Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

This is where my side of the family spent Christmas Eve. It would have been more fun with some great calls but it was a "silent night'. Hope your day was awesome and today, well I hope that your celebration of Christ's birth was/is magnificent!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Things People Say

Another funny email from my nephew.

These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters who had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking

ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?_____________________________________
ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, 'Where am I, Cathy?'
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan!
ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
WITNESS: We both do.
WITNESS: Yes, voodoo.
ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?____________________________________
ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: Uh, he's twenty.
ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you serious?
ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Uh.... I was gett'in laid!______________________________________
ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Are you serious? Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Now whose death do you suppose terminated it?______________________________________
ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard.
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?WITNESS: All my autopsies are performed on dead people. Would you like to rephrase that?_____________________________________
ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him!____________________________________________
ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS: Huh....are you qualified to ask that question?______________________________________
ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive,nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hey Mandy

I received a comment on a previous post about dinners. It is from my friend Mandy who moved to Colorado. Anyhoo, she said that she loves a dip recipe of mine. She and I have made a spinach dip and an artichoke recipe many times together.

I have to give credit where credit is due -

The spinach dip is an awesome recipe. Get a packet of Knorr Vegetable Soup. The dip recipe is on the back. It is seriously the best spinach dip I have ever had. It is a cold one.

The artichoke dip is from my friend Christy Platt. She made it at a Christmas party at her house and I loved it. I had called her three different times to get the recipe before I actually wrote it down and kept it. I love it sooooo much that I put it in our church cookbook.

I will give it to you here.

Christy's Artichoke Dip

2 8 oz pkg cream cheese

2T. olive oil

1T. minced garlic (from the jar)

1 cup sour cream

8 oz. fresh shred parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 dash crushed red pepper

2 dashes dried majoram

1 14oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1/4 cup cooked spinach, cooled and chopped

Preheat oven to 350*. Divide cheese in half, set aside. Combine all ingredients, saving one part of cheese for topping. Pour into baking dish and bake for 40-50 minutes or until bubbly on top. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and continue baking for 5-10 more or until cheese is melted.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Billy G Rocks

UPDATE: I ALWAYS check with whenever I hear about this person saying this or that person being accused of that. Most often, the email stories are false or at best, severely misinterpreted. I received the following email this morning and loved it.

Sure enough, it is labeled as false. But only as far as the pray-er of this prayer. The actual prayer is real and was given before the Senate in 1996. The prayer rocks - no matter who prayed it.

Got this in an email today. It is sure worth sharing. Go Billy!

Billy Graham's Prayer For Our Nation

'Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and Set us free. Amen!'

Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on his radio program, 'The Rest of the Story,' and received a larger response to this program than any other he has ever aired. With the Lord's help, may this prayer sweep over our nation and wholeheartedly become our desire so that we again can be called 'One nation under God.'

Passive Belligerence

My new buzz word is this - Passive Belligerence.

I see it all of the time but could not quite find that perfect description of what I was seeing. It flew out of my mouth even before I knew what I was saying (not a huge surprise to those that know me).

Why is it that with puberty comes an attitude of passive belligerence? WWhy do some adolescents- and beyond in many cases - act as though the world ought to stop and cater to them? When did common decency, common sense and just plain ol' manners move to the end of the line?

One small example in within a myriad of more. Our school is right smack dab next door to the local middle school. Traffic jams are a common occurance on the side street between the two. This morning, I am leaving the parking lot, make a right turn toward the middle school. A student from that school jumps out in the middle of the street, with his baggy pants showing his chonies, cuts in between cars and slows his pace to match that of a crippled little old lady. He stops traffic and laughs at the drivers. His friends on the sidewalk are laughing at his antics. He then proceeds to flip off the drivers. All of the cars had to stop and wait while he did his thing.

What in the world is telling this guy that what he just did is ok? Who is feeding into this kid's life that this kind of behavior is tolerated and appropriate?

It scares me to think that my children will have to work with these people in the not soooo far future.

Help me

God's timing is just incredible. It is quite thrilling to me when I am dealing with something - whether it be a thought or an idea or maybe even an issue in my relationships - how he brings these little sparks of confirmation. Whhaaa??? You ask. You know when you are thinking about someone and then the next day their name comes up or you run into them at the store. Something like that.

For a while now I have been feeling very inadequate as far as feeding my family. I used to plan out weekly meals, shop accordingly and be very enthusiastic about trying new recipes, serving them to my family and in general, I was quite satisfied with myself. Somehow over time I let myself slip out of that discipline and therefore, let my meals take a backseat.

Last week Lenny and I decided that for grocery shopping we would do a cash system. The amount we chose is adequate for a family of four, however, planning and preparation are crucial to making it work beautifully. I sat down last week with my calendar and the mountain of great cookbooks that I adore.

I went to the grocery store and got what I needed for next 4 days. No problem. My dinner that night was Chicken Pot Pie. I made it while Lenny took the kids to church for their programs. It was awful. I ate one piece and threw it out. Wasted money, time and dinner there. While making the pie, I was also making this awesome chili recipe. I realized that instead of adding the ONE can of water, I had added SIX cans of water. That actually was a good thing as I had added double the amount of cayenne pepper. OOOhhhh gosh what am I doing?

Then I made a blueberry cake. That actually came out ok. Not fabulous but ok. Ok enough that Jacob asked for a piece for his lunch. Progress I suppose.

So why am I telling you all of this??? Because this morning I got an email from someone that I do not know about the value of cooking at home. I thought I was going to cry while reading it. Not because I can not cook or because I don't like to. And not because we are drive thru addicts.

But because this is an area that has been haunting me for quite a while. I believe with all of my heart that the core of society is the family. If the family fails, society fails. I believe that if children are not valued in the home by their parents, then they will try to prove their worth to themselves and others in not-so-innocent ways. And family mealtimes are a fantastic foundation to a rockin' family dynamic.

I try to following the campaign platforms. I know who I am voting for and why. But sometimes I feel like there is so much double-talk that my head spins, then I feel like I am not informed, then that leads to me questioning "hmmm why am I not getting this?" I engage in political conversations that wind up leaving me feel like a huge idiot. My son asks all kinds of questions about the election. Hooooo ya I am glad for that. But my answers seem so surface-like, so uninformed.

Am I faltering as a person? as a mother? as a citizen???

Then I read this article which gave me a new sense of how I am contributing to society.

I know this all sounds completely corny, soooo lame and the opening act to a yawn-festival, but it helped. And clearly I need all the help that I can get.

Read on.

Dear Friends,

In the United States, we are scant weeks away from electing a new resident. Globally, we've all watched our perspective economies hit new lows. The talking heads and news pundits have stirred our fears —we' re all worried about what comes next.

On September 11, 2001, we went through absolute devastation as we watched the horrors of what happened on that fateful day unfold before us, over and over and over again on television. FlynLady said then as she says now, we need to turn off our TVs and take care of ourselves so we can take care of our families.

We cannot change the world. However, we can change the temperature and climate of our own families, so to speak. The most personal change we can affect is the change within ourselves. That change has a trickle down result that can either warm our families hearts or further their fears. We cannot control the world's economy, but we can control our own!

One of the ways to do that is to cook at home. There is a three-pronged proposition that results in three huge positives: 1) we save gobs of money; 2) we better nourish our families bodies; 3) we nourish their hearts and souls.

We have over the years, in the name of saving time, thrown our cooking aside in favor of convenience. That looks different for many of us—for some, it could mean drive-thrus and restaurants and for others it could mean ready to eat frozen foods or just add water convenience viadried instant foods. The way to wisdom is through knowledge. We get that knowledge when we're willing to admit there are things that need to be changed up.

Perhaps your family budget needs changing up? The best and most dramatic way to get there is cooking at home. Eating healthy via eating seasonal whole foods will save you money. The notion that healthy foods are more expensive than eating unhealthy is a myth—there are ways to do it and save more than you ever thought possible.

One of my favorite methods for doing this is through soup. Yes, soup is good food according to the people at Campbell's. But making ityourself is a whole lot cheaper and healthier, too. Add to that, the ability of soup to be a forgiving meal—you really can't make a bad soup unless you burn it! Yes, there may be better tasting soups than my Cream of Green soup (my daughter gagged over it, but I liked itokay…not great, but okay!), but there is always a next soup if you're willing to go there.

To make soup, you need to start with a good liquid base. That means you need a stock or broth. You can do that with chicken, beef or vegetable broth to cook nearly any soup. In some soups, you can even use a fish broth, but you're limited on that one. I make mine with chicken bones from Rubber Chicken (it's on my website!) and carrot,onion and celery, simmer in water for about an hour. Then..ta da!You've got chicken broth.

Another way to get broth quickly is to buy it. I buy low sodium chicken broth and keep it in my pantry if I can't make a homemade one. Obviously, the way to keep soup at it's absolute frugal-best is tomake your own broth, but that isn't always possible. I have a wonderful soup recipe that I haul out this time of year and keep on hand. It's wonderful for cold weather, the sniffles and just watching your family's wallet. Here it is, in all its glory. Feel free to play with the ingredients—you can add just about anything. Justkeep the broth in mind and the core ingredients of onion, celery and carrot and the rest is up to you!

Here's my soup:Leanne's Basic Vegetable Soup Serves 12

1 large onion -- chopped

4 cloves garlic -- pressed

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large carrots -- chopped

2 small celery stalks -- chopped

1 medium turnip -- chopped

2 cups green beans -- cut in 1" pieces

1/4 head cabbage -- chopped

1/2 teaspoon thyme

salt and pepper to taste

2 small russet potatoes -- peeled and chopped

2 cans diced tomatoes -- undrained

6 cups chicken broth

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook till nearly translucent, now add the garlic. Don't let the garlic brown and saute another couple of minutes. Add the rest of the chopped veggies, sauteing for just a minute ortwo. You're not cooking them just sauteing for the wonderful flavor this quick step will infuse in your soup. Add the thyme and salt and pepper while sauteing.

Now put the veggies in the crock-pot, add the tomatoes and broth. Cookon low 7-9 hours (depending on your crock-pot) or high 4-6 hours (but all crock-pots are different, depending on size, age, brand etc. Remember, your mileage may vary).

Just before serving, gently mash some of the potato chunks against the side of the crock-pot to thicken the soup, give it a stir and serve.

Per serving: 88 Calories; 4g Total Fat; 5g Protein; 2g Dietary Fiber;9g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 658mg Sodium.Food Exchanges: 0 Grain (Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit;1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.


Grilled cheese sandwiches on whole grain bread and a spinach salad.

Quick Fixes for Variations on the Basic Chicken Soup:Now remember, don't do this to the whole pot of soup! Just the little bit you pull out to fix yourself for lunch, etc.

Quick Fix #1: Tex Mex Veggie Soup. Add some (eyeball it—how much doyou want?) canned black beans (drained and rinsed), a little bit ofcumin and chopped cilantro. Top with some tortilla chips and cheese,or serve with a quesadilla.

Quick Fix #2: Tuscan Veggie Soup. Add some (eyeball it again) canned cannellini (white kidney beans) or white beans (drained and rinse), a little bit of Italian seasoning and some chopped kale. Cook till heated through and the kale is tender.

Quick Fix #3: Minestrone Veggie Soup. Add some cooked pasta, a little dried basil and top with a fresh grating of Parmesan cheese.

Quick Fix #4: Autumn Veggie Soup. Add some diced acorn squash or butternut squash, some cooked brown rice, a sprinkling of nutmeg andsome chopped parsley.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

29, September 19, 11:46

29 : the number of phone messages I found on the phone today
September 19: the date of the first phone message
11:46: the amount of time it took to listen to and delete all 29 messages.

Debbie from Long Beach - sorry I didn't call ya back.
Atlantis Eye Care- I will be there for my eye exam.
Debbie from (Kid's school) : tuition is in the mail.
Amber: I miss you too.
Cheryl: thanks for the clothes you left on the porch.
Republican National Committee: thank you for urging me to vote for McCain.
Chase Visa: not interested in another card.
Sue Ellen: yes we are still on for sewing lessons on the 2nd.

And to the slew of other message leavers: Got the message and I probably have already taken care of it.

I do not like voice mail, I avoid it most of the time and if I had my way, all messages would be left via email. I feel like I am under obligation to return someone's call just because they left a message - kind of like I am an unwilling player in a volleyball game.

Is that weird?