Monday, April 30, 2012

Listen To Your Mother, The Gift That Keeps On Giving

My thoughts on LTYM probably won't be completely written out or summed up for days but, I can assure you all that this is a gift that keeps on giving.

LTYM has given me a voice, courage, hope, strength, support, love, and friendship just to name a few.

Friendship might be the greatest gift of all.

During this process women from all different walks of life came together to support each other, and in doing that many friendships have bloomed.

Meet Heather Smith- Davis.

Heather is one of the kindest women I have ever met, and luckily, I now get to call her friend. Heather is a strong woman that wears many hats. She is a teacher, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a writer, a blogger, a storm watcher, weather radio listener, and a mother to, two beautiful little girls. She has guided me, taught me, hugged me, pushed me, wiped my tears, made me laugh to the point of nearly peeing my pants, and supported me. She does for others before thinking of herself, she is what a friend and a woman should be.

So, here's to Heather, the Minivan Momma, that's always willing to take another along for the ride!

"Schweddy Balls"

“Schweddy Balls”

Margaret Jo McCullen: Hello. I'm Margaret Jo McCullen.

Teri Rialto: And I'm Teri Rialto.

Margaret Jo McCullen: And you're listening to..

Together: The Delicious Dish, on National Public Radio.


Teri Rialto: Please welcome the owner of Season's Eatings - Pete Schweddy.

[ Pete pulls up to his mike ]

Margeret Jo McCullen: Well, Pete, Teri and I have been looking forward to having you on the show, 'cause we know you're the master of all kinds of Christmas goodies. Tell us about them.

Pete Schweddy: Well, there are lots of great treats this time of year - Zucchini Bread, Fruitcake.. but the thing that I most like to bring out this time of year are my Balls.


Pete Schweddy: A quick plug! If you order from Season's Eatings now, you can still send out a special Schweddy Ball Sack in time.

Margeret Jo McCullen: Great idea. My niece would love a Sack of Schweddy Balls...

(12/12/98 SNL Transcript The Delicious Dish)

I still remember watching this episode on SNL. It has got to be one of my all favorite skits, ever.

It might be my love of NPR, or my sick sense of humor. Regardless, it’s a favorite.

It also fueled my desire to one day be a guest on a National Public Radio show even more.

So, imagine my surprise and delight when I was given the opportunity to speak with Arkansas’ very own Kyle Kellams host of Ozarks At Large on local NPR station KUAF.

It’s happening, I thought. My day has come. I am going to be on a NPR station. Oh My God! Amazing. I will get to sit in a NPR chair, in a NPR station, across from a NPR host, and speak into a NPR microphone. I seriously could die happy now.
Myself, some my Listen To Your Mother cast members, and our director, got to share this wonderfully nerdy experience together. As a bonus, we got to promote our upcoming Listen To Your Mother show.

It was nothing short of a dream come true. Kyle is a pro. He asked all the right questions and made each of us fell like the superstars we imagine ourselves to be. He was kind and supportive and as if that’s not enough, he gave us multiple segments on the show. He aired our segment Friday, April 27, 2012, at Noon, and again at 7 that night. On Sunday, April 29th, he aired a special segment on the morning show that highlighted some of our writings.

Thank you Kyle, from the very bottom of my nerdy pro public service, and public radio heart!

P.S. He let me say “Schweddy Balls!!”

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Isn't She Lovely

"Isn't she pretty
 Truly the angel's best
 Boy, I'm so happy
 We have been heaven blessed
 I can't believe what God has done
 Through us he's given life to one
 But isn't she lovely made from love"

Stevie Wonder gave a voice to the lyrics above speaking from his heart about his newly born baby girl.

I am choosing to use the lyrics to describe Sam, and highlight the gift of honest love, support, and kick ass hair that the one and only Samantha Jerry of Salon at Ultra gives me.

This is Samantha.

 See how fitting those lyrics are now?

Samantha came into my life by complete chance a couple years ago. I think she is one those "life surprises" that keep you going. We met at a gig where my guy was playing with his band Maud Crawford. Turns out we were destined to be friends. I mean, come on, we obviously have the same great taste in music.

Since meeting Sam, she has celebrated our newest baby’s birth, attended my children’s birthday parties, cut their hair, dyed their hair, cheered them on, and been a constant safe place to vent or confide in.

Sam has loved my family as if it were born of her, all of us; the big man of the house included. She has offered advice, a shoulder to cry on, coffee, wheat beer, and herself, and all of it for the betterment of my family.

Plus, she gives me some kick ass hair! Seriously.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m half Cherokee and half Irish. I have hair that is naturally thick and coarse, and it’s naturally a very unflattering dull dark, dark, DARK brown. It goes lovely with my olive, so pale it’s almost translucent, skin. As a special bonus I have caterpillars for eyebrows. Well, I guess I should say I WOULD have caterpillars for eyebrows, if it weren’t for her usually keeping them under control.

When I found out about being cast in Listen To Your Mother Samantha was the first person I told. I sent her a text, and she immediately sent back “I’ll be there!”

Thursday night, it donned on me, what the hell am I going to do with my hair?!? Once again, Samantha came to the rescue. She worked her magic without any input from me. Why would she want my input? I didn’t learn how to use a curling iron till I was in high school, and my daughter taught me how to use a straighter. So Friday afternoon, I go in and  I sit down in her chair and enjoy a couple blissful hours of being kid free and the conversation time with adults while Samantha does whatever she does. All I know is every time I leave her chair I look and feel about 5 years younger and 10 pounds lighter. Maybe it’s the stress free time and relaxation. Maybe it’s the adult conversation time. Who knows? I personally like to believe it’s some sort of voodoo magic that she do so well ;) Whatever it is, it works.

Samantha is nothing short of amazing and her skills are parallel only to her kindness.

If you’d like Samantha to work some magic on your mop, she is at a salon in Fayetteville Arkansas called Salon at Ultra. It's located at 118 W. South Street. You can call them at 479.301.2199  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lazy Butts!

My children have reached a whole new level of laziness. 

Seriously! Instead of walking to the linen closet to grab a few rolls of toilet paper, Daughter 1 leaves this lovely message on the bathroom mirror. 

Ya know because that was easier...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ham and Swiss, and Onion Sliders

There’s no short supply of birthday parties around here this time of the year, and like most gatherings food is a requirement.  

When my family gets together there is always food involved. Birthday parties are no exception. The only difference would be we serve more snack like foods than meal like. I don’t know how many of you have ever hosted a birthday with 15+ people, not including any friends that get invited, but for us it’s normal. It’s also very hard to stretch a fruit or veggie tray that much. So, my sister and I started making mini sandwiches for every party roughly 12 years ago.  We were cool way before Pinterest was cool. Plus, when you have a sandwich to go with the fruit and veggie tray everything goes a LOT further.

We’ve made multiple types of mini sandwiches; regular bread sandwiches sliced into 4 triangles, hotdog bun hoagies, potato rolls filled with different meats and cheese, and now we’ve come to the sliders. Not just any regular slider though, sliders made with those super delicious King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls. I’m sure you know what rolls I’m talking about. The ones that make you want to find a reason to use them 365 days a year. Yes, they’re that good. Well, here is one more way to use them

You’re going to need

1 Small Skillet
1 13X9 Baking Dish
A Stove
An Oven Heated to 350 Degrees
A Couple Butter Knifes
1 Spoon
A Small Amount of Foil


1 Package of 12 Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
1 Onion, minced or grated
1 Stick of butter
3 Tablespoons of Dijon Mustard
2 Teaspoons of Worcestershire Sauce
3 Teaspoons of Poppy Seeds
½ Pound of Shaved Ham
8 Slices of Swiss Cheese

Start by mincing or grating your onion and set that aside.

Now, get the small skillet I mentioned earlier, and over low heat melt the stick of butter.

Once melted you want to add in the onions.

To that, add in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and poppy seeds.

Let that all simmer together for several minutes.

While that’s simmering, get one of your knifes out and slice the rolls lengthwise as a group; removing the top halves.

Place the bottom portion of the rolls in the 13X9 baking dish.

Now comes the fun part, making layers.

Remove the onion mixture from the heat and spread ¾ of it on to the rolls in the baking dish.

Layer that with the ham, then the Swiss cheese, and then put the top half of the rolls back where they belong.  

If you noticed, there is still ¼ of the onion mixture left. Go ahead and spread that on top of the rolls.

Cover the yummy goodness with foil and bake them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

If you’re like me and like to make things a little ahead of time, that’s fine; just cover the sandwiches with foil and refrigerate till you are ready to bake.

Once they’re done slice the sandwiches along the defined lines, serve on your nearest platter (or regular dinner plate like me) and sit back, relax, and enjoy the party.

Like the hokey pokey says, “That’s what it’s all about,” anyways.

(This story and recipe was written for my column "Madison County Cooking" published by The Madison County Record, April 2012)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Easy and Impressive Pecan Pie - It's Not Just For Holidays Anymore

When I think of pecan pie I think of holidays. I think of times where my family and friends gather together sharing stories, great food, bad jokes, and friendly competition. I rarely thought of pecan pie as an easy “everyday” kind of dessert. Well, that’s until I made this super easy pecan pie.

As the baby of 9 children holidays, as you can imagine, were always huge in our house. Just the number of siblings alone could fill up the entire living room. Never mind, the older siblings’ spouses and children. Once you start adding those numbers, things get real crazy real fast.

My family is big, loud, loving and competitive. Everything a family should be, right? Every year we rotate houses and host for our holiday gatherings. We also try hard, very hard, to outdo each other in the kitchen. It’s just who we are. We can’t help it; not that we’ve really tried.

For many years my sister Nita has made THE pecan pie of the dinner; the pie to beat. For many years I have longed for my chance to make it. After finally coming to my senses and seeing that is never going to happen, I’ve decided this year I’m just bringing my own.


Now, don’t let all this talk about holidays turn you away from this pecan pie. This recipe is so simple you can easily make it any day of the week. Who says holidays can’t be Monday night after a tee ball game, or before a Thursday dance class. Maybe you could make it and celebrate the Naturals opening week. My point is, it’s your family, it’s your time together, and it’s always special enough for pecan pie.

For this recipe you’re going to need

An oven preheated to 350 degrees
A large mixing bowl
A mixer (I don’t do much by hand)
A large spoon
A pie pan
1 package cream cheese, softened
½ + ¼ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
¾ teaspoon salt
4 eggs
One 10 inch, deep dish pie crust (I cheat by using store bought crust, with 5 kids I’ll take the help where I can get it.)

1 cup dark corn syrup
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped walnuts

First things first, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Now let’s get the base of this yummy pie together. If you bought pie crust that you simply roll out, do that now and place it in your baking dish. If you bought the pie crust that’s already in a pan, well, you’re step ahead of the rest of us.

Grab a large mixing bowl and combine the cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, 1-teaspoon vanilla, and the salt.

Once the mixture is smooth, you want to add in 1 egg and mix well.

Now you want to spread the cream cheese mixture into the base of the pie shell and set it aside.

Getting hungry yet?

With the pie shell ready and waiting you’re ready to make the filling. For this you want to combine the remaining eggs, sugar, vanilla, corn syrup, pecans, and walnuts.

Once that’s all mixed together pour it into your cream cheese covered pie shell.

I can already taste a yummy gooey slice of pecan heaven, but before you do, we should probably bake it.

You’re going to want to bake this for roughly 40-50 minutes or until center of the pie is set.

Now that your pie is finished baking, call your family, call your friends, heck call me; sit and gather together share stories of the day and of course share a slice of your easy and impressive pecan pie. You might just start some friendly competition of your own.

(This story and recipe was written for my column "Madison County Cooking" published by The Madison County Record, April 2012.)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Standing Still. 17 Years Later.

17 years ago today I was in my school cafeteria being forced to listen to Power Of Love on the juke box for the 12th time that morning, when the music stopped and the principal came on the intercom and sent us all to our classrooms immediately. Tim McVey had driven a van full of explosives to the federal building in OKC. He parked out front, fled the scene and murdered 168 people.

I was a volunteer during clean up, I handed out water a block away along with hundreds of others. 

Oklahoma changed that day. We came together and held each other close. We grieved for the families and cried for the innocent children, men, and women that had lost their lives to the hands of such evil.

We were Oklahomans, we were surviving together. We were setting examples for the world. 

Today, I remember those who passed and why I'm proud to be from Oklahoma. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Thats A Wrap! (Almost)

It’s Friday Folks and it’s been one hell of a week already but, it’s not even over yet.

The week started off with Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday brought a LOT of chocolate.

We followed that with a Monday visit to Grandmother’s house which brought even more chocolate, plus cookies, and stuffed animals.

Tuesday was Boy1’s FIFTH Birthday!! (I can’t believe my baby is 5!) We had cupcakes and presents to celebrate.

Wednesday my very first column was printed. I still can’t believe that’s even happening. It’s weird to see your words published for all to read. Plus, I got to officially update the bio.

Thursday wasn’t very exciting (Thank GOD!); unless you count the Dad mowing “Go Hogs” out in the front lawn.

Friday, well Friday is exciting in its self. But it’s especially exciting today because I am the featured blogger on Arkansas Women Bloggers website/blog. As if that’s not enough, tonight Daughter 1 has a friend over and that NEVER happens. PLUS Daughter 2 got asked to the school dance. (we’ll address that later)

Tomorrow, Saturday, will bring a few brand new beginnings. I will attend the first rehearsal for Listen To Your Mother NWA. Eek! I still haven’t figured out how or why I’m included in the cast of such wonderfully talented women. Tomorrow is also Daughter 1’s first unsupervised date, and her first PROM!! I’m not really sure which of tomorrow’s events will make me cry the most, but I know I’ll be crying so I stocked up on tissues today.

 Finally we come to Sunday. Sunday Funday!! Boy 1 is having his birthday party. Our house will be full of family and friends. I’m sure there will be tons of laughing, and even more screaming from the children. But, laughter and blood curdling screeching is what makes our world go round.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What Listen To Your Mother Means To Me

“LTYM, like motherhood, is about process over product. It is not about polish, but rather about that unfinished, unvarnished, authentic beauty that happens when you make room for something bigger by letting go. The spirit of LTYM exits all around us—in that one friend you tell how you really are today, in an experienced mom leveling with a new mom about how NO ONE really knows the answers, in that moment when you understand for the first time why your Mom was tense so much of the time, because now you are too. The task of the LTYM shows is to provide the space where we can live that energy, that commonality, and those moments together out loud.”- Ann Imig

The words above were written and given by Ann Imig. The words above both fill my heart with song and bring to light the gift I have been given. Being a part of the Listen To Your Mother NWA cast is a moment in time I never thought I’d be given, or earn. For me, LTYM is more about honoring my mother, than sharing any of my mommy-hood experiences. LTYM is my chance to open a piece of my heart I keep so guarded, so private, and share with others a glimpse of the love my Momma gave to me.

In my life I strive to do many things. I strive to give my children the love, security, and direction they need. I strive to give my work all that it deserves. I strive to be a good partner for Daniel, a good sister, a good friend, a good follower, and a good leader. Above all else I strive to be just what my Momma would have wanted; I strive to be me. The me she would and could be proud of. The me she loved so hard, so unconditionally, so fully. The me she raised, and taught so many things to. The me that loves her more than life itself. Just me, her daughter, forever Shannon Patricia Momma’s Little Disha.

I hope through LTYM I can give a little piece of her to all of you and in return find another little piece of me. Together through the works of others we can thread our pieces back in place and start to feel whole again.

With love and the greatest of wishes,
              Shannon Patricia

April Photo A Day. Day 12.

April Photo A Day. Day 12, Stairs.
Yes, stairs. Weird I know, but a lot of these have been.


Nothing says mother of the year, like your two year old screaming for a sucker by saying "I'm hungry"
Boy 2 has discovered the "cookie jar" at our house, except there aren't cookies in ours. Ours is full of toddler friendly treats, like suckers.
This morning while I was making his oatmeal he noticed the cookie jar.
From there  it was on.
No, it's breakfast time not sucker time.
"Peas Sucker?"
No, we have to eat our breakfast first.
Momma said NO, suckers are for later.
Geez, wait till the boy discovers cake.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Alibi At The Ready

I have a beautiful daughter. I also have a lot of guns, land, and plenty of family to provide me with an alibi.
It's prom season and ammo is flying off shelves about as fast as those teenage boys' hormones are racing.
Recently my oldest daughter was asked to go to the prom.
Daughter 1, is almost 16 and is a sophomore. Her potential date just turned 18 and is a senior.
At first the Dad said "No!" but then after he took his aspirin and calmed down some he gave it a little more thought.
Our daughter has done nothing to lose our trust. She seems to have a good head on her shoulders. I mean she didn't lie and ask to go with girlfriends, plus she's kind of kicking butt in school lately.
So we discussed it, laid out our guidelines and then demanded to meet the boy prior to the night of prom AND we had to talk to his parents as well.
On Monday, a very well mannered boy knocked on our door and joined us for dinner. He was nothing like we expected, but in a good way. We laid out the guidelines for him and he agreed.
Permission granted!
This coming Saturday my world will change. Daughter 1 will go on her first unsupervised date. She will also attend her first prom. I'm not sure how I'll take it. I'm not sure how the Dad will take it. One thing I am sure of, we will both be up, ready and waiting with guns loaded in case she decides she needs us.

(photo credit to Jamie Montoya, Forever A Memory Photography By Jamie, Breast Cancer Awareness and Support Photo Session.)

Please Have Cake.

Hello, my name is Shannon and I'm addicted to cake. Not muffins, cake. Muffins are just bald cupcakes.

Time To Update The Bio

Guess who gets to add columnist to their bio?!?

This chick right here!

I am so excited to have a weekly column where I will get to share my love for food and family even more.

My column, the name is still a work in progress, made it's debut today.

It's exciting, and scary; kind of like being in a pressure cooker.

April Photo A Day. Day 11.

April Photo A Day. Day 11, Where you ate breakfast.
We generally eat breakfast at our dinning room table. Sometimes it's in the car.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

April Photo A Day. Day 10.

April Photo A Day. Day 10, Cold.
Ice Cubes

TOMS- A Day Without Shoes. 

Playing outside with my boys this morning. Its a little cold. Makes me extremely aware of comforts many go without. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

April Photo A Day. Day 9.

April Photo A Day. Day 9, A younger you.

This is me with my Momma and Father Tom at my First Communion.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

April Photo A Day. Day 8.

April Photo A Day. Day 8, The inside of your wallet.
I'm a mom with 5 kids. My wallet is BARE. Minus the receipts, and savers card to places like Build A Bear, Barnes and Noble, and the local coffee shop.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

April Photo A Day. Day 6. Lunch. 

The boys had peanut butter fold-overs and yogurt. 

I had a hard-boiled egg. 

Their lunch looks tons better than mine. 

April Photo A Day. Day 7.

April Photo A Day. Day 7 Shadow

This is a picture of our Christmas tree from this last year. I loved our tree. I hand stamped the owl garland.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April Photo A Day. Day 4.

Photo A Day. Day 4. Someone that makes you happy. 

I have a family of 7 I can't pick just one somebody. 

I also rarely get a picture with everyone in it. 

So here is a picture of 4 of them. 

My heart, my world, my family. 

Tooting My Own Horn. Searching For Magic

I haven't had ANY pop in 6 weeks!! Woot Woot!!  

Not even a sip. 

There have been moments of GREAT temptation but I've somehow been able to resist. 

Is that willpower sneaking up on me? 
I sure hope so! 

Now that I feel confident I am free of that addiction I'm on to the next bad habit. 

Don't ask which one because my list is LONG and I haven't yet decided. 

That being said, does anyone have a magic wand to help me drop 50 pounds in the next 25 days? 


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April Photo A Day. Day 3.

Day 3. Mail.

We didn't get any mail today so here is picture of my empty mailbox. 

Enjoy :) 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Boy 1 Has It All Figured Out

By now you know that we are a very busy family of 7, but what I bet you didn't know was that we eat dinner together at the table every night. 

Shocking isn't it? 

For us it's time to connect with the kids as a solid unit; to share the ups and downs of the day and just be a family. 

Tonight we had "Fiesta Salad" It's our take on taco salad. It's basically seasoned meat, with black beans, corn, and tomatoes. We serve it on lettuce, hints the salad in the name, and sometimes we thrown white corn chips in for the hell of it. 

Like most nights the little ones discuss all the stuff they have on their plates and tonight Boy 1 started the conversation.

"Hey did you know lettuce grows up from the ground? And corn and beans!" 

I said "Wow! That's really good. You're pretty smart." 

Then, the dad says "Do you know where cheese comes from?"
"Yeah, Dairy." he says. 

"You're right. Do you know what Dairy is?" asks the dad. 

"Yeah he's a boy." 

April Photo A Day. Day 2

Day 2. Photo Color. 

My color is blue.

Today is World Autism Awareness Day. 

You should turn your world blue for the day. 

April Photo A Day Project. Day 1

I've decided to share my April Photo A Day project here on the blog. Hope that's ok. 

Yesterday was day 1. Photo was suppose to be your reflection. 

Since I'm behind I'm sharing our pet turtle's reflection. That's more my speed anyways.

P.S. You have NO idea how hard it was to carry that tank to the bathroom. 

Pitty The Fool

Yesterday was the 1st of April and "April Fools Day" is a favorite holiday in our house. 

We have LISTS, yes plural, of all the things we can do. Most of which involve our poor innocent children. 

What can I say, we're horrible people. 

This year we got a late start so our pranks were minimal.

I love love love putting tape around the sprayer on the sink. Then I ask one of the older girls to fill something with water. Once they turn the faucet on the water sprays all over them. 

It's awesome to watch. 

I've also freaked the kids out by putting mustard in the tip of their toothpaste. Imagine if you were going to brush your teeth and you squeezed the toothpaste and it came out yellow. 

Bet you'd scream to.

Sticking with the bathroom torture, you can always put a mouth numbing gel in the bristles of their toothbrush. You should try painting a clear coat of nail polish on their bar of soap. See how long they'll try to make that sud up. 

Yes, I know, horrible people. But hey if you can't prank your kids why have them ;)