Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ice cream cake with a homemade touch

Since it is so unseasonably warm today, how about some ice cream cake? 

My version replaces store-bought hot fudge with decadent homemade. Yum.



30 Oreo-type cookies
1/4 cup butter
1/2 gallon ice cream, softened a bit
1 jar of hot fudge topping or homemade fudge sauce (see recipe below)
8 oz. tub of whipped cream

  1. Crush the cookies. They don't have to be a powder--just a rough crushing.
  2. Melt the 1/4 cup butter.
  3. Combine the crushed cookies with the melted butter.
  4. Press the cookie combination into a 9 x 13 freezer-safe pan.
    (reserve 1/2 cup)
  5. Spread the ice cream on top of the cookie crumb mixture.
  6. Put the fudge sauce on top of the ice cream as evenly as possible.
    (might be more like dollops)
  7. Spread the whipped cream on top of that layer.
  8. Sprinkle the reserved 1/2 cup of cookie mixture on top for decoration.
  9. Freeze a few hours until firm.
  10. Take out of the freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

Homemade fudge sauce:

4 Tablespoons cocoa
6 Tablespoons milk
1/2 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup of nuts, chopped (optional)

Bring cocoa, milk and butter to a boil.
Remove from heat and stir in the powdered sugar.

Have a bite!

This post was shared on these neighborly websites:
Robyn's View

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Little Weirdo

There is only one way to describe this beagle boy. 

He's a little weirdo.

If he were human, he would be a game show contestant. He stands mesmerized by the blinking lights, jumpy people and all that clapping.

He is hyper and loopy; but give him some cuddles and he'll melt like butter. 

The reason we have new flooring is he.

Our Little Weirdo.

Shared on this neighborly site:
Snoopy's Dog Blog

Monday, November 26, 2012

The wild side of sweet condiments

Sweet pickle chips--an adorable, usually well-behaved accompaniment.

Oh, sweet pickle chips. I know you made this mess at the bottom of the fridge.

Now, now. Don't lie and get yourself into more trouble.

I found your jar toppled and leaking. There is sticky sweet pickle chip goo all over the fridge.

Oh, sweet pickle chips. 

Whatever am I going to do with you?

Friday, November 23, 2012

What a day

My kitchen is a mess, but I don't care right now. 

Hooray for the post-Thanksgiving couch crash.

Let's not think about Christmas season quite yet. Just a couple more days of no cooking and basking in leftovers, please.

"I'm so exhausted," says Kitty Baby, "Wake me when it's time to open presents."

This post was shared on this neighborly website:
Sarah Did It!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thank you, Norman, wherever you are

Last Father's Day, the kids wanted to make their dad a sonic screwdriver like Doctor Who uses. 

For those unfamiliar with Doctor Who, a sonic screwdriver is the device the doctor uses to often save himself and others from dangerous situations. It's awesome. Doesn't work on wood, though.


OK, the kids wanted to make a sonic screwdriver. Of course it wouldn't have the amazing life-saving properties of the real thing, but a fun project nonetheless.

The device would have to be large enough to hold a sound chip and some LED lights. We decided on using PVC pipe.

We took this fuzzy vision to the hardware store and ended up in the PVC pipe department.

That's where we met Norman. Norman was definitely 50+ and easy-going. He was confident striding the aisles of PVC and had his job because of expertise, I decided.

We described our project and he didn't bat an eye. He asked us some questions and pointed us to the size pipe we would need. 

Problem was, the PVC pipe was eight feet tall! It was very reasonably priced...but we just didn't want to wrangle an eight-foot pipe into the car.

Norman advised us to cut it.

"How should we cut it?" I asked.

He told me it is very easy to cut. We could use a saw.

"I might know where Dad's saw is," I said, "Could we  use a knife instead?"

While Norman said that a knife would probably work, I believe he sensed our cluelessness regarding all things in the garage. He seemed to become concerned about our knife skills as well.

I could see his paternal wheels turning.

He couldn't send this mother and children skipping off to cut this PVC pipe. Their innocent Father's Day project would now surely involve bloodshed.

Norman said he may be able to fix us up. He scraped around in the PVC department's junk drawer and came up with a piece just right (shhh, it was on the house).

The sonic screwdriver was, let's say, an artistic representation. But it's the thought that counts. It makes the authentic sonic sound and lights up, so I say it's a winner. Their Dad loved it.


I have carried around this gratitude for Norman since last June and FINALLY decided to write a letter. His boss should know we think Norman is awesome. The letter was addressed to both the store manager and Norman. The part about the pipe being free was left out, just in case.

I composed the letter on the computer before hand-writing it.

Even so, it took many rough-drafts.

I hope Norman still works there. I waited way too long to send this!

Thank you, Norman, wherever you are.

This was posted at the following neighborly site:
Found the Marbles

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Soldier on, Thanksgiving preparers!

This drool-worthy vintage ice box is at the apple picking farm's little market.
Today, the day before Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for modern fridges!

If you are cooking like a whirling dervish today, I'm twirling alongside you in spirit.

Thanksgiving Eve begins with glorious hums of "Over the River and Through the Woods."

As the day progresses, a new song is composed: "Holidays Shouldn't be This Much Work."

The evening gets darker as does mood. A screamo rendition of "You People Never Appreciate Me" breaks out.

I hear ya.

Here's what's on my Thanksgiving Eve list today:

Make a pumpkin pie
Make a pecan pie
Make Jell-O
Peel and chop potatoes for tomorrow's mashed potatoes
Store potatoes in cold water with a bit of lemon juice
Cut apples for tomorrow's apple crisp
Store apples in solution of half lemon juice and half water
Prepare ham glaze for tomorrow
Clean little fridge

Chill wine
Freeze extra pumpkin puree
Wash light load
Wash dark load 
Wash dish towels
Put laundry away
Tidy the house so it actually looks festive
Find something easy for supper
  (Current sandwich plans are being met with violent opposition)

I'm sure your to-do list is similar.

For those hosting dinner tomorrow, you are in my thoughts. 

Soldier on, Thanksgiving preparers!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Thanksgiving foreshadowing?

I hope my cooking slump goes away before Thursday.

Trying to be frugal, I decided to make the kids marshmallow krispy treats for their lunchboxes. Only I didn't have enough marshmallows. And it was really early in the morning.

I took the eight or so marshmallows (probably leftover from a campfire night) out of the fridge. Their rock-solidness should have been my first sign.

I added some butter. I don't know how much. It was early.

Then I microwaved it. I do remember how long I microwaved it, actually. 


It was gunky, sticky and brown. It kind of smelled good for a while, like s'mores. 

Then it didn't smell so good.

Poor kids. I ended up sending chocolate chips for their lunchbox "desserts."

Thanksgiving? We'll see what happens. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Bad boy pie crust

For years I used a traditional, stuffy pie crust. I tried not to upset it too much. Always walking on egg shells and all that.

I've fallen head over heels for a more thoughtful pie crust. I know relationships require sacrifices, but this recipe is so understanding. It has a different texture, so it might not be for everyone. 

It's kind of a bad boy.

In case you can't commit to just one type of pie crust, here are both recipes...

Old-fashioned pie crust:

3 cups flour
1 1/4 cup shortening
1 Tablespoon salt
5 Tablespoons cold water
1 Tablespoon vinegar

Mix. Use as pie recipe directions indicate. 

Makes two double layer 8" pies. Store extra in the freezer. Warm up to room temperature before rolling. 

This dough works better after it's been chilled. And if you don't work it too much. And if you baby-talk to it. And look the other way if it comes home late.

Love of a bad boy pie crust:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons milk

Mix. Use as pie recipe directions indicate. 

Makes enough for one double layer pie. It is VERY easy to get along with. It is a bit moist and may have a different feel than other doughs, but that's what makes it so easy to love. 


This post was shared on these neighborly websites:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Peanut butter bars for lazy people

 Maybe you are familiar with ESP peanut butter cookies? 

ESP peanut butter cookies
E = one egg
S = one cup sugar
P = one cup peanut butter

Mix. Roll into walnut-sized balls.
Make criss-crosses with a fork in the traditional way.
Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Let cool on cookie sheet. They will firm as they cool.

Could it get any easier?

Oh yes.

Peanut butter bars.

Double the ingredients:
two eggs
two cups sugar
two cups peanut butter

Dump the whole thing into an ungreased jelly roll pan. Pat out evenly.

Make criss-crosses on the whole pan all at once.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes.

If you want some glimmer, sprinkle the whole pan with sugar.

Let cool.

Are you lazy, too?

Well, we better get this sloth out of our systems soon.

Next week is Thanksgiving and we'll have to move it, move it, move it!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


"I understand you would like passage under the coffee table," states Kitty Baby.

"I'll need a password," says he.

This post was shared on these neighborly websites:
Sarah Did It! 
Snoopy's Dog Blog 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bad English

I don't want this blog to be huffy or terribly negative, but I just can't ignore this.

See a portion of my daughter's HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH homework in the photo above.

I am not a spelling or grammar snob.

Typos? I undersnad. :)
Abbreviations in text messages? Gr8!
Bending grammar rules to favor rhythm or point making? Fun.
English offenses from an instructor in a subject other than English? OK, I guess.

Apparently, my daughter's English teacher has no grasp on spelling and grammar. In addition, it appears she doesn't recognize troublemaker words such as affect/effect and is/are; because that skill would have prompted her to proofread and make corrections.

This situation may be part of a cycle of English abuse, a glaring consequence of this instructor's own educational experience. Perhaps she is a victim of bad English teachers.

I am often an enabler but even I say, "An English abuser should not teach English!"

Many people move to this neighborhood (in the Midwest) for the top-rated schools. The district is highly regarded.

I realize we all make mistakes, but this is basic stuff. Basic ENGLISH stuff.

In an English class, it's unacceptable.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Exotic ecosystem for the boudoir

Once upon a time when I was a young wife, one particular housekeeping nuisance caused me such grief. I would lose sleep, pace the floor and stew about the house. What could have been such a horrible annoyance?

Unmatched socks.

Everyone deserves a companion, I thought. What has become of Grey Heel's better half? Oh sure, I could mate him with White Heel...but what if Grey Heel's former partner shows up?

Like in the movie, My Favorite Wife. Poor Irene Dunne.

These days, I'm proud to announce a humane system of handling troublesome loner socks.

The bedroom sock basket.

There is no more tube, anklet or mid-calf drama. A permanent fixture in the boudoir, the basket occupies a teensy space. It's not invasive or offensive. Quiet most days, it hurts no one. 

It is symbiotic.

There is no pressure to pair the chronically unmatched. I'd even say, the day there is no sock basket in my room, is the day when I have too much free time.

Here is the process:

After easy-going socks have been paired, a clan of rowdy rebel socks surface. Instead of reacting with a horror movie scream (as I used to do), I say, "Hello Boys" and off they go to the basket.

That is their punishment for seeking love elsewhere.

I've done it so often, I don't feel remorse. One might say I've become desensitized.

Perhaps socks don't dread the basket. It's not such a bad place to be, I imagine, from a sock's perspective. They probably enjoy passing the time together.

Maybe stories are swapped about the old days when they were in the loop of mainstream laundry. Perhaps they console one another about sock hardships: toes popping through, getting lost in the dryer, being worn outdoors. Oh gravel! That's the worst.

Well, that's what I suppose they do in there.

Their community has been kept pure. No unsocks reside in the basket. If they get stirred around, perhaps two socks will reunite! 

I shan't lose hope!

Would it be a happy reunion? Or would they each blame the other on their circumstances?

Sock 1: After the slumber party, I was carried into the house. You were just lying there in the van. You lazy slob, all rolled up in a ball, not moving an inch. You don't care if we stay together do you?

Sock 2: I was so sad you left me in the van. I was hoping someone would kick me. I even rolled up into a ball--you saw that. Alas, not even a strong wind budged me.

Both socks sob and hug the best way socks can.

So you see, the sock basket is to me, I would guess, what a Habitrail is to other people.

Maybe I already do have too much time on my hands.



Monday, November 12, 2012

Honey popcorn for snuggle time

In the mood for something warm, sweet and salty with crunch? 
Honey popcorn is it!

2/3 cup unpopped popcorn
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons honey
salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Get the popcorn popping in an air popper.
Melt the butter.
Add the honey and stir.

In a large mixing bowl, pour the honey butter over the popcorn. Stir to coat.

Spread on a baking sheet. Try to evict the old maids as you go. 

Take a hike, old maids.

Bake for about 6 minutes.
Sprinkle with salt before serving. 

Snuggle time!

This post was shared on these neighborly websites:


Friday, November 9, 2012

Kitty Baby gets twitchy

It appears Kitty Baby is pro equal rights between cats and beagles--Mr. Cool in bed with him and all.

Nay. It's a laziness affliction.

Sharing nap time with a beagle requires nothing more than tolerance.

This unnatural coexistence has affected sleep quality, though.

Dig that expression!

This post was shared on this neighborly site:
Snoopy's Dog Blog 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Common sense? How offensive.

I would love to hang out my laundry, but I'm fairly certain local covenants and restrictions prohibit such a thing.

Let's look it up.

The precise wording from our community association is as follows:
"No permanent poles for attaching wires or lines for the purpose of hanging laundry thereupon shall be erected, installed or constructed on any Lot."

I spoke to the ACC (architectural control committee) coordinator at the community association. He told me laundry poles were the issue, not laundry itself. If we rigged up a retractable system, that would be fine. He also told me to check with the city to make sure they did not have an ordinance against drying laundry outside.

So, I spoke with the city code enforcement representative. She told me there was no ordinance she knew of against it; but almost no one hangs their laundry outside here. 

Her voice oozed discouragement

She said maybe one or two people have done it within the last five years; but usually their neighbors report them to code enforcement. (Why? There is no ordinance against line drying!)

She helpfully took my street name so there is now a record of my phone call, just in case someone complains about our laundry. Once again...I don't know why it matters if there is no ordinance against it!

The benefits of hanging laundry are so many--energy conservation, sterilization by sunlight, money savings AND aesthetics. I gaze dreamily at the clothesline photos on the Project Laundry List website. 

Come back common sense!! 

I miss you.

This post was shared on these neighborly sites:
Fresh Eggs Daily
Natural Living Mamma  
The Prairie Homestead

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Meet Kitty Baby

Hello Kitty Baby!

Baby has been a part of our family for 11 years. He was probably a couple years old when we adopted him from the shelter. 

Guess he's not a baby anymore!

You wouldn't know how spoiled he is because he always seems so put-upon. One would think he buys the kitty food and cleans the litter box. 

If the food bowl isn't filled or the litter box smells, he will run me down to lead me to the problem.

So, there IS much responsibility in overseeing these chores, of course.

Kitty Baby suffers through life cohabiting with two beagles. You think you have problems?

For such a grouch, Baby is always in the mood for a cuddle.

Meow, Kitty Baby!

This post was shared on this neighborly site:
Sarah did it!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A rosy gas trip

As I was putting gas in my car, the pump was going "chunk, chunk" and kept shutting off. Don't you hate that? My mood was turning sour.

Anyway, there was a guy filling up nearby, his girlfriend or maybe she was his wife, was waiting inside the car. She suddenly popped out and said, 

"This is for you," handing me a single rose.

I didn't know what to say. I stuttered that it was so sweet of her.

"What is your name?" I asked.


I said, "Thank you so much, Jenny!"

She explained she is a beauty school student and they practice daymaking.

What a lovely idea!

As they left, I held up my rose and hollered, 'THANK YOU!"

She just smiled sweetly and they drove away.

Jenny certainly made my day!

This post was shared on this neighborly website: