Happy New Year – 2010!

Happy New Year to Everyone! The start of the new year always seems like a magical time to me – a fresh, clean white canvas waiting for each us to paint a beautiful picture. I always love that feeling of a new beginning, a fresh start to finally make your life the way YOU want it.

When I was younger, I used to make resolutions but I don’t now because they were so seldom kept and just ended up making me feel guilty because I didn’t get them accomplished.

So, instead of resolutions I have “Hopes” for the New Year. They are things you hope you will accomplish but aren’t going to beat yourself up about if you don’t.

This year, I’d like to get my house more organized – after 26 years of living in this house and accumulating stuff, it has become way too cluttered. I really need to go through every room and get rid of a lot of things and reorganize everything. Hopefully, throughout this year I’ll work on this bit by bit. I’m not in a huge hurry to get started but I hope to get a little done each week.

Also this year, I’d like to spend a lot of time practicing the piano so I can become a better player. Hopefully, this shouldn’t be to difficult as I love to play the piano. However, now that I’m past 50 it does seem to take longer to get your fingers to cooperate. At the beginning of 2009 I started playing again after a long hiatus from the piano – how I wish I hadn’t let it go like that. During 2009, I made a lot of progress – caught up to where I was when I quit playing and advanced past that. Hopefully during 2010 I will be able to advance even more.

Another thing I “hope” to do in 2010 is become more fit and healthy. My husband and I actually got a head start on this! We’ve been doing Qi Gong exercises along with a DVD for five days now. It seems like a very easy sort of exercise but really does make you feel relaxed yet invigorated at the same time. Both of us really enjoy doing the exercises along with the DVD.

Qi Gong For Seniors

The first DVD we are using is Qi Gong for Seniors by Lee Holden. I saw him on PBS during a pledge drive and really liked the programs. So, I ordered several DVDs from his website to try. Since neither of us has ever tried Qi Gong before and we are in our middle fifties we started with the Qi Gong for Seniors.

So far, we are really enjoying this. Hopefully, because it is enjoyable, Qi Gong will be something we can keep doing throughout the year. It is amazing how quickly the half hour routine zips by.

Let’s hope that 2010 will be a good year for everyone on our Earth. May all of you have Peace, Hope, Health and Prosperity this New Year!

How are all of you going to say the name of the new year – two thousand and ten or twenty ten?  My husband thinks that everyone is going to say twenty ten.  So far, I’m more comfortable saying two thousand and ten.

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Pumpkin Pie Disaster

We spent Thanksgiving at Darrin and Maura’s home – technically, they are dear friends but actually they are much, much more like family.  They are more like our grown children than plain old friends and their children are our grandchildren.  Being a part of their extended family is one of the things for which we are very thankful not only on Thanksgiving but every day.

My contribution to Thanksgiving dinner was to make enough dessert for a large, extended family gathering.  So, I decided to make four pumpkin pies (as many as fit in my oven).  Usually my pies turn out well, I always make my own pastry and don’t have any problems with that turning out the way it should.   These four pies just didn’t turn out well at all – not because of the pastry but because I put more than twice as much sugar in the pumpkin mixture as the recipe called for.

Pumpkin Pie Failure

It was late on the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving and I was trying to be quick about making the pies.  I didn’t bother to put my reading glasses on and thought the recipe said each pie needed 1 3/4 cup of sugar so I multiplied that by 4 and put 7 cups of sugar in for the 4 pies.  They should have finished baking in an hour but it took 2 1/2 hours for them to get firm.  By that time, I knew something was wrong – not just the long baking time but the smell was dreadful.  Instead of that wonderful pumpkin pie smell wafting from the oven there was a sickeningly sweet, burnt sugar smell filling the house.   A sticky sugar syrup was bubbling out of the pies and all over my oven, when I took the pies out of the oven the syrup was at the hard crack stage making long crispy strings as I lifted them out and put them on the counter.  It was a mess.  Anyway, I looked at the recipe again to see what on earth might have gone wrong (with glasses on) and saw that each pie only needed 3/4 cup of sugar!  For the 4 pies, I should have only used 3 cups of sugar and I used 7!

No one tasted these pies but I bet they tasted really awful.  They certainly smelled awful.  I put them out in the garage before I went to bed so they would quit stinking up the house and they were thrown out Thanksgiving morning.

Coconut Cranberry Bars

Thanksgiving morning, I baked Coconut Cranberry Bars to bring for dessert.  Luckily, I had all the ingredients they needed and they were quick and easy to make.  I had seen the recipe on the Land O’Lakes site several days earlier.  They turned out nicely and tasted great. 

Thanksgiving Dessert

Here is a link to the recipe:

Coconut Cranberry Bars

They turned out so well and people seemed to like them so much that I made them again to take to my Knitting Night on Tuesday.  Everyone there seemed to like them, too – at least they ate them and even asked for the recipe!

Coconut Cranberry Bars For Knitting Night

The Land O’Lakes site has many good recipes, they are easy to find and the pages don’t have any pop-ups or weird ads.  I’ve had good luck with any of the recipes I’ve tried from their recipe collection.

To see more pictures from Thanksgiving, here is a link to a set of pictures on Flickr:

Thanksgiving 2009

You can click on any of the pictures in this post to see a larger version.

Lego Mania

My blog has been neglected for a bit – seems like life gets so busy as the holiday season starts up, I can’t believe it will be Thanksgiving in four days.  It seemed like Halloween was just a couple of day ago.  Sometimes, it seems like the older I get the less I enjoy the holidays – I feel kind of like a Grinch this year.  It makes me sad to see Christmas decorations going up in stores the minute Halloween is over.  Oh well, that’s the way it is.

Building Brothers

Our two grandsons have really been into playing with Lego Blocks this past couple of weeks.  Whenever they come over after school it is the first thing they want to do.

Busy Building

It is really refreshing when kids want to play something besides video games.  They do enjoy Nintendo and Playstation, too – but the past few weeks they have been having Lego Mania.  You can see in the above picture I still haven’t put away the two Halloween Candles on the fireplace – I think they’re cute and haven’t gotten into Thanksgiving mode yet even though it’s just days away!

Whistle While You Work

Just listening to them while they build and play is fun.  You can see how their minds are working and what sort of things they have going on in their imaginations.  Both of the boys are so different – they invent and act out stories about totally different things.  Darrin was whistling to himself while he was building.

Lego Mania

Actually, I really enjoy playing with Legos myself!  It is almost like knitting – making something block by block instead of stitch by stitch.  I built myself a really cool Lego house with a garden and everything.

You can click on any of the pictures for a larger view.

Halloween 2009

This is another post I’ve been meaning to do all week and haven’t gotten it done because I took too many pictures and couldn’t decide which ones to edit and use.  I get snap happy with my cameras and never know when to stop!

Halloween seemed like a two day holiday this year – on Friday, Oct. 30th, the elementray school our grandchildren attend had their Halloween celebrations.  Kindergarten through Second Grade went on a parade around our tiny town and got treats from the businesses and post office.

HalloweenParade

Nephi (Optimus Prime) in the Halloween Parade

Third through Fifth Grade had a costume exhibition – some of the kids had fantastic costumes.  Afterwards, all the classes had Halloween parties.

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Darrin the Mummy

Then on Saturday it was time for trick or treating.  We usually have around 100 trick or treaters come to our house – this year I thought there might be a lot more than usual because the weather was so nice and it was on the weekend.  However, there were only 47 trick or treaters this year.  Perhaps the nice weather and weekend combined made families decide to head somewhere else on Saturday.

NephiDarrin

Optimus Prime and the Mummy

Our grandkids wore the same costumes they wore at school and ended their trick or treating at our house so they could help give out treats – they really enjoy doing that.

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Darrin giving out treats.

Along with fewer than usual trick or treaters this year, they started coming later that usual as well.  Our first trick or treater didn’t come till 7pm!  They usually start shortly after 5pm. 

GivingOutTreats3

Nephi giving out treats.

It ended up being a fun and Happy Halloween! 

ToothlessHalloween

Toothless and Happy on Halloween!

If you would like to see more pictures from Halloween, here is a link for a set of Halloween pictures on Flickr:

Halloween 2009

You can click on any of the pictures in this post for a larger view.

HalloweenGroup1

Shania, Larissa and Friends