don't eat smoked food. I am much too delicate and my system cannot manage. Kind of like I can't manage diet pepsi.

But it was a really cool place.

Anyway. Ozark BBQ is right on the lake. You can even take your boat to get there. We didn't because it is 17 mile markers away from Granny's and it would take almost 2 hours by boat to get there. I'm just tellin' you what Granny said.

We sat out on the deck so we could watch the carp. Yep. Watch the carp. They have a few.

This was just incredible to me. And yet, so incredibly disgusting at the same time. There were hundreds of hugongondous carp. I mean hugongondous. You just feed them. They have food you can use or if your mom isn't watching you can dump your plate over the edge into the lake and smile sweetly when she screeches. Which is what a veryveryvery cute little blonde boy tried to do--but his people caught him before the whole plate went in. As the mother of big kids, I got a little chuckle out of the whole scene. Bonus for me--my people don't share food so this never would have happened in our life.

This picture is from above the carp.

Same deal. Above the carp. There are a few other kinds of fish...we saw several very nice sized catfish hanging out in the middle of the carp and a very large koi (not sure of the spelling especially since I thought they were called 'poi'--my bad). I never could get a shot of him. He was shy, I guess.

The water was pretty choppy and the boat dock was really moving and shaking...but I got brave and went down to shoot some video. Frick and Frack went right out there but CG stayed close to land.

This is pretty amazing to us. We are easily entertained.

Oh...and the food was good, too. CG and I had chicken strips and the most incredible fries I have ever had. I'm still dreaming of them. Frick and Frack had 1/2 pound hamburgers--which they said were delicious and Mr. Wonderful had a sandwich called "the whole pig". He said it was most delicious. But be warned if you decide to venture out to Ozark BBQ--you're gonna need some cash. It wasn't anywhere near cheap. Or even reasonably priced.

Just sayin'.

Monday, July 27, 2009

It's A Dog's Life

Many of you know that we have a dog.


Who thinks she is a person.

Who also thinks she is a cat.

And is veryveryveryvery spoiled.

So, of course, she goes where we go. This is her 3rd trip to the Lake. She only chased the 'pet' ducks one time...almost giving Granny a heart attack....she did almost catch one, therefore living up to her labrador heritage.

My little darlings taught her a little trick this trip. And she would have done this all day every day.

You might want to ditch your sound...it seems like it was little windy when I was shooting this video and the noise is extremely annoying. Sorry.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

6 for 7....Not Bad

This is the post you have been waiting for.....my vacation book picks. Well, maybe you haven't really known you were waiting for this much anticipated post.

Now that you are aware....I am sure you were waiting for it.

Probably not. Just let me have my moment, already would ya?

My goal was 7 books in 7 days. I almost made it. I got 6. In my defense....well, I have no defense.

So this Made Bitchy book....Mr. Wonderful cracked himself up over that comment numerous times while I was reading this book....is pretty good. I do enjoy reading her--her stories are what I call "family sagas" and are always set in Ireland. This one was somewhat predictable but still enjoyable. Sometimes I find that when I have read every book an author has written I can kind tell where the story is going. Definitely worth your time to read.

This is the first Judith Miller book I've read and it is the first in a series. I own this book but I think I will check at the public library for the remaining books in the series. I read them too fast to warrant using Mr. Wonderful's hard earned money to purchase them. Of course, he thinks that about everything I purchase. Anyway, this is good christian fiction set in Pullman, Illinois around the early 1900's. I do love historical fiction. I found the characters believable and the story line to be engaging. Whew...that seems kind of deep for me....let me rephrase....good book.

So this is my friend, Becky Home Ecky's, book. She loaned it to me earlier in the summer. College Girl got her hands on it, so it was bumped to the bottom of my book stack. Now let me preface this with....BeckyHomeEcky warned me that she really like the first 3/4 of the book but the last 1/4 seemed , well different. College Girl reports same feeling. I have to say I loved this book....I was sad when it ended....3/4 of the way in....just like BH and CG said. It's almost like a different person wrote the last 1/4 of the book. A different style of writing....characters missing from the first 3/4 of the book. Still worth your time to read.

This is my grown up book club selection for July. We meet to discuss this book tomorrow. This book is really why I didn't get 7 books in....it had the least amount of pages of any of the books BUT it took the longest for me to finish.

Part of the reason is because, well, um, I am not completely sure I liked this book. Off the cuff, I am going with I didn't....but after discussing it with 'grown ups', I might change my mind. Sometimes that happens--different perspectives.

The other part is that I read differently when I know I have to discuss the book. I take notes and read more slowly really focusing. Man, I have used a lot of words that don't really describe me...grown up....slowly....focusing. Just sayin'.

Anyway, this book is set in England post WWII. And it is written in letter form....all communication takes place by letter. Dear Juliet. Dear Sydney. Dear Isola. Very interesting style of writing. It is somewhat humorous, British style. I guess.

I own this book....will let you borrow it anytime.

I do love Barbara Delinsky. Fast read. Extremely engaging. She writes family sagas. This story takes place in 1 week. A marathon runner has a heart attack which leaves her brain dead and it just goes from there. Secrets revealed, relationships healed. Worth your time to read.

OK. Please don't be offended by this review if you are a die hard Jodi Picoult fan. Already you know what I am going to say, right? I am not a huge JP fan. I have read many, not all, of her books. Sometimes I have gotten so pissed off at her main character that I have slapped the book shut, driven to the library and checked the book in. After further investigation (thinking through her themes), I have come to believe that JP has mother issues. I feel like the mother is always the bad guy in her novels. In Plain Truth, mother is the bad guy. In My Sisters' Keeper, mother is the bad guy. The Pact...not a good book to read when you have high school/college age children. Nineteen Minutes...whole novel pissedfreaked me out.

In Handle With Care...yep, you guessed it....the mother is the bad guy. I wanted to stop reading this book but couldn't make myself stop reading. Surely I was not reading what I thought I was reading....suing your best friend who happens to be your ob/gyn....and royally screwing up your family as well as hers. To My Very Pregnant Friend wholookeddashinginblackandpink--do not read this book.

I think I am recommending that you read this book. But maybe not. I find it hard to believe that a person would actually do what this mother did....but I found that same feeling in Plain Truth, My Sisters' Keeper and The Pact. I just cannot imagine that I would find myself in a place where money becomes more important than friendship.

So I guess you are on your own with this one...read it or not.

2,424 total pages. 7 days. Just sayin'.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

We Are Home

We are home.

We had a wonderful time. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. It even rained one day so we were forced to go into to town and see a movie.

I have a million pictures and stories to share. Well, not really a million but you know what I mean. Plan on at least a week's worth.

We saw some serious wildlife while we were there.

On Friday morning, Granny mentioned that she thought she had seen a bald eagle on Thursday. We all kind of raised our eyebrows and said, "Sure, Granny." She was pretty sure. We're all thinking...turkey buzzard.

And who knew? She HAD seen a bald eagle. On Friday late in the afternoon.....it landed above the deck. It was completely amazing.....at first it had its back to us.....and a fish that it was snacking upon in its talons.....

After snacking for a few moments.....he turned and looked right at us. It was awesome!!

He stayed for quite a few pictures and then gave us the nod and flew away. I thought he might return each evening around that same time, but no. We didn't see him again.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Going, Going....Almost Gone

Well, we're off to the Lake of the Ozarks. This is where I will spend my time....on land in a chair reading a book. It is my goal to read a book a day. That means 7 books. I think I can do it. If nobody talks to me.

SophieDog is going...she loves it.....

SophieDog swims. Eats. Sleeps. Repeat.

Granny and Grandpa will be there for part of the week. We haven't seen them for awhile...and we miss them. It will be fun to be with them--and they like us best so I am sure they are excited for us to arrive!

Way Back Wednesday....who knows what year this is? I have no idea. Imagine that....but this is what my kids love to do while we are there....Fish and eat. Eat and fish. Swim if no snakes have been spotted. Eat. Fish. Swim. Sleep. Repeat.

And although this picture is 5 years old....we will be celebrating Mr. Wonderful's birthday while we are there. Granny is very excited about this part. She loves her kids birthdays--they are a celebration of life for her. And she gets to make him peach pie--his favorite. And she makes excellent pie. Pie. Pie. Pie. Worth the trip.

His birthday is kind of a big day for various reasons...he was 5 the day that Man walked on the moon. He and his siblings--except the youngest--can remember where they were at on that day and they love to tell that story. It also means that it has been 40 years since he got the best present he has ever gotten--Herbie the Dog. The Hays Family has some great Herbie stories. Granny tells them best.....especially the one about when all 6 kids were in the station wagon and she backed out of the garage right over Herbie. Oops. (Herbie lived but ran crooked!)

See you soon, Granny....we love you. Please get dinner ready.....and that pie. Now is good for me. I go on and on about her pie as I read back through this post BUT I cannot make pie crust to save my life. When Granny kicks the bucket pie as we know it also kicks the bucket. She has worked with me on several occasions--but my people have put their feet down and I am no longer allowed to make pie. Just stop they said. Give it up.

I will not be in the vicinity of internet for 7 days....carry on without me. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Way Back Wednesday

This here girl is getting married. In 10 days.

She was Frick's first girlfriend. He has excellent taste in women.

Here Them Hays Kids are with her at 8th grade Promotion. They all look a little rough. Not sure what Frick is doing--seems like maybe he is picking his nose. Surely not in public.

Wedding Girl with a group of ladies who love her like their own. Lucky her.

Wedding Girl and College Girl. Wedding Girl felt old and short.

Well....imagine how I felt. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Packing Update

Comment from Mr. Wonderful (a.k.a Commissioner of Vacations):

Rule Interpretation #1
I. The Family Suitcase(-CASE, not CASES)is for books, toiletries, etc.

II. Individuals
A. Grocery bag is for clothes, shoes, towels, etc.
B. Book bag is for electronics, writing materials, etc.
C. The dog gets to take whatever she wants...

Commissioner of Vacations

Oh isn't he a funny guy......

And my children have offered to pack my book stack in their bags to ensure that I will be taking clothes. That whole "clothes are overrated" statement sent them over the edge begging me to wear clothes at all times.

In the mist of trying to get us ready to be on vacation (which is more than just putting a little gas in the car), I am hosting an all ladies function at my house tomorrow night. I was supposed to host in June but had to trade because I was out of town at Prayer and Action. I have to have a clean house and food. And a hostess gift.

Oh and we are missing out on a wedding Friday night so I have to get a gift and deliver it to the groom's home.

I currently have a half clean house. And no menu for the function. And half finished kitchen curtains.

Are you sensing a theme here?

And we are leaving for vacation on Thursday. Ready or not. Clean clothes have suddenly become overrated.

Just sayin'.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Vacation Bags

Let me take care of some business from yesterday's post--

Yes. We are really only going to be allowed to take our book bags and the one green grocery bag.

CG claims she is going to get everything she needs in her book bag.

Frick says he can get everything he needs in his book bag. Size 13 shoes? We'll see.

Frack isn't making any statements.

Mr. Wonderful will have room in his green bag for any of my extra stuff. Heck, he won't even need a green bag.

I am worried about my book stack for vacation. It usually gets its own bag.

Decision time.....

Clothes or books? Clothes? Books? Clothes....books.


Clothes are overrated.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


So we go to church this morning...not an unusual thing...we go most weeks. We had a substitute priest. Our retired Bishop. He is old. But he is good.

The Gospel this morning was about how Jesus sent the Apostles out on a mission with only the clothes on their backs and a walking stick. No food. No money. Just sent them out. He wanted them to totally rely upon God for food and shelter. WOW. (Mark 6; 7-13)


Even more interesting was the Bishop's homily. He talked about how we think that we must have "everything" in order for things to go perfectly. I am guilty of this. Among other things--he referenced vacations and how much luggage we take on vacations--I am guilty of this.

So I got to thinking...

What if we could only take a Ray's sack on vacation? Everything must fit inside the sack.

Flash forward to our dinnertime. Homemade chicken and noodles. Mmm.
Conversation about the Gospel and the homily. I casually mention the whole Ray's sack idea. Mr. Wonderful jumps on it like white on rice. CG panics.

More conversation.

More conversation. Reusable grocery bags enter the conversation.
At this point the whole idea becomes reality.

More conversation.
Lots of "what if.....(insert any desperate attempt to change our minds here)......"

Rules: everything you are taking on vacation must fit INSIDE the following--a green reusable grocery bag and your book bag. And Mr. Wonderful does mean everything. Shoes, books, laptop, shampoo--WHATEVER.

This seems like a crazy thing to do. This is gonna be fun. I love this kind of challenge.

Um, yeah. Before you get all you people are awesome! I can't believe you're gonna do that to your little lovelies! Our vacation is at Granny and Grandpa's HOUSE on Lake of the Ozarks. Yep. Electricity. Air conditioning. Washer and dryer. 3 bedrooms with real, live beds and 2 inside bathrooms.

4 get-ups. Just sayin'.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Food on Friday

This is a miracle recipe.

My favorite father-in-law likes it when we are are at the lake (6 days!!) and Frack even likes it. She claims it is her favorite summertime meal. Whatever. Have you picked up on the fact that she is my favorite?

I make it early in the day using frozen chicken. Depending on whether Mr. Microbiologist...I mean Mr. Wonderful...is home or not home--I let it sit on the counter or if he is giving me the evil eye--I slide it into the fridge. And let it sit. And everything soaks up the flavors. It can be put together a couple of days ahead and kept in the fridge--I have done that a number of times. But it does need to sit. It isn't all that whippy made 15 minutes ahead of time. Be patient and plan accordingly.

Grilled Chicken Zucchini and Tomatoes
Chicken--I use frozen bagged tenderloins
2 cans of Italian stewed tomatoes
Zucchini--I used 2 this time--could have used one more
Mozzerella cheese

Find a pan that you paid $.10 for at a garage sale 21 years ago. No really. Find a pan that you can use on your grill.

Cover it with foil. Be generous.

Slice your zucchini and cover the bottom of the pan.

Put your chicken on top of the zucchini. Use as many as you need for your family.

Open the tomatoes and drain the juice over the top of the chicken and zucchini. Do it real slow and cover each piece of chicken.

Then spoon the tomatoes over the top of the chicken. And let it sit until you are ready to cook it later in the day. Like when Mr. Wonderful gets home.

Cover with more foil. Be generous. Seal it like a pocket.

Place it on grill. Low heat is what I hear works best. Low and slow.

Low and slow. Be patient. It probably takes around 30 minutes to an hour. That's what I hear anyway.

Here is the finished product. This really could have cooked a little longer for me. The zucchini could have been a little more tender....and you can see that there is plenty of liquid.

We serve this over cooked spaghetti topped with mozzarella cheese. Throw in some garlic toast and a little salad and you have wonderful summer meal. And guess what? My little lovelies "plated" it for you. They were having a contest to see who could put together the best plate.

Plate 1--College Girl. Hers was lovely but she needed a different color of plate--everything is the same color.

Plate number 2--Frack. A beautiful plate.

Plate number 3--Frick. Again, a lovely display. Have some salad with that dressing, would ya?

We watch too much Food Network. Just sayin'.

Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel. -Proverbs 11: 17