Friday, January 31, 2014

Before his time....

Have you heard the story of Galileo?  Out taking pictures of the moon on a clear, cold winter night, I was reminded of this.

Another children's book.

This biography of Galileo tells how he was the first to turn a telescope to the skies to map the heavens.  For hundreds of years, most people thought the earth was the center of the universe, with the sun and moon - and the other planets - revolving around it.  Galileo wrote about his discoveries as he gazed at the sky through the telescope, discoveries that disturbed the status quo and eventually led to his being locked inside his own house under guard.  Today, we know that Galileo's ideas were right.

Enjoy these pictures showing other pages from the book.

The book, copyrighted in 1996, received the Caldecott Award.

The book was perfect to have available for supplemental reading with our Science unit on Planets and Space.

I hope you are anticipating a good week-end ahead.  It has been a long week for many of you!  Here, we expect high temperatures into the mid-forties - maybe warmer - and a chance of rain through the beginning of the week.

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Empty no more....

Remember this from an earlier post?

How could it be left empty on National Chocolate Cake Day?!?

Well, I have a story to share with you.  When The Husband and I were first married, we lived in a small town in an adjoining county.  In January of 1970, those fronts from the Gulf seemed to come through every Monday bringing along snow!  Consequently, there were many snow days that year.  It was on one such day that I first baked this cake and invited a couple of neighbors to come for cake and coffee.  I have baked it many times in the past 44 years, and it seemed appropriate to bring it out again for baking on a "snow day!"  I have no idea how I came across the recipe to begin with, so I am unable to give credit to any specific source.

2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons cocoa
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
- Cream butter and shortening, adding sugar gradually.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Sift dry ingredients.  Add to other mixture alternately with milk.  Add vanilla.  Bake in greased and floured tube or Bundt pan one hour and 15 minutes at 325 degrees F.

Ready for the oven.


Cooling in the pan.

Wait a minute!  Someone has sneaked a taste!

 It would appear that the mixing wasn't done quite perfectly.:-(  No problem!  Just sprinkle powdered sugar over it if you want it to look nicer on top.:-)   A glaze would be good, too.:-)  The Husband likes it plain, so no sugar or glaze on top.

This cake freezes well - if it lasts long enough.:-)  It is easy to see that The Husband has been enjoying it.:-) 

I'm going to mark the date on my calendar so I'm not caught with no chocolate cake on this very special day next year!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It came! It came!

I know....I know.  Most of you have had more than you ever want to see of this.

These were scenes on Tuesday afternoon just about four hours after the snow began here.

A cold seat.

Cat tracks in the snow.

Out the back on Wednesday morning.

Out the front on Wednesday morning.

Down our street on Wednesday morning.

We estimate we have about four inches of snow here.  That's the most snowfall we have had since we have lived here, and this is the ninth winter.  Our temperature this morning was a whopping one degree!  Brrr! 

There was no mail delivery here yesterday, and the morning paper has yet to be delivered.  Local schools were dismissed early on Tuesday, and they are not in session today.

The long range prediction - high temperatures into the high forties/low fifties by Saturday with a chance of rain Saturday through Tuesday!   This snow will be a distant memory by that time.

I hope this is a good day for you, wherever you are and whatever you are doing.

I know I left you with an empty cake plate in the last post.  It is empty no longer, so be ready for the next post!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


An empty cake plate!

Well, I certainly let Monday slip up on me!  Did you know that it was National Chocolate Cake Day?  A local TV station featured four different chocolate cakes on their mid-day program!  I will now have to play "catch-up" and work on getting this cake plate covered with a chocolate cake!

Can you believe the weather forecast for the southern coastal areas?  We heard that New Orleans has closed down for today because of ice!  And - the wind chills for some areas are unbelievable!

I hope those of you in the path of this most recent wave of winter weather will be safe and warm!

Now - a chocolate cake recipe to anticipate!  Yum!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Chilly weather....

For many of you, this winter has been more than just chilly!  It has been downright frigid!  Here, we have had colder temperatures than in the past few winters, so it has felt especially chilly to me!  So, it is time to cook some Chili!

Not a very pretty picture, but the chili really tastes good!:)  

This recipe comes from Gina's Skinny recipes at, who gives credit to her friend Debbie.

cooking spray
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp. chili powder, to your taste
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (to taste)
1 1/2 pounds 99% lean ground turkey (may also use ground white meat chicken)
2 16-oz. cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup of fat free chicken broth
1/4 cup of fat free sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a large heavy bottomed pot over medium flame.  When hot, spray oil.  Add onions, garlic, saute about 5 minutes.  Add meat and cook, breaking it up until white, about 5 minutes.  Add salt, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and red pepper flakes, and cook for 2 minutes.  Add beans and broth; cook uncovered about 10 minutes
- Lower heat and cover, simmer about 45 minutes, mixing occasionally.  Add sour cream and cook 5 more minutes.  Adjust seasoning and salt to taste.
- Top with chopped red onion, chopped fresh cilantro,, light sour cream, jalapenos, and reduced fat cheddar, if desired.

With yet another wave of winter's cold coming our way once more this week, this will really taste good here!

I hope you have a good Monday!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday, January 26, 2014....

A Japanese proverb says -

                                The flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.

The Mission Focus for today as listed in the UMW Prayer Calendar for 2014 is the Gum Moon Residence Hall, San Francisco, California. 

May you have a blessed Sunday.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The morning moon....

On Tuesday morning at 7:15, as I went out for the newspaper, this is what I saw.

From a distance....

Close-up setting.

Before mid-day on Tuesday, however, clouds had overtaken the sky, and as I was sitting in the chair for a haircut at 1:30, snow showers came down with great enthusiasm!    Although we have had the chance of snow in our forecast a couple of other times since then, it has actually missed us here.

I send along my wishes for warmth and safety to those of you who are dealing with such cold and snowy conditions.  Take care, and have a good week-end!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Another one for the season....

Wow!  What a force this wind has been around here!  I have been reminded of a book that was fun to read to the students when I was still teaching.

In this book, the wind becomes a storyteller!

Tossy is sick in bed, and of course, is very tired of being sick in bed!  So, she asks the wind to tell her a story!  In the story, the wind is quite agreeable to come up with stories that match the windows that Tossy mentions.

I thought the illustrations are especially nice.
The book has a 1974 copyright date, so I am not sure if it would still be available.  If you are interested and able to find it, I think you would be pleased.

We expect our temperature to finally be above freezing this week-end.  This has been a very cold week!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A new season....

Brrr!  It is cold here, and I know it is in many other parts of the country!  Our trusty heat pump seems to be going non-stop, and we are keeping warm.

It is a new season for the Women's Chorus of which I am a part.  That means new music!  We have already had three rehearsals.  Hopefully we are making the kind of progress that will be pleasing to our hard-working director. 

We don't have a long time to prepare for our first performance, which will be on February 15!  We will sing for a special Washington Day meeting of a local group, which means there are some patriotic selections on the program.

There are some familiar choices there.

We also have When Johnny Comes Marching Home and On Top of Ole Smoky on the program.

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.  


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A good day to bake....

With the cold temperatures that are outside where many of you live, it is a good day to heat up the oven and bake something!  I believe that's what I will be doing later.

Back in December, just about a month ago, we celebrated birthdays in our family.  I have shared the cake and recipe for Munchomom's cake, but have really had to scramble to come up with a picture to show Country Girl's cake.  We let it leave the house without remembering that all-important picture.

We kept this for The Husband to enjoy.

In 1979, when Mother had her first heart attack, we brought her to our house to recuperate.  That brought about some dietary changes for us, one of which was switching to corn oil margarine.  At that time, I chose Mazola.  On the inside of one of the cartons was the following recipe for Orange Cake.  You will notice that I have not used corn oil margarine.- for this one.:-)

3 sticks butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
6 egg whites whipped to stiff peaks
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, added at the request of Country Girl, but not part of the original recipe
- At medium speed, beat butter, gradually adding sugar until blended. 
- Combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add to creamed mixture alternately with orange juice, using low speed.  Add orange rind.  (I added the walnuts here).  Fold egg whites into batter.
- Pour batter into greased and floured tube or bundt pan.  Bake 60 minutes at 350 degrees F.  Cool 10 minutes in pan.  Remove; cool.  Dust with powdered sugar, if desired. 

China above is Strawberries and Cream, now discontinued, by Villeroy and Boch.

I send along the admonition to stay safe and warm in this wave of winter weather that is spreading most of the eastern part of the United States.

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"Super" news....

Happy Tuesday to you!  I hope this day will be a good one for you.  Many of you are facing another siege of winter.  Hopefully you will all be able to be safe and warm.

The Super Bowl is being widely discussed after the final playoff games on Sunday.  Around here, this is big news.

Peyton Manning!

Peyton Manning has been a favorite in this area since his days of playing at UT.  He has returned through the years to watch games and to support charity events, among other things.  It is no surprise that many people in this area will be supporting the Broncos on February 2!

I'm sure you have a favorite.   Would you like to share that information in your comment?  Do you expect to host a Super Bowl party?  Will you be a guest with someone else hosting?  What kind of food is usually served?  Or - do you even care one way or the other?:-)

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The week-end....

"Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude."
                                                                             - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


        Saturday morning required an early wake-up as there was a 90-mile journey to the site of a UMW Executive Committee meeting. 

Bag packed, ready to go!  The bag is a Christmas gift from my sister!  I love it!

I was able to have a rider with me, a fellow UMW member from my own church and circle, who has agreed to serve our District as treasurer for a term.  The meeting was actually for the benefit of the treasurers as they prepare for this new year.

....Sunday night Wesley Covenant service at church, the first such service that I remember ever attending.

The cover of the bulletin.

Words of the service.

....and Sorrow....

         It was with sadness that we attended a Memorial Service on Sunday afternoon.   A former third-grade student, age 36, unexpectedly passed away.  The service was held at the Yacht Club, with the lake as a backdrop, a fitting location for this young man who enjoyed boating with his family.  The words of the minister were a moving tribute to him and his life. 

So - a new week begins.  May it be a good beginning for each of you, with all good things to follow throughout the week.

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday, January 19, 2014....

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. 

         Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

                                                             - words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The mission focus for today as listed in the UMW Prayer Calendar for 2014 is Camp Aldersgate in Little Rock, Arkansas.

May this Sunday be a special blessing to you.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Special mention....

On this Saturday, I want to post about a special concern. 

Since 2006, our Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church has been in ministry with the people of South Sudan.  Beginning with the interest generated when a Conference staff member read the book They Poured Fire On Us From The Sky and shared it with co-workers and the bishop at that time, the Conference has sent special mission teams, the UMW has collected funds to assist Sudanese women with sewing machines, and churches have provided funds to dig wells for providing clean water.  There has been support for education, assistance with healthcare, and Grace Home has been provided for serving 26 children.  Our son-in-law, Machoman, was even part of one of the first mission teams that represented our Conference in Sudan.

The situation in South Sudan is critical.  Fighting in parts of the country continues, and the peace and progress of the last several years is being threatened. 

This is a time for us to be involved in fervent and deliberate prayer.  If you are so inclined, please add this to your prayer concerns. 

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Friday, January 17, 2014

One of my favorites....

Friday morning!  How welcome this day was for both students and teachers alike!:-)  I hope your week has gone well and that you have some plans for the days ahead that will be fun.

One of my favorite poets is Robert Frost.  That is why it was so exciting to me when I found this book available.

Several of you may have been doing this!

 This is probably one of Robert Frost's most well-known poems.  Written in book form, the illustrations by Susan Jeffers are an excellent addition.

I love the owl!

And the woodland creatures move aside for the visitor to their woods!

Books such as this are excellent for introducing poetry to children. 

And now - announcing the winner of the giveaway!  Dawn Wiencke, it is you!  Please contact me via email with your address, and I will have that snowflake cookie cutter on its way to you!  Thank you to all of you who commented.  I'm sure there will be other giveaway occasions.

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

All I did was..... "update and restart."  I thought all was well with the computer, yet later, when I attempted to sign in, Windows wouldn't download!  Yikes!  After several attempts, finally Windows was refreshed, and now all is as it should be - I hope.:-)

Last night around 6:15, we looked out the window to see this.

The full moon was rising!

With camera setting on close-up.

Had we waited ten minutes longer, the clouds would have blocked the moon from view!  It seemed especially pretty this time.

I have been enjoying reading some in Magical Moons and Seasonal Circles by Susan Betz.  This moon was called the "Wolf Moon" by the American Indians.  They also called it the "Very Cold Moon" or the "Cold Makes the Trees Crack Moon."  These names certainly are appropriate for the month of January!

The predicted snow did not appear here yesterday, though there is once again mention of the possibility for overnight or maybe even Saturday night.  I know this winter weather has caused problems for some of you.  Susie at SheJunks has been snowbound, without an operating computer, and on a road that plows didn't reach for four days! 

Remember - this is the last day to enter - by 8:00 EST this evening - the snowflake cookie cutter giveaway that was mentioned in Monday's post!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Not a long one....

This isn't much of a post today as I am currently having some online problems.  If things are solved in someway later, I will be back.  Until then, have a great day!  Stay warm and safe!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

That newspaper advertising....

.....does it everytime, especially if there is a recipe included!  Now, I have all the recipes I could possibly need for years and years, yet I always find myself evaluating the recipes that are sometimes printed with the advertising inserts.

One such recipe is SOUR CREAM ROLLS.  Once again I was not good at remembering to take pictures except for this......
Ready to go in the oven.

....and this one....

Just out of the oven.

It was probably sometime in December 2013 when this appeared in a Sunday newspaper insert.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used half whole wheat and half white).
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 envelope rapid action yeast (not the regular yeast, but the fast-rising variety).
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons butter
1 egg

- Combine 1 cup flour, sugar,  undissolved yeast, and salt in a large mixer bowl.  Heat sour cream, water, and butter until very warm (120 to 130 degrees F).  Add to flour mixture.  Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally.  Add egg and remaining 1 1/4 cups flour to make a soft batter.
- Spoon evenly into 12 greased (2 1/2 inch) muffin cups.  Cover; let rise  until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from pans; cool on wire rack. Yield: 12 rolls

Here is the next step.

Broken open, ready to eat!:-)  The Husband really enjoyed these!

I think some butter would be a nice addition.:-)  China is Strawberries and Cream, now discontinued, by Villeroy and Boch.

It seems that winter is giving another wallop to many of you.  As I compose this on Tuesday evening, we also have a winter weather advisory.  Perhaps there will be a trace of snow from it all.  I hope you will all stay safe and warm!

Remember - that giveaway from Monday's post!  You have until Thursday evening at 8:00 EST to leave your comment about snow!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


The Snowman popcorn bowl is empty!

So - let's get busy! 

Definitely needed!

Some of you may already know about this, but it was a new find for me!  This bowl is a microwave popcorn popper!   Directions for popping come with the bowl.  I happened to buy this one at Target.

You will need popping oil.  We experimented with Coconut Oil, and was it ever flavorful!  You will also need corn for popping.  As the coconut oil is solid, I melted it before adding the corn, but that really isn't necessary.  Following the directions included with the popper, less than two minutes 45 seconds were needed to reach this point.

The perfect snack for a cold day!

I'm so glad the snowman looks happy now!:-)  It didn't take very long for the bowl to become empty again, however.:-)

Remember - the giveaway mentioned in the last post continues during the week.  On Thursday night, January 16 at 8:00 EST, a winner will be selected.  Announcement will be made on Friday, January 17.  Just leave a comment on MONDAY'S post! 

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments!

Monday, January 13, 2014

A new week....

....and a giveaway!

The weather forecast for the coming week seems a bit more bearable, so I am celebrating by offering you a chance to win your very own permanent snowflake!  That is, if you haven't already seen more of those this winter than you care to see.:-)

A Martha Stewart snowflake cookie cutter....

....complete with a recipe on the back!

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post.  Just tell me if you have had enough snow this winter.  You will have until Thursday, January 16 at 8:00 EST to enter.  The winner will be announced on the Friday, January 17 post.

There is always much to anticipate with the beginning of a new week.  Perhaps this week will bring a better showing for Tennessee basketball!  The week-end wasn't very successful for them.:-(

We were happy to see some warmer temperatures here over the week-end, and although Saturday morning began quite rainy, the day did provide some sun, as did Sunday.  The Husband even had a chance to play some golf!

I hope you will have a good beginning to the week ahead!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday, January 12....


                                shall judge us

                                                     harshly enough.

                           Let us

                                 at least be gentle

                                                     with each other."

                                                                  Goodbye, Yesterday - Joan Walsh Anglund

Today's Mission Focus from the 2014 UMW Prayer Calendar is Nome Community Center, Nome, Alaska.

Have a blessed Sunday!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Are you watching?

There has been much talk recently about the return to PBS of "Downton Abbey."  Have you been watching this program?  We had not until last Sunday evening.  The Husband really enjoyed the program that came on beforehand about Highclere Castle, then we did watch the first hour of the show.

Even the last issue of Tea Time has jumped on board!  Check out this cover!

Of course, it would be for tea!

The pages inside are filled with tempting recipes, and there is even a guide for the kinds of tea to serve for the different courses!

Teas for the courses.

Said to be Prince William's favorite and served as the Groom's Cake at his wedding to Kate!

Isn't this delectable?

Of course, this occasion called for a celebration of sorts of our own.

A very nice treat for tea!

On the serving plate are McVities Digestives and my version of Currant Scones, the recipe found in the current issue of Tea Time magazine.  Lemon Curd and Marmalade accompany as well as Lady Grey tea.

1/3 cup dried currants (I could find none of these where I was shopping, so I used a mixed berry blend).
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup plus 4 Tablespoons cold heavy whipping cream, divided (I found I needed to add more).
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. (I used Silpat on my pan).
- Place currants in a small bowl, and cover with very hot water.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Drain well, discarding liquid.  Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, whisking well.  Using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add currants, stirring to incorporate.  Set aside.
- In a liquid measuring cup, combine 1/2 cup plus 3 Tablespoons cream and vanilla extract, stirring to blend.  Add to flour mixture, stirring to combine.  Working gently, bring mixture together with hands until a dough forms. (If dough seems dry, add more cream, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until dough is uniformly moist.)
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead 4 to 5 times.  Using a rolling pin, roll dough to a 3/4-inch thickness.  Using a 1 3/4-inch scalloped-edge cutter, cut shapes from dough, rerolling scraps as necessary.  Place scones 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet.  Brush tops of scones with remaining 1 Tablespoon cream.
- Bake until edges of scones are golden and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 16 minutes.  Yield:  16 scones

I lacked the suggested cutter, so I used a scalloped pastry wheel to cut wedges from the dough.

If the prospect of the above treats isn't enough to whet your interest, perhaps this view of the setting will do it.

Highclere Castle in the background.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Saturday!

Thank you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Keeping in season....

Friday has arrived!  Have you been looking forward to it?  This has been a week that has found many of you snowbound.  Does the week-end promise some time you will be able to leave the house to take care of that "cabin fever?" 

January seemed like a good time to focus on the weather when I was teaching.  One of the first crafts we would do when we returned from our holiday was paper snowflakes.  We adorned the classroom with them!  Most winters, the paper ones were the only ones we would see.:-)

Of course, books always played a part in the study on winter.

One of my favorites.
Have you ever heard of "Snowflake" Bentley?  He was born in 1865 in Vermont in the heart of the "snowbelt."  He was fascinated by snowflakes and dreamed of being able to photograph them in order to see how they were different.

Mary Azarian is the illustrator of the book, which is written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin.

William Bentley's book Snow Crystals is still a resource today for those who want to learn about  snow crystals.

Thank  you for reading.  I really appreciate your comments.