Saturday, May 29, 2010

CALICO recipe!

Whenever there's a get-together at our house, Grandma offers to bring a side-dish to share with the other guests. Sometimes, though not very often, I tell her not to bring anything and just come over. And usually she just ignores me and brings her tallest grandson some deviled eggs. Because I don't make deviled eggs...and if I did, they'd never be as good as Grandma's. My jello isn't as good as Grandma's. Why bother making this stuff when you have Grandma, right?

Grandma knew that I had my hands full with the party last weekend and offered to make a dish...after reviewing the menu, she offered to make Calico Beans. The dish that captured my husband's heart when we were dating. The dish made every weekend, propelling Jason to propose to me and take me off John and Gail's hands.

I have to say, the guests raved over Grandma's beans. They wanted the coveted recipe! Yesterday, my friend Kathy interrogated me via text that the bean recipe had not yet been posted, as promised. "Well excuuuuuuuuuse me!" (Name the comedienne). She even threatened excommunication from our friendship if I didn't deliver the recipe, as promised. Geesh!

So without further ado:

"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears..."


1 pound ground beef
1 large onion-chopped fine

Brown and Drain

Then add to beef mixture:
1/2 cup of dark brown sugar**
1/2 cup of white sugar**
2 teaspoons mustard (regular)
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Catsup
1 can Pork & Beans (15.5 oz can)
1 can Kidney Beans
1 can Navy, Great Northern, or Pinto Beans

Cook slowly on top of stove or bake in a 375-degree oven for 1 hour. I usually cook in the crockpot for 5 hours or so.

*Note: I often double the recipe and use a variety of canned beans, including black beans. However, if doubling, use 2 cans of the Pork & Beans.

**I use about half the amount of sugars called for--you decide how much.

Thank you, Mom, for sharing your excellent recipe with us. The world is going to be a much better place, now that we have your Calico Bean recipe!

I love you!

Monday, May 24, 2010

looks like we made it!

Only an uncle and aunt could pull this off...we just loved it!

I thought it an appropriate beginning to a week of chronicled graduation events, here at It's A Wonderful...

I have lots of photos to edit and narratives to tell, ending with a cool surprise by the Grad himself!

But today, today was spent with my big brother Tom, who is returning home to Brockport, NY tomorrow morning.

A perfect ending to a great and busy week!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

two days to launch.

When you're 17, living in Florida and waiting for the big graduation day, the thing to do is head for the beach with as many friends as you can round up. To frolic in the surf, to play in the sand. Bronzing your skin, for all the world to admire. Bringing home shoes full of...

...sand. Towels of...sand. Swimming trunks of...sand. new found nemesis. I'm just going to leave my vacuum out until right before the party. My floors have never been cleaner!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

countdown to commencement.

Welcome to High School Graduation Central.

We're preparing. And cleaning. Shopping. Working. Uncontrollable sobbing. Reminiscing. Stashing. Planning. Executing. Hugging. Calling. Driving. Planting. Writing. Anticipating...

I'll be back next week, after all the festivities. The fun and frivolity. The sleep and relaxation...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

all in all we're just another brick in the wall.

Today Jason, Jonathan and moi moved 976 gajillion bricks. No lie.

We loaded the bed of the truck. We unloaded it. We neatly stacked the bricks.

Our neighbor liked our bricks. And if you're a friend of ours, you're a friend of our bricks.

So we hitched up the neighbor's work-trailer and backed it up to our gajillion bricks.

We loaded the bricks. Drove the trailer next door and unloaded the bricks. We neatly stacked the bricks.

We then drove the trailer back to our house, where we loaded more bricks. Drove the trailer back to the neighbor's, unloaded the bricks, neatly stacking them.

Back to our house. Where we loaded more bricks. Drove next door. Unloaded. Barely able to stack the bricks, not giving a flip if they were neat.

Unhitched the trailer, returned to the brick site, loaded the bed of the truck and stacked the remaining bricks behind Jason's nifty garage.

To sum up my day, I leave you with this famous quote (a word or two have been changed, due to literary liberties):

As God is my witness, as God is my witness, they're not going to lick me. I'm going to live through this and when it's all over, I'll never move another brick again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I'll never move another brick again!

Friday, May 14, 2010

she had me at "Live!"

About a month ago, I did a little "investigative" work for my friend, Kathy, while she and her youngest daughter were in NYC.

It was dirty work, sifting through garbage; sitting in my car in the dark, drinking black java; wiring informants; greasing the palms of high-ranking officials.

Not really.

As a token of her appreciation and affection for me, her number one-all-time-favorite-esteemed friend, she brought a gift from a NYC television show...

A Live! With Regis and Kelly tote bag. I love it! It's to die for! Honestly, I am over the moon for this bag.

And if the tote wasn't enough, she included a gift card to the Outback!

I think I might have a lucrative future in the PI business!

Hey,Kathy! If you decide to do any traveling this summer, I'm still available...I hear the South of France is beautiful!

Monday, May 10, 2010

farewell to childhood. He's moving on!

It's happened. My baby grew up.

And today was the very last brown-bag school lunch I'll ever make for him.

It's a bittersweet day. Our boy is on the precipice of big life...

It's been my pleasure, lovingly preparing all those lunches.

Because that's how a mother shows her love for her boy...through his stomach.
On the other hand, I won't miss ironing white shirts and navy-blue slacks...

Or hunting the ever-elusive and recluse navy-blue tie...

The Sperries were cute...those suckers look good with everything!

This is the final week...of school and of tests.

It's been a great ride.

Excuse me while I go bury my face in my pillow and cry myself to sleep...

Friday, May 7, 2010

jungle in here!

I have been soooo busy, getting ready for RAM tomorrow.

There's fabric everywhere and the house needs cleaning. Clothes need washing.
Today's theme: jungle...ROAR!

The true colors are much prettier...more orange, green and blue. But I'm in a hurry, so as Steve Martin would say, "Excuuuuuuuuuse Me!"

Oh, my! This is very adorable fabric. The background is more of a grey, but hey, I'm no Anne Geddes...this is amateur photography, folks!

Peace, man!

We'll be down at the Riverside Arts Market tomorrow, booth 617. Down by the river...come by and say, "Hi." Or, "take a hike, you're so lame!"

There are loads of great Mother's Day gifts under the's going to be a beautiful day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

state of the art cooking.

Have you ever seen one of these?

It's a grill, yes, but attached to it is your cooler. So you don't have to step away from the grill and bend over to get a drink.

What will they think of next?

I'll be back next week, with regular posts...I've been busy making bikini key rings.

Your keys won't be the same, once they're attached to a bikini!

Monday, May 3, 2010

end of year teacher gift ideas.


How adorable!

And there's much, much more! Go here. Here. And here.
Then take a look around, 'cause there's so much more over at Eighteen 25!
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