Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

OH MY GOODNESS! There are so many give-aways! Yes, the Carnival is back!! :-) I am sorry that I am a day late posting this. I knew it was coming, but I forgot all about signing up yesterday. I didn't even have time to check it out yesterday, so I my bottom is going to be SERIOUSLY numb from sitting so long to sign up for all of them. :-)

OK, on with the
free stuff! :-) I have decided to give away a cook book, but not just any cook book. THIS cook book. :-) Oh, yes Ma'am! It is full of cookie goodness. :-)

You can read more about it at the above link, but let me just say, "There are over 100 delicious cookie recipes. I personally have 4 submitted in here, as well as several from Martha Stewart, Paula Deen and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, just to name a few." :-)

If you are a cook book collector you will definitely want this one. :-)

So, my give-away is open to everyone! :-) Just leave me a comment and you will be placed in the drawing. If you do not have a blog, please leave me an e-mail address where I can contact you should you win. :-)

I will choose the winner at 6:00 pm (central time), Sunday August 3rd, so you have plenty of time to sign up. ;-) Now, head on over the the Carnival to sign up for more great stuff. :-) (Did I mention they are ALL FREE?!) :-)

Wendy Darling

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap

Gayle over at Grocery Cart Challenge is doing a recipe swap. So, I am two days late, but I thought I would participate anyway. After all, you can never have too many recipes. :-)

If you wish to participate head on over to Gayle's and follow the guidelines. :-) It's very easy. OK, here is my recipe:

Cowboy Dinner:

1 lb. of ground hamburger meat
1 large can of Pork N Beans
1 medium onion, chopped
salt and pepper

Brown hamburger meat and onions in a large pot. Season with salt and pepper. Drain off the grease and put meat back in the pot. Add the beans and more seasonings. Leave on low to medium heat until warmed through. Serve with biscuits and salad.

My Daddy used to make this one a lot. It's easy, cheap and goes far. :-) Enjoy!!

Wendy Darling

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Make your own band.

I got this idea, originally, from Kwizgiver, but I forgot to do it. Princess Ladybug over at Fly Away Home did it on her blog, so I decided to give it a try, and
I created this:

The name of my band/artist is "George Washington Dixon", but I had to abbreviate it to put it on the cover. (Don't ask me who that is, because I didn't read the article)

The title of my album is "Ceinture fle'che'e"

So, here are the instructions in case you would like to make your own. ;-)

You are about to have your own band’s CD cover. Follow these directions to the letter. Now, go to these links and start creating your totally awesome band cover!

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

2. http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

3. http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/
The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4. Use your graphics program of choice to throw them together, and post the result as a comment in this post. Also, post it in your own blog and see what other people can come up with!

Wendy Darling

Friday, July 25, 2008

I don't have rhythm, but I got music...

I have hit a wall in "Little Mark's" schooling. I may need a tutor, for ME! We began learning about poetry today, RHYTHM. I never liked poetry, until college. When I was in Jr. High and High School I hated interpreting poetry. HATED it!

I never understood the whole "rhythm" thing. I always failed the part of when you had to put the stress marks above the words. I mean, wasn't the poem just telling a story with some rhyme? That's what I thought, anyway.

When I reached college my very wise English proffesor said, "We will begin studying poetry this week. How many of you like poetry?" About 5 people in the entire class raised their hands. I was NOT one of them. He then said, "By the end of this I promise that I will prove that each one of you like poetry." OK, I thought, I will accept that challenge.

He then told us to bring in the lyrics to our favorite song, and bring a recording of it. We learned that songs were just poems put to music. In some of the songs brought in that was very evident. Such as "The Rose" by Bette Midler. I had never learned this concept before, and it intrigued me. He did indeed fulfill his promise, and we all agreed we liked poetry.

I still hate the "rhythm" part, and do not understand to this day.

Now, having said that, how do you teach something you don't understand like "poetic rhythm?" I'm at a loss. I do not want "Little Mark" to suffer for my lack of understanding.

I know what I always tell people when they say, "I can't teach that..." I say, get someone else to teach it, to both of you. So, I may be doing just that for this part of it. I want to learn too, because quite frankly I have been all through this lesson trying to figure it out, and I am already get a migraine. This has been a "thorn in my side" for too long! I will overcome it. :-)

So, does anyone reading this know about "rhythm", and can you teach it to me in very basic terms that I understand, and can then teach to "Little Mark?" I would be eternally grateful. :-)

Wendy Darling

  1. The Road Not Taken
Robert Frost (1874–1963)

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, 10
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back. 15
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 20

Thursday, July 24, 2008

We shook our boodies all over the house...

Have y'all ever tried to keep a 4 year old occupied? Oh My Word. Y'all, it can be a daunting task. :-) I have been desperately trying to keep "Angel" busy, so that she does not disturb "Little Mark" while he is doing his school work. (Believe me, "Little Mark" would rather have her 'disturb' him than work.) So, you can see I have my work cut out for me. ;-)

So far this summer we have done a lot of painting and coloring, and baked an obscene amount of cookies and homemade biscuits. The child LOVES to make something if it requires yeast rising. :-)
So, today I pulled out the big guns.
And we made this:

Yes, that is bread made in the shape of a teddy bear. These are NOT the ones we made. (We just made one bear, and I found the picture on the internet and cropped it. I hope the person doesn't mind.) Let me tell you, you have not LIVED until you have pulled sticky bread dough from a child's hair, and tried to teach said child to "knead". It was tons of fun. :-)

After we got the bread rising, and we cleaned the kitchen, "Little Mark" joined us in making homemade butter. We placed heavy whipping cream in bowls with just a LITTLE salt. I placed the lids on the bowls and the kids went to town. They shook those bowls, and bodies, all over the house to make butter. :-) It was a good workout for them, and fun for me because it kept them BUSY. :-)

"Little Mark" actually shook his into butter. I was very impressed, and it tasted fantastic. For "Angel", when she finally tired of the "shake fest", we pulled out the old blender and finished it off. In about 2 minutes we had BUTTER. :-)

Homemade butter on fresh homemade yeast bread. That, my friends, is a little piece of heaven on earth. And the fact that the kids made it all by themselves, well... that just made it even better. :-)

So, if you would like a little something to do with your kiddos, try the bear bread. Here is the recipe. :-) Enjoy!! :-)

Teddy Bear Bread

Adapted from "Family Fun Cookbook" (The Walt Disney Co., 1996).

1/2 cup warm (not hot) water

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 cups of warm milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Cooking spray

4 chocolate chips or raisins

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 tablespoon water

Wash hands. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together yeast and 1/2 cup of water, and then whisk in sugar. Next, stir in 2 cups of the flour and wait (5-10 minutes) to make sure there are bubbles forming and popping on the surface of the mixture, which means the yeast is working. Then add the salt and all the remaining flour and stir.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured counter top and knead (folding the bread over on itself and pressing down firmly) for about 10 minutes. Shape into a ball and put in a large, clean bowl coated with cooking spray. Spray wax paper with the cooking spray and place it over the ball of dough, or place damp towel across the top of the bowl. Put the bowl of dough on the oven. Let the dough rise 1-2 hours, until it has doubled in size.

When you remove the dough, punch it down, and then split the dough into halves. Use each half to make one teddy bear.

For each bear, mold about a ball. That will be the body. Use a little less than that for the head. Use seven small balls to form the ears, nose, hands and feet. Press chocolate chips or raisins into the face for eyes. Put the shapes on a greased cookie sheet and let rise another 30 minutes. Combine the egg and water to make an egg wash and "paint" this mixture over the dough with a clean paintbrush or pastry brush. Bake the bread for 25 minutes, until it is golden brown. Serve with homemade butter.

Yields 2 loaf-size teddy bears; 8 slices each.

Per serving: 235 calories; 7 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 27 percent calories from fat); 38 g carbohydrates; 30 mg cholesterol; 140 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.


Wendy Darling

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The boy is too smart, and I feel like a moron!

Did that get your attention? Why do we have to have all of the "technology?" All it does is make old people, like ME, feel stupid. OK, so it helps us communicate better, helps with the medical profession, and yes, even education; but all it does (at times) is make me feel stupid.

For example, "Little Mark" finally got Raven's new album on his iPod. We did not realize that there is a 4-letter word in one of the songs. "Little Mark" found it though, and instead of just deleting the song he goes into a program on our computer (which I don't even know how to get to!) and EDITS the song. Just like that, the word is gone and the music just flows together like it was never there. HOW did he do that?! He can also pull songs from CDs, edit them and make his own ring tones. Now, I know he learned that from his uncle, Cleggy, but the fact that he just goes right into and "BAM", it's finished.

I tried to put new music on my mp3 player last night, and it took me 10 minutes to remember how to do it. And I JUST DID it last weekend!

On top of that, he is teaching himself Lenux. LENUX! Uncle Cleggy doesn't even do Lenux, but "Little Mark" is all over it. He got a book from the library and is READING about it. ON HIS OWN! :-)

Don't get me wrong, I am VERY proud of him. He is very intelligent, and absorbs anything he is interested in like a sponge; but in the process I feel like a moron. And it isn't just me. Yesterday "Little Mark" had a check up at the doctor and we go to church with our doctor. "Little Mark" and Dr. J's son are friends. Dr. J's son is a GENIUS when it comes to computers. SERIOUSLY.

He was telling us that his son is at a robotics camp this week, and that yesterday morning they were going to program their robots. I told him I had no idea what that meant, and he said, "Neither do I."
"Little Mark" starts educating both of us on what that entailed. I didn't even know he knew about robotics! Dr. J and I just looked at it other and he said, "These kids are too smart." :-) I'm thinking to myself, "At least your a doctor bub. You got that going for you." Then "Little Mark" began telling Dr. J about Lenux.

Maybe next year "Little Mark" should be going to robotics camp, and I need to enroll in a computer course. One that teaches LENUX! ;-)

Wendy Darling

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I've got the music in me...

I did something today that I rarely do. I added music to my mp3 player. Now, that may not sound like much to you, but I hardly ever take the time to do that. Some people, like "Little Mark" for instance, update theirs at least once a day. Not me, no ma'am. I stay with the same music for MONTHS.

Why? Because I don't get to listen to it very often. If I am alone in the car, which is rare, I will usually take it and listen to it then. However, it is usually very short trips, so I don't get a lot of quality listening time in. But today was different. Today was one of those rare days when I was craving "new music" and I needed to be able to listen to it with headphones. What kind of music you ask? That's simple. It's July, so obviously that means I need some Christmas music on my mp3 player.

Here is the part where my family begins teasing me and groaning, "It's July."
My response, "I am well aware of what month it is, but I want to hear it."

"It's JULY", they respond earnestly.
"Again, I am well of aware of that."

"IT'S JULY!!!" (their favorite two word phrase on the subject.)
"Again, I know. I am not asking you to listen to it, which is why it is on the mp3 player with headphones. Thank you for your concern."

I KNOW I will be hearing about this when they read it. They'll probably get together and "tag team me". ("I'll give her a hard time this hour and then it's your turn." ;-)

Never the less, it is on there. Oh yes indeed. I LOVE me some Christmas music, which I believe I explained in great detail in several other posts. (I love Christmas period. I cry at those sappy Folger's commercials) I especially love the traditional Christmas music, and preferably done by the "standards" such as Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Rosemary Clooney, etc. A Charlie Brown Christmas, of course. Ah, "Charlie Brown; it is a classic." ;-)

Clay Aiken is also on there. (I cry every time I hear "Merry Christmas with Love") You just can't beat good Christmas music. As a matter of fact, right after I post this I am going to see if I can Harry Connick Jr.'s "When My Heart Finds Christmas" to download. I have it on cassette, but I no longer have a cassette player. :-(

I also did something else today that I have not done in a VERY long time. As a matter of fact, I can't remember the last time I did it. I wore my headphones around the house listening to music. Oh yes I did!

Again, that may not mean much to you, but it's a lot believe me. I don't do it, normally, for several reasons. 1) I think it's rude. I hate it when "Little Mark" has his ear buds in and I am trying to talk to him. He takes out just ONE... that drives me CRAZY. I am now at the point that I don't even begin speaking until he has taken both out AND paused the iPod. 2) also, I just don't have time. Usually, the mp3 player would just get in the way of whatever I am doing, so I don't even bother. 3) I think people think I am being "anti-social" if I walk around with it on. So, I just don't. But, after today I just might start... ;-) (I am such a rebel, y'all.) :-)

I was actually alone today for about an hour or so. I had on the headphones and I was singing OUT LOUD. I messed up words, I "bopped around" and I am pretty sure I was off key; but I didn't care. :-) Again, I don't do that very often, but it sure was fun. It was so much fun that I left the headphones on while cooking dinner; minus the singing. I am sure the family appreciated that part.
There may have also been head bobbing and toe tapping involved, but we won't go there.

They have looked at me strangely several times though. Probably because I haven't taken the headphones off except for long enough to eat, and they don't even know what I am listening to. Like right now, REO Speedwagon is on and they don't know why I am swaying. ;-)

When I was adding music I went ahead and added some other songs that were NOT Christmas. (Insert shocked gasp here) I just wanted some new stuff. By "new" I mean '30s-'40s, Bob Seger, Journey and Foreigner. Billy Joel may or may not have made the cut.

Who am I kidding, of course he made the cut. As a matter of fact, the "head bobbing" while cooking was to both "Uptown Girl" and "We Didn't Start the Fire." As y'all can tell I am VERY hip and up to date on pop music. ;-)

So, that is how I spent my afternoon. It is amazing how "freeing" it is to sing aloud and "bop around" alone in a house. I had forgotten how much I used to like to do that. It makes me wonder why/when I stopped. Is it just because I didn't have time, or did I get too old? I think that question is another post for another day. ;-)

Wendy Darling

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Cleggy passed this on to me, and I just had to share it with y'all. All I can say is, "WOW!" Give it a couple of minutes to get into it, but you will be so glad that you did. ;-)

Wendy Darling

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I am still around...

I know it has been a few days since I posted, and I wanted to let you guys know that I am still around. ;-)
"Little Mark" has been attending day camp at church this week, and I was asked to teach a baking class today. I had 15 children, ages 7-14, in our church kitchen. We made these Chewy Oatmeal Spice Bars

I got the recipe from Gayle at Grocery Cart Challenge At first I was concerned the kids wouldn't like them because of the oatmeal and all. But, they really surprised me. I made a batch last night to take for them to eat. I knew that the batch they made would not be ready in time, and you just don't let kids bake and then not let them eat what they made. They have to taste it; I believe it is a law. ;-)

Anyway, I stretched out my time by allowing each child to do one thing. They either measured out an ingredient, stirred or used the mixer. That was a challenge with 15 kids let me tell you, but it worked just fine and they all had fun.

Once their batch was in the oven then they got to eat the batch I brought. Perhaps "eat" is too vague. It was more like "inhaled." I never saw so many children scarf down oatmeal so fast in my life. They actually asked for second and third helpings. :-) Of course, each child got a copy of the recipe, and I feel certain several families in our church will be having this for breakfast before the weekend is over. ;-)

It was a lot of fun, and I wouldn't mind teaching a baking class again, for a day. I don't want to go overboard, after all this isn't "The Next Food Network Star" or anything. :-)

Wendy Darling

Saturday, July 05, 2008

It was a great 4th! :-)

I have to thank my loving sister and her husband for puttin
g up with "Little Mark" and I for a whole week. :-) (Yes, I did thank them in person many times, but felt I needed to do it publicly as well.) :-)

We all know that saying, "Fish and company both stink after 3 days." Well, we were there for 6 days. We tried to make sure we "earned our keep" by helping out, which may have bugged our kind hosts at times. Sorry about that. But, we had such a wonderful time. ;-)

We got to eat here:

We watched lots of "House Hunters" and "Property Virgins." I had never seen those shows before, so that was cool. :-) We also ate some really great chicken, which I hope to get the recipe to. ;-) We played bowling on Playstation 2, again another first for me. I actually got pretty good, but "Little Mark" won almost every game. Loving Sister kicked my butt in "Trivial Pursuit: Totally 80s edition" and the youngest nephew kicked all of our butts in "Disney Trivial Pursuit." :-)

We also got to see some REALLY COOL fireworks, like these:

We actually got to see fireworks two nights in a row. The first night we were close enough to where they were shooting them off that we could hear the patriotic music playing as the sky exploded in colors. Yes, I felt very patriotic, and got a lump in my throat as I thought of our men and women in uniform stationed all over the globe. I said a prayer for each of them, and thanked God that they are willing to put themselves in harms way for us, and the other nations who also are fighting to "have a voice" in choosing how they want to live.

Last night we went to another fireworks display. As we were waiting in the parking lot for it start I overheard some people talking. By their accents I could definitely tell they were from Africa. Then a couple of cars pulled up next to us, and two families of Middle Eastern dissent emerged from their vehicles. They were smiling, and talking. The children were so excited and laughing, eagerly waiting for the display to begin. All around us the parking lot was full of cars with people of all races/nationalities/religions, etc. I couldn't help but think to myself, "This IS America." This is what it is all about, exactly what we are here celebrating. It isn't just to see a bunch of colors explode in the sky, although that exciting.

It is remembering a time when we, as a nation, stood up and said, "We want freedom." And we got it.

Yes, we have problems in our country, we are not perfect; but we still live in the greatest nation in the world because we are free to speak our mind. We have a say in how the problems will be solved, and who will solve them. We also have the freedom to disagree with one another, and that is okay.

(I'll get off of my soap box now.) :-)

So, again, I say "Thank you" to my loving sister and brother-in-law." We appreciate the hospitality and the good time.

Wendy Darling

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

For the Love of the Game...

I don't often write a post about my younger nephew, because I am not with him as much as I am "Little Mark."  So, I leave those posts to his dad.   But, I thought that in honor of this weekend I would write a little post about the "younger nephew" in honor of  his love of baseball.

The child loves baseball.

I don't know how else to say it.   When he was much younger, and stayed with us overnight for the first time, without Mom and Dad, he cried at bed time.   Maybe it was a little more than "crying." I remembered lots of tears and gnashing of teeth.  Little sleeping.  (And that was just us.)

 So, we called "Mom" who said, ""Turn on the baseball channel."  Oh yeah!  That did the trick.   I don't even remember who was playing, but I still say "God bless them."

The next time he stayed with us I thought I should check out a book about baseball to read to him for a bedtime story.  So, I went to the library and got the book "Home Run."   It's about The Babe.

After about the 50th time of reading the book I decided it might be a good idea to check and see if we could get a copy for the little man.   Amazon came through for us, and the little guy received this for his birthday that year.  :-)

Now, while you are out this weekend celebrating the beginning of our great country, don't forget about what we also associate with it.  Freedom,  America, apple pie and the greatest sport ever played;  baseball. 

Have a great weekend, y'all.
Wendy Darling

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

America and Why I Love Her

I love this video and in light of the upcoming 4th of July weekend I thought that I would share it with you.  

Wendy Darling