Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Challenges of being a Christmas Baby

Today's my birthday.  Being born two days after Christmas has always had it's ups and downs.  It is such a busy time of year that often my birthday gets lost in the sauce.  It's not such a big deal now, but as a child it really bugged me.  The worst of course was, "here's something for Christmas and your birthday".   Seriously, one gift. 

And there was there year my Great Aunt made my sister a "doll cake" for her birthday and made my brother a sailboat cake for his birthday and I got..."I just didn't have time to make you a cake this year".  I so wanted a doll cake.

But there have also been some distinct ups to being born in December.  First of all, it is my favorite time of year.  How can I not like celebrating my birthday so near Christmas.  Plus all my siblings are born in April.  So just the fact that I'm not an April baby made me feel special.  Something different. 

My favorite part of being born in December was the story my mother told me.  Back in early 1955, my mother lost her father.  She was very upset at the death of her father who she loved so much.  Soon after though she found out she was pregnant with me.  She always felt that God gave her me to help replace the loss of her father.  And that...has always made me feel special.  (It also didn't hurt that I can a couple weeks early and Dad got to take me as a tax deduction that year!)

And don't worry about the doll cake.  For my 40th Birthday, my dear friend Marlene made sure I had my very own doll cake....all in pink.

Friday, December 25, 2009

It is a Merry Christmas!

Although Christmas is a little odd this year, it is still very joyful. Mikey is home and recuperating pretty well.  Everyday he is just a smidgen better.  I know he still has a lot of healing time in front of him, but it is a miracle that he is here and wonderful that the doctor was able to repair his neck. 

So, it really doesn't matter if there are a few less presents under the tree or that I didn't get a chance to make cookies, homemade caramel corn or that I bought our dessert for dinner tonight.  All that matters is having my family healthy and together (except Krissy, Jay and the kids are with Jay's family this year, which is only fair). 

On the menu today is BW's Famous Apple Pancakes, Cheesy Scrambled Eggs and Bacon for breakfast.  Dinner is a beef tenderloin, twice baked potatoes, asparagus and Liz's mac & cheese.  (With cheese cake for of Mikey's favorite desserts.)

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and take the time to look around and remember all your blessings.  I know I will.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Christmas Gift

I've been out of touch for a few days, as I've just been through every mother's nightmare.  Last Wednesday, Mikey had a very bad rollover accident.  I found out from a call from the police.  This is truly my biggest fear. 

He was taken to the closet hospital with a trauma center.  It ended up that he compressed two vertebrae in his neck and broke one vertebrae in his neck.  He had 7.5 hours of surgery on Saturday to insert some bone, plates, rods and screws.  He is still recovering in the hospital and will have a long recovery at home.  He's in a neck brace and will have to wear it for 6-8 week.  He is making good progress and he is young and as all the nurses keep telling me...he is very strong.

Having totaled his car I am very aware that we are lucky to still have him and now...all I want for Christmas is to having Mikey home. 

I would truly appreciate a little prayer for his continued recovery.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Invictus Movie Review


Grade: A

The story of sport bringing a group or country together at a moment in time is not a new one.  So on that level, I don't think this movie broke any new ground, but it did bring forth an important story that truly explains the greatness that is Nelson Mandela. 

This story begins with Mandela taking office as the new president of South Africa and against all advice from his staff, he wants to leverage the countries' struggling Rugby team in an effort to unify the country.  This is all the more profound as the existing Rugby team is a symbol of apartheid and everything it represents.  Mandela's great ability to forgive and forge new relationships is what makes this event so profound.

Morgan Freeman does a better Mandela then Mandela and Matt Damon only continues to expand his acting chops.  Damon plays team captain Francois Pienaar, who meets with and takes to heart Mandela's vison for the team to seriously compete for the 1995 World Cup.  Damon is so believable as a rugby player (he certainly beefed up for the role) that I forgot he's from Boston.

The rugby matches are certainly exciting and incredibly rough.  (They don't wear any helmits or pads, but they tackle just like in football.)  I don't know if it really matters if you understand rugby or not.  The film certainly achieves it's cinematic conclusion with or without that understanding. 

This film is directed by Clint Eastwood and I am a big fan of his directing.  Granted, most of his movies I can only watch once as the subject matter is usually too disturbing or intense to allow for a 2nd viewing, but I think he is one of the best directors around.  He is so concise and clear with his vision.  He is an economical director.  By that I mean...he doesn't waste shots or get sidetracked on other story lines.  Every shot is in there for the clear purpose of moving the story along and I think that is his true gift.  Considering the numerous other issues going on in Mandela's early administration and in South Africa in general, it would have been easy to be pulled off track, but not Eastwood.  I think he was meant to direct this film.

The film's title is from a poem that Mandela read and found inspiring while he was in prison.  I found the poem and I wanted to share it with you. It was written by William Ernest Henley.


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Favorite Christmas Movies

I find myself searching through the guide on my TV, looking for any and all holiday movies and cartoons.  It's actually kind of been such an obsession that I've even watched a couple of those sappy, poorly acted movies on the Lifetime Channel.  Kristin Chenoweth's recent contribution called The Twelve Men of Christmas was a real prime example, but I watched most of it anyway.  Fortunately, I fell asleep at some point.

I think this calls for a list, don't you  Here are my favorite Holiday movies and why I like them so much.  (While I'm typing this...I have White Christmas on for the 2nd time this month.)

1. White Christmas - This is probably my favorite Christmas movie.  It's become part of our family lore.  We quote lines from it  all year long.  "OK they didn't go to college, they didn't go to Smith."  "Go to Smith, she couldn't even spell Smith."  Then there is my sister and my rendition of "Sisters, Sister".  Always a show stopper around the house.  And I'm always Vera Ellen.  Not that I don't love Rosemary Clooney, but Vera's costumes are just incredible.  I want to wear them all.

2.  Love Actually - As this movie has made it to so many of my lists, you already know this is an all around favorite, but it's extra special at Christmas.  I can never decide which story line is my favorite.  It changes every time I watch it.  This year it was all the more poignant watching Liam Neeson's character play the grieving widower knowing he had to go through this is real life as well.  If you've not watched it this Christmas season, please do so soon as it will do your heart good.

3.  The Bishop's Wife - This is a classic film from 1947 starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven.  Niven plays a bishop so preoccupied  by the building of a great cathedral that he neglects his wife, daughter and parishioners. In a moment of  despair he prays for help and the help comes in the form of and angel named Dudley (Grant). The bishop quickly finds all the people in his life charmed  by Dudley (Grant) including his wife Julia.  It's a lovely story and there are some wonderful moments including my favorite ice skating scene.  Interesting little fact, Grant was originally supposed to play the bishop, but he pushed to be able to play the angel instead.

4.  It's a Wonderful Life - This movie generates a bit of controversy in the family.  BW loves this movie, but the girls don't like it at all.  I'm on the side of loving this movie, but I can completely understand where the girls are coming from.  I get very agitated when Uncle Billy loses the money and I remain that way until the movie finally has it's happy conclusion.  There are moments of desperation that make both the girls so uncomfortable they can't enjoy the movie.  They can't get past it whereas I know the ending is well worth the trip. I imagine others feel the same way.

5.  A Christmas Story - Back in 1983 I actually took the girls to this movie at the theater.  Based upon the horrendous ad campaign, I honestly did not expect this movie to be any good, but I was a stay home mother of two and was always looking for things to get us out of the house.  This has now become such a holiday classic that it seems to be from my childhood just as it is from the girls.  This is a wonderful story filled with so many memorable moments...Ralphie in the pink bunny suit, Randy eating mashed potatoes like a piggy, the Bumpkisses' dogs stealing the turkey and Lifeboy soap to name just a few.

6. Home Alone - I love this movie and enjoy it every year, but I honestly think what  I love the most is the soundtrack.  This movie did a brilliant job using so many holiday classics at just the right moments, that hearing them brings back clear images from the film. I also like this one, cause Stinky...a long time ago, before he became a grumpy 17 year old, looked a lot like Macaulay Culkin and it just reminds me of sweeter times with my boy.

7.  A Christmas Carol - I like the 1938 version with Reginald Owen as Ebenezer Scrooge.  It just seems to be the version I watched the most as a child, so it's still the one I prefer. It's in black and white, which I think adds to the eerie feel that helps move this story along.  I haven't seen the newly released animated version so, I'll have to rely on feedback from others.

8. Rudolph, Frosty and the Misfit Toys - We love any and all of the stop animation holiday programs.  Rudolph is probably my fav, but I do love them all.  A couple years ago I bought a 4 volume DVD set for BW  for Christmas.  He was working so much back then that he kept missing them.  Now we can watch them whenever we like, but we still seem to search them out on TV.

9. Elf - This one has kind of snuck onto my Christmas list recently.  Will Farrell movies can sometime be so over the top that they make me a little crazy, but he managed to do this one with a lot of heart.  I love the scene where he stays up all night decorating the department store in preparation for Santa's visit. 

10.  National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - OK...Doc Hollywood, this is for you.  I don't particularly like this movie, but just the other day,  Doc mentioned how much he LOVES this movie and that he watches every time it comes on.  With that kind of endorsement, how could I not put it on this list.

 What is your favorite holiday movie?  Is it already on my list or did I miss it?  Let me know.  I'd love to know.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Miscellaneous Thursday

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

Had a heck of a time getting out to the main road this morning.  Took me 3 times before I could get off the slick side road and then a freakin' Focus zipped around me.  How is that even possible?  He must have had a running start.

We didn't have the snow fall that some areas had, but we did have some high winds that left us without power last night.  Headed over to Caity's for the evening.  Big night on the old TV last night.

Any Top Chef fans out there.  The season finale was on last night.  I do really love this show and this year the top 4 chefs were all brilliant.  I would have been happy with any of them winning and I would love to eat at their restaurants. Congrats to Michael for the win, but I really thought it would be your brother Bryan. (And to be honest, Jennifer was my real fave but she only made it to the #4 spot.)

We have to wait until April to see the next episode of Glee?  Really?  I so miss the way they used to schedule television.  I know this is going to make me sound like an old lady, but do any of you remember how much fun it was to get the fall TV guide?  It laid out the whole new TV program schedule in a weekly format.  I clearly remember sitting and reading it with my little brother as we planned out our TV picks for the week.  All the new show started in the fall and they aired all year and only went into reruns in the summer. Does anyone remember that?  This stopping and starting at random times drives me crazy. 

On the same note, Cait just told me that "Chuck" is coming back.  It's been off so long, I thought it was cancelled. all you network programmers...this is so CONFUSING.

I finished in 1st place for the season in our Fantasy Football League.  This is a first as I have never won before.  Yeah me...too bad it was Krissy that I had to knock out of first place in order to win.

You know you are getting older when your friends start retiring.  Granted, here in Michigan, there are lots of people who have been forced to "retire", but it does give me pause.

And thanks to Caity for making chocolate chip cookies while we watched TV at her house last night.  Yum.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

And It All Comes With a T-Shirt

I was doing some picking up in the dining room last night and found the envelope that Lori sent from Minnesota with the cookbooks and photos.  I reached down and it still felt puffing.  I opened it and this is what I found in it...

It's actually much cooler in real life.  It's one of those thinner type tees.  Much more flattering then the usual t-shirt.  I am so wearing this to work next week with my brown cords.   (Kathy's going to be so envious.)

Lori...did you get a t-shirt too?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Photos from PW at the Mall of America

Here are some of Lori's photo's from her 6 hour saga to get Pioneer Woman's signature for me.  This all took place on November 21 at the Mall of America.  Enjoy!

The Crowds:

Marlboro Man & The Boys:

The Boys:
(doing what boys do best) Honestly, these are my favorite pictures.

Getting Closer:

And Finally...Pioneer Woman:

Seems like they had plenty to talk about.

And finally, the formal photo with almost everyone is looking at the right camera.  Not too shabby.

Any suggestions on how to appropriately thank someone for standing in line for 6 hours to talk to someone they've never heard of?  I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Blind Side Movie Review

The Blind Side

Grade: A

We got to see The Blind Side on it's opening week-end and every seat in the theater was filled.  Which is a pretty good sign considering this opened the same day as A New Moon, the latest in the Twilight series.

The Blind Side is one of those movies that make you want to applaud at the end.  It was  uplifting and quietly powerful.  This is the story Michael Oher, a real life offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, and the family that took him in during his high school years and helped save him from a very different life.  Sandra Bullock plays Leigh Anne Touhy, a strong willed affluent wife and mother who from outward appearances could give any of the "Wives of Atlanta" a run for their money.  Fortunately for Michael...she is so much more.  

But, this isn't just the story of how the Touhy's changed Michael's life, it's also about how Michael changed their lives as well.  The scene where he first calls Leigh Anne - "Mama"...just touched my heart.  My eyes well up just thinking about it.

Bullock does a truly brilliant job becoming Leigh Anne and I have to give credit to the casting director.   The end of the movie shows video and pictures of the real Michael Oher and the Touhy family and they did a an brilliant  job casting this film.  In addition to Bullock, you will see Tim McGraw as Sean Touhy and the young boy that plays SJ Touhy (Jae Head) is just adorable.  He will just steal your heart as he befriends Michael.  SJ's negotiations with the many college coaches is completely charming.

I just loved this movie.  Please take your family to see this movie.  It will help put everyone in the proper holiday spirit, I promise.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Game Day 2009

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, we celebrate what we call "Game Day".  It's basically a day when  the kids come over and we all invite our friends over.  Then we eat and play as many games as we can.  I honestly can't remember when and how it started.  We did discuss yesterday and it's at least been 7 years that we've been doing this.

We start out in the morning with breakfast stratas.  They are basically egg, bread and cheese casseroles, but they are actually so much more. The one on the left is sausage and monterrey jack cheese and the one on the right is spinach and gruyere cheese.  Both of these are delicious and are a work of art when you pull them out of the oven.  The secret...shallots.

The rest of the day consists of lots of appetizers and eventually leftovers with a freshly cooked turkey.  Yes, I cook another turkey.  Why?  That's a really good question and the answer is because I'm a little crazy.  You see, once you put leftover turkey in the starts to taste like refrigerator to me.  I love a real turkey sandwich and the only way to get that for me is to make another turkey.  And let me tell you, my sandwich was incredible and worth the effort.  It also makes sure I have lots of leftovers to hand out.

Finally, this brings us to the games part of the day.  Over the years, we have built up quite a collection of games and this year was no exception.  We added Wits and Wagers and Likewise to our collection.  Both were very fun, but I think Wits and Wagers turned out to be the best of the new games.

Cait and I discussed all of the games we like to play and came up with our top ten list of games.  Here they are:

Top 10 Games List

1.  Pit - This game has been around for years.  I remember hearing about it when I was a kid.  Just never played it until Krissy introduced us to it.  Object of the game is to corner one of the grain commodities listed on the cards.  You do this by trading with the other players.  It's very fast paced and tends to get a tad loud, so play this one when there aren't any little ones taking a nap.

2.  Loaded Questions - This is a newer game, but it has quickly become a family favorite.   A questions is read out loud and all the players write down their answer to that questions.  The person who is "it" for that round, must decide who gave which answer.  They get to move ahead one spot for every correct answer.  I'm pleased to say we have some very witty folks in my family and some of the answers just leave us all in tears with laughter.  You also find out some very interesting things as well.

3.  The Boat Game - This is a German game with the actual title of Rette Sich Wer Kanin.  Which I believe translates to "Every Man for Himself".  We just call it The Boat Game (darn, we are so clever).  This object of this game is to be the player that survives in the lifeboats to make it to land.  Several boats start out the game and you load up your tokens in the different boats.  You then create temporary alliances to vote the weakest player out of each boat hoping that your tokens survive long enough to make it across the board.  If you get this game on line, make sure you get English instructions....helps a lot.

4.  Snorta - This is great game for a group.  This one requires you to pick an animal from the available pieces.  Every player then makes their animal noise.  The object of the game is to get rid of your cards and to do this you must remember and make your opponents animal noise before they do.  You can't help laughing as people baa, oink and moo their way around the table.  Don't expect to play this game all evening.  Two times is our usual max for this game as our brains quickly turn to mush trying to remember all the right noises.

5.  Cranium - You play this game as teams and what works best about this game is that it appeals to all the different brain type.  If you are a "fact' person, there is a category of questions that just asks you True/False and Multiple Choice questions.  If you are good with words, there is a "Wheel of Fortune" type category.  If you are good at charades or acting, there is a category for that and if you are good at art, there is a category that lets you draw your answers.  Granted, you will have to do all the categories at some point during the game, but you will have a chance to do well at some point.

6.  Catch Phrase - This is a fast-paced game of words.  Basically password with a beeping timer.  You pass the word disc around the table giving clues to your teammates that will get them to guess the word displayed in the little window.  As you play, the electronic timer beeps faster and faster.  You lose if you are the one with the disc in your hand when the timer goes off.  We have decided we need to upgrade our version, cause the little window is proving to be a challenge for some of our older players.  There's a bit of focusing going on that tends to eat up time.

7.  Trivial Pursuit - This game has been around in the main stream long enough to now be a classic.  Many of my family members are trivia buffs (can you say Jeopardy junkies)and this game never goes out of style.

8.  Apples to Apples - Probably the simplest and best game for a large group.  Easy to explain and always fun to play.  Each player is given 7 cards listing places, people, events and things.  Then the player who is "it" for the round, selects a card with a descriptive term on it.  Each player gives one of their cards to the "it" player that best fits the descriptive term.  Your goal is to select the most appropriate card so that your card is chosen as the one that best fits the descriptive term.   Keep in mind that one appeals to a teenager might be different that one appeals to a grandma.

9.  Bang - This is probably one of the most complicated games to learn.  In fact, since Krissy had the boys, we haven't been able to play this game.  It takes a long time to understand and play, but once we got going it was a blast.  Truth be told, we've only played this game once while on vacation several years ago, but it made such an impression that we all still talk about playing it of these days.

10.  Wits and Wagers - Newest addition to the list.  A question is asked that always has a number as the answer.  For example:  How many feet below sea level is Death Valley?  Everyone writes down their guess.  The answers are laid out in order (lowest to highest) on a board.  You then players place bets on which answer they this is closest to the correct answer without going over.  After 7 questions, the person with the most chips wins.  It was very fun and actually quite interesting to figure out the logic and strategy for betting.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you all have a simply wonderful Thanksgiving.  May your turkey be moist, you potatoes creamy and may you have friends and family surrounding you.

This is my table setting for today.  Caity set the table and I went outside and cut some interesting branches for the centerpiece.  I think it turned out very nice and I also didn't have to go buy any flowers this year.

On Thanksgiving, I give everyone and ornament.  It dresses up the table and I like the idea of of knowing which ornaments came from which Thanksgiving (as I give one to myself a well.)

This year's ornament is a sparkling reindeer.  I love the colors.

Stuffing or Dressing:  I recently learned that it's called stuffing if you put it in the turkey and dressing if you don't.  What do you make?  Stuffing or dressing?  Just curious.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lori Made THE Blog!

See this picture here.  This is my cousin Lori with Pioneer Woman.  It's a great picture right.

But do you want to know the real interesting thing about this picture.  I did not get this picture from Lori.

Guess where I got it.  Go ahead...guess.

If you said I got it from Pioneer Woman's blog, you'd be right.  I can't even believe it.  Lori is as flabbergasted as am I.

To see the post for yourself, just click here.

This is just so cool.  In a small way, it's a little bit of a pay back to Lori for doing this enormous favor for me.  She is now seen by thousands of people who will no doubt say..."What a pretty woman!"

(I'm typing this so fast, there are probably tons of typos, but I just do not care today.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Believe It or Not

Lori waited 6 hours in line yesterday to get Pioneer Woman to sign a cookbook.  I can't believe she had the incredible patients to stand there that long.  She did say she met some amazing new friends.  One of the families near her drove in from Iowa.  The 1st person in line got there at 7:30am and the signing started at 1:00pm.  She said there were people with babies and children of all ages.  The older woman in front of her hadn't eaten in 12 hours.  Ree sure has some crazy, dedicated fans.

Marlboro Man and the two boys were there as well Ree, who Lori said was so sweet to everyone.  There were an estimated 700 people there and everyone had multiple books that needed signing.   After signing so many books, I would imagine her hand would just fall off.  (And my hand gets tired after writing a note these days.)

Lori took a bunch of pictures, so I'll post them as soon as we figure out a way to transfer them.

And Lori, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I will cherish this book always for it represents a lot of love.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pioneer Woman and the Mall of America

As most of you know, I'm a big fan of Pioneer Woman.  She is currently on her "Griswold Family" Book Tour and for some crazy reason, she is not coming to the Detroit area (go figure?).  The closest she is getting to Detroit is Chicago and that event is happening...tomorrow.  So, as you can guess, I won't be there.

What to do....what to do?  PW is visiting the Mall of America in Minneapolis on Saturday, November 21 and I've got 4 wonderful, beautiful and talented cousins who live in and around Minneapolis.  Maybe one of them could help.

Riding to my rescue is my cousin Lori.  For those of you who have traveled to the bottom of my blog page and found that picture of the adorable little girl...that is Lori.  Besides being my champion, she is also the originator of the term Mush-Push.  With camera and cookbook in hand, my sweet cousin will be braving the crowds at the MOA (which is crazy naturally and probably a bit crazier with Ree in the house) to get me an autograph and hopefully pictures that I will be sharing with you. 

A big, giant THANK YOU to Lori for so generously volunteering to help me.  I love you bunches.  I seriously hope the line isn't as crazy as it was at The WalMart. 

P.S. Caity made PW's pico de galo last night and used it to make an absolutely delicious guacamole.  (I couldn't wait until Christmas to give the girls their cookbooks.  I'm like a 4 year old, when it comes to giving gifts.  I can barely hold in my excitement.)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pirate Radio Movie Review

Pirate Radio
Grade: B

We saw Pirate Radio on Sunday afternoon and really enjoyed it.  It's nothing profound, but a nice story, with quirky characters and a killer soundtrack.

This is the story of a ship based radio station broadcasting off the coast of England in the late 60's, bringing rock and roll to the people of Britian.  The ship is inhabited by an eclectic crew of DJs including Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the lone American DJ, Rhys Ifans as Gavin (back from his "drug tour of American") and Bill Nighy as Quentin, the rascal in charge of these rogues of the sea. The movie opens with Quentin's young godson Carl, joining the crew as he was just expelled from school and his mother clearly, doesn't know what to do with him.

The movie is directed and written by Richard Curtis, the writer behind Love Actually and Bridget Jones Diary, so how could I not like this movie.  You will recognize the video collage technique that was used at the end of Love Actually sprinkled about in Pirate Radio. 

Can I tell you my favorite part about these Brit is the figuring out of who's who in real life and where I've seen them before.  Bill Nighy was of course in Love Acutally, but also there is Jack Davenport as Twatt...he played Commader Norrington in Pirates of the Caribbean and Rhys Ifans was brilliant as Spike in Notting Hill.  Also enjoyed the combination of Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thomspon (my dear Emma).  Granted they were never on camera together, but it's always interesting when ex's are in movies together. (Harry Potter as well.)

The movie is great fun...but with it's R rating, not for the whole family.  I think the soundtrack would be a great Christmas present to your favorite Rock and Roller.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bolognese Sauce

I have this spaghetti sauce recipe that I've developed over the years. I'm actually quite proud of it and it's been a family fav. A couple months back, I happened upon Pastor Ryan's Bolognese Sauce over on Pioneer Woman's blog. This sauce is so divine (pardon my little pun), that I think I am officially retiring my sauce in exchange for his.

It has a deep rich color and meaty texture that make this sauce absolutely delicious.  The secrets are shaved carrots to help fill out the texture and a cup of milk which acts as a tenderizor to the meat.  (This photo reminds me that I need a new dutch oven pot.  I'm using an old Revereware pot that I picked up at an auction years ago.  It's very thin and doesn't distribute the heat very well.  So, I'm adding this to my list of kitchen stuff I want...along with the food processor.  Santa...are you listening?)

If you are looking for a hearty winter fare, please try this sauce.  You will love it.

And on a completely different subject, do we have any Project Runway fans out there?  Who do you think is going to win this season?  Althea, Irina or Carol Hannah?  (Yes, Irina is a #itch...but she does have talent.)  I'm curious what you think.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Favorite Actress

Have I ever told you that I love Emma Thompson?  She came to mind recently as Krissy had started one of those..."What 5 movies would you take to a deserted island" games.  (Keeping in mind, that the island would have to have electricity, a DVD player and a TV.)

The more I thought about my favorite movie list, the more I thought about my two favorite...take your breath away movie moments.  Both moments were created by the remarkable and amazing Emma Thompson.

The first was in Sense and Sensibility.  It's near the end of the movie when Elinor finds out the Edward is not married to Lucy Steele.  That moment...with an intake of breath...she manages to express such emotion.  I am of course, breathless with her and in a puddle on the floor. 

The second is in Love Actually. There is a scene, where she is opening a Christmas present from her husband.  She is thinking it is the gold necklace she accidently found in his coat pocket.  It is in fact...not.  The realization and heartbreak that she holds in, is astounding.  Again, she carries me with her and I am lost for her.

I do, of course realize there are many other brilliant actress today, but no one has moved me that way that Emma has.  So, I love Emma Thompson.

As for the 5 movies I picked for my deserted island...they are:

Pride and Prejudice
Love Actually
Princess Bride
Roman Holiday

If this list says anything about me at all, it is that I am a hopeless romantic!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Garden Bloggers...What do you think?

To all you garden bloggers out there...Please take a look at the following blog.  I got this link from my friend and kind of sister-in-law, Mary.  It's put together by four universities (Washington State, Michigan State, University of Minnesota and Virginia Tech).  The Garden Professors is the name of the blog.  Click on the link and give them a visit and then come back and let me know what you think.

"Why", you may ask...well at this point, it's just a brainstorming kind of thing.  Mary and I are having ongoing conversations about gardens (it's one of Mary's area of expertise) and blogging (which is one of my favorite past time). 

Thanks for your help.  You are truly wonderful!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Card of the Week

Caity had a bridal shower to go to last Sunday.  She always likes to coordinate her wrapping paper with the card.  So...we talk and she tells me that she's going with creams.  I stop by Joann's to get some cool cream based papers and I select some very cool gold and cream patterned paper and I create this card.

I got the idea from some pre-made flower appliques that were at Joann's and I thought, heck, I could make those myself.  And so I used my various flower punches to make these flowers and then layered them to create individual flowers.  I was very please with how it turned. 
I called Cait to tell her I finished her card.  It was at this point that she asked... "Did we ever finish talking about the colors?"  Of course, I thought we had, but in fact we hadn't.  Her paper was cream and silver with black ribbon.

Uh-oh.  I jumped a little to quick on this one.  Back to the store to pick out silver patterned paper. And then using the same concept, I created this card. 
I gave them both to her and told her she could use either one.

I do still prefer the gold version, but the silver one turned out pretty cool as well.  I really liked making these flower.  They might be popping up on my cards for awhile.