Archive for December, 2008


i want a new duck!

   Posted by: arcanai    in Nuthin' Special

i’m very jealous and would like to have frank for myself.  you really must watch:

“maybe if we all had a duck in our life, maybe we wouldn’t all be so mad at each other.”

amen, brother, preach it! tee hee hee. :-D



   Posted by: arcanai    in family time, pix, playing around

as promised, i am posting thanksgiving pix before i post anything about Christmas.  and, since i’ve been dragging my feet for so long about it, i choose to take the lazy route:


life goes on

   Posted by: arcanai    in Nuthin' Special, pix

the funeral went well.  it was a sad occasion but it was also the most peaceful funeral i’ve been to.  as one of her great-grandchildren said before performing a song at the service, “her prayers were answered this Christmas.”  hubby and i worked very hard on creating a digital slideshow of her life to play in a loop next to the casket.  everyone seemed to enjoy looking through the vast array of photos.  

this morning, we stopped by the nursing home to visit with hubby’s ex-gma-IL and then we drove to ga.  we’ll be working in the office this week and we’ve already made plans to visit with some of our old neighbors.  it will be good to see them after such a long time.  anyhow, we are looking forward to slowly returning to normalcy this week - work a few days, have a nice family Christmas, and then get back home.  i miss home.  thank you to everyone who sent well-wishes during the sad weekend.


Lena Holloway

   Posted by: arcanai    in Nuthin' Special

During the night, the world lost one of the sweetest and most GOOD persons ever to live.  Hubby’s grandmother passed away just five days short of her 98thbirthday.  We had a big birthday party planned for Saturday but she just couldn’t hold on anymore.  While we know that this is a blessing for her as she has had little quality of life for several years now, we are selfishly sad over the loss.  She was a tremendous influence in my husband’s life and my own as well, though I have only known her nine+ years.  We’re talking about a woman who, when my husband was going to college, gave him fifty cents to help out.  She didn’t have much but she gave all she could.  I am happy that she is no longer suffering and I know that she was ready.  She’s been ready for years and has often asked anyone who would listen, “you don’t think the good Lord has forgotten about me, do you?”  She was the matriarch of a large family – 6 children, 16 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren, and 20 great-great-grandchildren after an assisted recount, the totals are actually 6 children, 17 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren, and 29 great-great-grandchildren.  She buried one child, one grandchild, and one great grandchild.  She will be missed very, very much.


marathoner, i ain’t

   Posted by: arcanai    in getting healthy

i have a lot of respect for what my cousin is doing – training for a marathon and all.  i got up this morning and did approximately 4.5 miles on the beach.  i’m pretty certain i ran at least half of it.  that’s not even close to a marathon and yet i’ve been holding down the couch all afternoon from exhaustion.  yes, that is entirely different from holding down the couch due to laziness.  i had plans to finally start some cookie baking today but that just isn’t happening.  not only am i too tired but i can’t stand long.  my feet are pretty tender from having all the skin wore off of them while running in the sand for such a long distance.  i guess they need to toughen up.  of course, that’s assuming that i can drag my sorry (and huge) butt out there and make a habit of beach running.


the backyard is rebelling

   Posted by: arcanai    in Nuthin' Special, pix

cross-posted at pcb411

The weather today has been ferocious and impressive! I was awoken about 02:00 this morning by the extremely loud wind. It was blowing so hard against our condo that the balcony door was actually shaking at times. It has been that way all day today. What’s more impressive is that the wind is so strong that there have been a few times today that we could not even open the sliding glass door. That is strong wind and high pressure!

The gulf has been equally impressive. The waves, according to the NOAA, are at 5-8 feet. They are crashing with the fury of an angry sea. It is really quite reminiscent of hurricane weather without the looming threat. And without the surge coming quite so far up towards the buildings.

This is how our backyard usually looks…



And this Read the rest of this entry »


these are a few of my favorite things…

   Posted by: arcanai    in yummy stuff

while i’m trying to get myself into the Christmas mood, i’ll go ahead and post my favorite Christmas cookie recipes.  the first two, peanut butter balls and jen’s butter coookies, are the ones that really taste like Christmas to me.  those are the ones that my mom taught me to make when i was just a little itty bitty.  what are your “true” Christmas cookies?

  • Peanut Butter Balls

    • 1 C Peanut Butter

    • 1 C Karo

    • 1 C Sugar

    • 4 C Rice Krispies

      • Mix Karo and Sugar in pot over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture just starts to boil. Let boil without stirring 1 minute.

      • Remove from heat and immediately add peanut butter. Quickly mix well until creamy.

      • Pour mixture over tray of Rice Krispies. Mix together with hands and roll into small balls. (rubbing shortening on your hands prior to touching the mixture makes the heat less intense and keeps the candied peanut butter from sticking to your hands).

  • Jen’s Butter Cookies

    • 2 C Butter

    • 1 C Sugar

    • 1 Egg

    • 2 t Vanilla (or other flavoring)

    • 4 C Flour

      • Beat together sugar, butter, eggs, and flavoring.  Gradually add in flour and mix thoroughly. 

      • Add food coloring if desired and use cookie press fitted with the disk of your choice, press dough 1” apart onto ungreased baking sheets. 

      • Bake 8-10 minutes at 400° – 445°.

  • Cheese Cake Cookie Bars

    • Crust

      • 2/3 C Butter/Margerine

      • 2/3 C Brown Sugar

      • 2 C Flour

        • Cream butter with brown sugar in small bowl.  Add flour; mix to make a crumb mixture. 

        • Reserve 1 C for topping.  Press remainder into bottom of 9”x13” pan. 

        • Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned.

    • Filling

      • ½ C Sugar

      • 2 Cream Cheese (8 oz)

      • 2 Egg

      • 4 T Milk

      • 1 t Vanilla

      • 2 T Lemon Juice

        • Blend sugar with cream cheese in small mixing bowl until smooth.  Add egg, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla; beat well.  Spread over baked crust.  Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. 

        • Bake 25 minutes. 

        • Cool; cut into 2” squares.  Yield:  appx. 16 cookies. 

  • Snickerdoodles

    • 2¾ C Flour

    • ¼ t Salt

    • ½ t Baking Soda

    • 1 t Cream of Tarter

    • ½ C Butter

    • 1½ C Sugar

    • 2 Eggs

    • 1 t Vanilla

      • Coating

        • 2 T Sugar

        • 2 t Cinnamon

          • Grease cookie sheet. 

          • Stir together flour, soda, cream of tarter, and salt. 

          • In a separate bowl, beat butter for 30 seconds; add the sugar and beat until fluffy.  Add eggs, and vanilla; beat well.  Add in dry ingredients. 

          • Form dough into 1” balls; roll in coating mixture.  Place balls on cookie sheet 2” apart; flatten slightly with bottom of drinking glass. 

          • Bake at 400° about 8 minutes or until light golden.

  • Peanut Butter Cookies

    • ¾ C Peanut Butter

    • ½ C Butter flavored Crisco

    • 1¼ C Light Brown Sugar

    • 3 T Milk

    • 1 T Vanilla

    • 1 Egg

    • 1¾ C Flour

    • ¾ t Salt

    • ¾ t Baking Soda

      • Combine peanut butter, crisco, light brown sugar, milk, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until well blended.  Add egg; beat just until blended.  Combine flour, salt, and baking soda; add to creamed mixture at low speed.  Mix until just blended. 

      • Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls 2” apart onto ungreased baking sheet.  Flatten slightly in crisscross pattern with fork. 

      • Bake at 375° for 7-8 minutes or until just beginning to brown.  Yield:  appx. 3 doz cookies.

  • Rice Krispy Treats

    • 1 bag Marshmallows

    • ¼ C Butter

    • 1 t Vanilla

    • 6 C Rice Krispies

      • Melt butter over medium low heat and stir in vanilla. Add marshmallows until melted. Stir in rice krispies until coated.

      • Press evenly into greased 9″x13″ pan. Let cool before cutting.

  • Kipfel

    • 1 C Butter

    • 8 oz Cream Cheese

    • 2 C Flour

      • Mix ingredients with fork. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

      • Bring back to room temperature and roll thin.

      • Cut into 4″ squares. Put 1 t desired jam into center of each square. Pinch corners together above.

      • Bake 15 minutes at 375°.

  • Peanut Butter Blossoms

    • 1 3/4 C

    • 1/2 C Sugar

    • 1/2 C firmly packed Brown Sugar

    • 1 t Baking Soda

    • 1/2 t Salt

    • 1/2 C Shortening

    • 1/2 C Peanut Butter

    • 2 T Milk

    • 1 t Vanilla

    • 1 Egg

    • Sugar for rolling

    • 48 Candy Kisses

      • Heat oven to 375°F. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In large bowl, combine ingredients at low speed until stiff dough forms. Shape into 1 inch balls; roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

      • Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

      • Remove from oven and top each cookie with candy kiss, pressing down until cookie cracks.

      • Makes 4 dozen

  • Red Velvet Cookies (recipe stolen from richmond)

    • 1 (8-oz.) Brick cream cheese, room temperature

    • 1 Stick butter, at room temperature

    • 1 Egg

    • 1 t Vanilla extract

    • 1 (18-oz.) Box moist Red Velvet cake mix (yellow or chocolate is great too!)

    • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

      • In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls.

      • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

      • Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner’s sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.

      • Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and “gooey.”

      • Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

  • Basic Chip Cookies

    • 2¼ C All-purpose Flour

    • 1 t Baking Soda

    • 1 t Salt

    • 1 C Unsalted Butter, softened

    • ¾ C Sugar

    • ¾ C Light Brown Sugar

    • 1 t Vanilla

    • 2 Eggs

    • 1 (12 oz) package Baking Chips (i prefer cinnamon chip or peanut butter chip cookies over chocolate chip cookies) 

      • Preheat the oven to 375°.

      • Combine flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

      • Beat butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar with an electric mixer on high speed. Add the vanilla, then eggs beating well after each addition.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in chips.  Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

      • Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely


yes, virginia, there is still love and compassion in the world

   Posted by: arcanai    in Nuthin' Special

my dad’s wife works at a popular southern grocery store.  she was telling us about this when they were here for thanksgiving but she also wrote it up and sent it as an email to everyone she knows.  this happened to her personally as she worked at the checkout line the week before thanksgiving.  i think it’s a great example of what this time of year is supposed to be – what most people have forgotten with all of their concerns about santa and gifts. 

Early one morning a boy around 5 years old came in carrying a Rubbermaid container of coins. His mom told me it was his piggy bank money and that he could do with it as he wanted and asked me to help him. I turned the coins into bills ($32.42) and he went shopping. I got busy with other customers but I saw him check out the toys, school supplies and walk up and down the aisles. At one point he asked me what the brown bags with a Holiday tag on were. I told him that they contained food for the needy and showed him what was in one. Half an hour later he came back to my register with a Hot Wheel car and one of the bags of food for the needy. I looked at his mom and she nodded her head telling me to go ahead. I rang it up and when he saw he still had some money he asked if it was enough for another bag. It was and we picked out another one. He told me he saw some people crying on TV because they were hungry and he said that he always had enough food. A very happy and proud mom left the store with her son and I had to admit I had a huge smile but also a tear.


Christmassing up

   Posted by: arcanai    in Nuthin' Special

last night, we put up the tree and decorated for Christmas.  the tree puts a smile on my face so that seems like good progress toward getting in the mood.  i’ll post pix once we get things cleaned up a little better (and after i get around to posting thanksgiving pix!).


meme! meme! meme! merry Christmas!

   Posted by: arcanai    in Nuthin' Special

so i’ve seen this posted on a few blogs and have successfully ignored it. however, last week, reader samster6 emailed it to me. and since her answer to “Who is most likely to respond to this?” was my name, i am sufficiently guilted into posting it. even though she never comments here anymore (how’s that? a little guilt back atchya!).

Okay, here’s what you’re supposed to do, and try not to be a SCROOGE!!! Just copy and paste into a new post..Change all the answers so that they apply to you.

  1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?  whichever is appropriate for the shape and size of the gift.
  2. Real tree or Artificial?  we always had real trees growing up and i miss that terribly but since we don’t really get a home Christmas, we do artificial.  hubby had a truly pathetic looking tree that we used up until last year when we switched to the lovely one we got on after-Christmas clearance the year before for like $30.
  3. When do you put up the tree?  hubby’s been promising to get the Christmas stuff out of storage every day for the last week.  maybe today’s the day.  Christmas boxes are in the house and ready to be worked on tonight!  really, it’s hard to get very Christmassy around here since we aren’t here for the holiday anyhow.  last year we even boycotted gift-exchange between us two.
  4. When do you take the tree down?  when we feel like it.  last year, between the move at the end of the year, the trip to orlando right after the new year for disney family Christmas, and granny moore’s death, it was sometime in february before we finally took pix and took everything down. 
  5. Do you like eggnog?  i haven’t had it since i was a small child but i recall not caring for it.  my mom and brother were the big egg-noggers in our house.
  6. Favorite gift received as a child?  i remember being thrilled to pieces when i got my first cordless phone!  (gee, feel a bit old?)
  7. Hardest person to buy for?  i stink at gift ideas.  for the most part, i struggle with everyone.  however, my dad’s wife is definitely the most difficult.  the poor woman’s going to develop a complex since my sissy and i both end up getting her bath and body works smelly stuff every year.
  8. Easiest person to buy for?  me!!!  i always know just what i want!  ;-)
  9. Do you have a nativity scene?  you know, i distinctly recall having a very small nativity set in orlando and i searched for it when we moved to our apartment in ga and again the next year when we were in our house in ga.  i assume it got left in one of the boxes that never got moved from my mom’s house, which means that it is long gone in the trash now.  i really should get one this year.
  10. Mail or email Christmas cards?  mail.  it’s about the only card-sending occasion that i’m adult enough to follow through with.
  11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?  i think i was raised pretty well to be appreciative of anything i get.  although i do still give my MIL grief for the duck that she gave me a couple years ago.  i get a lot of ducks because that’s the easiest thing for people to get me, no thought required.  she got me a little figure of a baby sitting on a duck commode.  she swears that it was not a hint but i still don’t buy it!
  12. Favorite Christmas Movie?  charlie brown
  13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?  i try to think of and buy gifts year-round but, as stated in #7, i’m terrible at coming up with ideas so it usually ends up being last minute.
  14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?  i tried really hard to give away the coffee set we got from a friend of hubby’s family last year but no one would take it.  we don’t do coffee and don’t feel the need to own a coffee set (although it was nice of her to think of us!).
  15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?  peanut butter balls!
  16. Lights on the tree?  absolutely!  it’s not much of a Christmas tree if it’s all dark (although that’s exactly what we had last year – a dark tree with ornaments all over it – because the box with Christmas lights was apparently still in the storage building in al.  we did buy some after-Christmas clearance lights though for this year).
  17. Favorite Christmas song?  i love Christmas hymns!  i’m quite fond of “oh holy night”, “mary’s song”, “god rest ye merry gentlemen”, and so many more.
  18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?  because our families are 500 miles apart, we always do thanksgiving with mine and Christmas with his.  that means that Christmas is in al every year.  when we lived in fl, we never even bothered with a tree or decorations at home because we had no “us” Christmas at all.  it was nice when we moved to ga because it was only a 2.5 hour drive so we did Christmas eve in al and drove home that night so we could have our own Christmas day.  i’m not sure how it’ll work out now that we’re 5 hours away.
  19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?  sure but i’m not sure they’ll like them any better than their current names.
  20. Angel on the tree top or star?  we have a very pretty star.  i’ve never found an angel tree-topper that i liked.  most of them are covered in gold or look demented.
  21. Open presents on Christmas Eve or morning?  since our families are so spread out, gift-opening lasts a while.  we open gifts with my family either a few weeks before Christmas or a few weeks after.  gifts with his family are Christmas eve.  if we exchange with each other, those are opened Christmas day unless we are not home in which case they would be Christmas eve as well. 
  22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?  it drives me up a frikken wall that the Christmas aisles were up in all the stores back in september!
  23. Favorite ornament theme or color?  snowmens!  every year we pick out a new snowman for our tree.  it’s our thing.  also silver balls and red apples (because the first year we put up a tree we didn’t have any ornaments except a couple snowmens and some of my old ducks so we just went to the dollar store and grabbed a couple boxes of whatever).
  24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?  cookies!!!  i don’t know that we’ve ever really done a special Christmas dinner.  i guess at his gma’s we usually had ham and turkey but it all depended on what everyone brought.  one year it was just soups and sandwiches.  who knows what this year will be since gma is gone. 
  25. What do you want for Christmas this year?  some quality time with hubby.


   Posted by: arcanai    in Nuthin' Special

for the one or two of you who might be curious, this is my side project i’ve been working on lately.  it doesn’t look like much now but i’m hoping to make it a useful and informative site over time.


strange dreams

   Posted by: arcanai    in Nuthin' Special

i was dead asleep this morning.  so dead asleep that by the time the alarm clock finally woke me, it had been going for about four minutes.  i could count on one hand the number of times in my life that i didn’t hear the alarm (not counting times when something happened to make it nearly inaudible).  this morning, i was too deep in a dream to hear it.  and, oh boy, what a dream.  basically, i dreamt that my brother and his wife had three kids and never told us.  i even asked how it was possible that we had never seen her pregnant or seen the kids when we visit them every single time we’re in town.  the explanation i got is that she didn’t show much during her pregnancies and her mom kept the kids a lot.  i was furious.  i yelled at them for hiding our nieces and nephew from us and not wanting us to know them.  they were very matter-of-fact saying they just didn’t think it was a big deal and had never much thought about it when we spent time together.  the dream went on and on and was uber-realistic but that was the gist of it.  i was thoroughly angry at both my brother and his wife when i woke up.  i might have to call her later and make sure they’re not hiding anything from me!


for a reason

   Posted by: arcanai    in Nuthin' Special

we ran out to fill a prescription for hubby this evening.  although i had set some chicken out earlier for dinner, i had a craving for chick-fil-a and requested a stop there instead of going home to cook.  i generally don’t do such a thing when i’ve already got a dinner plan in action, but they say everything has its reason and i’m a believer in that.  we walked into a near empty restaurant to find a little old woman (LOW) crying at the counter, the lady at the register giving her directions, and a little old man (LOM) standing nervously by.  the LOW started crying harder the more directions were thrown at her and declared that she was just going to call a cab because she couldn’t drive well at night and he (pointing at the LOM) was blind.  she lamented that they had been driving around in circles and she just couldn’t take any more.  hubby and i immediately looked at each other and said we’d drive them.  while i ordered food, hubby went over to the table that LOW was bawling at and offered to drive them if they wouldn’t mind waiting for us to eat.  by the time we were done eating, the LOW had calmed down and stated that she would be able to drive if she could just follow us.  we led them to their condo at the east end of the beach and wished them a very happy vacation.  this nice little old couple had driven all the way from pennsylvania, just to get lost five miles from their destination.  i could totally empathize with the LOW’s frustration and my heart went out to them.  i truly hope that their vacation improves and they don’t get stuck out and about after dark again.  moral of the story:  never question a chick-fil-a hankering. 

no, i haven’t forgotten about family weekend recap and pix.


being grateful for our good health

   Posted by: arcanai    in Nuthin' Special

for those who don’t know, my cousin started training for a marathon and raising funds for lymphoma and leukemia research about the same time that my very good friend was diagnosed with folicular lymphoma.  while he’s been struggling with chemo weakness and sickness, she has been struggling to become a runner!  the weekend before thanksgiving, she ran twenty miles!!!  and he’ll be suffering through his final chemo treatment this friday. 

this has been a tough road for both of them but they are working toward a common goal – kicking cancers’ butt!  i know that finances are a little tight right now for everyone, but please consider donating to this very worthy cause this holiday season.  every dollar counts in the fight against cancer!