Monday, February 8, 2016

Jeffrey Came Home....

....because we got the ceiling back up in his room!  OK, he came home for his birthday, too.  But moving his furniture and stuff back into his room was the highlight of the weekend (and I worked to no end to get the room ready after the ceiling was done...washing the walls and woodwork, painting accent walls, shampooing the carpet twice, hanging drapes...I was tired by Saturday).

So, Jeff wanted lemon cake for his birthday, and I created something, since I couldn't find a recipe to exactly suit me.  He scolded me for not decorating the cake.
 I warned him that he needed to blow out his candles before the house burned down...again.

 For a while now, Jeff's been speculating as to when he would no longer be able to blow out all of the candles.
 28 was almost it.  I question whether he will make it next year.  At least he had his father to direct him.
 And what fun is a birthday without your best buddy?
 Tank sure is a good looking boy.
Happy Monday, everyone!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Orange Angel Torte

Sunday the 17th was a celebration; it was the 2 year anniversary of my dearly beloved's triple bypass.  He gripes about my letting the surgeon slice him open; I celebrate every day that he is alive and well.  So to commemorate that date which I remember so very vividly, I made him a lovely, (relatively) heart friendly pie.


Torte shell:

4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat the whites with the cream of tartar until foamy; add the vanilla and continue beating, slowly adding the sugar until the egg whites are stiff.  Spread in a greased pie plate and bake at 275F for one hour.  Turn off the oven and don't open the door until it cools to room temperature.


1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 eggs
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk together the sugar and cornstarch in a pan; add the lemon juice and orange juice and cook until it thickens.  Whisk in the eggs and cook for another minute, then remove from the heat, add the vanilla, and allow it to cool.  When it's cooled, spread it in the cooled torte shell.  Top with whipped cream, if desired, or add a little to each slice as it's served.

For a pie, this is diet food.  With only 2 egg yolks, it's pretty heart-healthy.  Mostly, it's just delicious.

Happy Monday, everyone!  Maybe I"ll get back to regular posts one of these weeks!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Plugging Away...

Well, the great news is that the ceilings upstairs are replaced.  Priming and painting will be done by Monday or Tuesday; I still have walls that look nasty which need to be sanded and painted, but haven't hired anyone for that yet.

The other great news is that we got our carpet samples in today.  Now, to dream of what we will use to recarpet the rooms which were water damaged....

They are all so pretty!  It's always fun to dream about the finished space, and what we want it to look like.

Happy Thorsday, everyone!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Happy Friday!

My dearly beloved's birthday was Wednesday, so, of course, we had a special birthday dinner: shrimp scampi.

I know it's traditionally served over pasta, but I chose white rice.  Ryan whined, while he gobbled up every bite.  A nice big salad rounded out this meal. 

Of course, even men who don't celebrate their birthdays, leading some of their children to call and wish them a happy income tax day or happy random Wednesday, need birthday cakes.  For my dearly beloved, of course it had to be Lemon Sponge Cake, which is his favorite cake.  (Plus, it's low calorie and lower in cholesterol, balancing out the high cholesterol shrimp.)

Ryan and Mark didn't even attack it the next morning, leaving it for their father to enjoy.  (And the pretty gold plate upon which it sits was a gift from my oldest son for Christmas; no time like a birthday for the first use of a fancy new cake plate.)

Happy Friday, everyone!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Garden Tuesday: Major Winter Storm?

So, when I was watching the 11PM news last night, the lead story told us about a major winter storm approaching, which would hit us this afternoon.

And then they told us that this major winter storm will give us at least an inch of snow, maybe 1-1/2 inches!

Oh, bother.  Our great good fortune in having a mild winter has caused the weather forecasters to lose their minds.

Here's the result of this major winter storm, right in my own back yard:

Yep, they nailed it when they said we would get an inch of snow.  But my roof is closed up tight, and so now I don't care.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Wednesday Miscellany

Real life conversation over dessert last night:

Hubby: "Cut my dinner in half from now on.  I'm too fat."
Me: "Dinner is not your problem."
He: "What, then?"
Me: "Your new junk food habit."
he: "Junk food?"
Me: "Pretzels, chips, pub mix, etc."
He: "That's not junk food.  The doctor told me to eat more salt."
Me: "He meant to salt your vegetables, not eat pretzels."
He: "Well,  pretzels have no calories."

Men have no idea how to diet.

The back of my attic is being closed in this week, and next week we should get ceilings in the last 2 bedrooms and bathroom.  Under the tarp is all that's left to complete outside!  Some day we will be ready for carpet! (Of course, the roof is just being shingled; the new slate will have to go on in the spring, since it takes 8 weeks to order and no one wants to work on a roof in snow.)

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Merry Christmas, Part Deux

As promised, pictures from Christmas here in our little corner of the world.

 Tank got a fox for Christmas.  It had 9 squeakers; he'll have weeks of entertainment dismantling it.  But no stuffing, so that's one mess Jeff won't have!
 The girls deemed that I should continue with Christmas stockings, so Dan and Jeff hunted up a dozen.
 I made spritz cookies for Christmas.  Everyone loved them. (For once, the girls were not all here at a time when they could make cookies.)
 Adventure Beagle sported a spiffy sweater.  She also tried to take the fox, which Tank had carefully placed beside my chair for safekeeping.
 Christmas brunch included not only all of these baked goods, but Jeff scrambled up 3 dozen eggs.

 Tank knows the Great Red Protector is a sucker for feeding dogs.  And he wore his red tie for Christmas.  Many folks thought that was preferable to the jingle bells he had attached to his collar for the season.
 My son in law with his Christmas crown, which everyone got from their Christmas Crackers, but most folks didn't wear.
 Adventure Beagle just kept hopping into people's laps.
 See? Here she is helping out with a game of Boggle.
And, of course, the Christmas feast: standing rib roast (10 ribs), rice pilaf, steamed broccoli, corn.  2 kinds of cake for dessert.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Yes, I know I'm late by about a week.

I was going to post last week, and tell you about the pies I made for the carpenters who have been doing an outstanding job on reconstructing my attic.

And I was going to post a picture of my menu, which picture is now lost somewhere.  Oops.  It wasn't very detailed, anyway: just the main dish, maybe with the starch if I felt that was absolutely the correct starch, and me expecting to wing it with everything else.  It worked; no one starved.

And I was going to tell you about Kellie's nice boyfriend sending this, with the note: "To all, because the M. women love their cheese and the M. men will eat anything."  He figured us out in 3 short days, when he was here for Shannon's wedding.

And Shannon's new mother in law bought us a dozen ornaments, to help replace the ones we lost.

But, really, for me, everything else became just icing on the cake on Christmas morning.  You recall that all of our Christmas stuff was lost save our silver plated Christmas ornaments.  And I was most upset about losing my Christmas tree skirt, which the girls and I had embroidered in 2000.  My dearly beloved said, "Well, just tell them to make new quarters, and make a new tree skirt!"  They are adults, and I couldn't make such demands on their time.

But they did it of their own accord.  And I almost cried.  Great tears of joy welled up in my eyes, and in the back of my throat.  These 3 fabric quarter circles might just be the best present ever, because it was the gift of their time.  And now I"ll have to design and create my own quarter, and we will have a new tree skirt for next year.

More pictures another day.  Merry Belated Christmas.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas Prep

So, Ryan wandered into the breakfast room a little while ago, toting a red plastic bag, and announced that we need to put up our Christmas tree tonight.  He then dumped the bag out on the table in front of me, and told me that the sisters and brothers had gotten me some new ornaments to help rebuild our collection.

My kids are the best.

I hope all of you are well prepared for Christmas, and not feeling crunched by the holidays!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Things We Found In the Fire

The day after the fire, Ryan went to the attic in search of our dated Christmas ornaments.  He found all but 2 (which I have purchased at absurd expense, so my set is complete).

This one was not one of my regular ornaments, but a commemorative flat ornament from our community center at the bottom of the hill, where our daughter's reception was held.  I cleaned it up somewhat after the fire, but you can see what I was working with.

 I then proceeded to clean up 36 of these:

Just FYI, if you put foil in the bottom of a pan, add a generous handful of baking soda and half fill the pan with water, you can boil silverplate clean.  That's right.  Some required just a quick rinse in clean water, some needed a little buffing with a dry towel, and the very worst (looking like my poor brass ornament) had to be boiled for a long time, then polished pretty hard, but they all came out looking pretty good.

I was delighted when I realized that I had put my grandmother's glass icicles in my dresser drawer for safe keeping, so they were not destroyed in the fire.

Ryan was very saddened to find just his name off his Christmas stocking, and I nearly cried last weekend when I realized that the Christmas tree skirt that the girls and I made back in 2000 was burned up.  Some things can never be replicated.

On the plus side, after firing 2 subcontractors, we finally have a guy who's actually getting some lumber in the air, and we now have about 1/3 of the roof replaced.  Heck, we might even have another bedroom back in service by Christmas!  I'll be cleaning that carpet and painting that ceiling this weekend, so we shall see.

Happy weekending, everyone!  Take a little extra time to enjoy the things you've had for a long time, which hold memories for you, and be happy for me that some of my memories were found after the fire.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Thanksgiving Recap

Yes, I know I should have done this last week.  But with the rebuild....well, let's just say you should all be glad you don't live in my house.

First up, on Thanksgiving morning the boys, led by Dan, rebuilt our dining table.


 The reason the holiday had to go on, regardless of fire and flood...

 This kid is an exchange student from Norway, living with Scott and Erin for the year.  He bought this sweater as a competition with his family for the best "Ugly Christmas Sweater".  I love it.  And I'm glad we've provided yet another person from overseas with a very unrealistic picture of what Thanksgiving in America is like!

Tank and Lily, AKA Bat Dog and his trusty sidekick, Adventure Beagle:
 And, of course, dessert.  There were multiples of all except the cake, so I didn't bother to photograph all of them.

So, we looked respectable enough to hold Thanksgiving; now it's time to see how we will do with Christmas!  Happy Wednesday, everyone.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Thanksgiving Must Go On!

We are soldiering on.  And while we still have holes in our roof, it is getting replaced (albeit at an insufferably slow pace - 5 weeks to completion my arse).

We peeled down wallpaper in the foyer and in many places upstairs so the walls would dry out.  That left us with ugly walls (duh).  So my oldest daughter decided to assist me with repainting the foyer.

And while we didn't do a good job on making the wall smooth (and I should never ever ever have let her buy semi-gloss paint), it now looks quite reasonable.  I decided on a dramatic color: Ryan likes it, Mark hated it but then decided it was a good look, and I think hubster is still on the fence.  But save the tarps to protect our waterstained carpets (which we will ultimately replace), this room actually looks reasonable.

My dining room also took a ferocious fire hose induced rainstorm.  Our chair seats were really damaged - but, hey, they were white 26 years ago, and 26 years of kids using them for every holiday did take a toll on them.  So I ordered fabric to reupholster them, and when Cass was here this weekend, she disassembled the chairs and I reupholstered them.  Her Daddy's job was to test the seats and make sure they were comfy.

Those of you with eagle eyes (or maybe just paying a little attention) will notice that my dining room table is in 3 pieces, dismantled by the firemen so they could tarp it.  That's OK; it will be a fun Thanksgiving morning project for our sons: reassemble the table, or we're all hunching around the kitchen counters to eat!  (And notice that the ceiling is not in any of these pictures, because it needs minor repair/repainting, but we are prioritizing the roof before finishing inside).

And, lastly, here's the menu for the week.  It's very fluid, meaning that if I don't get to things (because I still have to reassemble 3 rooms downstairs), I won't get to them.  Thanksgiving will go on.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone; be happy that your home is intact, your family is safe and well, and that you are loved.  And know that I appreciate each and every message of support from you, much more than you can imagine!