Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thursday Thirteen: Resolutions

I was thinking on the way to work this morning (Yes, I had to work. I know, ridiculous.  I can give you my boss's number if you'd like to call him and complain.) that everyone always says how they'll give up smoking, or give up chocolate, or will lose weight or whatever their big thing is for the year.  And most of them don't ever stick with it.  I wanted to make my resolutions ones that I would have a good chance of sticking with.  So here are my 13 New Year's Resolutions.

1. I resolve to NOT give up any of the few vices that I have.  Actually, I should drink more wine; add to that vice.

2. To read more books than I did in '09 (which may be hard because I read a lot of books this year).

3. To expound on that, I want to will finish this series.

4. To become credit card debt free (and I'm almost there!).

5. To run another 5k... okay make that two.

6. To go on our first vacation as a family.
7. To make it down to Oklahoma to visit these folks.
8. To have a winning season with my volleyball team.
9. To not waste money on seasonal fads that probably aren't that cute anyway.
10. To not count calories as well as not deny myself scrumptious desserts and other goodies.  Moderation is what it's all about.
11. To do more nice things for random strangers. 
12. To slow down and enjoy life's small moments, not just the large ones.

13. To learn how to operate our camcorder and actually use it. 

Now you know my resolutions, tell me yours... and don't forget to take the poll I have up!  Poll's are fun.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Voting for a Cause!

A very talented friend of mine is having a photography blog challenge.  It's really quite simple... cast your vote for your favorite child/baby image to be featured on the updated Imaginate Photography site for 2010.. and ALL votes will generate a $1 donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  Pretty cool, right? 

And while you are there, check out all her pictures... if you dig deep enough you might even see Monkey!

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Monkey for Monkey

We had a great Christmas and I hope all of you out there did as well.  I didn't expect Monkey to actually care at all about her presents, but she did!  She actually played with the toys more than the wrapping paper and boxes. 

Her favorite toy of all was a stuffed monkey from her Great Grandmother on my Dad's side.  She held on to it all night and just loved it.  The really sweet thing about it was that my Grandpa gave it to my Grandma for Valentine's Day years ago. 

Monkey has never gotten to meet her Great Grandpa.  He passed away almost 9 years ago now.  And while it saddens me that she'll never get to know him, I know he is watching over us.

Merry Christmas Grandpa, we miss you and love you!   

Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Raccoons and Heirlooms

This isn't just any old crib.  It's a very special and very old crib. 
My dad slept in this as a baby as well as my brother and sisters.  My Grandmother has passed it throughout our family so many of my cousins have slept in it as well.  Now Monkey has it.  It's not her every day crib that she uses, but she has slept in it just to carry on the tradition.
Look! The little girl on it is holding a raccoon! I love that little raccoon. Have I mentioned that as kids we had pets raccoons?  I have a certain affinity for them.  Cute little buggers.

What items has your family passed on through the generations?  Tell me about them or better yet, send me a picture of it.  I'll feature all of them in a post at the first of the year.  Come on... play along!

** I forgot to say where to send the picture, oopsie!  Send away to  Look forward to seeing what you all have!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I need help.

I have three family dinners left for Christmas and I can't decide for the life of me what I should make for each one. One meal is more of snacks and appetizers and the other two are full out meals. I normally like to make two dishes for each one. Any suggestions?

Right now I'm thinking of doing a crescent wrapped brie and wild rice corn casserole. That's it. I need more ideas. HELP!

Monday, December 21, 2009

This Just In: Good Actions Are Bad. Huh??

According to the Department of Agriculture, more than 50 million people, including one in four children, struggled to find enough to eat last year -- the largest number since the federal government began tracking the problem.  Some hunters in Maryland want to lower those numbers and are donating their venison to organizations that help feed the hungry.  So far they have delivered nearly half a million meals to people in the last two years. 

Instead of commending these people for their generosity, they are getting attacked by PETA and HSUS.  Ridiculous but not surprising to most of you, I'm sure. 

"I find it offensive that people would try to justify immoral behavior by claiming that something good comes out of it," said Bruce Friedrich, a spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. "They can't defend ruthlessly blowing away animals for fun, so they come up with these ancillary benefits."

You know what I find offensive Mr. Friedrich?  If these good citizens were just ruthlessly blowing away animals for fun, then they wouldn't be taking the time, or spending the money to get them butchered and then donating the meat to organizations that HELP people.  The fact that you would rather let people starve than have them eat tasty and nutritious venison is offensive to me. 

How sad is it that PETA and the Humane Society of the United States, who have combined resources in the neighborhood of one-quarter of a billion dollars, would rather complain about deer hunting than help out hungry families? While farmers, ranchers and hunters work to help feed the families in their communities, PETA and HSUS work to stop their efforts. Why Bruce Friedrich and Wayne Pacelle would let their organizations actively work towards causing more people to go hungry is beyond belief.  That quarter of a billion dollars could feed so many hungry people.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Flashback Friday

This is my favorite picture of all time.  It's of my grandparents on my Mom's side and one of my uncles.  I can't explain why I love this picture so much, but I do.  It captures a moment in time that I wish I could've been a part of. 
I want to know a few things... like who took the picture?

Is Grandma searching for something or just taking a walk to stretch her legs after a long ride?

What were Grandpa and Uncle discussing?  Were they having a serious talk?  Or making fun of Grandma's shoes?
But most of all I want to know if Grandpa was really as cool as James Dean, or did he just look like it here?

I think I'm going to have to break this photo out at Christmas and ask them.  I need the answers!

Side note: Smoking is not really cool, kids. Unless the year is 1950 and you are perched on a motorcycle like so. Then yes, it is very cool.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Before He (Ch)Eats

So Carrie Underwood is now a hero, huh? All because she donated $200,000 to the Human Society of the United States (HSUS), the richest animal rights organization in the world.

HSUS spends 95% of its budget for travel and lobbying against family farmers and ranchers. Carrie Underwood may be a small town girl from Oklahoma and play country music, but she forgot long ago what being a country girl is all about.

Just imagine how many other great charities could have benefitted from that amount of money. Especially at Christmas time. Instead she throws it away on a group that cares more about tarnishing the good names of farmers and ranchers everywhere than they do on “helping” any animal.

Growing up on a farm myself and now working in the ag industry, I don’t understand how she can turn her back on her own agriculture-based state. I will admit, I don’t hold a candle to her when it comes to singing; she’s got a great voice. But I will stand up for my family and the generations of farmers out there instead of following along with what is hip or cool at the moment. I have a hard time listening to her music when I know what she is supporting.

You may recall an incident back in 2006 when Underwood performed at the FFA National Convention. A protest of her performance was carried out by more than 500 young FFA members. This was done by the same people that her music is targeted towards, and while they may like her voice and her music, they were not going to stand for her anti-livestock affiliations. Especially at a convention based on agriculture.

I am very proud of those kids who walked out that day and while I know one protest won’t change Underwood’s beliefs, or the world, it’s important for those who believe in agriculture to stand up and be counted, not counted out.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jim Ryan Declares War on Law-Abiding Illinois Gun Owners

In an Associated Press wire story released on December 12th, Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Ryan pledged to sign a ban on “Assault Weapons” and promised to veto any “Concealed Carry” legislation that reaches his desk.

In making these pronouncements, Ryan was very clear that he would wholeheartedly support legislation that would result in the ban and confiscation of most of the guns in your safe. With that ban, you would have two choices – either surrender your firearms to the police, or they will be kicking down your door to take them. Ryan could not have made the point any clearer.

Ryan was equally clear about your right to defend yourself. By pledging to veto concealed carry legislation, he is saying that he would rather see you unarmed, being beaten and murdered by a criminal than to see you with a gun in your hand defending your right to life.  Ryan also has a message for your wife, mother, daughter or girlfriend. That message is that he would rather see her laying dead in an alley after being raped and beaten than to see her with a gun in her hand. Ryan could not have made the point any clearer.

Just as he did in the 2002 gubernatorial race, Jim Ryan has proven himself to be cut from the same cloth as Chicago Democrats such as Richie Daley, Barack Obama, and Rod Blagojevich.

Any gun owner who would vote for Jim Ryan has to be out of his or her mind.

Please tell all your gun owning friends and make a promise to yourself, right now, that you will not let guys like Jim Ryan push you around.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Smothered Ranch Chicken and Taters

I'm hungry. 

I had a an apple for breakfast and it just didn't satisfy me for long.  So I'm waiting for the clock to keep turning so I can go meet a wonderful friend for lunch.  Josh doesn't ever read my blog, actually I doubt he even knows that I have one.  So I can say all sorts of terrible things about him and he'd never even know, but I won't. 

This time.

Instead, since I'm so hungry I'll share a recipe that I made not long ago.  It wasn't the prettiest food on the plate, but my oh my it was yummy.  Classic feel good comfort food.  I called it Smothered Ranch Chicken and Taters, you can call it whatever you wish.
You'll need:
4 chicken breasts
6 tablespoons spicy ranch dressing
1 medium onion
1 small can of mushrooms
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons butter
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Splash of beer
4 large potatoes
4 slices of bacon
½ a bag of Monterey jack cheese
Salt, pepper and seasoning salt

It's really quite easy to make, a little time consuming, but easy.  Just follow these steps:

Marinate chicken in dressing for a few hours, the longer the better.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Sauté chopped onion, garlic and mushrooms in butter over low heat. Add a few dashes of Worcestershire and seasoning salt and a splash or two of beer.
While mushrooms are sautéing, chop potatoes. Place in dish and microwave for 4-5 minutes.
Pour a little EVOO over potatoes, salt and pepper and toss to coat.
Sauté chicken on each side for 1 to 2 minutes, do not cook through, just enough to brown up.
Place the chicken on top of the potatoes.
Drizzle spicy ranch dressing on top of chicken and potatoes.
Smother chicken with mushroom topping.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle cheese on top and bake for another 20 minutes.
While the chicken is baking, fry up the bacon.
Add bacon and bake for another 5 minutes.

**I would normally use fresh mushrooms but didn’t have any on hand; canned work just fine, but I would recommend fresh.

**Chopped scallions would be a good garnish as well, but I didn’t have any. Try it! 
And now I'm even hungrier than I was before I wrote this.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Really, 26 Years Already?

Today is my baby sister's birthday.  It's hard to believe that she is 26 years old, it just doesn't seem possible.  I feel like it was just a few years ago that we were little kids playing together on the farm.  We were pretty much inseperable and that hasn't changed. 
But I just can't believe that this cute little girl is all grown up.  She isn't that cute little kid anymore.  Instead she's grown up to be a beautiful woman. Whoa, now that's strange.  I don't think I've ever called her a woman before.  She's still just a kid in my mind.  But she is... a woman that is. 

This was a big year for her, she became an aunt for the second time....

But even bigger than that... she got married.  How can my baby sister be old enough to get married?  I can't reconcile that in my mind.  But she did, and she looked gorgeous.

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my stunning baby sister who's no longer a baby!
I love you Bonnie hope you have a wonderful day!

**Side Note:  I did not take the wedding pictures, I am not that talented.  If you like them though you can check out the real photographer at  She has talent. 

Friday, December 11, 2009

Flashback Friday

Here is a picture of me with my siblings...  we were close even back then. 
Although I do look a little devious.  Like I may be plotting something?
Okay, so maybe I was happy to finally have someone younger than me that could take the brunt of my older siblings torment.  And as luck would have it, that meant that I had someone smaller than me that I could pick on!  But I would never do that, no siree, not me. 

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday Giveaway!

Maybe last weeks cookbook and shirt just weren't up your alley.  I'm willing to bet money this week's giveaway WILL be up your alley.  Seriously who's alley couldn't use a brand spanking new computer??  And not just any computer, but an HP TouchSmart!

There are 5 different bloggers giving one away.  That's right, you have 5 different chances to win one and it's couldn't be any easier! Just go to these sites and leave a comment answering their questions:

Kelly's Reviews
Totally Together Reviews
NieNie Dialogues

What are you waiting for.. go, GO!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Like Mother Like Daughter?

I get asked all the time who I think Monkey looks like, me or the Hubster.  I can't tell and he can't either, all we know is she's stinking cute.

I found a picture of me from the hospital though when I was born and we could definately see a resemblance... what do you think?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fighting for Human Rights

I saw a speaker last week addressing the motives of the HSUS, and he used this video in his presentation. Pretty funny, no?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Flashback Friday

An oldie but a goodie... My father-in-law holding my husband as a newborn.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thursday Giveaway!

Okay so I'm not the one giving something away, but it's still a giveaway! 

You all know how much I love to cook and here is a cookbook by a stay-at-home ranch mom whose food is to die for.  I don't have a copy yet, but I want one.
AND a t-shirt as well! 

What more could you ask for, right? 

All you have to do is go to The Provident Woman website and enter to win!

One stipulation though... if you win you must give them to me.  Hahaha... only kidding... well maybe half kidding. 

If you'd like to check out some of the recipes from this cookbook just go over to The Pioneer Woman and have a peek!  It's some good food, I promise!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

People bEing hypocriTical A-holes

I could write a 10 page paper on why I do not like PETA. I won’t though. Why? Because I have more pressing things to do.

Like laundry for instance. Dirty laundry is kind of similar to PETA, right?

Instead of me writing my feelings for PETA down, I’ll just share with you some of their dirty laundry.

Quote by Ingrid Newkirk, President and Co-Founder of PETA

PETA has funneled over $100,000 to criminals convicted of destroying medical research and firebombing scientific laboratories in the name of "animal liberation."

Official government records show that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has killed more than 12,000 animals since 1998. PETA employees now face felony animal-cruelty charges for killing puppies and kittens - and throwing them in a dumpster. This news photo shows police preparing to bury a puppy that PETA's "ethical" employees left to rot in the trash.

Quote by Ingrid Newkirk, PETA Co-Founder, on her desire for a USA hoof-and-mouth epidemic.

Two "comics" they distribute to children:
Your Mommy Kills Animals
Your Daddy Kills Animals

Okay, so maybe I will say a few things….

Did you know that PETA kills animals?  And a lot of them at that? From July 1998 through December 2008, they killed over 21,000 dogs, cats, and other "companion animals." That's more than five defenseless creatures every day. PETA has a walk-in freezer to store the dead bodies, and contracts with a Virginia Beach company to cremate them.

They even were able to write-off the $9,370 giant walk-in freezer on their 2002 federal income-tax return! And during a 2007 criminal trial, a PETA manager testifying under oath confirmed the obvious – that the group uses the appliance to store the bodies of it's victims. The very same victims they are lobbying to protect!

When PETA president Ingrid Newkirk was asked about this, she complained that actually taking care of the animals costs more than killing them!

Funny - farmers care for their animals with 100 times more respect and love than PETA does for theirs. And they say farmers aren’t doing right by the animals.

I beg to disagree, Ms. Newkirk.

And using horrendous comic books to turn children against their parents "for the sake of the animals"?  I find it abhorrent.  Who are you to scare innocent children into becoming vegetarians?  At least when they go fishing with Daddy they are spending quality family time and most likely eating their catch of the day.  They make use of the animals they killed.  What about you?  Killing thousands of animals because it's cheaper and easier than finding homes for them?  I find YOU abhorrent Ms. Newkirk.