Life as a single Mother-Empty nest, Dating, Ex-husband, Best Friends, Full-time Employment, Unemployment, night school...How do these all relate to one another? Come with me:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My 3 Most Important Reasons for Living.

A few years ago when I was still attending night school full-time, I took a public speaking class. I actually chose to take it, as a humanities credit. Even though my friend thought I had lost my mind. A lot of my classes were requiring more and more oral presentations, and I figured it was a great way to alleviate some of my stage fright. Also, I might get a few pointers on just HOW to speak clearly and appropriately for an audience.

Those who know me, know that I can chatter away- sometimes endlessly about nonsense.. and well, it carried over into my speech class too. I went over the time limit every time! And not just a minute or two- sometimes 20 minutes. I think it was a mixture of nerves and the fact that I have no idea how to 'wrap it up'. But, the teacher liked what I had to say, and I really enjoyed the class. I want to Share here, one of my favorites.

The class project was to write a toast- it could be anything, you could toast a favorite celebrity, a relative, yourself, make up a best-man's toast, anything really.

I struggled with it for a day or two- Thought of toasting to my parents, and their long happy marriage, or to a friend or two. Then, I remembered my mother telling me about a college English paper she had written. A comparison paper, where she decided to write about my sister and I and how different and yet the same, we really were. And so, I chose my kids.

This was the result: (I got an A+! And, I didn't go over the time limit, good thing I only had three kids.)

A toast to my children. My Faith, my Strength, my Life.

To Jeremy-
My strong Boy. Both in stature and emotion. I am so proud to say you are my son. It isn’t easy for a mother to let her son get hurt, and it is not easy to hear her son tell her that it isn’t cool when she treats him ‘like a kid’. Some may say a mother makes a son soft. But somehow you found your masculinity and strength.
From the age of 7 Jeremy you have taken it upon yourself to protect and shelter your mother and two younger sisters from the scary world, such as the terrors of bullies, spiders, big dogs, and critical people. I guess it’s not so bad that we have to kill the mice our selves, everyone is entitled to their own fears.
Thank you my son. No matter how old you get to me you will always be the little boy wrapped in my arms humming with me as I rock you to sleep.

But just the same, you are my strength.

To Chantel-
The image of your mother. Tenderhearted, emotional, but also a little strong-willed. You have grown to such a beautiful young woman both inside and out. You would never turn another away; I see how it hurts you when others are callous.
I see young men turning their heads in your direction and it is bittersweet. I know the beauty they see, and I cannot believe that you have grown so fast.
You are a strong girl and can make your brother run in fear with that one certain look in your eye, turn your mother to mush with another, and all the boys turn their heads with that sweet smile & disposition. You were quite a mean spirit in your first few years, who would have known.
You are my Savior.

To Rachel-

Strong willed, independent, creative, and intelligent. You are my baby, the one I wanted to hold the longest. And yet, you were the one who didn’t want to be coddled. An independent beautiful girl. I recall when you were just 5 yrs old. Upset that you were to clean your room. You packed a bandanna with a can of beans, your toothbrush, your pajamas and your teddy. Tied it to a stick, told me you didn’t love me anymore, and with tears in your eyes, stomped out into the world. Of course you only made it around the block and came home crying that you still loved me. But your independent nature and your deep intelligence tell me that you will not stop at a mere walk around the block, I see wonderful things for you.
You are my perseverance.

Parents raise their children so that they may be strong, intelligent, faithful and complete. No-one ever tells you just how much the reverse is true.
We are growing everyday together.
Here’s to my children, my strength, my faith, and my perseverance.
I love you.
Hope you like it, I wanted to preserve it somewhere and figured this is a good place. Thanks for letting me share.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Better late than never- Chili Rellenos

Monday night I made a recipe I have never attempted before- and well, It shows. But, They were delicious!

I learned a LOT about what not to do:

I only bought 3 Anaheim's as this was my first attempt and well, there are only three of us...
I found the prettiest and most robust looking chilies that were available in the market I was at. (which really was not a market at all, but a superstore- OH! The shame)
Placed them into a glass baking dish, and roasted (for the first time ever) chilies.

When the chilies began to make hissing sounds and smelling heavenly, i turned them over to roast the other side.

Lesson learned number 1: Roast chilies a little past the point of hissing. I'm not sure I let mine go long enough.

Wrapped them each in a damp paper towel, to steam, while I concocted the egg mixture.

I separated 6 eggs into two separate bowls.

Then whipped the whites to a froth with peaks. And beat the yolks with a tablespoon of flour and a pinch of salt.

Then I peeled the chilies. This is the part I had the worst time with. I am not sure if it was because I didn't roast them long enough, or if my chilies were not beefy enough. But as I was removing the skins and scraping out the membranes, and seeds, I had a really hard time not breaking through, and every recipe I have found, insists that all your seams are completely closed. They had one simple sliced seam, which I did too, until I tried scraping out the durn seeds. My poor chilies looked like they'd had a visit from the Texas chainsaw chili massacre. So I'm not including a picture.
I decided to fill mine with a mixture of mozzarella, sharp cheddar (I only had pre-shredded), and some chopped green onions I had to get used up. (Lesson learned number 2: hind sight- I think they needed a little more heat- some jalapenos or something, and tomatoes are always good). Filling them, however, was a little but clumsy at best--- but I managed to get the filling inside the chilies. Although the recipes insist that you have no open seams, and I found one later that suggested sealing with toothpicks, I had filling spilling out all over... But I trudged on.
I poured the yellow into the whites, looks so pretty. Stir together.

Then carefully, while holding the chillies together, I rolled the stuffed chilies in, and sprinkled them, with seasoned flour. Then quickly dipped them in the creamy egg mixture. (I was too messy to take photo's)

Lesson learned number 3: This step might have been easier had I not cut my slit all the way down to the bottom of the chili, or if the egg mixture was in a shallow bowl. It was hard to hold the chili shut and dip into a small bowl. But I managed although I was covered in egg, and my chilies (with way too much egg) were quite fat.

But once you doll them up with a little sour cream, some of the green onion and cheese mixture, some Salsa, some fresh garden tomato's and a side of re fried beans with the same cheese on top - lots of protein. and yum!
Rachel was dying for one, but, by the time I got them ready, she had a horde (pack? pride?) of teens at my front door ready for night games again. The teen boys who seem to have bottomless stomach's were commenting on the delicious smell. I felt horrible that I had decided to only make three. I even heard one exclaim as Rachel told them she would go and just eat when she got home, " Really? Cause it smells so good!" Maybe next time boys~

Monday, October 20, 2008

Scarecrow festivities

Last thursday, my friend decided to take her kids to one of the local halloween festivals held here in our area. She and her four boys, and I and my older daughter and a male friend of hers Brandon.

It was a great evening, the weather could not have been more perfect. (well it could have been a little warmer when the sun went down but im not complaining.

Here are some photos of the evening:

Brandon is a bit shy but took a liking to this pumpkin princess- So we took a picture of the cute couple.

The first thing we decided to do was burn some of the calories we were sure to partake of later in the evening, by jumping on this cross between a gigantic pillow and a trampoline.

I'll tell ya, that was a workout- The thing was blown up pretty hard.. hard to get a good bounce, unless someone else jumps near- then you were soaring. But fun, and it helped to use up some of the boys energy I think. (I also think we might have been the only adults to go on it- Points for us!)
Then two of her boys got on some kind of go carts.

Once again- Good for using up energy!!

This picture turned out cute- the whole gang- except the

Getting ready to watch the pig races-

And yes, Brandon has on Chantels jacket... we dont ask.

Cute little Piggies...

And some Pygmy goats too!

Sent the boys off for more energy spending activities... didn't even slow them down- This silly slide sends you off to the right...or left.. it's all in how you look at it.


Short hair Chant-


Then we had some grub- really grubby grub- Case in point look how my $4.00 hamburger looks like the plastic fake food... it just might be- however- Im a carnivore so it tasted really good.

Chantel and Brandon shared this 10 ft long foot long chili dog...
Just before dark we took some group photos in an enormous rocking chair that conjures up memories of Lily tomlin as Edith Ann - "And that's the truth!'
I LOVE to feel small.

The boys- Left to Right, Cameron, Dillon, Alex, and Jesse.
Boy Alex you know how to stand out!

Blackmail material!

Silly in the barnyard animals.

Jesse, Cameron, Alex, Shar, and Dillon

(They all look so much alike! Sorry Shar if I mixed them up!)

Next, we entered the BEAST. A 100ft long inflatable monster you enter in his mouth and walk through his body hearing his heart beating, and feeling your way through his innards. It was quite dark and we had some screaming girls behind us that ruined some of the effect, at the end, literally, his end, you exit to the sounds and 'air' of his passing gas! Hilarious I thought.

The only picture I took at night was this view of the sunset.
We were lost in the maze- no really- we were lost, I think we were in there for about an hour.. They gave us clues but we are no sleuths aparently. But in our defense- it was dark enough we couldnt see our feet without light from our cell phones. This year the maze was cut to resemble our own American Idol, David Archuleta. And the piped music played all his hits. I'm ok with that.
After we found our way out of the maze- we kicked off our shoes again and jumped in a big vat of corn. It was hard to keep your footing which may be the reason these turned out blury- Well that and the millions of little ones under your feet...
Look at all that corn!!!! Horid thoughts of the poor soul who had to shuck all that corn came to mind!

Then I was buried in the corn, clean up to the neck...

My daughter insisted that when I sit up, I do it monster-like.

I took this to mean in frankenstein fashion... which I did.. As I sat up, I felt a stream, a RIVER of corn slide into my pants, right down my backside... The rest of the night as we walked around I felt corn falling down my pant-leg.
Cameron and Dillon also got buried. We finished off the night with a hay-ride. Which was nothing more than that.. a ride in a wagon, sitting on hay- kind of boring compared with last year.
Shar's Ex, showed up to grab her kidlets and then we headed home. The kids were out but I still had to work the next day. when I got home, I was still 'leaking corn' from everywhere my clothes had an outlet... the hood of the sweatshirt I wore held at least a cup. my bedroom floor was covered with kernels, I didnt feel much like vacuuming up until the next day.
A little TMI: Next morning I woke up, felt something awkward--- reached between my nether cheeks, found two kernels of dried up corn, where NO corn should ever be!

Friday, October 17, 2008

I have some catching up to do-

So-I did as I was had blogged that I wanted to do, and I met my new neighbors.
Wednesday night, as I watched the debates, I needed something to do with my hands. So, I pulled out all the Ingredients and decided to make a treat for my new neighbors and introduce myself. The girls both had to work that night, so I let them take the car, stepped into my favorite pair of comfy sweats, and heated up the oven.

I started out with my bowl of Grannie smith Apples. This recipe takes 5 whole apples. WOW!

Now, Since I don't do a lot of canning, and never make Apple sauce or Apple pie (unless poured from a can) I do not own one of those fancy gadgets that is almost like a Swiss army knife of Apple cuisine. One that peels, cores, chops, dices, splices, and serves it up piping hot for you.....

I had to 'make do' with what I had on hand. One time saver was this handy gadget, I bought when my kids were small in order to cut their apples into child size snack pieces, free of cores and seeds. Perfect! Well almost.

So easy- Slides over the apple, blades press into the apple creating perfect seedless, core less wedges.

Although a bit time consuming, the wedges made

it much easier to peel each one and then I sliced each wedge into maybe, 4 slices each.

If they look a little brown, it is because I forgot to keep them in icy water or sprinkle with lemon juice. But I also didn't think that this step would take me quite as long as it did....

Then I pulled out these absolutely mouth watering blackberries- couldn't find fresh, so using frozen. (This recipe says you can use blueberries, cranberries, blackberries or raspberries. I used my favorite.)

Then I readied the rest of the ingredients. Thought it would be fun to show them all arranged pretty like other food blogs...

Next- Grease the pan well, I used the stick of butter that I will be adding later to the recipe- works out to be exactly the remainder of the stick- or at least in my case:

Until it is well greased on all sides-

Next was to pour the apples, and 2 c. berries into a large bowl and mine clearly, was not big enough!

Look at the dark color of the berries against the white apple flesh. Then 1/4 c. of brown sugar is added, 1/2 teas. of cinnamon, and stir.

The apples become a bright red. Beautiful!

Then pour into your dish.

In a separate smaller bowl, combine: 1/3 c. all purpose flour, 1/8 teas. salt, 1/2 c. brown sugar, and one teas. cinnamon. Stir. then with a pastry blender or two knives, break the butter into the mixture until you have crumbles. Add oatmeal.

Spread over the apple-berry mixture. (sorry this one is blurry) Look at the fall colors!
Bake at 375 deg. for 40-45 min.

Serve hot with Ice Cream!!!

I sprinkled a little more cinnamon and some granulated sugar on top of mine before baking ....

I had hoped to make 3 recipes, two for different neighbors, and one for us. But after all the peeling and coring, changed my mind and made one. (still took the entire debate!)

So- Then while it was still piping hot, I covered it with foil, wrapped it in a hand towel, and prepared to deliver it to the new neighbors and hoped that they would be home....

And, as anyone who knows me can attest.... i am Murphy- you know the guy who cannot do anything with out SOMETHING going wrong? Well, so far I had made it through the baking process without such as a hitch.

Now, mind you, I have 2 very energetic dogs--- big dogs. They love to go outside. They used to bolt out the door whenever it was opened but we have been working with them and they are much better at staying in place. And they were- staying right where they were. I, with the dish poised in my hands, began to open the door but fearful that the dogs might bolt, kept one eye on them. When I held the dessert with only one hand in order to open the door, the dish tipped a little from the weight. Splashing some of the juice from out of the dish onto the towel and my right hand... Steaming HOT juice. The fear of the dogs smelling the juice, gave me the strength to jump out the door and close it.. the dessert was still OK. Just a teaspoon shy of juice. So I trudged on next door. They were sweet and although I was speaking 100 miles per hour out of nerves, I was glad I went. When I got back home, I ran my now bright red finger under water... no permanent damage but it did sting in my hot shower that night. Nothing goes smoothly- keep reading my blog- you'll see. That is OK. I know it is my fate and so I have come to peace with it. And boy- am I a hoot!!!!

Oh and I posted twice today, so don't miss the one titled- The pictures are back. On the archive menu. And if there are any of you out there who are reading me, go ahead and leave me a comment- click on the comments- and type- no need for an account. Would love to hear from you.