Saturday, November 3, 2007

Christmas Fair Day

Today is going to be a good day. I have declared it to be so; therefore, I'm expecting nothing but good. Many of the area churches working in harmony with one another (for a delightful change) are hosting a Christmas Fair. My mother and I are starting off before nine and we plan to hit every single one of them from the Gift Shoppe Open House in the center of town to the Congregational Church, up to Our Lady of Ransom, and then over to see what the Methodists are up to; finally, away over to the next town to visit with The Poland House. I'll be certain to share more later.

Edited to add: It's later and time for some pretty pictures because this is my pretty blog or I'm going to turn it back into my pretty blog. (Thanks for the term, M-N!) Everything or nearly everything I said above is a lie. If I had known at the time, I wouldn't have told such tall tales, but I truly believed it. Anyway, we went to the only two available Christmas fairs today...the Methodists and the Down-Town Gift Shoppe.

Now those Methodists were hanging out in their basement all huddled together against the cold. I guess that they were being frugal and had not turned up the heat very much...and it's cold today! We're expecting some snow tonight. Nevertheless, they were certainly warm in welcoming everyone in. We signed up for a raffle on a beautifully displayed gift basket. Take my word for it, it was scrumptious.

My mother found her little nylon scrubbies that she uses on teflon pans and such and some of those ubiquitous dishcloths that everyone is making these days (I intensely dislike them because of their thickness, but others are very fond of them indeed, including my mother.) Then my mom found a cross-stitch kit that said "free" on it. When she put it in her bag, a very nice lady came over and asked if she could help. Then it dawned on Mother that the lady thought that she had stolen it. Sure enough! That mom of mine. Haha! Anyway, that all got cleared up and off we went to the food table.

Mother found a pecan pie and some delicious fudge. We ate the fudge before I could take a picture...sorry. But here's the pecan pie. Yes, delicious, even if I do hate a store-bought crust. I'm such a pie crust snob.

Then we meandered our way back to town where we were unable to find a parking space at the Gift Shoppe. Every year, the owner has an Open House and opens her family's living area above the store. It is beautifully decorated for the holidays and is filled with the aromas of mulled cider and brownies fresh from the oven. It's a great combination on a chilly day!

This is my mother's stash of little gifts to tie on packages and a card for my niece a new home-owner. The snowman is her gift to herself since she has a collection. I think he's darling.

Me? I was a very good girl and decided not to spend too much. I bought a package of seasoning...bacon and make into a dip. I love dips at holiday times.
Oh, and I bought a little Christmas memory book that family and friends can write in at Christmastime and then the little book hangs on the tree as an ornament. I'm definitely going to have my family do this for me this year since this will be the last Christmas that we're all together like this.

Next year, things will even be different at the Gift Shoppe since they'll be moving across the street into their new old building. Both buildings were once hotels back when my town was booming...let's see, that would have been 120 years ago or more. :) Anyway, here's a pic. Doesn't this look like a November day if you've ever seen one?

Friday, November 2, 2007

It's a Party!

Come on in! The big 100th post day is finally here. WELCOME!

That's how you'll be greeted by Melissa at The Inspired Room today. It's just one of the things I love about her blog. It's always fun and always warm and welcoming. So scoot...get on over there...things are happening!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Apple Pie

Is there anything more comforting than a warm apple pie? I don't think so!

One of my friends recently told me that she enjoys reading blogs, but she especially enjoys reading when it's all about food. This may be because she's on a diet program and she's hungry. I know what she means; I find myself gazing lovingly and longingly at food, too. And I have baked ever so much more since gazing at these gorgeous blogs. Can't say that I've ever been disappointed either.

This evening, my pie plate was returned; I baked this pie for a friend last week and never even had one bite of it. He assures me that it was delicious...I'll take his word for it. Baking apple pies is very labor intensive so I won't be baking another any time soon.

Here's the recipe:

Award Winning Apple Pie

* 1 pastry for double-crust pie (Recipe below)
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1/4 cup packed brown sugar OR 1/4 cup maple sugar
* 2 TBS all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 3 pounds of tart cooking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin (about 8 cups)
* 3 TBS butter cut up
* 1/4 cup cream
* 1 or 2 TBS milk
* 1 TBS sanding sugar

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugars, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Add apples, toss until coated and add to a pastry-lined pie plate. Dot with the butter and pour the cream over the filling. Trim the edge of the pie using a fork to press down the seams. Brush crust with milk and sprinkle with sanding sugar.

Bake in a 375° oven for 30 to 40 minutes with foil over the edges. Remove foil and bake for 20 to 30 minutes longer or until the fruit is tender and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack.

My Favorite Basic Pie Crust Recipe...simple and good every time

* 2 2/3 all-purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur unbleached and unbromated.)
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 cup Crisco shortening
* 7 to 8 TBS (maybe more) of ice-cold water (Add ice cubes to a cup of water to get it good and cold.)

Mix together adding just enough water to bring the dough together. Roll out to desired thickness and do not overwork.
Printable Recipe

Happy November, everyone!
(I love November. That's because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday...more about that another day.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

October 31st

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

~Scottish Saying

It just seems wrong to say goodbye to October this way. ;)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sisters: You Can't Live With Them and You Can't Live Without Them

Tonight my sister told me that the man she met on a blind date in July will be marrying her in January.

I'm afraid that I didn't take it very well. Said some rotten things that I can't take back. Oh what the flip, I don't even want to take them back...not tonight. Doubt that morning will change my mind much.

I told her that, if I had known that this would happen back on that cold February night in 2001, I would never have let her in. That's no lie; I wouldn't have. In true tit for tat fashion, she told me that if she had known, she wouldn't have moved in either.

Anyway, it has been a miserable four months since that July day when she hopped in his truck and took off and I thought as fear gripped me: I may never see her again! I mean, what mature woman hops in a stranger's truck and takes off? It really was so unlike her.

And what does all this have to do with me? It's like this, when sis arrived, I owned this wee, little house with a small mortgage and small payments. Sis has bigger ideas than I. She's done a lot of things, which were all very nice when we thought that this was what our lives would be...two sisters pulling together to share a home and a life. Those "bigger ideas" resulted in a new mortgage with killer payments. I won't be able to hang on here. That and I've lost my sister, too.

Day Two and Counting

If ever I have wanted to roll over and go back to sleep, it was this morning. Why a day of training had me so exhausted, I really don't know. It's not as if I worked in the woods all day.

I am definitely rethinking my blog timing. And I like Mari-Nanci's idea of "blogging without obligation." The point is, I need time to think; just firing off a post in ten minutes' time is not satisfactory. Perhaps, if I waited until later in the day, I'd actually have a thought or two. Then again...

Picture Source

Monday, October 29, 2007

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho

It's off to work I go...

And I resent it...deeply! :)

I'm not sure what blogging and work looks like together. Obviously, nearly everyone is doing it so I must believe that it can be done. But if posts appear at odd hours or are particularly short or have no pictures...well, I'll have to do better that's all.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

New Beginnings

Just looking at that picture takes my anxiety level down a notch or two. :) My plan for today is to spend a chunk of time reading in the coziest spot that I can won't be quite as lovely as this, but I can dream, can't I? What'll I be reading? Let the Journey Begin: God's Roadmap for New Beginnings by Max Lucado.

You have the most restorative, relaxing Sunday, too!

Picture Source