Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter!!

Let the resurrection joy lift us from loneliness and weakness and despair to strength and beauty and happiness.  ~Floyd W. Tomkins

It is that time of year to dust off the old, and begin again. For me, this means more this year than it ever has. I've weeded the gardens and made room for the new blooms to grow and flourish. Now we watch as life begins anew.

Happy Easter to all of you and your families!!



Saturday, March 9, 2013

Aunt Jan's Birthday....The cake!

"Ugly cakes are fine. Mama made some of the ugliest cakes there were, but they always were the best cakes I ever ate!" ~Klu Hoggard (My Daddy)

I just had to post the continuation of Aunt Jan's Birthday....the cake! It was something I agonized over prior to the day because it was something I had never done and I was trying to replicate a cake my Grandmother made often, which was always beautiful and tasted wonderful...pretty big shoes to fill!

Angel food cake, with 7 minute frosting. I spent quite some time on the internet to find the recipes for both and I opted to go with the Angel food cake from a box and concentrate on the frosting.  The original recipe was from the Betty Crocker recipe book from the 60s and I had to get my mom's Angel cake pan which seemed complicated enough!  I started at 6am on the big day, I remembered that 7 minute frosting hardened rather quickly and I wanted it to be fresh. Mixing the cake and 'pouring' it into the pan was no problem.  To cool it recommended putting it on a bottle upside down....that even went well!

It had to sit like this until completely cool...about 1-1/2 hours.  Unfortunately, the bottle got stuck! As you can see, I would need to pull the bottle through the cake to get it off!! Apparently putting a hot cake pan on a bottle makes a pretty good seal!! After a lot of pulling and tugging and cussing it finally broke free!! Phew!
Of course I had to use the traditional Birthday plate to make it extra special...
Now the frosting.... It requires that you mix only 2 egg whites, cream of tartar, water and sugar in a stainless steel bowl for one minute, then place on a double boiler with boiling water for 7 minutes, add vanilla, then continue to mix until stiff peaks form....easy, right?? Well I don't have a hand held mixer, so I opted to use my immersible blender with the whisk attachment....
I added blue food coloring since it's Aunt Jan's favorite color!
Talk about a mess!!! Apparently my bowl was too shallow, though I picked the big bowl as I understand the frosting amount would quadruple in size.....the pan got really hot, which required mits and the frosting splattered everywhere, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't stop it!!

....I apparently whipped it for too long, it hardened so quickly I couldn't spread it!! Talk about an UGLY cake!!! By now it's time to take it to Aunt Jan, so this was going to have to do!!
It ended up tasting very good, and even tasted like my Grandmother's cake, but boy was it ugly! I believe Jan appreciated it very much though so it was all good! This is obviously something that takes practice!

I made homemade pizza for lunch and Lily wanted badly to participate in all of that....she just quietly kept an eye on the food as Aunt Jan ate!


Lily then enjoyed seeing Aunt Jan again and they quickly got reacquainted!!....remember it's always 'All about Lily!'

My Mom seemed to enjoy the day as well!
We then went and got them both pedicures with foot massages and then to a nice steak dinner! We had a great time!! I think that Aunt Jan felt special on her birthday, and we felt special to be able to share it with her!!  

Aunt Jan is back home in Colorado now, but this is a birthday we won't soon forget!! <3



Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Aunt Jan's Birthday!!

Only an aunt can give hugs like a mother, keep secrets like a sister and share love like a friend. ~Author Unknown

Today is my Mom's youngest Sister, Jan's Birthday!! We are privileged enough to have her here with us today to help her celebrate.  She flew here to see us from her beautiful home in Colorado Springs, Colorado last Tuesday!! Hopefully we can make her feel very special on her special day! I was fortunate enough to get a lot of her physical traits, specifically the nose :) The choices I had in the family of noses was not good....but my daughter Jess and I got my Aunt Jan's nose! Nothing special, just a normal nose! 

Jan is a very special person to me and has been so supportive, especially lately.  She has always been there at the other end of the phone whenever I needed her....either to just work as a place to vent or to help with decisions and offer advice. I don't know what I would do without her to talk to! Thank You so much Aunt Jan you are one special lady, and especially special to me!!

Jan's Wedding....I'm the flower girl!!!! My Mom is next to her on the right!!

Here we are at Easter!! (Yep, the little one is me!)
Aunt Jan is standing, Her mother, my grandmother on the couch, and I'm on the right!
Aunt Jan at my Mother's Wedding (Far left) My mom is the bride (Jacquie), Their Mom beside her and their oldest sister Bette Jo on the right
Aunt Jan and My Mom on the Chesapeake bay! (a few years ago!)
My Grandfather (Their Dad) with Jan, My Mom, and Kay their other older sister
Jan (Center) with her parents (My Grandparents) in front of one of their beautiful gardens in Wichita Kansas
Jan's Bridal picture

From Left: My Grandfather, Jan, Their brother Hal, My Grandmother and My Mom

My Dad, Grandfather, Jan and Grandmother
The Thinker Jan
Sisters! My Mom, Kay, and Jan taken just 2 days before Jess' wedding
Jan a couple of years ago! :)
My Mom, Jan, and Sister Kay through the vase!
Jan in Colorado, who knew she would be living there one day!?
Lee, Jan's Bestest friend, Jan, My Mom and Me on a trip to Maine
My Mother in law, Ruth; My Mom, Jacquie; Kay and Jan at Jess' Bridal Shower
Jan and Hal at MY Wedding!

Jan, Me and Mom (Jacquie) in Maine

All the Kids, we all Love this picture!  From Left: Bette Jo, Jan, Hal, Kay and Jacquie in my Grandmother's pink house!!

I Love You Aunt Jan, Happy Happy Birthday!!



Friday, March 1, 2013

I've got Spring Fever!!

 It's spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!  ~Mark Twain

I've got Spring Fever!! I guess that is what it is, I am sorta in limbo.... I find myself looking outside a lot at birds, gardens, flowers and just looking....

These last couple of weeks have been pretty eventful outside our windows, though the cold nights and cooler days are persistant! We've had 2 new kinds of ducks in our ponds, I couldn't get very close so I had to rely on my digital zoom which makes the pictures much less clear, so I apologize for the quality!!

Hooded Merganser Couple
Female Hooded Merganser
Male Hooded Merganser
These are diving ducks and they have a stay under for a long time!! This is the first time I have ever seen them in our pond.  We also had this guy there the day before!
I believe he is called a Scaup!!

He is also a diving duck! So apparently there has been a lot of talk at the Duck gathering about something they like under the surface and the cousins of our local ducks are checking things out!

These are our resident ducks, we should be seeing babies around here soon!!

This guy has become a regular, he is a 'fisher' he makes all kinds of racket and dives down from a tree to the surface of the pond!
Belted Kingfisher
The gardens are beginning to show signs of life also, and I am glad!! I think about our daughter Jess when the blooming starts, we used to spend the springtime planting new bulbs and I would send her pics when she was in the dorms at Virginia Tech. She always seemed to look forward to those pictures of spring since we have it here several weeks before they do in the Mountains!!  So these are for you Jess, enjoy!!  Not much up yet, but it's starting!!

Jonquils are about to pop open!!
Lily had surgery this Tuesday to have her 'transmission' removed.  I have had the privilege of staying home with her to keep her quiet and resting.  She's doing great, and quickly wanting to begin doing puppy things!! What a cutie she is!!
On the way to the hospital!! Doesn't she look worried??
After the surgery....she loves the sun!! I think she has Spring Fever too!!

Have a great Weekend!!