Saturday, May 19, 2012

A Girls Best Friend.....................

She hates having her picture taken

The other day when I mentioned being tired....well, I had taken Nitty, my Rottweiller to the vet.  She had been in earlier this Spring and I told him then that she seemed to be scratching more than usual but he checked  her out and saw nothing.  We came home and she continued to scratch and one day I checked her and noticed that she was scratching the hair right off behind her ears and under her front legs.  Both my girls are on flea and tick medicine so I knew that wasn't it. Since the doctor said he saw nothing wrong I immediately thought it must be a food allergy so off I went researching organic and pure dog foods with no fillers etc. and gathering recipes to make my own dog treats and on and on.  Meanwhile, the poor dog is trying to scratch her eyes and spending the majority of the day scratching some part of her body.  Of course my eyes were giving me fits and I was sneezing to beat the band but I paid no attention to the obvious and kept right on going down that food trail I'd forged.

See how she turns away....I think it's the flash.  Can't say I blame her!
 Then the other day I was talking to Elaine over at Sunny Simple Life and she mentioned that their dog had allergies and had been on Benadryl for years as prescribed by their vet. Well, I had some spray Benadryl that I used on my tick bites so since her vet had recommended it I figured it wasn't harmful to animals so I sprayed her underarms and behind her ears and it seemed she was relieved for awhile but then there was the eyes and I realized that it was aggravating her whole body.  She hadn't been herself and I could tell she was really miserable from all of this!  So, the  next morning I took her to the vet who's over in Ash Flat.  He confirmed that she had a bad allergic reaction but it probably wasn't food but nature and it was all over her body.  He gave her a cortisol shot and said it would last about a month but that if I saw any signs again that I could give her Benadryl also, the human pills, and it would not hurt her.  He said, here in Arkansas, the allergies were really bad this year for animals and he had seen more this Spring than ever before.  I felt bad that I hadn't brought her in sooner.  In fact , there was one time when I actually thought it might be an attention thing or a nervous habit.  I felt terrible that she had suffered one minute more than was necessary because of my stupidity.

 The animals that have blessed my life have been more loyal, dependable and loving and any person I have ever come in contact with.  They are the angels that God sent to us to guide us, protect us, love us and set an example for us.
I'm happy to report that she has now stopped scratching, her eyes are bright and cheerful again and she's back to her old self!  And now that Nitty's feeling better and happy we're all feeling better and happy...well I'm still sneezing and my eyes are watering and the ticks continue to bite me....hmmm......something wrong with that picture.
 There she is....smiling once again as I scratch her favorite spot....ahhh....

 Trying to take Annie's picture is like trying to catch a fly.....she's a fast one that girl! strange as it may seem......we are a family and I love them dearly!  Hope you and your family are enjoying a wonderful Saturday together! 
P.S.  Thank you Elaine!  And Nitty thanks you too!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Failure......
 I tried to make these delicious looking cupcakes that I saw on someones "linky party" awhile back.....who knows where, as I get so confused with those party things but from now on I'm going to list the name of the website when I save something.  Anyway, they were lemonade cupcakes with raspberry frosting.  Doesn't that sound scrumptious?
I had gotten the ingredients from the store the other day...I plan ahead I do! I made the batter.........

 Filled the pretty liners I'd purchased just for the occasion.........

And baked them off.............

So far, so good!  I wanted these to turn out nice as I had met some great people in the neighborhood and wanted to take some to them.  I whipped up the frosting and got out my pastry bag with tips to frost like the original recipe called for.  She said use a #1 tip and of course, I made her frosting recipe. My tips were not labeled like that though.  I had a #30, #27, single digit tips at all but I picked the one with the biggest orifice, filled my pastry bag and went to work!  That's when it got ugly...............I mean REAL UGLY!!!!  Take a look.............

Pitiful aren't they?  Come know they are...don't be polite.  The frosting was too thick, I guess, so I went back to my old way of using a knife...........

I know you're laughing and now I am too!  They tasted good but OMG I will never be a pastry chef!  I thought if I used a pastry bag it would look better than my spreading attempts with a knife but obviously not.  I thought it would be easier too...I could picture myself like those bakers on the food channels just piping away on cakes and cookies and cupcakes.  I really thought the pastry bag method was going to open up a whole new world for me............NOT!!!!!  I certainly hope your Friday was not a failure and if anyone has any "frosting tips" for me please, by all means, send them to me. I can only go up from here!  This is what happens when you choose a career over staying at home and years later you retire.  Be VERY afraid......this could happen to you!
 P.S.  Here's the original recipe and how they're SUPPOSED to look.........I would like to give credit to the person that blogged about this but I don't know who it was.  If you have any information as to the whereabouts of this person please speak up so I can give credit where credit is due!  It's pretty obvious from the above scenario that it wasn't me for sure! LOL!  But like The Terminator said...."I'll be back"!  You haven't seen the last of me and my cupcake forays!

Lemonade Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream

1 (12 oz.) frozen lemonade concentrate (thawed)
1 package white cake mix
8 oz. sour cream
1 (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
3 eggs

Combine concentrate, cake mix, sour cream and cream cheese and eggs in a mixing bowl.  mix on LOW until ingredients are moistened.  Beat on HIGH for 3 minutes, scraping sides as needed.  Spoon batter into lined muffin tins.  Fill 3/4 full.

Bake at 325 for 20 - 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 5 minutes.  Remove from pans and place on wire rack.  Cool completely before frosting.

Raspberry Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
6 oz. fresh raspberries (rinsed and dried completely)
1 t vanilla
1/8 t salt
32 oz. confectioners sugar

Beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed with a mixer until creamy. 
Gradually add powdered sugar, blending well after each addition.
Frost cooled cupcakes using 1M tip.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tired Thursday..............

It was a busy and tiring day so I'm sorry this is so late but I took these pictures last night as it was such a beautiful evening out........BTW....I LOVE clouds!  I'll catch you up tomorrow........meanwhile just enjoy these gorgeous pics that MOI took!  I can't believe it......I actually took some pretty good pictures....about time!

These are mums.....blooming now?   I thought they were a Fall, I'm good! LOL!

They just keep getting prettier and prettier!

I HAVE to pick some of these and bring them in the house.   Does anyone know how to dry these properly?

This is my celery...I can't believe I grew celery or cilantro or's from last year and evidently didn't die.  Boy oh boy the gardening angels are really with me this year!
Good night all....I'm bushed!  Hope you had a terrific Thursday!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wednesday's wanderings...........and easy summer recipes

It must have been the "other" day of my every other day I have energy because I did not get much done.  I straighten and clean up and do the daily stuff but can't seem to ever get to the annual or bi-annual or big projects.
But I did manage to make Aunt Nubby's pasta salad that she featured last week on her web site.  She has the best recipes!  It was simple, easy, fast and delicious...just like I like 'em!

 I also made oven roasted asparagus and do you know when I got home from Wal-Mart I saw it was from Peru!  Crimanetly Wal-Mart!  This is the season for asparagus in the U.S.  Why are you importing it from Peru! It didn't even occur to me that at this time of year we would be importing asparagus.  No wonder there are no jobs....everything happens outside the U.S.  Why are Peruvians growing our asparagus?  Do we not grow it here anymore?  I grew my own on my farm but it takes 3 years to get a good asparagus patch going so I wasn't going to try here as I was moving.  They probably grow it there because they don't have the same laws regarding pesticides but could it really be cheaper to import it?  I don't think so when you think about fuel used!  If we want to preserve energy and jobs here in the U.S we need to be buying closer to home.  Oh what a tangled web we weave!
  Anyway, I roasted the asparagus at 425 F for about 15 minutes but I watched it after about 10 minutes.  Before I roasted it I sprinkled it with olive oil, salt and pepper and mixed it with my hands on a cookie sheet.  I also sprinkled some shredded parmesan on top and then before eating I squeezed some lemon juice on it.  I got this recipe a while ago on All Recipes   It's ingrained in my brain I love it so much.  It's healthy and easy and so delicious....YUMMO! 
 The night before I fixed tuna cheese melts which I used to make for my kids.  Another easy and healthy recipe yet filling.  I use the tuna that has been seasoned with lemon pepper and dill and packed in olive oil and I don't drain it.  I spoon it onto one half of a whole wheat English muffin, slice a few cherry tomatoes and put on top of the tuna and top it with a slice of cheese.  I used American but I think you could use whatever you want.  I used to make a whole tray of these when there were 6 of us and pop them in a toaster oven.  My kids loved them!  I don't have anyone to feed anymore except "the girls" and I and I don't have the toaster oven anymore so I just put 2 of them in a bread pan and put it in the oven at 300 C just until the cheese melted which took no time at all!  Not as "toasty" but you could pre-toast the muffin in the toaster if you wanted or maybe you actually have a toaster oven!
 I am definitely resorting to "quick and easy" in the Summer time as I have too much work to do outside to be wasting time in the kitchen.  Now come Winter or a cold Fall and you'll find me puttering the day away in the kitchen but not right now!  Hope some of these recipes help you enjoy your Summer and spend less time in the kitchen!  And for dessert?  An ice cream cone....or 2!  Happy Hump Day! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tidbits on Tuesday.................

It seems I can never catchup especially this time of year!  I mowed this  morning and this afternoon I paid's almost 5:30 and I still need to make supper, take a bath and I'd like to make a dessert but not sure I'll have the strength! LOL!
I did get some things in the mail though that are VERY special...... to me anyway.  As you all know by now, I want to go back to the little farm town where I spent part of my childhood and every summer until I went to college.  It's called Hanover and it's in the Northwest corner of the state of Illinois in Jo Davies County, U.S.A.   Anyway, there is a wonderful gentleman who has "taken up the cause" and loves Hanover as much as I do when you look at all the work he's done.  I purchased the following books from him that he published from scrapbooks that his Mother maintained her whole life and research that he did himself.
   There are lots of pictures in this one of people I remember from my childhood and many of my own relatives.  I haven't had time to sit down and read it but you can bet I will tonight!  
 This is the second edition of Who's Who in Hanover.  I already had the first edition and this one is the second one that was just finished last year.  I think this is so neat and have never heard of any town ever doing this before.  Does anyone out there know of other towns or communities that do this?  I'm so blessed that the one I love does!
 These 2 books  ( I didn't photograph the first one as both books look the same) are biographical sketches of people who lived in Hanover at one time or another and have passed away.  This one goes from March 1, 1980 to April 25, 2011.  I wonder if there will be someone around to carry this on after Terry is gone.  I certainly hope so...he is a treasure and doesn't even live there now but continues doing it.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart Terry!
Terry and his wife, Maxine, did the coloring book too.  Terry wrote and designed it while Maxine drew and illustrated it.  It is a great book!  It's filled with history and historical places.  I am such a "happy camper" to own these treasures and that they even exist!  I also got an email the other day that The Field Museum in Chicago is sending out a research team of biologists to spend the summer in Jo Davies county and Hanover as there are original prairies there that they want to study.   I beleive it too!  Last year there was a farm for sale near Hanover that still had a stagecoach trail visible on their property and that they had preserved and never plowed.  I told you this place was special and not just because I think so.  Obviously others do too! I just don't want it to get so special that I can't afford to move back there!  LOL!

  I am now heading off to take a bath and get the DEET off of me, get my "jammies" on and then it's supper and curling up with my books and a "cuppa"...caffeine free of course at this time of night!  I hope your Tuesday was tremendous and thank you all for your wonderful comments.  You make my days!
P.S.  I'm starting to plan my Memorial Day Festivities and I've got the dessert picked out!  Go take a look at Michael's Pink Malted Milk Ball Cake on Inspired By Charm   He made it for his Mother for Mother's Day and I want one! LOL!  It sounds and looks fabulous....oh, I better eat as I am really hungry now thinking about that cake!  BYE!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Miscellaneous Monday................

Yesterday I shook rugs, washed them and scrubbed my kitchen and laundry room floor, I finished the 4th book in the Stephanie Plum series...if you took out the trash talk and the sex talk then it would be a REALLY good book but she seems to be getting dirtier and trashier with each book.....not sure I'll be able to handle them all to book 17 or whatever it is.  She's a great storyteller though and I guess if she took out the vernacular and the situations it wouldn't be the same story...not sure but not my favorite author.  But then WHY do I keep reading her?  Because I don't like to start things I can't finish....silly I know but true.

I picked up 3 new colors of yarn in the purple colorway the other day at Wally World.   I crocheted them into my ripple.....I know you're probably tired of seeing this blanket but it makes me feel good to see new colors on means progress and I wanted to share it with you.  There will probably be more pictures before it's all over.  I apologize in advance.
I also picked up one of those RESOLVE carpet spot cleaner gadgets they've been advertising on t.v.  I put it together but I haven't tried it yet.  It will keep me off the floor and hopefully keep me from having to drag out the BIG shampooer when there's just a spot or spill.   I'll let you know after I've used a consumer report.
Oh, of course I did laundry and I'm sad to report I can't hang my clothes outside anymore.  I have 25 - 30 bites on my body and I have pulled 7 ticks off  myself and last night I found a spotted tick.  It'll be a miracle if I don't get tick fever or worse!  Evidently they blow off the trees into my clothes hanging on the clothesline.  So, there's the dryer sad.
I made another "vignette" on my kitchen table.....
I saw Funky Junk Interiors 
or someone like that, take a pickaxe and make it "decorative" by sticking a votive candle in it.....would you believe I just so happened to have an old rusty pickaxe laying around......scary huh?

I hope you had a marvelous Monday!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day to all who mother....... whether you are one or not

 It takes a village to raise a child and in my case that was certainly true!  Mother's are certainly important but so are those who play supporting roles.  These are the only pictures I have of some of the most important women in my life.   My Mother being number one but also my Aunts who were the "back up" Mothers.  They've all passed now but I have very wonderful memories of them all.
Below is my Mother in Hanover, Illinois where she grew up.  These were all before I was born. 

 Women are heroes just don't hear about them as much.

Below are 3 of the 4 most important women in my life....on the left is my Aunt Bernice, my Mother's sister-in-law who raised me basically the first 5 years of my life as my Mother was divorced and worked in Chicago as a nurse and came home on weekends.  There was no childcare in those days so she paid my Aunt and Uncle (her brother) to take care of me during the week.  My Mother was the youngest in her family of 6 and so Aunt Bernice and Uncle Homer were like Grandparents as they were 20 years older than my Mother.  My Aunt and Uncle took in other foster children all their life and raised 6 or 7 I think plus they had one son of their own.  My Aunt Bernice had polio when she was young so she had to wear special shoes as her feet were deformed from it but that never stopped her!  After my Mother remarried and I went to live with her and my new step-father permanently, I went back and spent every Summer with my Aunt and Uncle until I went to College.   

 The woman in the middle is my Mother was when she was in the Army in WWII.  She was an army nurse and evidently home on leave.  My Mother worked and put herself through school.  She had a 4 year degree in nursing and later went on to get her masters.  She always wanted to be a surgeon and she should have been as she was an operating room nurse who helped with eye surgeries.  She even traveled across country to assist with certain surgeries.  She taught me to be a life long learner and to persevere no matter what and also to not be a "whiner"! LOL!  One of her words of wisdom, of which there were many, was "Do you want to be a sheep or a shepherd?".  She made it feel okay not to "fit in" and to be myself.
The woman on the right of my Mother is her Sister,  my Aunt Alice.  Aunt Alice never had any children of her own but she loved and spoiled any child that came into view especially my cousins and I.  She would let us toddle around in her high heels, jump on her furniture and take us to Bingo when it was legal for kids to go.  Sunday nights she's have us over for popcorn.  Holidays she would always send me really special things. Like at Easter I would get a huge candy egg filled with goodies from Fanny Mae candies.  She and my Uncle would take me to fine restaurants and introduced me to lobster and fine dining.  My Aunt is responsible for my expensive taste! LOL!  She was also a wonderful cook and always had homemade cookies on hand.
The one woman who I do not have a picture of is my Aunt Edna, my Mother's sister-in-law.  She was housewife extraordinaire and would put Martha S. to shame.  She was a wonderful cook and baker, housekeeper and gardened and canned and she would still find time to take my cousin (her daughter) and I on hikes and go fishing.  She was always laughing and smiling and I know I gave her fits at times but she had the patience of a saint and never let on.  
So...if they can hear me today......Happy Mother's Day to all of you!  I still love you all!