Friday, February 19, 2016

Happy! Happy! Birthday Girl MJ!

My kiddo's Mama J is having a birthday today!

The day is almost over, so I hope Mama J has had a really nice one, but I still thought I'd surprise her with a little note of appreciation for who this lady is to me and my kiddos.

Mama J - here are 5 things I appreciate that you taught me.  Hope this brings a smile!

5 - Beer bread - Mama J was the first one who ever introduced me to this little genius baking trick.  Back in the day when we would get together more often, the kids and I would go see Mama J and Papa S for a meal, and she would treat us to this little wonder lots of times.  Good stuff - and EASY!

4 - Let your talents bless others.  Mama J has been sharing her piano and organ talents for as long as I have known her, and I'm sure she has been sharing them much longer than that.  Playing at church on most Sundays and holidays, teaching countless students and even selling lots of instruments to many.  Yep, Mama J has brought the joy and love of music to many people.

3 - Laugh easily and often.  Mama J has an easy smile and laugh and finds the humor in life easily.  It's all part of what makes # 1 below true.

2 - Take pictures.  Take lots of pictures.  Mama J has some of the cutest pics of my little ones.  I am still learning this picture taking trick, but Mama J is an old pro at capturing cute moments.

1 - Be a fun grandma.  My kiddos have often spoken of how much they enjoy spending time with MJ and PS.  I often think of Mama J's gifts and easy spirit with my kiddos all these years, and I want to be that kind of Grandma/Mimi.

We love you, Mama J!  I hope this gives you a small glimpse of knowing that you are loved and appreciated.  We need to figure out how to make getting together more often happen!

Happy!  Happy!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Happy! Happy! Birthday Girl J!

This beautiful lady, my sister is celebrating her birthday today!

I realized earlier today that next year is one of those "big" birthdays, which just really surprised me, because J is perpetually 35 in my mind.  40 at tops, but nothing more than that.  Of course, that doesn't exactly fit the math since I know my age, and J is older than me...but in my mind, I am also perpetually 35...38 at tops.  Now that is how my mind body may feel differently, but...that is another story!

But today - this birthday - is a "regular" one for my YOUNG sister, so it is my chance to honor and appreciate her for 5 things that she has taught me.  Trust me, I've known this wonderful lady my whole life so she has taught me WAY more than 5 things, but these are the 5 that came to my mind today.

5 - Breastfeeding.  Yep, that's right, breastfeeding.  J had her oldest, A, when I was a teenager, and J thoroughly enjoyed nursing A.  I had never given breastfeeding any thought one way or the other at that time, but J made it so real and wonderful and doable, that she sold me.  When I had my babies, it never really occurred to me to feed them in any other way.  I'm not shaming any mama who fed their babies by other means, but I will always treasure that time of feeding each of my children as only I could.  And that is due, in large part, to J's teaching when I was but a teenager.

4 - Read.  Lots.  Out loud and often.

3 - Stay in touch.  I am HORRIBLE at this, so J is still very much teaching me this one, but J is pretty much THE BEST at this.  J makes friends easily and has made many friends in many places all over the world.  But beyond that - she stays in touch like a champ.

2 - Compassion and empathy.  J gets it.  She has experienced deep hurt and loss in her life.  J has not let it close her off, but she stays open and gives compassion easily and genuinely.  J is approachable, and people know it  People of all ages.

1 - Family history.  J and I are the only ones left from our birth family.  She knows some; I know some; we still have gaps.  But nobody else can teach me that stuff about our parents and siblings - places we lived, jobs, schools, churches...memories.

I love you, J!  You are one of the youngest people I know...eternally young at heart.  You inspire me as well as teach me.

Happy!  Happy!  Birthday J!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Deb Disclaimer:  This post could offend some.  It is not my intent to offend.  The views expressed in this post are solely mine.  They do not necessarily reflect Google Blogger or any past, (none), present (none) or future (possible) sponsor of this blog.  If you are easily offended, you may want to skip this post and join us next time for our usual programming of cute kids, birthdays, events and baking fun.

Ready?  Still with me?  Ok, here we go.

I found this caramel cake on pinterest and baked it.

I read the recipe and had a sense that I wouldn't like it, but the corresponding narrative reeled me in.  Talks of "wow!" and "amazing!" from merely  tasting the unfrosted cake lured me in.  Stories of "Rose" being famous in South Chicago for this cake lead me to go against my instincts and start measuring.

Alas, my instincts were right.  That's right.  Another classic case.  The dark secret of Pinterest.  You know it happens, but nobody talks about it.

Until now.  Yes, I'm going to say it.  Somebody has to.  Because I got sucked in.  Sucked in to the


It happens more than it should.  It happens everyday.  Words like "The Best!" and "Perfect!" and "Best EVER!" can't ALL be true.  All the time.  About everything.  


What ever happened to other words?  Words like "Tastes Good" or "Nice for a Tuesday Night" or even "Easy and Good Enough"?  

Not that these words necessarily applied to the above cake, but they would have come closer to the truth than the story I read of tasting the cake right out of the oven and expressing "Wow!" so they rush tastes out to the son in the garage, who also says "Wow!" or some such exclamation.  

Now don't get me wrong.  I'm sure the lady who wrote this means well and maybe the cake fits their idea of a great cake....similar to one taster at work who compared this cake to her husband's relative's preference for "crumby" cake.  

I would have chosen words closer to those from another coworker - "edible."  It was edible, but it needed help.  Help like ice cream and chocolate sauce.  Help like more soaking syrup than I added even though pinterest didn't say to use any soaking syrup.

Help like another friend gave.  He drizzled some coffee over his slice - and that moistened the slice plus complimented the caramel flavor in the icing quite nicely.  

Do I hate Pinterest?  Or think it's a major time waster?  No to both.  Well, ok, it may be a time waster but so is this blog if truth be told.  But it's not a total time waster.  I particularly enjoy the Ikea hacks and pin many of those.  The same friend whose husband's family like cakes on the crumby side?  She found a great trick to take a box of angel food cake mix and substitute Rum Chata for the water.  She says it is great, and I trust that she is not overselling this idea.  

So please don't hear me saying that I will never pin anything else ever again...although I have no idea how to post stuff to pinterest for others to pin.  But hopefully if I ever do figure that out, I will do my best to not commit the crime of the...


I may break the mold and become the Pinterest Queen of the Undersell.  Someday.  It could happen.  Posting cakes and pies that are "Strictly Ladies Luncheon" or "Kid Quality" or "Good for a Change of Pace" or "Not The Best Ever But a Keeper."  

Speaking of which...this caramel cake is not a keeper.  Hence, I'm not going to bother to share the recipe here.  But I may try to make some changes to it and make it again.  If those changes make it a keeper, I will let you know.