Sunday, December 30, 2007

They don't grow up...

... my kids that is. We had a lovely snowstorm and Matt, who's home from college, rounded up some friends, both older and younger, to snowskate with. For those who aren't up on winter sports, a snow skate is basically a wheel-less plastic skateboard that you ride down snow covered hills. The boys have been out in the backyard for about two hours now, moving all the snow around to make the perfect jumps and landing. They got out my halogen light (which I'll now expect to be broken next time I need it when painting the house), so they can do "night skating". As a mom, it really pleases me to see them out in the snow having fun.... I just hope my snow shovels end up back on the front porch so I can use them in the morning if need be. There's nothing worse than waking up to a half a foot of snow and realizing that your snow shovels are all buried somewhere out in the backyard.

At the beginning of the storm yesterday I went and played in the snow. Since it was an odd day, I took Daisy up Millcreek canyon for a little cross country ski tour. I like to go on odd days, because those are the days dogs are allowed off leash. I've previously made the mistake are trying to ski with the dog on her lead, and I know that is a recipe for disaster. "Dogs are odd" is the mantra I use to remember the off lead days. Daisy loves to ski with me. She loves romping in the snow and playing with all the other dogs. The Millcreek Canyon road is an uphill/downhill trek. You trudge up, turn around and cruise down. Daisy clearly doesn't understand why we go so much faster on the return trip. Sadly at age seven I think her hips are starting to bother her, so I had to try to go slow on the way down... a little added exercise for me because on my old, double cambered, edgeless cross country skis I pretty much need to snow plow in order to slow down... they just don't turn like my downhill skis do. I always consider it a good day when I wear out my dog!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Pond Friends

It appears I had a pond visitor last night. My kitty doesn't go outside, so I have no idea who decided to traipse across the ice to check out the water. I'm just glad the ice was thick enough for my visitor; I have a small floating stock tank heater that keeps the middle of my pond from freezing, and I have no idea how sturdy the surrounding ice is. I also hope that my visitor didn't manage to have a goldfish snack.

The birds have really been enjoying my pond as well. It's too bad they all fly off whenever I open the back door to snap a picture, I'd love to get a shot of them frolicking on the waters edge. They seem quite happy have a non-frozen water source and I'm happy to have some nature in my suburban back yard.

Monday, December 24, 2007

I'm Not Dreaming of a White Christmas....

I'm Not Dreaming of a White Christmas... because we are having one. The storm blew in this afternoon, dropping 4 or 5 inches of fluffy white stuff on top of the snow from Friday's storm. At about 10pm I decided to take Daisy for walk. It was such a lovely evening. The plows had not been round so the streets were still covered in white. It was quiet and peaceful, as knowbody was out driving or walking the streets. Colorful Christmas lights glistened in the snow. Occasionally the wind would kick up and the handful of leaves that remain in the sycamore trees would rustle in the most melodious manner. They sounded like Mother Natures wind chimesand seemed quite loud against the stillness of the night.

We headed down to the park and walked the park loop. Daisy just loves loping through the snow and sniffing for signs of all her doggie friends. It was interesting to see how she precisely followed the track of another dog. As the tracks in the snow arced to the right, so would Daisy. Then the tracks meandered back to the left so would she. Ir was quite clear that she was following the scent trail. As a human it's hard to understand navigation by nose!

As we headed back to the house the snow started falling again. It's going to be quite a lovely white Christmas

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Comfort Food

A week ago or so my department had a holiday party at a nice hotel. The buffet was good, and for desert they served bread pudding with chocolate ganache. I happen to love bread pudding so I thought it it was quite the treat. I also thought it was odd choice of desert for a banquet because while I like bread pudding, I know many people that think bread pudding is disgusting. Like my kids. I guess it is one of those you either love it or hate it king of foods.

I think of bread pudding as an old fashioned desert. A depression era, good use of stale bread so it doesn't go to waste dish. Comfort food, one that reminds me of my grandma. She made delicious bread pudding. I try to make mine like she did, but it never comes out quite as good. Perhaps I need an actual recipe. Grandma never used one and neither do I, but unlike me, she was one of those marvelous cooks that could make anything taste good. Last night I had a party, and one of the guys from work brought a bread pudding (he knew it was a favorite of mine). His was a chocolate bread pudding, with nuts and orange zest and a delicious bourbon sauce, quite a bit different than grandma's, but very delicious! It was big hit at the party, as several of my friends are also big bread pudding fans. I may have to investigate bread pudding recipes and learn to master the perfect bread pudding. It's a definite comfort food for me, one that I think I should make more often.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sleigh Bells Ring....

It seems I have been absent from the the world of my blog for a while. It's that hectic time of year; too much to do, not enough time. This was the week I needed to get all the gifts for my family, who all live across the county from me, in the mail. I've also tried to muster up enough holiday spirit to do some decorating. I put up my outside lights(well, half of them) last weekend, and today I decorated inside the house. Perhaps tomorrow we will go look for a tree, if not tomorrow sometime next week.

So how do you like my sleigh bells? They are one of my Christmas treasures. I found them in my in-laws basement, I presume they belonged to a long gone relative. I've always wondered who's they were, where they traveled and how old they are. A quick Google search found a site all about sleigh bells. (You just have to love the internet!) After reading that site I'm pretty sure these bells date back to the mid to late 1800's. From what I know of the family history, I'm guessing the bells traveled the south east Ohio country side. Now they adorn the garland I hand from staircase banister. Once in a while one gets bumped as someone ascends the stairs and makes a most delightful noise!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

47! That is how old I turned today. Despite having a cold, I had a darn good birthday. My birthday falls on a catholic holy day, "The Feast of the Immaculate Conception". As a child I thought it was cool that calendars dislpayed a holiday on my birthday, even though I had no idea what it was about. I still know nothing about the holiday, but lucky for me my friend Jimmy at work is catholic, so he gets a "Linda's birthday reminder" at mass the Sunday before my day, so he always remembers my birthday. Being a good lab social director he arranged for us to go out to the Bayou (beervana!) for dinner and brews after work yesterday.

Today I woke up to one of my favorite gifts... about 5 inches of fresh snow. Sarah got up early and gave be a birthday gift- she crocheted me a beautiful hat and mittens. What a very talented girl I have! Unfortunately, the storm knocked out our electricity, so rather than sitting on my cozy couch drinking coffee I donned my new hat and mittens and shoveled the drive way so I could escape to the coffee shop for my morning addiction. Later, my neighbor called, and invited me out for my birthday, so Sarah and I, my across the street and next door neighbors, all went down to Cafe Med for dinner. After dinner we went back to my house to eat the delicous chocolate cake that Sarah baked just for my birthday. My parents and son called to wish me happy birthday, my sibs sent me e-cards, and I received cyber greetings from many of my "beady" friends.

...I have to show you the the virtual cake my friend Rose, a fellow beadmaker sent me - a beautiful birthday cake with "bobcat torch" candles.... the perfect bead makers cake don't you think?!

I am such a lucky girl to have such great friends!!! It was a wonderful day! Getting old isn't bad after all!!!!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


It's holiday baking season and a forum thread today got my thinking about cookies. Favorite cookies. The rum ball cookies I mentioned a while back are among my favorites, so I think I'll share the recipe.

Rum Balls

12 oz package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 Rum
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups Vanilla wafer crumbs (one box of smashed cookies)
2 cups finally chopped walnuts
Confectioners sugar

Melt chocolate. Stir in corn syrup, bourbon, sugar, vanilla wafer crumbs ans walnuts. Using a heaping teaspoon of mixture for each piece, form into balls. Roll in confectioners sugar. Cover and refrigerate several hours. Makes about 72 ball.

This recipe came out of one of my favorite cookbooks: "What's Cooking in Our Kitchens" complied by Elda Elementary PTO.... back in 1981. My mom in law, who worked there, gave me the book, and I have gleaned a number of favorite recipes from it over the years. I like those fundraiser cookbooks... people always submit their family favorites, and they are usually recipes that can be easily prepared my culinary mortals such as myself. This particular recipe was actually for Bourbon Balls but at the holidays I prefer rum, although they are great with either liquor. I bet they'd be tasty with some orange liquor or Kahlua. Maybe I should try something different this year.