Saturday, July 31, 2010

How can I help?

She didn't ask me to help.  I just feel like it would be the right thing to do.  And I have no idea how I would attempt that. But it's hard to just sit and watch.
It's a sticky wicket she's gotten herself into - a matter of the heart which knows no reason and cannot be reconciled with anything I've ever experienced.  And although it's hard to see from her perspective, it seems crystal clear what she should want to do...
Still, I wish I could help.  I can make a helpful suggestion here and there; but it's going to be unsolicited.  I can give an opinion, although, really, she already knows what I think, and she isn't going to ask ...  Is the right answer for me necessarily the right one for her?  What do I  have to draw on after all?
Waffling back and forth is making me crazy, but so is hearing about this trouble every time we chat. 
I guess I could just mind my own business and watch the slow moving train wreck that is becoming the status quo for her.  I so hate that.  And don't understand it.She's an intelligent person and should be able to reason this out.....  Why doesn't she?
What to do?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Soup

When I got the college tuition bill for The Girl , I realized we were going to have to go back to cutting corners and expenses big time!  I'll have to take the knobs off the dryer so I'm not tempted to use it and just hang laundry instead. I need to trim the grocery bill back from $150 a week to $100 (or less).  Make sure the thermostat doesn't go below 78 - tough, since we have some 100 degree days in the forecast.  Recycle more, spend less, blah, blah, blah.  But sometimes these challenges help us to be more creative! So here's an idea from my frugal mom called "Friday Soup". Simple idea, really.  You take the leftover meat and veggies from whatever you cooked for the week, add in some reserved stock (or, just use boullion cubes and water), add pasta or rice.  Tonight our soup had chicken, broccoli, carrots, and (mostly penne) pasta.
  I brought the soup ingredients to a boil, adjusted the seasonings, and added pasta to cook for about 10 minutes.  I made cornbread - next week I will make garlic toast so I don't have to turn the oven on.  The whole dinner cost about $3.
Wow - pure love in a bowl - more like Chicken and noodles than soup and it felt so good on my sore throat!
  With  the temps climbing, we won't have soup again for a while, but I'm sure I can come up with a similar frugal Friday dish for the fam.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I matter, too

Beki at The Rusted Chain has a post that really spoke to me. 
In a nutshell, moms can get to where they value themselves a little less over time, focusing on the flaws that they see in a mirror. In my opinion, these are "perceived" flaws, a product of faulty self-image.  If we could only see ourselves as our children see us - we'd have less of an problem with the appearance of growing older.  Maybe we'd see the lovely progression of change and accept that as natural and desirable.  Sounds easy enough in theory, right?  Still, I can be hypercritical when I see photos of myself:
I do notice the wrinkles and the thinning hair and the double chin and the moles, and sometimes it makes me cringe!  It's nice to know there are other moms struggling with the same thing; the mirror contradicts who I am and what I feel like on the inside. I still feel vital, and healthy, and strong.
And I don't see myself as that old lady in the mirror!
I know I have to learn to be more graceful about what's changing on the outside. 
And jump into a few more photos with my kids.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010



I haven't been keeping up too well with the 100 Photos challenge - not that I haven't been using my camera - I'm just sort of stuck in a "point and shoot" kind of mode.  I know I can make the photos pop with photo editing - but it feels a little like cheating.  After all, I was supposed to be getting better at the actual taking of the photos!  OK - maybe I have improved a little artistically - choosing a subject and framing it in the viewfinder.  But it's a learning thing with the camera...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cool new dining spot

Hubby had a nice surprise waiting for me when I got home from work yesterday:
A new patio set!  From Academy of all places and less than $200 with tax and all! Score! I love that it fits perfectly in the space and red is my favorite color.  It goes so nicely with the bricks of the house and the other things we have out there.
It's an improvement from the old picnic set and more comfy for our fam to sit and have dinner al fresco.

Now maybe to get a big outdoor rug for underneath it, so this week I will keep my eyes open for a deal on that at Lowe's or Home Depot.  But I don't want to fussy it all up too much - I like the clean simple look out here.  Nice work, hubby!

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Perspective... all in how you look at something.  Might seem one way to you and another way to your big brother.  Who then turns from you, leaving you to ponder your feet and those of your bigger brother.  And other stuff, too. Like, how you're all in the same family, but so different in ways big and small.  From the type of tennies you wear, to the type of music you listen to, the friends you have, the hobbies you enjoy.  All those differences, yet so many similarities, too.  The way you laugh at the same inside family jokes, the way you all like to eat a burger, the affection each of you shares for a certain sister.
  Different, but sometimes the same.
  Just a matter of perspective.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sour Cream Banana Cake

I had no business making this cake yesterday - it was blazing hot outside AND I had been to the doctor for my annual appointment and discovered I'd gained 5 pounds.  But I called my mother to chat and she was making a banana cake and I saw two overripe bananas lying on the counter...and the rest is history...
Sour Cream Banana Cake 
(adapted from

1 1/4 c. sugar
1 stick butter
2 eggs
4 T. sour cream
1 t. baking soda
3/4 c. chopped pecans (optional)
2 ripe bananas, cut into chunks
1 1/2 c. flour
1 t. vanilla

Cream butter and sugar; add eggs and beat lightly.  Mix the baking soda into the sour cream and add to the sugar and butter mixture.  Turn your mixer speed up a bit and add the banana chunks to mash them up well.  Then add the vanilla. And lastly, the flour and salt. Mix well.  At this point the batter should have no lumps.  Pour into a greased 13x9 glass pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 about 45 minutes. (I used a 13x9 glass dish because I didn't want layers - I wanted it to be easy to store.)  When the cake is cooled frost with:

1 stick butter, room temp
1 box powdered sugar
1 block cream cheese
1 t. vanilla

Blend the frosting ingredients together until smooth, spread over cake.  Store leftovers in the fridge.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Taking it to the top

I took my peeps on a mini-field trip yesterday - we spent an hour or two as tourists in our home town visiting a beautiful park that overlooks the lake:
It's a good thing I wore my tennies
as it's a little over 700 ft to the top where a beautiful view awaits...
umm...wait up?
 The skyline.
and a cute little boy poised in front of Lake Austin.
and another!
Winded, but smiling
It had to be 100 degrees with the humidity - we never leave home without ice water!
Giant pergola where you can rest and enjoy the view. I would love to have one of these in my back yard - shady, but not so much that the grass wouldn't get sun.
The way down is definitely easier than the way up.  
This was a nice way to wear out a kid. (:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Penne Pasta Casserole

I took some liberties with this recipe that came out of a magazine - but it's so basic you don't really need a recipe, just a method - boil pasta, make sauce, toss with cheese, bake.  Here's the scoop:
(Can you tell I shopped at Wally World this week?)  Diced tomatoes, tomato paste, penne pasta, mozzarella, onion, and Italian seasoned ground turkey
To this you could also add parsley, oregano, basil, garlic...
Chop the onion and cook with the turkey.  I added minced garlic, but that's only because I put garlic in everything I cook. Meanwhile, you should be boiling up that pasta.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and 1/2 c. water to the pot, simmer it a few minutes while you finish up boiling and draining the pasta.
I also added fresh parsley - I just happened to have it and it smells really nice!  
Toss the drained pasta into the sauce with 2 cups of the grated mozzarella.  make one big dish, or divide into two dishes so you can freeze one.  Lately, I've had a glut of leftovers, so tonight I divided it  into two dishes. Top with more cheese.   Heat at 350 for 25 minutes while you fix garlic toast and a veggie.

Good leftover, too!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dear Girl...

As a mom,  I have so many jobs...
It's my job to make sure we all have enough to eat; and to shop, cook, store, and clean up, too...
It's my job to make sure we have clean clothes (their job to put them up).  It's my job to make sure the bills are paid on time.  It's my job to maintain the family calendar to keep scheduling conflicts to a  minimum.  it's my job to delegate other jobs in this house...after all, I'm not Super Woman!  Trash and recycles out, dishes loaded and unloaded, etc. But the one job I cannot delegate is Worry.  That will always be my job.
So if I see your room looking like a tornado blew through and I know you aren't getting enough sleep, and that your health and safe driving will suffer,  I worry.  I worry that your car note won't get paid on time, that you won't be able to find everything you need to pack for college, and that you will become homesick.  And more than all that, I worry that I will not be good at letting you go and letting you be responsible for doing all these things for yourself.  I'm not afraid that you will fail, but I worry just the same.
It's my job.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Goodwill scores

Stopping by Goodwill last week on a whim, here's what I found:
The jar is destined to hold Gray's marbles as a bookend - for 99 cents, I consider it a bargain!
I think these carved wood thingies are supposed to be trivets.  I'm going to use them as wall plaques.  Don't know yet if I will paint them - it might detract from the detail.  Again, 99 cents each.  
But the thing I was most excited about was:
This lamp! $3!!  The base is beautifully variegated and glazed pottery. 
And with a little green in it, I think it will be perfect for the boy's room. 
A $6 stop-over - not bad!

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