Monday, December 31, 2012

Snow on the beagle

It's a Happy New Year's Eve snow!

"Get a load of the wagon with white stuff on it," says Mr. Cool.

Celebrate safely tonight, everyone!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Time to "PARTY!"

Gotta love AFTER Christmas. 
Party and relax.  
Party and relax. 
Party and relax.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Need a break from holiday preps?

You look worn out. Let's take a sit and catch some breaths.

Here's a goofy tidbit sponsored by sugar and adrenaline:


Does that graphic look like Waldo or what?

(Waldo enters the catwalk)

Runway announcer voice:

"And here we have Waldo sporting his holiday look for 2012. A traditional red cap and candy cane juxtapose against this year's brown boots of four buckles each. 

A green jumpsuit peeks through a belted brown overcoat with mustard-colored accents. 

And won't Waldo's dinner date be thrilled to find some of those gifts addressed to her? 

Let your eyes feast on the tall, dark Waldo, ladies. 

Thank you very much, Waldo."

(Waldo exits the catwalk)

You know how some things are funny when you are really, really tired?

This might apply here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The perfect gift

"We NEVER have tape in this house. If you REALLY want to make me HAPPY, buy me some TAPE for Christmas," says the person who has nearly everything.

I love it when hints are hurled at my head. Finally, I know what they really want.

I wasn't going to splurge on the "Jumbo," 

but it's Christmas.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Beagle dreamer

What could Mr. Cool be dreaming of?

Hugs from Kitty Baby?
Winning an argument with the Little Weirdo?


Sweet memories of youth. 


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Mourning rain

Yesterday’s tragedy was so immense; our weather seems to feel it. 

No words.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Simple sirloin steak for the squeamish

I am not good with raw meat.

I don't like to handle it. 
I worry about not cooking it long enough.
It's icky.

If I found some out in the yard, I'd call the police.

Sounds like I'm not exactly selling you on my sirloin steak recipe.

But wait! 

This recipe is perfect for cooks with delicate constitutions. It doesn't require much touching and it's over in hurry.

Plus it's STEAK--which makes the cook very popular.

The only catch is, the kitchen might get a little smoky; so decrease the heat when necessary and all should be OK. You might want to open a window, too.



Sirloin steaks (they look like cartoon steaks!)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. On the stove, heat an empty skillet on high heat. (an oven-safe skillet, if possible)
  3. Add some olive oil to the skillet.
  4. Put a little oil on the steaks and season them with salt and pepper.
  5. Regulate the heat in the skillet, turning it down a little if necessary.
  6. Put the steaks in the skillet and let them be.
  7. Wait 3 minutes.
  8. Flip them over. Tongs work better than a spatula.
  9. Wait another 3 minutes.
  10. Put the steaks in the preheated oven. If your skillet is oven-safe, it can go directly into the oven.
  11. If you don't have an oven-safe skillet, transfer the steaks to a baking sheet with sides. Again, tongs work better than a spatula.
  12. Bake about 10 minutes.
Steaks are done depending on how you like them cooked.
An internal temperature of 150 degrees is medium-well.

I cooked ours for about 15 minutes, until they reached 170 degrees (because I worry). That was probably too long--but they were still yummy!
This was shared for Foodie Friends Friday on this neighborly website:
Walking on Sunshine

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Smooth operator

"Kitty Baby!" exclaims Mr. Cool. "Haven't seen you in ages. You're looking...good."

 "What? Not even one on the cheek for old time's sake?"

Mr. Cool ain't really nothin' but a hound dog.
Shared on this neighborly website:
Sarah Did It

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Granola bars in five minutes!

Yay, five minutes! I timed it.



4 Tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 cups oats
1 cup crispy rice cereal
Sprinkling of chocolate chips

And if you want, add in other stuff such as:
broken pretzels, sunflower seeds, raisins or any other nuts, seeds and/or dried fruits

  1. Boil the first three ingredients over medium-high heat.
  2. Simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and add other ingredients except chocolate chips.
  4. Press mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan.
  5. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top and gently press them down.
  6. Cool and slice into bars.
At our house, this has become as routine as honey popcorn

Quick and easy, that's for me!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Fighter pie maneuvers


Parry, dodge, spin, thrust!

My pies will soon be outfitted with crucial pieces of combat equipment:

Pie shields!

For years this has been my strategy to prevent crusts from burning:

Foil is flimsy and usually bails just when the mission gets heated. 

I have wanted these shields forever! Thought I might have to wait 'til 2112.

En Garde!

Pies have assumed control. 
Pies have assumed control. 
Pies have assumed control.
Side note:
While waiting in the car mechanic's waiting room, I talked to another customer who told me he was very skilled at baking pies. He brought it up. Anyway, he said just to turn the heat down for the entire baking time and the crust won't burn. Well, maybe the crust won't burn, but then I'd wonder if the pie filling would be done. Pecan and pumpkin pies, especially, sometimes prove dubious.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mr. Cool, speed demon

When Mr. Cool was a baby, he wondered what kind of grown up beagle he would become.

Would he be a rabbit chaser?

Or a glittery show dog?

Perhaps he'd live the life of a hobo riding the rails.

Mr. Cool never imagined he would become heck on two wheels. But that is exactly what he is.

He wasn't always a dragster. In fact, the years leading up to his hot rod days were spent resting on couches, using people blankets and people laps. He could detect disturbances in air flow when a piece of food dropped and then stretch his neck to catch it. All without raising an eyelid.

Mr. Cool embodied the term "lazy." 

He contributed to the welfare of the home, though. Still does. If the doorbell rings or if Vanna turns a letter (which sounds like the doorbell), Mr. Cool springs into action. 

"I'm on it!" he hollers and howls like nobody's business. Totally helpful.


A few months ago, Mr. Cool's back legs began walking like he was wearing high heels for the first time.

The vet determined it was a herniated disc. An ossified disc, actually. Then, Mr. Cool began dragging his back legs. He spiraled into having potty accidents and his tail was in a constant state of droop. 

He became paralyzed in his back half.

The vet spelled it out. We could get him a wheelchair cart know.

So, we got him a wheelchair cart and he's been greased lightnin' ever since. He's run over so many people toes he's stopped counting. Outside I have to chase after him. He's just a blur.

Perhaps there will be a day when he will walk again. He seems to be working things out. His tail wags now, and he doesn't have any more potty accidents. His back legs are going through the motions of walking and seem to be getting stronger.

I have hope.

And wouldn't you know? Just when he was thinking of installing a drag parachute.
This post was shared on this neighborly site:
Snoopy's Dogblog

Saturday, December 8, 2012

I don't sell Christmas trees

This time of year, our phone rings off the hook. Why?

People think I sell Christmas trees.

Why would they think such a thing? Well, there is a simple explanation.

Many years ago (2007, I looked it up), I wrote an article for a local tree farm. I visited the farm and had such a great time. The owners were oh so nice and taught me a lot about varieties of trees as we walked their acreage. Of course, I said awesome things about them in my article. 

They liked that I said awesome things about them so much they put a blurb on their home page along with my name and phone number at the bottom. When people go to their website they just glance and see my number. Then my phone rings.

Mostly they want to know if I'm open on Thanksgiving. Or Sundays. Or what time I close.

I could call the tree farm people and have them remove my phone number. I think I probably already did that a while back. 

But that's OK.

I like it when people call me.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Deviant gooey butter cake

I had a hankering for gooey butter cake last night. 

Here's the story:

The recipe called for all kinds of things I had on hand.

Yellow cake mix, however, was not in the pantry.

So I decided to make one on my own. The from-scratch cake mix recipe called for dry milk. 

I didn't have dry milk. 

Then I had the brainstorm to use an instant vanilla pudding mix as the dry milk. (Pudding in the mix, right??)

I didn't have any vanilla pudding mix.

I had chocolate pudding mix, though! Now, we were getting somewhere.

The result was very tasty, even if it did veer down a bumpy side road to get there.

It actually may be more like chess squares than authentic St. Louis gooey butter cake. I fear some baker might give me the what-for and call me out on it. But it was still good.

Here's the recipe:


Bottom layer:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 box instant chocolate pudding mix (or 1/2 cup dry milk)
1 stick butter, softened
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon milk

Top layer:
1 (8 oz) box cream cheese, softened
1 Tablespoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. 
  2. Mix the ingredients for the bottom layer and press into a greased 9 x 13 pan.
  3. Mix the ingredients for the top layer and spread onto the first layer.
    You might want to start with evenly-spaced dollops and go from there--it's kinda difficult to spread.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar.
  5. Let cool.
Wallow in the depravity. Yum.
This post was shared on these neighborly websites:
Mad in Crafts
Growing Home 
Handy Man, Crafty Woman  
Frugally Sustainable

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Rejected homemade ornaments

It was a day of Christmas music and craft scraps. I was in over my head.

First, I decoupaged some garden-themed fabric onto a paper plate.

They turned out kinda cute, I guess. I don't know.

While digging for fabric, I found a bag of pistachio shells I saved a few months ago.

Pistachio shells! Now those have crafting potential!

Paints stood at attention and at-the-ready.

Wouldn't it be cute if the pistachios put you in the mind of old-fashioned Christmas lights?

I found a black twist-tie on the kitchen windowsill, so I used snips of it for the tops.

Since there were so many pistachio shells already painted , I glued a bunch of them together and stuck a cranberry in the middle. 

Regarding glue: spare no expense.

I pity the person who gets my white elephant gift this year.

How are your crafting projects going?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My kitchen on Saturday

Christmas music was blaring when the crafting bug attacked. Besides, the kitchen Christmas tree was incredibly homely and needed a rescue makeover.

After having fallen on the basement floor, decorations and all, the tree was smashed and lopsided. We've been stepping over it for months.

Yet, we propped it up "as is" in the kitchen. I was tired of looking at it. Ashamed, actually.

I was going to make button ornaments and even adorn him with painted pistachio shells! 

The crafting bug kinda makes one delusional.

I made some homemade "mod podge" to get down to business decoupaging ornaments. Various skeins of yarn appeared on the scene, just in case.

Cranberries were strung individually; and the popcorn garland was continually under attack by Kitty Baby. 

It was quite a day.

Eventually, the button ornaments seemed unnecessary and the pistachio project was scrapped. The decoupaged ornaments were OK, but overkill for this little tree, I decided.

After a full day of painting, gluing, decoupaging and stringing, this is what I ended up with:

I did decoupage some blue gingham to a paper plate and snipped a star for the topper. I ripped some country-style fabric and tied it to branches here and there. It's like the tree is wearing rag curlers.

Less is more. 

And it's for the best.