Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trick or T(r)eat!

PB Cookies with Chocolate Kisses

  I'm a big fan of these...

and I flipped when I saw these!

 Kisses Candy Corn Style!

So I made these.

 Peanut Butter Cookies

... and added these ...

 Candy Corn Kisses

... and immediately saw a problem.

Peanut Butter Cookies with CC Kisses

Of the mammary variety.

 craving milk for some reason



Trick or t(r)eat, everybody!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

First Snow

First Winter Storm

Our golden weather couldn't last forever... {sigh}


What makes these fall days so poignant 
is my keen sense that each one is a gift,
maybe the last before winter storms blow in.

                                                                      -- Claire Hagen Dole

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Easy Witch Hat Cookies

Easy Witch Hat Cookie

Aren't these little witch hat cookies  the cutest? They are my new favorite Halloween treat. Saw this idea over at No Fuss Fabulous.

We made them last night for family night -- it was our turn to be the "neighborhood spook" (where you leave a treat on one of our neighbor's doorsteps, ring the doorbell, and run like heck disappear like a phantom into the night....).

These witch hat cookies are easy enough to make that your kids could do it, but still cute enough that you can bring them to your grown up Halloween party...

Witch Hat Cookie ingredients

Here's how to make them: buy a package of Keebler Fudge Stripe Cookies, and Hershey's Chocolate Kisses. Put a little dollop of orange icing on the bottom of a Kiss, and stick it to the chocolate side of the Keebler cookie.  As you can see, I used ready-made orange frosting. I know, hate me. I'm Martha...

Ready for Spooking!

That's all there is to it! 
Okay... we're ready for spooking!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Full Week

Life brought a lot to us this week. I think I've experienced nearly every emotion I could feel this week! While still feeling heartsore, and attending high school band performances and memorials for band leader Heather Christensen -- news comes that a very dear neighbor's daughter passed away. Then, before the day was out we got the news AGAIN. Another dear neighbor's daughter had lost her life, in a totally separate circumstance! These were two girls that grew up in this neighborhood, roamed all over and visited as teenagers and grew up and made their way in the world.  So, they were well known and much loved.

So, so sad.  News then came down that a young father in the neighborhood was rushed to the hospital sick as could be. Another hour we were told, and he wouldn't have made it. He's still in the hospital now, on his 4th surgery. Hopes are high, though.

Oh my goodness, my little Nob Hill neighborhood is reeling! We are a close bunch that take care of each other, and this has been hard.

In the midst of heartache for others, Mr. H and I have had a little ourselves. He interviewed for a job I can only describe as *golden* not too long ago. We were so hopeful.  He interviewed with an old colleague, and the benefits and perks were dreamy. Super-stable company...and all of this only 5 minutes away from our home. No commute!  We found out this week that Mr. H was the bridesmaid, and not the bride, to coin a phrase. They chose someone else.

We were both SO disappointed. We were so very ready to lay this unemployment burden down and have some safety and security! Mr. H's contract has kind of dried up the past couple of weeks, too, so the insomnia nights and crushing worry is back, especially as we look forward and see the holiday season looming.  :-( (heavy sigh) It looks like that autumn gold in my last post is the only gold we're gonna see...

I hope you'll forgive me for not updating this week, as you can see a lot has had my attention. I also hope you'll forgive my little moan today -- I know there are so many others that have it much worse than we do. I'm trying to count my blessings as much as possible, and trying to stay positive and support Mr. H. I can tell you that our little family is weary, weary, weary of this, though....


On a happier note, I had a birthday this week, and my dear family and friends did their best to help me forget my troubles and have a very happy day.

It started with waking up to the Happy Birthday song being sung somewhere in the dark. Mr. H and the Sweet Girl were waking me up to breakfast in bed with all kinds of yummies and cards on trays (and had no more hands to flip the light switch on, LOL). Awww, they both got up extra early to cook me breakfast and have a little party with me before school started. Mr. H tweaked a french toast recipe to make it more point friendly for me. Isn't that sweet?

birthday cards

The cards were so great, and the Sweet Girl got me a scarf that I love  -- it  will go with my pretty winter coats. Love it! Mr. H laughed as he presented me with a pink "Snuggie" -- you know, like from the infomercial?  LOL

The thing is, I get cold easily and this will be the perfect thing for cozy movie nights in the family room in the basement! Thanks, Mr. H! I tried it out, and when my family saw how much I genuinely liked it, they started to crow about wanting their own Snuggies! Hilarious.

My sister Jen, stole me away for a girl's day out and we shopped and lunched and laughed our heads off together. It was the BEST time, and I forgot all my troubles. Jen got me a wonderful perpetual calendar that I just love. I *adore* the number fonts!  Jen, I will be living off that decadent brownie we ordered for the rest of the year! Thanks for the spoiling!perpetual calendar

the 5000 point brownie 

I got lots of calls and messages throughout the day, and needless to say, I felt loved and special: I am blessed with wonderful friends and family members. And, can I just honor my husband here? He put aside his own sore heart and went to all the effort to spoil me and give me a happy day. What a guy. ♥ You are my hero, Honeyman!

It was just this girl needed. Although still soul-weary and sad, I do feel buoyed up and ready to keep fighting the good fight. How can I lose with such blessings all around me? I know the Lord is mindful of our little family and wants us to succeed. He is sending help in many ways already:  another interview today at 2pm, and friends and family flocking around with prayers, good thoughts, help and concern.

Autumn in Provo Canyon-1

autumn in Provo Canyon, 2009

...and this year's fall here has been so beautiful!  That also feeds my soul.

I'm blessed. ♥

picture credit

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Words to Live By

Autumn Gold

autumn gold from our maple tree

I am rich today with autumn's gold,
All that my covetous hands can hold;
Frost-painted leaves and goldenrod,
A goldfinch on a milkweed pod.

Huge golden pumpkins in the field
With heaps of corn from a bounteous yield,
Golden apples heavy on the trees
Rivaling those of Hesperides.

Golden rays of balmy sunshine spread
Over all like butter on warm bread;
And the harvest moon will this night unfold
The streams running full of molten gold.

Oh, who could find a dearth of bliss
With autumn glory such as this!

                                                        --  Gladys Harp

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pork Chops with Caramelized Onions

Pork Chops with Caramelized Onions

I haven't posted a recipe in a month of Sundays! It's time. And this one's a favorite.  And it's a yummy, healthy, low-fast dish... score!

This one's also a perfect fit for October and Halloween -- complete with its own trick and treat. The finished product would delight any little ghoul on All Hallow's Eve...

The trick to this recipe? Instead of cooking the onions for a long time in butter and oil to bring out their sweetness (and all those calories!), we'll cover the pan and add balsamic vinegar and brown sugar.  The treat's ready in half the time!


Pork Chops with Caramelized Onions
5 points


4 (4 ounce) boneless center-cut pork loin chops

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 large onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (2 cups)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar


1.  Place pork chops between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and pound slightly to an even thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper.

2.  Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add chops and cook 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove chops from pan, and keep warm.

3.  Add onion to pan. Cover and cook over medium-high heat 6 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add vinegar; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Sprinkle with brown sugar; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Spoon onion mixture over pork chops.

Yield: 4 servings (1 chop and about 1/2 cup onion mixture)


** Hint: Even though the recipe doesn't call for it, we cover the chops while cooking, keeping a close eye on them. They cook faster this way. We always use a meat thermometer to check the chops for safety and doneness. We ignore the recipe's overall cooking time and go by the chops' temperature to tell us when they're done.


Perfect for a Halloween dinner

C'mon -- tell me -- served like this --  that it isn't a perfect candidate for the main dish of a Halloween meal! Bwahahahahaha! Enjoy...


recipe credit: Weight Watchers 5 Ingredient, 15 Minute Cookbook, Winter 2008, p. 53

Monday, October 12, 2009

All in One Day...

I think I'm gonna need another weekend to recover from this weekend! Sheesh. It wasn't even the whole weekend. It was just one day. Saturday, October 10th.

Maybe I should've seen the signs and hid on Friday. The flu found our daughter and she was home from school that day. Saturday would be a little more complicated with a sick Sweet Girl in the house, but I felt Mr. H could handle it. Full speed ahead!

The Making Strides Cancer Walk brochureTracy's Team

The day started before the sun came up. I was up early to catch a ride with my sister to the "Making Strides for Cancer" Walk at Liberty Park in Salt Lake. I walked with my the cancer walkWeight Watchers peeps. We were on Tracy's team -- she's the reason I lost 65 pounds 2 years ago. She is my coach and my friend. Love her! ♥

I love this part of the city; my grandparents lived right by this park, and Jen and I relived many memories of being very little and visiting this park with our Omi.

We had beautiful weather for the walk...uh...once the sun came up. Before that it was f-f-f-freezing. Brrr!

We walked, talked and laughed our way through the 4 mile course (and I was finally warm!) and then Jen and I drove home, stopping for shopping and lunch together in our bright green cancer walk shirts. LOL We got lots of stares, and even a few "thumbs up" from folks we passed. Thanks, Jen for a fun time -- the walkin' and the shoppin'! :-)

I spent an hour at home checking on everyone and then headed to a very yummy Raclette German dinner at the folks'. They had visitors from Germany staying with them, and we all had a nice time together. I'm sorry that Mr. H and the Sweet Girl couldn't be there -- she could have practiced her German with her Opa and the visitors there!


Heading home from the folks', I started feeling pretty pooped. I got home, and used up the last of my energy tidying up the house a little and getting the sick Sweet Girl's bedroom outfitted for the night (humidifier, tissues, etc.). I called down to Mr. H, telling him I probably was going to watch the weather on the news (if I could keep my eyes open!) and hit the hay. He came up and watched the news with me.

We were shocked wide awake with the leading story:

Bad News

Our high school's award-winning and nationally known marching band were returning from a competition in Idaho, and one of the buses crashed. Read the full story here. I live in a small town, and this community and especially the "band family" are a close knit group. This teacher was beloved anyway, and she died the way she lived -- serving her students. It's been a tender couple of days here in my little city. The high school kids are all wearing Sunday best at school today to honor this teacher.

There have been many tender tears at our house, too -- the Sweet Girl is isolated from all of this, being sick. Many of her friends are involved in the band and she can't be there today, to give hugs, get hugs, and help support and be a part of this. That's been very hard on her.

It was hard to sleep after news like this. Several of the kids in our neighborhood were on those buses, and Mr. H and I prayed that all were safe and would be home in their parent's arms soon.

Quite a day, huh? Not done yet...

The last thing we did before turning in was to grab tomorrow's chicken to thaw in fridge for Sunday dinner the next day. Scratch that. Everything was half-thawed already there in our little garage freezer! ACK! The freezer died! I guess I'll count blessings and say thank goodness everything was not spoiled...we quickly moved all our meat to the inside fridge... (we have been cooking meat for 2 days now, cooking up meals and then freezing them in the kitchen freezer to use later.)

Seriously!? Can this day PUH-LEASE be over now?




What a day.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Words to Live By


Unselfish and noble actions
are the most radiant pages in the biography of souls. 

                                                       ~David Thomas

dedicated to Heather Christensen, AF High School Band leader
who lost her life saving her students

picture credit

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Framed Quote DIY Project

The Framed Quote Project - After

So,  the landing at the top of the stairs is lookin' much better with my updated little dresser living up there now. Besides a coat of paint on the walls, this little space still needs a little something. Too small for another piece of furniture, or bookshelf -- what to do?

I decided pretty quickly that I'd just like a framed quote up there. I'm a quote nut, remember? :-) Something with either a family, home or bedtime theme -- since this space leads us to our bedrooms that are tucked up under the eaves there.

I settled on "if you're worried and you can't sleep, then count your blessings instead of sheep" -- quoted from the song sung in the 1954 movie "White Christmas". (go here to get a little taste of this wonderful little song, or go listen to it in my playlist on the sidebar over there; just scroll down 'til you see it) I'm pretty sentimental about this quote/song. Its message has helped me through some bumpy times in my life in the past -- and it's a great message for my little family to see each day and night now!

Now, to find it and buy it and put it up!  Uh... nope. Local boutiques stores? Nada. I know, I'll Google it! Nope! It's not anywhere! (except for a cute folk art take on it, but they butchered the quote! I'll pass.)   Time for a little DIY! Get what you want, but still  be a good little Fru-Gal -- can it be done? Yep! Here's how I did it:

1. Find the right sized frame for the space. Hello, thrift store! ($3)

Thrift Store Frames

I picked the birdie one on the bottom. Love that frame. Hatin' the green and mauve thing happenin' there...LOL

2. Spray paint the frame. I picked black: bye-bye mauve!  Primer is needed on a glossy surface. 1 coat is probably okay, 2 if you need it.  (I didn't need to prime, and did two light coats.)

spray paint the frame

3. Take a look at your matte. (mat? matte? not sure which one's correct. oh well.)  Hate it? You have options: take it to a frame or craft shop, and have them cut a custom one (it will cost you something; but you have *your* colors you want, and it will really give you the WOW factor for your project...), OR keep the one you have as-is (free!), OR keep the current one and spray paint it to the color you want! (almost free!) Go here to see how to do that. Keep reading to see what I did with mine...

4. Create your quote. I designed mine on the computer. I emailed a PDF of it to my local copy store, where they printed it for me on a larger piece of paper, so I could frame it without any 'cut and paste' lines... brought it home, and cut it to fit. Cost? 20¢. Dat's what I'm talking about! :-)

The quote

5. Put it all together. Remember to  clean your glass (wow, what a difference just *that* makes!) take your "new" frame, matte and quote and put it all together.

6. Enjoy! Mission accomplished. Lovely framed favorite quote. Total cost? $3.20. Oh yeah; still a Fru-Gal!


Look what happened to that outdated matte when put next to a black frame!  I planned on replacing it, but loved how it looked once put together. Serendipity!

The Framed Quote Project - After

Here it is, all hung up.

The perfect spot

Love it! ♥

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Autumn Apple Goodness


September Apples


Remember these?







They turned into this:

apple pie mixture hot and bubbly

-- all diced up in my skillet and bubbling in brown sugar, butter and apple pie spice. Wish that picture was scratch and sniff -- it smells like apple pie! {mmmmm} We're making my favorite autumn yummy -- apple pie mixture (that I don't use for pie)! LOL

Apple Pie Sundae

I used all those September apples and made an extra big batch of apple pie mixture and put several servings in the freezer. Mr. H pulled some out and had a scrumptious Apple Pie Sundae. (on Sunday, coincidentally.) ;-) Here's the recipe. (the apple pie mixture how-to is included there)

Having some extra servings ready to go in the freezer's not just good for Mr. H, it's  also perfect for company that pops in -- warmed up apple pie mixture + vanilla ice cream + caramel syrup + granola = instant fancy schmancy dessert -- you look like Martha for zero effort. Love that!

Apple Pie mixture for crepes!

Another way we use this is as a topping for breakfast. Waffles, pancakes, German Oven Pancakes,  or crepes -- like we had this morning. It's all good!

At this rate, I'll have to buy more apples and do this all over again.

{mmmm} Autumn apple-y goodness...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Words to Live By


Both abundance and lack exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend…

... when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present — love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure — the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience Heaven on earth.

                                                                              –  Sarah Ban Breathnach

picture credit

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fall's Here!

Farewell, summer...

Farewell Summers

farewell summers (aka asters)    September 2009

... and hello Fall! Besides the weather turning colder, there are some clues around that tell me you're here to stay --

Pumpkin Cookie Fixins

Pumpkin cookie fixin's -- I'm baking a monster batch of these right now for a church get together tonight. Oh, the house smells so good! (want the recipe?)

Red Maple Leaves

The leaves are changing...

My fave Autumn wreath

my favorite Autumn wreath is on the door...

Red Rose Fall and Winter Quilt set

the light summery linens are changed out for rich, cozy ones...

 First Snow of the Year

... and the first snow of the season has appeared on the mountains.

September Snow

the view out of the front door

And at our house.

Let's back it up there, Autumn baby. Don't get carried away!