Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year Day

It's Leap Year Day. 
Otherwise known as my niece, 
Maggie's Birthday!!!

We all think it's great fun. 
I don't know if she gets as big a kick out of it as we do.
Her father was born in a leap year. 
On February 28th. 
The story goes that they told our 
Great-Grandfather that he was actually born on 
the 29th just to make him happy.
I kind of think they weren't going to need to 
worry about that come Mark's first birthday
 (if you know what I mean.)
So how fun is it that his daughter was indeed
born on February 29th!

Maggie is and always has been one of the 
sweetest, most loving people
you will ever want to meet. 

My brother left Illinois before 
he and Patty started their family.
They would get back here about once a year or so.
And here is the coolest thing about Maggie, 
every time they came back for a visit Maggie would greet
each of us with a big hug!
What little kid does that to people they never see?
I think it's a testament to Mark and Patty
being deliberate in talking about the family
so the kids didn't think of us as strangers
but I also think it speaks to the 
size of Maggie's heart. 

PS, Maggie's an artist. 
Like me. 
She marches to her own drummer. 
I love that about her too. 

Follow Up

Whereas these are really cute and a good idea,
everyone can double dip to their hearts content, 
the dipping is difficult. 
Next time I will serve them with little spoons
or spreaders of some sort. 

Just a little heads-up. 
You're welcome.

Deep Thoughts

Believe it or not I found this 
little quote (?) on

Does it count as a quote if it is not attributed to anyone?
for your consideration I present:

What if the only things you woke up with today
were the things you thanked God for

I try so hard to practice 
To be grateful. 
To be actively aware of all God has done for me.

And it's funny that after I tried to compile a list of 
all the things I am thankful for and 
really would be sad if I woke up without tomorrow, 
I determined the list was too long and was bound to be missing things.

So then I thought I should take it down to the most basic needs in my life. 
The Holy Spirit.

And whereas I think that is spot on,
I can't help but think it's a bit of a cop out.
I think I am called to count my blessings. 

And this makes me think again about how much there  
is to "keep track of" as a Christian. 
All the things I should do, not do, try to do. 

And then I am thankful for all those things. 
That's the stuff that keeps my eyes turned toward God. 
And me on my knees.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Individual 7 Layer Dips

Another Pintrest find.
How cute are these!?

They are small cups filled with, 
you got it, 
7 layers of taco dip.

Little individual servings of everything
are all over the place. 
I've been doing the whole dessert thing.
It started with cupcakes in a jar.
And then moved on to the dessert "shots".
And now, snacks!
Here's the formula:
refried beans
sour cream
shredded cheese
chopped black olives
green onions

That's 8, but who's counting. 

What are they going to come up with next?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Granite Countertops

You know how when you start a project it just seems to
I present for your consideration
my magnetic bar. 
You see, we had our counters measured and a template
made for new ones. 
We had to clear 
off the counters.
I kind of liked all the space.
So I decided the way to eliminate one item
from the countertop would be a 
magnetic knife strip.
No more knife block. 

I am left to wonder, 
when the time comes to sell and you know
the real estate agent is going to yell at us
to declutter, 
get stuff off the counter!
Do you suppose she will ask for the block back?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Craft Night 2

We did it again.
Lory and I drank our way through another 
Craft Night.
Er, no, 
enjoyed an evening of fellowship,
and refreshments.
Yes! Refreshments!
Never mind we continue to be the only ones
who seem to hit the bottle of wine.
What a fun night. 
Lory had made an adorable 
sock bunny the last craft night and we
all decided we wanted to also so here we are.
Sock bunnies. 
At what point do you suppose my 
witty (read smart alec) commentary will drive 
the rest of them to drink? 

Lory's already there. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Meatloaf and Potato Pileup

The jury is still out on this one.
It's definitely cool looking.
I'm just not sure the flavor is all there.
Or that it's worth the mess.
And I didn't even use the food processor like the recipe suggests.

In the recipe's defense I will say that I did not make the
basil, olive oil, lemon sauce that you are 
supposed to serve with it. 
I just didn't have the energy. 
Or attention span.
Or fresh basil. 
Or lemon. 

The recipe called for ground beef as well as
 ground dark meat turkey. 
I substituted *natural* ground round. 
That *natural* gave me pause. 
Who decides exactly what qualifies as 
*natural* these days?
Also, does the ammonia to create pink slime
count as *natural* at some point in it's life?
But it was on sale for the same price as the 
adulterated beef so I went for it. 

I also cut the recipe in half. 
I am starting to remember to do that
  before I shop for ingredients.

I wish there was more flavor in the potato layer. 
The cheese sauce on top is good but doesn't 
go through that whole big layer of potatoes. 
The meatloaf part was good and moist
(sorry Shanna)
but I just think it was too mild. 
It needed a punch of spice.

Hmm, wonder if a little basil/olive oil/lemon sauce
would have fixed that?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rolo Brownie Bites

It's another Pintrest thing.
Rolo candies stuffed inside hot from the oven
brownies baked in a mini muffin pan.
(There has to be a few things 
grammatically wrong with 
THAT sentence.)
But Shanna will let me know about that :o)

I took the original idea and ran with it. 
So here you have
Rolos (drizzled with caramel)
Reese's Penut Butter Cups (with the peanut)
and Hershey's Kisses (drizzled with chocolate)
The reason for the assortment was that I was able to buy a
multi-pack of Rolos, Reeses and Kisses.
And that I bought a "Family" size box of brownie mix. 
So I got 48 brownies instead of 24.

My other deviation from the original was that it
called for you to make caramel cream cheese frosting. 
I figured I could buy a can of frosting and just 
add some caramel sauce to it. 
And then when I started shoving all kinds of
candies into the brownies I figured 
I would just drizzled the caramel as an identifier!
Hershey's syrup for the Kisses
and I had some peanuts in the freezer for 
the Reeses!

WaLa as I like to say.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fellow crafters will understand this. 
I think.
We save everything. 
You never know when you will be able to use that
I had two. 
That's the inside of the label in the back. 
How old do you suppose they are?
When's the last time you bought 
at a fabric store for 19 cents?
When's the last time you dressed up and 
did your hair to iron?
When's the last time you ironed?
How many times do you supposed these have been
packed up and moved?

This piping has been waiting for just this occasion:
Val made these way cool magnetic boards for us for Christmas.
We were each left to our own devices when it came to hanging them. 
An interactive gift, if you will. 

It seems I had some piping hanging around
my house for what looks to be about
forty years just waiting for it's time.

Well, it's time has come.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Love At First Sight

You too?

I was really surprised at my reaction to this.
I've had children. 
I've seen ultrasounds before.
But they weren't my grandbaby.
It's different.
Look at that face!
I'm smitten.

You too?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Valentine Twinkies

The good news is, 
they're not deep fried.
However, they are coated in chocolate.
It's just another little idea I picked up on

The original post has them on a stick. 
I don't have much luck with stuff on a stick. 
The only thing that has stayed where I put it 
when on a stick was a marshmallow.
And then I didn't even tempt fate by standing 
them upright.

But these babies just laying there worked out fine.
Happy Valentine's Day Honey.

Friday, February 17, 2012


This is the card Shanna sent Mike for his birthday.
I love it. 
That is all. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Christmas With The Girls Part 2

Asparagus Quiche and Asparagus Soup.
Quiche just screams Ladies Who Lunch.
I used America's Test Kitchen's recipe.
It's so creamy and easy. 
You pre-bake the shell for about 
5 minutes and then add the goodies, 
I was using sauteed leeks, blanched asparagus
and swiss cheese.
 The you top it all off with a mixture of
2 eggs, 2 eggs yolks, 
3/4 cup heavy cream, 3/4 cup milk, 
a little salt, white pepper and a hit of nutmeg. 

I only used the tips of the asparagus and was 
feeling wildly decadent about that but very 
wasteful with the stems, so hey, 
make soup!
I used Giada's recipe with the herbed goat cheese. 
I even happened to have some honey goat cheese
in the fridge. I think the honey was a pleasant addition.

It cracked me up that I could lay my hands on 
the Christmas dishes so easily. 
It even snowed! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Vino VanGogh

What a fun afternoon!
I got this coupon in the mail and and was familiar with the concept
because Shanna had told me about a similar 
thing in Indianapolis.
I put a call out on Facebook to see if I could get a group 
of girlfriends together to do this
last Saturday afternoon. 
Lory was the only one who bit. 
hahaha, pun not intended, but there it is!
(please take note of the glass of wine, that does
play a part in the "fun" factor)

These are the things that make us besties. 
One of us can say, "Ya wanna?" The other figures, 
well if she "wannas" I guess I'm gonna do it with her. 
One of the nicest things someone said to me recently was, 
"you two could dig dirt and have fun."
True dat and I would not be surprised if we have. 

So here is my explanation of this little endeavor.
Vino VanGogh books a room in a restaurant and 
bring everything you need to create a work of art. 
A sample of the painting. 
An instructor to lead you through the process
step by step.
Canvas, brushes, paint, easels, aprons. 
Only thing they don't supply is numbers on the canvas, 
well, that and the Vino but they put you in pretty
close proximity to it. 

So here's what the set up looks like:
The original artwork is up by the window. 
The instructor is leading the group through an
alternative color scheme. You can choose which way to go. 
She explains both choices as she goes along. 
Lory and I both opted for the warm color scheme. 
It just spoke Margarita to us. 
(there's that glass of wine again)
The original also called for a pink, kind of Cosmo drink. 
Lory and I are Ritas all the way. 

PS, this is our new bat signal for Margarita Fridays. 
If this is hanging on the front of the house, 
come on back, the Ritas are flowing!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Christmas With The Girls

It was a little long in coming but it got here. 
Let me take you through the creative process.
These are flowers made from zippers. 
I found a You Tube tutorial on how to make them. 
These were going to be simple pins. 
A pleasant gift.
But as time went by I had more time to "create"
and decided I needed to do something with this new found creation:
The basic design is to take a circle of anything, 
wrap the center over a pointy object, 
dab a bit of hot glue on the tip
and place it somewhere. 
Here I used fabric and a piece of felt as my base. 
But here Carol used paper bags and a styrofoam wreath form.
Viki uses t-shirt material and makes necklaces.
So now I had a zipper flower and fabric flowers. 
They needed a vehicle.
They are Meijer, super soft and seeing as how our
Christmas was coming a bit late in the season, 
So I had the beginning of something.
But I just didn't feel like all the elements
related to one another. 
So here come the ties that bind.
AKA, decorative trims. 
And here you have them. 
The finished products. 
Who knows what they would have
 become if we had celebrated Christmas in say, oh,

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pork Stew With Ancho Chiles

Let me start by stating I have not found
Rachel Ray's food to be as consistently good
as my smiley friend Giada.
That being said, I have stumbled upon a keeper
in Rachel Land. 

Did you know that there are entire sites devoted to the
hating of Rachel Ray?
That's not even nice. 
I'm not a hater, just maybe not a fan.

But I digress.
And I haven't made that statement for a while
so that helped prompt the little 
Rachel side note. 

On to the food:
Sorry the picture is not the greatest.
The meat was not burned as this photo might lead you to believe.
The sauce you make is a bit dark and I'm not 
too great of a photographer. 
The combination of which excuses or explains this shot.
You choose.

The recipe is actually (actually) called
Kind of an excessive title. 
If you ask me.

It was really good.
I think you could substitute a chuck roast or 
maybe even chicken for the meat. 
Dried chiles come in a very large bag
in my neck of the woods so I will be looking for
more recipes that call for them.
The "pickled" onions were fantastic with the meat.
Don't skip them.
I may not have gotten the sauce as smooth as
intended. I am going to try to 
pulverize it a little more next time. 

And that's about all my observations on this one.
Oh, but one last note, I am NOT going to freeze this.
There are peanuts and almonds smashed up in there
that you would never guess. 
I am scared to death that I would pull it out of the
freezer, forget the nuts, give it to Shanna
and kill her. 

Maybe I should re-name this.
Killer Pork Stew?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Random Fond Memory

And I'll bet I didn't think too fondly of it at the time.

I'm not sure where to start this little rambling, 
at the beginning or in the middle.

I'm going to go for middle. 
We raised our children in a modest 3 bedroom
1 1/2 bathroom split-level house.
The full bath being on the top level with the bedrooms. 
The half bath on the lower level.
For whatever reason none of us were that fond of the 
1/2 bath so it was common practice if 
someone was taking a shower one of us would
knock and the door and shout, 
"you in yet?"
Once the shower-er was safely within the confines
of the tub with the curtain closed
the bathroom was open territory.
It never struck me as an odd thing to do. 

Until Rossella came. 
She would go into the bathroom and lock the door.
All the time.
I used to think that was so odd and 
isn't she lucky we aren't in that small house anymore?
Boy would we have freaked her out!

And then I got to thinking about that small 
house on Oakton Street.
There were 7 of us living in a 
two bedroom one bathroom house.
It was very common for Grandma to yell,
"shut the curtain" 
(we only took baths there)
and come on in. 

I'm sure it bugged the heck out of me at the time 
but for some strange reason the memory of sharing the
bathroom with my kids warms my heart.

Wanna know what prompted this whole thing?

Where the heck did we hang those seven towels??

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Pie Crust

Or defending my time on Pintrest
as not a total time suck. 
How cool is that!?
I found the idea on Pintrest. 
And f you don't know what Pintrest is, well
that's another story altogether.

What the picture is, is a pie shell made from refrigerator
pie dough that you unroll, spread butter and sprinkle
cinnamon on, then roll back up, slice thin
Place in a pie plate
and then smoosh down
to form the shell. 

How fun and easy is that!?
I chose to bake a cinnamon apple pie which was 
but proved to be a little heavy handed with the cinnamon
and so over shadowed the crust. 
I think next time I will try a pumpkin pie. 
Or something where the crust would compliment the pie
but not compete with it. 

So, now to keep all things in order, 
Food Network, research. 
Pintrest, research.
Margarita Fridays?

Marriage Proposal

Here's another post I never got around to posting. 
Well, actually never got around to writing. 
It's just the picture sitting in my file waiting for a post.

Michael and Michelle had decided to get married.
They had the date.
She had the dress.
People had been invited. 
They bought a townhouse.
It seemed they were able to figure out every aspect of the wedding.

One problem. 
Michael couldn't figure out exactly *how* he 
wanted to propose to Michelle. 
So rather than do it less than right, 
He hadn't done it at all.

Poor Michelle was getting a bit, um, 

And then once he had his idea, coordinating every body's
schedule proved to be another delay.

But once it all came together it was perfect.
I couldn't imagine Michael proposing any other way. 

And this is what Michelle saw behind Michael.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

One Year Ago Tonight

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"Blizzard" Dinner

I'm not entirely sure I'm on board with this whole
"blizzard" thing. 
There is *some* snow and I will allow as how
it is blowing around quite a bit.
I have been photo documenting it.
If it gets impressive at some point, I'll post.
Until then, 
This is Martha Stewart's tomato soup.
It's so simple, 
saute onions and garlic in butter,
add 28 oz. can of tomatoes,
3 cups chicken broth,
simmer it all together for a while and then puree.

I usually add some red pepper for fun.
The, hmm, shall we call them,
Are chibatta that I toasted, rubbed with garlic and then topped
three ways:
Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
Tomatoes, bacon and cheddar,
Tomatoes, bacon and Parmesan.

All in all not a half bad way to cozy up and enjoy a
not half bad "blizzard".

What a difference a year makes.

The Story of The Loaves and Fishes

I was looking through my old posts and came across this one
that I never published.
It's a good story.
I think I'll publish it now.

The Story Of The Loaves And Fishes

According to Merry.
And Lory.
And Kelly.

Sometimes the best parties are the ones you don't plan.
Not sometimes, ALWAYS!

This is one of my favorite stories and I'm in a story telling mood.
Once upon a time Mike and I were hanging at
Ken and Lory's.
It was a Sunday afternoon.
Kelly showed up.
Don't ask me how she happened to stop by.
Ken and Lory don't exactly live on a main drag.
But there she was.
At some point we decided we were all hungry.
Lory's cupboards were bare.
Kelly's trunk on the other hand was not.
Kelly, a single mom, had been on her way home
from grocery shopping.
Now understand, Kelly had been shopping for
herself and her young son.
We had the most interesting assortment of food.
It went something like 2 pork chops, a pound of
ground beef, random this, random that.
I can't remember what all we ate but it was the most fun.
And it seemed like the bags never went empty.

My dilemma for the weekend is trying to figure out
what new and inventive Tea sandwiches I can serve
for a baby shower in May.
Maybe I'm making this harder than it needs to be.
Who's got a trunk full of food?