Friday, September 21, 2018

A Bird, A Plane: Fly on the Wall

Welcome to a monthly Fly on the Wall group post. Today 4 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, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

We were getting take-out from this new restaurant that opened up just around the corner from our house. I was getting everyone's order so I could call it in.

Me: Do you want french fries or tater tots with your sandwich?
Hubs: Tater tots?
Me (reading their on-line menu): Yes, it says the sandwiches come with your choice.
Hubs: French fries, they're healthier.
Me (rolling my eyes): Yeah, you keep telling yourself that.
Hubs (confidently): I think I will.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

I was in the den with PurDude. College Boy and Hubs were in the kitchen eating a sandwich. From the laundry room the clothes dryer made its loud long beeping sound signaling that it was finished.

No one moved.

Me (sarcastically): That's OK, I'll get it.
Hubs (looking up): Huh?

So basically like high pitched sounds only dogs can hear, apparently the dryer makes a sound only I can hear. Or so they want me to believe.

Later on we were all downstairs in the basement when the doorbell rang. I didn't move.

Hubs: I guess I'll get that. 
Me: Huh?

See . . . two can play this game.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

I live with one man and have raised two and I still will never understand how they think.

I have some expensive rugs in my house, one of a kind hand-made, beautiful (I think so) rugs. 

When you come in my house from the garage, straight ahead is a mud room with lockers in it. This is where we've always left our shoes. The kids friends always walked in the front door, took off their shoes and walked over and threw them into the mud room.

The other day Hubs comes in from the garage, takes off his shoes (good), walks past the mud room (huh?), sits down in a chair in the den and places his shoes next to the chair on the Persian rug (oy).

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

It's very difficult to have a sarcastic sense of humor and a husband who doesn't understand sarcasm.

We have a pair of very large owls who've been hunting in our back yard. A few times we've actually seen them standing on our back lawn or heard them when perched somewhere on our house.

The other day we were sitting in the den watching TV when out of the corner of my eye I caught movement outside the window right behind where Hubs was sitting. It startled me.

Me: Oh!
Hubs: What?
Me: Something huge just flew by right outside the window behind you.
Hubs: Something huge?
Me (sarcastically): It was either an airplane or an owl.
Hubs (seriously): It couldn't have been an airplane.


Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

I wrote a few weeks ago about PurDude moving to his own apartment. I tried everything I could think of to get him to stay but, you know, the job and everything.

One night after dinner we were all having a slice of my Strawberry and Caramel Swirl Chocolate Chip Cheesecake.

PurDude: This is really good.
Me: See, you shouldn't move out, who will make you cheesecake?
Hubs: The area he lives in has all kinds of shops and restaurants, I bet he could buy one.
Me (shooting daggers at Hubs with my eyes): Thanks.
Hubs (looking at PurDude): But it wouldn't be anywhere near as good as your mom's.

Good save. Or my unique cookies either, I might add.

Cinnamon Banana Nutella Cookies are full of flavor. Banana Nutella cookie dough is studded with cinnamon baking chips and baked. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #cookies

Cinnamon Banana Nutella Cookies

Moving day came quicker than we'd expected. Labor Day weekend was a frantic time of shopping, packing, moving, unpacking and setting up. 

Monday night we were sore and tired but happy with the results:

Me: Sorry. No more days off, you go back to work tomorrow.
Hubs: Believe me when I tell you I've never been happier to go back to work.

And I bet he was. Did I mention how exhausted we were? And sore?

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

After we'd moved PurDude in, I was taking pictures of all the rooms. I wanted to be sure my mom could see his new apartment, and I ended up posting them here on my blog as well. Hubs saw me taking pictures and decided he'd do the same. I'm not sure why, since he certainly has access to all of mine. And honestly, as bad as I am with technology, he's worse. Although, in his defense, he did finally learn how to text this year.

Hubs is holding up his phone and complaining it's not working. PurDude looks at it immediately and sees that not only does Hubs have the phone set to video, but has the camera facing in. 

So I've got some great pics of the apartment. Hubs? He's got lots of video of his own face.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

I just can't get used to buying and cooking for just 2 again. I always seem to have way too much food. It's partially because cooking for 2 is new (again) and partially because if one or both of the boys come to dinner, I want there to be enough food.

Hubs: Look at all this food, there's just the 2 of us, who's going to eat all of this.
Me: Remember when I was pregnant and eating for two?
Hubs: Yeah?
Me: I didn't complain, I did what I had to do, right?
Hubs: Yeah?
Me: It's your turn. Until I adjust, you're just going to have to eat for 3.
Hubs (grabbing the apple pie I'd made that afternoon and a fork): That's for dessert too, right?

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

Not funny, but sweet.

Now that PurDude is in his apartment, I've gone back to hearing from him rarely. Same complaint I had while he was in college. 

I wanted to hear how work was going, how he was enjoying the first week in his new apartment, and I had a few things I wanted to tell him. I waited until Friday, then texted him. It went like this:
Screenshot of a conversation from A Bird, A Plane, Fly on the Wall | Picture property of | #parenting
Well, sweet or smart. Either one will do.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics 

He was coming to dinner just 2 days later, on Sunday for Rosh Hashanah. I texted him on Saturday to see what time he wanted me to serve dinner, in case there was a particular time he wanted to be back to his apartment. He didn't care so I chose. 

I know what a master sleeper he is and wanted to be sure he'd come over before dinner to spend some time with us. I figured if I could get him here by 4:30 or 5:00 (since he doesn't even get out of bed on the weekends until 2:00) that would be great, but a mama's always gonna try for as much time with her boy as she can:

Screenshot of a conversation from A Bird, A Plane, Fly on the Wall | Picture property of | #parenting

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Now click on the links below for a peek into some other homes:

Menopausal Mother 
Never Ever Give Up Hope 
Spatulas on Parade

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Cinnamon Banana Nutella Cookies

Ingredients (makes about 3 1/2 dz):
1 stick butter, softened
2 over ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup Nutella
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup cinnamon baking chips

*Cream together the butter, bananas, Nutella, brown sugar and sugar. Beat in the egg.
*Mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Carefully beat into the butter mixture, then mix in the cinnamon chips by hand.
*Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour or up to a day.
*Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper.
*Roll cookie dough into about 3/4 inch balls. Place on baking sheets and press down gently with the heel of your hand. 
*Bake for 10 - 12 minutes until they just start to brown. Allow to set for 2 minutes on the baking sheets, then remove to cool completely.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Perspective, Perjury and the Purvis Burger

It's a saying that's been discussed and debated ad nauseum: the perjury trap. There are those who say that, since perjury is simply lying (under oath), it's impossible to be trapped, just tell the truth. There are those who say that there are facts and then there are alternative facts. I call bull-terds on that one. There are facts and there are lies, and if you look at lies through the subjective lens of what's in your personal best interest, that's delusion. News flash: they are still lies to everyone else.

But (you knew there was a "but" coming, right?). There is such a thing as interpretation. It is possible to have done something that, especially without the entire background, can seem to be one thing yet really be another. When asked about it, unless you can clarify, your answer can be misinterpreted. It's not a lie, but it's not the whole truth either. Context matters. 

You could go to a Purdue favorite, Triple XXX Drive-In and order their famous Purvis Burger. There are those who say they are delicious. Others (those like me who've actually never tasted one) might turn their nose and describe them as "unappetizing". No one is lying. The context is, simply, whether or not you like peanut butter on your burger. 

Try their root beer, btw. Well, if you like root beer, that is.

Perspective, Perjury and the Purvis Burger | Picture property of

In a more complex example, let me say that I always tried to be fair with the boys, made sure everything was even. I had thought that it was difficult to do when they were little, when one got a little more or the bigger piece or to go first, the other would feel dejected. That it would be their turn next time would often not be received well. That they had the last turn would not be remembered. It was exhausting. 

But the older they got, the harder it was. They got past the pettiness, but the stakes were much higher. At this point "even" and "fair" diverged. I stayed fair, but that often precluded being even. If you were to ask me, at that point, about specific circumstance, I would answer that I had been fair. If you asked one of the boys about the same situation, he might have said uncategorically that I'd been patently unfair. And yet, neither one of us would have been lying, he could say I was unfair because he did not get what his brother got. I could say I was being fair because he refused to earn what his brother earned. 

So yes, without context a truth can be subjective.

Of course, there are those undisputed truths. Somehow, coincidentally, they all tend to involve chocolate.

Me: Are these Nutella Nutter Butter Bars delicious or what?
Family (all of them, with their mouths full): Absolutely! 

See, I know where peanut butter does and doesn't belong.
Nutella Nutter Butter Bars are for all of the chocolate and peanut butter lovers in our lives. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert

Nutella Nutter Butter Bars

Life in general but marriage specifically requires honesty. Honesty is a foundation to trust. And yet, even in marriage, without context, there can be perjury traps. In that light, there are certain questions that I will no longer be answering:

* Is that purse new?

* Do you know what happened to that old t-shirt I wear for all of the football games?

* Are there mushrooms in this casserole?

* I wanted your help with the (insert chore here). Didn't you hear me calling from the (insert location here)?

* Where did that bottle of wine that was in the fridge go?

* The game isn't over yet. You just changed the channel while I was in the bathroom, didn't you?

* Where's the rest of those Nutella Nutter Butter Bars? You didn't sent them home with PurDude did you?

* I'm craving a Purvis Burger, do we have any peanut butter?

I know a trap when I see one so nope, not answering any of those. Unless, of course, I'm guaranteed a pardon. 

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Nutella Nutter Butter Bars        

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick butter or margarine, melted
1/3 cup + 1/4 cup Nutella, divided
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup chocolate chips
15 Nutter Butter (or similar) cookies
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup toffee bits

*Grease a 9 X 13 baking pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Chop the cookies. You want small chunks, not crumbs. Set aside.
*Whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and 1/4 cup of the Nutella. Set aside.
*Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the butter or margarine and press into the bottom of the baking pan.
*Whisk together the remaining 1/3 cup of Nutella and the peanut butter. Heat in the microwave for 10 seconds. Whisk again and drizzle over the graham cracker crust.
*Next, sprinkle evenly with the chocolate chips followed by the cookie chunks. Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk mixture over the top, followed by the toffee bits.
*Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is bubbling. *Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Gently run a knife around the edges, then cool completely before cutting.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Super Supper: Use Your Words

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, a multiblogger writing challenge | | #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: friend ~ super ~ supper ~ sweet ~ savoury
They were submitted by Diane of On the Border.
Imagine the friend I'd be to moms everywhere if I came up with a super supper recipe that was both sweet and savoury.

~ The end ~

Thank you, thank you very much (read that in an Elvis voice, OK?)  Not only nailed those words, but in one sentence. And in order. Am I good or what? Don't answer that.

Truth is, as most of you know, I no longer have little ones. My boys are grown and aren't even here for dinner a majority of the time. I was under the impression that at this stage in my life I'd mostly be cooking just for two. Surprisingly, not so much.

My boys don't cook. At all. When it comes to sweets, baking, I would have loved it if the boys had some interest. When they were little they would help me mix ingredients. Yeah, I know, it wasn't about the baking it was about the results. Well, it was about licking the beaters and then enjoying the results. Anyway, I guess I'm not terribly surprised that they don't have an interest, and as hopes and dreams for my boys go, enjoying baking is pretty far down the list.

When it comes to savoury, however, it's less about what you want and more about what you need. 

Barbecue Thick Cut Chops, rubbed, marinated and grilled these thick pork chops have big bold flavor. | Recipe developed by | #cook #dinner

Barbecue Thick Cut Chops
Barbecue Thick Cut Chops, rubbed, marinated and grilled these thick pork chops have big bold flavor. | Recipe developed by | #cook #dinner

PurDude lived in a house with a couple of friends last year and he ate fast food pretty much every day for dinner. I was shocked, really, because he spends so much time in the gym I would have thought that eating right would be a priority. Not so much. Convenience apparently supersedes all.

With College Boy living within 45 minutes of home, cooking was more a skill I wanted him to have but less a need. He would frequently pop in to join us at the supper table. Or raid the fridge for leftovers. Either way I knew he wasn't eating a ton of crap. Not every day, anyway.

But for PurDude, learning to cook a few things was more of a need. Well, in my mind anyway. He was living far away so he couldn't stop by for meals. He needed to be as healthy as possible since missing classes his senior year could cause all kinds of problems and he obviously wanted to graduate on time. Ultimately once he did graduated and started his career, he could end up living pretty much anywhere and I'm pretty sure would still be needing to eat on a regular basis.

So every time he came home from school (that's pretty much 4 times a year for 4 years, in case you're keeping track), I'd talk to him about coming into the kitchen and just learning a simple recipe or two. But this kid had his priorities. And sleep was it.

Now he's off working his first job and living in his own apartment. Against his protests I outfitted his kitchen with a set of dishes, glasses, pots, pans, utensils . . . not a lot, mind you, just a few basics. All of which I know will remain exactly where I put them. Seems while we were shopping for apartment essentials, he bought out all of the paper plates and plastic utensils. It's all he used in college so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. And what will he eat on those paper plates? I'm guessing most nights it'll be takeout, sprinkled in a few nights a week with leftovers from Mom's house {{sigh}}.

Although it's clear that I've failed to teach the boys to cook, or even to make them understand that they need to learn how, I'm going to end this post on a positive note. I'm happy to report that I've actually seen an iota of progress on this front. Yesterday I walked into the kitchen and actually witnessed College Boy preparing food. He had a knife in his hand and was miraculously even using the cutting board too, chopping and mixing like he'd done it before. 

And a mighty nice looking salad it turned out to be, too.

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

Barbecue Thick Cut Chops

4 thick cut boneless pork loin chops
1 TBSP garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp apple pie spice
1 cup barbecue sauce, divided

*Mix together the garlic powder, cumin and apple pie spice. Rinse the chops and pat dry. Place them each on a piece of plastic wrap, sprinkle both sides with the spice mixture, wrap securely and place in the fridge for 4 hours. 

*Unwrap the pork chops and place in a sealable plastic bag. Add 3/4 cup barbecue sauce, be sure all sides of all the chops are covered. Seal and refrigerate for 24 hours.
*Heat your grill to medium high. Place the chops onto the grill and reduce the heat to medium low. 
*Cook 5 minutes, turn each chop 180 degrees. Cook for 5 more minutes. Flip the chops over and, using a pastry brush, sauce them with the remaining barbecue sauce. 
*Cook for 5 minutes, turn each chop 180 degrees and cook 5 more minutes. Be sure they are cooked through (not pink) before removing. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.