Sunday, May 31, 2009

Some quick and delicious recipes...

Today was a great day to make some favorites around here... I decided first to do my son and his friend's favorite casserole: Tater Tot Casserole. I make it with a pound and a half of browned, drained hamburger, about 1/4 cup minced sauteed onion/celery combination, 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup. I stir all that together and lay on about a sack full of tater tots. I usually use the smaller kind that are made for breakfast and are called hash rounds. Then I layer on a couple giant handfuls of grated cheese. Bake about an hour or until you are tired of smelling that delicious aroma. Everything is already done when you put it in the 350 degree oven!!! Delish!

Then I tried a new wrinkle with a brownie mix. It's called Brownie Cheesecakes. Fix a brownie mix of your choice as package directs and put it into a 9 x 13 prepared pan. Don't bake! Preheat oven to 350. In a separate bowl blend 8 oz. Philly Cream Cheese, 1 egg, and 1/2 c. sugar until smooth. (Let your Philly get warm or pop in microwave for 30 seconds) Spoon white mixture over the top of brownies and swirl with a knife or fork to get a marbled effect. Bake for about 30 minutes or until edges look done. Not. too. shabby.... and kind of quick and easy.... which isn't always a bad thing, no matter WHAT your mama told you

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday "Twitter"

This lovely little aviary was nestled in the corner of the hospital waiting room, and of course, I chose this spot for our "perch" during my mom's surgery. Good news! She had four lumpectomies and the test of the lymph nodes was negative. We'll have 30 radiation treatments for the next six weeks. That was the best news we could have received. Thank you for all your prayers and well wishes!
Mom came home the same day as surgery, and this morning she was ready for our usual Saturday drive. We had driven by Ritter's Farmer's Market last week, and it's on our list for this week sometime. Look at their beautiful plants!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Friday morning we are to be at the hospital at 6:15 a.m. for Mom's breast cancer surgery. But tonight we are having a pizza/Spinner party with my son and another friend. We appreciate any prayers you might want to send our way tomorrow. Hugs!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

No outdoor Memorial Day barbecue.... and why?

Thoughts of today's planned barbecue bombarded me as I scrambled out of bed this morning. We planned it later in the day, and as I looked out the window, I thought... Maybe. The skies were dark, and rain pelted the windows... Still, I held out hope. I made a giant pot of Gevalia German Chocolate Cake Coffee.... I took my minilaptop and a cup of coffee out onto the front porch... However, the driving mists and the super-chilly temps sent me scurrying back inside... Still, it was a long time until 2:30, the scheduled moment of the barbecue. My son and our guests arrived on time, and despite the looks of the day, the weather had decided to taper off. The rains were on hold a few minutes, and it seemed the perfect time for a quick gas grill rendezvous for our hot dogs and hamburgers. The buns awaited alongside the baked beans, lettuce salad, scalloped potatoes, Hello Dollies, peach pie, and all kinds of other condiments and goodies.... My son, armed with the tongs and the foil, exited the kitchen to turn on the grill. He came inside with these words: "Fire up the stove. We're cooking inside...." I figured we were out of propane, but he grabbed my camera for a shot for my blog!...... Scroll down to view what my kind-hearted son could never disturb to cook a hot dog. Some men go turkey hunting, deer hunting, even dove hunting... My family spares the tiniest of creatures if at all possible... Happy Memorable Day... Oven-roasted is the next best thing to the grill!


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Day / Decoration Day

Monday is Memorial Day... amazingly. Christmas seems like yesterday... all days seem possible, any holiday could be tomorrow, it seems. I have lost synch with the calendar. Mom and I plan to get some flowers and visit the cemeteries.. a long-standing tradition in our family and with many of yours. When I was little, our list was long: great-grandparents, cousins, friends... in-laws, neighbors. My grandmother used to carry out two or three tubs of cut peonies bundled together with wet papertowels and aluminum foil... We spent the day in several cemeteries, stopping for a bit of lunch some years, some years not..... but tomorrow I think we will stick to the very few who have been our immediate family. Although we don't bring flowers to the many, we will still remember their varied gifts to our heart. There is my great grandmother's grave, Savannah's. Her small tombstone nestles beside a much larger one of her husband and his SECOND wife... speaking much of that particular relationship. She died in childbirth when my grandfather was only 12 and his little sister 5. Her buggy and horse had been frightened while she drove to town, and the subsequent buggy wreck threw her into premature labor and ultimate death. Evidently Savannah whispered something to my 5- year old aunt as the mother left this world that was very special... for when my aunt at 91 told me this story, her eyes closed and a beautiful smile etched that happy, secret moment across her face. I remember leaning forward to hear the secret message from that long-ago mommy to daughter, but my aunt didn't dish... the secret went to her grave that same year...
There's the little diamond-shaped stone belonging to Frank Leslie... My grandfather used to walk me to that grave and obtain a vow that I would never forget to decorate that grave. "I killed this man," my grandfather solemnly told me. I remember the first time he shared this earth-shattering information. (My grandfather was the most kind-hearted, non-killer person I have ever known. I silently wondered what would happen next. Would the earth suddenly open and swallow me up? I hoped so.) But my grandfather Emanuel continued the story, "When my cousins and I had measles, Frank Leslie was an old man. He got very scared and informed us he hadn't ever had them and begged us to go away. Instead, since we loved him and he had always been such a teaser, we crawled all over him and gave him hugs and kisses on his old whiskers." Evidently Frank Leslie contracted measles after that, and Frank up and died, leaving a bunch of Missouri cousins to bear the remorse to their very elderly years.... And then there is Jennie Marie, victim of a violent mass murder in Kansas. She and her family were born and spent their early life in our local tiny town in the early 1900's... Her brother, also her killer, did time along with the In Cold Blood killers and is often pictured in books and interviews and the movie Capote. Her grandmother, who just lived down the country road from me, quite tearfully gave me some of Jennie's things when I graduated---- a handkerchief, a small jewelry chest... and again I honored Jennie's grave each year with flowers thinking what a crime it had been to deprive her of a grandmother who would grieve with raw tears so many years later... I, at that age, had never suffered a loss that never heals, so I couldn't imagine such a wound. Unfortunately, I get it now.
I won't be walking the cemetery this year because of health issues with Mom and time issues... and other things, but I will definitely take some time to recall the graves and the lives of those I love. Cemeteries are not horrific, scary things to most of us, but rather peaceful sobering reminders that so many lives are waiting on the other side... I leave these words to help me smile as I remember my favorite epitaphs I have ever seen with my own eyes:

In a cemetery near by, Friendship: "As you are now, so once was I. As I am now, so you will be. Prepare for death and follow me." (?? kinda gruesome, don't you think?).. And in Mt. Salem on the huge, fancy Stokes stones honoring a young man killed in a powder keg underground mine explosion: "Many dreams lie buried here.".... and one of my favorites from Poland Cemetery in Indiana, viewed when I was many years younger: a small stone similar to my Savannah grandmother's: "-------- (woman's name)------- Wife of John _______"and right next to it, a large, lovely, flowery stone with "--------another woman's name--------------" and the words, "Beloved Concubine of John _______" oh, hahah... it all boils down to that sometimes... hahaha... It made me laugh so irreverently what seems like centuries ago, much to the indignant huff of my mom and grandmother who didn't see the humor... They wouldn't... married and happy... But to the twice divorced young woman who stood there that spring day and read that tribute, it. was. simply. hysterical... and so may I be this early a.m.
Time for bed? It's 4:12 a.m. My mom is just getting up for the day... oh, oh... Lest we forget, Happy Memorial Day Weekend.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Nickel Tour of Lodges and Flowers...

Today was a big day. Mom and I decided to attend a Doll Club Meeting that included a walk on the wild side. Our group traveled quite a few miles through the countryside (rolling hills, beautiful farmland... blacktop and gravel roads...) to an unusual lodge of 6,000 acres in literally the middle of nowhere, Ethel, MO!!!!
It's a pretty place, gated entryway... kind of overwhelmingly large.

We had a fried chicken lunch that was quite tasty... the dining room was lovely..... I'll get to the rest in a minute~
The bedrooms were all quite pretty with nice quilts....
We started the day with a whiff of Missouri "love," the beautiful white locust trees!!! I just love it...
Drove by some pretty, pretty homes and yards in Bevier...
This pretty home belongs to our school secretary...
and this belongs to my hairdresser!

Our local country music singer!!!
Here we are driving up to the lodge through the woods past the gated entry.

This is the part of the show that ruined the whole day... I don't like taxidermied animals... They make me sad... Look at that little cougar... he didn't want to be a "trophy."

And at the actual Doll Club.... a Dionne Quintuplet merry-go-round....
Time for a refreshing little pod of ice water.... How delicious! Headed for home and setting out some more flowers with my cousin.... Enjoy the week!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pop over to My Heart's Ease for a Giveaway

This is an amazing blog, and she's having a 100th Post giveaway that is darling!!! Follow this link to My Heart's Ease.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Memorial Day Kickoff...

One week from Monday!!!! Can you believe it?

My Mother's Day gifts to Mom included the patriotic tablecloth and napkins you see here and a pendant from Joy at Cupid's Charms.I gave her the promise of decorating with red/white/blue for the Memorial Day holiday spreading through the Fourth of July... Today I used my own dishes and some of the r/w/b from her stash. The Moravian Star was my Dad's from his glass insulator and bottle collection... Had barbecued ribs, salad, green bean casserole, whole wheat biscuits... a really nice lunch... Have a good week!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Long Time No Blog!!!

Where have I been? You ask me where I have been? Uh... Well, it was the final week of school, and I had been absent for a lot with my mom for testing... so here, in no particular chronological or importance order.... my last week!
I earned the label as "the cool teacher" because I was "selected" by our principal to supervise the kids who chose not to attend the movie for the last day of school. We hooked up Guitar Hero Metallica to my Smartboard and they totally jammed out in the dark... Three. and. one-half. hours. I love Metallica, thank goodness... but hey.... after 180 minutes, who's counting? Whew!
Mom and I took another drive through Amish country where we saw lots of new gardens and other industrious things.... no doubt sparking this next photo....
I cam home from a particularly long day at school to see a sparkly new Cub Cadet in the driveway... a step stool beside it.... and was greeted by the news that my mom was able to take her walker and get out on the step stool and get on and off and could start this baby... The only reason she hadn't mowed was she wasn't sure she could put enough pressure on the brake... Uh.... and she wonders why the lab technicians all call her feisty???? We sent it back.... That lady loves to work!
I attended two wonderful graduations, one in the school where I teach now (purple Wildcats)... and one where I taught a few years ago (blue Raiders).
And where I'm headed in a few minutes.... all tucked into my comfy down coverlet.... visions of summer vacation all tucked in my head... (no, that's not my bed. That photo is from n.gottier

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Storm Watch --- photo courtesy

I don't know about your part of the world, but this is definitely an accurate picture of our skies tonight. We are directly in the middle of a vicious storm warning, and that can only mean summer is here in Missouri... I'm not sure when I crossed the line from being afraid of storms to simply respecting them... I love weather--- snow, rain, all kinds of weather... But naturally, I'm not a fan of severe, hurtful storms... Tonight's is rapidly approaching, and my ever faithful Weatherbug (my little virus, as my son calls it) is chirping hysterically.... 70 mile winds, severe lightning, and even hail... conditions right for tornadoes, as well... Figures.. We planted all our flowers on Tuesday and watered them in again tonight! haha... I just hope no hail beats my little bushes on the face!!! (And no, I am not a gardener... just hate to see my little pansies, lavendars, phlox, and you name its... bruised.

Only five real days of school left, and one movie/picnic day... It seems impossible. We still have a lot to cover, but realistically I'm thinking it isn't going to happen... Not with the fact that kids tend to quit after state testing is over.... (or before if we're not lucky). I will four/fourths miss my kids this summer. I have missed a lot of school lately and I missed them then....

Well, have a wonderful weekend... I'm always ready for the weekend... even though I don't set the world on fire... just a relaxing drive... Happy Mother's Day!


Monday, May 4, 2009

From Blogland to Hollywood!!!! Julie and Julia

Have you seen the previews? I cannot wait for this one... First it was a blog and then a book. . . and in August----- Meryl Streep!!!! I wish all us blogsisters could get in one big amphitheater and watch it together!!!! Maybe we'll have a blog party when it premieres???? Hugs.... Julie and Julia (click title to see Youtube film trailer).

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Quackers, Prom, and Strawberry Pie

A Night Under the Stars....
As I write this, my students are finishing their Prom, A Night Under the Stars, and getting ready for a fun evening of After-Prom, A Night in Vegas. I went to the Grand March... what beautiful young people... I know they were having fun... Catch the "ride" for one young couple.... Reminds me of a Midwest version of Cinderella's carriage... Notice how her formal matches the cab???? cool, huh? Missouri-style....
My mom and I called up two of my dear friends today to go for a "Saturday Road Trip..." It just so happened to be one of their birthdays, so our favorite restaurant was wonderful and whipped us all up a tray of these pretty strawberry pies.... Delish!!!
Of course, the day was made complete by a visit to the lake to have a little conversation with my geese and ducks... This is Quackerack... and his buddy Hank.. They are part of the park Maintenance department.. I know this because they are ALWAYS beside the big green trash cannister.......
.................. ...................and below we have my favorite, Dartha... She is losing her winter's color and preparing for that drabber shade of brown she wears for the summer.... She was hiding in the tall grass for the first part of our visit, and I so wanted my friends to meet her... I mentioned her distinctive little red face, her wobbly walk... and when I said she wagged her little ducky tail constantly, she was spotted and rooted out... Good old Dartha... she's my gal.
Tomorrow is Sunday, so enjoy your families and your sweet fellowship with those you love!!! This is the day the Lord has made! So we will rejoice and be glad in it... one of my favorite verses ever... Take care... and if you get a chance to have some strawberry pie, I say GO for it!!!!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Blog Party!!! and Hopeful Friday...

One thousand apologies for not showing up to my own party any earlier than this!!! I have been super busy with some pressing medical emergencies with my mother, and we just got home today from an entire day of doctor visits... Boo! Just your typical "hopeful Friday" post....

Please celebrate with us as this is going to be SOME party today!! I haven't had a chance to visit other blogs, but I know they'll be fabulous. See Cupid's Charm. I have credited blogging with changing my life, my outlook... my sense of beauty and my ability to simply savor the moment.. Only a blogger would grab a sprig of heavenly white lilac for her mom and then opt to bring it along on a road trip... We scented the car, we enjoyed the lilac... we stopped by the side of the road to capture these little photos of dinosaurs by the pond at our local filling station, of a fence pasted with old licenses.... of breathtaking redbuds along the way.... And although we would have loved all this without the internet adventure called blogging, it's a potential post and all of you wonderful readers who have given me the opportunity to appreciate it even more... My mom and my son are up for every photo opportunity... The table is set; the food is hot, but........Wait! And the moment just HAS to be captured for my blog. Oatmeal and Whimsy means a lot to me, and I am as excited as I can be about all the wonderful things that go on in the lives of my blog-sisters!

So, even though this post is late and very much NOT what I planned when I signed up for the big Party!!! I want to welcome you all to Oatmeal and Whimsy... If you'd enjoy a trip through our lives for the past two and a half years, you are more than welcome to look through my archives... This blog has seen me through life in my own home, past the sad death of my dad, and now into life as a little tenant in my mom's home... And, may the good lord be willing, it will see me through our next phase, which is sadly a bout with breast cancer for my mom... Blogging is beautiful, not because it is flashy and brilliant and artsy (although that's the best!). It's beautiful because it is honest... it gives us hope that despite any newscast, the world is absolutely brimming with wonderful people, pictures, posts, and pleasures. Thank you all for coming by. God bless you and your sweet families.... And thank you for letting me into your home.