CRAZY BUSY

When referring to something that is surprisingly wonderful or over-the-top great, my son will say, “crazy, right?!” It seems that’s the new word for all good things or occasions. Well our summer has been crazy, or crazy busy!

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That’s my introduction to tell you that this will be a quick blog. In June we had our annual beach vacation with our 3 adult children, their spouses and two grandsons.  Somehow, we lost the rest of June when we came back home.

Here’s how:

Lots of extended family have been dropping in….and staying!

 

I dropped OUT by spending three days and two nights at a friend’s house sewing non-stop to make drapes for Swaziland (44 panels, lined!).

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AND, our daughter and son-in-law, who live nearby got a PUPPY!  A 6 week old laborator.  We get to babysit often.

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My daughter summed this endeavor up aptly, “I don’t get anything done because when she’s awake she’s all over me and when she’s asleep I sit and look at her because she’s SO CUTE!”  Sounds like a new mother, right?  Crazy, right?  All good things, but June was eaten up.

Before, I end, I do have one little cute story to introduce this month’s recipe.  Hopefully I haven’t already given you the recipe for pound cake that I have cobbled together from several recipes.

THE STORY:

It was a last minute thought, as I was finishing lots of cooking for our family vacation, I threw together a pound cake, just in case anyone wanted some.  Well that ANYONE was my 4 year old grandson, Wilder.  He LOOOOOVED it and it became Becca Cake.  This was the motivating carrot for the trip…”want some Becca Cake?  Eat your dinner, etc.”  By the end of the trip, of course, it was gone.

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Wilder and family came back to Atlanta with us for  a few days and I promised him I would make another Becca Cake.  I wish you could have seen him one night, sitting at the counter, eating Becca Cake.   He had put so much in his mouth that he couldn’t chew; a puzzled look was on his little face as he was attempting to move the cake around in his mouth;  I was afraid he would choke!  But he got it down.

Next day I took older brother Dean to the Atlanta Aquarium; Wilder was left behind with Aunt Andie.  Dean got to PET A PENGUIN!  Crazy, huh?!

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Back home, Andie was watching TV in the den when Wilder came sauntering  through the room, carrying in his little hand and casually munching a piece of Becca Cake that was at least six inches wide, the size of about 5 pieces of cake.

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When questioned about how he got it and who approved it, he proudly announced, “I cut it myself!”  One can only imagine how all this happened and probably the sense of exhilaration he felt at having circumvented all the approvals he usually needed to get in order to have some Becca Cake.  Unfortunately for Wilder, his hopes spiraled  downward as Aunt Andie made an adjustment to his cake-cutting!!  Wilder thinks Becca Cake is crazy good!

BECCA POUND CAKE

3 sticks butter, 6 oz cream cheese and 3 cups sugar:  cream together

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beat in 6 eggs and 1 tablespoon of vanilla or 1 teaspoon of almond extract or half of both

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add gradually 3 cups White Lily plain flour

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Turn into greased and floured bundt pan

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bake at 325 for 1 hour 15 minutes.

SEE TRICK BELOW FOR GETTING IT OUT OF THE PAN:

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This post was written by Vein and Skin Laser Center | June 29, 2017


DREAMY RESOLUTIONS

IMG_0170 Isn’t it fun to dream and make resolutions? Not the New Year’s kind! Not the I’m going to eat more kale and floss every night plus get up an hour earlier so I can work out. No, no, I’m not talking about those kind of resolutions. I’m talking about the resolutions that are more like wonderful dreams.

Like when you are looking at a magazine and see a photo layout that the food editor spent a zillion hours creating. It looks so inviting and you dreamily resolve, “I’m going to do that this summer with my family.” Or a recipe that works out, and you think, “when we go to the beach I’m going to do that PLUS I’m going to create something wonderful EVERY DAY!” Or reading a novel that describes someone coming into a house after a blustery walk over lovely beach cliffs, only to smell a good cut of meat roasting with some crusty potatoes, and you decide, “I’m going to create that kind of environment in my home!”

All of these dreams center around cooking, but you name it! When you see something well-done, it can be inspiring. How many men have dreamed dreams about their golf game after watching a professional golfer? How many women have started painting or hanging wallpaper after attending a decorator show house? Or crafting after going to a craft fair? Or gardening after watching HGTV? The list goes on. Here’s how I got thinking about this whole subject

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Recently I was walking past a tennis court where some AA players were having a match. They made the game look so graceful, and even easy. When a point was ended, it wasn’t because someone flubbed a shot, with a ball landing in the net or the back fence. No, points ended with firm, well-placed volleys and opponents conceding, “good shot” and maybe one of those little claps on the strings of the racket that’s the tennis version of applause for a shot well-done.

While watching this match, one of the players hit an overhead, but not just HIT the overhead, she DESTROYED the overhead! You know, she hit the ball so hard that when it bounced on the opposite side of the net, it then bounced over the fence! No chance whatsoever of THAT  being returned. Wow! I hadn’t seen that since my son played high school tennis. He played on a team so talented that this over-the-fence-overhead shot was a regular occurrence. While other coaches were getting their boys pumped up with strategy and encouraging words, our coach would say, “now boys, try not to lose so many balls over the fence when you are hitting overheads!”

Back to resolutions. When I saw that girl hit that overhead, I remembered a goal that was really more like a dream.   I want to do that. I always said I wanted to be able to do that. I know it’s probably beyond me, but maybe I should resurrect that thought. Hmmmmmm. Dare I even wander there in my mind?  Could I dream big enough to make a resolution in that department?

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Later that day, while lazily enjoying a glass of wine on the porch, I shared these thoughts with Dr David. Many enthusiastic words flew between us….lessons from a coach…plus he would take me out and feed me practice balls….oh, and as long as we are at it, he wanted me to get a really good second serve. Isn’t it all so exciting and even EASY to make resolutions and dream big when the dreaming is just that….dreaming! You know, like the diet you are going to go on when vacation is over? Ha ha.

But guess what? Sometimes a fraction of those resolutions actually happen. Maybe you cook ONE of those great meals, not EVERY DAY of the vacation, but more than you would have. Maybe you just rearrange a little, rather than redecorating the whole house. That’s good! These resolutions and dreams count for something. And don’t we admire the person that attempts great things, even if they can’t get all the way there? Rather than the negative Nellie who doesn’t even try.

Did I hear somewhere that you are old when you stop dreaming? And trying? I think I’m going to book a tennis lesson next week……..

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DREAMY BROWNIE  COOKIES

Melt:  one stick of butter, 4 squares baking chocolate, 1-1/2 cup of chocolate chips (12 oz bag).  Cool

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Sift together:  1-1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt

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Beat:  4 eggs, 1-1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons vanilla.

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Add:  Chocolate mix; beat well.  Then add 12 oz chocolate chips and 2 cups of pecans or walnuts.

Drop:  spoonfuls onto parchment lined pans.

Bake:   In 350 oven for approximately 10 minutes.

ENJOY! 


This post was written by Vein and Skin Laser Center | April 12, 2017


THE DOCTOR IS OUT…..

 

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I’ve heard it said that there is a difference between being alone and being lonely. How does one get from lonely to being alone, but not lonely? Practice?
I had some practice at this as a child. For a number of years, we lived in a regular, suburban neighborhood, but there were no kids there, i.e. no friends. And back in the dark ages, people didn’t have play dates and tons of activities. Did your mother cart you around every afternoon so you could be entertained, enriched, or whatever. Really?

Well, my mother taught piano lessons in our home after school. True, she was always at home, but there were no warm cookies and mommy and I sitting together sharing about my day. She was teaching. I walked home from the bus stop, got my own snack, and did my homework. Fun, right? I knew I was not to interrupt her when she was teaching, unless it was an emergency. So as far as entertainment and enrichment, it was up to me. Within reason, of course.
What I thought was a big, fat MINUS (can you say “boring”?) actually was a benefit. Learning to entertain myself prepared me for the many hours I would spend alone as a doctors wife. I spent many happy hours reading, flopped across my bed. And I still love to read. I did my homework and studied with no help from my parents. Did ANY parents help their kids back then? I taught myself to sew and to knit, things I still enjoy. (I made all my own clothes when David was in medical school and residency, giving me something to do when I wasn’t at work, but HE WAS.) I spent many happy hours exploring various recipe books and baking (leaving huge messes for my mom to clean up). And, of course, I still love to cook.

Fast forward.

So, true to my heart, I fell in love with a Georgia Tech man on the path to being an engineer like my dad. But my honey somehow ended up being a doctor! Oh my, was I shocked and not a little upset! While most of our friends from Tech days were starting their families with houses and station wagons (oh, how green that grass looked!), we were in an apartment. I was working to put David through school and he was studying or working what seemed like ALL THE TIME.

Almost ten years later, we finally started our family! We had the house and the baby and a neighborhood with lots of kids, like it’s SUPPOSED TO BE, right? No lonely, boring days for my kids! Our firstborn was happily engaged with many a friend. It seemed she was always arranging to be with friends, either at our house or at theirs or at camp or at a school or church activity, anywhere was always better with a friend. This, I thought, is the life! This is what I wished that I had had growing up. This is the way kids are happiest!

Years later, we were blessed with another little girl, and true to form, she had her best, best friend that lived next door, which whom she spent most of her waking hours. When our family moved, I agonized over leaving her idyllic childhood: day’s spent playing with her little friend, running back and forth between the two homes, skating outside together….. was I ruining her life to rip her away from all that? Would her childhood be marked by loneliness and boredom?

After the move, I made a discovery: I discovered that, yes, she enjoyed her friends, but she was equally happy to be alone. With company, without company, she was fine. I was a little surprised. What? How can this be? She taught me something. Can you say “contentment”?

Upon reflection, here’s my take: contentment is tied up with moving from lonely to alone, but not lonely. Some people seem to naturally come by that contentment easier than others, but I believe we can all get there. My journey perhaps took the boot camp of training for those years in my childhood. But I got there.

Maybe I was destined to be a doctor’s wife, despite my original thoughts of marrying an engineer with regular hours like my dad. Perhaps the lessons I learned as I spent time exploring ways to entertain myself BY MYSELF prepared me for the times when “the doctor is out.”


This post was written by Vein and Skin Laser Center | January 9, 2017


WHAT’S ON MY MIND THESE HOT DAYS?

 My kids tease me about one summer when I was driving them home from camp or a sports tournament….I don’t remember now.  Doctor Daddy couldn’t come so it was Mommy and the kids.  Late at night, they were asleep in the back seat.  One of them tells the story of waking or half waking and hearing me humming along to music……CHRISTMAS music!  In August! 

Which leads me to….what am I up to now?  Trying to beat the heat and huddle indoors with the air conditioning?  Or just embrace the heat and go out and bake in it?  No,  my thoughts are far away…..two places……Africa….and Christmas.

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You remember my writing about my trip to Swaziland this past January.  Well, now in Swaziland they are experiencing the worst drought in their history.  No rain in over a year.  Reservoirs are not just low; they are completely dry, with the ground cracking at the bottom of what once was a small lake/reservoir.   There is a plan for another water source, but it requires a significant amount of money.  How to get that water is always on my heart. 

The farming on Project Canaan is now dried up and over because there is no rain.  Primarily, Heart for Africa’s farm, Project Canaan, serves as home for 135 abandoned babies.  But the farming component was also a big part, providing food, jobs and an income source for the whole amazing operation and the surrounding communities.   

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The jewelry making venture is now trying to pick up the slack.  People who were working in the fields are now being trained to make jewelry, stringing beads and bending wire, and I must say, doing a great job of it!  Just this week we received stateside thousands of these beautiful ornaments. 

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What’s  on my mind these days?  How to sell 2,000 ornaments!  So I’m telling everyone I know about them.  The easiest way is to get 20 people to buy 100 ornaments ($12/each).  Can you do that?  Or could your business do that?

If you can’t buy 100, could you buy 10?  Or 20?   Or 50?  Come on, we all know we spend $10 here and $15 there to take care of gifting during the holidays.  Could you give these ornaments instead?  They look really cute draped over a wine bottle for a hostess gift or a gift for a good client or referral source.  Some people are enclosing them in their Christmas cards.  The blue ornament is perfect for Hanukkah too.  

I know its early and still HOT.  So hot, and every time I take a cool drink out of my water bottle, I think of my friends in Swaziland.  Even the animals are dying because of the drought….beautiful exotic Africa animals as well as the only goat a poor family may have had to stand between them and starvation. 

I will ask again, but I’m asking now so you can begin thinking how together we can make a difference.

EMAIL ME AT DFERN2001@ATT.NET IF YOU ARE WILLING TO PURCHASE ORNAMENTS OR HAVE AN ORGANIZATION THAT COULD/WILL DO THAT.  BLESSINGS! 

RECIPE

I just discovered this and I give the Pioneer Woman all the credit, since I found it in her cookbook. 

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WATERMELON GRANITA

 ½ seedless watermelon

Juice of 2 limes

1/3 cup sugar

Cut off the rind of the watermelon and chop into large chunks. 

Next slice 2 limes in half and squeeze the juice into a blender or Ninja. 

Add the sugar. 

Pack the blender as full of watermelon chunks as you can get it. 

Blend until totally pureed. 

Pour out about half the mixture into a bowl, then add the rest of the watermelon and blend it up. Pour second batch into bowl and mix up  

Pour the mixture into a large flat pan.  I used a large metal baking pan that is about 3 inches deep, because I thought the metal would make things freeze faster.

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Place in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours.  Take out from the freezer and stir, so that the unfrozen part freezes and it stays slushy, rather than being frozen into one large block.  If you forget to stir, you CAN chop it all up, but its nicer if you stir it every hour or so. 

Serve in a pretty glass.  I used mine for my grown up daughter’s birthday dinner.

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  And to quote the Pioneer Woman,

“Splash a small amount of cold wine or vodka over the granita if you’re into that kind of thing.”  


This post was written by Vein and Skin Laser Center | August 18, 2016


FLOODED BASEMENT THANKFUL

 

 

Recently, while experiencing a warm, cozy moment in bed with my morning coffee and journal, I had some uplifting thoughts about the approaching Thanksgiving season and the spirit of thankfulness. I quickly, with a strong sense of purpose, wrote the thoughts down in preparation for this month’s blog.  To inspire and motive us all…

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So today is the day! I’ve set aside an hour to write the blog (I hope!) before I have to head out.  As I am walking downstairs, I hear my phone buzzing.  Oh!  It’s my sweet husband.  He just left for the office and he is probably alerting me about a traffic jam to avoid.   How considerate.  Always thinking of my safety (he sees so much in the emergency room).  He really doesn’t need to hover so.  But, instead, he says, “The basement is flooded in that spot that happens with a heavy rain.  I threw down some towels, but it needs more.  OK?  Thanks.  Bye.”

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There goes my time allotted to write the blog….As I threw down what seemed like a hundred more towels and wondered how in the world I was going to  wring them out and wash them…..Oh well, I’ll worry about that tomorrow (come on now, we are in the South and we do remember something of Scarlett O’Hara for goodness sake!)  But I digress,  I wondered about my warm fuzzy thoughts of thankfulness and realized, that REALLY, I needed to reboot.

Thankfulness over the beautiful fall leaves, fuzzy new puppies and Aunt Julia’s chocolate pie  has its place.

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But how about being thankful for the huge blessings of ….I have a house to mop up!  I have a husband who has a job.  I have food in the pantry upstairs.  A lot of people don’t. A tornado didn’t knock down my house last night.  Nobody is in my yard threatening to cut my kids heads off with a machete.  My kindergarten teacher daughter did NOT have someone storm into her sweet little classroom with a gun.  Whoa!  I know these seem dark and overly dramatic, but some people ARE dealing with this stuff.  And thankfully, I’m not. I wish nobody was.

In short, I think of the happy lady who faithfully serves everyone their food at the local bistro, with a hug and a huge smile, who replies when you ask how she is, “JUST GREAT! I WOKE UP THIS MORNING!”

So ok, I will share my other, warm, fuzzy, Hallmark thankful thoughts too (but maybe in another blog), but every now and then a wet basement and a little time slopping around in yuk is not a bad thing. It makes you think.

MOLASSES COOKIES  

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 1 cup sugar 1 cup brown sugar ½ cup butter 1 cup Crisco ½ cup molasses 2 eggs 3 teaspoons baking soda 4 cups flour 1 teaspoon cloves 1 teaspoon ginger 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1 teaspoon salt

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Cream together on medium speed sugars, molasses, and eggs.

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Sift together flour and remaining dry ingredients.

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Oops, the picture should be of baking SODA, not baking powder. BTW, I have discovered this pumpkin pie spices mixture that I use and like instead of measuring out the cloves and cinnamon.  I used a couple of teaspoons of it in this recipe as well as 1 tsp. of ginger.

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After sifting flour with dry ingredients, add by the cupful to mixed ingredients. It can be messy, so be careful to go slow!  I pulse my mixer on and off until the flour starts to disappear into the batter. Refrigerate the dough overnight, if possible. I refrigerated mine for about 6 hours at least.

 

Roll into balls….1” or so. Place balls on greased baking sheet and bake at 325 for 10 minutes. ENJOY!


This post was written by Vein and Skin Laser Center | November 5, 2015