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I was glad I stayed home after I read the news on the Black Friday Walmart death. How did we get here, people? Since when has a hot video game or baby doll become more valuable than the life of a human being? It's not unusual to hear of an angry mob leaving carnage in its wake during times of political unrest when blood is running high. But, a raging stampede to get to toys and electronics is hard for me to swallow.

This man was trampled not by scared individuals running from a Tsunami or taking shelter in somebody’s basement because a twister was on the horizon.
His life was taken by a bunch of maniacs looking for cheap DVD players and flat screen television sets. In case you did not notice, this might indicate that our society has become disturbingly and dangerously obsessed with STUFF!

Even one of the articles reporting the details of the Black Friday Walmart death wound up reporting on same store sales and how Walmart was benefiting from the poor economic environment. (Their sales are reported to have gained over 2% in October beating even their own forecast.) We can’t resist spouting percentages and sales figures long enough to stay on topic a few minutes out of respect for a person who died in a horrific and painful way. Has exposure to violence on television made us immune and desensitized to such a senseless tragedy?

A pregnant woman was also injured in the rush of bargain hunters. Remember the good old days when gentlemen would offer their seat to a lady who was expecting? These days that must only apply if she is not between you and that flat screen you wanted for the den. If that baby bump gets in the way, all bets are apparently off. American greed trumps a lady in weakened condition during the holidays, right?

I have wondered what kind of lessons are we teaching our kids when we are willing to get up at dawn to be first in line for some gadget that is at best a fleeting status symbol. Are we now willing to prove that it's ok to kill so long as you do it on Black Friday at Walmart defending your right to get the best buy on what you want at rock bottom prices?

Return to Oooh Baby Baby Parenting and Environmental Issues to stay abreast of more Christmas miracles and acts of human compassion as they happen.



For those of you left with some turkey, I thought I'd share my leftover turkey recipes. Not that I mind the occasional sliced turkey sandwich, but I have a low tolerance for one after the other. I can change the kind of bread that is used. I can substitute condiments that I would normally not reach for. But no matter how you sliced and dice it; a sandwich is a sandwich.


21 and a half ounces of leftover broth right out of the turkey roaster or 2 10 3/4 oz. cans of chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 half tsp. white or black pepper (southern cooks don't care)
2 cups of raw cubed potatoes (peels on or off is up to you)
1 16 ounce package of mixed vegetables or 16 ounces of leftover green peas, string beans and carrots (did you think this was a leftover turkey recipe that would leave you stuck with pans of unused vegetables?)
1 stalk of chopped celery
3 tablespoons of oleo or butter
3 tablespoons of plain, all purpose flour
3 cups of cubed, luscious leftover turkey
4 sliced hard boiled eggs
1 deep dish 9 inch pie crust

Pour broth, bay leaf and pepper into a big boiler and bring to a rolling boil. Add potatoes and allow to return to a boil before reducing heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes. After that time, add celery and mixed vegetables (if you opted for frozen, if not you can wait 10 minutes as they are already cooked) and return to boil and cook for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf, drain vegetables while reserving the broth.

Melt butter in dutch oven or large skillet. Add flour and stir until mix is smooth. Cook 1 minute while stirring constantly. Begin to gradually add broth stirring all the time until mixture is thickened and bubbly.

Stir in your drained vegetables, cubed turkey and sliced boiled eggs.

Put the mixture into a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish and cover it with your pie crust. Trim the edges of the crust, flute the edges and seal. To give your dish a unique and fancy look, cut the trimmed pieces of crust into leaves or shapes to make your leftover turkey recipe into something that will impress the kids.

Layer your shapes on top of the crust. Cut slits in the pastry crust and bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until the top is browned and filling is hot and bubbly.

You should be able to serve least six hungry people with this quick and easy leftover turkey recipe.

So, I came up some leftover turkey recipes like the one above that are filled with creative ways to use even the smallest pieces of breast meat that will appeal to families that are used to good, southern cooking. Some are best suited for white meat and others will give you a place to use the meat from the leg and thigh. I would advise you to use the most attractive pieces for casseroles and save the shreds for soups. I give this recommendation because of appearance, not taste. Presentation is a large part of getting the best out of the holiday bird and extending your grocery budget. Even the most attractive won't cut it as acceptable for your holiday party or mesh with the most basic baby shower recipes or decorations. But they are tasty, very cheap and easy to make as you have most of the ingrediants there and they are already cooked!

Camouflaging the turkey in your dishes may be the most crucial part of the process. The last thing you want is for your family members to get wise to your money saving, penny pinching practices and start to voice their protests. It's no fun to spend hours cooking a tasty recipe only to get comments on how they are sick of eating turkey rather than the favorable reviews that you were hoping for. Kids just don't get how important good leftover turkey recipes are or how to make good use of what you have until they are grown and faced with grocery budgets of their own.



I was amazed at how few of the local restaurants open on Thanksgiving. Not that I could have squeezed even my favorite lasagna or fried raviolis down after all that pie I had awhile ago, but for those who had planned on going out to eat tonight might be in for an unpleasant surprise!

The trendy, upscale restaurants that are rather expensive usually do a booming business on evenings following major holidays around here. Working mothers don't want to spend the rare day off slaving over a hot stove. Or if they do cook a big turkey dinner with all the trimmings, they may want a little reward and well deserved rest after the family gathering is over and done with.

If you can find restaurants open on Thanksgiving and Christmas it would be ever so romantic to be treated. What a luxury to slip away to enjoy dinner where you and your husband could indulge yourselves in a little adult conversation not to mention some wine and food that would be somewhat less than appealing to the kids.

Speaking of the kids, I noticed a few of their favorites among the restaurants open for Thanksgiving; Burger King and McDonald's were the most noticeable with long lines. Kentucky Fried Chicken was closed as was Taco Bell, so their fast food selection would have been rather limited, but not nearly as much as the adults in the area with discerning culinary tastes.

I found this to be disappointing as it seemed the children were being rewarded with alternatives to leftover turkey and dressing, but nothing special for me. And I was the one who got up at dawn to make sure the meal was on the table by noon. Such is the life of a dedicated mother.

Return to Oooh Baby Baby Parenting and Environmental Issues to see what was on our family's holiday menu as soon as I have time to take inventory and make a list!


Teen Commits Suicide Live on Web

It's a sad day when a teen commits suicide live on the web. As if a young man at the young age of nineteen feeling so hopeless that he felt compelled to end his life were not tragic enough it's being reported that as Abraham K Biggs, of Broward County FL, was taking the fatal dose of pills that rather than alert the authorities some forum members reportedly spewed insults believing him to be faking. Apparently there were at least some responsible viewers that alerted the police as they broke down the door and found his body. Now morbid surfers are clamoring to find the Abraham Biggs suicide video.

Abraham is said to have posted a suicide note (on the forum?), in which he said that he had hurt other people and considered himself to be a failure. I can't help but think that everyone has had those same feelings at one time or another. Do you wonder what keeps some going while others take more drastic measures? Is it the knowledge that your family members will be devastated? Perhaps religious beliefs give you solace or instill the fear of what could be waiting on you when you reach the other side? We are told that God does not appreciate our disrespect of the earthly bodies that he gives us nor of us making the decision on when to leave them behind.

If there is a surefire antidote to self loathing and suicidal thoughts, I want to know what it is. Many young people respond to inspirational, motivational poems that give them hope to move beyond what's bothering them or reading the experiences of others and hearing that time heals all wounds. Whatever works, I'm for it.

As a parent, I can't imagine what it would be like to be informed that one of my children had made such a final and irreversible decision. I'm sure that if any teen who considers killing himself live on the web or in private would stop to think how much they are loved and will be missed that they will have to stop and reconsider. My thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones that Abraham Biggs left behind.

If you know of a troubled teen who you feel is having suicidal thoughts, please try to get help before it's too late. The Teen Suicide Hotline may be an excellent place to start.

Return to Oooh Baby Baby Parenting and Environmental Issues for more thoughts from a stay at home mom.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 2008

I’m sure most of us remember the story of How the Grinch Stole Christmas from the Dr. Seuss book. Remember that poor little puppy dog with antlers strapped to the top of his head that pulled the wicked Mr. Grinch up and down the mountains? The little fellow skidded and tumbled and made his way through the shoulder high snowdrifts only to make his way to Who-ville where the mean creature that had cracked the whip to drive him onward slithered his way into sweet little Cindy Lou Who's house to steal the gifts from under the Christmas tree. For that matter, if memory serves me, he stole the tree along with everything else.

I said all that to say that in my opinion, the news is the Grinch of 2008. I can scarcely turn on the car radio or the television without being bombarded with the percentages that major retailers project their sales will have dropped when compared to 2007. My oldest daughter heard one such report with a catch phrase that went something like "Worst Christmas in a Decade". She was very curious to know exactly what a "decade" was. I believe that she thought it was some kind of Christmas stocking or a place where presents were dropped off by the jolly old elf himself.

This put me in the less than enviable position of having to explain economic slowdowns in words that a four year old could fathom. I can remember asking my mom, "Why did the Grinch hate Christmas"? She never had an answer for me because she probably felt that I would not understand. I felt her pain as even with my best efforts, this child could not understand what all this had to do with Christmas.
She simply could not make the connection between Jesus and sub-prime mortgages even when explained in the simplest of terms. Then it hit me; there IS no connection.

If you want to know How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 2008, it was by making the celebration too much about purchasing power and too little about blessings of faith and the innocence of children. We may be in a recession and there may be fewer or less expensive presents given to our loved ones, but let’s rise above it and show the world that the quality of our lives is not based on purchasing power and credit limits. It would probably do us all good to get back to the basics of the holiday spirit and not to have so much focus on what we get but rather on what we have.

Return to Oooh Baby Baby Parenting and Environmental Issues to read more opinionated diatribe from this stay at home mom.



The Google Flu Tracker could not have been brought to my attention at any better time. Why wait to see symptoms of the flu in the line at the grocery store when the master of search results can do it for me? As those of you who subscribe to my blog already know, my little one is allergic to eggs (and just about everything else you can name) and every year I go through the angst of making the decision whether or not to subject her to the vaccination process.

A few weeks ago I came across an article that stated that in their opinion that the flu vaccines which are made in (where else?) China were not sufficiently tested for safety. Why can't these people get it right? As if I didn't have enough to worry about with the Thimersol thing, now they are throwing this at me. These are the same jokers that can't keep melamine out their own baby's milk.

Should we believe that they care more about a bunch of people in the United States not getting the flu than they do about their own kids? Does anybody know what percentage, if any, of the flu vaccines that are used in the USA comes from China? Or do we primarily use products made by Sanofi Pasteur and Wyeth Lederle? I know that a few years back when there was a shortage that overseas companies were mentioned. I wonder if that has changed.

Meanwhile, the time is closing in on me to make my move. Google Flu Tracker shows that there is not much activity in our area at the moment. However, with all the travel that takes place from state to state during the holiday season we know those statistics can change in a New York minute.

One thing that I'm having a hard time understanding is why my baby's allergist insists that she needs the shot in spite of the fact that she has an egg allergy as well as the research that has reported that flu shots don't reduce the risk of death. I know she has asthma and the flu would be very dangerous for her, but if they say the shots don't work what's the good in it? Perhaps I should just pay close attention to the Google Flu Tracker tool and flu trends in the United States and run from the risk of viral infection the same way storm trackers run from storms?

Return to Oooh Baby Baby Parenting and Environmental Issues for more on my decision whether or not to vaccinate my family for the flu.