Easter 2019

Today we took our daughter, Shantel, out to Easter lunch, and had to say good-bye to Shantel until we return from our summer hosting positions in South Dakota. She looked so pretty in her new spring Easter dress.

We took Shantel to her favorite place for Easter lunch, Joe’s Crab Shack, in Tempe, Az.

Even though she almost always orders king crab legs, she still wants me to read the full menu to her, just in case they changed, or added, anything.

When the server brings her the bib, she knows some good food is about to come her way.

We started out with her favorite appetizer, great balls of fire, made with crab, seafood, cream cheese, jalapeños, and served with fries and ranch dipping sauce,

and of course, you can’t have seafood, without hushpuppies, which is another of her favorites…

But she got really excited, when the server placed that big bucket of king crab legs in front of her. Served with boiled potatoes and corn on the cob.

I had fish and chips, served with coleslaw. It was more than I could eat, but not to worry, Shantel said she would be happy to take home any leftovers for her dinner.

Bill/Papa had a shrimp sampler platter, and of course, Shantel asked if she could try one, or perhaps two, of his bacon wrapped shrimp.

When we were all served, Shantel wasted no time getting down to the business of cracking open her king crab legs. And she devoured every morsel.

When it was all said and done…, we asked for a take out box. Shantel ended up with one piece of my fish and most of my fries, two of Papa’s bacon wrapped shrimp, and four hushpuppies to take home for her dinner.

As we were leaving, Shantel asked if we would take her to the grocery store to get some things she was not able to purchase yesterday, because she would not have been able to carry all the bags home by herself. We were more than happy to do that. Then, we delivered our baby girl home, with a full tummy, and a full heart, because she knows how very much we love her.

Happy Easter Shantel, we love you, we are so proud of you, and we are always only a phone call away! See you in October.

Stay tuned as we begin our summer travels, I will post along our way.

Love,

Mom and Papa

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Happy New Year

I’ve never been one to make New Year resolutions. I prefer to make positive changes in my life anytime I feel the need to do so. Throughout this year, and especially in the last few months of this year, I’ve made several changes in my life that are bringing a lot more positive energy around me, and into my life.

I’ve always been dedicated to my Catholic Faith, but this year I started dedicating even more time to my prayer life by dedicating a time of day as my prayer hour. This is in addition to my regular morning and evening prayers. I’m amazed at the difference a dedicated prayer hour has made in my life. It has sharpened my focus on what is really important, and meaningful in my life. It has allowed me to look for things in my life that tend to drain my energy, and replace those things with things that bring me positive energy. Did you know there is actually a list of “Everyday habits that drain your energy”? Well, there is, and this is what it says:

  1. Taking things personally
  2. Holding on to the past
  3. Always checking Facebook
  4. Sleeping in late
  5. Fueling drama
  6. Over stressing
  7. Having a poor diet
  8. Complaining all the time
  9. Overthinking
  10. Gossiping
  11. Not living in the moment
  12. Trying to please everyone
  13. Worrying about what others think

Some folks get so caught up in the things on the list, they don’t even realize that is what is draining their energy and causing so much negativity in their lives. Another big change both Bill and I have made in our lives is deactivating our Facebook accounts. We had a conversation one evening and discussed how much negativity is out on Facebook, and asked ourselves why we were allowing that to come into our home and our lives. Then we simply made the decision to drop Facebook from our lives, and for us, it has been wonderful. We want our friends to feel comfortable to stop by and visit us, call or text us, instead of being virtual friends on Facebook that might read a posting and hit the like button or send a heart…

A few months ago, a dear friend of mine gave me a small friendship banner. The words on that banner resonated so much with me that I have it hanging on a door in our home to remind me every day what genuine friendship is based on. This is what the friendship banner says:

“Friendship

We have genuine friendship when it is based on true human feeling, a feeling of closeness in which there is a sense of sharing and connectedness. I would call this type of friendship genuine because it is not affected by the increase or decrease of the individual’s wealth, status, or power. The factor that sustains that friendship is whether or not the two people will have mutual feelings of love and affection, genuine human friendship is on the basis of human affection, irrespective of your position. Therefore, the more you show concern about the welfare and rights of others, the more  you are a genuine friend. The more you remain open and sincere, then ultimately more benefits will come to you. If you forget or do not bother about others, then eventually you will lose your own benefit.”

H.H. The XIV Dalai Lama

That is what I want my friendship with others to be, and what I want from others as my friend. And, for me, that just doesn’t happen on Facebook.

I will continue to work on myself, my goals, and doing me throughout 2019.

I wish all of you the very best.

Happy New Year!

 

 

Christmas Cookie Baking 2017

Today Bill went to our daughter, Shantel’s apartment where he spent the day helping Shantel, and her best friend, Jaz, bake Christmas cookies for Christmas Eve, and to take to our family friends home for Christmas Day. This cookie baking day is an annual event for Bill, Shantel, and Jaz.

They made Neiman Marcus and Ginger Snap cookies, and a lot of them! They also made a batch of fudge for the Christmas celebrations.

Shantel loves, loves, loves, to bake. Bill captured the pictures below that show how well Jaz and Shantel work together to accomplish the job. Shantel and Jaz met when they attended the same college, and they have been best friends ever since. Bill and I feel so blessed to have Jaz in our lives as Shantel’s best friend. She is a very special young lady, and we love her like one of our own daughters.  Bill was helping with the cookies as well, but he had to stop every now and then to capture pictures to send to me so I could document the event on my blog for Shantel to read back on over the years. I just love seeing that big smile on Shantel’s face!

Shantel has no problem working in her kitchen. When she is cooking or baking, she likes to keep the cabinet doors open (so does her papa) but when I’m there, I have to keep asking her to shut the cabinet doors because I tend to walk into them… Funny how she is blind and doesn’t hit her head on the open doors, and I can see but seem to always walk into the open doors… Ha!

 

This next picture shows Shantel placing cookies on her coffee table to cool, and placing them in the storage tins after they were cool. She so loves to know that there are plenty of cookies for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and beyond… 🙂

From the looks of the first storage tin, I don’t think she is going to have to worry about not having enough cookies!

After all the cookies and fudge are made, the next part of the annual cookie baking tradition is that Bill takes the girls out to lunch which is the perfect ending to their perfect Christmas Cookie Baking Day!

I so love that Bill, Shantel, and Jaz, have this time together every year to bake and bond. They all look forward to it.  And, since I don’t like baking, it allows me an opportunity to have some “me time” without having to be involved in smelling the cookies I don’t eat, bake, or be involved in cleaning up the mess that goes along with it… Win, Win…

I spent my “me time” today making coconut curry chicken for our dinner, took a nice long walk, did some laundry, and posted this blog post… And now, I’m headed to happy hour!!!

Merry Christmas!

 

Goat Cheese, Cranberry, and Walnut Stuffed Pork Chops

So easy and simple to make and, OMG! It really is as delicious as it sounds…

All I did was mix one package of goat cheese with a good handful of chopped walnuts, and dried cranberries.

 

Then I took thin, bone-in pork chops, and just pressed them out with my hand to make them a little bit bigger… I was going to stuff the pork chops but I didn’t buy them thick enough… so I went to plan (B). There is always a plan (B) if you want one…

then I put  about a handful of the goat cheese, cranberry, and walnut mixture into the center of each pork chop, pressed the mixture out a little, and rolled them up.

Then I dipped each pork chop roll into an egg and milk mixture, then into a mixture of Panko breadcrumbs that I seasoned with a little smoked paprika, and black pepper.  Next, I placed them on a copper rack that fits into a copper tray, them put them into our outside oven on 450 degrees for 30 minutes.

Thirty minutes later we had the a delicious pork chop roll up meal that was tender and moist, yet also had a crunchy panko crust. I served this with potato salad, that my sister, from another mother, Holly, made, and peas. Big shout out to my sister, Holly, who loves to cook as much as I do, and who always cooks too much, like I do, and always shares what she makes with Bill and I…

So loving this beautiful Christmas season of spending time with family and friends.  Cooking is what makes me happy, but sharing what we have, no matter what that might be, with those we love is what always warms my heart, not just at Christmas, but all year-long…

Merry Christmas!

Heartwarming Update

I wanted to post this update to my previous post, Random Acts Of Kindness. I spoke to our daughter, Shantel, and she told me that she was in the laundry room at her apartment complex again yesterday finishing up her laundry, and a man came in and asked her if she had some clothes in a washer with tide pods in it and quarters in the slot yesterday..? Shantel said yes, and he said he was the person that removed her clothes, and used the washer with her tide pods and quarters. He didn’t say why he did that, but he did give her money back and said he was sorry.

I asked Shantel if she knew him and she said she didn’t, but that he told her he sees her in the laundry room a lot and he said he felt bad about what he did. I asked if she got his name, she said no, but he sounded like he was an older man, and that he seemed to really be sorry about what he did.

 

I believe in miracles, do you?

Merry Christmas!

Random Acts Of Kindness

Our daughter, Shantel, had a mixed experience with kindness yesterday. Here is a little summary of how her day went:

After Shantel got home from work, she found out she needed to go to the Post Office to pick up a package. She didn’t have time to schedule a ride with Dial-a-Ride, so she had to call Uber. When she arrived at the Post Office, the Uber driver took her in, helped her get in the back of the line to wait her turn, then he returned to his car to wait for her to come out. I think it is important to note here that Shantel gets herself to work everyday, lives alone, and takes care of herself,  goes to her own doctor appointments, goes to get her own groceries (she goes to the Customer Service desk and asks for assistance to select her grocery items) etc. However, this Post Office did not have anyone that could assist a disabled person through the line…

Shantel said she was standing in line at the Post Office, with her long, white cane, with the red at the bottom, which is pretty much a universal sign that the person using the cane is blind or visually impaired. She said she waited, and waited, and never seemed to move up in line. At first, she said she thought it was just very busy, due to the Christmas mailing season.. But finally, a lady working behind the counter, noticed that Shantel couldn’t tell when the line was moving,  and that people behind Shantel in line were going around her, even stepping over her cane to get in front of her. So, that Post Office worker, went outside, and asked the Uber driver if he would come in and help Shantel keep her place in line, which he did…  I say, THANK-YOU to the Post Office worker for noticing, and helping Shantel, and THANK-YOU to that Uber driver for going above his job to help Shantel keep her place in line. And SHAME on all the people that felt the need to go around Shantel, instead of simply letting her know the line was moving forward…

Then, when Shantel finally got home, she got her laundry together and made her way to the laundry room at her apartment complex. She put her clothes in a washer, put her tide pods in, and put her quarters in the slot. Then she remembered she forgot something back at her apartment. She said she left the laundry room, and made her way back to her apartment, got the items she forgot, and when she came back, someone had removed her clothes, put their own clothes in and used her money, and tide pods, to do their own laundry. Again, to whoever did that, SHAME on YOU!!

I was so upset when I talked to Shantel and heard all of this. I told her I thought what happened was awful, and that I was sorry it happened. I asked her how she felt about it. Shantel said “mom, people do stuff like that all the time, I just had to learn to deal with it.” Well, as her mother, I can tell you, I will never accept that kind of bad behavior.

Shantel, Papa and I are so, so, proud of you and how you live your life. I wish life were a little easier for you, but you are, and always will be, our HERO! Never let the bad behavior of others dampen your kind heart, and beautiful spirit. Keep letting your special light shine brightly, and I hope you always keep practicing Random Acts of Kindness every chance you get! We love you Shantel.

Merry Christmas.

Stay Tuned!

 

 

Split Peas And Ham Soup

Yesterday was our weekly cleaning and laundry day for Bill and I. So it was a perfect day for me to make my split pea and ham soup in the slow-cooker. It’s fast and easy, and is the perfect meal to make when I still want something home-made, but I don’t really have the time to spend hours cooking… I just put on Christmas music and got busy…

I chop up a whole sweet onion, spray my slow-cooker with non-stick cooking spray, and put the onion in.

 

Then I pick through and rinse a bag of dried split peas

Trim the fat from a ham steak, and chop it into bite size pieces. Keep the bone as it goes in the soup as well.

Put the ham, the bone, and the split peas into the slow-cooker with the onion. Add three bay leaves, some granulated garlic, coarse black pepper, and salt (I used no-salt seasoning mix) into the slowcooker

Add about one and a half boxes of chicken stock, put the lid on and set the slow-cooker on high until the liquid begins to boil, then turn to low and let it simmer until you are ready to eat (about five to six hours).

I had mine with a salad. Bill had his with buttered saltine crackers. No matter how you serve it, it is delicious, and so much better than anything you will ever get out of a can. If you love split pea and ham soup like we do, this is the only way to go…

So enjoying this beautiful Christmas Season. Hope all of you are finding ways to enjoy whatever it is that makes you happy, and that you are also finding ways to express your love for one another… I show my love by cooking, and feeding my loved ones, which always makes Bill say he is such a lucky man…. I can’t help but think that he also must be thinking to himself “now if I could just get her interested in baking as well…” Ha!

Merry Christmas!

 

 

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In the eyes of the law, we reach adulthood the day we turn 18 years old. God help anyone who actually believes that.

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family life..with a unique perspective of motherhood

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