Friday, March 26, 2010

March 2009

It’s always fun to look back occasionally and see what we were doing exactly a year ago. Here is the Smith Family, circa 2009.

We start with the happy photo of me at the Ear, Nose and Throat doctor, preparing to have a lovely little “camera on a wire” stuck up my nose and back down my throat. I’m only smiling in this picture because the doctor was just posing for the camera; he had not yet begun the real business of making me cry, gag, and threaten to choke him.

vocal machine

I’m in a happier state here, celebrating my 47th birthday with friends.

becky smile

Here is the table we served our friends at for my birthday. Note the paper towel flower holder. Hey, when you’re classy you’re classy!

The reason for the newspaper is that we were serving a wonderful, tasty, messy shrimp dish where the guests were invited to peel the shrimp with their fingers and throw the shells on the table.

Which they did. Which is the reason for the newspaper. And the paper towels.

birthday table

And here is the table that our friends walked by to get to the classy newspaper table! (We kept our dining room table set all the time back then since we were showing our house.)

real birthday table

And this is the cheesecake that Steve and Sarah made for my birthday. From scratch. By hand! (They made it and I decorated it.)

bithday pie

A Smith Fam Collage that I was messing around with in March. (Even though the pictures were taken earlier.)

fam collage

Shortly after Nathan got back from five weeks in Jerusalem, he and a college roommate went to Colorado to ski. And also to climb rocks and make their mothers nervous.

nate climbing

When he finally got home from all his adventures, Steve and I were very glad.

nathan home1

In other news, Sarah’s story was featured in our local paper.


And Sarah showed off her polka dotted school outfit.

polka dot outfit

March was also a month of some painful tests for her. Here she is after an EEG. (A nerve conduction study having to do with electricity. NOT a fun thing.)

sarah crying

This is one of my favorite pictures of her; it’s right after the test was over and she was dressed to go. I love the look of calm, peaceful courage on her face.

sarah after

In happier times.

sarah blog


From the Comments Area:

Holly let me know that I had left off the measurement unit on the chicken recipe I posted yesterday; I just went back in and added “Cups” to those measurements. Thanks, Holly, for letting me know.

Judy asked if the word “Welcome” over the door was a new addition.

Yes, indeedy it is, and thanks for noticing! It’s actually stick on letters that we found one day for about 80% off. I had been wanting something to put in that space and that was the perfect thing.

Here is a little better view of it.

IMG_2965 IMG_2953

And I must say that I continue to be in a veritable state of dismay and distress over all the “Bed, Beth, Bath, Beyond” comments that have come in over my little, tiny, miniscule spelling error.

Jan Reynolds said, “Okay since Sue G. pointed it out to begin with... it didn't say Bed, Beth and Beyond... It said Beth, Beth and Beyond! I thought maybe you had taken a pain pill or something since it was right after your biopsy...”

Kim said, I noticed the Beth, Beth and Beyond as well....and since there were two "Beths"..I figured there was a store I had just not heard of before, ...and not just a spelling mistake ! LOL :) This is such a fun place to come.

Sue said, “You wrote that you wandered into "Beth, Beth and Beyond." So, in your rush to organize even names of major companies, you made both Bed and Bath Beth, thereby conserving energy and word usage. Smart girl.”

Ahh. I think I like Sue’s “take” on this the best. I am not a mistake-makin’ ninny.

I’m a smart girl.

And on that lovely thought, I shall close.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Not One Recipe, But Two! (Teriyaki Chicken/Chocolate Eclair Torte)

A couple weeks ago, I promised I would post the recipe I made for Steve’s parents when they were visiting. Yesterday, I got an email from Tracy R. who was writing to tactfully remind me that I hadn't posted the promised chicken recipe yet. (Nice to know that my readers are paying such close attention!)

So--here is the recipe, complete with pictures that I actually remembered to take in the midst of the Official Chicken Cooking Process. And because Tracy asked so nicely, I’m also including the Chocolate Éclair Torte recipe she asked about.

So. Wash your hands, don your chef’s hat, break out a bottle of bubbly (in my case, Diet Mountain Dew) and let’s get cookin’!

Teriyaki Chicken

2 T vegetable oil

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 Cup teriyaki sauce

1/2 Cup ranch dressing (lite is fine)

1 Cup shredded Cheddar

Bacon bits

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Put all the chicken in a large Ziploc bag (in one layer) and use a meat mallet to pound the chicken. Pound and pound. Then turn the bag over and pound and pound some more. This is a good opportunity to take out all your frustrations and also get back at the 3rd grade bully who always made your life so miserable.

Feel better now?

Okay. Good. (And by the way, do NOT skip the pounding step. It makes a big difference in how tender the chicken turns out.)

3. Heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken breasts, season with salt and pepper, and sauté’ each side for 4-5 minutes until browned.


I was so excited to take this picture because I’ve never used this particular utensil for much of anything until occurred to me that I could use it for flippin’ chicken. I felt very accomplished as a cook when I put it to such good use. (I realize it’s probably a salad server but you know me. I like finding uses for things that are completely illogical.)


4. Place browned chicken in 9x13 baking dish. Brush with teriyaki sauce.



5. Spoon on ranch dressing.


6. Take picture of Helpful Assistant to the Cook Canine.IMG_1879

7. Sprinkle chicken with cheese and bacon bits.

8. Bake for 25-30 minutes until juices run clear.


9. Serve. Eat. Say, “Yum.”

Then post a miscellaneous picture of your house, just because you found it on your computer in a random search.


And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for! The CHOCOLATE recipe. Anyone who knows me very well knows that I love and adore any food that has to do with graham crackers. In fact, one of my favorite snacks is to break graham crackers into pieces, put them in a bowl and pour milk over them.

So you can see why this dessert is pretty high up on my list of wondrous creations.

Chocolate Éclair Torte

  • 2 packages of graham crackers
  • 2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (16 ounce) package prepared chocolate frosting (or you can make your own)

1. Line the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan with graham crackers.

2. In a large bowl, combine the milk and vanilla pudding according to directions on box. Fold in the whipped topping.

3. Spread a layer of the pudding mixture over the graham crackers.

4. Alternate the graham cracker and pudding layers up to the top of the pan.

5. Cook the container of prepared frosting, uncovered in the microwave for 1 minute on half power. Pour over the top of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 5-7 hours before serving.


From the comments area:

Q. Kristin asked, “Was that a roll of tape hanging above the ironing board desk?”

A. Kristen, you get the award for having an eagle eye. Yes, that is actually some hemming tape I tried to use on an article of clothing. I kept on laying it down and misplacing it so I finally stuck it up there so I could keep an eye on it.

Maybe we could just call it a “decorative accent.”

Q. Jan asked, “So what do you iron on?”

A. Jan, fortunately the ironing board only serves as the Ironing Board Desk for a fairly brief amount of time each week. Since the ironing board is in the home office (with the desk and the printer) I carry my lap top in there and put it on the ironing board whenever I have to print anything. And since I deal with lots of pages of music each week for our church, I have found a long surface like that is perfect for sorting through things.

But once the printing and sorting are done? It’s back to being an ironing board!

Sue G. said, “Bed, Beth and Beyond?” A cousin of “Bed, Bath and Beyond?”

A. Trust Sue, the editor extraordinaire to catch me in the act of misspelling “Bath.” And yes, “Beth” and “Bath” ARE first cousins. At least when I’m doing the writing!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Classy Post In Which I Engender Covetousness In the Hearts Of My Readers. And 400.

Before I get to the Covetousness Engendering part of my post, I figured I should start out with some sort of normal views from our home so that you can be reassured that Steve and I are not altogether, well, weird in the way we organize and decorate our home.

So here is a normal set of shelves, installed for me recently by my own husband/handy man.  I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed having that extra storage in the laundry room.


And here are Steve’s newly hung ties on the newly hung tie holder that Steve has recently (and newly) hung in our closet.


The broom/mop holder hung by the same, aforementioned “good at hanging stuff” guy.


And all of my necklaces lined up nicely on pegboard ‘'thingies.”  (By the way, ladies, this is a job you can do without any tools.  Just fasten the peg boards to the wall with pins—easy enough that even I can do it!)


And now, we move to the not-so-normal part of this post.

Some of you may remember this disturbing set of photos I posted a few weeks ago. To the uneducated, unenlightened mind, this looks like a picture hanger.  Right?  Right.


However, to those of us who were born with an extra measure of classiness in our DNA, this hook formerly known as a picture hanger is actually a  . .  towel holder!  Yes indeed.  it is a towel holder for people recently moved into houses who don’t have the money, time, and/or energy to go out and rustle up a genu-INE towel holder.


Isn’t that just one of the more attractive sights you’ve seen in recent memory? I just don’t know understand how Martha Steward thinks she can keep up.


Well, I’m sorry to tell you that the time has come to show you a few pictures of other classy aspects of living in the Smith Abode.   To be truthful, I really hesitated to write this particular post because of the aforementioned Covetousness Engendering Qualities Contained Therein; however, I have no doubt that you, my readers, are ennobled and enabled by strong moral characters and can handle the sorts of things I am about to show you without becoming consumed by covetousness.  (The towel hanging picture hook was just a test; we are moving into really deep territory right now.)

So enough ado already.  Here is a picture of something that is  definitely going to cause you to be even further-ly inordinately jealous of the impressively well-equipped lives we lead. 

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Ironing Board Desk.

Yes, you heard me right. The Ironing.  Board. Desk.

IMG_2935 IMG_2934

In the midst of all your gasps of awe and astonishment, please don’t overlook the important aspect of the Kitchen Bar Stool (purchased at Goodwill) that is perched below the Ironing Board Desk.  Because we wouldn’t want to leave out that bit of class, now would we?  (Even though I only use this “desk” for when I’m printing out stuff and working on music, it is still, indeed, a desk. And a very handy one, might I add.)

And lastly,  I would like to present to you for your Covetousness Inducing Perusal, the Becky Smith Earring Holder Container Thingies.


Yes, I know, I know. To you, it looks like empty egg cartons.  But that is only because you are viewing it with eyes woefully unencumbered with the kind of (questionable) Smith Creativity our family seems to have been blessed with.

You see, fancy schmancy earring holders are pretty expensive.  And what do they do?  They hold earrings.  Big deal. So does an empty egg carton.  And besides that, the earring holding feature is practically free, since the eggs had to be purchased anyway.

And so there you have it. Three ways to be classier than you already are.   The Picture Hanger Towel Hook. The Ironing Board Desk.  The Egg Carton Earring Holder.

You know what?  As I look  back over that impressive list, it occurs to me that I may have some sort of future in the Classy Applications of Common Household Goods For The Betterment of People’ Lives.

Hmmm.  Maybe I should just sign off here and get to working on some business cards.   That is, if I can fit my newly acquired title onto a business card.  That might be a problem.  Which I can no doubt solve with further applications of Creative Classiness.  Smith style.

Be afraid.  Be very afraid.


And I would just like to mention that yesterday was a red-letter day here at Smithellaneous because I posted my four hundredth entry since started this blog on April 11, 2009.

Four hundred!

And you’re still reading?

Thank you. Sincerely.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Few Questions! A Few Answers! A Recipe! Pictures of Nathan!

Over the past few days, I’ve had a couple questions come in concerning the biopsy and a few more come in concerning the Dinner Party we had last Friday night. (Nothing like a little variety to spice up our lives!)


Q. Anonymous and Mary H. both asked, “Will there be any medication given to relax you while the biopsy is taking place?”

A. Actually, I completely forgot about taking any relaxing medicine until I was lying down on the table and then it was just a wee bit late. But with some deep breathing and positive thinking, I made it through okay. However, an IV filled to the brim with “something relaxing” would have been lovely!

Q. A few other people have asked, “When will you have results?”

A. I’ve heard that it can be anywhere from 3-5 days to a full week; at this point, it sounds like it is probably going to be at least next Monday. (sigh)

And here’s a little “funny” that I forgot to mention yesterday.

As we got near Greenville, NC where the biopsy was scheduled, Steve suddenly pulled over and got in the passengers seat so that I could drive.

And why was that?

Well, it was because he does a 15-minute local radio program every Monday morning at 8:40 am. And it was 8:40!

So I drove merrily along while he got out his Bible and his notes and did his program. Although he does do it by phone every week, he usually doesn’t have to do it while his wife is driving in traffic, in a strange city, on the way to a biopsy.

Funny thing was that the sermon he preached (a re-cap of his sermon Sunday morning) was the perfect message I needed to hear in the midst of this stressful time. There’s nothing quite like having your own personal motivational speaker in the seat beside you while driving to have a biopsy done (smile) I was probably one of the few people who arrived at the surgical center feeling positive!

And speaking of being encouraged, I want to thank each one of you who has emailed or left a comment of encouragement for me; I have been incredibly blessed by your words.


Ann said, “I am so impressed that you had enough matching china and goblets to serve fourteen people!”

Well, Ann, you know how I love a bargain. About seven years ago, Steve and I wandered into a Beth, Beth and Beyond and found they were clearing out some boxes of dishes. We got twenty-four complete place settings (serving dishes, salt and pepper shakers, saucers, cups, dessert plates, dinner plates, etc) for about $65. We debated whether we should buy that many, but for the price and considering how much we entertain, we just couldn’t pass that bargain by.

A year ago, I gave four place settings away to a wonderful man who was getting married and had nothing whatsoever for his kitchen. It makes me happy to think of he and his bride being blessed by our bargains. I still have twenty place settings remaining and I love putting them to use.

As for the crystal goblets, I got those dirt cheap at one of those clearance/overstock type stores; we bought twenty of them so that if some broke, we’d still have plenty.

Q. Mary H. asked (concerning our dinner party menu), “What is pineapple casserole? Sounds very intriguing."

A. Mary, since you asked, here’s the recipe from a lady in our church. This is incredibly delicious and something a little different to take to a family meal or a church dinner.

1 20 oz can drained chunk pineapple
6 tbs. self rising flour
1 cup sugar

Mix together in a bowl and pour into a casserole dish.

1 sleeve Ritz crackers (crushed)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

Mix together in a bowl and pour on top of pineapple mixture. Melt 1 stick of
butter and pour over crackers. Bake on 350 for around 30 minutes or until crackers brown and it starts to bubble.
NOTE:  I have no idea why the spacing is so weird right here; I tried to fix it a couple times but it didn't make any difference.  Oh well!)
And lastly, here are some pictures of Nathan (and friends) that I had to steal from Facebook since he never remembers to send me any pictures. (Insert  “pitiful, sad, forlorn, forsaken mother sigh” here.)
These pictures were taken at the church in Florida he attends that is pastored  by his girlfriend’s dad. They recently had the church’s 25th anniversary  celebration which is why everyone is so dressed up.
I’m not sure but I think they’re trying to look like Mafia guys? I’m not real “up” on my Mafia lore. 
nate friends

Not sure what his church/college friends are doing in this photo but it sure looks like fun!
nate goofy 

And here they are. My really wonderful son with his really wonderful girlfriend.
All together now! “Awwwwww.”

And with that lovely sight, I shall sign off for the day.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Collecting Markers

Biopsy is done.

I'm home.

I've had my nap.

I'm gearing up for dinner. (Or maybe even nap number two.)

Steve and I left the house at 6:30 am this morning for the two-hour drive to the surgical center. The procedure itself was not too bad, although lying face down (and clamped into place) on an uncomfortable table for interminable minutes was not the most fun I've ever had. I breathed deeply, counted slowly, and tried to think peaceful, calm, non-cancerous thoughts.


I really hate having to go through all this drama yet again, living in limbo land and having to wait for a million forevers to hear any news.

Will my life be changed in a moment? Or will that moment reveal everything to be exactly the same? In a perfect world, biopsy results would be available five seconds after the biopsy and there would be no waiting or worrying or wondering.

We aren't in that perfect world yet.

But at least I'm thankful the biopsy is over. From what I understood, the doctor took eight different samples from the center part of the suspicious area and then from all around the area, moving around it like the numbers on a clock. And then once the tissue was removed, it was immediately x-rayed to be sure that it contained the calcifications.

Then a titanium marker was placed where the biopsy was done so that if surgery is necessary, the surgeon will be able to find the exact spot. I actually have another titanium marker in there from a stereotactic biopsy done about ten years ago so I'm getting quite the collection. Some people collect sports cars, thimbles, books, or model airplanes. I collect titanium markers!

Okay. I realize this was not the most exciting, invigorating or inspiring post in the world but I did want to get something written and thank you all for your prayers today and the notes you left in the comments area today.

You guys are the best!

Gloomy Into Goofy

I know it’s kind of a serious-ish, gloomy-ish day, with me having to go off for a breast biopsy and everything. However, what better day to post something fun than a day like today? In fact, I am hereby declaring this to be The Official Day For Turning Gloomy Into Goofy.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been working toward a blog re-design for a few weeks; however, the designer and I got bogged down for a while as I tried to get a new photo taken. Thankfully, I’ve finally gotten THAT accomplished and the blog should be completed later this week. (The design will be the only thing to change; the address will stay the same.)

Since I am not terribly photogenic, it always takes numerous pictures to get just one good shot of me. In between three photo shoots, three outfits, and two photographers (Steve and Sarah), we finally came up with something I could use.

But you know what? It’s the shots that we didn’t use which are really the priceless ones. And those are the shots I thought I’d (courageously) show you! Because gloomy or not, we can all use a bit of goofiness to brighten our day.

By the way, I’ve added a few captions to further enhance your enjoyment. And please, no laughing out loud. The management of Smithellaneous requests that you keep your snickers down to a dull roar.

Shall we begin?

Well, grandkids. Let me just tell you how we did it back when I was a kid!



Let’s see, now, kiddies . . . what came next?


Oh wait. Maybe I should have put my teeth in first.



Oh dear, oh dear. What to do? What to do?


Hold the phone, hold your horses, hold everything. It’s time for my mid/post/early afternoon nap.


Oh, dear Lord, WHAT should I do with this crazy husband of mine?


So then I figured out the perfect pose that enhanced the wrinkles in my neck . . .


And don’t laugh about it, either.


Shall I get up? Shall I stay seated? Does this chair make me look fat?


Hi there!!!! Let me tell you all about my NEW! POSITIVE! THINKING! BOOK!


Putting the positive thinking to the test.


This is my slightly confused, somewhat puzzled look. I think I do it well.


Do you think if I re-arrange my hood it will make my lips go back to normal?


Steve said WHAT??!!?


I can explain . . . .


It's a bird! It's a plane! It’s PERKY WOMAN!


Do you think this bench will hold me?


Move along, people. There’s nothing to see here.


And there you have it. Did the viewing of these photos turn any of your globules of gloominess into giggles of goofiness?