Friday, September 30, 2011

Just for Fun

My original header.  I like my new one better.  Do you?

The story: My daughter has an app on her iPod called "Songify."  Basically, she can speak words into her iPod, and get those same words put to a tune in return.  I couldn't resist trying it out... with the name of my blog.  It's interesting.  And by that I mean really strange, and it doesn't sound like my voice at all - no, I mean REALLY.

And now, for your listening enjoyment...  CLICK HERE if you dare.

Don't laugh too hard.  Or do.  I'm flexible.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ode to Pumpkin Waffles

A typical morning around here begins at 5:30.  I'm the first one awake, and my son follows. He needs to be on the bus at 6:53 (well you know, so says the schedule).  My hubby's work schedule varies, and we homeschool our daughter.  So, we are a bit more flexible on the rising time of those two.  Let's just say it's different every week.

Anyway, back to my son and I.  I typically pad around in my p.j.'s waking the house up, and packing my son's lunch.  While he showers, I turn the computer on, and click to my Google Reader reading list to see what's new.  My morning newspaper, if you will.

Rushed breakfasts are not my son's thing.  He likes to linger over the comics.  So, it has been a stretch --since he started public school this year-- to get him to sit down and eat breakfast on a school day.  Even when there is time.  His mind is already whirring a mile a minute, and

he. just. can't.

However, the other day, he happened to mention that he loved the frozen, store-bought cinnamon-toast-waffles that I had grabbed for the first week of school (when I felt at a loss). I mulled that over a little, and thought it had to be cheaper in the big scheme of things to go buy a new waffle iron (we wore out our old one), and make waffles for him.   I was excited.  I could whip up all kinds of yummy waffles, and freeze them, and he could pull them out and toast them whenever he wanted one.  They'd be great to grab for the walk to the bus stop. Right?

So here's the rest of my thought process:
* After finding a new waffle iron on-line, I gave a big pitch to hubby to pick one up where they were in stock -- at the store near his office.
* Yesterday, I investigated recipes.
* Last night, hubby brought the home waffle iron.
* I read the manual. (This may be the first time EVER.)  Knowing Son has delayed starting time for school, I planned to get up (anyways) at my 5:30 alarm, and start waffling.
* My morning was productive.  I did all of the usual stuff (meaning I read your blogs), had a yogurt -- even made crock pot lasagna.  Then, on to the waffles.  Pumpkin waffles.  I was almost giddy, just knowing they were going to be SO GOOD.

Son comes downstairs, takes a couple-bites sample of a waffle, lays it on the table, and retreats to his room to wrap up some homework before school.  He'll be back, I think to myself.  The time for departure approaches, so I say to my son, "Better go grab some breakfast and enjoy it before school."  His reply?  "I already ate."  "Two bites!" I say.  "I'm not really hungry," he says.

And then... And then... OUCH!!!

That was me.  Biting my tongue.  Holding back that big speech that I had already given him yesterday about eating a good breakfast.  Walking away and hearing this in my head, "It's not about you."  I know it was God.  He's been teaching me this lately.


I am always and forever learning (and never perfecting) the lesson that so far is the hardest for me to learn in this raising of a teenage boy.  It's not always about me.  (I know, you might want to sit down for this.)  I'm (slowly) learning to keep all of most of some of my opinions to myself.  I'm learning (all over again from toddlerhood and the terrible twos) to pick my battles.

As I sat down and ate two-maybe-three pumpkin waffles, I thought, "This one was not worth fighting."

And so, if you have time tomorrow morning, stop by for a frozen pumpkin waffle.  I'll pop it in the toaster for you!

Afterthought:  I'm seriously re-thinking my idea to purchase a blender (which I've never owned) to make some amazing breakfast smoothies.  Just sayin'.  Maybe not.

While you're here, leave a comment on the previous post
to enter my Spooktacular Giveaway!  

A Spooktacular First Giveaway

Just in time for Halloween!
  Would you like to win a copy of Gooseberry Patch's
"Best of Halloween 2011" bookazine?

Well, I happen to have an extra copy,
and I'd like one of my readers to have it.
It's filled with recipes, crafts, and decorating ideas
in living color (that means lots of great photos),
and includes stencil patterns for your pumpkins,
Halloween party invitations,
and various labels that you can copy.

Just leave a comment on this post,
and you'll be entered for a chance to win!
(U.S. only please) 

Giveaway ends September 30th.
One random winner will be announced on October 1st.

And the winner is:  Janice!
I'll be contacting you for your mailing address. 

The nice people at Gooseberry Patch did not ask me to promote
their bookazine or their company.
I just happen to think they're great,
and have collected their cookbooks for years.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Whose Fries?

Emeril's, that's who!
<Well, that's what we call them at our house, anyways.>

These are easy as pie, and so delicious.
They're a little spicy too,
depending on how crazy you go with the spices.

I don't recommend slices. They end up whimpy. Wedges are meatier.

Here's what you need:

Some of your favorite potatoes, wedged
Emeril's Original Essence - several good shakes
oil - only about 1 Tablespoon
gallon-sized zip bag 

* Cut extra-large potatoes in half cross-wise, and then wedge the halves.  
* Don't make your wedges too thick.  That means extra baking time!
* Though I usually make the wedges, I tried slices (pictured here), and they end up whimpy.  Wedges are meatier and much more enjoyable!
* Don't use too much oil.  It just makes a mess in your oven! 

Place potato wedges in gallon zip-bag.  Add 1 T. oil.  Seal bag, and squish potatoes around to coat with the oil.  Then, add a few shakes of Emeril's Original Essence (available at your local grocery store in the spice aisle).  Zip bag and squish again to coat potatoes with spices. Here's the critical point.  Open the bag.  Do you love the smell?  Do you like things spicy? Now's the time to decide if you need more spices...decisions, decisions!  If you add more spices, squish the potatoes around again. You get the drill.

Place potatoes on a baking sheet or stone.
Move around so that they're only in a single layer.
Bake at 450 for 25 minutes.

And... end up with this yumminess!
As Emeril would say: "BAM!"

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blog Bits #1

Recent Favorites:
Miss Mustard Seed - shredded book pages for pumpkin nesting.
Nesting Place - 20 ways to decorate with book pages.
Cream Puffs In Venice - a Nutella Meringues recipe (imagine the goodness!)
My sweet friend (and scrapbooker extraordinaire) Suz
at Live a Life EXTRAordinary showed me these
great printable gift tags at Love vs. Design
Just Something I Made - free vintage digital images. Cool tags & clock faces.
Love Feast Shop - GORgeous velvet pumpkins! (Seriously. Who KNEW?) 

photo used with permission

Monday, September 26, 2011


On Monday, my sweet hubby and I will celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary.  Seems like it was just yesterday... and seems like it's been forever (in all of the very best ways, of course).  On Saturday, we celebrated with a dinner out at one of our favs: P.F.Changs.  My usual favorite (beef with snow peas) was off the menu, so I ordered the pepper steak, and Oh My!  It may be my new favorite!  Hubby ordered some spicy chicken, extra hot please.  (Oh, that man!)

Afterwards we took a walk around the lake at a local Mum Fest.  This festival always falls on our anniversary weekend, and we have made many trips here -- both with the kids (when they were little) and on our own through the years.  There are many vendor-booths set up selling or advertising various wares, some yummy food, and entertainment as well (not to mention the beautiful mums!)  This year, we arrived as they were closing down for the evening.  We were still able to walk around the lake, enjoy the view, people-watch, and take some pictures.  When my hubby realized I was looking for some good pictures, he went into his photographer-assistant mode and started hunting out some interesting shots for me.  <just another example of "what would I do without him?">

Beautiful scarves blew in the breeze.

The mums were extraordinary as always.

There is always a table of carved fruits and vegetables.
This year, the watermelons were especially beautiful.


The day was beyond gorgeous, and the temperature --perfect!

Streetlight love.

Gnarled branches.

Bottoms up!  It was quite comical to watch the swans "fish."

Happy Anniversary to the love of my life!
Thanks for all of the great adventures.
Here's to many more years,
and lots of great new adventures! 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Flowers on Saturday

There aren't too many things still blooming in our yard, but I'm still enjoying the vivid colors of the red Salvia and the multi-colored Portulaca.


Linking with Ewa for:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fingerprint Friday

God's fingerprints as we walk the early-morning trail...
Psalm 5:3 (NIV)
In the morning, O LORD,
you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation. 

Linking to Fingerprint Friday at The Rusted Chain.
Blog with your interpretation of God's fingerprints. 


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Monday Misc. on Thursday

{It's just that kind of week.}

Here's what's flying over our house.
It's passed over three times already in the past hour or so.
It's a beautiful day for flying in NEOh,
and there is lots of air traffic over our house! 

We interrupted a morning of homeschooling to pick up new glasses for our girl.
She is super-happy because they are so similar in shape
to her old glasses.
 Our girl loves the comfort of things that are familiar. 

In interesting "post" facts...
only 4 people viewed my post from yesterday
about this yummy dessert,
but 36 people caught my link to an older post
with Gooseberry Patch for Soup Season!
 [Thank you Gooseberry Patch!]

Last fall in Ohio

I visited a local garden center the other day,
and took a few pictures.
Flowers may very well be my favorite subjects.

Hot air balloons could be my second favorite.
Talk about "the thrill of the chase."
I still haven't recovered from the excitement of this:

 What kind of miscellaneous stuff
is going on at your house today? 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Recipe: Chocolate Graham Cracker Dessert

This recipe is so easy.  Traditionally, my mom made this dessert in a loaf pan.  That was back in the days of our little family of four.  Now, when the entire family gets together, there are 11 of us -- so I had to figure out a different way... using a bigger pan.

I used: 2 large boxes of instant sugar-free chocolate pudding,
and 2+ boxes of honey grahams.
 [These amounts may vary depending on your pan size.] 

Traditional loaf pan method:
* line loaf pan with plastic wrap
* line bottom and walls of pan with graham crackers, breaking or cutting to fit where necessary.  Line with crackers to the top lip of the pan.
* place layer of chocolate pudding in pan.
* layer with more graham crackers, cutting to fit.
* and so on, alternating pudding and cracker layers all the way to the top lip of the loaf pan -- and ending with crackers.
* REFRIGERATE OVERNIGHT to allow crackers to soften.
* when ready to serve, invert pan on cutting board, remove plastic wrap, and slice.

New method:  Last weekend, I decided to try making this in a (little bit bigger than) 9x13 pan.  Basically, I used the same layering technique with a few differences.
* I did not line the pan with plastic wrap, because my intention was not to invert it.
* I did not line the walls of the pan with crackers.  I only used horizontal layers, beginning and ending with crackers.

No worries about "piecing" the crackers in those middle layers.
But... make sure to use whole (not broken) pieces of cracker
on your top, final layer of crackers -- so it looks nice.
Cut crackers to fit. You'll have lots of leftover bits to snack on!

I'll bet you'd just love to see what it looks like when it's cut -- all those pretty layers right? Somehow, I never got that picture.  (Hey, I'm a real life blogger!)  I guess you'll just have to make the recipe.  Yes, it's as easy as it sounds.  No tricks, I promise.

Oh -- one more thing.  Don't forget a dollop or two of whipped topping. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Win a Kitchen Aid Mixer!

What a beauty!

I've always wanted to own a KitchenAid mixer.  Do you have one?  If I had one, I'm pretty sure that I would proudly let it sit out on my counter-top all the time.

If you'd like a chance to win one, head on over to The Reluctant Entertainer.  Today, in celebration of RE being featured in USA Today's new publication "Your Life: Guide to Women's Health", KitchenAid is giving away a 7-quart Stand Mixer. If you win, you can choose from red, black, or silver.  This product is brand new, so the winner will be one of the first to own it.

This bad boy is KitchenAid's best performing stand mixer.  It's Q-U-I-E-T, has a professional-style attachment power hub, and the largest capacity residential bowl-lift available.  That means it can tackle 8½ lbs of mashed potatoes, 8½ loaves of bread, and 14 dozen cookies.  (Wow, this model might need a counter-top all it's own!)  It also has dishwasher safe accessories, by the way.  That's important to me, how about you?

Sandy(RE) has all of the details available on her blog today.  Just click her button, below. You'll need to leave a comment (answering a specific question), and Sandy has listed additional ways that you can enter to win as well.

Contest Ends this Friday at midnight, September 23, 2011. 

reluctant entertainer

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sentimental Swing-set

Today, the old swing-set is coming down.  Our kids (13 and 17) don't use it anymore. Basically, it's just become an obstacle to mow around.  We've been talking about it here and there, so today was not a big surprise to our kids (who can be sentimental about the darnedest things).  I looked out one moment, and my sweet hubby was up on a ladder working on those rusted bolts.  A few moments later, he was at the door asking if I knew that our son had carved his name in the swing-set.  No.  I didn't know.

I started to follow him out to where the swing-set once stood, and said, "I should probably grab the camera?" He gave me a thumbs up, and I ran back to the house.  When I got outside, this is what I found:

"The end of an era!" I said to my hubby.  We have entered the iAge.  I really miss the swinging days.  Those days were so much simpler.

Shortly after we moved to this home, we put in a new mailbox.  We took the old box (which was just a box on a post), and mounted it at the top of the slide platform.  The kids used to leave surprises in it for one another.  I can remember a few bed-times when we had to run out to the swing-set mailbox to retrieve favorite toys.

When the kids were little, we had one of the two slides in the neighborhood, and ours was the sturdy one -- so neighborhood kids gravitated over to our yard.  I only had to look out the kitchen window to know where they all were.

Today, the swing-set is down -- well, most of it.  The slide and the slide platform are still standing.  That'll be a project for another day.  The ladder is down and in the woodpile, though, so nobody will be using that slide.

Oh, and the carving... can you see it?  Neither my husband nor I knew it was there.  Our daughter remembered right away.  She was there when our son carved it "a long time ago." We wondered why she hadn't had him carve hers as well.  "The 'S,' she said.  "He couldn't figure out how to carve a good S."

I'm linking up with Cha Cha at Heartfelt Home
for Sentimental Sundays.
What are you sentimental about today?
Sit Relax and Read

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Taste and See

What are three things you're thankful for?

I'm thankful for:
1. The certainty of knowing where I will spend eternity.
2. A surprise visit with a cousin who is passing through town.
3. The song "Blessings" by Laura Story.  It makes me think,
and brings me to tears every time.

Flowers on Saturday

This morning, I enjoyed a stop at the Garden Center
-- just to snap some pictures of beautiful flowers.
Because who doesn't on Saturday? 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Inspiration for Fall

I drove by JoAnn Fabrics today, and couldn't resist stopping in to see if I could find any interesting clearance items to inspire me.  I'm happy to say that I found a few things.

Remember when I did THIS post for spring?  IN FEBRUARY?!?  I was only-a-little-bit-in-a-hurry to usher winter out the door!!!

Now, here we are mid-September, and well, we wouldn't want to plan AHEAD for fall or anything, would we?

Whatever. (grins sheepishly)
I've already discussed me dragging my feet into fall HERE.

Okay, enough.  Aren't you dying to see what I found today?  Well, first let's just get it out in the open.  This girl has a weakness for pottery.  (There are those of you who are nodding your heads because you know about my BOWL fettish.  I've not blogged about that yet. Some day.)  But, anyways -- pottery in general is a good thing -- and it doesn't have to be anything expensive for me to appreciate it.  So... I found this little goody:

Are you seeing that red clearance sticker?  Cha-ching.  And actually, the plate/bowl is not "little" as I said - it's 9.5" across.  I'm loving the worn areas that make it look like it has a history.  I also found some Pumpkin Spice Potpourri for 50% off. It's pretty cool with seed pods & such.  I think it'll look great in the bowl, don't you?

And last but not least -- something that I'm going to tuck away for Christmas decor (and also $2.97 on clearance).  This sweet red crock.  It's a deeper color than the picture shows, and about 5.25" tall x 6"across.  I'm thinking it might look good loaded up with candy canes (which we eat like they're going out of style) during the Christmas season.  But more on that much later.

In the meantime,
out with the old:

and in with the new!

Like this: 

 or maybe this:

 Okay, c'mon fall.  I'm ready.

I'm linking up with Melissa
for the Fall Nesting Party.
Come join the fun!

Craftaholics Anonymous
I'm also linking up with Linda.
She's having a "Fall Frenzy" Link Party
over at Craftaholics Anonymous.

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