Look what I got this weekend, machinery. I am taking my bread making to the next level. Homemade Pasta Noodles. Obviously, it was just the next step in my evolution of Hannah Homemaker. My husband is Italian and if this wasn't the internet I could tell you our last name and you would immediately know we are from the Boot country. Modena to be exact, where Balsamic Vinegar is made.

Because I wanted to put off cleaning our shower in the master bedroom I decided attempt homemade pasta noodles Saturday afternoon. Two weekends ago I had purchased a new Crockpot. It allowed you to brown your meat on the stove in the same bowl that you used for the Crockpot. If you needed to brown the top of something you could also put the pot in the oven. The pot was pretty enough to take straight to the table. How awesome I thought, and it was on sale at Tar Jay. But two weeks later it was still just sitting there waiting to be used. The Crockpot I use now is just fine. In fact, I really like it. It has temperature settings and a range of times to cook and a warm setting. Oh sure there is Crockpot envy, I have broken the handle on the lid and had to replace it with one of the knobs we took off our kitchen cabinets during the makeover. But it still worked just fine even though it will circular brand on your palm if you do not use a oven mitt to lift the lid.

But I wanted to be Italian. It was no longer good enough for me to just be married to one. I needed to become one. Enter, and boredom at work. I found this recipe that had great comments and looked simple. I doubled it and added 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

After I made the dough I was ready for my new machinery. But TD had to help me because I could not hold the contraption and insert the dough at the same time. While he was trying to convince me that it had to be clamped down and that he could not hold it in place and help me pull the dough he told me stories of his mother making her own pasta noodles and how she used to do it. I have no idea how someone can operate this simple machine by themselves but somehow she did. I wish she was still alive because I would really like to hear her advice and how she did things. We ended up clamping it down to our kitchen table. I didn't want to (because of the flour mess on the floor that I had just mopped) but TD insisted. He was right, hear that? R-I-G-H-T.

I put a pastry cloth down and lightly floured it. It was so cool to watch this pasta form and get all skinny. (Wish I could run my thigh through one of these) We decide to be all Alton Brown so once we had it as thin as we wanted, we rolled the pasta from the longest end up and then cut through about 1/4-1/2 inch apart. Can I just tell you? this was amazing. I just kept thinking, how in the world did I get here? When did I become this person? No way would I have ever in a million years thought I would have ever made my own pasta. I was going to party like it was 1999 until 2020.

How would I have ever thought that the drying rack from my college dorm room was going to dry pasta noodles one day? Kids, ya gotta love 'em.

The noodles were the last stop on the Crazy Train of homemade. The sauce was store bought Garlic and Olive Oil. We grilled some balsamic marinated chicken breasts to top it off. So incredibly good. The noodles cooked so fast and tasted completely different than store bought ones (even the Amish I sometimes buy).

Mama Mia! Store bought pasta noodles? Forgettaboutit.

Lentils. I have never cooked with Lentils before. I see many blog posts about Lentil soup. Jeana had a post about making Lentil Soup and even though it did not turn out how she wanted it her post compelled me to go out and buy me some vittles lentils.

They then proceeded to lie in my cupboard mocking me and my anti-vegan consumerism lifestyle ever since.

Then gas hit $4 a gallon with the promise of eventually hitting $7 in another year. Vegan and cheap sustenance is sounding fan-freakin-tastic. So I hit the internet and started looking at recipes for cooking this cheap little legume in order to stockpile against the coming Armageddon. (I should never have read this article in the Sunday Tulsa World)

Because I am combining, switching, and de-veganing this crockpot version of Lentil Soup I feel free to name it. It will now be called, In Case We Really Do Go Broke Soup, nicknamed Armageddon Soup-to scar scare the kids. (Wouldn't my stepkids mom just love to know I am feeding her kids End of the World soup?)

Time to empty out the pantry and stock up on Gas is $4 and Climbing Lentil Soup. Link to print is at the bottom of the post.

The Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of Lentils, picked through for small pieces of trash and rinsed
  • 1/2 pkg of Bacon cut into 2 inch pieces (this can be omitted but thought my chances of getting everyone to eat this went up tremendously with b-a-c-o-n)
  • 3-4 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 20 baby carrots, chopped up (sliced)
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbls of minced garlic
  • 1.5 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1.5 tsp of garam masala (my homage to the vegans who consist on lentils)
  • 1 tbls of garlic salt
  • 2 tbls of olive oil
  • 2 spoonfulls of Frank's Hot Sauce
  • 2 cans Chicken Broth
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup of Cooking Sherry before serving (this is optional)

Whew!! That was a huge long list of ingredients.

In a saute pan brown the bacon pieces and then add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and red pepper. Cook until slightly soft but not browned.

While sauteing the bacon and veggies dump all the other ingredients minus the Cooking Sherry into the Crock Pot. Once veggies and bacon are finished add to the mix (I used all the bacon grease, why not? My weight will not be an issue if I am walking to work everyday)

Set the Crockpot to cook for 6-8 hours. Stir in Cooking Sherry the last half hour and serve with pita bread. I found some onion pita at Reasors, yum! Store the leftovers for later use when you are chopping down your kitchen cabinets for firewood. The soup will bring back fond memories when gas was only $4.

Here is the a printable copy for CrockStar Armageddon Lentil Soup.

Some recipes say to take half of the soup and puree it and then add back in. If it was winter time I might have done this just to make it psychologically more hearty. I was not really wanting that at this time of the year.

** Updated to add**

THIS IS AWESOME!!!! We loved this. I might back off of the Garam Masala since that was just a tad too overpowering but even with it I think it was soooo good. Honestly? I thought Man, I should open my own restaurant and just serve versions of this it is so good. This made enough for 3 servings the first night, 3 servings on Friday night and 3 ziploc bags of 2.5 servings to freeze. LOVED IT!!

Going 370 miles for Haircut and Highlights so worth it! I really like my hair. It looks naturally highlighted, almost like I have been in the sun lounging on a beach chair having a Mai-Tai delivered to me and charged to my hotel room. The haircut is up to my shoulders and all layerery (my word) which I love. Plus I have more bangs. I will take a picture to show how worth it it was to fly somewhere for less than 24 hours to get a $45 haircut and color. (I am sure this fits into our debt reduction plan....somehow)

The hairstylist was so fast. I think she foiled me up, stuck me under the dryer, washed the color out, cut and blow dried in under TWO HOURS! Amazing. That is what I hate the most about having my color done at a salon, the time. I don't think I ever get out of a salon in less than four hours and I think that is crap. Stomp. Stomp.

It was very nice to spend time with my sister too. I think it was the first time in almost 15 years since it has been just the two of us. At first I was a little nervous about what we were going to talk about but after a bit we did just fine. It is always good if you can start the conversation out with "You will not believe what Mom said the other day."

When I flew back on Sunday I helped my weary and battle scarred husband get ready for our cookout by pouring myself a drink. :) He kept all three kids by himself and actually took them up to his office to destroy all the white boards while he worked 3 hours on Saturday. This is the first time he has had my daughter overnight without me there. It was just fine, a little crazy with all the squabbling but still good.

Our friends Donny and Cheryl came over with their two little boys. Our 4 year old was in heaven! Boys. His age. Waa-Hoo!

I noticed that Cheryl had gotten her hair cut and had a new color. When I told her how much I liked it her husband was quick to point out that SHE had HERS done in TULSA. Thanks Donny! I have your back too.

I watched the race for a little bit. The last thing I saw was that girl driver, Danica Patrick, stomping toward the other drivers pit to prove she is just a tough as a guy kick some butt. Sonja, Dave, and his daughter Emily came over and we all just hung out and enjoyed the great weather. (I am trying to convince everyone to move either across from us or next door but the freaks across the street are killing it for me. Police car in front of your house does not help me people!! Your kid's friends are the ones that keep breaking into your car, face the reality.)

So what can we take away from this post about Waco being the best place for hair and the fact that I can't rely on Cheryl's husband to back me up? CAKE.

My sister made this cake and it was AWESOME! So good. Of course I jazzed it up a bit with the chocolate chips but man this is good.

Glorified Blondie Cake
  • 1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 block of cream cheese, cut into chunks
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 box of powdered sugar
  • Chocolate Chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease (not lightly) a 9x13 pan.

Melt one stick of butter. In a bowl dump the cake mix, crack open 2 of the eggs and place in the mix, and pour the melted butter on top. Stir together until a thick batter. Pour into greased pan and evenly distribute.

Melt another stick of butter. In a bowl dump powdered sugar, add the cream cheese, melted butter, and two eggs. Mix together with a hand mixer (easiest) until smooth. Pour over the cake batter.

Optional: Toss chocolate chips over the top

Bake for 40-45 minutes. (If the middle is still like a jello jiggler then it is not done.)

Let rest for 10-15 minutes. Serve and enjoy the praise. SOOOOO GOOOD! Thanks Kelly!

Tomorrow morning is going to come early for me. I have a plane to catch at 6 a.m.!

For where you ask? Well I will tell you, Waco, yes, Waco, Texas as in Waco of the Branch Dividians Waco.

Why in the world would I go there you ask? Well duuuhhh, To get my hair done. Haven't you heard Waco is the mecca for perfect hair?

Ok, here's the deal. I have always been blonde, always. Sometimes a lighter shade of blonde then what is found in nature, even Swedish nature. Other times my hair has been a golden shade of blonde which brings out the roseace healthy blushing bride complexion that makes me look like I have a perpetual sunburn. And the best shade of blonde was when there was a slight green tint to it, and not because of chlorine.

For many years I was my natural color which is the exact shade of dark blonde my daughter has. But then I decided to dye it a dark chestnut red just for kicks and because I was going to India. The previous trip to India involved some pictures on the street with pubescent boys asking to take my picture with their cell phones. So to avoid that whole freakville, I dyed it dark red. I loved it! For THREE whole months.

After three months I couldn't take it anymore. My clothes didn't match my hair, my makeup was all wrong for it, the red color washed out so fast I was spending a fortune applying red rinse. So I wanted to go back to blonde.

When my hair was LITERALLY smoking inside the plastic cap while I sat under the dryer I should have known it was going to be like straw when it was finished. It was. So for two years I have been growing that out. Quite successfully I thought. Apparently not, at least not by the new hairdresser I started going to. She didn't exactly pick up a strand of my hair and demonstrate how distasteful she thought it was by bending it in half and thereby breaking off my ends without scissors (that soooo happened to me when I lived in Redondo Beach, so embarrassing) But she was subtly pestering me to go brown.

I know the saying is once you go brown you never Oh wait that is something else! Anyway, I gave in. In November of last year I let her dye my hair brown, dark brown. It was so incredibly soft. I couldn't believe it. I loved it! If I didn't want to dry it all the way the waves didn't look all dry and flyaway. There was a texture there that showed all my layers and since I had to dye my eyebrows to match I finally had some without pencil. It was wonderful. For awhile. Not anymore.

The novelty has worn off. The vegetable dye on my eyebrows to match my new hair color has worn off too. I was so over the brown thing. In February I went back for highlights to gradually bring my blonde hair back to a more natural setting. (Picture a deer in the wild)

The appointment in February was completely disappointing. $$$ 168 $$$ later and I looked exactly the freaking same as I did when I walked in for my appointment. **%$#@*!!! And no I didn't ask for my money back. And no, lovely wonderful hubby, I didn't know that within those 300 pieces of foil with pasty goo all over them the color was still brown.

This brings me to why I am going to Waco, Wacko, whatever. My sister lives there. Again. And her hair is gorgeous, gorgeous hair that she always gets back when she moves to or visits Waco. (Her husband is with the Athletic Dept at Baylor) The color is perfect, the style is perfect (too short for me but still perfect), the highlights are perfect. And you know what she pays? a whopping FORTY-FIVE $ for it!

See, why I am going? It's a wash. My ticket was $121 and the color will be $45. Plus I will have what I want and I am not leaving until I have the color codes in hand.

Now everyone can just stop with the "Are you ever going back to your natural color?", "I didn't know you were planning on staying a brunette." "I can't get used to you in that hair color."

I am going back people. Back to my roots. The roots you will soon see in about SIX weeks!
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These quick breakfast biscuits are easy and travel great while driving to work or school. During the work week I am constantly running out the door at break neck speed yelling, "Get your lunch! Grab your backpack! Did you brush your teeth? Wait, didn't you just wear that yesterday?" Yea, the epitome of the frenzied working mother.

Except this is all my fault, I am like this because I perpetually sleep in. Most mornings I lay in bed rationalizing what I can forgo on the appearance front. Breakfast does not enter my mind on the mornings I have convinced myself that I don't really have to wash my hair because I can pull it back. And if I don't have any meetings I can just wear jeans and some shirt. And the most pathetic - I can just put my makeup on at work. Needless to say at 6:30 in the morning the lazy slug in me wins out over the nurturing mother part of me.

I am not much better on the weekends but they have a much better chance of me at least getting the milk out for them--during a commercial while watching Landscaper's Challenge.

Anyway, I have perfected my rationalizing of sleeping in to include a ready made breakfast for my family. Sausage and Cheese Breakfast Biscuits. Not only are they great for quick run-out-the-door breakfasts they also make perfect meal gifts for new moms. The husbands really love them from the feedback I have gotten at work and church.

After cooking them I wrap each one in wax paper, stick them into a freezer bag and nuke in the microwave 1 min. 40 secs before running out the door.

The list of ingredients is simple:
  • tube of breakfast sausage, thoroughly browned (my family likes the HOT sausage)
  • Block of Mexican Velveeta, can be the small block that way you won't have leftovers but you will have to watch what you cut.
  • dozen eggs
  • half and half (or milk)
  • LAYER refrigerator biscuits pulled apart in either 2 pieces or 3 layers, sometimes getting 3 is not easy it depends on the brand you buy. But you must use the layered kind, regular will not work-I have tried it.
  • Salt and Pepper for egg mixture. Any season you would normally add to scrambled eggs or omelets. I really like to use cumin or taco seasoning too.
After you have pulled apart the biscuits and have determined how many you will have place each into a greased/oil sprayed muffin tin. Then cut your cheese so that each biscuit has a piece. More or less it is your preference.

Place the cheese and cooked crumbled sausage on top of each biscuit. Break the eggs and add 1/2 and 1/2 or milk and seasonings. Whip the egg mixture until all combined and then pour a small amount onto each biscuit.

This is where it takes trial and error. Too much and the egg will come right out of the muffin tin, too little and then it will be what egg? I pour until it is all lightly covered but not at the top.

Cook for 10-15 minutes at 350. Until the tops are lightly browned and the biscuit has risen and cooked through.

Now take each one and place on a wire rack to cool. Once cool, cut up enough wax paper and call some helpers. Wrap each one individually and freeze. I normally leave about 8-10 out and keep in the fridge.

The thawed ones cook in 40 seconds my microwave (old old old moved it from Chicago to California to Oklahoma)

Frozen needs just a little over 1 minute 30 seconds. This is sooooo easy and so very good. Plus it can be adjusted to individual tastes.

Now feel free to sleep in they can fend for themselves. :)
Milo, our cat loves to bring us dead or semi-conscious nature specimens presents. Most of the time she only catches small mice and will carry them through the cat door in her mouth with their tail whipping about her face. Many times the kids will let us know that Milo has something in her mouth by ominously calling their dad's name to come here fast. However, if she is able to make it through the house undeterred her favorite spot to kill and maim play with her gift for us is in our bedroom. She likes to let the mouse go and watch it scurry under our dresser, chest, chair, and bed while she chases it about. Eventually my strong brave husband will respond to my hysteria using a Wal-mart sack and his hand as the weapon of choice. If the rodent of the day is in good shape and has the chance of a full life rooting around in our garbage then he lets it go. If it looks like it might not make it and the DNR is in order he "takes care of it".

On Mother's Day we were sitting around the dining room table when TD spotted Milo coming through the dining room. He thought he saw something in her mouth but he wasn't going to say anything to entice the pandemonium that was sure to ensue. But when the cat came around my mother's chair and he saw four legs kicking he knew he had to act fast before Milo laid her Mother's Day present on my pillow. TD calmly got up from the head of the table grabbed Milo in the foyer at the base of the stairs and wrenched her prey from her mouth.


She freaking had a bunny! How in the world she did that I do not know. She only has about four teeth and she is de-clawed in the front. What a huntress!

Man, I am so thankful she was caught. When she caught a dove last summer it suffered its untimely death in our bedroom and that was pretty gross to clean up. Feathers were everywhere.

It is wonderful to know that your pet loves you and wanted to be a part of the Mother's Day celebration but if I thought cleaning up pee from the Chihuahua was bad I would have had a complete mind snap cleaning up Little Bunny Foo Foo.

Every Thursday Sandra at Family Corner has recipes for Slow Cookers from other readers. She calls it Slow Cooking Thursdays and you can find some really good recipes. Check it out.

I love love love this meal. I love all the flavors the sour cream, the tomatoes, the spice. So incredibly good and it happens to be my dad's favorite homemade dish. Not that knowing it is my dad's favorite had anything to do with me making it. Just some extraneous info in case you happen to run into my dad and ask him over for dinner. He would tell you some great Civil War battlefield stories. But I would wait until after the elections are over, he is a little tense right now.
Back to the Goulash. Here are the main ingredients and this recipe will serve 8 and it makes the best leftovers. Yum!

  • 2 1/2 pounds of beef round steak, cut in 1/2-inch cubes (veal can be used as well)
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 28oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 16 oz sour cream
  • Noodles (egg, no yolk, wide, whatever anyone likes)

Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Season the meat with salt and pepper and brown it in the oil. After the meat is almost brown add the onion and garlic. Cook until onion and garlic are tender.

In a small bowl mix together the flour, paprika, and thyme. Slowly add to the meat until it is incorporated into the mixture. Transfer to your Crock Pot.

In a mixing bowl dump in the tomatoes. With a potato masher or fork break up the tomatoes. I also cut off the top with the core but that is optional. Pour all of this into the Crock Pot, add the bay leaves, and stir.

Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4. Before serving stir in sour cream and ladle over noodles.

Like I said I love Hungarian Goulash just wish I didn't have to do all the meat browning, onion tenderizing, flour mixing before hand. But I have tried it without doing all that prep work, just throwing it in the Crock Pot--not as good. I haven't served this to my step kids, they may or may not like it since it is different and has tomatoes, but I loved it as a kid and my daughter really likes it. And my dad, well you already know he does. German Chocolate is his favorite dessert, just so you know.

(Can be made on the stove top just simmer covered for one hour, stirring frequently)

Originally posted on 4/6/2008

A little boy in Anna's first grade class threw up today. In empathy Anna threw up too, twice. I was called to come get her at school just before noon. She is lying on the couch watching Dr. Doolittle IIXVII and I am in the kitchen. With Dina.

Teacher Appreciation Week is going on at Anna's school. On Monday I made the Pillsbury million dollar prize winning recipe, Double-Delight Peanut Butter Cookie, and Anna brought a dozen to her teacher with a note that said her teacher was worth $1,000,000 but since we don't have it maybe a $1,000,000 cookie would do. Such cleverness.....

Thursday is a teacher breakfast. I volunteered to make The Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls. This will be about the tenth time I have made these and each time is better than the first. Well definitely the first because I was in complete denial that anything outside of a Paula Deen recipe would take that much butter. I was wrong, and thank you Tresh for setting me straight and making me follow a recipe. But I have ended up deleting the Maple extract from the icing and now even I think these are the best cinnamon rolls ever. The first 36 teachers through the teacher's lounge door are going to love these cinnamon rolls.

I have the dough for the cinnamon rolls rising right next to the dough for Suzanne's Grandmother Bread. This smells so good and it hasn't even baked yet. My neighbor across the street has been sick and I think she might really enjoy a loaf. If not I know I will. The whole loaf. To myself. With butter. In the guest bedroom where no one will see me.

I am also making breakfast biscuits to freeze. These are the perfect running out the door we are going to be late breakfast. They are easy to make too, refrigerator flaky layer biscuits, sausage, velveeta cheese, and egg mixture. I will post the recipe when I finish making them.

Oh! For dinner we are having the Mac and Cheese from Ree's site. I think I am craving carbs.

I figure if I do all the things that I would love to do everyday as a Stay at Home Mom I will just automagically become one someday.
We are finally getting around to this project on our renovation. I have put this off for a year. I think all those summers of working for my dad have made me very wary of ladders. I can't stand them! They freak me out. Almost as much as things with holes in them, like honeycombs or seed pods, just looking at those things makes my skin creepy crawly and sends cold shivers through my body. Anyway, here are some pics of my darling husband in action. My turn is next, washing all the glue off, can't wait......think I am coming down with something, cough-cough.......

First grade is probably not a pivotal moment in the education process. I have come to terms with that long ago. I read Love and Logic and I was happy to hand over the responsibility of learning to a teacher. Have at it! If the teacher can get her to second grade then I will be happy. It is already apparent that she will exceed my math skills in two short years. Not hard to do since I somehow got a Bachelors degree with only taking one math elective.

She has ten spelling words every week. By the end of the year she will know enough of the basic words to read and understand at her grade level. She has been writing her spelling words 5x every night to prepare for her test on Friday. This is not required by her teacher but it is something I think is important and I think fundamental, correct spelling leads to understanding phonics, leads to reading, which leads to comprehension. I could be wrong but it is my theory and I am sticking to it.

The first month of school Anna was getting 100% on each test. I was not sure this was possible having quizzed her Friday morning on the way to school. She does like to push buttons but I was pretty sure she should have missed a couple spelling words. When the third perfect test came home I asked her about it. She told me completely innocent like that she was looking at the spelling words that are put in her agenda each week. "All the other kids were doing it. "

I explained that this was called cheating and it was not right and a form of lying. I truly think she had no idea of the concept of cheating. First graders buying tests on the sly? writing answers on their shoes? doubt it but they are maturing faster. Anna and I went in and talked to her teacher and she learned a valuable lesson, early.

Because she has had 16 spelling test in a row with a perfect score I have let her off the hook with the whole writing the words 5x each night. I had noticed an improvement with her reading and thought she didn't need the extra non-assigned work.

Fast forward to this Friday morning. I am driving her to her bus while holding the list of spelling words in my hand. She got the first few perfect, I was all about the positive praise. But then came the word 'FIRST' not a hard word considering that is the grade she is in all flippin year.

Me: Spell FIRST
Her: f-i-r-s
Her: f-i-s-t
Me: You spelled fist not first try again.
Her: f-r-s-t
Me: what's the vowel? come on pay attention
Her: f-i-r-t
Me: Are you kidding me?!! How can you not know this?!! You are in FIRST grade!!
Her: f-r-i-t
Me: FIRST, FIRST like FIRST grade THE ONE YOU ARE IN and have been ALL YEAR!!

The bus is ready to leave and she is ignoring me and getting her backpack. As she is closing the door I yell:


Yea, that is some great parenting, I was telling my own kid to throw the test.
Step families are quite common now days and if you don't actually live in one you at least have contact with one. I know when I was growing up in the 80's our town did not have many step families but there were a few. There was one family in particular that blended the mother's three teenager girls with the father's teenage sons (I think he had three too). I was always curious how things worked in their family, in particular sharing the bathroom and getting ready in the morning.

I had enough trouble with my younger sisters trying to embarrass me in front of friends and family and I will never forget the huge fights we had over who was in the kids bathroom the longest. When you are a teenager appearance is everything and secrets were not exactly padlocked and kept in a vault. Clearasil and Oxy were big in the 80's and they had yet to invent the disappearing formula. And who can forget the required head braces that last year of teeth straightening. How did this small town Brady Bunch family maintain their privacy? These kids all went to the same high school together and all the girls were absolutely beautiful and the boys were pretty hot too.

Well I am now livin' the dream! We all grew up wanting to be step parents right? No? That wasn't part of ya'lls future plans? Those fairy tale stories about the wonders and magical life of being a stepmother didn't make you yearn to be Cinderella's nemesis?

There is something that is inherent in our step family and that is modesty and the complete clothing of ones self when you open your bedroom door. And we have little kids 9, 7, and 4. But even during a storm when one of the kids knocks on the door TD pulls on a T-shirt before opening the door. If his kids are at our house I put my robe on over my pajamas. The kids do too. (Well mine is suddenly coming downstairs in underwear and a T-shirt which is what prompted this post)

It is not that we would be running around willy nilly in our birthday suits if we were a biological family, I seriously doubt that. But I have noticed differences in our behavior if just our bio kids are in the house. For instance, if Anna is the only kid for the weekend I will run upstairs and change clothes without shutting my bedroom door. If my step kids were there and even if they were outside playing I would shut the door just in case they came upstairs. A little over a month ago Anna was gone and we just had my step kids. TD did something I had never seen him do. He went out into the hall in just his boxers! No T-shirt and shorts. I do not think we consciously think about it. Like I said it is just this inherent thing we do, do not expose skin to steps.

This is just a tiny little peek into step life that sets us apart from biological families. Not that I ever, and I stress ever saw my mother naked. OH no! But my dad occasionally came out into the hall in his boxers to tell all three of us to quit fighting or else! But I think there is a more freedom--not quite the right word--with various stages of dress inside of a biological family.

But like I said I am livin' the dream and so far so good. And when we have a moment without any children........TOGA! TOGA! TOGA!