Friday, March 30, 2012

Easy Chess Pie (not too sweet)

I made this chess pie the other day and let me just say this is a great first pie for anyone to make!  I looked up several recipes online, then just made up my own based on the ingredients.  The risk of baking my first pie with a "new" recipe paid off with pleasant results.  

First, the ingredients:

1 refrigerated pie crust
1 stick butter (melted)
2 cups sugar
1 (or more) teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
2 tablespoons flour (or cornmeal)
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 375F
Melt the butter.  I like to cut mine up  and put it in the microwave on defrost 

 until it looks like this:

While the butter is melting, unfold the pie crust into a pie plate:

Put the butter into your mixer and add the sugar and vanilla.  Mix well.

Add the eggs (one at a time, mixing well between each).  Add the flour and buttermilk. Mix until well blended.

Pour into the pie crust.

I didn't take a pic, but place a piece of foil over the pie to keep from getting too brown.  No need to form it to the shape of the pie.  The foil is just acting as a barrier.  Bake in the over for about an hour.  The pie is ready when a knife inserted comes out clean.  Cool until slightly above room temp.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Anna's 3rd Birthday!

 I am so excited for my birthday party at Memo and Papa's house!

 Why are there candles in my pretty princess cake?

 Ah, who cares?  This cake is yummy!

 Morgan likes it too!

 Garrett thinks princesses are silly, but he'll put his feelings aside for cake.


 Mmmmm, good!

 Papa likes his cake with a side of TV.

 I liked my crown better when I put in on backwards.

 I'm dressed the part of princess, now I can open gifts!

 My cousin is a great gift helper!  I love her!

My mommy made me a pretty princess cake!  I love her too!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Children's Museum Field Trip

While visiting my parents during Spring Break, my mom, sister and I decided to take the kids (my four and my niece) to the local Children's museum.  The kids had a blast: 

Playing on stage...

(adjusting the lighting)

Learning the parts of a skeleton...
(yes, that is a giant game of operation)

 "Operating" an ambulance...

 Reading books in the quiet area...

 And watching a "tornado" form..

Monday, March 26, 2012

My Uncle Doug

November 1951-March 2012

My Uncle Doug passed away earlier this month.  A few years ago he was diagnosed with lung cancer.  Against all odds, he beat it.  Unfortunately, the evilness struck once again, but this time in his brain.  Still, he fought to overcome this cancer as well.  But, all too soon, the cancer became too much to bear and Doug was admitted to hospice care at a Veterans Affairs hospital two hours from home.  He spent a few months there with my parents visiting every Sunday and his best friends visiting every Wednesday.  Other family members visited when they could.

This past Christmas, while spending time with my parents, my family went with them to see Doug.  We had a very nice visit and it was great to see him on Christmas Day.  He gave each of my kids a little light-up Christmas tree.

When I think of my Uncle Doug, one word keeps coming to mind: unpretentious.  Doug was who he was. He never put on airs for anyone.  He looked like a tough guy, but had a gentle soul and a heart of gold.  That all sounds clich├ęd, but the proof was in his actions.  He was forever giving small gifts just to brighten someones day.  He also fixed broken bicycles for neighborhood kids--free of charge.  And if, by chance, a child didn't have a bike, Doug would find him/her one.

When I was putting together my thoughts for this post, I kept trying to think of specific memories I could share.  It was frustrating to me when I couldn't come up with anything--until I realized why.  Doug was always there.  Even when you didn't expect him.  Which brings me to a slightly amusing story that I do remember.  Mark and I had just started dating.  In fact, I don't think I had introduced him to any of my family at this point.  I met Mark down at our usual meeting spot for a date and who should walk in?  Yeah, that's right, my Uncle Doug.  I think the expression on my face must have been a mixture of shock and horror.  Shock that I got caught and horror that I would have to tell my mom and dad about the older man I was now dating.  

But that's okay.  This past September, Mark and I got to visit with Doug at his friends' house before he got really sick.  Doug told us some stories from his and my mom's childhood.  I loved hearing about when they were younger and the funny/crazy things they did.  Doug is three years older than my mom and they were the two youngest for a long time.  Together they were co-conspirators in many situations.  In a roundabout way, it is all because of Doug that I am here today.  As I understand it, Doug was good friends with my dad's cousin Randy.  One time when Randy was going to see Doug, my dad tagged along.  Doug was outside playing football with some other guys and my mom.  The rest, they say, is history.

I think one of the best ways to remember someone is to remember what they loved.  Doug loved his family (close friends included).  He loved Elvis, black cat firecrackers, peppermint sticks (the kind that melt in your mouth), guns and knives, the colors blue and black, his country, hats and overalls.  He was soft spoken and loved to laugh.

We'll miss you, Doug. 

Finally, I must include a video of one song played at Doug's funeral.  Here is Elvis singing "My Way":

Doug did it his way.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I have decided to add a new feature to my blog.  I call it OOMA which stands for Object Of My Affection.  I love things that make my life easier and I want to share them.  The honor of the first post of this nature goes to my multi-roll toilet paper holder:

I think we can all agree that one of the most aggravating circumstances in life is sitting down to do our business and not having paper available.  While the paper holder above does not completely eliminate that aggravation (I do have four kids) it greatly reduces the chances and that makes this mama happy!

I purchased my holder at Target, but they sell them at Walmart and other places like Bed Bath and Beyond, TJMaxx and probably Lowe's and Home Depot.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Semi-Homemade Low Fat Ranch Dressing/Dip

My kids love ranch dressing.  They love it almost as much as they love ketchup.  They'll eat it on just about anything.  I knew we would go broke buying it already mixed from the store, so I came up with my own concoction I could make at home.  I didn't put measurements because I do it all to taste and sometimes I mix up a quart, sometimes just a cup or two.

The ingredients: fat free milk, real mayo, Hidden Valley Ranch mix, fat free sour cream.  You will also need a couple of spoons, a container and chips or crackers for taste testing.

Start with a sour cream base:

Add some mayo (approximate ratio 1:6, mayo to sour cream)

Stir Vigorously

Add some ranch mix.  Be careful, you can always add more!

Stir Vigorously

Add a splash of fat free milk for desired consistency.

Stir carefully

Taste the yumminess!