Monday, April 28, 2008

Soup for a Chicken Sole and Other Things

It's Monday again.

In honor of that, I figured I'd post something that has nothing to do with much of anything logical, as Mondays aren't too logical in my opinion. Especially when 6 AM comes so dang early.

So, for some pits and bieces (sorry, not enough coffee yet) -

1. We have a meeting this morning for D.'s case plan. (D. being our foster son, whom I would probably write more about if my defense mechanism for knowing I can't keep him wasn't to not write about him at this time)

2. I made Shelly's brownies last night and they disappeared in 10 minutes. It sure doesn't take too long for 7 people to finish this recipe off. I must say, though - she's goofy for saying bake them for 15 minutes. It took 25 for mine, but that also might possibly be due to the fact that I used a Pyrex dish instead of my usual Pampered Chef stoneware. Speaking of Shelly, she's a wealth of information on free and cheap stuff. AND she can't stand the FlyLady! I like her already, and I just found her blog last week!

3. The price of gas and groceries makes me angry. Thank you, GWB and company, for screwing up our economy so bad that we can't even afford to drive to buy over-priced apples and bananas. I suppose we could save money by eating the grass in our backyard instead of buying gas for the lawn mower. Oh wait! We're getting the Economic Stimulus Package $$$ soon - THAT's going to fix everything! And of course, McWannabee President has vowed a War on Poverty, so if that Fun(ny) Money from Washington doesn't get us out of our near-recession, once he's in office there won't be anymore poor people in our country.

4. Repeat # 3.

5. Church doesn't have to be entertaining to teach a Biblical truth. Fun is a side benefit, and shouldn't be the main focus.

6. # 5 stems from some recent visits Savannah had to 2 friend's churches. She won't be going back any time soon. At one, the children watched Nemo and ate snacks. NEMO, people!! NEMO! My daughter is completely capable of participating in a Bible study and LEARNING! At the other, the children sang stupid songs including "Arky" (Noah's Ark reference) - I HATED stupid children's songs when I was 7! She's almost 11! Of course she's going to hate it! When did it become OK to stop focusing on Bible stories and start tossing Goldfish crackers down kids throats and having them watch Pixar movies and feel dumb being told to make the motions of inane "songs"?

7. Savannah and I spent some time Friday evening at the scrapbook store. I actually got something accomplished.

8. I was reminded this weekend of a conversation that Savannah and I had a few years ago, apparently when I was on my last straw, or hanging on by a thread, or skinning my teeth, you get the point - she told me that I "didn't have kids to send them to their room all the time, Mom" and when I asked her why I had kids, she replied with "So you wouldn't be lonely". Talk about a tear jerker! How easy it would be to get so stressed over life that I don't enjoy it! I cringe when I hear people say they dread summer and look forward to school starting up again in the fall - why the heck did you have kids, people???? Word to people with no children yet but who think you want some someday - THINK before you Be Fruitful and Multiply!!! And don't let the school system become your babysitter and pressure valve! Yeah, I have my moments of non-blissful parenthood - ask my 15 year old, who seems to think being grounded is the way to spend his last few years at home. But as much as I can't tolerate his mouth, I'd still have a Bucky-shaped hole in my heart if he wasn't here.

9. My children have seen Tom smack my butt and whistle when I bend over. Deal with it, kids. Deal with it, everybody who thinks that's crude.

10. There's a house for sale in our town that I've been eyeing for 4 years. It needs lots of work. It's gorgeous in my head. "It's a Wonderful Life" gorgeous. I will refrain from calling the realtor. Sigh.

11. Tom used the phrase "cutie patootie" yesterday! I about died! He wasn't nearly as aghast as I thought he should be when I told him Rosie O'Donnell says that! UGH!!! Double Ugh!!!

12. Must get coffee and get
my blood pressure checked.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Thinking With My Stomach

Want a quick dinner that everyone (except my niece, who - strangely enough - doesn't like Italian food!!) will scarf down?

Try this - I don't know what it's called - Pasta Slop, maybe?

Shopping list:
1 16 oz. box Penne pasta
1 jar spaghetti sauce (I like Bertolli's Organics)
1 large package of pepperoni (you can toss in some browned hamburger, or chipped ham, maybe a little dirt for extra protein - mushrooms if you like them, green peppers, you name it)
1 can Campbell's Cheddar Cheese soup
2 8 oz. packages of shredded Italian and/or Mozzarella cheese

Cook the pasta, throw it in a bowl with all the other ingredients, mix it up good and flop it all in a baking dish rubbed with olive oil. Bake it for about 1/2 hour at 350, which also happens to be the exact time and temperature you need to bake a 9x13 pan of Betty Crocker brownies with chocolate chips tossed on the top. Steam some broccoli for nutrition's sake, and call it a day.

For a slightly more elegant ending, make
Peanut Butter Mocha Cheesecake

Shopping list:
Chocolate Cookie Crumb Crust
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1/2 c. peanut butter
2 T. Powdered Mocha-flavored coffee (I like General Foods International Suisse, but hot chocolate would be fine, too - I just like coffee any way I can get it!)
1 t. vanilla
1 tub of chocolate Cool-Whip

If you are REALLY into the chocolate thing, spread some Hot Fudge sauce on the crust before proceeding. If you add a sliced banana at this point, it makes this dessert a healthy choice.

Mix everything but the Cool-Whip together until it's creamy (add a few drops of milk if it's too thick) then fold in the Cool-Whip and plop it all in the crust, be patient while it sets up in the fridge, and remember you have to share with the whole family. Unless you live alone, in which case, call 9-1-1 after 1/2 the cheesecake is gone and they should be there with the emergency insulin by the time you finish off the last bite.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Target the Witness

So, here's a couple of recent conversation topics with which I have challenges.

An acquaintance who has two elementary age children made a comment about these children inviting friends from school to their church - "They're doing their best. School is a mission field in itself."

Choke - swallow...OK, the whole mission field thing just bothers me! I never have been able to comprehend sending a 5 year old to do spiritual battle with an atheist 52 year old playground supervisor! And don't point out "A little child shall lead them" - I'm not convinced that applies to public schooling!

People not understanding that having a "quiver full" of children, as referenced in the Bible, doesn't necessarily mean producing children at every available ovulation opportunity. I learned something from Preston this week. (Preston learned this from a non-traditional approach to schooling, not a boring textbook.) A "quiver" can hold different numbers of arrows, depending on what purpose the arrows will serve. For instance, apparently hunters had good enough aim that they only needed a couple of arrows. Warriors carried several more. Conclusion drawn? A man who was providing food for his family wouldn't have as many weapons as a man who was protecting his family, tribe, or nation. Hrm...

The doctor is in and open to discussion.....

It Really Wasn't Very Windy

Birthdays are pretty much a big deal around here. For Preston's 16th birthday, we kept asking him what he wanted to do. He wanted to go paint balling. Mind you, he has no paintball equipment, and his birthday is in March, a typically cold time of year in Ohio. So we tried to sway him with the idea of a train ride...We kept saying things like "Hey, how 'bout a trip to the zoo, and we'll have the train engineer take you on a longer ride? We can pay extra, and he'll take you off the regular route." Although he wasn't much impressed, when we gave him the tickets to take Amtrak to Chicago, his interest level perked up. We hopped on board, after the obligatory delayed arrival of the Lake Shore Express, and spent 3 days firmly planting blisters on the soles of our feet, downtown Chicago.

After a very kind Some-Kind-of-Order Monk/Priest helped us figure out the bus route to the Museum of Science and Industry, Preston discovered his disfigurement wasn't just his imagination.

When we were in Orlando 2 years ago, we wanted to visit the Medieval Times Dinner Theatre, but for various reasons including the $350 cost for family tickets, not to mention having to deal with a grumpy father-in-law who totally didn't appreciate Florida (he's 70, for Pete's sake!! Isn't that required???!?) - (THAT's a whole other story in itself - suffice to say, there will be no more vacations with father-in-law!) ...we decided to save the knights and damsels in distress for another time.

The perfect time seemed to be Preston's birthday! I think the most expensive part of our trip was the train/cab rides to Schaumburg! Preston decided he'd like to work here.

Strolling the streets of Chicago, we had lunch (any sandwich, chips and a pickle = $4.19) at Potbelly Pig, or Potbelly Stove, or something like that. Maybe it was Beergut Delight. My very favorite picture of the whole trip, I think.

Somebody told us the Lego store was in Nordstroms. What they didn't tell us was that the Nordstrom sign was rather small, compared to other shops. We walked from South Michigan to the opposite north end of the Magnificent Mile and halfway back, before we located this obscure shopping center. Did I mention the blisters on my feet?

We hunted all over for Ed Debevic's diner. When we found it, there was a busload of what appeared to be prom-goers waiting for entrance. We quickly ducked into Hard Rock, where the guy seated one table over looked very much like Bob Seger. He even was wearing a Bob Seger t-shirt. Tom thought maybe that was his way of being incognito. (When I try to go incognito, it usually has something to do with leopard print leggings and rhinestone sunglasses, but Bob would look silly dressed like that. Elton John, on the other hand...)

When the kids were little, Tom was the resident cake decorator, and I must say, he did a right smart job usually. However, as Preston has grown older, he's adopted the position of being a Wolverines fan, and Tom gets Artist Block with that whole concept, so Preston now decorates his own cake.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This Has Nothing to Do with Tax Day

While being rich and famous would have it's benefits, the circles I'd have to run in probably wouldn't allow my sparkling personality to shine. I'm much more at home with like-minded people where I can just be myself.

I doubt I'd fit in with polite society, although I do have a dog small enough to carry around in a Gucci bag. I think it's the idea of paying $742 for a pair of Sophia Loren-style sunglasses that boggles my mind the most. Mine are knock-offs from Dollar General, price - $3.00. I do have kids to buy milk for, ya know!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Saving Place

Speaking of helping people...

I recently had the opportunity to spend some time waiting at the "service desk" at our local Kmart. I don't frequent this store often, because it seems when I do darken their doors, it inevitably means doing time working on the so-called virtue of patience.

Naturally, the phone had to ring itself off the grimy desk countless times while I waited to exchange some little boy clothing for even smaller-sized little boy clothing. (This was done in an effort to keep my older children from referring to our precious 2 year old temporary family member as "Homeboy".) I also worked on avoiding eye contact with a gentle(?)man who was, more patiently than I, waiting for the team member to make phone calls for assistance on how to issue a Western Union money order. It appeared that this man believed that $100.00 would get him from Northwest Ohio to Texas to sell the cattle he owns there. I'm not sure of the details, because I have a hard time eavesdropping while not making eye contact, but that whole thing sounded slightly fishy to me. He looked like a shady drug dealer to me, and I can only hope that if his story checks out, he's driving a Festiva, which is about the only way he'll make it 1200 miles on 100 bucks. And hopefully he doesn't need to transport his cattle by himself.

The clerk behind the desk was a pleasant if slightly unkempt woman of probably about 55 but she obviously hadn't learned the value of either giving up smoking or utilizing Oil of Delay, so she looked a little antique-y. She further strengthened my belief that Jane Seymour is the only woman on earth who can make long hair look good past 50. She was responsible to answer the persistant phone.

"Thank you for calling Kmart. What can I help you discover today?"


Discover? I realize it's most likely got something to do with the fact that Kmart and Sears are partners and Sears has something to do with Discover, and they're trying to subliminally trick you into using your credit card to buy Tide the next time you're in their store, but "What can I help you discover today?" ???

Well for starters, let's do an Easter egg hunt with only Cadbury Caramel Eggs. Then we can move on to how to make a size 12 body look like a size 5, followed by the perfect non-fading hair color, and which purse matches my eye color the best. We can finish it all off with the Fountain of Youth.

"What can I help you discover today?"

Oh good grief!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

No Fear

This is a page from the application for assistance at the Ohio Department of Human Services.

On the full page, notice the checklist of things that US citizens have to do to receive help.

This is a closer view of the lower portion of the same application page.

On the close up view, in answer to the question "Do I have to be a citizen?" - Of course not! Don't let fear of US Immigration officials keep you from asking for food stamps, child care, medical care, heck we'll give it all to you. Is there anything else we can help you with today?

Welcome to America, land of the free stuff.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


My sister's always watching out for me, so naturally she couldn't resist this. ;-)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Just a Few Points to Make - or Not

So today's sign prompted a short discussion with Tom -

The sign:
I desire mercy, not sacrifice. - Jesus


Tom thought maybe it might possibly tie in to "To obey is better than sacrifice". But he couldn't figure out how...??

I, of course, typically ranted a bit. "What about the whole Take Up Your Cross and Follow Me and Greater Love Has No Man idea?" Doesn't that require sacrifice? And why does Jesus want mercy? For us, or for Him?
Why would He need mercy? He showed us mercy...

So I'm thinking...what is the deeper meaning I'm supposed to be getting here, and failing miserably to grasp? Is there something slightly Biblical here?

Or am I not getting it because it's yet another dumbed-down, simple-minded, pot-of-(fool's)-gold screwy view of what Christianity is?

Yesterday morning on the drive to church, a "worship" song was being played on the radio that about sent me over the edge. {According to the kids, I was over the edge.} It included something along these lines: when it floods, will you be there when my face is in the mud ...
First, the group singing this song does have the occasional song I don't mind hearing, although I'm hard-pressed, currently, to name one. But when I went searching for the actual lyrics, which I couldn't find, I was able to find many of their other songs - I wasn't much impressed with the lyrics of any of them!

Nearly anyone can rhyme a few words together, but that doesn't mean the words need to be accompanied by an acoustic guitar and an American Idol wanna-be worship leader wailing his heart out about wondering if God sees his muddy face! I KNOW people feel alone, and that no one cares, no one hears, Yes! I know that! But wouldn't you think that someone who's writing songs used in "praise and worship" (term used loosely, for various reasons I don't have time to discuss tonight!) settings would at least have a smidgen of knowledge that God WILL be there for them, dirty face and all?

Then again, if that person is spending more time reading the latest Joel or Joyce book instead of looking to God's Word for encouragement, maybe they DON'T know that God loves filthy people! They probably know that God wants them to have the best of everything NOW, but they might not realize He's here to enjoy it with them! (Yep, that's facetiousness you detect)

Hint: The Bible says "I am with you always, even to the end..."

Note: The above reference to questionable worship leader practices is not meant in any way to reflect on our very own worship leader, a wonderful guy for whom I have great respect.

Of interest: I have an adversarial, slightly off-kilter friend who's philosophy on life offers an often comical viewpoint on odd names of musical groups - this includes his dislike of groups who's name is a repeat of itself. I'll defer to his opinion of the above-referenced (without actually referencing) band. I'll go a step further by saying I agree with him.

And now I'm done.