Kansas hasn’t had a good snow in two years! Today there is about two feet on the ground.
All that snow will be good for my garden, the trees and bushes, and all the farmers in the area. The drought is in it’s second year and this snow will not be enough but I was in need of a good ole fashion snowstorm. This week has reminded me of my youth in the northern part of the United States.
Last sunny Sunday while shoveling snow off the back deck I had to remove my jacket and sunglasses were a must have. I am aware of how bright the early mornings seem with the snow cover. Hot chocolate with marshmallows is my favorite afternoon treat. I have made bread, soups and other comfort foods galore.

However, while watching the news coverage during the storms I noticed several stories with parents bemoaning being stuck inside with their children all day. I know some were without electricity at times but my retired teacher brain kicked into over drive and gave me this week’s Thursday’s Thirteen.

13 ACTIVITIES TO DO WHILE SNOWED IN

1. Begin with breakfast. Everyone helps make pancakes, french toast or a hot cereal, then do the clean up without the dish washer.
2. Give everyone a dust cloth and challenge them to dust the woodwork (doors, molding , tops of windows and doors) in all rooms. This one is courtesy of D, when I called to check/chat she was dusting to get some exercise.
3. Go out for 10 minutes – shovel or sweep the steps and walk, romp with the dogs, walk a crooked line through the yards. Serve hot chocolate after all coats are hanging to dry.
4. Make a simple soup. Egg Drop soup is easy – 4 cups chicken broth, 2 beaten eggs, dash of pepper, some green onions finely chopped. Heat broth to just below a boil, stir in eggs add pepper. Serve with green onions sprinkled over.
5. Change the bedding from the mattress up. Everyone helps turn the mattresses and complete the laundry.
6. Cut out snowflakes or snowmen to decorate the refrigerator.
7. Go through bed room closets and dressers organizing and discarding. I discovered some things I hadn’t worn since retiring. They are bagged and ready to go.
8. Play card games; war, crazy eights, gin, poker.
9. Read for 30 minute intervals in the morning, afternoon and evening. Kids love to have a story read to them.
10. Watch the game shows on TV (Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, The Price Is Right). Figure out the players’ strategies.
11. Make, bake, eat. Jiffy cornbread, Martha White blueberry muffins, Betty Crocker brownies all come in 6-8 servings, require few add ins and are cheap.
12. Put on some music and exercise/dance. Anything that keeps everyone moving, even going up and down the stairs for 13 minutes.
13. Tossing games with rolled up socks. Set a large kettle in the center of the floor, on the stairs even the table. Try putting your self in different positions-sitting, kneeling or lying down.

Before the storm hit my favorite local grocery store had a great sale on asparagus, my favorite vegetable. I took a leap and made asparagus soup on Friday. I even made it with vegetable broth for meatless Friday. The picture doesn’t do it justice, it was delicious and comforting.

The sour cream slipped under before I got a good photo.

Asparagus Soup

The possibilities are endless. Enjoy your days!!

Thursday’s Thirteen – An Explanation

For some time now I have thought of 13 as “my number” and have decided to dedicate any posts I write on Thursday to 13. Hopefully, I’ll be able to connect any Thursday post’s with 13.

Here are some of the connections I have found in my life with 13;

Birth year digits = 13
I am one of 13 children
High school graduation year digits = 13
Best friend born on 13th of the month
Married year digits = 13
Significant medical problem year digits = 13
Favorite bakery always gave a bakers’ dozen (13) highlights
First and last names contain 13 letters
The 13th letter of the alphabet is my favorite
Favorite candy has 13 letters on wrapper (maker+name)

We are waiting for our first big winter storm in two years.
Stay safe everyone.

Retirement

It’s been too long between posts. However, I found a fun filled weekend has given me inspiration to post.

After several years of following blogs on cooking, gardening, quilting, education and creative bloggers I just found interesting I thought I was ready to jump in, well easier said than done. As our SIL helped set up the page and get me started I thought my writings would center around what I have done in retirement. Many of my peers expressed feelings of doubt, thinking I would be bored or even lonely if my husband didn’t retire at the same time. Oh, how wrong they were….

As I stated above I had a refreshing weekend – going out to dinner with good friends, golfing, cooking, watching a movie on television, and attending a demonstration luncheon with several other ladies at a new condiments shop in our town. These activities reminded me about why I had this blog. It was also an invigorating three day weekend and what I love about retirement.

Here’s a short list of what I’ve been up to:
Enjoying breakfast and completing my “puzzles” before ten in the morning
Playing golf, even made a hole-in-one last summer
Attending movies, dinner theater, and cultural performances during the week
Quilting
Visiting family and friends on our time schedule
Week night dining out, thanks Groupon
Picking grapes at local wineries
Touring/tasting breweries, wineries
Gardening
Trying new recipes
Having time with the Grands
Joining a Writer’s group
Participating in charity walk/runs
Wine strolls
Just relaxing

That’s it for today going to bind a quilt.

SUNday Morning

This morning as I tuned into CBS Sunday Morning I realized that I was developing a new ritual. Over fifty years ago I had a Sunday paper route and I have made it a habit to read at least one Sunday newspaper since that time. Today I sensed the change in my ritual that has come about in the past three years. My husband may say the change is due to my inability to have our dog retrieve the paper for me.
Newspapers have been in decline with the emerging electronic advances. First television news programs and commentators slowly replaced the print media and now the internet dominates with its speed and many sites. However, we still subscribe to a Sunday paper and I make it a habit to read most of it.

This Sunday morning I tuned in for the full ninety minutes. In the central time zone “Sunday Morning” begins at 8 AM. I find myself multi-tasking during the show, eating breakfast (blueberry muffins), emptying or loading the dishwasher, dressing, planning tonights dinner, and going over my weekly calendar. These activities would not be possible if I were reading the newspaper.

Charles Osgood has become my favorite anchor. He opens every show with the traditional teases. Today’s main theme was the Presidential Inauguration. Along with the cover story there are several features which I enjoy – Almanac, Television, Passage, Profile, Opinion, By The Numbers, and Nature. I always manage to gleam some interesting facts/trivia, knowledge, and reaffirm some of my educator/life philosophies.

Almanac was presented by Mr. Osgood and reviewed the life of Audrey Hepburn on the anniversary of her death in 1993. She is a favorite of our daughter so I sent her the link on this story.
Television featured Highclere Castle otherwise known as “The Real Downton Abbey.” I texted a good friend to tune in because like so many others we watch the series on PBS.
You can’t have an Inauguration without the President so several stories, including the Cover Story, pertained to past Presidents, and as a student of American history I sat down and paid close attention. Two Presidential biographers outlined what they believe were the essential qualities in a good President. A President must be wise and honest, (taken from John Adams letter to his wife Abigail), he must have courage, patience, determination, and integrity. D. McCullough stressed that the good Presidents, “Lead not only with actions but with words.” I especially liked D. Gergen’s addition to the list – persuasion. He cited Thomas Jefferson as the first President to use inside the beltway persuasion to achieve political success. I also felt that both men wanted a President to be friendly, especially with his political adversaries. Citing J. Meacham in “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power” Gergen said, “He believed, I think rightly, that it is harder to say ‘no’ to someone when you know them.”
Passage was another Osgood piece and covered the passing of Dear Abby. I grew of reading Pauline Phillips “Dear Abby” advice column in the newspaper. She died of Alzheimer’s disease this past week at the age of 94.
By The Numbers Nine was the number today. This is the number of Presidents who were not sworn into office on January 20th before noon. I learned that Calvin Coolidge was staying at his home in Vermont. The house had neither telephone nor electricity so the news was delivered to him in the middle of the night by his father who later sworn him in by the light of an oil lamp.
Profile talked with Warren Buffet on life and investing in stocks. He is very interesting.
Nature took us to the USA’s first national park, Yellowstone. This segment is always wordless and is about a minute long video that the show closes with. Today I watched the geysers in the snow, beautiful.

SUNday Morning always features numerous suns. Today mt favorite was a snow covered sun.
CBS NEWS SUNDAY MORNING
Check out the show next SUNday Morning on CBS

Frog Friday – Take II

I had another one of those aha moments while preparing some cookies for dinner with our Grandson and his baby sister. Well, really I was craving chocolate and tonight’s dinner presented me with a good excuse to indulge.
For years I’ve made peanut butter cup cookies (SIL’s second favorite treat) but had trouble taking them out of the mini muffin tin. Just last month while working in the kitchen with the cooking channel on I picked up a neat trick.
To make removal of the cookie easier you place two narrow strips of parchment paper under the cookie dough ball before baking. After cooling grasp the strips and the cookies easily lift out.
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YUM. I had to use Hershey Kisses instead of miniature peanut butter cups because I had irresistible chocolate urges two nights ago. I’m never going to lose those extra pounds.

Now, did you notice how I tied this baking into Frog Friday?

Preview – Frog Friday

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I just couldn’t resist adding the above photo to my blog. This Frog snow sculpture comes from my sister in New York state. CYNCentral.com published a story about a woman in Cazenovia, NY who resolved to do thirty works of art in 30 days. Check out her story on the following link. http://www.cnycentral.com/news/story.aspx?id=844954.

I do love all things Frog.

Frog Friday

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I just spent the last week de-Christmasing the house. Of course that meant taking down the Frog Tree. As I was carefully replacing the various Frog ornaments in their boxes and wrappings I begin writing my first Frog Friday post in my mind. Each ornament brought back fun memories and then I had that aha moment. Write about the Frog Tree!

I picked up the camera and began taking photos.
The colorful angel Frog you see above has been placed at the top of the Frog Tree for almost twenty years. The first Frog Tree was a scrawny four foot affair that has now grown into a five footer with many branches. Over the years many friends have suggested we just leave the tree up year round but then I think of the joy/memories I have as I put it up in early December and take it down in early January. In the beginning the Frog ornaments came from my husband and children. These Frogs were lovingly placed on our main tree until they became so numerous we decided to do a Frog Tree. Each Frog carries a wonderful story; there are Frog ornaments from my Mom (a flying angel), sisters, nephews (Cub Scout sewing badge), nieces, sister in laws, students (Frog holding chalkboard), and many from dear friends (Nancy made two in ceramics class). In addition to the ornaments we have Christmas themed Frogs under the tree on top of a red fleece blanket decorated with Frogs, my sister made this one summer while we were visiting. There is also a growing collection of Frog statues on the sideboard. These Frog statues show Frogs as Santa in a sleigh, building a snowman, carrying presents, and even decorating a tree
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Ready to be packed away.

Ready to be packed away.


This is just a few of the Frog ornaments pre packing.

By now you are wondering, “Why Frogs?” The answer will be revealed in the next Frog Friday.

Hoppy Frog Friday!

2013 Beginnings

The title of this first post is not exactly right, but I’ve procrastinated far too long.  Perhaps a better heading  would have been, “What To Do?”

That is a  question I’ve asked myself many times over the last eighteen months.  It was two years ago that I started the retirement process and at a recent holiday gathering a good friend and fellow educator contemplated her upcoming retirement. She wondered what she would do all day.  I reassured her that there was plenty to do.  She laughed and said, “I know, just look at you and your partner in retirement, Dee.  It seems we hear of a new adventure or activity every week!”  

I have been thinking of that exchange for three weeks now. The questions that arose over and over were: What have I learned about myself, my family, our neighborhood, Kansas, and the world? What life lessons have I applied to retirement? What activities have I found fun and fulfilling? And finally what did my lifelong friend, Nancy, mean when she told me there would be no regrets?

Now, I have come to the conclusion that this blog will be about what I’ve been doing with myself since retiring from the education field. There will be posts about family, learning, senior moments and frogs. One of my 2013 resolutions is to post at least once a week.

Hoppy New Year!

Welcome!

Blogs are coming soon! Be sure to check back to see what exciting things I have in store for you!