Friday, November 11, 2011

Anticipation Part II Month of November- Blog 2: Letters from Mom & Mimi

Hello Packer-ette Ellie!

So this is the anticipation week… FOOTBALL!  That’s right, our beloved Packers are 8-0 and PSU is 8-1 (although this is shocking as I would consider our college team not very good… possibly the worst 8-1 team around but I will take that record!).  And along with our most recent triumph, I was going to congratulate Penn State’s coach, Joe Paterno on his newest milestone- 409 wins (it’s the most victories of any Division I coach)… sadly though, this was overshadowed this week by some very serious allegations of abuse and a cover-up within the university.  I am disappointed in Mr. Paterno (and anyone involved in the scandal or hiding the scandal), that the high moral standard he always held his team to, he didn’t hold for himself or his staff.  Being the best means standing up for the defenseless and speaking up for those without a voice (sometimes this means doing things that we don’t like or that are hard to do).  I think to maintain Penn State's reputation and tradition; it's time to start fresh.  We love Penn State but we need to uphold the values that are the university's foundation.

You see Ellie, in our house (and in mine growing up), we believe that football is synonymous with fall.   

Your Poppy even sent you Packer fleece pajamas and they are your favorite!!!  You are such the cheerleader (and yes, you support your Dad’s Steelers team as long as they aren’t playing the Packers!).  

We need to ask Mimi to share one of her Packerette cheerleading stories with us… did you know that the Packers’ playing field used to be at her high school?  Green Bay is a really special city and I want Mimi to share with you what that was like.  It’s a small town with a lot of heart!  

With her spunk and energy, Ellie would make a good cheerleader and player for the Packers (her favorite player is the same as mine... #12- Aaron Rodgers).

So for this month, our recipes are our signature chili recipes!  Chili is delicious to bring to a tailgate (and growing up and attending Penn State, tailgating is not something we take lightly… we are proud of our cow fields that become home to the pregame parties filled with food and fun games like Corn Hole, Ladder Ball, and Washers)!  But it’s also fun to have a chili cook-off with friends!!!

And after the recipe, I want you to read words of wisdom from a beloved football coach who was very wise, passionate, and inspirational!

Healthy Chili                       

1 lb lean ground turkey
2 tbsp chili spice
¾ cup water
1 can baked beans
2 can diced, peeled tomatoes
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 can light red kidney beans
1 can marinara sauce

Sauté meat in pan until brown.  Drain excess juice.  Add water and chili spice; simmer 5-10 minutes.  Mix remaining ingredients in separate saucepan; add sautéed meat and simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes.

I also love that Mr. Lombardi references troops in battle within this speech… perfect timing to say HAPPY VETERANS’ DAY and thank you to those courageous men and women who put their lives on the line for our country!  Our armed forces live and breathe honor, strenth, and courage.  These are qualities to live by.  They ranscend jobs, time, and place (and should be taught and followed even on the football field).  

What It Takes to Be Number One by Vince Lombardi (one of the best and most legendary coaches ever, leading the Packers to win two Super Bowl victories)

Winning is not a sometimes thing; it's an all the time thing. You don't win once in a while; you don't do things right once in a while; you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.
There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game, and that's first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay, and I don't ever want to finish second again. There is a second place bowl game, but it is a game for losers played by losers. It is and always has been an American zeal to be first in anything we do, and to win, and to win, and to win.
Every time a football player goes to ply his trade he's got to play from the ground up - from the soles of his feet right up to his head. Every inch of him has to play. Some guys play with their heads. That's O.K. you've got to be smart to be number one in any business. But more importantly, you've got to play with your heart, with every fiber of your body. If you're lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head and a lot of heart, he's never going to come off the field second.
Running a football team is no different than running any other kind of organization - an army, a political party or a business. The principles are the same. The object is to win - to beat the other guy. Maybe that sounds hard or cruel. I don't think it is.
It is a reality of life that men are competitive and the most competitive games draw the most competitive men. That's why they are there - to compete. To know the rules and objectives when they get in the game. The object is to win fairly, squarely, by the rules - but to win.
And in truth, I've never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart didn't appreciate the grind, the discipline. There is something in good men that really yearns for discipline and the harsh reality of head to head combat.
I don't say these things because I believe in the "brute" nature of man or that men must be brutalized to be combative. I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man's finest hour - his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear - is that moment when he has to work his heart out in a good cause and he's exhausted on the field of battle - victorious.

And I will close on a favorite quote of mine from Penn State’s coach Joe Paterno (and in light of the ongoing investigation, I don’t think that Mr. Paterno followed his own advice), Losing a game is heartbreaking. Losing your sense of excellence or worth is a tragedy.”

So Miss Ellie, always try your best but never forget who are and what you stand for.  And as for Penn State, it is a very dark hour but we hope changes will be made because WE ARE…

Love you,

And now from your Mimi…
Skyping with your Mimi in your Packer outfits!!! 

Hi Ellie,

Like your mommy said… this is the anticipated week of FOOTBALL!”  And I am writing this blog not with a cup of hot tea by my side but rather a cup of hot chicken broth, as I seem to have caught a head cold over the weekend. It certainly isn’t as delicious, but I do find it comforting.   You see Ellie I traveled solo down to Philly for my cousin’s house-warming party and also to take out your cousin Michelle for a scrumptious Italian dinner.  The best part of traveling solo is having that long stretch of time on the highway to meditate and pray.  It is a wonderful and quite peaceful time Ellie to think things out loud.  I did a lot of praying for Gigi’s health, using mental imaging as a healing tool.  I also prayed that it would be a good weekend for my extended Philly family and that the party would be a happy success.  I prayed for Poppy, and that he would be able to bring his mom smiles during his stay in Florida during this difficult time.  I also prayed for our cousin Jordan, who is a senior in high school and an awesome football player.  I prayed that his football team would have another win under their belt with no injuries to bring them one game closer to a State Championship.  And since Penn State Football was having a by-week, I shelved my prayers for them for a few days.  But my beloved Packers were playing Sunday afternoon, so I needed to pray that they continued to play with passion, finesse and as a team that would bring them another win!  I should have included in my prayers to not catch a cold…. but that did not cross my mind as it was such a beautiful weekend.  (Too late now!)  Your Great Gram Mundy used to say a cold is: 3 days coming, 3 days staying and 3 days going, and drinking hot tea with honey is a good way to soothe your throat during those 9 days.  That may not sound like a bad idea Ellie, but for me that won’t ever happen as I see honey as bee poop.  Yuck.  But let’s get back to football.  On a high note I do have to tell you that the Packer’s did win against the Chargers bringing them to an 8 – 0 record!  Yeah!!!!!!  And up until this week we were excited and looking forward to Penn State playing Nebraska hoping to sweeten our record to 8 -1.  But like your mommy stated above, serious allegations of abuse within our university and a possible cover-up have been brought to the attention of our city, our country, our world Ellie.  Too many high-ranking officials at our university forgot to follow basic moral standards, and because of their grave mistake, many innocent victims have been hurt.  It is a very upsetting and sad story, one your mommy and I wanted to acknowledge but not write about in our blog to you.  Instead, I shall say many prayers for all who need them.  Back to a more uplifting note, I do need to share with you some stories of football weekends in Green Bay while I was growing up but I think I will save them for later… possibly if my Packer’s make it to another Super Bowl!  Right now I want to share my chili recipe with you!  I am not trying to “toot” my own horn, but I have to admit it is darn good!  Here it is:

Mickey’s Chili
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion chopped
3 lbs ground turkey (or beef for beef lover’s)
2 tsp minced garlic
3 packets hot chili powder
1 small Habanera Hot Pepper finely chopped
2 tbsp Spicy Brown mustard
1 tbsp sea salt
2 tbsp black pepper
2 (28 oz) cans plum tomatoes… cut in large chunks
1 (28 oz) can chunky crushed basil, garlic and oregano tomatoes
½ cup merlot wine or Shiraz works well too
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp fresh basil (chopped)
3 tbsp fresh oregano (chopped)
¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
2 cans dark red kidney beans
2 cans northern white beans
**Optional** 1 cup diced green and red bell peppers mixed
Heat the olive oil in a very large pot.  Add the onions and cook over low heat stirring until soft… about 12 to 15 minutes.   Add ground turkey, stir to brown.  Stir in garlic, hot pepper, mustard, sea salt and pepper.  Add the tomatoes, wine, lemon juice, basil, oregano, parsley and beans.  Stir well and simmer uncovered for about 15 to 20 minutes.  If you need to adjust any of the seasonings… feel free to add whatever!
Eat hearty!

Ellie, I also wanted to share a poem with you.  I enjoyed this one for its young at heart humor, its sports viewing truths, and its adult like consequences!  Enjoy!

Our Teacher’s A Football Fanatic
By: Kenn Nesbit

Our teacher’s a football fanatic.  It’s all that he has on his mind.  He listens to games on his headphones, and frets when his team is behind.

He jumps up and down when they’re winning.  He screams when they fumble a pass.  We know we’re supposed to be reading, but watching him is simply a gas.

Our principal walked in on Friday.  And he was too angry to speak.  Our substitute started on Monday.  Our teacher’s been benched for a week!

So Ellie, I shall wrap this up with a possible lesson to be learned here.  It can be found in a quote from Vince Lombardi.  He said, “Football is like life, it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority."   I think his words speak beautifully Ellie.  They are words of wisdom and experience.  They are words of sound morals.  Always stand strong for what you believe in, and always stand proud.  You are our future!

OK.  Since our Disney trip is around the corner and we will be anticipating some new and exciting adventures, how about in our next blog we share with Ellie some favorite Disney World stories from vacations of long ago Kim?  After all it is a wonderful place where memories are made!

Till then CinderEllie!
Love Mimi


  1. Nicely done, loved the passion you both have for football.

  2. Thank you Jackie- I'm glad that came through, even with the PSU scandal.