Monday, October 30, 2017

Monday Morning Pick Me Up: Delicious Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings

Who doesn’t love food?  You don’t have to be a foodie, but good food is good times.  A cool fall Monday morning is always made better when you know that there’s some delicious food waiting for you at home.  This is why I love my slow cooker.  Even on Monday nights, which are always crazy for my family with Girlie and Boyo’s simultaneous activities.  Yes, that’s right, they both have activities at the exact same time.  Thank goodness for supportive, involved grandparents!

Today’s pick me up isn’t a poem, it’s a recipe, along with another little glimpse into my life.  I love to cook.  I’m pretty good at it too, if you believe my family.  Now, I’m no food blogger, so you’re not going to get step by step pictures, but I’ll take you through my process.  Given that it’s a slow cooker, it’s pretty easy:

  1. Throw most of the ingredients in before work. Even before coffee. 
  2. Turn on the slow cooker.  
  3. Go to work. (And get coffee) 
  4. Come home.  
  5. Add the final ingredient.  
  6. Help the kids get changed for their sports.  
  7. Eat delicious food.

I realize that it takes 7 steps, but you have to admit, they’re pretty easy steps.  I have confidence that you can handle them.  Feel free to adjust the steps where I go do other stuff while the food cooks to whatever activity you prefer.  You could go shopping instead of going to work, binge something on Netflix, or watch an afternoon of football. It’s your call.  Basically, go do something for a few hours the first time, then go do something for about a half an hour after the final ingredient goes in.  I trust you to find something worthwhile.

This recipe is very forgiving.  Sometimes I add other veggies.  Over the summer I like to use a dozen ears of fresh local corn.  I’ve got the basics below, but please tweak it as you see fit, and if you create a masterpiece, let us know what you did differently!  I’d love to make a new and improved version of a family favorite.

Chicken & Dumplings
-4 Chicken Breasts
-2 15 oz cans Cream of Chicken Soup
-2 15 oz cans Chicken Broth (or water)
-1 15 oz can Creamed Corn
-1 15 oz can Sweet Corn
-1 tube refrigerated ready to bake biscuits/rolls

  1. Place all canned ingredients in slow cooker & stir until combined.
  2. Place chicken breasts on top of mixture
  3. Turn slow cooker on, cook on low for about 8 hours or high for about 4 hours
  4. Mix all ingredients, shredding the cooked chicken
  5. Shape biscuit/roll dough into half inch balls, toss into slow cooker and mix.  
  6. Cover & cook for another 30 mins on high, stirring once or twice.
  7. Serve and enjoy!  Watch out, it’s hot.

Chicken and Dumplings - This recipe is da bomb!!! :D  Tastes just like Mom used to make only much quicker and easier!!! I have actually made these and they are soooooo good!!! The Ultimate Comfort Food!
(Another option, but I'd add corn to this.)

Friday, October 27, 2017

Friday Free For All: Avoiding Politics


Awwww, isn’t the bunny so cute??  Welcome to what I do when politics gets overwhelming on social media.  Not only do I not follow politics, I actively avoid political discussion.  All you get is spin, and all too often is people trying to tear others down.  I prefer to lead a life full of positivity, and politics doesn’t really jive with that.  

So, when one or the other politician does something that everyone jumps all over, my social media feeds are flooded with people bad mouthing the latest devil incarnate.  My response?  Slide on over to my Pinterest, browse my pin board on cute bunnies, choose whichever one strikes my fancy that day, and put it on my social media platforms.  I hope I can be one cute, bright spot in someone’s rage-fueled political-filled feed.

Thursday, October 26, 2017



Living in your brokenness
Is barely living at all
It is scraping by
It is eking out life
On its most basic level.

Fractured bits of existence,
Scattered here and there--
Fragments of your former self--
Litter the floor.

Those who try to approach
Do so at their peril,
Treading lightly
Amongst the shards
Of what once was you,
Lest they are pierced.

Your injury is contagious;
Fear of infection
Driving others away
Dreading a demolished life.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Writing Wednesday: Revision

I’m getting back into the groove of regular posting here, and I want to stick to the loose format I came up with before, so on Wednesdays I’ll be posting insights into my writing process and tips for other writers.  

When I post my poetry, the final product you read falls into two categories: brand spanking new or well aged.  Sometimes a fresh poem just feels so right that I’m ready to put it out there for the world to see the moment my pen leaves the page.  (Yes, most of my poetry starts out hand written.  But that’s for another Wednesday.)  There’s not really any rhyme or reason to it, and I can’t quantify the reasoning for which poems I share right away versus those I keep back.  Much of how I handle poetry is instinctive.  

The poems I keep back can go through several rounds of editing and revision before they make their way onto my blog.  Sometimes the original is very personal and I change some aspects to create some space between myself and a difficult topic. Sometimes when I revisit a poem, I’m in a different mood and I read it in a different light.  Suddenly the words just don’t fit right.  So, I scratch and I scribble until I find the right words that fit the right way with the right mood.  It’s quite a process, and a given poem might go through several rounds of aging before it’s fit for public consumption.

Sometimes, no matter how much I age a poem, it’s just bad.  Like, really bad.  I don’t trash poems, but there are a few on the “Do not post, EVER” list.  They stay in my journal as a learning experience.  They still have value to me, but they do not belong in the light of day.  Or the light of the internet.  Or anywhere other than that journal.  I don’t quite have it locked away in a vault, but sometimes it is tucked under my mattress.  


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Poetic Math

Just a quickie post today.  One of the math teachers I work with was in stitches over this, I thought you might like it too!  And yes, I did finally understand it.... once I read through the entire explanation twice.  I do not "math" very well.


Monday, October 23, 2017

Monday Morning Pick Me Up... Kisses!

Last night I dreamt of your kisses
Slow and soft and sweet
lingering and lounging
relaxed in love
happy in heart
My eyes full of you and your smile
gentle and slight and mine
Restful in your arms
At peace in your heart

Who isn't happier after a kiss??  Well, I guess it depends on who's kissing you.  If Aunt Edna's mustache is really coming in, that might not be an uplifting kiss.  HOWEVER, I think it's safe to say that most kisses are mutually enjoyable.  I usually wind up smiling like a loon after a kiss.  If it's from my parents, my kids, my boyfriend, it all makes me happy.  I love feeling loved. When I can't get a kiss in real life, I'll take one from dreamland.  That will tide me over.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Coffee Date


She cooly sips the smooth coffee
Held in slightly trembling hands
Not daring to put down the cup
Lest he sees her shaking

For now, She holds his gaze
Firmly with her own
Locked in a shared grin
Mirrored on both their faces

As she empties her cup
The last few drops escape
Dashing into her mouth
She briefly breaks contact
Retreating into her own thoughts
For a moment

She takes a deep breath
It catches in her throat
As their eyes question.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

A Blowout Win

A lovely young lady in my life has had a rough time of it.  She came from a very unhappy home, and she continued on to an abusive marriage.  She had gone from bad to worse.  Through the help of some very supportive friends who became her chosen family, she was able to disentangle herself from that former life.  It was a process of separation, though, and the path towards independence was far from straight.

Towards the end of the end of that journey, she faced a final hurdle with her abusive husband.  This is around the time I met her.  I was witness to her fortitude, and it was truly awesome to behold.  It was clear the man had no idea the depth of strength she has built up through the tumult.  She was finally at the point where she had faith enough in herself to stand up to him, and it was clear to her and to those around her that he was outmatched and outclassed.  

Not long after this ordeal, I was experimenting with writing from others’ points of view.  I’ve found that a great way to expand my own emotional understanding is to try to not only see things from the eyes of others but to do my best to understand their feelings as well.  I decided to take a shot at writing about my friend’s final fight with her former spouse.  I didn’t show it to her for a long time, but kept it to myself instead.  I recently showed her this piece, and she greatly appreciated it.  She said that, while it’s not exactly what she was feeling, it fit the situation fairly well. With her blessing, I’m sharing it with you below.

Prize Fighter

I am one word.
One match.
One single drop
On a still pond.

But my reach is wide,
It's deep,
And I will seep
Into every crack.

Each crevice I find,
Tiny chink in the male,
I'll exploit to the last.
I will not fail.

I am a tempest
In a teacup,
A maelstrom.
Formerly a marionette.

I was sweet
And so pliable,
But I've cut my strings
And learned to dance

To my own tune,
My own rhythm.
You can't hope to hear my drum
Nor catch its beat

On I'll go
Leaving you in my dust.
So far behind.
So full of rust.

Such a good tin soldier.
Marching on and on,
Never stopping to think,
Ne'er a wish for a brain.

Fight your fight.
I've already won.
I’ve collected my laurels,
I’ve cashed in my prize.

Fight on if you wish,
But know this:
I have already won.
All your effort
Is for naught.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Why is Friday the 13th Considered Unlucky??

Happy Friday the 13th!!  I am one of the least superstitious people you’ll ever meet, so instead of being scared of this day, I instead choose find the happy things happening.  Sometimes I also spend my time being amused at the superstitious concern of others.  I have good reason to discount the supposedly negative aspects of this dreaded day.  My first child was born happy and healthy on a Friday the 13th!

Yes, folks, the slightly disturbed mind has procreated… not just once, but twice!  I’ve got a boy and a girl, and I am bringing them up to be just as kooky as me.  Maybe even more so!  Girlie is in fourth grade, Boyo is in first grade.  

Girlie is a writer too.  One of her favorite things to do is to staple a bunch of papers together and make her own books.  She comes up with the most creative names for her characters.  All of her girls have beautiful names, and I’m sure some day I’ll have grandchildren with the loveliest names in their classes.  Her boy names don’t have quite the same creative flair to them, but I’ve always found boys names difficult to choose as well.  It took forever to choose Boyo’s name.

Boyo is a little techie.  He’s a video game lover.  He doesn’t just love to play them, though. He loves to research them.  Any time he’s on his tablet, it’s a toss up as to whether he’s actually playing a game or watching a video about new and better ways to play that game.  His greatest wish is that I would let him spend all of his time on his tablet.  His greatest wish has no hope of coming true!

So, there’s your little bit about my littles.  I may give you a bit more about them, but I feel very strongly that their privacy should be respected.  I limit their time and activities online, trying to balance digital independence and knowledge with safety.  It’s a tough row to hoe, but mama’s gotta do what mama’s gotta do!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Glimpse Into My Day Job

Welcome back!  My previous post was a celebration of my recommitment to my blog. Who doesn’t want to celebrate with yummy dessert? In recommitting to my blog, I’m expanding my scope.  I’ll be letting you in on different aspects of my life.  Mind you, you’re not getting an all access pass, just a glimpse here and there.  The more you know me, the better you can relate to my writing.  I’ll probably include some self-analysis with some of my poems as well.

Today’s glimpse involves my job.  I love my job because it is full of challenges and is tremendously rewarding.  I get to make a profound difference in the life of a sophomore who goes to the school where I work.  Austin is a fifteen year old boy who has been diagnosed with autism.  He’s a bright kid, but he misses a lot of social cues.  This interferes with his relationships with peers and with teachers as well.  This is where I step in.

A huge part of my job is acting as Austin’s social interpreter.  I work in both directions: I help him understand others, and I help others understand him.  Austin really struggles to pick up on the humor of others.  Before he gets upset with the joker, I swoop in and let him know that they’re trying to have fun with him, not at his expense.  When Austin is responding to classmates, I help keep him in check without taking his own jokes so far that he hurts others’ feelings.

These interactions don’t always run smoothly.  Sometimes I have to think on my feet, and there are times when the kids--Austin included--outpace me! I never worry that my work day will be boring or monotonous.  Every day I learn more about how to better help Austin, and plenty of days I learn how to be a better person myself.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Dessert Delight

I get a kick out of you,
And you, and you,
and you over there too!
You all are lovely
In your own ways
Special and captivating
If only for the moment
For the day
For the night
It feels so right
So nice
The desire
The attention
The clamoring

It’s not that I’m thirsty
Ok, perhaps slightly parched
Not that things have been
In perpetual dryness
But my drive for hydration
Is higher than most
I do have a thirst
That outpaces the rest

But don’t count me out
Just for my appetite, dears.
I’m hungry enough
To devour you all
And still have room
For a special