Monday, November 29, 2010

Anatomy of an Illicit Nap - As Told by Leiua

1.  Select your napping spot in a place where you know you are not supposed to be.  Try to look extra cute.

2.  Watch your humans to ensure they are not going to yell at you to move.  Tail wagging helps.

3.  Slide down to a comfortable napping position.

4.  Be sure to keep your guard up a little, so you can make sure you don't get interrupted by anyone.

5.  Don't let other dogs usurp your napping place.  They will try.

6.  Enjoy your nap!  You deserve it!!

7.  When your nap is over, get up and go to bed for a good night's sleep!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Swap!

Bloggers are invited to participate in the 12 Days of Christmas Swap, sponsored by Sami at Symmetry in Motion.  It should be fun and creative!  Once matched, I will shop, create, etc. until I have my 12 gifts.  Then I will package and ship them to my swap partner.  There is a spending limit, but not a minimum - only the maxim that you can save money, but you can't be cheap.  I will post more about this later.  And let me be the first to say "Merry Christmas!" (even if isn't Thanksgiving yet).

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sarah's Lucky Pumpkin Cheesecake

My daughter, Sarah Luck, is married to an Airman and they have been stationed in South Korea for over two years now.  (I miss her more than words can say!)  We communicate mostly through Facebook and telephone.  It always strikes me a little odd when she calls, because she has a "local" - as in MY area code - telephone number through Skype.  

When she was younger, I tried to get her interested in cooking and baking.  She could not have cared less at that time.  I suppose there was just too much to do back then.  We had much more fun on "Mommy-Daughter Night" when the husband/father was out working late.  We did all the requisite things - dinner, movies, miniature golf, Tulsa State Fair, shopping, etc.  Too bad there weren't any cooking classes for kids back then.       
When she married, Sarah and her husband, Adam, realized that neither of them really knew how to cook.  But, no worries.  She called and asked people for recipes, read magazines and cookbooks, and researched recipes online.  She turned out to be a fine cook.  

Sarah graciously agreed to share her recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake on the blog.  She and her husband will be back in the U. S. within a year.  I can't wait until we have an opportunity to bake together and share the bounties of our kitchens. 

So without further ado, here is the recipe for "Sarah's Lucky Pumpkin Cheesecake":

Sarah's Lucky Pumpkin Cheesecake

What you need:

Springform cake pan, mixer

To make the crust:

1 1/2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies
1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
1/3 cup butter, melted
To make the batter:

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
To put it all together:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all crust ingredients together and press into the bottom of springform pan.  
  3. Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool. 
  4. In the mean time... In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  Add eggs one at a time, blending each well.  Set aside one cup of the mixture.  (This batter will be cream-colored.)
  5. Add 1/4 cup sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the main bowl, blending well. 
  6. Pour the pumpkin batter into the crust and tap the pan on the counter to level.
  7. Drop the plain batter by spoonfuls on top.
  8. Swirl with a knife to marble your cake.  Be careful not to over-mix the batters or you will lose the marbling effect.
  9. Bake 55 minutes.  Remove from oven.
  10. Run a knife around the inside edge of the pan.  Set the pan on a wire grid and allow to cool.
  11. After the cheesecake has cooled to room temperature, place it in the refrigerator and chill for at least 4 hours before serving. 
  12. Before serving, remove the Springform pan collar.
Enjoy! This recipe has become a holiday tradition in the Luck house. My daughter made the one pictured above for her husband to take to work with him.  She also took the beautiful photograph.
(Cheesecake cutting tip:  If you want to cut the cheesecake before serving, here is an easy tip.  Cut a length of dental floss approximately twice the diameter of your cheesecake.  After the cheesecake has cooled, remove it from the Springform pan and place it on the counter or cake plate.  Wrap the dental floss around one hand and hold the other end in the opposite hand.  Firmly, but gently, use the dental floss to cut the cheesecake.  When you get to the bottom of the cake, let go of the floss being held and pull it out from the other side.  Wipe the floss with a clean cloth, if necessary, and continue to cut the cheesecake utilizing this method until you have the desired number of slices.)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"You Can Learn to Read" - video

My sister, Kristi Parker Hazelrigg, the media specialist at Parkview Elementary School in Midwest City, Oklahoma, wrote and sang the lyrics (see below for the words) to this song.  It's based on Taylor Swift's, "You Belong with Me".  Kristi also produced the video, which stars Maggie Place, one of our little cousins.

I think this is adorable and I hope you do, too!  It's a great way to introduce children to the joys of reading and offers just the right encouragement.  Please feel free to share the video with one and all.  Maybe it will go viral.  Wouldn't that be something!  :D

You  Can Learn to Read 
Inspired by Taylor Swift’s “You Belong with Me”; new lyrics by Kristi Hazelrigg 

You’re staring at the page and you’re upset
You can’t understand a single word that it says
You just can’t read the story like they do

You’re in your room, it’s a typical day, you’re bored
You need to read to let your imagination soar
But you just can’t read the stories like they do

So many good books, open up and take a look
But with silent E's, Q's and U's, you’re getting confused
Dreaming about the day when you wake up and find
That you can make some sense out of all those little lines

If you could see how all those letters work together
Line ‘em up and sound ‘em out, then you’d see
You can learn to read, you can learn to read

Reading all the words and knowing what they mean
I can’t help thinking this is how it ought to be
Laughing on a park bench, reading to yourself--Hey, isn’t this easy?

There’s somethin’ ‘bout reading that can turn your life around
‘Specially when you find a book that you can’t put down
You say you’re fine, I know you better than that
I know you wanna read a book like that

History and dinosaurs, fairy tales, cookbooks
Animals and astronauts, Goosebumps and joke books
Dreaming about the day when you wake up and find
That you can make some sense out of all those little lines

If you could see how all those letters work together
Line ‘em up and sound ‘em out, then you’d see
You can learn to read

Standing by and watching how your mom reads
All this time, how could you not know, baby?
You can learn to read, you can learn to read

Oh, pretty soon you’ll be reading ‘neath the covers in the middle of the night
All the books that make you laugh and the books that make you cry
You’ll have your favorite ones and you’ll share them with your friends
Think I know it won’t be long, think I know how this will end….

Junie B., Green Eggs & Ham, Ramona Quimby
Ferdinand, Anansi and Winn Dixie need you to learn to read

Miss Rumphius, Frindle, Max and all the Wild Things
Charlotte, Wilbur, and Tuck Everlasting need
You to learn to read, you can learn to read

You can learn to read
Have you ever thought just maybe you can learn to read?
You can learn to read!