Friday, January 29, 2010

All By Myself...

At times, those are very sweet words. Sometimes, as adults, we want to be alone; all by ourselves, AWAY from others and reminders of responsibilities. So much so that we could scream.

Or is that just me? :-)

As children, we all want to do things ourselves. Whether it be doing something without outside help, or just be left alone.

Alone, that's not something some of are very often. It's one of those things that most of look forward to, even if only for a few moments. We take that time to just breathe, listen to the silence, pray, or just sit and not have to think about anything for just a few moments.

I have to admit that I am one of those people who long for time alone. I don't get it very often. Sometimes the rest of the family goes somewhere and I get some time alone, but I am home and always think of something that needs to be done, someone I need to contact about something or other... it's just not as enjoyable/restful as it should be.

Then there are the times I am alone in the car, but I'm on my way to DO something, so I'm generally thinking about what I am on my way to do.

But, in just a couple of weeks I will be able to enjoy the greatest gift my family has ever given me.

Greater than any expensive jewelry, money, diamonds, or even.... chocolate.

That's right, better than chocolate.

They have given me TIME ALONE. Not just alone, but alone away from home!! I have been gifted a night and almost 2 days in another city, a hotel room with a jacuzzi, and a little spending money.

I get to go out to eat ANYWHERE I WANT, and eat by myself. I can go shopping, see a movie, or do nothing. I can listen to any music I want, sleep as long as I want, and just relax. I am not taking anything with me except clothes and a Bible.

I'm not even taking my cell phone. :-)

I don't think I have ever looked forward to a gift like this. Not even when I got my digital camera. :-)

I remember reading Lisa Whelchel talk about a "sabbatical" she took once. She spent a weekend in a friend's cabin by herself and did nothing but enjoy nature and God's Word. I remember being so jealous of that.

Not that I don't love being with my family. I do, truly. But, I also believe that everyone needs time alone at some point.

SO, I just want to publicly thank my family for this gift of love. You have NO IDEA how much I appreciate it and look forward to it.

Wendy Darling

Thursday, January 28, 2010

20 reasons to Homeschool.
I stole this from Julie at Elisharose. Thank you, Julie. :-)
*** If you have a hard time viewing it, go to Julie's site and click the picture. It will show up larger.

Wendy Darling

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Recipe Swap

It is Friday, and that means it's time for a recipe swap hosted by Gayle at Grocery Cart Challenge. :-) Once you leave here, please head on over and see all of the wonderful recipes linked there. If you would like to participate just be sure to link back to Gayle's site. Gayle has a good recipe today for homemade daily shower spray.

I'm going to be a little lazy today. OK, a LOT lazy. It's been a busy week, so I'm pulling out an old recipe. I originally shared this one back in August of '08, but I think it is a good one to share again. :-)

Homemade Hair Detangler - click the link to see the original post.

Wendy Darling

Friday, January 15, 2010

Book Review

My sister "J" and "Little Mark" have become avid fans of Hannah Swenson Mysteries by Joanne Fluke. I had never heard of this series or author until they mentioned them. Hannah Swenson is the owner/operator of the Cookie Jar Bakery, and she solves murder mysteries. What a combination!

Actually, I have to give credit to "J" for introducing the books to Little Mark and a particularly long road trip. "J" had the first book on an audio book, and wanted to hear the last hour or so in the car. Little Mark happened to be in the back seat, and even though he didn't hear the beginning of the book HE WAS HOOKED.

I have to say that I have not read any of the books, and have only heard an hour or so of one of the audio books that Little Mark was playing, so I relied on "J" to say whether or not it was appropriate. She equated it with "an episode of Murder She Wrote, only the heroine is a baker instead of an author."

Baker? This could be interesting. :-)

What Little Mark and I both find very interesting is that the books also contain the recipes for the dishes she makes in that particular book. :-) Most of them are desserts (my kind of lady) ;-) but there are recipes of all kinds. All of the titles are named after a food. :-)

Little Mark has always loved a good mystery, and even though it may sound kind of weird that he would pick up on a book about a woman baker who solves murders, it has him READING!! :-) Not only that, the boy has spent HIS OWN MONEY buying the books. He looks for them now when we go to bookstores.

He has actually made one of the recipes for "Cinnamon Crisps", and they were amazing. He did them all by himself. He pretty much memorized the recipe, wrote a shopping list, followed the directions to the letter, and did it all himself. ;-) He has even asked if he could do a "Home Ec." project by creating a cook book from the recipes in the book, and then make dinner one night using only recipes from the book.

Did you catch that? The boy just gave himself a school project, and volunteered to cook!

I think I like this "Hannah Swensen"... :-)

He was also VERY excited to learn that Joanne Fluke is currently working on a cook book using all of the recipes in the book. It's due out October 2011. Future Christmas gift? I think so.

I am all for whatever gets a child to love reading, as long as it is appropriate, and this seems to be the one that Little Mark hooked. It his based on his recommendation, and request, that I give you this book review. :-)

Wendy Darling

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Friday Recipe Swap

You may remember that I linked to THIS cinnamon roll recipe from Ree at Pioneer Woman Cooks. Well, I tried them, and they are YUMMY. My family missed the brown sugar in the cinnamon rolls that I usually make, though. SO, I "tweaked" Ree's recipe just a tad. I only made two changes, and let me tell you I am glad I did. :-)

I still LOVE Ree's recipe as well, and if you would like to look at the recipe with all the REALLY nice pictures she has, then please hop on over and see it. You'll be glad you did. :-)

OK, here is the recipe I used, with the TWO changes I made.


1 C whole milk
1 C vegetable oil
1 C sugar
2 packages (4 1/2 tsp.) active dry yeast
9 C all purpose flour
1 heaping tsp. baking powder
1 scant tsp. baking soda
1 Tbl. salt


2 C butter, melted
1 C brown sugar
1 C sugar
2 T cinnamon

For the dough, beat the milk, oil and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Set aside and cool to lukewarm.

Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on top of the milk for 1 minute.

Add 8 C of flour, stir until just combined. Cover with a clean towel and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour.

Remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and the remaining 1 cup of flour. Stir thoroughly to combine.

Place dough on floured surface and divide into two parts. Roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 X 10 inches.

Pour melted butter on dough and spread evenly. Cover with half of the sugar/cinnamon mixture and spread evenly. Roll the dough tightly and pinch to seal. Cut in 1 1/2 inch slices and place on buttered pan. Cover and let rise at least 20 minutes. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.


2 lbs. powdered sugar
1/2 C whole milk
6 Tbl. butter, melted
1/4 C strongly brewed coffee
Dash of salt
1 Tbl. maple flavoring or maple extract (I used Maple syrup)

The only thing I changed is the sugar types and amount. Ree uses 2 cups of white sugar, but I divided it between brown and white. Crushed pecans may be added on top, or inside the dough before rolling, if desired.

To see other great recipes, please go over to Gayle's at Grocery Cart Challenge. :-) If you would like to participate, be sure to link to Gayle's blog. :-)

Come back tomorrow for a book recommendation. :-)

Wendy Darling

Thursday, January 07, 2010

God Must be Laughing....

I was going to post about the weather and the whole Global Warming sca... uh... "thing." But, my friend Julie at "Thoughts I Thunk" said it much better than I would have, and I agree with her 100%, so I'm just sending you over there. :-) And I stole the title from her too. ;-)

Stay warm everybody. :-)

Wendy Darling

Saturday, January 02, 2010

I got the "Beautiful Blogger Award" from Kwizgiver at "What if this is as Good as it Gets." Thank you, Kwizgiver. I am humbled and grateful.

The award does come with the some responsibilities.

1. I must thank the person who bestowed this honor upon me.

2. Copy the award and place it on my blog.

3. Link to the bestowers’ site.

4. Enumerate seven interesting things about myself. Here they are:

1) I love to bake.
2) I like decorating cakes.
3) My favorite ice cream is Chocolate Fudge Brownie with nuts.

4) My favorite colors are pink and purple (but not together)
5) I took Wado Kai (karate) in college, and was a yellow belt when I stopped.
6) I like to crochet.
7) When I was about 7 years old I road an elephant at the Houston Zoo.

5. Nominate seven bloggers that I find beautiful. Here are my nominees: Princess Ladybug, Elisharose, Pioneer Woman, Daes of our Lives, Grocery Cart Challenge, My Listening Heart, and Leighton Heart.

Wendy Darling