Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Five years ago, I was given the blessing of being reunited with the boy I loved since I was 7 years old.  He was my brothers best friend as I grew up so he was around often.  Plus growing up in a small rural Oklahoma town as we did, we ran into each other often... However he was 3 grades ahead of me and I was the little sister of his best friend.  I was also a very timid child, something many people find hard to believe in my later years.  I admired him from afar and secretly told myself that he would someday be my husband.   Alas though this did not happen, at least not in the time frame I thought is would.  He married first then myself. 
As years went by both of our marriages were not what neither of us had expected or desired.  We hung in for various reasons, kids, vows & oaths, and the hope that it would eventually get better.  When it didn't we severed the ties and started our new lives. 

Then in August 04 my oldest sister passed suddenly.  I remember being at my mothers house the day after, sitting in the living room thinking of all that swam so swiftly around in my head. Wondering how I was going to be able to cope with the grief and the loss of her.  Then I heard my brother outside say his name, Vincent Sheik.  As I went out the front door and saw him, it was as if all those feelings I had as a little girl came rushing back into me.  I felt giddy and silly and when he hugged me it was as if I did not want to let him go.  We were connected instantly and have been ever since.

I like to think that although I lost my sister, that she was the one who brought the 2 of us together.  Today is our 3rd wedding anniversary and in a sense it is so fitting.  As it is also a time when we will thank Rosie, my sister, for being the angel that gave us both what we had always been looking for:  happiness and love. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Whats A Woman To Do

Although there really is no reason, this week seems to be turning into an extremely busy week.  It seems that anymore the days just run together and many times I need to look at the calendar on a daily basis to realize what day of the week it is.  I used to go by Vincent's work schedule yet as of late that has been almost none existance.    It has been a different kind of year for me to say the least.  Growing up in a single mother household, where money was not a thing that was freely available, I grew up with the notion that working was an everyday thing.  At least 5 days out of the 7 of each week.  When I quit my jobs over 2 years ago,  it was a bit strange yet I was glad to do it as it meant much more time with my grandkids whom I would be watching on a much more frequent basis.  For the 2 years that they were around I did not think much about not working outside the home; as they were a great distraction for me.  Yet these days, almost 9 months since I last gg-sat them, I find myself trying to fill my time in other ways. 

Granted when I first stopped working outside the home, I wanted some of that extra time to be filled with me time and a chance to focus on pursuing my dreams and aspirations.  Yet really at first it just didn't seem possible.  Between taking care of grandkids, my house, and Vincent when he was home from work I kept myself busy to say the least.  Now I can no longer use that as an excuse.  I have been writing more and have rekindled a love for it and a desire to work on past works as well as start new.  I have been actively working more on my photography and trying to find my niche in this genre as well.  It seems to be constandly changing.  Blogging has become a fondness of mine also as I have met some wonderful people.  It has allowed me to expand and explore areas of myself that I had not done prior.  All in all I guess I have grown, and been busy.... even if I have not been working outside the home or bringing home a paycheck to prove my productivity.

Recently I have started working more in the area of creating.  By this I mean working with herbs, creating my own incense, candles and such; built my first broom with the help of Vincent as well as  my first set of homemade runes.  I want very much to create in a natural method.  As of yet not all my herbs are home grown, yet this is my desire; at least as much as is possible.  My broom is out of all natural items.  As we had cleaned up much of the willows around our pond, I hated to see the wood go to such waste and decided to find some means of using it, thus the handle for my broom.  The runes as well are being created out of the fallen wood that we have.  I am excited about this new avenue of my life and the fulfillment it is giving to me.  I just wanted to share with you a little bit more of the personal side of myself.  Thanks as always for your patience and listening ear.

Last weekend we attended the "Ghouls Gone Wild" parade with my oldest son and his family.  It was lots of fun.  Head on over to My Photograhy site - The Picture As Janie Sees It to check out some of the photos I captured.... Enjoy your hump day...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunny and the Egret

I know I have told you many stories about Sunny my neutered tom cat the great bird killer.  Well he has recently become a bit more gutsy with his attempts.  Recently we have had an egret visit our pond on occasion to feast on the small frogs and tadpools that can be found.  Sunny has gotten into his mind that he is going to catch the grand daddy of all birds... "The great Egret"

The funny thing is to watch him as he stalks the bird repeatedly around the pond.  Crouching down in a manner that leads me to believe he truly thinks he is stalking this bird.   He has gotten fairly close to it at times.  However I think the bird is just playing with him.  If Sunny does manage to get close to him, he just walks a bit out into the water, as he knows Sunny would not even think of venturing out into it; even if it meant he could have a feast to match no other.  Yet I guess as any male ego, Sunny is getting a boost on his. 

And it is nothing but good entertainment for myself to sit and watch his valent attempts.  Maybe with perserverance and fortitude he will eventually accomplish his attempts, yet truly I think the bird is only messing with his mind.  It has to be a female, as only a female would continually taunt in such a manner.  However there are times when he does get his courage up and attempts one of those familiar leaps in the air hoping to spring on his prey in surprise and have all that he dreams of. 
Yet alas, he still comes up empty handed and ready to try again another day.  Ah, my Sunny.... I just have to love the old lug.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Costumes Have Been Choosen

While I was visiting the grandkids, I was lucky enough to help out in the choosing of the costumes for this Halloween... First I was amazed at the variety of Halloween Costumes in this day and age.  When I was a child.... oh yea I said I was not going to tell those old people stories (hee hee)
Anyway... my granddaughter had her heart set on being a Bee, yet decided on a lady bug when seeing this costume.  I think she looks better in red myself.  Plus Lady bugs are good luck. I really think it was all about the leggings.  She shoul have lived in the 70's
My grandson on the other hand... Had to be some form of monster.  That is after we convinced him that he really did not want to be a car.  Kachoow....
He choose the massive T-Rex.  Which seems only fitting as his nickname is B-Rex.  I love that when he turns sideways you can't see his face and he really looks like a dinosaur... if only this blog had sound effects....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Naughty Naughty Keifer

You know those crane games... The ones that cost an arm and a leg to get a tiny prize that costs maybe 25 cents.  Well I love them.... It is a favorite of  Vincent's also.... So whenever we have the opportunity (especially with the grandkids) we attempt to get our prize.  As always I have my ample supply of quarters in hand for several attempts.  Unfortunately my own kids (now grown) can attest that this has been something I have been addicted to for some time... (it is my closet secret).

Anyhow, last week while visiting a local hamburger joint we spied the huge crane machine and of course had to attempt it... We were lucky enough to get 3 prizes in all.  Two of them at once... Needless to say the kids were excited.. As Kylie received her Purple Bear with Orange accents and Brexton his Yellow Bear as well as Keifer.... I immediately fell in love with Keifer... His name alone was perfect "Naughty Naughty Keifer"  His little teeth and strange shaped body.... Brexton said I could have him.  Although I really expected him to renig on his gift before we went home.  But when I told him that I would take him home and he would stay on my bed always... He did not budge.  So Keifer came home with me.... I have sat him back in the spare bedroom.... Come to find out there are several other naughty naughty pets.... Hedley the chicken, Killer Kiwi the devil cat, Blue Burt the Budgie, and so many more... If you like a slightly warped sense of humor or just a good laugh head over their web site... Its a hoot... Naughty Naughty Pets.  And thank you Brexton for your gift.... I simply love it...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Halloween Cookies

I promised you details on a few of the things I did while away in Tennessee.  Well here was probably one of the funnest things I did with my grandkids.  We made Halloween cookies while mom and Vincent were downstairs watching Texas beat OU in football.  Although may I say neither team played thier best or even close to it.

We had so much fun mixing up the dough, rolling it out and cutting it into shapes.  Of course we also ate a little.. Ok we ate alot but isn't that what we are suppose to do.  I know that some of these cookies are hard to make out what they may be... The funky one under the first pumpkin.  That is a butterfly.  Self created by Kylie.  The one beside the first pumpkin.. a witch... The idea was fun and I think I can safely say we had just that.  Lots of fun

Monday, October 19, 2009

What I Did Before I Went To Tennessee

Ok many of you think that last week was filled with nothing more than a trip to Tennessee to play endlessly with my grandkids.  Well Tuesday thru Sunday was just that, yet Monday night was filled with something much more fun and something that was just for me.  Although Vincent did go along with me.. :-)  Months ago I purchased tickets to see U2 in concert at OU stadium in Norman OK.  I was so excited that I was finally going to get to see them in concert.  Yet the following week I received word that they were going to also be in Dallas Texas at the new Cowboy Stadium.  Now you are saying I am sure, why would that be so much better when Norman is a mere 20 minutes from my house and I was able to snag onto some excellent seats on the 8th row.  Well the answer to that question is simple.  Because the opening band was going to be Muse. 
Now anyone who knows me, knows that I have been an ultra Muse fan since 2004.  And although I have seen them in concert 6 times, I could not resist the chance to see them again.  I was able to get 2 tickets down front (better than my OK tickets) and for less than I had paid for my Oklahoma tickets.  I also was fortunate enough to be able to sell my Oklahoma tickets at face value.  It was all good.  Needless to say we were excited about going and the great seats.  Muse was awesome yet I truly did not expect anything less from them.  They opened the show and played 9 of their best songs including 3 from their recently released album "The Resistance" .  I was prepared for the fact that I would not get to see them as long as I would love to, yet I thought it would be a great pre cursor to their upcoming North American tour next year.  When I will be able to see a full show of them and more than likely more than once.
U2 was great also.  Their stage was unreal.  Although I heard that it cost 160 millon plus just for the stage.  Explains the price of the tickets... but also surprised me that it would be so flambouyant... I mean Bono being the charitable man he is, you would think he could have done alot with that kind of money. 

I am an Edge girl anyhow... So although Bono seems to be the one most go ga ga over... I myself like Edge.  Quiet, modest and a hell of a guitar player.... you can tell by all the photos I took of him... Although my camera battery did die before he finally decided to come around the circle and stand smack dab in front of me... Oh well at least I was able to gaze upon him.... It was better than looking at him through my camera lens anyhow.... It made for a late night and a very early morning the next day when we left for Tennessee yet it was more than worth it.... A fantastic concert from both Muse & U2...

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Woodman's Garden - Part 6

The sixth installment of "The Woodman's Garden" will be posted today on my sister blog Mother Moons Message.  Be sure and check it out.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

An American Standard

There is nothing like home cooked food except maybe home cooked food and a bargain.  In these days every penny saved helped.  Recently I found these pork cutlets at our local store that were at a price that I just could not turn away.  Basically 2 cutlets for no more than $2.00.  I remember my mother making steaks (chicken frys as we southern folk call it) with beef cutlets so I thought why not.

It is quite simple really, season with salt and pepper and cover with egg.  Then dredge each cutlet in flour to cover ample.  In a skillet with apx. 1/2 stick of butter melted (about med. heat) lay each cutlet.  Cook until golden brown on each side. 

Now for the rest of the meal.. Potatoes... of course.. Cook your potatoes with all the seasonings you wish.  I myself use salt, pepper, crushed garlic, and a about a tablespoon of butter.  The extra seasonings really add to the flavor and me.. well I am just a garlic freak.  I use it in everything. 
When preparing your gravy it is simple.  After your meat is done... keep the drippings on low heat... from the flour used previously spoon about 2 heaping tablespoons into the butter drippings and stir... cook for a few stirring while doing so.  Next take the excess water from the cooked potatoes and pour apx. 1 cup into the rue mixture.  The gravey will begin to thicken at this point.  Use as much water as needed to get the consistency you prefer.  The seasoning from the cooked potatoes add a wonderful touch to the gravey.  I usually also put about a 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup of milk or half and  half before it is done. 

Prepare your favorite vegetable and there you go... An American Standard... Good ole Chicken Fry with potatoes and gravy... And the cost is close to $5.00 for the entire meal.  You can't go out and get something this good for this kind of money... I gaurentee you....
It is by far a favorite....Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Look at These Beautys

Recently Vincent helped his daughter and her husband move out of their home. Have I ever said that Vincent is a Master mover.. If I could pawn him out and make money on it I would be rich... He is good at it. Anyway, with moving you realize all the extras you have that well you just dont know what to do with.

Well these extras were my gain. Anna was kind enough to give me the 2 beautiful pumpkins she had sitting on her front porch (the flat orange one & the green & orange one) as well as a beautiful large purple mum. Of course purple is my favorite color. I was so excited when they drove up with the little beauties.

I am planning on saving the seeds from all my wonderful pumpkins this year and planting them for myself next year. With the many varieties (5 to be exact) I have accumulated I should be able to have a wonderful variety myself next Autumn. Who knows I may even be able to share the wealth. I am all for saving a penny and seeing that I paid $8.00 for my big Orange one and she paid $20.00 for hers.. I think I am coming out ahead... Just wanted to share ... Enjoy your Wednesday.....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie - Yum

Learning to cook for 2 has become a bit of a challenge for me.  And anyone who knows me knows I love a good challenge.  A cooking challenge is probably the best.  I have always loved making up new recipes... Truly they aren't recipes as I don't write them down, I just remember them. 
This one is a simple as pie.... Chicken Pot Pie to be exact.

This is one of Vincent's favorite things to eat however I refuse to buy the store bought ones as they are either way too expensive or the sodium level is enough to kill a cow.  I have been promising to create my own for some time now.  Well I have finally done it.  The simplicity of it was so that I almost feel guilty I haven't done it sooner. 
I simply made a medium size pot of chicken soup.  I thickened it with some rue to give it a nice thick consistency.

Greased the crock bowl; whipped up some pie crust; Cut a circle of crust for the bottom layer; Spooned in the soup; Covered with another circle of pie crust  and egg wash; bake at 350 for about 45 minutes to 60 or until the crust was nice and brown.  Of course I cut out some crust leaves to decorate it a bit on the top. And there you have it... Easy, healthy, and they are delicious and perfect for one.  Much healthier than any store bought pie and way cheaper... By the way you can also do the same thing with left over soup...It is one way I can trick Vincent into eating the leftovers... Enjoy

Monday, October 12, 2009

Playing in Tennessee

What can I say... I was given another chance to see my grandkids before the year was out and I jumped on it.  Even better Vincent is going to come with me.  We decided to drive once again.  It is an 11 hour trip yet the scenery is sure to prove itself well worth it during this time of year.  I will for sure have my camera in hand and ready for any photographic opportunities that may arise and you can rest assure I will post them when I return.
I have been looking for all sorts of activities to occupy our time while we are visiting... However I am sure that much of the time will be spent with just simple play time.... Baking cookies.... carving pumpkins... ready stories.... and lots and lots of hugs and kisses.  While I am gone though not to fret.  I have made sure that there will be lots to read.  I have scheduled some recipes of my favorites, additions to my ongoing story over at Mother Moons Message and some unseen photos on The Picture As Janie Sees It.  So be sure and check them out.  And be ready... I am sure I will bring lots of new stories and photos when I return...

The Woodmans Garden - Part 5

Just a reminder to head over to Mother Moons Message to catch up on my ongoing story through the month of October.  Today part 5 will be posted.  Be sure and check out all the other neat things that are also happening. 

Friday, October 9, 2009

Grilled Chicken with the trimmings

It seems that as the weather gets cooler we tend to want to start cooking large pots of soup and warm our kitchen while baking fresh bread.  Well at least that is something I like to do.. Although I have already done just that, I also enjoy grilling in the cooler weather... There is something about standing around a fire, even if it is inside my grill and is powered by propane instead of a pile of logs. 
In my quest for the proper chicken, not too fatty, no antibiotics & steroids, etc... Short of raising the hens myself, I think I have finally found one that will suit me.  To be honest this organic or grain fed chickens meat seems to me to be much better.  Even though the size is not as big the flavor and overall appearance reminds me of the chickens my grandma used to kill in her chicken yard.  I would marvel at the way that woman could grab a chicken and with one swoop of her arm pop his head off.  And if that did not work, she always  had her trusty hatchet.  It sounds morbid I know but they are fond memories I have of my grandma... And I always smile when I think of them... Miss you grandma... :-)

I like to cover my chicken well with olive oil and seasonings a bit before I plan to grill.  This allows the seasonings to get into the meat.  The olive oil also helps the meat to not stick as much when placed initially on the hot surface.  You do need to be careful though when first placing the meat on the grill as  the excess oils can sometimes flare up if they come in contact with a direct flame...
Initially I place the meat on a hot grill around 400 to 500 and sear it good turning it often as to not all allow it to burn.  When this is done I turn the burners down to medium and continue cooking.  If the

appearance is nice, I will transfer the meat to the holding rack above to continue cooking.  All in all this is a very quick process and only takes about 10 to 15 minutes at the most.  I do not consider myself an expert griller, yet I would say the most important key to good grilling is to not overcook your food.  This allows the foods natural juices to remain inside giving it a nice moist taste when you finally do eat it.  I myself cook this with an open lid yet at times if all the meat is on the top rack I may close the lid for a brief time to cook it slightly more. 

All in all the secret.... Grilling is not just for summer... It is a nice change in the cooler months and even in winter when you are stuck indoors, thinking of the spring or summer to come...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Another Vacation

Well once again I am going to get to go and visit my grandkids... I could not be more happier.  Seems that their fall break is an entire week and it is the perfect time to go and spend some quality time with them.  It will be a beautiful time to be in Tennessee as the trees will be turning and Autumn will be in full swing.It has only been a month since I have seen them last yet still by these recent pictures taken of them it appears they have grown like weeds... Needless to say I am busy getting ready for the trip and I can assure you lots of pictures and postings from all the fun things we get to do while I am there.... I just love being a GG

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Woodmans Garden - continued

Don't forget to head over to Mother Moon's Message and read the second entry to the on-going story "The Woodmans Garden" 

One of My Favorite Things

There is a side of me that I have not talked about much yet.  And surprisingly it is quite dear to me.  That is my love of music. Maybe it is because it is somewhat personal to me.  Or possibly it is because the genre of music I tend to listen to is not necessarily one that is common to my age group.  Who knows... yet as I said earlier it is something that is quite special to me and honestly I would have to say that I seldom go through a day without listening to some  form of music.

Vincent & I discovered the joys of Music Festivals a few years back and I was quickly sold on them.  It quite appealed to my thrifty self.  Who would not consider it a great deal when you go to a 3 day festival, see 100+ bands, for the price of 2-3.  Our favorite festivals would have to be Bonnaroo in Tennessee and Lallapalooza in Chicago. Bonnaroo giving you the feel of a modern day Woodstock and Lollapalooza the same just with a comfortable hotel bed and hot shower at the end of the day. 

There is just something about still being able to go to a concert and if you want to go to the front of the stage  and ride the rail and we like to tease about... you still can... In fact last time when Vince & I went to Lollapalooza, we spent from 1 pm to after midnight front and center at the main stage:  seeing such bands as Silverchair, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Clap Your Hands Say Yea, Moe, & Muse (my fave).  It was my first time to have crowd surfers going over my head... Not too bad for a 40 some year old woman... And I can't wait to do it again...