Adding New Life with Paint

Yikes!

Have you ever seen one of these beauties at your local resale shop and just could not stop yourself from putting it in your cart for rescue?

Oh no! Wallpaper too?

I do love birdhouses. When I see one that has been thoroughly abused by a paintbrush, I find it hard to pass it up. I mean, I could make it beautiful again!

Who is painting these things, after all – toddlers? Argh! I have an inherent need to make it right, if only with a paintbrush.

Here’s my version of the fisherman’s cottage after much sanding, paint, and time. Is it perfect? Nope! Is it 200% better? Absolutely! And more than nice enough to hang in my home!

Do we all feel better now?

Things to Teach: Kindness

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Today Children #’s 1, 2, & 4 visited a Halloween-based theme park. We got there about 45 minutes after the park opened and it was crowded! Apparently, many people had the same idea to visit!

We knew it would be crowded, so we tried to go with the flow. At the first open space, I tried to pull in, a very rude group of people told me that their friends were going to park there, thus leaving me to back up into horn-honking traffic. Grrr! Then I saw a spot where I could pull through. Unfortunately, an entitled young woman had her large truck door open and her foot hanging out. I patiently waited until she pulled her foot in. Then she proceeded to call me a bitch for deigning to park next to her and her husband/boyfriend/I don’t know what. Wow! Well, last time I checked, America was still a free country and I can park in any open parking spot I choose.

Okaaay! So, they moved their truck and we ate our lunch and went into the park. Unfortunately, it was so crowded that we weren’t able to get on many rides. The lines and wait times were prohibitive.

We decided to leave and possibly come back later, but when we arrived at the car, there was a problem. My back passenger tire looked flat. Now, granted, there was a dip in the pavement and when I moved forward we saw that the tire wasn’t completely flat, but close. What the heck?

How does a tire that was perfectly full when I left home become so low a few hours later? I can tell you where my mind went! Mmmhmm…that lovely woman with the bad attitude! Grrr!

So we zipped to a close by gas station and four quarters later, had filled three of my tires. Strange that they were all three at least a bit low when they were fine when I left home!

This was not kindness! This was nastiness of the highest regard! Shame on her! I had to convince my kiddos not to retaliate. There was talk of what they would like to do to her. I put a stop to that! All I say is that “God saw.” That’s right. I don’t have to take action when someone is awful. God sees everything. He will take care of it and I can rely on Him!

So please, when you are teaching your children, grandchildren, or whoever, teach them to be kind. No one wants more nastiness in this world. Kindness truly makes a difference! Be the one to pass it on!

Cheeseburger Soup

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Well, hello there! Today I want to share a recipe that was the brainchild of Child #2. I helped her to perfect the recipe, but it was all her idea. It is a yummy, creamy, satisfying treat and a wonderful soup for a cold day! You will need:

2 lbs. ground beef

2 Tbsp. dried, minced onion (onion flakes)

6 cups water

1/2 lb. butter

1 cup white rice flour

1 Tbsp. turmeric powder

2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. black pepper

12 cups whole milk

3, 15 oz. cans of sliced potatoes

8 oz. (2 cups) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Break up ground beef into small pieces and put into a large stockpot. Add dried, minced onions and water. Boil until beef is cooked through. Drain water from beef and return to heat, immediately adding butter until melted. Add rice flour, turmeric, salt, and pepper. Stir until combined. Immediately add milk, stirring constantly until mixture has thickened slightly. Add canned potatoes. You can use fresh potatoes, but make sure to cook them first so they’re not hard. Add cheese and stir until melted and blended in. Let sit and meld flavors for 15 to 30 minutes, if you can resist eating it immediately! Enjoy!

Totally tasty with a gluten-free dinner roll with butter!

NOTE: This is a very rich soup, especially in the dairy department. You might want to consider using some lactose pills if you suffer from milk intolerance!

Things to Pass the Time

What do you like to do if you ever find yourself with free time? For me, I like to read, to sing, or to clean. Clean? You say. Really? Yes. Clean.

Now, I’m not saying that my house is immaculate. Ha! Ha! Ha! That’s actually really funny! I feel like I am always chasing after people cleaning up their messes, and yet it never really gets clean. Maybe that’s because there are five of us and only one of me! Oh, yes! I can make messes too! Not that I specialize in messes, but I have been known to make one or two!

So, if I am feeling overwhelmed (which is a lot these days what with the mortgage issue!) I tend to do something to distract myself like reading, singing, or cleaning. Sometimes I have been known to multitask by singing and cleaning; rarely by singing and reading or reading and cleaning! What a disaster that would be!!!

What do you like to do if you have a spare moment? Leave your favorite free time activity in the comments below. Let’s keep it clean, people!!!! (Ha! Ha! The Pun Princess is back!)

Something to Teach: Respect

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Hello, friends!

This post is going to be a little different. I have been thinking about this for a while now, and decided to jump right in! What am I talking about? This post, and subsequent “Something to Teach” posts will highlight things to teach to your children, grandchildren, neighborhood kiddos, or even things to teach yourself or other adults.

The first one I will cover is respect. This is something I have tried very hard to instill in my children. Are they always respectful? Nope. They’re human, like me.

The one notable exception is my ex-husband, who they call by his first name. Yes, he is all the kiddos’ biological father. However, when someone shows absolutely no respect for you, it is nearly impossible to have respect for that person; no matter how many times he demanded it, especially with abuse.

It is very hard to give respect when it is not extended to you. However, we do try. The golden rule is one of the tools I used to help with this virtue. It also helps with empathy.

Do you have trouble with respect? Maybe you grew up with the maxim to “respect your elders,” and now bristle at the thought of respect. Maybe you think someone should show you respect first? What’s your take on all this? Leave your response for me below in the comments! Have a great day!

Stress Out!!!

He looks like I feel today!
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I probably should not write while I am so stressed out and angry. I almost want to sit down and cry! Why, you ask? Well…there are several reasons. First, and this I tell you not for pity, but in truth…we are in a serious financial crisis. I need to call our mortgage company and try to work something out. Life is not looking great for us.

Other than that, there’s Child #3, who has so many mental health problems and eight mental diagnoses, that they can’t even see straight. And Heaven forbid we delay or forget the medication. Yes. The police will be called and our lives will be in danger. We don’t forget! It’s not an option.

Adding to the stress is the lovely neighbors that we have. I don’t even want to go into it, except to say that they continue to plague us. Why? I have know idea, but there is never an excuse to call any person a “whore,” which she did. Seriously? Ummmm…that child has been raped more than once, but as for being a whore? Nope. Doesn’t fit! I’m just so done. I can and do offer up their antics, but it’s still so disheartening. We are nice, Christian people. What, exactly, is their problem? Maybe it wouldn’t be such a horrible thing if we have to leave.

I am trying not to stew over things. I know God has this; He always does. It’s just, my anxiety and depression are so ratcheted up that sometimes I can’t see the flowers for the weeds!

Are you having a stressful time? Maybe school or work is getting to you? Please share in the comments below so I don’t feel so alone out here.

Want to help? Consider buying my children’s book “The Adventures of Snowball the Semi-Mighty Dog” on Amazon. It’s available in paperback or e-book. Here is the link: http://Amazon.com then just type “The Adventures of Snowball the Semi-Mighty Dog” in the search bar and it will bring it right up!

Thanks and God bless!

Au Gratin Potatoes – The Harbinger of Autumn

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Ah…Autumn! It is finally starting to cool down here in the Midwest. One sure sign of that is the change in food in our house. Soups, stews, and of course, au gratin potatoes.

What are au gratin potatoes? Where do they come from? Au gratin potatoes are an intoxicating blend of cheese and potatoes, baked to a crispy sheen of deliciousness. They are believed to have originated in France and are generally made with some sort of dairy, either cream, cheese, or both. Recipes for au gratin potatoes have been around in the US for over 130 years.

My recipe calls for potatoes, sharp cheddar, my favorite cheese powder, and granulated onion. Here is what you need:

Your favorite gluten-free cooking spray

7 – 8 medium sized russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly

6 Tbsp. cheddar cheese powder, separated – available from one of my favorite stores http://www.kauffmansstore.com

1 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, separated

1 Tbsp. granulated onion

Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Spray a 9″ x 13″ pan with your favorite gluten-free non-stick cooking spray. Layer 1/3 of your prepared potatoes on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. of your cheese powder over said potatoes. Layer on 1/3 of your cheese. Repeat. Sprinkle granulated onion over the top. Add your third layer of potatoes, cheese powder, and cheese on top.

Bake for 40 minutes. Cover with a piece of aluminum foil and bake an extra 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes or so to prevent burning mouths! Enjoy!

Most Embarrassing Moments

Oh noooooooo!
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Ok. We’ve all had them. Some of them are mortifying. Others we feel sure we will never recover from. Some of them make us smile (especially if it happened to someone else or it’s been many years!) Some of them just make us shake our heads.

I am going to share two of my very own embarrassing moments. Please let me know in the comments below about your embarrassing moments so I don’t feel so alone about mine! Alright. Here goes:

Embarrassing Moment #1

My kiddos and I were needing to attend Saturday Mass on the way home from orchestra practice, since Sunday was to be the concert. Since the orchestra and concert venues were about 1.5 to 2 hours away from home there was no way we could attend our lovely little Church. So, we decided to visit a rather new Roman Catholic Church, St. Raphael’s.

We knew no one here, and the atmosphere was quite somber. It was about ten minutes before Mass started and my phone started to ring. Yes, I had forgotten to turn the ringer off! Oops! The worst part was the ring tone, which said “Let me out, I’m stuck in your pocket!” I quickly turned the phone off and slunk down in my seat as everyone in the assembly looked at me like I had a child stuffed somewhere on my person!

Embarrassing Moment #2

Back in the earlier days of my marriage, my ex-husband and I attended his company Christmas party. This was held at a fancy place near Chicago. He picked me up at the bank where I worked and I changed in the car. I had worn a pink jersey knit dress to work and wanted something a bit more upscale for the evening party. I slid my pants up under it and switched the dress for the top, covering as I went.

We got to the party and were greeted by a hostess. She must have told me the bathroom was upstairs to the right at least three times. I was like, “I don’t have to go, so what’s her problem?” We entered the dining room and took our places at one of the tables. It was then that I looked down to see my white slip sticking out from under my black tunic! Oh my gosh! Why didn’t my ex say anything? He was completely oblivious and I was mortified. I carefully tucked the offending slip into my pants under the cover of the table and excused myself to the ladies room. There I took off the slip I had worn to work under my pink dress and stuffed it in my purse. I’m not sure I ever forgave him for that!

So, what are your most embarrassing moments? Care to share? Pretty please?