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Archive for the ‘Light Buds’ Category

alpenhaus

I’m republishing this because the Super Bowl is just around the corner, it’s winter, fondue is available and we seem to be going through a 70’s resurgence.  I have even seen fondue pots in Walmart.  Go to Pinterest and type in “fondue”, recipes abound.

 

I know very few people who own a fondue pot, and those that do have never put it to proper use,  Oh, they’ve used it once or twice to keep cocktail weenies warm at a church buffet, or maybe meatballs in grape jelly on a buffet, but never to sit around with friends, dipping crusty bread into gooey, slightly winey, luscious, warm, melted cheese.

I have four electric fondue pots.  I thoroughly recommend an electric fondue pot over the candle or sterno variety. They provide much better temperature control and can expand the fondue experience to vegetables and meats and of course dessert. Although homemade is almost always better, at this time of the year, packaged cheese fondues are available in the specialty cheese sections of most supermarkets. They are actually very good.  The packages store easily and many brands don’t require refrigeration.   Alpenhaus and Swiss Knight are two of my favorites.

Fondue does not need to be reserved for parties. Fonduing (sic) is a great way to engage your family and friends.  It requires little more than active participation and a loaf of crusty bread, though I do like to turn my crusty bread into toasty garlic bread cubes and toss a fresh green salad to complete the meal. My kids grew up with fondue (children of the 70’s) and a childhood friend of my now 40+ yr old daughter recently spoke to me of her fond memory of her first ever fondue at my home. Fondue can be the basis of a very romantic dinner for two also. Remember, it’s said if you lose a cube of bread in the cheese, you must kiss the person sitting next to you;)

And of course, there is homemade. Even better. A very good one from Emeril

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2014-04-01 11.44.50
Another mouth to feed, one that decidedly will become a big one.  This  67-yr old, not the least bit athletic, not even remotely athletic, has fallen for one of the litter I wrote about in February.  Lil Bear, I call him.  You can call me crazy.  I wavered for a couple weeks. I brought him home to ‘try out’ with my other two older, wonderful dogs.  That didn’t exactly go well.  Freckles is afraid Bear will eat his food.  Snickers is afraid Bear will take his spot next to me on the couch.  My reassurance did not help.   I brought him back to the litter the next day.  It was hard, I cri ed.  My husband said we don’t need another dog.  No one really needs one dog unless it’s a service dog.  But three!  He’s right, I don’t need another dog.

Lil Bear, hit my heart hard!  When I went to help my daughter clean up after the first 6 pups left, I tried to ignore him.  I cleaned up poopey papers, washed the floors as he and his litter-mates chased the mop.  I hugged and petted each pup equally.  Well almost.  when I picked him up for his lovin’, he looked into my eyes and he laughed, I know he laughed.  He knew he had me.  Another of the litter was adopted.  Down to 5 from the 11 Maisey had birthed.  I knew the last male was being kept by Julie, my daughter.   I tried out a female which was my preference if I was crazy enough to have another dog.  The little girl was so spooked by my female beagle, I thought she’d die of fright.  After an hour or two, I took her home.  She was sweet but I knew she would be forever skittish.  I really don’t need another dog anyway.

Julie reminded me that soon after their ‘fixin’, the remaining pups would be going to the adoption center.  Last weekend I decided I do need another dog and brought ‘Bear’ home again.  My logic is flawed I’m sure, but here it is.  My daughter owns his mother.  His favorite playmate of the litter is also going to be with my daughter.  I’m sure Bear will be a frequent visitor at the home four short miles away.  Julie will often take bear to the beach with them all to run.  She will also care for him if I need to travel.  Bear Loves Me!  Enough said? No?

I LOVE Li’l BEAR! Now he is mine.

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Last week I complained a lot about life, this week will be better

I have no right, here I am, alive, not sick, and besides…..

My babies are here, thru a gift from my deceased mother

she passed to me her green thumb, thanks mom

2013-03-23 09.38.36 HDR
One leaf suspended in water

grew roots, then was  nourished in soil and light

and gave birth to what will become beauty and life

 

 

and as they grow, so do I

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driving-rain

Weather, we all know, affects lives every day.  First up on local and national news so often over the last few months, weather can disrupt our lives in so many ways.  Storms leave us literally powerless.  Last winter’s tornados tore cities and families apart.  Hurricane Sandy left many homeless, and dreams destroyed.  The blizzards of recent weeks brought transportation to a halt.  Of course the children loved missing school and building snow castles.

I was born in Kentucky but I moved to New England as a young child and feel as much a native of that area as Chief Wachusett (was there one?).  I loved the cold wet snow.  I loved the excited anticipation of an impending snowfall.  In summer I even loved the fearful moments of a thunderstorm. So close that I could only reach six as I counted out it’s distance. Weather sadly affected my wedding day, snow fall the night before caused guests to cancel.

It wasn’t until I moved to the west coast, that I realized how much weather affects not only our daily lives, but our moods, our feelings, our brains.  When I moved to Washington state, the weather was at it’s best.  Clear blue beautiful skies exposed the beauty of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens.   The roaring Columbia Gap, to the painted deserts were gorgeous and uplifting. The daily summer showers were short but refreshing.  But winter came and I found the dark, continual dampness unbearable.  Not too many months later I returned to the east coast.  Weather happens everywhere and it can do so much more than the things I’ve mentioned, Weather can unglue you then glue you back together again.

Yesterday I had the realization that weather has so much more influence on my thoughts, health and mood than I could ever imagine.  Another rainy day like so many of the days before and I had to go out in it.  Warm rain but dark and unrelentless.  This rain followiing several days of cold, cloudy and damp.  Dinner would be comfort food certainly, stuffed cabbage or meatloaf maybe.  Tapioca pudding and brownies for dessert.  Following my appointments out in the elements, I returned to my bed, to read and maybe slip off into a short nap.  I felt fatigued and kind of headachey and of course the Lord knows, how the rain affects my joints.  Just ‘under the weather’ as they say. But, then something happened.

clearingstorm
The rain stopped.  Almost suddenly the rain stopped and warmth of the sun shone through.  I could see patches of blue out my window and the birds wanted their lunch.  My mood brightened instantly.  I got up and dressed and changed the dinner plans to simple hamburgers and a salad.  I fed the ducks, watered my plants and smiled.  Yep, I smiled.

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Charley Brown Christmas Tree

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My daughter and granddaughter have put up the craftiest, cutest, Christmas tree ever.

CThey gathered twigs from the yard and wired them together to create a Charley Brown tree.

Lots of white lights and a sparse amount of just very special ornaments completed one of the cleverest trees I’ve ever seen.

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Cookies

Yesterday my sisters baked multitudes of the best ever chocolate chip cookies.  She packaged them up into bags of 4 or so each and while they were still warm, I joined them in driving the streets of Myrtle Beach and passing them out to the homeless.

What a rewarding and heartwarming feeling.

God Bless all of you, and very merry and blessed Christmas.

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Housekeeping

woman cleaningI grew up under the tutelage of a 1940’s housewife. Now, I’m not certain that the era really had any influence, but I have read that this was the age of the home-maker wars. A married women’s status in the neighborhood was determined by how white the sheets were that hung on the line to dry. Dust bunnies didn’t live long enough to spawn. Underwear was ironed and starched and believe it or not, mom and dad sat down at a kitchen table to eat dinner with the kids.

I was born during this post-war age of Clorox and Mr. Clean and to that age and my dear mom (now deceased), I owe many idiosyncrasies that my husband will never quite understand. Yesterday, for instance, I thought I’d lose an arm, fighting with a pair of jeans in an overstuffed (but neatly folded) drawer. The leg of the jeans had been pushed beyond the back edges of the drawer and prevented the drawer from closing completely, nor the one above it! Picture: on hands and knees, drawer open just far enough to reach the offending leg with one arm bent in a very unnatural figure ‘S’. What does this have to do with my story you ask? Idiosyncrasy 1: All drawers must be closed after use, contents nowhere in sight.
How often have I reminded my kids to stick the stuff back in the drawer.

Idiosyncrasy 2: Last weekend, I decided to put up Christmas decorations. Doesn’t everyone know, that dollar store plastic candles require spotless windows. Every window in the house was washed and polished so the little 5 watt night-lite bulbs could shine through. Dear departed Mom was behind me all the way, whispering that vinegar and newspaper worked better than Windex and pointing out the streaks. Oh, and this clean window rule applies when hanging newly washed, ironed, and starched curtains too. Though curtains are now a thing of the past, iron you say?  Has anyone under the age of twenty ever bought spray-starch?

I got up late this morning. Late is my own standard. I’m retired and had nothing planned for today anyway. No job to get to or class I couldn’t miss. But 6:25AM is late, no matter. Which brings me to the bed. My bed gets made when I arise. The sheets get tightened bottom and top. The blanket gets straightened making sure the sides hang evenly and the bedspread pulled up and tucked neatly under the pillows. Mom was funny. When the new fitted sheets came out in the 60’s or so she wasn’t having them. Square military corners on the bottom sheet were just fine, besides, folding a fitted sheet neatly to stack in the linen closet was impossible. I have caved in to the modern invention of corners made for me but I still make my bed. If I miss making my bed, the rest of the day is always disheveled, too. That was idiosyncrasy number 3.

It would be interesting to see how many of you practice these rules and your approximate age. Bed those who do are over

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Is this still a day and culture that requires parents to inspect each piece of candy a child receives on such a fun loving night? I’ll be darned if I’m going to hand out the same old stuff I have for years. Mini-sized skittles and teeny milky ways (I buy ’em, I’ll eat ’em)

I’m retired, I have time to have some fun too. My preparations started weeks ago. Martha has little on me. My door decor came from a pattern I picked up 2 yrs or so ago when patterns went on sale for $1 at Hancock fabrics. If you sew that’s a great time to stock up on craft patterns. I made my chandelier from items I found in my Christmas stash. The other decorations were from stuff I found around the house.
I did borrow a scary ghoulish looking thing from my daughter and turned her into a zombie gypsy.

I’ve decorated lovingly and baked fresh cookies for the little goblins that knock on my door. Parents, I have included in each bag the following note:

“My name is Laurie and I am a 65 yr old Grandma of 3 sweet little girls. I would not hurt your children anymore than I would hurt my own babies. Please allow them to eat the treats I have lovingly baked. Happy Halloween”

Whether they get eaten or trashed, I’ve had a great week getting ready for Halloween. Baking, sewing, creating, those things always feed my soul.

All of you, new friends and old, have a safe and happy All Hallow’s Eve.

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