blackbird

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sigh....Holiday Baking.......Big Smile

Holiday baking and cooking. People seem to fall into two camps, either they love it or hate it. I fall into the LOVE IT category. I could bake 20 different kinds of cookies and bake pies (although not very good at that one) make all kinds of snacks such as party mix or spiced nuts...and I'd be happy as a clam. However might have to take out a second mortgage on the house to be able to cook like that. Making sweet treats and culinary delights can be expensive...while you are taking a bite of that Caramel Apple Cheesecake, the grocery bill is taking a bite out of your wallet.

I haven't gone crazy and still have not decided what to take for Thanksgiving to - OK...la ....homaaaaa where the wind comes sweeping down the plain........... sorry... anyway so far just baked Sugar Cookies. I'm sure my mother will have made some too and I will have to tip my hat to hers being better. Why is that? Moms always make better anything....and we use the same recipe! Grandma Sanderson's and I'm almost sure I helped bake them more than my mother ever did, perplexing thought... I will most likely go ahead and throw together some Snickerdoodles as well. And the piece de la resistance will be either the Caramel Apple Cheesecake or Gooey Butter Cake or Peanut Butter Pie. Orrrrr, perhaps all the above. Yes, my goal is to roll everyone out after the day. A round of belly aches for all!

But holiday baking and gathering also brings back to mind people that have passed before us, the happy memories, smells bringing vivid pictures of days gone by, standing in kitchen laughing voices, hugs all around, catching up  with those once-a-year or less people in our lives. But holidays also give us a chance to meet new additions to the family and start new traditions. So although they can be a little somber at times, holidays are the time to look forward to enjoy good food and good company. Now, let the good times roll and the baking begin!




Grandma's Sugar Cookies

1 Cup Butter                 2 TBSP. Milk
1 1/2 Cups Sugar         1 tsp. Baking Powder
2 Eggs                           3 Cups Flour
1 tsp. Vanilla                 1/4 tsp. Salt
Dust lightly with sugar and nutmeg

You can use stick margarine instead of butter. Chill dough at least 3 hours but preferably overnight. Roll out on lightly floured surface adding flour as you roll out to prevent sticking to the rolling pin. Bake at 350- 375 for 8-10 minutes or just until done.

(Optional) Cool completely then ice with canned frosting.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Carnival Dream - Rock Me Like a Hurricane

video
Ok, so we weren't in the MIDDLE of hurricane Tomas but we definitely felt the effects. Rough water,  rain, high winds and fluctuating temperatures we had it all, but we also had sunny warm weather and friends to share it with, so who can complain?

Our cruise was on a Carnival ship, called the Dream. We started out heading to the Bahamas....no problem, however- woke up in the not-so-sunny or warm Bahamas. Decided to go check out Atlantis and it was quite a tour. Lots of huge aquariums and a glass tunnel.. interesting at the very least.


The next day was a sea day and it was sunny and beautiful (although always kinda rocky). Followed up by our dining room experience where the guys took complete advantage of the multi-course menu and main dish selections. Although some of the food was kinda funky for me, there is always some sort of "normal" food available. Loved our waiters, Eduardo and Remaldo both from the Philippines. There was also a roving magician that kept the children....er.....men at our table entertained.  One thing about being on a rough sea, the boat does rock you to sleep, we all had great sleep during our time aboard.

The next day was St. Thomas went on a sky gondola ride to the top of a mountain where you could see a good portion of the island. It was very beautiful up there. We were told before we went to try the bushwacker (a drink) and we did, it was quite yummy, like a milk shake, kind of but -not. wink wink.  Then Greg and I went to do our snorkel trip and the others went to the beach. Now, it was sunny and  clear at this time but the weather changed quickly.....started getting cooler and cloudy and then the sprinkles....we joked about how rain doesn't affect snorkeling - oh my the gods of sea were laughing at us it seems! Once on the boat the winds picked up and the skies turned very dark, but no lightening so the show was still on, we forged ahead and I can't really explain the ride other than if you have ever watched Deadliest Catch and seen the boats tossed about and anything not tied down flying around the boat and large waves crashing into and INSIDE the boat, then you have some idea of the wild ride we had. I will say when they passed out the inflatable life vests for snorkeling, everyone just went ahead and put them on......just sayin..... Not sure if anyone was actually fearing for their lives but it was a tiny bit frightening. Everyone laughed and joked and it was a fun time, not many pictures though because there was way too much water to get out the camera. Finally made it back into a cove where although the sky was still dark, the water was much calmer. The first stop was ok, some fish but not alot, could really tell the ocean was churning everything up. The second stop in another cove though......sting rays, sea turtles...made the Captain Nemo roller coaster ride worth it. Afterwards they served us some sort of staple on the snorkel tours - rum punch and pirate dark ale and off we went back to the mother ship. The single most wild thing I've ever done.

The next day was St. Maarten and we opted for a beach day......a little shopping, a little beach time, was very nice. However the remnants of Tomas could be seen on the beaches as they were somewhat littered with seaweed and sea debris, but still very lovely.

Then two days at sea......uneventful except I did notice they attached sea sick bags by the elevators.....the deck party was canceled two different times but the fun and party atmosphere continued. This was my 7th cruise and largest boat but I felt the most movement on this one. I, being one that gets motion sickness in a car, was very diligent about taking my preventatives.....a drug recommended by my doctor called meclizine. Never once did I feel sick. YAY!

Saturday morning bright and early they start kicking people off the boat, one of the crew were saying that if they are lucky, they will have one hour with no passengers on board. They are definitely a well-oiled machine. All in all - having been on several different cruise lines......this was the best. The crew of the Carnival Dream did an excellent job. The food was good, the boat was spotless and the crew was wonderful.  It might very well have been a "dream" vacation.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Vanity of vanities, all is vanity

 In this day and age it is no surprise that we are a nation of fake anything and everything. Our pride and vanity and just general human competition causes us to want to improve the physical attributes we find less that appealing. Most of us have heard of fake fingernails, dyed hair, implants of all kinds, botox, enlargements, reductions, peels, and weaves. We find products to help us push it in, lift it up, support it, suppress it, and redirect it but I what I have found myself doing is something that is still not a popular process here in the middle of prairie country. However, I have the feeling when women (ok, those of us that are simply vain creatures) figure this out, it is gonna bust loose.


I cannot wear false nails....many of my friends have them and they are gorgeous, but I simply cannot type with long nails,.....something about needing to feel the keys under my fingertips.  I've always been a bit jealous of those with long beautifully painted talons making the wearer ooze with femininity. But now I have found the wonder of eyelash extentions. Yes, you heard me...




Eylelash Extentions-

I say what?The extensions are single strands of synthetic eyelashes that are curved to replicate a natural eyelash. They provide length and thickness to your own lashes and are available in varying lengths and thickness. They are applied to your individual eyelashes, one lash at a time. There is no need for mascara even though a water based mascara is fine to use. The result is thicker, longer, eye opening eyelashes that are safe in the shower, while swimming, sleeping or exercising.

Now, some might say, you fool, fake eyelashes have no doubt been around since the time of Rahab the harlot, but have you ever tried to put them on? I am not sure what kind of octopus arms are needed but when I tried I looked like a bad chucky movie character and almost glued my eye lids shut......bad experience. But I swear after I first had extentions put on, I heard harps and angels singing. It was beautiful, I would have cried but needed to keep them dry. The process itself is painless and I simply love the result. I have a great beautician named aptly named Hope that is simply -mahvelous dahlink. 


So, if you need a little beauty pick-me-up or are just lazy, this is a great option. I no longer have to wear mascara on my upper lashes and when I went to Grenada this summer, I didn't wear make up at all, it was great and people still could actually see my eyes! So if you live around here call Hope and schedule an appointment. Tell her I sent you, she will laugh as she remembers me taking pictures of myself during our last appointment.....(she is a great sport!) 


Hope
Faircrest Salon
Hutchinson  (620) 669-0621