Sunday, March 31, 2013

Blessed.

Feeling blessed. And content. And happy and fulfilled and a little chubby.

Twas a great weekend...full of family, fun, food and faith. Easter is one of my absolute favorite holidays. So full of joy and hope, you can't help but feel happy and loved. I'll admit, it DID feel not so Eastery, what with the 83 feet of snow on the ground and the temps hovering just at freezing, but it was still great, nonetheless!

And so now I sit, wanting to show you some fun photos of our weekend, but too lazy to drag my butt out of my comfy bed to get my camera, so I'll do it tomorrow. M'kay?

Goodnight, my friends...and God bless!



Friday, March 29, 2013

Five Question Friday! 3/28/13

I can't believe it's already Good Friday! I swear, it was just Ash Wednesday, and now we're almost to Easter...and I can't say I did a very good job at my Lenten resolution. Disappointed in myself. :(



Anyway...big Easter plans? I love this holiday and everything that it means for Christians. Happy Easter!!

Let's get to the questions!

Welcome to Five Question Friday!! You've come to the right place if you want a fun, easy post or if you've suddenly realized a major holiday is bearing down on you fast and furious! 

Rules for 5QF: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then watch for the linky post to appear Friday morning and LINK UP! 


Oh, and remember (pay close attention...this is the important one)...HAVE FUN!


Questions for Friday, March 29th: (Special thanks to Pam (@trooppetrie) from Troop Petrie, Sandy (@PardonMyDust) from Pardon My Dust, Megan (@megstidbits) fromTidbits from my World, Brooke (@HallBro) from Brooke and Michael, and Kristina (@KristinasCackle) from Kristina's Cackle for these 5QF 
question suggestions! I would love to link you in a future 5QF, so come on over to my community or watch for my Thursday afternoon shout out for questions on Twitter and offer up your best question suggestions! Remember to @5crookedhalos me and use hashtag #5QF if you go the Twitter route!)


1. How often should adults have birthday parties?

2. What was your room decorated like when you were a child?

3. Do you have any traditions for Easter? If so, what? and do you have a why behind that?

4. Do you get Good Friday off? If so, any plans?

5. Did you wear hats & white shoes to church on Easter? (Or was that just in the South?)


---------------------------------------------

1. How often should adults have birthday parties?

Are we talking major, friends and family and food and beverages kind of parties? Or are we talking low key, immediate family, dinner, cake?


If it's the former, I'd say approximately once every 10 years. Unless you're me and decide to throw your hubby a random 36th birthday party, then every 5-6 years. ;)

The latter? Yearly. Every person deserves to be celebrated at least once a year. It's nice to pamper them and give them a day just to themselves.

2. What was your room decorated like when you were a child?

Ew. Lavender.


Right down to the carpet.

I should really thank my parents for that. I mean, purple carpet? I'm not even that nice...the carpet MUST be neutral. Wall colors I'm super flexible on...that takes much less money to change than carpet. And, arguably, less work. I think I'd rather tape a bedroom off than move every cotton-pickin' thing out of a room to replace the carpet.

Whoa. Major digression.

Anyway, my room was purple...walls, floor, bedding. With Tiger Beat magazine posters of Kirk Cameron and Donny Wahlberg on the walls.

3. Do you have any traditions for Easter? If so, what? and do you have a why behind that?

Aside from the Easter basket hunt? Yes, we do.


Church. We're Catholic, so during Holy Week, we practically live at church. Well, not really, but we're there often. I love this season and what it means for my faith. Easter mass is one of my very favorite masses...can't beat Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, but it's a close race!

The Saturday before Easter we go up to the Mr.'s parent's hunting land. Can't say that I'm looking forward to it this year, though. I'm sure you've heard my grumblings about the never ending winter we're having? Yeah, well, that winteryness extends to the Hunting Land.

Even more so.

And, there is no running water...which means no indoor plumbing.

Oh, and there's the small issue that I'm slightly high-maintenance and somewhat cold-blooded, which means I end up holding my pee (or, well, you know) until we get home and I spend the entire day freezing my patootie off.

But the kids love it. So, there's that. It's for the children.

Then Easter Sunday, we do Easter baskets, Easter mass, brunch at my parents then supper with my dad's side. It's the one holiday we get to spend with his side.

And then we spend Easter Monday recovering. Or, warming up, in my case, from Saturday.

4. Do you get Good Friday off? If so, any plans?

By chance, yes, I do this year! I forgot to ask for it off, but thankfully, luck was on my side and I wasn't scheduled!


We plan to go to Good Friday mass. Where I'll probably cry a little. I get so emotional with this holiday, so if you see me sniffling in church, that's why. We also plan on dying eggs...yeah, we're right on the ball this year!

Egg dying is one of those things that sounds good in my head, then when I actually set out to orchestrate what, in my head looks like a fun, friendly, peaceful family craft, turns out to be utter chaos and spilled food coloring and fights over who's turn it is to have blue.

Oy. Why did I remind myself.

5. Did you wear hats & white shoes to church on Easter? (Or was that just in the South?)

Totally a Southern thing. The only hats we wear up here in the Great White Forever Frozen North are stocking hats. And even those we take off when we go to church.

And white shoes? Dude. If it's not 47 degrees below zero on Easter, then it's a muddy, sloppy mess and so, yeah, maybe I've wrangled my girl's into white shoes before, but they usually end up some mucky shade of gray.

So we just wear our snow boots.

KIDDING. Sorta. Minnesota has two seasons: Snow boot season and flip flop season. No time for fancy white patent leather shoes. ;)

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That was fun!! I really enjoy this week's questions! Have a fabulous Easter weekend!




Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thursday Night 5QF Sneak Peek!

Woo-wee did it get late!! Holy Thursday mass followed by supper out with friends and our gang of rowdy kids...finally just getting home NOW, at 10 o'clock. Sheesh.



Right to the questions, my friends!

Welcome to Five Question Friday!! You've come to the right place if you want a fun, easy post because a major holiday is bearing down fast and furious! 

Rules for 5QF: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then watch for the linky post to appear Friday morning and LINK UP! 


Oh, and remember (pay close attention...this is the important one)...HAVE FUN!


Questions for Friday, March 29th: (Special thanks to Pam (@trooppetrie) from Troop Petrie, Sandy (@PardonMyDust) from Pardon My Dust, Megan (@megstidbits) from Tidbits from my World, Brooke (@HallBro) from Brooke and Michael, and Kristina (@KristinasCackle) from Kristina's Cackle for these 5QF 
question suggestions! I would love to link you in a future 5QF, so come on over to my community or watch for my Thursday afternoon shout out for questions on Twitter and offer up your best question suggestions! Remember to @5crookedhalos me and use hashtag #5QF if you go the Twitter route!)


1. How often should adults have birthday parties?


2. What was your room decorated like when you were a child?

3. Do you have any traditions for Easter? If so, what? and do you have a why behind that?

4. Do you get Good Friday off? If so, any plans?

5. Did you wear hats & white shoes to church on Easter? (Or was that just in the South?)

-----------------------------------------

See you in the morning!



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Girls' Room...The Verdict!

Am I apostrophizing "girls" correctly? As in "the possession of more than one girl"? Also, can you verb apostrophe? 'Cuz I just did.

Grammar lesson aside, the girls' (correct?) room has been bedding'ed! (Can you verb bedding?) I didn't actually count the votes, but I think #2 and #3 were mentioned most often, and they were my favorites, too, so I'm glad to know we have the same taste. I would've been bummed if y'all had picked my not favorites.

But, alas, it IS Belle's and Baby Girl's room, so they (as in Belle...if Baby Girl had picked, we'd prolly be back to Tinkerbelle. Or Cinderella. Or something.) got to choose! Are you ready to see what they picked?

Lemme give you a hint:


How about another?


Remember what the room looked like before? (Ugh. BEFORE pics, Mama, BEFORE!! Sorry, just a corner of ugly white blanket...)


Ugly white blanket filling in for "bedding", shabby pillow shams just waiting to be replaced...it looked so sad in that cute, happy, pink room.

But now?

Are you ready????

Drumroll please....

Ta dah!!!!!!


My big girl loved the chocolate brown as much as I did!! It was my favorite from the very beginning! Now...window treatments and wall decorations and maybe some matching throw pillows (at 25 bucks a pop, I decided we could wait with the pillows...for now!). I see a fun, vinyl letter quote on the wall and perhaps, one of those cute chandelier sticky wall things! Or, maybe just a cute, small chandelier to replace the outdated light fixture????

Only time...and budget, will tell!



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

In the Kitchen with Gram...Forgotten Dessert!

Is there anything better in this whole world than meringue? Yum. Light, fluffy, a little crisp, a little chewy.

I love meringue.

I also love creme brulee...which is like the by-product of meringue...or maybe meringue is the by-product of creme brulee? Anyway, I think they're my two favorite desserts!

Moving on...Forgotten Dessert...my Gram once had a similar dessert at a little restaurant (that no longer exists) in our town and she went home and replicated it. It really is delicious...and, as per our usual, super easy!

First up, separate your eggs:



Next up, whip the whites until they're a bit fluffy then add in salt:



Cream of Tartar:



And sugar:



And beat it until it's thick and glossy and the peaks don't move:



Then, plop 'em into a buttered pan:



And spread them out nice and even. Mmmmm...that looks good enough to eat!



Now, here's where the "forgotten" part of our "forgotten dessert" comes into play. You are now going to put this into a hot oven, then turn the oven off and...fugghedaboudit. Until morning.

What ever you do, DO NOT open that oven door to sneak a peek!! Your meringue will fall and I will have to come and scold you for not following directions. Do like my Gram does, put a "skull and cross bones" across the door to remind everyone DO NOT OPEN!!



Approximately 8 hours later, you are allowed to open that door and pull out your glorious meringue. The middle will have fallen a bit, which creates a nice little holding spot for the topping we're going to make.



Topping...lemon pie filling, cream cheese, Cool Whip, and mini marshmallows:


Stir it all together and laugh that it looks like you're putting egg salad atop your meringue:


Plop that topping right onto the meringue:


 And spread it out to the edges:


 (See? Very Egg Salad looking...)

Place it in the fridge for a bit to set, then slice and serve. So, so yummy. Not too sweet, not too tart...just right! And so easy!!


Gram's Forgotten Dessert
Printable Recipe



7 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 package cream cheese, softened
1 16 oz Cool Whip
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 can lemon pie filling

Preheat oven to 450*F. Beat egg whites until slightly fluffy, then add in salt, cream of tartar and sugar and continue to beat until egg whites are stiff and glossy. Spread in buttered 7x11" glass dish, place in preheated oven, TURN OVEN OFF, and leave for 8 hours or overnight. DO NOT OPEN OVEN! For Topping: place last 4 ingredients in bowl and stir until combined, spread over meringue, return to fridge to set, then cut and serve!

Enjoy!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Prom Trend????

I learned something new the other day...from my teenager. Teenagers can teach parents lots of things; like what is cool/uncool for parents to do/say/wear, patience when dealing with humans under the age of 25, and, apparently, the latest prom asking out techniques.

Turns out (perhaps this has been going on across the country for centuries and is just hitting MN...we're a little late to most trends) that the guy has to get very creative when asking out his date to prom.

Um, huh? Isn't that for, like, ENGAGEMENTS? Like, "Will you marry me and bear my children and vow to spend the rest of your life with me?"?? I'm so confused. 'Course, when I was in high school approximately 87.3 years ago, the guys just tried to get a second alone with the girl (which is kinda creepy, really) and stood there shuffling his feet, and wringing his hands, and stuttering, and probably getting even more sweaty than a teenage boy usually is and then muttered, "Wanna go to prom?"?

Now? It's all videos and sidewalk chalk and balloon popping and drump truck giving.

*blink*

*blink blink*

As if the poor guy wasn't under enough pressure the way it was...now he's gotta be all creative about it?!

Anyway, my boy has had the same girlfriend for almost two years (GAH, two years?!), so he didn't have the "is she gonna say no" anxiety, but he had no clue how to get creative.


Dudes are like that for the most part.

But have no fear...MOM TO THE RESCUE!!!

Tossing all care for Mother Nature aside, we decided to buy a tank of helium (did you know you could do that?! $39.99 at Party City...you're welcome.) and a pack of balloons and cram them all into her car.

We had devised the ultimate plan...Pal was gonna "borrow" her car because his has expired tabs (that he just got pulled over for...no ticket, phew!), then fill it up with the helium filled balloons and when they all escaped into the night air (sorry Mother Nature...it's all in the name of a creative Prom asking out) there he would be, sitting in her car holding a sign that said, "Prom?".

It went perfectly, according to him! Wish I coulda been there to see it...and now we get to rent a tux.

Oh yay. Mother's of sweet young babies...you think that kiddo is expensive now? 

Just wait until high school. I feel like I'm an ATM machine.

Thought: I wonder if this whole "creative" way to ask a girl to prom was a way to get out of the face to face, shuffling feet, sweaty, awkward "will you go to prom" but not look like a jerk for not asking her out face to face? Huh. Kids these days. Clever.






Friday, March 22, 2013

Five Question Friday!! 3/22/13

Today's gonna be a day! I've got soooooo much to do before the Mr.'s party tonight, that I'm not sure how I'm gonna get it all done. Ugh...but, no pressure, just close friends and family, they HAVE to love me, even if I'm not prepared and/or my house is not in perfect condition!

Let's get this party started!



Welcome to Five Question Friday!! You've come to the right place if you want a fun, easy post or if you've suddenly discovered your muses are getting ready to host a (non surprise) birthday party for their newly minted 40 year old husband. 

Rules for 5QF: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then watch for the linky post to appear Friday morning and LINK UP! 


Oh, and remember (pay close attention...this is the important one)...HAVE FUN!


Questions for Friday, March 22nd: (Special thanks to Pam (@trooppetrie) from Troop Petrie, Scott (@ThisDaddys_Blog) from This Daddy's Blog, Kristina (@kristinascackle) fromKristina's Cackles, Brooke (@HallBro) from Brooke and Michael, and moi for these 5QF 
question suggestions! I would love to link you in a future 5QF, so come on over to my community or watch for my Thursday afternoon shout out for questions on Twitter and offer up your best question suggestions! Remember to @5crookedhalos me and use hashtag #5QF if you go the Twitter route!)


1. What advice would you give a newly married couple?

2. Who does more laundry around your house?

3. What items, if any, do you prefer to buy organic or make yourself?

4. What book/TV series would you recommend for a friend on bedrest?

5. So, they say it's Spring now...what does your "spring" look like at this very moment?


--------------------------------------------

1. What advice would you give a newly married couple?
"Sleep on it"...I know, I know, there are all those people that say "never go to bed angry", but really? After a good nights rest and some time between the "event" that upset you, usually the situation diffuses itself a bit and then you can talk like a rational human being.


At least, that's what I've discovered. Sometimes I'm so spittin' mad that before I know it I've escalated the "event" into something more AND included every stinking thing he could have ever possibly done wrong or, heck, even THOUGHT of doing wrong in the past 92 years.

So yeah, take a night to sleep on it. Talk in the morning when you aren't so angry.

2. Who does more laundry around your house?

Um, yeah. Me. I will occasionally get help from the Mr. or the Pal, but not terribly often.


If I didn't think what I'm about to tell you was cute, it would drive me bananas, so I just choose to think it's cute...rather than annoying...sometimes, when I'm working a weekend, I'll ask the hubby to toss in a load of laundry, assuming that he'll grab a load from the burgeoning dirty laundry cupboard and throw that in. 

It always makes me chuckle when I come home to a load of freshly washed towels, instead.

Whelp, yes, thank you for that...glad we have clean towels, guess I'll just turn my dirty undies inside out and wear them again.

Love that man.

3. What items, if any, do you prefer to buy organic or make yourself?



I'm not much of an organic nut. I know I should be, but, well, honestly, it's just one thing I can't spend too much brain power on.

Sometimes I'll come home from the grocery store and find that I've purchased organic lettuce greens or organic carrots or something and I feel all proud of myself, but I don't really pay that much attention.

I DO however insist on hormone free milk...which I know isn't organic, but whatevs. Kinda falls in that category, no? NO? Nevermind then.

I am most definitely a home cook...we do eat out, but I love cooking...and canned soups (other than creamed soups for adding to recipes) are a big "no no" in my house. Gotta be homemade soup or nothing at all.

4. What book/TV series would you recommend for a friend on bedrest?

TV series, I'm out. Haven't watched any sort of TV series since the Clay Aiken season of American Idol (which, coincidentally is the ONLY season of AI that we watched and now I feel sorta gypped. Like if we were going to only watch one season, WHY did we pick that one?!).


Book series...well, no Shades of Gray for Ms. Bedrest. Can't be goin' there...hmmmm...the Harry Potter series (that would likely get someone through a good chunk of bedrest), the Twilight series, Janet Evanovich's "One for the Money" series, and the Shopaholic series.

5. So, they say it's Spring now...what does your "spring" look like at this very moment?

Last year at this very time, we were having temps in the 70's, farmers were already getting in their fields, people were mowing their lawns...what a difference a year makes. We've got 87 feet of snow on the ground with the temps BELOW 0...make that ELEVEN below zero on my way to work yesterday.

And, the forecast shows temps in the low to mid 30's. Ridiculous.

Here's the thing, Mother Nature, I'm not asking for a spring like last year...all I'd like is NORMAL temps. Gimme some 40's-50's and melt some of this snow and I'd be all teeth.

One happy mama.

I don't think that's too much to ask, do you?

----------------------------------------------------

Have a wonderful weekend! Watch for my "Happy Birthday Mr. Wonderful" post! ;)



Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday Night 5QF Sneak Peek!

So, it's my husband's birthday today...a big on (pssst, he's 40!!), and I'm a terrible wife because I haven't done the obligatory birthday post. I will. I promise, hon.



Anyway, I am facing a nice long 5 day stretch off of work! Yay! Gonna be busy, but fun!

Welcome to Five Question Friday!! You've come to the right place if you want a fun, easy post or if you've suddenly discovered your muses are getting ready to host a (non surprise) birthday party for their newly minted 40 year old husband. 

Rules for 5QF: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then watch for the linky post to appear Friday morning and LINK UP! 


Oh, and remember (pay close attention...this is the important one)...HAVE FUN!


Questions for Friday, March 22nd: (Special thanks to Pam (@trooppetrie) from Troop Petrie, Scott (@ThisDaddys_Blog) from This Daddy's Blog, Kristina (@kristinascackle) from Kristina's Cackles, Brooke (@HallBro) from Brooke and Michael, and moi for these 5QF 
question suggestions! I would love to link you in a future 5QF, so come on over to my community or watch for my Thursday afternoon shout out for questions on Twitter and offer up your best question suggestions! Remember to @5crookedhalos me and use hashtag #5QF if you go the Twitter route!)


1. What advice would you give a newly married couple?

2. Who does more laundry around your house?

3. What items, if any, do you prefer to buy organic or make yourself?

4. What book/TV series would you recommend for a friend on bedrest?

5. So, they say it's Spring now...what does your "spring" look like at this very moment?

------------------------------------

And with that, I will see you right back here in the am!


In the Kitchen with Gram...Gnocchi and Pork!

Gram and I were just talking about how wonderful this whole cooking thing has been...I'm not sure why we've never done it before, but the time we set aside each week to spend together, cooking, has been the most wonderful thing in the whole wide world. Sure, it was this goofy old blog that was the premise behind it, but man alive, it's turned into quite a blessing!

Anyway, today's recipe involves butter, lots and lots of butter, and onions...onions that are soaking in a butter bath, and gnocchi (potato dumplings) that take a dive into that butter bath with the onions and then pork and sauerkraut.



But if you really wanna know, it's the gnocchi and the butter and onions that steal the show. *swoon*

And, as is typical with the majority of Gram's recipes, nothing is difficult with this recipe!

Alright, grab your pork, toss it in a roaster, 



Season well (dare I say "heavy") with salt and pepper:



And "brown" it in the oven...and by "brown" I mean, "just get a head start on cooking" since it's a bit difficulty to truly "brown" something in the oven.

 While the pork is browning, process some onions so they're about the same size as sauerkraut:



Open your sauerkraut and drain it:



Now for the best part...melt your butter: (Disclaimer: We added more butter. And onions.)



Now, chop up your onions coarsely...or thick slices...or whatever floats your boat.



And throw them in the butter bath. Good golly, I just wanna dive right in there with those onions. Let them simmer until translucent and softened. And glorious.



Now, when your pork is cooked a bit, flip it, and "brown it" on the other side. (I suppose, if you were really ambitious, you could "really" brown it. But, we're not that ambitious.)


After browning on second side, remove pork to slow cooker and place on low, 


Then scrape the bits from the bottom and give the juices a good stir, then...



 Then? Add in your sauerkraut right to the juices.



Add a jar of water for each jar of sauerkraut you used.



Toss in those onions.



(And, here's where the German's gasp...) Toss in some brown sugar.



Check on your butter and onions. They should look (and smell) divine.



Check on your sauerkraut after 30 minutes, stir it a bit, then add more water if needed.



When the sauerkraut begins to brown just a bit and you've cooked it down two or three times, add your pork back on top for the final bit of cooking.


At this point, get a big ol' pot of water boiling...and remember to salt the water "as salty as the sea" says that red haired Italian dude on The Chew. OH, Mario. Mario Batali? 



Once your water is at a rolling boil, grab your sideways package of gnocchi and dump it in and cook according to package directions.



When it's done (don't over cook it, it'll cook a little more in the next step...),



Marry the gnocchi with the butter and onions and declare "And they lived happily ever after (in my belly)!".



Now, serve it up, and try not to scarf it down all unladylike. Unless your a guy, then don't worry about being ladylike...ever.




Gram's Gnocchi and Pork
Printable Recipe


3 pounds country style pork ribs
salt and pepper
1 pound butter
5 large onions, coarsely chopped or sliced
dash of salt
2 large jars sauerkraut, drained
1 sm-med onion, processed fineish
1/4-1/2 c brown sugar (to taste preference)
2 bags frozen gnocchi

Preheat oven to 350*F, place pork in roaster and "brown" in oven for 10-15 minutes on one side, then flip and brown 10 minutes on second side. Remove from roaster and place in slow cooker on low. Scrape bits from bottom of roaster that pork was in, leaving all juices in roaster, and add drained sauerkraut to roaster. Add onion and brown sugar and a jar of water for each jar of sauerkraut, bake for 30 minutes. Stir, add another jar of water if needed, back into oven for 30 minutes, add more water if needed and taste, adjusting seasonings if needed. Add pork to sauerkraut and return to oven. 

Melt butter in large saucepan, add onions and a pinch of salt and cook until onions are translucent and soft.

Bring large pot of water to rolling boil, seasoning well, add gnocchi and cook according to package directions. Drain gnocchi when done, add to butter and onions, and serve with pork and sauerkraut! 

Enjoy!


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