Thursday, January 29, 2009
The question/topic this week is: Describe your grandparents houses. Did you visit them often? Why or why not?
Last week's post was kind of halfhearted and my sis and I kinda discussed it and I told her I had decided to read the question a few days ahead of time so that I would have time to think about it and put my thoughts together. So that's what I did this time, but I want to really be sharp and make it an interesting post. So be patient, my reflections are coming.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
And here's Nina!Oh yeah, thumbs up for this stuff!
Is this all for me???And don't forget your Mommy's pasta salad, you know you wanna come home for more of that!
And your Uncle/Nino Fred's magic touch with steak and chicken?
And c'mon...who wouldn't want to come back home to kiss this little face?
And of course, there's the rest of the girls, who's going to keep them in line?And remember your crazy Nana eating blood oranges? You know no one can make you laugh like she can!See Tia Norma? She's still laughing! And when you come back, bring some floss for your Uncle Fred. I really think he shouldn't be flossing with a steak knife, right?
“Home, the spot of earth supremely blest, A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest”~
Sunday, January 25, 2009
My dear, sweet daughter April brought these home for me before she left for her MIT program in Arizona. We had a send-off BBQ for her and I got the gift! Aren't they beautifully gorgeous? I just love them and can't wait til she comes back home and we can have breakfast together and have our mimosas (champagne and orange juice).Thank you April, love you soooooooooooo much!
For now though, I've got them displayed in what I call my china hutch, although it's really just a bookcase in my kitchen.
Some of you with a keen eye may note right away that on the first shelf to the far right is a glass filled with what looks to be beer caps. Umm, well ok, yeah...they are beer caps. But I did not drink all those beers myself, although I did contribute one or two or three, but heck...who's counting right? Those are actually for a project I'm going to be working on and I'll show you when I get going with that.
But anyway, on the very bottom shelf I want to point out some antique cups and saucers. Those belonged to my mother-in-law, who is now my ex-mother-in-law...well actually my dead mother-in-law, oops I mean my dead ex-mother-in-law. Whatever, they belonged to her and now they're mine and someday I'll pass them on to one of my grandchildren as a family heirloom.
The little child's tea set in front of the cups and saucers belongs to my sister Lisa. That was given to her more than 40 years ago (I won't say exactly when lest it give you my sister's true age and since I'm older than her, well...that's just not allowed) by our beloved Tia Nico. And someday I'm sure she will pass them on to one of her granddaughters. Right now she's got a house full of testosterone (boys) and they have no interest in them except maybe as hockey pucks or spit cups or some other gross boy thing...so I'm keeping them in trust...for her. Oh yeah, and that little rose colored doily they are all sitting on...I crocheted that. Yep, with my own two hands!
Here's a close up of the second shelf so you can see where I have place two of the champagne flutes April gave me. The emerald green goblets are a Goodwill find and I only have two of them and that's what April and I have been using for our mimosas. The olive green goblets were also a gift from April, she truly knows her momma and what her momma likes! The little glass roses in the vase are a Valentines day gift more than 5 years ago from my dear friend Stacie who I never see anymore because she moved to San Diego. We met when we were both going to University of Phoenix. That's why I love stuff, because it all has such great memories tied to it and when you see those things, you remember those people and what they mean in your life and the part they played and still play in it. If you look real closely on the stem of the olive green goblets you see little red and green thingys. Those are wine glass markers that my mom gave me several years ago to mark each person's glasses so you don't get them mixed up during the party (drunken orgy). The red one is a little slice of cheese and the green one is a little bunch of grapes. I also have one with a champagne/wine bottle and a champagne glass and various other ones. So everytime I have a party (drunken orgy), I will remember my dear sweet mom (well maybe not until after the orgy).Here's a closeup view of the top shelf with the other two champagne flutes. The amber colored glasses were given to me by my mom. I'm not sure where she got them as that's normally not an item she would purchase for herself as she prefers everything to be plastic (grand kids and all). I must ask her about that. She also gave me the roses behind the glasses, they're silk and I think she bought them to make wreaths for the graves of her parents and siblings in Arizona and I must have coveted them...as I usually do, and she gave them to me. I've had them for probably more than 10 years (I never throw anything away!). In the little crystal you see there is another little Crystal which was given to me by my nephew/godson Isaac. He's always giving me things. For Christmas he gave me some really cute blue snowmen which I will have to show you this Christmas as they're all packed away. But here's an early valentine's present he gave me just today.
Isn't that the cutest! It's a little red heart shaped candy dish. And just today I had bought a bag of miniature Heath bars! It was meant to be!
And here's a pic of Isaac and his other two cousins. Isaac is the tall one, he's the oldest, then Gabriel is the next oldest and then little Fred is the baby of all the boys. Handsome little guys don't you think?At least they are when they're being serious. Thanks Isaac...love you bunches and bunches!
Saturday, January 24, 2009
I looked at it and while I really liked it a lot I'm trying to be pickier with the things I buy and make the most of my money. So I kinda thought about it and couldn't think of anywhere I would have room for it and I put it back.
Well that evening, I was checking out some blogs and I ran across this super clever and creative lady. And I clicked on her Yardsales and Thrifting link and came across this picture:
That's pretty darn close to the tole tray we saw at Goodwill!! And I have an empty space right above my kitchen window that has NOTHING on it! That tole tray would have looked beautiful over the window, just like the picture above.
I immediately called my sis and told her to go to the web page and see the picture. She said, "I told you to buy it" when she saw this picture and she said, "we'll go back tomorrow and it should still be there". Well darned if it wasn't! That's why I'm a dweeb, because I should have bought it when I had the chance and not tried to be smart and thrifty and conservative and all those other words for "cheap-ass"!
So now, I've been going Goodwilling with my mom this weekend and last weekend hoping to find something similar, but no luck yet...but I will. I also told my mom we're going to start yard-sailing once the weather gets warmer, cause there are a lot of treasures out there and I want my share!
I have bought some pretty cool things at Goodwill these past two weekends, but unfortunately I can't post them because they are going to be gifts for some family members, but you'll see them around April, July, October, December...as those are the heaviest birthday months for our family.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
It's funny how the material things fade away...decor, furniture, paint and appliances; toys, bikes, books and clothes; but the things that never fade are the memories and the feelings that my parents made for me and my siblings.
"A happy childhood can't be cured. Mine'll hang around my neck like a rainbow, that's all, instead of a noose." ~Hortense Calisher, Queenie, 1971
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I actually have always wanted them in my bedroom on the second floor leading out to the balcony overlooking my English Garden. But since that's something even Iwanna knows isn't realistic, I'm willing to settle and just have these leading out into the backyard of my house. Wouldn't you Iwanna these?
Saturday, January 17, 2009
The really wonderful news is that these kids have been invited to sing at the inauguration of Barack Obama! Watch, you'll fall in love! Read more about these kids here.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I had a whole litany of prayers I used to say before I went to sleep at night and I prayed these same prayers well into adulthood and I can't remember when I stopped praying them, but I did.
It started with the Sign of the Cross, then the Our Father, then a Hail Mary, then I would pray, Jesus, Mary and Joseph pray for me. The I would pray for God to give me good dreams and if he didn't have any good dreams for me that night, then don't give me any dreams at all. Then I would go through the list of everyone I wanted to bless starting with God Bless my mom, my dad, my brothers and sister, etc. By the time I got through this whole litany, I was relaxed and ready to go to sleep and more often than not, I didn't get any bad dreams. This was kind of like my mantra.
As to who taught me to pray, mostly my mother and my mother's family. I remember many a rosary being prayed with my mom's family. And of course I went to Catechism like a good little Catholic girl and learned from the nuns and the teachers.
One thing that I regret not learning was how to really pray. Not just reciting memorized prayers that I could say in my head while I was thinking with the forward part of my brain what I was going to have for breakfast the next morning, but really praying and speaking with God. I did learn that later but it would have been nice to have someone teach me to pray like that as a child.
A few years ago, I was a teacher for 1st year Confirmation students and I tried to teach them to pray like that. I told them to just talk to God, it didn't mean that to pray to him they had to memorize all those prayers in their catechism. They could just talk to him throughout the day just maybe when they pass a test say, "Whew God, thank you, that was a close one", or "God thanks, mom makes the best burgers, wish you could taste them". I hope it stuck in some of their head because God knows the older we get, the more you need God and unfortunately that's when God tests you the most and you start to lose faith.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
American Idol - Well it's official...I'm a fan again this season. I loved it last night. There wasn't as much negativity or really obnoxious people on, except for the bikini lady and even though she was obnoxious she had a really cute butt! I can't wait to see how the blind guy does and I didn't see any of my Arizona relatives there in line or on the show!! C'mon you guys? Where were you?
And in case you're wondering about my title and cucumbers...I just wanted to find out if anyone else has the same tradition (oddities) that my family has regarding cucumbers. Ever since I was a little bitty kid, whenever my dad would prepare a cucumber for us to eat he would first cut off one tip and then take the cut off piece and rub it around and around on the cucumber where the cut part was. And then he would do the same with the other side. I never really thought about it, or thought it was weird or unusual, it just was, because my dad did it. Then he would of course peel it and cut it into slices and throw some lemon juice and salt on it and we would scarf it all up.
But here's the thing...why did he rub the cut ends around together? As I got older and more inquisitive and not willing to take it for granted that daddy knows best I asked him. He said it helps to remove the bitterness from the cucumber. Hmmmm, made sense to me. So now, whenever I eat a cucumber I do it that same way and I never get a bitter cucumber and when I don't do that it seems like the cucumber is always bitter! All in my head? Maybe so, but that's just one of our traditions. Do I have scientific proof? No, but daddy really does know best!
It kind of reminds me of this joke...
A young woman was preparing a ham dinner. After she cut off the end of the ham, she placed it in a pan for baking. Her friend asked her, "Why did you cut off the end of the ham"? And she replied, "I really don't know but my mother always did, so I thought you were supposed to." Later when talking to her mother she asked her why she cut off the end of the ham before baking it, and her mother replied, "I really don't know, but that's the way my mom always did it." A few weeks later while visiting her grandmother, the young woman asked, "Grandma, why is it that you cut off the end of a ham before you bake it?" Her grandmother replied, "Well dear, it would never fit into my baking pan."
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I was reading a Yahoo TV Blog by Matt Whitfield and he’s talking about the changes that will be made to the show and how he feels about the changes, so I kind of wanted to add my 2cents for whatever it’s worth (which isn’t much since my blog’s not on Yahoo!).
Change Numero Uno – FEWER FREAKS
I can do without as many freaks. I don’t mind watching those poor saps that think they have talent and then cry when they find out they don’t, but I can do WITHOUT the ones that have to curse everyone and their mother! I think there’s entirely too much cursing & meanness during the audition phase of the show.
Change Numero Dos – MORE CONTESTANT HISTORY
So seems like they’re going to have us “get to know” the contestants more before the top 12. I don’t know, I could go both ways with this. I like the stories, but I hate the sob stories, kids sleeping in their cars with no parents, contestants whose dad died while they were standing on line but they kept on standing on line because that was dad’s dream for them? Time and place, time and place.
Change Numero Tres – WILD CARD ROUND
Apparent the judges will select the final three contestants that will be part of the Top 12. I agree. Much as I love voting and all, I think it becomes a popularity contest and not a talent contest. The judges (most of them…ok, Simon) aren’t swayed by popularity.
Cambio Number Four (Did you know I was so bilingual?) – TOP 12 SPLIT
There won’t be an even 6/6 split anymore. I just hope this doesn’t backfire as way more young little teenybopper girls watch and vote than boys/men, so we may end up with a bunch of cute/gorgeous male non-talents and some great women may go by the wayside…we’ll see.
Change Numero Cinco – NEW JUDGE
I don’t know much about the new judge and I don’t want too. I just want the judges I know and love, especially Paula. But I plan to give her a chance, I just want her to be different. I don’t want her to be the female Simon or Randy, or another Paula. Hopefully they will let her be her own woman.
Change Numero Sies – SHORTER RESULTS SHOW
I guess this is ok, that way I can get to bed sooner.
Fewer Themes and Younger Mentors – this could be good. I liked some of the themes but a lot of the young contestants didn’t even know the mentors, nor really could they care less.
But it’s a new season everyone, Fasten your seatbelts, grab you remotes and lets go!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Actually...it looked almost exactly like this except for the vegetation on the hills was different, not so much trees and bushes as long, dried grass. But it was beautiful and peaceful and made me glad I was able to witness it.
So anyway, that's why I didn't follow resolution #1 this weekend. Now you may say, "But wait, that was Saturday! Why didn't you follow resolution #1 on Sunday". Well I started out with cleaning and organizing kitchen cabinets and doing laundry. Then my mom called because they were bbqing, so I went over there and well, now it's too late to cook. I'll be more faithful next weekend.
But it was a lovely weekend! And now I'm off to watch the Golden Globes! Have a great week!
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Several years ago, I found this really great journal and I bought it thinking how much fun it would be and how well I would use it. The journal was entitled "Reflections from a Mother's Heart" Your life Story in Your Own Words. Each page has a different question or idea to help you write. Sad to say I only wrote on the first page and never picked it up again. It's just been sitting here for years next to my PC.
I decided when I started this blog that Thursday's would be my "Reflections" day and I did do a few posts, but sadly, I didn't keep up with them.
The 1st one was about why I'm named Alicia and you can go here to read it.
The 2nd one was about describing my childhood bedroom, read all about it here.
The 3rd one was about being baptized as a child and can be found here.
The 4th one was about my first memories of going to church, and you can read it here.
The 5th and last one I've done has been about my dad and where he went to work and what he did and you can read that one here.
That last one was a really hard one to write, so many great memories and sadness in knowing my dad gets older and older every day and one day he won't be here anymore. I think thats why I haven't written anymore because the next one that's in the book is "How did your mother spend her day? Did she have a job or do volunteer work outside the home?
If it's hard to write about my dad and think of him someday not being a part of my everyday life, how much harder is it to write about my mom?
That brings me to my 2009 resolutions for the new year and gives me resolution #3:
#3 Faithfully do a Reflections from a Mother's Heart post on each Thursday in 2009.
So that's what this post is about, my mom. I had also put off doing this post because I wanted to have pictures of all the quilts she's done, but if I waited to put up pictures of all the wonderful things she's done and made, well there wouldn't be enough memory in all of Blogger.com to post it.
My mom didn't work outside the home, but she sure worked in it! My earliest memories of my mom revolve a lot around the Catholic Church and religion. My mom is the one that taught us our Catholic faith. She took us to church every Sunday and I very rarely remember my dad being there with us. I do remember that she would take us to her mom and dad's house and in one of the bedrooms there was a "ropero" that had a cabinet that would open and my aunt had a bunch of hats and bonnets in there and we would get to choose one to wear to church that Sunday because in those days you didn't enter the House of the Lord with a bare head if you were a female! And on those days when we were running late and we didn't have time to get a hat at Mama's house my mom would use a bobby-pin to pin a Kleenex on our head! I swear to God, she did that! I remember wishing I was all grown up so I could wear a veil like my mom did.
I can't smell the scent of Pine-Sol or beans boiling without thinking of my childhood and of my mother. Our home was always spotlessly clean and smelled great. She took a lot of pride in her home and in us her children. We were never rag-tag or dirty. She loved to sew and would make matching dresses for my sister and I and sometimes would even make a dress out of the same material for herself.
Whenever we went on vacation, my mom would spend weeks sewing new outfits for us girls and purchasing new clothes for the boys. I don't know how much money she and my dad had at the time, but we never felt poor, we always were well dressed and had new shoes and sweaters!
My mom was also the keeper of the records and not just the household records, but the record of our lives. She took lots of movie camera films of us and pictures. A lot of the memories that I have of my childhood I probably have because I've seen the film of it, not because it's an actual memory.
Mom was also very good at making any house our home. I've already written in reflection on my dad that we moved around a lot, but each home we lived in was our home and it was comfortable, clean and safe. I remember once when we lived in Yuma in a rental home that one of my brothers for some reason turned on an iron and left it on the carpet and it burned a hole in the exact shape of the iron. My mom being ever resourceful cut a piece the exact same shape out of the carpet in the very back of one of the closets and sewed it in. When we moved and the landlord came to inspect, she put a box on the patch (even though it was in no way noticeable) and sat my brother Jaime on top of it so the man wouldn't move it!
My mom was the disciplinarian in the family and the one that made the decisions about what we could and couldn't do and where we could and couldn't go, but for some reason I don't remember the No's she gave us. I only remember the Yes's.
I remember her immediately saying yes when I called her one day from school and told her I had forgotten we were having a potluck in our math class and I had forgotten to tell her and could she make some sandwiches and bring them to my class. My mom said YES. Now mind you, we lived 8 miles from the school and from the nearest grocery store. I don't know if she had the ingredients at home or if she went to the store, then back home, then back to the school, but I know that the lady at the office brought us a big tray filled with sandwiches, bologna, ham and tuna! I don't know how my mom even knew to make tuna sandwiches because it was something we never ate at home as she HATED fish and the SMELL of fish!
I remember telling her I wanted to be a cheerleader and that I would need money for uniforms, shoes, pom-poms and cheer leading camp...oh, and a ride home every day after school because of cheer leading practice. My mom said YES. I don't know how tight money might have been, but she made my wish come true and I went to cheer leading camp and had all the other cheer leading equipment all the other girls had!
I remember telling her that I had told all the other cheerleaders that my mom would make our uniforms for basketball season and that my mom would take us to El Centro shopping for the materials and thread and pattern we would use. And once again, my mom said YES. And she made us the most awesome cheerleader hot pants ever! And she made one for each of the girls and I believe there were 8 of us!
I remember during the awful parts of my marriage calling my mom in the middle of the night, or the middle of the day or whenever and telling her I wanted them to come and get me, that I was ready to leave my husband and would she come get me? And she always said YES.
I remember telling my mom that I wanted to go back to my marriage and try again for the sake of my kids or because I loved my husband or for whatever idiotic reason I felt I had to go back and she always said YES.
My mom is a miracle worker. I've always said that my mom was the brains in our family and my dad was the brawn. (I said that once in front of my dad and boy did he get mad, he thought he was the brains!)
There was nothing my mom couldn't do. She could sew and she still does. She taught us to embroider and crochet. She loved to do puzzles and arts and crafts. She make quilts, rosaries, bracelets and tons of other things. I remember one time, she made a peacock using Styrofoam egg cartons. It was a white peacock on black velvet and it was beautiful! I wish we still had it, but it was just like this one.
My mom crocheted a beautiful scene of the Last Supper that measures about 5' x 6' and is framed. It took her a long time to do this but my mom's hands were always busy. That's why we all have a quilt she had made us and each grandchild had a baby blanket my mom made for them.
Many years ago I took a bible study class and I came across a chapter in the bible, Proverbs 31 and when I read it, I read the story and life and love of my mother.
Proverbs 31:10-30 (NIV)
10 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 "Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
This is something I have wanted all my life!! Ok, well, not really all my life, but at least since 1982 or so when I drove my cousin Steve's Ford Mustang.
Isn't it beautiful? I figured to start the new year right I have to Iwanna something really grand!
Saturday, January 3, 2009
I decided to start with something simple but that I had never made before…and believe it or not, I had never made homemade Macaroni and Cheese from scratch before! No, really…I kid you not!
Growing up in a Mexican household back in the day when we lived on a rancho 30 miles from the nearest town, we didn’t get to eat foods like mac n cheese. We ate a lot of Mexican rice and sopas which I LOVE, but no mac n cheese.
When my kids were little they loved that stuff in the blue box.
They loved it because that was what their mom made them. Then when the microwave type came out, well I was in hog heaven! Now I didn’t even have to take 10 minutes to boil water and open a box…the microwave made it possible for the kids to make it themselves and the good thing is my son liked it better!
So why fix something that ain’t broke? Well, because I made a new years resolution and I have all the ingredients to make this recipe I found on this great website, which you want to visit because it’s interesting and they have a great writing style. It features great food ideas and photos, and they write about living in the south and I love all things southern! I think I'm a Mexican Southern Belle. Ok, so not so much a belle anymore, but maybe one of those weird Southern ladies, kind of like the southern ladies on Steel Magnolias (one of my very favorite movies!).
Mac & Cheese
1 8oz pkg macaroni
3 Tbs butter
2 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 pound grated cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
Cook macaroni in boiling salted water until just tender, drain and rinse with cold water. Leave in colander to drain. Combine melted butter, milk, salt & pepper in a bowl. Whip eggs into the milk. In a large baking dish, layer half of the noodles, top with grated cheese. Repeat layer of noodles and cheese. Pour milk and eggs over entire casserole. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until set. (With my oven I had to bake it 40 minutes and then I stirred it all up and sprinkled more cheese on top and baked it another 10 minutes.)
And here it is in all it's cheesy, gooey splendour! Mmmmmmm, smells great!
So here's the sample I tasted for ya'll. And it was good. I liked it. It's not what I imagine when I imagine mac n cheese, because it's different. But it's still really good and totally comfort food! Try it and let me know what you think.
I don’t normally make resolutions, and I definitely NEVER put them in writing where people (my daughter and sister) can hold them against me and say, “But didn’t you say you were going to do this in the New Year?” But this year I’m going to make some, but I think I’m going to make them as I go along and not just sit here and think of a whole list. So far I have two:
1. I resolve to cook one new dish every weekend, starting today, and share pictures and the recipe with you guys. A post of this weekends new dish will follow.
2. I resolve to keep track of my family’s blessings, events and things in general to be proud of and thankful for and post them for my Thanksgiving post. I’m not going to list them throughout the year, I’m just going to keep adding them to a post scheduled to show up on Thanksgiving Day, so keep watching for that!
And as the year progresses I will keep adding to this list in an effort to better myself and make 2009 a great year for me as well as my family.
Friday, January 2, 2009
I’ve heard a lot about this wine on TV watching shows like Will and Grace and Seinfeld, but up to now had never actually seen a bottle of it or tasted it.
I have to say that even though I made fun of my sister for bringing Orthodox Kosher Jewish wine…it was really very good. It tastes the way you would expect if you took Welch’s Grape Jelly and melted it and then chilled it and drank it, only perhaps not as thick. It was easy to drink since I don’t really handle too many wines that well, especially red wines like Merlot…yuk!
Pick up a bottle and you can go to the Manischewitz website and check out the other flavors they have.