Archive | October, 2013

carrot spoon bread

Yes, this is another carrot recipe. Hey – I like carrots. I was going to make some joke about how I got my red hair from carrots but my hair is auburn so that joke would be ridiculous!

I really wanted to give you a recipe for sweet potato biscuits but I can’t find it and I don’t remember where I got it. So here’s another one of my favorite recipes instead. This carrot spoon bread is yummy and like the sweet potato biscuits, it’s a warm and cozy food – perfect for this time of year.


This is a great side dish. I could suggest what it might accompany but I really have no clue so just make it alongside something else one night and there you go – a meal. Or you could even bring it for Thanksgiving this year!

Carrot Spoon Bread

  • 3 cups packed finely grated carrots (1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart baking dish. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine carrots with 3 tablespoons water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until tender, 4 minutes (if you don’t feel comfortable microwaving plastic wrap, cover with whatever you would normally use in the microwave, just make sure the carrots get soft). Drain carrots in a fine-mesh sieve. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk in eggs, sugar, and butter until combined. Fold in carrots and transfer mixture to prepared dish. Bake until top is golden brown, edges pull away from sides of dish, and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

This recipe comes from Martha Stewart.

Happy Spooning!




a sleepover

The move went well and we’re all settled into our new apartment. I’ll post some photos of it once we are back there…but TONIGHT (Sunday night) we’re having a sleepover at an empty Briar Lane. Even empty, it still feels like home.

We arrived back to the Briar Lane house and were locked out! The buyers did a ‘walk through’ last night and locked the garage door (which we never did) and I didn’t have a house key with me…oops! So, we called our realtor and she saved the day.

We ended up playing outside and made sure to grab our heart rock. It was from our wedding and has lived beneath one of the big oak trees in our backyard ever since.


The girls also got to play at a friend’s house while I cleaned up, broke down a few extra boxes and made a last run to Goodwill. We came back after a pizza dinner (thanks Christina and Ben!) to have our sleepover!

So far it’s gone pretty well although there were a few tears from a certain 2-1/2 year old, who is a little over-tired. Plus, I’ve been a little run down over the last week and gave myself a yucky cough so I had to move out of the room because I am ‘too coughy’ for the girls and they can’t get to sleep! :) So, the girls are now sleeping next to each other and mama’s mat is shoved in the corner. Sigh.


I really don’t want to be ‘too coughy’ on the buyers tomorrow at the closing so I’m going to try and get to sleep now too.

Nighty night and good morning.




leaving this home

It’s here. Tomorrow, the big moving trucks come to whisk away our things to our new home. We sure are going to miss this house and the beautiful land around it.


The front view of the house.

We moved here before Greg and I were married so this house has been with us through a lot; Greg asked me to marry him in the backyard, we had our wedding in the front yard, started life as a family with the birth of both girls, lots of dinners inside and parties out in the yard, years of just being us, and then Greg’s cancer and death.


This was the view of our wedding ceremony from our bedroom window.


The backyard, our wedding reception.

This house has been like another family member, one that holds us in, keeps us warm and helps us feel safe.


A snowstorm in 2008.

We tried to sell this house on and off for 4 years. I think maybe we knew we were still going to need it and just couldn’t really let it go, until now.


The back view of the house.

We will miss this house and all the good and bad times we got through here, together. We’re leaving a little piece of Greg here and that feels right, that a bit of our family will always be here.

Goodbye Briar Lane.




squeaky’s playlist

Here are a couple songs that make Squeaky happy lately…

Oh, I only posted ONE?

Right. I only posted one. That is because this is the ONLY song she wants to listen to lately. She goes everywhere with a little mp3 player asking me to play this song for her over and over and over. And over and over and over!

I love this song too (the whole album is really good and Greg would be SUPER-DEE-DUPER proud that’s she loves Toots and the Maytals so much) but sheesh!

Enjoy and have a super-dee-duper weekend!




what NOT to be for halloween

I’m not a person who gets into Halloween and I’m not sure why. When I’ve taken the time to put together a costume, I have a great time. For some reason, it always seems to sneak up on me and then I’m not prepared so I just don’t dress up.

One year, I was going to meet some high school friends for Halloween and they were all going to be dressed up. I was complaining to Greg one night that I just didn’t have any good ideas and I started listing off things in the living room that I could be. When I said, “I could be a lamp!”, I believed myself. And I did it.

This was the best and worst costume. It was really funny and I loved the reaction when I walked into a room and people would just crack up. I even felt a little clever in it (you can’t see the flashlights taped to the inside so in the dark, I actually glowed!) that I would be the person to actually slap a lampshade on my head and just be a lamp! BUT…it was the loneliest costume ever! I had two little eye holes cut out but the lampshade would shift a little so I could hardly see and was always adjusting it. And I couldn’t hear anything! And nobody could hear anything I said. So I pretty much just sat in a corner. Like a lamp. Now I feel sorry for lamps.

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So, the lesson of this story is..don’t be a lamp. I trust you to think of a better costume than I could.





slowing down

I’m a very social person. I love being busy, doing things, going places.  But Greg wasn’t like that and when he was alive, we had a fairly slow life. He worked 2nd shift and I chose to/was able to be a stay-at-home mom. I’ve always considered myself lucky for that and very thankful to Greg for working so hard that I could be home. Since Squirmy and Squeaky were young, we didn’t have to wake up for school, work, anything, so we rarely felt rushed. The girls were our alarm clock and they would climb into our bed in the morning to play under the sheets, read books or watch a video if Greg and I weren’t ready to get up…zzzzzzzzzzzzz.


Greg and Squirmy at Horicon Marsh

We were able to choose if we wanted to go to a play group or story time that day, wander to the park or around our yard, ride bikes, stop over at a neighbor’s for lemonade (Hi Jan!), without being rushed to get to some class or event. And that felt good.

When Greg got sick, things sped up. And they haven’t really slowed down much since.

A week or two ago, as we were driving from one event to another, I asked the girls, “Do you like doing all this stuff and going all these places or would you like to slow down?”  Nine times out of then, when I ask them both a question they say something different. But not this time. They both said, with enthusiasm, “SLOW DOWN!”.

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Greg and Squeaky at 4th of July in Monona

Yeah, I agree. This is all great stuff and I’m thankful we live in a community where so much is available and we have lots of friends we want to see, but sometimes I can hear Greg telling me to slow down a little, stop planning so many things! I think of the times that I left him with the girls to run an errand (thinking he would take them somewhere or do something eventful with them) and they would be in the same place I left them in, still playing, reading books, flopping around, happy as clams.

I’m hoping the move will help us slow down a bit, something I need help doing.

So, here’s to taking a deep breath and slowing down.




kid photographers

I let the girls take pictures with my camera when we were out for a walk to the park this week. Up until now, I haven’t let them touch my camera (they have an old one they play with) but since there isn’t anybody else to take a picture with me in it, I figured it could be time.

Squirmy knows how to take a picture pretty well so she snapped this shot of me and the Squeak on her first try. Squeaky’s pretty happy but Mama’s hair is being pulled and is in pain – can you see it in my face?

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Squeaky cut off Squirmy’s head a few times and needed a little coaching but when she got this one, she shrieked, “This one is great!” I agree.


We’re having a beautiful fall here and have been fortunate to have people help with the girls (and take them outside all afternoon – thanks Christine!) while I’m stuck in the house most of the time organizing and packing with more helpers (thanks Auntie Dawn and Uncle Wayne!).

We already pick up the keys to our apartment next week!

Happy Friday!





goodbye to BLOO

Greg named his car Blue. But since the correct spelling wasn’t available for Wisconsin license plates, he settled for “BLOO”. He loved this car. He bought it when we first started dating, it was like a fresh start for him. Everything about it was bright and cheerful. The light blue exterior, the light leather interior. (Do I sound like a car commercial?) It helped that he always had good music playing in it too. It was the car he took me for dates in when we first got together and after having kids and driving the minivan, it once again became our “date car”.

I sold BLOO last weekend. :(


I was just about to give up after it had been on Craigslist for over a week with absolutely no interest. I was prepared to slash the price to just get rid of it and had arranged for a friend to take it and sell it for thousands less. Literally, two seconds after making plans for him to come and get it that evening, I got a text from a guy wanting to see the car asap. And that’s when I broke down. It seemed like I had been waiting and waiting to sell his car and was getting anxious about where to store it, how to take care of it, that I wouldn’t be able to drive it enough (It NEEDS to be driven, you know!), etc. But it was too real that someone wanted to see it at that moment and I was overwhelmed. I broke down in front of the girls. Squeaky came over and rubbed my back. Squirmy walked away from me but I realized she was going to get me a tissue. We talked about it and then Mama felt a little better. I also got in touch with a neighbor who came over to help since I’ve never sold a car myself before. Thanks again, Scott!

So, about the buyer. There is a connection with his name. My grandpa’s name was Kenneth. I never knew him because he died at age 46. Greg’s middle name was Kenneth and he ALSO died at age 46. The rabbi at Greg’s funeral was Kenneth. And when the guy who came to look at BLOO last Friday shook my hand and said, “Hi. I’m Ken”, I wanted to look up into the sky with my hands outstretched and yell… “Okay, Baby – Thank you!” …but I didn’t want to freak the people out so I just did that yelling thing in my head.

Sometimes it sounds like a stretch when I try to explain it to someone, but it’s a connection that gave me comfort that Greg’s car was going to exactly the right person.


Squeaky*, Squirmy and I took a drive in BLOO and posed for some pictures before it was gone.


The girls yelled, “Bye Daddie’s car!” as Ken drove it away.



*I bought Squeaky a new winter jacket and snow pants that I had her try on. She wouldn’t take it off. saying, “I’m wearing it until winter!” So I let her wear it outside until she started sweating and it was sticking to her. :)


one last time!

We move at the end of this month (ZOINKS!!!!) and there are so many things we want to do while we’re still living here…one last time! Last week, we went to Ella’s Deli for dinner to have matzo ball soup and ride the carousel. We really haven’t been there many times so it’s not that nostalgic to us but the last time we were there, the girls discovered they love matzo ball soup. So it’s one restaurant they’ll be eating something other than mac-n-cheese, grilled cheese or chicken nuggets!  Plus, there’s the carousel!

We talked and slurped our soup (more slurping!) but mostly looked around at all the crazy things all over the ceiling and walls. Bart Simpson was ‘flying’ over our table while we ate and Betty Boop was swinging just behind us. That place is a trip.



In the past, Squeaky refused to ride a carousel horse (she would always sits on the bench for little tykes) but just as it started going, she screeched, “I want to ride on a horse!”. As she was climbing on, she told me, “I might be a little scared but I’m brave.” What a big girl! We were the only people on the carousel and when it was done, we all wanted to go AGAIN…so we did.



With all the work it takes to organize and coordinate and pack up to move,  it’s even fun for me to pack in all this fun stuff…one last time!





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