Excitement at Our House. . .

Excitement at our house. . .

Sprat’s friend came down to visit after Christmas, he wanted to show her around our little town. She is from Massachusetts and graduated last year, she is a very sweet young lady. I will call her sweet G, sweet G will be joining our family in the near future, no dates are set at this time. We are very excited to welcome her to our clan.

Not sure how to act. . .

Not sure how to act, I have never had a daughter before nor have I been a mother-in-law. This is going to open up a whole new territory for me. Going to be a roller coaster of emotions this year as Sprat graduates and will be planning his new life with his bride to be. We are very excited and cannot wait to see where they land.

The very happy couple. . .

Sprat and Sweet G
Engagement picture

Conclusion. . .

Stay tuned for more on the nuptials, no dates at this time. Lots of celebrating to do this year.

What are Your Most Valuable Kitchen Gadgets?

What are your most valuable kitchen gadgets. . .

What are your most valuable kitchen gadgets? There are many kitchen gadgets that I love and could not do without but, my most valuable are:

  • Instant Pot
  • Opal counter top pellet Ice maker (makes the “good” ice)
  • French Press
  • Air Fryer
  • Good knives/cutting boards

The Instant Pot. . .

The Instant pot is a wonderful time saver and was recommended to me by my manager. She told me about this great little gadget that can make perfect potato salad in seven minutes, eggs and all. I make soups, stews, potatoes, eggs, and beans in my Instant pot. My husband says it is worth it’s weight in gold just because of the way it cooks eggs. Beautiful boiled eggs that peel like a breeze in just seven minutes.

Opal counter top ice maker. . .

The Opal counter top ice maker makes the wonderful soft pellet ice that you can find in some restaurants. I use this ice for my coffee smoothies and my water just tastes better poured over it. This little gem was a life saver during the Pandemic, we were not going anywhere so I could not get my “good” ice for my water or smoothies for work.

The Air Fryer. . .

Sprat turned us on to the Air Fryer, he loves it because he can do tater tots and chicken nuggets in no time. The hubs fell in love with it because it makes the best roasted broccoli and cabbage. I use it to make: sweet potato fries, grilled cheese sandwiches, and it fries bacon like a dream. Imagine making bacon without getting grease all over your kitchen. This is a much healthier alternative to traditional oil frying.

Instant Pot Recipe. . .

This is a recipe I made last week and it was really good. The hubbs and I like pintos but I wanted something a little different and without the fatback.

  • 1lb-1/2 lbs of pintos soaked for about 3 hours
  • 1 can coconut milk unsweetened
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp regular chili powder
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic mashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups water

Drain you pintos and combine all ingredients and seal your pot. Set to manual and cook on high for 25 minutes and allow natural release. This is a combination of two other recipes I found on the internet.

Stay tuned for more kitchen fun and recipes for good food and good health.

Do You Have a Morning Routine?

Do you have a morning routine. . .

Do you have a morning routine other than rolling out of the bed and crashing to the floor? I was reading something the other day about having a morning routine and how it made you more productive throughout the rest of the day. When the boys were little we had a strict morning routine and yes, I was very productive throughout the day.

My morning routine of the past. . .

My morning routine when the boys were little was to get up before anyone else in the house. By getting up before anyone else I had time to myself to do my devotions, read my Bible, and pray. This time was very important to me because it was my only time to myself and it did set the tone for the rest of the day. Not sure if that gave me a boost to be more productive or not. Goodness knows with the boys I did not stop till I lay my head down for sleep.

My current morning routine. . .

Since we are almost empty nesters and I am working a lot right now, I am not getting up as early but still reading my Bible, doing my devotions, and praying. I am trying to walk again first thing in the morning because that does make me more productive and relaxed for the rest of the day. My morning routine would not be complete without my infamous smoothie for breakfast. How you start your day does affect how the rest of your day goes.

Breakfast Smoothie: Blend the following in the blender till smooth.

  • frozen pineapple cubes
  • frozen cherries pitted
  • fresh ginger
  • 8oz coconut water
  • beets chopped (I use my frozen cubes)
  • 1 scoop of protein powder

Conclusion. . .

I encourage you to start a morning routine, just do it for two weeks and see how it goes. Leave a comment and let me know how it goes, even if it is negative I would be glad to read your comments. Life is about trial and error and if you do not try you are not going anywhere. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is courage to continue that counts” Winston Churchill. Have courage and stay tuned. . .

Happy New Year! Now What?

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Here’s to a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year. I have never been one to make resolutions, I do resolve to be better this year than I was last. When you make grandiose resolutions, I feel like you are setting yourself up for failure. Nobody wants that!

Goals of the New Year. . .

I do have goals for the new year, I would not call them resolutions, merely goals for what I would like to accomplish or change this year. My schedule at work has gotten a little hectic again so I would like to get that under control. Trying to find a work/life balance is a big goal this year as well as getting into more of a routine with working out and work. There are several new recipes I hope to try out also. Looking forward to lacrosse season and traveling to see the boys play. The hubbs and I have some work we would like to do around the house this year, a few upgrades here and there. The house could use a good de- cluttering too, not sure if I am up for that or not.

Updates. . .

Sprat will be graduating in the Spring, he will finish out his last season of lacrosse and then off to educate our youth in history. Big T is completing his sophomore year and second season of lacrosse and has changed his major. Both of these kids have changed their majors at least twice and I believe Sprat did three times. That is what college is for though, to find your passion and figure out what your interests really are.

Conclusion. . .

It is my hope that the boys will go back to school and have a wonderful last semester and a great lacrosse season. I am very excited and anxious for Sprat as he completes his senior year of college preparing to go out into the world. He is going to be a great teacher, I know that deep in my soul. It is hard to believe that my baby is graduating college. Very proud of both of these boys for all they have accomplished, they each faced their own difficulties and soared above each of them.

Getting Ready for Christmas. . .

Getting ready for Christmas

The tree is up and decorated and I have tried to clean up all the needles left by our tree. Having the day off and getting to decorate the house for Christmas was very nice. I decided I would decorate the whole house, I brought out my Christmas china and decorated the bathrooms too. As I was putting ornaments on the tree I thought about each one and where they came from.

Christmas ornament memories. . .

Each of our ornaments has some significance, I pick up ornaments when we travel and the boys get an ornament every year from me and their grandmothers. Last year as I was putting away the Christmas ornaments I fixed a box for Sprat and Big T so I could keep their ornaments separated. When they leave our home to make their way in the world they have a nice neat box of their ornaments.

I remember when the hubbs and I got our first tree, we were just dating but we put a tree up in his apartment. We did not have any ornaments so we went to this little store in town and bought some ornaments and lights so the tree would not be naked. When the boys are ready for their first apartment they will have ornaments for their tree. Their tree will not look as shaby as ours did, it was rather pitiful.

While decorating our tree this year I noticed I had two ornaments that were similar, one was mine and one was the hubbs. Mine was a little girl silhouette in brass playing an instrument at the bottom it had my name engraved, this was given to me by my parents when I was little. The hubbs was a little boy silhouette in brass playing an accordion, it had his name and a year engraved on his. We have been married almost thirty years and I just noticed these two ornaments or maybe I noticed them earlier and never really thought about it.

Our animals have ornaments too. Every year I put their ornaments on our tree and think about each of those that have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Sweet Basil gets a new ornament each year too. Yes, we are crazy about our fur babies, they have stockings too for Santa.

Unique Ornaments. . .

Every year we put a pickle ornament on our tree. This is a German tradition, the pickle is the last ornament placed on the tree Christmas Eve after the children have gone to bed. On Christmas morning the first child to find the ornament gets a special extra gift. The purpose of the search for the pickle is so that the children look at the ornaments on the tree and appreciate them before rushing to open presents. The boys have always loved this tradition and oddly enough they never get mad at each other that one gets an extra gift.

We have a birds nest ornament that we put in our tree every year. This was given to me by my mother – in- law and she says that having the birds nest in your Christmas tree brings you luck in the new year.

The hubbs has a cardinal ornament that he insists must be on our tree every year. This is his tradition, his cardinal had seen better days so I found a newer one and replaced it so we could continue. There is also a weird green and gold ball that must be hung on our tree every year. One Christmas my husbands grandmother took him shopping and he wanted these hideous green and gold satin balls and she bought them for him. His mother was not very happy with the selection, it did not go with any of her other ornaments but she put them on the tree. Every year one or two of them went missing until she had only three left and she would hide them in the back of the tree. When my hubby and I were married I was gifted those three hideous green and gold balls, the hubbs is quite insistent that they are on our tree every year. The boys will be gifted two of these balls when they leave our home to make their way in the world, they also each have a pickle ornament in their box too.

Conclusion. . .

I hope you have enjoyed reading about our quirky Christmas traditions. I would love to hear about your Christmas traditions quirky or not. Stay tuned recipes of Christmas to come. . .

What are Your Favorites for Thanksgiving?

Memories of Thanksgiving. . .

Thanksgiving brings all sorts of memories for everyone. I remember going to my Grandmother’s and all of the most wonderful food. When I was younger I did not eat everything like I do now, I was a little picky. Eating mostly vegetables and sweets, I was thankful for a family full of wonderful cooks. There was always a large table full of the most delicious cakes, pies and cookies.

Some of my favorites. . .

Aunt Mildred made the best coconut cake followed by: banana pudding, chocolate chip cookies, and my moms pecan pie/tassies. I always loved the veggie tray with dip and my grandmothers’ dressing. We did not do stuffing this was dressing in little squares like cornbread. Mom still makes it just like grandmother did, stale bread, cornbread,Pepridge Farm seasoning, onion, chicken stock, celery, and all kinds of spices.

A little out of sorts this Thanksgiving. . .

I am a little out of sorts this Thanksgiving, my boys will not be able to come home this year. Sprat is completing his student teaching and it is just not feasible for them to drive two days to spend one with us and drive back. We are very sad they will not be here but it is completely understandable and unavoidable.

I am Thankful this Thanksgiving. . .

I am thankful for a very kind family who is taking both boys in for the holiday. Sprats’ friend text me to ask for recipes for the foods that the boys had suggested??? I have to laugh about my kids they are so funny and have the best friends. I sent an email with recipes of their favorite foods that I make. We are blessed beyond measure by those that surround us.

A few little tidbits. . .

Fresh garlic butter: I use Brumel and Brown butter and press 3-4 cloves of garlic and cream together.

Homemade Mac & Cheese

1 box whole wheat elbow pasta cooked to package directions. 5 Tbsp butter melted with 2-3 Tbsp flour whisked to avoid lumps, pour 2 cups whole milk or heavy cream and whisk to avoid lumps. After mixture is blended add cheese aprox 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar add a handful at a time and whisk till smooth. Once all cheese is added, drain pasta and put in large casserole dish and pour cheese mixture over pasta and serve. You can top with some extra cheese if you like.

Horsey Deviled eggs

1 dozen boiled eggs, I like to use the instapot, peeled and separated. Mix 1/2 cup mayo, 1/4 cup sour cream, 2 tsp creamy horseradish, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 tsp dill and cream together with your yolks. Stuff your whites and sprinkle with some paprika and serve chilled.

Conclusion. . .

There are a few more recipes I sent but I will not tell you everything at once, so stay tuned.

How Do You Sleep when You Work Non-Traditional Shifts?

How do you sleep when you work a non-traditional shift? I work 2000 to 0800 the next day, I usually try to get a quick bite of something before crawling into bed. Black-out curtains are my best friend along with some lavender linen spray for my bed. Some of my co-workers use melatonin and Benadryl to help them sleep.

I use melatonin sparingly because I do not want to build up a tolerance. I have never used Benadryl except when I thought I was having an allergic reaction to something I had eaten. The lavender spray is very relaxing paired with a little meditation before I lay down. Magnesium is also a good supplement to take right before bed, it helps your leg muscles relax so that you do not get the “jimmy legs.” There is also a magnesium spray that you can spray on your legs, do not spray right after shaving your legs. It will burn like the cuts of a thousand razor blades and you will definitely not sleep.

I make my lavender spray with Witch Hazel, Vodka and lavender essential oil. Vodka and Witch Hazel evaporate quickly so there is no concern for mold or mildew when spraying your linens. The Vodka and Witch Hazel have no aroma so when you mix these with lavender all you get is the wonderful lavender smell. Use a 2 oz bottle and fill 3/4 with Vodka the rest with Witch Hazel and 10 drops of lavender.

The lavender spray above I take with me when we go on trips. I spray the bed and pillows in the hotel before we get in the bed. The Vodka also acts as a disinfectant. You can also use it as a body spray, the Vodka gives it a cooling effect so it is great for Summer.

Did You Fail Your Kids? I Have. . .

I failed my kids. . .

I love my boys more than anything, some days I love them so much it hurts. You want your kids to be successful in life and to be good humans. Recently I read a post about teachers humiliating students and it struck a cord with me. I posted about my son and his being humiliated by a high school football coach, someone that was supposed to be a leader and a role model. My son is in college now and upon graduation plans to teach history, he also wants to coach lacrosse. He will be a good coach, goodness knows he has had plenty of bad coaches to learn how not to coach. I am thankful for the few encouraging coaches he has experienced and no shock that they were all lacrosse coaches.

Saddened daily by the state of our education system. . .

Both of my boys were bullied and humiliated by coaches, teachers, and students they thought were their friends. It saddens me more that my kids did not share this with me until after the fact. They were good at putting on a good face. I prided myself on being open and approachable. Some things they did talk to me about but for things they knew I would go to the mat over they kept to themselves. I found out too late to do anything about the turmoil they went through so, I am sharing my humiliation as a parent that did not stand up for my kids.

The high school and middle school teachers, coaches and administrative staff have a responsibility to educate our children and not beat them up. Their responsibility is to act like adults and be mature in dealing with students. Teachers should not be demeaning students or shaming them for anything, they should be trying to bolster the students’ self esteem. Some children only get negative reinforcement at home and need that positive influence elsewhere. Some students are looking for someone to say; “good job,” or “I knew you could do that problem” or ” way to go on that test.” They do not need someone else saying ugly things to them and embarrassing them.

I had my fair share of humiliation. . .

I had my fair share of humiliation in high school from teachers. My best friend and I were taking an advanced math class and our teacher would put these very difficult problems on the board and then say that his daughter could do this one and she was only nine years old. How helpful is that to students? I remember distinctly one day going by after school to try and get extra help on an assignment and his response to us was: ” you two are dumb and I do not know how you will ever graduate college.” This is why I majored in biology and my friend majored in history. My friend and I walked away and we never said anything about him acting like that to the administration, I cannot remember if I told my mom and dad or not. Probably not. My friend and I still talk about that day and how bad we felt after being told we were dumb.

Conclusion. . .

My friend graduated college and so did I. She has just retired from teaching and I know she was an awesome history teacher. The students that she had always reach out to her to tell her how glad they were that they had her as a teacher and they share their successes with her. I pray daily for our teachers because I know it is no easy job. It scares me terribly to think of Sprat teaching but, I know God is moving him where he needs to be. It is never our plan but God’s plan for our lives and God does not make mistakes.

Ever had a Gut Feeling About Something???

Have you ever had a gut feeling?

Have you ever had a gut feeling about something? Maybe it was to go a different route to work and there was no clear reason why you went that different way but once you arrive at work you find out that there was a terrible wreck on your normal route. Whew! catastrophe averted. That is what I mean by a gut feeling. I think mothers get those feelings more often than most.

My gut is never wrong. . .

One day we had a really big snow, the boys were little and the hubbs and I decided to take them sledding one night. I love those snowy nights when the air is crisp but not too cold and you can hear every little sound. When it is cold the hubbs hands shrink and so his wedding band becomes very lose in the winter. That ring flew around our house for several weeks every time he would make a gesture with his hands you could hear ping, ting, and then a gasp from both of us.

I asked the hubbs to take off his ring and leave it at home while we were going sledding. He insisted that he would not lose it, he was wearing gloves after all. You guessed it he lost his ring at an old Church near our house in the snow that night. There was no hope of finding that little gold band in all of that snow. In thirteen years of marriage that ring had not been off of his finger and now here he was with a naked ring finger on that left hand.

He went to work the next day and every female he came in contact with asked where his ring was and if we were separated. I guess nobody could imagine him just losing it or misplacing it, it had to be some catastrophic end to our marriage. My hubby is quite handsome and he is quite the catch if I do say so myself. Luckily we have relatives in the jewelry business and I set out to get him a new band ASAP!

We celebrated twenty-nine wonderful years together this year and the one thing that keeps us together is a good sense of humor. The hubbs went almost two weeks without a wedding band and I decided this band needed an inscription. I had his cousin put “I told you so” on the inside of his band. This is because I told him to leave his ring at home so he would not lose it in the snow.

Another shinning example of that gut feeling. . .

The gut really bothers me when it is in regard to my boys. It will sure enough get all tied up when there is something not right with them. One day when Sprat was about eight years old he had ridden his bike down the street to the neighbors to play. I was out working in the yard or playing with Big T in the yard when my gut got a little twangy. I looked down toward the neighbors where Sprat was playing and there were all the boys in the neighborhood lining up to do some dare devil stuff on their bikes. Off I went down the street right before Sprat was going to jump the driveway on his bike with a make shift ramp and everything.

Do not distress I did not embarrass him I told him I was going to take he and Big T for milkshakes or ice cream or something to that effect. He never knew the real reason I came to get him. Right after we left the neighborhood the next kid went to do the jump and crashed and broke his collar bone. Thank goodness for my gut.

I know boys will be boys but, if I have a gut feeling mine will not be doing those sorts of things. Not to say mine have not had their injuries over silly stuff they should not have been doing but when the gut rears it’s ugly head I react very quickly.

Updates and New Recipes. . .

Updates on the Boys. . .

The boys are back in Massachusetts in school. Sprat starts his student teaching this semester so look out Yanks you are about to get educated in History with a Southern accent. I hope his teachers and students will not be too hard on him about his Southern drawl. Big T has changed his major and seems to be enjoying his classes so far.

Sprat was going to have his birthday after we took them to school so we decided to celebrate before they went back. We had a nice dinner and we went to a baseball game.

Big T hates having his picture taken by me so he intentionally frowns and makes ugly faces. His Daddy used to do that too when he was younger and still does sometimes. Sprat of course was thrilled to be out having a nice steak.
Uncle C was nice enough to take us out to the ballgame and some hotdogs and hamburgers.

Updates on the Home Front. . .

We had a bumper crop of Figs this year and I could not eat them fast enough. Decided to try my hand and caning, it was not too daunting, and they turned out fabulous. Canned them in three different batches and I did small batches only three pint jars at a time but it worked out great. I used equal part figs and sugar and added one lemon sliced and cooked for two hours before putting them in jars. This recipe did not call for any pectin and I liked that. We also had a great crop of cantaloupe and they were delish.

These are my figs cooking for my preserves

Stay Tuned, Work is a Little Crazy. . ..

Stay tuned, I know it has been awhile since I last posted but work is a little crazy and sleep is about all I do. Trying to get back on track with my eating plan and my exercise plan. I am trying some new recipes that I will be sharing and some new exercises too. Funny thing happens when all you do is eat, sleep, and work; you gain weight. Yuck! Not only do you gain weight but you feel bad too.

If you have these problems stay tuned I am going to try and get a handle on it, maybe you would like to share your story.