Sunday, January 27, 2013

Do Buffalo Have Wings?

This one certainly does!  (You can pop on over to etsy and purchase this adorable art print from Welcome to the Doghouse!)

Of course, generally when I think of Buffalo with wings it's yummy, spicy and tongue tantalizing chicken legs that come to mind instead of bison flying high over the desert sands.  My brother lives in upstate New York so for Christmas this year Joshua and Karl sent us a super fun box filled with Buffalo items.  There was a fun magnet shaped like a yellow road sign with a buffalo on the top and the words "Caution Falling Snow" - (Buffalo is #9 in the nation for yearly snowfall, coming in at a staggering 93.6 inches a year!)  A Buffalo Sabers coffee mug, buffalo hot wing flavored pretzels and the best ever World Famous Buffalo Wing Sauce, in a kit!  
Yesterday seemed like the perfect day to break open that kit and get some wings in the oven.  I prefer to use drumsticks instead of wings, so now there's a bunch of chicken's rolling around without their legs but, hey, whatta ya gonna do?
Half a pan of spicy buffalo legs and half a pan of the regular, drenched in milk and rolled in seasoned flour for the wimpy, legs just dying to go in the oven.  
Forty-five minutes later a nice snack is served with a few sticks of celery, a side of chunky blue cheese, some alfredo noodles and an amber bottle of Mirror Pond beer.  

Delicious!  Maybe a nice bottle of Buffalo Wing Sauce can hop in the package every year, huh Joshua?   (0;

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lost & Found

Lost & Found 
By Jacqueline Sheehan

It's just a typical morning when Rocky hears a large thump in the upstairs bathroom.  When she goes to check on her husband, Bob, she finds him lying on the floor.  She attempts CPR until the paramedics arrive but Bob is pronounced dead of a heart attack at 42 years old.  Racked by grief and unable to cope with the normal everyday world, Rocky takes a year leave from her job as a psychologist at the local college and heads to an island off of the Maine coast that she visited with her family as a young child.

After arriving on the island, Rocky takes a part time job as an Animal Control Warden.  Tourist season has just ended and her first few jobs are collecting the stray dogs and cats that the summer people have abandoned as they left.   Rocky is still deep in grief, spending her sleeping time wandering through her dreams in a futile search to find her husband.  She meets a few of the locals; Tess, who has a rare and fascinating condition called synthesia;  (Synthesia is a condition where one sensation creates another, such as a sound is accompanied by the sensation of a color. ) Melissa is a teenage, anorexic neighbor girl and Isiah is Rocky's boss.  

Rocky gets a call that there is a large black lab outside one of the local restaurants scrounging through the garbage.  When Rocky arrives to round him up, she finds the dog with a primitive arrow in his shoulder.  She gathers him up and takes him to the vet.  When the dog is ready to be released, Rocky decides to bring him home as a foster dog until his owners can be found.  Taking care of the dog and helping to heal begins to heal Rocky as well.  Melissa meets and falls in love with the dog.  Could he help this troubled teen also?

When the dogs owner is found dead, questions arise as to what happened.  Could the owner of this loving dog actually have tried to kill him with an arrow before she took her own life?  

I enjoyed this book quite a bit and really loved the parts that were written from the dogs point of view.  It was a pretty light read that dealt with some hard issue's, but not in depth.  The early death of a spouse, anorexia, and  domestic violence were all touched on but only scratched the surface of most of these issue's.  The main character, Rocky, was written as a full-bodied character but the rest of the cast was pretty one-dimensional.  I would have really liked to get to know a few of them a bit better than we did.  All in all a good and light read.

This year I have joined the What's in a Name Challenge hosted by Beth at Beth Fish Reads.  This book meets the  "Lost or Found" category quite well, wouldn't you say?  This is a fun challenge.  I've participated in years past and it's always fun to read through the six categories and pick books from my TBR shelves that work for each category.  Not too late to join! Jump on over and sign up!

Edited:  How about a giveaway - Just leave a comment on this post to have a chance to win my copy of this book. will help me choose. 

Congratulations to Sheila of Book Journey, the winner of my copy of Lost & Found~ 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Four in the Woods

Robert Frost's classic poem tells us that when you come upon two paths in a road, or a FORK in the road, to decide carefully and choose which path you wish to take.  In my own wanderings through the woods recently, with Riff and a couple of dogs romping by my side, I came upon not a fork in the road but instead a FOUR in the woods.
There were four of us - two people and two dogs - I'm thinking that possibly that tree could count and stretched itself into a four when it saw us coming.  
Seriously though, the tree's in our woods have some incredible shapes and it's always a topic of conversation as to how they happened to grow that way.  
Here's another of my favorites from this particular path - a moss covered archway just waiting to let you pass into a magical forest world~

Road Not Taken
~Robert Frost 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same;

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Donkey Basketball

Donkey Basketball! Have you ever played? Watched?  
If not, you are so missing out!

It's March of 1983.  Outside it's getting dark and is cold and snowy.  You enter the high school through the double doors, stomping the snow off your feet on the black industrial carpets just inside the door.  Excitement is in the air as you pay your $1.50 and gain admittance to the Elgin High School gymnasium.  The old wooden bleachers are filling up quickly.  You spy your friends sitting up top and scramble over other spectators to get to them.  The chatter and laughter of a small town gathering surrounds you.   

There will be several games tonight, the first one between the teachers and the local volunteer firemen.  The teams mount their donkeys and the game begins.  Not at a fast pace mind you, as donkey's have a mind of their own.  Nothing is quite so funny as watching your math teacher trying to get his donkey to move down the court towards the proper basket when that donkey only seems to want to turn left-handed circles.  Wait, their goes Mr. Scoubes at a fast clip, basketball in hand. Will he make it?  Yay!  Score two points for the teachers.  Oops!  With a kick of the heels and a little braying action, one of the fireman is on the floor.  The crowd goes wild and the game heats up.  
On we go, with more players hitting the floor, donkeys that should be going down the court one way instead running in the opposite direction;  the crowd hooping and hollering.  

The whistle blows calling game three to a close and donkey basketball is over for another year.  Another successful fundraiser for the FFA organization.  The crowd once again struggles back in to their coats and hats and you say goodbye to your friends and head out the door.  

The sky is clear, stars sparkling in the dark sky as you walk the half a block to Grandma's house where you will be spending the night.  Grandma's watching tv and waiting for you to come in so she can go to bed knowing you're safe and sound.  She wants to know all about the game, so you chatter on until you're both worn out and can now drift off to sleep with pleasant dreams of another lively game in your head. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Football Brunch

A chilly Sunday, good friends, football playoffs and brunch was the perfect way to spend the day.  

Brunch is a meal between breakfast and lunch that has been around since the 1890's.  I love this description of brunch as a meal for the "Saturday night carousers", so they don't have to get up so early on a lazy Sunday.  Perfect!

Instead of England's early Sunday dinner, a postchurch ordeal of heavy meats and savory pies, why not a new meal, served around noon, that starts with tea or coffee, marmalade and other breakfast fixtures before moving along to the heavier fare? By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday-night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well. Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting. It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.
- Guy Beringer, "Brunch: A Plea," Hunter's Weekly, 1895
For our mid-morning fare, Sheila brought over two wonderful quiche pie's, bagels and the best ever lox.  Delicious!  In the January issue of Better Homes and Gardens, I had found a recipe that sounded incredible so when the idea of brunch and football came up, I raised my hand to make sweet potato biscuits with ham and red-eye gravy.  Yum!
Sweet Potato Biscuit Sandwiches 
with Ham and Redeye Gravy
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/3 cup butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
1/2 cup mashed cooked sweet potato
4 slices bacon
4 slices of 1/4" thick fully cooked ham
1 cup strong coffee
1/4 cup peach preserves
4 eggs, scrambled
Fresh Parsley

Preheat oven to 450.  
For sweet potato biscuits - in a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cream of tartar and cayenne pepper.  Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in cheese.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.  In a small bowl combine milk and sweet potato.  Add sweet potato mixture to flour mixture.  Using a fork, stir just until moistened.

Turn dough out on a floured surface.  Knead gently 10 to 12 strokes.  Pat or lightly roll dough to a 3/4 inch thickness.  With a biscuit cutter, cut out 8 biscuits.  Place 1 inch apart on a baking sheet.
Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until lightly browned.

Meanwhile in a large skillet cook bacon until crisp.  Drain on paper towels, reserving 1 Tbsp. bacon fat in skillet.  Add ham to skillet;  cook for 5 minutes or until well-browned on both sides.
Start your scrambled eggs!  (I almost forgot that part until it was too late but squeezed them in at the last minute!)
  Add coffee to skillet with the ham, stirring to scrape up any browned bits.  Simmer, uncovered, until coffee just begins to thicken and glaze the ham. 

Split biscuits and top the bottoms with ham, scrambled eggs, bacon and parsley.  Spread a bit of the peach preserves on the top half of your biscuit.  Put your sandwich together; grip it with two hands; raise it to your mouth; take a bite; close your eyes and savor.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Wallpaper Woe's

January seems like a good time for some freshness on the walls.  Somewhere along the line, a previous homeowner had put up wallpaper in the dining room with a border that runs through the kitchen.  It's certainly not the worst wallpaper you've ever seen but it is time for it to go.  
Our dining room is really small, really just a dining space on your way through to the kitchen.  Here are a couple of pictures taken yesterday morning before I got started.
Never having removed wallpaper before and it being such a small space, I envisioned a couple of hours of removing the paper, throwing up a layer of primer and getting some paint on the walls.
Here's the little strip where I had found a seam and wanted to take a peek behind.  It peeled back pretty easily so I thought, "Hey, this is going to be easy!"
A friend from work told me she had a Bissell Steam Shot that was supposed to work pretty well for removing wallpaper, even had a scraper attachment for just that purpose, so I borrowed it and got to work.  Now, I know that borrowing someone's tools is never a good idea.  It always seems that when we have a borrowed tool, something goes wrong and we end up buying a new one for them.  In this case, the stinking end piece actually MELTED because of the heat.  What the heck?  It's a steamer!! So just this morning here I am ordering a new attachment for my friends steamer.  Dang it!
I also was making really sloooooow progress so I decided to google and see what I was doing wrong.  (and now I needed to know how to remove wallpaper without a steamer.)  What I found was that wallpaper removal is not an easy task and requires time and patience.  Dang it!
My progress could have been hindered a little bit by the view from the big dining room window as well.  I'm distracted easily and there were so many birds out, a fishing boat or two floating by and weather pouring in over the bay.  
Riff was down in the laundry room fixing some plumbing and putting up new sheetrock where it had been torn down.  I had to stop my progress from time to time to check on him and make sure he was doing things correctly, now didn't I?

My googling had led me to a quick trip to Home Depot for a wallpaper scoring tool.  While there, a nice gentleman told me I was also going to need a gunk remover.  He said that this WP Chomp! is the best thing on the market and safe to use.  I brought home a bottle, scored my walls, soaked them and started to peel away.  The paper started coming off in much larger strips and much quicker.  I certainly didn't finish but using this stuff is going to be much quicker than trying to use the steamer.  Yay!  
One day, when I get this "quick" project done, I'll show you an after picture.  In the meantime, here is my inspiration room, from Pinterest of course!
(though the green paint I'm envisioning is going to be quite a bit lighter than the green in this room.)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Turn the Page...Wednesday

Happy January and thanks so much for joining me over her at Rainy Night Cottage! A fresh calendar on the wall and a fresh new blog that has yet to be defiled...Yay!

For our 2012 Turn the Page...Tuesday challenge, Adrienne has tossed out the glove.  This year she would like us to continue to pull those dusty books off of our To-Be-Read shelves and on top of that to read something each month that has been turned into a movie - and then watch the movie. Sound like fun?  Jump right in - you can find the details over at Some of a Kind~

To start the year off, I read Call of the Midwife by Jennifer Worth. This book was given to my by a friend and was such a good read!
I really loved this book and the people in it, from the midwife's to the expecting mothers and everyone in between. Author Jennifer Worth takes us to 1950's London where she lived in a convent and worked as a midwife in the docks district of a city that was still torn up from the war. This is a fascinating memoir written beautifully like a novel. Through Jennifers eyes, we watch as she rings the big bell at Nonnatus House, meeting Sister Monica Joan, an elderly nun whose mind seems to be slipping a bit. We meet and fall in love with Chummy, the newest midwife who comes from a priveledged background and must learn how to ride a bike before she can be sent out on her calls. When Jennifer is sent to Conchita Warren's house she thinks that paperwork must be wrong. There is no way this beautiful Spanish woman can be carrying her 24th child, is there? But it is true, and a year later we ride the thickly clogged streets of a smoggy London along side Jennifer as she rushes to Conchita's side for the very premature delivery of baby #25. She takes us along to meet Mrs. Jenkins, an elderly lady living in terrible conditions who spent much of her adult life in a workhouse for the poor. 

There is so much to this story - times that will make you cry and laugh and cover your mouth in shock. It was absolutely wonderful and highly recommended. 

This book has been turned into a BBC series.  I tried to get it on Netflix but it says there is a loooong wait, so once I get the first disc, I'll let you know how it is.  Looking forward to it!

Next, I pulled a dusty one of the shelves - The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier had been lounging around on my shelf for a year or so.  I had picked this one up at our local Goodwill because I really liked the other books by this author that I had read.  This one was good, but definitely not my favorite of her books~
It's 1490 Paris and painter Nicholas des Innocents has been summoned to the home of self-made Nobleman Jean Le Viste to discuss a commission. Nicholas is a portrait painter, usually dealing in miniatures of ladies, so he is surprised when Le Viste requests paintings of a battle to be used as patterns for several large tapestries. When Le Viste's wife, Genevieve de Nanterre, hears of the tapestries, she takes Nicholas aside and persuades him to instead make paintings that include unicorns and, on top of that, to convince her husband that this is what he really wants. Nicholas is a randy fellow with always an eye out for the ladies. When he takes a liking to the young Le Viste daughter, Claude, he is sent away to Brussels to work with the weavers who are making the tapestries and Claude is sent to a convent to wait out the time until her betrothel to a nobleman chosen by her father. 

This is a wonderfully imagined story of the history of these beautiful tapestries and the people who commissioned them, the artist who painted them and the weavers who made them. My favorite characters are the weavers in Brussels; the family of Georges de la Chapelle. They were real, down to earth and extremely hard workers who had a healthy love and respect for each other as the noble people of the story did not. I loved how the author showed us the skill it took to weave these wonderful works of art and how she took a piece of art that little is know about and made a story about it and the people that is truly believable. It could have been...

So what have you been reading?  Pop over to Adrienne's place at Some of a Kind to join in the fun and to see what is on other's nightstands!