Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Where I'm from

I am from...

I am from clothelines, Milkbones, bridal wreath and the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights.

I am from the Midwest farm fields, a four square country home, and small town ranch home in Northern Illinois.

I am from lilac bushes, apple trees and peonies.

I am from breakfast cookouts in the park, family camping trips, playing caroms and PIT. I am from Floyd, Harriet, Pam and Marcia by blood, Paul and Doris, Em and Helen and Mid and Fritz by luck.

I am from tea in the afternoon and “I Spy” and "Button, button, whose got the button."

From Pull up your pants and just do it, Be nice to others, You can always go a little and Think cool.

I am from a country church, youth fellowship, ice cream socials and Christmas programs with a color light wheel.

I am from catching lightning bugs, camping in the backyard and playing “Scare” after dark.

I'm from staying at Herman and Martha's farm, Sunday night popcorn suppers, homemade applesauce and ice cream.

I’m from boxes of pictures and slides in Fibbers closet, “good melmac” dishes, metal ice cube trays and Texas tumblers.

I am from the hard working father who loved to garden and create things with his hands, the mother who was the best cook on the planet, the older sisters who tolerated me and fun, practical joking aunts, uncles and cousins. I am from the ability to laugh at ourselves and not take "me" too seriously.

Where are you from? Click here to find out.
You might be surprised what you find as you rummage around in those dusty old trunks of your mind--your personality, your family traits and history, and the places you've called home--as you complete this poem with your own memories and facts.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Mushroom Spinach soup

I had spinach and mushrooms in the refrigerator that needed to be used, so looked online for something new to make. I found a couple of recipes, combined them and added to my ideas to make this soup. It turned out really good and smelled great while cooking.

Mushroom Spinach soup
1-1/2 T. butter
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 T. cooking sherry
4-1/2 cup chicken stock
1 T. tomato paste
1 bay leaf
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
salt, to taste
1 pkg. fresh baby spinach
3 medium Roma tomatoes, sliced

Saute celery, onion and garlic in butter until tender. Add mushrooms (reserving 1 cup), Italian seasoning, black pepper, sherry, chicken stock, tomato paste & bay leaf. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Stir in the reserved mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes. Cook until spinach is wilted. Add salt to taste. Serve garnished with parmesan cheese, if desired.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday surprise!

We went for a motorcycle ride this morning and met some friends for breakfast in Oregon. After breakfast, we rode along the Rock River but the sky was getting dark and we heard thunder so headed for home. We arrived home a little windblown and damp, but not drenched. Praises!
We weren't home too long and decided to take one of those indulgent Sunday afternoon naps. I was almost asleep when I heard the house door open and a voice that sounded like Luke, our son from Springfield. Sure nuf! He was in the area for a service call for Hagie. This time of year it doesn't matter what day of the week it is, he could get called out. Little did we know we drove right by the farm he was working on when we were trying to escape the rain and wind. He stayed most of the afternoon so we had a good, long visit. What a nice Sunday surprise!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Great new magazine

In today's mail was a copy of a new magazine from Reiman Publications called "Taste of Home - Healthy Cooking." I used to get Taste of Home and Quick Cooking but there were so few recipes that fit into my low carb, low sugar and Dan's heart healthy, low sugar diet. We don't sound like much fun after that statement, do we?
I've tried to adapt recipes I used to make, so they were more health-friendly but we usually end up saying it isn't as good as it is with the regular ingredients. I've come to the conclusion it's probably better to just go with something new so we aren't comparing the taste. I made my first recipe out of this new magazine today and it's so good and easy to make, I had to share.

Corn & Bean Salad
(It says salad, but to us it was more like a salsa.)
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 large tomatoes, finely chopped (I used Roma tomatoes. This will be really good when fresh tomatoes are in season - YUM!)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro (I used dried. It was good but would be even better with fresh cilantro like the recipe calls for)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T sugar 2 T white vinegar
2 T canola oil
1-1/2 teaspoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine the first six ingredients in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients; pour over the corn mixture and toss to coat.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Stir before serving. Serve with a slotted spoon.

Tonight we grilled mesquite seasoned cheeseburgers on the grill and spooned some of this over top. Mmm, mmm, good.


Friday, May 23, 2008

No training for me

I'm bummed! This stuff was supposed to be on my person tonight not sitting on the kitchen counter!

I was all geared up to do a "walk-on" at a local motorcycle riders training course tonight but wasn't lucky enough to get in. I'm signed up for the class but not until August (I don't want to wait that long) so tonight was a wild card chance. Apparently about a dozen other people thought the same way I did. Sign-up for these summer classes starts in February and the classes fill within days. They take 12 students per class and there was only five no-show spaces available tonight. A lottery is used for the open spaces and my ticket was not one of the lucky ones! NIU holds these classes throughout the summer on the weekends. The class is all weekend long, Friday night and all day Saturday and Sunday. It's a really good deal. The cost is $20 and once you are done with your weekend, you will have satisfied the requirements for your written and riding test so all a person has to do is go to the DMV and pay their money. I really don't want to take my riding test at the DMV. That would be way to reminiscent of being 16 and trying to get my first drivers license!
The upside of all this is I have a nice long weekend and no plans set in stone. How cool is that?

Today was our first Friday off for the summer, so I spent the day cleaning out drawers. I thought I was going to sew but this just kind of took over the day. It may not sound exciting, but I always feel so good when I'm done and I've weeded out "stuff.". I couldn't help but think about "stuff" and how a person accumulates so much. I found jewelry that was a high school graduation gift! Let's see that was 29 years ago! I was able to brighten up the the locket enough to put it on a chain and wear it. It was a gift from a dear woman who was like a grandma to me growing up.
On our first trip to New Orleans post-Katrina, we met the neatest couple, Ron(Papa)& Miss Betty Dufour. They lost everything, not to flooding, but due to the storm surge from Katrina. They live on this what looks like a quiet little pass, but the surge came from the gulf, through the lake and up the pass. They lost everything. The surge came in with such force that it knocked out windows and ripped bricks off their home. They told of how they were thinking of moving to a smaller place but couldn't decide what to do with all their years of "stuff." Papa shared how Katrina took care of it for them so they didn't have to deal with it. He and Miss Betty also told of how they have been so blessed by the storm. Without Katrina they wouldn't have been able to meet all the different people, like ourselves, that have come from across the country to help rebuild. They are praising God for the experience and the relationships that have blossomed from it. What an incredible attitude of gratitude! They are such an amazing couple. I try on a daily basis to see the good in things that happen, but some days, let's face it, it's pretty darn hard to do. What a great goal Papa and Miss Betty have set for me to strive towards. Papa Ron & Miss Betty are the ones seated in the center with the team we led in February to NOLA. The Dufours were treating the team to a night out and Papa's homemade gumbo.

Whenever I start feeling sorry for myself, I pull up a picture of them and things start to fall into perspective again.
Here's a few of of my other favorite pics of the New Orleans area from one of our trips.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Productive Saturday

Today was a very productive Saturday.

It was incredibly windy here all day but I worked in the yard anyway and finished planting flowers. I need one more planter full of something vining for an old wooden wheelbarrow and I think I'm done. I would have loved to go get it today so I could finish up but with gas the price it is, I just couldn't justify the trip into town. I also repotted a beautiful yellow "kurlache"(sp) houseplant one of our part-time instructors brought in for me last week. She thought I might need a ray of sunshine during the end of semester flurry. She thought right!

I reconciled three months (yikes!) worth of cancelled checks. I hardly ever let that job go for that long. I sure don't know where the last few months have went.

And tonight on eBay I bought a motorcycle! (note the picture) It's a KLR 250 and it's for me! We only put one bid in during the last minute but I really didn't think we'd end up winning. Whoops! I'm feeling a mix of giddiness and "oh my gosh what did I just do". I guess now I better learn how to ride my own bike, huh? I needed something small and lightweight to learn on. This should fit the bill plus it's red. Does it get any better than that? Now we just have to figure out when we can get to White House,Tennessee to pick it up. I can't wait!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mothers Day!

I received this via email and thought it was incredibly fitting for the day.

Before I was a Mom,
I never tripped over toys
or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not
my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind
and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held down a screaming child
so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night
watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held a sleeping baby just because
I didn't want to put him down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small
could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn't know the feeling of
having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel
to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond
between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small
could make me feel so overwhelmed and happy all at a the same time.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night
every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth,
the joy,
the love,
the heartache,
the wonderment
or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much,
before I was a Mom.

For those of you who are moms - thank you for all you do.

For those of you whose moms are living - enjoy every minute spent and conversation spoke for you never know when the last one has just happened.

For those of you whose mom's have passed on - I feel for you especially today.
I know too well the pain it can bring when you can't make that phone call to wish a happy mothers day, ask for advice or just chat. Thankfully though a Mom's legacy and memory lives on long after they are gone. I see it in my sisters, children, grandchildren but mostly when I look in the mirror. There are times I walk by a plate glass storefront window, get a side-vision glimpse and see my mother in the glass. The older I get, the more I see her in me. There could defnitely be worse things. If I have to be like somebody, I couldn't think of anyone better to take after than my mom. She was a good lady with a great sense of humor.
I love you and miss you Mom.
Harriet Anna Gesin
October 29, 1929 -- November 4, 1983


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Playing in the dirt

I was finally able to get outside a little last night after work and play in the dirt. I planted pots of red survivor geraniums and white verbena for the front porch and a bright limey green sweet potato vine and purple verbena on the back deck. I have more annuals to go in flower beds but think I'll wait a week or so before I plant anything that's not transportable indoors in case we get a frost yet. I can't believe how good it feels to be able to put something in dirt. My back wasn't real happy about it, but the soul sure felt good afterwards.

Highland is designated as an arboretum and the trees on campus are blooming like crazy right now. There are so many different varieties of trees, shrubs and flowers. It really is a beautiful campus. I am forever asking ours groundskeepers what some plant is. The pink blooming tree (not sure - flowering crab maybe?) is absolutely stunning. The lilacs are just starting and have always been one of my favorite smells. Although, I've yet to find a lilac scented anything that smells like it should. If anyone knows of a candle or potpourri in lilac that smells like the real thing, let me know.

For all of you Moms, have a wonderful Mothers Day tomorrow. Relax and enjoy yourselves!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Strawberry Mousse - LIGHT

I received this recipe by email just today and actually had everything I needed to make it for dessert tonight. Wow! What a nice light low-fat finish to a meal. I would think you could use almost any fruit. I think I'll try raspberry next when the wild black raspberries are in season next month.

Light Strawberry Mousse

4 cups quartered fresh strawberries or frozen unsweetened (I used fresh)
1/2 cup Splenda (the recipe called for sugar, I substituted the Splenda)
1 - 1 oz. pkg. sugar free instant vanilla pudding mix
1 - 8 oz. carton frozen light Cool Whip

In a food processor or blender, combine strawberries and sugar; cover and process until smooth. Add pudding mix and process until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl; fold in whipped topping. Refrigerate until serving.


Monday, May 5, 2008

Doot, doot, doo..Lookin out my back door...

As soon as I saw this scene, the old song by CCR "Lookin' out my back door" popped into my head. It talks about looking out the door and seeing animals playing instruments in the yard; tambourines and elephants playing in the band, etc. When I came home from work today, this is what I saw looking out my back door. Spring weather is finally cooperating here for our farmers. It doesn't take long to plant a field with a planter this size! I love to see the tractors in the field with the dust flying. Notice the leaves on the tree and shrubs budding out too! Ahhh, Spring!

A side note...the farm you see in the background with the silos is the farm I grew up on.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Hoagie Bake - YUM!

This morning started at 4:30 am for us. (Yawn) Ya know, there are alot of "not rights" in this world and getting up at 4:30 am on a Sunday morning is definitely one of them. It's just not right!
Happily, all of this weekends activities went well and have mostly subsided, so we are now in relax mode! We're getting ready to head out for a bike ride for a couple of hours before it gets too chilly. It sure gets that way fast as the sun starts dropping.

Before we go though, I thought I would share the recipe I made for the college choir at church this noon. There were a number of requests for it so thought maybe it would be of interest to those of you in blog-land as well.

Hoagie Bake

2 - 8 count packages refrigerated crescent rolls
1/4 lb. salami
1/2 lb. deli ham
1/4 lb. pepperoni
8 slices swiss cheese
8 slices provolone cheese
3 eggs, beaten
2 T. parmesan cheese
brown mustard

Cover bottom of a 9x13 pan with 1 pkg. crescent rolls. Press seams together.
Brush hot brown mustard on the crust.
Layer salami, ham and pepperoni.
Cover meat with layers of provolone & swiss cheese.
Spread 1/2 of the beaten eggs over top.
Top with other pkg. crescent rolls.
brush with remaining eggs and sprinkle with parmesan.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 25 minutes. Cover with foil and bake another 10 minutes or until done.

The nice thing about this is you can mix it up with whatever meats and cheeses you want. You can also add thinly sliced onions and peppers, garlic powder or whatever seasonings you like.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Quilt is bound and all is well

Today has been a great day. Ever have one of those days where you have tons of "have to" things to do but just say to heck with all of it and do something fun instead. That was today for me.
I used some comp time, left work early and took supper to Jon & Heidi. I spent a couple of hours holding baby Owen, playing with Ava and visiting with Heidi. "Grandma world" doesn't get much better than that. Took the scenic, curvy route home, made a quick supper, then finished (YEAH!) the binding on the quilt I was working on (and whining about last night). There it is on the back on my sofa. The other pic is of 2 vintage quilt blocks I bought off of eBay a couple of years ago that I finally made into pillows tonight - another YEAH! Nothing like grandbabies and finished projects to give a person a whole new lease on life!