Walk, Trot, Canter

In the heat, the rain, the snow, the dust – she has always wanted to ride. But just ride. Back then she said, “We won’t jump today will we? I don’t want to jump.” And, “I’m NOT going to canter. My stomach hurts, I don’t think I can canter.”


And now it’s “when, how soon, one more time?”


“Can I go first? Can I go now?”


“Can I go again?”


“Did you see? Wasn’t that cool?”


“I’ll be back soon. And we’ll do it again.”

Now she’s all smiles and joy and confidence. And I am so blessed to get to be a witness to it all.

Moron Test Kitchen – Olive Bread

I ran into a friend last week who reminded me that The Pioneer Woman’s cookbook is coming out soon. I asked her if she had tried any of the recipes and she recommended the olive bread. And boy does it LOOK good. This is a photo from PW’s site.


Hey, I’ll give it a shot.


The recipe calls for 6 oz. of black olives, 6 oz. green olives with pimentos, 2 green onions, 1 stick of butter, 1/2 cup of REAL mayonnaise (whatever, I had Miracle Whip and that’s what I’M using),  3/4 pound of shredded Monterrey jack cheese and a loaf of French bread.


Rough chop the olives. 


Chop two green onions. 


Shred the cheese, or buy it already shredded. 


Throw in the softened, stick of butter.


Add in the 1/2 cup of REAL mayo and stir until blended.


Cut the French bread down the middle and separate the two pieces. I actually cut it in HALF, then cut it down the middle.


Spread the olive mixture all over the bread. Put on a cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes at 325 degrees until the cheese is melted and the bread is brown. I took mine out a few minutes too early but I was HUNGRY and it smelled so good.


You can serve it with a salad or cut it into pieces and serve as an appetizer.

Moron Test Grade – A! I’m on a roll. This was everything I like in a recipe – easy to find ingredients, easy to make, quick to cook, a little bit unusal, and YUMMY. I only used half of the bread, I put the rest of the mixture in the fridge. PW says it makes a great dip, so I’m taking it to bridge tomorrow night to see what the ladies think. 

When I make it next time, I’ll probably only change one thing. I won’t eat the ENTIRE thing, by myself, in under twenty minutes. If I weren’t doing p90x every day, I’d weight 812 pounds.


A friend called the other day and asked for a gift recommendation. She was looking for something for her young nieces. I suggested this book – The Princess and The Kiss, by Jennie Bishop.


It’s a lovely story of how when the Princess is born, God gives her a special gift. Her parents, the King and Queen warn her to be wise and save it for the man she’ll marry. Lots of suitors come to ask for her hand in marriage, but she doesn’t find them worthy. One day she meets a wonderful, handsome farmer who has also saved HIS special gift for her. On their wedding day, they exchange their gifts – their first kiss. Awwww. Rachel and I have enjoyed reading it, and you can order an accompanying coloring book too.

Sigh. If only MY mother had bought me this book, it could have all been so different. Maybe THEN I wouldn’t have kissed Lloyd Greenwood. On the bus. In third grade. For a dollar.


Comments are welcome. Like all of the many “Get Well Soon” comments I received after saying my hiney hurt. I can’t thank you enough. But for those that don’t KNOW, it’s fairly simple. You have to click on the title of the post first, then scroll down. You should now be able to leave sweet, encouraging messages. And you can leave your messages too, Mom.

Moron Kitchen Update – Oh man, do I have something good for this week. It looks super easy and DELISH. I may not eat my normal Sunday Dinner ala Overstuff like usual in anticipation. Also – I made the casserole for my church WITH the right soup – much better. I may actually start reading recipes from now on.

Be still my broken link – Sorry that the Ryan Reynolds link didn’t work. Here’s the photo –


I just thought you should have it…in case it inspired YOU  to be a beekeeper. I might have to rethink the whole idea, must be quite the workout.

Do you know yourself, REALLY?

Several years ago, I decided that it would be a good idea for me to open a restaurant – me, the person who cannot cook and prefers to be bone idle. My husband just smiled and nodded as I went to the library and checked out books on Italian cooking, and restaurant management. I would even drive him by empty buildings that would make good locations. I pictured myself, skinny and wearing a black dress, greeting people at the door while holding a nice glass of wine. What I’m wearing tends to play a big part in whether or not I think I’d like an activity. Eventually, I realized it was a bad idea.

I’ve learned a FEW things about myself since then. For instance, I no longer buy clothes for when I “lose weight” or things at yard sales that I can “fix up with a little paint later.” I have accepted the fact that those things just won’t happen. See, growth!

Now there are three, SLIGHTLY more realistic, ideas that hover at the edge of my consciousness. Things that I THINK I’d like to do over the next year or so. They haven’t quite made it to the “You could NEVER do that” list. Here they are –

1. Plant a garden. – Okay I get that this is not exactly unheard of, and when I say “plant”, I really mean “oversee.” I tried to accomplish this in early spring, but JD refused to rent a tiller and plow up a spot, EVEN THOUGH we have the perfect place out by the apple trees. If he would make a spot, and put out the seeds, I would be in charge of watering and harvesting. I’m picturing a big hat, white shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and khaki shorts. I could DO this.


2. Own Chickens – Again, perfect spot by the apple trees. I have been thinking about chickens (okay, AND goats) for a while, but I REALLY started wanting them when I heard that my friend’s neighbor has some in her back yard.  And she lives within the city limits! I can totally see me visiting the chickens every morning, throwing the feed out, and getting a few fresh eggs for breakfast. Of course I’d be wearing a long skirt and skinny tank top. I’ve never been around chickens, but I did see Chicken Run, and except for the escaping thing, they seem like a pretty mellow group. And the chicken coop is cute!

3. Become a beekeeper. – I admit, my knowledge of bees is limited. Basically, all I know is that if they “swarm”, you can get them out of a tree by banging pots together to simulate thunder. See, that is INTERESTING. Bees are cool. They make vegetables grow bigger, which is why I would put them by my GARDEN. I don’t know how they make vegetables grow bigger, but I just want to eat their honey, I’m not trying to be a bee scientist. The only issue I have is the wardrobe. I just can’t picture myself covered head to toe in white, carrying a “smoker”. Cute Ryan Reynolds is a beekeeper, maybe I can ask HIM what’s fashionable. I wonder how I get his address. Anyway, what could go wrong?


Not that it matters what I WANT to do, so far JD has been adamant that we’re not doing any of it. I guess he’s grown too. Darn it.

Men are not smarter now

I went cycling today with my friend Kathryn. Normally I’d say that I went bike riding, but that’s too sweet sounding for the torture I endured. This was no leisurely, pedal/coast with a basket on the front ride, this was 14 miles of burning thighs, waiting on my lungs to collapse.

Anyway. It made my hiney hurt.  This is what the seat on my bike looks like –


It’s not exactly  like sitting on an overstuffed sofa. Kathryn’s is even worse. It looks something like this –


Ouch. So I joked that I was going to buy a really big, cushy seat, and Kathryn (because compared to hers it IS) says, “you already have one.” 

Then I come home and tell my husband all about our ride, and our hineys, and my seat, and what Kathryn said, and he looks at me all AGHAST, and says, completely serious – “Was she talking about your BUTT?”

And now I have to wonder. She did see my from behind.

Moron Test Kitchen – Lemon Mint Granita

Huh? You mean you’re not familiar with the Israeli restaurant fave? I got this recipe from a blog at www.SmittenKitchen.com and thought I’d give it a go. I’ve never tried anything from her site before, mainly because they are either too intimidating, too exotic, or too strange. Do I REALLY need to make marshmallows from scratch, I think not. But years ago when I was visiting Chicago, I went to Little Italy and had some Italian ice. It was super light and refreshing and this recipe sounds a bit like it, so why not?


Okay, first take 4 lemons. Cut the top quarter off, then cut off the very tip of the other end. You don’t want to cut it OFF, you just want the  lemons to be able to stand up.

Remove all of the lemon guts/juice and put it into a bowl. I used a grapefruit tool and did it OVER a bowl so that I didn’t lose any. Put the empty lemons in the freezer. We’ll come back to those later.


Smitty’s recipe doesn’t mention the seeds. I just plucked them out. Now add 25 – 30 mint leaves to the bowl. Pour it all into a food processor and ALMOST puree. Stop just short.


I actually did mine a bit too much. Let the mixture stand for about 15 minutes so the mint can reach it’s peak flavor. Or something like that, I can’t remember exactly why.

Now push the whole mess through a fine strainer.


The recipe says that you should end up with about 1 cup of juice, so I put a measuring cup in the bowl to check.


Hey, what do you know? Pretty close. Because I pureed my mixture too much, my juice had tiny green flakes in it. I was afraid they’d get stuck in my teeth, so I poured it  through the strainer one more time and it was perfect. Now add 4 cups of water, and then 3 tablespoons of sugar, ONE tablespoon at a time until it’s dissolved.

_mg_1700Pour into a pan or dish of some sort, just so the mixture is about 1 inch deep. I used a cake pan – perfect. Stick it in the freezer. Check it in about an hour, and scrape it with a fork to break it up. Let it freeze again for about an hour. Go back and scrape it again. Do this for 2 – 3 hours.

_mg_1714It should look something like this. Remember those lemons you stuck in the freezer? Get them out.


Aww…cute cups. Fill them with your lemon/mint mixture and enjoy.


I don’t know if you can tell, but Rachel REALLY enjoyed these.

Moron Test Grade – B. It was hard getting all of the lemonony guts out, and pushing the mint through the stainer was a mess. They were good, but I’m not racing out to the freezer to finish the pan off.  Still…the mint and lemon make for a VERY refreshing combo. And it’s about as close to an Israeli restaurant as I’m going to get. If I did it again I’d just forget the cute lemon cups and put it straight into a glass. With a splash of vodka. Now THAT would be an A+ recipe.

Happy Father’s Day!

So I had a choice, to either blog about MY father, or Rachel’s. Since my father doesn’t read my blog, and doesn’t really like his business spread all over the Internet, I thought I’d respect his wishes and just blog about the hubby. Plus my dad’s birthday is coming up and I’ll TOTALLY blog about him then.

When Rachel was born, she needed to be fed every four hours. So JD and I had a deal. I’d feed her at 8, then go to sleep. JD would feed her at midnight (he’s the night owl) then I would wake up for her 4 a.m. feeding. I’d get at least 8 hours of sleep, and so would HE. Only problem – he’d never wake me up. He’d just keep waking up to feed her. How selfish is THAT? There I was, a new mom in search of bonding time, and I’d find this –



It was more than the one incident – it became a pattern. We had to wait an entire year before we could feed her solid food. Guess who hogged all the quality time?


Yep, since day one, he’s been there. Always ready to change a diaper/fix dinner/kiss a boo-boo/create an art project/play Star Wars/read a book/etc.

Last night, Rachel said a prayer for her daddy.

“Dear Lord,

Thank you for making my daddy the way he is, for whatever he does, for making him so much fun, and for everything he is. Amen.”


Before she fell asleep, I asked her, “When you get married, do you want to marry a man like your daddy?”

“No,” she answered, “I want to MARRY my daddy.” Girl knows a good thing.

Happy Father’s Day. We love you!