Friday, February 27, 2009
For this week's installment of My Husband ROCKS - Fridays! we weren't given any specific subject to talk about. Whatever we want is the course of the day. This left me a little stumped for a minute. You see, we have had a very average week. Nothing spectacular has happened. MW didn't do anything out of the ordinary. We had no grand plans. And I covered a gigantic butt load of information during the S.W.A.K. Carnival just prior to Valentine's Day. Hmmm...What do I write about?
In all actuality, MW doesn't need to do, or say, or be anything special to ROCK. He just does. It's all of the little, ordinary, run of the mill, every day life instances that MAKE him rock. It's the way that he calls me every day just to tell me that he was thinking of me and wanted me to know how much he loves me. It's the way he puts my needs and desires before his own. The way he looks at me. He wants to please me - not because I demand it but because he loves me so much. It's his compassion and kindness to those around him. The way he can light up a room and make people leave feeling better than when they came. The way that he chooses to maintain a positive outlook and remember the best in a person or situation no matter what is going on. The way he is seeking after God. THESE are just SOME of the reasons that my man ROCKS! I realize that a rockin' relationship isn't about the grand or spectacular moments. It's about the day in and day out moments that accumulate to something grand and spectacular.
I just remembered something else. Yesterday, I went into the Thrift Store here in town. I saw a vanity. I have been looking for a vanity. Awesome! We only have one bathroom in this house. So, I'm thinking that if I have a vanity where I can fix my hair and make-up when we all need to be getting ready at the same time it will make those days run much more smoothly. Anyway, this vanity was exactly what I have been looking for. There was only one problem with it. It was already sold. Bummer. So, when I told MW about the perfect vanity, except it wasn't perfect now because I couldn't get it, he told me to draw him a picture of what I was wanting. This is one more way he rocks. I say this because I know he's going to get it done for me.
So, there you have it. Reasons that my husband rocks. If you would like to participate, or read about other husbands and possibly have your husband read about other husbands for inspiration! - click on the button at the top of this post.
And on a side note: to you dear ladies who have left me a comment about my computer woes...thank you. I appreciate your input. It's still acting up, though. And it's beyond my minuscule abilities. It won't even let me get into my own comment form so I could properly respond and thank you. My apologies. I'm just going to have to break down and take this bad daddy to the Geek Squad or possibly to some other Geek. Who'd have ever thought that the day would come when Geeks would be so cool?
Happy Friday y'all!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
My computer is acting up. On my last post I had pictures of my dogs that I wanted to put on my blog. It would go as far as to upload the pictures but as soon as I would hit the "DONE" button it would throw up a box that says "Internet Explorer has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience." Then it would completely kick me off of the Internet. I have tried re-starting the computer, deleting temporary files and emptying the recycle bin (although I have NO idea what that would have to do with anything). I am not very computer literate and am feeling slightly (a lot) desperate here.
Pleeeeeaaaaasseeee, Heeeeeellllllppppp Meeeeeee! Ok. I feel better now!
So, if any of you darling, sweet, helpful, beautiful, loving bloggers (Am I buttering you up enough?) have any advice for this just barely technologically literate enough to even have a blog, blogger (whew!) - I am open to and thankful for suggestions.
MW wasn't raised with dogs like I was. So, he naturally didn't have quite the affection for them as I do. We have had several dogs since we've been married. Some he hasn't cared for so much. Two of them, I have had to intercede for their lives because he was going to send them to meet Jesus. Both were Cocker Spaniels. We got them because I had one growing up who was a dear, sweet thing. She wouldn't even dream of snapping at someone, even if that someone was a child who was pulling on her ears. We were told this was very rare for the breed by both vets and dog groomers alike. But, alas, some lessons are learned the hard way. Both of the Cockers MW and I owned were true to the breed's snappy reputation. One bit me. One bit Little Britches...in a couple of places. I begged for her life as MW went for the gun. Both ended up at the Humane Society.
Now we have Layla. She is the BEST dog I have EVER, EVER had the pleasure of owning. MW loves her. Little Britches loves her. I love her. And she loves us all. She has become part of our family. She is so gentle and loving. She is well mannered and obedient. My mom and sister were amazed at what a good dog she is when they were here this weekend. Layla is the most unique dog I have ever owned. She is very intuitive. It seems like she knows when I'm feeling blue and hormonal because at those times she doesn't want to leave my side.
Last night when I brought her in from outside, Little Britches said, "Mom, Layla's in heat again! There's blood on the rug!" I knew that couldn't be the case because she had just come out of heat like a month ago. Thank God THAT is over! So, I called my girl into the laundry room and started checking her paws. Sure enough, she had caught something that laid her pad wide open. It was bleeding something awful. I kept pressure applied to it to get it to stop bleeding. When it wasn't helping I started to become unnerved. MW walked in the door about that time. I thought she probably needed stitches, but the vet was already closed. We live in a town of 10,000 people. There is no such thing as an emergency veterinary hospital anywhere near in these parts. So, MW, using his logical male brain said that we should just put her in her crate for the night so she wouldn't be putting any pressure on it. By this time the blood wasn't flowing like the Mississippi River, so that's what we ended up doing.
We checked it out this morning to see what we should do. It wasn't bleeding...until she walked down the stairs on it, anyway. It was still laid back pretty good. It's pretty deep, too. I don't handle these things very well, by the way. So when our vet opened up at 9 am - I was on the phone with them. Come to find out - you can't do anything with a paw pad wound. Go figure. Stitches won't hold, they told me. The receptionist said that the only thing the vet could do for her was to glue her pad together...and there is a good chance it wouldn't hold, anyway. At least they were honest enough to save me a vet bill. She told me that we could try to glue it down with super glue or Liquid Bandage ourselves if it we wanted to. So, guess what is on me and MW's agenda this evening?
All of this D.R.A.M.A. reminds me of another episode we had back in the day with Holly, the first Cocker Spaniel that MW got for me. After MW and I married and I had been puppy-less for several years, I was needing something to nurture. So, MW, being the loving, caring, wanting to please his wife, husband that he was, had arranged a Christmas surprise for me. Knowing my love for the Cocker Spaniel, he had searched the whole state to find a litter of puppies in the coveted breed. One Saturday he told me that he was taking me to get my Christmas present, but that it was a surprise. After a two-and-a-half hour drive we arrived at our destination. We walked into the home of a complete stranger and there in the living room was a new litter of the cutest, sweetest, Cocker Spaniels I'd ever laid my eyes on. I picked out a beautiful little blond colored female. We named her Holly because she was a Christmas present. She grew up to be a very well-behaved lady who also had a very nasty streak. She was true to the breed standard that we had been so aptly warned of. Hence, the almost going to meet Jesus by my usually very even tempered MW.
Anyhoo...back when we were still childless and only had the one dog, we had taken Holly for her annual veterinary visit. When we left the vet's office I had MW run me across the street to the mall so I could run in and pick up my contacts that had come in. The plan was for MW to drop me off, I would run in grab the contacts and he would wait for me in the car with the dog. Holly, on the other hand, had a different plan in mind. As I am walking into the mall and MW is driving away, Holly decides she'd rather come with me than wait in the car. So...she jumps out the window. Her leash got caught on the shifter in the middle console, so she is left hanging out the window while my husband was pulling away! Thank God she did get caught and hung or she could have ended up under the wheel! When I come back out to the car, she is a bloody mess. We take her home and put her in the bathtub. BUT THE BLEEDING WON'T STOP! I was bawling like a big, blubbering, idiot. I remember saying (sobbing), "If it's this bad just dealing with a DOG'S wounds...I don't think I can HANDLE having CHILDREN!!!). So...we head BACK to the vet's office from where we had just come. They said it was a good thing, too, because she had cut an artery in her lip and there would have been no way to stop the bleeding without stitches. She had also completely ripped out one of her toe nails. Ay, Ay, Ay... That's not as bad as what happened to my girlfriend from high school's cat once, though. It got into the dryer on laundry day and exploded! It must have used up it's eight other lives already 'cause that was the end of Kitty.
So, my dogs have kept me on my toes with bandaging, nurturing... I am SO thankful that Little Britches hasn't had any major injuries. Although, you'd almost think his leg was falling off when he stubs his toe, or something like that! At least we've had no stitches or broken bones or burned down apartments...oh, wait, that was ME. And that's another story for another day.
So, for now I must be going. I have math to check and wounds to tend. Hope your day is pleasantly uneventful.
Monday, February 23, 2009
PAM'S PASTA WITH PINE NUTS:
1 lb. box of whole wheat pasta (twists, bow ties, doesn't matter)
3/4 cup raisins (Don't leave these out. Sounds gross, but it really makes the dish.)
3/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic
small head (or 1/2 bag) of baby spinach
*left over chicken or turkey, cut into bite size pieces, however much looks good to you
salt and pepper to taste
fresh grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Bring pot of water to rolling boil. Add pasta and raisins (to plump them). When pasta is tender, drain in colander and return to pot or serving bowl.
Meanwhile, toast pine nuts in dry skillet over medium heat. Set aside when lightly toasted. Using same skillet you toasted pine nuts in, pour olive oil into the skillet to warm. Mince garlic and saute in oil 1-2 minutes. Add spinach to wilt. Toss in the chicken or turkey meat and pine nuts to warm. Salt and pepper to taste.
Once pasta is done and drained, top with the above mixture. Add cheese to taste.
Serve with crusty, French bread and a side salad.
*Note: If you don't have leftover chicken or turkey you have a couple of options. 1) Cook a couple of chicken breasts and cut into bite size pieces. 2) Buy pre-cooked and pre-sliced chicken from the store. It's usually sold in a plastic container near the lunch meat. I have used this option many times to save on prep time.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
This was a much larger undertaking than I had anticipated. Ugh! MW has the pager for work this week so he hasn't been able to help as much as I had hoped. He is going to be cleaning carpets tonight, though. Yay!
Well, I have some paint out there screaming at me to come use it. I must continue on. I can't wait to get it finished and post some pictures.
Monday, February 16, 2009
So, my family will be here Friday. Today is Monday. I have to wash down the walls and vacuum up all of the sand dust. Tape off the flooring so we can paint. Paint. Clean. Ugh. Get the room in order. Go out in the garage and find all of the 'pretties' that have been stored out there for the past year because that's how long it has taken to actually get to these rooms. Isn't that pathetic? And I also need to manage to get school in. Does a hands on work experience count towards homeschooling? Hmm. Maybe I can figure out a way to pull that one off. I really don't see myself getting those throw pillows for the couch and curtains for Little Britches' room done before Friday, too, though. Oh yeah. I just remembered the ginormous cork board leaning against the kitchen wall that screams at me to paint it every time I walk past it. That need to be done so we can hang it up in the littler guy's room before they get here as well. So much to do...so why am I on the computer again?
I dropped some items off at the Thrift Store on Friday afternoon as took a peek around while I was in there. I have found some of the coolest stuff for my house at that crappy little thrift store. I picked up a red vase for a buck once because I thought it would look good on top of my TV armoire. When I got it home and cleaned it up I noticed it had a stamp mark on the bottom of it. So, I googled. I found out it is by a very famous German pottery maker. I'm sure they had no idea. Cool huh? Anyhoo (Get off of the computer, Pam)...they have this table at the Thrift Store right now that I'm thinking is really cool and would look super awesome upstairs in the guest room. We have these two wing back chairs that are begging me for a table to go with them so they can create a really comfy, cozy, reading nook/place for the company to put their socks on spot. I truly hate to disappoint those lovely chairs. So, back to the table. (Can you tell I'm a little scattered this morning?) I like older things. I think they have character. This table is full of it. It is round with these really cool spindle legs and a shelf underneath the top. It is a darker wood, which will go great in that room. And the top of it is inset with marble. There is a rectangular table with drawers that matches it. I'm not sure if I would want that one or not, though. I wish I would have thought to take a picture while I was in there. The lady said that they had been there for about a month. They are $50 a piece or $75 for the pair. I'm thinking I'm probably too cheap to pay that much. Once I get the room painted and situated I'll have to examine it more closely - take my tape measure and all to see if the size is right. If I really want it - I'll need to get MW on board. Hopefully, I'll have some pictures to post here before too long. OK. I really need to get off of the computer now.
One more thing before I go. This is really off subject. Is it totally weird to all of a sudden like a certain food that you don't normally care for? Does anyone know if that is a funky part of getting older? When I was grocery shopping Friday I saw the grits and thought, "Mmm. Those look good." So, I bought a box. I don't even like grits...but, I sure have eaten them every day since then. I even had them for dinner one night. Is this totally weird?
OK. So, now I REALLY am going. I'll post more later.
Friday, February 13, 2009
For this week's installment of My Husband Rocks Fridays I am supposed to share about our first Valentine's Day together, what 'secrets' we do well, or what we are going to be doing for Valentine's Day this year.
Our first Valentine's Day together was a little nerve racking for me. We had just had our first date on New Year's Years Eve and he had not yet declared how absolutely, madly, crazy, totally, head-over-heels in love with me he was. I think that came about a week later! LOL! Anyhoo...MW was my first true boyfriend, so I was really 'green' and insecure about the whole What is appropriate at this point? and What do I get him? thing. So, I did what any mature and highly sophisticated woman in my position would do. I had a girl we worked with start snooping out what he was going to do for me! I didn't want to know what he was getting me, just an idea of how much he was spending on me so I would have a better idea of what to do for him. Bad idea. She was absolutely clueless about what anything costs. I hope she never aspired to be on The Price Is Right, 'cause she would have TOTALLY bombed! She told me he was probably spending about ten bucks on me. He ended up getting me roses and this adorable teddy bear. TEN BUCKS?! We worked at a super store, for heaven's sake! How did she ever come up with that figure? Since I had no idea what was appropriate to get a man for VD (That abbreviation doesn't quite look right, does it? Oh, well.) I ended up getting him a pair of leather gloves to go with his leather dress coat and bag of chocolates in the shape of big, juicy, hot lips! We also exchanged cards. I still remember so vividly what his said to me: "It's your heart I'm after..." Now, you didn't REALLY think I was going to give it all away, did you? That's personal! I did save the card, though. And the teddy bear, too. Actually, I still have filed away every card MW ever given me. I guess you could say I'm the sentimental type.
I'm going to skip the part where I mention what we do well. I think I've covered that plenty in the past couple of posts.
As far as what we're going to do this year for VD (that still makes me giggle!) - well, we're ditching Little Britches for a few hours of Mommy/Daddy time. It will be in the day time, so no romantic evening planned. I don't really care what we do, as long as we do it together. Of course, we'll grab a bite to eat somewhere. We have also talked about going to check out hot tubs. The one that came with the house when we bought it last year is yet to be up and running. So, we're either going to fix it or replace it. Maybe we can wear our swimsuits underneath our clothes and sneak in one and feed each other chocolate covered strawberries while the employees aren't looking. That could be exciting! Whatever we end up doing will be great because MW has this knack for making everything fun!
If you'd like to participate or just read about what other couples are doing tomorrow - click on the meme at the top of this post. That will take you to Katy Lin's site where you can read posts from other MHR Fridays participants at the left side of the screen.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Yesterday I posted my first installment of the story of Me and Mr. Wonderful for the Valentine's Carnival happening over at We Are That Family. If you would like to participate or simply read a little bit about other's love stories, just click on the SWAK Valentine's Carnival button.
Now that you know how MW got his name, (if you don't - read yesterdays post) I thought I'd share a little bit more about what makes us tick as a couple. I previously mentioned that he is not perfect. Nor am I for that matter. But, and that's a BIG but, we're perfect for each other. I don't believe that there is such a thing as a perfect marriage. Since I am such a Sharpie, I developed this conclusion on the basis that I don't believe that there are perfect people. Having said that, though, I think marriage rocks! I'm sure that every marriage is different because every couple is different. So, keep in mind that the things I'm about to share are things that work for us.
Both of us came into this marriage with the full knowledge and recognition that this deal was 'till death do us part' - and neither of us was going to be doing time for homicide! Before we ever said our vows we declared that D-I-V-O-R-C-E would never, ever, ever be a part of our vocabulary. And it hasn't been. I think that one decision alone severely alters the way you deal with one another. It's like, "Hey we're stuck together so we better figure out a way to work this minor difference out." There really aren't many things that are as big of a problem as they may seem like in the heat of the moment.
We also remind ourselves whenever necessary that WE ARE ON THE SAME TEAM. There is nothing worth breaking up the team. Even (sometimes especially) the "little wonderfuls" in our lives. When you take 2 very different people and throw them together and say something like, "Now have a ball!" - there is bound to be some adjustments that need to be made. Learning to live with, consider and respect someone other than yourself doesn't automatically happen. That's where the whole team concept works for us. We realized that my areas of weakness were his areas of strength and vice versa. On a team, you don't want every member to have the same areas of expertise. It benefits everyone involved if each persons strengths are allowed to shine. So, we look at our differences as complimentary instead of competitive.
Also, every person has buttons that can be pushed. Oh, you know what yours are. And you know what your spouses are, too! We decided pretty quickly that it wasn't a good idea to push each others buttons. Although, sometimes it was very tempting in the beginning! You know, sometimes when you're ticked off and worked up you want him to be, too. Be honest, now!
We also worked at communicating with each other. I would think I was being really plain about what I was trying to convey, when in all actuality, I was still pretty much beating around the bush. I've had to learn to be much more direct than I even thought I should be. Most of the time my little signals just weren't getting through. I also remember another instance early on in our marriage. I would come home from work after a frustrating day and I would tell MW the maddening things that happened. He would then proceed to tell me what I should do or should have done about it. He was always trying to "fix it". That made me even more frustrated. One day I finally told him, "I don't NEED you to FIX my problem! I just NEED you to let me vent!" He tells me that's one of the best things I've ever told him. He's a man. Men are "fixers". We want "listeners". And then - if we want them to "fix" it, we'll let them know!
Every marriage goes through storms, or fires as others might say. We've had more than our fair share. But it's what we DO during those times that determines the outcome and joy we experience in our marriage. Do we let those times drive a wedge between us? Or do we let them forge us together into something so strong it cannot be broken?
To break it down - these are the few key principles that we have learned to adhere to. a) D-I-V-O-R-C-E is not an option, b) remembering and reminding each other when necessary that we are on the same team, c) don't push each other's buttons, d) learning to communicate with each other, e) And this one is really the most important one, keeping Christ at the center of our relationship. He is the one who has taught us how to navigate through this wonderful adventure I like to call "marriage" after all. It was all his big idea to begin with!
It's funny now because there is no effort involved in keeping our marriage healthy. It runs like a well oiled machine. We have actually gotten to the place where we DO read each other. We don't have to say a word. A look or a gesture will often say it all. We love each other. He thinks about my needs and desires. I think about his. It works beautifully that way because we both end up extremely fulfilled. And it's not a burden, either. It's a joy. It pleases me to please MW. It pleases MW to please me. We each get so much by giving. Even our struggles don't seem like struggles any more. We have weathered a lot of storms together through the past decade and a half and have become expert navigators. We both know that no matter what punches life throws our way, we've got somebody in our corner. That, my friend, is a beautiful gift.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
I have a confession to make. My husband is THE BEST! Oh, you may think that you have the best husband in the world - but I know that I am married to Mr. Wonderful (who will now be lovingly referred to as MW from this point on)! In April we will have been married 14 years. I feel very proud to say that. Most marriages don't make it that long anymore. It's not work for us, though. It's relationship. We are very best friends and so much more. Now, don't get me wrong - he's not perfect. Neither am I. But...he's perfect for me. And after all of these years together we're more in love now than the day that we married.
Ours was a whirlwind romance that stirred the big turd up in the punch bowl, to put it mildly. We met one glorious October night at Meijer where we both worked. I worked in stationary. He worked in grocery. I was doing my shopping one night when it happened. Our eyes locked. He smiled up at me with those gorgeous green eyes and full, juicy lips. I swear I saw that certain glint that sparkles off of brilliantly white teeth, like in the movies. And I thought, "Ay chihuahua! Where have you been all my life?" or something really sophisticated like that. Actually, I remember making a mental note that I was DEFINITELY going to have to make it a point to meet this oh, so sexy, not your ordinary skanky grocery guy as he followed me to the next aisle. We formally met the next day and thereafter took every single break together for the next 3 months until he asked me out.
Our first date was on New Year's Eve. I still remember it so plainly. We were both in school at the time. He took me to The Olive Garden for dinner and then to a movie. We saw Dumb and Dumber. I thought that was a bold move since he really didn't know my sense of humor, yet. We laughed until both my stomach and my jaws ached. It's still one of his favorite movies. After watching it 248 times now - it doesn't quite affect me quite so much as it did that first 100 times. Anyhoo...after the movie the date didn't truly end. We spent the rest of the night together...at work. GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER! We worked third shift. At the stroke of midnight on January 1, 1995 we managed sneak away from our respective departments long enough to say Happy New Year. He brought me a single red rose that night, and every night thereafter for quite some time.
After that we were inseparable. Our first kiss was on our third date. When I went home it took three hours for the butterflies in my stomach to fall asleep. I'm not joking. Talk about feeling like a giddy school girl!
Three months later we eloped. That's when the punch bowl was stirred. That didn't exactly make my parents very happy (I can't say that I blame them.) or a whole slew of other people for that matter. But...you can't change the past and I would still marry him all over again. I was absolutely, madly, crazy in love with MW. And I still am.
He is smart, sensitive, funny, romantic...The list could go on and on. He still brings me flowers for no reason at all. I often find little love notes tucked into my wallet. He calls me every day from work just to tell me he loves me. He ALWAYS opens my doors and has taught our son to do the same. He helps around the house.
Saturday morning when it was just the two of us in the early morning hours before the little guy woke up I told him I had a certain love song on my mind. He told me to put it in the CD player. Then he asked me to dance. And dance we did - breast to breast, just taking in each others scent in the living room at dawn, oblivious to the world around us. Aaah.
Fast forward to Saturday afternoon. I mentioned to MW that I felt like I was starting to look old. You know, getting those little lines around the eyes that never used to be there? I said, "Can you tell?" And the rest of the conversation went something like this:
MW. "Honestly. You don't look any different to me today than the day that I married you."
Me. "Aw. You're so sweet."
MW. "I'm being serious. To me, I see you just like you were when I married you. I love you."
Me. "I love you, too. I'm so glad you're my husband. There's nobody I'd rather grow old with."
MW. "Good. 'Cause you're stuck with me!"
And I could see the sincerity of his words in his eyes.
And finally, jump to last night. First, you must know that I have been EXTREMELY hormonal for the past few days. It hasn't been this bad since I was pregnant almost nine years ago. And, no, I'm not pregnant, if you're wondering - just seriously PMSing. I cried all day yesterday. After dinner I was literally sobbing. MW wants to know what's wrong, if he did something. "No. (sniff) You didn't do (sniff) anything. It's just my (sniff, sniff) hormones. There's nothing wrong (sniff, sniff, sniff) but I can't quit crying. (WAAAAAA!) I think I'm going to hang out in the bedroom for a while." He said, "Come on, I'll go with you." Then he took me to the bedroom and had me lay with my head on his chest while we watched a comedy and I had my cry out. Now, I told you he was wonderful, didn't I? He did, however, comment that if I have to end up going back on the pill to even out my hormones after he had a vasectomy - that was really gonna suck! LOL!
So, this Valentine's Day me and MW will have our date. I sooo look forward to our dates. Sometimes it's necessary to take off the Momma and the Poppa hats and just be a 'couple' again for a a few hours. But, this won't be the day that I'll be looking for flowers or jewelry. We choose to not to buy flowers when the prices are super inflated. If that happens to be your cup of tea, then, "Cheers!" But it will be a day that we remember just how blessed we are to be in each other's lives. And it will be a day that's special. Because, when you're married to MW, every day is special!
To all you other lovely ladies and your Mr. Wonderfuls out there in bloggy land - may every day be Valentine's Day!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
It is a vegetarian dish that is so absolutely yummy that the carnivores I live with didn't even miss the meat. In fact, that night our dinner table sounded quite similar to a particular scene out of the movie, "What About Bob?". Oh, you know the one I'm talking about! And if you don't - you really need to rent that movie. It's hysterical! Anyhoo...somewhere in between all the mmm's and oh, this is so goods, my husband, the meat and potato man (his dad was a butcher) makes this remark; "You need to make this again. It's absolutely BURSTING with flavor!" He sure knows how to make me feel good! Even Mini Me was thrilled with supper that night.
So, now that I've whet your appetite...let me just add that all you have to do to round out this dish for a complete meal is to simply serve it with some crusty French bread and a wonderful salad on the side. I truly hope that your family enjoys it as much as mine did.
Pasta with Kale:
1 lb. box of whole wheat pasta (penne, rigatoni or twists)
1/2 c. sun-dried tomatoes
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
1 lb. kale, coarse stems & midribs removed, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. capers with 1 tbsp. of their juice
3/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
salt to taste
1. Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water until they are soft, about 10 min. Drain, cut them into pieces, and reserve.
2. Begin cooking pasta. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in large skillet & saute onion over med-high heat until golden. Add red pepper flakes & sun-dried tomatoes. Stir-fry for 1 minute longer.
3. Add the kale, tossing well to wilt. Add garlic & cook, stirring frequently for 5 min. Add capers and their juice. Remove from heat.
4. When pasta is cooked al dente, remove from heat, drain well, & mix it with the kale. Add salt to taste. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
*A few notes:
a) I had leftover collards in the fridge and used them in place of the kale and it was fine. Any green would probably work as well. However, if you're buying it specifically for this recipe, I would recommend buying the kale. It's personally my favorite green.
b) It calls for sun-dried tomatoes. If you can't find them you can also use the ones packed in oil and just drain them. They are usually found in the produce department.
c) Don't skip the capers. You can find them in the aisle with the pickles.
Monday, February 9, 2009
It's been 40 degrees for the past couple of days. When we moved back up here from FL I never thought I'd be running around in 40 degree weather with snow on the ground wearing nothing more than a long sleeved shirt. In FL, that was winter coat, hat, and gloves weather! Funny how we change. Anyway, it's supposed to hit 61 degrees tomorrow. Whoo hoo! I'm not naive enough to think that this warm spell is going to last, though. After all it is still February. We had a major blizzard about this time 2 years ago. However, I do know that we are on the tail end of Winter. We will be having more and more days that jump up into the kind of temperatures that get me dreaming about my tulips and irises peeking their heads out of the ground, picnics, sandals, grilling... This Spring teaser has me excited for, well, Spring. I get the feeling I'm not alone in this regard. So, I thought I'd share a poem that I found to be very appropriate right now. Enjoy.
After the Winter...God Sends the Spring
Springtime is a season
Of hope and joy and cheer,
There's beauty all around us
To see and touch and hear...
So no matter how downhearted
And discouraged we may be,
New hope is born when we behold
Leaves budding on a tree...
Or when we see a timid flower
Push through the frozen sod
And open wide in glad surprise
Its petaled eyes to God...
For this is just God saying-
"Lift up your eyes to Me,"
And the bleakness of your spirit,
Like the budding springtime tree,
Will lose its wintry darkness
And your heavy heart will sing-
For God never sends the winter
Without the joy of spring.
~ Helen Steiner Rice
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Yesterday all 3 of us in my clan marched upstairs with our arsenal of paper removing weapons in hand. We had determination. We had the right equipment. We had each other as reinforcements. It went surprisingly quick with all 3 of us working together. We had both areas stripped down in an hour and a half. Funny thing is - the only really stubborn area was the one that we had started on before. I wouldn't have waited nearly so long if we had started somewhere else the first time. Isn't that usually how it goes?
There are some places in the walls that need to be patched and sanded and then we can start painting. That should go really quick. We have gotten the painting part down to a science. I'll post pictures as we progress with our make-overs. I have added a couple so you can see what we were dealing with. SO GROSS!
These two pictures are at the top of the stairs. Could it BE more disgusting?
These two lovely shots are of the laundry room. Notice how it still looks like a border is up due to the nastiness of the walls? NICE. Also, you can see here what I was saying about the door butting right up on the kitchen wall. I'm taking the picture from the landing.
After living with this mess for almost a year - I'm excited about the prospects of clean walls and fresh paint. It's going to be a busy work week here - but a very rewarding one.
Catch ya later.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
The following three things are universal. It doesn't matter what time of year it is - I always love them.
- Dinner seated around the table with my family. We used to eat dinner in front of the TV all the time. Now those times are few and far between. Something special happens when we turn the television off and focus on each other. We connect as a family in a way that completely eluded us while seated in front of the idiot box.
- Handwritten notes. I'm all for e-mail and electronic communications, don't get me wrong. These things have allowed us to connect not only across the miles, but in many cases around the globe in a way that many people throughout history never dreamed possible. But there is something so special about receiving a card in someones own penmanship. It's tangible. I can hold it not only in my heart, but I can file it away and pull it out again over time. I can't tell you the times that I have been weeding out our file cabinet and run across a card or letter from someone and it makes me laugh...or cry. It doesn't just remind me of the sender - it opens the floodgates of memories and emotions that sometimes were completely forgotten. I always keep blank note cards on hand for those times when a 'thank you' is in order or someone is simply on my mind.
- Burning candles. I mentioned these in one of my earliest posts, but they are worth repeating. Science has proven that peoples emotions and memories are directly tied to scents. To me, there is nothing better than entering someones home and being embraced by a wonderful aroma. It immediately puts me at ease and in a relaxed posture. I feel welcomed, like my hostess is glad that I'm there and would like for me to stay and enjoy our time together for a while. Likewise, I want visitors to feel at home when they come and see me. And quite frankly, I want to feel at peace in my home. Scent is just one way to accomplish that feeling. I could spend all day baking and brewing coffee - but then I'd be wore and not be able to sleep at night! No thank you. I think I'll light a few candles instead.
The next few things on my list are seasonal. So, I savor them while they last then quietly wait in expectation for the time when I can enjoy them once again.
- Watching the snow fall. There is something almost magical about staring out my window and seeing the landscape transform before my very eyes, especially when it's an unusually heavy snow fall. All becomes quiet. The world is at peace. So am I.
- Big, furry throws. Kmart has a faux mink throw by Martha Stewart. I loved it so much that I bought two. I love to curl up in the early morning hours with my coffee and my Bible underneath one of these. They are equally delightful in the evenings on the couch with my family by my side. They are oh, so soft and feel exquisite against my skin.
- Snuggling up in front of a roaring fireplace. OK. So this one hasn't happened for me yet, as we don't have a fireplace in our home. But one can always dare to dream!
Well, I think I managed to log some words on a page today. Practice makes perfect.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Here Isaac is pouring the plaster he mixed up into the molds.
And the finished product. Magnets came with it so we glued them on the back and hung it on the refrigerator. It's really long, so I couldn't get a good shot of the whole thing. But you get the idea.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
CAKE MIX COOKIES:
1 box cake mix (any flavor)
1/2 c. oil
Mix ingredients together and stir in 1/2 bag of baking chips (chocolate, peanut butter...). Place cookies on an ungreased baking pan and bake in 350 degree pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes.
You can also add in nuts or fruit, if you like. Some great combos are chocolate chip cookies (duh)made with yellow cake mix, and chocolate cake mix with chocolate chips, peanut butter chips or chocolate mint chips (yum!). You can also use a plain yellow cake mix and omit the chips altogether. Roll the cookie dough in cinnamon and sugar for Snicker doodles that will stay moist until the last one is eaten! Another tasty version is lemon cake mix with no chips at all. Simply dust with powdered sugar when they come out of the oven.
If you keep a box of cake mix in the cupboard and chocolate chips in the freezer you'll always be prepared for begging kiddies or unexpected company. You'll always be able to have a batch of oh so yummy cookies whipped up quicker than you can say, "Dessert anyone?".