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Sweet and Sour Lady

Life is like a bright, beautiful, round lemon… Sometimes sweet. Sometimes sour.

Apple Butter

Apple Butter

A good friend of mine shared this recipe with me several years ago. Since then, I have changed it up a little but not much. Once I made it with pears which was delicious too but my heart and my tummy stay with apples.

I absolutely love giving this treat as a gift in the fall through Christmas. It’s perfect for teachers and adorable to add in a food basket. It’s perfect, that is, if I have any left. My husband devours it every time I make it. It truly is sweet and scrumptious. If you are an apple butter lover, you will never want the store bought stuff again. It simply can’t compare.

If you are aiming to have a sweet day. A spoonful of this gem will do the trick.

With Sweet Love!

J

 

Let me hear ya shout!

Nostalgia. Pride. Love…

Growing up in West Texas, I remember the smell, the emotion, the sounds of Friday Night Lights. Even the wind feels different in the stands and on the field during a football game.

I remember the first time I donned that Columbia blue and white cheerleading outfit and set foot out on the Greenwood field to cheer for my Rangers.

All those memories don’t even compare to the happiness that filled my heart watching my baby girl all dressed up and cheering at her very first game for the Lubbock Christian School Eagles.

She was good.  Really good.  No, she was great!

I hear parents saying they wish time would slow down.  I don’t feel that way. I love every season. I love the new memories. The new milestones. But most of all, I love Brooke Elizabeth Taylor.

Let me hear ya shout, “Brooke!”

 

Beans, beans, the wonderful fruit.

Pinto Beans

A bowl of beans soaking beside the sink at night was a common scene when I was growing up.  I knew the beans would simmer in a great big pot the next morning. I would sample them throughout the day, wondering what else would be served with them. Honestly, it didn’t matter if it was just cornbread or if we were going to have a huge spread; the beans were going to steal the show.

Now, I love to cook a big pot of beans as well.  It reminds of me of my childhood. I can still hear my family chanting the famous beans song. And yes, I taught my kids the same little ditty when they were young.

Once I finish cooking a fresh pot of beans, I divide them up into single servings and freeze them.  I love having fresh black beans or pinto beans to use in recipes or as a side dish.

Personally, I think canned beans are gross.  Just what exactly is put into the beans to make that gel substance that coats the can? When I’m in a pinch and need beans, it takes me a minute to get them good and rinsed.

So, let me share a few meals that I add pinto means to:

First and foremost ~  Ham, beans and cornbread. It’s a Southern thing, I think.

A good, cheesy tortilla with fresh pinto beans just can’t be beat, especially if you are a struggling college student. I’m talking pennies for a meal that will fill you to your core. I’m speaking from experience here.

I also use pinto beans in my Chicken Tortilla Soup as well as my Chili.  No kidney beans in this house.

I use black beans for almost everything else ~

Beef Taco Soup, Beef Mexican Casserole, Mexican Pile On and as a side or topping to my Sour Cream Green Chili Chicken Enchilada Casserole.

I love beans. They are magical. They are wonderful fruit. The more I eat, the more I toot…

my horn about them.

Enjoy~ The Sweet and Sour Lady

 

The “All Clear”

Grant Released 2x3 w strike.jpg

It’s a day for celebration in the Taylor Household.

Almost a year ago, Grant got sick. It started with a cold, then moved on to strep. He had stomach pains as well. This went on for several months. That overwhelming “Mommy sense” came over me, and I decided to request a round of labs to be drawn to see if there was an underlying cause creating a reason for him not to heal.

When the results came in, we discovered that Grant was hypoglycemic and very anemic. The cause for his stomach pains was still in question.

As we began a whole new learning curve trying to figure out how to maintain his blood sugar, we also began juggling tests, more tests, doctor appointments and more doctor appointments.

Finally, answers…

Grant has now been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease.  Another learning curve for us.

Although he has a new diagnosis (along with asthma, hypoglycemia, and Asperger’s) , he has been officially given the “all clear” and released from hematology at the Texas Tech Southwest Cancer Center. My heart goes out to all of the children I saw during our visits at the clinic. They have more strength than I do, that’s for sure.

Actually, so does Grant.  He’s an excellent patient. He’s an excellent young man.

Thank you, God, for Grant, and thank you, God, for the “all clear.”

Mornings

I have to say, my favorite things about mornings are my coffee and seeing the faces of my children.

Until they ask what’s for breakfast.

I do love to cook.  I enjoy feeding others and the entire “hospitality” thing.

But I don’t eat breakfast.  I drink my breakfast. Coffee only!

So, when my family asks what’s for breakfast, it is nice to have items ready in the freezer. Right now, I have these Creamy Dreamy Cinnamon Rolls that I made a few days ago. I have Sausage Balls that I made one evening, then stored away for a quick meal. Grant loves them. I also have huge Muffin Sandwiches that would make the McMuffin crawl back under the wax paper it came out of. There are huge squares of our family’s favorite Breakfast Casserole, which I have to restock often. My kids love to grab a slice to heat up for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or an after school snack. Finally, I have Lemon Pancakes and Lemon Blueberry Pancakes, a new favorite around here.  The big fresh blueberries that I froze burst in your mouth with every bite.

I walk out to the garage with coffee in one hand and grab a delicious, healthy, home-made breakfast out of the freezer with the other hand, never missing a sip.

Some moms have to heat up their coffee in the microwave because mornings caught them off guard.  Not me. I heat up breakfast.

xo

The Sweet and Sour Lady

 

 

 

Fearless

So much insight and wisdom coming from a twelve year old boy. Faith conquers all fear.

One Busy Bee

Fearless is a book written by New York Times best-selling author Max Lucado, who is also known for writing children’s books. The purpose of the book is to help people stop worrying about being fired or worst-case scenarios and have faith in God. Specific examples given of these include fears of global calamity, being unimportant and worthless, and other wasteful fears that accomplish nothing. I think that the reason we fear is because we lack faith. However, we NEED to have faith in Christ and believe, for if we didn’t, we’d worry about every little thing. And

that’s just wasteful.

I agree in reviewing this book with the author, as people worry so much about such crazy things like a monster coming out of the closet that they buy a self-help book to deal with that if it ever happened, which it just couldn’t anyway. The reason I was even…

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Have you called your mother today? Day 152 of 152…If only…

Mother’s Day 2015.  The goal we set when we ventured on this journey of blogging after watching Julie and Julia 152 days ago.  I was to call her every day through Mother’s day 2015 which happened to be 152 days away from the day we made our “deal” if you will.

It gave each of us a goal but the main one was for Mommy to live to see Mother’s Day.  For us to share another one together.  As Mothers.  So today is day 152.  If I called her, she wouldn’t answer. She couldn’t.  I can still hear her voice though.  I have three saved messages on my voice mail.  One in December.  She is high spirited about the Christmas tree I picked out.  Another in January.  Her voice is a little weaker as she is telling me happy birthday. Another in February.  She can barely talk but she described in detail a dress that was stolen after the Oscars. Impressive considering her memory had failed her greatly.

I’ll never speak to her again after the evening of March 17, 2015.  We talked for quite a long time that evening.  She passed away two days later on the morning of March 19th.

It doesn’t seem real that she is no longer on this earth.  I keep waiting for a call from her or a chance to go visit her just one more time.

She was young.  Only sixty-six.

I didn’t expect the pain to be so deep. The way it impales my soul when I least expect it and the uncontrollable tears start to flow.

If only she knew how much I truly loved her.  If I only realized how much I truly loved her. I  should have cherished more, salvaged more, created more time, more memories, more forgiveness.

Mommy Hands

But the final four months of her life were such a gift to both of us. From the very minute Jim called to tell me she was in the hospital, my instincts kicked in to let go and simply go take care of her.

The feelings came back from long ago like when it was just the two of us for so many years. We were there for each other back then. In an instant, nothing had changed.

But why we waited so long I’ll never understand. Maybe our story will help others. Inspire others to let go of whatever is holding them back. Just be open for the plan God has for today.

Treasure it.

Get ready for the ride.

Hold on.

There may not be a tomorrow.

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

~Blessed by the memories

Jennifer

Have you called your mother today? Day 24 of 152…The Night of The Final Countdown

A Time For Everything    Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
A Time For Everything
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

The day started off difficult from the time her swollen, discolored feet hit the floor. Her oxygen levels were low. Her blood pressure was low. She was retaining fluid and struggling to breathe.

Her sense of humor however, was well intact and on the rise. She made that clear during the daily weight maintenance routine as she managed to scoot the scale across the kitchen floor several times to re-weigh until she found a weight that satisfied her. She let us know by stating, “There! That’s the way I like it.”

Seeing her boisterous personality made New Year’s Eve a happy day for all of us. Even if another possible trip to Christus St. Vincent was the ‘elephant in the room‘. The day was full of monitoring her levels and peaked with raising her oxygen tank at an all time high.

The countdown to the drop of the Waterford Crystal Ball in Times Square was ticking away on NBC’s Dick Clark‘s Rockin’ Eve (even though it is now hosted with Ryan Seacrest) and so were the hours where everyone would be awake to watch Mommy sleep through the night; counting the seconds between each long pause before the next breath.

I decided to sleep on the couch with her.  At one point she put her perfectly manicured hand on my leg while we both dozed off.  Memories again began to flutter through my head. I slept with my mother for pretty much the first ten to twelve years of my life.  It was just the two of us most of that time. I can remember staying up to watch which celebrity Johnny Carson would have on The Tonight Show or which guest animal would pee on him! I enjoyed laughing along with her at Carol Burnett‘s silly antics on The Carol Burnett Show which also came on way too late for me to be up.

Memories… I know my children and I are making memories each and every day but which ones will stand out most to them forty, fifty, sixty years down the road when the roles are reversed? When they are taking care of me or when they are telling my grand babies stories of their mother. The thoughts make me smile. Happy smiles. Sincere smiles. Smiles that make me GLOW because I know that I am allowing God’s light to shine through me for Him and they see that. I also know that my mother sees that during this time of hers.

We went through so many things together: My mother and I. It only seems fitting to be going through this together too. Literally. Together. On the same couch. Counting down the same seconds of 2014, together.

Making memories~

Jennifer

Have you called your mother today? Day 23 of 152… We Will Talk About This Later

Funny how the roles reverse.  I’ve mentioned this before as far as the caretaker. I have noticed as of late, behaviors seem to reverse as well. Stubbornness. Sassyness. Defiance. Denial. Or maybe that is just my family.

Just today I had to tell my mother not to take a shower until I got home.  Very similar to something I would say to my children.  Of course, she didn’t mind me and took two tumbles.  My brother, John, and my husband, David, were thankfully home with her.  They were able to help her afterward.

When I arrived they told me what had happened. I tried to talk to her about it. She wouldn’t even look me in the eye. She raised her hand and simply said, “we will talk about this later.”  In other words, she was too embarrassed and knew what she had done risked the safety of her health.

Like a child, she got caught and hoped I would forget and not be as difficult on her if we waited until later to talk about it.  The truth is. I was not mad at her.  I was worried she was hurt. I was frieghtened at what could have happened.  Just like she would be if the role were reversed.  Just like I would be if I was in the same situation with one of my children.

One thing I have learned for sure from this entire experience with my mother; do not wait until later.  There may not be a later.

Making memories~

Jennifer

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