Monday, April 29, 2013

Everything's Up to Date in Kansas City

I'm going to try to make a more consisten effort to blog. I've been going once a week, and that's not something I want to do. I want to hit twice a week, if I can, and since I don't work on Mondays, this will be a day that I DEFINITELY plan to blog in the future. Also, I want to focus more on writing as a process, books I've read, and how my book is going. Possibly even chapter previews.

Anyway, today's post is about life. I got to get out of Council Bluffs this past weekend, and spend some quality time with my sister, aunt, uncle and cousins. My sis had to go back to KC to get some of her stuff after she moved out of our aunt and uncle's house, and back home. We left after we both got out of work, around 5:30, and stopped in St. Joe, MO to get our cousin, Victor, for a reprieve from school right before finals. We also had dinner at Denny's (I love that Denny's is still around and still so cheap!) before continuing our trek to Grandview, which is about fifteen minutes south of Kansas City proper.

It was a full house all weekend, with my Aunt Donna, Uncle Paul, and their kids, Jake and Laura, then Jake's girlfriend, Kat and her dog, Bucket (along with Donna and Paul's doxies, Hershey, Rocky and Cocoa), but adding me, my sister, Kiri, and Victor, it was CROWDED, but fun.

Saturday was full of shopping. Sis wanted to go back to her old job to visit one last time, as they were closing. While she was visiting, Laura and I went to Payless but came out without anything. Instead, we went to Bath and Body Works and Ulta, where we got girly, smelly stuff. And Victor is such a good sport! He came into both places with us (and went into Motherhood Maternity with Kiri, as that's where she used to work), and didn't complain once. But he's never struck me as a complainer. He's got a good attitude. Very go-with-the-flow.

That afternoon, Kiri, Laura and I met my college friend, actress/singer/premier jewelry rep, Danille Gibbs (watch her sing Here, and follow her on YouTube Here) for lunch, and to do some jewelry exchanges. We went to Logan's Road House, which is a bar/grill-type place. Laura and I got chicken tenders, and this place had the BEST mac n cheese. So good! I also tried a bit of Danielle's steak, which was rare, which I've never had before. It was pretty good! Might have to start ordering mine that way. :-)

While eating, Danielle convinced us to go to Petland Petstore in Overland Park, Kansas, and play with puppies. There's a Beagle that she's been loving on for two weeks, but she can't afford. That little girl was so sweet.

So sweet! We loved her. Hope she can find a home soon! (To be honest, I really want Danielle to take her home as a sister to Danielle's current beagle, Millie.

I found a beautiful little puffball that looked like a fox. He was sweet and loveable, but I don't think he was MY dog. He was beautiful, nonetheless.

You know when an animal is yours. I knew Jane was my cat when I met her. Kiri, on the other hand, fell in love with this beautiful boy.

Just joking, we texted this picture to our parents (we still live at home, horray, crappy economy!), and asked, "How much would you kill her?" We have three cats and a dog already, and my mom isn't a huge fan of dogs, as she had a traumatic experience with one as a child. Just having our old dogs, Rosie and Charmin, who were the sweetest dogs in the world, and also having our current dog, Frisket, who's also sweet, but very high strung, is a lot for her. She doesn't like them. We would need well-behaved dogs who wouldn't harm her.

Bruce (yes, we named him) was such a dog, we felt. He was sweet, cuddly, and playful. While Kiri was pleading her case with our parents, Danielle, Laura and I got to play with him, and we got attached to him, too. He tried to eat Laura's blown glass necklace, though, and Danielle's hair. LOL. But when I had him, or when Kiri had him, he was calm, and relaxed. Especially with her. We think even the pet store employee that was working with us, wanted us to take him home. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be, and Kiri couldn't get approved affordable financing. Before giving him back to the employee, Kiri gave him a final hug, and kiss, and he kissed her right back. Totally broke my heart. :'-(

That's the problem with going the pet store route. They're all so expensive, especially when there are other dogs that require loving homes in kennels (which is where we got Rosie, and technically Charmin, who was in utero at the time). As we were leaving, poor little Bruce looked confused. He just didn't understand. We also ran into a woman who was buying supplies for her own three-year-old bull dog, and she gave Kiri lots of advice on where to get an English Bull Dog, and that they're not usually in kennels, but there are rescues out there.

Kiri has decided to print off a picture of Bruce to put in her God Box (Where she places prayers. I should really start doing this), and just continue to pray about it. I had a funny idea that Kiri and Bruce loved each other so much that they will be together one day. That'd be a kick in the head, I swear. I haven't seen her that attached to anything in a long time.

The rest of the weekend was pretty tame. We came home, played Scene It (Which I win every time, with my aunt ordering me to get a life upon completion), and Sunday, Kiri and I got bagels for everyone before she, Victor and I returned home.
 This morning, after breakfast and Doctor Who, I went down to my garden and finally planted my seedlings. Now, I just hope winter is finally over and they don't die. I want to plant more seeds, but I need more soil for my boxes. But this is how it looks now:

This morning, after breakfast and Doctor Who, I went down to my garden and finally planted my seedlings. Now, I just hope winter is finally over and they don't die. I want to plant more seeds, but I need more soil for my boxes. But this is how it looks now.

I have about five squash plants (Yellow and Zucchini), two cucumbers, five tomatoes, and two peppers. I have a container of carrots on the deck that'll probably bring down, and also want to plant lettuce, kale and beets. Anything that's good for juicing. :-)

That is my weekend. It was nice, relaxing, and full of puppies.

If you want to support a local animal rescue, I recommend searching for one. I've supported Taysia Blue SIberian Husky Rescue before (Apparently, earlier in the week, Petland had a siberian husky puppy, which could've been dangerous for me!), and have plans to also start supporting a German Shepherd Rescue, like The Missouri German Shepherd Rescue. Kiri was directed to The Nebraska Bull Dog Rescue, where she's been searching for  a pet to give a forever home.

Now that we've found out we can get dogs, if we take care of them, we want to clean up the kennel mom and dad built for Rosie and Charmin, and see what kind of dogs are out there. God will bring us our dogs when the time is right. Until then, I plan to support rescues, play with Frisket and Jane, and enjoy the animals I've been blessed with.

Oh, and happy belated anniversary! I'm about a week behind, but I wrote my first blog post on April 24, 2012! It's been an interesting year, and I'm glad to have documentation of it. I hope to be around for a long time to come, and I hope you'll all be there with me. If you want to check out my first introductory post, here it is.

And the cat that started it all:

Jane Austen

Monday, April 22, 2013

Red Lentil and Bacon Vegetable "Stoup."

I don't know how it is all over the rest of the country, but the midwest has been RAINY! We had a little bit of sunshine this past weekend, but for the most part, it's been wet, and last night, there was a lightning/thunder storm. It's almost May, and we haven't had pretty blossoms on trees yet. I hope they still come. It still looks like winter right now.

After a trip to OrangeLeaf with my mother, we came home to make real dinner. Since it's cold, we were thinking of soup. I looked at Pinterest for ideas for red lentils, as we had a jar of them (Tip, keep jars that hold spaghetti sauce, and after finishing the sauce, wash them and store grains, peas and lentils in them!). I pretty much just looked up how to cook lentils and went from there.

The finished Stoup.
I started with cooking down some bacon ends a pieces (Usually good for soups), which my mom fished out when they were getting too dark. From there, we sauteed a small onion, about three or four chopped celery stalks, two carrots and three garlic cloves (Chop them into small pieces in a mini food processor). Add two quarts of chicken stalk, and lentils. Cook for 20 minutes and ad bacon back to pot. Finish with homemade pumpernickel croutons and chopped Kale.

Toasted in butter/olive oil for yummy crunch!
So so good!


  • Bacon ends and pieces, probably about four ounces
  • 1 small onion
  • 3-4 ribs of celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1-2 quarts chicken or veggie stock
  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 leaves of kale, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices pumpernickel rye, chopped
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T olive oil

  1. Fry bacon in stock pot, remove when crispy. 
  2. While bacon is frying, chop all veggies except Tomatoes and Kale in food processor until uniform.
  3. When you remove the bacon, add veggies to bacon grease and stir. When veggies get soft/translucent, add cumin, salt and pepper.
  4. Add 1 quart of chicken/veggie stock and bring to rolling boil. When boiling, add lentils and set timer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. If too thick, add additional stock to thin. Add bacon and Kale when finished.
  5. While soup is cooking, melt butter with olive oil and toast pumpernickel bread into croutons. Top with finished "Stoup." Stoup, coined by Rachael Ray, is a combination soup/stew. Really thick, but still soupy.
Like So:

Now I'm stuffed, after having two bowls. I think this made about eight servings (We used two whole quarts of stock). You could also make this vegetarian by omitting the bacon, and sauteeing veggies in olive oil, and using veggie stock instead of chicken. 

I am so stuffed right now, it's not even funny. But extremely happy about it. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Annette Funicello 1942-2013

I'm a couple days late in this post, but I honestly think I needed to collect my thoughts before getting a blog together. When I was a kid, my dad raised my sister and I on older movies and TV Shows. One of my favorite movies was Babes in Toyland, Starring Annette Funicello as Mary Quite Contrary and Ray Bolger (the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz) as Mr. Barnaby, her antagonist. I loved the story, the music, the dancing. Everything. The following video is Mary (Funicello) and her fiance, Tom-Tom The Piper's Son (Tommy Sands). Wonderful.

More than anyone, she was Walt Disney's Sweetheart. He discovered her, cast her in his new children's show, and she would have done anything for him. She loved him like an Uncle (and he insisted the Mousketeers call him that), and even kept up her Disney reputation by being sweet and modest (where are THOSE Disney kids? Seriously?!).

One of my favorite Beach movies that she was also famous for was Beach Blanket Bingo. I hadn't seen it in a long time, but a few years back, my friend, Sam, and I decided to have a Gidget marathon, and we wanted more beach movies after we finished Gidget Goes Hawaiian, so I broke out the BBB laser disc. BBB is as trippy a movie as I've ever seen. It's just so random! Apparently, there are several different storylines because most people don't pay attention to the whole move at the Drive In (wink wink). I'm not a surfer, but these guys made it look like fun. It also co-starred Deborah Whalley, who also worked with Disney in Summer Magic. She tried to steal Frankie from Annette, to catch the eye of her boss. Or something to that effect.

This next song, from the same movie, is just catchy.

And here's a video from her wedding. She's interviewed around 2:00.

Truth be told, I was already bummed on Monday due to the death of Margaret Thatcher, but the passing of Annette makes Monday all the more sad. I loved her. She was America's Sweetheart.

As a final tribute, I challenge my readers to check out her Biopic, based on her Autobiography, A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes (1995). As my gift to you, I found part one on YouTube. I'm sure the rest is there, too. I adore this movie.

Frankly, aside from the Multiple Sclerosis thing, she had the life I wanted. Discovered by THE Walt Disney at 12, and became a worldwide sensation. I love Disney. Would've loved to have been a Mouseketeer.

Annette, for dreamers everywhere, I just wanted to say, Thank You.