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Julia Child, I am not!

Try as I may I am not too graceful in the kitchen.  Even with the best of intentions of having recipes collected, grocery lists made, ingredients brought home, and new kitchen gadgets, my skills in the kitchen just don’t always pan out.

I will say that my cooking adventures do make for quite the humorous of stories… It’s much easier for me to laugh at myself in the kitchen versus getting completely distraught and frustrated.  Even if a few choice words end up falling off the tip of my tongue at some point during a kitchen “fiasco” I do somehow end up laughing at some point during or immediately after.  I’ve come to learn that I just can’t take myself seriously in the kitchen!!! 

My motto in the kitchen... and life in general!

My lack of  success in the kitchen has not stopped me from volunteering my “skills” to others. 
 
For example, a fellow director and myself decided we were going to make lunch for all of our teachers last week in celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week.  Keeping in mind that both of us are extremely busy, we kept the menu quite simple.  I was responsible for making Ham BBQ Sandwiches, baked beans and brownie cupcakes while my partner in crime was to make hot dogs, potato salad and pies.  Sounds like a pretty easy task, don’t ya think?  It WOULD have been if it were anyone other than this girl!!! 
 
Making Ham BBQ for 21 people was a little bit tricky… How many pounds of chipped ham should I buy?  What would you say?  I opted to buy 5 pounds and was unsure if it would be enough.  
 
I have no recipe for the sauce… it’s sort of a hodge -podge concoction that ends up being a little bit different every time I make it.   This time I did add a special ingredient that really made the sauce just a bit more delicious!  Who woulda thought that a jar of sweet hot pepper mustard would have been such a fabulous idea?  Mmmmmm.   
 
Did you know that 5 lbs of chipped ham won’t fit in my largest pot with the sauce?
Did you know that 4 lbs. of ham BBQ won’t fit in my largest crock pot?
Did you know that 3 lbs. of Ham BBQis enough to feed about 14 people for two days?
Did you know that I ate Ham BBQS for days straight and still had some left over with a lb of chipped ham in the freezer?
 

Disclaimer... this is not my Ham BBQ! Can you believe I didn't even take a picture???

 
Next up to make were the brownie cupcakes…  These are DELICIOUS!!! And I’ve made them a million times before so no troubles should be had at all; especially because I just use boxed fudge brownie mix, pour the batter into cupcake papers and then bake for about 30 minutes.  Piece of cake!  That was until I went to ice the cupcakes… I had returned Jaime’s pastry bag, piping tips and couplings a while back so I decided I would use a large Ziploc baggie.  No, worries right?!?  I’d done it before.  but, no large Ziploc baggies were to be found. So, I decided to get extra Martha Stewart-y and attempt to use a small (dollar store brand) Ziploc. NOTE TO SELF:  Very important to not overstuff small Ziploc baggie with icing and then squeeze hard to get the icing to come through the hole I made.  END RESULT:  The bag explodes with chocolate frosting all over myself, the stove and my wall…. Yes, my friends.  That’s what this girl did…
 
After having said a few choice words, I began to laugh at the sight that was to be seen.  Only choice left was to clean it up and pull the back-up icing out of the cup board.  GOOD TIMES!  And I must say they must have been pretty good because they were surely eaten.
 
The next minor fiasco related to the teacher appreciation lunch dealt with baked beans…  As it was already late in the evening and directly after the icing debacle I decided not to doctor up the baked beans… they’d be just fine without it.  Took the can to work only to find that the two can openers we have at the school didn’t want to work.  I was left fighting with the can openers and can when preschool parents arrived looking at me most perplexed because 1.) surely the Executive Director knows how to open a can of beans… what’s the big deal? and 2.) How many people did she think she was feeding needing to the institutional sized can???  A grandfather cam to the rescue and pried open one side wide enough to get some beans out… Only a quarter of which fit into the crock pot that I brought.  Another note to self:  Don’t take the advice of my dependable partner in crime on buying the institutional size!  Upon cleaning up, I clearly LOST the battle with the can as I sliced my finger on the edge of the can.  Can – 1 Meg – 0.
 
Reminding myself to just laugh….
 
In the midst of all of this I volunteered to “host” Mother’s Day at my house on Sunday in order to give my mom a break from cooking.  She LOVES to cook and is amazingly good at it!  As I’ve said before, I didn’t inherit “cooking genes” from her.    I decided to keep it simple… Chicken, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and taco dip (a long time family favorite that makes it’s appearance at EVERY holiday gathering).  I don’t recommend using McCormick’s bag/seasoning combo for chicken… It smelled yummy but the flavor just didn’t do it for me or most of my family.  I forgot that my sister doesn’t like cream of mushroom soup so the green bean casserole was a partial bust.  Everyone was gracious for the meal, but I’m thinking I shoulda just made two pans of the taco dip and called it a day! 
 
All in all I do enjoy my experiences in the kitchen… They could only be made better with continued “practice” and perhaps a better kitchen set up.  An apartment sized kitchen doesn’t lend itself well to cooking large quantities of food, but I make do.  I’m not gonna give up.  I’ll just keep on plugging away.
 
So if I offer to cook for you, keep in mind that while I may be more closely identifiable with Martha Stewart because of my crafting tendencies, Julia Child, I am not!
 

A Mother’s Day First

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Image via Wikipedia

Happy, happy Mother’s day to all the fabulous women out there!  All you do in the day-to-day truly makes you amazing!

My mom is no exception… she’s a strong woman; strong in her faith and heart.  Dedicated, loving and giving. This woman can do it all… and pretty much has for as long as I can remember.

Soooo, today in hopes of giving her a MUCH deserved break…. I volunteered to host Mother’s Day at my house!  I know right?  You read that correctly.  I am cooking a meal for my family and am quite nervous about it!  Nothing too fancy, just some chicken, potatoes and veggies yet nervous none the less.

 No matter the outcome of the meal, all that matters is that we’ll be together celebrating my momma… and my little sis too.  Good mommas for sure.  Someday I hope that I can be at least half as good at mothering as these two ladies. 

HAPPIEST of Mother’s Days to you all!  Enjoy your day… today, we celebrate you!

And to my momma… Love you bunches!!!!!!!  You’re the best!

Leaving my mark…

I often wonder if the path I’m walking along is where I’m meant to be….

If the choices I’ve made are the “RIGHT” ones….

I’ve done a lot and seen a lot in a bit over 32 years.  I’ve held several jobs… I’ve been in relationships… I’ve made and lost friends… I’ve moved… started new adventures… 

“… I want to be remembered as the girl who always smiles even when her heart is broken, and the one that could always brighten up your day even if she couldn’t brighten her own…”  -Author unknown

But, there are days I sit back and wonder if I am doing enough. 

 Am I leaving my mark in the world???

How am I going to be remembered one day?

I’m not sure what people would say… I’m not sure I want to ask either to be honest…

I do know that I want to be remembered for many things….

I want to be remembered as a strong, caring, thoughtful individual having taken care of myself and stood strong in the toughest of circumstances while caring and respecting myself and others…Thinking of others before myself when necessary and distinguishing when it is appropriate to think of myself first.

I want to be remembered as a good daughter, sister, aunt, friend and some day wife and mother… putting family first before all else and providing for them unconditionally. Sharing of our happys and sads right along with each other no matter the situation or circumstance.

I want to be remembered as a woman of many talents having explored my creative outlets to my fullest desires… From my home decor items to writing to someday hopefully photography and who knows what else.

I want to have made an impact on someone’s life; my influence having changed a person for the better whether through mentoring, teaching or just sharing of myself in one way or another.  I want to be remembered as a positive influence… shaping and changing someone’s path for the better…

I want to be remembered for my love of life… for embracing all that comes my way and everyone that crosses my path.  Not quick to pass judgement and accepting of all.

I want to be remembered as a good person, an honest and trustworthy person.  One who speaks honestly and with tact; saying what one needs to hear in a way most appropriate for the given situation.  I DON’T want to be remembered for saying negative or ill-mannered things to others.  I want to be remembered for earning and maintaining trusts… 

I want to be remembered as a determined and ambitious woman… Not afraid to embark on new endeavors and try new things… Realistic enough, though to maintain a proper vision of what is appropriate, necessary and well, realistic.  Remembered for not just setting goals but achieving them…

I want to be remembered for grace in my heart… for acknowledging when I am wrong while accepting and acknowledging my faults… Making right when needed and trying my best.  Having the grace to fail with dignity and the pride to celebrate even the smallest of successes.

Is this accurate to what others would say??? I’m really not sure to be honest…  But, I do know that I need to appreciate all that I have and all that I do while I can.  You never know what life has in store for you.  Things can always change in the matter of moments… If you were to leave today, would you be happy with the mark you’ve left? 

I’m not sure that I am 100% happy with the mark I’m leaving, so I am going to try… try to right the wrongs; try to continue along my path and see where it takes me…. keeping mind all along the way, what my actions, words and thoughts could do or lead to…  Being more aware of all that I interact with…

I’ve got some work to do… At least I can acknowledge it and am planning on making an effort…

Focusing a bit more on the mark I am leaving… 

What would you say???  Are these accurate or wayyyyyyy off point?  Tell me!  I wanna know; can’t fix anything unless I know it’s broken! 

Are you leaving a mark?  How do you want to be remembered?

Shoes to Fill, Hats to Wear and some *BREAKING NEWS*

Hey there friends…

Just a warning a head of time this post is gonna be ALL over the place.  Here, there and everywhere in between because that’s where I’m at today! 

Stay tuned though for some breaking news ahead!!! Don’t go getting your gutchies all in a ruffle, you’ll read it soon enough!!!

Some silly things have occurred in recent days and I thought I’d share one with ya.  All I can say is… I WISH SOMEONE WAS RECORDING US!!!!  

My days at work are always generally pretty busy… That usually happens when you’re the “principal” (as the kids refer to me, although my title is Executive Director)  at a Daycare/Preschool. 

On any given day I never know whose shoes I will fill or which hat I will wear.  The best laid plan just doesn’t always work out when you’ve got oodles of kiddos ranging from 12 months old to 13 year olds in a building on any given day. 

Everyday I wear the director hat but days come along where I can get back to my roots and throw on the teacher hat… unfortunately that usually only happens when a teacher is out sick, which means that soon enough another or I will end up with the icks!

Some days I get to throw on the nurses hat… taking temperatures, wiping scrapes,  healing a cut that is invisible to the grown-up eye with a band-aid or a cold wet paper towel.   Did you know that either could heal just about any wound???  I’ve had to suck it up and deal with more than I’d ever thought I could… but one weak stomach this nurse has.  Throw-ups start and my nurse hat comes off as I  happily pass the torch.  Luckily there are amazing gals willing to take the hat and clean up yucks when this girl can’t!

Sometimes I get to fill mommy’s shoes, wiping tears or comforting with hugs. Snuggling and soothing a weepy wittle one.

 There are days when I play confidante to parents in our families, providing support or a listening ear.

 I play good cop, bad cop and referee sorting out all kinds of things from knocked down blocks to potty words to he touched my tambourine.

Repositioning pony tails or fastening barrettes, a beautician I must be too!!!

An operator. A secretary.  A xerox representative un-jamming a jammed up copier.

You’ll see me slithering, hopping, stomping and clapping while singing many silly songs along with silly faces just to see a great big smile on all the little faces!!!

A clownMe as a clown on any given day but always Halloween,

  

Mrs. Potato head        this year I even was Mrs. Potato head too, can’t believe I’m letting this be seen! 

I can do the best potty dance in town you know…then again it’s better you didn’t!

Yesterday though I got the chance to take on a role that I never have before with one exception involving a little mouse.  I had to put on my “big girl” pants (after much coaxing) as one of the teachers noticed a little bunny “resting” in the parking lot. 

Yep… someone hit a bunny in our parking lot.  Poor little Thumper left alone… Worried that he was still alive a  teacher braver than I went out to investigate.  She did in fact determine that the poor little fluffy tailed critter was at least not suffering.  So now we had to figure out what to do… the poor little bugger was in plain sight of all the tiny little kiddo’s eyes. The teacher braver than I, myself and teacher #2 banded together to try to collect the little thing, while another teacher kept the kiddos inside busy and away from the window.

Now, I must tell you that I had a pet bunny for much of my childhood having gotten Kokimo in 5th grade and had her for 11 years so the thought of a poor little bunny laying in the parking lot was already bringing tears to my eyes.  And remember above when I was wearing the nurse hat? That’s right, this girl has one WEAK stomach…

The brave teacher tells me to suck it up as she is the mother hen of the 3 of us and that’s what mother hens do. Teacher #2 and I are holding a large bag while brave teacher tries to gently help bunny to its new “home”.  Without going into further graphic detail, all 3 three of us end up screaming like tiny little girls when ALL of said bunny doesn’t make it into the large bag teacher #2 and I were holding while the winding is a blowin’… I’m laughing at all of our reactions while crying because I am sad for the bunny to gaggin at the sight and thought of what we were having to do which then in turn created more hysterical laughter.  Now I’m standing there holding this bag, praying I don’t end up with bunny bits all over me, closing my eyes, laughing hysterically, crossing my legs so I don’t pee myself, while bawling and gagging all the while brave teacher is getting frustrated while also participating in the screaming and laughing and tells me to suck it up.    After the 3rd try (and lots of gross details in between) our poor little Thumper bunny was safely contained…  and I sucked it up and put the little fur ball “to rest”  laughing, crying and gagging the whole way.

So I don’t know what type of hat you’d call that or whose shoes we had to fill. 

On any given day, I truly never know just what duty will be required or what my daily role will entail. What I do know for sure is there is never, ever a dull moment… happys, sads and all that’s in-between are just good enough for me. Smiles on the littles faces and arms outstretched for me make my days all the more brighter no matter what or who I need to be. 

 And now we interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for some ***BREAKING NEWS***  …

In recent weeks I have decided to “limit” my Facebook time for several reasons… it’s a blackhole of a time waster… I’d rather be writing…I’m working on crafty things… and most importantly all the complaints of others were getting me down, which in turn would lead me to complain.  NOT WHY I JOINED FACEBOOK! 

Here’s Sally Sassalot with the story on location at the corner of Suck It Up and Move On with more details…

BREAKING NEWS: The Pity Train has just derailed at the intersection of Suck It Up & Move On, and crashed into We All Have Problems, before coming to a complete stop at Get the Heck Over It. Any complaints about how we operate, can be forwarded to 1-800-waa-aaah with Dr. Sniffle Reporting LIVE from Quitchur Bitchin’. If you like this, spread the word. If you don’t…suck it up cupcake! Life doesn’t revolve around you!

 There you have it my friends… I don’t mean to offend anyone with any portion of this post as I’ve been onboard the pity train from time to time myself.  You have a choice to make… there are ALWAYS choices in life. If the choice you make can’t effect the outcome or change your course, give it to Someone that has the power to change things. Be the change.  Be thankful for what you have and who you have in your life.   

THANK you to whomever first posted this tidbit of breaking news on Facebook and to Mandy for sharing it with me.  It truly did brighten may day… Is that weird?  Perspective people, it’s all about perspective!  Did I wanna deal with a poor wittle fur ball in the parking lot yesterday?  NOPE.  Sometimes you just hafta SUCK IT UP and put on the hat for the duty that calls and step into someone elses shoes just to get yourself through the day.

I couldn’t be happier about the shoes I have to fill and the hats I have to wear on a daily basis.  From teacher to mom to nurse to clown, each hat is making me a better person. Each pair of shoes I fill, each challenge I’m presented with, is an opportunity for me to either sink or swim, deal or complain. Sucking it up…

That’s all she wrote folks…

Back to your regularly scheduled programming…

***Check out Captain Obvious’s post about Facebook if you get a chance.

***I am truly convinced that if someone were to have videotaped us dealing with the bunny, I would be $10,000 richer from having won America’s Funniest Home Videos. 

 

What are some different shoes you’ve had to fill or hats you’ve had to wear?  Have you ever had to suck it up and do something you really didn’t want to do?

Untimely Tummy Troubles

No time is a  good time to get a terrible touch of tummy troubles….

BUT, I had high expectations and grand plans for my Friday and Saturday!!! 

Friday at work was to be most productive, finalizing field trips and decorating for spring/easter. 

After work Friday I was to dive right in to all things crafty as time is running out for me to prepare for the craft show on April 9th.

Saturday was to be dedicated to all things crafty as well… As I said. GRAND EXPECTATIONS.

DIDN’T HAPPEN…

Don’t worry, I will spare you all the gory details but the icks and the yucks decided to take over sometime Thursday night. Not fun at all!

Talk about throwing a curve ball in to my plans!  Went into work for a little bit Friday morning just until things were covered then home to the bed I went. 

Relaxing was outta the questions. Productivity was out the window.  Food wasn’t even a thought in my mind.

Bed.

Bed.

Bed.

All day and night Friday and the better part of the day yesterday spent in bed.  I know at some point in my life I’ve said, “I’d do anything to say in bed all day.” 

Ya, not exactly how amazingly wonderful I dreamt it would be.  Maybe under different circumstances, I would have a different opinion.

I hereby retract the aforementioned statement about wanting to be able to spend all day in bed and vow to NEVER utter those words again. 🙂 

THERE, got that out of my system. 

——————————————————–

By last night I was feeling ALMOST  completely human again…

I finally had a bit of an appetite, but didn’t dare eat anything more substantial than a piece of toast and sip on some Gatorade which was a huge step up from the last 2 days.

I will say I am feeling much better today… I feel human again. 

I  managed to be a bit productive in the crafty area… and I ate food!!! Food that didn’t consist of saltines, Gatorade and toast!  Well, sort of.

One of my most favorite, easy, all-time, go-to comfort foods was calling my name today for lunch.  Actually, it was just about the only thing that sounded appetizing to me in the least!

Grilled Cheese • Tomato Soup • Crystal Light Lemonade

It hit the spot for sure; being just want my hungry tummy was looking for!

Not a fancy recipe… didn’t take hours in the kitchen to prepare.

Buttered some bread; slapped on some american cheese…

Opened a can; stirred in some milk.

Ta-Da!!!!

If any one would like the recipe just let me know…  All you have to do is ask! 😉 

To all my blogging friends and In-Person friends/family… You all are better in the kitchen than I. 

Your recipes sound AMAZING!

The pictures of your meals look DELECTABLE!

This girl?  Try as I may, just doesn’t do well in the kitchen.   

Certainly didn’t get the cooking genes in my family… Not sure which one of us did because my mom certainly has the ability!

Which reminds me… I still have to try another new recipe for March since my first one was a flop.  Better get to it!  Thinking of an easy guacamole recipe a friend suggested.  We shall see!

 

How was your weekend?  Anything throw a curveball your way recently?

BTW- I’m super excited…. I finally put up a post before the late, late hours of the night.  🙂

Success….

Woo Hoo!!!!!

I did it! Made my first pot roast without setting off the smoke alarms and no food poisoning!

The whole dinner was quite easy to put together actually. Two quick short cuts that made preparation and clean up SUPER easy made for a nice, relaxing & enjoyable dinner. Definitely would recommend McCormick’s bag/seasoning kits and Ore-Ida’s Steam and Mash Potatoes.  Yes, I cheated a little, but short cuts one was willing to take living in a small apartment… You’ll have that sometimes. 😉

I will admit though, that “the worrier” absolutely made an appearance a couple times as I began preparing the meal and even as we sat down to eat. Having only cooked for myself most often I began worrying if the meal I was making would not only be edible but be liked as well. Throw into the mix that you’re making someone’s favorite meal, pressure for success is enormous. After much gratitude and a 2nd helping of dinner… I think I began to relax a little more. Success levels in my “cooking” abilities moved up a notch. Woo Hooo!!!! Thanks to the brave fella that trusted me enough to try it and then actually liked it too!

Going to the grocery store even had me worried a bit.  Wasn’t sure what kind of “meat” to get… Anxiety setting in as I approached the cooler…and was super excited to find something labeled “pot roast.”  Could it really have been that easy??? Well, I was excited; then slightly disappointed at ALL THE FAT through out even after trimming it.  Lesson learned…go to the meat department and talk to the butcher.  All in all though  I was assured that the meal was yummy the day of and even when I shared my left overs with mom. So I asked myself… Success?  Eh… Sure.  Why not?

While I do enjoy cooking, I admittedly am hesitant to try making new things….usually just stick to a few handy go to recipes such as chili, turkey tacos or egg dumplings. Yep, I am a novice.  If you remember, one of my “must-do” items on THE LIST involves trying new recipes…think I have started off on a good foot. One new recipe a month is the goal I set for myself… Definitely thinking it’s more attainable now that I have my FIRST pot roast under my belt. 

The taste of success is pretty sweet… Not gonna lie 😉

My first…

There’s always a first time for everything right?

For everything that you do, there was a FIRST time doing it somewhere along the line; from taking your first step and saying your first words to riding a school bus for the first time and leaving home to go to college and so forth.  Everyone’s FIRST takes on its own significance for their given situation…some slightly more significant than others. 

Sometimes though it is the less significant FIRSTS that are more fun and exciting depending on the perspective you choose to have.

Today I’m doing a FIRST…. Making a pot roast.  I know, I know… don’t get too excited all at once here. I mean seriously… how hard can it be right?  Let’s just say I was/am a bit nervous about setting off the smoke alarms and having to throw dinner away. But I’m not gonna let the “worrier” in me get in the way of trying to cook a yummy dinner. 

Here’s to hoping that dinner turns out well or we’ll be going out for pizza 😉

I guess I should mention, that I am cheating a little bit…. A certain special mister pointed me in the direction of McCormick’s pot roast seasoning/bag kit.  Think that should help out in my success tonight!  We’ll have to let ya know…cross your fingers!

Enjoy every first you embark on… you don’t get a redo on FIRSTS, but can always try again but it’s not quite the same.  Make the first count.  I’m trying to!