Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Thanks I Get

Hoffman Hospice, the organization I volunteer for with Gus, has a Children's Grief Therapy Group every Thursday evening. Gus and I go to those meetings about once a month or so, rotating our visits with the other Therapy Dogs.

Usually I sit and watch the kids while they do their activities with the counselor and Gus does his thing. Prior to starting the meeting he may run around the room with the more active kids, chasing them or being chased. Later he will lay quietly and let the kids love on him when they finish their projects. Once I saw a younger child carefully examining Gus's mouth, touching his lips and teeth. Gus was ever so patient and endured it all.

I sometimes wondered if it was worth the trouble to give Gus a bath and make the trips to sit in the room for the while. I recently received these two notes from a couple of the kids. (I blurred their names out. HEPA laws and all... Click on the first picture to enlarge--I don't know why the second picture isn't enlarging.)

I'd say it is.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What Cat?

"The smallest feline is a masterpiece." Leonardo da Vinci

Monday, November 24, 2008

Note To Fox

We woke up to a foggy morning. The worst so far this year (only the second day this season) but most assuredly not as bad as we've had in the past, or what is surely yet to come.

Mr. Fox has apparently still been coming around every day to check if I forgot to close the chicken gate again. (We lost another chicken a week ago because I forgot to close their gate one night. Now we are down to two chickens.)

I think he must be digging for grubs but I'm not sure. Maybe he thinks there's a very large chicken on the other side of this fence?

Mr. Fox, that is not a chicken!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Happy Birthday, Kari!

You know your mother is desperately awaiting a grandchild so quit practicing already. And the dog doesn't count.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Recipe Correction

Today I got an email from my sil that sent the Individual Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe. She noticed that the posted recipe called for 1 small can of pumpkin. She said she meant to say 1 cup of canned pumpkin instead. I used 1/2 of a large can. The large can is 29 ounces so I used about 14 ounces, about 6 ounces more than I should have. In spite of the errors the cheesecakes turned out good. I'm guessing they would probably be a little firmer if I used less pumpkin.

I just wanted you all to know! ☺

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Making A Fancy Pumpkin

Last week I was at the salon getting my nails done. One of the tables had a beautifully decorated pumpkin on it. Since I had a few uncarved pumpkins at home I thought I would try to duplicate the look since it didn't seem like it would be too difficult to do.

I went to Michael's and got some glitter and fancy ribbon. I already had the tape and spray adhesive at home. First I ran the tape around the pumpkin in six strips. You can use thinner tape if you want a smaller "stripe" or larger glitter area.
Then I sprayed the pumpkin with the spray adhesive and liberally sprinkled the glitter over the pumpkin. I found this worked easier when I put the pumpkin in a large box. Otherwise the newspaper started sticking to the pumpkin as I turned it to sprinkle the glitter. (Notice the sparkliness on the wall behind the pumpkin--I like sparkly things!)
Then I removed the tape and attempted to tie the fancy ribbon into a bow-like shape. I kind of succeeded.
The first one didn't turn out too badly so I thought I'd try again with another pumpkin. I did the same thing with the tape.
But this time instead of using the spray adhesive I thought I'd try good old Elmer's white glue. I used a small mashed up piece of newspaper to spread the glue. It probably would have been easier with a small paint brush but the baby was sleeping in the room where I have my small paint brush!
Then I applied the glitter and looked on-line for how to make a proper bow. Unfortunately I ran out of the ribbon I wanted to use but it turned out okay anyway.
These might be just a little messy to make but they were really easy and don't look half bad. Well, maybe just half bad, but the other half looks fine. They make a great holiday decoration or table centerpiece.

I guess you can't exactly call me Martha Stewart, but I think I did okay!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Birthday Party Pics

I used to get annoyed when grandparents talked incessantly about their grandkids and whipped out the photos. I'd press my lips together in a pretend smile and feign interest. "Oh, how nice," I'd say, while inside I was thinking Please somebody save me!

It's difficult to explain. I once overheard a woman telling her friend about her grandchildren. She said, "The grandkids are easier to love because I can love them and spoil them and then give them back to their parents!"

Now I've become one of those people.

We had a small celebration for my granddaughter's first birthday yesterday and of course I had to take a dozen pictures. Or 25 to be exact. But I picked out just a few and here they are.

First we had dinner. BBQ'd chicken, potato salad, and french bread two ways. We were going to have asparagus but it seems it had been in the fridge a tad longer than I thought.

Then came the birthday cake. The candle is recycled from her cake she had when she went to see her great grandma in AZ. (This is party number two!)
You know what's coming next! The ubiquitous photos of the cake all over. But what fun!

We're having fun now!
And see how thoughtful she is? She's sharing with the dogs.
Don't worry. I know chocolate isn't good for dogs so they only got one spoonful.

Then came the shower in the kitchen sink. Unfortunately I didn't realize the camera had focused on the faucet!
Today she is off for her THIRD party at her daddy's relatives in Lemoore.

She's a lucky girl to have so many people that love her so much!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Individual Pumpkin Cheesecakes

NOTE: The recipe has been corrected from when I first posted. Originally it called for a small can of pumpkin but has been changed to 1 cup canned pumpkin. Also, when filling the paper cups they can be filled almost to the top, more than the 3/4 as I did here.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. One of my SILs passed this recipe around. It combines two of my favorite things: cheesecake and pumpkin pie. She said she got it from a magazine but can't remember which one and she may have tweeked it just a bit. It's really simple and uncomplicated, and fast to make too.

To make it you will need: 18 paper baking cups; 18 gingersnap cookies; 12 oz. softened cream cheese; 3/4 C sugar; 1 T corn starch; 1 t pumpkin pie spice (I don't have pumpkin pie spice and usually just add my own ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and ground nutmeg); 2 eggs; 1 (small) can pumpkin 1 cup canned pumpkin; and 1/3 C light corn syrup.

First off you will need to preheat the oven to 325°. Then beat the cream cheese, corn starch, and spice(s) until well mixed.
Add the eggs and mix well.
Then add the pumpkin and corn syrup and beat one minute. NOTE: Pictured is a large can of pumpkin. I used half of it because I didn't have a regular sized can.

Put the baking cups in a muffin pan with a gingersnap cookie at the bottom of each paper cup. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the cups. Bake in the preheated 325° oven 30 to 35 minutes until set.

Garnish as desired. My choice of course is whipped cream! PS-You can leave it in the paper cup but if you take it out (as in the first photo at the top) it is easier to garnish after it's removed.
INDIVIDUAL PUMPKIN CHEESECAKES (via my SIL and unknown source)
  • 18 paper baking cups
  • 18 gingersnap cookies
  • 12 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1 T corn starch
  • 1 t pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 C light corn syrup

Preheat oven to 325°.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, corn starch, and spice until well mixed.

Add eggs and blend well.

Add pumpkin and corn syrup. Beat one minute.

Put baking cups in a muffin pan with gingersnap cookie in each cup. Pour mixture into the cups. Bake 30 - 35 minutes until set. Garnish as desired.

I just learned how to make the "degree" symbol! While holding the "alt" key, type "0176" without the quotations. When you let go of the alt key the degree symbol will appear! ☺ And to make the smiley face in my posts I hold the alt key and type "1". ☺ Hee hee! ☺

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Revolting Molting

My poor white leghorn hen looks really bad right now. But it's okay; she's just molting. She'll be back to normal in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's Never Too Early

It's never too early to start reading books to your kids. Admittedly, I didn't do this with my own kids and I'm sorry about that. I wish I would have taken a little more time to do so, but we were both working full time, often on opposite shifts and it was hard. Sadly, both my parents died before our kids were born and my in-laws lived in another city several hours away. Otherwise I'm sure my kids would have been read to more often, and maybe been instilled with the same love for books that I have.

So I guess I'm making up for it with my granddaughter. I started out by sitting her on my lap when she was about five months old and holding the book so she could see the pictures. She always settled down and really looked at the pictures. When I let her look at the book herself she had a tendancy to try to rip the pages so I bought a few of the classic children's books in the board book form. They are practically indestructable.

I've read each one to her a million times already (I practically know them by heart). Now when I suggest to her to "go read one of your books" she heads over to her pile of books and starts "reading".

Here she is reading a couple of her books.

First there's her most favorite, Dr. Seuss's Hop On Pop.

And here she is with P. D. Eastman's Are You My Mother?

I don't know why she feels the need to taste her books.

One of these days I'll get a little video of her while she's reading because she often "reads" out loud!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Today is the day to remember and honor our veterans.

We have a big parade going on down town right now. I've never been big on parades (maybe I had to work too many "behind the scenes") but I just heard on our news that it's one of the biggest Veteran's Day Parades we've had yet.

THANK YOU to all our past and current members of the military and their families too!

I woke up today with a scratchy throat. Uh oh. It feels like a bad cold coming on. Time to start downing the Cold Eze and Vitamin C tabs!

This weekend wasn't totally useless. I managed to get one panel of the wrought iron fence done. It isn't really great looking up close but you can see the difference between the painted and not painted sections. The painted does look great compared to the not painted. One section at a time, I guess.

Now I have a new dilemma with the ram. He's taken to ramming the fence separating him from the ewes. Look what he's done to the fence!

It's so bad it's beginning to pull the outer fence in too.

I'll have to think for a while on how to solve that problem. (Without it becoming too expensive!)

My other fence is starting to look nicer. Marcus, the baby's daddy, started welding the panels to the main fence. Previously they had been wired up. The wires were starting to wear through and the fence was looking sloppy.

I did get a lot done on my mosaic. I got my sheep done and the black parts grouted. My latest batch of tile came in and I'm trying to figure out a border for mine and exactly how to do the background for the other one.

Things'll get done around here eventually.

Whether by choice or chance we just tend to go about it in a little bit more of a leisurely manner.

Meanwhile, have a good Veteran's Day!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Things To Do

With no baby to watch for the next few days here are a few things I SHOULD be doing.

Cleaning house:

the floors
the doggy smear doors.
Fix the sheep feeder.

Paint the wrought iron fence.

Fix the other fencing.

Instead of doing what I should be doing I've been playing. I've been working on the mosaic my sister requested. It's of our pretend logo.

I like it so much I'm making a similar one for myself!

Tomorrow is another day.

For now I'm headed back out to my "studio".