Thursday, January 27, 2011

I won!

Years ago, I found a copy of Desperation Dinners! at a library book sale. It looked like my type of cookbook and I happily snatched it up. I loved it, although I didn't always follow "desperate" techniques when I made the recipes. My frugality meant that I never bought the pre-chopped, frozen onions that might be called for in a particular recipe or used some of the other convenience items that saved time. It didn't matter to me-I may not have gotten dinner on the table in 20 minutes flat, but I was still making an easy, quick, and tasty meal. I loved their Presto Pesto Soup, my family raved about the salmon croquettes, and I finally learned how to hard cook an egg without consulting a cookbook every time.

Then (be still my heart!), they added another book which I snatched up the very first time I saw it on the shelf...Cheap. Fast. Good! Again I learned a new technique-how to perfectly poach chicken for the freezer-which was a skill I hadn't seemed to master before. I had always just started it boiling and continued cooking it until it was done. It came out dry and sometimes quite tough. Not any longer. And using that pre-cooked chicken in an adapted version of their individual chicken cobblers to make a pot pie for dinner is always enjoyed by the whole family. There's so much more to the book, of course, but those are the pages the book falls open to automatically.

So, when the Desperation ladies started a blog, I quickly added it to my google reader. They offered a giveaway a couple weeks ago and I won the drawing for a "Cooking Light" cookbook! You can read all about it here.

I encourage you to check out their books (there's also a Desperation Entertaining! volume) and visit their blog, Kitchen Scoop. I think you'll be glad you did!
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Florida bribery

I've been MIA lately because we made our annual trek to Florida last week to spend time with Clarence's folks.

While there, we were talking about some of the things we used to do during our visits when the girls were younger...we used to take bread and feed the birds down by a lake (have I ever mentioned my bird phobia? Yeah, that wasn't really my favorite thing ever), the girls always had to go swimming, we went to the playground, they went bike riding on the big three-wheel bikes, they helped Grandpa pick grapefruit from his tree, and we always went to Parkesdale's in Plant City for strawberry treats. Each year, they'd climb on the strawberry "throne" and get their picture taken.

Somewhere along the way, things changed.

Julianne now shares my bird phobia so we don't go feed the birds anymore. They still ride the big three-wheeled bikes and go swimming but Clarence helped his dad cut down the grapefruit tree this week because it was diseased. We still went to Plant City for strawberries but, imagine this, the girls did. not. want. to get their picture taken on the strawberry throne. Even though they get to wear crowns!

A little...hmm, let's call it...negotiation..made them willing to pose for me again this year. And am I ever glad for the, negotiations. Imagine how incomplete my life would be without a picture of Julianne wearing a tiara with fuzzy, pink pom-poms dangling off it!

On a more serious note, Clarence's dad, Carl, had some testing done while we were there last week. He has a consultation with a surgeon scheduled for Wednesday. We'd appreciate prayers as we don't yet know if he's a candidate for surgery to fix the heart problems he's been having.
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January Quiz

The girls had their monthly quiz this past Saturday on John 1-11. January is always a tough month for all the kids due to the holiday schedule. I'm sure our church is not the only one that seems to miss more practices than they hold. That being said, however, I thought all the kids did really well, especially coming off the holiday season.

In individual competition, Julianne took 3rd place in the Sr. Teen Vets and Allison took 1st place in the Young Teen Vet division.

In team play, Allison's team took first place. They are undefeated so far this season.

Julianne's team was back in the top spot this month, too, although they did lose one round Saturday. They also were joined by their new team member, who had never quizzed before Saturday. I hear he answered three questions in one round, which is fantastic for a brand new quizzer, especially thrown into a veteran division.

It's great to watch these kids learn and grow-and have lots of fun in the process.
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Thursday, January 6, 2011

A little wreck is a big hassle

It doesn't look too bad, does it?

We got less than an inch of snow Tuesday afternoon but it was enough to glaze over the roads. Clarence was taking a back way home, after running some errands after work. As he came through a little town west of us, a car couldn't stop at a corner he was passing and ran into him. Thankfully, they were both moving slowly and no one was hurt.

The car doesn't even look too badly damaged, really. Clarence was pushed across the street and hit the opposing curb, which bent the back wheel on the driver's side, but it still doesn't look all that bad.

Clarence put the spare tire on the back so I took it in yesterday for an estimate. That little dent, and a new wheel, will cost well over $3,000.00 to fix. It seems crazy, doesn't it? All that plastic moulding is quite pricey, I was $500 just for the gray plastic for the back door. The guy writing the estimate told me Vibes get totaled, when they aren't all that badly damaged, just because the plastic is so expensive.

Still, there is much to be thankful for...

  • Neither driver was injured.
  • The guy at the bump shop was thorough and treated me well (I always dread the way I'll be treated, being a female going into those male-dominated places).
  • The insurance people have been helpful and the process is moving along.
  • Although the car will take a week or more to fix, it looks like we'll be able to coordinate it with our trip to Florida so we will be inconvenienced a minimal amount.
  • The car is drivable in the meantime, so we don't have to alter our scheduled events.

I wish I could say I was thankful the night it happened. I wasn't. Well, I was thankful that he wasn't hurt. But, all I could think about was how much it was going to inconvenience *me* because Clarence would have to take the van to work and *I'd* be left to figure out all the details of getting it fixed, and *I'd* be the one without transportation and having to cancel/reschedule things. Pretty selfish, eh?

Finding things to be thankful for is my baby step in the right direction.

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Monday, January 3, 2011

Washer pendants

A while back, I stumbled across a tutorial for making some cute necklaces. Julianne was intrigued. We looked for the diamond glaze needed to make them at our local Joann's store but came up empty.

I managed to find a similar glaze on ebay. We added the other needed supplies and surprised her for Christmas. She was kind enough to share her supplies with the rest of us on New Year's Eve. We had fun making them and they turned out so cute!
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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

We seem to have created a tradition, without really planning to, of spending New Year's Eve at home. Part of the tradition includes my best friend coming over to spend much of the evening with us, though she usually heads home well before midnight so she can go to work the next day.

We generally end up exchanging Christmas gifts on New Year's Eve, too, as we never seem to find time prior to then. I was completely delighted with the gift she made for me this year:

If you click the picture, you can see the pansies Julianne crocheted to embellish it. I should have known something was up several weeks ago when my friend called and talked to Julianne for a while but never asked to speak with me. The plotting was going on even then.

This year, it was poor Clarence who had agreed to work the next day so we had some girl time after he went to bed because, for the first time either of us can remember, she didn't have to work today. We played games, checked out some of the fun stuff on the girls' new Wii, crafted, snacked, chatted and laughed. It was a fun way to ring in the new year.
As an almost-resolution, I'll try to post a picture of our crafting in the next few days. Should I mention that I'm not one for making resolutions...?

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