Monday, December 31, 2012

Deer me

It isn't hunting season that has these deer down.

Nope. It's exhausted homeowners. And wind. And rain.

And, well, maybe embarrassment.

The buck has been unable to stay up since we found the two does mounted one morning.

Good Samaritans have tried to erect the deer on various occasions, but the wire beasts continue to be found moping on the ground.

The other day, a couple we'd just met informed us we are the "Dead Deer" house. Ho ho no!

I feel guilty for writing this post  about holiday decor back in 2008 BC (Before Children). I didn't realize the homeowners were probably too busy saying things like "Take that golf club out of your ear!" and "Get your finger out of your sister's nose!" to their own little elves to care two antlers about reindeer on the lawn.

Any holiday decor is a testimony to the holidays that someone cared enough to haul the electrical nightmares out of storage.

Next year, those deer are hibernating.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Crockpot Dressing

Holiday feasts are just regular ol' meals to me without cornbread dressing.

The females in my family have a sick sense of humor. Once, when I was young enough to not be expected to help in the kitchen, I ran in and asked if the dressing was ready yet.  They exchanged glances and my mother looked me square in the eye. "Nope. We decided not to make any this year."

I tried to be tough, but I couldn't stop the tears.  They were laughing so hard it took them a moment to recognize my heartbreak. Then,  because they're not entirely evil, someone opened the oven to let me peek and smell one of the several dressings they'd prepared.  It wasn't uncommon to have three or four. Some family members liked oysters, some didn't, some liked onions, some didn't.

I liked them all.

Now that I help with the cooking I've realized the tremendous effort required to juggle all of the holiday dishes with one oven.  So, when my mother's friend gave her a crock pot recipe for dressing, I've cherished it ever since.

This recipe has more steps than the others I've posted, but it's dressing... in a crockpot.

We've made several adjustments over the years. Feel free to do the same.


8 inch pan cornbread, crumbled
Pepperidge Farm cornbread stuffing  
1/2 Cup celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoons sage (Note: I prefer a big handful. The original recipe called for 1 T.)
1/2 Tablespoon black pepper
4 eggs, beaten
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cans chicken broth  (or home made)

  • Saute celery and onion. 
  • Pour all ingredients into crock pot. 
  • Dot top with butter. 
  • Cook on low for 4 hours. If it doesn't seem brown enough at the end of time, lift lid and continue to cook. It will brown.I usually leave the lid off for a good half hour or so.

Adjustment 1: We like to mix the dry ingredients the day before so the flavors have time to combine, but it is still delicious if you don't plan ahead.

Adjustment 2: Make your own chicken broth and add chicken to the dressing. Here's how we do it:
  • In a pot, place cut up onions, celery and 4-5 chicken thighs. 
  • Put just enough water to cover it. 
  • Once it boils, turn it to simmer until tender. 
  • Use fork to see if meat pulls off easily.
  • Cool broth and chicken at room temperature.  
  • Pull meat off bone. Chop or pull into edible pieces. 
  • Mix meat in with other ingredients.(Dry chicken before adding, or it will make the dressing too moist.)
  • Measure your homemade broth to substitute for the two cans of chicken broth. 

Adjustment 3: If you'd prefer to avoid the crock pot--hey, who am I to judge?--simply place in a 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until brown.

Let me know how you like it!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mommy Monday: Connecticut

I grieve with the people of Newtown, Connecticut. 

I have no words.

Thankfully, my friend Dr. Lisa Marotta does. 

Her blog entry is entitled Helping Your Child Weather the Storm of Tragedy, but it is good advice for helping adults make it through as well. 

As Lisa said, "Be courageous in your comfort."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mary Engelbreit's Nutcracker

I found it!

I've looked long and hard for a picture book of The Nutcracker that fulfilled the expectations of my childhood imaginings.

Over thirty years ago, my dance teacher and our moms escorted a bunch of little girls to see The Nutcracker ballet in Tulsa. I'd never seen anything so magical. The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy made a lasting impression.

My mother bought me a nutcracker ornament that day. The fur is sparse. The nose is gone. But I still love my nutcracker prince as much as any little girl.

Click here to see a few pages of Mary Engelbreit's beautifully illustrated version of the story. You won't be disappointed.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Jingle Jangle

I'm not athletic or crafty, but that doesn't keep me from trying.  On the way to a 5k, I sewed ribbons on shirts.

See that ribbon? I sewed it. My son was impressed.
My friends Ange and Shannon invited us to join them at the Jingle Bell Run.  Well, they knew I wouldn't actually run, so Ange volunteered to walk with me.

But I did run--three times--during the 5K.  That's a personal record that provides bragging rights.

My pals still make fun of my attempt in high school to run a 5k for extra credit. OH MY GOODNESS. And no witness can forget the hilarious ONE DAY in the spring I went out for track. (In my defense, the boys and girls were both state champions, runners-up, gods straight from Mt. Olympus or something that year).

I don't have a good track record.

So, I'd planned to train for this event, but...I didn't.

My training buddy and I still have not met and my treadmill is used by my hubby, who WON a 5k last week, by the way.
That's Ange, Shannon, and Garrett holding me up before the race (and mimosas).
I may not be cardio-fit, but at least I'm festive.
Shirts personalized at Society Shirts. Proceeds provide birthday parties for children in emergency foster care.

Our shirts supposedly say Super Cutie or Awesome Hottie or something similar in Cherokee.  Garrett suspects Ange and Shannon tricked us and they really say World's Greatest Grandpa.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Writer's Wednesday: Literary Boyfriends

Long before I wanted a real boyfriend, I juggled several from literature. And what's better than a literary boyfriend? A literary love triangle!

No matter who the main character chooses, I always choose one similar to my first love: Rhett Butler from Gone With the Wind.  That other guy Ashley Wilkes? Ew! Rhett may have been no "gentleman," but at least he stood up for what he believed and fought for it. My eleven-year-old brain read between the lines and wanted Ashley to stop being such a wimp about life and man up already.

How about you? Who are your favorite literary boyfriends?

To get the conversation started, let's talk about famous young adult titles that are already movies or will be soon.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Edward vs. Jacob
No contest! Edward is just too polished (like cold marble, I know)--and whiny--for my tastes. (Get it? Vampire pun there.) I prefer the warmth and personality of Jacob. He's a fighter.

The Selection by Kiera Cass
 Prince Maxon vs. Aspen
This one throws a wrench in the whole bad boy thing.  I prefer Maxon over Aspen.  Is it because he's a prince? Nope. I think it's because he really wants what is best for her, is willing to stand up to his father for his own beliefs, and doesn't whine about circumstances.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Peta vs. Gale
It's always been you, Gale.  Always. You're a rebel. A fighter.  Peeta...okay, in the book, you are not the wimp the movie makes you. You are your own kind of hero. You know how to use your brain and teach me, I mean Katniss, a thing or two. You save the heroine a few times yourself. Without you, she wouldn't have survived. But, Peeta, I'd rather be friends. Let's have dinner. You bring the bread.

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Four vs. ???
So, there's no love triangle here, but I still wanted to mention my most recent literary boyfriend. 

Who is your literary boyfriend?  Do you prefer books with love triangles or not?