Sunday, December 30, 2012

Gull-ible

In the midst of yester- day's snow- storm, Hannah and I went down to Ironde- quoit Bay with a box of crackers for the birds. The parking lot hadn't been plowed. Not a high priority when there are roads to clear. I didn't dare to leave the set of tire tracks already crossing the snowy, boat launch parking lot, nor did I care to venture out into the snow in my everyday shoes, so we just rolled the car windows down and kept our feet dry instead.

There appeared to be a few geese, or maybe swans, out in the bay, but nothing more than a few seagulls flying overhead. I tossed a crunched up cracker which promptly disappeared into the fluff of snow covering the ground. The gulls were watching. Swooping down for a closer look, grabbing at whatever they could see, they somehow miraculously morphed into a great cloud of birds, all squawking and yelling, "Mine! Mine!"

In an effort to keep the food visible, I tossed a cracker onto the roof. Hannah, my ever able daughter, had the presence of mind to open the inside cover to the sunroof which gave us a new perspective on our hungry friends. If only the window didn't fog over so quickly.

It didn't take us more than a few minutes to all but empty four columns of crackers and the birds were nowhere near finished eating. They swooped and dived at bits and pieces in the snow with no care as to whether or not the others were fed.

I wanted a different kind of photograph and decided to be brave. I broke a cracker in half and held it out the window. Several birds flew by, eying the morsel but not quite daring to come so close. It wasn't long before one of the greedy gulls tested his own bravery and snatched the cracker from my finger tips.



Saturday, December 29, 2012

Love One Another

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35

I am left speechless by the love and respect first responders have for one another. I expected many emergency vehicles on my trip to Webster today and there were many. Men and women in uniform stood in cold, snowy streets for hours directing traffic near the high school where calling hours were held for the fallen. Others stood in cold, snowy streets with boots in hand collecting donations for the families. Still others stood in long, cold, snowy lines to pay their respects to brothers they had never met but with whom they held a special kinship. This is love.

I find my heart broken today because this is the kind of love Jesus asked of His disciples, the love we often find so impossible to give, and yet here it was on the streets of my hometown and the sidewalks of my old high school. Why is this love so hard to find within the walls of the church and yet so dramatically displayed outside of it? I am humbled, and my heart is challenged to love, to love like these.

Hannah and I drove down to Irondequoit Bay to feed the seagulls. It is something I have enjoyed doing other years, but today it took us past caution tape and the stark lonely chimneys of burned out homes. I felt like an intruder... and I wondered how many regulars have been down to do something as simple as feeding the birds this past week. I think perhaps it will never again be simply feeding the birds. It will be instead a reminder of a lesson in love.

""This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. John 15:12-13

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Weekend Is Here

After a long week of Fridays and Saturdays, the weekend has finally arrived. Mom has gone home with Rachel for the weekend and, if I remember correctly, will return Monday in time for a family Christmas/ New Year's Eve gathering. (Rachel may correct me if I'm wrong...)

There are two things highly important to my mother's daily routine; the morning newspaper and her word search books. So ingrained is Mom's habit of reading the paper that she asked for it at least half a dozen times yesterday, but the snowstorm that blew in and dumped two feet of snow must have prevented the news carrier from making her rounds as the box remained empty the entire day. Truthfully, I was not entirely disappointed in its absence as the local news has been so focused on the incident in West Webster, but I do find my mother's morning/afternoon/evening friends and company rather entertaining.

Tomorrow I will make my weekly trip to Webster, run my errands and do my grocery shopping. We are expecting Jim and Michele to arrive early Sunday morning for a couple of days. A package arrived on my doorstep from Minneapolis this afternoon. It has me curious but there is a clear message printed on the outside, "Merry Christmas! Please do not open. =)"

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Our Overnight Guest

The snowstorm blew in late yesterday afternoon bringing lots of snow and bitter temperatures. We've been so spoiled by mild weather this season that I think perhaps even the wildlife was not quite prepared for the sudden change.

It was probably about ten o'clock when I opened the backdoor to let the dogs out for their nighttime potty break. To my surprise, a mourning dove had been huddled down by the woodpile. Startled, it fluttered up to the porch ceiling and flapped about until finding a resting spot in my wisteria vine. It sat on a thin branch and stared at me, not daring to fly off into the bitterly cold and windy darkness, yet not quite trusting me either. There wasn't much I could do, so I took a picture instead. :)

I felt bad for the poor bird who was obviously cold, fright- ened, and dis- oriented, but I really had no idea how to help it. The dogs finished their business, hurried back into the warmth of the house, and I came inside too. The bird, quite certain there was at least a bit of safety on the back porch, flapped about until it finally came to rest just outside my door. It sat on the top step and stared at me some more.

If it were possible to read the mind of a small bird, I would have said this one was begging to come inside the house. Of course that was next to impossible so when the porch light went out, I turned my camera off and left it in the dark. Lucky for the bird, my husband does not give up quite as easily as me. "Don't you have a cage?" he asked.

There was a very nice cardboard box under the table instead, so he took that and a piece of cardboard to scoop it into the box with and stepped outside. I was surprised when he came back moments later with one very tired mourning dove inside the box. There was no flapping about, no noise inside, just a very tired and quiet bird. This morning though, there was a bit of flapping, and when he took the box outside and opened it, our little guest was happy to fly off. Makes me smile. :)


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Day

I must say we had a very nice Christmas gathering this year. Breaking with tradition, James and I packed up our van and headed over to Beth and Adam's house rather than have the entire crew come here. In typical Teal fashion, we were wrapping and putting gift boxes together at the last minute. (That used to be Christmas Eve, but this year it was Christmas Day instead...)

Our favorite son in law, Adam, put together a fabulous Christmas meal of prime rib, mashed potatoes, and asparagus, proceeded by a delicious clear broth mushroom soup and salad. We were treated as royalty as he served each one with a smile. I guess he's a keeper after all. ;)

The afternoon brought cookies, cake, and candy canes, a bit of baby bouncing, and a lot of noise from small children. Gift boxes were passed out and a few packages unwrapped. Grandma read the newspaper and suggested several times that perhaps her oxygen was gone and we should go home. We stayed instead.

Our little grandsons were blessed by log trucks made by Grandpa in his shop. They came complete with a loader and logs. Aubrey got a soft, new baby doll, but what she really liked best were the candy canes.

We have a family tradition of watching A Muppet Christmas Carol on Christmas night, so despite Grandma's objections, we settled in to watch the movie. Leta packed up her things while we watched, which turned out to be very smart when the power suddenly went out leaving us all in the dark. Cell phones came out of our pockets so we could see to find the candles I had packed into gift boxes.

Needless to say, the loss of electricity cut our party just a little short and Grandma got her wish. We slowly gathered our coats and belongings, gave out hugs and kisses, and headed out the door.

X is for eXtraodinary

X is for eXtraodinary.

It has been an emotional week in our corner of the world. It's kind of hard to play the ABC game without thinking of the extraordinary men and women who put their lives on the line to serve us each and every day. They include policemen, firemen, and first responders of every kind. I am ashamed to admit that I have too often forgotten to be thankful for all they do and risk every day in every community around the globe.

For more ABC Wednesday, click here.

Monday, December 24, 2012

December 2012

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 
Luke 2:11
  
December has not turned out the way any of us imagined. Instead it arrived full of tragedy and unanswered questions. Evil has raised its ugly head in an attempt to overshadow the reason we celebrate. A friend has said, "The world is in pain... that's why a Savior came." She is exactly right. God sent His son into this world because He loves us. He wants so much to give us hope, a hope that lives on when Evil tries so desperately to take it away.

Last Christmas the town of Webster, NY mourned, and this Christmas they are in mourning again. This is the little town where I grew up. This is the place my daughter calls home. This is where so many hearts are aching and broken today. But we all know it doesn't stop there. It never does, because the arms of Webster, NY reach far beyond a little town on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, and just like the entire country grieves for the town of Sandy Hook, New Jersey, there are people across this land who also grieve for Webster, NY.

Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem because He loved them and felt the pain that sin had brought them. He came to save them from their sin, but they didn't want anything to do with Him. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!" Matt. 23:37 He came to save us too. He came to give us hope. He came to give us a song, a song to sing in the face of Evil and in spite of it. "Joy to the world, the Lord is come!"

Oh, So Sad

I am having an im- possible time trying to brighten up a holiday that comes in a month so seemingly dark. Not only has it been a year since our own family tragedy, but one tragic event follows another this year. It has been reported that four firefighters were shot this morning responding to a fire. Two are said to have died. And this time it didn't happen on the other side of the world, country, or state. It happened in Webster. It happened near where we go to toss bread to the seagulls and geese down between Irondequoit Bay and Lake Ontario. It happened not far from Bethany's new house. When will the insanity end?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

More Adventures in Baking

Today I made more Boston Brown Bread and a batch of Chocolate Drop Cookies. Have I told you how much I love parchment paper? Well this afternoon I found a reason not to like it. (And here I thought I'd learned this lesson already. Well, that was a long time ago. Perhaps I just needed a refresher course...)

I'd already baked two cookies sheets and was putting the third into the oven. Slightly distracted by the chicken cooking on the stove, I didn't pay enough attention to my tray of cookies. I held it at an angle and the paper, cookies and all, slid right off the cookie sheet and into the bottom of the oven. Did you know parchment paper catches fire when it touches glowing oven coils? I blew at the flames but they didn't want to go out. "You can't put it out that way," said Hannah.

"And just how would you do it?" I asked.

"You have to smack it," she answered. And so I smacked it, twice, with my potholder, and the flames were gone. I looked at the burned paper and melting cookie dough... I decided to plop the entire thing back on the cookie sheet, unfold the parchment paper, and bake it anyway.

They don't look quite like the others, but they still taste good. Maybe they'll still be pretty with white frosting and sprinkles.

(Do I need to tell you My Darling laughed when he heard I tried to blow out the flames?)

Cold Wind Blowing

A cold wind wind blew all night long and right into the middle of today. It brought some snow and icy temperatures to make it feel like winter. I decided not to go out to the bank and found myself extra glad I picked up milk yesterday. It's been a good day to stay home and not fight those last minute Christmas crowds.

I looked out my upstairs window and took a few pictures; a cold, wintery barn and a gray looking Lake Ontario. The sun has peeked through the clouds a few times, but it doesn't stay long, just long enough for me to notice.

Baking was momentarily considered this morning and put off again. Instead I looked at one of my books for a bit and then and tipped over on the couch for a short nap. Perhaps I shall consider baking once again.. or maybe starting up my vacuum cleaner. Ah, too late now for the cleaner. Someone else is sacked out on the couch.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fah Who Forayse

Four more days until Christmas and I have run out of time and ideas. Even if I knew the desire of each heart on my list, I would not have time to fulfill them. But then, Christmas is not really all about multitudes of gifts, is it? It is about One Gift, the Christ Child, wrapped up as a newborn baby and delivered over two thousand years ago.

There will be gifts here on Christmas and there will be food. Hopefully there will be a little bit of music and much laughter. Maybe there will even be snow. But there will not be the abundance of "stuff" that my heart so wants to lavish on my children.

I hear a low sound coming over the snow. It's starting out low... It is the Who's who awoke on Christmas morning to find themselves destitute, yet rich all at once. There was love in their hearts on Christmas. They didn't need the tinsel and trappings, and they didn't even hesitate to burst into song. They sang just because it was Christmas Day!

God has given me a special gift this year, a photo of my son and my beautiful granddaughter, the only one of him I took this year. Fah who forayse!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

W is for Water

W is for water. I am trying to drink a lot of it. I have not been a good water drinker for a very long time and my body is thirsty. My hands are dry and my lips are chapped, so I am putting great effort into getting and staying hydrated.

I am doing better, especially if I use a straw, but I still like coffee better.

For more ABC Wednesday fun, click here.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Cookie Trouble

I've been doing a little work on my Christmas goodies. On Saturday evening I made two batches of toffee and this morning I baked Pfeffernusse Cookies. They are a spicy little molasses cookie that is rolled in powdered sugar, one of Mom's favorites. I've learned that I can save time and sugar by tossing the slightly warm treats and sugar inside a ziplock bag. I used a gallon size bag and added each sheetful as they cooled. I was just able to fit all the cookies inside the bag. As I rolled the bag about in my hands, checking to see they were all coated, the bag popped open and the cookies tumbled out. I let out a scream and heaved myself toward the counter.

All of the cookies had been saved, but the tummy of my dark, blue turtleneck sweater was graced with an ample amount of powdery sweetness. "And I just finished all the laundry," I remarked to Hannah.


She laughed. "You should have been wearing your apron," she told me. Ha ha! She was right.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The house is quiet. James has gone to see "The Hobbit" with Ben and Hannah, and Mom has gone to bed...

Bethany was here for a little while and popped into her grandma's room to say hello. Poor Mom can't seem to remember little Jacob's name and asks again each time he visits. "Oh, that was my grandpa's name." she tells Bethany and then asks "What's his middle name?"

"Alfred" says Beth. I can hear the smile in her voice as Mom acts both surprised and pleased to find (once again) that Beth has chosen a middle name that belonged to her own Grandpa. I find myself wondering if Mom will ever truly remember this little boy's name.

In January I will take my mom to visit the eye doctor. She is continually misplacing (or dropping) her glasses because she no longer keeps them on her face. I had to go back to church on Sunday to find them. They are bifocals and look ancient. I am certain she used to wear them all the time, but she says they never said she had to. I am wondering if she needs a different prescription or a Granny Chain to hang them on.

I find myself wondering if I should have taken the Christmas Eve morning appointment the eye doctor's secretary  offered, but it has nothing to do with Mom. Her doctor is 93 years old... He's been practicing for 69 years and did my eye surgery when I was a little girl. He came to the calling hours for both my grandpa and my dad when they passed away. He even gave me a hug when my father died. Dr. Lerner was a gruff, no nonsense kind of man. The sound of his voice down the hospital hall could arouse both fear and feelings of comfort in a small child, and I remember his voice these 45 years later... I don't want to miss seeing him again myself.

A Birthday Party

This afternoon we celebrated Lucas' fourth birthday (which is really on Tuesday, the 18th) at the home of Leta's parents. There was some fear and trepidation for James and me in going, but we missed Lukie's party altogether last year due to a funeral, and did not want to miss another. It turned out to be a very nice time with lots of food and rambunctiousness.
There must have been some heavy duty praying out there yesterday because I think I actually saw my son talking to his father today (I didn't stay around to listen...), and for the first time in a year my son really hugged me. I am blessed. Perhaps things are still on the upswing after all.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Stepping Backward

Three steps forward, two steps back... or is it the other way around?

Some relationships just aren't salvageable, at least that is the way it feels. I know God can do a miracle, but I am afraid we may need to walk away entirely in order for Him to do that work. In some ways it breaks my heart, and in other ways I am not at all surprised. I am, however, tired.

I wrote this last night. I am still struggling with what God would have me to do in this situation.

We have seven children and they were born when we were still very young, the first when we were still teenagers and the last when we were just thirty-one. We were not perfect parents and we do not have perfect children. There have been times where we have been downright wrong in our approach to things, and there have been times when one or more of our children has been absolutely impossible. That is how life works. You live and (hopefully) learn.

When my father passed away a little over three years ago, we had what I considered a tight-knit family. Everyone was going to church together and everyone was getting along, we had wonderful summer and holiday gatherings, but as time went on things began to unravel. There were differences of opinion and opposing viewpoints. There was an aging mom/grandma who needed to be looked after. Someone needed to make decisions and someone needed to make those decisions known, and sometimes those decisions were met with resistance.

Perhaps there was a better way to have accom- plished the tasks before us, but at the time there was stress and inexperience on every side. My son, who spent a year living with his grandmother, did not understand our stresses and we were not able to completely know or understand all of his. I had never been through the death of one parent or the onset of dementia in another. There was a home full of belongings to take care of and financial issues to resolve. It was like walking blindly in the dark through a building we had never been in before and the entire structure blew up before any of us had a chance to find the exit.

Although I thought the year following those decisions and subsequent blowup had brought about some healing, there was a "festering infection" brewing in another party. It showed it's ugly head last December at the worst time possible, right after a fatal blaze killed my husband's uncle and two adopted sons. Right after my childhood friends faced an unspeakable tragedy, our own family unraveled. Try as I might, I can't make the fabric stay together.

I don't think any relationship can survive if one or both parties feel as though they need to walk on eggshells every time they are together or have any form of conversation. I highly doubt a relationship can heal if one or more parties continue to speak negative of others, be that parent, child, or sibling, and how does the group move forward without accepting apologies and agreeing to forgive and forget? We can't go backward and do things over again. How do parents who tried so hard to teach their children right from wrong respond when the children choose something different? How does the choosing of something different affect the way the child respond to or reacts to the parent? When does the job of being a parent end (or does it ever) and what happens when one's own children can't stand each other? Where is the pause button anyway?

Right now there don't seem to be any answers, but I suppose if  there is an answer, God holds it in His hand. I pray He gives me direction soon and that I can trust Him enough to follow wherever He leads.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Water, Water, Water

I am making a concerted effort to drink more water. I fill my "sippy cup" to the brim four times daily with nice cold water. It has a nice little straw and I am able to get 8 cups of water into each day if I am diligent to keep the cup filled. Maybe one day I will find that my lips are no longer chapped and my hands aren't wrinkled up and ugly. Maybe I'll actually feel thirsty again.

It has been a different kind of December. We've had weather that is too warm and very little snow, though I did chance to happen upon a little bit on my way in from the bus yesterday. I also found some unusual plant skeletons in my garden; Silver Dollar Ghosts. I've never seen them before because the snow typically destroys the fragile stemwork before the silvery insides disappear.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

V is for Violin

V is for Violin.
They say "necessity is the mother of invention" and such must be the case in Paraguay where residents have learned how to make musical instruments out of garbage salvaged from the local landfill. It's a story of hope and inspiration, and pretty incredible too.

For more ABC Wednesday fun, click here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Grinches

"The Grinch hated Christmas - the whole Christmas season. Oh, please don't ask why, no one quite knows the reason. It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight. Or maybe his head wasn't screwed on just right. But I think that the most likely reason of all may have been that his heart was two sizes small."

He's trying to spoil our Christmas, a real live Grinch. I pray that someone gives him a bigger pair of shoes or straightens his head out. Then again maybe what he really needs is a good swift kick in the pants. If only there was something I could feed him to make his heart grow again.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Something New With Something Old

We tried an old project with some new children this afternoon. Last night I built graham cracker houses and today my grandchildren came over to eat... uh, I mean decorate... the little structures. It was a wild, sugar filled adventure! Since all the kids are five years old and younger, much more candy went into their mouths than was stuck to the houses. Since no one had a nap, I'm afraid some very tired and wired up children will be going to bed early tonight.

Great Grandma got to hold the newest grandson. He sure is a cutie. I am blessed each and every time I see Jakie. He is doing so, so good. It's hard to believe the little guy was so very sick as a newborn. He is a happy, healthy, and perfectly normal baby.







I am also blessed by my darling granddaughter who hardly knew us just six months ago. She is a spunky little character who loves my cats and dogs and is no longer afraid of us. I missed such a huge chunk of her babyhood. It can never be recovered but leads me to cherish the moments we have even more.





I forgot to count toys as jewels scattered across my living room today. Shame on me. It was a noisy, busy afternoon. When everyone had gone home, Mom remarked on how quiet the house was. Perhaps a day like today will make her appreciate Rocky a little more. She does have a way of pushing Grandma's buttons... :)


Sunday, December 09, 2012

Motivation Missing...

Lately I feel terribly unmotivated. I want to accomplish all sorts of grand and glorious things, but so far very little has actually transpired. Even my ideas are lost and lacking. I suppose there are several contributing factors, one being that my mind and body are settled in mid-December and somehow or other the weather machine is not.

I'm not com- plaining about nicer- than- normal weather, but having lived here my entire life (minus six months), I'm kind of stuck in the groove and the groove just isn't the same as it once was. Where is the snow? Where are the blustery cold winds that chaff my hands and face? Where is the slop that covers our vehicles after a trip to the grocery store? Where are my boots? (I will need them if the snow makes an appearance.)

Christmas is the question. My Darling has asked about going shopping, but neither he nor I really have any idea what to buy for the mob that is our offspring. Perhaps I should be hoarding gift cards throughout the year... I do plan on baking and maybe making a batch or two of toffee, but I think I need a some kind of project to add a touch of "special" to the occasion. Let's see... I have two weeks...

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Tim's Party

Today was the Christmas party at my brother's house. We filled up a whole table and I think Tim enjoyed our visit very much. He was very disappointed when it was time for us to leave. I really felt bad but we had all arrived in one car except Priscilla, and there was no way for the visitors to trickle out a few at a time. I'll have to remember that next time.

Some- times I forget just how much this day means to my brother. Since he is non- verbal (at least most of the time) it is really very hard to know what he is thinking. One has to look at his eyes and when there is food around, or something good to drink, the eyes can be hard to see.

I can't help but miss my dad when we're seated around the table with Tim. When everyone was finished eating and the conversation died down, Dad would pull out his banjo and harmonica and there would be some Christmas carols. He knew how to make even simple gatherings special.

Friday, December 07, 2012

The Countdown

It is entirely too pre- dictable. First I wait until December to think about Christmas, then the few weekends available fill up and I find there really is very little time to pull it all together. We have a little over two weeks. Tomorrow I will be going to a Christmas party at my brother's residence. Tim is severely autistic and lives in a group home about a half hour from my house. The party is at 1 pm.

Next weekend we will be attending the birthday party of a very special soon to be four year old. This party is also on a Saturday. This time at noon. It is a good thing most of my gift giving is of the homemade variety. It is also a good thing I married one of Santa's elves. Together I think we can pull this off without any major trips to the mall. At least I hope so.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Pokes and Jabs


December... December conjures up memories of family gatherings, laughter, music and excitement...

 As the snow piles up outside and darkness arrives long before supper, we are safe and warm inside our home full of loud noises and small children... The cat spends more time in than out, and the smell of fresh baked goods fills the kitchen. Although there isn't a lot of money to spend on presents, the children each find a gift bearing their name under our Charlie Brown tree (which once or twice was plucked from our own back yard). We fill their stockings late at night with items dug from boxes hidden in the attic or buried in the back of a dresser drawer. They might not get fancy new clothes, or even socks and underwear, but there will be trip to Grandma and Grandpa's house, dinner round the table, and a Muppet Christmas Carol when the excitement dies down and we are settled on the couch for the evening...

Those are the days I long for but even one wayward child in the midst of many can wreak untold sorrow on a momma who loves them all the same and gave so many years of her life to raise them up and teach them how to be decent, law abiding, loving, and hopefully, Godly individuals. Even one child who pokes and jabs at parents and siblings can drain the joy and excitement right out of what should be a exciting and expectant season. Like the Grinch, who couldn't stand for anyone else to happy and joyful while he wallowed in his own misery, an errant yet much loved child, really hurts himself more than anyone else. A momma's heart can't help but grieve and long, at least a little bit, for those happier times and hope for their return in the future.

I miss my dad and his calming presence, his words of wisdom, and his unconditional love. I miss my mom in law too, who always has a word of encouragement and can make any holiday special. I am forever grateful for her presence with us last year when everything just seemed to be falling apart around us. We brought her here for a different heartbreak never knowing how much her being here would mean to us as well.I wish she could be here every Christmas.

I know I need to spend more time on my knees praying for each and every one of my children, their significant others, and my grandchildren, and I need to take a cue from those two individuals who are an example to me. Love and encouragement go a long way in times of despair.

PS. Rocky had some fun stringing Froot Loops yesterday. :)

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

New Cookies!

Every once in a while it's fun to try something new. There are always new recipes, but it's not often I come upon one I like and have all the makings for. Today I stirred up a batch of Cardamom Snaps, a new twist on the old molasses cookies. I have to say, Molasses Cookies have always been a favorite... Whenever I roll the balls of dough in a bowl of sugar, I am instantly transported back to my mother's kitchen where she was always willing to let me help in one way or another. I dumped ingredients and stirred until my arm ached. Mom rolled the dough into balls and dropped them into the sugar. I got to rolled them about until they were covered, and back in those days there was a window in the oven door and the inside lit up so I could watch the baking process. Anticipation is half the fun.

Since I am doing my best to stay gluten free, I didn't taste anymore then a very small piece broken from the edge of one cookie. Cardamom is somewhat new to me (I bought it to mix up some apple pie spice) and I love how it smells. So far everyone has said the cookies are very good. Rocky's dad said they had a "bright" taste and James says they just might be a new favorite. And since I think they smell wonderful that makes them all the more worth making.

You can find the recipe here- Cardamom Snaps

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

U is for Unusual

U is for unusual and that has three u's!

We had an unusually warm day. It felt almost like summer, a balmy 69ΒΊF. I would like to have gone for an orchard walk, but there is something about hunting season that makes me a bit uneasy about being off in the trees.

It doesn't quite feel like December in upstate New York when we can go outdoors in a tee shirt and shorts and not feel cold. We're supposed to be donning thick coats and wrapping long scarves about our faces. We should have mittens on our hands and hats on our heads. Would you believe I've actually seen people buying sleds in the stores? Some little kids are going to be terribly disappointed this Christmas if the snow doesn't show up. It's not like we can just "drive to the snow" around here...

If the forecast is accurate I will wake up to more seasonable weather tomorrow morning. It might even be cold at the bus stop, but it looks as if a blanket of thick snow is a long way off. There isn't much to do outside right now even when the weather is nice. Perhaps Cabin Fever will set in and we will find a park to walk in. I know of a great one where the birds will eat out of one's hand. Yeah, I think we need to go there.

For more ABC Wednesday fun, click here


Monday, December 03, 2012

Charlie Brown

He might not be a very jolly type of fellow, but he is faithful and true, and appears to love unconditionally.