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Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Of all the dogs we’ve been lucky enough to live with and love, Louie is the champion napper. I walked into our bedroom and found him passed out on the bed, all snuggled up against a pillow and a white battenberg lace pillow sham.

 Louie napping on our bed

One of our friends from out of town stayed with us for a few days when we had our last pair of Yorkies, Reggie and Skyler. He watched them move around the house all day long, napping , sleeping, snoozing. Then it was bedtime and off they went to sleep some more. He asked me the next morning, “How do your dogs sleep at night?” Every time I think of that, it makes me laugh. He’s right — how do they sleep at night?

So I was wondering where the phrase “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie” comes from. Here are some links you might find informative and amusing:

http://www.quotations.me.uk/famous-idioms/131-let-sleeping-dogs-lie-idiom.htm

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=105×500428

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Let_sleeping_dogs

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_Sleeping_Dogs_Lie

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Happy Birthday, Our Tigger!

tiggerWhen our youngest daughter was starting school, she couldn’t sit still to save her soul. It was an open classroom setting and she would just get up and wander out of the room. Most of the time, they’d find her talking to the lunch ladies or looking for her big sister. So her first grade teacher called her “Tigger.”

Happy Birthday, Our Tigger!!!

With much love,

from Mom and Dad

We’re Playing Doodle Dice

doodle dice gameWe have always played a lot of games in our family and still do.

When I was a kid, my favorites were scrabble, yahtzee and double solitaire and we always had a table set up in the family room with a jigsaw puzzle in progress, being assembled by everyone.

Hubby’s family played lots of card games like rummy, tripoli and steal the pile as well as board games like parcheesi.

As our girls were growing up, we collected an entire cupboard full of games – everything from battleship, pigmania, operation, sorry, uno, checkers and mille bornes to mousetrap, pictionary and trivial pursuit. Granddaughter’s favorite is horseopoly. Hubby and I like to break out the backgammon board and play 2 out of 3.

One of our new favorites is Doodle Dice. We had a group of adults over for a barbeque recently and played. I probably enjoyed it more than anyone else because I WON! Neener neener!!!

doodle dice cardsHere are the basics. It’s for 2 to 6 players, ages 6 through adult. The object is to be the first player to collect a set of six cards – one of each color – by rolling the doodles shown on the cards. It comes with a deck of cards, 6 dice and a cup for rolling them.

This game is easy and so much fun. It’s even fun to help each other strategize while playing. Seems like kids and adults all love it. If you’re looking for a great gift for any age, this is a winner!

What’s Cookin’ – Zucchini Bread

The zucchini in gardens and on farms is abundant and beautiful right now and just begging to be baked into something wonderful. Another one of my favorite recipes from mom is Zucchini Bread, which I have updated to be lower in calories. It’s still moist and dense and tastes fantastic!

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread

3 eggs, well beaten

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 cups sugar

3 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

3 tsp. vanilla

3 cups flour

2 cups raw grated zucchini

1/2 cup chopped nuts

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans (5x9x4″). Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes.

Or you can get about 24 muffins out of this recipe. Bake at 350 for approximately 18-20 minutes.

Zucchini

Zucchini

Notes: If you have a food processor, grating the zucchini with the shredding disc is really fast, although a hand grater works just as well. While I haven’t tried this on my mandoline, this would be another good option.

The original version of this recipe called for 1 cup of vegetable oil. Although it is very delicious, in order to lower the calories I substituted 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce. You can also use both, i.e., 1/2 cup oil plus 1/2 cup applesauce or 1/4 cup oil plus 3/4 cup applesauce. But here’s a shocking fact … the calories in 1 cup of vegetable oil is 1,879 — the calories in 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce is only 100!

We normally use chopped walnuts, although pecans or another type of nut you like would be just as good. I’ve also made it without nuts and it’s great, too.

Personal note to mom: My original recipe card is from you, in your handwriting, yellowed and covered in grease spots. It’s perfect! Thanks for all the great recipes!!!

Fair Isle Purse

Fair Isle purse completed

Fair Isle purse completed

Finished the Fair Isle purse for the granddaughter this morning. She is so cute and so excited to use her purse. There isn’t a lot of Fair Isle stranding in this purse, but having done it on the knitting machine makes me happy.

Fair Isle on the knitting machine

Fair Isle on the knitting machine

I have a Bond America Ultimate Sweater Machine (although I have yet to make any sweaters with it) and have been really pleased with the finished objects produced on it. Another thing I learned on this purse was how to knit in a hem on the machine. Very cool! This hem is the inside front of the purse above the button and, per the directions, I bought a sheet of plastic canvas at the craft store, cut a piece to fit and slid it into the hem to provide stiffness.

Fair Isle off the knitting machine - check out the knitted in hem at the bottom

Fair Isle off the knitting machine - check out the knitted in hem at the bottom

I did, as usual, make some of my own adjustments to the pattern. I felt the purse flap was too floppy and curly, even after crocheting an edge and blocking, so I knitted another flap in just the brown yarn and stitched it to the inside of the flap. I like this a lot for two reasons — it adds weight and stability to the flap and it covers the floats so she won’t accidentally catch them.

The original pattern also calls for a strap and stitched on trim of braided yarn. Aaaaaannnhhh! I decided to hand-knit a strap in one of my favorites, moss stitch. It creates a dense, textured, heavier fabric and looks very nice for the strap. Something I hadn’t done before but had read about many times is slipping the first stitch of each row for a prettier edge. It really works! Chose a pretty ivory colored 1′ button and chain stitched a loop for the closure.

Close up of Fair Isle purse and button closure

Close up of Fair Isle purse and button closure

Cook Yourself Thin

Cook Yourself Thin Cookbook

Cook Yourself Thin Cookbook

The day of birthday feasting was great. The herb-roasted chicken and roasted veggies that we had for dinner are from my favorite new cookbook, “Cook Yourself Thin.”

MyLifetime.com aired a television show of the same title a few months back and I just loved it. The guest of the week would tell the hostesses/cooks about their favorite dishes. Total calories would be calculated and were ALWAYS way over the number of calories the guest should eat in a day to get to their goal weight. So the hostesses would re-make those recipes, slimming them down to usually around half of the normal calories.

While you can get the recipes online — here is the link for the Easy Herb-Roasted Chicken and Roasted Veggies — I love the feel of a book in my hands. Had a Barnes and Noble gift card from Mother’s Day to spend, so I ordered one. I have repeatedly made several of the dishes from this cookbook and they are absolutely delicious and do not taste de-calorized (is that a word?).

In addition to the roasted chicken, I can recommend the Turkey Mini-Meatloaves, Green Chile and Chicken Enchiladas and Turkey Chili Crunch (this one might be my very favorite so far). Instead of the chipotle pepper called for, I just use a small can of mild diced chiles and we scoop the soup with Baked Tostitos Scoops. OMG, I can’t even begin to tell you how good this is!

A little cupcake heaven

A little cupcake heaven

The cupcakes hubby requested for his birthday cake, we saw on an episode of Food Networks’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate: With My Hands.” It is a devil’s food cupcake (I like the Duncan Hines boxed mix), iced with cream cheese frosting and rolled in sweetened flaked coconut. They are so good! But hubby’s favorite part of the show was when the chef (sorry, can’t remember her name) made a Cupcake Sandwich … tear off the bottom of the cupcake, put it on top of the frosting and you have a sandwich with the frosting in the middle. It really is great and fun to do. Little kids, as well as big Old kids love it!!!

The cream cheese frosting is one of mom’s recipes:

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 T. butter, softened

1 3-oz. package cream cheese (I used Fat Free and it was just fine)

2 cups confectioners sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Blend until creamy.

Yum!

Happy Birthday, My Love!

Happy Birthday, My Love!

Happy Birthday, My Love!