Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Look What I Got!

Right before all the craziness hit, look what I got in the mail:

It's a cookbook from a tea restaurant in NY called "Alice's Tea Cup".  I won it from Kristie over at The Kristie Sessions.  She was having a giveaway and I was the lucky winner.

It's a beautiful cookbook and I figure that there are some homemade Scones in my future.  When I get around to it, I promise to share the recipe.

Have a Happy New Year to all my blogging buddies.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Warmest Thanks

I want to thank all of you who left a comment of support for my father's passing.  You kind words and virtual hugs were truly felt.  You helped me navigate through this new territory.  I am grateful.

I would also like to thank all my friends and family who sent cards, cookies, visited, attended his Memorial Mass and gave hugs when needed most.  You will all be in my heart forever.

Thank you all.

With love,


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

For Dad

My father passed away on December 10.  Although he had been in declining health for many years, it still came as a surprise to us when it really happened and it still surprises me every morning, when I wake up and realize he's still gone.

Due to his long standing health issues, we have all had a long time to reflect on him and his gifts to us.  I know each of us has our own special list of what we would like to thank him for thoughout the years.  As I mulled this over and over, one thing keeps rising to the top as his greatest gift.

The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother
 -Theodore Hesburgh

I found this quote many years ago and tore it out of the magazine to save it.  I've kept it in a little book all these years.  I'm not really sure why, but I knew I would need it one day.

As we were growing up, there was one thing of which we were all certain.  Dad loved Mom. 

He was not a talkative or outgoing man,  Many of his favorite activities were solo activities.  But when it came to my mother, his feelings were very clear and all four of us knew this and felt this everyday of our lives.

So dad,  thank you for everything and mostly, thank you for loving mom...deeply, truly, completely.  Without even knowing it, you gave us all the strongest core for a good and happy life.  

(This is how I like to think of them...laughing and hugging.)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Project #1

It's been a busy Christmas decoration week-end.  I got my garland and lights done outside (picture soon) and my tree is up and decorated.  Whew!  It was a lot of work.

I'm working on my mantle, which you may or may not know, is always a challenge for me.  I've updated the frames that I bought for Fall.  My first creative use of them was this:

And now they have their Christmas clothes on and they look like this:

Something simple, but festive.  I used some of my holiday card stock and embossed in green using a couple of my holiday stamps.

 I'll provide a full mantle photo when I get my wreath done.  

Thursday, December 2, 2010

E-Zines (Although I hate that name and hope I just made it up)

Let's say it's Saturday afternoon and time for lunch.  What do I do?  I make a sandwich and grab a magazine .  Don't fully understand it, but I love to eat lunch while reading a magazine.  Must be some deep, dark pshychosis.

At work...I can be found frequently eating lunch at my desk.  I'm not happy about this fact, but it is the truth. 

I used to scramble around the office looking for any magazine I could find.  Typically they were automotive or technology based publications.  Not ideal, but they were better than nothing.  Recently though, the supply seems to have dried up around here.

So I turned to the Internet for my fix.  Most online magazines are crammed with info requiring lots of clicking to find what you are interested in and then it's hard to find your way back to where you started.  They are kind of a cluster*%^# of information.  Not exactly fufilling my need.  I want to turn pages.  I want a traditional photo and article layout.  Is that so hard??
Then I found this (Oh happy day, oh happy day):

Sweet Paul a real on-line magazine, where you actually get to turn the pages.  You don't have to dig down to find the rest of an article.  You just turn the next page.  Brilliant.

And oh my, oh my, the beauty and deliciousness filling the pages is indescribable.  You really need to see it to believe it.  The recipes sound so good.  The photos and styling are just amazing.  There are even some great crafting ideas. 

So far, there has been a Spring Issue, a Fall Issue and now this beautiful Holiday Issue. Go grab a sandwich and pull up your computer.  You are going to love this.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Movie Review

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Grade B+

We went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows over the Thanksgiving Holidays.  Not to give anything away, but if you are a Harry Potter fan who has read all the books, then you will like this movie.  It moves the story along and sets up the final film beautifully.  If you aren't a H.P. fan, chances are you aren't going to see this movie anyway.  

Basically, it's not a stand alone.  It's part of the series and it does it's job really well.  It ignites the memories of the books and gets you to start asking questions again.  Me...I had several questions, which made me want to re-read the book again or if you are really lucky, like can text your son-in-law and ask him to remind you of the importance of Harry taking Malfoy's wand.  I feel so much better, now that I remember (with a little help).

If you've read all the books, go see this so you are primed for the final film in July.  That's what this one is all about.

Monday, November 29, 2010

And the Winner Is....

Since there were only 10 comments, I did this the old fasion way.  I wrote the names out on pieces of paper and had someone pick a name.

And the winner of the Flipped DVD is.....Kelly Massman.  (Yeah Kelly!)

And yes this story is based off a book.

Kelly - please email me at in order to claim your prize.
It is being shipped out direct from Warner Brothers, so I have no idea on the timeline...but make sure you keep me posted when you receive it.

Thanks to everyone who participated.  I loved reading your first love comments.  Most were so cute and others were just plain interesting...(Wendy - your parents must have had a stroke).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Flipped - A Movie Preview and Giveaway

You know how I am always writing movie reviews, well here is something completely different....a movie preview.  It's a movie called Flipped and it was directed by talented Rob Reiner.  It came out on DVD yesterday.  

I could try to explain that it's a story about young love, but I think this  trailer does it much better:

It looks cute and the young girl, played by Madeline Carroll has such a lovely, quietly expressive face.

I am fortunate to be able to offer a giveaway of the Flipped DVD.  All you have to do is write a comment about your first love.  It could be just a name, or maybe a moment or a special feeling.  Each comment gets you one entry for the giveaway.  If you cross promote on your blog or Facebook, you can get a second entry.  Just make sure you leave a second comment with what you've done.

Since this is a busy week-end for all of us, I will keep this contest open until Monday, November 29 at 12:00pm ET.

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone.

The Giveaway portion of this post is now closed.

Monday, November 22, 2010

At Long Last....A Finished Project

I found the idea for this project over at The Other White House back in August.  It took me a little while to get all my supplies, but I think I started this in early October, with the hope of having them done by Halloween.

They have been sitting half done for over a month and I finally got around to finishing them off this week-end.

Here's roughly what I started with:

Needless to say, I forgot to take a before picture of the actual plastic gourds that I used on this project. 

My first step was to spray paint them all white.

My next step was to use Mod Podge to adhere strips of tissue paper.  I found some fancy tissue paper at Michael's all in gold and black tones that I really liked.  Here's what the larger pumpkin looked like half way through:

And here are my finished products:

Don't look too close or you will see all the wrinkles and mismatched patterns, but honest...from a distance they look pretty cool.

They are up on my mantle for Thanksgiving.  I've seen some amazing holiday inspired mantles out there and I know my falls short.

I think I need your help.  Here's my mantle:

Somewhat seasonal...but very sparse.  Any ideas or suggestions of what else to do.  What would you add.  I have a gold charger (for under a plate).  Would that help?  Open to any ideas.

Thanks for visiting and commenting.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Something Cool

If you've been visiting my little blog for awhile, you might remember a post about Krissy, Austin and my trip to Oregon.  It had a awful ending, one that we will never forget...but the beginning was amazing.  Including eating at a wonderful restaurant called Farm to Fork, located in the beautiful Inn at Red Hills.  So we were so excited when we received this in an email:

It seems the November issue of Travel and Leisure found our little restaurant and proceeded to give it great reviews.  I'm so happy to finally read one of these restaurant reviews where I can say "I've been there".  Yeah!

I still haven't gotten over their Croque Madame.  In fact, I spent a considerable amount of  time this week googling for  Croque Madame recipes.  The kicker is I want one with a B├ęchamel sauce cause that's how they make it a Farm to Fork.  I have a couple I need to try.  If I find success. I promise to share.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Megamind Movie Review


Grade: B+

With all the movies currently out...the only one BW and I could agree upon was MegaMind and we opted for the IMAX 3D version.  Go big or go home.

This was a cute clever movie that we both thoroughly enjoyed.  The movie begins with a distant planet's pending destruction and alien parents placing their little baby in a pod (ala Superman) to save him.  As his pod streaks towards Earth, he realizes there is another baby in a pod competing with him for arrival.  One pod lands in a mansion and other pod a prison.  This scenario sets up the two characters on a track of good vs. evil.   One baby grows up to be the hero Metro Man (voiced by Brad Pitt) and the other becomes the villain MegaMind (voiced by Will Farrell). 

Both the characters are faced with some pretty deep issues.  Some of the subtly may be lost on pre-school age audience, but there is a lot to be discerned by school age set.  At a minimum, there is an opportunity to discuss school bullying.

This is not to imply that this movie is all deep and challenging. It isn't.  It's mostly a very funny movie and I think Will Farrell's voice for MegaMind fits perfectly, making him an appealing villain. 

Tina Fey also voices the character of Roxanne Ritchi the local news reporter who frequently finds herself at the center of MegaMind's latest dastardly plan.  And David Cross is perfect as Minion, MegaMind's trusted sidekick.  (He's that fish guy you've seen in the commercials.)

This is a movie the whole family can enjoy.  And as always, my favorite part of a 3D movie is watching the little ones who are reaching out trying to grab the images.  So cute.

(I bet you thought I was gonna say the glasses were my favorite part.  They are just so hot.  And they are even better when you have to wear the glasses...on top of your own glasses. Ugh!)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

An Author Review

I got thinking this evening about books I love and I got thinking about how much I love books that talk and better yet, describe in poetic  There are a few authors that do it particularly well.  One of the best is Peter Mayle.  He's written a number of books, but the one that got us (Krissy and I) started was A Year in Provence.

Peter and his wife...both British, moved to a old farmhouse in Provence.  This book describes their first year adjusting to everything French.  French plumbers...French electricians, French idiosyncrasies and best of all French cuisine.   Wonderful book.

Best of all, he follows it up with two sequels.  Tonjours Provence  and Encore Provence.  So just as you start falling in love with the French countryside....and think it might end, you get to dive into right back in again....2 times. 

If you love to read about good food, you will love these books.  

Just sharing more of my favorite stuff.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Figuring Out the Family Tree

I have been working on inputing family members on my mother's side into a Family Tree software for a while now.  Entering the data wasn't the biggest hold up.  It was deciding what software and also being a tad computer challenged when I started this whole process. 

I'm a Mac girl and as I may have mentioned before, I love my iMac (great Christmas present sweety).  I really wanted to do the family tree thing in Mac format, but it has limited software choices, plus when I started this whole old Mac was in desparate need of upgrading. 

Eventually, I opted for going PC based and using Family Tree Maker 2009.  See how long I've been at this.  The software is already out of date. 

Last night I finally got it all moved over to a new laptop and uploaded it on 

Absolutely fascinating.  I did even watch Jeopardy.  (Did stop for Glee though...I didn't see that one coming.)  I finally made myself shut the computer off at 11:00pm, which is when I finally ate dinner.

Best fact I have found so Great Grandfather came over from Germany on the S.S. Oder departing out of Bremen on or about October 3, 1880 when he was 19 years old. amazing is that.

I'd love to find someone out there who's used  I have a lot of questions, but so far this adventure has been amazing and addicting.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Did Anybody Get the Name of that Truck...

My week-end with the boys left my house looking like a hurricane went through it.  I'm out of eggs, cheese, fruit snacks, juice and Cheez-Its.

 I need a nap.

But the silence is now...amazing.

There is a reason you have children when you are young.  First of all you can bend easier and I think you re-charge quicker.

Here's what I'm hoping to forget before I do this for a week in February:

How hard it is to get up off the floor.

What the toy box looks like when it's emptied out all over my living room floor.

Austin's meltdowns when his "nuk" isn't immediately available (keeping in mind, he drops it all over the house).

But here's a couple conversation that I hope to remember:

Austin:  "I just love you Oma"
Oma: "I love you too Austin.  You are just so sweet."
Austin;  "You are just so sweet too."

Ryan:  "I don't have to go pee"
Oma: "Yes, you do.  You have to go before you go to bed." (As I push him into the bathroom.)
Ryan:  "But I don't have to go."
Oma:  "Just try.  Don't make me have to call the pee-pee police."
Ryan:  Giggling - "pee-pee police" (As he is peeing, he starts to turn around to look at me).
Oma:  "Don't turn around while your peeing!!"
Ryan: giggle, giggle, giggle

Friday, November 5, 2010


I am taking care of Ryan and Austin this week-end and it started last night.  This morning I got them both ready and took Ryan to pre-school and then Austin over to Aunt Cait's.  

As we pull into pre-school, he says "I like school this year".  (It was kind of a struggle last year, with lots of tears.) The closer we get, he is getting more and more excited, making these squealy noises.  I get Austin out of his car seat and as Ryan is climbing out, he looks up at me with an impish smile and says,

"Do you know there is a little girl I like?" 

I said, "Yes, I have heard something about that"

Still grinning ear to ear he says, "Do you know her name?"

I said..."no, I don't."

And he says, in this tiny little voice "it's Ella".

Ryan is officially Ella enchanted.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Girls Gone Up North

I've been a little absent from the blogging world lately.  All because I've been very busy.  Busy doing what you may ask....

Where to start this story.  Several months back, I had this idea that I wanted to gather up all my favorite girls and go somewhere.   OK...some of us haven't been girls for a long time, but I'm not letting a little thing like that stand in my way.

I find great joy and comfort in the company of my girlfriends and the thought of sharing a long week-end indulging in food, wine and laughter seemed just what I wanted and needed.

I quickly pulled together a list of all my favorite ladies and emailed them to see who might be interested.  Fortunately, I got a very positive response.

The next big decision was where to go.  But when you live in Michigan, that isn't really a hard decision....the best place to go is always "Up North".

So I searched the internet and found this beautiful log home on Lake Michigan in the Leelanau Peninsula.

House from Lake Michigan side

Our view from the deck and from the living room

Living Room from the loft

Kitchen from the loft

Dining Room from the loft.

Front entrance

View from the front porch

Even though the color was not at it's peak, there were still areas of bright glorious color.

After unloading the cars...we got down to business.  Cooking dinner!

This is me getting ready to start on the Salmon (oh and I'm's actually hard to get a picture of me NOT talking and with my eyes open).  

It was a beautiful piece of Salmon.  Better yet, let me show you.

I cedar planked it with a Maple Ginger Glaze.  Quite yummy.

The next morning we had a delicious frittata with warm apple bread made by Kathy.

We then headed out for a day of wine tasting.  For those not familiar with the Western part of Northern Michigan, it has a climate well suited for growing grapes and there are probably some 30 wineries in the area.

Here we are at 45 North: 

Mary and Rebecca

Myra and Sue

Caitlin and Marlene

Kathy and Me

And this little guy came too. (He will be so happy his Muma put him in this hat one day)

We visited Circa Winery next (forgot to take pictures) and then we had lunch at The Knot where we also were able to catch the end of the Michigan State / Northwestern game.  There may have even been some singing of the MSU Fight Song.  I'll never tell.

Sunday morning after we ate a delicious breakfast of sausage strata made by Caitlin (again forgot to take pictures), many of us headed off for a 3 mile hike at the Leelanau State Park.  I can't even begin to explain the beauty we saw on this hike.  My camera does a much better job.

We ended up at Cathead Bay where we hike across some small dunes to Lake Michigan.

We had the added benefit that both Mary and Rebecca are horticulturists or "co-horts" as they liked to be called.  They provided some color commentary as we walked along...although they didn't always agree.

The hike was an unexpected treat for all of us.

Sunday evening was spent eating (yet again) this wonderful Chicken Broccoli Bake that Sue and Myra made.

Cait and I were then able to introduce the group to two of our favorite games, Wits and Wagers (once Kathy got the hang of the wagering, we were all done in) and Pit.  Nothing like a rousing game of Pit to enliven the troops.

It was a fabulous week-end and I need to thank each and every member of our group.

Thanks Marlene for making Mary laugh harder then I have ever seen her laugh and for the yummy Ice Cream Sundaes

Thanks Rebecca for the incredible back rubs.

Thanks Mary for helping us weave our way around the back roads and leading some of the group to Leland for scarf shopping.

Thanks to Myra for just being an all around great help. I'd vacation with you anytime. 

Thanks to Sue for turning Luke into giggle man and for all the cookies

Thanks to Caitlin for being my right hand and for showing us the "running man"

Thanks to Kathy for my first yoga class and for making me laugh so many times

And finally...thanks to Luke for just being the sweetest little guy in the whole world.  

Do you think he knows it?

And this is for you Cait...

Yes...this was hanging from the beams.