Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Special Secret Project a Go!

I finished it!  

I was working on a major, huge, enormous project for Christmas and I got it finished and sent yesterday.  Now I just have to wait and see what it looks like when it comes back to me as the finished product.  These are gifts, so I can give you no specifics.  I will just give you a picture of what my coffee table has looked like for the past 3 weeks.

I want you to especially note the M&M's as those were an integral part of my work.  I am rather disappointed that there is only one empty bag in this shot.

If things go as planned, I will be adding pages to my blog that will incorporate the project itself.  I just have to figure it out.  That is a tall order for me.  I am not completely tech challenged, but I tend to get lost in the layers if you know what I mean.  Then I look at the clock and 3 hours have passed and I haven't done anything but learn about stuff I will never use.

Have a great day.  See you later.  I'm going on a walk and will take Baby #2 with me, so who knows where this will lead?  Maybe a Fierce Creature encounter.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Required Eating

When you are in STL there is one thing that you are required to eat.  It is this:

'Nuf said.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

On the Other Side of the Turkey

Since I was in STL for Thanksgiving I had to get out of the condo.  This is a matter of self preservation.  You may think that it is a choice, but really, it is a necessity.  Luckily for me, I could take my morning 'constitutionals' and it was really warm.  I loved it.  I was able to walk down by my old grade school and then today I walked up to the old homestead.  Well, actually the old homestead is gone, but I walked to the hill where it used to be.

In reflecting about my old homestead, I realized that my first homestead in downtown STL has been torn down.  Our second dwelling (the one I was near today) has also been torn down as has the next place we lived.  Hmmm.  This seems a little ominous.  So far, the last house we lived in as a family is still standing.  

So this is the name of our old street where we lived in a tiny little house on 3 acres with a well.  

This is the best approximation that I can manage as to where the house would have been.  It is a huge development now and I can't really figure it out without an engineer.

Down this big hill is where I went to grade school.  I remember it well and it is still there.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving with plenty of food.  We played a great game called Scattergories that Swim Girl had nabbed at Stuff, Etc. for $3.  Did you know jawbreakers are kept in the medicine cabinet?  We didn't either and we wouldn't let mom use that one.  Lysol isn't considered a toiletry item either.  (That was mine.)  However, having poopy pants is a reason for being late.  Play the game.  Laugh a lot.

Apple pie.  MMMMMMM.

Green beans.

Swim Girl makes a mean leek pie.  Think of it as a quiche on steroids.


Yeah.  I hate these.

Anyway, when I was on my walk today I had a close encounter with the 4 legged kind.  Check it out.  She almost walked right into me.  I don't know who was more surprised.

Can you see her?  We played a little Hide and Go Seek.

There she is.

Sorry the pics aren't any better, but my little lens kept wanting to focus on the leaves and tree trunks.  I have asked for a telephoto zoom for Christmas, so we shall see.  

I wouldn't consider this a Fierce Creature, although I am tempted as she scared the crap right outta me at first.  She ran down the hill a ways and I backed up.  Then we stared at each other for several minutes while I tried to focus.  I love my baby #2.  I love taking random walks with my baby #2.  

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in blogland.   I am visiting the parentals.  I have made the pie and the tomato aspic salad (see previous post).  Grocery Boy is working on the turkey.  My work is done.  I do the stuff that you can make ahead of time.  That is all that I am allowed to do.

It is beautiful here in the STL and my bro is visiting with his family.  So far, we haven't hit each other so life is good.  I think we have been in the same room for a couple of hours already.

I promise to post some pics later.

I am busting with pride about my niece, Airman Brittany Day.  She just completed her PIR (Pass in Review) at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in North Chicago where the wind comes sweeping down the plain, from Canada, from the lake, you name it.  Oh, and I have no idea what PIR really means.  I am just trying to act like I do.  The picture above was taken by her very proud Dad yesterday.  We love you, Brit.  Good luck in A School.  I am not quite sure why you are called an Airman when you are in the Navy, but who understands anything about the military?  Not me.

I hope you all eat 'til you bust.  I started a diet, so nothing for me.  Ha.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The. Best. Apple. Pie. EVAH!

I promised some recipes and then when I went to cut and paste from my recipes in Word, the ones I wanted to do weren't in there yet.  So, I copped a 'tude and didn't do anything.

As it gets closer to Thanksgiving, I thought you might want a recipe or two for the holiday.  One is absolutely sure to please.  The other is more of an acquired taste.  In fact, a lot of people hate it.  Grocery Boy and I love it, but no one else in our family does.  Try it.  You might like it.

Tomato Aspic Salad

I got this recipe from my grandmother who got it from her sister in law.  She always made this salad at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  As you can tell by the ingredients, it seems a little strange, but if you like what's in it you will probably love this salad.  Good luck.  I don't recommend just springing this on people.  I would love any comments from those of you who try it, good or bad.  I can take it.  Besides, I don't know where you live.

1 ¾ cups tomato juice
1 package lemon Jell-O

Heat tomato juice to boiling point then remove from heat.  Add package of lemon Jell-O and dissolve.  Pour half of the mixture into bottom of mold or pan and place in refrigerator to set. 

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 t. mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)
1 envelope Knox gelatin

Mix cream cheese and mayonnaise together well.  Dissolve Knox gelatin in 1/3 cup cold water and mix with cheese mixture.  Add the following ingredients:

Diced celery
Stuffed olives, chopped and drained well
Green peppers, chopped
Onions, chopped or grated

These ingredients should total about 1 ½ cups.  I add a little garlic powder also.  Set in refrigerator and chill until almost set.  Add cream cheese mixture to first layer of set tomato juice.  Let this set.  Add remaining tomato juice mixture and let set.  Cover with Saran wrap.

-I use a rectangular, glass pan for this.  I do not like to use metal due to the taste.
-Also, grease the pan you use with mayo or Miracle Whip.

Now if you survive this one, how about one of the best pie recipes that I have ever run across.  I got it out of a magazine.  I can't remember which one, but I know it wasn't Taste of Home or Family Circle.  I think it was a little higher end than that.  I am not a super great cook, but I can bake, baby.  

For the pie crust, use your favorite two crust recipe or just wimp out and buy those pre-made ones that are in your grocer's diary case.  They don't taste as good, but they don't taste like butt or anything.  

Apple Cranberry Pie
6 Granny Smith apples; peeled, cored and sliced
½ cup cranberries
2 T lemon juice
1 ¼ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
1 ½ t cinnamon
¼ t ground allspice
1/8 t salt
1 recipe pastry cream
1 egg, beaten
1 T whipping cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Roll out pastry dough and transfer to a 9” deep dish pie pan.  In a large bowl, combine apples, cranberries and lemon juice.  In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice and salt.  Spread bottom of crust with Pastry Cream.  Toss apple mix with dry ingredients and pile over pastry cream.  Cover with second part of dough.  Cut 4 small slits in top to allow steam to escape.  Combine egg and cream.  Brush on pastry.  Bake for 1 hr., 20 min.

When I made this for Thanksgiving I threw in about half of a bag of frozen cherries.  Yummy!

Pastry Cream for Cranberry Apple Pie
1 cup milk
¼ cup sugar
Cook over medium heat in a medium saucepan until bubbly on edges.

2 egg yolks
3 T sugar
3 T cornstarch
¼ t salt
Mix until combined in a separate bowl.  Gradually beat in 1/3 cup hot milk mixture; quickly beat in remaining milk mixture.  Return to saucepan.  Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture thickens and comes to a boil.  Remove from heat and stir in:

2 T butter
½ t vanilla

Transfer to bowl.  Can store, covered in fridge up to three days.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I Promise That This is the Last of the Fall Pictures

It is officially fall here in the Heartland.  I hate it.  The tree leaves are all raked up and everything is gray and bare and yucky.  We have had some sunny days, but I really miss those warm summer ones.  Today has been super rainy and the only thing to do about it was go to the mall.

This was, of course, after we took all three cats to the vet for nail jobs.  That is always a very fun and exciting adventure.  They all love getting in their cages and have no qualms about it at all.  We simply call them and they come running, hop in the cages and say, "Let's go!"

Not so much.  It can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes to round them up and extreme stealth is required.  We are getting so good at it that the Navy Seals could take lessons.  The trick is to get the first one while the other one isn't looking.  We didn't manage it today, but luckily for me, Skittles is under the impression that if she sits under the wicker chair in the bathroom, I won't see her at all.  I will encourage her to keep thinking that way.

So here are the rest of my pictures from Fall in Iowa.  Enjoy.

There are two or three of these beauties left.  

25 bags of leaves.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Dead Squirrels

I promised all of you that I would post that other dead squirrel picture and so I shall.  Dead Squirrels would be a great name for a band, don't you think?

The time changed last night.  I have a love/hate thing with that.  I love that it is lighter in the morning and I hate that it is darker earlier.  I think I prefer dark in the morning.  So now I will be messed up for a day or two.  Basically then, no change.

I posted on my Facebook Wall about a little trick Swim Girl played on us.  She put a very large plastic spider on the toilet paper roll in our bathroom.  She did this on Halloween as a little joke.  When I found it I used both of her names.  It was that type of joke.  It is so cool having someone around that you can holler at with both names.  I usually only get a chance once a year, but I see a whole bunch of opportunities ahead of me now.  Ah, the perks of having an adult child move back home.

Ta da!  This is Dead Squirrel #2.  He just looks like he's sleeping.  I am going for a walk soon and who knows, I may find another.  Something is mysteriously killing the squirrels around her so that they just look like they are sleeping.  I mean, where are the tire treads?

I took this one somewhere in the neighborhood. 

 There are still a couple of roses on my new rose bush.  They look a little strange without the rest of the flowers around.

 We don't have any streams or rivers around here, so I simply content myself with the profundity of the cracked roads.

 See Swim Girl rake.

Whoa, Dude!