Mary Mary Quite Contrary... Part 5

Well things are growin’ and blumin’ in the ol garden. While looking at my tomato plants I am having the feeling I am going to have PLENTY! I have so many little green ones!

My sunflowers- well you can about watch them grow I’m telling ya! It seems like just yesterday they were little things!

Now for my Zinnias. You haven’t heard too much about my Zinnias. That because they were kinda slow and I didn’t want to gush about them to only have them not grow well or be taken over by the outside grass but they didn’t! They are healthy and soon to bloom.




Senor Smarty Pants and I are cooking again! This time we made Pizzettes. They are super easy and tasty! We grilled some chicken cut it into strips and cut up some tomatoes, and lettuce and shredded some cheese. We had some whop biscuits and flattened them out. We then put all the fixings on them and put another flattened biscuit on top and pinched together the sides. Then put them in the oven and followed the baking directions on the biscuits!

Sweet Potato Pie and I Shut My Mouth....

Can you name that song???

It is a song by the group Alabama and its called “Song of the South.” Well while making the latest recipe this song and one lyric in particular was continually running through my head.

Let’s get one thing straight- I love the south. I love everything about it (excluding the confederates) I love the food, I love the history, I love the antebellum houses, I love the accent, I love love love the oak trees with the spanish moss hanging from them. I just love the at home atmosphere of the south. I have an aunt who used to live in Atlanta (now Florida) and one summer my family drove down there to see her. The whole drive was awesome to see all the country side through parts of Kentucky and Tennessee. To this day it is my all time favorite family vacation and I would go back in a heartbeat. We hung around her house and Atlanta then we ventured to Savannah. Now this town really sealed the deal that I love the south. Savannah is gorgeous. Its one of a kind. The buildings have great architecture and are old and beautiful, the trees are old and beautiful. We enjoyed a meal along the river complete with grits! After spending not enough time in Savannah we kept traveling and went to Jekelle Island. It’s a small island off the coast of Georgia and that is where I saw the ocean for the first time. There is nothing like hearing those waves for the first time. Its really something. I remember crying as we left our 2 week stay in Georgia.

Then a few years later I got the change to go back to the ATL! For National FBLA. I was so glad to get back there into the hub bub of the city and get just a little southern flavor again. While there with my fellow FBLA-ers we went to a Chicken & Waffles restaurant Authentic southern food at its best! My friend Doug naturally ordered the most interesting meal on the menu and then to top it off he ordered Sweet Potato Pie. I love sweet potatoes and pie and then you add in the fact that I was in the south-well basically I knew I had to steal a bite of the pie. So I did. And oh mamma! It was delicious. Best pie I have ever ate. The other day I was reminiscing about this trip and the highlights and the pie made it to the list. So I had to find a recipe and I had to make it. I can’t say it was as fabulous as the one in Atlanta but it was pretty darn all this talk of the south is making me think it may be time for another visit....




On the 16th my maternal grandparents celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary. He will be 82 and she is 75. When I found out it was there anniversary I found myself wondering how many years it had been it seemed like eons since we had a 50 year celebration for them! 58 years. Wow. I pray they can celebrate many more together! My grandparents are quite the characters and I am positive there will only be more blog posts about them because I am going to be residing with them this fall!

Anyway we went for a short visit and came bearing pie-grandpas favorite thing in the world-for fathers day and it worked out perfectly that it was their anniversary. I naturally had all kinds of questions about their lives 58 years ago.

Grandma said that when she went home to her family and showed them her engagement right her dad told her “You better take care of that boy, he spent a lot of hard earned money on that ring.” :) Getting a ring was a pretty big deal. 58 years later I think she obeyed her fathers thought pretty well. Her mother never had a ring there wasn’t money for that type of luxury back then. My Grandma actually ended up buying her mother a wedding band later in life. She felt she deserved one.

At one point I asked Grandpa “Where did you go after the wedding?” Grandpa replied, “Home.” Plain as day. We all sat there and just laughed. You probably had to be there but just the way he said it was so funny. We continued our talk about their early days as married people and Grandma told us that her and Grandpa had lived in another part of the state in a tiny trailer. Grandpa was a brand inspector-he got a raise and made $175 a month. That was good money back then! He did some traveling for work. The very first time he left for business over night was also the first time Grandma had spent the night alone-ever. She went from her families home to Grandpa’s trailer. She went on to tell us how scared she was when it was time to go to bed and randomly mentioned, “I slept with a butcher knife under my pillow that night.” Oh Grandma. She was only 17. Holy moly she was only 17. Had her 1st baby by 20. Ok. I’m not planning on doing any of those things for quite some time!

Today, statically, 50% of all 1st marriages fail. And the stats for 2nd and 3rd marriages only get worse! We all could and should learn from our older generation. 58 years is amazing and I pray that when I do get around to marriage that it is as strong as the the examples I have in my family. I feel so blessed to have them to look up to.

Fyi...67% of 2nd marriages and 74% of 3rd marriages end in divorce. These stats are fascinating to me...not in a good way!



Story Hour

During the summer time I work at the library on Friday mornings. We have “Story Hour” from 10 to 11 for about 6 weeks in the summer. This program is such a joy. I read to the kids that are under grade 2 and then we do a little craft. Its just a fun time! You should come! :)

Recently two children who normally come have had someone along with them. These two children are brother and sister and they are so quiet! The little boy, we will call him*Cam he’s 4 I never see him light up the way he does when they bring their visitor. This visitor is their father. Their father has cancer and its terminal. I am unsure of how long he has but I do know he has had cancer before, beat it, but its back again and in full force. There is really not much they can do for him so he can work and he stays home. But come summer time on his good days he takes the kids to the pool and my favorite- Story Hour. When *Mark comes with the kids he is so fun. While I am reading to the kids he comments on the stories asks questions to the kids and helps keep them interested. He acts like the stories about reading to rabbits and the little kid wanting an iguana are just riveting and it makes me so happy he is there. *Summer and Cam just love him so much you can see it in there eyes. While we read they make themselves comfy on him on the floor. Last time Summer was laying on his legs and Cam was snuggled up to his arm. When the stories are over we go out and work on a craft and you can bet that Mark is doing the craft with them.

We made silly foam visor things last time and he had his all decked out with the kids’ name and the foam sea animals we glued on them. Cam wouldn’t wear his hat because he knew how ridiculous they were but after looking at his dad with his on and after being repeatedly asked by Mark to put it one he did. Such a team player! While I was scraping glue off the tables and they were sitting at the other table I just kept watching them and while I had joy for their interaction my heart hurt. I found myself choking up with how happy all three were and what was more than likely coming in the future. They have been on my mind all day. I just keep praying for them. And the ache in my heart- well its still there but I guess they are dealing with the hand they were given.


* names have been changed


There is a time to rant...

And that time is now!

To my summer classes: you suck. Yup don’t fool yourselves I don’t like you. You are rude and dumb. You take entirely too much time. I really think you need to get through your numskull that people take summer online classes not to actually learn anything but to get those 3 credits in a shorter amount of time. Sorry, but that is how it is so get over yourself and stop being oh so annoying. Stop taking time away from my blog and stuff.

To my head: stop hurting. I don’t know why all the sudden you seem to think its cool to hurt, but news flash: its not! We would get along a lot better and have way more fun if you would get your act together and stop bothering me.

To the scones I made this week: thanks for not tasting good it was much appreciated...NOT

To my Jimmy’s AC: Please fix yourself. Its hot and you and I both know that dad is super busy and its going to be a while before he finds a time to fit you in. You know how that stuff works so it would be so much easier if you just did it.

To my hair: Yeah you thought maybe you got out of this rant. no way jose. please get through your ugly stage quickly. I have never really complained about my hair but right now mom and I don't have time to really help speed this process up so please be a champ and help yourself. Either curl or be straight. Half and half is not cute. K thanks.

Thats all I have for now.



Mary Mary Quite Contrary... Part 4

First I am so sorry it has taken me so very long to update about my garden. I just can’t seem to find enough time to do the things I really want to. That includes this blog. But I finally made the time to jot down a few updates on the garden, but I do need to get some pictures of the whole deal to show you its grown fairly well! Last night I picked the radishes! They all grew so well. I still have quite a few in the ground that I didn’t thin were quite ready to come up. Now that I am beginning to have some produce I need to add another thing to my list and find some interesting recipes to make with all of my garden fresh veggies. I am excited to see what I find.



Um...Hello Death by Chocolate!

Ok so....I made this cake...and it was sinful. Holy Moly was it delicious. My mother ate a piece and she said it made her dizzy afterwards. Between you and me- I think she's always a little dizzy! But seriously I don't think I ever ate a full piece. Chocolate to this degree is dangerous. I had been wanting to make this cake for quite sometime but never got the ingredients and to be honest i was a little scared! I made everything from scratch except i didn't grow the raspberries. But I may look into getting a bush. My brother AJ ate two pieces the 1st night the cake was around. Ya know- teenage boys- eating everything and anything in sight well the next morning he said "Jess, after I finished my second piece I felt sick, its was too rich to have two pieces at once. So that makes it official if HE says you can't have two pieces then it must be so! That homemade frosting, that was the part that took me the longest I think. I couldn't get it right I didn't like how it was tasting. So I kept adding more sugar then more milk and so on. Finally I had had it and it turned out great. We had to put the cake in the fridge the humidity is too much and after being completely chilled the frosting turned into a fudge on the cake. AHHH! Ok enough about the cake but isn't it pretty?! We all know thats my favorite part. The raspberry filling is the perfect touch and gave you a slight break from the constant chocolate. But not much of one because it too was very rich! This recipe will be a repeat that is for sure!

Miss Ais Loved the cake too! After she got done with her "ronies" she asked, "Time for cake now!?"



My First Bunt Cake...How Sweet

On my baking adventures I encountered this recipe: Almond Pound Cake. Yum Yum Yum! Thanks for Senor Smarty Pants’ Mom I could make this cake possible. My mom didn’t even have a bunt pan! Crazy woman!

It turned out so pretty!

I couldn't wait to dig in!


The Walk...

This book is so goooood! I have a few hours at the Library this summer and while I was checking in books a lady said to me that the book she was turning in was the best book she had ever read-she reads a lot. She said she just couldn’t put it down so I decided I should check it out. It had been a long time since I had gotten completely lost in a book. That is one of my favorite feelings in the whole world, becoming completely engulfed in the world of a book, not being able to put it down and being so excited to pick it up again right after you put it down. Ahh I love reading! This book worth your time. It is the first book I have read by Richard Paul Evans but it will not be my last. Wanna synopsis? Ok!

“What would you do if you lost everything?-you job, your home, and the love of your life-all at the same time? When it happens to seattle ad executive Alan Christoffersen, he’s tempted by his darkest thoughts. A bottle of pills in his hand and nothing left to live for he plans to end his misery. Instead, he decides to take a walk. But not an ordinary walk. Taking with him only the barest of essentials, Al leaves behind all that he’s know and heads for the farthest point on his map: Key West, Florida. The people he encounters along the way, and the lessons they share with him, will save his life-and inspire yours.”

There ya have it! But you should definitely read this book!

The best part....theres a book 2 coming out April 2011!

Blessings! :)


Puppy Love!

Ok. What is cuter than this?! Our old neighbor has yellow lab puppies and they need properly socialized so Senor Smarty Pants, my brothers, parents, and I go out and help him out. They are so precious. Miss Bella had 8 puppies. I know, crazy! She is such a good mamma. I can’t wait to go see them again.

This one even let me hold her like a baby...this makes her extra special because I love babies too!




Baking Up A Storm!

As I stated in a previous post you have been able to find me in the kitchen a bit more. This is a change from my past train of thought which was that I did not enjoy cooking or baking of any sort. But I now, when I am home alone I find myself drawn to the kitchen and making all different kinds of things. This time I made two chocolate snacks.

The first one is the cookie bars you see. They were delicious! They were called Coffee and Cookie Brownies. They evolved from cocoa scones, a variation of Scottish tea cakes. A little history lesson! :)

I suppose I’ll share the recipe with you....

Coffee and Cookie Brownies

1 16.5 to 10 oz. Pkg. Refrigerated sugar cookie dough
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 19.5 oz pkg. Milk chocolate brownie mix
1/2 cup cooking oil
1/3 cup coffe liqueur of cooled strong coffee
1 cup semisweet of bittersweet chocolate pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press sugar cookie dough in the bottom 9x13 pan; set aside

In a large bowl combine eggs, brownie mix, cooking oil and coffee liqueur until just combined. Spread over sugar cookie dough. Sprinkle with chocolate pieces.

Bake about 40 minutes or until edges are set. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

The next recipe is called Mama’s Sweet and Saltines

40 saltine crackers
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup light-brown sugar

Preheat over to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed cookie sheet with aluminum foil and saltine crackers.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar together and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour over crackers covering them evenly. Put cookie sheet into over and watch closely. Bake for about 5 minute, or until just bubbly.

Remove from oven and pour chocolate chips over crackers. When chips begin to melt, spread them over crackers with a knife. Transfer pan to freezer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until completely cold. They will form a solid sheet; break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

These are so simple and so tasty the perfect combo of sweet and salty!



Some Light Reading....

I have cracking open my Bible much more often recently. I just open a random page and start reading. Well my readings led me to some wonderful passages. I love when I find these type of things. I know they are more than just coincidence. They are God things. :) This time I started out in Philippines and then suddenly found myself lead to Romans- one of my favorite books mainly because it is so blunt.

The next few passages are from Romans 12: 1-13 ish They are letters that Paul wrote and they are titled “Personal Responsibility”

“And so, dear brothers and sisters I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and Holy sacrifice- the kind he will accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the behavior and customs for this world, but they God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.
As God’s messenger, I give each of you this warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are all part of his one body, and each of us has different work to do. And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.
God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophecy, speak out when you have faith that God is speaking through you. If your gift is that of serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, do a good job of teaching. If your gift is to encourage others, do it! If you have money, share it generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to other, do it gladly.
Don’t just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically.
Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful. When God’s children are in need, be the one to help them out.....”

Just some food for thought!