Saturday, October 18, 2014

Are You on Instagram?

As of this past Wednesday, I now have an Instagram account!

I am hoping to get a little time this weekend to become comfortable with my latest venture into using Social Media.  Twitter still sort of mystifies me - but maybe I will master Instagram more quickly. 

A copy of the log-in screen on Instagram

The Connect With Me Instagram button on my blog sidebar is now activated.
It is the button that looks like this!
I initially opened my Instagram account using my first name and one initial of my last name as my user name, but I just changed it so people who follow my blog can hopefully find me more easily there. My Instagram User Name is now Susan_ofeverymoment. 

I would really appreciate any of your suggestions for how to find the people I would want to follow, or tips about learning to use Instagram (or Twitter!). Feel free to share your Instagram name in the comments section below, so I can find and follow you.

Here is my latest post on Instagram - I think I just figured out how to embed it in this post:

He's glad we are home now! Missed us, I think while we were in Kalispell!

If you wonder why we were in Kalispell, that explanation was provided with the photo I posted there prior to this one!

I look forward to sharing snapshots of my moments, and becoming a follower of yours.

Happy Weekend!

What suggestions do you have for using Instagram?

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Plethora of Problems

It has been a few weeks since I have published any fiction.  Today I am participating in this week's Words for Wednesday Word Prompt challenge. I hope you enjoy this little vignette.

Image: gavel
Randy propped his elbows on his desk and rested his head on his hands, deep in despair. His thoughts turned to the afternoon when he had been informed he would be inducted as the new vice-president of the State Historical Association.

He had been so happy, feeling like years of hard work as a historian had finally paid off. Martha had placed a bottle of champagne on ice, and cooked a special dinner in celebration. They were excited about how the pay increase would affect their lifestyle.

That was 18 months ago. Since then, Martha had suggested a separation and was asking for a divorce. He knew it was his fault. His drinking had become excessive and his mood was always gloomy and preoccupied. Their marriage had been too young to weather such a drastic change in his demeanor.

Although he still loved Martha, Randy realized a divorce was inevitable now. He accepted the fact that it was his fault. But no wonder. His stress level had been through the roof.  After his appointment as Society president, he had discovered a plethora of problems that came from the top-down.  It didn't take much digging to realize that the budget was a sham, and funds were being misappropriated.  When he broached the CEO and the Board of Directors, however, he was accused of misunderstanding the situation. It was clear there was a "good-old-boys" club mentality, and his efforts to be sure the Society was fiscally sound were not in line with the objectives of the other executives.

Randy had continued to quietly investigate.  It appeared that with cunningly calculating precision, funds had been siphoned off from the Society bank accounts for about three years... just as long as the current president had been in office.  All of the Museum-Building General Maintenance accounts had been bled nearly dry.

There had been a lot of tense arguments between Randy and the president. Randy had made it clear that he could not condone this embezzlement, and that he would be reporting the situation to the National officers. Of course such news had not been well received. Legal council had apparently been getting a “piece of the pie” as well, because last week they had informed him he was being fired.  They were accusing him of insubordination, as well as a bogus charge of sexual harassment against the CFO.

Randy sighed.  It was a shame it had all come down to this.  He had hoped he could handle things internally, but now the legal system was involved. He had filed a lawsuit against the company for wrongful termination, and hired a top notch attorney.

Randy knew his case was solid.  He had all of the documents to prove the theft of society funds.  It would become readily apparent in court that Randy could not be fired for insubordination; every project he had refused to participate in was associated with the illegal actions of his business associates.  In proving that it had been within his rights to not perform certain tasks in his job description because they would perpetuate an illegal act, he would expose their scheme. The CFO had embezzeled such a huge sum of money that the blackmail motive of the harassment charge would need no explanation.

He wondered what their retribution would be.  He was certain every person involved in this crime would be required to refund all of the money that had been stolen. He hoped they would also all be required to resign from their positions in the company and on the Board. He knew prison would be a distinct possibility, and this saddened him, as these men and women had all been good friends of his just over two years ago.

Randy glanced at his watch. It was time to meet his lawyer and head over to the court house. He stood up and straightened his tie. Shrugging into his suit coat, he gave himself a little shake and hardened his resolve.  It was best to approach the whole matter with a coldly clinical attitude.  Think about the facts, he told himself, not the friendships he had already lost.

This story is totally fictitious and does not contain accurate factual information! 
It is not even loosely based on any event, but is a fiction story sparked solely from combining all of the word prompts provided by Delores at Under the Porch Light for this week's Words for Wednesday Challenge.

This week's Words for Wednesday Challenge word prompts were:
insubordination, inducted, despair, plethora, museum, and retribution
and/ or the phrases: coldly clinical...and ...cunningly calculating

What setting would this combination of words make you think of?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dessert Options Should Involve Some Chocolate!

There was a plaque resting in the bookcase of a home we rented for a family vacation this summer. It really tickled me, and I took a photo so I would remember it. There was no picture on the plaque, just the words “Chocolate - it's not just for Breakfast anymore.”

Doesn't that just sum up a wonderful philosophy? 

I loved this saying so much I took this photo of it!

I was reminded of that plaque yesterday, as I prepared a dessert for a soccer team-dinner. What to make for 18 hungry, athletic high school boys and their coaches?  I wanted it to be something that could be easily grabbed and put on a plate; something the boys could take as many servings of as they wanted.

I settled on brownies. My "Canoe Trip Banana-Butterscotch Brownies” recipe (which I published earlier on this blog) makes a huge pan and is always a hit, so I decided to make those.  BUT - I feel like dessert should always include some chocolate! So I also made up two big pans of chocolate brownies.  I used a recipe I had never tried, and it turned out to be a really decadent dessert.

Good thing I did make the extra pans. Nearly all of both kinds of brownies were gobbled up - the few that were left may have just been because the boys were all too polite to take the last servings! 

If you are hosting a crowd, I would recommend making either - or both - of these recipes.

The chocolate brownies I made were Hershey’s Ultimate Chocolate Brownies, a recipe I found in the Hershey cookbook I purchased when I lived in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  The identical recipe is on the Hershey's Kitchen website, so you can find the full instructions here.

Canoe-Trip Banana Butterscotch Brownies and Hershey's Ultimate Chocolate Brownies. 
GO TEAM! Good luck Boys!

Would you eat chocolate any time of day?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Hiss and Spit! Halloween and Our Cat!

A Halloween Gift

When my daughter was about three-years old, my mother-in-law made a Halloween decoration for us. It stood the same height as my daughter at the time, and it looks just like a wee girl in a ghost costume.  A sheet with black circles for eyes appears to be draped over a head and upper torso, with toddler-sized floral sweatpants peeking out below.  This little statue decoration stands sturdily on a small pair of little sneakers with pink and purple laces, and carries a burlap sack of candy with the words Trick or Treat printed on it. My daughter instantly adored this little ghost girl, and I have put it on display every October since we received it.

Our friendly little ghost girl

Hiss and spit

A six-week old kitten joined our family one year in May - and it grew up to be the cat you see in many of the photos on this blog.  The first Halloween after our kitten came to live with us, I set out the little ghost girl as usual.  Suddenly, our young cat barreled right at it, hissing and spitting - very clearly upset and thinking it was an invader and ready to do battle.  We watched him become mystified, then embarrassed, then nonchalant, as only a cat can.

Even after seeing this little ghost every fall for many years, our cat still has a moment of concern, when I set it out at the beginning of the season.  

These photos were taken immediately after the ghost girl came out of the box this year.
Our cat - after realizing the ghost girl is not real, and trying to pretend he was never worried!
If this little friendly ghost girl scares my cat - just think what his response would be to the grocery store witches and pumpkin goblins I mentioned yesterday!

Has a decoration ever frightened any of your pets?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Pumpkin Goblin Gave Me Quite a Fright!

Last evening, I dashed into the grocery store, to pick up just a few items before heading home after a meeting. I was intent on looking for some shelled sunflower seeds for a granola bar recipe, when a figure caught the corner of my eye.  It gave me a millisecond of a jolt, until my brain caught up and I realized it was a Halloween decoration - not a small person leering menacingly at me!  

A photo for the blog

I'm a little self-conscious about taking pictures in the grocery store, but just so I could show you what I saw, I took some photos anyway!

Mr. Pumpkin Goblin - despite his smile, he is a pretty scary guy!

Whew - it's just a statue

These little Halloween statues stand about three-and-a-half or four-feet tall. They have been strategically placed throughout our grocery store in the spirit of decorating for Halloween - and to lure the consumer into purchasing them! As I shopped, I laughed a little at myself for being momentarily taken back by these figures.  But looking from one to the next, I decided they really are a little creepy looking.

I decided to pass on buying either of these to take home with me!

Glad we weren't face-to-face!

I am not very tall, but I do measure over five-foot, so I was looking down upon (not up into) these eerie faces.  I started thinking about what it must be like for toddlers and preschoolers to walk up to one of these creepy characters.  Just image turning a corner, and coming face-to-face with one of these witches or pumpkin goblins! I suspect many kids probably think these figures are funny - and others have a bigger moment of fright than I did!

Halloween is fun - and scary!

Halloween can be a very fun event for people of any age.  But, it can also be a really scary time for small children ... and even pets.  Frightening things lurk everywhere this time of year - on the television, in some people’s yards on trick-or-treat night, and even in the grocery store. 

Parents need to be vigilant about trying to shield their small kids from exposure to things they might not be ready to handle - and help them process the things they do come across that they find scary.  A simple conversation between a parent and a child in the grocery store would probably be enough to eliminate the fear-factor of these goblins and witches for most kids.

Let's keep Halloween fun for little kids!

Here are just a few ways we can all make the Halloween season a little less anxiety-provoking for small children: 

  • Be sure your Halloween decorations aren't too scary for the age of trick-or-treaters that usually pay you a visit.  
  • Remind older kids to be mindful of where they go wearing scary costumes, and how they act while wearing them around younger children.  
  • If organizing a haunted house event, be sure it is age appropriate for the audience.  
  • And above all -- exercise extreme caution and be observant for trick-or-treaters when driving on Halloween!
I never did locate the sunflower seeds I was looking for, so I settled for pumpkin seeds instead!

Do you remember being scared of anything on Halloween when you were a child?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ample Apples for Amazing Recipes!

Remember the apples I mentioned my neighbor gave me from his tree? Here is an update about what I have done with them!

I should have weighed the apples I received, as I am not even sure how many pounds there were! There were at least 35 - 40 apples though, most of them between two and two-and-a-half inches in diameter. The possibilities were endless!

My neighbor's harvest last year was delicious - both in a pie and in the Apple Crisp jars I made this summer from the filling that I froze.  I decided to try a different recipe this year though, as this one for Homemade Apple Pie Filling from the blog Chocolate Moosey caught my eye.

I tripled the recipe linked above, but I used about a 1/2 cup less sugar, 1/2 cup less water, and only doubled the cornstarch.  I mis-read the recipe (oops!), and added the apples in the saucepan with the other ingredients, instead of at the end.  It didn't seem to matter that they cooked right along with the sauce though; in fact I sort of like the way they became nice and soft before baking. The great thing about making a big batch of this pie filling is that you can freeze the rest for later use!

For a bridal shower gift, a friend of my Mother-in-Law gave me two glass pie plates.  One contained an amazing Apple Crumb Pie, and attached to it was the recipe!  It has been a favorite of ours for almost a quarter-century!!  

Perhaps I will provide the full recipe for this pie in a future post, but you can read most of it here!

A couple of weeks ago though, I saw a recipe for Quick and Easy Skillet Apple Pie from the blog Let's Dish. A pie made in a cast iron skillet! I had to try it!

Part of the ease of this Skillet Apple Pie recipe is that it recommends using a can of Apple Pie filling - so no need to peel and chop apples! My homemade filling was already made though, and it substituted perfectly for the canned variety. I used three cups of my filling to made a Skillet Apple pie, and still had four cups of filling left.   The remainder is now in the freezer, and will be used in the future for another pie, crisp or cobbler.

I was very pleased with how my pie turned out.  It stuck a little to the pan for some reason, so the slices didn't come out neatly in one piece. No worries, it tasted absolutely amazing anyway.  I was really glad we had some vanilla ice cream to serve with it!

I still have some of the apples left.  I can't decide if I should make:

Apple-Zucchini Bread from Nancy C


Simple Apple Smoothies from Upstate Ramblings


Dutch Apple Pie-Lette Cookies from Pink Recipe Box

They all sound wonderful, don't they?  Whatever I decide to make, I just found a terrific use for the peels: a recipe for Apple Peel Jelly from Little House Living. Since the only other ingredients necessary besides apple peels are sugar, water and lemon juice, it would be a shame to just throw those peels away!

A very Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian readers today!  (I am thankful for my generous Montana neighbors and their apple tree!) Vanilla ice cream is delicious with an Easy Skillet Apple Pie - but the Canadian tradition of a slice of sharp cheddar cheese would be lovely with it as well! (If you are not in the mood for pie, perhaps my Maple Walnut Cake with Maple Icing would be a good dessert option for your feast!)

What should I make with the rest of my apples?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Making Everyone's Day.

All sports provide the opportunity to excel in all sorts of ways.

Sporting events are often about more than just the game, as this clip from a CBS newscast clearly shows. This video has gone viral on the Internet; if you have already seen it, you will know why. (I first watched it when it was posted here.)

I'm glad I took the time to watch this video to the end.  From the words and emotions shown by this young wide-reciever, he obviously really "gets it."

This is the kind of magic that make our world a better place. Let's keep sharing this message - until everyone has seen it. 

Can you think of a time when you were able to "make everyone's day"?

Happy Weekend. Please share this post.

Link WIthin

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