Monday, October 31, 2011

"I Believe in Miracles"

This past weekend, Butch and I were in Washington, D.C. for a Catholic "thing." This is what I shared with my girls. In "hindsight" it's kind of funny!

Hey Girls,
I wanted to share my experience with you. I've already typed this up to use as hidden journaling somewhere in one of my scrapbooks with a little more of my private thoughts. When I told your dad about it, he said he had these same feelings of "unworthiness." We are not the type that has spent a lot of time talking about our faith, but it's important to both of us just the same. Don't worry, we're not going all "holy roller" on you. But this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
I love you girls.

My Story:
October 27, 2011 we were in Washington, D.C. for the investiture in to a little known Catholic organization dedicated to promoting Catholic education in The Holy Land (side note: only 2% of the population in The Holy Land is Christian) to which you have to be nominated by your Bishop and ultimately approved by the Pope. People are "called" to this group due to their dedication to Catholic education here. It's not about "money." Kind of hard to explain.
The day of our practice, one of the ladies in charge said to us: “you are about to become “ladies" of the Papal Court---a very big “deal.” I immediately started to cry. Another “lady” in charge asked me if I was okay. I told her that I felt so unworthy and humbled---I didn't say "phony"---but that was at the heart of it. She said that I would not have been nominated or “called” if I was not worthy. I still felt kind of like a phony---I’m not the greatest Catholic in the world---irreverent, even--- but have certainly spent most of my life working and raising money for Catholic education. I have a deep seated faith in Catholic education. 
Then the day of the investiture---I have some health issues going on--even beyond my hives, my clothes aren’t quite right, the shoes hurt and then the pantyhose start to roll down. In all fairness, I haven’t had pantyhose on in years.  
I’m a nervous wreck. I’m such a “faller.” I was so afraid that I’d trip walking up the steps to the altar, or worse yet, those hose would roll all the way to the floor. I stood in the formation line literally shaking with fear. Then I said to myself, “okay, Lord, I can’t handle this. You brought me here, you are going to have to take care of me.” Then it hit me. I’d been praying since about the first of the year---2011---feeling that my spirituality was lacking and that I needed to do something---at that time, I prayed, “okay Lord, if you want me to do something, put it before me.” I was praying about this long before we were notified that we'd been nominated for this special honor. 
Suddenly, standing in the back of that most beautiful St. Matthew’s Cathedral, it hit me like a ton of bricks. THIS was it. He brought me to this. I suddenly was able to relax a little, trying to having faith that it would all turn out okay. 
As my pantyhose kept inching down, I had visions of them rolling all the way to the floor when I knelt to greet the Cardinal. They were right about my knees by now and seemed to stay put. Each time we had to kneel or stand, they creeped slightly lower. I kept saying, “please Lord, I can’t handle this. You need to do it.” I’m nervous about the steps up to the altar---seeing those hose in my mind take a final “roll” in front of the entire Church. 
I was the first of the “ladies” to go up---deja vu of my First Holy Communion. Right before my name was called, a knight stepped over and said, “let me help you.” I looked at him a little puzzled, but stepped out. All he did was take my elbow so I could make the first step. I was able to completely relax, make the rest of the steps, the hose “held” and I didn’t have any problems kneeling on the prieux dieux like I had during the rehearsal. 
Once I returned to my seat, I knew I had witnessed a miracle. Jesus had sent me that angel. The enormity of it was so strong. I was EXACTLY where HE wanted me to be. Now, I can’t let HIM down! I don't mean to sound so melodramatic, but it was the most incredible moment---I'm still crying.  
Faith is a powerful thing! And even though we're all "flawed" it's okay. Basically, if I was putting a label on myself, I'd say I was a "lazy" Catholic which has nothing to do with what I actually believe.
If you remember what it was like growing up Catholic---coming home from a retreat when you were in school---feeling all renewed and spiritual---that's exactly how this felt---except 10 times more. Little miracles happen every day and I intend to recognize them in my life.

There, I'm done.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Storytelling Sunday---"It was ALWAYS about the Candy!"

Yep, we were on a mission. Back in the 1950's and 1960's, we spent ALL of our allowance on candy. We'd get the allowance---10 cents per grade---and hustle up to the little store. We'd get a huge bag of penny candy---because back then, some of the penny candy was actually 2 for a penny. And if Ronnie Miller (our backyard neighbor) was working, she'd throw in a few extras. We'd all have a heaping bag. We usually ate every bit of it that day and then have to endure a whole candy-less week.

Halloween was like the BEST holiday for us. Sure we got lots of candy on the other holidays---those lifesaver books and candy canes at Christmas and great candy-filled Easter baskets---but Halloween was OURS! We had control over where we went and for how long.

First came planning the costumes which were always just junk from around the house. I donned Ronnie's baseball uniform more than once. When we got a little older, we mostly were bums. It was easy and gave us the perfect "act." Back then, kids were actually expected to "do" something for the candy. We sang the song that matches "We 3 Kings." Sing along....

"We 3 bums from the Orient are,
smoking on a rubber cigar.
It was loaded,
we exploooodddeeedd,
now we're the bums from Mars."

The nuns actually laughed a little. Halloween was probably the only time we weren't afraid of them. We went to the convent for our first stop. They made popcorn balls that went really fast.

Back up. Our "group" consisted of Ronnie, Roger, Danny, Reenie and me. We carefully laid out our route. We didn't really have a time we had to be home, so we walked ALL over. After the popcorn balls, we high-tailed it to the lady that made the candy apples and Ronnie Miller's for our "big" score. After that, we relaxed a little and headed to the "subdivision." It's funny that we sort of looked down on the subdivision as not a really cool place to live. But for Halloween, you could hit a dozen houses in the time it took to go to 3 in our neighborhood where the houses were more spread out. We spent all night roaming around collecting candy in our "hobo pillowcases." The biggest problem with Halloween was that it was usually very cold and/or rainy. That didn't deter us. We stayed out until 9:30 or 10. We were off school the next day because of All Saints Day, so it was all around a good time.

When we got home, we'd dump all of our candy on the floor and start the sorting. We'd have piles for suckers, candy bars, penny candy, those orange and black peanut butter things and a separate pile for our dislikes/trades. Then the trading began---"I'll give you 5 Mary Janes for a Butterfinger." And then of course, the fighting---"no, that's not fair", "hey, that's my pile", etc.

How long did that much candy last? About a week.

Those were some very good times, yes indeedy.

I'm 12 here and Ronnie is 11. Me, rockin' that dickey under my mohair sweater---love the outline. Ronnie wearing peg-legged pants before they were actually "in." That boy knew how to dress! His waist is smaller than mine---still is!
The twins did their own thing on Halloween---but not at this age. I just didn't have a picture of them a little older. As for the rest of the kids, they were way too little to go by themselves. I have no idea what they did. As I said, "it was all about the candy." Nothing else mattered.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Showtune Saturday---Jekyll & Hyde

Since it's Halloween weekend, I had to pick something a little creepier. I've only seen Jekyll & Hyde onstage once, but thoroughly enjoyed it. I just love musicals---don't you? Just saw Wicked for the third time this week! I almost picked something from that, but I think I'll wait until Easter for that one!


Thursday, October 27, 2011


We met on Tuesday for our monthly meeting. This was actually the first one I've been to in 3 months. I really hate to miss, but I was out-of-town. Now I'm back in the groove and have re-vamped the club a bit. More on that later.

I've included some of the layouts that Pam and I did from the past couple of months. Remember, all you have to do is click on them to see them bigger.

One of the challenges was to make a layout with a game theme. Pam documented our poker group that Butch and I started 25 years ago that is still going strong. She mentioned the fact that Butch and Hugh are the only remaining original members. That took me back to think about those that have come and gone. Lots of great times. She went on to document a game of Scrabble we had at the beach while there for Malinda's wedding. We all just love games.
 This was the layout Pam did for the "metal" challenge. We love our scrapbook retreats at the Broussard's farm and go at least 2 or 3 times a year. We didn't make it this fall. but we always go the week before Easter and then in July. The journaling block in the lower left corner is a sheet of metal. How did she get the journaling on there--you ask? She printed it on a transparency!
Here's my "metal" page. The title is "mothers & daughters." I had some of those really old metallic letters from the 1950's that I used for the title. I used my labelmaker (every scrapbooker needs one---great Christmas gift idea) to repeat the title and mount under the metal label holders on the left. The metallic "label" on the upper left is some cosmetic label I found at an antique shop or flea market. This is going into my heritage album.
 The challenge for this layout was to incorporate flowers on to the page. I used some large chipboard flowers, painted them, masked them and then highlighted them with glitter glue. In the lower right corner is an old merchandize sizing tag that I put a rub-on "Z" as an embellishment.
This is my game layout. I used some old bingo cards as photo mats. The story is about all the games we play on vacation---including the teens playing Scrabble. That still makes me happy. I'm just sorry that I didn't take any pictures of them playing with "the hold grail"---mom's original Scrabble game.
 Kathy took this class from me years ago. She finally got pictures on it and used it as her "metal" layout. It has fish hooks and charms on it. I think Jeanne just put this kit together recently too.
 This is Barbara's metal layout. I asked the girls to bring them back so that I could see them in person. It doesn't matter if you do a one-page layout or two. I really like how she tore the pattern paper. I don't do that often enough.
 This month's challenge was to use traditional Halloween colors on the page---yellow, purple and orange. That's never too hard for Sandy---being a UT fan, she uses a LOT of orange! On this layout, she punched/embossed leaves to document a fall trip for her grandkids to the UT campus and football game. She inked the leaves to make the embossing show up a bit more. Very nice.
 Kathy documented her visit to a pumpkin farm. She used the Creative Memories oval cutting system to make the paper-pieced pumpkin in the lower left corner---adding some sticker pumpkins to create a vignette.
 Linda did this "extra" (I encourage the girls to show off anything else they've done in the month) page about her 5 yr. old granddaughter, Maddie. I love how she incorporated the pink, size 5 1/2 shoe tag! Using vintage things on a page can sometimes be hard---but this was absolutely the perfect thing!
Linda was the one that picked the purple, orange, yellow challenge for the month. She also documented a trip to the pumpkin farm.
Here's Barbara's page also based on the fall. I thought surely most of the girls would do some sort of Halloween layout---but nary a single one.
 Pam's layout was focused on a shower that she and Anna hosted for a "bride-to-be" whose favorite color is purple. They used purple as the color theme for the shower, so it worked perfectly for the challenge. The last "e" in Michelle just disappeared. Of course, I used that opportunity to "rag on" how you shouldn't use "repositional" adhesive in your Little X---only permanent. I rest my case!
Jan is the card maker in our group---and boy, does she make some gorgeous cards. She pays attention to every little detail. She also brought her first scrapbook---an 8x8 that was absolutely beautiful. You would never know that it was her first. But after being in this group for over a year now, she was ready to take the plunge. Why not? We all have enough "stuff." I'm looking forward to having her in my "A Year of Memories" workshop this year. She's ready.
 I'm the only one that used a Halloween theme---but with a twist. The title for my page is: "The amount of stuff needed for an Eads' girls scrapbook weekend is downright SCARY." Again, I couldn't do without my labelmaker---the electronic one this time. Actually, I think I borrowed it from either Jeanne or Janet on our Cousin's Crop at which no cousins were there. A definite, must have for me. I ran that old piece of torn notebook paper through the printer, jammed up the printer a few times, but finally got it.
I brought this page to show some of the girls how to make a pocket page for memorabilia. This layout is about our "growing up" house on Larimore Rd. I told a little story about moving in. I was 4, Ronnie was 3 and the twins were 2. Dad lined up up on the front step and told us not to move. When he said something like that, you knew you better not move! One of the twins peed. It rolled downhill. We tried to scoot away, but we still all got wet---but we didn't move! I didn't have any photos of that particular time, but just used some other old family photos from around that time.
And finally, the new challenge. I've added something new from now on. Besides picking the challenge, each person gets to pick a color scheme. It's Pam's turn this month. She saw this Kleenex box and loved the color combination: charcoal grey, cream, light turquoise with a hint of lime. Her challenge is to use a banner on the page. Banners are all the rage. It will be fun to see what everyone comes up with.

Until next month....

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Here it is---in all its glory! My new, clean, re-organized scrapbook room. You might think it's overwhelming, but there is something meaningful and inspiring to see everywhere you look. If you check out a magazine called "Where Women Create" you will see that this is the "norm." Anyway, here are the pictures.

The view from the door as you enter the room. It was (as Butch likes to say) "o'dark thirty" when I took these pictures. I took more during the day a little further down.
 This view is from my work table. I know, I've got a lot of stuff---and I know where it all is. There was one thing I couldn't find awhile back---Glimmer Mist---but I found where I put that. There's only one thing missing that I've looked for twice. I have this pencil box container full of acrylic stamps that I keep in my rolling tote for crops. It isn't there. I thought maybe I put it somewhere in my room, but I never found it. I'm thinking that I left it at some retreat somewhere. Darn.
 Part of my vintage clock collection. I love my old pink typewriter---and I use it too! The old pink phone actually works---if I'd plug it in to my phone jack. I like it right where it is.
 I got my hot pink mannequin at Pottery Barn a few years ago. I've festooned her with a crown I got for being the "queen of the crop" a few years back. I've pinned vintage broaches, dangling chandelier crystals on the top and pinned on old hankies for the skirt---only pink and white---is there any other color?
I made this banner at Creative Escape in Arizona a few years ago. I love it because when I go in this room that's what I do. There's just something so calming about being in this creative space. It's a luxury to me to have this place. Although, it will never be painted again. And I feel sorry for whoever has to clean it out after me. This room keeps me from the thought of moving.

 A little close-up of my baubles in an old muffin tin. I like anything shiny and bright.
Pink gumballs in a canister. I gave Steph some for her "pink" martini party. She made a bubblegum martini for which these were the perfect touch.
 I should have taken a close-up of my print box. I love it. Why? It's all about ME! That's what this room is all about---things I love, things that have meaning for me, a place to display all of my childhood "junk." I just wish I'd kept more things. The dresses are Mindy's baby dresses. I'll give them back to her if/when she has a baby and incorporate them into her decor.
 Those pink Christmas trees are a permanent part of my room---ornaments and all.

 My adopted relatives.
 My adopted town.

My work table has never been this clear. When I work, I end up with about 12" of space with crap closing in on me all around. I don't know how that happens. I have a pink, enamel, baby bath on the floor to the right of my chair that I drop things in to when I'm finished. That helps to give me more space.

Some of my favorites---My Camp Fire Girl vest, neckerchief, beanie, Horizon Club gown and then the BEST---my mother's wedding dress. You can't see it, but I've cut the lace on the back and incorporated it in to each grandchild's wedding scrapbook or wedding decorations.We have a lot of girls. I hate to think about using the front. But I think it's so special that all of the girls would have a bit of it.
A few of my works in progress.

I can't wait for Elizabeth to see it now. A couple years ago when she was about four, she said to me, "Grammy, did you BUY all this stuff?" That made me snort!

That's it for now.

Next up---layouts from The Scrap Room Challenge Club.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What I've Been Up To...

OMG! Did anyone catch Harry Connick, Jr. with his daugther on Ellen today? The daughter sang while he played---she was AWFUL!!! How embarrassing. Enough said.

Anyway, on to the good stuff. I got my "too good to be true---supposedly---revised cable bill. It was the EXACT SAME F*****N" BILL! I am about ready to slit my wrists, kill someone, tear my hair out---which, of course, when you have crappy hair, you cannot afford to do!! Truly, I thought I was going to stroke out. So I did the only logical thing. I PAID it! Yes, Scarlet, I'm going to worry about that tomorrow! We're heading out-of-town this weekend to Washington, D.C. and "frankly, my dear, I do give a damn," but just not now. Here's my latest Comcast cable plan: I'm waiting for the next bill---praying that it will somehow be correct---you know me and my optimistic personality---knowing that it won't. I'm going to take that f'n' thing to some office somewhere and demand a "real" person deal with me---no more "Peggys" for me. After that, then I'm sure my problems with the actual service will begin!! OMG! How can one company be so inept? Butch told me that if you "tweet" about it, someone will call you within a half hour because they have "people" monitoring "tweets." What the? I don't know how to "tweet", don't want to learn, don't care what you're doing, don't care what I'm doing, but mainly, don't need another obsession. Why don't they just put their efforts into actually "helping" the people that are calling in? FTS!!!!! (deserves LOTS of exclamation points)! Okay, I'm taking a deep breath now.

I made a new discovery about myself. I don't know why I didn't notice it before, all the signs are staring me right in the face. I have a napkin problem. I decided to put a few of the Halloween things away since no one will be here for the rest of the week. OMG! I don't know how it happened, they were cute, I bought them, used very few, went to put them in the chest of drawers in the family room that holds all of my seasonal napkins (Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, 4th of July, Titan's, Halloween and Thanksgiving, not to mention the garden, floral, tea, Mary Englebreit, and scads of Caspari). Not only was the chest full, there was no room for the "incoming." Then it hit me---who in the heck has an entire chest of drawers full of napkins??!!! That would be the same person that has an entire double-wide cabinet full of candles!! Yet, I never seen to have the right color or correct number. I don't know what is the matter with me. I think I'm nearing the stage I might need to seek help. It's not like you can live on candles or napkins---like they were rationed through the war and I'm fearful of running out or something. I don't know, I don't get it. I'm just wired in some funky way.

Now here's some better stuff:

I'm always the "comer upper" with projects for my day group. I wanted to "cute up" this library tray to hold photos I plan to scrapbook. I'm making it a "round robin" type of thing. We'll each design two of the divider cards. I always go first. Then, just for fun, I added some antique blocks for feet. Turned out cute.
The front blocks have a "B" and and "E." I don't remember the back ones---doesn't matter---you don't really see them.
You can barely tell, but this wooden antique spindle is pink. Karolyn found it in an antique shop in Asheville, North Carolina last weekend on her sister's weekend. Which reminds me. Anyone want to go to the Biltmore over the Christmas holidays? I've been wanting to get there for years. I can swing it during that time of year, but most of my friends are reaching the frantic stage. I think I'll see what Butch's schedule is like. We can go during the week for a couple of days. Yeah, that sounds like a plan. I'll have to look in to it.
And finally---Mindy's birthday party projects. Here are the old wooden spools of thread that I found a few weeks ago---put to use. I bought the chipboard stars at Michaels, "painted" them with Tacky glue, dipped them in cheap, chunky glitter (although the ultra-fine, expensive would probably be prettier), and let them dry overnight. I've had the vintage light reflectors for awhile and have used them in my scrapbooks. I also made the Christmas "yo-yo's" a couple of years ago. All I did now was sew the buttons on. I used the hot glue gun to attach everything. I glued the stars to some wooden BBQ skewers and glued them into the spool. I tied the vintage seam binding on last. Quick, easy and fun. I love them! For Mindy's friends, I'm going to see if I can find a smaller star so they can each do two---otherwise, it will be just one big one. When working with non-crafters, I have to make sure the project is easy enough to complete in a reasonable amount of time.
And now, here are those little tart tins that I have a kazillion of. I've glued in old earrings, pins, buttons, attached a crystal drop a ribbon and a hanger---couldn't be easier. I think they are pretty darn cute. Mindy's friends will make one of these too.

A little surprise---ALL of you---my family and friends that read my blog will be getting one! What if you're not one of my close family members or friends? Well, I say, become a "follower" (by clicking on "join this site" in the right sidebar under "followers" and leave me a comment below and I'll pick one lucky winner! Go for it! I haven't done a "give-a-way" in a while.

Oh, and that little tree on the upper left? That was another idea, but would be way too time consuming for a bunch of non-crafters.

Enough for now. Next up, my newly cleaned and re-organized scrapbook room.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Bad Recipe and a Couple of Good Ones

Yesterday was a Titan's game. After several years of doing the tailgating, we've arrived at what works best for our group. We each take a whole day to do the tailgating. That way, you do it once or twice for the season and that's it. We each do our own drinks. Perfect.

It was our turn to do the food. Mindy wanted to go to the game to be with her friend, Lauren---her folks, Hugh and Pam have tickets with us too. 

I've always said that I only do football for "love." I really, really, really, do not like sitting in the stadium for 4 hours without being able to multi-task. I just get so completely bored. It's just not my "thing." I never liked football games in high school either. The rest of our gang loves it, so it really is just me. 

I remember back to our very first game. After tailgating, it was time to go in to the stadium. I grabbed up a stack of catalogs to take with me. Butch said, "Barb, you can't take those---they have security!" I'm like, "What? They think I might beat someone with my catalogs?" I might not be the sharpest crayon in the box, but I realized he didn't want me to take them in. I didn't and thus began my boredom of the game. For several years, I was pretty clueless. I couldn't tell what was going on, where the ball was---just a general lack of knowledge of football in general without any type of eagerness to learn. The games were just something to endure---and almost wishing they would lose badly so we could leave early. That certainly didn't feel quite right to me either. 

After a few years, I've adjusted to the weather. In Nashville it goes one of two ways---you sweat bullets in 100 degrees or freeze at 35 with windy conditions (remember my "snuggie" story?)---we have a few in-between that are perfect---not many---but a few. I also realized that I liked watching the game at home---and actually looked forward to it---because I could stitch and hear the commentary. Plus, those yellow lines (which I looked for at the games---they aren't there) really help me to visualize what's going on. So, Butch set me up with a headset at the games. Having the commentary really helped. Plus, it put me "in the know" when no one else knew what was going on. You know I like that---being able to act like an authority on something I know nothing about!

This year, I've missed every game so far---we've been out-of-town---which really "bummed" Butch out. Those tickets ain't cheap. Anyway, that takes us to yesterday. We worked it out that Stephanie, Nicky, Butch, me and Mindy went to the game. At game time, we packed up, Steph, Nicky and I left. 
When I got home, I cleaned up all the tailgate stuff, and settled in to watch the game. I didn't watch the whole thing, but I have to say I do actually enjoy it at home. I only had about an hour before Butch and Mindy got home. Turns out, they were losing so badly, that they left early anyway. Darn, that would have been a good one for me to go to. 

I just may have figured out a way to never have to actually go to another game again. This may just be the perfect solution for me. I get to party, then leave. If only....

Anyway, here are the new recipes that I made for the day. This dip is fabulous and so simple! I didn't serve it in the bread bowl, just with Wheat Thins and tortilla scoops.

Mississippi Sin
16oz sour cream
8oz cream cheese, softened
2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 green onion, chopped (I used about a Tbsp. of regular, chopped onion)
1/4 tsp hot sauce (you could add more---it wasn't hot at all)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
French bread loaf

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, except French bread; stirring until well blended.

Cut a thin slice from top of bread loaf; set slice aside. Using a gentle sawing motion, cut vertically
 to, but not through, bottom of the loaf, 1/2 inch from the edge, to cut out center of bread. Lift out 
center of loaf. Fill hollowed bread loaf with the dip. Wrap loaf with foil. 

Bake dip at 350° degrees for 1 hour. Serve with reserved bread cubes, crackers, or potato chips.

I'm also thinking you could microwave it as it was easy to micro the leftovers.

Cracker Barrel Hash Brown Casserole:

1 2 lb. pkg. frozen Hash Browns
8 oz. Sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 stick butter
1/2 C. Chopped onion
2 C. grated Cheddar Cheese

Place potatoes in a greased 9×13 inch pan. Season with salt and pepper. Melt butter in the microwave. In a bowl add minced onions, sour cream, and cream of chicken soup, and melted butter. Mix these items together. 

Pour soup mixture over potatoes; sprinkle with Cheddar Cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until all is completely warm, and the cheese begins to melt.

The hash brown casserole was a big hit---only one serving left of a 9x13 casserole. I don't think it was exactly like Cracker Barrel's, but it was still good.

And now for the bad recipe. These brownies. Yeah, they look good and sound good. I seriously, came within an inch of throwing the whole thing out. I did everything right, sprayed the mini muffin tins, cooled them completely and they STUCK like concrete to the pan. I tried getting them out with a plastic knife since the pans were my good, expensive Pampered Chef ones. What a mess. I've torn up the pans with a regular knife. Nothing else would budge them. I didn't taste them, just pried them out and slapped them in a pan. Everyone liked them. I think they are just okay. But since everyone requested the recipe, I've included it here. Maybe if you DON'T cool them completely, you could get them out easier. I won't be making them again, so I don't care.

Here's the mess:

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies
Recipe adapted from Nestle’s Very Best Baking

Makes 40 brownies as adapted

1 box of your favorite brownie mix (I used Betty Crocker original)
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease 40 mini-muffin cups---my pans make 48.

Prepare boxed brownie mix as directed. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups (about 1 heaping teaspoon). Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top is set and a toothpick inserted into center comes out slightly wet. After brownies are out of the oven, wait for centers to fall. This will happen upon cooling. If not then tap the centers with the back of a teaspoon to make a hole for the peanut butter.

Place peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 45 seconds then stir. While brownies are still warm spoon about half a teaspoon of peanut butter into the center of each brownie. Top with semi-sweet chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. Cool completely in pan.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Storytelling Sunday--Poker Playing Kids

On Friday night, Connie invited us along with Hugh and Pam over for poker. Connie and Pam are new to poker and we've only played a couple of times, so each time is a re-learning for them. I've been playing since we were kids. Either I'm pretty good, or pretty lucky. I nearly always win. Last night, I won $13.20. Of course, Butch lost---again. He says I usually win what he loses. But it's MY poker money and I keep my own separate. That's the first thing I told Connie and Pam---they need to have their own poker tin or container. Connie does, Pam still "mooches" off of Hugh. That's not fun. You want to know what you start with so you know whether you win or lose and how much. Otherwise, why bother?

When mom died, I took her poker purse to add that money to the estate. Mom really had her money compartmentalized. She had her coupon money, gambling money, bingo money---she kept it all separate and used her winnings for special things.

I ended up keeping her red poker purse. I figured it might bring me luck. That makes two poker containers for me now. After last night's win, both containers are bulging. I decided that I want to take the money (leaving the small change to replenish my "stash"), get bills and buy myself something in NewYork. Butch is going to take it to Coinstar for me. I have $36. already in bills alone. I believe the $20.00 bill came from Ronnie at our last family poker game in August. I won really big then.

The story that I've decided to share today is about how I started playing poker. It really began when I was about 5, with a card game called "Fan Tan." I still love the game---pretty easy to learn and great for kids. You just need to know your numbers. Pretty basic.

Grandpa and Grandma Preli came over almost every Sunday afternoon. Grandma usually had a hat on. You could count on grandpa to be smoking one of his "old stogey's." Grandpa gave each of us a roll of peppermint Life Savers---I still remember that blue paper. He must have bought them by the box, because they were the only ones he ever had. Not my favorite, but heck, it was candy. I was very happy to relieve him of more than a few rolls.

They would give each of us kids 25 pennies to play "Fan Tan." We loved it. Of course, the "sore losers" of the family showed themselves early on. Jeanne was the worst!

It started with "fan tan" and progressed to"blitz" with grandma Zimmermann. We've always been a gambling family---I guess that plays to our competitive nature. By the time we got to high school, we were playing the "big" games---"in-between," "indian," and "2 card guts." I don't think mom was really stupid enough to believe that we were really playing with matchsticks for fun. Each one of those sticks represented 5 cents. We weren't even playing penny poker anymore. We loved it and had tons of fun. I don't recall anyone really losing to much.

When Butch and I started dating, it wasn't unusual for us to play poker with my brother, Ronnie and our neighborhood friends. But now, for me, we added the drinking factor. I've never been a good "drinker," I get sick pretty early on, pass out and then miss all the fun. They called me "2-beer Barb." That's all it took for me to become senseless and play badly. One night, I had I.O.U.'s all over the table before I passed out. Once that happened, Butch and Ronnie spent the rest of the night trying to "win back" my I.O.U.'s.  They did it too---all except for ONE. Danny Schultz had my final I.O.U. for $12.00. He carried it around for years and presented it to me one day. I told him, "forget it, I was drunk, I'm not paying." For all I know, he still might be carrying that around.

Here are a few old photos reflecting that time when we first learned to gamble.

If the weather was nice, you would find us outside playing croquet. We loved that game too. We pretty much loved all games and played constantly. In the background, you can see the only dog I ever loved---"Shadow" our boxer. I had no idea that I had this picture. It's the only picture I have with her in it.
Grandma Preli took this shot. She was legendary for cutting someone out of the picture. Guess who that is barely visible on the left? That would be mom. How in the world do you cut out a whole person? Grandpa always seemed old to me. He looks pretty old in this picture.
I couldn't resist sharing this picture. First off, you can see mom's organized way of telling the twins shoes apart. Janice got the tape. In the background, you can see me holding my "Barbie" wallet. If you didn't know that this was around Christmas time, you could easily figure it out by my chapped lips. I can still remember how they hurt. I couldn't stop licking them. I had chapped lips all winter long. Sometimes the chapped reached to my nose. My lips hurt---really, really bad.

I'm glad I have his photo of Ronnie. This would be the ONLY time he might have been in charge for a half second. He must have felt pretty darn "big" pinning on that sherriff's badge. Everyone knew I was the BOSS! You can bet on that!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Showtune Saturday---Meet Me in St. Louis

In honor of the Cardinals in the World Series, I decided to go with a popular little "ditty" by Judy Garland. Go Cards---Janice and I have a bet going! Don't you red birds let me down!

Meet me in St. Louis

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Still on Speed Dial

All I've got to say is I love "riding this train." When you run on 3 hours of sleep a night, you get an extra 4 hours a day or in my case, 3 hours a day. I am accomplishing soooo much. I've just about re-organized my whole scrapbook room and cleaned it pretty good---considering all the crap cool stuff I have in there. Everywhere you look there is something inspiring to see. I'll post some pictures soon.

In the meantime, last Saturday, I did a Halloween project for Steph and her friends. These girls are new to crafts, so I provided ALL the materials. Everything went really well, except for the adhesive. I brought 4 of the Creative Memories tape runners that the girls were going to share. Luckily for me, I threw a different type of adhesive in the box. The tape runners started screwing up immediately. I'd been having some problems with them lately. As it turned out, all 8 had to share the one adhesive I had. It made the project last twice as long. Still everyone really enjoyed themselves. Mindy posted her project on Facebook and got a lot of comments from her friends.

On Monday, when I met the girls at Curves (6 a.m. everyday), Mindy told me that her friends wanted to do something. She picked Saturday, December 3rd. I told her that really didn't work for me because I'm having a dinner party that night. She said it was the only day she could do it. I relented. "Fine, I'll just plan ahead and pull it all off." She then asked me if I would make it part of her birthday present and pay for everything. We'll be doing it here because Mindy's apartment is too small. Plus she wants lunch. Before I even made it around the circuit at Curves, it dawned on me---she had "conned" me into giving her a birthday party! 27 and I'm giving her a birthday party.

And I really don't like doing crafts. I just can't turn any of the girls down when it comes to spending time with them. Mindy, unlike Steph, doesn't want to "trust me" to come up with something good. She wants me to make several things so she can pick something. Of course, why would it be otherwise? Mindy doesn't like to "float." She always wants to know exactly what is going to happen. I've already come up with several ideas. I have two of them done and the third almost finished. I do love incorporating vintage things and turning them into something else. Remember all those tart tins I just bought because I forgot that I already bought a set in St. Louis? Wait until you see---they are daaaaahhhhhlllliiiinnnnggggg!

Pictures to come. Like I said,  still running on "speed dial." Just one more week before I hit the wall.