Thursday, July 28, 2011


Three bee...autiful pictures

Daisies, Sun and a little Bee

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Word for Wednesday

Word: Virago

Guess what it means.

Hint: This definition is a good one but there is another side to the story too.

Scroll down for the answer.


Answer: Virago means a woman of strength or spirit.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Huntsmen

Saturday night I went to see a play with my husband and a girlfriend. It was at the Portland Center Stage.

It reminded me of Sweeney Todd, since it was a story about a serial killer but it was also a musical. This was a performance put on by JAW - A Playwrights Festival - The Huntsmen by Quincy Long.

It was interesting, different but entertaining. And one good thing was that since it was a play, there wasn't any blood in the production. I like scarey stories but I don't like a lot of gore. So it was perfect for me.

The actors had amazing voices and did a great job.

I love going to see live theater.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Three Berry Pie

It didn't turn out as pretty as I'd hoped but it was yummy. Here's how I made it:

Pie Crust:

3 cups of flour
3 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1 cup of white sugar
2 sticks of butter

I sprayed nonstick oil on the pie pan and then sprinkled flour over the oil. Then I mixed the ingredients together, rolled out half the dough and placed it in the pan. I baked the bottom pie crust for about fifteen to twenty minutes at 350 degrees.


Four pints of mixed berries: blueberries, marionberries and raspberries.
1 and 1/2 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
1 package of nonflavored gelatin

I boiled the berries, water and sugar together. I added in the gelatin and boiled for approximately 5 minutes.

I put the berry mixture in the refrigerator to chill (while I baked the bottom pie crust). Then I filled the pie and put another layer of pie dough on the top and baked it for approximately 1/2 hour - or until the crust was golden brown. I slide a cookie sheet beneath the pie pan to catch any run off.

It was yummy!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Save the Planet - Earth Friendly Friday

Is it more efficient to was a full load or a small load of laundry in your washing machine?



A full load, if you have to was a small load, adjust the soap and water. Using too much detergent is actually less effective for washing.

Of course, if you use a phosphate-free detergent - all the better. And you can reduce the amount of detergent and increase its effectiveness by adding 1/2 cup of baking soda or borax.

Plus, vinegar (about 1/2 cup) in the rinse cycle is a natural fabric softener.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I went for a run tonight. Only 30 minutes. Heck, I keep expecting it to get easier . But. . .

it's still hard. It never seems to get easy.

So it's a lot of work, I still like to do it, even though my breath comes in heaving lungfuls, and my sweat starts to drip and my legs start to ache. . .it's fun.

How 'bout you?

Is there something you like to do that's a lot of work? Come on, share it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Word for Wednesday

Word for the day: Sensei

Guess what it means.

Scroll down to see.


Further. . .

A karate or judo instructor

If you want to see more, read about it here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

FAIL - Cake

I am no CAKE-BOSS but anyone who knows me, knows I love my cake, cookies, and candies. It's no wonder I've become a member of Weight Watchers.

With baking as one of my favorite past time hobbies, unfortunately my scale shows the results of my cooking efforts... But, that doesn't mean my cakes always turn out perfectly.

Quite the opposite. Some times I envision the most wonderful tasty temptations and they turn out...terribly.

Like my recent endeavor: trying to sculpt rice crispy treats into a little-sized replica of my brother-in-law: Bo. It didn't turn out the way I pictured it in my head and it looked nothing like Bo.

Oh's the thought that counts...right?

I certainly hope so because this cake was not my best baking attempt. It was an absolute FAIL.

A flop, but I had to take it to the party anyway. I figured it was good for a laugh--or at least a smile.

Here are some of the pictures from my attempt to bake a themed bee-day surprise for my brother-in-law Bo.

You see, Bo has become a recent beekeeping enthusiast and, since it was his birthday, I made him a couple of cakes. One was a bee, the other was the hive, and the third was supposed to be a mini-me Bo.


But, it was still fun putting the pieces together. It might not have turned out the way I'd hoped but I think Bo had a happy Bee-Day anyway :)

Here's how I made the cakes.

First I baked a regular cake and a couple cupcakes.

Of course, when I got up the next morning, only one cupcake was left. I'd been hoping to use two for the eyes of the bee, b...ut I cut the only one I had left in two and used half-moon eyes for my bee.

I frosted the cake with coconut - yellow - frosting and cut black fondant strips for his little stripes.

I covered his eyes in white fondant and cut out round pupils from black fondant.

Next, I shaped his stinger out of rice crispy treats and covered it with the left-over black fondant. Then, I cut out a couple of white fondant wings and put the pieces together.

I had to add antenna and transfer him to a prettier plate with pretty paper. It's easy to lift the cake, if you have wax paper beneath the cake while you decorate.

I made the hive out of my barbie doll cake pan, frosted in brown icing and wrapped it with black licorice.

I obviously need a crispy carving class. I had no idea how to do it. But I rolled the rice crispy treats in wax paper to shape the body parts.

Then I put them together and put Bo on a stick.

And I tried to shape the pieces to look like Bo but there must "bee" a few tricks I'm missing because it didn't turn out the way I'd hoped.

I used frosting as the glue for my fondant to stick to the little-sized Bo but it didn't turn out so well. . . as you can see above.

The good thing about having a CAKE FAIL or a CAKE WRECK is it's not so bad eating my mistakes ;)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2

We're off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of . . . Hogwarts.

That's right, Saturday we all went to see the movie of the year...yep, the new Wizard of Oz...only better. Better graphics, better animated settings. I loved it.

But of course it's hard to close a book, finish a chapter, end a story. This was a great story tho' and we had a fabulous time.

My husband and sons talked about it like it was the new Star Wars for this generation. I thought of it like the new Wizard of Oz. I guess it was everything to everyone and maybe even a little bit more.

If you saw it, what did you think?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Earth-Friendly Friday

What way is more energy efficient to produce paper...

1) Recycling paper and producing new paper

2) Making new paper from trees?

Turning recycled paper into paper requires 58 percent less water and 64 percent less energy per ton than making paper from trees.

(According to the Sierra Club)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Word Count for Manuscripts

Here are a few links you can check out to make sure your manuscript is using the right ratio of words, according to agents, and those in-the-know.

Bookends Literary Agency

Editorial Anonymous

Guide to Literary Agents

And one inspirational post by Natalie Fischer

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Word for Wednesday - Game for Writers

Word for the day: TOOTLE

Guess what it means...come on play along.

Hint: I used the word recently in my blog.

Now, scroll down to find the answer


And further....

Tootle is to drive or move along in a leisurely manner

But I bet you already knew that. Write ;) . . . ?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Problems in Paradise

Sunday we went for a boat ride out on the river. It was a beautiful summer Sunday. We loaded up the boat with our wakeboard and were on our way. . . until there was a funny odor coming from the engine.

Oh no, the back of the boat and then there was a heavy clunking sound and the boat slowed wayyyyyy down. Boating Bliss and Blips are just another part of life.
And, luckily we were able to tootle back to the dock. Now we've got our fingers crossed that it won't cost too much to repair. :(

Monday, July 11, 2011

How to Make Homemade Pasta Without a Machine in Five Minutes

I wanted to make homemade pasta from scratch. I hate feeding my family unnecessary preservatives. Plus, when I was looking at a package of pasta, I thought, "Wow! It just looks like stale strips of dehydrated flour." And that's all it is.

I figured there had to be a better way. But without a pasta maker, I felt forced to eat store bought stuff. My husband said, "Let's run to Sears and see how much a pasta attachment would be for your Kitchen Aid mixer." But, at $179.00 (on sale) I wasn't going to buy the attachment just to make pasta. Still...I thought, how hard can it be...?

So, I looked up a couple recipes and went to work. I chose a mixture of whole wheat flour and regular unbleached flour.

Here's all you need to make homemade pasta without a pasta machine:

A Mixing bowl, a knife, a rolling pin and a cookie sheet for drying your pasta


4 cups of flour, (it can be a mixture of any type of flour you like)
1/2 cup of oil olive
4 eggs
1/4 to 1/2 cup water

Here are a few short video clips, plus I've included photos of the process (in case you don't want to watch all the videos).

It's super simple and only took me about 5 minutes from start to finish to make the pasta. Partly because I was getting ready to go out on the river for a couple hours and didn't want to follow the recipe exactly. So my method is super quick.

Here's what I did:

Here's how to slice the dough easily into thin strips

After you've let it dry on a rack, you can cook the dough. Remember it won't need to cook as long as store bought pasta only a minute or two at a full boil - you don't want to overcook it or it will turn out mushy)

After the pasta has been cooked, this is what my whole wheat pasta looked like:

I used a mixer to make my pasta but you could do it by hand too. And this is a picture of all you need to make your pasta.

After you mix up the ingredients, you simply roll out the dough nice and thin

Then you roll the dough up like a jelly roll and slice the dough into long strips

This is what your sliced up strips will look like (they matched the color of my table :(

Then you unroll your strips of pasta and let them dry out for about an hour on a drying rack (or a cookie cooling rack)
I put my pasta on the stove to dry out

Friday, July 8, 2011

Honey Do

Sometimes I forget to stop and be thankful for all the good things in my my husband. We've been married for over 28 years and sometimes I take him for granted and all the wonderful things he does.

He not only goes to work every day to support the family, he also puts a lot of time and energy into building things for us all: like these chairs, these planters, and even the deck. Plus, just look underneath the chairs, see all that old wood just waiting to be sanded down to "like" new and repurposed into more useful stuff?

It's so simple to just expect my husband to do it all. I'm just lucky he does :) and that he enjoys doing it in his spare time after coming home from working all day.

Now, I just have to give him my new list:

1) New tile in the shower;
2) Remodel the basement;
3) Wrap-around benches for the deck;
4) Green-house;
5) Garage;

Just give me time, 10 won't be enough--not for long. It's a never-ending Honey-Do list.

How 'bout you have a Honey-Do list...? What's on it?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Being Benched

My husband has always been a man of action. He played basketball all his life. But more than making baskets, he likes to use his hands to make benches.

He also likes to rescue things. . . like old wood from the landfills. He picks it up all the time. If a neighbor is remodeling, he willing takes the wooden waste off their hands and puts it back into another project, such as this one. He made this picket-fence bench for me years ago. But, when the wood started to rot, he simply replaced the slats and painted them pretty as new.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Repurposing an Old Light Fixture

Our old ceiling fan motor finally burnt out. My husband took it down and put up a new light fixture with a fan but I didn't want to just throw the old one into the landfill. Our local "dump" is full enough. So I started thinking, what could we do with that old metal and wood and glass?

The metal and wood I recycled but the glass votives I decided to repurpose. I washed them up and added tea-candles on the inside for a wonderful illuminary for outside.

How 'bout you, have you repurposed anything lately?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Have Your Cake and Eat it Too

So the Wise Old Owl says, "You CAN have your cake and eat it too." I just have to figure out how to do it all--without overcooking the cake.

You see, once again I was struck by the baking bug. . . Not good for my diet but so yummilicious for my fam, well it should have been. Unfortunately both cakes were a little over done. Not burnt - just dry. That is the definition of an overdone cake: "dry".

So many people tell me they don't like cake. The truth is they've just had bad cake. It doesn't have to be burnt to be bad, when it's dry--not burnt--it's just overdone cake. Those dried out slices of sin are actually overdone or they wouldn't be dry and you wouldn't be needing a glass of milk to wash it down. You'd want another piece of moist--melt-in-your-mouth fruity flavor.

Anyway, I was so busy preparing my cakes--from scratch--that I wasn't paying enough attention to the baking process. I was making a banana cake--which I have never had not turn out--well, never say NEVER 'cuz that day was today. The other cake was supposed to be a wonderful lemon poppy seed cake with a lemon and coconut buttercream frosting. The frosting was yummy--the cake--not so much, 'cuz like I said, it was overdone.

In fact, they both came out...disappointing. And with about 25 people coming to celebrate Luke's graduation, it was another one of my not so famous cake failures. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

I guess my problem is, I just want it all...cute cakes that taste moist and, well, delicious 'cuz if I'm going to eat it, I want it to be worth those approximately hundred-thousand itsy-bitsy calories I'm going to need to run about 10 miles just to burn off and stay even.

But there's always tomorrow. (And remember, if you don't have a cake pan that is large enough for your cake, all you have to do is cover some cardboard or wood in aluminum foil and WAH-LAH wonderful serving tray for your cake ;)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy 4th of July Weekend!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend full of food, family, friends and even fireworks!

Here's my fireworks in my garden.