August Roundup

I started earlier this year doing a monthly round up like Katie the Scrapbook Lady does. I loved the idea of a recap of what I did during the month – something that would make it easy to look back and see a highlight of the month all on one page.

It’s September, so it’s time for the August Roundup.

So, here we go!

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What reading/learning did I do this month? (books, blogs, magazines, ebooks, podcasts, classes, etc.)

  • The Inn at Rose Harbor, by Debbie Macomber
  • Death of a Cozy Writer, by G.M. Malliet
  • various magazines

What entertainment did I watch/listen to this month?(movies, tv shows, plays, music, concerts, etc.)

What fun things did I do with my family and/or friends?

  • The girls started school.
  • Cup of Joy started – my neighbor is going with me this year!
  • The girls and I (and our friend C) went to the Georgia Aquarium
  • made pesto with my friends

What gifts did I give and/or receive?

  • nothing this month

What special or unusual purchases did I make?

  • school supplies!
  • Fall clothes
  • more wheat and supplies for my homemade bread making

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?

  • Overall, a healthy month. Trying to get back on track with my eating and exercise.
  • We’re all battling allergies now that the goldenrod is starting to bloom (Achoo!)

What were my accomplishments this month?

  • More healthy eating
  • Back on my menu planning and more eating at home

What were my disappointments this month?

  • work-related, but they’re temporary.

Overall, a busy but productive month!

Today…

Monday, 9 Nov 2009

Outside my window… my yard is covered in a blanket of leaves… that seems to have no end.

I am thinking…about what I’d rather be doing instead of what I should be doing (work).

I am thankful for…my friends’ love, support and encouragement.

From the kitchen…Salisbury steak & mashed potatoes, homemade apple cake.

I am wearing…jeans, slippers, blouse.

I am creating…2010 calendars.

I am going…to try to stay focused today.

I am reading…The White Queen (Phillipa Gregory)

I am hoping…work comes quickly for my husband. Layoffs are no fun.

On my mind…my friends- each of them going through different trials right now and yet so willing to be there for others.

Around the house…sleeping kitties.

One of my favorite things…warm slippers and a hot fire.

A few plans for the rest of the week…organizing, planning and cleaning.

Thanks to The Simple Woman’s Daybook for the inspiration.

I have a new addiction

I have never been a coffee drinker.  Never.  Not even in college. Didn’t like the bitterness it had.  I’ve always loved the way it smelled, though.  I often wished coffee tasted as good as it smelled, but for me it didn’t.

So, I was quite happy with my tea each morning, and being the outcast whenever we’d meet people at a coffee shop for a chat.IMGP1468_0001

“Nope, nothing for me, thank you.” I’d always say.

And then it happened.

It began all so innocently… a trip to Oregon (coffee drinking capital of the world, I think) with my mom.  My sister-in-law introduces Mom to a Starbucks Hazelnut Latte.  No, thank you, I said. I don’t drink coffee.

Mom insisted I take a sip. I said no. She offered again.  Finally, I succumbed.  And it was ok.  Not bitter, not scalding hot, but not something I really cared to taste again.

But something must’ve happened on that trip.  Maybe it was the passive exposure to all the coffee everyone else consumed.  Maybe that one little sip awakened tastebuds in my mouth that I never used before.  I don’t know.

What I do know is this.  I have become a coffee addict.  Slowly, surely, and in a good part thanks to Starbucks.

First it was the Hazelnut Lattes.  Now, I’ve branched out – Mocha something-or-others… and some awesome concoction the barista at the Macon Starbucks made for me.  It’s got toffee nut syrup, mocha syrup, espresso, and I don’t know what else. It’s probably eight million calories, so I only indulge in one occasionally, but it is good.  Kind of like drinking a turtle candy in your coffee. Yummy.

I have been rationing myself, due to the exhorbitant prices for my favorite Starbucks drinks.  Hard to justify $4 for a coffee drink when I supposedly don’t like coffee.sinfuldelight

And then I found Joffrey’s Coffee.  Oh. My. Goodness.

They have a flavor called “Sinful Delight.”  It’s description on the bag reads thusly: “Chocolate Butterscotch with Nut Overtones.”  I saw that in the Publix and thought, “Ok, that sounds really good.”  I bought it, thinking if I didn’t like it I would give it my mom.

Sorry, Mom, you’re not going to get this bag.  It is soooo good!

Now, I’m dreaming about coffee.  Sitting at my desk thinking about coffee. When the cravings come I can taste it before I even have a sip.  Mind you, I’m not into all that plain coffee junk.  Give me the good stuff.  The sweet, flavored coffees that I can doctor up with some half and half and pretend like I’ve got a high-dollar latte from ‘bucks.

And I have invested in a coffee press.  I was told I’d get better flavor from the beans that way. (Am I becoming a coffee snob?) I don’t know if that is true (the flavor part, and the snob part) but I do know I like the fact that I can brew only one or two cups in my cute little press.  And, no hulking coffee maker taking up space on my counter.IMGP1469_0001

I never, ever, in a million years thought I would like coffee.  Who knew? I guess I like coffee after all!

Memory Jogger for Scrapbookers

I just found the coolest tool.  It’s called “Log Your Memory.”  It’s a daybook/journal for scrapbookers.  The idea is to give you a single place to jot down things you want to remember and scrapbook. Maybe a page layout idea, a quote from your kids, a song to journal about, photos to take, etc.

There are weekly challenges and questionnaires to get your creative juices going and help you think about areas you may not have scrapbooked about before.Logbook_interior_closeup

I’m constantly tearing pages out of magazines – layouts I’ve loved, color schemes or design ideas – I am going to add these to my Memory Logbook.  There is a downloadable ebook that you can print yourself at home, or you can purchase a bound or spiral version as well.  I got the downloadable version and am planning to put it in a 3-ring notebook with some pocket pages to hold all those ripped out pages and doodles or scribbles of ideas I have.

Of course, there are monthly and daily planning pages, too.  You can make this your regular planning calendar if you want.

What a cool idea!

Every Baker has her (bad) day…

I have been craving a pound cake lately.  One in particular – my great-grandmother’s lemon pound cake.

Last night, I remarked to my husband that I couldn’t understand why my overwhelming desire to have a slice of pound cake hadn’t caused a cake to materialize on my kitchen counter.  He looked at me like I’d lost my mind and gently suggested maybe I should just make one. (duh)

So, that’s what I did this afternoon… at the same time I helped one kid with her homework, waited on the other princess perched on the couch “feeling wotten” and watching cartoons… and answered emails, IM’s and kept up with what was going on in the world of work.

I guess, then, that it should’ve come as no surprise when my cake was a little onery when it came out of the oven. I mean it’s not like it had my undivided attention while it was being created.  Heck, I’m not even sure it had much of my attention at all. I have made this recipe so many times I think I could make it in my sleep.

We were dashing out the door to go to Girl Scouts when I thought I’d better at least turn the cake out of it’s pan.  It didn’t release right away so I left it upside down on the cake plate and off we went.

Three hours later when we finally returned home…. the cake hadn’t budged.  In case you didn’t realize this already, this was a bad sign. Uh, oh.  Time to dig out the plastic spatula of doom and prise the cake from the pan.  (I really hate doing that because I’m always afraid I’m going to ruin the cake  – ruin? hah!)

I prodded.

I poked.

I shimmied.

(the cake)

I shook.

I pounded.

Nothing.

sigh.

I got a chopstick out and ran it around the insides of the pan.  Flipped the cake again.  I heard that soft “whump” you hear when the cake falls.  Okay. Now we’re gettin’ somewhere.

But the pan still felt heavy…

What the heck?

I turned the pan over.

ACK!

Half of my cake was still in the pan! OH. MY. GOODNESS!!!!

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I don’t think I can remember the last time this has happened.  FOREVER.  And that is saying something considering I probably bake 2-3 cakes a month at least.

My darling, sweet, loving husband asks, “Did you remember to spray the pan, honey?” smirk, smirk, chuckle, chuckle.  <grrrr>

IMGP1465“YES, I did.”  And I’m sure I did. I remember the can of spray oil giving out its last gasps as I greased the pan.

I have no clue what happened. Maybe I let it sit too long. Maybe not long enough. Maybe not enough oil.  Who knows?
But I do know one thing for sure.  I’m really, really, really glad that this wasn’t a cake I was making to give to someone.

It’s one ugly cake.  Seriously ugly.

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But, on the bright side?  It tastes awesome.

Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a try. Once you do, you will be spoiled for all other pound cakes.

Grandma Achord’s Lemon Pound Cake

3 cups white sugar                         1 cup sour cream

2 sticks butter                                  1/4 tsp baking soda

6 eggs                                                   3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp vanilla extract                       1 tsp lemon extract

1 tsp almond extract

Cream sugar and butter. Add sour cream and extracts.  Add eggs, one at a time. Add flour and baking soda slowly. Beat only long enough to get flour mixed in well.

Pour into greased tube or bundt pan and bake at 325 for 1 hour 20 min.

We usually don’t ever get around to it because we gobble up the cake so quickly, but Grandma always made a glaze by mixing a few teaspoons of lemon juice with some powdered sugar (about 2 cups) and drizzled it over the cake.

Today…

I am starting a new Monday tradition.  Mondays will be my Simple Woman’s Daybook post. Simply, but effectively, capturing the moment. I hope you will join me!

Monday, 2 Nov 2009

Outside my window… my yard is covered in a blanket of leaves; the sky is brightening and the neighborhood is waking up.

I am thinking…of all the things there are to do today – and prioritizing them.

I am thankful for…my husband.

From the kitchen…Pork chops for dinner tonight.   BBQ is on my mind, though.

I am wearing…velour warm-up suit, white t-shirt.

I am creating…bulletin boards for the church volunteer hallway.

I am going…to focus on having a good day today.

I am reading…nothing right now. I have started 3 books but none have “grabbed” me yet.

I am hoping…work comes quickly for my husband. Layoffs are no fun.

I am hearing…the washer and dryer running.

Pondering these words… Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Prov. 3:5-6

Around the house…the little messes from a weekend with the family home are rampant. Must get things tidied up today.

One of my favorite things…peace and quiet after everyone goes to work and school.

A few plans for the rest of the week…re-focusing on taking care of myself so I can take better care of others.

Thanks to The Simple Woman’s Daybook for the inspiration.

simply amazing

I was at my mom’s house a few weeks ago… it is very humid there (they live near the coast) and so all sorts of things grow in places you would never imagine.

One morning, I went outside to swing with my little girl.  She said she couldn’t sit on the swing because there were “prickly things” on her swing and she was afraid they would poke her if she sat down.

As I bent down to look at the “prickly things,” this is what I saw:

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How cool is that?

Perfectly formed teeny, tiny mushrooms, growing on the seat of the swing.  And in a perfect spiral!simply amazing

Something so small that most of us would never have noticed.

Something so mundane that could be easily overlooked.

And yet…

A thing of beauty.

There is no reason (that I know of) for the mushrooms to grow in a perfect spiral.  They had such teeny little stems – they were smaller than a straight pin.  And the tops were perfect little cups turned upside down, balancing on the fragile stems.

How awesome.

Glorious beauty on a swing after the rain.

God’s wonder there for us to see… if only we look.