Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years Eve

I'm watching the movie New Years Eve.  What a cute movie.  And speaking of cute what about that Zac Effron not in an courage stalking kind of way, cause when I really think about it he's around my nephews age and that a deal breaker!  Have you seen him in Charlie St. Cloud or The Lucky One?  This guy is certainly aging well. Speaking of aging well what about Jon Bon Jovi?  Anyway have a Happy New Year and back to the movie.

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Anyone that knows me knows I love the theater.  If my bank account would cooperate and time would permit I'd have season tickets to every venue in the bi-state area.  But alas, that is not the case.  I do however go as often as possible.  So when I heard that one of my favorite theatrical productions is being re-created for the big screen it gave me that icky feeling.  I immediately had a flashback to 1975 seeing Stephanie Mills in The Wiz and was thrilled when in 1978 it was being made into a movie.  Well, all know how that turned out!

But, today I was pleasantly surprised.  I've heard all of the hype and am a fan of everyone involved, (especially Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway)  Wow oh wow.  

My friend Diane and I arrived early and I'm glad we did.  The theater filled quick with 30 minutes to go and I had eaten half of my popcorn before the movie even started, which really isn't unusual; but after it began I didn't take another morsel, that is unusual!  From the moment  Les Mis began my popcorn became a trash bag for tear soaked napkins.

Usually during any movie you can hear quiet whispers; but not today, and even occasionally - especially the ending there was thunderous applause.

This was as close to live theater without actually being there that I think I will ever experience.  This production has raised the bar so high it would be incredible to see a resurgence of great musicals.

There's only one word I can say about the direction, acting, singing - everything about Les Miserables and that's unbelievable!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

How Things have changed - Just Sayin

Not that I'm Miss Edict or anything but I have to ask, Is it really necessary when in a public place (like the hospital waiting room) that you have to talk as loud as possible having no regard for the other people in the room?  Inside voices people - please!   I mean really are you so insecure that you have to act like you are the floor show for others amusement?  News flash...  I'm not amused.  

AND I certainly get it that we as a nation, in general, have become casual in our dress. But who in their right mind thinks that wearing fuzzy pajama bottoms and a hoodie should ever be 
OK anywhere other than taking the trash out?

I get the whole be comfortable attitude I am certainly guilty of that but (and maybe it's my age) there are certain places that dictate appropriate attire just out of respect for the place.

Hospitals, Churches, Theaters (not the movie kind)  I remember when I was young (again maybe an age thing) that when we went to any of these places we dressed appropriately.

Just look how the women dressed when my mom was young and the way most women dress now. I know - I know - times change and I'm not saying we as women should be slaves to the old girdle routine (but the maker of Spanx hasn't done too badly so maybe I should) but maybe if we dressed better we would carry ourselves a little better;  myself  included (this could be a profound light bulb moment for me.)  If I dressed up more often than I do now maybe I would realize when things aren't fitting exactly the way they're supposed too.  Stretchy fabrics are very too forgiving  - proof of my expanding waistline.
And no I don't think dressing up and looking pulled together make us less strong and powerful as women.  I'm just afraid we (even me) haven't gotten lazy.  But I swear I've never worn my fuzzy pj's in public!

Now for those that have been annoying me all day with your rude behavior.
  1. You're out of bed so change your clothes.
  2. NO - I really don't want to hear every word you have to say
  3. Pick up your feet when you walk you can't be that tired - I doubt that you are even 20 years old
  4. AND if I hear "ain't" one more time!!   
Just Sayin

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Holiday Update

My Christmas gift to me ...
One whole day of eating whatever I want, watching whatever I want with a serious case of bad hair!
What a great day. I may spend New Years Eve the same way!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Today was my family's Christmas; we've always celebrated it on Christmas Eve. Today was just another wonderful day adding to more great memories.  No matter how old I get I'll never be too old to get a kiss from my parents and hear those words... I love you.

These are the moments when I was young I took for granted.  But certainly not now, now even the smallest of things choke me up and sometimes reduce be to a big cry baby like when my dad cracks a joke and I see him really laughing or how my mom always looks beautiful at her age, always classy and impeccably dressed.

Even now thinking about how blessed I am to have my parents with me today - gets to me!  So we've survived what always seems like a rat race getting ready for the day.  I hate to admit it, but sometimes I  dread all of the hustle and bustle; but after today spending time with the ones I love, this is what makes it all worth while.

The wrapping paper has been ripped to shreds and the squeals from my nieces and nephew are now silenced it time to get in my fuzzy zebra jammies for the rest of the night and all day tomorrow and enjoy  back to back movies.  I can't think of a better way to spend Christmas.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Baby it's cold outside!

As if I should be surprised that on December 20th it's cold!  Boy oh boy I'm never happy to see winter.   I look back on photos where my sisters and brother and I  built snow forts in the back yard and stayed outside for hours and wonder... how did we do that?  We always looked so happy, laughing and playing - bundled up with red checks and chapped faces. My how things change.  I caught myself today making the craziest looking faces as I tried to maneuver my way through the gusty winds rushing to get to the car. Not a picture that I would want immortalized I'm sure.   It's not that I don't enjoy this time of year.  I love the baking, the music, movies, I even like the snow, as long as I don't have to be out in it!
So I think it's fitting that tonight I bundle up in a fuzzy blanket in front of the fireplace and watch one of my new holiday favorites - "A dog named Christmas" cause as the song says... baby it's cold outside!        

Sunday, December 16, 2012

What a month!

November was going to be my month to kick back and relax; well you what they say about the best laid plans...  What started out as a time to decompress turned into a whirlwind - but what a ride it's been.  An opportunity of a life time presented itself and I found myself negotiating, acquiring and orchestrating the opening of the Alfresco Art Center.  Last night Friday December 14th was our gala opening event.

This past month taught me several things...

  • There aren't enough hours in the day, 
  • I'm really not as young as I used to be so maybe 3 hours of sleep a night isn't enough, 
  • and I am most definitely a stress eater, evident by the many candy wrappers and the smash nutty bar against by face when I woke up.  I could hardly blame Daisy for this one. 
But what I've also learned or maybe just confirmed is dreams really do come true and if you build it they will come!  Just like my business 12 years ago the art center has been a dream of mine forever - as I always say and even wrote about it in my cookbook - we can never dream to big!

So I'll have lots to keep you posted on; the balancing act of running a not for profit and a small business and of course, the never ending saga of... Brenda's battle of the Bulge!

Pictures to follow soon (none of the whole weight gain - can't seem to get it under control thing) but the renovation of the center and everything else, because... Everyday is an adventure!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Halloween candy and Hallmark movies

I'm happy to finally report that I did survive October! Wow what a busy month.  Finally some breathing room.  Halloween down Thanksgiving and Christmas to go  I know everyone cringes, me included, about seeing Christmas everywhere so soon. We barely get through one holiday without the retailers overlapping another. But I must admit I've certainly enjoyed relaxing, regrouping and watching every holiday Hallmark movie so far.  It seems perfectly normal to me to blindly rip open way too many pieces of leftover candy as I cry so hard at these sometime sappy movies that I give myself a headache. So rushing the season or not, from now until Christmas I'm pretty sure my television will be on the Hallmark channel. I'm just glad the Halloween candy is gone!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Spooktacular Evening

First let me say THANKS to all of my friends who came out this evening to help make this a great night.
Go Figure the weather has been beautiful for weeks, even months, and then last night when we were supposed to have our 4th annual Spooktacular, and we were rained out; so we rescheduled for this evening and boy was it chilly.
Everyone seemed to have a good time.  There were so many cute costumes.  Speaking of costumes, I was trying some on Daisy to see which she should wear because every year the kids ask "Is Daisy coming over and what is she wearing?"  So, she tried on Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, she looked as though she had just been through the tornado.  She kept shaking her head and rolling around trying to take the costume off'.  Then I put on the monkey costume as you can see from the photo she was giving me the stink eye so that wasn't working either,  she ended up with a fuzzy leopard print coat trimmed in pink.

The kids still thought she was cute.  They seemed to pet Daisy as much as they played all of the games and jumped in the bounce house.

This is why I enjoy doing events like this, yes it's a lot of work and yes I could never do it without the help of my friends BUT it's great to see families and neighbors get together even on a cold night to spend time together and have some fun.

I'm fortunate to live in a neighborhood that is truly a neighborhood.

Thanks again to everyone!

Now time to warm up and take a break.

Monday, September 17, 2012

I knew this would happen

Today I'm recovering from a 4 hour pinterest frenzy!  I knew this would happen.  I was so excited I was just pinning and pinning thinking - I've got this in the bag this is going to be fun.

My friend Lorri called and asked "Do you realize that every time you pin something it goes to your facebook page?"  (Thank goodness she's a night owl too)

"What" I shrieked "you've got to be kidding me!"

"Nope it's all on there" she said "but at least it's late and most people are asleep so you can delete everything from your page before they see it"

Then it happened that bead of sweat formed on my upper lip.  Panic was setting in.  Can I do that, and can you imagine if she hadn't called - I'm sure people would have started unfriending me left and right thinking who is this crazy person sending me a bazillion posts!

So after a bit, all but one post was deleted and I now have the settings changed. I think I'm good to go. But you never know!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A slow starter

It's been a bit since I last posted.  September and October are my busiest months and sometimes it seems impossible to find a spare moment to even sit down and drop a line.  October is when we throw a giant fall festival and of course we have the haunted house fundraiser  for Alfresco Productions AND the conference for Alfresco's Six Mile Sculpture works iron pour.  The conference is really amazing - artist from around the country come to Granite City to make art in the industry that we're known for  - STEEL - of course you know because of my background that's right up my alley; so September is crazy trying to co-ordinate my end of the events.

I certainly don't do these events alone BUT being the director I'm expected to direct; either by designing the building out of the haunted house or acquisitions for the pour.

Sometimes the things that seems the easiest are what stop me in my tracks and I have to dip into others pool of creativity for a little inspiration. Like ideas for Spooktacular our Wizard of Oz themed event.  (The Wizard of Oz my Favorite!) You would think I could rattle ideas off like crazy - I do have several things lined up but I need a little nudge. 

Earlier today my friend Tona and I took a road trip to a winery (which by the way we were lost 3 different times), for wine bottles that she found on Craig's List for a project we're working on - she is a master at is finding things we need that others are unloading.  Craig's List another uncharted territory for me!   While we were driving past the same landmarks 4 different times looking for this place we kicked around some ideas for Spooktacular, Tona suggested  that I get on Pinterest. 

"You know" I said " That's just one more thing that don't have time for"  I know everybody and their brother has been doing it forever but I'm a bit of a slow starter. Beside when I did get on there, you had to be invited.

"Not now" she said - "get on there tonight and check it out." 

Well this may have been a mistake! As soon as I started looking up ideas one thing led to another.

WOW a person could spend hours and hours on there before you realize it.

I think I've already created 7 folders or boards or whatever they call them (You know my limitations within computer world)

I may be a slow starter but I'm already making up for lost time. I'm headed back to pin a few more things  This could be a long night!


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mums the Word

A friend of mine owns her own landscape and nursery business and every year about this time I pick up flowers for fall.  She, being the expert always wants me to look at something new, something that will bring a variety of texture to the garden.  And being that she is the expert I usually listen. I have put in some really unusual plants, but don't ask me the names, but every year I always pick up this certain  flower which means that she and I will have the same conversation that we always seem to have.
She will say - "Brenda, you know how I feel about mums!" Boy do I ever- How can I forget?  Every year, for years she's told me that mums are the most predictable flower for the garden and that everybody buys mums. 

"I know -I know," I'll tell her again like so many times before, "but I like mums".  She'll rolls her eyes and I'll continue to pick out the jewel toned colored mums.

I will however pick out something unusual and textural so she knows that I've been paying attention all of these years.

Just like mums this conversation about them has become a perennial favorite of mine.   

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Batten down the hatches

Well it official the home repairs from that monster of a hail storm we recently had are completed.  Just in time for the high winds and 24 hour rain storm moving our way. Great! So I've started a check list to batten down the hatches.

For some reason I can never remember to take the umbrellas down from the outdoor dining tables at the tea room. I only think of them when I see them flying down the main street.  And then like a lunatic I'm running after them in the pouring rain!  So that's the first thing on my list.

Second is Daisy's medication -  you see, my dog has anxiety issues and the older she gets the worse it gets.  She is so bad that she tenses up and when a crack of thunder rumbles she jumps and shakes so hard she throws her back out.  Back issues aren't new to her; 4 years ago she had to have surgery for a ruptured disc.  This is another reason I'm not a mom to a human child I don't deal with this stuff well.

After the last storm episode that almost put Daisy in traction I took her to the vet.  "Have you tried the thunder shirt?" they asked.  Really have you seen Daisy's closet I thought we've tried everything.  So they prescribed her something for the inflammation, a muscle relaxer and Valium.  They instructed me to give her a dose in the morning and in the evening when a storm is coming through or when something like this non stop construction was going on.

So as a dutiful mother I gave her a pill in the morning and then in the evening.  Poor Daisy! She was walking (very slowly) to her water dish and in slow motion both of her hind legs slid right out from under her, as if she was on a sheet of ice.  There she was - her head in the bowl and little legs out to the side. What a site.  Wonderful now I've overdosed my dog!

One of my customers told me that their dog suffers from anxiety too but they use an herbal remedy that you either spray or put a few drops in their mouth and it calms them down right away.  Fast acting (I like that)

So I made the trek to the health food store and bought some.

I'm finishing my check list so I'm prepared for the worst but hoping for the best.  This is the one of those times that I hope the meteorologist is wrong.

All I know is - I don't want to have to go through any more construction due to storm damage; and I really - really hope this herbal remedy works for Daisy.  If not, she may have to share her Valium with me!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Time Flies

It seems like yesterday when my nieces and nephews were born.  My oldest niece now in her thirties has a daughter of her own.  My oldest nephew is in the Navy and just turned 21 - yikes! 

Where has the time gone?  I've always loved spending time with each of them but my window of opportunity was limited.  You see when they were small they could only stay with me when they could tell me what was wrong or what they needed.  I wasn't born the ESP thing that so many women have.  Some of my friends would know exactly what to do as soon as a little one started to cry.  I guess I knew....For me - it was to hand them right back to their parents.

I was the perfect aunt to take them fun places, hang out for a while and then take them home.
The bad part is that the time frame for hanging out with your aunt from the age that they can talk till the age that they think they're too big to hangout with you doesn't seem very long.

I can remember when my oldest nephew (he was 8 at the time) said, Aunt B this isn't very fun.  I was crushed I thought... this was fun 6 months ago!  But now to him he was a big boy! Wow, how time flies.

let the games begin!
   Luckily with the girls it's a little longer of a window.  My niece and great niece still like to come over and have a sleepover from time to time. That's just what they did the other night.
While they were tie dying shirts and their finger nails (water marbling) I thought, how many more times will we get to do this?

I even said to them - "I'll hate it when you girls are too big for sleepovers."  Almost in stereo they said "That won't happen!" 

creating the marbeling effect


                        I hope that's true!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The return of the living dead!

After one whole week I'm starting to feel somewhat human again.  I've been down for the count.  It seems like for 7 days straight all I did was move from the bed to couch then back to the bed again. 

I am the worlds worst sick person.  I'm like a zombie walking through the house.  I looked, and still sort of do look, like something right out of central casting for the Night of the Living Dead; and to top it all off  I'm a big baby when it comes to taking pills.  When I'm sick I don't want to see anyone let alone talk to anyone.  Did I mention I am the worlds worst sick person?

I had to take steroids and  antibiotics so I had to try and eat something to take the pills and the only thing I could eat that didn't make me sick was bread and crackers.  CARBS - my arch demises! Carbs can put weight on me lickety split! 

Great just what I need - being sick - and sick of being sick - and now I look like the Staypuft Marshmallow Man!

Hopefully after tomorrow I should almost be as good as new - a little rounder but closer to normal!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Freaking myself out

It's that time of the year.  I'm in the planning stages for the haunted house.  As one of the annual fund raisers for Alfresco Productions we turned the old YMCA building into a multi-level fright fest.  This will be our second year.  Like anything else we always try to do it a little different and a little better than the year before. 

Since we promote artistic and cultural events in our community the theme to our haunted house is "movies"  We call it - The Cutting Room.

So, I start pulling ideas to bring to the table for our first meeting with the crew. I'm researching horror films that I think are true horror flicks

I like movies that really scary movies not just gore.  I even like some of the B movies. But it's the triple B's that I'm not a fan of.  When did it become necessary to have copious amounts of bimbos, boobs and blood?

As part of my quest for scary scenes to recreate, I'm pulling clips from you-tube.

This is what I've discovered on that quest.  I totally get spooked when there are creepy little kids - like from The Shining; or when you see a reflection in a window or mirror and then it's gone (Candy Man - Candy Man - Candy Man), or when you hear low guttural sounds as if someone is calling your name - you think you hear something maybe a whisper - then the room turns cold...

OK I think I should probably go watch an MGM musical about now cause I'm kinda freaking myself out.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

One thing leads to another...

It started out innocently enough. I was watching a great movie "Now Voyager" on Turner Classic Movies. I thought, don't I have that movie?  So,  I started looking for my copy. When I get something on my mind, one thing leads to another.  That's why on my days off I may have three or more projects going at the same time; there's a acronym for that - but I like to call it multi-tasking!

My movies aren't in the original cases, I store them in albums.  I cut a portion from title page and put it in the album sleeve so when the disc is removed I know what's missing.  For me,  that works better for storage reasons alone.  I'm one of those people that like things hidden.  That's why my closets are always a mess -but anyway, back to finding the DVD...

I can't find it anywhere.  I know I have it! I  have tons of movies and a gazillion music cd's, two of my favorite things.  Those have always been easy gifts along with cookbooks.  So over the years I've amassed quite a collection of all three.  But of course today I can't find what I want - when I want it!

I searched and searched - finally... I found it. I knew I had it, and of course it was in the last album.
So I thought there has to be an easier way!  I know - let's put them in alphabetical order.  Easy enough I thought.

It's funny how, at least for me, when I'm alphabetizing I have to say the whole thing..  So I've probably sang the abc song 200 hundred times today.

Hooray there's a light at the end of the tunnel and my movie search will be much easier when I'm finished.  I should probably do the same for my music cds but just thinking of that makes me a little anxious and when that happens I get that bead of sweat on my upper lip.  So, the movies today and maybe the music another time unless of course I start thinking about a certain cd then - well, you know one thing leads to another...
It's gotta be here!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Elvis has left the building

Occasionally my staff will call me with an idea that they've seen somewhere for us to try and perhaps put our own spin on it.  This is one of those times.  Angie wanted us to try "The Elvis" a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich.  I'm not really sure if she thought it's something that we should serve or she just wanted to taste it, but either way experimenting when we can is always a good time; and we all know that it's hard for me turn down peanut butter in any form.

So we experimented.

We serve a Monte Cristo sandwich at the tea room that's really popular so we did a blending of the two.

Our fried peanut butter and banana sandwich was fried like french toast, cut in fourths, dusted with powdered sugar and served with grape jelly.

                         Yum! - Needless to say... Elvis has left the building - in our tummies!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A work in progress

I remember when I first bought my house, I had it all planned out.  It would be completely finished -exactly the way I wanted it within six months.  Nineteen years later the upstairs still looks the same, sad but true.  My excuse is... "Well, it's only me and Daisy and we never go upstairs;"  and besides I'm not worried about resale value, I am NEVER moving again.  When I die I think my family should just implode it so none of them will have to go through all of the junk that I can't seem to part with.

I also remember when I created the tearoom, it will 12 years in October, I had a plan there too.  The tea room would be exactly the way I wanted after my 5th year.  You know what they say about the best laid plans.

There's always something to do, there's always work in progress.   Right now we're putting in an outdoor kitchen.
I would like to say that after this project the tea room will be exactly the way I want it.
Here's some "during pictures" hopefully in a couple of weeks I can share some "afters."


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Finally - Some Rain

Finally a soft gentle rain, I could almost hear my garden say thank you as I took a walk this morning.  I like to take pictures of the garden in its different stages; I even bought this fancy schmancy camera so I would be able take really great pictures.  So far I haven't figured it out; and in my case the pictures that I really like are spontaneous anyway. 

So unless I'm going to wear that huge camera around my neck and look like a tourist all of the time, or try to pass it off as an avant garde piece of jewelry it really isn't practical for me.
What I do have all of the time is my phone, so when I see a shot that I want, I grab my trusty iPhone and like today I practically lay in the holly bush with my less than flattering side up in the air trying to capture the moment.  While my pictures aren't professional looking with the background faded, with the right filters, and lighting - this is what I end up with; and I'm OK with that.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Blues and BBQ

What a great weekend.  Yesterday was our 2nd Annual Blue Collar Blues and BBQ Festival.
The weather finally broke.  Who would have ever thought 90 degrees would be a pleasant day?

The weather was great, the music was sensational and the food was even better.  Thanks to all who participated, volunteered and who just came out to enjoy. 

So today I slept in NO alarm clock, yippee, and in the mail when I arrived home last night was my DVD of The Thornbirds; so today is an all day jammie day watching a marathon of The Thornbirds now the only thing that could make today better would be to have some of the fabulous BBQ from yesterday!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Maybe not so different

You know how every older generation ( I hate to admit that I'm now the older generation) thinks the kids nowadays are so different that we can't relate. You know how they wear their hair, how they dress  - (OK I'll admit it I DON'T get the whole saggy pants thing either) or even how they spend their time.

We hear on the news about how some kid sat for hours playing an online game and a blood clot formed.  Well I kinda get that, as unfortunate as it is.  I myself can get engrossed in something and become  oblivious to anything else especially time! I'm like a crazy person when I start looking up things on youtube - One thing leads to another and before you know it -it's 3 am and I have to be up in 3 hours.  Why do I do this to myself?

Just like earlier this evening I was talking to my sister Sandy about the Thornbirds - (I love Richard Chamberlain) It started out innocently enough I asked if she had the DVD - she has an amazing collection almost everything except The Thornbirds so I went to amazon - (that was an ordeal - me and my passwords, but that's another story for another time.) I finally purchased it - then I started looking up TV mini series - my all time favorite is Bare Essence but of course it's not on DVD or available at all - OK out there, who ever can make this happen please make this happen!  Almost every single made for TV mini series good or bad is available but this one.  That's a crime!

So I thought - if I can't buy it maybe it's on youtube.
Eureka!!  It's there - great I'll just watch the first part. Well after a marathon of every episode in one single sitting I can barely walk.  As I hobbled to the frig, because what else would I be doing at 3 in  the morning other than raiding the refrigerator, walking like Quasimodo I'm thinking I might as well watch something else sleep is over rated anyway, AND if I go to sleep now I'll never get up on time - so youtube don't fail me now - Maybe I'll watch the original Salem's Lot!

Monday, July 23, 2012

That's just not right!

What a day!  The temperature keeps climbing with no relief  in sight.  I feel like I should do a rain dance but with my luck it wouldn't rain until Saturday.  So I'm putting it out there now.  Yes we need rain BUT not on Saturday.  Saturday is the Blues Festival that Alfresco Productions (My not for profit for the ARTS) is putting on.

This is the second annual and it should be a hum dinger!  So, today in this sweltering heat I ran around organizing a few things for that along with the regular stuff that I always have to do on Mondays for my restaurant.

I thought it would be neat to have aprons for all of my friends to wear that are helping me with the event.   I found these red aprons with "Made in America" embroidered in blue on the pocket.

Great I thought these are perfect "Made in America"  what's more American than a "Blue Collar Blues and BBQ Festival" - so I bought one for everyone.

I like themed events and I really like aprons - perhaps another obsession like shoes and purses.
I actually know an amazing seamstress named Sandy who makes themed aprons for me all the time -you'll be able to see some of them soon on the Souperwoman page; but for now I'm running short on time so I saw these and bought them.

When I got them home I noticed that the "Made in America" aprons where made in China.  Now that's just not right - talk about an oxymoron -  I knew I should have called Sandy!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Every girls dream

Isn't it most girls dream to meet their very own knight in shinning armor?  Well that's just what happened to me today.  Now before you get all excited for me it wasn't one of those romantic moments where our eyes met from across the room, or I was a damsel in distress and he saved me. 

It was more like... "Hey Brenda - I'm getting rid of Malachi" shouted my neighbor from across the street, "Do you want him?"

Malachi? I thought, what's a Malachi?

My neighbor said, "It's something that I've had for awhile and it's time to get rid of it, so I thought you might want it."

You've probably heard me explain how I end up with so many, (how do I say this delicately) interesting things.  This is  a perfect example.

Knight of the Enchanted Cottage
Defender of Truth and Loyalty
             Meet Malachi... 
Knight of the Enchanted Cottage 
Defender of Truth and Loyalty

I think he'll make an excellent addition to
The Garden Gate.

You never know he may even make an appearance in one of the children's books.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What do you get?...

What do you get when you combine watermelon with tomato?  An amazing summer salad.  No that's not a joke!  With the fresh tomatoes and watermelon that are now available you really need to try this.  In the words of Souperwoman  "It's super fast and super easy"
This is all you need...

6 cups of seeded watermelon cubes    1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 cups of diced tomatoes                    1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons of sugar                           1/2 cup diced red onion
1 teaspoon of salt                            
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
                Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, toss to coat.
                                       Let stand 15 minutes before serving.  Even better the next day.

For a nice twist add
fresh basil and feta cheese! 

And speaking of Souperwoman -
More episodes coming soon!

Monday, July 9, 2012

I'm glad someone thought ahead

When you're a kid you don't really think about saving things like toys, drawings you know just regular every day stuff, at least I didn't.  As I've gotten older and more sentimental I think about all of the things I wish I would have put away.  Boy am I glad my parents thought about some of that stuff.

Two of my all time favorites were a giant doll and a peddle car firetruck!

Thanks to Mom and Dad I have them today

Here are pictures when I first got them and pictures of them today tucked in the decor of my home.

 Thanks Mom and Dad!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I like peanut butter on my peanut butter

To say I like peanut butter is an understatement.  I actually devoted one whole chapter in my cookbook to that super food.  Like that chapter reads...
Peanut Butter - To me it's a food group!

There's nothing better than late at night watching a great movie and eating a PBJ with an ice cold glass of milk!

So this cookie certainly will hit that spot!

I'm sure you can use your favorite cookie recipe but this is the one I use

 PBJ Cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
   1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
   1/2 teaspoon baking soda
   1/4 teaspoon salt
   1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
   1/3 cup of butter flavored Crisco
   3 tablespoons milk
   1 egg yolk
   1 teaspoon vanilla
   grape jelly

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in large bowl.  Cut in peanut butter and shortening.
Combine milk, egg yolk, and vanilla in a small bowl.  Beat with fork until well blended.  Add to flour mixture.  Beat on low speed with mixer until well blended. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Roll dough out on floured surface to about 1/8 inch thick.  Cut with desired cookie cutter.  Place half of the cut out on a greased baking sheet.  Place about 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of jelly on cookie (amount of jelly depends on the size of the cookie).  Top with remaining cookie cut outs.  Press edges together with a fork.  Prick the top of the cookie with a toothpick.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 11 minutes.  Do not overbake.  Remove cookies to rack to cool

You can use any type of cutter that you like.  I think using animal cutters would be really cute

They would look like giant animals crackers for the kids!

Friday, July 6, 2012

I'm very excited

After dealing with the copyright attorney and the publishing company my first children's book should be here within a week.  The first book to come out is actually the fourth book written.  After I had finished writing the three chapter books from the series; a friend suggested that I take a character from that series and introduce it in an early reader book. 

So, that's what I did! - "Daisy Gets Lost" is the first book.

In this book the readers will meet Daisy and her best friend Bea

Bea of course is the main character from The Adventures of Bea Whimsy and The Enchanted Cottage.  The first book from that series "The Great Treasure Hunt" is coming out next!

While I'm waiting for Daisy's book to come from the publishing company; I'm creating a giant book 18x24 to take to the schools to read. I can remember being read to in kindergarten.  I loved looking at the pictures.  So, I thought it would be great to have the book really - really big for all of the kids to see.

I'm finishing the binding on the super-duper giant Daisy book today.  I can't wait for my first reading at the school.

And I'm very excited to see my first children's book actually published!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What a way to spend the day

Sleeping till I wake up - NO alarm clocks!
A great BBQ with my family
Watching a marathon of The Twilight Zone

What a way to spend the day! 
To me it doesn't get much better than that.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Please Stand By

I remember as a little girl when there were problems with the TV a target looking picture came on the screen with the words Please Stand By... We are experiencing technical difficulties.

Well I think I need to wear that around my neck.  Like Bill England says... Here your sign.

I swear I have this magnetic force surrounding me that zaps any and every electronic device I have.

For days that crazy little circle was just spinning on my computer - Of course I still don't know why!

But at least it's working now! So from time to time you may just see a post from me that simply says... Please Stand By -  You'll know what that means.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Just had to have it ...

My days of marathon shopping are long gone BUT every once in awhile I'll see something that stops me in my tracks.  That happened the other night.  I was with my three nieces we were having a girls night... dinner, theater, laughter and more.  As we were walking from dinner back to the car we passed a store; in the window display they had a melting clock on a table.  It reminded me of the Salvador Dali Painting.  Did I need it? NO - But sometimes you just have get it.  I realize that it isn't for everybody but I love it and it never hurts to add a little whimsy!