It’s All Relative

I’ve not been one to get into the whole “family tree” thing.  But last week, my oldest was getting really curious about ancestors on both sides of the family, so we spent an hour or so searching for family information on the internet.  In the process, I came across a photo of my mom’s mom, my Grandma Buterbaugh.  I never met her because she died 4 months before I was born.  But it was really fun to see this photo pop up on line.  I also came across a lot of stuff about my paternal grandmother’s family.  It was fun to read about the history of my family and to see my son get excited about it.

For now, I’ll just share the photo of my grandma.  In this picture, she is standing by one of my cousins and my Aunt Sis.

If . . .

If we didn’t have the internet . . .

I would  get up in the morning, drink my coffee, and get on with my day.

Since we do have the internet, I get up, drink my coffee, check my e-mail, check my facebook account, write a status on twitter, and then move on to the next thing.

If we didn’t have the internet . . .

I would still use the yellow pages

I would use encyclopedias to help my kids with their homework.

I would ask people for directions to their homes, rather than google mapping them.

I would talk on the phone more.

The list could go on and on.

These are just a few of the things I thought about when I was watching coverage of the upcoming inauguration, and they were talking about how Barack Obama is using technology to communicate with citizens of the country.  Things that are so normal for me today are things that I would have never thought of as possible when I was a child.  I remember getting e-mail on prodigy in 1994 (I think) for the first time.  At that time, I was working for a large publishing company, and my boss telecommuted from another city, but we still didn’t have e-mail or internet of any sort at work.  That was only 15 years ago!  I often think of how much easier that job would have been if I would have been able to communicate with my boss and our authors via the internet.  Of course, it might have increased our work-load, too!

Recipe Time

I don’t post recipes very often, but this one is so good, I wanted to share it.  My oldest is doing an oral report for school on Paraguay, and for a little extra credit, most students usually distribute a snack that is related to the country of the report.  Calvin told me that he read about sopa, a type of cornbread when he was researching the report.  So I did a web search for a recipe, and I found this great one at

The steps are a little complicated, but the end product is worth it.  This bread is hearty and savory, and just plain yummy:

Paraguayan Corn Bread (Sopa Paraguaya)
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)


* Cooking spray
* 2  tablespoons  grated fresh Parmesan cheese
* 1  tablespoon  butter
* 1  tablespoon  vegetable oil
* 1  cup  chopped onion
* 1/3  cup  chopped green bell pepper
* 2  cups  fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears), divided
* 1/2  cup  1% low-fat cottage cheese
* 1 1/2  cups  yellow cornmeal
* 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) shredded Muenster or sharp cheddar cheese
* 1/2  cup  fat-free milk
* 1  teaspoon  salt
* 1/2  teaspoon  black pepper
* 4  large egg whites
* 1/2  teaspoon  cream of tartar

Preparation: Preheat oven to 400°.

Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and set aside.

Heat butter and oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; cook 5 minutes or until soft. Place onion mixture in a food processor. Add 1 1/2 cups corn and cottage cheese; process until almost smooth, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Place pureed mixture in a large bowl. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup corn, cornmeal, Muenster cheese, milk, salt, and black pepper.

Place egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently stir one-fourth of egg white mixture into batter; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture. Spoon into prepared pan.

Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean (cover loosely with foil if it becomes too brown). Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack. Place a plate upside down on top of bread; invert onto plate. Cut into wedges.

In the cold weather when we eat a lot of soups and stews, this bread is a great compliment to make those meals more hearty.  Enjoy.

Holiday Debriefing

So, every January needs a blog post about how the holidays went, dontcha think?

We went to our church for Christmas Eve service, and we were blessed by the service and being among God’s people.  Then, we spent Christmas Day at home in St Louis.  It was a nice relaxing day at home.  If you didn’t see my last post with photos of our offspring on Christmas Day, you should go take a peek.

On December 26, we were planning to drive a rental van to Dallas for the week, but thanks to Budget rent-a-car, the van we reserved 6 weeks prior to the rental date was unavailable.  Plan B: we drove our two cars to Dallas, convoy style. We didn’t have CBs, but we did have cell phones. We got off to a late start because of the rental issue, and then we learned that Mark’s dad had the stomach flu, so we took the long way to Dallas and stopped at a hotel in Joplin for the night and stayed until check-out time.  We arrived in Dallas at about 8:00 on 12/27.

Cousins  — Dressing up

 Evangeline with Granddaddy & Sasha, the cousins’ new dog

All the cousins

Mark & Nevin, aka the sick one

 At church on 12/28, our almost 10-year-old niece threw-up, thus putting off the joint family Christmas celebration.  We settled on Tuesday, 12/30, for our yuletide family meal and present exchange.  But, the St Louis Hornes would not be outdone, and Nevin started hurling in the middle of the night before the slated celebration.  After much discussion and debate, we decided to proceed with our plans.  Nevin was able to keep down bland food and ginger ale, so while he didn’t have much fun, he came along with us to the cousins’ house.  Once there, we enjoyed lovely Dallas weather with grilled steak on the deck of Mark’s brother’s home.  The kids played outside most of the evening, and we exchanged our family gifts.  Let just say it was a very Wii Christmas!

The Dallas visit was rounded out with my regular trek to IKEA, where I genuflected to my favorite furniture and kitchen cabinets.  I also bought a few baubles.  I also had the opportunity to use a gift card from Macy’s for some nice slacks, a winter blouse, and, as Charis calls it, a coach’s outfit.  The kids ate out with the grandparents, we had one more lower-key family meal at the cousins that included Mark’s cousin, his wife, and their two sons, and Evangeline got to have a sleepover with her girl cousin.  There was a lot of laying around, reading books, playing Scrabble, and, of course, we had to give the Wii its inaugural workout. Oh, and I started having a severe toothache.

The older girl cousins

When we left Dallas early Saturday morning (on our way to the gas station at 6:45, when our goal to leave was 6:30–not too bad), Mark’s Dad was suffering from a pretty bad cold.  Our return to St Louis was uneventful–thankfully.  We had remnants of Nevin’s stomach flu and the beginning of Calvin’s to deal with, so we stopped at more bathrooms than we would prefer.  However, this was a remarkable trip as no one threw-up in either vehicle on our way there or home.  When we arrived home on Saturday, our happy dog greeted us after being visited daily during our absence by a couple friends in town.   By Sunday,  Nevin had a relapse of stomach flu, and Calvin’s symptoms had developed into a full-fledged case.  My toothache had also became something that could no longer be ignored, so Mark was the only one who attended church on Sunday.  On Monday, I found a dentist who pulled 2 teeth from my mouth.  Now I am sitting at my dining room table writing this blog post with the left side of my face swollen.

I could refer to this Christmas as the rental car fraud–stomach flu–change of plans–toothache–bad cold holiday.  But despite all the drama, it was a really relaxing and pleasant break.  It is a blessing to have biological family members who trust in Christ for their salvation and for every good thing they enjoy.  It was a blessing to put aside some of the trials of the past several months and just enjoy some relaxation.  So, I think I’ll refer to this Christmas break as: “The God is Faithful and Knows When I Need a Break Christmas.”