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!