Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.
Psalm 63:3

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

The cooking continues. {And still no laptop...although there are pics of at least 2 adventures I'd like to share with you...they'll have to wait.} So, I thought I'd share another recipe with you.

When we first married and it was Sweet Man's turn to cook, he'd pull this bachelor foolishness, loosely follow a recipe, throw in weird ingredients, and whip something up. Who doesn't follow a recipe? Really, sheesh.

I'd stand aside, watching and declaring, "You can't change the recipe. That's a bastardization. It's just not right." I was such a good newlywed wife...supportive, encouraging, wise in my words, etc.

Of course, his experimentations were very edible and quite tasty. {Recipe experimentation SCORE, as of August, 2002: Sweet Man = 18, Gypsy Momma = 0}

Days ago, Bug saw a can of pumpkin in the pantry and requested pumpkin bread. I found this from Food Network, but I modified. So, here is my, ahem, bastardization of pumpkin bread. The strikethroughs are the original; my modifications are in orange.

Pumpkin Bread

Recipe Courtesy of Cathy Lowe
Prep Time: 20 min Inactive Prep Time: -- Cook Time: 30 min Level:
-- Serves:2 loaves


3  2 c. sugar

1 cup vegetable oil 1/2 c. coconut oil

1 c. applesauce

4  2 eggs, lightly beaten + 2 eggs' worth of egg whites

16 ounces canned unsweetened pumpkin

3 1/2 2 c. flour + 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour

1 T. wheat germ

1 T. milled flax seed

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

2/3  1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 9 by 5 loaf pans. Stir together sugar and oil. Stir in eggs, applesauce, and pumpkin. Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl. Blend dry ingredients and water into wet mixture, alternating. Divide batter between two loaf pans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool.

Printed from on Mon Sep 27 2010
© 2010 Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

It was delicious...very moist, not too sweet. Both kids liked it, too...Sweet Man isn't a quick breads kinda guy, but he acknowledged it was good. {Recipe experimentation SCORE, as of Sept. 2010: Sweet Man = 356, Gypsy Momma = 1}

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Breakfast ideas

Breakfast is my fave. My dad can whip up a mean one. Our wedding ceremony was scheduled in the morning so that we could have a brunch reception with omelets, waffles, fruit & pastries....and mimosas.

Eleven years later {yes, they said it wouldn't last,} my summer breakfast of choice has been oatmeal with pineapple {fresh or frozen ~ not canned, ick.} Since a trip to a large chain restaurant {Crisp Bread~Wooden Tub} when I had a scrumptious concoction of thick yogurt, cooked apples and tastebuds pull for another. I have fantasized about re-creating it for my family myself.

This morning I tried it. Think I'll have it for lunch, too.

I used plain Greek yogurt. And I'm not sure if the restaurant used apple pie filling, but it sure tasted like it. Because the apples at Dad's house just keep on coming and despite giving dozens away yesterday, I made apple pie filling. It may even stay around long enough to actually fill a pie. I also made a batch of each of these.

This house is getting so hot...I'm resisting the urge to turn on the AC. My head says fall cooking ~ soup, bread, hot tea; but my sweaty brow says, stick a popsicle in it. Summer ain't over. If I keep the stove on, we'll all be walking around in our underwear. You needed to know that, right?

Sidenote: No pictures for while...believe it or not, my laptop is on its way back to the shop. Reeee~dic~ulous, I know.

Dear HP,

Five times, really?  This back and forth with the boxes and the foam is becoming comical. And introducing the UPS man into the mix won't help. I believe he tires of it all.

Let's start over brand new, shall we?

Your somewhat disgruntled,{don't-push-me, there-are-plenty-of-motherboards-in-the-sea, and do you remember just how much of my $ you have?} but ever-hopeful customer.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Healthy eats

Check out Heavenly Homemakers & Kitchen Stewardship for fun, do-able, healthy ideas to feed your family. They're doing a giveaway together, too.

I've been wanting to download Kitchen Stewardships 2 e-books for while and have put it off...maybe today's the day!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

my head might explode

2 sweet kids staying at Grandma & Grandpa J's
convenience store coffee
{i'm a simple girl}
10 mile bike ride in the sunshine
aimless drive in the country
left over chili &  1/2 a turkey sandwich
with wasabi mayonnaise
nap with my sweet man
sorting my momma's pictures
hot tub, fire pit & movies...on the patio
{good grief, I know...we are a silly people}

blissful, perfect day
{except for the missing my kiddos part}

Friday, September 17, 2010

Purposeful grace

This week, there have been 2 tragic accidents in our area in which a vehicle has struck a pedestrian. I am so sorry for those families.

Today, sorting through sheet music and snapshots in Mom's music bench, I found a newspaper clipping about my own accident.

I'll take the discovery as a whispered reminder of miracle and grace.

I was five. I rode a school bus. Our driveway was on the opposite side of the road where I was dropped off, so I had to cross in front of it to board or to get off. Our house stood back off the road about 200 yds.

This particular day, my momma stood in the doorway saying goodbye to her piano student and watching for my bus to bring me home from school. I remember I was carrying my red book bag, my 1976 bicentennial lunchbox, and some loose papers in my hand. I stepped off and in front of the bus and dropped the papers. In bending over to pick them up, my bus driver lost sight of me, thought I had crossed over, and began to move the bus. I was knocked down and the bus ran over me, my right hip to be exact...don't really remember any of it, but my injuries indicated as much.

The man driving the bus was also a volunteer EMT/firefighter, so when he realized what had happened, he stopped. He picked me up, began rushing me to the house and met my frantic mother in the drive. She had seen the whole thing happen.

Inside the house, I was laid on the couch...{this is when my memory kicks in again} and examined. My injuries were not life-threatening and since we lived out in the country, someone called my doctor's office and arranged to meet the squad there. I was laid on a piece of plywood and put in the back of the piano student's station wagon and off we went. From there, I was taken to the hospital.

As the doctor, with a thick foreign accent, tried to insert a dye into my veins, I screamed and flailed. This memory became the most traumatic of the whole accident. Too scary, I didn't like the feeling of frantic activity above and around my hospital gurney. I didn't know what was happening, but I knew the chaos was because of something I had done.

Finally the thorough exam was finished and  the crazy thing injuries were not all that traumatic. I was sore and had a cracked pelvis. Other than that I was declared okay.

My dad, who was in the Naval Reserves, was in Florida (?) at the time. He was contacted and started making his way home. He brought me a little silver cross. My momma, who had recently turned her life over to Jesus, said she kept her head together until he arrived at the hospital and then she felt like it was okay to lose it...which she promptly did.

I stayed in the hospital for 3 days and then was sent home. I remember walking around holding on to pieces of furniture for support until I got stronger. 

The newspaper came and took a picture of me. And my parents took another of me with all the stuffed animals I received as get well gifts. My teacher gave me a copy of  The Velveteen Rabbit...still have that...still love that book.

So, the bus driver...I see him. Frequently, in fact, when we're home. Throughout the years he has been my postman, my youth leader, a swim team father at my family's swimming pool, and more. Sometimes I see him when I'm walking and he's driving...sometimes he's walking and I'm driving...{bwahahah...just kidding....} And each time I see him...I remember this episode of our history. I mean, I am so aware of our history; and if I am, is he? I have to think he must think about it when he sees me. On a few occasions we have even subtly referred to our history.

Never have I felt resentful or angry toward him; merely curious about what happened with him that day and since.

In my clumsy life, I have scratched/dented/stained/ripped/bruised/scarred many things. Many people. Many things that have belonged to many people. My husband always buys me the extra warranty on my electronic devices...and I use it. And if only I could purchase extended warranties on people, *sigh.* "There's a malfunction with this relationship. I'd like a replacement, please."

I can hardly be in the presence of person, place, or thing with which I have a history and not recall damage I have done. My next instinct is to begin apologizing...for my hurtful words, my neglect of a friendship, my carelessness with their belongings...the scars I have wrought. Thankfully, many of you have granted forgiveness...but that doesn't mean I forget. {And this passive recognition in no way lets me off the hook for a direct apology to those I have hurt. I'm just explaining that I am aware. If I start to worry about the damage I don't even know! Put me away! If I am unaware of a hurt I've wrought, please bring it to my attention, or trust God to.}

I have a history. And it's okay to recognize and remember it. But in the next milliseconds I am reminded that I am forgiven. Boy, those moments are not forget the forgiveness part. Can it really be true? Still so impossible to believe.

God is gracious. I'm alive. I can walk. I can smile. I am forgiven and so is this man. I just wonder if he remembers all that as I am smiling, waving, power-walking past him....

Monday, September 13, 2010

There are no words

* We have been dealing with plagues, more words, no need for details, don't even ask. Any moment now, there may be boils on my babes or frogs falling from the clouds. Really, what in heaven's name? Lord, you have my attention. Suffice it to say, killing things and cleaning up the mess is very time-consuming.

* Tuesday, we weathered a power outage in the Valley...not threatening and there was that cool after-storm light. And a cool after-storm mud fight.  Later inside the house, Sweet Man hung a sheet and helped the kids entertain us with shadow puppets, dancing & singing.

* Bug is learning about Asian history. We've read about Genghis and grandson, Kublai. Building a Mongolian yurt was interesting...and Bug didn't think the Khan dynasty had the right idea, so he went in a different direction. Hey, as long as got the concept rattling in his head.

* We made it to PE Park club, a homeschooling co-op. It was a fun kickball session. On the schedule for the rest of the year are golf, hiking, and lots of other activities.

* And just to balance all that homeschooling goodness out, we've watched lots of Boomerang {old school cartoons.} We usually keep a tight rein on Bug's screen time, but for some reason, let him watch endless hours of it.

* I've been eating candy corn mix as a meal replacement...great idea. But soup's on.:: minestrone, Friday and chicken noodle, Saturday. It's fall, my friends. And 16 pints of applesauce {from Opa & Anne's trees} are canned...the house smelled heavenly and now I can hear the jars popping happily in the other room.

* Exercise, not so much. I did make it to Zumba yesterday...kicked my b-u-t-t.

* Met the pastor's family staying in our house. Fantastic people. We called and stopped by just to pick up some things. But the last thing I want them to think is that we'll be lurking.  Their girl and ours became fast friends...and SM and I talked their faces off...we he we can do that sometimes.  

* Both babes are riding two wheelers....whaaaaaat? {Sidenote:: There seems to be an inherent pattern in the development of our kids. Bug is a dip a toe in kind of kid, like his mother. Bean never stops to consider what if I can't do this? Now, in swimming, bike riding, and eating pancakes, Bean has surged ahead. Sweet Man and I think that Bug stands in her wake and begins to consider if she can do it, then maybe he should try. Funny, that sibling chemistry.} Now they both can't enough of my dad's house, we have the perfect place to practice.  

* My dad lives in a great neighborhood...a cul de sac with 3 other families with kids. The kids, parents, and dogs migrate outside to draw elaborate chalk towns and ride wheeled thingies. That just doesn't happen at our normal house. Hanging in the 'hood is really fun.

* Last night, we went to church and then friends came over and hung out around the fire. Coconut marshmallows are still fabulous. Kids still fight over the Wii. We had good conversation, a bottle of wine, and a lovely Saturday night.

I've been busy enough this week that I haven't thought much about blogging until I begin to fall asleep. In those moments I compose these clever, entertaining, coherent posts. When I wake up...poof...they're gone. So you get this...a post mostly about food. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Time to puullll ovah

You know you have reached the heights of road-trip-punchiness when you can weave an absurd scenario after seeing a road sign.

The sign said Appleseed Drama {as in Johnny Appleseed...who knew?}::

{edited, for JN...and whoever else didn't understand my hilarity: imagine, if you will, two apples on a Jerry Springer-esque set}

"Oh no you di'int! You didn't just touch my man's core." 


 "That is not my blossom. 
Go ahead, I'll take your stupid pollen test."

C'mon, it's fun! Leave your drama in the comments.

Uhmm, yeah, hi...again

He brought it up Thursday:: "We may be out of here by this weekend. So, anything you really want to do in this area, do it today." 

The possibility that Sweet Man would be released from the Des Moines assignment was quickly becoming reality. Others in the office had already wrapped up their work and were moving on. He had to stick around until one certain colleague was finished and then he'd put in a few more hours and be done.

"Okay..."said I, calmly..."where to next?"

"Don't know, yet."

Friday:: "I talked to *Bob* and he said he expects me to be done this weekend."

"Okay, and...?"

"He's sending me home."

"Ha, hahahahahahaha, right.  {long pause} Really....wait, what about Earl? We just got here four days ago...we're getting into a groove. Can't we go to Ocracoke...and help with the carnage, just flying shingles, please." {Ocracoke is one of my favorite places on the planet. Okay...I haven't been too many places, but really it is a fantastic and fun island. I'm glad they didn't get blown away.} So, really, where are we going?"

"Home. But...we can take our time and wander around on the way."

"But...I thought we'd be out in the field for a month or more. I bought loads of groceries. And we...don't...really have...a home, right now." 

Saturday morning, oh, 11ish :: "*Mike's* just checked out. I have 2 more hours of work, but we need to be out of the hotel by noon. I'm coming home to help pack the car."...which meant I had to pack our stuff, stat.

Out by 11:30ish... the kids and I kicked around for a couple of hours...and we were eastbound at 3:30ish.

So, farewell, Iowa...again. It really is fun, road tripping...with two adults. And in glorious weather {wasn't it? Oh, I wish we were camping.} We drove into the night, stopping in Indiana at wake in the morning and share a breakfast with dear friends. Then home-ish. 

{Sounds dramatic, I know...there's that whole we-gave-our-house-away-for-a-month thing...but we have options, worries. We're bunking in the Valley for the time being...and then my dad's house while he and my stepmom are in North Carolina, where she has a house. So, we might be seeing you soon.}