Sunday, June 12, 2016

My Voice is Gone!

My voice is gone.

Megaphone from Amazon
I think I need a megaphone!
I have had laryngitis of varying degrees for about a week. At times, I have just sounded hoarse, but much of this past week I have only been able to utter sounds at (or just above) an audible whisper.  I've had a few mild cold symptoms, but my lack of voice has been my primary symptom.

My writing voice disappeared, also.

Along with spoken sounds, some of my other abilities to communicate seems to have diminished as well. Using the phone has (of course) been hard. More surprisingly, a side effect also seems to be that I've had

Monday, June 6, 2016

Too Busy to Write.

My son's high school graduation was on Saturday, and what a whirlwind of activities and emotions the past week has been. I am so very proud of him and his older sister, and grateful for all of the many people who have had a positive impact on their lives.

Graduates threw their caps into the air.

Farewell to high school.

It was bittersweet to celebrate my youngest child's graduation from high school, but it was so much fun to celebrate with many of the people who have been important to us over the years.  We attended a multitude of graduation parties, and yesterday hosted a large one of our own. 

I turned on my computer today and realized I have one more little thing to celebrate.

With all of the special events, visitors, and party preparations it has been a week since I have published anything or even had time to respond to comments on my blog.  The timing of things in life can be ironic;

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day. How Many American Flags Will You See Today?

It would be hard to live through an entire Memorial Day in the US without seeing a single American flag. Whether they are waving in the wind, printed on the paper plates at a party, or imprinted on the t-shirt of a friend, there will be lots of American flags displayed today.

Many American flags will fly on Memorial Day.

American flags on Memorial Day are more than just a festive patriotic touch to a three-day weekend. They are a symbol of every freedom Americans enjoy and are a reminder to honor all the individuals who have kept our country free.  A three-day weekend is fun, but Memorial Day is not a happy event.

My perfect world is one where there is no need for the military. Humans work everything out with words and

Friday, May 27, 2016

Red, White, and Blue. Add an Easy Patriotic Touch to Any Treat!

I have a little tip for adding an easy patriotic or festive touch to almost any dessert.  A simple homemade red, white, and blue candy garnish can make any dessert more American, or you can use the colors of whatever country/event/club/organization that you are celebrating.

Make any treat more patriotic or special with this easy touch

Treats such as cherry pie, strawberry-rhubarb pie, a flag cake, or red, white, and blue muffins are always a hit on an American holiday such as Memorial Day, July 4th or Labor Day. 

However, you are not limited by these choices. You can make almost any dessert special for the occasion with a quick little candy treat. Cakes, pies, cookies, and bars can all be made patriotic and festive with them, and you can even place a candy garnish or two gently on the top of a pudding or custard (or on a plate beside them.)

A snowflake garnish makes chocolate mousse even more special for a winter party.
I decorated individual servings of white chocolate mousse with snowflake candy decorations for a fancy winter party.

Even if you buy a dessert instead of making one, you can make it more special with this decorating trick!

How to Make Candy Garnishes for Desserts

All that you need is a few minutes and:

Monday, May 23, 2016

I'm Still Not Ready for Graduation, But I've Been Syndicated!

It's now less than two weeks until my son's high school graduation.  I got a few more things crossed off my list this week. The announcements are being delivered and the guest room is ready. But there is still a lot to do. I need to get busy!

Something pretty exciting has come from my pre-graduation checklist, though. The post I wrote about it has been syndicated by the online magazine BonBon Break and it is published on their website today. 

I hope you'll head over to BonBon Break today and see it there. I'd appreciate it if you'd leave a comment there or share the article. I'd love it if BonBon Break realizes they are getting a little bit of traffic to their site from me. 

While at BonBon Break, be sure to take a look around.  They publish so many really interesting and well-written articles, it's hard to decide which one to read first.  Then, I hope you'll come back here and tell me what you think.

Here's the link to where you can find my article on their site:

Thank you for reading, and for clicking through, commenting and sharing!

Do you know anyone graduating from high school or college this year?

Had you ever visited or heard of Bonbon Break before?

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

Saturday, May 21, 2016

How to Divide Cake Batter: An Easy Tip for Even Layers

I have loved to bake cakes for as long as I can remember.

For years, however, the task of making a two-layer cake intimidated me.  It never seemed like I could get the layers to bake evenly, and my cakes were always lopsided.

A double layer cake

One summer when I was in high school, we were visiting my grandparents in Pennsylvania. Various family members were coming to dinner for my grandfather's birthday. I offered to make the birthday cake, and my grandmother supplied me with a cake mix.

We had been living in Spain, and the only cakes I had ever made were from scratch. By comparison, the cake mix seemed so easy.  My cake layers (of course) were horribly uneven, but I decided it was nothing that a lot of icing couldn't fix! Using the only chocolate frosting recipe I knew, I made up a batch of frosting and smeared it between and on top of the two layers until the top appeared flat and smooth.

Later that day, to my horror, I realized that one layer had slid nearly off the other, and the whole cake was breaking into pieces. The heavy frosting had just been too much for the light and airy cake texture that the cake mix had produced.

I was mortified and begged my grandmother to let me make another cake before dinner. She saw no sense in wasting what would still be a delicious dessert, and scooped it into a 9 x13 inch pan. She told me we would serve it from the kitchen, and "no one would ever know."

My grandfather had a sense of humor. He had caught on that something was not quite right with his cake. When we started bringing plates of cake to the table he said, "But, where's my birthday cake? I want to see

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Respect Wildlife and Keep Your Distance

Both deer and elk frequently feed, roam, and sleep on our property. We respect all wildlife that visits us and never try to get too close. With any wild animal, it is always wise to keep your distance.

Always respect wildlife and do not approach them.

Our house sits on about seven acres. One day, not long after we moved here, I was wandering up our back hill. Suddenly, I stopped. One more step and my foot would have landed on a fawn! This little baby deer was laying motionless, still breathing but giving no sign that it was conscious or aware of me. I knew better than to touch it, but I was quite concerned when I realized a mother deer was not nearby.

I waited about an hour, then climbed the hill again. The baby was exactly where it had been before. Still no mama in sight. Hours later, there was still no sign of her. I assumed she would be back, but I was a little worried. Could the doe have been run off by a dog, or hit by a car? I love animals, and couldn't help but

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A List of 10 Things To Do Before Graduation Day

My son graduates from high school in just THREE weeks! There's a lot to be done before graduation!

A pre-graduation list for parents

This morning I made a list of things that need to be done, in order to celebrate this milestone. I'm sharing it here today, along with a few tips for how to get these preparations accomplished.

1.  The senior must still finish school!

Senioritis is a real thing. But colleges do look at those final grades, so encourage your kid to give it one last push.

2.  Be sure the senior has no outstanding debts with the school

Have your student check with the administrative office to be sure they have no outstanding fees,