The Last Year She Is Not A Teenager

24 03 2009

Twelve.  A Dozen.  She has been alive 6 maple bars, 3 chocolate creme’s, a danish, an apple fritter and a lemon custard.

Every year we have been able to skip school on Maya’s birthday – but not this year…it was on a Saturday.  I was a bit overwhelmed by this.  Skipping school has always been a big part of the fun.  Here are the last three birthday’s of craziness……the 9th…..the 10th…..the 11th.  The day is always planned by the birthday girl, but this year we are saving to do something big later (in May probably) so too much expense was ruled out.  Between the two of us, though, I think we did a pretty good job of pulling together a great day.

I can’t believe it.  This is a bit late, but happy birthday Maya.  So far, you’re still a great kid! 

The birthday eve was spent at Maya’s favorite restaurant “Puerto Vallarta”.  We love this place.  This guy sitting by Maya is Jorge.  He is always there and treats us like family.  So much like family that much of the time he sits with us while we eat!  We love him. 


Not only do we get Jorge, but we get many of our amigos singing a birthday song! 


And you get to KEEP THE SOMBRERO!!!  Ay Caramba!


Of course, the morning of the actual birthday Maya awoke us all very early to open presents.  She didn’t get a ton of big stuff this year, but I did finally upgrade her to a real I-pod (nano, not the super fancy kind).  She has had a cheapo MP3 player for a really long time and kept such good care of it.  I warned her after she opened it that all other presents were complete fluff, but she didnt’ care.  She really loved the alien stuffed animals that I scored at Border’s for $1 a piece.


The Obama shirt that my sister sent down for no one in particular was recycled into a “fluff” gift (thanks Shannon!!).  She loves this shirt so much.  I would have kept it myself if it would have fit me.


After the gift opening extravaganza we had to break our fast – and what better to do it with than Virgin Mary french toast.  Delicious and inspired!  Yum!


I could probably get at least $3000.00 on eBay for each one of these babies….


Later that night we invited the neighborhood over for a party.  Maya never wants cake for her birthday – the last few years it has been lemon meringue pie, but this year she really wanted blueberry muffins.  Her wish is my command.


Hot blueberry muffins make candle wax melt very quickly, and flaming things start falling over.  She pointed instead of blew which I attribute to hormones.  Make good choices, Maya!


Eventually she saw the error of her ways and extinguished the fire hazards.  Then we all ate blueberry muffins and wax.  It was delicious.


It is completely exhausting to be twelve.




Liver-Sausage Pineapple. Need I Say More?

22 03 2009

Finally my crazy busy project at work is over.  No one died.  I still have a job.  And my blood pressure is slowly returning to normal.  I barely cried at all.

I have so many things to catch up with blog-wise – not the least of which is Maya’s twelfth birthday extravaganza two weeks ago.  I have to gather up a few more pictures for that one, so in the mean time why don’t you enjoy something from the Appetizers and Beverages section of Grandma’s cookbook.


The Liver-Sausage Pineapple may just spark some good conversation, it’s true….but I doubt it would put many at ease.  Just read the ingredients in the fine print above.



The End is Near! Prepare for Armegeddon!

3 03 2009

I have a parent’s meeting at the Junior High School tonight.

How the heck did that happen?  Junior High?  Yuck.

Maya will be fine.  She’s a great kid.  There’s already some independence seeking – but so far it’s honestly done.  It doesn’t make my job much easier….but oh, well.  That’s what I signed up for, right?  There is a very shiny silver lining to all this.  Completely on her own Maya signed up for Honors Math and Honors English. 

At least she still has her self confidence.

From Grandma. Real Good.

1 03 2009

I still have my Grandma Thelma’s old cookbook.  


It continues to be the one I go to if I want to roast a turkey or make an apple pie.  The good old recipes never change.  Some do, however….and thank God for that.  To illustrate my point, let’s flip to the “Jiffy Cooking” section, shall we?


Eggs in Hash Nests?  The Whole Meal Sandwich?  Sounds delightful!  What else?  What else?!!



Hmmm….a Big 20 Minute Supper sounds nice.  Pear Cheese?  Well, as they say, there’s many a trick between the can opener and dinner…. 

If you can’t see the small print in the green it says “Upper Left: Jiffy Mexican Dinner.  Upper Right:  Ham Platter.  Center:  Crown Roast Dinner.”  And this, dear friends is what it is referring to….


Be happy that the scan didn’t come out too great.  Basically the “Crown Roast” is spam cut into fingers, surrounding peeled new potatoes rolled in parsley.  Yuuuuummmmm.  Oh, not to mention the pineapple slices, strawberries, asparagus – and God knows what the hell is on the asparagus. 

I think, even in the housewife perfection of the 1950’s, that it would have been perfectly fine to say, “Oh sorry honey!  I lost track of time.  I almost made a ‘Crown Roast”, but decided on Pancakes instead!  How was your day?”

But I digress.  I love my Grandma’s cookbook.  I love it for the real recipes that always come out right, I love it for the horrid “Jiffy Cooking” section…but I love it most of all for the things that are stuffed into the pages of the cookbook.  There are numerous newspaper clippings of recipes, handwritten ones and even a few that are typed on her old manual typewriter….

This one is for Povitica…a wonderful sweet bread that she always made around Christmas time.  I made this once when the kids were little and it was a huge mess and didn’t look anything like Grandma’s wreath of perfection.   She was never a recipe thief and I find the originators of these recipes always cited.  With her blue ink pen she  thanks Molly Kambich for the recipe.


And this is a great one.  I loved pasties.  (You pronounce pasty with a short a sound like apple, not a long a sound like ape.)  Pasties were big in our area where we had huge numbers of Irish immigrants.  Apparently in 1983 these were “real good”, made 18 pasties but the pasty dough was only “OK”.   She cites a better dough, Carol Lee’s recipe, on the right. 


But even better, on the back of this clipping is the article “Blind Parents Rearing Five Normal Children!”  (exclamation point is my own)  Good God!  Her husband is also blind!!  Oh the humanity!  Please note that in the 11 years of their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Andrews never had to recieve financial assistance.  Wow.  We’ve come a long way baby.


All kidding aside, I love looking through this stuff.  It continues to yellow with age, so I have decided to try getting it scanned for posterity.  I don’t know if it will mean anything to anyone else, but seeing my Grandma’s handwriting and the way she always meticulously dates and cites things makes me nostalgic.  Her kitchen was always a wonderful place where I learned not only how to cook, but how to listen, how to tell stories, and how to value the little things. 

Real Good.