Friday, May 28, 2010

Yummy Tuna Noodle Casserole Recipe


I just ate the best tuna noodle casserole I've ever made. Ever.

I found the recipe at about.com - follow the link for the original recipe (and I'll tell you my modified version). It received the Empty Serving Dish Award from my houseful of picky eaters. It is the first time in weeks that a dish I've made hasn't had leftovers!

Okay, here is my modified-to-feed-a-big-family recipe (follow the original recipe's amounts and my additions/deletions for my recipe - or just follow their recipe if you'd rather try that):

TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE
(serves 8-10)

In a dutch oven make 12 ounces egg noodles according to package directions. While the noodles are cooking, make the sauce.

Sauce:
In a large skillet, melt 2 TBS butter; sauté 1/2 medium onion and 1/2 cup celery until tender. Turn off the heat and stir in:

2 cans (approx. 7 ounces) tuna, drained, flaked
2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup milk
1 cup of frozen peas and carrots (my idea - not part of the original recipe)

In a 9 x 13 cake pan: butter the bottom and sides of the pan and add the cooked and drained egg noodles. Pour the sauce over the top and stir together. (Add the bread crumb sprinkle if you'd like to, increasing the amounts just by about 1/2 - I didn't and I liked it just fine)

Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned, hot, and bubbly.
Serves 8-10.

I hope you love it as much as we did! :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Playing with Photos


I played with Gimp (like photoshop, but free) and found some plugins to create these effects:



(It finally looks good! :)





Soooo cool! :)

Wanna hear a joke?

From GCFL.net:
Times are tough, so many companies are contemplating mergers and acquisitions. Here are a few to keep an eye on:

FAIRCHILD ELECTRONICS and HONEYWELL COMPUTERS.
(The new company will be called Farewell Honeychild)

POLYGRAM RECORDS, WARNER BROTHERS, and KEEBLER.
(The new company will be called Poly-Warner-Cracker)

W.R. GRACE CO., FULLER BRUSH CO, MARY KAY COSMETICS, and HALE BUSINESS SYSTEMS.
(The new company will be called Hale, Mary, Fuller, Grace)

3M and GOODYEAR.
(The new company will be called MMM Good)

JOHN DEERE and ABITIBI-PRICE.
(The new company will be called Deere Abi)

HONEYWELL, IMASCO, and HOME OIL.
(The new company will be called Honey Im Home)

DENISON MINES, ALLIANCE, and METAL MINING.
(The new company will be called Mine All Mine)

KNOTT'S BERRY FARM and THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN.
(The new company will be called Knott NOW)

ZIPPO MANUFACTURING, AUDI, DOFASCO, and DAKOTA MINING.
(The new company will be Zip Audi Do-Da)

MOTOROLA and ENRON.
(The new company will be called Moron)

Received from Gary Sessions.


I was going to tell you all about a reception I went to last night, but I'm so sleepy I think the story will keep for a day or two until I wake up (I don't do well going to sleep so late and waking up so early!). But you can steal a peak on their website.
Hopefully I'll talk to you more tomorrow. ♥

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday May 24th


EDITED! MY COMPUTER W/ MY PICS STARTED WORKING, SO PICS WERE ADDED! YAY!

AND I do have some new pics for the Spring Fling Photo Contest, too:
Choose your favorite, okay? I chose #7 for a local photo contest entitle "It's Spring".

I got my garden planted on Saturday complete with:

4 Early Girl Tomatoes
4 "Cupid" Cherry Tomatoes
4 bell pepper plants
4 cucumber plants (must. have. more!)
4 Sugar Pie Pumpkins
1 Lumina Pumpkin
1 lemon grass plant
2 garlic plants - to harvest, divide, and replant in the fall
2 onions from one rotten onion that had sprouted in my kitchen :)
1 parsley plant
1 zucchini plant
1 yellow summer squash plant

Jared, as usual, was my gardening assistant. He helped me turn over the soil, plant, and told me jokes. He is wonderful to work with. (Thanks for your help, Jare!) :)







And then today when I awoke I found it was SNOWING! Bah! So Steve found the "hotcaps" and I covered all of my newbies that haven't had time to settle in yet. The spinach and peas might just enjoy a light snow. The onions have seen worse. Hopefully the strawberries' blossoms don't freeze! The raspberry bush is on its own, as are the existing herbs. Let us all bow our head in a moment of silence for all of those newly planted seedlings, both in my garden and others in my community.


Speaking of snow, my brother and his family came in yesterday from North Dakota. I am *really* glad to not live in North Dakota. Their winters would probably kill me!

Anyway, my brother and his family are here to see his oldest boy get married tomorrow. I had wanted to get the whole fam damily together while he was here, but it seemed impossible to do with everyone's schedule. BUT, bless my mom's heart, she called early in the day and said that he would be visiting her in the p.m. between 3 & 5. So I called my sister and told my brother. Then we waited. We all were "on call" until we got the call from my mom. Then we all showed up and visited for an hour or two. :) My brother from ND said that I am "the most tenacious person he knows". I should take it as a compliment... and I do... but you know what I think of when I think of the word "tenacious"? A cockroach. Hmmmmm. You'd think that I'd think of something more flattering to compare myself to, but... have you seen Wall-e? Yeah. That's what I'm talkin' about. Tenacious.

It was nice to visit. My mom wanted to get a picture of all of us, so we did. The walls of her nursing home are kind of a beigey-mustard color. It looks very South-western. It is TERRIBLE for bringing out normal skin colors in a picture. We all look as horrible as can be. But at least we *all* look terrible together. :)



And I realized that perhaps I shouldn't ever consider being a professional photographer, because as everyone was complaining about "let's just take one" and I replied, "Nope. Four." and they murmured, I told them that they were big babies. And when they scowled I told them that they better smile and not ruin my picture or I'd hunt them down. Nope, not quite the kind "Say Cheese!" kind of photographer they were used to.

I wish I could upload my pics and show you my beautiful garden. And my terrible family picture (with people that I adore in it), but there is no such luck. I'm still working out some other solution. Wish me luck! (you must have! thanks!) And I wish you the best of days today! ♥ (did anyone else know macs can't do the alt 3 heart? what a bummer! BUT *MY* COMPUTER CAN! YAY!)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Too funny to not share

My friend told me this joke yesterday and I thought it was great, so I asked her to email it to me so that I could share it with you. It came from GCFL.net.

Jesus and Satan were having an argument about who was better on the computer. They had been going at it for days, and frankly God was tired of hearing all the bickering.

Finally fed up, God said, "THAT'S IT! I have had enough. I am going to set up a test that will run for two hours, and from those results, I will judge who does the better job."

Satan and Jesus sat down at the keyboards and typed away.

They moused.

They faxed.

They e-mailed.

They e-mailed with attachments.

They downloaded.

They did spreadsheets.

They wrote reports.

They created labels and cards.

They created charts and graphs.

They did some genealogy reports.

They did every job known to man.

Jesus worked with heavenly efficiency, and Satan was very fast.

Then, 10 minutes before their time was up, lightning suddenly flashed across the sky, thunder rolled, rain poured, and, of course, the power went off.

Satan stared at his blank screen and screamed every curse word known in the underworld.

Jesus just sighed.

Finally the electricity came back on, and they both restarted their computers. Satan started searching frantically, screaming: "It's gone! It's all GONE! I lost everything when the power went out!"

Meanwhile, Jesus quietly started printing out all of his files from the past two hours of work.

Satan observed this and became irate. "Wait!" he screamed. "That's not fair! He cheated! How come he has all his work and I don't have any?"

God just shrugged and said, "Jesus saves."

From the "Bulletin Board" column in the St Paul (MN) Pioneer Press, 8/3/2009

Received from Jennie Orr Thomas.


Gardening Gone Wild extended their entry date to May 25th. I have a few more days to see if 1) I can get my old computer up and running and see if there are any more pics to put in the hat 2) see & capture any more "Spring Fling" fun.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spring Fling choices

All of my photos are trapped on my broken computer and the deadline for Gardening Gone Wild's Photo Contest is on Friday. :( I'll just go with one of the photos I've showed you before.

Okay, the topic is "Spring Fling" and I'm trying to decide which picture looks like a "Spring Fling". Here are the choices:

1.

2.

3.

4.

Let me know your fav. :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Computer Problems

My computer is ill. It hasn't been able to maintain its connection with the internet all weekend and seems to be having other ailments as well.

I am hijacking borrowing dh's mini-mac computer until mine is better. But all of my photos are on my computer. And I don't even know if I can upload my picks to this computer. So... my posts for the next little while will be photo-less. Bummer! But at least I can get online and read all of your blogs. :)

Here's hoping my computer can be fixed soon!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

about May 12th

Today I had to take the kids to school. Grouchiness prevailed at my house until one joke was made. Poof! Everything changed. We laughed all the way to school. :)

Then I went to the grocery store and bought a balloon bouquet for my mom's birthday. Couldn't leave it there! After all, we didn't think she'd make it to this birthday! So I bought a banner to hang in her room. And I had to get some "lucky bamboo" for her; I loved the oriental pot it was in. Perfect. And I found just the right card too. Isn't it great when things fall into place so well!

I am just so thankful for one more year with her! Let's make it two, okay Lord?

Then over to her nursing home to decorate her room, trim down some cut flowers she got for Mother's Day from her dialysis worker, and just hang out until she had to leave for dialysis.

Feeling a bit down a few minutes ago and then listening to "Smile" by Uncle Kracker (found at the bottom of my blog on my playlist) song. Blues are gone. How could they stay? Isn't it incredible the impact music has on us? I assume it affects everybody anyway. It can change my mood quicker than anything else.

And now to watch HOUSE with Steve. The only thing that could be better is if it was Grey's Anatomy. :)

Still trying to gain balance.. and finding it in the little things.

Wordless Wednesday



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday the 11th

It was a busy weekend for me, filled with lots of good things and a bitter-sweet at the end.

On Saturday I took my mom for a drive. It is the first time in almost a year that she has gotten to go somewhere fun; all trips for her are just medical appointments. She has been worried about falling and breaking something, so she hasn't wanted to go anywhere during the winter. Finally, for Mother's Day, she got to see some sights. I was going to take her to Walmart and let her shop a bit, but she has been tired and worn out, so a ride was perfect.

It was simple: we went and picked up kids from Saturday school (I forgot to excuse an absence. Bah.), pick up baby Aiden (Saturdays are days at Mema's), and then drop off all the kids at home. Then we got to eat some lunch and ride and talk. It was wonderful! I'm so glad that the Lord allowed me to have another Mother's Day with her. Her birthday is tomorrow, so I need to thing of something nice to do for her then.

Then on Sunday Aiden got his name and a blessing - it is my church's ceremony for babies. His Grandpa, Karen's dad, performed the blessing, while his other Grandpa's (Steve and Paul - Paul is my first husband and my oldest 3 kids' bio-dad) and some of Aiden's uncles and cousins stood in the circle. Afterward we had a luncheoun with those who had come to the blessing and had time to stay a little longer. Paul planned the lunch and brought sandwiches and I brought potato salad and 7-up. It was nice to visit.

Yesterday was Paul's Grandma's funeral. I took the kids, but Steve had to work. It was a really nice service. Instead of eulogies given by set people, it was an "open-mic" and whoever wanted to talk about Lael could. The comments were funny, interesting, and touching. She was a good lady; very outspoken, which seemed to always be commented on lol, but very supportive and nice. She was in her nineties, so she had led a nice, long life and was ready to go at the end. It is sad to see her go, but nice to know that she is back with her siblings, parents, and husband.

As for the question that I asked about finding balance, boy I wish there was a quick way to find balance. I've had it before, but seem to lose it when there is conflict in my life.

I have found in the past that to have balance I need to 1) be true to myself. 2) not be in the big middle of strife and conflict 3) meditate and pray 4) take time to "be still". Lately just about all of that is off for me.

I need to take time to get back to myself. It is important.

I printed off some of my pictures yesterday, and I set up an etsy shop storefront. It is at merriemelody.etsy.com I will be filling it up soon with some prints. I'll keep you posted. :)

On Mother's Day Josh and Karen gave me the funniest and sweetest plaque ever: "My Mom is like a great bra: supportive, makes me look good, never leaves me hanging and is always close to my heart." LOL! I love it!

So that's it! My weekend in a nutshell. Today is my Monday. Lots of laundry to do and I have to find my house under all of the layers of living. Weekends are wonderful, but I always love getting back to a schedule some the weekdays. I hope that you had a wonderful Mother's Day, and that you have a happy week!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Question


Do you ever feel like life comes at you too hard and fast with trials and problems?

If you have, what have you found to help you deal with things best to keep peace and balance in your life?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"Spring Fling": 1


I was on my way to buy some tacos for $.50 apiece for supper (great prices in honor of Cinco de Mayo!) when I made a wrong turn.

I had no idea where I was, but there was a beautiful orchard in bloom and I had my camera, so I took advantage of the situation.



The sky was gorgeous blue, the blooms were just lovely.



Michael was with me at the time, but was so good and let me take about a half an hour to shoot some pics.



And as I back-tracked I realized my mistake and got back on the main road.

Ahhhh. Sometimes mistakes can be so wonderful!

Aiden up close


You saw this pic before, just in a different composition. I cropped it a bit for a close up shot. I think he is simply precious.



As I was cropping, I noticed a shadow on his pupil, so I zoomed in closer. I saw myself, reflected in his eyes.



Does that mean he only has eyes for his Mema? ;)

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Garden-ful of Opportunities


I'm gearing up for another month of looking for photos to fit a theme. The theme was just posted this morning. It is: Spring Fling. Since something happened to the judge for this month, we are just having a collection of pictures to fit the theme, which will be an interesting change. I did suggest that we have a people's vote, but I'm not sure that is what they will opt for.

Though I've never won, and sometimes I don't share the judge's perspective of "best" (but I don't even agree with my husband on art very often. Art is just so subjective, isn't it?), I do enjoy having a theme to shoot for (sorry for the pun). All of the pics entered inspire me in some way, and it is great to be a part of it all. If you have any desire at all to enter, you should try it this month while it is so low key. You just might like it!

Last month's winners can be viewed here. I was so impressed with the first pic mentioned. And Craig from Ellis Hollow (the gold place winner this month and last) always has lovely pics. The other winner's pic and the showcased pics are also super beautiful.

So this month I'll be looking for the whimsical, the playful, and the fun of Spring. It will be a challenge that I look forward to. :)

Another blog I read is encouraging parents to get their children out in the garden with them. Kim, at Inadvertant Farmer, is hosting a contest with prizes and everything. All you have to do is get a photo of your kids doing their thing in the garden and then leave a link in her comments so that she can see the fun that you are having. Easy peasy, unless you've been having snow storms like I have here, then you might have to wait a bit for planting too. Just sign up here.

Another thing you might be interested in is again back at Gardening Gone Wild.com. It is showing and telling about your hardscaping projects that you've done: patios, decks, paved sidewalks, etc. Nancy is asking for links to any blog posts you have previously written or are currently working on. Just leave a comment for her in this post. She will compile all of the links into one blog post on the 28th and asks for contributions to be turned in by the 26th.

Now I'm off to make pancakes. Want a good recipe for pancakes that are yummy even without the syrup?

I'll give you the mix version to store, and then if you'd like to double it and put some away for later you can.

2 cups flour
2/3 cup of instant powdered milk
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup of sugar

Make as much as you'd like and store it in a sealed container, then when you are ready to make some pancakes take 3 cups of the dry mix and add to it these other ingredients:

1/4 cup oil
2 cups water
2 eggs

The batter will be thin, just the way I like it. I like pancakes that cook all the way through and are still just a light-golden brown. I simply cannot make thick pancakes do that for me. But if you prefer, just add a little less water and powdered milk (1/3 cup instant powdered milk for 1 cup water) for thicker pancakes.

My kids even like to eat them with and without syrup.

Happy eating, photoshooting, gardening, and whatever else of joy you'd like your day to hold. :)