Saturday, December 31, 2011


Wishing all of my family, friends and bloggers a Happy New Year!

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We spent this evening at my office building where they had tables set up with hats, horns and noise makers. They set up dinner tables on the 33rd floor overlooking the Missouri River and where we were able to watch the fireworks in comfort and what a great view!  They also provided pizza, beverages and snacks of all kinds. The kids had a blast as it is a huge open space where they could run off steam. They also had the walls covered in butcher block paper and gave all the kids markers and crayons ... what delightful creations they came up with!

New years eve


And I will be in dreamland come midnight, but here's a toast to all of you for a Happy and Healthy year ahead!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Leftover Egg Nog - What's a Girl to do?

My son and daughter-in-law were in town recently for the holidays and I bought a carton of his FAVORITE holiday beverage - only problem is we didn't end up opening it up.  So before it expires, I wanted to use it in some new fashion, and I happened upon THIS recipe for a morning coffee cake using egg nog.  I'll be making this over the weekend - it looks SCRUMPTIOUS!!!

Mark also said another way they like to use egg nog is to mix it with peppermint ice cream and make a Santa shake serving it with gingersnap cookies.  Chrysty likes to crush the gingersnap cookies right into the shake!

And yet another idea would be to make some egg nog french toast!


And I found SEVERAL recipes on Pinterest for egg nog cookies!

So what's YOUR favorite way to use up that leftover holiday egg nog?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's National Cupcake Day

I found this ADORABLE little one on YouTube asking for a cupcake!

And here's a few of my NEW favorite cupcake recipes that I've recently found on Pinterest:

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcake


Root Beer Float Cupcake


And my favorite pie is lemon meringue and here it is in a cupcake!  This is on my "must try soon" list!


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And if these aren't enough to tempt you, go over to my pinterest board for cakes and cupcakes here and don't say I didn't warn you!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's a Girl !!!

My daughter and son-in-law have blessed us with a new baby granddaughter.

Paisley Sloan Troudt came into the world on December 9 at 4:41 p.m. weighing in at 6 pounds 11 ounces and 20 inches long.  She has blond peach fuzz and long toes and fingers. She looks so much like her big brother Jonas did when he was born.

Mom and baby are doing well and will be coming home today.

As my son-in-law said ... get ready for a PINK explosion!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Grandma Ollie's Christmas Sugar Cookie Recipe

This is a photo of my Grandma Ollie (and Grandpa George) taken back in 1950-something.  My Grandma Ollie ALWAYS wore an apron and walked with a cane from the time I can remember.  She made THE BEST sugar cookies - EVER!  Actually, I can't remember not liking anything she put on the table. I make these delicious cookies every year and always do so with a smile from the memories of watching and helping grandma make these frosted delights.

(NOTE:  look at that tinsel !)

Here's her recipe for sugar cookies:

3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup softened butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten

Cream together butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Sift together dry ingredients.  Stir flour mixture into creamed mixture in 3 increments for easier mixing. (NOTE: if dough is too sticky or wet, add more flour as needed).  Chill dough overnight.

Let dough come back to room temperature and roll out 1/4 inch thick.  Cut with cookie cutters and bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes (until edges are brown).  Cool complete and decorate with simple frosting of powdered sugar thinned with milk (you can add a bit of vanilla if you want too).

Add sprinkles and it's Christmas!

Cookie Butter ... SERIOUSLY!

I just found out about this UNBELIEVABLE product this morning when I was on Facebook.   Inspired by the Dutch spread, the cookie butter from Trader Joe's has the look and consistency of peanut butter but tasty like gingerbread biscuits in a spreadable form. It's like comfort and Christmas in a jar.  Someone pass me a SPOON!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Wrap It Up!

I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought what a unique and fun way it would be to wrap gifts.

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Steven!

It's my nephew, Steven's, birthday celebration with family today.  We're having the party at our house since we have room for everyone to spread out and relax, and for the kids to run around without bumping into everybody.  So this morning I made my FAVORITE blueberry muffin recipe AND I tried a recipe I've been wanting to make for a LONG time.  We always frequent Stephenson's Apple Farm in Kansas City whenever we make the 3 hour trip down. They have THE BEST apple fritters, bar none. And don't even get me started on their creamed chicken dish and green rice.  Oh my ... not for the faint of heart (or anyone eating healthy). But if you want to splurge on calories, this is the place to do it.

Here's their recipe for fresh apple fritters (makes 40 fritters):

1 cup milk
1 egg (beaten)
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 orange, rind and juice
1 cup applies (chopped fine)
3 cups flour
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp vanilla.

Beat egg.  In mixing bowl, combine with milk, egg, melted butter and sugar.  Add the orange juice, rind, chopped appplies and vanilla.  Sift together the flower, salt and baking powder.  Stir into wet mixture with spoon until blended. Do NOT over mix.  Preheat oil in a skillent to 350 degrees. Drop off end of tablespoon into hot oil. Fry to a golden brown, turning so they brown even.  Allow to cool.  Roll in powdered sugar.

I added a tsp. of cinnamon to the batter, and I also added 3 tsp. of cinnamon to the powdered sugar. 

Just one word ... YUM  !!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Elf on the Shelf - A Holiday Tradition

When I was young, all we had was the threat of being put on Santa's NAUGHTY list if we weren't on our BEST behavior all during the holiday season - or getting coal in our stockings.  Oh how I wish we had had an official ELF to talk to!  I'm sure you've heard of the Elf on the Shelf ... unless you live in a remote part of the country ... say Brisbane, North Dakota ... although residents of Brisbane are CLOSER in proximity to the North Pole that we are, so who's to say they didn't invent the sweet idea of Elf on the Shelf. 

And just what IS the Elf on the Shelf Tradition?

Have you ever wondered how Santa knows who is naughty and who is nice? The Elf on the Shelf – A Christmas Tradition is the very special tool that helps Santa knows who to put on the Naughty and Nice list. This interactive holiday hide-and-seek tradition is perfect for children and families of all ages.

The tradition begins when Santa sends his scout elves out to Elf Adoption Centers. Waiting for their families to bring them home, these patient elves hibernate until their family reads The Elf on the Shelf, gives their elf a very special name, and registers their adoption online. Once named, each scout elf will receive its Christmas magic and become a part of the family’s Christmas each and every year.

Excellent listeners and even better observers, these scout elves are the eyes and ears of Santa Claus. Although they cannot be touched, or else they may lose their magic, the elf will always listen and relay messages back to Santa. Taking in all the day-to-day activities around the house, no good deed goes unnoticed; these scout elves take their job seriously.

Each night, after the family goes to bed, the scout elf uses his magical Christmas powers to fly back to the North Pole. Once there, the elf will make his or her daily report to Santa and visit with elf friends where they will tell stories about their beloved families, play with the reindeer, and of course, sneak some of Mrs. Claus’ cookies!

Before the family awakes each morning, their special scout elf will fly back to their home from the North Pole. However, since these elves like to play games, don’t expect to find them in the same spot! While some like to hide in the freezer (probably because it reminds them of the North Pole) and others prefer to sit on the fireplace mantle or hang from the chandelier, these elves love to play hide-and-seek with their families.

On Christmas Eve, the scout elf will listen for Santa’s bell and then fly back to the North Pole until the next season, wishing every girl and each boy a Christmas of peace and a year full of joy.

So get yourself an ELF and give him a name and start your OWN family tradition!!

Here's the official website:

Secret Children of Hollywood: Clark Gable's Daughter Dies at 76

Okay ... I'm going to give my age away here, as I actually REMEMBER watching the Loretta Young show, which ran from 1953-1961.  I always thought she was the PERFECT hollywood starlet ... so refined and beautiful ... and untouched by scandal.  Or so we were led to believe.

Story from ABC NEWS:

Judy Lewis didn’t find out she was the secret daughter of two Hollywood stars until she was 31 years old.

Lewis only learned the truth when she had an identity crisis just before marriage and her fiancĂ© blurted out, “It’s common knowledge, Judy,” he said. “Your father is Clark Gable.”

Lewis, a former soap opera star, died Nov. 25 at the age of 76 in Pennsylvania, leaving behind a sordid tale of family deception – one that is all too common in Hollywood.

Her mother was Loretta Young, a budding actress, who told Lewis she was adopted after getting pregnant in a short-lived affair with Gable, the rogue romantic lead with the trademark big ears in “Gone With the Wind.”

For years, her mother reportedly hid Lewis’ Gable-like ears under a hat and had them surgically clipped at the age of 7 to quell rumors about her parentage.  According to her obituary today in The New York Times, Lewis spent the first 19 months of her life being hidden away in orphanages so her mother could protect her career from the shame of pregnancy.  Though Lewis was a child of the 1930s and 1940s, when extramarital affairs and out-of-wedlock pregnancies were scandalous, her life story echoes those of other Hollywood celebrities who were or had secret babies.

In the case of Loretta Young, then 22, and Clark Gable, then 34, they had an affair in 1935, while in Washington state filming, “The Call of the Wild.” He was married to someone else at the time.  Young, a Roman Catholic, went to Europe to wait out her pregnancy, then returned to the United States and put Lewis in a San Francisco orphanage. She later married radio producer Tom Lewis and told her daughter she had been adopted, admitting no biological relation to her.

When confronted in 1966, Young told her daughter the truth. Lewis went public with her story in her 1994 memoir, “Uncommon Knowledge,” and after that her mother would not talk to her for three years.

Lewis said in an interview at the time: “It was very difficult for me as a little girl not to be accepted or acknowledged by my mother, who, to this day, will not publicly acknowledge that I am her biological child,” according to The New York Times.

In Young’s memoir, “Forever Young,” she eventually admitted Lewis was her daughter, but refused to allow the book to be published until after her death, which was in 2000.

Young explained that she and Gable would have lost their careers in Hollywood, if the scandal had ever become public. Other actors like Charlie Chaplin and Ingrid Bergman had been banned from acting in the United States when it was revealed they had extramarital affairs, though both ultimately salvaged their star status.

Gable and Young’s daughter Lewis worked as a soap actress for years before going back to school at age 40. She went on to become a child psychologist and to specialize in foster care and marriage therapy – a career choice that, “I have no question … was in some way consciously or unconsciously related to healing her own wounds,” said psychologist Lynn.

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Judy really does take after BOTH her parents, doesn't she?!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Van Gogh Look Out!

Okay, maybe Van Gogh has nothing to worry about.  Truth be told my first artistic canvas creation might be more in the line of a Picaso painting.  But WHAT FUN I had in creating this sweet little piece of canvas art.  I was inspired by Tracy Weinsapfel Burgos, who is the President of Helmar USA, Inc. (  You really need to check out her creative resume here:

First, may I just say that Helmar products are some of the best quality adhesive products I have used in my papercrafting.  I now reach to my Helmar stash FIRST when starting a new project.  I especially love the scrap dots product, which I used to adhere the flowers to my project below. 

But back to Tracy ... if you haven't participated in one of her Monday night Ustream videos, you really MUST stop in sometime soon and check it out.  She has such a great sense of humor, and shares her artistic talents with all of us as well as providing encouragement for us to take the plunge and try something new and outside our comfort zones.  I will be the FIRST to admit that I have no real artistic talent when it comes to anything involving paint.  My first and last attempt at art was a paint-by-number set I completed back when I was eleven.  I just never felt that comfortable with a brush in my hand.  But I am now inspired to create even more canvas artwork ... it's more fun than a box of legos!

Here's a photo of Tracy's project, which you can watch her create here: (note: you might have to join Ustream to view the video, but it is SO worth it!) And be sure to check back EVERY Monday night for new projects!  Tracy sure puts the fun back into Mondays!


Isn't this so very lovely??!!  And check out some of her earlier projects on Ustream and her blog as well!!

And ... drum roll please ... here's a photo of MY first canvas project (click to enlarge):

Tada!  Whadayathink?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Eat Ham!

I've Been Published!

And here's the publication I'm in ... (Winter 2012)

And here's my card ... (click on image for larger view) (page 47)

I feel like I've hit the lottery!  What an amazing feeling to see something I created featured in such a prestigious magazine!  And they get thousands of card submissions and I sent in ONE card ... makes me think I should try it again! 

Happy Thanksgiving!!

We heard there was pecan pie? Too cute

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

National Fast Food Day!

Have it Your Way!

Where's the Beef?

Hold the Pickles, Hold the Lettuce, Special Orders Don't Upset Us!

We do Chicken Right!

Two All Beef Patties, Special Sauce, Lettuce, Cheese, Pickles, Onions on a Sesame Seed Bun!

The U.S. has more than 300 fast food chains, representing 40% of the nation’s total restaurant sales. Americans spend more than $110 billion on fast food annually, on cuisine that ranges from barbecue, fried chicken and pizza to chinese food and Tex-Mex.  Fast food is defined as a meal that can be prepared quickly and easily, to be consumed on premises or taken out.

The Father Of Fast Food

In 1954, a milkshake machine salesman named Ray Kroc started the momentum leading to America’s fast-food phenomenon.  Kroc was a milkshake machine salesman in California. He then became the exclusive distributor of a speedier milkshake machine, the Multimixer. One of his clients was the McDonald’s hamburger stand in San Bernardino, owned by brothers Richard and Maurice.  Kroc inadvertently invented modern fast food with his vision of franchising the McDonald’s concept, in order to sell several Multimixers to each location. He offered his services as their franchising agent. Six years later, he bought the brothers out.

The rest, as they say, is history!!
Today McDonald’s is the largest restaurant company in the world, with 31,000 restaurants located in 126 countries. The Moscow location is the busiest in the world; the largest location is in Orlando, Florida. It would be hard to find an American who has never eaten at a McDonald's!

Homemade Vanilla

I came across this fabulous homemade gift idea on pinterest the other day and wanted to share it with all of you!

Who knew that you could make vanilla from TWO simple ingredients?  And what a delightful homemade gift this would be for neighbors, friends and even relatives (at least the ones that know how to cook - grin).

Here's the link: 

Heather, at the Whipperberry blog, demonstrates how to put this together, and she even offers a darling label that you can print off onto sticky canvas for a delightful vintage look here:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Today is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day!

Time to check those expiration dates ... or at the very minimum toss any frozen leftovers from LAST YEAR's thanksgiving dinner!

Get out your trash bags (and plastic gloves and gas masks), because today is National Clean out Your Refrigerator Day.


It's high time to remove the Chinese food cartons that have turned into science experiments and start making room for the Thanksgiving leftovers that will soon be occupying space in your fridge.

The origins of National Clean out Your Refrigerator Day are not entirely clear.   One Web site pins it on a Whirlpool Appliance Ad campaign from years ago, while other sites say it's to make space for Thanksgiving provisions!

Whatever the reason, you know you're gonna need room for Aunt Kate's jello salad and that extra pan of dressing! 

Ready, set ... clean!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

The countdown to Thanksgiving is upon us! 

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I love taking vacation time off from work during the week of Thanksgiving, as it gives me a chance to prepare the house for the holidays and to enjoy those last few crisp autumn days before winter gets a firm grip on us!

Back during Halloween, I was making a pumpkin recipe when I reached into the cupboard to grab a jar of pumpkin pie spice, only to realize to my dismay that I didn't have any.   So instead of grabbing the keys to head to the store, I looked into my cupboard and discovered I had all the spices necessary to make my own version of pumpkin pie spice.

Here's my recipe:

1 heaping teaspoon ground allspice
4 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Just give all of these spices a mix and store in an airtight container until needed.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veteran's Day!

Operation Write Home makes handmade cards to send to deployed heroes, so they can in turn write home to their families. It's one small way we can serve them as they serve us - and by the notes they write back to us, they love writing on them as much as we enjoy making them!  They are having a blog hop today (blog candy alert) and are being sponsored by some BIG names in the papercrafting industry.  Go and check them out here:

And as many of you know, my husband, Sterling, is a Vietnam veteran.  While he doesn't like to talk much about what happened there, I do know that he walked point and was a helicopter gunman.  He and his crew were shot out of the sky by enemy soldiers where he suffered blindness for two weeks and other injuries.  They awarded him the purple heart, but he says so many others deserved it more than him.  I feel fortunate and proud to call this humble man is my husband.

Somewhere in the world today, an American soldier will ring in the eleventh hour of the eleventh day with gunfire. Another will arrive home after an honorable tour of duty, perhaps passing brothers and sisters in arms saying farewell to their families. A mother’s tears will fall on a letter from the far side of the world. Old veterans will spend a beautiful afternoon watching children play beneath the flag they raised at Anzio, Guadalcanal, Incheon, or Khe Sanh. Young veterans will put their lives on the line, to give the children of Iraq and Afghanistan a chance at a future free from murderous evil. A little girl will playfully salute a uniform she will one day grow up to wear. A pilot will land a machine that was impossible in his grandfather’s day on the heaving deck of an aircraft carrier. The USS New York will ride at anchor, close to the site of the fallen buildings whose bones became her steel.

The veterans of the United States military have always been there for us, in the desperate eleventh hour of our need.

Be there for them.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Guy Fieri's Buffalo Balls Recipe

I have Rachel Ray's daily show on my DVR.  Depending on the content, I usually just skim through for something that interests me or I just delete it.  But yesterday she had on MY FAVORITE chef, Guy Fieri.  I've been a fan of his since his win on Your Next Food Network Star.  He just comes across like your favorite cousin, and someone who is really accessible and down to earth. 

Yesterday on the show he demonstrated a recipe for buffalo balls ... buffalo coming from the team up of hot sauce and blue cheese, and made them with of all things, ground turkey. They really look delicious and are not that hard to make. Would be a fabulous tailgate recipe. I definitely will be making these ... maybe for Superbowl Sunday?

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