Thursday, January 23, 2014

Aunt Harrie is 95!

Aunt Harrie's 95th birthday was Monday, January 20th.

I was a little late getting her card sent, even though I started it Jan. 1 all of a sudden it was Jan. 20.  Thank goodness she has a computer so I could send her an email to wish her a happy birthday.  This morning I finally got through to call her, she's such a popular person, her phone was busy or she wasn't home.  This afternoon she called me to say she got my card.  Thought I'd just preserve it here, because I thought it was pretty creative.  
The cover photo is the picture from the Advanced Style website (hope it's OK for me to use) and the other picture was taken at her house on Thanksgiving 2013.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Baked Chicken Breasts With Parmesan Crust

I defrosted chicken the day before and looked for something to do with it and came across this recipe.
I halved it because I was only using 2 chicken breasts (although they each weighed 11 oz. it was still enough coverage) and it was a big hit.  I made some roasted butternut squash to go along with it which I had in the freezer.  I love being able to eat out of my freezer when it's too cold out to want to make a quick run to the store.
A definite make again recipe.

Baked Chicken Breasts With Parmesan Crust

Photo gifts from

I can't resist a deal so when from I got an email that said free shipping from I knew I wanted to make these decks of cards.  Each card has a different picture on it and I spent a lot of time adding the location and dates when they were taken.  Documenting is something I usually never have time to do when making a photo album.  And to spend enough to get an additional $5 off I bought another one of the cosmetic bags that I gave to Laura for Christmas.

"Just because it's on sale doesn't mean you have to buy it," I always need to remind myself, but this is something I wanted to do ever since I made the cards for Myles, Hunter and Tucker at Christmas.

Premium 310gsm (linen) Poker Size Classic Custom 2 Sides Playing Cards 1, 13 or 54 photos, $8.79

Cosmetic Bag (Medium) – Custom 2 Sides Different Images Photo Cosmetic Bag, $9.50

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Thanks Google Plus

Google Plus has managed to create special pictures, I don't know how they do it but I love them.  I'm going to see if I can display them here and get the same effect that I see from them.  AND I DO!!!!

Villa Roma

We had a "free" Interval week that for some reason I thought we should use for a getaway in January. We picked the Villa Roma in the Catskills and thought it would be fine for snowshoeing, cross country skiing or other winter activities.  The week before we went we had 2 feet of snow but then it warmed up into the 50s and rained.  When we came here there wasn't any snow, we had more rain and needless to say we didn't get to do anything we thought we would.

We were being fairly optimistic by bringing our snowshoes but more realistic by leaving home our skis. They did say they had indoor tennis so we brought our tennis rackets but when we went to explore the facility we found that they use it for all these blow up bouncy things for kids.

OK - what are we going to do now that we're here.  The first day wasn't a problem, check in was at 4, we unloaded and hung out in our space.  Nice and spacious, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, living room, kitchen and eating area.  Three televisions so I could watch the Golden Globes in one bedroom and Larry could watch whatever he wanted wherever he wanted.

Monday morning after we were dressed and I successfully managed to flood the bathroom so that it leaked through the ceiling of the floor below from my long, luxorious, hot, pounding shower we went out to explore the facility.  We went to the main building, checked out the game room and pool and then went across to the tennis complex where there are lots of racquetball courts that they use for Wallyball and two indoor tennis courts with deflated blowups.  There was also a bowling alley and a gym.  We decided to bag all the activities to drive to Roscoe for some gas and to go to the Prohibition Distillery that we read about in the Sullivan County Catskills magazine.
While we were walking around the town we happened to stumble across the distillery which is located in an old firehouse building and did a tasting of their corn vodka and a sampling of a Bloody Mary with a Bloody Mary mix that that they sell.

We went home with a bottle of each.  We were then on our way to the Catskill Distilling Company when I felt that I already had a buzz and maybe we should save that outing for another day so we turned around and went back.  At 5 PM there was a welcome wine and cheese that we went to and met some people that were sititng near us from Fairport, Churchville and Buffalo.

Tuesday it was wet and dreary but in the afternoon we ventured out to the Sullivan Distilling Company and found that it was a real short ride going directly from Villa Roma than by way of Roscoe.  There was also a really good priced Mobil gas station on the way.  They were making corn Bourbon when we got there and it smelled good enough to eat.  More like a corn casserole than a bourbon.  We did some tastings of the various liquor they had, bourbon, wheat vodka, smelled the gin, I learned that gin is made with juniper berries and the kind they make smelled just like what I remember a Tom Collins smelling like when I was a freshman in college and brought to mind lacrosse games at Union College. After purchasing two small bottles of bourbon for the price of two large bottles of your standard bourbon we drove back.

Wednesday morning was a continental breakfast for timeshare owners where they didn't have a sales pitch, just information on Intervals Point system and the best fruit salad.  The afternoon was warm and sunny so after lunch we took a walk on the golf course so now we don't have to feel guilty about being lazy slugs.  It felt good to be able to get out in the fresh air and do some walking up and down the very hilly golf course.
And Larry managed to find 4 golf balls (like he needs more).

I should mention that although there are tons of things to do and see in this area, none of them are opened in January, so without snow we pretty much used up most of what there was to do here.  After the breakfast we went to the game room and played a couple of games of shuffleboard, I won and 3 games of ping pong, Larry won, and the last one was a shutout!

We decided to go home on Friday, before some more bad weather was going to hit but when we woke up on Thursday we decided we might as well just go home then rather than kill time at the resort.  There was a surprise snowfall overnight and it looked really pretty but we still decided to go home.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

December Catch-up

Here it is January 8th and I haven't done any of my December posts.  Obviously I'm not following up on any of my New Year resolutions yet either.  So before I forget, here is a rundown.

Garage Door Won't Close

While I'm on my how-tos I better add this one.  On Friday the garage door stopped closing with the remotes and would only close by holding down the button inside the garage until it totally closed.  I didn't know this until I left for the store on Saturday and had to call Larry from my car and tell him I couldn't get the door to close.  He was already aware of it, that's why I knew it stopped on Friday.
On our way to Unos for dinner Saturday night, after Larry pulled the car out of the garage, I held down the button in the garage to close the door and then went through the house to go out the front door, then I used my phone to look up our garage door problem.

After reading the solution, I remembered that we had this problem before so I thought I better put the solution here so I can find it again.

Problem:  Garage door opens fine with remotes but won't close unless button inside garage is held down until it closes.

Possible Cause:  The sensors aren't aligned or the wire needs a jiggle (may be a bigger problem here) and the door thinks something is blocking the door so as a safety precaution, it won't close.  Holding down the button in the garage overrides this safety feature.

Fix:  Line up the sensors by making sure a green light (at least for our door) is glowing on each one.

Monday, January 6, 2014

iPhone Problems

Yesterday, all of a sudden, the headphone jack on my iPhone stopped working.  I was sitting down at the computer listening to a book on my phone and when I stood up the sound stopped.  At first I thought it just put itself on pause but that wasn't the case.  Then I thought maybe the earbuds weren't any good, even though it was a new set.  I tried other earbuds and my speaker but nothing worked.  That's when I decided to look up the issue on google.  I found lots of sort-of fixes, from rebooting to cleaning the jack to reinstalling the software.  I tried them all except for reinstalling the software because nothing changed from my sitting to standing.

I use my headphones a lot so it was something I definitely wanted working but since my phone is off warranty and everything else still works, I didn't want to have to get a new phone.  I thought maybe just an inexpensive mp3 player would work since all I really want it for is to listen to books.  Then I thought of my old iPhone (3GS) which stopped working a long time ago when the home button stopped working and it was before the workaround for the disabled.  That's when I got my current iPhone 4. Once the home button issue was resolved the other problem was that Voice Control would just come on all the time.  I jailbroke the phone so that I could find a fix for that but for some reason I was never able to, that is until yesterday.

I found this tweak "Disable Voice Control" and was able to install it and so far it works.  Keeping my fingers crossed.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

How to Fix Google Chrome Freezing on Mac

I've had this problem a couple of times now so thought I better put how to fix it here so I don't have to keep finding the fix.  It's really annoying when it keeps doing it.

All you have to do is create a new browser user profile and delete the default profile folder.
Here's the link with instructions:
1- choose Finder application
2- on the main menu go to Go -> Go to Folder
3- Paste: ~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/
4- Delete the "Default" folder
5- Open Google Chrome and another Default folder will be created.
That is it.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Oatmeal Christmas Tree Cookies

This is another of the recipes that Larry pointed out to me.  They turned out to be my favorite eating cookie.  I have yet to figure out the points value.  They remind me of scones because they are dry, but scones are also very fattening, at least the ones I love from Starbucks.
I made some as cutouts.  I don't know what happened to all the cookie cutters I used to have.  Probably got rid of them when I moved thinking I would never use them again so I bought a star and a snowman.

Made about 4 dozen of them and then I got lazy and just rolled out the rest of them and cut them into rectangles.  I also altered the recipe a bit by adding nuts and craisins to the rectangular ones.

I melted white chocolate and put them on the stars and snowmen for a little bit of sweetness.

Just calculated the PP value.  If I make 8 dozen then they're only 2 PP each for the basic recipe without frosting, nuts or craisins.
This recipe was in the D&C Dec. 14, 2013 and it refers to making Christmas trees out of cookies.  I don't think I'll be making the cookies into a tree, although they are cute, but also time consuming and I already spend too much time on "projects" that I create for myself.  However, I do want to try the cookies.

picture from D&C website

Oatmeal Christmas Tree Cookies

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ cup milk
4 cups sifted flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups uncooked quick rolled oats
Candy and sprinkles for decorating
Make a five-point star pattern out of cardboard. It should be about 8 inches across. Then make 7 ½ inch, 7 inch, 6 inch, 5 inch and 4 inch star patterns. You will also need a shot glass and thimble, to cut out the separator cookies and make a hole in the center of each cookie for the dowel rod to go through. Make a square or round 8 or 9 inch wooden base, drilling a hole in the center for the ¼ inch dowel that will hold the cookies.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cream butter. Gradually add sugar, cream well. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Add some to creamed mixture, then some of the milk. Repeat until gone. Fold in rolled oats and chill dough.
Roll out on a lightly floured board to ¼ inch thickness. Cut out two cookies each from each of the 6 star patterns.
Cut out 11 separators from the dough using the 2-inch diameter shot glass. Cut holes in the center of each star and each separator using the thimble. Bake until firm (don’t let them get too brown or they will break easily), about 12 to 15 minutes.
After they cool, freeze until you are ready to assemble.
To assemble, cover the wooden base with foil and insert the dowel into the center hole of the base (you may need to cover the end with a piece of paper towel so it stands firm). Frost one of the largest star cookies, and add sprinkles if wanted, and place it on the base. Frost the edge of a separator, so it will come apart easier to eat, and place on the large star. Frost the other large star cookie and gently add. Alternate separator and star, continuing until the smallest star. We have used gumdrops on top, and the possibilities are endless for candy decorations.


1 ½ cups sugar
6 tablespoons water
6 large marshmallows
2 egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon vanilla
Boil sugar and water in a deep pot for 3 minutes. While heating, place unbeaten egg whites in a mixing bowl. Remove sugar and water mixture from heat and add 6 marshmallows. Stir. When the marshmallows are partially dissolved, pour into mixing bowl over unbeaten egg whites. Add cream of tartar and vanilla and beat with electric mixer for about 5 minutes. Frosting should hold a slight shape as you lift the beater. This makes the frosting drip slightly on the edge of the star cookies. If beaten too long, it will become too sugary.

Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

This season Larry found lots of recipes in the paper that I tried and we really liked them.
One of them was this one which was in the D&C 12/15/2013.
What I liked about these are that you can make them ahead (without cooking), put them in the freezer and then put them in the oven for 10-15 minutes when you want to serve them.

Bacon Cheddar Biscuits
Serves: Makes about 50 small biscuits
  • 1⁄2 cup diced slab bacon (about 3 ounces)
  • 2 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 3⁄4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 3⁄4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over medium-low heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is browned but not crunchy, about 6 minutes. Drain the bacon on a paper towel–lined plate and allow to cool completely.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and cayenne with a rubber spatula. Add the cubed butter and toss to coat with the flour mixture, then flatten the pieces of butter between your fingertips. Flattening the bits of butter to mix them with the flour helps produce a really tender biscuit. Stir in the bacon and cheese. Add the cream and mix with the spatula until just combined.
  4. Divide the dough into about 50 tablespoon-sized pieces and shape into balls, handling the dough as little as possible. Put the balls about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet. (The dough balls can be frozen at this point; once hard, transfer them to a freezer container for up to 2 weeks.)
  5. Bake until golden and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes (add a few minutes if frozen). Brush with the melted butter and serve hot or at room temperature.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year

Once again I am behind in keeping up this blog but the least I can do is say Happy New Year.

I am thankful that 2013 has kept my family healthy and for 2014 my goal is to stay more focused and complete some of the things I always say I want to do - write memoir, practice the piano, learn to play the guitar, learn to use photoshop, try more exercise classes, keep this blog more current AND be really nice to Larry :)