The perception of slights...

I was blessed to take the kids to my hometown this weekend.  I was so excited!  I hadn't been home in several months and everyone was itching to see Honeybee and Superbug.  So, I packed up the car, kissed FatherWinter, and down the road we went.  We had a wonderful visit that  can be read about on the main blog until church on today.

My church is small in size and membership, primarily because we grew up in a small town and because it's a family church.  About 90% of the membership is my family.  Any way, prior to church everyone was smiling and happy surprised to see us there (we'd kept our arrival a surprise for the elders).  In the midst of the smiles came a cousin whom I hadn't seen in several years.  There has been no reason, no malice or anything.  I rarely see her and even when I lived in the same town as her, we didn't speak that often.  She is older than I by about 20 years and was usually in the workforce or on a trip.  But I was always glad to see her.

Well, in the midst of all the hugs and smiles and re-introducing our Honeybee to the family, she comes up and says, "well, where did she come from" referring to my daughter.  I didn't like the tone, and subconsciously I felt my hackles raise.  [But] Nevertheless, I turned and politely wished her hello and an embrace as I hadn't seen her in several years and was genuinely pleased to see her.  In response, I received "I didn't know you were in town and I didn't know you had a baby".  Now, everyone in the family including those on her side were aware that FatherWinter and I were in the process of adopting.  She'd even liked a social media status about my daughter and again several months later later when we started fundraisers to offset some expenses.  I informed her that we'd been blessed with Honeybee since she was 1.5 weeks old and she was about 10 months old now.  To which she replied, "well, no one told me.  I guess I'm not on FB enough", abruptly turned and walked away.

I was...annoyed.  I was really annoyed.  Honeybee has never been a secret.  We celebrate her often, but you know what; we live, work, and play in a different state.  It isn't our responsibility to contact you to make sure you got the news you feel you should have received.  We love each other and we are truly family, but I don't tell my family everything.  And, I'm a firm believer that communication goes both ways.  If you were really that concerned with what was going on with my little core family, I'm sure a telephone would have assuaged any of your fears.

Fortunately for me, the pallor of that moment was short lived as the service started and I completely forgot about the conversation until service was over.  I was reminded that this cousin is dealing with some personal things and sometimes feels that family slights her.  I can understand.  We haven't nor do we plan to ever slight anyone, but I do feel that the expectation of information when no requirement exists is presumptuous.

Do better.  I'm just saying. Am I wrong for that thought?  I mean it does seem a bit ironic that my post sounds off on the perception that we have to share information when this blog does exist for that purpose.  However, in the same breath, I am cautious about how much I share--not because we are keeping secrets, but because of the delicacy of certain intricacies within our Honeybee's story.  It is not yet a completed chapter, nor am I in a hurry for a conclusion solely for the purpose of someone else's interest.

I suppose there will always be someone who isn't pleased by something that I've said done or thought whether I actually did so or not.  Knowing that keeps me grounded. Recognizing that I can be grounded and devoted to what's in the best interest of my family will always be my claim to fame.

Have a great day everyone.


Crockpot Season!!!

Oh the weather outside is frightful!  But we're nice and toasty inside, thank God.  I was driving home today and was so grateful to have a car that drives (even though she is on her last legs) and a home that is warm.  My prayer is everyone is able to find somewhere warm and safe to lay their head tonight.

The weather this week has been ridiculous.  It was close to 70 degrees on Monday and by Tuesday night, we were barely making 30.  Today was no higher than 27!  That means it is the perfect time for crockpot dinners.  I'm definitely a fan of the fix and forget it philosophy.  So this week has been all crock pot cooking for us.

Monday, was Shrimp Fried Rice.  Yes, in the crock pot.  Tough we cheated and cooked the rice on the stove.  Basically, all you are doing is heating everything up in the slow cooker.  I had a bag of mixed veggies and did the shrimp the last twenty minutes.  I found the recipe on Stephanie O' Dea's Year of Slow Cooking Blog.  It's a favorite go to when I can't think of anything yummy to make with the crock pot.  She gives her honest take on recipes and they are pretty easy to follow.  Some of them have been great.  Others not so much.  But the site is great and consistent.  I like that.

Sweet Corn Chili, recipe courtesy of Mix and Match Mama
(link found in blog post)
Tuesday was Sweet Corn Chili.  Can I tell you I have never had a sweet corn chili before?  So, I was a bit reluctant to try it.  I stumbled across the site when I reading adoption blogs.

One of the blogs I follow linked to another blog called Mix and Match Mama.  Can I tell you I am now a HUGE fan of hers?!  I made the sweet corn chili, came home to an amazing aroma in my household, made some cornbread to accompany (only took about 30 minutes and that was perfect to have timing while the family was transitioning from work/school clothes and finishing chores).  I plated the bowls, gave FatherWinter and Superbug their respective bowls, turned around and my Superbug had crushed his bowl.  He'd completely cleaned the bowl in less than 3 minutes and the cornbread and was now asking for more!  #SCORE!!!

I'm all about a healthy little boy eating protein and veggies.  So, yeah, I've visited this site more than once.

French Onion soup.  I'm no food photog, but this was #yummy!
Last night, I was feeling a bit adventurous and made French Onion soup.  This one was a combination of recipes from Six Sisters Stuff and the Year of Slow Cooking Blog, and one more that escapes memory at the moment.  Between their suggestions and my alterations for my family, I came out with a very yummy soup that made the family quite happy, even FatherWinter who claims he doesn't like French Onion Soup.  (He ate it with no complaints last night).

Before I left for work this morning, I went back to Mix and Match Mama (tyeah, the site is in heavy rotation) and tried the sausage and potato chowder.  I'm going to be doing a couple of modifications for our family's tastes.  Nothing major, just one that I picked up from my sister in law at a family gathering we had at her home a few months ago.  I'm adding shrimp for some of us.  It was soooo good.  It gave just the right texture and oomph!  So, I'm definitely all in for this soup.

Tomorrow is supposed to be Friday pizza and crazy bread night.  But it is still supposed to be very, very cold.  I wonder if I can get away with doing the pepperoni pizza soup to keep the theme going.
I'll come back and let you guys know.  In the mean time, welcome to #crockpot season!

I wouldn't have it any other way!


Honeybee's 1st Church League Game

Today was a new experience for our Honeybee.  She was able to attend our church league's basketball game for the first time.  Our church's team was the first on the roster today at 9AM.  Considering that FatherWinter and I stayed up late the evening before watching movies, that early morning rise was quite difficult.  It was made more so because Honeybee woke up very early after having some difficulty with her nose being stuffy (yay flu shot...sigh).  So, I cuddled with her for a while before coming back upstairs and lying down in exhaustion.  That decision put us a bit behind schedule so that FatherWinter, instead of being on the court at 0900, was actually walking into the court at 0904.  It wasn't too bad as there were plenty of players on the team and all he had to do was change into play clothes and jump in.

The guys made a valiant effort, but they are older than they have been in previous years.  After a slow start, they picked up momentum, acquired a sizable lead, and then lost it in the second quarter.  It should be noted that our church's team has been the team to beat for years.  I can only recall less than three times where we haven't made it to the playoffs or taken the championship.  So, the guys weren't too thrilled about the loss today.  It was a loss by about ten points, so it showed that the guys need to pull everything together sooner than later.

Honeybee and Superbug still had an enjoyable time watching all the action.  I have a feeling Honeybee is going to be my sports lover.  She is the one who will watch Sportscenter with FatherWinter and then crawl away when it goes off.  She is also the one who will sit and watch the football games with Dad.  She reminds me of my cousin.  She was like another son to my uncle.  While his son (her brother) wasn't too interested in hunting and fishing initially, she always was.  I feel like Honeybee will be the same and I'm looking forward to taking her down South to interact with the family there.  There, she will learn fishing and some standard home improvement things.  She will be able to handle herself.

Overall, today was a good day and the fact that Honeybee was able to experience another first with us was wonderful.  I look forward to her experiencing many more in the future.


Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year!!  We woke up this morning with a great grin on our faces.  We are alive!  We are together!  We are blessed!  After ushering in the new year at church, we were extremely excited to spend some time together as a family.  As is our tradition, FatherWinter, Superbug, and I made our way to Watch Night services at the church.  Accompanying us for her first Watch Night Service was Honeybee.  Admittedly, we were very late this year.  We wanted Honeybee well rested, so we didn't get to the church until 11:30ish.  However, that was just enough time to get a great Word, hold hands as a family, and wish each other a Happy New Year.

For those who have followed the blog for a while, I grew up in the South. A few of my favorite Southern African-American traditions have always been linked to New Years.  None more so than the collard greens and black-eyed peas.  As my great-great grandmother told me growing up, the tradition of collard greens and black-eyed peas was a bit of folklore and a whole bunch of fun.  The collard greens were to symbolize dollar bills.  The black-eyed peas were to symbolize pennies.  The amount you ate determined the stability of your wallet!  We, of course, know this folklore to be false, but I enjoy the tradition and merit of it so much that I have faithfully been preparing these two items for my family and myself for as long as I have had a household for which to do so.

There are tons of ways to make Black Eyed Peas, but I have to say one of my favorites has always been the recipe below.  I can't take the credit for this one.  It's from a site I love to frequent called Divas Can Cook.  This young lady brings me back to my great-grandmother's cooking all the time.  I LOVE HER!  Now, since I can't post my great-grandmother's recipe because I know she'd have a fit (rest her soul); I think she'd approve of the one that's listed.

I promise there are collard greens on this place.
They're hiding under the pot pie!
I like to add some sliced ham, some hot cornbread with butter, and finish up with a nice deep dish apple pie with ice-cream to round out the dish.  Now, this year...we took the tradition and added some spice o' life to it.  I neglected to cook the black eyed peas!  Only because there was still so much food left from previous meals.  We ended up with a plate of collard greens, macaroni and cheese,  cornbread, cocktail franks, baked beans, cranberry sauce, corn on the cob, and turkey pot pie.  Yeah, we're stuffed lol.

Oh!  There's one more New Year's tradition that is followed in our home.  The first man to cross the threshold of your home on the New Year's Day (and does not live in the home) must put money on the kitchen or dining room table.  It doesn't have to be a lot.  It can be a penny.  It can be a dime.  But it's occurrence was supposed to mean prosperity and good tidings the entire year and my uncle did it every year for my great-grandmother's household.  It was something she insisted on!  I do too lol.

 I am not beneath dialing my father up on the phone and telling him to come by lol.  My husband hates it and thinks it is absolute mess.  He is 100% right.  It is mess, but I love the memories it brings back to me of a simpler time and a peaceful childhood.  I look forward to Honeybee and SuperBug seeing the same occur.

Have a great New Year, everyone!  May God bless you with peace, health, prosperity, true friendship, and love all year long.


Southern Black Eyed Peas

4-5 green onions, chopped (or 1 medium white onion, chopped)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 (16 oz) bag of dry black eyed peas
Smoked Turkey (as much as you desire. I used half of a fully cooked, smoked turkey leg. Just chopped the meat up into bits. You can leave it whole if you do not like meat in your black eyed peas but like the flavor)
6-8 cups of chicken broth (or enough to cover the beans)
Red pepper flakes,
black pepper (optional)

Sort & wash the black eyed peas. Set aside.
Chop onions & garlic.
In a large pot, add in 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and saute the onions and garlic until tender.
Add in the chopped meat, black eye peas, & chicken broth
Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour or until black eyed peas are tender.
Remove from heat and let sit covered for about 10-15 minutes.
Season with red pepper & black pepper if desired.

This recipe came from Divas Can Cook which is
Old School Cooking For The Modern Woman.
Make sure you go check out the website for more great recipes.