Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Happy Mistake

I accidentally purchased chunky peanut butter :( Of course, I only discovered this fact after I opened the jar! It wasn't bad on an English muffin, but I thought a better use would be to make cookies.

Boy was I right! The cookies are light and crisp with chopped peanuts and chocolate chips scattered throughout, mmmm!

If you're in the neighborhood stop in for a few before they're all gone.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ahhh, Spring!

I know we have been enjoying Spring for many days now, in fact the first day was on March 20th, but to me yesterday was really the first day. Dad and I stopped by the roadside to cut some Lilac for Mom. These Lilac bushes grow unkempt and you might say wild. Mom has been wistfully eyeing this stand of bushes for many years. I find it amazing that my Mom can tell a "good" Lilac from a "bad" Lilac just by looking at it, from a speeding car no less! A good Lilac are the scented ones and of course the bad ones are unscented.
Mom was thrilled! So, now we have a large bouquet of one of the best heralds of Spring  filling the house with its wonderful scent. Nothing better. Ahhh, Spring!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Craft Night - Glitter Eggs

On March 25th, we had another busy craft night! As usual, we began with chit-chat and food, we snacked on fruit, veggie dip, and then munched on lettuce wraps and a turkey stir-fry. But the Pièce de résistance was Barb's generous purchases from Weber's Bakery! YUMMY! There were so many goodies it was hard to decide what to eat, we definitely could have skipped all the other food and jumped right into the bakery treats!
It was hard to put the goodies down, but we did and started our crafts. Using styrofoam eggs on wooden skewers, slightly thinned glue, paint brushes, and lots of glitter, the crafters got their creative mojos going.

Even Sable wanted to participate!

Artfully looped ribbon makes for easy display.

Although missing her "crafty" friend, Barb did a wonderful job on her two eggs!

Our youngest crafter, Jessica, is very creative, she braided some ribbon for her hanging loop!

BFF's, Jen and Lisa,  showing off their sparkling creations.

Mom made goodie bags for everyone and as a special treat each of our friends received glittered birdhouses for Spring home decorations.
Thanks again to all our crafty friends for another wonderful night filled with fun and laughter!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tell Me About Yourself

If you were speaking on the phone with someone whom you've never met and they asked you to "tell me about yourself", what would you say?

Go ahead; think about it for a few seconds. What are the first things that pop into your head?

The color of your eyes or hair?
Did you think about your smile, or perhaps a beauty mark?

Did your height come to mind?

Or maybe your weight or body shape flashed into focus.

Today, I watched a bit of a morning talk show where a celebrity was discussing her weight gain and attempts to lose the extra pounds, again. This discussion got me to thinking about how much we focus on our physical attributes.

If someone were to ask me to tell them about myself, I would probably start with my green eyes, and height, etc. These are just superficial things, a part of who I am, yes, but not the most important things that truly make me--me and you--you.

I think we should start focusing on the best things that make each of us unique:
       bubbly personality
               sense of humor
                      positive outlook
                            love of reading
       interest in nature
               fondness of romantic movies
                       boundless energy
                             a smile that lights up the room
       ingenuity that keeps the boss guessing
               faith in a higher power
                       fierce loyalty to family
                              creative flair

The next time you look in the mirror, don't focus on gray hairs, blemishes, extra pounds, or other physical imperfections, take a second and think about a few things that make you special.

I hope you realize (in a non-pompous way) how wonderful it is to be you!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ordinary Moment

The simple gesture of holding someone's hand, the sharing of warmth, the immediate sense of familiarity is so comforting. Something that is so everyday ordinary and yet it is so special.

I often sit with my mother talking or watching television and we will occasionally hold hands. There is always a tender squeeze that says “I love you". Sometimes I am taken back to my childhood, walking hand-in-hand with my mother; the memories are warm and loving. We would play a game with my mother squeezing my hand a certain number of times and I would respond with the same number of squeezes. In silence, walking along, back and forth quick successions of squeezes in attempts to fool the other person. Such a simple game but it is embedded in my memory of a happy childhood.

When next you hold someone's hand be it friend, spouse, child, or family, savor the moment, the sensations, and simply enjoy.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I could bake everyday!

With the gift of farm fresh eggs from my sister's friend, yesterday morning began with a baking spree...Angel Food and Sponge Cakes!

Fresh egg whites yield a fluffier, higher Angel Food Cake so I wanted to use the eggs for this purpose. As you may or may not know, Angel Food Cake only uses the whites of the eggs, no yolks. Also, it is best if the whites are at room temperature, so while the whites warmed up I made a Sponge Cake.

Sponge Cake only uses the yolks so it is a great way to use up the yolks. Sponge Cake is a very light and airy cake, not at all dense and squishy like a kitchen sponge. Since Valentine's Day is close, I chose heart pans.

I kept one heart for my family and drenched it in a decadent, rich chocolate ganache, mmmm.

The second heart received a blanket of strawberry butter cream using some homemade jam and decorated with fresh berries. This cake was happily given as a gift to my Aunt Patsy and Uncle Bob.

Thank goodness for electric mixers, otherwise I don't think I would make a scratch Angel Food Cake. Look at the marvelous volume of whites whipped to stiff peaks!
After carefully folding in flavorings, cake flour and sugar the cake baked to a golden perfection.

Cooling the cake upside down is required so as not to deflate all the delicate air bubbles.
Sometimes I like to frost Angel Food Cakes, or serve with berries and whipped cream. But yesterday we enjoyed the cake "au naturale".

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Christmas Crafts...delayed

As a Stocking Stuffers I made a bunch of felt snowpeople, each of them unique. I was working down to the wire, in fact, I was stitching on Christmas morning. In the hustle and bustle, I neglected to take pictures of my snow family.

But I made two more, a snowman with a top hat for Dad and Mom wanted an angel. Without a Christmas deadline, took my time to fininsh this pair. They were actually completed the end of January and I'm only getting around to posting the picture. I figured with all the recent snowfall the snow duo were still appropriate and well, you know, better late than never.

Cute couple, just like Mom and Dad!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Two Two

February 2, 2010 and it is Tuesday, so it is 2-2-10 Tuesday! I like the way the alliteration sounds, try it, say it out loud.

Three is said to be a magical number. Three is often used in mythology and fairy tales. Even in modern myths three is significant, i.e. "celebrities die in threes".

But I like two. Two is cozy, friendly.

Two has been heralded as well in its own adages: "Table for Two!" "Two to Tango" "Two's company, three's a crowd." "Tea for two." "Two peas in a pod." "Cocktails for two." "Two wrongs don't make a right." "Two can play at that game."

"Two heads are better than one" when working through a problem. To do something quickly is to have it done in "two shakes of a lamb's tail". A lightbulb moment is often achieved after you have "put two and two together."

Enough of my ramblings, my two cents if you will, about the number two. I will put the subject to rest with this thought, there are no two ways about it, I am not of two minds, but of one in my brief homage to the number two--Twoday is tremendous!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mixing It Up!

Down to the wire, last day to enter Betty Crocker's "Mix It Up with Betty!" annual cookie contest. I experimented with two recipes and entered Peanut Butter Snack Pies and Get Up and Go Cookies.

In March I'll find out if I'm a finalist, I'll let you know.
Wish me luck!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Craft Night - Beaded Bracelets

Our 3rd Craft Night had a Valentine's Day theme and was all about the glitz and the glittery!

We first feasted upon homemade Cheese Puffs hot from the oven and delicious Chili Cheese Dip (yummy, thanks Jen!), followed up by salad, Beef Stroganoff, and Citrus Cupcakes.

Mom and I opened up our bead stash as well as newly purchased baubles to the bead novices. Our eager beaders (ha ha!) could make two bracelets one in red for Valentine's Day and another in any other color. The novices made interesting and bold selections to create their masterpieces.

The bracelets were quickly strung on stretch cord or tigertail and I assisted by doing the knotting (sometimes not too well, oops!) and finishing.

The dining room rang with lots of chit-chat, laughter, "oohs", and "ahhhs" as finished bracelets were proudly displayed.

Thanks everyone for another great Craft Night, Mom and I had fun and hope you did too!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Middle Child

Welcome to the world
baby girl!
Diane and Jerry welcomed their fifth child on this day in 1968, Lisa Ann.

Our little cutie at 3 months old.

Lisa is the middle child of nine, she is also the middle girl--a double whammy! My fun loving sister, pictured front and center in 1971 in the brown dress, had to deal with four older siblings trying to tell her what to do and in turn had four younger sibs to boss around. I think here in her formative years is where Lisa developed her outgoing nature, her ability to multi-task, and her competitive streak.
My Aunt Patsy, who has a mind for details of people and events, as a child created a newspaper of sorts with all the stories she overheard her adult family discussing. Much to my grandmother's dismay, young Aunt Patsy then distributed copies to neighbors (what else do you do with a newspaper!). Lisa has inherited this detail-oriented mind and can remember soooo many things, even from early childhood--it is scary! She could definitely give our Aunt Patsy a run for her money in the memory department and would have made a wonderful co-contributor of the newspaper.

Lisa, loyal friend, generous sister, and devoted daughter,
Happy Birthday!

One last thought, please note in the above 1981 birthday photo, how I seem to be the only one singing, Glenn has covered his mouth to prevent himself from blowing out the candles, and Renee seems bored by the event...Hmmmm?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Song in my Head

Today, I woke up with a song in my head..."precious and few are the moments we two can share"...I don't know how it arrived it my head. I don't remember hearing it on tv yesterday, I don't recall hearing while I was in the car, and I didn't turn the radio on this morning. "Precious and Few" accompanied me all while I played and walked with the dog. I kept wondering why am I playing this song in my head. My own personal elevator music continued as I ate breakfast. Anytime I wasn't actively thinking, the song merrily bounced around my head, why!

It is not an anomaly only to me, getting a song stuck in your head happens all the time to all of us. But why was my brain torturing me with this particular song on constant replay. I finally decided it must be a message! I'll probably sound as syrupy sweet as the song, but I think the message is to appreciate the people around me more, that the moments we have together truly are precious and few. It is not a new thought to me, I am reminded of it as I care for my parents, or spend time with a friend or relative that I don't see often enough.

I take so many things in life for granted like electricity, clean water, good food, etc. If challenged I could live without many of those things, but what a sad, empty life I would have without my family and friends. So, here's a pledge to my dear ones: may our moments always be precious and never be few. Love to all!

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Gift

I am going to focus on enjoying life more, all the good, funny, happy moments. I am going to worry less about what has happened and what might happen. Instead of losing myself in negative thoughts, I will try to be more positive. This is not so much a resolution as an awareness of wanting to be a better person--to love more, to laugh more, to enjoy all the truly wonderful people in my life.

My New Year's Gift to you is to
Enjoy the Moment!
I will.