Sunday, January 31, 2010


Laura Beth called during the 4:00ish part of the afternoon...

she did sound different and more - well - out of breath with the contractions. I want to say that "doulas" type them out as ctx. It took me forever to figure that one out. I was googling something.

Let me say that I used to be the queen of natural and organic(still am if it's available - hate synthetic or whatever is opposite of organic) but with the birth thing. 29 years ago - natural all the way - I was natural when natural wasn't cool. Really!!!! Ask my family - but doulas and midwives - well - they have their place when things are going by the book - I guess - I hate to make such bold statements - I'm just all for, now, nurses, doctors, epidurals - I've been through 8 birth experiences - with all of the aforementioned - well - not a doula - but, I hear their statements. I know they have their place - but I want to say that a good nurse makes the BEST doula and midwife. Really!!!!! And we've had some great nurses, 2 of which saved Ann's life, literally - I mean it...literally!. Well - when she was being born - a midwife almost ended hers and Ellie's. Well - maybe that's a bit dramatic - but it felt like it could happen.

Back to LB - it felt like this was the night she would go to the hospital - I could tell by her shortness of breath - but later it calmed down - she sounded like a lady who isn't in labor at all. Crazy Prodromal Labor. Still - we've sent Kate to McDonough from Auburn - Kate doesn't have classes tomorrow at all. We'll see what we do tomorrow. Who knows.

anyway - what was a rather controlled Sunday - well, not that controlled - but still - it all turned a bit topsy turvy - and I'm at home, not at the first missions thing we're having at church - Charlie's there. I have Andrew - Ann calls a lot getting updates. We'll see what happens.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday, Not Snowed or Iced In, and John Moore Threatening to Be Born

Last Night...

Laura Beth called concerned that we were all iced in or snowed in. I told her we were not - and then, I asked why -

Her body continues to try to be in labor - I think she is in labor. - hers is just not the typical way - and even last night she gave me a name for her "type" of labor - it has a name - Ann told her about it, she googled it - and it describes her perfectly.

In this household, last night, the two phones were by my bed, ready to be answered - in case Scott and Laura Beth were off the hospital.

6:00 woke me and I knew I hadn't heard from McDonough.

So - cold Saturday - and back out to the Studio - and probably doing some packing because I think this whole thing could "go down" at anytime.

It's like the Little Engine that Could. Chuggin up that hill, slowly, slowly....

"Then she said, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can." And she hitched herself to the little train.

She tugged and pulled and pulled and tugged and slowly, slowly, slowly they started off..

Puff, puff, chug, chug, went the Little Blue Engine. "I think I can - I think I can - I think I can - I think I can - I think I can -

Up, up, up. Faster and faster and faster and faster the little engine climbed, until at last they reached the top of the mountain.

Down in the valley lay the city. "Hurray, hurray," cried the funny little clown and all the dolls and toys.

And so it will be with Laura Beth's body which seems to be saying this week, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can", and before we know it her system will have reached that hilltop and boom - we will be high tailing it to Atlanta - and Ada, for one, will be saying, "Hurray, hurray!" because that's what she says, anyway, but we will all be saying "Hurray!"

Friday, January 29, 2010


I'm going out to my Art Studio,

which I did organize

and finish the 3 pieces for

John Moore's room.

I know it's the first thing he'll notice

when he comes home from the hospital.

By the way, I made it to H'ville today for my cleaning(teeth) so now I am pretty much ready for J.M.

Except I need to finish these pieces.

I really prefer that he arrive
Monday Feb. 1 or Tuesday Feb 2.

I drove home in sleet and snow, from Huntsville.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Time to Post

I have to say that I wish Blogs weren't called Blogs. It's just not a very attractive word, to me. I like post better than blog - so I prefer to say I'm posting on my blog, instead of blogging. Making blog a verb - I don't care for that. Random thoughts and opinions.

It looks like John Moore has given us a little more time to finish the things we all need to finish before he's born into this world.

I'm working on that today and am organizing my art studio, since I painted it in October, so that I can move out there and work without disturbing the house so much.

Monday is Ann's birthday. She'll be 29 - the age I was when I had her. This is the weekend that I went crazy 29 years ago. I went to the doctor on the Friday before Sunday - nothing was going on in my body and her due date had been January 16. These days people get induced - but not then - just waiting around. Anyway - I remember hitting a brick wall(not literally) on that Friday night, a mental and emotional brick wall, and determined that on Saturday I would walk until I went into labor. I did walk but not until I went into labor - it was until I had to go in to the bathroom - I did that, lay down to take a nap and felt the first twitches of labor. That's all they were, twitches. But anyway - 29 years have sped by like a rocket and here we are and I'm waiting on John Moore to be delivered into this world. Crazy stuff. It all goes by in a blink. It really does.

I am also reading a book by Frederick Douglass - My Bondage and My Freedom. It is unbelievable and he was so brilliant and such a Christian - knowing God's word so well -

Not a good post - but I have to keep it moving - this "blog"...if I'm going to maintain it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Where My Thoughts Are

Just read Laura Beth's blog to know where my thoughts are.

The approaching birth of a baby is so exciting and noone ever knows how the whole thing is going to "go down". Especially with someone who actually "goes into labor". My body didn't do that - and poor Ann has inherited the same hormone or gene or whatever - Anyway - Laura Beth not only goes into labor, but does it in a different sort of way - I guess everyone does it differently - a little bit - and Laura Beth cranks it up early.

In the meantime I'm working on some artwork for John's room - a little late in the game for that - but - he won't know the difference if it isn't finished before he's born.

I've learned from Sarah how to make panels and yesterday I bought paint at Home Depot. It's all fun and stimulating - Sarah continues to recover - surely today she'll be better unless this things goes into something secondary - like a sinus infection - which she has a tendency to do that -

I get my hair cut today in Huntsville - I'm going to tell him to cut an extra amount off as I am about to help my daughter with her new baby - not much time for any length of hair.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Didn't Go Like We Planned

These pix were taken on Saturday Night.
Ann had made her birthday cake and Ellie and Luke were pretty excited about the whole event.
and BOOM!
Sarah and Luke were both sick on Sunday. Flu-ish stuff. More than a cold - less than the flu -
but sick.

So much for the movie with Sarah on her birthday -

except that.... Ann was pretty fired up about the outing.

She already had Steve lined up to keep the kids

She and I did the whole thing anyway -

but it turned it into a dinner at P.F. Chang's, instead.

Not a movie.

Today I ran into all the Barbers at Wal-Mart
and Luke just couldn't handle not going home with me.
He would sob at the thought of it, saying, "But Near, I'll miss you".
So Luke came home with me.

That's Sarah's leg and foot under the blanket, and under Luke's leg.
She's still pretty sick.
I didn't dare post pictures of her.
Below are what stays all around her,
in the bed or on the couch.

That's all for this Monday.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, Sarah!

Newborn Sarah.

Laura Beth and Ann peering through the window
at their new little sister.
We'd talked about her for so long
and she was finally here.

Seeing her up close

and getting to touch

that sweet soft skin.

Ann's 5th Birthday Party the following Saturday
after Sarah was born.
At Pizza Hut.

Please have kind thoughts
and don't be too hard on me.
I'd just had a baby and we're on our way
to Ann's birthday party.
I know, ... the hair.
I'm sorry.
Check out my first born, Ann, posing the correct way,
but wait - what is Laura Beth doing?
so very Laura Beth in those days.

My three girls and halfway to Sarah's 1st Birthday

And she turned one year.
Just think, a year later I would be about to have Kate.
The menu, our favorite in those days,
Chicken Pie, Carrots, Peas, Fruit Salad

HAPPY BIRTHDAY for the Camera!

I looked for current pictures of Sarah today - I've lost a really good one on my Picasa. I don't know what I did - but there aren't many - Sarah is always taking the pictures, just like I am.
I am bummed that I lost those good ones taken on Christmas Eve.
Here she is taking pictures

Still taking pictures over in the right corner.

and it's the family - only older and more of us.

And loving her coffee.

Sarah just got her official diploma in the mail.
(from Auburn University, she didn't walk through the ceremony)
She graduated Magna Cum Laude.
With a degree in Fine Arts.
She's at home, doing art (rather preparing surfaces to "do art"), and sniffing out job possibilities to support herself so that she can live on her own while she produces her art after work hours. We're praying about it all - knowing God has a plan.
She has a great work ethic - anyone would be fortunate to have her. Incredibly pleasant nature and honest, with bucket loads of integrity. General Office Work is what she's looking into - possibly, also, something at Barnes and Noble - or Starbucks - just because they have a good work program or benefits - but she'd prefer office work - Her other love is books and at one time considered getting her master's in Library Science to work in an Art Museum, possibly.
So - that's my spill for Sarah regarding a job.
One never knows who reads this.
But I'm enjoying her living here right now - my house, backporch and pretty soon, the garage, is becoming one huge Art Studio - Arena - whatever. There's sanding, there's gesso-ing, there's hammering, there's photographing - and checking that computer - but I'm right in there with her. I copy what she does - like I'm her shadow.
Oh, and she sells stuff on Etsy.
If you want to see it - her blog is
and you can look at her stuff, to the left of that blogsite.
Happy Birthday.
Oh - tonight - Sarah, Ann and I are going to a movie at the Monaco. I think we're going to see "It's Complicated". They haven't seen it, I have - but I like seeing good movies again, with folks who haven't yet seen them. Steve is keeping the babies.
It'll be my treat for all, since Ann's birthday is a week away.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Birthday Season

I wrote in an earlier post that
right now is birthday season -
January through February.
January 16 - my sister, Mary Ann
January 22 - my grandmother, Ella
January 24 - Sarah, my 3rd born
February 1 - Ann, my first born
February 2 -Andrew, my 4th grandchild
February 15 - Kate, my 4th daughter
Laura Beth, my 2nd daughter, is August 12

So - picture this -

I went to the doctor in the spring of 1980 - home pregnancy tests weren't a common thing at that time - and waited by the phone the next day, for the results. The nurse called me and I can still hear her voice and how she said it - I was so nervous, sitting on the couch - by myself - eating popcorn so hard and fast. It was definitely nervous emotional eating - I had popcorn salt and grease all over my fingers as I answered the phone.

"Mrs. Rhodes?" Yes? "Congratulations! You're going to have a baby! ummmm, Let's see - it will be due January 16".

I don't remember what we said after that - and so it began - I was shaking and couldn't believe it. Charlie hadn't even gotten home from work yet - no cell phones - I just waited. He knew I'd gone to the doctor, but I didn't even tell him why - I'm so weird about stuff like that. But he'd guessed it and wasn't surprised when he came in and I told him.

And so began our official season of winter birthdays - because it was a big deal that she was due on Mary Ann's birthday - only she didn't come until February 1. They didn't induce in those days, either.

By the time I thought I might be pregnant with Laura Beth, I did take a home pregnancy test. I looked at Ann, who was only 9 months old, sitting on my hip as I read the thing, and I said, "Well, Ann, you're going to be a big sister!". That was between Thanksgiving and Christmas of 1981 when I discovered that information.

My nerves and emotions and hormones - well - they took a beating during that period - my two "precious" little girls who were 18 months apart - and - parenting under those circumstances is not for the faint of heart. My hat goes off to folks who have them less than that - 16 months and 12 months. I'm 58 and I still moan when I hear of someone having them that close. My husband, Charlie, is ONLY 11 months younger than his sister. And he is the youngest of 4 siblings!

Anyway - I waited - well - we waited - and in the spring of 85, I was pregnant with Sarah. I didn't yet know it was Sarah and I also did NOT want to have another February birthday child - so the plan had been to be pregnant the next month - so her birthday would be in March. I don't know what happened. Something happened. Boom - a month earlier than planned, I was pregnant.

So - here it is January 23rd, 2010 and tomorrow is Sarah's birthday. With C-Sections we get to pick the date. My doctor would give me a date and tell me I could pick any time, a week prior and a week later. He named February 1 as the central date and then to pick around that. I didn't want for this baby and Ann to have to share a birthday - the whole "unique" thing - so I picked exactly a week earlier - to get them as far apart as possible. That's how it became January 24th - Sarah's birthday.

Sarah was born on January 24th, I came home from the hospital 6 days later and the next day was Ann's birthday party at Pizza Hut. I planned the whole thing before going to the hospital. Of course Charlie was the biggest player in that day's events as far as moving about during the party. I sat in one of the booths a whole lot.

Another thing I remember about January 22, 1986 - because then, we were checked into the hospital the day before the birth. I had a meeting of ladies at my house - to plan a conference at Calvary Baptist Church - which would be held in the spring. I knew with a new infant in tow I couldn't do much planning for a couple of months - so I had to set up the committees before going to the hospital. I know that Mary Bratton and Janice McGee were there - and several others, but what stands out about that day - I found out Mary was pregnant with Beth. Sure enough, Beth was born in September on the 24th! Janice had just had Will McGee in October - so he was only 3 months old.

It's 24 years later, Beth is getting married in May - and several of us are having a party for her in March - and again, I'm doing the preliminary planning with several ladies, because I have a grandbaby due on February 10. Again, I know that the month of February will be taken up with new baby stuff. Crazy de ja vue situation.

Life goes around and around and around.....

Exactly two years later, after Sarah was born, I was due to have Kate, my 4th. I stretched Kate's birthday 2 weeks after Ann's which would be February 14th - Valentine's Day - and I didn't want her to have to share that day with VDay - so I picked February 15th. So - we were all on a sugar high all those years in January and February and had to come off of it after the 15th.

I wanted 6 children. I still want to have had 6 children. But - it was my 4th C-Section and I was 36 about to be 37. I loved being pregnant and I loved having babies. It just worked for me. I know that for some women pregnancy is so uncomfortable. That's unfortunate. I did NOT love having C-Sections. That was not in my plan. I really enjoy having the grown children - the big family - I wasn't always a nice mommy. I wish that I had been - and with daughters - well - I've managed to "screw with their heads" a bit - not intentionally - but - alas - we have worked through a lot of it - I guess sons just don't worry about it and move on - unless they have "stuff" regarding their dads. It's that gender thing. Anyway - I am so so so so so so so grateful that inspite of my human error, my girls, who I've really really really loved (almost to a fault) have been blessed by God and He's pursued them and they all have been redeemed, regenerated into a growing love for Him - Their hearts are His. That's the only thing that matters in this world. Isn't it? That's all I want - and now I want it for Ellie, Luke, Ada, Andrew, John, and any other little bits who are tucked away, waiting to be born into this family. I prayed for my children before I was even married - before I knew who I would marry. I did. I'd forgotten that until just now. I did. It used to be fresh in my mind - because I prayed fervently for each of my children during my marriage - before each one was conceived. I did that so much and it was so important to me. It's an eternal matter - issue that is thought out in the heavenly realms - is it not? "All of our ordained days were written in His book before one of them came to be." David says that of himself in Psalm 139 - so it has to be so for us, also.

Anyway - I didn't just "decide" on my own not to have anymore C-Sections or that I couldn't have children after I reached the age of 36 - but we weighed everything and prayed about it all and my doctor I think thought I was crazy to have 4 - He wasn't at all about it - I think most everyone thought I was a bit extravagant and wreckless to have 4. It wasn't a popular choice then - Stopping at 4 seemed like the way God was leading us - but I grieved after that. I had myself "fixed" during that last C-Section. That was tough.

Hopefully the body of Christ is beginning to move in the other direction - that children are indeed a blessing - a gift and not an inconvenience - we have lived such calculated, extravagant, selfish lives in this world for so long - and we are so cocooned that Mothers are rather alone in the nurturing of their children. But I'm not gonna get into all of that.

It's Birthday season in the Rhodes' home. Fortunately my sons in law have a May and an August birthday. Actually August is beginning quite a collection of birthdays - LB, Ada, Scott and then Luke is September. Ellie and Steve are April and May. I guess if we have enough people we'll pretty much cover up all the months. But this new little Moore baby is due right in the middle of our traditional Birthday season. He's joining the original cluster.

I have a special birthday post of pictures for tomorrow on Sarah's birthday. :-)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

January Rain

To Be Honest.

Alabama doesn't usually have snowy scenes in January, nor in February - more likely in late March or April, if there are to be any - which is so unkind - when we've slept through winter - made our vigils to Wal-Mart in the gray and damp and cold - and if not cold - then an unseasonably balmy air - and just when there's hope of spring and believing it will be here - even early buds inspire us - an April snow might give us one final lockdown - but - what's one more day or weekend or 2 days - May always returns - unless Christ does first. Which we continue to anticipate.

Therefore, this afternoon, when we had a downpour after a day or two of cloud and damp - I thought, "Why not? Didn't I run outside with my camera after our light dusting of snow? Don't we make snow a holiday?" so - I lifted my camera and tried to find some really good wet spots - which I think I did.

These are what January Days in Alabama really look like. Is it any wonder we need encouragement and fellowship and crafts and food and drink? We are made to create our own color from the visuals we were given in spring, summer, and fall -

I googled poetry regarding Winter. Here is some.

As You Like It, Act II, Scene VI
by William Shakespeare
Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then, heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.
Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
That does not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As friend remembered not.
Heigh-ho! sing
The Darkling Thrush
by Thomas Hardy
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.
The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.
At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.
So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.
Awww. My beautiful blue 2010 Hydrangeas are tucked away in this brown wet bush of bare stems. Can't you just hear it slurping up all that needed water for making and giving gorgeous blue and purple and pale green mopheads? Thank you God, for all the seasons and all that You teach us through every season - thank you for nature and how it resembles our spiritual lives. And thank you that when anything seems dormant, or is, you are not. You are always teeming with life and You never sleep. Thank you for your plan of resurrection and redemption.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Book to Read

"I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers." - line from a conversation in the book.

Run, don't walk, well, drive quickly to the nearest Barnes and Noble or Books a Million and Read this book which my sister recommended to me.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

She practically said, "You're a fool if you don't read this book". We were meeting her in Books a Million in Montgomery - on my way down to Evergreen when I was going to ride with her and Sarah was going on to Auburn. I grabbed it immediately, without hesitation, and I bought it.

After I read a book, and I don't want it to be over, I want more - well, I start reading anything else on the extra pages - like the acknowledgements, - anything - this one offered quite a bit. Besides acknowledgements it had an afterword. I love books that have an afterword - then it takes the reader a bit deeper into the heart of the author and what all was going on, surrounding the story as it developed. Also, this book had a map in the front. I love it when there are maps - so if the writer is talking about places, then I keep flipping to the map to get a better picture of everything. I want to be there.

Mary Ann Shaffer is the main author and her niece, Annie Barrows, did some finishing up for her - I won't give all of that away - but I have to include in this post the first paragraph of Annie Barrows' "afterword".

"I grew up in a family of storytellers. In my family there is no such thing as a yes-or-no question, a simple answer, or a bald fact. You can't even ask someone to pass the butter without incurring a story, and major holidays always end with the women gathered around the table, weeping with laughter, while our husbands sit in the next room holding their heads."

Annie Barrows

That paragraph reminds me of my Mother and her sisters and all those gatherings and all of us laughing so hard, with our overactive tear ducts - weeping with laughter. I have to include this picture which is one of a million we have. I need to just gather all the pictures of this sort and put them together in a book.

There is a subsequent picture to this one - and it must have been taken right after whatever story is being told - because in it most of the women are dying with laughter and falling over on one another. It's so revealing of the banter that is going on.
Come to think of it, now we do that in this Rhodes household when all or most of the girls are gathered - and if Steve is in the room he really cranks us all up, and Scott is laughing as hard as any of us.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Old Wallets

Things which are a part of our everyday living.
Car Keys, Debit Cards, Check Books, Glasses, Ladies' Purses with Wallet, Mens' Wallets, Insurance Cards, Driver's License, Credit Cards in the Wallets, Social Security Numbers, Cell Phones, Gum, Mints....
What I remember about Daddy at the end of the evening, if I happened to be in his room when he emptied his jingling, deep pockets; out would come loose change, his wallet out of his back pocket, a hankerchief out of his back pocket, his pocket watch during certain periods of time - other times he wore a wrist watch. - several random gizmos out of his side, deep pockets - oh yeah - his pocket knife. Always had that. A silver flat thing.
Mother always had her purse - which I was free to rummage through. She usually had tissue, her wallet, Doublemint Gum, first choice, second she had Spearmint. Seldom Juicy Fruit. Later years, really later she switched to all the sugar free stuff. She had the gum but always always admonished me not to chew gum in public. I do. I'm sorry. I know it's bad manners and annoying.
When Daddy died, and he had not needed his wallet for some time, Mom did keep his wallet, just as he had left it - with all the necessities inside along with the pictures he had carried with him.
Now that Mother is in heaven, as I plunder through her drawers in Evergreen - there is that familiar wallet - the one she happened to be carrying in her last years.
Both look really old and tattered, because they are.

So I brought them home for a "remembering" post.
I rummaged through Daddy's first, knowing, because I'd forgotten which ones he had, that there would still be two chosen pictures of Mother which he carried with him.
I was right.

Along with his license.

So I went to Mother's to see what her pictures were.

The one of Daddy changed over the years.

If you can see in the above picture it's Daddy and he is sitting having a conversation with someone, engaged in conversation. I think Mother probably liked this one because the first thing that the Alzheimer's disease took from his mind was the ability to talk. Not all at once, but words began to fail him - so that at the end, for a couple of years - he said nothing.

Also stuck behind this picture is the date he died.

August 8, 1993, in Mother's handwriting.

So - that was a sign of her aging and I find those little scribbles in several places throughout her "things". The date he died. Not when he was born, not when they married, but the day he left - to go home to his eternal home - the real one.

Mother, being a Mother and Grandmother, of course had pictures of her 4 granddaughters - but very very young ones.

and her license.

Next, below, is a picture Mother did carry in her wallet for years - it's of Daddy kissing Ann's hand as he left for Church. Mary Ann is holding her. I know this occasion. Charlie and I were at the beach and they were keeping Ann for us. I guess Mom just opted to stay home from church that day rather than take Ann to the nursery. Daddy couldn't miss for anything. He was the choir director and there was Sunday School in the Men's Class. I don't think he was teaching that class.

It's such a Sunday Morning picture of Daddy.

And it shows his gentlemanlike nature and mannerisms.

Ann was 4 - 5 months.

So - as Daddy was then, with his wallet in his back pocket, if we had asked to see those pictures of Mom,

here is what he would have shown us.

Not updated at all,

but still his earliest memories of her.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Everybody Returned Safely

disclaimer: the blog site won't let me space to make reading easier. I have spaced and spaced and it still is without any spaces.

Buzz LightYear has returned.
It was Saturday evening.
Ann drove home in rain but she got here safely to her little Andrew. They were all so glad to see him....and he was sooooo glad to see them.
I didn't hear them come in - I was upstairs getting him out of his bath. With that cold, I just thought that water would open up his head. He loves baths.
So we were at the top of the stairs and heard his family.
It's Monday. I've read Laura Beth's post regarding meals after John is born - after friends are no longer bringing meals - after Mom has gone home - (that's me) - and she asks - what is something quick and simple - any suggestions?
The obvious answer is prepare meals ahead and put them in the freezer. I've never been too good at that. I prefer to have things on hand that are quick and easy to prepare - but what is that?
Well - I recently had a meal at Mary Ann's and I think it's pretty good for a 5 ingredient easy recipe. It came out of Mary Ann's 5 ingredient Recipe Book.
Tortilla Beef Bake
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
2 1/2 cups crushed tortilla chips, divided(I used fritos)
1 jar (16 oz) salsa
1 1/2 cup (6 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
Brown ground beef and drain. Stir soup in with ground beef. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups tortilla chips in a greased shallow 2 1/2 quart baking dish. top with beef mixture, salsa, and cheese.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degreese for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with the remaining chips. Bake 3 minutes longer or until chips are lightly toasted. Yield: 6 servings

Another thing I like to do is buy inexpensive chicken, when it's on sale, and take the time to cook quite a bit of it. The clean up is a bummer - all that chicken, all those bones - and I prefer to take advantage and season the water really good with onion and celery and garlic and salt and sage - and then take the time to strain the broth and let it cool so that any fat hardens so that it can be skimmed off. It's a project. I really don't ever look forward to it - but so glad to have that broth and that chicken in the freezer. Here is the best and easiest recipe if chicken is already available.

Chicken Escort
2 sleeves of buttery crackers
(it used to be Escort Crackers, but can no longer find them. Use Waverly Wafers)
Plenty of chicken, cooked to cover casserole dish.
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz sour cream
1 stick of butter
Cover regular Casserole dish with crushed crackers(1 sleeve)
place cooked chicken over these - covering the layer of crackers and being as generous as you prefer with the chicken. Not too thick of a layer, but not too thin, either.
Mix the soups and sour cream and spread over the chicken.
Next, the other sleeve of crackers, crushed and over the soup mixture.
place pats of the 1 stick of butter evenly on top of the crushed crackers.
Bake, at 350 degrees until bubbly - probably about 40 minutes.
So good, especially if you're at home with a new baby and you've got that "nursing appetite".
One more easy breezy thing.
A sirloin tip roast. 2 or 3 cans of beef broth.
Onions, sliced or diced or whatever, or easier - onion soup mix.
Brown the surface of the roast in a dutch oven and the onions, too. using a little oil. Then, cover with broth, or 2 or 3 envelopes of the soup mix with the right amount of water.
bring to boil and turn down to a simmer and let it cook until very tender. Comfort Food!
Open up english peas or whatever green veg your child or husband prefer. Green Beans or English Peas are standard at our house. Boiled Potatoes with Butter are great with this - or rice. Yummy. Brown and Serve Rolls are the cheapest.
Usually, with a small family, leftovers come with this meal...
and with the chicken escort - again - if the fam is small and few gigantic appetites.
Spaghetti is the other easiest in the world meal.
The ground beef, the spaghetti envelope, the tomato sauce and the diced tomatoes. Spagetti Pasta - and bread. Again, English Peas for veg if you want to be easy. I find Salads to be a bit labor intensive. But, whatever. Or canned peaches are good for children and tastes. Whatever canned fruit Ada or any child might like.
Let me think.
Other easy ideas. Pasta tossed with whatever one prefers. Love it. And the Crock Pot - surely the crock pot offers some ideas - but there's the clean up . Have to think about clean up. With bedtime and babies crying. Yipes.

Friday, January 15, 2010

New Babies and Year Old Babies

SNOW COOL has another cold, and it's been a bit of a day with him. Babies are being born all over the world, in Thailand, in North Carolina, and we're expecting grandchild number 5 to be born in Atlanta, GA.

I have been following the birth of Lottie Messersmith on my daughter's facebook spot - and I did follow the birth of Jack Forman on my daughter's facebook spot. He is in Thailand/China. It's all incredibly exciting to imagine the emotions and situations of everyone. There is nothing clean and neat about any baby coming into the world. Not even the easiest of births. But it is all incredibly exciting and lifechanging.

Andrew has had a bit of a rough day, with his cold - but he's doing pretty good at present. I talked his Dad into letting him spend the night here tonight - I can rock him all during those"stuffy" moments during the night.

Anyway - anyone who reads this - congrats to new babies - gotta love it and also it's not that simple - but still.....

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Snow Cool

This blog post is titled

And this little guy is at my house
while Mom, Ellie and Luke
visit LB and Ada and Scott
in McDonough

He'll stay with Steve tonight

and be back in the morning.

End of Post.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Last Week

I have just a few more pictures .... but really, I think anyone reading this has forgotten about my trip to Evergreen. However....

The Home Ec Bldg
The way these desks are placed on this down ramp,
It looks as if they are being led out or driven out or asked out.
No longer needed in this building.

And what I thought was a beautiful interior
to a closet in the Home Ec/Ag Bldg.

Below - the steps toward the Jr High Hall - in and out these doors I went when the bell rang for, I don't know what we called it - recess? No - that was at the City School. It was the morning break and my friends and I scrambled down these steps to the concession stand - IF - I had gotten money that morning from Mother or Daddy. I LOVED the taste of cheese crackers(with p'nut butter) and a small carton of "orange ade". Got it everytime.
Just inside the door to the Jr High Hall.
Last week - this is where I found my door - not the one you see in the picture - but "my door" was laying on the floor.
It was meant to be.
I think someone just left it there for me.
You think?
Anyway - this door you see opened? It's the one where I had 7th grade homeroom and Social Studies with Mrs. Estelle Lewis - 5th period - it's the door I walked through and immediately heard the shock and confusing sentences - something about the President had been shot. The day was crazy after that. I don't remember anything after the beginning of that class and then when the bell rung we had Band 6th period - and Daddy cancelled Band practice for that day.

this is just what I think is a nice window and is above the door in the above picture - Bert said, as we both looked up at the window, "Wouldn't you love to have that window?"
and just inside that door you saw,
this bulletin board between the two doors to the locker room.
Every classroom, it seems, especially in the City School, was built that way - with a locker room at one end of the classroom.

and these are the windows outside that same classroom I keep talking about.

And you see here, the stadium lights -
our stadium behind the school.
The football field sits way below the school foundation level.
That, they tell me, is still the football field for Hillcrest High School - the new consolidated school in Evergreen.
And they need more parking - hence, our old building is being demolished.
They are paving paradise and putting up a parking lot.