Friday, March 02, 2007

Eek . . . How in the World Am I Going to Fit it All In??
(Q & As, Texas Independence Day, a recipe, shopping, some pics, and a weekend upd

Sheesh.. that's a lot to cover! But I'm gonna give it a go!

As I say "Hey" to you on this Friday morning and get ready to head off for the weekend (my one "no blogging" zone!), I've got a lot to give to you! I hope you're ready! lol

First off, I LOVED all of the great questions that all of you posted for me to answer. This is going to be SO fun! I will answer one question a day for the next week (not counting my non-blogging weekend; ha!).

These are the questions that I accumulated from all of you (and, boy, do they make it hard to choose which ones to answer!):

* You talk about food a lot (ha!), so what is your favorite place to go out and eat? (Gin)
* What is the funniest thing that has ever happened inside your home? (Gareth)
* About how many scrapbooks do you own? (MS Songbird)
* How did you land a spot on the design team for you LSS? (Telah)
* What was the first pick up line Gary used on you? And did it work, or did he have to try harder to impress you? (Stephanie)
* Out of all of Gary's family, who is your favorite? For real, not a joke. But who would you say you would know and read your thoughts the best? (Cindy; note to all of you--Cindy is Gary's cousin. lol)
* From Bama’s history, who would you pick as your starters? and your coach. (Phats.)
* What is one of your happiest memories from childhood?" (Michelle)
* If you could have a dinner with three living people and three people from the past who would they be? (Marg)
What kind of skincare do you use? (Tammy)
* We all have those "oh my gosh did i seriously just do/say that" moments that make us laugh our bottoms off later down the road...what is one that keeps popping up in conversation because people think it's so funny they just can't let it go? (Jessi)
* What do you like to read and write? (Scrapperjen)
* Where is your dream vacation? (Jen)
* Why did you decide to give your daughter the nickname Scout? Ever since reading To Kill a Mockingbird I have loved, loved that name! (Aimee)
* When was the point in time when you decided you wanted to become a writer? What was it about writing that became such a passion for you? Can you describe your earliest memories of how you knew this was your life calling? (Maria)
* What is your all-time favorite meal? And what's the strangest combination of foods that you think are fabulous, but if you explain them to someone else, they may call in the men in white coats? (Rene)
* How did you and Gary meet? What was your first job ever? Who is your favorite writer? (Rene)
* Where did you go to college and what did you study? (Amanda)
* Are you orginally from Alabama? Where else have you lived? What is your favorite "place"? (Anon)
Aside from your strong faith what would you say has helped you maintain your positive nature?? (Ms. L)
* Are your girls named for anyone or thing? (Susie Q)

Aren't those some AMAZING questions?? And you know, I was thinking that a lot of those would make really good jumpstart questions for your own blogs when you're kinda stuck about what to write about. Just make them personal to your own life and experiences and voila, instant blog post!

So, I will answer one of those questions at the end of this post, but I did say that this was going to be a bit of a long, all-over-the-place post so I have a few more things to tell you about.

~ The first thing on my mind on this day--March 2--is that it is Texas Independence Day!! This is the day that Texas declared its independence from Mexico. In 1836, Texas became its own country and remained a country until it became a state in 1845. I am a native Texan, although I lived most of my life in Arkansas and now Alabama, and everyone knows that if you were born in Texas then you have a special bond and love with the state. There is so much I LOVE about Texas--my family who lives there, the food, the sports, the whole "attitude," and the history!! So, today is a wonderfully fun day for me to remember the special history that Texas has!!

And believe it or not, we actually celebrate it in our little family. Forget that none of the rest of the family was born in Texas (they are all Alabamians)--I still make them celebrate the day by eating a Tex-Mex dish and request that they yell "Remember the Alamo!" to me or join in while I sing "The Eyes of Texas." And, well, they appease me and do it!

For our celebration this year, I made my favorite Tex-Mex homemade dish--Mexican Chicken Casserole. I served it last night, even though it was a day before the Big Day, but I knew that tonight would be very busy!!

In case you'd like the recipe:


1 chicken, cooked and cut in pieces
1 med. pkg. tortilla chips
1/4 c. onion
1/4 c. chopped green pepper
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies (10 oz.)
1 sm. pkg. Cheddar cheese

In 9x13 pan place tortilla chips. Lightly cook the onions and green peppers, and then mix them with the cooked chicken, soups, can of tomatoes with green chilies, and half of cheese. Pour a layer over the chips; then repeat the layers. Grate Cheddar cheese and sprinkle on top.

Bake at 350 degree for 1 hour. Can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to bake. Delicious!! (It will make you yell, "Remember the Alamo!" even if you've never even stepped foot in Texas!)

And today I will be baking a cake in this:

(Do you think I might be the only person in Alabama who owns a Texas-shaped cake pan?)

~ Also on my mind is the massively successful shopping trip I had to the thrift store a few days ago. I am very cheap when it comes to buying just about anything (well, except for food! LOl), so I LOVE to shop at thrift stores. I went with my Mom on Wednesday and found some great things!! I got Sydney six different outfits, three brand-new dresses for me, and some books (my favorite is a gorgeous hardback copy of The Grapes of Wrath).

Sydney put on one of her new dresses last night and actually volunteered to model for me (right now, she usually makes faces at me instead).

~ Okay, now I will answer my First Question. I want really badly to answer the questions about how Gary and I met, and Phats' sports question (my dream Alabama team), and Susie Q and Aimee's about the girls' names (and so many more), but those will take more time and thought. So, you will have to wait on those.

I, then, will start with a simpler one that will take a short amount of time to answer (since this is now threatening to become The Longest Post Ever in the History of Life with Cheryl!)

I'm going with Scrapperjen's question, "What do you like to read and write" and also one of Rene's questions, "Who is your favorite writer?" since they are connected.

My Answer:

For my "job," I write nonfiction articles for various newspapers and magazines. I write about a lot of different topics, but my favorite articles over the years have been on travel, inspirational topics, and things from my own experiences. I also got to write an article about Shaun Alexander this past Fall which was a real thrill (he's one of the neatest guys in the world and a great former Bama player). I also love to write in this blog everyday and in my journal; I also have been known to dabble in poetry (pretty bad poetry usually! lol) andI really want to finish my mystery novel this year. I also have an idea for a scrapbooking book that I'm rolling around in my brain. So, really, I guess the answer to the writing question is: A lot of things!!

As for reading, I also have many different interests and genres I love to read. My "guilty pleasure" is mystery novels. Not hard-boiled, bloody crime novels, but cozy novels about caterers or housewives-turned sleuth. I LOVE those!! (My current fave mystery author is Joan Hess; so witty!) And then I love all sorts of classics and I guess this would introduce you to some of my favorite writers. My fave books (and, therefore, their authors) would include To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, Love in the Time of Cholera, poetry by Emily Dickinson, poetry by Pablo Neruda, The Sun Also Rises, A Prayer for Owen Meaney, My Antonia, Their Eyes were Watching God, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Murder on the Orient Express, and oh my goodness so many, many, many more!! That's one of those questions that once I get started I can just go on and on and on.... I love books and reading, so that was a wonderful question to get to answer!! Thanks Scrapperjen and Rene!

~ We made it through a very rough day of weather yesterday. Had bad thunderstorms here and several tornadoes touched down across the stage (including a deadly one in south Alabama that was very sad!)

~ And now, on to the weekend. This weekend is ALL about softball!! It is opening weekend at our ballpark, so we will have a parade and then a full day of games on Saturday. I'm sure there will be some fun pics of it all on Monday! In fact, I think you can count on it . . .

Thanks for making it through that VERY VERY LONG post. I really am quite surprised that you're still here! I think you all deserve a big honkin medal for that!!!

You guys are great!!

See ya on Monday!!


Jocelyn said...

Friday? How come you're in friday already?! :)

Have to try that Mexican dish! I love to cook!


ronalyn said...

Okay you have won the award for the world's longest blog post!! ha ha!! Lucky blogger doesn't cut you off like when you leave messages on a phone!! You would be in trouble.. LOVE that Texas baking pan!! How cute is that.. Okay I admit I have to go back and read the rest!! LOL!

NancyJones said...

HEY CHICKA JUST CHECKING ON YOU TO MAKE SURE YOU ALL ARE OK FROM ALL THE STORMS. WE made it ok. IT ws north east where all the people got killed in the tornado. MISS YA!!!! BIG HUGS GIRLY!

Adrienne " A little dramatic at times" said...

Great entry!!! Ok, and this blog post was SUPER Long!!! Ummm, can I have some texas cake? LOL

rhonda said...

glad you guys all survived the storms...have a great weekend at the park!

aimee said...

This q&a thing is going to be great. It will be neat to get to know you better!

I love that you celebrate Texas Independance Day. I haved lived in Texas every year of my life except one (and now because I live in Oklahoma) and will always be a Texan no matter how long I'm gone. That being said, I don't think I've ever know anyone to celebrate Texas Independance Day but I think it is an awesome idea! Maybe I'll start doing it too! :)

Gin said...

Okay, the pictures of Sydney are SO adorable. What a cutie!
The casserole sounds great.

Jen said...

How funny is that Texas pan??
And S looks so cute in that dress. She sucks up the camera, doesn't she? LOL

Liz Ness said...

Ooo! Going to have to try that TexMex Chicken dish (yum)! Also, have a great holiday!

maria said...

Love, love, love your post today! Long posts are awesome! :) I love that cooking pan. It's super cool! Wish I could come over for some cake! ;)
I loved reading your answers to the questions and thanks for posting all the questions...they sure can be a great blog-prompt starter! I think I will answer several of those for myself! :)
I can wait to read the answers you'll post later to all the other questions! Have an awesome weekend!

Ms.L said...

Hello you!
I'm totally drooooling over that recipe,yum yum yum!
Your kiddo looks adorable in her new dress! I love the last pose.
We're big fans of the thrift store too! I view it as the BEST kind of recycling:)

Anonymous said...

Love the answers! Love the recipe! Love the pics!

Mississippi Songbird said...

Happy Texas Independance day!
Have a great weekend..

Gareth said...

Hmmmm now I'm thinking if I can melt a regular shaped cake pan into the shape of Northern Ireland. Whatcha think? lol

Rene said...

Remember the Alamo!!!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Thanks for answering two questions today! I love reading long blog posts. Very interesting to learn about your writing, AND to hear your favorite books/authors. It's so hard to pick just one, isn't it???

That tex-mex casserole looks very similar to the Mexican dish Chilaquiles. Yum. I'm going to print that off, give it a try, and I'm sure I'll be thanking you with my mouth full!!!

Beautiful little girl you've got there! Absolutely precious that she volunteered to model for you!

Can't wait for more Q&A next week!

Dawn Bibbs said...

My goodness, you sure had a lot to say today, didn't you? Not complaining mind you, makes for good reading :-).
Not that you don't already have enough to answer, but I have a question for you too. What are your scrapbooking inspirations? I'm sure living in Alabama can't be one of them...hee hee...just kidding. My mother lives in Alabama.
Have a great weekend!

Julie said...

Thanks for popping by my blog and you comments on my pages.

Loved reading the answers to the questions.

Your little girl looks so sweet.

Theresa Tyree said...

Hi Cheryl! Been awhile since I visited! Ok, being a fellow Texan, I can totally relate to the love of the state! But I don't have a Texas shaped pan. That's way cool. I've actually made that recipe before. How funny is that?? Is that a Texas thing? Your daughter has such stunning blue eyes. I would have pages and pages of her in a scrapbook with all things pink and girly!
Love, love, love the questions. Might use them as a springboard on my own blog. I'm so wanting to read those books you mentioned. But I feel guilty if I read those kind of books and not my Bible instead.
This wasn't such a long post. You oughta see Jude's blog! Ha ha! Sorry Jude. Couldn't help it!

Stephanie said...

Oh "My Antonia" was fabulous! I didn't discover Will Cather until a few years ago, but LOVE her writing. You sound like me, in that you are an "old soul" when it comes to your reading choices. I actually just re-read some of my faves like Huckleberry Finn, when I was homeschooling the kids. :) It was fun to read them as an adult.
Have fun with the softball! I got to watch the SOX in an exhibition spring training game today on psyched for the new season.

Crazy Working Mom said...

Great post! Ya know I always LOVE the pictures of those cutie pies. :)

Have a great NON blogging weekend!!!

Heather said...

It was long, but I enjoyed reading it....and you know what? Sometimes it just takes a while to explain things...and well, after all it is your blog! :) Anyway, I love the Texas cake pan. That is cool. My parents live in Sugarland, Texas and I am sure that they would love that pan!
Very cute dress that you found!
Thanks for sharing a little more about yourself! Hope you had a great weekend!

Susie Q said...

LOVE tha TEXAS pan. We lived in Corpus Christi for 2 years in the early 80s. I LOVED traveling around the state...great recipe! We will have to try this one!
We have many of
the same favorite books and
authors as well...To Kill A Mockingbird is the best...
YOu know, I read Midnight In The Garden 4 times the first year it came out. Just loved it and when we wehn to Savannah, oh how I let all those words wash over me. LOVE that city.

What a great dress on you lol sweetie!! How cute is she??

Glad you made it through the storms...thought about you...

Have a wonderful weekend!!


Cheryl Wray said...

Jocelyn--Well... actually, I cheated just a little bit. I posted at like 11 pm but wanted it to be my Friday post and i was about to fall!
Ronalyn--Yep, it's pretty long today!!! Go back and read the rest! lol
Nancy--Hey girl!!! Good to see you again!! You guys were really in more of the brunt of the storm, huh? it was pretty bad.
Adrienne--No, YOUR post on Fridaywas the longest ever!! LOL
Rhonda--Yep, all excited about softball? Has your park ball started yet?
Aimee--I'm just silly about Texas and celebrations. So, I probably am one of the few to actually celebrate it!! You should do it too!
Gin--Yep, she is a cutie!!
Jen--She can work the camera when she feels like it! lol
Liz--You must try the recipe.It is SO good!

Cheryl Wray said...

Maria--I'm glad someone loves long posts!! LOL (actually, it sounds like a lot of people do!) I do like the q and As; great blog writing prompts!!
Ms. L--I love that definiton of thrift stores! The BEST recycling, absolutely!
Anon-Thanks! lol
Songbird--Hope you have a great weekend too!
Gareth--How much you wanna bet that there IS a northern Ireland shaped pan somewhere? There's everything else!!!
Rene--I LOVED answering the questions. They are going to be fun to answer over the next week! Yes, picking just one (or a few) books is hard! So many good ones!
Dawn--Great question to add on to the list!!! And well, even though i'm from Texas and love it, I also LOVE Alabama!!! LOL
Julie--Welcome on in!! Come back any time!
Theresa--WELCOME back!!! I've gotta pop over to your blog too!!! So funny about Jude's I'm gonna have to go read hers!!!
Stephanie--yes, Willa Cather is amazing!! And I LOVE Huckelberry Finn! The things you see in books like that as an adult reader are so different than what you've seen before! I love rediscovering some of those books again!
Crazy--Well, I'm commenting on my blog this morning so I guess it hasn't been completely blog-free! lol
Heather--You're right! It is my Coolthat your parents are in Texas!
Susie--Oh, didn't you just love Midnight? This last summer we went to Savannah again and Gary had me read the book out loud to him on the way. It SO captures that city!!!

jessi said...

I am going to have to start a recipe book dedicated to the resipes you post!!!! that sounds yummy, yummy!!! and with all the other ones you have posted and all the ones I am sure you will be posting...I would have a fabulous recipe book!!!! no joke!!! I love that you atya true to your roots...can't wait to see the cake!!!

love thrift stores too...great deals to be had...scout looks those photos!!!

and thoughts and prayers are with all of you, my blogger pals in alabama, while mother nature plays dangerously!!! I sincerely hope this passes soon and that ya'll keep safe and warm!!!
have a great weekend cheryl!!

Gareth said...

"Eek . . . How in the World Am I Going to Fit it All In??" ..... I guess we are back to the whole porn thing again :P

Cheryl Wray said...

Jessi--Cooking with Cheryl. Has a nice ring to it! lol Glad you enjoy the recipes!
Gareth--You are SO SO bad!!!!! (But I love ya anyway!!)

Barb said...

I can't believe you have a Texas-shaped pan. That's so cool. :-)

Linda said...

Sounds like a busy weekend. We share similar tastes in writers. And I absolutley love mysteries - mostly the cozy kind.
Have a good weekend!!

Miss 1999 said...

Wow! Girl, that was a massive post! So much information! Anyway, first, loved the Texas pan, and the recipe! If I was one that could cook, I'd really try to fix that!

Loved the pics-- that little dress was so cute!

Everyone asked a lot of questions! That was a definite success! I hope you had a great weekend! *hugs*

Michelle said...

She looks so adorable in her dress!

Thanks for the recipe it sounds great!