Monday, August 30, 2010

Wow, I Have a Lot to Report!

It's been over a week since my last post. I have a lot to report and will do it over the next couple of days. This can tide you over until then. I asked Sandy to email me with a rundown of the first week of school. My comment is at the bottom.
Everyone seems to be happy with school thus far. Victoria had a great first day and really likes her teacher. Victoria gets to see her friends from the other class at recess, so for now all is well with her.
Elizabeth likes school but hates naptime. She says it's so boring because all you can do is lay there and no talking. On the first day she said that the little boy that was resting next to her told her to ask her mom if she could spend the night at his house. She told him that she didn't think she could because she doesn't even know him. We asked her what his name is and she said she didn't know. We all got a kick out of that! When I picked Elizabeth up yesterday for her half day, the first thing she said when we got outside was "YES! No naptime today!" I just laughed and told her that there might actually be some days that she'll be tired and happy to take a little rest. She's still not convinced.
Mitchell likes his teacher okay, but is thrilled to have almost all of his friends in his class this year. On the first day he got moved to the math class with the less boring and better teacher so that was an unexpected bonus. He hasn't had too much homework yet so he's happy.
The school has added an extra mass a week this year, so the kids (and me) have already gone twice in three days. They are all hating that. I think they could have eased the kids in a little better, especially the kindergarteners. The whole school goes on Wednesdays, and then different grades go on different days the rest of the week. I told the kids that I would go once in a while, but not every time, or else I would be at mass on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays. And that is just too much church, even for me! Mitchell and Victoria don't mind me not going, but Elizabeth wants me to go whenever she goes. I'm beginning to see my free time slipping away...
All in all, a good start to the new school year!
I hope you're having fun scrapbooking! I'm hoping to be able to do a little myself!

All I can say about the Mass schedule is that you should be happy it's not the 50's and 60's in St. Louis. We had to go EVERYDAY---and the Mass was in LATIN! We had to go on Saturday too since we lived so close. If we didn't, the nuns would ask us on Monday where we were. The only cool thing about going to church everyday was that we got to eat breakfast at school---at least until Vatican II and they changed the fasting rules. I can still remember how toast smells when you open your lunch box.

PS Sorry about not being able to get Sandy's email in paragraphs like it came to me. Blogger can be a pain when you try to copy and paste. Just one more thing I have trouble with.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Best Brain Food

I just read an article and thought I would share the results. Some of these we've known for awhile now. The coffee surprised me. Still, I'm a tea drinker and do not plan to switch. One thing that is not listed that has been on the list for ages is walnuts and almonds. I'm just going to try to use these things more in my diet. Especially the grape juice---I haven't had that since I was a kid.
coffee---3-5 cups a day
apples---one a day
chocolate---semi sweet or milk equal to 2 kisses a day---also lowers blood pressure
spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower---3 servings a day
olive oil
concord grape juice
curry and tumeric

Monday, August 23, 2010

Another New Recipe

Malinda Wilkinson, Steph's childhood friend and the daughter of my friend, Connie sent me this recipe. She sent it because I had shared some recipes here. I told her that I would post it for everyone to try. If anyone else wants to share, feel free. Sorry, I couldn't get the picture to show up.

Taco Salad with a Twist Recipe

* 1 pound ground beef
* 1 package (11oz) torn iceberg & romaine
* 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
* 1 cup sliced green onions
* 1 can (16 oz) kidney beans rinse/drain
* 2 cups (8 oz) shredded Mexican cheese
* 8 cups corn chips
* 1 cup green goddess salad dressing
* 1/2 cup sour cream

In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain and cool slightly. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, tomatoes and onions. Add the beef, beans and cheese. Drizzle with salad dressing; toss to coat. Dollop with sour cream. Serve immediately. Crumble corn chips on top as served or use chips to scoop mixture.

Monday, August 16, 2010

One Crazy WEEK!!

Our family week in August is always jam-packed with fun and craziness. Add the girls' boyfriends this time, plus a few of their friends---well, let's say it was extra nuts around here. We were really happy that Mindy got to come home for 2 days. We went to Bowling Green, KY one day to The Lost River Cave. That was pretty lame, but you just never know about these things.

Before everyone arrived, the refrigerator was packed full. By Tuesday, ALL the food I bought for the whole week was GONE!! I did a lot of cooking---several new recipes. Sandy always makes a point of trying new things when I visit, so I decided to return the favor.

I made 3 BIG meals (Crispy Baked Pork Chops, Crunchy Hot Chicken Salad and Spicy Shrimp Liguine), 2 smaller meals (sandwich meals---BLT's and White Castle Burgers) and 3 desserts (Cherry Cheese Trifle, Praline Cake and Lemonade Pie). I thought I'd share some of the recipes. They were all pretty good hits.

Linguine with Spicy Shrimp
8 oz. uncooked linguine (I substituted angel hair---my favorite)
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 1/2 tsps. Cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup half and half
1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley (just realized I completely forgot this)

1. Cook pasta and drain.
2. Melt butter in skillet. Add onions and saute for 3 minutes. Add garlic and tomatoes and saute for 2 minutes. Sprinkle shrimp with Cajun seasoning, red pepper and salt. Add to pan. Saute 3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink.
3. Add half and half to shrimp and pour over pasta.

I tripled the recipe but quadrupled the pasta (I cooked 2 lbs.) This was really good.

Praline Cake (this recipe is from my friend Karolyn Broussard)
1 stick butter, plus 3 T., softened
1 cup light brown sugar
4 T. light corn syrup
2 cups chopped pecans
1 box butter pecan cake mix
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs

Mix first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Spray a 13x9 pan with Pam or Baker's Joy and spread pecan mixture over the bottom. Prepare cake mix using water, oil and eggs as directed on the package. Pour batter slowly over the pecan mixture. Bake at 350 for until cake is done---about 45 minutes. When done, immediately invert pan on heatproof tray or covered board. Leave pan over cake for 2-3 minutes only. Remove pan. Top with ice cream or cool whip.

Sweet and Hot Cheese Spread
1 --8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
apricot preserves
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
1/4 cup slivered almonds (sliced is okay)
Crackers (I use Wheat Thins)

Top cream cheese with preserves. Sprinkle with pepper and almonds.

Layered Black Bean Dip (I had planned to make this, but never got around to it)
1--8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
1 can Rotel tomatoes, drained
1 cup Mexican style shredded cheese

Top cream cheese with beans, tomatoes and cheese. Serve with tortilla chips.

Cherry Cheese Trifle
1--8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 can Eagle brand milk
1--12 oz. container Cool Whip
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 prepared angel food cake
2 cans cherry pie filling
sliced almonds for garnish

Combine cream cheese and Eagle milk until smooth. Stir in half of the Cool Whip and almond extract. Tear angel food cake and place half in trifle bowl. Spoon half the cream cheese over filling and top with can of pie filling. Repeat layers and top with remaining Cool Whip. Sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Crispy Baked Pork Chops
Pepperidge Farm corn bread stuffing, crushed

Mix a little milk with the eggs. Dip pork chops in egg mixture and then crumbs. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes or until done.

White Castle Burgers (I got this recipe from my niece, Marci)
1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix
3" of Velveeta, cubed

Brown meat, add soup mix, add cheese until melted. Do not drain grease (I did anyway).
Serve over buns. I tripled this recipe--everyone loved it.

We had several poker and game nights. We watched Glee. We swam everyday for hours on end. We shopped. We ate out. We did a little of everything.

Damage report---and this is only what I saw---who knows what else happened:
Bathing Beauty figurine in the pool bath broken
Picture frame broken
1 spilled drink in the family room
2 spilled drinks in the dining room (during poker game)
1 spilled drink---bounced down the rec room stairs---I heard a voice say, "why did you knock my drink down the steps"---and then a person, who shall remain nameless, came down and got the roll of paper towels.

When the family is here, I just close my eyes and don't "wig out" about anything. When they leave, I do the clean up. On Sunday, I wiped the spill marks all along the wall to the rec room--it was obvious that the drink bounced down. And just when I thought I didn't need gloss paint anymore. I won't even mention the laundry.

After 10 Years, Jordan Gets Verification

What can I say? We're a "geeky" family! We have a family book club and we take our bird book on vacation with us (when we remember). This past week with the whole family here, we were talking about the bald cardinal that we have. The head is blue---we didn't know that cardinals were blue under their red feathers. Butch said he saw it last year or the year before which lead to a discussion about how long birds live. We don't really know the answer to that, but then this morning, I remembered the bird Jordan swore she saw when she was only 4. I told her that it didn't count unless someone else saw it and could verify it. She drew the picture below so we could be on the look out for it. After over 10 years, she's been vindicated!!

I guess birds can live for more than 10 years---or we have a family cardinals that have a terrible genetic defect. Why not---people inherit baldness? I guess it just really "sucks" for a bird.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Year of Memories---August

The theme this month was "ancestry or heritage." I had been collecting the vintage cabinet cards for several months. They are so unique.

I decided on "Lineage" for my title. I used my grandparents' wedding pictures---Preli, Luigina and Vittorio---Zimmermann, Marguerite and Julius. I had to take the pictures off the wall, take them out of the frames, scan them and print them. I printed them on canvas---which turned out really neat.

Jeanne's layout is titled "It all Began in the Old Country." She focused on the Pagella side of the family and their immigration story---our great great grandmother died the night before they were to be released from Ellis Island. I need to do some research to see if I can find out where she is buried. Can you imagine coming to a new country and have your mother die? What an awful way to start.

Karolyn's title is "Roots." She did one side for each family. She had some old life insurance envelopes that she used to hide her journaling. She also did an awesome lacing technique on the corner.

Susan did two layouts---one for each side of the family---"Irish Heritage" and "Kentucky Roots."

Pam's title "Who do I Look Like?" included many family members.

Steph didn't get her layout finished this month. I told her that if she misses two months in a row, she's out! Everyone is really enjoying the club. In fact, it's just about the only scrapbooking we get done during the month. The only other scrapbooking we do is if we are able to go on a retreat. We need to make this more of a priority in our lives. After all, we all have rooms dedicated to our scrapbooks and all the stuff. We need to justify the space by scrapbooking more.

Butch's New Ride

Butch just got a brand new 2011 Buick LaCrosse. The color is metallic quicksilver with a light and dark titanium interior. It has so many cool features with several I've never heard of before:
heated and cooled seats, heated steering wheel,

"heads up" windshield display, the side mirrors have a display feature that alerts you if someone is in your blind spot, the headlights turn the corner with you, the back-up camera shows the track you should take based on what's behind you, remote start that also heats or cools your seat before you get in, his phone is synced with the car for hands-free talking, when a call comes in, the radio and AC automatically lowers so you can hear and goes back up when the call is completed, it has a 10G hard drive so you can download dozens cd's without having to keep them in your car, XM radio, OnStar, iPod connection, computer connection, keyless starter--just a button, the music and the navigation system has touch screen control. The car is beautiful. I love that new car smell! Butch loves cars and is thrilled with this one.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Southern Boys Are Raised Right!

Southern boys are definitely raised right. I can't say that I've had much experience with teen boys for quite a few years now. Last summer, Jordan's boyfriend, Nathan was the first in a long time. He was very polite, but also very shy. You might remember that he prepared and brought lemon squares to a family dinner. Very sweet.

This year, the girls both have boyfriends (as previously reported)---identical twins---Cameron and Carson. They are the nicest boys. They always greet us with a handshake when they arrive. They say "yes, mam and no mam". They actually converse with us---and in a very relaxed way---nothing awkward about it---as if they've known us for years. They always say goodbye and "thanks for having us"---which usually includes another handshake. I'm not so sure about the handshake thing for a woman, I think next time I'll pull them in for a hug---that's very southern too.

Today, Morgan called at 6:45 a.m. to find out about our plans. With the Lapps' family here this week, we've been pretty busy. The plan for this morning was to go to the Pfunky Griddle for breakfast. It's a really neat place where each table has a built in griddle. You cook your own food. I knew the kids would get a kick out of it. Afterwards, we were going school shoe shopping at Lonnie Young's. Morgan asked if she and Carson could come. That surprised me as what teenagers want to hang out with the family and go shoe shopping?

Jordan and Cameron had planned to come, but were held up at the DMV. Jordan has lost her permit, so Steph took her to get a replacement. Cameron had to tag along in order to have a ride here. Butch, Greg and Mitchell were fishing.

Carson was so much fun to have around. He was very nice to the little girls and actually engaged them in conversation. He held the door at the restaurant, picked a napkin up off the floor when we were leaving and even opened the car door for me. I told him that he could stick around, to which he replied with the pull down the fist in the air sign, "YES, I knew sucking up would work!" That cracked me up. He thanked me for taking him to breakfast---just an all around nice kid. I think Victoria might have a crush on him---heck, maybe I do too. How do you spell C-O-U-G-A-R?

PS The photo was from their sister's wedding. The guy she married is from Scotland. The girls said the guys weren't too happy to wear the kilt. I think they look cute.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

An Atypical Week

Jordan called on Sunday night to find out what time I was picking them up on Monday. I had completely forgotten that Steph was going to be out-of-town this whole week. I keep telling everyone that they have to email me---you can't just say something to me in passing and expect me to remember it.

Anyway, I told her that I'd pick her up at 9:30. She wasn't happy about the early time, but, hey, I'm busy! I had an 8 a.m. doctor appt. and then was meeting Butch to drop my car off for repair. On the way to the girls, he dropped me at the grocery store. When he returned, Morgan wasn't in the car and Jordan had a friend. You just never know what you're going to get with the girls.

I put away the groceries, headed out to pick up the girls school books (last blog entry) and to meet my friend, Mary Jo for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. After that, I went for a manicure and got home about 2:30---to a mess in the kitchen. Jordan and Caitlyn were in the pool all day. Morgan called to say that she would be here around 7:30 p.m. I had a little time to rest before cooking supper. I had planned tacos, but Jordan said she didn't like tacos. Who doesn't like tacos? I had to go to plan "b". I pulled some pork chops out of the freezer and added corn on the cob, fried okra (homemade, I might add), and broccoli with cheese sauce.

By the time I finished cleaning up, it was about 6:45. I decided to lounge with my book in the jacuzzi. I got out at 7:15 to find that Morgan was already home, but Jordan and friend were now gone. I asked Butch where they went. He said he didn't know, but Caleb picked them up. She said she'd be home by curfew which is 11 p.m. She and Caitlyn ended up getting home at 8:30. All the girls went out to the pool. It wasn't long before we heard a lot of hoopla out there and realized that the boys had arrived. The boys left and the girls came in around 10:15.

Yesterday, we had the girls to ourselves all day with no friends. It was so much fun. They slept until 11 a.m. I made them breakfast and then we got in the pool for the afternoon. Butch even got in---this is really "big." You can just about count on one hand the number of times he's been in the pool in the 15 years we've lived here. It goes back to the fact that he cannot say "no" to the grandkids.

After the pool, we went school supply shopping. That was not a fun experience. It started off badly because Butch wanted to go to Walmart. Neither I nor the girls like Walmart. But since Butch plans to take the girls fishing on Friday, he needs to get them fishing licenses, so he thought we could kill two birds with one stone.

The fighting started just as soon as we got in the store. Morgan wanted her own cart so her stuff would not get mixed up with Jordan's. Earlier in the day, she asked Jordan if she had the list of school supplies they would need. Jordan said, "Morgan, we're in high school! They don't give you a list!" Now, in the store, Morgan didn't want to listen to Jordan as to what she needed. Both girls started throwing things in the basket. Butch was about to have a conniption fit. They seemed to just pick up any random things without considering prices or needs. It looked like he might stroke out, so I tried to get the girls calmed down. That didn't really work. It was a fast, frenetic shopping trip. The total was $267.00---which include a graphing calculator (required) for over $100. We had Mindy's old one, but of course, the required one now was a completely different model.

Our next stop was dinner at Chili's. On the way there, we realized that we completely forgot to get the fishing licenses. Turns out that was okay because the battery on the NEW boat was dead today. The joys of boat ownership. At least dinner was really good. When we got home, the girls took off with friends. Morgan spent the night out. Jordan came home around 10 and went straight to bed. It was nice to have a quiet evening.

It's the chaos and confusion of teenagers that I don't like---I've already been through it. Somehow, I feel more out of control this time around. I think it's because our girls "asked" us if they could do something where now we seem to be "told". Don't get me wrong. I know we could put a stop to this---and I'll continue to gripe and complain. But the bottom line is that we love having them around and get a charge out of knowing that they like to be with us. We'll take the mess that comes with that.

Monday, August 2, 2010


This is what $1140.00 looks like. And to think that Morgan has "inherited" a lot of Jordan's books. I shutter to think what the total would have been if I had to buy those books too! Of course I DID buy them last year.

The Layouts

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bob Barker

What a great name for a dog! If I ever get one, that's what I'm going to name him.

Now here's the story about a real dog named Bob Barker. My friend Susan Dawkins has a friend whose dog is named Bob Barker. I don't really remember the whole story, but somewhere along the line, Bob Barker's back legs were seriously injured---he would not be able to walk. Since Bob Barker was a member of the family, they could not bear to put him down. They brought him home and let him heal. Then they got the idea to strap him to a skateboard. Voila'! Bob Barker was able to get around using only his front paws. After a couple of years getting around via skateboard, Bob Barker was outside and had not yet been put on his skateboard. I guess someone should have told him that! When he saw the garbage truck, he took off running and chasing the truck. Seems like Bob Barker was just lazy!!

That's the best dog story I've ever heard. Usually all dog stories are bad---things get chewed, pooped or vomited on.

We had a great time at the Farm Crop. I got 16 pages done---photos to come. The guys came out to join us on Friday afternoon. We barbecued and spent the night.

While at the farm, I turned all of my friends into "Gleeks!" I'd been going on and on about "Glee." I think they may have just been humoring me. After the very first episode, they wanted more. What ended up happening is that we had a "Glee" marathon. We watched 10 1/2 hours all in a row with breaks only for lunch and dinner. We started about 10 a.m. and finished about 10 p.m. We're all hooked. If you didn't believe me when I blogged about it before, well, 6 people can't be wrong! If you haven't, you need to give it a try. Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. on Fox (in Nashville anyway).

This is going to be a busy week. I have a lot going on before the Lapps family arrives on Friday night. That week is already filled up too!