Friday, April 27, 2012

Politics 2012

Just to get you prepared, here are some things I care about politically right now.

1.  Mitt Romney
2.  Women's health care
3.  Supreme Court's review of the Affordable Health Care Act
4.  Paul Ryan's Budget
5.  The Walker Recall
6.  Saving the United States Postal Service

Here are some things I could not care less about:

1.  Ann Romney (unless she has a specific public policy opinion)
2.  The proposed Vikings stadium (except that it's taking up too much time/energy in the legislature)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Heaven help us, May is going to be a big month around here. 

1.  I'm going to participate in a photography challenge.

2.  I'm going to start talking about the 2012 presidential race.  It's just over six months until November 6.  Also, it appears the Republicans have a nominee.  I'm going to share some of my opinions.  It's been a long four years since we did this last and I am psyched.  This is my football season, y'all.  I wish there were Presidential Picks.  I feel like gambling.  Heh.

Both of those are going to be good reasons to stick around Bits and Pieces.  Please don't leave.  And please leave your name if you comment.  Remember last time...?  Oooh.  Get ready.

Here are the photography challenge categories.  Play with me!

1.  Bokeh
2. Movement
3. Strangers
4. Street
5. Soft
6. Reflection
7. My Shadow
8. Silhouette
9. All Alone
10. What Makes Me Smile
11. Bold
12. Emotion
14. Sunflare
15. Texture
16. Rule of Thirds
17. Hands
18. Water
19. Sign
20. Inequality
21. Contrast
22. Diptych or Triptych
23. Mother Nature
24. Simplicity
25. Weathered
26. After Dark
27. Shallow Depth of Field
28. Strange
29. Vintage
30. Broken
31. Trust

Monday, April 16, 2012

Goo Sale

It took Jack about an hour and a half this afternoon to think of the idea and implement this sale.  I know it doesn't look like it, but there were a lot of experiments to make his product.  He wanted to yell for the neighbors to come to his sale, but I advised him to wait until his brothers got home to ask them if they wanted to come to his sale. Unfortunately, they weren't interested in touching his Purple Goo for $1.00.  So I did.  Matthew said, "JACK!  It's not worth a dollar.  It's probably only worth 25 cents!"

A couple pencils, a stick, and a lot of tape.

Even a towel to wipe your fingers after you touch the Goo. 
Customer service at its finest.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


When the captain and I were on our second date, we were talking about things we want for our future.  He said, "I'd like more children one day."  I responded, "Me too.  I'd like six."  He gave me a surprised, "Six?" but he proposed anyway.  Ha.  Sucker.  I'm happy to say that we're well on our way, expecting our fourth in August.  And after three boys, we were really pleased to find out that this one is a girl.  Pleased?  Shocked.  Amazed.  It seems that I am the only one among my friends and family who was surprised, though.  They claim premonition, I claim they just wanted this for me as much as I did.  All of my feelings about having a daughter seem inadequate in words.  The feelings are much different than I can express, I'm sure, but I'll try.  I'm going to start at the beginning.

Pregnant Belly.  21 weeks.

Last December, when I took that pregnancy test, I started crying.  And if I'm being honest, they weren't exactly happy tears.  But they weren't sad tears either.  I think I was mostly scared.  Scared of the first trimester.  Scared of delivery.  Scared of starting over (Jack will be a kindergartener in the fall!).  And some of it was valid.  I spent six weeks in bed from the sixth week on.  It was pretty gross, as I knew it would be.  But I got through it. 

Once I was through that trimester, I could not wait to find out the gender of this baby.  The minute I told them I was expecting, my boys (all three of them) all said, "Oh!  I hope it's a sister!"  Whoa.  That's some pressure.  I assured them that is was the perfect baby for our family, and that God already chose if it was a boy or a girl.  Still, they pestered me daily with their hopes for a girl baby.  It got to the point where Jack would say, "I hope it's a girl, Mom.  I know, I know.  God already chose!" 

I was sure it was a boy.  I don't know if it was partly self-preservation or if I thought the captain could only make boys or if it was my limited knowledge of the shettles method, or a combination of the three, but I told everyone I was sure it was a boy.  I fell in love with a boy name.  I went through periods of panic about my reaction to the gender news.  And then I found peace. 

So last week when we went to the ultrasound, I was pretty prepared emotionally.  It took the sonographer about 20 minutes to confirm girl parts.  I broke into tears.  She said, "Use your towel, honey!"  To which I responded, "Oh, no, it's okay.  My husband brought Kleenex!"  And he did. And I used them. 

Can you imagine my joy?  I'm 35 years old and realizing a dream coming true that I never really believed would.  The captain is going to be the father to a daughter.  And to be honest, I'm thrilled for me.  But at least as thrilled for him.  And for my boys.  And for her.  How loved will this little girl be?  You're going to find out...stick around a few months!

When Matthew was a baby, he couldn't say his "d" sounds.  So we started calling the captain "Papa."  And it stuck.  And it's adorable.  They love their papa with all their hearts, my boys.  And so shall she.  And so do I.  Even though he thinks four is as good a number as six.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sharing the Love: Zuppa Toscana

This is a copycat version on the Zuppa Toscana soup at Olive Garden.  (If you have the Magnolia Lane cookbook, it's on page 168.) It's absolutely scrumptious!

Zuppa Toscana

1 16 oz package spicy or hot sausage, cooked and crumbled
4 strips of bacon
3/4 c onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 c chicken broth
4 sm or 2 m potatoes, skin on (I prefer red or Yukon, but Russet work fine), thinly sliced
2 c kale leaves, chopped (stems removed)
1/2 c heavy cream

Brown sausage and set aside.  In large saucepan or stockpot, cook bacon and onion over medium heat until onions are translucent.  Add garlic and cook an additional minute.  Add chicken broth and potatoes, bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add sausage, kale, and heavy cream.  Turn off burner and let rest for five minutes while everything incorporates and your kale wilts down.

If you want to really do it right, whip up these in your breadmaker:

Foccacia Breadsticks

9 oz warm water
3 T olive oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
3 c flour
2 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt

Add all ingredients according to your breadmaker instructions.  Run on dough cycle.  Lay flat on greased cookie sheet.  Top with a little olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt (and rosemary if you have it!).  Cut into narrow strips with a cookie cutter.  Bake at 350 for 20 - 25 minutes.  Break apart and enjoy with soup!