Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thursday Thirteen- In The Pantry

Here is a list of 13 basics I always keep in my pantry, just in case:

1. Chocolate chips- really, who can live without those?

2. Baked Beans- my hubby really hates them (Beano alert!) but the kids and I love 'em. A little brown sugar and ketchup and they are perfect.

3. Mixed greens- we eat them at least once a week and it's the one thing I can usually convince the kids to eat that is good for them. My go-to veggie, you might say.

4. Soup- though we've been blessed this year with little to no sickness, I feel like bad mom of the year if I don't keep at least two cans of chicken noodle soup on hand for any colds or upset tummies. Because the moment I run out, everyone will get sick.

5. Sugar- ok, another bad mom of the year thing, but we go through at least a gallon of homemade sweet tea a day so gotta have that sugar available. Plus all the baking I do. See why I keep greens on hand? :)

6. Juice- if the kids ain't drinking the sweet tea it's the juice they finish in a day. I always buy the 100% juice so I don't feel so bad. And sometimes it's the only fruit they get if I don't hound them about it.

7. Rawhides- remember Anubis? Well, another interesting fact we discovered is that if he doesn't get rawhide to chew, he chews things he shouldn't.

8. Olives- for some reason, we use a lot of olives.

9. Cereal- I never knew how much cereal kids could eat. Especially the sugar stuff. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

10. Salad dressings- a must have dressing according to my middle daughter- Buttermilk Ranch. She dips everything into it. So healthy!

11. Ketchup- it's my ranch dressing!

12. Puddings- if I'm not making Fluff I'm making Chocolate cream pie. They are my backup desserts for any sweet tooth cravings.

13. Paper towels and toilet paper- those huge "larger than me" sized packs you get at Sam's or Costco's. You would not believe the amount paper products used by this family. I really should buy stock in the darn companies. After all, I do support them!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chocolate Chip Meringues

Ever have those weeks where you just can't stop eating? I had a few of those weeks recently. So when I began craving something sweet, I knew I could not whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies or I would be in serious trouble come weighing time! Then I remembered I could make meringues and still be able to eat enough to satisfy me and not have to worry about gaining a pound or two. Just what I was looking for!

Chocolate Chip Meringues

2 eggs whites
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup white sugar
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup miniature chocolate chips (you can add less if desired)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or generously grease.
Beat the egg whites and salt with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. As the mixer is running, add the sugar slowly, a few tablespoons at a time. Stir to blend then add cream of tartar.
Gently fold in the chocolate chips using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Use a tablespoon to drop batter onto the cookie sheet. Place into the oven then turn off the heat. Leave in for at least 4 hours or overnight for the best results. Recipe doubles nicely.

“Comedy just pokes at problems, rarely confronts them squarely. Drama is like a plate of meat and potatoes, comedy is rather the dessert, a bit like meringue.”
-Woody Allen

Monday, May 25, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thursday Thirteen- To Do List

A list of thirteen things I have to do this weekend. I get tired just looking at the list!

1. Attend my son's graduation from pre-school tomorrow (insert tears of joy here)

2. Take my oldest daughter to a sleep over tomorrow night.

3. Host my middle daughter's sleepover tomorrow night.

4. Get groceries for said sleepover.

5. Pick up daughter number one from the sleepover and drop off daughter number two's friend from the sleepover.

6. Go over plans for mulching the front of our house with the hubby. Try to calm him down when he sees the cost. Once he is calm, maybe buy some of the materials we will need at Home Depot, Lowes or Walmart.

7. Prepare my middle daughter for a field trip tomorrow for a Ducky tour in Pittsburgh. Brown paper bag lunch and comfortable clothes.

8. Water my garden. It hasn't rained here in 5 days.

9. Go to the library. I just love that place!

10. Remember to tell daughter number one to find the two library books of hers that are due, before she leaves for her sleepover.

11. Take daughter number one to a birthday party on Sunday. Buy a gift for the birthday girl between now and Sunday a.m.

12. Put together some kind of picnic like meal for Memorial Day and put out our flag.

13. Squeeze in some time to read, bake or quilt. Yeah, right...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Live Long And Prosper

We got a chance to see the new Star Trek movie this past weekend. I wasn't sure what to expect. I grew up on the original Star Trek reading the James Blish novels and watching the T.V. episodes. Star Trek is also how I met my husband. I wrote a paper about Star Trek for a college class he helped lecture. He loved the idea of a girl who liked Star Trek (strange ideas he grew up with!) and started talking to me. For me, the adventure of the stories, the relationships between the characters, and the science involved made the show fascinating. Although I never became a die hard Trekkie (I've only been to one convention, honest!), I always thought of it as my favorite show.

Seeing the previews, I thought the new movie seemed like it could have been either a complete disaster or a new beginning for the Trek franchise. To get the chemistry of the characters just right is nearly impossible, let alone tell a good story that pays homage to the old, yet brings in the new. Plus the task of facing the hordes of Trekkies ready to criticize the slightest wrong move and pleasing the general population is pressure indeed!

In my humble opinion, this movie did the impossible. I could not keep the grin off my face most of the movie. I was awed, amazed and thoroughly entertained. It was a thrill ride the entire two hours. It not only gave fans like me hope for the franchise, but I think it brought Star Trek to the point that it can be enjoyed by everyone, not just Trekkies. The characters, the story line and the special effects were above par. How J.J. Abrams did it, I still can't explain. You just have to go see it for yourself!

"I'm delighted. Any chance to go aboard the Enterprise."
- Sulu

"... a dream that became a reality and spread throughout the stars"
- Kirk (Whom Gods Destroy)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thursday Thirteen- My Favorite Things

Since my birthday is just around the corner (and no, you can't ask how old I am :) I thought I might list 13 of my all time favorite things in my life (so far anyway!)--

1) Favorite song- Rikki don't lose that number by Steely Dan. No matter how many times I've heard that song since I was little, I still love it.

2) Favorite book- The Bible is always my main read but I love Intensity by Dean Koontz. There are not a lot of books that keep me on the edge of my seat or stick with me that much, but that one did.

3) Favorite movie- It is close between Spiderman, The Mummy and the Bourne series. On most days, Bourne wins.

4) Favorite food- Chocolate (and yes, it is a food!)

5) Favorite place- Virginia. Wow, big surprise there

6) Favorite season- Autumn- it gets cooler, the holidays are close and best of all, the kids go back to school!!

7) Favorite dog- Cocker Spaniel. They love to eat, sleep and be cute. My kind of dog!

8) Favorite day of the week- Friday. Oh yeah, I survived another week.

9) Favorite T.V. show- Star Trek, the originial, TNG and Voyager. Beam me up, Scotty!

10) Favorite color- Blue

11) Favorite hobby- reading and quilting. Ok, that is two, but if I want to relax it's reading, if I want to be creative, it's quilting.

12) Favorite holiday- Christmas. All the eating, visiting, time off work and routines, music, beautiful lights, and giving presents. Most of all, people seem nicer to each other. I wish it was like that all the time.

13) Favorite thing to do when I have spare time- Bake. And eat it, of course!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Quick And Yummy Guacamole

Avacados are a new food to me. I know they've been around but I never tried one until recently. And I had never made Guacamole, either. I could not believe how easy it was to make and good it turned out. I hope you like it too!


1 cup chopped tomato
2 ripe avocados, peeled and mashed
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tsp. salt

Place chopped tomatoes in a bowl, add avocado sprinkling with the lemon juice. Add remaining 3 ingredients. Stir well. Serve with chips or use as condiment.

"The avocado is a food without rival among the fruits, the veritable fruit of paradise. "
—David Fairchild

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day


Before I was a Mom;
I made and ate hot meals,
I had unstained clothing,
I brushed my hair every day,
I had quiet conversations on the phone,
I slept as late as I wanted and I slept all night long.

Before I was a Mom;
I cleaned my house each day,
I never tripped over toys or forgot lullabies,
I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous,
I had never been puked on, pooped on, spit on, chewed on, peed on, or pinched by tiny fingers.

Before I was a Mom;
I never thought about immunizations,
I never held a screaming child so the doctors could give shots,
I never looked into teary eyes and cried,
I never felt my heart break into pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt,
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.

Before I was a Mom;
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put it down,
I never sat up late hours of the night watching a baby sleep,
I never got up in the middle of the night to make sure everything was okay,
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.

Before I was a Mom;
I had complete control of my mind, my thoughts and my body,
I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside of my body,
I didn't know that having something so small could make me feel so important,
I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache,the wonderment, or the satisfaction of being a mom.

Before I was a Mom;
I never knew that something so small could effect my life so much,
I never knew that I could love someone so much,
I never knew I would love being a Mom,
I didn't know the bond between a Mother and her child,
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My First Thursday Thirteen

I thought I'd try a Thursday Thirteen. I've never done this before so I don't know all the rules. But it seems you are free to pick your own thirteen to list, so I picked:

Thirteen Things That Make Me Smile

1. My family. They make everything worthwhile.

2. My health. I'm so grateful I'm in good health. When it's all said and done, what could be more important?

3. My home. It may be small, but it's a roof over our heads and that is all I need.

4. Living in the U.S. Even if you don't agree with the government or even your neighbor, you have the freedom to say so.

5. My car. I like it and I don't know what I'd do without it.

6. My friends, near and far away. A good laugh with a friend can work miracles!

7. My friend Debbie in Virginia. I grew up with her and we are still great friends all these years later. When nothing else is working in my life, just thinking of her friendship makes me smile.

8. Chocolate! You really didn't think I'd leave that out, did you?

9. Our jobs. I've moaned and grumbled a lot over the years about how badly we are paid, but we have pretty good job stability. Thank God

10. My faith. I truly don't know how I got through my days before I became a Christian. The hope it brings helps me survive anything.

11. My brother and sister. We fight, laugh and drive each other nuts. But who else knows me that well? I'm proud of them both.

12. My computer. May sound silly, but it provides me with connections I otherwise would not have and answers to so many questions I otherwise would be stuck with.

13. Reading a good novel. When nothing else works during my day, looking forward to reading at night helps me get through the day!

Monday, May 4, 2009

It's So Hard To Say No

While we were in on vacation in Williamsburg a few weeks ago, my husband received a call on his cell phone. Nothing unusual since he never seems to be off work completely! However, this time he would not tell me if it was work or personal. Ok....I figured if it ended up being important, he would say so. I took the kids and continued shopping while he went outside to take the call.

A few minutes later he came back. I took one look at his face and knew something was up. He quietly told me that he had been called for an interview in Martinsville, VA. Oh, I made such a fool out of myself jumping up and down with excitement! His first call in hundreds of resumes sent. I couldn't believe it.

After spending a good portion of our vacation looking up Martinsville and researching the company, we got home and my husband had his phone interview. When he called me afterwards, he sounded a little cautious. He said it went well, but he had questions about how the company was surviving with so little money coming in and the fact that they admitted they were having trouble retaining employees. Well, we still wanted to wait to see what happened because the company said they were still interviewing other candidates the next day. But when my husband received a call the very next morning before work even started, he was quite surprised. They were calling to offer him a second interview, saying they wanted to bring him in and begin to introduce him to everyone, basically hiring him on the spot. My husband not only wondered what had happened to the other candidates, but thought the whole process was moving a little too fast. Before he agreed to the second interview, my husband asked about salary and benefits. He was told with some reluctance that the company could not pay him nearly what he makes now with his main job (not very much, let me tell you) let alone meet his income from all three of his jobs. Plus, medical insurance was going to be over $1,000 a month for our family. There was no way we could afford to pay that amount on that low of a salary. After we talked about it, we decided to call them and turn the job down.

We are seriously blessed that we are not desperate for a job like some people in this economy, but I was still so disappointed. I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever get to live in my home state again. It was very hard to make that last call to say no.