Monday, October 20, 2008


My mind seems to be rambling around, rather than sticking on one subject - must be the chill in the air. Fall has arrived, and there's definitely frost on the pumpkin here in Pennsylvania! This morning's low: 29.7 degrees. It's a fun way to start the day, watching the dogs go skidding across the deck til they realize it's a bit icy and they get their footing.

After several weeks, including weekends, of major painting projects, we did something really radical this weekend - NOTHING! No home repair, no home update, no shaking and stirring of paint cans. Not that we're done, but it was heavenly to take a few days off. I even ran the nasty paint outfits through the washing machine. At least the next time I pull them on, they won't feel so crunchy.

Here for your viewing pleasure - freshly painted garage. Top to bottom. Walls - DryLok. Ceiling - Kilz and ceiling paint. Floors - two of those dandy kits. I have to say sprinkling the color chips on the wet paint is the most fun I've had painting in awhile. I found a rug to go at this back door that reads, "Got Dirt?" which just makes me smile every time I walk across it. I would have shown it to you, but at this point the paint was still a tad bit wet. For a garage, it's darned cute and the termite inspection guy told me this week it's the cleanest garage he's ever seen! Nice affirmation that it was worth the $300 or so, and elbow grease to dress it up!

So what have we been up to? Movies galore! Burn After Reading with George Clooney and Brad Pitt - NO. Big NO. I somehow missed that it was 'black comedy', and hated it. Miracle at St. Anna - NO. Not a big no, but still a no. Depressing, not a single uplifting moment in it. Fireproof - Big YES! Started me on a mission of investing more into my marriage that I'm still busy with. And last, Body of Lies with Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio - not so much. Partway through I leaned over to DH and said, "I hope you're keeping up with this, I'm lost." He was completely lost too. Continuing with the theme of doing my part to stimulate the economy by spending way too much at the theaters, this week I'm hoping to go see Secret Life of Bees with my daughter, Leslie. I've read the book and it got good reviews. It was described as a 'chick flick', and I havent' seen one of those in awhile. So there you have it, a regular Siskel and Ebert.

House hunting - we've been looking at homes with our daughter and her DH, and what on earth? For all the TV shows out there telling us everyone is 'staging' their home, let me tell you.... they could start by flushing toilets and/or lowering the lid, not to mention junkola all over the place! Unbelievable what a mess some homes are, even when they have days' notice their home is being shown. It was still great fun to go through them, in spite of the messes, and see a young family talk about dreams of feathering a nest.

Speaking of house feathering - we still haven't been to our home on the lake, but our kids have! A family gathering to celebrate an oh so important four year old's birthday, which included a dead armadillo (who needs video games when you have that?!), seeing snakes in the road, dogs and kids running all over the place, meeting the neighbors, mowing the grass and starting some minor repairs - it's nice to have someone enjoying it til we can get down there. We're very tickled that the lights are on, and something's cooking in the kitchen now and then. Plans are for another gathering of the other side of the family, over Halloween weekend, so I told them - at least take a couple bags of candy bars to hand out if any little people ring the doorbell! The pile is growing of what I want to take down in November, for our first visit there, and I'm thinking it might be safer to ship some of it - you know how men can be when they start packing the car!

I've been busy cooking around here - soups and stews and chilis, and casseroles sprinkled with lots of cheese. Since fall is well-seated here, it's time for comfort foods. Speaking of which, I made a pie this weekend and thought I'd share the recipe. It calls for pumpkin pie spice, and I wasn't sure what was in it. I'm mixing up a batch to make for the trip to Texas so I can bake a couple of pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving. If you'd like to mix up your own also, here are several versions:

Pumpkin Pie Spice:
Mix 1/4 cup of cinnamon w/ 4 tsp of ground ginger & 2 tsp of nutmeg
Mix 1/4 cup cinnamon w/ 1 Tbsp each of ground ginger, nutmeg, & ground cloves
Mix 1/4 cup cinnamon w/ 2 Tbsp of ground ginger & 1 Tbsp each of nutmeg & ground cloves
Mix 2 Tbsp each of cinnamon & ground ginger w/ 1 Tbsp ground nutmeg & 1 tsp ground allspice

Pumpkin Streusel Pie (by Susan York of Washington, PA)

1 refrigerated pie crust (I made mine with a jiffy mix - they're fabulously easy!)Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line 9" glass pie pan with crust.

Filling: 1 can solid pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling), 1 can evaporated milk, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 eggs, slightly beaten. 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice. In large bowl, mix al filling ingredients til well blended. Pour into pie crust lined glass pan. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake another 15 minutes. Add struesel topping.

Streusel topping: 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 2 Tbsp flour, 2 Tbsp butter, softened, 1/2 cup chopped pecans (or any nuts). Mix together, sprinkle over pumpkin filling. Bake 15-20 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool.

Topping: 1 Tbsp grated orange zest, 1 8 ounce tub cool whip. Gently fold orange zest into cool whip. Serve pie with topping. Store both in refrigerator, that is if you don't go through the entire pie the first time around!

And a bonus photo: Grammy and Landon 'playing the piano' (in spite of a cast for a broken wrist)which sometimes includes singing Farmer in the Dell, complete with animal sounds. It really doesn't get any better than that!


Gretchen said...

I just had to breathe a sigh of contentment after reading this post. Thanks for the recipe, too!

What a sweet, sweet picture. He's a recipe I could eat right thru the screen.

Kelly said...

That picture is truly one of the most precious- such love and tenderness between the two of you.

Glad to hear you're going to spend some time in your new house- sounds like it is already the family gathering place you dreamed of. :-) You must be so excited to spend some time there, making it yours, after the whirlwind buying trip for it!

Happy Monday- fall really is here!

Betty said...

Love that picture! Priceless.

Sounded like a fun weekend. Doing nothing.
And the pie looks delicious!!

Barb said...

Wait a minute! I didn't know you still had a piano. As a matter of fact, when you did have a piano, I thought it was an upright. Good grief, I didn't notice a piano in your house when I visited you.

What a nice post. That really is the neatest looking garage I've ever seen. I believe you've seen mine. 'nuff said about that. LOL

Sweet, sweet post and the last photo is just priceless. xoxo

Renna said...

You guy's have been BIZ-zee!

I really want to see the Secret Life of Bees. I loved the book, and I'm sure I'll love the movie, too. I wish my daughter were close enough to go with me, but since an ocean separates us right now, I'll try and find a girlfriend who likes chick flicks (not that my daughter does, but I could drag her anyway if she were here!).

The pie looked scrumptious, but my favorite pic is of Grammy and Landon cutting it up on the piano. ;-)