Saturday, December 31, 2011

Remember that Bailey's I mentioned?

One of the best recipes at my house this Christmas had to be the homemade Bailey's.  My mother-in-law liked it a LOT!  So much she didn't notice the dust bunnies.  

I've finally caught up to what the rest of the world has known for centuries.  Alcohol sometimes HELPS family gatherings!  My siblings and I found out much too late in our lives that a good Tom Collins or Old Fashioned smoothed our Dad right out.  That could have saved a lot of angst during our teen years.

Anyway, here is the best recipe EVER for homemade Bailey's.  
You're welcome and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

3 eggs (I used Egg Beaters)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 pint whipping cream (I used 1/2 whipping cream and 1/2 half-n-half.  Next time I might try to go even lighter with some whole milk)
1 cup whiskey or brandy   ( I used 3/4 c. brandy)
2 TBSP choc syrup  ( I used Hersheys and doubled it to 4-5 TBSP) 
1/3 c light rum
1 tsp vanilla

Mix in blender or just shake it really well.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Humbug. I need a Baileys.

I sure wish my parents were alive.  I want to look at them, well mostly Mom, with the frustration and exasperation of the holidays with teens, and for her to tell me it's perfectly normal.  Every year I have this fantasy that it'll be all wonderful, with music on the stereo, and all of us happily cleaning and futzing and generally getting ready for the holiday.  The reality is that my kids and husband just don't see the mess like I do.  Bad?  Wrong? Who's to decide.  I think the difference is that when my in laws come, they won't notice how messy the family is, they'll notice how messy I let the house become.  

It's always the Mom's fault.  Even though the Mom works full time.  We've still got a long way to go baby.

And once I'd like to hear a thank you from anyone here about the food I made.  Yesterday I created cranberry cocktail meatballs, spinach balls, baked brie, a bleu cheese ball, etc.  And I have 5 days of menus planned for 11 people to prepare in my "kitchenette".  And today all I get is tsk tsk's because I didn't make an antipasti platter with pepperoncini, red peppers, and other Italian things.

If any of you out there still have your Mom, and she made anything, literally anything, for you at Christmas; or she made sure there was something under the tree for you; or she made the holidays merry even in simple little ways, do me a favor - go thank her profusely.  Tell her how much you appreciate every little gesture.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

You Can't Have Too Many Cookies

COOKIE DAY 2011 was all by myself.  I'm just too busy this season to join up with my dear friend MG for our annual gig.  Instead I had a sugar frenzy in the kitchen between laundry loads.  I also managed to clean out the frig and freezer.  You see I have 6 extra Italians coming for Christmas, including 4 actual adults.  And that's going to require some frig space.  The mud room and deck will be my cold food back up.  And of course I don't want my mother-in-law to see all the food I've let get moldy.

Every year I try out some new recipes.  This year I made lemon-pistachio refrigerator cookies.  For you non-bakers that means you roll the dough into a tube about 1.5 inches across, slice it, and bake.  This recipe was underwhelming.  Not enough sugar.  Kinda tastes like play-dough.

Next up was Mexican Chocolate refrigerator cookies.  These lovelies were dark chocolate with a hint of cayenne pepper and cinnamon.

Also made the ubiquitous pretzel-and-candy thingies, and some sugar cookies.

But the hit has to be the Mocha Chewies.  Amazing.  Packs a luscious chocolate/coffee hit.  And they are so easy I'm afraid to admit it.

1/2 c evaporated milk
1T. instant coffee (I would just a bit more)
1 c. dark chocolate pieces (get the good stuff)
1 c. marshmallow creme
1 15oz pkg Oreos or something similar, finely crushed
1 c. powdered sugar
1 c. chopped nuts (I use pecans)
1 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
1/3 c. whipping cream

Lightly grease a 9x9 inch pan.  In a small sauce pan heat evap milk and coffee over low heat, stirring until coffee is dissolved.  Add the dark choc and mm creme.  Cook and stir until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat.   In a large bowl combine crushed cookies and powdered sugar.  Add melted chocolate mix to cookie mix and stir until combined.  REALLY combined.  Stir in nuts.  Spoon into the prepared pan and spread evenly to the edges.
In a micro safe bowl combine the chocolate chips and cream.  Micro until barely melted.  Stir smooth and fully melted.  Pour over mix in the pan, spreading into an even layer.  Chill about 1 hour or until set.
Cut into tiny bars, about 3/4" x 3/4".  They are intense!

 This is the magazine photo, but mine are just as pretty.

 The aftermath

Monday, December 12, 2011

NOT a holiday movie, but an important one

I gave up Netflix to save money, so had to watch our last 2 DVD's before they charge me for them.  I hate Netflix.

Anyway, one was The Magdalene Sisters.  I'm so overwrought now I have to post or go mad.  This is based on the very real treatment of "fallen" women in Catholic Ireland.   While women in America were waking up to their own freedoms and liberation, teenage girls in Ireland who dared to wink at a boy, or were the victims of rape, or any other "crime" involving sex were locked away by the church in these Magdalene Asylums.  There under violent, cruel, and humiliating circumstances they were expected to spend the rest of their lives seeking penance for their sins.

THIS is what happens to women when religion runs the show.  THIS is what happens when men think they somehow get a free ticket to oppress women.  THIS is what happens when weak women buy into the whole man-of-the-cloth bullshit.  THIS is what happens when an entire society represses all forms of sexuality and looks to some absent god as a replacement. 

As the last chords of the movie died away, I wanted to pull my sleeping girls from the beds.  I wanted to hold them close and tell them to let no man or god deem them trash.  I wanted to line up all women, hike up our skirts, and wag them lady parts at society Braveheart style screaming "THIS is part of our bodies!  And what happens there is OUR story.  This is OUR property!  THIS is our RIGHT!"


Sunday, December 11, 2011

I'm losing it

I must be getting senile.  I find myself wanting the strangest things lately. 

Like a white Christmas tree.

And a belgian waffle maker.

And a Keurig coffee maker.

And a winning lottery ticket.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Look what we made . . . . literally

Holly Frame Christmas Card
Make unique Christmas cards this year at
View the entire collection of cards.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Holiday Coleslaw

Thanksgiving was a blast - literally.   As you know my family is a bit, well, back-woods.  Educated backwoods, but we still proudly carry our white trash genes.  So of course Thanksgiving near some open fields means get out the shot guns and clay pigeons cuz dinner's over and it's SHOOTIN TIME!  My first time ever shooting off something larger than a BB gun, and I hit 3/3!  I myself uttered "We need more ammo!". 

To the feast I added the veggie tray, coleslaw, and red velvet cake.  The coleslaw was a huge hit and everyone wanted the recipe so I've posted it below.  The magazine photo made it look a lot more red and green, but it was mighty tasty.


6 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 c sugar
3/4 c buttermilk
1/2 c mayo
1/4 c lemon juice
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 c pistachio nuts, chopped
2 clementines or tangerines, peeled, divided into segments, and chopped
S&P to taste

Combine cabbages and onion in a large bowl.
Mix sugar, buttermilk, mayo, and lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth.  Pour the buttermilk mix over the vegetables and toss to coat.  Fold in the cranberries, nuts and clementines.  Season with S&P.  Let stand for at least 1 hour or refrigerate for up to 8 hours before serving.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gloria In Excelsis Cookies

My local pal and unauthorized co-blogger Mama in Wonderland was musing on Christmas Cookies today.  Like her, I believe that at the Holidays, baking truly unnecessary amounts of cookies is obligatory.  I can't eat them all but I sure like baking them.  What would the Santa Season be with my annual Cookie Day with the fabulous MG?  Or my cookie exchange with fellow bloggers, or my book club?

At our house, the twins are exiting the jaded teen "I don't care about Christmas Traditions" years just as cupcake is entering it.  Cupcake has always been my cookie partner - we'll see how it all shakes out this year.  But the cookies WILL be made!  Give them to friends who don't bake - they'll stay on your good side year 'round to keep that gift coming.

From Four Midwestern Sisters' Christmas Book by Holly J. Burkhalter
"More than any other holiday food, Christmas cookies hurtle you straight back to your childhood.  Everything else may have changed, but Christmas cookies still taste exactly the way they did when you were five.
We happen to think that cookies are the staff of life, all year round.  But at Christmas they are much, much more.  Their once-a-year specialness is what sets the holidays apart and remind you of Mom, and Grandma, and all the cookie bakers who have loved you.  They turn the kitchen into the center of the universe and pull us in like a magnet."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Freebie for You!

My second ever giveaway, and just in time for the Holidays!  I love sharing freebies with my good friends.

Some of you may recall last year’s holiday card from the Family C.  Because of this wonderful blog, I was able to garner 50 free cards from and therefore greatly expand our card list.  We’ve been using Shutterfly for about 10 years now, and we’re dedicated customers.  They have NEVER let us down!  They are cheap, fast, and send the envelopes too.  And you know I am ALL ABOUT THE CHEAP! 

Every single year, their selection of cards expands.  We have a blast fitting different photos into all their combinations.  They really have something for everyone.  Traditional, classic, cutesy, artsy, you name it.  And they make about any card/announcement you can think of:   Christmas cards, holiday cards, birth announcements, photos books, etc.  We plan to use them for invitations this spring when the twins graduate.

And this year YOU can get in on the action!  I have promotion codes for the first three who jump at them.  They are good for 25 free cards at  Just say the word!  The first three folks are the winners.  We'll figure out a way to get you the code without leaving your email in the comments.

NONE of these are our photos, just examples from the website:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Scariest Halloween Story EVER!

There was a cruel group of rich guys.  They bought up all the politicians, and got all the rules to go their way.

They lined their pockets with obscene amounts of money.  Then they invented completely bogus financial phantoms called credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations.  Things so flimsy even your spell checker doesn't recognized them.  They made millions off them while draining pensions.

They took all their power and money, and together with the politicians, stole millions of dollars from taxpayers and forced thousands of hardworking Americans out of their homes.

Then they shipped all the jobs overseas so Americans couldn't work.

Then they lowered taxes on themselves, busted up the unions, and feasted on the flesh of the population.

The end.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Take a memo

Dear Teabaggers,
You are being sorely used by the wealthy.  Read the book "The Best of Enemies" by Osha Gray Davidson.  Find out who your real enemies are.

Dear State of Minnesota Legislature,
Get your act together and start funding public education.  Get your minds off a Vikings Stadium until your constituents have jobs and your schools are humming along.

Dear Cub Foods,
If ALDI can sell produce at amazingly low prices, why can't you?  It's not like you have the added expense of baggers or a drive up.  What gives?

Dear Current Employer
Thanks so much for the healthcare, dental care, low lunch prices, good food, free coffee, and full access to the office supply catalog.  After 3 years at a public school with a budget crisis, you have no idea how much I appreciate this.

Dear University of Iowa,
Please cough up all the money you can so my twins will go there.

Dear Coca-cola on ice,
Why do you have to be so darned delicious?  WHY?!

Dear Winter,
Please try to show a bit more restraint this year.  Snow is lovely but not 2-3 feet at a time.  And anything below zero is just showing off.

Dear Neighbors,
While I enjoy music as much as the next person, I don't want to hear YOUR selections blasting from your garage every weekend.

Dear Aging Process,
I really don't need the likes of you around here.  You're nothing but a pest and a horrible inconvenience.  You run up my medical bills and make me look horrid in photos.  Be gone.

Dear Shin Splints,
You and your partner Aging Process are really getting on my nerves.  I'm trying to run a successful life here and you are foiling my plans.  Go bother someone else.

Thanks for finally giving me a great place to keep my list of "to-reads".  And not only that, but letting see what's on everyone else's list.  You rock!

Dear Halloween,
I love ya, you big ham!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Same Ole Saturday Night

So I'm sitting here, eating a giant bowl of no-added-sugar-low-fat mint chocolate chip ice cream, when Youngest reminds me that it's still not quite a healthy snack.  Especially not in the portion size I was stuffing in my face.  And ESPECIALLY after a filling supper of chicken cutlets, steamed veggies, and homemade bread.  Have you tried this yet?  It's incredible.  I've been making lovely crusty Italian loaves and sweet rolls. 

And so goes another Saturday night in my life.  Johnny C is downstairs watching USC.  Twin #1 at work slapping pizzas in front of hundreds of hungry souls.  Twin #2 is at a movie after spending all morning taking the ACT.  Youngest and I are going to watch a movie at home. 

New Job is going quite well. Learning the world of health care has been eye-opening.  I was reading through online forms and was fascinated by the clean up procedure for cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs.  Then I started to get worried cuz I've NEVER remember this stuff!  Thankfully I realized I to don't have to, just before a very ill-timed and wholly unnecessary nervous breakdown.

This is the first moment in about 2 weeks that I've had the computer to myself.  That explains the lack of blogging.  Well, that and Facebook and this.  Like I really needed another online time suck.  It's also been soccer season, with Twin #2's team going all the way to the last sectional game.  Twin #1 is playing Maria in the high school's West Side Story.  So starting tomorrow I head into Drama Mama assignments.  We are caught the TEH BUSY and can't get out!

What's new with you my darlings?  I've missed you all so much.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I was a weird kid

My parents had this groovy stereo - like the one pictured.  They were music lovers and had all manner of LP's - Herb Alpert, Marian Anderson, classical, musicals, etc.  I spent many hours laying on the carpet between the stereo and the wall, listening.  I can still smell it - the hot dust of the stereo and my dog next to me.

Once I had a dream that the neighbors' TV was visible through their roof furnace vent.  They were watching I Love Lucy.  I looked for that screen for many years after that.

I used to think women just "got" pregnant - like catching a cold.

My sister and I used to pretend we could speak a foreign language - we'd "talk" that way for hours. 

To this day, I swear a cat's eye marble squeaked at me when I was 5.

I used the think the turning signal, or the "cull-tinker" as we called it, was a homing device, letting us know we were rounding the corner for home.

In one rental house, we had this weird linen closet that started about 3 feet off the ground.  I used to climb up in there because I just liked the smell.

During one late-night trip to the bathroom in that house, I convinced my 5-year-old self that The Incredible Hulk was waiting down the hallway to jump me.  I yelled for my Mom, until she came stumbling from a sound sleep.  I couldn't admit the truth, so I told her I just thought it was nice to walk together.

When I would yell for my parents in the night I would start softly "mom?, mom?" and soon crescendo to "MOM!".  Somehow it seemed better to start quietly.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Shower Observations

Once in a while I have to put my contacts in before I shower.  That way I can see how much it needs cleaning.

I kinda like that burning feeling when your feet are cold and you jump into a hot shower.

I can slather kisses on my husband, but step on one of his hairs in the tub?  Ewwwww GROSS!

Why can't someone make a shampoo/soap bracket for the shower that actually holds the soap in place, no matter how thin it gets?

Minnesota has some serious hard water issues.  It's like bathing in chalk sometimes.

Why do I always think I hear the phone, the door, or someone calling me while the water is running?

When my hair is wet and towel dried I slightly resemble Larry from the 3 Stooges.  But without the bald spot.

Teen girls can drain a hot water tank in under 15 minutes.

Giant cheap bottles of shampoo from Costco do not fit on the average tub edge.

The difference between warm and scalding on our shower handle is about 1/150th of an inch.

Aren't you glad you used Dial?  Don't you wish everybody did?

Thursday, September 22, 2011


First, the good news.
I have a new job!  I'm not the Volunteer Coordinator for the District One Hospital in Faribault MN.  Part time WITH benefits!  My job at the schools was slashed to almost nothing, but I'm keeping those hours too.

Now the whining.
In the meantime this neo-poverty is really taking it's toll.  My little family has kept its collective chin up through it all, but the strain is starting to really show.  We all thought this would be a temporary set back, but it's become our reality.

If I hear one more conservative say the poor have it good, or that we LIKE it this way, or that we somehow DESERVE this, I'm going to go postal.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


The 10th anniversary of 9/11, and what have we learned?

Did we learn that violence and war beget more violence and war?  Or did we learn that peace and constructive assistance create more of the same.

Did we learn that our dependence on foreign oil creates dangerous partnerships?  Or did we challenge ourselves to pursue energy independence.

Did we learn that the extremely wealthy and powerful Americans are in bed with the Saudi royal family?  Or did we turn our backs on that inconvenient truth.

Did we learn not to swallow the "official" version of events hook, line, and sinker?  Or did we ask the tough questions and demand answers.

Did we realize we have just suffered what others countries have been dealing with for decades?  Or did we wallow in our grief to the point of jingoism.

Did we learn the lessons of shared community?  Or did we phone in death threats to anyone with an Arab name or wearing a Sikh head covering.

Did we learn that America is only one small nation on this giant planet?  Or did we continue with our "We're No.1!" chants.

What have we learned?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Songs to hate me by #7

I was oddly fascinated by the song and video in the 80's.  There was just something about that guy - I couldn't take me eyes off him.  Didn't know if I was attracted, repulsed, or whatever.  Maybe I just envied that hair and wardrobe.  Oh Baby shake that finger at me!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cruel Vegetable Summer

Been a very weird summer for my garden.

Evidently we are experiencing blossom drop.   Our weird wet Spring which launched immediately into high heat and humidity means we have lush tomato bushes, but hardly any fruit.  And they fruit that DID show up is still inexplicably green.

Rabbits ate all my spinach, lettuce, and beet tops in June.  After we fixed the fence they just never recovered. I replanted in July but they were a bust.

The peas that were supposed to be climbing the corn never showed.  The squash plants grew lovely foliage but no fruit.

The beans are climbing but I have yet to see any pods.

The corn stalks commit suicide each week, and one of them just breaks off.

The onions however seem to be just fine.  So it'll be a Fall of French Onion Soup.  Good thing we don't really depend on the garden for survival.

Still hoping to get some raspberry and peach jam made.  Summer's not over yet, right?  RIGHT?!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Healing Me

So remember I said I needed to get healthy?  Here's what I did with your advice.
1. I've tried to eat as little white sugar as possible.
2. I've tried to eat a minimum of 5 servings of fruit and vegetable a day.  Four of those I get in my daily Green Monster fruit smoothie
3. I've been walking 30-60 minutes everyday.  Even today, when a sinus infection has me feeling like crud, I still walked over an hour to get my medication. 

The results have been slow, but they ARE there.  My clothes are loose and my knees don't ache like usual.
Just thought you'd like to know.

Put THIS in your blender and drink it:
In the blender put
1 banana
a handful of blueberries & strawberries or any other fruit you have handy. Frozen is fine.
a handful of fresh spinach - trust me you won't taste it.
a serving of vanilla whey protein powder
1/2 cup milk or soy milk or almond milk
4-5 ice cubes

Monday, August 15, 2011

Songs to hate me by #6

Thought I'd forgotten this series?
I freakin LOVED this song when I was a kid.  That's just how I roll.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


President Obama will be speaking 15 minutes away tomorrow in a very small Minnesota town.  Today the advance team was passing out 500 tickets for the event.  Johnny C and I headed out on the chance we could snag a couple.

I don't use this phrase often but what a CF.  There were about 800 people already in line, many who had been there since 2:30am.  The local  police department was trying to keep things organized.  The tiny town had been told only Wednesday this was happening.

People were calm and easygoing, but as the sun beat down and the temps climbed and STILL the line hadn't moved it was clear something was very wrong.  For some unfathomable reason they let over 900 people stand in the midday sun, near heatstroke, knowing they had only enough tickets for half of them.

Thankfully they arranged for portable bathrooms, but that was the only nod to actual human comfort.  Some enterprising locals were selling water for $2 a bottle.

After sweltering for over 3 hours, and holding pass #835 and #852 we decided to bail.  It was ultimately a good decision.  After 3pm they finally turned away over 900 folks.

But we gave it a good try and I have the sunburn to prove it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Squished Again

So like Whiskeymarie, last year I had to interview for my own job.  And like her, I got it back and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I mean I really REALLY like this job.  However today I've been told it's being hacked into several pieces none of which is benefits eligible.

So it's back to job searching.  Perhaps I can find something part-time and mix it with the jumble of shattered pieces that used to be my job.  I would really like to be reasonably well-employed, and not have to hold my breath all year long while budgets and decision are hammered out.  Too much to ask I guess.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Not much, you?

Even with my work-deprived summer I still don't find time to blog.  So here are tidbits to munch on.

1. Best description of the latest federal budget I've read - "A sugar-coated Satan sandwich".

2. About 2 weeks ago I started my own version of a low-sugar weight loss program.  So far amazingly good.  Been eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.  Avoiding all desserts, chips, fast food, etc.  I gave up soda last year.  It's been surprisingly simple, and I have a lot more energy.

3. Been musing on the spiritual gifts of our new austere lifestyle; I appreciate every little thing I have.  I've grown less focused on material things, I've learned to quit worrying about the future and focus on the day at hand.  More on that later.

4. On the flip side I get very frustrated when dumb-as-dirt idiots like the cast of  Jersey Shore are rolling in it, while folks like Johnny C and I can't catch a break.

5. Been reading some GREAT books.  Friend me on and see what I've been up to.

6. The garden has been a patchwork of failure and success.  The lettuce, spinach, and beet tops were all eaten away by rabbits.  However the tomatoes, pumpkins, squash, onions, zinnias, and sunflowers are taking over.  I also planted some late red beans, and so far so good.  As long as our first frost stays away until October I might actually get a harvest.

7. When one of you lucky bastards wins the lottery, remember your friend Mnmom!

8. I really, really don't like the Republicans in power right now.

9. I want to ease the stress and sadness in my husband's eyes.  For his sake and a million other reasons I wish his family lived closer.

10. Did Iowa, Wisconsin, and southern Canada send all their mosquitoes to Minnesota this year?  They are KILLING me!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Jam Session

So I finally got started on Canning Season 2011!  After a trip to Costco I had a giant-sized flat of big juicy ripe strawberries.  And as you canners and jammers know, with produce you have to get right to work.

So on probably the freaking hottest possible day of the year, Cupcake and I put up a batch of strawberry jam.  We use the low-sugar recipe.  Not really for health reasons, although less white sugar should be my goal if you know what I mean.  But mostly because wonderful ripe summer fruit doesn't really need all that sugar. 

So in my vintage apron we got to work.  Cupcake mentioned that I looked just like some 1940's Mom jarring up the garden bounty.  I mused that the big difference was I was cooking on electricity inside my air-conditioned home, not sweating over a cook stove in a 110+ degree kitchen.  However, remember my musings on summer kitchens?  I really want one now.  It would be my escape.  My house has what my sisters and I call a "one-butt-kitchen".  Our unit of measure is our own hereditary ample rear ends.  I actually have more like a "1/2 butt kitchen".  So a project like canning takes good planning, iced tea, and cold air pouring out of the floor vents.

Now that I've proven my prowess with canning, I think I'm ready to buy a big 'ol pot that will hold lots of jars, not just 4-5 jam sizers.  
Watch for later developments as I make raspberry jam, peach butter, salsa jam, and tomato sauce!
Also - the neighbors told me I can help myself to their apple tree in the Fall so Apple Butter coming our way!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Quesadillas reprise

Every so often I have an "Oh DOY!" moment.  Oh who am I kidding, it happens to me all the time.  That moment when you realize you've been doing it the HARD way when the EASY way was right in front of you.

(Image courtesy of internet)

I'm a mentor, and my "mentee" is a wonderful Latina middle schooler who shares my love of cooking.  Her specialty is quesadillas.  So today we picked up some ingredients and using my leftover grilled chicken we made lunch for my daughters.   I set up my griddle then watched her magic.  

Here's her simple method:
Get the griddle heated.
Lightly butter BOTH sides of a flour tortilla.  Warm both sides on the griddle.
Put the filling on one half of the tortilla - we used a Mexican shredded cheese blend and sliced grilled chicken.  She likes to use ham.
Turn half the tortilla over onto the filling, like a calzone, and crimp the edges shut with your spatula end.
Keep grilling and flipping until the outsides are nicely crisped.

So DOY! I had been doing the ridiculous method of trying to fill two tortillas at a time, like a giant round sandwich, and attempting to flip that.  Of course every flip resulted in a grill covered with loose cheese and meat.  Never too old to learn I guess.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sticky Situation

It's time to make jam - and I'm damn jam good at it!
Homemade low-sugar jam is not only much tastier than store-bought, but it's easier on our budget in the long run.
But what do you do when you don't have the cash to resupply your canning supplies AND buy the large quantities of sugar and berries?  I need a farm or a micro-loan!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer so far

Watch my summer unfold over here.

Meanwhile, feeling so mad and depressed I could spit nails or curl into the fetal position.  My hours have been cut yet again because the GOP thinks protecting the rich is more important than my job.  At our public school I match kids with college and parent tutors - 3 of them "graduated" to the honor roll!  I also work with a mentoring program. Paying me to do this through school funding and govt grants is dirt cheap for taxpayers.  It helps these kids finish school and have some hopes for a decent job someday, maybe even home ownership, which turns them into taxpayers.  I'd say it's a darned good return on our investment.

Oh you know where I'm going with all this.  I'm just disgusted with our voting populace right now.  Listen to Fox "News" and Rush Limbaugh and believe all the lies and fear they spew - then vote against your country's strength and rip out it's heart.  The rich will always survive much more comfortably than the rest of us proletariat.  But the wealthy media moguls have perfectly calmed the hordes who should be carrying pitchforks and demanding their heads on a platter.

Our country is only as strong as our working class.  They are our canary-in-a-coal mine.  If the extreme lower middle class can buy a car every now and then, take a few car trips, buy a fishing boat or TV, that will keep us humming.  The rich don't need any one's help!  But somehow they've convinced the huddled masses that government services are evil.  Even those folks standing squarely in the MIDDLE of govt services believe it!

All kinds of folks are crying in the streets over Casey Anthony (which we should - I'm not heartless).  But right now, RIGHT NOW, children and fragile elderly are being hurt, abused, and starved because of program cuts or state shut-downs and there is no public outcry.

We should be collectively ramming down the doors of Congress and statehouses right now, demanding fully funded programs for the lower and middle class.  We should also be demanding a restoration of taxes on the wealthy.  But we're all too busy with our 2nd and 3rd jobs, or hanging on the phone haggling with our health insurance company.  And that's just they way "they" want it.

Disgusted - that's me right now

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Still here.  My blogging seems to have hit the proverbial writer's block.  I always think of really great posts when my head hits the pillow at night.  But folks I'm just too lazy to get up and do something about it.  So for now I'll just share some of my favorite music.  Best.Comment.Ever was left under this one "Jesus Christ I think I just lost my virginity!".

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summer ABC's

Follow the summer exploits of youngest and her mother (me!) while we do the ABC's of summer.

See it all unfold here.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Kids! Heed my warning

This is an open letter to all those teens in a hurry to grow up.

Kids - being an adult looks like heaven, doesn't it?  You can boss the other kids around.  You can eat whatever you want.  Go to bed when you want.  Have a little card that magically pays for everything.

But here's what they don't tell you:

1. You'll spend most of your adult life on the phone with either your insurance agency or tech support for your cable company.
2. You can't eat whatever you want after all, because being an adult means you've developed heartburn.
3. Adults WANT to stay up and at least see the weather report, but we can't keep our eyes open past 9:30pm.
4. Housework - they don't mention this, or how one day you'll find yourself on your knees scraping melted bits of effluvium from the kitchen floor.  And that toilet won't clean itself!
5. All that money you get from your job?  It's already been spent on the car and household appliances.
6. If you're lucky, your acne will stick around well into middle age.
7. You gain 10lbs overnight every 6 months.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Stay Tuned for Station Identification

I haven't forgotten you my friends.  Just very busy,  In the meantime, enjoy an old favorite of mine.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Sarah Palin theory

You just can't make this stuff up.

See the clip here.

This vacuous woman is the new definition of stupid.  And she's not even aware how stupid she is.  I'm embarrassed FOR her!
But here's my serious theory on her popularity.
It's ALL her looks.  All of it.  Women are still judged on their appearance, and it totally trumps anything they have to say.

Men want her to wink at them, men want to think she'd date them.  Women want her to smile at them.  Women want to be her BFF.  Of course I don't mean all men and women, but you know folks who meet this definition.

Imagine of she looked like Bella Abzug?
Imagine of she looked like Billie Jean King?
What if she looked like Barbara Bush?
What if she had giant cankles and bad skin?
Think she'd get away with claiming Paul Revere rode through town with gun shots and bells to protect our 2nd amendment rights?
Would the press be salivating and crawling all over themselves to get a photo?

There just can't be any other explanation.  It's just like High School.  A girl can be a total ass right down to her skanky little heart, but if she's hot she can get away with murder.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The conservative mind

So now it seems science has discovered the reasons for liberal vs. conservative thinking.  Read articles here or here.

To paraphrase: "The brains of people who call themselves liberals tend to have larger anterior cingulate cortexes than the brains of people on the opposite side of the political spectrum, the study showed. The anterior cingulate cortex is a collar-shaped region around the corpus collosum, a structure that relays signals between the right and left hemispheres of the brain.

What about conservatives? Their brains tend to have larger amygdalas. The amygdala is an almond-shaped structure located deep within the brain.
Based upon what brain scientists know about the function of the two brain regions, researchers believe the structural differences support the notion that liberals are better equipped to make sense of conflicting information while conservatives are better able to recognize a threat.

So what does this mean?
I think it clearly explains why simple facts won't work on conservatives.  They see or hear something, label it a threat, act on those impulses, and make decisions accordingly.

So I think we have to meet them where they are.  We have to approach subjects such as gay marriage, environmentalism, military budget cuts, reproductive rights, etc. and promote the inherent safety of these ideas.  We have to help them see there is nothing to fear.  We have to neutralize the threat so they can think more clearly.

What do you think?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Heal Me

This whole kidney stone/surgery thing has opened my eyes to a giant fact: I need to get serious about my long-term health.  I can't blame anything in my lifestyle for this stone, but the medical on-goings have made me realize how many OTHER trials are ahead if I don't make some permanent changes.

I want to break bad habits and replace them with something better.  I need to lose a lot of weight.  I need to have a consistent exercise plan.  I need to eat well all the time, not just occasionally.

I want to grow old but healthy.  I want to watch my kids suffer at the hands of THEIR teenagers.

And here's where YOU come in!

Starting with this post, I'm going to ask for good suggestions.  I want YOU to tell me which habit to break or add.  I need these changes broken down into easy-to-incorporate actions that are measurable.   IE - "four servings of fruit/vegetables a day" rather than "eat better".

I'll choose one suggestion and get to work.

Every 3-4 weeks I'll let you know how it went, then ask for another one.  This way each good suggestion will become a new habit, and I'll just BUILD my way to better health.

Are in you?  Ok, then, let's heal Mnmom!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Right now I'm the before; laying around with this stupid kidney stone, taking so much medication I'm useless, and waiting for Monday's surgery.  But After?  I'll tell you what I'll do after - when I return to the Land of the Living!

1. Get my grill on!  Can't wait to start cooking again.
2. Get my garden planted.  I lost the window for onions, but the rest should be OK.
3. Clean out my room.  Our bedroom has become the family dumping ground.  Time to purge.
4. Get up to the State Capitol and show my support for Marriage Equality.
5. Walk, and walk, and walk.  Don't know if it's the drugs I'm on or what but I'm out of breath in my own home and it's NOT a good feeling.
6. Get the dutch oven out and have some campfire meals.
7. Start riding my bike.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Still stoned with strawberry salad

The blasted kidney stone refuses to budge, and now I'll be having surgery sometime next week.

In the meantime I'm indulging in one of my favorite comfort foods; Frozen Strawberry Salad.

Here in the Midwest, we have these delicious combinations of fruit, cool whip, cream cheese, nuts, etc and we call them "salads".   And with a straight face no less.  If you attend a midwestern small town funeral, you'll see all manner of them on the "salad" table.  Their only resemblance to anything truly salad-y is that they do contain fruit, and they come in a bowl.  But they are mighty powerful in the comfort department.


8oz cream cheese - I used low fat
1/2 cup sugar
20oz can crushed pineapple, very well drained
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup nuts - I used pecans
10oz frozen strawberries, thawed
Cool Whip - about 2 cups

Cream sugar and cream cheese.  Add pineapple, bananas, and berries.  Stir in nuts.  Fold in Cool Whip.  Freeze in a 9x9 pan.  Remove from the freezer 20-30 minutes before servings.  Or pop it in the microwave on low power for a few minutes.  I love it when it's kind of half frozen.