Thursday, May 31, 2012

Food Friday

Hi!  Another week, another solitary Food Friday post.  Someday soon I want to tell you about the following:
Promotion Party in the USA
Mother's Day
Memorial Day
New Additions (not to be confused with New Edition...there's no Bobby Brown here)

But today is not that day.  Today I thought it would be a good day to finally tackle my closet.  I cleaned and purged the kids' closets a few weeks ago which served as a training exercise for the big closet.  It's been driving me nuts for weeks but not enough so to, you know, DO anything about it.  Until today.  At this very moment it looks like a Category 4 hurricane swept through our bedroom.  I can't help it I love clothes and shoes, so sue me.  I am pretty proud of my purge pile though.  It's so hard to say goodbye (Boyz II Men going on...)  to jeans I've had since 1999 but it's time.  Besides whenever I do a deep closet cleaning once I'm done I always feel justified in going shopping.  That's my motivator.  It's a bittersweet pill for GI Joe to swallow...clean closet but a wife gone shopping. 

My point is it's been a busy week and tonight I made dinner out of a box and served it on paper plates.  So naturally I'm well qualified to write a post about food.    In my defense it was NOT Hamburger/Tuna/Chicken Helper but a boxed meal nonetheless (Velveeta  Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Skillet Meal if you must know), however, all 3 kids gobbled it up and didn't even complain and that NEVER happens.  Which leaves me wondering WHY DO I BOTHER COOKING NICE MEALS EVERY NIGHT when I could just open a box?  To heck with preservatives and artificial flavorings.  

My favorite thing I've made this week is a little dip that a Tex/Mex restaurant chain in the south called Chuy's is famous for, and with good reason.  I made it for Memorial Day when my BFF Heather and her fam came up for the day and we ate it for lunch, snack, and dinner.  This recipe's for you Heather since I *forgot* to pack some up to send home with you.  And by forgot  I mean I purposely sent you home with cupcakes instead of this dip because I am selfish and really love this dip.  Lylas!  :) 

Chuy's Jalapeno Ranch Dip

1/3 c. mayo
1 c. sour cream
1/3 c. buttermilk (or do the old milk with a little bit of vinegar and let it sit for 5 minutes it, it works)
1/3 c. tomatillo salsa (the green salsa, on the jar it's called Salsa Verde)
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped (more or less to taste)
1 ranch dressing mix packet
3 T. pickled jalapenos (from a jar) chopped (more or less depending on how spicy you want it but be warned the longer it sits in the fridge the spicier it gets
Put everything into a blender and blend until smooth.  it'll be the a little thicker than normal salad dressing.  Taste test using a tortilla chip and add more ingredients as you see fit.  I usually add a few more jalapenos and a little more salsa.  If you want it thicker add more sour cream if you want it thinner add more buttermilk and/or salsa. 
Dip tortilla chips, taquitos, pretty much anything in it or use it to put on tacos, enchiladas, your spoon, whatever.  It's awesome and completely addicting, you'll see. 

Happy Friday!  Aren't 4 day weeks the best? 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Food Friday

I thought I was so ahead of the game and had this all set to post first thing Friday morning.  But apparently I didn't. 


Speaking of oops, I got a fancy new phone yesterday.  I didn't plan on getting a new phone but mine stopped working on Thursday morning and when I took it into the Verizon store they informed me that it had gone to cell phone heaven, something about water damage and unrepairable and blah blah blah.  All I heard was that I was phone less.  So yeah, 30 minutes later I walked out of there with a phone that basically drove me back to work.  Anyway, this new phone has this fun feature speak to text so instead of having to type your text (that's SO 2010 you know) you just talk to your phone and it texts for you.  Which leads me to the oops story.  I was playing with this fun new feature on my way home and talk to texting GI Joe.  Except my phone must not be used to my voice yet because she wasn't getting much right.  For example, I said "Is it illegal to talk to text and drive, if so oops" and she instead sent " Is it illegal to talk to text and drive if you go poop?"  GI Joe text back and said "If I go poop what?"  To which I TRIED to say, "I meant to say oops" but instead my phone said "Eagles poop".  Clearly, I need to enunciate more or not because it's kind of hilarious trying to guess what my phone will think I said.  I will say I think she has a bit of a poop issue though because the kids were playing with that feature again today and every other word she tried to text was "poop".  Weird.

ANYWAY, you probably didn't come here to talk about poop or eagles.  You came here to find out the recipe for crack.  Admit it.  This crack recipe came from an unusual suspect...Trisha Yearwood.  Yes "X's and O's" and "How Do I Live" Trisha Yearwood.  Have you watched her show on Saturday mornings on Food Network?  It's my new favorite food show and no offense to Pioneer Woman whose show I also enjoy but Trisha's is 1 million times better.  Trisha featured this recipe on last week's show and as soon as I saw it I immediately ran to my cupboard and happily discovered that I had everything on hand to make this ASAP. 
It literally took 5 minutes, just long enough for the brown sugar and butter to boil, to whip this together. This could be dangerous.  Very dangerous.  Feast your eyes on this my friends. 

Sweet and Saltines aka CRACK
from Trisha Yearwood's Southern Kitchen

35-40 Saltine crackers
2 sticks butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 1/3 c. chocolate chips (give or take a little)

Preheat oven to 425.  Line one large pan or 2 jelly roll pans with foil and spray with nonstick spray.  Lay crackers out, not overlapping, just touching.  I did salt side down.  In a medium saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar together and boil for 5 minutes.  You're making caramel!  Remove from heat and pour over the crackers, making sure they're covered evenly.  Put the pan in the oven for 2-4 minutes until caramel is just bubbly, don't walk away, it only takes a few minutes.  Remove from oven and pour chocolate chips over the pan.  Use a knife to spread them out, they'll melt as you spread them and soon all of the caramel will be covered by chocolate, just as God intended it. 
Put the pan in the freezer for 15-20 minutes or if your pan is too wide to fit into your freezer stick it in the fridge for 30 minutes or so.  Feel free to sneak bites of it occasionally even if the chocolate hasn't completely set up, you know for quality control purposes.  Once chocolate has set up and is cold, remove from fridge or freezer and break into pieces.  Store in an airtight container.  And you might want to hide it if you want it to last longer than an hour.  You probably won't be able to walk into your kitchen without grabbing a piece, it's just part of the appeal. 

And I'm sorry about that.  But it's totally worth it.  Added bonus is your kids asking you on the last day of school  "Mommy, put some crack in my lunch today, ok?"   Why not?  It was the last day of school and hello, Worst Mother of the Year here!

I can't think of a better way to celebrate and honor Memorial Day than by making this...crack.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

School's Out for the Summa

Hi! Long time no talk. I realized the other day that if I didn't get back to posting normal (relatively speaking) entries and just Food Friday entries this could be misconstrued as a food blog and I can't let that happen. So here I am. I blame my lack of regular posts on the end of school year festivities and by festivities I mean, all the projects and assignments that require as much if not more participation from parents than they do the kids. I feel like I should dig out my 3rd and 4th grade report cards from 1986 just to prove that I've ALREADY PASSED THEM AND DON'T NEED TO REDO THEM. Seriously, upper elementary is a lot of work for us parents. I am so ready for a break from projects, assignments, sports schedules and practices and washing socks. Yes, washing socks. My boys will not wear flip flops to school when it's warm out because it will hinder their recess kickball abilities. But now that school's out the socks can be put away and it's flip flops and bare feet from here on out. Thank you, Jesus. I tell you all that to say, I'm so glad it's SUMMER and I just *may* have time to blog again. It's on my Summer Fun Bucket List right along with the Valley Junction Farmer's Market and the Trestle Bridge.  Oh yes, there's a Summer Fun Bucket List.  You do know who you're talking to right? 

A few items of note:

*I have a new nephew, Jensen Daniel who was born on Mother's Day.  He's happily residing in TN with his family and patiently waiting for me to come meet him, in 36 days.  Not that I'm counting down or anything.  36 days?!?  Do you know what kind of torture this is to have to wait a month and a half to meet and smell him?  Uggh.  I'd show you a picture but please see above.......I HAVEN'T TAKEN ANY YET.  I would post one that my sister Hilary, has sent me but just trust me when I say he's ADORABLE. 

*We went to a real, live, drive in movie theater the other night with my twin soul, Amanda and her family.  It is one of 4 remaining drive in's in Iowa and I'm pretty sure it is exactly the same now as it was in the 50's and 60's.  In a word....awesome.  Amanda and I kept looking around for Danny Zuko, you know since he got stranded at the drive in and all but never did see him.  Please tell me you know what I'm talking about, otherwise I'm not sure if we can continue our blogging relationship.   We saw the movie "The Avengers" (again for everyone else, first time for me) and just had a great time hanging out pretending we were wearing poodle skirts.  It was a perfect evening and I'm now a teensy a bit obsessed with seeing every movie at the drive in.  It's not just going to a movie, it was a 5+ hour experience.  I asked GI Joe if we could put a drive in in our back pasture, he has yet to get back to me on that proposal yet, I'll keep you posted.

*Is 34 too old to be embracing the 80's neon resurgence that has been taking place lately?  And is there such thing as too much neon pink?  No to both?  Great, that's what I thought too.  Because neon pink?  I can't quit it.  And i bought this skirt and a neon pink shirt to go with it and I'm not sorry.  If you see me while I'm wearing this ensemble it'd probably be best if you had protective eyewear on and please do not look directly at me for an extended period of time.  For your safety. 

*It's been one of those days where I've been irritateable since the minute I got up and it's gotten progressively worse throughout the day.  No, that's not a misspelling that's Irri-tate-able which is a word GI Joe made up a long time ago that means more severe than just plain irritable.  It's serious, folks.  I kinda just wanted to bite people's heads off.  Instead I came home and made cupcakes, oh and screamed and yelled at the automated political survey call I got while making dinner.  THAT my friends, made me feel better.  Try it.  Added bonus: After witnessing me SCREAMING like a banshee into the phone not realizing it was a recording, my kids were pretty sure I had snapped and were quite cooperative and pleasant the rest of the night.  #winning

*The season finale of "Duck Dynasty" is tonight after a much too short season and that makes me sad.  The bright side is that it's 2 new episodes tonight.  I'll miss Phil and Si and their nuggets of wisdom.  But they'll live on through the offseason at the Koons Zoo as we continue to talk about sissy spirals and say "hey" and "jack" after every other word.  Quality TV at it's finest. 

*Last night on our 18 mile walk (not an exaggeration AT ALL) through the countryside past field after field filled with mama cows and their babies, I announced to GI Joe that I had baby fever.  You can imagine his, umm, trepidation and shock as that ship has sailed for us.  I mean, we're in the home stretch to an empty nest!  He breathed a big sigh of relief when I clarified and told him my baby fever was for baby CALVES not human.  I WANT BABY CALVES, a whole herd of them.  I want to be cattle ranchers.  He kinda burst my bubble when he informed me that cattle ranchers don't name their calves or pet them regularly or tie pretty bows and ribbons around their necks and lead them around with a sparkly wand.  WHAT?!?!  But you know what I say to that?  I'll be the first! Oh and we're not eating them either.  It's a whole new kind of cattle ranching and I'm sure it will be super profitable.  Move over Marlboro Man, there's a new cattle rancher in town. 

Another Food Friday tomorrow where I shall give you a recipe for crack.  Yes, crack.   You just never know what you're gonna get on this blog.  Stay tuned. 


Friday, May 18, 2012

Food Friday

I was all set to tell you about a delicious, crockpot, pork recipe that I was attempting….for the second time.

“But Prairie Princess, if it was so great why are you “attempting” it again?”

Funny you should ask.

My dogs ate it.

You see, a few Sundays ago, knowing the kids and I would be traveling all afternoon to pick up Enrique and Elvira and GI Joe had drill I decided to put this  recipe in the crockpot since it required a full day of cooking and it was a mere 3 ingredients so definitely doable on a harried Sunday morning prechurch. I was so looking forward to coming home after a long day of traveling afar to an allegedly delicious Hawaiian dinner complete with coconut bras and grass skirts pineapple and rice. And if I’m being honest, I was also a teensy bit proud of myself for being so proactive...on a SUNDAY MORNING. I mean, cooking supper for 7:30 that night at 7:30 in the morning?!? It’s like I’m June Cleaver all of the sudden!

GI Joe got home first and was greeted by the scent reminiscent of a beachfront luau in Hawaii, happiest place on earth. The memories of our times in Hawaii came rushing back to him and the sounds of ukuleles playing softly filled his head. Until he walked into the kitchen. And discovered my FAVORITE crockpot shattered ON THE FLOOR, the Kahlua pork vanished, and Moose and Bubba hiding somewhere else in the house with their tails between their legs. In all my years of crockpot cooking, the dogs have NEVER bothered it, NEVER, but apparently that smoky pork smell was just too much for them to resist. We were so disappointed that we would not be having a Hawaiian feast that night and instead had to settle for the tacos the kids and I picked up from Taco John’s on our way thru town. NOT THE SAME. Also, I was really ticked about my crockpot because I had specifically asked for and received this crockpot for Christmas a few years ago and LOVED it. Yes, I realize asking for a crockpot for Christmas makes me totally lame but I’m in my MID 30's now (oh the horror!), it’s too be expected.

I had hoped this was an isolated incident, the whole dogs getting into the crockpot thing, so in the past few weeks I’ve made a couple different things in the crockpot. Successfully, I might add. When I got home from work each time, the crockpot (my backup, not near as cool as the original one) was in the exact same spot I’d left it that morning as far back on the counter as possible, meal still intact. Yay and GOOD dogs! Here’s a bone for each of you.

So today, I took the last remaining pork roast we had from our “homegrown” hog out and decided it was time for another attempt at the infamous Kahlua Pork. I’d had it on the menu for the past few weeks and with a busy evening tonight it was the perfect meal. I even put the crockpot in a secure(ish) location on top of the stove as far back as it would go. They could still reach it if they stood up on their hind legs (our fault for having ginormous dogs) and pawed it but it was in a different spot surely, they wouldn’t find it. I was sure it would be fine.

Until GI Joe called.

“Well, we don’t have anything for supper tonight.”

“Yes we do, I’m making that Kahlua pork and we’ll have rice and pineapple and it’s gonna be great. Hang loose, dude.”

“Uhh yeah, Moose and Bubba thought it was great.”

AND another one bites the dust. So I wish I could give you a review of that recipe but you know, JUST ASK MY DOGS.  Apparently, they would give it 2 paws up...ON MY COUNTER.


But here’s a recipe we tried this week and the dogs did NOT eat! And it’s awesome! And easy! And does not require the use of a crockpot aka vessel of temptation for our dogs!  And warrants the use of multiple exclamation points! 

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook as the best Pinterest recipe attempt to date. I believed her but then I looked at the recipe and I REALLY believed her. I mean, Bacon? Brown Sugar? Chili Powder? Enough said.

Sweet and Spicy Bacon Chicken
from Diary of a Recipe Addict (disclaimer:  I've never read this blog I just went there for this particular recipe so if you start reading the archives and she blogs about weird and freaky stuff, and eats the hearts of small animals,  please keep in mind that I am solely endorsing this chicken recipe, nothing else. 

Moving on. 

4 chicken breasts, cut into strips of thirds and/or chicken drumsticks (I did both to appease the dark meat loving members of my family)
Bacon slices (I used thick cut "homegrown" bacon but I think normal (non thick cut) bacon would work better
Brown Sugar
Chili Powder
Garlic Salt or Powder
Salt and Pepper

Season chicken with chili powder, garlic salt/powder, salt and pepper.  Wrap a slice of bacon around each piece, use a toothpick to secure if needed, just don't forget to take the toothpick out when you go to bite into it, not that I did such a thing I'm just sayin'.  Roll in brown sugar, pat brown sugar on chicken to make sure some sticks.  At this point you can either throw them on the grill and grill like you would normal chicken or you can put them in the oven.  If you do it in the oven, don't be like me and put the chicken pieces on a Pampered Chef Pizza Stone because I'm not sure if you knew this or not, but bacon has grease and brown sugar makes a carmelly mess when hot so you combine those two on a flat cooking surface, you end up with a giant, smoking mess in the bottom of your oven and possibly the sound of the smoke alarm as your background music.  So instead, perhaps follow the recipe instructions and spray some nonstick cooking spray in a ovenproof dish or pan and bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes until chicken is cooked through and bacon is brown and crispy.  I cooked mine longer than 40 minutes because I get sidetracked sometimes (I KNOW, imagine that!) and it dried it out a little but nothing that a little dip of the sauce (not the one from the bottom of my oven but the little bit that was still on the stone) couldn't fix. 

This was mmm mmm good.  I cannot wait to make it again and try it on the grill.   Just enough sweet, just enough spice.  You know, just like me. HA! Even I'm rolling my eyes at myself. 

Have a great weekend!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Food Friday

I’m writing to you as a very young now 34 year old. Do I sound different? Does my font look older?

I can’t believe I ruined my Food Friday streak by not posting one last week. I was very busy baking cupcakes, watching Duck Dynasty and celebrating the start of my birthday month. Very important, time consuming things you understand. But not to worry, I’m BAAAACK!

I had a fabulous birthday yesterday. I wore a zebra shirt and shoes w/ a tiara, drank water at my desk out of a pink martini glass, sat in a pinkified office all day thanks to my coworkers, and ate birthday balls (meat-a-balls) made by my very Italian friend Marsha that are pretty much the most amazing meat-a-balls you will ever eat. I’m sorry if you don’t have an Italian Marsha in your life to make you birthday balls on your birthday. I’m not sorry however, that I ate 6 birthday balls before 10am, it was my birthday I could do what I wanted, including eating meat-a-balls for breakfast. After a wonderful day at the office, I went home and refused to load a single dish in the dishwasher or step foot in the laundry room. Then the family took me to our usual birthday spot, Texas Roadhouse, for dinner so I could ride the saddle while wearing my tiara and make a spectacle of myself in public embarrassing my children. It’s what I live to do really. I relished all the well wishes and messages I got from friends and family. My love tank is definitely full. I’m so sad my birthday is over, good thing there’s still 21 more days of my birthday MONTH to enjoy!

Since it was my birthday week, I didn’t do a whole lot of cooking. Special K with Red Berries made a dinner time appearance as did leftovers which is highly unusual because I don’t like leftovers for dinner, leftovers for lunch is fine but leftovers for dinner notsomuch. But sometimes when it’s birthday week AND Starbucks Half Price Happy Hour week at the same time, you’re just too full from half price frappuccinos purchased on the way home to feel like making dinner.

But I did try a couple new recipes and they were both fantastic so because it’s my birthday (week/month) and I’m not just about receiving presents but giving them too, I give you this.

Dinner made adorable.

Double Decker Taco Cupcakes
From The Girl Who Ate Everything

1 pound ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
36 wonton wrappers
1 can (16 oz) refried beans
1 c. or so of tortilla chips, crushed
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese, more or less to taste
Whatever other toppings you like, we used salsa, sour cream and black olives

Preheat oven to 375. Spray 18 muffin tins with cooking spray. Prepare meat with taco seasoning according to package directions. Place one wonton wrapper in the bottom of each muffin cup. Layer about 1 T. refried beans on top of each wonton. Sprinkle crushed tortilla chips on top of the beans. Top w/ 1 T. taco meat and 1 T. shredded cheese. If you think I actually measured all of these ingredients out on each wonton you’d be mistaken, I just eyeballed it. Repeat the layers again with wonton wrapper, refried beans, crushed chips, taco meat, and cheese.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. “Frost” with sour cream, salsa, lettuce, whatever your heart desires. Devour.

I made them just like the recipe says and they were quick, easy, and delicious. Not to mention they were in CUPCAKE form!  Although, I have to admit as I was making them I thought to myself, these are cute and all but you know, it’s just a taco made pretty. I could’ve just made regular tacos that would’ve been easier. But it really wasn’t that big of a deal and sometimes you need to step up Taco Night a bit. The added bonus was that they were totally portable so the next night when we were rushing from place to place we put them in the microwave for a minute or so and then ate them on the go. You can’t say that about regular tacos.

And on another food related note, have you tried THIS


It all started with a little dinner conversation at my birthday dinner with friends last week and we all nearly got up and left the restaurant mid meal to go try one, but we didn’t. But I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. Then the other night one of those friends, Dougie D, posted on facebook that he had just tried one and that it was BEYOND AWESOME. It took everything in me to not pack up the car right then at 9:45 on a Wednesday night, drive the 20 minutes to the nearest Dairy Queen and order one. I mean, I’m 34 now (well almost it was the night before I turned 34)  I can do things like that if I want, I don’t have a curfew! On the other hand, I’m 34 now and like to be in bed by 10pm on school/work nights so I didn’t go. Also the whole eating that many calories right before bed with 34 year old metabolism probably isn’t the best idea. Who said getting older is fun?!? Anyway, as part of my birthday day plans I decided I would have one of these for lunch because ummm, it was my birthday. But then the birthday balls and scotcheroos happened and I wasn’t the least bit hungry for one at lunchtime so I declared that after our annual birthday dinner at Texas Roadhouse we would stop at DQ on the way home for these. Best birthday demand I’ve made all day. This blizzard is so wrong it’s right. It tastes like a light, fluffy, not overly sweet FROSTING.  And I don't know if I've mentioned it but frosting is my life.  I'm not a cake person at all, to me cake is just a vessel to get the frosting to my mouth in a socially acceptable manner, you know rather than with a spoon or my finger.  We loved this blizzard, yum. 

Since it’s my birthday month, it’s only appropriate that you go get this and think of me while eating it. And if you want to sing “Happy Birthday Prairie Princess” while eating it, that’s fine too. Just don’t forget the cha cha chas.

Have a great weekend and Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's My Birthday I'll Post A Self Indulgent Video if I Want To

This may come as a complete surprise to many of you but today is MY BIRTHDAY!  I'm pretty low maintenance when it comes to my birthday and don't really tell too many people about it.  And if you believe that I've got some oceanfront property in Arizona to sell you.  I've been celebrating my birthday month since May 1st and every evening this week, my birthday week,  I"ve eaten my dinner off of these plates..

I'm a joy to live with in the month of May. 

As much as I enjoy my birthday month and week, I am kinda freaking about the number...34.  I mean, 34?!?  How did this happen?  How did I get on this side of 35 so fast?  I realized the other day that I only have one more year of checking the 29-34 box on surveys and questionaires and then I graduate to the 35-42 box and I just don't think I'm mentally ready for that.  Also, I can no longer round down, meaning I'm no longer "early" 30's, oh no, now I'm MID thirties.  And 34 is only one year away from 35 and 35 is halfway to 40! 40!!  I can't be *almost* 40, I just can't, I still love sparkly, pink things, cotton candy, do irresponsible things like drive past the gas station and then run out of gas,  and singing and( trying) to dance  loudly to New Kids on the BLock just like I did at 14.  I'm just not mature enough to be almost 40.  Heaven help me. 

Can you imagine what a barrel of fun I'll be next year when I'm actually turning 35, which is basically 40?!?


Since it's my birthday and I'm going to desperate measures to avoid a complete mental breakdown regarding my ever increasing age, I'm going to post this video that my sister made for me.  It may seem a bit self indulgent to post a Happy Birthday video that she made for me on my blog but it's my blog and I'll post it if I want to.  ANd besides, haven't you heard?  IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!!  This video makes me happy, everything from the long forgotten pictures to the New Kids serenading me with "Happy Birthday."  I just love it.  Enjoy because it's MY BIRTHDAY AND I SAID SO.  :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Letter to Me

(inspired by Brad Paisley)

And send it back in time to myself at 17

This is what I’d say…

Hi Self,
Whassup?!? No, you never do outgrow saying that but you do outgrow having it on your license plate, sadly. It just doesn’t have the same effect when on the license plate of the Mom mobile you now drive as it did the Geo Metro you had/have? Now/then? (note to self: writing to yourself in the past makes for some tricky grammar. I don’t think this was covered in Mr. Horn’s awesome English class).  So you're turning 34 in a few days.  THIRTY FOUR!  Remember when you thought that was so ancient and out of touch?  Well guess what sista, you're there.  And now you keep thinking, how can I be 34 when I still feel like a 17 year old except for the random occasional aches and pains and fatigue and the tiny wrinkles you're starting to see and hoping no one else does and the fact that you can't believe what the kids these days are wearing, and 50 doesn't seem so old anymore.  So yeah, you're basically prehistoric. 
You will never believe what you are doing 17 years from now. NEVER, so I’m going to give you/me a preview and some words of wisdom.

First off, you know that 17 year old metabolism that allows you to eat whatever you want, whenever you want and not ever gain a pound? ENJOY IT WHILE IT LASTS, HONEY because it won’t be around forever. In fact, go eat some chips and salsa right now and top it off with a bag of Reese’s eggs while wearing your super cute and tiny bikini (that hasn’t see the sunlight in approximately 12 years) and watching the original 90210 until 3 in the morning. All things you can’t do now. I think of all the things of my youth, I miss my metabolism the most……. and Dylan McKay, obviously.

I know you’re very busy right now living it up in smalltown USA, giving your parents gray hair, trying to go on 34 dates before you graduate (mission failed btw), and sweet talking your way thru school. Now a normal, responsible adult would tell you to quit doing that, buckle down and focus on your studies but even 17 years later I am still NOT that normal or responsible. So instead I’m going to say go on, have fun, lead all those boys on while making them wash your car and change your oil, stay out too late, drive those gravel roads too fast, be the quintessential preacher’s daughter, do everything you’re doing, but for the love, try not to get caught so much! Your junior and senior years at that small school are some of the most fun years of your life and I wouldn’t change a thing. Except for again, the getting in trouble because you’re getting caught all the time, part. Because think of all the memories you COULD have made if you hadn’t been grounded…again. All those crazy things you’re doing now make for a) great stories and fond memories when you’re old and fall asleep on the couch by 10:00 p.m. on Friday nights and b) keep your mind sharp for when your kids are trying to get away with similar antics on familiar territory aka gravel roads and swinging bridges. Also, without my teenage years, Dad would not have any material for his sermon illustrations. You’re welcome Dad.

Speaking of parents, your world is going to be rocked in just a few short years from now. You know, all those afternoons that you wrote yourself a note and forged your mom’s signature to get out of school to go surprise her at work and force her to buy you Taco Bell? KEEP DOING THAT no matter how mad the school secretary is at you or how many Saturday Schools you have to skip attend because your time with her is limited. And it sucks. So enjoy every minute you have with her aka prom dress shopping, ridiculous amounts of Mexican food, wedding planning and shopping BEFORE the groom to be has even proposed, and late night Wal Mart runs. And when as you pull out of the driveway of your parents’ house the day after your wedding and you’re a bawling hot mess, because you’ll “never get to live with my parents again” and your brand new, slightly frightened husband asks you if you want to turn around and go back, just go back for one more hug, one more laugh, one more glance of your mom sobbing hysterically because her baby is all grown up and married. But if you don’t turn around, cry for the first 90 miles of the trip and then call your mommy later that night from somewhere down in Georgia (Reba..holla!  Oh wait, wrong song, oh well) because you ate some bad soup and have been throwing up nonstop and she’ll tell her new son in law to go get you some Coke because “Kyle Black always says warm Coke settles the stomach” and then she’ll ask if you’ve made any grandkids for her yet to which you’ll respond, “MOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMM!” That will never NOT be completely embarrassing.

I think the most shocking development of the past 17 years besides the aforementioned tragedy, is what’s happened to you, or more accurately, WHO happened to you. You know that boy you fell in love with the FIRST SECOND you saw him (even though he was wearing a shirt with a deer on it) on your FIRST DAY at that hick school? The one who wouldn’t even speak to you for the first year you knew him, so you dated all his friends? Oh boy, do I have some news for you. Your dreams come true and you MARRY that boy, who is even more amazing than you suspected and still just as cute, have 3 kids, one of which looks exactly like him, and you still live outside of that hick town. WHAAAAAT? Who are you?!? Newsflash, you’re not black anymore, well, except when “Regulate” comes on the radio. You’re a country girl, wannabe farm girl now with a barnyard full of animals mostly for petting and 3 kids that call you MOMMY. You’re a MOM!?!?! Remember how you always thought you were Miss Independent Never Gonna Tie Me Down Never Gonna Have Kids? Yeah, you don’t know anything. You know what else? It’s the most awesome thing in the world and thankfully, they act more like their well behaved father than their wild and unruly mother….mostly. You’ve settled down considerably and enjoy very Carol Brady like activities like baking cupcakes and making your house look nice. I’m sorry to break it to you but you’re a regular domestic diva. It’s not as lame as you might think. But not to worry you STILL love New Kids on the Block and have a Jordan Knight calendar proudly displayed in your office at this very moment. And you know what else? Since you are a grown up with a real job (no offense to Casey’s Pizza or HyVee Chinese Kitchen circa 1996) you’ve even been able to go and see your beloved New Kids a few times in concert and it was everything you imagined it would be! See, growing up isn’t all bad!

So enjoy this time, your carefree youth,  because it's good stuff and the stuff that makes for great stories and laughs for years to come are made of, but hang on because the best is yet to come.  

Your Nearly 34 Year Old Self

P.S.  We STILL don't know if OJ did it or not. 

P.P.S.  He TOTALLY did it. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ramblings of a Crazy Person

A couple items of note:

*Dakota, Blade and I went to our first auction of the season. UNSUPERVISED!! WITH THE CHECKBOOK! And all we brought home were these..

A disappointing auction showing. All I wanted was a peahen, a baby goat, a zebra, OH MY. But it was slim pickins at the auction and they just didn’t have the goods. Also my farmer friends and the crazy meth addict who shows up occasionally trying to pawn off her animals in exchange for meth money, weren’t there so it was kind of boring. Maybe next month will be better.

*Speaking of crazy looking birds, we also added this guy and girl to the Flock? Herd? Family? Baby Emus. After losing our emus, Elvis and Priscilla, to mysterious causes over a year ago it was high time we got some more. What’s a wannabe petting zoo without weird, kinda freaky looking, giant birds I ask you?

Enrique (said with a rolling r and a head bob) and Elvira (said like the Oakridge Boys song and ending with a hand clap, obviously.)*After reading and loving the book “The Lucky One” by Nicholas Sparks 2 summers ago, I was thrilled when I heard the movie was coming out. GI Joe’s reaction was slightly different, as he cowered in a corner hoping and praying that I hadn’t seen or heard that it was coming out. I promised him there would be war scenes since the main character was a Marine. I failed to mention that most of the story takes place AFTER he returns home from war but whatevs, minor details. Being the wonderfully devoted, wife pleasing husband that he is, he took me out for sushi and then we went to see this movie. While it was no “Notebook” caliber Nicholas Sparks movie (which btw GI Joe actually loves), I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it was really sweet. GI Joe thought it was “tolerable” but “there was only 2 minutes of war scenes, you PROMISED it was a WAR movie?!?” Clearly, he misunderstood because what I actually said was “He was a Marine so there should be at least a few war scenes,” or something like that. and their selective hearing. I’ll tell you what I REALLY enjoyed about this movie..

Zac Efron. Don’t worry it’s legal, he’s ALL grown up now. Phew. GI Joe thoroughly enjoyed my commentary on this particular subject throughout the movie when I said things like, “Why would they cast HER as the love interest, she looks 50! They should’ve cast ME!” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…special place in heaven for GI Joe…right next door to the love shack where Zac Efron and I will live. I’M KIDDING…kinda. ;)

*Pretty sure I’ve mentioned it before here on the blog but please, I beg of you, I NEED you to read this book “The Fault in Our Stars”  immediately. I read it in March and am still thinking about how much I love it. I convinced a couple friends to read it so I could discuss it with others and they too had the same reaction and completely understood why I asked them to quit their lives for a day or two to READ THIS BOOK. It’s just one of those books. I don’t know what else to say about it until you’ve read it. Then after you’ve read it we can talk about that part where you’ll laugh out loud hysterically and then the other parts that will make you weep and how you’ll fall in love with and want to hang out with the main characters. This book ruined me for the next 5 books I’ve tried to read. It’s just that kind of book. Read it, let’s talk about it.  Blog book club, let's do it.

*The other day I mowed the lawn with a Zero Turn Riding Mower for the first time. GI Joe had been super busy (you know, going to see “The Lucky One” again because he loved it so much) and our lawn was starting to look like a jungle. So much so that I was ready to buy a Jeep and charge to take people on a safari through it. “Look that way, see that hornless cow?!?” or “To your right you’ll see a wild, crested chicken, native only to Africa the Koons Zoo.” It would’ve been a smashing success I’m sure. But instead I decided to be nice and mow it myself so GI Joe wouldn’t have to do it. I know, I know, I’m such a giver. So I started on one side of the lawn (it’s divided by a walkway) and after many starts and stops because those zero turn mowers are TRICKY, I finally got the hang of it. I really don’t know what I was thinking (a common theme in my life) but instead of doing straight up and down, I went in a circle around that half of the front yard, so in the end, I was dizzy and there was a giant pile of the cut grass in the middle of the yard. It was classy but it looked slightly better than the jungle we had going on before so I was pleased with myself. I should’ve just moved on to the other side of the yard but nooooooo, I’m an overachiever and thought to myself, “This is easy! This is kinda fun! Look how fast I can go! I’ll just mow the ditch on this side really quick! I’m such a good wife!” Yes, I talk to myself in exclamation points so what? So I started in on the ditch. I think you’re supposed to drive down the length of the ditch and then drive back down it and repeat until the entire ditch was mowed. But this made me nervous because it’s kinda steep and I thought I was going to tip over. So instead I decided to do the down one side up the other formation. That worked for approximately one second. Then this happened…

It was stuck, apparently that was too steep a hill for it to climb. Where’s the 4 wheel drive on this thing? So I text GI Joe a picture and said “What do you do if something like this happens?”

He responded “What are you doing?!? Step away from the mower!”

I called him and told him that I was trying to save him some work (that worked out well) and was mowing the lawn and to please just tell me how to get it unstuck because the pushing, pulling, and prodding I had tried wasn’t working. Shocking that I couldn’t move an 800 pound tractor. He reluctantly told me things I could try to get it unstuck and also that you’re not supposed to do the down one side up the other side because it’s too steep and I could flip the mower over. Huh. They didn’t work and also every time I heard a car coming I jumped off of the mower and went in hid in the trees til they passed because HOW EMBARRASSING TO GET THE MOWER STUCK IN YOUR OWN FRONT DITCH?!? You understand, obviously my reputation deserves protecting. Eventually, I gave up, leaving the mower stuck in the ditch, one half of the yard mowed in a spin art formation and the other half looking like an overgrown prairie. A proud moment for sure. GI Joe got home awhile later, got the mower unstuck and the rest of the yard mowed within 30 minutes. Showoff.

*During church last Sunday, the pastor aka my father in law, was talking about the effects of aging in his sermon. That wasn’t the whole theme of his sermon, (it actually did make sense in context) but he was talking about the things you can do in your youth that are harder as you age and the other joys of aging such as achy joints, ailments, disease, death, etc. Ryder, age 8, leaned over to me and said, “Wow, this is sure inspiring.” Ha! Love it.

Until next time…