Archive for the ‘Magpie Monday’ Category

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And she’s back!

I took a bit more of a hiatus than I planned to but it was needed.  But here I sit this rainy, RAINY morning planning another Christmas shopping trip, attending Sam’s school Christmas play where he is a snowman <3 and future blog posts.  And happy news about MORE giveaways here at!  I will be giving away not one but TWO beautiful new Gooseberry Patch Books this month and posting some lovely recipes and reviews for you.  My review of  101 Soup, Salad and Sandwich Recipes. And as usual having trouble paring down my list of recipes to review!  But you may look forward to at least two delicious recipes by Friday of this week.  And Sunday a drawing for a copy of :

m668csYAY!!! The first recipe I review will be a soup recipe – and if this isn’t soup weather, I don’t know what is!!!

So you know the drill by now on how to enter this Early Bird Review and Giveaway:  All you have to do is leave a comment at the end of each post pertaining to this giveaway and Early Bird Review and consider yourself entered.  I will be posting at least  4 amazing recipes from this book over the next couple weeks and then on Monday December 12,  I will draw a name from the trusty mason jar and announce the winner.  You have at a couple chances to get your name in the drawing!  And of course it would be nice of you to tell your friends if you have facebook or a blog of your  own.

Find even MORE from Gooseberry Patch online!

And if you like what you find here at my blog you can check out the right hand column and subscribe to my feed and follow me on twitter and facebook.

Alrighty, I wonder what all of you have been up to!? I have been busy as usual but thought I would share a few photos with you. See you Wednesday with recipes and review!  So please come back.  And thanks for your time.  It’s good to be back to sharing with you all!








There you go.  Just a few things I have been up to.  More later.  Let me put on my hip waders and go shopping!  See you soon and we will cook up a little something from Gooseberry Patch!  Happy HAPPY Monday and I really and truly am happy to be back to blogging.  I have a lot to catch you up on so I hope you will stop by again!


Hello Springtime, my old friend…

so nice to see you again. Now stay out of my nose please.  Enough already!

When you live where I do, Spring seems to slip up on you around mid February for a few days, run away again and then is back with it’s own brand of vengeance around mid March.  Don’t misunderstand me, I LOVE the Spring blooms and buds and leaves.  It’s the necessary evil called pollen that I don’t get excited over.  Unless you count that feeling of my scalp moving and skin crawling that the decongestants and antihistamines give me :/

I figured it was as good a time as any to start blogging again.  I took a bit of a break and of course my ego hopes you noticed.  Writer’s block was an understatement.  I had absolutely nothing pleasant to say.  I was worried and blue and cranky over the fact that my husband was in and out of Tunisia like he got paid to be.  Oh.  Right.  He does get paid to be there.  But that fact has nothing to do with making it easier on my feelings.  What would it say about me if it did?  He is scheduled to go back a week from today so this week will be spent in the garden, doctor appointments, tidying up chores and projects and getting corn and beans planted.

Lots of things have changed in our lives since I started this blog in December 2006.  I have had some really high highs and some really low lows.  Just like every other person and the world.  And my lows certainly don’t compare in the big scheme of things for the most part.  Losing people has taken it’s toll on me for sure.  I am a different person now than I was 4 years ago.  Some parts of me are better, some are not.  I don’t think people, especially women, who still have their mothers, no matter the relationship or lack thereof, can understand what it is like to no longer have her.  Just as those who have lost a sibling can understand that loss much better than those who either do not have siblings or still have them.  Again, no matter how strained the relationship might be, as long as their is a breath left in both of them, nothing is impossible.  But once that possibility is gone forever, it is a hole that can never be filled again.  And a bitter pill to swallow.  Especially for a person who deep down believes they can do or be or make or fix anything.

I have at times done my best to stay on track and give you something to read if you pass this way.  Other times, I just couldn’t.  Nothing came to me.  I was stagnant and not doing anything worth sharing.  I have tried to give myself deadlines and daily writing assignments but always somehow found a way to let myself off the hook.  I am lenient that way 🙂 I have started and stopped book clubs and reviews, movie reviews, cooking projects, craft projects and like everyone else hopes a new season,  Spring 2011 will somehow be the time for me to stay on course.  Keep my nose to the grindstone and contribute to the blog world.  If for no other reason than I love visiting other people’s blogs and know from your emails and comments, some of you like visiting mine.  It’s almost like I invite you over for coffee and either left before you arrived or made a pot of joe, fixed your cup and then sat across the table from you staring through you like you weren’t there.  Not friendly or friend like.  And certainly not very hospitable considering your time is at least as valuable as mine.

Food for one thing is looked at in a completely different light.  Being born and raised in the South, everything we did, planned, hoped, bought, every party, celebration, gathering started with a menu.  From birth to death, meals were the center of attention.  Well, combine my list of food allergies and now gluten intolerance and wow, talk about being put in the back seat.  How about just go ahead and put the subject the trunk?  NOW, Jerry is trying his hardest to be diabetic.  Just kidding. He’s really trying hard not to be.  And it makes menu planning a whole new ballgame.  Those sugar heavy, gluten saturated baked goods are few and far between.  But we are learning.  He is much better about accepting the difference in the taste and more over, the texture of food than I am.   I mean come on, with catering for half my adult life, and loving to bake for my family, baked goods ranked real high of my list of Earthly pleasures.  But I am learning.  Not only to accept the differences but adapt our favorite recipes into things we can partake of.  Just a couple of weeks ago, I made gluten free,  “much reduced sugar” Chocolate Chip Cookies and they were not terrible.  Jerry said they were good.  I think he was just so hungry for something sweet his taste buds were off.  But they were edible and I have to realize gluten free and sugar free will never compete with the real things.  Ever.  But with proper quality  ingredients and a little will and skill, they can be pretty tasty.  And fill a void left by the real things.

So…what’s a gluten intolerant cookbook reviewer to do?  I tell you what.  Improvise.  Meet the challenge.  Walk in to the kitchen with a renewed attitude and make something great.  Over half our family is still happily eating like normal people so this means they shouldn’t be subjected to our restrictions.  Their villi and pancreas haven’t turned on them.  So, reviewing a brand new and amazing cookbook from Gooseberry Patch affords me the opportunity to not only cook something amazingly delicious for the majority of the household but develop something the other 2/5ths can eat and it also gives me the pleasure of sharing my adaptations with so many others who suffer with these restrictions as well.  I did a little of that adapting here and here.  And plan on doing all my reviews and trial recipes this way.  New challenges, new ideas…hey it’s Spring – start anew, right?  Yes, there will be more Gooseberry Patch news soon.  VERY soon and you don’t want to miss that.

Thanks for continuing to come here, even in my absences.

Happy First Monday of Spring 2011 Everyone.



Mundane would be such an improvement.

I woke up to no water this morning.  Nothing frozen.  It’s not that cold.  Somehow the pump lost prime and evidently run until it was to hot to run any longer.  I don’t know what this means but I will be calling the well repairman at 7 a.m.  I don’t know what else to do.  I think this repair is out of my range of expertise. Not the way I wanted to start out this week.  Not. At. All.

Almost as disturbing as no water on a cold November Monday is something I ran across this morning while perusing the web and waiting to see if a cooling off period would somehow miraculously cause my well to work again.  No, the cooling off didn’t help and neither did the news I found.  The beloved Tasha Tudor raised a bunch of ingrates who are now behaving in such a way as to sully Ms. Tudor’s otherwise fine reputation.  While sitting here trying not to cry over my lack of water, I became close to being physically ill reading the account of the four heirs not only fighting over the will Tasha left and the validity of it, but they were fighting over Tasha.  Or her remains, as it were.  Yes, these people, grown people, fought over their mother’s remains.  Oh the things I wish I didn’t know.  Could it be the prize of $2.5 million, that as things are going, the lawyers will divide?  Could it be resentment for the lives they led growing up?  We all had a very romantic view of Ms. Tudor’s life and work but as most always, things are not as they appear.  One daughter, Bethany, lives in a mobile home, on food stamps and waiting to hear if she qualifies for government housing.  If her brothers and  sister have their ways, she will indeed qualify.

Of course I have googled for an hour this morning trying to see what has happened to this family and reflecting on how differently things went when my parents and Jerry’s parents passed.  I found articles all over the web from Salon to CBS News.  From the New York Times to the Burlington Free Press.  And all points in between.  How did I not know this?  I was stricken when she passed with a deep sense of personal loss for every time I looked a photo of Tasha, I saw my own beloved grandmother, BonDon.   I have written about BonDon before and what a mentor and influence she was in my life.  She and Tasha favored a little in looks and had that same spunky “just do it” personality.  No whining, no complaining, no consideration of how you felt about doing it.  If there was a task to be done, then just do it already! But I think maybe that is where the similarity stopped.  Evidently, Tasha was a much better author/artist than parent.  I think we can see that in the way things are going at present.  And these are not kids we are talking about.  People young enough that you could excuse some of their bad behavior by saying they haven’t lived long enough to deal with such things.  No these people are in their late  60’s!! For godsakes, their mother died and they fought over her ashes.  So clearly, this sibling rivalry, if you can even call it something so palatable, goes a little further than any monetary gain or loss on any of their parts.  I feel such a deep sense of disappointment this morning and I don’t know any of these people on any personal level whatsoever.  So many people loved and followed Tasha Tudor through the years. What a sad way to end things.

I could rehash all the things I read, many of which are definitely not opinions but facts since there are lawyers and judges and depositions and such but I won’t.  Just google Tasha Tudor Family Scandal and you will get all you can possibly stomach even if your day is going better than mine.  I will tell you however that your opinion no matter what it is of Ms. Tudor will likely change as you read.  We are never really what we seem to other people are we?  I try to be.  Sometimes it’s not a good opinion of me that people have.  I try to be myself at all times.  It’s just that my real self isn’t always nice.  Or sweet.  Or cooperative.  And you add to my real self, a hefty dose of depression and moodiness and I can be a handful . Or so I have been told 😉  November is really kicking my butt and it is only the 8th.  And frankly, I think I am holding up pretty well.  Especially considering my doctor and I are in the process of changing my anti-depressant.  I am not sure this was the best time.  My husband is gone, I have had to buy appliances, repair appliances (still no dishwasher until the 15th, unless you count my own two hands) and now the well.  The holidays are upon us and frankly, as much as I pretend not to, I find them very stressful.  Yet, I still have so much good in my life, I don’t want you to for one minute see my sharing as real honest complaining.  It isn’t.  I had the means to get new appliances and call a repairman for my dishwasher and now for my well.  So many don’t have that security.  Our family will have an abundance of food for the holidays and still have the means to buy gifts.  So I am grateful.  Just irritated and inconvenienced.  Trivial matters in the big scheme of things.

But back to what I started out to say when I brought up the Tudor family.  You really could not have asked for anything to go any smoother than any of the four of our parents funerals and dividing of their possessions.  None of them had a lot to divide but it all went without a hitch and as far as I know, everyone was happy with the way things turned out in regards to the inevitable task of dispersing worldly goods. I wonder if they had more, if that would have changed our behavior.  I want to think not. I want to hope not.  Jerry and I have joked that with six heirs our estate will not be worth dividing.  And I think I shall like to keep it that way.  I really don’t understand why or how heirs expect to inherit anything.  I have always thought whatever my parents had, the things they worked for, was theirs.  They didn’t owe me anything.  There were keepsakes I wanted but if there had not been one thin dime when they were gone, I wouldn’t have had ill feelings. And what little there was we divided equally three ways.  I also vowed years ago that I would never fight over it if any three of us disagreed about what to do when my parents were gone.   As it turned out, and just as I had hoped it would, not one of us wanted anything that wasn’t ours to have and never expected any less of each other than fairness and support for each other in our great loss.

I have a plan and I am hoping Jerry will go along.  Let us spend it all while we are alive.  And at the rate I am spending this time he is gone, that won’t be hard to do! Let us not leave enough that there is any chance or reason for any one of our children to be provoked into a dispute over what belongs to whom.  Hopefully by that time, they will all have busy fulfilled lives of their own and will feel like they are supposed to feel when they lose a parent.  Let them feel a loss, sadness, relief that the funeral is paid for ;).  They can have a big book garage sale and divide the proceeds equally after they pay for the signage and ad they took out in the paper.

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