New Year’s Eve, 2011

Everyone is probably saying the same thing but it seems like just yesterday that we said goodbye to 2010 and not too may days ago that we welcomed Y2K.  How time flies!

I’m not sorry to see 2011 end.  It’s been such a tumultuous year for us.  So many good things came out of the year – Chad graduated from college and began living on his own; we found the house and land of our dreams; we moved out of the city limits; my third book was finished.  I’m sure there are many more good things but to get to the final outcome – there were some rough days.  Every mom of adult children knows how bittersweet it is to see them become productive adults and leave home.  That was probably one of the hardest things I had to do as a parent — let go.  My nature is to hang on tight to those I love.  If you’re a mom of young children or even going through the hell of raising teens, my advice is – embrace the moment and find a way to enjoy every minute with your kids — they’re gone from home way too fast.  I know — grandkids will come along and I’ll realize a whole new realm of joy but for now, I’m missing my boy!

Getting to where we are now in Texas was a road that many of you traveled with me.  Some of you cried with me, prayed for me, called, sent cards and emails and some of you probably just wanted to say “grow up and get on with life!”  I told myself that quite a few times.  I will never forget that morning in late January or early February when Vince called and told me about the Brownwood, Texas opportunity.  The first thing I did was check and I told Vince housing was going to be an issue.  Neither of us quite realized what an issue it would be!  We were talking last night and during our married life, there have been dozens of times when Vince considered going here or there and only one time did I say NO!  Last night he asked me what I would have done if he had decided to go there and I told him . . There’s no way I would have gone.  I’ve agreed to go to lots of places, thankfully most of them we never had to move to, but there was that one place I just would not have gone.  Now, looking back to that January or February phone call from him about Brownwood, knowing what we’ve been through, had I known what we faced with this move, I probably would have said NO to this one too.  I’m glad now that I didn’t but it was a hard move.

You, the blog readers, have been amazing this year.  You so generously sent donations for the Red Cross to help Joplin and then shortly thereafter, you sent quilts to help the Texas fire victims, and if that wasn’t enough, you sent QOVs to Alycia when the call came out that more were needed.

Thank you all for the support you’ve given to me, my family and the causes I support.  I look forward to whatever 2012 brings!


New Camera Lens

Not that I need to tell you, but I am NOT a photographer and my pictures leave a lot to be desired but I love taking pictures.  Using the tripod would help but it’s probably packed with my knitting blocking wires and I haven’t seen it since the move but . . a couple of weeks ago I saw an ad (on my own blog no less) for the Tamron 18-270 mm lens.  I do not like changing the lens on the camera!   I mostly keep the 18-55 mm lens on the camera because that works for photos in the kitchen or sewing room and some outside shots.  I have a 55-200 mm lens that I should be using for taking the photos of the wildlife outside but .. did I say that I hate changing the lens?  I had decided to put the 55-200 lens on the D40, stick it on the tripod when I find the tripod and keep the 18-55 on the D3100 that I mostly use.  Oh . . in case you don’t recognize those numbers, I love my Nikons.

When I saw the ad for the 18-270 mm lens, I thought . . that could solve my problem!  I can use it for inside shots and wildlife shots so I ordered it. When it arrived, I was pretty disappointed in the packaging.  I could have ordered it from Amazon for the same price but I’ve ordered from Adorama for years and decided to go with them.  I wasn’t real happy with them on this order!  Thankfully, all my parts were still in the box and the lens seems ok.

It was totally not the fault of UPS.  Adorama had a small box inside a bigger box, with very little packing materials to fill the box and very little tape on the box.  I’m truly surprised the contents didn’t spill out completely.

But, the lens is wonderful!  It’s a bit heavier than the 18-55 mm lens but not much heavier and not so much that it’s a problem for carrying around or taking shots.  I just took it out and played with it a bit, with nothing really to photograph.

The next two photos were taken with me standing in the exact same spot. In this first shot, this is the whole area, looking towards the implement shed with the shop/sewing room to the right.

In this photo, I zoomed in on the tractor, still standing all the way back near the house.

Then I took a close up of a cactus .. told you there wasn’t anything out there to photograph!  🙂

Then I took a picture just looking off in the distance at nothing and focused on the little clump of trees.

The real test will be when the deer are here this evening!  So far, I think this lens is going to be the one lens I keep on the camera for almost everything!

One Loaf Plus Something

My favorite white bread recipe makes two loaves.  I could divide it in half but it seems crazy to make just one loaf of bread but we don’t like it as well after it’s been in the fridge or if the dough has been frozen so I’m going to try making one loaf of white bread and one loaf of something else.  This is the easiest bread recipe – it’s a little sweet, a little dense — we love it and it makes such good toast!  I stir it all up by hand and don’t use a mixer or bread machine.

Basic White Bread
2 c. warm water (100 – 110º)
1-1/2 T. yeast (regular)
2/3 c. white granulated sugar
1/4 c. oil
1-1/2 tsp. salt
5 – 6 cups flour

Mix the yeast with the water. Stir in the sugar and let it sit til the yeast bubbles or foams (shouldn’t take more than a few minutes). Pour in oil and stir in about 5 cups of flour, along with the salt. Knead, adding additional flour as needed.

Place in greased bowl, cover and let rise for about an hour. Knead again for about 5 minutes. Divide in half. Placed in greased loaf pans. Let rise til about 1″ above sides of pans. Bake at 350º for 25 – 30 minutes or until the top is brown and sounds hollow when thumped.

Yesterday I made white bread and decided to make pull apart type bread.

The pull apart bread was made with some browned butter in which garlic was added and browned, chopped parsley, a little salt and a little parmesan cheese.

The dough was cut into various size chunks which were rolled into balls.

About every third ball was dipped into the butter/parsley mixture, every third ball was put in plain with nothing added, and every third ball was rolled in the parmesan cheese and they were dropped into a greased pan and let rise, then baked at 350º for about 25 minutes.

This was simple to make, turned out great.  We ate this in place of rolls for our Christmas dinner.