Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cutting Down the Trees - Part II

I have to tell you that cutting the trees was not an easy decision. However, it is one that has been in the making for several years, so when the opportunity came I jumped at it.

As I may have said, my Dad planted those trees almost 40 years ago. He had just bought the house and vacant lot next door after my mother's untimely passing and had to move out of the house where they had lived because as he put it, 'it's like living in a haunted house'. Everything in the old house my mother had touched, had made, or used and everything was basically 'her things'. He couldn't cook in the iron skillet because he knew they had bought it when they married. He couldn't sleep under the quilts she'd made. He said it was like nothing there was his.

So, he bought the house 'in town', bought some new furniture, and began to move on with his life, which he did and for that I'm grateful.

A fellow came by one day, those many years ago, and offered some pine seedlings for wind breaks. When you live in the sand this is important. He gave them out all over town. Daddy took about 40. He planted two rows of trees, and fortunately several of them died. Then he thinned them out, and ended up with about 20 trees. They grew and they grew. This went on for several years. Dad remarried, moved to another town and used the house as rental property. In other words, he didn't have to clean up after the trees.

I came into possession of the house after his death in 1993, and had an emotional attachment to the trees since he had planted them. I moved into the house in 1995 and it became my job to keep the mess they made cleaned up. My brother came and cut out some of the ones that were spindly leaving me with 13 trees. Then the power company cut one whose limbs interferred with the power lines leaving 12. An ice storm killed one and another just up and died.

When these trees were young, they were full and bushy at the bottom, and were indeed a wonderful wind break. As they got older, they dropped lots of pine cones, but were still pretty handy and the wind blowing through the needles was music. As they have gotten older, they are not any good at holding back the sand that might blow since all the foilage is way, way, way up in the air. And now, they not only drop pine cones, they drop limbs as well. The area down on the ground is ugly and won't allow grow to grass. And you have to remember, I'm now 59 years old, and picking up pine cones isn't one of the things I want to do into my retirement.

I'm sorry the squirrels won't have a place to play, and we won't have shade for our family get-to-gethers,(they make parks for that, don't they?), but the trees needed to come down.

It has changed the look around my place, which will be more apparent when we get the limbs cleaned up and the stumps ground out, but I don't think I will regret having them cut.

What decisions have you been working on for years? How many different resolutions have you come upon?

Hope you are having a great Wednesday. Do something silly. Make someone smile.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Where Do I Start to Catch Up!

First let me say, I hope all of you had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend. I hope everyone had time to reflect on those they have lost whether it be through war or otherwise. I always think of my grandfather and father who both served in WWI and WWII respectively. I well remember when they would be together and discuss the places they saw and their perspective of how it looked when each was there. I wish I had paid more attention.

I also think of my parents as well as those who served as parents to me through the years(and we all have them). They sacrificed so much to make us the adults we are today. We sang Precious Memories in closing our worship service Sunday morning. We do this each year and there's never a dry eye in the house.

As many of you know, I have been trying to function with a bad case of something. It involved congestion, fever, coughing and feeling very lousey all last week, but I didn't have time to stop and be sick. I'm feeling much better(Thanks to all of you who were concerned) and as you all know, time and tide wait for no man, so I had to gather myself up and trudge on.

We had 33 family members in my yard Saturday. We had great food, wonderful fellowship and no castrophies, if you don't count a few bruises, and a whack to the head by a softball

On Sunday after worship, my two brother's familes and mine went to the local catfish place and had all the fish we could hold. Then to the Holiday Inn where my younger brother and his family stayed. They had an indoor pool, and we sat poolside while the kids played in the water. We had the pool to ourselves most of the time, but then a group of kids came and played with ours. It was neat to see how they all interacted with each other.

On Monday, the tree men came and cut down 12, 40 year old pine trees from the peremiter of my property. We sat on the carport, took pictures and just watched them do the work. It took about an hour and a half. There will be a log truck come and get the logs, and we will burn the debris in about 10 days. We'll then spend the rest of the summer patching up and filling the yard. And hopefully by fall, get the stumps ground out. Hopefully, the pictures will show what went on.
This is what they looked like before.

This is part way through the process.

This is the last one coming down.

This is what it looks like now and will until we clean up the debris.

Hope everyone is having a great Tuesday. Do something silly. Make someone laugh.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My Lace Cap Hydrangea

I planted a Lace Cap Hydrangea about 6, maybe 7 years ago. It was small, and I didn't expect it to bloom the first year, but thought it might the second.

By the third year I was getting a little frustrated with it, but continued to baby it and try to coerce it into blooming. Finally two years ago, I got two or three blooms, but the next year there were none.

I began thinking about moving it or digging it up and trashing it this spring. We've had a lot of rain, and it has been difficult to do much in the yard. Since I was depending on my son to hook onto it and pull it out with his gator, we had to wait until the yard was dry and firm enough to be able to do that.

Then as luck would have it, we forgot about it with other things being more important. I walked down to the location of the doomed plant, and what do you know. It is absolutely covered in blooms. They aren't open yet, but they are getting ready to, and if we continue to have 80+ degree weather, I have a feeling the blooms will burst open soon. I guess esp or something told that plant if it wanted to live, it better start producing.

What pleasant surprises have you had recently? It's important for me to know.

Please don't forget to attend Bible Study tonight.

Have a great Wednesday. Do something silly. Make someone smile.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Think I'm Going To Live!

I don't know if I'm happy about that last statement or not. This week, death could definitely be a blessing. Fortunately, I guess God's not ready for me yet. Knowing everything I needed to accomplish this week, I decided the best thing for me was to go to my Doc and see what she could do for me.

I gave my symptons, and asked for that 'miracle cure' that I know she keeps somewhere. I love Doc. She's like one of my children, especially since I've known her since since she was about two. Her mother and I have been friends since before she and Doc's dad married. Her dad and my 1st husband went to school and graduated together.

Anyway, she gave instructions for the nurse to give me a decadron shot. When she came in, she said, 'I have your miracle cure' and with that she injected me in the hip. She said not to be alarmed if I was up by 2:30 or 3AM cleaning house. I laughed thinking she was still teasing. I dragged myself home and managed to get on the couch and slept most of the afternoon, and by 8:30 I had gone to bed. My head hurt and I ached all over, but with the help of 3 tylenol, I finally got enough relief that I went to sleep. While I was lying there waiting for sleep, I kept thinking I'd be miserable all week.

About 1AM, I woke up, but managed to go back to sleep although, I did feel much better. Pain was gone, headache was down to a minor irration. But I still didn't think I could get up and do much. But I woke up again about 2:30 and this time there was no doubt I had to get up. It's about 4 now, and I have cleaned the bathroom, put clean sheets on the kid's bed and vaccumed their room.

I'm not going to tell you I feel completely 'up to snuff', but it's amazing what that shot has done for me. I also have a Z-pak I'm taking and something for congestion that is keeping me from coughing. I still have to sit down and rest often, but I can now see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Life may continue to be worth living after all.

I know this post seems trite in view of all those struggling with real life threatening illness, but please don't take offense. I know first hand about those. I had one a few years ago and learned just what you go through when faced with the prospect of the possibility of your life ending. Unlike those who die suddenly, I had the opportunity to say goodbye to my loved ones, and then wake up to find I was still with them. I can't tell you what a gift that was. I thank God each day for allowing me to be alive and to spend time with my family and friends. I even thank God for all my trials and tribulations and I think that's what this 'cold' is, just a friendly reminder that I'm one of God's creations.

What friendly reminder have you suffered through lately?

Have a great Tuesday. Do something silly. Make someone laugh.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I've Got a Cold in My Head!

One day last week, a blogger friend told us how sick she was with a cold. How she was stopped up, coughing, fever, aches and pains. Well, thank you friend, cause you passed it on to me.

When I got up yesterday morning, I had a tickle in my throat. As the day progressed, my ears began to itch and hurt, all the while, my throat got more and more scratchy. By the late afternoon, I had also developed a cough.

This morning, I'm miserable along with the fact that I coughed all night. I took cough medicine, and Hot Damm, which both helped, but needless to say, I didn't get a lot of rest last night, and I feel awful this morning. Would someone, please, feel sorry for me?

What do you think makes us sick with this kind of stuff? I know you are going to say, the germs are floating in the air. And I agree, but the germs are always floating in the air. What allows them to settle in at times and not at others. I have an opinion--you knew I did, didn't you?

My opinion is that most of the time we are able to absorb those germs without any adverse affects. However, there are times when our resistance is low enough for them to take hold and set up a base camp either in your lungs, throat or head. Well, the next question is what gets your resistance down? I think sometimes it is stress, and I think that is what allowed this Crud to take hold of me.

It's been very hectic around here for the last month. Getting the DIL and children settled in and doing my part to help make this transition easy for them. She's been stressed about everything, the new job, the off site training, having to live with her MIL and trying to find temporary quarters while my son(The contractor), builds them a house. Daughter #2 and her family moved this weekend also, which I wasn't directly involved with that, just knowing they were in process, was on my mind, and then we celebrated my grandson's birthday Saturday with a bowling party, and back to their house for food, cake and ice cream.

And so I'm feeling cruddy this Monday morning. It's beautiful outside and I need to get out there and get busy.(I'm off part of this week). There are lots of pine cones to rake up and get rid of, I've got to get the meat ordered for Saturday, and get some house and yard work done. What I'd really like to do is drink a bowl of chicken soup, go back to bed, and stay there for about 3 days.

What would you really like to do this morning? I definitely need to know. And I won't tell anyone, really, I won't.

Have a great Monday. Do something silly. Make someone laugh.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Leave Them Laughing!

Comedians always want to 'leav em laughin'. Parents and Grandparents who have to leave their children/grandchildren want to at least 'leav em smilin'. But that isn't always the case. And Daughter#2, if you are reading this post. Stop now. Do not read any farther. Close this blog and go unpack something.

As everyone in the blog world who reads my posts know, Little Princess #2 spends the night with me every Thursday night. I pick her up from school/daycare, take her home with me and bring her back to school on Friday.

Remember, she is our drama queen. Everything has expression and usually angst along with whatever she is saying or doing. She can cry at the drop of a hat and shows great pain for a booboo that is two weeks old while explaining how it hurted.

She didn't want to go to school this morning because Superhero hadn't left for his school/daycare yet, but after I explained he would be leaving soon, she went along and got into the car. She complained of the cold this morning, and she had a right because we didn't expect it to be so chilly and she had shorts and sandals on with no jacket.

She sang her new songs for me that her class will be performing at their end of year program. Everything went fine--til we got inside that is. Once I signed her in, she clung to me and didn't want to go into her room. When I left, Ms Angie was telling her that her mother would take away her privileges if she didn't act like a big girl. When I left, she was crying, and Ms Angie was wrestling with her.

So I wasn't able to 'leav her smilin' this morning. And if you know me, I hate to leave anyone upset.

How about you? Did you leave everyone smiling this morning? I do hope so. It makes for a much better day when you do.

Have a fantastic Friday. Do something silly. Make someone laugh.

PS Today is the day my #2 grandson was born. His mother lovingly refers to him as 'Rosemary's Baby'.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

This is an OFF Day

This is an off day. Do you ever have one of those? I thought yesterday was going to be one. About 10:00am, my nerves seemed quite frazzled. Not anything at work, not anything at home, just one of those days.

But I trudged on. And by lunch, I was fine. And by mid-afternoon, I was working on something that totally distracted me from my 'me' syndrome. After work, I had a quick meal with daughter#2 and the youngest of her two princesses. We went on to Bible Study where we are teaching kindergarden for this quarter.

By the time I got home around 9 pm, my spirit had been refreshed, I had put things into perspective, and I spent some quality time with the superhero(by the way, he's a power ranger this week).

But I got up again this morning in that somewhat frazzled state. I have to snap out of it. I spent a little bit of time yesterday trying to figure out what caused it, and I guess I'll spend some time today doing the same. I don't like feeling this way, and I know the old saying 'a person who tries to doctor himself has a fool for a patient' and I know you are saying, 'she's no doctor, who does she think she's fooling?' And that's probably not a very good attempt at a quote on my part, but you get my drift.

So, what's causing all of this? I'll let you have a try at a diagnosis. And daughters, I don't want any straight jacket comments from you. If you can't be constructive, just keep quiet--like that's going to happen. Listed below are a few potentially frazzle causing things going on in my life.

I'm working on a family reunion that will host-if everyone comes- about 56 people. This will take place on my lawn, under the pines. I wanted to furnish the meat with the help of my two brothers who drive a long way and can't bring dishes for potluck, but I'm worried that with the increased cost of everything that may be way too much. We want to have a good time, but not break anyone's bank.

My DIL and two children have been with me for about 3 weeks and have now found temporary housing while my son builds them a house, and I am already having separation anxiety. It's amazing how attached you get to these little guys so quickly.

Gas prices just keep going up. I drive 18 miles to work and another 18 home every day. Eat, go to work, buy medicine, keep a roof over my head. Which can I cut out?

Which candidate is the lesser of three evils for which I need to vote in November. I don't even want to go there.

What more can Myanmar and China have happen to them? They are expecting another cyclone in Myanmar and China keeps having aftershocks. And on the home front, when are we going to have another devastating tornado or that long overdue earthquate here on the New Madrid fault line?

Last but not least, could it be that I'm suffering PTSD from going into a storm cellar last Saturday when I have for years said that will never happen.

You know, I think I've hit on something--PTSD. I think that's it. Can I sue the manufacturer of that cellar? Can I sue the two guys who put me in it? Can I file for social security disability?

Probably NOT!!! I'm thinking I may be cured--Physican, heal thyself!! I think I have.

What frazzles you? Tell me about it, then maybe I'll feel better knowing there's someone else out there in the boat with me.

Have a terriffic Thursday. Do something silly. Make someone laugh.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tired of the Weather.

Is everyone as tired of the weather as I am? If so, I'm not addressing it any more for a while. It has been totally consuming me lately, and it's time I moved on to other things.

My son's family is with me as I'm sure I've told everyone at least a hundred times. We have found them temporary living quarters. Her company was supposed to give them a place for three months, and then if they needed to be there longer, it would be up to them to pay the rent. They needed this while he builds a house for them. Unfortunately, there was nothing available.

I have a friend whose mother passed away a few months ago. Her house is pretty much as she left it when she went to the nursing home, and the family has graciously agreed to rent it to my kids furnished during this transition. Isn't it wonderful to have good friends? I think this also goes to the spirit of 'small town living'. It couldn't have worked out any better if I'd thought of it myself. I can't take credit for it since actually, my friend made the suggestion.

Even though the kids will only be a block or two away, I'll miss them when they move out, but this will probably be a good transition for when they move 20 miles away.

I hope you have good friends in your life, the kind that are always around whether there is a specific need or not. Tell me about your friends. Tell me about those who have done things for you and to you. Most of mine would have to tell you the things I've done to them.

Hope you are having a great Wednesday(don't forget mid-week Bible Study tonight) Do something silly. Make someone laugh.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Our Crazy Planet!

It's storming here again this morning. We've had tornados in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, and on across Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Twenty Three were killed in Oklahoma and Missouri.

The cyclone in Myranmar killed tens of thousands, and now the death toll is climbing in China from the earth quake.

The earth is groaning. Is it from the things we have done to it? Is it rebelling from years of abuse? I have a hard time getting on the band wagon and being what my son calls a 'tree hugger'. I believe in conservation and I have changed all my light bulbs out for those expensive ones that conserve energy. I had all new energy efficient windows and doors put in my house last year, and added all the insulation I could to my attic. I buy energy star appliances when I'm replacing those I have had for years.

But are all these disasters happening because of us, or are we in a cycle that occurs naturally every so often. I've heard arguments going both ways, and both seem to have legitimate claims.

I don't know why the storms come. I don't know why people are killed during these natural disasters(although personally, I think they should be called un-natural disasters).

When I was coming to work this morning, I could see the storm system that was coming. It isn't a hugh one, and to the south of it there was all this ground to cloud lightening, and on the north side, there was a pretty rainbow. Mother Nature's ranting to the south, and God's promise to the north. Do you think they're arguing about something? I don't know. I do know that my heart goes out to all those who are suffering because of all this stuff.

After Hurricane Katrina, that great sage and prophet Jimmy Buffet wrote a song that included the line,--If a hurricane doesn't leave you dead, it will make you strong. ------Breathe In, Breath Out, Move On. I wonder how strong these people who are dealing with all this turmoil are moving on? I don't know if I would have the strength.

Is it storming in your world this morning? I hope you are enjoying sunshine and comfortable temperatures. Let me know.

Have a Terrific Tuesday. Do something silly. Make someone laugh.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Things You Do For Your Grandchildren!!!!!

If you have been reading my posts, you may remember my take on storm cellars. But I have learned never to say never. On my own, I'm just not getting into one of those concrete holes in the ground, but when you have the life of a grandchild in your hands, what you will or won't do flies right out that proverbial window.

I had my four year old grandson with me Saturday afternoon when we were running an errand. I thought I was going away from the storm. The storms were supposed to be going east and I was going north. I actually thought the storms would pass south of us before time to return home. WRONG!!!

As we started home, it became obvious to me that we were going to collide with at least one of the storm systems, so I had to go to be plan B. Like I ever have a plan of any kind much less a plan B. I knew daughter#2 and her two girls were in the storm cellar at her father-in-laws house, and I had to get us someplace out of my small suv, and I thought that cellar would be the best place for us to go.

It was raining extremely hard when we got there and I could see the wall cloud forming just to the southwest of us. We ran for the cellar, put Ivan in, and before I knew what was happening, I was being pulled from one direction and pushed from the other and voila, I was in that cellar! When two strong men decide to put you somewhere, you just don't argue.

This made a total of 6 adults, 5 children and a dog in that small box. And here's what I'm thinking--if a huge tree or two or three falls on this box, they won't know whose arms belong to who else's body. We would be one large blob. We'd look kinda like the cars when they come out of the big crusher, just one big retangle.

My daughter and I were both standing. No place to sit... and she leaned to me and said,'I can't believe you are in here'. I whispered, 'it's only because of Ivan that I'm in here. His mother would never forgive me if I got him killed.'

Daughter#1 asked on Sunday if anyone had noticed whether hell had frozen over, because she knew that would be the only time I would get into a storm cellar.

Like I said in the beginning, you'll do anything for your grandchildren.

Fortunately, we didn't have any damage, and were able to go on about our business. A little damp, but safe.

Whether you were celebrated or whether you were being thankful for your mother, I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day.

Have a great Monday. Do something silly. Make someone laugh.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Mother's Day This Sunday

This Sunday is Mother's Day. And first let me say that I hope all caregivers of children have a great day Sunday.

Some of us get to have our mothers longer than others. I lost mine when I was 19--just when I probably needed her most. In the blink of an eye she was gone in an automobile accident. I have a friend who lost her mother just a few months ago after a short bout of Cancer.

I always say I don't have a jealous bone in my body, but I am a bit envious of my friends who got to see their mothers grow old and have the opportunity to enjoy them in their 'old age'. There's so many things I would like to have asked my mother. Things about her childhood, and things about my childhood. Things like why she didn't beat me more often. I know I deserved it. And all those nameless people in the picture box. Who are they?

My friend was able to spend a lot of time with her mother. They were very close. Her mother was with her for every important event in her life--the birth of her children, the near loss of a grandchild, the cancer she survived, absolutely everything. And now she feels quite alone. Yes, she has her dear husband, her children and grandchildren, a sister and brother, but both her parents are now gone, and she has a huge empty spot where they were. I don't think you ever get to the point where you don't need your mom and dad-especially your mom.

She had a wonderful mom. I loved her too. Her name was Bess, and she is deeply missed.

Be good to your mom this Sunday. You may have a lot of wonderful women in your life, and you may even call some of them mom, but you only have one mother.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Brown Sugar Banana Muffins

I found a recipe on Tastespotting yesterday, actually two, but one was for these muffins. I already knew I needed to use up the two bananas that were too ripe for my enjoyment, and I knew I had everything needed in this recipe.
If you've never been to Tastespotting, use this link and visit. Anyone can leave their recipes there. Pioneer Woman has some of hers posted.
After I got the little princess to bed, I made them. You know when you make anything from a 'mix'(I know a lot of people think that's a cardinal sin), but anyway, you usually use one bowl. This took three(thank heavens for dishwashers). But they turned out very well. Don't they look yummy?

The recipe doesn't call for nuts, so I left them out. But when I make them again, I will put nuts in them. They are very moist and have a really good taste to them. Next time I make them, I'm going to do them in mini size so Superhero can have them for breakfast. He's really into him some muffins. Here's the recipe.

Brown Sugar- Banana Muffins

Extra moist and full of flavor...

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large)
¼ cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2¼ cups flour
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 12 muffin cup pan.
2 Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add brown sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
3 Stir together mashed bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla. Stir together flour and next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture alternately with banana mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition (do not overbeat). Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling two-thirds full.
4 Bake 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pans immediately, and cool 10 minutes on wire racks.

Yield: 12 muffins
Have you baked anything wonderful for your family lately? If so, I'd love to know what it was and might even try it.
PS Thanks to everyone who voted for Tara's clematis. She's my daughter#2.
Hope you are having a dry Thursday(we aren't). Do something silly. Make someone laugh.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

It's a Shrimp, Shrimp Take

Several of you have commented about the pot shots my two daughters take at one another and me on my blog. See what I have to put up with?

Daughter#2 mentioned the phrase that is the title of this post and suggested I tell the story for all to you to either enjoy or scratch your heads and say 'huh?'.

First let me tell you there are several years between these girls. The oldest is 42. And the youngest will be 30 this year. How about them apples, girls? One acts like their father, the other looks like him, and that's all I'll say about that because they know which is which.

When Daughter#1's youngest son was about 5 or 6, maybe a bit younger, he would get on his mother's last nerve. Then she would utter the phrase we have all used at some point in our lives,'You are driving me crazy'.. Somewhere, either Daughter#2 or myself heard the phrase, 'It's a short, short trip' which we thought spoke to her phrase very well. We then attempted to get the phrase in her son's head so that the next time she told him he was driving her crazy, he could tell her, 'It's a short, short trip.

He thought this would be funny too, and sooner than later, the occasion arose to use just this line. We also happened to all be together at the time. Whatever he was doing, caused her to utter her favorite phrase, 'You are driving me crazy', to which he replied, without missing a beat, 'It's a shrimp, shrimp take'. Daughter#2 and I busted out laughing, son didn't like. He hated being laughed at. Daughter#1 was puzzled, not only by what he said, but that we were laughing uncontrollably.

He continued, with our prompting to say the words correctly, but it kept coming out 'It's a shrimp, shrimp take'. The more he tried to say the phrase, the more we laughed. We were finally able to stop laughing long enough to explain what he was trying to say. By the time Daughter#1 finally got the joke, she laughed too. Needless to say, 'It's a shrimp, shrimp take' has become part of our vernacular.

I'm sure every family has words or phrases that have changed either the pronunciation or meaning that is yours and yours alone. Tell me what some of them are. I'd love to know if your family is as quirky as mine.

Have a wonderful Wednesday. Attend mid-week services where you worship. Make someone laugh today. And, don't forget, this Sunday is Mother's Day.

The Answer to my Baking Delima.

I posed a question about the difference between cake and regular flour. I got the following explanation from Will over at Teensy and the Boys.

Cake flour has more starch and less gluten, it's the softest of the wheat flours. Cake flour is good for things you want to be extra light and airy, cakes and cookies especially.I've always heard that for 1 cup of cake flour, substitute 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. You also can try substituting 3/4 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch for every 1 cup of cake flour called for in a recipe.

This makes perfect sense to me, and I will try it next time a recipe calls for cake flour. Thanks Will for helping me out.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Cake Flour or Plain Flour, That is the Question?

I told my girls the other day that I was becoming a Food Snob. They laughed....go figure. I have been reading quite a few food blogs, and have spent so much time on tastespotting that it's riduculous. I've been making some of the recipes from there as well as other places.

Trouble is, I want to make almost everything I see on these various blogs, except maybe those with foods I can't pronounce and not sure where they come from. I'm not about tofu, or tripe, although I wouldn't mind cooking ramps and maybe some morel's, or meyers. But alas, those things aren't available to me. And what about the stuff called matcha powder. You get my drift anyway. So maybe I'm not becoming a Food Snob, just someone who likes to try different things.

I have a real delimma that I just can't ask any of the real 'Foodies', so I'm going to pose my question to those who understand and love me for who I really am--a confused old cook.

Could someone tell me the difference between cake flour and regular flour? And if a recipe calls for cake flour, can I substitute regular flour in it's place. I already have plain flour and self-rising flour. It's just me there most of the time, and I just can't seem to justify buying yet another kind of flour just to bake with.

I promise if you answer my question, I'll answer one for you sometime.

Have a tremendous Tuesday. Do something silly. Make someone laugh.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Blogging Is My New Passion!

Less than two years ago, I couldn't have even begun to tell you what a Blog was. I kept hearing the word, and even saw a blog on MSNBC's web page. But to know what to do with one(other than reading) was totally foreign to me.

Daughter#1 has a very good friend what was into blogging and she got her into it. Then my DIL started one. I loved reading and looking at the pictures they posted.

Then slowly but surely I began to feel the need to put my own information out into space. It's interesting that if you send a letter, quite possibly only the person to whom it's addressed will ever read it's contents. If you send an email, that number can go way up, and once that 'send' button has been pressed, you have lost any control over that email(which can bite you in the backside unless you are very careful). Putting information, pictures, recipes anything out on a blog is like saying, 'here is my life-intelligent or not--do with it what you will.

So, I have joined the ranks of bloggers everywhere, and let me just say, I'm loving it. Nothing thrills me more than when a response to one of my posts appears in my email inbox. I have always loved getting personal mail, but this just goes over the roof.

What is your passion? Everyone has at least one. And I must know yours. You are my friends and I need to know all about you. And there's that nosey thing going on too.

Hope you had a great weekend.

Have a fantastic Monday. Do something silly. Make someone laugh.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Go Vote For Tara's Clematis

Go to Wine On The Keyboard, and vote for Tara's Clematis picture. She's doing a great job with her photography.

Caribou Coffee Chewy Granola Bars

I absolutely love these things. They are chocolate mocha flavored, and every bite is delish. A friend of mine gave me a Nature Valley Sweet and Salty the other day, and I decided I needed some of them. When I found them at WalGreens, the Caribou Coffee were right beside them. Same price, same amount of calories, and chocolate mocha. I'm not a big chocolate fan, -- don't hate me, but I love chocolate and mocha.

I am now buying two boxes at a time. They are wonderful for breakfast, they are great as an afternoon snack, and would be fabulous any other time of the day if I would allow myself to have them. If you haven't had them, and if you like mocha, then you will love them.

I've tried granola bars over the years, and frankly I didn't care much for them. Many were like chewing on a piece of bark with a bit of frosting smeared on them. But let me say, they've come a long way baby.

I'm to the point that I actually look forward to the next time I can squeeze one in.

Enough about that! It's Friday, and there's bound to be some loose ends I need to tie up. We're expecting rain today and tonight. It's cloudy and a little(well, a lot) breezy today. I'm hoping for just rain and maybe a bit of thunder, but no severe weather. We've had our share of that this spring.

Superhero played his first ever T-ball game yesterday afternoon. He liked hitting the ball, but wasn't sure what to do afterward. But the real problem came when the ball wasn't hit to him from the other team. He doesn't have the concept yet of going after the ball. His memaw JuJu and his papaw helped on the field with him, but during the last inning, he just marched off the field. Left papaw standing by himself. It was too funny.

He told us later that the only reason he left the field was that he wanted some popcorn. Oh well, next weeks another game. He'll learn. We seem to be in that 'the journey of a thousand games begins with the first swing of the bat'. Ok, so I took a bit of poetic license there, but you get my drift.

I ordered 'The SouthBeach Diet Supercharged' yesterday. I know you are thinking, she posted fudge yesterday with one hand and ordered a diet book with the other. What can I say. My life is one big oxymoron. If the tone of my posts turns cranky, you'll understand that I've started this diet and it isn't going well. I only need to lose a few pounds--and please daughters and friends who know me personally, don't fall out of your chairs laughing. We all know I need to lose a lot of pounds.

What challenge do you have going on this week? Is it something you don't need to eat, like me, or is it a life decision? Maybe something in your spiritual life? We all have challenges every day, some so small that you don't give them much thought. Some you may spend hours hashing and re-hashing. Let me know about yours. I may not be able to help, but I can add your challenge to those I pray about every day. And there's that whole nosey thing I have going on.

Please pray for my friend Tonya who will bury her grandfather, who she adored, today.

Hope you have a fantastic Friday. Do something silly. Make someone laugh.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

In the event you didn't read all 5 thousand something entries in Pioneer Woman's recipe contest(and I'm still upset I didn't win), you possibly missed my entry. So I thought I'd share it with you here.

This recipe has been in my family as long as I can remember. My mother used to make it when I was little. It was at every family occasion, and when it came time for school fund raisers for school, she would make a batch for my brother and me. When we first started selling it, we charged the high price of a nickel a piece. By the time I was in high school, we were charging a quarter. Remember that was in the mid 60's. But it sold out quickly at that top dollar price.

Without further adieu, here it is:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

2 cups sugar
2/3 cup milk
1/2 to 1 cup peanut butter - smooth or chunky or 1/2 of a 12 oz bag of peanut butter chips
1/2 12oz pkg semi sweet chocolate chips
1 T butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts

Bring sugar and milk to boil, stirring constantly. Continue cooking without stirring to soft ball stage. You can drop in cold water or use a candy thermometer.

When soft ball is achieved, remove from heat.

Add butter, vanilla, and peanut butter. Stir with a whisk until dissolved and peanut butter loses it's gloss, about 2 minutes.

Add in chocolate chips. I stick mine in the microwave for about 15 seconds to soften them before I add them. They mix in much faster this way.

Continue stirring with whisk until mixture begins to firm up. A couple of minutes. Adding nuts helps this process along.

Turn onto buttered plate or wax paper. Allow to set. This always disappears quickly.

**Note: If you wanted just peanut butter fudge, you could use peanut butter baking chips or white morsels in the place of the chocolate chips.

Another quick candy treat is to take

small heart shaped pretzels,
place a rollo candy on top,
stick in the microwave for about 10 to 15 seconds and when they come out,
press a pecan half on top.

They are delicious and are quick to make. It takes longer to unwrap the rollos than to make them. I don't know what they are called, but a lady brought them to church, and they didn't last long either.

Tell me about a recipe that brings back good memories. I know you have them, we all do.

Have a great Thursday. Do something silly. Make someone smile.
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