The wind whips steadily as a few snowflakes fall outside on this bright Sunday afternoon. My son Branden is home for college spring break, giving me great inspiration to bake some goodies! Ever since I bought my Kitchen Aid mixer and invested in real Vanilla extract and King Arthur flour, I’ve enjoyed indulging in this baking game.
It brings me great satisfaction and joy to please my family and friends at work with baked goods. Even though everyone is watching what they eat,( including me) we all need a small treat from time to time coupled with our rich cups of coffee. Don’t you think?
The oven heats up as my mixer whirls. Today I chose to create Lunch Lady Brownies, a recipe I have shared before here. Find the recipe at life in the loft house.com. Https://life-in-the-lofthouse.com/It makes rich chocolately brownies with a chocolate frosting to die for. I plan to treat myself and have one today and relish every single bite! Yum!
I’ll share with you what I feel makes a difference in baked goods:
*Good flour, either King Arthur Four or Gold Medal Flour
*Organic Cacao Powder, according to Food Matters.com, raw Cacao is cold pressed Cacao beans, not roasted like Cocoa is made. When Cocoa is roasted, the Cacao beans molecular base changes, depleting it’s nutritional value. I’m using this instead of Cocoa now.
*Fresh farm eggs, thank you neighbors!
While browsing through the food section at Job Lots I found this Cacao powder, something I needed for my daughter- in- law’s avocado chocolate mousse. I also found cheap spices like Cinnamon and Nutmeg there. They have baking ingredients such as Bob’s Red Mills flour and granola. I discovered a local business, Maple Grove Farms of Vermont’s sugar free Vidalia Onion salad dressing as well as Sugar Free Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing. They’re delicious and with low calories! If you have an Ocean State Job Lots check it out! The store houses cool and unique finds!
The afternoon has waned with my brownies all frosted and waiting for tonight’s dessert. It was a perfect activity to engage in on a Sunday, to work in my warm kitchen. Now after having so much fun baking I’m ready to exercise to my dvd for an hour. That way I don’t feel guilty about indulging in one and I can work some of it off!
Okay blogging friends, what have you baked and sampled lately? What are your thoughts on baking ingredients…which are a necessity in a good recipe?
For those of you have read my post of Living One a Day at a Time concerning my kitty cat Katie being sick, I want to let you know that sadly we had to let her go and stop her suffering. We were nursing her for two weeks from kidney failure. She stopped eating her meals and was just drinking water and eating a few treats a day. Every night she visited me and slept beside me, a sure sign that she wanted to convey that she was ready to let go. The other day she was so weak that she fell down a few stairs. At that moment we knew what we had to do to alleviate her pain and let her keep her dignity until the end.
Tom and I took her to the vets, a place full of compassionate and caring people. They understood my endless tears and red swollen face. They explained the process. They left us alone to say goodbye while we held her while the sleeping meds kicked in. After they took effect, Tom left. It was too emotional and I had told him that he needed to do what was comfortable for him. I didn’t know if I could stay with her while they euthanized. Was I strong enough to hold all this pain of seeing my baby girl go to the other side?I know now that I was. I stayed with her and held her and whispered her beautiful name. I promised her that I was there for her and that I hoped to see her over the rainbow someday. Through salty fresh tears, I did it. I pulled through, after all ,it’s what I owed her for all those years of her faithful love and joy to our family. It was as if she was sleeping. It was peaceful but one of the saddest moments of my life!It’s an experience that I wish to forget yet all that emotion, love and friendship remains.
Our Katie will be cremated and we will bury her in a special spot in our yard. She will live in our memories and in our hearts. We will miss her tremendously, her looking for treats while we did treat hunts, her calm nature and purring, her scratching on our son’s door at night, her soft clean coat and her nosy personality while she followed us throughout the house.
Her brother Smokey misses her as well, looking up on my bed for her. That was one of Katie’s favorite places while she was sick. We plan to cuddle with him, give him extra treats and help him as he might get lonely. I know that he will be okay but I hurt for him.
I still look around corners expecting her to be there or lounging in her rocking chair.Its going to be awhile before I stop looking. It’s hard, just like everyone said it would be! But through all this loss and pain, I wouldn’t trade it for anything, as she served us with enough love for a lifetime. That eases the pain a bit.
This post will be short and sweet but I feel like I should share this. This last weekend my son and daughter-in-law came so Dylan could work on her car to get ready for state inspection. Lexy spent hours at our house, reading her book, chatting with me and went for two walks to keep me company.
It’s lovely having another female in the house with me , unlike many years of being surrounded by boys and a grown man. Don’t get me wrong, I love having the men here and I’ve learned more about raising boys opposed to girls. But it’s special having another female here to talk with, a stark different conversation than with a guy.
I appreciate the great relationship I have my daughter- in- law! She is fun to have around and keep me company. Not only is my son Dylan blessed to have her as his wife, Tom and I are as well! We couldn’t have hand picked any better than this beautiful, bright, caring young woman who has captured our hearts and earned a spot in our family!
A few weeks ago we celebrated the union of family when my son’s girlfriend came to visit. I thought it would be fun to get our family together on a Friday night to make our own pizzas. To start, I made my father- in- law’s pizza sauce a few days before. Next I bought Boboli crusts, different cheeses such as Mozzarella, Extra Sharp ( my favorite because I can eat it being lactose intolerant), Monterey Jack and Parmesan. I sliced peppers, broccoli, onions and black olives. Unfortunately the pepperoni stick I bought smelled bad so I ditched the pepperoni idea. ( Next time I won’t buy the Bridgford brand)
While we chatted, everyone made their own pizzas. Once we were done we sat at the dining room table and ate much to our hearts’ content. Lexy brought bacon maple cupcakes for us to enjoy for dessert! It was fun to play card games after, screw your neighbor ( it sounds naughty but it’s not, you just trick your neighbor) and Emma Jo’s version of Trash.
All in all it was a special evening of family connections. It’s these times that bring joy to a mother’s life. I value the moments we can unite, talk and laugh. How could anything else be more important, than family?
Here’s a thought…create your own pizza night. Maybe you’ll want to make your own crusts! Next time I’ll invest more time to make my own pizza dough, which involves more time. Invite family or friends. Do your research ahead and ask your guests what they prefer for toppings so you’ll be prepared. Plan on games or conversation starters after dessert. Enjoy the memories you’ll make!
January 10, 2016…three years ago I settled in my recliner to write my first blog post. Back then I didn’t know what to expect or if anyone would even be interested in reading it. It was the first time in a very long while that I put caution to the wind and really took a chance. Those fleeting moments of filling the page with words felt liberating. There…I had done it. I listened to my heart and invested in the possibilities. It felt like I had unleashed a woman who had hidden within me for ages, not only a married working mom, but a writer who had copious words and stories to share. This passion has always lived within me, bubbling up finally. I thought maybe no one would care. Maybe someone would. I simply trusted myself and my readers and put it out there.
Since then I’ve learned that not everyone in your life will pay attention or care. Some joke about my blog like it’s a stupid thing or that its funny. That’s okay! But some have been interested and have encouraged me along the way! They signed up for my email! They read now and then and comment, sharing in my experiences in life. Whether you are my family of friends or ones who have stumbled upon my site, it doesn’t matter. What matters to me is that you care, that you support me as I travel this special journey. I’m eternally grateful for your support, your love and friendship.
As I continue this journey and dream of compiling my penned posts, I am considering taking writing classes to learn more. I hope you all will stay connected with me. I wish you all peace, joy and love as you start this new year.
If you live in the wintry Northeast of the United States, you know that many January activities involve the cold, snow or inside venues. I compiled a little to do list for you New Englanders to try this month. If you live elsewhere ask yourself if any of these ideas would work for you.
Go sledding with your family and friends! We have a long Tobaggon that I won at work many years ago. It can hold two or three bodies and goes like the wind!
Host a Saturday lunch for friends. I’m hosting my two friends Laurie and Michelle in a couple of weeks. Serve hot or cold sandwiches or homemade soup. Have tea, coffee or hot beverages available.
Organize desk drawers or cluttered countertops. It’s easier now while the weather is colder outside. Once spring comes, you’re going to want to be outside instead.
Organize your printed photographs or digital thumbprints. Label folders such as Christmas 2018 or Summer 2018.
Take an afternoon hike in the woods. Tom and I hiked about a mile to check on his game camera and feed the local deer. It was simply magical with snow falling while we were in the midst of the stand of trees. Animal tracks spiraled throughout the woods like a crazy maze.
Build a cozy fire in the stove or fireplace and cuddle up nearby. Watch a good movie, Mr. Church on Netflix. It’s a heartwarming story of a mother and daughter who have a cook who becomes part of the family. Read a good book! Right now I’m reading The Divide by Nicholas Evans about a family facing a tragic loss of their daughter and the search to find out what happened to her.
I hope you all enjoy the month of January and everything that comes with it!
This month of November it’s common to hear in podcasts and other media the theme of gratefulness. Thanksgiving reminds us all of what we have that we cherish…our family and friends, our health, a roof over our heads and food for meals. Although being thankful is truly what this holiday is about, I’d like to think that being grateful is my mantra every day of the year and not just the third Thursday in November!
I used to have a practice of listing five things I was grateful for. Sometimes I listed Tom and the boys. Others my job and friends were included. I listed my health more than once, for despite a few health scares I’ve always managed to stay strong and healthy. Most times I thanked God for having Tom and the boys healthy too.
I learned this habit from Oprah and did it religiously for a few years in my journals. Slowly it faded away yet I mentally go over my grateful list most days and continue to thank God for all the good in my life as well as the difficult challenges. It’s plowing steadily through those barriers that has built my character and fortitude. It comes full circle and after experiencing the rough bumps on this road of life, I am aware that the hurdles have strengthened me. I am extremely thankful for the gifts hidden along the way, for they have made me the person I am today!
Now that I’m approaching 50 this coming year and my family is raised, I have ample time to reflect. Being grateful every day doesn’t mean a joy ride or perfect circumstances but to me, it is finding special and maybe little things that can brighten my day. A kind smile or phone call from a friend or family member, feeling the rich soil of the garden and planting seeds for future days, being able to walk on both legs and cherishing serenity in nature are all things I’m thankful for.
The more I think about this the more I realize that being grateful in some way every day is the key to happiness. If you notice what you have( such as being healthy or having a beautiful family) and not dwell on what you don’t have, you’ll truly appreciate what God has gifted you. I believe everyone has something to be grateful for and if you ponder over this you can generate quite a list.
What are you grateful for? Do you reflect on this just in November or everyday of the year? The more we notice all the good things in our lives, the richer your experience will become.
I’m busy getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. Today I’m vacuuming and shampooing my rugs, generating a last minute grocery list and planning my table setting. I’m grateful that I’m able to do this at home and Tom’s sister Bev and her husband Chris are coming, as well as my youngest son Branden. Dylan and his wife Lexy will come later for dessert , so both my sons will be here together. Excitement is in the air as the big day approaches!