Friday, September 30, 2011

Photos from the Farm



September is a nice month for a funeral and I don't mean that in a cynical sort of way.  A few years ago my Grandpa passed away in September. This year my aunt passed away, too.   Whereas some months are rainy or cold or unbearably hot, September embraces us with its perfect, blue-skied days.  September gives us a final glimpse of summer, hope for a harvest and a freshness to sustain us.  September wipes away our tears.


After the funeral, I stopped by my aunt and uncle's Wisconsin farm.


It brought back memories to see the taste of country life that I experienced for one week each summer -


The place where I milked my first (and only) cow .....


The place where I jumped from bale of hay to bale of hay......


The place where we sent the kittens when our cat had, not one, but two litters! -


I reconnected with my cousin.  We were the only girls among a sea of boys.


Although her path took her one way and my life led me another, the farm took us back to common ground.

I am so proud of my aunt - how she spent her whole life living and but a few hours dying.


Her courage to face her future was certain.


And although we will miss the whirring of her sewing machine and her Corn Casserole at Christmas,


Her faith leaves us with more hope and fewer tears.


May we be reminded to live each season of our lives to its fullest.



Thursday, September 29, 2011

First Class


Ray: What's wrong, mom?
Dorothy: First class is what's wrong. It used to be a better meal. Now it's a better life.
--  Jerry Maguire




Earlier this month, I flew back to Minnesota for a funeral.  What used to be a love of travel mysteriously turned phobic - fear of flying, fear of leaving my family, fear of driving to the airport.  How would they manage without me? What if she forgot her lunch?  What if nobody quizzed her on her spelling words? What if nobody washed his football gear for three whole days?  I know.  Perhaps I put a little too much importance on myself to think that I am irreplaceable. There have been times when I could think of nothing more relaxing than a few days to myself.  But suddenly, faced with that reality, I wanted nothing more than those demanding cries of mommy, mommy, mommy!

I arrived at the airport.  My husband used his points to upgrade my seat to first class.  He loves me like that.  As I took my place at the front of the line, I felt an extra sense of respect from those around me. I found my extra wide chair and stretched my legs out as far as they would go.  The rows were so far apart that the tray tables came up from the arm rest.  There was too much space between the rows to attach them to the seat in front of me.


I enjoyed my pre-flight beverage and though about Dorothy and Ray.  I have to agree.  
First Class is SO MUCH BETTER!!



My phobias seem to slip away.  

I retrieved my neck roll pillow and closed my eyes, thankful that the giant guy sitting next to me had enough personal space that he didn't have to worry that I would fall asleep on his shoulder, leaving drool marks on his buttoned down shirt. With me fast asleep on the red eye, he could finish watching Cowboys and Aliens on his iPad in peace. And by the way, my eyes really were that red. It was late and I was tired!


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Apple Pie in a Jar


My big brother turned 40 this month, and for his birthday, my sister-in-law made these adorable little apple pies.  My brother doesn't like sweets, but he'll eat pie.  I think he's adopted.  See the cute pie vents that say, "40"?

Since I don't have step by step photos of the How To, I thought I'd give you the process in reverse, starting with the scoop of ice cream that simply must go on top.  Are you ready?  SCROLL!












Happy Birthday, Brother!
Wishing you another sweet year!


You can get the step by step instructions at Our Best Bites!




Sunday, September 25, 2011

iheartfaces | Summer Wrap Up



Although the temperature still reaches into the 80's, we've officially reached summer's end.  Even though the neighborhood pool is officially closed, I often reflect back on this picture of Arielle. There's something I love about the way the water is frozen in time.  There's something about her peacefulness, despite the storm around her.  It speaks to me.  She's grounded in what truly matters. 


Saturday Night Lights




If you're a High School Football player, your games are referred to as Friday Night Lights. But if you sit at the top of the middle school pack, Saturday Night is yours. I have to admit, there's something magical about watching a game under the lights. The air is crisper, the crowds are louder...... OK, so maybe 8th grade doesn't pack out the stands, but the fans are just as loyal. I remember two years ago thinking how HUGE the eighth graders seemed next to the sixth graders who were only five feet tall and 80 pounds. By eighth grade, you feel like you're watching a real game. The talent is emerging. The plays come together.  The quarterback can throw a long pass, the kicker can reach the goals.


My boy is on the field.  You can't see him, but he's white, number 55.  Number 55 was his dad's lucky number.  My boy hand picked that number.  He loves his dad.  My man is on the field, too.  He's in a white shirt and khaki shorts.  Go figure.


My boy's on the offensive line.  He's the one that keeps the opponents at bay so that the really fast guy can break away.


He's going....... going........


..... and just like that, the fast guy is down field for a touch down.  
Don't ask me any more questions.  
That's all I know.


Except for this.  Cheerleaders doing push-ups is a good thing.


The girls love to come to the games.  They get to stay up really late.


They always pay attention to the game and they never miss important plays taking silly pictures with my iPhone!


These are the middle school cheerleaders performing at half time.  


 Oh, and they don't call them cheerleaders any more. 
They are the Agility Team.


I might be old, but I'm pretty sure our cheerleaders weren't doing this in middle school!


A coach's wrap up paves the way for another week.  
This is The South.  Football (and cheerleading!) is serious business!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pink Popcorn



Last January I posted White Chocolate Popcorn, a recipe given to me by my friend, Anne Pryor.  Today, I'm posting Pink Popcorn which was one of the festive pink snacks I served at Ella's Pink Party.    But you don't have to make it pink.  You could make it Purple (Go Vikings!) or Green (Luck 'o the Irish!) or any other holiday-sports-favorite color you wish!  

This popcorn is based on our White Chocolate favorite, only easier.


You might be wondering how a recipe containing only two ingredients can get any easier.
Here it is.....
Buy your popcorn.


Angie's Artisan Kettle Corn is completely delicious all on it's own.


But top it with silky sweet chocolate melts,
and you won't be able to keep your hand out of the bowl.

Of course, feel free to use your favorite microwave or stove topped popcorn.
It's all good.

(After you mix it, don't forget to spread it out on parchment paper to dry.)


One big Costco Bag of Angie's Kettle Corn + one bag of candy melts = perfection.



THIS POST IS PROUDLY LINKED TO MONDAYSMOUTHWATERING MONDAYSMADE BY YOU MONDAY,MINGLE MONDAY , HOME SAVVY A TO ZTUESDAYSTUESDAYS AND THE TABLE, TEMPT MY TUMMY TUESDAYTASTY TUESDAYIT’S A BLOG PARTY, TIP JUNKIE ,GET YOUR CRAFT ON, CRAZY SWEET TUESDAYS! WEDNESDAYSSHOW AND TELL, WORKS FOR ME WEDNESDAY, THIS CHICK COOKSLADY BEHIND THE CURTAINGINGER SNAP CRAFTS,  THURSDAYS IT’S A KEEPER THURSDAYSSTRUT YOUR STUFFFULL PLATE THURSDAYS , CHIC & CRAFTY PARTY, THRIFTY THURSDAYS  FRIDAYSI’M LOVING IT, FOODIE FRIDAYGROCERY CART CHALLENGEFOOD ON FRIDAYSFRIDAY POT LUCK, TATERTOTS AND JELLO,  SWEET TOOTH FRIDAY, FRIDAY FAVORITES,  FUSION FRIDAYS FRIDAY FOOD SATURDAYS:SWEETS FOR A SATURDAY SIX SISTERS STUFF SUNDAYS: NIFTY THRIFTY SUNDAY, AWELL SEASONED LIFE


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Caramelized Crispy Snack Mix


My friend, Kathy, brings this delicious snack mix to every class party BY REQUEST!  It's completely delicious and, unfortunately, COMPLETELY ADDICTING!  I customized it for Ella's Pink Party by using pink and white M&M's, which I found at Party City.  Vary your M&M colors to make this a delicious and festive treat!

Caramelized Crispy Snack Mix

9 cups Rice Chex cereal
9 cups Corn Chex cereal
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups candy coated chocolate candies (a.k.a. M&M's!)

  1. Heat oven to 250 degrees.  Spray a large roasting pan with cooking spray.  Measure the cereal into the pan.
  2. In a 3-quart saucepan stir together brown sugar, butter and corn syrup.  (WARNING:  Resist the urge to use a smaller pan - the baking soda makes it bubble up!) Cook and stir 8-9 minutes over medium heat until mixture heats to boiling.  Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Stir in baking soda.  Pour over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly coated. 
  3. Bake 40-50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until coating is set.  Cool 5 minutes; stir in candies.  Spread on parchment paper to cool, about 10 minutes.  Break into pieces.  Store in an airtight container.


THIS POST IS PROUDLY LINKED TO MONDAYSMOUTHWATERING MONDAYSMADE BY YOU MONDAY,MINGLE MONDAY , HOME SAVVY A TO ZTUESDAYSTUESDAYS AND THE TABLE, TEMPT MY TUMMY TUESDAYTASTY TUESDAYIT’S A BLOG PARTY, TIP JUNKIE ,GET YOUR CRAFT ON, CRAZY SWEET TUESDAYS! WEDNESDAYSSHOW AND TELL, WORKS FOR ME WEDNESDAY, THIS CHICK COOKSLADY BEHIND THE CURTAINGINGER SNAP CRAFTS,  THURSDAYS IT’S A KEEPER THURSDAYSSTRUT YOUR STUFFFULL PLATE THURSDAYS , CHIC & CRAFTY PARTY, THRIFTY THURSDAYS  FRIDAYSI’M LOVING IT, FOODIE FRIDAYGROCERY CART CHALLENGEFOOD ON FRIDAYSFRIDAY POT LUCK, TATERTOTS AND JELLO,  SWEET TOOTH FRIDAY, FRIDAY FAVORITES,  FUSION FRIDAYS FRIDAY FOOD SATURDAYS:SWEETS FOR A SATURDAY SIX SISTERS STUFF SUNDAYS: NIFTY THRIFTY SUNDAY, AWELL SEASONED LIFE