Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Words to Live By

Yesterday, the world changed for many people. A wonderful, sweet and loving man was suddenly taken from us. Every time someone who is seemingly healthy, dies suddenly, it always brings our own mortality to the forefront, at least it does for me anyway. Think about it, every day, we go about the busy-ness of living: going to work, taking children to school, paying bills, doing the laundry, making plans assuming everything will carry on the same as it always has.

When I lost my dad 16 years ago, my world stopped. I found it difficult to believe that life went on, people went about their business: going to lunch, buying stamps, getting their oil changed. How? How could those people not see how awful things had become? the truth is, we all live in our little bubbles, oblivious to what may or may not be happening in the lives of others. My grandmother had things that she considered ‘too nice’ to use on a daily basis, clothing, jewelry, dishes. She was saving them for a ‘special occasion’. The thing about that is, every day is special. I found myself thinking the same thing about a pair of nice earrings once. They’re diamond studs, an anniversary gift. I thought these are too nice for this outfit. But then my thinking changed. Diamonds go with everything, but the reality is every day is a gift, special in its own way.

My point here is this, life is short and fragile. We never know from one minute to the next what can happen. How many times have you been delayed at work for some irritating reason when you’re trying to get somewhere, only to find out there has been a massive pile up on the freeway that happened at the exact time you would have been there?

Take the time to enjoy the journey that is life.

Try new foods.

Wear the clothes that are ‘too nice’ for every day (maybe not the ballgown to work, but…)

Go to the places you’ve always wanted to visit.

Say hello to that guy/gal you’ve wanted to talk to.

Take chances, don’t live with regret.

Be present in your life.

Forgive those who hurt you.

Tell the people you care about how you feel every opportunity you get.

Live fearlessly.

Love without limitations.

Drink lots of water and eat foods that don’t come from a box or can.

Exercise and take care of the vessel that is your body.

Read and challenge your brain.

Put your feet in the ocean at least once.

Accept responsibility for mistakes you’ve made, learn from them and move on. Mistakes do not define who you are.

Learn how to cook at least one dish really well.

Grow something.

Take 5 minutes everyday to just be. Be still, listen to the sounds of the earth and your heart.

Catch snowflakes on your tongue. Watch a bee collect pollen. Watch a squirrel bury its nuts.

Wear lipstick.

Dance in the rain.

Smile at a stranger.

Make donations to charitable organizations that mean something to you.

Laugh, often.

Be grateful.

Spend time outdoors.

Focus on what it is and not on what it is not.

And for Pete’s sake, take as good care of yourself as you do the people and things you have in your life. If you don’t have your health, nothing else matters.

This message brought to you by the ‘appreciate life’ committee (aka me!) And please let me know what additions you’d make to this list!

 

 

 

 

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Chipmunks, a 2 Mile High Hailstorm, and a Miracle (Vacation 2015 Part 1)

Wow! Summer, she’s a-flyin. At first, time seemed to be slowed down. But as per usual, 4th of July rolls around and it hits hyper speed on the downhill to kids birthdays and back to school.

This year, our downhill turn to hyperspeed took a detour. A family reunion/50th anniversary celebration in Estes Park, Colorado. All I can tell you is if you have never been to Colorado, you are missing out. Big time. At least the mountainous parts. Eastern Colorado is pretty flat, mostly because it runs straight into Kansas, which is where the idea for pancakes came from. But the mountains, that is amazing.

We left our steaming home town heading north and west for a 10 hour drive to the city of Castle Rock, just south of Denver to spend the night with college friends. They were worried about how ‘hot’ it was there. After I stopped laughing, I reminded them of where we came from, and no, it most definitely is not even close to ‘hot’. Warm for them, but not hot.

If you’ve been hanging out with me for any length of time, you will remember our vacation disasters. Every. Single. Time. We either get trauma, drama or a puking kid. Without fail. It has gotten to the point that I really, truly question my sanity when we plan a trip. This, however, was not just a vacation, it was a special occasion, so I didn’t have the luxury of questioning anything. We’d initially planned to take my car, a Subaru Outback, with a car top carrier to put our luggage in. The problem, was that my car didn’t have the proper rails to secure the carrier to. No big deal, except we didn’t discover this until about 7:30 the night before we were leaving. I was pretty sure this was signaling the beginning of another trauma/drama filled trip.

Load up, hit the road Saturday. It was a great day for a drive and we made good time. The last 40 miles before our friends house was through a very remote area and incredibly beautiful, rolling hills and farms. My kids wanted to camp there and I just thought about how many stars we’d be able to see at night. A lovely dinner on the deck looking at the foothills and a beautiful sunset ended our first day.

Ok, I”m thinking. So far so good. But I’m not dumb enough to say anything out loud and jinx it. Neighbors that night decide to use their fire pit and have a party. Til after midnight. With open windows. Close windows=much better. An hour later, my girly is in our room ‘Mom. I think I’m going to be sick.”  Here we go, I thought. She’d just gotten over heated in a stuffy room. She was fine, thankfully.

Arrive at Estes Park Sunday afternoon and the home away from home in time to greet family and nose around the houses. Mom and sister in law and I make a list and hit the grocery store. You know, I never really thought of a grocery store trip as an adventure or anything requiring protective gear. But this is Estes Park. They apparently only have one in the entire town. The town that swells to 3 to 4 times it’s population in the summer. It felt like I was at WalMart on Black Friday. Or the local grocery following a blizzard warning. Between trying to maneuver the cart and the empty shelves, it was chaos. I don’t envy the people who have to recover and restock the store overnight. The cashiers really should get hazard pay. Here’s a tip, if you’re a grocery store owner, put one in Estes Park, you’ll make a killing!

Here’s the first half of our trip:

Sunday: A short trip from Denver to Estes Park. Which was nice, since the drive on Saturday was about 10 hours. See above adventure in local Safeway.

Sunset over the Rockies our first night

Monday: Rocky Mountain National Park. We drove up to the Alpine Visitors Center. On the way, we saw wildlife, got rained on, hailed on and snowed on! In the photo below, you can see the rain moving through. Those clouds dropped a single bolt of lightning and the PING of a lone hailstone that sent us all scrambling for our cars. A few minutes later and further up the mountain, a hailstorm at 11K feet was incredible and frightening all at once!

Rain moving through the valley, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rain moving through the valley, Rocky Mountain National Park.

Above the treeline, Rocky Mountain National Park

Above the treeline, Rocky Mountain National Park

Mountain stream, RMNP

Mountain stream, RMNP

Tuesday: Rafting the Cache La Poudre river. It was very fun and yes, the water was ridiculously COLD! The bus ride up and back was an adventure in itself!

Cache La Pudre River. Water was in the 30's!

Cache La Pudre River. Water was in the 30’s!

Wednesday: We attempted shopping downtown. With 19 ppl, it’s more like herding cats! In the evening we had surprise anniversary party for Mom and Dad in law, it was their 50th we were celebrating. I don’t have any pics of the gang shopping, so I’ll share a few of the flowers and scenery.

These babies were everywhere!

These babies were everywhere!

A random bathtub. Why not?

A random bathtub. Why not?

Yes, this is near the home as well!

Yes, this is near the home as well!

Beauty around the home.

Beauty around the home.

Stay tuned for Part 2! More to come!

Visit Estes Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

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Delish summer salad

Hey y’all! It’s summer and I’m back! We had more spring rains in May than in the history of ever. We were out of school for an entire week before we ever saw the sun. It didn’t feel like summer at all. The temps were in the 60’s and 70’s, cloudy and rainy. Bleh. In May, we only had 2 days that were considered ‘sunny’ That’s not summer, that’s monsoon season. This week when the sun finally came out, I promise I heard angels singing! And since the sun finally came out and my yard has become less than a swamp, I’ve been able to do some of the yard work and gardening that has been put off. It’s no fun doing yard work in hip waders. So here I am, putting my basil and my mind is running all over the place. Apparently my mind just ran the 40 yard dash in record time, because this is what it came up with.

image

This is pure summer deliciousness in a bowl.

Delish Summer Salad

4 Roma tomatoes – quartered and sliced
2 avocados – cubed
2 cloves garlic – minced
5-6 leaves fresh basil – sliced
4-6 oz fresh mozzarella – sliced/cubed
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients together in a bowl and dive in! This is an incredibly flavorful, fresh, light salad that I think I could live on. It has everything you could ever possibly want, right? It’s got the goodness of the unsaturated fats of avocados, the vitamins of the tomatoes, the protein of the mozzarella, the health benefits of the garlic and basil. What more could a girl ask for? More. I could ask for more. Come to think of it, I think I will.

**Note – If you’re not too keen on the *POW* of fresh garlic, you can use one clove instead of two. We love the POW, but you can easily tone it down.

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Jedi Mind Trick on a 6th Grader AKA Everyday Parenting

Hello friends. Yes, I’ve been a bit MIA lately, but that’s life, right? Isn’t that what they say, life is what happens when you’ve made other plans.

Life these days is full of teenage boys and drama tweens. My girl is the light of my life. She makes me laugh. She makes me cry. She makes me scream. She makes me angrier than I ever thought I could be. And that’s just the first five minutes after waking up. No really, I love her more than anything. But middle school is hell. In case you don’t remember it, I’ll refresh your memory. Your friends find other friends to hang out with. Your body isn’t the one you’ve known your whole life and is doing weird, hairy, smelly things. You want desperately to fit in, not stand out. You are trying to figure out who you can trust and who your real friends are. Who YOU are. You’re full of self-doubt, self-consciousness and feelings you don’t understand. Some days the slightest thing will set you off and send you into a tailspin.

It’s a difficult time and seeing all of the crap she’s going through has reminded me just how awful it was/is. As a mom, sometimes I feel like I just can’t win. Any and all of my brilliant advise is summarily rejected simply because it came from me (the exact same thing coming from her favorite teacher becomes truth). Hmm, sounds vaguely familiar. Part of my job as taxi driver/chef/housekeeper/tutor/head cheerleader, is to try to bolster her self-esteem, her self-confidence. I want to instill in her the mentality that she can do whatever she puts her mind to. Love her though I do, drama seems to unnecessarily follow her about some days. Parents of tween girls, can you relate? Of course you can. They’re all the same, just different size/shape/color/intensity.

My precious girl has wanted long hair for a very long time, so she’s let it grow for the past year or so. It’s finally long enough we can start doing fun styles with it. Her latest discovery: the sock bun. She made her own little form for it and everything. We watched a YouTube video for instruction (of course!). I worked it over and managed to make it look like a bun, I was so excited!

Here’s how it goes. She tries and it doesn’t work the first time around. She tries again to just put it in a ponytail, but it’s in the wrong place for her liking, gets frustrated and tries to give up.

“I can’t put it up in the right place.”

‘Yes you can, just try it again.”

“I CAN’T DO IT.’

“Ok, first, lower your voice. Next, yes you can. It’s just hair.”

tries, fails.

“My hair hates me!”

“Honey, it’s hair, it can’t hate you. Try it again.”

“I told you. I can’t do it!”

<sigh> “Yep. You’re right. You can’t.”

stunned silence.

“Wait, you’re supposed to tell me I can do it!’

“I was telling you, but you didn’t believe me. So now I’m just agreeing with you.”

“But you’re not supposed to do that.” <getting huffy>

“All I’m doing is agreeing with you. That’s all. If you don’t think you can, you’re absolutely right.”

Stunned silence again, shaking her head and walked away.

Next time, I think instead of trying to convince her that she can do whatever she’s convinced she can’t, or at least telling me she thinks she can’t, I’ll stop and just agree with her.

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I Won’t Lie…..

Wow. Happy New Year! The new year is always a mixed bag for me. On one hand, I’m happy b/c it’s a shiny new year, full of promise. Goals to reach. Milestones. Adventures. And on the other hand, I really love the festivities of Christmas and packing it all away, makes my home seem dull.

My last post I shared with you my new challenge. I gave up grains/sugar/alcohol. I won’t lie. It was difficult at first. This gal loves her pretzels/popcorn/crackers/bread. Within a couple of weeks I really noticed some changes. My clothes fit better. I slept straight through the night, none of the random waking up for no reason, unable to get back to sleep. My cranky knee and tummy troubles were gone. Unbelievable! It seemed I dropped upwards of 10lbs simply by making those changes.

Then Christmas happened. I thought, what could happen if I have just a little? Have you ever tried to eat just one chip? Just one cracker? Yeah, it so does not work. My one cheat one day lead to cheats every day. While I have not packed on all of the lbs, I have noticed a return to many of the issues I had previously. The cranky knee, cranky. Tummy troubles, boo. Random 3AM waking, yep, that too.

And while it is not easy, I am determined to get back to that state of well being. Sometimes, we have to realize that health is not simply the absence of disease, but all body systems functioning at maximum capacity and if those systems are battling within themselves, they cannot operate as they were designed to do. While I did not completely go overboard on my cheats, a few here and there have made their differences known. I will make alterations to my menu, and feel better for it.

If you are considering making changes to your life to better your health, don’t hold back, and don’t give up. If you fall off the wagon, get right back on.

http://www.wheatbelly.com

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A New and Daunting Challenge

Hello my friends. Yes, I have been M.I.A. of late, and I really do hate that. I haven’t forgotten about you. Life gets crazy sometimes, I’m sure you can relate. Thankfully, it’s the good kind of crazy. Kids growing up, work busy, life busy. Just the usual.

This new and daunting challenge. What is it? You’re asking. If you’ve been with me for a bit, you know I love to cook, and eat. And one of my most favorite things to cook is, well, indulgences in the form of cookies and pastas. I have a friend, a former classmate, who is a natural health care practitioner in California. She has been sharing information with her friends and patients about not just the gluten-free lifestyle, but a grain-free lifestyle. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I said. I’m fine. I’m perfectly healthy. Except when I try on the jeans I haven’t worn in a while and they’re more snug than ever. Hmmm. I guess I’ve been naughtier than i thought.

So, about three weeks ago, I decided to give this whole grain-free lifestyle a go. I thought, I’ll just do it for a week and see what happens, right? What’s the worst that can happen? I certainly won’t be hurting myself by eliminating these things. Let me preface this by saying I’m a girl who loves pretzels, tortilla chips, popcorn, cheez its and freshly baked bagels. I am a bread loving girl of the worst sort. Whenever I’d buy a loaf from a local market, I literally could not stop eating until I hated myself for it. My favorite, a crusty batard with whole cloves of roasted garlic baked inside. Mmmm. This is something that was difficult for me to envision or attempt. I mean, how do you have PB&J w/o bread? How do you eat salsa without chips?

Yes, it was tough, I won’t lie. I eliminated all grains, including oats, quinoa, wheat in any form, as well as sugar and alcohol. I’m not a huge drinker (a glass of wine or two maybe a couple of times a wk) but alcohol alters the way your body metabolizes and uses calories from food.

At the end of this first week, I noticed my clothes were fitting better. Hm, I thought. That’s a good thing. Ok, let’s see what happens if I continue this. I had already been eating eggs for breakfast, and many times my lunch was grain free, cottage cheese and fruit or grilled chicken, or whatever we had leftover from dinner the night before. But when I got home from work, I’d go for my favorite snack of air popped pop corn, or pretzel chips w/hummus or cheez its. Finding different snacks has been an adventure, to say the least.

An interesting note. Maybe a week in, on a whim, I grabbed a couple of cheez its from the pantry. Just for grins, ya know? I have to tell you I was really surprised that they didn’t taste good to me any more. Not even remotely. They tasted fake and plastic. Seriously. Right? I was shocked too.

I am here to tell you, if you are experiencing health issues, such as diabetes, IBS, reflux, arthritis, or maybe just a general feeling of bleh, you really should look into this. The book “Wheat Belly’ was written by a cardiologist and gives very detailed information on how wheat, and grains, affect the body. He’s also come up with recipes, even for baking, that are grain free.

My daughter who is 11, is not keen on this ‘diet’. I told her that I don’t look at this as a ‘diet’ but a lifestyle. It’s me working to get really, truly healthy and to me, the word ‘diet’ has a negative connotation, as well as sounding like a short-term proposition. My family has not totally jumped on board with me on this adventure, but I am easing them into it. My biggest challenge for them right now is finding a suitable lunch replacement for their PB&J sammies.

I am now three weeks into this lifestyle, and I’m down around 10lbs. I say ‘around’ because I don’t own a scale, I’m basing this on how my clothes are fitting me now. My favorite jeans that I was completely unable to button before I began, I can wear now. Losing the lbs is not the only benefit I’ve noticed. I sleep better. I used to wake up randomly, in the middle of the night and not be able to go back to sleep for a while. Not now. I have one knee that had been getting crankier with each passing month. Not any more. I had been having some intestinal disturbances on a regular basis. Not now. The mid afternoon nap that I always wanted because I was exhausted when I got home from work, yeah, that’s not an issue anymore since my energy levels have returned to a more normal level. I aim to drink close to a gallon of water a day (not all at once, but during the day) and I have made it a priority to move more. Just walking, nothing major. Rather than sitting at my desk at lunch, I walk between 15&20 minutes. And that’s the biggest thing. I’m 40-something, but I don’t want to look or feel it. Some things I don’t have control over, but those that I do, I want to make work for me as long as I can, and if it means not eating something that is truly detrimental to my health, I’m all about it.

If you’d like to learn more about what I’m doing, and how it might help you feel better, check it out. I would really encourage anyone who is dealing with autoimmune issues, weight, or any number of other problems to just take a look. Check out the book and read for yourself.

http://www.wheatbelly.com

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29 Things New High School Grads Need to Survive

I work in a high school. I don’t remember ever being as young as the kids are in my school, but clearly, I was at some point. I mean, it’s not like I could skip an age, right? No matter how badly my daughter might wish it. No matter how badly I wished it once upon  a time. It’s pretty comical now. I used to ask my mom why she waited so late to have me, why couldn’t I have been born when she was younger, that way I’d be older already. I know, I know. Now I see the fallacy in my thinking. Never, and i mean N.E.V.E.R. try to grow up too fast. Life will pass you by in the blink of an eye and before you know what’s happened, someone with gray hair and wrinkles will be looking back at you from the mirror and saying, ‘What the hell happened?”

So, in celebration of my 29th high school graduation, I wanted to share 29 things I learned with the newly minted high school graduates.

1. Do what you say you’ll do. Don’t commit to something and then back out or change your mind. You’ll look like a flake and no one will belive you next time around if you make a habit of it.

2. Accept responsibility for what you do. You can’t blame someone else for what happens to you.

3. You can only control yourself, and nothing and no one else. Try not to waste too much time and energy being upset over things that are out of your control.

4. Hug your mom and dad while you can. They’re the only ones you’ll ever get and they won’t be here forever.

5. Don’t gossip. It is a form of character assassination, for the gossiper, not the subject of gossip. If it isn’t your news, don’t share it. You’ll make many more friends this way.

6. People will hurt you. Don’t let that change who you are, but don’t be a doormat either.

7. Don’t be afraid of change. Without change, we can’t grow and find out who we’re meant to be.

8. Don’t tie yourself to people that make you unhappy or are negative. Life is too short and there will be plenty of your own struggles and drama, you dont’ want someone else’s.

9. Never, ever settle for less than what you want, especially when it comes to your love life.

10. The best things in life take work, alot of hard work, to achieve. Do the work, you’ll appreciate the result much more.

11. Don’t post things on Twitter or Instagram that you don’t want your parents, a college admissions counselor or future employer to see, because they will. 

12. If it’s online, it’s forever, even if you delete it.

13. Don’t ignore those little red flags that you feel in your gut, they will never steer you wrong.

14. As cliché as this sounds, everything happens for a reason. Just know it’s the way it’s supposed to be, go with it.

15. Karma has a long memory and she’s a bitch. Let go of the anger know that the universe will make the corrections and all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the show. It may take a while, but it’ll happen.

16. Your boss is paying you to work, not clock in & hangout. The more initiative you show at work, finding things to do when it’s slow, the better your odds of keeping your job for a longer period of time.

17. Work in retail or restaurants at least once. Just trust me on this one.

18. Say ‘Thank you’ and mean it.

19. Don’t be afraid to disagree with people, but don’t be mean and rude when you have discussions. Conversations with people who have different views or are from a different background can be quite enlightening.

20. Don’t judge a book by its cover. What someone looks like, may not be the whole story, get to know someone before deciding if  you like them or not.

21. Go to the dentist. Brush and floss your teeth every day. Unless of course you want to have dentures, and if that’s the case, don’t worry about the first part.

22. Always be true to who you are and don’t let someone else change you to suit their needs or desires. If you meet someone who makes you want to be a better person, that is a different story altogether.

23. Try new things, food or music or whatever. You never know, you might find a new favorite that you’ve been missing.

24. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

25. Be courteous on the roads and let people in. And always use your turn signals and seatbelt. They literally could save your life.

26. Nothing good happens after midnight. Ever.

27. Take care of yourself. You can pay now and play later. Or play now and pay later. If you want to be the cool granny/pops w/the kids at Disney, you can’t sit around now playing video games and eating cheetos all day. Eat well, exercise often.

28. If you’re going to do something, go all in. Don’t do it halfway.

29. Smile. Alot. 

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Slow cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Can you keep a secret? What am I saying, of course you can! I am having an affair. Yes, my husband knows all about it and he’s ok with it. In fact, we tag team occasionally. The object of my latest love affair? My slow cooker. It’s been cold and my husband and I both work full-time so we’ve been working together to get dinner on. I’ll get it prepped and he’ll assemble and turn it on. We make great partners! You’ve seen my many slow cooker recipes: beef stew, chicken and wild rice soup, chicken and dumplings, creamy Italian chicken, and those are only the ones I can think of right off. I’ve been sort of MIA lately, but I’m here to share with you another delish slow cooker soup recipe. It’s different, it’s healthy, and it’s very flavorful. You can spice it up or down, whatever you like. And the best part? It’s ridiculously easy. I mean really, can it get any better? Well, ok, if it would clean up after itself, that would be pretty amazing, but in the absence of that, I’ll be making this regularly!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can roasted tomatoes undrained
1 can chopped green chilis
1 can medium enchilada sauce
1 can corn with green & red peppers drained
1 onion chopped
2 C water
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1-1/2 C chicken broth
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
chopped cilantro (optional)
crushed tortilla chips (optional)
cayenne pepper (optional)

1. place all ingredients except cilantro and tortilla chips in a 4qt slow cooker. Turn on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
2. remove chicken breasts from slow cooker and use two forks to shred meat.
3. Put chicken back into slow cooker and allow it to cook for an additional 15-30 minutes.
4. Ladle into bowls and top with cilantro if desired. Sprinkle crushed tortilla chips on top if desired.
If you want spicier soup, add 1/2 tsp cayenne or you can use hot enchilada sauce, and increase the chili powder.
If you want a milder soup, you can use mild enchilada sauce and cut the chili powder in half.
This is just such a flavorful soup, with many different layers and textures.
And once again, no pics, sorry friends, it was just too good! (and I totally forgot😦 sorry!)

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Hamburger Soup

I know, I am so sorry, I feel like I’ve completely neglected my duties here. I’ve been working really hard and taking the easy route way too often. Don’t be like me. I have had this recipe for a while, but as with things, I forgot about it until someone mentioned it. Ah, yes. I need to make some. No, it’s not like a hamburger in soup form. It is soup with hamburger (read ground beef) in it. I think it was originally titled “Steak Soup” meaning ground steak, but since I’m poor, it’s hamburger!

I actually got this originally from my cousin’s grandmother. Wait, how is she not my grandmother too? Oh, right, because she is the mother of my Aunt, who was married to my Uncle-dad’s brother. Are you confused yet? I am. I need to sit down. Anyway, she made this and I loved it and I begged her to share the recipe. I bet my cousin, Steph will remember it! I love it, it’s hearty, delish, reheats well and makes a big batch. I did change up a few things from Grandma Bunny’s original just to make things a little easier and quicker on the preparation, but without changing the taste.

Hamburger soup

Hamburger soup

Hamburger Soup

1/2 stick butter
1C flour
1C onion diced
1C celery sliced
1 pkg frozen mixed vegetables 10-12oz (steam in bag)
1lb ground beef
2tbsp beef base
1 can diced tomatoes
1lb potatoes, peeled and cubed
8C water

Directions:
1. Brown ground beef with onions. Drain and set aside.
2. Melt butter and mix with flour to make a roux (a giant ball of flour goo).
3. Stir well and cook slightly.
4. Add water gradually, using a whisk to break up clumps and help blend water & roux
5. Cook frozen steam in bag vegetables.
6. Add all veggies, meat, beef base and tomatoes bring to a boil and drop temp and simmer until veggies are tender, approximately 30min-1hr, or until done.

I just really love this soup. It’s very hearty. The picture doesn’t adequately show all the yumminess, but you’ll love it!

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T.G.I.F.B.I.O.O.M.M.

Did you catch that? My title? I’m pretty sure you got the first part of it. Would you like me to share the rest? I’d love to. But first, you have to hear the story, well, stories, behind the title.

So, sit back, grab your popcorn, and get ready to spray beer/soda/coffee through your nose. Well, maybe not that funny, but pretty damn comical. You’ll see. A little background. I work at a local private high school answering phones, taking attendance. Fun stuff.

All of these things happened on Fridays. The names have been omitted to protect the innocent, or terminally dense people involved.

I answer the phone ‘Good morning. Can I help you?’
“Wure playing football thayre tomorra mornin. Y’all got a football field?’
Stunned, picking jaw up from the floor. ‘Yes sir, we do. It’s on the north side of the campus on 36th.”
‘Oh. Ah didn’t know y’all had a field. Y’all got bleachers and everthang?’
‘Uh, yes sir. We have bleachers. We even have a snack bar.’
‘Oh, alrahty the-in. Thanky.’
We didn’t always have a field. We used to play on other local high school fields. But that was in the late 80’s. And by the way, why would we rent out a field we didn’t even have? SMH

Same Friday. Only a bit later in the day.
It’s game day. We’re facing our biggest rival at home, our first home game of the season. Everyone is jazzed about it. It’s huge in our season. We have a pep rally. Remember those? Yep, they still happen. I mean, come on, it’s high school. It’s a requirement! My building is outside the fence of our school (long story) there are gates for pedestrians as well as vehicle traffic. The gates are closed during the day, but the pedestrian gates close, they don’t lock b/c students have to pass thru them to get to my building.

It’s time for pep rally. The cheer squad, pep squad, band and everyone who needs to be there early has already left the building. Save one. She’s beautiful. Very statuesque and just stunning. She’s stayed behind to change into her cheer uniform. She’s the last one and she’s marching with purpose to get to the gym before the flood of kids come out of their rooms. She walks out of the building, only to come right back with a bewildered look on her face.

“Did you forget something?’
looking at me wild-eyed and very concerned.
“The gates are closed!”
“Of course they are, they’re always closed during the day.”
“But how am I going to get through??”
Stopped me in my tracks. She was dead freaking serious.
“Do you see the cross walk? If you follow it, there is a gate that you can pass through.”
“Oh, ok. Thank you!” She says to me as if I’ve just given her the answers to her chemistry final.
Seriously, the ant trail was not there, she was used to following the herd of kids coming through the gate. She’s a very sweet girl, and I’m positive she’ll never have difficulty passing through the gate again!

The following Friday, we had a driving incident involving pedestrians and burritos. There were no major injuries, but I know two young men who will be the safest drivers around. All of which occurred after I’d arrived at work early. EARLY on a Friday. Only to spill coffee on myself, not a little, a WHOLE MUG, getting out of my car. Helluva way to start a Friday. I’d gone home to change clothes and one of my coworkers had come to cover my desk til I could get back. When I returned, there were police cars, an ambulance and fire truck. Can you imagine, she said she’d never cover for me again!

Last Friday, as I was locking up the building. It was well after dismissal, teachers and students were all long gone. A car pulls up and a young man pops out, sees me locking up and runs over to me.
“Can I get in?”
“What do you need? Everyone is gone.”
“I just need to get this to Mr. A.”
“He’s gone.”
“Oh. Ok, I’ll just leave him a note.”
“He’s GONE.”
“He’s gone?” bewildered look, as if he’s just noticed me standing there speaking to him.
“Yes, he’s gone. You can email him if you need to.”
“Oh, well, it’s nothing pressing.”

So….Friday. Yeah. I love ya, but man, could you cut me a break this time around?

Oh, right, the title. Are you ready? Here goes.
Thank God It’s Friday Because I’m Out Of My Mind

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