Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bestie, BBQ, Beans, and Brownies

I can FINALLY share my pain!! I have been a single mom for about 12 weeks now as the hubs was getting bruised, bashed, and bullied at the police academy. I didn't post about it as well, there are crazy people on the net (not calling any of YOU crazy) - and didn't want said crazy person to know I was by myself for TWELVE.LONG.TEDIOUS.WEEKS.

And while the troops at home were pretty well behaved, pretty helpful, and pretty satisfied with the lame excuses that I labeled dinners for those 12 weeks.... I am so, so, SO happy to have him home. And not just cause he takes off the stinky trash (vs. Seth and I throwing it in the back of the Expedition and hence forth having the stink of rotten chicken traveling around with us from now on). And not just cause he is the only one who knows how to iron in the house, and clean the bathrooms well. And not just cause I only cook real dinners when there are two adults who aren't satisfied with frozen pizza or ravioli in residence.

But cause I missed my best friend and watching him wrestle, kiss, and play with the kids like I can't. Cause nothing replaces a Daddy.

So Daddy, we are so glad to have you home with that badge on your chest, finally!

So to celebrate, I am grilling out in true Southern girl fashion tonight. We are originally from the BBQ capital of the world - Lexington, NC. If you have never tried Lexington BBQ, DO. It is primarily a vinegar/ketchup based BBQ and is so moist and tangy that you will crave it. We have seriously had to made BBQ runs for friends in whatever city we were currently living in. And just to show how much I crave it - my oldest child went to the BBQ joint when he was 6 days old - as I couldn't stand being in the house sans pork for any longer than that.

Without any more intro, here is our menu for tonight:

Lexington BBQ Style Grilled Chicken
Lexington BBQ Baked Beans
Coconut Brownies

Lexington BBQ Style Grilled Chicken

You will need:
2 cut up whole chickens (or I just buy a 10 lb bag of quarters when they are on sale)
2 cups cider vinegar

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil

3 T crushed red pepper
4 tsp salt

2 tsp pepper

1) Start in the morning (or night before) by marinating the chicken quarters. I usually pull the skin off to reduce those Southern calories. It's easiest to halve the above marinade recipe into two gallon zip lock bags and do half the chicken at a time. Turning occasionally throughout the day. Chill at least 2-8 hours. (I ran out of freezer bags so just used the rubbermaid, it infuses better with the bags, I think)

2) Remove and discard marinade.

3) Grill with lid on 35-40 minutes.

Lexington BBQ Baked Beans

You will need:
1 roll sausage
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup favorite BBQ sauce

1 cup brown sugar
3 cans pork-n-beans

**I notoriously forget to take photos until I'm cooking mid-stream. So pay no attention to the ground turkey in the photo - but I didn't have an extra sausage to photo! This also explains the opened cans.

1) Cook sausage, drain. Add chopped onion, saute.

2) Add ketchup, BBQ sauce, brown sugar - simmer about 5 minutes.

3) Stir in beans and simmer another 5 minutes.

4) Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Coconut Brownies

You will need:
1 pkg fudge brownies - prepare as directed
10 oz sweetened, flake coconut
1 pkg chocolate and peanut butter chips (these have gotten hard to find - I had to use half a bag of peanut butter and half a bag of milk chocolate this time)
14 oz fat free sweetened condensed milk

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Spray 9X13 pan with cooking spray. Prepare brownie mix and bake 16-18 minutes.

3) Layer coconut, then chips, then sweetened milk.

4) Bake until chocolate is melty and coconut is beginning to brown. About 20-30 minutes more. Allow to cool before cutting.

And now, dear friends, you know why my husband will always come home to me. Cause the above is the recipe that = true love on all counts.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Real Champion

Have fun. Honor God. Hustle. -- the team motto.

The goal being not only to win - but to train up strong boys to have respect, to love God, and to be role models for others.

He loved playing on the team.

But as time went on, struggles started to show. Self esteem. Confidence. Domino affect of missed balls and fumbled plays.

Traveling on weekends. Finding churches in random towns. Returning home Sunday nights.

Until --- he tells me:

I miss church.

I remind him, we haven't stopped going. Just busy traveling.

He tells me:

I think that's why I've not been doing good.

God is trying to tell me to quit the team.

I tell him - then you need to think it over, pray about it, and let us know what you want to do. It needs to be your decision. But why do you think that?

He tells me:

Church just feels right. Like it is where I am suppose to be.

Because I think I have been thinking too much about baseball.

And not enough about Jesus.

Three weeks later, the last tournament of the season. After a good game. With good performance. He tells his Daddy:

I think I need to tell coach this is my last game.

We have to buy uniforms soon.

And I would rather that money go toward bringing home my baby sister.

Cause that's more important to me than baseball anyway.

I am so proud of my player. Cause I think that in the real game, he stepped up to the plate and he hit a grand slam. And while we will miss the experience and the friendships - the experience of having my son show a maturity and an understanding so beyond his years - that experience will be cherished in this mommy's heart far longer than any trophy gathering dust on the top of a dresser.

Who knows what the future holds, or what battles he may face. But to see the way God is starting to work on him already - I can't wait to see what position he plays on HIS team.

1 Corinthians 9:25 "Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bad things come in threes?

Oh Lord, I hope not.

The runner-up for first ER visit of 2011 goes to......


Who won with the assistance of his best friend and a precisely thrown plastic cup. How very nice of them to arrange our visit the same week as Addison's ER debut to cut down on follow-up doctor's appointments for me.
At home viewing his freshly glued gash for the first time.

Little man was pretty nervous. Pretty scared. Very scared. Scared to death of having to get stitches.

Triage nurse says - they can't glue the head. He might be o.k. But might have to have staples. His eyes tear up.

ER nurse says - they can't glue the head. He might be o.k. But might have to have staples. He clams up and stares at the TV.

Physicians assistant says - they can't glue the head. He might be o.k. But might have to have staples. He completely shuts down and wont speak to anyone.

Good old boy country doctor says - We could staple it. hmmm, how you feel about me just gluing it???

Seth says - YES SIR!!!!!!! And breaks out in the biggest smile I have seen in about two years.

The Dr. also offered to glue his lips shut to reduce my grocery bill but I declined, seeing that my child is about 1/2 the size of other children his age as it is. Kid got a strawberry milkshake on the way home just to try use the occasion to fatten him up more.

And I am SO proud. No ---- not with Seth. With ME. I am a fainter. And have been since high school. I see blood and my heart races and breathing increases. But when you see your 10 year old come out the door with blood running down his face in every direction, and Daddy isn't there to save the day - something about that situation allowed me to stay upright, amazingly. I even washed his entire blood-covered face and hair off to find the gash (which was over an inch long). And it was still bleeding BAD. Chalk one more up to 'things I never want to have to do again'.

Especially this week. Or even the next. Braeden will now be wearing a football helmet and pads indefinitely to avoid any semblance of another head injury. I don't want to test the 'theory of threes' any further..

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fresh Strawberry Bread

By request, my Mom's recipe. It really is almost more like a cake than a bread. So soft and yummy warm:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
4 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped small

Makes 1 loaf
1) Use 9 x 5 pan, grease and flour

2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

3) Using electric mixer cream butter with cream cheese. Add sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time.

4) Sift flour and mix with baking powder, baking soda and salt.

5) Add flour to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk. Mix until just blended.

6) Fold in chopped strawberries.

7) Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes. (Mine took a little over 60 minutes).

Sunday, June 5, 2011

And the first ER visit of 2011 goes to......

Miss Addison. Who kindly scheduled her first debut at approximately 10 pm --- after being at the ball field all day, with us all still sweaty and smelly, and tired beyond belief. Great date night for her daddy and I, to be hanging out with the county's miserable until 1 am.

(this morning after a good bit of swelling had gone down. You'll have to excuse the hair -- No - it is NOT that greasy/dirty. The photo is right after her bath during her first band-aid switch-a-roo. The three stitches will be fashionably covered by Hello Kitty bandages tomorrow)

Running Girl = 0
Chair = 1

Thursday, June 2, 2011


You know how women hit that 9th month of pregnancy and not a single thing makes them happy?? Just ready for the end, friend. Well, we are officially at 9 months, and still no baby. My ankles aren't swelled and my butt hasn't expanded to the size of a city bus (like last time, ahem)..... but I am ready for this baby to get here!! So tired of being 'pregnant'!!!!!!!!

So when we hit our DTE-versary date, I told the kids what day it was and Seth remarked, "I don't feel like celebrating anything". So we didn't.

We waited a couple days til the pouting was over (for mommy, not kiddos) - and then had our signature ice cream night (or two......or three)

9 MONTHS Dossier to Ethiopia

STILL number 4. Yes, same as last month. A couple referrals have been given out but we still haven't moved any closer to number 1.

And as much as I wanted to break up with the boys - Ben & Jerry's came a'courtin again.. This month (and I mean it - this had BETTER be the last time I have to post an ice cream flavor!!! Seriously!!! This is getting ridiculous!!!!!!!)

Americone Dream

Which is kind of ironic considering this is the longest dream I have ever had.. it just keeps on going, and going, and going.

Anyway, vanilla ice cream with caramel swirls and chocolate covered waffle cone pieces. Need I say more?? I would be more excited if it weren't for the fact that Stephen Colbert seems to be mocking me from the label --- I'm breakin up with them I tell you. We are SO through. Til next month...... but I hope not.