Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Dinner: Amanda's Birthday and Snow in the South

Ashley and Amanda
This weekend we are celebrating my daughter's 24th birthday. On the day she was born, it snowed. While her birthday is still a few days away, we're celebrating today. This is one of my favorite pictures of a snow day back when she was about fourteen. Amanda and Ashley spent the day building an igloo, which we rarely get that much snow or the kind that you can build an igloo from.

Amanda's request for her birthday cake - strawberry cake and strawberry icing adorned with fresh strawberries. One of her favorite meals is meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese. I'm not sure how much of the regular crowd will be here. The roads have cleared off, but there is still danger of black ice, which many Southerners fear.

Yesterday the snow came in fast. It was the white, fluffy kind and even though it was predicted that there would be no accumulation, you had to wonder when everything was covered in 15 minutes and cars were slipping and sliding along the roads. We promptly cancelled our plans to see A Good Day to Die Hard and came home.

We spent the afternoon and evening catching up on shows from our DVR queue and watching movies. Since I promised Chuck an action movie, we watched Battleship - no Bruce Willis, but the Navy was saving our world against an alien invasion - lots of action, odd looking aliens, and many explosions.

The folks up North always laugh at how we shut everything down, but when you only get snow a couple of times a year, well we just don't have the equipment to maintain the roads and things down here. For most of the school age children, sadly they will be not be missing school tomorrow.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Dinner: Chocolate Chip Pie from Pinterest

My mother received this cookbook as a young bride back in 1965. She marked several favorite recipes. She also added her own on the blank pages. When she ran out of room, she began tucking handwritten recipes within the pages of the book. She even has one written on the back side of a calendar page for you might be a redneck if...

One thing I noticed going through the book is that she didn't always feel the need to title a recipe so you have to look at the ingredients to know what it is for.

On Friday night I went to book club. My friend Olivia was hosting. Everyone was raving about the food and she professed her pinterest addiction and how many of the recipes for the appetizer, dinner, and dessert came from there.

We had read Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo. Our meals usually try to have a theme from the book and since the story is about a four year old boy's trip to heaven, the food was things children would love: spaghetti and dessert. Children are always about the dessert. Olivia made chocolate chip pie and butterfingers pie.

As soon as I tasted the chocolate chip pie, I knew it would be great for Sunday dinner. My niece and nephew are sure to love it. So I popped over to pinterest and located the recipe for chocolate chip pie. The one thing I did realize when making the pie was that mine required more cooking time. I increased the time by 15 minutes.

And of course after finding the pie, I began looking for other possibilities for Sunday dinner offerings. I will be trying some new recipes in the coming weeks.

My Mom passed away in 2005. Searching for something new for Sunday dinner that everyone would like was always a passion of hers. I know she would have really loved pinterest. So for all of you out there searching for something new to prepare for your family, join us on pinterest.

You'll find my boards at:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Words That Changed My Life

There I was in my mid thirties and about to divorce my second husband. I was commiserating with my brother, Randall about the terrible turns my life had taken. He was going through a divorce too and I expected sympathy from my brother. I don't know why. If you've met my family, you know we're the most unsympathetic people on the family.

"Your life is the way it is because you choose for it to be," he said.

It took me a minute. Did he really just say that? I didn't choose to marry men with problems. I got upset and in true Thompson fashion, I masked it. I don't believe I even responded at the time.

But his words followed me around. I began to look at my past decisions and experiences. It didn't take me long to realize that he was exactly right. I chose to put myself in those situations. The only person I had control over was myself, and at that moment I realized I could change.

I began talking to my brother with a new awareness. He pointed out that I was always looking for a man to make me whole. I needed to be me and then find a man who would appreciate me for the woman I was rather than molding myself to be the woman he wanted.

Through that year of separation and then the divorce, I took time off from men, which is what you're supposed to do. That old saying the only way to get over a man is to find a new one is ridiculous - you'll find yourself right back in the same type of relationship even though you're with a different man.

I spent time with my family. I really got to know my mother and little did I know then but I would only have a few more precious years with her. I spent time with my kids. I went to school. I worked. And I got to know God as a God who loves me despite my past and my problems.

Your life is the way it is because you choose for it to be.

Those are the words that hurt, but they changed my life and I am so grateful to my wise little brother for telling me just like it was even though it hurt.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The End is Near

Today marks a milestone in my life - 12 years of dedication and hard work.

I will be attending the first session of the final class I must take to receive my BFA in Creative and Professional Writing. And can you believe that my final class is Astronomy. I can't help but laugh a little at that one.

The final science I needed for my GP classes just never fit in my schedule. I work full time and I had to balance my career with my school. I've been lucky. My employer and my supervisors have worked with me allowing me to adjust my schedule for my classes.

And while I wish my final class had more to do with my major than general education credits, I am delighted to be taking this class. I hope that I will see a few familiar faces, but since this will mostly be filled with freshmen and sophomores, probably not.

I arrived at this milestone thanks to Dear Abby and my good friend Lori.

I read a column in Dear Abby where a man was considering going to medical school, but at forty years old - he was facing eight years of education and would be forty-eight before becoming a doctor. Dear Abby's response: he was going to be forty-eight anyway so why not welcome forty-eight as a physician rather than a man with regrets.

Lori and I met because we were dating brothers. We still like to laugh that the only good thing that came out of those relationships was our friendship. Lori had been going to school for years, first at a community college and later at Converse College, a prestigious women's college in Spartanburg. She only had a few more classes to graduate. I was thirty-five at the time – not going to college was my biggest regret.

I started my first class the following January. My kids were still in school. There were many nights the three of us spent hours at the kitchen table studying for our classes. My kids are grown now. I am a grandmother. And this spring I will be a college graduate at forty-seven.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Review: Julie Kibler's Calling Me Home

Dorrie calls herself a "loser magnet," but she's met a man, who just might be a nice guy, which is unchartered territory for the thirty-something divorced single mother of two teenagers.

"For starters, he treats you well. But just as important is how he treats everyone else... Whenever he takes you to a movies, does he thank the ticket takers? When you're riding in his car, does he hog the road? Even after two weeks, or two months, is he respectful to his fellow man, no matter that person's position in relationship to him? In other words, does he still tip the waiter?" —Miss Isabelle

Miss Isabelle and Dorrie are an unlikely pair of friends. There is a sixty year age difference. Miss Isabelle is a genteel blue haired Southern belle and Dorrie is African American. They first met when Miss Isabelle came to the salon to have her hair done and found that her regular hairdresser had quit. Dorrie had an opening and that was the beginning of their friendship.

Miss Isabelle has a favor to ask of Dorrie. She wants Dorrie to drive her from Texas to Cincinnati, where she needs to take care of some things. It isn't until after Dorrie agrees that she finds out that they are going to a funeral.

With all those hours on the road to fill, the two women have nothing to do but talk. Isabelle's story is told threw her eyes as a young girl living in Shalerville, Kentucky in 1939. Isabelle is the youngest, the only daughter born to the town's doctor. Her mother is always concerned about the way things look and she is hard on Isabelle.

Isabelle falls in love with a boy her mother would never approve of.

Back at home, Dorrie's son is going through a difficult time. He won't talk to her, but Dorrie fears that history is about to repeat itself through the next generation. She fears that her son and his girlfriend are facing an unplanned pregnancy. What can Dorrie do? And then she is thinking about Teague, this new man who seems to be all she's ever wanted.

After seventy years of silence, Miss Isabelle has a secret she is finally ready to share.

The cover has blurbs from Wiley Cash, Barbara Delinsky, Diane Chamberlain, Patti Callahan Henry, Margaret Dilloway, and Sarah Jio - what an all star cast to praise a novel.

Calling Me Home keeps you guessing about the mysterious life of the young, Miss Isabelle. You'll long for more as you start the last chapter. And when you finish, you can't wait to tell your friends about it so you'll have somebody to talk to about it.

This month at She Reads, where there will be guest posts by the author, Julie Kibler. Check back during the month for several opportunities to win some really cool prizes, and at the end of the month we'll have an all day book club discussion about the novel.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday Dinner: Super Bowl Party

This is a first for the Sunday dinner crowd - a Super Bowl party. I'm not a big football fan, but my beau is. A couple of weeks ago he started asking everyone in the family if they wanted to come and watch the Super Bowl. Now my Dad and son are pretty big football fans. My sister-in-law and nephew are too, but as for the rest of us - not so much. I was surprised when everyone wanted to come. It just goes to show you that when you think you know your family, you can still be surprised.

We debated several ideas for tonight's menu and ultimately decided on meatball subs.

Meatballs are very easy to make. Ground beef, bread crumbs, an egg, garlic powder, and parsley. Form into ball shapes and bake at 350° until done. For the size meatballs I make, this turned out to be 25 minutes. I then added them to bottled marinara sauce and let it simmer on low in the crockpot.

So while half the family watched the Super Bowl - the other half played Quirkle, a fun board game which you try to match colors and shapes to obtain the most points. I lost by 1 point.

At half time my 10-year-old nephew, Ethan is loving it - the Ravens are his favorite team. I hope he made it home in time to see that 100+ yard touchdown.

Check back tomorrow when I'll be reviewing Julie Kibler's Calling Me Home, February's feature of the month for She Reads, where you'll find some great giveaways this month.