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, April 26, 2011

Easter weekend is just not the same

Easter this year was a bit out of the ordinary.

My kids are older and so the Big bunny is not as magical as in times past.
My youngest daughter dyed some eggs, she is old enough to boil herself.

Meanwhile I cooked up a rather unorthodox Easter meal.

This year we roasted a stuffed turkey, in lieu of the usual spiral ham but stuck with our usual potato salad and roasted asparagus. My usual recipe for stuffing calls for a sage sausage. But because it is spring, and I had some spring vegetables available, I got a little creative.

I began with a loaf of herb coated French bread, cut into 1in cubes and left out overnight to dry. (Mine did not get quite dry so I finished the drying in a warm oven)

And the best part, added to the basic celery and onions, I added some shredded carrots and radishes. What a beautiful color it added to the stuffing. And the flavor was a delicious variation.

As a child, I remember camping over Easter weekend. Some years it was beautiful weather, the first real camping weekend of the season. Other years it was cold, rainy and sometimes even a skiff of snow on the ground.

This year, the winter weather is lingering. As I type this, there is snow falling out my window. Because most of my family was too far for a family get together, we had a rather relaxing day indoors this year. Just spending time with my two girls ( after they were off work).
The night rounded off with a spa night and we glittered our toes.

I miss the days of the Easter bunny, I miss chasing the eggs. I miss the cherub smiles of the tiny ones as they peer into their baskets and hunt for hidden eggs.

But the time I spend with my now grown children is a blessing in itself.

And one day, I will be a grandmother and get to play bunny once again..... but that is years away. Right?

What did you do for the Holiday weekend? 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I won!

Do you ever enter sweepstakes? Do you dream of the people with the huge check knocking at your door? Do you fill out endless forms online hoping to win some freebies? 

I would not call myself an obsessive contester by any means but once in a while, I fill out a form and hope to win. And after many of those entries ending with a solicitation call or two, or ten I get more and more discouraged. 

The old adage, 'Nothing in life is free' comes to mind.

However! I am once again a believer. 

Last December, I was frequently chatting with old school chums, and family members on the social network facebook. There was one contest that caught my eye. Sears and their Blue Crew were holding a contest for the holidays.

Many of my friends had entered and there was just a simple click and then a short entry form required to enter. The contest would last 12 days. The twelve days of Appliances with a new appliance given away every day of the twelve.  Click.

The day after I filled out the form, I nearly deleted an email from Sears. Thinking it was junk mail sent out in droves after an entry. But good thing I read it. 

Congratulations you are the winner of day number two of our contest!

And what did I win? A brand new LG stove. 

Do you think no one ever wins those things? Do you think they are all a marketing ploy? I am living proof. 

There was a glitch in our communication and although I should have received it in February, I didn't receive it until a few weeks ago. But, it is mine, it was free (except for the governments share of course) and it is fabulous. 
It is stainless steel and all of my other appliances are white but it fits in just fine. 

I believe there will be an excess of cooking posts here in the coming weeks as I am trying out all of the features. I will be learning what convection really is. 

So the next time you think it is a waste of time to enter contests, at least think that once in a while, people really do win. 

And the icing on the cake was that my old stove, which was only about 6 years old was sent to my best friend. Her stove was barely in working order. Only a couple of the burners worked and the front glass had been shattered.
Pay it forward.

Cant wait to cook up some Easter dinner. Recipes to follow.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Banana Cake

As promised my mothers recipe

Today it is a bit overcast but warm. I think we will take a walk to the park and soak up some much needed vitamin D. The following recipe is perfect for picnics and with Easter coming this week I would imagine many will be out enjoying the spring time weather.
No better way to finish off a ham and eggs easter lunch (and use up those over-ripened bananas sitting in the basket) than a sweet slice of heaven.

Banana Cake

Sift together  
             2 c   Flour
           1/2 t   Baking Powder
           3/4 t   Baking Soda
           1/2 t   Salt

In a separate bowl, cream together:

           1/2 c. Shortening
        1 1/2 c. Sugar

              2     Eggs (well beaten)

Mix well, then add:

           1/4 c. Buttermilk
              1 c. Ripe Bananas -mashed 
Mix in:
              1 t   Vanilla
           1/2 c  Nuts - Chopped

Alternate wet and dry ingredients mixing together until smooth.

Pour into a 9x13 oblong baking dish. Bake at 350degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool.

Maple frosting

    1 stick of Butter until smooth.
               1  Egg ( can be left out if you are squeamish about raw eggs)
            2 c  Powdered Sugar
            1 t   Maple Flavoring or Real Maple Syrup

Whip until smooth and spread over cooled cake.

This cake is addicting.

With my baby turning 18 last December, Easter is a little different this year. How will you be celebrating the day?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush. ~Doug Larson

March has gone by in a flash. Busy times and yet at times not busy enough.

Rachel has been so busy with the pageant, the last few months of high school, preparing for college, and two simultaneous plays. One play she is up at the crack of dawn for practice, the other staying a few hours after school to direct and produce.

The middle of February, we attended a funeral. A tough time for my children. I wrote a post about a visit with my ex's mother ( my children's grandmother) last October. She had been battling a horrible debilitating disability for over ten years. Slowly declining in health. She lost her battle on February 18th of this year.

I assumed that the funeral would be to say the least, awkward. My ex has been married twice after me. The other two wives were planning to attend. One being the current wife and the other with children who are his. But this was not about me, it was about my children and a woman we loved.

The funeral actually went rather smoothly. My ex acted if anything, a little but too cozy. Reminiscing with me over old photos and old times. But I think it was good for my kids to see that. That there is life on the other side of pain and divorce.

To save money, we stayed with my parents who live approximately one hours drive from the funeral site. Not a bad drive, plenty of time for discussions about emotions and feelings.

Until, the night after the burial. We ended up staying a little later than we had planned, talking to the kids family and eating. So we didn't head back to my parents until after dark. Some rain and snow flurries had begun earlier that day at the cemetery and as the evening moved in the snowfall came down harder. We didn't realize just how hard until we were walking out.

The drive was a white knuckle one and it took us a lot longer than we had planned to get back to our beds at my parents, but the next morning it was beautiful! The sky was clear and blue and the sun a golden orange overhead for our drive back home.

I am so glad that the kids got to see their grandmother one more time before her passing.

The rest of the month here has been status-quo. Job hunting, clearing out storage and deep cleaning here at home. The weather has given a few nicer days when the sunshine poured on the vitamin D and I was able to get out and get this body moving.

And now we are back to snow and cold. I could really use some more sunshine in my life right now. In more ways than one.

One bright light in this time is that my youngest received an acceptance letter from the college of her choice and will be attending in the Fall. She is so excited! But a little overly ambitious. She has a way of jumping into too much too fast. Trying to convince her that she does not need, nor can she afford her own apartment off campus is proving difficult. I may be able to talk her into student housing as long as she has her 'own room'. I certainly hope this has nothing to do with the time I tried to get her to clean up her room by pointing out how hard it would be for a roommate to live with her lackadaisical ways....

We have a lot to do before she heads south this fall. It is an exciting time for sure, but bittersweet. Boy eighteen years has come and gone in a flash!

I thought I would be in a different place at this time in my life for sure. I didn't think I would be alone, jobless or near this grey when my youngest went away to school.

But I also never dreamed that I would be this happy either.

This silly weather has kept me inside so I have busied myself with some projects.

Yesterday I baked my mothers delicious banana cake (recipe to follow soon) which I am at this moment enjoying with my morning coffee.
I have been refurbishing a coffee table we received a few years ago at a yard sale. We actually got it for free at the end of one day when they were tired of looking at their 'stuff' all day. I wish I had taken some before pictures because the transformation is fabulous. It is gratifying work, if only I could make a living at it.

Hopefully in the next few days the sun will come out so we can get started on the yard cleanup outside and get our sprouts in the earth.

I love spring, but love summer so much more.

Hope you are all getting a little bit of sunshine. Any projects in the works with you?