Thursday, July 31, 2008

Yum-A-Setta Recipe

Another blast from the past. I promised Nancy this recipe a while ago and just came accross the recipe box it was in. My notes say the recipe is from Edna Miller from Mount Hope, Ohio. It is an Amish recipe with a couple shortcuts..enjoy!

2 lbs ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 can tomato soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
16 oz. pkg of wide egg noodles
8 oz. of shredded cheese (your preference)
2 tblsp. brown sugar
salt & pepper to taste

Brown the ground beef with salt, pepper, brown sugar, & onion. Add UNDILUTED tomato soup to meat mixture. Set aside. Cook egg noodles per package directions, drain well. Add UNDILUTED cream of chicken soup to noodles.
In a casserole dish, layer meat mixture, then 1/2 the cheese , then noodle mixture. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Lunch with Rick 7.30.08

Lunch with Rick 7.30.08
Originally uploaded by mommanana
What goofballs! This was the best photo out of three I took when we had lunch with Rick yesterday. We all had a great time. Thank You Rick!

A little house holds big memories..

I was driving home from my horse lesson on Saturday and happened to notice a few houses along the drive. Nothing big or fancy. In fact, they were rather small and a bit shabby. I wondered what the people who lived there were like. What kind of life they had.
When Brian & I were first married I found a little house on the outskirts of town. It was a small, shabby house. I didn't just see a run down, neglected, empty house. I saw a house that could be a home. A house we could fix up and care for. I found out who owned the house and set about convincing them to rent it to us.
That was our first "house". Since leaving my parent's home I had lived in trailers and apartments. When Brian & I first married we shared a basement apartment with his friend, Tim. That little house was a big deal to me.
It took alot of work, and alot of love, to fix up that little house, but it was some of the happiest times for Brian, Kierra, & I. Brianne was conceived the first week we lived there (after months of trying). It held good times and great memories for us. I think back to those times and can't help but smile and laugh over some of the adventures and mishaps we experienced way back then.
We took the small backyard full of overgrown, dead tomato plants and made it a green, grassy space for Kierra to play in. We repaired and painted room by room. We changed out light fixtures and faucets one by one. We made it ours. It had huge lilac bushes on either side of the front door. You could open the windows when they were in bloom and the scent would fill the house. I still love the smell of fresh lilacs.
I sometimes wish for the simplicity of our lives back then. That house wasn't much bigger than an efficiency apartment. But it was enough for us. We lived paycheck to paycheck on meager military pay. But it was enough for us. We have lived in many places since then. Yet none of the houses we have lived in ever felt as much like home to me as that little house in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I don't have dreams about going back to New Mexico, or New York. I sometimes dream about our house in Swaffham, England, but I dream most often of Wyoming.
It seems nothing is simple anymore. I find myself snowballed by so many things to do and not enough time to do them. My "to do" list is never ending. So it is not so farfetched that when I see a shabby, simple little house, I daydream about a little house in Wyoming that stands there still. I daydream about a life that was simple, and safe, and held so much promise for us and the family we had started. I daydream about lilacs and green grass, about sun and snow. And for those few moments my heart smiles and my life is simple again.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Still learning!

Terri went out of town for the weekend and couldn't use her riding lesson for this week so she gave it to me. I took the lesson yesterday and am still feeling it today! I tend to sit more English when I ride and that seems to give me too much movement when my horse decides to run amok. So I took a lesson on how to "hold my seat". The posture is completely different and boy does my butt and lower back hurt today! The instructor said it hurt because I was still holding my posture, not relaxing, so I will have to work on that. It was a very informative lesson, Thanks Terri! You never know so much that you can't learn more!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Randy has moved to Gainesville

Randy has been transferred to a specialty hospital in Gainesville. (email me privately if you would like the address) I spent yesterday with him then grabbed a quick dinner with Greta when she got there. She is staying the weekends and then one night midweek. He was more awake and responsive when I got there than he has been in weeks. He stayed awake for a couple hours, then slept for 5. They are setting up his therapy schedule and seem to be on track to get him weened of the vent and on his way to recovery. It has been a long road and it is far from over. I think he is in the best possible place to get the job done. He had a tracheotomy done before he left the hospital and can't talk so it is harder for him to communicate. They are working to get him breathing on his own again and get that removed, but right now it is keeping him going. He is frustrated and ready to go home, so some days he fights more than he helps himself. I can't say I blame him. Keep them in your thoughts & prayers.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Catch me when you can

I have watched a series for a while now called "Army Wives" on the Lifetime Network. This season has hit close to home. One of the main characters lost her daughter in an explosion. It has been pretty realistic so far. The other night it dealt with going back to where her daughter was killed. She had helped a grieving father who lost his son in Iraq. The man said he wished he could go to the spot where his son was killed because that was the last place his son, Roger, was Roger.

She had been dealing with going back to where her daughter was killed and in the end of the episode she and her other daughter went there. It was very emotional. For me too! I can't help but think of where the last place "Kierra was Kierra". But I so much prefer to remember the last time I saw her, or any of the thousands of memories I carry with me of her. The show is almost too realistic. Not over dramatized or too trite. They have portayed grief from several perspectives and relationships. It is almost as good as therapy!

If you have not experienced such a close loss it can be hard to understand how I can still be so affected after almost 3 years. Why I am not "over it", or able to "move on". I will never be over it, and I think I have moved on, moved forward. I have had no choice. Life hasn't given me the luxury of being able to wallow, or dwell on it to the point of just staying in bed with the covers pulled over my head.

I am not as social as I was before, but I think it is more due to the responsibility of 2 more children than it is that I am emotionally unavailable. Of course my perception is from the inside looking out, not how others see me. If you invite me to do something I will try to make it happen. That is the best I can do, but I can usually work it out. When I am able to do something I try to call and see who can join me. But often I am too busy with too many things to think much about being sociable. So if you want to get together, give me a call. I don't bite (not lately), and I don't have any contagious diseases at the moment. It's just a matter of "catching me when you can!"

I ain't no Rachel Ray!

I have been trying to fix fresh and healthy meals all this week. Last night I tried one of Rachel Ray's 30 minute meals from one of her cook books that I have. If I don't count the extra 30 minutes from the power going out when I was just starting dinner, then it really did only take about 30 minutes. I fixed Pasta Carbonara, her healthier version, which was good, but Brian missed the creamy richness of the old fashioned version.
I did realize however that there is a primary difference between Rachel & I.. she does not have 3 small children, an older child, a husband, and dogs all around her while she is trying to cook! I felt like I had run a marathon once I was done. She also had reccomended Broccolini, a cross between kale & broccoli. She said it is so great because the stalks are tender and you can eat the whole thing, whereas most people only eat the florets on regular broccoli. We were excited to try it.. until I found out it is almost 5 times more expensive than broccoli! A bought a large head of broccoli for $2.50. The same amount of broccolini would have been $12.00. Not cost effective for our large family.
A bonus this week: I discovered Ziploc Zip-n-steam bags. You can steam almost anything in them. You just put your food and seasoning in the bag then pop it in the microwave. We have been using them for fresh veggies. Even the kids have eaten them up. There is no added water, just the moisture from the veggies. The flavor is fantastic!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Before & After his Summer Buzz Cut!

Sleeping Giants.. except Hunter!

Boy this seems to happen alot! I leave the room for a few minutes and when I come back they are all asleep! Except Hunter, who wanted to finish watching the Fantastic 4. It was almost 11pm at this point, the movie was almost over. Of course, it didn't make any change to how early they got up this morning!

Alexa with Gidget 7.20.08

Alexa with Gidget 7.20.08
Originally uploaded by mommanana
We had a cookout at the stable Sunday afternoon and Alexa got to ride one of the boarder's ponies, Gidget. Hunter had misbehaved and Tristan didn't want to ride, so Alexa was in her glory. She did not want to leave! I had to remind her several times that she could NOT have the pony!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Midnight Movies..

I live between two worlds.(in more ways than one!) The world with Brianne & Chad, and the world with Hunter, Tristan & Alexa. I get to do things with the little ones often, but I have to squeeze in time for the older ones where I can. That is why I went to the midnight "premiere" showing of the new Batman movie with Chad, Brianne, and Justin last night. It was okay. Entertaining, but not something that wowed me or knocked my socks off. It actually held more to the actual comic book storyline than the other movies have. Anywho, that adventure put me crawling into bed at 3:22 am this morning. The kids got me up at just before 6 am! I may be able to juggle alot of things, but trying to give everyone quality time with me is not one of them! It seems the sides are always uneven. All I can do is what I can when I can. Midnight movies with 6 am wake up calls will not be top of my list!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pirates 7.17.08

Pirates 7.17.08
Originally uploaded by mommanana
This is what you do on a rainy day.. you play pirates! I had run out of things to do and so they decided to dress up. Usually we have a pirate, a princess, and a car mechanic all running around at the same time. Or batman, the thing, and a glittery witch. Or Prince Phillip, Buzz Lightyear, and Jasmine. I think this is one of the few times they all agreed at the same time! It won't last long, so I grabbed some pix while I could! There are a few more in the gallery, so click on this one to get there and have a sunny day!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Cricket!!

Cricket & Kie April 1982
Originally uploaded by mommanana
Another moment worth remembering and a great way to end the day on a happier note! This pic was at the airport when Kierra was 10 months old. We had just arrived in Florida from Indiana to start our lives anew. Cricket had come with Greta to pick us up. And you know what? Cricket still looks the same!!! That was 26 years ago.
Today is Cricket's birthday. At least for another couple hours! Hope you had a great day li'l sis!

My Father, Stanley & Kie Nov 1985

This man was my father. I didn't really know him until I was an adult. He died of a fatal heart attack ten years ago today. I have some pictures of him with me as a baby, which oddly enough I could not find today. I have no memory of when those pictures were taken. But this picture holds a precious memory for me. That must be why this is the picture I did find.
We were moving to an Air Force Base in upstate New York. We stopped in Massachusetts to visit on our way up. We were able to make several visits during the years we lived there.
As you can see, Kie picked the biggest pillow. She could barely pick it up, it was almost as big as she was! No matter how many times she fell over, she went back for more! She laughed so hard she could hardly catch her breath. Most of the time she knocked herself off balance before he had a chance to. But she had to have that huge pillow, the biggest one.
I envied them their ability to joke and play. To be so open with each other. I am glad they had that. I did not have that with him. I had too much baggage from my childhood. Too many opinions from everyone else of who he was and what he was like. I wasn't given the chance to know him when I was young. So much wasted time. Too many wasted years.
The man I knew was not who I was led to believe he was. The man I knew was not the man I feared when I was young. I wish I had known him better and longer. I wish I had taken the chance and had just one pillow fight with him..

Monday, July 14, 2008

The ties that bind us..

I have been noticing and thinking alot about "bonds". It started with my 2 fillies I just moved down from Georgia. They were at the same barn for a month before I moved them, but were not worked together or stalled together. Since the move they have become inseperable. Literally. I took The yearling, Reese, to the front barn to fix her halter the other day. Tortuga, the 2 year old, I left at the back part of the property. They neighed and whinnied at each other back and forth. I put Reese in a stall in the front barn to take off her halter. It may have been because she couldn't see her, but Tortuga, who is a draft horse and weighs over 1000 lbs, started running to the back of the property. I watched her and didn't think much of it until she circled around a tree and headed back toward the front fence at a full gallop. I yelled at her to stop, to no avail. I was worried she would charge the fence and hurt herself when it broke. She vaulted the fence! I haven't seen a horse jump that high before. She cleared it without touching the top rail at all! And out of the three fences she could have jumped, she was smart enough to jump the section that put her closest to the front barn. She came to me and I put her in the stall next to Reese until I was done. I made sure she didn't hurt her legs at all. It can do major damage for a horse that size to land on their front legs with all their weight coming down behind them. I am hoping she won't make a habit of it now that she knows she can do it. And I will be working them together for awhile to see if they settle down about being together. Barney & Lenny became best buds when we moved them too. It amazes me that they all have formed such a strong bond so fast.

I think of Greta and I and in turn think of Kie & Bri. I think of my friendships past & present. I think of the connections we make throughout our lives. Some bonds were made in an instant, some grew stronger over time.

Some are tested to see if they are truly strong enough and some have broken down over the years. Then there are the bonds that last longer than the lives that made them.
Bonds feed our heart, they motivate our soul. Good, bad, or indifferent, these are the ties that bind us, that hold us to the life we live and the people we live it with.
There are a select few I wouldn't jump a fence for.. but so many more of you I would jump that fence for over and over again!

Friday, July 11, 2008

A long road..

Randy's recovery has been a multitude of last minute miracles. Greta has been on an extreme roller coaster that doesn't seem to be over yet. He has finally been taken off the vent which means no more tubes down his throat, and he is breathing on his own with a pressure oxygen mask to help. There have been alot of close calls and complications. He had been sedated the past couple weeks to keep him calm and help his body heal. He woke up from that last night after some worry that he wasn't coming out of it as quickly as they had hoped.
He had another set back this morning and both he & Greta need all the prayers, good wishes, and candle lighting that you all can give. It is a long road they have to travel, let's give them a lift along the way.

Finding the lowest Gas Prices where you live..

Click on this link and find the lowest prices where you live. Every little bit helps!

Gas Prices - MSN Autos

An Anonymous Email Worth Sharing

Getting Older, I decided, is a gift. I am now, probably for the first time in my life, close to the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometimes despair over my body, the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror (who looks like my mother!), but I don't agonize over those things for long.
I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.
I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging. Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 70 & 80's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love ... I will.
I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.
I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things. Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car?
But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.
As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong. So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become.
I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day. (If I feel like it)

Monday, July 07, 2008

We've Landed..

Actually Brian & I got back on Thursday afternoon. We watched the fireworks they had at The World Golf Village (across the street) on Thursday night, then Friday was a busy "catch-up" and unpack day. Bri & Justin came over and I cooked a 4th of July picnic style dinner. Then off I went Sat & Sun to pick up Tortuga and Reese (our fillies), from Georgia.
I am still trying to play catch-up, which seems to be a never ending quest. The kids are being kids and there is always plenty that needs to be done around here. I will post some pix of "the girls", Toruga & Reese, when I get a few extra minutes later. ttfn