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Friday, October 27, 2006

A Great Day

Garett and Grace stayed here today and we had the best time! They're 21 months old now. Garett finally has almost all of his teeth, and Grace is talking up a storm. Sorry this photo is a bit blurry - that's what I get for not wearing my glasses and making sure it was focused. No sight sweeter to this former preschool teacher than this one. They were so intent on these books! Eventually they made their way to my lap so I could read to them. That was probably my favorite part of the day. Well, that, and naptime. :o)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Dinner's in the Freezer

I taught my first Community Ed class tonight about freezer cooking. I think it went quite well, and I wasn't nervous at all. I had 12 people sign up and all of them showed up and paid to hear me! They were a great group - asked lots of questions and shared some tips of their own. They asked for a follow-up class, so I'll have to check into that. I teach this same one again in Feb/March. There were several people who wanted to come tonight, but couldn't because of harvest, so I was asked to do a second class.This was fun! :o)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Pumpkin girl

Grace was here for awhile today and enjoyed playing with the gourds and pumpkins. She didn't feel well, though, so it was a short day and she went home right after her nap.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

My week thus far...

Jessica cooks: Monday we planned and shopped, then Tuesday she cooked. She made sour cream chocolate chip muffins, sausage biscuits, chili, and browned hamburger for future spaghetti with meat sauce meals. She was home for Fall Break and we enjoyed having her and Megan hang out here.

While she cooked, I hung out to lend support. Kept myself busy with the checkbook. See my helper in the upper left corner? He gave up lying amidst the papers and settled for just being near them...
Wednesday morning found us driving to Grand Island in some sweet snow flurries. Randy had to be at the Surgery Center by 6:30. Nothing major, just an outpatient procedure, but when he offered to drive home, I politely declined. :o)

This morning the yard was glistening in the sunlight when I went outside. I didn't really capture it like I wanted, but you get an idea of the frosty morning we had. I had to run to Lincoln this morning, then spent the afternoon working on my presentation for the Community Ed class I'm teaching next week. Worked at the theater tonight for a couple of hours.

Tomorrow I will have Grace for the day - I'm thinking we'll plant some tulips since it's supposed to be a decent afternoon weather-wise. I'll let you know...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter.
~Carol Bishop Hipps

Monday, October 09, 2006

Study Buddies

Yeah, I've been procrastinating with my schoolwork the past couple of weeks, but today I spent several hours studying and writing essays and interviewing preschool teachers. I did all of this DESPITE the help I got from "the boys". I got my books and papers, etc. out on the table and went to get a paper clip. Came back and found them lounging on my things. They must want a degree, too.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Little punkins

Took Wyatt and Grace out to Earl May's today to get pumpkins (Garett was still sleeping). They loved the animals - fish, birds, various rodentia, and Grace wanted to get in with the bunny. Wyat was a little freaked out by the parrot that flew around the store and kind of sat on my hand. :o)

We picked out many little pumpkins and they both helped load the wagon. Little Grace would grit her teeth and try to pick up nice big ones that probably weighed almost what she does. I distracted her by filling some bags with tulip bulbs and letting her load the wagon with those.

Wyatt was my wagon driver. He pulled, pushed, turned, and went in reverse, maneuvering the inside of the store as easily as the parking lot. It was a big wagon, too. People were impressed.

We stopped at the shop and gave Mommy a pumpkin to have at work, then took some home so Garett could have one, too. When I left, Wyatt was hauling them around the house, lining them up in various configurations, counting them, and protecting them.

It's not a very good photo - neither would look at me and I couldn't see much on the camera screen in the sunshine. Oh well. We had lots of fun even if my photographic documentation doesn't show it! :o)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The progeny of Bob & Elsie...

After this afternoon, there had to be a cousins post. Had to be.

Patty and Toni started it all, wanting to know who came where age-wise. Now, there are 32 of us - I had to look things up. Fortunately I have a copy of the "The Samual Adams Family of Lawrence County Illinois" (published 1980 by Barbara P. Quealy - all our parents got one) and we're all in there, so it was easy to list everyone. A few errors in dates, but pretty accurate.

Then I challenged them to list the cousin's children and grands. Long story short, we got a pretty comprehensive list made of the descendents of Bob and Elsie: 7 kids, 32 grandkids, 36 greats, and 15 great-greats (those are the ones we know of). (There are some steps in there that we'll add when we get that information.)

So, after playing with this all afternoon, and spending hours on the phone chatting with Debbie and Barbie, and emailing back and forth with Patty, I'm compelled to search out the definitions of cousins. You know, first cousin, second cousin, removed, etc. Here's how to figure it out (from Wikipedia):

The name of the cousinship is not determined by oneself, but rather is always determined by the generational level of the individual most closely related to the ancestor in common. Cousinship is actually a description of three individual's relationships with each other. Oneself, the cousin, and the ancestor in common. The following assumes there are no double cousins:

Step 1: To work out if two people are first, second, or third cousins, count back the generations to their common ancestor. For example, if the common ancestor is one's grandmother, that is two generations. If it is one's great-grandmother, that is three generations.

Step 2: Take the closest descendant of the common ancestor. For example, if one of the cousins is a great-great-grandchild (four generations) and the other is a grandchild, just consider the grandchild for now.

Step 3: If the closest descendant of the common ancestor is a grandchild (two generations), the cousins are first cousins; if three generations, second cousins, and so on.

Step 4: If the cousins are both separated from the common ancestor by the same number of generations, there is no "removed". If the number of generations from the common ancestor is different, that difference is the number of "removed"s.

For example, if one is a grandchild of (2 generations from) the common ancestor, and one's cousin is a great-great-grandchild of (4 generations from) the common ancestor, then one and one's cousin are first cousins twice removed.

Still with me? Shake your head, rub your eyes, and don't worry about it. We're FAMILY. That's all that matters.

Another birthday day!

Found out that today is my cousin Toni's birthday - HAPPY WISHES TO YOU!

Today also is my Uncle Tom's birthday - he passed in 1993, but I know he was thought about and loved today {{{Patty}}}.

Last, and NOT least, today is my Father-In-Law's birthday! What a happy day to celebrate his increasing health and well-being.

Happy Birthday Bob!!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

just dessert

Ever since we returned home from our cruise, Greg and I have been searching for a particular recipe. I think it was our second night in the dining room that the dessert menu read "Light Almond Espresso Cake". I don't care for coffee, so I passed on that one. Can't even tell you what I ordered instead, because once I got a taste of that Light Almond Espresso Cake, I didn't want anything else. Greg let me have ONE bite of his, and Leslie gave me a couple bites of hers. YUM. No coffee taste, no almond taste, just rich, gooey chocolate encased in crispy, chewy phyllo, with a side of vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. (Yes, my eyes rolled up inside my head after my first bite!)
We have Googled and searched and read endless recipe lists looking for something that just might be the world's best dessert. Tonight I believe I hit the nail on the head. It's called "Chocolate Peanut Butter Phyllo Purses". Obviously I left out the peanut butter, and I must say it was a very close approximation of what we had on the ship. I kept involuntarily going "mmmm" when I'd take a bite. Kitties wondered what was up. :o)
I'm posting the recipe here since I doubt I could find the link again. And the photo, well try not to lick your moniter!
Oh, and we ate this right before we watched "Biggest Loser". (Heehee.)
Flourless chocolate brownies
9 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
4 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
Chocolate ganache
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 1/2 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
4 teaspoons sugar
6 17x13-inch sheets frozen phyllo pastry, thawed
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Vanilla ice cream
For brownies: Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Melt chocolate and butter in heavy medium saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Using electric mixer, beat egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar in large bowl until thick and pale. Stir chocolate mixture into yolk mixture. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until stiff but not dry. Carefully fold egg whites into chocolate mixture. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Press down edges until even with middle of brownies. Cool completely. Using 2 1/4-inch-diameter cookie cutter, cut out 12 rounds. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Store in single layer in airtight container at room temperature.)
For ganache: Bring 1/4 cup whipping cream and vanilla extract to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until completely melted. Refrigerate ganache until firm, about 1 hour. (Ganache can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly butter rimmed baking sheet. Stir peanut butter and 4 teaspoons sugar in small bowl to blend. Cut each phyllo sheet in half crosswise to form twelve 13x81/2-inch strips. Place 1 phyllo strip vertically on work surface. Brush with melted butter. Place second phyllo strip horizontally across first, forming cross; brush with butter. Stack 2 brownies in center of pastry. Top brownies with 1 tablespoon ganache and 1 tablespoon peanut butter mixture. Gather ends of phyllo strips together over brownies to form purse. Twist ends closed. Brush purse with melted butter and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining ingredients to form total of 6 purses. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.) Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve with ice cream.
Makes 6 servings.
Bon Appétit
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Monday, October 02, 2006


Happy Birthday
to Tonita today!

from my kitchen window

This was taken this morning shortly after the sun came up. You can see the sunlight making the top of the tree glow. I saw it from my kitchen window and went outside to look and knew I needed to share. Enjoy.