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

Monday, January 14, 2013

Really Important Stuff


Life isn't always fair.
My mom ALWAYS said that to me.
Mainly because I was Suzy Fair Pants about everything.
And I still am.
She was right....life isn't always fair.

Take a shower.
My mom always said soap is cheap.
There's no reason not to be clean.
My mom said everybody feels better after a shower.
I think she took a shower because she knew we
would leave her alone.
To this day, a shower solves a lot of problems.
Much like time.

My mom always said sometimes
the most difficult part of your day
will be to get out of bed.
Do it anyway.
Put your feet on the ground and
move forward.

June 3, 1989

It will all be fine.
I cannot tell you how many times
my mom said this to me.
Again.  Right.
It will all be fine.
It will all be fine.

It costs you nothing to be speak kindly.
She was so right.  So right.

Paybacks are hell.
She said that a lot to my brother.
And....well, me.
She was right.
I should have been nicer to my mother.

Mom and College Girl, December 2012

My mom worked harder than anyone
I know.
I know that now.
And I now know why she worked so hard.

It was for me.
And my brother.
So we could be who we are.

Just sayin'.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Food on Friday

Looooong, looooooong week at The Hays Crew.  College Girl worked a full week at her new job, Frack worked everyday all day, Frick had several pick up jobs, and of course, I started the Freshman on Romeo and Juliet.  Combine all of that with the fact that the flu--stomach and influenza--are rampant in The County, it was a looooooong, looooooooong week.

We are waiting for the flu to hit.  It seems inescapable.  I have washed my hands until it feels like they have no skin on them.  I am trying to remember NOT to use the commons area bathroom at school and I am drinking water.  I just keep saying, "Drink water.  Wash your hands." The Freshman are tired of hearing it.  Don't care.

This week I don't have a recipe to share.  I am going to share menus and some meal planning tips.  One time we sat down as a family and made a list of meals that we would like to have for dinner.  I think we came up with about 60 meals.  Then, when I would sit down to meal plan, I could pull out the list, choose the meals for the week, make a grocery list and shop.  Once home from the store, I would put the meals together.

I know it makes me seem like a Super Star, but really, it just saved time.  And money.

I have tried meal prep and planning several ways.  A good friend of mine planned hers monthly.  She would plan for 24 meals.  They usually ate out on Fridays--really--they ate at ballgames--and a couple of leftover nights.  She posted a calendar with the meals for each day, bought all the ingredients and whomever got home first started the meal.

Now, she's a Rock Star.  I tried this system.  No go at The Hays Crew.  It was too easy to sub meals in for other meals.  Then we would get to the end of the month with odd ingredients and back to the store I would go.  Budget blown.  No time saved.  I was always impressed with her self-discipline.  Actually, still am.

I have tried planning and making meals for 2 weeks.  I usually would plan for 12 meals.  This left 2 nights for leftovers.  Coach and I usually took leftovers for lunches.  Obviously this means several items that can be made ahead and tucked in the freezer for later.  I would sit down with the grocery ads and plan meals around whatever was on sale.  This 2 week system worked well for us.  I usually made a second trip to the store on the 'off' week for fresh fruits and vegetables.  The thing I didn't like was that this system usually ended up with a lot of casserole type meals.  Not always the healthiest style of cooking or eating.

I have tried planning and making meals for one week at a time.  This is my favorite way to plan.  Grocery ads come out on Wednesday's, I could meal plan, shop sometime on Saturday, make meals and be ready for the week.  Many times our big dinner on Sunday would center around our meat for the week. If chicken was on sale, then I could have chicken and noodles on Sunday, then chicken would be our main ingredient for the remainder of the week.  The bad deal here is that sometimes the week would get away from me, all of sudden it would be Saturday and there I'd be with 3 meals that hadn't been eaten.  Can they be frozen?  Can we eat them today?  Have a party?  Dilemma central.

As my kids aged, I stopped making meals ahead.  I would simply make the menus for the week, buy the ingredients, and post the menus on the fridge.  Then someone (usually me or Frick) could look at the list, pick a meal, get it started and dinner would be served.  I usually planned and bought for 7 meals.  I rarely made 7 meals, so then I was building up my pantry/freezer stores.  The iffy part of this system is time.  It takes a little longer because things aren't prepped and ready to popped in the oven, crock pot, etc.  I also probably didn't save as much money because I was going to the store every week.

What was on that list of 60 meals?  Every body's favorites.....and some not-so-favorites.  Frick doesn't eat balls of meat, College Girl isn't a fan of stir-fry and Frack, well, he'll try anything....ONCE.   Coach will eat anything.  No joke.  He'll eat whatever is there to eat.  I am OK with most things--but since I was in charge, I usually picked things I liked to eat.

Here are some of our favorites.....
Hot dogs
Tater tot casserole
Chicken enchiladas
Canned soup and grilled cheese
Cheeseburger mac
Cheesy potatoes and ham casserole
Ham and cheese rolls
Taco soup
Potato soup
Western spuds
Biscuits and gravy
Pancakes and sausage
Chicken and noodles
Pulled pork sandwiches
Roast beef
Skillet ham casserole
Breakfast burritos
Fish sticks and homemade macaroni and cheese
Mock Chicken fried steak
Steak finger wraps
Cheese quesadillas
Beef and noodles
Vegetable beef soup
Oven fried chicken
BBQ beef sandwiches
Grilled chicken
Tuna casserole
Pot pie
Chicken salad
Beef enchiladas
Stir fry

Not all of these are healthy.  Just sayin'.   

Friday, January 4, 2013

Food on Friday

For New Year's Day, I made a new recipe.  It's a black-eyed pea soup recipe--sort of.  Black eyed peas are supposed to be good luck.  Coach says that's a load of bunk....but I felt like it couldn't hurt to try.

This recipe made my house smell incredibly delicious.  I just can't figure out why cooking onions smell so good.  Coach wondered if there were candles that recreated that smell.  I drew the line at that one.  No onion flavored candles.

I thought it was tasty.  Coach thought it was tasty.  Frick thought it was tasty.

College Girl and Frack?  Not so much.

We had it served over rice with speedy corn muffins.

Super easy recipe...because I made it up.  Let me repeat.  I made it up.  I feel like a rock star over this recipe.  I took a couple of tried and true recipes and made this soup.

Black Eyed Pea Soup
3 cups of dried black eyed peas
9 cups of water
diced ham--as much as you would like
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 diced onion
2 tbsp of jarred jalapenos plus some juice
1 tbsp salt
1 3/4 tsp of black pepper
garlic salt--just a couple of shakes into the water
cumin--maybe an 1/8 of a tsp

Put all ingredients in the crock pot.  Turn it on high.  Let cook 6-8 hours.  Serve over rice.

I rock.
Just sayin'.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Throw Back Thursday

Life happens so fast.
Be present.
Smiles are contagious.

Someday soon I'll be sitting here.
Drinking lemonade.

Nobody smiles better.
Time flies.
Be present.

June 3, 1989
Who knew?
We did.

Friends who become family.
Best friends.

20 years of friendship.
3 college graduates.
2 college freshman and 1 high school senior.

you just gotta.....

Girls who grew up
to be teachers.
Proud doesn't even begin to
cover the emotions.

Time flies.
Be present.
Just sayin'.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What Day.....Oh Yeah, It's Wednesday.

Wacky Wednesday.  I was pretty sure it was Monday all day.  Imagine how elated I was to find out that it indeed, is already Wednesday.  For me, that means only one day of dress clothes this week!  Jeans on Friday, baby, jeans on Friday.

First day back at school after Christmas break--no kids.  Teacher workday in the morning and PLC time in the afternoon.  Kids come tomorrow.  Chances are they won't know what day it is either.

Man, what a day!  3 pieces of news I wasn't expecting, but such is life.  And since things come in three's...I am covered.

Picture of the day:

Just sayin'.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Book Review in a Rant Sandwich

As someone who considers herself an avid reader, I am continuously amazed at how many people proudly wear the 'I am not a reader' badge.  When I found this quote by Mark Twain, it brought home what I had been thinking but couldn't put into words--if you can read and don't....well, the picture is there for you to make on your own.  

Read, people.  READ.  Read anything.  A newspaper, a magazine, find a book and just get started.  Take 15 minutes in your day, turn off all sound in the world and read.  

Recently, my book club read Bossypants by Tina Fey.  No glorious reviews from us will be forthcoming.  In fact, out of the 6, I was the only one who even remotely liked the book.  One person couldn't make herself finish, another read a few pages and promptly proclaimed, "What's the point?" and quit reading.  

I did laugh out loud in the beginning of the book but by the midway point, had tired of the book.  Repetitive, many details about 30 Rock (which I have NEVER, EVER watched) and it was almost like someone else had finished writing the book.  

Don't buy the book.  If your local library has a copy, I would recommend reading the chapter My Honeymoon, Or A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again Either.  Pretty darn funny time for Fey and her husband.  Or for Fey anyway.  Not sure her husband laughed until much later.  

Here's what I took away from the book:  Tina Fey is who she is because she had parents who were present.  Fey was what we called 'a-change-of-life-baby' because her mother was 40 when she was born.  Her brother was 8 years old when Fey was born.  Not unheard of in 2013, but in 1970 it was cause for whispers and head shaking.  All of that--and more--but ultimately, her parents were present.  Her dad was a force in her life because he was PRESENT.  

A lesson for us all.  Just sayin'.

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