Friday, February 27, 2009

Rick Beckett

The airwaves in this part of Michigan are lacking today. One of my all-time favorite radio personalities passed away last night of a heart attack. Rick Beckett of the Rick and Scott Show on WOOD radio has died. It is a sad, sad day.

Rick could be funny, crazy, rude, or nasty, but he was great fun to listen to. And if you really listened, you could tell that he was a kind, caring individual. If someone had suffered some kind of loss, he was always the first to express sorrow and to ask about the situation. He cared about animals, children, and anyone in difficult circumstances.

Good-bye, Rick. You will be missed.

Scott, you are in my prayers.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lent Observation

The church I am a member of does not observe Lent. It is not part of our religious practice. I didn't know what Ash Wednesday was until I was a senior in high school. I did not know what Lent was until I did some research on it a few years back. I had heard people talking in passing about what they were giving up for Lent, and that sounded like an interesting concept.

For the past three (?) I think three years, my daughter have done our own Lent observance. Starting on Fat Tuesday with Paczki's--a local tradition. This year I am over-nighting Paczki's 1600 miles so she (and her roommates) can have them on Fat Tuesday. Am I a great mom or what? haha! You would think so if you knew how much it cost! Oh, my!

She is, as she had done every year, giving up sweets. And she actually does it! For six whole weeks, with the exception of one day, her birthday, which is always during Lent. Amazing!

I have my own admittedly secular goals for Lent. I understand the spiritual aspect of giving something up for Lent, but my goals are not spiritual, more of an effort to change habits and do better.

Anyway, this is what I do, or rather, what I don't do.

During Lent, I do not buy:
  • Candy

  • Ice cream

  • Ice cream toppings

  • Cookies

  • Desserts

  • Muffins

  • Pop/soda

  • Little Debbie's or anything like unto it

  • Fast food/convenience store hot chocolate, slushies, smoothies, chocolate milk, milk shakes, ice cream, frosties, desserts, donuts, Danish, sweet treats, etc, etc, etc.

(Except for shopping for Easter Baskets, which I don't start until shortly before Easter, and Star's birthday.)

I can make any of that stuff, I just can't buy it. And, during Lent in the years past, I have been very successful with this challenge. I just need to challenge myself (and maybe reward myself!) to continue on past Lent and add other goals to the list.

Disclaimer: I hope this post does not offend those who keep Lent in the traditional way. I just wanted to write about my light-hearted, admittedly secular goals. 'Cause, you know, it's all about ME!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ethnic Foods

Today's list from Ten on Tuesday, from whom I have not yet figured out how to get a button. Because I'm computer-challenged like that.

10 Favorite Ethnic Foods

I think most ethnic foods I have eaten have been highly American-ized but here is my list anyway.

1. Tacos--I don't know how "ethnic" tacos are but they are hands-down my favorite food.

2. Baklava--This is the first thing that came to my mind when I saw this topic. I have made it several times and it is delish!

3. Schezwan spicy pork noodles--My husband makes this, and it is fabulous.

4. Taiwanese onion cakes--I had a Taiwanese roommate in college who made these and I loved them. Haven't had them since.

5. Indian tacos--When we lived on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, this was the most popular food in town so I am going to count it as ethnic. Taco fixings on fry bread. Yummy! (I won't talk about one of the older traditional foods I heard about ((but didn't eat)) when living there. Yuck!)

6. My favorite Italian dish is Mezzaluna at Carrabba's. (After the appetizer of calamari.)

7. Is Boiled Dinner ethnic? Irish ethnic? Glenn makes the best. I really miss him.

8. I don't think cheese enchiladas are exactly ethnic but they are my second favorite Mexican food. My mom makes these the best.

9. The other Chinese food I like is sesame chicken. And lemon chicken. And Hula Beef. And chicken on a stick.

10. My other favorite "Italian" food is Spaghetti with Browned Butter and Mizithra Cheese at The Old Spaghetti Factory.

I think I need to expand my ethnic food horizons. Just sayin'.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday, Friday

This week's Friday Fill-In. Click the button on the sidebar to join the fun.

1. Give me a sow's ear and I'll make a silk purse.

2. Whenever it snows I want to stay home with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate.

3. I wish I had some closer friends. (Sorry, pathetic.)

4. The salmon I had at the Marquette Room was the last thing I ate that was utterly delicious.

5. To live in this world takes a lot of faith.

6. Other than this one, say la vee is the last blog I commented on.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a scrapbook night at a friend's church, tomorrow my plans include making cookies and Sunday, I want to stop over and visit a neighbor recently out of the hospital!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ten Songs for Tuesday

From Ten on Tuesday

10 Songs That Describe You or Your Life

These are just off the top of my head. In no particular order.

1. Crazy (Gnarles Barkley)

2. I Am Woman

3. Somewhere (From West Side Story)

4. I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues

5. Longer (Dan Fogelberg)

6. The Longest Time (Billy Joel)

7. That Was a River

8. In My Daughter's Eyes

9. I Am a Child of God

10. And to finish off, the album by Bruce Hornsby and the Range called The Way It Is has pretty much been the soundtrack of our marriage.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday, All Day Long!

Another Friday, another Friday Fill-In. Click the button on the side bar to join the fun!

1. It seems like something always comes up no matter how well you plan.

2. Clean up when you're done, please?

3. If I thought you wanted to, I'd do it too!

4. Good times is what I think of most when I think of you.

5. To me, Valentine's Day means spending some time with my hubby.

6. Prayer gives me strength. (And chocolate helps, too!)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to starting an organizing project, tomorrow my plans include a birthday party for a two year old and Sunday, I want to watch the start of The Amazing Race!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

10 Favorite Places to Shop

From Ten on Tuesday. I have shopped at some great places.

The first seven are favorite places I have shopped in the past, the last three are favorite places to shop in general.

1. Daisy Kingdom in Portland, Oregon
2. Gifts of the Earth in Jackson, Wyoming
3. Railroad Salvage in Belle Fourche, South Dakota
4. The Christmas Cottage in Lincoln City, Oregon
5. American Spoon Foods in Petosky, Michigan
6. Britex Fabrics in San Francisco, California
7. Personal Papers in Salt Lake City, Utah
8. Target
9. Consignment Stores
10.Yard Sales

The best place I have ever lived for shopping was when we lived 45 miles east of Portland, Oregon, on the Washington side of the river (that's the Columbia River.) There is soooo much good shopping in and around Portland you would not believe it. Lots of different kinds of shopping. Shopping Paradise, that's Portland.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Homemade Pancake Syrup

A few weeks ago in a Friday Fill-In I wrote down my intention to make homemade pancake syrup. Shortly after that, Michelle at Scribbit posted her recipe for homemade pancake syrup. She got a lot of comments from die hard Real Maple Syrup advocates: It’s the only true pancake syrup. Anything else is a pale imitation. How can you pass off the fake stuff to your family. Blah, blah, blah…

I grew up on homemade pancake syrup. My mom’s recipe is the same one that Michelle posted:

2 cups of white sugar
1 cup of water
1 tsp. of flavoring

Stir together in 2 qt. sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Cook until clear and slightly thickened.

The difference in the recipes is that my mom usually made Cinnamon Syrup, adding 1 tsp. of cinnamon to the recipe instead of maple flavoring. I loved Cinnamon Syrup.

Then I grew up, moved away from home, and eventually married a Real Maple Syrup Man from Michigan, Home of Real Maple Syrup. I have never been a fan of the flavor of maple anything. When we were on our honeymoon, he bought me a Real Treat of maple sugar candy. Um…wow. Sugar that tasted like maple. Two strikes and we were only on our honeymoon! (I am happy to say he has since reformed and now knows to give chocolate. Dark chocolate. Our marriage survives another day.)

While our daughter was growing up, they spent many a happy hour tramping out in the woods, tapping maple trees, gathering sap, giving tree tapping lessons to local home schooling families, and endless hours and millions of kilowatts of electricity boiling down gallons of sap into little teeny tiny jars of syrup. The ratio was about 20:1. That’s a lot of boiling. Since my daughter grew up on the stuff, she thinks it is the only true pancake syrup. Me? I’m still not convinced.

So, now that she is far away at college and my husband is diabetic and uses sugar-free pancake syrup, (Smuckers is his brand of choice) I have decided to go back to my roots and make homemade Cinnamon Syrup, which is what I (finally) did this weekend. Since I am not a maple fan, I think next time I will experiment with some different flavors. I have almond flavoring on hand. I wonder how that would taste? I will have to see what else is in the baking aisle at the local grocery store.

Oh, and that syrup I said I was making on January 17? I made that today. And the letter I said I was writing on the 18th? I finally got it done on Sunday. Yup, that's the way it goes around here.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Finally Friday!

I decided to do a Friday Five today instead of a Friday Fill-In. Friday Fill-Ins are still awesome though. Click the button on the sidebar and see!

I’m not going to link the blog where I lifted this Friday Five because I have mixed feelings, but they do some good Friday Fives. Ambiguous, I know. Sorry.

Today’s Friday Five: List five of your Favorite Things. (Not people, things.)

Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens!

Couldn’t resist. You should know from the movie post that I love Rogers and Hammerstein.

1. Chocolate chip cookies. Actually, I could do a whole Friday Five on my favorite chocolate:

a. Chocolate Chip Cookies
b. See’s Raspberry Creams in Dark Chocolate
c. McDonald’s Orange Gels in Dark Chocolate
d. Tin Roof Sundae ice cream
e. Chocolate milk. Liquid chocolate, it doesn’t get any more fundamental than that!

See? Ok, moving on…

2. Music. I love music. Classical music, sacred music, movie music, popular music, 70’s music… (Stop laughing! There was some good music in the 70’s!) In college I used to love to go to the symphony. Tickets were free to students. Those were the good old days! Now I try to catch any local concerts that are free, reasonable, or just free will offering. Right now I am listening to a CD of duets of Jussi Bjoerling which features the duet from the Pearl Fishers by George Bizet. It is one of my favorite pieces of music.

3. Books. I love to read. I wish I took more time to read. My idea of a perfect vacation would include great scenery, good food, fun people, and a big stack of books.

4. Flowers. In other peoples yards. I like seeing flowers in nature. Wild or domestic. I loved those trees in California that were covered in flowers so the whole tree looked purple. I also love tulip trees. Not sure what they are really called.

5. Clean sheets. There is nothing better than crawling into a bed with nice clean sheets. And a book.

On to the weekend!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Making Waterbed Sheets

In addition to the fact that we have no dishwasher or icemaker, we sleep in a waterbed. Yes, we do live in the dark ages. We bought the bed when we were first married, and we would love to replace it with a real bed but that hasn't happened yet.

Waterbed sheets are expensive, if they even make them anymore. Who knows?

Many, many years ago, before I was married, I saw a demo on making waterbed sheets. I didn't have a waterbed at the time but a couple of my siblings did, and since I am the designated sewer in the family, I took notes.

You can make a set of queen sized waterbed sheets from two double size flat sheets.

You used to have to trim a double sheet to make a sheet to fit a queen-sized waterbed. Now, in the age of downsizing, there is no trimming necessary. (I pre-wash everything first.)

The nice thing about making your own waterbed sheets is that you can customize them to your own particular quirks needs. For example, waterbed sheets are typically attached together (top and bottom sheet) at the bottom in the center. When I make waterbed sheets for my sister and her husband, she likes them attached all the way across the bottom and up the sides along the corner pocket. That way they stay tucked in better. However, when I make them for my husband and me, I do not attach them at all. When my husband is asleep, he will pull on the top sheet and if it gets stuck or doesn’t come up as far as he thinks it should, he (asleep) will keep pulling. And pulling. And pulling. RRRRRip!!! I didn’t learn this right away. It took a time or two. Or three. So now when he pulls there is no ripping involved. I just tuck them back in when I make the bed the next day. Much easier than mending.

So, all I do to make a bottom sheet for a waterbed is cut two 24” squares of fabric (Old sheets or pillowcases or muslin or any fabric will work. The pockets do not show so they can be made out of anything.) diagonally across so I have four big triangles. I hem the long edge with a 5/8 inch rolled hem and zigzag the other two edges. Then I pin a pocket right sides together to each corner of the full sized flat sheet and round the corners. A Tuperware Fix ‘n Mix bowl is the perfect size curve for this. Then just sew the pockets on with a 5/8 inch seam allowance and zigzag any raw edges (like the curve you cut.) Turn the pockets and you are done! If you want to attach the top sheet, do it now.

I can usually get great sheets on clearance. Even buying a full-sized set of sheets on clearance is cost effective even if I don’t use the whole set. It just depends on your preferences. I hesitate to give too much information. *snort*

So there it is. My waterbed sheet tutorial. Sorry there are no pictures. I have camera issues.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

From Ten on Tuesday, 10 Favorite Children’s Movies:

1. The first movie I remember seeing in a theater was A Boy Ten Feet Tall, later called Sammy Going South. Release date 1963. It was at the Crest Theater in Pocatello, Idaho. I have very little recollection of the movie itself other that there was a blonde boy, but I think it is worth documenting, none the less.

2. My favorite animated Disney movie is 101 Dalmations.

3. My favorite Cinderella movie is the Rogers and Hammerstein 1965 musical version with Lesley Ann Warren. To me this is the real Cinderella. I later saw the Disney animated one and wondered what the heck that was. The music was all wrong...Ugh! I also love the Cinderella movie Ever After, but that is not a children's movie.

4. The Little Princess. Such a beautiful, multi-layered movie. So many good messages. I have seen it many times and can still find something new.

5. Lady and the Tramp.

6. Hmmm...maybe that's it. Is Home Alone (the first one) a kid's movie? Because I love that movie. It is one of my favorite Christmas movies.

7. Ok, now I'm cheating and looking on Amazon for favorite children's movies. I'm just not that big of a Disney fan. But I did like Mulan and Aladdin. I will combine them for #7.

8. Mary Poppins.

9. Anastasia.

10. The Parent Trap. (the newer one.)

Whew. That was harder than I thought it would be.