Bunnies and Birthdays

Brent and I have been in the Olympia, Washington area celebrating our granddaughter’s second birthday. We especially enjoyed this visit because our daughter-in-law’s parents were able to be there, too.

Mommy Heather had some super cute ideas for the birthday cake and party. We all pitched in for the fun prep work. Observe the goateed “Celebrity Chef” as he assists with cake batter production.

Heather’s mom made the frosting. Later, Brent assembled and frosted the cake. Can you tell it’s a tree trunk? Heather placed a candy “bunny butt” as if the little guy were diving into his burrow beneath.

 

 

The men soon got the grill going, and before you know it, some neighbors arrived with little friends for the kids to play with.

 

 

 

After a yummy lunch, it was time for Daddy to light the candles. This appears to be a matter of some concern for Birthday Girl and her brother.


Everyone had a great time visiting, playing, and relaxing.

Thanks for coming to the party with me! I only wish I could have saved you some cake.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

PS: I’ll tell you about our other adventures next time.
jj

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A Meme… Who, Me?

It all started when I dropped by the grocery store for a few items. Some soft drinks and fresh vegetables, including a head of red cabbage. Normally I tie the grocery bags closed, but was in a bit of a hurry…

When I got home, I opened the hatch and started laughing.

Of course I took a photo, and later sat down to embellish it with text, the way I see those funny memes done all the time. It took some trial and error, but this low-tech lady figured it out and, voila!

A meme, by little ol’ me!

So as a public service, let me warn you to be careful how you load groceries in the back of your car. Otherwise…

Thanks for reading,
Jan

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More Food Impostors

Last month I published a scathing exposé revealing the startling news that, when cooked and mashed, cauliflower is still… cauliflower. Not potatoes or bread.

I’ve since uncovered even more food fraud, and am back to warn you.

First, take almond “milk.” If you want a whitish, more-or-less opaque liquid to mellow your coffee or blend into a shake, almond milk can certainly do the job. I also like it on cold cereal (on the rare occasions when I eat cereal). I’ve even sipped it from a glass, like dairy milk.

But don’t think it will taste like dairy milk, for the simple reason it isn’t dairy milk.

Coconut “flour” is another example. I bought a package to try. Instructions say to substitute it for 20% of the flour in baked goods.

Trust me, grinding coconut meat to a very fine meal does not make it taste like ground wheat. The only metamorphosis is that it turns any type of cookie into a macaroon.

And what about spaghetti squash? I really enjoy the stuff: steamed, pulled from the shell and slathered with garlic butter, salt, and Parmesan cheese. And yes, it resembles cooked angel hair pasta in color and shape. But for me, traditional meat-and-tomato sauce just tastes “wrong” on the squash.

Oddly, though, I find meat sauce delicious over other veggies, like eggplant and zucchini. But I don’t “spiralize” those veggies to fake myself into believing they are pasta. For one thing, I’d like to see someone trying to spiralize a raw eggplant. It would be like forcing packing peanuts through a pencil sharpener. As for zucchini, I’d think the fine shreds would be watery. I just sauté thick slices and pile on the sauce.

As near as I can figure, experimenting with different combinations is fun, but you can’t expect a new shape to change the basic taste or texture of a food.

After all, a packing peanut is still a packing peanut.

Bon appétit!
Thanks for reading,
Jan

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THR3E, by Ted Dekker

image credit: teddekker.com

I thought I’d shared this book with you ages ago, but just discovered I haven’t said a word about it.

THR3E is over ten years old, one of Ted Dekker’s earlier works. It’s the first book of his that I read, and still my favorite.

This psychological thriller traces the bizarre events plaguing Kevin, a seminary student. An unseen enemy calling himself “Slater” bullies him by phone. Slater’s demands increasingly threaten Kevin and those he cares about.

The plot twists and suspense kept me glued to my chair, turning pages at top speed. The action is intense and occasionally a bit grisly, but this Great Weekend Read packs a powerful punch.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

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Sunset

I’m heading straight into my sixties. Certain people (notably, people who call me “Mom”) will likely make “over the hill” jokes.

Don’t worry about me, though. I don’t see the problem with growing older.

After all, everything is more beautiful in the light of sunset.

Normally a deep cranberry red, these crape myrtle blossoms glow in the sunset.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

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Road Trip!

I already told you about experiencing the total solar eclipse, but that took place over just a tiny fraction of our “bucket-list” trip to Missouri. There were more adventures…

On the drive up…

I let Brent in on my personal find: the Dutch Pantry in Chouteau, Oklahoma. This home-cookin’ buffet with mismatched plates and to-die-for desserts is now his favorite road-trip restaurant. I suspect he will plan his next drive to Wyandotte, Oklahoma around it.

The minute we set foot in Sedalia, we hit Kehde’s Barbecue, which I told you about in May. It was lunchtime, they were swamped, and we settled down for a long wait. But a lovely couple who had arrived several minutes ahead of us sent a hostess out to invite us to share their table. I hope these sweet people enjoyed the impromptu party as much as Brent and I did.

While we stayed in Sedalia…

First thing after lunch, we drove out to the little cemetery where my mom is now buried in the family plot. Seeing her inscription on the back of her parents’ marker felt bittersweet.

We’d booked a room at the historic Bothwell Hotel on the courthouse square. As you can tell by the lobby, this ain’t no fleabag joint.

This elegant ladies’ lounge is on the mezzanine level.

We couldn’t help noticing the “Back to the Future” clock on the roofline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And speaking of the courthouse, we wandered inside to see how it compares to the one in my home town. We found it has a similar dignity, though not nearly as ornate as that of Anderson County, Texas.

Right there in the lobby was the door of the Deeds & Records office. We went in to find out what year my great-grandfather’s house was built. They said 1900, a suspiciously round number. I might be a tad skeptical.

Another discovery was the “Rails-to-Trails” bike trails, which start from this railroad station / visitor center / state park. Next time? We’ll bring or rent bikes!

Before we headed back to Texas, I took Brent a few blocks north of the hotel to visit the site of the night club where Scott Joplin got his start. This mural is across the street. On my visit in 2009, it was badly faded. Looks as if someone has touched it up!

I’m glad you joined me on my little road trip down memory freeway lane.

And as always,
Thanks for reading!
Jan

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We Have Lost the Coffee, by Paul Mathews

Image credit: Smile.amazon.com

Y’all, it’s almost getting to be annoying. In this third* book of his Kindle series, Paul Mathews puts his characters in the most hilarious, outrageous, unbelievable peril, and still makes me worry about them. Not to mention that whenever I rummage around home looking for stuff, I find myself murmuring things like “We Have Lost the Furniture Polish” or “We Have Lost the iPod.”

In this story, the Coffee Wars have left British citizens sadly brewing herbal tea and scrambling for caffeine if they hear of anyone who has a stash. Fortunately, the government built up a secret stockpile of coffee, which may need to be deployed…

…except the warehouse mysteriously gets cleared out overnight.

Howie Pond has to overcome caffeine withdrawal and brain fog to figure out what happened to the coffee. Of course, it would be an amazing stroke of genius if he could somehow help end the Coffee Wars once and for all.

Meanwhile, his journalist wife, Britt, is tracking down a mystery of her own–an obscure member of the exiled royal family has surfaced. Will her investigation and Howie’s intersect?

Howie and Britt shine in this episode, overcoming bureaucratic obstacles (some of them you’ll “fondly” recall from the earlier stories) with a little help from their allies.

You can visit Paul Mathews’ website here.

I hope you enjoy this wacky Great Weekend Read as much as I did.

* I’ve already recommended the first book, We Have Lost the President, and the second, We Have Lost the Pelicans.

Thanks for reading,
Jan

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