Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.

I hate it when the crickets take over. We have been without interweb here at Casa Clover for almost two weeks. (Not cool. Not cool at ALL.)

But now that we are back up and running I will be once again oversharing. Soon. Very, very, soon. Yawn.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

We live in such a cool place. These pictures were taken a few weeks ago while we were walking around our neighborhood. (They are mistakenly labled January, but really it was February before we ventured out this year.)

Why do ALL little boys, given the chance, ALWAYS pick up the rock and throw it? Always.

This picture cracks me up because it is so quintessentially Sweet Pea. Skirt over jeans. Jeans tucked in, so as to show off boots. Demanding to accessorize with her scooter, even though we told her a thousand times that we would NOT carry it once we got on the rough and muddy trails. At least in this picture she's got a good reason for the bike helmet. Usually, not so much.

I love it when they love each other. And usually they do.

Will's "crazy" face. Awww.

Mr. G says that I never like pictures of myself. Well. Here's why. Because Mr. G thinks it's all artsy to take these incredibly close up candid shots of the side of my head. Without fail I am making the "something smells" face. After a wee bit of Photoshoping, (come ON. Nobody over 19 looks good from that close) this one isn't terrible. So here ya go honey.

Happy Tuesday


Monday, March 15, 2010

Not surprisingly, they weren't apart for long. Not even a whole day in fact. I am guessing that they have already hosted a cocktail party...

William M. Giesa
September 1915 - March 2010

William Giesa and Baby William, February 2008

Gran and Gramps, Christmas 1959

Gran and Gramps, Christmas 2003

Friday, March 12, 2010

I am uncharacteristically without words.

My grandmother passed away this morning. My grandfather will be joining her in a matter of days, if not hours. Of course I am very sad. But not so overcome that I can’t put words to paper. I just…I don’t even really know. It’s all sounding very trite and dramatic to me.

So I am going to wait until I have spent some time with my family next week. And then I will come back here and tell you about two amazing people. Two amazing lives. And the way that their love and support shaped me in so many ways. I guess that part is dramatic.

I just didn’t want today to go by without acknowledging that Grannie has reached the peaceful end of what became a long and sometimes difficult journey.

Heaven got a whole lot better today. I am smiling thinking about the welcoming committee that must have formed at the pearly gates. I wonder how St. Peter does with crowd control?

I love you Gran!

Margaret Gridley Giesa
May 1918 – March 2010

This picture was taken with Grannie's "surfing" partner on Lake Coeur d'Alene in Northern Idaho. She was about 17 years old. They won a trophy that day. This sign hangs in our mountain/lake house.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mr. G and I have been following Phase 2 of the South Beach plan for a few weeks. I have to say, I really like it. It doesn't seem like a "diet" at all. In fact, with just a few modifications - buh bye potatoes - it's not much different than how we always eat 'round Casa Clover. Also, I have lost 10 lbs., thankyouverymuch. I would imagine that has romanticized mashed cauliflower just a lil’ bit. (For reals, it’s pretty good.)

After 4 weeks of eating a LOT of salad, the other day I was craving something naughty. I wanted it to be rich and savory. And completely devoid of lettuce. Fortunately for me, South Beach has a lot of room for faking decadence. So I came up with this dinner, and it completely fit the bill! It was like going to a steakhouse and ordering something that immediately upped your pants size. But, not really. Yay!

Cheesey Stuffed Pork Chops

4-5 thick cut pork loin chops

2 cups part skim mozzerella cheese
1 cup chopped spinach
½ a medium yellow onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 tbsp low fat cottage cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

1 package of French onion soup mix

Preheat your oven to 350 and spray a large covered baking dish with no stick spray.

Mix together the cheeses, spinach, onions, garlic, and salt/pepper for the stuffing. Stir well, and allow it to sit and blend for about 10 minutes at room temperature.

Meanwhile, take one of the thick cut pork chops and insert a small knife into the side to create a pocket. (Repeat for each pork chop.) Stuff the cheese mixture into each pork chop. Really push it in there with your fingers to fill the pocket.

Place the pork chops in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the French onion soup mix on top.

Bake covered at 350 for 35 minutes or until juices run clear.

The cottage cheese makes the stuffing mixture really creamy and not at all pizza like. And the onion soup gives it a very comfort food feel. Almost like it had been breaded or had a gravy of some sort. This was SO yum! My kids and husband loved it. We are going to be adding this to the rotation. I served it with roasted asparagus and a big salad. It was so rich and creamy nobody even asked about a starchy side.

Happy eating!

Monday, March 08, 2010

It’s really mind boggling to me that it has been 18 years since I made the decision to attend the University of Idaho. I suppose, in all honesty, that I didn’t have a lot of other options. The universities on my short list were narrowed considerably by the price of tuition and my rather mediocre high school GPA. (A paltry 3.2. Good, but not great.) At the time I think I faked a little bit of disappointment over not being offered a huge scholarship to attend a prestigious Catholic university like Gonzaga or Notre Dame. But really, I had wanted to be a Vandal ever since the 5th grade when (my BFF) Jennifer Perry’s older sister went to Moscow and pledged the Delta Gamma Sorority.

She would come home for break with Greek letters on her shirt, a pack of beautiful DG “Sisters”, and stories about how much F.U.N. they were having and how much havoc they were wrecking. Ohmahgosh…I was hooked.

I vividly remember being invited to a Panhellenic recruitment event at someone’s house the summer after high school graduation. There were about a dozen confident and poised looking college co-eds, and about 30 wide eyed soon-to-be freshmen. We mingled in the lawn drinking punch and asking the older girls questions about where we were going to sleep and what we should pack, and they sized us up to see if we would be (Insert Greek Letters Here) Material.

I remember being a little nervous about Rush. But I am fairly certain that my heartbreak over parting ways with my high school boyfriend was taking center stage those last few weeks of summer. And then, about a week before I had to leave for college I caught pneumonia and all I was worried about was missing Rush altogether. It didn’t really occur to me that it was an audition of sorts until after the first day, when I found myself anxiously waiting to see if I had been “dropped” by any of the houses I liked.

While we waited another girl in my Rush group, Jen, and I rehashed our day. I remember being really focused on who had the nicest rooms, the biggest closets, and the most impressive looking house on the intimidating and beautiful Old Greek Row. Jen said that we would probably both end up in the “Brady Bunch” looking house. We may have shuddered.

It’s weird to me that I can’t remember where I put my car keys 90 percent of the time. But I can remember this absolutely vividly. About midway through the week I attended my 3rd round of Rush parties. I sat on the floor of the living room at Gamma Phi Beta – the “Brady Bunch House” – and realized that those girls I was talking to (Kendal, Gloria and Angel specifically) were the girls I wanted to live with. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to be liked by them. I wanted to be a part of that easygoing, natural, and honest friendship that they clearly shared.

Suddenly stakes were higher and Rush got scary. I got dropped by a house for the first time that night. And even though it was a house I didn’t want to live in, it freaked me out that they didn’t want me. What if Gamma Phi didn’t want me?

The last night of Rush is called Preference night. The women on my campus attend two final parties at two final houses. In sorority land, it is quite simply, A BIG FAT DEAL. And we all knew it. I was in my prom dress. I had a package of Kleenex in my pocket and butterflies engaging in some WWF in my stomach. I was invited to Preference parties at two lovely sororities and would be spending time with two women who were each going to do their best to convince me of where I needed to be. It was a beautiful night, and a pretty tough sell by Delta Gamma. But a sweet junior named Melanie at Gamma Phi Beta made my lil’ heart sing when she told me with such sincerity that I belonged with the Gamma Phi’s.

I don’t know that I will ever be able to really put into words what an impact all of that, and the 4 years that followed had on my life. I know that it sounds really sappy. It is a little sappy. But if this gives you any indication of how important my Sisters have been to me…I am sitting here with tears streaming down my cheeks just typing this out.

This weekend about 500 Gamma Phi Betas descended on my college campus for the 100 year Anniversary of Xi Chapter. There was a woman there who pledged Gamma Phi Beta in 1937. There was a tiny 12 week old girl named Emory who was instantly dubbed a future Gamma Phi. Most of all, there were 8 decades worth of friends who were there because of what we, and our sisterhood has meant to us for all these years.

If you have been reading this blog for more than 5 minutes I don’t think I need to explain to you that my girls know how to get their party on. We had big fun. My sides hurt from laughing, I have lost my voice, and my liver ran out a white flag sometime yesterday afternoon. It was good times.

I know that if I tried to tell you about what it meant to me to spend time with those women who I love so fiercely it would come out really trite and schmoopy. So I am just going to say that after 18 years I am still awestruck by our collective beauty. Not just because we are totally smokin’ hot mamas. But because we are an incredibly smart, strong, fun, funny, wise, selfless, kind, and loyal group of women.

I am so lucky to have my sisters. I love you guys.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Y’all are just never gonna believe what my Mamma brought to my house Tuesday night.

(Um, yes. In my head sometimes I speak with a Southern drawl. That’s totally normal, thankyouverymuch.)

Do you see the carnage? The bio-hazard? The 2 inch heels intended to be worn by someone who can’t even read??? (Ohmahgah, Sweet Pea is just DYING to wear these. Natch.)

And now, in her own words, my Mother’s redemption right here on the interweb:

“After I read your blog last night all I could think about was how I raised you to be a good person. A person with strong ethics and morals. And then when you needed to make a decision about the right thing to do, I told you not to worry about it. Mommy guilt never goes away. Never!”

Aww. Isn’t that sweet?

She just felt awful about it. She made a special trip up there and dug though the shoe boxes to find them. Although she did say it wasn’t hard to spot the box with bloody fingerprints on it…

But anyhoo…Isn’t that cool? Thanks Mommy! I think we all feel better now.

(For the record, she also tried really hard to object to my statement about her being present for 98% of my “Bad Mommy” filings. But then I started to make a list and she got real quiet. And now y’all know why she’s so much fun…)