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Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Bounty of My Back Yard

{5 eggs, 5 jalepenos, 2 tomatoes, 1 zucchini, and some salad greens}

The Hubs and I have big dreams for "Someday." Our dream is to someday have a small farm, where we grow vegetables and fruits, raise chickens for meat and eggs, have a few pigs for meat, maybe a cow for milk, and goats and donkeys mainly just for fun. We are working hard toward "getting there." But it is a slow road.
 
Our goal is to be content with what we have now, and continue to work towards our dream.  And what we have now is pretty exceptional.
 
We have a little 1/2 acre of land that we have been blessed to live on. We have taken this land from a barren, brown, drought parched mess, and transformed it into something we think is special. We have planted flowers, and a rose garden, and a vegetable garden, and built a chicken coop and a run for them to free range in. The Hubs built a bird feeder with his own hands and some scrap materials. This has attracted wildlife of all sorts to our back yard.
 
When we get home in the afternoons, one of the first orders of business is checking for eggs, feeding and watering chickens and dog, and collecting delicious edible produce we planted  and raised from seeds.  Our problems include determining how to keep a pesky gopher away from my zucchini plants, whether our chickens are molting or being mean and pulling each other's feathers, and how to keep a family of baby squirrels from popping the glass out of the bird feeder.
 
Now those are some pretty awesome problems to have.
 
To quote an Alan Jackson song: "It's Alright to be Little Bitty" And that is what we are. We have a little bitty piece of heaven carved out. And while life is a journey, not a destination, we will continue to try to appreciate our little piece of heaven until our bigger piece of heaven is ready for us. In the grand scheme of life, we are small, and our scope of the world is small, but to just us, we have everything we could need, and our joy is big.



Thursday, May 23, 2013

Shit just got Real

{Looking good sister...looking good}
(source- Loiusville Courier/ Money talk)


The Real Stages of Pregnancy:

So many books and websites sugar coat this whole being knocked up thing. This beautiful miracle they call it. I am here to give you a real pregnancy timeline as seen through my eyes....because, as you know, I am an expert on everything. Well maybe not everything, maybe just cookies and cream ice cream,  but you get the idea.

Weeks 0-5- You are pretty much blissfully unaware you are pregnant, then you get that panicky feeling like..wait..what day is it?...wait.....no...can I? No....  then you find yourself in the family planning aisle of Target debating over whether you should splurge on the name brand pregnancy test, or just get the cheap-o one, and hope for the best. (Get the cheap-o...you will end up taking 3 anyways, if you are nuerotic like me... I still have one under my bathroom sink because they came in a multi- pack. Now I have no idea what to do with it. I have considered peeing on it now and leaving it in some Walgreen's restroom, for everyone to find....just to freak everyone out and watch them try to find the person who couldn't wait to get out of the store to take the test.)

Weeks 5-12- You are so excited. You are telling everyone you  know, so many questions, so many books and websites to read.  You have purchased all the books, and get daily emails updating you on your baby that looks like a alien platypus and is the size of a grape.  oh, this is just so much fun, I am going to explode with baby excitement. (Oh just you wait skinny girl...you WILL!)

Weeks 12-22- You can't wait to have a cute pregnant belly, You are so excited it is starting to show. Yay! I'm gonna go buy cute adorable maternity clothes. Oh, was that a kick? I am not sure? I can't stop looking at my tiny cute baby tummy! Yay!

Weeks 22-29- You start to get a little more scared...Um, ok, so wow, I am getting pretty big now, um, even my maternity clothes are getting tight. Wow, this belly is not as cute anymore. Oh crap, I ripped another one of these stupid gawd- awful stretchy pants that have the quality of a fine dollar store dinner napkin and yet cost a fortune. I am really tired of every stranger I see asking me if I am almost due. And this baby kicks so much, wow, I love it, but I didn't know he would kick so much. I am freaking out that the baby will be here in only 18 weeks! Ahh! So much to do!

Weeks 30-40- You are D.O.N.E. Good God I am huge. I need new clothes, but I don't want to buy any. Oh well,  I will just walk around in my underwear, that works. Strangers keep feeling sorry for me, a Jamaican man in the frozen food section asked if I was carrying  triplets. My husband had a dream that I looked like Jabba the Hut....not far off. Oh please baby stop kicking me so I can sleep. Never mind, I just have to pee again. How many more days!?!? Are you serious?.... that is an eternity, get him out nowwwwwwww!


Thank you, have a nice day.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Banana Pudding that Saved the Day

So...I was feeling in a bit of a slump last week. I couldn't quite figure it out, but I was feeling grumpy, like I was stuck in such a rut of work, pick up Monkey, go home, make something b-o-r-i-n-g for dinner, clean up, go to bed. I know, I know...so horrible to have  a good job, and ample transportation, and boring food to eat every night. I know, it could be so much worse. But, I am human, and sometimes I feel poopy even though my life is amazingly wonderful. I had a whole conversation about just this type of thing with my dear blog friend Leilani over at her blog in her comments. Check her out, I love her witty and insightful blog. Always good when you are all grumpy for no reason.
So, when I start feeling like this, I try to take a moment and examine what is going on, and for me, it didn't take long for me to realize why I was in a slump...food. Yes.  Me and the Hubs LOVE to cook and create, and try new recipes, but sometimes, like everyone, we get in such a rut of chicken breast and frozen veggies, that our creativity is stifled and we are left feeling unexcited about our food and the process of making it.
So...determined to "fill our cups back up" I made a decision...we need to make this week have fun to prepare and exciting meals, every night. It was as easy as making a menu ahead of time, and buying the ingredients. So...that is what I did. I consulted the Hubs as to what lovely creations he wanted to make.  Then I had a few ideas of my own; and together we decided on a menu we were excited about cooking AND eating. 


To kick start the week, I thought I would make something fun this weekend for no particular reason at all. I hadn't created anything super fun in the kitchen in a while, so when the Hubs mentioned banana pudding last week, I thought I can make that, and it will be fun!
So, I did it.  And I am no longer scared of meringue, it was easy. And we ate half the pan  in one day. (We have a teenager to help...but still)
 
This recipe doesn't require a lot of ingredients you don't already have on hand, and is very simple.

For the custard portion you will need:
5 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
Vanilla wafer cookies
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons flour
1 whole egg
3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup of granulated sugar

Prepare a 9x9 baking dish by layering the bottom with vanilla wafer cookies and then banana slices.

In a large pot combine milk, egg and yolks, sugar and flour. I whisked it all together then used a rubber spatula to continually scrape the sides and bottom as it cooked. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens. If you can draw a line in the middle of your pot and it "stays" it is ready.
(To quote Clark Griswold from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation: See the line?)
 
At this point, add the vanilla and cook 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat, and spoon or pour mixture over your prepared layer of cookies and bananas. ( I like to spoon it on because pouring makes the cookies and banana slices float and move)
Now, place another layer of cookies and banana slices on top of the custard.
Set aside, and begin to prepare your meringue.

For meringue topping you will need:
4 egg whites
1/4 cup of sugar

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
Beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy, add sugar. (My husband's family apparently nicknamed this stage of egg white beating as "calf slobber"...so when it looks like "calf slobber", add the sugar...thanks Hubs :) )
Continue beating the egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks form.
 Like these:

 
Now you are ready to spoon your meringue on to the top of your layered pudding.
Pile it on top, careful not to work it too much, keeping the air in it is key, I swirled mine just a bit to make it have pretty places to brown in the oven.

Place in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. WATCH IT CLOSELY! This stuff can burn quickly, and if you are like me, and get side tracked, try to fight the urge. Once it is delicatley light golden brown on the peaks, remove from oven.

We served ours chilled a few hours later, but I like it warm also.


So, what are you doing this week to get out of your rut... come on, I know we all get in them ;)




Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sweet Mother McCree!

Yup...and he still has 2 months left to go.....yay for Mother's Day.

Welp, it is that time again. Time for me to randomly spew forth strangeness that I find hilarious. I checked my blog stats today and found out my new key word searches that bring me traffic are "I think I have a tape worm" and  "Hot fat pregnant chick" "Toples easter egg hunting"

Seriously....

Someone is really Googling that? It makes me sorta creeped out to know so many bizarre perverts who Google things like "topless easter egg hunt" "hot fat pregnant chick" are viewing my site. I do feel sorry for the tapeworm people though. I would totally be freaking out if I really thought I had a tapeworm, and would just want to cry when I found this site mocking me and my possible parasitic demon possession. Sorry tape worm people.  Try Web MD, bet they will have better info. I am just an ass-hat who compares pregnancy to tapeworms...sorry I offended you :(

As for all you pervos who Googled Topless Easter Egg Hunts and Hot Fat Pregnant Chicks....stop being weird! Here is my advice for you: Google things like "how to talk to a girl" and "what never to say to a girl" and "why do girls find me creepy" those will benefit you son, oh and get a haircut and get a real job. Just a hunch...but I bet I am right. 

I am sort of offended and flattered that Google apparently thinks I am "hot, pregnant, and fat" all at the same time. That is a tough one to manage....but apparently I pull it off. Score one for me!

To save some semblance of sanity to this post, In honor of Mother's Day this weekend I thought I would compile a list of all the things I have said since becoming a mother that I never thought I would say.  Plus, this should be good for my Google hits!

Sometimes I wish I had my own reality show where someone followed me around with a camera, just so they could capture all these random things and compile them into a badass clip show musical montage.  Until A&E realizes I am so interesting....you will have to be content with my list.

Things Mothers Say that No One Ever Should

1. Do not use your hair as a napkin
2. Do not put that bacon on your scab
3. Did you just put Ranch on a banana?
4. If you bleed on it, please put it in the wash, not back with the clean towels
5. Take that other kid's shoes off your hands now
6. That is horse poop, not balls to play with
7.  Do not drink the chicken water
8. Do not karate chop the chickens
9. Do not feed the chickens grass out of your mouth
10. How did you get water on the ceiling...and on the light fixture? (The Hubs actually said this one)
11. Keep your pants on in Chik-fila this is a Christian Place!
12. Don't cook the baby
13. Stop licking your arm in public, people will think we are weird
14. You have to pick one: donuts or cheeseburgers, we certainly aren't going to eat both.
15.  Stop reading that book and do what I told you

Granted, some of these would only apply to country folk like ourselves, who's poor children have to figure out the difference in horse manure and a play thing, as well as appropriate chicken interaction....but hey....it will make 'em well rounded.

Happy Mother's Day everybody! Just remember this mother's day, when you receive a homemade flower vase made from an old milk container..... it could be worse...you could actually have a tapeworm....or have the kid who Googled "topless Easter egg hunt." See...don't I always make you feel better :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

He Can't be This Big

Today is my Mom's Birthday! As a birthday gift to her, I am blogging.  She recently reminded me that she checks my blog everyday, and I have been slacking...lol. So, for her, I decided to do some writing today. 
There hasn't seemed to be much to share lately. Nothing super creative.  Things are kind of quiet right now, the "calm before the storm" I guess, since my baby is due in 2.5 months. Work has been steady, and rewarding, but calm.  Home has been relatively drama free, and pretty routine and calm. The Hubs has even had a pretty light load lately at work, no crazy 5 day murderer chases. And no hilarious Monkey stories of him stirring the fish tank or coating his walls with baby powder. And then this morning, it hit me. He is growing up. That is why things are so much calmer, my little Monkey is getting big, and independent, and needing me less and less.

He gets himself up most mornings while I am in the shower.   He turns on his own cartoons, fixes himself a drink (with no spills AND a coaster under it I might add!) He picks out his own clothes by pushing this little brown leather ottoman around his room so he can reach his drawers and hangers. He even does a really good job matching his clothes. Granted, he refuses to wear anything new my mother has lovingly purchased for him, and is very attached to his old, slightly too small t-shirts. But, that is ok.
My little Monkey has Autism. I don't like to say he is "Autistic," because I don't like that to define him, because it doesn't.  He is so much more. I assume for many moms, having a 6 year old who can dress himself, get himself up, and fix a drink, is not a big deal. For me, it is huge. More and more, he doesn't need his Riri (what he calls me) to do things for him anymore. And today, for the first time, I felt the hurt.
I hadn't really let myself notice it before until this morning. I had been so busy being so proud of him for becoming so independent and self reliant, that I didn't notice the little hurt in me that he needs me less and less. When does that creep up on you? It just does, when you least expect it. As his speech improves every single day, he needs me to interpret him to the world less and less. Although, I still feel like no one can quite understand all his words as much as I do....just sayin.. ;)
When I first met my Monkey, he was tiny. He wore a bulky diaper that made his little booty stick out, and he didn't speak at all. He used sign language to communicate. I fell in love immediately. When his Daddy asked me to marry him, I knew what that meant. I wasn't just marrying the Hubs, I was marrying the little hearts he brought with him, and I was ok with that, because they already had mine.
{He is 3 here. Look at those cheeks}

The monkey is still small for his age, but his chubby cheeks are slimming, and his diaper booty is now a big boy boxer brief wearing one! He doesn't need me to lift him into the car anymore, he doesn't need me to brush his teeth anymore, he doesn't need me to change his diapers, or help him get dressed. Where does it all go? You blink and they are big. You spend your time praying, working, crying over the fact that this damned disorder won't let my little boy speak, or do things for himself, and pray that someday he will.....and then he does. And there you stand, so proud, so excited, and heart broken at the same time.
This morning, while I put on my make-up and the Hubs shaved his face, the Monkey wandered into our room and lifted a stuffed elephant rattle out of the basinet that sits and waits for our newest little man. My Monkey hugged the elephant and told me 'E, E is for Elephant" I told him that was going to be the baby's toy, but he could play with it too. I asked him if he was going to show his little brother all of his toys, and teach him about all the cool adventures his cars, and farm animals have. "He is going to need his big brother to teach him all about the cool stuff your toys do" I know he will. Monkey needs a playmate. Right now he is content to play with our old Bloodhound, and she is in love with him, like love of her life in love. He is content to ask me to play with him, and his Daddy is his best friend at the moment, but he will soon prefer the company of little friends, and kids his own age.
{She stands a vigilant guard while he plays}

Even with my little Alien who is in my belly, it is going so fast. He is almost here, and I feel like we just found out I was pregnant. It is going to go just as fast when he arrives, if not faster. And I can't make it slow down. I know there are going to be days that I pray to just "make it through" but those days will pass, just like all the others, and there I will be again, standing in my kitchen, realizing another little man needs me less and less everyday.
It is what we strive so hard as parents to do, to make our kids self sufficient, to make them self reliant, and independent and strong. No one wants their 10 year old still needing to be dressed like an infant. So tell me why it still hurts so much?
I told the Monkey the other evening that even though I am having this little Alien, he will ALWAYS be my baby, and he will always be my first son. He will always be special, because he is like no other  child or person I have ever met. And anyone who knows him, will tell you the same. He is like no other.

Momma, on your birthday, I want you to have a wonderful day. As I have journeyed through motherhood, in my strange, backward way, I have often told you, that I never understood so many things you went through as a mother. You just can't until you experience them. And now I know what it feels like. You tell the story of the day you dropped me off at kindergarten and I told you "bye mommy" and walked off; not scared, not needing you at all. And you cried all the way home. Well, I get that now. I get it. I am there. I am the one standing there, watching him walk away, fighting back tears and not knowing why.
{His birthday ribbon and pencil he got at school, he was so proud}

He will be finishing Kindergarten soon, and entering first grade in August. Someone please tell me when I jumped in the time machine with Doc Brown....I need to go back.