IS MY TIARA ON STRAIGHT?

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

cakecentral

  My daughter (number 3 as I call her since I seem to call her every other siblings name) has now been a newlywed for 3 months.  They have returned from their dream honeymoon cruising the Hawaiian Islands.  Daryl has accepted a new job with a new company.  Katelyn has returned to her job as a correctional nurse, and they have settled into their roles of husband and wife, tossing aside the old titles of boyfriend and girlfriend.  They have moved in with her father and his wife while they are saving money for a down payment on a home they are buying in February.  All in all, life is rolling along as it should be.  I have begun dating a wonderful man, which now involves “running” every weekend, here and there, with each weekend being a new adventure. Since Katelyn and I work together, every Monday we share with each other how our weekends went, where we had gone, etc.  After our share session this week she pouted and said “Wow, you guys are old and are doing more than we do.  We just sit and watch movies at home or go out to eat once in awhile!”  I told her that we are just in the dating phase that they were in 2 years ago, and quite frankly…HA HA HA….NANA NANA BOO BOO!!!!
Monday morning she came  into work and said that she and “D” had a fight before she came to work.  Of course being the mother bear that I am I was prepared to kick some son-in-law butt.  She then sat down in my office and told me what had happened.  She said that she asked him to go out and start her car in order to warm it up, and he was playing a video game that he couldn’t pause, so he told her he would do it in a minute.  She then became upset because he didn’t jump up and do as she commanded.  She said that she stormed out to the car, while saying a few sailor words, and left for work.  I just looked at her in amazement…and went “WHAT?????…..Kateyln! Shame on you!”  I told her that first off, it was 36 degrees out, so her car didn’t need to be warmed up for 10 minutes, and that her response to him was way out of line.  I went on to tell her that there was no reason that she could not have put on some shoes and start her car if it was that important to her.  She looked at me in stunned silence and informed me that she was a diva and he should have done as she asked.  With that statement came the usual motherly eye roll…except it was the monster of all eye rolls…one that could be mistaken as the start of a seizure…I swear I saw the bottom of my brain from the inside.  Where had this “diva” come from?  Where did she learn such behavior?  I knew that she didn’t learn it from me, as I am as far from a diva as they come.  We all knew that she was a self proclaimed princess….but a diva?

  At this point her co-worker Bonnie joined the conversation and said that her husband starts the car every morning without being asked, so it was fine for Katie to expect it to be done.  They then laughed and joked about being divas as I sat there with this stupid, bewildered look on my face.  Who were these fairy princess women?  Had I truly missed the boat during my former marriage by not declaring myself a diva?  After sitting at my desk contemplating what had just happened, I decided that my next question was “How does one become a diva, or at least a princess?”  So out of my office I go to have this all important question answered.  I then posed the question, and waited for guidance, because now that I was embarking into a new relationship, perhaps I too could be Cinderella instead of Ursela the sea witch?????  My beautiful, educated, funny, and loving daughter answered in all of her blond innocence: “Mom, NO ONE CHOOSES TO BE A PRINCESS….IT CHOOSES YOU!”  I just stood there with a pout on my face as the tiara slowly slipped off of my head and hit the floor with a gently ping….sigh. ♥

FOOD FOR THE BODY  

 Six Minute Caramels

(shared with me by a new friend Jane)

Ingredients:

 1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup white sugar

 1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup light Karo syrup

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Directions:

1.  Combine all ingredients.

2.  Cook 6 minutes on a medium high heat, stirring every minute.

3.  Stir and pour into lightly greased dish

 4.  Let cool

5.  Cut, wrap in wax paper & store in an air tight container

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Princess Katelyn’s Wedding

somehow I now have an extra blogging page….going to try to include this on my shellys stories page.

My Blog

Food For The Soul

wedding 9/21/2013It’s now been 2 weeks since the event of the year. An event that was in the planning since she was old enough to notice boys. An event that will live in the memories of those who were present to share the event with each other.  Yes, we are talking about the wedding of Princess Katelyn and her new husband Daryl.  This was the wedding in which I was determined to lose 55 by age 55….(perhaps 20 by 55), the event of the century, the event that often times had just a hint of bridezilla bubbling to the surface, the event that every girl dreams of.  I will go on record as saying, as her mother, that she was absolutely beautiful, and appeared to be walking on air the entire evening.  Everything went as planned, except we forgot to unbustle her dress before she walked down the aisle…but she…

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May Day….days gone by…

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

photocredit:tlc.howstuffworks

Growing up, May Day used to be one of my favorite days of the year, that is, after Christmas and my birthday.  In the seventies we still celebrated May Day in our small town of 1,100 people.  Mom would send us uptown with 2 dollars, and our job was to pick out 100 pieces of penny candy, plus some special candy.  Back in the “dark ages,” as my kids refer to my youth, there was a very nice assortment of penny candy available for stuffing the baskets.  There were those chewy cherry (or strawberry?) circular candies that had the appearance of a coin, Tootsie Rolls in a decent length, Pixie Sticks, Milk Duds, Nik-L-Nips, Candy Buttons on a strip of paper, Bit-O-Honey, Candy cigarettes, about 20 different suckers, Chicklets, candy bracelets, wax lips, Sweet Tarts, Dubble Bubble, Licorice, Lemon Drops, Black Jack Gum, Teaberry Gum, Necco wafers, Sugar Babies, Rasinets, Charms, Razzles, Chocolate coins, Pirates gold gum that came in a little sack, and it you had a little extra money you could get some Brachs candy too.  Now, not all of these candies sold for a penny, but they weren’t more than a dime each.  I can clearly remember going up to the Sweet Shop, money in hand, and beginning the task given to me.  As my sisters got older, they would come up too, and we were like the proverbial “kids in a candy shop.”  We would grab candy and set them in little piles, according to price, on top of the ice cream freezer (self-serve kind with 2 doors that slid both ways)  “Doc,” the owner would stand of the other side of the freezer and divide the piles into smaller piles, to make adding up our total easier.  It seemed like such a huge pile of candy….and we were in heaven.  We gladly gave over our money, while often times having to return some candy because our count was off, and left the store with our bags of happiness.  After the 2 block walk home we would begin making the baskets.  Mom would pop some popcorn on the stove, without butter, to be added to the baskets as a filler.  All we needed now was construction paper, scissors, some crayons for decorating the baskets, and a stapler. Sometimes she would have some paper doilies to make special baskets for family.  We always made them in to a cone shape, and cut an extra strip of paper for the handle.  It was imperative that you have a sturdy handle, because the baskets were to be hung on the door knobs of their front doors.  If it was a boy that you thought was cute, you could ring the door bell, then run…and if they chased after you, then  that meant they liked you.  unfortunately the only thing that chased after me were the family pets…….Sometimes we would go out in the yard and pick some of those little purple wild violets that grew close to the ground (actually, I think they were weeds) and add them to our mix of candy and popcorn.  It was truly one of the best days of the year.  Spring was making its appearance, the tulips were open, and the leaves were turning the trees green.  The long snowy cold winter was behind us.  If it was nice we would load the baskets on our bikes and make our deliveries, and if it was raining Mom would take us around.  Then you would anxiously return home to see how many baskets were left on the porch for us.  Truly magical 🙂

photo credit:peoplesumcnews.blogspot

I tried to continue the tradition when my oldest were in grade school a decade later, but many kids their age just didn’t know about giving out May Day baskets. They had a chosen few that got “special” baskets, including our neighbor Emma, their piano teacher Anne, and any other adults who touched their lives in a personal way.  One year we made them out of construction paper, and another year we used Dixie cups with pipe cleaners for handles.  They were always hand-made and decorated with the love and dedication that only a child can create.   I am a lover of traditions, and this was one that I hated to see die, but eventually we stopped making them as well……so to all of my friends and readers, I am sending you a virtual beautiful May Basket filled with any candy that you can fondly remember, popcorn that was popped on the stove, with a sprinkling little purple violets ♥

FOOD FOR THE BODY

Red Cake

4 (1/2 oz) bottles red food coloring

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp. vinegar

3 Tbls. Nestle milk cocoa

1/2 cup Crisco

2 1/4 cup flour

1 tsp Vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

1 egg

Mix food coloring and cocoa together and set aside.

Combine flour and salt, sifting 3 times.

Cream sugar, crisco and egg.

Mix food coloring/ cocoa mixture to above.

Add buttermilk, flour, salt and vanilla.

Add baking soda to vinegar and stir well in to mixture.

Grease and flour pans (I use 2 heart-shaped pans) and bake for 30 -35 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Frosting:

2 stick oleo

7-8 Tbls Crisco

3 Tbls flour

2./3 cup milk (room temperature)

1 cup granulated sugar

Vanilla to taste

Cream the oleo, Crisco, sugar and flour (add flour one Tbls at a time)

Add milk and vanilla.

Mix with an electric mixer until creamy.

First Round….Done!

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

photo credit:zazzle.com

My ex-husband has now passed round one in his fight against rectal cancer.  He has finished 6 weeks of chemotherapy that came in pill form, and that he was able to self administer from home daily.  During the 6 weeks of chemotherapy he also had radiation 5 days a week for almost 6 weeks.  The purpose at this point in his treatment was to shrink the tumor so the surgeon can get better margins in order to bring the 2 ends of the colon together after the colon is resected.   Amazingly, he has completed both treatments with very few side effects, and has kept his positive attitude intact.  Any health care professional will tell you that faith and determination are very important in the fight against cancer.  I have seen it myself in my 30 years of nursing. Once a person gives up, death will soon follow.  I can list at least 5 people I personally know who are battling cancer, and have the most unbelievable will to live, that it just is heart-stirring to watch.  He now will take about a month off before surgery to allow the colon to heal from the radiation.  At that time round 2 will begin, and things will get a little rougher.  Any abdominal surgery comes with risks, and as the surgeon explained, it is harder on the body than open heart surgery.  There is a chance that he may have to have a colostomy bag if the surgeon can’t get a “good seal” when the tumor is excised.  This, or course, is not the best outcome, but if it allows the whole tumor to be removed then it is a fair trade-off.  Often times they can return and have the colostomy reversed once the colon again heals.  My daughters were curious about a colostomy, so we spent time watching a video on You Tube of a very brave young girl showing how she changes her bag.  I was in awe that she had such self-confidence to “put it all out there.”  unfortunately these things are not comfortable things to watch, but it helps to show the reality of the situation.  If it does happen, it will become another routine part of  his life, just like brushing his teeth or shaving.  At the end of the day, if it means many more years of quality life, then bring it on!

The sad part of enduring this treatment is that he had become very weak during work one day, and had to go home to take a nap.  He has retired from police work, and has a job as an armed security guard.  He worked different positions in various companies (though the security agency he works for) and had become the supervisor of security in a local hospital.  He enjoyed the job very much, worked the day shift, had weekends off, and it came with the perk of a few extra dollars an hour.  (which still was a face slapping salary in the first place in my opinion)  Anyway…..the minute he had to leave that day he was demoted from being a supervisor at the hospital, sent to another facility to work, for less money, AND put on the 11-7 shift, working weekends again.  I am so angry with this company for jerking him around like this! It is discrimination in a very blatant form in my opinion.  I have tried to look at it from a business side, but it still comes down to punishing him because he has cancer.  I am sure that they are hoping he will quit so they can hire someone else at 10 dollars an hour!  The real crappy thing is that they provide no benefits to begin with….no insurance, no sick time, and minimal vacation time! Shame, shame, shame on them!

After surgery he will have to endure another round of chemotherapy, this time more intensive.  A port will be put in, and he will receive chemo through the port that will infuse over a 24 or 48 hour period every week for 6 more weeks.  This chemo will not be as kind as the pill form, but he has a good support system in place to help his through it.  I think at this point the final fight will begin, but it will hopefully be a straight path to a cure ♥

Hey Kelly…….Shamrock Shakes are Back!

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

phot credie:flickr.com

  Yesterday, after a grueling day of shopping, my daughter asked if I would pull off of the interstate so we could stop at McDonalds.  I reminded her that we just had a big lunch a few hours ago, and she said all she wanted was to get a Shamrock Shake.  I don’t remember any of my kids ever requesting a Shamrock Shake…..who is this child? I reminded her that I just bought her a  movie, so she decided that she would pay for the shake out of her allowance.  That left me no excuse, so of course being the perfect mother that I am, I stopped so she could get a shake.  We pulled into the drive-thru and after looking at the prices, she decided she wanted a large shake.  I am quietly shaking my head because there is no way she will finish an entire large shake, but it was her money….so large Shamrock Shake it was.  She paid her $2.99 and they handed us this huge beautiful green shake, complete with whipped cream and a cherry.  She giggled with glee as I handed it to her, and then went to work enjoying the shake.

  As I was driving the rest of the way home, my memory wandered back to the time that my sister Kelly, and a Shamrock Shake had a face off…and the shake won!  My mom, two sisters and I had gone grocery shopping one Saturday in Streator.  The year was 1970, and I would have been 11, Kelly was 7,and Tammy was at the ripe old age of 3.  It was a treat to go out to lunch when I was young.  We never questioned it, we just knew that it was an unexpected treat.  The rule was that we could get a sandwich, and either french fries or a small coke.  Again, we didn’t question why, it just was the way it was…period!  It was early March and McDonalds had just introduced a new shake flavor, now well-known as a Shamrock Shake.  Kelly had decided that she wanted a shake, and she proceeded to beg and plead to get the shake. I can still remember my mom trying to reason with her, telling her that it was mint flavored and she would not like it.  Kelly insisted she knew what mint tasted like, and promised she would drink the whole thing. Of course I opted for french fries and a glass of water….there were no better fries on earth as McDonalds….and even at the age of 11 I knew my food.  We all get settled in and begin eating our lunch.  Kelly ate her burger and the took a big swig of the shake…and then gagged.  One of those honest to goodness gags…the ones that make your mouth open like a fish and you make a horrible noise that seems to come out of your mouth from the tips of your toes.  Your know the look: your  face turns kinda purplish red, and you appear to stop breathing for a few seconds. (excuse me a moment because at this point I am giggling so hard that the tears are running down my face just picturing her sitting at that table)

Anyway…I hurry to finish my burger and fries as fast as I can, while trying to ease away from her as we sit side by side in the booth….and of course I am near the wall.  She begs mom to let her throw away the shake, and mom is determined that she is going to sit there until she drinks at least 3/4 of it.  She tried to tell Kelly she wouldn’t like it, she tried to reason with Kelly….but NOOOOO Kelly knew what she wanted, and mom was not going to waste the $1.89.  I just wanted to die in horror as we sat in McDonalds for over an hour as Kelly continued to sip….gag….sip…gag….plead….sip….purple face……gag….plead….fish lips……gag…..plead…..until there was one-quarter of the shake left.   Kelly may have thought she was stubborn at the young age of 7,  but she was in the ring with the champ!  And to this day I remind her every single year when I see that Shamrock Shakes are back!  And since I am a christian woman, I won’t tell you what her reply to me is now that we are adults ♥

PS…Miss Madison drank 1/2 of her shake….which makes me wonder why kids refuse to listen to their parents line of reasoning…..we didn’t get to be this age by not learning  a thing or two……..duh!

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

SHAMROCK SHAKES

DEDICATED TO KELLY JO!

2 cups of vanilla ice cream

3/4 cup milk

3/4 tsp peppermint extract (don’t over do this…strong in flavor)

green food coloring (8-9) drops

Blend all together until the right consistancy.

Since we are no longer in the 70’s…add whipped cream and a cherry.

55 by 55

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

forums.comicbookresources.comA year ago my daughter became engaged to a wonderful young man.  She called me to share the news, and after I hung up I was surprised at my first thought.  My first thought wasn’t “I hope I can save enough money to help them pay for the wedding,” or “I hope she is making the right choice,” or “Thats three out of four now married,”…..no, my first thought was “Crap, I need to lose some weight!”  For my whole entire life I have been overweight.  The other day there was a conversation in our office about what the ladies weighed when they got married.  One was 125 pounds, one weighed in at  135, and the other tipped the scales at 115.  They then looked at me, and I just laughed heartily and said “I beat you all…I weighed all of those numbers by the time I graduated from eighth grade!”  We all laughed because they thought I was kidding….HA!  Actually, when I got married I weighed 195 pounds, and am 5 foot 9.  My mom thought I was overweight at that time, and always encouraged me to lose a little “for my health.”  We were raised eating meat and potatoes for supper 4-5 nights a week and snacked on buttery popcorn in the evening. I didn’t stand a chance…I just loved food!

In grade school I was the one picked last for teams in PE (I just want to go on record and send up a plea to the teachers…please just count off the kids to avoid humiliating kids everywhere)  On the playground I would be on one end of the teeter totter, with 2 friends on the other end.  They loved me, so they would face each other and share the handle, even though the one without the seat had to be a little more careful, if you know what I mean.  My clothes were purchased in the “husky” section, now they call that section of the store the Pretty Plus section, so bless the kind human who thought up that name change.  If I situated myself on the outside of the Tilt-A-Whirl car, my friends could almost get whiplash from the spinning.

photo credit:amazon.comIn high school the  boys wouldn’t give me a second look when I stood next to my slim friends,but were seldom cruel to me.  We had a small high school, and these were kids I had known for my entire life, and fat was the only way they knew me.  My mom would give me a hug, wipe away my tears and tell me that they didn’t matter anyway!  She assured me that once I got into college the men would be different, and would love my personality instead.  I admit that it did happen as she predicted, and while I was still overweight, I could hold my own against the skinny-minnies.  I will admit that sometimes it is easy to hide behind the plumpness….I can flirt with the best of them, and have a lot of guy friends of all ages.  There is comfort in begin overweight because you know they wouldn’t be interested in you in a romantic nature, so you can be yourself and relax.  Of course there are drawbacks….the other night we were watching a trailer for “Pitch Perfect” and my daughter and I roared when we saw Fat Amy wearing a swimsuit just like mine.  “OMG…Fat Amy has my swimsuit on!!!!”  It was hilarious I will admit, and if a person can’t laugh at herself she will be a stick in the mud for sure.

There are the many misguided thoughts throughout the world when it comes to plump women.  Number one: No, we aren’t dirty.  Believe it or not, we take baths just like skinny people, and even put on deodorant AND perfume.  Number two:  We have no self-control or we wouldn’t be fat.  Well that one is partly true, but we must have some self-control or else we would have punched out a lot of skinny snobs who have looked down on us.  Number three:  We must not mind being fat, or else we would change that.  Again, that one for the most part is true, but I think that many overweight people have tried so many times to lose weight and failed, that it’s easier to just give up and live in shame.

The other day I went through the personal care section of Walmart and I passed the Dr. Scholls display for shoe inserts, stopping to look them over.  As a nurse I am on my feet during the day, so maybe they would be a great addition to my tennis shoes.  It instructed you to take off your shoes (right away…not a great idea to me), step on the footprints on the kiosk and push start.  Now, again, the first thing that came to mind was that a booming voice was going to yell at me from the kiosk, telling me to put down the small child in my arms….even though I was the only one around for 10 feet.  I actually laughed out loud, and thought that maybe I would pass on the inserts for now.

005This summer, I had to get off of a ride at a theme park, in front of my family, because they couldn’t bring down the bar far enough to securely hold me in.  Now, you would think with that humiliation I would do something to change my life?  I did, I went to the food stand while they enjoyed the ride, and ate a corn dog.  As I write this I am shaking my head in amazement…….I do want to go on the record as saying that even though I am overweight, I am healthy.  My blood pressure is good, cholesterol a smidge high, and blood sugars where they need to be….but when the day comes to a close,  I can say that I am unhappy with my body shape and size.

That brings me to this blog….January 1st decided that I was going to lose 55 pounds by the time I am 55 years old, which is September 24th.  So far I have gained 4 pounds 🙂 Perhaps it’s time to get serious about this! My beautiful daughter is getting married on September 21st, which is my moms birthday.  I am now going public with my top bucket list item…..and since I have readers throughout 28 countries, I will tell myself that the whole world is pulling for me.  I won’t share my weight, as I am not that nutso at this point, but I will faithfully give updates every Wednesday…good or bad.  I want to honor my daughter at her wedding, and also honor the memory of my mom on her birthday, hopefully 55 pounds lighter!  Then once I accomplish what will be the biggest hurdle of my life, I will start checking off more items on that bucket list.  Wish me luck ♥

The Day Mom Got Her Wings

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

This is part 2 of my story of my moms battle with cancer.  I was going to stop after the blog on her diagnosis, but the next 6 weeks were probably the most precious time I spent with my mom.  It’s funny how after months of hoping against hope that she could beat it again, we are faced with the realization that it is not to be.  The reality has hit us square in the face and it was time to step up and care for the person who has been the rock in all of our lives.  When I was married, my husband and I moved 7 times.  Each time my mom would show up with her BBQ and Texas Sheet cake for everyone to have lunch after the moving was over.  It didn’t matter if there were 2 or 20 to feed, she was there.  She had the kindest heart and was one of those people who didn’t know a stranger.  I can’t even begin to write about how many times she was there for me, and for anyone who needed help.  She was a great role model, be it thorough her work ethic, or her cooking skills.  There was nothing she wouldn’t do, nothing was beneath her.

About a week after her surgery, we brought her home.  She was on oxygen, but seemed to have very little pain.  Kelly and I took turns staying the night, sleeping on the couch, with her beside us in the recliner.  I can remember trying to sleep while listening to the quiet clicking sound of the oxygen concentrator.  Often times I would wake up in the middle of the night only to find her sitting in her chair smiling at me.  She would say ” I am so happy you are here Shelly Sue, I know it’s hard on you.”  On the nights that we couldn’t stay, dad would take over night duty.  It she was able, she would lay propped up on the couch, with dad laying on the floor, as near as he could be.  I found myself going through the routine of  work, taking care of my family and then doing all I could do for her.  I watched the weight drop off of her, and the breathing becoming more labored.  And still she remained beautiful, joking with the grandkids and others.  She never questioned “Why me?”, and she never showed anger at her diagnoses. I found myself  just staring at her, trying to file those snapshots in my memory.  We would visit as often as we could, and the visitors seemed to be endless.  They had planned to begin chemotherapy, this time for comfort measures, not for a cure. The weekend before chemo was to start she told my aunt that she didn’t think she was going to make it to that appointment Monday.  I think she had a premonition that she was going to meet her Heavenly Father.

Moms senior picture...beautiful!The doctors no longer give you a time frame that you can follow, so we didn’t know if she had 1 month, 3 months, or a year.  I remember a deep discussion Kelly and I had about what would we do if she began having pain and was uncomfortable.  How could we find the strength to sit at her side watching her gasp for breath…slowing sliding away from us?  It was incomprehensible to me…….and I think God listened to our laments because I am almost positive a pulmonary emboli took her life that Sunday morning.  She died the day before her chemo was to begin.  Dad and I were with her that Sunday morning when she left us and became one of Gods angels.  I just happened to stop by after church to check on them, and Dad met me at the door, stating mom couldn’t get her breath.  She had some breakfast and told dad she wanted to take a bath.  I sat by her side, holding her hand, telling her that as soon as she could get her breath Dad and I would help her out of the tub.  She took my hand, smiled and softly said thank you. She then looked at Dad, and laid her head back and she was gone.    I often times wonder why I was there that day? I never wanted my last memory of my mom to be of her dying in a bathtub.  She was a very private lady, and I knew that would never have been her wish either.  Why didn’t I tell her that I loved her when I knew she was passing?   Why do things turn out the was you least expect them to turn out?

It has been 12 years since she left us, and the pain is not as crippling as it was then.  As I reflect back to the day I realize that God knew that Dad needed someone to be there with him.  Something private and deep passed between the three of us that morning, and Dad and I became close after that Sunday morning.  Mom was always there for me, and maybe it was my time to be there for her.  I will never know if she even realized that I was there at the end, but I will never forget the look that passed between us, conveying love and trust between daughter and mother.  A love that will remain in my heart until we meet again in heaven…where there will no longer be pain, tears, hurt or that horrible “C” word ♥