Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sauerkraut!!!!

I finally checked it yesterday. I put it up on 9/22, not to be opened until 10/22. I was a'feared of what I'd find, so I left it 'stewing in it's own juices' so to speak. I finally opened it yesterday, 11/7. Guess what? It didn't rot, it didn't smell overtly obnoxious (kraut does and is supposed to smell obnoxious, but this wasn't overtly so). Should I? I stuck my clean fingers into it....it didn't dissolve my digits, so I pick up a few strands....sniff, sniff.....doesn't smell rotten.....look at it. Look at it again, sniff it again....finally, strand to lip, tongue it, pull it in.....it TASTES like sauerkraut!!!!!! Yeah!!!!!

I then sterilize some quart jars and two pint jars and stuff the kraut into them. Seal with ball lids/rings and into the BWB for 20 minutes. Now they sit, like silent soldiers, on my counter telling me....you did this. But, and the big but is this.....from two massive heads of cabbage and a month and a half of waiting, I acquire only four quarts and one pint of sauerkraut. Was it worth it? I'll let you know.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Since last Postings......

Well, let's begin in October. A lot was going on, so not too many posts were made. To say there was a major upheaval in our little corner of the world is an understatement.


Most of you are aware of my ongoing battle with Southern Lehigh School District and the way my children are perceived. Southern Lehigh, as it was just described in the Marketplace magazine sent out in this area, is an 'upscale, exclusive region with houses in $1-4 million price frame'......duh, when we first moved here in '96 it was still fairly rural and median income......now, although I doubt that most of the housing is in the price range they quoted, more and more developments with huge houses with garages that back into their neighbors' garage door are popping up all over and are populated by doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs....if your kid gets picked on in school and you go to the principal you are met with 'I can't punish that child, do you know who their mom/dad/stepparent is?' Or a school trip is a cruise? Come on people.........for getting out of the eighth grade do you deserve a dinner/dance/cruise that lasts all night on the Hudson River line?


My husband was a blue collar skilled laborer, mechanical maintenance, until he really tore up his arms. He was on disability for over three years, between having corrective surgery and being retrained (you can teach an old dog new tricks......he graduated college after being out of school for over 30 years in 2005!). Although I went to college, with four kids, we had decided that I would stay home to raise them. When he was hurt, I went back to work....nothing spectacular, but I ended up mid-level management at Walmart...not pretty, but we ate. He is now an Occupational Therapist and I am back to being mom, but in this location, we are still looked down on as the 'hep'.....why waste your time on the kids when you can get an au pair and you can get your nails done....we are the oddity. This also grates on the school, because if something isn't right, guess who shows up? Here's a clue - 'it ain't the au pair'.


My youngest son is now enrolled in a cyber school. It took the whole month of October to pry, wheedle and finally threaten to sue Southern Lehigh to release his records. They didn't want HIM, but they didn't want us to make the decision to change schools. He is happier than he has been in a long time. Things are looking up for him......the instructors here judge him on his work, his personality and his heart......not the type of house he lives in, how much $$$$$ mom and dad make or how much bling he wears to school. He is starting to drive and is turning into a decent young man, which is all you can really ask for.


His older sister just made Honor Society at college. She has made Deans List ever semester she has been enrolled. Not bad for a child, now young woman, who was told by said school district to not apply for college since being Type 1 diabetic, she was going to die soon anyway, so why take a college slot a more deserving 'healthy' student needed. Moma went off the rails.....the lovely guidance counsellor who told her this told me, and I quote: "I'm not dumb enough to put that in writing, but she IS taking a healthy child's spot. So go ahead and report it, I'll deny it and where will we be? hmmm?'....I have never wanted to meet someone in a dark alley with a club as I did that woman. But, I am seeing the old adage come to pass....'Success is best revenge'.....She is doing wonderful. He is doing wonderful.....Southern Lehigh was wrong. Now to attempt to get my youngest in one of the Charter schools and good ol' SL can kiss my saggy white......well, you know where this is going.



In the midst of all of this, my eldest son's girlfriend gave birth to their second, his third, little boy. Brennan John was born on the 13th, full of personality, as you can tell by his winking at the camera when he was two days old. He's a dumpling, not nearly as big as his big brother Lucas was, but he's a keeper. It's been hard not seeing him, but October has been the month of the 'sickness', so we have kept our distance. We all at one time or another have been diagnosed with sinusitis, ear infections, the common cold, etc. that we DON'T want to share with the baby. Fortunately, we have been spared the Piggy Sniffles, as Jamie likes to call it.


We are finally coming out from under it all. November is the month of the All Souls Novena......we remember those we lost and celebrate those who we still have. We thank God that He is good all the time. He brought us to October and He brought us thru it. As a parting shot, October bombed my washing machine....it gave up the ghost (should I add it to the Novena? -wink,wink). It owed us nothing as we only had it 13 years, but we could do without having to outlay another $500 on top of paying $500 to get one car ready for winter and inspected, and $500 to fix yet another car because it started to slowly fall apart on us....nothing like $1500 of unforseen expenses with the holidays coming up....BUT, as I said, God is Good...All the time....ALL the time God is Good. Cars, washers and the like are inanimate objects, not worth losing sleep over as they can be replaced.

Now, November calls. I have drapes to hang, a house to clean for the holidays and finally that damnable sauerkraut to get out of the bucket? Any takers for some?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Quote of the Day

I got this on my ArcaMax recipe newsletter today. I like it.

"Intellectual men who quickly wolf down whatever nourishment is necessary for their bodies with a kind of disdain, may be very rational and have a noble intelligence, but they are not men of taste."Sainte-Beuve, Charles Augustin (1804-1869) French historian

Friday, October 23, 2009

NO MORE Southern Lehigh

Things have been unusual lately. I will post more later, but effective today's date........Joshua is no longer enrolled in the school who made his life a living hell. He was sent on his way with 'you will fail, and you will be back'.....not if Momma has anything to say about it!!!!

I will post more about what else is going on (new grandbaby and all).....but to keep you rolling...I 'baked' 3 rather large pumpkins. Made enough pumpkin stuff to bake umpteen pies. Found a seriously good, but rather easy recipe on Allrecipes.......

A box of spice cake mix
2 cups pumpkin
3/4 cup water.

Mix together, bake in muffin tins. Yummy. Too easy to be that good.

Until later.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Thank YOU, Jesus

As those of you know, who have been following this blog, tale of woe, of what have you....I have been fighting with my former employer for my unemployment compensation. I filed, was awarded compensation, my former employer appeal led, compensation was halted until a hearing was held, hearing held, I showed up, they didn't. I was awarded compensation again. They appeal led again, I received a letter saying that they would allow them to request another hearing but I would continue to receive compensation until then. Hearing was to be set for next Thursday. I just received a call.......the company pulled out of the hearing. I will receive a final determination, but the way it reads in the original paperwork for this hearing, I won the first, and the company would be allowed to have it's say 'why' I shouldn't have, but it would have been under the cloud that they never bothered to show up prior. Now they say, it's nice you are having a hearing, at our request, but we won't be going to this one either. So, this morning I get a call from the court overseeing the hearing, although the official determination will have to be made from Harrisburg (state capital, for all you non-PAians), they have stopped the appeal process. Apparently, it is customary if you appeal a decision, to actually SHOW UP for the hearing. Today looks like it's shaping up to be a good day.......refer to last post....the plumber comes at 1 p.m.!!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me

Nothing like having the switch on the 'just replaced' sump pump kick out and flood the basement/playroom. Oh well, it needed to be cleaned up anyway. Sigh

Another day, Another Way to Avoid Housework

Again, I find that procrastination is my best virtue (snort). I have last night's dishes to do and more clothes to fold than I can shake a stick at (I can't do that since I lost the stick in the clothing pile). I did get the sauerkraut made, but the cukes turned before I could get them in jars (see sentence #1). I know, I know. I put things off and then they pile up......I know my faults, but my problem is overcoming them.

Yesterday wasn't one of the best. I got another notice from Unemployment. My former employer contested my unemployment, I had a hearing in August, and since no one from the company showed up, the judge made a determination in my favor. They appeal led saying it was unfair (unfair that they actually had to show up) and to reschedule. The state agreed to let them state their side, but it would be tinged with the fact that they blew off the former meeting and allow me to question their motives. I am confident that it will still go my way, but I have to take time out and run 20 miles out of my way for a 10-15 minute hearing. That, and it falls right in the middle of the one time during the week I usually go to a Ladies Bible Study...any other day of the week I am at home trying to ignore the dishes, laundry and dust bunnies. Thursdays I go out. It is scheduled for Thursday. Since I was bummed, I do what I usually do when I'm out of sorts....I cook. Dinner was as follows:

Bacon wrapped pork chops, rubbed with a dry rub (salt, black pepper, gran. garlic, cumin, chili powder and paprika - there IS measurements in the recipe, but I just eyeball it, this way if you want more garlic -you make yourself happy, etc.) and broil until done (I used 175 internal temp as done). I served Spanish rice and corn with this.....Made enough for dinner and Joe's lunch today (I always make a platter of food for him to take to work the next day). I thought there would be chops left for my lunch or the kids after school, but I was WRONG. I left them out to cool while I went to a meeting last night and asked Joshua to put them up for me. He did.....nom, nom, nom.....when I came in I asked where the chops were....He burped.

Baby boy is front and central lately. We are having all sorts of issues with his school and I am back and forth with them. It all sounds petty taken individually, but when you add up what is going on, I am a raw nerve. Yesterday I had to go to school to find out WHY he owed lunch money. His school uses a debit system. You put money on the account, they swipe their ID card and the lunch is debited to his account. Last school year, he had THREE ID cards stolen from him. Rather than being concerned that there was a thief in their midst, the school was more concerned with me paying $5 a pop to get him a new card. When school started this year, I just gave him cash for lunch each day, no need to use the card. Finally, they gave the kids the new IDs for this year. I give him enough money for a week's worth of lunch in the form of a check (yes, people still write checks) to put on his account. He deposits it and is told he has $6 available to him. How? He hasn't used the account, it should not be in the negative. When they checked the records, his card has been swiped a number of times up to that date. Gee, I wonder who was swiping his card, since he was paying cash for his lunch and didn't even have a card....In order to get to the cafeteria, I have to run the gauntlet of getting thru the office. Now at this school, you get buzzed in, must report to the office, turn in keys and ID to get a visitors pass and must detail where exactly you are going in the school.....I go in, plop down my keys and ask do I have to check my guns, knives, heavy artillery and pike poles as well. I think they know me by now and get 'no, just your keys will suffice'. I go to the cafeteria, find out that they will monitor his card 'usage' and I will continue to send cash with him daily, hopefully they will catch the culprit. The office, however, still feels it is Joshua's fault for LETTING someone steal his card. Oh well.....

Momma is bummed again. So, tonight is whole roasted, seasoned chicken, mashed potatoes and a green veg. I may even make 'nanner bread (yea, I'm that mad). Hopefully, the machinations I have working in the background regarding Joshua's school experience will come to fruition and I can go back to cooking for love and not out of frustration.......as his appetite has been compromised and I eat out of aggravation. Not helping my waist line or his well being.

Off to the stove.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pickle Day

Today is the day.......cauliflower, sauerkraut and kosher dills.....MAYBE i'll see you on the other side.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Last Week Is Ovah......Yee Haw

Last week started out on a down note and only got worse. Monday, Josh was snuffing and shorting and coughing and wanted to see the doctor. No probs, make the appointment, call the school to check him out, take him to doctor and get a prescription for his sinusitis and note for school. Problem arises when his sister loses the note from the doctor, so I send a 'mom note.' Problem solved, so I thought.

Tuesday would have been my mother-in-law's birthday, she's been gone four years now. Called my father in law and talked to him for almost two hours. Over the weekend, we had visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Czechtochowa in Doylestown, PA for the Polish Festival. While there, we picked up a Mass card in Mom's memory. Tuesday was a sad day for Dad and the rest of us....Mom loved any reason to celebrate. Little hard to do it without her.


Wednesday, though, was the day the crap hit the fan. I get a call from Joe's sister-in-law telling me his brother was just admitted to the hospital with a heart attack. No waiting around. After the kids were out the door, I follow and head down to Philly to sit with his wife. The same day, father-in-law had an appointment with HIS cardiologist to see why he was having problems and may need additional surgery to correct a problem arising from earlier surgery. Hubby has doctor's appointment in early evening, and I tell him NO MATTER WHAT they want to do to him, after seeing his younger brother laid out like a carp waiting for additional surgery, he had best do it.......Then we find out that the menfolk's niece and granddaughter's fiance also ended up having emergency surgery on Wednesday for an appendectomy. Wednesday was a not so very good day to say the least.

Thursday was spent checking in on ALL the patients. Oh, and I paid the monthly bills - OUCH! But the bright side is that all the bills are paid :).

Friday, Rich's wife, Deb, asked if I could come down and wait with her during Rich's surgery. On Wednesday, they corrected the blockage that caused the heart attack, but on Friday they were going to correct the other blockages they found on Wednesday. To say we were a bundle of nerves is an understatement. What is refreshing, and I feel silly saying it this way, is to see how twitchy Deb was waiting for word from the surgeon. Things are said day in and day out that after so many years of day to day 'just getting by' that marriage becomes stale and middle aged couples just go thru the paces as 'love is best left to the young'. She was paler than he was and took it harder, knowing that with Rich always being the joker, she would bear the brunt of looking after him, making sure he took his meds, ate right, etc. To see her shed a tear when they took him out for surgery and to step out of the room so he wouldn't see her tear up when he came back okay only reinforced the ideal that 'love is ageless and timeless'....he had the heart attack but she is the one who had her heart ripped out of her chest. After being a witness to all of this, I defy anyone to say that these two are sticking it out for the kids, or are just going thru the motions. She loves him. No doubt. And will till the day he dies, or she kills him for not following the doctors orders!

Saturday stated looking up, I scored a 25# case of cukes, two massive cabbages and two huge cauliflowers for pickling. Although Coopersburg Community Day was a waste, it was a beautiful day or at least it was until I got the mail.......Southern Lehigh High School wanted me to know they considered Josh truant from school for going to the doctor and would record it in his records as such! GRRRR. Ask me again why I hate this school district.

Today is Monday, the beginning of the new week. Let's hope it proves better...It can't get no worse!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Newest Educator at My Daughter's College

a href="http://icanhascheezburger.com/2009/09/09/funny-pictures-sister-mary-catnip/">funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures>



Just had to put this in!!!!! Too cute.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday

It's cold. I'm cold. I need to do something, but can't get motivated to move from under a blanket and sweatshirt. Started laundry and looked up a recipe. Jambalaya sounds good to me. How's by you? I found this in the local paper and adapted it to include all the meat choices shrimp, sausage and chicken......

3/4 lb. andouille sausage
1 Tbsp. butter
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 med. onion, chopped
1 med. green bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp file powder (says optional, but I can't imagine jambalaya without it)
1 bay leaf
1 cup rice
14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 lbs. smoked chicken breast, chopped into large dice
Slice sausage into discs about 1/2" thick. Saute in a 5-qt dutch oven or
wide stockpot over med. heat until lightly browned. Revove with slotted
spoon to small bowl. keep rendered fat in pan. Melt the butter and add
garlic, green pepper, celery and onion. Saute until soft. Salt and pepper
to taste. Add thyme, basil, file, and rice to vegetables and saute for
approx. 2 min. more. Add bay leaf. Add tomatoes and stock. Bring to a
boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until rice is tender and liquid
is about absorbed, about 20-25 minutes, stirring 2-3 times. Add chicken,
stir gently until chicken is thoroughly warmed. Add cooked saugsage and stir
gently to rewarm. Remove bay leaf. Use salt, pepper and hot sauce of
choice to taste. Serve hot. Serves 6.


This is the original recipe. I double it and add a small bag of cocktail (71-90) shrimp to it with the chicken. It is really good, and warming.

Will type more when my fingers thaw. Just can't wait for winter, can you?


Later in the day:
Made the jambalaya, nom nom nom. I did however make a change. Instead of using the smoked chicken breast (only place I can find it is Allentown Farmers Market at beaucoup bucks) which comes with skin and bone still intact, I purchased 2 lbs. of smoked turkey lunchmeat and diced it up. No waste such as with the bones and skin. It was thick, warm and just hit the spot. Try it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I'm Finally Able to Tell the Fair Tale.......


Last Friday we went to the Allentown Fair. We took the Mighty Matt and did it up right.



I wanted to see what happened with all the entries I made. Admittedly I registered far more than I actually entered, knowing that I wouldn't get all of it done in time, but I would rather register and not take in than finish the lot but not have registered them for competition.

I ended up actually taking pear butter, plum jam, peach jam, kiwi daiquiri jam, garlic dills and my friend Barb's Bread and Butter pickles (for the canning section) and zucchini bread, cottage cheese dill bread, and brownies for the baked goods. I got fourth place for the butter, third for the kiwi, second for the dills and third for the brownies and second for the dill bread. When I went to see the display, I found out that the pickle jars weren't even opened. I asked and was told 'oh, we just look at them, and if they look pretty, we vote for them'....I made Barb's pickles that have won the state fair for her SEVEN times and they DIDN'T EVEN TASTE THEM!!!!!!!I was robbed. I found out that they did the same thing to the baked goods, since 'most of the judges are older and have allergy/nut issues'....Here's a hint people.....get a better group of judges. Then I had to listen to the lady drone on about how they can't get any 'new blood' to put entries in the fair......while I am looking around and notice that EVERY blue ribbon on the canning competition had one thing in common, the same woman's name....Patricia XYZ. I feel that I was, as well as most of the others who submitted items, cheated out of a fair fair competition. I have a suggestion for them. Our local tech school has a really good culinary arts program, why not encourage them, via extra credit, to put things in competition (they already do VICA competitions) and maybe utilize them as judges? I intend to contact the Agricultural Department for Lehigh County and air my grievances, but I feel they will fall on deaf ears, since most of the winners are 'friends of friends, or cousins, of people on the board'.

Another thing that bothered me, and maybe I am over reacting to this, is the lack of security. My son is a coin collector. He loves money, all types, denominations, etc. Recently he is collecting British pennies and ha'pennies. He entered in the coin collection area a collection of ha'pennies dating from 1900 to 1967 (the last year they were issued). When I dropped them off, I was told they would be put under lock and key and kept in a display case out of reach. They were during the fair, but when I went to pick them up, the display was wide open, and no one was in sight. I had to get someone to retrieve the person in charge of that display. I told him I could very easily have just 'taken my collection' and he never would have known, and why was I told that it would be under lock and key when I dropped it off. He stated that 'it was locked up' during the fair. I'm thinking if someone had a bent to steal this, they should plan to come on the day you pick up your stuff, walk in, and walk out with it and no one would be the wiser until the rightful owner came to get it and found it missing. I really don't think I will have him enter anything else as I can't guarantee it will be returned that and I think he was really upset as 'yet again' this year, one of his collections he built from squat to put in the fair, was beaten out by the same 50-states Quarter book (the books that were sold in Walmart) that didn't have all the 50 states in it (even tho they are all out now)....but as the guy said when I picked it up...'oh, you made a yellow ribbon, that blue one was won by Ethel-over-there's grandson, he's thirty and lives with his moma, shame he ain't married, but we're hoping'......Should I say I rolled out of there, cranked the radio really loud in my husband's little Hyundai (made it shake) and screamed!!!!!

Bless my husband's little pointed head, however, he took individual jars of jam and pickles to work, told them they were award winning and have at them.....to see them sucked up like no tomorrow and want more. When I dejectedly told him "I" didn't win anything on them, he said well 'someone did'...and just enjoy the adulation. Now he wants me to get another box of kirbies and make more as they want more and more and more......I guess he figured my ego needed a little stroking.

Now on to other things. School started back yesterday. Jill in the 8th grade and Josh in the 11th. Things are off to an unusual start, so we'll wait and see what happens. We just started school and already we are working towards the weekend. This weekend there is a Polish Festival at The Shrine of Our Lady of Czechtochowa in Doylestown. No competitions to fret over there, just a good time. We're going to try to go and maybe, just maybe, Mighty Matt might want to go too!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Sunday Before Labor Day....

I need to update everyone on what has transpired, but now is not the time. What I will do is give you a recipe for something I didn't think anyone would eat, but man was it good.

Greek Quinoa Salad

Recipe Feedback: User Rating 5 out of 5
(3 reviews)
By Jolinda Hackett, About.com

Greek quinoa salad recipe with traditional Mediterranean ingredients including feta cheese, kalamata olives and fresh herbs. You could easily make this vegetarian quinoa salad recipe vegan by omitting the feta cheese or using a vegan soy substitute.
Ingredients:
3-4 cups water or vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups quinoa, uncooked
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (you may use any flavor you prefer)
2 cloves garlic, minced
juice from one lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced if desired
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 red onion, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Preparation:
In a medium-large saucepan, cook the quinoa in vegetable broth for 15-20 minutes, until tender, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil.

Gently toss the quinoa together with the remaining ingredients, except feta. Pour the olive oil mixture over the quinoa.

Add more salt and pepper to taste and gently stir in the feta cheese.

You may also add any additional vegetables that you like, such as lightly steamed broccoli, snap peas or diced bell pepper.

Nutritional data:
Calories: 399; Calories from Fat: 163
% Daily Value:
Total Fat: 18.1g 28%
Saturated Fat: 4.7g 23%
Cholesterol: 17mg 6%
Sodium: 225mg 9%
Total Carbohydrates: 46.7g 16%
Dietary Fiber: 5.6g 22%
Sugars: 3.0g
Protein: 12.6g
Vitamin A 18%, Vitamin C 24%, Calcium 15%, Iron 20%


We went to the Fair on Friday. I am still paying for being upright and mobile for 9 hours straight (did YOU ever try to get a 5 year old boy to 'sit and rest a minute'?). School starts here on Tuesday, so I will definitely make time to update this blog. Until then, good eating, bon appetite and ya'll come back to the table now, y'a hear.......

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The First of Freaking September

Where did August go? A lot happened during August. Some good, some bad....for the good:


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Earlier I posted about Wes and Roshelle getting married. Not to go into background details (see earlier post if you want them) but it was a beautiful unique affair. It was held at Lock Ridge Foundry in Albertis, PA...this is a park centered around the ruins of an old iron foundry. With the crumbling walls and flying arches it gave a whole gothic appearance to the whole thing.....think of all those gothic romance novels you read in high school and you got the ambiance. Now, as in MOST weddings, the groom comes in and waits for the bride, well, guess again......No groomsmen came in, just these well dressed guys picking up their instruments (drumsticks, guitars, harmonics, handbells) and the groom sits down at the electric piano and they start jammin....I mean really jammin.....and in comes the bride. Seems he wrote that music for her.....it was wonderful...the whole day was a blast, from catered Mexican food afterwards to having an ice cream truck drive up and treat all the guest to a soft cone......even the groom's dog-brother was in attendance (his brother has the most beautiful dog ever, and I'm not a dog person who was better behaved than most of the teenagers). Congrats, Wes and Roshelle! It was an honor to be invited.







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Then we sent Baby Gurl back to college. Jamie ended her freshman year with a 3.77 GPA and 36 credits completed, so she returned as a second semester Sophomore. She was a bit apprehesive, but looking forward to it......Once you leave home and are on yourown, it's hard to come back to being another kid in rotation, so she was glad to go back and not to be rude, but we were glad to see her go back.....pecking orders change and once you taste independence it's hard to go back...We love her and want to see her grow up, but her being an adult and us being parents of an adult...well, there are still some rough edges that have to be filed off. We're working on it.....




While we were getting her 'stuff' for college, we got 'stuff' for Mighty Matt too....Yes, my baby gurl was going back to college and my favoritist eldest grandbaby starts Kindergarten this year! We bought him school stuff, and Aunt Jamie got him his Lightening McQueen back pack, so he's styling and profiling....As soon as I get a picture from his mom of him heading off to school, I'll post.....I couldn't be prouder of my baby.



Now for the Fair. As I have posted earlier in other venues, I am addicted to submitting stuff for judging in the Allentown Fair. This year, I made bread and butter pickles, garlic dill pickles, plum jam, peach jam, kiwi jam, pear butter, banana coffee cake, zucchini bread, brownies, and cottage cheese dill bread. I entered some other objects that didn't quite make it there as well. I ran out of time (to tell the truth, I should have started earlier) and one of my jellies , the Mountain Dew Jelly, didn't gel...so I didn't get in all I wanted to, but that's the way the cookie (which I didn't make this year) crumbles.












a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_jiI62XzJPwM/Sp1FZQsFBJI/AAAAAAAAAC4/phXvmbiutGg/s1600-h/DSC00507.JPG">
















I mentioned the church picnic earlier. There is a meeting tonight, in fact, to discuss and rehash what went wrong and what went right. I'll keep you posted as I have defininte ideas of what shouldn't be repeated EVER again.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday, Bloody Tuesday

Well, bloody at least for my bank account. The plumber came today to replace the sewage pipe and guess what, the car we bought for our daughter to use at college and has been piece meal fixed finally got fixed and came due $$$$ today as well.......AAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHH.

Will post more about the wedding, the picnic, the birthdays and everything else in between later.
Ciao.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Church Picnic

Today was the day of the church picnic. I am on THE committee. Need I say more? The church provided hamburgers and hot dogs and A-M did dessert and N-Z did side dishes....oh, did I say NO ONE with names ending N-Z showed up? (I lied, there were a few, very few). So we cooked hamburger and hot dogs and invoked the feeding of the five thousand asking Jesus to show us how to make a few side dishes feed 116 people. Forgot the camera, so no pictures, besides I was too busy to take any anyway. So, after eight hours of feeding, cooking, clearing up and generally looking at a bunch of babies that are too cute for words (Hi Miss Lexi and Miss Gwen) I am now home. And to sleep, perchance to dream.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thursday - the Ordeal is Over

Okay, yesterday I ended with Thursday wasn't looking so good. Well, I came thru the other side of the ordeal this morning and things are looking up again. To those of you not 'in the know', I had a hearing this morning regarding my former employer appealing my unemployment. I knew I did everything I could correctly and my original filing was approved, but they appealled it making statements that were inherently false and I was upset with the possibility that they could and would make similar statements at the hearing. I got there, signed in, said a prayer, and waited to get called in. When I went in, only the mediator was there. NO ONE showed up to represent the company. We waited a few minutes and began. The mediator told me IF they showed up during the hearing, he would take testimony, but if they didn't, mine would be the only one of record. He asked me a few questions then let me go. I do not know WHY they blew it off as they had tried to file a last minute (end of last week) continuance and it was denied so they knew someone had to show up, but I am grateful that I don't have to go thru the waiting again as the appeal was made by their side, not mine, so I fulfilled my end by showing up. The final determination is to be made as soon as possible and hopefully this one will be un-appeallable (is that a word?). Thank you for all of you who said a prayer for me today, and here's a shout out (can you do that on a blog?) to Yvonne, who emailed me at 7 a.m to tell me she was praying for me. Just knowing that made me more confident and calm in an unknown setting. You, dear lady, are a God send and an all around good egg, and like the Proverbs 31 lady, your family is blessed to have you!

Now, on to brighter topics. I NEVER found the original recipe for PIP, but remember this chant people, Google is your friend. I typed in ingredients and came up with 3 or 4 similar recipes. I mishmoshed them together and came out with something, that may not have been recognizable, but was hoovered up by the masses....In the picture of the PIP offerings, it is the bright orangy/yellow rectangle to the left (to those of you whose goodies weren't included, maybe next blog pic will have yours - don't bunch your knickers). Instead of rice crispys, I cut up a watermelon we had that needed to be eaten, so all was good.












Okay, here is the 'recipe' for Creamy Chicken Burrito Bake:

1 1/2 packages of bean and cheese burritos (the cheap ones that come 8 to a package, although you can use the individual ones) - you can substitute chicken burritos.
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup of sour cream
1 cup of shredded cheddar
1 small can of chopped chilis (can substitute 3-4 Tbsp salsa verde, or as I did, just add some Jamaca Joe hot sauce)
Layer the burritos in a 13x9 baking dish. If they overlap a little who cares.
Mix soup, sour cream and chilis and pour over burritos
Cover with cheese and bake for 30 minutes at 350.
I think the original recipe called for boiled and diced chicken to be added to the sauce, but there was enough 'chicken taste' to the soup to still maintain the name and it WAS cheesy....so. Besides, although I love to cook, some days the kids at these functions don't want real food, they want as much junk as possible and they only eat it at home, so why make an exotic concoction only to have it end up either on the ground at the park or in the garbage. So, to you purists who say 'I NEVER use canned soup, or I wouldn't be caught dead using prepackaged items (like the burritos), do you like watching your effort and $$$$$ get tossed? I thought not. That and at least I know they are eating something that somehow passes itself off as real food.
Now, off to scrounge the pantry and freezer for dinner. His Majesty has decreed I must feed him tonight, so who knows what the freezer monster may belch forth for me to tame into some semblence of a meal..........
-ginny






Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Life in General

Wednesday. Well today is PIP day, so I must get my act together....I found a recipe for a casserole using premade burritos from the grocery store. Looked interesting, I knew the 'non-gourmets' would love it's prepackaged taste and it was inexpensive. Bought the stuff I needed NOW I can't find the recipe!!!!! Curses. I, at least, located the dessert recipe....Neopolitan rice crispy treats. I'll fix them, then post the recipe dependant upon the 'ooooh yummy' or 'what is this dreck'....responses. Hopefully this time, I will take the camera and get shots of all the goodness that is PIP.




Also, I can now finally finish the wedding present for Wesley and Rochelle.







Being the uniquely odd person I am, I try to make gifts 'personable' as well as practical. When Wes' sister, Erica, got married four years ago, I made a similar present to represent what their live together should mean.







Before I go much longer, let me explain, Wes is the same age as my eldest son and the first person to show up on our doorstep when we first moved here 12 years ago. Wes, then 12, welcomed us with open arms (and a little thankful I think that he was no longer the youngest kid on the road). He is a delightful human being and cannot at any time be considered an average individual.....not only does he march to the beat of his own drummer, but often is the case he wrote the music for the whole drum section. Wes fell in love with Roshelle at his telling, 8 years ago. He always carried a torch for this darling child, even while he was in college and she was finishing high school and then college. They met at church and I believe that Wes never really 'courted' anyone else. He prayed for a perfect mate and to most of us who have seen them together, believe that God answered his prayers. For this couple, a gift card from Target just isn't what you give them for a wedding present.


Now, back to the present. I crochet, or at least attempt to, so I decided to make them an afghan. Erica, Wes' sister, got one entitled (or at least the pattern was) Christmas Snow....since they are planning to become missionaries I wanted it represent the Birth of Christ, and the newness of His life together with the newness of their union. For Wes, who is more of an evangelist, I saw the perfect pattern.....Dogwood. To those who do not know the story of the dogwood blossom, the flower is supposed to represent the Cross of Christ, with the four points, blood stained on the ends and a crown of thorns in the middle. To this, I add a package I made up using a quote from my favorite movie of all times "It's a Wonderful Life". In the movie, when the Bailey Building and Loan helps the Martini family finally afford their new home, Mary Bailey makes a presentation of three items: bread so they will never know hunger, salt so they will all have spice in their life, and wine so they will always have joy. To this I add mustard seeds to indicate their faith (made all you who haven't looked in your Bible in a while go look up the passage this relates to, didn't I? ) as well as two wine glasses. I have to finish putting it together and ask Wes' mom when does she think I can catch him somewhere (anywhere?) before the big day. I hope he likes it and knows how much love and appreciation for him as a human being went into this.

Maybe they will be at PIP, who knows. Anyway, have a blessed Wednesday. And pray for Thursday. It doesn't look too good from where I sit. More later.

-ginny

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What's Goin' On.......


Since I last posted about the joys of July 4th, July has come and gone (almost) and it has definitely not been a good month. From the highs to the lows..........Vacation Bible School ran the week beginning the 13th. I was lucky enough to be able to take the Mighty Matt and the Curiously Cute Christian with me. We picked up the boys before dinner, fed them took them to VBS and then Mommy picked them up. It was wonderful having the little darlin's but it kept me running. The down side is that the Lovely Lucas couldn't (or wouldn't) come or that week would have been complete. I worked in the crafts for the week with the Kindergarten thru 2nd grade. Not a bad bunch of kidlets, but some of the teachers I seriously considered laying hands on and NOT in the pentecostal manner! We put together a quilt top made of hand prints to send to the missionaries that we sponsored that week, now my task, and one I am dreading, is trying to get someone to actually quilt it for me.


In the middle of this, the sump pump went belly up. Now those of you who have sump pumps, KNOW what happens when that happens. Our sump also handles sewage, so we were just thankful that it went when the tank was filled from laundry drainage and not, well, you know. We actually had to have a plumber in (much to Joe's chagrin, he likes to think he can fix ANYTHING). We were upset as it had failed earlier (6 years ago) and we thought it should have had a longer life span. We called a different plumber and found out that the last installation was with a rainwater sump, made only to pump out ground water, not sewage (no wonder it burned out) and when he replaced it with the RIGHT pump, everything worked better than it had after the last installation (no wonder) and he charged us $500 for the pump and his service time (if any of y'all live near me call RL Mu th - they rock) and 80% was the cost of the pump. The last guy charged almost that amount earlier.


Also, I FINALLY got another set of wheels. A '96 Jeep. Nothing fancy, but it gets me where I am going. We are also acquiring a '90 Chrysler New Yorker. Seems that Jamie will be doing student teaching soon, so alas, we will have another driver in the family. At 18, she will finally be getting her permit and learning to drive (this was 'our' decision -or should I say her father's decision, not hers). Now to sit on pins and needles to see what the results are for her loan applications for school. We need to get this taken care of ASAP, but other things kept coming up sorta like mushrooms in the dampness, you think you got it all taken care of, then more pop up.


Now the worst part. Baby boy, the Mighty Matthew, ended up in the hospital this weekend. He went to the local and they sent him to Children's Hospital in Philly. He had an intestinal blockage that needed to be surgically removed. Now dont' get me wrong, CHoP is THE finest children's hospital in world as far as I am concerned, but my grandbaby shouldn't have to be hospitalized. I cried and I prayed and bought him stuff. He was lucky, they removed the problem and sent him home, so I didn't get to the hospital, but was able to go by the apartment and give him all the little books, cars and toys I bought to keep him occupied (ie: "still" - yeah, right, he's five). In the interim, I also found a knapsack for school for him "Lightening McQueen'.....and that now opens a whole 'nuther can of worms.....My baby is starting kindergarten!!!!! (baby Matt in his penguin hat)


More when the eyes stop leaking.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Weekend Is Past!!!!






















Okay, I waited until I was over the weekend to post this so I could get my scrambled thoughts together.
The weather here in the eastern section of Pennsylvania was gorgeous on the 4th. Mid-70's, low humidity and NO BUGS!!! Yeah.

We put up the screened tent in the yard, borrowed a long table from the church, asked everyone to bring chairs and anything else they wanted to and prepare to have a good time. We only had two 'no's' to our invites. Hubby's eldest sister, the chiropractor/carnival worker (don't ask, too long and weird to explain) would be in Maine at a fair, but she at least sent regrets. His youngest brother and family, decided to go elsewhere, information I pried out of them on Friday night...Look people, I don't have a problem if you don't want to come to my party, I can put on my big girl panties and deal with that, all I ask is that you let me know enough in advance that I don't buy too much food..... which turns us to another subject.

Food. HE said, don't buy too much. We were having 20 people. I bought 40 pre-made burgers, 24 pre-made turkey burgers (we have a few chickatarians here) and 5 lbs. of Italian sausage (put in crockpot with peppers and onions), I made shish-ke-babs using 5 lbs of cubed beef interspaced with peppers, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes. 3 lbs. of popcorn shrimp (picture 1 is of shrimp on the grill - please don't look at hubby's tummy overhanging the grill) and 3 lbs. of jalapeno poppers (picture 3 is of the poppers recipe compliments of the Pioneer Woman's website thepioneerwoman.com), 10 lbs. of potato salad, 5 lbs. of spaghetti salad, devilled eggs made from 48 whole eggs and a vat of 'Mom-mom's pudding' (see this referenced in rec.food.cooking's archives for a full definition of Mom-mom's pudding). Hubby's baby sister brought a huge bread bowl filled with spinach dip, her middle daughter and fiance brought a tray of soft pretzels and dip, and his sister-in-law brought an apple cake. Eldest son, the TRAINED chef, brought a bowl of jello (don't get me started there). We had very few left overs.


Interesting tidbits:
Baby sister's eldest daughter brought her fiance for a first time meeting with the 'whole' clan. Since her dad died suddenly a few years ago, her two uncles in attendance decided they would have to 'check him out' to see if he was good enough for 'our little girl' (she's 26 working on a Masters). Stan and Ollie soon found out that Carlos was probably nuttier than they are and they informed darling niece that he would do.......her younger sister who also had a fiance in attendance was left to fend for herself, since fiance, my hub (her oldest uncle) and her Pop-pop had all been/or currently are firefighters so they bonded over telling war stories and how 'real' Rescue Me is...the rest of the nieces just terrorized my youngest son as he was the only 'boy' in attendance.


Eldest son came with his fiance and their little boy. His ex-wife came with their little boy and her other little boy. This way a very greedy gramma can get to see ALL her grandbabies and the family can ooooh and aaahhhhh over all of them. My eldest grandson has a vendetta against hubby's middle brother's baby girl....Ash is 16, Matt is 5, both had water guns and water balloons.....imagine the rest (photo 2 is Matt firing on Ash with help from his Daddy).

Games were played (softball with the migrating bases), food was devoured, kidlets played in the pool (picture #3 of all grandbabies and Uncle Josh), people got wet, it got late, they got tired.....everyone went their merry ways around dusk to their various destinations. Some to fireworks displays (the grandbabies), some home to sleep off their dining escapades (BIL and FIL) and the engaged nieces spent the rest of the evening with their respective intendeds. ;)

I crashed on the couch at 10 o'clock. No fireworks, no clean-up (that was for the next day). My holiday was complete however, when on Sunday night I called my widowed father-in-law to see that everyone from the lower end (Lower Bucks County to our Lower Lehigh County) got home okay. He said he went to church that morning and lit a candle of thanksgiving that we all came together with no sickness or death pulling us together and we had a safe and happy time. I was touched. I took that as a sign that I did have a great Fourth of July party.

And by the way, since there must be some indication of cheese and ooziness in this blog......the cheese didn't ooze from the poppers, but Carlos quite literally oozed home. I was told he still was full on Sunday! I take that to mean I did good.

Note: please pardon the placement and mismash of how the pictures are posted, I'm just getting the hang of this blog thingy.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Getting Ready for the Fourth

Got to get my behind in gear, as there are only 2 (if you count what is left of today) more days until my house is invaded by relatives, friends, friends of relatives....that is IF any of them RSVP me!!!! Only Sister-in-law, the Darling Debbie, and Erica, mom of my eldest dearest grandbaby Matthew and his brother the Curiously Cute Christian, let me know they were coming....The rest of them, feh.......I guess they figure I'll always be here, so if they don't get any better offers, they'll show. If it wasn't so late, I would let those know who said they were coming that I changed locales. Let the rest of them get here and find no one home!!!!! Aren't I bad? You know I would never do it, but it is soooo nice to fantasize about.

Bought four tubs for ice to put drinks in....only bought 20 cases of soda, one case of beer, one case of wine coolers, three case of water and a whole bunch of food (I haven't gotten that far enough in my plans to have actually bought it yet - gotta clean out the fridge to make room).

Dinner tonight, sausage and peppers. Big whoop of a recipe, parboil hot and mild sausage links, plop in crock pot, cover with sliced bell peppers and onions and let go....eat from rolls. I plan on dinner on the fly tonight as I have to go to Bethlehem to take Joshua to scouts......I know, I hate going there, but poor, poor, pitiful hubby doesn't feel well (can't you see the pity I feel 'oozing' from me?)......Oh well, I'll leave him in charge of getting the girls motivated to help me get ready.......that should fix his red wagon. Enough for now........maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Profile Picture

Yes, that is me. Around five or so years ago when I was still very active in Boy Scouts (what, you think I wear that uniform because it's sooooo flattering?). I think that is the latest picture I have and so definitely (intentionally) out of focus, but it's me......go ahead hurl your insults. Inquiring minds wanna know.

July is Here!!!! ARRRRGGGGH

Well, here it is, the first of July. The year is beginning it's second half, and what do I have to show for it. We are having a 4th of July party here on Saturday and the house isn't even near to being clean.....(that whirling sound you hear is my dear departed MIL spinning in her grave - she was the prototype for Mr. Clean). I still have to make a menu and follow up on the invitations and THEN get the food.......

Tonight, however, is our church's program Prayer in the Park. Instead of the usual Wednesday night prayer meetings held my the majority of all Protestant churches, ours opts for a covered dish dinner at the local park followed by corporate prayer (if you don't know what corporate prayer is, well, you just haven't been to church lately, now, have you?). My family is on the rotation for setting this up this week. Couple that with my other duties I have assumed, it will be busy.

Our church provides meals for those who are ill, shut in or otherwise in need of temporary assistance with preparing meals. The lady who normally does this is on a much needed vacation, so I was asked to help her by rounding up the posse of cooks and deliverers for the next two weeks. Easier said than done. One, however, has been a true joy. She is, to say the least, the heart of the church. At approximately 96 years young, there are very few people, old, new or in-between that Mildred doesn't know or at least prays for on a daily basis. She is slowly winding down and is currently in need of assistance. But to offer to help her is met with 'what can I do for you?'. She always has a good thing to say to you or about you, is always happy even knowing her time remaining with us is short. You know she is truly happy about getting to meet the Savior she has been praising all of her life, but you can't help but feel sad that this tiny spark of vitality will soon no longer be with us. Is it selfish to wish we could hold her close and tell Death not to take her from us? Probably. But knowing her deep and abiding faith, you KNOW Death will not have the final laugh, there will be no victory for the grave. The old, tired body she now occupies will be replaced when she is taken into the presence of her Master and I know she, of all people, will be met with 'well done, good and faithful servant'.. Enough here, the keys on the computer are starting to dampen, must be a leak in the ceiling (don't get me started on leaks).

Back to PIP, as Prayer in the Park is referred to. Last week I made up little disposable soup cups to take to Mildred. As with most covered dish dinners, there are tons of this and a little of that, all mingled on long tables waiting for the convergence of the hordes. I took the little cups and put a little of this in one and a little of another in another cup. Not that I thought I was doing anything spectacular, just giving a little taste to someone who has been eating like a sparrow. All this week, every time I run into someone from the church, I have heard about these cups, how much she liked them. I stopped by her house and she actually had them washed and wanted me to re-use them this week!!!!! She has been a real boost to my spirits this week, while I have been trying to buoy hers.....

I have to get on with the trapping of life and stop typing and actually get up and get things done. So this ends, at least for now, the most recent of my ......you know....cheese.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Brain Cheese? Just what the hoo-hah is Brain Cheese?

Hi, Welcome to Brain Cheese, my second attempt at blogging (the first - Yahoo 360 - was dispatched to the abyss never to be heard of again). What, you may ask, is Brain Cheese? Do you ever have just random thoughts and wonder 'where did that come from'? Do you suffer from fluff and emphremia that clogs your thought processes and you wonder how you get anything done? If you do, then you are suffering from Brain Cheese. It is the oozing goo of random thoughts dripping into your daily lives. Ooooo, cheesy.