Wordless Wednesdays

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fab Five Friday Foto(s) blah blah blah

I am blah today. Just plain old blah. Blah, blah, blah. Highlights of my day include:

1) Having a Skype date with my dear Sarah from across the pond.
2) Eating a Twix bar after dinner.
3) My 4-year-old dictated a story to me that made me laugh so hard I was weeping, snorting, and shedding mascara, all at the same time. Here it is (you may or may not find this amusing):

The Baby Dinosaur Who Never Grew Up

By David Matthew Johnson

Once upon a time, there was a baby dinosaur who never grew up. So the baby dinosaur decided to go to David’s house, and he saw millions of dollars. And David’s house was so big, he saw no one, and he decided to go for a walk. He saw that no one was with him, so he decided to run. And he caught up with his sisters and brothers and he was the father, and he saw his wife. This is the last part.


It gets better.

Well, he got across the street. He looked both ways, and then he crossed to the other. And then, he saw that no one was with him, so he started running again!

He decided to cross the street again, and it was very, very cold. Then he saw a hole and he fell into the hole and he hurt his head in the hole and he was upside-down falling. Then he decided that he was growing bigger and bigger and bigger. Then he saw another hole and he fell on his feet. And then he grew bigger. Then he decided no one was with him again, and he started running faster and faster and faster.

So he was with his son. He was with his family, and his family said,”No! Don’t ever do that!” “But I have to!” “Okay, you can do this.” Then they stayed on the sidewalk and looked both ways, and then they crossed the street. Then they were with David’s millions of dollars. And the husband said,”Sorry, I stole all your money.” And then he gave every one their money back. He still had lots of money. He said,” Bye Bye! Everything’s over!” The story is over.


SO he fell in another hole, and he got angry and he was very mad and he decided to get happy again, and meet his family. He saw David’s wife again, and then David said,”No, Baby Dinosaur, my girl’s name is not Mary. It’s Mary Johnson.” “Ohhhhh.” Then Baby Dinosaur said,”Mama Dinosaur, could you please give me a treat?” “Sure, sure,”said the Momma Dinosaur. And she gave him a treat. He ate it all up, and it was candy! He ate another treat and it was wonderful and it was corn.


“Story’s over!” said David.

Now can you see why there was much weeping, snorting, and shedding of mascara going on?

And now...

To wrap up a long week...

Here are your Fab Five Friday Foto(s).


Little Piano Man.

I may or may not have gotten carried away with my birthday present.

Ehh...maybe just a little.

Steve-O and I on my birthday date. 28, folks. 2-8.

There he is. The one and only author of "The Baby Dinosaur Who Never Grew Up." This is also the child who, when asked,"What is the sun?" he replied, very matter-of-factly, "It's the light of Jesus' foot!" Hilarity abounds with this child. Enjoy your holiday weekend, folks!! :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's Time to Talk About Oatmeal

It is a rainy, cold, wet spring day here in Wisconsin, but hey, what spring day in Wisconsin isn't rainy, cold, and wet? I've been feeling as though Wisconsin has been picked up and plopped down in the Seattle area these past couple of months, minus the mountains, Pike's Place Market, the Space Needle, the amazing food, the enormous trees, and overall wonderfulness of the Pacific Northwest. You know. All the stuff that makes the cold, wet, rainy-ness bearable; acceptable, even. But alas; we have not been somehow magically superimposed over Seattle, so we must grin and bear it, and continue to make soups, stews, chowders, bisques, homemade granola bars, and many, many batches of oatmeal to survive the semi-vast barrenness of southeast Wisconsin in the spring. North Carolina? Are you still there? Please tell me you're out there somewhere, because someday I shall return to your majestic green mountains, 70 degree weather in the spring, glaring absence of snow, and excruciatingly sweet tea, WHICH I happen to love with every fiber of my small being. Someday...someday. In the meantime, it's time. It's time to talk about...OATMEAL!!

Now, now; please try to contain your excitement. For what could be more exciting than pot full of boiled oats? YEAH. YUM. Okay.

May I share a deep, dark secret with you? Up until a year ago, I truly detested oatmeal. Despised it!! Loathed it! I was totally grossed out by it. My parents loved oatmeal. I can still remember on cold mornings, there it was. The largest saucepan my mom owned, filled almost to the brim with that..that STUFF. My dad would saunter in to the kitchen, lift the lid, and say,"All right; oatmeal! Mary! Did you have some oatmeal? Do you KNOW how good this stuff is for you?? I'm tellin' you; oatmeal is the ULTIMATE for healthy breakfast food! It's good for your heart...and it tastes good!" I would stare at him while he would wax eloquently about the virtues of oatmeal, and when he had decided it was time to stop talking about oatmeal and start eating it, I would slowly, very quietly slink out of the kitchen and wouldn't return until I was sure he had moved on to bigger and better things, like greasing a 53-foot trailer. Then, and only then would I return to eat my honey bunches of oats, glass of water, and a cup of tea in peace. I had my routine, and I liked it. I never understood why everyone else in my family seemed to be on somewhat amiable terms with oatmeal, and I couldn't even stand looking at it. I would see the saucepan on the stove, and think, 'Oh no. No. Please no.' And it wasn't as though my mom didn't prepare it correctly- she did, but I just couldn't manage the thick, somewhat lumpy texture. My parents tried to coax me into trying different toppings: brown sugar, milk, and even raisins, but nothing, I repeat, NOTHING, could induce me to consume that odious stuff. Blech. Blargh. Barf.

Fast forward 13 years...

One sunny, muggy day in August of 2009, I was visiting my dear friend Sarah, and she was so kind as to introduce me to Trader Joe's. Words cannot describe my passion for TJ's. The only thing I am even more passionate about is finding a way to convince the City of Kenosha to build themselves a Trader Joe's, and STAT, PEOPLE!! *ahem* Anyway, we were toodling along, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over various culinary delights, when Sarah did something that just about shocked me out of my sandals. She PICKED UP A BOX OF OATMEAL, and said,"You should try TJ's oatmeal- it's really good!"


Okay, time to confess something to my dearest girlhood friend of some 15-odd years. "Um, Sarah? I actually cannot stand oatmeal."

Sarah: "No way! Well, you should give it a shot sometime."

And we left it at that.

Fast forward nearly 2 years (yes, sometimes it takes me a long time to wrap my head around an idea)...

I was agonizing over the severe lack of breakfast options in the house one day. No bread. No cereal. No fruit. No yogurt. Ack! What's a girl to do?

And then...I saw it.

That large, cylindrical container of...*gasp*...OATS.

Hey. Ya need oats to make oatmeal raisin cookies, am I right?


That is the one and only reason I had oats in my house. For cookies, and cookies alone!! But I knew that it was time. Like every other culinary adventure, it must begin with actually trying. So try I did. The children were beginning to eat chunks out of the kitchen table, and so I began to make...OATMEAL. For the first time in my life, no less! And all the while, I was thinking incredibly deep thoughts, such as,"What can I add to this stuff to make it more...more...EDIBLE??" And then, it came to me. Milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, and dried wild blueberries. BAM BOOM, BABY. I scooped it. I ate it. I LOVED IT.

It truly was a revelation of epic proportions.

I liked oatmeal! In fact, I loved it! I was stunned beyond stunned, and the only thing that I found even more stunning was that my boys loved it. In fact, they even ask for it on a fairly regular basis. And now that I am older and wiser, I gladly oblige.

The Moral of This Story Is:

If it's been more than ten years since you last tried some kind of food (and you hated it), you owe it to yourself to give it one more honest try (Just make sure it's cooked right).

Those are my words of wisdom for tonight.

And here's my take on a Fairly Respectable Bowl of Oatmeal:

A Fairly Respectable Bowl of Oatmeal (Blueberry Cinnamon Oatmeal)

By Mary Jeanne Johnson, former gymnast and stable hand. True story!

After following the package instructions for cooking 2 servings of old-fashioned oats, remove from heat, and add:

1/4 cup milk (I use whole, but I love to buck the system)
2 heaping tablespoons of brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon (don't even THINK about skipping this step!!)
1 heaping 1/4 cup of dried wild blueberries (see note below)

Stir well, and spoon into bowls. Eat, be amazed, and enjoy! Serves 3 hungry boys, ages 4 and under. If they are not ravenous, Momma can usually steal a few spoonfuls of oatmeal. We usually double the recipe.

A Word on Dried Wild Blueberries: I have experimented with several different brands of dried
wild blueberries, and the most superior brand BY FAR is Trader Joe's dried wild blueberries. I have also found Mariani Premium dried wild blueberries to be quite good, and I use them quite a bit. One brand to stay far, far away from is Archer Farm's dried blueberries. Chalky. Not very sweet. Eww. Thus ends a Word on Dried Wild Blueberries.

There you have it, my friends! What's your "oatmeal"? Have you ever overcame a long, deep, dark, loathing of a particular food? Inquiring minds want to know!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Fotos- INSTAGRAM!!

It's Friday night. I really don't have much to say, other than Daniel, my towheaded angel of a 2.5 year old has a double ear infection and pneumonia. What am I doing wrong, folks? I clean my house regularly, I make healthy meals from scratch on a daily basis, my kids eat their fruits and veggies every day, I breastfed all of them (my apologies to the menfolk out there), made all of their baby food at home, and even started buying organic milk last year because I read way too many books and articles on how we're all poisoning our children on a daily basis. What am I doing wrong? I really want to know.

It's Friday night, and I really don't have much to say, other than I had a fantastic gyro tonight that was positively DROWNING in cucumber sauce (just the way I like it), I'm super thirsty, we're getting our family picture taken at church tomorrow (please Lord; just one decent photo), David Bowie's "China Girl" music video is on tv right now for some inexplicable reason, I've been simply dying to make granola bars, I'm obsessed with Instagram, I need to wash my brown headband that I always work out in, Steve is watching an infomercial on the "Baby Bullet" baby food maker, and I am just like WHOA. SO. TIRED.

So tonight, I think I'm just going to post my pics and try not to say much. Fair enough? Okay. But just one more little thing...all of these pictures were taken down by the lake. And I love them. Just thought I'd share that with you. Here we go:

And there you have it. A Friday Night Instagram Special! Have a good evening, folks; and an even better weekend!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fab Five Friday Foto(s) and a Great Injustice

I'm mad. Stinkin' mad. Hoppin' mad. Do you want to know why I'm stinkin', hoppin' mad? I'll tell you why. Because my last blog post (the one about the tote bags) has literally DISAPPEARED FROM THE FACE OF THE EARTH. Why, Blogger? I trusted you. This...this..this is what I call a GREAT INJUSTICE!! Get it together, Blogger; or else I'm going to have to get it together for you. Capiche?? Comprende? Okay.

*Deep, cleansing breath*

*Okay, 10 Deep, Cleansing Breaths*

And now...

Fab Five Friday Foto(s).


We got ourselves a new tree today! The old one, a most respectable Norwegian Maple, had succumbed to the deciduous equivalent of the Black Death and was sporting white spots all over its sad leaves. It was time. I was grieved, for I was quite attached to it. I am a tree hugger without actually being a tree hugger. Does that make any sense? I didn't think so. Anyway, it was quite a sight watching the old tree get chopped down and chopped up, and then having the entertainment of watching a most exuberant team of young men take apart my fence, back up a truck into the yard, plow an enormous hole in said yard, tear up the root system of the old tree, plant a new tree, and then clean up the entire colossal mess. Oh, and they put my fence back together. Wasn't that nice of them? It was greatly amusing watching them take turns jumping into the hole and chop away at the roots with a tremendous fervor. Men. I understand them so much more now that I have three boys of my own. Guys, you're all right.

On a completely different topic, we had the great pleasure of having a very special person from the beautiful state of North Carolina come and visit us for a spell. Allow me to introduce you to Ricky, my sister Megan's boyfriend. Ricky is...well, delightful. I heartily approve. Are they not the cutest couple known to mankind? I am firmly convinced that they are, and nobody can change my mind. So there. We took Ricky down to the lake, and during the 5-minute drive from our house to the lake, the temperature dropped 40 degrees. It. Was. BIZARRE! So we were freezing (especially Meg in her grey leggings and gold sandals), but we stuck it out for about half an hour, and then decided it was time to go to Culver's for lunch. SNACK PAK ENTHUSIASTS, UNITE!

Yes, I like Ricky. Not only did he play with my kids so I could make dinner, but both he and Megan cleaned up the kitchen after dinner. Now that's teamwork. He also plays a mean game of MarioKart (I will have my revenge someday), and he liked my cooking. BONUS.

Yep. Giddy.

One of my favorite and familiar little spots along the lake. Whenever I go to the lake, I think to myself,"You know, I kinda like it here. Kenosha, you're all right." Yes. Like the guys chopping up the roots with great gusto in a 4-foot crater in my backyard, Kenosha is quite all right. I'm not quite sure what that really means. At any rate, Happy Friday, ya'll!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Fab Five Friday Foto(s) Part 3.14

Okay. It's Friday night.

Tall glass of ice water? Check.

Headphones to block out the BANG BANG SHOOT SHOOT background of Steve's movie? Check.

Chapstick? Check. (Yes, I'm a chapstick freak. Tremendously so.)

Music that makes me feel as though I am strolling through the streets of Paris? Check. (Thank you, Pandora.)

Freshly uploaded pictures? Check.

A morbidly obese slice of freshly baked chocolate-chip banana bread? Check. Oh, wait; I already ate it. DANGIT.

All righty. I'm ready. Let's get to it, shall we?

Ahh, hyacinths. I love thee with a passion that knoweth no bounds...or something like that. I was pretty stoked about capturing a "Water Droplets on Pink Hyacinths" picture. Yay, me! I've always been under the impression that capturing water droplets on some form of plant life is a respectable accomplishment in the world of photography. I also have no idea what I'm talking about.

There's going to be a bit of a theme today. That theme is "Funky Unky Nate". Or rather, "My Brother Uncle Nate, the Girt Beastie". Only Nathan and I know what a Girt Beastie is, and we refer to each fondly as fellow Girt Beasties. The story is too long, complicated, boring, and immature to expound upon right now, but it involves playing massive amounts of Mario Brothers 3, finding the Magic Flute to skip to Level 9, eating Oke Doke popcorn, and making general nuisances of ourselves. Ahh, those were the days.

I must confess; I absolutely LOVE watching my brother interact with my boys. They adore him. Can you tell? :) The relationship between and uncle and his nephews is a unique thing to behold. And very, very heart-warming.

Yes. He is a bit of a beastie, but I am grateful that I actually have a relationship with my brother. He hates talking on the phone. I love this about him, because I understand so very well. We text. That is what we do.

Uncle Nate is also most obliging when it comes to taking family pictures for me. Do you know how difficult it is to get a decent family picture? I can practically see all of you nodding your heads in fervent agreement. Everybody needs an Uncle Nate to take a family picture once in a while. And because my precious wittle Lucas was napping during picture time...

Now doesn't that just put an instant smile on your face? Have a lovely weekend, everyone! Thanks for reading!