Archive for January, 2011

Frank and Ree

(this is a post that should have been sent out forever ago. but it wasn’t. you’ll live.)

A few summers ago, my mom put all of our stuff in her garage and told us to come get it or she was going to set fire to it.

Let me splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Throughout the years I kept a lot of stuff. And then I got married and started traveling, so we stored some stuff at my parent’s house. Then, after a while, we lived in a house that wouldn’t sell, so my parents moved into that house, and we just left our stuff in the attic. My poor parents not only moved my stuff with them each time they moved, but now they inherited my attic stuff.

So my mom wanted to have a bonfire.

Of course, most of that stuff was totally not worth keeping, except for maybe my many love letters and my thighmaster.

Anyway, we went through box after box of memories until we came across one that was amazing. It was Brad’s Dad’s collection of vinyl records. These were definitely going home with us.

Except we didn’t have a record player. My brother has it. It’s the one we had as a family and usually only played on holidays or listened to baseball games on while I fell asleep on a huge  dining room wingback chair. And it’s the one I stole money out of to give to my mom to help her pay bills.

Long bitter story about that. Still working that one out with fear and trembling.

Yep,  Jeffie has it. That’s okay though, because I don’t think it even works anymore.

And I have this guy.

I found it on Craigslist for $50. It turns out it’s worth a whole lot more than that.

And all its parts work. All the little lights still blink and the turntable still turns. I even think it still has its original needle. Classic.

Something magical happened when vinyl entered my life.

Something named Frank Sinatra.

I had no idea how much I loved and needed Frank. He brings out the best in people. He makes me want to be a better person. Kids don’t argue when he’s singing. He takes me to a simple and peaceful place.

And he makes me want to wear an apron and bake things.

He also makes me want to walk around with a martini in my hand, but since I bake in the afternoons, that’s probably not a great idea. I’ll just have that olive on a toothpick, pretty please.

Frank made me fall in love with my super ugly kitchen.

And then I came across this. Something about this made sense. It sort of matched my feelings about what I wanted to learn in the kitchen. And it was a pretty color. I bought it for a dollar at the library.

And it had the Family Hostess’ Creed in the front. It seriously doesn’t get any better than this.

Awww, geez. Magnify it and read it.

Okay, that sounded like a command.

So just do it. What?

I brought it home and Torrie and I picked out a cake recipe and made it together. Frank joined us.

It tasted terrible. But it made me super happy. I was using real mom ingredients and that felt right. Now I just needed to improve on the recipes.

And that’s when I met Ree. Ree Drummond, Pioneer Woman. And all the pieces fell into place.

She’s smart. She’s funny. She has 4 kids, just like me. And she showed me how to cook. Literally showed me. Picture by picture by picture.

And she’s from Oklahoma. She gets me.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

More on aprons later. And Ree. Dangit, you stole my idea! Before I even had any.

It’s almost like Jesus holds onto aprons until you grow into them.

Or maybe your Mom does.

I make sense to myself.

That’s all that matters.


I have a dream

I have a dream.

Oh wait. I had one.

It was about a super little yellow cat wearing a fedora and it had casts on both its front paws and it sucked a pacifier.

And then I was boarding for Denver  the other day (from a BEACH in Mexico…. have I mentioned that enough times?) and there was a little yellow kitten in a cage in front of me.

And sitting directly behind me was a sweet baby sucking a pacifier.

I was the one wearing a fedora.

So, I was pretty sure the plane was going down. Except it didn’t.

I guess this is a good time to mention a few things about that trip.

We went for a wedding.

Noel and Berena’s wedding.

She was exquisite.

He was so-so.

I took terrible pics, because I have a horribly outdated phone that I try to love, but it’s so futile.

I like to use words like futile because it makes me happy because people who write use not so everyday words that live in their heads, but when they use them in every day life, people just aren’t kind.

The word because has already been immensely overused in this blog.

The word “And” stays. It feels rebellious.

I still hate the word blog. I’m on my way with the word because.

Here are the highlights.

I’ll say them first, then add my sad, sad pics.

Someone please send me a new camera.

Thank you.


1. Arriving in Puerto Vallarta.

2. Arriving in Puerto Vallarta.

3. Seeing friends in the lobby just arriving to Vallarta Palace, which is where we stayed but it’s different than arriving in Puerto Vallarta, except it’s in Puerto Vallarta.

4. Asking the same questions every day.

a. black or yellow ( that would be the swimsuits)

b. room service or restaurant ( that would be the olives)

c. i still ask. no one answers.

5. Fredy

6. Sergio

7. The Parrot.

8. The Parrot.

9. Kayaking straight into the ocean that I fear, respect and still taste the salt from. (the ocean tastes great, by the way. someone should tap into that.)

10. The wedding. Oh, the wedding. Mariachi bands, fireworks so unexpected I almost called the cops, a cruise ship (those freaks are huge), dancing on the beach, and tequila that tastes like brandy.

11. I have no idea where that last statement came from.

12. What?

13. How about I add some bad pics.

my view.

the view of the luggage in front of me. Yep, it says KKK.

And yes, I took a picture of it.

And it was blurry.

Someone send me a camera. Or a better trigger finger.

I have no idea.

It was hidden in the wall.




it happens.

the police who stopped us on the way to the wedding.


the band. my favorite.

All in a day.


Send me a camera.

home again

As you know, I went to Mexico this last week for an amazing wedding and some unbelievable chill time. I can’t wait to tell you about it, but I have some things to catch up on first. And I still haven’t posted things from Christmas. Good thing I don’t let little things like time dictate my life.

Anywho, I left my kids in the care of a family friend named J.B. Stevens. Turns out he has mad breakfast cooking skills.

My poor punks woke up this morning, saw it was me, and groaned, “cereal, huh? ”

Punched me right in the culinary gut. So, I made eggs with pepper, jalapenos and cilantro, topped with green chili sauce and feta cheese.

That’s right.

We were completely out of cereal.

Actually, I’ve been really thinking about the food situation around here. My friend Rebekah recently tossed out her microwave, which is really inspiring.

And I’ve been feeling like I need to make a shift in the quality of food I buy and cook, and use food to feed our bodies, not just fill folks up.

So, I am attempting to make a few changes this week. Little baby steps like cutting down microwave time by 50%, and focusing on fresh foods again. (I got kind of lazy, okay?)

Here’s what’s on the menu this week, not in any particular order, just gonna happen at some point:

Salsa (weekly staple)


Cinnamon Nutmeg muffins

Stovetop Oatmeal with maple, cranberry and raisins

Breakfast burritos (same eggs as above, just adding onion and pepper jack, and maybe chorizo)


Fruit salad (bananas, strawberries, grapes, clementine wedges)

Potatoes O’Brien

Yogurt with granola

Grapefruit (my favorite)

Breakfast sandwiches with egg, canadian bacon, jalapeno and havarti. (They’ll make you slap someone) Use a thin bagel or english muffin, or if you’re feeling rowdy, grilled sourdough bread.

(we’ll be mixing and matching these – breakfast is yummy!)


Baked Ziti with spinach salad (topped with strawberries and toasted pecans)

– I will be adding this recipe today – the best sauce ever!!

Tortilla Soup with avocado and orzo

Pork Tacos with corn tortillas

Homemade pizza with wheat crust

Something Asian I haven’t quite figured out yet.




The End.

Here is the sauce for the baked ziti:

  • 1-½ pound Ground Beef
  • 1 pound Hot Breakfast Sausage
  • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 cans (14.5 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes
  • 2 cans (6 Ounce) Tomato Paste
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons Dried Basil
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

I actually use half the sausage because I don’t want it to overwhelm. And I need the rest of it for other things. You could also use ground turkey to reduce the fat, but it does change the flavor some.

Start by browning the meats and then drain. Add in the garlic to let it soften.

Throw in the rest of the stuff (you don’t have to drain the tomatoes) and let it simmer for at least 45 minutes.

You can use this sauce for any pasta, I just happen to have ziti.

I’ll be adding whole wheat ziti noodles, parmesan and mozzarella.

I’m dying.


Now I have to go finish cleaning out my fridge and make a list for the store for what I don’t have on hand, and find coupons if they exist.

I’m feeling inspired.

And strangely rested.

I let a parrot kiss me.

Just thought you should know.


Okay, so I finally got to watch Extreme Couponing on TLC.

I kind of cheated a little and read other people’s thoughts on it before I watched, so I went into it expecting to agree with their opinions.

I was actually surprised by my responses.


I have a mind of my own.

And I think I might still be in the early stages of couponing madness, so I found myself in a different head space than the veterans.

Here were my initial thoughts:

1. How on earth is that woman shopping this intensely with a small child and not sucking her thumb and rocking in a corner?

2. Wait? How are they getting all that produce for that amount? Seriously, someone needs to tell me how. Now.

3. Why don’t I have a paper cutter?  I want a paper cutter!

And then when the dude (sorry, I’m super bad with names) got around $6,000 worth of stuff for about $200, I got a buzz. A bondafide buzz.

I could feel what he was feeling.

It made want to run around the block.

That said, here were my other thoughts.

1. I will not now, nor ever, get into a dumpster for coupons.  And especially not wearing my cutest jeans. I will draw the line at pillaging coffee shops.

2. I have no need for 40 jars of pasta sauce or 2,000 toothbrushes to be stashed in my house. One per mouth will be fine, thank you. Who has that many teeth to worry about?

3. Dudes. Share.

4. Dude shared!

My final assessment:

1. This new “hobby” relaxes me. It makes me feel like I’m doing everything in my power to make a difference in my family’s life and help us steward what we have, whether it’s a lot or a little.

2. I like the little rush I get watching those numbers subtract. Just being honest here.

3. I will always be the boss of my coupons. They have learned not to smart off.

4. Saving money is good. Losing my soul is not.

5. That last statement was far too dramatic.

6. Making lists is hard when you run out things to say.

7. I should stop right here.

I think you know what I’m saying.

Don’t be a total freak.

Just be slightly off your rocker.

And that should just about do it for today.

God Bless America.


Never grocery shop with your daughters.  Especially the ones who like makeup, jeggings and food. And cameras. Man, does she love cameras, in front of them or behind them.

Never shop with children in general, if you can avoid it.

Unless you have a generous supply of duct tape and the ability to divert attention while calculating dollar  bills, find what you need, match coupons properly and floss at the same time.

All they do is talk rubbish and throw things they think you’ll never notice into the cart.

Just who do they think I am?

Get a sitter or tether them in the back yard.

They’ll survive.

I bought her (Taylor Joy, in case you have no idea who my eldest is… she’s 17, graduating a year early and completely genius) this for next Christmas. She will be in her own apartment by then.

I chose it because the girl went ahead and got a tattoo with the word Joy in Cherokee. So, I think I’m good with this. Or anything 80’s. Weirdo.

And she has no idea I bought this because:

A. This blog is stupid.

B. Coupons are stupid. Why can’t I buy this without a coupon???

C. There were way too many mirrors.

It was $1.49, marked down from $14.99. Target  has their Christmas stuff for 90% off. So bows for  30 cents and boxes for  2o cents.

I’d show you pictures but I think you know what those look like.

Glad we could have this little chat.

And please don’t leave your kids in the backyard, especially tethered.

Just think it.

And if they have to be with you, make them weigh fruit and guess what an acorn squash is.

And then call it a day.

The end.