Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gilding the Lilly

"Gilding the lilly" is an expression that a lot of folks don't understand but I like to use it anyway. It basically means adding excess to indulgence. For example, if you poured double mocha fudge on top of the yummiest fudge trufles you've ever eaten, that would be gilding the lilly.
So today when I was reading my most guiltiest pleasure, the Cake Wrecks blog, that was the only phrase that seemed to fit when I clicked on an ad and saw this: A strawberry lollipop flecked with edible gold flakes. It is described as a "romantic gift." the only thing my warped mind could think of was "How do you get the gold flakes out of your teeth?" and "If it stuck there, would it look like a grille?"
So, if you have a hard to buy for person on your Christmas know the one who has EVERYTHING, get them one of these lollipops. I bet a dollar it's the only one they get this year!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Thanksgiving Recipes

There are just some foods that I MUST have in order for it to be a "holiday". Is your family like that? In my family, we MUST have my Dad's mashed potatoes. I've watched him make them a thousand times but I still can't do it like he does. We also have to have noodles and home made rolls and 7 layer salad. My sister makes a strawberry cake that is becoming a tradition, too. I thought I'd share a couple of my favorite recipes for Thanksgiving, or any other big holiday meal.

Buttery Corn Casserole
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted, divided
2 cans (15-1/4 ounces each) whole kernel corn, drained
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup crushed butter-flavored crackers (about 24 crackers), divided
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, 2 tablespoons butter, corn, cheese and 1/2 cup cracker crumbs. Spoon into a greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dish. Toss the remaining crumbs and butter; sprinkle over corn mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until edges are bubbly. Yield: 6 servings. (This recipe is from Taste of Home Magazine)

Cranberry Sauce
1 bag fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
zest from one orange
1 jar red currant jelly
1 Tbs. cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbs. cold water

Cook the cranberries with the water and sugar until the berries burst. Add in the orange zest and jelly and cook untilt he jelly melts. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook until thickened. Serve hot, cold or at room temperature. If you like it sweeter, add more sugar. I've even stirred in some packets of artificial sweetener at the end.

What are your favorite holday recipes?

Monday, November 24, 2008


Since it is so close to Thanksgiving, I've found myself really reflecting on what I'm thankful for. It is quite a bit different that what I was thankful for just one short year ago. It makes me sad to realize how screwed up my priorities were and I'm sad that I didn't know what was to come and that I missed out on some really important things.
Last year at this time I was being busy going to tax school and dreading the holiday season. I am not a "holiday" person. I just wanted a day off and time to wind down. To be honest, I can't even remeber spending time with my family or my husband's family, even though I know we went to both places for dinner. What I DO remember is how irritated I was with all the running around and all the chaos.
This year, just 9 1/2 months after my husband died, I am truly thankful for my friends and family, and for all they have done to support me this year. I'm thankful that I have things to be thankful for because 9 1/2 months ago I couldn't begin to wrap my head around what was going on. I'm thankful that the experience has changed me.
So, as a personal "shout out" to my friends and family, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for all you have done. Maybe you stayed up late to talk on the phone with me, or delivered firewood or stopped and cleaned my house, or invited me to dinner, or just held my hand and let me cry, or helped me sort through stuff. Maybe you offered advice, or maybe you stood back and let me figure it out on my own. Please know that I am truly thankful for all of it, and I appreciate every single kind gesture.

What are you most thankful for?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Remembering Gram

My dad did something today that he has never done before and it scared me and made me upset. At 7:30 this morning he called me and was crying. The man who has held me and loved me through every terrible thing in my life was crying. He informed me that his mother, my Grammy, had died about 30 minutes before.
She had been in a nursing home for a while because she had severe dementia, but it wasn’t Alzheimers. She couldn’t remember who any of her own children were and she didn’t understand where she was. She lives 3 h?rs away so I didn’t get to see her much. The last time I saw her was in April, right after her 92 birthday. She didn’t recognize me but when I was leaving, I sat on her bed and hugged her and she didn’t want to let go of me. It felt good and in my own mind, I believe that she had a brief flash of light in her confused mind and knew that I was her grandchild.
My Grammy was a knitter and she used to make the most beautiful baby clothes. She even knitted clothes for my dolls. When her house had to be sold, I asked for her knitting needles. They are in a box in my craft room. There is even a swatch left on one of the needles where she was trying to gauge the knit, or whatever you call it. I can’t knit but every time I see them or hold them in my hand I think of her with fondness.
I will miss my Gram terribly but I know that she was tired and ready to go. Go hug your grandma today, and while you’re at it, tell your Dad he’s great.
What memory do you have of your Gram ?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy Random Friday

It's Friday and boy am I glad. It seems like this week has lasted a lifetime. I'm full of random stuff today.
Do you have any fun and exciting plans for the weekend? Sweetie's children are coming to my house this weekend. I love them so much! Son has a basketball game on Sunday so that will be fun for us. I'm going on a super secret squirrel Christmas mission this weekend and I'm hoping I can pull it off.
Went to the grocery store yesterday. What chaos! I swear there was nearly a fight over the frozen turkeys. Husbands and wives were forming tag team pairs to dive into the freezer cases. I think I even saw one woman with a map and a battle plan. It was like they were saying MUST. HAVE. TURKEY. Don't even get me started about the cranberry sauce aisle. I was frightened.
Dr. appointment for my finger yesterday. Have to wear this awesome splint for another week. I got to keep my X-rays. I think I might frame them and hang them in my living room. They would make awesome Halloween decorations.
I went Chrsitmas shopping after my Dr. appointment. I saw a woman who although she was quite pretty and dressed very stylishly, she had the sourest look on her face. All that pretty was lost on her because of the scowl she wore. It looked like she swallowed a bug. Her eyebrows were all scrunched up and she was frowning. I felt bad for her. I wanted to tell her "If it's that bad just go home and put your PJs on" but I didn't.
My addiction needs fed. MUST. HAVE. COFFEE.
Happy Friday Y'all!
What are your random thoughts today?

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I always say that I'm not named Grace for a reason. I tend to be quite accident prone, hence the broken finger. I trip over things all the time. I'm really good at burns and cuts, too. Then there was the time I fell on the steps while cooking Easter dinner for my whole family, and burned my arm later the same day, but that is another story. Today, that isn't the kind of grace I'm talking about.
The Merriam Webster lists this as the definition of grace: a: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification b: a virtue coming from God c: a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace2 a d: disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency.
I try not to discuss my own personal views on religion and I don't want anyone to be offended by today's post.
My sister L. is a person who prays and many times I have asked her to pray for me. What I find intersting is that she always asks God to give me the grace that I need to deal with whatever problem it is at the time. And somehow, it always works.
The first thing this morning I found myself asking God for grace. Before I had even finished my coffee my patience was tried and tested to it's limit. I was irritated, I was mad and I felt used. I bitched and complained about it for a minute (OK, more like 15) and then I realized it wasn't doing a darn bit of good. So, I asked God for grace. Ask me later how it's going.
The words to this hymn are posted on my wall and I keep reading them:
Let me be a little kinder, let me be a little blinder
To the faults of those around me. Let me praise a little more.
Let me be when I am weary, just a little more cheery.
Think a little more of others, and a little less of me.
Let me be alittle braver, when temptation bids me waver
Let me strive alittle harder to be all that I should be.
Let me be a little meeker with a brother who is weaker
Let me thik more of my neighbor and a little less of me.
Maybe between the praying and the reading I'll be able to let it go and be a graceful person. Either that or I won't have any accidents today.
How do you handle trying situations?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Baby, it's COLD outside!

BRRR shitzky! It is frigid outside! When I got up this morning the local news said it was 17 deg. That is just 2 deg. away from the all time low record set in 1951. It isn't even December yet and it's cccccooolllllddddd! I hate it! Bring back the lovely balmy sping like weather. Bring back the sunshine. Bring back the green grass and leafy trees. Please? Anyone? Please?
When it gets this cold outside all I want to do is curl up with a snuggly blanket and one of my dogs and hibernate. Since that really isn't an option, my second choice is to have some kind of fat laden-stick to your ribs-fill your belly- warm your soul kind of soup. The kind that you'd be farther ahead to rub on your behind than to eat because that's where its going to end up anyway. Although this isn't really a "recipe" so to speak, but more of a suggestion of ingredients, this is one of my favorite winter time soups.

What is your favorite soup?

Broccoli Ham and Cheese Soup
You will need:
2 boxes of chopped frozen broccoli. Nuke 'em in the microwave for about 3 minutes to thaw them out.
Some diced ham chunks, how ever much you think your soup needs
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 can of chicken broth
Velveeta- the amount is up to you- I use the 2% kind because I think it will make me skinny (ha!)
Some butter (about a tablespoon)
Some milk (a few cups worth) Again I use 1% for the same reason listed with the Velveeta
Maybe some corn starch

Start by melting your butter in a big old pot. Throw in the ham and and cook it until it just starts to brown a little. Add the broccoli and the chicken broth and cook on a medium -ish heat until the broccoli is almost done. Add the milk. I start with about 2 cups and add more if I think I need it. Next, add in the velveeta. I use about 3 to 4 inches off the end of the big loaf. Like I said, the amount is up to you. Cook until the cheese is all melted then add in the cream of chicken soup. If you want it thicker, and I always do, make a slurry with a couple of teaspoons of cornstarch and some cold water and stir it in the soup and cook it until it thickens up. Season with salt and pepper or what ever spices you enjoy.

This is awesome with some biscuits or home made rolls and like all soup, its better the next day. It's also very versatile. If broccoli isn't your thing, leave it out and used diced potatoes and saute some chopped onions with the ham. If you're out of ham that day, use sliced kielbasa or smoked sausage. If you're a vegetarian, leave out the ham and substitute vegetable broth and cream of celery or cream of broccoli soup.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


If my typing is full of typographical errors today, I apologize in advance. You see, I broke the ring finger on my right hand Saturday night while stacking firewood. It's swelled up and is the lovliest shade of "brusie" that I've ever seen. I went to the local "doc in a box" place on Sunday morning. The doctor was very nice and he offered to write me off work. The nurse came in with a giant set of tin snips and a long piece of aluminum to make a splint. So, I left the place with a ginormous splint, a set of instructions telling me to eleveate my hand and an Rx for vicodin, or black out in a bottle as I like to call it.
Now I'm totally learning how much I use that finger. I also think I'm trying to set a world record for bumping it as many times in a day as humanly possible. If you think something sticks out like a sore thumb, try having it stick out like a broken ring finger.
I just hope it heals quickly and I get the splint off in time to make pies for Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Go Read a Book!

"Go Read a Book!" is what my mother used to tell me when I said there was nothing to do. That is what started my lifelong love of books and reading. I read EVERYTHING...from newspapers to cereal boxes to trashy romance books to non fiction historical books. I even read books I don't like because I have a wierd compulsion to finish a book to the very end. I read because I need something to distract me from the every day minutae of life. I read for entertainment. I read to gain knowledge. I read just to read.
When people ask what my favorite book is, I can't answer. I've read too many books to have a favorite. However, there are books that I will read over and over and over. Anything by Julie Garwood, The Bridges of Madison County, The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch, Bad Girl Creek and Dancing at the Harvest moon are just a few that fit into that category. Oh! The Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss is another one. I read it every 4 or 5 months.
When my husband died, I learned that you really learn who your friends are and who really knows you. My dear friend N. really knows me. I love her! She brought a goody bag to the calling hours and in it was Twizzlers and a book. (I'm allergic to chocolate so Twizzlers is one of my favorite candies) The book was called Sisters. Its about the experiences of a family of 4 sisters after their mother is killed and one sister is blinded in a car wreck. It was a perfect gift and I really appreciated the thought she put into it. Recently, my own sister C. told me she had just read the best book. Guess what it was? Yep, Sisters.
Right now I am reading The Carrot Cake Murder. It's a Hanna Swenson mystery by Joanne Fluke. I like her books because they are full of yummy recipes.
Do you read?
Do you have a favorite book?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I love it when a plan comes together!

I teach classes about wastewater. I know, sounds glamorous, doesn't it? Anyway, 4 people I work with take the class. They have studied and put in extra time and made flash cards and really gone the extra mile. I'm proud of them. Last night was the final exam. We had review sessions a week ago. They all got As! In fact everyone in the class got an A on the final. Woo Hoo!
Sometimes I wonder if what I'm trying to convey actually makes sense. (Sometimes I wonder if I'm really speaking Chinese and I'm the only person who understands me.) I guess this time it made sense.
Do you ever think that what you say doesn't make sense?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Day Off

I had yesterday off work for Veteran's Day. To prolong my weekend I took Monday off, too, giving me a 4 day weekend. It was GREAT! My sweetie let me sleep in on Monday, which is something I never get to do. I got my hair cut and colored. (Yes, I have to hide the grey) Then on Tuesday I got to sleep in AGAIN <>and I went shopping. I picked up a few things for Christmas and even wrapped a few presents. I so enjoyed not being at work!
What do you do when you get a day off to yourself?

ps- christmas is 42 days away

Friday, November 7, 2008

Make a Child Smile

If you read my profile you know that I'm into reading blogs and rubber stamping. Today's post marries the two. (And since I drink coffeee while I'm reading blogs, I guess that makes it a three way of my addictions!)
In spite of the fact that I have no biological children, I strongly believe that you should do everything that you can do to make children feel like they are important, special and loved. So, when I read about Make a Child Smile on a card making blog, my heart sang. is a website dedicated to children who are hospitalized with terminal illnesses. It invites people to mail cards to these kids to brighten their day. I love to get mail that isn't a bill so I can only imagine how they light up at receiving a card or a note of encouragement.
I'm asking you to please check out this website and pickup an extra card when you're out shopping, or go the extra step (if you're crafty) and make a card and drop it in the mail. Get your kids involved, invite your Sunday School class or girl scout troop to help. I can promise you, your effort will be appreciated.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The things we do for the people we love

I have been dating someone I've known since I was 9 years old. His name is Shawn. Shawn is incredibly understanding about my situation and is very sensitive to the fact that I carry a lot of baggage associated with becoming a widow. He's awesome and I appreciate what he does, even though I don't know why he does it. So, when he asks me to cook or bake something for him I usually say yes, even if it's something I've never made before. Such was the case yesterday.
We were having a conversation about pumpkin pie and I said I like pumpkin cheesecake in a gingersnap crust. He asked me to make one and I told him that I've never made a baked cheesecake and didn't know how, to which he replied "Google it!" So I did.
This is the recipe I found at I baked it last night and it was awesome! He was impressed. I tweaked it slightly and put the changes at the end. If you have never made a baked cheesecake give this one a whirl. It's fairly simple.

Philadelphia 3 Step Pumpkin cheesecake
2-8 oz. pkg. PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash ground cloves
Dash ground nutmeg
2 eggs
1 HONEY MAID Graham Pie Crust (6 oz.) ( I made my own- see note)
1 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Beat cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, vanilla and spices in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs; beat just until blended.
POUR into crust.
BAKE 40 min. or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight. Top with whipped topping just before serving

I made my own graham cracker crust using cinnamon graham crackers, butter, sugar and ground (dried) ginger to make it taste more like a ginger snap. I put it in the bottom only of a springform pan.

I left out the nutmeg just because I didn't have any.

I used slightly more pumpkin because I didn't get out a measuring cup. It was probably closer to 1 cup but it didn't hurt the final product.

I sprinkled cinnamon on top of the cheeseckae before baking it becuase it jsut looked pretty.

I placed a pan of water on the bottom shelf of the oven to help keep the top of the cheesecake from cracking. It worked well.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


A few years ago I began taking thyroid medications and I wasn't supposed to eat anything for 2 hrs after I took it. Since I was supposed to take it first thing in the morning, that meant breakfast had to wait. I got into the habit of bringing something with me to work and eating it at my desk. It used to be instant grits or packets of instant oatmeal bt I have moved on from that. My new favorite thing portable thing for breakfast right now is Bagelfuls. Now, I'm not getting paid to advertise or anything. I'm just a fan. They are like a cream cheese filled bagel stick that you heat up in the microwave. I like cinnamon but the strawberry ones are pretty good too. They also make a plain version but who wants that when cinnamon and strawberry are waiting for you?
So, what is your favorite breakfast thing?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


November 4, 2008. Election Day. Ohio is an early voting state so I voted last week. My polling place was moved to a complete other town and I couldn't make it there today so I went to the board of election office and voted there.
Regardless of wether you are a republican or a democrat, this is a historic election. Get out and vote. Be a part of it. Besides, you get a cool "I voted" sticker that you can rock the rest of the day.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The First Step is Admitting That You Have a Problem.

I admit. I'm shamelessly addicted to reading blogs. It's like reality tv for the internet. So, I decided to start my own blog. I don't know if I really have anything brilliant or life changing to say to the cyber world, but I'm giving it a shot.