My Best Friend’s Dog

December 18, 2010 § 4 Comments

That’s me and Guinness (her ex named him), my best friend’s dog.  We’re actually cat people and only owned a dog briefly as a family before realizing it was not going to work out.

However, we’ve done plenty of dog sitting over the years and it seems to give us the best of both worlds.  Of course the cats hate it but they get over their indignation pretty quickly.

Anyway, as you can see by the grey around his muzzle, Guinny is no spring chicken and will be turning 11 on his next birthday – not that I know when that is exactly.  😀  It’s such a joy to have him around because unlike the cats who only have a casual interest in us, Guinness barely leaves anybody’s side when he’s here.

He’s always interested in whatever it is we’re doing and is as playful and full of life as any puppy. On his walk this morning he actually laid down in the snow when he saw another dog coming.  His cropped tail wagged furiously and he started whining, it was so cute.

For the next two weeks and two days he’s our guest and we were sure to let him know that we’ve notified Santa so that he’s not forgotten on Christmas morning.  Yes, my kids are 15 and 22 and I still write FROM SANTA on most of their presents.

Anyway, it’s going to be a raucous Christmas this year with a full house. Grampa is coming to spend the night on Christmas Eve, and Hubby’s family is joining us Christmas day for our holiday feast.  It’ll be a wonderful time with family, great food and a boat load of gift giving.

Still, I’m also looking very forward to the quiet of the aftermath.  Son is moving into his new place on the first or second, Guinness is going home on the 4th and I get a little bit of serenity back.  2011 is going to be a great year!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to one and all.

Trying to Make Sense of the Senseless

December 16, 2010 § 5 Comments

I have tried to blog several times this week but each time I thought of something to write about it just seemed so trite, so trivial, such a waste of words.

How do you write about holiday stuff, baking cookies and how crappy the weather is when someone you care about is living a parent’s worst nightmare?

Dana herself has already posted about what happened to her beloved Tiggy and even posted a heart wrenching tribute to him.  I’m in awe of her courage, her strength and her willingness to accept God’s will.  I don’t know that I’d even be talking to God were it I who lost one of my children.

I’ve never even met Dana in person, like all of you whom I’ve come to call friends and hold dear in my heart, our friendship has grown slowly over the last few years via brief comments on each others’ blogs and the occasional e-mail.

And though we’ve never had the chance to sit down and chat over a cup of coffee, her presence in my life is no less relevant to me and my delight in any and all communications with her is palpable, tangible and very real indeed.

That’s what friendship is, right?

Anyway, I’m muddling through trying to make sense of the senseless while Dana thanks us all for our support and encourages us to hug our children a little tighter, make sure our kids are as safe as they can be and to help those children who don’t have loving, supportive adults in their lives to guide them and keep them.

In Tiggy’s honour, Dana has requested that anyone so inclined make a donation to Tiny Hands International

a ministry working in Asia to rescue children from poverty and sex-trafficking.  It’s the least I or any of us can do.

Thank you again.

Prayers For Dana

December 13, 2010 § 3 Comments

I’m borrowing the title from another of Dana’s blog friends…I hope it helps to spread the word.

My good bloggy friend Dana @ Roscommon Acres lost her 22 month old Son, Tiggy, yesterday. Though I have plenty of tears, I have few words other than to ask that you join me in prayer for Dana and her family.

Thank you.

Chocolate Chip Christmas Cookies

December 11, 2010 § 6 Comments

Here’s an easy, but nonetheless yummy, cookie recipe for the holidays.

You’ll need 1 cup of butter (room temperature), 1 cup of brown sugar, 2 eggs (beaten), 1 tsp of vanilla, 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of baking powder, 2 cups of flour, chocolate chips and holiday MnMs.

Because it’s bloody cold around these parts lately I had to soften my butter in the microwave on warm for 30 seconds to get it to room temperature.

Using a spatula I creamed the butter until it was soft and pliable.  (Note: I still mix by hand but if you have one of those fancy mixer dealies feel free – just don’t tell me about it because I’ll be jealous.  😀  )

Next I added the brown sugar and mixed well.  This takes awhile (especially by hand) but it’s important to make sure that the butter and sugar are mixed thoroughly.

Next I added the beaten eggs and swapped out my spatula for a whisk.  You want to whisk this together until it resembles farina.  (Farina is like oatmeal only finer and smoother.)

See, that’s what farina looks like – a lot like hummus.  😀  Add your vanilla and mix well.

Add your salt and baking powder and keep mixing.  You know what? I think I’ll be asking for a stand mixer for Christmas…I’m getting to old in the joints for all this by hand crap.

Add your flour, 1/2 cup at a time until it is thoroughly incorporated.  For soft chewy cookies omit about 1/4 cup of the flour – for crisp crunchy cookies add an extra 1/4 cup.  This recipe actually gives a nice texture that falls in between.

Add your chocolate chips. How much you add is entirely a personal preference.  I added about a cup – maybe a bit more…it’s the holidays afterall.  Now is a good time to preheat your oven to 350 F.

Drop a tablespoon full sized amount of dough onto a buttered cookie tray spacing them out about an inch and a half.

Next I added my MnMs by hand – three to a cookie.  Now there’s absolutely no reason you can’t just add a cup or so of the sweet, sweet candy to your dough if you prefer to.  I’ve just found that it’s easier to do it this way – and you don’t end up with melted candy shell stuck to your pan.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 8 to 12 minutes.  Again, the cooking time also effects how chewy or crispy your cookies come out so the low end for chewy, a little longer for crispy.

Let the cookies cool on a rack before serving or packaging.  Okay, you can have one right away – quick hurry though before the kids see.  These cookies are for giving though so I let them cool completely before packaging them.



Along with this tin of cookies, the receiver is also getting a Cookies for Santa plate to go with them.  I know, aren’t I a clever monkey?  At first I was discouraged to find that I have absolutely no Christmas ribbon, but I do have plenty of red and white yarn and so I improvised.

Now, suppose you didn’t feel like standing in front of an oven all day to bake up that whole batch of dough?  I’ve thought of that too…

Slap a wad of dough onto a piece of wax paper and sprinkle lightly with flour.

Mold it into a log (or your best representation thereof) and sprinkle with more flour.  Roll the dough up in the wax paper and then cover with plastic wrap.

Like this, the dough will last in the fridge for about 2 weeks or in the freezer up to 2 months.  Just make sure you let it come to room temperature before using.  Bake as you would normally.


Far Beyond Undone

December 6, 2010 § 4 Comments

There was a time when I was frayed
When my threads haplessly dangled

There was most of my life when I played
A part that was hopelessly tangled

And since then I’ve come so far beyond undone
And since then you could say a war has been won

I learned to undo, reweave and repair
I’ve earned every single fuckin’ grey hair

So far beyond undone
I’d challenge anyone

To tell me I’m wrong about something I state
I’ve long since lost the desire to satiate

If I don’t know what I’m talking about I’ll tell you upfront
In my wildest dreams I never thought I’d ever be that blunt

But since trying it once or twice and how good it made me feel
It makes me aspire to emulate those with nerves of steel

So far beyond undone
There’s no other choice than to stop pretending
And keep on mending

Christmas Time

December 4, 2010 § 5 Comments

Up goes the tree and along with, my spirit

Yay! It’s Christmas Time!  It’s Christmas Time!

I’ve set the table all pretty in a new festive cloth

Hooray for Christmas Time!  Hooray!

I written all my cards and set them for posting

Oh joy for Christmas Time! Oh Joy!

The chimney’s been swept, the stockings are hung

I love Christmas Time! I really do!

Our merry hats resting, lying in wait

Wonderful Christmas Time!

I’ve even got presents wrapped and on ready

What do you mean Christmas isn’t for another three weeks?!!  Awwwww man!

A Little Luck + Facebook = Place to Live

December 3, 2010 § 3 Comments

Okay, maybe Facebook isn’t all bad…

When our adult Son moved back in in the fall it was understood that it was a temporary arrangement.  Hubby and I agreed that, as parents, while trying to teach Son about taking responsibility for his choices we also wanted him to know that we love him and were willing to support him in trying to make good.

And for the last few months Son has indeed made good, he’s gotten a full-time job he enjoys while completing a college course that came with certification for the service industry.  We are very pleased with and very proud of him and his effort.

We were still concerned however that he had yet to secure a place to live for January, which was part of our agreement. We haven’t charged him any rent, instead opting to let him save for himself part of his paychecks toward getting out on his own again.

The problem was, he wasn’t really looking and we became worried that Son was getting too comfortable with the idea of living at home rent free.  This morning I sat him down and had a chat with him.  I went over all the what for’s and where to’s, gleaning over his decisions and choices, pointing out that he has a habit of painting himself into corners.

I told him that the longer he left looking for a place, the less options he would have and he could easily find himself stuck living somewhere he doesn’t really want to be.  I pointed out that this could easily lead to him repeating the pattern of finding himself discouraged, frustrated and right back where he started.

Well, I guess he took what I said to heart.

After our little talk, I went out (in my rental car) to get some Christmas shopping done.  (side note: I got butter for $2.99 a lb – I don’t know what the prices are like where you live but that’s like 45% off here)  When I got home he gleefully announced that he had found a place.

He posted a note on Facebook letting people know he was looking for a room and within minutes he got a reply from an old friend that said she had a room to rent.  It’s closer to work, it’s cheaper than anything he’s looked at and one of his future roommates is someone he knows.

Honestly, as much as I was pleased, I was also a little jealous.  You little monkey…I mean, really?  Here I am trying to tell him that “the world doesn’t work that way”, that you’ve got to cover all your bases, plan ahead and work hard to get what you want.

But then, I’m old school and still wary of Facebook and all it’s fancy “social networking”.  Maybe I need to rethink the whole thing.

The Dr. Who Scarf – Picture Printed with Permission

December 2, 2010 § 3 Comments

You know, sometimes this homeschooling/unschooling thing just grabs you in its unorthodoxy.  You begin to question whether or not this lifestyle you’ve chosen is really what’s best for your kids.  You start examining your own measure of too weird.

And then your child does something so outside of the box that even you stop and think, “Whaaaa?”  But instead of reacting, you let it play out and you go along choosing curiosity over trepidation.  You decide that you’re going to think what you want about what they’re going to do next instead of worrying about someone else’s idea of should.

This is what she did…

She dressed herself up as Dr. Who, just because she wanted to and more importantly because she could.  That’s what I love most about homeschooling/unschooling, she learns what she wants while being who she wants to be.  And I LOVED it and thought it was way cool.

For the record, the scarf is not actually done yet, but it definitely worked for this pic.

Beef and Mushroom Stew – The Recipe

December 2, 2010 § 2 Comments

1 lb stewing beef – chopped into bite size pieces
1 can of beef broth or 1  1/2  cups of homemade
1/2 cup of water
1 small onion – finely chopped
2 celery stalks – finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped or 1  1/2  tsp of garlic powder
8 medium sized white mushrooms cut in quarters
1/2 cup of red wine
3 tblsps of worcestershire sauce
2 + 1 tblsps of olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 pkg instant gravy mix or 1 tblsp of cornstarch in 1/2 cup of water

I chopped the beef first and marinated it in 1/3 cup of the beef stock, 1/4 cup of the red wine the worcestershire sauce and some salt and pepper.

In the pot I put 2 tblsps of olive oil, the onions, celery, garlic, salt and pepper and cooked over medium heat until the veggies were soft.  I turned the heat down and let that sit while I seared the beef.

In a cast iron pan I put the remaining olive oil and heated it on medium high.  After pouring the marinade into the veggies, I seared the pieces of beef for about 40 seconds on each side and then added them to the pot.

I added the remaining beef broth, red wine and water and let cook over medium heat for about an hour.

Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and lower heat to low cooking for another hour.

Turn up heat to medium high and add gravy mix or cornstarch and water and stir often until sauce thickens.

Turn to low and let simmer as long as you like stirring occasionally.


Beef and Mushroom Stew – Kitty Approved

December 1, 2010 § 5 Comments

This is what’s on the menu today…

That’s what sitting on the stove right now simmering.  (I’ll post the recipe later)  I brought the camera in to take a picture for said future posting of the recipe.  As soon as I took the lid off, I was taken aback.

It smells very, very, very good.  Just to show you how good it smells, this is what happened next…

I was greeted with this image.  Son’s kitten, Strippers, who is  normally very anti-social and keeps mostly to herself in his room was up on her hinds, licking her lips.

Now, as I’ve said before, I’m no photographer but that’s a really good shot, if I do say so myself.   Too cute eh?

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