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Friday, December 23, 2011

Update: A Different Kind of Christmas

Hello Friends.

I hope you are all enjoying your pre-holiday festivities.  Christmas is going to be different for our family this year.  

As many of you know, my 87 year-old father underwent back surgery earlier in the month at a Columbus hospital.  If you or anyone you know has had lower back surgery, you know the road to recovery is long and arduous.

The anesthesia and pain meds left my dad very confused and, at times, combative.  Thankfully, most of that has since worn off.    

Monday, we were able to move him to a rehab center in Marion, where we live.  He seemed very comfortable there and everyone relaxed a bit.  

Wednesday was perhaps the most peculiar day of my life.  I received a call, while I was driving to work, from the nurse at the center saying they were rushing Dad to the local ER because his breathing had become labored.  I turned around to head back to Marion and started trying to contact my brothers.  No one answered their phones so I finally called my nephew, who is a police detective and used to getting calls in the night.

When I got to the hospital BJ and Jordan were there, but the ambulance was not.  Jordan offered to drive to my oldest brother's house to awake him.  When he returned he said something is wrong with Uncle Chuck.  He is bloated and can't talk right.

I called him and his speech was slurred.  I asked him if he was ok and told him  he should come out to be checked.  

Before he could get there, some family friends came into the ER.  Their children were driving to school and the car was struck by a truck.  

Dad had sustained a small heart attack and was in congestive heart failure.  He was admitted to ICU for observation.

Chuck's kidneys were not functioning correctly due to a change in medication.  He was admitted to the hospital in a room just outside of the ICU.

The children who were in the accident are fine.  They are very sore and shaken up, but are home recuperating.    

Needless to say, Christmas will be different this year.  There will be no cookies, no big family celebration, no day of playing.  It is disappointing, but we are very thankful that everyone is healing.  

I would like to thank my Secret Santa for all the wonderful treats she sent me.  As soon as life settles a bit, I will share my box of goodies with all of you.  

Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday.  I think of you often and hope to rejoin you in the very near future.  La

Friday, December 9, 2011

It's a Girl!

Bosco has been an only pet for 8 years.  He is sweet, loving, and spoiled.  He lives blissfully at the center of our household.
  
For many months, I wanted to introduce a little brother or sister to his world.  I always thought he or she would be of the canine variety, but you may recall Bosco suffers from Cynophobia.  

 
Cynophobia:  (sī’-nə-fō’-bē-a) Noun. A morbid fear of dogs.


The Cynophobia results from Bosco’s harrowing encounter with my brother and sister-in-law’s Golden Retriever, Lola.  She was excited to see him and jumped on his little head.  Since then, he has been afraid of all dogs, including puppies.  

Last week I went on Petfinder and found the Purrrfect little sister for Bosco.  She was located at our local humane society.  Ashlee called to see if she was still available and we were pleased to find that she was.  The director at the Marion Area Humane Society suggested we bring Bosco out to see whether they would get along.  

That evening we took Bosco to meet her.  They immediately became buddies and she came home with us that night.  Without further ado, please meet Nubs, formerly known as Cinders.

Why Nubs?  This beautiful little kitten has no tail…to speak of.  There is a little nub about 2 inches long.  Thankfully, her lack of tail is not due to abuse; she was born with a bobtail.  Apparently, she came to the shelter as part of a litter in April and all her siblings had normal tails.  She was the last of the litter to be adopted.  I guess most people don’t want a cat without a long tail.  

When people ask me where we got her, I tell them I got her from the Island of Misfit Toys.  We love her and she is very happy, which is evident when she wags her little bobtail like a dog.    

She is like Bosco in many ways.  She is sweet, loving, and spoiled….BUT!  This sweet little mild-mannered kitty becomes mischievous come nightfall.  THAT is subject for another post. 
Wanna be my friend?
Do you have room in your heart for a little furry friend?  Are you unsure what to get the kids?  Are you an empty nester who needs companionship?  Visit your local humane society or rescue and bring home a sweet pet who needs a loving home.  

We’re so glad we did.

MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Black Friday 2011


Hello friends.  

I think winter is finally rearing its ugly head in Ohio.  We have been enjoying unseasonably warm weather and sunshine.  Now, it has been raining for three days and was sleeting a few moments ago.  Time to post my Days Until Spring countdown.  Alright...ALRIGHT!  I’ll wait until after Christmas before looking toward Spring....if I must.

The house is as decorated as it is going to get.  There’s just too much going on for me to go all out this year.  I just need to store the boxes and clean up after myself.  Hopefully, I can get that done before Christmas Day.  
Did you go out shopping on Black Friday?  I did for a bit.  I prefer the midnight shift so I can get done and then go home to bed.  I arrived at Kohl’s at 12:10 AM with my own shopping bag.  They were still corralling people through the doors.  It was fairly warm and everyone was courteous.  No knives or pepper spray, thankfully.

I am a strategic shopper...no browsing for me.  I know what I want before I leave the house and like a Stealth Fighter Pilot, I fly in-strike-and go.  According to plan, I flew in and within 20 minutes had zig-zagged through the store and found the items on my list.

GREAT!

Time to get in line...

There’s the line...

No wait; there’s the line...but it’s going in a different direction.  Where’s the end of the line???  After several minutes, I heard a Kohl’s associate yell the end of the line is right here.  Droves of people clamoured toward her voice.

I’m in line!  GREAT!

The line...that I was so happy to be in...wrapped around the entire store, TWICE!  Needless to say this left lots of time for browsing.  I guess browsing IS for me.  I was good and only picked up one item that was not on my list, a remote controlled car for one of my nephews.

I stood in line for an hour and 40 minutes.  I was thirsty, tired, and more than ready for bed when I got home just after 2:00AM.  Everyone was snuggled in bed except for Jordan’s girlfriend, Ashlee.  She was up and ready to out on the morning shopping shift with her aunt.  Good night Ashlee.  Have fun!

MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pumpkin Bread and Butter

Hello Friends.

How was your Thanksgiving?  Did you get your fill of turkey and stuffing, potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie and whipped cream?  Our family certainly did.  


I have two recipes that I came across from Better Homes and Gardens.  Both are delicious and go hand-in-hand like bread and butter...pumpkin bread and pumpkin butter that is.  


I have two recipes that I came across from Better Homes and Gardens.  Both are delicious and go hand-in-hand like bread and butter...pumpkin bread and pumpkin butter that is. 
 
The coffee is on and I still have some pumpkin bread and butter in the fridge so have a seat and share some with me. 

Double Decker Pumpkin Bread
4 Ounces Cream Cheese
1/4 Cup Sugar
8 Ounces Sour Cream
1 Egg
2 Tablespoons Crystallized Ginger, finely chopped
3 Cups All-purpose Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
4 Eggs
15 Ounce Can Pumpkin Puree
1 Cup Oil
1/3 Cup Water

Preheat oven to 350* F.  Spray the bottom of 2 loaf pans (9"x5"x3") with cooking spray.  (I line the bottom with parchment paper and then spray) 
In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar.  Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until combined.  Add sour cream and 1 egg; beat until combined.  Stir in the crystallized ginger and set aside. 
In another medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the 2 cups of sugar, 4 eggs, pumpkin, oil, and water.  Beat on low speed until combined, scraping the side of the bowl occasionally.  Gradually add flour mixture, beating until combined.
Spoon 1-1/2 cups of pumpkin batter into each prepared loaf pan.  Divide the cream cheese mixture between pans and spread evenly.  Spoon the remaining pumpkin batter onto cream cheese layer, spreading evenly.

Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.  Remove bread from pans and cool completely on wire racks.
Wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.  Makes 32 servings.
 
What is bread without butter?  No worries.  Better Homes and Gardens also had a recipe for pumpkin butter.  If you like apple butter, you will like this spicy butter.  It is such a pretty color; perfect for your holiday table. 


Spiced Pumpkin Butter
4 Cups Pumpkin Puree
1-1/4 Cups Maple Syrup
1/2 Cup Apple Juice
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 Teaspoons Ground Ginger
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Salt


In 5-quart Dutch Oven, combine all ingredients.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat.  Cook, uncovered, over medium heat, stirring frequently,25 minutes or until thick.  (If mixture splatters, lower heat to medium-low).  Remove from heat and cool.


Ladle into jars or freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch head-space.  Cover and refrigerate up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
 

These recipes are so simple and very tasty.  What a wonderful gift this pair would make for co-workers, teachers, neighbors....or yourself!  ENJOY ~
 
 MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!


 

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Rose for You

A Simple Rose
Author: Kevan Mends

A simple rose I have found
It's not the flower that grows from the ground,
Its beauty is one of such delight ...
This rose is soft to the touch in all its perfection.

The envy for all the flowers in this garden
Its fragrance will consume your every obsession.
This rose must be a gift, a gift from above
A gift from Heaven to show us love.

Every morning I wake to see its petals glisten
Its easy to see how one could be so smitten
If love was a rose it would shine so bright
Because all I need is this rose in my life.

MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Post Halloween Horror Story

Warning: This may be disturbing to some.
 
It is coming....

There is no stopping it....

It is bigger than Frankenstein....

It is more destructive than zombies...

It grounds even the nastiest witch...

Some of you have already been victimized...

WINTER WEATHER




MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veterans Day

Let's take a  moment to thank  all the brave men and women in the armed services who provide the freedoms we enjoy.


MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Blueberries.....Cream Cheese.....Coffee Cake.  I love all these things and the idea of marrying them all together sounds like a brilliant culinary idea.  

Let's bake.
Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee CakeBatter
1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter, softened slightly
2 Eggs
2 Cups All-purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Water
2 Cups Fresh Blueberries
8 Ounces Cream Cheese, cubed

Topping
1/4 Cup Flour
2 Tablespoons Butter
1/4 Cup Sugar
Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, and mix thoroughly after each egg. 

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk and water. 

Toss blueberries in 1/4 cup flour.  Fold cream cheese and blueberries into the batter.  Pour into prepared 9x13 pan.  

Combine topping ingredients and mix until it is crumbly.  Sprinkle over batter.  Bake in preheated 375* oven for 1 hour.


MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!

 I'm sharing this recipe at Potpourri Friday.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Blogger Issues

I made this banner for my blog this month.   I thought it would compliment my background.  I've been trying, FOR DAYS, to load it onto Blogger.  Each time I try, I get the following error: This image could not be uploaded due to an internal error.

Any ideas out there?

MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Signs of the Times

Hello Friends.

Can you believe it is November already?  We are only a few weeks from Turkey Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.  How exciting!

Today, I thought I'd share some signs of the times with some fall photos.  I hope you are having a fabulous fall. 
 
 
Source
MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!



Sunday, November 6, 2011

Turning 87

Caution: Poor quality photos ahead!

Hello Friends.

It has been a glorious weekend here in Ohio.  Today the sun is shining, the skies are bright blue, and there is a crisp freshness to the air.  It is an ideal fall weekend.  
Last weekend, my dad turned 87!  We gathered at my brother and sister-in-law's home for a potluck celebration of his birth.  Dad enjoyed having all his children and grandchildren together in one spot.  
The joke in our family is how Dad fixes EVERYTHING with Duck brand duct tape.  Do you have someone like that in your family?  Are YOU that person in your family?  I digress...  At Jordan's urging, I ordered Dad a special individual birthday cake to resemble a roll of duct tape.  He got a kick out that. 
After dinner, we all stuck around to watch the Ohio State football game.  It was an exciting game and Ohio State pulled out the victory with only seconds left in the game.  That was the "icing" on Dad's birthday cake. 

MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!     

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Life is a Whirlwind

Hello friends.

Yes, I am alive and kicking.  It has been a very hectic and stressful fall here.  There have been fun times with birthdays, festivals, and football.
 
Unfortunately, there have also been many health issues.  In the past couple of months:
  • Niece-in-law - shoulder surgery
  • Brother #3 - shoulder surgery
  • Nephew #2 - knee surgery
  • Nephew #1 - shoulder surgery
  • Great Nephew (age 4) - broken arm
  • Brother #3's girlfriend's son - broken foot
  • Sister-in-law - hospitalized with chest pains
Although I am not responsible for the day-to-day care of these loved ones, I don't worry any less and their illnesses have been a distraction.  I am happy to report they are all healing nicely. 

The one person to whom I am responsible for day-to-day care is my father.  He too has had some health issues lately.  At 87, I suppose that is to be expected.  In recent months, he has undergone eye surgery, his kidneys have been in distress, and he has some much needed back surgery coming up.  I was not thrilled about the idea of surgery, but the problem is diminishing his quality of life.

As if this weren't enough, our family sustained quite a scare two weeks ago when my youngest nephew (age 8), who is wiry, funny, and energetic had a seizure.  He was so brave as they poked and prodded him at the emergency room.  Thankfully, they quickly ruled out a tumor and referred him to Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus.  He has undergone tests and early indications are that this ailment can be treated with medication.  We are very thankful. 

Speaking of thankful, don’t you just love your blogging buddies?  They are the most encouraging, thoughtful, and generous people.  

Lynn always has an encouraging word to share with me when I am feeling vulnerable.  She has become a real pal in the past year.  While I was away from blogging, I received this wonderful care package this special buddy and her sidekick, Earl.
She sent me a jar of her homemade jalapeno relish.  Look at how sweetly she decorated this jar.  Does that not say Hi, I’m Happier than a Pig in Mud?!
Oh my, is it DELICIOUS!!  To my family…you won’t like it so don’t even try it.  ;o) I’ve tried it on hot dogs and in tartar sauce and it is amazing.  I may try it in my potato salad next time, if there is any left.  
Oh, and there is this sweet little sachet.  It smells heavenly.  
Thank you so much, Lynn.  YOU ARE THE BEST!   

I hope all of you are having a wonderful fall.  It is just beautiful here today.


MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Table


Halloween Greetings!

The table is set and ready for a Halloween Feast.  
The cauldrons are ready to serve piping hot Dead Sea Soup followed by Brain Cell Salad, and Cat Litter Casserole



Happy Halloween!

MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!

I'm linking up to 
Tablescape Thursday 


 

  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Getting Ready for the Three G's


Hello Friends!

We are getting ready for the 
annual visit from the three G's: 
Ghosts, Goblins, and Ghouls.  
The mumkins and scarecrows 
are in place outside.  
 They will be joined shortly by 
freshly carved Jack-o-Lanterns.
Inside, the house has been overtaken by...
 Wicked Witches, 
Rowdy Rodents, 
 and Scary Spiders.   

Are you ready for 
the little tricksters?

MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ohio Renaissance Festival

Greetings Lords and Ladies.  

Recently, Jordan, Ashlee, and I ventured into Southern Ohio for the Ohio Renaissance Festival.  Jordan and I wanted to go to this festival for years, but something always got in the way.  

This year we planned ahead and made it happen.  We got up early in the morning and drove the two hours to Harveysburg, Ohio, which sets four miles (and four centuries) west of I-71. 

As we got out of the car, we saw many people dressed in Renaissance Period garb.  These were not people dressed up for a Halloween or masquerade party, these people are lovers of history and assume a new persona.  

We were there just prior to the opening and people were gathered outside the Castle's gate.  Standing above the grated gates, the queen greeted her people.
What lay before us inside the gate was much more than I anticipated.See for yourself...

Jordan decided he wanted to join in on the fun so we stopped in at Swan Lace to get him transformed.  There was so much to choose from and as Jordan was trying things on, Ashlee and I oohed and aahed over the pretty dresses and corsets.
Check out my handsome bard.  Jordan, who is shy by nature was being coached on how to pose by this interesting gentleman.
The day we went, the festival was celebrating Romance Weekend.  While we were eating our lunch, a flower vendor came by and asked Jordan if he wanted to buy his lady a flower.  She chose a beautiful rose.   
The festival offers many of the usual fair foods of chicken strips, fries, and pretzels.  However, we opted for the specialties.  Jordan and I enjoyed bread bowls filled with beef stew for Jordan and Ceasar Salad for me.  Then Jordan and Ashlee had THE festival specialty, smoked turkey legs. 
The festival boasts 11 stages with continuous entertainment.  We enjoyed several shows, but still left a lot unseen. 

We had a lot of fun and look forward to returning next year.  We are already making plans for OUR clothes.  If your area hosts a renaissance festival, we highly recommend you check it out.  It is unlike any other festival you've attended. 


MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!


I will be linking to the following parties: