~my thoughts about life~

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


A few weeks ago, hubby and I were dining out at a local Cracker Barrel restaurant. As we walked to our car, we noticed an older model white van that seemed to be following us. We picked up the pace a little and jumped in our car. An older gentleman approached the passenger window. He was nicely dressed so I wasn't too alarmed. I cracked it a few inches to hear what he was saying. The first question he asked was, "Do you speak English?" This threw me a bit because we live in a total English-speaking community in the Midwest US. He began his story that he and his wife had travelled from a large city two hours south to see their new grand baby. Silly him left his wallet at home and they had no gas money to get back. He continued on that his wife told him not to approach us but he didn't listen because we looked like such nice people. He needed some money and even had the two-day-old baby in the van to prove if we wanted to see her. We had two dollars in plain view on the console so I handed him that and we left. Scam? Probably. But it was only two dollars.

A few weeks later, hubby took the kids to Friendly's Restaurant to eat while I was at a meeting. An older gentlemen approached him and asked, "Do you speak English?" He began the same story about leaving his wallet at home and needing gas money. Hubby interrupted him and very bluntly said, "You already got me once, dude." The man looked surprised and simply replied, "Oh." Hubby found the restaurant manager and told him the story. He kicked the man out.

We haven't seen him since but I wouldn't be surprised to run into him again at some point. Next time, I think I'll tell him that I love babies and would enjoy getting to hold his newborn!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What's For Dinner?

I love watching the Rachael Ray show; she has so much energy and personality. There is one segment of her show called What's For Dinner Tonight? I love watching this portion of the show, but I must admit, I rarely like what she prepares. I have a family of six picky eaters and it's very difficult to please them each night. So when Rachael prepares a fish stew with four kinds of seafood and pounds of vegetables, I think, "Yeah right!"

So I thought I would start a segment of my blog called What's For Dinner? These will more than likely be simpler, plainer recipes because that's all we eat! But today I will start off with our most ethnic recipe. Hubby is Greek and I am Hungarian, so I do try to cook a few ethnic recipes.

PASTITSIO (Greek Lasagna)

Meat Mixture

6 T butter
2 T chopped sweet onion
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 lb. hamburger
1 29 oz. can tomato sauce
salt & pepper
dash cinnamon

In a large skillet, melt 2 T of the butter; saute onion and garlic until golden. Add remaining butter and crumbled hamburger; brown well. Add remaining ingredients and simmer.

Macaroni Mixture

3/4 lb. Greek macaroni
1/4 C butter, melted
6 eggs
1 C grated Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil; sprinkle with salt. Break macaroni into thirds, add to water and stir. Cook uncovered until tender, stirring occasionally. Drain thoroughly. Add butter and toss.

In a large bowl, beat 3 eggs well; add half of macaroni and 1/2 C cheese. Toss well. Layer into a greased 9x13" baking dish. Top with meat mixture. Repeat as above to combine remaining macaroni, eggs, and cheese; layer over top of meat mixture.

Bechamel Sauce

6 T butter
6 T flour
2 C warm milk
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 t salt
dash pepper

In a medium saucepan, melt butter; blend in flour until smooth. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. Gradually stir in eggs; cook over very low heat until thickened. Add cheese, salt, and pepper. Spread bechamel sauce over macaroni; bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until top is delicately browned.

*My Recipe Notes:
-There is nowhere local that sells Greek macaroni. So I use 3 C elbow macaroni instead.
-The bechamel sauce is a little temperamental. I would recommend giving your full attention while making this sauce. I do make the meat and macaroni mixtures at the same time though.
-It takes much longer that 25 minutes for the top to brown in my oven. Be patient but keep your eye on it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Grandma's Potato Salad

I made Grandma's potato salad today. Wow, does that bring back memories! I haven't had it in many years and I only attempted to make it one other time. It wasn't good.

Grandma always brought potato salad to any family event. Hers was by far the best in the whole world and no one could make it like her. (Some thought they could, but NOPE!) Mom made the best macaroni salad, Aunt E made the best almond chicken, Nanny made the best ham, and I made the best chocolate chip cookies. But no one could touch Gram's potato salad!

We noticed Gram was starting to slip when the potato salad started tasting differently. She forgot the celery. She added apples this time (what's up with that?). She added powdered creamer (which actually tasted quite well). Then eventually, Grandma stopped making potato salad. The last time she made it, Gramps had to follow her around the kitchen and ask questions like, "Now, don't you put eggs in that? First we have to boil them."

Gram is still with us but is suffering from pretty severe dementia. So in a way, "she" is not really with us. The Grandma that we all loved and admired has turned into a different person. But we still love and admire her. I think she's my favorite person who ever lived. That's why I named my first daughter after her.

How is my potato salad? It's not Gram's. I put too many onions in it. (Aww, man!) I wish I had the pretty cut glass dish she used to always put it in. I just might have to ask for that next time I go see her. Maybe I'll take her some potato salad.

This is one recipe I can't share with you. It's Gram's and it's special.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fwd: Fwd: Fwd:...

Do you get sick of your inbox being cluttered by emails that start with these annoying 3 letters:

It seems like I'm getting more and more of these lately. When email use peaked several years ago, I got tons of forwarded emails. We were all stupid back then and believed them all. But then people wised up and stopped forwarding them. But for some reason, they seem to be back! And here's the new twist: "Snopes verified!" Yeah right! Just because the email says "Snopes verified," you're going to trust it that it actually is verified on snopes.com? I've checked out many of these so called "verified" emails and NONE of them were verified as being true on snopes.com. In fact, snopes.com verifies that they are untrue! It just goes to show that people will believe anything they read. (Are you in fact believing me right now? Ha ha.)

My favorites among the group are the people who need to get $100 million into the US so they're going to send the money to you, a perfect stranger. You get to keep it all, provided that you pay $250 to help get it here. Or there's the one about flashing your headlights at a car who doesn't have theirs on is part of a gang initiation. They're going to come back and murder you if you flash them. I can't tell you how many times I've received that one. I have also received the one about they guy who asks you to help him while you're loading up your car at the mall. Then he kidnaps you. That one scared a lot of people I know personally but it has so many holes in it and is verified as an urban legend.

One of the newer email hoaxes is one where they tell you not to use the remote unlock button for your car. If you do, someone can steal the "code" that comes out of the remote and they can use it to break into your car later. How do these hoaxes get started? I think someone, who thinks they have a sense of humor, decides to make up something totally off the wall that causes you to be inconvenienced (not using your car remote) to see how many people will forward it and believe it.
Also, there's the one about the little girl who licked her hands after using Purell and died of alcohol poisoning. If one would ingest an entire bottle of hand sanitizer, yes, this could be possible. But licking one squirt off their hands will not cause your children to die. Many of my friends have quit using Purell because of this email hoax.

Please people, before you send out your next unbelievable FWD, please verify it on snopes.com to see if it's true. You may just save yourself a lot of embarrassment and your friends a lot of stress!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It had to be done...

I couldn't deal with it any longer and finally spent the entire day cleaning my almost unlivable home. It smells so clean and fresh in here and there are no dust balls in sight.

My "plate" has been so full lately and I feel like I've neglected my husband and children. But hubby should be happy to come home to a clean, sweet smelling house and homemade oatmeal cookies. (Mine are the bomb, by the way!)

Enjoying "Brown Eyed Girl" on iTunes while I type. It's a beautiful day here and I just got in the mood to go outside and enjoy it!

Oatmeal Cookies
1 C packed light-brown sugar
1 C granulated sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
3 C oats
1 C + 2T flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder

Preheat oven to 350. Combine sugars and butter in a mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; mix to combine. In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, soda, and powder; stir to combine. Add to butter mixture. Mix on low speed just to combine, 15 seconds.

Use a large or small scoop to form balls of dough. Bake until golden and just set, about 14 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 4-5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Enjoy!


Monday, March 15, 2010

American Idol Elimination Night

I finally had time to watch last week's elimination show. I'm so behind on my TV viewing!
At this point of the show, I get so sad to see who is voted off each week. They are all so talented and, in a way, I would like to see all of them get to win! Both the guys were great and I hated to see them go. I also really liked Lily. She had a great jazzy sound to her voice.
I will have to say though that Crystal Bowersox is my favorite right now. I hope she takes the whole thing!
If it's dreary in your part of the world like it is in mine, try to stay awake and stay warm! Think Spring!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Morning Tradition

I love waking up every Friday morning, sending the kids off to school, then setting down with my breakfast of Cinnamon Life to watch Ace of Cakes. I record it every Thursday night and enjoy my time along watching it with breakfast. I aspire to be an awesome decorator like those fine people some day!
Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Another Earthquake in Chile

I can't believe that there was another aftershock in Chile today; this one measuring 7.2! With over 200 aftershocks since the initial 8.8 earthquake, I don't know why this isn't getting more media coverage. You still hear so much about Haiti but very little has been said about Chile in comparison. Many of the Chilean aftershocks registered higher than the Haitian earthquake.

Please pray for the people in Chile. Hoping my friends in there get to come home to the US soon!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Remnants of a Snowman...

This is all we have left of the snowman who one graced the backyard of our Midwest home. The grass is gray and soupy and the carrot has seen better days. But this is a sure sign that Spring is near!

Think Spring!

I Don't Homeschool

I must have "the look." Upon meeting people for the first time, they are typically shocked that I have four children. (I look somewhat young for my age and we got started early.) One of the first questions they usually ask is, "Do you homeschool?" Why is it that people associate having more than the average 2.5 children with homeschooling? Just because I'm crazy enough to keep having kids means that I'm crazy enough to homeschool? (Ha...kidding!)

If homeschooling if your thing, that's great. But it's not for me. Socialization is very important to me. Kids who are homeschooled tend to be on the odd side. Yes, I know that they have social groups for home schooled kids to interact with other homeschooled kids. But having the odd interact with other odd? Hmmmm...doesn't work for me. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. I know a family of six who homeschool and they are very pleasant, normal people.

I know I can't give my children the same advantages that the public education system and multiple skilled teachers can give them. And I have a college degree in education. I don't know how typical parents do it. I think I would lose my mind!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My First Post

I must admit that I was partly inspired to start a blog because of Betty Suarez of Ugly Betty! She is the ultimate heroine and I totally adore the show! She started a blog with the hopes to inspire even just one person. Of course she is an educated journalist and I am so obviously not. But here is my shout out to Betty! I am so sad that the show is drawing to a close...I feel that it's end is entirely too premature.

I, too, wanted to share my thoughts with the world. The small children I stay home with each day are not too interested in my opinions. My thoughts are bubbling over and I needed a place to share them, even if they are just floating around alone in cyberspace. I hope they might be interesting to someone.