Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I Did It!

Guess who has been wearing contact lenses for the last two hours? Guess! MEEEEEEEE!! I did it!! OMG and am I ever proud of myself! I prayed for bravery from the moment I got up today. I really did not want to take the time to go back again this week. Four visits was obnoxious enough. Anyway, they're in!! It's going to take some getting used to- suction cups on my eyeballs AND a stronger prescription all at one time. But I just know I will like the freedom of not wearing glasses every day. I've taken to calling myself a part time contact lens user. I mean, I still really like the look of glasses so its not like I am going to do away with wearing them altogether. To celebrate I indulged in waaaay too many calories at Dunkin Donuts and then bought a new pair of sunglasses at Tar-jay. Woo-hoo!!

Thanks a million for all of your sweet and encouraging comments last week! I've re-read them over and over and over again. And I tried every one of your techniques, too. Kisses!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Jackson Kids

Not that anyone in the "know" gives a hoot about what I think. But I'm going to voice it anyway. OK, so this Debbie woman, mother of the older two kids, might be a nut. But um, Katherine Jackson cannot be the better choice to raise those kids. Everyone is all, Katherine is so loving, blah blah blah. Um, she raised Michael and the other Jackson children. And I respectfully-ish say this....they are all kooky! How on earth can she be a decent choice? Those poor kids. There is just no way any of them will turn out to be "normal." I mean, they spent the first 10 years wearing face masks. How the heck can one make heads or tails of that childhood? To be even more crass...I really do hope the kids write books one day. I am just so curious to know what it was like to grow up in their shoes.

Your Turn, Please

I have about a half dozen bananas in my freezer just waiting for me to turn them into something. Do y'all have any fabulous recipes I need to try? Don't be shy. Even your favorite banana bread recipe is welcome- I still have yet to find one that I just love. Is there anything else I can do with my collection of very ripe bananas? And please tell me I am not the only person who sticks bananas in her freezer door when the inevitable last banana gets too ripe before I can eat it!!

Angel Lush Cake

Today you get the most fabulous and world's easiest cake recipe ever!! Let's me also state for the record that I don't like cake. I don't like cool whip (or fat free cheese or margarine for that matter). I don't like pudding. So knowing all of my dislikes should prove to you that this truly is a fabulously delicious cake recipe!! Ready?? Sure? OK then....

Angel Lush Cake
Prep time 15 minutes, plus refrigerating


* 1 package (4- serving size) vanilla flavored instant pudding mix
* 1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
* 1 cup thawed cool whip (or your grocery store's cheaper version works fine too)
* 1 package prepared angel food cake
* 10 small strawberries (or mandarin oranges or raspberries or ...)


* Mix dry pudding mix and pineapple with juice in medium bowl. Gently stir in whipped topping.

* Cut cake horizontally into three layers.

* Place bottom cake layer, cut side up, on serving plate. Spread 1 1/3 cups of the pudding mixture onto cake layer; cover with middle cake layer. Spread 1 cup of the pudding mixture onto middle cake layer; top with remaining cake layer. S[read with remaining pudding mixture on top layer. Add berries/fruit to top. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until ready to serve. Makes 10 servings.

My aunt got this from her sister-in-law but she wasn't sure where the recipe originated so I cannot give credit. Probably a magazine. We are very much a pull a recipe out of a random magazine family. That's how we roll! Hehe. Anyway, I tasted it to be polite at a family dinner a few weeks ago and about fell over as I shoveled the entire thing in my face! Angel food cake is my exception to the "I think cake is gross" rule. Love it. So last week I made a cupcake version to take to my neighborhood park dinner. They were a HUGE hit! And so easy. I just added a raspberry on top and called it a day. And because I didn't use all of the "frosting" on the cupcakes, I had half a bowl left over the next day. So I scooped it into a dish and tossed in berries and smiled as a I found my new favorite summer treat. Oh and if you so desire (and I do!), this can totally be a fat free treat! So please try this girls. It's so light and refreshing and easy peasy!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Here Fishy, Fishy, Fishy....

I promised some great new (to me anyway) recipes, and albeit late, I am a woman of my word. My aunt recently gave me my belated birthday gifts, two Better Homes and Gardens cookbooks. This recipe comes from the Our Best Recipes book and it is crazy good! The recipe called for four pieces of catfish. But my Price Chopper is very limited and didn't have catfish last week. So I used Tilapia and I would do it again in a heart beat. Mmmmm. I also only cooked two pieces as I am not huge on leftover fish for whatever reason. So I cooked only what I would need.

Catfish (or any white fish) With A Crunch

Start to finish: 25 minutes


* 4 4-oz fresh or frozen catfish fillets, about 1/2 inch thick
* 1 egg
* 3 tbsp Dijon-style mustard
* 1 tbsp milk
* 1/4 tsp pepper
* 1/4 cup all purpose flour
* 1 cup coarsely crushed pretzels
* 2 tbsp cooking oil


* Thaw fish if frozen. Rinse fish; pat dry with paper towels. In a shallow dish, combine the egg, Dijon-style mustard, milk and pepper, beating with fork until smooth. Place flour in another shallow dish. Place coarsely crushed pretzels in a third shallow dish.

* Coat each fish fillet with flour. Dip into the mustard mixture, then into the crushed pretzels. In a large skillet, cook fish in hot oil over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden and fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. (Reduce heat as necessary during cooking to prevent overbrowning.) If desired, serve with red onion and lemon slices. Makes 4 servings.

I served my fish over a bed of fresh, baby spinach and other veggie sides. But the fish sort of wilted the spinach- it was really terrific!!


Friday, June 26, 2009

An Era Gone

I will be the first to admit that the last 15 years or so, the name "Wacko Jacko" was much more fitting for him. But I vividly remember dancing to the Bad and We Are The World records (for the younger set....records look like gigantic CD's and preceded tapes....we're talking old school!) as a little kid. I did a recital dance to Man In The Mirror. Oh, Michael Jackson and I go way back. He was strange. But incredibly brilliant.

And I am grossly curious to know what happens to his children. I sadly predict that the mother of the older two will have a court battle similar to that Larry guy who fathered Anna Nicole Smith's daughter.

You know this is big news when it is even on CNN around the clock. Anyone else find that strange?

Still Seeking Courage....

OK, so here's my week in review in regards to learning to use contact lenses. I had my first appointment and check-up on Tuesday. I tried and failed that first day to put in the lenses. My frustration level was through the roof so I made an appoint for the following day, Wednesday. Tuesday evening I went to a neighborhood pot-luck party. It was fabulous. But it was in a park. Full of grass and flowers and trees. All enemies to severe allergy-ridden people like me. I could feel it coming on as I was going to bed but brushed it off. When I woke up on Wednesday morning, I was in a full on serious allergy and sinus attack. My eyes were watering and nose was flowing and voice sounded like a heavy-smoking man. So I decided this would only make matters worse. I rescheduled for Thursday.

So Thursday I went in for my second learn-how-to-use-the-damn-contact-lens appointment. I was there for about an hour and a half. Made a lot of progress. Got close. Very close. But in the end, just needed to walk away. So I went in today, Friday, for my third and hopefully final appointment. After one hour and 45 minutes, I got the left contact in!!!!!!!!!! I didn't even believe it at first because I couldn't feel it in there, nor could I see it. Good sign, right? I was determined to get the darn left eye in now! But now only having one eye to work on (before I would switch between the two eyes when I would tire of one- I wear the same prescription in both eye). This working on one eye got old very fast. I was so so so close but I blink it out a half second before it suctions on. Arrrggghhhh!! So then she suggested I try learning to take out the right lens. This too took me a while to figure out as I couldn't see or feel the thing. But I did get it out. In the end, I was there for 2.5 hours. I was starving and frustrated and tired and just needed to not poke my poor little eyes any more this morning.

I really like the girl who helped me Thursday and today so I wanted to make sure she would be there for my next (FOURTH) session. Since she doesn't work until Tuesday, that's when I am next making a go of this. I am going to practice touching my eye this weekend. I actually think having a few days break from this will help me. By the time I left today I was stressed beyond words with myself.

Normally I would be mortified to admit that I am 31 and struggling this much with something seemingly so simple and every day. But last night I googled "scared to use contacts" and holy heck, I am not at all alone! Lots and lots and lots of adults seem to struggle just like me. I find this oddly comforting that I am not the only wimpy one out there when it comes to eyes.

But I have to tell y'all that your comments and advice were invaluable!! I read and re-read them over and over and actually tried all of your techniques. To be honest, I don't think there is a technique I have yet to try. But if you have one to offer, please don't hold back on me. I have never been more open (and practically begging!) to advice.

I am just so close. Right there. But not. You know? Oh and the thing is, I can all but guarantee that I would be able to do this in a fairly short period of time if I was at home. I would be so much more relaxed. But I have to prove it to the doctor in the office before I am allowed to take them home. Drats. So back again I go.....for stinkin' round FOUR.....on Tuesday. Please cross your fingers and pray that the fourth time is the charm. I have a lot of other things I need to be doing instead of spending hour upon hours poking at my eyeball!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In Need Of Courage

Y'all, I need advice and some courageous vibes!! I have no problems standing on an alter or stage and speaking to a crowded audience. I love roller coasters. Hold newborns and change diapers like a pro. Quite comfortable talking to strangers and stopping 15 times to ask for directions. I don't understand why people squirm at the notion of going out to eat and see a movie solo. It's not like you talk to anyone in the movie theater. But .... fear not friends .... I too have "my thing."

I hate eyes. I so badly want to get contacts so that I am able to do things like jog and see at the same time. Fancy, I know! But I can't even look at a graphic of an eyeball, let alone watch you put your contacts in. And do it myself, forgetaboutit! But today, I took the plunge. I prayed the entire car ride for courage and will-power. Got through the puffy eye exam OK but when it came to learning to use the contact lenses.... Let's just say I have appointment #2 tomorrow! I was a nervous wreck. And let me tell you what does not help me to be less nervous. Telling me to "just get over it" does not miraculously solve my problem. It only serves to annoy and embarrass me, furthering my nervous situation.

So if any of you have been in my situation, had a completely irrational (hey, I can admit it!) fear of touching your eye but did it anyway, how did you do it? Help!! I really really want to conquer this dumb fear. But I might need a Valium or two to make it happen at this point!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Busy Bee

I'm still here- alive and well. Just busy lately. But I promise to be back in Blogville by tomorrow. With a few new and fabulous recipes, too!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lost Marbles

I think I am losing my mind, y'all! I just spend 25 minutes tearing my bedroom apart, a frazzled and anxiety driven hot mess, frantically searching for something, that was IN MY DAMN POCKET!! Even for me, this sets a new "blonde moment" record! I think I just need to go to bed and start all over again tomorrow. This seriously does not bode well for 20 years down the road. I (if I am lucky enough to be one!) am totally destined to be that mom who forgets her coffee cup on the roof of her Volvo, only to be told by the PTA president as I roll through the morning drop off line a mere 87 seconds before the bell rings. Not good, my friends. Not good at all!

No Little White Gloves In New Jersey

Wow! Did y'all about fall over when you watched the finale of RHNJ?! First let me say that I am so shocked how much I loved watching this show. I honestly thought that it would be like the Atlanta show for me- watch one episode and decide it was just far too trashy for even trashy reality TV. But they totally grew on me, these Italian divas from the NJ! Jacqueline and Teressa remain my favorites. But really, I liked watching everyone except for Danielle. She should move to the Atlanta show!

I about died when Danielle took the time to show her children nekkid modeling photos. Holy TMI! And I really believe in education but there was just no need to show the youngest child her racy photos. Trash-ay!!

Also, how small is this town that there is only one hair salon in a rinky-dink tiny strip plaza?

And while I stand by Jacqueline in the whole, "I'm not lying just because we are in-laws" debate, the entire dinner was appalling! I mean, why on earth did Danielle even go. She should have let it all blow over before trying to get in with the girls again. And is she making $ from the book? Why bring it to dinner? By that time, surely they all knew what she was referencing. I hope all five women look back and are mortified by their behavior. Every. Single. One. Of. Them! I don't even know what the tossing the table accomplished, Teressa. You are the one who invited Danielle. You know she is crazy. And slutty. What exactly did you expect? The worst part of the event was that they all behaved so poorly and used terrible language in front of their children!! Teressa wants them out of the room but then causes the biggest blow up of the night. Not that she was wrong to confront Danielle's big bag of BS. Just the manner in which she did it, is my issue.

But of course, it all made for fabulously trash-tastic TV. I am drooling in anticipation of the reunion show next week! Sure to be deliciously juicy and confrontational.

In looking for the above photo on Bravo's website, I saw an announcement that Jacqueline gave birth to a baby boy. Good for her- she really seems like a sweet person. I related to her personality the most. And did you read that Teressa is preggers with their fourth? She dresses them too over the top for my taste, but she has beautiful daughters. And I have now taken to saying "bubbies" all the time. New favorite word.

All in all, it was far too short! I was completely entertained and they are now my second favorite housewives, right after the NYC ladies. While I think it will be fun to see the soon-to-be Chicago and DC shows, I also think it would be a hoot to see like RH some random Midwest or Central US city. Or farm town. My TV taste has truly taken a turn for the worse over the last few years!! Bravo to Bravo for bringing me down in life!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pie For Dinner

Tonight's dinner again came from the Rachael Ray magazine. And just like last night, I changed it a bit. So here's how I made it... It was not low fat, but worth it. Soooo yummy!

Biscuit-Crusted Sausage-Egg Pie


* 1 teaspoon EVOO
* 1 package pork breakfast sausage, cut into chunks (I used kitchen scissors)
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1 package refrigerated dough
* 1 red onion, thinly sliced
* 1/4 package shredded cheese
* 1 can artichoke hearts, quartered
* 2 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks
* 1/3 cup milk
* salt and pepper


* Preheat the oven to 375. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and oregano and cook until just browned, about 5 minutes. Drain and let cool.

* Grease a 9-inch pie pan with either more EVOO or EVOO cooking spray. Take biscuit dough and flatten them into 1/4 inch thick disks. Mush a bunch of them together to form dough large enough to fit in the pie pan. (Now, the RR recipe says one can accomplish this with only four dough disks. But I beg to differ. I needed like 6-8. You just have to wing it I guess.)

* In a large bowl, combine the cooked sausage, onion, cheese and artichoke hearts; spread evenly over the crust. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, egg yolks, milk and 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper.. Pour the egg mixture over the sausage mixture and bake until set, about 30 minutes. Let cook for 5 minutes before serving. Serve next to spinach salad for a complete meal.

Now I forgot to take a photo tonight. So in a effort to do fewer posts void of pictures, here is a little something I made recently. Pretty prep-tastic, if you ask me!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Great Green Boats

I made this tonight for my daddy and let me just tell you, that last zucchini is no longer in the pan. It was so fun and very, very tasty!! Super healthful, low-fat, yummy and filling all at the same time! I bet if you called it "green boat chili," it might entice kiddos to eat it up too. It's from Rachael Ray's magazine but as usual I tweaked it to my taste so I will give you the recipe that I actually used.

Green Boat Chile (or chili stuffed zucchini)

Serves 4 Prep 10 mins Cook 25 mins


* 4 zucchini (abt 2 lbs), halved lengthwise and seeded
* 2 tablespoons EVOO
* 1 onion, finely chopped
* 1 package ground turkey
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1 can red kidney beans, drained
* 1 can chopped tomatoes, drained (or just get rid of some of the liquid)
* 1/2 of an 8 oz bag Mexican-style shredded cheese
salt and pepper


* Preheat the oven to 450. Arrange the zucchini cut side up in a 9" x 13" baking dish. Add 1/2-1 cup water to the dish, cover with foil and bake until the zucchini begins to soften, about 15 minutes.

* Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the turkey and cumin and cook, breaking the meat up, until just browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in tomatoes and beans.

* Uncover the baking dish, pour off the water and season the zucchini with salt. Fill the meat mixture and sprinkle cheese on top. Bake, uncovered, until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. (I had a good bit of the meat mixture left over but I suppose that all depends on the size of your zucchini. If you have extra, just serve it on the size or use it tomorrow to make something else.)

The pics in her magazine of course looked prettier and her recipe was a bit different. But if you can look past all that, you should give it a try. Delish!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wave Your Red, White And Blue

Happy Flag Day! I had never even heard of this holiday until I moved up north a few years ago. In all my years living in southern states and even in the mid-west, I must say no one ever once mentioned Flag Day to me. Perhaps it's a regional thing? I don't know. What I do know is that it is all the rage up here! There are parades and music and hot dogs and confetti....the works. It's definitely a much much bigger deal than the Fourth of July in my particular city. My city is actually the Home of Uncle Sam (did you even realize he was a real person?) so perhaps that has something to do with it? Whatever the reason, I think it's a great little known holiday to celebrate with friends and family while watching a very long parade. The American flag is our most recognized and utilized symbol, afterall!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Measure Twice, Cook Once

Earlier this week I was suddenly craving Rice Krispy treats. Strange, considering the last time I made them was like three years ago. And before that....who knows? I mean, they're yummy but it's just not something I ever crave. But since I was still craving them yesterday evening, I ran to the store to get some cereal to make up a batch. I had leftover marshmallows in the freezer so I figured this was as good a time as ever to finally use those up. They were just taking up space anyway. So into the pot went the remaining homemade marshmallows and one stick of butter. But you see, this is where the "measure twice, cut (or in this case, cook) once" comes to mind. Of course I didn't look up the recipe to make the treats. Oh no, I was sure it was a bag of marshmallows, a stick of butter and six cups of cereal. Absolutely, positively sure!

As soon as I mixed in the cereal, I realized I did something wrong. So I added more cereal. It just seemed to be so liquidy. After adding THREE more cups of cereal, I decided that must be plenty. The mixture was not quickly solidifying like usual, but then again, it had been three years or so since I last made them. I brushed the greasy look off to not remembering correctly. I tasted some while hot and it was very greasy and sticky and chewy. So I popped it in the fridge. After it hardened I tasted it again. There was this disgusting layer of grease gunk on the bottom- seriously so gross. And they were still chewy- not crunchy like normal RK treats. It was only then that I googled the recipe. To realize that I likely used too many marshmallows AND DOUBLED the amount of butter. I waited another hour to see if things got better, they didn't, so into the trash can they all went. Talk about a royal waste! Oh well, lesson learned and my craving is totally gone, too! I will say that the coconut flavor marshmallows added a fun extra spunk to the treats. Everything else was just plain gross though!

What's Old Is New Again

We all have our "thing." Or "things." The last many years, I am 100% in need of a 12 (or more!) step program to work through my ridiculous addiction to cotton fabrics. It's out of control. But I love love love fabric! I'm not even ashamed. One of the sub-categories to my ever-growing fabric addiction is Lilly Pulitzer fabric. Which is not exactly easy to find, my friends. At all. It takes effort. LP no longer sells their fabric by the yard. So we, the Lilly-fabric-aholics, are forced to buy it from people who happen to live near the factories in various Asian locations. Whatever, a true addict like myself is always willing to pay shipping for her next "fix."

This spring, I was lucky enough to come across two FABULOUS vintage fabrics. Seriously, they are drool-worthy!! The colors and prints are awesome!! It impresses me to no end that 10, 20 or 30+ year old fabric can still be so classic, timeless and of course, continuously preppy! I have a fantasy of finding yard after yard of LP fabric at a yard sale for two bucks. However, that would require me to actually go to a yard sale. Which would require me to find a yard sale. Which would require me to get up early on a Saturday with a purse full of one dollar bills. Bringing us right back to the key word.....fantasy. Seeing as how I have never actually been to a yard sale (but thanks to blog swaps I have learned to appreciate thrift shops every now and then.....so I'm learning....slowly....), this will remain in the fantasy category. In the mean time, all hail the power of the internet. It's hard for me to believe that when I started college in 1996 I rarely used email, let alone other online stuff. Now I am unlikely to keep in touch with you if you don't email regularly. Amazing how things change so quickly in life!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Give Me Some Flax

New obsession: flax seeds. I've been making a huge effort to add them to just about everything this week. My favorite is my breakfast of strawberries, vanilla or plain ff yogurt, peanut butter (I nuke it in the microwave for a minute to make it spreadable), banana and top it off with flax seeds for some nutty crunch. Tonight I sprinkled them on top of my asparagus and mmmmm- delish! Anyway, I've been busy but still have nothing of note to share other than my new found love of the cute little flax seed. Sad but true.

Oh, and I am soooo excited that the second-coming of Y2K....I mean the switch to digital TV broadcast.....is almost over! I am soooo beyond tired of hearing the instructions to buy a converter box (I was in Target last week and they had an entire shelf full of them if you still need one yourself) and re-set your channels. Just pull off the band-aid and get on with it.

One more thing.....since my state's government has gone to hell in a handbasket this week....making both sides of the aisle look like damn fools throwing temper tantrums....I'm focusing on Iran. How amazing would it be to see life change for the better and chalk it up in great part to the voice of the youth?!! Crossing my fingers and saying prayers for you, Iran!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I don't really have anything fascinating or fun going on this week so I thought I would give you an update on my mini farm.....aka my garden. Look at my lettuce! I'm loving that it it starting to turn fun colors and shapes! On the left you see my two pepper plants- one yellow and one rainbow variety. And three t'mater plants- on big plant in the center and two smaller on the right. And that blank space is where my carrots are growing.

Remember when I told you that I planted the root bottoms of the green onions last year? And the squirrels dug most of them up so only two little onions survived? Well this weekend as I was walking up the back steps, I looked over to see several green sprouts in the gutter. And realized that the squirrels must have tossed the onions in the gutter. But there was so much dirt/leaves in there that they were growing!! I reached in to find several baby onions, walked back down the stairs and properly planted them. Even if you just have some pots on your back deck, you should try this. Save the root ends of the green onions and bury them. It's like two for the price of one green onions. And it's fun to see something great grown from something you would usually throw away.

My first tomato of the season! Grow baby, grow!

These are my green beans. This time last week the same photo would look like dirt. The beans are growing like...well...growing like beans. I love that the leaves look like sweethearts. So cute.
And there you have it. I'm telling you, I've got nada for y'all today. I'm working on a few projects.... maybe I'll have some pictures of that stuff in the next day or two. Until then, I'll be reading your cute blogs. And drooling over the fabulous finds picked up at ridiculous prices last week at the Lilly sale!

Friday, June 5, 2009


I had a lunch meeting to transfer information for my JLA committee next year on Thursday. It was gorgeous outside so we sat on the patio. For two hours. It was lovely with a cool breeze. I wore the long Lilly that I purchased from RueLaLa. And then I drove home. Started to itch. Only to realize that I would soon turn tomato red. Not only am I burned to a crisp, but it is a funky burn too. Like one shoulder is terrible (pictured) and the other is bad and my back is bad and my chest (thank goodness I wear sunscreen on my face daily!) has a little color. But when I am wearing anything other than that dress, it looks so strange. I just didn't realize we would sit outside so I didn't think to lather up with SPF 50 like I usually do in such situations. "Ouch" is all I have to say!! Lesson learned. New bottle of body sunscreen shall be purchased this weekend.

WP Realty Owes $600,000 And Is Cheerfully Refusing To Pay

**This is specifically for Upstate New Yorkers.

WP Realty, the company managing the Colonie Plaza, has NOT paid local contractors for the improvements to the plaza that were necessary for the opening of the new Green Price Chopper. Contractors have banded together to ask Price Chopper and the other businesses operating in the Colonie Plaza, as well as their customers, to pressure WP Realty into paying their bills.

Please call WP Realty at 1-610-522-6000 and tell them that their refusal to pay the contractors has added an enormous strain to businesses that are already struggling in this unstable economy. You may also email the contractors at American@nycap.rr.com and they will forward your comments to WP Realty and the plaza businesses.

My family's business is directly involved in this unfortunate situation. And if the matter continues to go unresolved, family members could easily lose everything from businesses to homes and then some! Let me also clarify, Price Chopper does not own the building. But by staying silent they are not helping matters. These contractors worked incredibly hard to make it possible for the new Green Price Chopper (and no- I have no idea what that means, but its what it is being called locally so I am just going with it) to open its doors. At the great expense of local families.

Please, please take a few moments today to make a phone call or send a brief email, encouraging (or begging!) WP Realty to do the right thing and pay up. In any economy, stealing services is wrong. But in the current economy, it really might be the difference between families with little children being able to stay in their homes or not.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Do It For The Boys (And Girls Too!)

Have y'all heard of this awesomely neat non-profit organization called Cell Phones For Soldiers? You can send them your old cell phones, no postage necessary if you use one of their special mailing baggies. This gets your old phones (and those highly toxic batteries) out of your house. But the best part is that they turn around and exchange the donated phones for $. They turn the $ from one phone into a phone card worth about an hour of phone time for a soldier abroad. All from a piece of plastic junk collecting dust in your house right now.

Please go here today and have some of the of the postage-free plastic mailing envelopes sent to you. Perhaps you might even bring a few extra into your office or church or local book club so that everyone can both get rid of old junk and help give our soldiers some much needed phone time with family at home. I think it's so awesome that even those who are not in a position to donate money (they will of course take it though if you have it to donate), are still able to help. Between me and my father, we have four phones to mail in.

And while you are on the Cell Phones For Soldiers website, take a moment to read about the two kids....that's right....I said KIDS who started the organization. I can barely manage to plan a week's worth of meals and these two children started an impressive non-profit organization!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Best Sugar Cookies

I found this online and I am sorry to say I just copy/pasted it so I cannot give credit to the genius baker who created this recipe. It was hands down the very best cut-out sugar cookie recipe I have ever tried. And I've tried dozens over the years. But you should also know that it makes a massive amount. Which was perfect for my needs. But if you don't need to bake a million cookies, you could always freeze batches to save for later.


* 3 cups butter, softened at room temperature for at least an hour
* 3 cups sugar
* 3 eggs
* 6 ounces cream cheese (3/4 of a standard cream cheese package)
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 teaspoon almond extract
* 2 teaspoons lemon zest
* 9 cups flour
* 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt


In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and add the sugar. Cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until golden. Add the cream cheese and again beat until well incorporated. Add the flavorings and lemon zest.

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl, then add, bit by bit to the butter/sugar mixture. You need to use a large bowl for this recipe. Mine was about overflowing from my mixer!

Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour - preferably overnight.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Divide the dough into smaller balls and roll out 1/4 thickness. Cut out cookies.

Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes, depending on thickness.

Let completely cool before icing or decorating. Store in a tightly covered container. Makes between 8 and 12 dozen.

Royal Icing:

* 4 cups confectioners' sugar
* 3 tablespoons meringue powder
* 1/2 teaspoon extract (vanilla, lemon or almond)
* 1/2 - 3/4 c. warm water

I made these the Sunday of Memorial Day and they sat in baggies on the kitchen counter for two days before I thought to put them in the fridge. There they sat until I loaded them up to travel to Florida. Then they sat next to me in the airport for 1.5 days and in a home for 2 more days. They still taste amazing today. So my point is that they keep really really well!!

Growing Garden

For those who, like me, have never grown anything other than some patio tomatoes and herbs, this post is for you. This is what mesclun lettuce looks like after about a week. The larger leaves along the edge or about two weeks old. The most adorable lettuce I've ever seen! I can't wait until it grows large enough to eat though.
And can you see the teeny tiny green sprouts in the photo below? Look hard. Those are teeny tiny baby carrots. I planted a row of peas and two different squash plants too. But so far, I don't have much excitement on that front. Come August I should be eating veggies grown from my very own baby garden though!

And this is a peony grown by daddy-o. I LOVE LOVE peonies!! They just make me smile!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


What the heck .... I'm gone for a weekend and Lisagh went private? Why? Was someone mean to her? Will someone please give me the skinny on that situation?!!

Pickles And Ice Cream

Well "Baby Shower Weekend" has officially come to an end. I had an awesome time visiting with my oldest and dearest friends but y'all.....I am exhausted!! Wiped out! I fell asleep around 5pm last night, woke up to eat and stuff and loafed in bed watching TV and talking on the phone to B (that stands for Bench) before I closed my eyes again. And I slept later than usual today too. I will probably go to bed early again tonight. The older I get, the harder it is for me to get a decent rest anywhere but my own bed. So I always come home from trips needing at least 24 hours to recover.

Anyway, I thought I would just share a few gift photos with you today. This is some of what I made for Florida Baby Boy. Florida is the closest thing I had to a sister growing up- we've been friends for about 30 years now. Yes, you read that correctly. THIRTY!! Totally amazing, I know! We can re-hash childhood stories from just about every year of our rockin' friendship. We are ten months apart (I'm older....which was important when we were tots....totally unimportant now that I am....ahem....in my early 30's) and lived next door for many years. From gymnastics to every type of dance to church to choirs to bells to plays to Indian Princesses (tell me someone else out there in Blogville knows what this is) to sports (I had a short-lived few years in junior high when I played (or sat the bench is more like it) school sports because it was the "in" thing to do. Go ahead- it really does deserve a good laugh!) to weddings (hers of course....not mine....hello, what wedding?!) and now babies (again...hers). We've been through it all.

She still lives in our hometown. If you were to talk to me in person, I would have you believe it is stinkin' Mayberry. Years ago, Little and I went on a cruise that left out of my hometown port. So we went down a day early to show her around said hometown. Half way through the tour-de-hometown she turned to me and said, "You've always described it here as this tiny town where everybody knows everybody else's business and gossip. As a very small town location. KK, this is a major destination city, not a small town!!" Perspective, I suppose. I continue to have reason to believe it is a small town where the only way to escape the gossip and chatter is to move far, far away. Not that I don't salivate at a good gossip catch up session though. You can take the girl out of gossipy-hometown but you can't take the gossipy-hometown out of the girl! Back me up here, B (that stands for Bench)!

Overall I had an amazing weekend. It was fast. Faster than originally intended due to flight issues. But it was fabulous to say hi to so many friends in one weekend. I actually only took a few photos because I was so busy at the shower I hosted on Sunday for Florida. I was paranoid- seriously just beside myself worried- that the shower would be a royal disaster. I mean, I'd never been to the location. Just found it online, it was available and in my price range and called it a day. But as soon as I walked in with the Tweedle sisters, I knew it would all work out OK. It was the perfect size and a great location and the service and food were impeccable! I wore the new long Lilly dress that I got during the last Rue sale. It was so fabulous- LOVE it!! There are a few people pics up that you can see if curious on Facebook if we are friends on there too. Not many though- I was just too busy to stop for a photo I guess. Florida received some amazing gifts and everyone seemed to have a nice time.

Because I didn't do much in the way of decorations (I decided not to ship anything down and instead took a big suitcase that I checked. So everything came with me on the plane in one bag!) so I decided to do an over-the-top favor to compensate. I gave each guest an ice cream cozy and a sugar cookie in the shape of a pickle. Get it? I made it all. It was one of the many projects in my life that plans out one way on paper and takes eight times as long in real life. I never learn. And the cookies did not look even one ounce as cute as Laura's. But by the time I was icing them, I was so over tired. I only did the outline/flood bit on five lucky cookies. The rest just got a sloppy slather with a butter knife (as seen in the photos below). I figure the sprinkles sort of hid the imperfections. And OMG I found THE BEST sugar cookie recipe ever! I'll post that later or tomorrow. Anyway, overall it was a great weekend. It was sunny and hot (and humid) and I miss it. I got off the plane to find it was 57 here. So not OK in June!!


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