Monday, December 31, 2012

Good-bye, 2012; Hello, 2013

So, it is almost over.  We managed to avoid the end of the world on December 21st although, I  guess the fiscal cliff still looms.  Oh, but now they are calling it more like a fiscal slope so that’s all right then.

There will not be a phenomenon such as 12-12-12 in the rest of my lifetime.  Oh, well, I took very little note of those dates anyway.  I am sure it would be handy to have your wedding date, or your birth date, or even your twelfth anniversary on that day.  Imagine the righteous indignation you could muster: What?!?  You forgot our anniversary?!?  Unlucky for me, though, because I am the one who always forgets those sentimental dates.

According to a numerology article I read in an area magazine—the Sarasota area is tres new agey—the coming year will be a financially beneficial year for me (hence my refusal to worry about the financial cliff).  I hope so, as 2012 was not a banner year on the money front.  Still, we never once went without a meal unless we wanted to—usually because we had too much at the last one.  Also, we were able to complete the furnishing of our Florida home.  I have nothing to complain about and every reason to be grateful.  And I am.

I have made a couple of resolutions, but mostly I am concentrating on my hopes for a better world ushered in with the new year:
  • a world where people (including those On the Hill) work together with civility,
  • a world where children go to bed at night feeling safe and well-fed,
  • a world where women do not lie near death after being brutally raped and beaten,
  • a world where weapons are turned into ploughshares and we study war no more (something like that),
  • a world where peace is found in every home in every land.
Not so much to ask…

Bing Images
Happy New Year

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Breakfast at our house these days means a cup or two of coffee and a slice of toast or a muffin.  Except on Sunday.  We have a big breakfast on Sunday mornings.

This morning, I made Crème Brulee French toast.  Actually, I served it because I put it together the night before.  It was delicious, custardy…although I may spend the rest of the day in a sugar-induced coma, even though I did cut back on the butter and brown sugar called for in the recipe and I did not see the need to add powdered sugar or maple syrup.  Mike did, though. Just to make it pretty.  I served it with sliced oranges.  I found the recipe through a link-up hosted on Family Home and Life.  The original site was My Turn (for us).

 My Turn (for us): Creme Brulee French Toast

I will not make this often, but I will make it again—special occasion recipe file.  I pinned it.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas


We have had our Christmas celebrations with family and friends for this year.  Mike and I will have a quiet day together.

To all of you who celebrate in a more traditional manner:

Merry Christmas
May we find peace in the coming New Year

Thursday, December 20, 2012


I was compelled to drive the 70 miles to my daughter's house yesterday afternoon so that I could attend the grandkids' Winter Concert.

Usually, on a cold, dark night, I would stay in with a mug of hot chocolate and let them know I was there in spirit.  Somehow the events of the last few days made my need to see them--and see them in their school--overwhelming.  I put aside my volunteering and I put aside the preparations for the start of our trip to Florida tomorrow and I attended that concert.

It was so very worth it.  They were surprised (but pleased) to see me.  I was excited to see them all dressed up.  Dane wore a white dress shirt and a tie -- so precious.  K. had on a white sweater and a pretty necklace and she looked so very beautiful.

The program was well done.  The school band played, the chorus sang, there was a group of hand bell ringers, and each class did a sang with an accompanying dance or reading.  The music teacher obviously worked overtime, but so did the entire rest of the staff.  The art teacher had decorated the stage with stars and moons and twinkle lights.  Several of the staff joined in with the chorus.  And then there was the set-up/cleanup, practice time, and supervision and assistance during the program.  Teachers work so much harder than most people know--and too often without the credit and appreciation they deserve.

I did send a thank-you to the school today.  That is not very much for how good I felt after giving the grands hugs and kisses and heading out for home.

Before the tie and the hair combing.  My daughter attempted a tucked in shirt, but that did not last to the stage.  The tie did though!  How pinchable are those cheeks?                                                                                                            

Today, I did some last minute errands--the drugstore, the bank, the car wash, the grocery store for supper for tonight.  I dropped off a couple of small presents to friends.  Now the car is all packed and Mike and I will start the three day trip to Florida in the morning.  We will have a quiet evening.  The decorations are all put away, but I left up candles in the windows to acknowledge the winter solstice.

Monday, December 17, 2012


So often we wish each other peace during this season.  May we all find some measure of peace.  I want to say that even knowing that for too many that will be beyond elusive.  Where is there shelter in this storm?  My heart aches.  Pictures of the Sandy Hook victims reduce me to tears and I only want to hold my little ones tightly.

I have visited these words from One Day at a Time so often in the past few days.

May we all stay strong.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Another Confession

I have to admit this: I am really, really bad about this whole idea of blogger awards.

And it makes sense.  I was the person who always, always broke the chain letter thing.  I just could not bring myself to follow through.

Snail mail and, therefore, chain letters are a thing of the past.  But I still get the e-mail equivalent:  I will get $$$ and good luck in just twenty-four short hours after forwarding to 20 of my closest friends.  Well, even worse is those that say if I fail to forward to 20 of my closest friends, bad luck will befall me and all those I hold dear.  I don’t want to believe that stuff, but it still bothers me so greatly that I tend to hit delete before getting through the whole message. What I don’t know won't hurt me.

Now, awards are a different thing.  Who doesn’t like to get awards?  Bloggers pass around awards and I have gotten a few and I think, in a Sally Fields kind of moment, “Oh, you like me!”  That feels pretty good.  Still, I am vaguely but clearly bothered by the stipulation of passing it on.  I don’t know why, but I am.  I  do believe it has something to do with that whole chain letter thing—like I will somehow be imposing on those I choose to award.

On the other hand, I get the part apart sharing interesting blogs, getting the word out, and  encouraging a wider readership for worthy bloggers.  I think that is a good thing.  So I am conflicted.

Have I now shared at least seven random facts about myself?

I have received two awards in the fairly recent past.  Connie of Family Home and  Life nominated me for a Versatile Blogger award and Meryl of Six Decades and Counting nominated me for the Reality and Shine On award.  I am thankful.  I am honored.  I am humbled.  I am so very passive aggressive about passing these awards on to others.

So here is the thing.  I am checking out the blogs honored along with my own for these awards.  I will  very likely add some new blogs to my list.  I am suggesting that any of the blogs on my “Blog List”  are really worth checking out even if I fail to specifically nominate them for an award.  And that list does not even come close to listing the blogs that I follow in Reader and elsewhere, but I hereby promise to give them a shout out as time goes by.

I am living with myself on this!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Paper Project

I get together with a group of crafty women on a fairly regular basis.  We have fun with glue and glitter…so much glitter.  We have a lunch, laugh a lot, and go home with something completed.

We made a lot of Christmas cards and gift tags over the fall.  We met last week and I was responsible for a project.  I made a bunch of these folded pockets to stuff with treats and give to friends and use for the kids’ advent basket.  By then, I was tired of the Christmas stuff, so I packed pink paper and we got all girly.

DSCN2226 A candy, a note, a gift card, whatever could be tucked inside.

The steps are:
DSCN2279Start with a square piece of paper.
DSCN2280Fold it in half to form a triangle.
DSCN2281Fold the top point toward the long side (bottom).
DSCN2282Fold one side over, aligning the edge with the upper fold line.
DSCN2283Repeat with the other side.
DSCN2284Voila! A pocket.  No glue or tape required.  Ready to decorate.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

More of the season

It is the little touches that make the holiday for me these days.  I bought this basket to hang over the front door.

I used to fill these shelves with Christmas dishes and Santas.  Obviously, I have cut way back.  Small touches.

What doesn’t show up in a picture is the smell of the tree.  I have supplemented that with oil of balsam fir spritzed on cotton balls and tucked here and there.  And next week there will be the added fragrance of baking.

We will be heading to sunny Florida just before Christmas, but until then it is certainly great to have the small touches of color and light to counter the grey skies and early darkness.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Merry and Bright

The wreath is hung on the window outside.

It may be early, but the stockings are hung by the woodstove.

I have sampled a few too many Christmas cookies.  I noticed I had to give an extra tug to button up my jeans this morning.

I have the mail away packages wrapped and about half the cards ready to go.

I have the mittens and hats for donation and a toy for the toy barrel in the mall.

I even went out for a tree and put it up.DSCN2271It is tiny, but it is real.

The red ball says, “I Love YOU, Grandma.”  Yeah for Christmastime!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Scary News

The local newspaper has been full of disturbing news for the past couple of days.  I couple in a nearby town went missing a year and a half ago.  Their bodies were never found, but there was serious evidence of foul play.  A suspect was identified eventually but his name was never officially released until yesterday.

The suspect, and confessed killer, committed suicide in an Alaska prison. Israel Keyes had been arrested in Alaska for the murder of an 18 year-old coffee cart vendor.  He then confessed to the Vermont murders and  several others.  He died before authorities could follow up any details beyond the Alaska and Vermont slayings.

He apparently killed totally at random, with all his victims unknown to him.  He was fairly meticulous in his planning and claimed his criminal activities had gone on for years.

He travelled through Vermont on his way to see relatives in Maine and apparently felt the urge to kill a couple in their home.  He scouted for home with attached garage, no dogs, no children with a standard layout so he could predict the location of the bedroom.

Throughout the years and who knows how many killings, he maintained his own handyman business and was respected for his work by those who hired him.  In his words, "I am two different people."
One of those people was pure evil.

And he walked among us.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Small Town

My grand children live in a small Vermont town.  The buildings along the main street were mostly built in the  early 1800’s.      
Colonial and Victorian influences are evident.  It is a pretty little village.

The fountain where my grand son is standing has a boy with a boot during warmer weather.  We have had some cold days and some snow, but this day was quite balmy—almost 50.

Anybody know what these architectural styles are?  There are marble quarries nearby so one sees a lot of that in the area.

Of course, the very best part of that little town:


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Easy as Pie

I am going to weigh in on the subject of pie crust.

My grandmother made an excellent pie crust.  My mother made an excellent pie crust.  For the longest time I thought it was too difficult to even attempt so I used ready made.  But I have reformed.  I have claimed my rightful heritage.  In fact, when I reach that great bake-off in the sky, I am going to be serious competition for both Gram and Mom.

I have a couple of recipes that I use.  The one I will share today was taken from Health Magazine, the November 2007 edition.   It makes one double crust pie.  And, hey, it came from Health Magazine.  The word ‘health’ is right in the title.  That proves that it is good for you!  Eat as much as you want!

All the ingredients and all the utensils should be very cold.  The recipe actually calls for use of the food processor.  I don’t use it though.

Combine: 2 cups all-purpose flour*, 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Add: 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, and 7 tablespoons of trans-fat-free shortening.  Combine until the mixture resembles crumbs.
I like to start with a pastry blender.  Mom used two knives.
*Can’t beat King Arthur flour.

DSCN2234I finish by pinching it between my fingers—the grandma method of choice.  I do believe pie crust is a ‘feeling.’
Sprinkle: 1/3 cup cold water over the flour mixture, about 2 tablespoons at a time.  Toss with a fork to mix.

Light tossesDSCN2235

Form the pastry into two balls and flatten into disks (3/4 inch thick, or so).  Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

DSCN2236Mine is going into the freezer today.  I’ll make the pie in a couple of weeks.  Maybe you can see the smears of butter in the dough.  This is perfectly fine.  Remember…think Health.

Rolling out:  Place a disk on a 12 inch sheet of plastic wrap.  Dust with flour and roll out with floured rolling pin.  Invert into a 9” pie plate and peel off the plastic wrap.  After filling, moisten the edge, roll out the other pastry and top.  Seal edge and trim any excess.  Slit top for steam vents.  Brush top with milk for a golden brown finish.  It can also be sprinkled with sugar before baking.

So after the holidays I will weigh in on the subject of pie crust and other delicious things in quite a different sense...but I will enjoy my delusions while I can.