Monday, October 30, 2006

This makes me sad.

Witherspoon and Phillippe Split

Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe have reportedly separated after seven years of marriage.

According to, the "Cruel Intentions" stars haven't filed divorce papers, but the Oscar-winning actress has enlisted divorce-lawyer-to-the-stars Robert Kaufman, famous for extricating Jennifer Aniston, Roseanne and Lisa Marie Presley from their wedding vows.

The 30-year-old Witherspoon and her 32-year-old husband met at her 21st birthday party. They have two children, Ava and Deacon.

Witherspoon and Phillippe's reps presented TMZ with the following statement: "We are saddened to announce that Reese & Ryan have decided to formally separate. They remain committed to their family and we ask that you please respect their privacy and the safety of their children at this time."

An unnamed source tells the celebrity site that the cause for the split was "cumulative." Expect plenty of additional details in the days to come.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The day got better.

And by better, I mean worse - much much worse.
I will have to post a little later about the horrid events of yesterday ...
right now I am just to shaky to do so ...

~ Happy Saturday!

"The key to success is for you to make a habit throughout your life of doing the things you fear." -- Brian Tracy

All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.
1 Peter 1:24-25

Friday, October 27, 2006

Go ahead ... just check it out!

Ok, I don't know how to link to YouTube .. so I am just adding this.
I don't know anything about Victoria Beckham ... other than tabloid junk, but this is just too sweet. Check it out!

Fall in Love with Victoria Beckham

Just call me K-L-U-T-Z!

Yep, Frannie is not the epitome of eloquence and grace. In fact a far cry from it.

I can trip, fall or otherwise injure myself by simply breathing – not even moving. I can, I swear.

Did you know that Frannie means Free Woman – or even Free One? (Actually Francis means Free Man and Frances is the feminine form and Frannie is diminutive of Frances – ok so …) Well, although my name means Free in one form or another - I know that it does not indicate that I will be free from bruises.

I sometimes think they just jump up onto my skin and stick themselves there because I can not remember where they could come from. You would think that I might recall where/when I had managed to hit myself hard enough to gain a bruise the size of Texas … generally not so much.

However, the events of this morning, and the bruise that is certain to follow, I am certain I will recall for years to come.

Boy am I long winded this morning … I apologize!

So, after gettin’ up this mornin’, feeding the animals, startin’ the coffee and makin’ sure that the breakfast table was ready … I wandered upstairs to awaken the brood.

Never an easy task, even on the best of days; but I managed to get everyone up and about.
AngelBaby was a bit groggy, so I carried her downstairs … of course Little Miss was holding on to the back side of my pants … when suddenly I slipped and whooshed down the stairs.

Bum, hip, elbow, bum, hip, elbow – crash, bang – BOOM … head against the stairs. Ouch!
Now I did manage to keep AngelBaby in my arms and I didn’t crush poor Little Miss but I did manage to scare the beejesus out of everyone. Sweetie Pie came running and Heartbreaker snarled something about too much Drama and too many people in this house...

Anywho … I am a klutz. In the biggest way! But this bruise .. I am gonna remember.
And that migraine I have been complainin’ about … yea, it isn’t goin’ anywhere now.

Good night ... Frannie
(yes, I know it's 11am, but I need a nap!)

I firmly believe that in every situation, no matter how difficult, God extends grace greater than the hardship, and strength and peace of mind that can lead us to a place higher than where we were before. -Andy Griffith

The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Frannie's Fixin's & Cookin' Tips

Don't waste your stale bread
Did you know that you can turn it into a breakfast treat.
Cut your bread into small cubes and mix with beaten eggs and a teaspoon of butter. Pour into a sauté pan and cook until done.
You have a yummy new French toast.
Top with syrup and/or powdered sugar ... Delish!

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons good olive oil
4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 large)
2 tablespoons mild curry powder
5 pounds butternut squash (2 large)
1 1/2 pounds sweet apples, such as McIntosh (4 apples)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups water
2 cups good apple cider or juice

Warm the butter, olive oil, onions, and curry powder in a large stockpot uncovered over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the onions are tender. Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pot.
Peel the squash, cut in half, and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into chunks. Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Cut into chunks.

Add the squash, apples, salt, pepper, and 2 cups of water to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, until the squash and apples are very soft. Process the soup through a food mill fitted with a large blade, or puree it coarsely in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

Pour the soup back into the pot. Add the apple cider or juice and enough water to make the soup the consistency you like; it should be slightly sweet and quite thick. Check the salt and pepper and serve hot.

*** Frannie would serve this is a hollowed out pumpkin ... I might even add some cream to the recipe, just for a yummy texture ... ***

Source: Ina Garten: Barefoot Contessa Parties! All rights reserved

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Day ... whatever.

Can I just tell you how much this sucks?

I have a few good moments and then I am overwhelmed by the agony again. The constant pounding, throbbing; I swear I can see my head thumping.

I have hit a new stage though; insomnia. So now my only relief from the pain is rather intermittent. I want to sleep. I constantly feel like I am going to fall asleep … however, I fall asleep for an hour or so and then I am wide awake again, thinking about the thump thump of my head.

This isn’t the blog I wanted to write.

While awake last night I had many good post ideas … I just can’t seem to remember them now. How frustrating.

Oh well … instead I think I will post something I read earlier today …

I heard it from a friend (Ramblin' Rose) who heard it from a friend (Certifiable Princess) who heard it from a friend (someone via FARK) who may or may not have originally thought of it.

The question is a tough one … but certainly enlightening …

If you could go back in time and tell your 12 year old self ONE thing and one thing only, what would that one thing be?

The difficulty of the assignment?

You cannot give that 12 year old you stock tips, lottery numbers, hints to purchase anything like Yahoo or Google etc. Nothing that will make them infinitely rich. Rather, the advice would be something for them either to avoid, or to go for, to change or remove from their life so there would be no regrets.So, with that in mind...what would the adult YOU tell the 12 year old YOU right now to make their life fuller, happier and better?

My answer is in the comments, exactly the way I wrote it to Ramblin' Rose.

~ Frannie

The words of kindness are more healing to a drooping heart than balm or honey.
-Sarah Fielding

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:19-20

Monday, October 23, 2006


From Canon's Blog ... if you read it here, I thought you might want to know.


~ Mama Loves You Canon ~

Canon my beautiful angel from heaven passed away this morning.
He had two major bleeds last night in his brain.
Doctors could not do anything for Canon.
I along with family and friends were with him when he died.
Thank you so much for all your prayers during this tough time.
Canon is now playing baseball, football, basketball, and drinking all the Sprite he wants.

Love, Carla

posted by Sprittibee :

Please, please pray for Carla, her mother, and her other son and daughter.
She needs your prayers to get through tonight the days ahead.
If you feel led, please donate to Canon's trust fund so that she can pay off the huge medical bills and funeral expenses.
May God bless you all for your concern and compassion.

Galatians 6:2 - Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

... I couldn't have said it any better. ~ Frannie

Day 16.

Yes, the saga continues. The saga of my aching head ...

However, I won't bore you with the details, I will just say that it is certainly affecting my every day life. Not completely, I am continuing to do the things I need to do, but letting slide the things I want to do.

That being said, I did sit down and watch a movie last night. Something I never do, much to the chagrin of the family. I just don't sit still well ... unless, of course, I am losing myself in blog world.

Anywho ... so the family and I watched Click. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. I wouldn't say that I am a big Adam Sandler fan, but despite him I generally end up enjoying his movies.

I also have to admit that for as many laughs as I had, I had an equal number of tears. Perhaps it is because I find myself more reflective lately or maybe its because I am aging - or it could even be that I know I need to make some changes in my life ... whatever the reason, it hit home for me.

Here is the synopsis:

'Click' focuses on a workaholic architect, Michael Newman, (Adam Sandler) who discovers a universal remote control (via Morty Christopher Walken) which allows him to fast-forward and rewind through different parts of his life; fights w/his wife (Kate Beckinsale), boring dinners w/his parents (Henry Winkler & Julie Kavner) and unpleasant moments w/his children (too many actors to name) and boss (David Hasselhoff).

However, when the remote begins overriding his choices, life goes from calm to chaos overnight. Michael finds his entire life on fast-forward and himself unable to enjoy any of it.

Maybe it's just me, but sometimes I feel like that too. Like I am just watching my life speed by and never taking the time to appreciate the good things ... always worrying about the bad - must deal with 'em now - things. I tend to forget that the bad (unpleasant, unhappy, less than perfect) things, are the things that make me, me!

I often say; if I hadn’t experienced the bad things, how would I ever appreciate the good things? But how quickly, how easily I forget the prospective … I know it is true, but I don’t always like it.

So, anywho ... it is a good movie – or at least I thought so … and so did Mr. Farmer, who I noticed had to wipe away a few tears himself.

Happy Monday!
~ Frannie

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." -- John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else enjoy it.
Deuteronomy 20:6

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Some people have them. While others might call certain collections mere clutter ... others fondly reflect on the memories that each piece brings.

It is funny what people can actually *collect* ... stamps, Coins, Matchboxes (the cars or the actual Match Box, or even Match books), cars, trophies, bottles, Dolls, Trading Cards (baseball, football, basketball, hockey ... you name it), Beanie Babies, art, spoons, shoes, rocks, shells, buttons, figurines, Shotglasses...

While others collect with a specific theme, such as; cows, chickens, ducks, elephants, dogs, cats, monkey’s, butterflies, pigs, Disney, Looney Tunes, tea cups, Angels, Hello Kitty....

They may even limit it to a specific type collection; bulldogs or Hard Rock shot glasses, Coca Cola bottles, Mickey Mouse, Daffy Duck … etc.

Ok, you get my point ... the collection possibilities are endless.

But when is enough actually enough?

I have a friend who collects Snoopy. She has hundreds (perhaps thousands) of Snoopy items. They are everywhere … covering ever potentially bare spot in her house. It amazes me every time I see them all. Each time she receives an addition to her collection she is filled with glee.

On the other hand, I have a friend who mentioned that she like Dolphins … and so her collection began. For a few years everyone gave her Dolphin Gifts ... figurines, pictures, towels, pendants, toys, t-shirts. They just kept coming. At some point … her 40th birthday … my friend announced to everyone ‘NO MORE *&^%(#$ DOLPHINS’ … she had had enough. They were making her nuts and she only said she LIKED them … not that she loved them and couldn’t live another single day without owning every possible dolphin collectable.

I have never thought of myself as a collector … except of too much junk … but really nothing too specific. I never LOVED the hearts and rainbow themed items as a girl. I had Barbie's, but not in abundance. I liked Holly Hobbie, but never actually owned anything with her on it.

I never wanted to collect an animal item because didn’t want to see a cow/pig/cat in every room and I am not really much of an animal person … I know, I know … Frannie Farmer, not an animal person, well that just doesn’t wash – although I have animals, and I am glad we do, I am NOT their primary caretaker …

Anywho …

So, it came to my attention recently – via Mr. Farmer, of course – that I am actually a collector … we had some company over and somehow the topic of collections came up; I believe that Mr. Company was mentioning his personal collection of trains, while Mrs. Company rolled her eyes … and I might have commented that I just couldn’t find anything I loved enough to collect.

Well Mr. Farmer laughed so hard that he almost fell off of his chair. Can you imagine?

He swiftly made it a point to show me the errors my ways by directing me to the book shelf. This particular book shelf, one of many in our household, houses my cookbooks.

I must admit I have quite a few. But I need them – right? I cook A LOT! For a variety of people, therefore I need a variety of cook books.

I have cookbooks dedicated to different ethnic origins; Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Indian, Caribbean - yes, I do need the Caribbean cookbook, you just never know who you will meet that needs a Caribbean meal!

There are the specific food cookbooks; Potatoes, pasta, rice, chicken, Chocolate (hey, doesn’t everyone have a chocolate cookbook?), beans, beef.

And you have to have the specialty cookbooks; BBQ, Soups, Appetizers, Vegetarian, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving.

Then I throw in a few destination cookbooks for fun; Italy, Asia, Seattle, Texas, Germany ... oh there are too many to name.

I won't even go into the baking, every day, normal cookbooks that I own.

Ok, so I have have hundreds of cookbooks, I reckon that makes me a collector.

Of course, in general I only use one.

What do you collect?

Blessing to you and yours.
~ Frannie

Too many people miss the silver lining because they're expecting gold.
- Maurice Setter

I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.
Psalm 40:

Friday, October 20, 2006

While I am appreciating mine

and you are appreciating yours ... please say a special, much needed, prayer for this family -

Canon Crisis ~ Please Pray...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I was led to Sprittibee's blog today ... after my musings regarding taking my time with my children for granted. Nothing is a better reminder than this ...

Please go read Canon's blog for the terrible news of his
turn for the worse.

I want to thank you so much on Carla's behalf for praying for her little boy. I don't know her personally, but my friend Teresa grew up with her. I spoke with Teresa today and am going to make a trip to the hospital soon to take cards up there for Carla and Canon. I am praying against any brain damage or worse.

I know that God doesn't always answer our prayers the way we would like, but I pray that GOD WOULD DRAW CARLA TO HIM EVEN IF HIS ANSWER IS NO.

PLEASE please pray for her. Her heart is breaking. Pray for Canon's brother and sister, also. Pray for his grandma. Pray that no matter what happens, that the Peace of God and His Perfect Plan is revealed to their hearts and in their lives. Pray that His comfort surrounds them in these hours of trial.

Carla has said that for the first time she has had to deal with the scary thought that Canon may not come home with her... and she has never thought that before. Remember that this little one has had many heart surgeries and has always come home with her before. Please pray that this time is no different... and that God will "part the Red Sea" for Carla and show her His wonders. Pray that even if His answer is NO, and that Canon must go home to be with his Father... that Carla's and her family's hearts will be comforted and that they will Know that the Lord has Canon's best interests in His Heart.

Pray for them to have understanding if there is not a miracle for Canon right now.

Pray that God would change His mind like He did for Hezekiah if it will not be against His plans for Canon's life.

I say Amen to all these things... and thank God for all of you who are praying for them. If you would like to send something to Canon's family, you can get the address from the websites if you look up what hospital he is at. Please donate a few dollars to his trust fund to help single mom Carla pay for all the mounting medical and extra living expenses that are building...

GOD BLESS YOU ALL for praying and posting on your blogs about him. I have been so touched by how many sweet Christian homeschoolers have put photos of Canon and prayer requests for him on their blogs. If you are one of the blogs who are praying for Canon, please leave me a comment on this post so I can thank you personally!

In His Grip (even if there's "pain in the offering")

Day 13

Yep, that's how many days I have had this darned migraine.

There are times when I think I will lose my mind. Not that there is much of one left to lose ... but still.

I have tried it all in the past - Imitrex, Topomax, Maxalt, everything OTC, massage, Holistic Healing, Herbal Medications, Acupuncture ... I have heard that Botox® helps but I am just not ready to go there yet ... call me crazy but I'll keep my laugh/frown lines for a while longer.

But on days like today, I think I would try almost anything if it came my way – ‘cause the Lord knows I am not leavin' the farm to get it.

I say that, but of course I do leave the farm. I just can't stop livin' life because of these painful episodes. Don’t get me wrong, I would love nothin’ more than a ‘shut-in’ right now. A quiet one … but it just isn’t gonna happen so I move on and live with it.

On the cute side – or not – of Friday … is AngelBaby’s new song, it goes somethin’ like this:
Inaminute, inaminute, inaminute TOOODAAYYY.’
Repeated over and over until an older sibling screams for her to S-T-O-P!

Hmmm, I wonder what message my little Angel is getting. Everything we do is In-A-Minute. MaaMaa is gonna have to work on that one.

I wish you could see my AngelBaby right now. She is buck naked (her favorite stance) runnin’ around with 2 pig tails in her barely there fluffy baby hair … her chubby cheeks covered in peanut butter …her giant blue eyes lookin’ up at me with sweetness and love. Oh how she makes my heart melt.

Little Miss is busy colorin’ her sixth or seventh masterpiece of the day. She is still in the scribbling stage, but we must post each and every one of her drawings for Mr. Farmer to see when he returns from the fields.

Today I am amazed and it awe of how quickly my children are growing up. I wish I could make time stand still – just for a few days. I want back some of those moments that I took for granted.

When I thought Heartbreaker would always love me, appreciate me ... before she knew that I didn't have all the answers. When Heartbreakers heart hadn’t been broken … when she didn’t know what betrayal was.

When Sweetie Pie wasn’t so flustered with the life around her. When she didn’t instinctively doubt herself. When she didn’t take it all so personally. When she was still small enough to sit on my lap – ok, well I still let her but my legs go numb!

When Little Miss took her first step, said her first word, laughed her first laugh. I would write in the baby book more, hold her a little longer, not worry so much about the laundry/dishes/paperwork/dinner …

When AngelBaby was nursing. I would breath a little deeper, hold her a little closer … knowing that she was the last one. When I should have napped with her instead of doing more laundry … I would breath in that sweet smell of baby breath just a little more.

Today I am amazed. My babies aren’t babies anymore … well not so much. They all still need me, in their own ways, but they also need me to leave them alone … that is the part that has got a hold of my heart today. They all need me to let go … a little at a time.

Love your babies today. Hold them close. Don’t wait a minute. Everything else can wait, but they can’t … because pretty soon, they won’t ask.

Sending blessings your way!
~ Frannie

Wisdom has two parts:
1)-Having a lot to say.
2)-Not saying it.
- Church billboard in Vermont

All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God:
You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.
The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.
Deuteronomy 28:2-4

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Cleanin' day.

Yep, I have some catchin' up to do .. so I can't post anything of any substance.

However, it is Thankful Thursday, so I must say that I am thankful for good friends.

My dear friend took my brood for the afternoon so that I could get caught up - after a week (plus) of migraines - my house looks like a tornado went through it ... so, even though I would rather go to sleep, I am going to get myself in gear and get some cleanin' done.

Bless you ...

Whatever is flexible and flowing will tend to grow; whatever is rigid and blocked will wither and die.
- Tao Te Ching, Lao Tsu's teachings

A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.
Proverbs 15:30

Frannie's Fixin's & Cookin' Tips

Getting your pumpkins ready for carving -
Make it easy by using an ice cream scoop to remove the inside pulp and seeds faster.
Carve and then sprinkle cinnamon or nutmeg inside.
When you light the candle inside, and it burns, the smell will be delish!

Vermont Pumpkin Casserole
4 cups mashed or pureed pumpkin
1 cup béchamel or thick white sauce
2 cups diced ham
1 1/3 cups coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1/2 cup broken soda crackers
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350*F (175*C).

Mix together thoroughly the pumpkin, cream sauce, ham and 1 cup of the cheese.
Place half of this mixture in a greased 2-quart casserole, then cover with the sliced hard-boiled eggs, and top with the remaining pumpkin mixture.
Sprinkle the top with the coarsely crumbled soda crackers, the remaining cheese and dot with butter. Bake 30 minutes.
Serves 4.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Oh my aching head.

I just can't seem to shake this migraine.
I'm sure that, at least in part, it is because I am not actually gettin' any sleep. I know .. I know .. big surprize there right.

I can't recall a time when I have gotten much sleep, it must have been sometime in the 80's ... when I was young enough to not care what was goin' on all around me.

Now, I wake up at the slightest sounds ... did someone just cough, was that Anabel bleetin' out there ... you name it, I wake for it.

The curse of a mother.

Or not.

I have a good friend who sleep through anything. She wakes up to find one child or another (hers, mind you) layin' in bed with her ... she never remembers them comin' in ... what's worse is that more than once one of them has been dropped off early in the a.m. by a friend - or the other parent - and she doesn't hear 'em come through the door or into her room or nothin'! To me, that's scary; especially bein' a single gal with teenagers, which she is.

Now Frannie's kids know - they won't be gettin' away with nothin' ... they know that I wake up at the drop of a pin and that I don't let Mr. Farmer oil up any squeaky doors or floorboards. I might be agin' rapidly, but I still remember the tricks of the trade.

So, although my head has been achin', I have still prepared a number of meals today. I gottem there mostly on time ... so we'll see how that goes.

In between cookin' I have been lookin' at the million-and-one places you can go to get blog templates. Who would have thought there would be so many places to check? I really want to create my own graphic and get a template made. I have something particular in mind ... I just don't know how to go about it.

If you have any ideas - please let me know! In my quest for a new template, I discovered a number of new - ultra cool - blogs:

Bluebird Blogs - her designs are terrific and her prices are quite reasonable.

Zoot's {free} Designs - fantastic designs. Free, yep she has been doin' them for free - that is until some snarky people messed it up for the rest of us. I think she is takin' a break, but she still has a few that she will let you beg or borrow.

Nello Design - also exceedingly cool, alas she is on a break as well ... is there a trend here?

and then...

BlogSkins - Ok, this was recommended almost every where, but I just have to say that I don't get it. At all. I guess that is the novas blogger in me.

Along the way, I also Googled "create your own character". Whew. Did I open a can of worms there!

It appears that South Park has the market there, but that isn't exactly what I had in mind.

After a Google page or two, I found the create your own dolls (or Dollz) section, of which there were many:
The Doll Palace
eLouai's Candybar Doll Maker 2
Style Dollz
Stardoll - Your paperdoll heaven
Doll Island
Cartoon Doll Emporium
and the list goes on and on and on ..... FOREVER!

Let me just tell you a secret ... these things can be addictive. Really, once you get into designing your doll, choosin' your hair color and your outfit - add in some accessories, yikes ... it just takes over.

Sweetie Pie came home and asked me what I was doin' - I was down right embarrassed to tell her that I was playin' with computer dolls!

Oh well ... it isn’t the first time she has caught me off guard …

Hope your Wednesday treated ya ok!

Y’all are in my prayers – really!

~ Frannie

On the outside one is a star. But in reality, one is completely alone, doubting everything. To express this loneliness of soul is the hardest thing in the world.
-Brigitte Bardot

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. Job 8:21

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Of course we have cleaned it up

… but it wasn’t pleasant.

The past two days haven’t been either. Not because of AngelBaby’s poop art … but because Frannie has been suffering from a H-U-G-E migraine that won’t go away.

Yesterday I spent most of the day in bed, getting up only to eat a few saltines and then wander aimlessly back to bed. The stairs just about killed me; as did the tractors across the way – who knew that they could be that loud.

To top is off, Mr. Farmer had a vast number of errands to run in town and although he took most of the brood, AngelBaby remained home with MaaMaa. Ever tried to keep a baby still when they don’t wanna be still and your head is pounding? Not fun, that’s all I’m sayin’.

Needless to say, my house is messier, my chores are not done … and I have several meals to create by the end of the week. Did I mention that I sort of branched out last week … Frannie is starting her own mini-catering business. I will be makin’ home-cooked meals for those who just don’t have the time.

I have, for the past couple of years, often made meals for those in need; those in a crisis or just plain to busy during a given time. People generally tell me that my cookin’ is real good, but of course I have a hard time believin’ ‘em …’cause really it’s just regular food.

But finances bein’ tight lately (ok, well tight since about 2003 … whatever!), I decided that I needed to be doin’ a little more to add to the bank. It has been a tough road for the Farmer clan … again, stuff that I will explain better when I finish up my proper introduction … I thought for a while that I could do some sort of book-keepin’ from home, but the brood doesn’t allow me much time on the computer. Then I was asked to watch someone else’s children for a while; which turned into about a YEAR!

It was a long year and I determined that perhaps childcare (of other people’s children) wasn’t really my calling – if you know what I mean.

I have been really praying about this. Trying to discover what talent I have that I can use. Considering I have long been told that I am void of talent, this has taken a lot of soul searchin’ for me.

Perhaps it makes sense to others, but it wasn’t readily apparent to me … the whole cookin’ thing. But I put some feelers out there and discovered that there was some interest in home-cooked meals.

The whole idea scares me. A lot! Maybe that is where the migraine came from?? Who knows? I just know that I will have to become more timely (with all these kids, timely isn’t usually in my vocabulary!). I will have to get a handle on portion sizes and figure out what to charge people. Both of these are difficult for me, since I tend to cook B-I-G and I find it very difficult to place a value on myself, let alone my services …

I’ll keep you updated. This will be a challenging week.

But right now, I think I am going to take a nap!


What the world really needs is more love and less paperwork.-Pearl Bailey

God said, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness." Jeremiah 31:3

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Oh the life I lead.

I try to make Sunday’s a do-nothing day; it generally doesn’t work out, as I usually end up cooking for someone in the afternoon. But I try to make is as chore-free as possible. Meaning no laundry, floor mopin’, room cleanin’, major household projects ... that kind of stuff. I really do think of it as a day of rest, especially for the kids.

It seems that they take my message to heart and commonly have a free-for-all and turn the house into a hazard zone. Keep in mind, my house is never all that ‘tidy’ to start with. I try to keep up, but housecleaning is not my calling. I am not good at it; I am more than a little disorganized and just do not enjoy the general cleaning thing.

It isn’t that I don’t like the house clean – I do. I love it. I just don’t enjoy doing it. AT ALL. There was a time, back when I was a pro-fess-ion-al that I actually paid someone to come into my home and clean – a couple of times a week. Whew, cool beans there ... let me tell you, there was nothin’ better than comin’ home to a clean house that you didn’t have to sweat over. But I’ll get back to that part of my life later – when I finish up with my proper introduction – today is about other things.

I’m sorry; I obviously get easily sidetracked …

It is safe to assume that a free-for-all day in my house does not make for a quiet day.

Upon returning home from church, I start on lunch, have the bunch change out of their church clothes, we eat lunch together and then everyone it free to do as they choose. It always seems that whatever is chosen equals copious amounts of noise.

Today started out as no exception. Little Miss was listening to a Barney tape (yep, we still keep the big guy around), AngelBaby was playing with her slinky-type toy – basically throwing it up and down the stairs. The older kids were listening to their preferred music venue and Frannie … well Frannie was trying to catch up on her blog readin’ and contemplating what to post herself.

Now you know that it is easy to get lost in blog world … I could spend hours just reading through, catching up on my favorites, discovering new favorites … I easily get into the blog-zone.

Which is where I was about an hour ago …

And then I heard it, or rather I didn’t hear it. The silence … all was quiet. Too, too quiet. You know what I mean. Silence (or too quiet) equals T-R-O-U-B-L-E! Big trouble.

I approach the stairs, and I can hear the whispers … the stifled giggles … the ‘shhhh, be quiet or MaaMaa’s gonna come up’ – Shesh .. this isn’t gonna be good, I just have the foreboding feeling.

I turn to go up the stairs and it hits me. A stench that is more familiar than I care to admit.

**WARNING** Gag alert here!

I proceed up the stairs and witness my children standing there staring at the wall. The freshly painted white wall. The freshly painted white wall that someone has turned the most grotesque color of brown. I clear my throat – they all jump – seriously jump. And I notice that AngelBaby is no where to be seen.

So, still slowly walking up the stairs, I inquire about her whereabouts … these children of mine all point to the bathroom.

You know what is coming don’t you?

I walk past the wall that is covered – up to about 3 feet, because I am sure that is as high as she could reach – in AngelBaby’s POOP! She has finger painted the wall with her POOP. A huge section of the wall … I mean, where does a 25 pound child actually hold all of that poop? I am just guessing, but I suspect she is more than a few pounds lighter now.

I bypass the wall, Frannie has a gag-reflex that can not be matched – I peer into the bathroom to discover AngelBaby standing in the corner; alone, naked and covered in poop. Again, I say – where did all of that come from? It is in her fluffy baby hair, all over her face, her hands are covered, and it is de-scuss-ting! Ewwww!

One look of my face and she knows there is trouble a brewin’. The tears begin and the others join in with their declarations’ of innocence, their complete and utter lack of involvement what-so-ever.

How do you get a child that is that covered in fecal matter into the tub? Cause let me just say – for clarification – I am not touchin’ it. No way, no how. I would throw up, no question – I once threw up when one of them had boogers approaching their mouth … ugh, I just gagged there. hmmm, maybe I am on to my next weight loss plan.
Oh .. there I go agian.

So, I wrap AngelBaby in one my I-don’t-care-about-it towels. I set her in the laundry room sink, because it is HUGE – and sprayed her down with the hose. She is soo lucky that there is actually hot water attached to that sink, I had to really argue with Mr. Farmer to add the hot water … I used an extremely liberal amount of
Johnson & Johnson's Lavender Bedtime Bath, I let her sit and soak until she asked to get out … she is a water-baby so she could stay in there for hours.

The towel? Straight to the trash.

The wall? Yea … um … we’re waiting for Mr. Farmer to return home and no one is allowed to go back upstairs until he gets home. I know that sounds terrible, but seriously, I will lose my lunch and then later I will lose my dinner … I might anyway, if I keep talkin’ about it … I just can’t make the older kids clean it up; for some reason animal poo isn’t nearly as bad as cleanin’ your little sisters poop-art …

Mr. Farmer is actually a gem when it comes to this sort of thing. He has an iron stomach, which is good because with each pregnancy I have gotten worse and worse. I had morning sickness the entire pregnancy with each child and then it seemed to linger on a little longer with each one … now it is just a way of life. MaaMaa = queasy!

Anywho .. so Mr. Farmer has cleaned up far more than his fair share of ... um ... body fluids … God bless him!

Well there you go. Sunday at the Farmer house. I am tellin’ y’all there is just never a dull moment.

Hope your day is cleaner, saner, but still provides you with a few laughs … ‘cause you know we will be tellin’ this story for years to come!

~ Frannie

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
1 Corinthians 13:11

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I made it through the wilderness; somehow I made it through …

Ok, so it wasn’t exactly the wilderness, but Frannie and six kids, well it sure felt like it!

Can you imagine? 3 buckets of popcorn, 6 small soda’s, ONE (yes, I said one and one only) candy for each child … plus the tickets. I almost had to take out a second mortgage just to get through the door. Luckily AngelBaby was collateral enough!

The movie was good enough, from what I could see in between runs to the bathroom, cleaning up spilt popcorn and reminding my charges that there is ‘NO TALKING’ while the movie is playing. That part was especially difficult, since in order to tell them that there was no talking, I had to actually talk myself … hmmm!

I love watching an animated film and trying to figure out which actors/actresses are playing which parts ... because, of course, I didn’t see the trailers or the actual beginning of the film that might actually have the answers to such questions.

Of course there is always one voice that sounds all too familiar but you just can’t place it. Such was the case of Bobbie; wife of Bob, owner of Mr. Weenie. I kept thinking that her voice sounded like someone from WKRP in Cincinnati. (Yes, I am aging myself here!)

Alas, after much searching I discovered that the character is played by Georgia Engel; who was actually on the Mary Tyler Moore show, so pretty close to WKRP – same era at least. If you get a chance, check out her IMDB – her acting history is vast, dating back to 1971.

Anywho … we had fun. Open Season is a decent movie.

Little Miss has been talking about it all day, but I have the feeling it is mostly because she hasn’t really ever been to a movie theatre before. She may have been once or twice but I don’t think she was old enough to get it.

AngelBaby has never been, so it was a completely new experience for her – and me. She did very well, but that could be because we went as close to nap time as possible. I wasn’t sure about that, as it could have an opposite effect, sometimes nap time brings more tears than sleep, so you just can’t predict.

Sweetie Pie is a movie theatre pro, so she was actually a big help with the littler ones.

I think the entire family is on the cusp of a bad cold. I could hear the clearing of the throats and the slight plugged nose snoring all night long last night. So now I am back to feelin’ a bit like a pusher … Vitamin C, come on baby, it’s good for you, you’ll feel better MaaMaa promises. Yea, they are not lovin’ it – or me, at the moment.

I am kinda procrastinating today. I need to get to some cookin’ but I just don’t feel like it. I need to get creative, for some folks that don’t care for meat – this is, of course, not my strong area, as Mr. Farmer insists on meat every night … I have about 20 kinds of rice in the pantry, numerous pasta’s and certainly a load of veggies, I just can’t get inspired.

Any thoughts?

~ Frannie

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing, and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I got tagged.

That's right, I said I got tagged.

Mackenzie1975 over at Lost in Waste tagged me. Now, it has been a number of years since I have been tagged, but this certainly isn't what I remember ... however, I'll give it my best shot.

The Work Meme:

1. What is the best thing about your workplace?
Well considerin' I live where I work, it's nice that I don't have to change out of my flannels if I don't want to; although the cows look at me a little funny if I wander down in my pj's, but hey as long as I get the job done they don’t complain – I think.

2. What do you hate about your workplace?
There are days that the repetitive nature of what I do can wear away at my soul. The fact that I am never completely finished with anything … that gets to me too!

3. What small irritance at your workplace really annoys you?
When do these animals start to clean up after themselves? Oh, right ... ok reality check – I find it exceedingly irritating that nothing is ever where I last left it.

4. Describe the actions/quirks of the weirdest person you work with.
Honey … where does a gal like me start with that one? It is too loaded. Since I want to keep this a clean blog and I don’t want to incriminate any family members (be they human or animal), I reckon I’ll have to plead the 5th.

5. What is one thing that you would change at your workplace to make life a helluva lot better.
I’d hire one of those fancy people, from the city, to come and tell us how to be better organized … or maybe I could just sell the farm and move to Tahiti … it’s a thought!

Ok, well I don't know too many people in the bloggin' community so I am gonna have to tag The Runner - off you go girl .. make it good!

Thankful Thursday

Busy bee ..

That’s me. I had a number of volunteer responsibilities to take care of today.

Meetings, I am not so good at ‘em. You know, when you have to stand up and speak knowledgeably about something that you are passionate about. In general, I write much better than I speak. I guess that is the benefit of the delete button.

I volunteer for a non-profit agency; we are in the process of planning an auction for year end and I somehow managed to become the chairperson for the auction. Sure no pressure, right? Uhhhh, yea! I am completely freaked out.

I have to come up with an innovative plan to get people to spend money after they have already emptied their pocket books for Christmas. Innovative isn’t exactly my middle name. Now, if you give a mixed bag of ingredients I can almost always come up with a tasty meal … but innovative in this area….yep, I am freaking!

Ah well, I shall worry about it next week.

Tomorrow I am taking all the kids, and a few extras, to the movies. Whew, it will be quite a trip; me, six kids, popcorn, soda, candy and a movie called Open Season. Is that a dangerous combination or what? I think we’ll have fun!

Little Miss is doing better today, although I think she is developing a dependency on Benadryl, she keeps asking me if it is time for her medicine yet. Of course, because Little Miss gets medicine that seemingly tastes good, AngelBaby is near by with her mouth open like a baby bird … is this how America gets over-medicated?

Another blog that recently caught my eye: a little pregnant; turns out you can be … a little pregnant. madcap misadventures in infertility, pregnancy, and parenthood.
Funny? Not the word I would use. Certainly moving … especially for anyone who has had even the remotest issue with infertility, which I have.

Well, it is Thursday and I am picking up on the Thankful Thursday bandwagon.
I am thankful that I no longer have to worry about infertility … I have all the children a MaaMaa could want.

I am thankful that I wake up every morning next to Mr. Farmer, that I can walk down the hall and be greeted by a plethora of *I love you, MaaMaa’s*.

I am thankful that the cupboards are full, that I can offer some to those in need, that the bills are paid this month and that our illnesses are at a minimum!

I am certainly thankful for having a place to put my thoughts.

~ Frannie

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.

Hebrews 12:28, 29

Frannie's Fixin's & Cookin' Tips

Cookin' Meat?

Be sure you practice food safety ...

When cooking raw meat, you must be sure to clean the plate before you place cooked meat on it. Using the same plate for raw and cooked meat can cause contamination of your food. It is also a good idea to wash any tongs, spatulas and other utensils between the handling of raw and cooked meat or fish.

Another safety rule is to wash your hands after handling raw meat or dairy products, such as eggs. Use an anti-bacterial soap and wipe your hands only on a clean dishtowel.

Frannie's Lovin' BBQ Chicken

1/2 bottle ketchup
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Jim Beam Kentucky Bourbon BBQ Sauce
1 1/2 cups vinegar
1 onion chopped
1 teaspoon Paprika
Salt, as desired
3 pounds cut chicken

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place cut-up chicken in baking dish. Dust chicken with with salt and paprika. Add onion, to cover chicken. Mix wet ingredients to form sauce and pour over chicken. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Glory be!

Glory be to God. What a stunnoing day it was today!

The sun is shining and the day is truly glorious. I am certain that we see snow before we know it, but today I simply allowed myself to bask in the sunlight.

I finally took Little Miss to the doc … she has hand, mouth & foot disease – ewww! The doc assured me that it is common and has no reflection on Little Miss’s hygiene or the mothering abilities of Frannie – still, ewww! I can’t say much more there. The bad news is that there isn’t anything you can do about it; she just has to suffer through and wait it out.

My cooking duties have eased a bit this week. Everything is caught up for the week but I will still be coking this weekend. I will be making a variety of Mexican dishes; Chile Rellenos, Mexican Lasagna, Tamale pies, Spinach Empanadas … good stuff!
I have been reading some new and interesting blogs this week:

The Runner - She's Running through Life with One Heel Broken. Trying to pay down debt on an already overbudgeted budget, trying to stay dressed in the last trends and figuring out who I am supposed to be in this lifetime.

Don't Try This At Home - The mother of two wonderful, funny children, who is lucky enough to stay at home with them. And she is funny too!

BooMama! – another funny mom! Her bio says: I'm a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. I adore my family, and I love to laugh. I also love TiVo, diet Coke over ice, pedicures, and entire seasons of television shows on DVD. And Jesus. I guess I probably should've listed Him first. Because He is, after all, Jesus. And I love Him most of all.

It is so fun … is that the right word, I don’t know it is interesting to read the musings of other women, mothers, and wives. Sometimes it is easy to forget that you aren’t the only one …

~ Yours,

This is what the LORD says,
he who appoints the sun
to shine by day,
who decrees the moon and stars
to shine by night,
who stirs up the sea
so that its waves roar—
the LORD Almighty is his name:

Jeremiah 31:35

Monday, October 09, 2006

Frannie's Fixin's & Cookin' Tips

How to Sift Dry Ingredients
The purpose of sifting is to break up any clusters that may be in your ingredients. Sifting also allows air to circulate throughout your ingredients. If you do not have a sifter on hand you and need a way to sift dry ingredients for a recipe, a fork or egg whisk will do just fine. Just put your dry ingredients into a bowl and stir them with a fork or egg whisk. Stir until your ingredients are smooth and light. This will quickly fluff up flour, as well as powdered sugar quickly.

Baking Powder Biscuits
2 cups bread flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lard
1 cup milk and water in equal parts
1 tablespoon butter
Mix dry ingredients, and sift twice.
Work in butter and lard with fingers tips; slowly add the liquid, mixing with knife to soften dough. It is anyones guess as to exactly how much liquid is needed, as due to the many varieties of flour.
Flip your dough onto a floured board, pat and roll lightly to one-half inch in thickness. Shape with a biscuit-cutter. Place on buttered pan, and bake in hot oven 12 to 15 minutes. Do not bake 'em too slow or the gases will escape before they have done their work - and your biscuits will lack consistency.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A proper introduction - Part 1

I guess its about time I tell y'all a little somethin' about myself.

It is hard to know where to start ... I could start at the beginning but I am sure none of you really want ALL.THE.GORY.DETAILS ...

So, I will say I wasn't always a farming wife.

I wasn't always someone’s MaaMaa, even though it feels like it.

Back in the day Frannie had a career ...

Yep, I was a successful workin' woman ... ok, every time I say that I can't help but think that I sound like I was a call girl - I wasn't, although I think I certainly prostituted myself for more than one large company - right, now back to the point.

It’s funny how people think they know you. I am surrounded by people who think they know me. I suppose they do, to a certain extent, they know the person that I am now – more than that; they know the person I let them know, the one that I feel safe with them knowing.

Most who know me think of me as The Mom, The Wife or The Farmer … others, I hope, think of me as The Christian, The Caregiver or The Volunteer… while still others, I am sure, think of me as one who is callous or self-centered.

Perhaps there is a little of each of these in me. I strive to be a good Mom, but more that once I have been told I am not. I endeavor to be the wife Mr. Farmer deserves; however often I fall short. As a farmer, well, I am just makin’ do … getting’ by.

I am certainly a Christian and I desire to serve the Lord; though I know that nothing I give will ever be enough. I am a caregiver to many, but I want to care for so many more, especially those who live in my household, it seems that I am always giving in to the tyranny of the urgent … thus neglecting those who need me most.

Volunteer? Yes I do. Never as much as I think I could/should/would.

Callous – there are times when I will tell people how it is; maybe more often than I should and unquestionably with less tact than I intend. And yes, I can be self-centered, there are absolutely times when I put my foot down and scream You cant make me or Because I want to! You bet, so if that makes me self-centered, I guess I am.

Obviously, I am one that can get a wee bit off track, especially when I am tryin’ to tell ya somethin’ … my kids like that because they know that if they can get me goin’ on somethin’ I will most likely forget what I was after ‘em about …

So, anywho … way back in the day I was a pro-fess-ion-al! I had a regular 9-5 job (plus!) with fancy business cards, company car, the laptop, cell phone and my very own Palm Pilot – this before the Blackberry days. I was an important lady. I could make things happen; or better yet, stop happening if I chose.
Let me tell you; all of that power can get to a person. It sure got to me. The more important people told me I was, the more important I felt. Whew. I can see why these young actresses can go a little off the deep end. When you start makin’ the rules that other people actually listen to … well that is a heady experience.

Fast forward a few years … I started to get the feeling that life was passing me by. Real life, that is. The important stuff … like the first tooth, word, step. I was missin’ it.

But I had pretty well convinced myself, with the help of many others, that what I was doing was important and it was my right to work and well really I wouldn’t be so good at staying home with my kids anyway …

Now I am not here to stand on a Dr. Laura soapbox, I KNOW that many moms don’t have a chose about whether they work or not. I didn’t. I had to work – it was how we survived.

Except we didn’t. Survive that is.

My marriage didn’t survive. My health didn’t survive. My mental health certainly didn’t survive. My children muddled through, but ultimately it all became too much for all of us.

... I thought I could finish this today, but it is really choking me up a bit ...

More to come.
~ Frannie

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. -John 15:12-13 (

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Rise and shine. Or not.

Frannie got to sleep in this morning, I am not sure if Mr. Farmer slipped Brutus a mickey or if I am just so tired that I slept through all of the crowing.

Mr. Farmer had to head off to the city this morning, he had to pick up some feed and other supplies - I think he left by 5am. I vaguely recall a kiss on the cheek and a ‘see ya tonight’ … bless his heart for not asking about the coffee I didn’t make.

I awoke at 8am to Little Miss with her itchy hands and feet. I think it might be time for a trip to the Doc. We have tried the Benadryl, a healthy application of Cortizone and even the prescription steroid cream that we got for AngelBaby a while back – her symptoms were similar, so it was worth a shot. But so far nothing is working … it is real hard to get a little one to stop scratching somethin’ that is itchin’ them like crazy!

The sleepin’ in was nice though. I don’t get to do it often – in fact, it felt like I was breakin’ the rules. Oh well, sometimes you just gotta.

Today is another canning and cookin’ day. I made up a couple of batches of squash for canning yesterday. I think I have a day or two for the tomatoes (or towpatoes, as Little Miss calls them) and the pumpkin has at least week.

I also made a few trays of Parmesan Chicken last night. De-lic-ious! Today I will conquer a few trays of lasagna, with fresh spinach and basil. Yum!

I discovered quite a few cool blogs yesterday; just clicking on that ‘Next Blog’ thingy at the top of the page.

Here are a few:
White Trash Mom, my kind of gal. She has a serious sense of humor!

See A Penny, Pick It Up - A 'crunchy', budget-minded mama, a vegetarian, a homeschooler -- trying hard to do EVERYTHING right (but seldom succeeding -- oh well...!).

Sarah Anne Photography – A young lady with a ton of talent. Her photography is beautiful!

Well its lunch time and I haven’t accomplished much more than gettin’ the animals fed, I should probably feed the children too – lol!

Remember, you can’t unscramble scrambled eggs … meaning, you can’t undo what has been done. You can learn from it and make better choices the next time.

So, set out to make good choices today …

~ Frannie

I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize. My friends, I don't feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done.

Philippians 3:12-14

In Frannie's words: Forgetting the bad behind me, I press on to the good ahead of me.

Frannie's Fixin's & Cookin' Tips

Cook Your Fish By The Inch!

Y'all know that fish is good for you.

Everyone should eat at least two portions of fish per week (one should be oily; Salmon, Trout, fresh Tuna).

Fish is a good source of protein, it contains lots of vitamins and minerals, and it is low in saturated fat. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid that helps reduce the risk of heart disease. All fish contain these oils, but oily fish contain much more of these oils than white (non-oily) fish.

One aspect of cooking fish for beginning cooks is that is difficult to tell when cooked fish is complete. The easiest method is to cook fish using measurements.

Allow roughly ten minutes per inch for the thickest part of the fish and make sure it flakes before removing it from heat. This can apply to all methods of cooking fish, including frying, grilling, steaming, broiling and more.


1 cucumber
4 sprigs parsley
3 tablespoon butter
Salt (to taste)
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon capers
4 salmon steaks, 1 1/4-inches thick (about 8 oz each)
Water (for poaching)
Salt (to taste)

Peel the cucumber. Cut it half lengthwise; then, with a spoon, scrape out the seeds and discard them. Cut each half into 3 or 4 lengthwise slices, then cut those long pieces crosswise into dice.

Rinse the parsley, pat dry, and remove and discard the stems. Finely chop the leaves. You should have about 2 teaspoons. Set aside.

Melt the butter over low heat in a small pot. Add the diced cucumber and salt lightly. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the 3 tablespoons of water and the capers and stir to blend. Taste, and add more salt if needed. Cucumbers sometimes need a good dose of salt to bring out the flavor. Stir in the chopped parsley, and remove the sauce from the heat.

Rinse the salmon steaks with cold water and pat dry.

Four salmon steaks should fit into an 11-inch saute pan, or any straight-sided pan about 2 to 3 inches deep, with a capacity of 2 to 3 quarts. Put about 1 1/2 inches of water in the pan, add salt, and stir. Set the pan on a burner turned to high and bring to a boil.

When the water boils, turn the heat down to low, so the water is at a low simmer, or what some like to call a lazy bubble. You want just that bare bit of motion to cook the fish gently.

Put the salmon steaks in the pan, and simmer for about 4 minutes after the water resumes its gentle bubbling. Stand at the stove and spoon the simmering water over the top of the fish so the pieces cook on top as well. The salmon is done when the meat turns from a deep to a pale pink. Use a fork or the point of a knife to poke into the center of a steak; the middle, too, should be that paler pink.

Remove the pan from the heat as soon as the steaks are done. Place on servings plates and spoon the Cucumber and Caper Sauce over the steaks, or serve the sauce separately to be passed at the table.

Poaching -- that is, cooking in gently boiling water -- is a foolproof method for any firm piece of fish cut like a steak and leaves the fish delicate and moist. But you do need a firm fish cut like a steak; a thin fillet would dissolve.

Servings: 4

Source: Learning to Cook with Marion Cunningham

Friday, October 06, 2006

A slightly quieter night.

An appropriate dose of Benadryl enabled Little Miss to sleep a wee bit longer last night. We made it until 4:08am (precisely) … again the call came out MaaMaa, MaaMaa. Let me tell you, there isn’t a thing wrong with that girls vocal chords!

This time though, I stood firm. I tucked Little Miss back in her bed, gave her a kiss, told her I loved her (at least a dozen times) and told her she needed to sleep in her big girl bed. Then I left the room.

I heard her murmuring for a while, but we both must have drifted off to sleep because the next thing I heard was Brutus’ crowing …

So, feeling a bit more rested today, I feel like I can get all of my chores done (ok, that’s a stretch I know) and get some much needed catch up cookin’ done.

I like to cook up a few meals ahead of time so that when I have unexpected company or when I know a family is in need, I can just grab something out of the freezer and tada - good food is aplenty!

But now Frannie’s freezer is empty with a capital E! So I am sittin’ here with my trusty Cook Book tryin’ to decide what to make. The choices are endless; Old Fashioned Beef Stew, Shepherd's pie, Country Style Ham Casserole, Chicken Cacciatore – ok, I am getting off track.

Like I was sayin’, I’ve got some cookin’ to do.

I also have some canning to do. You would think I would be a pro, livin’ on a farm and all, but I haven’t really done too much canning in recent years … babies, babies, babies. But this year I vowed to fill up the pantry with some wholesome, homemade canned goods. I am doing ok; I have green beans, applesauce, rhubarb (yum!), beets (I like ‘em) and peaches. But I still have pumpkin, squash and tomatoes to can.

I had forgotten how much time canning takes, especially when you have a brood runnin’ around, animals to care for and volunteer projects to work on.

My thoughts for the week;
The whole Georgetown, PA thing has got me all aflutter. It just eats me up inside – such a tragedy. It is so hard to imagine how something so horrible could happen?

A man in Louisville, Kentucky says he killed his family. 4 Kids found dead. Heartbreaking!

Mark Foley's Downfall. Appalling scandal. Makes.Me.Sick! How do these guys not get caught sooner?

Toddler dies from E. coli. Will we ever be able to eat without worrying?

I know this is when people struggle most with Christ … why does He allow these things to transpire?

I don’t have the answers … I wish I did.

Other, less important, drivel –

The Paris-Shanna Smackdown. I’m sorry, I think this is funny. Don’t these girls have anything better to do than fight over an Ugly boy with too many tattoos? Come on!

Four Men Frolicking - John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, William H. Macy and Tim Allen. Can anyone say MANBOOBS? Ewwww!

Madonna to Adopt Baby in Malawi
Bless her heart. Really. I mean that.

A Simple Show of Hands
A study shows that hand-holding couples may be protected from pain and stress. Glad to hear it, since Mr. Farmer and I sincerely enjoy holding hands … when the Brood will let us.

Gas prices may have hit bottom. Man, I hope so. Because Frannie here drive a B-I-G People mover and the gas prices are killin’ us!

Y'all have a terrific weekend. The sun is shinin' in my neck of the woods, I hope it is in yours as well.

But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction. Job 36:15

Frannie's Fixin's & Cookin' Tips

Cooking Methods
There are numerous methods you should know, lets start with the basics.

Marinating: Marinating is to soak a food in seasonings, oil, or spices to make it tangy and tender. Food should marinate for quite a while. Foods marinated overnight are usually quite delicious.

Sautéing: Sautéing a food means that you are cooking it in oil or like substance, maybe chicken broth – something with a good flavor, over medium heat. Sautéing is always best at a higher heat; the oil should be at least at 375 degrees to avoid from penetrating the inside of your food.

Simmering: You are heating a substance to a high temperature. It comes close to boiling, but does not get hot enough to actually boil (i.e. no bubbles). Food will quickly stick to the bottom of your pot/pan when you are simmering, so be sure to stir often.

Wild Rice Stuffing
2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans chicken broth
2/3 cup wild rice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 sweet onion, chopped
10 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups regular long-grain rice
1/4 cup chopped parsley

In 4-quart saucepan over high heat, heat chicken broth, wild rice, salt, thyme, and 1 1/2 cups water to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a nonstick 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add carrots, celery, and onion and cook until tender-crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove carrot mixture to bowl.

In same skillet in 1 tablespoon olive oil, cook mushrooms until golden brown and all liquid evaporates.

Stir long-grain rice, carrot mixture, and mushrooms into wild rice; over high heat, heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

Stir in chopped parsley. Use to stuff a 12- to 16-pound turkey. Or, spoon into serving bowl; keep warm.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

No sleep on the farm

You might imagine that the days are hectic here on the farm.

Let me tell you ... they are. Some days I can hardly keep my head above water; or at least above the laundry, gardening, cookin’ and cleanin’. Not to mention the mothering. With my brood, there is a whole lot of mothering to be done each day.

Today we woke up at the crack of dawn, Brutus (the rooster) was crowing in all his glory. However, Frannie here wasn’t really at the top of her game.

Little Miss needed a whole lot of mothering last night – she woke up hour after hour, yellin’ her loudest MaaMaa, MaaMaa … now if you are a mommy, you know how terrifying this can be in the middle of the night. It is something akin to the telephone ringing at 2am and knowing that it can not be good news.

Yep, it wasn’t good news. It seems that Little Miss had a slight run in with some foreign plant life yesterday and the side effects kicked in around 1am. Blurry eyed I wandered to her room, I calamined her hand; red and itchy – no fun there! Of course then she wanted MaaMaa to lay with her – on her single bed.

Now, I know that Frannie has that cute little photo at the top of the page and as much as I would like for it to be an accurate reflection of myself, it just isn’t so. I am the mother of 4, a farm wife and I love to cook. Exercise? I try – I run after those chickens and children all the time, but it doesn’t do me a bit of good when The Prince insists on meat, potatoes and homemade bread every night – so this means I am not svelte – and a single bed is not my friend, especially if I have to share it with a wiggly, itchy youngin’ …

So I got Little Miss all settled in and as she drifted off to sleep, yep I did the bad bad thing – I crept out of the room as fast as I could. I snuggled up in my King-Size-Bed, spooning with The Prince … oh, but you know that didn’t last long.

An hour later an even louder MaaMaa was squealin’ through the house, probably wakin’ up the Widow Wilson. Off I slump and let me tell you … I was slumpin’! We start all over; me reassuring Little Miss that MaaMaa isn’t going to be leaving her all alone in the dark with itchy hands (and now feet too).

I tried to stick it out, really I did. I tried to stay there until I thought I would go insane. Little Miss is a snuggler in the worst way. She wants to wrap herself around me in more way than I would ever let The Prince try. I gave it a valiant effort for about 45 minutes, but when Little Miss was sound asleep; I just had to make my way back to the King-Size-Bed.

I had to kick the cat off the bed and tell The Prince to move over before I could burrow in again. Obviously my slumber did not last long … the call came again, of course I went and I stayed … until, of course, Brutus gave his wake up call.

The days are never dull here on the farm. No sir, we have more fun than any family deserves to have.

Don’t worry; I’ll be givin’ Little Miss the appropriate dose of Benadryl before she goes to bed tonight. Frannie needs her sleep!

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4

Frannie's Cookin' Tips

Starting out ...
You should always read cookbook recipes throughly.
I do mean completely. Yep, entirely.

When cooking using a recipe, it is important to read the recipe in its entirety before you even begin cooking. This way, you know you have all of the tools and ingredients you needs before you even begin. Recipes should list the ingredients in order of use; however, not all recipes do so. Measurements are important and when a recipe author recommends a specific serving size, use an actual measurement tool and not utensils you would use for serving.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Frannie's Fixin's

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Comfort food at its best. Tryin' to make a good impression .. this'll do the trick!
Cookin' from scratch has never been so easy.

1 (8 ounce) pacakge macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups good quality shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup buttered breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Cook and drain macaroni according to package directions; set aside.
In a large saucepan melt butter.
Add flour mixed with salt and pepper, using a whisk to stir until well blended.
Pour milk and cream in gradually; stirring constantly.
Bring to boiling point and boil 2 minutes (stirring constantly).
Reduce heat and cook (stirring constantly) 10 minutes.
Add shredded cheddar little by little and simmer an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese melts.
Turn off flame.
Add macaroni to the saucepan and toss to coat with the cheese sauce.
Transfer macaroni to a buttered baking dish.
Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
Bake 20 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Y'all enjoy!

Monday, October 02, 2006

You Can’t Unscramble Scrambled Eggs

Life can be a mess. But you must pick yourself up, dust off and begin again.

Life is scrambled, you can't unscramble the it; it is impossible to go back to the way it was before.

Learn from past mistakes, past maltreatment. Know that you can do better. Life can be better.

and move on.