Beast fiends that don’t amount to a bill of heans

Doesn’t Mrs. Lemon have the most beautiful smile??

No, I haven’t lost my mind ūüôā¬† I have¬†a dear friend, Mrs. Lemon (check out her blog on the right hand side, she will alternately make you laugh and push you to think.¬† She’s good!).¬† Anyway, Mrs. Lemon and I met when we went to the same college in Saint Louis, MO.¬† We were freshman together and she lived down the hall and around the corner.¬† Perfect distance for two lonely souls a little out of their league in a new city.¬† Our second year, Mrs. Lemon and I moved to a different dorm and lived in side-by-side rooms.¬† I can’t even begin to tell you how many of my memories include Mrs. Lemon.¬† We were, and still are, kindred spirits, despite many miles between us.¬† Mrs. Lemon and I actually haven’t seen each other in person since May 1999.¬† It is one of my goals in life to see her again in “real life”, but until then I am so glad for Facebook, blogs, texting, email and excellent long-distance plans.¬† Mrs. Lemon is actually the person who has encouraged me to blog over and over, and I finally took her advice ūüôā

pre-Mrs. Lemon (L) & pre-Mrs. Pilot (R), circa 1997 ... let's not discuss the 90's hair and clothes, okay?

Anyway, I have been going through files from my old¬†computer and I came across a Word document containing journalling for a mini scrapbook that I had plans to make for her.¬† Too often we wait until it is too late to let¬†our loved and cherished friends¬†know how we feel about them.¬† I have no idea when the scrapbook will ever get made, so I wanted to share the journalling that I have planned for her.¬† Our friendship is a testament to the fact that there truly are friends out there that will be lasting friendship, despite many challenges.¬† And I¬†want to thank you¬†Mrs. Lemon¬†for being such a big part of my life.¬† You DO amount to more than a bill of heans and I hope that we will always be beast fiends!¬† Love ya ūüôā

So studious!

¬†“Friends make memories … the heart preserves them.”

Thank you Mrs. Lemon for all the wild memories – milk & noses do not mix, cookie dough helps you study, breadsticks really can feed you, and so, so many more!

“Friendships begin because, even without words, we understand how someone feels.”

Thank you Mrs. Lemon for encouraging me to step outside my homesickness and shyness to become friends with you – if it weren’t for you, I’d probably still be shy!

“How far we travel in life matters far less than those we meet along the way.”

Thank you Mrs. Lemon for being an unexpected blessing from my decision to move to Saint Louis Рyou truly were a blessing!  And for continuing to be a friend, no matter how far we both have moved.

“A friend is one who understands our faults, yet finds our virtues!”

Thank you Mrs. Lemon for loving me in spite of myself!  And for teaching me, through your friendship, to love myself Рthe good and the bad!

My word, we were young!

“A friend laughs with you, but a best friend cries with you.”

Thank you Mrs. Lemon for not being a “fair weather” friend.¬† Thank you for the memories of laughter and also for the memories of tears shared.¬† Thank you, my dear “beast fiend”!

“A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often – just to save it from drying out completely.”

Thank you Mrs. Lemon for melted peanut butter M&M’s to brighten up my summer, calls in Illinois when I thought, inside, that I was at the end of my rope, and Downey Ball wedding bells to brighten a lonely day in New York.¬† I am glad that our friendship has survived everything that 13 years has sent it.

“A good book is like an old friend.”

Thank you Mrs. Lemon for becoming an old friend – the more you read good books, the better they become, and the more I know you, the more cherished you become to me.

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints on your heart.”

Thank you Mrs. Lemon for leaving footprints on my heart.

One of the last times we were together in person, and one of my all-time favorite pictures!

Let someone you love truly know how you feel about them.¬† Don’t waste time waiting for the “perfect time”.¬† We all want to know that we are loved, by someone.

 *  Since I am awful at remembering where I get things, I have no idea who to credit with these quotes.  All I know is that they were all written by bright, insightful people.

May I never forget.

November 11th.  May I never forget the significance of this day. 

The older I get, the more appreciative I am of the sacrifice given by our soldiers, past and present.¬† My paternal grandfather is a World War II veteran and I am so proud of his efforts.¬† Seeing him standing tall and proud in his navy blazer with his medals on, I often wonder what thoughts are going through his mind.¬† Is he remembering the friends that he lost during the war; the loss of his carefree, teenage years?¬† Or is he remembering the things he gained.¬† His marriage to my Grammie.¬† The knowledge that he fought to keep this country free so that his children could grow up and be who and what they chose to be.¬† May I never forget to be proud of my Grampie’s service.

Last week Captain, Engineer and I were going through the drive-through at Tim’s.¬† Two cadets were selling poppies to the customers and Captain announced that he would like one.¬† I rolled his window down for him to purchase his poppy sticker.¬† The next question was “What is this flower for, Momma?”¬† Such a simple question, such a huge answer.¬† How do I tell him that it means that we will never forget that a Momma like me lost her son or daughter¬†in a war somewhere?¬†¬†So, I told him that it means that we are very proud of our soldiers and that we wear it to honor them.¬† May I never forget to wear my poppy and remember why I wear it, each November.

I remember watching the motorcade pass with a fallen soldier from my community.¬† I was very pregnant with Captain and I remember sitting in the car with my hand on my belly feeling Captain’s strong kicks, watching the car pass that carried the body of another Momma’s boy.¬† I remember wondering if she knew how very proud we are of what her son offered for our country.¬† May I never forget that each soldier is someone’s son or daughter.

A dear friend, from college, is now a Chaplain with the US Army and is currently on assignment in Afghanistan.  I am so proud of him and his dedication to the religious health of his soldiers.  I am so proud of his wife, for her love and support of him and his career choice.  Today, as every day, I am proud of both of them.  May I never forget that every soldier has a family that pays a price, as well.

May I always remember why I pause at 11 o’clock on November¬†11th.¬†¬†To honor those who¬†gave of their time, their youth and possibly their lives.¬† So that I would have the choice to do as I wish at 11 o’clock on November 11th.¬† May I always remember.¬†¬†¬†

The maker of cakes, prefers cookies!

I have always made cakes for those that I love (one of my favorite cooking memories is that of my cousin and I making a cake for my Mom’s birthday when we were about 9 and 12 respectively.¬† My Mom still has the note that my cousin wrote with her mother’s instructions “Do not get your hands caught in the beaters”.¬† It was a wonderful cake and we heeded my aunt’s advice well ūüôā ).¬† For Engineer’s first birthday, this year, I decided that I was going to make him a cake that would be a lasting memory.¬† Why pay all that money when I could make it myself??¬† Here are a few photos of Engineer and his cake …

Master Engineer's Puppy Cake


Ohhh!! I want to touch that ...


Here we go!


This made all the hours of making his cake worth it. He loved it!! And what an adorable little mess, eh??

So now a Pilot family tradition has begun.¬† Captain asked for a “Bob the Builder” cake for his 3rd birthday.¬† Here are a couple of pictures of him and his cake …

I obviously learned a lot from Cake #1 ... notice the lack of cake glaring through the icing in Bob compared to Puppy??

Such a happy little boy!

So, when it was coming up to my birthday, Captain was determined that I needed to make myself a Tigger¬†cake.¬† I was not so convinced.¬† So I decided to make myself a cookie pizza for my birthday.¬† M’mm … it was so good!!¬† Here is my “cake” …

Awww ... now you know how old I am ūüôā


Isn't the most darling glass ever??

My Mom was always very considerate of the fact that I really am not fond of cake and came up with some creative alternatives for my birthday parties.¬† One year she made me a massive cookie, similar to the one I made, and I have always wanted another.¬† This year I had it!!¬† Here’s the recipe …

Peanut Butter Cookie Pizza

  • 3/4 c. peanut butter (I used smooth)
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 1 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 c. white sugar
  • 2 lg. eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 c. flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 c. chocolate chips
  • 2/3 c. butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 c. M&M’s or Smarties

Make sure your oven is turned on to 350.¬† Lightly grease a 16″ pizza pan with shortening (if you are using a smaller pizza pan, decrease the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips to 1/2 c. each).¬† Cream peanut butter and butter together.¬† Beat in both sugars.¬† Add eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is beat in well.¬† Stir in vanilla.¬† In a separate¬†bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.¬† Stir flour mixture into peanut butter mixture, just until combined.¬† Press into pizza pan, using your hands.¬† Bake for 7-9 minutes, until the cookie is lightly browned.¬† Once out of the oven, sprinkle hot cookie pizza with chocolate and butterscotch chips.¬† Let stand to soften.¬† Using a knife, spread melted chips over cookie to create frosting.¬† Scatter candies over chocolate mixture and lightly press into melted chips.¬† Let cool before serving, and make sure there is some cold milk on the table for the having.¬† ūüôā¬† Enjoy!

Flexible meal plans required

Now, I can only speak for homes that have corporate or charter pilots living in them.¬† Hey – that’s my house!!¬† Anyway, schedules and pilot careers do not exist¬†well together,¬†therefore¬†a meal plan needs to¬†be flexible to work in our home.¬†¬†Now, before I go any further, I want to make the point that I knew what I was getting myself into when I married Chief, and his career.¬† We dated long distance (think across a national border and about 5 state borders) for two years – around a pilot career.¬† Those were the days …

Now the days include two little ones who would¬†like to¬†be fed decent meals and preferably¬†three times a day.¬† Which this cooking Momma is very happy to oblige.¬† However, the inconsistency of our life makes it a little difficult to meal plan.¬† I used to¬†plan my meals quite well, and then I got pregnant with Engineer and the inevitable 6+ months of all-day-when-will-it-ever-end sickness arrived.¬† Meal plans?¬† Goodness, I was lucky to look at food!!¬† We had a LOT of M&M Meat stuff¬†for those¬†months.¬†¬†Then this past January Chief was¬†laid off from his job, and for the first time in a long while, my life was a little more consistent, however, there was the annoying factor of a very lean grocery budget.¬† So meal planning took on another level.¬† Since August, Chief has been back to full-time employment and I have had to change my approach to meals again.¬† I have tried the “fly by the seat of my pants” option since then, and it is not working.¬† So starting this week I am back to trying meal planning.¬† Things will more than likely get changed if¬†Chief is away on a pop-up trip¬†(which means we usually have less than 12 hours notice of his departure).¬† This time I am going to come up with 7 lunch ideas and 7 supper ideas, but not assign a day to them, therefore I can change the order easily.¬†¬†So here goes …


  • Muffins x 2 (Some from the freezer and a new batch of Banana Bran)
  • Pancakes with blueberries
  • Hot cereal x 2
  • Homemade waffles with Strawberry Sauce
  • Blueberry Breakfast Bars


  • Egg salad sandwiches on Honey Oatmeal Bread (new recipe I am trying with my KitchenAid – my bread machine quit and I am going to try using my stand mixer to do the work that my hands can’t)
  • Martha’s Tomato Soup with grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Tuna Corn Chowder with biscuits
  • Eggs Benedict Mrs. Pilot style (we’ll see how this goes – I want to try making my own English Muffins.¬† If they don’t get made, I’ll have to try another option)
  • Supper Leftovers x 3


  • Homemade pizza
  • Pizza Pockets (I love to have freezer meals, and I make a big batch of these, freeze what we don’t eat and they are great lunch options)
  • Roast Beef with cabbage, squash and carrots (New recipe I’m trying from Nov 2010 issue of Everyday Food)
  • Smoked turkey and kale hand pies with cheddar crust (Another new recipe from Nov 2010 Everyday Food – it is supposed to be chicken, but I have smoked turkey cooked, so I am going to use that)
  • Cabbage Roll casserole (from the freezer)
  • Chili Cornmeal Haddock (another new recipe from Company’s Coming “Catch of the Day”)
  • Salmon burgers with home fries

If you spend much time around here, you will learn quickly that I love to try new recipes.¬† Thankfully my family is willing to try new things.¬† If there are any recipes that you are interested in, let me know and I’ll post them.

Have a great week filled with yummy food!

Plan, plan, plan.

Now I need to complete those plans.¬† I love crafting … specifically sewing, knitting, crocheting, scrapbooking, quilting … you get the idea!¬† One of my biggest downfalls when it comes to crafting, though, is that I plan probably about 5 times as many projects as I can complete.¬† And I also am horrible at writing the ideas down.¬† Then a year down the road, I see a piece of fabric and think, now, what was I going to do with that??¬† So my great inspiration for the day is a project management board.¬† Now, during my work before I had kids, and now managing our company, I have journals or dayplanners that I write everything in.¬† What I need to do, what I accomplished, etc.¬† My crafting world is a different story.¬† So I saw an idea to have a board that you put project ideas on and then you take them off as you complete them.¬† Genius!!¬† So here is my variation:

Project Management Board

I will apologize now for the poor lighting of most of my project photos.¬† (Also the above board¬†is not crooked, as it may appear!!)¬† My creative space is in a corner of our finished basement, and although I have Ott-Lites¬†to simulate daylight for matching fabric, paper, etc., that simulated daylight does not translate well into photos.¬† As you can see my board is a bulletin board.¬† I purchased this one at Walmart¬†for approximately $15.¬† It is 24″ x 36″.¬† As you can see I am lucky enough to have slat board over my sewing area (I also have a piece over my scrapbooking area.¬† Which will be a picture for another day).¬† We used to use the slat board to store our products for the company, but I have since changed our storage method and they were hanging there blank until I got the idea to use them for storage of my supplies.¬†

Back to the project management board (doesn’t that just make it sound so official???).¬† The notes that I wrote my projects on are just pieces of leftover scrapbook paper that I cut into 2.5″ squares.¬† I then hung them on the board with tacks.¬† I have the projects divided into three categories:¬† Christmas, The Boys, and Miscellaneous.

My sewing area

Here is a glimpse of my sewing area.¬† Now, because I said from the beginning of this blog that I would be real, I’ll give you a wider photo so you can see what I see every time¬†I sew …

The REAL sewing area

Quite a difference, eh?¬† ūüôā¬† My dream crafting space would be half of my basement, so I could spread everything out.¬† Alas, I share the basement with my husband’s work area, all of our company products and my desk for company work, our den, and our boys’ playroom.¬† It’s a bit full ūüôā¬† So, I am delegated to a corner of the room and things tend to get a little piled up.¬† I work at it, but I think that putting things in piles is just in my DNA and I will always do that!

Now here is a peek of what I hope to have completed by next Friday to show you …

Kitchen valances in progress

I replaced my cafe curtains in my kitchen windows last month with white mini-blinds and I am in the process of making valances for them.¬† Those yo-yo’s (the red and black circles) are going to become my valances, along with some additions … you are going to keep me accountable to get them finished by next Friday right?¬† ūüôā

Do you see the framed picture just above the circles?  That is my maternal grandmother, Grammie.  She passed away in February 2001 and she was my absolute best friend.  She, along with my Mom, taught me how to do most of the crafting things that I am able to do today.  I miss her the most when I sew, as she taught me how to sew Рhand and machine.  Still, after all these years, I will dream up a project, or complete a project and I will stop myself from picking up the phone to call her and tell her about it.  I miss her.

Now the story of the cow to the left of her picture.¬† I made that cow for Grammie¬†when I was about 13 years old.¬† My grandparents owned a dairy farm and my Grammie’s¬†living room was red¬†(one of my all-time favorite rooms!!).¬† So for Christmas, I decided to make her this cow.¬† My Mom helped me with the parts that I was not sure about.¬† See how Cow’s horn is red on one side?¬† Well, I took that piece off and resewed¬†it at least 5 times because it kept slipping on me and wouldn’t align properly.¬† For the first couple of times I took it off myself and tried again.¬† Then I started to get frustrated¬†and told my Mom that I was just going to leave it the way it was.¬† I can still hear my Mom telling me, “If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.”¬† She was, and is, so right and after my Grammie¬†passed, I was given Cow back.¬† She has sat next to my sewing machine all these years.¬†¬† And every time I look at her, I am reminded that if it is worth doing, it is worth doing right.¬† Such wonderful advice!

Do you see a reversible, hooded jacket?

This fabric is for a reversible, hooded jacket for Captain.  I have had the fabric for years and now that I have little boys, I thought it would be perfect as a jacket.  I really want to get it finished so that he can wear it this fall and winter.  I had better get to it!!

So there you have it – a possible organization tool that you may be able to adapt to your situation and two “accountability” projects that I hope to share completed photos of with you next Friday.

Have a fabulous weekend and may it contain crafting of some kind!!¬† If you have posted about a crafting project on your blog, leave the link in your comments and I’ll post it at the end of this entry.¬† Enjoy!

If you were expecting …

… a review of “Sink Reflection” today, then I am sorry to disappoint you. ¬†ūüôā¬† After starting to read the book, I realized that to give the best review, I really need to implement her ideas for a while and then review the book, along with how I did with her cleaning ideas.¬† So this book review has been pushed back to the New Year.

Next weeks book review will be “Deception” by Randy Alcorn.¬† He is one of my new¬†favorite writers.¬† I love that his books are not predictable.¬† I have also read “Deadline” and “Dominion”.¬† Randy has written over 30 books, many of them non-fiction.


So because I backed out of my book review today, I thought I would share some of my recent Facebook status updates.¬† You know, because if you can’t inform, you might as well entertain, right?¬† ūüôā¬† Enjoy!

  • this is one of those “I don’t want to be the only one who knows this” moments. Today was Day 2 of potty training for¬†Captain. Going very well. Chief had been gone all day, and I’m sitting on the side of the bed talking to him.¬†Captain comes flying up from the basement saying “I did it!!!”. He comes into our room and before I could react, he had accidentally poured most of the liquid contents of his potty on me!!!
  • Love how Captain always announces that he is going to kiss me … “Momma, I’m donna tiss¬†you!!” followed by a darling kiss. Ahhh … those are the moments that make the craziness worthwhile!! ūüôā
  • So I was the mother at the grocery store tonight with a child who was wearing a winter hat (not simply a warm, fallish¬†hat) and turquoise handknit¬†SOCKS on his hands. They were his “gloves” and he was quite adamant that he would be wearing them. He looked pretty cute!! ūüôā
  • So obviously I have two imps.¬†Engineer was in his booster seat today at the table and was mad about being in it. Faster than should be possible,¬†Captain unfastened the safety belt on it, Engineer¬†flipped himself around, climbed out and was scrambling across the floor to get Captain’s hockey stick before¬†Captain could get there. Ohmy – life is really getting busy now!! ūüôā
  • Hands down funniest prayer that I have heard in a long time was said at our dinner table today … 3 year old style!!!¬†¬†¬† ‚Äé”Dear Jesus, this morning I wouldn’t eat my breakfast so my Momma told me that I wouldn’t get any treats in Sunday school and my Daddy threw out my treats. Then I ate my breakfast so I got to have treats in Sunday School with J and …K-girlfriend. Now I’m going to eat my lunch so I get treats afterwards” … eyes open, and he very seriously tells me that he’s telling his “Jesus-friend” all about his breakfast. Then he closes his eyes and asks for the food to be blessed. Meanwhile, Daddy and I were desperately trying not to burst out in laughter. Life is never dull in this house!!!
  • Loving the fact that even though I am NOT a morning person, both of my boys are.¬†Captain always wakes up saying “It’s gonna be a BIG day, Momma!!!” with an adorable grin on his face and mischief sparkling in his eyes. And¬†Engineer starts his morning out yelling “Dada!! Dada!!”, when you go in their room he has a huge grin and little arms reaching out to get out of his crib. Now I have two good reasons to like mornings!! ūüôā
  • So obviously the boys that I live with do not understand the importance of sleeping. 3:45 this morning, I woke up to find¬†Captain reading books in his room with the overhead light on … poor¬†Engineer was an innocent bystander in the non-sleeping saga! ūüôā Went downstairs to find Chief and he was working on the computer with all the lights on!!! Boys, boys … the middle of the night is for sleeping!!!!
  • Captain was very concerned today that the man changing my oil/tires was “not gonna give Momma her red car back!!” I asked him why he thought that, his answer “I just know it, Momma!!” Seriously, what a kid. Then later his pants started falling down and all I heard was “Ohmydooodness!!! Momma, I’m woozing¬†my britches!!” BWHAHAH!!! What a kid.
  • So Mom went home today ūüė¶ but Captain stepped up to the plate and provided the comic relief for the day. This morning he told me that he couldn’t go to the airport because he had to stay home and cry about Mom leaving. Then he told me tonight that he needed his hair all cut off because “It makes my head hitch, Momma!”
  • Momma – Captain, you need to take a nap.
    Captain- Momma, sorry, I don’t have time to.
    LOL!!!! What a kid!!! ūüôā
  • lol – okay, so my two year¬†old is an HP sauce addict. And apparently the no name¬†brand that his silly Momma purchased is not going to cut it. He announced that it was the day to have eggs for breakfast, so I put his eggs on his plate and put some no name HP sauce on his plate. He dipped his egg in it, tasted it and announced that “that¬†HP sauce tastes funny Momma!!” His Grampie H would be proud!!! ūüôā
  • So the other night I put the boys to bed. Later I heard them in their room – went in, lights are on,¬†Engineer is standing in his crib, clutching his bear, sucking on his soother for all he’s worth, intently watching big brother.¬†Captain is sitting on his bed, with a book open, “reading” to¬†Engineer … “Now Babies, this dwuck¬†wants to be a taptain …” was the story that was unfolding as I went in. How sweet!!
  • one of the most recent almost 3 yr old conversations:
    C¬†– Momma, Baby Bob’s (his doll) toes are sick. He would feel better if he could go for a ride in a float plane.
    Momma – Captain, do you think that maybe it is you that would like to go for a ride?
    C¬†– Ummm … maybe, Momma!
  • Overheard conversation of the day …
    ~C~ I am going to nap and then I need to wear my dress shirt.
    ~Daddy~ Why? Do you have big plans?
    ~C~ Yes!! I have a contract flight today.
    ~Daddy~ a little incredulously … what did you say?
    ~C~ I have a contract flight out of TO (Captain calls Toronto РTO)  Again, uncontrollable laughter from his mother. Seriously, where does he come up with this stuff?!?!?
  • Overheard today … Captain ~on my old cell phone … dialing lots of numbers, then “Hi Don, Frank here. I’m at the airport. Yup … be right back” … went to get pen and paper, picks up phone again “I’m back.” Starts writing message “Yup, think I got it all. Talk to you later Don.” His mother = laughing painfully hard!!! FYI, Chief has flown with Don & Frank in the past. The kid has a good memory!!

I actually DID blog previously …

… I just honestly had forgotten about it.¬† I started it the year that Chief and I were married (2005 if you’re nosy like me).¬† And then life started getting in the way of blogging.¬† Specifically, we moved back to where I grew up and we had the joys of dial-up internet for two years.¬† Wow, those were long years ūüôā¬†

The view from our front windows certainly helped with the angst of dial-up though. So lovely!

Anyway, an old friend was able to reconnect with me through that blog today, and I had fun going through my old entries.¬† I have saved them and will share a few of them with you over the next couple of weeks.¬† I always enjoying going back in time to see what I thought at a certain point.¬† This next post was from December 11, 2005.¬† Let’s see how much of it has happened or changed in the last (almost) 5 years …

So, here we go … delving into my mind could be scary – fasten your seatbelts …
Seven things I hope to do before I die:

Cherub Baby #1 and #2

1. Make beautiful, cherub-faced babies with Chief (you know Рthe kind you want to just stare at cause they are so cute!!)  Done, twice with perfect results!!
2. Make Chief and I a quilt Рmany are in the works, just no completion in sight!  Sadly, this is still on my to-do list.
3. Get published in a scrapbooking publication While I still love to scrapbook, this is not on my radar anymore.¬† I scrapbook how I like, and I’m not sure that it’s the latest trends, so this wish is probably off the list now.
4. Renew some friendships that have sort of fallen by the wayside, so to speak, in the last few years, due to the craziness in my life Oh Facebook, how I love and hate thee at the same time.¬† I love the fact that I have reconnected with a lot of old friends through Facebook.¬† And I hate the fact that I spend way too much time on there at times ūüôā
5. Own a house (that comes with a white picket fence and a puppy – and an awesome “creating” room that is all mine!!) Well, let’s see.¬† Chief is violently allergic to dogs, so that one is off the list.¬† We currently rent as apparently we are nomads, having moved 5 times in 5 years.¬† Maybe someday.¬† And “creating” room that is all mine?¬† Well, I imagine that I have my own room, until I am creating and some errant “sports” ball hits me in the side of the head and then I am swiftly brought back to the reality that my crafting space is also known as the base operations for our company and the boys’ play room.¬† It can get a little wild down here sometimes!!
6. Travel to Europe Рspecifically Scotland, England and Ireland Still no, but Chief has been to England and Ireland since I wrote this.  Does that count??
7. Ensure that my parents are well looked after once they retire – edit #5 – must have granny-addition for Mom and Daddy to live in¬† We have a lovely spare room, and Dad’s not retired yet, so I still have some time to complete this one.¬† First I have to convince them that we are not going to be nomads anymore and live in one spot, so that they can move near us.¬† My boys would honestly think that they had died and gone to heaven to have “Mom and Dad” so handy.¬† I would too.

Seven things I cannot do:

I can hear him making the jet noise, can you??

1. Make weird noises like my husband (and all men, for that matter) – I have tried and tried and have been coached on how to make such noises as: car brakes squealing, etc – with no success¬† Seriously, Captain never talked a lot until he was about 2.5.¬† However, from the age of about 1.5 he could make the distinct sounds of a jet, a prop plane and a helicopter.¬† I am 27 years his senior and my jet, prop plane and helicopter all sound like sick animals.¬† I just don’t have the noise making gene ūüôā
2. Understand why the lovely people on the island where I live like to honk their horns at people – viciously honk their horns – over things that cannot be helped¬† Even though I no longer live on Long Island, I still don’t get why they honk their horns so much.¬† Slow down and live a little longer, New Yorkers!!
3. Stand on my head – I fall over very hard & very easily – I even tried this as recently as this past Thanksgiving – where I tried to teach my friend’s 5 yr old son to do this exact stunt – not successful on my part¬† I did actually demonstrate this wonderful skill for Captain about two weeks ago.¬† I managed to stay upright, while upside down for about 2.5 seconds.¬† An improvement, don’t you think??
4. Get out of bed in the mornings – I love to lay in my comfy, warm bed dreaming about what great and magnificent things I will do that day Motherhood brought a screaming halt to this.¬† That’s all I have to say about that.
5. Refrain from spending large amounts of my husband’s money on scrapbooking¬†supplies, quilting supplies, gifts for my loved ones (next year’s christmas gifts), shoes, books, and many other lovely things that I feel I need, he however does not see it the same (P.S. I did buy him a wonderful assortment of “just what he asked for” Christmas gifts this year – sweet of me to use the money he earned, eh? Awww … the joys of being a stay-at-home wife!)¬† Well, considering that Chief decided to take a two-year “retirement” from flying (and a wonderful salary) to follow his dream of starting his own company, that promptly helped me stop spending large amounts of his money!!
6. Play Trivial Pursuit. I hate that game. I do not know 1/10th of the answers and I refuse to play a game that I can’t win. I’m working on that bad attitude, by the way!¬† I did actually purchase a copy of Trivial Pursuit at the thrift store, but I still have to find someone to play it with me.¬† Any takers??
7. Ice skate. Sad confession for a good Canadian girl – but I can’t. I too scared of falling on my butt and hurting said butt. Plus, scared of hurting pride.¬† Well last night was our Church’s annual Fall Party, which includes skating at a local¬†rink.¬† Captain reminded me all week that Daddy was going to hold his hand and take him skating, but not Momma, “cause Momma not good at kating, right Momma?”¬† Yes, darling, thank you for that reminder.¬†

Chief dearly loves to have his picture taken. Isn’t it obvious??

Seven things that attract me to my husband:

(This list is really long, but since I don’t want to bore you, I will restrain myself to only 7 reasons)¬† They are all still true, so I’ll make a general comment.¬† He is still a wonderful husband, five years and two babies later.¬† Even if he did forget my birthday on Sunday.¬† It’s all good, I’m mostly over it.
1. His incredibly kind and loving nature. Every little girl wants to grow up and marry a man like her Daddy – well, I’ve been doubly blessed. I have a phenomenal Daddy with a wonderful spirit and kind nature – and now I have a husband with the same great qualities.
2. His great sense of humor – although he’s a bit of a stinker at times
3. His strong work ethic. He is a great provider.
4. The fact that he shares the household responsibilities with me Рhe takes out the trash and washes the dishes Рthe two things I hate to do. How perfect is that??  Edit Рhe still is rather good at taking out the trash, but somewhere along the line he managed to drop the washing of dishes off of his chore list.  But I like washing dishes now (which is good because there are a lot of them created in this house) which works out well.  Most of the time.
5. His love and dedication to my parents. Since my world has revolved around them for my entire life, it’s very special to finally find a man who recognizes their great worth and takes time out of his life to ensure that they realize how much he loves and cares for them.¬† Still very, very true.¬† And it makes me so incredibly happy that my parents and Chief love each other so much and that it is so mutual.¬†
6. His indulgent nature when it comes to me (See #5 in 7 things I cannot do)
7. How protective he is of me and our relationship
8. His giggle. lol – he’s gonna get me for that one – he’s a big “man’s man” kind of guy – but he has the most adorable giggle when I do/say/think silly things.
*** Ooops – I was only supposed to have 7 – well, I’m not deleting one thing, so you’ll just have to live with it!! =)

Seven books or book series I love:
1. To Kill a Mockingbird
2. Anne of Green Gables series
3. Anything to do with England monarchy (like the Boleyn girls, Queen Elizabeth/Queen Mary)
4. Guideposts magazine (okay, I’m stretching the rules here …)
5. Any scrapbooking, quilting publication (well, most of them)
6. Bridget Jones’ Diary (1&2) now replaced by anything by Karen Kingsbury.¬†
7. anything by Francine Rivers

Seven movies I could watch over and over again:
1. Sweet Home Alabama
2. Anne of Green Gables 
3. National Geographic documentary on whales (strange choice – even stranger how I came to like it. My parents bought it for me on their honeymoon – sort of a bribe present cause my nose was a little out of joint now that I had to share my mom – and it was the first video that I ever owned and basically the only one I was allowed to watch. So I watched it – over and over and over …)
4. Almost all of Julia Roberts’ movies
5. My many SATC DVDs My tastes have changed … now it’s delightful to curl up with a warm, cuddly Captain and watch Veggie Tales together.¬† Now, that’s real entertainment!!
6. My even larger collection of Friends DVDs
7. Canadian RCMP musical ride videos – I have 2, but my favorite is the one where my uncle is wearing a camera on his hat while the horses stampede – very, very cool perspective of it!!!

So there you have it … a peek into the me a few years ago.¬† Do any of you write things like this down and then go back and reread them a few years later?¬† If not, you should start, it’s fun to see the “earlier” version of yourself.

Inexplicit recipes give me the hives

¬†You know –¬†those recipes that call for a dash of this and a pinch of that.¬† Acck!!¬† I need measurements, people!!¬† The recipe I am going to share today is one of those recipes though.¬† Hmmm¬†… that’s interesting ūüôā¬† Actually it is the recipe that I used to ease myself into not completely freaking out over vague recipes.¬† Don’t get me wrong – I¬†prefer a well detailed recipe over a¬†generalized one any day, but I have at least learned that I do not need to run screaming away from them.¬† If this one is any indication, I may actually be semi-decent at this cooking guessing game.

My father-in-law is British and my husband spent a bit of his growing up years in England with his family.¬† So some of the things he asks for me to cook are, well, a little strange to me.¬† Steak and kidney pie anyone?¬† Apparently the kidney is truly kidney and not lovely kidney beans as I had allowed myself to believe.¬† One of the British dishes that I can get onboard with are “Cornish Pastries”.¬† They are comfort food at it’s best and while making them requires a bit of work, they freeze really well and are perfect for lunches or for those days that you just do not want to cook.¬† I even took pictures – which I have to admit I would rather eat¬†the food I cook¬†than take pictures of it, so my food photography skills leave a little to be desired.¬† If you want gorgeous food pictures, check out Smitten Kitchen’s blog on the right of this screen.¬† Gorgeous.¬† Mine, well, they are functional, shall we say?¬† Also, I was so keen on sharing this recipe as it helps with cooking anxiety, I never thought about the fact that Cornish Pastries are not an overly exciting looking dish.¬† Oh well … trust that it is one of those dishes that tastes about 100 times better than it looks.¬† Well, enough rambling from me … let’s get cooking!!

Cornish Pastries

Dutch ovens filled with yummy turnip and potatoes

Peel and chunk up an equal portion of turnip (rutabaga¬†if you want to be technical) and potatoes.¬† Bring to a boil (each in their own pot) and cook until fork tender.¬† Drain and mash.¬† Brown ground beef, along with an onion.¬† Now, here is where this recipe gets a little heeby-jeeby for me.¬† I would say that the ratio I use is this:¬† 2 parts turnip to 2 parts potato to 1 part browned beef (with as much onion as you wish in it).¬†¬†In real terms –¬†when I made these last week, I cooked a dutch oven half full of potatoes and again of turnip (see picture above)¬†and used one¬†pound of ground beef and two small onions, diced. ¬†Stir the mashed potato, mashed turnip and browned beef together until well mixed.

At this point, stop and give Baby Caleb a bowl full of the mixture, as he has been yelling and banging on your leg with an empty bowl and fork. Also give in to his whim to eat on the floor. Hey, it’s not as far for him to spill the food!!


Now if you are making a small amount, or have lots of room in your grocery budget, the easy and not-so-cheap way is to use puff pastry.  This makes a very nice Cornish pastry, however, one time that I made Cornish, I stopped after I had purchased $30 worth of puff pastry.  Yes, I honestly believe in going big or bust when it comes to making these things!!  I just made these this past Wednesday and Friday.  I cooked my turnip/potato/browned beef mixture, made one batch of pastry and assembled about 12 decent sized Cornish Wednesday night.  I then covered my turnip/potato/browned beef mixture, put it in the fridge and made two more batches of dough on Friday and finished them.  I now have about 35 large Cornish and 10 baby Cornish (for Masters Terence and Caleb) in my freezer.  We also had them for supper both nights.

So, back to the pastry discussion.  After plunking down $30, I vowed that I would have to find a more economical way to do this, as the rest of the Cornish is a very frugal meal.  So, my mother recommended a pastry recipe that she used to use for a similar pastry meal.  It makes a great, frugal alternative to store-bought puff pastry.  Here it is, with my tweaks:

  1. 4 c. flour
  2. 3 Tbsp. baking powder
  3. 1/2 tsp. salt
  4. 3/4 c. shortening
  5. 1  1/4 to 1  1/2 c. milk

Combine flour, baking powder and salt.¬† Cut in shortening, to flour mixture, until shortening is all incorporated.¬† Add one cup of milk, combining well.¬† Continue to add small amounts of milk and combining, just until you can handle the dough.¬† If your dough is too sticky, add a bit of flour.¬† Turn dough onto floured surface.¬† Lightly knead¬†in any excess flour.¬† Roll out thin (about 1/8″ to 1/4″ inch thick).¬† Using a round template (I used¬†a cereal bowl for our Cornish and a dessert bowl for the boys’ Cornish) cut out circles of dough.

Note:  If you are using store-bought puff pastry, cut squares of dough.  Your finished product will be a triangle instead of a half circle.  You will have less waste of pastry, this way.

Please use this photo solely as an instructional aid, and not as a “Ohmygoodness, I need to make these” photo.

Place some of the turnip/potato/browned¬†beef mixture¬†on one half of the circle of dough,¬†in about 1/2″ from the¬†edge (see above photo for guidance).

I promise, I have four fingers and a thumb on my right hand. Not just a solitary finger as this picture would lead you to believe.

Fold the dough over the turnip mixture and seal edges well.  Use a fork to press a decorative edge over the sealed portion.

M’mmm … some gravy and a fork, please!

Bake at 450 for 12 Р15 minutes, until lightly browned.  Serve with brown gravy on top, or cool and freeze.  After freezing Cornish, first thaw them and then reheat in the microwave or in the oven at 350, until the center of the mixture is hot.  Enjoy!

And in case you are like me, and can’t get enough of pudgy little baby fingers and round baby cheeks, here is another picture of Caleb for your viewing pleasure. You’re welcome!

Books are welcome here!

“Why on earth¬†would you have so many books?!?!”¬† This was the rather awestruck comment that came from one of my younger cousins as he was helping us move the last time.¬† This comment came after loading many, many boxes into the truck labelled “Books”.¬† He honestly did not believe me that they were all books, and so I opened a few boxes to convince him.¬† At last count, my personal book collections is over 500 books, not including my Bibles, cookbooks or our children’s books.

One of my earliest memories is arriving home from kindergarten very upset that they did not teach us how to read.  My mom had been telling me that school was a fabulous place, as they taught you how to read.  Well, one year down and absolutely zero reading instruction, as far as I could see.  (Obviously this was many years ago, as Terence will be thrilled to learn how to read next year in Jr. Kindergarten!!)  Books have been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember.

Reading begins young in our house

Due to this, it just seemed fitting that one of my weekly posts needs to revolve around books, wouldn’t you agree?¬† Each week I will be completing a book review on a specific list of books.¬† The list of upcoming books will be posted under the “Reading List” page on my blog, along with the date that the review will be completed.¬† I would be thrilled to have you read along with me, if any of them are of interest to you.

Some of my favorite resources for books are:

  1. Your local public library.¬† I am very fortunate to live in a city that has four great libraries.¬† Terence and I could spend most of a day in our main library branch location, I am sure.¬† He and Caleb have certainly inherited my love of books, as most mornings, both of them can be found in their beds reading books!!¬† But look at that, I’m “rabbit trailing” again …
  2. (or for my wonderful USA friends).  Extra bonus for my fellow Canadians, they have just lowered their minimum shipping requirement from $39 to $25 to obtain free shipping.  Woohoo!!!
  3. – Christian Book Distributors.¬† They are based out of Peabody, MA and they ship to Canada for very reasonable rates.¬† They also have two weekly specials.¬†¬†“Fab Friday” are specials that are¬†posted on Fridays, and last until Monday night.¬† Then on Tuesday, they post “Midweek Markdowns” until Thursday.¬† I have purchased a lot of books from them, their subject matter is quite wide.
  4. РOf course, as a Canadian, I have to mention, as they are the largest other bookstore, along with Amazon.  However, I find, quite consistently, that has better rates.  That being said, if you are able to wait for a book and you have enough of a purchase to get free shipping (also now $25, down from $39), their books purchased online are almost always cheaper than books purchased in their stores.  But, if you are a reader in the Saint John, NB area, I have to admit that I have a hard time walking into the new Indigo store without walking out with something.  The colors that they have used completely inspire me every time.  And of course, Starbucks makes any book better!
  5. Second-hand bookstores or thrift stores.¬† I would be completely remiss if I did not mention purchasing books at second-hand¬†bookstores or thrift stores.¬† Now I know that some people have a hard time with reading second-hand¬†books or library books.¬† If you do, no worries – that’s why there are lots of places to purchase books.¬† ūüôā¬† However, if you are like me and love thrift store shopping, then there are always good buys to be found in the book section.¬† Also, a lot of second-hand¬†book stores (not general thrift stores) will usually purchase used books in excellent condition from you and offer credit against purchasing books in their store.¬† A great option if you can part with your books.¬† Obviously, I do not fall in that category.¬† Value Village has an offer in their book section that is worthwhile if you find books in the same price range.¬† If you purchase four books, you will receive a fifth book free.¬† Check out your local thrift store, you never know what literary jem you might find!!

Caleb studying up on the Airbus

Join me on Thursdays for a book review.¬† Doesn’t that just take you right back to 8th grade English class?¬† Seriously though, I’d love to have you¬†join me next week.¬† I will be reviewing “Sink Reflections” by Marla Cilley – The FlyLady.¬† I’d better get reading …

You will never look at me the same again …

Ever have things floating around in your head that you wish people knew, but you were a little afraid to voice them?¬† Or weird little quirks that are uniquely you?¬† Well, I know I do!¬† So, without further ado … here is my list of 25 things that make me, me.

My cookbook collection

1. I love to collect cook books, cooking magazines, recipes from friends. And I read my cookbooks like most people read a novel. Front to back.

2. I would prefer that my food not touch the other items on my plate, and I eat one group of food at a time.

3. I am always very quick to stand up for those I love and what I believe in. It can be a very good quality, but it has also gotten me in major trouble before.

4. I miss my Mom and Dad (they live about 1000 miles away) so bad at times that I physically hurt.

5. I try to ‚Äúrationalize‚ÄĚ series of numbers. Like 2412 = 2 plus 4 equals 6, which doubled equals 12. Crazy math stuff like that!

6. I am not fond of cleaning but love a clean house. I honestly feel so confident and ready to conquer the world when my house is clean.

7. If I don’t get a chance to make my bed in the morning, I have to make it before I go to bed. A messy bed drives me batty.

Sweet babies

8. I love my boys dearly, but I always sigh a sigh of relief when it is bedtime. And then an hour later I go in and snuggle them and listen to their breathing. Sometimes a Momma just needs a break!!

9. Red and pink are my favorite colors.

10. I wish that I could see my birth father just once (he died when I was 7) and show him how successful I have become (great husband, beautiful kids, fabulous relationship with my Mom and adopted Dad).

11. I thought I was honestly going crazy until I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Now I feel like I’m becoming normal again.

12. Even though I know it‚Äôs normal, it hurts when my kids go through their ‚Äúdaddy only‚ÄĚ phase.

My Handsome Captain Husband

13. Seeing Christopher dressed up (especially in his pilot uniform) honestly still makes my stomach flip ‚Äď in a totally good way.

14. I am not fond of folding up clean laundry. It usually doesn’t get put away until I run out of laundry baskets to put the clean laundry in.

15. Everyone thinks that I am quite outgoing (and I love being with people!) but I usually get physically ill if I know that I am going to have to meet new people.

16. If I have to stay home for more than two days I start to feel like I’m getting hives. I have to get out and see people!!

17. I can‚Äôt stand the feel or sound of cotton balls.¬† Fingernails on a chalkboard?¬† No problem.¬† Pull a cotton ball out of a medecine bottle if I’m in the room?¬† I almost come unglued.¬† I even have to slightly wet Q-Tips before I clean my ears with them because the sound of cotton in my ear is almost too much.¬† Aren’t you glad that you now know that??

18. My irrational fear is of police cars. I associate them with bearers of news of death of a loved one.

19. I would love to have a daughter someday. But it really irritates me when people ask me if we are going to try for a third child so that I will finally get my girl. I love my boys and wouldn’t trade them for a million girls!!

20. I’d like to have 5 kids, but the thought of more than three kids almost makes Christopher ill!!

Terence in all of his “marching to his own drumbeat” glory. Love this boy!! And yes, he is wearing footie pj’s, with a winter hat, covered in stickers. Charging his flashlight.

21. I daydream about what our (Christopher and I) relationship was like when we were first dating and I love seeing couples who are obviously in that ‚Äúno one else matters but us‚ÄĚ relationship phase. Saying that, I wouldn‚Äôt trade what I have with my husband for that for anything.

22. I love to organize things and move furniture around. It is like having a brand new room every time!!

23. I must have¬†all the clean dishes lined up ‚Äúright‚ÄĚ (my definition of what right is! ) in the dishrack, or it drives me nuts.

24. Every time I talk to someone I am constantly thinking of things that I like about that person. It makes it so that I am rather awkward at conversation sometimes. I wish that I could tell those people what I like about them. I am trying to do this more.

25. My mind never shuts off ‚Äď I honestly think about 5 or 6 major things all the time and it drives me nuts, but I can‚Äôt seem to get it to stop doing that.

I invite you to play along on your blog too.  If you do, leave the link in the comments section and I will add it here.  Have fun!