Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nannie's Goulash

Hi friends.  You know how a lot of guys are very, very attached to their mothers?  Well, my Hubby is also very fond of his grandmother or Nannie, as he calls her.  She lived just through the pasture from his house growing up and his mother traveled a lot for work, so he practically lived at his Nannie's house.  He ADORES his Nannie and to be quite honest, so do I.  Nannie is the reason my Hubby is a good cook.  He loved to be in the kitchen with her.  She's the one who taught him to make Chicken and Dumplins.  So, since yesterday was Nannie's 85th birthday, I'm sharing her goulash recipe with y'all today. 

The first time my Hubby wanted to make Nannie's Goulash, I thought it sounded like something the orphans were eating for some kind of weird punishment in movies like Oliver Twist.  Just sayin.  It sounded like something made of a bunch of leftover stuff that nobody wanted to eat thrown together in a big pot.  I was not enthusiastic about trying it, but once I did, I loved it!


Elbow noodles (about 12 oz)
2 cans corn
2 cans Ranch style beans
hamburger meat
2 cans Rotel
2 cups shredded cheese

Brown you hamburger meat and drain.  In a large dutch oven or in a crock pot, combine the cooked meat, corn, beans without draining, rotel and cook on low for about an hour to an hour and a half.  You can cook it for longer in the crock pot if you like.  Cook your noodles as directed and drain.  Add your noodles and cook for about twenty minutes.  Add your cheese and cook until cheese is melted and gooey.

Be sure and save your leftovers!  They're even better the next day!

Happy Birthday Nannie!  Thanks for helping raise such a sweet man! 


Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend and Black Friday Shopping

Hi!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  I know we did.  We had two family celebrations full of turkey, ham, and so many wonderful side items that I have been completely stuffed for several days now.  We still have so much ham leftover that I am going to have to freeze some of it.  Love that!  I have more than enough pictures of kiddos with mouths stuffed full of food.

E at the kids' table at my MIL's house - mouth full of food - lovely!

My nephew M at my aunt' house - mouth stuffed full of food - lovely. 

I think I caught most everyone with their mouth's full of food.  That means the food was good, right?

So, did y'all go shopping on Black Friday?  I did.  Wanna see what I got? 

Red Wii for $199 plus a $50 gift card to Wal-Mart.  Our Wii was broken and would've cost $100 to fix, so this was a better deal.  WOO HOO!

I got a few odds and ends for the kids.  My other great buy was for me.

I've been desperate for tall boots.  These were originally $100, but were on sale for $24.99 at J.C. Penney's.  Pretty good, right?  I got black and brown.  Woo Hoo!  It was definitely worth only getting three hours of sleep.

After five days the kids are going back to school today.  They were not happy this morning.  I was thrilled, relieved ready to get back into our routine.  I should have plenty of time to get my last few orders done this week.  Pretty excited about that.  I hate being behind. 

Also, my beloved Razobacks kicked LSU's behind this weekend!  WOO HOO!  I hear we might go to the sugar bowl!  The Hogs moved up in the rankings to #8.  Woooooo Pig Sooie!

So, did everyone else have a great holiday? 


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Holidays Are Upon Us

Well, tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  The holiday season is upon is.  There are Christmas decorations everywhere.  Holiday movies are playing on TV.  I love Christmas movies!  Wanna know what else I love about Christmas?  Christmas commercials.  I may have mentioned my love of commericals before.  Christmas commercials are my favorite!  This is the earliest Christmas commercial that I remember.  It's from the 70's and it is a classic.  I remember walking around singing this song when I was little.  I have always loved it. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I will be taking the next few days to celebrate with my family.  I plan on cooking, doing laundry and cleaning my disgusting, dirty, revolting, dusty slighty ignored house, breaking up the fights between my children every five minutes and trying to keep some of my sanity in tact before the kids go back to school on Monday. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!!

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nate Berkus

Are y'all watching The Nate Berkus Show?  I love it!  Nate was made famous by appearing and redoing rooms on The Oprah Winfrey Show.  His designs are amazing.  I have always loved him, but I was so excited to find out he was starting his own show.  It's been on since October.  You know what I love most about this show?  It's not all about expensive designer pieces.  He does LOTS of segments about decorating on a budget with everyday items and how to reproduce expensive items.  Very crafty!  He also does lots of segments on fashion and cooking as well as hving some famous guests, such as Laura Linney and Jennifer Nettles.  I've seen several segments on Flea Marketing as well. 

On the segment below, he filled two crates with identical crafty items and posed a challenge to two friends.  Who is the better decorator with what they were provided?  The crate provided fabric, glue, tape, safety pins, pom poms and other crafty supplies.  Nothing expensive and nothing fancy.  The rooms they came up with were fabulous!  Watch and see what you think.

Nate comes on at 10:00 a.m. on Fox in Arkansas.  Click here to see when and where to find Nate's show in your area.  You can thank me later.
**I am not being compsensated in ANY way for this review, however, I would be happy to accept any decorating help that Nate wants to pass along to me.  HA!  New Master Bedroom ala Nate Berkus?  No really, I just know some of my bloggy friends would enjoy the show.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Celebrate Thanksgiving.....Week 3

WOW!  Can you believe this is Thanksgiving week?  I am wondering where the time has gone.  Time flies when you're having fun.....and when you spend your days hunched over your sewing machine.  HA!  Anyway, this is my third week of Celebrate Thanksgiving so let's get this party started.  Remember you can link up too.  Just link up to Mary Joy's blog and come party in thankfulness with us!

1.  for the people I met at the craft show this weekend.  I met two sweet ladies with disabled kids:  one autistic and one with Williams' Syndrome.  Small world!  I'm pretty sure it wasn't an accident that we were beside eachother!

2.  that I made a little Christmas money at the craft show.

3.  that I got a haircut the other day because quite frankly, I was beginning to look like this:

Medusa, photo coutesy of Google Images.

4.  for those few sweet people who work at Wal-Mart who still are nice and helpful even though the grouchy folks have taken over the grocery aisles.

5.  for my aunt that is keeping my babies Thanksgiving night so I can go shopping Black Friday starting at midnight. 

6.  that my daddy fixed my car the other day.  I was leaking gasoline.  Not good!

7.  for flannel sheets.  My feet didn't freeze last night.

8.  for peppermint foot soak after standing in heels for ten hours Saturday!!

9.  that my mom bought me a Christmas arrangement and a few ornaments at an Open House she went to the other day.  Can't wait to see them.

10.  for Black Friday deals. 

11.  for the song "I Can Only Imagine".  That is a great worship song.  I can't hear it and NOT worship.  Love it.

12.  for sweet tea.

13.  That nobody bought the jammies, excuse me, “Lounge Set” I made so that L can wear them.

14.  for five days with my kids, even though I may be nuts by Monday.

15.  for my bloggy friends.

16.  for the people who let me out in traffic .

17.  for lazy evenings on the couch with my Hubby.

18.  that my dishwasher is still working despite the fact that everything else in my house seems to be on it’s last leg.

19.  for Sonya, who keeps all the babies at the gym so I can work out.

20.  that my sweet Hubby can cook and was able to make dressing for Thanksgiving. YUM!

21.  that my kids adore eachother, even though they fuss a lot.

22. that E didn’t need a trip to the E/R after she fell off of the chair over the weekend. I think two trips to the E/R in six months is plenty!

23.  for J’s school, where I sub sometimes. I love the staff there. They are so much fun to work with.

24.  that my Hubby puts up with all the sewing I’ve been doing, without complaining, even though the laundry is piled up to the ceiling and I desperately need to dust.

25.  for bubble baths after a long, hard day!

26.  that our church may be putting in a "special needs" class for the autistic kids.  WOO HOO!

27.  for the best family EVER!  I couldn't have picked better if I picked them myself. 

Okay, so I went over 25, but I have so much to be thankful for!!!  What about you?


Friday, November 19, 2010

Christmas Inspiration

Hello friends!  Getting ready for the craft show (I know y'all are sick of hearing about it!), but I thought I'd put up some Christmas inspiration to get me in the mood!!!

Oh, to have a beautiful sunroom.  I am so in love with that black check couch!!  GORGEOUS!  Love the simple trees.  It's all gorgeous! 

First of all, I'm just in love with the wood island and the pot hanger thingee!  CUTE!  Love it all!

I love this little Christmas tree in the painted bucket!  I am so doing that!  So cute!

Photo credits from Better Homes and Gardens.

Everyone have a great weekend!  Catch up with y'all next week when everything is back to normal.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christmas Trees

Last weekend was a beautiful weekend in central Arkansas.  The weather was gorgeous and cold, which I love.  I was very excited to find that the Hallmark Channel was playing Christmas movies all day Sunday.  Christmas movies, football and Christmas decorating.  Sounds like an A+ day to me.

A friend of mine mentioned that she got one of her five trees up on Saturday.  WOW!  Five trees!  I used to work with a lady who always put up a tree in every room.  They all had different themes.  She had a cowboy tree in her grandson's nursery, which was also cowboy themed.  She had a monkey themed three in her jungle theme bathroom.  I believe the one in her guest room was Wizard of Oz or something like that.  Her house was decorated to the hilt and it was gorgeous and creative. 

I have a big tree in my living room and my mom bought my oldest daughter a pink tree for her room several years ago.  A few weeks ago I bought a little bitty tree for my kitchen.  It was on sale at Hobby Lobby for 50% off, so it cost me $2.50.  It's one of those little ones with burlap around the bottom.  It's so cute!  I want to decorate it in black and white for the kitchen, I think.  I'll have to come up with some cheap, cute ornament I can make.  Because I put my tree up so early, I use artificial trees. 

When I was younger, I always wanted a perfectly decorated color coordinated tree, but I think over the years I've changed my mind.  Our tree is 7 1/2 feet.  Our ornaments are a mix of everything.  We have lots of Hallmark ornaments we've collected over the years.  We have several Hallmark "frame" ornaments from a particular year that you are supposed to put a family picture in for that year.  MOST of them still have the family that came with the frame in them.  Isn't that awful?  By the time I finally get pictures from Christmas printed off, I've already put the ornaments back int the attic and by the time I get them down again the next year, I can't find the pictures again.  It's terrible and embarassing.  Oh well!  Some of the other ornaments are things the kids made at school:  beaded pipe cleaner candy canes, puzzle frames with the kids school pictures in them, snowflakes cut out of paper, etc.  I even have a little bell made from a tiny terra cotta pot that my husband made when he was little.  My mom got me some mesh and pretty stuff for the top of my tree, but I need to work on it a little more. 

We watch Chrismtas movies while we decorate the tree and usually end with hot chocolate.  We love hot chocolate. 

This got me wondering about how others decorate their trees.  Do y'all use real trees or artificial?  Do you decorate by themes or is it a modge podge?  Do you have a tree in every room or just one tree?  Do you watch Christmas movies or listen to Christmas music?  What are your decorating the tree traditions?


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Getting Ready For The Craft Fair

Hello friends.  I'm just rushing around like a chicken with my head cut off getting ready for the craft show this weekend so I thought I'd show you a few things I've made. 

I love this Michael Miller fabric! 

Chenille Snowman shirt.

Gotta go get sewing.  I've got four orders and more stuff to make for the craft fair. 

Hope y'all have a good day!

Sorry for this sorry excuse for a post.  I'll be normal again next week after things slow down a little.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Shrimp Fried Rice

Let me start this post by saying that I am not a big chinese food kind of girl.  Why?  Because I am not a big veggie eater.  I don't do sprouts and snow peas.  ICK!  I don't like sweet stuff in my main course so I hate sweet and sour anything.  EEWW!  Sweet stuff should be reserved for dessert foods.  I know, I know, I'm weird.  It's just one of my many freaky weird things.  Anyway, one of the few things I will eat is fried rice,especially shrimp fried rice.  YUM!  Okay, I do sometimes pick out the peas.  I. HATE. PEAS. 

We have a favorite drive through chinese place in town that we all love.  It's delicious and cheap.  Two of my very favorite things.  Problem is, they are open really weird hours.  Last time we had a hankering for fried rice, they were closed so I looked up a recipe, which I found here and got to cooking.  I copied Jaden's recipe below, but you might want to click on this link and read his four rules of fried rice.  Check out Jaden's other recipes at Steamy Kitchen.

Shrimp Fried Rice Recipe

Serves 4

8 ounces small uncooked shrimp, shelled and deveined

1/4 teaspoon salt (or 1/2 tsp kosher salt)

freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons cooking oil (divided)

3 eggs, beaten in a small bowl

2 stalks scallion or green onion, minced

4 cups previously cooked leftover rice, grains separated well

3/4 cup frozen carrots and peas, defrosted

1 tablespoon soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce if you are making a gluten-free version)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

In a bowl, toss the shrimp with the salt, pepper and cornstarch. Let the shrimp marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature. Heat a wok or large sauté pan on high heat. When the pan is hot enough for a bead of water to instantly sizzle and evaporate, add only 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil and swirl to coat pan.

Now add the shrimp, quickly spreading out around the pan so that they are not overlapping. Let the shrimp fry, untouched for 30 seconds. Flip over and let the other side fry for 30 seconds, or until about 80% cooked through. Remove the shrimp from the pan onto a plate, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible.

Turn the heat to medium and let the pan heat up again. Pour in the eggs, stirring in a quick motion to break up and scramble the eggs. When the eggs are almost cooked through (they should still be slightly runny in the middle), dish out of the frying pan onto the same plate as the cooked shrimp.

Use a paper towel to wipe the same wok or sauté pan clean (no need to wash) and return to high heat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of cooking oil, swirling to coat. When the oil is very hot, add the green onions and stir fry until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add in the rice and stir well to mix in the green onions throughout. Spread the rice all around the wok surface area and let the rice heat up, untouched until you hear the bottoms of the grains sizzle, about 1-2 minutes. Use the spatula to toss the rice, again spreading the rice out over the surface of wok or pan

Drizzle the soy sauce all around the rice and toss. Add the peas and carrots, the cooked eggs, shrimp and sesame oil, tossing to mix the rice evenly with all of the ingredients. Let everything heat back up again, until the rice grains are so hot they practically dance! Taste and add an additional 1 teaspoon of soy sauce if needed.

Sorry I don't have a better picture, but I scarfed it all down before I thought to pick up the camera.  It was really good!  It definitely would've been easier with a wok though. 

Have a great day!


Monday, November 15, 2010

Celebrate Living Thanksgiving - Week 2

Hello bloggy friends!  I am starting off the week with Celebrate Living Thanksgiving.  I think being thankful is a good way to start the week, don't you?  So, here we go....I am thankful for:

1.  That even though in this life I'm not anywhere close to riches or mansions, that I will have a mansion in heaven. 

2.  that my son actually sang during the school Veteran's Day program.  He hates to sing in front of people!

3.  that the strep has left my house.  I don't have time to be sick!

4.  that the kids had a good time decorating the Christmas tree last night, even though they totally stressed me out!

5.  for every handmade mismatched ornament on my tree because my kids made them, well, except maybe the weird paper Mario trophy my son made. 

6.  that my aunt could keep L while we went to J's Veteran's Day Program so we could actually watch and listen instead of trying to entertain L.

7.  for Hallmark Channel's Christmas Movie Marathon yesterday.  Ahhhh, I love Christmas movies.

8.  for my peacock feather printed rainboots my mom got me for Christmas last year.  I love them! 

9.. for rainy days so I can wear my rainboots without getting those weird stares from people who are thinking, "It's 82 degrees and sunny.  Why is she wearing her rainboots?"

10.  for E's impromptu song and dance performances in the living room, Jeepers, Creepers, where'd you get those peepers" and "Single Ladies".  She makes me laugh.

11.  for Redbox.  It's cheap.  Love that!

12.  for my dad because he always finds time to figure out what's wrong with my van and fixes it.

13.  for soft fluffy towels straight out of the dryer

14.  for Gain Apple Mango Tango.  I love that stuff!

15.  for flannel sheets even though I haven't used them lately.

16.  for my favorite orange cup that I stole from my mom

17.  for trips we are planning to see family for the holidays

18.  for the show Undercover Boss.  It makes me cry every week and reminds me that there really are some wonderful people in this world.

19.  for chocolate

20.  for mascara

21.  for friends who pray for you, even when you don't ask.

22.  for my Husband who makes me laugh EVERY SINGLE DAY!

23.  that my mom is not only my mom, but my friend

24.  for Veggie Tales

25.  For Christmas and the birth of my Savior

I'm linking up to my friend Mary Joy's Celebrate Living Thanksgiving.  Click over and join in the fun!

What are you thankful for???


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Getting To Know Your Thursday......Concerts

So, bloggy friends, here we are again for another installment of Getting To Know You Thursday.  There have been plenty of Thursdays when I really have to think about what I want to share.  That is not the case this week.  I was reading my friend Xazmin's post from a few days ago about The New Kids On The Block and The Backstreet Boys going on tour and I got to thinking about my first concert and wondering about yours. 

Now, keep in mind that I am a child of the 70's and a teenager of the 80's. So, by the time I was in 6th or 7th grade, I was listening to music by Michael Jackson, Culture Club, Journey, Chicago, Stray Cats, Phil Collins, Bryan Adams, Men At Work, Air Supply and Duran Duran.  My walls were covered with posters of the guys from Duran Duran, John and Roger Taylor being my favorites.  Many of my friends were going to see Van Halen, Bryan Adams and The Police when they came in conert.  I remember being so jealous.  My parents would've NEVER let me go to a concert unsupervised.  N.E.V.E.R.  I know my friends must've thought I was the biggest nerd because my parents were so strict.  Little did I know that I would be too. 

So, when I was in 7th grade, my parents' friends from church, who we hung out with all the time, offered to take me to a concert with them.  They were a brother and sister in their 20's and were very responsible.  They babysat us often so mom and dad knew they were trustworthy.  So, off we went to my very first concert.  Wanna know who we went to see? 

Yes, people, Barry Manilow.  I love Barry Manilow.  My friends nearly laughed me out of school when I wore my Barry Manilow Paradise Cafe concert shirt to school, but I didn't care.  I love Barry Manilow and have seen him several more times.  I mean, girls, Barry writes the songs that make the whole world sing, ya know?  Not to mention the Band-Aid commercial jingle (I am stuck on Band-Aids, and a Band-Aid's stuck on me), the State Farm Song (Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there) and the classic McDonald's (You deserve a break today, at McDonald's).  I still love him.  As I've said before, I'm embracing my inner dork.

Yes, since then I have been to some more "typical" conerts.  My dad took my friend and me to see Huey Lewis and The News in high school.  I did see Chicago, REO Speedwagon, New Kids On The Block, NSYNC, Jim Brickman, and I even went to Lalapallooza in New Orleans many years ago and saw Red Hot Chili Peppers and several other alternative bands.  Boy, I didn't fit in AT ALL at that concert.  From Barry Manilow to Chili Peppers.  Wow, that's quite a range, isn't it? 

The last concert I went to was when my Hubby surprised me by taking my to see Rascal Flatts a few years ago.  We dropped off the kids at my aunt's house and got back in the car to go to dinner and a movie.  Hubby told me I had lipstick on my teeth or something so that I would pull down the visor mirror where he had stashed the concert tickets for me to find.  What a huge surprise and what a great concert.  Yep, he's a keeper! 

I'm not big on spending a lot of $$ on concerts.  I know people who have flown across the country to "follow" a band to several cities on their tour.  Nope, not me.  I have to really love a group to pay good money to see them.  I would love to see Bon Jovi in concert though.  I've never seen them, but I've heard they are really good.  I would also pay to see Nickleback, Daughtry, Michael Buble and a few more. 

So, what was your first conert?  Who was your last concert?  Who are you dying to see in concert? 


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Baby Gowns and Peasant Dresses

The next week and a half are going to be busy, busy around here as I am finishing up some orders and getting ready for a craft show.  I am dying to decorate for Christmas and do some Christmas crafting for the house and the family, but it'll probably have to wait a few weeks.  I did want to share just a few things I've been working on.

This is for a dear sweet friend and client who is pregnant with her first baby.  We are all sooo excited for her!

and she just happens to be one of the biggest Razorback fans that I know, so....

Congrats!  Can't wait to meet Baby Grace!!!

and one more just for good measure...

Okay, obviously this isn't for Baby Grace, but don't ya just love a good peasant dress on a little girl?  With tall black boots?  Sooo cute!!  Little Miss Leah is going to be so cute in this!

Y'all have a great day!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Holiday House 2010

This past weekend was the annual Holiday House in Little Rock.  The Junior League puts it on every year and it is a fabulous Christmas shopping extravaganza.  My mom, sister and I planned to go, but my niece had a school program and then they had to go out of town, so mom and I went Saturday and had such a great time.  This place was FULL of holiday decorating inspiration and gift giving ideas. 

Mom and I parked and walked past the Capital Hotel.

I love the Capital Hotel.  There is something so elegant about it.

Then we entered the convention center to find this waiting for us:

Okay, this picture is actually from the website because I forgot to take my own.  OOPS!

Anyway, Holiday House was full of great decorating ideas that I would love to share with you, but I saw lots of these:

Okay, so the ones I saw were much cuter, but I couldn't take a picture of them for obvious reasons. 

There was one booth that I loved that did allow me to take pictures.  Okay, so in all honesty, I didn't ask, BUT I didn't see a sign so I snapped a few really quickly before I got busted and she showed me her sign.

Oh my gosh!  A sock monkey Christmas tree!  GRACIOUS!  LOVE!  LOVE!  LOVE!  I looked up her booth # and it was Myrna's Joy.  I think it's the Funky Monkey in Van Buren, AR, but I have no verification of that.  Look what else she had in her booth:


Sock Monkey EVERYTHING!  Even a Monkey in the Box!  Soo cute!  She also had some really cute sock monkey paintings.  I didn't get a picture of those. 

If I had lots of $$ sitting around waiting to be spent, I would've bought me a bunch of sock monkeys for a Christmas tree in the playroom.  Soooo cute!  Maybe I can do that by the time I have grandchildren. 

There was one other booth that I'll share with you later in the week.  Hope y'all have a great day!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Celebrate Living Thanksgiving

My sweet friend Mary Joy is hosting something special on Mondays in November.  She is hosting a McLinky called Celebrate Living Thanksgiving.  The idea is to list 25 things you are thankful for.  So, I am participating in Mary Joy's celebration today.  Go on over to Mary Joy's and link up what you're thankful for. 

These are the things I am thankful for today:

1.  For my Jesus who died for me.

2.  For having the best parents in the whole world and the best brother and sister too!

3.  For my Hubby, my best friend.

4.  For my kids.

5.  I am thankful that my little L has been talking a little more lately.  This is an answer to prayer.

6.  I am thankful for all my kids' teachers.  I would not be a good homeschooling mom so I am so thankful for their teachers!

7.  I am thankful for all my extended family.  I have some of the best aunts, uncles and cousins you could ever imagine and I love them all.

8.  For special education teachers, especially L's teachers.  His preschool teachers were fabulous and his elementary teachers are precious too.  We are sooo blessed! 

9.  L's therapists.  I'm missing his preschool therapists.  They did so much for him.  I've only met a few of his new therapists, but I am thankful for them all.  Love you Gina!

10.  For this little girl sitting beside me and that I get to stay home with her everyday....for 9 more months.

11.  For my coffee with hazelnut Coffeemate.  MMMMMM! 

12.  For genetics.  I love seeing my parent's and Hubby's parents and us as parents, in our kids.  So cool!

13.  For the three day weekend we just had.

14.  For our troops that protect us everyday.

15.  For our military families and the sacrifices they make everyday.

16.  For our veterans. 

17.  For red and yellow leaves.  They are so pretty!

18.  For late night conversations with my Hubby.  It's the only time we don't have kids interrupting us.

19.  For watching my little girl play with her dolls.  I love that I can hear the words we say so often, repeated to her dolls, "Great job, baby."  and "You're the best in the whole wide world!"  "Eat your peas or you can't play Wii." 

20.  For a Hubby that loves me even though I am the most unorganized girl in the whole wide world!

21.  For all the little "Mom, I love you!" that I hear everyday.

22.  That God always provides for us even when it looks impossible.

23.  For my sewing machine.

24.  For my grandmother who taught me to be crafty.

25.  For the most affectionate Hubby ever.  I never thought I would find someone as loving as I am.

What are you thankful for?

I'm linking up to:  Weekend Bloggy Reading

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Getting To Know You Thursday.....Nervous Giggles

Have you ever performed in front of a live audience?  Given a speech?  Sang a solo?  Done anything that makes you nervous?  I've spoken a few times about how I always wanted to be an actress.  My desire was to be a movie actress or maybe a TV actress, not a stage actress.  Why?  Because I get stage fright.  I tend to do okay with a group on stage, but the few times the spotlight was on me, it didn't go well.  I would do fine in rehearsal and I would do fine in front of strangers, but if I knew someone in the audience, it was never a good thing!  Did I get on stage and freeze?  Nope.  Did I pass out?  Nope.  Not me.  I get the giggles when I get nervous.  Not just on stage, but anything that makes me nervous, gives me the giggles. 

The first time I remember it happening is when my four year old brother got a motorcycle for Christmas.  It was the cutest little motorcycle EVER.  I was twelve years old and I barely fit on it.  I got on it, giggling and rode across the yard, laughing so hard I couldn't see straight and I ran straight into the fence.  Not good!  My brother was not happy that I wrecked his new motorcyle the day he got it. 

The next time I remember the giggling was when my older cousin, after years of my begging, finally agreed to let me drive his go-cart.  My grandparents lived in the country and there were lots of dirt roads around their house - dirt roads and bean fields.  I made it from their house about a fourth of a mile down the dirt road, pedal to the floor, giggling the whole time with my cousin beside me screaming at me to slow down, and then in a cloud of dust, we went off the road and into the bean field, where we got stuck.  He was not happy with me.  I don't think I ever got to drive his go cart again.

Same thing happened when my dad let me drive our go-cart and while teaching me to drive my mom's car.  Not good. 

Want to know the absolute worst time to get nervous and get the giggles?  When you're singing a duet, in church.  My friend Charlotte and I had a duet in the kids' program.  I was probably about 13 at the time.  We got up to sing our duet in front of the church and made it through the first verse, when the giggles started.  I could feel them creeping up and tickling my nose and I sniffed trying to get rid of them when all of a sudden, I exploded in nervous laughter.  I could see my mom from where I stood in front of the church and I will never forget the look of embarassment mixed with fury.  I knew I was in so much trouble, but I couldn't help it.  Unfortunately, this affliction seems to be contagious and soon Charlotte and I were giggling through the rest of the song.  After the music stopped and we walked backstage, I practically ran out of the church for fear of a beating.

When I was in high school, I made sure not to take speech.  I knew better.  But, when my World Drama teacher insisted on a project that had to be done in front of the class, I knew I was in trouble.  My partner, David, and I opted to do a puppet show so that we would be hidden from the class.  We were doing Romeo and Juliet, with puppets.  David was the class clown, one of my dearest friends and one of the funniest people I've ever known.  My dad helped us build our set.  We painted it and worked on our show for weeks.  We had our lines down.  We were ready.  The day of our presentation in front of the class, I was prepared and ready to get it over with.  We made it through about two pages of dialogue before I flubbed a line and the giggles overtook me.  Oh no.  Then David got started too.  We giggled so hard that we couldn't talk.  The giggles turned into a outrageous laughter between David and I behind our set and soon spilled into our classroom audience.  Finally, the teacher told us to please just leave the classroom.  We obliged as we stumbled, laughing so hard we had tears running down our cheeks, out into the hallway.  I think we got a D.  My parents were NOT happy.  They did not giggle.

So, what do you do when you get nervous?  Do you get the giggles too?  Do you freeze up?  Do you even get nervous in front of an audience? 

This post is dedicated to my dear friend David (on top), who passed away just over 13 years ago.  David, I still miss the sound of your giggles! 


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cold Weather Means Chicken and Dumplins

When the leaves are falling and the temperature starts to fall, do you begin to crave what I call "fall food"?  Chili, soup, dumplins, stew, etc.?  All of these are favorites of mine.  But my favorite might be chicken and dumplins.  I grew up eating Sweet Sue chicken and dumplins and I still love them, but my favorite dumplins are my Hubby's homemade dumplins.  You see, my Hubby grew up watching his grandmother make dumplins.  Hubby would go out back and kill the hen and Nannie would pluck it and make dumplins.  Now, I don't have chickens in my backyard and if I did, I know that I just couldn't stomach killing and plucking it.  I'm not a farm girl.  But, Hubby did teach me how to make fabulous dumplins without killing the chicken.

Chicken from the store
Milk (whole or 2%)

Buy a chicken and put it in a big dutch oven (I prefer to use non-stick if you have one) and boil it until fully cooked (usually about an hour depending on size).  Set aside to cool.  Strain your broth.  I do this twice to make sure and get out all of the yucky junk.  Put broth back onto stove and bring to a boil.  While it's warming up, put 2-3 cups of all purpose flour into a large bowl.  Add a cup of your chicken broth and about a teaspoon of salt to your flour.  The chicken broth and salt give your dough so much more flavor than using water.

Mix dough up with a spoon adding more flour and broth until  it gets to a biscuit dough consistency.  Drop out onto a clean floured surface.

Roll the dough out to about 1/8" thickness and cut into thin strips about 1 1/2" - 2" wide.  I use a pizza cutter.

Then begin tearing your strips into pieces that are close to the same size and dropping them into your broth.  Do this quickly so that your dough doesn't dry out and so the cooking time for all the dumplins will be realitively the same. 

Boil, uncovered, until the dumplins are done, stirring every once in awhile.  The time will depend on the size of your dumplins, but it usually takes about 30 minutes or so. 

You will have to taste them to check their consistency.  I don't like mine too doughy, but that's just personal preference.  You may need to add a little water, if your broth gets low.  Gently stir every few minutes while cooking so your dough doesn't stick to the bottom of your pan.  When your dumplins are fully cooked, add about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of milk and bring to a boil.  This makes your dumplins creamy as opposed to greasy. 

Once your dumplins come to a boil again, lower the temperate to Low and let simmer for about 5-10 minutes to allow the dumplins to thicken slightly.  Be sure and stir every few minutes so they don't stick to the bottom.  Add salt and pepper to taste. 

YUMMMMMM!  One of my favorite cold weather comfort foods! 

Have a great day!