“In order to keep a true perspective of one’s importance, everyone should have
a dog that will worship him and a cat that will ignore him.”

--Dereke Bruce

Thursday, July 9, 2015

FOR MY HUSBAND WITH LOVE




















My husband and I were high school sweethearts and we have truly shared our entire lives together. We married young, worked hard, made a home, and raised two beautiful children.

We made a promise many years ago to love each other forever, and I'm proud to say that we have kept that promise through all the ups and inevitable downs of life.

He had a serious health scare recently; thankfully he is doing well and we have been told we can expect a full recovery.  But during that scary, difficult time, I realized even more how much I love him, need him, and could not live without him.

I made this video as a tribute to him. Thank you for this wonderful life we share together.  I love you forever.



(Song is "Beautiful Man, Beautiful Boy" by Karen Taylor-Good; "Perfect Work of Art" album.)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

LOLOL!



OMW!!! This YouTube video just CRAAAACKS me up!

This (previously miserable) little tot obviously LOVES Katy Perry's song, Dark Horse, and makes no apologies about it.  I totally understand... I really like the song too.

HOWEVER... I can only hope when that song is played at Zumba class, that I show a LITTLE MORE restraint!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

LOL! (I think?!)


OK... I'm not sure WHAT to think about this short video.
On one hand, it IS adorable, and this little girl does seem to have such a sweet, tender heart.
On the other hand, I think maybe mom and dad ought to stick to HAPPY movies, only!
This seems a bit like... torture! 

Your thoughts?!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Makin' Bagels



















It was a cold and blustery day in PA... a good day to be inside. My husband was out of town. It was a day off work for my dear daughter and me.   It was a perfect day to try our hand at... making bagels!

We LOVE Panera bagels, especially the Asiago ones and the cinnamon toast ones. But we don't live near a Panera. So unless we wanted to drive a distance (which we didn't), we would have to make our own.

We did a little research, read and compared recipes and finally decided on THIS ONE (Asiago) and THIS ONE (Cinnamon Crunch).

We convened at my house and got started:



















Brody had his faced washed and was ready to get busy.



















As usual, the cats were excited and involved...  #sarcasm













Double checking the recipes:
Beautiful new KitchenAid mixer did a wonderful job mixing up the dough.  
But nothing beats hand kneading!

Our dough raised beautifully!





Dough shaped into 13 rounds. Starting to look like bagels now!

Short break for a belly rub:
"Awww thanks Sissy! You know the BEST spots!"
Next the bagels got boiled for a few minutes...

Grating the cheese...
Ready for the oven now...
Sprinkled with the cheese and baking in the oven.
Smelled soooooo good!
TA DA! Beautiful finished Asiago bagels! #AsGoodAsPaneras #MaybeEvenBetter

Next up, the Cinnamon Crunch bagels. (We were pros by now!)
Then kitchen tidied up...















Two happy (and just-a-little-tired) bagel loving' girls:

We divided the bagels and darling daughter went home.
All told, about 4.5 hours, start to finish...
The cats were EXHAUSTED!


Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Brand New Year...

















I have such a love/hate relationship with a new year. On one hand, I always shake my head and wonder, "How can it be? Another whole year, gone!" I brood a little over how fast the years seem to fly by. Remember how loooooong a year seemed when we were children? I want that feeling back!

But... on the other hand... I really like the start of a new year. Although I tend to think more in terms of the day's resolutions, not the year's... I  can't help but feeling like the new year stretching out ahead is full of promise and excitement.  Like a beautiful new book, just waiting to be opened and filled with new experiences and new memories, I can't wait to see what the year will hold.

I hope to continue to grow and learn. I hope to become wiser, kinder and more compassionate.  I hope to better show my family and friends that I love and adore them more than words can say.  And YES, I hope to lose five pounds!



Saturday, December 6, 2014

BRODY, ONE YEAR LATER (Or, Why It is Dangerous to Make Decisions When You are Depressed!)





If you read THIS POST or THIS ONE, then you know that an adorable Yorkie pup joined our family last year.

He was 3 pounds when we got him, and now he's full grown and tipping the scales at a whopping 6 pounds. And short of a human baby, never have so few pounds changed our lives!

















A little pre-Brody background... we were happy CAT PEOPLE with two gorgeous Ragdoll cats. We could go away for the weekend (or a couple of weeks) and those independent, self-sufficient felines would be fine in the care of a friend or house-sitter.  ("Oh, hi. Were you gone?")














Now if you know me, you know that I am typically content and optimistic. I am not prone to depression.  For this I am extremely grateful. But I broke my foot last year (that sorry post is HERE) -- and during those 3 very long, very difficult months, life was very hard.  I got depressed.  I was hard-to-please, miserable and unhappy.

I decided I neeeeeeeeeded a puppy because a puppy would make me happy. A puppy would cuddle in my lap (those dang cats weren't being nearly solicitous enough!)   A puppy would give me sweet puppy-kisses. (Those dang cats weren't giving me nearly enough attention.)  A puppy would greet me at the door with a happy, wagging tail and joyfully come when I called him. (The dang cats NEVER wag their tails [LOL] and lord knows they NEVER come when they are called!)  I envisioned errands and enjoyable, leisurely walks with a devoted puppy by my side.  (Those dang cats hate leaving the house.)

In other words, in my uncharacteristically unhappy state of mind, I decided that a puppy would simply solve all my problems. Any attempts by my reasonable husband to tell me otherwise fell on my two deaf ears.  I was convinced that The Perfect Puppy would change my life, make me happy, heal my foot, end hunger, stop crime, cure AIDS, balance the federal budget, and bring world peace.

So I started looking for a puppy (HERE). I spent every spare minute in my favorite living room chair, bad foot elevated, Mac in my lap, obsessively researching puppies and breeders.  (I know you find that hard to believe, right?)  Well, I found him. And I wanted him. And at that point, neither hell nor high water could have stopped me. And as soon as I was able to put weight on my foot, I flew to Missouri to get him.




















But this post is not really about Brody's story.  Or even Brody himself, for that matter.

No, this post is about MAKING DECISIONS WHEN YOU ARE DEPRESSED!  Because I am here to tell you that within DAYS of being able to walk again, the depression lifted.  It was rather amazing, actually.  I could literally feel the crushing weight slipping off my shoulders.  The last 3 months quickly began to feel like a COMA that I had now miraculously awakened from.

I had "known"at the time that I was depressed, of course, but it wasn't until I was looking back in hindsight that I realized HOW VERY depressed I had been.

So then what happened? Well, when I woke up out of my Depression Coma and looked around -- I HAD A DOG! Egads, how did THAT happen?! A DOG?! WHY do I have a dog?! I'm a cat person! I'm also a busy person! I don't have TIME for a dog! And I don't know a THING about dogs! What in the world am I going to do with a DOG???! OMG, WHAT WAS I THINKING?!

Which is the point of this post: I WASN'T THINKING.  At least not thinking "clearly".  And in my depression-fog I made a decision that now commits me to 15 years or so of 24/7 doggie-parenthood.

Thankfully my husband ADORES Brody, and actively shares in his care.  Thankfully Brody is small (in my compromised state of mind I could have gotten a Mastiff or a Newfoundland!) and is (as far as canines go) pretty easy to live with.

But the point is... I made a decision that I would probably have NEVER MADE had I not been depressed.  Which was kinda scary and very sobering.

So the moral of this story is that the experts knew what they are talking about when they tell you to never make an important decision when you are depressed or grieving or otherwise emotionally compromised.

This experience has been quite eye-opening for me.  And thankfully, all I ended up with was a dog.  I think about people who are depressed who walk out of their marriage, quit their jobs, gamble away their life savings, or any number of other equally horrifying scenarios.

Now please don't misunderstand: I love my little dog.  (In fact, he is curled up beside me on this chair where it all began, sleeping like an angel with his little head in my lap.)  I am thankful that he is healthy, good-natured and adorable. And he does love me. He is always so happy to see me, he gives me sweet puppy-kisses, he is a tail-wagger and cuddler of epic proportions.  In many ways now I can't imagine my life without him.

HOWEVER... all that being said, it has not been without a LOT of challenges and adjustments.   But that's another post for another time...























Friday, April 11, 2014

BEER BREAD!


























Have you ever heard of Beer Bread?  Do you know about this?  Have you ever had it?  Have you ever MADE it?!

If you answered yes, yes, yes and yes, and are thinking something along the lines of, "Um, duh, of COURSE..." then apparently it's ME that's been living UNDER A ROCK?

Well, if that's the case, then let's just say I am so glad to finally be seeing the LIGHT OF DAY!

Because... Beer Bread = my newest addiction!  I simply cannot get enough of it!

It all started innocuously enough.  Thumbing through the latest Penzey's catalog (which is a different post for a different time, but suffice to say that I LOVE PENZEY'S!)  and one of the recipes caught my eye. "Beer Bread?  Hmmmm... interesting. Never heard of it.  Looks good.  Well, I have flour... salt... sugar... baking powder... and a 12 oz. bottle of Dos Equis... I'll try it."

An hour later I was one happy, happy girl!

It is DELICIOUS!  Tastes like a yeast-bread, but fast and easy like a quick-bread.  (No time-consuming rolling, kneading, punching down, kneading again, punching down... oh no!  Just MIX, pour, bake!)  The batter looks like a biscuit batter, which is truthfully the taste/texture I was expecting.  I was wrong!  I pleasantly surprised with the moist, rich finished bread.  This is NO biscuit, babeeee!

(By the way, if you don't like beer, let me assure you that there is little to no "beer taste"!)

The picture at the top of this post was my first loaf of Beer Bread, and I have made it several times since.  It is consistently and deliriously delicious hot out of the ovan, warm, room temperature, or toasted. It is delicious by itself, or as a sandwich. It is delicious in a box, with a fox... in a house with a mouse... oh, never mind, I'm sure you probably get the idea!

So this was the page that changed my life:



















I started looking around and soon realized that there are a LOT of beer bread recipes floating around the internet (and Pinterest)... but I'm feeling fiercely loyal to the Penzey's recipe!

Althoooooough, I will say that when I saw The Brown-Eyed Baker's "Bacon and Cheddar Beer Bread  Recipe" recently, I thought, "Now that's an idea I can get behind!"  (That was after my first thought of, "Aha! She loves Beer Bread, too!")

It is pretty much the same *basic* recipe as the Penzey's one, just a few small tweaks.  It, too, is DELICIOUS!  Here is my loaf, made just last night:



















If anything could improve that basic recipe, it was bacon and cheddar. Ohmyguuuudnessohmyguuuudness!

This will be phenomenal tomorrow morning, 2 slices toasted with an egg in between.  All the elements of a breakfast sandwich in only two steps!  Very excited!

For your own beer bread baking pleasure:
The basic Penzey's recipe can be found HERE.
The bacon/cheddar variation can be found in the Brown Eyed Baker's post HERE.

Enjoy!  And please let me know when YOU become a Beer Bread fan too!