Cake Ideas

Yummmmm!

Yesterday, child #3 and I made a special birthday cake for a. Ew friend of hers. We took a chocolate cake recipe (Grandpa’s Favorite Chocolate Fudge Cake would be awesome!) and made it into two 9″ rounds.

We then added about 3/4 of a cup of tart cherry jam as filling between the layers. Our frosting was cream cheese. You may use an 8 oz. cream cheese and a stick of butter. Add 1/2 a tablespoon of vanilla, 2 tablespoons of milk, and enough powdered sugar to make a frosting. (I would start with 2 cups and go from there.)

We spread it on the cake and decorated it with the frosting that we colored pink. Take a look!

Our beautiful cake!

Wisely Choose Your Words

Make your words beautiful.

This evening I was chatting with child #3 about many different topics, and we came upon things we won’t do. I told her that, while I have a degree in English, I refuse to teach. Why? Because children can be very cruel. I know my limitations and I won’t do it. Not to mention, that I believe kids deserve good teachers who want to be there. I do not. I enjoyed homeschooling my kids, and even got two of them all the way through, but that’s it.

I think it all stems back to being bullied as a child by many of the kids at my school. I went to parochial school from 1st to 7th grade, where kids picked on me because I wasn’t as skinny as they were (a.k.a. the pig valentines on St. Valentine’s day) or being laughed at for a very unfortunately worded sentence by a teacher reading on a worksheet. (She was trying to shorten the time it took to correct them, so she was only reading the first part which included the correct tense of the word, so instead of “Rita burst into tears.” we got “Rita burst.”) Yeah, they all laughed and it was horrible. I was a chubby child. I didn’t know I had celiac disease back then, and no one really even knew what that was anyway.

Also the fact that my family had very little money. My dad and mom both helped around the school, though my dad was the more active as a helper for the maintenance man. He also taught children who couldn’t speak English and wanted to integrate into the school. He spoke Spanish very well, and was an asset to the school. The other children saw this help and knew that we must not have money since my dad was always around helping. It was another difference that made me stand out for ridicule. This was a pretty affluent school, and being poor was not o.k.

Then there was the time when I overheard a girl who I thought was a friend telling the others that they shouldn’t play with me because I wasn’t white enough! I was so hurt. I was six and I felt like a failure, even though I couldn’t do anything to change my skin, and honestly, I wouldn’t want to now, even if I could. Back then, I just wanted to be like them. My dad told me that someday they would all be envious of my sun-kissed-looking skin, and that did happen, but the damage by their words had already been done. I was different and that wasn’t a good thing.

Child #3 agreed with me, that people’s words can be so very hurtful. She said that we should be careful what we say. I agree. We don’t know if that one nasty word is what will push someone over the edge. On the other hand, we don’t know if one kind word will be the word that offers hope and keeps someone from a horrible mistake. Wisely choose your words and remember that kindness is never a mistake.

Mama’s Fried Chicken

Mama’s Fried Chicken

Don’t you miss it? That wonderful crispy, flavorful, mouth-watering chicken? It irritates me no end to go into any deli that sells fried chicken and smell the wonderful smells of it and know that I will be violently ill if I eat it. Frustrating. Having celiac disease is no joke. It is so not worth cheating. If it were, I would be eating a Boston cream doughnut right now. As it is, I know I can’t do that to my body because, even if I managed not to have major bowel issues, I would still be making my body sick.

What to do? Why, come up with my own recipe, of course! It’s very simple and so very tasty! You will need:

Boneless, skinless chicken breast (approx. four pounds,) pounded until 3/4 of an inch thick

3 eggs, beaten and set aside for dipping before dipping in the dry mixture

Dry Mixture

1 1/2 cups millet flour

1 1/2 cups potato starch

1 tsp. granulated onion

2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside.

Canola oil for frying

Preheat a deep frying pan with about 3/4 inch of canola oil in it. When hot (You may test by dropping a bit of dry mixture in to see if it sizzles!) dip a chicken breast in the egg, and then the dry mixture, coating on both sides. Place coated chicken into hot oil and cook, turning occasionally until internal temperature reaches 165° F.

Take out, draining excess oil. Then set on a paper towel covered plate to lose as much of the frying oil as possible. (No one likes greasy chicken!!!) Repeat until you have cooked all of the chicken.

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. Some suggestions are:

Ranch

Creamy Ceasar

BBQ

Honey

Honey Mustard

YUUUUMMMMMMY!!!!

What Are You Doing for Lent?

Sacrifice for Lent.

As Christians we “celebrate” (or more accurately endure) Lent. Lent is the forty days before Easter (minus Sundays) when we fast, pray, and deny ourselves some earthly pleasure. This is why a common question in my faith is “What are you giving up for Lent?” In fact, child #3 was asked this very question last Sunday by the priest. She didn’t know what to say. She is not sure about God these days, which, of course, breaks my heart. She has the mind of a six-year-old, thanks to dad-inflicted trauma and can’t wrap her mind around how there can be a God if all of what happened to our family happened. It did, but I still believe, and not just believe, but work for and toward God. He is my friend, confidante, confessor, and judge. She cannot see it. I’m still praying on that one!

But I digress…we were discussing Lent. Child #3 is not participating in the giving up something that brings pleasure for Lent. She refuses and I’m not going to pick this battle. Usually, we each give up something that would be a sacrifice to live without. One year I gave up TV. My soul must have been immaculate, because that was extremely painful!!! The usual suspects range from chocolate and sugar to video games and TV, etc.

We have also tried doing something extra instead of giving anything up. We’ve done the Corporal (feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned, bury the dead) and Spiritual (instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish sinners, bear patiently those who wrong us, forgive offenses, comfort the afflicted, pray for the living and the dead) works of mercy. I’ve done Bible reading and just opening up the Bible and reading until I find some words that are so encouraging and speak to me so clearly that I write them down in a special journal for this exact purpose.

Whatever you choose to do or to deny yourself, Godspeed to all and have a beautiful and holy Lenten season and look forward to the joy of Easter!

Lasagnaza

Our new invention!

You may look at the title to this post and wonder, what the heck is that? It is this wonderful creation we made the other night when child #2 did not want to make spaghetti. It is a combination of lasagna and pizza, hence the name. We looked in our pasta box and found that we had a 10 oz. box of lasagna noodles. Hmmm…what can we do with these? Especially considering we’re not eating dairy.

Here is what you will need:

1 lb. lean ground beef

Approximately 60 pieces of turkey pepperoni

1, 10 oz. box lasagna noodles

1, 24 oz. jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I used Classico Italian Sausage)

Vegan cheese to top

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray an 8 x 8 pan with cooking spray. Make three layers of the following: noodles, sauce, pepperoni, and ground beef, broken into small pieces. Top with the vegan cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for an hour. Yummy! This can also be assembled and refrigerated in the morning and then baked for dinner. Easy!

A Disturbing Trip

Life can be so beautiful. Please don’t throw it away.

Child #2 and I went food shopping today. We haven’t been to get food in quite a while. We knew it would be a long day, so we started early. Besides getting food we like to shop at resale stores. Money is extremely tight and if we can get the supplies we need at discounted prices, we will.

Child #2 and I are both decent seemstresses and have been able to fix really cool men’s t-shirts (they don’t make the same kind of cool t-shirts for women. We’ve looked.) into awesome women’s t-shirts by changing the collars. Be that as it may, I told you this to get to what happened today.

We were looking through the men’s t-shirts to see if we could find any neat ones from which we could make awesome women’s shirts. You just can’t find much in Marvel or smart-butt t-shirts in women’s. I was looking in my size and child #2 was looking in hers. I came across a grey t-shirt with pink silk-screening on the front. Nice color combination. That is until I realized what it actually had on it. It depicted a woman standing with a gun to her own head. She has obviously pulled the trigger, since there was splatter depicted. As the splatter spread out it turned into pink butterflies.

What?!! This was at a Christian establishment. I was appalled. As a mother of a child who has tried to commit suicide multiple times, I was completely triggered. I was so upset! I tried to get the attention of one clerk, but she apparently didn’t hear me. Another clerk noticed that I was trying to get help and asked if she could be of assistance. I had brought the shirt with me and showed it to her. I let her know that I was shocked that a Christian organization would have such a shirt. She agreed, as did the manager. The problem was that when clothing comes in, the clerks have to go through it so quickly to get it out on the floor, that they don’t always pay close attention.

I wasn’t blaming anyone. I’m sure they have a lot to do and a very limited time in which to do it. However, a shirt that glorifies the horror of suicide, is unacceptable. Any suicide. Especially, a suicide that is so graphic. I guess that was the designer’s plan.

Child #3 has tried to commit suicide on several occasions. The worst was the time she broke my pinky finger. She had taken a four-foot dog leash and wrapped it around her neck and hung it from her closet rod. My finger got broken as she was swinging at me trying to stop me from cutting her down. Pretty, right? Yeah.

Please stop glorifying something that is so painful, for both the person who is so depressed and hopeless that they want to end their life and for the people who they leave behind!

Writing

“Write what, Lord?”

Whenever I consult God through prayer and ask what it is that He wants me to do, the same answer always pops up in my mind; “Write.” That one simple word. No other instructions. “But write what?” I want to scream! Lead me, Lord!

The possibilities are almost endless. First, there is this blog. Second, my children’s book series, which I have yet to get published. Third, there is poetry, which I do so love to write; distilling meaning into the smallest number of words. Forth there are prayers. They seem to just flow out of me. And fifth, music. Not to forget that I am a musician. I write music, on occasion, but I most enjoy writing harmony parts for existing music.

In fact, I wrote a beautiful descant for Ode to Joy just this evening. I wrote an alto part, which is pretty standard harmony. It’s nice, but not exciting. Then I added a descant that floats above the soprano part. It’s beautiful.

I like to write these things, because our little choir is unaccompanied, unless I bring my violin. We do not have a pianist or even a guitarist. I can play a bit of piano, but not super well, so I only play along with the melody or possibly a little harmony. That’s it. My hands are too small to reach all the way across the neck of a guitar, so I don’t play that. I do play my violin from time to time, but that is mainly just melody. Therefore, if I can sing a harmony part and teach one of my kids another, then we can have three part harmony. Even the two parts together are beautiful, but three is amazing.

So, Lord, write what? All of the above? Maybe so.

Are you “Fine?”

Are you ok?

When people ask you “How are you?” do you respond by saying “Fine?” Are you really? I know. I know. Nobody likes a complainer, but by saying you are fine when you aren’t isn’t just lying, it’s wearing a mask.

Am I saying that you should spill all of your troubles with everyone who asks? No, of course not! However, it is not a lie to say that today has been tough, or that you’ve had a bad/great week. People may surprise you! They may actually care!

Also, don’t forget to count your blessings. Think about it…do you have a soft bed? How about a roof over your head? A loving family? A good job? Food to eat? Friends? A loving spouse? A wonderful pet? Come on…think about it…I’ll bet you have a lot of things for which to be grateful. Even write them down.

If people were actually honest and let others in, not wearing masks, where do you think this world would be? Something to ponder…