Friday, June 24, 2016

And So Goes Another Week...

So...I was going to post about Cass' birthday, and carrot cake, and hot fudge sundaes, and all kinds of whatnot.  And then life happened.  We've had electricians in since last Wednesday (yes, 8 working days) replacing breakers in all of the electrical panels.  There's a new thing called arc fault breakers, and they're supposed to be like the funny outlets in your kitchen that shut off when something's amiss with the circuit.  We've lost our appetite for fire, so rewire we must.  Fun stuff, especially when they're shutting down power one place or another.  Shutting down the well pump for half a day was especially fun.

And then Mark goes for his road test next week, so I hired a driving instructor to take him out for some lessons; that way he can parallel park in that guy's little Honda.  I know it's impossible to pass in my Town Car, because the parallel parking place just plain isn't big enough.  I had to do the same for Ryan after he failed his first road test because he couldn't fit my Cadillac into the parallel parking spot. He never even got out onto the road.  So Mark's had 2 lessons this week.  Plus, he had to go for his senior portrait yesterday afternoon.  It almost feels like we're on the all-Mark channel here.

So I'll leave you with some pictures of one of our dogwood trees.

Happy weekending, everyone!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Cookibook Wednesday: Desserts

This is a cookbook Mark found for me at a used book sale about 4 years ago.  To be fair, the title has always intimidated me.
 "Fantastic desserts"? I'm in. "Extravagant trifles, truffles, tarts and more"? Well....I need fast and relatively simple, not extravagant. goes.  The table of contents shows a little bit of everything.
 There are pages upon pages of hints and how-tos, which is nice.  Fun to read, even if you don't need it.

 In season right now: frozen desserts! Including a low fat orange sherbet.  I might try that one, or maybe wait until my dearly beloved is either (a) bored with his diet, or (b) decides he's lost enough weight to splurge now and again (he's dropped 10 pounds of the 25 he wants to lose, thanks to the cardiologist telling him what I've been trying to tell him).
 Bar cookies! Who doesn't love a good bar cookie? And they are easier than the regular kind!
 The instructions for this cake are daunting, filling 2 pages.  This is what I mean: extravagant doesn't work for me.  There are other things to do.
 But the boys might like these.
 And, for Louise: Peanut Butter Cups! (Fair disclosure: I love peanut butter cups, too.)

 There are even fruit desserts for those of us who want a lighter sweet treat.

 So, thanks to Louise for prompting me to pull this cookbook off the shelf!  There are things in here that won't take all day to prepare, after all!

This is Cookbook Wednesday, hosted by Louise!  Hop on over to check out the others who have linked up with her, look at her cookbook giveaway, and find out about signing up for the Picnic Game!  Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Garden Tuesday: Peonies and a Window

My peonies are in bloom.  I don't have nearly as many as Louise does, but I've been cutting a few every couple of days to keep my kitchen cheerful.  Too bad their season is only about 2 weeks!

In other news, I painted the raw dormer window last night (top left of yesterday's post).  I took my 6 foot stepladder to the attic to paint from inside, but I did have to sit on the sill and hang outside to paint.  My dearly beloved had an absolute fit when he went out to stand in the driveway and found me hanging out the window.  It's OK; I was done anyway, so I went inside.  Then he reported me to the boys at dinner.  Ryan then threw an absolute fit, and told me to let him hang out the window to paint next time, despite the fact that he's afraid of heights.  His rational was that I'm not strong enough to hold myself inside with one hand while painting with the other.  Of course, I had to point out to Ryan that there's no way he's fitting through a 22" wide window opening.  We compromised, with me agreeing to let him tie me to the rafters inside should I find the need to climb out a window again.

Happy Garden Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Monday Update: What a 2 Weeks It's Been

There's been plenty of good, and some not-so-good.  Oh, some of the not-so-good would have been considered a minor disaster pre-fire, but now, nothing's a disaster as long as we're all alive and kicking.

All good: The rubber roofer came, replaced the rubber roof over the formerly burned area in just 3 days, and left.  We had 2" of rain after he was done, and stayed dry as a bone.  Victory for us! (No pictures; it's just a flat black roof.)

Mostly good: The central air guy came.  He got our system installed, and hooked up the 3 bedrooms that are in use.  Good news.  He tied into the old condensate line: bad news.  It terminated inside a wall, so it rained into my office all over my fabric.

 Good news: all of this fabric got re-washed, folded and sorted.  10 loads worth.  Bad news: Our washer developed a leak.  I kept washing anyway, and soaking up the water on the floor.  It had to be done.

Good news: At least one of the big box chains still sells non-water-saving washing machines.  And I got one.  Bad news: No one stocks them.  I had to wait from Saturday until Thursday afternoon to get a new washer.  The laundry room didn't smell pretty.

Good news: The new washer is installed, works like a champ, and all of the laundry is done. 

Great news:  The slate roofers showed up.  They made this mess.

Then they started putting rocks on my roof.

This is 2 days' work.  Pretty good, right?  They're supposed to be back tomorrow.  But trust me, slaters are so rare that we won't gripe if they don't show until next week.  We simply know they'll keep coming because we owe them money now.

Bonus good news:  Baby Madeline was here 2 weekends ago.  She's learned to smile.  This is her greeting to me as soon as they walked into the house, before she was even released from her car seat.  You know she spent basically no time in that seat for the rest of the weekend!

So, Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Cookbook Wednesday: Summer Desserts

OK, I know it's Thursday.  But Wednesday was busy, and it's better that I've made an effort, right?

This cookbook is in honor of Memorial Day, which is the start of summer in the minds of most Americans, including me.  Ryan and Dan found it at the supermarket a couple of years back, and brought it home, respectfully requesting that I use it.  A lot.

 Some of the recipes involve baking.
 Some just require mixing.  I've actually made this, with pineapple and oranges, and, of course, with real whipped cream, not cool whip.  It's pretty good; the boys love it.
 I'm sure everyone would like this.  I'm not sure I have the patience to be this cute.
 Did I mention that every recipe involves Jello, instant pudding, cool whip or a combination thereof?  It's OK, summer is meant to be easy.  And Peanut Butter Cup Pie sounds great.
 Lemon Mousse?  Love it.  Diet recipe? Even better.  I'll have to look into this one (but with real whipped cream, of course.  Not so diet.  Oh, well.)
 And this one does sound delightful.
 Now I've given you plenty of summer desserts to drool over.  Here's hoping you enjoy summer confections this weekend and beyond.

This is Cookbook Wednesday on Thursday, hosted by Louise!  Hop on over and see what she and others are offering!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cookbook Wednesday: Bread

I found this cookbook on my shelf while digging for the recipe for what Mark calls "The Traditional Horse Race Day Coffee Cake."  Yes, I always make a yeast-raised coffee cake for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.  I did it once, and have been suckered into it every race since.  So, this pretty little cookbook was tucked neatly in beside the cookbook that contains Mark's favorite coffee cake.

 It really does have information and recipes for bread from around the world, from America to India.
 The book starts out with a history of bread, much of it surmised from the archaeological record.  It's great reading, but the real problem is that the typeface is much too small.  The book is maybe 8" or so high, and as you can see by the comparison to my thumb, the print is smaller than that in the newspaper.  I can't really read it well without a magnifying glass.
 A discussion of wheat and other ingredients follows,
 along with a listing of the most commonly used bread making tools.
 What really puzzles me is that the second section is a discussion of what kinds of breads are commonly made and eaten in various nations and regions.
 No recipes, just what they are.
 This book finally gets to the recipes in the third section, but I think it would have been much more useful had the discussion about the breads and the recipes been side by side.
 Again, this is a cookbook with beautiful pictures which I can never hope to replicate.  Oh, well, it's fun to gaze upon them and dream of the day when I have hours to spend making pretty bread.

 The pages are heavy, glossy stock, and that makes it all the more fun to read.  Heck, you could (theoretically) even use it without too much fear of permanently grubbing up the pages, because they could (again, theoretically) be wiped off!
 This is Cookbook Wednesday, hosted by the gracious Louise!  Pop over to see what she and others are offering today!
Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Garden Tuesday: The Open Air Attic

So, after the fire last fall, we had the roof torn off and replaced at the front of the house.  That's where the holes were, after all, and that was the most critical need.  But there were still charred timbers and sheathing in the back of the house, and my brilliant dearly beloved found a terrific carpentry crew to deal with that.

They replaced all the rafters from inside, one at a time, leaving the singed sheathing (and slate roof) in place.  Then, in one day, they took the slate off; the next day, they opened the back of the attic and replaced all the sheathing in one day.  Thus, the Open Air Attic Look:

While it's an interesting decorating idea, I don't recommend it if rain is forecast.  I do have to say, it gives a very nice look at the back yard!  Again, going to the edge to take a look out isn't recommended if you have a fear of heights; this is from about 30 feet up.

Happy Garden Tuesday, everyone!