Thursday, December 31, 2009

Time Keeps on Slippin'

slippin', slippin... and I haven't posted in a while. I started a post earlier this week wishing you all a Merry Belated Christmas, but then the phone rang and it was a BFF so we had to talk til all hours, and I never got back to that blog post...

And so here we are. Snow-covered on New Year's Eve 2009. Preparing for 2010. Well, not really, but I like seeing this first decade of the new century so obviously stated. How will you pronounce the new year? Is it "Two Thousand Ten" or is it "Twenty Ten"? I haven't decided yet. I do know that I'll still be writing 2009 on my checks in April, though. It takes me awhile to get used to change.

This has been quite a decade. Ten years ago today, I was triple checking my inventory of food and cash for the inevitable crash that was going to occur as the clock ticked into the YEAR 2000. Obviously THAT didn't happen.

Keith and I were still in pre-children bliss, but eagerly anticipating the birth of our first child after having just told everyone that we were "expecting" that Christmas. We were both working, fixing up our first home, and we were so happy (well, except for my concern about the whole YEAR 2000 thing)

Now, a decade later, and still so happy, we have 2 awesome children, we are in house #2, we've purchased 2 new (and one used) cars, I've had 2 different hairstyles and I'm 2 pant sizes fluffier. I've said goodbye to one grandparent, one dear friend, and a brother-in-law (although he's still on this side of eternity...) And I won't even delve into all of the changes we've indured as a country!

Things sure do keep changing. And I already told you above how I do with change. Not that I don't like change, it just takes some getting used to. And that's why I haven't taken the time to blog over the past few weeks. I've wanted to, needed to, savor the moments I have with my family because in another ten years things will inevitably look so very different from now.

Here is our NOW:

May your New Year be full of fun, laughter,

and may you find warmth in the comfort of dear family and friends.

Have a blessed, Happy New Year! Cheers to the Now, and to our Future!

***Updated on 1/2/2010 to add more of our NOW that I somehow didn't get pictures of on Christmas!

These two nephews of mine need their own post, I think. I'll get to that sometime soon....

Friday, December 18, 2009

About Last Night

Last night was the beginning of the end for me --- weight-wise, that is. At least for the next few weeks. Because last night was the annual cookie bake with my sisters-in-law. Thankfully, we only made three kinds.

There were spritz cookies in several different shapes, in both red and green (and some accidentally both red AND green...)

And these....

Which became these....

And then there are these... a personal favorite

No, not the carmel apple martini - I have NO idea how that even got there....
I mean these...
Almond Crescents...ahh...

Aside from the dozen I ate last night, today I've eaten, umm.. well, let's just say I'm covered in powdered sugar right now, and so is my keyboard...
And the worst isn't over. Tomorrow is my own annual cookie baking day. When I make the rest of my favorites. I have to. It's tradition. And I'm big on tradition. I'll be making 2 different kinds of biscotti, and cracker candy and truffles and raspberry swirls and ... and my poor little wii mii. She is going to be in some bad shape - literally.
Here is one cookie I won't be making tomorrow, but I just had to share it because it is so stinkin' cute and creative and crazy time-consuming. Saw it on There are some very cute ideas on that site. However, I do think she must be related to THE Martha. I'm mean just look at these things!

Gingerbread houses that hang over your coffee mug! I know, I know. I rolled my eyes, too. and even had a milisecond thought of thinking I should try to make some. Thankfully it was a fleeting thought.

Anyway, I'm hoping that my home looks like this winter wonderland tomorrow. "They say" we are going to get 10-12 inches of snow tomorrow! Sounds like a perfect baking (eating) kind of day.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Okay, so I could have done better with the outfits for their pictures with Santa. But, really we were just at a pancake breakfast to support the Ruritans in our community, and boy scouts, and I really wasn't thinking about sitting on Santa's lap. But he was there, so we had to get a picture with him, and tell him what we want for Christmas. And by we, I mean Noah and Emily. I spared the poor man my current poundage. He would have immediately put my name on the naughty list. Plus, my wish list is even longer than Noah and Emmy's this year. I might have had kids throwing candy canes at me 'cause I was hogging up all of the jolly guy's time.
My wish list includes things like a tumbling composter, canning supplies and a generator. Don't ask. It also includes things like magazine subscriptions to Eating Well and Clean Eating, the book Mastering Your Metabolism ( by Jillian - the OTHER trainer...) and gift cards to Anthro and Loft (for when I actually lose all the weight I gained on the ....
Noah has a very modest list this year, and his most desired thing is a Marshmellow Shooter. Emmy? She's asking for the moon - and a puppy, and a DS, and an IPHONE!! among many other things.... What's on your list this year?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Despite how often it happens, it continues to rattle me that people can be listening to or reading the exact same thing and come away with something so completely different. Whether it be listening to a TV news reporter, politician or comedian, it is amazing to me how differently people hear what is said. I do not know when this extreme divide occured in our country, but it scares me.

So, I've decided I'll just be listening to Christmas music for a while. Pretty straight forward I think. Simple message. Important message. Timely. And fills me with hope and peace. Because despite all the opinions and interpretations out there, God is in control. Praise Him for the life of that Baby born in Bethlehem.

Last night, we enjoyed a special concert at Barnes and Noble, featuring our very own Noah. Okay, well, he wasn't FEATURED, but he was part of the chorus. Keith continues to be amazed by our son's lack of fear when in front of large groups of people, or even just performing in front of us. Keith has said so many times, "I never would have been able to do that at his age!"

And in 4th grade, I may have very well thrown up and/or passed out in such a situation as this.

But not this handsome feller. Nope. How nice for us. And how nice to hear him singing.

Do you have a favorite Christmas song that you like to listen to or sing? I have too many favorites to say, but I do enjoy singing Bruce Springsteen's version of "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" just to drive my kids crazy :) And I think O Holy Night is one of the most beautiful. But there are sooo many good ones out there! Thankfully - since that's all I'm going to be listening to for a while!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sweet Tart

One thing that I know for sure is that Keith will not make a cranberry bog for me in our backyard. It is good to know some things for sure. Creates some stability.

However, I really like things with cranberries in them. Thankfully, cranberry bogs are plentiful in our state, and therefore so are cranberries at this time of year. Yesterday I made a Cranberry bread that turned out just right, so I thought I'd share the recipe with you here. The aroma as it bakes will have you dancing around your kitchen AND the best part is that it makes two loaves - one for you, and one for everyone else! ;)

Cranberry Bread

4 oz. butter, softened
2 extra large eggs
1 T. orange zest
1 1/2 c. fresh orange juice
4 c. flour
2 c. white sugar, plus more to dust on top of each loaf before baking
3 tspn. baking powder
1 tspn. baking soda
2 tspn. salt
12 oz. of fresh cranberries (about 4-5 cups)
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2 8" loaf pans and set aside. In bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Beat together butter, eggs, and zest. Add the juice and and stir well (will look a little curdled - ignore that). Add flour mixture and beat til just incorporated. Fold in cranberries and walnuts and then divide batter between two pans. Dust the tops with sugar ( I actually made up some cinnamon sugar and put that on top) - about 2 tspns per loaf ( I like a thick, sweet crust on top). Bake for about 50 minutes depending on your oven and loaf pans. Let cool 10 minutes and remove to a rack to cool completely.

Moist, sweet, tart, delicious. Just in time to take to Mom's for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Back Up Plan

Should you find yourself on the evening of your husband's birthday with say, a coconut custard pie that never set and you're just a few short minutes from gift giving and Happy Birthday singing, I've discovered an impromptu back up plan....

Five Minute Chocolate Mug Cake:
(thanks to my friend that forwarded this recipe to me in an email! :)

4 T flour
4 T sugar
2 T cocoa
1 egg
3 T milk
3 T oil (don't accidentally add OLIVE oil... not as tasty in cake... wasn't a good day all around..)
3 T chocolate chips
splash vanilla extract (yes, that IS a measurement in my kitchen)

1 Large Coffee Mug - microwavable

Mix dry ingredients in mug, add egg and mix thoroughly. Add milk and oil, mix, add vanilla extract and chips, mix again. Pop it in the microwave for 3 minutes at 1000 watts ( I just did it on my microwave's normal setting and assumed it was that) (If you know how to determine the watts on your microwave, more power to ya -get it, power, ....hello? Right. Back to the recipe.)

Don't be alarmed when the cake looks as if it is going to rise up out of the mug and take off like the gingerbread man. Instead, grab the kids and stand around laughing like crazy at it. Takes your mind off the time spent on the coconut custard pie that never set.

Allow to cool a little and tip out onto a plate if you want. Or just let your loved one eat it right out of the mug. Top with the real whipped cream that you can't use on your coconut custard pie that never set. It's really good! Even if you do accidentally use olive oil....

The birthday boy was thoroughly impressed. But he also reminded me that I still owe him a coconut custard pie.... hmmm.... I think Sara Lee's are on sale this week at the market...if so, I'm all SET! Sorry, I couldn't help it. Please stop by again sometime. I'll try not to be so corny.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Cause Not Wanted to be Found

Six months ago, a friend of our family, who has also been Emily's baseball coach for 3 years, pulled Keith aside after a baseball practice to tell Keith that ---he was dying.

Keith walked away from that tear-filled conversation in disbelief. Our friend, Jeff, a 38 year old husband and father of 3 young children, athletic, outgoing, funny as all get out, extremely active in our community in Little League and as a member of the school board, was diagnosed with ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Have you known anyone with ALS? I hadn't until then. I don't think any of us were prepared for how quickly the disease would invade Jeff's life. And his family's. It is a horrible, horrible, horrible disease. With no cure. Yet. Last weekend we participated in an ALS walk at Citizen's Bank Park as part of the "Bases for Brown" team.

Jeff's team raised more money then any other team there. And there was a second team there in his honor, too. He works for Campbell Soup, and they had a team named "Red and White for Brown". It was amazing to see the support there for him. But then, I wasn't surprised, really. He is a great friend to a lot of people.

There were many, many other people there, too. And many of them walked for loved ones already gone.

What I saw was a lot of people needing praying for, but also a lot of prayers of thanks for the love and support that surrounded them that day. Pray for Jeff. Pray for his wife, Janet and their 3 beautiful children. Thanks.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Field Trip

No school for 3 days this week due to Teacher's Convention normally means getting out of Dodge City for the week, but this year we opted to just do a day trip. Keith took the day off, and we headed West - to Pennsylvania. Not wanting to veer far from his element, Keith decided we should do a "How's That Made" tour.

First stop... Herrs Food, Inc. - producer of salty snacks I really shouldn't eat, but do.

Of course, going to production sights where sights, sounds and smells are proprietary is not the best situation for someone who wants to blog the experience. So... I don't have many pictures. We really did go inside and take the tour.

Luvin' Emmy's outfit.... ??

We were even given free snacks... new flavors... not our first choices, but not too bad...

Then we made our way back to into Philadelphia, and headed to another How's That Made desination - in which I was not allowed to bring a camera, lest I be assaulted by a Homeland Security Guard or something...So, here it is...

Wait... Here it is....

The Philadelphia Mint. We did go inside and took the self-guided tour, but I left my camera in the car since I knew I wouldn't be allowed to take pics. I didn't want to have to fight a security guard for my camera, so I played it safe... It was very interesting, although they weren't making any money. I won't even make any political jokes about that.

After all the touring, it was time to get down to business. Let's EAT! Keith has been wanting to go to a place called Chickie & Pete's for... forever, so we thought this would be a good time as it is in Philly, and we were in Philly. Like it was meant to be or something.

It's a sports bar, right next to the huge sports complex that houses the Phillies (baseball)Stadium, Eagles (Football) Stadium and Flyer's (Hockey) Stadium. The "kids" had fun wandering around trying to figure out which pictures of sports figures they recognized. Me, I was starving and sat at the table eating the menu. Forgive me, but there are no food pictures as I was too busy eating. And, um.. it was very good.

Of course, we wouldn't be Turner's if we ended our eating there. After a full meal, we walked next door for dessert.

Termini's Bakery. A Philadelphia Icon.

What to have, what to have...

One of everything, please?

Easy choice for Keith and I. Cannolis - filled with creamy goodness - while you wait! And, I can even take pictures. My kinda place!