Saturday, January 17, 2015

Beginning of a new era--Empty Nest!


Today is THE day...the one we have worked for every single day for nearly 24 years! The last of the kids headed off to college today, leaving the hubby and me waving from the front porch! It is the sunset on an era--of constant parenting, caring for kids, cooking for kids, attending ballgames and baking brownies for concession stands.
And today is the sunrise of a new era--of Duane and I rediscovering each other and getting to know the new, older, more mature relationship.  The kids laughingly asked if Dad and I were going to be okay on our own....well, duh! I picked him to marry. I'm pretty sure I can live with him for at least 50 more years...
Our kids are all K-Staters. That makes them the 4th generation to graduate from Kansas State University. Duane's grandfather is a KSU grad, my mom graduated from KSU and Duane and I both graduated from KSU in the 1980s.  And our oldest daughter graduated from KSU a year and a half ago. We are proud to have our kids choose K-State, at least for their undergraduate work.  But this semester, we will have four kids in college at once. (Thank goodness for scholarships!)
Today is a little bittersweet for me. As Duane washed the kids cars and cleaned the windows on all the cars for them (his way of showing he loves them) I thought back to August when I had expected to be an "empty-nester."  The first week of classes, three of our kids were starting school, while Tyler was lying in a hospital bed. He was supposed to be settling into fraternity life with his brothers and figuring out how to buy books online and getting lost on campus, but instead he was waiting on a liver transplant.  I suppose looking back to how sick he was just a few months ago, and today watching him load his car with everything he needs to move into the fraternity made me a little more melancholy than I would have been.  It is such an accomplishment for him to be totally healthy just five short months after nearly losing him!  But today as the kids drove away (3 cars following each other to Manhattan, Kansas--just 45 miles from home), my husband turned to me and said, "This is what we've worked for so hard! WE DID IT!"

So some of the changes I face...no more buying milk 6 gallons at a time; no more having 18 pairs of shoes piled at the front door; no more doing 3 loads of dishes every day; no more having the living room trashed just five minutes after cleaning it up; and no more cooking supper in huge stockpots! No more worrying about when the kids will be home, or what they are working on at the farm. No more dirty, stinky socks left in the living room; no more half full glasses left by the couch.  No more strange smells coming from the kids bedrooms; no more fighting for my turn to use the washing machine.  No more noise and no more dirt.  Whew. We did it.  So why am I crying?...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Beef Enchilada Soup--freezer to crockpot!


I have two very special friends for whom I would seriously walk through fire--in fact I wrote about them on the 4th day of Christmas. Both of them have recently been going through a pretty rough time--one lost her nephew in a car accident and the other has been diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer and has begun treatments.

Bam! My life has changed again! From being the caregiver of my son as he recovered from a liver transplant, to being on the support crew for my buddies. And what better way to show them my love but to cook for them? What's on the menu? BEEF, of course!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Easy Baked Quesadillas

If you are like me, suffering from Post-Holiday Hangover from eating lots of heavy, delicious, sugary food at Christmas...oh, and Thanksgiving....you are ready for something lighter!  These quesadillas are just the ticket!  I found the recipe on the updated website BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com and it is perfect!  At just 450 calories per serving, with 38 grams of protein, it is a quick, easy and healthy meal than the heavy, creamy, sugary, (deliciously amazing) things I have been eating.

But...remember, if you are like me, you didn't lay out the ground beef to thaw this morning and when you are ready to cook in the late afternoon, it is still frozen solid.  Check out this new way to thaw ground beef! I love it! It is fast and no more cooked corners that don't incorporate into your dish quite the same.


So now that we have the ground beef thawed, check out the full recipe here:  Easy Baked Beef, Bean and Corn Quesadillas.  And you can have a lighter and delicious meal on the table in less than 30 minutes! And while I have five kids home from college and work, fast and easy cooking is important!!

I wish you all a Happy New Year and Beef it up in 2015!

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