The Charming Tyrants

The Charming Tyrants

Good Words

God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears and light for the way. - Anon

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat

Yeah, these pictures have nothing to do with the post today, but aren't they cute!?

So, I've been tagged, the tricks on me.

I've decided that being tagged is the blogger version of a chain letter. I've received many more than one chain letter in my life and have participated in a few but the results were always less than promised. So don't get your hopes up. Although I'm sure reading my answers will be a real treat.



Suffer through it any way and there may be another treat at the end or a trick, you decide.

For those of you who have never known the joy of a chain letter or being tagged in blogland, it is really very simple, to participate you answer the following 8 questions and then tag 8 people.  Here are the questions asked of me.

1. What is the one food that you detest?

There is more than one but in light of the upcoming holidays, I must confess that I really do not like pumpkin pie and furthermore eggnog is a drink only those with iron stomaches could possibly ever consume. Okay so that was two.

2. What is your perfect day?

Hmmm, one without whining, I suppose, that would include yours truly of course.

3. If you could take a vacation next week, where would you go?

To the Oregon coast, Cannon Beach to be specific.

4. What are your five favorite blogs?

Really, do I have to answer that?   There are lots of blogs that I like and for many different reasons so hows about if I just tell you about five that I find funny. Hyperbole and a HalfCatalog Living, The Lumberjack's Wife, Parenting by Dummies and Nice Girl Notes

5. What are your thoughts on Facebook?

Well since I don't have a Facebook account I haven't posted any thoughts on Facebook, so if you would like to know my thoughts . . . wait sometimes I don't even know my own thoughts. Spooky. I suppose you could come check my blog every now and again, sometimes I'm very thoughtful and sometimes not.

6.  Are your parent's technological goobers like mine?

My parents are dead so I think I would have to say yes, although when they were alive they did own a computer and I know that my dad did surf the net on occasion but I don't think my mom ever did.  Not sure really.

7.  If you had to choose between losing 15 pounds forever OR having perfect skin, but putting on 15 pounds permanently . . .  what would it be?

Huh?  Since my skin has always been good comparatively speaking, I would love to lose 15 or more pounds.

8.  What is your best recipe?

I make a killer chocolate chip cookie . . . but I'm not sharing, well, maybe, but that will have to be another post.

Whew, all done, wasn't that a treat?  Now time for another trick.

It's your turn.

I tag you.


Yes, you, reading this right now, I'm sure there are eight of you who are reading this, you decide who you are and whether or not you'll play along,  the treat part is that I am going to give you 8 new questions.


Here goes.

1.  How much wood can a woodchuck chuck?  Really, I would like to know.

2.  What did Peter do with the peck of pickled peppers he picked?  I mean seriously did he eat them or what?

3.  When Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch that pail of water, why did Jack fall down and break his crown?

4.  Why do Tweedle beetles fight battles with their paddles in a bottle?

5.  Did the North-Going Zax and the South-Going Zax ever solve their dispute or are they still standing there in their tracks in the prairie of Prax?  Surely one of them has had to go pee by now.

6.  If you could wish to wish a wish, what wish would you wish for?

7.  For breakfast Christmas morning would you rather have Merry Christmas Mush to munch or flapjacks flapped by a fat flapjack flapper in a flat flapped-jack cap?

8.  You thought a thought.  But the thought you thought wasn't the thought you thought you thought.  If the thought you thought you thought had been the thought you thought, which thought would you have thought?

Get it? Got it. Good!

Now go forth and conquer,  you can answer the questions on your own blog with a post or just answer any or all by leaving me a comment or not.  If you do do a blog post let me know by leaving me a comment with a link.  

I can't wait to read your all answers.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Comfort Food ala Quatre

01/25/2011 I have edited this post to link up with Randi for the Recipe Box Swap.
swap blogpost

Really this should be part five, because this is the fifth Friday this month, but I was a slacker sick last week and didn't link up with FringeGirl, actually she didn't put up a linky thing because apparently blogland is full of slackers and I was almost the only one who participated in her Comfort Food carnival.


It has snowed twice this week and been really cold so we have been having a lot of soup, tomato soup, chicken noodle soup, etc.  I'll spare you the recipe on those, besides I think you all know how to use a can opener.  We did make potato soup with bacon from scratch, but that's a recipe for another post.

Here's today's recipe.

Crock Pot Beef Stew

1 1/2 to 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into bite-size pieces if needed
4 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 inch slices (2 cups)
3 medium red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (3 cups)
1 large onion, cut into 1 inch pieces (1 1/2 cups)
1 medium stalk celery, cut into 1 inch pieces (1 cup)
2 1/2 to 3 cups water*
1 package McCormick's Slow Cooker Hearty Beef Stew Seasoning
1/3 cup uncooked pearl barley (optional)
Splash of Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper

 1. Prepare all your ingredients, chop all your vegs, put meat in ziploc baggie sprinkle with salt, pepper then coat with seasoning packet.

2. Dump everything in the crock pot along with the water and a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce, cover with lid, set crock pot on low then walk away.

3.  Come back 8 to 10 hours later stir, serve and enjoy.

Now wasn't that easy.  Delicious even, oh and the aroma, to die for.

*If you want your stew a little thicker than mine, more like a gravy use 2 1/2 cups of water and add 3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca.  "Because tapioca is one of the few thickeners that does not break down during long, slow cooking, it can be added at the beginning of the cooking time.  Thickeners such as flour and cornstarch are best added at the end of the cooking time."  I picked up this little tidbit from a slow cooker recipe book, that I got from our local grocer.

If you need more comfort hop on over to the domestic fringe and see what else is cookin'.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Welcome Autumn?!

Isn't it lovely?

This is what we woke up to this morning, at least three inches of snow.

Yeah, not so much.

I'm linked up today.
Wordful Wednesday at Parenting by Dummies

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Picture of Grace

Dancing on the patio at my wedding.
We hired a swing band.
This is one of my favorite pictures from my wedding it is of my nieces and nephews enjoying a moment to be themselves, to let go for an evening and spend time in each others company.

I'm linked up today with Emily at Chatting at the Sky, click here for more photos.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Kids Say the Darnedest Things!

At Cornbelly's with Auntie waiting for the pig races to start.

My sister knows her words.  She knows lots of words and she knows how to use them.  I liken her language skills to that of Robin Williams playing Peter Pan in Hook, when he throws insults at the Lost Boys using big words that they obviously don't understand and they look at him bewildered, she's that good.  She also knows four letter words, the kind I would rather not have my 4 year old son repeating and she will pepper her speech with them when she deems it a good choice or to make a point.  She also believes in calling a spade a spade.


So the other day Auntie decided to come with me to run a few errands with the kids.

As we are walking out the door she says to HT, "Yipee, wahoo, let's go to Target!  Wah to the Hoo!"

To which HT replied as he skipped merrily out to the garage, "Hell to the Yeah!"

"Did he just say 'hell to the yeah'?",  I inquired.

"Yes" she said, "and I'm ignoring it."

I wonder just where he learned that (cough), Auntie.


Monday, October 18, 2010


So a week ago last Sunday Grandma and Grandpa bought HT a pumpkin and he insisted that they carve it before they left last Monday and he was very specific about how he wanted it.  Notice if you will please the hands drawn on the pumpkin with the fingers in the corners of the mouth.  He thought it was hysterical and that's all that matters really.

Except. . . .

It's too early to be carving pumpkins if you want them glowing on your porch Halloween night and this one is already starting to "grow" if you know what I mean, so how do I tell my little man that its time to throw it in the trash?

Auntie bought him another small one, but it is too small to carve really.

So what's a mother to do?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Comfort Food a Trois

If all the cooking was left to me in this household we'd eat a lot more Kraft mac n' cheese than we do now, however luckily for me my sister likes to cook and she lives "next door" so to speak.  Actually we share this house, she lives upstairs and we live downstairs.  So when she offered to cook the other night I jumped for joy, something yummy and delicious was to be had.  I also offered to help so that I could take pictures and post it with FringeGirl for her blog carnival on comfort food over at the domestic fringe.  I love it when a plan comes together!

Here's what we made:

Mammy McT's Beef and Guinness Pie.

2 lbs stewing steak, cubed.  (Coat this in 1/2 to 1 cup flour, salt and fresh ground black pepper.)
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup button mushrooms
3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
2 cans of diced tomatoes
2 1/2 cups Guinness
1 egg, beaten
1 pkg of puff pastry (you can buy it frozen, there are two sheets per package)

1.  Open the Guiness . . .  pour yourself a short glass and enjoy, but remember to leave enough for the recipe.

2.  Season the flour with salt and pepper.  Coat the stewing steak in the flour.  Shake off any excess.  Heat the olive oil in a frying pan or cast iron casserole pan.

3.  In small batches, fry the beef until browned.  Using a slotted spoon transfer to a plate.  

4.  Re-heat the pan and fry the onion, garlic and celery for 5-10 minutes until fragrant and softened.  Add some of the Guinness to deglaze the pan and scrape all the really good bits off the bottom.  Add the beef back into the pan.

5.  Put on medium high heat now and add the diced tomatoes, Guinness, mushrooms, carrots and parsnips.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and let simmer for two hours stirring every now and again.

6.  Preheat oven to 375 F.  Divide the beef mixture among 6 smallish individual pie/casserole dishes or two medium size pie dishes.  Roll the puff pasty out and top each pie dish with a pastry lid, wetting the edges of the dishes with water to help the pastry stick.

7.  Brush the pies with the beaten egg and cut a slash in each one.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the pies are golden brown.  Serve.

8.  Enjoy with a pint or two of Guinness.

As you can see this recipe makes two pies, we cooked them both because my in-laws were here and we knew we would eat them both, but you can freeze one for later, just don't add the puff pasty to the second one, until you are ready to cook it.

My sister acquired this recipe from a friend of hers from Ireland several years back and it has quickly became a family favorite.  Mammy McT is her grandmother.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Last week my in-laws were here to visit and to help us celebrate the boys' birthday's and it felt like one big party all. week. long. and I am exhausted.  They arrived last Tuesday afternoon and the party didn't end till they left early, very very early Monday morning.

On Wednesday we celebrated EM's birthday.

On Thursday we sang Happy Birthday to HT.

Grandma & Grandpa bought him a bike for his birthday.
Grandpa showing him how the brakes work.
HT told his Grandma in a breathless voice when they went for a walk/ride on Friday, "Grandma, I wuv my new bike."  He spent all yesterday afternoon riding it around a church parking lot just east of our house.

On Saturday we invited several friends to Cornbelly's to celebrate the boys' birthday's and man did the kids have fun.  It lived up to its expectations and beyond, every one went home good and tired and I for one know that both my boys slept through the night and didn't wake up till 7:30 the next morning.

It was like a carnival, with rides, games, face painting and more in addition to the corn maze, which we never made it to.  The kids were more interested in all the other stuff.

On the way home after lamenting that he never got his face painted HT told me, "Mama I never seen an ant poop before!"   Yeah me either, pretty sure I don't want to and what poop has to do with face painting I don't know.  I will never understand how this kids mind works.

A caterpillar cake.
Auntie with EM
Alex and HT, laughing at the idea that if you cut into the caterpillar a butterfly would come out.
Opening presents.
The boys absolutely loved this slide and spent most of their time playing here.  They would pile the straw on the end so that when someone slid down they would slide right through it. 
Caleb, HT and Isabella
I wanted to get a picture of all the kids together, but it was near impossible to get everyone back together after we were done eating cake and opening presents.

Papa, Mike, HT, Isabella and Nadew

What a couple of goofs, they wanted to sit on the horse but we talked them out of it.
The boys had an absolute blast.  Who wouldn't when you've got such loving indulgent grandparents, they showered them with loves, hugs and kisses not the mention the birthday presents.  All's quiet here on the western front so to speak, back to the same old, same old routine of our boring everyday lives.  Truth be told I enjoyed them too and wished they could have stayed at least one more day.

Thanks for everything and all that you do for us, we had such a lovely visit and can't wait for next time.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. 
Psalm 133:1

Friday, October 8, 2010

Comfort Food Part Deux

Last week when I posted my recipe for fried chicken and linked it to FringeGirl's blog carnival on Comfort Food over at the domestic fringe my brother left me a comment saying that I should post my mom's recipe for Tater Tot Casserole, so this is for you Jared, and I hope the rest of you all like it too.

Here's what you'll need:
1lb ground beef
1 can green beans, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups milk (approx, I usually just use a soup can full of milk)
1 bag tater tots
salt, pepper, seasoning salt and minced onion
grated cheese

Brown ground beef, drain fat and line the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 pan, sprinkle with salt, pepper, seasoning salt and minced onion.

 Drain can of green beans, put on top of ground beef.
 Whisk together soups and milk and pour over ground beef, green bean mixture.
 Layer tater tops on top of ground beef, green bean, soup mixture.
 Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.  Remove from oven sprinkle with grated cheese, return to oven just until cheese is melted.  Serve and eat.

As you can see someone was hungry and couldn't wait for me to get a picture before diving in!

This is also a meal that could be made up and frozen to be enjoyed at a later date, you could probably split it and freeze it in two 9 x 9 pans or freeze one and have one for supper.  If you are going to do that I would probably use 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef and wait until cooking to add the grated cheese, but everything else should be good to go.

Okay its your turn now, head on over to the domestic fringe and see what comforts are cookin' this week.

Ta ta for now.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Today is HT birthday and if you hadn't figured it out already he turned four and he is very excited to be four now, except when asked by his cousin if he was really four, he said yes but that it hadn't got into his head yet.  Whatever that means.  Tried to get him to count to four but he wouldn't do it, can't decide if he just wanted to be contrary or to exercise a little independence.

He is full of vim and vigor and entertains everyone around him, not a Sunday goes by that someone at church doesn't tell us what a delight he is.  He's been known to bound down the aisle yelling "Yipee, wahoo!" or "Wait for me!"  when all the children are called forward for the mini children's sermon before they are dismissed to Sunday school and he always has some comment or another, sometimes completely out of context to what is being said.  He has raised his hands as if calling a touchdown and shouted "Taco Bell", told them "That's silly!", told them all about his trains "I have Thomas, you know", and the fact that he lives in Utah.  Last Sunday when Pastor Mike did a recap of our Faith in Action service and asked "Where were you?" HT pipes up from the pews, "I was at school!"

I find myself wondering how do I temper his enthusiasm without crushing his spirit and when I said as much to someone at church their response was to tell me not to even try.  "Why would you want to?" they asked.  Well . . . what's cute at three or four is obnoxious at six.  However, he hasn't been called charming for nothing because he knows how to turn it on and I find that I am often charmed too.

 Happy Birthday my sweet booberloo, I love you!

Lord, thank you for the blessing of another day, for the life you give and for the gift of your mercy and grace.

"For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting.  And His truth endures to all generations."  Psalm 100:5

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Oh, Happy Day

EM turned one year old today, not that he was much into birthday celebrations.  It's sometimes hard to believe that a year ago we were welcoming him into our family and now I can't imagine life without him.  He is growing so big and he delights me every day with his antics.  He has figured out that he can walk backwards and had to show off his new talent to Grandma and Grandpa when they got here from MN yesterday.  He has also discovered that he has inflection in his voice and will walk around saying "Uh-ah" in a sing song of high note then low note.  He's got competing cowlicks in the back of his hair which often result in an Alfalfa type hairdo that is just so darn cute!  Not that I'm biased or anything.

Happy Birthday my little big man.  I love you.

Lord, thank you for the blessing of this day, for the love of little ones and for the life you have given me.

"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.  To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.  O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever."  Psalm 30: 11-12