Friday, January 30, 2015

The Birthday Week

Hubby had his 60th birthday this week.  Yesterday was the last day of his 'birthday week'!  This is an old tradition in our house that started when the kids were little.  Back then Hubby was working nights for about 9 years of the kids growing up time.  Very cool when dad is home in the middle of the day when you get home from kindergarten but hard to plan a birthday party in the middle of the week for that birthday child.  We started having 'the birthday week'!  For a whole week the birthday child was special, he got first choice of cookies, he got to win an argument or two, and we picked a day for the birthday party that may not have been the actual birthday but a day when daddy was home.  The birthday boy got to pick the dinner menu for his birthday meal and then there was usually company consisting of grandparents. (who were still employed back then and grateful for the weekend rather than weeknight parties)

So here we are - the baby is 26, middle just turned 28, and the oldest is 32, hubby just turned 60 and we still do 'birthday week'.  I have been informed by my daughters in law that their men (they really are just big boys aren't they?) need birthday week!  In all fairness hubby does birthday week for me as well so it is not one sided! 

60 is a BIG birthday, sort of, it seemed like a huge one a few years ago and now it just doesn't seem that old! (how convenient for us, yes?)  All the ads say 60 is the new 40 (told hubby that means I'm only 38!) but we are beginning to feel like maybe it's not 40!  :)  I asked Hubby what kind of cake he wanted and this is what he came up with - try to keep in mind the man is diabetic - a French vanilla cake in two round pans, with a cream cheese frosting in the middle, and coconut pecan frosting on the top!  It tasted wonderful (really what's not to like!) but I could only eat a few bites here and there, it was that rich!  I took him out for lunch twice, we went to the local 'senior center' for lunch one day with our friends, made a trip to Harbor Freight (a discount
tools store that has all sorts of cool things and coupons for free gifts every time you go in! Don't laugh, I got a 5 shelf dehydrator for $20 there!)  a homemade footstool cover for under his desk -oh- and ice cream!

So now we are back to our regular middle of winter, but the birthday week gave us a little boost!  Oh yes- we also signed up for a gardening class to be given in February while we were at the Senior/Rec Center! 

We have our chips and dips and pizza ready for the "Super Bowl" on Sunday and the Broncos are not playing so I can watch the game without worrying about my blood pressure!  Life is good!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Freedom of Speech

I usually don't get too political or comment on too many current events as that is not the reason I started doing this, and I know that everyone has an opinion and they might not match mine, I am even aware that I could be wrong!  Seriously - it could happen!  However, once I say that - you know I am going to violate the rule yes?

I ran across this post from not too long ago on facebook - someone I know had shared it, and after I read it I was impressed with this woman's thought process and attitude, and I thought it was well written.  In a nutshell she was convicted that wearing yoga pants as pants was not modest and her faith required her to change her ways.  At the top of her blog post she had written that she was not advocating for others just sharing her own personal decision.  Within days she is the center of a firestorm of controversy and has even been on morning TV shows because she made a personal decision...and then shared it.

I have friends who are LDS, Catholic, Mennonite, Baptist, Methodist etc.  We all believe in modesty and follow that belief a little differently from each other.  I am at that age where folks would rather I was modest!  I admit there is something unsettling about that older woman with the crepe paper chest showing her cleavage!  But she can - and I say nothing.  I have recently gone from attending a church where most of the women wear slacks to one where most of the women wear dresses (I grew up with this) and I am comfortable both ways. When we go to the kids church there are shorts and flip flops and jeans and loud music and lots of wonderful people and I enjoy it immensely. (a couple of times a year)  This is not about this woman's choice of outerwear!!  It is about all those who think she is wrong and must tell her so!  All those who think she gave her opinion and is telling them what to do!  Maybe a few who felt guilty?
All of us here in the 'blogiverse' have a group who read our posts, family friends and anyone we can convince.  :)  Those who follow us are generally those who agree or have something in common with us.  Occasionally I hit the little 'next blog' arrow and see what is there, if I don't like it I move on!  When did not agreeing with me become a reason to bully you?  If you don't agree with me you are welcome to leave a comment but be respectful, disagree and move on. 

There is a lot of talk about 'Freedom of Speech' lately, the terrorists and Charlie Hebdo in France, and a lot of folks are saying that the magazine brought it on themselves for printing something that offends someone else.  It is an easy thing to think, I admit that I sort of think if your gonna do something you should be prepared to pay the consequences!  I'll stand by that, there are always consequences, but not death for a
cartoon that is offensive, because someone might decide that your blog post was offensive, your song, your dress, your yoga pants!  The beautiful speech doesn't need protecting, it is the ugly, the harsh, the unpleasant speech that needs to be protected.  Lovely speech or the speech of those who agree with us is very safe isn't it?  It is the speech of those who challenge long held beliefs, of those who differ politically, of those who speak in a manner I find unsettling that needs to be protected.  There was a time when speaking ill of the church could be fatal, when cursing the King could get you sent to South Carolina or Botany Bay!  There was a time when wearing bright colors got you kicked out of the puritan colony, when speaking out against slavery or the treatment of indigenous peoples would get you in trouble.  That is the speech that needs to be protected.  I may not change my mind and I can and will turn off the radio station playing that song I dislike the lyrics to, but it has a right to be there...because pendulums swing, and I want to be protected when my speech is offensive to someone.

So if you don't agree, don't like it, despise the opinion.....just go on, move along, go away, don't subject yourself to another minute of it! How in the world did we get to the point that we have to call terrorism 'workplace violence' but crawl all over someone who disagrees with us.  We have to be careful how we depict someones prophet and yet we have teenagers committing suicide because they are bullied on facebook for no reason.  It makes me sad, we have lost the ability or the desire to be polite to each other, our world leaders even get involved in this rudeness mania. 

I have no solution, I can only affect my corner of the world - and I will try to be polite in response to irritation, pleasant to someone who seems harried and smile at everyone I can.  I will try to remember that the world does not revolve around me, and that others have the right to differ. 

Ok I'm done Ranting, you are free to disagree if you like....politely please!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Cozy Time!

It is cold outside and the holidays are past.  This is the 'deep midwinter' of song.  This is the time of year when we keep the curtains closed and the wood stove burning all the time.  This is also my favorite time of year for baking as the excuse to turn on the oven and get a little warmer is too good to pass up.  It has nothing to do whatever with our sweet tooth issues! Tonight it was a recipe that we just call Grandma's Brownies as it is a recipe from my dad's mom grandma K.

This is obviously a well used recipe card, yes?

Grandma Kiehn's Brownies

2 eggs
1 cube butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 Tbsp Cream (Coffee-mate, or non dairy creamer  works)
2 squares baking chocolate (sweetened, semi sweet, or unsweetened, they all work)
¾ cup nuts (optional)

Melt butter and chocolate squares over low, low heat, cream together the rest of the ingredients add melted butter and chocolate, fold in nuts last. Bake at 325º for 25-30 minutes in a 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan. Frosting is also an option. This recipe doubles well in a 9x13 pan.  I always double it and do 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Note: Grandma beat her brownies by hand, I use a hand mixer, the texture is a little different but they taste the same!

The butter and chocolate melt over very low heat, I usually start this going first and then get the rest going, stirring here and there.

I mix together all the other ingredients except the nuts.  If you are a fan of softer and gooier then you may want to beat by hand.

Add in the melted butter and chocolate and then by hand mix in the nuts if you want them.  I used to make them without nuts as one of the kids was allergic.  We are back to nuts.... in our brownies, not our minds...sheesh!

I spray the pan with cooking spray and test with a toothpick in the center - when it comes out clean they are done.  Sometimes we frost them, hubby likes them with ice cream and chocolate syrup, I like them plain.  They would probably store well if there were ever any beyond a day or two!

This is easy peasy sweet treat stuff, so enjoy!

That recipe card has been around for 35 years as it is one my mom put in a recipe box for a bridal shower for me way back when.  As I'm thinking about it I will suggest that it is an awesome shower gift to give the new bride all her favorite recipes as she gets ready to get married.  I still use mine and it is full of memories now, in fact after grandma K had passed away no one could find one of her recipes and there it was, my copy, in my little box!  Food for thought!  (pun intended)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Monthly Nine Link Up

December is such a busy month and hubby added the flu to his list of things to do!  Set us both back a little.  We did not go to see the kids so we had to get gifts ready to mail in time for them to get to them.  Here is how it went-

We did the same thing for Christmas this year as last and had invited a group of 'orphans'; friends of ours who weren't getting together with family on Christmas over to eat dinner with us.  The flu bug ravaged our area recently and so we were just 5 of us but we had a wonderful time of visiting and laughing and eating.  We had ham and scalloped potatoes and a lovely salad and herbed rolls with herbs that all came from the garden!  We had 3 kinds of pie and 2 kinds of cookies and fudge!  I agree with Linda - you can never have too many desserts!

Prepare- We have finally gotten enough meat in the new freezer that  we could survive a blizzard/power outage/emergency of some sort for awhile.  There of course are also veggies and stuff but the meat was taking time and money and had to be done a little here and there.

Reduce- We just don't generate that much trash between the two of us these days.  I will share our winter toilet paper roll using - in the winter when we have the wood stove going all the time, it hardly goes out but when it does  (or when we need to clean out the ashes and restart) hubby takes some newspaper, rolls up pine needles inside like a burrito and puts them inside the toilet paper rolls that are empty that we save all year.  Pine needles are great tinder items and hubby rolls up a bunch of these and we have them in a Rubbermaid bucket near the wood so they are made and handy.  This is especially nice to have handy in the morning when it is 48 degrees in the house and hubby wants to run out and stoke the fire and run back to the bed!

Green- I don't know if it counts if our motives are not pure - we reuse Christmas bags!  It started when the kids were in grade school and we started buying gift bags instead of wrapping paper, then it became a joke to get the gift bag back with a new tag and then it became a contest to see who could get the most gifting out of the bags.  There are bags that have assumed legendary status as they were given first by family members no longer with us. We now have bags that have been 'in circulation' for nearly 20 years.  That is reusing!!!

Grow- Since it is the middle of winter and it is cold and I view this as my season to sit and craft to my hearts content we are trying to not grow

I got all the kids gifts made this month and wrapped and in the box for the last day to mail for guaranteed delivery and realized I had forgotten to take photos!  So I will list - 2 shutterfly projects, 2 pairs of pj pants (suitable for wearing to Walmart), 1 pj pants and 2 little shirts for the grand-baby, crocheted hair scrunchies, a warm vest to wear under shirts at work outdoors, and a kilt.  (that last was a special request and the oldest kid will probably wear it!)  I will also re-share my 'grandma afghan' from my last post cuz I'm just so darn proud of it.  The story that goes with it is in last post listed.

Discover- Sigh... the first seed catalog came in this December, many happy hours of searching out the next years garden are in the offing.

Enhance- We were able to take food to several of our housebound, sick friends - the sort of ring the bell and set it inside the door so as to avoid germs thing, hubby made his famous chili and we had cookies to go along.

Enjoy-  My dear friend Anita took our Bible study group to a Saturday matinee of a local theater group that the rest of us didn't even know was there and we had a huge amount of fun.  The play was fun and the actors were great and the company was of course terrific!

I am hoping that next year we will go to see the kids (ok the grand kid!) for Christmas but this year we had to be content with photos.

At least Miss Lily enjoyed what we sent, even if not quite the way we anticipated!  Ain't that just the way it goes - you buy 'em gifts and they play with the boxes!

Don't forget to check out the other bloggers in our little group here Monthly Nine Link Up

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Auspicious Starts

I wanted to begin this new year with a good start, something positive in a sea of negative happenings in the world.  So for several nights after Christmas and before New Years Eve I got busy and did a lot of crocheting.  I got the "Granny Blanket" done! 

To review - the yarn belonged to my 102 year old Grandma Nellie who passed in November.  She and my mom had been cleaning out her craft cupboards and sent me a pile of yarn and when I went to help my mom care for her in August we had found a few more balls that I crocheted together while sitting and visiting with her.  She liked the pattern of the 'granny squares' and the idea of the afghan.  As I crocheted the squares after I came home I would often think of her and say a little prayer for her and my mom and aunts as she approached the end of her life.  There was no rhyme or reason to the yarn, it was just 'ends and pieces' of stuff she had used for years.  I really thought it might be fairly ugly with all the disparate colors going on.  I am so pleased with this silly thing, the colors are not hideous, the pattern is attractive and there was enough left over to do a border and it turned out fairly good size.  (On a side note I pulled out all the delicate or thin or summery colored yarn and will find another project for that stuff)

The unveiling:

 It nearly covers the washer and dryer
There are only the four corner holes in each square so it will be warm!

I really am pleased with the look of the 'single crocheting' the squares together rather than stitching them, I think it has a 'blanket stitch' kind of look to it.

So I am off to a good start for my year,  I have a lovely memory and a completed project that will spend a lot of time in January spread across knees as the temps are staying pretty low here, it was 6 degrees (F) last night (about -14C) and a throw over the legs is going to be very welcome!  (The pattern is free on the Red Heart Yarn website under the name 'Monkey Around' baby blanket.  I just liked the solid squares!)

Happy New Year to all of you and prayers for a blessed 2015!