Wednesday, September 24, 2014

An Easy Crock Pot Recipe

This time of year I have to use my crock pot to prepare supper on both Tuesdays and Thursdays because we have cross country practice until 5:00 or 5:30, and then we have to drive home after that. I found this recipe over the weekend on My Plant Based Family Blog, (click here for the original recipe). Below is my version of the recipe---I increased the ingredients a little bit, and the end result was perfect for my family.

Easy Crock Pot Mexican Casserole
  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1 12 oz. + 1 6 oz. can of tomato sauce (I am not sure of the ounces of those was one big and one small can)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 quart pinto beans (I used the beans that I canned this summer. You could use two store-bought cans of pinto or black beans, but drain and rinse them well before adding.)
  • 1 bag frozen corn
Just dump all ingredients in the crock pot, stir to combine, and cook for 4 hours on high or 6-8 on low. I served this with tortilla chips, and if I had taken the time to make it, a salad would have been nice to have as well.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

It's My Birthday!

Today I turn 45.  I am sure that I look 45, but I don't feel 45.  Most days I still feel like I am 25, until about 3:00 PM, and then I lose steam…..if I get a cup of coffee, that perks me up, but then I cannot sleep at night, and then I am tired in the morning when the alarm goes off at 5:00 AM, and so the cycle goes….


Today is going to be a fabulous day!

We actually began our celebration last night after supper. Jimmy and the children presented me with two beautifully wrapped gifts with instructions to open them "right now". So I did.  And I was given marvelous presents:  a huge bag of M&Ms, a bag of Hershey Kisses, and the movie Moms' Night Out.  Fun!  Our whole family (minus our college student) gathered in our den to eat chocolate and watch the movie.  Even the third time, that movie is hilarious!  Jimmy and the boys had never seen it, so it was fun to hear them laugh too.  Jimmy even stayed awake for the entire movie!

Today we will celebrate with a birthday lunch at a Japanese restaurant, and then this afternoon we will be watching Julie and Clay run in their first cross country meet of the season.  I slept in this morning, and I don't plan to run or do (much) laundry today.  My children and husband are so sweet to make this day special for me.  I intend to enjoy every bit of it.  Sam and Julie are in the kitchen right now preparing breakfast.

I read the book of Philippians this morning.  This verse stood out:

"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."
Philippians 2:3-4

I think this verse can apply to numerous areas of my life.  From my service to God to my relationships with my husband, my children, and my family and friends.  Dying to self is difficult.  Yet Jesus commands it.

For this my 45th year and for all the remaining years of my life, I aim to keep the following verse in the forefront of my mind:

"I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:14

Sunday, September 14, 2014

My Fun Weekend

We had a fun, uneventful, but very enjoyable time together this weekend.

Lori and I met Julie for supper at our favorite Starkville restaurant, Oby's.  But before we decided for sure that's where we wanted to eat, we considered a couple of more places.  Julie's daddy, who lives in Starkville, suggested the Dawg House if we wanted some place different.  So Lori and I asked the (young) guy who was checking us into the hotel if he recommended the Dawg House.  He looked at us, thought a moment, and then said, "Well……I am not sure if the Dawg House is where you ladies want to go… is a Friday night and all…..there will be lots of college students there… MAY BE TOO MATURE FOR THAT CROWD!!

What did he just say?

Did he mean mature as in "too old"?

We weren't sure.  So we just opted to dine at Oby's, and we were not disappointed!  We enjoyed our yummy sandwiches and fries, and we talked and laughed and talked and laughed (and drank lots of sweet tea) until we were almost the last people still in the restaurant.

When we arrived back at the hotel, the nice young guy at the front desk asked us where we ended up going for supper.

I told him, "Oby's.  With the mature crowd."
He sheepishly grinned.

Lori and I talked until about midnight, and then Saturday morning we met Julie and Jean Ann at the Kim C. Gee Race For Awareness at 8:30.  Lori and Julie did not bring running/walking clothes, and we already knew that Jean Ann was just going to spectate, so I decided to just watch too!  

 Jean Ann, Me, Julie, and Lori.
Young college girls!

As I expected, we shed a few tears when we saw Kim's husband, mother, sisters, and children.  But it was so good seeing all of them.

After the run, we all went to the Phi Mu house.  We were let in by some college girls, and we promptly told them, and everyone that we ran into, that we were among the first girls to live in that house (not that long ago).  We gave ourselves a tour, and we found these cute letters in the chapter room.  They were begging for a photo!

young college girls again

We wandered up and down the halls of both floors, and we found our photos in the huge composite pictures lining the walls.  Yes.  Everyone had big hair from 1987-1991.  We visited the rooms that we lived in.  We admired the improvements that had been made.  And we celebrated the news that the house was going to get a facelift and some renovations soon.

Julie and Jean Ann had to leave after this, but Lori and I enjoyed one more meal together at the City Bagel before heading back to Tupelo.  

It was a good visit.  We really missed our friends who could not join us. 
But don't worry---we talked about them!  (all good things, of course)  :)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Moms' Night Out

Tonight and tomorrow as well, I am having a Moms' Night Out (although I don't foresee Jimmy and my children, nor my friends and I doing any of the following:  a.  ending up in jail, b.  visiting the ER, c.  going to a super nice restaurant, or d.  bowling.)  Ha!  Ha!  Ha!  (have you seen the movie, Moms' Night Out?)

Anyway, one of my college roommates, Lori, is picking me up this afternoon, and we are headed to Starkville.  We are meeting another friend, Julie, there, and then we will joined in the morning by Jean Ann.  Many of my other dear college friends were invited to this event, but as it is with husbands and children, they all have various and sundry commitments, and so it is just the four of us.

Blast from the past--Lori and I in college!
(When I showed these pictures to Sam this morning, he said, "Are y'all wearing wigs?
No, son.  It's just the early 1990's hairstyles!

We really don't have any specific plans for the evening except eating (probably at an old college favorite, Oby's) and then talking and laughing, catching up and reminiscing, and I am sure also shedding a few tears.  

Tomorrow morning we will participate in the 8th annual Kim C. Gee 5K Run For Awareness.  
This race is memory of our dear friend (and one of my college roommates too), Kim, who lost her battle with ovarian cancer back in October of 2006.

Here is a picture of Kim and me (in our wig hair!) back in the day.  I think we had the same hair at this point in our lives…..permed, teased, etc.  We were also the same exact size, and we shared lots of clothes.  We were roommates in Hathorn Hall, our sophomore year, and we lived on the Phi Mu Floor. Fun times!

The next year, my junior year, Lori and I roomed together, and Kim and our friend Stephanie lived across the hall.  More fun times.  We were among the very first girls to live in our brand new Phi Mu house, along with Geri, Caren, Sharon D., Kim N., Jean Ann, Sharon B., Julie, and others.

Later, after we graduated, we (about 12 of us) were all in each other's weddings, and for a while we got together for bridal showers, baby showers, and just to visit for fun about once a year or so for several years. And when Kim got sick, we got together too.  And then we all gathered for Kim's funeral……
Now, at least some of our original group make it to Kim's 5K Run each year.

It will be good to see Kim's mother and the rest of her family.

And it will be so good to laugh and cry and just be with dear old friends!

Thursday, September 4, 2014


The Johnson Family is still alive and doing well.

I have been reading lots of books in my (non-existent) spare time, and so I have not made time for blogging.  Some for pleasure, and some for my children's school.

I made a major change in Julie's (12th grade) English plans, and that has required even more reading for me.  (It's a good change…..I'll share about that later).

We miss Olivia.  Missing her does not mean that her being far away at college is the wrong thing, but it just means that we miss her!  A lot.  I am still trying to send her some sort of mail--a letter, card, or package on most days.  And of course we talk, email, and text daily.

I ran the Tupelo 13.1 Miler last weekend.  It was a fun race, and Leanna and I were very happy with our time.  We got a very cool shirt and an even cooler medal.  I have tried to maintain 30 miles per week for the last month, and our official marathon training (my 6th time to train!) begins next Monday. I am crazy for training for another marathon, but I am crazy anyway, and at least I will be crazy and fit.

My swimming pool water is as green as our grass.  I have never in had water this color for so long.  I have done everything I know to do to it, but without any success.  If I can ever find/make the time to go to town, I will take a pool sample to the pool place and let them diagnose my water.  Yuk!

Chemistry is hard.  Clay is doing chemistry this year, and it is hard!  Jimmy has volunteered to be his tutor, and he spent a good bit of time last weekend studying the first two modules and teaching and explaining all the concepts and math portions to Clay.  Clay told me that he spent 7 hours practicing the math problems for the test!  And he made an A!

I cooked spaghetti squash for the first time last night.  It was good.  I just halved it, scraped out the seeds and pulp, sprayed a little olive oil mist on it, salted it, and baked in on 375 degrees convection for about 40 minutes.  Then Julie scraped it out into strands with a fork.  Delicious.

That sums it up.  We have finished several read aloud books over the last weeks, and we began reading Farmer Boy last night.  That is one of my favorites!

One more thing.  I bought a Smash Book.  Its theme is the months of the year.  I am not sure what I am going to put in it, or if I will ever even put anything in it, but I have wanted one for a while.  So I saw this one on clearance at JoAnn's last week, and I bought it.