Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Now we have the Apple iPod that is so sleek and thin and can store 1,000 songs. It is so much smaller, lightweight, and truly portable. We download songs from the internet to compile lists of all our favorites, old or new.
Back in the 1970's there was no such thing as the internet, or downloading, or personal computers, or cell phones, etc. Technology changes so fast, what seems state of the art when we buy it is quickly replaced by something new. It boggles the mind as well as drains our wallets. So, as we continue to purchase newer, better, faster technology, let's take a moment to fondly remember LPs, 8-track tapes, and cassette tapes...ah, those were the days (:
Monday, March 30, 2009
Our burgeoning tulips were covered in snow, I hope that they're not permanently damaged. The snow was melting quickly today so I think the flowers will be fine at least from the snow, from the bunnies is another story. The rotten rabbits are after the tulips, nibbling their tender leaves down to the nubbins. Not this year I cry! I am trying to foil the rabbits efforts this year by protecting them with cages made from old plastic pots. I have been successful so far, but as we all know rabbits are rascally, I will have to be vigilant.
Although pretty, I hope Mother Nature is done with snow, I'm ready for Spring!
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Rainbows are full of color, stretching out across the sky. They always make me smile when I see one, I just have to stop and admire it. Rainbows are wonderfully random and fleeting. I don't need a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, for me the rainbow is the prize.
Hearts are so expressive, usually associated with love themes, but can you can have heartache, heartburn, or a heart attack. I like to think about the positive heart metaphors: giving your heart to someone, your heart's desire, heart and soul, learning something by heart, keeping someone or something near to your heart, to take heart, or perhaps to do something to your heart's content. When was the last time you did something until your heart was content? It sounds so warm and comforting. We make oaths on our hearts too. So, for me, hearts are places of love, joy, solace, friendship, hope, and occasional ache; a place to keep my family and friends close.
Glass exhibits qualities of strength and weakness. It is commonplace but it can also be an art form. It is in art that glass captures my attention, stained glass and blown glass art. Stained glass windows adorn churches of many faiths to aid in contemplation and story telling. Stained glass windows can also be found in businesses and homes to add beauty and design. I love the creativity and range of colors used in the windows. I have been privileged to watch several blown glass artists at work in their studios. I am always amazed at the skill, strength, and stamina that it takes to shape their pieces.
I think about all these things when I admire my glass rainbow heart paperweight.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
This recipe was published in the newspaper courtesy of the Willow Creek Lutheran Church Cookbook, Dell Rapids, SD.
1/2 cup raisins
2 cups flour
2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 large tart apple, peeled and grated
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup coconut
2 cups grated carrots
2/3 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla
Soak raisins in hot water for 15-20 minutes.
Preheat ovent to 350 degrees. Combine flour, soda, salt, sugar and cinnamon. Stir in drained raisins, apple, walnuts, coconut and carrots. Beat together eggs, oil and vanilla. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture to blend. Fill greased muffin tins or use cup-cake liners.
Bake 18-20 minutes. Makes 24 muffins.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Pit was packaged in a bright orange box with coordinating orange cards and of course the bell! Originally the game languished on the toy shelf for a period of time. As a game it just didn’t call out to young children. I suppose in a bog of boredom of playing the same games we finally sat down and read the rules and played for the first time. We haven’t looked back since!
Pit in a nutshell: 3 to 8 players, 8 suits of commodity items (wheat, sugar, coffee…) ranging in value from 50 to 100. Players are dealt cards, the dealer declares the market open by ringing the bell, and bidding commences to trade commodities/cards: One! One! One! – Three! Three! Players must find someone willing to trade the same number of cards, continuing yelling numbers, make eye contact, swap cards, and then check your new cards and hope they match the commodity you are trying to “corner the Market”. Yelling and trading continues until someone gets all 9 matching commodity cards and rings the bell! The winner of the round scores whatever value is assigned to the commodity; Wheat is 100 points, quite the coup when you could score with Wheat! Play continues until someone scores 500 points.
Now imagine 5 to 8 children, all with healthy lungs, playing Pit in the house. The yelling, screaming, and bell ringing were the sounds of great fun to my siblings, but to an adult it was less than pleasant to say the least. We loved the game; it was loud, quick, and fun.
My father worked a full-time job and two part-time jobs so he wasn’t at home often to endure the Pit playing. However, my mother was a stay-at-home mom, how unfortunate for her. My mom soon declared that Pit could only be played OUTSIDE. So Pit became a warm weather, outside game. Once we convinced my mom that we could quietly play Pit in the house. We whispered our bids for a while, ultimately we surrendered to the power of Pit and we started yelling thus forever ending inside playing of Pit.
Somewhere, somehow, our Pit game was “lost”. I wouldn’t want to accuse my mom or dad of intentionally throwing out one of our favorite games, but it did suddenly disappear.
A few years ago I found Pit at the Ben Franklin and of course I bought it. Pit is packaged differently and my Standard Edition didn’t come with a bell. Pit would not be the same without the bell, so I bought one. We still love playing Pit. A childhood game to be enjoyed again as adults, awesome!
Note: We haven’t been banished to the outdoors, so far.
Monday, March 23, 2009
I served my Chicken Stir Fry over some nice whole grain white rice. After I took the picture I added some Chow Mein noodles for some crunch. My mom and I both thought it turned out great. It was fun too! I'm going to try out the bamboo steamer on some fish in the near future.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Hmmm, interesting question. Maybe that opens the door wide and you suddenly consider many different grand ideas...start a new business, buy a house, major league baseball tryouts, write a book, paint a picture, compete in the Olympics in the Luge, sail single-handed around the world, sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl...
Maybe your answer isn't something earth shattering and wild, but mundane...quit smoking, stop drinking, get physically fit, stop gambling, propose marriage, give a speech in front of business peers, adopt a child...ordinary things, perhaps, but challenging nonetheless.
What is your answer? What is stopping you from attempting it?
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Floating in our breakfast milk is the memory of Quisp. It was a lightly sweet, crunchy, corn cereal in little saucer shapes. Quisp came in only one flavor. It didn't have any fancy berries or marshmallows or sprinkles. It was simple and my siblings and I loved it, until it disappeared from the market.
Why did we love Quisp? The crunch? The sweet, corn taste? Did the crazy Quisp alien character draw us to the cereal? Whatever the reason, Quisp cereal created fond breakfast memories for my family.
Years ago, I could occasionally find Quisp in select grocery stores, never the big-name stores. The display was always small and temporary. I would purchase several boxes and share with my youngest brothers.
Recently I had another Quest sighting, I bought two boxes. When my brother Scott saw the boxes, his eyes became wide, his face lit up with a huge smile as he exclaimed in a reverant whisper, "Quisp! You found Quisp!" He was so excited, he wanted to know where I had found the treasure. Scott, my brother Paul, and a friend of theirs had all recently been discussing Quisp again. They searched the internet and found that Quisp could be purchased for $4.00/box or $5.39/box plus shipping! Their nostalgia had not yet driven them to purchase Quisp at those high prices. Scott was thrilled to find out that Quisp was available from a local store at $2.50/box!
So the latest round in the Quisp Quest ended with another 10 additional boxes being purchased and distributed to brothers Scott, Paul, Glenn and their friend Ron.
Friday, March 20, 2009
I still stand by my previous statement, feel free to conduct your own home taste test. Just to let you know, even though the pie won the taste test, three-quarters of the Lemon Bars are gone already, we wouldn't want them to go to waste now would we?!
Since I've been focused on lemons, I thought I'd share this picture of my nephew Jacob sucking on lemons for a birthday party game. The lemons were not extremely sour to make him scowl so fiercely, Jacob had chapped, cracked lips. Ouch!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
My brother Scott asked if I wanted to play Scrabble last night. Big deal, you might say. But in my competitive family it is a big deal, and I have a bit of a way with words, and I have won many Scrabble games. So my uber-competitive brothers started to say that I cheat at Scrabble. (gasp!)
My mom, sister-in-law, and several of my brothers are all good Scrabble players. We enjoy bantering about the easy words or interesting words that each other manages to play. But when I am lucky enough to get some good tiles and I am fortunate enough to play a high scoring word on a Triple Word Score...well...my brothers will begin saying, "Sue cheats!" or call out, "Mom! Sue's cheating again!". Suddenly, the taunts of childhood play are renewed. As a mature adult, I eloquently respond, "Am not!"
So it was quite lovely when Scott asked me to play Scrabble, just the two of us. I started out strong with several good words and utilized extra point squares. Unfortunately, Scott floundered, bemoaning his poor tile acquisitions. At one point, I had a 100 point lead. Scott made a comeback, closing the points gap. However, in the end the comeback was not enough and "the cheater" won again! Scrabble anyone?
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
While visiting for Sean's 2nd birthday, I had been taking pictures and videos of him, well I guess Sean decided he needed time away from the "papparazzi" so as he walked by me and my camera, he put up his hand and proclaimed loudly, "No more pictures Sue!"
Monday, March 16, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
I never had an opportunity to bake with my grandmother. It is comforting to know that I use them just as she did, scooping flour and sugar into the cups, leveling the contents with a knife. Lovingly preparing goodies for her family. Though she is gone from the earth, she lingers in my memory, and we are connected.
My mom and I frequently use her recipe book though its backbone is torn and has been repaired with duct tape, its well worn pages are stained, creased, and smudged. Mom was industrious so some of the pages have typewritten recipes, but most pages are in my mom's lovely handwriting. The book has long since outgrown the envelopes after each section for inserting recipe cards or clippings from magazines or newspapers and instead the book bulges a bit from all the recipes stuffed under the front cover. I am quite familiar with the family favorite recipes, but there are many recipes that mom collected that have yet to be tested and tasted.
My mom passed her love of baking on to me and many of my siblings, patiently teaching us how to read recipes, measure ingredients, explaining mixing versus folding, preparing the pans, and testing for doneness. Mom was giving us more than life skills, she was giving part of herself. Time in the kitchen with mom was truly a gift of love.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
For instance, I remember the words to a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer commercial that was on TV when I was younger: "It was a rough exam, really had to cram, now it's all behind, I've got Pabst Blue Ribbon on my mind." But I don't remember a thing about high school Algebra (didn't like that class at all).
My father can recall the different wage amount he has earned at almost every job he had, he can remember how much he paid for cars, and houses, etc....not me! But I can remember a lovely pink sweater I had as little girl, my first Ken doll (my sister Lisa got Barbie), and making cakes in my olive green Easy Bake Oven.
During Saturday morning cartoons, I learned all kinds of stuff from Schoolhouse Rock..."Conjunction Junction what's your function?"..."I'm just a Bill, yes I'm only a Bill, and I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill". Thanks to Schoolhouse Rock I can still quote/sing the entire Preamble to the U.S. Constitution!
I've watched Jeopardy and Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader and I'm sorry to say that my brain doesn't contain many (okay most) of those tidbits of information. Instead my brain is full of silly memories of watching kitschy 1970's shows like Gilligan's Island and Brady Bunch. "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!"
I do remember important pieces of information like how to tie my shoes, how to ride a bike, I know my address and phone number, and I can even walk and chew gum at the same time. Oh well, I guess the miscellaneous stuff the floats to the surface faster than the other mundane facts I have acquired. "Live Long and Prosper!"
Friday, March 13, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
It's funny how traditions get started. When my siblings and I were young, my mother tried out this recipe at Christmas and it was a hit. We requested the bars every Christmas but we never asked for them at any other time of year. The bars were a special Christmas treat and they became a delicious memory in the process.
In case you've been drooling on your computer while looking at the picture, the recipe is below...Enjoy, I certainly did!
Caramel Layer Choco-Bars
50 caramels (14 oz. pkg)
1/3 C evaporated milk (5.33 fl. oz. can)
1 pkg German Chocolate Cake Mix
¾ C margarine or butter, melted
1/3 C evaporated milk
1 C chopped nuts
1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips (6 oz. pkg.)
In a heavy saucepan, combine caramels and 1/3 cup evaporated milk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until caramels are melted. Set aside.
Grease and flour 13x9x2 pan. In large mixing bowl, combine dry cake mix, butter, 1/3 cup evaporated milk and nuts. By hand, stir until dough holds together. Press half of dough into prepared pan; reserve remaining dough for topping. Bake at 350° for 6 minutes.
Sprinkle chocolate chips over baked crust. Spread caramel mixture over chocolate chips. Crumble reserved dough over caramel mixture (dough will not completely cover, some caramel will peek through).
Return to oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Cool slightly; refrigerate about 30 minutes to set caramel layer. Cut into bars.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
- Snowflakes twinkling like diamonds in the evening lamplight
- Early morning walks with my dog
- Knowing Spring is on the way
- Warm chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven
- Playing and exercising on my Wii
- Hugs and kisses
- Back scratches
- Dinners with friends
- Working in the garden
- The smell of freshly mowed grass
- Rainy days that finally end!
Monday, March 9, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009
If you are ever given the opportunity, please express your thanks to our servicemen and women. I hope I never take our freedom for granted. Here is a link about one way that you can show your gratitude: http://www.gratitudecampaign.org/fullmovie.php Pass it on.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
My two sisters and I could pair off and do it so fast our hands seemed like they were a blur. We'd try to stay focused as we went faster, but sometimes we'd just look at each other's silly faces and break up laughing, losing the rhythm. In the end our hands were always red and a bit sore, but we never stopped playing the game.
Three, six, nine, goose drank wine,
Monkey spilled tobacco on the street car line,
Line broke, monkey got choked,
And they all went to heaven in a little row boat.
My mommy told me if I were goody,
That she would buy me a rubber dolly,
So please don't tell her,
I kissed a 'feller,
Down in the cellar,
The other night--Oh what a sight!
My clapping partners and sisters: Renee and Lisa.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
The entire time I was making the pies I had the "Slow Donnie" episode from "Just Shoot Me" going through my head--absolutely hysterical episode! Here's a little taste of that episode: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApmvDU5RmyY Enjoy!
Sunday, March 1, 2009
When Mother Nature decided to give us a few consecutive sunny days, it warmed my heart and had me daydreaming about Spring flowers and birdsong.
Those few sunny days also warmed the blanket of snow so that the weight of a delicate, dried Autumn leaf left its impression in the snow. Nature is wonderous indeed!