Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Finally! After I months of not being able to make any Pioneer Woman recipes I'm back in the saddle!  OK, maybe it wasn't months, but it felt like it!  I had to dust the cobwebs off the crock pot.  Last nights venture was a crowd pleaser.  My husband and I don't signify a crowd so we added a few more Duke's to the gang.  Jon's brother Jason and his beautiful wife Jacquelyn, also known as my sister and brother in law, and the newest little Duke, Willow, also known as my niece, came over for some grub.  On the menu..PW Pulled Pork sandwiches with Cilantro-Jalapeno Cole Slaw.  Sounds fancy, delicious, and messy.  Also known as Scrumdidilyumptious.  Disclaimer, my camera does not live up to my expectations for taking pictures of food.  It could be the operator, but probably the camera.  So the pics DO NOT give this dish justice on how good it actually looked.  Check out Pioneer Woman's pics...her camera (or operator) do a much better job!

Pork Butt (he he)   
Cooked Pork Butt 

Jalapeno Cole Slaw and fresh Cilantro. It does not get any better then fresh cilantro in my mind.

Put the cole slaw and cooked pork butt on a toasted bun. I like toasted buns and butts. OK, this just got weird.

Here is the link to PW recipe.  I had to tweak it a bit. Hers calls for Chipotle Peppers in Adobo sauce which I could not find!  So I used half a can of Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chilies) and added some chili and cayenne powder.  It was good but next time I will search high and low for the Chipotle Peppers.

I'm getting out of hand now...tonight is another PW recipe.  Taco Pizza. Can't wait to try this one!  Shh...don't tell the hubs there is no meat on it. I would hate to have to force feed him.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Just Some Tidbits

I have been wracking my brain on topics to write about on this here blog and have come up with nothing!  I have no new recipes to share, no new decorating tips or ideas that I've tried yet.  So this post is going to be about nothing really. Just a few tidbits from the past few weeks.

Birthdays! Whoop Whoop!  

We've celebrated 2 in the past week.  June 19th. My little peanuts birthday. Three years ago on Thursday June 19th at 4:45am my water broke.  My whole pregnancy I was worried that I wouldn't know I was having contractions and the baby would be born at home or on the way to the hospital.  These were valid fears at the time.  I prayed for my water to break, kudos to the Lord for coming through on that one.  I arrived at the hospital around 6am, Jon didn't see the need to rush and took the long route, after stopping at the ATM.  He was obviously trying to delay the birth as long as possible.  Some contractions, drugs, sleep, and pushes later (I am editing here) my whole world changed as my whole world was born.  Allyson Rae Duke arrived at 1:22pm.  What a blessing. What a joy.

This past week she turned 3.  Wow. Where has the time gone.  She doesn't look like a baby anymore, but a little girl.  A little girl with long curly hair and a smile that lights up the room.  A little girl who has everyone she encounters wrapped around her tiny little finger.  Happy birthday to our little Hot Rod...

June 22, 1983. The world got a little bit better.  The sun was shining, angels were singing, and the birds were chirping.  I was born.  Yes little did my parents know 28 years ago just how special I would be.  Just kidding! My birthday was yesterday.  For the first time EVER I actually forgot it was my birthday until my mom called. It will never happen again.  My wonderful husband took me out to dinner at Olive Garden. My favorite, and our first date location :)  Bread sticks are good.  I even got free wine and a little entertainment from the minors sitting in the booth behind us.  Here's a little advice to all you minors out there.  If you are going to try to order an alcoholic beverage, tell your friend who orders before you NOT to order chocolate milk to drink.  Also don't claim to be 25 and leave your ID in the car.  25 year olds don't do that.  But the poor child (who was most likely about 16) did provide me with excellent people watching for the night.  Happy birthday to me!

Me circa 1984

You Make Me Feel Like Dancing!

Ally loves The Wiggles.  You know the Australian group of all 30 plus year old men who sing and dance.  Yeah, it's a little weird, but she is so cute dancing around the living room I can't help but condone her watching them.  So for her birthday I got her a new DVD (I'm an enabler) and we have watched it about 6 times a day since Sunday.  She shakes and shimmies her little behind to all the groovy dance tunes.  All this was in preparation for her first dance class, which was last night!  Seriously, hands down the cutest thing I have ever witnessed. A class of 3 and 4 year olds trying to be taught first position (heels together, toes out.)  I was beaming from ear to ear watching her try to gallop, skip, stand still, stretch and freeze.  Mega fail for me though, apparently when the class description says for the kids to wear comfortable clothes, that does not mean sweats and a t-shirt, but rather a full dance leotard, tights and ballet shoes.  We will be going shopping before next weeks class.  Ally didn't mind though, she was all smiles...

The super cute bow was made by a friend. Check out her site!

OK so as it turned out this post was not about nothing at all (does that statement make sense?) Guess birthdays and dancing make for pretty good blogging topics.  Hope y'all enjoy!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Going to get my groove back

Ok, so I have totally been in a slump with my writing lately. I blame the moving delays and heat for my brain farts.  I promise to indulge in new and exciting posts in the following days including decorating and cooking!  Now that I actually have a kitchen that isn't full to the ceiling of boxes I can get started on some new recipes!  So stay with me, I will get my groove back soon!

Peace out my homies

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Hero

Well, here it is. Another one of those days set aside to honor someone who we should honor every day. Father's Day.  Pop, Old Man, Father, Dad, or for me, Daddy.  Yes.  I am going to get sappy, again. 

My dad is my hero.  It sounds cliche, but he truly is.  He's big, and tall, and cuddly.  Just like a dad should be.  He's tough when he needs to be tough and soft when he needs to be soft.  He was a Fireman and is now a Special Investigator (sounds so cool doesn't it!)  He's a lot of peoples hero.

Just hearing my dad's voice makes me smile because he still talks with a "Missouri accent."  When he sings he thinks he sounds like Toby Keith, and I think so too.  He shared his love of old movies and John Wayne with his kids while we were growing up, and now we share the same love.  I remember sitting in my daddy's truck when I was a little girl and singing my favorite old Nitty Gritty Dirt Band song, and he would have the biggest smile on his face.  He taught me how to drive on a back road in Missouri and still tells the story of how I maneuvered around a combine.  I feel proud that he remembers that moment. It's one that I will never forget, along with many others.

Growing up my dad was the cook in the house.  For breakfast he would always make my brother and I fried bologna, corn beef hash with cheese, or grilled cheese sandwiches.  I always loved his breakfasts.  He's an amazing cook, and master of the grill.

He is my baby's Papa. She fits so snuggly in his big burly arms.  Ally loves sitting on Papa's lap and reading books. I know he would go to the end of the earth for her if she asked him to. 

He's my daddy.  He will always be the number one man in my life. 

End Note: I would love to post a picture of how truly handsome my dad is, but my photos are on another computer. :(  

Monday, June 13, 2011

The beginning of the end

OK, I have procrastinated long enough.  My daughter will be 3 next week. She must be potty trained.  Why, I don't really know. I am perfectly content with her in diapers. It's easy.  I don't have to worry about her needing to pee while we are driving.  I don't have to watch her like a hawk for signs that she is about to puddle on the floor. Yep, I could leave her in diapers forever. Do you sense a theme?  I wasn't ready for the big girl bed, now I'm not ready for the potty training. Perhaps I don't want my little girl to grow up. I mean, what's next, driving? Alright, rewind.  So this week the goal was set. Princess underwear was purchased.  The time is here.

We started yesterday afternoon.  I got lots of goodies from the Dollar Tree for a Prize Bag!  If Ally goes in the potty , she gets to pick a prize! She was super excited to get a prize so I thought this may work.  Problem was she didn't want to sit on the potty chair.  This might be my fault.  I'll explain. Ally likes to come in the bathroom while I am getting ready, and she always goes straight for the toilet! Touching it, lifting the lid, wanting to flush it, etc.  My instinct has always been to scream "No touchy toilet...yucky, yucky yucky!"  Probably NOT the message to be sending a toddler who you're now trying to get to SIT on a toilet. My bad.  Must send more positive message about the porcelain throne.  Note taken.

So after explaining that it's OK to sit on the toilet and potty chair we dove in. Ally was not so keen on wearing the underwear so I let her run around naked.  I must admit the site of her little bum running around the living room makes me smile, but then accident number one.  I show her the pee, I show her the toilet. Pee, toilet.  Try to explain to her that the goal is to get the pee in the toilet.  I don't think she got it.  I tell her maybe we should put on the big girl princess underwear and that it would be a shame to pee on Cinderella.  So we put on the underwear, she wants a Snow White Pull Up on too.  She apparently has no problem peeing on Cinderella or Snow White because accident number 2 occurs.  But at least the Pull Up soaked this one up.  We try the no underwear approach again.  She starts doing her poopy face and runs to sit on the potty chair.  She stands up and points in the hole..."poopy mommy, poopy!"  YES!  Celebration time!  We flush the poop, wave bye bye then she gets to pick a prize!  5 minutes later, she wants another prize so I explain she has to use the potty.  I swear the child willed herself to pee because not 2 minutes later I hear her saying "pee mommy, pee!"  Awesome!  I'm thinking, this is great.  Fastest training EVER.  This is going to be a breeze! 

Then comes bedtime.  Daddy and I try to explain that she is going to wear a Pull Up to bed, but if she has to go to the bathroom, she can tell us and she can get up to go.  She says "No, me want a prize, me poop on potty chair."  Never thought of what to do to get the child OFF the chair.  Hmm...  Eventually we get her up and Pull Up on and off to bed.  I'm feeling pretty good about this so far.

Day 2 is in progress...the good feeling is fading.  3 accidents on the hardwood (thank God) floor and 2 poops in the toilet.  I think we will call her poop trained.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Good Dose of...

I'm going to start off by saying I am NEVER, ever moving again.  Our move has not gone smoothly.   I'll take that back, moving is not the issue since we haven't even begun to move, closing on our house has not gone smoothly.  Our house has been "sold" since December 26, 2010.  Almost 6 months and we are still in our current home with really no end in site as to WHEN we will close.  It is maddening and frustrating.  So I needed a good dose of something.  Alcohol is not an option as I still have to function as a parent  So last night I got a good dose of this...

God and scripture.  I started a new Women's Bible study last night, and felt all the anger and frustration I had yesterday melt away.  I laid it at God's feet. I prayed about it.  I was encouraged by good friends.  I'm not saying I am not still frustrated, but I am not going to let it consume me. It is out of my control.  Boy did I need that!

This morning, as every morning, I needed a good dose of this...

Large diet coke with extra ice.  Ally repeats my order when we pull in the McDonald's parking lot.  The worker's recognize me.  I am aware that it would be cheaper for me to buy a 12 pack or 2 liter from the store, but it tastes better when from a fountain, don't you think? 

I also needed a good does of laughter, which today came in the form of a memory.  I decided to clean out my old CD case and use it to hold Ally's DVDs.  As I was pulling out all the Cd's I haven't listened to in ages I came across this one...

"I saw the sign, and it opened up my eyes and I am happy now living without you, I let you go-oh -oh -oh"  Ace of Base man!  Who didn't love the pop rhythm's of this fun Swedish group.  My friend Melissa and I back in the day made up a dance to The Sign.  I laughed out loud thinking about it,  and how we rushed into the living room of her house to show off our moves to our parents.  Oh what fun and innocence we had!

So today is a little better than yesterday thanks to these small "doses" of happy makers.  I have to remember that with God, Diet Coke and Ace of Base, nothing is really that bad.

Right now I need a good dose of air freshener to cover up the poopy pull up smell coming from the trash can. I really must start taking those to the OUTSIDE garbage!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


It's a goal. A life journey.  To be successful. To find success in whatever you choose to do with your life.  If you work, your goal is to be successful in business, to climb the ladder, make more money, live a better life.  For me as a stay at home mom and wife, success is measured a bit differently.  I don't get monthly status reports or raises for a job well done or a project completed.  I often don't get praise for the work I do or recognition for the choices I make for my family or myself.  Success for me is measured in the smiles I get from my daughter when we start out on a walk for the park.  In the happy little laugh when her daddy is tickling her and in the whispered "I Wuv You" after bedtime kisses.  Success is in the satisfaction knowing that my house is clean and laundry is done and that my family has a home to be safe in.  In Knowing that my husband leaves this house everyday to go to work to make sure his wife and daughter are taken care of.  I have been successful in love knowing that the man I have married will always be my best friend and will never break my heart.  I am successful because I am aware and abundantly thankful for the gift of God 's unending love and that the journey I have been on has led me back to Him.  So no matter what you do in life, you can find success.  Don't measure it in terms of money or job titles, but in the everyday activities and people you encounter.  I know that I am loved, and that I have love to give. I know that I am raising my daughter the very best way I know how.  I know that I have friends and family that will always be there for me and I for them.  And THAT is what makes me successful.