Thursday, June 26, 2014

Vintage Craft Table

My dad gave me this table that had belonged to my grandfather. My grandfather had wanted a craft table, and had taken some old sewing legs and attached them to a table top. I have no idea where the original sewing top is, but that table has a lot of history. My grandfather was really good at putting together models of ships, airplanes, cars, etc and he used this table to put them together. The top tells stories of his art craft, and I love the look of the legs. The thing about this table was that the top was really rough, but after a good sanding, with three different types of grit sandpaper, the top was smooth and finally usable!

The legs, however, were a different story. Being that they were really old and had small details I knew that I had to be careful with what I used to clean it. I didn't want to remove anything but the dirt and grime- leaving the original patina intact. Here's what the legs looked like before I started cleaning.

There was a lot of dust, but also just grime packed onto it. I tried a bit of water, but it didn't even touch the grime. I needed something gentle but good at removing the dirt. So, I tried some Johnson's Paste Wax. It's good at cleaning wood, metal, plastic, leather and more. It does have an odor to it, but after testing a bit on a back section and seeing that the patina was left intact, but the grime and dirt was removed, I felt confident that it could clean the rest of the table! Boy, did it ever work! Just look at the after!

It still has that old feel and look, but the legs and top look better than ever! We decided that it was the perfect puzzle table, and the kids are thrilled that they have a permanent place to do puzzles!

I'm so glad that we were able to save this piece. It might not be an antique, but it has a special place in our home, knowing that my grandfather put it together for a purpose and used it all the time.

Until Next Time,

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tamale Pie

For the first years of our marriage, I had heard about tamale pie that my husband used to have as a kid. He claimed it was really good, and after years of searching I found the recipe. I did everything that the recipe said to do and... it was disgusting. My husband said it was the exact recipe he remembered, but that his tastes must had changed, because it was so bland! Even the kids wouldn't eat it; they thought it was gross!

I wasn't going to give up on this recipe though. I followed it to the letter, but after looking it over I could see why it turned out so gross. There was little to no seasoning in the bottom layer, and the meat section was pretty plain. So, I gave it a serious makeover tonight, and tried again. This time it was a hit! The kids scarfed it down, along with a kale and tomato salad, and begged for seconds. Hubby said it was incredible and loved every bite! Hurray for fixing a broken recipe! So, I'm sharing it with you. This could also easily be made vegan as well. Just don't put in the meat and top with soy cheese!

Tamale Pie

For the Base:
2 cups of cornmeal
2 tsp of salt
2 tsp of cumin
2 cups of cold water
2 cups of boiling water

Mix cold water, cornmeal, salt, and cumin in a saucepan. Add boiling water and cook over medium heat until it's the consistency of cream of wheat. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 min, to set up cornmeal base.

1 pound of ground meat (Any kind. Can also be left out for a vegan option)
1 chopped onion
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes- undrained
2 tsp of cumin
1 tsp salt
1 can of black beans
1 cup of cooked lentils (could use canned as well)
2 Tbsp of Gluten Free Flour
Shredded cheddar cheese (or soy cheese for the vegan option)

Cook ground meat until done, and add onions. If omitting the meat, just saute the onions. Combine seasonings into the meat mixture. Add tomatoes, black beans, and lentils. Stir well and cook until heated through. Add flour to the sauce, and cook until the sauce thickens. Pour over  cooked cornmeal base. Top with shredded cheese and bake for 25 min, at 350 degrees. Let cool for about 10-20 minutes before cutting and serving.

My family adored this recipe, and I'm glad that I chose to give this a second "updated" chance. The first recipe was pretty bad, but this one is definitely a keeper!

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


I've debated writing this for about a month or longer. The subject is a touchy one and I wanted to make sure that everything was clear, and to protect those who are still working on issues. What am I talking about? Well read on, and hopefully I can make everything clear.

It all started about four months ago, when I started talking with a friend in a game that we both play. He started confiding in me, and my husband, about some of the things that he was going through. I finally got to meet "Shadow" (not his real name, but to protect his identity, it's his name in this post, and one that he picked out) in Georgia, along with his dad, Mr. M. I started learning more about Shadow's past, the severity of it, and it broke my heart. The mothering instinct in me cried out for this poor boy (yes, you're still a boy Shadow, whether you think so or not).

You see, at eightteen months of age, Shadow's mother abandoned him. Left him with his dad, and just walked out. She's bi-polar, wasn't happy in life, and decided that instead of caring for the child that she bore, it was better to just leave. Sadly, it would have been better if she would have just stayed away, but over the course of years she would pop back in his life for a day, a couple of days, or a week at a time; disrupt his life, and then leave again- ripping the wounds open again. This continued through out his entire childhood. Everytime she would leave, he would start to wonder what it was about him that made his bio mom leave. When Shadow was about twelve, she came back into his life, and married his dad. Things were fine for awhile, but then she found that it was too hard to stay in that life, and decided not only to leave, but to move to Nepal. Shadow was seventeen when she left for the last time.

The thing of it was that this wasn't something that was brand new to my husband and I. My husband has been through the exact same thing, and could sympathize with Shadow. No matter a child's age, you will always need your mom, in one way or another. My husband and I discussed it, and decided that if Shadow was okay with it, that we would adopt him into our family.

To say that Shadow was elated would be an understatement. Mr. M had done an amazing job raising him by himself, but there are some things that only a mother can provide. Mr. M has welcomed me as Shadow's mom, and together we are working to help Shadow overcome the damage that he has suffered, along with therapy. In October, of this year, Shadow is coming to visit us in Kansas, staying with us for a couple of weeks. We are thrilled to have Shadow in our family, and can't wait to see him grow and mature.

You are my son, Shadow. That bond can not be broken, and will not be revoked no matter what you do. We welcome you, with open arms, into our prehistoric family :)

Until Next Time,

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