Monday, July 27, 2015

A Couple More Books


Our book club is reading A GOOD AMERICAN. I finished it last week....but our meeting isn't until Aug 12th....I hope I remember the book by that time. 
A pregnant young woman and her fiancee sail to America from Germany in the early 1900s. They end up in the middle of America in Beatrice MO, where she gives birth to a son and they settle. Life is not easy but Frederick is a hard worker and loves America. His wife, Jette. is not quite that happy in America. He does his best to be what he thinks a good American is.
The story takes us through 3 generations; from Frederick's 2 children to his grandchildren. It's told from the point of view of Joseph, a grandson. 

I encourage reading any way you feel comfortable
Next I read FINDING ME, another book by one of the Cleveland kidnapping survivors. A story of strength, love, and hope. As a child Michelle's life is not pleasant at all, but compared to her captivity it's a piece of cake.


It's truly amazing that these 3 young women/girls have survived and not gone totally crazy. Their lives have been forever changed but their outlooks are so positive. 
A must read. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Relay For Life 2015

 I wasn't sure if I wanted to or not, but about 2 weeks before the event I decided to walk in the survivors lap at Relay for Life.
I wasn't on a team and didn't raise any money, I just walked the survivors lap and another lap with my supporters. Three of my Red Hat friends came with me. I did receive compliments on the flag I had along with me :-)

We are hoping that next year we can get a team together. We have several survivors in our Red Hat group and we also have friends who've been affected.


I am towards the front of the group...you can barely see the top of my head in the above photo.

This is the start of the relay.
The first lap, the survivors lap was at 10AM and there really were not a lot of people in attendance. I was disappointed. It was warm, low 80's....when the sun went under a cloud and the breeze hit you it was almost perfect. More shade would have been ideal.


I haven't gone to Relay for Life for many years, it used to be in the small city where I live, but this year it's in a neighboring city. Usually it is an overnight event...but it's not this year either.

We think it will be back in our city next year, that way you can go home and rest when you want and come back later for the evening events. It's usually so cool, various decorated tents, the luminaires, etc.
I've had precancerous cells and some squamous cell skin cancer  but not REAL cancer until last year so I never heavily participated before. 
It was also sad to see that the veterans who were there were all old, no young men or women participated. 
Who is going to be responsible when all the retirees are gone??? Who?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Never Again

Never Again???
What do you mean, 'never again?' I'm sure you've done something and said never again....so did you ever do it again??? Just curious.
I mean that I don't think I'll EVER prep 20 main dishes at one time, ever again.
A while back my bff had a Wildtree tasting party. Have you heard of that company? Check them out here. It's a company that offers many organic seasonings, some are low sodium and no sodium. Since I am on a low sodium diet and sooooo many foods I cook  seem bland now I decided to try them out.
One event they suggest is to get together with friends and prep main dishes. It's suppose to be more fun cooking with friends. For about $79 you get all the seasonings you need to prepare 10 meats/protein main dishes. When you're finished you'll have roughly half of your spices left to keep on hand for future use. You purchase the protein and vegetables you need, cut up what needs to be cut up, pack it up into a cooler, and head for a friend's house to prepare. Last Sunday I volunteered to have a workshop in my house. I hardly ever have parties of any kind....and I don't go to any either. 
Thankfully only 2 other friends came over here...my kitchen is small. 
We had our meats and veggies in freezer bags, added the oils and spices and sealed up the bags to freeze for use at a later date. Viola!
Half of the work is done!



Most of my friends are retired and with only 1 or 2 people in the house there's no need to prep meals for 4-6 people at a time. I thought it would be a great idea because I never know what to cook and if we only ate 1/2 of the meal I could freeze the remainder.


As usual grandson J was there to 'help'. He watches all kinds of cooking shows and likes to help in the kitchen...but is THE pickiest eater I have ever seen!
We did have fun getting together, but one gal headed home as soon as she finished so she could get her food into the freezer. Michele and Deb stayed to visit...we relaxed outside and talked.

Carolee and I did 20 meals...........not the suggested 10....it was a lot of work and a bit confusing....somewhat messy too....or maybe I am just messy....I know I am. I'm glad to have the main dishes in the freezer with only sides to make. Half of my battle is deciding what to make, but for 19 more meals I don't have much to worry about.

I've only made one meal so far and we liked it. My other friend's families all liked their meals too. A win win I'd say.

Do you cook meals ahead? Sometimes I'll make an extra meal loaf or freeze the leftovers for a later date. I do like the idea of having something in the freezer and just having to pull it out. 
Make ahead crock pot meals anyone???

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Weeds Happen

Saturday was the biennial garden walk for this area. For a $10 donation we toured 6 beautiful gardens.
I woke up to thundershowers and rain. I was so disappointed that they didn't have one last year but yet I didn't want to go in the rain. When my friend called we decided to cancel. 
About an hour later the sun was trying very hard to peek out, the rain was over. So I called our other friend who was going and asked if she still wanted to go, she did. We waited to be sure the rain was over....another of her friends picked us up and we were off to look at some beautiful gardens.
The bees loved 'em too.


Yes, weeds certainly do happen.
Under this tall weed is the sign WEEDS HAPPEN.
So is it a weed? or a flower?

This shady garden had lots of hostas.


....and a hammock, a comfy chair, a bottle of wine, a spilled glass of wine (ok, that's a fake glass of wine).

 An Interesting display.



A hollowed out log makes a great planter.



I just loved this color combination.

My husband would die (or I would) if I put an old dresser and lamp in the garden.

We saw a few bottle trees, I am not so fond of them, but I did like this peacock.

I like all of the birdhouses on top of the fence. They were made with recycled materials....a door handle, old key, etc.


This pear tree was trained to grow in an 18" wide space....yes, it has pears on it.


This yard was so me.....I could sit in that chair (cushion please) in the sun and read all afternoon. I tried to get the 3 tier display shelf in the corner for my three metal watering cans...but the homeowner wanted to keep it. 

This is part of the view from the green chairs.

Another way to use a watering can.



 I like the bottles on this old ladder.

 I think this is a Lady Slipper??? Whatever it is my good friend got a cutting from it. Yes, the homeowner was super nice and gave it to her.

 I didn't take pictures of the gardens as a whole....a regular iphone camera just doesn't do it justice. 



I hope you enjoyed this little walk around the gardens with me. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Brown Butter Cherry Bars

I made these bars last night after we had the cherries pitted. I froze most of them and saved a few just to eat. I had cherry bars for breakfast. 
I did not line my pan with parchment paper, I do recommend it. Another suggestion is to be sure to watch the butter when browning it. I burned my first batch.

Brown Butter Cherry Bars
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Crust
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup graham flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Filling
3/4 cup unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
6 Tbsp flour
1/8 tsp salt
4 cups fresh cherries, pitted
Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Whisk together flours, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Combine melted butter, sugars, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add flour mixture and fold in until incorporated. Press dough evenly into bottom of prepared baking dish and bake for 18 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes.
To prepare filling, cook butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it foams, turns clear, and then turns a deep brown, about 6 minutes. Pour browned butter into a glass measuring cup to cool slightly. Whisk eggs, sugar and extracts in a medium bowl; add flour and salt and whisk until smooth. Gradually pour in cooled brown butter; whisk until completely blended.
Pour filling over crust; arrange cherries in a single layer across the top, gently pressing them in. Bake for 37 to 38 minutes, until filling is puffed and golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Just before cutting, chill in the freezer for 15 minutes. Carefully lift parchment to remove bars from pan and place on a cutting board; cut into squares using a serrated knife. Store bars in a single layer in an airtight container in the refrigerator; let come to room temperature before serving.
Yield – 32 bars
Calories – 160 (per bar)
Carbs – 18
Here's the website where I found the recipe. Let me know if you try it. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Cherry Picking In Door County

The other day I went with a good friend and her daughter and son in law to Sturgeon Bay in Door County, WI to pick cherries. I went along with them 2 years ago also. Door county is a very beautiful, touristy place to visit. I could have spent the whole day (and more) sightseeing....but there wasn't time. We had sticky, icky, fun. We entertained the couple that was picking next to us with our lively conversation. He was from close to the area that I grew up in. It was a perfect day to pick and eat cherries. After I went to bed I thought "Maybe I ate too many cherries".



Of course we had to have a group photo.


For many of my younger years I was called a carrot top. Now I finally am one....and my hair won't cooperate.........life just isn't fair.....

Yup, I had to try this topping............it is GOOD! I highly recommend it!

I did get some of the cherries pitted and frozen. Our grandson wants to try pitting some....but he's usually over on saturday so I'll have to save a few for him to do.

This is the kind of cherry pitter I have. I think it works pretty good.
Now to do some baking.........looking forward to eating some cherry muffins. Should I drizzle some cherry caramel topping on top????

Thursday, July 16, 2015

More Bargains

The other day I did find some 'good stuff'.
The game THERAPY. 
Nope, I've never heard of it either. I just liked the box and the game board.....maybe I need a little therapy??? It would be neat to hang on a wall, I've always liked that idea....whether I'll do it or not is a different story.




I don't think I'll play it....but who knows someone here MIGHT be bored enough to try it.


I also picked up a loooooooooong valance which I will turn into a new one for my laundry room.
Two very small doilies....to be used in a craft project?
A Green Bay Packer baseball cap for one of the grands.
A barely worn pair of Champion shoes, they are a lot more comfy than my current tennis shoes. I'd like to wear them when I go cherry picking but I don't want to get them dirty...so I'll wear my old ones.
I also picked up a magazine and 2 paperback books (we donated them to one of the Little Free Libraries)

All of these treasures for $6.83

I took 2 bags of donations to the thrift store and brought 1 bag home.....at least it wasn't the other way around. 
Slowly, VERY SLOWLY cleaning up around here.

Hope you are having a fantastic week....it's going fast!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Little Free Libraries

Have you seen those small houses full of books that are popping up on the front lawns of homes/businesses around town? I have. I finally got brave and my grandson and I stopped at one on the way home from summer school last week. Now we are hooked. The Little Free Libraries are great! 


picture taken from the web site

Check them out...on the website you can put in your zip code or city and see where they are located. We stopped at one by the YMCA, one by the visitor center, and one by a residence. The one near the visitor center is pretty sad, I hope to restock it soon. It will be fun to see if the book we put in last week is still there or was taken. There's something different in every library. It's easy, you take a book out and put one back in. Monday we added 3 books to our stop but didn't find anything either one of us was interested in. Yesterday we put 2 in and found lots that we liked: a couple of magazines, an audiobook for a friend, and 2 books for me and one for him. Can you guess? It was a larger Little Library.

This is such a neat idea!!!! I'd love to do one but I don't think hubby would like it. 
You can build your own or buy one...much cheaper to build your own from recycled wood. 
I never buy new books, either I borrow from the library or buy at the thrift store. 

If you haven't stopped at one, the next time you see a Little Free Library just stop....if you need something to read grab a book....you never know what you'll find....if you have books that you are finished with add them to the library. 

Reading is a great way to spend some time and this is a fun way to recycle and get new books!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

"All You'll See Is Face"


This post may resonate more with those of you who have lost your hair for any reason. I love my new, very short hair; even though I am not sure what color it is. It's going to stay short and I'll keep the color...unless I decide to play with it at a later date, but I like the light color. It has opened a whole new color scheme of clothing for me.
Everyone who sees me tells me they love my hair and I believe them.



Anyway.........
I was walking and talking with a friend the other day, we were talking about what she wants to do with her hair. Most of my friends deal with "Should I leave it go grey?" Some don't want the hassle and expense of coloring it so they have let it go naturally grey. One friend has really pretty grey hair, another doesn't even need to cover the grey, because there is none. Coloring is not what this is about.
My friend has longish hair, past her shoulders. It's just a loose style. I told her I think she should get it cut short, really short. I guess she talked about short hair with the gal who does her hair and was told  that if she did that "All you'll see is face". Is something wrong with seeing a person's face? I have come to believe that we hide behind our hair....I did. I never wanted my ears to show, I always had some kind of bangs, I often had big hair. But I was forced to have short hair, really short hair and I love it. It's curly and so easy to take care of. I've always had a natural curl so I can't say if this is different, because my hair was never this short. I know my mom would love it too!
I loved my long hair when I had it....but those days are over. My hair was curly and red and I didn't care if people noticed my hair first, but now I want the focus to be on me, on who I am.
Does society associate long, flowing hair with youth?
 I think so and I don't believe it. Just because your hair is long it doesn't make you look young. I think a good short cut will accentuate your face and youthfulness.What's wrong with seeing your face???
A couple of months ago I attended an art night and noticed a woman who had her head shaved so I approached her as a fellow cancer patient. She wasn't, she had shaved her head a year ago for her nephew who had cancer. She loved it so much that she keeps it up. She says people notice her face now.
If you love your long hair that's ok, but don't rule out short hair and it's benefits. I'm a believer. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Quiet, Relaxing Weekend

Friday night Kev and I took the convertible out and went for a fish fry. He hadn't been driving it b/c the car was making a strange noise. When we left the bar the car seemed quiet so we drove around town and then stopped at McDonald's for dessert. What can I say???? We lead a simple life. Usually he brings a fish fry home for us but I wanted to go out. It was nice, nothing super fantastic, but nice.

Part of the weekend was spent reading.....

 in unusual places.
For the summer academy that grandson J is attending they are encouraging reading. The students in his class are playing reading BINGO. They can mark off a square for each different reading activity/place. 
This is the last week of school so he had some catching up to do. Most of his reading he did here. We read on the swings, under a tree covered up with a blanket, at our patio table. As you can see he also read in the bathtub and in a blanket fort. He likes to read, but he likes to watch TV more. 
When we finished reading on the swings at the playground across the street we picked up garbage....lots of it. The school has several garbage cans next to it but people still just drop it where they are. I am glad he wanted to help pick it up.

Most of saturday J spent in front of TV. I was busy outside and he did come out to help me plant a few things. We also played  UNO.
Sunday is when we did all the reading.
After lunch I wanted to go for a walk on the beach...(I love walking in the water at the edge of the beach) ..he wanted to stay inside so I had to bribe him with an ice cream treat afterwards.
I was a nice, warm day in TR. The water was clear and even warm, usually it's ice cold. At first he walked alongside my friend and me....


...but then he went out deeper and just walked along...singing all the way. He said it was a relaxing time. 

Yes, we got our ice cream, real ice cream, not soft serve. I got the 1/2 & 1/2 sundae....half hot fudge and half caramel with whipped cream and a cherry. I didn't take a picture b/c I didn't want to make you too jealous. 

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!
Hubby started his new job today. More about that later, when there is something to tell.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hope & The Fault In Our Stars

You are probably wondering if I do anything other than read...........not a whole lot more when it is sunny! I love, love, love to sit outside in the sunshine and read. We had a late, cold spring and now that warm weather is here I am taking advantage of 2 things that I enjoy. 
My grandson is playing reading bingo for the summer academy and one of the bingo spots was to read under a tree. So yesterday afternoon we each grabbed a book and sat in the chair under our neighbors BIG tree. It was chilly in the shade so I put on a sweatshirt and he wrapped himself in a blanket and reclined on me and we read for 1/2 hour, then we talked. It was a nice memory....for both of us I hope.

Nice segway into HOPE, huh?
This book is written by 2 of the 3 survivors from the 10 year captivity in Cleveland, OH. Amanda Berry kept a diary in a journal and on bits and pieces of paper so much of the day to day stories were documented. News reports were also used for accuracy. It's a good book and I'd recommend it. It's a story of perseverance and courage and hope. I am looking forward to reading Michele Knight's book also. 




I gave my granddaughter The Fault In Our Stars for Christmas and asked to borrow it so I could read it.
The main characters are teenage cancer patients, two of them fall in love....it tells of the pitfalls and highlights of their lives. It's sad and funny at the same time. 
It's a young adult book but was recommended by adults. I liked it.


Come back again for more book posts.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Thrift Store Bargains I Didn't Buy


I don't ALWAYS fill up my cart at the thrift store....sometimes I don't buy anything.
Here's what I didn't buy this week:
A t-shirt for my grandson......his family would take it seriously and I'd be more in trouble than I usually am .


The Natural Bra (as seen on TV). It feels kinda realish....kinda.... I did take it out of the package to check it out for you. I think you stick it onto your breasts....(embarrassing if they'd come loose.... ha ha ha). I don't need to increase my bust by a whole size so I left it there. 
A rain bonnet???
Nope, don't need one. 
One piece jammies.....maybe....
The local Red Hat groups in town are having a pj party for Halloween instead of a costume party....this could work....


Some NICE men's shoes, the pair on the right are a name brand and look almost new. I don't need any men's shoes so I passed those up also.

I hope you enjoyed browsing with me....hope I find some bargains soon. 

The weekend is upon us....yay!!!!
Hubby is bringing home fish for us tonight....another yay!!!!!