Saturday, March 31, 2012

Stuffed!!

Chicken and Stuffing



Ingredients:
1 pound chicken breasts, about 3 large 4 small breasts 
1 small can cream of mushroom soup 
1/2 cup milk
1 box stuffing mix
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 c. boiling water


Directions:
Prepare a 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Mix milk and soup thoroughly in bottom of dish, place chicken breasts in soup mixture, mixture should cover chicken only slightly. In a separate bowl, mix water and butter gradually with stuffing mix, stir until moist.  Place stuffing on top of chicken.
Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until chicken is done (use a meat thermometer to be sure). 

Enjoy!!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Timeline

The time has come.  Timeline for Facebook is rolling out and it's no longer a voluntary change.  It's here.

I'm not going to be one of those people kicking and screaming.  Actually, it's just posting complaints but you know what I mean.  Facebook is free.  Free.  I'm not going to complain about a service I use daily that doesn't cost me a single cent.  Just not gonna do it.

In addition to switching over my personal page, this blog's fan page has also been changed.  It took me a while yesterday to find an appropriate cover photo.  I have no clue how to re-size existing photos and I paid for the lack of knowledge while looking for a cover photo.  Just when I think I'm tech-savvy?  No...I'm not.  Add it to the list of things I still need to learn even at my advanced age!

So head on over to Facebook and check out Jerri's Empty Nest!!  Be sure to give me a "Like" and let me know how it looks!

Love,
Jerri

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Christmas Check-In

Yep...I said Christmas!!  If you remember, I wrote a couple months ago about my resolution to start making Christmas gifts early this year.  I swore I wouldn't wait until November.  And I haven't!

I've completed five projects but still have a long way to go.  But each project I finish is one step closer and one less thing I have to worry about in December.  Of course, this doesn't mean I won't use them for birthdays, etc. that pop up in the meantime so my process will be never-ending!  All I can do is try to get ahead of the curve.

Have you thought about Christmas gifts yet?  Do you try to make any by hand?  Let me know!

By the way...my most popular handmade gift?  The year I made homemade kahlua!




Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What Kids Remember

Last night my youngest son popped up a chat box on Facebook.  He was trying to talk me into giving him my Wii.  That didn't work but in the course of the conversation he shared a memory with me.

What does my son remember?  That I beat Tetris on the original Nintendo.  That seems to be my claim to fame.  He couldn't have been more than six when it happened but this memory is still vivid to him almost twenty years later.

I was a single parent for the majority of his childhood.  I'm grateful that this is what he remembers instead of some of the rough times we went through.  It seems insignificant but it is obviously important to him.  As parents, we often worry what events will stay with our children as they grow.  And as parents, we are amazed sometimes at what our children think is an important time or event.

So to the parents who still have chicks in their nest...relax!!  Your children love you and that will always and forever color their memories.

Love,
Jerri...The Tetris Queen

Monday, March 26, 2012

Guest Post: Road Rage

This is a guest post written by a friend.  I am honored to provide a forum for her story.  Jerri

Have you ever had road rage or been on the other end of someone else's road rage? Scary, isn't it?  Here is the story of my sister's experience with a road rager.

On a Tuesday afternoon, my sister was on her way home from work. Her morning and afternoon drives are on one of the busiest and dangerous interstate roads in our area. On this day, she came upon a driver in the fast lane that was driving way below the posted speed limit of 70 mph. She passes him from the right lane and goes on her way.



This must have set something off in this older gentleman as he sped up to get right up behind her. My sister tried driving faster and switching lanes, appropriately, to get away from him but he only shadowed her every move. After awhile she'd had enough and decided to move over to the right lane, slow down and let him pass. As she did this he, once again, moved behind her but didn't realize she was slowing down. Instead of slowing down he whipped back over to the fast lane and then rammed into her car. 


She was driven off the road, up an embankment and finally stopped when her vehicle crashed into the wedge between the overpass bridge and embankment. Miraculously, she wasn't killed or severly injured and was able to crawl out via the passenger door. Everyone that stopped was surprised at this as she walked around, apparently, without injuries. There were witnesses from both sides of the interstate, which had come to a full stop. Of course, there were rubber-neckers stopping to take pictures but once you've seen the picture you will understand why. The most unusual thing about this is that the driver actually stopped; of course, he kept saying he wasn't at fault. He was cited for ramming her car and for running her off the road. 


My sister was very lucky as she had walked away with some bruises, stiff muscles and a seatbelt rash that looks like someone had tried to strangle her. We are very lucky to have her with us today.




 
 




To end my story, please think twice before you allow yourself to be a road rager. It may save the other drivers and your lives.



Peace and love,
Melissa 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Perfect For Brunch

Strawberries Chantilly

Ingredients:

3 pints strawberries (large)
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Wash berries gently and dry on paper towels.  Remove stems.  Place berries in a glass serving dish.  Sprinkle with 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar and the lemon juice.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons boiling water over berries and toss very gently.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Whip cream until stiff, adding remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar and the vanilla.  If needed, a spoonful of light Karo syrup will keep the cream stable.  Serve alongside berries.

Enjoy!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Weekend Assignment

This weekend, I have an assignment for my favorite women.  Yes...you!!  There are a few things I want you to do this weekend.  It may be a tough assignment, but I know you're up to the task!

1.  Take an hour each on Saturday and Sunday to read a book.  I'm not talking something you need to read for work or school.  I mean a book you read just for fun.  Grab a mug of your favorite tea, your favorite blanket, and snuggle in for a well-deserved escape.

2.  Eat chocolate.  Because this is a direct order, the calories won't count.  Savor the taste.

3.  Take a long, hot bubble bath.  Make it a shower if you prefer.  But for once, don't worry about using up all the hot water or taking too long in the bathroom.  It's your time...everybody else can just deal.

4.  Eat dinner on the good china.  Why not?  There's no law that says it can only be used on holidays.  Better yet?  Order takeout and use the good china.  You deserve the time off from cooking!

5.  Sleep in.  There is nothing that cannot wait an extra hour.  Trust me, everything will still be there when you get up.

Enjoy your weekend!

Love,
Jerri

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mail Call

The highlight of my day lately has been when the mail comes each afternoon.  Unfortunately, we're at the end of the route so some days it's almost six before the mail gets here.  I'm not the most patient person, so those days tend to aggravate just a bit!

I enter a ton of sweepstakes, giveaways, and sample offers.  I never know what the mailman will bring and I'm rarely disappointed.  I'm also pretty sure he's not too thrilled with all the stuff he has to haul for me but I consider myself his job security!

Over the past few weeks, I've had special deliveries.  A dear friend is determined to get me through the rough patch I've been in by putting a smile on my face each week.  From cake to flowers to jewelry, surprises have shown up at my door one after the other.

I've told her she doesn't need to do it but telling her to do anything she doesn't want to do is like beating your head against a brick wall.  Kind of pointless.  We're talking about a woman who is actually known for her strong will.  Am I thrilled when a surprise appears?  Oh hell, yeah!  In an instant I will go from sad to smiling.  She takes the time and thought in to each gift, choosing something she knows I love or something I can't afford to get for myself.

The main reason it makes me smile?  The love of a friend.  There is no hidden agenda, no tit for tat.  Just a friend trying to ease another friend's sadness and bring a little joy to her day.  While she can't be with me through this due to distance, she makes sure I know she's right by my side.

And I'm a lucky woman to have such a friend.

Love,
Jerri

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Tiny Rant

Let's talk for a moment about social media.  Not the social media we use for friends and family, but the social media used by companies to interact with fans and customers.

On this blog, I write in the same conversational syntax and tone that I use when I speak to you in person.  Do I make grammatical and spelling errors?  I sure do...usually when my brain outraces my fingers.  My blog, however, does not represent a corporation and it's products.

My rant?  When I see spelling errors on posts by social media managers for large corporations.  You're a social media manager.  Your job consists of posting on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter to engage fans and customers with your brand.  What does it say about your company's products and their quality if even the simplest words are misspelled on their pages?  We're not talking huge words here, we're talking about every day, common use words that I see misspelled on a daily basis.

You are a social media manager.  Learn how to spell.  Learn how to proofread before you hit enter.  The last thing you want your post to say is "My company is staffed by idiots".  If you make a quality product, let that be reflected in each and every post.

And those are my random thoughts this morning...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring!!

Happy Spring, my darlings!  Today is the day we enter the season of hope and renewal.

Looking outside, I can see flowers blooming and trees filling out.  This is my favorite season of the year in gardening and in spirit.  This year, it is especially a time of renewal for me personally and I am looking forward to the future with excitement and joy.

How about you?  Have you been able to get outside where you are?  Hopefully, you have and you can see the signs of spring all around you.  I think seeing those signs in nature lifts our spirits and our energy level.  Now I realize some of you are still looking at snow, but it's on it's way.

Spring began here in Austin with massive thunderstorms.  I like to think of them as a metaphor for washing the dullness of winter away and cleaning the slate for a new season to write it's message.  Everything is fresh and clean and ready for the new.

Do you have something new in your life this spring?  Perhaps you want to refresh those resolutions from January.  Whichever it is, I wish you all the luck in the world.  Go for it...it's the season.

Love,
Jerri

Monday, March 19, 2012

My New Motto

Last week, I received a special gift from one of my dearest friends.  It is a silver cuff with a butterfly on the front.  On the inside is inscribed the following quote:

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, She became a butterfly."

Have you ever felt that way?  I think most women have at one point or another.  Women invest so much of themselves in the happiness of their spouses, children, friends and even strangers that they forget to refill their own self.

So today, let the laundry sit for more than five minutes before you change over the load.  Skip the vacuuming.  Pick up that bestseller you've been saving and read it.  And when you sit down and open that book, don't even dare to think about all the things you should be doing instead!  The world will not end if you take an hour for yourself, I promise.

Spread your wings, my beautiful women.  Fly and enjoy your day!

Love,
Jerri

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Blessing For Tomorrow

An Irish blessing for you, my friends.

May you see God's light on the path ahead
When the road you walk is dark.
May you always hear,
Even in your hour of sorrow,
The gentle singing of the lark.
When times are hard may harness
Never turn your heart to stone,
May you always remember
When the shadows fall--
You do not walk alone.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

For The Lack of Boobs

I am not a large chested woman.  Never have been except during pregnancy.  But something occurred a few years ago that exacerbated the situation.

A few years ago, I underwent a lumpectomy.  Pre-cancerous cells were found in the mammary ducts and I was extremely lucky it was caught so early.  Trust me, I understand that the lumpectomy probably saved my life.  I'm not complaining about that at all.

What bothers me...and I realize it seems petty and small in the circumstances...is the damage left behind.  The surgery took about a quarter or so of one of my breasts.  It is noticeable and a daily reminder.  While in the grand scheme of things, it may seem inconsequential...it makes me feel deformed and somehow less of a woman.

When I had the lumpectomy, my surgeon assured me my breast would refill on it's own.  Yeah, right.  At my six week check-up, he admitted you actually have to have excess body fat for that to happen.  Ummm...I don't have any.  I fight a daily battle just to keep my BMI out of the "Below Normal" danger range.  Would it have made a difference in my surgical decision?  No...that wasn't an option.  The insurance company ruled that the loss of tissue was not "traumatic" enough to warrant replacement.  Really?  Then my feelings when I look in the mirror must be mistaken.

So here I sit with my boob and a half.  I am lucky, I realize that.  I didn't have to have a mastectomy, I didn't lose my life.  I realize those facts and I am grateful.  But that moment in the shower every day when I realize again what's missing still hurts.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Names

There is a disturbing trend in the current political discourse.  Rather than facts or platforms, name-calling seems to have become the top political sport.

If I'm listening to or reading your political argument or statement, you've lost me as soon as the name-calling begins.    That behavior tells me that you're either unsure of your facts or lack the intelligence to make your point without reverting to kindergarten antics.  It doesn't matter where you fall on the political spectrum, my feelings are the same.  Name-calling does not make your argument, it only weakens it.

Let's move on to the vitriole being spewed at women.  Terms like slut, prostitute, b...., idiot, etc. have been directed at women of both liberal and conservative leanings.  Whether said by Bill Maher or Rush Limbaugh, it's wrong.  Whether directed at Sarah Fluke or Sarah Palin...it's wrong.  A true gentleman would never allow or condone such treatment of any woman.  Did you catch the key word there?  Yes, GENTLEMAN.

Gentleman sounds like such an old-fashioned term, doesn't it?  I find that sad.  When did it become okay for a man to treat any woman this way?  I think I prefer old-fashioned.  Old-fashioned doesn't have to mean outdated or obsolete.  Current and up-to-date shouldn't excuse profanity used at or directed to any woman by any man.

So, GENTLEMEN, I have a challenge for you.  If the term you are about to use would never be permitted by you to be used in reference to your own wife or daughter...don't use it.  If you would never suffer your wife or daughter being addressed by such a derogatory name, don't use it.  Politics, the times, or someone else doing it does not excuse the behavior.

And those are my random thoughts this morning...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Conversation

A text conversation between myself and my 22 year old son:

Son:  Mom, I found what tattoo I want to get.

Me:  No

Son:  But you don't even know what it is!

Me:  No

Son:  What if I just get a small one?

Me:  No

Son:  Don't you want to see the picture?

Me:  No

Son:  You're no fun!

Me:  Nope

And I take great pride in that!!

Love,
Jerri

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Milestone


Post 300.  Wow!!  I cannot believe this is my 300th post on Jerri's Empty Nest.  It's been quite a ride!

My posts have ranged from personal heartache, pride in my children, recipes, frugal tips, politics, product reviews, book reviews...you name it, I've probably written about it!  But that is what life is in my empty nest...a little bit of everything.

I've written posts that have touched people's hearts and made them cry.  (Not intentionally!)  I've written posts where I've opened my heart and let my tears flow.  The knowledge that I could touch someone with my words is an indescribable honor and privilege.

I've written posts that have made people angry.  That's ok with me.  That means my words made them think.  I've written posts that people have sworn were all about them and were offended.  For the record...they weren't.  But that taught me that you can't control what people do with your words once they're out there.  That I am not responsible for whatever spin or agenda they use them for.  When it gets to that point, it no longer has anything to do with either myself or my words.  And that's ok with me too.

I've written posts with recipes that people have made and shared with others.  There's a lot of joy knowing something from my kitchen is being enjoyed by people in other states that I've never met but touched through my food.

I've written posts about my kids.  Sometimes I've embarrassed them, sometimes I've touched them.  I'm the Mom...I'm allowed.  For even when your nest has emptied, you are still and always will be their mommy.  And they did have warning that they were fair game!

I've written numerous posts with frugal tips and where to find free books, concerts, etc.  I've received thank you's for the tips and for sharing my knowledge.  It is and will continue to be my pleasure to do so.

I've also written posts when I've been having a rough day or haven't felt the best about myself.  Readers I've never met in person have responded with words of encouragement and friends have given me a kick in the ass when needed.  I love and appreciate both!!

I haven't gotten rich off this blog and I probably never will.  I would like to make a little extra income, I'll be honest.  But I've learned that the effect of my words and the feedback of readers is so incredibly valuable.  I am a lucky woman.  

I thank each and every one of you for this amazing adventure and taking this ride with me.  You are the reason I get up every morning and head for my keyboard.  Hang on...there's so much more to come!!

Love,
Jerri

P.S.  If you're new to my adventure, you can find me at:


Twitter:  @JerrilynnA


Give me a follow and join the fun!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Fruity Dessert

Raspberry Peaches

Ingredients:

3 ripe but firm peaches
6 tsp raspberry jam
3 macaroon cookies, crumbled

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Peel and cut peaches in half.  Place in greased pie plate or baking dish.  Put spoonful of raspberry jam i center of each peach half.  Sprinkle with cookie crumbs.  Bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes.  Turn off oven and allow to sit in oven until ready to serve.

Enjoy!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Tears On My Pillow

If you read my blog post from a couple of days ago, you know I haven't been having the greatest week.  I don't  know if it's even the actual circumstance or the hormonal hell that is menopause.

Look at me crosswise and you'll face the flood of tears.  Raise your voice and I fall to pieces.  Insomnia is becoming a more frequent visitor which contributes to the tears as well.  And let's not forget the physical exhaustion of opening and closing windows based on the intensity and duration of a hot flash!  I have even stuck my head into the freezer for relief!  Yep...I did it.

Maybe it is the circumstance.  If so, the emotions are hindering me from moving through it.  I feel weak and I despise feeling that way!!  Somehow I need to find a way to shut off the faucet and get it together.  Any suggestions??

Hopefully this is just a spell and I'll be back to my normal self soon.  Did I mention soon?  Like now?  Like yesterday?

Keep the tissues handy...I might need them!

Love,
Jerri



Thursday, March 8, 2012

International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day.  Begun back in the early 1900's, this day recognizes the achievements of women past, present, and future.


From the original suffragettes to Third World micro-business owners today, women have been and are capable of incredible things.  Advancements have been made in the social, political, and economic sectors around the world.  International Women's Day is now a national holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia.  Notice, however, that the list contains only two of the so-called "Super Powers"...Russia and China.


To learn more about International Women's Day, go to:  http://internationalwomensday.com/about.asp


While there, see if there is an event in your area to celebrate this day.  If you can't attend or participate in an event, you can always give a shout out on twitter using the hashtag:  #womensday.


To make the day personal, recognize an amazing woman in your life!



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lack of Sleep

Last night, I had something weighing heavily on my heart and mind.  I had hoped to be asleep by 10 but watched the hours go by until after 2 a.m..

Then here came 6 a.m., and I'm wide awake and still in the same state.  Add in a headache from lack of sleep and a stomachache from worry and I'm a total mess!

The sad part?  The issue isn't something that should be worrying me.  Logically, I should be able to let it go and move on.  But I'm a woman and frequently emotion overrides logic.

So how do I let it go?  How do I trust and not fear?  At the moment, I'll admit I'm stuck.  Even though my head knows better, my heart hurts.  When you're in such a state, every past hurt, every insecurity, and every old fear rears their respective heads.

My plan?  I'm going to fake it till I make it.  I'm going to trust and believe.  I'm going to put a smile on my face and keep moving.  My head knows my worries are silly...I'm going to listen to my head.  Or I'm going to do my best to try, anyways.

And those are my random thoughts this morning...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dear Rush and Rick:

An open letter to Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santorum:

Dear Rush and Rick:

I am a woman who has suffered from PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) from the age of 16.

According to your descriptions of women who utilize oral contraceptives, I am immoral, a slut, and should be posting videos on the internet every time I have sex.  Yet I am one of the estimated 52% of women who took oral contraceptives for reasons other than birth control.  However, you did not acknowledge the medical uses in any of your statements.  Why muddy the waters of your rhetoric with actual facts?

Have you ever been dropped to the ground by the agony of an ovarian cyst bursting?  Have you ever been hospitalized for days at age 18 because of the pain?  Oh wait...you have neither ovaries or a medical degree so I would gather you can't speak to the actual issue.

I am also a veteran.  I would defend to the death your right to free speech.  All I would ask is that said speech would include factual information instead of untruths, innuendos, name-calling, and outright lies.  Is that really too much to ask?  You both have women in your lives that I am sure you would want to have the best of medical care and knowledge.

With that being said, gentlemen, get out of my body.  You weren't invited.





 

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Power of Mom

My youngest son popped up a chat box on Facebook this morning.  Even though he lives 9 hours away, he needed his mom.  He has a wedding to attend this weekend and needed some help.

First, it was the haircut.  He asked me to find a picture of a style I liked and post it for him.  Ok, done.

Then, it was the pants.  He said his 34x34 dress slacks were too short and what size should he get next.  I suggested 34x36...he is 6'4"!!

Colors...does this go with that?  Yes, Son...it does.

Last but not least...neck size.  Now remember, he is 9 hours away!  And he wants to know what size shirt to buy.  Have you ever tried to estimate the size of a man's neck from that distance?  I gave it my best shot based on the last shirt I bought him...I can only hope it was right!

It just goes to show...the power of Mom does not acknowledge distance.  And that regardless of that distance or the age of the child...sometimes they still need their mom.

Love,
Jerri


Sunday, March 4, 2012

03-04-2012

This blog is off-line today because the author has just officially become:

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Quick Breakfast Spread

Strawberry Butter

Ingredients:

2 sticks sweet butter
6 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 cup strawberries, washed and hulled

Directions:

Mix ingredients thoroughly in blender or food processor.  Use as spread on toast, English muffins, biscuits, or waffles.

Enjoy!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Never Ending TBR

I am a reading addict.  Since the advent of e-readers, it's gotten worse.  I've tried to behave.  Really, I have!!

There are thousands of ebooks offered for free every day.  Thousands!!!  I try hard to resist downloading but there is at least one book a day that I just have to have.  Now my TBR is over 5000.  Yep, I said 5000.  Some of them are classics like Jane Eyre, Dante's Inferno, and The Scarlet Letter.  These will stay on my e-readers for perpetuity.  I'll revisit them like old friends.  Others are fun reads I just want for the day or two it takes me to read them.  Yet others are reference books on writing, blogging, and a myriad of other subjects.

This is what I've discovered:

1.  I have a problem and I'm not sure I want a solution.

2.  I need less housework so I have more time to read.

3.  If I stay awake for the next year, I should be able to catch up!!

I thank God these aren't physical books!  I would end up on an episode of Hoarders or someone would find me dead under a stack of books!!  This blog post is finished now...so if you need me, my nose will be glued to a screen!

Love,
Jerri


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