February 22, 2012

Calling all guardian angels, let's trade cake for blessings

We did end up digging into that angel food cake, but it was under unexpected circumstances.  The welcomed surprise was that the boys spent some quality time with their Nona and Pa.

The contrast from our sudden trip to Pennsylvania isn't quite as lovely to report on.  I hate codes on blogs, but in the interest of privacy for the families involved, let me just say:

~ Our hearts and prayers go out to C, S and their family.  May we be enjoying an angel food cake together soon and over better news. 

~Sterling, hang tough my friend, or ease up.  Either way I promise to follow your lead.  

~And dear, sweet P.  GET WELL SOON!!!  


This week is winter break for Champ's school.  It doesn't mean that Champ gets a break, he just switches full time over to his ski mountain job; that hard working husband of mine.  It does mean a little bit of a slower pace for me (the ever grateful wife) though. 

We'll see how that pans out, but I imagine it means a bit more pretending to be Padme while Bear portrays Luke and a little less blogging.  So until I return to this space, may the force (and a few extra prayers) be with you.

February 17, 2012

Will you find it mundane?

I have a bit of tidying up to do around here,  so take them or leave them, here are some recent facts:

My adorable, giggly job continues to go well.  Each day I am learning balance and patience.  Patience patience patience for the things I do or don't accomplish, for unconditionally loving a toddler, for Trot vomiting at the bedroom door while I nurse Ace to sleep.  Oh yes, patience.

I hired a Jedi Knight to clean my windows.  He later commented that his bottom hurt.  I told him that perhaps it was because his wetsuit Jedi uniform was a bit snug fitting.

Said Jedi Knight switched to being a firefighter with a dalmatian (dalmatian?!) for the afternoon.  I didn't mind because by then my windows were clean.

 The 'ol girl went to the vet this week.  She needed to have her "senior checkup" and she worked up an ear infection just to make the trip worth it. 

 So we went and it was strange. 

She was looked over and deemed quite healthy, but I had that awful feeling that we were talking over her.  The vet and I discussed the clear fact that she is nearing the end of her journey.  We reviewed how to make it most honorable and comfortable for her.  These are the times when I wish she'd 
speak up. 

My 16 and a half year old dog is doing just fine and can act mighty young when she wants to.  She has lumps and bumps, her hips are going and her eyes are watery, but she's feisty and ornery and loving and determined to kick around for a while longer. 
 I love her for that.

Bear had an impromptu visit to our friend D's farm.  He came back singing the praises of trucks, horses and chickens who lay eggs that smell like horses.  He was also sent home with a decent amount of eggs.  I promptly added them to the 13 eggs (egg whites, that is ;)) I was cracking to make an angel food cake for our company this weekend.  Thank you, D!!!!

I followed my mentor, Fannie Farmer's recipe this time, but here's another version I like to make. 

And to polish things off:  
Grandparents, take note!  Ace has grown.  And grown.  He now prefers to wear hipper, more fashionable 9 month old clothes.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!  Mine will be full of dear friends and angel food cake.

February 15, 2012

Chocolate Shortbread

Shortbread is all well and good, but Chocolate Shortbread is decadent I tell you.  That recipe has been with me for ages, so much so that I have no idea where it originated from.  I can whip it up  in a heartbeat and yet it tastes like a peerless bakery purchase.

                      I am horrid at taking food pictures

The only problem is that I could eat the whole batch in one sitting, so I've found it's best to share.  A recent teatime with my friend, J, was the perfect excuse.

Chocolate Shortbread
- preheat oven to 325*.  Mix 1 C flour, 1/4C sugar and 1/4C unsweetened cocoa together.  Cut in 1/2C butter until mixture is crumbly.  Work dough until it can hold it's shape.  Form into a ball and then press into an 8" square (or in a mold, or into whatever shape you chose).  Score dough slightly, place on ungreased pan (or in a mold) and bake 20-25 minutes.  Cut shortbread along score lines and allow to cool.

The OTHER excuse as to why I wanted to make this ASAP is because I found a shortbread mold at my thrift shop for $1.00. 

Yes, I know! Only one dollar.  I got home and checked in my dog eared King Arthur Flour catalog.  Just as I had suspected,

with this steal of a deal, I had saved over $33.00 dollars!  Thus making my chocolate shortbread that much more decadent.

February 13, 2012

Crafty Kisses for Valentine's Day

Attention: Grandparents and Great Aunts and Uncles are SO not allowed to read this post until the 15th.  You've been warned.

As for the rest of you, if you need a quick Valentine or two consider this:

A pocket full of Valentine Kisses.

There are variations all over the web, but here is my take on it.

Step 1: gather up some pockets.  I cut them out of old clothes that I had found at our dump (it's seriously set up like a free Thrift shop there!).  I washed them up and then cut along the seams.

Step 2: stuff pockets with Hershey Kisses and a bit of tissue paper.

Step 3: cut out a few paper hearts to decorate the pocket 

Step 4: tuck this little love note into each pocket or just write out:
Sending A pocket full of kisses your way to wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day! Love,

Step 5: send the pockets on their way and eat the leftover chocolate.


February 10, 2012

Peaceful Potential

Now this, THIS is the type of weekend I hope for us all to have.


February 08, 2012

In 4 months' time...

For 4 months, Ace has been in our life.  It feels as if he's been with us always.  A whole lot can happen from October to February and in four months' time...

~Both Ace and Sterling have aged significantly
~Bear has embraced his younger brother
~ I've learned that I'm still not a morning person, but I'll fake it
   as best I can 
~ I had a baby and was pissed at the way it went down
~ I had a baby and was more proud and in awe of myself, my 
   determination, and my strength than ever before in my life
~ I've missed the timeline on mailing some birthday cards

~ I started a new job
~ Ace learned to giggle
~ I turned 35
~ I have returned to making homemade yogurt
~ Bear has become a budding photographer under his
   mother's tutelage 

~ Bear understands that no good will come of it if he fools
   around with mama's camera when not being "tutelaged"

~ Ace has established his own unique place in this family
~ I've cried quite a bit, but don't cry for me
~ because of a bloggy friend, I've been exposed to good music 
   and excellent lip balm
~ because of a bloggy friend, Ace sleeps under
   the coziest of quilts (thank you again, Leslie!)

~ more than once, I've wished we had dental coverage
~ Champ has never complained about the many jobs he works
~ Bear's antics have brought me to my knees with laughter 
~ I know that believe still stands as my favorite word

February 06, 2012

Solo (of the Red and Han variety)

I know you've heard it.  And if you haven't put an ear to it, I'm sure you've heard of it...

 Toby Keith's newest hit, "Red Solo Cup"Champ was smitten as soon as he first heard it and has been singing it to me ever since.  It takes quite a good song to inspire Champ to sing.

Something needed to be done. So I listened to the song, simultaneously laughing my head off and wondering how exactly to explain this to Bear if he were to hear it.   As I grocery shopped for this past weekend's company, a bag of plastic (PLASTIC!!!!!) Solo cups found their way into my cart and I knew that "Red Solo Cup" should become an event for all under our roof.  It did.

We made friendly toasts to each other and practiced writing our names on the cups.

 We toyed with feats of balance and made art projects.  

 We called up each other on the "Solo" phone line and hydrated during dinner.

 We explained the music video in harmless terms to the younger set

and later watched it over and over again with the older set, reminiscing about our favorite college stories.

we used a wide variety of liquids in our solo cups, but reminded ourselves that there were seven (7!!!!!) children in the house for us to be looking after.  

Those children were pretty set though.  They had created their own theme for the weekend- Star Wars.  So among the many Solo Cups floating around, there were quite a few marker inspired "lightsabers" and "Return of the Jedi" action figures.

It was indeed a weekend to toast good friends, fond memories and catchy, viral tunes.

February 03, 2012

Hear that dinner bell?

It's no secret that I like to read.  I may not have time to shower these days, but I most certainly make time to read a page or two from a book and a storybook doesn't count.  A cookbook doesn't count either, but I really, truly love to read 'em.  With or without pictures, hefty enough to act as a brick - doesn't matter what shape or size, I love them.

That's not to say a cookbook is a shoe-in to my bookshelf.  It needs to be utilitarian and it needs to pair well with this

my weekly menu planner.

Now I've seen this concept all over the blog world for quite a while and mostly I support what I've read, but Geez Louis the way some people develop their plans sounds more like rocket science to me.  I'm all for simple.  And delicious.

A looooooooooooooooooooooong time ago, Champ and I participated in an endurance race type thing.  The dry erase board was handed out in our race bags and I've used it ever since.  I've thought about making a much more extravagant menu board, but for now...  Eh.  Keep it simple, remember?

Some key points to the menu board are these
1) margin at the top is for things we need to buy
2) margin on the right is for the very important dessert section
3) smiley faces mean that company is coming and they are bringing that meal (see, now you know why I like having company so much)

Each Sunday I sit down with my darling cookbooks and dream and plan for NO LONGER than 1 hour because seriously, I like food and all, but I have better things to do with my Sunday.  Boy does that hour pays out!  For the rest of the week I am organized and ready for dinner.  I know just how to prepare for any company coming and I've figured out how to creatively use up that stale heel of bread, that cup of corn in the fridge.

Menu planning has stood the test of time with me; through full time work, rearing kids, entertaining 17 people, whatever my life throws at me at least somewhere near supper time I will be able to say "Mangia".  And if it's "one of those days"??  Why I happily concede to pizza because I know I can get right back on the chuck wagon tomorrow where a delicious recipe awaits.

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