Mama Remembered: An Overheard Conversation

June 30, 2009


my three sisters very small 2    My three sisters in summer, 1933.  The baby is Martha Lou, then Betty Rose and Jean Marie.  Our brother, Jimmy, was born the next year and I was born 13 years later.

An excerpt from Mama’s book, I Remember:

Our house was pretty cold in the winter, so the kids wore long underwear and sometimes I let them sleep in it.  One night I heard Jean Marie say to Better Rose, “Your back door is open”.  Betty Rose replied, “My kitchen is hot.”  They were about four and three.

When I think about where their terminology might have come from, I can picture that, with no air conditioning, when Mama was in the kitchen cooking, she might have regularly said, “Whew, it’s hot in here, I’m going to open the door!”

Haven’t we all learned … children are always listening to and parroting what we say, sometimes in unexpected context!

Fighting Our Battles

June 28, 2009


 Chronicles 5:20  They cried out to God during the battle and He answered their prayer because they trusted Him.

Whatever our battle is — physical, mental, spiritual — God will help us with it if we just ask and trust.

Sometimes a recipe can just get away from you!

June 27, 2009


I am trying out some new recipes that I might like to make when Gunny and his family are here the week after the 4th of July.

I cut a recipe out of the newspaper for Asian Chicken, which looked good.  So, I decided to try it for dinner tonight.

Here’s the recipe:

Asian Chicken

8 oz. angel hair pasta, 2 C. small broccoli florets, 1 lb. skinless chicken breasts, cut in thin strips, 1/2 C. Asian toasted sesame dressing, 2 T. soy sauce, 1/4 t. ground ginger, 1/4 t. garlic powder, 1/4 t. crushed red pepper

Cook pasta as directed on package, add broccoli to the boiling water for the last 3 minutes of pasta cooking time. 

Spray a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray; heat on medium-high.  Add chicken and cook until done, stirring occasionally.  Stir in dressing, soy sauce, ginger, garlic powder and crushed red pepper.  Cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. 

Drain pasta/broccoli and put in large bowl.  Add chicken mixture and mix.  Makes 4 servings.

I planned on making it exactly like the recipe, but then …

… I couldn’t find angel hair pasta, so bought cappellini

… I decided that one of the Steam Fresh microwave bags of broccoli florets was about 2 C. so I decided to use that, instead of cooking raw broccoli in with the pasta

… I bought a 2 lb. package of chicken tenders (the smallest they had), and would cut them into smaller pieces myself

… “Asian toasted sesame dressing”?  Really?  I looked at just about every bottle in the dressing aisle, and couldn’t find any that called themselves that, so I bought the closest thing — Paul Neuman’s Lite Asian Dressing, because it’s ingredients included sesame oil — close enough

And, other than those few variations, I was still on track to make exactly this recipe.

I hadn’t counted on how long it was going to take to cut those chicken tenders into smaller pieces (which I still didn’t get small enough), so the skillet I was heating had to have the very brown cooking spray wiped out of it once and I had to start over again.  Also, because I had two lbs. of chicken and was already cutting up half of it, I decided, “Well, I’ll just double the recipe, so that I can use all the chicken.”  Brilliant!  So, I quick threw the other half of the lb. box of cappellini into the pasta pot too.  And, I got out another bag of the Steam Fresh broccoli and would cook it as soon as the first bag came out of the microwave.  Okay.  So I was on line to double what I was sure would be a delicious dish, and we could have the other half tomorrow night!

P1020164(1)   The result — a verrrry large bowl of Asian chicken.

This is a large mixing bowl and this is about how much double the recipe made — a huge amount.  Unfortunately, when this picture was taken, Hubby and I had already eaten a hearty meal’s worth out of the bowl for dinner, but there still appears to be the same amount left in the bowl!  How can that be?!

Some notes I’ll put on this recipe, so I don’t forget:

* Only double if you’re having eight hearty eaters over for dinner.

* Use half as much pasta and broccoli — the chicken gets lost in the shuffle.

*Cut the chicken in muuuuch smaller pieces.  Ditto the broccoli, and actually do like the recipe said and cook fresh broccoli in with the pasta that has been cut in very small pieces.

This was one of those instances when a recipe sort of got away from me!  We’ll be eating this for days.  And, of course, will then be sick of it by the time Gunny and his family get here, so won’t be making it for them. Sigh.

Next, I’ll be trying a Mexican casserole recipe that a friend at WW gave me.  It looks good, but I’m going to follow the recipe exactly … and I’m NOT going to double it!

My Early “Law Enforcement” Career!

June 26, 2009


Getting a Ticket

I’ve already told you about Officer Dan and shown you the consequences of my early need for speed, but, for the sake of being “fair and balanced” I should also show you that I did actually do some “enforcing” myself …

 Safety Patrol 001   In sixth grade, I was a safety patrol!

On the fashion front, let’s just analyze this outfit.  First of all, I’m sure it was at Mama’s insistance that I was wearing a headscarf, because she wouldn’t have wanted me to get cold while standing on a corner making small children safe.  And, it may look a little odd now that I was wearing a dress (if my head would have gotten cold, what about those legs?), but girls never wore pants to school when I was in school, even in high school.   And, yes, those are saddle shoes and bobby socks — a part of any well-dressed girl’s attire in 1959.  I remember the jacket — my favorite red denim one, and, of course, the ensemble was finished off by the “badge” of authority, my safety patrol belt! 

My elementary school had six grades, so as “the big kids” sixth graders were selected to be safety patrols.  And I was one of the ones chosen!  It required us to walk to our designated corner about a half hour early and then stand there until almost time for school to start to make sure that the kids got across the street safely. By the way, these were neighborhood streets, not busy main streets. 

I’m pretty sure Mama told me what pose to strike for this picture, because I doubt that I would have come up with that look of authority on my own.  This was before schools  figured out that small children escorting even smaller children across streets probably wasn’t the best idea, and started hiring adults to do it.

Now, in case you’re thinking that this was just a “glamour” job, let me tell you it wasn’t without its risks! 

One dreary morning, after an overnight rain, when it was time for me to leave my post and walk the block to school, I approached the corner in front of the school where two boys I knew were the patrols, Tom and Tom.  But, unknown to me, while Tom and Tom had been standing at their corner, they had realized that the big, flat rock (about 3 ft. across as I remember) laying there had water under it and that if you stepped on one corner of it, a little bit of the water would spurt out from under the other side.  Soooo, as I approached, they decided that it would be funny to surprise me with their new “toy”.  So, as I walked up, one of them didn’t just step on one side of the rock — he jumped on the rock!  Instantly, a huge spray of dirty water shot out from under the rock and covered me in mud!  I cried.  They laughed.  The principal spanked both of them and drove me home to change my clothes. 

That may have been when they decided adults were better for those jobs.

She could be a contender, I tell ya’!!

June 24, 2009


If Linda chose to, she could write a very entertaining blog, because she’s a very entertaining person — but, so far, she’s not interested. 

That’s really too bad, BUT it means that I can shamelessly use her stories on MY blog!

After yesterday’s post about the conversation about the car and garage that she and Doug had, she sent me the following e-mail to tell me exactly how the story went and actually it was even funnier than I had portrayed.  And then, she told me about another conversation they had today.  I tell ya’ — she’s got a million of ’em!

Linda gave me permission to re-print her e-mail.  Here it is:

Actually that conversation was even more confusing than the way you reported it. It was kind of a dreary, drizzly day; and I had been out running some errands. When I came home, Doug was in the garage. He met me as I was about to pull into the garage and asked me to “leave the car out of the garage so he could clean it.” I understood that to mean that he wanted to wash the car, and I questioned (to myself) the wisdom of that, given the weather conditions. But I didn’t voice my opinion, left the car outside, and went into the house. Awhile later, Doug came into the kitchen, and I asked him if he had washed the car yet. He looked at me incredulously, and said, “Why would I wash the car on a day like this?” I looked at him, just as incredulously (maybe more so) and said, “You TOLD me to leave the car out because you wanted to clean it.” The light dawned in his eyes then, and he told me that he had meant that he was going to clean the GARAGE.


I have another story that happened this morning. You know how he always asks me which credit card he should use? Well, he was getting ready to take the Corolla in to Discount Tire this morning to have the tires rotated and balanced. As he was getting ready to leave, he called to me from the other room and said, “Which card should I use?” I replied, “You probably ought to take the Corolla.”


If she ever decides to use all this great fodder on a blog of her own — I’m toast! 🙂

Fourth of July is Coming!

June 24, 2009


In case you want to go all out for the Fourth and make Hamburgers out of cupcakes and French Fries out of sugar cookies, you can see examples on the Cake Wrecks site on my blog roll (and use the link she provides to go to Bakerella where, I think there are instructions how to make them).

But, I think the hamburger cookies I learned to make last year seem much easier, and I plan to make some next week in preparation for the Fourth, so here is the recipe.

  hamburger cookies 3

Hamburger Cookies  (makes 40)



 One box Vanilla Wafers (80+ cookies).  You need 80 fairly whole cookies, and you can get that many from one box, if you’re willing to use ones that might have some nicks in them (I did and I don’t think the imperfections were noticeable.).  If you’re a perfectionist, get two boxes, so that you can use just “perfect” ones.

 One package Keebler Grasshopper Cookies (40 cookies)

 One cup of flaked coconut

 Green Food Coloring

 One egg white from a fresh egg (because it won’t be cooked)

 Sesame Seeds

 2 Tubes of Red Frosting

 2 Tubes of Yellow Frosting



Lay 80 vanilla wafers out, half face up, half face down.  (I do it on a cookie sheet to make clean-up easier.)

Use a pastry brush to lightly brush egg white on the top of the upright wafers.

Then sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Do this a few at a time so that the egg white doesn’t dry out before being sprinkled with the seeds. Set aside to dry.

Put the coconut in a small bowl and sprinkle with a few drops of the green food coloring.  I put in as little as possible because I don’t want it to be uniformly green.  I think when it’s variegated green, it looks more like lettuce.


Building the Cookies “from the ground up”:

Put a squirt of frosting on each upside-down wafer and then gently press a mint cookie on top.  The color doesn’t matter here, so I suggest you do 20 of each color so that you don’t short yourself on either.)

Next, on top of each mint cookie, run a thick line of frosting near the edge, red along one side and yellow along the other.

Press some of the green coconut on top of the frostings, most importantly making sure some “hangs over.”

Put a dollop of frosting (color doesn’t matter) on the underside of the “top buns” and press on top of the “lettuce.”


All done!   Also fun for kids to do!

What did you say?

June 23, 2009


As he passed her in the kitchen on the way to the garage he said, “I’m going to move the car out of the garage so that I can clean it.”

A little while later when she walked out into the garage, he said, “Well, what do you think?” 

As they stood in the obviously not-clean garage, she said, “I thought you said you were going to clean in here?”

He took a minute to absorb what she had said, then just smiled and pointed to the driveway … where the car was now nice and shiney clean.

Thank you, Linda for all the interesting moments you have shared with me over the years that I’m sure you never suspected would end up being fodder for my blog! 


New Beginnings

June 22, 2009


… a fractured relationship can be  even better after forgiveness is asked for and given for a thoughtless word or act

… a field that has been fallow and brown in the winter flourishes in the spring when new crops are planted … or a faith that is dormant may flourish after a seed of witness is sown

… at the beginning of every year, month, week, day, hour or minute, we have a new opportunity to make the next one different .. better

May God bless your new week with chances to forgive, plant seeds and realize new opportunities.

Happy Monday

Perfect Porridge, Please!

June 20, 2009


Most mornings I eat outmeal for breakfast, and after experimenting with packets and cups and flavored and quick and old-fashioned, I think I have finally arrived at the perfect bowl of outmeal.  So, of course, I want to share the results of my “testing” with you, my friends.

P1020072(1)  The “cast of characters” and the “tools of the trade”.

P1020073(1)  A half cup of old fashioned-style oatmeal (not “quick”).

P1020075(1)    Add 1 cup of water, a pinch of salt and some raisins.

P1020076   I believe the instructions on the store-brand box of oatmeal (which I’m now glad I had to buy because they were out of Quaker!) are the secret to really good outmeal, “5-6 minutes at 50 percent power“!   The little longer time combined with the lower power, make the outmeal the perfect texture — more the texture you get when you cook it on the stovetop. (And, the lower power also keeps it from running over in your microwave!)

P1020085(1)   Cooked, but not “cooked to death”!

P1020086(1)   One packet of regular Splenda decreases how much of the higher calorie Spenda brown sugar is needed to make the sweetness “just right”.

P1020087(1)   Who would have thought to even try to make fat-free half and half?  I don’t know — I just know I really like it!  Although, I consider it a “treat” and use one percent milk most of the time, to save calories.

P1020089(1)  In my opinion, a perfect early-morning breakfast is my favorite oatmeal …

  P1020069(1)  … along with a beautiful sunrise out the window.

The Envelope (well, really just a little piece of folded-up paper) Pleeeease!

June 19, 2009


Okay, I did this drawing for Janet Dean’s books very “scientifically” because I wanted it to be fair and square.  So, I wrote the names on little folded-up pieces of paper and put them in a bowl.  Then I went out on the deck where Hubby, the retired Sheriff  known for his integrity,  was doing a crossword puzzle and had him draw a name.  I just don’t think you could make a drawing any more fair than that!

And the name he drew is …. (drum roll) …. Cathy

Cathy who is mother to Beth at C. Beth Blog, wife to Sam at Dwell & Cultivate, creator of beautiful quilts, grandma par excellance, planner of elaborate parties for volunteers at their church in Yuma, Arizona where Sam is pastor, and just generally someone I consider a wonderful  blogging world friend.

Thank you to the rest of you who took the time to enter.  You are all appreciated.

Cathy, unless you have moved since we corresponded at Christmas, I will use that address to send you the books  in a couple weeks.  I will be having lunch with Janet a week from next Wednesday, and I thought I would wait to mail the books to you until after that, so that I can ask her to autograph them for you.

I just finished reading (my copy — not yours!) the second book, and I think they are really a good read.  Janet did a good job of making me care about the characters and keeping me interested in what happened to them next.

Congratulations, Cathy!