Monday, December 28, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015 Friends!

Wowshers!!!  Friends, what a whirlwind of a year it has been!   We have been busy with life.  It happens folks.   Often, it sucks.  Yea,  I can't even lie about that.  However, my typical "sucky" day is to folks in third world countries.......a dang good day.    

I am not here to brag about anything fabulous that has occurred with the family.   We have not taken any vacation to a foreign country and snorkeled in the sea with dolphins.  Nor have I won the lottery.  I suppose I would need to purchase a ticket first.   About the most exciting thing to occur this past year was having the grey cave break down on Preston Road on a cold rainy evening at 5 PM.  It required a police officer and random strangers to push it across the intersection.    We donated the grey cave that evening and purchased a Toyota Camry the next day.

Late December of 2014, we were able to watch our oldest daughter walk down the aisle to marry her best friend.   It was inspiring and life-changing.   Her father said he didn't shed a tear.   (That's his story.)   I am pretty sure there was a drop or two from someone....other than me.   Anyway, Courtney & Rick are doing well.   They moved out of their cave-like loft and are currently enjoying a corner apartment complete with a tiny yard for their feisty French Bulldog, Winston.    Tramp has learned to tolerate him.    She will finish her undergraduate degree this spring and they have plans to move to Alabama for her to finish her law degree.    They have both promised me that Alabama is a temporary move & grandchildren will not be raised there.   She is still a part-time barrister with a local Starbucks and Rick is currently working at JC Penney's in their theft-prevention department.

Meagann is currently attending Collin College pursuing her undergraduate degree in Math.    She works for SouthLake Carroll as a color guard tech and performs locally with CGT Dallas. She spent the summer of 2015 performing again with the Blue Stars and traveled across the United States attending dozens of DCI shows performing their program entitled "SideShow".  It was a good summer for her.   Me, I missed her terribly.   Clay did too......  He just didn't admit it too often.  She has auditioned for their summer 2016 show and will be a part of that on their weapons line.   If any of you happen to catch a DCI show next summer.....give her a shout out!!  (You could also spot her a couple of quarters and a hug from me!)  I hope to put in some volunteer time with them next summer....on the swamp tour.

Clay is a Sophomore at Wakeland High.   He is still playing the mellophone & french horn.  This fall they performed their show "Forever".   It was simply stunning to see him and his friends march something this intricate weekly and still maintain excellent grades.  Well, passing grades.   We are exceedingly proud that all our children have had the opportunity to pursue excellence at Wakeland.   Clay's next goal is to finish up his driver's education and obtain a license.   He will resume umpiring in the spring.

Just as 2014 ended, I was hired by FISD as an para-professional aide in a SLC classroom.  I spent the day with autistic children.   It was simply amazing to work with these children and to experience their success at any level.   These kids are fun!    They can really show you what it means to be successful and have a good time!   In late July, I was re-hired again at the same campus.   I am now a head-start pre-kinder teacher.     Let me just say here..........   A lot has changed educationally in the past 15 years.   I missed a lot.   Computers & technology are just starting points to the changes.     What hasn't changed for me is the love of the children.    I absolutely love building the relationships with my classroom students.   I really love to see them grow and figure out what they need to learn.

About a month after I signed the contract, Greg accepted a position with ADP.    He is enjoying learning the different dynamics of their company.   However, he isn't enjoying the 45 minute commute to downtown Dallas.  Be prayerful friends that his position can be improved with a work from home status in the upcoming months.  We are spending a ton of money on the DNT.   It just stinks.

As I have said earlier,   Merry Christmas friends!   I wish the best for you in 2016.   If you are ever in the Dallas metroplex, don't hesitate to call or text.   We can meet up and enjoy catching up on good times.   I can show you where I shop and where to find the best queso in town.

Until then.........   Love & Hugs!     The Ginger Family

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Gingerbread Playdough!!!

I made this stuff last week for my classroom!   The kids loved it!  It smelled yummy!  (It looked questionable!)    When I added the spices...  I made sure it was a rounded off.  I wanted it to smell extra yummy!

Here are my little Ginger babies!   This was taken in December 2000!  Wow, time has flown!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Aunt Vickie's Sweet Potatoes

I really should begin this blog entry with a rambling about being Thankful.   Every year, I do that.  Every year,  it seems I list the usual stuff.   I am a blessed girl.  I have all the things I need.  God provides it all.   When it seems like all it lost and God is nowhere to be seen....  BAM.  He sends in the most amazing answered prayer.    Yea, that is how he works.   It is the kind of stuff that gives faith a booster shot.   This year our family was given that kind of booster shot.

Despite the bad things that have occurred this year, we have been blessed with jobs.  I was blessed with a new car.  Unfortunately, the grey cave aka... 2004 Honda Odyssey, died at a most inconvenient time.    The kids are all healthy despite their warts, zits and dry skin.   The dog is living on cloud nine.  He gets fed and loved in spite of a very bad haircut.     Greg & I are getting older.   We are finding grey hair and wrinkles.  Pretty soon, he will see 50.   Me,  I choose to be ageless.

Several years ago, Aunt Vickie brought her sweet potatoes to a Thanksgiving dinner.   Even though Aunt Vickie divorced her way out of the family......  We kept her recipe.   I think we should rethink calling them Aunt Vickie's Sweet Potatoes.    Until recently,  I thought these couldn't be messed up.   Was I ever wrong!  The secret is in the topping. Please don't blob it on top.   Gently scatter it across the entire pan just before cooking.    

Aunt Vickie's Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes  (2 - 29 oz can - drained)
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 stick butter
1 tbs vanilla
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup chopped pecans
cinnamon, to taste

Blend it all together and pour into a sprayed 9x13 pan.
Combine topping and crumble over the entire pan.

Bake @ 450* for 45 minutes.

Enjoy!    I usually prep it all the day before.  I leave the crumbles in a ziplock bag until just before I cook it.    It makes cooking so much simpler on the big day if it all has been prepped the day before.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My new cereal love

Just had to post this!  My new favorite snack!!  

Just enough chocolate...and a crunch of graham cracker!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

God's Little Silver Platter

As most of you know,  I have been working at a school here in Frisco that I love.   How I got the job is quite the story.    I  told a friend that I had always loved that campus and just couldn't seem to ever get a job there.  It seemed elusive to me and I even had classroom experience!  She told her principal about me and magically I was hired a week later.   Yes,  it wasn't as a teacher in my own classroom.......but it was in a classroom as a para-professional at the same campus I had been drooling over for several years.   HAPPY!   God really opened that door for me!!!  Gotta love that!!!

SO,   I have been working there since December 2014 and loving every day of it.  The location, the people...both adults & children.   LOVE!!! LOVE!!!! LOVE!!!!!

In May, I was sitting at a table with teacher friends relaxing after a band banquet.    One was the person who told me and referred me for the job I currently had.  The other was teacher at another campus.   She asked me how I liked my job and if I had ever considered returning to the classroom and be the lead teacher.   I told her yes...but really didn't want to just throw out my resume anywhere and that I really wanted to obtain "God's Silver Platter".    I needed to feel that assuredly it was the place for me.   I felt I was too old to be somewhere that wasn't a good fit.

SO.......her next words were "I may have that silver platter."    "Send me your resume."  

In fairness,  I told my principal that I was interviewing for a job at another campus.  I also told her that my first choice is ECS but due to current living circumstances......   I planned to interview if/when they called.  I needed a big girl salary and responsibilities.

This really felt like my platter.   I quickly figured out that I personally knew the counselor and principal on her campus.  Life was really looking up and there were 3 open classrooms.    It doesn't sound much better than that.  Right?    There were open classes in K, 4 & 5.   I would love any of them...especially K.   It felt right.    As we all know now...........  
They just didn't see my sparkling personality!!!!!

It bothered me for about a day.  Then it hit me.......   God doesn't want me there.  Ok, I still love my current job and am quite content at this time.   I am content.   


A week or so went by & in early June,  I found out that a teacher on my campus had plans to quit at a latter part of the summer.   I emailed my principal and asked it I could be considered for that classroom.   It couldn't hurt, right?   Absolutely,  if God wanted me to have that classroom.....   It would be mine and on a silver platter.   I was content to just put my name out there.  

A month or so flew past and on July 20......  I noticed an email from my principal.    About 15 minutes passed and about 4 emails later.............. at 12:45 that afternoon.   I went into training the very next day.   I FINALLY RECEIVED MY SILVER PLATTER.  I had the classroom of my dreams.  I had the campus of my dreams.  

God provided that job on a silver platter!!!!!  

Monday, July 6, 2015

Chocolate Gravy

A few weeks ago, my college bestie &  I loaded up and headed to Gulf Shores.  It was quite the trek.   Nothing catastrophic happened this time...  just a few shenanigans & chocolate gravy.   One year, we got lost in Mobile and rambled across most of Mississippi from there trying to find our way home.   This time, we lounged on the beach, ate our way through every shrimp basket along the coast and shopped at the outlet mall.   Our husbands would have been miserable.  Until the chocolate gravy was served.


This guy happened to land right beside us as we were taking an afternoon stroll.

We purposely drove one night just so we could watch the odometer turn 200,000 miles.

J.G. taught me how to do this.   I really didn't know it was this easy.   My life was empty until this point.  

If you are from the South and hear the words "chocolate gravy" muttered.......  you know that something wonderful is about to be served.   It is both magical and healing.  It covers a multitude of sins.  Just like Jesus can!  Folks from the other parts of this world.......  just don't know what they are missing.  Bless their hearts. 

Chocolate Gravy
3 heaping Tablespoons flour
3 level Tablespoons cocoa
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups milk
1/2 cup water
3 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the dry together and gradually add the liquid.   Bring to a boil and stir until thickened to your preference.  Add the butter & vanilla.  Serve over hot bisquits!!  Enjoy and Thank you very much!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Chicken Broth

It has been on my mind to attempt making broth from a Thanksgiving Turkey.  I noticed on FB that a high school friend of mine does it every year and she even asks neighbors for their leftover turkey bones.  If she can do it....  why shouldn't I give it a whirl?  Does it matter that her mother was a home economics teacher?  Yes?  NO!  That woman was my teacher as well.   I CAN DO THIS... I CAN DO THIS...(repeat 3x).

Earlier this week when my dear hubby brought home a Costco Rotisserie Chicken the other night for dinner, my brain started spinning.  Why not try it on a chicken first?   We first polished off most of the meat for dinner.   Costco chickens are huge!  They are a must-purchase-item!

Get out your large crockpot and one of those crockpot liners if you  have them.   They just make cleanup easier!  I usually find them on the bottom shelf at the store.

So, line the pot.  
Place the turkey/chicken carcass in the pot.  (bones, fat, any extra meat...the whole bird!)   
Grab about 3 carrots and 3 celery sticks and throw them in the pot. 
6 peppercorns & 2 or 3 bay leaves 
Add a garlic clove or two and also a large chopped onion.  
Don't chop anything too will just be straining it all out eventually! 
 Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar.  (I read that it draws the nutrients out of the bones.)
I wouldn't salt just yet.  Wait until you actually cook with it.

Cover with water as high as you can in the crockpot and turn on high for about 24 hours.

Strain it all and pour into freezable containers.  Enjoy!  

I will be doing this again with all the Thanksgiving turkeys this year!  

Hey neighbors..... Can I have all your turkey bones?

*mental note...maybe next time add some cilantro or rosemary?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Strawberry Bars for the Cajun!!!

There was a time when I absolutely loved to eat Nutrigrain bars.   They made a mighty tasty "on-the-go" breakfast.    At some point in my life after reading the nutritional facts,  I decided all those preservatives just weren't necessary and quickly began the search for something better that could easily be prepared at home.   These babies are absolutely delicious!   You gotta try them!

Strawberry Fruit Bars

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup oatmeal,  (I prefer the old fashioned kind.)
1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup strawberry jam ( I used a small jar of this...)

Spray a square brownie pan with cooking spray & cover with foil.  Spray again.
Combine the first 6 ingredients until it is crumbly.  
Spread 1/2 into prepared pan.
Spread the Jam
Spread the remaining crumblies & press together.

Bake @ 350 for 35-40 minutes or until golden.

I think that changing up the jam would be fun here...Seedless Raspberry?  Peach?  Blueberry?
So many options!!!

Hey...RB, is this quick enough for you?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Tomato Soup has changed my life.

 All my life I have thought that tomato soup was yucky and tasted metallic.  Yea,  I was raised to think that canned was the only way to get tomato soup.    And why should I order tomato soup at a restaurant when I don't like it?   My dear husband thinks it is amazing.  Canned, that is.

Hey, Mrs. CS......make this!!!! You will like it.  Get out your giant Le Crueset!!!

WELL....... We were watching an episode of PW and she was making it.   It looked easy.   I was hungry.  He said that he would go to the grocery store.  Ok, yea baby........  I'll make that.   Can you pick up a loaf of french bread too?  And a gallon of milk?

Tomato Soup

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 large carrots, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, pressed
   *( these really need to be finely processor?)

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 large cans whole tomatoes, the 28 oz size
4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons parsley
1 cup water

Saute the top 5 ingredients.  Add the tomato paste and cook another 3 minutes.
Add the remaining and boil.  Reduce heat and simmer another 20 minutes or so.  
You really want the vegetables tender.

Get out your immersion blender and puree until smooth.  

Add..   1/2 cup whipping cream 
            2 tablespoons basil, chopped
            salt & pepper to taste

Simmer another 5 minutes.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

December! January! & WAIT!!!!! Today is February!!! WHAT????

Miss C.G. tied the knot!  She recently married her love.......  Mr. RS   What a day that was!   As if getting married isn't going to fill the calendar......We planned a wedding on top of Christmas & a mini vacation.   Fortunately, I am a bit OCD and over all a decent planner!
Everything went off without a hitch.   Did I also mention I interviewed for a new job 2 days before the wedding?  AM I INSANE??????    Hey, God's timing is not always my timing...but I'll take it.

The Ringbearer just didn't want to hang out in a box.......

The cake looked pretty on that beautiful platter!!!

Something old..  (my pearls) 
Something new... (dress)
Something blue..... (her tongue?)

Baby, is my tie ok?

Look who photobombed the pretty girls?   JESUS!

What a good place for a new life to start!!!

RS entered our lives a few years ago and promptly introduced himself by announcing that he had no intentions of being enrolled  in the "Flavor of the Month Club".   We immediately figured out at that point he was a keeper.

RS will do the family pose now......

Some may call the wedding punch a "punch casserole"  It was easy.  It had a ton of things in it.  It was delicious!!  Anything served with that ladle & punch bowl should be tasty......  And can you believe we found all those cups for virtually about .10 each?  WHAT???????

Since the wedding of the year is over.....Life continued on.  We survived Christmas.  We went to Branson for a few days after that to unwind and find a new kind of normal without the daily excitement of having Miss CG in the house.  WAIT......  She is now MRS. CS!   Gotta remember that one!!!

Hey, kids...gas was $1.89 per gallon at the Racetrack on the day you were married!

I started the new job....actually using my diploma and loving it.   Yep......  I am finally back in the classroom!!!!    Family things occurred and I found myself in the midst of crazy band planning events.    I REALLY NEED A VACATION NOW!!!  

                                             Road trip anyone?  The beach isn't that far....