...random thoughts, opinions and secrets on children... aging... cooking... crafts... nature...divorce...second chances...
and whatever else I deem curious...
~Copyright 2017. Hootie~

Monday, August 31, 2009

Showers of Happiness!

This weekend I had a bridal shower to attend.  My friends are registered at Bed, Bath and Beyond and we happen to have two shops in town.  I perused the registry list on-line at home, decided on my gift and went to the store to make my purchase.  Two stores in town and neither one had said item in stock!  Seeing as how the wedding is a few weeks away I decided BB&B could ship my gift directly to the bride.  

But as the shower was this weekend, I didn't want to go empty handed.  Here's my improv, hand made gift:  
When opened up it's a 10 inch by 10 inch hankie.  It started as a huge handkerchief which I cut into four pieces.  I charted the names on graph paper, used waste canvas and interfacing and added the lace as a last step.  I used blue DMC floss just in case the bride wants to use this as her "something blue".   On the opposite corner of the hankie I added the wedding date and the location.  

I was toying with posting a tutorial of how I made this hankie, but I've never done that and I'm not sure my readers would really like to see that.  

I'm glad my gift from BB&B wasn't in stock.  It was the push I needed to be creative this week.  

Friday, August 28, 2009

Move in Day!

Here's something to think about as our children age...

This Wednesday was move into the dorms day for the nearly 7,000 freshman here at IU.  The town has been crazy-busy!  So many parents and kids and cars and stuff!  

Temporary signs give direction as do plenty of IU staff pulled in from different departments.  
Some of the parents are heading home, leaving their children to start the sink or swim process.  I had to go to Target yesterday to pick up a few of the necessities of my life.  I am patient and don't mind mingling with the college crazy crowd.  While in the check out lane I noticed that the parent free boy in front of me had his necessities in his basket.  It was fun to watch him place them on the conveyor belt...Broom, Trash Bags, Dirt Devil (dust buster), Desk Lamp, and Condoms.  

Good for him to be thinking about being responsible!  :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mama Mia!

"Life itself is the proper binge." -- Julia Child 

When I was a little girl I thought my mom was the best cook in the whole world!  She made homemade spaghetti sauce.  I recall the sweet smell of the tomatoes and the herbs wafting through the house as she cooked her sauce for hours and hours.  Late in the evening, Mom would scoop out a bowl of sauce and we would sit at the table and dip buttered bread into it.  Mm mm!  

As I grew up I realized my mom really didn't enjoy cooking all that much.  She liked simplicity and she wasn't very good at following recipes.  She just didn't seem to have the patience for them!  I think it was the artist in her...I've noted those same personality traits in my crafting daughter.  :)  

When I went off to college I asked my mom to give me her recipe for her sauce.  She told me I'd have to watch her make her sauce because there wasn't a recipe she used.  
So I watched and I wrote.  For years I have made my mom's sauce making a few tweaks here and there.  

Last week I was glancing through an old cookbook I own.  It is The NEW Antoinette Pope School Cookbook published in 1961.  The previous published editions were in 1948 and 1952!  This may have been one of the first cookbooks my mom owned.  On the inside cover of this treasure my dad's oldest sister inscribed a note of congratulations for my parents wedding.  It's dated 3-3-62.  

My mother's parents were Italian and Irish.  The Italian was my grandpa and the Irish, my Grandma.  Grandma was the cook in that household.  I don't recall ever having spaghetti over there.  So I am thinking...where did my mom's special spaghetti sauce recipe come from?  I believe I have solved that mystery!  
Can you click on the photo above to enlarge it?  It's a hoot to read!  "Standardized recipes of foreign dishes are a thing of the past.  Each chef now adds his individual touches."  Remember, this was originally published in 1948.  

Can you read the recipe?  As a lazy cook I imagine my mom would leave certain, time consuming and tedious, items out of her recipe.  There is no celery in the recipe I wrote down!  Also, nutmeg was not a spice my mom had on hand.  Italian Cheese?  Seems to me this could mean a number of varieties!  My mom left out the baking soda because she did cook her sauce for hours and hours.  

I found the adding of the baking soda the most interesting fact.  I like that this cookbook explains it's purpose: to neutralize acid in tomatoes!  Of course!  I am considering this info the key secret!  As I am aging I have noticed that I can't stomach my own Spaghetti sauce as much any more...too much acid!  In the past year I had started buying canned sauce.  (I am feeling shameful here in admitting that!)

But this past weekend the weather was cool and I was able to make up a huge pot of this recipe.  
I didn't cook this new recipe as long as my mom would have, so I added the soda.  The sauce was wonderful!  

My family didn't see me as I scooped out a little bowl of sauce and grabbed a piece of buttered bread.  I sat alone in my kitchen and my mom was there stirring the pot.  

Saturday, August 22, 2009

In a crafting house...(and the importance of Art!)

Peek with me into, a cupboard in, my 15 year-old's room...
Crafting supplies and creations fill the shelves!  
Here's a close-up of some of the creatures she made from an Amigori book.  
This girl is her own creation.  
Several Sock Monkeys hang around, each with specially made clothes!  

My daughter is good at recycling.  The monkeys clothes above were an old 
halter top of hers and knit leggings she out grew.   
Sock Elephants too can be found here.  
The gourd bird house I received for my birthday is hanging 
outside right now with sticks poking out of the hole.  
Looking around the rest of my house you can find other treasures my 
crafting girl has made herself and for me!  
Sometimes, just looking at a shape will inspire my young creator.  
She picked this rock up from our yard or the woods and saw a bunny.  
Thank goodness there are still art classes in our school system.  My baby made this Elephant "Teapot" last year.  The lid does come off.  

The beach is an important place in our lives and mermaids float around my shelves...
above made of cloth and below made of clay 
While I knit a simple scarf or a dish cloth, my baby free hands dolls...

Teeny, tiny flower pots looked like gnome soldiers
I love this clay gnome (below).  He has a rabbit fur beard!  Standing next to him is a wooden figure that I found at my grandmother's house.  I think she may have carved it.  
I do love Tom Clark's gnomes and many are scattered all over my living room, 
but a little fairy sits quietly between these two.  
Here she is up close.  Her arms and legs are bendable.  
And finally I am sharing a shelf I have loaded with trinkets my daughter made in elementary school art class.  
My favorite item is the little hula dancer.  The hula dancer wasn't made in art class though.  
Maybe five or six years ago my daughter was going to make me a gift for my birthday. 
(Home made gifts are my favorite by the way!)  During school my daughter drew a sketch of a hula dancer and planned to come home and make it out of clay for me.  When she got home she was disappointed because the drawing had been accidentally left at school.  I encouraged her to make her creation anyway.  The above girl is that creation.  Two days later my daughter brought home her sketch.  I was amazed how exact her creation matched the drawing!  

Now in high school, my daughter can balance her creativity with her smarts.  She has a schedule filled with honors classes, accented with a fiber arts and theatre class.  

Whether my child knows it or not, she is able to connect her English, Geometry, Social Science and Biology classes to the rest of her life through her art.  These connections are needed for some children.  My son is a bookworm.  He can read something and totally understand it. 

When I look at my two children I know they are the best of both my husband and myself and for that I give thanks.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hootie Hears a Hoot!

It's true!  This morning at about 5:45 I heard a Great Horned Owl outside our bedroom window.  What a treat for me.  Too bad I couldn't photograph or tape it to share.  

Monday, August 17, 2009

Halloween Swap???

Hurry or you might miss out!  

Kendra from The Bead Goes On...has inspired me to be a part of the 13 days of Halloween.  Check out Koala Fuzz for details.  

Hurry though!  If you want to join in the fun today is the last day to sign up!  :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Some Days...

I must say, I do enjoy it when others post self-portraits on their blogs.  Most of the time I feel like they are more brave than me.  It's scary enough when someone comments with negative thoughts about someone else's writing...to attach one's photo is definitely soul exposing.  But...I'm feeling daring today.  

I don't 

I need to wear my glasses all the time now.  Years of contact wearing has taken it's toll on my eyes.  My whole body is more filled out.  Gone is that skinny gal who birthed two children seventeen and fifteen years ago.  Her replacement, who at the age of 45, likes what she sees when alone, feels less self-assured when she is around others.  And my hair used not to be so blond!  But, since I am not a fan of grey hair on myself, my friend Miss Clairol and I spend time together once ever six weeks.  

Hopefully I am aging gracefully, at least that's my goal!  

Friday, August 14, 2009

Measuring Up!

Last July when we moved into our new "old" house, I noticed some marks on the corner of an upstairs wall.  As I looked closely I realized they were a record of growth!  As a parent of two high schoolers, I remember those early growth spurt years well.  

The former owners of my house have known me, and I them, for the past 24 years.  I was pregnant with my first born when the lady who lived here was pregnant with her only child.  Our children are just a month apart in age.  Although the former owners of the Burrow live in Michigan, they have dropped by a few times.  I haven't painted over these marks upstairs for a few reasons.  I am sentimental, but mostly these marks are in a spot that will hardly ever get noticed by others.  Also, the hallway is a nice neutral color and not in need of being freshened up.  

At my old house, I was guilty of writing on the walls too.  Out in the garage we had a wall where we would chart our children's growth each summer.  We had been marking height changes there since 1998.  When the time came for us to move, our walls DID need freshened up.  Can you feel my dilemma building?  My solution was to take this wall with me.   Not a very practical idea it seemed at first.  I looked around the garage and found a very tall, maybe 6 foot high, piece of quarter round.  My wall writings suddenly could become portable!  One flat side (on the left) charts my daughter's growth and the other holds my son's record.  
The top line on the left (or fourth line down on the right) is my height from two years ago.  My son surpassed me that year.  What a smile he had on his face!  After I made this portable chart I wasn't sad about painting over the garage walls.  In fact, since I didn't personally know the new family who eventually bought our old place I felt like without our record on the wall they could come in and make the place their own.  

The Burrow is different though...it's history radiates.  
First Day of School Alert!  

Wednesday felt like a Monday as my kids went back to school.  I officially have two kids in one school again!  Yeah!  It's been four years since I've been able to have one building to head to for them.  As is my tradition, I do take a first day of school picture.  I forgot in the morning but grabbed a photo of the two of them after school.  Then I treated my kids to another first day of school tradition...
Did you note the Hidden Mickey!?  :)  

Sunday, August 09, 2009

No Chickens Allowed!

Who says?  
 Kings Island near Cincinnati, Ohio. 

This weekend we traveled to Kings Island Amusement Park.  
It was our last bit of summer fun 
before school starts on Wednesday. 
The weather was extremely hot and humid.  
Here's a glimpse of our day.    
There are a few tips I could share for making your trip to this park more enjoyable.  

First, buy your tickets on-line and print them at home.  
You'll save over $16.00 per adult ticket.  

Second, bring a lot of cash - everything is expensive here!
Hope you like fried foods, because that's mostly what they serve.
A positive for me...a Starbucks in the park!  

Third, when they tell you to secure items before a ride, 
they really mean secure those items!  

Here's a photo of a few of the park's collection of lost and found 
but not reclaimed items.   
When one comes to Kings Island (KI), they do so with the intent of riding the rides and or hanging out in the attached water park.  We came to ride the coasters.
New in 2009 to Kings Island is an outrageous roller coaster called
Diamondback.  KI calls this the tallest, fastest and meanest roller coaster of their park.  This ride even has it's own website!  Diamondback.
230 feet at it's highest point, 10 vertical drops, 2 helix's.  5,272 feet of track, speed of over 80 mph, first drop of 215 feet and a 74 degree angle.  No Chickens Allowed?  
I'd agree.  Below is that first drop...
Here's some of the snaky turns (above) 
and the splashy ending (below).  

Did I go on this outrageous ride you ask?  Well, I text messaged my nephew who had been at the park just a few days before me and I asked him if he thought I would survive.  Yes was his answer.  He did advise me to hold on to my stomach though.  

Being a thrill seeker, I did go on the Diamondback.  It's one of those rides that the more you look at it, the less likely you are to do it.  My advice:  Don't look at this ride till you're on it and heading down that first hill!  Good fortune was ours, we were in the very first row of seats!  Talk about scary!  But way cool too!!!  :)
On the formerly-known-as The Italian Job ride...now the Backlot Stunt Coaster...there are a bunch of silly signs.  As I read them I was thinking the real highway department should make some signs like these:  

Hopefully you can enlarge this picture to see that this guy can't read!  
Below is the Backlot Stunt Coaster in action.  It's a powerful little ride.  One of the biggest challenges was getting into the tiny little coaster car!  
Have you seen the movie The Italian Job?  
Can you guess where the movie this ride was originally based on took place?  KI used to be Paramount's KI.  Now it's owned by a company called Cedar Fair.  The rides have stayed the same, but some of the names were changed...as in this example.  
This ride was called Flight of Fear...changed over the years from The Outer Limits: Flight of Fear.  The alien theme remained.  It's a great, in the dark, ride.  The initial take off is unmatched by any ride in the park.  I don't know the exact speed, but it felt like 0 to 60 in three of four seconds!  AWESOME!  
Oh, the arcades!  My daughter always wants us to win her something...

Here's what my husband tried to win our daughter (her first choice).  What the heck would she have done with one of these things?  What a good dad.  He LOVES games of skill.  He was unsuccessful yesterday (thank goodness).  I like games of luck, and games where I get tickets to redeem!  I was successful, and I won a 12 inch Care Bear Monkey (her second choice) for our daughter.    It could have been worse!  
As the sun set the colors of the park came alive.  
The faux Eiffel Tower looked nice silhouetted against the sky.  
Had Diamondback been less than a 90 minute wait, my sore tootsies might have been willing to hold me up while I waited for one last thrill of the day.  Instead, we happily climbed into our car, turned on the AC and headed for home.  Free water and a nice shower were beckoning!  

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Here fishy, fishy, fishy...

How do you like my cyber-fish?  I just got them today.  If you want you can help feed them.  Put your mouse over them and click.  You'll give them some "orange" flakes of food.  They are very friendly and will follow your mouse too!  

What a great pet!  I don't even have to change their water!  I think I'll start looking for a cyber-bunny.  My daughter wants a real one for her B-day, but THAT'S NOT GONNA HAPPEN!  :)  

Sunday, August 02, 2009

A Perfect Summer Day

I am one to brag now and then. 

Today has been a perfect summer day.  

My day started with coffee sipping and newspaper reading out back as I listened to the birds, cicadas and squirrels.  After lunch my daughter suggested we go canoeing.  We do live walking distance to a small lake where our local Parks & Rec. has a "nature center" and rents canoes.  It's a great deal, $6.00 per hour.  That includes paddles and personal floatation devices.  One should remember to take their drivers license or id though as you'd need to leave it while you head out on the water.  

As I mentioned, we do live close enough to walk to the lake.  From our place to the "nature center" it's probably close to a mile through the woods.  This is looking onto the lake where a group of boy scouts are practicing their kayak skills.  This week the National Order of the Arrow Conference is here and we have 7000 boy scouts on IU's campus.  Just two weeks ago my nephew was selected to join his local Order of the Arrow group.  I am bummed because IF he was all ready in this group he could have come this week for the conference.  Order of the Arrow is an Honor Society for Boy Scouts.  My nephew will have to go on an over night alone into the woods without supplies.  He will not be allowed to talk for 24 hours.  It sounds very much like a walk-a-bout to me.  We didn't see as many boy scouts on the lake as I thought we would.  
Here's the "nature center" from the water.  It's really just a resource place.  They have lots of guides one could use as references.  Still, now and then they do have snake skins, turtle shells and other animal skulls and bones around.  
The water was very clear - a sign that we haven't had much rain lately to stir things up.  
As we came around a cove we saw a Heron (above) who flew to another bank and caught a fish (below).  

At the dam my daughter saw a "Buckeye" seed which her dad fished off the embankment for her.  There were flowers too.  These reminded me of Hibiscus, but I haven't researched them yet.  
Here's the spill-over.  It's very relaxing to hear the water cascading over the wall.  Of course I wasn't paddling so the whole time in the canoe was relaxing for me!  
I had a pretty view of my baby sitting in front of me.  
I wasn't the only one enjoying the views!  

Our son had stayed home today.  He said his trip to Montana was enough canoeing for the summer for him.  Thank goodness my husband was up for the paddling!  :)