Easy Recipes: Crockpot Cube Steak


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  • Family pack of cub steak
  • 2 cans (10.75 ounce size) cream of mushroom soup or 1 large family size
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 3/4 cup water (I did not use water)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on low all day.  The recipe calls for a 3/4 cup of water; however, I didn’t include the water.  This recipe makes a nice gravy and is best served with mashed potatoes.  I didn’t want to put the energy into mashed potatoes today, so I fixed a baked potato and a side salad.  You can also serve it over rice, noodles or with your favorite side dishes.  Enjoy. 

Christmas Carols and Their Meaning

 

Have you ever wondered what some of the phrases in Christmas Carols mean.  I’m in a festival mood, and was singing We Wish You A Merry Christmas. I got to the part where you sing Bring Me Some Figgy Pudding and a Cup of Good Cheer, and wondered what is Figgy Pudding.  I’ve been singing the song for years and had no idea what it is.  I have learned that it is basically a cake made from figs and walnuts. 

I wondered what other carols I had been singing for years and didn’t know what I was singing.  I found a few others.  Here we go:

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.  (a nostalgic desire)  

Away In A Manager – The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes
But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes
I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky.
And stay by my side and the morning is nigh,  (Near in time or place)

Deck the Halls with boughs of holly Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
‘Tis the season to be jolly Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Don we now our gay apparel  (Festive attire, party clothes)

Jingle Bells – Dashing through the snow On a one-horse open sleigh
Over the fields we go Laughing all the way. Bells on bob-tail ring  ( tail of a horse that has been braided.  It was also common to put bells on horses pulling carriages to warn pedestrians)

Over the river and through the woods Trot fast my dapple gray  (a type of horse)
Spring o’er the ground just like a hound For this is Christmas Day.

Honestly, I have been mumbling lyrics for years because I can’t get past the first verse on most of them unless I have the written words in front of me.  I have no idea why it suddenly dawned on me tonight that I didn’t know the meaning of some of the lyrics that I have been singing for years.  I do know that Christmas Carols make me happy and put me in a festive mood.  Happy Holidays!

 

Dreams Really Do Come True

                                                                     

  

Dreams really do come true.  My daughter has been a Tar Heel fan as far back as I can remember.  I purchased Tar Heel gear for her all through high school so she could show her love.  She has passed her love on to Xavier.  He has on his University of North Carolina colors, light blue and white shirt, and a smile bright enough to light up the sky as he stands in front of the NC Chapel Hill logo.  A big moment for a little boy. 


My daughter was given 4 tickets to see the Tar Heel basketball team play this pass week-end at the Dean Dome, which seats 21,750 fans.  That’s a huge stadium.  I don’t know who was happier, Xavier or Marisha.  My SIL, who is not a UNC fan, swallowed his pride and made arrangements to take the family and one of Xavier’s friends to Chapel Hill, NC for the week-end.  They had seats directly behind the team, 12 rows away.  How great is that.  To put the icing on the cake, the Tar Heels won 80-51.  Go Bighorn Rams. 

Wondering where the name Tar Heels comes from.  Here’s the history:  North Carolina settlements provided tar, pitch, and turpentine for the navy, in particular the British navy. It was used to paint the bottom of wooden British ships to seal them and to prevent damage to the hull from shipworms.  During the Civil War, it was stated that troops stuck to their ranks like they had tar on their heels. The nickname “Tar Heels” was born. 

This is a picture of Marisha, Xavier, and Xavier’s friend with Rameses the Tar Heel mascot.   Rameses first appeared at a pep rally before a football game against Virginia Military Institute in 1924.  The Bighorn Ram was officially adopted as the mascot and continues to cheer on the Tar Heels. 
Some well known graduates from UNC who went on to play pro ball are Rick Fox and Michael Jordan.  Rick Fox was married to one of my all time favorite singers, Vanessa Williams, and he turned out to be a great actor.  
Family is important and making memories with family is just as important for children.  This family event will live in Xavier’s memory.  He will always remember being at Dean Dome and all of its surroundings when he’s watching the Tar Heels play on TV.  He will always remember daddy making arrangements to take him and mommy to see their favorite NCAA team.  He will be able to look at these pictures and remember one of the most exciting activities ever with mommy, daddy and friend Prince.  I see a scrapbook of this trip in his future.     


ABCya


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ABCya!  ABCya is an educational site that we found for Xavier and he loves it.  He’s outgrown Nick Jr. so this site is the replacement.  The site has educational games and activities for Kindergartner’s through fifth grade, and has become the leader in on-line education for kids.  One of the great things about the site is that you don’t have to create a username or password to access it.  The site was created by teachers and it’s goal is simply to assist parents and children with education.       


The site has math and language arts as well as basic computer skills. Many of the kindergarten and first grade activities are equipped with sound to enhance understanding. You can found holiday activities in the grade sections as well. 

Xavier has become astute in navigating the site.  We use it primarily for spelling, math and occasionally game play.  The site makes learning fun.  There’s Bingo to help with spelling and math.  There’s an app for sight word recognition, learning the coins and how to tell time.  

ABCya.com has been featured by Apple, The New York Times, Disney Family Fun Magazine and Fox News and has received many awards.  I understand why.  I suggest that you introduce your child to this site.  They will love learning in a creative and fun way. 

                                                                    

Would You Have A One Night Stand?


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I had drinks with my girls over the week-end.  We always engage in interesting conversations during our gatherings and this week-end was no exception.   The single ladies debated whether they would have a one night stand or hook up.   Several said they would and several said they would not.  Wondering what my position was?  I said no regardless of whether a condom was used or not. 
As much as I enjoy sex, I was not that trusting of another person at this stage of my life.  Now don’t get me wrong, I believe that 2 consenting adults should do whatever turns them on.  I’m just not willing to put my life in the hands of someone for an organism.  I understand that dating as a single parent can be difficult and hooking up is an option, but personally I don’t believe that a one night stand would be satisfying. 

Twenty years ago my position may have been different as a single woman, but I’m just to afraid to take this kind of chance now.  Several of the single ladies believed that a condom would prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.  I stated that condoms were not 100%.  They do break at times, and it would be my luck that I would be the one that it would happen to. 

I’ve found that as I’ve gotten older and a little wiser, my outlook on life has changed.  My willingness to take chances has dwindled and I’m more cautious with who I socialize with.  The fact that I have a security clearance also plays a role in that.  My job requires a credit and background check, so it’s important that I come out squeaky clean and disease free.  

I also believe that my years as a teenage mother plays a role in my perspective.  I have learned to choose wisely or at least put some thought into my decision making.  This includes my sexual encounters.  Would you have a one night stand if you were single? 

Great Finds – Disney Princesses

I found this adorable 2 piece Disney Princess outfit on Zulily for Zarriah for $18.99.  It’s regularly $40.00.  Hard to believe my little preemie is wearing a 2T.  I think this outfit is adorable.  I’m going to have her wear it with a pair of white tights and ankle boots.  She loves the Disney Princesses, and this outfit is perfect for a birthday party or holiday gathering.  

 
                                                          

I also found this adorable Cinderella tee for $8.99 regularly $16.00.  It will look great with a pair of skinny jeans.  Yes, Zarriah has skinny jeans.  She wears them with motorcycle boots.  My little darling is a fashion icon at 2! 

                           
                                                       
         
I finished the shopping excursion with this adorable mini backpack.  It’s perfect for days out with mom or grandma.  It’s large enough to hold her pull-ups, wipes and sippy cup, but small enough for her to wear on her back.  She has a Mini Mouse backpack that we currently use for outings, so the Disney Princesses would make a nice addition.  You can find it on the Zulily site for $7.99 regularly $13.00. 

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I Love Lucy I Really Do


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 The I LOVE LUCY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, a one-hour special featuring two newly colorized back-to-back classic episodes of the 1950s series, will be broadcast Friday, Dec. 20 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

I Love Lucy I really do.  For all the I Love Lucy Fans, CBS will be showing back to back Christmas episodes of I Love Lucy December 20 at 8:00 pm.  The kicker, they will be in color.  I started watching I Love Lucy as a little girl with my mother.  I remember those days vividly.  She would pick that time to do her ironing.  Back in those days, everything was ironed.  Pillow cases, jeans, curtains everything.  Not only did she iron everything, she used a ringer washer to
do laundry and hang everything on a clothes line to dry. I remember removing towels, sheets and jeans that were frozen and stiff as boards.  They had to thaw out in the house, haha.  Can you imagine women doing that these days.

On set photo from "Cuban Pals" episode (1952).


                                                 
I watch reruns of Lucy on Saturday mornings on the Hallmark Channel.  I’m looking forward to watching the Christmas episodes, especially in color.  I think I’m fond of programs from that era because they come from a much calmer period of time.  There were shows like Mr. Ed, Green Acres and Petticoat Junction.  The big soap opera back than was Dark Shadows with Barnabas Collins.  Barnabas was a vampire.  I knew that two thing would happen at 4:00, Dark Shadows would on and mom would be starting dinner.   

Now that I’ve gotten older and I’m watching the reruns, I think Lucille Ball was a beautiful women, and I loved the clothing that she wore.  I wish they would show all the reruns in color.   The 60’s were a time when stay at home moms were glamorous.  That’s not what was going on in my home, but it was fun watching it on TV.  My mom worked hard, and she didn’t wear high heels or make-up when she was cleaning house and raising 7 children.  I remember my mom laughing and laughing when Lucy was on.  She would usually have me coloring, baking a cake in my Easy Bake Oven or playing with my paper dolls.

                                                        

I now understand the laughter from mom.  It seemed that life was much calmer during that time period and you could see the beauty and humor in things more clearly.  Lucille Ball was a talented woman.  I can also see why she fell in love with Desi Arnaz, such a handsome man, and great actor too. 

                                                                           

I have to  give side kicks, Fred and Ethel Mertz, their props.  They were a great addition to the show.  Although they were portrayed as older, William Frawley was frugal and Vivian Vance frumpy, they were a big part of the show’s success.  I’m looking to seeing these episodes in color, and for all the I Love Lucy fans out there, mark your calendar.                                    

Homemade Salsa Canning Recipe

gardening, canning, salsa recipes, fresh garden recipes

 

I decided to make a batch of salsa for the winter.  It was delicious.  This recipe can be eaten fresh or canned for later use.  I thought it would be a great dish during the holidays while watching movies or entertaining, and wanted to share my recipe.  Check out my other backyard vegetable gardening tips before you leave.

I used ingredients from my garden to make this batch, but you find the ingredients at your local grocery store or Farmer’s Market.  Farmer’s Markets in warmer climates are usually open during the holiday season and still have fresh produce.  Take advantage of the fresh produce if you’re lucky enough to have a farmer’s market near you.

Here’s what you need:

  • 5  – 6 lbs. tomatoes skinned and chopped  (I used whatever variety I had that was ripe.  I suggest allowing them to drain in a colander after chopping to get rid of some of the water).  Check out your local farmer’s market for fresh home grown tomatoes.  Roma and Amish Paste are great tomatoes to use for salsa.
  • 3 cups chopped onion (I used yellow, red and white from my garden)
  • 1 1/4 cup chopped peppers (You can use a combination of Belle Peppers. I like my salsa spicy so I used a combination of chili, jalapeno, and belle)
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons garlic
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.  I like mine chunky. If you don’t like yours chunky, cook it longer. Water batch for 15 minutes if your canner. This recipes makes about 8 pints of salsaIt can be served fresh, and it’s just as delicious too.  I couldn’t resist eating the salsa while I was trying to get it into the jars.  So, I only managed 7 pints.

Finally, grow your own tomatoes, peppers and onions next season.  Paint buckets or tubs on your patio, balcony or deck are great ways to grow tomatoes and peppers during the summer.  I will doing a post on how you can start your seed inside to give you a head start on the growing season and planting your tomatoes in a small growing area in March.  I hope you enjoyed my salsa canning recipe, and you will be putting up a few pints for the winter.

You may also like: How to Pickle Peppers and Heirloom Versus Hybrid Tomatoes

 

Virginia Beach Parade of Lights


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Virginia Beach Parade of Lights

Live in the Hampton Roads area?  If you do, please add the Virginia Beach Parade of Lights to your list holiday activities.  I’ve decided to make it annual trip for my family, it’s such a wonderful sight to see.   It’s a great family outing if you’re in the area and want to entertain the children for an hour or two.  They have more than 250 animated light displays and 100,000 plus visitors to view them annually.  




                                      parade of lights



It’s the only time of year that cars are allowed on the boardwalk.  You can order hot chocolate, popcorn and hot dogs for your trip or bring your own goodies to munch on while you watch the show.  Each car is provided a free CD of holiday music to get you in the mood as you cruise.  You can drive at your own pace and hop out for a picture or two.  The Parade of Lights is sponsored by McDonald’s.  Approximately 30,000 cars make the trip each year. There are displays to be enjoyed by everybody.  Drive slowly, you’ll find displays on both sides and in front of you. 



                                       things to do in Virginia Beach





You can find fish jumping out of the ocean, dinosaurs, Santa, soldiers and the list goes on.  I look forward to seeing these great displays, but most importantly I look forward to seeing my grandchildren in awe of the lights.  Isn’t that what Christmas is about?  The excitement and the looks on little faces.  We’ll be taking Zarriah for the first time this year.  She’s enjoying the lights on the Christmas tree, I’m sure she will enjoy the displays as well.  I’m getting excited myself.  I love bringing joy to my grandchildren.   





The lights will be on display until Wednesday, January 01, 2014.  The event has been named American Bus Association’s “Top 100 Events in North America”!  Our family likes to go on Christmas Eve if we have Santa’s cookies baked.  Otherwise, we head out Christmas evening.  Mark your calendar this year.  Your kids will love it.    


Kindle e-Book Review – The Prince’s Nanny


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I must be into romance this year.  I seem to be downloading quite a few romance novels on my Kindle.  The Prince’s Nanny is no exception.  Without giving too much away, Sabrina West, who is a nanny in her stepmother’s agency has been chosen for an assignment in Italy for the twin
daughters of the Prince of Savoy.
  The twins prove to be a handful, but Sabrina is determined to take on the challenge.  Little did she know that she would fall in love with the twins and their father, the Prince of Savoy.

To complicate matters, the Prince is engaged to another woman.  Sabrina struggles to remain professional and perform her duties as the children’s nanny, afterall nannies aren’t suppose to fall in love with their employers.     

The author does an excellent job of getting you absorbed in the beauty of the Prince’s Villa, the country side and fashion worn by the elite in Italy.   It’s a great read for those days that you just want to relax.  If you’re one of those who can’t sleep on the plane, download it before you head to the airport.  I downloaded it free on Amazon as a Prime Member, for those who don’t have a Prime Membership it’s $2.99.