Wednesday, April 20, 2011

An Empty Box

Yesterday, B and I went on a walking field trip down to Family Dollar. He bought a new monster truck and a pen and pads of paper. I bought some goodies, of course. The best ever shortbread cookies (especially for the $1 price) and a pack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Or, at least goodies was all I planned to get. While looking through the store, I saw this box. Beautiful, with butterflies and music notes and flowers, and that vintage looking background. I held it, caressed it, oohed and ahhed. Set it back on the shelf and moved on.

I changed my mind a few times as we wandered the aisles. My practical side argued that I had no use for it. Didn’t know what to put in it, or where to display it. Just pretty clutter.

My pink side said: buy it for yourself! Like when you bought that gorgeous notebook last year. You deserve it. Why do you need a reason for everything? It’s only five dollars. Looking at it will make you happy, even if you never fill it. It’s like a 3-D bliss book. So many things that just make you happy. Any buyer’s guilt would vanish as you gaze at it. This box is simply YOU.

So I bought the box.

My Bliss Box

It’s 9.5” x 11.5”, and 5.5” deep. Any suggestions on what I could put in it?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Crockpot Lasagna

As requested.

With the exception of frozen meals or restaurant ordered, this is the easiest lasagna I’ve ever had. Simple prep, traditional taste, and reheats well. Best part: don’t have to worry about pre-cooking those pesky noodles.

My recipe card says I got the original recipe from, but I can’t find it to link to.


1 lb. of ground beef

1/2 onion chopped

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

2 15 oz. cans tomato sauce

1 6 oz. can tomato paste

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. oregano

1 12 oz. carton cottage cheese*

1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese

12 oz. lasagna noodles, uncooked

12 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese


Brown meat and onions in a skillet. Add garlic powder, tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt and oregano. Cook to warm.

In bowl, mix cheeses.

Spoon thin layer of meat sauce onto bottom of crockpot. Add double layer of noodles (break to fit) and top with cheese mix. Repeat layers two more times. Top with remaining sauce.


Cover and cook on low for 3 1/2 hours.**

* the smallest I’ve actually find at the store is 16 oz. so I estimate about 2/3 a carton.

**May vary per crockpot. First time, start checking after 3 hours. Want to cook noodles, but not burn the sides.

Serve and enjoy!

Friday, April 8, 2011

ABC Meme

Saw this on Nikki’s blog and decided to play along. :)  

Age:  28

Bed Size:  Queen

Chore You Hate:   Cleaning bathrooms. Eww.

Dogs:   Allergic.

Essential Start of Your Day:  Claritin (at least for a good chunk of the year)

Favorite Color:  Purple

Gold or Silver:  Silver

Height:  5’8”

Instruments You Play:  Piano, Microphone

Job Title:  Mother, wife, writer.

Kids:  One, a seven-year-old boy

Live:  Utah

Mom's Name:  Super Mom

Nicknames:  M, M&M, Mar-Bear, MJ

Overnight Hospital Stays:  Birth of my son

Pet Peeve:  people who jay walk when the crosswalk or streetlight is a mere four car lengths away. Really, people. It would be quicker to walk down and make use of the light than wait for a gap in traffic. Not to mention safer.

Quote From a Movie:  “I don’t care what you believe, just… BELIEVE.”

Right- or Left-Handed:  Right

Siblings:  9. Three older brothers, an older sister, and four younger sisters.

Time You Wake Up:  6am to make my husband’s lunch, then back to bed until 7:30am (unless, like this morning, B gets up around 7). Weekends, usually around 8am.

Underwear:  worn

Veggie You Dislike:   turnip

What Makes You Run Late:  Losing track of time. My son’s stalling.

X-Rays You Have Had:  Dental, ultrasound, spine.

Yummy Food You Make:   crockpot lasagna

Zoo Animal You Like Best:  monkeys. I miss the monkey island they had at Hogle Zoo when I was a kid.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sometimes the Mail Brings Joy

Many years ago, I would get excited for the mail to come. Waiting for letters from friends, and responses from mailed poetry submissions. I would run out barefoot to the mailbox, eager to be the first one to open it and see what delights may be inside. Not often was something for me, but those moments I would find an envelope with my name would get me bouncy. Yes, even when the poetry responses were rejections. I was young and eager. And when I got a letter from my childhood friend who rarely wrote, my entire family knew about it. So great was my joy.

One of my novels on the backburner seeks to capture that joy again, with the added thrill of eavesdropping on someone else’s mail. In Fly With Me, Vincent gets intrigued by a handwritten letter to his roommate, which is discarded without being opened. With permission, he reads the letter and gets a glimpse into the life of a woman who still believes in magic.

In my own life, it seems mail brings burdens more than joy. You know what I mean: the bills that never end, advertisements which overflow my recycling box. Most of the good things are now self-activated rather than surprises. These last few days just happened to bring more of those than usual. Saturday:  check I had forgotten was coming; a package from Disney Movie Rewards that was redeemed months ago. And today my Barnes and Noble order arrived. I’ve been wanting the book for Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog ever since I saw it listed last October. After a few delays, it finally came out on  March 29, and today I hold it in my hands! Full script and sheet music, behind the scenes info, commentary by cast and crew. Love!

Good mail!

What do you love and hate about the mail?