Tag Archive: hodge podge


Christmas Porch

Decorating the front of my house always feels like a challenge. 

Porch Xmas signI am a simple girl, not quite a minimalist but definitely not a ‘more is more’ kind of person. I like it simple and not over done. In fact, when I decorate at work I get it to the point where I like it and then add three more elements. That way I know it is what it should be, what is expected for Christmas decorations. 

This last fall, I saw a porch decoration for fall in Better Homes and Gardens that really fit my vibe. So I copied it as much as I could. I didn’t have the super thick rope or the grapevine balls.

I had orange lights and orange rope. I had other pieces of halloween decoration and pumpkins. Once I put it together, I was really happy, it was simple and elegant. It wasn’t over done.

But now it’s Christmas.

Christmas seems to say excess, maybe scream it a little.

porch-xmas-wreath.jpg

So what did I do?

I stayed in my comfort zone.

I kept the orange rope, changed out for white lights, changed out the wreath, and added a Christmas sign where I had a Halloween ‘beware.’

A part of me thinks about adding some pine cones to the rope. And then I re-think when I consider all of the work involved. Now that school is done for the semester I want to be lazy.

I am making cookies, watching movies, and thinking about switching around that one troublesome part of my book to make it flow better. My plans include buckeyes and peanut butter cookies with chocolate stars in the centers. If I get lucky, there might be some Rumchatta chocolate pudding. 

But still, it’s pretty isn’t it? And it is a start of Christmas Cheer, even when this might be as far as I get.

Porch Christmas

Study Music

For the last two years I have been working towards a certificate called a Library Technical Assistant.

It was a part of the condition of my job that I have, that I am to be working towards this certificate if I didn’t already have it. It has been great in a lot of ways; I have learned so much about the world of libraries and researching. The course on technology nearly killed me even though I learned more about excel and word.

Through all of this I have learned to listen to music while I am writing which helps build a wall between me and wherever I might be working. Some days I find myself in a library because my home computers do not have Microsoft products.

My school bag keeps a set of ear buds in it at all times so I can plug in and get going on what ever project I am doing. Having that wall really helps depending on where the computer area located. Some are right next to the check out desk which means I get to hear all of these conversations as people check out or get their card renewed.

What am I listening to?

duranduran 1980sDuran Duran

I loved these guys back in the 80s when they first hit the big time. I loved dancing to their music and would have loved to have gone to a concert but I was a poor college student. 

To be honest, I still have no idea what The Reflex is or why we are waiting for the New Moon on Monday. Some of the lyrics make no sense and I have no idea how some of the videos connect to the song that they are emphasizing. At some point I decided not to care.

At some point I lost track of the guys. I got married, had a kid, got divorced, got remarried, listened to a lot of country music and Raffi. Had more kids.

Hello Bananaphone. Goodbye Duran Duran

Then one day at a garage sale I found a Duran Duran Greatest Hits album. The more I played it, the more my kids made fun of them but I didn’t care. I loved their music. Then for one of my classes, I did a research project on the boys. I found out that they are still making albums and interesting music despite breaking up, connecting with other musicians, and later re-connecting with the original five, and breaking up again. At this time four of the original musicians are still in the group.

Duran Duran GettyImages-todayThrough 2015 they have been creating new music, some of it reminiscent of their earlier stuff and other albums that moved on with more modern sounds. As I hear more and more of these songs, I find my self falling in love with their music over and over again. White Lines, What’s Gonna Happen Tomorrow, All You Need is Now, and Pressure Off are just a few of my new favorites. As much as I don’t appreciate the costumes in the video of Girl Panic, I find myself loving the song and the supermodels portraying the guys.

I listen to their music because the mid-tempo songs help my typing become quicker and easier. I feel happy when I am listening to it and that makes projects get put together much easier. I will admit that I could have never gotten through this program without the music of Duran Duran.

Everyone has a band or an artist that they love. For me it is Duran Duran. No apologies, no justification. Not sure if I really care if the rest of the world disagrees with me.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to go listen to Serious one more time.

Duran duran serious

Halloween has become my favorite time of year.

The weather is not too hot and the snow hasn’t started yet, most years. This year we had a snowstorm on Halloween day with high winds later in the night. Some towns in my area put off Halloween trick or treating to Friday or Saturday.

I chose to celebrate with a little house decorating. Better homes and Garden showed a cute way to decorate the house using a thick hemp rope and big bulb lights. I had orange thin nylon rope and orange lights. Nor do I have the Grape vine balls they used and didn’t really show up in the picture. I might head to the thrift stores and see if I can find any to add to my porchscape.

Front Porch Halloween 2019

But I did find three ghosties at the dollar store to hang on the garland of rope and lights. Plus I had a fun sign to put on my pitchfork tines. I felt very halloween-y.

Now Halloween is over. The wind is blowing more. Time change has come and it was inky dark by 5:30. I m not ready to go full Christmas. Which was OK because the BH&G issue showed how to make this ready for thanksgiving.

 

Front porch post halloween 2019

 

I removed the ghosties and other Halloween elements. The pumpkins can stay till they are eaten or become too mushy to live on the steps. I need a new sign to hang on the tines, something in the order of “Give Thanks” or “Welcome Friends.” The orange lights get to stay until the Christmas lights go up.

Maybe I need a big fat turkey.

Gobble, Gobble.

WE ALL HATE FAKE NEWS.

Doesn’t matter which side it comes from, it is all pretty deplorable.

And the worst are the memes which misappropriates pictures to make what ever point people are trying to make.

You know the ones, those images that come from the certain relative who makes every family gathering crazy.

So today I am going to show you how to find out the origin of a picture. This is not a job for your cool cellphone. It takes several windows at once. If you don’t have a PC at home, you can always go to your local library and use their computers to do the heavy lifting.

So let’s start with an image that’s been turned into a meme. Click on it so it is a stand alone image.

Picture 1

 

Now do a right click with your mouse.

 

Picture 2

 

See that lovely dialogue box? Good. Now click on the line that says “Copy Image Address.”

Good! Now open a new window on your browser. I prefer Chrome.

 

Picture 3

 

See the circled portion that says Image? Click on it.

 

 

Picture 4

Your next window will have a camera icon. Click on it.

 

 

Picture 5

 

Remember how we did that neat little “copy address of image” technique? Now get your cursor in the box and hit CTRL and “V” to paste that address in the box. then click on “search by image”.

 

 

Picture 6

Now, Bang. your search has produced something. At the top of the page it says “best result = festival.” I scrolled down to find our guy sitting in his chair. Apparently he has been doing a lot of chair sitting. But I found him here in Glastonbury.

 

 

Picture 7

And look at that date – 2017.

Just because an image or meme makes us feel good or vindicated doesn’t make it true. Always check it out and stop disinformation in it’s tracks.

Thank you

You’re welcome.

 

 

 

Chicken Parmesan Meat Balls

One of the joys of Facebook is seeing great recipes that you are never quite sure will work.

This weekend I made a new dish from a recipe I saw on Facebook called Chicken Parmesan Meatballs. It was a cool video that showed a pair of hands dumping in ingredients and mixing it all together before cooking it all.

chicken-meatballs-ingredientsI can’t say that the video gave exact measurements but the ingredient list was easy to follow. And let’s be honest, those of us who cook a lot can make meatballs from scratch without a measuring cup.

So first I had to make the ground chicken. That took two and 1/3 lbs. of skinless, boneless chicken breast which I put through my food processor. After that I mixed in in mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, panko, and two eggs. You can put in spices such as garlic or Italian seasoning.  I added some garlic but I could have done more. I wish I had but at least I did not over salt it. I hate overly salted food.
After rolling up the meatballs I put them in a 13×9 baking pan chicken-meatballs-before-bakingthat had been sprayed with Pam. I actually had to use a 8×8 for some extra meatballs. Those went into a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes to cook. I know that most people like to fry their meatballs but I don’t. I prefer to bake them and that is what I did.

During this time I simmered tomato sauce starter (that my husband made with his bounteous tomato harvest) and a small can of tomato paste, adding small basil leaves from our herb pots. Because I did not grab enough of the starter from our freezer, I added a jar of marinara. This is when I also got the water for the pasta going.

chicken-meatballs-coveredOnce the chicken meatballs were done in the oven, I transferred them to a different 13×9 pan, squishing in all 39 meatballs. I covered the meat balls with sauce, covered that with mozzarella cheese and put back in the oven until the cheese was fully melted.

Now during this time I forced asked my daughter to set the table. I put the small green beans in the microwave, put the pasta in the water, and waited for it all to finish. During the waiting I chopped some parsley in case anyone wanted to sprinkle it over their meal. Yep, just me and the husband did that.

Now, you eagle eyed readers might note that I used an organic paste that is supposed to be better for you. I did have to cook it a little longer than the package said and I prefer a slightly softer pasta anyway.

chicken-meatballs-platedIt looked pretty on the plate and tasted good too. In fact, the left overs were gone by the following lunch time. You might be wondering why there is so little pasta on the plate. As some of you know I have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Smaller pasta portions keep my body happy.

Yep, this is a recipe I will probably make again. I hope no one asks for exact amounts on the ingredients.

What are you making for supper?

 

 

I would like to share something with my faithful readers.

I am involved in something new,  as in a new blog.

My writer’s group graciously allowed me to be in charge of getting a blog together. Members do the hard part which is to put together a blog entry and then I do the easy part. I handle adding the pictures and do the layout.

We just got the blog started this week after a mis-step or two but I thing it looks great. Please check it and let my fellow writers know how great they truly are.

KBBW+Banner+080812

Making Bread

A few weeks ago we went to visit a friend’s farm.

The timing was perfect. It was Earth Day and she had some new lambs. I wanted the kids to see the circle of life, how animals do become food or their hair becomes a product.

Before we went I worried not how to get there but what to bring. I asked and asked the husband but he had no suggestions. Finally I decided on making an apricot bread I have made before and truly enjoyed.

Image from Amazon.com.

This came from the Bread Machine Magic by Linda Rehberg and Lois Conway. My mother gave me this book several years ago and there are some great recipes. The Herb Bread was fantastic.

This bread is a nice, sweet but tangy from the dried fruit. I do not make it often enough.

First things first. I cut up enough dried apricots to fill a 1/3 cup measure. It took about 12 of the dried apricots. I might have eaten a few along the way.

 

Thinly slicing the dried apricots

 

I did this first so the next picture will make sense. I love the apricot orange color. After that I gathered the rest of the ingredients.

 

 

The Gathering of Ingredients

 

It takes 2/3 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, 2/3 cup buttermilk, 1 egg, 1 1/3 cups of bread machine flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots, 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons apricot preserves and one packet of yeast.

 

In the bread pan

 

I put any liquid in first. So the buttermilk and egg went in first. Then I put in the flours and oatmeal that was topped off with the dried apricots, preserves, salt and yeast. I went with the fruit bread and light  crust settings. Two and a half hours later, the bread was ready.

Cooling

 

The bread smelled good and sweet. It felt light and not too heavy. We took it to my friend and I hope she enjoyed it. I know we loved seeing lambs and chicks and a dog who could play fetch all day long.

Have you made anything tasty in the kitchen lately?

 

 

Why is it that when I hear the phrase (?) ABC, I immediately think of the Jackson 5.

I remember how cute Michael Jackson was when we were all young and little. Michael was already in the family business, finally succeeding.

The Award!

However, I am not going on a history lesson or a walk through an old memory. Lorna’s Voice has graciously given me the ABC Award. She thinks my blog content is aWWWesommme! Well, me and a bunch of other folks.

So now I am obligated to come up with words from A to Z that describe me in some way I have not done before as well as nominate a few other worthy souls while honoring the one who gave me this honor.

Absolutely terrified is how I feel about winning this award. I am afraid of Backsliding and coming up with new but terrible Content. Will I let fear stop me. Don’t count on it. The small part of my soul that is Effervescent will not allow that to happen. I will Focus and Gear up for those days that Hover in the gray zones. Idiots be dammed, Jocularity will find its way back into the well of writing Knowledge. I may not be able to Levitate but I can Meditate into the Nirvana of writing. Ozone levels may thin out, other blogs may be more Popular but with the regal behavior of a Queen, I will find the Readiness to use every word within my reach. Sentences will unfold as does the beautiful Tendrils of Victorian era hairstyles. Perhaps the Undergarments of this blog do not mimic others in their Viciously tight order, perhaps this blog is not as Wonderously plain as an X-Ray. Yet, what you get at this blog is a mad Zoo of ideas from Absolute genius to Zero gravity.

And now on to the worthy nominees for this award. Some may have been nominated for other awards, I have nominated so many I can’t remember who I have not honored. Just take the honor and pass it on to those you find worthy.

Image by Jeltovski

Uprooted Magnolia

Todd Pack’s Messy Desk

If I Were Brave

Stopping The Wind

The Waffler

All I have to do now is notify these bloggers of their award. That is the fun part!

No More Caramel Sauce

Do you ever find yourself getting irrationally angry about something that shouldn’t be a big deal?

I have and recently it has been about food. Let me preface that it is not about moms dealing with food allergies, even when it takes me out of my usual routines. I understand where they are coming from, that it is a life or death situation some days when a kid comes into contact with an allergen.

It is about this war on obesity. I understand the big deal about teaching people to eat right. I understand that the president’s wife wants us to move more and eat healthy, that kids need to learn that lesson as well.

But what gets me sick are these food nazis who decide we have to follow their rules. Therefore, McDonald’s Happy Meals now have both, french fries and apple slices, in them. What a waste. Little kids have space for only so much food and fries will be eaten first. Then the kid is going to say “I’m full” with the apple bag going straight to the garbage.

You want to know the worst part? Caramel is not handed out with the apple slices. This last week when the kids had a day off from school (teacher conferences), the husband made the trip for lunch. The kids received their apple slices and employees checked to see if there was any caramel packets hanging around.

Image from AmericanSweets.co.uk

You know what is going to happen. Mom is going to stop at the store, buy some caramel sauce and bring it home for the kids. The amount that will be poured out – especially by the kids – will be more than the small container we used to be able to get from McDonald’s. I am sure that is what those ‘nutritional’ experts were looking to happen.

Another thing that got me going about these food police idiots (hey, it is my blog and I get to put down people as I see fit) are the ones who have decided that they want to tax each ounce of sugared-added drinks sold in the state of Illinois. The radio interview I listened to really set me off when this woman would not answer a question about what brand of juice exactly might this tax refer. Then she talked about how diet and lite drinks would be excluded from this tax.

So drinks using artificial sugar are better for us than drinks with real sugar? And is she aware that apple juice has the same amount of sugar as most sodas?  This make me wonder if we should not just tax those bags of sugar they sell in the baking aisle. I mean, you can’t make unsweetened kool-aid without them and who wants to face their morning oatmeal without brown sugar.

But seriously, when is enough, quite simply, enough? When are we going to learn that we cannot – or perhaps should not – legislate food choices. It is one thing when we tax cigarettes and alcohol to the nth degree because the proof is undeniable that these two items are a direct link to death. The Marlboro Man and MADD have proven that.

There are many, many books out there telling those of us who diet that soda is liquid Satan. There are tons of articles telling us to eat our fruit, don’t drink our fruit. We have the First Lady planting a garden in the White House lawn, showing how to get your own fresh veggies in your back yard. There are the milk ads and the new dietary symbol and Dr. Oz telling us all of the good food options.

However, until a two liter soda costs much more than a 2-quart bottle of apple juice, people won’t care.  The cheap brand of soda in my store costs .79. The cheap apple juice costs $2.00. Bag of apples run between $2.99 (cheapest) to $4.99. Ore Ida frozen french fried potatoes stick around $3.19.

Price does matter but so do other factors. Such as those artificial sweeteners are not good for you either. Such as carbonation is not good on a daily basis. Such as it would be better to drink Snapple or Arizona teas any day rather than soda. That you cannot control everything that people in this world will eat or drink.

Food is such a basic visceral need. Why we eat what we eat has so many reasons behind it. Some foods are comforting, some foods bring back family memories. Some just taste good and we enjoy them. No one has an ice cream binge for the joy of it, that is always a way to chase away sadness.

Image by Clarita

When groups start to try to regulate consumption by taxation, you make people surly and angry. One of them might decide to follow you around to see what you eat and drink all day. I wonder what we would see…

Getting It Organized!

Wordless Wednesday

OK, so it is Thursday. I had some technical difficulties yesterday but here it is. A pictorial essay of a rummage sale coming together.

Day One

 

 

 

Day Two

 

 

Day Three

 

 

Day Four

 

Day Five

 

It was a busy week but worthwhile. How do you help out a favorite organization?