Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Spooky Night

The entire family was excited waiting for darkness to arrive. The first night of the haunted corn maze in our town was fast approaching and the wait was building the anticipation. Autumn brings cooler evenings and a nice meal of clam chowder and crab cakes seemed perfect. We all had a nice dinner together talking about what we were expecting and about how much fun this time of year is for all of us. We discussed pumpkins and carving them together and who would win this years annual pumpkin carving competition. After we finished our meal, it was time to gather our jackets and head out to the pumpkin farm.

The cool crisp air left our breath fogging when we laughed and talked in the long line. It felt like half the town was there already. There was a petting area off to the side for the kids to go and pet the animals while the parents waited in the line. They had some cute animals to pet, a llama, some chickens, a goat and a baby pig. There was a lot of laughter and chatter in the line with everyone so excited about the haunted maze.

Finally, we reached the beginning of the line and our turn was next. Our daughter was the most excited and couldn't wait to start the maze. We started out it was pitch black and the ground was uneven under our feet. The scent of hay and corn was heavy in the air. It was so hard to see and you could hear other families screaming in fright as we made our way through the maze of corn stalks. We could hear the loud buzzing of chainsaws and a long blast of a car horn. Our daughter was holding tightly to her dads arm and following closely behind our oldest son and me.

Scary creatures would jump out of the stalks and scream out loud making even me and my husband jump in our skin and yell out from time to time. We rounded one corner where we were blinded by the constant blinking of a strobe light and we knew that there was something that was going to scare us next. We were right when a big skeleton flopped over out of nowhere.

A ghoul came chasing after us with the chainsaw and even though we had heard it all through the maze expecting it, we all ran screaming. We came upon a coffin with a scary creature inside and we bent over to look when something jumped out behind us and screamed, we all tore off running again. We were nearing the end when we had to step inside this black tent and it was so dark not even the light of the moon could shine inside. Our daughter was hanging on my arm tightly as she and I stepped inside and we both sunk down onto something. I just knew our feet were going to be covered in something icky. It was a wonderful illusion and as we stumbled off the mushy sinking ground we stepped out the other side just to be greeted by a scary skeleton ready to chase us again. The fog became very thick and we weren't sure what was coming next but suddenly we saw an opening and the end of the maze.

We all felt breathless and the adrenaline was still pumping as we walked the long trek back to the car. It was a great night for all of us and we had such a great time being spooked and scared.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Soup and Stew Weather

The nights cool down so quickly once fall is upon us and even though the days are still sunny and slightly warm the cool breeze from the wind blowing makes the temperatures feel cooler than they are. Nothing makes weather like this more cozy and comfortable than a big pot of hot soup or stew. Add a crusty loaf of bread and you have a meal to warm you from the inside out.

Our family has so many different soups and stews that we enjoy in the Autumn and Winter, we could almost eat a different kind every day. No doubt that chicken noodle soup is a common comfort food especially in the cold and flu season. But, turning that chicken and broth into something even more hearty can really satisfy a family; try making chicken and dumplings. This recipe is a family favorite and is also a family gem as it has been passed down through the ages. It does require a little effort but it is so worth the work you put into it. It makes a lot so you can freeze it or share it with neighbors.

Chicken and Dumplings

For the chicken: Boil until falling from the bone:

1 Whole chicken ( the liver, neck and gizzards removed) in
3 quarts of water and add
salt and pepper to taste along with
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning

Once the chicken is done remove it from the broth to cool. De-bone and set aside. ( TIP: to cut the fat from the broth, cook the chicken the day before and put the pot of broth in the refrigerator. When all the fat hardens at the top of the pot, scoop and discard for a low fat broth)

Let the seasoned broth come to a slow boil as you begin to prepare the dumplings.


5 cups all purpose flour mixed with
1 cup all vegetable shortening until crumbly then add
2 cups of very cold water and mix thoroughly. I use my Kitchen-aid mixer but a strong powered hand mixer will make the job as easy. If neither of those are available use a very sturdy spoon or your clean, bare, floured hands to mix into a doughy ball.

Using a floured surface, pinch off a small piece of dough and roll out thin and flat. Cut into 2 inch strips. Drop 3 or 4 strips at a time into the boiling broth and then stir to incorporate. Continue pinching off dough, rolling on a floured surface, cutting into strips and dropping into the broth until all the dough is in the pot.

Stir well and then add the boneless shredded chicken into the pot. Lower the heat to warm or the lowest heat setting on your stove and let cook for about one hour so all the flavors incorporate together.

Add 1 cup of milk to the thickened stew to add to the creaminess and serve.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What happened to modesty?

Normally I try to contain my rants and raves but I just have to speak out on the morals of manufacturing. What happened to yesteryear where people dressed modestly and did not want every aspect of their being hanging out? Today's messages to our young people are so warped and lack all value and morals. I appreciate people wanting to be individuals, to stand out in a crowd; but do we have to do it almost naked?

Last night we had a family outing to Walmart to find a Halloween costume for my daughters school dance. My daughter is at that age where she is still a child but is wearing more adult sizes, so we are in a quandary with modest things that I will buy. As we start to look through the costumes I realize that almost all of them are meant to put a woman in a sexual light. Skimpy, short and barely there on most of them and the ones that do cover you up are the witches and the ghouls and the ghosts. That leaves little choice for a young lady to find a costume that is appropriate for a school dance and follows the guidelines for dress code and that is allowable by a parent that does insist on her daughter dressing with some modesty in today's time. Even the simplest raggedy-Ann or Dorothy from Wizard of Oz has gone sexy with over the knee stockings and a skirt length that would barely keep anyone warm on a cold October evening.

Not every woman that spends her money in stores wants to look like she just left a strip club. There is very few choices in mainstream retail stores for a lady to look like a lady. It is very frustrating trying to raise a daughter in today's society, that wants our children to look like they are much older than they truly are; what happened to children being children and letting our kids grow up before subjecting them to all the adult things in life? It truly does frustrate me when I have to go out shopping. School clothes are a battle with all the styles leaning to adult fashion and so many of the kids are wearing what society deems fashionable for a child. I do not plan to budge from my way of thinking and I will continue to buy things that are appropriate for my daughters age. Hence, she was delighted to find a costume that went to her knees and did not show off much of her top. She tried it on and looked really cute! Thankfully, there was one cute costume that did not send her to her school dance looking like a monster!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall Fun

It is that time of year again, the crisp cool mornings that warm up slightly as the day passes by and the filtered sunlight invigorates us and urges us to be outdoors. The evenings cool down quickly and the smell of Autumn is in the air. The trees are freckled with colored leaves adorned in deep reds, golds and browns and the sound of the crunching leaves and damp grass under our feet brings flashbacks of many fun days in childhood running through piles of raked leaves on a sunny afternoon.

With the emergence of fall or Autumn as it is best known comes the fun of many festivals for families and activities that bring us all together. Here in north Georgia we are in the midst of the annual Apple festival in Gilmer county. There is one more weekend for the festival and it is worth the trip and the time to visit.

A family favorite for us is a visit to Yahoo Farm to spend a dusky evening with a camp fire roasting marshmallows and the dull thudding pop of the corn cannon as children giggle and laugh at such a simple activity. Climbing into the wagon when dark finally covers the evening and riding along on a spooky haunted hayride is a must do as well as getting our flashlight and map of the darkened corn maze that takes quite sometime to get through. Finding our way out of the maze means it is time for a piping hot cup of cocoa and for each person in our family to pick out their pumpkin to take home for carving. Our family each sits down and carves their own intricate pattern on their pumpkin and we light them all together and have a contest. The talent and skill is revealed in each pumpkin no matter the age of the artist. We then get together and cook all the pumpkin and prepare it to freeze so that we have plenty of pumpkin goodies throughout the rest of the year. There is so much family fun during the Autumn months for parents and kids of all ages to enjoy.

Another great activity is to visit a haunted house. Most big cities have an attraction that is put on for a larger fee, but local smaller towns usually put on a decent haunted house for a family that is affordable and fun. In our town the local Lionsgate Mortuary is a big hit and everyone has a great time being scared during the month of October.

What is October without a fun filled Ocktoberfest? A trek to Helen will bare all sorts of fun activities for a family and the entire town makes Ocktoberfest something memorable and incredibly exciting with good music and great fun and wonderful people.

One thing about Georgia is that there is never a moment that you cannot find something fun to do with a family. Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter bring all sorts of activities that are easily accessed with a short drive and a car full of excited people ready to make memories and create traditions together.

How about a great activity with the kids to kick start fall fun? Try making candied apples together. Be sure to supervise young children with this recipe because the hot sugar can be very dangerous!

More exciting recipes for Halloween and Autumn can be found on the internet. Try this site for easy recipes for kids. There is a great recipe for caramel apples to make with the family.

Are you looking for great templates to help you carve amazing pumpkins? There are sources on the internet that you can use to print them off. Try having a pumpkin carving competition with your family. It is a family favorite with my kids and a long standing tradition now.

Enjoy fall fun with your family and start new traditions with your kids. There is nothing better than sharing great memories with those that you love.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Parenting a Teenager

How many times have you seen the eyes roll and heard the deep grunting sigh when speaking to a teenager? It is a communication tool they use to let others know that they are feeling tread upon and unwelcoming the discussion. Teenagers are their own species, and are best studied by far as not to get to close as one would a lion in the jungle. A teenager can be a lot of fun if we approach them in a way that does not threaten their individualism. They can also be a lot of stress when we want to reach out to them and they have closed the door on us.

Patience is the key to successfully navigating the teenage years. Finding creativity in parenting to allow the teen to be who they want to be as well as guiding them in the right direction. Hopefully, without them realizing that we are guiding them at all. Teenagers want to be thought of as adults that know everything they need to know in the world, and they do not like their knowledge challenged. However, of all the age groups in adolescence the teenager is the one that needs the most guidance. Today's world is complicated and riddled with messages that can confuse a teenager trying to find their way. Parenting requires a lot of patience and some homework as well. Keeping up to date on the current fads, lingo and what music is hot is a good way to stay in touch with a teenager. Of course, we cannot go about it in a way that makes us “lame” as a parent talking about such things as if we understand it. Knowing who our teenagers are spending their time with is very important. More and more there are unsupervised children practically raising themselves and these kids are the ones that seem cool and fun to teenagers. Monitoring a teenagers emotions is important with parenting. There are a lot of kids that are slipping through the cracks, dealing with depression and apprehension in their lives. Keeping an even balance in a teenagers life is a good way of allowing individual assertion as well as activities that challenge their minds and allows social interaction. Extracurricular activities are best to keep a balance in their lives. Sports, Drama, clubs and or a part time job will allow a teenager to find independence and responsibility.

Being determined and consistent in parenting will get both the parent and the teenager through the maze of those hardest years and bring forth a well rounded young adult. The key to making it through is a sense of humor and looking back into our past and remembering what it was like to be a teenager ourselves. Sometimes as we grow older we tend to forget the emotions and angst that we felt at that age. Tapping into our past helps us to be better parents to our kids. Finding it in ourselves to relate on a level that allows open communication and growth keeps the door open with our young forming adults.

The entire process from small loving child to happy young adult is trying and a lot of hard work. It makes us remember the sleepless nights of infancy and the constant chasing of toddlers as times that we cherish and although sleepless nights and constant chasing down of teenagers is not much different in our own exhaustion; the way in how we handle it makes all the difference in the world. We do not have to be their friends, but we should be friendly. We do not have to allow their every whim, but allowing expression and discussion teaches communication. We do not have to accept their answers or excuses but listening and keeping an open mind to their reasoning teaches them that they are not being shut out. A teenager needs validation and acceptance not only from their peers but from the adults in their life as well.

Take time to put aside the impending doom you feel when your teenager rolls their eyes and sighs loudly at your words. Keep in mind that the time goes by so quickly, that before we know it they are off into the world following their dreams and aspirations. How we help guide them through this tumultuous time in their lives is the precursor to how they make that first step into adulthood.

Monday, October 11, 2010



According to the definition from the free dictionary.com the definition is as follows:

tr.v. be·trayed, be·tray·ing, be·trays
a. To give aid or information to an enemy of; commit treason against: betray one's country.
b. To deliver into the hands of an enemy in violation of a trust or allegiance: betrayed Christ to the Romans.
2.To be false or disloyal to
3.To divulge in a breach of confidence
3.To make known unintentionally:
4.To reveal against one's desire or will.
5.To lead astray; deceive

The effects of betrayal are many but the first most prevalent effect is distress. This emotion encompasses a person and takes over all of their thoughts. The loss of trust can be devastating to a person that feels betrayed. The more trust a person has in another the bigger feeling of loss and the stronger the effect of betrayal.

Following this initial feeling of distress, comes anger then fear and repulsion. These emotions can put a person into physical illness or undue stress.

The next effect of betrayal is the human inclination for justice. A person wants to right the wrong and reach out and cause distress to the one that has betrayed them. The natural effect such as in the bible, an eye for an eye comes to mind first and foremost. However, later in the bible Jesus says love thy enemies and God instructs to love thy brother as you would love yourself. How then can one who believes in the word of God, look for justice?

This topic brings me to where I am today. I feel I have had a confidence betrayed and I feel at a loss as what to do about it. How do I do the right thing and also find the closure and the right frame of mind to even absorb this issue.

I find in life we feel that we can trust certain people in our lives enough to let them into our own private worlds. For me, that is not an easy task, I'm not that open to bringing new people into my life and I find it very hard to build trust in others. But, I did feel I had found a person that I could trust and share things with, and allowed her to know more about me as a person. But, now I have found that my trust in another has left me feeling distressed and very sad. A person that can share another persons information without regard to how it will affect anyone and then nonchalantly feel like it is no big deal and when confronted blames the person they told the information too, is just plain wrong. No matter how you work that scenario it still equals betrayal.

Of course this goes right back to the topic overcoming obstacles. Now this obstacle is before me and I must find the right way to overcome it with a positive attitude and the correct frame of mind. This goes to my conclusion that life is a maze. Choices guide us with each step and every choice we make matters in the long run. I made a poor choice trusting someone and now it has created an obstacle for me to overcome. Will I get past this? Yes, with a lot of thought and contemplation I will overcome this obstacle and will do it with the right intentions and stay in my beliefs that I am to love thy brother and thy enemies. I will not seek justice nor will I let the fear and anger that I am feeling take over my life. I will work through the feelings I am dealing with day by day and learn from my mistake. For me, that mistake is letting others get to close. That saying never show your hand makes a lot of sense to me. I won't get caught off guard again, age does bring wisdom.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Overcoming Obstacles

Life is a maze. The journey is riddled with obstacles in all sorts of situations and maneuvering through the journey and making the right choices is the key to success. Do we always make the right choice? Sadly, no we do not. However, learning from our mistakes is part of the experience that makes us wise and gives us knowledge on how to move ahead. My father once told me that he could tell me all the mistakes that I would make but then I would never learn anything from them. This information has stayed with me throughout my life. When I make a choice that did not work for me, I remember those words that I have to learn from my mistakes. Raising my children, I too have borrowed that statement and shared that information with my children. Will it stay with them as it did me? I do not know the answer to that yet, but I can hope that it will and whatever mistakes they make, that they do learn from them.

You may be saying to yourself right now, I do not have any obstacles in my life, everything goes as I want it to. Is that true? Taking a moment to reflect might show you that you combat and deal with obstacles every day and do not even realize it. You could have had to overcome an obstacle just logging onto the computer today or with a search engine trying to find what you were looking for on the internet. There are many different forms of obstacles and learning to recognize the strength and abilities we as human beings have in overcoming them is the beginning step in finding ways to make the most of your life.

Some people choose to tackle obstacles head on and just bull rush right through them, taking no prisoners effect and just looking out for themselves. This could seem ideal at first until you see the path of destruction behind you. Others might find it easier to go the Ostrich route. Bury your head in the sand and it should all go away. This usually leads to a larger situation in the long run. There are those that turn every small detail into a major catastrophe so that the most minor obstacle seems like a mountain to cross. There are some that find it easier to evade and blame others and then take no true responsibility for their path. No matter how people deal with obstacles in their lives, it definitely affects others around them. One might see a small obstacle as just a small obstacle but the other with them sees things with blinders on and only sees their own version of reality which then entails a dramatic catastrophic event. The other person is left with a gaping jaw and confusion as to how the other can make a mountain out of a mole hill.

From birth the maze of life is nothing more than overcoming obstacles that occur from the moment we take our first breath. How one learns to cope with life as we move through it is the difference between happiness and discontent.

My obstacles today might seem overwhelming to some and to others a typical day in their life. For me, I have been planning on how to get through a day full of activities with my family and make them all come into place with the least amount of stress. I am a planner and a list maker. I must have everything laid out so that I can see how it plays out. On the other hand my spouse is a casual it will all work out guy. I know this about myself and about him, so I plan accordingly. I have no worry that with all the current activities that are required today that they will all happen as they are supposed to. Does the thought of it stress me out and give me unnecessary worry? Of course it does and I will turn to what works for me most and that is my faith in God. Prayer and hope and my lists and planning will get me to the end zone of this day.

How will you get through today's obstacles? Do you have something big to deal with that requires all your energy or are you having an easier day where your biggest obstacle is filtering through the television channels? Whether is a day full of obstacles or a day where the obstacles seem easy to overcome, take a moment to reflect on how you make the choices that get you to your end results.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Getting back into the swing of things

The holidays came and went like a firestorm and kept me and the family busy. I got out of the swing of things with my blog but I'm ready to dive in and get back to writing again. The family has been making some important changes and we have had some positive experiences. Working to convert to the Catholic faith has become a priority in our family and we are all working hard to get the work done to become confirmed in the church. The kids are enjoying it and I'm seeing so much progress in their interactions with each other. It is nice to see the kids blooming in their faith. The kids are the ones that pushed the family in this direction, so we are all working hard to make this a reality in our family. It is a lot of work but well worth the effort and we all love learning about history and of course about Jesus and his life on this earth.
Evan got a new guitar for Christmas and he has been working hard improving his playing and writing some of his own songs. I am so proud of him and watching his talent grow is impressive. Playing only six months now he amazes me with his ability to pick up a song and have it down pat in no time.

He's been putting some of his stuff up on youtube! He tells me he is going to become famous on there! I should help so I'm adding his link, subscribe and watch him get better and better!

My oldest Trevor has a band it is called Church on the Move and they are taking North Georgia over with their fresh sound and great vocals. They are getting more and more interest from people and getting some playing gigs together. They have some amazing video as well and they write most of their own songs. They do play some cover songs but their own songs are incredible. Check them out as well I am going to put their links up to show them off too! If you are looking for a great band for an occasion, consider them! The Ballad of Alexander Supertramp is fabulous and the video is haunting but serene. The Waltz of Yesterday is another magnificent song they have written showing off their skill and talent. They have a facebook page for the band that anyone can join to download their music or keep up on their latest events. They also have a myspace too to listen to their songs.

Give them all a listen and tell them what you think, they love to hear feedback! That is about all the catching up I have for my blog. I am going to get back to a routine and keep it updated. I felt so guilty taking so long to write, but then again I have been so busy time just flew by!