Frugal? Give to your favorite charity today

December 31, 2010

I took this picture while visiting my folks and I had to laugh hysterically. My Dad uses these old boots to take the compost out  in the snow. His contention is that it’s not worth lacing up his regular boots when he’s got a perfectly good pair that he can just slip on. It could be argued that having to line them with bread bags to keep them from leaking does not make them perfectly good.

Leaky Boots

Then, I started thinking about all the people and kids who have to wear shoes like this or none at all. So, I went and visited TOMS Shoes and 2 more children in need will get a pair of shoes.

What will you give today?



December 29, 2010

Another  holiday food treat, Zeppole, a fried Italian Donut. It may take a bit of fiddling to get the oil temperature right, but eating these piping hot is a gastronomical delight. Enjoy!

Zeppole (Italian Donuts)

2 eggs
1 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1½ tsp sugar
½ lb ricotta (1 cup)
¼ tsp vanilla
dash of salt
1 qt oil for frying
confectioners sugar

Beat eggs until foamy. Add other ingredients (but not oil). Batter is sticky. Heat oil to 375°F. Divide batter into 4 portions.  Use spoon to pick up small portion. Push into hot oil with another spoon. Fry until golden brown. Remove and drain on brown paper.  Sprinkle with sifted confectioners sugar and honey.
Note: zeppole will turn in hot oil.

–Origin unknown, could be based on Grandma’s old recipe


Zeppole sprinkled with Confectioners Sugar and drizzled with Honey


Christmas Tree Saga of ’10

December 23, 2010

Seems like we’ve had quite a saga while trying to get the family Christmas  tree in the last few years. See the ’08 saga.

I was traveling home on Sunday, which means everyone waited for me to come home before getting the tree. Since Christmas is on a Saturday this year, It seemed like 5 days would be plenty of time to go out and cut our own tree. Apparently, not many people cut their own trees anymore because there are so few places where you can, at least in our little corner of central Michigan. We went by the place we got the tree last year and the year before, there was a sign in the yard that said closed and there was a gate blocking the driveway. So, finding the owner’s house, Dad stopped and asked. They had closed for the season, they were only open through Sunday, the 19th. Huh?

So, that was it. We had to resort to getting a Christmas tree from a lot. I guess most people get their trees way early so the lot was a little sparse. One comment, “All the trees are either too perfect or oddly shaped”. Well of course we went for the oddly shaped and ended up with one really fat tree.

Fat Tree from the Lot

Fat Tree from the Lot

Luckily, there weren’t any real problems putting the tree up. It was wrapped and so we decided to not cut the wrapping string until we got it in the house. I really don’t think we’d have been able to get it in the house otherwise.  Another facetious comment, heard while cutting off the string, “And why are you in the emergency room? Got crushed by the Christmas tree.”

So, this year’s saga, not quite so dramatic, but still the tradition turned on its ear yet again.

Happy Holidays!

Decorated Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree '10

Rum Balls

December 21, 2010

Another holiday favorite! Rum Balls

32 Vanilla wafers

1 cup pecans

2 tbsp cocoa

1/4 cup white corn syrup

1/4 cup rum

confectioners’ sugar

Blender chop the Vanilla wafers, place crumbs in large bowl. Blender chop the pecans, add to crumbs and add cocoa, syrup and rum and mix well. Coat hands with confectioners’ sugar and roll mixture into balls. Refrigerate for at least  1 hour, then roll in confectioners’ sugar. You may need to re-coat with confectioners’ sugar if you don’t eat them right away.

– from Oster Kitchen Center Cookbook ©1980

Birthday Party

December 12, 2010

Nym invited Georgia and Gizmo to come and share chicken livers for his 11th Birthday. Georgia ate hers outside and thoroughly enjoyed them. Owners got chili, cornbread and cake. It was a great party.


Eating Chicken Livers

Nym, Gizmo and Georgia waiting at the door

The Never Ending Lake Effect Event 2010

December 12, 2010

The Lake Effect event, 12/5/2010-12/8/2010. Seemed like it snowed for 4-5 straight days and we got at least 24 inches of snow. You can see the progression of snow on the roof each day. My favorite weather history site:

Before the event begins

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Is That Lion Smoking a Pipe?

December 5, 2010

On a recent visit, I gave my nieces and nephew a book by one of my favorite authors from childhood. Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever is chock full of inventive and fun stories and characters. At 280+ pages it provides hours of enjoyment for kids.

Photo, cover of Richard Scarry's Best Storybook Ever

Cover of Richard Scarry's Best Storybook Ever

However, those classic stories contain things we as kids never thought about, but today are quite novel. My sister-in-law has informed me that my nephew now has his stuffed animals smoking pipes. Just as those bears, rabbits, mice and lions are illustrated smoking pipes. Yikes! You never know what will resonate with kids.

%d bloggers like this: