31 January 2013

Study-Dining Room

I'm seriously considering using this wall treatment for the back boards of the bookcases and armoire in our study-dining room. Same pink paint as on the walls, then a light pink or cream metallic Sharpie to accomplish the outlined triangles.

29 January 2013

Soup Today

Yep! It's soup. A week late (because CA and I got bad head colds last week), but 8 of us gathered today and made lots of soup:
Creamy Chicken Pasta Soup (3 batches)
Chile Verde (2 batches)
Chicken Pot Pies (3 batches)
And, for lunch we had the Creamy Chicken Pasta Soup and Creamy Carrot (4 batches) that I'd made yesterday. In the midst of all this, I put together some Southern Corn Bread (2 batches) with honey to enjoy with our soup lunch.
I'm exhausted, but happy. We had fun and everyone went home with several containers of soup and a pot pie or two, ready for the freezer or oven.
Oh, and I went crazy on Monday and spent way too much time shaping 3 cups of carrots into hearts for the Creamy Chicken Pasta Soup. Dang that Pinterest! I don't actually pin or follow, but a certain blogger linked to this nutso idea. Trust me, attaining the heart shape is much more difficult than advertised. Not so sure many of my guests noticed or appreciated my toils.

23 January 2013

Mobile vs. Web Version

Can't yet succumb to offering my Home Page as Mobile Version where you have to scroll all the way to the bottom to divert to Web Version.
My primary reading device is my iPad not my iPhone, and Web Version is so much richer (and the photos larger) than Mobile Version.
Guessing people in my demographic won't ever use their iPhones as their primary web surfing device. I could (and do) spend 95% or more of my online time with my iPad, although there are still a few tasks where the laptop excels and I love having the option of my iPhone.

22 January 2013

Piano Lesson

5-year old KF took her first piano lesson today. We're very proud and excited. She has a beautiful singing voice and we expect that she'll shine here, too.

20 January 2013

An Early Morning in Colorado

NJ is such a joy --full of cuddles and smiles. Hearing her small voice can brighten any day.

19 January 2013

Scientific Research

LG (3-1/2) is sick again--second round for their family. This morning she said, "I'm working on my scientific research."

18 January 2013

Is It Soup Yet?

    On Tuesday the 22nd, six friends are coming over for 3 - 4 hours of soup making and lunch. I put together this list of possibilities taken straight from the recipes I gathered into a series of Excel worksheets a few years ago.

  • U.S. Senate Bean Soup
  • Vegetable Soup (w/ and w/out beef)
  • Creamy Chicken Pasta Soup
  • White Chicken Chili
  • Creamy Carrot Soup
  • Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
  • Potage Sainte-Germain (the Magic Pan's pea soup--remember that crepe place!)
  • Chile Verde (no beans, very meaty)
  • Baked Potato Soup
  • Black Bean Soup
  • Toscana Soup (Macaroni Grill)
They are part of the recipe collection I printed on beautiful vellum and inserted into the above lovely recipe book, first for my daughter and daughter-in-law, and later for friends BB and RvH when they co-hosted a shower for JE's first baby.
I've decided that in the morning session, we'll make Creamy Chicken Pasta Soup, Chile Verde, and Chicken Pot Pie (an addition because the ingredients are almost identical to the CCPS). I'll teach the techniques of making homemade Chicken Stock (Silver Palate's Berta's), composing and properly browning a roué (Chile Verde), and peeling button mushrooms (both chicken recipes).
Since there are six attendees, 3 will sit at the counter while 3 assist in the prep. Don't worry--I plan to give the sitters a couple of tasks. We'll switch off for the afternoon session.
We'll break for a lunch of Creamy Carrot Soup (I'll pre-prepare), White Corn Bread, Sour Dough Rolls, and two cheeses with a side of Fig Preserves.
In the afternoon, we'll make U.S. Senate Bean Soup and Potage Sainte-Germain. The techniques I'll demonstrate will involve a quick trick to peel and crush fresh garlic, and the use of a mortar and pestle to make a paste of the garlic cloves and salt.
Each person will go home with a quart or two of three soups and a Chicken Pot Pie to serve 2 generously.
I've already got quarts and quarts of homemade chicken stock in my freezer. Now, I need to organize a grocery list, printout recipe copies (flash drives for the tech-savy), write a step-by-step pre-class itinerary, as well as a class-time itinerary. By Tuesday early morning, I'll have made the Creamy Carrot Soup and cornbread, browned the lean ground pork (Chile Verde), peeled and sliced a ton of carrots, and chopped a dozen sweet onions and a few celery bunches.
Don't worry... This is the kind of stuff where I excel. However, I will be wasted for at least three days after!

17 January 2013

15 January 2013

This is What 5 Looks Like

Found these on my cellphone. KF on her birthday, wearing one of her gifts from us. She styled her own leg-wear. She's like that. Knows her own style. Bo-ho chic... Punky Brewster-ish.
Update (Spring Art Show):

Happy Birthday, Jennifer Elizabeth!

Our beautiful daughter is celebrating her birthday today, with a sick kid in the house. Such is parenthood. Our celebrations are tempered by family priorities.

Why are you taking a picture of a sick kid?

...5-1/2 year-old JA asked his mommy this morning. Poor little guy. Just got over the nasty flu last week and now down again with a cough and fever.

The Carrie Diaries

AnnaSophia Robb
16-year old Carrie Bradshaw
in The Carrie Diaries
The Carrie Diaries is the prequel to Sex and the City, airing on the CW (Mondays at 7:00pm Central).
Sarah Jessica Parker
I'm going to like this show, if tonight's pilot episode is an indication of the quality of the series. Great casting and dialogue. Wouldn't want a teenage or pre-teen daughter absorbing the values (???) and morals (???) espoused.
Seemed to me that they've got the 80s vibe down--loving the music. Evocative. (A word I've never, ever, no never used previously.)

14 January 2013

Birthday Prep: January Girls

Tomorrow is KF's 5th birthday, and her requests include macaroni and cheese (Kraft blue box) and brownies.
Kristina is athletic, musical, very intelligent. One of our sensitive grandchildren.
Noël turned 3 on January 2. She's a sweetheart. Cuddlebug.
KF, NJ, and I work together to make Baker's Chocolate One Bowl Brownies with Hershey's Busy Day Frosting. I've recently adapted the One Bowl recipe--using semi-sweet instead of unsweetened chocolate and decreasing the sugar to 1-1/2 cups.
We use a 9"x9" straight-sided baking pan lined with foil and buttered, and just a half recipe of the HBD frosting.
One word says it all: fudgey...

10 January 2013

Smart Water

Remember when Smart Water printed an hydration-genius chart vertcally on the side of the bottle? CA would deliver bottles to his Calculus students during AP exams week. That was when almost no one had yet discovered-produced enhanced, bottled waters/beverages. Fresh Fields (bought out by Whole Foods) in Palatine was the first place I found Smart Water.
Wish they'd bring the hydration-genius scale back.

09 January 2013

Lemonade Stand


Well, for obvious reasons--my visual love for all things lemon--I am delighted by this particular video, as well as the entire Olive Us series by Design Mom.

The Blair family intrigues and entertains me. So glad they didn't live next door when I was raising my kids. Too much pressure. We'd never measure up. Love being the fly-on-the-wall now, though. I have the utmost respect for their parenting and creativity. I regularly share Gabrielle's posts with my daughter and daughter-in-law.

Schoolhouse Rock

Look what's back...


Stumbled onto an article in the Washington Post by Monica Hesse. Schoolhouse Rock is 40 today. Roadtrip! Instantly, along the neural pathways of my aging brain. My kids watched these short films and learned.


Obviously we missed the DC performance, but iTunes has the downloads and Amazon has the full collection--46 songs--available on a 30th (???, dated 2010) Anniversary DVD.

Whether for your own trip down memory lane or as a learning tool for your kids, this ROCKS!


07 January 2013

Tossed Salad, No Scrambled Eggs



Did anyone else love the Frasier riff, Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs?

Puzzling lyrics, but catchy.

Hey baby, I hear the blues a-callin',

Tossed salad and scrambled eggs

Oh My

Mercy (alt: Quite stylish.)

And maybe I seem a bit confused,

Yeah maybe, but I got you pegged!

Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha!

But I don't know what to do with those tossed salads and scrambled eggs.

They're callin' again.


Back to the subject at hand. We had the best salad as part of tonight's dinner:


Romaine, finely julienned

Green grapes, halved

Sweet onions, diced

Blackberries, whole

Braeburn apple, seeded and diced

Carrot, peeled and sliced

Swiss cheese, diced

Aged white cheddar cheese, diced

Dried cranberries

Roasted, salted almonds

Wait for it... tah-dah:

Brianna's Poppy Seed Dressing. One of the best fruit dressings.


06 January 2013

Getting Organized : Small Scale

That's iced tea, by the way. My year-round beverage of choice.
I have such plans for my walls, bookshelves, cupboards, etc. in 2013. (Pause for ya-a-a-w-w-wn...)
All around the blogosphere there are resolutions, plans, and some real go-getters who whipped their worlds into shape on January 2nd. We're still enjoying our Christmas decorations. Not the tree--we didn't squeeze one in this year--but mostly everything else. I've promised to pack it all away before we leave for the beach, but not before we spend a few days in the Colorado mountains.
I scored this wonderful tray at Tuesday Morning, just after Christmas. $4.00. Yep! It's a little shelf-worn, but not more than I would do to it in a few days of use. $4.00. Sold.
It has changed my life! I carry it from room to room throughout the day and at bedtime park it on my sweet, 4-drawer pine chest.
Main Entry:
chest of drawers
Part of Speech:noun
Definition:cabinet with drawers
Synonyms:Yorkshire dresser, bureau, chest, chiffonier,chifforobe, dresser, highboy, lowboy, tallboy

It usually holds, my glasses, iPad, iPhone, house phone, current reading material, notepad, favorite pen, watch (just lately I'm considering wearing a watch again), paperwork (requiring most-immediate attention), lip gloss, nail buffer, velcro arm-wrap for my tennis elbow (actually, book-holding forearm strain), napkin, small box of Kleenex, Ibuprofen gel (get a new supply on each European trip), micro-cloth (for screen cleaning), tape measure, etc.
It's just amazing how this has organized and simplified my life. I know where everything important can be found.

05 January 2013

San Diego: The beach and the flu.

Noël turned 3 on January 2, and got sick on the 3rd.

DM finally shook the flu for the last day of their Camp Pendleton visit.


We're headed to Colorado soon to visit DM's family--the lovely MK and our Beautiful Girls. We last saw them just before Halloween in Ft. Collins. We'll arrive between Noël's 3rd birthday and Kristina's 5th. There will be cake! And presents...

They've been in the San Diego area since just after Christmas with American friends they made in Slovakia.

DM was sick on arrival with a nasty cold and flu, but his girls frolicked and played in the seaside cove just outside their beach rental. LG especially enjoyed interacting with sea life--starfish, crabs... There were rocks to climb and friends to enjoy. We had a few opportunities to visit via Apple's FaceTime, which pleased us greatly and made it all real.


04 January 2013

Aunt Margie

Aunt Margie spent her life teaching children about Jesus by sharing His love and story.
Whenever Skylines needs a model for a photo shoot, they draft my Aunt Margie. They really love her. But, not as much as we do.

03 January 2013


Today, RvH introduced us to Peepsters. Never knew she loves Peeps. I'm cool toward Peeps, although there are some good Easter memories involving Peeps.


The milk chocolate Christmas Peepsters were Yummy! I only ate 2...


02 January 2013

Dinner Tonight

We had the best meal tonight--bought 2 whole chicken breasts at Fresh Market that had been breaded with panko, cashews, and orange zest. Browned them in olive-oil and butter; then prepared angel hair pasta with a Beurre Blanc sauce--substituting orange juice for the usual lemon juice. Maybe used 3 T. Of OJ instead of 1/2 lemon=2 T. So good!

One whole chicken breast was plenty for the two of us, although the quantity of Beurre Blanc this recipe makes easily stretches to four servings.

Love finding something semi-prepared that inspires me, and we had all the ingredients on-hand.

Perfect start to an evening at home--rounded out by watching and catching up on BBC's second season of the The Hour.


Happy Birthday: Noël is 3


Noël told her mommy, "He looks just like me." (Cute and little?!)


01 January 2013

New Year's Day

While I'm home sick (almost the flu; almost a cold), CA has been in Central Illinois with my family and JE's celebrating this fresh start we're calling 2013 AD.