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, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year.....

May your 2011 burn brightly and be everything you wish it to be!

And yes.  I got a fire pit for Christmas...from my children.  I have been wanting a fire pit for a very long time.  I would look at them every time we went somewhere fire pits were sold.  Now I have my very own. 

And we have lit it twice.  But haven't made s'mores.  Maybe tonight at midnight...Just Sayin'.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Food on Friday

Try to be surprised.  Food on Friday revolves around My Favorite Third Child, AGAIN this week.  Suddenly, we've become all about her.  This has to stop.  She's really not all that and a bag of chips, but the rest of us will eat anything.

Last spring sometime, she was watching some Disney show (blech) and saw this:

Yep.  It's what you think it is.  Spaghetti tacos.  (And look, there's someones gross ABC gum....so sorry.)   So we laughed at her and said that spaghetti tacos were dumb.  But she was persistent (as always) and kept at us.  So finally one night we pulled taco shells out and had them with spaghetti. 

Turns out the girl was spot on with this meal.  Spaghetti tacos are very good.  Don't ask me why, how, what, or who thought this up, but it really is good.  That crunchy corn flavor goes wonderfully with the spaghetti flavor. 

She had a little dinner party and served them to her friends.  They gave her the business until they'd eaten them and then they were amazed. 

So here's the basics....make spaghetti.  Warm up taco shells.  I put my cheese in the shell and then add the spaghetti and maybe a little more cheese.  Eat like a taco.  Throw a salad together and some fruit and you've got a meal.  Just sayin'.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


1. What does it mean to have the 'holiday spirit'?
Just last night someone asked if I was ready for Christmas and I replied...Yep.  And then he said, "So your shopping is all done?"  Nope.  I have bought one thing and made another.  "Christmas happens whether there are gifts or not."  He was very puzzled by this statement.  The greatest gift cannot be bought.......
2. What sits atop your tree (s)? Why?
Stars.  Because.  I.  Said.  So.

3. When was the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back?
Tuesday when I didn't curse out loud.   Although I am sure it was written all over my face.   Third graders are quick like that...they know what I am thinking and just move away. 
4. Which of your senses is most sensitive this time of year?
My feeling senses.  As we get nearer to Christmas I become very aware of the children I am sending home who may have little or nothing to eat.  I am always concerned about the kids I am sending home to negative circumstances.  I hug them all on the way out and let them know that I will be very glad to see them 'next year'.  I think this is a really tough time of the year to be a hurting kid. 

5. What do you have too much of in your kitchen?
Me.  There's too much of me in the kitchen.

6. What do you do for meals on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? Big meal? Breakfast tradition? Open the cookie tins and have at it?
Before we ever had kids, we established that they would be at home on Christmas morning.  We are lucky because both our families live within a couple of hours of us.  We have been at home every Christmas morning for 20 years.  We would get up and open presents, have cinnamon rolls, sausage and juice.   And head out for KC.   My husband's uncle is a priest, so he says a family mass at the house, usually around 1 pm.   Our presents have always been brought by Santa and so they 'appeared' sometime after the kids went to bed.  We opened presents whenever the first person woke up.  We've opened them at 3 am and at 8 am.  Last year we changed up our tradition.  We had dinner and then opened presents.  This year we are planning to attend the Christmas Eve service at church, have dinner and open presents.  
7. What is the best thing about winter?
When it's over.
8. Insert your own random thought here--Whomever invented the stomach flu ought to be shot.  Just sayin'.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Food on Friday

My friend Cindy and I share recess duty.  Daily recess duty.  I know everyone thinks that teachers stand around during recess duty talking about....well, recipes.  Isn't that what everyone does during recess duty?  Talk about what we're having for dinner and how to make it? 

You know how my favorite third child...
 .....has an unnatural love for cabbage but hates meatballs? Well, Cindy has been telling me for awhile about how she makes bierock filling with sausage instead of beef and then serves it over rice.  No kidding.

So I made it.  And guess what?  My favorite third child didn't really like it.  She doesn't really like sausage unless it's in gravy.  Did I  mention that she puts gravy in a bowl like it's soup and eats it?  Really.  Seriously. 

The rest of us did like it, though.

I put mine on my plate like this.....and then added some pepper jack cheese and a tortilla.

 My favorite third child put ranch dressing on hers....

 My husband made his like this.....

I have no idea why I don't have pictures of my favorite sons plate.  Probably because food doesn't last very long on his plate so I don't have any photo ops. 

This is a very versatile recipe.  I probably won't make it with sausage again.  Sausage and cabbage were a little rough on my delicate stomach.  I really liked it with the rice and pepper jack cheese.  I know that by putting it in a tortilla was a double starch and then adding tater tots was another but you know what?  Warm starch with melted dairy will make anything better. 

Here's the basic recipe......brown one pound of sausage and onion.  How much onion?  As much as your people like.  Cut up a head of cabbage.  Place cabbage on top of browned sausage/onion and put the lid on the skillet.  Let it steam to your preference.  We like it a little bit crunchy.  Meanwhile, make your rice.  We make old fashioned rice.  Warm tortillas, shred cheese and make some sort of side dish.  Viola!  You've got dinner!  Just sayin'.



Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Have you ever been on a real sleigh ride? How about the warm weather version - a carriage ride?
Nope.  And I am not going anytime soon.  
2. What's your policy on 'chain mail'...you know, the emails you receive that are often some sort of poem/blessing/good wish that ask you to send it on to 10 or 12 friends? Do you delete without opening, read and trash, read and trash and then worry you won't be blessed/lucky/protected? Do you delete the sender from your contacts or just go ahead and send the love onward?
Read and Delete.  Most of the time.  Unless it's really good, then I delete it as well.
3. Who is your favorite character in any of the Christmas movies and why?
Ralphie from A Christmas Story.  He's just so...well...typical boy.  
4. Share a favorite quote.
What comes around goes around.  My mom always used those words to comfort me.....and as usual, she.  was.  right.  The go around part isn't so fun, though.  I must say after getting a couple of go arounds in the not-so-recent past, I am much more careful with my words and actions.  Hard to believe, but very true. 
5. What's your favorite holiday scent?
Clean laundry.  Because having all the laundry clean is an official holiday, right?
6. Does the Christmas season stress you out? In what way?
7. What's the best thing about your life right now?
My heating pad.  I get great comfort from knowing that each night when I get into bed, I am going to lay on that heating pad.  And I don't share.  Don't touch it for any reason. 
8. Insert your own random thought here.
I believe that there are some people out there who do not realize that I hold the power.  

Just sayin'.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Photo Op

Yep.  We look that good in real life.  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Hodgepodge

1. If you had known what they knew then, would you have boarded the Mayflower?
Hmmmm.  This is a tough question to answer.  No.  Maybe.  Yes.  Wishywashy much?  I probably would have boarded the Mayflower.  My contrary little personality usually causes me to take risks.  Sometimes it works to my benefit--like when I was told by an evil person that I would never graduate from college and I did it just to prove him wrong.  And sometimes my contrariness is detrimental to my mental health.  
2. How far have you traveled on a boat and how do you feel about boats in general?
I have traveled across the lake.  And yes, I am generally nauseous and crabby when I get off the boat.  I don't remember feeling that way when I was younger but certainly as I have aged gracefully the feeling has increased.  
3. What traditions have you kept, acquired thru marriage, and/or tossed? If you're single what are some of your family's favorite Thanksgiving traditions?

I don't know if I have kept any traditions, acquired any or tossed any traditions.  I do what my mom did...get up and cook dinner.  My husband and kids help out.  I plan the menu to include  something that is everyone's favorite dish and I try to have it done by noon.  We eat whether everybody is there or not--they'll catch up--and we just hang out.  No pressure.  Sometimes we have taken a walk or gone a leisurely car ride.  Sometimes we play a game.  My uncle sleeps in the chair.  I suppose those are all traditions, but they seem like stuff we just do. 
4. What time is dinner and how many will be round your table? And what is the one side dish you cannot do without on Thanksgiving day?
Noon.  We will have 8 of us.  We cannot have dinner without these:
 Homemade noodles.  A tradition in my family.  In fact, that is the pot my great grandmother used for noodles.  One of these days I am going to get the potato pot that goes with it. 
5. Have you ever used a fire extinguisher? Do tell....
Do towels and potholders count as fire extinguishers?  Then why, yes, I have used a fire extinguisher.  Many times.  I actually could be considered an expert in this category.
6. Tell about a situation that caused you dreadful trepidation and feet dragging, only to realize later it was a true blessing.
Taking my child to college caused me dreadful trepidation and feet dragging.  And yet, I knew that it was what I hoped I would get to do someday when I gave birth to that beautiful brown eyed girl.  Nothing prepares a parent for that day....as hard as it was, I count my blessings each day because there are people out there wishing they could take a child to college.  It's hard to be whiny about it when I have  friends who used their child's college fund for a tombstone.  I used to think about how sad it was that my children were growing up until I realized the alternative is for them to not grow up.  Besides, my husband and I are counting the days until we are home alone because you know what that means....yep.  Cereal for dinner.  Nice try, several of you were thinking of something else.  This is a family blog.

 7. Baked, sweet, mashed, hash browned or french fried...which one's your favorite?
Have you seen the size of my butt?  I never turn down warm starch.  And if it comes with melted dairy, all the better. 
8. Random thought 101.......Is it wrong to get out of bed counting the hours before I can get back in bed?  

Have a blessed Thanksgiving....Just sayin'.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Tortilla Curtain

This book pissed me off.  I know, I know.  I am not supposed to use that word because it isn't lady like.  There simply isn't any other word to describe my feelings as I read The Tortilla Curtain.

This is an all-too-real tale of the border war.  It is frightening real and I often had to put the book down after just one chapter.  The author set the book up so that one chapter is from the immigrant's point of view and the next is from the Californians point of view. I would get so angry at the treatment of the people that I wouldn't be able to sleep.  And oh my, the things that the female main character lived through were just mind boggling.

At book club, the discussion was very lively.  We live in the heart of the Midwest, these things are unfathomable to us (can you tell that we 'owned' this book?  We were convinced that these things really happened....) because we don't live it on a daily basis.  We could transfer it to our community's poverty--and the haves and the have nots.  It was an interesting comparison. 

My husband is currently trying to read The Tortilla Curtain.  He is finding it difficult to muddle through.  Much the way I found it difficult to muddle through.  It's worth the work it takes to read this book just to have some perspective about the border war. 

It's not a happy, feel good read.  Just sayin'.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Food on Friday

So this recipe came to me in my daily email from www.allrecipes.com.  I sometimes read them and sometimes the name of the recipe tells me that there isn't a chance in heck of ever using that recipe. 

This recipe peaked my interest because my son really enjoys Mexican food but guess what?  Corn tortilla and corn tortilla chips aren't on his plate at this point.  The doctor tells us that once we get his environmental allergies under control, then he may be able to add corn back to his diet.  Did you know that corn is related to grasses?  And cantaloupe is related to ragweed?  Learn something new everyday, I'm tellin' ya. 

This recipe can be found here....http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Fry-Bread-Tacos-II/Detail.aspx?prop31=5.  These fry bread tacos are wonderful and were surprisingly easy to make. 

Several of my breads got all puffy like a puffer fish, so this girl opened them up and stuffed the filling inside. 

I must confess that I didn't follow the recipe exactly.  I already had taco meat from another meal.  I also had made refried beans earlier in the week so we just piled ours high with the toppings and ate them.  One tip, get the oil hot.  And keep it hot.  The fry breads weren't greasy at all because the oil so hot and stayed hot.  I used my candy thermometer to monitor the temp.  It was HOT.  I kept it at 365 degrees or a little hotter the whole time.  It took some serious patience to let it get that hot, but I think that the temp of the oil made all the difference.

And they were good.  Just sayin'.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What is the most amazing weather you've ever seen?
Hands down, the Ice Storm of December 2007.  Completely amazing how beautiful an ice storm is given the damage ice does.  I remember waking up and being in awe of the beauty in the world.  Four days later when our electricity was restored, I was the happiest girl in the whole USA. 
2. What is a sound or noise you love?
Little kids in church.  
3. Do you like seafood? What's your favorite seafood dish?
Do you mean like real live seafood or fish sticks and macaroni and cheese seafood?  Because I really do like fish sticks.  And shrimp baskets from the DQ.  But real live seafood like squid or octopus or even lobster?  Eh.  Not so much.
4. What part of your day requires the most patience?
The getting out of bed part of my day.  Yikes!  I do not like to get out of bed.  Especially this time of year...it's very warm and cozy under those blankets and the heat nazi is keeping it rather chilly in our house. 
5. What's your favorite shade of blue?

6. Do people underestimate you?
7. When was the last time you had butterflies in your stomach?
Last Friday.  I needed to do something I didn't really want to do.  
8. Insert your own random thought here....IS THAT what your wearing?  Really.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Safe Haven

I am not sure what to say.  This was an enjoyable book.  It wasn't what I expected but it fell into my lap right when I needed something to divert my attention.  That's kind of my M.O.  I had a million things that were happening that were beyond my control so I did the one thing that I could control--read.  And I basically read it overnight.

Admittedly, it has been awhile since I read any Nicholas Sparks.  He's a wonderful author and my girls really enjoy reading him.  I really enjoyed his early writing, but he'd gotten a little predictable and what I call cookie cutter in his writing.  Which happens to all of us in our lives--we get predictable and cookie cutter--and we have to step back and examine our lives.  Not the easiest thing to do, but sometimes stuff just slams you and you have to frost your cookies the best you know how and move along.

Safe Haven is almost a mystery.  The main character has a history (who doesn't) and when she lands in a small town reinvents herself.  As the story rolls along, more and more of Katie is revealed and I began to kind of freak out.  The dreaded 'What if...." game took over and I had thoughts of 'what if that were my daughter' and 'how can someone just be an orphan'?  Somebody should have helped this girl.  

It did bring the whole 'everyone is fighting some sort of battle so be kinder than necessary' back into my daily thoughts.  Who knows what each of us is up against?   Somewhere there is a wife afraid for 5 o'clock to arrive because that means her husband is on his way home...hoping her dinner is good enough and the house is clean enough and trying to keep it together so she won't get beat again tonight.  And somewhere else there's a grandma dying of cancer while her children and grandchildren stand by helplessly wondering what they can do to make this whole thing easier on Grandma.  And somewhere there's a 9-year-old wondering what she's going to fix for supper tonight knowing that her brother and sister need something to eat. 

When I started reading Safe Haven, I thought I was getting fluff and what I took away was much deeper.  Just sayin'.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Random Pics from the Fall

Yep.  It's pretty much how we spent our fall....Just sayin'.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fall Ball 2010

Just a few pics....because my 'subjects' weren't all that cooperative. 

 I love my house except when I want to take pictures.  I just don't have a great place to take great pics.  10 foot ceilings and bad lighting don't help the situation.

Brother and Sister......


The BF.....

I did ask him to show me his hands....

Yyyyyeeeeaaaahhhhh.  Not even sure what is going on here....

Group photo....the two on the right really didn't want these shots.... but whatta ya do?  Frack is one bossy girl so options are limited.  Bonus for them....they also work together. 

And no.  She wasn't supposed to be in this picture.  I wonder if I can crop her out....

We only have to stay awake for another 90 minutes and they will be home.  Who starts a dance at 10:00 anyway?!  The stuco sponsor and I--we're gonna visit...Just Sayin'.

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