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About the Header Image: Idlebrook Wendy Darling Evensen "Wendy" one of our four Labrador Retrievers.

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

One Crazy Day

 Good morning,

We had a day that started out normal enough, but by the end of the day....

In the morning I made bread to take to a friend...
...and bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches for us for brunch.  While waiting for the friend's bread to rise and the bacon to fry I took a walk in my garden.
In the back garden suspended over the gold fish pond I found the most beautiful spider web and its translucent owner.  It was a brilliant place to spin the web to catch insects near the water.
In the front garden our Red Bud trees have enough seed pods to reforest our entire community with Red Bud trees.  I love the heart shaped leaves on these trees.

We needed a new router for our network so decided to drive out to Micro Center.
A few blocks from home we discovered why...
...we've had traffic backed up.  They'll be finished soon.

My Honey had ordered what we wanted at Micro Center on the Internet and it was waiting for us at the Web Order Pick Up.  We were in and out of the store in less than five minutes.  When we came out of the store, we got into our car and drove around the building to leave.  We didn't get far until we noticed the mirror on my side of the car was "folded" in.  We were concerned someone had hit it so stopped.  I got out to check...
...and this is what we found.  Someone with a sick mind had keyed our car.  There was this big "x" on the front quarter panel...
...and another big horizontal scratch (center of the image) at the same height on the passenger door.  The dark spots and smudge above the scratch are only dirt and are no problem. 

We drove around the building and parked again in the same spot so I could go in and talk with the manager and see if there were cameras on the lot.  The manager was quite nice and came out to see the damage, but there are no cameras.  I was surprised that a place that sells such equipment doesn't have cameras on their parking lot.

After thinking it through, we have come to the conclusion that the person who had been parked in the spot just ahead of us who had been out looking up and walking around the lot when we parked and went into the store was probably the culprit.  This person was sitting there when we came back out and figured we would find the damage sooner before we drove away and he could have seen our distress and anger.  We denied him this pleasure since we found the damage after we drove to the other side of the building.  When we came back to talk with the manager, that vehicle and person were gone.

Before all this happened while we were driving into the store lot we had no confrontation with anyone, we didn't fight over a parking space, there was no sign of any problem.  We have come to the conclusion the person who did this is just a very sick and sad individual.

Our car is being fixed.  It will take three days for the paint to be properly repaired and it will cost a few hundred dollars that we will have to pay because of our deductible.  Our daughter is kind enough to arrange to switch cars around so we can use one of hers for three days while ours is repaired.  This all sucks.  At first we were angry.  Now we are just disgusted with the character who did this.  He is a very sad individual.  We hope he is caught before he does more damage to other vehicles.  As we travel  we will be even more observant of our surroundings, but that probably wouldn't have made any difference in this case.
We came home and had quick comfort food for dinner:  chicken baked in crushed pineapple and teriaki sauce, mashed potatoes, stewed tomatoes, and peas...
...then we settled down with our best friends Erik and Penny.

Tomorrow will be better. I hope your day was better than ours.

Oh, the new hardware sure makes our network run faster.  Good job, Honey!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Red and Blue Bread in a Pot - Recipe

Good morning,

This Red and Blue Bread in a Pot makes the perfect edible centerpiece for your Fourth of July celebration.

The flower pots I'm using here are made for baking;  the inside has a ceramic finish and there is no hole in the bottom of the pot.  I don't even remember how many years ago I bought them or where I got them.  I wish I had more of them because they are so much fun.  I will use them to make dirt pudding, too, but that will be another post.  ;)
This recipe and some of my other bread recipes require dry commercial yeast that I buy at Sams.  Two of these one pound vacuum bags come in each package and the cost is very reasonable compared to buying the little individual packets of yeast.  Since I make fresh bread every day while home, I use this up in a matter of a few weeks.
After you open the bag, pour the yeast into a jar that you can seal and keep it in the fridge until you use it all.

You may notice I am using a different bread machine for this recipe than in the previous recipes I have published.  I killed another Breadman and have gone back to my smaller West Bend that I have had for a long time.  It takes me about 5 years of constant use to kill a bread machine.   I have another new unopened Breadman in the basement;  I always keep one in spare because it is typical for me to kill them when making massive amounts of bread for special events.  I'm easy on cars, though.

Below is the recipe for the Red and Blue Bread.  You can make it as pink and blue bread for a baby shower, just red for Valentine's Day, green for St. Pat's Day, red with green candies for Christmas....  The possibilities abound.  :)


Red and Blue Bread in a Pot


1 egg

2 T oil

1 T salt

2 T brown sugar

1/4 cup vanilla yogurt

1 C warm (not hot) water

1/4 cup maraschino cherry juice

4 C bread (or all purpose, but not self rising) flour

4 drops red food color

2 t dry yeast

1/3 cup dried blueberries (added in last 5 minutes of first mixing/kneading cycle)


Place all ingredients in large capacity bread machine in order given. Set on dough cycle and turn on.

The first dough cycle on most machines is about 40 minutes.

Watch the action to be sure a dough ball forms at least 1/3 way through the cycle.

Add a little flour or water if necessary to get the correct consistency.

When first dough cycle finished, remove from machine and place in a greased bowl for first rise.

Place the bowl in a warm place such as the oven with the light, but no heat turned on.

If you place it out on the counter in a warm place, cover with a damp cloth.

This batch required about 1 hour for the first rise.

Keep in mind that the temperature in your kitchen and the mood of the yeast can change the time required for the dough to rise.

If you are using crockery or glass pans/bowls for baking, set the empty bread pans in a warm place, too.

I use my second oven with the light turned on.

If preheating pans, remove from oven.

Spray pans with vegetable oil.

After the first rise, punch down/knead gently the dough to remove excess bubbles.

Divide dough and place into baking containers.

When it is finished rising the second time, bake at 350 F for 35 mins for the smaller loaves.

If using 2 standard loaf pans, bake at 350 F for 45 mins.

Remove from oven, turn out to cooling racks immediately.

Allow the bread and the pots to cool, then put the bread back in the pots to serve.

If you don't let the bread cool outside the pots, the bread will get soggy.

Slice in circles to make sandwiches or to use as a base for open face sandwiches.

Click here for more of my bread recipes.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Patriotic Holiday Tissue Topper - Crochet

Good morning,

Here's a unique Fourth of July or any other patriotic holiday hostess gift that NO ONE ELSE will bring to the party. Well, unless that someone else has read this article. :)  Of course, it's fun to have one of these for yourself, too.  You have time to make several of these between now and the Fourth of July.

This is another one of those easy projects that is great for new crocheters so is a good project to do with a young person learning to crochet in the round.

Have fun with this one!

Tissue Topper aka Spare Toilet Tissue Roll Cover


Size J crochet hook

Flag Blue kww #4 yarn - about 2 ounces. I used a novelty yarn with a silver thread twist.

30 " each of red and white narrow ribbon

1 roll Charmin Toilet Tissue

Size: to fit one roll of toilet tissue

Ch 2, join with ss. 6 ss in first ch. Do not join rounds. Mark beginning of round.

*Work 2 sc in next st, sc in next st. Repeat from * until there are 48 st in round - top made. Piece will not necessarily be flat, but, not to worry, that will work itself out.

Now work even in sc. Slide your work over the toilet roll to check for fit. Continue to work even in sc until the sides of the toilet roll is covered.

Bottom flair:

Round 1: ss in next st. ch 3, dc in same st, ch 1. Work dc, ch 1, dc, in each st around. Join in top of chain to at beg of round with ss.

Break off.

Holding the red and white ribbon together, twist five or six times, then tie around base of tissue holder with a bow.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Norwegian-Style Red Cabbage and Mom's Potato Salad - Recipes

Good morning,

Here are the recipes for the Norwegian-Style Red Cabbage and my Mom's Potato Salad that I made for the pool party yesterday.  It was a challenge to put together the bread, cabbage, and potato salad and also run out to our AKC club to pick up Penny who had just participated in an Agility Trial.   After running Penny through her paces for the judges, daughter Catherine was helping at the trial and wouldn't be leaving for a few more hours.  We didn't want Penny to have to sit in her kennel and wait that long so I went and got her.

I did an OK job of getting images of the cabbage while I was making it, but I barely got pictures of the potato salad as you will see below.  I got the picture of the potatoes when I put them on to boil then came back and had about ten minutes to put it all together before leaving for the picnic.  When I got there, I put my items out on the buffet table with all the other good stuff others had brought, turned around and got my camera, and I discovered the bowl of potato salad was half empty.  I guess it tasted OK.  ;)

So, here are the two recipes. 



Norwegian-Style Red Cabbage

Grate one medium head of red cabbage...
...in your food processor.
Place grated cabbage in a large pot and add:

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup butter

2 T apple cider vinegar

2 T sugar

1 t salt

Heat on low setting for one hour. 
 Add 1/2 cup currant jelly and allow to simmer for an additional 30 mins.
 And, mine is in a plastic tub to take along to a picnic.  It looks much nicer in a pretty bowl.  ;)

My Mom's Potato Salad
Cook 8 medium Idaho potatoes in water with a little salt added on medium heat until they are cooked through, but skins are not split.

Remove from water and place in refrigerator for an hour.  When chilled, remove skins, dice, and place in large bowl.


3/4 cup real mayonnaise

1/3 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 T grated garlic

2 medium onions

2 T fresh (or dried) parsley

1/2 t paprika

salt and pepper to taste (Mom used celery salt)

Chill one hour before serving.  
And, here is what is left after I turned my back to get my camera.  

I like this potato salad even more the second day after the raw onion has a chance to marinate with the other ingredients.  This batch didn't get to the second day so I'll have to make some more.

Questions?  Please ask.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

First Picnic of the Summer

Good morning,

My honey and I took four of our grandchildren to a Summer Solstice Sons of Norway picnic recently while their Dad had new tires put on his car.

If there is one thing this group is good at doing, it's eating!  I brought three of the items on this table.  I'll soon publish my recipes for the red cabbage (center left) and potato salad (upper right) for anyone who is interested.  The bread in the center is my Norwegian Cranberry Almond Bread made with blueberries instead of cranberries.
We could barely get the goodies out on the tables...
...before we had customers...
...to gobble it all up.  This gorgeous pastry was made by one of our members.  Sorry, I don't have the recipe for this one.
Do you know what this is?  I must live in a vacuum because all my grand kids and others had seen this before, but I hadn't.  It's dirt pudding and everything is edible except the flowers, pot, and shovel.  I don't have the exact recipe, but our hostess, Susie, described the ingredients.  It should be pretty easy to make with pudding, cream cheese, and broken Oreo cookies.  Oh, don't forget the gummy worms for special effects, too.   It's all in the presentation, isn't it!
We even eat healthy foods.
And, there was plenty of it.  Oh, did you notice the jolly old gentleman at the picnic table?  Santa is from Norway and lives in Cincinnati in his off season.
And then, the character of the day, Shark Boy, appeared!  He stayed in character all day:

"What is your name?"

"My real name is Shark Boy."

"What is your pretend name?"


Yes, that's our youngest grandson, Alex.
And, here is Alex, er, uh, I mean Shark Boy, on his way to the sea, no, the pool.  It's not easy for Shark Boy to walk on land.
And, if you're Shark Boy you need a little help from our host, Glenn, and your older sister, Katie, when you get in the water.
Here come Katie...
...and brother, David, down the slide...
...while Shark Boy demonstrates the squirt gun embedded in his fin to his oldest sister, Anna.
Soon there are lots of kids in the pool...
...and the resident pooches come out to see what all the noise is about.
A bunny outside the fenced pool area doesn't seem to mind the noise.
But good times at the pool must come to an end so Shark Boy changed into dry clothes...
...so Dad could safely buckle him into the car for the ride home.

What a fantastic day!  The kids made us proud.  :)

I hope you've enjoyed our day at the pool and meeting Shark Boy.

Very best,