Friday, July 31, 2009

Quite possibly my new BFF:

The Swedish Princess found me making from-scratch brownies in the kitchen, and she gasped. (I know!) It was an exciting moment. She said it must have been at least three months since I'd made an actual home-made dessert (please). And then she said "usually it's just like go get some ice cream" (as if that were ever a problem). I found the inspiration for my need to bake here. Except, seriously, when I read the part of the recipe that said "Let stand overnight before cutting & serving " I did an about-face, and decided that part HAD to go. I guess that puts me in the instant gratification column, at least when it comes to chocolate. And desserts. And chocolate desserts. SO. I modified the recipe just a tad, and skipped a step (or two). And you have to know that I get a bit enthusiastic when it comes to my Dutch baking cocoa; so dark and rich. The recipe calls for 1/3 cup. Here's my version of that:

Yes. Make that a heaping 1/2 cup. For both the brownie part, and also the frosting part. There's no going back. (and if any of you know why, in my rush to capture the moment, my kitchen turns my pictures a yellow-ish hue, feel free to elaborate. The flash turns everything a shocking and stark white)

The recipe:

Cream together:

1/2 pound margerine (two sticks)

2 cups sugar

1/3 cup baking cocoa (read: 1/2 heaping cup)

add four eggs, beating well after each.

Mix in

1-1/2 cups flour

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla

Spread on a greased jelly roll pan and bake for 20 minutes.

Cool. (until you can't stand the wait)

then FROST with this:


1 stick margerine

1/3 cup cocoa (please.)

5 cups powdered sugar

4-5 TBSP milk

big truck night

Thursday, July 30, 2009


The days are slipping quickly off the July calendar. The long days are too short for me. Reading these three books in about three days time made short work of a tale long in character. I've loved Grandma Dowdel larger-than-life since the year 2001... I found the first two gems at the library, and gobbled them up. Then when I changed my name to Thelma and took a road trip with Louise to Tampa, we listened to these books on tape the whole way down and back. Funny! And touching. In A Long Way From Chicago, A Newbery Honor Book, Joey recounts his annual summer trips to small town Illinois with his sister during the Great Depression to visit their Grandmother. The second book, A Year Down Yonder, a Newbery Medal WINNER, takes place during the recession of 1937. Fifteen year old Mary Alice is sent to live witih her feisty grandmother and comes to a better understanding of this fearsome woman.

Thanks to THIS incredible book-loving blogger, I received the entire collection of Grandma Dowdel books (including the not-yet-released companion to the first two books) gratis! The third book, due out in September, is called A Season of Gifts. It was a gift. Louise: you can have it next.

Braces: Be GONE!


category: where we WANT to go...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Today we visited Andres Institute of Art in Brookline, NH.

Our purpose was to discover hidden treasure, but we enjoyed discovering treasures of all sorts.

We're not new to this creative and fun activity; just slow to return.

Today Mr. Dub went on leave from Scout Camp, and we really whooped it up! If you have to hike in the woods and look for hidden treasures, you might as well be wandering amongst sculptures! It was fabulous. And there were were, right in our own backyard.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Beach, Beach, Baby!

I woke up this morning longing for another bit of yesterday.

We drove two hours north
and spent the day at Lake Winnepesaukee in NH, and loved every relaxing minute. My eight-year-old even convinced me to swim out to the dock with her, where I judged several jumping and jiving, I mean diving contests.

Part of me wanted in on the grown-up Scrabble action, but I didn't want to miss the fun in the sand and water, so I casually and intermittently observed. I loved that my mom and my two sisters were there.
I missed it already so much this morning, that I had to hurry up with the first part of my day so that we could drive the 10 minutes it would take to get to our little town beach this afternoon. And like yesterday, I secretly enjoyed the fact that my youngest cried when it was time to leave. He loves it, too.

This morning on Segullah, the blog post was about going to the beach. I connected. I am drawn to the beach when it's summer. I love to make sandcastles, adore listening to the waves, and the salty taste of the sea breeze is lovely.

I even tolerate the sand in my suit. It's a reminder that I've spent the day doing something relaxing, and sharing something that I love with people I love. We're keeping track of the books we read this summer; I'm thinking we should really be keeping track of our beach days... although our summer journal helps us do that. I heart the beach.

Monday, July 27, 2009


just itching to tell a story...

...and since I'm a scout camp widow for the week, I'll take a risk and tell you one about my absent husband.
First, though, I found out yesterday morning that my kids are survivors. LICE survivors. That's great, right?! I was thrilled not to spot a single nit or bug. Home Free! (I thought) I asked my daughter to check me;
just to dot my proverbial i's.
Are you itchy? she asked. WHY. I demand.
Umm, because I think I found a nit, she reports. What?! (I know.) Where's the justice? Apparently I haven't eaten enough humble pie.
I wore a lovely pink shower cap around all Saturday afternoon, wafting through the house and yard in a vinegar soak. Followed that up with a tea tree oil bath and soak, and went to bed sporting a fresh shower cap, because my hair was plastered to my brains with enough coconut conditioner to lube the Queen Mary. (I will NEVER put vaseline on anyone's hair again.) I did get a stay-home-from-church-for-free pass on Sunday, however, and enjoyed the sounds of silence for a few hours.
SO. Mr. Dub claims that his lack of hair on top puts him in the no worries club. He's seen lice come, he's seen it go. Several times now. (Although we both marvel at the fact that we NEVER had a single experience with lice as children, or EVER, until we lived here. Would you like us to come lounge on your sofa for a few hours?) He makes little remarks about nit-wits, and goes happily on his way. I suspect this latest episode may have put him over the edge just a tad. Maybe it was the fact that he was sleeping next to a scrunchy plastic head. Subliminally, I think, he was worried. At 4:00 AM I was poked and prodded awake by the voice of a panicked man. He motioned for me to follow him into the bathroom, and asked please! several times. My four am eyes were having trouble focusing, and he says "I know your eyes can't see. I feel so itchy! Could you please look at my chest and under arms to see if I have lice?"
Let me just say (for the record) that I smiled. (Full-on laughing at 4 am would have required too much effort)
OH. And he got the all-clear. He's lucky that way.

Also, I have raised kind and considerate children, who take pleasure in sneaking blackmail photos from the upstairs bedroom window of their mom sporting a vinegar cap while working in the garden .

It's a glamorous life I lead...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Praise to his memory

He died as a martyr.
Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were martyred 165 years ago today.
Amos 3:7
Surely the Lord God will do nothing, save he revealeth his secrets to his servants, the prophets.
I'm grateful to have access to the counsel and teachings of a living prophet.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Quotes from a movie

(and a proposal)

"...then maybe she's an uppity-better-than-everyone-super-skank"


"In college, they called me perfectly adequate; handsome."

Mr. Dub: if you're reading this, I would LOVE to see this with you.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Our excursion to Connecticut

To visit Uncle Pete
And Mr. Dub's grandparents

I read almost the entire "Long Way from Chicago" out loud, while we sat in Connecticut traffic and traveled for three hours...
We enjoyed seeing many people we haven't seen in years.
This is the church Mr. Dub attended as a child

...and now I feel bad for never reading "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Looking ahead to October

I'm planning on making THIS movie a priority. Based on one of my all-time favorite childrens' books ever.

Beach Day! Hooray~

smiles, sea, sand and surf
food, friends and fun
Barbie came (and smile the WHOLE time;)
...the beach is bliss...

Horseneck Beach

(check it out... it's worth the trip)

We'll be back!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009