Sunday, October 31, 2010

Loopy in Missouri

It's quiet this morning. Really quiet. Except for the wailing of the sirens. We live downtown. There is always some siren wailing somewhere. But at least it's quiet in my house. My boys are in Illinois (outside St. Louis) visiting family for the weekend. I stayed home because I'm sick. I'm feeling better. I think. That's a good sign. Cardiomyopathy and diabetes don't leave a girl with a quick recovery time when she's sick. It usually takes me weeks to get better when a bug has caught up with me.

Anyhoo, I've got some things to share. Keep in mind I'm on some sort of medication that makes me a bit loopy. I would try and use that excuse in my everyday life, but most days I'm just plain loopy...without any help.

1. Springfield, MO is a snake free zone. Let me rephrase. Springfield, MO is a rubber snake free zone. All I am asking for is a cheap bag of rubber snakes to add to our Indiana Jones Trunk for Trunk or Treat Sunday night. Is that too  much to ask? I don't think so. Rubber spiders, rats, dinosaurs, bugs...I've seen them all. No rubber snakes! Except for a freaky "put in water and watch me grow" snake I found at the Dollar Tree. I would have to buy like 40 of them to make a proper snake pit. And what is an Indiana Jones Trunk without snakes I tell you?

2. I am a hoarder. I hoard children's books (I actually hoard other kinds of books, too, but one step at a time.) This week I am cleaning out Josiah's room. Because it was time to free him from himself. Poor guy. He might not have inherited Mommy's DNA, but he certainly inherited my "messy room gene" (and there is one, I am convinced...and it's "nurtured"). Anyhoo, I packed up all of his books that he has outgrown. Good Night Moon, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Can You Give A Mouse A Cookie, The Rainbow Fish....I have boxes of books that are going to be banished to the dark recesses of our storage unit. And no, I am neither generous or practical enough to give them away. I actually got weepy. Our copy of Good Night is raggedy, but I've had it for almost 20 years. I'm still not sure I won't wind up rescuing them...

3. I guess Krispy Kreme is not an appropriate supper. Especially when one is diabetic and needing to lose poundage in the double digits (at least). Shhh. Don't tell. So much for a "Be Good To Beke" weekend.

4. I went through the Drive Thru at a popular fast food joint to get a pop and was sitting in line before I realized I hadn't actually ordered the pop. I just pulled up behind the car waiting at the window. That's what snot on the brain will do to you. I really shouldn't have been allowed out of the house.

5. I was in Hobby Lobby this past week. You can find me there every other Tuesday and once a month on Wednesdays (just kidding...I'm not quite that bad...I'm too poor to truly be addicted to Hobby Lobby). Anyhoo, I saw this guy walking through the store. He had on sunglasses indoors(proof right there that this guy was all that and a bag of chips). He was talking on the phone..."waz up...that's the way I roll." He even quoted lyrics from a popular rap song.  He paused in the conversation. Apparently the person on the other end asked him where he was.  "Oh, I'm at Hobby Lobby," He says. . It really caught me off guard. I tried to suppress the giggles that were welling up within me and snorted instead...scaring a little old man looking at the model airplanes. 'Cause nothing says bad-to-the-bone gansta like Hobby Lobby

6. There are all sorts of things you can get away with when you are by yourself. I actually left the bathroom door open this weekend. I'm sorry...That's probably too much information. But it was really quite liberating. Nobody was trying to get in...Nobody needed to find their keys...Nobody wanted me to make them a peanut butter sandwich. We really need to get some reading material in there if this is going to keep happening.

7. I got to watch some girl movies this weekend. When I say "girl" movies I really mean ones I can watch on the flat screen without somebody trying to talk me into letting them play Wii or watch a ballgame. Troy actually likes a lot of movies I do. I am fond of the musical. I found myself doing a little choreography along with the movie.  Which probably disturbed my downstairs neighbor to no end.

8. It's tough being home sick. I did venture out yesterday and was forced into having lunch with my friend. You know what they do. They call you up. "Hey, I'm craving Cashew Chicken. You want to meet for lunch. I'll treat." And you know what you do. "Sure, say in 30 minutes?" You see the kind of friends I have. They can guilt me into anything.

Shew. That's about as much as I got tonight. Actually, I have some more, but I am taking some sort of medication that makes me a little loopy. Did I say that already? Any further comments might incriminate me...And I might confess things I'd have to explain to my momma later on.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mom's Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Tonight I dusted off my mom's Old-Fashioned Hot Fudge Pudding Cake recipe. I remember my mom fixing this particular recipe quite often when I was young. It was always a treat. I know there are some more "sophisticated" recipes out there today, but this one has them all beat. It is inexpensive and easy to fix. Plus, it's just plain yummy. Of course, any dessert that has more sugar than flour is not going to be good for the waist line, but this only serves six so there probably won't be lots of leftovers to tempt you! I am trying to  think of the half eaten pan of Hot Fudge Pudding Cake that's sitting on my kitchen counter this very minute! Anyhoo, My Aunt Susie asked me to share the recipe (via Facebook) so here 'tis.

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake


Cake Part:
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup melted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Top With Before Baking:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups hot water

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix 3/4 cup of white sugar, flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder together in a bowl. Combine milk, melted butter and vanilla; add to dry ingredients. Stir gently (leave the mixer in the cabinet!) to combine, then spread into an ungreased 8x8 inch baking pan. Combine brown sugar, white sugar, and cocoa powder; sprinkle over top of batter. Pour hot water over top of cake, and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. It's yummy with vanilla ice cream.

Friday, October 22, 2010

OOOOH-Klahoma

So my mom treated Josiah and I to a mini-fall vacation to Oklahoma this past week. My only contribution was sitting in the passenger's seat...which I can tell you becomes more involved when one travels through Oklahoma (more on that later).  We visited Baby Sister (mine) and her lovely little family. Instead of boring you with the play-by-play, I decided to share a few thoughts...about OOOH-klahoma, Baby Sister and Buffalo. With visuals. Taken mostly by my momma.  Who am I kidding. I took like 2 pictures. And both of them are bad.

1.  My first thought does not have a picture to go with it. But imagine with me a very long, very bad, very expensive road. I would like to know why these Oklahomian people think everybody else needs to pay to drive on their roads. They really aren't that great...in fact, once we were back in Missouri it was like driving on 'butta'...It's highway robbery I tell you! (literally) And because Baby Sister lives in the Southwest corner of OOOH-klahoma we had to pay 8 tolls coming and going (actually, my mom paid them...but I am righteously indignant for her sake).


2. This is Baby Sister. She is actually 32. She is also exactly 6 years and 6 months younger than me. But I'm not telling how old I am. Isn't she cute? I know you can't tell 'cause of the shades, but take my word for it. She got all the good genes. Mine started oozing out of my pores when I hit my early 20's. She is standing in front of some lake in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Reserve. I'm not sure which one...I wasn't paying attention. I was too busy trying not to step in Buffalo poo.



3. See in Oklahoma they let the cows wander all over the place. If this happens in Missouri you get a bunch of farmers chasing after them in pick-up trucks and golf carts waving their hands and yelling. I was told that this is actually a Longhorn (What-ever) and they are allowed to wander the Animal Reserve. There was all sorts of road work being done here...This cow (or Longhorn) didn't seem to care.



4. So one day we thought ('we' is used loosely) it would be fun to drive up Mount Scott...which is located in the Wichita Mountain Range.  I can tell you that I've been to Wichita, Kansas and there aren't any mountains...by far. So imagine my surprise when everybody thought this sounded like a great idea. I had the  unfortunate pleasure of being on the side of the car where this lovely view was being played out.


5. A little higher.

6. And higher. At this point I am looking through my fingers over my eyes....It's a good thing I wasn't driving!


7. And we reach the top! My favorite adventurer is asked by his grandmother to pose for a picture at the edge of a cliff...He's all about it. I (on the other hand) am clinging for dear life to the antenna on the car.  Like that is going to save me from plunging to certain death. Keep in mind that Josiah has been telling his own adventure story the entire trip up the mountain. "Wouldn't it be cool if we crashed into the rock and the car got all crushed up and we had to hang from that tree and bounce off that cliff and we broke our legs and had to crawl down the mountain." Thanks, Bubby. If you look really close you can see windmills behind Josiah.


8. And this is what vacation means when you are 8. Doing battle with your cousin in the backyard. I would have joined in if it weren't absolutely ridiculous. I would have pulverised them both.

9. One of the highlights of our trip was supposed to be this great buffalo hunt.  This was as close as we got. Is this the best you can do OOOH-klahoma? Pahleease. How do we know those are real buffalo? Looks like some park rangers got mighty desperate.
10.  We went to a delightful little place called Medicine Park. This is the old jail. Everybody looks happy enough...except for Josiah. He said, 'nobody should be happy in jail.'


11. If I could have gotten away with it I would have packed 2 little girls in my suitcase to bring home with me. If their momma wouldn't have called the po-lease on me...despite the fact that I am her big sister. And she owes me one for writing all over my desk with my favorite pink nail polish when she was 6. I think claiming her 2nd and 3rd born children for my own sound like a fair trade-off. I would let her come visit...maybe.

A few more thoughts...sans photography

12. Baby Sister and her hubby don't have the internet. What! They are both younger than me. What kind of young hip people don't have the internet. They have it at work and they have iphones...is that supposed to count? What about Internet Addicted older sisters who come and visit? What are they supposed to do? I was without FB for like 162 days..it was like being without water or something like that. Very traumatic. I have been online the entire time in the 7 hours I have been home today. So there.

13. We had takeout from a place called Yummy Yummy. It was a Korean BBQ place. It was delicious. We had something called Bouca-Buuka or something like that. I considered taking the leftovers home in my suitcase...along with my nieces. And my sister's bedding set and her dining room furniture. And her good knife. 

14. Baby Sister did have cable. Which means that my mom, Sister and I sat around watching HGTV for days. 'Cause we could. We did have to wrestle the remote away from my channel surfing nephew..who just turned 9! Yes, ladies. It starts young. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My Studly Muffin

On October1,1991(19 years ago) I got married. And I've been married ever since. To the same fella. And what a fella! What I first saw Troy he was trying out as the Children's Pastor at Nixa Assembly of God in Nixa, MO.  He came sauntering down the hall towards me after service.  He had on a cowboy hat, chaps, and a badge that said "Sheriff PT."  He was also 29 years old...I was19. I have now been married to Troy half my life. And I would have to say that he knows me better than about anybody. There have been good times and some bad times. Some really hard bad times. But, God knew what He was doing when He sent Troy into my life. Plus, he still floats my boat.




Troy is a great dad. He is Josiah's guy. They share a love of golf, Polo Blue, Superman and of course,Mom. Troy wanted to take Josiah camping last summer, but they only got as far as the living room because it got too hot. Troy slept in the tent...On the wood floor.



We adopted Josiah when he was just two weeks old. Here he is just 6 months old. When Josiah was teeny tiny, Troy would wake up with him at night to give him his night bottle so I could sleep.

 Troy as Psalty the singing song book. Only a real man would wear blue tights and make-up to match.


Troy on our wedding day. He doesn't look a bit nervous, right?

This is one of my favorite pictures of Troy. I dig the hat...and the rest of him. He kind of floats my boat. I try not to think about that fact that I would have been around 7 when this picture was taken.

Cutie Pah-tootie. Of course, my parents were still in junior high when Troy was this old. But what's a few years among soul mates.

Happy Anniversary...My Studly Muffin. Thank you for loving me "as is."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Perspective

Sometimes I feel as if the best parts of me have been chipped away. Over the past several years I have been so wrapped in crisis after crisis that the hopes and dreams I carried seemed to drift away. That's not to say that I haven't had some truly beautiful times. The adoption of our little boy and the years that have followed have been so special. I love being a mom and I love this quirky little brown-eyed fella. But in all honesty, there have been some pretty tough years. And I, like so many of us, have been guilty of wallowing in a little self-pity and forgetting that there is more to me and more to God's plan for my life than the limited existence I have frequently found myself in. There is only so much daydreaming I can do about my former size 6 jeans, the dreams of lots of happy children playing in the back yard and all those hopes and dreams that seemed have been forgotten amidst the doctor's visits, hospital stays, church problems and simply the stresses of every day living.  Then again...there are some good parts of me that wouldn't be in place if I hadn't experienced the things I have...it's just learning to keep perspective.  You know? 

Steal Your Dollar City

There is a theme park not far from us.  It's called Silver Dollar City. Silver Dollar City is a unique 1800's-themed park and has more than rides. It features native craftsman, music, and some quirky good old-fashioned fun.  There are plenty of Ozarkians who refuse to go within 5 miles of the park...Old Silver Dollar City can get pretty crowded and like any theme park it's expensive...it also has oodles and oodles of places to buy things. Like woven baskets, hand-dipped candles, hand blown glass, salt-water taffy...Hence, my dad has always called it Steal Your Dollar City.  I personally love Steal Your Dollar City and if I made more dollars they could steal anything they like (as long as I get a bowl of skillet potatoes out of it). 
It's particularly beautiful in the fall and around Christmas. I have been going for years and somewhere exists a picture of me sitting on a pumpkin when I was around 4 or 5. Yesterday, my brother treated Josiah and I (Troy had a bike ride) to a day at Silver Dollar City.  His work gave all the employees tickets and there were a few extras from those who weren't going to use them.  I didn't drag out my camera (it's having issues and I'm hoping that Santa takes pity on me and drops me a new one), but my sis-in-law Stephannie had a few I am passing along. It was a beautiful day. I got to watch a guy plank huge logs for a log cabin and in true Silver Dollar City form heard a quartet sing a tribute to the Beatles, "We All Live In a Yellow Mobile Home" and "Hep, I Need Somebody" (no, that is not a typo!)

 My little brother. He has a weird aversion to large crowds and plays video games like he's still 12, but he's cool. We have a similar sense of humor...which is a little frightening. I think he's trying to not look at his wife taking his picture.
 This was one of those roly ball thingy fountains (how is that for a description!) The kids were fascinated with it...Every time we passed it they had to lay hands on it and say a little pray for whatever strange affliction it was suffering with (well, we are pentecostal!)
 One of my brother's oldest. I say "one of" because Christopher is the male half of a set of twins. They are 13. Christopher is also the only boy...which makes him a well-seasoned 'button pusher.'
 This was a place called "Geyser Gulch." There weren't too many other people around Geyser Gulch. It could be because Geyser Gulch has numerous water features and it was 70.  The beautiful girl with my brother is his other oldest, Kalynn. The other beautiful little girl is Ryan's youngest, Madalyn (Maddie Paige). I think they are shooting a water gun at some poor unsuspecting duck.
 Silver Dollar City has a section of the park called The Grand Exposition. It takes its cues from the old World Fair. One of our favorites was the Tea Cups.  My sister in-law also took pictures of me riding the Tea Cups, but I refuse to post them on my blog. One doesn't look her best when swirling around in a large cup.  The two cuties are Madalyn and Alexandra. Ages 6 and 7, respectively.
 Alex is caught by a "gotcha" water feature at Geyser Gulch.
 This was a little morbid. They thought it was great fun.
 More water at Geyster Gulch. I will say that shortly after this we went on a ride called the Lost River. I rode it once (it's my fav) and the kids (including Josiah) and my sister-in-law, Stephannie rode it 3 times.  If I had control of this camera I would have taken pictures of Stephannie's soaked jeans.  They looked like they had just come out of the washer and she stuck them on. I would have displayed the picture at Thanksgiving...right along side the turkey and my mom's chocolate pie.
This is Alexandra sitting on the fence post. She's always good for a pose. I loved all the Scarecrows displayed all the over the park. If I could have stuck that one behind her in my purse and not been stopped by security on the way out of park (and if I wouldn't have felt so guilty for stealing...we are pentecostal) I would have. He could have sat on my couch.

As much fun as we had I am suffering for it today. Silver Dollar City is hilly...it is located in the hills after all. Even my toenails hurt.  But I can tell you we had a wonderful time.  And now that I think about it I haven't seen that bag of salt water taffy we brought home in a while. Somebody is going to pay!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Ida Brown's Fresh Apple Cake, Maybe


There was a sweet little old lady in my parent's church in Choctaw, Arkansas named Ida Brown. I've got some stories about Mrs. Brown, but for now we will pay homeage to her Fresh Apple Cake.

If you live anywhere near apple trees you will know that they are falling off by the bushels.  So like every practical Missourian I am finding every which way I can to make the most of the overabundance of apples this year. I have given more advice and shared more apple recipes this year than I can remember. There is a potluck at church Sunday and I can guarantee that the Ida Brown's Fresh Apple Cake I am taking will not be the only apple offering.

I also should give a disclaimer. No...this cake will not give you chest hair (sorry, Josiah) nor will it cause shortness of breath (unless you eat too much of it and then you are on your own). The disclaimer is that Ida Brown's actual recipe is locked away in my parent's storage building while they are in the midst of renovating their farm house. This is kind of sort of from memory...kind of sort of.  But how can you go wrong with apples, sugar, eggs and oil? Something scrumptious is bound to come from it.

Ida Brown's Fresh Apple Cake

5 apple - peeled, cored and chopped

2 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tsp. baking powder
4 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts

5 tsp. brown sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9x13 inch pan. Sift together flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs and white sugar for 15 minutes on high speed with an electric mixer. Add oil and blend in. Add flour mixture and mix well. Add vanilla. Fold in apples and nuts. Pour batter into 9x13 inch pan. Sprinkle brown sugar over cake. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
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