Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sweet memories

My dad was a captain of a private fishing boat from the time I was 9 until he retired. This meant that for about 6 months of each year he was traveling on the boat. He would spend his summers in New Jersey, some spring months in the Bahamas and some winter months in central Florida. Needless to say that time with my dad was at a premium and treasured. Because my dad was a good "Renaissance Man" he knew how to cook, so on some mornings when mom and grandma were sleeping in or busy doing something else, my dad would cook me breakfast. When he made scrambled eggs and cheese his idea of "good" eggs was to add tons of cheese to the mix. Oh boy were those eggs good!
Today in the rush of the morning routine....finish frosting the last cookies, put away a load of clean dishes, feed the dogs, pay some bills before I forget, pull some breakfast together....I decided that scrambled eggs sounded good, so I quickly scrambled some while doing ten other things at the same time. I accidental dumped in way too much cheese and thought, "oh well". Once I was all done with kitchen chores I grabbed my eggs, toast and coffee and settled at the dining room table to enjoy my own "nature channel" out the bay window. I took one bite of those eggs and was instantly transported back in time to our old dining room table in Wilton Manors. Sitting there with dad enjoying his super cheesy eggs. Breakfast that he had made with his big, brown, leathery, hard working hands. Sitting there chatting about what was happening in our lives, nothing important. Enjoying time with my daddy but not ever fully understanding just how much these moments meant.
This morning I sat there and ate my breakfast with a lump in my throat and a hole in my heart missing those moments. And wishing that dad was still here to enjoy time with and to make more memories with.
Anyone who has lost a mom or dad understands the feeling and that it is especially hard over the holidays. So to those of you who understand, and as sad as it is, I hope that you get your own "cheesy egg" memory this season. Hold it close and let the memory fill your heart.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I am in love...

I must admit it...I have been dreaming of something pretty darn cool for a few years now, and I think I'm ready to admiit it. I want me one of these... I am putting it out to the universe. I would really like one of these. Pretty please.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Toss Ten Tuesdays...

I am getting an early start on a New Years resolution and want to bring y'all along on the ride with me! I am newly addicted to the TV show Hoarders and knowing that I grew up around a similar influence I battle the urge to keep stuff "just because". I thought that I was doing OK. I mean, I donated so much stuff to the Goodwill while packing that I was able to take a $900 deduction! But when we had to rent a trailer to pull behind the 27' moving van to haul all my stuff up here I came to the conclusion that maybe I wasn't doing such a good job at it! I have a few tricks that I've been using since the urge to purge has taken over that are working. Like the something in/something out idea. If I buy a new Halloween decoration, I must get rid of an old one. So far so good. Also, I have a basket in my closet with red yarn lengths. If I go to put something on and decide not to wear that because it doesn't fit, doesn't flatter, doesn't match anything...I tie a red string to the clothes hanger. If I find an item with three red strings on it, off it goes to the Goodwill. (Did I mention that when packing for the move I found clothes with dust on them? Dust!?) So in the spirit of confessing hoarding sins, the other day I made a yummy looking pie from a can of pie filling that was still good according to the can's expiration date. First, I purchased this pie filling at Big Lots. Second, I packed it up here from Tampa. Third, it had dust on the top of it when I opened it. WTH? But I used it anyway... The next morning Charlie and I were both complaining about tummy upset. I poisoned us! With a can of nearly expired pie filling! Yikes!

In thinking back to conversations with friends and family I think that I might not be the only one who battles with clutter and junk. After my realizations I think I came up with another helpful trick that I'd like to get some folks on board with me. I'm calling it "Toss Ten Tuesday". The way it works is that the first Tuesday of each month we're gonna find ten things to toss out. Yep! 10! Ten is not a lot for an entire month. Multiplied by 12 months we are gonna be ridding ourselves of 120 unwanted, unused, old, broken, ill-fitting, expired, out-of-date, ugly, useless, dusty, moldy, cob-web covered stuff! Imagine how liberated we'll all feel!

Now I'm not gonna stop you if you want to get rid of more or Toss Ten every other Tuesday or (gasp!) every Tuesday! I'm just committing myself to ten things a month.

Also, if you are a P365'er (or Project Life'er) this will be a perfect photo op for 1 day a month. Here's to dove-tailing projects!

If you want to start this too, there are no rules to participate. You just do it. On your own, share your success, give us tips on creative things to purge, ask for encouragement, or lurk. However you want. I'll be posting here the first Tuesday of each month with my ten items and my de-clutter process! Stay tuned...

Friday, December 18, 2009

2009 Mensa Invitational Wordplay

The Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are the 2009 winners:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus (n.): A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.

9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon: It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer, right?

12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido: All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

And the winners are:

1. Coffee, n. The person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted, adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. Abdicate, v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade, v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly, adj. Impotent.

6. Negligent, adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. Lymph, v. To walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle, n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence, n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash, n. A rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle, n. A humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude, n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon, n. A Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster, n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism, n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent, n. An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

Monday, December 14, 2009

New One Hit Wonder Layouts!

In 2010 we are introducing a NEW & IMPROVED "One Hit Wonder" class! It's going to be called "Your Pictures Called...". There will be two different layouts each month, one themed and the other more random. The idea behind these classes are to get back to the basics of scrapbooking-actually putting photos on layouts and into albums. These are the two for January. "Comfort & Joy" (Yep, I know there is a missing "f", my alphabet was missing it!) and "A Life Less Ordinary". If you want to come, make sure to call the store to sign up!

Today Kristen is teaching this layout. I loved the way it turned out. The tree is totally hand cut and stamped using QuicKutz shapes. Fingers crossed that the girls love it and don't fuss too much at Kristen for making them hand cut the tree!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Home for the Holidays....Mansfield Style!

Today was a very fun day to live in Mansfield (or there abouts!). The town hosted it's annual Home for the Holidays event. Lemme explain the concept. All kinds of stores, churches, organizations, schools, etc. participate in the whole day long list of events. Stores run sales and are all decorated to compete in the business decorating contest. Different churches sponsor meals. One did breakfast and another church sponsored lunch. The fire hall had craft vendors set up inside. There were three photography sessions, one at the bank for kids and Santa, another at the park's pavilion for Victorian family photos and then the Agway had pets-n-elves photos. There was a 5K run in the morning. Around 11am the teenagers met at the park for a photo scavenger hunt throughout the Main Street area of town. There was a live nativity, lots of different singing groups performing around town, a remembrance service for people who had passed away during 2009, horse drawn wagon rides, cookie decorating parties, kid's craft pavilions and a free movie (A Christmas Story) at the high school. At 5:30 there was a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the park with the high school's choir there to lead us all in a carol sing-a-long. Finally there was a holiday trivia contest at a local pub. Whew! There was just tons of stuff to do today! We picked what we wanted to go do/see and I've got to tell you...IT WAS A BLAST!

We started off at Holy Child for a breakfast buffet and a visit by Santa. Breakfast was a fantastic "church lady" spread including this yummy french toast casserole. The gentleman serving us said, "Don't be shy." and I wasn't!
Afterwards we did the rounds and visited our friends at Bearly Enough and Ten West Coffee Shop. I got some really cute holiday decorations at Bearly Enough! While chatting with Carol at Ten West we saw groups of teens running around with giant wrapped packages. She explained that they were doing the scavenger hunt. It was SO cool. The teams had one photo and two written clues to a downtown spot. They had to figure it out, go there and get the next clue. They each had to do it in a different order and they looked like they were having fun. Afterwards we drove by the park to check it all out and we saw the craft area set up and tons of kids were making holiday treats and decorating cookies. We had planned on taking the dogs to Agway to have their photos taken, but I read the times wrong. We came home to put the final touches on the porch decorations, and the photo session ended at 3pm, I thought it started at 3! Oops. Well, it was good, 'cause Charles got to take a little nap. Around 4:30 we headed back out again, this time with Kiwi in tow. We went to Smythe Park and gathered with other folks, took our sheet music and once the Mayor lit the tree, we all started singing. There were choir kids mixed in with the rest of us novice singers and I've got to say that it was a very "Who-Ville" moment. The little kids were jumping up and down when we got to sing Jingle Bells! Charles was mighty impressed when I didn't need sheet music for any of the carols. Guess the combo of my extreme love of Christmas music, a church-going upbringing and working at a year-round Christmas store helped burn those lyrics into my brain! Yes, it was corn-ball, but I adored every moment of it! Finally after our carol singing, we headed to Chango's bar for the holiday trivia game. Kiwi used to be a regular in there and the girls who worked there were very happy to see her again. Charles and I made up "Team Liberace" and even with a couple glasses of wine we were able to take second place with trivia questions from the movie A Christmas Story.

I am sure that most of my friends will be sick of hearing me say this, but this town...this life is just the perfect fit for me. I love corn-ball. Love homespun. Love knowing your neighbors, chatting with anyone and everyone. Love the Christmas music and lit snowflakes along Main Street. Love that there is a real Main Street. Now if I could just master the art of walking on iced over snow, I think all will be perfect!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

More P365 photos

Charles (with an assist from Kiwi) puts cinders on the walkway and driveway in preparation of an incoming ice storm.
Frienemies share some holiday spirit by relaxing on the couch together.
A traditions in bread at the Big Flats UU Church. Everybody brought in some kind of bread to share and got up to explain the tradition/significance behind it.
The UPS man starts delivering all the gifts I've been ordering.
My poor car gets carted away! Hey Jackie! The battery that we put in died! Ain't that a kick in the head?
Me & Sisterdear at a class at Whim So Doodle during my last visit.

Christmas Card Class

On Sunday I held my first Pennsylvania scrapbooking class at the house. It was a lot of fun and the creative juices were really flowing. Ruth, her daughter Courtney and her friend Talitha came to make eight Christmas cards. I was able to teach them a few new tricks and techniques like coloring with glazing pens & chalks, embellishing with Stickles and my favorite grey & black pen combo. We did stamping and added fun QuicKutz die cuts. There was ribbon and ripped up book pages to use as accents. I even made another batch of yummy chocolate bread pudding as a special treat! I must say that I had a great time and sure hope they did too!

Oh, and Ruth is the powerhouse of a lady who hooked Charles up with this wonderful house we are living in now! She is good friends with our new landlords, Kim and Virgil. It is kind-of weird calling them "landlords"..."new friends with a great house" would be a better description. I think that we hit the landlord lotto when we moved in here. Kim (& Ruth) have already been here for a scrapbooking party! How cool is that? I hope that I can convince them both to come to the scrapbooking retreat I am trying to pull together in the spring. I've said it before and I'm sayin' it again...the people up here are just so nice!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What a great day!

Today was the Dickens's Festival down Main Street in Wellsboro. Down the middle of Main Street they have Victorian gas-lit street lamps and they decorate the whole thing with tons of Christmas stuff! There are craft and food vendors lining both sides of the street, down side streets and in church basements and all the participants are dressed in Victorian period clothing. There are carol singers, street performers, a peace parade and a tree lighting ceremony in the park. It was just a wonderful day made all the more magic by snow fall. The snow started just before we left the house and we both made sure to dress warm. I wore long johns and against my hubby's judgement I didn't wear my big 'ole snow boots. I wore my extremely comfortable, but low rise Weatherlys. (They were just fine!) I am glad that I had on a hat and gloves grabbed at the last minute! We took Kiwi, but left Ginger at home since she would have hated the cold and snow and she is in another bout with her seizures. Kiwi loved it and it was so funny to see everyone's reactions to her in her dog purse!
Afterwards we came home and got Charles' car and went to Sam's to get snow tires for his car. Yippee! He felt tons better after that was done. When we came home I took a few pics of the outside decorations. It all looks so pretty!
Hope everyone is having a good holiday season so far...I know that I sure am!

A wonderful Victorian Santa.

A view down Main Street.

I leave to go get us some coffee and come back to a gaggle of women huddled around Charles. OK, they were really huddled around Kiwi, but still...!

A cute couple walking about.

Carol singers outside of the Arcadia theatre.

A Victorian, gas-lit lamp post.

Transportation around town for the day.

Decorations on the front porch.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Chocolate Bread Pudding

One of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks is Babe's Country Cookbook. You know, Babe, the pig movie! It's got an "animals are family, so don't eat them" theme, so the cookbook was right up my alley! If you are looking to add some veggie recipes to your meal plans, check out this book.
Here is the recipe for Chocolate Bread Pudding. I make this all the time. It is just one of those "comfort food" recipes and is lovely! Enjoy!

Ferdie's Chocolate Bread Pudding

1/2 stick of unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 cups milk (last night I used 1/2 cream, 1/2 2% milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (last night I was out and substituted hot cocoa mix and left out a bit of sugar)
1 cup sugar
2 cups 1-inch pieces of fresh bread with crusts (I always us "hearty" bread loaves and add a bit more bread that this calls for and last night the bread was 100% stale)

Whipping Cream:
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon sugar
3-4 drops vanilla extract
(or just buy Redi-Whip or vanilla ice cream)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Use one tablespoon of butter to grease a 6-cup baking dish or souffle dish.

Pudding: Cut rest of butter into pieces and set aside. In a bowl, stir together the eggs, milk and vanilla. In another bowl sir together the cocoa powder and sugar, then combine the two. (Sometimes when I am in a hurry or I am using turbanido sugar I just mix it all together at the same time...I'm a rebel!)

With a spatula, gently fold the bread into the pudding mix. (If you are using super stale bread, let it sit for about 10 minutes to soak up the pudding). Pour into baking dish and top with the remaining pieces of butter.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, until set.

Remove pudding from oven and while hot, stir the pudding with a fork for a minute or so to even up the consistency and break up the hard lumps. (Sometimes I'll do this at the mid-way baking point too) Let cool.

Whipping Cream:
In a big bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed beat the cream, sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.

Serve the pudding warm or chilled (great both ways!).

Uummm...I'm off to raid last night's leftovers!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Putting up the Christmas tree...

Love this time of year and this is the first Christmas that I'm gonna get some "white"! Yahoo! Here are a few photos of us decorating the tree.

We get the tree from a local shop. In and out with the dogs in under 15 minutes!

This is the widest tree I've ever gotten. This tree cost us $39! In Tampa this tree would have been at least $60.
Charles untangling the mess that is the lights.

Ginger helps Daddy put up the decorations. What a good girl!

Putting up the vintage tree topper. I remember when I was little we used this one a lot. I am so happy (sometimes) that my mom was a pack-rat and kept everything. I love this topper and this is the first year I've used it on my tree.

The final product. Ready for presents!

New "Hunting Season" Ideas

It is pretty common knowledge that Charles and I don't "get behind" the notion of hunting. Give a guy a gun and send him off into the woods to shoot at critters. Doesn't seem to really be a fair fight, so Charles and I were discussing some more "level-playing-field" options for the game commission to consider this season. And since tomorrow is Buck Day (first day of deer hunting season-and a local holiday from work) we've decided to share them with you!

-Strangling Season
-Ice Pick Season
-"Your Mama" Jokes Season
-Hand Drill Season
-Vulcan Nerve Pinch Season
And our favorite, the
-"Why-You-Hittin'-Yourself?" Season

We hope that some of these new "seasons" will catch on!

Happy Please-Don't-Shoot-A-Buck Day!

Marshmallows with Toasted Coconut

7 ounces sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while you make the syrup.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.

Sprinkle half the toasted coconut in an 8 by 12-inch nonmetal pan. Pour in the marshmallow batter and smooth the top of the mixture with damp hands. Sprinkle on the remaining toasted coconut. Allow to dry uncovered at room temperature overnight.

Remove the marshmallows from the pan and cut into squares. Roll the sides of each piece carefully in confectioners' sugar. Store uncovered at room temperature.

I used the Ina Garten recipe but made mine bigger to fit perfectly on a graham cracker square. They were wonderful in s'mores, but just as yummy direct from the pan!

This is a bit messy but totally fun to make and I used disposable gloves when smoothing it down.

Friday, November 27, 2009

25 Things

I am borrowing this idea from my friend Suze's blog who borrowed it from a US Weekly article about 25 things you don't know about a certain celebrity.

Here are 25 Things You Might Not Know About Me:

1. I am a cat person. As much as I love my two dogs, I love cats more!

2. I have a magazine fetish. Love to read them, and used to "collect" them. Was very hard for me to throw out a magazine. (That was before I started watching Hoarders on TV.)

3. I once saw a person fly through a window of a van and get impaled on the antenna.

4. As a teenager I saw more old, classic movies on the big screen than I did current ones.

5. I used to be an interpreter for the deaf.

6. I won a cooking competition and had my conch fritter recipe published in a cookbook when I was a teenager.

7. I have thrown, co-hosted or attended a Halloween party almost every year of my life.

8. Swimming in water that isn't clear freaks me out. I mean really freak out.

9. In high school I won state competitions for acting including Shakespearean Comedy.

10. Most of my "telephone" friends know that I have a code words ready so that if I am in trouble and cannot say so they will hear my code words and call the police!

11. In the 70's my dad gave me the nickname "Doobie". For us it meant "do-be good, and don't be bad". It wasn't until many years later that I realized it had another, more widely known meaning. We were so naive! (Which leads me to #12)

12. I have NEVER smoked anything or done any kind of drug. Ever.

13. I used to be a regular guest on HSN, selling scrapbooking stuff.

14. When I went through chef's training I was too short to reach the back of the grill so the chef made me stand on a stool to reach it and said I was the only one that ever had to use a stool!

15. My acting partner in college drama class was Brian Warner (AKA: Marilyn Manson) and I used to go to his concerts in Fort Lauderdale when he was Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids.

16. I once walked in on a burgler who had just broken into my parent's house.

17. I love anything tomato based...tomato soup, catsup, spaghetti sauce...but I CANNOT eat a raw tomato.

18. I am extremely directionally challenged. Cannot read maps. Do not know N-S-E-W. Get lost coming home sometimes. I am a 100% landmark kind-of girl.

19. I have never learned how to drive a stick shift.

20. I used to live in a haunted house.

21. I met Randy Travis when I and a couple friends snuck backstage at one of his concerts by pretending to be with a local DJ.

22. My dream is to own a "canned ham" and travel around in it.

23. I was physically punched, slapped, kicked, threatened and beat up regularly when I attended my one and only year of public middle school.

24. My favorite car that I've ever owned was a 1970-something, baby blue, Oldsmobile Delta 88! LOVED it!

25. I think that I could easily be swayed to adopt a "survivalist" mentality and lifestyle. Emergency preparedness, survival and self-reliance kind-of stuff.

Monday, November 23, 2009

VOTE for my doggies!

Please follow the links below and cast your votes for Ginger and Kiwi!

Ginger Peck | A Dog Named Christmas

Ginger Peck | A Dog Named Christmas

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Kiwi Peck | A Dog Named Christmas

Kiwi Peck | A Dog Named Christmas

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Today I am thankful...

I have been participating in a FB challenge since early November where you list everyday until Thanksgiving something you are thankful for. Well, I didn't list the generic stuff like "family", "friends", "health", etc. I also didn't go all organized on it and make a list from least to most thankful items. I approached it the "Jen Way" and whatever struck me that day is what I listed as my thankful item. So, for instance, if I was eating a particularly good peanut butter and jelly sandwich, that day I was thankful for the peanut butter & jelly combo. This is not to say that I am not thankful for the traditional stuff on the list, I really am, but this was far more fun for me. Here are the postings from the 9th until today.

Today I am thankful for sliced cheddar cheese with maple syrup on pancake mornings.

Today I am thankful for Yankee Candles. They are simply the BEST smelling candles out there and when you add in their new scratch & sniff catalog and the fact that when lit, their big jar adds the warmth of one person's body heat to a room I am hooked. Now to decide what holiday scent to order this year....

Today I am thankful for the 1,200 mile commute to work! I love working for The Doodle and I love it more that they are willing to allow me to do my little part all the way from PA and to bring me back to FL once in awhile.

Today I am thankful for Bonefish Grill's new "seasonal" cocktail-Winter White Cosmopolitan. In fact, I am thankful for all cool and unique cocktails. Tonight's was made with cranberry vodka, Cointreau, white cranberry juice and a splash of lime! Super yummy!

Today I am thankful for laughter. The laughter of good friends sharing a witty retort, a funny memory or just plain being silly after a few cocktails. I had the greatest table mates at the MS crop this weekend-thanks for all the chuckles and few snorts!

Today I am thankful for the beautiful Florida landscape. We drove along the Florida Cracker trail and saw scrub pine trees, palmettos, old Florida style houses, palm trees, wild pigs and so much more. Then when we got to downtown St. Pete there was the marina, the tall buildings and the nightlife. I love this area and great to see it all again!

Today I am thankful for exotic flavors and spices. I especially love curry and that was a main seasoning in my pumpkin bisque this afternoon. I love almost all Indian food, so tonight's supper was perfect. Then that Mediterranean sea salt caramel gelato....holey moley! All I can say is today was a yummy day!

Today I am thankful for friends with extra luggage. On the Florida visit I have to pack within the luggage weight limits so I have zero extra room. SO, I went Doodle shopping and then won 5 (FIVE!!!) raffle prizes that I had to bring home. Was cheaper to pay the extra luggage than to ship, so thanks to Dianne who sent me home with "Stumpy the one-legged-suitcase"!

Today I am thankful for animal companions. There are too many reasons to list here, so I'll just share one from this morning. This morning I woke up with Ginger sleeping up against my back, Kiwi on the pillow next to my head, Luna on my pillow, Minnie Mae at the foot of the bed and Elphaba on my legs. The fireplace brings them all to the room, but it's nice to wake up with all those warm and snugly bodies!

Today I am thankful for the power of positive thinking. I know it's cornball, but it works for me. I love being able to "think" myself happy. We all have our moments, but you can really tell the people who dwell in negativity. Give me powerfully positive people any day! Last night I was able to diffuse a sticky situation with worked!

Today I am thankful for CHARLES! He'll eat what I cook. He'll go with me on any adventure or create his own. He is smart, kind, funny, fair minded and socially aware. He's a democrat. He went vegetarian with me. He loves for me to be happy at what I choose to do. He adores all animals. He is tidy and will wipe ...the toilet down after a visit. He loves me and I thank my lucky stars every day for that!

Today I am thankful for socks. I'm a southern girl who likes her feet bare! I am used to wearing socks for fun under slacks, but now I LIVE in socks. Every moment of every day there are warm things on my tootsies. But for me, if I'm gonna wear them I think like Nathan Lane in The Birdcage-"One does want a hint of color." I LOVE crazy, funky, goofy and bright socks.

Today I am thankful for 3 OTC meds: Excedrin (thanks Stace for turning me on to this years ago), Alka Seltzer Cold & Flu fizzies (thanks Shirley for telling me about this wonder) and Airborn. For me AB is simply the best! I used to get a BAD cold every time one went around, but since taking AB every morning, not one in a long time, or very mild.

Today I am thankful for 4 souls that I've been blessed to know on this earth. Craig-my long distance BFF and the sweetest, kindest, do-anything-for-you-guy I know. Azriel-my beloved cat that is waiting for me on the Rainbow Bridge, my TRUE familiar. Great Aunt Ada-funny, great advice giver, warm & welcoming, tough 'ole broad. Loved her to pieces. My Dad-there aren't enough words, but I miss him every day of my life.

There are a few days until Thanksgiving and the end of the FB challenge. I think it is pretty easy for me to say that with this "I'm thankful for" thing I could just go on and on. And for THAT I am truly thankful!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Christmas Card Class in PA

If you live in the Mansfield area of Pennsylvania (or thereabouts) and would like to learn some fun and very useable paper crafting techniques then please check out my upcoming class!

Christmas Card Camp

Thursday, December 3rd
Sunday, December 6th

Fee: $30

In this class you’ll be making eight different seasonal cards that range from traditional to unique. You can either use these cards for eight very special people on your Christmas card list or pick your favorite(s) to reproduce en mass. These cards are made to teach you eight different card layouts that are very easy to duplicate. I'll even include a “recipe” for each card with cutting guides and tips! Most of the materials are pre-cut before you arrive, so creating these cards are quick, easy and so fun!

If you have not met me yet or are not familiar with my crafting background, please feel free to click on over to my bio page on the Whim So Doodle website.

Please email me if you need more information or would like to register for either class date at:

(Note: Cards in the photo are examples only and do not represent the EXACT cards we will be making in class. They are cards from Christmas Card Camps past...)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pumpkin Bisque

This is a request. Here you go, with the normal disclaimer that I always have.

If I create a recipe I do not write it down. It remains in my head until someone asks for it. So the measurements are just "to taste" or "thereabouts". Just keep adding them in small amounts until you get it seasoned the way you like it. Okay? Okay!

Pumpkin Bisque

1 bag of frozen, chopped onions (or cut one up yourself!)
2 tablespooons butter (or Smart Balance) (more later on)
1 good drizzle olive oil
30 oz. pumpkin puree
1 carton veggie broth
2 tablespons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon Pepper
2 tablespoons Curry powder
4 tablespoons Honey
1 tablespoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Hot Sauce (if you like it!)
1/2 cup Heavy whipping cream (no crying here, just use it!)

Toss the onions into a stock pot, add the butter and olive oil. Cook until tender or tender and browned a bit.
Add in the pumpkin and veggie broth.
Add in all the seasonings until you like it. I LOVE curry, so in mine I usually add about 3-4 tablespoons, but add this at your taste. I also love it a little spicy, so add hot sauce to your taste.
Lastly, once you have it all seasoned, then add in your cream. Add it until it gets to a bisque-ey color. You really do not have to add a ton if you are "watching it". Just keep adding until you are happy.
I usually keep the pantry stocked with those veggie broth containers, so if the soup is a bit too thick for you, you can thin it out with more stock. Of if you are feeding a crowd, you can thin it out more for lots of people.


Two months...two crops

When I was just down in Florida, lots of people were telling me that they've been waiting for Spooktacular photos. OK, I know I've been slacking off in getting them posted, so now I'll share photos and junk from both crops I flew down for.

These photos are from the Spooktacular Crop that The Doodle puts on every year and I get to organize it all. It is a two-day crop that starts on Friday with a Mocktail Hour and Appetizers. We bring in the Blood Mobile on Saturday for anyone to donate..they vant to suck your blood! (That just cracks me up every year!) We have Molly the Massuse come on Saturday to do massages. I feed everyone and of course, there are games to play. I couldn't host a crop without a game or two. I am glad that everyone is a good sport and humors me on the game-playing thing!

Barbra wins something really great. I think it was some Vera Bradley stuff.

The remains of the balloon relay game. At first croppers didn't want to play, but they don't know how pushy I am when it comes to playing games. Afterwards they were all happy that they played!

Kathy gives Miss Barbara a ride around the shop.

Homemade caramel/vanilla apples.

Of course, being away from The Doodle so long there was tons of new products that I HAD TO HAVE! Thanks to Jo for shipping all this home to me.

Ginni thinking hard. Was that Psycho or The Birds? Hummmm...

Leisa made us cupcakes for the event. They were these supremely delicious chocolate cherry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. We added the QK spiderwebs for effect. Creepy!!!

I modified a green colored cocktail and made it red and called it "Edward's Sweet Kiss". Oh! I am Team Edward all the way!

Dianne found some vintage BINGO cards at one of my favorite vintage stores in Ybor, La France. She brought some to work on and even shared the cards with everyone there! What a cool cropper!

Natasha and Karen win a mixer style get-to-know-you game. It was fun! (At least I thought so!)

All the stuff we put together for each cropper. Name place cards, cups, goody bag and more.

Food for the "mocktail hour" on Friday night.

Pam sitting in her cozy little crop space.

Karen and Barbra working on a Halloween trivia game.

These photos are from the MS Crop 4 Hope. It is a charity crop that is hosted by Jackie and Miami Dawn. They have had a crop in the same location since 1999 (I think thats correct?) For the past 4 years Jackie has used this venue to raise money for the MS Society. I believe that each year she has been very successful at this. For the past two years Whim So Doodle has packed up product and displays and set up a mini store on-site. It is a very fun crop and this year a bunch of Doodlers came(employess and customers).

We rented a Uhaul this year to transport the store displays and merchandise. Poor SisterDear had to sit on the tiny jump seat in the middle. But it was a great drive over to Sebring. We drove along the Florida Cracker Trail and got to see lots of the Florida landscape that I have been missing like palmettos, scrub pines, wild pigs, etc.

Part of our little group from The Doodle.

Our hosts for the weekend, Jackie and John Durning.

Dianne mixing drinks for the Happy Hour she and Kim hosted on the lanai of their cottage. Note the cocktail "shaker" was a coffee carafe! Too funny!

Cheers! Beer and wine for me and Stace.

Kim's work space. She was always working on something cute. In fact, when other croppers would walk by I would see them stop and admire what she was working on.

Thanks to Barbara for taking a fun pic of me! This was taken on the steps as all 100 or more of us lined up for the group photo.

Dianne's crop tote full of one-point treats!

Barbara was "hell on wheels" in her rolling chair! She nudged a pile of Stacey's stuff and it went flying!

Miss Dianne doing the make-n-take where we let everyone make a cute little charm using UTEE. It is a very popular technique.

Little turkeys that Diane K. was making. She was actually making around 30, but we pesty folks kept circling her and she gave us one so we could copy it. Isn't it just too stinkin' cute? It's a little chocolate bar as the body.

SisterDear with her name tag. It is so funny that everyone calls her "SisterDear"!

Dee Dee, Kim and Dianne were not feeling the love since they didn't win any raffle prizes! I wasn't familiar with their loser-ey feeling since I won FIVE raffles!

A sight you hardly ever working on personal stuff! I got to really spend some time updating my journaling from P365.

Now if you made it all the way to the end and are paying the blog for a crop announcement up this way. I am trying to put together a low-key crop and will announce when I have it all in place. Just keep watching! Oh! And if you are interested in coming, let me know what you do and don't want me to have/do/include. Thanks!