Monday, December 27, 2010


Today was day one of the closing of Bearpaws and Hollyhocks. The store will close for good on Friday, December 31st. Everything was 50% off and there was a mob scene. There had to be more people than would be allowed by the fire department. I got there at 10:20am and tried to shop. It was so crowded that I chose to concentrate on purchasing more of the Martinique fabric line. Because of where it was, I found myself bypassing the entire fabric cutting line, ending up number 6 in line instead of number 100. The purchasing line went a bit faster, but still I was there until 1:40pm. I called home and my sister and her girls had arrived from Southern California. She called me a slacker fro not being there to welcome them--my son was there. I will have to make up for that!

I had this dream of walking in and finding only a few people there since it was a Monday and don't you think people would be a t work??? I thought I would walk in and grab a few things I knew to be there last week and I would shop leisurely and be out of there by 11:30am. Ha! I wasn't the only one who thought this. Imelda told me she had the same vision. Why weren't these people at work????

I am thinking of going back to see how it went on Thursday. One final good-bye and maybe there won't be so many people--everyone seemed to be shopping today--and I can look for somethings for my friend, Sandy, who is out of town for the week. I am sad to see it all end.

While I was there, I remembered to get the particulars for the quilt that Lindy was going to do as a block of the month. She seemed so excited 5 weeks ago. I asked for the advertising poster and was told to put my name on it and see what happens. It is Micheal Miller/Swirly Girls Bonne Ami in blue and green or pink and white.

One last mention. My friend Sandy is one of the dearest people I know. Today she is sad because her brother is in the hospital with a blood infection. Please include them in your prayers tonight. I know I will!

May you be healthy and happy this lovely evening and enjoying the love of family as I am.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

We are here stuffed from dinner with the in-laws, finishing up last minute things and making preparations for breakfast. Kim of Kim's Big Quilting Adventure was talking about what brings the magic to us each year. I was just saying to my sister that I missed filling the stockings. My children are adults and we have agreed that it wasn't necessary, but I am constantly walking through stores seeing little things I want to buy and I just miss it. Next year, I am going to fill those stockings again.

Every year there is one thing that really brings it home. Christmas Eve, after the hustle and bustle of the day, at night it is really quiet. Lights are off at businesses, and it is usually cold and foggy. It is peaceful.

This year my daughter and I stopped into Walgreens to pick up some milk. No milk--no breakfast casserole. It was doing a booming business and the parking lot was full!

There is all kinds of sadness out there, but this one night I look up in the sky knowing that Santa is in Newark, New Jersey and my family is safe and well and I am grateful for all the blessings I have.

I am wishing everyone a merry Christmas and hope the blessings in your own lives are plentiful.


Monday, December 20, 2010


When my mother died 15 years ago, she had this cusinart mixer/chopper that was specially ordered. All of her counter top appliance type items were specially ordered in a specific color--cobalt blue. I took these home. The coffee maker has since died and a few others have gone, but the cusinart was my favorite. I had it put away for space reasons, but I began wanting to use it as I watched more and more of the Food Network. I have been looking for it for months.
I was convinced that it was in my pantry. I made my daughter look for it several times. I finally accepted that it may have been given away. Then I thought, "we haven't looked in the shed." The shed is a black hole for dishes, small things with no place and my parents stuff that is too valuable to get rid of. My sister would love it if I let her in there to clean it out. It is possibly the one bit of proof of my hoarding tendencies. Today I sent my son out there to take the door off so he could look for it. A while back the door fell off and my husband screwed it shut. My son tells me it isn't in there--the spider infested shed, so can he put the door back on. Turns out he barely looked inside. He hates spiders. There weren't really very many spiders--mostly spider webs! I actually went in and looked and I found it!!! Not sure it works yet, but I can only hope!

Julie :)


Alice was the principal of Holy Family Catholic School seventeen years ago. As an employee, I saw her quite frequently. One day I noticed something was different. It had to do with her hair--it wasn't that it was different, it looked like her hair, it looked like a wig. I asked her if everything was okay and she said it was. Not so much time goes by and Alice looks thinner. I ask again and she still says everything is fine. Now I am starting to hear rumors and parents are asking me what it wrong with Alice. I truthfully say that nothing is wrong, after all, I am feel close to Alice. If there was something seriously wrong, she would tell us. Never did I suspect she had cancer. People were only told after she died. For all the secrecy, Alice was the subject of gossip among the parents. A few people knew. Some people guessed, but a lot of us wondered why?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A great party

Friday night I went to a party. Some women met and had dessert. Yummy dessert! Then we passed out presents. Lovely, sweet, from our heart presents. There were Christmas tags, snap bags, a recipe booklet, cookies, and paper gifts. I found out that Bonnie is really talented with cards. I have only known her to quilt or embroider. I had a really great time and I found out new information--such as Pat can crochet, and LeeAnn likes beading. It didn't hurt to end the evening watching Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts and finding my new passion--men with a Portuguese accent!
Here is a little tidbit about Friday. It was originally a pajama party--a sleep over. I did at one point agree to sleep over, but it later occured to me that My husband would never understand that since I was at Barbara's house who literally lives around the corner. He would not get why I wouldn't come home and sleep in my own bed. In the end, it was better to come home because I had to be up at 7am to make it to Quilter's Corner for the Saturday Square the next day. So he starts calling me at midnight because I guess I didn't make it clear when I would be home. I think he woke up and couldn't find me.
Julie :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Little Upset!

Yesterday I found out from my mother-in-law that Bearpaws and Hollyhocks is closing. Not that I want to be unsympathetic, but really. I have a group there. Nice sharing! I was at the store today and there isn't even a sign, nor are the employees sharing this news. You have to go to the website and how did I find that out? Another person called to tell me. Who cares about the website? Why would I go there regularly? Does anyone? And why are some customers being told and not all customers? I know this because that is how my mother-in-law heard--from her friend, a customer who happened into the store that day. Those of us who are part of a group (groups extending into 2011 when there will be no shop) should have been notified. That would have been common courtesy. I was just there Monday evening. Who decides to close a store in one evening? For heaven's sake, I was there less than a month ago with Lindy going on and on about a new block of the month she was starting after the first of the year. I have recently spoken of this to her, telling her how excited I was and how I was thinking of doing the green version and she never said a word. Thanks.

We should have been told.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What comes out of my mouth!

I was looking at my comments and I read one that Kim left a long time ago. She was surprised that I ever said a bad word. I am deceptively sweet. Just read my yearbooks from school and you will think EVERYONE thought I was just the sweetest thing! Not really. Just last week I was in the office I share with three others. The office is just off the staff room and our door is always open. That day, I dropped a pen and (sure I was alone), and I said "Oh Shit!" As I bent down to pick up the pen I hear our school secretary say, "Julie, I can't believe I heard you say that!"

Of course I said "sorry" immediately. I would have said that even if I was alone, after all, you just never know who might be listening!

Good night for real this time!
Julie :)


Tonight I made caramels. I just poured the caramel mixture into the pan to cool so I don't know for sure that it worked. Pretty sure!

My dear daughter is 23 years old this December. Seventeen years ago, I made caramels at around 9pm--long after the children were in bed and (I thought) fast asleep for the night. When the caramels were done, it was 10pm. I poured the mixture into the pan and went to do household chores that never seem to get done with two children ages 4 and 6. My daughter was not asleep and she thought there was this wonderful pan of candy and she got out of bed and dipped her hand into the mixture that was approximately 240+ degrees. We figure it was that hot because I had just poured it and caramels are cooked to firm ball stage on the candy thermometer (245*). It was the most horrible moment thus far. She cried for 2 straight hours. When I called the pediatrician, I was told just to run her hand under cold water--which I did for 2 hours, as I cried with her. Every time I took her hand out of the water and into the air, she would begin to scream. The next day, the doctor bandaged her hand with a huge white bandage. To make matters worse, we were taking a family picture that my parents had paid lots of money to set up the next morning in Fresno. There was no way to unbandage the hand because every time we did, my daughter screamed. Her hand was tightly bandaged for days.

We ended up taking the family picture and it was beautiful. It paid to have an experienced photographer take the picture. The photographer was able to redraw her hand so no bandage appears in the picture. I was so traumatized by the whole experience, I didn't make caramels again until last year. Caramels are one of my favorite candies. I live for the vanilla nut caramels that Sees Candies makes. I don't put nuts in my caramels. There is something so satisfying about the creaminess of the caramel that says it doesn't need anything else.

I am making caramels for a secret Santa thing we are doing at work. We were given a name (I like the person I got) and are supposed to give a small gift every day until Thursday when there was going to be a breakfast--probably potluck. Then the principal, as usual, got involved at the last minute and decided to have a breakfast for the staff. Now we have one extra day to give a gift and will reveal ourselves on Friday. On Thursday, the first day, I gave a small jar of peppermints. I am gone before the end of the day and didn't get my slip of paper until Thursday, so I went prepared. Friday, I gave her a Christmas plate of Turtle brownies. One the the things that was listed was caramel. I understand that she LOVED the brownies. And, yes, the darling daughter made them....Yesterday, I gave her a Glee CD (she loves Glee-the show on channel 40) of the songs from the season finale. Then I had people email here a gleefull Monday from her secret Santa--of course without using my name. Today I gave her red socks with snowflakes on them. Tomorrow will be the caramels and then I have to come up with something for Thursday--an extra day. The best is Friday when I give her breakfast in a bag for her last present. I bought the pancake mix that you add water, mix in the jug and pour. I added a bottle of maple syrup and a box of hot chocolate with mini marshmallows. The idea is that this will only cost us $20.00 for the entire week. It was fun.

Have a great day tomorrow!
Julie :)

Monday, December 13, 2010


It was my knoty ladies embroidery group tonight. We had yummy food and great fun. There is a sale at Bearpaws and Hollyhocks--all gifts 50% off. I have my eye on a bear that I might go back for this week. I bought one bear for me and two bears for baby gifts.

Tricia made a savory cheesecake for tonight. It was fabulous. I don't think I will be making it soon as it needs to bake in a water bath and I am not sure I can manage this. There was an artichoke dip that went fast. We also had rockyroad fudge, apple pie, cinnamon twists and tea.

Have a great week!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tamales 2

We were at the best decorated house EVER! Above is the best idea for towel storage. If I could get the loving husband to do this for me, I could free up a closet for my scrapbooking. I am marshaling my argument for a shelf as we speak. Look below at the tree picture. I took 26 pictures because it was all so beautiful. What a talent for decorating.

Here is the evidence of my hard work yesterday.

We were at the house of one of my friends. Her son came by and tasted all of the fillings and pronounced the chicken to be the best. I still like the pork best, but I opted to make beef filling. I have enough filling left over to make another 2-3 batches of tamales. I am thinking that it would be worth it to purchase them, but I love to cook and this was really fun. I am the worst tamale maker! Mine were anemic and looked like cigars.

One thing this did is make us all want the tamale/seafood steamer that Wal-mart sells. Sandy got the last one in Sacramento, so we are going to be disappointed. I may have to use my faberware pot to steam. I have pots for steaming, just not that size.
Have a great week! I hope to. One of my favorite people has been out for 2 months and she is coming back Tuesday. How great is that!
Julie :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Tomorrow I will spend my day making beef filling for tamales. I am going to learn how to make them Saturday with 5 other friends. I believe we are making beef, pork and chicken. Yummm.
I was given two pages of instructions and a Sunset Mexican Cookbook. I know that it came from the thrift store, so when I opened it and the pages fell out, I wasn't very surprised. I took the book and pulled the rest of the pages out and put them in page protectors and put it in a binder.
My husband thought I was insane. He was drawing pictures of cockroaches to go on my binder. Not funny! Okay, it was a little funny. Don't tell him though. His head may grow big.

I took a day off work for this. Vacation is a joyful thing. I have to get up early and drive the beloved daughter to work--at 4:30am. This means I can go back to sleep until 8:30am. Oh how i love to sleep in my bed. It has a pillow top on the mattress and a goose down mattress on top. I have an electric blanket that I seldom use because I prefer blankets and quilts piled up on me. Just lovely. I will go to the store, buy my ingredients, make my filling and hang out at the sewing machine. I might give a small gift on Saturday--very small. I am making a small gift for my embroidery group--the Red Sewciety--and I may make more than the twelve I need. I am making the gifts for embroidery in red in honor of our name.

Here is my December schedule:
December 4th: tamale making with friends
December 5th: decorating for Christmas
December 8th: Potluck with Thimbleberries
December 11th: Morning Potluck for Guild
Afternoon gift making class at the library
Evening Dinner with Noel and Lisa
December 13th: Embroidery with Shirley at Bearpaws and Hollyhocks--Potluck
December 17th: Embroidery group--Red Sewciety sleepover--Dessert
December 18th: Last Saturday Square at Quilter's Corner (8:00am)

There are a couple Christmas concerts in there that I have been invited to. Better get them on the calendar! Mass on Christmas Eve and then dinner with the in-laws. Wow. My plate is getting full.

Have a great day tomorrow. Think of me cooking tomorrow!