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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Liebster Blog Award!

I am writing this post to thank Ashley Jones @      for nominating me for the Liebster Blog Award!  If you haven't visited her blog yet, please do so.   She has an amazing talent, she designs her home with simple inexpensive ways that are totally awesome!  

I am nominating the following blogs for the Liebster Blog Award.  Please check  out these awesome ladies.  

You will love Rebecca's ideas about organizing and decorating her home and her scrap booking ideas

 Kelli shares her love of cooking for her family, her devotion to God, reviews her favorite books and of course (you guessed it) her love for her family and others

 Carol is in the process of renovating a foreclosed home on a budget and my favorite  part  of her blog is when her and her hubby traveled full time in an RV (my goal)

4.Mamal Diane @
 Diane has some amazing recipes, garage sale finds, gardening tips and can hook you to freebies such as  free ebooks cookbooks

 Jonnique shares her love of life in pictures, recipes, crafting and fashion.  She reminds  me to not take life for granted and to love every minute of it.

All five of these lovely ladies uplift me and I enjoy following their blogs and I know you will also.

Here are the rules for passing the Liebster Blog Award along:

*Choose 5 up and coming blogs to award with less than
*Show your appreciation to the blogger who awarded you by linking back to them.
*Post the award on your blog.
*Link back to the blogs you are awarding so that everyone else can pay them a visit.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Eggplant Parmigiana

If you are looking for a great meatless meal that your whole family will enjoy, then try this Eggplant Parmigiana.  It is also low carb since the eggplant is not coated with bread crumbs. 
  It's just a burst of great Italian flavor with a healthier twist! 

Eggplant Parmigiana
  • 1 large eggplant cut into thin slices lengthwise
  • Olive oil
  • 1 lb Mozzarella Cheese, sliced or grated
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
for the Red Sauce
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic
  • olive oil
  • 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 carrot
1. Make the red sauce below and let it simmer for at least an hour (longer is even better).
2. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Fry the eggplant slices in just enough olive oil to cover the skillet. Only fry 2 to 3 slices at one time about 4 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
4. Spoon enough red sauce in the bottom of a 9 X 13 casserole dish to just cover the bottom.
5. Place half of the slices of the cooked eggplant over the sauce, cover with more sauce.
6. Top with half of the mozzarella cheese and half of the Parmesan cheese.
7. Layer with remaining eggplant slices, red sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese in that order.
8. Sprinkle with the chopped basil.
9. Bake for 40 minutes uncovered until cheese is melted and bubbly.
10. Let cool about 10-15 minutes before serving.
For the Italian Red Sauce
1. Finely chop the garlic cloves.
2. Cover the bottom of a dutch oven with olive oil and heat on med heat.
3. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
4. Pour in tomatoes and chicken broth.
5, Drop in 1 whole peeled carrot. (The carrot will remove the acids of the tomatoes and prevent heartburn from the red sauce)
6. Lower the heat to low and let the red sauce simmer for an hour or even more.
7. Remove carrot and discard before serving.
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Other Italian themed Dishes you might enjoy:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Free Barbie St Paddy's Dress Pattern

Simple, Simple, Simple is what this little dress is.  I made it in less than two hours and my granddaughter will love it.   I started it with the same pattern as the Barbie tutu and just added the skirt.  I used a size 2 crochet hook, a 1 inch green pony tail holder and of course white and green yarn.

St Paddy's Barbie Dress

 Round one:  With green yarn, work 30 single crochet stitches around the green pony tail holder, join with a sl st in the first sc.
2nd round:  Chain 2 then Double crochet
3rd  round: Chain 2 then Double crochet in the next stitch, dc2 tog: continue this same pattern: At the end of the round, you should have decreased to a total of 11 stitches.
Continue double crocheting until bodice measures 2 1/2  inches.   

Change to white yarn-
Round one with white yarn: Triple crochet two times in each stitch (chain one between each triple) Triple Crochet for the next four rounds ( Skirt should measure about 2 1/2 inches) tie off.
For necking, using white yarn single crochet around the pony tail holder, tie off.  Lay dress flat to determine the location of the neck ties.
First neck tie;    Single Crochet 3 stitches, turn, single crochet two stitches, turn, single crochet one stitch, then chain 25 stitches, tie off.
Repeat for second tie.   (I skipped five stitches between the ties for the front neckline). 
  Work in loose thread.   I also found a little shamrock button and sewed it on the waist of the dress.

So simple and super cute!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Grown Up Children

When I wrote the title on this post I was speaking of My Fellow and I, not our offspring.   
Our goal of living in an RV and traveling around the country is similar to a childish dream but since we are grown ups, we can make it happen.  
How funny that an important part of our little mobile Ponderosa includes our ATV's.  My fellow has been working hard on extending the bed of our Big Truck in order to carry our ATV's everywhere we go.  
We lean toward our four wheelers more than motorcycles because, they are safer,  we are able to carry supplies and loads and we love going off road and getting away from it all.   
But that involves a little bit more of an challenge to transport our ATV's but he has solved it.

He designed and built the bed of the Big Truck for both ATV's to fit side by side.  It is also the exact width for a Smart Car which may be in our future.
 Some trips we will be visiting cities and the Smart Car will be more practical.                                                                                                            

 But of course he is smart, we are number one, always safe.  In our younger days, he would have rode the ATV up on the truck, ignoring the fact there are no side rails and the possiblity of driving over the side and having a very heavy ATV fall on you.  
Knowledge does come with age and he now walks the ATV up the ramps, just giving it enough gas to climb.  
 This is how we will look traveling down the road. But of course our fifth wheel will be on the back. He does have some additional work on the sides of the truck.  But this is such a great step towards our goal being "on the road"!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Mom's Alzheimers

Alzheimers is such a big part of my life right now that a hour doesn't go by that I don't try to rationalize it.  My Fellow and I deal with it every day and discuss the trials that Mom is living through constantly.  Not to worry my friends, we do keep ourselves busy with our lives and we do enjoy our days and are having a blast just being together.  But it just engulfs me sometimes.
My mother and I at her birthplace in Arkansas on her 84th birthday.
  Would you rather your body or your mind go first?      Whenever I was asked  this age old question or if it would arise in conversation I always knew what my answer was, (my mind)  but I was so wrong.  I don't know what my answer is but I do know having your mind go first is a painful and torturous process.  Alzheimers doesn't just happen overnight, it slowly sneaks up on one. And when the family or friends notice it, there is not much they can do to help.  Usually the victim of the disease refuses to accept it and pulls away from the people that can help them, parnolia is a strong symptom of the disease.  My mother was very paranoid and distrustful of everyone (including us) and refused to sign a power of attorney. She believed those old rumors and stories that older people tell of children and grandchildren taking everything away from their elders and "throwing them in a nursing home".  She was also a hoarder and placed more importance on "items" than people.  Another mind boggling disease, Hoarding!  Another subject, another post.   She was making poor decisions on major purchases and associating herself with people that were less than acceptable.   After we obtained a Court Ordered Guardianship, she felt her nightmares had come true.  Even though we never "threw her in a nursing home" we did take away her freedom.  So we didn't  have a normal relationship of mother and daughter because I was her captor and she resented it until she completely forgot she ever had freedom.  Now, she does trust me but doesn't understand the meaning of "daughter".   When I visit her at the Alzheimers Program care unit, she is always at a different place of mind and I try to watch her for a moment before I approach her.   I always need this moment to "go where she is".   Sometimes she is calm and content but other times more often than naught she is agitated and asking me to fix things that I either don't understand or can't fix.   Even through my Fellow and I are doing everything and anything we can to make her happy and take care of her, she isn't and never will be happy and I have to accept this.    I see flashes of happy occasionally but she is in such a state of confusion and this cannot be easy for her, and I hurt for her.   There are medications that ease the anxiety for her but now she doesn't understand she needs to take her medication. (she also has heart and blood pressure issues) and she refuses to take her medicine. She had always been very careful about taking her medication properly and in the earlier stages of Alzheimers she would panic if she forgot she had taken it  even though we were there to assure her that she had taken her medication.   We are now having to place (hid) her medication in her food daily.  It's so confusing to sit with her and talk to her about her needing to take her medicine and her completely not understanding.  In fact, she told me " You take it then!" and I had to laugh.  Yes, its OK and much recommended if you laugh and this had been our salvation in dealing with Mother.  I know we are doing what is right and I can sleep at night knowing my mother is being well cared for and no matter how hard things are now, we are overcoming them. Yes, Laughter and Prayers is what gets us through this.   I didn't start writing this blog to talk about sad things in my life but sometimes it just spills out.  I always want "happier ever after" stories and the only way this can turn out that way is to learn by it.  So maybe by writing about it we all will support Alzheimers research to prevent it and to make plans now so our children will not go through some of the trials that my fellow and I have endured. Sign power of attorney, pay for long term health care and most importantly, live every day and enjoy your loved ones and make sure they know you enjoy being with them. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Jewelry organizer or ????

My favorite item this week are these plastic organizer boxes.  I found them in the fishing department of my local Walmart.  These are designed for fishing tackle but are the coolest organizers I have found.  They are under $4 and  the little blue dividers can be removed or adjusted to create at most five separate compartments in each row(six rolls in this size). These organizer boxers are about 7" by 11" but come in other sizes.  The lid snaps shut with two little hinges that lock down. (no chance of spills)

I have been looking for a jewelry box that I could separate my earrings and not have the inevitable search for that second earring when I was in a hurry.  I was able to place the dividers so that each pair of earrings had its own little compartment.   I also wanted something that would not take up much room.

 I am so over those large jewelry cabinets, besides they would not fit into my future life (living in an RV)   These fit in my dresser drawer and since they are clear, I can view and locate any item I need very quickly.  I have a separate box  for earrings, one for bracelets and rings and one for my necklaces.

I also  purchased  another one to separate my embroidery threads, I just removed the little blue dividers.  I am planning on returning to Walmart to review the other size boxes since these are so handy.   Who knows what else I could use them for.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Empty Nest

Ok, up to now I have been bragging about not having responsibility (jobs, kids,etc)  But I do  miss my children ever so much.  I wish I had spend more time with them on each day of the lives.  I was very fortunate I had (still have) great kids!  They have had their ups and downs but they have become responsible adults who laugh about the times they butted heads with me.  They all went through that age (anywhere between 13 and twenty something or until they had children) when they were under the impression that Mother was an idiot!!! hahahah.   Poor darlings!  Of course maybe sometimes I was:(
 I still laugh when my children are amazed that I didn't have all the right answers back  then and that sometimes I was just winging it.  Who has all the right answers every day of your life while you are raising three children?   I try not to dwell on the times I was wrong but on the fact I was right enough to produce three amazing adults.  Its a shame we don't have a time machine, that I could just maybe for a day jump back in time to spend  just one day with each of them at certain ages.   Of course I am not the same person I was so maybe I would screw them up and I wouldn't wish to change any of my children. They are all different and I have a different relationship with each of them that I wouldn't change or trade for anything.  No regrets is something that I work on each day, so instead of beating myself up for something that I can't change, I enjoy the memories!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Favorite Grandsons

Snips and snails and puppy dog tails... that's what little boys are made of..   Lol

This little jingle makes a point that girls are so very different from boys.  And my grandsons are a living, breathing example of that.  They are rough and tumble and laugh at all things smelly.  I raised two daughters for 13 and 11 years before I had my son, so the difference was very  apparent to me.  It is also very obvious when I visit grand kids, since one daughter has all girls and the other has all boys.
 Last month my Fellow and I visited our daughter and her three boys.     Let the live action begin!!!  These boys are 12, 8 and 7 years of age and are three of the best baseball players.   They grew up throwing baseballs and dragging baseball bats around almost before they could walk.   They could out bat and out throw me before the age of 5.  My daughter was a volley ball player and coach and she runs her household like a team.

I always try to make the most of my time with the boys and to do everything I can possible squeeze in.  One of the things we did on this visit is we made valentine sugar cookies and I bought everything to decorate them, and yes I even found edible squiggly eyes.    I am not sure but anytime I do anything with the boys, someone takes his shirt off. Not sure if this is learned behavior or just "boy", Lol.

Star Wars (now in 3D)      
 Our Favorite Family  Movie Series (three generations now)

   This is the youngest.    No! don't feel sorry for him, surviving three brothers, they are trying to survive him.  He is hilarious he totally decides what he wants to do and what he will not do. And a lot of the time it is just picking on his older brothers.   He is just sweet and cuddly.  He has the most amazing little smile that just melts your heart.

 This is the middle child (I know all you middle children, it's tough) but he is the most sensitive and sweet child. He wrote me two little notes while I was there telling me how much he loved me.  He is the only child without the red hair but he doesn't know yet that this makes him special and different (which is a good thing but not when we are young, we all wish to be just like.....).  He has an adorable little dimple and I know all the girls will notice (maybe they are already noticing)

 The eldest (five years older than the next) is the serious one.  He is neat and knows exactly how things should be.  He is an artist and is a very serious baseball player.  He loves knowledge, be it all about planes, sports figures or history.  We took all three boys to see the movie "Red Tails" and he knew the history of it and explained it to his mother during the movie. We so enjoy talking to him about any of the above.

I so love being "Grammy".  None of my grand babies live close but I make the most of everything with them.  I always try to send little things in the mail for any little holiday and I always get to be the fun person in their lives.  Since I don't live close I don't have to be the disciplinarian and I can give them cake for breakfast just because Grammy is not here that often, so anything goes:)