Thursday, January 31, 2008

Chilly Recipe

Its a pretty chilly day here in the good old Midwest and I thought I'd share a yummy recipe that'd be good for a day like today! And I made this once when Robotface and Sniz's family came over and was complimented on it. So if they liked it then it must be good enough to share with you all.
My family has been making this dish for years and we always called it Taco Soup. My husband's family has made something similar and called it Chili Pie. So.... nearly every time I make it we have the inevitable discussion about what its "true" name is. I say it has the elements of a taco (meat, cheese, corn tortilla, etc) but in soup form. But Isaac insists that its like a chili pie because the chips serve as the "crust". Its ridiculous that after five years we haven't come to any sort of middle ground, a new name or something.... we continue to have the same mock argument over and over. We're funny like that. Not really funny ha ha, more funny weird. Anyway, it is a really easy recipe and very adaptable to whatever is in your pantry (mostly).

1lb-1 1/2 lbs ground beef/ground turkey/etc
*optional - diced onions/peppers/squash - those should be put it shortly before the meat is done
2-3 cans beans - black, pinto, kidney, whatever - drained
1-2 cans or 1 small bag frozen corn - drained
1 large can red enchilada sauce
OR 1 small can enchilada sauce and 1 can tomato sauce
OR 1 can tomato sauce and 1 packet of taco seasoning
*these are open to tweaking for your personal preferences, the inlaws use tomato juice and have theirs more soupy but I kind of like mine thicker.

Brown meat in large pot. Drain. Add sauces, seasonings, beans, and corn. Season to taste (salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chili seasoning, a little sugar, whatever you like). The enchilada sauce has some spice of its own so if you like it mild you might not need to add any seasonings. Cook on medium heat until bubbly then reduce or remove from heat or stick in a crock pot for later. Serve with your choice of cheese and toppings.
Suggested toppings:
Mexican cheese, cheddar, colby-jack cheese -whatever, but you must have cheese!
Fritos corn chips - tortilla chips will do but fritos don't get soggy as fast.
sour cream
diced regular or green onions
Taco Bell packets (I know, I'm a dork. I save the packets and use them in my cooking at home.)

So, there you have it. Its simple and soooo good! Hope you try it out. If you do, please let me know what you think.

*By the way, that is a photo from the Food Network website - my food usually isn't that pretty but it tastes good.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

And the SAG Award goes to.....

The Office! Yeah! The cast of The Office (one of my favorite shows.... if you couldn't tell) won the SAG award for best comedy ensemble! I think its a great show and I'm so glad that they're getting recognition for their work. Hopefully the writers' strike will end soon so they can get back to work!
The fan website that I got the picture from had an article about viewers/fans writing to the president of the network about the WGA writers' strike. If you are interested in more info check out for more details.
Here is a favorite quote of mine from this season of The Office - its a Jim and Pam moment. We'd all been waiting.... ok, I've been waiting so long and they finally got together.... and then the strike.... sigh.

Jim: [Pam and Jim watch video of their kiss on the tv] Oh, ah... No that's not... I mean that wasn't, ah...
Pam: Yeah... That was um...
Jim: I mean I can see how it would seem a bit like we uh... How it looks like um... I mean now a days you can edit anything, right? I mean you can edit anything to look like um... anything.
Pam: Yeah, I gave him a ride home because...
Jim: Right!
Pam: ... We're dating.
Jim: Wow! There it is.
Pam: Ah, yeah. We haven't told anybody, but it's going really great. [looks at Jim] Right?
Jim: It is going really great.

Help Autism Speaks

The band Five for Fighting is generously donating $0.40 to Autism Speaks each time this video is viewed. The funds raised will go towards research studies to help find a cure for autism. When you have a moment, please watch this informative clip, featuring touching photos of a beloved daughter and her family.
I found this link on on their media page. Please watch the video and maybe pass it along. What an easy way to support a good cause.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hearts at Home Video

I've mentioned Hearts at Home a few times and I found this promo video for their conference. I'm not sure if I'll get to go this year (because of timing) but it looks like something I'd really enjoy. Its a great ministry - working hard on encouraging and educating professional moms.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

CD Cover Fun

I thought I'd expand things a little around here by adding some CD reviews. I'm sure you all care what I think about music, so I've decided to review three CD's that I've been listening to lately.

Well, I'm not really reviewing CDs. In fact these are not real albums at all. They were created using the complicated mathematical formula on Doofus' blog the other day.

You create your own band name and album with album cover (or CD--whatever). This is not a "meme" or a "tag" or whatever you folks call it, but I'd love to see what some of you come up with.

Here's how you do it.

1. The first article title on this page is the name of your band.

2. The last four words of the very last quotation on this page is the title of your album. (NOTE: If you do this more than once, you will need to refresh this page to get a new quote.)

3. The third picture on this page, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4. Use your graphics program of choice to throw them together, and post the result. I'm a Photoshop guy, but even your most basic photo editing or graphics program (even the "Paint" program that comes with Windows) can do this. It takes a little work, but it's worth it.

Here are my three CDs...

This is a great British band that is reminiscent of the early British invasion stuff. Only more of a preppy, English tea garden-ish sound to them. Ok, so maybe their music is only so-so.... but the girls go crazy for the lead singer. He's like a cross between James Bond and Bon Jovi.

You wouldn't believe what this band has been through! You should totally see the Behind the Music story on them! The band is made up of a Mexican/Canadian guitarist, Argentinian/American lead vocalist/accordion player, and a Irish/Asian/American drummer/keyboard player. Its amazing to see them in concert. They're breaking down cultural barriers in the music industry like crazy!

She is awesome.... she pours her heart out into the songs she writes about her rough childhood growing up in an insane asylum (pictured on the album cover). Wow - what a powerful message about mental health. I think we might start using some of her stuff at the counseling center.

Hope these (mock) reviews were helpful. Don't try to rush out and buy these cds for they are very rare and are not easy to come by. Mine were actually purchased on the black market. Ssshhhh.... don't tell.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Super Moms

I found a few images online that I thought were worth sharing. There are days when we need to reminded that even though none of us are perfect, we are all super moms in our own ways!

I haven't read the book, but I have to say, I love the cover! I know you're not supposed to judge a book by the cover and all that, but who doesn't break that rule from time to time?

Its a bird, its a plane, its Super Mom! She leaps piles of clothes, climbs over mounds of toys, feeds her family nutritious meal(if fish sticks and mac-n-cheese count).... its all in a days work for Super Mom!

Wow! Here she comes, dun dun dun.... Super Mom! She simultaneously changes a poopy diaper and folds the laundry without tripping over the toys strewn about the floor by her toddler! What a woman! Who knew that we moms have our own action figure?!? I'm gonna have to run out and get me one of these babies!

This is for all us nursing moms out there! Whoo hoo! We've got a super-power! If only the rest of the family was as easy to feed as our nursing babies!

Here are a few blogs I found with great hero/super mom graphics. Check them out!

The Chronicles of SAHM
The Adventures of Super Mommy and Spit-up Boy
One Crazy Mother
League of Maternal Justice

So.... when you are feeling not so super.... get together with another "super mom" and give eachother some much needed encouragement and remind one another what a super job they are doing!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thirteen Things About Me..... (some interesting, some not-so-much)

These facts are presented in no particular order..... no one is more important than another, in fact they're all pretty useless. Some are dumb, some might be funny, some might be dumb and funny. But they are all true. I'm not sure if thats something to be proud of or ashamed of. Hhhmmmm..... something to ponder.

I'm very mothery. Some may call it endearing, some may call it annoying.... but I will admit that I am a mothering kind of a person. I take people under my wing, try to take care of people around me (sometimes whether they want me to or not), etc.
I was in a private Catholic school K-3rd and then I was home-educated through high school. I worked for American Airlines for two years right out of high school and then went back to school for a two year degree. I basically paid for my college education out right. No school loans, nothing. I can only think of one other person that I know who can say that and hers was only an 8week certification.
I remember really random movie/pop culture facts. And on top of that, I have very little control over when I share that knowledge. When these useless factoids pop into my head I literally have to share it even though I know no one cares, and sometimes I just look like a dork for knowing it, I'm still compelled to share it. Really dumb stuff that nobody cares about in real life, but comes in really handy when playing Scene-It.
I have blue eyes.... however, my left eye has a brown streak in it. And in that same spot my eye lashes have a blond streak. Weird - I know.
I'm the firstborn of five kids and all of us were born at home! - Kudos to Mom and Pop for going against the grain! I'd probably have been a c-section baby if they'd been in a hospital - and then the rest of them would have been too because alot of docs back then wouldn't consider VBACs.
My parents are carnies. But are in the process of becoming retired carnies as they are selling their business(Clown Around Party Rentals). sniff.... its kinda sad.
I really really like the Monte Cristo sandwhich. I've only seen it a few restaurants (Garfields and The Claddaugh) but its soooo good! Its kind of a club sandwich only its dipped in batter, deep fried, covered in powdered sugar and served with jam...... don't knock it till you try it!
While I think my taste in music is pretty diverse, I really do like almost anything, I'm really into the Hairspray soundtrack right now. LOVE IT!
I spend way more time on the computer doing useless, mindless stuff than I should.
I've read all seven (or was it eight?) Anne of Green Gables books. I loved them!
I've tried to read Pride and Prejudice a few times and just couldn't get into it. But I loved the movies. I'm kind of partial to the BBC (I think) version with a young Colin Firth thats like six hours long, but the recent one with Keira Knightly was really beautifully done.
I don't have any cavities. Knock on wood!
I'm glad I'm done with this list because I was running out of things to say. Huh, I guess I'm a pretty boring person if I have a hard time coming up with thirteen things to say about myself.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Vacation here I come! Maybe....

I found this awesome airline I want to try! I actually saw a segment on the news (which I hardly ever watch, I know, I'm awful but the news is too one-sided and depressing anyway) which caught my attention and I had to check out their website. Anyway, Sky Bus is a really low budget airline and their gimmick is the first ten tickets on every flight are $10! How cool is that?!? Now they don't go into all major cities mostly smaller airports that are kind of close to the bigger ones which is part of how they keep their costs down. As well as charging for drinks, etc on the flights. Since we like to travel but don't like to spend alot of money on it we are hoping to give Sky Bus a try sometime this year. I may try to talk my college girls into planning a girl trip later in the year (nursing baby kind of hinders any immediate plans). I'll keep you posted and let you know how it goes if we get to use them sometime.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Business of Being Born - Part II

Sniz's comment was so right on. There are alot of parallels to the birth and school debates. I really think they are both such a personal thing and so much weighs on what is available to you where you are at also. Some doctors and hospitals are better than others and some teachers and schools are better than others. You have to do what you feel is best for you and your family whatever that may be. That is why I try to emphasize women educating themselves about labor/birth etc rather than just getting on my soap box about natural and home births. I get so frustrated at our society and media who push "tolerance" and acceptance (homosexuality, religion, etc) but they themselves do not practice tolerance when it comes to certain subjects: Christianity, homeschooling, homebirth, etc. Why should we be told by anyone what is right for us? I don't think its right for women who are seeking a natural birth in a hospital to look to their doctor for support and instead receive unwanted interventions. Or for a family who has chosen to homeschool to be accused of truancy. What happened to freedom of choice? Does that only apply to certain areas and not others?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Business of Being Born

I was watching the Today show this morning and Anne Curry was interviewing Ricki Lake (who looks great by the way) about a documentary she produced called The Business of Being Born about the American way of birth and how its changed and the flaws in the system and the benefits of using midwives and even Ricki's own homebirth. I was so excited to see someone addressing this important issue. I was unhappy to hear how bias and almost attacking Anne was in her questions to Ricki. Why is society so anti natural birth? Anyone who reads the statistics will realize that if you have a normal healthy pregnancy then homebirth is not as "risky" as the doctors and hospitals will have you believe.
We tried to have a natural birth in a hospital with our first son and were not fully supported in our decision to do so by the staff in spite of our "birth plan" and sadly ended in a c-section because my labor wasn't going according to their timeline. Every woman's body is different, every labor/delivery is different. Who are they to put a time limit on how each and every stage of labor should take on any given women? We did not want to have another experience like that and when we found out that we were pregnant again we prayed alot and found a Certified Nurse Midwife who was wonderful and supportive of our decision to have a home birth. There were mixed reviews from our friends and family. What a vastly different experience the homebirth was! I was much more relaxed and I was able to move around and eat and we used a labor tub to help me relax throughout the labor. I felt confident in myself and my body and empowered - I know God was holding me close to Him through the loving support of my husband, mother, doula and midwife. Anyway, I'll stop before I get too preachy.... needless to say, I am very passionate about women (at the very least) educating themselves before making decisions about their bodies, births and babies.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Now this is ART! HA!

I will admit that I am, at times, somewhat a little bit of a dork/nerd/whatever. This is me proudly showing off the ever so stylish apron that I so "skillfully" made with my new sewing machine that I got for Christmas. I know its not anything spectacular, but just the fact that I started and finished it is a big deal for me. I am really good at starting projects..... and not so good at finishing them. Anyway, there you go. I'm planning on making pajama pants with a few of my girlfriends from college in a few weeks - I'll try to post our finished products when we're done.
Oh, by the way, my friend's three year old made my day yesterday. After my friend got off of the phone with me her little boy asked who she'd been talking to. She said "It was Wani." Cute little three year old says "Oh". His mommy says "You remember Wani" and he replies "yeah, she's kind of beautiful". Aaawww!! How cute is that?!? I knew I liked that kid. ;) My friend knew I'd appreciate it so she called me just to relay the story. I hope I got it right.... she's much better at telling funny stories than I am. I should get her to write a blog - she'd have a huge following.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

My Big Fat Greek Art Exhibit

So Friday my husband and I celebrated our five year anniversary. Wow.... time flies when you're having babies fun! We took advantage of the grandparents and went out by ourselves for dinner ( I love Olive Garden - especially when its on a giftcard!) and then we went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art to see the Roman Art from the Louvre Exhibit. It was really neat to learn a little about Roman history. I think its interesting how art has changed so much over the years. I mean, what we saw there, figures and scenes etched in stone to be admired more than a thousand years later - that was art. But when I look at some modern art (not all but some)... sometimes I just don't get it. We've rolled our eyes at exhibits like a single solitary toilet in the middle of an empty room, or a bag of kitty litter leaning against the wall.... c'mon is that what we've come to? I want to know who decides what is art and what is just scribbles on a page... what is it that makes something "art worthy"? Now I don't want to upset anyone... I have seen some very beautiful works of art from recent years and current artists. I just think our standards are somewhat warped if toilets and kitty litter are put on the same level as intricate paintings and sculptures.
** The title is because My Big Fat Greek Wedding was on tv yesterday. I love that movie!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Thirteen of my Favorite Movies

Above is a montage of the 100 greatest Movie quotes from AFI.

I just want to clarify that these movies are not in a specific order... I have a pretty wide taste in movies ( I think) and so these are all different and are favorites for different reasons and therefore I couldn't actually have a #1 or anything. Maybe I'm weird.... I don't know.

1. The Princess Bride - What a great story with action, adventure, true love, fairy tale, revenge, wizards, princes, comedy, pirates.... I mean seriously, this movie has it all!

2. Return to Me - David Duchovney and Minnie Driver are so sweet in this touching romantic comedy. Bonnie Hunt is great as the best friend and the odd conversations withing the group of "old timers" are so funny!

3. While You Were Sleeping - Sandra Bullock is so likable and real in this movie. I feel like I know her and while you laugh at the family dynamics and misunderstandings, you also feel like it could be your family or one not very different.

4. Lord of the Rings Trilogy - What a great masterpiece! So well done on all levels, scenery, casting, costumes, screenplay, story, acting, effects.... it was all good.

5. Bourne Trilogy - Great action. Matt Damon keeps you on the edge of your seat.

6. Ever After - The story of Cinderella told in a real life way. Drew Barrymore was so good as Danielle, our heroine and Dougary Scott was charming as the prince.

7. Signs (The Village & Lady in the Water) - M. Night Shyamalan has a way of scaring me without having to show gore or violence. And sometimes the messages behind the suspense are surprisingly poignant.

8. Newsies & Hairspray - Two of the most fun musicals to watch. I had the biggest crush on Christian Bale back in the day. And I will admit that if I was ten years younger I would probably be into High School Musical only to watch Zac Efron.

9. Fried Green Tomatoes - This is a great story about friendship. I love that its not afraid to show how intimate real friendships can be.

10. Ocean's Eleven (Twelve & Thirteen were pretty good too) - While I do not condone stealing... its alot of fun to watch these guys pull off heists!

11. The Italian Job - Alot of fun to watch, especially the chase scenes.

12. Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid & Aladdin - Some of my faves when I was young and still fun to watch from time to time. I still know most of the words to the songs!

13. Anne of Green Gables & Little Women - Kindred spirits and true sisters make these great heartfelt stories about girls and their bosom friendships. I would picture myself being in these movies when I was a young girl.