Monday, August 31, 2009

Nacho Libre, and learning still . . .

My son took me to school tonight.

Nacho school.

And I will never be the same again.

A nacho so perfect. So well-proportioned. Every ingredient in every bite. Exquisite.

He started with Scoops chips.

Lay them on the plate, bowl facing upward. Keep them close together. Touching each other. They are friends. They will like this. They fit together like a big chippy honeycomb.

Fill each with a dollop of refried beans and a dollop of taco meat.

Top (smother) entire plate with shredded cheese.

Melt in microwave.

Top with your favorites - shredded lettuce, tomatoes, olives, green chiles, sour cream, salsa, guacamole.

Goodness in EVERY. SINGLE. BITE.

No stray chips that missed the cheese or meat.

No glob of meat and beans in the middle of the plate without chips to balance it out.

It is, for my OCD brain, nacho perfection.

Life doesn't get much better. You should try it.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lifelong Learners

With all the learning that is happening around this house, I have confidence that we are producing lifelong learners. Possibly skewed a bit toward football and guns, but learners none-the-less.

Here are some of our favorite lessons and accomplishments this week.

Both boys started school. Colt in first grade and Chance in fifth grade.

Chance started practice with his new football team - and the steep learning curve that personifies the first week of football began.

Chance successfully finished his Hunter Education course. And was quick to inform me that he was the only youth hunter to hit two out of 3 clay pigeons at the range.

I am 2/3 of the way (and within 2 years) to an empty house on hunting days.

Colton learned that once a bee has stung someone, even if she is still alive and mad and chasing you, the worst damage she can do is ram into your head repeatedly.

Matt learned that any bee sting on his face, whether actually by his eye or not, swells that eye shut and renders it useless for about 2 days.

Tomorrow, Matt will have to learn a new way to do his current job under the above extreme circumstances.

I learned several new football cadences, which make the game ever so much more fun:
******Blue, 43! Blue, 43! Chance has crusty feet! HIKE!!
******Blue, 42! Blue, 42! Colton's underwear are pink! HIKE!!
******Red, 48! Red, 48! Daddy think his boogers taste great! HIKE!!

I learned that if your cadence is funny enough, your opponent may double-over laughing, allowing you an easy path to the end zone. Brilliant.

I learned anew the 4th commandment, and realized we had not been following it well at all.

I learned our family can REST for a whole day. And that it feels pretty darn good. I guess God pretty much knows what he's talking about, huh? Thanks, Pastor Jody.

I learned that I want to keep on learning.

  • I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was
    yesterday. -Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, August 27, 2009

We're not raising grass, we're raising sons

One of my very favorite things to do is watch Matt play with his sons. It brings out the best in all of them, and is ALWAYS a sight to behold:










My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would
come out and say, "You're tearing up the grass." "We're not raising grass," Dad
would reply. "We're raising boys." by: Harmon Killebrew

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Kicked up a notch

Life at the Messer Ranch has just been "kicked up a notch".


Meet our newest member of the family.


I'm thinking it's not the best time to be in-between family doctors.



Anyone have a good source for used helmets?
PS - Hull family, you can view Emily's reunion photos here.
PPS - Alyson, I did not cheat on you! Emily offered me 3 free 8 x 10's and 7 wallets. I couldn't refuse ;) Besides, look how cute we are!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Family Reunion - The Greatest - A Finale

Furthest
Closest

Fastest


Creative-est

Sharpest

Tallest


Thirstiest


Oldest


Youngest


And, for the last recipe of the round-up, I give you the most under-appreciated dessert. I think this one hid in the refrigerator while we were eating on Saturday, and didn't debut until 2nd or 3rd snack on Saturday night.
.
Which, actually, was lucky for me. Everyone was full by then, and only took a smidgen. Enough for many to request the recipe, but little enough that I still got breakfast for 2 days afterward :)
.
Rhubarb Crisp
Chris Steinmetz
.
8 cups rhubarb, cut up
4 cups sugar, divided
2 cups flour, divided
2 eggs
8 T butter, melted
1/8 t nutmeg
.
Mix 2 cups sugar and 6 T flour with rhubarb. Put in a 13 x 9 baking dish.
Beat eggs with a fork. Stir in 2 cups sugar and remaining flour. Sprinkle over rhubarb.
Drizzle melted butter over top.
Sprinkle with nutmeg.
Bake at 350* for 40 minutes or until golden brown.
.
Thanks to all for a fun weekend! Can't wait to do it all again next year!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Darla, can you check my neck - I think it's officially red

As if we didn't know it from the multitude of Wal-Mart posts and pictures of guns and shooting - the Demo Derby last night proved it - I'm a total Redneck.

We had a blast last night at the Derby! We went to the fair for awhile, to check the boys' entries, have some dinner, and take in the sights. Both boys' entries did great - all reds and blues. Dinner met my every expectation - there's just no way to beat a good, hand-dipped corn dog, fried in grease that hasn't been changed in weeks.

My splurge on this attraction was traded for a promise to never mention another carnival ride the rest of the evening. $12 bucks well-spent, I say!!

Then, it was off to the derby.


The mud was flyin'. And so were the cars at times. We had tons of fun with Darla and her boys, picking cars for each race, cheering and hollering for our favorite drivers, and singing with the music between races.


I may or may not have participated in a mission of finding a suitable mate for my single friend. It brought about a few very entertaining verbal exchanges:

"Whoa, there's one!" - me
"He's way outta your league, mom!" - Chance
"Honey, I'm married. They're all outta my league"

The next exchange had something to do with Wranglers, a gun, and handcuffs. I can't fully remember it - mostly on account of this is a rated G site.

And, my personal favorite for the evening . . .

"That boy is way too hot to be a Hutterite!"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Family Reunion - The Muffin Issue

Did you know Taste of Home has a special "Muffin Issue"?


Yeah. Me neither.


If you had gotten this special "Muffin Issue" sometime in 2006, would you know where to find it today?


Yeah. Again. Me neither.


Below is an excerpt from my conversation with the John and Jennifer Hull family, trying to get the recipe for the muffins that were the most requested breakfast item of the weekend.


Here you go:



  • Jennifer Hull, you must share your banana muffin recipe with the world. I cannot blog again until you do. Thank you, Heather

  • Hi Heather, My Mother is in town so in her place she has sent her designated email agent. After 15 minutes on the phone with my mother and her explaining to me which of her 9 million Taste of Home magazines this recipe is in we have finally found it.

  • I will recreate the conversation below:

  • Mother; "It's in the June/July 2009 magazine"

  • Kids; "We don't see it"

  • Mother; "Ok, it's in the August/September 2009 magazine"

  • Kids; "Not in this one either"

  • Mother; "Well it has to be in one of them (after all there are only four years worth of magazines in her kitchen) Oh, wait it's in the special muffin issue magazine!"

  • Kids; "Which one is that. Oh yes, here it is. The February/March 2006 issue. Ok we've got it. I'll scan it in and send it to Heather."

  • So, finally, here is the banana muffin recipe, which my mother was very surprised was such a hit, although I think that in the Hull Family any type of food is a hit.

  • Enjoy!Thomas

Jumbo Caramel Banana Muffins
Taste of Home

SERVINGS: 6
CATEGORY: Breads
METHOD: Baked
TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 25 min. + cooling


Ingredients:
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt


CARAMEL ICING:
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar


Directions: In a small bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Add egg; beat well. Add bananas and vanilla; mix well. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture. Fill paper-lined jumbo muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350° for 23-28 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.


For icing, in a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar and milk; bring to a boil. Cool slightly. Whisk in confectioners' sugar. Transfer to a small resealable plastic bag; cut a small hole in a corner of bag and drizzle over muffins.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We're back, after a short commercial break

Biggest Smiles . . .






















































I think the smiles were mostly due to all the great food :)

Next tie for most requested dessert:

Chocolate Trifle


Erin Hull


Bake one box of chocolate fudge brownies according to pkg.


Allow to cool.


2 containers of cool whip

1 bag of Heath bar pieces

2 boxes instant chocolate mousse

-Prepare according to pkg.


Cut up brownies and layer half on bottom of trifle dish


Spread chocolate mousse on top of brownies (one entire pkg.)


Spread cool whip over mousse (one entire container)


Sprinkle ½ bag of Heath pieces over cool whip.


Repeat layers


Chill and serve!


ENJOY!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Double Digits

Happy Birthday, Chance!


I can't believe you're 10 years old! Double digits! Life will never be the same again :)


Our dinner question last night, in honor of your birthday celebration, was for each of us to give 3 things we love about you. Here are our thoughts:



  1. You are a great brother.

  2. You share many sports interests with your dad - football, baseball, hockey, etc.

  3. You give your best, no matter what you are doing.

  4. You are really good at football.

  5. You have the ability to see something in your mind, and want to create it. You don't stop until you've got exactly the creation you set out to make.

  6. You try to follow God, and receive and understand Bible lessons, whether at home, church, or school.

  7. You are really good at baseball.

  8. You do well playing and sharing with kids of all ages.

  9. You make time for your grandparents and aunts and uncles. You communicate well with them, and don't think you're too cool to interact with "old folks".

Happy Birthday, son. We are so proud of you, and we love you so much!!


PS - Thanks for choosing chocolate lava cake for your birthday cake - that should have been my #1 thing I love about you, because it was a most excellent choice!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Another Real Man of Genius

Mr. Theme Park Ferris Wheel Operator


I have underestimated you far too long, Mr. Theme Park Ferris Wheel Operator.




You can count by both two's and three's.


And keep several sets of these in your head, mostly without using your fingers or toes.


All the while estimating the total weight of each group.


And balancing our precious cargo "just so".


You don't do it very quickly, but really, who could? That's a lot of numbers to crunch!


Not to mention, the whole time you are calculating, you must divide by two.


Because you are a cunning marketer.


And you only keep your wheel half full.


No matter how long the line gets.


Those roller coaster operators got nothin' on you. You've got the skillz to make your line just as long as theirs, with only 1/10 of the people.


So, here's to you, Mr. Theme Park Ferris Wheel Operator. You had my full attention for about 45 of the longest minutes of my life on Saturday.


You're the man.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Family Reunion: Greatest Hits, Volume II

As always, there were some great battles, some great jokes, and some interesting conversations.


Stephanie, when talking about the shower in our 5th wheel (unsuccessfully trying to win points that would get her permission to shower in the house) - "I know the shower works, I used it last year. It's really small, though. I can't believe you guys can even shower in there, because I barely fit, and I'm pretty small . . ." Yeah.

Gutsiest Move in a Water Fight

Notice the fearless Stephanie (out of the frame, just dowsed Matt), oblivious of the close proximity of Granny.


Best Payback by an Uncle
Maybe that gutsy move wasn't the smartest move :)


Most requested Main Dish Recipe

Chicken Surprise

1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can Green Chiles (Steph uses 1/4 or so)
16 oz. Sour Cream
16 oz. Salsa
1 lg. can Chicken

Mix all ingredients together.

Layer the bottom of a 13 x 9 (or 9 x 13) with Doritos. Top with above mixture. Bake at 350* for 20-25 minutes. Top with grated cheese, and continue baking until cheese is melted.
.
.
As I look back on this post, it actually turned out to be Stephanie's greatest hits, didn't it? Good thing she makes such a mean peach pie. Not to mention the Chicken Surprise.
More tomorrow . . .

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Family Reunion: Greatest Hits, Volume I

So we had another fun-filled weekend packed with RV's, bullets, desserts, waffle bars, nacho bars, water fights, pictures, and laughs.

So packed, we forgot to count most of it!

Not to mention, there are conflicting reports regarding how many clay pigeons were hit, versus how many hit the ground unscathed - and to protect the shooting reputation of all attendees, we just won't go there.

Instead, I'll give you a few installments of our "Greatest Hits".

Tie for Most Requested Dessert Recipe:
Sopapilla Cheesecake

2 cans Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
2 x 8 oz. Cream Cheese (@ room temp)
1-1/2 cups Sugar (divided)
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 stick butter (1/2 cup) - the REAL stuff. No margarine. No "Smart Balance Blend". Go big or go home.

Spray 13 x 9 pan with cooking spray. Or, a 9 x 13. Whichever you have. Unroll and press 1 can of crescent rolls into the bottom, pressing the seams together. Blend cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla. Spread over bottom layer of crescent rolls. Unroll can #2 of crescent rolls, and place over the top of the cream cheese mixture, pressing seams together. Melt butter and pour over top crescent layer. Mix remaining 1/2 cup sugar with cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over the top of the melted butter layer. Bake at 350*, 30 minutes, until bottom crust is brown and topping is bubbly. Try to let it cool off before you devour it.



Tie for most excitement in a photo session goes to:

Hailey

Carter




More tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Company PIcnic

What do you do at your company picnics?

Cause, thanks to Darla and her superior planning skills, we do stuff like this:







Jealous????