Aug 30, 2007

I Love a Good Quote

"You sat on the burner, sit on the blisters."
-Dick Schaefer, Choices & Consequences

Molten Chocolate Cakes

The other day, Marie asked me for the recipe for the mini chocolate cakes I baked for Patrick for Valentine's Day. So, here's the only advice is to be VERY careful when you invert the cakes onto a dish. The first one I did broke apart and the chocolate oozed right out...

Molten Chocolate Cakes (Kraft Foods)

4 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
6 Tbsp. flour
1/2 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping

PREHEAT oven to 425°F. Butter four 3/4-cup custard cups or soufflĂ© dishes. Place on baking sheet.

MICROWAVE chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 min. or until butter is melted. Stir with wire whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar until well blended. Blend in eggs and egg yolks with wire whisk. Stir in flour. Divide batter among prepared custard cups.

BAKE 13 to 14 min. or until sides are firm but centers are soft. Let stand 1 min. Carefully run small knife around cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto dessert dishes. Serve immediately, topped with whipped topping.

Aug 27, 2007

Sunday Dinners

I grew up in a rather traditional family that had rather traditional Sunday dinners. We ate together as a family every night of the week - usually nothing fancy, but it was always homemade by my mom...and she was a great cook (and still is). Our tradition was to attend church on Saturday night (yes, Saturday night mass...such heathens!), and we'd come home and have something simple. Sometimes my mom would make homemade pizza and other times we'd pick up a pizza on the way home. I guess Saturdays were kind of a break for my mom. And this was the only time we ever ate dinner away from the kitchen table. It was such a treat to eat in front of the TV with our plates on our laps...

Sundays were special. My mom would make a bigger meal. Again, it was usually nothing fancy - chicken, spaghetti and meatballs (we ate lots and lots of spaghetti!), pot roast, turkey, etc. We dressed casually and ate at the kitchen table with our regular, everyday plates and silverware. I think it was more of the routine of this meal that made it so special, because in reality, it wasn't that different from our Monday through Friday dinners. We'd sit together and eat and laugh.

It was always the four of us until my sister left for college. And then there were three. On occasion, my parents would invite my grandparents to join us. I really liked these times because inevitably one of my grandparents would say something silly (usually my grandpa) and we would all laugh.

I went away to college a few years after my sister and I can only imagine how quiet that house must have been for my mom and dad. I wonder if they missed those Sunday dinners...or if they basked in the glory of having the house to themselves - I believe it was a combination of both.

Since getting married almost three years ago, and marrying someone with a child, I have tried my best to carry on the Sunday dinner traditions with my own family. Life is very different when you not only cook for yourself and your spouse, but when a child is involved. It's challenging and frustrating. Certain foods are off limits - no "regular" cheese, only melted cheese; no cooked carrots, only raw carrots; spaghetti is good only with butter and Parmesan cheese (melted), etc.

This post was originally written in my head on Sunday night as I sat alone at the kitchen table...eating Sunday dinner by myself. Patrick and Duncan were playing football with two neighbor kids in our front yard. Dinner was ready at 6:15 PM, and despite my telling them as they walked out the door at 6 PM, they forgot to come inside. I wavered about whether or not I should call them to dinner, but I ended up not doing that. I was upset and angry and my feelings were hurt. I ate by myself. They came inside at 8 PM.

Sometimes I feel like life hasn't changed all that much since I came into the picture. When I met Patrick, Duncan was only 4 years old and the two of them were like these two little bachelors. They did everything together - dinner, movies, played games, etc. They let me into their lives little by little, but now, seven years later, it sometimes feels like I'm living with those same two bachelors. Things aren't always blended well in this blended family. Sometimes it feels like there are two separate families living under one roof - 1) Patrick and Duncan and 2) me.

Aug 21, 2007

Follow Your Bliss...

My sister took this advice and a number of years ago started her own company - Bliss. She does amazing work (and I should know since she created our gorgeous wedding invitations!).

She just e-mailed me with some good news - her business has been featured in Wedding Guide Chicago! Check it out:

She does more than just wedding invitations. Go to and see all of her custom-designed, completely original, and all handmade invitations, stationary, albums, journals, etc.

Aug 20, 2007

I Need Help!

I just realized that the Light The Night walk is only a couple of months away and I really need to get my act together and continue to raise money. I set a lofty goal of $500 and right now I have raised $100. What I could really use help with is brainstorming some creative ideas of how to raise more money. Last year I held a mini bake sale at out garage sale and did quite well. Unfortunately, I work for a non-profit agency and can't really raise money since my position there is in fundraising and all of that money goes directly to our programs. My husband works for a small company, so that doesn't really work either.

My mom and sister are working together to host a book sale, with all the proceeds going to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Does anyone have any creative ways that I can raise more money for our team?

To check on my progress, please see my web site:

Aug 15, 2007

Two Different Updates

Update #1 - Boo is back home. She is much more alert and stable after last night's incident. I read the reports from the hospital and she was listed as "comatose" when she arrived. Right now she is laying on a blanket. She ate well this morning and received her insulin. I have to give her some potassium gel in a couple of hours and then make sure she eats at noon. She'll get her insulin again at 6 PM (along with her dinner), and then it's more potassium at 11 PM and then more food at midnight. It will be this way for a couple of days - eventually (crossing my fingers), she will receive her insulin 2 times a day with her meals...and then she'll be free to graze the rest of the day.

Update #2: Here are some pictures from our vacation. Everything with Nellie has definitely overshadowed the trip. I'll post some additional pictures with more commentary a bit later (I'm actually supposed to be working from home right now):

Aug 14, 2007

The Continuing Saga of Boo...

Boo is back in the hospital. This time it was really bad. I came home early from work due to a headache. As soon as I walked in the door, I called for her, thinking I would see her at her usual spot - right by her water bowl. She wasn't there. As I walked into the kitchen, I saw her laying on a blanket...motionless. When I got closer to her I could see her twitching and her body was rigid. I immediately started crying and called my husband - no answer. I called my in-laws and my father-in-law offered to come by our house. I called the vet who told me to find some Karo syrup and place some on Boo's gums - she was probably in a diabetic shock.

Patrick finally came home and for one agonizing hour we held her and watched her breathe and then stop...breathe and then stop. We had about 30 minutes before the emergency animal hospital opened, so we were helpless. She coughed and at one point her jaw opened and wouldn't close. All I could do was hold her and tell her I loved her.

Finally we were able to scoop her up into a blanket and take her to the hospital. Her blood sugar had crashed - it was 24 (the doctors consider 100 to be low, so she was very, very critical). Her body temperature was 94 degrees (with 101 being normal for cats). So it was back in the incubator and another IV of glucose. Apparently, her new insulin routine was not working. They are going to lower it and see how she does. She's a tiny kitty, so she probably doesn't need as much as they told us to give her.

This afternoon was just awful. I thought she was dying. I was home alone and didn't know how to help her - I just kept hugging her and saying, "Nellie, don't die. Please don't die."

When we saw her at the hospital she did look much more alert than when she was on our kitchen floor. I hope they can stabilize her and figure out how much insulin will get her back to normal. I also hope that this was our last emergency trip to the hospital...

Aug 12, 2007

Something A Little Different...

I found this cool web site that lets you track where you have travelled in the world. Since the only countries I have been to are Canada and Mexico, I opted to track where I have been within the US...

Another Boo Update

Well, Boo made it through the night. Her temperature is normal and her glucose returned to normal after shooting up quite high early this morning. Basically, she is sleeping a lot and eating/drinking when she feels like it. That is how she has been at home for the past few months - a very sporadic eater. She is still receiving IV fluids to help hydrate her.

I am not expecting a miracle. She is 15 years old and I know that even if they are able to stabilize her, she might not have much time. I guess I feel like I want to get her through this critical period and see how she is doing at home. They said it might be 4 or 5 days in the hospital. We know it is going to be quite expensive to treat her, but she's family, and I could never let her suffer at home.

This is a blurry picture, but it's the Boo sleeping all curled up on an IKEA chair pad for our outdoor furniture:

Aug 11, 2007

The Boo Update

We just received a call from the animal emergency hospital. Boo is out of the incubator, but is possibly running a fever. She is in a regular cage, but is not walking and has had very little food and water. Her glucose increased and the doctor wants to give her some insulin (they called to find out exactly what we give her). They told me that she is critical. I am so worried that she will not make it through the night.

Part of me wishes we didn't go on vacation so I could have had some more time with her...

More Importantly...

We made it back from our vacation safe and sound...with just a few bumps in the road. I'll get to those later. We arrived home last night (actually, it was this morning) at 2 AM. I've had a hectic morning and have yet to download the pictures to our computer.

The reason for the crazy morning is that our cat, Nellie (aka Boo Boo Kitty) is very sick. When we arrived home, Jordan (Nellie's brother) greeted us at the door, while Nellie just kind of sat there. It looked like she had an infection in her eye. When we picked her up, she said nothing - not even her usual meow. As I placed her back on the floor, her bottom just sank and she plopped down right where she had been standing.

I got up this morning and checked on her - I found her sprawled out in front of her food dish. I even tried giving her some of her soft cat food, but she only ate a little, and when she did, she wasn't able to support her back end.

We brought her to the emergency animal hospital, and I swear, I have never seen such wonderful and caring people. Right now she is hospitalized and the vet said she was "a very sick kitty." She is diabetic, which we found out about 2 years ago, and she receives insulin each day. Her body temperature was about 4 degrees cooler than it should be, and she is very dehydrated. Right now she is in "intensive care" at the animal hospital and is receiving IV fluids in an incubator to help hydrate her and bring up her body temperature. We spoke with the doctor about euthanasia as an option, but at this point Patrick and I would like to see how she handles the fluid treatment. We know that she is 15 years old, and with her diabetes, probably does not have much longer. They let us see her before we left, which I had mixed emotions about - I didn't want to see her in the incubator, but I also did not want her "thinking" that we abandoned her. People with pets will know exactly what I am talking about...

I know that we should not keep her alive just for our benefit - because it will be too hard for us to say goodbye. However, when we sat with the vet, I couldn't make that decision.

I just love my Boo...

Aug 4, 2007

Outer Banks...Here We Come

We're finishing up the last bit of packing and making sure we've got everything we need. Really looking forward to a week at the beach...

Aug 2, 2007

My New Favorite

It only took one song for me to fall in love with the music of William Elliott Whitmore. Definitely my new favorite...

Aug 1, 2007

A Little Help From Eleanor Roosevelt

I picked up my prescription for Valium at the pharmacy today. I guess it makes me feel a little bit better, but I still have this pit in my stomach when I think about sitting on that plane. I have my list of airplane activities - book, magazines, my digital camera (which is still really new to me - maybe I can finally figure out all the cool things it can do), and the blanket I am crocheting. It's a short flight, but I need things to keep me busy. Who knows, maybe I'll fall asleep from the Valium.

The other two things I take with me on a plane are: 1) The rosary my mom bought for me a couple of years ago - I never had a really nice one, and this one is beautiful and 2) A piece of paper with a wonderful quote from Eleanor Roosevelt:

We must do the things we think we cannot do.

I keep that piece of paper tucked in my pocket and I repeat it to myself whenever I need to.