Thursday, May 31, 2007

Head Games

Don't you just love when your friends or family members send you links to games that drive you to the edge? I open these emails knowing full well what I am in for, but I do it anyway. Before I know it, a half hour has passed and I am growling in frustration. The link below is one of those games. Just a warning- play it only when you are bored to tears and you have a good chunk of time to waste :)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

As we stand here looking

At the flags upon these graves

Know these flags represent

A few of the true American brave.

They fought for their Country

As man has through all of time

Except that these soldiers lying here

Fought for your country and mine

As we all are gathered here

To pay them our respect

Let's pass this word to others

It's what they would expect

I'm sure that they would do it

If it were me or you

To show we did not die in vein

But for the red, white and blue.

Let's pass on to our children

And to those who never knew

What these soldiers died for

It's the least we can do

Let's not forget their families

Great pain they had to bear

Losing a son, father or husband

They need to know we still care

No matter which war was fought

On the day that they died

I stand here looking at these flags

Filled with American pride.

So as the bugler plays out Taps

With its sweet and eerie sound

Pray for these soldiers lying hereIn this sacred, hallowed ground.

Take home with you a sense of pride

You were here Memorial Day.

Celebrating the way Americans should

On this solemnest of days.

-1999 Michele Keim, Commander of Royersford VFW Post 6341 in Pennsylvania.

"Americans, indeed all free men, remember that in the final choice a soldier's pack is not so heavy a burden as a prisoner's chains"
- Dwight David Eisenhower

Thursday, May 24, 2007

And Now for Something Completely Different

Ok, this is too weird for words but I have to post about it anyway. My kids showed me this really strange Youtube video a few weeks ago called Charlie goes to Candy Mountain. They heard about it at school. When I first saw it, I thought someone must be tripping on some serious drugs to even conceive of something so bizarre. But then, after a while, the whole family started spontaneously quoting the video. And for some odd reason, we'd all laugh. Go figure. gotta check it out.

For just a little weird twist to your day.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Chocolate Squared

The snap of dark chocolate when it's broken in pieces is one of the sweetest sounds. This thoughtful gift from my hubby just shows how much he knows me! He won't tell me where he got it, but I'll get it out of him. I have my ways....

As you can see, a lot of the squares are already gone after only being in my possession for a few hours. I can't take full credit, unfortunately. Every time I get a box of chocolate as a gift, the pleas of "can I have a piece?" start almost instantly. My kids, I trained them well.

I took samples of each of the chocolates but they are too small to read. The first square is sao tome' 74%. The description on the back says Extra Bittre Chocolade. Very sharp taste. The second is Madagascar, which is like a milk chocolate. The third is Occumare Venezuela 71%, another extra bittre. The last is West Africa 72%, also extra bittre.

A square of pure heaven. Letting the chocolate melt on your tongue is the best way to eat it. Leaves your whole mouth covered in chocolate. Can anything be better than that?

"And Charlie, don't forget about what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he ever wanted. He lived happily ever after."

-Roald Dahl- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Patchwork of Life

Quilting..another one of those things that life is worth living for. Now I know most of you are yawning your heads off now, but you really don't know what you are missing. Really.

I was never one much for needlecrafts, sewing whatever, until a co worker brought in a quilt she was making. I was curious and Janie, always the one with a lesson up her sleeve and the patience of a saint, took the opportunity and pulled me right in to the world of patterns, thread and glorious fabric. I've been hooked since.

Each of my kids have gotten a quilt from me, though my poor eldest daughter was the victim my first attempt at bed size quilt (I owe her a replacement). The quilt in the picture is my son's, which is starting to show some wear (yippee! a well loved quilt is the best quilt).

I took a chance a few years ago and made some table runners to sell on Ebay. I really enjoyed it, but after a while I got severely burned out trying to take care of my usual work plus find time to make and sell the quilts. It was great experience, though.

I am now working on a flannel quilt for my husband. I am not too happy with how it's coming out so it's still being "worked" on- i.e. I am avoiding it. My husband gently reminds me every so often to work on it by saying, "Where is that quilt you promised me?". Whoops. I should even be working on it now instead of writing in my blog but if you won't tell, I won't either.

"How much piecin' a quilt's like living a life....The Lord sends us the pieces, but we can cut'em out and put'em together pretty much to suit ourselves...."

"The one with the most fabric at the end, WINS!"
-famous quilting quote

Monday, May 14, 2007

To My Kids

Thank you for your love, your laughter, your silliness, your sorrows and your joys. Thank you for sharing them all with me. I am so blessed. I am so glad you are here. You add richness and happiness to my life that is impossible to put into words.

I love you, always.

"The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn't been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him"
-Pablo Casals

Fly Boy

Flying is not half as interesting in photos as it is in person. Seeing an airplane take off in person makes a big impression. When my husband finally decided to use a gift certificate I gave him as a birthday gift last year for a "discovery flight", we ended up taking his mother and our brother in law along. A lot more fun with more people there, I think.

In the picture above, they all are boarding the plane. There was not much room in that plane, especially for four people. Eek! Better them than me....

Take off time. After a lot of plane and control checks by the pilot and a lot of strapping in of passengers, the engine revved. Nerves all around!

Ok, they are going to take off sometime today, right? It took longer than I thought it would for the plane start, warm up (do planes warm up?) and to taxi down the runway and take off. But once they were in the air, the trip was over quickly. I was surprised how fast they were able to tour downtown and surrounding areas. My husband said they saw a lot in a half hour. Whew! I am just glad they had fun and are now back on terra ferma. Not a fly girl myself...

"I watch out my window as the planes take off into space. Oh, that I could fly away and start fresh. But I must realize that fresh starts also come in the pretty wrapped gift called 'tomorrow'. "

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

A Mother's Child

A mother's child is every breath that she takes,
walking hand in hand, they are every step that she makes.
And as their steps will grow to strides, still a child, in mother's eyes.
Every ache and pain they shall feel,mother will share and with love she will kneel.
She will pray to God to take care of her child, to protect and guide them through every mile.
Her child is the very core of her soul, from baby in arms to an adult they will grow.
For to a mother, her child will stay, the precious infant she held that day.

"Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother."

- Lin Yutang

"The commonest fallacy among women is that simply having children makes one a mother—which is as absurd as believing that having a piano makes one a musician."

- Sydney J. Harris

Friday, May 11, 2007

Friendship Amish Bread

I first got a Friendship/Amish bread starter about 10 years ago from a co worker. I had no idea what on earth this stuff was, nor had I ever heard of it. My co worker handed me a gallon size zip lock bag and a page of instructions on what to do with the batter. I ended up following the instructions and making the bread. Boy, it was good!

Last week, my sister asked me if I wanted another bag of starter. Sure, why not. Well, I found out this version is even better. Someone added to the basic recipe somewhere along the line (or my memory is gone) cause this is the best bread I've ever tasted. It makes two loaves and my family eats it before I can even consider freezing the second loaf for later. And now, the basic starter recipe is available on line so anyone can make it without having to wait for a starter to come their way.

Friendship Amish Bread

Do not use any type of metal spoon, bowl or pan to mix!
Do not refrigerate!
If air gets into the bag- burp it out
It is normal for the batter to rise and ferment

Basic starter

3 c. sugar
3 c. flour
3 c. milk

Mix all ingredients with plastic or wooden spoon. Place in gallon plastic zip lock bag.
(I've never made the starter recipe so if it makes enough to divide and share (4 cups of starter), follow step #3 below first then follow the instructions below.)


Day 1: Do nothing (this is the day you make the batter or receive a bag of starter. The starter should measure about 1 cup)
Day 2: Mash the bag. Burp if necessary.
Day 3: Mash the bag. Burp if necessary.
Day 4: Mash the bag. Burp if necessary.
Day 5: Mash the bag. Burp if necessary.
Day 6: Add to the bag- 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of milk. Mash bag
Day 7: Mash the bag. Burp if necessary.
Day 8: Mash the bag. Burp if necessary.
Day 9: Mash the bag. Burp if necessary.
Day 10: Follow the directions below.

1. Pour contents of bag into a non-mental container

2. Add 1 1/2 cup flour, 1 1/2 cup sugar, 1 1/2 cup milk.

3. Measure out four separate batters (1 cup each) into 4 gallon zip lock bags. Keep a starter for yourself and give away other bags along with a copy of the recipe. Be sure to date the bag so everyone knows what step to start with.

Baking Instructions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

To remaining batter add:
3 eggs
1 cup oil
1/2 milk
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour
2 small boxes vanilla pudding or raisins or nuts

Grease 2 loaf pans. Mix in separate bowl 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Dust loaf pans with half the mixture. Pour batter into pans about 3/4 way full. Sprinkle remaining sugar/cinnamon mixture all over tops. Bake 1 hour.


"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth"

-Robert Southly

Monday, May 7, 2007

A Calling Like No Other

I saw this letter in the newspaper today. It really touched me, what the soldiers go through everyday so we can all be free. And since my brother is out there serving as well, it hits even more close to home.

From Iraq with gratitude: Your care packages give us a boost

I am deployed with VMFA (AW)-121 -- a Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron known as the "Green Knights" -- to Iraq for eight long months. This is my fifth tour of duty over here in the Middle East in six years. Our squadron flies close air support for tour brothers on the front lines. Originally from Boyers in Butler County, I am stationed in Miramar in San Diego when I am not over here defending our freedom.
I am writing because I got a chance to read Brian O'Neill's column "For Our Soldiers in Iraq, a Little Means a Lot" (March 22), about the work of the "Yellow Ribbon Girls" who send care packages and Girl Scout cookies to U.S. servicemen and servicewomen in war zones. The article arrived in a package sent to me from the Yellow Ribbon Girls.
I want to tell them publicly: Thank you for what you are doing to support your troops over here.
I am currently the division chief for my squadron's Airframes Division. We have hard-charging Marines who work 12 to 15 hours every day without moaning or complaining about why they are over here. For many of them, this is their first deployment. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else but with them.
When we get mail call out here, you can see it from the youngest Marine to the crusty old guys who have had their fair share of deployments -- it is like Christmas. When you hear your name called, you feel that pride that someone back home does care what you are doing out here. We all ask each other: What what do you want to trade? Most of the time, though, we put everything on the shelf and make it free for the taking -- the Airframes Division is like our family away from home.
During my first deployment my daughter, Kaitlyn, was born. She was 2 months old when I finally came home. I got married in July 2000, but we never did get to take a honeymoon -- I had to deploy again to get ready to head back over here to the area. I can only imagine how hard it is on my wife and my daughter with me gone so much. But the military is something I always wanted to do. There are some sacrifices that my family and other families have to make.
Next month will be my daughter's 7th birthday. I will miss it again. That is the hardest thing I think there is when it comes to being deployed -- not seeing my little girl's face when she wakes up in the morning.
Again, I want to thank Yellow Ribbon Girls ( for giving me a taste of home. You will be in my thoughts when I sleep on my pillow with your case covering it that you gave me. "SEMPER FI" (Always Faithful).

GUNNERY SGT. DAVID C. FREED U.S. Marine Corps Al Asad, Iraq

"The valor and courage of our young women and men in the armed services are a shining example to all of the world, and we owe them and their families our deepest respect."

-Bill Frist

Thursday, May 3, 2007

A Sister's Special Day

My Sister

She knows the things I dream of,

the places that I've been,

she accepts the person I've become,

she's my very special friend.

She's always been there for me no matter where I roam,

and whenever we're together,

it's just like being home.

Happy Birthday, Kathleen!

"I smile because you are my sister, I laugh because there is nothing you can do about it!"

United We Stand.....

I heard about Virginia Tech selling these shirts on the news this morning. I think it's a great idea! It gives people a way to say they support the students. Sticking together after such a tragic and violent act can help psychologically and promote healing and feelings of hope, in my humble opinion.

I already ordered for my family. Can't wait to get them.

"Man can no longer live for himself alone. We must realize that all life is valuable and that we are united to all life. From this knowledge comes our spiritual relationship with the universe."
- Albert Schweitzer