Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Life Lessons



A fellow blogger lost her husband on Sunday.
He suffered a heart attack, and he was gone...
Just like that!

We have become blogging friends over the
course of several years. I sent her my favorite
book when she was dealing with a challenge. She
made me this sign below for my blog when she
was back up again.

She writes about life and always ends her post with
"Stay on the sunnyside of life."
Her husband was her everything.
My heart breaks for her.

Sears is due to deliver a new mattress and box
springs today. At 7:30 a.m. they called to say they
only had the mattress on the truck, no boxsprings.
"Deliver the mattress anyway" I said, without
my usual moaning and groaning...

We have lots of company coming, they need a
place to sleep. As long as we're all here and healthy,
a mattress on the floor suits me just fine.

Wild Bill went to the podiatrist this morning.
His foot has bothered him for a couple of weeks.
The doctor said a couple of small bones are broken.
He needs to wear a stiff boot and stay off his feet
as much as possible. Even with company coming,
as long as we are all here and healthy,
that suits me just fine.

A friend lost her husband Sunday.

It makes you realize that as long as we are here
and healthy, nothing else really matters does it?






Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Lazy Girl's Pumpkin Cream Cake




Hey there! I'm back with another easy cake
idea based on the "one cake mix and one can of
pure pumpkin" mixture I've told you about before.

I had a hard time getting a good photo due
to lighting issues so you'll have to pretend
it looks good!

I made this cake in a 8 x 8 pan, but found
using a loaf pan really works much better
with this type of cake, so I'll stick with a loaf
pan in the future.


For this cake, use a white cake mix, stir a 15 oz can
of pure pumpkin into it. Remember...no eggs, water,
or any other of the normal ingredients.

Next, pour half the cake/pumpkin mixture into a
greased loaf pan (or an 8 x 8 pan as I did here.)

Mix a stick of cream cheese with about 1/3 cup
of powered sugar and glop it on the cake mixture
in different areas of the cake. The goal is to
make little puddles of sweetened cream cheese
around the cake mixture.

The final step is to gently cover the cream cheese
with the last half of the cake mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 35 to 40 mins.
To ensure it's done enough, stick a butter knife
into the center of the cake to see if the knife
comes out clean.

My husband really loved this version of the
pumpkin/dry cake mix recipes I've been writing
about. As I said before, I thought using a loaf pan
made a much better cake and I'll stick to making
these in loaf pans in the future.

Thanks for dropping by.






Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day 2014



When I added it up, I realized it's been
45 years since I joined the Air Force in 1969.
Wow, that makes me feel old.
Of course I was just a baby then...
I joined because my family was extremely
patriotic and there was a war going on.
Both of my older brothers had already enlisted.

I had no clue what an Air Traffic Controller
did, but 8 months later I was one.

As the first female controller stationed overseas,
(18 months at Clark AFB in the Phillipines)
I was in an article in the overseas military
newspaper called The Stars And Stripes.
Today Air Traffic Control is full of women,
but being one of the first meant always being the
only woman at work or in meetings.

My father-in-law is one of the real hero's in our
family. He was at the frontline, in the trenches,
at the Battle of the Bulge during WWII. 

My own father lied about his age and joined
the Navy when he learned his older brother Sperry
(U.S. Navy) was captured and was being held in a
prisoner-of-war camp in Japan.

My dad died over 20 years ago, but here's a picture of
him as I remember him best, taken in the early 1960's.
He loved cigars and I think of him whenever I'm
lucky enough to catch a whiff of cigar smoke.
Yes, I love the smell of cigars...


I recently discovered the Government's
website for archived records and was able
to read about my uncle's prisoner of war
camp, Fukuoka POW Camp #1
(Kashii-Pine Tree Camp), which was
on the Japanese island of Kyushu.


If  you're interested in researching about
a family member's military records,
here's the website.

Happy Veterans Day!

Many restaurants offer free meals for
veterans in honor of their service. In our
area the following are a few of those
restaurants:

International House of Pancakes
Texas Roadhouse
The Rib Crib
Starbucks Coffee
Golden Corral



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Did You Know: Starbucks



Yesterday we went to our local Starbucks.

I was craving what I call a Crap-a-chino,
(a double chocolate chip concoction) and
Wild Bill loves a good mocha.


The line was long, but I was willing to wait.
After about 15 minutes, we were handed our drinks.

I had my money out waiting to pay, but the
drive-thru window person said:

"This is on us because you waited too long"

Never has this happened to us no matter how
long the wait... I didn't know they did this.

So thank you Starbucks!

We're giving them a shout out for good
customer service.







Sunday, November 2, 2014

Places To Thrive When You're Elderly




Wild Bill's parents live in an assisted living
retirement community in our local area.

A lot of movies paint a deary picture of assisted
living for the elderly. I thought I'd share some
pictures and information to show the real concept.


 The retirement community is made up of 
apartments all inside a large building.

Each apartment has a full kitchen, washer and
dryer, walk-in closets, and its own patio or
balcony outside. 

The residents pay an "all inclusive" monthly fee,
which includes three, 3-course meals per day,
 served in this lovely dining room.

Residents can choose to sit with a larger group
or intimate tables for two or four people.



Here's our Pop with his favorite person, the
Activities Director. He describes her as sparkly!


 Each month, a special birthday celebration
is held for all the people who have a birthday
that month. Pop enjoyed celebrating his
91st birthday in October.


Meals are started with a first course served from
carts that carry several selections of fresh
vegetable and fruit salads, and many choices
of beverages.



Here's the entrance hallway.
At Christmas it's lovely with twelve very tall
Christmas trees decorated in different
colors and themes. 
On Halloween, chairs are set up to line the
walkway and residents hand out trick or treat
candy to local trick or treaters. An ad placed
in the town newspaper invites all children
in the local community to an afternoon party.

Local talent is often hired to play this piano
and other musical instruments, but anyone
willing to sit down and play is sure to get an
appreciative audience.

 The mail room doubles as a community
bulletin board to ensure everyone gets a
notification of current activities and trips.


The in-house beauty shop is popular.

The exercise room gets a morning
work out and is quiet in the afternoon.

Pop jumped on to demonstrate and
give me an "action shot" for my post.

Apartments are cleaned by the staff once
a week and everything (such as paper towels,
toilet paper, light bulbs, laundered bed linens, bus
trips to shopping and appointments, security,
emergency call buttons, coffee and snacks)
is provided.
 The glass elevator is one of many elevators
and stairways to the second floor.
The hallways are nice and wide to 
accommodate scooters and such. 

Here's my mother-in-law riding her "vehicle."

 Residents tend to personalize outside
their door for the seasons. Last Valentine's
Day our little grand-girl Lily, was featured in
her great-grandma's display.

Here's one of the outdoor court yards
just off the back patio. Residents with dogs
love to walk them under the tree-lined walks.

 This is the only picture I have of their apartment
inside.  That's Pop's recliner which often gets
as much of a workout as the exercise room does.


Hope you enjoyed the tour.

Thanks for dropping by.













Sunday, October 26, 2014

Wood Floors, A Spooky Story



Oldest daughter Jenn lives clear out in San Diego.
Her co-worker Shannon just bought an old house,
tore out the yucky carpet, and is now trying to
determine how to refinish the old wood floors.
At work Friday, Jenn's co-workers were discussing
the wood floor issue. Another girl, Anna, jumped on
Google and brought up wood floors (pictures only)
and checked out a few finishes.


When Anna found the one she liked, she told
Shannon, "here's the finish you should do".



Our daughter Jenn glanced over from her desk,
took one look at Anna's computer screen and said,
"That's my mother's kitchen!"


The girls weren't on my blog, they were on a Google
site where Anna just typed in some search words for
wood floors. 

They're in San Diego, we're in Texas.
The other girls didn't even know I have a blog.
I posted about our wood floors 2 years ago.

What are the chances?

These pictures are the ones I posted in a couple
of blog posts in November 2012. I took these
poor quality pics with my first little point-and-
shoot camera.

I thought they were good back then,
forgive me.

We still love those hand-distressed floors.
Best decision we made for the house.

Now tell me, have you ever experienced a
spooky coincidence like that?

They say there is no such thing as a coincidence.
Do you believe that?



Blogs I Party At:


http://thecharmofhome.blogspot.com/2014/10/home-sweet-home-193.html?



Saturday, October 25, 2014

Lazy Girl Cooks Chocolate Cake




I tend to take shortcuts, especially with cooking.
Here is the best chocolate loaf cake you can
make with just two or three ingredients.
I like chocolate so that's what I used today,
but you can use ANY flavor of cake mix...
and mix it up with a small can of pure pumpkin.

Be sure to use the plain puree kind marked
 "100 % PURE"
and not the one with spices in it.
That's all the ingredients you need!



Dump the cake mix and the can of pumpkin
puree into a bowl and mix it together. 
 I used a large spoon here too lazy to get out the mixer 
to show you it is so easy to mix this up.
 Oil a loaf pan with whatever you have to keep
it from sticking. I used Bakers Joy, which has an
oil and flour mixture in one quick spray.


I know I said just two ingredients, but --
there's always a but, right? --
I topped the cake off with semi-sweet choc chips.

Like it wasn't chocolate enough to begin with!
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, then start
checking the center by sticking a butter knife into
the center to see if it comes out too sticky.

You don't want it too done,
but it shouldn't be too gooey either.


You can also use other size pans like muffin tins,
mini loafs, cupcakes or an 8 x 8, but you'll have to
figure how to adjust the length of time accordingly.

I sliced the loaf in thin slices due to the richness of
the flavor. No judgement here if you want to cut
yours thicker!


I couldn't get a good picture of the sliced cake.
I'll just blame it on my kitchen, which has no
windows and dark counter tops.

Health Note Here:
Just read in the Oct 20th issue of Woman's World
magazine that pumpkin helps lower blood sugar and
may even reverse diabetes. It has lots of fiber and
nutrients that makes it so good for you.


Other Flavor Ideas:
Spice cake mix, pumpkin puree and
add dried cranberries, nuts, etc.

Carrot cake mix, pumpkin puree, nuts.

Vanilla cake mix, pumpkin puree,
drop blackberries on the top


As always, no one paid me to say this.
The brands I used were what I had on hand.
You can use any brand of cake mix, pumpkin, etc.


Thanks for dropping by!
Let me know if you think of other
combinations you think might be good.



Monday, October 20, 2014

How To Win The Contest


I was thinking of a Halloween from 31 years
ago in 1983, when the youngest was 3 and we had just
adopted my best pal, Ginger, from an event called
"Adopt A Pet In The Park"
I learned that year that it isn't always the
costume that wins the contest, it's the attitude.

We were going to a Halloween party and the
littlest wanted to be a bride -- or, more likely,
I just had stuff on hand that I thought I could
use for a bride outfit and talked her into it.

So we dressed her up.
I put her sister's old flower girl dress on her
and made her a veil out of some cheese cloth,
which I held in place in her hair with some little
fake flowers and clips. All three girls picked
some flowers and we tied them together with
some ribbon to make her a bouquet.

The only picture I have of her is after the costume 
party we attended, when she was eating her cupcake.

I had taken the veil off and tried it out on
the dog...

Now she won 1st prize in the costume contest,
but I don't think it was my dazzling outfit that 
did the trick. 

See, she got a little stage fright at the
last minute and started bawling and didn't
want to be in the contest. 

Her father (my ex) told her she had to go on
stage with her sisters and be in the parade or no
candy and treats. So, up on the stage she went
with her bouquet of flowers and round and
round in circles she walked with the other kids,
but she was bawling like crazy and acting
like she was going to her death, which made
her look just like a reluctant bride.
The audience loved it!

Everyone clapped for her, and she finally
started smiling, when they announced
that the contest winner was...
The Bawling Bride 

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Bowl Full Of Pumpkins





This bowl of pumpkins sits on the table
with a little string of lights from
last Christmas.

I filled up the bottom of the bowl with pinecones,
acorns, faux vines, and even three fake pears... 
basically anything in a shade of Fall brown.
This battery pack lasted all last December
and, so far, this past week. I buried the
battery pack down under the acorns
and pinecones.

Most nights I forget to turn it off and
still it runs day and night.
Last weekend, I saw these battery lights at Lowes.
They were in the Christmas section for $10 each.
Lowes has them with red or blue lights.

When I bought these last year at a home interiors
store, they had them in bright white (these) and
ones with a yellow cast. I wish I had bought
more of them when I had the chance.

They're great for putting on wreaths, vignettes,
or even in a bowls of pumpkins.


Thanks for dropping by!

http://www.frenchcountrycottage.net/2014/10/feathered-nest-friday_16.html





Thursday, October 9, 2014

My Kitchen Has A Hole In It




There's a hole in our kitchen...
See it?


Above the refrigerator, the builder planned
for a TV in the space. There is a plug-in
and cable outlet just waiting for a TV.

The inside of the cabinet was not finished
like the rest of the cabinets (see below)
and there are no doors like these.



Just a big hole.
We don't want to put a TV in our
kitchen. It's part of the great room and
there's already a TV across the room.

Wondering what would you do?

Bloggers always have such wonderful
ideas. Please share your best idea
with us and help us fix that hole.


Sharing at the following party: