Sunday, March 23, 2014

Unhappy Anniversary


Once upon a time, there was a friend I made in my early twenties working in a day care center where I was a teacher of the 3-4 year old classroom. I had her oldest daughter in my room, the cutest, sweetest dang thing - we had a bond me and this three year old and she invited me to her fourth birthday party.  Her younger sister was in another room at the center and we would visit her often. Things went on and I was let go from the center only to be hired as the in home caregiver to this wonderful family who in turn became my own family. I went on field trips with these kids, took them to the mall, enjoyed staying the night when mommy went into labor with the third baby. They started having me over for Christmas eve. She set me up on blind dates with guys she knew from high school, gave me her opinions about boyfriends I had and set me up with my first real gynecologist.

I worked for this family for a little over four years before moving out of state for a few and we kept in touch. I made sure to visit whenever I came to town whether it was a night's stay or just a playland visit. Upon my return move, she was there, helping me find a job. I was at the hospital when her twins were born. Her older daughters were junior bridesmaids in my wedding. I started watching her kids again once I started having kids which seemed like a natural flow. We were now at each others kid's birthday parties and still going over for a late Christmas eve. We would talk about life on the phone in the evenings, she would give me advice or come backs for my mother in law. "If he doesn't get it at home, he will get it somewhere else," she told me when I lost my libido after having my son. We were real with each other. I was there when she helped lay shingles on her own roof, she was there when I found out I was pregnant with my second baby.



I got the call from her brother in early February that she had cancer at 42. 
I visited her at the hospital and she looked good, I was hopeful. Everyone was hopeful. She started doing chemo and buying presents for future birthdays and Easter, writing notes to her five children. Her sister came to stay with her and help her though the side effects. Her friends started putting together benefits, some shaved their heads when she started losing her hair and decided to shave hers. She couldn't talk on the phone anymore when I called. Within weeks, hospice was brought in as she was declining quickly. I remember going to her house for the twins' third birthday gathering where she laid in the bed sleeping with her bald head and my son who was just over 2 at the time called her a beautiful little sleeping baby most of the ride home that day. 

Her mother told me that she had predicted I was having a girl. "You watch, she will get her girl," she said.  I had that girl in July and named her Rhiannon Hope after Susan Hope Kieffer. One of my closest friends and 10 year confidant. A mother to two girls on the edge of their teenage years, a ten year old boy and three year old twin girls. She slipped away before anyone had time to even let it sink in that she had cancer. Her big benefit had been scheduled and ended up being the week after the funeral services. She was one of the good ones. Gone right as her journey was getting revved up. I'm grateful to have been a part of her life and proud to have a daughter with her middle name.

She didn't get her happily ever after. 

Ten years seems like an eternity and at the same time still feels just as fresh as if it happened last week some days. I see so much of her in her older girls, now in their early twenties who are both so much wiser than their years. So much that I've had to double take on a picture or two. The younger ones, just turned 13 here last week so in a way it's coming around full circle. Me being the age she was when she passed, her older girls being the age I was when I met them, and the younger ones being the age the older ones were. I know she's had a hand in each of her children's lives over the years which shows in their mannerisms and values and that she would be so proud of the people her children are becoming.




Friday, March 21, 2014

Socks are Over Rated

"Now hun, it's still cold outside, you need to wear socks."
"Socks are over rated." she quickly and plainly replies.

Now being on the brink of 10 having more than four months to go, with the mindset of a tween and the brain of a 24 year old some days, it made me wonder until she asks the question:
"What does over rated mean?"

I explain it in movie terms like when they make such a big deal over a great new movie coming out and you see all these hyped up signs and commercials telling you to go see it only for it to be a big disappointment and not as great as they advertised. Even though the critics gave it all the thumbs up. Or when you see that perfect burger on TV only to go buy it and it's a messy hockey puck that doesn't fill the bun like in the ad.

"So socks ARE over rated!"
"Well nobody makes a big deal about socks like 'ooh buy these great socks, they'll change your life!'"
"Still, they are disappointing - I would rather be wearing flip flops."

Me too kid, me too.
It's time.
Warm weather where are you? Anytime you want to come our way, just give me a sign so I can shave my legs for the occasion. My husband has only been waiting since November..


As I flip my socks off my still hairy legs and continue to blame Mother Nature, I ask you - do you think socks are over rated?


Friday, November 15, 2013

Beer Pizza Dough - I'm Cooking for Foodie Friday

Since switching my kitchen over from processed pre-made foods, I have been trying to perfect the takeout my family still begs for almost every week - pizza. I've tried different dough recipes that are either too soft and we end up with droopy pizza or there was that one time I let my daughter oil the dough once it was on the pan, um oily and soggy are not words you associate with your favorite pizza. So now we've agreed who's doing the oiling from now on. I know pizza is not the ultimate option in most cases but I feel like if I'm making it from scratch myself, I know exactly what is going into it. This recipe contains no sugar and has only 6 ingredients, that's healthy in my book. That and the fact that there are things we just have to do for our husband's sake, take one for the team if you will. This recipe will make enough dough for 2 - 12 inch pizzas one of which I made meaty for the boys and the other just cheese for the girl, half tomatoes and spinach for mom.




Beer Pizza Dough

2 1/2 C Flour and another 1/2 C for rolling
1/2 C Corn Meal
1 Tbl Baking Powder
1 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Garlic Salt
12 oz Can of Beer
3 Tbl Olive Oil for pan and dough once on pan

Combine dry ingredients and add can of beer. If too sticky, add more flour. Knead on floured counter before rolling out with floured rolling pin to less than 1/4 inch thick. Put on oiled pizza pan and fold in excess edges. Lightly (stress lightly if delegating this to a child) oil crust and dough before adding toppings.



I have a hard time getting the thickness exactly right but I think I got it this time because the crust was actually crispy on the edges AND underneath like any popular place we order. The secret this time was that it was almost thin enough to break in places which can be repaired by pinching the holes together once the dough is on the pan. Also just folding in the excess rather than rolling it in seemed to leave it a bit crispier around the edges.

Kids actually love to help with this recipe simply because of the messy factor and they are actually great kneaders, just remind them that oiling is not a painting project beforehand, and that they can only use what you've measured out and you will likely have more success than we did the first time.

I'm linking up my sister at Muffin-Top-Less Mom - you really should go see her Sweet Potato NACHOS she has there today. ALL of her Foodie Friday recipes are healthy and most are gluten free and paleo friendly. I can't wait to make these! 

Do you have a pizza dough standby recipe?


Friday, November 8, 2013

Foodie Friday - I'm Baking Banana Muffins

My grandma makes the best banana bread in the world - you can ask anyone who's tried it, and she will swear up and down that it's the pan she uses. I have tried my hand at it and it's turned out decent but not the same, once it even broke my oven. Who am I to argue with a 92 year old woman? So seeing as her recipe wasn't going to turn out anyway since I obviously don't have a circa 1960 loaf pan, I decided to use hers as a base to make my own version. Where she calls for shortening I used butter, I cut the sugar with honey and these babies were gobbled up by my daughter and her friend she had over for a sleepover last weekend.



Banana Muffins

4 Ripe Bananas
2 Eggs
2 C Flour (I use whole wheat)
1/4 C Honey
1/4 C Sugar
1/2 C Butter softened
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla

Mix flour and baking powder in a bowl, set aside. In another bowl, cream butter with eggs, vanilla honey and sugar, mash in banana and add dry ingredients until combined.

Bake at 350 - mini muffins should take 20-25 minutes where if you fill a loaf pan it will take 45 - 50 minutes. I was able to get 24 mini muffins and a small loaf from this recipe.


Of course they go great with coffee!



I'm linking my sister Muffin-Top-Less Mom for her Foodie Friday - you will love the Paleo Banana Bread recipe she has over there today!

What's your favorite fall time recipe?



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