Monday, March 28, 2011

A Wacky, Yummy Recipe

This picture of my mom was taken in approximately 1959, when I was around 12. She would have been all of 30 years old. The picture accompanied a newspaper article in the local paper in International Falls, Minnesota. I'm not sure why she was chosen for this article, but there was most likely a series featuring local housewives with interesting recipes.

I remember this little 8x8 pan Mom used for many years. I wonder what happened to it. I hadn't tasted this cake in years, but decided to make it the other day - again for the Wednesday night meal at church. I made it in a loaf pan, and did not add the frosting. It was delicious, and was quite a hit.

1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp. baking soda
1/3 tsp. salt
and . . . TA DA . . . the secret ingredient . . .

Cream shortening and sugar, add beaten egg, soup, then flour, soda, salt, cinnamon.
Bake in greasedloaf pan for about an hour at 350 degrees.
Raisins and nuts may be added (I didn't)
Spread with powdered sugar frosting, if desired

Let me know if you try it! I'd love to hear what you think.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Flat Princess Visits Grandma Dawn

Flat Princess has been missing from action for awhile, but she finally arrived at my house in good condition last week - crossing the ocean from England. I've been anxious to have her visit me, and we've been busy this week. If you would like to have her visit you next, please let me know so I can get her sent on to you.

Our first adventure together was a good Monday morning work-out at the gym --

We came home full of energy, and she snuggled up on the couch with the littles for a bit of a t.v. break --

We went to Sam's for some shopping - poor Princess was left in the car accidentally, but if she'd been with us, she would have been sharing a hot dog with the twins --

She watched me obsessively filling bags and recycle bins and garbage cans with "stuff", per the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge. My office/playroom was a large challenge, which is not quite finished yet. But the kids' part of the room is looking much more organized --

One tub has been designated for the girls' writing and art work. Miss Care Bear is an avid book writer, and has probably 50 under her belt so far. Many of them have been written and illustrated at my house, so I keep them all. Someday I expect to say, "Yes, that's my granddaughter, the famous author, who got her start at age 5." Abigail Kulay is the heroine of many of those books - here is the latest -- Abigail Kulay Goes to a School of Bugs.

One day Princess went to lunch at Subway with DC and me ---

After lunch, we headed over to my parents' place - they recently acquired a DVR, but couldn't use it because the tech who came out gave them a two second how-to "lesson" . Hard as it may be to imagine, I am the DVR expert in our house, so we stopped by to try to help. It's a different company, but I was able to figure out the basics ---

It turned out that Mom needed help with her computer and printer, so while Dad and I were working on his issues in the living room, Mom and DC were working on hers in her little computer room --

DC and I are working on the Easter musical with our choir at church, and once again we need to memorize the lyrics. One beautiful evening, we headed over to the lake, parked the truck, stuck the CD into the player, and sang through the music.

Soon it was too dark to read our music, but it was a great way to spend the evening ---

Friday evening was the annual Talent Show at the big girls' school. There were 44 acts (Yep, 44!!) of 2 minutes each - that's a total of 88 minutes. Blessedly, our girls were #4, so we didn't need to stay forever. They were jumping to Taylor Swift, but for some reason, the music was on much too low to be heard. But it was fun to watch them with CB's friend from her class. (They decorated their own shirts.)

So today Flat Princess went to church with us. She posed with Kristen, in the crabapple tree outside the breezeway. She also posed in the sanctuary just before the worship service (but she isn't sitting too well on the edge of that pew!)

This afternoon we had a shower for the next baby to enter the nursery, to make Sandy happier (see previous post, if that makes no sense to you).

At the end of this beautiful day, before the sun went down, the Princess enjoyed the first flowers of the spring here in Loveland, Colorado, in our back yard.

Remember - let me know if you'd like to have Flat Princess visit you. Have a wonderful week!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Big Change for the Littles - and the 40 Day Challenge

Katie and Emma have been happy nursery-goers at our church ever since they were two months old, when they were strong enough to be out of the house. We have a wonderful nursery attendant, Sandy, who has been a big part of the lives of all 4 of the girls. In fact, she speaks fondly of each of them when we talk, and says how hard it was when they moved up to the Pre-K Sunday School class. Sandy likes to tell the story of when the twins first started coming to church, people would stop by to have a look at them - she said she gave the guided tour.

This is the only picture I have of any of the girls with Sandy - this one with Feisty.

Which is precisely what has happened now with the twins. They were three on January 7, but were allowed to stay in the nursery until their due date, since they were 7 weeks premature. Sandy was very happy about that. But finally the day arrived that they had to " leave the nest."

We got there a bit early with them and enjoyed watching them scope things out --

They looked so big sitting with their sisters for music, waiting for classes to start --

It was time for us to leave them --

We made sure they were dressed differently - their new teacher was really nervous about telling them apart, so this gave her a bit of an advantage. Between Sunday School and Children's Church, the kids come over to the gym for donut time - several big girls were holding their hands and bringing them up for their treat - they never even looked at me. I was happy about that - a good sign.

Kristen and I both checked in with Sandy at various times during the morning - she was shedding tears each time. She really loves her babies and misses them terribly when they grow up. Fortunately, she still gets to see them on Wednesday nights.

Changing the subject drastically, just a little update on the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge. I am going to be very open here and show you the horrid cupboard that I tackled first. I am embarrassed, but I'm keeping it real here.

I've watched parts of a couple of episodes of "Clean House" the last couple of days, and this one reminds me of their houses - sadly.

The plastic I showed in the previous post was mostly recycled, or some given away, and some thrown away. This is a look at the box that went to ARC the next day.

. . . and here are the "after" shots -- what is that I see -- empty space???

The next project I took on was to get my dresser drawers in order. After that was three closets - here is the result - three 39-gallon bags off to the thrift store.

Today I had the girls, so all I accomplished was one small drawer in the kitchen. It's exciting to see things shaping up, a little bit at a time.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Best-Laid Plans . . .

So - I had great big plans for yesterday. I was planning to start the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge, as described here: Clover Lane: One Week From Now: 40 Bags, 40 Days. This is something I've needed to do for a long time, but lacked the motivation. I was primed to begin de-cluttering the many messy areas of my house.

But then - as so often happens to me, my plans took a turn. I should know better than to even make a plan, I guess. Just go with the flow. You know last year's word - flexibility!!??

Here's how it went
  • Kristen had a day off work and really wanted to go to the gym with me when she had a chance, so we did that.
  • By the time we got done with this and other asundry little errands, it was 11:30.
  • I decided to eat my favorite salad at Runza - Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad. I was going to just take my coin purse in, and was looking for my last $20 bill. It was gone - I have no clue where.

  • In the process of this distraction, as I slammed the door shut, I shuddered - yep, the keys were still in the ignition - AGAIN! If you've been with me long, you know this is a bad habit of mine - locking the doors with the switch on the door rather than using the remote control. I must retrain my brain! I have had two of those magnetic boxes under the car that have both fallen off - which you don't know until you need it!

  • I decided to go ahead and enjoy my lunch and deal with the problem afterward. I decided to walk home to get the spare key, which is hanging in the kitchen. When I started down the street, I changed my mind and decided to call my dear SIL, who lives close to the restaurant and is always willing to help. My cell phone was at home charging! Ugh. I could have used the restaurant's phone, but could not remember my SIL's number - she recently went to cell phone exclusively, and the number is programmed into my phone - I thought of it later, of course!

  • So - back outside to head for home - about 2 miles. It was fairly warm, but also fairly breezy. I enjoyed the walk, though, reading my book as I walked. I stopped at our church, about halfway, to use the "facilities." There was a good friend, volunteering in the office. I told her my sad story, and she offered to drive me home, and then back to my car.

  • We got to my house - guess what?? Someone has used the outdoor house key, which hangs in an obscure place - and didn't put it back. ARGGGHHHH!!! No way possible to get into the house. No key to the house, no key to the car - I called DC from her cell phone and he expressed Tough Love - he could not come home to bail me out this time.

  • So - we went back to the church, I looked up a locksmith, who met us sat the restaurant within 10 minutes. It cost $40 for his two minutes of breaking into my car (the last time this happened, it cost me $48). I later found out I could put in a claim with my insurance, but I don't have a receipt from the first one. Oh, well, one's better than none! I found out from my insurance company that we have Emergency Road Service and that they would have taken care of it. How do you do that when your information is locked in the car and you don't know the phone number to call them??

  • My friend, who was backing out of the parking spot to head back to church, almost ran into two blind people who were walking across the parking lot - very scary. I think they should probably not cut across parking lots.

  • I gladly got back into my car and headed back home. By this time I was in no mood to start a major project.

So - that was yesterday. Today I thought maybe I could get something done on this project, even though I had the two littles. But - today turned out to be a beautiful spring-like day,and being outside was ever so much more fun.

We found our first flowers - snow drop flowers - appropriately named, because in March, we can go from spring to winter blizzard in a heartbeat. Hope not this year, but it happens.

And this is all I got done on my project today - how how does one acquire this much junky plastic stuff that doesn't have tops to match? Hopefully, most of it will be gone by tomorrow. I took a "before" picture, but don't know if I dare show it - embarrassing!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Well Seems to Be Dry . . .

There is nothing coming through the pipeline. In close to five years of blogging, there have been few times when I didn't have an idea summering on the back burner for the next post. I emptied my brain, seemingly, on the most recent episode of Random Ramblings.

I suppose I could discuss at length the difficulty of maintaining the weight loss I worked so hard for a year ago now. Why is it so hard???

I could rant about the escalating gas prices that are skyrocketing every hour, literally. I liked what someone said who called in to our local paper - not quoted, but close - raising gas prices because something might happen in the Middle East is like farmers increasing their prices because it might hail sometime in the future.

I could talk about how much I'd like to be "really" retired and have the freedom to do what we want to when we want to. I don't see that happening in the foreseeable future, but miracles still do happen! But I should add that every time I go up and visit my friends in the old workplace, I am thankful to not have to get up and go there every day - the memories are sweet and I'm happy to keep it that way.

I could tell you about the blessings we have received as a family in the last few months - most recently the outrageous offering that was collected by our small Sunday evening crowd when Kevin shared his heart last week-end. Such generosity!

I could tell you all about my latest dental appointment- a filling and a crown, which ended up taking 3 hours and cost an arm and a leg, and left my right jaw sore for days afterward. But I won't go there.

I could share with you the joys of helping sell, collect money for, and deliver Girl Scout cookies - something I hope to never have to do again. She sold 88 boxes, which was plenty for us. Some of her fellow scouts sold over 500 - I can't even imagine.

I could complain about snoring - in general and specifically. And I could ask how in the world one can snore and not know it - but have to believe it, because why would one's loving husband make up such a horrible thing? But on the other side, snoring is why I am not asleep right not - I feel bad always poking and prodding the love of my life - he's much kinder to me when I'm the guilty party. Oh, the joys of aging!

I could talk about feeling like a piece of bologna in the sandwich generation - and how much I dislike bologna.

I could always discuss the weather - never boring around here. We've had a few lovely spring-like days, but are headed back into winter tomorrow, they say. DC went skiing today and sat in a pretty major jam west of the Eisenhower Tunnel after a semi jackknifed on that busy highway at that busy time of the day. But all is well. There are a few brave tulips beginning to break through the cold ground - we are so excited to see what is going to come up this spring, since DC planted dozens more bulbs last fall.

Well, I guess I should stop talking about the things I could talk about and tell you one more little story about "the little rascals.." I shared some of their escapades in my last rambling post. One thing really fun about the twins is their willingness to help. What a great trait to encourage. The other day Feisty was in the tub and I had forgotten to get her a wash cloth from the hall closet. I asked the twins if they'd go get her one. I then forgot all about it until I heard Feisty say, "There are 32 now!" I couldn't figure out what she was talking about until I went in to the bathroom to find all of these in the tub with her:

They took out every "odds and ends" washcloth and towel that they could reach and threw them in the tub. Why Feisty waited so long to let me know is beyond me. But after the initial aggravation, I have to admit it gave me a good chuckle. I hope it does the same for you!

Have a wonderful, blessed week-end.