Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Some yummy things I've made recently

Skillet Shrimp Scampi with Fettuccine
Recipe courtesy Family Circle Magazine

3/4 pound fettuccine pasta
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and halved crosswise
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large sweet red pepper, halved, cored, seeded and cut lengthwise into thin strips
1 small onion, cut lengthwise in 1/2 and thinly sliced crosswise
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds medium-size shrimp, shelled and deveined
2/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Cook pasta in large pot of lightly salted boiling water until al dente, firm but tender, about 12 minutes. Add the green beans to the boiling water for the last 6 minutes of cooking; beans should be crisp-tender and not limp.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sweet red pepper, onion and garlic; saute for 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the shrimp; saute 2 minutes. Add the wine, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until the shrimp are opaque, about 1 to 2 minutes more. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp.

Whisk together the chicken broth and cornstarch in a small bowl until well blended and smooth. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the skillet. Bring to boiling; cook for 1 minute. Stir in the parsley.

Drain the pasta and green beans in a colander; turn the pasta into a large bowl. Add the shrimp mixture; toss until well combined. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan. Serve immediately.
Recipe SummaryDifficulty: Easy Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Yield: 6 servings

Copyright © 2006 Television Food Network, G.P., All Rights Reserved

Glazed Salmon and Vegetable Medley
Yield: 4

Children's salmon and glaze:
2 x 4 oz Atlantic salmon fillets (2)
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted (15ml)
2 tbsp maple syrup (30ml)
2 tbsp soy sauce (30ml)

Adults' salmon and glaze:
2 x 6 oz Atlantic salmon fillets (2)
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted (15ml)
1 tsp each grated lemon zest and juice (5ml each)
1 tsp maple syrup (5ml)
1 tsp finely chopped fresh dill (5ml)

Vegetable Medley:
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (15ml)
2 cups sugar snap peas, strings removed (500ml)
1 cup green or yellow zucchini, cut into half-moons (250ml)
1 red pepper, thinly sliced (1)
1/4 cup sliced Vidalia onion (50ml)
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint (10ml)
salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine children’s glaze ingredients together and pour over their salmon fillets. Combine the adult’s glaze ingredients together, reserving the dill, and pour over the remaining salmon. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 F. Arrange fish fillets in 2 small, lightly greased baking pans and sprinkle lightly with salt & pepper. Bake for about 12-14 minutes, or until salmon is lightly browned on top and flakes easily with a fork.

During the last 5 minutes of cooking the salmon, prepare vegetable medley. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add vegetables and sauté for 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Stir in mint and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle adult’s salmon with reserved dill, and serve fish with vegetables.

Tip: Asparagus spears or green beans could be substituted for the snap peas. Rice or orzo would make a nice accompaniment to the fish.

Even my 2 fish despising kids ate this without a groan. La Diva actually asked me to make it again some day as she really enjoyed it. She is the worst of my fish haters. I loved the adult glaze the best but the Hero enjoyed both of them. I served couscous as a side.

Earth Day

It's hard not to think of Earth day today as I look out my window to see the tree branches blowing about and a near foot of snow out my door. We've had spring snowstorms in the past but they were never like this... lasting days and making it all feel like winter again. I'd post a picture but our new camera is stuck en route somewhere in a UPS truck, delayed due to the treacherous road conditions I'm sure.

This is one of the most sensible articles I've read on "going green".

Our children were supposed to be doing a school yard clean up today but the garbage is now buried under the snow. I hope they will reschedule. It's unfortunate because we live on the street that also has the 2 schools for our town and the garbage from these kids blows into our yard constantly.

I know that there is alot more that my own family could be doing but for now we are doing the best we can. A few of the things we do:

  • changed out all our lightbulbs years ago
  • recycle some things
  • donate reusable items that we no longer have a need for
  • support farmer's markets and buy local when possible
  • maintain our vehicles
  • use resusable bags as much as I can- I have a resistant Hero but that is not without reason and a rant for another day
  • minimize the disposable packaging in our children's lunches
  • repurpose things like coffee to go lids and other "garbage" for crafts, draining medium in planters, etc
  • use our own water bottles and coffee to go cups as much as possible, note to self find a different solution for our BPA filled water bottles *sigh*
  • use phospate free laundry detergent, hang to dry when possible, have a front loader washer
  • use eco friendly cleaning products or homemade solutions
  • use a bagless vacuum
  • read daily newspaper online
  • culled many magazine subscriptions, pass along the ones we have to friends, school, etc
  • shut off lights
  • keep temperature down and wear layers

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Mother Nature is a cruel friend

An optimist is the human personification of spring. ~Susan J. Bissonette
I'm tring to maintain a positive attitude, really I am. I just wrote all about Eeyore afterall but I'm really being challenged this week trying to find my eternal optimist. I'm struggling physically in huge ways and the weather has taken an ugly turn. Last weekend we basked in the warmth of spring on our freshly cleaned front porch. It felt so good to retrieve the patio furniture from under tarps that were once covered in snow. It was lovely to sit there in the warm sun and plan our garden for this year. To hear birds chirping and kids playing. Even the annoying revs of the street and dirt bikes in the distance did little to dampen my spirit. Yet a mere week later we are again under the white blanket of winter that threatens to suffocate me with it's gloomy grey sky and bitter cold. Where are you spring? Will you ever stay? Will I ever see green again? The cruel winter mocks me and my poor seedlings on th window sill.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Best Break-up Songs

We have a new radio station that recently hit the airwaves. They play some great music. Lots of oldies from my past. They did a "best break-up songs" afternoon. It was fun to listen to all the old heartbreaker songs. I even recall rewinding a few of them over and over again on the ghetto blaster when my heart had been broken. Good times! Here are a few of mine:

1. All Out of Love - Air Supply
2. The Flame - Cheap Trick
3. It Must Have Been Love - Roxette
4. These Eyes - Burton Cummings

Leave me a comment with your favorite break up songs.

Eeyore Syndrome - Part 2

Do you live in the past? Beating yourself up over wrong choices, things that happened to you, hurts and disappointments of days gone by consuming your thought life now?? But you don't know what I've been through, you don't know my pain, you have no idea how many times I've messed up....that rationale keeps you bound up. You're right I don't know your history. What I do know is that is your past and you can chose to live in that and let it define your present and future or you can chose to do what you need to in order to have victory over that and rewrite the rest of your story.

Take inventory of your life. What things bring you joy? What things cause you stress? What can you do to relieve those stresses right now? Are there things or people that cause nothing but drama in your life? Is having them in your life keeping you from being the best person you can be, is it stealing your joy, is it making your personal relationships with those closest to you more difficult? Are those relationships worth maintaining? Some friendships are only for a season with good reason. Sometimes purging the toxins from our lives is necessary to our emotional and physical well being. Depressed and/or angry people are generally not healthy people.

We have two choices: continue to blame the world for our stress or take responsibility for own reactions and deliberately change our emotional climate. ~ Doc Childre and Howard Martin

Our lives should be full of love and laughter. Our joy should overflow. There are so many people in this world that have far less than we do and suffer greatly just to live a difficult life. We have every opportunity available to us yet we loll around in our misery and dream of the things that will make our life happier. Things don't improve your life people!! Stuff is not eternal. Loving, appreciating and spending time with your spouse, soul mate, children, family- blood related or chosen, that's eternal. Being mindful of the humanity around you and doing what you can to help those less fortunate be it food bank donations, hands on volunteering or simply seeing a need in your own circle of influence and doing what you can to fill it. Those kinds of actions, no matter how small, cause a ripple that can last longer than you. People always remember an act of love and kindness. The won't remember what kind of house you lived in or what car you drove or if your clothes had a label on them.

Too often we under estimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

~ Leo Buscaglia

It's impossible for life to always be sunshine and rainbows. When life throws a cloud over the rainbow we have a choice to let it get the better of us, to crumple in defeat or to press through and come out the other side of it stronger and wiser for the experience. We can let our difficulties own us or we can own them. We can let that circumstance or event define the rest of our life, that definition depends on how we chose to handle it. I'm not saying it's not human to feel like crap, to feel hopeless and defeated, to get angry, to even desire vengence but we have the choice as to how we will deal with these feelings and how they will impact our life. Our choice not only affects us but those near and dear to us. My choice to harbor unforgiveness or be defeated will be an example I give to my children. They will learn how to deal with their own challenges by how they have seen their parents react or deal with them.

How you choose to respond each moment to the movie of life determines how you see the next frame, and the next, and eventually how you feel when the movie ends.~ Doc Childre

Need help forming a plan of action or dealing with some more specific issues... stay tuned.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I've been hit!!

I've been tagged by the lovely Mzzterry for my very first meme. I've finally made it onto the blog scene. ROFL. I'm to share 7 random things about me.

1. I have my nose pierced, I got it done last summer on a complete whim.
2. I think liverwurst, stone ground mustard and rye bread are a delicious treat.
3. I've met most of the Oilers hockey players from the Dynasty years (1984-1990)
4. I spent 6 weeks in PQ doing a total french immersion while I was in college.
5. I orginally studied to be a teacher but after a heartbreaking practicum in a rough school I reevaluated my career path. I didn't think I had enough in me to be both a teacher and a mother down the road. I went on to become a Legal Assistant.
6. I've modelled in several fashion shows- in my teens and in my married life.
7. I'm quite shy and terrified of public speaking yet I used to be very active in couples and women's ministry which required me to speak in front of large groups.

In the spirit of carrying on this meme, here are the rules:
Link to the person who tagged you.
Post the rules in your blog entry.
Share 7 random, or weird, facts about yourself.
Tag 7 random people at the end of the post, linking to them.
Leave a comment on their blog so that they know they’ve been tagged.
*** If memes are not your thing, just ignore the tag, I will not be offended! This kind of thing is not for everybody!***

So, I am tagging these bloggy friends:
1. Hippy Goodwife
2. Shannon
3. CzaMama
4. Rachel
5. Cynthia
6. Crafty P
7. Suzy

Love according to Turtle

"I love you as high as space... no I love you all the way to the planet Mars."

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Eeyore Syndrome- Part 1

I spend the first part of my morning sitting in front of a little blue light for 30 minutes. It's the magic sunshine that has made this winter one of more hope filled days than those crawl back in bed and hide under the covers til spring comes kind of days. I'm very thankful for this light and it's calming blue waves. I check my email, read my devotion, read my blogroll, peruse the news and pop into a couple of forums I visit while I bask in the blue glow. Why do I share this with you? So you know that I understand the battle of depression. I suffered from horrible post partum depression which went undiagnosed until I had a total breakdown after Turtle was born. I was on anti-depressants for many years and rode the doom and gloom train for much longer than I care to admit. I did much of this alone while the Hero was away working and trying to do whatever he could to make a better life for our family. I did it without any real life support. I was blessed to find love and support from an amazing group of inmates/imaginary friends who became the sisters of my heart. I also discovered that I suffered from SAD (seasonal depression) which is the reason for the blue light.

Through all my days of doom and gloom I was always able to pull it together and offer hope to others, to find bright spots to pull me through, to be still and know that God had not forgotten me, was not punishing me, was right there with me. I became quite the intercessor during those days. For me to lift up the needs of others helped me to find hope in my own situation, to realize that the grass isn't always greener, to seek joy despite my circumstances.

I somehow made little goals for myself and plans to get me through the bad days. I did my best to take action and not wallow in the pit of gloom that was overtaking my life at the time. I found that taking the focus off of the cards that had been dealt to me and loving on other people gave me purpose and the ability to move forward. I had to fight to get well for my children (remember I was sole caregiver for them for much of the time with the Hero gone 15+days and then home for 5), for my Hero (I'd crash into a heap of mush on those 5 days home and he was frustrated that he couldn't fix me) but mostly I had to get well for me. I was not living the life I deserved and I had to take action to get to that place. Only I could get the healing I needed because I am in control of the choices I make.

Now I have control over my illness, can recognize what sends me into the pit and takes steps to prevent it. Life is blessed. Not all my days are mountain top ones but the ones in the pit are few and far between. I usually slap myself upside the head in a big way and have a Thankful Thursday, count my blessings and take a my life doesn't suck because inventory. Through it all I've become good at recognizing people who are in pit, those that walk around with Eeyore syndrome. The cloud of doom is forever over their heads, they walk with the weight of the entire world upon them, their eyes don't sparkle and it becomes draining to be around them. They suck the joy out of every situation with their negativity and reactions to their situations. They see the green grass on the other side but they don't see all the water, fertilizer and tender care it took to grow that grass that they covet. They say things like "when such and such happens I'll have time to... or my life will have less stress.. or I'll be happy" . The truth be told they won't be happy. They won't be happy until they get to the place of being content with the now, learn to forgive themselves and let go of past mistakes and stop looking for an imaginary future of money trees, vacations, perfect children, adoring spouses, jobs they love or whatever they think is the magic pill of happiness. They will still be miserable and the cloud will still be hanging over them even if they are standing on that green grass they longed for. We can change our circumstances as much as we want but those circumstances will not change us. That change comes from within. Can you find that change within you? Don't know where to start? Stay tuned for more on Eeyore.

Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.
~Nikos Kazantzakis

Friday, April 11, 2008

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

I love my children, I love my children, I love my children...

...love my children, love my children, love my children.... really I do.

Not liking being a mom to a tween so much. I keep reminding myself his brain is scientifically proven to be mush at the moment but that isn't making it any easier.

I love my children, I love my children, I love my children, I love most of my children, I love my children............aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh

Thankful Thursday

I've been inspired to count some of my many blessings today. I've been wallowing in my misery for too many days. I really am blessed and I need to concentrate on that more often. I think putting it here will help me to refocus on the blessings when I'm throwing a grand old pity party. Today my heart is full of thanks for a few people that make my life richer.

  • j9~ a sister of my heart. I'm so thankful to have a prayer warrior like you in my corner. You bless my life in so many ways. I long for the day that we will finally see each other face to face.
  • CNE~ together we are a Dar Williams song. According to them we should be at war with one another. Yet despite our differences we are family. I treasure our friendship and my life is richer for knowing you and your family.
  • cza ~ you seem to instinctively know just when to call. You've helped me to see the beauty within me and to view my outside in a gentler way. That is no small feat and I am so grateful for you.
  • mme~ your generous heart and loving spirit are a blessing to me. I'm in awe of your creativity and vision. Thanks for always making me giggle and feel all warm and fuzzy.
  • my favorite hockey mom~ in recent months I've silently become more aware of and stand in awe of all that you bear and that you do it with such grace and dignity. You never whine and moan, you just take the lemons life has dealt and turn them into lemonade. Thank you for giving me the courage and strength to do the same.
  • lucky buck's wife~ I live vicariously through your travels and all the cool people you meet. You inspire me to dream of the world beyond and the possibilities that lay ahead of me. Your support through my craziness has been a gift.
  • jacker~ I wish you could see yourself through my eyes. I know He has amazing plans for you. While you think that I offer you so much in this journey, I am thankful for what you unknowingly teach me as you give me the gift of your confidence and friendship. You are an overcomer!
  • chiefndisaster~ girl you make me laugh! I so appreciate what you have added to my life. You take me as I am, understand that I suck at phone calls yet you don't let me hide when I feel like crap, you even put up with the wacked hero. Thanks for the joy you bring to my life!! I so needed someone like you in my real life.
  • pam~ You inspire me with your heart for ministry, your perserverance through personal challenges, attacks and frustrations is inspiring. I admire your heart to see lives touched and changed by the ministry God has placed on your heart. You are a warrior and I'm honored to know you.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Plague

Sorry I've been MIA. Wednesday I thought I was going to die! I cannot remember being so weak in my life, except maybe when I was starting to pass out during the labor of one of my precious children. I had the flu and it took every ounce of my strength to make my way to the bathroom rather than just giving up and letting myself lay..... tmi alert........... in my own body fluids. It was awful and when I wasn't in the bathroom I was dying in bed. I've had moments of energy and even left the house a time or two since then but I end up with some hour or hours of the day feeling like total crap... pun intended. Luckily the crew went to my parents for spring break. I cannot imagine having to contend with anyone during this plague. The Hero did his best to be compassionate and loving and not a complete pita. Lucky for him because he's been hit with smaller doses of my plague since then.

I'm still not feeling up to par. Flu + fibro flare = my own personal hell on earth. I'm trying not to whine and succeeding for the most part. I probably wouldn't have even posted about it but I figured that this was the best way to reach the masses... all 7 of you that read my blog ;).... to account for my absence or sporadic popping into the places I love on the www.

It was nice to have the family all together last night. It was starting to get a little quiet around here.... I know hard to believe with the Hero but even Freedom was getting ready to run away from home. We are used to our crazy, busy house full of noise and I missed my non hairy snuggles!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Grandma's Hands

I don't normally forward email things, in fact, I skim some, delete most but this caught my eye and touched my heart enough to post it in my blog rather than forward it. I edited all the pass this along info that people love to put on the bottom to guilt you into hitting forward. God will answer my prayers no matter how many people I send it to and doing so doesn't mean I love Him more than sending it to delete means I'm not a good Christian. I hope it makes you think and touches your heart.

I was privileged to take a photo of 'Five Generations of Women' shortly before my 93 year-old Grandmother passed away last year. The photo, shown below, features the hands of my Grandmother, Mom, Sister, Niece and Great-Niece. While I can't take credit for the idea, I was so happy to have had the suggestion & capture this moment. It inspired a friend of mine to do something similar which turned out so beautiful and a special keepsake prior to her father's passing.


Grandma, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. She didn't move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands.

When I sat down beside her she didn't acknowledge my presence and the Longer I sat I wondered if she was OK.

Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check on her At the same time, I asked her if she was OK. She raised her head and Looked at me and smiled. 'Yes, I'm fine, thank you for asking,' she said in a clear voice strong. 'I didn't mean to disturb you, grandma, but you were just sitting here Staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK,' I Explained to her.

'Have you ever looked at your hands,' she asked. 'I mean really Looked at your hands?' I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them Over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at My hands as I tried to figure out the point she was making.

Grandma smiled and related this story: 'Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have Served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled Shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life. 'They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the Floor. They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child, my Mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots. They held my husband and wiped my tears when he went off to war. 'They have been dirty, scraped and raw , swollen and bent. They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone Special. They wrote my letters to him and trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse. 'They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn't understand. They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.

'These hands are the mark of where I've been and the ruggedness of life. But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when He leads me home. And with my hands He will lift me to His side and there I will use these hands to touch the face of Christ.'

I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God Reached out and took my grandma's hands and led her home.

When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my children and husband I think of grandma. I know she has been stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God. I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my face.

-- Author Unknown

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Laughter really is good medicine. I've laughed more recently than I have laughed in a long time. There is something to be said for the company of people who make you laugh and have the ability to laugh at themselves. Life is so much richer with laughter. The tough stuff isn't so hard when you have bursts of spontaneous silliness, big old belly laughs, pee your pants fits of giggles and snorts.

A wise prophet told me some time ago that I need to lighten up and embrace my Hero's warped sense of humor and ability to see the lighter side of life. It's taken me awhile to get to this place but I finally understand why this wise man thought that little pearl was so important so many years ago. I almost feel guilty for blowing off those words of wisdom... I've definitely robbed myself of some happiness by taking everything so seriously.

I guess this approaching 40 thing is really having me reflect on people and moments that have touched my life. I'm glad that I'm mature enough to take heed to some of the wisdom I've put on the back burner all too long.