Friday, February 17, 2017

Fly on the Wall: Spagheeeeettaboutit

Welcome to a monthly Fly on the Wall group post. Today 9 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house. At the end of my post you’ll find links to this month’s other participants’ posts.

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

College Boy was home for dinner for a few days. He loves my Hearty Meat Sauce and asks for spaghetti all the time. The first night I had already made Crockpot Beef Shank Pea Soup. But I had some meat sauce in the freezer so I planned that for the second night.

College Boy: We're having spaghetti!
Me (teasing him even though I know he sees the sauce in the pan): No.
College Boy (teasing me back): Damn. I wanted Pea Soup again.
Me: No problem, I have leftover Pea Soup, so no spaghetti for you.
College Boy: You can't say "no spaghetti for you". You have to say "spagheeeeettaboutit".

Ba dum dum. 

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

I was watching AM Joy on MSNBC and she was talking about the issue with KellyAnne Conway having promoted Ivanka Trumps clothing line from the White House. Joy misspoke stating that KellyAnne had been "canceled" then quickly corrected herself, "I mean counseled". 

I couldn't help myself. I tweeted "Ha Ha. Canceled. Freudian slip @amjoyshow? #AMJoy".

Imagine my shock when I went back to twitter later to see that President Trump had liked my tweet.

Fly on the Wall, the president liked my tweet? Or not | | #funny #laugh

Well, or not . . . looking at it closer I saw that, of course, it wasn't from either of the president's accounts. 

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

PurDude was home for winter break (aka the fastest 3 weeks ever). I think part of the reason his vacations seem to fly for me is that even though he's home, I rarely see him. He sleeps until 2:00 or 3:00 pm, showers, goes to the gym, has dinner with us then goes out with friends or joins the family in the den where he promptly falls asleep on the couch. Nonetheless, I loved having him here.

The day came and he was headed back to school. I often send him back on a Saturday to give him one day leeway whether it be for travel issues (he has to take 2 planes and drive 1 1/2 hours) or just so he has a day to settle in, do laundry and shop or whatever before he starts classes on Monday.

So I got up on the Saturday morning when he'd be leaving and checked on the status of his flights. All was well. We went through the "mom rules for travel day". He has to text me when he boards his first flight, when he gets to his next gate, when he boards his second flight, when his luggage arrives, when he gets on the bus to his car, when his car starts and when he gets to his frat. I know it's a lot but it's a long day and I want to know where he is.

Hubs and PurDude were in the car to go to the airport when I checked one more time and yup, first flight late, he'd miss his connection. Long story short there was no way to get him to Indianapolis that day, they could book him on the same flights the next day. Giving him that one day leeway turned out to be a good strategy. He'd go back on Sunday (knock wood) and wouldn't miss any school.

And in the back of my mind I selfishly thought "yay, one more day to have him home." Just before he laid down on the couch and . . . you guessed it . . . fell asleep.

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

While he was home I asked PurDude to be more in touch with me once he was back in school. I asked him to text me daily (no, I didn't think he'd text daily, but I would ask for everything and hope for something). But this past semester was extremely difficult and stressful and he barely had time to breathe. I didn't hear from him as much as I'd like, and mostly when I did talk to him he was completely exhausted. 

He dutifully smiled and nodded his head. Yes, it would be another difficult semester but he'd text me daily (I don't know about him, but even I didn't believe this).

And then he went back to school.

Monday: nothing.
Tuesday: nothing.
Wednesday: nothing.
Thursday: nothing. Fought off my extreme desire to text him, telling myself to wait for him.
Friday: nothing. I gave in and texted him.

Me: Ummm . . . hello?
PurDude: Hi.
Me: Have you met that guy who was going to text me daily?
PurDude: Yes, he said to tell you that he texted the required 7 times during his travels on Sunday, he's got 2 more days credit.

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

We were expecting an ice storm and with that comes the possibility of losing electricity. I had Hubs bring lots of fire wood from the pile outside into the garage and asked him to go get a few more small flashlights. We had one big heavy duty one he'd bought at Lowes, but wanted a few smaller ones for each of us to use for up and down the stairs. I told him to just go to Walmart or Target for those.

He left and I was going to go shower but, of course, I can't shower when I send him out to do errands because I'll miss all of his phone calls. And right on cue my cell rings for the first time.

Me: What's up?
Hubs: I'm at Walgreens but they don't have any flashlights here.
Me: What are you doing at Walgreens?
Hubs: You told me to come here.
Me: OK, now go to the other Wal. You know, the one with m-a-r-t at the end of its name.

Better charge my phone, it's gonna be a long morning.

French Onion Brown Rice Casserole, a hearty side dish of rice and vegetables cooked with the flavors of French Onion Soup | Recipe developed by | #recipe #rice
French Onion Brown Rice Casserole

And you guessed it, my cell rings again.

Me: How's it going?
Hubs: I'm at Lowes.
Me (rolling my eyes even though he can't see me): Did they change their name to Lowesmart?
Hubs: Huh?
Me: Nothing, what's up?
Hubs: So they have these heavy duty high amp bla bla bla (he didn't say bla bla bla, that's just what I heard) . . .
Me: No. We have one heavy duty flashlight, I'm just looking for something small and light to keep us from walking into furniture or tripping on the stairs.
Hubs: But it's got bla bla amps and is made of bla bla bla and will last into the next millennium and . . .
Me: Let me put it this way, do you want to drive me to the hospital in the middle of an ice storm when I drop that thing on my foot?
Hubs: Oh, look at this little hand held plastic one. Even you couldn't hurt anything with this one.
Me: See ya soon!

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

Hubs brought home the 2 new flashlights and they were perfect, small and easy to handle but with a bright light.

I'm watching the news a few hours later and they're warning there could well be power outages. I realize that I want the flashlights someplace handy. So I go looking for them. Are they under the kitchen sink where we keep the big one? No. On the desk in the kitchen? No. In the den? No. Office? No. Under the utility sink in the laundry room? No.

I'm standing there trying to figure out what obvious place I haven't looked before calling Hubs and asking where they are. In our laundry room we have 3 lockers where the kids keep their coats, shoes, sweatshirts and backpacks. The third locker I use now and then. Even though the boys aren't around as much, the lockers are still pretty full with whatever clothes they use when they're around. And there, in PurDude's locker, guess what I find. 'Cause if the lights go out, that's certainly the first place I'm going to go running for a flashlight. Or not.

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

Me: Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow so we're in for 6 more weeks of winter.
College Boy: How do you know he saw his shadow? Maybe he didn't.
Me: I saw the video on the news.
College Boy: But Mom, haven't you heard? The news is fake. If you want to know the truth about whether there'll be another 6 weeks of winter, you need to check Trump's twitter account.
Me: #AlternativeFacts?

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

I heard on the news before heading to bed one night last month that there was snow headed our way but the weathermen had predicted we'd get under an inch. When I woke up there was 3 inches on the ground and it was still coming down.

College Boy: It's snowing!
Me: Very observant of you.
College Boy: You know what that means, right?
Me: Ummm. No idea, but I'm afraid you're going to tell me.
College Boy: We're having spaghetti again.
Me: Huh?
College Boy: When it's a cold windy snowy day you always put a big pot of Hearty Meat Sauce on the stove.
Me: Spagheeeeettaboutit!

Fly on the Wall | | #MyGraphics

It's Thursday night and this post publishes tomorrow. I only have 9 snippets. I always do 10. Don't get me wrong, about a million snippet-worthy circumstances presented themselves this month, I just did a bad job of getting them into this document. Now what am I gonna do?

Me: Hun . . . can you go to the store for me?
Hubs: Sure, what do you need?
Me: Well . . . I don't really need anything . . . I just need you to go to the store for me. You see, I have this blog post due tomorrow . . .

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

French Onion Brown Rice Casserole
Printable Recipe
1 small bunch broccoli florets, cleaned and cut into small pieces
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 can French Onion Soup
1/4 cup milk 
salt and pepper to taste 
4 oz mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 1/4 cups shredded sharp cheddar, divided
1/4 cup french fried onions

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 X 8 casserole dish.
*Steam the broccoli until just barely cooked, about 2 minutes in the microwave.
*Place the cooked rice into a large bowl. Mix in the onion soup, milk, salt and pepper. Once well mixed, add the mushrooms, broccoli and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese.
*Place into the greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheddar cheese. Crush the french fried onions onto the top. Cover with foil.
*Bake for 1/2 hour. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until the casserole is bubbly hot.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Be My Guest: Love from Not That Sarah Michelle

Happy Valentine's Day!

I thought today would be the perfect day to share a post by Sarah of Not That Sarah Michelle, in the latest of my Be My Guest series. Mainly because Sarah reminds me that there are all kinds of love. There's romance, of course, and the love of those we cherish in our lives, the people we celebrate on this day. 

But love has so much more depth than that. For instance there is a commitment to our core beliefs, the willingness to stand up and speak out that can only be described as a love of values. And there is the love of words. Sarah marries these two. 

My online friendship with her goes back years. We've read each others' posts, been involved in writing challenges together and supported each other on a personal level. We, like many bloggers, have talked about walking away from writing, felt that we've had enough, said all we wanted to say. She reached this point again just a few months ago, walking that line of "should I or shouldn't I?" The decision was to take a break.

I believe that Sarah has more to say. That, agree with her or not, she has a passion for her personal beliefs and the ability to express them. So I reached out. I offered a direction and extended a challenge. Not just to express her opinions in defense of human rights, but to back them up with facts. And in the process see if she regains her enthusiasm for writing. Because in my opinion, the world needs more public expression of this particular kind of compassion than it has in a long time.

Happy Valentine's Day, Sarah. Love having your big voice here in my little world. 

Be My Guest, a series of guest posts by multiple bloggers | Presented by | #MyGraphics #blogging

From Sarah:

Religion is so multifaceted. There are different beliefs, different offshoots of those beliefs and offshoots from THOSE beliefs. Each one feels like they are correct and if you don't follow along with that, then you're wrong. It is rare that people take the time to really get to know what another religion is about and, if they try to do ANY research, it is usually nothing but negative that they find. So, which religion is right?

In a time where equality is a big fight and everyone wants equal rights, people often turn to their religion for a better understanding. Unfortunately, history has been so bastardized and reshaped to fit the conformity of the religious left that people don't realize that this country is a melting pot for all people; race, religion, gender, be damned. It can be confusing, especially to those who just want to live in our great country as the majority of Americans do. Why can't two consenting men who are madly in love marry? Why can't a Muslim be president? Why does religion have to dictate and decide everything, especially if we are supposed to be a country with a religion-free constitution?

It is a common misconception that we are a "Christian nation". If you look back through history you will see that this is a reoccurring argument for anything as small as "should our children be spanked" to things as big as "should people of the same sex marry". People look to religion to figure out what is right and what is wrong, all the while losing sight of what really matters . . . human rights.

 This country was founded by poeple looking to escape the oppression and persecution of the Church of England. They came here looking to worship, or not worship, freely. So why is it that now people want to TELL you how, who, or what to believe? Freedom of religion is a basic human right that everyone is entitled to. It is MY right to be a Christian. It is YOUR right to be a Muslim. It is HIS right to be Jewish. It is HER right to be an atheist. To tell someone that they HAVE to believe the way you do is to turn your back on the freedom people seek in this country and return to a way of life where we all have to fall in line.

The bottom line is that we are a country built by people who want to worship and live our lives freely. Although all religions have extremists, a fact people seem to forget quite a bit, my choice to live my religion is not hurting you. Singling out any one religion for vilification? Well, ask Hitler how that worked out for him.

And a final note from me: I'm pleased to announce that this is just the beginning. Sarah will be continuing this discussion in a monthly feature on her blog. I'm looking forward to reading about her point of view in more depth and in joining in the conversation with her. Hope you will too.

About the author: 
Sarah Michelle is a wife, working mother of 3 and college student living in Florida. She's a passionate advocate for equal rights and a never ending source of Instagram entertainment. Sarah shares her life and her thoughts on her blog Not That Sarah Michelle. You can follow her on Facebook, twitter and Google +.

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Friday, February 10, 2017

Use Your Words: Sometimes a Gyro

Today’s post is a monthly writing challenge. If you’re new here, this is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once. All of the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the recipient will take them. Until now.

Use Your Words | | #MyGraphics

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.
I’m using: gyro ~ thieves ~ scrubs ~ funnel ~ gorgeous
They were submitted by Karen of Dinosaur Superhero Mommy.

Two years ago, for a blog post, I wrote a Fairy Tale. I called it Fairy Tale (creative, aren't I?). I'm not sure what possessed me to write one, but I did and I have to admit it was a lot of fun. Not only did I enjoy writing it, but it was a hit. Tons of page views and people were flooding my FB page telling me I should write a book. Wow. And you know what? I liked the idea. It's different from the types of books so many were writing. No mommy war stories, just fun humorous fiction with a moral. YES. I could do this.

Or not. Seems I'm a ruthless editor. I'd write a story, edit, edit, edit and end up with about 3 words. Eventually I decided I was trying too hard and gave up. There's probably some neutral ground between trying too hard and giving up but I never looked for it. I wrote one more as a blog post and that was it. No book, of course, but today's word prompts have inspired me to write another fairy tale . . . 

She entered the little store, seemingly no different from all the other little stores at the gas stations where she'd stopped over the past 10 hours. Overpriced bags of food and chips, probably been sitting there a year. Walls of refrigerated cases filled with every kind of cold drink on the planet. A scuffed path in the floor to the bathrooms in the back. 

Bethryn followed the path to the public facilities feeling as hungry as she was exhausted. Knowing she'd have to force herself to eat despite the fact that the bathroom would pretty much destroy her appetite. Wishing she had another option, even a funnel and a glass jar to pee in would be a better option to entering one more of these filthy bathrooms. 

Relieved, she decided to check out the drinks before trying to find something edible in this little truck stop. Fresca. Haven't seen that in years. Wasn't till she opened the top to take a sip when she realized she'd been holding her breath since leaving the bathroom. 

Wondering what fast food hell this place might have, over-done hot dogs, microwave pizza, same as all the other places she was sure. 

Smiling at her from behind the counter was the attendant. And to his left was something she never expected to see. Meat. On a rotisserie. Gorgeous beef. Or could that actually be lamb? And she could smell it. Oh, my. This can't be. No matter what it is, she told herself, I'm no newbie. I know better than to order sushi in a gas station and gas station beef comes under the same rule.

"Beef?" she asked the attendant, looking towards the rotisserie. "Lamb," he answered in a thick  Greek accent. "Slow cooked. Delicious. I will own a restaurant some day. Until then I own this station. I work hard. I save my money. And I make my lamb. Many people come for my sandwiches. You must try."

She could hear his pride. And feel her own caution. Hunger won out. "OK, gyro a please." She thought his smile got bigger because she was trusting him but when he responded she understood "Gyro. Good for you. You say as heeero. So many call it jiiro. I know how is spelled, but is not jiiro, is heeero."

As he went to add meat, vegetables (and is that real tzatziki sauce?) to a piece of flatbread, she walked over to the chips. It was then that, just out of the corner of her eye, she saw a man walk in wearing scrubs. "I wouldn't think there'd be a hospital anywhere near this dinky town." she thought, "but that guy's a bit rough around the edges. Either he's no doctor or he's been working a double shift."

Bethryn must have been intensely studying the chips because it took her a minute to realize that the "doctor" was holding up the attendant. Terrified, she froze in place. This would hardly be a spot where she'd expect to find thieves. But that's definitely a gun in his hand. And the attendant was handing him the cash from the drawer while stammering "please, take the money and leave, please, don't hurt me."

Clutching the money in one hand and the gun in the other, the thief turned towards Bethryn. As she started to walk towards her, tears involuntarily streamed silently down Bethryn's face. She'd give him what he wants, her jewelry, her money, but will she live?

Almost before she could finish her thought, she was startled by something flying through the air. A deli paper wrapped sandwich missile hit the thief in the head. He lost his balance, smacked his head on the chip shelf and fell unconscious to the floor.

Maybe she was in shock, but by the time she was able to process what had happened, the attendant was standing beside her and the local sheriff responding to the 911 call was asking her if she was OK.

She was. And 3 hours later when she finally arrived at her son's house. She had quite a story to tell.

And the moral of the story? Wait for it . . . wait for it . . . 

Here it is: Sometimes a hero is just a gyro.

Now for something delicious that is neither a gyro nor bought at a rest area quick shop but perfect for sharing with your Valentine:

Red Velvet Kiss Cupcakes, as moist as they are pretty, these white chocolate frosted cupcakes have a surprise kiss inside | Recipe developed by | #bake #ValentinesDay #dessert

Red Velvet Kiss Cupcakes
Red Velvet Kiss Cupcakes, as moist as they are pretty, these white chocolate frosted cupcakes have a surprise kiss inside | Recipe developed by | #bake #ValentinesDay #dessert

Here are links to all the other Use Your Words posts:

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Red Velvet Kiss Cupcakes

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt 
1 TBSP baking cocoa
1 1/2 cups oil 
2 eggs, room temperature
1 oz red food coloring
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
24 Hershey's Kiss candies, your choice of flavor (I used Candy Cane Flavor), unwrapped

1 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup white chocolate chips
3 cups powdered sugar
about 1/4 cup milk

red baking sugar

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 24 liners into cupcake tins.
*Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and baking cocoa.
*In a mixer, beat the oil, eggs, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla.
*Beat in half of the dry ingredients, then half of the buttermilk, the other half of the dry ingredients and finally the rest of the buttermilk.
*Divide the batter into the cupcake liners,
*Bake for 17 to 19 minutes or until the center springs back to the touch. Remove from oven and press one Hershey's Kiss, tip facing down, into the center of each. Cool completely.
*Melt butter and white chocolate chips in the microwave until smooth.
*Mix in the powdered sugar just enough so it won't fly out, then beat the mixture.
*Lastly, beat in the milk. Start with 2 TBSP and continue adding until your frosting reaches piping consistency. Pipe onto the cupcakes. Sprinkle with red baking sugar.