Friday, February 26, 2010

Gabby

I've been needed to blog this all week, but haven't felt ready. If you came to the blog to get the banana bread recipe, skip this one. If you don't like sad things, skip this one. Or if you think people who get sad over their pets dying are silly, skip this one. The first paragraph is how my sweet Gabby died, the second paragraph is good memories of her, and the third paragraph is how I'm feeling. So read with discretion.

My sweet Gabby... she died on Monday at 12 years old. She woke me up at 6:30 that morning shaking like she does when she's scared of thunderstorms, but it wasn't raining. So I tried to get her to go back to bed, but then I saw where she had gotten sick on her bed. So I got her a towel to lay on. A few minutes later she went downstairs, so I went down to check on her and she was sick again. She was fine for the next few hours, and so I thought maybe she had just eaten something outside and it was over. Campbell was sick that day too and I took him to the doctor mid morning. When we got back, she had been sick again while we were gone. I tried at that point to give her some medicine my mother suggested, first in apple sauce, then lunch meat, which she wouldn't eat. I knew at that point something was wrong because she loves lunch meat. After lunch, I put Campbell down for a nap. She got sick one more time on our den carpet, so I pulled her outside so she would get sick outside. That's my biggest regret. I cleaned it up and went to the door to check on her, and saw her laying in the shade of a small potted tree we have on the patio, and I thought, good, she looks peaceful and she'll get some rest. A little bit later I took her water bowl out to her and she didn't even flinch, but I thought it was because we're pretty sure she had lost her hearing in the last few months. Every few minutes I would look out the window at her and see if she was still breathing. And at some point in that time, I knew what I was looking for. The boys came home from school and I went outside to check on her and I knew she was gone. I had to go hide from them until Jason came home so they wouldn't see me crying.

When Jason and I got married, he told me he wanted a great dane, and researched them all spring. The weekend we were moving from TX to OK, we stopped in Canton, and bought our sweet Solomon from a great dane breeder. Jason said I should buy myself a little dog, and I said no, God will bring me a free dog when its time. And that fall, our friends, the Allison's, in Hollis took in a stray who was pregnant, and I picked out Gabby when she was two weeks old. Her full name was Gabriel Allison. She was so cute and tiny. We brought her home when she was big enough right after Christmas, and she and Solomon became the best of friends. While she was still small enough, they could play tug of war with a rope and he would swing her around so fast she would fly in the air. They would chase each other around and around the house in big circles. At first they slept in different rooms, but soon they would curl up together at night, this big 100 pound dog and little 12 pound dog. When we had to put Solomon down 4 years ago, she was so sad for awhile, I don't think she was really ever the same again. She became even more attached to me at that point. She followed me all over the house. I could turn it into a game and hide from her, but she always found me. Everyone who came over always said what a sweet dog she was. So calm and quiet. Just right for me.

I didn't think I would be this sad. I have always thought people who saw their pets as children were a little crazy. I think I put a sweater on her that first winter in Hollis, but other than that, there was no dressing up or fancy collars. Jason and I had talked about if she got sick at some point, what were we willing to spend to get her well, not much. I have had dogs my whole life, and had two that died that made me sad, but not this sad. She was my first dog, that I picked out and named and took care of as my dog. I feel such guilt about not taking her to the vet, but then I think she was only sick half a day, so there probably wasn't much they could have done. And she died in peace laying outside on a beautiful day in her sleep. My main guilt is not going out to pet her and love on her a little bit after I put her outside. But then I remind myself she is a dog, and she lived a very loved life. I've cried this week when I've come home and she wasn't waiting at the door. I've cried when I was making the boys sandwiches and she wasn't there to eat the lunch meat that gets cut off with the crusts. I've cried when I get up first thing in the morning and don't have to let her out. I've cried when she wasn't there to eat the food that Campbell dropped off his high chair. I haven't cried today, so I guess its getting easier. I picked up her pillow and dog food today, so progress is being made. My boys seem fine. Cade cried a little on Monday, but they are all ready to get a new dog. I am not ready. But I am thankful for her. I didn't realize how much company she brought me until she wasn't there this week. Sorry this is so sad. Maybe no one has even made it this far, which is fine. This is really for me. It feels good to get it out. God brought her to me when He was ready and He will heal my heart and bring me another one when its time. All of His creations are precious. But especially my Gabby.

Banana Bread Recipe

A couple of people requested this recipe after I commented that it says you should let it rest overnight before eating it, and that is just crazy talk. Its the best right out of the oven with a glass of milk!

It's out of the Better Homes and Garden New Cook Book, pg 114
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use half whole wheat flour, it makes me feel healthier when I eat half the loaf by myself)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup smashed bananas (3 medium)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel (optional, I've never used it)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (my kids don't like it as well with nuts, so I usually leave them out)

1. Grease the bottom and sides if ab 8x4x2 inch loaf pan. In a med. mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the center of dry mixture and set aside.
2. In another bowl combine the egg, bananas, sugar, oil, and lemon peel. Add mixture all at once to dry mixture, stir until just moistened. Fold in nuts.
3. Spoon batter into greased pan. Bake at 350 oven 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Just my own tip, I put our bananas in the freezer when they start to go bad, and then I always have some ready for bread. I just defrost them in the peel for a minute in the microwave, take the peel off, and put them back in for 30 seconds or so to get them to room temperature.

Enjoy!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sweet N Spicy Chicken

I am not a great cook and really don't enjoy cooking. But I try. J wishes I wouldn't try any new recipes, just stick with what I know works. But I have to try a couple of new ones each month to not get bored. So here is a new one I tried tonight that all three boys gobbled down, even the little one who doesn't eat much of anything. J said it was ok, which is a compliment for him. The only dish I've ever made that he raved about, was one I had already decided I wasn't going to make again because it was too hard. Of course! So here is sweet n spicy chicken, the grand prize winner recipe in the sept/oct 1998 Quick Cooking magazine, by Sheri White in Higley, AZ. I'm all for giving credit where credit is due!

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 tablespoons taco seasoning
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 jar (11 oz) chunky salsa
1/2 cup peach preserves
Hot cooked rice (I used brown rice)

Place the chicken in a large resealable plastic bag; add taco seasoning and toss to coat. In a skillet, brown chicken in oil. Combine salsa and preserves; stir into skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until meat juices run clear. Serve over rice. 4 servings

SO GOOD and easy! Hope you enjoy!

Monday, February 08, 2010

I'm old...

Another quick one, I turned 35 last week. I know, not old to many of you. But for some reason I feel old at this one. I think for one reason, I do a lot of online surveys, and when they ask your age, its broken down into brackets, and I have had to move up to the next bracket. 30-34, 35-40. Rub it in why don't ya! And Cooper came up to me the other day, and he is almost to my shoulders. When did that happen! I do not feel old enough to have 3 kids, and an 8 year old! WHAT! I asked my mom about that years ago, and she said most people will tell you they don't feel as old as they are. In your brain you are always a certain age. I think I'm still 26, that just sounds right. Of course, when I asked Cade how old I was, he said 61. Jason laughed hysterically! Until I asked Cade how old Jason was, and since he knew he was 2 years older than me, he must be 63. A child can always put it in perspective for you. I am very thankful for another year. I hope I continue to grow and learn and change for the better, no matter how old I get.

Clean House

So we are having a kick off party for Cooper's little league baseball team this coming Saturday at our house. (Side note, in the 14 years I've known my husband, I have never seen him as excited as he was after he drafted this team. He is convinced they are going to win the championship. No pressure.) As soon as we decided 40 people are coming over, most of which I don't know, I went into panic mode trying to make a plan of how I am going to clean this house by Saturday in a manner worthy of having that many strangers over. Hospitality is not my spiritual gift. I'm not social, and I don't like the stress of having people over. But I don't want to be that way. So I made a mental plan of when to clean what, and then woke up with a migraine today, which took today off the schedule, so I'm already behind. But I've been thinking about why I get so stressed about having a clean house. Why do we care so much about that as women? I am wanting Jason to fix major things this week in the house, wanting to make a new wreath for the door, and major cleaning. Why can't I just do basic cleaning and picking up and leave it at that? I tell Jason its because I want my home to be welcoming and homey, but wouldn't a little dust make it more homey? Why do I care what people think about my house? Especially when there are people in Haiti who don't have a house to worry about! So pray for me this week that I don't stress about it, that I take a few minutes to pray for my attitude, and pray that God will give me wisdom about what to work on. I want people to see Him in my home, especially some of these people who I'm sure are not believers. If I worry too much about my house, will that come across to them that I'm materialistic or snobby? Oh, the constant battle of balance!