Monday, February 28, 2011

Stings (OUCH)!

As I wrote in my last blog, people often inflinct stings and it usually hurts more than a bee-sting.

I doubt that anyone goes through life without some baggage.  When I was a child, things weren't so different than they are now, but I do think everything has intensified.

In high school, I can remember walking into history class and down the aisle to my seat.  A girl who had previously been my friend had suddenly decided to start jabbing me with verbal barbs.  Loudly, as I passed her by, she announced that I 'always' wore the same jeans.  Everyone's eyes then zoomed in to take a look at my pants.  I'd hear their mocking chuckles. 

You know what?  She was right, I only owned a few pairs, so I'm sure there was a constant predictable cycle of which days I wore which pair.  We weren't 'poor', but we struggled.  Dad was a teacher, but his income didn't always stretch  from one pay to the next.  I can remember Mom emptying her wallet to count pennies when we needed a loaf of bread.

Another day, the girl asked me where I bought my shoes because she had seen the same kind at Valley View.  Valley View, in case you didn't grow up near Brookfield, Ohio, was a magnificent store whose slogan was 'four miles of aisles'.  It was much like the modern day WalMart.  When she said that, I felt my cheeks growing red from embarrassment.  I had saved my own money (which I had very precious little of), and bought them for myself.  And yes, she pegged it--they came from VV.

If I had the right mindset, I might have asked her why she had been looking at shoes at that (gasp) discount store, but I wasn't inclined to have snappy comebacks like that. 

My mom was never one to shop for clothes.  She believed in being practical in all ways, so as a very small child, I usually wore my older brother's cast offs.  We have photos of Shaun and I, in flannel shirts when I was little.  In the days before Kindergarten, my winter coat was a little boy's jacket.  When I grew a bit older, I wore what I 'inherited' from my older cousins.  They always had pretty and stylish clothes, so I looked forward to that.  When they gave me a bag of hand-me-downs, it felt like a day at the shopping mall for me. 

Even my First Communion dress was given to me, second hand.  I didn't mind at all because I guess I appreciated all that I had.  To this day, I'm still like that.  I don't like to take things for granted.

Now, please don't feel sorry that things were like this.  I have no regrets concerning my growing up years.  I never went without the necessities of life.  I was showered with love, support, guidance, etc.  Mom always had a hot meal on the table, and a hug when I skinned my knees.  Dad always had a lap to sit in, and a smile of approval. 

I had most of the typical experiences throughout my childhood that many of us who yelled at me because I didn't score a goal in gym class, or I missed the who made fun of me for crying...those who made fun of my looks...or my clothes...or my friends...for being 'too smart'...for being 'too dumb'...for being too skinny...for not being popular...for being a goody two shoes...or any one of a million other things...

The worst thing about being a kid in 2011 is that all this stuff starts at an earlier stage than it did when I was a kid. 

This is a followup to my post on Confessing...I'm going to post a link in case you might like to go to Confession but forgot how! 

Lent is just around the corner, so it is a great time to get back to God!  God never goes out of style!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wait till you read this! >:(

Ok, this is Part II of mean girls...

We're getting ready to go to Mass, and Therese just finished getting dressed.  She came up to me, looking cute as a button, then she said, "Mom, last week I wore my jeans with sequins on it.  "T" came up to me and said, 'My mom says you shouldn't wear jeans that make your butt look big.'"  I asked if Therese was sure that 'T' was aiming that comment towards her.  She said that she was sure. 

Third graders!  No wonder eating disorders are epidemic.  My little girl is actually in the lowest 25 percentile of weight for her height, so she could stand to put on a few pounds.  She has said things to me about her belly and her butt being 'fat', so now I see where this might be coming from.  ARGHHH.

And, just what kind of mom advises her little girl on how to dress in order to diminish the size of her tush?!!  What the heck?  I don't understand why anyone would even bring that up to a child?  That not only emphasizes being thin, but the start of being sexually attractive.  What other possibility could there be for that kind of thinking?  C'mon, let's leave kids alone to just be children.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday confessions

A Pocket Guide to ConfessionToday we went to confession.  It is such a good feeling to go to Jesus and give all my sins to Him.  Knowing that He forgives me, wipes them out, then pours His graces into me is such a wonderful gift.

I know that many Catholics have abandoned the practice of confessing for various reasons.  My mom did my brothers and I a big favor when we were growing up.  She took us to confession once a month.  It instilled a regular pattern for us, and if I wait too long now, it gnaws at me until I get to the confessional.

Some people have lost their sense of sin.  Most sins are rationalized by our culture.  I see the demise of morality all around me.  It is so  much easier to fall into the trap rather than work against it.  I know this might sound 'old fashioned', but sex outside of marriage is still what the bible calls fornication. 

And using all your money for your own pleasures and not tithing is still a sin.  I find it fascinating that people give nothing to the collection plate, or they throw a dollar in.  These same people don't hestitate to spend five bucks on a cup of coffee at Starbucks. 

Do people remember that it is a serious sin to take God's name in vain?  I hear that so much, even out of children's mouths.  The ancient Israelites wouldn't even say His name because they knew how holy it is. 

I'm not trying to sound judgemental here.  Afterall, I'm constantly trying to work out my own salvation, trying to find God's will, trying to fight against my own evil inclinations.  If anyone knows the struggle, I do.

Does anyone ever stop to think that gossipping is extremely harmful?  Do they realize how much damage they do?  What about criticizing behind another one's back?  How many of us remember that God should always be number l in our lives? 

If you are Catholic and haven't been to the sacrament for awhile, I urge you to consider it.  The invisible graces that we receive are priceless.  Would you hestitate to go to a king who offered to give you a priceless treasure?  Of course not.  And yet, this is a priceless treasure that will pay off for the rest of eternity.

If you're not Catholic, I urge  you to think about the way you live, examine your conscience, ask Jesus for forgiveness, and make up your mind that you want to move forward in His grace.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Raising daughters/mean girls

Therese came home from school yesterday and told me that 'R' asked her why her jeans aren't 'cool' looking.  She's 9.  This same girl, sometime last week, felt the need to tell Therese that she knew what had happened to our beloved cat, Simba, who has been missing.

She told Therese(who had asked her classmates if they'd seen her cat), "I saw a three legged orange cat, and it was dead on the road.  Roadkill."  Now, whether it is true or not, that was a very cruel thing for her to say.  I don't even think it is true.

There is another girl who is wise beyond her years.  She uses foul language, talks to Therese about things that kids have no business knowing, and watches a tv show called '1000 ways to die'.  I do not have cable, so I did a search online to see what this show could be.  Not only does it show how people have died under unusual circumstances, a great many of them supposedly happened when the person was engaging in some illicit behavior.  The show apparently has very low moral standards because I found some clips online that showed some pretty raunchy stuff.  Why is a third grader watching this garbage?

I wish I could insulate her.  I see her struggling to 'fit in', and yet be faithful to my and John's expectations for her.  I wish she didn't feel a need to fit in, but that's human nature.  I'm sorry this has even reared its ugly head this early in her school years.  I was lucky with the older kids; the boys didn't seem to get sucked into this stuff, and Maria always had a strong independent streak. 

It isn't easy being a mom, standing on the sidelines, watching our kids take the bumps and bruises of life.  She's so precious to me, and it hurts me deep in my heart and soul.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Random Ramblings

I'm still doing my genealogy research.  When questions open doors, I find a few answers, but am left with even more questions.  I have hit a plateau now and don't really know what my next step will be.
I really could use the 1890 census; it would answer some of my biggest questions about my mom's grandparents, but the census no  longer exists, it burned in a fire.  That just figures.

I've been reading a lot about Chicago and H. H. Holmes, and I think I'd really like to visit the town soon.  I've never been there.  I've driven around it on my way out west twice, but never stopped to visit.  Apparently, I'd be wise to avoid the part of town that my ancestors lived in.  It is now one of the most dangerous places in the country.  Too bad.  I'd really like to see the neighborhood.

John's 50th birthday is today.  We fell in love when he was just 20, and I was 17.  It really seems hard to believe that it was almost 30 years ago.  We have something truly special.  I often hear people say 'the honeymoon's over' after a short period of time.  With us, it  isn't over.  I don't know why sometimes people lose the magic, when others, like us, do not.  I still remember when we played Pac Man and walked on dates because he didn't always have access to a car!  I have a wealth of good memories of our love thru the years.  :)


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sun's angle

I'm reading Dean Koontz latest book, it's like he writes just to please me!  His writing seems tailor-- made for my tastes.  His characters are always so genuine and interesting.  I heard that Odd Thomas is being cast for the big screen.  Now, I will definitely go see that!  I love 'Oddie'.  He is one of my favorite characters, ever.

There's something I love about the sun's angle in mid February.   Short gray days are slowly replaced by longer, sunnier ones.  I've seen the sun more this week than I had seen it since sometime in November.  I'm more of a spring and summer gal than I am for fall and winter.  I do love each season for what it is, though.  I don't think these sunny days would feel as precious if I didn't have the bleak ones. 

I joined my Mom and Dad today at Denny's for breakfast.  (Moon over My Hammy, anyone?) Every month my mom's class (of '47) meets there.  There aren't usually more than 10 people there at any given month.  When you hit your early 80's, that's pretty much expected.  I love these people, I've grown very fond of each one of them.  One lady there keeps telling me I don't look old enough to have 2 kids in college.  I kind of like hearing that, even though I think she believes this because she's got about 35 years on me.  We tend to think people are younger depending on how old we are.  It's all relative. 

There are twins who come each month, they were triplets, but one has passed away.  These ladies are hilarious.  They still look quite alike, except one is heavier than the other.  They always eat something 'lunchy' for breakfast like cheeseburgers, fries, and a Coke.  It is funny.  They also always eat the exact same thing as the other one. 

It was warm today--near 50 degrees.  I wore a corduroy shirt instead of my coat.  The sidewalk and some grass is visible again.  Amazing.  I'm even back to wearing running shoes instead of boots.  I like my little black boots, but I really prefer bare feet and flip flops.

I finally got our van bathed yesterday.  The salt and snow-spray made it look AWFUL.  I kept putting off washing it because the weather wouldn't give us a break.  I can't believe how nice it looks.

HUGSxxx to all.  Annie

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pork Recipe!

Since I posted my Sloppy Joes recipe, I decided to post my Pork Roast recipe, too.  I made that for our Valentine's dinner last night.

The nice thing about this is that you can take a frozen solid roast and cook it without thawing.  (Just in case you forgot to thaw it!!)

Annie's Scrumptious Stovetop Pork Roast dinner:

1 pork roast (any type or weight is fine--a little fat is nice for optimal flavor and tenderness)
16 oz. bag of baby carrots (fresh or frozen)
Beef Bouillon or pork bouillon if you can find it(measured later)
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder

Place roast in dutch oven or medium sized stock pot.  Cover with water.  Add bouillon (1 tsp. per cup of water).  Add remaining ingredients.  Bring to boil.  Cover and simmer for 3 to 5 hours on the lowest heat setting.  Add water if necessary.

An hour before roast is done, boil potatoes for mashing. 

When roast is done, using slotted spoon, remove carrots and place in serving dish.  Put roast on platter and let sit for 10 minutes.  Use the liquid to make gravy.  (Does anyone need my gravy recipe?  If so, leave a comment, and I'll post it.)

Mash potatoes.  Carve roast.  Eat.  Now the fun starts because you have a zillion dirty dishes.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Sloppy Joe

I made sloppy joes over the weekend, and Therese paid me the highest honor a mom could want: after every single bite, she'd say, 'MMMMMMMMmmmmmmm.'  At one point she said that it was not possible to eat her sandwich without smiling. 

So, I thought I'd be nice and share my recipe with you all.  My parents and my aunt Maggie have told me that they've never had sloppy joes that taste as good as mine.  AHEM.  I do not like to brag, but hey, I'm just passing on their opinions.  Oh, and it isn't much harder than opening a can of ready made sauce.

Here goes:

For every 1 lb. of meat, these are the ingredients.  At my house I make about 2 lbs, so I double the recipe.

l lb. lean ground beef or ground turkey (I always use the leanest at (93% lean), but you can use what you like)
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. onion powder (or 1/2 onion, chopped finely)
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. yellow mustard
1 tsp. beef bouillon
optional: 1/2 green bell pepper, diced finely

Brown the ground beef.  Drain any fat.  Meanwhile, mix all the other ingredients and bring to a simmer.  Cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.  Then add meat and simmer for 5 to 10 more minutes.  Serve with sandwich or hamburger buns.

I guarantee you will never buy canned sloppy joe sauce again.  This is TASTY!

Speaking of food, I just started cooking a Valentine dinner of Pork roast.  I like to cook it for a long time on a low temperature so it will be tender and flavorful at dinner time.  

Hope you like my recipe!!!  


Saturday, February 12, 2011

I cracked the case!!!! AMAZING!!!

Well, I think I should really have been an investigative reporter.  I just found the missing clue.  My father had an older brother named Charles and he never knew he existed until now.  Dad is in his mid seventies. This is amazing.  Didn't  Oprah Winfrey just have a similar announcement on TV a short while ago?!

I might have first cousins that I have never met.  Wow.

I'm just sitting here in a state of semi-shock.  Wow. Wow. Wow.



The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy: A complete resource to using the Web to trace your family history (Everything Series)I've found that genealogy research is highly addictive.  This week my house has pretty much been ignored because I've been so caught up in this research business.  Cleaning isn't half as much fun!  (It isn't ANY fun, come to think of it.)

What started as a hunt to see if my maternal great grandma had a brush with a serial killer (still haven't pinned it down for sure, but there's some strong circumstantial evidence), has resulted in me finding out that my father may have had another brother that he didn't know about!  The latest news on that is that I have found (recorded in the Social Security Death Index, a man that may have been him--if so, he died in 1988, in Cook County, Illinois.  His birthdate matches up exactly with the mystery brother, so I'm fairly convinced.)

I have met a man who's grandfather was brothers with my maternal great grandfather, and he has sent me photos and obituaries that clear up some long time mysteries!  He sent me a photo of James Fitzgerald, my great great grandfather that came here from Ireland!  No one in my mom's immediate family has ever seen a photo of him!  Now I have one!

Onto more contemporary things:

My beloved cat has been missing for almost a week.  Now, I know cats don't seem all that special to some people, but this cat is the sweetest little guy.  He purrs twice as loud as two cats combined.  And, he has three legs, so when he walks, he looks like a bunny hopping.  He likes coffee and popcorn, too.  He is more affectionate than any cat I've met, and he was my dog's surrogate baby, so she's probably missing him, too.  To make things worse, my kids miss him and that hurts me, too.  Oh, and this little kitty actually 'smiles'.  When you rub his neck (under his chin), his mouth opens slightly, and his expression looks just like a contented grin.

Therese's been having these deep heaving sobs off and on over him.  That is the most heart wrenching thing of all. 

Speaking of Therese, she's the funniest child.  (Well, they all have their moments, I must concede.)  When she arrives home from being out, the winter attire comes off and she's in shorts and tee shirts.  Bare feet and legs, too.  NOT me!  All winter long, this is what she does.  She has several really cute sweaters but she won't ever wear them. 

Off to do more research. 


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Another clue about the mystery person, Charles

This is a followup to my earth shattering post yesterday...

I kept searching for Charles Yunker, who could possibly be a half brother to my dad, which we never knew about.  I looked at tons of documents, and never found anything on him.  I wondered if he died at a young age...

Then, curiously, I found out that in 1930, the census said that my great grandfather (Howard Wills) was living in Evanston, Ill.  Several of his children lived with him, although by then my grandma (his daughter) was living in Sharon with my grandfather.  They had 4 of their 6 kids at that point. 

In Evanston, a boy, aged 11, lived with my great grandfather, and his name was Charles Wills.  He might (strong possibility) have been Charles Yunker, who was 8 months old in 1920.  If this is the same person, then it appears that my dad's half brother was adopted by my great grandfather of one of my grandmother's siblings.  The census lists him as being Howard's son.  Howard's wife was deceased sometime before the 1920 census, so Charles cannot be his biological son. 

So, another clue, but our mystery is not yet solved...

Very interesting, though!! 


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A 'sit down and breathe' moment...WOWWWW

Okay, so for two days now, I'm researching on  I've been looking at anything I can find about my maternal great grandmother's whereabouts in the late 1890's.  I've been sharing what I've found with my parents, and my mom asked me to do something.  She asked me to see if I can find out where my dad's parents were married because he has never known.  I could not find anything, but wait till you hear this--

This evening, I found one crazy bit of information.  On the 1920 census, it lists Dad's mother as living with her widowed father and siblings.  BUT...she has a different last name (Yunker) because she was a widow (at age 18).  ALSO, she had an infant son!  He was 8 months old at the time of the census, and his name was Charles Yunker.  If this is correct, my dad had a half brother that he never knew existed.  I have tried for several hours to see if I can find out what happened to Charles, but could not find anything.  So frustrating!!!!  I'm not giving up, though.  I am stunned!


Monday, February 7, 2011

The Annie Zone: More CLUES!! Intriguing...

The Annie Zone: More CLUES!! Intriguing...: "So, you all might like to know what I've been up to since my last post...I have spent my day doing research. It is just like looking f..."

More CLUES!! Intriguing...

So, you all might like to know what I've been up to since my last post...I have spent my day doing research.  It is just like looking for a needle in a haystack.  (Hate cliches, but it is true.) 

H. H. Holmes, aka, horrific serial killer of Chicago, built what was dubbed his 'murder castle' on the corner of 63rd St. and Wallace in the southern part of the city.  It was 10 blocks from a Catholic Church that my great grandparents were married at!  I had to find a link to where they lived in Chicago, and all day I've found zilch, until I found their marriage license online!!  That means they lived in the very same neighborhood as Holmes.  I suspected it, but this confirms it.

I found out some other cool stuff about my ancestors today, but it wasn't related to this stuff.  I even met a man online who is related to me--my greatgrandparents are his grandparents.  He said he has some photos he wants to scan and email me!  I'm super excited!!

I should have been a detective.  Just call me Private Eye.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Annie Zone: My spine is tingling...was it a close encounter wi...

The Annie Zone: My spine is tingling...was it a close encounter wi...: "Brace yourselves this is going to sound a little far fetched...but here goes... Several years ago, I bought a book about a Chicago serial k..."

My spine is tingling...was it a close encounter with a notorious serial killer?!!

Brace yourselves this is going to sound a little far fetched...but here goes...

Several years ago, I bought a book about a Chicago serial killer who lived in the late 1890's.  I've had a keen interest in serial killers and crimes/unsolved murders, etc., most of my life.  The first 'adult' book I read was a murder mystery my mom had left lying on the back of our couch and I picked it up...hooked!  I was barely 9 years old.

When I was a freshman in high school, I borrowed a book from the school library about Jack the Ripper.  I studied his crime spree and all the evidence.  Since then I have read dozens, if not hundreds, of these books.  There's something I enjoy about pouring over crime scenes, evidence, photos, autopsies, etc.  It seems a rather grim hobby, I know!!

Back to the Chicago killer...his name was H. H. Holmes (which was actually an alias--his real name was Herman Mudgett) and he was a physician.  He swindled people, was a bigamist, and a was a cruel, prolific murderer.

The book was a darkly addictive.  I was amazed at how horrific this man's crimes were!  After completing it, I held onto it for awhile, but eventually threw it in the garbage.  Sometimes very dark things bring a sense of oppression, and I wanted to purge that from my home.

Years went by, at least a decade, and I started reading a new book: The Devil In The White City.  The book was a thorough history of the people and details of the Columbian Exposition, aka the 1893 World Fair, held in Chicago.  Throughout the book, the story of the infamous H. H. Holmes was told in relation to the development and presentation of the fair.  I believe a movie is in the works, based on The Devil In The White City.  This book did not go into all the gruesome details that the first book had, just giving the minimum explanations.

Now, here's what I think is eerie:  in the 1890's, at the very same time that Holmes lived in his murder castle, which was a sprawling hotel he had custom built, and was located in downtown Englewood, South Chicago, my great grandmother was a new settler from Sweden.  She was a young girl who had emmigrated just as she had entered her teens.  Her elder brother, wife, and child, had previously settled here, and needed a nursemaid to help with their baby.  She sailed all alone to the new country, a brave young girl, undoubtedly.  Her name was Helen Louise Ericcson.  (Incidentally, her brother and his family stayed only a short time after that and returned to Sweden.  Helen stayed in Chicago alone.)

My mother is the oldest child in her family, and her memories of her grandmother's tales are sketchy.  She has often told the story of how young Helen lived in Chicago and met her future husband (William)in the confectionary shop that she worked in.  He would often come in with his brothers-- the Fitzgerald brothers, who were Irish immigrants. 

Mom also remembered that 'Pop' (her grandpa) Fitzgerald (and his brothers) worked in the steel mills of Chicago.  She does not know what they did, but they all seemed to be fairly well off.  When Helen and William married, they stayed in Chicago for several years, but eventually moved to western PA and settled in a farm house on Buhl Farm Drive in Hickory.  (Now Hermitage.) 

Helen not only worked in a confectionary (candy) shop, she also gained employment as a nanny with a doctor.  This is the part where I WISH I had more details!!!  One night, she witnessed him killing the child with some chemical.  Great Grandma fled after that.  Was the doctor the infamous H. H. Holmes?  In my research, there are several pieces that fit in this puzzle.  H.H. Holmes killed a child that belonged to his live-- in mistress with chloroform! 

Also, the area of town where he lived was where the steel mills grew up, and these same mills sent many of their workers to the Sharon/Hermitage/Farrell area!  And...The building H.H. Holmes  owned had a candy shop in the bottom floor.  A 17 year old girl that worked there was invited to work for the doctor and she disappeared!  She was one of his many victims.  There were a minimum of 28 murder victims in this case.  So many coincidences. 

I have only been doing this research for the past 2 days, and I'm sincerely thinking I might be onto something here!

I'm going to do more research and will update this as soon as I can!

CRAZY stuff!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Annie Zone: Super fast!!

The Annie Zone: Super fast!!: "Sometimes we all need a fast food meal but don't want to eat 'fast food'. Or, we don't want to spend money on it! Fast food isn'..."

Super fast!!

Sometimes we all need a fast food meal but don't want to eat 'fast food'.  Or, we don't want to spend money on it!  Fast food isn't all that cheap anymore.

If you're in the mood for a tasty and fast Italian meal, I have the perfect remedy!

You'll need:

2 bags frozen ravioli--one cheese, one meat filled
1 large bottle/can of spaghetti sauce (whatever brand you like)
parmesan and romano cheese

Preheat oven 350 degrees.
Line large roasting pan with foil for easy cleanup.  Spread layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan.  Alternating cheese and meat raviolis, place layer along bottom of pan.  Cover with layer of sauce, sprinkle parmesan and romano cheese liberally over layer.  Repeat.  Make sure all raviolis are covered with sauce.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 min.  Uncover, sprinkle 4 to 6 oz. of mozzarella on top, bake for 5 min uncovered.

Serve with Italian or garlic bread and a side salad.

Total prep is only about five minutes!  (If you want to go  meatless, just substitute all cheese ravioli for meat.)

This meal costs less than $10 to make and will feed a family of 8!   There's no fast food or pizza place that cheap!

If you like this, I have similar recipes to share down the line...I've learned a lot of fast ideas for those nights when I'm pressed for time. 

Hope you liked this tip!!!  Feedback, PLEASE!!!!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Annie Zone: He gave me diamonds this morning...

The Annie Zone: He gave me diamonds this morning...: "On the way to school this morning, I drove the two big guys through our gorgeous park. The sky, clear of all clouds (amazing!) was my ..."

He gave me diamonds this morning...

On the way to school this morning, I drove the two big guys through our gorgeous park.  The sky, clear of all clouds (amazing!) was my favorite shade of blue.  Lake Julia (such a lovely name), blanketed in ice and snow, sparkled with countless diamonds.  Isn't nature wonderful?  God's beauty is all around us.

I baked cookies today.  I have this shortcut that makes it so much easier, and less cleanup! 

 Instead of making several batches of cookies, you can do them all at once.  Here's how:

Get a large cookie sheet.  Drop the cookie dough onto it and spread it out over the whole pan with your fingers.  Bake at the same temperature and length as the recipe calls for.  You  may have to bake it a few extra minutes, so check it every minute after the intial time ends.  You'll have one huge cookie, and when it cools, just slice it into squares!  Today I made a two sided cookie.  One side was chocolate chip, the other side was chocolate sugar cookie.  Hope you liked my tip!!  The nice thing about this, too, is you can control the size of each cookie!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Annie Zone: Just thinkin'

The Annie Zone: Just thinkin': "This Friday St. Bart's is having its monthly day of Adoration. I look forward to being in His Presence. As my body needs nourish..."

Just thinkin'

This Friday St. Bart's is having its monthly day of Adoration.  I look forward to being in His Presence.  As my body needs nourishment, so does my soul. 

When a soul visits and adores our Savior, it is enriched in ways that are not always visible.  If we could see the effects, I bet the church would be standing room only!

Unfortunately, that isn't the case...

My favorite prayer method is to go to Him, as naked as I can (spiritually, not physically!), and bare my heart to Him.  If I am aware of some sin or fault that is burdening me, then I must not try to cover it up.  It is best to tell Him, 'You know, I am really weak.  I am flawed.  I am wretched.  I really need You.  I'm very attracted to temptation, Papa.  I struggle.  I fall.  I hurt.  I've hurt others. I am so sorry for offending You! I can't do this without Your constant and enduring help.'  I truly think He likes us to do that.  I think there might be other things he likes as well. 

Take expessing emotions, for instance.  When I am alone with Him, if I feel like smiling spontaneously, I do it!  And, there have been plenty of times where I have fallen into a heap of tears at His feet.  Sometimes the tears are even joyful!  It just depends on the day, my state of mind, my attitude and needs.

How unfathomable it is that the Creator of all has chosen to become food for His creatures.  When God became man, that was such an act of supreme much more humble is it to come in the form of bread and wine? 


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Some fun+a long nap+homebaked brownies=lifted mood :)

Libby's Crispy Sauerkraut, 8-Ounce Cans (Pack of 12)Well, sorry for the little pity party, and thank you to my friends that sent along sweet messages.  I'm much better now.  We had a snow day, the roads were pretty slick.  I'm glad the kids were home because John kept the van and took Ian and Jake to their classes.  Thank goodness for that!

I don't know if any of you read or tried my soup recipe, but here's another one...

I love sauerkraut.  My kids (except Therese) hate it.  About once a month I get a penchant for it and they have to suffer it out.  Now saurkraut wouldn't be good if it was cooked alone!  Here's how I make it--quite easy, but yuummmy!

Annie's very tasty Sauerkraut

1 large can of sauerkraut
8 to 10 medium potatoes quartered
1 lb. turkey kielbassa (sliced into bite sized pcs.)
1 lb. pork sausage (sliced into bite sized pcs.)

Place all ingredients into large stock pot, add water to cover.  Bring to boil, then cover with a lid.  Simmer for at least 21/2 hours.  I like to cook mine for 4 or 5 hours--brings out the flavor even better!  Oh, and watch that the water doesn't boil away!  Add more if necessary.


Thanks to everybody that has been reading my blog.  I hope you all like it. 

Feeling blue

Sometimes things seem so utterly out of control that I wonder if anyone really knows what they're doing or where they're going.   I know I'm just barely keeping my nose above water in a stormy sea.

I guess God permits us to witness our own weakness so we stay humble.  By the time all is said and done, I might just get an 'A' on that test.

My life is a wreck.  I'm just not gonna even try to sugarcoat it.  Every layer of my life needs attention and I can't do it.  I cannot find a way.   

 Take my prayer's all over the place.  Most of the time, it is a rushed, 'Hi Lord.'  I can honestly be so 'lukewarm' in my faith that I know He's ready to spit me out like a bad apple.  I want to care but I can't always muster up the right attitude.  It feels like I'm bogged down by the weight of indifference.  I hate feeling that way.  I detest it when I am  numb and unfeeling.

I feel very much crushed beneath the insurmountable duties of my life.  Each morning when I awaken, there is a new mess to clean up.  When the kids were small, I had so much more control over my environment than I do now.  Wherever they go, they leave a trail of various messes behind them.  It doesn't help to confide this in others. I've tried that, hoping for a sympathetic understanding, but have only received some sort of condemnation for not being a better teacher to them.  I wasn't hard enough on them.  I didn't teach them right.  On and on...

The bottom line is, it must somehow be my fault.  I've failed in that area.

I cannot keep up with things.  Several days a week, I wash clothes.  It seems like I never do.  There is a neverending overflow of clothes in the hamper and in baskets in the kitchen.  I do not have a laundry area, so it all ends up in the kitchen.  Clean clothes pile up on the dryer because my older kids 'forget' to put their stuff away. 

My house annoys me.  I hate admitting this out loud because it seems like I am ungrateful. One thing I cannot stand is ingratitude.  This house is ugly.  It has no room.  There is no place to put anything.  I have half the kitchen cupboard space that I need.  The paint is peeling.  The front door is ready to fall off its hinges.  Our spouting is hanging off.  The bedrooms are smaller than some people's walk in closets.  And we have almost no closets.  The kids' stuff is everywhere.  They have nowhere to keep it, so it migrates onto the dining room table and into every nook and corner.  I don't feel like I can do anything to change it.  It feels impossible. 

I've tried.  And tried.  I never get on top of it.  I can't even get alongside it.  I'm under it and I can't find an air pocket.  I see why Jesus told his disciples to get ride of their stuff.  I wish I could.  But most of it isn't mine.

My schedule is hectic and crazy.  Everyday I am in and out of the van, dropping someone off, picking someone up.  None of my kids has a license yet.  Two of them are working on it, but that won't solve anything anyway.  They cannot afford insurance, and I can't pay for them.  And they won't have a vehicle of their own to drive anyway. 

I fell asleep yesterday and wasn't at school to pick up my third grader, who happens to be a 'worrywart'.  She worries all the time that I won't be there, that something will happen to me, etc.  So, what do I do?  I do the worst thing I could when I promise that I'll be there, she most likely won't be able to believe me now.  She had doubts before, and I had given her no reason for those doubts.

I know this funk will pass.  I've done this a million times before.  I really have a blessed life, and yet, I have these down times.  I have a family that I love with all my heart; that is my biggest blessing.  And I know that God understands me, even if no one else does.  He isn't as hard on me as I am on myself.  Right now, all I want to do is sleep and maybe even cry.  But, I don't think I can muster up tears because I'm just too tired...