Saturday, October 29, 2011

The real truth about Christians.

I guess most of my life I have surrounded myself with people that either believed in God or accepted and respected that I did. Once I moved I found myself conversing with people on the worldwide web. I have gained many friends from it from different religions, or even some with no religion at all. I have probably also gained many enemies.

In these past 5 or so years I have read things that make my heart weep.

I find myself on many debate forums and even forums reading up on weather or space. I always, without fail run across a thread that talks about or lumps "Christians" into one or two categories. "HYPOCRITES" "JUDGEMENTAL" . For a long time I would, when asked, say I am a follower of Jesus Christ, because I am and let's face it, Christians are gaining a bad name out there.

Now I'm no biblical scholar, I'm far from perfect. I've read the bible a lot, a whole lot. Do you know what I get from it every time? Love thy neighbor, treat others how you wish to be treated, judge no one, among other things. Now brothers and sisters with just those 3 things why are Christians gaining such a reputation?

Let me lay it out there for you. I am 32 years old. I have four tattoos, I drink alcohol at times, I have smoked, I cuss sometimes, I have 1 child out of wedlock, 1 child I was pregnant with when I got married. I lost my virginity at a very young age, I have lied, I have hated, I have been mean and that is just the tip of the iceberg. I am a Christian. I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior, I have repented for my sins and I have been forgiven.

I will not judge you, I will not tell you that will burn in hell for your religion or lack thereof, I will not tell you because I have no idea what on earth will happen, why? Because I am not the judge. I will not tell you your past life will make you go to hell. I won't. I will not force my beliefs down your throat, I will talk about them, I won't force them. I will continue to live my life, to pray, to love and when asked why I'm so happy I will gladly exclaim why.

I know some of the people that these claims speak of, the ones that bother to judge someone without even realizing their own faults, nit picking others lives, pointing out the splinter in their brothers eye whilst they have a plank in their own. I've been judged, I've been shun. I know these people exist. Believe me when I tell you friends, Christianity is not about that. Christianity is about love. Should we not walk this life as Jesus would? Should we not help those that are down, love those around us, help those in need? We must show the world love. Now more than ever. Christianity is a narrow path to follow and at the beginning of ones walk it can certainly be wobbly, even in the middle or near the end. Remember only one perfect man walked this earth and he died for us all.

I know that many people will cross over this blog and if you have questions or comments please fell free to leave them. If you've come here for a debate hear this. I will defend Jesus Christ until the day I die, I will die defending him if need be.I will never deny him, I will never betray him, however, I will not debate it. And I know, I know you have the answer to why I won't debate it but truly you do not. The only proof I can give you for you to experience what I experience isn't in a link, most likely you don't believe the scripture so the only choice is this. If you need proof, if truly are curious, if you truly want to know how I know he exists. Honestly ask Jesus Christ to enter your life, to touch your heart, your soul. You will see. I cannot debate faith, friends. Faith is daring the soul to believe what the eyes can't see, but one day, one day friends, the reward of faith will be seeing what the soul has believed.

We are living in the end of times.

So next time someone tells you they are Christian, think before you lump them into this lump of people that are hypocritical, judgmental people. We aren't all like that.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Remembering Grandaddy- upcycling a Man's dress shirt.

This post is going to be full of the usual me, but with that is going to be a ton of emotion. Grandaddy died last October, This has by far been one of the worst deaths I have had to deal with, not because I loved him more than any of my other family members that have passed but because I am so much older now, I have kids that are too young to remember who Grandaddy was. Walker will and Avery might, but Gavin will have to be constantly reminded (I don't mind doing that, but man, they have missed out on some awesome greatness) Anyway. When Grandaddy died, I got a hanker-cheif which I carry with me everywhere, at first it smelled like him After awhile the smell dissipated and I was left with just the memories. And I have a shirt of his. When I got the shirt I shoved it in the closet and thought, what am I going to do with it? Grandaddy was TALL I could never wear the shirt...or could I? I can, but in a whole new way.

I grabbed the shirt down yesterday, looking it over thinking, brainstorming. Finally I remembered a skirt I had seen this past spring. I picked up the shirt and just in-case I smelled it, it smelled like him, I don't know if my mom or my sister or one of my cousins sprayed it, but just under the neck on the shoulder it smells like Grandaddy. Normally that piece would be scrap but It is in a plastic bag in my Jewelry box, sure time will take that smell too, but for now, it is mine and I am keeping it. Did you know that smell is one of the biggest links to memory?

Anyway onto the DIY upcycle.

This would work best in a solid color, My shirt has memories attached so that is why I chose it.

Now the one I saw this past spring used the arms as a belt, which would be fine if my skirt wasn't already so busy with stripes.  SO although I will add the belt loops I most likely will use the sleeve belt on something else.
yes, this is a picture of me standing on the tub from the mirror, I am sorry.

First you need to lay your shirt out and cut off the 

Now sew together your sleeve holes

Then you need to fold it and make casing for your elastic:

Put a saftey pin on the end of your elastic and feed it through the casing. Your waist -1" is how much elastic you need, I will spare you my numbers.

Once your elastic is through sew it together and finish off closing the casing

I ended up with this little triangle piece that once the skirt was finished it kept sticking out like a pocket (or wide hips) I ended up sewing a straight line down and trimming that triangle off.

Four pieces for your belt loops, fold both sides to the center, iron then sew. 4 is sufficient. Then attach to your skirt.

And there you have it, a new, neat, unique skirt. 

you can change the buttons to pearls or add a lace edge I think instead of using the sleeves as a belt I may just make rolled flowers from the fabric and have a matching headband... I will keep you posted.

Applesauce Streusel cake.

This cake is so amazingly good, it filled the whole house with this wonderful aroma and lasted all of 24 hours because it was eaten quickly.

My first attempt I used only vanilla, the cake was great, the next cake I made (24 hours later) I used a mix of vanilla, almond and maple, the second one is better. I will post both. The reason that I changed it up is because I was out of Vanilla, however, did you know you can make your own vanilla extract? 1 cup vodka, 2-3 vanilla beans split length wise and a tight sealing bottle/jar. Store in a cool dark place and shake every once and awhile in 2-3 months it will be this amazingness. It's cheap and lasts forever! You can strain it to get the vanilla seeds out after the 2-3 month time or you can leave them in for a little extra flavor and texture. Just remember to shake it every so often.

Now onto what you came here for, cake.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar (****out of brown sugar? never fear, see the notes below)
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp Vanilla (or my second cake was 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp almond, 1/2tsp maple)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce (mine is homemade but jarred would do in a pinch.)
1 2/3 cup flour (I actually used bread flour on accident and it turned out really yummy)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon

2/3 cup brown sugar
2 TBSP flour
3 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 TBSP melted unsalted butter

Preheat your oven to 350°
Grease your bunt pan with baking pam or crisco
For the cake: Mix first 6 ingredients together.

 Stir in Applesauce.

 In a separate bowl sift the rest of the dry ingredients together. Add slowly to wet batter and stir until combined.

Prepare streusel mix all 4 ingredients together

pour half batter into bunt pan, add about half the streusel mix, add the rest of the batter and top off with remaining streusel mixture.

Bake on 350° (I use a convection oven so it took 35 minutes, if you are using a conventional oven add about 10 minutes to that)
Sneak a peek

Bake until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

before turning onto wire rack to cool. I don't have a picture to add for that because the two toddlers took a HUGE chunk out of it when I turned my back...

**** Brown sugar. 1 cup white sugar and 2 TBSP molasses mix thoroughly with fork or food processor.

Tags: Apples, Applesauce, Streusel, Cake, Fall baking, bunt pan

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

DIY skirts for toddlers.

This day and age we have to do what we can to save a buck. It has caused a lot of people in my generation to find their creative side and to learn a lot of knew things. Luckily I come from a family that has always passed down teachings of things like cooking, sewing, crochet, knit etc... 

I have been putting off having my 2nd yard-sale because, well, quite frankly I am tired and the thought of it exhausts me. Well the cooler air is filtrating in and the signs of fall are quickly showing so I started gathering all my Junk in hopes to make a buck. I was going through the kids clothes and thinking, great, another shopping bill since neither of the little ones can wear last fall/winters clothes *makes note to by bricks for children's heads* They are growing so fast.  Then as I was going through my clothes, I wished there was something I could do with them instead of just getting rid of them. And like that, a thought is born. I ran through the house grabbing my old shirts, and a pillow case that was brand new and some scrap fabric I had laying around. (Don't worry, I am lazy so even if you think you CAN'T sew, trust me, you can. If you don't have a sewing machine, get some of that iron-hem (the name of it fails me) and you can hand stitch your elastic together, or if you would like you can hand stitch it all, it shouldn't take long!

Let's start with the shirt skirts, I didn't take pics when I started this so I am using a shirt that I am not cutting up to show you where to cut. It doesn't matter the size unless it is long you can cut it shorter, I used a lot of tank tops so they were not very long. Cut just below the arms, all the way across the chest. The hem at the bottom of the shirt is going to be the hem, that takes away that daunting task.

Now, You need to (do as I say not as I do) Turn the skirt inside out, Fold the raw edge you just cut so that it forms a casing for your elastic. It is best to Iron and pin this fold, I am lazy;  if you don't know this you are not paying attention.

Now I used contrasting thread for 3 reasons, 1. I am seriously WHAT? that is right, LAZY and do not want to re-thread the bobbin. 2. These 2 particular skirts are just simple little play skirts and even if she does where them out a shirt will cover the thread at the top. 3. So you can see how much my sewing machine hates me and how horrible my sewing is. Sew the casing until you have a small gap left to finish, this is the hole you will thread your elastic through.
Measure your child's waist and subtract one inch, this is how much elastic you need.
Avery's waist is 23" So I cut my elastic 1" shorter at 22"
Put a saftey pin into one end of the elastic and thread/push it through the casing you just made. This part is the part I hate, it is kind of like when those thin little pads in your bathing suit top somehow get twisted and turned, you can feel which way they need to go, it is right there but you.just.can' Anyway patients and persistence will get you through.

Once you get through that task, you will want to sew your elastic together then finish off the casing.
TADA a brand-new-used skirt.

The pillow case skirt same directions apply.

The polka dot skirt, All I did with that was take a piece of fabric 26" in width and oh, I would say about 41" long. I folded it in half width wise making it 2 layers of 13"wide. I sewed the ends together (the layers of 13") Then made my casing at the top of the (40" with 1" seam allowance) added the elastic and she was good to go. No hem since it was folded and the double layer of fabric is great for fall/winter with some heavy tights and her boots.

My husband has a bunch of shirts he is getting rid of too, he just doesn't know it yet. I think I may make myself a few of these!!

TAGS: Skirt, DIY, upcycle, tshirts, tanks, toddler girl clothes, easy pattern.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


The more I yearn for a social life the more I realize "don't eat that" "pick up your toys" "please tell me that is a rock and not dog poop"  or "you better hope mr clean eraser can fix this" is all the social interaction I need. The older I get the more I realize that some friends are just not what I had thought.

One certainly gets wiser with age and experience.

If you ask my mother who her best friend is, without hesitation she will answer "my husband" she is a dying breed of woman. She really is. This woman was put on this earth for a reason, to be a mother. She is the June Cleaver From the 70's to the present. I want to be just like her. She put aside everything, she had no social life for years. She worked every now and again, probably yearning for that social life that many of us yearn for but the second that it conflicted with home it was dropped. My sister and I are close in age. When my brother was born I was 14, mom was thrust back into being a mommy again, she was good at it, she glowed. Ashton is off to college now and I can safely assume mom is lost. Truth is she is still very much needed just not daily, we are all able to wipe ourselves :) and cook now (well Ashton maybe eating ramen noodles and grilled cheese but he ain't starving I'm sure).

I have friends, good friends most of which are not near me. I watch Facebook statuses say how much fun such and such had with whomever. I get a little green sometimes but then as I tuck Gavin in to bed and say "I love you, sleep good" and hear this little voice say As I shut the door "wuv ewe too momma, eep good" it is all ok, then as we tuck Avery in and I hear her sweet voice say her prayers ask for a hug and kiss, it all melts away, then to hear Walker in front of all his friends tell me he loves's all worth it. I'd sacrifice everything for their happiness, everything.

Life is rough, especially these days, making ends meet, making all the schedules click. As a matter of fact the day I turned 18 life got complicated. It has been one hell of a ride, some good, some bad, some horrific, some unforgettable. I wouldn't change a thing. I've met many people, been hurt by many, hurt some people myself, it all made me who I am today and I am proud. I walk around in poop/pee stained clothes, I'm the cover image for people of walmart, my comfy clothes are my pjs, my favorite shoes are my flip flops, I get my hair/nails done 1time every other year, I wear makeup 2times a month and am lucky if I shower daily. I show up to "work" every morning, no matter how bad my back hurts, how tired I am or how sick I am. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I wish, sometimes I dream but deep down, I wouldn't change a thing.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dreams and Fairy tales

I remember being little, I remember what my fairy tale was. It was so simple, I never wished to be a princess, or live in a huge castle (my sister did though, she was definitely a girly girl when we were little) or be rich. I did wish and dream for a fairy tale wedding but the biggest dream I had was to be a Mom. Even through my 'I want to be a doctor stage' I still wanted to be a mom.

 Well now here I am, a mom of 3 absolutely amazing children. I now watch Avery have wishes and dreams and fairy-tale-hopes, hers are much more elaborate (but we all knew she was going to be something else from the moment she came out red-faced-screaming-hot-beautiful-mess) She is going to be a fairy, or a princess it doesn't matter which, she is going to marry a prince and she is going to have lots of kids and clothes, and shoes... It almost breaks my heart knowing that it most likely won't happen, but I guess you never know, right? When she watched to royal wedding do you know that we had to leave the house because she was so upset, she cried to the point of hyperventilation because "I am supposed to marry the prince Mommy, I am going to be the princess" (she and 90% of the worlds female population had their dreams shattered that day)

 Boys dreams are a lot simpler, Walker wants to play in the NFL (and at the rate he is going, he just may.) He used to want to be a truck driver, a mechanic, a NASCAR driver and before that a fireman but I think every kid wants to be a fireman at some point. Gavin just wishes he could have a cookie and wants to see a train.

 We never stop wishing, dreaming, hoping, praying. There is always something. Sometimes I when I drive down 95 and see the billboard for the VA lotto, and it is at some outrageous amount. I think about everything I would do if I won. I mean I have it planned to a 't', I know what I would buy/build/gift/donate/save. It gets a little depressing when reality sets back in. Another dream I have is to own a restaurant/store, you know like a mom n pop shop where everything for sale is handmade (soap, lotion, candles, candy, clothes, toys) and the food is to die for and it is the same specials every week that keep them all coming back. when I moved here in '07 there was this little restaurant down the street, I never went to it but I dreamed of owning it. It isn't fancy, it isn't big, it is perfect. It is right off a main interstate and a main road and only 2 minutes from my house. The thing has changed owners 3 times since I moved here, each time the for sale sign brought secret hopes and dreams to my head. Well the last time it sold (this past summer) I saw a couple of guys cooking- outside on 2 old charcoal grills- in the rain, I laughed and went on across the railroad tracks. guess what? It is for sale again, so the hopes and dreams all come flooding back, I have never been inside this place but I have a picture in my mind of what it would look like when I own it. I even think about my menu and have this theory that if during hunting season I open extra early to serve breakfast I would make a killing! I have to bring myself back down every now and again because It is a sad reality that I will never own it or one, but I love to dream.

 What are your dreams? What do your children want to be?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It will consume your life.

That was the words that we heard over and over after Gavin was diagnosed with spina bifida in-utero. "you will live and breathe spina bifida" they said. He won't walk, run, play sports, he may not know when to use the bathroom. Such a grim outlook. Surgeries, doctors, catheters, enemas, wheelchairs/braces filled his future.

Well they can all kiss it, because they could not have been more wrong.

One day with in this past year I got an email from a woman asking how my son with spina bifida was. I was happy to oblige with how he was, he was fan-freaking-tastic.. I went on to tell her how amazing he was and how wrong the doctors were and how I wish they (doctors)were better informed, one would think they would be with how common SB actually is. Her next reply made my heart sink, she had aborted her child because that baby had spina bifida. Doctors gave her the same out look. She bashed me, yelled (well as best you can in an email) "how dare I say the doctors don't know what they are talking about" It was impossible to back out at that point, I got trapped in that conversation. She finally calmed down, apologized as did I. She did what she did based on the info given. Why are we given this info? Why worse case scenario? To protect us? Why aren't they better informed or if they are why don't they tell us like it is, "we don't know" because they don't.

I wrote something in a comment today "Gavin has been over 2 years without any surgery". Well as a matter of fact he has had his original shunt for over 2 years, another impossible task per doctors. I still to this day think he doesn't/didn't need it, but what do I know, I have no PHD.

Why did I have to search so hard to find support, to find people that had been in my shoes, someone that would give it to me straight. The cold hard truth consensus was : My child with spina bifida has been the best gift, my child with spina bifida is the most amazing child. I wouldn't change my decision despite... Real people, real children, real lives, true love. Amazing support from all those ladies. I remember one of the ladies saying "don't google" well call me dr. google because I live by google. seriously, don't google. All I wanted was to see REAL pictures, I wanted to know what to expect, what will it look like. I couldn't find any. I contacted the local SBA chapter, she sent me a huge box, lots of stuff, pens, paper, a few books. Soon after that they shut down that chapter. There isn't one in VA, no resources, no one to turn to. I worked with SBA trying to open one here in the tri-cities but "it just wasn't in the budget" they said.

"it will consume your life" Well DUH that should be the exit door sign on any OBGYN door. It is a child, of course it will, believe me I have 3 (and 2 cats and 2 dogs) I have been consumed since January 19 2001.

October is Spina Bifida Awareness month. There are tons of ways to help. You can support the spina bifida association, you can sponsor someone at a local walk-n-stroll. You can find a business that supports or donates to Spina bifida. Let's 're-define spina bifida'

To those of you searching the internet right now, I hope you stumble on this blog.
A child WILL consume your life. A child with spina bifida may or may not require a little extra time. There are 100's of thousands of us that will gladly talk to you, help you, inform you. One thing is certain, you will love that child no less than your others and this child will touch your heart in a way that no one else can. Is it hard? absolutely, at times but being a parent of any child is hard.

TAGS: Spina bifida, doctors, child rearing, children, neural tube defect

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The wonderful world of 'pico de gallo'

This wonderful little dish can stand alone with chips or be a side, topper, condiment or addition to any meal. Translation 'roosters beak' some say it is because the action you make chopping the veggies is that of a rooster pecking. I don't care why or what it is called, I call it amazing.

who turned out the lights

The beauty of this dish is you can totally manipulate it to fit your taste buds. You can do anything with it and you most likely have all the ingredients on hand. Top eggs, add to guacamole, add to tacos or burritos, add to a pita sandwich, put it in pasta, dip it with chips and sour cream, put on chicken or fish or steak or burgers or in burgers, put it on cheese fries or potato skins. I am not even kidding when I say the possibilities are endless.

It is sooooo simple, also called 'salsa fresca' FRESH, I see a lot of people making it with canned tomatoes and in my opinion you are only shorting yourself.

Summer has ended and we are pulling the last of the crops from our gardens, perfect time to have one last taste of summer before it is all gone

Now remember there really is no wrong way to do this, no wrong amount to add play around find what works for you but here is mine...

1 pint grape tomatoes (diced), I choose those because they tend to be less seedy it does make it more time consuming to cut them all up so you can use whatever tomatoes you have on hand.

1 sweet onion (diced) I used vidalia but red onion or even spring onions are good depending on your 'hot' level.

2 Jalapeno peppers (diced) if you are a really brave soul you can step it up a notch and use habenero, any pepper will do even red or green bell this dish is all about you and what you want and what your tongue can handle!

Juice of half a lemon about 1-2 tbsp (or lime both are great)

fresh cilantro and basil chopped (about 1 TBSP each) Here is another place you can 'own' your pico de gallo use dill for a twist or mint even some parsley play around with herbs they are such amazing things!

1 garlic clove finely minced

salt and pepper to taste

mix it up and there you have it. so simple. so, so good.

my 3 favorite ways to eat it...

In a pita or wrap with avacado and bacon

With chips and sour cream

on grilled chicken or fish.

Try a sweet twist, trade the tomato for watermelon add honey and mint. It is really good as well.

Monday, September 12, 2011

You can do so much more when you have so much less.

I have noticed myself dragging this past week after the hurricane. I am not driven, or energetic I am just, blah. When we lost power, the house was cleaner the kids were happier, the coffee was stronger (lol) the meals were amazing. I did so much more when I had less. No TV, internet, phone or ipad, no hot water for 2 hour bubble baths, there it was, time, I had time and I was driven to survive.

Isn't it strange?

Then I got to thinking, maybe I should be a minimalist, I mean what can I really do with 58 pairs of underwear and 18 bras? who needs 115 pairs of socks? Can you really use all 28 mugs that you have been collecting over the years or the china that serves 16? All the knick-knacks and collectibles that I have to dust constantly, what good are they really doing? Why is it we fill our lives so full of items that mean nothing? That new shirt that you saw at The Gap that you are dying to have and will pinch scrimp and save all $80 to buy it, will it really MAKE you happy? Sure, maybe for the first year but then what? Next season will be a whole new line and yet again you will be saving $80 again for another shirt that will last a season. The things that really make me happy... Seeing my children smile, Gavins dimples, Walkers freckles, Avery's laugh. Jake or Dreamer wagging their tails and licking all over my face when I pet them. watching the sunset, sitting at the ocean, getting kisses, snuggle time, standing on a mountain top, or a valley floor...all FREE. Sure, you need money to survive (food, clothing, shelter), but I have 300 cable channels and I bet I watch 10 if that. What are we really doing? Keeping up with the Jones'? who cares who just bought 6 flat screens for every room of their house or has that brand new Escalade, it isn't making them happy, I promise you. Some people do have it all, material and love and can still live with-in their means, but those of us that can't afford that awesome backyard, car, stereo system and top of the line wardrobe and TRY to get it, we drown ourselves so far in debt to have this 'happiness' that was there all along.

So this month when you write that check for that credit card bill or that $800 car payment, or that $5000 house payment. Hug your kids, kiss your spouse, watch the sunset and tell me, which made you happier.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Real life pioneer woman.

If you know me really well you know I am a weather junkie, I love storms, I love extreme weather, so the week before Irene came I had been watching her already. I was already prepared on Tuesday knowing the chaos that was to come when the local meteorologists finally got a clue. (that is a whole different blog post.) Anyway Hurricane Irene came in and caused a lot of destruction in central VA as well as other places(up north took a huge beating, but I've just gotten power back and have no clue who else has gotten the wrath of what was Irene. I know that a lot of you were worried about me, but really, we were fine, annoyed, tired but we were is what we did. (I really wish I wasn't so overwhelmed that I would have taken more pics but I didn't and the usb cable is missing so until I find that, I can't share what I did take...)

Day 1)So Saturday Morning it was already raining, the wind was beginning to pick up and I had the laptop up with every radar, weather model and trusted meteorologist that I knew to watch. she was coming and she wasn't going to turn in time. I was excited! The power flickered quite a few times, we had at least 6-8 brown outs then around 3 pm it went off and on 3 times then it was out. No power woohooo!!! We had flashlights, charcoal, batteries, canned food we were ready. We had sandwiches for supper since it was still raining. The kids got to have shadow puppet shows with flashlights, the candle light flickered in every room and the cool winds came through the doors. We were having true family time, no computer, tv, cell phones, no ipads just people. It was great.

Day 2)Sunday morning we got up confident that we would have power quickly since we shared a power grid with some large businesses. Jason suggested that we ride around and see what happened and find a cup of coffee for me. We rode into colonial heights, no power anywhere, no traffic lights (I mean literally they were gone at some streets) Streets closed, trees down, houses lost. I suggested we drive west to find power and coffee. We hopped on 95 North and right before the Chester exit at 65 mph and the window cracked an inch I smelled food and told J that I did. I am sure he thought I was crazy but I urged him to get off the exit. Where there is food in the morning coffee is close and at this point it could have been a persons house and I would have paid $10 for a cup o' Joe. Sure enough there was 1 block with power because there is a police station and fire station on that grid. That block also has a dennys, wendys, cracker barrel, chic-fil-a and a hardees. Oh yes a hardees. We hopped in line at hardees which was down the street and around the corner blocking traffic. We stayed in line for a long time, 45 minutes? hour? not sure. When we got up to the screen to order they had a limited menu "sausage biscuit, butter biscuit, gravy and biscuits, hash browns and apple turnovers. All I wanted was coffee we had eggs at the house I could scramble. The kids split a sausage biscuit and each got a small order of hasbrowns and I got a medium coffee and we got one for my mother in law. $8, i am positive they jacked the prices. Happy with my one cup of coffee we started our day. After leaving the in-laws we came home and relaxed outside in the 93 degree heat, let the kids have one last dip in the pool before it got green. It was a good day. In hopes to save some food I fired up the grill. Fixed some home-made chili I had frozen, hotdogs, italian marinated chicken breasts and fried taters, oh, and some princess spaghettios for the princess. The kids were still excited with flashlights and puppet shows, it was another good day. We camped out on the couch, again.

Day 3) Monday, the natives are getting restless-the flies are taking over- when calling the dominion help line the power should be restored between 5-6pm, awesome. this day was full of questions from the children, can we watch tv? no. why? There is no power. Can we play computer? no. why? there is no power. Can we play ipad? no. why? There is no power. Can you turn on the light? no. why? there is no power. you get the idea. I fired up the grill and decided by golly I was having coffee and good food. I put a pot of water on the grill with coffee grounds then another pot with a coffee filter, brewed it then poured it then poured it into a filter over my mug. 1 cup was enough to put hair on your chest but it was coffee and I made it without power. Now food. The kids had scrambled eggs, I made an omelet with mushrooms, onions, green peppers and mozzarella cheese. It was so good. I had plenty of food. I had plenty of charcoal we were doing great. I was determined my family would at the very least eat good. I boiled water on the grill to make sweet tea then decided a slow roasted teriyaki pork loin, baked apples and carrots would be supper. So it was. The kids had chicken noodle soup and grilled (literally) cheese sandwiches. Still a tad annoyed with sleeping on the couch and the fact that flies were now overtaking the house since the doors were open all day. The kids quickly made me forget about it when I heard AB say to G "its almost shadow puppet time" as she watched the sun slip behind the trees. 10pm still no power.

Day 4) Tuesday-no power, a call to dominion says between 11 and 6, okie dokie . The day that I had to become a survivor lol. We were running out of charcoal, The laundry was piling up, Jason's pants had to be ironed. He asked "is there anyway to iron my pants" without hesitation I said YES. What was I thinking was I going to plug it into the sky? The grill was hot and coffee was brewing ah-HA the grill of course. Threw the iron on the grill and Ironed his pants, they may have smelled like charcoal but they were wrinkle free. Scrambled eggs on the grill for the kids a cup of 'hair on your chest joe' for me and I was ready. I babysit on Tuesdays and Thursdays and this Tuesday was no different. At nap-time I had to work hard, I threw laundry in the tub (we have county water so that was 1 good thing, it was cold but it was running water) I scrubbed, twisted, rinsed and wrung 3 small loads of laundry and hung them on the line to dry. Mopped the floors and swept the carpets. J called to ask if there would be enough supper for his parents to eat too. I said yes and started to plan a meal. We had roasted chicken, green beans, fried potatoes and peach cobbler all on the grill. 10pm no power.

Day 5) I'm grouchy, a 6am call to dominion says "there is extensive damage in your area, we have no estimated time of restoration, thank you for your patients" wonderful. Now I understand these guys are working 24hours a day, working hard and restoring power to people when their own homes may be without. I am not mad that I don't have power, I am mad that they were giving false hope, if it is going to be Saturday, tell me Saturday so I can prepare!! An 8am call reveals power may be restored between 5am and 6pm on Thursday. I am out of candles, I have to go find somewhere that has some, some where. I promised the kids I would take them anywhere they wanted to get food, I didn't care if I had to go to Staunton to find it, they were getting a happy meal. They wanted Wendy's, there is one about 2-5 miles away. They each got Chicken nugget kids meal with fries and sweet tea and a plain cheeseburger. Avery got 'dip' She is addicted to condiments. She has been without her 'dip' (ranch dressing) since Sunday, this is detrimental. She asked for 2 packs and dipped her fries, nuggets and burger in it then when she was out of dip-ees she used her finger then her tongue. Did I mention she loves dip? So before running out to find candles I went upstairs to finish organizing our room. As the thought ' It is so hot up here I would love to feel that AC blowing on my face' crossed my mind a familiar beep could be heard in the hallways, THE SMOKE ALARMS!!! The fan started to spin, there was light coming from bulbs, WE HAVE POWER. I wanted to kiss my electric meter. I turned the AC on downstairs, ran the dishwasher, threw a load of clothes in, made supper on my stove and took a HOT shower!!!!

People were buying generators, spending $600 and up for the unit and spending over $40 a day in gasoline. For what? To have lights? To cook? To take a hot shower? To save the $600 of food in the deep freeze, why? I personally think it is crazy, I mean if you have the $$ to blow fine, but really it isn't like we were dying. We weren't hungry ever. We may have been hot but guess what, we could take a cold shower. It was in the 60's at night the breeze was nice. The worst thing was we lost our food and possibly some sanity. A lot of people had it a lot worse, they lost water, their homes and even their loved ones. My prayers are with all of the families affected by Irene and I hope the rest of you guys get your power back fast!!

In hindsight it was great, we were a real family no electronics it was great. Last night was depressing. no conversation just the dings of computers, ipads and the volume on the tvs. I may throw the breaker once a week.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

summer is almost over???

Wow where did this season go? The older I get the faster it flies.

insert cheesy business plug :P

To celebrate the upcoming fall (aka knitting) season I have clearance happening on my etsy use the promo code summerclearance at checkout for 30% off. also having a clearance sell on facebook all the hairbows/bands etc are going up for ridiculously low prices. So if you have a little girl in your life you may want to come check them out.

round 1 & 2

Monday, August 15, 2011

Restaurant style potato skins.

I have always had a place in my heart for all things cheesy, full of carbs and dip-able. cheese fries, potato skins are on the top of that list. There is just something about those yummy tater skins all stuffed with the good greasy, yummy-ness that is cheese. Then as if it couldn't get better you can dip it in sour cream (or ranch I suppose).

There is something about the restaurant style potato skins that just makes them so good, the skin is crunchy and salty but not tough and the inside is cooked to perfection.

After countless efforts and pounds and pounds of russet potatoes later I can bring you a great recipe sure to wow your guests.

No potatoes were harmed in this experiment. :D

I have tried various combos of cooking, parboiling, then deep frying, baking then broiling. this recipe was a hit numerous times here at the house so without further adieu:

Each potato makes 2 skins so plan accordingly, I used 6 last night.

Scrub your potatoes clean unless you like the taste of dirt, which would make you strange, but that is ok we are all a little quirky.

Microwave your potatoes (my little microwave took 14 minutes but if you have a better hi-powered it shouldn't take long) make sure you flip them half way through or else you end up with burned spots. Once they are done take them out and cut them in half, they are hot (duh), please be careful!!

Now with a spoon take out some of the potato, save it in a bowl you can make some mashed taters or what have you with the left-overs. Make sure you leave some potato in the shell though, that is what makes it good, and starchy :)

If you are going to use bacon now is the time to start that in a skillet, I use my kitchen shears and cut it up into the pan. when the bacon is done set aside on paper towel to drain

Now you need some olive oil and kosher salt. Turn the potatoes cut side down and brush the skins with olive oil. Then sprinkle with some kosher (or any coarse salt). stick in the oven on broil (most oven broil at 450-500 degrees, so if you don't have a 'broil' setting just use high temps)

*watch them closely, you want the skin to be a bit crispy but not too much or it will be tough, I think mine took maybe 5 minutes.

Now flip them over! Add a small amount (don't go by my pic cause I over-did-it with the bbq this time around) of BBQ we always use a sweet/spicy or just plain sweet BBQ sauce. Now I am not a BBQ sauce fan, but this really, really makes them yummy. If you aren't sure about it just try a few w/ the sauce and the rest with out. Depending on our company sometimes I do half with and half with-out.

Now, normally I would scream and yell at the top of my lungs 'please use block cheese and shred yourself' this time, either way is good with me because it isn't like its super healthy any way :) I used 'sargento' 4 cheese blend. You can use whatever floats your boat. be generous with the cheese, it is what makes it!

Stick back in the oven (still set to broil) for a few minutes, and I mean just a few until the cheese is melted, top with the bacon and shove back in the oven for a sec to heat the bacon back up.

I usually throw some scallions on top but I was out last night. Also I am sorry there is no plated picture I noticed a storm outside and ran out with a skin in one hand doused with sour cream and my camera in the other :) As you can see in the above picture I was messy with the sour cream lol.

I did get this though:


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Banana bread, perfected.

Avery begs for Bananas every time we grocery shop. Some weeks she eats them before wednesday some weeks they get all black and nasty...

This week was black and nasty which ended up being a great thing. I hate wasting food, hate it. So I decided banana bread it would be.

My last banana bread was good, but it could have been better. I was out to scour the intrawebz for the perfect recipe. I came across one that was Emeril's I mean how can you go wrong with Emeril right? Here is his recipe, but you know me, I changed it.

So Here is what I did.

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs room temp
3/4 cup 1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
Pinch 1 tsp of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
tsp of vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Oil and flour a PAM a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.

Using an electric mixer, cream the shortening and sugar. With the mixer running on medium speed, add the eggs one at a time. Add the bananas and mix well. Add the baking soda, salt, flour, nuts vanilla nutmeg and cinnamon and mix thoroughly. The dough will be sticky or cake-like.

Pour the dough into the prepared pan and bake about one hour or until the center is brown and set.

I am so sad that there isn't any left, I hope Avery decides not to eat the bananas this week. i want to make french toast with some banana bread, um, yum!