But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
— Abraham Lincoln
I wasn’t entirely sure I’d get to this so soon but I’ve felt the suspense building all day. Not among the entrants, by the way, but among… me, myself and I. Even I had to know who won this painting.
First of all, thanks to all of you who entered my humble giveaway! This has been so much fun for me! If I could afford it, I’ve had a giveaway every single day. I read each comment and I’ve visited every blog and website left for me. (In fact, I’ve added so many new bookmarks to my browser, I’ve had to set aside time to reorganize the folder. Oh, the untold additional hours I’ll be whiling away on the web now visiting your blogs!)
And the winner is…
Nina – May 28, 2010 at 10:28 AM
Congratulations, Nina! Please click here to email me your mailing address and I will ship “Beaches of 30-A” to you as soon as I can find a box big enough. (And please send me a photo of it hanging it its permanent home. I can’t wait to see what you do with it!)
As for the very unscientific results of my very unscientific poll, California was edged out by Paris as the most popular response to the question: “If you could have a destination blind from any city/area in the world, what city/area would you choose?” Had I lumped in other places in France with Paris, it would have been a blowout. Top six destinations were, in order:
- Cape Cod & Texas (tie)
Your comments were so great to read and gave me lots of new places to fantasize about visiting when our kids are grown and I’m too old and crabby to enjoy traveling.
In the meantime, I’m contenting myself with creating new destination blinds for places I love and the places I long to see. One of my favorite parts of the giveaway was discovering that two commentors mentioned a destination blind I’d already designed but not yet painted. Great minds think alike!
Here’s a sneak peak, a blind listing homes figuring prominently in Jane Austen novels:
I hope to have a few of these ready to sell to other Austenophiles at my next market.
Once again, thanks again to all of you who entered the giveaway! And special thanks to Kim at Twice Remembered Cottage for sponsoring such a great “get-together” for her blogging community!
I can’t believe the Twice Remembered Cottage Charm Giveaway has been going on for almost a month! Just a reminder: my giveaway ends tomorrow, so if you haven’t entered, get on the stick. You can view my giveaway here and review all the Cottage Charm giveaways here.
And in other news, I’m kicking off the 3-Day Potty Training method with my 2 1/2 year old this weekend — actually, in about 10 minutes — so my posting will be spotty (ba-dum-bum) for a few days. It may take me until Monday or Tuesday to announce the giveaway winner due to the overlap. I wish the end of the giveaway hadn’t followed so closely with Memorial Day but the potty training opportunity presented by a four-day weekend was too fortuitous to ignore.
Some women may be brave enough to tackle potty training without husbandly backup. Not this girl.
In the meantime, thank you to the members of our armed forces for their dedicated service! Have a great Memorial weekend.
I’m neck deep in the quicksand of a website-conversion-slash-blog-migration-slash-shopping-cart-revamp-slash-Lord-knows-what-else-I’m-going-to-find-needs-doing.
None of which I would ever have attempted had it not been for my mother.
I spent my formative years watching her tackle just about every trade skill or hobby known to man because she just wanted it done. It never mattered what the skill was — upholstering furniture, plumbing, electrical work, website design, nuclear fission — she just rolled up her sleeves and wrestled it into submission.
Such fearsome competence has cast a shadow over my entire adult life. I am constitutionally unable to pay anyone to do something I myself might have a chance of sorting out.
So some people outsource. The women of my family self-source.
It’s an inherited disorder. And I’ve got it baaaaaaaad.
Anyway, should you notice odd blips with the blog, links, my websites or anything else, you know why. I hope to have everything ironed out soon.
In the meantime, hug a competent woman and thank her for raising the bar. (Thanks, Mom.)
Everyone has a talent. As for me, I can walk in to any store in the western hemisphere and with no knowledge of prices, pick out, by the simple virtue of what I honestly like best, The Most Expensive Anything in the entire store. I swear, it isn’t intentional.
Now you know what a saint I married.
As we embark on the remodel of our bathroom, I know I will be faced at every turn with my own infallible ability to love what I cannot afford. So I’m trying to take “the essence” of all the elements I love and shoehorn them into one small budget.
An homage, if you will, to a $50,000 bathroom but with a much smaller price tag.
For better or worse, they cost $8.50 a box. If I planned to make them a fixture in my life, I’d be forced to take up a more profitable hobby. Like speculating in the international currency markets.
Theological Question: Is it wrong to thank God for Aldi when I pray?
I was doing my grocery shopping a couple of months ago and out of the corner of my eye, as I whizzed past, I caught a glimpse of these:
These are like tablets of Ecstasy for stay-at-home moms. I even had a chocolate-induced hallucination that I might squeeze into a bathing suit this summer.
Did I mention they are $1.29 per box?
It’s been years since I tasted the Godiva version, so I can’t say with any authority how closely these compare. What I can tell you is that I hid them from my husband. For days. I got down to the last one before the guilt set in and I was compelled to share.
They have Milk Chocolate, too. But when the choice comes down to milky sweet or dark and subtle, for me, there is no choice.
I ♥ Aldi.
Neither of us wore glasses.
I was still paying off a credit card. (Sorry about that…)
We were naive enough to think the carpeting of our cheap apartment was damp because it had been steam-cleaned before we moved in. It was still damp when we moved out 18 months later…
We used dial-up internet.
We had no cell phone.
I was a pretty marginal cook.
We did all our grocery shopping together.
We ate things like macaroni and cheese and English muffin “pizzas.”
Your mother called every day for a week.
Your ex-girlfriend called. Twice.
You set her straight. Very nicely.
We fought about stupid things like where to put the cheese grater and not-so-stupid things like how soon before the due date bills should be paid.
We had no children, no expendable income and no idea we would ever leave Fayetteville.
It amazes me what eleven years can change.
And what they can’t.
You are still the man of my dreams. And I’m still the luckiest girl in the world.
I love you, babe. Your wife,
But I’m a huge fan of comfort food. And by “huge,” I mean… never mind.
Where my culinary skills tend to shine is in the arena of dessert. To me, dessert is a culinary act of redemption — a chance to send your guests into a state of euphoria that will sponge from their minds the memory of dry chicken and bland veggies.
This recipe is an adaption of “Chocolate Chip Brownie Pillows” from Southern Living Annual Recipes 2009 — tweaked because I like much more brownie than their recipe calls for. And it’s all about me and my needs, of course.
CHOCOLATE CHIP BROWNIE PILLOWS
1 package Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix (for an 8″ x 8″ pan)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 T. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 package semisweet chocolate chips
Bake brownies according to package directions. Cool completely. No cheating on this one.
Cream together butter, shortening and brown sugar. Add eggs and egg yolk one at a time, beating after eat addition. Stir in vanilla. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually add into creamed mixture and stir until blended. Stir in chocolate morsels. Cover and chill dough 2 hours.
Cut the brownies into narrow slices, 3/4″ wide or so. Lightly grease 12-14 small ramekins1.
Put one large spoonful of chilled cookie dough in each ramekin and spread out until you have a thin layer covering the bottom of the dish. Top the cookie dough with a layer of sliced brownie — I turn the narrow slices on their side for the best coverage — covering as much of the cookie dough as possible. Feel free to break slices apart or fill gaps with crumbs; no one will ever know. Unless they read this blog.
Take another large spoonful of cookie dough into your hands and flatten it into a rough circle. Place the circle of dough over the top of the brownie and spread out to cover the brownie. Make sure the brownie is completely “sealed” by the cookie dough so it doesn’t dry out or burn while baking. Cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and chill for at least 20 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 22 minutes or until the top is lightly golden brown.
NOTE: The center of the top layer may still be slightly “doughy” underneath. If you’re a fan of raw cookie dough, you’ll be in heaven. If that freaks you out, just add a few minutes to the baking time and cover the ramekins with aluminum foil for the first few minutes of baking to prevent over-browning.
Serve hot, topped with a scoop of ice cream. Makes 12-14 servings.
1 My ramekins are about 3″ in diameter. If you don’t own any ramekins or other small oven-safe dishes, you can use muffin tins. Just note that the quantity and proportions will probably be different than described above. You should also understand that the use of individual serving dishes such as ramekins is an effective deterrent against Chocolate Chip Brownie Pillow Hoarding (CCBPH), a clinical disorder characterized by the sufferer stealing an entire muffin tin of CCBP, locking him or herself in a closet or vehicle and consuming all 12 servings in one sitting. An outbreak of CCBPH is usually followed by an acute case of Sudden Onset Chocolate Overload. Symptoms include labored-breathing, abdominal distention, rolling eyes and moaning, quickly followed by excessive milk consumption and a four-hour nap.
I have the best of both.
Although in personality I most resemble my dad, my mama had the unenviable job of tempering the concatenation of quirks, freaks and neuroses that is yours truly into a balanced, moderately normal human being.
And you thought your job was tough.
In all seriousness, my mom has been my steadfast guide through good times and bad. Although I stopped being afraid of her as soon as I became taller than she, I have never stopped respecting her for her graciousness, humor, wisdom and love.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! You are an amazing woman and I am so proud to be your daughter.
And then, five years ago today, I had a child of my own.
Words fail me. That innocent little lamb had no idea — still doesn’t — how he rocked my world with his arrival.
Most people only imagine babies this easy. I actually had one. A sweeter, sunnier baby than our little Griffin couldn’t be had.
Five years later, I am daily reminded of the blessing God gave us in the cherubic form of this little fellow. His tender heart, his helpful spirit, his lively sense of humor, coupled with perpetual motion and photographic memory, all brighten our home. I have never met a boy who takes more delight in just being with his family — wherever we are and whatever we do.
My mama often says that God gave us the children He did because through them, He can transform us into the people He intended us to be. Serving their needs, their personalities, their uniqueness help mold our lives into all that our Heavenly Father longs for us to become.
I’ve learned at least a few things through my sweet son. Such as patience. Having a sweeter spirit. Tempering my sarcasm. The currency of earnest praise. Knowing enough to slow down and savor moments with my family before they pass by.
He’s not a perfect angel. And he hasn’t made me into one, either. But I thank God everyday for the privilege of being his mama.
Happy Birthday, sonny! We love you!
As you can see, I’m monkeying with the appearance of the blog. WordPress has launched a new theme (“Twenty Ten,” for those who care) that offers much more flexibility than the one I’ve been using and I had to give it a go. So far, so good, but it will take me some time to play with all the new bells and whistles and get ‘em singing my song.
Is that enough of mixed idioms for you?
Changes will continue to be made throughout today — or for the next 90 days, if it takes me that long.
If you’re like me and despise change, my apologies. Should you need to hide under the covers and suck your thumb for awhile, I understand.