Tuesday, July 31, 2007

there's no cornstarch in poundcake

Not any baking powder in today's batch either. That's what happens when you put all your pantry items in pretty mason jars and only label the lids. To recover, I spooned a dash of baking powder into the cakes while in the oven. Cathrynn knew something was up and even said, "this doesn't look right" as I poured the thin batter into the pretty rose pan and ignored her. I silently agreed but checked the amount of flour and proceeded.
Why are we baking? Because it's so hot outside today, I refuse to melt again. After yesterday's play date at 3pm - I'm done with it. I gave in and cranked the oven. Hopefully the a/c will be kind and not have a heat stroke. The girls twisted my arm and the scent of Caramel Rum Poundcake is filling the house. And I'm doing day 2 of healthy eating. I avoided Dairy Queen ice cream cake with chocolate fudge & cookie filling last night. I have willpower. And a large behind.

And for a healthy alternative, the girls made some eye-watering salsa. Yum!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Chilled Petunia Soup

Okay, not really. The recipe doesn't follow, I promise.

Add my black thumb to anything that's supposed to be green & healthy and it's not pretty. My petunias were long & scraggly with an occasional pink blossom. Dana said I need to cut them way back. What was left was quite sad of- I'll spare you a photo. Suffice to say, it looks like I've gone to the Edward Scissorhands school of horticulture. The long, spindly vines weren't exactly centerpiece material either. So, I plucked the blossoms and floated them. The girls were delighted. And that's what's so cool about having little girls. Blossoms from some almost dead vines - they're impressed.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

she's co-co for coconut

Cathrynn's last food obsession is coconut. She's happily munching (and with 4 loose teeth - rather loudly I might add) on a bowl even as I type. She even added to her cupcakes - an ultra-cool-thought of it all by herself. To date, I'm the only one who's eaten one (okay, four or so, but someone has to, right?). Liv's licked a lot of icing and C just admires hers from afar. Here's my little cupcakes & their little cupcakes. Off to bake another pineapple upside down cake. Because we have another funeral today. Yes - the 3rd in 4 weeks. The girls should be traumatized for life with all this, especially Cathrynn having to wear a dress again. I promised her after Gramm's that she'd not have to wear another one all summer. Who knew? And Liv just casually questions things about death. Inanimate objects - will they die? She hasn't asked the big questions about the rest of the family. Frank insists that funerals are a healthy part of life 'cause he had a lot of fun at them growing up. Okay. The girls had fun at the first one. I'll give him that but the 3rd? People are just disappearing around here. I might need therapy after this.

Where did you go for your summer vacation? Three funeral homes & cemeteries. Hope they don't make her write an essay.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

cupcakes - 'cause food is love

Did you ever have a day that brings bad news and sad news? Yep, that's me today. Seriously, don't call me if you've got big, bad stuff going on. I've had my daily maximum. So, I baked. Banana bread and pretty cupcakes - cause who can be anything but happy when looking at these pretties? The liners are by Martha and are sooooo pretty. Love or hate her, she's got good stuff! And the super duper size sprinkles - Wiltons.

In between story time at the library, baking and endless phone calls, we girls crafted this morning. Their's aren't done yet but here's a peak at mine. A fast project that's useful too - now that doesn't happen very often, does it? I present to you - fridge magnets - I used some text from 1940s magazines.

Back to the kitchen to make more love.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

ice cream sandwiches for breakfast

That's what happens when you're 4 or 6 and have an impromptu sleep-over at Grammy & Pappy's. Complete with baking sugar cookies, sleeping in their clothes, and ice cream sandwiches for breakfast. If the evening hadn't been quite so cool, they would've been able to sleep out under the stars on the gliders, and would've been completely over the moon. What magical moments.

Frank already had a guy's night out planned. That gave me an unexpected evening with my girlfriends. Don't you love when things just fall together? Not scripted & planned. When the details just fall together? The more I plan, the greater chance that something will go wrong.

Not last night. With the little girls and Frank off to their own amusement, I headed to the hills for my own gal's night out. The only thing requested of me - some vanilla ice cream. Which was sublime over a cobbler Dana tossed together from oatmeal & fresh blackberries. Ummmmm. I'll bet she's having some for breakfast even as I write this.

And, after that, we visited Darla's charming cottage. Her home is a storybook that includes lazy cats and eager pups, her own decorating style of incredible hand-painted murals, and a host of garden-y touches, a very elegant & eclectic style that defies description. I'm hopeful that she'll start a blog soon with glimpses of her artwork and home. Until then I won't spoil the fun, but I will tell you that she opened the french doors and we spent the summer evening under the stars in the tree tops, with margaritas in hand, on her upstairs balcony lounging on wrought iron chaises & vintage wicker, across from a quaint little gazebo, echoes of Louie Armstrong from a neighbor's gathering and our own laughter filling the air, and hummingbirds swirling around us & her overflowing flowerpots.

Yes, it is a wonderful life.

Friday, July 20, 2007

gone berry picking!

My pretty little wildflowers picking Queen Anne's Lace.
They even found some that had the lightest pink hue.
Liv, knee high in weeds, announced
"this is a great place to be...".
Yep, I think so too.
Cathrynn's hair got as wild as a dandelion in the wind.
She was covered with berry juice& an ample amount of scratches.
Enough black berries for a big batch of scones,
with white chocolate chips - of course
and some pretty ice cream parfaits.
Dana says the early drought like weather attributed
to the little-r berries. Still good picking for little hands.
Mine were YUMMY on Cheerios this morning with a ripe banana.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

As cute as a button!

The one glued to her nose. I left the girls unattended for 5 minutes in the craft room making sock puppets. And in that time they glued buttons to their own noses. Luckily, it was plain old Elmer's Glue and none of my secret stash of really sticky stuff. And as, Dana pointed out, not scissors. Seems they're at a prime age to try their own beauty shoppe routine. I don't know which would be worse - on themselves or on each other. I could see Cathrynn in big sis mode - "now listen Liv, I know what I'm doing, hand me the scissors and don't be a tattletale..." Yikes! I don't know if I should give them a little talk about what NOT to cut. I just don't want to give them any bad ideas. I'll remain silent and hope for the best. Has worked before a time or two in parenting. Cathrynn looks more than a bit maniacal in this pix and I'm only sharing b/c heaven help us if she sees Liv's pix is posted but not hers. I also for the first time think she looks a lot like me. Hmmmmm.

rainy days always make

me happy! Especially when that means time at the craft table. The girls had fun making sock puppets and I spent time guarding my buttons. They are so well trained - they have a great ability to size up the best, shiniest, most ornate buttons. I started a little project with beads and buttons, hope to share when the glue dries.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A cyber birthday card for my dear friend Dana. I love her birthday cause it means we're the same age again, and I'm not 45 days older. But who's counting, right?

The ubiquitous pineapple upside down -someone died - cake to take to Frank's uncle's funeral. That's my top secret recipe. Don't tell anyone. Especially Aunt Dolores, who won't share her pound cake recipe and gave Sandra & I both bogus banana bread recipes. In a pinch I used canned chunks & got a bit creative.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


doesn't it sound so much nicer to call this little guy a tchotchke or kitsch. Just don't call him a knicknack, okay? Cause then we're talking about old ladies with dust covered clowns on every surface. Even I don't like a lot of little stuff everywhere. Standards, you know? I keep my kitsch in the craft room. I find it all inspirational and amusing.

He was Friday's thrift store find. An old s&p shaker. Rolling his eyes & arching his brows. I like his attitude, he can stay.

Friday, July 13, 2007

cemetery today

I can't pass by without stopping to see her. Just as I never drove by her house and didn't stop to say hello. Hoping the girls will understand and have peace today.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

sew exciting!

Excuse the scan - lots of itty bitties made the scan pretty crappy, and 1/2 or all going their own way - but Dana's sampler is coming out better than I planned... I only have a corner started but I know she'll love it.

She's doing a "wall of shame" (her words!) in her dining room of all sepia pix of her family & she's framing it all in old salvage windows and using lots of old brooches & stamping their names.

I printed their pix on some great old muslin - you can see right through it - cool, huh? And it didn't even junk the printer this time! She won't believe I did it all without a glue stick, gun, or tacky glue. The itty bitty dog pin was a lucky thrift store find yesterday in the bottom of a tray that really was pretty, um, scary. only $1.99! And the Big Mac button cuddled inside the big red, is our High School's nickname, you'd never find her it at a McD!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

puppy news hidden in this post

two kiddo funnies:
I'm working on a project for Dana's bday. A collage with her family's birthdates... her style, to match a heritage wall we started in her dining room. My helpers are sorting buttons all over the living room floor and pocketing trinkets like crazy. Yes, I have a craft room. But it's too messy. I'm working on their wedding anniversary (January 27, 1984) and Cathrynn says, "I didn't know they were married". We spent a night at their home last week, with her husband and two grown children!

And tonight, at their bedtime, we talked about Chance being our foster dog afterall and that he has 2 very excited parents tonight. Cathrynn was a bit misty eyed. I tell them that the people are about Grammy & Pappy's age (60ish) and are excited to have a dog to keep them company, just like Bama makes Grammy & Pappy so happy. And Liv says about her grandparents, "are they ever going to have a kid?"

Bye, Chance.
Or whomever you end up being.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Dog Daze

Me: Do you think the puppy should stay here? (not that the kids decide - we're not those kind of parents!)
Liv: Yes! But maybe he could live outside. Like Snoofy Brown. In his own house.

Puppy has his days & nights a bit off. I'm awakened at 3am for a pee stop and 'til he's ready for his 8am nap, it's all whimpering, whining & the occasional bark when I dare to nod off. We watched HSN last night. All night.

So here's the thing. I don't know if I want a dog. Particularly, this dog. Or even any dog after the first 48 hours. Seriously, I have just had my first great nights since the girls were born. After 6 years of mothering babies and toddler with all the diapers, crying and feedings 'round the clock, this summer they're pre & school age and play so hard they fall asleep exhausted and s.l.e.e.p. All night.

My reasons seem so petty, especially preparing my defense for my animal rescue friends. I hate the pee & cleaning the poop in the yard, already! He's probably shepherd mix and that has a ton of issues for me. When Dee was in kindergarten she was hit by the car b/c she was so afraid of a big barking, shepherd that we attempted to cross a busy road. Plus, I had 2 with the exdh that didn't make me any more fond of the breed. I can handle a mutt. I just don't want a dog that I'll be afraid of when he gets bigger. Give me a bigger boxer dog & no problem - but I can barely look a shepherd in the eyes. The girls are terrified off being bitten so they squeal & run and make him even more animated - chasing their toes and nipping at them.

I must not be happy about this b/c at around 4am, I had the thought "if I'm going to awake all night - I might as well get pregnant and have a baby". Thud. Luckily, I didn't act on that.

Btw, can someone please tell me why cats are so much easier? If this were a cat he'd already be ready to go. And could stay for the duration.

Rocket nods in agreement.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Passer-Uppers Guilt

Don'tcha hate when you find something you LOVEloveLOVE at some antique store and then pass it up repeatedly for something else. Until one day it's gone forever and all you can do is slap yourself on the head, wail & whine to your girlfriends?Okay - a bit dramatic, but ya know what I'm talking about -
Passer-uppers guilt.

Shopper's guilt? No way Jose!
Buyer's remorse? Never. Nada.
I only lament the junque I've passed over. The best part of thrifting & antiquing is knowing you might never see that item again. So, the pretty, faded shoe bag that's been calling
my name for months at Preserve Cottage is MINE.
These pockets are going to hold some of my favorite
junque at arm's reach in the craft room:Away from little creative fingers that are prone to
leaving marker caps off & using the really BIG buttons and gizmos
that I've been squirreling away.

So, don't pass up good junque!

beware of friends bearing

a really cute stocky puppy with one powder blue eye
I'm calling him Chance - from Homeward Bound -
Darla happened across him - abandoned in box in the summer heat at an outdoor fleamarket.
Ready to help with the gardening.
Let's hope this stocky, little guy isn't a pit bull mix,
'cause Frank & I have decided that we won't keep him if he is.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

pinata candy

even the candy was festive and matched the decor at the party, thanks to Darla and the pinata! What a hit - literally! Liv woke up this morning and said "can I have one of those hit it things at my birthday?" I'll be hearing that often I'll bet, for the 10 months or so. Too bad Vince had my camera 'cause Dana's house looked like a feature spread in Country Home or Country Living. Quite a creative bunch my friends, every inch had been decorated in a really authentic & rustic way. I'll bet people are already hoping for next year's invite! The chocolate cake was a huge hit I've been told. It certainly wasn't the prettiest cake, but man was it moist and delish.

picnic pix

Dana & Fred's picnic. Berry picking on the trail. Still a few weeks before the branches will be heavy with the big juicy blackberries, but the girls managed to get a few tiny black raspberries. And no poison ivy!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

oh my ganache!

Silky dark chocolate ganache poured over milk chocolate buttercream devil's food cake with blackberry buttercream & preserve filling.Also made bacon&cheddar deviled eggs, 5 bean baked beans, raspberry almond goodie bars, black berry almond tart & for the kid's - plain buttered noodles. The picnic's at 6pm! Can't wait to load it all and head for the hills. Yummmmmmm!

Monday, July 2, 2007

what came first ?

the handpainted soft boiled egg on July 2nd.

Julia, Julia, Julia - my eggs were everything you said no dark circle, easy to peel, but mine turned out soft boiled. Julia Child's version.

CC and Liv were today's featured artists. Water color was their medium.
I just re-read this and realized I didn't cover the pan while letting them sit. Surely, not the reason? Batch two coming up. Stay tuned. Off to peruse the 'net for the perfect deviled egg recipe. Such conflicting recipes - relish, horseradish, onion, mustard...

Sunday, July 1, 2007

craftin' happenin'

Makes me all happy to see them creating. 'Cept when they cross the line and get into my really good, crafting junque. They're like me & need a daily fix of glue sticks, papers, trinkets, markers, glitter...

four letter word muttered by husband:


Yep, as in - "maybe you should return to work"
Frank said it.
I heard it.

I'm supposed to be updating my resume. But we know better. I'm updating my blog!

Pretty in pink...

Cotton shirts.  Love 'em. Usually can't wear 'em.  Too tight. Pull at the boobs.  Or, shrink in the first wash.  And being a plu...