Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ode to Joy

I was surfing the 'net the other day and came across a blog that asked the question,"What brings you joy?"  Oh that's an easy one I thought right away, but then almost immediately I drew a blank.  Seriously, I couldn't think of something that brought me joy. I mean I could think of a few things that I like, but joyful?  That was a stumper.   So I did what I often do when my brain cell ceases to function, I asked The Geek, "Hey dude, what brings me joy?" and his answer was somewhat unsettling.

"Well," he said, "you're not exactly what I would call a joyful person lately."   I honestly don't think he was trying to be mean, but I could barely contain myself.  I wanted to yell, "Say what?  I'm not joyful? What the heck does that mean, Bucko?  C'mon over hear and say that to my face Mister!" Oh yeah, he just did.  But by the grace of God, I held myself in check and gave it some thought.  Maybe the man does have a point and seriously, how sad is that?  I have been missing joy in my life.  But it might not just be about me.  Would lack of joy have an affect on my ability to be the wife, mother, sister and friend God has called me to be?  Whoa, this was turning out to be more than just a passing thought.  I began to see that I might actually have to do some serious soul searching.

So here I sit a few days later still trying to figure out:
  1. What makes me joyful?
  2. How can I get me some o'dat in my life pronto?
First of all, I have come to the conclusion this is so not an easy thing to figure out.  Nor will determining the answer guarantee me a lifetime of joy.  I mean some of what has brought me joy in the past is really not even relevant in my life today.  Add to that what brings me joy today, may not always cut it in the future.

Take for example shopping for antiques.  The Geek and I use to get such joy not only in taking home our treasures, but in the actual "hunt" itself.  Our last trip to an antiques store was anything but joyful.  Two chicks that let us know every two minutes they were bored and one chick that just wanted to touch everything within his little grasp.  Sooooo not joyful!

So what can bring this Mama Hen joy at this point in her life journey?  I still haven't quite figured it out, but I am working on it.  What I thought was such a simple question, really wasn't.  But then again maybe I'm trying to hard.  Maybe I just need to stop looking for the joy and just be.

Now and then it is good to pause in our pursuit of Joy and just be Joyful.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spicing Things Up

Baby steps.  I have got to take baby steps if I am going to tackle this nest and it's colossal mess.  I am stunned by amount of havoc my brood has managed to create.  So, rather than be paralyzed by the enormity of my task, I decided to take on an easy job today.  I decided to organize my spices.  I was amazed at all that I have amassed.  There's the ol' standbys like salt, pepper and garlic powder.  There's the thyme the Greek oregano.  There's the huge can of Hungarian paprika I bought 'cuz I thought the container would look sweet in my kitchen (I'm silly that way sometimes ... hey we all have our quirks, right?) And then there was this ... 

Now I know what you're thinking, cinnamon is cinnamon, but au contraire my friend.  You have not had cinnamon until you try this.  It puts the yum in yummy, let me tell ya.  It's not cheap and it was a bit tough to find in our neck of the woods, but it is soooo worth it. Trust me on this.

I got a little distracted and I couldn't stay on task once I got a whiff of this stuff...oops!  I made a little sweet treat for my brood.  I have an old recipe for candied nuts and ... they make the whole house smell soooooooo good when they are cooking in the oven.  Mmmmm!  I really love the fact that as far as recipes go, this one is pretty easy peasy.  I wish I could give credit to whoever I got it from. If it was you, you rock!  If not, give 'em a try ... your family will say you rock.  Just don't tell 'em how easy they were to make.  Your secret's safe with me.  Oh, and just a side note.  We here on the farm like them just as much (some of us even better) when they have had a chance to cool. 

Candied Nuts

Here's what you need:

1 lb. pecans
I used half walnuts and half pecans today 'cuz that's what I had and they turned out just fine.

1  egg white

3/4 sugar
my recipe calls for the white stuff, but one of these days I'm tempted to try a little brown sugar to see what that does 

1 teaspoon salt
your everyday run of the mill table salt is all you need here

1 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
this is where the Saigon Cinnamon makes a world of difference, but if you gotta plain ol' cinnamon will do in a pinch

Here's what you do:

First of  all, preheat your oven to 250 degrees.  You'll want to line a cookie sheet (preferrably one with sides on it) with aluminum foil.  This stuff gets sticky and hard and I'd hate for you to ruin your pan and curse me out at the end of all this:) 

Next you need to mix the sugar, salt and Saigon cinnamon in a small bowl and just set it aside for just a bit.

Put the egg white into a big ol' bowl and mix it up until it's good and frothy.  I'd say maybe like 30 seconds with a wire whisk or a fork will just about do it.  Pour in your nuts and toss it all around with a spoon until they are all good and coated with egg white.

Pour about half of the sugar mixture on the nuts and stir 'em up good.  Add the rest of the sugar mixture and mix again.

Pour everything onto your foil-lined cookie sheet and try to spread it all out into a single layer.  Pop it into the oven for an hour, being sure to take it out and stir 'em up good every 20 minutes or so. 

When they are done, I like to pour them out onto some parchment paper to cool.  It's best to get them off the cookie sheet a.s.a.p. or they'll stick.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Quit yer whinin' girl!

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.
Winston Churchill

Okay, I took a step back and read my last couple of posts and I detect a severe need for some major attitude adjustment.  I can't stand it when my chicklets whine, and let's face it I am doing it myself.  Monkey see, monkey do.  I know most people need to just vent every now and then.  It's all part of being human and all.  Incidentally, I don't trust those Susie Sunshine types that don't ever have "one of those days".  I think they're the kind that could snap at any moment.  You know the type ... you're watching the news and you hear someone say --"She was a quiet lady, I never would have expected her to do such a terrible thing. Yada, yada, yada" ... but I digress.  The thing is if I spend another minute at this pity party my nest will decline into even greater disarray.  And that, my friends is a very scary thought as it is pretty dang shnasty already. 

shnastyadjective  describing something that is a lethal combination
of sh*tty and nasty; very offensive; so not a good thing
yes, that is a word I made up, but IMHO I think it should be a real word, don't you?

I know the direct impact the weather can have on mood.  I have experienced it firsthand.  I know that  we can't always control those effects, but I don't think that's what's going on for me here.  I can pretty much claim full ownership on this whole bellyachin' situation I'm rocking at the moment.  Ain't nobody to blame but little ol' me and little ol' me is sick and tired of the whinin' and the complainin' and the whole shebang.  It is high past time to just move on and do something  Since I can't control the weather despite all my superpowers, I can control me (unless I'm PMSing and then all bets are off!) 

I am going to ignore the fact that Old Man Winter has stayed long past his welcome.  I am going disregard that Mr. Sun is on hiatus and sharing his sunshiny self in some other warmer clime.  I am going to put some tunes on the ol' CD player, slap a smile on my kisser and just GET ON WITH IT! 

I know myself.  I can't promise this will stick, but at least for today I am going to attempt to look at things from behind rose-colored glasses.  It's all a matter of how you look at it, right?

Wish me luck.

Sometimes life's Hell. But hey! Whatever gets the marshmallows toasty.
J. Andrew Helt

Friday, March 25, 2011

March Madness

Okay, I have had just about enough of the cold!  Last weekend it was near 60 degrees and I was all fired up for spring and now this?

My "Spring Cleaning" mojo is seriously waning.  Cold grey days just make me want to curl up under a quilt and take a nice long nap.  I mean it's hard enough actually getting this ol' gal started -- I have finely tuned skills of procrastination I'll have you know!  But when I do finally begin to get my domestic groove on, my brood sweeps in and leaves a path of destruction in their wake and it's back to square one again.  Gah!  C'mon Spring, cut this Mama Hen a little slack.  It's dab near impossible to make a dent in my to-do list when I can't send the chicklets outside to play.  Erma Bombeck sure hit the nail on the head when she said, "Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk while it's still snowing."  Amen sister!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Say it ain't so!

I don't watch alot of TV.  Not having cable has something to do with it, but mostly it's just not my thing.  I do try to see the news once a day -- just so I have an idea about what's happening in the world beyond our little ol' piece of mud.  Imagine my disappointment when the weatherman informed me that spring may be here, but winter weather has not yet said adieu.  Apparently we are in for a yucky wintry mix over the next day or so.  They say the actual forecast is difficult to predict, but something is for certain ... it's gonna be cold and it's gonna be wet.  Sooooooo not what I was looking forward to.

In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.
Mark Twain

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Out with the cold...

in with the woo-hoo!!!* 

No doubt about it, I got me a case of "spring fever" and I got it bad!  I am soooo happy to kiss winter toodle-loo.  It has not been a kind one and I for one, am ready for a change. 

This morning as I lay in bed in that semi-conscious state between dreaming and actually pulling my sorry butt out of the covers, my mind began to wander.  I started to think about what I could do to rearrange the house and change things up a bit.  I'm not exactly sure what it is I want to accomplish, I just feel like it's time to move things around.  Spruce things up.  Just do something.  The Geek usually gets nervous when I get like this, but this year he feels it too.  Spring is in the air and it's about time!

It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!
Mark Twain

* quote originally by E. Marshall

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Life Without Chocolate Is Just Too Terrible To Contemplate

I gotta tell you, I could (and have) lived without a lot of things. I've lived without television.  I've lived without heat, indoor plumbing and electricity.  I'm currently living without a stove (more on that in a bit).  But life without chocolate?  Dude, that's what gets me through most days!  And as of late ... I am eating me some serious chocolate.

Man cannot live on chocolate alone, but woman sure can.
Author Unknown

Last week we discovered that our stove was not working.  Now mind you, our stove is not your everyday, run of the mill stove.  She's a 1930-ish Magic Chef - six burner, double oven, fire-breathing bad girl.  The Geek has been trying to figure out why the pilot light in one of the ovens won't stay lit. (As a result everything else doesn't work either...grrr!)  I told him it really stinks 'cuz we can't call a repairman ... they're all dead! (Yeah, he didn't laugh at my joke either.) Turns out it isn't the ol' gals old parts, it's the new modern safety equipment we had installed when we got her.  Figures!  Oh well, hopefully he'll have her fired up and going strong again real soon. The brood is getting a tad bit tired of take-out and crock-pot recipes!

God gave the angels wings, and he gave humans chocolate.
Author Unknown

As if living without a stove wasn't enough, Boy Wonder woke me up this morning to tell me the refridgerator wasn't working.  Squelching the rising need for chocolate, I summoned the Geek once again.  Turns out it was just a tripped GFI.  We still gotta figure out why the thing tripped, but at least I don't have to buy a new fridge ... yet.

The 12-step chocoholics program: 
Never be more than 12 steps away from chocolate!
Terry Moore

I know I probably eat a lot more of the sweet stuff than I should, especially since I am trying to adopt a much more healthier lifestyle.  It's just that I've given up all of my other vices ... chips, gummy fish, pretzels and the BIG ONE -- Mountain Dew.  And besides ...

I'd stop eating chocolate, but I'm no quitter!
Author Unknown

Now if you'll excuse me, there's a chocolate bar waiting with my name on it that needs my immediate and undivided attention ;)