Thursday, March 31, 2011

Southern Style Beans and Corn Bread

So, I have mentioned in previous posts about how AWFUL I am at cooking.

Turns out that I am getting a bit better.

This May will mark 3 years of me being a full time nanny to my own children. 

Some would call that a MIRACLE. 

I was very against the whole SAHM movement that is sweeping through the state like wild fire, until I gave birth to baby #2 and realized "THERE IS NO WAY I CAN AFFORD TO HAVE 2 CHILDREN IN DAYCARE."  

It took me a while to get the hang of the NON STOP child rearing life style but I have taken to it. 
"What, you mean I don't get off work at 5:30?"

There are some days that are better than others but each day, after I put the children to bed I throw my aching body on the couch and think to myself "I got to spend ALL day loving on my children!"

Back to the topic at hand.

I figured it was about time I started to learn to cook.

My latest adventure has been making Southern Style Beans and Corn Bread.

I have attempted pinto beans MANY times and each time they have turned out HORRIBLE.

No where even close to the yummy pinto beans that my Maw-maw can manage to whip together while taking care of 10 grandchildren, making sure the men in the field have plenty of water and cleaning the eggs brought in from the chicken coop.  


What I used to do (now don't laugh) was pour 1Ib of pinto beans in a pot of water and boil it all day.

Yep.  That's it.

I never really knew you needed to add anything.

What would ALWAYS happen is the water would boil out, the bottom of the beans would burn and supper ended up tasting like you were eating dirt.
Roger actually said that they tasted like I "seasoned the beans by cleaning out an ashtray."

And yes..... we ate it...... because that is WHAT YOU DO when you are on a budget.

So, I was like "I am going to research this whole beans and corn bread thing"

And I did

this is what I found

Each time I make this recipe it turns out REALLY good.

I use 4 cups of broth and 4 cups of water.
I don't add the ham hock because that is expensive (budget!!)

I haven't added the bell pepper because that just seems weird to me.
I do add onion.  YUMMY

Now, I haven't tried to make the corn bread.  Roger usually makes that when he gets home. he fears I might burn the house down.  I once tried to make corn bread in a skillet in the oven and then forgot to put  anything over my hand when I grabbed the skillet out of the oven.  

That might have been the time Anna learned how to say the D word.  

So, I am slowly turning into a southern house wife.  A real live house wife that COOKS some yummy beans and corn bread.

It's the small things people.  The small things!!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I once heard an old preacher man say "I haven't gotten a decent nights sleep on a Saturday night in over 50 years."

When you are a minister that has to preach on Sunday morning to a room full of people it is impossible not to think about the sermon ALL NIGHT LONG.  When you are a minister's spouse it is hard not to think about how every toss and turn you make in the bed is keeping up the preacher.

As a result NO ONE SLEEPS.

However, last night was even more restless than usual.

For some reason I had to pee every five seconds.

It was as if the Niagara FAlls was running through me.

I'm not a quiet "get out of bedder." I sling the covers back EVERY TIME (even when I try not to) and make an annoying grunt that sounds similar to "oooooooooooh maaaaaaan."  Roger has told me more than once "STOP."   But I can't manage to stop.

This problem of mine has resulted in many late night arguments.

When I finally did fall asleep I was awoken at 3:30 am with a HORRIBLE stomach ache. "Oh Dear Lord you have got to be kidding me."

When I am sick I morph into a giant baby.  "ROGER! I'm sooooooo sick." I expect every one in the world to stop what they are doing and care for me.

At 5am, after spending over an hour in so much pain I was sure I was near death, I threw up.

It felt so good to FINALLY throw up.

Roger was a trooper as he stood by holding my hair and rubbing my back while I emptied my insides into the toilet.

I crawled my sick self back into bed and snuggled up next to Roger "sorry if I smell like vomit but can we just like snuggle here and you rub my head?"

oh married life.  they see ya at your all time low and still love ya. vomit breath and all.

Two hours later his alarm went off and he left to go work a little more on his sermon before church.

I snuggled in bed, passed out dead to the world, until the kids demanded my attention in the Kitchen "MOM??? BREAKFAST?"

I fed the kids, got them dressed for church and Roger swung by to get them when it was time for church even though I insisted...
"I'll drop them off if you want me to Roger. I hate for you to have to come back to get them."

I think he had an awful fear of me walking into church with vomit breath, jammie pants and crazy looking hair with bags under my eyes.   I was seriously just going to crawl out of bed and drop them off. 

I really don't think anyone would have minded!!

Well, maybe the visitors.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Chocolat by Joanne Haris

I LOVE to read. 
Have I mentioned that I LOVE to read?

I also LOVE LOVE LOVE to read books that have been made into good movies!
It gives me the opportunity to share the experience of the story with my husband who doesn't have time to read nonfiction at the moment because of all the other reading he has to do for school and work.

My most recent read was the book Chocolat by Joanna Harris.

It is about a mystious woman that comes into town with her illegitimate daughter and opens a chocolate shop during lent. 

Throughout the book the woman manages to turn heads by helping an old woman become even sicker, encouraging another woman to leave her abusive husband and welcoming the gypsies into the town. On top of that she refuses to go to Mass, teachers her child about pagan gods and reads terra cards.

The whole book centers around the church's strict religious practices and the "carefree" attitude of this mysterious woman that has just come into town.

As a ministers wife and seminary student I was appalled by the authors need to villainize the church, the priest. Society has enough misconceptions and misunderstandings about the church, about priests, as it is. Then to write a book in which a woman who claims to be a witch is the BLESSING of the town is outrageous.

I clearly had problems with the plot and I have a sneaky suspicion that the author might be pagan. She kept bringing up through the characters that Jesus is a myth. A silly little story that is similar to other pagan stories.

But I have to admit that she is a damn good writer.

Her writing style wraps you up in a way that you can't let go. No matter how mad you are at the plot.

Every time I began to read I was transported to a quaint little town outside of Paris France, into a delicious chocolate shop.

I can't tell you how many cups of hot chocolate and toast with hazelnut spread that I enjoyed while reading this book because I am ashamed.  I am now in the process of looking up the closest chocolate shop to our house so I can treat myself!

Some church goers might take offense to this book. It is saturated with pagan gods and pagan worship. I admit that it made me very uneasy at times. However, this book will probably go down as one of the most enjoyable reads I have had.

Last night Roger and I watched the movie that is based on this book.

Afterwards we talked about the differences between the book and the movie.

In the movie the woman is not depicted as a witch, instead she is just a VERY mysterious woman. She never has terra cards or casts spells. She is more of a woman that is very close to the earth. 

Also, in the movie, the church and the priest are not the source of opposition, instead it is the mayor. 

The priest is turned from an old hateful man (the book) to a young new priest that is loving but shy and told what to do by the mayor. 

The movie doesn't have the stuff from the book that bothered me (pagan stuff, making the church look evil).  Roger and  I were talking about how well they did at preserving the fairy tale like story but making it more approachable to the Christian audience.

The next book that I am reading is......
 It is a personal blog made into a book. The blogger, Heather, writes about her pregnancy, the birth of her child and the postpartum depression that she endured. She writes all of this with a crazy sense of humor. I have only read the prologue and the first chapter but I have already laughed out load several times. 

I'm excited to read a book by a woman that suffered postpartum depression. I suffered from it for a whole year before I was aware of what was going on.  I'll write a blog about this book when I am finished with it! 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Scrambled Eggs

My Dad would be the first to tell you that I am a MESS in the kitchen. 

Anytime I attempted to cook anything he would say "oh no Elly May is cooking."  

Just recently I made mom a special dinner. She took a few bites. Pretended it was tasty. Then said "sorry but can you just make me some mac and cheese. This is awful."

When I was younger I was an expert at burning things and hiding the evidence in the woods behind the house. 

There was even a time when I couldn't get the burnt stuff out of the pot so I just threw the WHOLE pot under the trees.  

Sorry mom ;(

So, in our little family Roger is the main cook.
It works out pretty well because he LOVES to cook and does an excellent job at it.
He gets home from work, I leave for a walk and when I get back dinner is ready!!

I love to clean so I usually clean up after dinner!

However, I have been trying my darnist to cook scrabbled eggs in the morning. 
I LOVE eggs.
Hence the reason why I want some chickens but that is another blog

Every time I try I fail. They are always chewy and burnt.

The kids wont even touch them.

I went to my parents house this past weekend and Dad cooked me some eggs.


So unlike the crap I have been making.

I was DETERMINED to learn how to cook some yummy scrambled eggs.

So, I found this clip on and I got it on the first try.

I was so excited that I ran to the bathroom where Roger was taking a shower and screamed out "LOOK LOOK I did it! I did it!"  He poked his wet head out in confusion "What?"  and there I stood jumping up and down with a skillet full of fluffy bright yellow scrambled eggs!

My problem with cooking is that I get too distracted.

I once burnt noodles because I completely forgot that I was even cooking them.

Another time I went to get a pot of hot water off of the stove and grabbed a dish towel to grab it. Well, the dish towel touched the burner and caught on fire.

Ya see.

I am a domestic disaster when it comes to cooking.

but I LOVE to clean and organize.

So, my house is ALWAYS clean and I am ALWAYS organizing something.

Which is good because I have two tornado children living with me!

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Trip to the Zoo

I took the kids to the zoo today ALL BY MYSELF.

While we were gathered around the table enjoying our lunch I announced "we should do something fun this afternoon! It is so pretty outside! Should we go to the park? Or the zoo?"

Both of their eyes lit up when I said the word "zoo."

Paul and Anna have an OBSESSION with the zoo.  Honestly, I do too. I LOVE it!

I quickly cleaned up after lunch, cleaned up the kids, packed some snacks, extra clothes and folded the double jogging stroller into the trunk of the car.

Speaking of the double jogging stroller. That has been the BEST money EVER spent. We got it right after I gave birth to Anna (May 2008). There have been times in our parenting lives that strapping the kids in the stroller for a walk is the only way Roger and i have been able to talk. "let's go for a family walk"
Here is a picture of it. Ours is a different color.  It also has a speaker system that I hook my mp3 player up to so the kids can listen to music if they want. It is REALLY durable. We have also taken the kids hiking at the Red River in this thing.  VERY good wheels!


On the drive to the zoo (about 40 minutes with all the traffic) we jammed to Paul Simmon's Graceland cd with the windows rolled down.

Once at the zoo we took our lovely time wandering around.
Getting a year zoo pass has been the BEST thing for us.  We never feel rushed!  We just wander around checking on our animal friends!

The kids were fabulous! Most of the time they ran out in front of the stroller, going from animal to animal, pointing and shouting "look mom THE POLAR BEARS ARE FINALLY OUT!" (we've been waiting for them for over a year!)

Every now and again they jumped back into the stroller for a quick rest, some gold fish crackers and water.

We all had a great time!

The whole zoo experience made me super excited about this summer!

This year the kids are at a very good age to have a BLAST with. Last year we still had a baby in diapers that had LOTS of ear infections (she finally had to have surgery for it.... tubes)  This summer we will have a 3 year old and a 5 year old!  We have a BIG back yard for them to play in, a free membership to the public pool and 3 vacations planned (Massachusetts, Florida and Jekyll Island).


Back to the zoo.....
I was a VERY proud mommy today.

Paul even took charge by holding Anna's hand throughout the zoo and opening doors for me when I needed to push the stroller through.

Anna listened VERy well! Not once did she run away from me! When I said to stop she stopped and when it was time to move on to another animal she moved on!

I have to give credit to my Maw-Maw, my psychology professors and that WONDERFUL book Positive Discipline!

As you can imagine we were all plum tuckered out when we got back home. I let the kids watch the show  Meerkat Manor while I made them their favorite dinner, TACO'S

As all you mothers of more than 1 child know, the juggling of two children is exhausting. "AAAAH I'm out numbered.  one of me.... two of them.  HELP"  Keeping an eye on two spunky children in a public place is, well, you know.  Not to mention the potty breaks you gotta take so they don't wet themselves.

Oh, let me tell you this story:
So, Anna and Paul were playing on the playground at the zoo when Anna screamed in terror

 "I HAVE TO POOP...... NOW!"  
Then she grabbed her butt and stood still.

I grabbed Anna, threw her in the stroller. 
Yelled to Paul across the playground 
He took off running. 
Jumped in the stroller.  
Then I took off JOGGING through the zoo to the closest bathroom.   

And we made it!!!!!!   

but whew... that was a CLOSE ONE.

And to the parents that were offended that I yelled POOP across the playground 
"oh give me a break"  :p

The kids are bathed and tucked into their nice warm beds.

AHHHHH..... Peace

Now it is time to snuggle up on the couch and read until Roger makes it home from class. 

Poor guy has been in class since early this morning.  When he called this afternoon I felt bad when I had to respond to his question "hey! what are you up to? Are you doing ok with the kids?"    with "ummm we are actually at the zoo looking at the seal at the moment!  Yep! we are doing really good!"


Friday, March 18, 2011

Pregnant in America the documentary

I have always been curious about this topic. (see video clip below)

I have a feeling I'm not going to agree much with this documentary from viewing the trailer.

I am VERY much in favor of having a baby in a hospital or at least some where that the baby is being monitored AT ALL TIMES. You REALLY never know what could happen. I know that my daughter would not be alive today if I wasn't in the hospital being monitored.  She was delivered by emergency c-section because my placenta ripped and the cord was wrapped around her neck... choking her.

ANyway. This looks pretty interesting so I think I'll watch it tonight on Netflix while Roger does some work.

It might be a dud movie but I thought I would share this.

Shelbie, you might like it?

Ok so, I watched this documentry and my honest reaction> OH MY GOSH THIS DUDE IS NUTTS.

The WHOLE documentary he demonizes medical professionals.  He states all kinds of "facts" but lists no medical journals or case studies. He makes CRAZy statements like "and they wouldn't let my wife ride in the back of the ambulance with our baby."  The reason WHY kind sir is your wife needed to ride in the front so she could have a SEAT BELT.

There were some things that where in the documentary that I TOTALLY agree on. Like doctors preferring for you to be induced so they can fit it in their schedule (after the super bowl, before their vacation, during the waking hours). And that some doctors actually prefer to do c-sections because it takes less time and they are addicted to surgery. I agree with WAITING for mother nature.

However, there are those times where that really is the only option for a healthy baby.

Yes. There are REALLY HORRIBLE doctors out there but there are also REALLY AWESOME doctors that SAVE LIVES.  Can I get an AMEN!?!?!?!?

I wouldn't be here if some random doctor (dr.noonan) hadn't been walking through the hall on her way to work and noticed a woman (my mom) standing in the hall holding a baby (me), looking VERY confused as to why the baby was turning blue.   Dr. Noonan grabbed me and TOOK OFF RUNNING yelling out orders and yes, SAVED MY LIFE.

Then all the pain I went through with my daughter and almost losing her from a rupturing of the placenta.

Not to mention my WONDERFUL cardiologist Dr keller who sent a special heart ambulance down to pick me up when I was, at 15, passing out with a pulse lower than 40bpm. I was taken to Cincinnati children's hospital and had a pacemaker put in and two stints.

And guess what?  It was a WONDERFUL experience!!!

So, when I watch a documentary with this crazy NOT KIND and somewhat annoying DUDE talking about how horrible the medical system is I want to reach my hands through the TV screen and choke him.

Also, the documentry used a LOT of "I" language.

It was like the women were more concerned about themselves and their "birthing experience" than the saftey of their child. I just found that so selfish.

I get the whole home birth thing. I REALLY do. I understand.
I mean, I would never be able to have a home  birth because of my heart condition but I understand why women would want that.

I just want to stress the importance of monitoring the baby and the mommy.  You don't know what is going on in there with your baby. The poor little thing could be in distress and you wouldn't even know it.


This documentary is one that you would need to watch with a friend.  Roger and I sat screaming at the TV and rolling our eyes at each other.

It really wasn't put together very well and I am pretty sure this dude THINKS he is a great film maker. He is REALLY rude and seems to be a know it all.

The end

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Spontaneous Day

For some reason this morning we all accidentally slept in.

We woke up to Paul standing at the foot of our bed declaring that he needed some breakfast.
"what time is it Roger?"
"Oh crap. it is 9:15am. How did that happen?"

We all stared at each other trying to figure out what to do. 

Paul was suppose to be at school at 9am and he gets picked up at 11:30am so taking him was kinda worthless. Plus I had planned on giving him a bath this morning BEFORE school since we got home from church later last night.

"well, you want to just take a weekend today?"

Roger is going on a mission trip with the youth this weekend so instead of rushing around like a bunch of wild animals trying to get everyone out the door as quickly as possible we just decided to have a WEEKEND on Thursday.

Paul isn't in REAL school yet so why not take advantage of being able to let him SKIP.
We didn't even mention to him that it was a school day.
Later he said "he guys wasn't I suppose to go to school?"

So, we all sat around the breakfast table. The kids enjoyed some yummy oatmeal while Roger and I enjoyed our Chi Tea that he decided to make for us.
It was REALLY yummy!

Then I showered, washed Anna.
Roger showered, washed Paul

And then we made some more tea, put it in some to go mugs and took the kids to the inside playground.

By that time it was noon.

As soon as we got to the inside playground I convinced Roger to go up into the play area with us.
He was a bit nervous at first because there were other parents their watching but He ended up having a blast on the rainbow bridge and the MASSIVE swirly slide.

We just completely ignored that other parents were there looking at us really strange and let our inner child take over.
"hey Roger, let's see who can get to the big slide the fastest. Ready. Set. Go."

The kids thought we were super cool.
WEll, at least I think that is what their little faces were saying when they gave us big smiles as we crawled past them giggling "I am winning! I am faster!"

On the way home from the inside park we decided to swing by the library and pick up The Sword and the Stone to watch with the kids.

Paul giggled through the INTIRE movie. 
I think it is safe to say that he LOVED the movie!

Now I am working on the laundry while Roger reads the rest of the afternoon to prepare his sermon!

It has been a WONDERFUL spontaneous day!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I'm not quite sure what is going on with me but I am completely exhausted at all times.

Maybe it is the kids.

They are getting to be VERY interesting to take care of.

As I type this Anna is squirting glue on a white piece of paper and I do mean SQUIRTING the glue. 

She has nothing she is gluing to the paper she just wants to make glue puddles.

The child LOVES making crafts and honestly I could care less what kind of mess she makes just as long as she is happy.

Paul is working on his preschool homework. He has to trace some numbers, color some smiley faces and glue the number of smiley faces to match the number.

He is pretty much LOVING the homework thing. I guess it makes him feel all grown up.

I on the other hand want to say to the teacher "HE IS IN PRESCHOOL why in the world are you sending him homework home? "

But I can't complain TOO much because it is getting us in the mode of sitting down together to work on homework.  I'm just SHOCKED that they give HOMEWORK to preschoolers. 

The kids are learning to play REALLY well with one another so I have actually been able to sit back and enjoy the giggles that fill the house! 

That is a VERY nice change from the two years that I have spent changing diapers, making bottles and and breaking up fights in which Anna always bit Paul.

man oh man having two little ones that close gets a bit CRAZY for a while.

I honestly thought it would never get any easier.

But it has!

Now we are in the middle of the preschool phase with Paul and are exiting the terrible two's with Anna.

I must admit that it is a bit weird for me to have a 5 1/2 year old.  I don't feel old enough to have a child that age.  hello I am 26 and my child is going to kindergarten next year. that just seems so weird to me.

The thing that is annoying about the preschool age, that I have discovered, is that I have to pretend to be EXCITED over all kinds of little things "hey mom LOOK AT THAT BOAT. WOW"

I get kinda tired of doing the "OH WOW THAT IS SO COOL" face all the live long day.

The annoying thing about the terrible two phase with Anna is that she is a little miss know it all. I am totally raising myself.  She is so sassy, VERY demanding and knows exactly what she wants. hummm.  I wonder where that comes from?

She also talks NONSTOP. I mean it NEVER stops and if it does that means you need to check on her because she is doing something she shouldn't be.

I do get tired of the constant talking. I get tired of the REPEAT stuff. If she says something and I don;t say "oh yeah" then she says it over and over and over again until I say "oh yeah."

Poor Roger... by the time he gets home I just don't want to talk to anyone. I want to sit in the quiet. My head is pounding from the cute little high pitched "HEY MOMMY GUESS WHAT!"  

I guess that is different?

I've heard lots of other stay at home mothers talk about the lack of talking and when their husbands get home all they want to do is TALK.  I am NOT like that.

I am also not one to feel the NEED to get out with the girls. when I am free from the kids I just want to sit in a quiet room and read.  I like the ALONE.  Being ALONE is my special place.  

back to the topic at hand....
i am exhausted
to take care of.

The past couple of days I have had VERY little time to even sit down
"mom I need help with......"
"mom Anna is taking my toy....."
"mom I can't reach........"
"mommy I need to poop!"

my arms hurt, my legs hurt, my head hurts and I feel bad for wanting to spend a whole day in my bed watching old movies with the kids.

can we have a jammie day and watch old disney movies ALL DAY LONG?
would that be a BAD stay at home mother thing to do?

oh well

maybe I'll get some more sleep tonight.

I better go check on Anna. She is being VERY quiet and I heard something snap.

she broke a e ring binder of Paul's. That was the snap i heard.
man oh man that child

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Wreath for Lent

I went to Michael's to pick up some knitting stuff this afternoon.

Paul tagged along with me.

The first thing he noticed was the amount of Easter decorations there were.

We both got REALLY excited about decorating our new house for Easter.

I started to look around for some stuff to make a wreath for Easter/Spring to hang on the door.

Then it hit me..... "Jessica, you can't decorate for Easter yet. This Wednesday is the first day of Lent." 

So, I got to thinking "what can I put up that I can, on Easter Sunday, transform. Something that I can use to remind us of Lent?"

I found a "make your own" wreath for 4.99. 

I have decided to put it up on Wednesday (the first day of lent) and leave it plain like this until Good Friday. On Good friday I will put a black bow on the wreath and then on Resurrection Sunday I will put a beautiful White bow on it!

I think this is going to be a wonderful way to teach the kids about Lent, Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Straight to the Heart

In June of 2010 I had my old pacemaker taken out and my new and IMPROVED pacemaker put in.

I was super nervous but SUPER excited.

You can read my old blog about the surgery by clicking here!

I asked the surgeon if I could keep the old one, thinking that I would have to BEG him because often times they NEED to dispose of things in a certain way.

The surgeon gave me a BIG smile and said "sure"!

When I woke up from the SUPER easy pacemaker replacement surgery, the first thing I asked for was my old pacemaker.
It was as if I had just given birth. The pacemaker being my baby!
That thing had been with me through high school, college, my wedding and the birth of my two children.

Anyway, I was sooooo excited about getting home to show Paul and Anna this THING that had been keeping their mommy's heart pumping. 
They were BOTH very facinated with the pacemaker. "Paul, when you get older I'll let you take this to school for show and tell!"

Well, today Paul took my pacemaker to school for show and tell!

In his preschool class they have been talking about the heart and how it functions. He has been coming home every day telling me something new about my heart.  So, for show and tell this week he wanted to take my pacemaker.

I wish I could have been there as he stood in front of his little preschool class, with my pacemaker in his little hand, explaining how it works. "these are where the leads go in that connect to my mommy's heart."

He was SOOOOO EXCITED and so was I.

It is just another way for me to turn this darn heart condition into something fun.

Who knows.  Maybe Paul will grow up to be a pediatric cardiologist!!!

He seems VERY intrigued by the heart!