Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Beacycle built for two.

Bea and mom took a Sunday stroll around the neighborhood with the new bike carrier we bought this year. Only a few tears and a moment of panic as Bea got strapped into the harness. But then she noticed her blankie, Barney doll and bag of cookies, and suddenly everything was OK. The weather was perfect, and I would have liked to have gone for a longer ride, but I didn't want to push my luck. I'm sure she'll get more comfortable with her new wheels, the more we go out. And it doesn't hurt to bring along cookies.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

... with a cherry on top!

I'm having lunch with friends today and I said that I would bring dessert - chocolate cupcakes with brown sugar frosting. A heavenly combination for any taste bud. This frosting was my dad's all-time favorite. He always requested it on his birthday. I'll share the recipe, but just to warn you, it can be a little tricky.

Sandra's Dad's Favorite Brown Sugar Frosting
2 tablespoons shortening
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Melt butter, shortening and brown sugar in a sauce pan, on the stove over medium/medium-high heat until smooth. Remove from heat. Add milk and vanilla, stir until creamy. Add powdered sugar and beat with hand mixer until smooth, but slightly stiff. Frost immediately. Frosting begins to clump and crack as it cools.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A sweet story.

I'm going to share with you all, my much-requested family recipe for sugar cookies and buttercream icing. The best part about this story though, is the fact that these cookies wouldn't be nearly as good without the buttercream icing. And believe it or not, the buttercream icing recipe was given to my mom probably 40 years ago, by none other than Margaret Denneler - my mother-in-law. So you see, Eric and I were truly destined to be together. Separately we're just a dry cookie and an overly sweet frosting. But together we are fabulous!

Sandra's-Mom's-Aunt Katie's Sugar Cookie Recipe
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup real butter
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 cups flour

Mix all ingredients. Add flour last. Chill dough overnight. Cut and bake at 325 degrees. Watch closely, do not let them brown!

Mother-in-Law-Margaret's Buttercream Icing
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup Crisco shortening
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
5 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup and 1 tbsp milk

Cream butter & shortening in bowl. Add vanilla and salt. Gradually add sugar. Mixture will appear dry. Add milk and beat on high until creamy.

While I can guarantee that these will taste scrumptious if you follow the recipes, I can't guarantee what they'll look like when you're done decorating. It's taken me years and years to perfect these cookies to look & taste as good as they do. GOOD LUCK!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What's the big, hairy idea?

Just a little something I whipped up for my office space. My new digs at WSU needed some sprucing up, so I hot-glued these giant letters out of foam core and covered them in black furry cloth. I'm planning to use it as a bulletin board for "ideas." Although it's so soft, I hesitate to cover them up. They're kind of fun to pet. I had made something similar a few years ago for a couple of my nieces. And I liked them so much I didn't want to give them away. So now I have big, hairy letters of my very own. 

The corner of my office is also looking extra cozy, thanks to the table that Eric built. It's the perfect compliment to my chicken lamp and big, red apple chair.

Stop by for a visit anytime!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dad's Day 2008

Gus and Bea didn't read the memo that said you were suppose to let Dad (and Mom) sleep in on Father's Day. We were all up and at 'em by 6:45 am. 

The kids and I surprised Eric with a box full of things that any Dad would like: an LED flashlight, swimming trunks, a new rain guage, and a martini shaker (OK, so this one was more for Mom, but Dad likes to play bartender!) 

Gus even made a funny, little Father's Day card. He drew all of Eric's favorite tools. Notice the "X" and "–" he made under the screwdrivers so that you could tell which one was the Philips head, and which one was the regular kind. Terribly important information.

Last Monday night, Bea and I were sitting on the front steps waiting for Eric to get home from work. As he drove into the driveway, Bea stood up with a big smile, clapped her hands together and yelled "MINE!"

Yep, that's our Daddy, Bea. And we love him. 
Happy Father's Day to all you lucky Dads.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hello, cute little table.

Usually when I get home from work and open the garage door, I'm greeted with the view of too many riding toys, wood scraps, sawdust and an unfinished woodworking project or two. But today, I opened the garage door to see this adorable little cabinet smiling back at me. Eric had the day off, and successfully finished a project that's been hanging around the shop for almost a year. He started it, not knowing exactly what he wanted to make or where we were going to put it when it was done. So it lingered for a while, unfinished.

It turned out so nice. Very sleek and elegant. But we still don't know where to put it in our house. So, I'm going to take it to my office. Surely, my chicken lamp deserves to sit on something this beautiful, right?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Backyard Bonanza

We seem to have accumulated a large number of backyard, summer-fun toys. (Not that this mom has a bad habit of shopping or anything. ;-)

Our lovely, little garden shed is now housing: an inflatable bounce, one alligator pool with slide, five water guns, two pool floats and one Slip 'N Slide. And we got all of them out last weekend. Gus' best buddy and neighbor, Jay, had finally gotten home from his 10-day trip to Disney World and we had a lot of playtime to catch up on. 

Between the rain storms and the water toys, our backyard is officially a SWAMP. Time for some sunshine and hot days to dry things out. So that we can do it all over again next weekend.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Let the blogging begin!

I don't know how to text from my cell phone. And I can barely get a DVD to play on our TV. So why am I attempting to blog? Good question.

With much IT support from Eric, maybe we can actually make this blog a fun place for family & friends to come and go exploring. Keep track of the sawdust levels in our garage as Eric works on his latest wood project. See Sandra's butter & sugar concoctions that will inevitably lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Or just check out the latest shenanigans of Gus and Bea. 

You'll notice, we've posted a few slideshows of previous projects, crazy ideas, and family photos. Cruise around and you'll see the kinds of things that have kept us busy and amused for the last decade. 

Summer's here, and we're excited to start sharing with you. Enjoy, and come back often.


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