Here on the frontier, There are falling leaves, Although my neighbors are all barbarions…And you? You are a thousand miles away. There are always two cups on my table.

Archive for February, 2011

What’s up With Toddler Birthday Parties

I should have known something was up when my sweetie Moonbeam daughter in law agreed that I should  take  granddaughter Starlite to Spencer Henry’s Birthday party.

I picked up a reluctant Starlite who is 2 1/2 years old.

“Don’t you want to go to Spencer Henry’s party?”


That was my first clue that this unexpected windfall of semi private time with Starlite was not going to be all that.

Apparently childrens parties are no longer held in said children’s homes. Now they are held in specialized amusement facilities. Complete with Cinderella castles, ball rooms, mini roller coasters and padded walls.

For $25 a head you get use of the gaming area, a party room with balloons, a sign, a completely set up room for the party and a number of numbed out young adults paid to make sure the young party goers don’t crack their tender skulls on any hard surface.

It’s a bargain.  I think.

So Starlite joined the melee and I joined the many parents and younger siblings and various other grandparents standing around in a stupefied group watching the youngsters go mad with excitement all of us thinking the same thing…

No, not what a ridiculous party for a 3 yr.  old.

We  were thinking, whose kid will vomit first

and will we have to clean it up???

I lucked out when Starkite needed a diaper change at cake time. (Thank you God).

I bypassed the changing room which only access was through an impressive gift shop and headed straight for the car.

I changed Starlite there and convinced her what an awesome party that was but  now we were going home.

Having a full social schedule, Starlite was aware of missing cake so we side stepped to a local bakery and bought a cupcake suitably decorated for a birthday.

That satisfied her.

Girl was tired and I was wondering. What’s the dealio with birthday parties and parents today. When my kids were growing up we sent cupcakes to school to share with classmates and that was it.

Maybe I’m behind the times.

What do you do for your kid’s birthday parties?

This is gmom and little Starlite wondering….what’s going on.


I’m spending My Saturday Night With A Handsome Man!

We are out shopping. The girls need a few skirts and Hoo needs socks and pjs.

It was only when leaving the store that we ran into…shall we say some issues.

Hoo spotted the children’s baby rides and was mesmerized.

Being the pushover Grandmom I am, I forked over the 75 cents for him to go on one.

Do you want to go one the ride Hoo? Mommy's on?

Hoo gets on the ride with his mama

But once the ride started moving. Hoo quickly changed his mind.

Saved by Auntie Rose

But it was time to go home.

“Swing me swing me.”

I's easier to walk when you can swing some of the time.

The long mall walk back to the parking lot.

Hoo decides a rest is in order.

Sometimes you just need to rest when you are walking a long ways.

Hoo sits his little self down to contemplate the meaning of all this, and then makes a surprise break for the snack machines.

We have a runner! We have a runner!

Hoo makes a break for the snack machines.

The best way to travel is with your loved ones and being carried ain't bad.

Hoo was ready to leave.

He had enough of the noise and excitement of shopping.

Like most men, and some women he like his computer and boy-toys.

I like them too. So gmom and Hoo chilled out with repeated viewings of…

  • Lalalala…..lalalala..
  • Elmo's Song! He wrote the music. He wrote the words. That's Elmo's song!!!

    Thie is gmom and Hoo singing along with Elmo till all hours of the night.

    Peace out kids.

    Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever

    These cookies get eaten really fast so make a double batch!

    1 cup butter
    1 cup light brown sugar
    2 eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 cups rolled oats
    1 cup chopped pecans
    1 cup raisins
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease cookie sheets.
    2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, stir into the creamed mixture. Finally, stir in the rolled oats,  chocolate chips, pecans and raisins. Drop by tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets.
    3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from baking sheets to cool on wire racks. 

    This is Hoo first thing in the morning. He can smell the cookies and keeps asking, "Cookie cookie?"

    This is Hoo scouting out the cookies. They are always up where I can't reach them, he thinks.

    But hope springs eternal. Reach Hoo-Bear!

    Mommy says no cookie until after breakfast. Drat!

    This is gmom and Hoo coming to you from rainin’  like the devil with thunderstorms and big winds Baltimore.

    Peace out kids.

    Make Your Own Mayonaise! In 5 Minutes.

    Mayonaise is used in so many dishes.

    Last night I was cooking for my troops and I ran out of mayonaise.

    Luckily from our time living overseas when getting simple foods like mayonaise was a luxury I learned how to make it.

    In my ” pampered” American life I haven’t bothered to make it in a while but last night I did.

    I forgot how easy it is!

    Even better how much money you save by making it on your own!

    And!!!! It tastes really good!

    All you need for one quart of mayo is:


    5 Large egg yolks

    – 6 teaspoons of lemon juice

    – 3 1/2 cups of vegetable oil

    – 2 tablespoons of sugar

    – 1 tablespoon of salt

    – 1 teaspoon of garlic or onion powder (or both)



    In a food processor or a Kitchenaid put your egg yolks and lemon juice.

    Mix for a few seconds and let sit for a minute.

    (The acid will pickle any germ or bacteria in the egg yolk. Using raw eggs always carries a slight risk of bacteria, letting it pickle reducing this risk.)

    Turn on the food processor and very slowly begin adding in the oil in a very thin stream.

    When you have added in half the oil, pause to add in your sugar and spice.

    Finish adding in the oil. Remember to continue to do so very slowly.

    You did it!

    Now transfer the mayonaise into a clean container and refrigerate.

    It’s an easy way to save money and cut all the additives out of this kitchen staple.


    This is gmom cooking up in the kitchen today wishing all you bloggers out there a happy day.

    Peace out.

    Bullies: How Did I Get This Mean

    The Incredible Hulk #1 (May 1962). Cover art b...

    I Heart Hulk

    When I was a child I grew up in the safe streets of New  England.

    When I got married I lived overseas and became used to being protected by the men in the community and a lot of military in the streets.

    When we relocated  to the states, we lived in the haven of the midwest for a number of years.

    Towns where folks didn’t even lock their doors at night.

    Moving to Maryland has been a culture shock.

    Unlike Minnesota where you can say, “Hello good morning” to anyone you happen to see,

    in Maryland you keep your eyes forward and a curt nod means you are packin’ heat.

    Crime is rampant, seems like there is no respect for the law.

    But how did I, a nice, soft spoken middle-aged mom get so mean?


    It started with my husband  swaying toward my bed in the middle of the night.

    “Are you okay?”  I asked

    The man turns  and walks out of the room.

    Fear turns to cortisol and fills your mouth with battery  acid when you realize your home has been violated.

    That the man in your bedroom is not, in fact, your husband.

    My  heart pounds in my ears,  I distantly hear our front door open and close.

    “Someone is in the house, someone is in the house!!!”

    Someone had broken into our home!

    He took our keys and a camera.

    (We have children not belongings.)

    Most frightening was  he had gone into our 6 children’s bedrooms.

    We hired an alarm company to come and turn our home into Fort Knox.

    Every screen now armed, every door with a scary alarm voice warning intruders police were coming.

    But I was still afraid.

    Trembling at every sound I couldn’t identify.

    Afraid to go out after dark.

    Few months after the break in…

    I was walking 2 of my babies into a shopping mall when a stranger altered his path to cross ours.

    “The Hulk” inside me just beginning to take root.

    I scream ,  “You better keep walking mister or I will hurt you!”

    (Course I didn’t have a way to hurt anybody and I had 2 children with me but it worked!)

    He cut me a wide berth.

    What’s happening to me? Where did that scream come from?

    Was I now the bully?

    Some change was going on deep down in the tangled mess of my DNA.

    Mean was taking root.

    From then on, if anyone tried to take advantage of me or  mine I let the Hulk out.

    I learned the distance between being bullied and being the bully is really quite small.

    You can cross the line from one to the next without even realizing you are on the other side.

    Years later.

    I got attacked again just outside my house.

    Physically assaulted.

    Fellow caught me unaware and had me on the ground before I knew what was happening.

    After that episode I was not only mean I was pissed.

    My DNA stepped up in transformation.

    Like The Incredible Hulk I felt the change deep down on a cellular level and spread out like wildfire.

    Maryland has groomed this nice woman to not let herself get bullied no more.

    I practiced my Hulk in front of the mirror, showing my angriest face and gesturing menacingly.

    “Oh no you don’t, not again, not to me!”


    I went to a used appliance store and bought a refrigerator.

    I paid to have it delivered,  set up and my old fridge taken away.

    2 black workman came to my house.

    They wouldn’t bring the fridge into the house or remove the old one unless the owner  authorised it.

    Never mind that I just paid for this service.

    I said no problem let me call the store and I will clear this up.

    The owner of the store gets on the phone and says no agreement was made claiming the charges on the contract were for bringing the fridge.

    The workmen, seeing “The Hulk” rising up said aside to me,

    “Mrs. you don’t want to mess with him, oh no ma’am you don’t he crazy!”

    I  could see they were scared and I said so.

    “You are afraid of him, why are you afraid?”

    They shot each other a look.

    “Guys are you aware that slavery ended some 145 years ago?

    If this guy is threatening you there are people who can help you…”

    (couldn’t they see I was the Hulk?)

    Then their cell phone rang.

    It was the store owner, the men left in a hurry without another word, the fridge sitting in my driveway.

    I canceled my check to the store and waited.

    Few days later the furious owner calls threatening me that I better get in to the store because now I owe  him for the canceled check, and the fridge, and some other charge for his trouble.

    I yelled right back, “I have already called the district attorney’s office  and filed a complaint for breach of contract.

    I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and my son who is a federal criminal lawyer is just itching to do his momma a favor.

    You don’t know who you’re dealing with do you, I know what you’re all about with your men and I’ll see you in court and I’ll expose everything that’s going on in your shady business!!!”

    I am not sure what that last part was supposed to mean but it kind of fit in with my modus operandi.

    He never called again.

    In the end I sent the store a check for the cost of the refrigerator.

    (I’m nothing if not law-abiding.)   But that bad man store owner, intimidating his workers… he never even cashed the check!

    The point is  if people don’t know what you are capable of then you just might be worse than they are.

    When my brothers and sisters and I were kids we would joke that old people were mean.

    Like poor eyesight,weird odors and aching joints, old people were all mean and crotchety.

    I’m on the threshold myself now and I’m thinking…maybe not mean…maybe superheroes.

    Be sure to read this link to an article about staying safe in your own neighborhoods.

    This is gmom and family,

    peace out.

    The Meateater’s Side Dish: Steak and Peas

    For tonite’s dinner we are having moroccan chicken over basmati rice and steamed broccoli.


    Bart walks in, you know Bart, he is my 23 year old son who works the biofuel business with his dad.

    “Can’t we have some meat?”

    I hate to dissapoint my boys, especially one like him who works so hard.

    12-16 hour shifts driving one of the oil trucks through Maryland and DC sucking oil from restaurants during their dead night hours.

    It’s dirty work and the boy works as hard as his dad does.

    “Course there will be meat.”

    I have a chuck steak, only about a pound in the freeze but I know a dish everyone loves.

    Steak and Peas


    You will need:

    – 1 chuck steak cut into half inch pieces

    – 1/2 cup chopped onion

    – 1 bag frozen peas or the fresh equivalent

    – 1/2 cup chicken or beef stock

    – 2 teaspoons corn starch

    – 1 teaspoon garlic powder

    – 1 teaspoon seasonall or Lawry’s seasoning



    – In a large skillet fry up the steak for 5-7 minutes.

    – Add in the onion and continue frying for 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally.

    – Sprinkle on the garlic and seasonall.

    – Pour the peas into the skillet and stir. When peas are heated through pour in the chicken stock.Turn the heat to low.

    – In a small cup mix corn starch with a small amount of water to form a thin paste.

    – Add the corn starch to the skillet and stir keeping the pan on a low heat.

    Serve warm.

    Moroccan Chicken Recipe

    This is a fantastic delicious recipe compliments of “The Chef”,

    my son who is a professional chef.

    It’s not as easy as most of my recipes but as I have told you so many times…cooking isn’t rocket science.

    You will need:

    – 1 chicken cut into 8 pieces

    – 2 onions sliced

    – 10 cloves of garlic

    – 3 tablespoon olive oil

    – 1 can black beans

    – 1 can chick peas

    – 3 tablespoons brown sugar

    -1 tablespoon cumin

    -1 tablespoon curry

    – 1 -2 teaspoon turmeric

    – 2 teaspoons paprika

    – 2 teaspoons ginger

    – salt and pepper to taste


    Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent.

    Add the black beans and the chick peas to the skillet.

    Keeping the skillet on a low heat add in all the spices and simmer for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

    Once the spices have been incorporated and have cooked a few minute removes the onion and bean mixture from the pan.

    Lay the pieces of chicken in the pan andd spoon the onions and beans over the top.

    Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake at 350 F for one and 1/4 hour.

    Serve the Moroccan chicken over rice.

    For a variation leave out the brown sugar or add it in small amounts according to your family’s taste.

    Enjoy WP bloggers.

    This is gmom coming to you from beautiful balmy Baltimore.

    Smells like Spring here today.

    How to Make Simple Sushi

    Sushi is so delicious and looks so impressive.

    You might think it’s difficult to make, but it’s not!

    Join Rose and gmom for a Valentines’s Day sushi buffet treat for the family.

    To make sushi you will need:


    1 1/2 cups sushi rice

    3 cups water

    Nori (those green sheets of seaweed)

    2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

    1 tablespoon salt

    1 tablespoon sugar

    Sushi grade salmon, tuna or yellowtail

    Your sushi stuffer such as:


    cucumber seeded and thinly sliced

    avocado seeded and sliced

    sweet potato baked and thinly sliced

    scallions are good as are mushrooms.


    We made the following sushi with just salmon,cucumber and avocado.

    Preparing the Rice


    Put the rice in a colander and run cold water over it until the water runs clear. This removes a lot of the starch that would make the rice sticky.

    Put the rice into a saucepan with 3 cups of water.

    Bring to a boil uncovered.

    Turn down to low heat, cover the pan, and let simmer for 15 minutes.

    Take off the stove and uncover.

    Put a tea towel over the pot and let the rice cool.

    In a small pan heat up the rice wine vinegar with the sugar and salt.

    When the solids are mostly dissolved pour over the now cooled rice and gently fold in.

    Your rice is ready to use!

    Take a sheet of nori and cut it in half.

    Keep a tall glass of water nearby to dip your hand and sharp knife into.

    Wet your hands and take a handful of rice and spread it on the half sheet of nori.

    Lay down a 1 foot length of plastic wrap and flip the nori rice side down on it.

    Arrange your sushi filling along the edge of the nori.

    Lifting the plastic wrap (as a helper)begin rolling the sushi squeezing the roll as you go.

    With a wet sharp knife cut the sushi into bite size portions.

    You can get fancy with your sushi as you gain confidence making a dragon roll with an overlapping layer of avocado on the outside of the roll.

    Don’t forget to serve your sushi with pickled ginger slices,wasabi and soy sauce.

    All are now readily available in most supermarkets.

    Have a great Valentines Day with your honey and save yourself some bucks by making your own sushi at home.

    This is gmom and Rose sending sushi love out to all the bloggers.

    p.s. for a slightly more complicated sushi recipe including the sushi sandwich go to my blog page

    Join Me In Wishing Young Rose Happy Birthday!

    One of the highlights of my life which I just don’t get enough of (being caught up as I am with baby boy Hoo and those wheels that need grease around here) is young lady Rose.

    Just 20.

    Having a birthday soon.

    Caught her getting her lunch together this morning.

    A nasty toaster biscuit with butter and jam.

    A sandwich with a protein patty…okay.

    Children don’t get much better then this little gal.

    Off to college and then work.

    Girl is all right.

    Join me in wishing young Rose an early happy birthday.

    Love you sweetpea.

    Like I used to sing to you when you fit in my lap.

    “Sometimes in the morning,

    when shadows are deep,

    I lie here beside you,

    just watching you sleep.

    And sometimes I wonder,

    What you’re dreaming of,

    My cup runneth over with love.”

    This is gmom wishing all the Wper’s out there a safe and happy superbowl weekend.

    Go Packers!

    Meatless Wednesday Fajitas

    Here is an easy fajita for all you busy mamas out there wantin’ to make something yummy and different and healthy for your families.

    Roughly chop up some tempeh or Gimme Lean.

    Fry it briefly to brown it a bit.

    Add in one large chopped onion.

    Add one can drained black beans

    and one can of corn

    2 teaspoons of garlic powder

    1 teaspoon of salt

    2 teaspoons of cumin 

    1/4 cup of ketchup

    Cook for 5 minutes over a low heat.

    Take 8 (8) inch tortillas and put 4 tablespoon of the mixture down the center


    Sprinkle a generous tablespoon of grated cheese over the mixture

    Fold over the tortilla edges and you are ready for dinner.

    I keep the tortillas covered  in the oven ready for the troops on a low heat to keep them from drying out.

    It is an easy and fast dinner.

    Enjoy WP kids

    From Cujo and gmom happy week!

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