Saturday, January 23, 2010

Baking Cookies with Gramma

You're never too young to start learning the culinary arts and what better way than to make Nestle's original toll house cookies. (Although I confess I drop both the brown and white sugars back.)

The first two rules of the cook are wash your hands and put on your apron. Once you've done that, you're ready (spatula in hand) to bake.

Then get out the mixer and the ingredients and set to work. A little hand guided by Gramma does a good job breaking the eggs and pouring in the ingredients, with time out to take a handful of chocolate chips for sampling. Then after all the mixing is done, a batter check. Good enough to want to lick the other one as well.

And the results? Enough to bring a smile to a little face and requests for more.

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

Okay, I've been thinking about new year's resolutions and I think I'm going to go for two.

1) Get back into my one mile a day walking routine

2) Give away a box a week of stuff. (We've got more than enough to do that for five years without noticing I think.)

I filled up my first box today with glasses we don't need, towels, sheets, and a few aprons. The proceeds will go to our local parish outreach program which means the money will help local folks with rent, electricity, and other needs. I already have a spring plan for all the prom gowns still hanging in the closet.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Winter Weather and Global Warming

Winter weather and global warming

Larry and I just returned from a Knights of Columbus function in Virginia Beach which was not the pleasantest place to be in frigid temperatures which stayed in the 20s or close to it. When we ventured out into the wind it reminded me of the superheroes who can freeze things with their breath. Would I shatter and collapse like a cartoon ice sculpture? Sure felt like it.

The hotel had a suana and hot tob so I went and sat and pretended it was summer. But the illusion couldn't last for long.

"I need some global warming," I told Larry. And I'm not the only one. All over the world frigid temps and lots of snow is the norm. In the midwest temperatures are colder in many places than in parts of Alaska and Canada. Cities in Iowa were registering below zero joining neighboring states to the east, west, and north. Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan were experiencing record temperatures and snow. Brr.... But that didn't keep USA Today from running an editorial telling us all that global warming is still a fact and that we should ignore the temperatures because the ice caps and glaciers are melting, etc., etc. Well they sure aren't melting today. In case these "scientists" haven't noticed, when temperatures are lower all over the planet, things are freezing. And when the weather gets hotter, things melt. You can do this experiment in your kitchen by using three ice cube trays of water. Put one in the freezer, one in the fridge, and one on the counter. Which one will freeze?

Another editorial by a silly woman discussed the excessive impact of "global warming" on peiople of color because they live in urban areas. I think she was talking about air pollution, but, hey, why get fussy here. If she wants to use smog as proof of global warming, who can argue with her? It's already obvious she isn't a critical thinker. If an acorn hits her on the head, she no doubt will announce to the world that the sky is falling.

John Dewey believed that education was an instrument for controlling the masses and it's pretty clear that several generations of public education has equipped people to be led around by the nose by the elites among us. They will tell us what to think, lecture us on what to drive and eat, and will make all our decisions for us including how to spend our money (since they will take most of it). But take heart. They will allow you to choose the reason you need to be rescued. Your choice: a.) saving the planet, b.) saving the children, c.) protecting you from terrorism, d.) saving you from bad cholesterol, e.) ensuring you against PED, or e.) other. Take your pick.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Killer Snowman

Lauren and I made this together. She contributed the middle ball.

I hear you laughing, calling it a pathetic excuse for a snowman. "It's just a little snowman," you say. But those words will haunt you. Remember what the knights of the Holy Grail said about the "harmless little rabbit"....

The killer snowman is friendly towards children, however, which explains Sean's proximity to the little beast. (Note his bamboo staff.) Now no more jokes about the "mini-man" and the "snow midget." Had Jimmy Carter met him (unlike his experience with the killer "swamp rabbit") he would not have lived to tell the tale.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sledding with imagination

What to do when you have snow for sledding, but no snow boots and three kids but only one plastic sled? Well, first you solve the boot problem with plastic bags and rubber bands and then you turn to the sled challenge. Yes, you can share and take turns, but then use your imagination. What else did we have that could work as a sled? How about a swim tube? And would a baby pool work? Boogie boards are the right shape. Brendan, Ryan, and Lauren tried them all out, but we all agreed the sled was best. (Brendan even tried a swimming kick board but it was a little small.) I tried the boogie board sitting, but it turned backwards halfway down the hill which gave me an interesting ride. My experience with the baby pool was that it was a hard on the tailbone, but otherwise worked well and the kids didn't seem to mind. Check them out. Snow and kids is definitely a recipe for fun! And it gives this grandma an excuse to play. (As if I need one.)

Celebrating the New Year Family Style

In late December we had no plans for New Year's Eve and thought about how we'd like to celebrate it. With grandchildren! So we solicited the two local children who were in town and had five little people join our celebration. Cheese fondue was the hands-on favorite for dinner. We played a modified charades (act out an animal or activity for everyone to guess), musical chairs, and had a treasure hunt for the "goodie" bags. We had early fireworks for the go-to-bed younger children and then watched Christmas Story with Brendan. We rang in the new year with sparkling cider watching the ball drop in Times Square.

Oh yes, and we also had two birthdays to celebrate. Happy birthday, little snow bunnies!

Breaking with Christmas Tradition

Well, for the first time in 40 years of marriage, Larry and I put up an artificial tree. Not only that, but instead of putting on strings of big colored lights (including flashers) we put up little white lights. What a difference! Our youngest wasn't too impressed when she came in and said it just wasn't our tree. But we like it: no needle mess to cope with this year, no tree watering, the lights went on a lot faster and easier and the results were just fine with us. We never noticed before that our ornaments are pretty much red, white, silver, and gold. It was the colored lights that added the other colors. But we liked the combination and plan to leave it up until my brother comes to visit in mid January so he can enjoy it too.

And on top of all that, we are being good stewards of the earth: reducing our carbon footprint by using a fake tree and little lights that use less electricity.

My favorite decoration of all, though, is the stable scene. I always put that up in early December with little Jesus hidden under the hay until Christmas Eve and the wise men making their way through the bookcase "desert" to arrive on Epiphany. I have several nativity sets and leave a small one up all year on the fireplace mantle. The children like it and it's a reminder that every day we should welcome Christ into our lives.