Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mmmm... Vegan cookies

I had a sweet tooth this afternoon, and Josh did too, so I made some Vegan cookies for an afternoon treat.  Hans and Bethany were very pleasantly surprised!  And since it's nearing Easter, I added on a little something to make them special.  How cute!

Thanks to Obachan for giving me this recipe years ago.  It is so easy, I have to pass it along again (with a small difference):


Cake Mix Cookies
(preheat oven to 350o)

1 box any cake mix
2 eggs or egg replacer (mixed per directions)
1/2 c. oil
Any desired add-ins:  chocolate chips, nuts, etc.

Mix together until it starts to form a ball of dough, then spoon or roll balls of dough onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350o for 10-12 minutes.  Delish!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

So many things going on!

So I should update everyone on a few things:

On March 7th, Josh was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa at Delaware Community College.  We are SO proud of him; he's doing well in school, working hard, and at the same time trying to start a Martial Arts Club for the college.  He's almost there!  And speaking of martial arts, last night (18th) at his Kosho class he was given the purple belt promotion on merit!  Why, you ask?  Because this weekend - at a seminar - he displayed a Kata that HE made, on his own, in front of several Sensei's and Masters.  They were so impressed, he was promoted - WOW!  Here's some pics...

                    His new belt...    

To wrap it up with Josh, his friends - Teron and Alex - invited him to an Eagle Scout celebration last weekend.  Josh played 'fashion designer' and they all looked so good, I had to get a picture.  I'm so grateful that Josh is finding friends who are smart, responsible, and have good morals/ethics.  It's nice to see!

Bethany has been working hard at school - she got A/B Honor roll (and we are going on a date soon) - and also hard at Lacrosse.  YEP!  From Field Hockey to Lacrosse, she's running another field, and constantly surprising me with her willingness to try new things.  Especially sports!

That's her in the dark outfit - it is March, after all!  This was their first practice, and she was doing great her first time out!

She also went to a birthday party for a girlfriend, and we took Vegan doughnuts so she could have a 'cake' thing.  They were a big hit, she had a great time, and she was the only one with me the next day for church (I had cantored the Sat. mass).  So she went with me to Michaels, and ... well, look what she did in the store!

The next day Hans and I finished making the doughnuts while Boo was at LAX practice.  They really were delicious, and disappeared in short order.


And since Hans got A/B Honor roll as well, he too wanted to go to the movies, so we saw Oz the Great and Powerful.  It was good, but I was disappointed since they clearly designed it to be seen in 3D, and I hate paying the extra for what is usually an unimpressive 3D experience.  But he liked it - and I made him take a picture before we went in.  He's the pig monster...

AND lastly, his artwork was in the County art festival.  Well, as he said:  "everybody's art is in the show", but I'm still proud!  Here's his... (bottom right)

I guess that catches us up.  Cody is working late now, and next week I should be starting the tear-down on the kitchen with our sub-contractors.  YES!!!!  Finally, an enclosed, WARM kitchen.  I'm so excited!

Love to all...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I can't believe I'm saying this...

...but I am SOOO excited about Pope Francis!  I have NEVER been excited about a Pope.  But Cody and I were just talking about his background, and for the first time since leaving NC, I feel hopeful for the Catholic Church.  Maybe we can be more than what we've become - maybe we can finally have a faith with the people, instead of holding our faith over the people.  I'll be praying for him.  Perhaps Pope Francis is God's way of leading us to a better, more understanding, compassionate church.  One where we finally stop worrying about other peoples 'sins' and shortcomings, and instead embrace one another in love.  A church where we lift each other up to be the best that God wants us to be, instead of labeling our shortcomings.  After all, there's only been one Man who stood sinless and perfect among us.  And it isn't any of us!

LOVE to all...

Thursday, March 7, 2013


So our policy with grades has always been this:

Good grades are your job - we don't pay for grades.  We DO, however, reward for good grades!  We have dates.  A/B honor roll with one (high) C lets you pick one:  lunch, a toy, or a movie.  A/B Honor roll gets you two choices, and all A's?  All three things!

Now that Josh is in college, he only gets grades at the end of each semester, so I tried to make the reward a good one for his first semester in college.  So (with the help of Groupon), he and I went to Madame Saito's Sushi making course!  It was really nice; he and I improved our skills, learned new terms and techniques, and shared some Plum wine.  Well, I shared some with him, not the other way around!  It was a great date, and something he can use when he visits Obachan again.

My first roll - Hosomaki (cucumber and wasabi).


Madame Saito teaches Josh how to fillet the salmon.


Love to all...  XOXOXO

Breakfast for mom...

This weekend Hans and Bethany had a "be good to Mommy" morning and made breakfast for me!  Everyone enjoyed it, but they made it especially for me;  Hans was in charge of the table and decorations (and supposedly had the idea), and Bethany had a recipe she wanted to try, so she made the food.  It was a Blueberry Shortcake recipe, which she made Vegan, and it was AWESOME!  Plus Hans made origami swans, with blue water for them to float on, and a couple of lotus flowers.  It was really lovely, and incredibly thoughtful!  The swans didn't make it - not enough crayon on them - but we fixed up a lotus flower really good, and it will float for a while.  Thank you, kiddos!

This was SO delicious - a restaurant quality breakfast treat.  We all loved it!

Man that boy is good at origami...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Something happy!

So a couple of funny items to brighten our day.  The first is for you, Mom.  (And Cindy, you'll appreciate it, too!)  The next is just funny - plumbers are the butt of so many jokes!  HAHAHAHA...

It's like a train wreck - you can't look away!


So, as far as travel, this was the worst experience ever.  We had hours of delays, bad weather, bad turbulence, and even a cancelled flight.  We finally got back home Tuesday, the 26th, and Hans was under the weather.  It was a stressful weekend, and I think the lack of sleep and motion sickness got to him as well.  (He got sick Tuesday evening, but that was it - I kept him home on Wed. to make sure, though).  Monday I took him to the Dr's, and overall he was fine (low grade fever), but I've been getting him to bed earlier and just getting back up to speed.  He's doing much better now!

Bethany was great - they were both troopers, and Monday night she got to have a suite at the hotel all to herself!  She LOVED it...  It was an overwhelming experience in general, but we got there and back safely, and I was grateful that I was there for Hans at the prayer gathering (at the wake), since he broke down during that (a little).

Overall, for me, this was an awful experience, one I will not ever repeat.  Cody was kind enough to let me buy last minute plane tickets for 3, hotel for the weekend, and a rental car, just so Bethany and Hans could be with their grandmother, dad, and family - to give and receive support during this time.  I wasn't told until AFTER we arrived, that - on his death bed - their grandpa still harbored such hate, venom, and a lack of forgiveness for me, that I wasn't even allowed to take the kids up to the door.  Tante Bridgette and Debbie were the only 2 people to acknowledge me on their own, and after the prayers at the wake I was told to leave.  (I made sure Hans and Bethany were okay, but since they were, I left quietly).  The kids' family - NO ONE - even looked at me at the funeral, and their grandmother didn't even acknowledge my presence.  NOT ONCE.  Not even to thank me for bringing her grandchildren to see her.

So, I've heard a few worse stories about families since then (and so I have other people to pray for who have it worse than me), but I am   D O N E.   Cody and I have paid for tickets for the kids in the past (because it was important that they see their other family), we've give the Schumachers financial support - LOTS - in the past (even when their own children wouldn't give them money), a fact they hid from 'grandpa' because he would be SO angry to know we gave them money...     And I'm just finished.  Having to listen to them talk about this kind, loving, forgiving man at the funeral:  who were they talking about?  Because the deceased man that had all these people coming to say goodbye had such a deep, poisonous hatred, that over TEN YEARS LATER people who had no business judging me were gossiping and hating me at a funeral!    Instead of supporting each other, the hate he left behind filled the rooms.  Ugh.  What sad hearts they must have; filling them with hatred for someone (me) they hardly know, who did nothing to them.  Seriously - John and I were married; no one else.  And Cody is perhaps the only person who really knows how bad that marriage was.  My marriage to John ended the day I brought Bethany home from the hospital, and a grown man - now a father - had left our home in such horrid disarray, I thought we'd been burglarized.  After months in a hospital, an emergency C-section, Bethany in NICU for a week, to come home to a house like that...  Anything left in me had broken then.  And 6 months of severe Post-partem depression after and one suicide attempt, and NO help from him?  He nailed the casket shut on our marriage.  So there's some insight into that.  I should have ended us some other way, but at that point I was struggling to hang on to my sanity, and care for everyone by myself.  Including John, who - if you remember - had broken his leg on a jump.  So I was caring for EVERYONE, and working 13 hours, plus weekends, and our asshole commander and first sgt. were NOT helping like they promised, they were making my life harder.  And no one helped me get through that.

Folks, I'm a sinner.  Have done some awful things in my life, and to others lives.  I have never said otherwise.  And I know my ex-father-in-law hated me, and that was fine.  It was a narrow-minded approach to things he didn't understand, but I didn't care.  But to see that infect others?  <shaking head>  That is so sad.  All the horrible things I've done in my life, all the horrible things done to me, all those experiences...  they have made me who I am today.  And I try - everyday - to be a better person.  To try my best not to judge.  To struggle to be understanding and caring of others needs.  To teach my children to WAIT, WAIT, WAIT for the right person.  I am a poster child for "don't get married too soon", and if that means that my experiences will keep my children from making some of my crappy mistakes, then it was worth it.  And if they make some of the same mistakes?  I'll be here to help pick them up.  Because that's how I choose to be - the one who learns from her mistakes, tries her damnedest not to repeat them, and to make life a little better for the next person.

So the good news?  I'm working on forgiving them (my anger is tripping me up a little, but just a little - I'm almost over it), and getting my loving family back on track to improve the rest of the year.  It's been a rough year thus far, but we'll get better!  And just in time for the snow storm!

Love to all...    Seriously.  I'm sending lots of love out to everyone.

(how about some cute pics of the kids?)

The cute kangaroo outside of the Outback
at the Cincinnati airport.  She's sharing her

On the monorail after our cancelled flight.  Hans was being
a Pokemon or something...  But always cute!