Sunday, October 30, 2011

Feeding the sofa

My Date and Nut Bread turned out nicely.  I will make this again and you can find the recipe here:  It has a nice crunchy top crust from the sugar I sprinkled on it.  I made a mini loaf for my dearest Momma!
Last night after we had that delicious Taco soup, the Professor was sitting at the table to do his Bible study lesson.  He looked so cute with his reading glasses on, I had to take a picture!
The Professor announced that April, who lives under the dining room table most of the time, needed to "get her some Jesus" and we all listened to Pastor Professor read his Bible lesson out loud.  April promptly began to bark in tongues and Rose began to chow down on all the manna that fell from Heaven. So goes a typical Saturday night in the Lilac Thicket!

This morning my Beloved let me sleep until 11:00am!  I was up around 6am, let April inside and I sat up on the sofa wrapped in a sheet trying to let my sinuses drain.  Doesn't that sound like fun?  So my day has been expentially shorter then ususal, meaning no stitching done.

So I am sitting here typing away as the Professor fixes himself some rice and then spoons the Taco Soup over it.  He walks into the frontroom, sits the overfull bowl on the sofa cushion and walks back to the bedroom.  When he comes back he finds a nice large red wet spot on our blue and white gingham check sofa.  I mean who could ever imagine something like that happening...right?!  I was SO thrilled he decided to finally feed the sofa, it had been begging for something good to eat for a long time now.  In the long list of dumb things he has  done, this is the topper!  Spraying the flies on the window with bleach water because it "eventually" killed them, was a good one.  Oh and there was the other day when he failed to stop at a four way stop and almost wiped out a car and a pick up truck...that was heart stopping.  And the day we hunted for 2 hours for Rose because she was no where to be found, except in the basement where I asked him if he had looked and he said "yes". Let's not forget all of the items he has broken, believe it or not, the broom 3 days ago, the handle snapped it half.  I have had the broom 8 years or so, and it worked just fine, 8 months with the Professor and it is broken.  But this one with painting the sofa red with tomato really upset me.
Well my gentle readers, I really wanted to report on my baking success with the Date and Nut Bread and I will keep you in the loop as far as if the sofa enjoyed the Taco Soup too.  God Bless Us Everyone!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pawing thru the Thrift Shop

You know you are home when you don't want to be any other place in all the world.  Home is always the most beautiful place in the world, it is also filled with the friendliest people on the face of the planet.

Home is where you feel comfortable and safe.  Home is where all of your beloveds live, 2 legged and 4 legged.  At home the autumn colors are the most beautiful, the flowers smell the sweetest and the birds sing the prettiest.  I love my autumn colors and they really are the prettiest right here in my own neighborhood.  I think Dorothy said it best..."there's NO place like home!"

It is definitely autumn, one day warm and the next two, cool.  There still hasn't been any rain to speak of.  I have chicken thighs and legs cooling after I cooked them in a pot.  I am going to shred them and make some Taco Soup!  I forgot to get the green chili's for the soup when I was at MY HyVee this morning  so we will have to suffer without it.  I did manage to spend 135.00 though and I know with prices today, that doesn't take much. Getting back to the Taco Soup, one of the lovely managers at work suggested it to me and I thought it sounded yummy!  My one and only truest love (the Professor, just in case you were wondering) doesn't like soup and stews.  I suppose it doesn't suite his Royal, Caribbean Princely upbringing, but he will have to suffer because I am not in the mood for ketchup with anything.

I am thinking I want to bake a pumpkin or date nut bread but that shall be tomorrow I think.  And horror of horrors, there are NO cookies, so maybe I will make some oatmeal cookies.  I know what you're thinking, when did this girlish girl become SO domestic?  Well it happened April 5th around 1pm when I picked up the Professor at Kansas City International and brought him the Thicket to begin a life of domestic bliss with me.  Well "bliss" maybe a very over stated word for learning how to live with one another without ripping each other's face off.  We have been doing better, it has been over 2 weeks since we blew the roof off and THAT IS a new Lilac Thicket record!
I want to introduce you to my "older sister", Hip Hop Dot.  This is her at work saving another life with her caring and loving ways.  We met when I was her mentor during her training 5 or 6 years ago.  She is an amazingly creative and talented woman.  She cooks, she sews, she crochets, she draws, she is a fashion guru and she is my Catholic sister.  I love her so much.  We trade recipes and we show off our projects to one another and when I need advice or just love, Hip to the Hop Dot is always there for me.  I am blessed to have her in my life.  Every girl needs a big sister like her.

Speaking of work, I applied for a new position at work and I was selected for it.  I will be working off the phones, but in a department that makes sure all the different phone queues are cleared, moving representatives around in those queues, scheduling breaks and trainings and lots of other phone support activities to keep our call center humming along.  I am beyond thrilled, excited and anxious to begin learning.  I will be moving to another part of the call center, away from the team I have been a part of for the past 4 years.  I applied for this same position 6 years ago and was not selected, but this time God knew it was right for me.  I start in 2 weeks, I can't wait.  This has definitely been the year that God said, "it's yours my Beloved daughter...your dreams all of them I am granting!"  Thank you Lord for giving me all my heart's desires!
After taking the Professor to church and after spending all that money at my HyVee, I went to the Thrift Shop.  I found the above pictured plates, dinner size, $1.00 and I am thinking pretty plates to put holiday goodies on to give as gifts or take to work.  When I got them home I was disappointed that one has a small chip in it but...oh well.
Now normally I wouldn't have paid $3 for the above book however it had a set of nice cross stitched ornament patterns in it and I thought you CAN'T find one pattern for $3 any more so it came home with me. 
I ran across these darling decorated cookies in the same book.  Aren't they cute? 
And here is the picture of the page with the cross stitch ornaments.  I think they are wonderful!  Well worth the price, at least to me.  Not only that, there are recipes I want to look at a little more closely in there. 
So here is the find of the trip.  I got this Shepherd's Bush kit, pattern, silk floss, cotton floss, charm, beads, needle and floss holder for, hold on to your seats...$2.50!  It is the design "Winter Moon"!  Love it, love the price better!  Great deal, am I right? 
This single blue bowl was 25¢ and it is deep and it will work well for soup or cereal but I was thinking of photography, when I take a picture of something I bake or cook, it will photograph better.  Plus the single cotton pillow case with the pretty lacy trim was 50¢. 
The picture is a bit blurred but I love these kind of fund raising cook books.   This one is from 1984 and I looked through some of it while I was waiting for the love of my life to come out of church.  This isn't printed on a computer, the pages are type written!  There are some good sounding recipes, Cake Mix Cinnamon Rolls,  Cox's Best Buttermilk Rolls, Strawberry Bread, Old Fashioned Upside Down Cake (with peaches instead of pineapple), Chocolate Applesauce Cake, Fern's Coffee Cake (who's Fern?), Black Oil Cake, The Best Sugar Cookie You Ever Ate (uses 5 cups of flour!), Cherry Mash Candy and on and on!  If any of these sound good and you want the recipe before I make them, leave me a comment with your e-mail and I will send it to you.
Well I suppose I have stalled long enough and I need to get that chickie pooh pooh shredded.  I was sort of hoping to stitch some today and will if the good light holds out.  I hope all my gentle readers are enjoying their autumns.  I pray for all of you to be happy and content!  God Bless Us Everyone!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Flyboy ghostie captured on film

Good morning my dearest friends and kindred spirits.  I wanted to share a really cute picture I took.  A local restaurant has an airplane on their roof.  Taking the Professor to work last week I saw the jack o'lantern sitting on top of the cockpit, I hope the ghost isn't a ghost of a previous pilot of the plane, maybe I should call TAPS for a paranormal investigation!

I posted another favorite recipe Stuffed Spud Soup at my recipe blog here:  The wind is blowing in cold weather and this is a fabulously rich and filling soup to keep your innards warm and toastie!

Also Maryse on her French blog is offering a 2012 Stitch-along and you have to register for it by e-mail.  I love her designs so I sent her off an e-mail.  You maybe interested (Ms Linda Lee) and I would sign up asap as she may only offer it for a limited number of people.  Here is the link to her blog:  You may have to translate it to read it.

Professor and I went out driving last night.  He has really improved on driving the clutch.  He only stalled out twice at a slight incline at one of the stop signs.  A policeman pulled up and asked if everything was okay.  I told him "he's learning the clutch".  The cop laughed and said "carry on".  Poor Professor, he was all tongue tied and nervous, bless his heart.  He has an interview tomorrow morning with the local school district.  Please say a prayer for him.  We need this badly.

Please also I am asking you for special prayers for a dear friend, her husband is terminal with bladder cancer and his battle is almost over. 

I need to close for today, and my parting words are Peace, Love and Cross Stitch!  God Bless Us Everyone!

Monday, October 24, 2011

As I promised, 2 thumbs up

Professor gave the Banana Bread two huge thumbs up.  I laid down for a nap and when I got up I was glad I had taken a picture of the loaf pre-nap.  He took a huge hunk of it.  He makes me laugh, but I am so glad he likes it because it was made for his enjoyment.  I was not so thrilled with it.  It doesn't taste like the Amish Banana bread I bought a while back, so I will keep trying recipes until I find "the" one.  The recipe is here:
I have been bothered by the fact I don't have decorative sugar to sprinkle on my breads and cookies.  After taking the Professor to work this morning, I stopped at Hobby Lobby and had fun looking at all the cake and cookie decorating items.  I found this pearl colored sugar crystals.  I will show you when I make my cookies again.   
I barely stitched yesterday.  It seems I was up and down in the chair but what I did stitch is clearly visible in the above picture if you compare it with last weekend's picture below.  Those few red stitches to the left of the needle are new.  It isn't much but it is something. 
I really don't want to go but I have to pack up a quick lunch of cauliflower in cheese sauce and some toast to take to work.  My sister-in-law made it and left it for me at my Mom's.  We ran over to Mom's house to pick it up and she had a chicken dinner ready for us to eat with her.  That was unexpected and when we did get home I laid down and slept until 9p.m.  The Professor had wanted to go out and practice driving the clutch and I feel pretty bad about missing that.  Maybe tonight we can go out for a bit.

Well gentle readers, I send you lots of love and prayers for a wonderful week.  Enjoy your autumn days as the cold snows of winter will soon be here!  God Bless Us Everyone!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


We have the smell of baking banana nut bread wafting through the Lilac Thicket this afternoon.  It smells like heaven.  If it gets the Professor's 2 thumbs up I will share the recipe.  I found a bag full of over ripe banana's for 99¢ on Thursday morning at my HyVee and I knew that my dear and darling husband wouldn't touch them.  I beat them all up and then measured out ½ and 1 cup portions of them and tucked them in the freezer for my next venture in banana cooking, maybe a cake or cookies!  I have been skimming through my cookbooks for a Date Nut bread recipe.  I found one in a 1962 Good Housekeeping cookbook.  I will give it a whirl later.

I want to make some chili and have the hamburger thawing on the counter.  I love chili and there are SO many ways to use it.  I am thinking lunch at work!
The Professor and I travelled 543.9 miles in two days!  We drove down through Joplin and hit Arkansas, swung east and went through Eureka Springs and then headed north up US 65 to Branson.  We spent the night in Branson, we is poor as church mice so we took in nothing but the motel room.  We did have a lovely view!  Yesterday morning we headed out at 9am and swung into a gas station only to see:
Well my heart just about stopped but they didn't open for another hour and I really didn't have money to spend so we resumed our trek home.  We jumped back on 65 north and hit Springfield, headed west for a moment or two and then took Missouri 13 to Missouri 7 until we ended up right by the Professor's church.  We were a hop, skip and a jump from home.  We wanted to make sure our Orphanstinkels were okay.  We had left them with access into the garage with plenty of water, food and their sleeping cushions.  They did miss us and met us at the kitchen door.  Bless their little puppy hearts they didn't touch a morsel of food!

So the purpose of our trip was to view the autumn colors in the Ozarks.  What a disappointment!  Most of the trees were still green, in fact our trees here are more colorful!  We did very much enjoy our road trip and the Professor got to see some of his new home, Missouri.

South of Joplin we took a wrong turn and found:
The Professor has admired George Washington Carver for a long time.  He read about him when he was younger and Carver had really impressed the Professor.  You know there is no such thing as luck, we had no idea this monument was there and this really was the highlight of the trip for the Professor.
This the furniture that Carver retired to each night, the bed the quilt, the steamer trunk the bed table and bible.
There were lots of exhibits with items Carver used in his studies and experiments.
This the cabin that Carver was born in.  It was quite small
There were lots of stones on the ground around the property with quotes of Carver.
There were busts and statues all over too!
Carver was fascinated by needlework, I mean who knew!  I think this is tatted, it is gorgeous!  This place was a wonderful place to visit.  It was crawling with home schooled children the day we were there.

We didn't take any pictures when we were in Eureka Springs Arkansas.  Highway 12 was a narrow 2 lane road this steep hills and hairpin turns for 50 miles or so.  There was no place to pull over to take pictures.  God as my witness the Ozark Hills are the most amazingly beautiful place, hillbillies are darn smart they settled there because to gaze morning, noon and eve at that magnificent creation of God seems darn ingenious to me.  The road on our right was a drop off with no or few guard rails.  The road on our left was a steep incline.  When there was a break in the trees I wanted to witness the beauty but was afraid to take my eyes off the road.

Branson was a very bustling place.  Traffic was horrible and it took me a while to find our HomeStay Branson Inn.  Our room faced the east and this is a picture from our motel door.  It was a pretty view.
On 13 North we did stop at an arm of Truman Lake which was right off the highway.
Pretty little wild flowers were growing in between the rocks there.
It was a beautiful day even if the lack of a smile on the Professor's face in this picture makes you think otherwise.  I mean he spent 48 hours non-stop with his lovely and entertaining wife, who could ask for more?

Tomorrow it is back to work and our lovely weekend comes to an end.  I hope you had a lovely weekend with your loved ones too!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Baking, Blessings and even some stitching

Autumn is creeping in here at the Lilac Thicket.  There are still a lot of trees that are green and we have had a few very chilly nights.  There hasn't been any rain in well over a month so everything is dry, dry, dry.  The squirrels are still gathering nuts and the leaves are blowing down the street into the Thicket.

This week has been a wonderful week, blessings around every corner.  I have been teaching the Professor to drive a clutch and he is getting the hang of it.  He likes to spin the tires and lay rubber at stop signs trying to get moving in first gear.  On my way to work Friday, I spied some tire marks on the pavement that he laid the night before.  It made me laugh.

The Professor is trying to get on in the local school district substitute teaching in hopes that it would help him get his foot in the door for a full time position.  He just sprung on me the idea of him going to South Korea to teach for six months for $12,000.  That is a big no from me, I don't think that is such a terrific idea.

I stitched today!  I have discovered the light in the master bedroom is terrific during the day to stitch in.  I pulled my computer chair in there and spread everything out on the bed and stitched!  It felt good!

I made some Lemon Bars and they are okay but I won't make them again unless the Professor requests them.  He really likes them but the ingredients aren't cheap, lemon curd about $4.50 and the angel food cake cake mix about $2.00.  They are dense and the edges are hard and a bit dry.

I also made some Amish Sugar Cookies.  They are really good.  I would have liked to put a brightly colored sugar on top but I couldn't find my decorative sugars or my food coloring to make some.  This recipe I will make again and the Professor gives them 2 Caribbean thumbs up.  The cookie and the lemon bar cookie recipes are both on my Cooking with the Lilac Thicket and that link is up at the top on the right.

This upcoming weekend the Professor and I are going to take an overnight trip down to the Ozarks to view the beautiful autumn colors.  He is excited and I am too!  This will be the first overnight trip we have taken together.  I intend on taking plenty of pictures!

The Professor had a busy day.  He went and played football at church and even made a touch down!  He explained he was open and they threw him the ball and were all surprised at how fast he could run!  I married a football legend, the first Caribbean native EVER to do something quickly!  He came home and he raked the leaves with the proper canine supervision of Rose, as witnessed by the above picture.  When he came in I made him shower as he was a stinker and surprised when I pointed out his stinkiness.  Why is it men never smell their own oh-dare?

You need to go to the above link and get this freebie, it is darling and I love the chicken scratch on the orange gingham!

Well it is Sunday night and I am tired so I am going to close this Thicket update and get ready for the feathers.  God Bless us, everyone!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Dear Grandma Mertie and Grandpa Willie

I am your great grand daughter!  I know you know who I am because you are both in heaven now and can see everything, in fact I was with you in heaven before I was born to your Grandson Dickie and his lovely wife Myrtle.  I know you were very pleased your grandson married a lady with the same name as you!
Your daughter Mildred gave me all of her letters and pictures when I went to Chicago many years ago and when I was looking for something this weekend I ran across the last letter you wrote to your daughter.  I read it and this very wonderfully warm and familiar feeling came over me.  You see some 25 years ago I was very actively researching my genealogy, my family tree and I felt so connected to every family member I "found". 

Grandma Mertie, your family intrigued me so much, probably because they moved to Missouri in 1826 and I love Missouri.  For a young lady who never felt like she belonged anywhere, she felt instantly safe and at home in Missouri.  Even though I live on the Western part of the state and you were born and raised on the Eastern side of the state, I felt that bond strongly.  I wish so that I could talk with you and your parents and grandparents about all the Stovall, Standiford and Board families.  About the slaves your Grandpa Jefferson Board owned and why he came to Missouri from Virginia.  I want to know how he is related to Thomas Jefferson, I think through marriage but I am not sure.  I have so many questions and that isn't why I am writing this but I am curious and genuinely interested in the smallest details about you and Grandpa Willie's life. 

I think I am very much like your daughter Mildred.  I like to cook and sew and do needlework.  I recently was given and old iron and I think it may have been yours!  My youngest brother, he looks most like your dear grandson Dickie and I think Dickie looks like Mildred. 

Life now is so different then when you were alive.  I work outside the home and you wouldn't even recognize the lives we lead today.  You talked in your letter about "Bachelor's Children".  I did a little research and found it was a radio soap opera and it was on for 15 minutes each day.  I wish I could hear one episode of your program but alas, I don't think there is one around anymore.  Soap operas are on television which is like a movie box that every home has now a days.  They are also in color, not black and white. 

Yesterday was my day off from work and I wanted to stay home and bake but instead I was running all day long, or so it seemed.  I took my husband up to his church to join in a flag football game.  Grandma and Grandpa, I call him "Professor", which isn't his real name but I would have loved to have watched him play American football.  The Professor is from Guyana, a Caribbean country located on the Northeast shore of South America.  He loves tennis and track and field, not American football, so you understand why I might have been amused by his attempts.

When my dear husband was done he called me and I went to pick him up.  I am teaching him how do drive a manual transmission, all cars today are automatics, you don't have to shift the gears.  Well he drove from church to Mom's down the back roads.  He did quite well.  Then we drove over to Brother 1's house so my husband to assist in carrying up a new stove into the house.  I went back over to Mom's and sat and was entertained by my great great niece....
Princess Wiggle Wiggle! She is 2½ years old, she is not blood related but she is related because her Great Grandmother married my youngest brother. I am sorry to tell you but none of Dickie's children had children so the line stops here. But we love the Princess dearly.
She is full of energy and curiosity and love! Here is Dickie's wife, with the Princess. Love is grand isn't it.
Well Grandma Mertie and Grandpa Willie, this wasn't exactly how I thought this letter would go but isn't that the way of letters?  I will have to tell you about the wonders of a lap top computer when I write again.  Until then I pray that you will watch over my family and friends and I, we sure do need a lot of help these days.  I wish I had known both of you, I think I am a great deal like you.  All my love, Sandi Jo

PS:  The first picture of the pumpkins I took with a digital camera!  Can you imagine color photographs without having to buy film?  Yup, it is wonderful, isn't it!

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Prophets predict...mur-r-r-der-r-r!

And another weekend is history, how fast all of the weekends go by.  The weather a bit crisper at night, which fires off the furnace a few times during the night.  I love this time of year....and more and more trees are turning colors every day.

This weekend the Lilac Thicket was filled with wonderful baking smells and the kitchen was a hive of activity. I would have to say that my weekend was filled with the kind of enjoyable homebody activities I always wanted it to be.  It filled me with great joy and satisfaction.

Friday evening I got off work 3 hours early so that I could accompany the Professor to a seminar at his church.  I met his Pastor and the Principle at the school where he volunteers 3 days a week.  The seminar was interesting and we went home and watched a little Investigative Discovery (I am learning how dispose of someone without detection, so better stay on my good side) and we went to bed!
Saturday I took the Professor to church and came home to wash the dishes, sort laundry, make the bed and gather some ingredients together to make Hip Hop Dot's Peanut Butter Cookies.  On the way back to retrieve the Professor I stopped at the grocery to pick up a few needed items.  I took a few pictures because they had the cutest autumn display in front of the store and the lightening was great. 
So as the Caribbean Prince slept I was banging, dropping and damning as I spent most of the afternoon with the cookies.  I gave up trying to keep the dishes washed (I am a messy baker) and they piled up.  Hip Hop Dot's Peanut Butter cookies are best when eaten the next day.  Warm they are disappointing and cooled they are better but I could taste the lard and was upset I hadn't used shortening.  But after they sat overnight they were superb.  I want to get some of the bigger, decorative sugar crystals to sprinkle on top because I think it would look and taste better then granulated sugar.  Professor loves them.  He asked who they were for, because I usually bake stuff to take to work, I told him they were for us!  Oh there was that big smile of his that I love!  He told my Mom it reminded him of Saturdays when he was a child and his mother bustled around the kitchen all day cooking and baking.  I think that was the best compliment.
I did make a Parmesan Chicken and a Black Kettle copy cat recipe for Pasta with Butter/Garlic sauce.  I didn't like either one, the pasta was okay but I didn't like the chicken.  I won't share those recipes because they don't have the Girlish Girl two pink thumbs up.  The Prince wasn't overly impressed either and offered me cooking tips, thankfully that didn't involve ketchup.

We got cleaned up to go back to his church for another installment of the Biblical Prophesy seminar.  It started out okay but then it took an ugly turn down a very wrong street.  I almost was able to use some of my "bury the body without detection" techniques.  The illustrious speaker "showed" through Scripture in Daniel and Revelation that the Catholic Church is the Anti-Christ, the Beast!  Well, pictures of my beloved Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul were flashing up on the screen and I felt my anger swelling up within me and this fellow sitting on the opposite side of the church and to our front kept turning around and staring at me.  I think he could see the daggers which I know were flying fast and furious at the speaker.  The Professor did not say a word although he turned to look at me a couple of times.  I wanted to leave with a dramatic flair but God impressed on me quietness and as we left, I walked quickly and determinedly through the vestibule.  A couple of people tried to speak to me like the Pastor and some woman but I did not acknowledge nor look at them.  I was upset and angry and I felt like I would do physical harm to such ugly, stupid people.  The Professor followed me out quietly and we got in the car and he kept making idle talk, rubbing my back as I drove home.  I make a solemn promise...I will NEVER step foot in that church ever again!

When we got home we popped a movie in the VCR and pulled out the sofa bed and laid down all snuggled up and watched "Paul".  It was sort of a fun movie, if you can get over the fact that an alien from another planet swears like a sailor.  We fell asleep and woke up in the middle of the night and moved to our real bed, that sofa bed is horrible.
Sunday I baked my Pumpkin Dump Cake and I read, we watched "Rio", which was really cute.  I loved the colors of the birds and the music.  I washed about a million dishes and pans. We went over to Mom's to return her hack saw and I took her the first piece of Pumpkin Dump Cake and some Hip Hop Dot Peanut Butter cookies.  We visited for a little bit with her and Brother 2.  Came home and made dinner, "Hearty Chicken Pie".  It was really good, even Professor enjoyed it.  Here's the recipe:

Hearty Chicken Pot Pie

1-package (16 ounces) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1-cup cut-up cooked chicken
1 can (10¾ ozs) condensed cream of chicken soup
1-cup Original Bisquick® mix
½ cup milk
1 egg

Heat oven to 400ºF. Mix vegetables, chicken and soup in ungreased 2-quart casserole. Stir remaining ingredients in small bowl with fork until blended. Pour into casserole. Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until crust golden brown.

I used cream of mushroom soup, diced up a couple of small red potatoes and added more chicken, I cubed up 2 chicken breasts from the Parmesan Chicken the night before and put it in an 8"x8" square pan.  Professor liked a lot.
As I leave you because I need to get ready to go to work, I hope you have a blessed autumn day.  Take a moment to just thank God for the beauty of the lovely autumn day and thank him for helping me stay out of prison for murder.  God Bless Us Everyone.