Wise Words

"Wait on the Lord, be strong and of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart...wait on the Lord. Psalms 27:14


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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Guest post

OK, I know you are clicked on Nicole's link, expecting to get an uplifting and inspiring message from your favorite girl from Texas! Instead, you get.….. me, Cmhl, a former Texan. If you keep going and hang a right at the intersection, you'’ll find yourself at my humble abode, Crouching Mommy, Hidden Laundry. Go on, visit, I'’ll just be waiting here...

Back so soon?

I can't say that you are in for a treat with MY writing, but I know you will enjoy the guest poster that Nicole has lined up for tomorrow!

Looking at the schedule, it appears that today is HDQ day here at As My World Turns, which is loosely translated as the "“humpty day question."” Didn't there used to be a humpty dance? Bueller? Am I dating myself? Moving on...… the humpty day question rules are as follows, "“ask me a question about anything you want to know about me, but please keep it CLEAN as this is a family blog."”

*cracking knuckles*

Ahhhhhhh...…. Such fun!

So, clever reader, the floor is open. Ask any question that has been weighing heavy on your mind about Nicole, and I will be pleased to answer! Be aware, however, that I have never met Nicole, ergo my answers will probably be fabricated. As such, you may ask me a question about myself, or better yet, ask a question of tomorrow'’s guest poster!

Post your questions in the comments,… I'’ll be patiently waiting..… And have a wonderful trip, Nicole!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day 2006

So, I'm cheating a little. I'm reposting the Memorial Day post I did last year with a couple of things added. I've been swamped with getting ready for our trip to Branson tomorrow. I hope you enjoy this.

"A Nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.” These words were spoken by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Throughout history brave men and women have risked their lives in service to our great country with courage, honor, and dedication.

God Bless our fighting men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect us and bring freedom and democracy to nations who are under a dictator's thumb, to nations whose streets run red with the foul wind of genocide, to nations who are under the rule of fanatical regimes who believe in killing one's wife, sister, daughter, mother for some imagined "dishonor" to the family so that the families "honor" can be restored. These brave military men and women bring hope to those who have had none, bring justice to those who have been unjustly condemned, who sacrifice their lives so that others can have a life to live freely for the first time. Your efforts are not in vain. They do not go unnoticed. You are not unappreciated. Thank you for all that you do. May God bless you and your loved ones today and always for your willing sacrifices.
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*God Bless America*

The Music

Toby Keith - American Soldier:
Toby is a HUGE supporter of our military men and women. This song is one of the best one's I've heard from the country musicians in support of our American soldiers. Very blunt, very moving.

The second offering is the traditional bagpipe and drums verson of Amazing Grace. We had the color guard in church yesterday morning and they had a piper and drummer and it brought me to tears. Not just a little tears, but a lot of tears. There is nothing quite like hearing Amazing Grace on the bagpipes with a drum and remembering that other are out there putting their lives on the line so that I don't have to. Protecting the most precious part of my life, my daughter with their lives, sometimes leaving behind children of their own when they make that ultimate sacrifice. If it doesn't move you to tears the sacrifices they make for you and your family, you probably have a heart of stone.

And finally Taps, with a double trumpet solo. Beautiful!

The words to "Taps":
(Note: there are no "official" words to Taps, below are the most popular.)

Day is done,
gone the sun,
From the hills,
from the lake,
From the skies.
All is well,
safely rest,
God is nigh.
Go to sleep,
peaceful sleep,
May the soldier
or sailor,
God keep.
On the land
or the deep,
Safe in sleep.

Love, good night,
Must thou go,
When the day,
And the night
Need thee so?
All is well.
Speedeth all
To their rest.

Fades the light;
And afar
Goeth day,
And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well;
Day has gone,
Night is on.

Thanks and praise,
For our days,
'Neath the sun,
Neath the stars,
'Neath the sky,
As we go,
This we know,
God is nigh.

The Trivia

Memorial Day was founded to honor military personnel who died in The Civil War and was first celebrated on May 5th, 1866 in Waterloo New York, though it was first widely celebrated two years alter on May 30, 1868. President Johnson declared in 1996 that Waterloo was the birthplace of Memorial Day because the town had made Memorial Day an annual, community-wide event during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags. Today, Memorial Day is celebrated at Arlington National Cemetery with a ceremony in which a small American flag is placed on each grave. Also, it is customary for the President or Vice-President to give a speech honoring the contributions of the dead and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. About 5,000 people attend the ceremony annually.

In reading the poem In Flander's Fields, themost asked question about it is: why poppies?

Wild poppies flower when other plants in their direct neighbourhood are dead. Their seeds can lie on the ground for years and years, but only when there are no more competing flowers or shrubs in the vicinity (for instance when someone firmly roots up the ground), these seeds will sprout.

There was enough rooted up soil on the battlefield of the Western Front; in fact the whole front consisted of churned up soil. So in May 1915, when McCrae wrote his poem, around him bloodred poppies blossomed like no one had ever seen before.

But in this poem the poppy plays one more role. The poppy is known as a symbol of sleep. The last line We shall not sleep, though poppies grow / In Flanders fields might point to this fact. Some kinds of poppies are used to derive opium from, from which morphine is made. Morphine is one of the strongest painkillers and was often used to put a wounded soldier to sleep. Sometimes medical doctors used it in a higher dose to put the incurable wounded out of their misery.

About the Poppies
Where did the idea of calling Memorial Day "Poppy Day"? Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. Then in 1915, inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields," Moina Michael replied with her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Moina Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women.

This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children's League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help.

Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans' organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their "Buddy" Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Moina Michae for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.

Since the late 1950's - on the Thursday before Memorial Day - the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing.

The Poetry
Perhaps the most popular poem that is quoted or recited on memorial day is this one by Major John McCrae:

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Another tribute to our fighting men and women is from Walt Whitman entitled:
Dirge for Two Veterans

THE last sunbeam
Lightly falls from the finish'd Sabbath,
On the pavement here-and there beyond, it is looking,
Down a new-made double grave.

Lo! the moon ascending!
Up from the east, the silvery round moon;
Beautiful over the house tops, ghastly phantom moon;
Immense and silent moon.

I see a sad procession,
And I hear the sound of coming full-key'd bugles;
All the channels of the city streets they're flooding,
As with voices and with tears.

I hear the great drums pounding,
And the small drums steady whirring;
And every blow of the great convulsive drums,
Strikes me through and through.

For the son is brought with the father;
In the foremost ranks of the fierce assault they fell;
Two veterans, son and father, dropt together,
And the double grave awaits them.

Now nearer blow the bugles,
And the drums strike more convulsive;
And the day-light o'er the pavement quite has faded,
And the strong dead-march enwraps me.

In the eastern sky up-buoying,
The sorrowful vast phantom moves illumin'd;
('Tis some mother's large, transparent face,
In heaven brighter growing.)

O strong dead-march, you please me!
O moon immense, with your silvery face you soothe me!
O my soldiers twain! O my veterans, passing to burial!
What I have I also give you.

The moon gives you light,
And the bugles and the drums give you music;
And my heart, O my soldiers, my veterans,
My heart gives you love.

Eulogy for a Veteran
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the Gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the mornings hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight,
I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.

-Author Unknown

a poem

They are not gone who pass
Beyond the clasp of hand,
Out from the stone embrace.
They are but come so close
We need not grope with hands,
Nor look to see, nor try
To catch the sound of feet.
They have put off their shoes
Softly to walk by day
Within our thoughts, to tread
At night our dream - led paths
Of sleep.
They are not lost who find
The sunset gate, the goal
Of all their faithful years.
Not lost are they who reach
The summit of their climb,
The peak above the clouds
And storms. They are not lost
Who find the light of sun
And stars and God.
They are not dead who live
In hearts they leave behind.
In those whom they have blessed
They live a life again,
And shall live through the years
Eternal life, and grow
Each day more beautiful
As time declares their good,
Forgets the rest, and proves
Their immortality.

By Hugh Robert Orr

Friday, May 26, 2006

Friday’s Feast & TTh

I’m tired. Really tired today and a little down. Ergo, no energy to look for the FFT. I may have one posted later today. Not sure though. I am going to force myself to stay up late though and see X3. I am a HUGE fan of all things X-Men! I used to collect the comic books up until I was around 18. I will be going to the last showing tonight in order to avoid all the kids who will be talking through the movie. This should allow me to just take a couple of hours away from my being down and enjoy the moment.

Also, on a plus side, I am getting used to my hair and now that it has a few days growth, it’s looking better and getting easier to style. YAY! Today I’m going for the blonde-streaked beach bum look – kinda.

Here are my answers to today’s Friday’s Feast:

How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Oh, probably 19 or 20. I no longer use credit cards. Too much trouble to easily.

When was the last time you felt out of place?

When don’t I? I rarely feel like I fit in. I’ve almost always felt like an outsider, starting in elementary school.

Did you have a curfew when you were a teenager? If so, what time did you have to be home?

Yes. Midnight, then 12:30 as a senior in high school – and on the weekends only. During the week, if I went out I had to be home by 10.

Main Course
Name a person from history with whom you feel you have something in common.

I have no clue. While I enjoy history, I don’t closely follow the lives of historical figures.

When you read a newspaper, which section do you go for first?

Usually the Life & Style section. It’s the best one. It has recipes, happenings around town, movie reviews, stories of interest and the comics. Next I go for Metro and State.

So I’m a day late on the Thankful Thursdays post but at least I’m getting it out. :)

~1 Thessalonians 5:18~ Give thanks to God in all circumstances (no matter what they may be), for this is God's will for you (who are) in Christ Jesus.

My Peace I Leave With You

Thankful Thursday: What Nic is thankful for this week

Aspirin, Ibuprofin, Tylenol – anything that takes away the awful headaches I’ve been having since last week.
Those who serve in the militaryand help keep America safe for my daughter and myself. I respect and honor their service and sacrifice. Thank you for all you do to keep my family safe!
Vacations to give me a break and preserve my sanity.
Hope – without it there is nothing to look forward to.
The good times they make the bad and lonely times more bearable.
The trust in God’s promises that He will never leave nor forsake me and that He will always be there beside me, providing for me, even though I can’t see my way clear to the other side sometimes. I may not understand, but knowing that He does is enough.

Links to other Thankful Thursdays:
Unicorn Child (new "home" of ThT and code)
A Child of God
A Revision
Anna's Place
As My World Turns
Friday's Child
Imagine Bliss
Journaling Through the Valley
LadyBug Crossing
Momma's Life
Mommy Does It All
Mommy Needs To Vent
Show Them Through Me
Sting My Heart
Uzi's Musings
Yellow Rose's Garden

(If you participate, leave your link in the comments and I'll post it below; or, you can post in the comments)

Click here for the Thankful Thursday code

Click here for Chrixean's blog

Trackbacks, pings, and comment links are accepted and encouraged!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Give Me A "W"

I love meme’s b/c they’re all about ME ME! LOL! I got tagged by one of my most favorite people No Average Girl. This is the letter meme. The instructions go like this:

Write ten words beginning with the letter you’ve been given. Include an explanation of what each word means to you and why. If you want to play, leave your name in the Mister Linky box below. I’ll visit you and issue you a letter in your comments.

I was given the letter "W" and immediately one word came into my mind so let’s get started.

1. Wonderful – Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace...This is one of my favorite parts to the Christmas choral masterpiece that is Handel’s Messiah.
2. Whistle – I always wanted to whistle better than I do. Some people have the most beautiful whistle, clear and strong – like in the theme songs to The Andy Griffith Show and Lassie.
3. Water-ski – I used to be able to water ski like nobody’s business. I never was comfortable with the slalom ski but I could go for at least 20 minutes on two skis. I haven’t water skied in probably at least 12 years.
4. White – The color of purity, innocence and true love.
5. Wide-eyed – An expression of children’s innocence and awe of the world around them.
6. World Peace – The only way to true world peace is through Jesus. No Jesus No Peace, Know Jesus, Know Peace.
7. World-view – What I am trying to view through the eyes of a Christian – seeing the things of the world in Biblical terms as God intends instead of in secular, humanistic, hedonistic terms.
8. Whatever – A really bad habit of mine. I say this when I'm exasperated by what “The X” is saying and am tired of the arguing and the insinuations and am done with it.
9. War – there has never been a time in the history of this world that there has been peace, except in the Garden of Eden. See #6.
10. Wings – if I could have one super power it would be the ability to fly. Also, the line to Mark Harris’s new song Find Your Wings. I dedicate that song to my precious Emily. The most Wonderful part of my life!

It's only for a moment
that you are mine to hold
The plans that heaven has for you
will all too soon unfold
So many different prayers I'll pray
for all that you might do
But most of all I'll want to know
you're walking in the truth

And if I've never told you
I want you to know that
as I watch you grow

I pray that God will fill your heart with dreams
and that faith gives you the courage
to dare to do great things
i'm here for you whatever this life brings
so let my love give you roots
and help you find your wings

May passion be the wind that moves
you through your days
and may convictions keep you strong
guide you on your way

May there be many moments
that make your life so sweet
but more then memories

I pray that God will fill your heart with dreams
and that faith gives you the courage
to dare to do great things
i'm here for you whatever this life brings
so let my love give you roots
and help you find your wings

It's not living if you don't reach for the sky
I'll have tears as you take off
But I'll cheer you as you fly

I will give you roots and help you find your wings

Again, if you want to participate, please enter your name in the box below and I will visit your blog and leave your letter in the comments.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

HDQ/Ask Nic & G. B.'s!

OBITUARY---Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years.

Common Sense lived a very long life but recently died in the United States from heart failure. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn't always fair, and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense selflessly devoted his life to service in schools, hospitals, homes, factories and offices, helping folks get jobs done without fanfare and foolishness.

For decades, petty rules, silly laws and frivolous lawsuits held no power over Common Sense. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn and don’t give a frivolous man money), reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children, are in charge and children need boundaries and discipline), and it’s okay if you don’t win first place (as long as your best efforts were given).

A veteran of the Industrial Revolution, the Great Depression, and the Technological Revolution, Common Sense survived all previous educational and cultural trends including body piercing, whole language, "new math" and don’t ask don’t tell. Sadly, his health declined when he became infected with the "If-it-only-helps-one-person-it's-worth-it" virus.

In recent decades his waning strength proved no match for the ravages of well intentioned but overbearing regulations. He watched in pain as good people became ruled by self-seeking lawyers and enlightened auditors. His health rapidly deteriorated when schools endlessly implemented zero-tolerance policies.

Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer aspirin to a student; but, could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense suffered endlessly when people could no longer defend them self from a burglar in their own home yet the burglar could turn around and sue them for assault because they protected themselves and their own.

Common Sense turned the corner for the worse as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; criminals received better treatment than their victims, and federal judges stuck their noses in everything from National Elections to the Boy Scouts to professional sports. He headed downhill fast as those same federal judges began writing law instead of adjudicating justice and tried to kick even the mention of God out of every public arena.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live when a woman was promptly awarded a huge settlement after she failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot and she spilled a little in her lap.

As the end neared, Common Sense drifted in and out of logic but was kept informed of developments regarding questionable regulations such as those for asbestos, low flow toilets – which quite often require two flushes, "smart" guns, the nurturing of Prohibition Laws, stepladders and mandatory air bags.

Finally when told that the homeowners association restricted exterior furniture only to that which enhanced property values, he breathed his last.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his brother, Integrity; his sister, Honesty; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by several stepbrothers; Mye Rights, Everyone Else’s–Fault, Politically Correct, Tolerance Exceptfor–Christians’nJews and Ima Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him pass this on. If not join the majority and do nothing.

So, obviously my HDQ today has something to do with the above obituary. My HDQ today is:

After reading the above, what do you find has died that used to be prevalent in America/the world, back when you were growing up?

Common Sense aside, I find that Respect for all has declined in a major way, if not almost extinct. There are so many people today who are in their 20’s and under who have no respect for their elders, those in authority or even their family/friends/significant others. Everywhere I go, I see rude children talking back to their parents or teachers, I see teenagers who yell at their parents, I see others who no longer stop to help someone in need, who think more of getting out to their car than holding the door for someone who has their hands full, has a bunch of kids, is disabled or who is elderly. There is no respect or courtesy left except for a very few examples. I try my best to teach Emily manners, to respect and obey her elders and others in authority instead of questioning everything they say and to be kind to all, no matter what race, age, religion, color or disability. Honestly, the world would be a much nicer place if respect and courtesy hadn’t died out with common sense.


Next is Ask Nic:

This is the place where you can ask me anything that is on your mind about me, something you have wanted to know or were just curious about in general. You can ask about my experiences in life and love and parenting, my beliefs, etc... Be creative, be fun, be introspective, but please be clean! You can post the questions in the comments section or email me your question directly to asknic@gmail.com.

I will be posting the questions and their responses soon so check back within the next week for them. They probably will be up before I leave if I get enough questions.


As mentioned previously, I will be out of town starting the Tuesday after Memorial Day for a week of glorious vacation(!) to lovely Branson, MO and I am looking for some people willing to be guest bloggers on those days.

If you would like to be a guest blogger, please let me know by leaving a comment or emailing me at nboedeke@gmail.com. I will get with you regarding password, etc. for this venture. I've never had guest bloggers but I have guest blogged for others before so I know a little of how it works.
As you know, I have specific posts on specific days and if any of those appeal to you, please let me know which day(s) you would like to cover.

Please keep in mind that you do NOT have to blog what I do on those days, but in case you are interested in doing so here is the schedule of what posts I do on what days:
Sundays – whatever comes to mind
Mondays – Monday Meme (self explanitory - a meme on a Monday - see the post below this one), Monday Meals (usually a tasty meal that is easy to make for those who are “culinarily challenged” or who have children and includes a side dish(es), entrée and a dessert) or Monday Meanderings (what's on my mind)
Tuesdays – Truthful Tuesdays (usually answering questions from the previous weeks HDQ/Ask Nic session) or whatever comes to mind
Wednesdays – HDQ (the "humpy day question") and Ask Nic (ask me a question about anything you want to know about me, but please keep it clean as this is a family blog)
Thursdays – Thankful Thursdays (What Nic is thankful for this week)
Fridays – the FFT (Friday Field Trip – a link to a fun, funny or interesting website) and the Friday’s Feast
Saturdays – whatever comes to mind

It will be possible to have multiple guest bloggers on one day if more than one person wants to do a specific day.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

How time flies...

My baby is graduating today. The little girl I once rocked in my arms, who smiled so sweetly up at me with love in her eyes. It seems like only yesterday...wait, that was yesterday. Em was sick yesterday, getting over a crud that she’d had since being brought home by her daddy Friday with a 103 fever. Whenever Emily’s not feeling good all she wants to do is either sit next to me or lay in bed next to me and cuddle while I read her stories or watch a favorite movie with her and I'm perfectly content to do that instead of playing dress up or playing in the back yard with her.

Why is that you might ask?

Well, I can play dress up with her or play in the back yard with her almost any time. But she’s growing up so much that it seems like even for a 4 year old she’s more go, go, go than taking a moment to just let me hold her.

I remember the first time she gave me the most brilliant smile. I see it in my mind’s eye as clear as day. Back when “The X” and I were still together and we lived in an apartment, Em was probably around 5 months at this time, one of “The X’s” best friends came into town to visit and see Emily. I had made chicken fried steak and my famous mashed potatoes with cream gravy for dinner. The guys got their plates and I fixed one of my own and was going to put Emily down in her swing chair while I ate. I had already put my plate down and had Emily in my arms walking form the kitchen to the living room (where we were informally dining around the coffee table sitting on the ground) and when I looked down at her she looked right in my eyes and gave me the most amazingly beautiful and happy smile. It was like she was saying “I know you’re my mommy and I love you holding me and just being near you makes me happy.” Ok, so, yes, I know that she wasn’t old enough to be thinking that but that’s what the smile felt like to me. It was so personal. It was a smile that I hadn’t seen on her sweet, cherubic face before and it melted my heart completely. I had loved my little girl with an intensity that was unfathomable, but that one happy smile had me falling head over heels for her. So, I took her and held her while I ate and cut with one hand and she continued to look up at me like I was ice cream or something equally as good and I was hooked.

Emily frequently asks me to tell her some much beloved stories about when she was a baby. She loves to hear me talk about her as a baby. Her favorite story is when I first made her laugh. I’ve told it to her so much that she can say the story right along with me and it delights her to hear it. No matter how many times she hears it her eyes sparkle and she gives me that same sweet smile.

Now, she’s graduating from Pre-K and will be going into kindergarten this coming fall. She’s a little young – misses the cut off by about 2 months, but her smarts propels her WAY over the limit. Em can read easy books to herself (and me) now, she is solving basic math problems, exhibiting not so basic logic and reasoning skills and can write fairly well. Plus, she’s 4 and 4 feet tall.

I never thought she would grow up so fast, next thing you know she’ll be graduating high school, but it’s nice to know that, at least for now, when she’s feeling sad, tired or sick that she still just needs to be held by her mommy. And it’s nice to still see that smile that is just for me.

I’ll post pictures of the event later this week.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Monday “Mope”-ings

Yes, today is Monday “Mope”-ings instead of Monday Meanderings. It’s just not been a good weekend.

Let’s talk about my hair shall we? After getting about 3 hours of sleep and helping my mom out with her part of the neighborhood garage sale, in 98 degree heat and 70% humidity, I had a hair appointment to get my hair cut with “summer highlights”. I’ve been going to this woman for 5 years. Never have I gotten a bad hair cut from her. I'm always pleased and delighted by what she does. Until now.

So, I get there and she asks me “So, Miss Nicole, what are we doing to your hair today?” I told her that I wanted a shorter cut. She asked me what “we” had done last time. I told her that it was a short layered bob, but that I wanted it shorter this time b/c it grew out too fast. Shorter but still a layered bob. You know, with hair...in the back...so that I can style it still.

So she does the highlights and then does the shampoo, etc. I get to the chair and she starts cutting away. And I don’t have my contacts in so I can’t really see what she’s doing since I have to take my glasses off for her to cut my hair. It’s all kind of a blur for the most part. And she’s talking and cutting and talking and cutting and talking and cutting and after a while she gets out the...shaver. I don’t really thing too much of it b/c she’s shaved the lower part of my neck before when she’s done a short layered bob. So she gets done with the cutting and does minimal styling and she tells me to put on my glasses to see the finished product.

I do and...I am horrified! The style looks nothing remotely like what I asked for. The only “bob” part of the “shorter layered bob” that I asked for is that I now look like a short guy named Bob. The back part of my hair is maybe ¾” to 1” long and the rest of the style is above my ears. It’s all I can do to not scream in terror and break down sobbing right there. She must have seen “a look” cross my face b/c she asks, “Is it too long?”

“Nope, nope, definitely NOT too long.”

“Too short?”

“Yeah. It’s, um, a ‘bit’ shorter than I wanted in the back.”

She said she was trying to give me more “height” on the hair in the back top of my head and besides, it’ll grow out. I don’t give a rat’s @ss about the “height”, I want the REST of my hair back. I know it’ll “grow out” but that doesn’t help me now.

I make it to my van and call my mom before I start venting about how I look like a hard core bull dyke. Now, before you ask me how I know what one looks like...there is one that works in the office right across from where I do, and I swear to God that the back of my hair is even shorter than hers! Kid you not. To make matters worse as I'm venting and driving, I'm wearing a camo t-shirt.

Matt sees me that evening b/c Em doesn’t want to spend the night with him that night b/c she’s sick and wants mommy instead (a moment of warmth!). As he’s trying not to laugh (@ss) his words of “encouragement” are... “Well...you can always get extensions.” Gee, thanks Sherlock for the kind words.

I told my mom that it looked like a military hairstyle for women. Her response was “Oh, honey, I don’t think they even cut hair that short anymore in the military for the women.” Thanks for the love, mom.

I have to say that yesterday I tried fixing my hair, tried styling it, tried doing something, ANYTHING to make it look better. No such luck. I finally broke down and sobbed for a bunch of reasons, which I won’t go into on here b/c they’re self-pitying ones that I have to deal with, but this was just the final straw. I cried again this morning as I was trying to get my hair ready for work. and experiencing the same lackluster response from it. I have never cried over a hair cut until now. The last time my hair was this short was when I was in 6th-8th grade and in gymnastics. I was in 6th grade in 1984 when Mary Lou Retton dominated gymnastics and I decided I wanted to get my hair just like hers. This haircut isn’t even a cute as that one back then. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it!

Yeah it’ll start growing out in 3 weeks but that doesn’t do me any good when I go half way across the country next week to meet a bunch of people that I have never met before but that I’ve been friends with for up to 4 years. With this cut I look NOTHING like the picture on the website that they’ve seen. I don’t even look anything like my profile picture anymore to the right.

This is just NOT the time in my life for me to feel this way about myself.

And, no, for those of you who might ask. I am not going to post a picture of the cut.

AND, my blog template is screwed up now. I changed only 3 things on it yesterday and it became all fuglified. Now half of my links are at the very bottom of the page and I don’t know why. Anyone have any suggestions?

Memorial Day Meals

It's time for the Memorial Day Meal Recipes. Memorial Day is a week away, however, some people may want to prepare for it ahead of time, especially if inviting a large crowd/family over to the house. Menus must be made, portions must be measured, etc. so I am doing my part to help make your Memorial Day a little easier and take the guess work out of the meal part. Here is a veritable PLETHORA of recipes for you to choose from. I hope you enjoy the ones you choose and that it makes for a memorable Memorial Day (weekend).

Memorial Day Meal Recipes


The Fruit

Creamy Hawaiian Fruit Salad
Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 4 hr 10 min
Makes: Makes 10 (1/2-cup) servings.

2 cups seedless red grapes
1 cup seedless orange sections
1 banana, sliced
1 can (8 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained
1 cup JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows
1 container (8 oz.) BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
BAKER'S ANGEL FLAKE Coconut, toasted (optional)

MIX all ingredients except coconut; cover.
REFRIGERATE several hours or overnight.
SPRINKLE with coconut just before serving.

Five-Cup Fruit Salad
Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 3 hr 15 min
Makes: 7 servings, 1/2 cup each

1 can (8-1/4 oz.) DOLE Pineapple Chunks, undrained
1 can (11 oz.) DOLE Mandarin Orange Segments, drained
1 container (8 oz.) BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream, any variety
1 cup JET-PUFFED Miniature Marshmallows

DRAIN pineapple, reserving 1 Tbsp. of the juice.
MIX pineapple, reserved juice and remaining ingredients; toss lightly. Cover.
REFRIGERATE several hours or until chilled.

Special Extra
Garnish with maraschino cherries and mint sprigs.

Strawberry and Melon Salad

Prep Time: 20 min
Total Time: 20 min
Makes: 8 servings

1 envelope GOOD SEASONS Italian Salad Dressing & Recipe Mix
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup oil
2 Tbsp. Water
1 bag (10 oz.) salad greens
3 cups melon cubes, such as cantaloupe, honeydew or watermelon
1 cup sliced strawberries
3 Tbsp. PLANTERS Sunflower Kernels or use chopped cashews or slivered almonds

MIX salad dressing mix, juice, oil and water until well blended.
POUR over combined greens, melon and strawberries in large bowl; toss lightly.
SPRINKLE with sunflower kernels.

Helpful hint:
Look for firm plump berries that are fully colored for their variety. Berries in season have more flavor and are typically lower in cost than their out-of-season counterparts. Fresh berries are perishable and do not ripen after picking. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Rinse with cool water just before using and remove the hulls, if necessary. Or, enjoy summer's best all year long by freezing berries at the height of their season. Then, thaw and use as desired.

The Pasta

Garden Fresh Pasta Salad
Prep Time: 20 min
Total Time: 1 hr 30 min
Makes: 14 servings, 3/4 cup each

1 pkg. (16 oz.) bow tie pasta, uncooked
2 cups broccoli florets
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 medium red pepper, chopped
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup KRAFT 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 bottle (8 oz.) KRAFT Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing

COOK pasta as directed on package, adding the broccoli to the pasta cooking water for the last minute of the pasta cooking time. Drain; rinse under cold running water. Drain well.
PLACE pasta mixture in large bowl. Add remaining vegetables; mix lightly. Stir in cheese. Add dressing; toss to coat. Cover.
REFRIGERATE at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.

Nic’s Popular Pasta Salad
I threw some things together many years ago and ended up making a pasta salad that people have really enjoyed over the past several years. It’s easy and relatively quick but it makes a lot so you might want to modify the amounts if you’re making it for a small group.

1 box Barilla rotini pasta (I’ve found that this cooks up the best!)
2 containers Safeway Select herb spinach and cheese ravioli (You can find this in the refrigerated section of any Randall’s, Skagg’s, Tom Thumb or Safeway stores. This isn't a MUST have, but it adds something special to the taste)
2 cups cubed mild or sharp cheddar cheese (I prefer the sharp b/c it blends well with the other flavors)
2 large jars whole mushrooms or 1 large jar sliced mushrooms (drained)
1 bottle Kraft Zesty Italian salad dressing
Olive oil
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups semi-cooked broccoli florets
2 cups cubed ham or turkey

Step 1:
Boil water with at least 1 tsp of salt and 2 tsp olive oil (yes, it’s a lot of salt but you’ll understand further down)
Place rotini in water and cook for 8 minutes
Remove rotini and place in colander to drain
RINSE rotini under cold water (this stops the cooking process and rinses off the majority of the salt – the purpose of the salt was to lend your rotini some flavor as it cooked)
Place cooled pasta in large plastic container (that has a lid to it)

Step 2:
Boil new pot of water and olive oil (same pot is perfectly fine!)
Place herbed ravioli in water and let cook for 4-5 minutes
Remove ravioli and place in colander to drain
RINSE ravioli under cold water
Place cooled pasta in large plastic container with the rotini

Step 3:
Add cheese and veggies (and meat if desired) to rotini and ravioli
Add ½ bottle of Zesty Italian
Place lid securely on the container
Shake, shake, shake the container to mix the ingredients thoroughly
Taste results and add more salad dressing if desired (if you do add more dressing shake again to mix)

Summertime Tuna Pasta Salad
Prep Time: 25 min
Total Time: 3 hr 25 min
Makes: 12 servings, 1/2 cup each

3/4 cup MIRACLE WHIP Dressing
1 tsp. dill weed
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 cups cooked bow tie pasta
1 can (6 oz.) white tuna in water, drained, flaked
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup sliced celery

MIX dressing, dill weed and pepper in large bowl.
ADD remaining ingredients; mix lightly. Cover.
REFRIGERATE several hours or overnight.

3-4 bags baby shrimp (cooked and frozen)
3/4 to 1 lb. pasta shells or macaroni
2 c. cooked tiny peas
1 tbsp. dry dill weed
1 tbsp. dry basil
2 1/4 c. mayonnaise
2 tbsp. tarragon vinegar
1/4 c. drained capers

Unfreeze baby shrimp
Cook pasta in boiling, salted water and drain.
Cool slightly.
Grind dill and basil together (fresh herb may be used if so adjust amounts accordingly).
Mix mayonnaise, vinegar, and capers with dill and basil. Taste and adjust seasoning.
In large bowl, mix shrimp, pasta, and peas.
Pour dressing over mixture. You may want to add this by degree to get the amount you prefer.
Toss gently. Adjust seasoning and refrigerate.
Better made the day before.
Serves 8 to 10.

The Greens

Almond Mandarin Salad
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Yields: 8 servings

1/2 pound bacon
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon dry hot mustard
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
1/4 cup olive oil
1 head red leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1 (15 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
1 bunch green onion, diced
3/4 cup slivered almonds

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon until evenly brown. Drain, cool, and crumble.
To make the dressing, thoroughly blend the vinegar, honey, dry mustard, celery salt, paprika, and olive oil.
Place lettuce, oranges, green onion, bacon, and almonds in a serving bowl. Toss with dressing and serve.

Apple Avocado Salad with Tangerine Dressing
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Yields: 10 servings

1 (10 ounce) package baby greens
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup feta cheese
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 apple - peeled, cored and sliced
1 avocado - peeled, pitted and diced
4 mandarin oranges, juiced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste

In a large bowl, toss together the baby greens, red onion, almonds, feta cheese, and lemon zest. Mix in the apple and avocado just before serving.
In a container with a lid, mix the mandarin orange juice, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, olive oil, and salt. Drizzle over the salad as desired.

B.L.T. Salad with Basil Mayo Dressing
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Yields: 8 servings

1 pound bacon
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
8 slices French bread, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 pounds romaine lettuce - rinsed, dried, and torn into bite-size pieces
4 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside, reserving 2 tablespoons of the drippings.
In a small bowl, whisk together the reserved bacon drippings, mayonnaise, vinegar and basil and let dressing stand, covered, at room temperature.
In a large skillet over medium heat, toss the bread pieces with the salt and pepper. Drizzle with the oil, continue tossing and cook over medium-low heat until golden brown.
In a large bowl mix together the romaine, tomatoes, bacon and croutons. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well.


1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1 tbsp. Lea & Perrins
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
4 tbsp. butter, melted
9 slices bacon
18 jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined

Cut the slices of bacon in half. Partially cook the bacon over moderate heat to render some of the fat without allowing the pieces to crisp. Combine butter with spices, add shrimp, toss well to coat, let marinate at room temperature 30 to 60 minutes. Remove shrimp from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Wrap a slice of bacon around each shrimp and secure with a toothpick to hold both ends of the bacon. Place shrimp on hot grill for 4 minutes; turn and brush shrimp with reserved marinade and grill for 4 minutes longer or until shrimp are opaque throughout.

Nic’s BBQ Bacon-wrapped Shrimp – With a Kick
20-30 Jumbo Shrimp (deveined)
Equal amount of Bacon
De-seeded and deveined jalapeño slices (small)
Cream Cheese
Your favorite brand BBQ sauce (I personally prefer Jack Daniel’s Original – blue label)
¼ cup Dark Brown Sugar
¼ cup Honey
Toothpicks that have been soaked in water for an hour
Metal skewers or bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water for an hour

BBQ Sauce:
To make the BBQ sauce sweeter to offset the heat of the jalapeño (for those of you who like that – and to make it glaze better while grilling) empty the bottle of BBQ sauce into a glass mixing bowl.
Mix the dark brown sugar and honey thoroughly with the BBQ sauce and let set while preparing the shrimp

Butterfly the shrimp
Stuff with small slice of jalapeño and small piece of cream cheese
Wrap with bacon and secure with toothpick OR place directly on skewer to hold together
Brush liberally with BBQ sauce
Grill 3-5 minutes on each side until done, glazing with BBQ sauce as desired


The Beans

Crowd-Pleasin' BBQ Beans

Prep Time: 5 min
Total Time: 35 min
Makes: Makes 10 servings, about 1/2 cup each.

2 cans (15 oz. each) pork and beans
1 can (15-1/2 oz.) butter beans, drained
1 cup chopped grilled beef sirloin steak
1/2 cup Kraft or Jack Daniels Original Barbecue Sauce
1 small onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard

MIX all ingredients in large saucepan on medium heat.
BRING to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Great Substitute
Prepare as directed, using 1/2 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained, or 1 cup chopped grilled boneless skinless chicken breasts or 1 cup chopped grilled pork.

Boston Baked Beans
Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 1 hr 10 min
Makes: 8 servings, about 2/3 cup each

1 tsp. oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cans (16 oz. each) baked beans
1/2 cup brewed MAXWELL HOUSE Coffee
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. black pepper

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir until tender.
PLACE onions in 1-1/2-quart casserole dish or bean pot. Add remaining ingredients; mix well.
BAKE 45 minutes to 1 hour or until liquid is almost completely absorbed and bean mixture is heated through.

Refried Beans Supreme
Prep Time: 5 min
Total Time: 11 min
Makes: 4 servings

1 can (16 oz.) Refried Beans
1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese, divided
1/2 cup chopped tomato

MIX beans and 1/2 cup of the cheese in 1-quart microwavable dish; cover.
MICROWAVE on HIGH 3 to 4 minutes or until heated through; stir. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Microwave, uncovered, 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.
SPRINKLE with tomato.

The Spuds

Ok, I am giving you my secret mashed potato recipe. It is extremely easy to make, but I have never failed to have someone ask for the recipe wherever I have brought it. The secret is in the taste. I personally no longer really measure, it is all by taste to me, but when I started out, I used this recipe. I originally got it from Martha Stewart and modified it to my tastes. (Mine tastes better!) This is NOT for the faint of heart as it is very generous with the calories. It also doesn't taste as good with anything less than what is here.

4 large peeled Russet baking potatoes
1 1/2 sticks salted butter - almost room temperature (BUTTER - NOT Oleo or Margarine)
1/2 cup HEAVY whipping cream (regular will suffice for a sub if you can't find the heavy kind)
Salt and (Fine Ground Black)Pepper to taste (sometimes I add a little garlic powder to make "hint of garlic" mashed potatoes but I am not using that in today's recipe)

Cube potatoes and put in large pot with enough water to cover the potatoes and add some salt to the water. Not much, maybe 1 tbsp. This will help the potatoes absorb flavor during the cooking process.

When potatoes are fork tender (meaning you can pierce them easily with a fork), drain completely. Take an electric mixer with the paddle attachment if you have it (regular attachment will work ok if you don't have a paddle attachment) and mix until most of the potatoes are mashed with only a few lumps left. You won't get all the lumps out in this step.

Add the butter and mix completely into the potatoes. Your potatoes should start to have a creamy consistency already and the lumps should be mostly out by now.

Next heat the HEAVY whipping cream until it is HOT - this is best in a Pyrex measuring cup. Start by pouring in 1/4 cup of the cream and mixing completely. Taste the potatoes. If you feel like they are not creamy enough, add more of the cream and mix thoroughly again. Taste again and add more butter and/or cream if you want to.

Last, add salt and fine ground black pepper for taste.

Makes approx 6 servings.

This is an extremely easy mashed potato recipe, but the steps must be followed in order. I've found that for some reason it tastes different if you add everything together at the same time instead of in steps. These are supposed to be THICK, heavy and rich potatoes. Not wimpy, thin and tasteless. These potatoes are the staple of my meals for steaks, BBQ chicken, chicken fried steak, etc. You can never go wrong with these. I hope you enjoy them.

Abuela's Easy and Delicious Potato Salad
Unlike the other potato salads, this one does not need refrigerating and can be served immediately after making. My former Mother-In-Law makes this all the time and it is delicious!

6 large Russet Potatoes (peeled)
6 Hard Boiled Eggs
Hot Paprika
Pickle relish

Boil peeled potatoes until cooked completely. Cool in chilled water. Dry and dump in large bowl. Score and dice with knife. Add chopped eggs. Mix in other ingredients to your liking. Serve. It's that easy! And super tasty. :)

Great American Potato Salad
Prep Time: 30 min
Total Time: 3 hr 30 min
Makes: 8 servings, 1/2 cup each.

1/2 cup KRAFT Mayo Real Mayonnaise or MIRACLE WHIP Dressing
1 Tbsp. KRAFT Pure Prepared Mustard
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
4 cups cubed potatoes, cooked
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/3 cup dill pickle relish

MIX mayo, mustard and seasonings in large bowl.
ADD remaining ingredients; mix lightly. Cover. Refrigerate several hours or until chilled.

Great Substitute
Substitute GREY POUPON Dijon Mustard for prepared mustard.

The Other Sides

Sesame Rice
Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 40 min
Makes: 4 servings

1 can (15 oz.) mandarin orange segments
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups MINUTE Brown Rice
2/3 cup prepared GOOD SEASONS Asian Sesame Salad Dressing & Recipe Mix
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 can (8 oz.) sliced water chestnuts, drained

DRAIN oranges, reserving liquid. Add enough water to reserved liquid to measure 1-3/4 cups. Add ginger and salt.
PREPARE rice with 1-3/4 cups liquid as directed on package; stir. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
STIR in dressing, green onions and water chestnuts. Gently stir in oranges.

Great Substitute
Substitute 1/2 cup celery slices for water chestnuts.

VELVEETA® Cheesy Tortilla Corn

Prep Time: 5 min
Total Time: 20 min
Makes: 6 servings

1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1 Tbsp. margarine
2 pkg. (10 oz. each) frozen whole kernel corn, thawed, drained
6 oz. VELVEETA LIGHT Reduced Fat Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product, cut up
2/3 cup crushed tortilla chips
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

COOK and stir onions and red peppers in margarine in large skillet on medium-high heat until tender. Reduce heat to low.
STIR in corn and VELVEETA LIGHT. Cook 5 to 7 min. or until VELVEETA is completely melted and mixture is heated through, stirring occasionally.
SPOON corn mixture into serving bowl; sprinkle with tortilla chips and cilantro.

Great Substitute
Prepare as directed, substituting PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, 1/3 Less Fat than Cream Cheese for the VELVEETA LIGHT Reduced Fat Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product.

How To Chop Fresh Cilantro
Just place cilantro leaves in a glass measuring cup or small bowl and cut them into tiny pieces with kitchen scissors, using short quick strokes.

Jacksonville Carrots
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Yields: 8 servings

8 large carrots, halved
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup clarified butter

1. Steam the carrots in a steamer basket over 1 inch of boiling water for 7 to 10 minutes, or until tender but still firm. Cool, and grate with a large holed grater. Mix together the grated carrots, honey, apple juice concentrate, parsley, and hazelnuts. Season with garlic powder, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
2. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the carrot mixture in the hot butter until heated through.



Tangy Southern BBQ Ribs

Prep Time: 5 min
Total Time: 1 hr 35 min
Makes: 10 servings

1 bottle (18 oz.) KRAFT Original Barbecue Sauce or Jack Daniels Original BBQ Sauce (blue label)
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
4 lb. pork spareribs, baby back ribs or big ol' beef ribs (my personal favorite)

PREHEAT greased grill to low heat. Mix barbecue sauce, hot pepper sauce and garlic powder. Reserve 1/2 cup of the barbecue sauce mixture for serving with cooked ribs.
PLACE ribs, bone sides down, on grate of grill. Cook, uncovered, 1 hour, turning over after 30 minutes. Brush with the some of the remaining barbecue sauce mixture; continue grilling 30 minutes or until ribs are cooked through, turning and brushing with the remaining barbecue sauce mixture every 10 minutes.
SERVE with the reserved 1/2 cup barbecue sauce mixture.

If you don't have a grill, you can use your oven
Place ribs on rack of broiler pan. Reserve 1/2 cup of the barbecue sauce mixture as directed. Brush ribs with some of the remaining barbecue sauce mixture. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until ribs are cooked through, turning and brushing occasionally with the remaining barbecue sauce mixture. Serve with the reserved barbecue sauce mixture as directed.

Pork on a Bun
Great for large groups or leftovers!

Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 3 hr 45 min
Makes: 20 servings

1/2 cup BULL'S-EYE or KRAFT Original Barbecue Sauce
1/2 cup pineapple juice
2 tsp. grated gingerroot
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1 pork shoulder (5 lb.)
3/4 cup A.1. Original Steak Sauce
20 hamburger buns, partially split

PREHEAT grill to medium heat. Combine barbecue sauce, pineapple juice, gingerroot and garlic. Place pork in disposable baking pan. Pour barbecue sauce mixture over pork. Let stand at room temperature 20 minutes.
PLACE pan on grate of grill; cover with lid of grill. Cook 3 to 3-1/2 hours or until pork is cooked through. Remove from grill; cover with foil. Let stand 10 minutes.
SHRED or pull pork into shreds with 2 forks or your fingers. Add steak sauce; mix lightly. Serve in buns.

The Beef

Steakhouse-Style Grilled Steak
Prep Time: 5 min
Total Time: 21 min
Makes: 4 servings

2 tsp. each brown sugar, garlic powder and onion powder
1 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
4 beef tenderloin steaks (6-8 oz. each)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

PREHEAT grill to medium-high heat. Mix brown sugar and seasonings.
BRUSH steaks with oil. Sprinkle seasoning mixture evenly over both sides of steaks; press gently into steaks to secure.
GRILL 6 to 8 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

All-American BBQ Bacon Cheeseburgers
Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 28 min
Makes: 4 servings

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup KRAFT Original Barbecue Sauce, divided
4 KRAFT Singles
4 kaiser rolls, split, toasted
4 lettuce leaves
4 thin tomato slices
4 slices OSCAR MAYER Bacon, crisply cooked, drained and broken in half

PREHEAT broiler or grill to medium heat. Mix meat and 1/4 cup of the barbecue sauce. Shape into 4 patties.
BROIL patties 4 to 6 inches from heat or grill patties 7 to 9 minutes on each side or until cooked through (160°F). Top with Singles; continue cooking until Singles begin to melt.
COVER bottom halves of rolls evenly with lettuce and tomato; top with cheeseburgers, remaining 1/4 cup barbecue sauce, bacon and tops of rolls.

Great Substitute
Substitute KRAFT DELI DELUXE Cheese Slices for the KRAFT Singles. Substitute sesame topped hamburger buns for the kaiser rolls.

Grilled Taco Cheeseburgers
Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 30 min
Makes: 4 servings

1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. (1-1/4 oz.) TACO BELL HOME ORIGINALS Taco Seasoning Mix
4 KRAFT Singles
4 kaiser rolls, split, toasted
4 lettuce leaves
1/2 cup TACO BELL HOME ORIGINALS Thick 'N Chunky Salsa

PREHEAT grill to medium heat. Mix meat and seasoning mix; shape into 4 patties.
GRILL patties 7 to 9 minutes on each side or until cooked through; top with Singles. Grill an additional 1 to 2 minutes or until Singles are melted.
TOP bottom halves of rolls with lettuce, burgers and salsa. Cover with tops of rolls.

Use Your Stove
Mix meat with seasoning mix and shape into patties as directed. Cook in skillet on medium heat 4 to 6 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Top patties with Singles; cover. Cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes or until Singles are melted. Continue as directed.

The Fish

BBQ Salmon

Prep Time: 5 min
Total Time: 17 min
Makes: 4 servings

1/2 cup KRAFT THICK 'N SPICY Original Barbecue Sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 green onion, sliced
4 salmon steaks (4 oz. each)

PREHEAT greased grill to medium-high heat. Mix barbecue sauce, brown sugar and onion until well blended.
GRILL salmon 4 minutes on each side. Brush generously with the barbecue sauce mixture. Continue grilling 4 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with fork, turning occasionally and brushing with the remaining barbecue sauce mixture.

Great Substitute
Substitute halibut or swordfish steaks for the salmon steaks.

Use Your Broiler
Mix barbecue sauce mixture as directed. Place salmon on rack of broiler pan 3 to 5 inches from heat. Broil 4 minutes on each side. Brush generously with barbecue sauce mixture. Broil an additional 2 to 4 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with fork, turning once and brushing occasionally with the remaining barbecue sauce mixture.

You can also click the link to pull up the recipe I did for Father's Day last year for Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon.


Meringue-Topped Southern Banana Pudding

Prep Time: 20 min
Total Time: 45 min
Makes: 12 servings, 2/3-cup each

4-1/2 cups milk
2 pkg. (4-serving size each) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Cook & Serve Pudding & Pie Filling
3 eggs, separated
42 NILLA Wafers (1/2 of 12-oz. pkg.)
2 large bananas, sliced
Dash cream of tartar
1/3 cup sugar

ADD milk to pudding mix in medium saucepan; stir until well blended. Lightly beat egg yolks in small bowl. Add to milk mixture; mix well. Cook on medium heat until mixture comes to full boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
ARRANGE layer of wafers on bottom and up side of 2-quart baking dish. Top with layers of 1/3 of the pudding and 1/2 of the banana slices. Repeat layers, ending with remaining pudding.
BEAT egg whites and cream of tartar in medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Spread over pudding, sealing to edge of dish.
BAKE at 350°F for 15 minutes or until meringue is browned. Cool on wire rack. Serve warm or refrigerate until ready to serve. Store leftover pudding in refrigerator.

Special Extra
Garnish with additional banana slices dipped in lemon juice to prevent darkening just before serving.

PHILADELPHIA® 3-STEP® Key Lime Cheesecake

Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 3 hr 10 min
Makes: 8 servings

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. grated lime peel
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 HONEY MAID Graham Pie Crust (6 oz.)
1 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Beat cream cheese, sugar, peel, juice and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs; mix just until blended.
POUR into crust.
BAKE 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. Top with whipped topping just before serving. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.

Special Extra
Garnish with lime slices just before serving.

Yummy Nummy Frozen Lemonade Pie

1 can 6 oz. frozen lemonade
1 pt Vanilla ice cream, softened
3½ c Thawed Cool Whip-type topping
1 ea Ready graham cracker crust
1 x Yellow food coloring, opt.

Place concentrate in large mixing bowl and beat about 30 seconds.
Gradually spoon in ice cream and blend.
Fold in whipped topping and add food coloring, whipping until smooth.
Freeze, if necessary, until mixture will mound.
Spoon in pie crust.
Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
Store any leftover pie in freezer.

Yield: 6 servings

Cherry Pie
Recipe Rating:
Prep Time: 30 min
Total Time: 1 hr 20 min
Makes: 12 servings

4 cups fresh pitted sour cherries
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 Tbsp. MINUTE Tapioca
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 pkg. (15 oz.) refrigerated pie crusts (2 crusts)
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine

PREHEAT oven to 400°F. Toss cherries with sugar, tapioca and almond extract. Let stand 15 minutes.
PREPARE pie crust as directed on package for 2-crust pie, using 9-inch pie plate. Fill with fruit mixture. Dot with butter. Cover with second pie crust. Seal and flute edge. Cut several slits to permit steam to escape.
BAKE 45 to 50 minutes or until juices form bubbles that burst slowly. Cool.

Great Substitute
Frozen sour cherries, thawed and drained, can be substituted for the fresh sour cherries.

How To Make Lattice-Top Pie
Prepare bottom crust and fill with cherry filling as directed. Cut second pie crust into 10 (1/2-inch-wide) strips with pastry wheel or sharp knife. Place 5 of the strips over filling. Weave lattice crust with remaining strips by folding back alternate strips as each cross strip is added. Fold trimmed edge of lower crust over ends of strips. Seal and flute edge. Bake as directed.

Juicy Fruited Summer Pie

Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 4 hr 40 min
Makes: 8 servings

2/3 cup boiling orange-pineapple-banana juice
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Brand Pineapple Flavor Gelatin
Ice cubes
1/2 cup cold orange-pineapple-banana juice
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
1 HONEY MAID Graham Pie Crust (6 oz.)
1 cup mixed cut-up fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges, peeled kiwi)

STIR boiling juice into dry gelatin in large bowl at least 2 min. until completely dissolved. Add enough ice cubes to cold juice to measure 1 cup. Add to gelatin; stir until slightly thickened. Remove any unmelted ice. Add 2-1/2 cups of the whipped topping; stir with wire whisk until well blended. Refrigerate 20 to 25 min. or until mixture is very thick and will mound.
SPOON into crust.
REFRIGERATE several hours or overnight. Top with the remaining whipped topping and fruit just before serving. Store in refrigerator.

Great Substitute
Prepare as directed, using JELL-O Brand Strawberry Flavor Gelatin.

Hazelnut Cheesecake

Prep Time: 20 min
Total Time: 4 hr 35 min
Makes: 16 servings

45 NILLA Wafers, finely crushed (about 1-1/2 cups)
3/4 cup toasted ground hazelnuts, divided
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, melted
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 cup BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
3 Tbsp. hazelnut liqueur

PREHEAT oven to 325°F if using a silver 9-inch springform pan (or to 300°F if using a dark nonstick 9-inch springform pan). Mix wafer crumbs, 1/4 cup of the hazelnuts and the butter; press firmly onto bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes.
BEAT cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Add sour cream and liqueur; mix well. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup hazelnuts. Pour over crust.
BAKE 1 hour to 1 hour 5 minutes or until center is almost set. Run small knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.

Great Substitute
Substitute 2 Tbsp. milk and 1 Tbsp. vanilla for the liqueur.

Wave Your Flag Cheesecake

Prep Time: 20 min
Total Time: 4 hr 25 min
Makes: 20 servings

1 qt. strawberries, divided
1-1/2 cups boiling water
1 pkg. (8-serving size) or 2 pkg. (4-serving size each) JELL-O Brand Gelatin, any red flavor
Ice cubes
1 cup cold water
1 pkg. (12 oz.) pound cake, cut into 10 slices
1-1/3 cups blueberries, divided
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed

SLICE 1 cup of the strawberries; set aside. Halve remaining 3 cups strawberries; set aside. Stir boiling water into dry gelatin in large bowl at least 2 min. until completely dissolved. Add enough ice to cold water to measure 2 cups. Add to gelatin; stir until ice is completely melted. Refrigerate 5 min. or until slightly thickened (consistency of unbeaten egg whites).
MEANWHILE, line bottom of 13x9-inch dish with cake slices. Add sliced strawberries and 1 cup of the blueberries to thickened gelatin; stir gently. Spoon over cake slices. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.
BEAT cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with wire whisk or electric mixer until well blended; gently stir in whipped topping. Spread over gelatin. Arrange strawberry halves on cream cheese mixture to resemble the stripes of a flag. Arrange remaining 1/3 cup blueberries on cream cheese mixture for the "stars." Store in refrigerator.

Great Substitute
Prepare as directed, using JELL-O Brand Berry Blue Flavor Gelatin.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Friday's Feast and the FFT

Today's post is a little late but it's there. I didn't have a chance to do the Thankful Thursday yesterday but will return to it next week.

Friday's Feast

What is the last thing you had to have repaired?

That's easy, the back brakes on my van last week.

If someone gave you $2,000 with the stipulation that you had to spend half of it on yourself and give the rest to charity, where would you spend the $1,000 and which charity would receive your remaining $1,000?

I would probably buy body massages for a year (Lord knows I have soooo many knots in my muscles). I'm not sure which charity but it would go toward helping abused, neglected, abandoned and hungry children.

What is one of your favorite songs from the 1980s?

It's like the Lay's commercial – you just can't stop at one and I can't choose just one

Main Course
You enter a pet store. Which section do you go to first?

The puppies. I love to watch them play and be all cuddly and cute.

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how athletic are you?

Um, would that be athletically inclined, athletic ability or athletically active?
Athletically inclined – 6
Athletic ability – 9
Athletically active – 2

And now it's time for the FFT. Today we are going to be visiting a completely tacky and tasteless site. Have you ever wanted to just take a wax strip and rip the hair off of a guy's chest to take out any issues you are dealing with? Now you can do that virtually to...David Hasselhoff. Yes, the knight riding, lifeguard crooner himself. He takes his shirt off and you get to apply the wax strip and RIP it off with a satisfying ripping noise. Keep going until you have his chest smooth as a baby's bottom and then you can start all over. It's rather fun!

So go ahead and indulge yourself and go visit Wax On, Wax HOFF.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

HDQ/Ask Nic & Guest Bloggers

Hello and happy Wednesday. Affectionately known as Hump Day. Wednesday is the hump of the work week. Once you get past it it’s all a downhill slide to the weekend. WHEW!

I’ve been needing a sanity break lately. Well, my sanity break came in the form of Em getting a little sick yesterday. Since “The X” is now working days, he isn’t readily able to take care of Em when she’s sick. Not that she was extremely sick but she was extremely stuffed up and running a low grade fever. She alternated between Ms. VonKrankypantzen and Ms. Superhyper but was consistently Ms. Snotalot. It was nice to spend time with her that wasn’t weekend and night time time.

I am, however back to work today since Em was no longer running a fever and I brought her back to school, even though she was still Ms. Snotalot.

Ok, the HDQ question for today is a simple one. I'm looking for your favorite blogs. Personally, I like ones with humor in the writing. Things that make me laugh are good.

I want to know, what is your favorite blog that you just can’t go a day or two at the most without visiting it? Why do you like it so much?

Next is Ask Nic:
This is the place where you can ask me anything that is on your mind about me, something you have wanted to know or were just curious about in general. You can ask about my experiences in life and love and parenting, my beliefs, etc... Be creative, be fun, be introspective, but please be clean! You can post the questions in the comments section or email me your question directly to asknic@gmail.com.

I will be posting the questions and their responses soon so check back within the next week for them. They probably will be up over the weekend or early next week if I get enough questions.


As mentioned in Monday’s post, I will be out of town starting the Tuesday after Memorial Day for a week of glorious vacation(!) and I am looking for some people willing to be guest bloggers on those days.

If you would like to be a guest blogger, please let me know by leaving a comment or emailing me at nboedeke@gmail.com. I will get with you regarding password, etc. for this venture. I've never had guest bloggers but I have guest blogged for others before so I know a little of how it works.

As you know, I have specific posts on specific days and if any of those appeal to you, please let me know which day(s) you would like to cover.

Please keep in mind that you do NOT have to blog what I do on those days, but in case you are interested in doing so here is the schedule of what posts I do on what days:
Sundays – whatever comes to mind
Mondays – Monday Meme (self explanitory - a meme on a Monday - see the post below this one), Monday Meals (usually a tasty meal that is easy to make for those who are “culinarily challenged” or who have children and includes a side dish(es), entrée and a dessert) or Monday Meanderings (what's on my mind)
Tuesdays – Truthful Tuesdays (usually answering questions from the previous weeks HDQ/Ask Nic session) or whatever comes to mind
Wednesdays – HDQ (the "humpy day question") and Ask Nic (ask me a question about anything you want to know about me, but please keep it clean as this is a family blog)
Thursdays – Thankful Thursdays (What Nic is thankful for this week)
Fridays – the FFT (Friday Field Trip – a link to a fun, funny or interesting website) and the Friday’s Feast
Saturdays – whatever comes to mind

It will be possible to have multiple guest bloggers on one day if more than one person wants to do a specific day.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Can I get a tissue? Please?

Or do I have to use my night-shirt?

Oh heavenly stars! Just finished watching Grey's Anatomy season final. Tears were rolling down my face and my heart is so heavy. The sorrow. The sadness. The suddenness. The decision. The surprising kindness from an unexpected source. The realization and the cliffhanger decision. Just DANGIT!

For those of you who haven't seen it yet, I will not spoil it, but for those of you who do - you understand. Just...DANGIT...DANGIT...DANGIT!!!!!!!!!

For those of you who have watched it...your thoughts?

Monday Meanderings & Guest Bloggers!


Main Entry: hooky
Variant(s): or hook•ey /'hu-kE/
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural hook•ies or hookeys
Etymology: probably from slang hook, hook it (to make off)
: TRUANT -- used chiefly in the phrase play hooky: one who shirks duty; especially : one who stays out of school without permission

That’s a term normally reserved for school-aged kids elementary through the teen years. It’s “played” when there is a test being given that one hasn’t studied for or for going to the beach, lake, friend’s pool or whatever when there is perfect weather on said given day.

Today I want to play hooky from work. I’ve been stressed lately, a little depressed and lonely, actually kind of feeling like a little pity-party – though not consciously or purposely. Just feeling down.

Today I actually feel pretty good. The weather is PERFECT hooky weather. Bright beautiful sunshine. 74 degrees – unheard of for May in Central Texas. Blue, blue skies and a few lazy, puffy clouds. Nice cool breeze and the humidity isn’t too bad.

I want to take Emily and go on a picnic somewhere in the country and just be her and me and no interruptions from the cell or email or any electronic gadgets.

Emily said something that broke my heart yesterday. On the way to church she stated that she didn’t want to be a mommy with babies who had to work. She would rather be a scuba diver. (If it came down to having babies and having to work and not be home for them) No matter how many times I’ve tried to explain it to her, she’s still 4 and doesn’t understand the concept of money and what it’s used for and that as a single parent who is literally living almost paycheck to paycheck I have no choice on whether or not I want to work.

If it were up to me, I would be a stay at home mom. My plans in life didn’t include working outside the house after I had children. Unfortunately, I made a lot more than “The X” and was the primary breadwinner and insurance carrier for all of us. Now, I have no choice but to work outside the home, even though I would rather, in my heart of hearts be home for Emily during the days – or at least be able to work part time. However, in Austin, there is no part time job that would pay even half of what is needed to live on as a single parent in this economy and with the cost of living here. I'm barely making ends meet as it is with what I make and what I make is a lot better than what most jobs offer here in town. It would be a lot less “tight” if I were getting child support, which was SUPPOSED to have started in April, but I still haven’t seen a penny of it yet. At least then I would not have to be so concerned about which bills I have to pay with this paycheck and which ones I can hold off on until next paycheck in-between groceries and gas.

I know that God provides. He always does. He always has and always will. Job 10:12, Luke 12:22-31. I just wish that things wouldn’t be so tight between those times.

Maybe I can ask Him for the winning lottery numbers. Oh, but then I would actually have to play the lottery. ;)

Oh well. I'll stay here at work and plow through the day so that I can get a paycheck and be able to go on vacation with Emily in two glorious weeks! Yes, I will be gone for 7 days. Starting the day after Memorial Day. From Tuesday to Monday!

Will I take my laptop with me? I don't know but most likely not. I can check/respond to email via my phone but will I really want to? I'll be meeting up with MANY friends from across the country and some of their kids in lovely Branson, MO. This will be a great time to just get away with my precious girl. I may be asking some of you to guest blog for me while I'm gone if you want to.

If you would like to be a guest blogger, please let me know by leaving a comment or emailing me at nboedeke@gmail.com. I will get with you regarding password, etc. for this venture. I've never had guest bloggers but I have guest blogged for others before so I know a little of how it works.

As you know, I have specific posts on specific days and if any of those appeal to you, please let me know which one(s) you would like to cover.

Here is the schedule of what posts I do on what days:

Sundays – whatever comes to mind
Mondays – Monday Meme (self explanitory - a meme on a Monday - see the post below this one), Monday Meals (usually a tasty meal that is easy to make for those who are “culinarily challenged” or who have children and includes a side dish(es), entrée and a dessert) or Monday Meanderings (what's on my mind)
Tuesdays – Truthful Tuesdays (usually answering questions from the previous weeks HDQ/Ask Nic session) or whatever comes to mind
Wednesdays – HDQ (the "humpy day question") and Ask Nic (ask me a question about anything you want to know about me, but please keep it clean as this is a family blog)
Thursdays – Thankful Thursdays (What Nic is thankful for this week)
Fridays – the FFT (Friday Field Trip – a link to a fun, funny or interesting website) and the Friday’s Feast
Saturdays – whatever comes to mind

It will be possible to have multiple guest bloggers on one day if more than one person wants to do a specific day.

Have a beautiful Monday!

Oh, and one more thing. Did any of y'all see Grey's Anatomy last night? Am I the only one here who was completely "OMG!!!! OMG!!!! OMG!!!! OMG!!!!" at the ending? I can't wait for the 2 hour finale tonight! It was a toss up between 24 and GA, but after last night, GA has my vote. WOW! So, do you think Denny bites the dust? Dr. Burke? Will the other heart surgeon (Burke's rival) be rushed over from Mercy West to do surgery on Burke and/or Denny now that Izzy has set this horrific chain of events in motion? And what will happen in the Mer/Der/Addison triangle? Does anyone even care anymore? Though it was SOOO obvious that she wasn't talking about Doc the dog when she responded to hunky McVet's statement.

It's a Monday Meme day

I "borrowed" this meme from She Lives. She's a great new blog that I discovered yesterday. As most of you who are regulars know, I really enjoy memes. I hope you enjoy this one. Feel free to "borrow" it from me!

Accent: Texan when I'm talking to someone I'm interested in, getting angry or have been drinking. Midwestern (Minnesota/Iowa) when talking about Minnesota/Iowa and when getting stressed.

Bible Book that I like: Personally, my favorite is Revelation - it's the one that tells us how it all ends. But I get the most comfort and insight from the Psalms and Proverbs.

Chore I don't care for: Dishes by hand! I don't mind doing dishes in the dishwasher, but I HATE doing dishes by hand.

Dog or Cat: Both.

Essential Electronics: Laptop and cell phone. I don't really use any other electronic devices - other than a microwave and a printer but if I had the money I'd get one of those high end navigation/GPS systems that does routes, traffic, directions, destinations, etc. and give them by my voice command.

Favorite Cologne: Aqua di Gio. *SNIFF* SIGH! MELT! Yeeeaaaaahhhhhh!

Gold or Silver: Silver or white gold, unless I have a good tan, then gold. The one exception is my cross which is gold.

Handbag I Carry Most Often: Um, I haul around too much junk for a "hand bag". I have a huge honkin' purse.

Insomnia: About 90% of the time. I'm chronically tired but refuse to take something like Ambien b/c I have a 4 year old and need to be awake at a moment's notice if need be.

Job Title: Single Christian Mother first. Then Administrative Assistant for work.

Kids: One precious daughter, age 4, who is the light of my life!

Living Arrangements: House.

Most Admirable Trait: I don't know what other people would say but probably my compassion and loyalty.

Naughtiest Childhood Behavior: Being extremely jealous/possessive of my mom and toys. As an only child I never really learned how to share when I was small, though, Lord knows, my mom tried.

Overnight Hospital Stays: When I had Emily. There were some complications that had developed before (severe hypertension and toxemia the weekend before delivery) and after delivery (beginnings of an infection) and they kept me an extra day to observe and make sure that I was full of antibiotics, hydrated, etc. I think at one time I counted like 5 or 6 bags of things attached to my IV stand and going into my IV

Phobias: Depths - what you can't see below in the water is what freaks the dookie out of me! My biggest horror movie was Deep Blue Sea - I can handle slasher flicks, but the thought of being that far underwater with killer sharks bred to be more aggressive just...*SHUDDERS*.

Quote: Troubles lessen and joys increase when shared with a friend.

Religion: I'm not religious, really. I'm a Christian. For me, it's all about Jesus. I don't put much stock in "religion", per se. Religion is nothing more than man trying to bring himself to the level of God and lowering God to the level of man instead of having a relationship with Him.

Siblings: I am an only child but I have a best friend that is the closest thing I have to a sister. I love her just like family.

Time I Wake Up: 5:45 M-F. Usually 6:45 or 7:00 on weekend b/c Emily's waking me up.

Unusual Talent or Skill: I can tie knots in cherry stems with my tongue and if the stem's long enough I can do two or more.

Vegetable I Refuse to Eat: Brussel sprouts, lima beans and collard greens.

Worst Habit: Um, I have a tendency to chew my cuticles really badly(?). A non-physical worst habit would be procrastination.

X-rays: None recently. I've had sinus x-rays in 2003 - had recurring sinus infections that wouldn't go away and they needed to know if they surgically needed to clear them, and multiple x-rays on feet and ankles when I was younger due to gymnastics.

Yummy Stuff I Cook: Beef tenderloin (filet), mashed potatoes (YUM!), Irish stew, pot roast.

Zoo Animal I Like Most: I haven't been to a zoo in YEARS. Probably about 20 years or more. Probably the ones that you can interact with like the elephants. I guess I'd try to avoid to mokey cages b/c they throw poop.