Monday, January 31, 2011

Corruption and H$U$ Go Hand-in-Hand

Hmm... when an Illinois politician calls somebody corrupt does that mean they are really, really corrupt?  In this case, I believe it does! 

In all seriousness, it's nice to see that a politician actually get's it right for a change.  This is from State Representative Jim Sacia on his blog:  

If you sent them money once, shame on them. If you’ve sent them money more than once, shame on you. You should have checked them out.

I’m referring to HSUS, the Humane Society of the United States. I’ve written of them before and the appeal they have for your money. Over the Christmas Holidays their ads were everywhere. Beaten down dogs, one eyed cats (and of course it was a big sad eye), and a lame, old, starved, and debilitated horse. And you, the concerned citizen, could fix all of this for a mere $19.00 per month sent to them to help care for these beaten, downtrodden animals.

Had you taken the time to do the research, you would have learned that the $19.00 per month translates to $228.00 per year and of that $228.00 total sum, $1.03 would have reached an actual hands-on animal shelter. By comparison, HSUS had 555 employees and paid them $37.8 million in 2008. This includes over $2.5 million contributed to employee pension plans. HSUS’ chief executive, Wayne Pacelle, made just over $251,000 in salary and benefits.

This agency just must receive closer scrutiny. Using Ohio as an example, “HSUS made zero donations to Ohio pet shelters in 2007 and 2008 and gave just $5,200 in 2006. This year, however, the organization is gearing up to spend millions of dollars in Ohio on the anti livestock farming ballot initiative.” (The Center for Consumer Freedom, not your local Humane Society, go to humane

My blood boils when I see you, the consumer, bilked out of your hard earned money by appealing to your sense of compassion and kindness. No one wants to see an animal starved and we all get a good feeling sending that money to such a noble cause. What a travesty!

The good news is the IRS has been investigating HSUS for over two years. Compounding the problem of completing their investigation, the IRS has never had to deal with allegations of tax fraud by a “public charity” as large and as complex as the HSUS.

You can help. Contact the United States Treasury Inspector General at 800-366-4484 (press 5) and respectfully request that case number 55-1005-0025-C be brought to conclusion.

Most importantly, give your money to shelters in your area and don’t ever be sucked in by these predators.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thursday Thirteen

1. I’m sleep deprived.

2. My baby is sick and it breaks my heart.

3. My baby is actually a toddler now, but this past week she’s acted like my baby again. Cuddling with me, not sleeping through the night, needing more attention than a narcissistic celebrity. You get the picture.

4. Actually, my baby is acting MORE like a baby than she actually did as a newborn. She wasn’t even up this much in the night when we first brought her home from the hospital. Pitiful, I tell ya.

5. I’ve watched more “Hot Dog” in the last 5 days than I have in the last 2 years.

6. I can see a glimmer of the light at the end of the tunnel though. She’s starting to sleep better and isn’t howling in pain every minute of the day.

7. I have volleyball tonight and I am ready for a night out of the house.

8. I feel sort of guilty about this.

9. We ordered windows back in October. STILL haven’t had them correctly installed. This is B.S.

10. I’m enjoying a few new shows, Lights Out on FX and Off the Map on ABC. I think it’s going to replace Lost on my DVR.

11. I’ve been doing the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred video. I’m on the third level and I think she wants to kill me.  Monkey doesn't make it any easier.  She likes to "help".  It could be part of the being sick and needy.

12. In a month I will be sitting on a beach in Mexico with a tropical frozen drink in hand. I look forward to this.

13. Beach and bikini. Hence, the 30 Day Shred. Let’s hope it works for everyone’s sake.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Color Time

Monkey has been sick since Saturday and that doesn't make for very much fun time.  Here was one moment of happiness coloring with Daddy.  

For more Wordless Wednesdays, click here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tortellini Soup

I've been in a soup mood here lately.  I'm sure it might have something to do with the fact that it's been below freezing temperatures for weeks now.  Or maybe because January is National Soup Month!  Whatever it is, I've been trying my hand at some new recipes.  This one is definately a keeper. 

What You'll Need:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 15 ounces, canned diced tomatoes (I like the italian seasoned variety)
  • 1 pound hot sausage
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 package tortellini (11 ounce)
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • Parmesan cheese

What You Do:

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and onion and saute about 5 minutes.

Add the oregano, broth, tomatoes and salt and pepper.

Bring soup to a boil and simmer.  While soup is simmering brown sausage and drain.

Add sausage to soup pot.  Bring back to a boil. 

Add the tortellini and cook according to package directions.

One minute before tortellini is done, add the spinach.  

Remove pot from heat, season with additional salt and pepper.  

Serve topped with grated parmesan cheese.   

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cheeseburger Soup

Last weekend, Monkey and I spent the entire time in the house. JC had to work, it was cold and dreary, so we just played inside and never even stepped foot outside. I had the Food Network on as background sound but one of my favorite shows caught my eye. It was 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives'. I’m pretty sure it was an old episode and I don’t even know what city the host, Guy Fiera, was in. But one of the recipes that was featured really intrigued me. It was cheeseburger soup.

Of course, I’ve had cheeseburger soup before and it’s fine, but the woman in this restaurant used an ingredient that I would’ve never considered using in soup and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Curious as to what that ingredient was? Lettuce. Can you imagine?! Lettuce in a soup? No way, it can’t be good. I picture soggy lettuce and who likes that? Yet, Guy and every other person in that restaurant raved about it. So yesterday I decided to make it.

It really did taste like a cheeseburger! And the lettuce added a light sweet crispness that I didn’t expect. It was seriously delicious and I would love to know what the restaurant was called and where it is, because if I’m ever in that town, I’d like to try out the original and see if mine was anywhere close to hers.

What You’ll Need:
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • Steak seasoning
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 32 oz of chicken broth
  • 1 lb Velveeta cheese
  • 1 can cheese soup
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • ½ head of lettuce, shredded

What You Do:

In a skillet over medium heat, season the beef and brown. Drain and set aside.

In a large soup pot, add butter and sauté the onions for a few minutes. Add the chicken broth, cheese soup, Velveeta and heavy whipping cream.

After the cheese is melted, add the beef. Season with salt and pepper and turn to medium low heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Add diced tomatoes and shredded lettuce, turn heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

This is a hearty enough soup to serve as is, but I can also imagine serving with garlic toast. I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Something to be Proud Of

Saturday we attended a reunion of sorts. JC's Tae Kwon Do instructor, Mr. Brown, wanted to get all of his black belts together for a picture. Unfortunately not everyone was able to make it, but some people even came from states away to be there!

Before the picture was taken, a testing was held. This is for any student to try to move up to the next belt level. JC has gone to these before to judge, but I've never attended one with him. This time Monkey and I both went. It was a lot of fun to watch what JC has been a part of for so many years.

There was one little boy in particular that I was fascinated by. A chubby little guy, maybe 10 years old. He was testing for his green belt that day. He was doing well, messed up a couple of times, but doing well. When it came time to break his board, he wasn't able to do it in two tries. The next person was able to break theirs and you could see the little boy was upset and trying to hold back his tears. Mr. Brown yelled at him, saying that he has accomplished so much in his time there and that he should not shed any tears over an unbroken board. He proceeded to tell everyone about this boy...

He came to Mr. Brown last summer, EXTREMELY obese; morbidly obese in fact. Doctors were worried about him and he needed to lose weight. This little boy was so over weight that he couldn't see his feet, couldn't touch his toes, couldn't really do much of anything. Since his time with Mr. Brown he has lost nearly 60 lbs! He is still a chunky boy, but he is able to keep up with the rest of the class and do all his kicks and everything else.

After Mr. Brown told everyone about this boy, he asked him if he really wanted to break the board. The boy emphatically shouted, "YES SIR!" He said he would give him one last shot at it. The little boy dried his tears, went up to the front of the class and broke that board right in half!

I've never met that boy. I don't know his family. I don't know anything about him, except for what Mr. Brown said. Regardless of all of that, I was excited for him. I don't think I have ever been prouder of a complete stranger than on that day. I can't wait for when Monkey is old enough to join the ranks, I only hope that Mr. Brown is still teaching!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Women Changing the Face of Ag

Yesterday I shared an awesome opportunity offered by the NRA. Today I have one for the girls out there in Illinois that are looking at a career in agriculture.

College may be the best time or your lives, but let us not forget the weight of your entire life resting on your shoulders during those years. High school and college students have tough decisions to make, life-altering decisions, and they hardly get a break from those during a few weeks in the winter.

Fortunately, the Illinois Agri-Women have one solution to all that worry and stress. Women Changing the Face of Agriculture will be held on March 4, 2010 at the Bone Student Center at Illinois State University. Early registration deadline is January 15, (that’s tomorrow!) so be sure your high school or college daughter, granddaughter, or cousin are signed up.

The inaugural Women Changing the Face of Ag (WCFA) event was held last year and it was a huge success. More than 100 students from Illinois high schools and colleges attended the event, learning about agricultural careers first-hand from women in various agricultural fields. I should know, I was there. Myself and another colleague spent the day at the WCFA event sharing our stories of how we chose a college, career path, internship opportunities and what we are doing now in the field of ag.

Maybe you have a senior thinking about ag communications? We’ve got women talking agriculture from several different companies with careers ranging from social media to news writing to marketing. Does your sister enjoy politics? Come visit with some of our female ag lobbyists to find out how they got where they are within their companies. Maybe her teachers have indicated that she has real talent in chemistry or biology. We have women who are soil scientists, plant breeders, and chemical reps that may help you along in your journey.

This event isn’t exactly a job fair, although she is sure to meet some really great women and make some wonderful connections. It’s more of an opportunity for dialogue and mentoring. The event will help her understand how the women leading agriculture today got where they are and how they would advise her to accomplish her goals in the agricultural field. For Illinois Agri-Women, it is an investment in the future of our industry and in the well-being of our daughters.

Attendees can register online at and can also look up the Illinois Agri-Women on Facebook. Students are urged to talk to their ag teachers about bringing all the females in the ag program. Teachers are urged to contact Illinois Agri-Women to find out how we can help get your women to Bloomington for this event.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

An Experience of a Lifetime

In my current job, I work with a lot of college students.  Interviewing, hiring and overseeing them as interns.  I've developed some great relationships with a few of them and like to keep up with their progress after their internships are over.  I know college can be a daunting time in life, especially with the pressure of deciding what path you want to pursue for the rest of your life.  I'm also fully aware of what an amazingly fun time college can be as well and maybe you don't always have the career goals at the front and center of your brain.  I want them all to succeed in life so I've found myself sending them information about other internships, scholarships and job opportunities that I think would fit them well.

I recently saw that the National Rifle Association is taking applications for their National Youth Education Summit (Y.E.S.).  This won't benefit any of the college kids that I work with as it's aimed towards high school students, but I thought maybe one of my readers would know someone that it could benefit so I wanted to pass it along. 

If you aren't familiar with the Y.E.S. Summit, it began in 1996 as an effort to encourage America's youth to become active and knowledgeable citizens. The Summit is a seven-day, expense-paid leadership week in Washington, D.C. Each year, the NRA selects the best and the brightest students to visit the nation's capital where participants learn the significance of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights while developing an understanding of federal government and the importance of active participation. Students tour the U.S. Capitol, the National Archives Museum, the Pentagon, the NRA National Firearms Museum, and many of the memorials and monuments in Washington, D.C.

Students also have the opportunity to compete for up to $10,000 in college scholarships, awarded to those who excel during the week’s activities, including individual speeches and debates. Students also compete for a $20,000 scholarship after they attend Y.E.S. Each participant has eight months to develop a portfolio describing how he or she promoted NRA programs, such as the Eddie Eagle GunSafe® program, in the participant’s community.

Current high school sophomores and juniors with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) are eligible to apply. 

It sounds like an amazing experience that any high school student could benefit from.  I wish I would've known about it when I was in school! 

For an application just click here

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Dress Up

This is what happens when you have an older cousin with lots of jewelry... you become the model!

For more Wordless Wednesdays, click here.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Luck of the Draw

I have one lucky Dad.  Not only does he have the great fortune of calling me his daughter, he also has a knack for winning guns at NRA dinners, gun shows, raffle drawings, etc.  The most I've ever won was a soft gun case, yet he pulls down the big ones time after time.

His latest win was an M1 Garand. 

For those that aren't familiar, an M1 Garand is best known as the first semi-automatic rifle generally issued to the infantry of any nation, or "The Greatest Battle Implement Ever Devised", thanks to General George S. Patton.

This particular victory by my dad was made on New Year's Eve from a raffle drawing that the Central Illinois Precision Shooters held in order to raise money to build a new range for youth shooters.  With help from this raffle, they should have the funds to be able to break ground later this year on the property of the Darnall family, owners of Darnall's Gun Works and Ranges.  This new range is expected to be utilized by the local small bore pistol team, Illinois Junior Precision Shooters, as well as 4H clubs.  It will only be for small bore (.22's) and air guns.

Joe Miller, coach of the ISU Red Rifles air rifle team, has put a lot of time and energy into making this new range a reality.  If you would like to help him in making this happen, donations are greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Off-Roadin'

So what if a 2x4 had to be drilled onto the gas pedal for Monkey to reach it... didn't slow her down a bit!

For more Wordless Wednesdays, click here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Join the Fight for Right to Carry in 2011

Mark your calendars!

Schedule the day off from work!

You won't want to miss the largest turn out of Second Amendment supporters Illinois has ever seen!

Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day also known as IGOLD will be held on Thursday, March 10 at the Prairie Capitol Convention Center in Springfield, Illinois.

10:30 a.m. - Doors open
11:00 a.m. - Concessions open
Noon - Legislative Briefing
1:15 p.m. - March to State Capitol!

Watch for details as they develop at and reserve a seat on one of the many charter buses headed to Springfield.

IGOLD t-shirts will be available for purchase prior to the event and at the PCCC. Monies raised from selling the t-shirts goes to help fund the event. We encourage you to support IGOLD by purchasing the official IGOLD t-shirts.

IGOLD has gained statewide and national recognition as a well organized and highly respected event. Each year, as the event has grown larger and larger we have gained the respect of City and Capitol police/security for the professional and orderly manner in which we conduct ourselves - as well as for our cooperation in helping to make the security screening process as expedient as possible.

I look forward to seeing you there!