Monday, June 28, 2010

A baby shower...

These are little diapers that I made to hold the nuts and mints in. You can't see very well, but they are pink with little white polka dots on them.

Just setting up... preparing

What we served lemonade out of. It looked so nice and was perfect. I bought it for Amanda last year. It matched perfectly...

I loved this shot of the pearl colored pink balloons to mark our spot.

Pink roses for Mandie and Bella.

The spread, or part of it... Spencer's mom did a great job on a wonderful potato salad, and a pasta salad with a tray of fruit as well. I brought the veggie tray, a caramel apple salad, a curried rice salad, and a baked potato salad. We bought chicken as well. It was a nice picnic lunch for everyone. We had lemonade and Spencer's mom brough bottled water as well. There was the cutest cake that someone from Amanda's work made for her. It was amazingly cute.

The cake Amanda picked out was precious...

The book for Bella and what Amanda's dad wrote in it. His words are always wise.

A candid shot. I caught her looking at Bella again. Makes me well with tears at times.

After I had Carlie I really missed my tummy for this reason... I didn't know what to do with my hands anymore. That had gone there for so very long. I wonder if she will miss that as well.

Amanda and Carlie... Carlie loves to talk to Bella... it is precious...

Amanda and her friend Aime. Very kind lady and a good friend to Mandie.

Aime, Amanda and Carlie eating some lunch in the sunshine. A perfect day for the picnic.

Catherine, Amanda, Natalie and Rochelle. These are some of Amanda's friends as well. She lived with Catherine and her husband Garrett for about a year. That is how she knows the other young ladies as well.

Amanda and Jamie. Amanda met her while working at Wachovia and they have remained friends along the way.

Aime was cute and always touching Mandie's tummy. It was so precious to watch. Amanda is blessed with friendships and some people that really care.

Everyone wanting to touch Little Miss Bella (not to be confused with Little Mint, in which Carlie plans on naming her daughter when she is a mommy.)

Sometimes there are just things in life that there are no words to fit the way you really feel or what you see. Many times like this for me... which seems odd as I am very much a talker and people think that there are never a loss for words from me. However, they are wrong... I just don't let them know this secret.

The sunsets in Alaska. My parents lived in a home that overlooked cooks inlet. I could sit on their front porch and look at the sunsets over the water. They had these gorgeous colors that were so bright and vivid. I was young and didn't realize many things in life yet (do we ever really get there) and yet, at 19, I could appreciate that beauty. I would sit in silence and simply think. It sucked me in... I was at a loss for word by the beauty.

My son being diagnosed with autism. Another example. There are no words to describe how that feels. There are so many struggles with it. His milestones to some probably seem pretty small, yet to me, they mean so very much. I can't put my love or admiration for him down on paper or verbally say them as there simply are no words. He is my hero in every sense of the word seeing him work through his life challenges. I love him beyond words, as I do my girls.

Hearing that you have cancer... no words to tell one how that really feels... scared, alone, terrified... another one of those moments.

When my five year old grabs my face and says you are the best mommy ever and kisses my cheeks... then skips off and asks me if that filled my bucket... (bucket meaning feelings, did she make my feelings so happy it went to the top of the bucket...) and I know how loving and sweet she is. I just have no words.

Well this weekend is a time I had no words yet again.

My oldest daughter Amanda is having a baby. Her name is Bella. Bella Jo as a matter of fact. She is scheduled to make her arrival on September 19, and we all know how that goes... we aren't sure when she will get here.

Her baby shower was this weekend. We had a shower for her. Her soon to be mother in law helped out with bringing a couple of salads and fruit and water for those that didn't want lemonade... which is good as it was a hot day. All of the rsvps were in, and about a third of the people didn't show even after they rsvpd. It was sad, why do people do that? It is frustrating. However, the day went well anyhow. The people that truly love her and wanted to be there for her were and that is comforting to know.

She was beautiful, as she always is. She had this little mama glow to her. She was nervous. She doesn't like receiving so much. My kids are all givers. They don't receive the best and get shy when kindness is bestowed upon them. She blushed and was at a loss for words at the kindness shown to her. The gifts were one thing, but her knowing that she was loved and cared for by others really made her speechless and she started to cry at one point. It was touching and I am so proud of the young woman that she is. Kind, honest and true to her word. She is loving and giving. She is thoughtful and precious. She has built walls up but under the walls from hurt... is this brilliant diamond, that shines and has people attracted to her laughter and the way her eyes dance, and that gorgeous smile that had braces for 4 years... ha... she hated that.

As I watched my daughter with her friends and loved ones I sat back and thought. This is one of those moments that there are no words that will ever touch the way I feel or felt that day. We try all our lives to be these fantastic role models and we often question our parenting. Did we give 100% of ourselves to our kiddos? Did we make the right choices by not letting them have what everyone else had just to be cool? Did we have too many rules for them to abide by? Did we tell them we loved them enough? Did we laugh with them enough? Did we teach them that crying is okay and good for the soul? Did we tell them that our words are everything to pick them wisely? Did we teach them to keep their word? Did we teach them the meaning of true friendship by example and doing kind things for those around us? Did we teach them to help in the community and to not be racist or sexist? Did we teach them that loving and being loved is the most wonderful thing in the world and it is not to be taken lightly? Did we teach them that there is always time to sing and dance... even if we are cruddy at either of them... (thank Goodness we are good dancers...ha... and she has the voice that is so beautiful.)

I sat and looked at my daughter and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she will be the best mommy yet. I know she will be kind and gentle and give with her heart and soul to Little Miss Bella Jo. I knew I may have made mistakes on the way, but I taught my daughter the value of friendship and loving others and not abandoning them when they are needed. I know she will be the best she can be. This sounds like I am putting it all in words doesn't it... but truly I am not, as there are no words that can tell you just the way I feel. These words seem so small and so weak in comparison to how my heart feels.

So I am at a loss for words yet again, and yet, I know that the first time Amanda Michelle gets to hold her baby, she too will be sitting there, taking it all in, and not having words to tell anyone just how her heart feels. Here is a girl that never wanted kids for fear she would let them down, and in my heart I know she is going to be a wonderful mommy.

Cheers to parenthood... cheers to Mandie... and cheers to Ms Bella Jo. Another princess in my life, right up there with Miss Amanda and Miss Carlie...
My grandpa lived on a farm. A farmer all his life. He lived in the country... but the city grew rapidly (Spokane WA) so it was right next to him within miles... He lived up on a hill and he had a farm, (obviously if he was a farmer) and he had soooo much land out there. They were all wheat fields. We used to spend our summer days out there on the combines collecting wheat and working and playing on the farm. Mostly playing as the combines were so hot... but my dad and uncles would let us ride with them. I mostly liked to be in the kitchen cooking and that always stuck with me. He didn't have a lot of animals... just enough for him and my grandma as they got older. Enough to live off of and some to give to his kids and the neighbors. But, wheat... he always had wheat... fields and fields of it.

He was a collector of *junk*... mostly cars. He always felt he would have enough time to repair these cars so he would get them and they went in this empty part of land behind the barn. There, he had the gem that brings back the most memories to me... an old milk truck with the big drum cylinder on it... It was HUGE. At night in the summer, we used to climb to the top of that truck and it overlooked the huge city of Spokane. All the lights. I knew I had the best of both worlds at those moments... the beauty and activities of such a big city... but I was tucked away at their small farm home. We could see fields and fields of wheat from up there too... and smell the cow pasture. We used to sleep out on the front lawn as well... no tent... just in the open air. It actually got kind of scary at times, but I never let onto that. There would be coyotes howling at night...and I would wonder if they would find me and eat me for dinner.

My grandpa died of cancer. He was at my wedding, when he should not have been... as he was at deaths door. My first clear memory of my grandpa was dancing around the kitchen on his feet... we would dance and dance and he would let out big belly laughs... and we would giggle and I would beg for one more dance. My grandma was mean and didn't like me ever... not ever, but my grandpa loved me. She would try to rush him out the door and he would say not til I get one more dance with my girls. In later life it was with his girls as my little sister would be there as well, or my cousins... and we would dance again. My last memory of him was at the wedding. He insisted on going to the reception too. Again he should have been at home in bed. He had just had surgery on his neck where the wound was now bleeding. My grandma made a big deal of it and it made him feel bad. I told her to leave him alone... and let him just be... to just absorb the surroundings. My dad and uncles were never allowed to play music at home much... they were too busy with chores and what not... no time for music when you live on a farm with the fields and crops the size that they were. His farm then was large too... anyhow... my last memory that I treasure from him... is at my wedding. He was really really weak. He came up and asked me to dance. I asked if he really should... then I remembered my words... of course he should dance. The song was unforgettable by Nat King Cole. We danced... and we didn't talk. I just bawled. The music was done... and I released him from my grip... to pull away as the song ended... but he held on. The next song started up again... and it was the song I Got You Babe by Sony and Cher. He knew the words. He knew every word and he sang them as we danced. To stop myself from crying and ruining all my makeup... I started to tease him... he was listening to music when the boys didn't get to. He knew this song from when my dad was young. HE GAVE OUT THAT HUGE BELLY LAUGH and admitted to me that he had a radio in his shop that the boys would sneak in and listen to... and he listened to it regularly.

I spent one more visit with him after the wedding at his house. He slept most of the time I was there. It was okay... I was at peace knowing he needed that rest. He would dose in and out. I would rub his arm, and he would rub my hand. There were no belly laughs that day... When it came time to go... I just couldn't. I couldn't leave. It took two hours to get to my car. I would walk a few feet and he would tire. We would rest. He insisted on walking me out as he always had. He even asked how the oil was in my car... such my grandpa. We knew it would be our last goodbye. It was evident. How do you say good byes like that? I surely do not know to this day. We would walk and I would need to turn and just hug him. We would cry. I would walk a few feet and he couldn't go any further, so he would call me back. We would cry. This went on for, like I said... nearly two hours. I told him how much I loved him and thanks for being a great man in my life. He sobbed. He told me I was a country princess... loving the farm life in high heels and purses... and we tried to laugh, but simply couldn't. I lost him to cancer months later while I lived in Iowa. I couldn't make it to the funeral... yet... I knew we had already said our goodbyes.

I miss him and I know I am rambling. He has been on my heart a lot lately. I have been thinking of him a lot. I started a new job waiting tables during the graveyard shift. I get older people in there, so maybe that is what is weighing him very heavy on my heart. Each time I tell someone that a cup of coffee costs $1.99 I think of my grandpa and how he would spit nails before paying $1.99 for a cup of coffee. When someone orders cocoa, I think of how he would dunk his toast in it and eat it that way... and how I started to eat it that way as well.

I have been trying to avoid sweets... but as I sit here with tears rolling down my face, I feel tonight at work... I am going to have to do two things in honor of my grandpa....
1) Buy someones cup of coffee for them... just because.
2) Sit and eat my toast with a cup of cocoa.

I love you grandpa, and I often wonder how I survived cancer and it took you. You were so much stronger than me always.

I miss you... more than you know. Be ready to dance when I get there... you are going to owe me quite a few. And you will owe my daughter Carlie that you never got a chance to meet. And, you will owe your great-great granddaughter Bella a dance too... as Mandie is about to have a baby. I hope I can touch her life as much as you touched mine.

Monday, June 21, 2010

OMG Lemon Cheesecake Bars ... so good

So I am the lady... THAT LADY. I am not so sure if it fits my personality or not... I hope it does as I think of myself as a generous person... but I am THAT LADY on the block that loves to bake and take things to people. Not always to my block... lots of times at work... no matter where I work... etc. So... last week we had a meeting at work at 3:30p. Now, not that I so much mind missing out on sleep or anything, but when I rush to work for this meeting as I am told there is possibilities of people being fired or written up if they don't show up... and then the meeting lasts 8 minutes. Oh... the eight minutes is because he had to repeat things to people that showed up late. Now to me, that seems awfully silly. However, I got up early (remember, I work graveyards, so I don't go to bed til 9 or 10 am... to make these cheesecake bars. Now I had made them before, but it had been a year or so. I understand why.... they are so darned good.... they are addicting. One guy at work actually ate like seven of them... hahaha. Everyone asked for the recipe... so I shared. Anyhow. I debated about posting a photo of them as this is an ugly plate from work and if anyone knows me they know I am a plate and dish snob.... I like my dishes.... just the way I am built. (Perhaps it is a sickness and I am just in denial. YIKES...)

Anyhow... Lemon Cheesecake Bars... Enjoy them. I am going to make these to take to Amanda's baby shower this weekend as well I think....

2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Powdered sugar
1 cup Butter -- Softened
8 ounces Cream Cheese -- Softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup Evaporated milk
1/2 cup Sugar
1 tablespoon Flour
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
2 teaspoons Lemon Peel -- grated
1 cup Sour Cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 350F degrees.

In a bowl, combine the flour and powdered sugar; cut in the butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles crumbs. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a 13x9 baking pan. Bake crust for 25 minutes.

In a blender, combine the cream cheese, eggs, milk, sugar, 1 tbsp of flour, lemon juice, and grated lemon peel. Blend until smooth. Pour into baked crust. Bake for 15 minutes or until mixture is set. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Mix sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Spread sour cream over the top and chill. Cut into bars.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A love, hate relationship for Friday and Saturday nights...

I am in my foxy black slacks... (they really do look cute with a nice blouse, and heals) and my foxy polo. I am about to pull all my hair back... it looks so pathetic that way... hate it.... putting on my apron... it is foxy too by the way. I, Wendy, get to go and wait on D*R*U*N*K* people for my weekend. Well HAWTDAWG!!!!!! In my younger days... I was one of the patrons eating an early morning breakfast after a night of dancing... and having a few refreshments... then I was a cocktail server serving the refreshments, and dancing, and going out for breakfast after I got off work... and to make it a full circle, now I am serving the breakfast to them. Ha.... Some of them really are a pain in my arse.... you know... very rude... very unkind... I blame it on the alcohol, just like Jamie Foxx does. I mean in life, do we really want to teach people so rude... nah... I doubt it... so, I try to be forgiving of their nastiness... The ones that really make my life hard are the pukers.... PLEASE GAWD.... for the next two nights, don't let anyone barf in my restaurant. PLEASSSSSSSE. If I hear it, see it, smell it... I get the gags going. I have to run in the back and beg my SA to go out front to clean the mess..... ewwwwwwwwwww. My eyes water... it is horrible. Also, peole that are older now have a new meaning for pda... they put the younger generation to shame and I often have to remind them we are a family restaurant... they get my gag going too.... GRINNING AT MYSELF. I mean really, do we want to watch anyone doing this sort of thing in life, let alone people our grandparents age? I think not. Now... I do get the drunks that are funny as heck. They make my night. They keep me in stitches. They think that I want to learn the latest dance moves. They don't get that I am the dancing queen and I most likely invented the move years ago and they just don't know it yet. I just don't know what to expect of any of them this weekend. It is up in the air.... it is going to be fun... none the less, I will make it fun. So as all of you sleep snug in your bed.... or go to some breakfast place to eat after a long night of drinking... I will be serving the drinkers. I have the mojo going to give me enough energy for the night....

Salmon patties

I don't like fish unless it is fresh salmon once in awhile... such as if I were dying and it was the last thing on earth to eat... or perhaps if someone threatened to shoot me in the leg... or if I was to get the winning number to the lottery if I ate it. You get the idea. Perhaps that is due to my dad working for an export business that delivered salmon to Japan, I think it was, from Alaska... so we had a chest type freezer full of it.... and ate it in many forms. If my mom could have started making salmon popsicles out of it she would have... or if my grandma could have replaced the corned beef out of her lemon jello with cheese (if you think I am kidding, think again... it was horrible... she thought it was good.... we gave all of ours to my dad... he liked it... ate it all... gross...) with the salmon I am sure she would have. Lord help me...

However, every now and again... I do like to eat this. Perhaps it is because I make it out of a can and it is not out of that chest freezer. I still have flashbacks however as I reach for the can of salmon and I almost want to not get it.

Carlie loves these and so does Taylor... so I make these for them. I actually do like them pretty well too.

So.... salmon patties...

2 cans of canned salmon (so the really gross thing is you have to pick the bones out and the skin off and since it is canned it is soft and slimy and gross.... but other than that, it's all good...)
5 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1 diced onion
2 cups crushed crackers. I use oyster crackers as they are cuter than regular saltines... lol... again not kidding.
4 T flour

Just mix it all with your hands as you do a meatloaf. Form into patties and fry in olive oil. I sometimes sprinkle with lemon pepper seasoning. Other times I might add some liquid smoke before forming into patties. Fry til golden on each side. I like ours dark with a crispy coating... and they seem to like them as well....

NOW seafood that has a shell... I am good with that... totally different and I can't get enough of that.

Lemon Drop Cookies

Okay... I love to cook so much and not too many recipes make me go WOW.... I have been cooking since about first grade (where the obsession began I should say). HOWEVER, every now and again I do come across one of those recipes that I know I have to try and this is one of them.

First of all... if you have not been to the blog I am about to post you are silly, as she has fantastic recipes all the time. I scour her site as if these cookies are this good, I am sure her others are as well. Her photography is fantastic on the food and she needs to teach me how to do that. That is one thing I want to work on is the photography (and finding time to post...)

Her sites name is See Jane in the kitchen. I go there often. (insert, again when I find time... shoot). Just click on the purple lettering above. You need to stop by and give a look to the wonderful food she posts.

My son is autistic and lives in a home for disabled young men. He goes to school during the school year, but when school gets out... he is not able to and he gets bored easily. He only gets $10 a week after room and board etc that his SSI gives him. We are teaching him how to earn money as he will not be able to hold a job on his own. (Let's hope that changes someday with the living skills he is learning, but for now... he isn't able to.) So.... we have been making these cookies for him to sell by the dozens... etc. This will give him extra spending cash for events. He loves the cookies too... so it is hard to try to convince him not to eat them. I also usually bake for people instead of sending thank you cards... so I have been baking these as a thanks for those that helped while the kids dad went through surgery for his stomach cancer. Needless to say, I have been baking a lot.

You can find the recipe for lemon drop cookies here, but I am re-posting it as well. Again go see her blog. You will love it.

2 c. sugar
1 1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon extract
4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Finely chopped zest of one lemon
1 (6-oz) package lemon drops (sometimes these are tricky to find, I usually keep two or three bags in my pantry) (I found mine at Winco in the bulk section but you can also get them at a local Target... love Target!!!! )
2 c. powdered sugar
juice of two lemons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In mixing bowl, cream sugar, shortening, and eggs; add flavorings. Stir in dry ingredients, lemon zest, and crushed lemon drops (I crush them in my blender). Roll into balls, flatten slightly, and bake on parchment lined (if you don't use parchment, cookies will stick to pan) baking sheet for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool slightly on pan for a couple of minutes. Make a glaze by mixing powdered sugar with lemon juice. Brush glaze over cookie tops. Let cookies cool completely.

makes 4 to 5 dozen cookies.

While on the subject of these cookies, I thought I would mention three of my favorite kitchen tools, since they are all used in this recipe. You can usually find each of these at TJ Maxx for a great price. The citrus press is my latest favorite, I use it for salsa and pico de gallo all the time. It gets a ton of juice out with practically no effort.

Conversations with Taylor....

Today, I woke up wanting to call my son. Ahhhhhhhh... it should be an odd feeling, yet, it is a feeling I have every single morning. It has been two years and it still doesn't feel natural that he is not in my home, his home; ALWAYS HIS HOME. I struggle to go past his empty room, the one he used to sit in for hours and play video games on one of his many systems... the one that he used to get so mad at himself when he would mess up in his games... (he is brilliant at games and can master the game through all levels within a couple of days. It feels like a waste of money as he masters them and then gets bored with them.) The room he used to sit in and examine his hundreds of match box cars and he would be in a different place when doing so. He was not in tuned with his surroundings, as he was so fixated on his cars.

Now, although I get to see him often and we talk by telephone, it feels odd. At this age many teens are out on their own. I am trying to wrap this brain of mine around that... he is 19... this should be eaiser. Then I go back to Amanda leaving home... moving out on her own... it wasn't eaiser either. It was a different situation though. I knew she is a woman that will not let people take advantage of. With Taylor, that isn't so.

Autism... there are so many different spectrums of it. My son is very high functioning autism. Hmmmmmmm.... what the hell does that mean? Really? What does that mean. I ponder this time to time.

I am blessed that my son is verbal. He is aspergers. That is high functioning. He doesn't walk in circles or talk to himself a lot. He doesn't rock back and forth... well at times if he is really nervous he will start to... but not like highly autistic people. The hardest part for me I think, and that I struggle with the very most in our relationship is how to treat him. I mean, always do we treat him with love... but... as in age or comprehension level. There are parts of him that are like a five year old child. He needs to be reminded to wear his glasses when reading... to take a shower, to brush his teeth. There are parts of him that are of about a ten year old. His maturity level is that of about a 10 year old as far as I am able to track or tell. I have to remember to talk to him like he is ten most of the time as his brain wires connect this pretty well. However, then he is like a 19 year old boy... wanting to listen to popular music, go to dances, drive. Sadly he will never drive, and he gets so very disappointed. He has several things going on... in addition to the autism, he also has oppositional defiant disorder, adhd, and a touch of ocd. That is common with people with autism... to have several things wrong.

It is funny... as often times people that know me want to know more about it... and their questions are sometimes shocking. I try to blow it off to I am approachable enough for them to feel comfortable in asking me. That is good to know.

I will never forget one time someone asked me... I wish it could have been different for you. I didn't know how to read that. I didn't know how to gage my emotions to that.

Here is my feelings on the matter. I don't wish it was different. I hope that Taylor picks up the needed living skills he needs to live a safe and healthy life. He starts to harm himself when he can't communicate well, and that is very upsetting for any parent to live through. That is why he needs 24 hour care. He is never out of site of a staff in the house he lives. He is never out of arms length reach from staff when he is out in the public. This is all for his safety. As his parent, I need to keep him safe. Autistic children have troubles forming bonds, so I needed to make sure he was doing social things and making bonds with others rather than just his family. I needed to know that he was getting life skills under his belt. He needs to know how to cook, do his laundry, shop, save money, make out bills. Due to his ODD, he takes me as his authority or as me bossing him around and that was a struggle for him. When he learns this through his staff, it is learning and not someone bossing him around. I need to know that when I die... he will have the keys to life that will help him succeed. (now that sentence just made me cry... I can't imagine not being here for my kids... but reality is that will happen someday. ewwwww....)

Since I so easily get distracted, back to the original subject... I don't wish things were different. I think that God gives these special needs to those He knows can love them without reserve. My son is my son. My son has taught me more about life than any other person ever. I am so very lucky to have him and I feel I am the person I am today though him strengthening me as a woman and as a mother. I can't imagine not having a special needs son. I can't imagine my life without my son.

The one thing that I hope he is able to learn or feel someday is love. He says the words. I love you mom. I love you sis. I love you dad. He says the words but he doesn't understand the devotion behind those words and that is hard for me. He gets a part of it I think. He has always been afraid of his dad or myself dying. That is a deep fear for him. He also is very protective of me and his sisters. If a man stares at me, he will tell them to stop... no boundries there, he will say what he thinks to them and sometimes at the grocery store it hasn't been pretty. If he thinks someone has hurt our feelings, he goes into distress mode... and it all goes to his autism. So I try to supress any sadness or stress around him. You know that love you feel towards your partner, or spouse. I hope for him one day, that he feels that. Not on a ten year old level... but as an adult. I hope he loves and will be loved in that way. The feeling of being cared for and that someone is our number one no matter what. I so want that for him and that is my biggest pill to swallow yet.

Our conversations are short and sweet. I try to drag them out as long as I can so I can just listen to how well he is able to communicate and see if there is improvement. He won't volunteer information, it is something that you have to drag out of him. So per our conversation last night...

Hi Tay, how are you?

Good mom, how are you?

I am good Tay. I can't talk long I am driving right now...
Mom that is against the law.

I am a rebel Taylor, what can I say?

Mom you are not... you will get a ticket...
What did you do today Tay?

Went to a movie.

What did you see... (insert, he said some name of a movie but I don't recall it)

Well what was it about son?

Too complicated for you to understand mom. Will you go to the office with me on Monday to show the ladies all your candle things?

Sure, but make arrangements as I have to sleep on Monday as I work Sunday night this week.


I love you son...

I know you do mom, and I love you too... (I get a tear each time he says that, but he will never know)

I know you do son. Do you have anything you want to say to me or any questions to me?

Only that I love you mom...
I do too Tay... you have the best night... we'll talk tomorrow. I will see you on Sunday but call if you need me before then for anything...

I will mom... love you... bye.

I hang up... and I cry. It is a short cry... but I cry. I love my guy!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Planning a baby shower....

I have thrown many a baby showers, yet the one that I am about to throw soon is so very exciting. I can hardly wait. We are about to throw a baby shower (Spencer's mom and I) for Miss Bella Jo, and Miss Amanda... (my daughter... my oldest... one of the ones that makes me laugh the very most.)

I keep scouring for the perfect salad recipes.... one that will leave people ooooooooooing and awwwwwwwing. I looked and found the perfect cookie recipe.... cake has been ordered... as Amanda ordered it from someone she works with that is supposed to be fantastic. Entree is planned and plans are in place for it.... on my way to look at cups and plates tonight... get little favors ready... buying tulle... making plans on what to put the strawberry lemonade in... so much work goes into these things. Perfect gift planned... etc...

I was sitting and thinking... take the decorations away... take the food away... take the gifts away. What a lovely event of people coming to show their love for my daughter. What a gift and blessing that is to not only her... but to me. I am proud of the daughter has been raised. I am proud of the child that is about to be my grandbaby. I am proud of the accomplishments her mommy has made in life. I am proud knowing she is going to mess up from time to time in life, yet, she has the strength and courage in life to pick herself up after those mistakes and carry on with life. She will do what it takes to be a good mommy... and she will love that grandbaby of mine with all of her heart and soul.

For now... the baby shower will be wonderful... but for always... I am adding another girl in my life that will own a piece of my heart... right next to her mommy's spot, Auntie Carlie's spot, and Uncle Taylor's spot.

Miss Bella Jo, we are so very anxious to see your arrival and hold you. The party will last for a couple of hours... but you, little princess will be in our hearts always....

My Scentsy Kit has arrived....

I am addicted to many things in life...

*A great cup of mojo to get me going in the morning. Oh... so good...
*Shoes... I limit myself... but man I love them...
*Purses... especially KV purses... oh my....(I got three for Christmas... love them...)
*Time with my kiddos...
*New recipes and time to try them...
*Making new friendships and networking...
*Laughing til it hurts....
*Bright colors... I am obsessed with colors
*Bowls for my kitchen and pieces for when I entertain... love them...
*And... scents... I love crisp scents... spicy scents... food scents... spa scents...
*Victoria Secret Sales....need I say more...
*BOGO... buy one get one half off sales on shoes... love them....

So.... I signed up with Scentsy! I am so very excited. I made up some baskets for people to drop some samples buy for some orders. Ha... Tay is taking it to the home office for orders as a fundraiser for money for summer activities. (We are also doing cookie sales for him... and it is going well too....)

It is soooooooo cute to watch Carlie line her dollies up on the bed and watch her pretend like she is having a demonstration of the scents for the dollies. Last night she was upset she ran out of time to play with them as we had Amanda's birthday dinner and I had to run to Taylors to drop off some scents to him as well. It is cute. I can tell she can be my little helper at any gatherings as she is hooked too. So if any of you need to know about the chance to buy, or become a consultant, let me know. Easy money, it sells itself as there are many people addicted to smell.

I would be happy to answer any sort of question for you. If I don't know the answer, I will find it out for you. It is pretty easy however, great product and great scents... I should know... being the scent expert and all.... GRINNING EAR TO EAR HERE....

Monday, June 14, 2010

If I get arrested... I did it for my grandbaby... have mercy

There are times that I feel I have to do something totally wild and crazy.... that is what feeling old does to us perhaps... I don't know... but it does it to me perhaps. My idea of wild and crazy... forget tearing the tags off of pillows or mattresses.... I like to... (shhhhhhh....).... take pictures in stores. It began at Christmas time when they flipped out I took a photo of Carlie in a Victoria's secret trying on perfume. She had gone to get her photo taken with Santa and her sister Amanda was with us. (Amanda being my oldest) Amanda had bought us strawberry fraps at Starbucks... we went shopping afterwards... a fun girls day out. Sooooooo when I saw Carlie spraying herself with perfume... knowing she will most likely love Victoria Secret when she is older, I thought it would be a great photo to scrapbook. Well... they had other ideas. They made me feel like a criminal and like a jerk. I guess that is when I felt rebellious. I wouldn't erase the photo although they said it was against the law to take a photo in there. PULEEEEZE... if that is what our law enforcement officers are going to run to do is arrest women that are 40 something (but don't look a day over 35... ha... wishful thinking) then so be it. However I know a police or two that would run to a call if it was to V.S. Hahahaha.

Now, when I went shopping with my girls last weekend... I must tell you... we went into Gymboree... I love that place... I must admit it. I know they are way over priced... I know it... but I love that place. I don't buy much there... but to look and browse and see the cute things... I could be in there for hours.

Amanda was shopping there for Bella Jo... I was trying to get an idea for sis for school. Yes... although I am old as the hills I have a daughter going into kindergarten. I love it. (I will be the room mom until I die I suppose.... sheesh!!!!) We were walking around in there... and... I had a sudden urge... photos... photos... photos. I usually carry a camera in my purse at all times. The only problem with this is simply that sometimes the battery is dead and I don't know it.....

But not on this day... I was rebellious again... and this is our day....

Bella Jo... you and Auntie Carlie are princesses.... here is a day shopping for the girls....

Marsala Chicken

This is tenderized chicken breasts. They get really big. I put them in a breading and then brown them in olive oil. I use extra virgin.

You have to watch them a lot... as they will brown quickly and you don't want them to burn. This is how I like mine.

These are the only other items you need... other than salt, pepper, garlic powder or fresh garlic.

This is how it will look before you add the flour to thicken it....
The end result. It is good. I usually serve with a side of pasta and mizithra cheese and browned butter. However, when you have a five year old that loves mashed potatoes and marsala wine, you just pick your battles.


*Three to five chicken breasts tenderized
*Breading to dip breasts in
*Olive oil for the pan to brown them in
*3 Tbl butter
*Sliced mushrooms. It depends on how much you like them. I would say a half pound to a pound for us... sliced.
*1 tsp fresh garlic
*Two cans of chicken broth. I use 99% fat free.
*About a cup of marsala wine. (you will find it in the grocery store near the vinegar)
*3 Tbl flour

Brown the breaded chicken breasts in the olive oil. Remove from the pan when they are browned to your desire.

In the same pan, melt the butter and saute the mushrooms in the butter and garlic. When they are starting to turn color to a medium brown, add chicken broth but saving a half cup of it for thickening later. Also add the marsala wine at this time. After mixing well in the pan, add the chicken breasts back into the pan. Let simmer until the chicken breasts are cooked so there is no longer any pink.

Take the remaining chicken broth and add the flour to it. Add to the pan with the chicken and the breasts. It will thicken the sauce as you stir it. Add more flour and water if needed to be even thicker.

**you can increase or decrease the marsala wine as needed for your own tastes. It is sooooo good. Enjoy!!! Ciao

Don't give up on me.... SMILE

I will be on soon... like tonight...

I just started a new job. I am working grave yards simply so I do not miss my favorite people... my kiddos. During the week it is kinda ok. I go to bed at 8:30 or 9 a.m. and then I get up at 2. Now that doesn't mean all sleep... my body is trying to do it's normal trick of fighting sleep but I know I need to keep up on it so I try and try. So.... the weekend then comes. Friday and Saturday are big tip days due to bar rushes of course.... (love me some drunks... ha... ) actually there are not too many drunk people as of yet but I am sure I am going to get some great stories soon. But when I get home on Saturday and Sunday morning, Carlie is home. No pre school then... so I want to spend as much time with her... so I go sleep deprived for a couple of days. Today she is at pre school so I caught up on a few winks... it was good. (If three hours sounds good).

I am off to go get her soon and off to the grocery store. I have been taking photos of food... so I have several recipes to post... just need to do it. I am also making chicken marsala tonight... always good. I will be making chicken totopos tomorrow and some lemon cookies I have not tried yet... but sound delicious. Carlie and I will make those tonight together..... I think I may make some cupcakes going as well. I need to make some thank you gifts for people that helped us while G was not feeling so hawt... after his surgery so I could spend more time taking care of him and Carlie Car...

So stay tuned. As soon as I get this schedule and my someone old and broken down body adjusted more blogging... I miss it. More to come tonight.

ALSO.... looking for some great salad recipes for my daughter's upcoming baby shower. I can't wait for it. I am getting things today for it... cups, napkins... etc... I will not be telling what I will be making as one of my friends that is going is a fellow blogger. I want it to be a surprise.... ha...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Carne Asada Nachos....

Last night in Carlie's excitement that I am now working again. She obviously didn't understand that my feet were killing me so very bad. That will take getting used to. Not that this is a bad thing... it's just a *thang*... and I will get used to it again and it will be better for my body than a sit down job. I still am convincing myself of this perhaps... please join in. Ha.

When I picked up toodle doodle from pre school she said she wanted to celebrate. Our celebrations always include food. Not sure that is all that healthy but it is the way that it is, and I am very aware of it. With this in mind... she got to pick the food. Her food of choice was... carne asada nachos. Go figure... two kinds of cheese... a staple in my home... ha. They really are good.

Whatcha need...

Any tortilla chip... we like Juanitas. I used juanitas round. They are thin and crisp... best ones...
1 large can refried beans
1 can chopped green chilis
1 can mushroom soup (cheapest is okay since you are not making a sauce with it.)
1/2 tsp cumin

Monterey Jack Cheese
Cheddar Cheese
Carne Asada cooked with Carne Asada spices on it (leave a little under cooked so it won't end up dry)
Sliced olives
Diced onion
Chopped tomato
Chopped avocado
Sour Cream

Layer your chips in a 9x13 or larger pan. I have done them in a broiler pan as well. In a bowl, combine the refried beans, green chilis, mushroom soup and cumin. Mix well and spread over the chips. Top with grated monterey jack cheese. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes until cheese starts to melt.

I then add the grated cheddar, then the carne asada, then olives and topped with more monterey jack cheese. (If you are wondering, yes, this can make your butt grow if not eaten in moderation... it is cheese you know) This is also why you want your carne asada to not be cooked toooooooo much as it is going to bake and it will get closer to how you like your meat cooked... I like mine still moist and not dried like the sole of a shoe... Place back in the oven for an additional 12 minutes or until the cheese is all melted.

This is what it will look like when it comes out of the oven. It is now easy to serve individual portions and top the way you like it...

Here is what it ends up like for my plate. And so you don't sit and wonder... thinking no wonder her rear is the size of Texas... this is a salad plate... so it is not as big as it looks. I am going to stick with this story.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

OMGAWHD!!!!!!! GUESS WHAT??!!!!!

Today.... of all days... the one day I do not have my camera with me. UHHHHGG... so people may make fun of me... but... this is why I usually have it with me. Today, I FELT BELLA JO KICK ME. I DID!!!! NOT ONCE BUT TWICE. I was just so very blessed!!!! SO SO BLESSED. I knew I would be happy. I knew I would feel giddy inside... yet... I didn't think I would cry. OMGAWHD.... Today I felt my little princess kick even though I didn't get to hold her in my arms.

I kind of feel like those ladies for the Macy's commercial where they have their face pushed against the glass and they repeat to OPEN OPEN OPEN! They are having to be patient for the store to open. That is how I feel. I want to hold her and kiss her and smell that smell of baby shampoo and lotion on her. I want to see her wrinkle her nose and curl her toes... and stick out her tongue. I want to kiss her cheekies... and burp her and hand her to mommy and daddy when she poops... HA. Most of all, I want to close my eyes and hear her mommy sing to her, with the wonderful voice that God gave her.

Bella Jo... I can't wait for you to make your enterance. I can't wait to see how Auntie Carlie and Uncle Taylor react to you. I can't wait to see the excitement on everyones face... but mostly... I can't wait to hold you sweet Bella Jo.

More than sand, more than the stars... and bigger to than the moon. That is what I have always said to my babies (your mama, Uncle Taylor and Auntie Carlie) about how much I love them... and you will hear it from me too.

Till then sweet Bella... sleep with angels... tomorrow is going to be a great day. (Something I also always said to your mama, Uncle Taylor and say to Auntie Carlie)

~ Grandma, Mamie, whatever you want to call me.

~ I want to see you with your mommy and daddy, holding you... such an exciting time.

Oh My... some of the reasons I love to blog...

So I started this particular blog to post recipes. I will continue doing so... I am a bit behind. Some people have been bringing some dinners over helping due to Gordy's surgery... so I miss cooking so much... but I did cook a couple of things over the weekend that I will be posting. Then next week we are on our own again and I can get some more recipes posted. You all know *I LOVE ME SOME COOKIN* ha... and great recipes to collect and share. So, I get lost in the blogs... I go to one and find someone on their page... then move to another... and so on and so on... so that just keeps me hopping all over the place.

However, I have also ran into some fantastic decorating blogs and... GASP... giveaways. So today I went to a site of a lady who has great patterns for little girls clothes, boutique clothing for your little angel. With that in mind, I saw she was giving a pattern to one of her (she being Little Lizard King who supplies the pattern) BobbyPinsBoardwalk. The give away itself is here and.... also... stop by Little Lizard Kings to give a look... her things are A*D*O*R*A*B*L*E!!! When I showed Carlie the little dresses and outfits, she said, GOOD STUFF MOM. Ha... from the mouth of babes. I need to go dig out my sewing machine and find my serger so I can start teaching myself how to do some of this... as I am determined to have Carlie to wear some of these outfits when she starts school.

I will add more give aways as I find them. I need to find more... I need to do one myself with scrapbooking items I have on hand that are from my left over inventory. I am just not sure how to do one.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What one day can do.... sigh of relief!!!!

This morning after giving me a pep talk about finding a job. Maybe that little smile is what gave
me the extra spunk in my step today.

Today is the day I was going in for my interview at the hospital for the food service department. The day started off with Carlie smiles... although G tried to leave with her without letting her say good bye. That sort of thing really hurts my feelings. I am going to miss taking her to preschool. I liked that part of the morning with her after I would feed her a light breakfast. She would sing to me in the car and we would talk. Man that girl can talk... like her mama.

Anyhow... interview went really well. I found out though that it would be to fill in for only a few shifts here and there... and maybe not even a full shift... but to help the hospital keep labor costs down by paying no overtime. She was very nice and said I would do perfectly in the job and I would be hearing from Don. She also told me to keep an eye out for a barista position that would be full time in the hospital as it will be opening soon. It is nights and would be getting off at like 3a etc. It would be 40 hours.... so benefits. It would be good... but the job would start at 3p to midnight some nights and 7p to 3a some nights. That would give me no time to be with the kids. Amanda gets home at 5:30 now... but her new shift will be at 3p. I want to be able to keep up with her and my grandbaby (Bella) as she grows in her tummy! Taylor gets home from school at 3:30p, so I wouldn't even be able to talk to him much and I would not get to see Carlie... so... even though benefits are great... uh.... my kids are more important to me right now. WELL... EVER!

I thought since I was out and in slacks and somewhat presentable, I could go ahead and go to a few all night restaurants... Denny's, Ihop, Elmers, and Shari's. I could do the loop as I was coming home. With that in mind... Denny's was the first stop. I was planning on just getting the applications, coming home to fill them out and returning them on another day. However, the cashier told me to fill it out right away as they are hiring and it will go quickly. (the economy in our town stinks!) So I sat at the counter and started to fill it out. CRAP.... I left my phone in the car... and it had some numbers of references. A man walked out of the back and was in street clothes, but wiping up tables, etc. He went behind the counter and said... you are filling that out for a waitressing position... right? I said yes. He kept walking. He came back around later and said... got experience? (HA... I LAUGH IN YOUR FACE... Blue Water Cafe cocktailing, KFC and Hsalt in Alaska working with food... the woolworths counter in Hawaii *DON'T THINK I AM JOKING!!!*, Swackhammer's in the restaurant and the bar cocktailing, Marriott waiting tables, Perkins at several locations, Tomato Street, Burger basket co managing, Izzys... experience... I got it. Yes, I do know that got is not proper terminology but it fits here.) Instead I say sure... tons! He tells me not to go before he can talk to me. I finish what I can of the application as I don't have addresses of employment etc. I tell him I can get them but I hadn't planned on filling it out there immediately. He tells me he is the OWNER OF THE RESTAURANT. I tell him I need to know the color of shoes I need to get, as I am the girl. HA... being assertive. He asks me about how I handle stress.... (Does he realize my whole life is stress at times and there I sat and he thought I was calm and collected.... HA) Well I said... that was a better answer... owners don't like when you say HA to them... He really talks to me a lot. We chit chat about Hawaii as he was wearing a Maui Polo shirt... schmoozin him. I tell him that I am stealing the menus from him to take them home to study so I am ready to go. He tells me... training usually takes two weeks... how long will it take you? I say two days. (If he only knew it will only take one... I just didn't want to seem likea show off or a snob... GRIN!) He tells me that he is going to get his General manager to come and do the second interview if I had a few minutes. OF COURSE... I haven't had a paycheck in almost a year... bring him out. He kept stressing to me... I need someone that will catch on quick... and is eager to get on the floor. HELLO.... I LOVE TIPS... I want on there more than you know. He then tells me I have the job but to come in and talk to the night manager at 6p. I do so. The lady as I walk in says... are you here for pick up order. I tell her politely no... I interviewed twice today and was there for the grave position. She runs and gets the manager for me. He is doing what he acts like is an interview... but I knew I had the job already. During our interview... hostess lady that got the manager for me comes and throws a note at him and says... I gotta get out of here... and she leaves. SHE QUIT. Apparently that is who I was replacing. Now if that wasn't special! I don't know what is!? He sits the paper on the table and excuses himself to go talk to her... but she is long gone. DANG.... but on the little yellow sticky tab on the paper, it says... tell Wendy to be here at 9a on Thursday morning for training. I played stupid to make him feel better.

So, here I am 40 (under my breath 3) and I am going back to waiting tables. There is something exciting about it actually. I love one on one with clients and seeing them face to face. I like being on my feet and not behind a desk. I am not sure. Maybe it is that I haven't worked for so long that anything would be exciting. Last year in sales at a bank... today... working at Dennys. I will be working graves... so this way I can see the kids and keep Tay's doctors appointments with his house and get to feed Carlie and put her to bed and read to her and play barbies and beauty parlor. I will sleep while she is at daycare. This just helps empower me to the things that are happening around me. I am excited.... I really am.

I stopped at preschool to tell Carlie so she would be the first to know. She had told me this morning that I shouldn't worry as a job was going to come along. With that in mind... I wanted it to be a fun day for her and for her to be excited as well. She ended up crying when I had to leave. I should have brought her home with me to have a celebration day... yet I knew he would get mad... and I don't want the tension around her... so I let it go. It broke my heart to drive away without her. She is my girl. ANYHOW... today I can breathe a little bit easier.