Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mangled Bunny Cookies

Everyone has their traditions. One of mine was born out of frugality. Years ago I was reading the Tightwad Gazette, a newsletter for those who like to, or have to live frugally. There I found a tip...and have followed it every year since.

After Easter is over, I go to a store, and buy a few Easter bunnies...the hollow ones (which are suddenly on sale). Why? Well, think about it. What are they made of? Chocolate. And if you put them in a sturdy baggie, and wap them with a rolling pin a few times, you know what you get? Chocolate chunks! I use these to make chocolate chunk cookies. At first, I would pry off the candy eyes and carrots, but one time I didn't. My children were surprised but pleased when one of them found a cookie that stared back at him!

I just finished making a batch of them tonight, for my daughter's college art class, at her request. And resting at the top of the batch is a cookie that stares back....

Mangled Bunny Cookies:

1 c granulated sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 c butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups all purpose flour
12-16 oz chopped or 'wapped' chocolate bunny chunks (about 4 small or 1 big one)

Cream butter & sugars til light. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Sprinkle on 1 cup flour, then dump the baking soda and salt on top. Mix well. Stir in remaning 2 cups flour, til well blended. Fold in bunny chunks.

Preheat oven to 375. Put parchment paper on two cookie sheets. If you have a small spring loaded scoop, use it, or 2 spoons. Place 12 cookies on each cookie sheet. Bake one pan at a time in middle of the oven for 8 1/2 minutes. Switch pans, and let hot cookies cool a few minutes before transfering cookies to a cooling rack (or paper towels). Wait til sheet is luke warm before putting more dough on it. Repeat til all cookies are done. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Not Alone

Tonight as I sat amongst the 18 members of my Small Group (weekly Bible study), I felt such a warmth, a feeling of well-being. Being me, I had to analyze it. Was it the physical warmth of sitting on a comfy sofa in a carpeted basement, surrounded by so many others? No, that wasn't it. Was it the warm scent of coffee brewing on the snack table? No..though it was a good scent? Yes, I don't drink coffee, but I love the smell.) No, not that.

Then I figured it out...it was the warm feeling of being in a group of believers, studying the Word. Being engaged in a discussion of faith and an in depth study of the Bible, this began the warmth. But that warm feeling of well being was mostly caused by being in a group of True Friends, people who I know accept & support me--as I am right now. They believe in me and care deeply for me--as I do for them. I am not alone.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Zombie mornings

Tea saved my life again this morning. Ok, that may be exaggerating, but it did bring me alive. I have been sleeping badly recently, so when I walked in this morning, I was on auto pilot. I prepare for this state. On Sunday night, I lay out my clothes for the upcoming work week. I have one of those 'princess pink & purple' weekly organizer things hanging in my closet (instead of saying Monday, Tuesday...I have the designations turned to the French side. Figure this way I will eventually learn at least 5 words in French!) Anyways, every night before I stagger off to bed, I check my clothes for tomorrow, lay out jewelry, and pack my lunch. This way, when I have to zombie my way through the morning, I won't forget anything essential, like say my purse (it's happened!). I really hope and pray that no one plays a practical joke on me, and some evening slip into my room, and switch my clothes for clown pants and a t-shirt that says 'Eat at Joe's'! Some mornings I am so zombie-like, I'd end up walking into work wearing that outfit! Needless to say, it would raise some eyebrows...

Back to this morning, I was having just such a morning. I even woke up and was certain that it was 8am, and I was late to work. Then I realized that what I'd taken for the morning light was in fact the kitchen's overhead lights...that somebody left on.....Turning them off, I went back to sleep, seeing as it was actually 1am. After waking up a few more times, I finally got up with my alarm (ok...I confess..after hitting the snooze twice).

I zombied my way throughout the morning..barely waking up in time to walk into the work building. Grabbing my tea mug, and a Dublin Morning tea bag (cause the mug looked lonely)...and I staggered into Nora's office (whom Cat calls Nora-not-Roberts!), with no idea why I was there. She knew.. she handed me two French Vanilla creamers. Ok...I stood there stupidly... holding an empty mug...empty except for that tea bag...hmm.....and creamer... oh, right. So off I zombied towards the magical spout of hot water...

A short while later found me at my desk, tapping away... while watching steam curl up from my mug...emitting an enticing scent. Finally I could wait no longer. Ahhh.... that first sip, and all is right in my world again. Wait a moment... I looked down...Good. No clown pants....

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Talismans

As I sat at work, frustrated by a bad turn of events, a difficult tangle that I to unravel...I happened to glance down at my keyboard, just to the right. What I saw there caused me to smile, and light shown at the edges of my gray mood.

Sitting in my keyboard tray are three small items: a loonie, a plastic coin and a rock. These are my talismans. A talisman is an object thought to be a charm, according to Webster. The first is a Canadian dollar, also called a loonie (there is a loon on one side, hence the name). I received the first on the weekend of my 40th birthday. My parents took me on a weekend trip to Sarnia, Canada, a place they enjoy visiting often. I went to a British Tea House that was incredible. We walked in the park beside the bridge to America. I watched large ships in the harbor by the hotel we stayed in. But most of all, I had two entire days with just my parents, a first in years. That trip was a supreme highlight in my life; a gentle reminder that I have wonderful parents that love me. The loonie I keep as a constant reminder of that trip.

The second talisman is an inexpensive, green plastic coin stamped with a four leaf clover. I received this from a friend on St Patrick's Day. It's a simple reminder of friendship; valuable in my eyes.

The final talisman is a white rock that I found just outside of my office building. I picked it up on a rough day, one where everything seemed dark, lacking any light. As I stood there, under the cloud darkened sky, I examined the rock I had picked up at random. Running across the center was a crack. I squeezed the rock, but it held firm. Then the random thought strayed across my mind...'if this cracked rock can hold together, then maybe I, cracked & broken though I may feel, perhaps I too can be strong.'

These three seemingly ordinary objects do act as talismans for me..they remind me that my parents love me, remind me of uncomplicated friendship, and remind me to hold firm, to stay strong... and moreover, these objects, my talismans, charm a smile onto me.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Bruce Wayne has his fire pole, Clark Kent has his phone booth, Don Blake his cane/hammer... and I have a mug of freshly brewed, strong enough to dance upon, yet supremely tasteful, mug of hot tea, with a hint of creamer. This magical brew transforms me form a walking zombie with sunken eyes and a listless drool, into a fully functional human being. After a second mug--I'm ready to change the world-or at least my small pocket of it.

There's just something about tea, when it gets to that perfect temperature-just cool enough to drink deeply, yet hot enough to do so cautiously-that helps me transcend the trivial circumstances of my day. One sip and my off-kilter day rightens, and that 'waiting for the next shoe to drop' feeling subsides.

However trivial my rhapsodies over the powers of a simple mug of tea may seem, for me it does hold true. I walked into work yesterday morning, rather, stumbled in the general direction of the building, feeling supremely grateful to the kind guard who opened all the doors for me. I felt completely wasted, not from a night of excess, but from staying up far past my normal bedtime on Thursday. The art department at my daughter's college sponsored a trip to the art museums in Chicago. They were supposed to arrive back at the campus at 11:30. It was closer to 12:30 when they returned. I didn't get to bed til after 1, then up again by 6ish. Hence, my stumbling gait...

At the office, I am a lone island in a sea of coffee drinkers. These people are serious coffee drinkers. Occasionally, one of them will drift to my side, and come see me, the Tea Lady, to try a peppermint tea, or my favorite Dublin Morning Tea, found only at my favorite store, Irish Alley. Even the big boss stops by occasionally, and for him I keep ordinary decaf Lipton tea. I have one convert, Paigely, who loves the morning teas. I'll never give up...

Tea is a full sensory experience. You hold the tea cup in your hands, feeling the gentle heat emanate through the smooth china. Then you raise it up, and as the steam emerges, you scent the tantalizing fragrance. Then you take a testing sip. Is it at a suitable temperature? As that amber liquid crosses you taste buds, the flavor explodes. The caffeine gently nudges you awake, the taste perks you up, and the experience rightens your world.

Yesterday morning, a mug of Dublin Morning Tea with cream brought me back into the world of the living. A second mug, this time Earl Grey, gave me functionality. I won't go so far as to say it saved me, but it certainly improved my sense of well-being and therefore, my day. I think it's time to brew that first pot of tea now. (at work it's mugs, here at home it's always a proper pot and a beautiful tea cup.)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Search

PLEASE NOTE: if you are friends with my daughter, do NOT tell her about this blog...until next Monday...it contains information about a bday gift she will be getting.

Apparently, the ability to hand or machine sew is a lost art. Yesterday, I spent more than two hours perusing three different stores, in the search of a sewing basket. For you non-sewers out there, a sewing basket is a square or rectangular, cloth or basket weave covered container with a hinged lid. It is used to contain & organize sewing supplies, such as scissors, sewing needles, thread, seam ripper, measuring tape and so on.

As Cat has started sewing (mostly via machine) for her ball-jointed doll, as well as for herself, she needed a sewing basket (and guess who's she kept borrowing?). Having two and half hours to occupy myself between work and an appointment, I figured that finding this item would be easy. I started at Hobby Lobby, having heard great things about the store. Well, it took me almost 20 minutes just to find the sewing section in that vast store. They should have maps! Once there, I found a total of two baskets...and neither were right for my eccentric daughter.

Next I went to Michaels. I've shopped there many times before, but never for sewing notions. I found the sewing section...one single wall, that had three items that I think were meant to be sewing baskets...but looked like jewelry cases, and one was missing the handle!

Having only a final hour left, I went to Walmart..figuring that I'd search in vain. After chatting with a friend who was waiting for her ride, I wandered in. Heading down the aisle, I actually found a decent sewing area. And to my suprise, I found three sewing baskets, in good condition, and actually cheaper than the other places. I walked out with a really nice gift for my daughter.

Now as long as none of my small handful of readers directs Cat's attention this way....