Sunday, March 31, 2013

AM~Erica Sees No Need for Foolery Due to Irony

So anyway...

Tomorrow marks the start of a new month. Where has the time gone?

However, not only have we just gotten thru the first whole quarter of 2013, it also marks our calendars as April Fool's Day. Ah...the day of practical (or not-so-practical) jokes & jokers.

I'm not sure why many make today as deadlines, events & such...who honestly believes it?

When I was a kid, my dad was a mail carrier & had to go to work very early. Once in a while, he'd help try to wake us up by "running" down our hallway yelling,

"REVEILLE! REVEILLE! ALL HANDS HEAVE OUT & TRICE UP!"

He enjoyed sharing that navy experience with us from time-to-time. No, I was not amused.

Not only that, but once a year...he had an April Fool's joke he loved to use:

He would like to wake us up very excitedly yelling,

"LOOK! LOOK! IT SNOWED LAST NIGHT!"

Being a kid in elementary school...boy-oh-boy was I excited to see that snow! So I would spring up & look out my window...to nothing except my father laughing & yelling, "April Fools!"
Ugh.

Well, then it happened...IT happened! It actually snowed on April 1st one year! Fo realz, yo! So, guess what...GUESS WHAT!!! My father could no longer use that joke on us anymore. Aw, shucks. *snickers*

I tell you that story to tell you this one...

Because of ALL THE CRAZY WEATHER we've had lately, it also caused SOME SNOW DAYS at school...which means there would need to be some makeup days. This would also mean that the school year would be extended to 1 day past the Memorial Day weekend...and the Tuesday would be a half day. That would be ridiculous! INCONTHEIVABLE! So a survey was sent out to parents to see about getting rid of the day off after Easter, and then use it as a makeup snow day. Well, that's what the parents wanted instead of having to go back for only 1 half day right after Memorial Day.

Easter, of course, fell early this year. With it falling on the last day of March...that means that day they were supposed to have off but not anymore is...APRIL 1st! D'oh! Do you know how hard it is to sell the kids on the fact they have to go back to school on a day they were supposed to have off which is also April Fool's? *face palm*

Now, to make the irony even more amazing? It may snow on April 1st. For real. And it was in the 60's today.

So, snow in spring, on a now makeup snow day, on April Fool's Day.

The irony is amazing! Why even play a trick? It's all right there in front of them. Beautifully!

*insert crazy-evil-giddy fits of laughter here*

The kids would rather it be a joke. They are not amused.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

AM~Erica Just Wants to See Equality For All

So anyway...

Today, I gotta get on my soapbox. It's gonna cover a lot! So I need you all to brace yourselves. Some may agree, some may be truly offended, some will be shocked as to how I see a few things...but I'm gonna say it.

I always make it clear that I am no where near a blue or red koolaid drinker. Just because I don't agree with you certainly does not make me a koolaid drinker for "the other side". I don't like the fact that I always have to point that out, because there's a lot of folks who forget when I make a statement they don't agree with. However, I know a koolaid drinker when I see one/talk to one! I could start listing if need be, but that would be wrong.

But...I am going to take the post to talk the most current issue swirling at this very moment:


EQUALITY

Today is when the Supreme Court decides if California's Prop 8 was/is truly legal or not. It all sets on a decision of 9 people...well, probably more like 5 of 9 people...but whatever.

Here's my thinking:
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Why is it even a discussion?

I see love. I see people wanting commitment. I see people looking for their steady partner to be their beneficiary and emergency contact should anything happen to them.

For heterosexual couples, if your parents didn't want you to marry the one you wanted to be with...would you still get to marry them? Of course!

Well, same-sex couples are going thru the same thing right now. But it's not just confines of disapproving family...it's society! And all they want to do is be legally united. And there are LAWS in place to tell them not to! What if there were laws in place to tell you that you couldn't unite with your partner legally? Just think on it...

For any couple to be denied legal unification because of who they chose & felt they should be with is asinine!

OK...now things are gonna get weird here...but I'm going to throw this idea out there...to think on:

Generally & technically, a marriage is a religious union. In general, same-sex couples are not allowed to get married in churches but can, in some states & other countries, get to a justice of the peace to be recognized (but not universally) as a civil union...
Just because many main-line denominations do not uphold the sacred of marriage within a same-sex couple, there are still clergy who do not agree with that & would love to perform a ceremony for the union of such couple. So here's what I'm thinking, and stay with me.
What if any legal union presided over by the justice of the peace is considered a civil union, and any union presided over by clergy is a marriage? I'm talking REGARDLESS of who comprises the couple! You could still be called a wife or a husband...but your union would be classified differently.

That, my friends, is true equality! Well...on the marriage front.

I know there's my red koolaid drinkers who are having heart palpitations right now...and they talk about the plumbing of a human & how it was made for procreation...and you just want to put a stop to it!
First...who are you to cast a stone? I'm certainly not one! You are not the judge! God has final judgement...oh...and God loves ALL of His children...and we are to love whom God loves.
The righty-tightys want small government & really don't like the government behind their own doors...so why are you so concerned about any same-sex couple's living behind their own closed doors? You want the government, that you berate so much for being nosey, to take over their homestead?
Wow! How hypocritical of you! Especially when heterosexual marriages are breaking up at over a 50% rate! What does that say? Maybe it should be harder for anyone to get married...then the divorce rate might not be so high.

For all of those who are so worried "about the children"...the same-sex couples who want children will be, and tend to be, better parents. Many of us heterosexual couples who are fertile...tend to get surprises. Oh wait..."blessings".
(I heard a story where a mom told her 4 adult children as they sat there, "You were planned; you were blessed; you were planned; you were blessed." Yeah...that's what I'm saying...we have 4 blessings.)
There are several fertile folks who don't seem to quite get the notion they need to quit indulging in a particular activity since they seem to be so fertile that they can't keep up with their own offspring.

How many times have you heard about children being taken from parents who cannot take care of them...or because the parents have endangered their children in some situation? Well, there are loving people who can be foster parents, or adoptive parents...who love these kids! Why should anyone who cannot have children, and WANT children, be denied that when there's parents out there taking their own offspring for granted? Just think on it...
And for anyone who wants to throw in the card that every child NEEDS a mom AND dad need to keep in mind the single parent who must be both to their child(ren).

Oh, and by the way...a same-sex couple being together has no impact on a heterosexual one. Whether it's a couple 1000 miles away, across town, the next door neighbor, or within my family...it won't effect the marriage between my hubby & me.



Also...there is this thing that is separation of church & state. I am truly baffled by those who want scripture quoted when it comes to a government issue. However, if the government would want to start taxing your church, there would be a huge uproar touting separation of church & state. Just think on that...

Now that we've covered that & I have you thinking (or twitching) on that...there's more:



This EQUALITY thing needs to transcend just that of the gay rights being fought at the moment. 

~ There is still racism, and I'm talking within what is considered "minorities" than within caucasians

~ White males are now in danger of their own jobs & promotions, despite any hard work, due to over-striving of so-called "equality"

~ Hate crimes are more punished than any assault charges

OK...look...I'm gonna get right into it...

As long as we have divisive classifications when applying for a job, a school, a census...then we try so hard to make things "equal" that they actually aren't!

Promotions & hirings of positions should happen based on experience & qualifications, not if your male-to-female ratio is on target, or if you need to hire another black person to even out the latinos you have on staff...or on your campus. 

Pictures, race, marital status should generally never be part of an application process! EVER! Each person should be viewed as a person, and that's it!

Imagine how offended & shocked I was when this new Pope Francis took on the papal role, and it came out the US is now trying to redefine OUR view of "latinos" based on this Argentinean's new world role! I was so frustrated that we have to find or redefine our own, small-minded classifications because something new in the world has changed.

So, in the same sense...bullying (who we all should know I FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT) happens to anyone! If Joe beats or belittles Jim, it's bullying/assault. If it Jim is of minority ethnicity and/or gay, the charge for Joe becomes a hate crime. If Jim is just the little nerdy guy who seems to be a weakling...it's assault. If the charge is "assault", it tends to be a slap on the wrist compared to turning it into a hate crime.

Bullying is bullying! Doesn't matter who it's to! And it shouldn't happen! EVER!! Thru words or actions. And the moment ANYONE is beat up because they are looked at as lesser than the attacker, it should all be treated the very same. That's equality!!

Now for my lefty-lous:

Taxes on rich or poor: if a flat tax is placed on all paychecks (ex: 10% Federal, 7% State, 3% Local) then it comes out the same. The rich will still have their money & the poor will still be struggling, but the poor will be giving much less than the rich...yet in equal amounts! EQUAL!!!!

For my fellow Christian friends & family...Jesus loved, associated with, and dined with the sinners. He only condemned the ones living hypocritically - the ones hiding behind their religious law. And the Pharisees were offended by Jesus' nature of doing so. Oh...and He loved ALL! He died for ALL! He did not die for all of us to become judges FOR God! So you can take all of your religious tones out of your condemnation of anyone who seeks to love! We are the ones to live like Jesus! When you are so offended by something that has nothing to do with you...you make the rest of us look really bad to those who make fun of Christians for these very reasons.

Still bullying, to all my non-Christian folk! The ones who still think it's OK for persecution thru words. 

Folks...today we await, in the United States, to find out if any kind of equality in & for our own melting pot's citizens will be overlooked or if it will be opened up. And I am prayerfully hoping that the equality goes just beyond wearing red & changing Twitter & Facebook pictures to equal signs. 

The '=' should stand for ALL! We are strongly urged to vote...but can't get our citizenship in line - between the money & time for these immigrants to want to be a part of our great nation, but we don't want them "stealing our benefits & jobs". *face palm*

So...just think on all of that. Are you really ready to throw a stone?

Peace, Love & Equality to ALL!!! And it's not a matter of "If", but "When"...nearly all of the young generation right now, despite their claimed political side...sees nothing wrong with the equality being fought for today. So why would we fight it?



Oh yeah...and I drink purple...just as a reminder...

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

AM~Erica's Future Self Has Screwed Up the Entirety of Time

So anyway...

Today is just one of those days. It just is. You know the ones where you go to do something & it turns out you already did it, but had no idea...then it messes with your head & forget why you did other things & it screws up an entire planned out schedule you really need to follow...and somehow it all still turns out OK, but you have no idea how? You haven't? Oh...well, it happens to me.

Don't act shocked either...cuz I know you are just being facetious.

Not sure if you remember, but MY FUTURE SELF DID IT TO ME BEFORE, and my future self struck again!!

*sigh*

It started out when I woke up, unexpectedly, just before 4:30 this morning. I hate it when that happens! But it does...but I knew I had just an hour more before my SET alarm was to go off. And I know it was set because my future self beat me to it last night...which I realized when I tried to set it again & it was already on.

Figures.

Well then, I woke up unexpected again. Ugh...but I looked at the clock...and...MY ALARM WAS OFF!!! WHAT??? And not only did I get in the extra hour...but another half hour on top of that! Grrrrr....

Darn you, future self!!! You set my alarm AND turn it off? I'm so mean to myself!

Well, that put me behind in getting 2 high schoolers around. Yeah...that sounds like it should go well...
But I woke them up & explained we were a few minutes behind & to start getting ready while I threw breakfast together for them. I went as fast as I could (since my future self apparently didn't see it necessary to go ahead with that part of the morning's schedule) to get food out for them to make sure they consumed something! So, I went to tell them that breakfast was ready & they had 20 minutes to finish up to get out the door...and neither had attempted to get up! D'oh!
Hubby offered to take them to school...but I wanted to show up my arch nemesis = My Future Self.

After poking & prodding & nagging...they got around & actually got out the door to catch the bus...ON TIME! WHAT? Take that, Future Self! HA!

Now since Future Self threw me all off...I forgot why I didn't have Lil Guy get cleaned up last night...beyond just timing. I was behind in making sure he had clean underwear. D'oh! So I did that last night so I could get him around a little earlier this morning to get cleaned up. But I was so thrown off by My Future Self's shenanigans, I went back into "typical morning scheduling."

I went to get Lil Guy up & figure out his breakfast...that I realized...he needed to get clean! (Trust me...he's a little boy...and needs to be cleaned!) So I hurriedly reminded him he needed a shower, but only after I had gotten his breakfast ready! D'oh! 

He got up & got all cleaned, got dressed, ate and was ready to walk out the door for the bus...ON TIME! WHAT??? That's right...take that, again, Future Self! HA! In-yo-face! (Which is in MY face...but whatever...)

Like I said, with My Future Self (now an arch nemesis) and my unknown shenanigans I pull before I even know it...I realize I have incredible powers in a parallel universe...

Remember this guy? And I always seem to relate to this particular commercial.
The one where his future self beat him to the punch...yeah...it's like that...


Today is also the 1st day of Spring! Winter is officially over!!! Or is it??

Remember? There is CRAZY MIDWEST WEATHER to keep in mind... We are still planning for more snow in the next few days. WHAT??? What is this craziness???

So I have come to the conclusion that the mix up of weather & global warming could only come from one thing: the time bending of My Future Self! Whenever My Future Self messes with me, it screws up all space & time for everyone else!

For that...I apologize. But I seem to be having trouble containing & controlling My Future Self...

I WILL GET YOU, MY FUTURE SELF! YOU JUST WAIT!!! 
(as I seem to be yelling to myself...hmmm...)

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Monday, March 18, 2013

AM~Erica Went a Wee Bit Irish

So anyway...

T'was a day I'd been looking forward to...St. Patrick's Day! A day when many claim to be Irish...whether they are or not.

Yesterday also happened to be Sunday. I was very frustrated with the events in the KC area...but there's many other things going on like there was not even a holiday going on.

With it being on a Sunday...church still happens, y'all. So when the main parade is beginning DURING most church service times...that wasn't smart. It couldn't wait just a couple of hours to start? Just wondering...
Especially with it being a religious holiday (it really is people...commemorating St Patrick's death, to be exact), why have one of the country's largest St. Paddy's parades during typical church hours? *face palm*

Any-hoo...the rest of that rant is for another time...and there is 6 years to fix that issue.

In the meantime, I found other ways to bring out the Irish.

As you may well know...I WAS ALREADY PREPPING. And I really WANTED TO DO IT RIGHT!

If you had corned beef & cabbage...that's fine. But if you ate because it's "Irish"...take one of your hands, place it behind your head, and then "Gibbs" yourself (al a NCIS).


That's right...smack yourself in the back of the head! Cuz it ain't Irish, y'all.



Now, repeat after me:
"Corned Beef is NOT Irish!" 
I'll wait...do it...DO IT!!!!
Good...now repeat it 24 more times...

Better now? Are we clear?

*ahem*

I wanted something more authentic for the family to enjoy, so I found Dublin Coddle. It's Irish sausage, bacon, potatoes & onion all in a broth. I did mine in the lazy cooker & a couple of adaptations...but here's what I used:


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


DUBLIN CODDLE 
(in the lazy cooker)

Ingredients:
1 lb. (Irish) Sausage* - thickly cut
1 lb. Bacon*+ - thickly sliced
1 lb. potatoes, diced/quartered (I used quartered baby potatoes in gold, red & purple)
1-2 onion(s), thickly sliced (I used 1 medium yellow onion)
4 C water or broth/stock (ham, chicken, beef)
2 bouillon cubes (chicken or beef if using water)
1/4 C chopped parsley
1 T salt (I used fine sea salt)
1 T black pepper

* Because we have a non-pork eater in the house, I used turkey bacon & turkey smoked sausage. I added minced garlic, dried thyme, dried rosemary & some marjoram to mimic Irish sausage.

+ I used the American version of bacon since Ireland views cured pork loin as  bacon. Since we have a non-pork eater, I stuck with the turkey bacon. I also baked the turkey bacon at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, but should have done 20. Set on cooling racks resting in foil-lined baking sheets/jelly roll pans to catch the grease.

Directions:

After spraying the inside of the lazy cooker with cooking spray, place liquid in the insert. Place sausage, bacon, potato pieces & onion slices into the pot, along with bouillon cubes (if using water for your liquid). Add in all of the seasonings.

~~ I had some leftover chopped greens from another dish, so I added it to the Coddle. This could be kale, collard greens, mustard greens, etc. But the original recipe does NOT call for this!

Place the lid on the lazy cooker, make sure it's plugged in & turned onto low for 4-6 hours. (I placed on high for 1 hour, and then low for the rest of the time...and it came out great.)

Stir & serve.

You could probably add in some stout beer, like Guinness, to the pot, too!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If anyone else tried the Dublin Coddle, as I challenged any of you to do, or if you had something Irish that was NOT corned beef related...then please share with the class! All I know is that the Dublin Coddle turned out to be amazing comfort food for a chilly day! I so want to do it again!

I served it with Mustard Dill slaw. It didn't turn out as great. Still too much bite for us. So we may end up scrapping the mustard & dill part. I think sticking with our favorite KFC-style cole slaw will work out just fine! Plus, I served a loaf of Old Style Potato bread. Meh. Since the holiday falls on a Monday next year, I hope to have time to make Traditional Irish Soda Bread again. But the plate sure was pretty!



But that wasn't all! I wanted to find an Irish dessert, too. Getting  mint anything just wasn't cutting it! So...I researched... I came across an idea for apple cake. But I didn't have much chance to actually go get the ingredients. However...I discovered that I could cheat making one with a spice cake mix & apple pie filling! Guess what! I had both!! Woo Hoo! So I found a recipe involving both ingredients & adapted a more authentic-like, Irish-inspired apple spice cake!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


APPLE IRISH CREAM CAKE
(cheater cake using cake mix & pie filling)

1 box spice cake mix
1 can apple pie filling
6 T butter + 2 extra, softened
2/3 C sour cream
1/2 C Irish cream creamer (I used Bailey's non-alcoholic coffee creamer)
3 T buttermilk + 1 tsp extra
3 eggs
1 apple, cored & thinly sliced (I used Granny Smith with it's tartness)
1/4 C brown sugar
2 T apple pie spice
1 tsp honey or agave
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Empty contents of the spice cake mix, apple pie filling, 6 T butter, sour cream, Irish cream coffee creamer, buttermilk, and eggs into a medium size bowl. Hand mix until all contents are well blended & is completely moistened.

In a small bowl, put in the leftover butter, buttermilk, plus the vanilla & almond extracts (if using), brown sugar, apple pie spice, honey or agave, and the lemon juice. Mix well together & then add in the thin apple slices & coat. Take your rings off & use your hands to work the apples throughout the mixture.

Grease or spray bundt cake pan (I sprayed mine with Baker's Joy). Use about half of the apple slices & arrange them in a circle at the bottom of the pan. This will end up being the top, so think about how the top of your cake will look when arranging the apple slices. Once the slices are arranged how you would like them, spoon in the cake batter evenly around the pan. Now that the batter is in the pan, covering the arranged apple slices, use the other half of the apple slices to arrange for the underside of the cake by carefully setting the slices on top of the batter (like in the picture, above).

Once the cake pan & batter are both fully prepared, place in the oven. It will need to bake about an hour, depending on the oven. Check it at 45-50 minutes; it could take up to about an hour & 15 minutes. Keep doing the knife or toothpick test to make sure it's done.

When it is time to pull the cake out of the oven, let cake set in the pan for about 5-10 minutes. After that time, and some cooling has taken place, carefully turn the cake out onto a cake plate or cooling rack.

This cake is best served warm...and should be very, very moist! Slice & enjoy!

I'm sure you could add in actual Bailey's, too. Still would be yummy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My family has fallen in love with this apple cake!! I will be making it again, along with the Dublin Coddle. And I will be making both of these beyond just St. Patrick's Day! They also loved how "Irish" it seemed to smell in the house! *big grins*

I, also, had to dress appropriately. No crazy-bright green craziness for me! Again...I researched what typical Irish-lass attire should be. After getting inspired, I came up with this ensemble:


I still wore green, but a more earthy green. And I had to sport my cable knit sweater from Old Navy. The scarf I got incredibly excited about! It was on sale & the only one left at our Target! It was perfect!! I held it on with an actual antique tiger's eye brooch from my grandmother.  It was very cold out on St. Paddy's Day, here...so the layers worked out beautifully & certainly kept this girl toasty warm!

Next year, I've got plans...I hope! St. Patrick's Day will fall on a Monday. I hope to take in the main parade, or one close by, get to sport an outfit actually inspired by Ireland's attire, serve up Dublin Coddle & Apple Irish Cream Cake (or something else authentic), actually get to watch a couple of Irish movies (we usually watch "The Quiet Man" & would love to add "Darby O'Gill and the Little People" to the mix), plus catch some Irish music. We had too much happening this year & things were jumbled...but I should have time to bake bread next year, too.

And then...we can get Irish-jiggy wit it!

What did you do to take in the commemoration of St. Patrick's death? Hmmmm...???

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Saturday, March 16, 2013

AM~Erica is Prepping the Irish Side

So anyway...

As "the day off" from SO MANY FESTIVITIES AT ONCE, it gives me some time to get prepared for St. Patrick's Day!

I know I BROUGHT THIS UP BEFORE, but I have really come to want to do the Irish thing right!

With me having quite a bit of Irish in my blood...it seems fitting to tap into that. And I'm not talking about wearing emerald green & attempting to look like a leprechaun.

As the weather suddenly cooled & it appears to be a cold & dreary, wet day tomorrow...I'm excited to pull out a more authentic-like cable-knit sweater! This pleases me greatly!

And I am going to challenge many of you to do something different:
Don't eat something green or color it green...actually find something with some Irish authenticity! And, I've said before, that corned beef & cabbage is an American version of Irish. I think I have sensed several Irish roll their eyes at us when any American gets excited about making this "traditional" dish for St. Paddy's Day.

* Note: Shortening Patrick down to "Patty" makes him effeminate. Patty is a female. "Paddy" is the male version. Back to our regularly scheduled programming... *

I have been truly excited about the meal I have chosen for this year's family feast tomorrow since the moment I found it! I think I have convinced a couple of other people to try it, too...

DUBLIN CODDLE! There's several recipes out there for it...it has Irish sausage, potatoes, onions, bacon, and is cooked in a broth.

Now since we have a non-pork eater in the house, I am going to adapt it a bit. I'm using turkey smoked sausage & turkey bacon. I am going to add a few of the seasonings to the pot that is in Irish sausage to give it the same kind of taste. And I found a recipe that has it in the lazy cooker. We have a busy day tomorrow...so the lazy cooker is perfect!

* Note: Bacon in Ireland is actually cured pork loin...not the sizzling strips of piggy goodness that we know it to be...but that's for future reference...I'm still using lean strips of fake-porky of turkey variety goodness.
Back to our regularly scheduled programming...*

I am also going to do up the cabbage slaw that I made last year, but I am adapting the recipe. It was REALLY strong when I FIXED IT LAST YEAR. So, I found a copycat recipe for KFC's slaw dressing (Yummy!) that I have done before. Hubby loved it! And we love some KFC slaw, too. I think I'm going to do it up, add some dry mustard (so it's less potent), and throw in a little dill. I think it might go over better that way. I'll prep it today/tonight so that it's all ready to go for tomorrow! I'll let you know...

Because of time constraints in our schedule tomorrow...I won't have time to bake the traditional Irish soda bread. Bummer. So I had to cheat & get a loaf of sliced potato bread that will just have to hold us over. I hope to use the Irish soda bread again next year.

So...I have some prepping to do for tomorrow. I am so looking forward to it!! Even though there's so many other things on the calendar that we have to give into with our time...I want that meal & a movie to bring us back down & end our day in an Irish way.

Also, another quick note: We make such a big deal about wearing green. But Protestants were about the orange...however...here's the shocker...
The color of St. Patrick...is...BLUE! D'oh!

So let's start getting into a mode of learning & research. Meals, attire & all!

And I can't wait to hear how everyone else will be celebrating! I know of someone else who may be trying the Dublin Coddle & can't wait to compare notes afterward. Let me know if you want to join in the Irish Challenge! Do you want to join me in making Dublin Coddle?

Erin Go Braugh!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Friday, March 15, 2013

AM~Erica's Ides of March is Just Fine

So anyway...

I really ENJOY CELEBRATING THINGS. But you might already know that. Amm-i-rite?

And you may know that I am willing for find things to celebrate. And it became a busy, busy feasting week...

Well, this is the second day of a HOLIDAY-TYPE RUN...

Yesterday, the first to start out the festival run being March 14th (3/14), is known as Pi Day! Get it? Math Pi...3.14? Yeah...that. So you could have a nerd party & do a bunch of math. Yes?

But I really don't like math. So I celebrate with pie...like pizza & stuffs.


So, we had pizza & some oatmeal cream pies. Could have done chicken pot pies & quiche, too...even moon pies! Oh! Moon Pies would be great! Moon...like space; Pi...like nerdness. OK...maybe next year...

But then we moved onto today...March 15th: the infamous Ides of March.

In 44 B.C., today wasn't a good one for Julius Caesar. A betrayal of "friends" led to him literally being stabbed in the back...and several other places. Yes, even by Brutus. ("Et tu, Brute?")

He even got a warning that was shoved into his hand on a piece of paper...that he never looked at before heading to the senate's steps. And we think about how differently history, and any way we live today, would have been affected by him reading that little note.

As we ponder this, and slowly do history research about it, the family enjoys a feast fit for Caesar! It's not all accurate, but still fitting:

So, we had an Orange Julius. So not historically correct...but...JULIUS! Duh!

Orange JULIUS from the mall...I got Orange Berry! It was delicious!

And then we get together to enjoy The Feast. And we try to include several of us in the prep. Because there's a lot of prep work...but so worth it!

There's the main part: Caesar Salad!! OK...still so not historically correct...but...CAESAR! Duh!

In that salad, we just use colorful (cuz I like color in my food stuffs) romaine lettuce mix (cuz...romaine sounds like Roman...yeah, that's where my brainy-brain goes) & I add in Italian Butter Grilled Cheese Croutons (RECIPE HERE). And then we top or toss it with Caesar dressing & parmesan.



Then, we marinade chicken breasts in Italian dressing for a couple of hours, and then hubby grills them up & then cuts them into strips. That chicken is amazing with our salad!



Though I have done some other FINGER SIDES FOR THE FEAST last year (and the rest of what we did), some of it changed due to time & variety. So I found on Pinterest some really adorable tiny antipasto kabobs...well, on a toothpick... But I'm the only one in the family who does olives & since we have a non-pork-eater in the house, we were limited on some of the additions I had seen to use. So, I did a grape tomato, a slice of mozzerella, a basil leaf & then placed a slice of turkey pepperoni to it. The drizzled all of those little cuties with the leftover Italian Butter I made for the croutons.

Teen Girl assembled these for me!

We also had our tried-and-true finger food sides of cubed marble cheese, grapes, and sliced Italian bread.




And, with this CRAZY MISSOURI WEATHER, today was around 80 degrees...and perfect for a salad feast!



And, of course you should know, I dressed for the occasion! Duh! No...I didn't toga up for the day...but I did put together my next best Roman-Inspired outfit:

Really...did you expect anything less??

And...we made sure to not visit any government building steps. We decided to cut out that part of the day. What? Too soon?

And...if we had gone, and then saw any of our friends there coming toward us...we would have run. No offense to any of you...just the awkward timing. I know you understand.

Also...why haven't there been some kind of sales this week around these days? C'mon! Pi off of whatever product or service on 3/14? Prices slashed on the Ides of March? What...too soon?

Now that we have feasted & avoided anything we needed to beware...time to take a day off to get our crazy-busy St. Patrick's Day feasting into place...

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Monday, March 11, 2013

AM~Erica is Trying to Prep the Right Way

So anyway...

This week is one of those weeks with SEVERAL DAYS TO CELEBRATE really closely in the proximity of each other.

Thursday is March 14th...or 3/14 (aka - 3.14)...known as Pi Day. I know it's all mathy & stuffs, and that kind of hurts my head, but I we are going to celebrate with PIE! You know...things like pizza, or quiche, or actual pie. Not sure if or how you plan to celebrate...but here's a starting point!

Friday is March 15th...BEWARE! That's right...it's the Ides of March. The day that Caesar was literally stabbed in the back by his "friends". Since it's all Roman & stuffs...I try to have a Caesar Salad feast fit for a Caesar! HERE'S WHAT WE'VE DONE BEFORE...a lot of fancy-schmacy-like finger foods, salad, antipasto, and maybe even an Orange Julius...you know, "authentic" Roman. Amm-i-rite?

If there's anything that happens on the 16th, I don't know about it...so we just take a break from celebrating...but then...

Sunday is March 17th! You know what that means? Yep...everyone suddenly becomes Irish. Amm-i-rite? But in weird, weird ways...

There's this bizarre tradition where green beer is guzzled, corned beef & cabbage will be consumed along with anything green or mint, and many are way to eager to start pinching if green is worn...and the Irish music starts blaring in hopes that someone will step up to sing "O Danny Boy".

We Americans are cheesy-celebratory hysterical! We can twist anything into an over-the-top holiday that was never meant to be. It's amazing! And, as you know, I try to celebrate where I can...but I try to do it in the right ways. So I'm about to burst some bubbles...sort of...

First, corned beef & cabbage is not Irish. Did you know that? People who find out that I have a lot of Irish in me automatically figures I enjoy the meal. Ewwww! Now don't get me wrong...give me a potato & I will be happy. However, I was so happy when I found out about 5 years ago that the long-standing AMERICAN St. Patrick's tradition is just that..."American". So think thru your annual events next year when you plan on serving up that corned beef & cabbage for St. Paddy's. Because it's not authentic at all. Cabbage? Yes. Corned Beef? Nope.

Second, just because it's green...that doesn't mean it's Irish. Maybe we've latched onto the whole green thing since Ireland is known for being covered in beautiful, lush, emerald foliage. But the green was always known to denote the Catholics...and orange the Protestants. Hence the colors of the flag. So quit the pinching! And we are not all leprechauns.

Next...it's amazing what happens or what we hear that we latch onto for our celebratory "traditions"! Like the music. I love me some Irish music. It's folky & happy...I love it. Not for all the time...but I do enjoy it. Time debunk an old "Irish" favorite! That "O Danny Boy" you expect to hear? Well...guess what. It's not Irish. You can read about it over on my friend's blog HERE. Bill puts it quite well.

As for the beer...maybe not necessarily green...but I'm sure much Guinness will be consumed. Probably a lot of Bailey's & Jameson, too. I don't do a lot of the drinking thing. I'm not a beer drinker. But some Irish coffee is not a bad thing. I actually have a drink I created that is very versatile. Hot or cold; liqueur or non-alcoholic...it's still a Tingling Leprechaun.


TINGLING LEPRECHAUN

coffee
Bailey's/Irish Creme
Mint syrup/extract/creamer (very little)
Chocolate syrup
Milk or Cream

I don't have amounts listed since everyone has different tolerance levels. This is just for a regular coffee drink, like I have often. I really like to make mine a breakfast mocha by using Carnation Instant Breakfast, chocolate flavor, Bailey's non-alcoholic or International Delight Irish Creme creamer, International Delight York peppermint patty flavored creamer in my coffee. It can be hot or iced. You can certainly use the liqueur equivalents to these, too.


Beyond this, I do plan on making a slightly adapted, yet still authentic, Irish meal (like a Dublin Coddle). And I will probably be wearin' a green plaid scarf with a cable-knit sweater (if it turns cool enough...which it might not...). OK, maybe a rainbow dress for church...cuz you can't take all the cheesiness out of it for me...but I do try to take things back to their roots. Like HOW WE CELEBRATED LAST YEAR.

So...there's a lot to get ready for this week! What are you planning to do? Is it cheesy or authentic? And do you know the difference?

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Thursday, March 7, 2013

AM~Erica's Dream Trek

So anyway...

If you weren't already aware...I'm kind of a GEEKY KIND OF GIRL. Sometimes...I scare myself. Especially when it comes to STAR TREK STUFF and STAR WARS STUFF.

There's also superhero stuff in there, too...but it's the sci-fi stuffs that I got stuck on.

Well, a few nights ago, I had a couple of dreams in the same sleep cycle. They both involved Star Trek in very different ways...



*************************



TREK DREAM: PART I:
I was seated at a table in a restaurant. I don't know if I worked there & was just overzealous in my approach or if I was some kind of interviewer/reporter type person...but I took a seat at a table with Christopher Lloyd.



I was talking to him about his career...and then I almost came out of my seat as I got super excited talking to him about being a Klingon...and how he was part of the Star Trek family...and how I needed my picture with him because of that...and that I needed my picture with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy & George Takei! It had to happen!

Lloyd as Kruge

Ummm...I think I must've been an overzealous food service employee. And I think Mr. Lloyd was terrified of me.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

TREK DREAM: PART 2:
I was getting ready for some kind of dance thing. Not sure if it was a show, audition or rehearsal...but I was all done up! I was in this amazing white pinstriped, double-breasted suit with black stripes, matching fedora...very gangster like. And, in a very artistic fashion, I had on white face paint (almost mask-like) and a painted black handlebar MOUSTACHE. And all I know is that I was planning on dancing to some Rihanna song.

And then, after doing some last minute warmups & primping, I headed to the hardwood studio floor. But there was a door open between wall mirrors that looked like it lead to a small bathroom or dressing room...and primping in the mirror was a younger William Shatner...in a white gangster pinstriped suit, matching fedora, sporting a white painted face & a painted black handlebar moustache! *GASP*



However, he was not going to be performing to Rihanna...but something else. I decided it was fate, scrapped my Rihanna song, and somehow picked up on the dance moves to what The Shat had choreographed.

**************************

Now that I am in full Trek mode, and after my geeky summer of with the family VISIT TO WICHITA & the GEEKY MOMENT IN SEATTLE, imagine how worked up I have gotten lately when I learned what is coming to town:


PLANET COMICON KC!


We couldn't go last year. I think we had too much stuff happening, but we had planned to go the following year. Well...it's the following year. And I was getting information about when & where to figure out the how!

I also heard that George Takei would be there! GEORGE TAKEI, PEOPLE!!!


*SQUEEEEEEEEEE...*

I also found out that Wil Wheaton would be there, people! WIL WHEATON!!!!!


*SQUEEEEEEE...*

And Peter Mayhew, folks....I said...PETER MAYHEW!!!!!


*GARGHHHARRRRRRHAHHHH...*


Oh...and Lou Ferrigno! That's right...I said LOU FERRIGNO!!!

Uhhh...Lou Ferrigno WITH Stan Lee?? *EPIC*
*RAWWWWWARRRRR...*

Oh...how do I work this out? Because I have an issue...
That weekend is way too busy. *sigh*
Teen Girl has a choir competition. Figures.
Lil Guy's first 2 games of the season happen then, too. But, of course.
Oh...and it's happening right around my birthday...

How? How am I going to try to work in?
I'm trying to figure out timing of appearances so I know how to elbow my way to the front & force (haha...I said "force"...*snort*) pictures with George, Wil & Peter, for sure.

This will happen, right? Amm-i-rite??

People...here's what we must do so this will come to be:

"Make it so..."

MAKE IT SO, PEOPLE!!!

Not much to ask, amm-i-rite? And why are my children looking at me funny & suggesting I should be a mental patient? Weird.

Oh...and while we are securing my photo opps...someone should totally make me a tshirt that says...
"Oh Myyy...
...and totally in Star Trek font. Thank you.

Me "posing" with George Takei's autograph on a mural is not good enough this time!!

Stay tuned...& LLAP...

God Bless, AM~Erica

****************************

UPDATE: 

Well, since the above posting, there have been additions to Planet Comicon. Like Ray Park & Lindsay Wagner! Sweeeeeeeeeeet!!!


But now I am also a bit crushed. Remember when I said it was my birthday weekend? Well...things are too busy. Looks like I won't make it here to get the photos I was so hoping to get. *sigh* So I will have to keep up with the pics my friends post on social media to make do.

Was so close...but still so far...

Maybe next year...*sigh*

~~~ OR ~~~

Someone heading that way could "gently invite" the people I mentioned to come to my place for antioxidant-fortified Jesus water for some really great geek-speak...and some serious fan-girling on my part. That's all. Since the folks I am hoping to meet are all doing their thing while I am already booked elsewhere...be a sweety & just bring them to me. K? Thanks.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

AM~Erica Speaks to the Offended

So anyway...

Many of you may have read my blog post CALLING OUT THE OFFENDED. Why do I know this? It's moved WAY up in the popular posts as of this post.

This time around, I would like to continue the conversation about the NickMom fiasco.

When I reposted the link, on the NickMom Facebook page, to my views on the subject of being over offended...I did have a conversation with one of upset moms. In our differing points of views, I did have extra commentary to expand on my previous conversation start up.

We made a break thru with each other, I think. She wasn't happy I didn't cover as much in my post as I did in the comments...but my previous blog post on this subject covered more than just this. So, I thought I'd follow up with some of the commentary and a couple of great posts I came across. So bear with me...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have "***" where she had some commentary. At one point she did start to see my point & was not happy it wasn't in my post, but I do explain why. I did call out activist moms & she said she was one of the pioneer protesters by chance. I have added some summary of other comments made so you can get the gist of what I'm commenting on.


******
Oh...I realize how serious the food allergy thing is. Trust me. But I want to point out that my friend who brought it up to me realized the attacks were misplaced. If your PTA had the gall to make jumps like this, you would be offended. And I do believe that was the point. It's making fun of the moms...certainly not the kids at risk! And I'm intrigued as to why you are keeping up with it on a page that you are so against. The more you come over here & click on the things here...the more it brings up this pages ratings. Just an observation.  And it was just a different point of view. It never hurts to have a different perspective.

*** (Here, she brought up that I was name calling about the bullies, and she took offense.) ***

I do believe we will see it differently. And it wasn't a matter of name calling...just reading some of the comments from the protest movement are pretty mean. And that tends to happen in protest movements. I realize that. And people take one thing and do blow it up. That is the bullying part of it. And do understand that I don't think it's the labeling & such they are making fun of...it's the trying too hard to make sure everything is all inclusive, but it ends up separating out these kids. So, we will see it differently. And I know it's not Nickelodeon you are pointing out...but NickMom...which is this page. So there's a lot of traffic being drawn here, too. I would not & do not promote joking about the food allergies...just those who don't understand it & blow it up into something it shouldn't be...like separating them out from others. Nothing discriminatory toward these kids or what they go thru...just the non-understanding moms who think they understand. Like I said...different perspective.

*** (Here, a guy piped in telling me I digested her; she replied to him calling him an idiot) ***

I have a sense of humor. I look for positive in most everything. I learn to laugh. Not at the serious situation...but out of the satirical. I do still think the video was blown out of proportion. I have children with other issues. I have one that thankfully grew out of a food allergy. But I'm not going to throw myself on the floor because a humor-based satirical video made fun of irrational adults. It made fun of the adults! Not the kids! I also want to make it clear that I am not being disrespectful at all. My friend with the child with the major food allergy came to the conclusion that I did...it's about people doing research of those with food allergies. It should have been used as a teaching tool of how not to handle a bake sale. That's all. It's obvious you all are very worked up. I think it's sad all the way around. But like I've been saying...it's a different perspective. Plus someone who is on your side of things actually thought the protest was out of context. I'm not blowing off the part of the kids...I just truly believe it was directed at adults who have it oh-so-wrong.

*** (In here , she shared with me a blog on the subject from a nicer point of view, that they are not activists, that I was still name calling & that the video had shown during children's programming) ***

I would like to apologize if my blog post was misinterpreted. And when I wrote it, not only did it cover a couple of other subjects, but all the information I came across looking into this video, when it was presented to me, had almost nothing but vile comments, torches & pitchforks, that kind of thing. I had not seen this blog...because there are vile blogs about it out there, too. So, like I said...most any kind of protest brings out of hoard of crazies with threatening & awful words...it happens so often. I know they are loving & caring parents, but the levels that it sparked was a little intense for what I really thought & felt this video was about. But coming on here & calling someone an idiot is name calling, too. I know that comment in the thread didn't strike you the best...but I ignored it. I'm obviously always OK in having conversations about this. Now then...I was not aware of NickMoms until this whole thing blew up. And part of what I'm saying is that, even commenting on this thread...though great conversation of differing view points, still shows up in news feeds & still brings people to this page. Even with the video being taken down...there's all kinds of other subjects that this programming humorously covers.

I do not know exactly what you said about it or how you vented...but if it jumped all over the food allergy thing in the rant, then it's human nature for a lot of other people to jump on that portion of the issue. So instead of saying, "Hey. I saw this video shown...I'm not happy about it, but what do you all think?", that would have drawn more conversation & many less claws may have come out. I know you are only 1 person, though...and it's obvious many others took it the same direction, too. When it was brought to my attention by my friend, I was asked to watch the video first before we had conversation about it. But the comments left from many other moms/parents out there are very-bullying like: threatening & vile in nature. So please understand how it looks to anyone starting to read up on this & research it. Either they are going to also pick up their torch & pitchfork with the riotous mob...or they are going to face palm from how over-the-top the backlash appears.

And, as I pointed out...I completely understand the fears of children with the food allergies. That is not the part lessened here at all! I just think it's the levels that these parents have actually taken it, too. That is all. I have just recently gotten out of the Nick Jr. days...so if this was airing during a program, I can certainly see an issue with that. But that's the first time I saw where that happened. Like I said, I've only come across a lot of vile comments & come backs.
I would also like to point out that I understand the mama bear thing. Mine certainly comes out...but when it personally & directly effects any of my kids. If it's a general thing...I tend to let it go, or at least look into it before the claws come out. But I also know that's me & my own parenting style. It's good there are mama bears to protect their kiddos...but I'm just wondering how much thought any kids put into that video. Kids are very perceptive...I know that, too. But just something to think about. Not that it made it OK to put on during the kids' programming.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you would like to read the whole back & forth, click HERE.


So after this posting, and my additional thoughts, there was no more from her. But I do believe it was good conversation. I did come to some additional understanding of a few things I was unaware of...but it certainly did not change my mind.

Right around this time, it was beautiful that I came across this posting from George Takei on his Facebook page...

Satire apparently is a disappearing art form. I am experiencing what younger people call "face palm."  ~ George Takei

My thoughts, exactly! It's totally part of my soap-boxy rant.

Right around the same time, one of the raw, real, and hilarious MOM BLOGS I FOLLOW had this posted on her Facebook page:



The majority of you here genuinely get my sense of humor- and I truly appreciate that- but there is always a group that doesn't who feels the need to make condescending and snide remarks about it. I'm in a "NO BS" kind of mood- so I want to make something very clear.  Just because I joke about something does not mean I don't care. Life is full of ups and downs, and sometimes the downs make us want to fall apart- and if we DON'T laugh, we will cry. This is why I try to find even the tiniest bit of humor in everything- the tiniest bit of positivity- the littlest giggle. If you don't understand that- you should not be here on this page.  Yes, I do put my life online for the whole world to read, but just like anyone else- you do not know everything about me from what you read online. My family is held together by love and laughter. Plus, I'm pretty sure if I really were some evil hateful b****- my husband would have ditched my a** a long time ago.  Life is so much better when you stop judging everyone for every little thing and just laugh. Try it. Even if just once. I promise it doesn't hurt.~ Holdin' Holden (she is an author who has also dealt with cyber mommy bullies)

Again...EXACTLY!!

We take life WAY too seriously! We post mean things about the other political side, we post digs at religion, we make it OK to want to shoot someone, we tell other people to kill themselves or call them horrible names with awful connotations. And the humor many find is the tearing down of someone else. 

There is a difference between mean humor...and the satirical. Stop a moment & think...do you know the difference? Did they come after you directly? Or are you just grabbing a torch & pitchfork because you got caught up in a misguided idea or notion?

We need to celebrate the moments, not be horribly cynical when someone is being positive. There's no need tear someone down because their humor is different than yours.

Be positive, people! Find humor! Know the satirical & what is being humorously twisted to get someone thru a moment or a day.

We could all learn from that thought.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Sunday, March 3, 2013

AM~Erica Has a Poetic Weekend

So anyway...

If you didn't catch it, yesterday I had my family CELEBRATE DR. SEUSS' BIRTHDAY. From rhyming Seuss style, to eating a Seuss-inspired dinner, to watching "The Lorax", I think we did pretty well.

Especially that dinner thing! I couldn't find any specific Who Hash recipes...but there were some trying to pass off spoonable cornbread or another beef hash recipe...but it just wasn't cutting it! So...I had to do what I've been scaring myself with lately: creating a recipe.

That's right! I decided to make a Grinch-based dinner. Since it is difficult for us to do ham much anymore (Teen Girl won't eat pork due to pig trauma from a science teacher...grrrrrr), Green Eggs & Ham was not really an option. So I created Roast Beast Who Hash!

~~~~~~~~~~


Roast Beast Who Hash - lazy cooker

2 lb (apprx) beef rump roast
4 C diced bell pepper – variety (fresh or frozen)
½ C diced yellow/sweet onion (or a variety), divided
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 envelope ranch seasoning mix
1 lb (apprx) quartered or diced potatoes – variety
3 T Worchestershire sauce
¼ C water, stock/broth, or cider
6-8 oz frozen shredded hash browns (about ½ bag)

Coat lazy cooker insert with cooking spray. Place beef into the lazy cooker.
Add ½ the peppers, onion & quartered/diced potatoes onto the beef.
Sprinkle in contents of the onion soup mix & ranch seasoning envelopes.
Pour in liquid of choice plus the worchestershire.
Cover with the lid, and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
1 hour before serving, add in the frozen hashbrowns.
Stir & make sure beef is piecey or in chunks. Serve.

~~~~~~~~~~

Hubby really liked it!!! The kids are always as hard sell on something new, but may do it again anyway. Because I love my lazy cooker, and I love color...and of course...Dr. Seuss.

And to keep it even Seussier, I added a fried greed egg on top! I also included a Seussy staple that began last year: Pink Ink! Pink Ink (like the drink of the Yink) is simply a gallon of Koolaide: 1 envelope strawberry & 1 envelope pink lemonade. That easy, people!

Roast Beast Who Hash with Fried Green Egg & Pink Ink

For dessert, I made Berry Blue jello in tiny fishbowls, added a Swedish Fish to each, and then topped with a dollop of Cool Whip right before serving! Big. Hit.

Now I have an idea for next year for food. I thought about it way too late! The kids seem delighted to try it, and hubby seems entertained by the thought. I will share it when we give it a test run. So watch for that one in the future...

However...I had to dress for the occasion, too! Duh!




Some shared with me what they ate or how they celebrated! I would love to hear what you did! My school mate, Kelly, said they enjoyed purple spaghetti & blue meatballs! Love It!!!

After getting thru a Seussical day, we had a change up in author/poet takeover.

If you remember, Teen Girl made it into THE YOUNG PLAYWRIGHT ROUNDTABLE AT THE COTERIE! Still so awesome! Being a part of the roundtable also requires her to see a few shows at the Coterie. So...I took her to take in a show today: "Tell Tale Electric Poe."



This is sort of a one-man-show. It's one man performing 5 stories & poems from Edgar Allen Poe, as Poe, and with a second guy who is giving some background effect with his electric guitar. It was crazy-cool-intense-insane! I'm not sure what it was exactly like in Edgar's head...but this may have been a glimpse.

The one who adapted & artistically directed this show is the same one who is in charge of the roundtable. So Teen Girl was very excited to see what this one was about...and wasn't disappointed!

Also, the way this play was performed should show any competitive drama kids & who do poetry that rhyming poems can be done successfully...if not "conversationally" (if you want to consider Poe-speak as "conversational").

Plus...we got to get in for free since she's part of the roundtable! So...even better!

Overall, a good weekend. My only disappointment is that there wasn't much going on around here to celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday. What be up wit dat? Read Across America is a good start...but why isn't there more? If you remember, last year IHOP HAD MENU ITEMS BASED ON THE LORAX.

Why can't Heinz bring out their Color Splash Ketchup for this time? Come on!

Any-hoo...hope you all celebrated, too!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica