Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sparkly Chicks

In a quest to make the evening productive (and sparkly),  I stitched up some wool felt Easter eggs...  After I drew the designs and stole acquired some antique buttons from Mom's stash, I added them to my wooden bowl...and some white grass filler...  And Valerie ParHill's (QVC) lighted pearl garland.  More designs to follow...

Wilderness Hollow

Woooooooooooooooooooh.  Oh, whoooooooo oo oooooo.   That is the hollow, melodic coo of the winter wind, who has been tossing around our collective twenty or more inches of snow, covering any tracks made in to this house since the 21st, and heaping drifts up to five feet deep in Mom's driveway...  We are snowbound this week and possibly until the end of next.  Last night my son drove down the long, drifted lane, exploding through drifts with his large Dodge..  He shook his head and wondered if he could find that path out.

No, he could not..  And after digging and spinning, high-centered for nearly an hour or more, he shut off these tiny red lights you see in the photo, walked back in, and spent the night camped on the bedroom floor.  After he moved past being disappointed his "beast chariot" had met its match, we started to have such fun.  He and I watched the movie, Thor.  Perfect for the mythology teacher and the gladiator.

This morning our neighbor came in with his big tractor and gently urged my son's truck onto the proximity of a better path.  Both the a dodge four wheeler and the giant, cab tractor struggled with the maneuver out  the drive...  With them on the other side and safe, Mom and I have decided to take naps, eat homemade potato soup, set out more Easter decorations in anticipation of Spring...

Today my school called off, but it may not tomorrow.  However, I'm definitely a no-show. I think a lot of things could have made these blizzards more comfortable, from designing a straight vs. curvy road to living closer to the highway, to owning a snow blade to having a back up source of heat in case we had lost power.  I need a four wheel drive vehicle, and I could use a lot more common sense instead of so much Optimistic Ostrich.   But we are warm, and if everyone stays safe and healthy.. It's kinda fun!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Winter Storm Rocky

Bejeweled landscape, blue in morning's first show, elderly trees kneeling toward the majesty of earth's white mantel.  As I opened my eyes and heart to the day, I realized the enormity of a storm such as this.  He covered the major portion of three states at once, while he crawled up toward mittened Michigan, the deep farmlands of Wisconsin, the Canadian border.

Now the house rumbles with the muffled thunder of limbs shrugging off their loads.  Mini avalanches    sled down our forest green, metal roof...  Our power has not yet joined the dark ranks of thousands in the Midwest.  I can still iPad and Facebook and text...   My son will be coming down the drive if he can maneuver the curve in his monster Dodge.

 I see no way to go to school tomorrow, at least for me.   A good way to spend a wintery day will include some puttering, a nap, a visit, and something delicious simmering on the new stovetop. I love winter.

Monday, February 25, 2013


Tonight.  30-40 mile winds.  Eight to twelve MORE inches of snow.  Rain turning to ice.  Whiteout.  Be there or be square!  If you are in this region, please, please be cautious.  
(TyCobb Photography, d.s.)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Who is that old lady?

Reminds me of my sweet gramma.  Once she patted me on the arm and said she felt like she was eighteen...  She was in her 80's.  "I look at myself in the mirror," she laughed, " and I think, who IS that old lady?"

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Little touch of Spring

In place of joining so many outside in the snow, I did some scrubbing and almond oil polishing in the dining room...  This wee laddie was happy to join us as we welcome St. Patrick's Day...  All the Easter trinkets are in line to be placed next!  Puttering is so good for the soul.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Twin Faces of Winter

Today I'm sharing two pictures of winter.  The second is taken at a four lane exit on I-70 at Columbia.  A friend posted it on Facebook yesterday.  The first is from my cousin, who writes a lovely blog called From My Country Sunrise...  As with much of life, everything depends on perspective.  I hope you are able today to enjoy the happier side of circumstances...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

And so... It is here...

I pondered and stewed all night.  Fairly sure our school would have the early half day, I second and third guessed myself about going in.  I finally decided to risk it if we didn't have snow by six...  But instead I heard the magical chime of a text..  No school ---all over.  Well, friends, that news surprised me so much I woke up! Lucky me, I was given the view of a fiery, crimson sunrise...  You can see Miss Dawn peeking through the windows, rustling her purpling skirts and glowing rosy in the East.  "The sun, said my dear cousin, "was swallowed quickly by the clouds."  Yes. That's the way it happened...

Panini's and tomato soup for lunch, and I have Great Northern beans quick-soaking for supper. They will soon be simmering in our family " cauldron."

Just so you can glimpse the morning sky though screens and windows.... Quick photos on the fly, very blurry....but you get the idea.

 And here at ten, the blizzard begins.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Plans for Snowy Weather

Everywhere in school, there's a buzz about the blizzard predicted to come in the night.  The latest scoop has it starting about six in the morning...  too late to call school perhaps.  I used to hate taking a day off when the rest of them got off at noon, but now I realize I'm still off the road and not falling on the sidewalk! So I will probably leave lesson plans just in case.  I'm getting low on sick days...  too many mornings that felt just so good to stay home and have coffee and recuperate...

I love snow, but I am ever watchful of those I love out on the slickness...

Aren't these cute?  I found them on this website blog.  Think they would look cute on some lit branches we have from Valerie ParHill.  Easter comes early this year, so the fingers better fly.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hit the Road Running...

The Weatherbug alarms indicate we are in line for a wintry storm on Thursday, beginning Wednesday in the night.  Today dawned with such sunshine, but almost by magic the clouds overtook the roads on my way to school.  First I marveled at the azure glow of clear skies, and by the time I drove the fifteen miles here, it was almost entirely overcast.  Bitter wind, just that particular chill to the bone that forewarns us to cozy down and gather in something warm and tangible to hold onto.  Currently we have snow with partial sunshine.  Oddly cool...  Forgive these little blurry photos, please..  I was driving and sliding around with mittens and my phone camera...  It has an auto focus, but I don't think I waited for it to come into play...  You get the idea, though.

I had to throw myself out of bed this morning...  I mentally yelled at yours truly that I had gone to school in colder, "worser" weather for 36 years...  It was funny how I scared that snuggly, lazy, cozy woman right out of the navy blue down comforter and raced her sorry tail right up the steps to get a cup of comfort and dress  for school...  Tonight my son will be visiting for a meal, some games, and some chores.  It seems like Monday, but it's Tuesday.  I'll take it.
Big Housecleaning session coming up next week----  I belong to BrocanteHome's Housekeeper's Circle, and it will be time for our seasonal scrub.  None too soon by the looks of my corners and cubbyholes in my room. I don't belong to sorority any more, but my former group is coming to Mom's for a meeting March 25th.  Nothing ever brought out the scrub like Doll Club, sorority, parties, and similar events... Although I have long dreamed of having a home always posh and squeaky clean, it isn't often the case...  Presentable usually...  ready for company, uh...  not so much.  Who hasn't had a child ask who is coming when he sees you cleaning?  It is a pow to the domesticated ego when that happens, but it is pretty natural except to the inveterate cleanies in the world, god love you, whoever you are.
With the possibility of a snow day on Thursday, at least for me, this week may be a short one...  I wish we could have a snow day and still get our wonderful Easter break.  I am at 56 school days and (who's counting)...  I'm actually excited for a real change that I instigated...  vs. the kinds of changes that befall us accidentally, such as illness, death, heavy blows to the soul...

Here's my recipe of the week...

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars

From Redbook
Yields: 36 bars
Oven Temp: 350

Orange Crust
  • 1 3/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 3/4 cup(s) (1 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) grated orange zest
  • 1/2 cup(s) granulated sugar
  • Yolk from 1 large egg 

  • 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 2 package(s) (8 ounces each) light cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup(s) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1/3 cup(s) light sour cream
  • tablespoon(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 1 can(s) (8-ounce) jellied cranberry sauce

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 13- by 9-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil 2 inches beyond pan at both ends. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Beat butter and remaining mixture of ingredients with the paddle attachment of a mixer on medium speed until soft and creamy, about 2 minutes. On low speed, beat in flour mixture, scraping sides of the bowl until dough comes together. Drop small clumps of dough evenly into prepared pan. With floured fingers, press dough into even layer.
  3. Bake 20 minutes or until surface is golden and set. Remove crust, keeping the oven on.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
  5. Use the paddle attachment of a mixer on medium speed to beat cream cheese and sugar until creamy and smooth. On low speed, beat in eggs, then sour cream, flour, and vanilla until blended and smooth.
  6. Whisk cranberry sauce in a small bowl until smooth. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the cheesecake batter until blended. Pour the remaining white batter over the warm crust, then spoon small dollops of the cranberry batter over the white batter and drag a small spatula across the surface until it looks marbled.
  7. Bake 36 minutes or until surface looks dry and is set. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until firm and cold.
  8. Lift ends of foil to transfer to a cutting board. Cut lengthwise into 6 equal strips, about 1 1/2 inches wide. Cut each strip into 6 bars.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Breakfast of Champions

A long time ago I read that book, Breakfast of Champions, and several more by Vonnegut. Decidedly an odd author, but at the time he intrigued me...   The phrase caught on to mean so many things... Wheaties, decathlon, more.  Mom and I braved the chilly drizzle to drive to town, pick up her meds, and follow a little jaunt through some county roads...  We drove by Ten Mile Store, a quaint little hangout for locals, and we picked up breakfast for the road----   and takeout for supper...  She is hooked on cheesy tots from Burger King for breakfast if we go anywhere.  They are quite the yum.  We stopped for some every morning of her radiaton a few summers ago...  We share a small order...  Our supper menu is a thin crust pizza from Pizza Hut with black olives and Italian sausage...  That is my particular poison, set long ago with a dear friend from my very first year of teaching....

Now the rain has really decided to bless the land.  Farmers love the rain ( usually ) ...  Candles are lit, the fireplace is glowing, and a little snooze in honor of the Presidents sounds just perfect...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A day to savor......

Today went well...  A lovely meal with my son and friends.  Spinner...  Some good television tonight with Mom....

And since tomorrow is another day off due to Mr. Presidents.  I'm so glad...  Enjoy your holiday!

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Today is bright and cold!  Mom and I went to see her cardiac doctor at Columbia yesterday.  We got a good report, stopped for a bite of supper, and came home to cozy in for a cold Saturday at home.  Laundry, removing the Valentine decorations, scrubbing my bathroom...  And hot chili simmering for lunch.  As Ree Drummond, Pioneer Woman, says, "It doesn't get any better than this!"....  Unless you count fixing lunch for my son tomorrow.

  He gave his granny the big pot of deep red tulips and sent those darling carnations to school for me.  My dear friends sent the lily, rose, and tulip bouquet on my desk...  And a really sweet coworker brought me the pink tulips you see on my desk by my teapot tea light...  On the tv you can also see Mom received a vase with those new Rainbow Roses....  Amazing.  All in all, we were floored by our sweet cards, gifts, handmade treats, sweets,....that huge card from my son!  It was a keeper of a Valentines Day!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Good Morning!  It's here...  The Sweetest Day, as my gramma used to call it.  Nothing says Valentine's Day better than chocolate, flowers, and sugar cookies decorated in pink and white icings...  Nothing!  And this year has been blessed with all three...  Some daylight and water and admiration has done its best, and yesterday's surprise bouquet is absolutely stunning..  Some of the white tulips are actually tinged in baby pink.
And my dear cousin/sis brought these lovely heart cookies down as a special treat to have with Mama tonight with antique cups of flavorful coffee and creamer...  That is part of the light at the end of the tunnel of a long day.

I actually don't mind parent conferences because most of the parents I will see are former students!  It's kind of like a reunion.  I have shared before the irony of some parents shocked by apples that "frankly didn't fall too far from the tree."  Overall, Bevier is blessed with great people, so the generations have been very, very good to me.

Today is a short day.  We have Pandora Country Internet Music in honor of Valentine's Day...  I have played it today at the begging requests of my students...  They love their music so much...

Me, not so much.  Something happened to the relationship between me and music... The lyrics, the chords, the melodic power of music invokes such a powerful, memory-based, emotional response that I usually defer to silence.  No thank you ---   to opening the doors of my mind to all that past, present, future angst and joy and melange of snippets of my life...   No monsters live there...  quite the opposite.

Ah...  Happy Valentine's Day!...  Enjoy those you love now---  and memories of all you have ever held dear, dreams of the news friends you will make, and the beautiful promise of a Heaven filled with all those wonderful gifts, people, music, flowers, and light...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Robins, Hearts, and Morning..

Good Morning!  This early, dark morning I was sleeping soundly and warm whenever a thought came to mind...  "Wake up!"  I wished fervently for the clock to be in the 3 or 4 o'clock range, so I could have some more good sleeping time...  I looked at my new digital alarm, which also charges my phone or iPad...  (a gift from my son)....  and it was only 3:17....  Hallelujah!  But alas!  More sleep was just not to be for me today.

I was awake.  Firmly and happily awake.  Along about 4:45 I heard my mother get up, pop the tab on a fresh Diet Coke, and slip along through the house...  I gave up and got up for the day...  I did two loads of laundry, baked these lovely little brownie bundts, which we are giving in the pans as Valentines to a couple of dear ones, and rustled together the sack, trimmings, some delish coffees, a scrumptious candle from Good Neighbor Candles, and a valentine or two...

Then I popped into the shower, headed to Mickey D's for a latte, and swooped by my friend's house with coffee and her valentine gift..  The rest of the cakes are cooling...  Hers was super warm! On the way I saw a flock of robins..  My son recently saw a cardinal...  I think spring is coming early again.

Last night I came home to a wonderful surprise:   1-800!  Flowers!  My Sweetie sent me the most scrumptious bouquet of red and white tulip bulbs..  They are blooming out more and more...  Here are some early shots...

Isn't the vase spectacular?  I can see it all summer with blooms from our "garden."  (I'm dreaming about summer gardening...  I woke up before 4 a.m....  I got flowers yesterday!  The real me must have been replaced by elves in the night..)

Have a super good Day... Valentine's Eve....

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Morning Coffee...

Wouldn't you love to have coffee like this every morning?  I thought we'd share this cup (which I found on Facebook and don't have the credits for)....  What shall we discuss?  Retirement is on my mind...  I made it almost official today.  I told my principal I was retiring.  All that's left is filing the paperwork, and I feel really positive about leaving this old profession I have loved with all my heart.  I am excited for something different, and believe me, I have tons of ideas.

Blogging is such a delicious experience.  I want to publicly thank everyone who blogs because I feel the world of bloggers is an unlimited, unexplored terrain, filled with delights and magic and inspiration and education.  I could never isolate which blogs are most inspirational because I have learned so much from so many.  It has been difficult to find a voice at times because I have been so heavily influenced by several of the beautiful spots on the web.  I sometimes wish my blog could convey such eye candy as others.  I see fascinating posts about finance from some, (@) exciting tales of travels, beautiful (stellar) gardens, tablescapes to inspire anyone to arrange their lives to offset all disaster by celebrating, embracing the seasons....  and creating beauty at the table...  At times bloggers slip in something they are selling...  and I have bought some great items that way...  Some blogs are organizational in their intent...  Some have the cutest, most original little projects to enjoy...  Some center on a walk with the Lord...  Some pour candles, and others lavish candlelight in sparkly votives banded with jewels at breakfast...  I love the blogs that chat about daily chores turned into delightful domesticity.

All in all, I'd say blogging and reading blogs have become one of my favorite ways to spend a cozy evening...  with a good number of my favorites (listed in the side), I have traveled back through time through the years with these bloggers.  I love finding a new blog and doing just that...  I have had to train my mind to read the most recent things first..  Blog reading isn't conducive to the usual chronological order of life...   Sometimes it is sad to read an outcome and then later (which is actually earlier in time) read about the dream that surrounded its inception.  Sometimes I read about a new grandchild and then later read about the engagement of a daughter on a mountainside...  It's a new way to look at the world and at life.

Preserving my blog has been another side benefit of blogging...  I have been fortunate to have created blog-books for my friends and for me.  I gave my recipes and funny stories to five friends and family members at Christmas...  I named it "Sweet Tomato Days," and it was a hit...  I used the Books2Print format, but many are available.  My friend's daughter gave her a book with her own blog,"Beef Stew With a Twist," as its focus.  I have blog-books for every year of Oatmeal and Whimsy. I have been waiting until my birthday in June to use birthday money to create one for the year past in December...  It's fun to hold my very own blog and leaf through the pages...

So today, I'm blogging about blogging again..   Just a way to send gratitude to those of you who spend your beautiful life sharing its blessing with anyone lucky enough to click a link to your "door."  Thank you for a daily sip of inspiration...  Happy Valentine's Day!