Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Super easy and soooooo good.
You should try one.
1 envelope of active dry yeast
1/4 hot-warm water
1 t. plus 2 T. sugar
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 15 oz. can of pure pumpkin
5 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 t. salt
1 stick butter, softened
1/4 c. sugar
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 T. cinnamon
3 T. milk (plus a little extra)
Friday, September 25, 2009
I adapted this recipe from The Chicken Soup Book by Janet Hazen. I thought it was okay, but Travis and the boys LOVED it! The book is great--something I might order to just have on hand.
1 pound of bacon, cut up
1 lg. onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 t. celery seed (the recipe also called for paprika and mustard seed, but I didn't have any)
3 rounded T. all-purpose flour
10 c. chicken stock
4 med. potatoes, cut into cubes
1 c. heavy cream
2 c. sharp cheddar
2 c. chicken breast, cooked and cut up
salt and pepper, to taste
parsley, to garnish
In stockpot, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Remove all bacon grease from the pot except for 1/4 cup--leave that. Cook the onion
and garlic in the bacon grease until onion is tender, about 8 minutes--and stir frequently. You don't want it to burn on the bottom. It will start to come off the bottom in your soup once you add the broth and little black flecks will be floating around--this happened to me. Add the spices and flour and cook for about 3 minutes--stirring constantly. Add chicken stock a little at a time and whisk to form a smooth mixture. When all the stock has been added, bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly once again--for about 10 minutes. Add the potatoes, cream, and reserved bacon. Reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Add the cheese and chicken and stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper and add parsley on top for looks (and to hide the black bits in case you burn it, like me.)
This soup has a lot of rules to follow...I didn't do it perfectly, but it was still good!
Place 4 baking potatoes in a microwavable dish and turn on high about 15 minutes. (I use 2 glass pie dishes; one on top of another--you know, plastic is bad! So are microwaves for that matter.... but I at least feel a little better about using glass.) Once softened all the way through, slice down the middle; long ways.
Scrape out the potato leaving about a half inch from the sides and empty into a bowl. Once all the potato is scraped out, mix about 1 c. sour cream, a couple T. butter, and fresh cut chives (I also added real bacon pieces). Mash together in bowl and then fill your empty potato skins with the mixture. Top with more chives and bake in oven about 15 minutes.
I just don't know. But I do know that this morning when I was helping Jackson get dressed, because he is almost 4 and says, "he can't do it by himself", I wanted to run away. His jeans are "too hard" he says, which really means "too tight", but it took me awhile to figure it out--I thought he didn't like the feel of the fabric, but nope--we just had to adjust them. Thank Heavens for adjustable waist! Meanwhile Bryce is standing next to me with that ball popper thing that rolls and is hitting me in the head with it, all the while I am trying to button the now adjusted jeans. Jackson's shirt, which I am trying to put over his head, is not the right one so he just falls down and lies on the floor lifeless. I tossed the shirt on him and surrendered.
"There's hope," I think to myself. I can remember a time when Triston was just as feisty, if not more, than the other two. Now he is a typical five-year-old who loves his family and goes out of his way to make them happy--most of the time.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I made this pudding recipe from the book Family Feasts for $75 dollars a week by Mary Ostyn. It's a great book and I really like some of the recipes, but for some reason I just can't figure out how she could only spend $75 on a family of four using some of the recipes she includes. Nearly all of them have meat, fish, or shrimp in them--a big part of the grocery bill. Anyway, her book also includes wonderful little homemade recipes like this one. This pudding is awesome--way better than the box kind.
1/4 c. cornstarch
2 c. milk
1/3 c. sugar
1/8 t. salt
1/4 c. coco powder
1 t. vanilla
1 T. butter
Combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, and coco powder in a medium size sauce pan. Whisk 1 c. milk, stirring until smooth. Whisk in remaining cup of milk until well combined. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly and gently, until mixture begins to thicken. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook 2 to 3 more minutes, stirring gently.
Remove from feat and add vanilla and butter, stirring until melted. Pour pudding into bowl or individual serving dishes. Cover with plastic wrap, laying the plastic on top of the pudding to keep a skin from developing. Chill until cool--about 1 hour.
A couple of weeks ago, the kids were playing on a tree that had fallen half-way into our yard from the woods above (I say above because of the massive hill that makes up the back half of our yard and was home to that particular tree). Anyway, it became an instant jungle gym. So the kids play on it and swing from some of the smaller flexible branches that jut out from what would have been the top of the tree. This day, the kids were playing on it and I heard Bryce start crying. I looked out the window and noticed this was a different kind of cry. Also, he was standing perfectly still and not coming to find me--which was odd, right? Travis was standing on the porch telling him to come down but still, he wouldn't budge.
Coming off a crazy story about a snake that just happened to have found it's way into the bedroom of some friends of ours around here--that was the first thing I thought of. Maybe he spied a snake and was scared....but then again, I'm sure he would have called out "Snake"--he knows what they are. And Jackson is just playing away right above him on the tree, surely if there was a snake he would have made it known--he freaks out over flies. But, where is Triston? He is not in the vicinity anymore, which tells me one thing: someone has done something that is going to warrant a whippin'.
Triston does that--runs and hides if someone, AKA Jackson, is going to get in trouble. I've asked him why he feels like he needs to hide if he hasn't done anything wrong, and he says so I don't think he did it too. He's learned the ramifications of 'guilty by association' at a young age, I guess.
As I get closer to Bryce, all I can see, at first, is his little sad face with big tears swelling. But then, I can see his hair and clothes are soaked. I look at Jackson, who if flipped upside down dangling from a branch by his legs, and ask where the water came from. Casually, he says, "I don't know".
I look to Bryce and say, "Why are you wet, Bryce"?
His response? He looks right at Jackson and says, "Pee".
I turned to Jackson, still dangling, and asked if he peed on Bryce.
He says, "Well, I had to go and he wouldn't move so I just peed on him."
I was dumbfounded and just stared back and forth between my soaked baby and the heathen that is still dangling from the branch.
Jackson senses that I'm not happy. "Mom," he adds while disengaging from the tree (I think he was positioning himself to run!). "It was his fault. I told him I was going to do it and he wouldn't move. Mom. Mom? Mom. Bryce did it. He could have moved, but he just stood there."
I left Jackson and grabbed a still-crying Bryce. After a bath for a grateful Brycer, Travis and I sat down and had a talk with Jackson. These kinds of situations leave me too exhausted to spank--I get overloaded with just the right punishments because, seriously? What do you do for that? Jackson apologized and Bryce, who never would have been mad at him anyway, accepted with a double-leg take down. The wrestling match had begun and all was forgiven. (I will never understand that, but Travis does, so we're good).
As for Triston? He said he got outta there because he thought Jackson was going to get it--smart kid. As for me, I went back and forth about even writing this down--here or in my journal--some things are better left forgotten. But, one day, with everything that Bryce endures now, he is going to be able to whoop Jackson, and I'm going to need the proof that he probably deserved it.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 t. ground ginger
1 t. ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
3/4 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. 100% pumpkin
3/4 t. vanilla
3 T. melted butter
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, pumpkin, sugar, and vanilla. Combine with flour mixture and mix until blended smooth. Stir in melted butter. About 1/2 c. per waffle in waffle iron. Enjoy!
Monday, September 21, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Dillon getting ready to share his story.
Indulge me for a few minutes and read the story I've posted. I'm not just writing this post as a fundraiser, I am, but also to bless you, the reader, with an incredible story filled with faith, inspiration, and hope.
June 28th of last year is a day my husband's side of the family will never forget. Our teenage cousin, Dillon, was in a nearly fatal ATV accident near his home in Baker, FL. (Between Destin and Pensacola) Coincidentally, an off-duty paramedic was passing as the accident was taking place and help was called immediately. Dillon was flown by helicopter to Sacred Heart Hospital, an hour's drive from Baker. The 4-wheeler landed on top of Dillon's head, crushing his skull, and left him with a traumatic brain injury. During this time, doctors told his parents to expect the worse as Dillon's body fought fevers and swelling in his brain. Again, coincidentally, a renowned brain surgeon just happened to be doing work at that particular hospital when Dillon was admitted.
Many times during those first few days we received calls to start praying--they thought Dillon was slipping away, and countless doctors said they had never seen a patient with injuries such Dillon's make any kind of recovery. Dillon was hanging on to life.
He slipped into a coma. His body was healing slowly, but still doctors were skeptical if he would wake up, let alone have any type of brain function. As the weeks went by, his parents, family members, and friends talked with Dillon, held his hand, and prayed and fasted for him.
After 4 months, Dillon started to stir. He slipped in and out of consciousness and began to speak broken words and phrases. As more weeks progressed, Dillon started to regain consciousness and it was discovered that the accident left him completely blind due to damage on the optic nerve from the swelling in his brain. It became apparent that although Dillon's body was badly injured, his personality was still his own. One story that sticks out is when Aunt Carol (Dillon's mom, our aunt) and Cheryl (Travis' mom) were hooking Dillon up to his feeding tube, they would talk to him and tell him he was having great food like steak and potatoes. One day, Cheryl told Dillon he was having hot dogs and asked if he would like ketchup, mustard, and relish. To their surprise, Dillon responded, "Ketchup only, please". Not only was this the first phrase that he actually talked back with, it was something that was very familiar to Carol. Dillon had eaten hot dogs his own life with ketchup only. To me, as a mother, this stuck out--we all know our kid's little quirks.
After spending 6 weeks in the PICU and an additional 9-weeks in an in-hospital rehab clinic in Atlanta, Dillon was able to come home. Carol says, There were many challenges the biggest being that Dillon could no longer see the world with his natural eyesight". She adds, "He has had to learn to see the world with his heart and can truly find beauty in everyone".
Over the early part of this summer, Dillon has made great strides with his rehabilitation. He is able to walk without a cane for short distances and recently told Travis and I a story about walking 150 steps all by himself out to his dog's pen. You can imagine the excitement!
Dillon's story is one that those affected by tragic accidents may be familiar with. Although it was a new type of devastation for our family, many all over the world have experienced similar struggles as they find themselves, or their children, in these types of situations. However, while Dillon was in a coma, he found himself in the presence of the Savior. Dillon had a unique experience that started to emerge with the first few broken words and phrases that came out of his mouth as he was starting wake up.
Over Labor Day weekend, I got the privilege to hear Dillon share his story in a room of 50 or more people--some he barely knew. Sitting in the middle of the room in a chair, unable to see the ones around him, he shared what he experienced. This is his story:
"I awoke in a place much to beautiful to be Earth. As I looked around, I was greeted by my Grandaddy Morgan. (also Travis' grandad who died in 1999) He was so very excited to see me and picked me up and gave me a bear hug. He introduced me to his dad, my Great Granddaddy Morgan, who I had never met. They were both so happy. There was a third person with us, our Savior Jesus Christ.He held my hand and gently eased me away from my grandfathers. We walked beside a big beautiful river and Jesus told me that if I would come back to Earth and tell everyone I knew and met that He is real and that He loved them--every single one--my eyes would be healed. I didn't know anything was wrong with my eyes, though, because I could see Him standing before me. I told him I would do as He asked and I woke up in a hospital".
I had heard the story before, as Dillon has kept his promise and has shared with our family many times. (His mom says everyone else he meets, too!) But hearing this story from Dillon's mouth, in his own words, was truly soul-touching. Dillon speaks with the Spirit and it is hard to question if what he is saying is true--you just know it is, you can feel it.Recently, Dillon traveled back to the PICU for another surgery. One of the doctors that had administered to Dillon told his parents that Dillon had raised the bar for how badly you can be injured and still survive. Other doctors and nurses mentioned that because he just kept hanging on, so did they--even thought they were certain, at that time, Dillon wouldn't survive.
Here is the fundraiser part--Dillon is getting the opportunity to travel to Peru, where a team of doctors are going to preform a surgery on his eyes. It involves using stem cells from healthy babies' cord blood, not embryonic cells, but is unavailable in the U.S. The surgery alone costs around $30,000 plus travel expenses for him and his parents. They are shooting for an October date for the surgery. This is where you can help. Any contribution would be so greatly appreciated--even prayers. Especially prayers. As Aunt Carol says, "Prayers are the best. We have witnessed first hand the power of praying".But if you would like to donate money, here is the information:
Dillon Crawford Fund
728 N. Ferdon Blvd.
We're working on a Paypal account as well. I'm a little disappointed with Paypal as I learned that before they'll issue donations, they take some off the top for themselves. Not cool, Paypal, not cool. But if you'd rather not send a check or money order to the address listed above, I will have a Paypal button featured as soon as they e-mail me back on the difficulties of not being able to embed the HTML code. (also not cool.) You'll be able to put debit and credit card information directly into Paypal and select a donation amount. It's a secure website used by millions of people worldwide and is largely associated with Ebay.Do you believe in coincidences? I don't. I don't believe it was coincidence that Dillon was able to get help so quickly because of the paramedic that just happened to be passing as the accident was taking place and I definitely don't think it was a coincidence that a renowned brain surgeon just happened to be present when Dillon was admitted into the Emergency Room. The Lord always has a plan. For Dillon, it involves great faith. But he, and the rest of our family, believe in what the Lord Jesus Christ told him: that if he keeps his promise his eyes, and ultimately his body, will be healed.
Thank you, from everyone in our family--especially from Dillon and his parents for taking the time to read this story and contributing by prayers or monetary donations. I will keep an update of Dillon's upcoming surgery on my blog.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
8 oz. cream cheese,softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. powdered sugar
3 T. brown sugar
1/4 t. vanilla
1 c. mini-chocolate chips
1 1/2 T. coco powder
3/4 c. chopped pecans
Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. I did this in my Kitchenaid and left it on for a few minutes. It was a whipped consistency, which I think helped in the texture of the finished cheese ball, just beat it really well if you don't have a high-powdered mixer. Mix in both sugars, coco, vanilla, and chocolate chips. Cover and chill for 2 hours in the fridge. After 2 hours, shape into ball and roll in pecans. Cover and chill for 1 hour more. Serve with graham crackers.
you. are. welcome!
We arrived in east Tennessee just 30 minutes late for the first family reunion, which was earlier than we expected, so score for us. The location of the church (that we have been to several times for this very reunion every year) was lit up by a little star on the GPS, so all is good. Except the little star turns out to be an ally behind what looks to be a condemned building on an unfamiliar street.
Travis drives by. Does a U-E, then drives by again.
"This is not the right place, you know," I suggest.
"But the GPS says it's right here," he replies as the stress starts to appear in his face--metaphorical beads of sweat, if you will.
"Call my mom," he commands.
I'm thinking to myself, The freaking church is just down the road a little further, but I'm debating with myself whether or not I should say that because he is already getting anxious.
He picks up on it and says, "Just do it."
So I do do it because I'm a good little wife like that, but I get no answer. He starts sighing and breathing heavy and looking this way and that. And I just can't handle it anymore, so I blurt out "My goodness, Travis, just drive down a little further. It's going to be here somewhere--we're on Church Street for goodness sakes."
And he says, "If you would have put in the correct address this wouldn't have happened."
Our dilemma: We made it personal. And we're both hot heads, so we were like two little school girls staring out the window with our arms crossed--not speaking.
But then, as Travis drives down a little further, that church appears right in front of us. We pull up and are greeted by family members we haven't seen in months. Once inside, Travis and I made eye contact in the sea of people that were visiting with one another and I knew all was forgiven--just like that. Southern food and friends will do that to ya.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
But these days, I am getting worried. Pandemic, they say, is coming--or has already started (and of course I've seen the what-if shows on pandemics, too). I know people who have it. I know someone who knows someone who has died because of it--a healthy someone who died. And my kid is in the public school system-- A.K.A. a cess pool of germs.
It's hard to let the fear of something like this rule your life, though. It's a maybe-maybe not type situation. So we're just trying to be prepared--just in case.
We are focusing on hand-washing all. the. time. Lots of hand sanitizer-- and always in my purse so that when we do go somewhere, it's always with us. Being stocked-up on staples. And I think I'll be going to the store by myself from now on. You are always going to be in the negative, as far as germs go, when kids are around. Especially when they do stuff like lick the freezer door in the frozen food isles and can't resist the urge to touch everything in sight. Because that definitely does happen. Oh, and the water fountain. What kind of magnetic pull does it have for my kids? They can not resist it. And I just can not let them use it. It's just gross.
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