Sunday, February 24, 2013

Please come take a look over yonder at my blog that actually gets updated ...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Almost a year since the last post

Wow, at this rate, I'll have an annual Christmas type letter coming out of this blog. I was just out thinking about what to do next because this past year, my sister, brother and I all posted one picture a day for 365 days as an art project.  It was fun, but toward the end, Mike ran out of things of interest for him, so he dropped out. Janet and I kept it up for the whole year, and now I'm not sure what to do.

I had been thinking that I hadn't learned to do anything new in years.  So, I had my sister teach me to crochet. I have made my first scarf.  It's pretty good for a first attempt and I learned a lot.  Here's a picture of it.

The really cool end of the scarf

I did this totally by accident, but I love it.

It's a little uneven on one side, but fold it in half and it's great.
I love it, and that's all that matters.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rum Balls

So, this time of year, I always make rum balls. I've done this for the past 10 years and people just love them. I give them as teacher gifts, and to friends who just get "a little something" in honor of the season. 5 of these little buggers go a long way.  My sister in law first gave me the recipe, which is pretty much the same no matter where you go to look for it, however, this year I got a tip from a website I had never heard before and it made life so much easier ( and less messy).  Here is the recipe and process I used.  Please note the highlighted step.

I've been rolling sticky, horribly messy rum balls for years. NONE of the recipes said to chill the dough, and I never thought about it before.  Duh.  This is a life saver.

Rum Balls Recipe

Rum Balls:  Chop the nuts finely with a knife or place the nuts in your food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl.
Process the vanilla wafer cookies in the food processor until finely ground. Add the crumbs to the finely chopped nuts. To this mixture add the confectioners sugar and cocoa powder and stir until combined.

 Add the corn syrup and rum and mix well. Add more rum if necessary. Chill the batter and then shape into 1 inch (2.5 cm) balls. 

Then roll the rum balls in confectioners sugar, finely chopped nuts, sprinkles, or cocoa powder.

Place the chocolate covered balls on a baking sheet. 

Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Makes about 40 rum balls.
I made a triple batch and got about 120 of these little bites of joy to give to my friends.  I stored them overnight in an airtight container in the breezeway to get them chilled, and the following day rolled them in powdered sugar again and put them into distribution central.

After rolling them in powdered sugar, we put press and seal wrap over the top of each cup. I've had those rolls for about 6 years. There were expensive, but last forever. 

After the cups were sealed, Kathryn placed them in a bag (25 for $1) and tied them with twist ties. I cut ribbon (5 rolls for $1) and tied the top and curled the ribbon. They are very cute.  I also have small tins I use for the teachers of my children so they get a few extras :)

The final product awaiting distribution to friends.

What is your favorite treat to make for friends during the holidays. Let me know.  Send me links to your favorite recipes or blogs so I can find out what you enjoy doing and seeing and read more about stuff that's going on with you.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Nineteen years ago right now I was getting my hair done at Shelton's with my bridesmaids and Mom and having a great time.  At 3:00 today I will have been married 19 years to a really good man who is bordering on Sainthood for putting up with me all these years.

Nineteen years and 4 kids later I would not change the decision I made that day for anything in the world. A better husband is not possible to find, so I'll stick with the one I have, that's for sure.

A timeline of our life together
1990 - We meet on St. Patrick's Day because his best friend's wife introduced us
1991 - I go back to Indiana in January
1991 - Floyd gets laid off from A12 and finds work in Bloomington, IN in April
1991 - Floyd asks me to marry him on a ski life in Bloomington on October 13
1991 - I graduate in December and Floyd is recalled to Fort Worth for work
1992 - Married in November
1993 - Move into first house June
1995 - Our first baby goes to heaven in May
1995 - Hail storm destroys house in May
1996 - Michael is born in August
1998 - I quit my job to raise our ONE child (that's soon to change)
1998 - Kathryn joins Michael in November
2000 - We join St. Rita Catholic Community and Michael starts school
2001 - Three week long trailer trip through the Northwest with the kids
2001 - Move to the new house (8 blocks away) and Kathryn starts school
2003 - Emily (surprise) joins the family in November on her Grammy's birthday
2007 - Charlotte (really surprise) joins the family in May
2009 - First family trip to Disney World in January
2009 - Michael graduates from 8th grade in May
2010 - Floyd's Mom passes away in December
2011 - All four kids are in school; for the first time, a quiet house during the day :)
Our Wedding Day ~ 11/28/92

Old Married Folks ~ June 2011

The Entire Family ~ April 2011
Our Wedding Day

Murder Mystery Party ~ 2006

Out to dinner ~ 2005

Las Vegas Night ~ 2010

Pro-Life Dinner ~ 2009

Las Vegas Night ~ 2005

Niece's graduation ~ 2003?

Our First dance ... It's a Leap of Faith

The Family circa 2001

Tandy Hills in 2002

The Family circa 1993

Charlotte Arrives ~ 2007

The Whole Crew at Easter 2011

Halloween 2005

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Wednesday

Some days you just decide to wake up and do something fun. So today, I was going to bake individual pumpkin pies with Emily, but then I saw a really cool treat on Facebook and thought I should do that, it looks like fun.  I even went to the store to buy things I needed to make them.

It sounded so simple  and easy ... yeah, right.

So, the general idea is here:

Simply using rice krispie treats and chocolate with a few candies you could make turkeys and it woud be a cool thing to have on Thanksgiving. I thought we could stick them in the individual pumpkin pies and it would be cute...sure...cute.

Here's what it was supposed to look like: Rice Krispies Turkey Pop Treats®  very cute...right?

Here's what ours ended up looking like ...
 not quite the same huh?

Tanna came over for support ... I was crafty with messy products after all, right?  She was impressed with my patience.  (She impresses easily).  My hands were covered with pumpkin spiced marshmallows for the first 20 minutes so she took pics on her phone, I'm waiting for those pictures and you can see that I did really enter into this project wholeheartedly.

Flying the flags of surrender

She did have a good time
 The kids didn't really seem to care that they weren't turning out well. They just kept licking their fingers and sticking those candies on there. I finally just told them to go wash their hands and go play with the dog in the backyard will I tried to salvage this mess.  The good news is that they are still going to taste good!
Liam had fun too

I believe I have proven once and for all that crafty is not my thing ... but I did have fun laughing at the huge mess we made and the horrible product we produced. That being said...imagine the fun I'm going to have creating the scrapbook pages for these moments. I think that's more fun than the actual activity.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I love to read. I've loved to read my entire life and I'm almost never happier than when my nose is in a book and my head and mind are somewhere far away.  My sister and I talked about books when I was up there for a visit last week.  I was amazed at how much she reads. My Mom loved to read also. She doesn't do it anymore, and that makes me sad. If she wants to go somewhere, do something or be happier, all it takes is the cracking of a book.

My favorite book of all time is The Count of Monte Cristo.  It has a little bit of everything for everyone. If you haven't read it, get the abridged version and try it out. I love it.  So far my two eldest children have read it, and my husband is trying to slog his way through the unabridged Kindle version. I feel sorry for him.

 I have a confession ... I love Stephen King books. People roll their eyes, they tell me he's not really literature, he's trash, too sexual, too gore filled, too profane.  I should be reading things that expand my mind, teach me something, enhance my life experience.  I agree. Just not always.  Everyone needs a little escapism.

I hate to admit it, but I read every one of the Eclipse series. I started reading them because I wanted to know if they were appropriate for my 12 year old to read (NOT) and what the fuss was all about.  Well, I hate to admit it, even though Bella is a simpering, co-dependent idiot and Edward is a controlling, pompous (way too old for her) Vampire, I was hooked.  I found grammatical errors and poorly written sentences, (can we say way too many parenthetical phrases)  (yes, I am doing that on purpose for irony's sake).  Anyway, these books are not an example of great literature, not even close, however, the story had some interesting ideas and really took you a different direction from common thought. That's why I liked them, they intrigued me.  I have not seen the movies, nor do I want to.  By the time I got to the fourth book, it was way too sexual for me, I wish she would have stuck with the interesting plot developments and left the porn for Hustler.

 Instead of that inappropriate book series, I recommend The Hunger Games ... those are good books that suck you in and are so enjoyable and they are so chaste.  I just love that they are out there for my kids.  I recommend Harry Potter also. Such a well conceived idea and so well written with regards to plot lines and character development.  They are good movies also.

My sister has a notebook, nothing fancy, in which she has been writing down books she has read over the years. It's quite the document.  I was inspired to do this myself, so I went and got a tiny notebook and began to list all the books I remember reading. Of course, I'm a voracious reader, so I won't ever cover them all, but I'm making progress. I've got my grouped right now. I love Patricia Cornwell so I've gotten all hers written and then put a mark by the ones I would like to read in the future.

Of course Mr. King has his own several pages. I thought I'd read everything he'd ever written, but after going through the Kindle, I have found several which escaped me.  I will be adding those to the list and now that the series is complete, I will read The Dark Tower series again.  It's a little too much Fantasy like for me, but I'll do it for Stephen.  I think folks who enjoy fantasy might take a little foray into that series.  It's very good.

Robin Cook, Dean Koontz, Sue Grafton, John Grisham ... I'm very commercial, can you tell?  They are among my favorite authors.  Medical thrillers and detective stories are always a good read.  I also very much enjoyed The Professor and the Madman (true story about the creation of the dictionary).  Something you never think about ... how did they do that?  Read it, and find out. I loaned my copy out to someone and it's never come back to me. If you have it, I'd like it back.

 Right now I'm reading The Devil in the White City. It's a true story about the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, intertwined with a true story about a serial killer who was operating in that same era.  Pretty interesting. Did you know the Ferris Wheel and the Pledge of Allegiance were created for that event? I didn't.  I also know that I would never have wanted to live in Chicago in those times. Yuck.  Can we say unsanitary?

 I love books. Over the years I've read Crime and Punishment, A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield, The French Lieutenant's Woman, Grapes of Wrath, Invisible Man, Sherlock Holmes, The Red Badge of Courage, The Scarlet Letter, The Red Tent, The Kitchenhouse and most recently, Deliverance.  It's a wide range of topic and style.  That's what is so great about reading. If there is one thing I'm grateful for it is the ability to lose myself in a book.  My mother passed that love to me, and I'm passing it on to my children and trying to pass it to my husband.

How do you feel about reading? Do you read? What do you read? How do you make the choices? Convenience? Price? Topic? Style? Genre? Author? Recommendations?  Tell me about your reading choices and what you love about a good book.

Wanna take a trip?  Perform magic? Meet people? Learn new things?  Simply open a book and you have that ability.  No money? Go to the library or download free books. No time?  Make time. It's simply the best thing ever!  I think if you asked me to choose between chocolate and reading, I would choose reading. It's a much longer lasting high!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Birthdays Galore!

Saturday we had a party for Emily's 8th birthday and then a party for Kathryn's 13th birthday. We did crafts, played games, ate cupcakes and had a sleepover. It was fun, but exhausting.  Looking forward to Thanksgiving week and a break from the grind of many things to do.  Here are some pictures from the event.
Emily's gift from her Godmother,
she colored it herself. It's a messenger bag.

Kennedy, Moriah, Kathryn, Megan, Victoria
The Survivors of the sleepover

Emily's friends very quiet...we're huntin'

Friday, November 18, 2011

Well, yesterday was Kathryn's first day as a teenager. It was pretty unexciting, she went to school, came home, went to dance class, etc.  She got to share cake pops with her friends at school and eat McDonald's for Breakfast and Dinner (she was happy with that).  Saturday is her party. She is inviting friends over to hang out and work on the Cricut and make critters. It should be fun. I'm not sure how it's all going to work out, but it should be fun for them.

Emily is having her 8th birthday party on Saturday also.  The girls are sharing a Cars2 birthday theme. Cupcakes will have little fondant Cars on them and I'm trying to come up with something crafty for the 2nd graders. I am SO NOT the crafty mom. But somehow, I always come up with something. Over the years my kids have had great birthday parties.  There have been tremendous cakes, fun games and great outings. We've roller skated, swam, waterparked, movied, go karted, treasure hunted and pirated our way through 15 years of birthdays.  I have made race car cakes, princess castle cakes, monster cakes, dog cakes, etc.  The last two years I've made fondant cakes for the kids with a friend's help and they have been beautiful and fun. 

I hope when the kids are picking out my nursing home (when I'm 98) that they remember my birthday cakes and parties :)  Better yet, I hope they move me into the comfortable extra bedroom of their home and keep me around for laughs.  Watching my folks and other people as they grow elderly, has indicated to me it's a crap shoot mentally and physically how you turn out, but how your kids treat you ... that's the most important part. I would hate to be a person with no children to care for them in their old age, that would be sad and scary for me.  There's no guarantee that out of my 4 children, any of them will take care of us when we grow old and need help, but I sure hope by example and with love we raise them so well that they all fight over us :)

Kathryn's Birthday

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My beautiful daughter turns 13 years old tomorrow and I'm unsure of how that happened. It seems as though she was just my happy little two year old or my funny little 5 year old or my helpful 10 year old getting her ears pierced for the first (and hopefully only) time.  Now she's a teenager with all that entails.  Well, Michael has been a pretty easy teenager (nothing other than normal personality issues) so hopefully the easiest child will continue to be the easiest child.  She has her father's heart and personality, so it bodes well for her.  She's a big goof and I love her so much.  I'm happy to see her growing up and enjoying herself doing goofy things.  She is a wonderful girl and I personally feel anyone who knows her is blessed to have her in their lives.  Happy Birthday tomorrow KitKat.
Kathryn Fazi

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I brought a piece of Indiana home with me.  It was snowing when I arrived in Indiana last Thursday, but Dad had a few green tomatoes left on his vines. I brought them home with me and today for lunch I had them and enjoyed every bite. I'm on a nutrition plan which doesn't involve bread or flour, but today I set that aside for one of my favorite things.

Sliced with salt &pepper &dredged in whole wheat flour.
The only way to serve them, on butter bread, sliced in quarters

Frying them in bacon grease

The Final Product...yummy