Remember Jell-O 123?

I used to love this!  

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, back in the late 70's and into the 80's, Jell-O had this cool dessert that was easy as 1-2-3.  Like the box says, one mix makes three layers.  Just blend it up and chill.  It separated by itself.  Talk about a neato dessert.  You could set it at an angle in the fridge and really make it fancy.

So last night I was really in the mood for something like this, but all I had in the house was cherry Jell-O, Ready Whip and fresh strawberries.
  1. Make Jell-O according to package instructions
  2. Pour half of your Jell-O into dessert cups and set aside the other half into another container and refrigerate
  3. When it's set, combine the Jell-O that was set aside of with an equal amount of Reddi Whip and mix well.
  4. Pour into your glasses of Jell-O and refrigerate
  5. Top with more Reddi Whip and garnish with fresh strawberries

FYI - cherry Jell-O and strawberries don't go well together.  Something about the tartness of either the cherry flavor or the strawberries made it kind of weird.  It's an interesting idea, but don't follow the above instructions!

According to Kraft, Cool Whip is better, and by the way, use fruit that matches your flavor.  Duh.  Maybe next time.


I love this song.  I like the tune and the harmony but I never actually listened to the words until I was plugged into my iPod one night while drifting off to sleep.  It brought me to tears.  I could really relate to the message.  I must have been feeling small and insecure at the time because it really had an impact on me.  Now I don't just love this song, I embrace it.

How many of you, like me, sometimes drifted with the wind without taking much thought to where it was blowing?  There have been times in my life that I look back on with regret because I didn't stand up for myself or voice my opinion when I should have.  Or I've said something that was taken the wrong way and someone was offended.

When I was younger, I didn't always have the courage to live life on my own terms.  I would let fear drive me into a "safe" place, when I should have been brave enough to "take the wheel and steer".  But I also realize that all of my experiences have brought me to this point in my life and have made me who I am.  So at the same time I'm grateful for all of the memories that I don't enjoy remembering.  

This song gives me courage to be my own person and not be afraid of following the beat of my own drummer.

Drive by Incubus

Sometimes, I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear
And I can't help but ask myself how much I let the fear
Take the wheel and steer
It's driven me before
And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal
But lately I'm beginning to find that I
Should be the one behind the wheel

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
With open arms and open eyes yeah

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
I'll be there

So if I decide to waiver my chance to be one of the hive
Will I choose water over wine and hold my own and drive?
It's driven me before
And it seems to be the way that everyone else gets around
But lately I'm beginning to find that
When I drive myself my light is found

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
With open arms and open eyes yeah

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
I'll be there

Would you choose water over wine
Hold the wheel and drive

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
With open arms and open eyes yeah

Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there
I'll be there

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.  ~Judy Garland

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.  ~e.e. cumming

There is just one life for each of us:  our own.  ~Euripides

If God had wanted me otherwise, He would have created me otherwise.  ~Johann von Goethe

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.  ~Confucius

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.  ~Dr. Seuss

Like the sky opens after a rainy day we must open to ourselves.... Learn to love yourself for who you are and open so the world can see you shine.  ~James Poland

You were born an original.  Don't die a copy.  ~John Mason

Why try to be someone you're not?  Life is hard enough without adding impersonation to the skills required.  ~Robert Brault

I was once afraid of people saying, "Who does she think she is?" Now I have the courage to stand and say, "This is who I am."  ~Oprah Winfrey

I started to repeat to myself "If I'm not where I want to be, it's because I'm not good enough... yet." Which meant it was up to me.  ~Sally Field

My wheat grinder

I'd like to share something kind of personal that had a tremendous effect on me.  

Years ago, my husband and I hit a proverbial road block and had to live off our home storage for a while.  My parents had given us a wheat grinder for Christmas the year before and I was using it constantly.  With six kids at home, we were going through a gallon of milk a day.  I'm sure they don't have great memories of drinking powdered milk.

"Mom, my milk has lumps in it"  
"Then chew it!"

I'm joking - that's from a TV show we loved.  My powdered milk never had lumps...

 I was also making eight loaves of bread a week.  Needless to say, my grinder was always in use.  One day while making a cake, I noticed that I had run out of powdered sugar and needed frosting.  In my infinite wisdom, I had this brilliant idea that I could grind sugar.  :-o  I watched in horror as the melted sugar started oozing from the flour outlet.  The moment I turned it off, I realized that it had crystallized and the grinder has frozen up.  Not my proudest moment.  FYI, you can't grind sugar in a wheat grinder.

I grabbed my grinder and tools and ran to find a quite place, which happened to be my bathroom, where I could try and fix it without being interrupted.  

I've always been able to fix things, so I took it apart, keeping detailed notes so I could put it back together again.  I spent what seemed like an hour chiseling at the hardened sugar trying to get it to a place where I thought it would work again.   When I felt like I had gotten as much as I could, I started putting it back together, reversing my directions.  

Everything was working fine, until I got to the gear mechanism.  It didn’t make sense to me, and I couldn’t understand my notes.  I was so close, but I was stuck.  It was finally at that point with tears streaming down my face that I realized there was nothing more I could do by myself and I got on my knees.  I explained my problem to Heavenly Father and let him know how much we needed this grinder right now.  I couldn’t do this without His help.  After my prayer, I went back into the bathroom and looked at my grinder.  I have a hard time explaining what happened next, but it’s as if my mind was opened and I saw that grinder in a different way.  I understood how it worked - it all made sense.  I could have built one from scratch if I’d had to. 

I put the gears back in order, closed it up and turned it on.  It worked!  By the time I had finished attaching the base, I had forgotten everything - I don’t know how I did it.  But for that brief moment, the Lord had given me such a wonderful gift.  He had opened my eyes so I could understand how to fix my problem.

No one can tell me God doesn't answer prayers.  I know He loves us and wants to help us with things that are important to us.  Don't be afraid to get on your knees.



I don't like spiders.  They have too many legs.

I used to dream there were spiders on my wall at night and I would sort of wake up and try to kill them.  Acting out my dreams is a little embarrassing, but it was a SPIDER!

One night I was drifting off to sleep while Gary was sitting on the bed with his laptop open.  I "saw" a spider on his computer.  It was the size of an apple and pretty hairy.  Doing what I thought was appropriate at the time, half asleep, I grabbed a pillow and flung it at his computer.  I had to save him from that monster.  I missed it by that much.  Needless to say, he wasn't very happy with me.  I was awake by now and trying to explain my actions.

"Sure there was spider.  Just like the dog you were looking for 25 years ago".

I can't help it.  I have a vivid imagination.

Lasagna Fagioli (Fazool)

One of my favorite songs is by Dean Martin called That's Amore.

"When the stars make you drool just like pasta fazool, that's amore"

I always wondered what pasta fazool was. Apparently it makes you drool. I made it one day and by golly, it did make us drool. Its an Italian homestyle chili-like stew that has as many different variations as beef stew. So you can't make it wrong. Its all good.

We also love veggie lasagna. I had this brilliant idea to combine the two. I'm sure someone else has already thought of this, but its new to me.

Lasagna Fazool

1/2 lb hot Italian sausage, casings removed (can use mild, spicy is better to use)
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic ( or to taste)
1 teaspoon dried oregano, to taste
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1 diced zucchini
1 diced yellow squash
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or adjust to heat level, can use crushed chili flakes)
1 (15 ounce) can red beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 lb lasagna noodles
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
28 oz. cottage cheese
3 eggs
2 tablespoons dried parsley
12 oz grated mozzarella cheese

Cook the lasagna noodles according to package instructions. While they're boiling, in a large fry pan, sauté the sausage, onion, garlic, dried oregano and thyme over med-high heat until the sausage is brown, crumbling with a fork while cooking (about 6-7 minutes).

Add the undrained tomatoes, zucchini, squash, tomato paste and the cayenne pepper; simmer for 8-10 minutes until the vegetables are almost tender. Add the kidney beans and spinach and simmer 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

In another bowl combine the cottage cheese, eggs, parmesan cheese and parsley. 

 Start layering your ingredients:

-Sausage and sauce mixture (just a small amount for the first layer)
-Mozzarella cheese
-Lasagna noodles
-cottage cheese
-Sausage and sauce mixture
-Mozzarella cheese
-Lasagna noodles
-cottage cheese
-Sausage and sauce mixture

Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove the foil and cover with more mozzarella cheese and bake 5 more minutes. Let it stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Yum.  That's amore!

I'm making lemonade

Life is an adventure.  I honestly believe that.  We are free to choose how we view our life.  I know people who are always happy.  Joy seems to be attracted to them.  I don't think they are always lucky enough to have only positive experiences, but they have a way of seeing the good in everything.  That's the kind of person I want to be.  I'm still working on it, but I'm trying my hardest to see the good in life and to make the most out of what I have in front of me.

When life gives you lemons, well, you can squint and pucker because its sour, or you can make lemonade and enjoy it the best you can.

I've been given a lemon.  Its not too sour, but its a lemon nonetheless.

I found out that I have Young Onset Parkinson's Disease.  For the last three years I've been trying to understand why the right side of my body has been slowing down and being uncooperative.  I don't have a tremor but without my levodopa, I have trouble writing, typing and moving in general.

Through my curiosity about what I'm facing, I've read everything I can get my hands on.  It seems that I've had non-motor symptoms for a long time but didn't realize it.  My sniffer's broken.  About ten years ago I started losing my sense of smell.  I would get these horrible smells stuck in my nose and was convinced that it was my house.  But no one else could smell them.  I gave up trying to figure it out.  I can't smell the candle wax burning in my house.  I'm just hoping it smells okay to everyone else.

There's another symptom that shows up before anything else that we're not going to talk about here.  **clearing my throat**  Look it up.  I'm sure you can figure it out.

Dopamine is kind of important.  Without it, you can experience sleep, speech and swallowing problems, fatigue, depression, gastrointestinal trouble, not to mention all the movement problems associated with Parkinson's.

I read Michael J. Fox's book 'Lucky Man' a few months ago and was very impressed.  He was able to show that things in life can either completely take over, or change you for the better, but ultimately, the choice is yours.  I admire his determination to not let pd take his life away from him.  I'm glad he took the time to write that book.

I've also learned that everyone responds to Parkinson's differently.  Some are tremor dominant, others like me are slow and rigid.  Gary likes to remind me that we don't know what will hit me first, the tremors or a bus.  Might as well live like there is no tomorrow.

So aside from the balance, sleep and movement problems I get to deal with, I'm happy and I love life.  I love my family, and my husband is the best boyfriend.  What more could I ask for?

Parkinson's stinks.  At least I can't smell it.

Copyright @ anne marcel | Floral Day theme designed by SimplyWP | Bloggerized by GirlyBlogger