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Sunday, April 27, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Allison: "Mommy, where do babies come from?"
Me: "They come from God."
Allison: "I know that but how do they come out of their Mommy? Do they come out of their butt?"
Me: "No they do not come out of their butt. Why do you want to know?"
Allison: "John Smith (a boy in Allison's class whose name was changed to protect the innocent...or the guilty!) wants to know."
Me: "Well you can tell John Smith to ask his mom and dad where babies come from and you and I will talk about this when you are older."
I then found myself thanking God in silence that she accepted the answer I gave her. I know she'll ask again. I am hoping it's further down the road when her and I can handle it.
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Friday, April 25, 2008
I've got to run and get ready for work. I've got a cold, sore throat, stuffy nose and headache. This very long day at work should be interesting.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
I've had a couple of emails asking how our two furkids are getting along. I would have to say great. Princess stopped hissing after a day. They chase each other up and down the stairs, up and down the hallway and around the coffee table in the living room. As you can see in this picture, they are doing just fine....thank goodness or Allison would have scratches all over her!
Simba was sleeping in Allison's antique rocker yesterday...this is where Princess usually sleeps.
I removed the bunny to take another picture and Simba gave me this pose. Pooki used to do the same thing! I'm telling you, I think his soul is in this cat!
I was going to make banana bread yesterday because I had some very overripe bananas. Instead I made Banana Brownies. I got the recipe from Stacy Julian's blog. She posted it just a few days ago. She must have known that I had bananas ready for this yummy goodness. They only took me about ten minutes to put together and they are so moist and delicious. By the way, it doesn't say in the recipe but I used dark brown sugar (because that's what I had) and milk chocolate chips).
3/4 cup butter (soft)
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 t vanilla
2 ripe bananas (mashed)
2 cups flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Take a big stock pot out of your cupboard and fill it 2/3 full with water. Place it on a big burner and turn it on high.
While that's boiling, grab your head of cabbage or cabbages. Take off those ugly dirty outside leaves. If you take off some of the dark green ones too, that's okay. They tend to be a little bitter.
Now go and grab a sharp knife. BE CAREFUL...don't cut yourself! I grabbed one of my new Chicago Cutlery that I received for my 15th anniversary at work last year. See, it's all shiny and new looking! Anyway, you'll need to cut out the core. Just keep putting your knife in and out until you make it all the way around.
See this is what it looks like. You want to do this so it makes it easy to peel off the leaves. They won't be attached to anything and will fall right off.
Now place the cabbage in the water. Wait! Do it carefully! That water is getting hot! I turn the head around to get some water in the hole that you cut out.
Now let's go and get started on the insides of the Halupki. Grab your favorite big bowl. I picked my Ba Ba's Pyrex one...it's my favorite. Break both pounds of ground beef up and place it in the bottom of the bowl.
Next let's throw in some minced dried onions. I put 2-3 tablespoons in the written recipe but as you can see, I use the palm of my hand and just throw them in. I'm sure some of you are thinking that fresh onions would be better here and if you want to use those, have at it. I know the juice of the onion is probably the best part but I personally like the hint of onion that dried onions offer. I don't want my Halupki being overpowered by fresh onions. Anyway, this is easier and this is how my Mom did it so that's how I'm doing it!
Add your two eggs. Are you wondering how I took this picture? I used my chin to press the button. No really, I can not tell a lie! I used Curtis...just another of his many talents.
Now throw in that cup of rice. I did measure this as you can see. I usually mound my cup but this time I threw in a little more than a mounded cup. There was about an 1/8 of a cup left in the container and I figured what was the point of letting them sit in the container all by themselves.
Check your cabbage. Can you peel any of the outer leaves off yet? You might only be able to get a couple but that's okay. Just put them in a colander in the sink to drain and cool.
Ya baby! Come to Ma Ma!
Let's get back to the mix. Add 1 can of tomato soup. I only ever use Campbell's but be brave and go for whatever brand you want. I'm a chicken when it comes to my tomato soups so I'll stick to Campbell's, thank you!
Again, you'll see me using no measuring device here. I know, I know, I'm a naughty girl. Throw caution to the wind and just squirt! But be sure you are using Heinz ketchup! Hey, what did you expect from me? I'm a Pittsburgh girl! There is NO other ketchup!
Now mix everything together really well.
Oh heck! It's my dinner! I'm using the best utensils God gave me...my hands! Don't worry, I washed them before touching the raw meat...and BELIEVE ME...I washed them well afterwards with anti-bacterial soap. You should too!
Here it is. The finished mix. It's going to be a little wet than you probably expected but that's good. If it was a dry mixture, you would have hard little meat/rice balls inside. You need the moisture because the rice will suck it all up.
Hey! Wait! What is this? We are making Halupki...not Stuffed Peppers!
I'm taking a side road here. When you make stuffed peppers, just take the pepper and cut the top off. Take the insides out and wash the pepper inside and out. Fill it with the mix and voila! You've got stuffed peppers!
Let's get back on track here. It's hard to see in the picture but the leaves have this big thick vein where it was attached to the core. You will need to thin it out or it's very tough. Just grab a sharp knife and BE CAREFUL! Can you tell I'm afraid of people getting cut here?
See how easy this is? Don't cut the vein out altogether or you won't be able to assemble the Halupki. Oh, please ignore the fact that I'm cutting towards myself. You know you are not supposed to do that, right? Also did you know that a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife? Yup, it is. When you use a dull knife, you need force behind the knife to cut through something and a sharp knife will glide through the item you are cutting. There. That's the extent of my culinary knowledge for the day! Are you impressed?
By the way, this would be a good time to preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
My little pile of veins. I don't know why I took a picture of this. I guess I'm just odd.
Now it's time to get assembling, baby! Open a leaf and set it down on the counter/plate/cutting board...whatever your little heart desires...with the vein part towards you. Place a little bit of the mixture on the end over the vein. Next fold the right and left sides in towards the center and....
After you roll them, place them in a roaster with the seam side down. I guess you could use a covered casserole or something else that's big. This recipe will make a good amount and you also want space for the sauce/juice. He he he. Look what I did with the stuffed peppers. I make a little square pan thingy with triple layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. I didn't want that yucky stuffed pepper juice dancing with my yummy Halupki juice.
Next cover the little pretties with 2 cans of tomato soup. Now let's get that ketchup bottle again and squirt some more over the top. Please don't ask me how much...I don't know. I just kind of squirt in a zig-zag fashion. Technical isn't it? Oh, and here is where you want to pour about 3/4 of a can of water over the whole thing. I toss the water back and forth between the three empty cans of soup so I can rinse out all the goodness still left in the can that scraping didn't get.
Cindi's Family's Halupki (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls) Recipe
1 large head of white cabbage or 2 small (I like two small because the cabbage is more tender)
2 lbs. ground meat
1 c. white rice (not instant)
3 cans tomato soup
salt & pepper (a few shakes of each)
2-3 T. dry minced onion
~Cut core out of cabbage head and cover with boiling water in large stock pot. Boil cabbage until leaves begin to fall off the head with a little help from you. I stand at the stove and peel one leaf off at a time. Drain leaves. With a sharp knife thin out veins along the spine of each cabbage leaf. Do not cut the vein out.
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They get their picture up on the bulletin board in the main hallway, they get to share some of their favorites on the school's closed circuit TV in the morning news segment and they get to have a parent or friend join them for lunch in the cafeteria. By the way, when Allison was asked what her favorite food was, she replied "Anything my Mom cooks." Way to go baby! I attended the lunch this year and I have to admit, I had the best time! We have to be there 5 minutes before their lunch time so we can sign in and get our parent passes. They take us to the cafeteria and show us to the student's assigned tables. We sat their waiting with the lunch that we brought for our child. Can I just say here that McDonald's cleans up on this day. We ALL had McDonald bags. Allison's class entered from the opposite door and as soon as she saw me she let out a "MOM!" which was followed by "ALLISON'S MOM!" coming from 3 other little girls! They all came running at me to get a good seat. Boy did I feel important! I was on the end of the table and had two to each side of me. We chatted about what they learned that day. I quizzed them on the week's spelling words. I told them that it had been over 20 years since I've been in a school cafeteria. They giggled. Two of them debated on who was Allison's best friend. I told them that I was about their age when I met my best friend, Susan, in school. Allison replied that it was 4th grade and not 1st grade. What a memory! Lunch time came to an end way too fast. They started lining them up to go back to their classrooms. I thanked the girls for letting me have lunch with them. I hugged and kissed Allison and was just about to leave when Lena asked me if she could have a hug too. How sweet! Allison considers Lena her best friend and I can see why. They are adorable together. I have a picture of the two of them but I won't post it without her Mother's permission. They are too cute together! And the bonus to it is that I've met her Mother and was over at their house planning the Valentine's Day party. I like her family. This could be the beginning of wonderful little friendship. Also while I was at the lunch, the lady that runs the cafeteria stopped by to compliment me on what a wonderful little girl Allison is and how much they enjoy her. That was so nice to hear! And while I was leaving the janitor came by to tell me that they love Allison. He said his office is on her way to her classroom and she always stops by his open door to say "Hello." He said she is such a pleasant little girl. This again was so nice to hear. I went home and immediately wrote out little thank you notes to Allison's three little friends who had lunch with me. They really made my day!
Here is a close up of Allison's picture on the board.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Curtis and Allison have been wanting another cat for a while now. My answer has always been a firm "NO!" I do not want more fur around here. I do not want the added vet bills. I do not want the added expense. I do not want to clean up after another one. Basically I do NOT want another cat! Period!
Fast forward to three nights ago. Our neighbor brought over an ad she saw in the newspaper for the Butler County Humane Society. It was a half page ad and had 6 cats and 6 dogs featured. In the ad, there were two "torties" which is short for tortiseshell cats. If I haven't mentioned it before, Princess is a tortie. Princess also displays all the quirkiness of a tortie which is known as "tortitude." Anyway, Curtis brought the shelter's website up on the computer in hopes to see the two torties in color. As he was flipping through the pictures he came across a picture of a gray and white cat that startled him. He emailed it to me (I was still at work) and called me immediately because he wanted to be on the phone with me when I clicked on the link and saw this gray and white cat. I did as he asked and as soon as the picture came up on the screen, my reply was "OH MY GOSH!" The picture that I saw on the screen was that of a cat that could have been my old cat's twin. I was stunned. I had Pooki for 13 1/2 years. He was my best friend for most of my single adult life. He was the best little guy EVER! When I moved back home after living in Virginia, I moved in with Mom and Dad. Mom wasn't too thrilled with having a cat in the house. I grew up on a small farm. Mom felt animals belonged outside. She reluctantly agreed to let him move in with me. It wasn't long after that I came home and Mom was sitting on the couch and Pooki was laying up against her! And she was PETTING him! How could she resist? Anyway, he got seriously ill when I was 3 months pregnant with Allison. He had gotten so bad that we took him to an all night clinic. They grabbed him from my arms when we arrived. We were told he was within 15 minutes of the end of his life. We were told he had to stay there all night. We picked him up the next morning with his IV bag still attached. He was transferred to Crago Veterinary Clinic, a very well known animal hospital, in Youngstown, Ohio. There he underwent a major surgery with a 50/50 chance of working. If you are thinking that must of been expensive, you are right. We really didn't have a choice, he was my buddy for over 10 years and I couldn't lose him now. Not while I was pregnant. The surgery didn't work as we all had planned but he was a trooper for the next couple of years. I'll spare you of the details but we ended up having to put him down. It was the single most hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life. I would rather have gone through childbirth again. Enough of this! I'm balling right now! It'll be almost 5 years and I still miss him so.
Let's get back to the picture. It was so strange how much this cat looked like Pooki. This cat's name is Simba. Curtis asked if we could go see him and I said "No, we are not getting another cat!" Later that night when I called home to see how bedtime for Allison went, he asked me what the lion cub's name is in The Lion King. I replied, Simba. Ugh! He thinks he's so cute. I didn't get home until late that night. I went to get on the computer to check my email and the wallpaper was the picture of this cat, Simba. Ugh! Again, he thinks he's so cute. We got up the next morning and he mentioned it again. Again, I said "No, I don't want another cat!" A couple hours later I'm driving Allison to school and she starts to chant "Simba! Simba! Simba!" over and over again. What is this?!? A conspiracy? I know a snow job when I see one! Finally I'm by myself in the van on the way to work and I can't get the picture out of my head! It was just too weird how close he looks like my Pooki. I got to work and shared it with a couple of friends at work. The one who has two cats encouraged me and the other said that Princess will not like it at all. I don't know. I just don't know. Later in the day, I talked to Curtis on the phone. He asked what time I was getting done because the Humane Society had late hours on Tuesday. They were open until 7:00. Again, I said "No, I don't want anther cat!" But yet again, I couldn't get this cat out of my head! I decided I had to see him for myself. I rushed to get out of work so I could get there in time. When I was 10 minutes away from the shelter, I called Curtis and asked him and Allison to meet me there in 15 minutes. I wanted to be there first. I knew I would just know immediately. I walked into the first cat room. A very large black cat came to the end of his/her cage very aggressively and meowing very loudly. I pointed at him/her and said "You'll never get adopted if you act like that." I moved to the second cat room. As I walked in, mine and Simba's eyes met. He came to the door of his cage and I touched him through the door. He felt so soft. They opened the cage and I took him out. He nuzzled his head between my jaw bone and my shoulder and left his head there on my shoulder to cuddle. I knew I would just know...and I did. He was going home with me. Curtis and Allison walked in and it was minutes before Curtis pulled out his debit card. I put up a little fuss about not wanting another cat and not knowing about this. I had to. I couldn't give in that easily. I couldn't show him that I had fallen in love with this cat already. That we had formed a bond the instant our eyes met. That I knew he belong no where else in the world but with me. He was my new little guy. I've always said that I had my pets, it's now Allison's turn. This little guy has changed all that. Even though Allison calls him ours. He is mine but let's keep this our secret. Simba will always be his name but I'm calling him "Pretty Boy."
We brought him home and Princess was not too happy. She'll adjust. She has already. She's not hissing at him anymore. That I guess is a good thing. Even though he is a year older, Princess is a third larger than him. They've started this game of chasing each other around the hall. It's too cute. Simba has better traction on the ceramic tile. Princess spins out on it.
Anyway, more about Simba. When we brought him home, we compared him to the picture of Pooki on the wall. It's uncanny how much they are alike. Allison said "Hey Mom. Maybe Pooki is like Jesus and he came back in Simba." How cute was that? But now that we have lived with Simba for two days, she may just be right about that. I think Pooki's soul is in Simba. He has so many of the odd characteristics/habits that Pooki had. I know you are thinking that the men in the little white coats will be here to get me soon, but just hear me out. Here are just some of the similarities. Pooki did them all.
- He has to pull his food bowl out into the middle of the floor.
- He leaves little bits of food on the floor around the bowl.
- When he's done doing his business in the litter box, he has to scrape all of the litter in the box into a big pile. I used to ask Pooki "Are you building the pyramids of Egypt?"
- He also does his business as close to the side of the box as he can get.
- When his lays down, he turns his front paws inward.
- He licks my hands and jawline.
- He "answers" me when I talk to him.
- He puts his head on my shoulder.
- He lays on me.
- He kneads me. (I know a lot of cats do these last two but Princess does not)
I don't know friends, but I think Pooki's soul may just have come back to me. Below are two pictures of Pooki. What do you think? Coincidence or Reincarnation?Pin It