Sunday, September 27, 2009

No Photographs Please

Recently I found out that my Uncle had a stroke and had fallen breaking his hip. After that he came down with pneumonia. Very sick in ICU they apparently moved him to a regular room so that the family could spend time with him as he wouldn't be with them much longer. Well that tough guy I remembered went to that regular room and improved enough to have the hip surgery. So we drove to Jackson this weekend so that I could spend a little time with him and let him know I love him. I brought my camera - no shock there- and gave Todd instructions to take lots of pictures. I told him not to worry what they looked like but just to take a lot and that I could edit them later. We found the hospital no problem. Finding the room was another story. We went in one part and went up to the 4th floor but it was all doctors offices, no hospital rooms. So we went over to another part of the hospital and there was no fourth floor. So we drove around to another part but no four floors over there either. So we went back to the entrance and got on the phone at the reception desk (where there was no receptionist) and asked directions. Apparently we had been in the right place in the beginning but had taken the wrong elevator. Once we found the right elevator we got to the right place. We walked in the door and to my surprise my Aunt Sara was there on the couch. I didn't expect that, because she has alzheimers and I expected that she would be in the assisted living place where they live. But to my delight she was sitting there with my Uncle J. My sweet Uncle J looked so different than I have ever seen him before. He looked so very old. He is 88 years old. (I think) As soon as I laid eyes on him, I put down my camera. (Shock, gasp) I put it beside the table and there it sat. I have too many good memories of my Uncle J and I did not want to photograph him like this. I want my memories of him to be of a happier healthier time. So the camera stayed in the black case by the table. I was so glad we went to see them. What I saw made me think of a line in my favorite movie. "Little Women". When Jo comes home because her sister Beth is sick. As she is walking up to the house she asks Meg, how Beth is doing, and Meg answers "You will find her much altered." Yes well, I found my Uncle J much altered. I am thankful though that we were able to have a conversation and talk about a few memories. We talked of the summers I spent with them when I was a kid. Those are good memories. He is the closest thing I ever had to a Granpa, I guess that is how I feel about him. We didnt stay too long so that we wouldnt tire him out too bad. I hope we get to go back and see him improved. I was really glad that my Aunt Sara was there and was having a good day. She seemed to know me. If she didnt she did a really good job of covering it up. She looked as good as ever. Funny, for some reason I thought she would be the one I would find much altered. But she was sitting there smiling and pretty as a picture. Uncle J said they had switched places. He had been taking care of her and now here she was caring for him. Thats a sweet story of a couple that have been married for what Uncle J told me was 69 years! When I asked how many, Aunt Sara said "Good Lord, I dont know." Uncle J claims the 69 years. I dont know for sure, but it could be. 88-69=19 It's possible. I think it may be a little less though but even so, thats a lot of years to still be sitting there with one another. I asked Todd if he thought we would be married for 69 years. He smiled and shrugged his shoulders. I dont know either but if so, I know that we will be beside one another right to the end, one taking care of the other, maybe taking turns like Uncle J and Aunt Sara.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Simply Delicious

OK I titled this -Simply Delicious- because the meal I made for supper tonight was simple AND delicious! It was simply Grilled Chicken. I guess it was the seasonings I used that made it delicious. So I am sharing it with you, so you can try it if you want to.

Start with 3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
I cut the larger ones in half to make smaller pieces easier for grilling
Place pieces in a bowl
Add EVOO (If you watch Rachel Ray, you know thats Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
Sprinkle with the following: Tony Cacheries, McCormick's Barbecue Seasoning, Garlic Powder*Just a touch, Emerils Essence Southwest Seasoning and Worcetershire Sauce.

Turn pieces covering well with seasoning.
Grill about 5 or 6 minutes on each side. Make sure its done, but if you wait too long it wont be juicy and delicious like mine was today. Sorry no way to tell you exactly when to take it off.

The other thing I did was take left over tortillias from yesterdays lunch and quarter them. Drizzle the EVOO over them and shake on some ground black pepper and Sea Salt! I have Sea Salt only because my husband the cook LOL bought some the last time he grilled steaks for us and used it on the baked potatoes. So now I am wanting to use it when I can. I put them in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes until lightly browned. They made a great crispy cracker like bread with our meal. It was really simple and very nice.

Now the other simple thing I made with tonights meal is something you have probably made tons of times just like me. But adding little touches that we dont always add, made it DELICIOUS. So this is what I put in my Green Salad.

First the usual: Iceberg Lettuce (Although if I had a Spring Mix I would have used that.)
and Tomato
Now for the special little delicious touches.
Red Onion sliced very thinly
Banana Pepper Rings and
Calamatta Olives (Much better than green or black)
If Todd would eat it, there would have been cheese as well and if I had some I would have sprinkled sunflower seeds on there too. But it was GREAT just like I did it today. For me Balsamic Vinagrette Dressing, for Todd Ranch.

Then I just added a vegetable - Corn - cause Josh will eat corn and that is all he will eat in this meal aside from the grilled chicken so I try to add at least one other thing that he will eat so he will have more than one item on his plate. The joy of picky eaters. :)

Well now if I do say so myself, I think that delicious meal deserves a hand - or two - or four. :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Entirely too many pictures of the Weekend

What a NICE time we had this weekend with family. We weren't planning on going to Monroe but when it came down to it we didn't want to wait another week to see little Miss Avery. So off we went. She was waiting for us outside when we got there and it certainly seemed to me that she was happy to see us. What do you think?
We played outside for a little bit with her which was fun but there was more on the agenda. So into the carseat she went. That once was a real problem for her but now, just put music on and the dancing begins!

First of all we decided to go eat at Wing Stop which for some reason Todd calls "Wing Stock". LOL You can call it Wing Stop or you can call it Wing Stock, just take me there to eat sometimes! Boneless Mild and those seasoned fries - YUM! Believe me I am not the only one who enjoyed it! We all did, but Avery discovered the joy of Ranch dip on this outing. You should have seen her concentrating on dipping and sucking the dip right off those fries. Oh well, here see for yourself.
So then we jumped into Charlies new truck and headed out to see Sebastian. That's our nephew. Gigi and Pap were keeping him at his house while his mom and dad (Todd's brother Richard and his wife Corre) were enjoying the LSU game where Josh also happened to be. We enjoyed our visit with Gigi, Pap, and Sebastian. Richard and Corre are dog owners. They have 3 Schnauzers who all greeted us loudly and happily when we arrived. In my last post I mentioned how Avery loves animals so she was thrilled at their presence. Look at her getting up close and personal with a couple of them.
Avery and Sebastian had a GRAND time playing with each other. You should have heard them squealing and seen them just running in circles around each other. A good time was had by all.

There was MUSIC:
Not to be outdone by the TIGERS there was also Football going on...

Well after we had Sebastian all keyed up it was time to leave. I am sure Gigi and Paps were very appreciative of that.

Next on our agenda - ICE CREAM

Now if you are wondering why they are all huddled up under the eve of the Ice Cream Stand and not sitting on the Umbrella Picnic tables... Well

Yea well I guess come rain or shine, ice cream must be had in this family!
Is this where I should be apologizing for the large amount of photographs in this post?????

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy Grandparents Day to Me

My last two posts have been mostly about memories. When I realized that today was Grandparents day I again remembered back to one Sunday quite a while ago. It was some point after Casey and Charlie had lost Carson, our little grandson. I was at church on Sunday. We were sitting in the Adult Sunday School classroom and the sounds of little feet were thumping in the hallway outside. Squeals of excitement burst forth. A friend of mine who is the Grandma of one of the little giggling children, "Grandma Red" to be exact said to me, "One day you will be hearing your grandchildren run and squeal through those halls too." I wasn't so sure how that would play out at that time. But there is almost nothing better than to see my sweet grandbaby toddle down those halls. On this Grandparents Day I am so honored to be the Grandparent of this sweet precious miracle from God.

This little girl, Avery Grace Reeves Who is sometimes a little shy.

Who loves to clap her hands to music,

Who loves to dance,
Who loves animals of all kinds,

Who's hair is finally long enough to wear a pony tail,

I am so BLESSED and HONORED to be called Nonna to this little girl.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Johnny Too

Well one good birthday blog deserves another and since tomorrow is my brothers birthday I have one for him too. So HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHNNY! Oh and I am pretty sure he doesnt read my blog on a regular basis. Although I cant imagine why not. Anyway I am sure my mom, who does read my blog of course, will make him aware of his birthday blog! Thanks Mom!

As I was thinking about memories to share about my brother here I realized that a lot of the "Johnny Stories" were just that - stories. Not quite as many memories as I first thought, but believe me there are tons of stories. But for today I will stick to memories. I was trying to think back really far and I guess the first memory I have is of when he stole my birthday cake. We were having a party. I think I was maybe 5 or 6 and I remember that he went in the kitchen and stole the cake. Of course mama came to the rescue and recovered it.

One time he came rushing into the house locking the door. He was all in an uproar and was saying something like "He's gonna kill me!" Pretty quickly a loud fast knock was at the door. My mom was all flustered and wondering what was going on. I remember this Older Italian man, yelling at my mom "You son-a, he's a very very bad-a boy!" Mama asked what in the world he did. Turns out the older man disliked kids cutting through his yard and decided to spray them with his waterhose when they did. Turns out Johnny didnt like getting sprayed so he went to the neighbors yard and turned on their waterhose and squirted the older man back! Turns out the older man liked that even less!

I remember one time Johnny came home with a HORSE! We lived in the city folks! He made up some crazy story about riding a bull for 10 seconds and winning the horse. My mom was again a little flustered wondering what we were going to do with a horse. Our back yard wasnt really the place! Anyway he didnt really win it. It was a friends and he just brought it home to trick us. I really liked riding it around the street for a little while. :)

I remember that he used to get old clothes and stuff them to make a dummy and then attach the dummy to a bicycle. Then he and his friends would hide in bushes and roll the bike out in front of people so that the people would think some kid had a bike wreck.

I do remember when he was on the local news in Memphis. They named him "Evil Knievel of Craigmont High" He had a bicycle ramp and jumped over (I think it was 14) trash cans! He landed it too! Mom and Dad had been out of town and they came in to us telling them that Johnny was going to be on the news in a few minutes. Too bad there were no VCR's back then. :(

I remember one day I was sitting at the kitchen table and twirling my arms around my head and the little table behind me started shaking. I remember thinking "I didnt hit that table, why is it shaking?" About that time the house sort of rattled and I remember my mom shouting to Johnny in the back of the house. "Johnny what in the world are you doing!" That was when Johnny came running out of the bathroom with his face half shaven, the other half fully loaded with shaving cream. I remember him holding that razor saying "I didnt do anything, it's an earthquake!" We all walked to the front door and opened it up, and walked out onto the front porch to see all the other neighbors walking out onto their front porches too. It really was an earthquake. Quickly it was over but I have always thought it was funny that mama blamed Johnny for the earthquake! :) What with all these crazy stories who can blame her? Oh, and believe me there are many many more.

I remember when Johnny no longer was going to be called Johnny but John instead. So I guess that worked for everyone else, but I still call him Johnny! That's my brother. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHNNY!

This is my wedding day June 4, 1983.

This was one visit where Johnny made things more interesting for the kids. He had rescued these baby raccoons and had been bottle feeding them. The kids enjoyed holding them and playing with them, especially Mark. Not something you get to do every day. Johnny always was making things interesting for them.

In this one he is helping Wil, my sisters grandbaby shoot the gun. Another one of the interesting things he did with the kids on a trip to visit. My kids enjoyed doing that with him too, even Casey. (But dont tell anyone. Let's just say she is not into guns.)

So thats my brother Johnny, who by the way was born John Dalton Stella, but then they changed his birth certificate to John Sid Stella Jr. (I hope that was done legally! :0)
I hope he has the greatest birthday!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Happy Birthday to You!

Today 9/9/9 is my sisters birthday! So this post is to say Happy Birthday to You Theresa!

One of the memories I have of her is when my parents were gone for the evening or maybe even the night and she was cooking supper. She made spaghetti and Cream Puffs! I would say how delicious it was but really the biggest part of that memory was when my brother thought it would just be hilarious to dump the entire plate of spaghetti on my head, which he did.

More memories:
I remember that she had long straight hair and long pretty fingernails and when I was little I remember hoping that one day I would have them too.

I remember that we always called her Terrie and then all of the sudden she became Theresa!

I remember when she moved away and got married. I was really sad that she was leaving. I dont even remember being the least bit excited about getting my own room. Come to think of it maybe that was the reason she moved out and got married. Who wants to share a room with her sister who was 9 years younger? Hmmmmm.

I remember when I had babies and she encouraged me to go Natural and being glad I did.

So there are a few Theresa memories! Happy Happy Birthday Theresa! I love you!

This first picture is at Thanksgiving which we used to always go to Mom and Dads to celebrate. I loved those times. Yes I was pregnant(with Mark) in this picture. There is the birthday girl on the right, Mom and Dad, and then my brother on the left. Oh and maternity fashions were quite wonderful in the early 90's dont you think. If not you should probably keep it to yourself. :)
This is Casey and Mark with their Aunt Theresa!

The girls with their Daddy! We LOVED our Daddy!

And this is the most recent picture I have of her with her husband Phil taken this summer when I made my trip without Todd to see Mom.
I hope you have a great birthday!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What's For Supper

Gourmet - If you Wikipedia that today you will see my name and these pictures. Well not really, but you should. If I do say so myself we had a GREAT supper. I made these delicious Pork Chops with a homemade sauce. Not only that I came up with this recipe which turned out to be a FANTASTIC DESERT! What's that? You want the recipes? No problem!

First you find some nice thick boneless pork chops and brown them in a little olive oil. After they are browned you can place them in a 300 degree oven and keep them there while you are making the sauce. (That makes sure they are not too rare for you) Into the pan where you browned the chops add 1/4 sliced red onion. Let that saute for about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup dried cranberries, and 3/4 cup chicken stock. Simmer that for another 5 minutes. Add1/4 cup brown sugar, salt, & pepper. Saute another 5 minutes. Add 3 TBSP of butter and continue to simmer 5 more minutes. Pour over pork chops before serving. I served them with Creamed Corn and Sugar Snap Peas. It was GREAT!

Now for the desert! I knew that I had strawberries and I just got to wondering what I could do with them for a treat. I saw that I had cool whip and my cooking brain kicked in gear. So here is what I did. After saving out a few strawberries for garnishing. I took the container of strawberries and pureed them in the blender. I then took the pureed strawberries and folded them into the cool whip. I filled each dish with the strawberry fluff. Then I took a tablespoon of raspberry jam and topped the fluff. Garnish with a whole strawberry and a dollop of whipped cream. It was really nice! I loved it. It looks pretty too! Since this came from my head, there is no name for it. :( So can you help me out here? Give me suggestions for a name for my delectable desert! If I get enough suggestions, I will pick a winner! The prize of course will be the fact that I chose your name! :)

So that was what's for supper here, what about you?