Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

     Well, today is a day I dread all year. I know I should love it and look forward to it and rejoice in the moment, but I can't. Halloween, for me has always meant lots of work, little fun and days of clean up after wards. When my older kids were little I would start a month before Halloween asking them what they would like to be. Then I would set about trying to get a costume together that didn't cost me a fortune, only to have them come home from school the day before Halloween and say, "I don't want to be that now. I want to be this." All my work would be for naught.
   Then there was all the money I spent of candy. Talk about putting a dent in the budget, candy is not cheap, because I always buy the good stuff and to add insult to injury, I have a hard time keeping my hands off, so it becomes a gut-busting holiday. You know what I'm talking about. ") 
     And then there is the trick or treating itself. I do love seeing the cute little kids coming to my door and trying to remember to say trick or treat, that is the fun part. And now I love seeing my adorable grandkids in there costumes and enjoying the night. What I don't like was in California when, at nine-thirty at night these kids that looked like thugs would show up and yell trick or treat when you opened the door. It felt like a shake-down, "Give me candy or I'm gonna trash your house." They didn't say it, of course, but you felt it. Here in Utah it isn't quite that bad, but I have had some kids come kind of late. If I turn off the porch light they seem to get the message, but they never did in Cali. I had kids pounding on my door at ten o'clock at night.
     So for me the negatives out weighed the positives, so tonight I am going to try to have a good time and have a better attitude. I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy Anniversary Mom And Dad

  Today is my parents 50th wedding anniversary. Fifty years! Most of you haven't even been alive that long. Can you imagine being with the same person day in and day out for fifty years? Going to bed with them, getting up with them watching the hard times and the good times come and go all with one person.
    I can, because I have seen it done. My husband and I both have parents that are still married to their original spouses. How unusual is that at this time when people refer to their first marriages as practice marriages and spouses are interchangeable. I have seen my parents struggle through some really hard times when they didn't know if they could hang on and yet they did. They gave their three daughters a basic understanding of what kind of commitment it takes to keep going.
     Some people think of marriage as a 50/50 proposition, but I believe that to be false. If you only gave 50 percent to your job or career how long do you think you would be on the payroll. When my husband and I got married our Bishop told us that marriage is about giving 100 percent and I agree. When you have given every thing inside of yourself and it still isn't working you have to reach down deep and give a little bit more to make it to the top of the mountain. 
     My hubby and I have reached a place, after 31 years of marriage, where we still drive each other crazy some times, but we just don't let it bother us too much anymore and the little things don't matter. What does matter is that our children know that despite all the ups and down we love each other and them and family is what matters when it is all said and done. So thanks Mom and thanks Dad for being strong enough to make it work all these years and for setting the bar so high that we all have something to strive for and an example to follow.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Unwelcome Visitor

    I have an unwelcome visitor here today. He showed up last night in the form of the flu. I didn't invite him and he is most unpleasant. He keeps me up all night and he smells terrible. He won't stay in one room and tends to randomly invade the space of every person living in my house. I don't like cleaning up after him and he stays much longer than he should.
     Who invited him anyway? I know I didn't and I'm pretty sure my eight year old didn't either. I certainly don't want him here. I think I will un-invite him. I hope he doesn't plan on staying through the holiday's.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Try This Recipe

     I have been cooking meals since I was in jr. high and my mom went back to work. I guess after all those years of eating my own food it's hard to get excited about something new, but I found a recipe on Pinterest the other day and I thought the fam would like it. It had sour cream in it and if any of you know us personally you know that that is one of the top ten things we love to eat that we know we really shouldn't. Along with bacon, butter and a few other yummy heart stoppers.
     Anyhow, this recipe is so ridiculously easy that it is going into the permanent rotation. Here it is.

Oma’s Sour Cream Chicken

Time for another Oma classic.  File this one under easy weeknight dinner.  As an avid follower of the Tao of Oma, you know that Oma is all about simple, easy, hearty food.  Her Sour Cream Chicken is no exception.  Wait until you see just how Oma this recipe is.
Oma’s Sour Cream Chicken
Print-Friendly Recipe
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts or tenders (Oma prefers breasts)
  • 1 1/2 cups of Pepperidge Farm Herbed Stuffing, the crumbles not the cubes (Oma accepts no substitutes)
  • 1 cup (approximately) of full fat sour cream
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  This is classic Oma in that it is less about the recipe and more about the process.  Lay the chicken close together on a foil lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Coat with a thick layer of sour cream.
Top that with the seasoned Pepperidge Farm breadcrumbs and then dot with the butter.
Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 35 minutes for chicken tenders or up to an hour for chicken breasts.
Its ready when the chicken is cooked through and the breadcrumbs are nicely browned.
In fact, the best part may be the breadcrumbs, even the crusty parts that kind of fall around the edges of the pan.  The chicken is moist with lovely crunchy buttery bits on top.

Monday, October 24, 2011

I Can Do Hard Things

     I have set several new goals for myself recently, that I very much want to accomplish. These aren't like New Years Resolutions, where you write them down and then can't remember them a week later. My new goals, I want to incorporate into my life on a daily basis for the long run. The hard part is that I have been a goal setter, a list maker and a good intentions person my whole life. There is a part of me that is a perfectionist and I set the bar so high that when I can't reach it I give up. I am also a bit lazy. It's okay, I can admit it. You toss that in with mild ADD and you can see that accomplishing things is hard for me. Hard, but not impossible.
     I believe that you can take an idea or a goal and find a way to do it step by step, but you have to have realistic expectations. One of the first times that I realized I could accomplish something that seems way too hard is when I finished my first book. It took seven years. And in my own defense I did have three children in those seven years, not to mention the seven that I already had, and a husband, and a home and responsibilities. The point is I finished it. Over 140,000 words. A labor of love, but labor none the less. You can't imagine the feeling as I was getting the last few chapters down on paper(the computer) and out of my head. It was euphoric. If I never did anything else in my life, I wrote an entire book.
     I started out with an idea and I brought it all the way to fruition. This is why I know I can do things that seem impossible. What are the things in life that you want to accomplish, but have been putting off? Is there something that has been a monkey on your back for a while now? Well, today is the day to get on it. Start small, but start. Remember "You can do hard things."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Today's The Day We Begin

     I'm excited that so many of you are with me for the thirty day challenge that I posted yesterday. Feel free to update us either here or on facebook when ever you feel like it. Let us know your successes and your failures, your highs and lows. I think we could learn a lot from each other. I myself need to have to answer to others for my goals or it is too easy for me to procrastinate. I'm sure none of you do that.
     The reason I chose the thirty day challenge is I have heard that it takes thirty days before something becomes a habit. I am hoping to make exercising more of a habit. I know many of you are better at this than I am, so I am hoping to get some tips from you along the way.
     We have about 15 people committed to the challenge so rest assured you are not alone. 
     So everyone break out your sneakers and sweat pants and let's go. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Thirty Day Challenge

     If you have been reading my blog for any length of time you know how I feel about exercise. I makes me tired and sweaty and I don't like getting sweaty, but you also know I like to set goals to challenge myself. So in the interest of keeping my ever widening hiney from getting any bigger than it already is(winter is coming and most of us who live in snowy climates gain weight in the winter)  have decided to take a thirty day challenge to get thirty minutes of exercise for thirty days. Not including Sunday, unless I feel like walking on Sunday.
     I have tried most of the fad diets and I have come to the conclusion that it really is a matter of making better choices for the long haul. That means giving up my beloved Coca-cola, cutting back on the fast food and sweets. I will have to find something else to live for I guess. In the long run I hope to feel better and to get into a smaller size of pants. You know how they say misery loves company, I sure could use some here, so who's with me??? Anyone? Come on speak up you know you want to.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A New Priority List

     I saw something on tv the other day about a person who was not spending any money for thirty days. To be honest I wasn't really paying attention to what it was all about, but it got me to thinking, what if you couldn't spend any money for thirty days? What if something happened and all the stores were closed, no fast food, no gas stations. What if all the power went off, no electricity, no gas, no cell phones? How scary would that be?
     When I got to thinking about it I realized that food wise we would be fine. We would be eating a lot of rice, beans and pasta, but we would probably be healthier anyway. The problem I discovered, as I thought this all through, is we have gas and electric appliances even our bar-b-que is gas. We don't even have a camping stove. Now, if we had a generator we could crock-pot it, but no generator. I guess we would be building a fire pit in the back yard and cooking our food there.
     Heating our house would be a problem, our house has central air so that means gas. Our fireplace is also natural gas. No gas, no heat. We would probably be okay though, our house is insulated and we have plenty of blankets. We'd be doing a lot of snuggling under those blankets.
     Toilet paper would be a whole other issue. I have always been someone who tried to keep a lot of the staples on hand for a rainy day, but I can see that I need to rethink some of these things. Maybe put a few new priorities on my needs list. After all what good is having all this food if you can't cook it? I thought I was so well prepared and now I see that I need to refocus.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Death In The Family

     I have to share with all of you the fact that Shiba is no longer with us. She has been fading the last two weeks and last night I sat up with her as she took her last breath. I will miss her. She was familiar and comfortable and I like that. Shiba shared with me all of my favorite things. She helped me plan my goals and my meals, my stories and my projects, yes, she will be missed. However, life must go on. I owe it to her, my family and all of you to pick up the pieces and make the best of it.
     So off we went to Best Buy today and got Shiba II. I was going to go for a totally different breed, but in the end the fam decided we needed a new Shiba. We are still getting to know each other, as in the beginning of any new relationship it is a series of highs and lows. I think I liked Shiba's keyboard better, but Shiba II is young and fast and shiny, so we will give it some time and see where the days and nights take us together. Is anyone else this attached to their computers or is it just me?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Le Creuset on the Brain

 Yesterday, my son surprised me with an extra special birthday present, a Le Creuset pan, not to be confused with the Le Creuset french oven I got last week. He told me he wanted to get me something for being such a good mom all these years.  My daughters went with him and helped him pick out the color, which I love. The new pan is cherry red and I can't wait to cook something in it. I couldn't cook in it yesterday because the lid didn't sit on the pan properly, so we had to return it and get a different one. The new one is perfect. And while we were there they had a Le Creuset oval dish on the 40% off rack. It's fennel green. They have so many pretty colors that I can't decide which one to get next. Check out the display. Isn't it bright and cheery.
     Thanks, Kyle, you're a good son and thanks to Karrah and Kaelyn for your help. You kids are pretty sneaky. I'm gonna have to watch you all a little closer. Wink wink!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Germs Are Everywhere!

     We have been relatively healthy lately, but, I fear that is about to change with the weather. I have noticed a few people around here sniffing and this morning I have a sore throat. A sore throat sends me into panic mode because two years ago, at Christmas time Karrah and I came down with Strep Throat. I thought I was going to die. I had never had Strep Throat before and I kept thinking I would get better, I didn't. By the time we went to the doctor's my throat was white and I couldn't swallow, it hurt to breathe and sleeping was impossible. After three days on the meds, Karrah was feeling better while it took me about a week to even be able to sleep again. I never, never, never want to get that again. So you can imagine the thoughts that run through my mind when I start feeling a sore throat coming on.
     I know just where all these germs are coming from to. My boys sit in a classroom every day with more than 30 other germy kids. They all touch the door knobs and the chairs, and the drinking fountain handles. GROSS!!! I can only imagine where those hands have been. It's a wonder we all make it to adulthood. We must be the hardiest of the hardy. But still, keep your germs to yourself. As my son pointed out yesterday, I am past half way to death so nobody push me before my time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me!

     Today is October 11th, it's my birthday and has been since midnight last night, and just to remind me of that four of my children came bursting into my room last night, at a few minutes after midnight and scared the heck out of me yelling, "Happy Birthday!!!" I often wonder what our neighbors think about our loudness as a family.
     I have one more year until I am over the hill. The funny thing is and what most young adults don't understand is when you get to this age, you don't feel any different than you did when you were say twenty-five. Yes, I can't see without my reading glasses and I am more tired than I used to be when my kids were little and I could function on four or five hours of sleep at night, but I still think pretty much the same and I have pretty much the same values. I still love my husband and he still loves me, that hasn't changed since I was sixteen. I love my family and each new little grandbaby that comes into our family insures that my legacy will live on after I am gone, because as my son pointed out last night at midnight I am past half way to death, there is no way I'm living until 98. Isn't that nice of him, the whippersnapper.
     I think today I'll take my cane and hobble out to lunch with a kid or two and try to keep my false teeth from falling out while I eat my lunch.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Italian Chicken Soup

 Here's the recipe for the soup that was in my pot last week. It comes from the blog of "The Pioneer Woman." Be aware it serves eight so if you need more or less you can adjust. The picture looks more brothy because of the cheese on top it's really a creamy soup. I used boneless/skinless Ck breasts because I'm lazy and I rarely bone chicken. Also no jalapeno's, too hot for the kids. Good Luck and enjoy, it is delish.

Recipe: Italian Chicken Soup



  • 1 box Ditalini Pasta (very Short Macaroni-type Pasta Noodles)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Cut Up Fryer Chicken
  • 8 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 2 whole Green Bell Peppers, Diced
  • 2 stalks Celery, Diced
  • 2 whole Fresh Jalapenos, Diced
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 can (28-ounce) Can Whole Tomatoes
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Oregano
  • Salt And Freshly Ground Pepper, To Taste
  • Parmesan Cheese Shavings, For Serving

Preparation Instructions

Cook pasta in a pot according to package directions, being sure not to overcook it. Drain and rinse in cold water to cool. Toss in 1 tablespoon olive oil and set aside.
Place chicken in a large pot or dutch oven and cover in chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer chicken, covered, for 30 minutes. Turn off heat and leave covered for 30 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and shred meat. Discard bones and set meat aside.
Dice canned tomatoes and return them to their juice. Set aside.
Heat a small skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and oregano and turn off heat, stirring over the next minute to keep oregano from burning. Set this aside.
Either pour off chicken broth into a separate container or use a new pot to saute onion, green pepper, celery, and jalapenos in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until tender and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add chicken broth, shredded chicken, and tomatoes with their juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add cooked pasta, cream, and all the oregano and olive oil from the small skillet. Stir to combine. Turn off heat.
Serve with lots of Parmesan sprinkled on the top--the more the better! Crusty Italian bread is good, too.
Posted by Ree on September 11 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

More Days Off!!!

     I've been looking ahead at the kids school schedule for the month of October and I was surprised to see that they have three days off. What's up with that? October shouldn't have days off, as it is we are headed into the holiday season and it will be here before we know it. They get a four day weekend and Halloween off. Like that wasn't planned, no costume parade hassles, no candy messes. It's not like I don't love my kids and want to spend time with them, it's just that I think they should go to school more and longer.
     Why do they get out early on Friday? I know it's really so the teachers can get out of town and let's face it by Friday they have to be sick of them, I would be. Why can't schools be an all day thing? They could keep them for a couple of hours after school to make sure they do their homework and send them home for dinner, bathes and bedtime. Think of how much calmer our days as parents would be. Let's hear it for all day school!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I'm a Pothead


I was going to post this next Tuesday when it is actually my birthday but I couldn't wait. My family pitched in and bought me this Le Creuset French Oven. I love, love, love it.
It is cobalt blue and so pretty. It has a 9 quart capacity which is a plus with our family. Here's a pic and I did that slate back splash myself. That has nothing to do with the pot, but it looks pretty good in the picture. :)

     This is the Italian Chicken soup I made to test out my new pot. It is delish. I made it once before about two weeks ago and the fam. has been begging me to make it again ever since. It was a lot more fun to make in my new pot than it was the last time. My other pot is okay, but it is a stock pot and taller than the new one and it is harder to see inside of because I'm vertically challenged.

     To give you an idea of the size of this pot I put three medium sized tomatoes in it so you could see the depth and width. It's a big'in isn't it? They actually have one bigger than this one. At 13 3/4 quarts it is the biggest round pot they make. In the oval shape they have a 15 quart french oven. They call it a goose pot because you can cook a whole goose in it. Did I mention these come from France, hence the goose thing. I wouldn't cook a goose, but I would and do cook for an army and this new pot is going to make it that much easier.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Family Togetherness

     Our church had General Conference this past weekend. For those of you who aren't familiar with this, it means we get to stay home on Sunday and watch church on TV. No having to force the boys into the shower and then drag them out 30 minutes later. It means I don't have to force my soft and puffy self into nylons, it means dad makes his awesome breakfast burritos and it means that the kids and grandkids come over.
     This past weekend was a little different in that my daughter Karly and her hubby were in Chicago and were not with us on Sunday, but her girls were with my other daughter, Kristin who took care of them for four days.
     Kristin's family, plus two, showed up at 9:45 in the morning and left at about 8:30 at night. That made for a grand total of nineteen people, including two grandparents, here for the day. And lets not forget about the dog. Here's how it went, we had six instances of not making it to the bathroom on time, several diaper changes, two bloody noses, assorted bumps and scratches, arguments and yelling, spills and fussing babies. We also had great laughs and snuggle time with grand kids and a few moments to console and to teach.
     The house shakes with the noise of so many people in one space and sometimes we wonder what the neighbors must think, but I wouldn't have it any other way. When my little granddaughter comes up to me, out of the blue puts her arms around me and says, "I love you, Monna." Well, I can't tell you what that does to me. We didn't get to hear a lot of the talks during conference, but we got the meaning behind it. It's all about the family. And apparently dishes, I ran my dishwashers three times.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I'm a Songbird

     I love to sing. I sing along with any song I hear and if I don't know all the words I'll make up my own. This has caused some issues with my family because, according to them, I can't carry a tune. I hear it just fine in my head, but apparently it doesn't sound the same to my children.
     I have heard them say things like, "Mom, who sings this song?"
     I, in my wisdom, tell them and they say, "Let's keep it that way."
    "Mom, please! I have a headache." "Mom, you're giving me a headache." "Don't sing when my friends get in the car." "We should just turn the radio off." "Is there any song you won't sing to?"
     Kids aren't real big on building a mom's self-esteem. Despite this, I still love to sing. I love the Christmas hymns at church and I love all the patriotic songs around the Fourth of July. I love country and I love rock. Mostly the old rock, but I like some of the new stuff. I just can't listen to it and not sing along, so sorry kids you had better get used to it. You're mama loves to sing.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Happy birthday, Kaelyn!

     Today is my daughter Kaelyn's birthday. Fourteen years ago today I gave birth to her, at home, with no pain killers. This was no easy feat because she weighed in at 10 lbs 3 ozs. She was my only ten pounder thank goodness. Her thighs were pretty thick and chunky for a baby of mine, but it only lasted a few weeks before she became one of my babies with no rolls anywhere. I love chubby little babies with those adorable rolls on their thighs, but my kids, even if they started out big, had skinny little legs.
     Kaelyn is talking a tumbling class right now and loves it. She is doing well in school and loves make-up. That doesn't sound like a typical teenager at all does it. She also loves fast food and likes reading dystopian novels. For those of you not familiar with that term it's a book where the world as we know it doesn't exist anymore. There has been some kind of disaster, war, volcano, meteor striking the moon, and a formal society is no longer. I love movies like that. Kaelyn is a lot like her mom. For good or bad.
     Happy birthday, Kaelyn. We love you, even though you are fourteen, and that can be a hard age. I can't wait to see who you become when you are all grown up.