Monday, June 30, 2008

All's well that ends well.



If you recall from a previous post (Recycling with Mom), my Mom asked me to bake a cake for their anniversary party. Well, not just any cake. She wanted to recreate their wedding cake. I told her I could do the baking and have everything ready, as long as she would do the decorating. She's much better at it than I am!

I used the basic white cake recipe from Wilton's website. I have never baked six layers at one time before, but it worked perfectly. I was able to chill them and trim the tops level. I had a nice crumb coat of butter cream on the three tiers and had them all packed up and ready to travel.
Then my dog got sick. We were supposed to leave that night to help set up for the party. Coco ended up having surgery, but was able to travel the next morning. Thank goodness the vet was able to help her so quickly!

We assembled the cake before the party. I wasn't thrilled with the way the butter cream set up. It was perfect the day before, but after chilling and warming up to spreading consistency, it sort of separated. Mom insisted it was perfect and added the finishing touches. She made roses ahead of time and we topped it off with the cake top from their wedding.
It was a wonderful party. Guests arrived from all over the U.S., Canada, and Finland!



Mom and Dad dancing.


Family photo - Dad, Mom, Chris, Me, and Maggie

All's well that ends well.....and I'm so glad that my running buddy is recuperating! My favorite trail just wouldn't be the same without her.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hiatus


Well.....not really. I'll be out of town for a few days for my Mom and Dad's 50th. Busy busy. Talk later. Click the banner to see what's new in the shop!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Strawberry Shortcake



I thought I'd share a recipe that's been used in my family for as long as I can remember. Every year when the local strawberries are ripe, I buy a flat and freeze some. Sometimes I make strawberry jam, but I definitely have to make a batch of shortcake since the berries are so sweet.

Strawberry Shortcake
Mix together with a wooden spoon 1/4 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons shortening and 1/3 cup sugar. Add 1 egg and mix well. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.
Mix together the dry ingredients - 1 1/2 cups flour, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and a dash of salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, alternating with 1/3 cup of milk. Mix until combined. If it's too stiff, add more milk (I almost always do, but no one ever changed the recipe).
Bake in a greased round or square 8 or 9" cake pan, sprinkling the top with sugar, if desired...or in muffin cups (approximately 8 muffins). I made a double batch to take to a party last weekend. I love mine served with sliced, sugared berries and milk. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.
Eat it fresh, or the next day. If you cover them with a towel, the sugar tops will stay crisp for awhile. If you store it tightly in a plastic bag, they'll still be delicious, but will get softer.
This is really good with peaches and other fresh berries also!
Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Knitter's Notes from the Iowa flood...


(Michelle Edwards' Lace Shawl)

I was reading an article on the Lion Brand website entitled "A Knitter's Notes from the Iowa flood" by Michelle Edwards. It's an inspiring story of the valiant efforts of the communities to work together in fighting the flood, the fear and apprehension and a longing for peace. Michelle talks about how this has affected her knitting style, colors, and pattern choices. "I wanted to feel the calm descend as I watched the shawl develop."

Enjoy her article HERE on the Lion Brand website. There are also links to the local disaster relief organizations.

Oh and Yay! I'm Indiepublic Member of the Day today!
http://www.indiepublic.com/

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Singin' in the Rain




Just as the show started, so did the rain. Garrison Keillor kicked off the show by "warming up" and singing for about 15 minutes while roaming the audience. We were way in the back on the grassy lawn - quite comfortable, until the storm blew in. He started walking through the audience under the pavilion, singing the whole time. Then I couldn't believe it, but he opened the gate and started walking out onto the grass. It started to sprinkle, but he just kept singing as the people gathered around. He meandered through, stopping to sing to people and shake hands. He shook my hand and I was awe-struck. I couldn't remember what he was singing about. He was obviously making it up as he went along. He mixed in a round of "America the Beautiful," was singing about walking up the grassy knoll in the rain, and I sort of remember him singing about Elvis as I was shaking his hand. The radio station rebroadcasts the show the following day, so I figured I'd hear it again anyway. Well, no I won't ever hear it again because he was just warming up. When he made it back to the stage, it was precisely 6:00 and he welcomed everyone to "A Prairie Home Companion," broadcasting live from the Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
The entire cast was wonderful. They are all so good at improvising. They had obviously intended to base the show around a beautiful, sunny day in Ohio and did an amazing job of fitting in jokes about the rain and the loud claps of thunder. At one point the power flickered out for a minute or two. He joked about that and wondered what the folks at home were hearing. But it was quickly restored and the show went on. They ended up opening the gates and inviting everyone to come in out of the rain as the storm worsened.
I was too far from the stage to get a decent picture of the set. Anyone who has seen the movie would recognize the house with it's front porch. The lighting changed throughout the show, with a gorgeous full moon shining above while he was reading the "News from Lake Wobegon." The music was incredible, from the stage musicians, to Jorma Kaukonen's amazing guitar, and the Wailin' Jennies harmonies.
After the show was over, they performed a few songs over again, apparently to fill in where the power went out and other technical glitches, so that the rebroadcast would be flawless. I hope we can go again sometime. The kids were quite jealous, so we'll definitely try to go again. Any kids that are interested in public radio deserve a chance to see the show.
Blossom Music Center is a beautiful location. The Tom Petty concert was sold out for tonight, but I'm glad I'm not sitting in the grass because it is storming here again! We were a bit damp, but had a wonderful time. We enjoyed a delicious dinner afterwards and I managed to get a picture of a double rainbow, making for quite a memorable anniversary!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Prairie Home Companion Anniversary


A Prairie Home Companion Cast Photo (photo by Dana Nye)
FROM LEFT: Fred Newman, Tim Russell, Sue Scott, Garrison Keillor



Garrison Keillor (photo by Brian Velenchenko)

We're celebrating our 20th anniversary by going to see the live broadcast performance of "A Prairie Home Companion" at Blossom Music Center tonight! Host and producer Garrison Keillor will be relaying the News from Lake Wobegon, with special guests Jorma Kaukonen, and Robin & Linda Williams (whom I recognize from the movie).

Listen-in LIVE tonight at 6:00 PM EDT. Visit PriairieHome.PublicRadio.Org to find a station in your area, or for information on how to listen ONLINE. And don't forget to sign up for the newsletter from Lake Wobegon while you're there.

"That's the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."

I think I'll bake a rhubarb pie!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

20 Years Ago Today.......


Plato said "At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet."
A poet I'm not. I am quite grateful that our love has lasted. We are blessed with good health and two beautiful and loving children. Happy Anniversary to my best friend forever.

"Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice; But for those who love, time is not." - Henry Jackson van Dyke

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Notes from the trail... Polaroid Cliff??


"I can't imagine living and not running." - Paula Radcliffe

I went to the trail without my running mate yesterday. Coco gave me the sad eyes when I left without her, but it was hot and the flies were bothering her the last time. I promise to pick up some fly stuff and to leave earlier so that I don't have to leave her behind next time.

I was curious to see what it would be like to run without the dog. She loves to run, but her pace is more like a canter. When I get warmed-up and settle into a pace, it almost looks like she's just trotting along, walking quickly, but not really running. When she gets tired and hot she slows down some and I end up kicking her heels by the time we reach the end of the trail.

It was odd at first, without her. I am so used to having the leash to hold on to that I had to figure out what to do with my hands. I remember my husband telling me to keep them low and relaxed so I don't stress my shoulders and back, and to look straight down the trail, not down at my feet.

I'm finally figuring out how to use the Nike + with my iPod. I discovered that I could hit the center button and it would give me the time, distance, and current pace. It was able to get to a comfortable, faster pace. It was the first time my pace had been at 15-something. It had almost always been at 16+ minutes per mile.

It was a bit disconcerting to almost step on not one, but TWO SNAKES!! One was tiny and bright - possibly a milk snake. The other one was a huge garter snake - I think. But still, yikes! I don't like snakes. And after that, I was scared when a squirrel popped out onto the trail in front of me. Coco would have pulled my shoulder out of socket if she had been with me!

So, I made it back to the end of the trail. I have good days and bad days, but this was a great day on the trail. Remember my earlier post when I said that Lance Armstrong congratulated me on the iPod? Well, this time it was a woman with a British accent and she said that I had logged my longest workout so far. I thought she said "This is Polaroid Cliff."

I came home and asked my husband. Who is Polaroid Cliff? He laughed when I described her voice and said....that's Paula Radcliffe! While I'm not planning on running a marathon anytime soon, thanks for the inspiration Paula! I'll be rooting for you in Beijing! (I'm off to watch Paula's Motivation training videos here!)

(Since getting my new cyber shoes I've logged 6 runs for a total of 19.5 miles, the average pace of which I'm still working on.)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

World Wide Knit In Public Day


Today, June 14th, is World Wide Knit in Public Day! Started in 2005 by Danielle Landes, WWKiP Day began as a way for knitters to come together and well, knit! Knitting has become more popular lately, but many times people sit and knit alone. This is a world-wide event that allows people to find an event in their area, spend some time together and see what other people are knitting.

Visit the WWKiP website and click on the "Find a Kip" link to find an event in your area. Searching Ohio, I found 7 locations where people will be gathered to Knit in Public.
Oh and happy Flag Day too! I almost forgot. Shame on me!


As for me, I need to supervise while my hubby fixes the brakes on my car. So, knitting in the driveway may have to suffice!
Here's what's on the needles today.... orange cotton that will become a bracelet or cuff, we'll see!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hints from Heloise


I was looking through an old copy of "Heloise's Housekeeping Hints," published in 1962.

Here are a few excerpts that I found amusing: "All women have more than they can do because they take on more than they have strength for."

"Relieve your mind of a lot of its frustrations by simply accepting the fact that you are a woman. Next, make yourself believe that you do the best you can. Tranquilizers are expensive...so are doctor's bills. Instead of worrying yourself into a state of jitters over keeping a 'perfect' house, let this book show you how to make it easier for yourself."

"Jar loose once in a while and spend a few nickels or dollars on yourself. Don't do without those few simple things that would make your life easier, such as a carpet-sweeper, plumber's friend, feather duster and pants-stretchers."

She does give some good, basic advice. Her "top down" theory works for me, although I didn't know it was from Heloise. It just makes sense to start at the top if you're cleaning out a closet or cupboard. She advises to clean out closets when you're angry so that you are more tempted to get rid of things! She said to "top clean" first so you have the time to really deep-clean later.
"Learning to Top-Clean: Remove the breakfast dishes and put them to soak in hot water and detergent, make the beds, pick up papers and empty ash trays into a big paper sack you carry around. Heat coffee. While it is heating, douse toilet tissue with rubbing alcohol and wipe the bathroom fixtures. Use a carpet sweeper to 'hit' the middle of the floors, take a feather duster to the coffee tables, then go back and do the dishes. Learn to get the 'effect and appearance' of being neat. It gives a woman a feeling of not being embarrassed if a neighbor drops in."

While I didn't read the entire book, I was looking for tips to go green, or anything that might be relevant on a tight budget. Her grocery and cooking tips were pretty much outdated. She joked that beef would never be more expensive than a nice center-cut ham slice.

What I would like to share with you is her tips for cloth diapers. I'm way past the diaper-stage with my kids, but I hear lots of new Moms or Moms-to-be contemplating the use of cloth diapers. I used cloth diapers years ago, but I was lucky enough to have an affordable diaper service at the time. I shopped around and found a few velcro diaper covers that worked great for me. They were a new idea at the time, but they're now readily available in easy-to-use, easy-to-wash designs.

Here's what Heloise had to say about washing cloth diapers. "Soak them in a pail of cold water with a little pine disinfectant added. This eliminates all odors. Empty the entire pail into the washing machine and let the solution spin dry, then wash as usual through the entire cycle." She advocates shaking them out and hanging them on the clothesline to dry. That would depend on your time and how much energy you want to spend vs. how much you want to save!

All in all she has some good, yet out-dated advice on all sorts of things. Don't go to the grocery store hungry? Hmmmm guess I'd better get some breakfast before I go spend my nickels!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Garden of Whimsy


I spent hours weeding yesterday. The heat and consistent rains have everything growing quickly...including the weeds! I hope to keep up with it, although I say that every year. Eventually I just give up and let the weeds take over. We'll see.

Maybe I need some of these Veggie Folk to keep me in line. This grumpy red onion dude looks like he'd be pretty mad if I let the weeds grow up around him. I don't grow carrots, (mainly because no one here will eat them) but just imagine having these eyes pop out at you from your garden! LOL I think they would add some fun to any garden.
These fun Veggie Folk are available at gobbledygookdecor on Etsy. Oh and check out their website at Gobbledygook Creature Decor (www.gobbledygookdecor.com)
The scarecrow kits and skull are right up my alley MUUUHAAHAAAHAAAAA!



If you prefer an indoor garden, check out SevenAcreWoods on Etsy. They have Indoor Citrus Tree Kits to grow Limes or Valencia Oranges, plus other flowers and vegetable seed kits. They're offering free Morning Glory seeds for all orders placed in June!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hufflepuff?? Who knew?

Want to Get Sorted?

I'm
a Hufflepuff!

Etsy Links



Etsy Teams - Searching by your Etsy Team name and linking to that search in a blog or website is a great way to promote your team. Don't forget to click the drop-down menu and change the search to include "All items: tags, titles." This will include vintage and supplies so that all of your team members' items will be included in the search.


Here's a link to our ClevelandTeam.

Not only is it a great way to promote your team, but a great way to shop and see what your friends have been up to lately!

What's new with the EtsyFAST team? It's easy to see.
Stop by and visit OldWorldShoppes at OWS team

Monday, June 9, 2008

How about a dip?


p1010026, originally uploaded by lazytcrochet.

Pittsburgh Zoo Aquarium

Saturday, June 7, 2008

It's Hot!



We are still eating asparagus. It has been a wonderful growing season so far, but I do tend to get tired of it after awhile. Now that it's hot, we won't have much more of it. I've been running out of ideas as to how to cook it, and since it's so hot, I've been adding it fresh to salads. The garden lettuce is ready to thin out so I'll have baby greens too. Here's a recipe for a nice cold salad. It's what's for dinner, with a nice cold beer.

Cold Noodle Salad
For the dressing, mix together 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon grated ginger, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon freshly-chopped parsley.
Use salad greens, green onions, carrots, cucumber, red bell pepper, mushrooms, asparagus, or any combination of salad fixin's and top with cold, leftover spaghetti or small noodles. Cooked ramen-style noodles are good too. Top with the dressing and add a sprinkle of sesame or sunflower seeds if desired.

Friday, June 6, 2008

ooooommmmmmm Friday Finds

“When you utter ‘Om’ it travels not only all around the earth but throughout all space and eternity”–so said Paramhansa Yogananda.


Ooooommmmgggg This is one LOUD little dude! It just looked so peaceful, like it was meditating there under the pool cover. We moved him to a tree.

Here are a few Friday Finds.........ooooommmmmm

OM earrings from BethCyrYogaStudio


Om Sign from ReclamationProject


Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog) from marthajohnston


Boston terrier doing a little yoga to relax from rubenaker

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Recycling with Mom


My parents just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on May 16th! We're planning a huge celebration for the end of June. Mom and I have been buying decorations and making plans. When she asked me to bake a cake, I said I would, of course. I'm not very good at cake decorating, but somehow have become the cake baker for all the family birthdays and get-togethers. I can bake a good cake, but writing 'Happy Birthday Mom' with a few sprinkles is a far cry from recreating their wedding cake!! She has agreed to help me with the flowers and the final decorating, so I'm sure we'll be able to pull it off.

We couldn't find a picture of their cake, but she did bring over the original cake top that they used. She had fixed it up and added some fabric to the dress and it was used for her sister's wedding cake in 1971. We found a gold "50" and some new flowers. The base was pretty delicate and part of the back came off when we took the old veil off, but she covered it up with new tulle. Mom was thrilled with the way it turned out. It is beautiful. She is so excited now, too! I just hope I can get the cake to look as nice as the top. It's a great feeling to reuse something that has so much meaning. (And thanks Mom, for modeling for me. Sorry I cut off your head! This new shawl is the perfect color for her too.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New Shoe Review



I finally wore out my old running shoes. It only took me 5 years! Really, I put most of the miles on them last Spring then took the Winter off....big mistake. So my favorite Nike's lasted me through this Spring, but are now quite thin. I've put off shoe shopping because my feet are susceptible to blisters and it's difficult to find shoes that fit me comfortably - plus they are expensive! So, I did what George W. wanted me to do and spent some of my tax rebate on new running shoes.

My old ones are Nike Air Pegasus, so I thought I would try those first. Of course, they didn't have my size. I tried on other shoes for almost 45 minutes before the guy miraculously finds a pair of Air Pegasus - this year's model and not on sale. Wow, they fit perfectly! They are so comfortable compared to anything else I tried on. Plus, they have the Nike + technology capability. I have an iPod Nano that I run with and the Nike + is designed to track your runs through the iPod Nano. So, I spent the extra $30 for the cool new toy that goes with the shoes.

I tried them yesterday for the first time. The Nike + transmitter fits into a slot under the insole of the left shoe and there's a small part that plugs into the charging slot of the iPod. It's easy to use. You can pick different settings, but so far I've just tried the Basic Workout. I picked my usual playlist and hit "start workout." The shoes were very comfortable on the trail. I was worried that the transmitter thing was going to be like the Princess and the Pea, but I can't tell it's there. I ended my workout and a voice came on and told me how many miles I ran, my pace, and approximate calories burned. It was pretty cool. When I got home, I signed up for the Nike + account online and plugged in my iPod. In iTunes it asks if I want to save the run and send it to Nike + and it was almost instantaneous.

I had a really slow day yesterday. I always walk to warm up, start to run and it sucks. I have to force myself to keep going, then eventually it gets easier and I settle into a pace that I'm comfortable with. I'm very slow, plus it takes into consideration my pace when I'm walking to warm up and cool down also.

I ran again today and it was a better day. I tried to push it a little at the end and I ended up making it back in less time, so I was a little faster. I'm not concerned with how fast I'm going at this point. I'm just running for weight-loss and because I enjoy it. At the end of the run today, the voice came on as before and told me my distance, time, pace, and calories burned. Then Lance Armstrong himself congratulated me for a "personal best" on my run! Hahaha that was pretty cool, even though I only ran at 17 minutes per mile!! Hey I don't care. Like I said, I'm slow, but at least it's a workout. I'm sure I can only get better and this seems like a great way to track my workouts.

Here's a screenshot of the two workouts. Yesterday's shows the run and you can see where I walked, or stopped for the dog to go LOL. Then there is another view of today's that shows the stats. The totals are at the top. There's lots of cool stuff I haven't learned yet, but it's a fun way to keep a running log. As I get better, I may not have to walk as long to warm up, or I may hit "start workout" when I actually start running, just so my walking isn't messing with the recorded pace.
All in all I love my new cyber shoes. I would recommend the Nike Air Pegasus + 25 to anyone. However, they are running shoes. If you like to walk or do other training, there are shoes designed for that that would work much better for you.
Keep up the good work and send some inspiration my way! Running is great inspiration for blogging also. I saw an orange newt today...but I didn't have my camera!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Etsy Blogger Street Team Blogger of the Month



Congratulations to Alicia Mae - Featured Etsy Blogger for June!

Alicia Mae has three shops on Etsy http://AliciaMae.etsy.com, http://AliciaMaePrints.etsy.com, and http://randomsupplies.etsy.com.

She also has shops on Lovli, Dawanda, eCrater and lots more! Check out her website at http://aliciamae.com/ or visit her blog at http://www.xanga.com/aliciamae_8

The above photo is available at AliciaMaePrints. I just love New York at Christmastime!

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