A Time-saver for the Thanksgiving Hostess

Why does Thanksgiving seem like such a warm fuzzy holiday until it actually arrives? You picture yourself around a big table of smiling relatives and friends before a huge, perfectly browned turkey and five or six sumptuous side dishes.

Unfortunately, if you are the hostess, one by one these ideal fantasies disappear as the actual day approaches, and the reality of bringing this feast into fruition begins to weigh on your mind. The first bubble pops when you enter the grocery store to purchase the last few items you’ve forgotten. Suddenly the list seems very long and you begin to feel like a blind sardine pushing a half ton truck through a crowded stream.

When you get to the checkout, the second bubble pops when you faint as the checkout girl tells you the bill is over $100. A kind older man who is not fixing thanksgiving dinner helps you to your feet so you can put the groceries on your credit card. As you leave the store you notice other shoppers who are audibly crying in the check out aisles.

After you get home and put away all the groceries and sundries, you are exhausted and fall onto the sofa in relief. As you are resting the third bubble pops when you realize you don’t have enough chairs, so you quickly phone your nearest relative who has some folding chairs they can bring when they come TOMORROW!!!

Suddenly you are back on your feet beginning your preparation for two pies. Now the remaining bubbles are popping simultaneously, as you realize you will be spending the entire day tomorrow baking the turkey and making the stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, green bean casserole, and cranberry sauce. What in the world are you going to do?

My tip for the exhausted hostess: Do thanksgiving backwards. PUT THE TURKEY IN THE DISHWASHER!

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The Wedding Beefcake and the Beef

Women love weddings. We plan for years for the perfect wedding for ourselves and our daughters and spend large fortunes on dresses, food, cake, flowers, reception halls, a band, and invitations. Why do we do this?

Because we love it! It’s our dream day, the one day in our lives when we can let it all out and do exactly what we want. That is, of course unless the groom disagrees. The groom should be told from the get-go that he has no say whatsoever on anything that happens at the wedding, except when he finally says “I do” at the right time.

I think all women love weddings, even those who aren’t related to the people getting married. We get all sweet and gushy when we see a man who is finally giving up his freedom to take care of a woman because he loves her. Unfortunately, to witness this event, we really need to be accompanied by a man.

Have you ever noticed that more women attend weddings as guests than men? Think about it. When was the last time you saw a group of men telling jokes, drinking beer and throwing peanut shells in the back row of the church during a wedding? Honestly now, never! Men would much rather stay home dressed in their sweats than actually sweat it out in a suit in a church. I know there are exceptions to playing wedding hooky, such as pastors who must be in suits in church every week and don’t seem to mind. But in general, I believe men like to avoid getting dressed up and going to weddings.

What we women need to do is begin early in the season to prepare our man for his eventual attendance at a wedding. That’s why the invitations have those little cards you return, telling the bride who will be attending. Once your man has stood by and agreed to attend, and you have sent back your acceptance card, there is no wedding hooky permitted. It’s now compulsory.

At night while he is sleeping speak to his subconscious about it.

“How wonderful it’s going to be to see Megan walk down the aisle in June.”

He manages to wake up enough to mumble, “Who’s Megan?”

“You know the beautiful blond daughter of Jim and Carol.” During this nightly brainwashing be sure to stress how beautiful the bride will be. You know how men like to see pretty women.

A few nights later, tell his subconscious about the food.

“I hear they’re serving filet mignon at Megan and Chad’s wedding in June.”

“Who’s Megan?”

“You know, the beautiful blond daughter of Jim and Carol. She’s marrying Chad.”

“Who’s Chad?”

“Your friend, the groom, who is very fond of cocktails and steak.” In this case use beef and alcohol as the subconscious prize for attending the wedding.

During the pre-wedding brainwashing be sure to stress the beefcake and the beef! Subconsciously you are implanting the idea that the wedding will be a very gratuitous experience for your husband. Finally when the day of the wedding comes and your husband begins his pre-wedding whining you can remain firm in the thought that he will not be playing wedding hooky. Jim and Carol are counting on him to be there for the beef and the beefcake, and he witnessed you filling out the acceptance card.

This subconscious brainwashing should work unless your married to a man like my husband, who simply says, “I ain’t goin,” and tells you to go by yourself.

I’d love your opinion on this issue. Do women love weddings, while men try to avoid them?

Reblogged from June, 2012

 

Did you celebrate Easter or Passover?

Last Sunday many of us celebrated Easter. I enjoyed a spirit-filled service at the Rock Church in Parkersburg, West Virginia. There was a very joyous spirit there as we praised God for bringing Jesus back to life in the Resurrection. I also posted a picture of Jesus on my blog for April 20th, 2014. I called the blog “The Passover Lamb.”

Passover has been celebrated by the Jews for nearly 2500 years. The holiday is based on an event described in the Old Testament in Exodus 11 and 12. Moses was begging Pharaoh to let the Jews leave Egypt and go to their promised land. Pharaoh refused time after time, and God decided to pass judgment upon Egypt. God warned the Jews that the judgment was coming and instructed them to sprinkle the blood of a lamb over their doorframes.

God said: “About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl…There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt – worse than there has ever been or ever will be again.” Exodus 11: 4-6.

Then God said, “On the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household” Exodus 12:3. “Take care of them (the lambs) until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and the tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs” Exodus 12: 6-7. God even tells them how to cook the lamb, what to eat with it and what they should be wearing when they eat it.

God also said, “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn – both men and animals – and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” Exodus 12:12-13.

The Jews were obedient to God and sprinkled the blood on their doorframes, and ate the Passover meal as instructed. God “passed over” their homes, marked with the blood of the lamb, leaving their firstborn alive and well. All the firstborn sons of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh were killed that night and there was terrible anguish and mourning in the land. Exodus 12: 29-30.

The anniversary of that day is still celebrated in our modern world as Passover. God told the Jews to celebrate escaping the death of their firstborn in 4000 BC, and they have continued to celebrate that day every year since.

My question is, how did Jesus arrange to be arrested and tried on the night Passover was celebrated 2000 years later? If we believe Jesus was just a man, how could he make the Roman officials crucify him on a particular night? Just a man would never choose to be arrested, tried and put to death. If he was just a man he would want to live out his fame and perhaps add some fortune to it. And why had so many of his followers called him “the Lamb of God?” Is it because God sent Jesus to be the Passover Lamb for the gentiles and save us from our sins?

 

Another terrible story of child abuse

I read a terribly sad story this morning about child abuse in Florida. Although the story is seven years old, I had never heard it before today, so I’m putting the link out there for any interested readers.

http://www.tampabay.com/features/humaninterest/the-girl-in-the-window/750838

My question is was this child born with these malfunctions or were they the result of the neglect of the birth mother? What do you think?

Betty Crocker – The Early Years

When I first got married in 1964, I didn’t have a clue about how to be a housewife. I was still in my last semester of college, and all I knew was what a knife and fork looked like and which appliance was the refrigerator. I did have experience at the sink, washing my hands and getting a drink of water, but as a teenager I had studiously avoided Mom’s kitchen. It really was a studied avoidance, because after dinner, I often gave my mother the excuse that I had to study, so I couldn’t help with the dishes. Unfortunately, it was true. I always had so much homework my eyes fell out every night at 10:00.

But I’m getting behind myself. My husband and I managed to eat out for the first few nights. My mom had given me her Betty Crocker Cookbook and after several days of screw-ups, mishaps, and culinary disasters, I decided to make chicken, mashed potatoes and peas. At least I knew about the three food groups: easy, difficult, and impossible.

Betty’s Cookbook  informed me how to bake the chicken, which turned out to be blackened but edible. It was the mashed potatoes that proved impossible. The recipe said to put the potatoes in a pan with ½ inch of water. Betty forgot to mention that the water needed to cover the potatoes and have an extra ½ inch on top of them.

Anyway, I burned the potatoes. I did cook the canned peas in a small saucepan with water and they turned out fine (1964 was during the pre-microwave period in culinary history). I think my husband was still hungry after dinner, but he didn’t say anything. The next night we went to “Big Boy” for hamburgers and fries.

My history of not-so-good dinners finally changed when I had children and was forced to stay home all day and take care of them. I began to care about cooking. Really, I began to care about eating, and I was serving Kraft Macaroni and Cheese every other night, so I needed to study up on making nutritious, edible and tasty dinners.

A neighbor taught me how to make a delicious pot roast. I’m getting hungry just talking about it. I had finally conquered baked chicken and I understood every step of making creamy mashed potatoes. My girlfriend found a great recipe for spaghetti sauce and I learned how to make that. At that point I was able to boil noodles.

“Mom, I learned to make spaghetti sauce from scratch.”

“Really?” Mother was astounded.

“Yes, it’s delicious.”

“Better than Chef Boy-ar-Dee?” Mom looked incredulous.

“Yes, Mom, even better than Chef Boy-ar-dee.” I remember laughing to myself because Mom thought sauce that came in a can would be better than homemade sauce.

So finally, as National Feast Day comes around again, I think back to Betty Crocker and Chef Boy-ar-dee, and although their food was not nutritious the way we insist our food be now, it was fairly good and kept us from going hungry when Mom was busy.

Chef Boy-ar-dee is a real man from Piacenza, Italy whose name was spelled Hector Boiardi. He had a famous restaurant in NYC and was one of the first chefs to package his ingredients together in a box for sale to the public. People ate it up!

Unfortunately, Betty Crocker is a crock. Yes, I’m sorry to burst your bubbles, but Betty isn’t a real person. She was started by the Washburn Crosby Company in Minneapolis in 1921, invented to give a personal touch to thousands of requests they received about baking. Here are some pictures of Betty during her early years.

Betty Crocker

As Easy as Pie

I’ve been cogitating on the idiom “as easy as pie.” Apparently this phrase was first used by someone who was eating a piece of pie, not baking a pie, because baking a pie can be difficult and may involve tears.

As a young bride of 21, about a hundred years ago, I had to make breakfasts, lunches, dinners, do the food shopping and wash the dishes, and I didn’t have a clue. I had purposely avoided the kitchen at home because I didn’t like my mother. She always seemed to find fault with me.

I hadn’t been married long when I decided to make an apple pie. In those olden days, one had to make piecrust from scratch and anyone who has done this, knows it is a skill that needs carefully practiced. I started with a stick of soft margarine and some flour and salt. I happily mixed it all together expecting it to become dough. However, it didn’t become dough. It became a wet, gooey mess.

I started over with fresh ingredients, reading the recipe over several times to get it right. This time I got a bunch of crumbles that wouldn’t congeal without adding water, and when I did add it, the same thing happened. Then I cried.

I called my mother, but she wasn’t home. I called my girlfriend and she told me I needed several things I didn’t have. First I needed to use real butter, and I needed a pastry blender. I didn’t have one. I didn’t even know what they looked like. I cried some more. She said I could blend the shortening and the flour with a fork but I had to do it very easily in order to get a good crust. Apparently if you mash the ingredients together too hard, the dough gets tough, and the tough get doughy.

I actually tried to make the crusts again, using butter and a fork to blend it, but it still didn’t work. I cried long and hard after that.  If tears were used to moisten the crust mixture, I could have had the best pie ever made. I’m sure at some point I threw something to vent my anger, but I don’t remember what. What I do remember is the flour was all over everything, there were dirty forks, spoons and bowls and there was no pie.

Whoever said something was “as easy as pie,” has never tried to make a pie crust from scratch. Long live ready-made pie crusts. No tears necessary.

Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed

I don’t think there’s anything that demonstrates love better than bringing Mom breakfast in bed.

I remember a lot of breakfasts in bed for Mother’s day. I have two daughters, both of whom did not inherit my innate dislike of the kitchen and proved to be good cooks. I remember the first breakfast that my oldest daughter fixed for me. I think she was four. She actually was able to fix a reasonable facsimile of breakfast. I was so excited when she came rattling in with a tray filled with coffee, and scrambled eggs and toast. The coffee was lukewarm, the eggs were runny and toast was cold, but my heart was warmed to the point of tears. She went on to study cooking, which is still one of her strong points.

My younger daughter fixed me breakfast in bed also. When she was about five she brought me orange juice, coffee and pancakes. So much love was brought to me that morning. She climbed in bed with me and we cuddled as she helped me eat the food. What a sweet memory.

However, there’s something about the trip from the kitchen to the bedroom that seems to take a long, long time, because the well-meaning breakfast is often lukewarm by the time I taste it. Maybe it just takes me a long time to wake up and prepare to eat, or perhaps there is a mathematical formula:

Complexity of menu x age of child + amount of love needed ÷ distance to bedroom = warmth of breakfast. Do you think Martha Stewart knows the answer?

Both my daughters are grown now and live at the other end of the United States, so I’m pretty sure they won’t be bringing me breakfast in bed. But I know they are thinking of me and by Mother’s Day I’ll have a card, a call or a gift from both of them. I can’t imagine greater love than they have given me.

Have your children given you a special breakfast on Mother’s Day?

Concerned about 12/21/12?

I have been concerned about December 21, 2012 for a few months. I have gone through many of the “what ifs”. I was worried that the electricity would go completely off forever and all my cyberspace would be gone. This is especially heinous considering that I have a 60,000 word memoir on my computer. I’ve been printing it out slowly but surely over the past few weeks. Then at least I’ll have a hard copy of it.

I stocked up enough food to last a few weeks, but I have no idea what I’d do after that. There may be earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanoes, tidal waves, hurricanes, and famines, etc. Then nobody will really care about my book.

So here is my answer:

I WISH ALL OF YOU A HAPPY DECEMBER 22nd!

If we are all around to see Saturday December 22, 2012, we will have a great deal to celebrate. We will have outlasted:

  1. The Mayan Calendar
  2. The return of the Mayan underworld god Bolon Yokte Ku
  3. The Aztec Calendar
  4. The return of the Aztec’s dragon god Quetazlcoatl
  5. The Cherokee Indian Calendar
  6. The return of the Cherokee’s flying rattlesnake god
  7. The appearance of the anti-Christ, according to the Cumaean Sibyl on the Great Seal of the United States.
  8. The great global devastation predicted by the Web Bot.

Turkeys Queuing up for Badminton

I have to admit I was ignorant about the abilities of turkeys. There have been so many jokes about these birds I just figured they must be as stupid as people say. However, last spring I had the most amazing experience. I saw a flock of turkeys walking across our backyard, and I ran to get my camera. I got the shot of the birds, never even noticing they were headed for the badminton net.

Later on, I looked out and I was astounded when the turkeys began gathering around the net. From out of nowhere they produced racquets and birdies. They separated into two teams, males and females and began volleying the birdies across the net. It was amazing how good they were. Who would’ve thought? And you wouldn’t believe the noisy gobbling!

The female turkeys won three games to two. They celebrated by pecking the male turkeys all the way home to their nests in the woods. Unfortunately, none of the pictures of the turkeys playing badminton turned out, but I have this one to prove that turkeys will line up to play.

Do you have any anecdotes involving turkeys that you’d like to share?

The Wedding Beefcake and The Beef

Women love weddings. We plan for years for the perfect wedding for ourselves and our daughters and spend large fortunes on dresses, food, cake, flowers, reception halls, a band, and invitations. Why do we do this?

Because we love it! It’s our dream day, the one day in our lives when we can let it all out and do exactly what we want. That is, of course unless the groom disagrees. The groom should be told from the get-go that he has no say whatsoever on anything that happens at the wedding, except when he finally says “I do” at the right time.

I think all women love weddings, even those who aren’t related to the people getting married. We get all sweet and gushy when we see a man who is finally giving up his freedom to take care of a woman because he loves her. Unfortunately, to witness this event, we really need to be accompanied by a man.

Have you ever noticed that more women attend weddings as guests than men? Think about it. When was the last time you saw a group of men telling jokes, drinking beer and throwing peanut shells in the back row of the church during a wedding? Honestly now, never! Men would much rather stay home dressed in their sweats than actually sweat it out in a suit in a church. I know there are exceptions to playing wedding hooky, such as pastors who must be in suits in church every week and don’t seem to mind. But in general, I believe men like to avoid getting dressed up and going to weddings.

What we women need to do is begin early in the season to prepare our man for his eventual attendance at a wedding. That’s why the invitations have those little cards you return, telling the bride who will be attending. Once your man has stood by and agreed to attend, and you have sent back your acceptance card, there is no wedding hooky permitted. It’s now compulsory.

At night while he is sleeping speak to his subconscious about it.

“How wonderful it’s going to be to see Megan walk down the aisle in June.”

He manages to wake up enough to mumble, “Who’s Megan?”

“You know the beautiful blond daughter of Jim and Carol.” During this nightly brainwashing be sure to stress how beautiful the bride will be. You know how men like to see pretty women.

A few nights later, tell his subconscious about the food.

“I hear they’re serving filet mignon at Megan and Chad’s wedding in June.”

“Who’s Megan?”

“You know, the beautiful blond daughter of Jim and Carol. She’s marrying Chad.”

“Who’s Chad?”

“Your friend, the groom, who is very fond of cocktails and steak.” In this case use beef and alcohol as the subconscious prize for attending the wedding.

During the pre-wedding brainwashing be sure to stress the beefcake and the beef! Subconsciously you are implanting the idea that the wedding will be a very gratuitous experience for your husband. Finally when the day of the wedding comes and your husband begins his pre-wedding whining you can remain firm in the thought that he will not be playing wedding hooky. Jim and Carol are counting on him to be there for the beef and the beefcake, and he witnessed you filling out the acceptance card.

This subconscious brainwashing should work unless your married to a man like my husband, who simply says, “I ain’t goin,” and tells you to go by yourself.

I’d love your opinion on this issue. Do women love weddings, while men try to avoid them?

Reblogged from June, 2012

 

Still Proud to be an American

In honor of all the men and women who have served in the Armed  Services of the United States, I would like to remember Memorial Day. As a young child, I watched family, neighbors and friends in uniforms going off to fight in WWII. My parents told me these men were going to fight in the war, but I had no concept of what that actually meant.

One such relative was my second cousin, Bobby Double. We all lived in Pittsburgh at the time, and my mother had lived with Bobby and his parents for several years before she married my father. Mother and Bobby had developed a close relationship. Bobby seemed to love my sister and me, and he was always friendly, visited often and always played games with us.

During the war, my parents were probably quite ill-at-ease, because my father was German and my mother was of German descent, not exactly an honorable heritage at the time. One day mother told us that Bobby had been drafted. When we realized he would be going oversees, we cried, but our lives went on. Mother told us how brave the men were to go and fight for their country. I felt respect for the people who were fighting the war, especially Bobby.

Sometimes I would ask for more sugar on my cereal and Mommy would tell me that we had very little, because sugar was being rationed. I remember listening to her long explanation of rationing, imagining mean men on ships stopping the sugar from coming into the United States. Mostly I wished for more sugar.

One day my mother and father seemed to be particularly happy. Bobby came over in his army uniform, smiling from ear to ear. My parents were hugging him and everyone was laughing and hugging each other and picking me up and twirling me. I was happy too, but I had no idea why.

Only many years later, when I was in my twenties studying history, did I realize that was the day WWII was over. Even though I was only three at the time, I remember V-E Day, the celebration that occurred at the end of WWII, in May of 1945. The United States had helped win the war against Hitler. Bobby no longer had to be deployed, and we would soon be able to buy as much sugar as we wanted. Praise the Lord, our side won!

 

Rattling on about Nap-apnea

You’ve heard of sleep apnea, where you stop breathing suddenly while you’re asleep. I think I have nap-apnea, where I take a nap suddenly, when I’m supposed to be awake.

I get really tired in the evening and I often fall victim to nap-apnea on the sofa while watching TV. My husband is usually sitting with me, but he often finds me asleep during parts of the show. I also usually have the part of the food chain called Popcorn. I love this food. I don’t think it can make you fat. It’s really just a bunch of corn seeds that have been heated. So, I tell myself I’m just eating a ¼ cup of seeds. It just seems like a bowl full of yummy popcorn.

One night I had a nap-apnea attack while eating my popcorn. My husband turned to look at me and my head was hanging down, my hand was next to my mouth and I was holding a piece of popcorn to my lips. And I was asleep, mid-bite.

“Nancy?” he said. I woke up and realized I had a bite on my lips, so I ate it hastily. Why waste time laughing (or crying) about it? It was funny. We had a good laugh, I finished my popcorn and we watched the end of the show.

Held Captive by the Food Chain

The food chain is a description of the way different species survive on the earth by feeding on a food source from another plant, animal or organism. Grass grows by sucking the nutrients from the soil, cows eat grass, and people eat cows, and so the chain proceeds from microbes to elephants, each having its food source.

One could describe the food chain as a cycle of “I’m bigger, so I’ll eat you!”

Being of unsound mind I always envision a chain made of food when I hear this phrase. I imagine it is made of noodles and looks like the construction paper chains we made in grade school to decorate Christmas trees. There are many foods that would make good food chains: bagels, pretzels, cheerios, green and red pepper rings, hamburgers(with holes in them), over-the-hill carrots and my all time favorite, donuts! Can you imagine sitting down to watch TV with a long chain of donuts? YUM!

However, we must stand firm against being held captive by the food chain. We can eat microbes and bacteria if we want to. Arise America. Eat whatever you want, no matter where it is on the chain, or if it’s the chain itself.

P.S. I once tasted a popcorn chain that had been on my Christmas tree for a few weeks. UGH! BLAW!

Other Multiples

If you know someone with multiple personalities, please tell them about my blog. I would like to connect with them