Showing posts from November, 2009

Oh, Christmas tree, Ohhhh, Christmas tree

We all dream of that storybook day, when the snow is glistening and the temperatures just cold enough to frost your breath and just warm enough so that you can feel the tips of your fingers. You pack up the family, all dressed in coordinating thermal gear, and set out on an adventure to find that one, glorious evergreen. Perfect from every angle, needles strong and intact, strong spire to support a family heirloom star, and just enough clearance on the bottom to hold the dozens of perfectly wrapped presents from Santa. There are quiet, peaceful moments of stringing popcorn by a roaring fire and then carefully hanging every safely wrapped precious ornament, and with each returns a flood of heart-warming memories. Choral music from a famous European choir plays softly, accented by the giggle of happy children and the crackle of the fire. But then, reality hits. And last year, for us, reality hit rock bottom. Due to a Thanksgiving away visiting relatives, we started off two steps behin

Thanksgiving '09: 2 great recipes and a verse or two

Every year I have my children write out their own recipes for "How to cook a turkey." Giggles never fail. Every year I have my children write out their own recipes for "How to cook a turkey." Giggles never fail. Toby, Age 6 Ellen, Age 8 (And really, CHEESE? Whose kid is this?) And finally, a profession of why this is the greatest holiday. And another reason why I shouldn't try to write anything at 11:30PM. It would be worse though, if it was after eating the turkey. Thanksgiving is for me Easter has its chocolate Brought by the Easter Bunny, Summer holidays have their BBQ's And the weather's always sunny. Christmas keeps us hopping With the lights and gifts and tree, But for all the year's holidays, Thanksgiving is for me. The entire day is based around A table full of food. The turkey roasting in the morning Puts us all in a spirited mood. Parades and pies and pumpkins, And football on TV, I've got dibs on that there turkey leg Because Thank

Wedding crier gets the job done

There are two sorts of criers. There are the type that release the most delicate tears that peacefully roll down their cheeks in a quiet and dignified sort of way, and then there is me. I am a quivering, snotting, can’t-catch-my-breath sort of crier which works quite well for watching chic flicks at home alone, but isn’t great when I am standing up for a friend at her wedding. I recently had my first ever duty as bridesmaid, a job that most girls loathe. Having never had the opportunity to wear an ugly dress, I was doubly elated when asked to be a matron of honor. Sure, I’d been a junior bridesmaid as a ‘tween and a bestman for a best friend in college, but never once had the opportunity to adjust a flowing train or carry a supply of lipstick. My dress was my own choice, and at the store I knew I needed something practical, mostly floor-length to cover my pasty legs, all bruised up from soccer balls and toddlers. The dress itself was gorgeous, but it had one downfall: no pockets. Not t

Italian steak sandwiches on an American night

My husband said he had a taste for "American beef" tonight, not surprisingly. Men love beef. It's carnal, red, bloody, chewy. Women love salad. It's fresh, crunchy, low in calories. But women also love their men, and sometimes we just give in and whip up a beefy meal for dinner, and such is the case tonight. I will, however, be serving this dish with salad and some roasted sweet potato 'fries,' although I'm fairly certain the children will scoff at how I am trying to pull one over on them by calling something that doesn't come in a paper bag with an "M" on it as "fries." More for me, I suppose. In any case, my family loves these sandwiches. Packed with fat, carbs, and sodium, there couldn't be anything more american than these easy-peasy Italian steak sandwiches. Go figure. Italian Steak Sandwiches A great weeknight meal! (serves 4) 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tbl olive oil 1 pound deli roast beef, shaved 1/2 - 3/4 cup beef b

How I first earned the name "machine gun Karrie"

Basically, while in 10th grade doing environmental research in a river, I stumbled upon a stolen WWI machine gun. My 15 minutes of fame, used up when I was 15. (You can click on the article to blow it up and actually read it.)

A quest for knowledge leads to old, dusty books

Like most good children of the 1980’s, I thought we were practically Daddy Warbucks when my parents took the leap and purchased our own set of encyclopedias. No more trips to the library where you had to wait in line until someone done was pouring over volume X, only to have your turn and try to copy down, by hand, everything about your subject. Once we got those encyclopedias, I thought, my school reports would be astronomically better. I was elated at the opportunity to peruse anything I wanted, from hamsters to the North Pole, at my leisure. My parents opted for the silver set, which looking back I’m pretty sure was the same old set of encyclopedias with sliver around the edges, but back then made me feel even more proud of the thousand pounds of books that happily warped our family room bookshelves. Not only that, but there must have been a deal involved in there somewhere because we ended up with an entirely other set of books, all labeled with a famous philosopher or scientist.

Me-oh-my-oh mushrooms

My husband and i have this thing we do without even knowing that we do it. Whenever we eat out at a restaurant, each of us automatically orders the one food the other person doesn't like. I do not eat fish, and every time we eat out, he orders fish. He does not eat mushrooms, so I'm the one usually ordering the extra large side of them whenever I get the chance. I like to attribute it to my polish heritage, my love of mushrooms. In every Polish cookbook I've ever seen there are countless mushroom dishes, all equally wonderful because I like to live by the rule that anything with mushrooms makes it better. This rule generally applies to other things as well, such as garlic, salt, and any processed pork product. (Can I get an 'amen' for the bacon?) Growing up, on special occasions my dad would make his famous mushrooms. We'd clean and slice them and lay them out on a plate. Dotted with butter and sprinkled with Lowry Seasoning Salt, they cooked in the micro

Veteran's Day to a 5 year old

If the hand on your heart doesn't break yours just a little, you need a lesson in patriotism.

An open letter to the mega media

Dear Mega Media, Just wanted to drop you a quick note of thanks for turning me into a raging lunatic these last few weeks. I honestly feel like I have been walking through a minefield, tiptoeing through my entire life and practically drowning my family in hand sanitizer. I have even have gone as far as giving my children money to hold in every public place we enter with the strict rule that if they touch anything, anything, they will lose the money. Hands-off everything, they keep it. I’m down at least eighteen dollars already. You’ve done a fabulous job scaring the pants off of all of us. Or most of us. Some of us can see through your hype and just change the channel. Of course, every channel that doesn’t contain sporting events, cartoons, or classic TV re-runs has the ticker running across the bottom that spells out in scrolling letters that we’re all going to fall victim to the flu de jour and spend the next two weeks of our lives practically on our death beds and don’t even b

A good woman's chicken

I had dinner last night with a bunch of people who are waaaay smarter than I am. Well, this is a lie. I actually ate dinner, the first time, with my family. A pulled pork sandwich and a bottle of Budweiser, which was absolutely delicious and absolutely grounding. Later on, I ate dinner (yet again) with my college roommate who went on to earn a few degrees while I got married and had a few children. The purpose of the meal was to introduce the wedding party to each other. Come tomorrow I will be, for the first time ever, a bridesmaid. For this I am excited beyond belief. The chance to stand up for someone special and be there when she ties the knot and makes the promise is an absolute honor. I've got my toast all ready (stay tuned, I'm sure some sort of column will appear) and my duties of flower carrying and dress bundling all scheduled. But back to my dinner. We ate at a fancy restaurant where I felt completely under dressed. "Casual" she said, and apparently

A hunting we will go

My neighbors will have to pardon the nerdiness (you know who you are!), but this is a rather addicting fall habit and a fun game to play with your kids outside: Who can find the most nests in the bare trees?

A cut above: Historic season ends in a win

Although I’m not sure how many times the turf saw action, it seems that the average record for the year was about an even tie. The playoffs, however, were not a match up to be missed. Both teams put in a full blown effort both offensively and defensively. I am, of course, speaking about mowing the lawn. With the exception of my sister-in-law’s father who prides himself on mowing the lawn ten months out of the year, we are all just about done with arduous task that is keeping the yard neat and tidy. This was indeed a season that saw great action. I am probably an oddity, but I genuinely love to mow the lawn. Perhaps it is seeing the lines and the instant gratification of a clean-cut surface, or maybe it’s the feeling of accomplishment knowing that I am strong enough to pull start the machine. Or really, maybe it’s just the fact that when the mower is running the sound of the children playing/fighting/asking for juice is completely drowned out and oddly enough, even at 90 decibels, mowin