Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful



Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday. It encompasses all of my favorite things: cooking, eating, family, gathering, hubby getting the day off to be with us. While I sit here and reflect on 2014 I am near tears. This year was not my favorite. It was one of the worst years of my almost 37 to date. And still...there is more than enough to be truly thankful for.

So what am I thankful for? My family. My kids are healthy and the ones in school are doing well. The flu recently hit our house and it wasn't so bad. Everyone made it through without incident. My kids are well behaved and kind and respectful. My husband is still my best friend. We have been together for over 12 years and I know in my heart that we will grow old together and have a big pile of grandbabies someday. (Hopefully not for a long, long time, though.) He works hard and provides for us which allows me to be a stay at home mom. A fact that I am grateful for every single day. There are not good enough words to thank him for this. It is a blessing to say the least. My Mother-In-Law. She has helped us so much and comes over to give me a break sometimes. That is pretty priceless. My Mom. I won't get into all the reasons here in this post or we would be here all day and I'm sure you all have plenty to do. And my Dad. Not my story to tell but I hope he knows that I think about him everyday and am wishing him the best.

My home. We moved this year and with the help of our amazing realtors we were able to find exactly what our family needed. With the help of our family and friends we were able to move a household of 7 people and 3 pets and I was dreading it. It all worked out.

My friends. I have some of the best friends a woman could ask for. They are so much fun and are wonderful listeners. Calgon take me away! Right, Nikki?

I have a roof over my head and plenty of food to prepare for all my peeps. We don't live extravagantly or anything but we have what we need and that is good. Real good.

I am thankful for Ashlyne's current condition. The cancer that had spread to her spine, lungs and throat are now gone and all that is left is the original tumor in her leg, which her family is hoping to find out asap is operable. (Ewing's Sarcoma)

I am thankful for my blog. I haven't been able to write in a couple of months because life has been so very busy. but I know it is here waiting for me whenever I need it.

I am thankful for my contributors so far to my Food With Love project. The generosity of others allows me to do what I love, which is cooking for others. I don't have the funds to buy groceries for another family on a regular basis so donations are very important to the cause. I have the time to cook and appreciate the help I have received so far. It means the world to me and the family that I cook for.

I am thankful today for a couple local ladies who have decided to feed the homeless kids of Anoka today. A whole Thanksgiving feast. And I love that they are allowing me to cook a few things and bring them by. Women after my own heart. I am really hoping this turns into an annual thing. I think it is a wonderful way to spend Thanksgiving. In my home we celebrate the Saturday before so this is exactly the kind of things I would like to do with my own kids on a day like today.

And there it is. I am looking forward to 2015 very much. I am ready to put 2014 behind me but am thankful for a day like today where I can look back and find the good in the bad. Today is a day of perspective for me. Hope yours is wonderful, too. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

My 16 Year Old's Room is Done!

Finally! Ha. Life got a little busy after I started this first bedroom project and it got pushed onto the back burner for a bit. But, today I finished...well mostly. I still have to paint an old desk we have white but no biggie. Soon.

We decided after moving into our new house three months ago that we would do each of the kids' bedrooms in order of age, oldest to youngest. It only seems fair since the oldest would typically be the first to move out and should get plenty of time to enjoy their new space.

I asked my oldest son what color he wanted his new bedroom to be and he said he didn't care and that I could just surprise him. Oh darn! I sure do hate picking out paint colors...NOT! This was very fun for me to do actually. I know his favorite color is red so I started from there. I also took into consideration things I already had to work with lying around. I am pretty thrifty and like to reuse and re-purpose whenever I can. There is never a huge budget to work with.

The room was pretty plain when we moved in. I love a fresh palette. Here are some before pictures:


Hey, there is that desk that I still need to paint white! 



Like I said, pretty plain.

I found this next picture of a cool kid bedroom online and used it as my inspiration for this project. It did not have links to any information on their own color choices and such so I had to wing it.


Image from: http://decorativebedroom.com/stylish-and-modern-bedroom-ideas-for-teen-boys/

As for the new paint colors, I purchased a gallon of Behr California Poppy for the red color and I still had some leftover Behr Broadway for the black color from when I painted the Music Room so I only needed to purchase a quart more of that. As for the white, I just used some old white paint that the previous owners of our house had left for us. How's that for thrifty?





I really liked the metallic touches in the inspirational picture so I went to Amazon.com and found a pretty inexpensive Diamond Plate stick on wall border.


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007TN9T0S/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I pulled out all of the old nails and screws and then filled and sanded all of the blemishes on the walls. I painted like crazy and got a little help putting on the sticky wall border. I used a comforter and pillow set I already had that wasn't in use anymore. I repainted an old book shelf and chair (and the desk soon). I recovered the seat cushion of the old chair. I also covered the Papsan chair cushion with an old duvet cover we had until I find a new perfect cushion in my price range. I am very patient and the right thing will present itself, eventually. I also had a set of six small black picture frames that I had never used before just collecting dust in my craft closet and four antique looking wall plates with pictures of coffee cups on them. My son loves coffee so I figured, why not?

After all that, I ended up with a pretty cool room for my oldest son, if I do say so myself. What do you think?






So, there it is folks. I will keep my eyes open for cool decorative things, like maybe a hubcap clock, neon sign, Papasan cushion, etc. All in all I am very proud of this finished room. I hope he loves it, too!

If you liked this post, you may also like: Music Room Makeover

And, if you would like to keep up with my home decorationg projects, you can find me on Pinterest!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Pick Your Switch

Image from: http://vanriggins.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/discipline-in-kids-ministry/


Pick your switch. My siblings and I heard this line quite a few times when we were growing up. "Pick your switch" meant that we were in serious trouble. We were to head straight out to the back yard and choose which switch (stick of appropriate size) we were to be spanked with. We were to bring it to our parent right away and they would methodically remove the stems and leaves while we watched and waited for our inevitable punishment. Other times it was a belt, a wooden spoon or a ping pong paddle. It wasn't just our parents, it was many kids' parents. It was the daycare provider. A school teacher might even have tried similar at times. That was just the way it was. We're talking late seventies, early eighties and maybe a little longer.

Not all parents chose to discipline in this way back then but I do believe it was a little more of the norm at that time. And before that, when my parents were children, it was a whole lot worse. The discipline that my siblings and I received as children was a toned down version of the discipline that our parents received at the hands of our grandparents and their communities. I believe my parents held back a bit. Trying not to hurt us in the same ways that their parents may have hurt them because they loved us and were making an effort to parent differently. A conscious effort. I believe that our generation is trying to do the same.

I do not spank my kids. I never break out the belt or the spoon or anything like that. I hold no ill will towards my parents for spanking me any which way when I was a child. That being said, I also do not feel that my parents ever crossed a dangerous invisible line. There was no blood or broken skin. They spanked hard enough to sting, to make us cry and be sore for a little while. All in the hopes that we would think hard about what we had done wrong and hopefully get the point and never do the same action again. In my humble opinion, it didn't really work in that way. We very much disliked being spanked but we didn't think about being spanked the next time we were tempted by something naughty. Spanking was futile.

When my oldest two children were very young I attempted to spank a couple of times. It did not work.  I was only using my hand and their cute little butts were covered in clothes or a pull up or whatever. My heart wasn't in it and they probably felt close to nothing. I  actually think they found it more interesting than deterring. It also dawned on me that what I was attempting to accomplish was silly. Just plain silly in a common sensical kind of way. I spend my days teaching my children to be kind and thoughtful, that hitting someone is never the solution and that hurting someone is wrong. And yet I tried to show them right from wrong by hitting them? So stupid when I really got to thinking about it.

When I need to discipline any of my five children now, and for the last maybe fourteen years or so after I wised up, I use different forms of punishment depending on age and the severity of their infraction. We use timeouts, redirection, grounding from different things and for different lengths of time, strongly worded conversations in a very firm tone, reflection on situations and every once in a while a slap to the back of the hand. The hand slap is saved only for those times in which they are about to cause serious harm to themselves or others. If one tries to stick a fork in the electrical socket, they are probably going to get a slap to the hand, one time and not hard enough to do any physical damage. Our choices of discipline seem to be working and I have pretty well behaved children. I understand that not all children, and parents for that matter, are alike. We need to choose what is right for our own family dynamic. At the same time we need to take into consideration the standards of the society in which we choose to live too.

The world is so different now. I am not just talking about how parents discipline their children. We can look at all kinds of things that used to be done differently back in the day. Car seats and seat belt safety. Work place safety regulations. Equal opportunity employment. Government operations. Prescription drug studies and distribution. The list literally goes on and on. What am I getting at? The blatant truth here is that we as people and as a society are constantly evolving and learning from our mistakes. Just because something was done a certain way say fifty years ago does not mean that it was the right way. We learn and we change and we move forward more educated and most times safer.

That being said, I am also aware that we are not all born with common sense. We are not all born with a self awareness and will power or even the ability to see things within ourselves that we would like to change and then to follow through with it. If we could all do that then the world would be a much different place. And this right here is why we have ever changing rules, regulations and laws. Someone needs to step in at times to help those who do not see the damage that they do. Kind of like the whole somebody-ruined-it-for-everybody thing. Silly example but long ago I worked for a popular restaurant chain and we, the employees, were allowed to stay after work and have a couple cocktails if we wished. That is until somewhere, in some other state, an employee had his couple cocktails, went home, decided climbing a ladder for whatever reason was a good idea and then fell off said ladder causing serious injury to himself. After that, nation wide, we were no longer allowed to stay and have a drink after work. The restaurants way of protecting us from ourselves and probably themselves from a big lawsuit. Right or wrong, this is just how the world works.

As for my opinion on the whole Adrian Peterson Fiasco? What he did was probably wrong. I say "probably" only because I do not know the whole story. I only know the bits and pieces that I have read about here and there in the media. And of course the swarms of comments by regular folk with their ten cents. Honestly, I do believe in the whole innocent-until-proven-guilty thing. So, I am going to sit back and let the authorities do what they need to do to solve this situation. I have to have faith in them because I choose to be an American and live in this country. If we ever feel they are doing wrong by us, venting on Facebook and the like is no way to make a change. Just sayin'.

While we are on the subject of Adrian Peterson and his lapse of judgement when spanking his young son with a stick and causing physical harm, allow me to add some perspective of my own. The only reason this is such a big deal is because he is famous. He is famous and got caught. Therefore, huge shit storm amongst the masses. Seriously? Take a moment and sit back from your screen. Think about your family, your coworkers, your neighbors, your fellow church goers. Adrian is not alone here. This kind of discipline still happens all of the time, all around us every day and usually behind closed doors. Not always closed. I have come across my fair share of parents out in public who seem not to have a care about who sees them doing this that and the other to their children for the whole world to see. But most of the time they don't talk about it. They don't sit at their desk at work and announce to their fellow office workers that they gave it to their kid real good the previous evening. They tone their story down or they keep the nitty gritty details to themselves and don't share at all. Why? Because deep down inside they know that many of us don't want to hear that and would probably disagree with their choice of discipline. Yet, like so many, they don't have it in themselves to change their ways. Sad but true.

So, yes, what Adrian supposedly did, like so many others still do all around us every single day, is wrong. We can sit at our screens and judge them until the cows come home and our faces turn blue. It won't solve anything. We need to leave the judging up to the judges. That is their job to define where the dangerous invisible line is drawn. And if we do not agree with how he/they are judged than we, as people and as a society, can get up off of our collective asses and make a difference where it really counts. We can lead by example. We can write letters to our government agencies. We can find or create support networks where citizens could get the education and the resources they may need to make a change in themselves. We can do all sorts of things. But judging ain't one.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Insignificant 9/11 Story

Image from: http://framework.latimes.com/2012/07/19/world-trade-center-july-1986/


September 11, 2001: It was a regular ol' morning during my former life. I had recently decided to go back to college starting in late August 2001. I was a young mother with two sons ages three and one. I was still with their father at this time, living in a tiny two bedroom apartment in a not so great part of town. I considered myself an average American and still do. Just living life, day by day, hoping for the American Dream someday.

My long time boyfriend was already gone for the day, either at school or at work, I really don't remember. My boyfriend's brother's on again off again girlfriend came over in the morning to watch our sons while I went over to the local community college for my morning Biology class. I was, of course, too busy to turn on the television in the mornings. I drove to school listening to a CD in my car instead of the radio. Arriving at school just before class began, I cut straight through the courtyard and into the Science building without stopping in the cafeteria for my usual morning cup of cheap coffee. Class began at 9:00 AM. I remember my professor was just a couple minutes late. Hindsight has me guessing he had just found out about the attacks in New York and kept his poker face on for us, the students, keeping us in the dark for almost two whole hours so we would concentrate. Class was done right around 11:00 AM and I swung by the cafeteria before I headed home.

It was not even lunch time yet but the room was completely packed...and nearly silent. The chairs were full and all pulled up near the televisions. Students and staff sitting completely still and staring open mouthed up at the screens. I stepped closer, tentatively, to see what the big deal was. I remember feeling nervous in my stomach. It didn't take long to catch on. The news channel just kept playing the footage over and over from different angles. I only stood there for a couple of minutes and each time they showed the planes hit the buildings all I could think was that they were showing us people dying, over and over. Those buildings had been full of life. Everyone had already shown up for work that morning. I was instantly nauseous. Usually, in a situation like that I would change the channel, wait to read the news story or forget about it all together. I prefer not to watch people or children or animals being hurt in any way if I can avoid it. I do not condone it's excessive coverage and try not to support these kinds of stories in any way. But this day...this day was different.

I didn't stick around to eat and study in the cafeteria that day. I got in my car and drove home to my babies as fast as I legally could. I turned on my own television and was slowly educated on the tragic events of the morning. I hugged my babies more than usual. I was consumed by the news for the rest of the day, into the evening and then the wee hours of the next morning. I cried off and on. I didn't know anyone involved. I was crying for the strangers lost, the families left behind and the new world we were sure to be heading into. Far away news stories don't usually effect me like that. Still, I cried for my own children and for the unpredictable world I raise them in.

Fast forward thirteen years. Does that event still effect me? Yes. Yes it does. Today is the anniversary. If I had my way today, my family and I would be hiding. I would have asked my husband to take the day off of work. I would have kept all of the children home from school. We would have stayed home and had a nice day together, hiding away from the world and it's hideousness at times. But that is no way to live. I can't live that way. I would never make my family live that way. I do not feel like this every year but the world is still not at ease. Especially in recent months. ISIS claims that they will be here soon. They may or they may not. They may be here already. Any which way, I must go on with everyday life. I will not project unhealthy fear onto my family. I will not allow the bad guys of the world to have that power over me. It is truly out of my control. But, I am a mom and surely not the only one who has crazy thoughts now and again, however out of our control the situations may be. We lay awake at night and think of everything. Everything.

So, why bother sharing my insignificant 9/11 story? Because I am convinced that I am not alone. I am not the only American mom or parent that has thoughts like these. Not the only one who lays awake at night hoping and praying that my children never have to experience a day in the world like 9/11. I am not the only one who on a day like today almost doesn't let go of the child they are about to send away on the school bus, off into this crazy world that keeps us on our toes. And definitely not the only one who counts down the minutes until their children and their significant other makes it home at the end of the day, unscathed and unchanged. I just choose to write about mine as it helps me get through days like these.

So, in remembrance of those lost and those effected, here's to you and to us and to them. I will never forget.

(Note: The photo I chose for this post was not from that day but still represented what I wanted it to.)




Friday, September 5, 2014

Me Soup!

I make stuff up. As a parent, I mean. Always looking for creative ways to keep the day on track and the kids as content as possible. All in the name of parental sanity. I have a sneaking suspicion that I am not the only one.

When my teenagers were little there was a time where they both decided they no longer liked bath time. Ugh. I am not exactly sure why. They take many more baths in the summer time when they are outside getting good and dirty more often. It wasn't like baths were a new thing around here. They didn't seem scared really. Maybe it was a control thing. Maybe they were just testing me out. But, I was getting so tired of the battle most nights. One night a light bulb came on in my head and that is when I started playing 'Me Soup'.

There is an old Shel Silverstein poem called Me Stew.

Image from: http://lynnerickardsauthor.wordpress.com/tag/shel-silverstein/

My kids knew the word soup better than stew so I went with that. I remember saying something along the lines of, "That's it, enough, up to the bathroom, I have an idea." Trying to get them all excited for their bath. I gathered up a pile of toy vegetables and such from their toy kitchen area and made a quick stop by the kitchen for a couple of wooden spoons from my utensil drawer. To the bathroom we went. To play 'Me Soup' in the tub. And it worked!




Now, they already had a bazillion bath toys. Kids get bored, though. I have found that it is better if I rotate the toys in and out of their worlds every so often so that they find them exciting and like new again, each time I bring them back out. This game was just what they needed to adjust their kid-skewed outlook on bath time.

Today, fast forwarding quite a few years, my twin toddlers were cranky as all get out and I decided 'Me Soup' was the answer. They got to play it for the first time today. It was great!




They both had a very good time and cheered up significantly. Whew! My morning has been saved.

I do not have pictures of the other thing I used to do for my second son. Back when he was younger, and 'Me Soup' was old news to him, we had Disco Bath Night. He had one of those plastic disco balls in his bedroom. I brought it into the bathroom with us and plugged it in on the opposite side of the bathroom, far from the tub for safety purposes, along with his radio. We turned out the lights and he took his bath while we listened to some tunes and fun colored lights glowed all over the bathroom. That one was a big hit, too. Like I said, whatever gets us through the day sometimes.

I would love to hear any of your fun bath time ideas. Feel free to comment and share how you stay sane at bath time. Bye for now!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Bulk Breakfasts for Your Back-to-School Kids

School is back in session, full swing. We, as parents, are crazy busy and anything that makes the mornings run smoothly is a win-win situation. I would like to share with you something I tried out last year that went very well. Today I decided to do it again.

Now, in my home I will admit that most mornings we do cold cereal and milk. You know, the good ones, the sugary ones, the ones in the bright colored boxes and bags. My kids love them. I know I aspire to be a super mom so please don't judge. Ha! I cook for my kids all of the time. Healthy balanced meals and all that jazz. I can be quite strict about it actually. But for breakfast, most of the time, I let them have a little fun. Sometimes they want a little something more, though. With five kids all getting up and eating at different times throughout the morning, dragging my tired butt outta bed to make a big fat breakfast for the whole fam damily just isn't in the cards for me. So, here we are.

A couple hours tops and you can make home cooked breakfast foods that are super fast and very easy. You can serve your little ones within minutes or the bigger kids can get it for themselves. Who doesn't want that?!

Today I decided to make French Toast and Egg-A-Muffins. I will probably get to a couple batches of banana pancakes later today also. I did not invent these recipes, obviously, but I did name the egg one for myself because I have no idea which website my dear hubby got the original recipe from in the first place. He found it back when he was on a P90X kick a couple of years ago and I thought these were down right genius.

For the French Toast you will need eggs, bread, a splash of milk, a dash of salt and some cinnamon. You will need approximately one egg for every two slices of bread. Today I used a dozen eggs and was able to make twenty five slices of French Toast.




Beat together all of the ingredients, except for the slices of bread, in a shallow container. Dip each slice of bread, coating both sides of the slice with the egg mixture and place on a greased or non-stick pan (I prefer to use my electric skillet for these). Heat until cooked through flipping them each once.




Allow the slices to cool completely and place them in a freezer safe zip lock baggie or airtight container of your choice.



The kids can take out a couple slices in the mornings and put them right into the toaster. So easy. My kids like syrup on theirs. But, when my kids were little I didn't allow them to have syrup yet so I would spread a thin layer of applesauce or any of their fruit jarred baby foods. They all loved it.

I used white bread today because that is what I happened to have in the cabinet. If you are looking for a slightly healthier option, use wheat bread instead. If you want it to be an extra special savory treat, use cinnamon raisin bread. It is so tasty. I pick up a loaf whenever they are on sale at the bakery of my local grocery store.

And now the Egg-A-Muffins! Yummy! You have your protein and possibly dairy and vegetable groups covered with this one. I find it easiest to do at least a dozen at a time. For this you will need a dozen large eggs, a splash of milk, a little salt and pepper and then any meats, veggies and/or cheeses of your choosing. Today I used diced ham, onion and shredded mozzarella.




Beat together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Add the diced meat and vegetables if you are using any. Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup, scoop and pour the egg mixture into a greased muffin pan (do not use paper liners). Be sure to scoop some of the meats and vegetables into each one as they can sometimes sink to the bottom of the bowl.




Sprinkle one or two tablespoons of shredded cheese onto the top of each one. I highly recommend placing your muffin pan onto a cookie sheet just in case any egg batter dribbles over the edges. I really hate cleaning out my oven. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes. The tops will be nice and round and golden delicious.




When they are done, allow them to cool completely and then place them into a freezer safe zip lock baggie, same as the French Toast.




When you are ready to enjoy one (or two or ten), just microwave one for 45 - 90 seconds, depending on if they have been thawed out or are still frozen. Again, so easy!




What I especially love about this recipe is that the filling choices and combinations are endless. Sausage, crumbled bacon, ham, peppers, onions, all the different kinds of cheese. Have fun with this one and make what you like.

So, now I am off to do the same with banana pancakes. My kids can pop them right into the toaster too. I hope you found this helpful and that your kids enjoy some hearty home cooked breakfast foods every once in a while! Love all around!










Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Action for Ashlyne!

Custom artwork by: Jesse Varela


Reaching out for help here. A very good girlfriend of mine and her husband are going through a very tough time right now. I knew them both back in high school. Everyone went their separate ways and lived lives after graduation. They found each other again and were married last February. I am so very happy for them. They were truly meant to be. Between the two of them they have seven beautiful children. About a month ago they received some devastating news. Her husband's ten year old daughter from his first marriage has just been diagnosed with Stage 4 Ewing's Sarcoma (cancer). I don't even know what to say.

Our community is coming together in the most inspiring ways. So many are reaching out and doing what they can. I write for you all today to ask for your help too. No matter where you are or where you come from, maybe you can help us make a difference for this courageous girl and her family.

Here are the options:

There is a fund set up at TCF Banks. If you wish to donate towards medical bills and other related expenses, please send a check to The Ashlyne Thurber Benefit at TCF Bank 7155 E Point Douglas Drive,
Cottage Grove, MN 55016. 

There is also a GoFundMe site. If you would rather donate through this route, please visit  http://www.gofundme.com/d472sk and do so. Every single cent will help this family during the truly difficult journey they have ahead of them. I can not thank you enough.

If you are local (Minnesota/Twin Cities) I am hosting a fundraiser benefit this month in Brooklyn Park. Please feel free to e-mail me with questions or for details about the event. If you want to contribute to the event in some way, I would be willing to discuss that too. ginnylouden at gmail dot com

Custom artwork by: Jesse Varela


Thank you so much for your time. Keep Miss Ashlyne in your prayers. Love to you and yours. <3




Sunday, August 24, 2014

I Respectfully Decline

Image From: http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/08/12/icebucketchallenge


The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I knew I would be nominated eventually. Ice buckets have spread like wildfire in the social media sites. I understand what and why people are doing this for ALS and I respect it, I really do. I also must respectfully decline to participate. I am in no way trying to be a party pooper or unsupportive. Please allow me to explain.

I volunteer all year for causes close to my heart and my world. I help my family whenever I can. I volunteer at my childrens' schools and in the community as often as my life allows me to. I bake cookies for The Aliveness Project during their Holiday Basket Program, upwards of sixty dozen each year. I hold a food drive at my home each November. I have also recently taken on a project for an amazing local couple that I am friends with who just had their ten year old daughter diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Any money that I have to spare, which is not very much as a family of seven on one income, at this time will be focused on preparing meals for them as a family and organizing a fundraising charity event for them in the very near future. I am at my limit of what I can do.

If you or someone you know has or is battled/battling ALS, I am so very sorry and I wish you the best from the bottom of my heart. I am glad someone has shed more light in recent days on your struggles and that you are finally getting the attention you deserve. I just can't help you right now. My plate is full and I am tapped. I hope you understand.

I don't even know if anyone will read this but I have one more thing I would like to say. Look around your life, your community, your personal world. Not just today when a cause is thrust in your face and smothered across the interwebs. Look every single day. You may know someone or have a friend of a friend, a co-worker or even a neighbor that could use your help too. Not just at Christmas time or around other major holidays. There are people, families and organizations out there that could use a little help all year long. Find something or someone that truly means something to you and see how you can help. It doesn't take much and your efforts would really go a long way. I am not telling you all of the things that I do during the year to brag or to toot my own horn. I am purely giving you an example of how you too could make a real difference all year long. And it is so easy. I guarantee that someone out there is waiting for you. Just look. Don't wait for a challenge. Challenge yourself.

So, thank you for the nomination but I hope you understand why I must decline. Peace and Love to you and yours.

Monday, August 18, 2014

10 Things I Want My Teenaged Son to Know Now That He is Dating

My first born, my oldest son, soon to be sixteen, officially has his first real girlfriend. I got this. I have been mentally preparing myself for this for most of his life. Otherwise, I might just have been a wreck. I know deep down in my heart that I have raised a good boy, a good person...a really good man. But, I am a mother to the core so now that the time is in the here and now, of course I have some last words of wisdom for him as I send him out into the world for his next chapter of life. These words are for him.

Image from: http://www.teenink.com/art/photographs/48447/Love/


Remember the Little People

New love. Young love. So easy you will fall. Into it. Deep into it. Just remember that there are still other people in your life that need you and love you. Balance the times with your girlfriend and with the rest of your family and friends as best you can. You will not be able to spend every single day with her and that needs to be okay, with both of you. Time apart will be good for you both and the relationships you already had in place need to be nourished and cherished too. You will still have school and homework, sports and other extracurriculars, mutual and different friends. Perhaps a job soon, too? Be balanced.

Don't Forget Who You Are

Stay true to who you are. You are good and you are decent. Do not try to change for someone else ever. Do not allow someone to cause you self doubt. You will both have things in common and other things that are not. It is okay to not enjoy all of the same things together. That is what everyone else in your life is for. Share your time and your interests with many and all of your relationships will flourish while not losing yourself in the process. Be you.

Your Happiness Matters Too

You get to be happy too. Your gut reactions will be to make decisions based on her: what she thinks, what she is doing, who her friends are, what they will think and say. It may feel like it at times but please remember that she is not the Sun and you are not the Earth that revolves around her. Do what makes you happy and continue to do so. Maybe you like adventure movies and she likes romantic comedies? Take turns choosing what to see. Be happy.

Don't Feed the Drama

I was in high school and I remember all too well what it was like. Sometimes the Drama Monster rears it's ugly head. Do not feed that monster. That monster will eat you alive given the chance. Focus on what is important and real. What you can and cannot control. Who you do or do not trust. Remember what you value and hold onto those things. If someone truly cares about you they will not drag you unwillingly into the clutches of the Monster. Be strong.

Don't Be a Creep

This one goes both ways really. Do not try to control her or change her. When you speak to her do so with kindness and compassion. Don't go through her phone or stalk her Facebook profile. Without trust in each other you have nothing. Trust her to talk to other guys and have guy friends. Feel secure with your place in her life. Never lay a hand on her in anger, no matter how frustrating teen aged girls can be at times. Be in control of your actions and your words. No means no and patience is a virtue. Be virtuous.

Stand Out

Anyone can do dinner and a movie and sometimes it's the perfect date. But, sometimes you can do better than that. Stand out and apart from the other guys. Have fun and try new things together. A picnic in the park or laser tag? A hike in the woods or a day at the water park? Cook her dinner all by yourself. You are young and this is your time to have fun and be silly. Life is short and grown up responsibilities will sneak up on you in a flash. Enjoy your youth. Be creative.

Chivalry is Not Dead

It's 2014, I know. Times have changed more than I can say but that doesn't mean old school is a bad thing. Bring her flowers and open doors for her. Carry her books and borrow her your jacket when she gets cold. Rub her feet and hold her hand. She can be as independent as she wants to be but a little love, attention and care from the guy she's into will mean a whole lot. Be that guy.

It Might Not Last

No teen wants to hear this, I am aware. I was there once upon a time. But it is the truth just the same. You may get your heart broken. This may actually happen many times and it is completely and totally normal. Yes, some first loves make it and live happily ever after and that is sweet and special in it's own way but most likely there will be many girlfriends and loves throughout your life. Each will be it's own thing and teach you new things about yourself. Your heart will break and become well again, with time. I will be here for you each and every time with a dry shoulder to cry on, a Hershey Bar in hand and an open mind. You will probably get your heart broken. Beware.

Love Your Future Children

And my future grandchildren, to be frank. We've had the talks. I have been preparing you for years. You are a good boy and I know it in my heart. But, love is blind and sometimes all consuming. Remember these words. I prefer you abstain from sex. I am not saying abstain until marriage because sex is too important in a marriage to not be sure. But before you go there you need to be pretty darn sure that she is the one for you. Birth control, and contraception in general, are not 100% effective. Think of the life you wish to give your future children. Think of the life you wish to lead. Think of the girl you love and whether or not you would trust her explicitly to raise your children with all of your same values, principals and wishes. If you have any doubts, I beg of you, do not have sex with her. There are soooo many other things you two could do besides real sex. Protect, respect and love the children you will have someday. By being responsible in this way you are already one step ahead in the game of parenting. And if you absolutely can not wait, trust me to listen, understand and send you out the door with what you need to do things safely. Be prepared.

Someday, Someone WILL Love You More Than I Do

I have always heard the opposite but I do not agree. Some say that no one will ever love you as much as your own mother. For you I hope differently. I adore you. You are everything to me. I am proud of you. I live my life for you and your four younger siblings. But, someday you will find the one. I hope for you all of the love and happiness a guy could have. Someday you will leave home and some other day you will make a home with someone else. You should be so lucky to have the love and adoration of an amazing woman and wife. A blessed life. A true partner forever. I hope she loves you more than I do. Be loved.

Love,

Mom






























Monday, August 11, 2014

Toddlers & Soup

I enjoy making different kinds of homemade soups and stews. With Fall right around the corner I already find myself making them more often. But when it comes to feeding my twin toddlers soups and stews it can get quite messy. I do not enjoy messy all that much. So, I have a new system now and I thought I would share.

From Scratch Chicken Noodle Soup


It's all about the butts. Bread butts that is. Often times, when I make soups, I make a loaf of bread to go along with it. Sometimes it's cheater loaves (frozen and baked), sometimes it's homemade bread and other times it is just butts from the loaf of bread in the cabinet. Any way you slice it, save those butts for the toddlers if you can.



Cheater loaf of White Bread


Ladle the soup, stew, chili or what have you onto a bread butt (or thick slice of bread). The broth will soak right into the bread and the noodles, veggies and meats will all be on top. This is a very easy way to get the little ones to eat their soups. Much less mess and no need to make them an alternative dinner...in case that's what you do. Hee hee. My boys like this kind of meal very much.






Hope you have found this tip useful! Have a Happy Monday!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

What's That?

What's that? To the right of the screen. Is that an ad on my blog? Why yes. Yes it is.

I have been blogging for two and a half years now. I have not allowed ads on my blog, until now. For a few reasons:

1. I do not like clutter. I am a neat freak and this is not something that a mother who has five children, a husband and three pets in the home can usually control. But my blog...well, the blog is all mine. I can keep it as neat, tidy and clutter free as my heart desires.

2. I have visited many other blogs, mom blogs in particular, and have noticed that some of them are completely overrun by ads and links and the like. The screen just gets too "busy". I understand it but at the same time I want my blog to be more about the actual content than the ads. I want my readers to come here, feel at ease and not be bombarded with so much in-your-face advertising.

3. I have done my research. I have looked into ads over the years and hadn't found one yet that I could really stand behind. I was contacted via email by The Bouqs Co. earlier this week and before responding, I had to look them up and see what they were all about. I liked what I saw. A lot.


Image from The Bouqs Co. website. Their "Confetti" bouquet


So, who is The Bouqs Co.? An online flower shop! I know, I know, there are tons of flower shops. So why The Bouqs? Firstly, they are sooooo reasonably priced. When I was still a working gal, one of my duties was to order and send flowers whenever an employee had a baby, retired, lost a family member and so on. On average, a decent bouquet cost anywhere from $45 to $70 or even more, not including delivery fees. At The Bouqs a standard bouquet, as seen in the picture above, is $40 and includes free shipping if you have an account. An account just means you sign in with your email address and password. Pretty harmless, right?

What makes The Bouqs flowers different?







Like I said, this is something I can get behind. I absolutely love receiving fresh flowers. It is one of my favorite gifts and I actually don't get them very often. I will be receiving one free "Confetti" bouquet delivered to me this Friday and I am so excited to see them in person. If they are anything compared to the pictures and reviews I have seen and read then I know I am in for a real treat. I will be taking pictures and doing a review of my own after I receive them and I am looking forward to it very much.

So, what does this mean for you? Well, that depends. If you also like what you see here then I will ask a favor. Next time you need or want to send someone amazingly beautiful eco-friendly flowers, please come here to my blog and click on the ad. Easy as that. Bookmark this post if you would like it to be even easier and I would appreciate it very much.

Thank you to The Bouqs Co. for trusting me to represent your product. I am looking forward to this project!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Some Days...

Some days...they really try my patience. I try not to loose my cool. I take deep breathes. I step away for a moment. I redirect their energy. I talk in a sing-song happy voice. I do it all. Sometimes I snap.

I raise my voice. I might slap a hand if there is danger. I put on my angry face. Sometimes they persist. Sometimes it feels like there is nothing more I can do...to make them happy. To make them get along. To make them stop the high pitched incessant screaming. Timeouts be damned.

So, I take them to their room. Mommy needs a break. They need a break. My brain needs a break.

Suddenly, I begin to bake cookies. It will make them happy. It will make me happy. And if they aren't...then I'll know it's not me. 'Cuz what kid doesn't like some freshly baked cookies?! At that point, what more could I possibly do? And at least then there will be cookies.

Image from: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/04/chewy-low-fat-banana-nut-oatmeal.html

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Julie & Julia: Narcissism With a Slice of Humble Pie

Image from: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/juliejulia/


The movie Julie & Julia is one of the reasons I started blogging. I watched it for the first time the summer before I began writing my blog and it resonated with me in a big way. I watch it over every now and again because I love the way it makes me feel and also to refresh my memory on why I began this writing journey in the first place. If you have been here with me from the beginning, you may remember that writing was one of my Tangerine Dreams. One of the things I loved to do but never carved the time out for myself to really do it or have the confidence that my words would not be complete rubbish. Life gets hairy every once in a while and I unwillingly step away from the blog for a bit and when I do I miss it terribly. I do understand this is just how life works sometimes, though. It seems that life is beginning to cooperate more nowadays and I am excited for the possibilities. If you are a new reader, I want to give you a heart felt welcome and also say that I hope what you read here makes you want to stick with me and keep coming back for more.


Image from: http://adribarrcrocetti.com/main/2011/10/26/mastering-the-art-of-french-cooking-the-revolution-was-televised/


For Julie, in the movie, she takes on a specific project with her blog, deciding to cook every single recipe from Julia Child's cook book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, in one years time. The movie tells parallel stories, bouncing back and forth between Julie and Julia's lives lived many years apart. This is all based on Julie's real life journey and I absolutley loved the whole concept very much. She goes though her ups and downs, her trials and tribulations. Finding out about herself and her relationships all along the way while finally feeling proud of something she had done and actually saw through until the end. It was beautiful and inspiring. This story will stick with me forever.

When I wrote my first couple of posts years ago I did not really think anyone would read them. You know, besides my Mom or my besties and so on. I was doing it for me and that felt really  good. I rarely did things for myself. I mean, come on, I'm a mom. If you are a parent you can relate wholeheartedly, I am sure. Everything I did was for them. This is not always a bad thing but if you let it go on for too long, like me, you might start to feel pieces of yourself slipping away. This blog was exactly what I needed to start bringing the real Ginny back to life. Now here we are.

Blogging does seem to embrace a level of narcissism. Putting yourself out into the world, sharing the nitty gritty details at times. I am not always sure how I feel about this. I do my best to not come across as shallow or feel like I am bragging, ever. I try to keep my writing as close and as true to real life as I possibly can. I do my best to incorporate the goods and the bads. I have always been a caretaker by nature and I feel that my blog helps me express this to anyone who decides to drop by, even if only for a while. I guess only you can be the judge on whether I am getting it right, in that respect. When I write, I think a long time about my words. I make sure that I say what I mean and that I mean what I say. I don't want to misrepresent myself in any way.

When I share something with you on my blog it will only be for a handful of reasons. Writing out my thoughts allows me to work through some things in my life. Sometimes it allows me to put certain things into perspective or helps me to cope with something difficult or trying. Other times I write because I know that I am not alone. There are millions of people in the world just like me and maybe by sharing something here I can help them in some minuscule way. Just maybe. Lastly, sometimes I write about doing things that I really just love to do. I enjoy being a mother with my entire being. I cook and bake. I sing and play a little guitar. I dabble in the arts, making and creating different kinds of things. And, I love planning and hosting events for my five children and extremely extended family. These things are my happy place and this blog was all about helping me find the happy places that were pushed under the rug in my measly attempts to be a Super Mom. What I have discovered so far is that you can't be a Super Mom if you are not completely happy and true to yourself. For me this is a constant work in progress but I am getting there.

So, to all of you new readers, that is what I am about. This is why I started and how I got here, so far. I hope you enjoy your time with me and I look forward to the journey ahead. Thanks for stopping by and please come again.



** Here are some other posts you might enjoy...

Most popular: http://ginnylouden.blogspot.com/2013/04/desperations-of-wounded-mother.html

Most controversial: http://ginnylouden.blogspot.com/2013/05/whos-parent.html

First post ever: http://ginnylouden.blogspot.com/2011/12/i-am-no-writer.html

One of my favorites: http://ginnylouden.blogspot.com/2012/02/little-lies-and-butterflies.html

My attempt at humor: http://ginnylouden.blogspot.com/2014/06/how-to-feel-like-kid-again-letter-from.html





Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Best Ever Coleslaw Recipe

I am kind of a snob when it comes to coleslaw. I hate everyone else's coleslaw but mine. Well, when I say "mine" I mean the coleslaw I was raised on. My Grandmother (rest in peace) made it for my Dad when he was little and he, in turn, made it for us. It is my favorite coleslaw EVER and everyone who eats it here, loves it too.

The great thing about coleslaw is that it goes with so many different foods. If you are looking for that perfect yet simple side dish for dinner or a potluck, look no further. This may turn out to be your go to food.




Best Ever Coleslaw Recipe

Ingredients:

1   16 oz bag tri-color coleslaw (or you can shred your own head of cabbage, green, red or both)
1 - 1 1/2  cups mayonnaise
3/4   cup sugar
3 Tbsps   cider vinegar

1. Place the slaw into a large bowl, preferably one with a lid.

2. Add the mayo, sugar and vinegar. Mix very well.

3. Taste it to see if you would like more mayo, sugar or vinegar. Add some if you do, little by little.

4. You can eat it right away but I prefer to cover it and place it in the fridge for at least 15 minutes or so, sometimes longer. It will get a little soupier and the flavors will incorporate better. Give it a good stir just before serving.


I make sure to use it up within a day or two, keeping it refrigerated in the meantime. If you like onions, try adding a small amount of finely chopped white or red onions. It's pretty darn good that way, too. Gives a nice little bite to it.

Happy eating! Let me know if you give it a try.





Sunday, August 3, 2014

Fresh Salsa Recipe

Mexican food and I are BFFs. I can't get enough and the more authentic, the better. I probably cook something Latin themed once a week; be it tacos, nachos, enchilada lasagna or what have you. Tortilla chips and salsa have been a staple in my home for at least twelve years. My second job, as a teen ages ago, was at a local Mexican restaurante that is no longer with us, Chi-Chi's. Not authentic really, more Tex-Mex style, but that doesn't bother me. I am an equal opportunity enjoyer of foods originating South of the border.

So, let's talk salsa. We were going through a ton of salsa, buying it every time I went to the grocery store. My husband and I decided to try making our own and it turned out delicious. We never buy jarred anymore. If there is a jar of salsa in my home, someone else brought it over. The homemade stuff is just too good, has no preservatives and we feel is slightly more cost effective. We took what we knew about salsas and combined it with with my experience from watching salsa being prepped at Chi-Chi's and this is what we came up with.




Fresh Salsa Recipe

Ingredients:

1   10 - 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
3 - 4   Roma tomatoes (or tomatoes of your choice)
1 - 2   medium onion(s)...We usually have yellow onions around but white or red would be tasty               too.
1/3 - 1/2   of a bunch of green onion
1/4 cup   chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 - 1/2 cup   sliced jalapenos, depending on how spicy you like your salsa (I used jarred jalapenos                       but you could use fresh ones, making sure to remove the stem, seeds and veins.)
1 Tbsp.   sea salt
2 Tbsp.   minced garlic

1. Pour the can of diced tomatoes into the blender.

2. Quarter the tomatoes and onions and add them to the blender along with all of the other fresh ingredients. I layer mine just a little.

3. Add the jalapenos, garlic and salt.

4. Blending speed will be up to you. Some people like their salsa chunkier and some like it soupier (That's a word, right?) I personally prefer mine a little chunkier so I use the pulse blending feature in order to have more control. I watch to make sure the veggies are getting pulled down into the blades. If they are not, I take the pitcher off the motor and give it a couple good shakes to mix the liquid and the veggies better and then pulse blend again until it is the consistency I like.

5. Now dip a chip in it and see what you think. Mmm. Good, huh?


That is basically it. I pour mine directly into an airtight container. You can keep this salsa in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Although, you may not have any left by then. (Insert wink here.)

You may have noticed something about my recipes, which are a new addition to my blog. To me, cooking is playing. I understand that when you are baking something it is important to stick to specific amounts of ingredients, like baking soda and such because some of those ingredients have very specific jobs or cause needed reactions that are imperative to having a cake, or what have you, turn out just right. When you are cooking, there is much more room for playing or improvisation. This is where cooking gets fun!

I won't always give you strict guidelines and amounts for ingredients. Only you will now if your family loves more cheese or more sauce or less green peppers. Cooking doesn't have to be hard. Recipes aren't the end all or be all of the food world. Get into the kitchen and play. You might just be pleasantly surprised at what you can come up with. And if it doesn't turn out any good...order a pizza and try again tomorrow ;-)

Love, hugs and other good stuff.






Friday, August 1, 2014

Easy Peasy Mini Pizzas Recipe

MY KIDS LOVE PIZZA!!! My Mom used to make us these mini pizzas when my five brothers and I were kids and I have been making them for mine since they could chew. This is one of the easiest dinners I make for them and goodness knows I love easy!

You can play with the ingredients for this recipe to make your family happy. Topping choices are endless and only you will know which veggies and meats your child(ren) will eat. Make the pizzas your own and have fun with it. Your kids would probably love to help you out in the kitchen, too.




Easy Peasy Mini Pizzas Recipe

Preheat oven to 350°

Ingredients:

1  pack of English muffins (6 count)...I really like the Sourdough ones but any will do.
1  14 oz. can or jar of pizza sauce
12 - 18 ozs.  shredded cheese of your choice
Any toppings you choose (optional)

** Note: If you are using meat, cook it up before hand. For example: ground beef, grilled chicken, Italian sausage, etc. If I am using ground beef, I brown one pound and season it to taste, sometimes adding minced garlic or diced onions, oregano and so on. Whatever I fancy that particular evening.

1. Open all of the English muffins and lay flat on a baking sheet, 12 pizzas total.

2. Spoon sauce evenly onto each English muffin.

3. If you are using any meats or veggies, add them now :-)

4. Pile 2 - 3 tablespoons of shredded cheese onto each pizza.

5. Bake in the oven for @ 10 - 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.


So easy! Sometimes I like to do a BBQ chicken version. Instead of pizza sauce you can use BBQ sauce. Add grilled chicken and garnish them with chopped cilantro and red onions. It is amazing!

Have fun in the kitchen with this one and please feel free to comment or share with me when you do! Peace.



Monday, July 28, 2014

Kielbasa & Ranch Potatoes Recipe

All of my kids love Kielbasa. I was bored of just simmering it in water and serving it with the same old sides all of the time so, I decided to come up with a better way to cook it that would make me happy as well. I do that, ya know. I make stuff up. I stare at my cabinets until something just comes to me. Frequently. Ha!



Kielbasa & Ranch Potatoes Recipe

Ingredients:

13 - 16 oz Kielbasa (or polish sausage, turkey kielbasa, whichever one you fancy...or have a coupon for...)
4 medium potatoes (again, your choice of potato, I get whatever is on sale)
1 cup frozen or 1 can kernel corn
1 medium onion
1 cup diced bell peppers or sweet peppers (any color, but I hate the green ones)
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
3 Tbsp. cooking oil
1 pouch Ranch seasoning powder

1. Heat cooking oil in skillet or pan. (I prefer my electric skillet for this dish)

2. Wash and then cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces (I leave the skin on for the nutrients) and put in the pan, add the minced garlic and give them a quick stir to coat in oil.

3. While the potatoes begin cooking, dice the onion and bell pepper. Add them to the pan along with the corn.

4. Cut the Kielbasa into bite sized pieces and add to the pan.

5. Sprinkle the Ranch powder over it all and stir it well to coat evenly. 

6. Cover and simmer at @ 325° and stir it occasionally for about 20 minutes or so, just until the potatoes are cooked to your liking. (Some people like theirs softer than others)

Makes @ 6 cups or so.

My kids like to have ketchup on theirs. I like mine with some shredded cheese on top, usually cheddar or colby jack. Maybe even a dash of Red Hot Sauce. This dish is a family favorite. I hope you and yours enjoy it, too!

Happy cooking!



Music Room Makeover

Well, we are moved into our new house and are all very happy here. It has been a literal life changer, for the better. Plenty of space for the seven of us and our dog and two cats. I have come along in the unpacking process nicely and we are down to the last boxes of random crap and junk that we are not quite sure if or what to do with yet. So, I'm feeling pretty good about all of that.

I purposely scheduled our house warming party for this weekend, one month and a couple of days since we moved in. It might be a little soon but I know myself very well and having a strict deadline for the unpacking is exactly what I needed to push myself to get it done.

We decided we are not going to do any real decorating, painting or projects before the party, with the exception of one room...the Music Room! I decided that this room should be painted right away, in case anyone decides jamming at some point during the party is a good idea. Music equipment can be a pain in the arse to haul around and we don't want to do it any more than we have to.

When we looked at this house during the showings, we knew right away that this particular room would make the perfect practice space. It is completely underground and has no window, great for keeping loud music from bothering our new neighbors. There is no real ceiling which I think is kind of cool, for what we are using the room for. It was painted a plain old beige color when we moved in; nothing spectacular to look at. A clean palette. I LOVE color and decided to pounce on the opportunity to try something new and bold.

I was at Home Depot a couple of months ago and decided to grab one of every paint brochure they had in anticipation of the new house...and who am I kidding? I really just wanted to drool over and dream about new paint colors. I found a color combination in a Behr brochure and felt it was perfect for this room. It would look great with the lights on or even with the lights dimmed down or with rope lighting, which is pretty fun when people are over playing music. Here is a snap shot of the page from that brochure (I apologize, the pictures in this post are not as quality as I wish they were):

Image from a Behr brochure

The colors are Majestic Orchid, Saffron Strands and Broadway. For the orchid color, I chose a satin finish with the hopes that fun lighting will reflect off of it nicely. Our room already has some built in shelving and a door panel for the utility box so I thought these colors would spiffy up the music room nicely. Here is how it turned out:






Now, all we have left to do is hang up some awesome rock and roll posters, mount guitar hangers to the walls and plug everything in. We will have a drum set soon, we just have to go pick it up and I'm pretty sure I saw those rope lights rolled up in the garage somewhere. That's it.

I love it so much. I find myself just sneaking in there and looking around a couple times a day just to soak it in. Ahh.

Thanks for stopping by and...Rock On!

** If you want to know more about the paint colors you see here or to keep up with my future home decorating projects, please stop by my Pinterest page and follow me. I have some fun DIY projects coming up in the near future. I would love to share them with you!
http://www.pinterest.com/ginnylouden/

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Perfectly Sticky White Rice Recipe



I love sticky white rice. I made some to go with the Sesame Ginger Chicken & Carrots I made for dinner this evening and I got to thinking about how long it took me to learn how to cook it just right. I failed a few times and ate some I wasn't happy with a few more times than that. I do not own a fancy rice steamer or anything. I thought about it in the past but decided that I don't cook rice enough to make the expense worthwhile. So, it was me, my sauce pan and practice.

Part of my problem is that I like to buy the real jasmine rice. I find it in the foreign foods section of my local grocery store or from random local Asian food markets.



There are not always cooking instructions on these bags and I have even had a few bags that didn't have any English wording on them at all. So, here I am, saving you the trouble of trials and errors. Whoopie!

Perfectly Sticky White Rice Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup Jasmine Rice
2 cups water

1. In a medium sauce pan with lid, stir together the rice and water. (I prefer non-stick pans here)

2. Heat to boiling while uncovered and then stir again.

3. Cover and reduce heat to very low, barely a simmer.

4. Leave it alone. Less is more when cooking sticky rice. Do not stir it. I know it's hard but seriously, put that spoon down. And maybe don't lift the lid a million times like I used to.

5. Simmer for @ 20 - 25 minutes or so. Keep an eye on it until you do not see water bubbling up around the grains anymore. 

6. When you no longer see water, remove from heat and leave covered until ready to use.

This will yield about 3 cups when fully cooked.


That is it. Pretty easy. I try not to stir it too much after it is done cooking in order to help retain the sticky. If you want it to look neat, try scooping the rice onto plates using an ice cream scooper. Gives it that cute rounded top.

I keep mine stored in an airtight container, like this:


I also make sure that my measuring cups are completely dry before scooping out any rice. Introducing moisture could lead to mold so it's better to be safe.

Thanks for stopping by and feel free to let me know when you try this out and how it works out for you. Peace!

Ginny's Fantastical Zucchini Craisin Bread Recipe

Good morning World! Adding recipes to my blog was on my To-Do list so, here is my first one. Enjoy and please let me know if you try it out...especially if you like it.

Ginny's Fantastical Zucchini Craisin Bread Recipe




Preheat oven to 350°

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 cup sugar
2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
1 egg
1/4 cup cooking oil
handful of Craisins (up to 1 cup)
1/2 cup of nuts (optional)

1. In a bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cloves and baking powder. Set aside.

2. In a separate mixing bowl or standing mixer, combine the sugar, zucchini and eggs until just mixed. Add in the oil and mix again.

3. Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.

4. Gently fold in the Craisins (and the nuts, if you are using any).

5. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan @ 5"x9"x3" (or any pan of similar size ie: 8x8, 9x9)

6. Bake in the oven for approx. 55 - 65 minutes or until a toothpick or butter knife inserted comes out clean.

7. Cool for about 10 - 15 minutes and enjoy. (I like mine sliced and covered in butter or spread.)

** Alterations: If you are looking for a heartier bread, try using half white flour and half whole wheat flour.

** Note: I keep mine in the refridgerator, heat up slices in the microwave as needed and use it all up within a few days.



You may have noticed that I use way more zucchini that other similar recipes. As a mom of five kids, I am always trying to find ways to get more veggies and nutrients into their bodies. Hiding them in delicious baked goods works so very well. I do the same with my carrot cake, banana breads and much more. I hope you enjoy this recipe. Feel free to comment about your experiences and/or share pictures on my Facebook page at:

https://www.facebook.com/SuperMomTangerineDreams

Find me on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/ginnylouden/

If you liked this post, you may also like Please DO Hide the Veggies.