Wednesday, April 26, 2017


So, we went to see Nora in the NICU again Saturday, and this time her granddaddy held her (despite his protests that he's too big and clumsy to hold a 4-1/2 pound infant).  And guess what?  She was medically cleared to go home today!

She had to have a special car seat, of course, rated for infants down to 4 pounds.  It was still too big for her.  But she'll get there.

All is well; all of our family is home, and life is as it should be.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy Day After Easter!

Some of the family came for Easter weekend, including Maddie.  It was a busy, loud weekend, as one might expect.  Shannon didn't come up, but I didn't expect her.  On the preemie front, Nora hit 4 pounds on Good Friday!  Looks like she might well be out of the hospital by the end of April.  What a girl!  She's allowed to wear clothing now, since she only has a couple of monitor wires on her.

Of course, I made Hot Cross Buns.  Only 32 this year.

I added 2 tablespoons of shortening to my recipe this year, and they stayed soft for 2 days.  It was amazing!  Of course, only 3 Hot Cross Buns lasted 2 days, so I don't know if that was a representative sampling of just luck...

Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

More on the April Fools Baby Shower

So, Shannon's baby was due on May 29th.  And her baby shower was on April 1st.  The perfect theme arose: "April Fools Day Shower!" (Photo cards compliments of her doting Aunt Cass.)

Yep, she went into labor on a Monday night, and the doctors couldn't stop the labor, but delayed her long enough to administer steroids for the baby's lungs.  And on Wednesday, in the wee hours of the morning, Nora Brooke arrived.  All 3 pounds, 9.5 ounces of her.

 I went and saw her Saturday morning, before the shower.  She isn't hooked up to tubes or anything, other than the feeding tube so she doesn't "waste calories eating."  She did lose 5 ounces, but she's back up to her birth weight as of yesterday.

Nora is perfect, other than having arms the size of a chicken wing and otherwise being just so frighteningly small.  She was 2 full months early, so this is a miracle!  Preemies usually stay in the hospital until their due date, but her doctor thinks she might be able to go home after only 4 weeks, and at least one nurse was speculating it might be only 3 weeks.  We're not even thinking that such a thing might happen.  (The wires attached to her are all monitors.  Even at 3 days old, she only had a feeding tube.)

But Nora is healthy, and strong, a good wiggler and kicker, and that's huge.  So my family is one tiny person larger as of 8 days ago, and the baby shower was the oddest and happiest ever!

Happy Thorsday, everyone!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

An April Fools Baby Shower!

My oldest daughter's baby is due May 29, so, of course, the expectant Grandmas got together to plan a shower back in January, and we settled on the date of April 1.  April seemed not too far in advance, sandwiched in nicely between Kellie's wedding and the celebrations beforehand, and so we went full steam ahead.  Actually, I had next to nothing to do with the shower; it was all Diane, with my daughter Cass, who lives right there, keeping a lid on her so she wouldn't go too overboard.  It was held down where the girls live, 2.5 hours from my house, so I was just a guest.  But that was fun!

 Decorating onesies with fabric paint is Cass' and Diane's favorite thing to do.  I believe there were 40 of them.
 There were a few men there, because Chris wanted to come.  So Jeff, Wes and Scott came for moral support (Scott being the son of the close friend who's here every Thanksgiving; the kids consider him some sort of undefined cousin).
 See? Jeff clowning around and Wes being his usual smiley self!
 Diane had the event catered, and the finger foods were good.  Cass created an ice cream bar later, because Shannon just adores ice cream.

This cake was made from diapers.  Diane did this for a co-worker of hers, and loved it so much that she did it again.  I understand it took about 120 newborn sized diapers.
 Opening presents
 What, you didn't think you wouldn't see my other two beautiful daughters, did you?
Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Belated Birthday Report!

My first beautiful granddaughter turned 1 two weeks ago!  And I have been remiss in reporting.  My excuse'll get back to you on that one.

Anyway, I made a great cake!
Maddie's mommy loves elephants.  So there you have it: why an elephant is on a baby girl's cake.

 Uncle Ryan and Uncle Mark chose this big friendly caterpillar for her.
 He was more appropriately sized for Uncle Jeff, who's always happy to clown around.
At my insistence, Maddie got to check out her cake.
 Tank was ready to help with cleanup, if needed...

 ...and it was!
So, it was an exciting day!

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Blizzard Update Number 2

Jeff brought Tank up this weekend to play in the snow.  After all, it hasn't snowed this much since March of 1993, and Tank can't wait another 24 years for a blizzard.

We didn't get plowed out until Friday late afternoon, and Jeff was kind of disappointed.  I told him to go ahead and try driving his Jeep over the snow bank and down the long, unplowed part of the driveway.  These are Jeff's pictures, because you know I wasn't out there tromping about in over 2 feet of snow just to take pictures of a fool trying to get his Jeep stuck.

And Tank had a marvelous time in the snow.  Since he is now a 100 pound dog, and he's sunk into the snow, you can get an idea of just how deep it was.
 Did you like how he caught that snowball there?

 And he found a stick!  I don't quite know how he did that, but good for him.

And, yes, I know it's not like where Sue grew up, in northwest New York.  But lake effect snow is unlike anything anyone ever sees.  There's a reason people move from Buffalo to warm places like Pennsylvania.

Baby Madeline was here for her birthday, too, but those are pictures for tomorrow!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Blizzard Update Number 1

as of 1PM, we have a good 2 feet.  And it's still snowing.

This porch has a roof.  That snow isn't supposed to be there.
 Looks like I'm not opening this door without bringing snow in.
 See those lumps out there?  Those are cars.  Cadillacs and a Chevette, to be precise.
 See the dark smiley looking thing next to the tree?  That's a picnic table.  The table part.
 And I sure as anything am not opening the front door.
 I cleared 4" off the porch at 4AM, and the porch is 4" below the doorsill upon which I stood the yardstick.  You do the math.

The planter in the middle of the courtyard is a lot shorter today.

So that's the snow.  It's supposed to continue for some hours yet.  Good thing I don't need to get out in order to celebrate Pi Day!

Happy Snowy Garden Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Before the Blizzard

Just a drive-by posting to let you know we are all well.  A couple of issues around here have kept me tied up, but everything's resolved at this point.

Meanwhile, we're squarely in the path of the Nor'easter bringing a blizzard to the northeast, and expecting up to 2 feet of snow.  No matter; we got a food delivery Friday.  My generator is at the ready.
 I even swept the snow away from it, in case I need to fuss with it.  But the panel says it's ready to start up when the power goes out (which the TV is promising it will do).

And I have a car parked next to the street, in case we need to leave in an emergency before the plow man gets here.  Since the snow isn't supposed to stop until late Tuesday or even Wednesday, that is a possibility.

So, bring on the blizzard; I'm not scared!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Strawberry Chiffon Pie for Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day was cold and windy.  What else is new: it's February, after all!  But at least we didn't have a repeat of Valentine's Day 10 years ago, with a blizzard dropping 2 feet of snow upon our weary heads (followed by blizzards on St. Patrick's Day and Income Tax Day.  What a year).

So, for Valentine's Day, I bought the boys chocolates.  But they aren't good for my dearly beloved, so I made him a strawberry chiffon pie.  Yes, this is the taste of summer in the dead of winter, using those frozen strawberries I always have in my freezer, and lightened up in the calorie department (at least a little bit).

Pie crust, baked and cooled (store bought, or my "Best Ever")
20 ounce bag frozen whole strawberries

1/4 cup Stevia
1 envelope plain gelatin
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
3 egg whites
3/4 tsp cream of tartar

1/4 cup Stevia
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp strawberry extract
1/4 cup sugar
In a saucepan, stir together the gelatin and 1/4 cup sugar. Add the 2/3 cup water, and heat while whisking until the sugar dissolves and the mixture simmers. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Pour 1 cup of the strawberries into a cup, and set aside. Thaw the remaining berries somewhat (I left mine in the bag on the counter for 30 minutes). Pulse these strawberries with 1/4 cup stevia in your food processor until they are crushed but not pureed, or mash with a potato masher.

After the gelatin mixture has cooled a bit and somewhat thickened, stir it into the strawberries and set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat the 3 egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff, then add 1/4 cup sugar one tablespoon at a time. In another bowl, beat the cream until it thickens; add the strawberry extract and the last 1/4 cup stevia and beat until thick.

Slice the cup of strawberries you've set aside thinly (I used my food processor, of course). Stir the mashed strawberries into the whipped cream. Fold in the egg whites. Top with the sliced strawberries. Spoon this mixture into your baked and cooled crust, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until it firms up. Fair warning: If you decide you can only wait an hour, your slices won't look pretty. Trust me.  (I actually put mine in the freezer for 2 hours, and it looked beautiful being served.)

Note: If you don't have Stevia, or don't worry about the excess calories, then use sugar instead of the Stevia.  It will taste the same either way: summer on your plate!

Everyone had a small slice of the pie for Valentine's Day, but I left the second half for my dearly beloved, and he's eating one slice per day, so it will last for 4 more days.

I hope you all had a day full of love, flowers and decadent desserts!  Happy Thorsday, everyone!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Bridal Shower!

How better to celebrate Valentine's Day than with a few photos from Kellie's bridal shower?

I flew out at 6AM Friday, my driveway having been plowed of a foot of snow a good 6 hours before I left at 3:30AM, and it was bitter cold.  But the flights were on time, and everything went smooth as silk.

My other daughters and I decided upon an Alice in Wonderland theme, and they pretty much took point on the decorations.  I wield a mean credit card, and getting the room, meal and decor were all I needed worry about.  It all worked out well, though.

Cass and Shannon made all of these little Mad Tea Party hats for the guests to wear.  The one on the very top is a little white top hat, with "Bride" spelled out in scrabble tiles, and a veil with little jewels sprinkled on it.  The girls made sure I had one with a comb for attaching, so it wouldn't wreck my hair.
 A typical table.
 The groom's mother and me, before we donned our hats.
 This was the room, after we'd finished setup, before guests arrived.  The groom's mother was a whiz at tying bows in the chair sashes.
 Shannon came up with the red-dipped paintbrushes and pinwheels to be added to the flower arrangements.  Aren't they wonderful details?
 Kellie with her future sister in law.  Note the silly pouf hat on her head.  They were fun.
 That's Shannon and me with all of the in-laws.  They were charming ladies, and the little 2 year old girl is just adorable.  (Note that I brought her a little stuffed elephant, so we could be instant friends.  Nothing says fun to a little girl like a little stuffed animal, and I'll buy a friend if I want to.)
 I bought Kellie a Lenox china cake topper, and wrapped it for her celebration.  I figure she might as well have a good quality, permanent ornament for her house.
 Opening her presents, with help from the little girl (who will also be her flower girl).  It was a good day, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves.

Happy Tuesday, and Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!  I hope you all are spoiled by someone who loves you best of all!