Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Read it again.

Read it again. Okay? Okay!

Alex loves to read. One of his favorites? "Grandpa and Me" - Fancy that.

Buddy and his boy

We always thought that Larry would be GRAMPIE and I would be GRAMMIE, but Alex has different ideas about that. He calls Larry BUDDY and my name is NANNY. It isn't that he can't say the other, he just prefers BUDDY and NANNY. So be it. We are officially Buddy and Nanny, at least to Alexander.
Alex is sure attached to his Buddy.

This picture says it all.

Steel Magnolias

We have our own Steel Magnolias beauty shop. Barb does a great job and we love her!

Kelley and Bethie decided to go for a more dramatic change - going from blonde to brown.

What do you think?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Four Chocolate Chip Cookies

That is all it takes - 4 chocolate chip cookies, to totally undermine my diet and crumble the resolve that has been mine for the last 12 days. I have been following the South Beach Diet (best diet ever) and sticking with it with incredible determination and virtually no desire to even cheat.
The only time I have a hard time is if I haven't eaten the RIGHT food and I get hungry. It is very important to eat 3 meals and 3 snacks on a regular time schedule so you don't get hungry. Well, I hadn't eaten since breakfast, I was at Maryellen's when Heather VG brought the family dinner around 5pm. Included was a bag of fresh, warm chocolate chip cookies.
I caved. I ate one. The best thing I have ever tasted in my entire life. So of course I ate another one. Then another one. Then one for the road. Four Chocolate Chip Cookies!
On the drive home I came to the conclusion that diets are pointless and definitely outdated and don't work anyway. Why would anyone choose to live without chocolate chip cookies? Clearly I was not thinking clearly (maybe a sugar rush) but I seriously drove home thinking I can't live without another one of Heather's Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies! Tonight, I will not sleep. I will lie awake, cursing V8 juice and sugar free yogurt, and if I sleep - I will dream...of chocolate chip cookies.

Here's a recipe (not necessarily Heather VG's recipe):

1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar

3/4 cup (160 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups (315 grams) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups (270 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup (100 grams) walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) with rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter. Add the white and brown sugars and beat until fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in eggs, one at a time, making sure to beat well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and beat until incorporated, adding the chocolate chips about half way through mixing. If you find the dough very soft, cover and refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes).

For large cookies, use about a 2 tablespoon ice cream scoop or with two spoons, drop about 2 tablespoons of dough (35 grams) onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake about 12 - 14 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Cool completely on wire rack.

Makes about 4 dozen - 3 inch round cookies

Note: You can freeze this dough. Form the dough into balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze and then place the balls of dough in a plastic bag, seal, and freeze. When baking, simply place the frozen balls of dough on a baking sheet and bake as directed - may have to increase baking time a few minutes.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The list

A couple of weeks ago we (Tyler and Maryellen, Larish and I) went to see "The Bucket List" looking for a fun time watching two old men live out their life fantasies before they die. Wow this movie was so much more than that. I think "bucket" also stands for what you need to catch the tears if you are a crybaby like me.
Morgan Freeman's character was loving and everybody's grandpa, and Jack Nicholson's character was just what you would expect, a crotchedy mean old rich guy. What was on their list? See something majestic. Do something to help a stranger for good. Kiss the most beautiful girl in the world. Get in touch. Go skydiving. Drive a Shelby 350. Hunt the big cat. etc. etc.
It certainly did make us think - so much so that we had to head over to Friendly's for Hot Fudge Sundaes to sit and discuss our own bucket lists. What is it that we would put on our list? (We all agreed we need some rich guy to finance our lists.)
Larish - go on a Windjammer Cruise
Tyler - Bike across the country (west to east), Hike the Appalachian Trail
Maryellen - Go to Ireland and Hawaii, Visit the Grand Canyon
Sue - Go on an African Safari (I decided the one at Busch Gardens would do!), Drive along the Gaspe Peninsula, Visit the Grand Canyon (I smell a Grand Canyon trip Thelma and Louise!)
So...what is on your bucket list? Does your list include lofty aspirations like write a novel, find the cure for cancer? Let's hear what is on your list.


Brenna is my adopted niece, daughter of my adopted sister. She is the second child and second daughter in a family of seven children! When Brenna was in college, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and for the last several years it has been a wild ride in a wheelchair for her. We have had a lot of fun together, and been many places. We've seen Disneyworld, Fort Lauderdale, Daytona Beach and other hot spots in Florida. We've traveled to Washington DC. We've seen a lot of movies and had a lot of lunch dates, just us girls. While I didn't get to Texas with her, I found out tonight she even managed to slip a trip to Texas in, keeping it a secret from her mom!
For some, MS is a slow disease that becomes more and more debilitating over time. For others, MS comes like a thief in the night and takes over. It's been a rough road for the last 10 years, but Brenna has handled it with grace and dignity. For the most part, she has remained positive and cheerful. Brenna is a natural beauty as you can see from the picture, and has a beautiful smile. I love her dry sense of humor, and she has the fastest comeback of anyone I know. She can always keep us laughing. Sometimes so hard we wet our pants, especially if we have dropped her trying to gracefully transfer from wheelchair to van seat!
Brenna is now very sick with the Multiple Sclerosis working overtime on her tired body. Very soon she will be free from the limitations this disease has placed on her. I know she will be in a better place. Won't you all join me in praying for peace for Brenna and her family as she makes this final journey here on earth? Her family is my family, I love them all, and I know they could use all of our prayers.
I love you Bren. Thank you for enriching my life.
--Aunt Sue

Barbie Doll, that's right

Ella VG got a couple of Barbie dolls for her birthday last week (I know this because it was on the family calendar that it was her birthday). Anyway, she got these two dolls and she had to name them. So one, she named Dora. A lovely name, even if the same name as an annoying cartoon. But the other name, even lovelier. Presenting the Barbie Doll named "Sue Kane". That's right folks, a Barbie doll named after me.
So which Barbie do you think I am?Pooper Scooper Barbie?
American Idol Barbie?

Glinda the Good Witch Barbie
Barbie Cake
Travelin' Barbie? You decide!