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

Thursday, December 29, 2011

To make me smile...

Last week, my kids surprised me and cut out paper snowflakes and decorated the house. Being as they are older teens, I was totally touched by their thoughtfulness.

My daughter was mostly the snowflake maker while my son made homemade eggnog. It was a nice Christmas surprise since I had been in a sad mood earlier in the day.

Kids... :)

P.S. this posting is an experiment, since I am trying to be a little mobile and post.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Baking

Last week I enjoyed one of my favorite past times...baking in my kitchen!

The treats I made are: Christmas Tree Spritz Cookies, Snowball looking Almond Cookies, Buckeyes, English Toffee, Puppy Chow (not really baking) and Kolacky.

I love having many choices to offer my family after dinner this time of year.  Growing up, my grandmother on my mom's side would make several different cookies too.  I remember 6 or 7 huge Tupperware containers that she'd have in her cold, garage from Thanksgiving through Christmas.  Each container was a different type of cookie.  She would have one container filled with of each of her children's favorites and then another one or two cookies.  My mom had three brothers and a sister.

My own mom wasn't much of a cook, but she did make Buckeyes when I was little.  It's her recipe I use in my kitchen.  My siblings, and a few good friends, know to expect a container of these from me each year.

The Kolacky is a newer cookie to my baking.  It is a polish cookie made with poppy seed filling.  My grandmother on my dad's side made very traditional Polish/Slavonic food...which is part of my heritage.  I loved our Christmas Eve's with my dad's family.  If you enjoy reminiscing, click on this memory from my past: My Christmas History.  I loved my grandmother's poppy seed bread, but I don't know that my family would like it, so I have opted for a cookie version.  I like the results, but I still think my grandmother's bread was the best.  Maybe I'll try making a loaf this next week.

The English Toffee is a recipe I discovered about 20 years ago.  My daughter loves it so much that it was what she requested this summer for her birthday; no cake, just toffee.

Do you have any special treats you make this time of year?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

PIF- Handmade...with a touch of Hootie

Last January, on Facebook, a friend put out a request for other crafting souls to take place in a Pay-it-Forward Handmade post.  I decided to play along.  The only requirements were that you re-posted the "rules" and sent out something you made to people (who commented on your posting)...and you had a year to do it.  Thank goodness for that time!  It only took me 10 months to make and then send my little treats!  

I decided to do something Hootie-ish.  I learned how to knit dish cloths back in the mid-eighties from my husband's Gma.  It's a pretty basic knitting pattern.  Sugar and Creme is the yarn and size 6 are my needles.  You are staring at one corner and increasing by one stitch each time after the initial 4 stitches.  Knitting only for this pattern!  Cast on 4, knit those 4, then K2 (knit 2), YO (one), knit to the end for every row until you have between 40 and 44 stitches on your needle.  To go back down you K1, K2T (knit 2 together), YO, K2T and then knit to the end...until you only have 4 stitches left.  K2T, K2T...then you should only have 2 stitches left.  Knit those 2 together and bind off.  Easy, peasy, lemon, squeezy!  

Well, to make my basic dish cloth a little more Hootie-ish...I found this FREE pattern: Owl dish cloth.  

But of course that wouldn't be enough for my friends!  In my household, we can easily run a knife in the kitchen sink over a dish cloth and make a hole.  Hence, our dish cloths don't last as long as they should/could.  I won't name names, but this seems to only happens when that DH of mine washes dishes...could it be his secret ploy for getting out of dish washing???  
I wanted to send a little something else that would last longer too.  Inspired by a local artist, Lindsay Hine Schroeder's felt Owl ornament I had bought at a handmade store, I made a "flock" of owls!  

Part of the rules for the PIF were to send treats to five friends.  Since I have a hard time limiting myself...seven friends responded, seven packages were sent!  :)

Friday, December 02, 2011

Soldiers, Angels and Mice, Oh My!

I must start this post by saying, I lied.  I told my daughter I wouldn't post a picture of her in her costume on my blog this year...but while laying in bed this morning I had this idea and I just had to run with it.  

Nutcracker is tonight!!!!  

Once again IU is live streaming this production.  Tonight and tomorrow at 8pm and tomorrow and Sunday at 2pm, you can tune into your computer and watch the Nutcracker for free!  Here's the link:  The Nutcracker
It won't go live until just before the production.  

Officers lead their troops off the elevator.

Angels getting their wings, halos and blush!

Baby mice heads
I've been helping back stage this week with dress rehearsals.  Having an older child in the production, she hasn't had roles where parent help is requested or required.  The older girls are able to do what they need to do without being told.  I was asked to help this year with a younger group of kids.  I've been having a blast!

Hope you can tune in.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Twenty-five years ago today, a young couple said, "I do."  


Have we changed much?  Still young and in love!

I am filled with mixed emotions.  Five years ago my mom passed away.  I was by her side and my husband and children were less than five minutes away when she passed.  They were coming to see her and me...it was our 20th anniversary.  I'd been away from home (by her side) for like 17 days because we knew her end of life was coming.  My dad died when I was 21, just before my hubby and I were engaged.  My husband did get to meet and know my dad.  My parents only made it to their 23rd wedding anniversary.  My parents were truly in love and soul mates.  I kind of wish my parents were here to help us celebrate.  Since they aren't, I'll share a story from my early courtship with my husband.
1985- There must have been some obvious chemistry between my latest boyfriend and myself.  I was home from college for the summer and he was coming up to spend the weekend at our place, once again!  My Dad and Mom seemed to really like him as did my siblings. At dinner out on one particular visit, my dad said, "You know, when I was serious about Lisa's mom her dad took me out and got me drunk to see if I was worthy of his daughter."  My dad proceeded to copy my grandfather that night!  After dinner we went home and played Euchre.  That was our family thing.  It was always my dad and myself against my brother and mom.  My future hubby had to be paired with my brother and was subjected to much verbal abuse about his 'lack' of card playing skills.  My dad was a teaser and my boyfriend knew that.  The next day was Saturday.

As a teenager, I remember my parents always having the routine of going grocery shopping on Saturday's while my brother and I cleaned the house.  When my baby sister came into the mix, she went shopping.  On this Saturday, my father announced that he was going shopping and he'd be taking my boyfriend.  I quickly said I'd go too, but my dad said no.

My dad was the kind of shopper who even if he had a list, would walk up and down every aisle at the store to really shop.  My future hubby pushed the cart.  Can you imagine being slightly hungover and made to go shop...for food!?  Apparently, on the ride home my father drove to the nicest neighborhood around...even nicer than where I grew up...and stopped the car.  He told my boyfriend to take a good look around.  He said, "Do you see the houses around here?  This is the life I expect for my daughter.  Are we clear on that?"

About a month later my father passed away.  I didn't hear the details of the shopping trip until much later.  My hubby and I were engaged that November and married the following November.
I hope my own children are as fortunate in life to find someone who they really care for and who will love them back with their whole heart.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rut is going on?!

It only takes me a second to process what I am seeing these days in the woods...it's rut time!  When antlers are being brushed against the trees to de-velvet them, I know the bucks are on the prowl for a mate.  

A few days after I saw the tree above, a buck popped out of the woods behind our house announcing his presence to the females munching on the berries of our trees.  

The next day, Winston and I went on the hunt to find the stud.  I am not scared of deer, as some people can be, but I do have a healthy respect for hormones and understand how single minded nature can get when trying to survive.  

10 point Buck...

...one of his harem!  
Winston and I did find the buck a few wooded blocks away from our backyard.  He was hanging out with six or seven does.  We did keep a safe distance away!  You know I'll be looking for fawns next Memorial Day!  :)

Friday, November 04, 2011

Something wicked...

"By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes." ~ act IV, scene 1 of William Shakespeare's play Macbeth

 It's hard to catch a MURDER on 'film'.  The crows are migrating right now.  If only I could capture their cacophony to share here too.  It's deafening, for about 20 minutes each night

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Imagine going all summer long and bragging to your neighbors like some proud parent..."We have an Eagle's nest in the woods at the end of our road!"  Taking your teenage daughter to see the nest and then have her say, "I don't think that's an eagle's nest.  Have you ever seen an eagle on it? When is the last time you saw an eagle?"

True.  I had, and have, not seen an eagle on the nest. Also true, I haven't seen an eagle since July.  Still.  There is an eagle's nest in the woods at the end of my road and I know where it is!


Today we had our annual neighborhood (which really means street) potluck.  Guess what some of us talked about?

As the picnic was winding down, one of the neighbors turned to me and said he and another were going to go see that nest.  Did I want to come?  Now, feeling like I do kind of have a claim on this nest, OF COURSE I wanted to go with!!!  So shortly after the picnic ended, Winston and I headed down the road with 5 of our neighbors and their dogs.  We were about 3/4 of the way to the nest when we stopped because there was a sight in front of us that made us all freeze.  Sitting on the ground, very near the trail was...an eagle!  Talk about apropos!

I did have my camera with me, like always.  You'd think with 6 people and 6 dogs so near by the eagle would have high tailed it out of the area and not pose for his picture.  Please note: these photos have been cropped.  We weren't that close to him.  What a majestic sight!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Where are all the Butterflies?

Fritillary butterfly

Where have all the butterflies gone this year?  It seems to me that the numbers have greatly declined.  I have only seen four Monarch's in the past few weeks.  Just four!  The above Fritillary is common near my house, but I have hardly seen any of those either.  I am wondering if the drought of the past two years has played into the lack of butterflies.  I am curious to see which species will boom next...hope the weather is butterfly friendly next year.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Being Whimsical! :)

After years of searching, I finally am able to post a fun idea that captured my whimsical, creative spirit!  

Is it too vain for me to have prints of these made and hang them in my house?  

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Before Irene...

This summer we did vacation on NC's coast after our stop in her beautiful mountains.  I always love these "going out FOR business" places!  

I couldn't resist snapping this photo!  
 The next three photos are from the top of the five story tall, Odell Williamson Bridge.  This bridge is the only way onto the island of Ocean Isle, NC.  I hope the residents and vacationers in the area sought safe haven in the wake of Irene.
Nearing the peak of the bridge and looking east...this island actually sits east/west.
The Inter-coastal Waterway is pictured here.  

Just cresting the top...can you smell the ocean?
We always have the windows down in the van by now.  Riding with us you'd hear our deep breaths and then each of us claiming to be the first to inhale the healing properties the ocean is offering.  

If you are a believer, sure God lives here!  :)

My girl child...feeling at home.  
More beach vacation sharing...soon.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Family Time...

This summer we went on our family vacation much earlier than normal.  We also tried to NOT do the same old thing.  Our general wants this year included taking a bicycle, hanging on the beach and accommodating a pooch.  Our compromise started with family time in the mountains of North Carolina.  
We headed to my uncle's house first...
They rarely play so nice at home! 
In the morning, it was common to see my two kids playing chess before we'd head out to hike.
This view was on the short walk down the road to the stream.  

"water falls" and mountain view at the stream
 Down at the stream there were several little rocky waterfalls.  A family was having fun sliding down the rocks.  My daughter said this was creepy that I took their picture.  She's such an opinionated teen!

 We joked with my uncle and aunt that this looked like Deliverance country...
 ...they told us it WAS filmed down one of these streams!
We explored another, taller, waterfall area.  My son gets the credit for this beautiful pic.  He's pretty handy with my camera too!
 My uncle first discovered this area when he was just out of college.  He used to come here with his bride.  He'd climb the rock faces of these mountains and she'd wait for him.  He and my aunt fell in love with the area.  My uncle was happy to show us his old stomping grounds.  Fortunately for us, there are several ways to "climb" Whiteside Mountain.  We were able to take the paths and old jeep route to the top.


...everywhere signs...

View from above

Fire Pink wildflowers 
My teens

Totally posed!
My hubby...he is a daredevil, but he wasn't in any danger here.  

4930 ft above sea level

on top of the world

Amazing how close to the edge this rail sits.  

Beautiful orange rhododendron's
 Very near my uncle's place is an old cemetery...

Now THIS is creepy!  

There were several tiny little gravestones too.

Anyone a fan of the movie star Edward Norton?  I wonder if he had relatives in North Carolina?
In this part of the trip I got to walk Winston and my hubby got to ride his bike.  Next stop...the beach!  :)