Friday, June 27, 2014

June Funny Friday

Today’s post is June’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the others bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.

Funny Friday | graphic designed by and property of | #MyGraphics

Here’s today’s picture. It’s the picture that inspired this whole project and was submitted by Black Sheep Mom.

Funny Friday picture by Black Sheep Mom featured on

Red Statue of Liberty to the green Statue of Liberty:

1. “You need to get to New York Harbor. I’ll write down the directions but you better hurry before someone figures out you’re gone.”

2. “If I give you my number will you stop following me around?”

3.  “What did the Chief of Police mean we’re not dressed right for undercover work?”

4. “I could have sworn I read on Facebook that today was “dress like the Statue of Liberty” day.”

5. “How many strangers do you think took our picture today?”

And a bonus:
6. “I don’t care whether we look alike or not, I’m not your mother, stop following me around.”

Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile:

And now for something yummy:

Berry Bar Sundae | recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert

Berry Bar Sundae

Enjoy your weekend!
Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Berry Bar Sundae
Printable Recipe
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup mixed berries of your choice, rinsed and dried off, larger ones chopped
½ cup cinnamon baking chips
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
¾ cup chocolate chips
Scoop of ice cream
Dollop of whipped cream NOTE: I make my own, recipe is here: Strawberry Shortcake, Nacho Style
½ cup chocolate chips, melted (for serving)
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 X 8 baking dish.
*Beat the butter, margarine and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Slowly and carefully beat in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
*Mix in the cinnamon baking chips, then carefully mix in the berries.
*Pat evenly into the prepared dish. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and very carefully and gently spread the raspberry jam over the top. Sprinkle with ¾ cup of the chocolate chips. Return to the oven for 2 minutes.
*Using the chocolate chips that are already on the bars and have now become soft in the oven, use a knife to gently spread over the entire top of the bars.
*Cool on the counter for ½ hour, then in the refrigerator until completely cool. Cut into 4 squares.
*Top each square with a scoop of ice cream, a dollop of whipped cream and drizzle top with the remaining ½ cup of (melted) chocolate chips.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

All Aboard

There’s a Virtual Blog Tour (ie: game of tag) that’s been going around for a while now. I’ve been hiding behind the smart kid in front of me who raises his hand before the teacher can even get the question out, hoping that I won’t be called on. ‘Cause this tour is about sharing your writing process and honestly, I haven’t done my homework, I don’t know any of the answers and, yikes, there really isn’t much rhyme nor reason to what goes on in MY head.

A week ago my name got called. And let me tell you I was so stunned and honored by who called it that I sat down to write this right away. You see, not only are you asked to answer a few questions about your writing process, but then you name some of your favorite bloggers to jump on board this Virtual Blog Tour train too. The person who named me? She’s an author. Yes, a real author, one who’s published many books and is currently writing one in my favorite genre: mystery. Thank you Diane of On the Alberta/Montana Border for picking me as one of your favorite bloggers. Just call me Casey Jones because now I am SO riding this train!

All Aboard | graphic designed by and property of | #MyGraphics

Here are the questions I need to answer and remember, I did warn you about this part:

1. What are you working on?
Staying alive. Literally. I started baking to relieve stress and when that wasn’t enough, I started blogging to vent. But now as my kids transition into the next chapter of their lives, I’ll be transitioning into the next chapter of writing. I’m not sure yet where that will take me but I’ve started a book. A number of friends strongly encouraged me, after reading my post Fairy Tale, to write a book of them. I have to admit that it’s not going well. I wrote a few then edit, edit, edit, edit and now they’re all down to about 2 words each. I think this Fall when the boys start school I’ll go back to taking the book seriously.

2. How does your work differ from others in its genre?
I don’t really have a genre. When I started this blog I said that I wouldn’t spend money on it nor make money from it. So far I’ve stuck to that. It’s incredibly freeing. I don’t owe anyone anything so I write what I want. I’ve done heart-wrenchingly honest and downright silly. I’ve written factual accounts of my struggles and pure fiction. I make my own graphics for my posts and add recipes. I don’t fit in with the humor writers nor the foodies. I’m a genre of my own.

3. Why do you write/create what you do?
I’m just trying to amuse myself. That’s the honest truth. If others find me funny or sometimes thought provoking, that’s a bonus; the cherry on the sundae so to speak.

4. How does your writing/creative process work?
Move along, folks, nothing to see here. Perhaps a Neuropsychologist could help sort it out. . . I’ll put it on the calendar.
A thought comes to me, usually in the shower. I always open a document (after drying off, of course) and throw the thought in there. Sometimes it grows to a full post, sometimes it goes out with the bathwater.

Hazelnut Coffee Pancakes with Berry Syrup | recipe developed by | #recipe #breakfast

Hazelnut Coffee Pancakes with Berry Syrup
Hazelnut Coffee Pancakes with Berry Syrup | recipe developed by | #recipe #breakfast

And here is what I dread about being tagged. I’m supposed to name some of my favorite bloggers and I have about 4786 of them (not that I counted). So here’s what I did: I talked to my boys and they came up with a brilliant plan; put all of the names into a sorting hat (think Hogwarts) and the boys would each pick two. Here’s who they picked:

Michele was my very first blog friend. She’s intelligent and funny and her posts never disappoint. When she writes I can’t get there fast enough, it’s that simple. She left blogging for a while and it left me with a bad case of withdrawal, but she’s coming back and I couldn’t be happier.

Sarah is real and it shows in her writing. She’s all about personal growth and she’s been generous enough to share her experiences and honest enough not to sugar-coat them.

Stacy taught me a valuable life lesson; you can have little in common with someone but if you’re open to getting to know them anyway, your life can be vastly enriched. Stacy’s the kind of friend everyone should have.

Tamara is the embodiment of why the interwebs and the blogosphere have so much value. She lives in another country and yet we’re friends. Last December, Tamara gave me a gift unlike any other. She gathered 25 of my blogging friends and scheduled a post a day to honor me. I still can’t believe it and remain unable to put what this means to me into words.

As always, when I tag you it’s a compliment not an obligation.

To the other 4782 of my blogging friends, and I hope you know who you are: I value our friendship, I respect your voice and if I had all the time in the world, I’d have listed every one of you. Forgive me, it was the luck of the sorting-hat draw.

 Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics



Hazelnut Coffee Pancakes with Berry Syrup
Printable Recipe
Ingredients, Berry Syrup:
1 # mixed berries of your choice, larger ones chopped
2 TBSP sugar
2 tsp corn starch
2 tsp water
1 cup maple Maple syrup, room temperature
Ingerdients, Pancakes:
1 cup flour
2 TBSP sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
OPT: ½ cup mini chocolate chips
¾ cup brewed Hazelnut flavored Coffee
¼ cup Hazelnut flavored creamer
1 egg
3 TBSP oil
Butter for cooking pancakes
*Put the berries and sugar into a pan and allow to sit for an hour so juice starts to form. Turn stove on to medium. Stirring often, heat the berries. Many of them will beak up as you stir.
*In a small bowl, whisk the corn starch and water together. Once the berries get hot, add this mixture to the berries. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Allow to boil for one minute, then add the maple syrup.
*Continue heating and stirring until the whole mixture is hot. Remove to another burner and just keep warm.
*In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, other 2 TBSP sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and mini chocolate chips.
*In a small bowl, whisk together the coffee, creamer, egg and oil. Mix into the dry ingredients just until incorporated.
*For each batch, heat one TBSP butter in a large frying pan or on a griddle over medium heat. When hot, pour batter into the pan, allowing space between pancakes. How much batter you use per pancake will depend on the size pancakes you make. Allow to cook until bubbles form. Flip and cook until the bottom starts to brown. You may need to turn the heat down a bit as they brown.
*Serve with the Berry Syrup. NOTE: Store leftover syrup, covered, in the fridge for up to 5 days. Watch for another upcoming recipe using this syrup.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fly on the Wall, June 2014

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 14 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in, buzz around my house.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics

Me: Sorry your pancakes are a little burnt, I had to leave them in the pan longer than I would have liked, I needed to get a good picture.
PurDude (formerly called High School Senior on this blog): If “a picture’s worth a thousand words”, why doesn’t that picture show burnt pancakes?
Me: Well, that’s pretty ungrateful. I may never make you pancakes again.
PurDude: What are you going to do then, burn my bowl of cereal?

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics

PurDude: What’s for dinner?
Me: Chicken.
PurDude: I don’t think so.
So  I may be a little slow on the uptake, but I’m not sure what to say to that.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics

College Boy comes home from school, empties out his storage trunk and I’m about to take it down to the storage room when he asks me not to. Against my better judgment I leave it there. A week later:
Me: You need to pick up the miss in your room so it can get cleaned.
College Boy: It’s picked up.
Me: No, I mean put all of your clothes away and get rid of the mess on your desk and dresser.
He opens the trunk and in two seconds has thrown all his clothes and the mess from both his desk and dresser into the trunk and shut it again.
Aaaaah, now I get it.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics

I’m sitting on the couch reading a blog and leaving a comment. Some people, in order to keep spam off of their blog, use captcha. Sometimes it’s in the form of random letters and numbers that you have to type in correctly and sometimes it’s a simple math equation you have to answer.
So I typed in my comment and this blog had a simple math equation: 8 – 4 = _. I typed in my answer, hit “enter” and got an error message “your captcha response was incorrect. If you choose to leave a comment, click “back” and answer correctly”. Yikes. I covertly checked around the room to be sure no one saw that I got 8 – 4 wrong and tried another answer.
Phew, glad no one’s gonna know that happened.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics

All moms know that when trying to put the cookies into the cookie jar, if one doesn’t fit it’s their parental responsibility to just eat the cookie and fit the rest in.
And if it happens that . . . say . . . 5 or 6 cookies don’t fit?
Lets just say that it seems that I’m up to the challenge.

Patriotic Pavlova | recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert

Patriotic Pavlova

Patriotic Pavlova | recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert

Meringues going into the oven

Patriotic Pavlova | recipe developed by | #recipe #dessert

Patriotic Pavlova, assembled

This is the kind of conversation that makes me crazy:
PurDude had his final grades posted into his online grade book. I checked his transcript, curious as to what his class rank was. He had been in the top ten, and in the top 5% but last semester of senior year he didn’t take a full schedule and I wanted to see where he ended. I jumped onto the calculator and figured it out.
Me to Hubs: I checked PurDude’s final class ranking and he ended in the top 6 percent.
Hubs: What was his rank?
Me: 32 out of 563.
Hubs: That’s great, it puts him in the top 3 or 4 percent.
Me: Ummmmm, actually it puts him in the top 6 percent. Like I just said.
Helllllooooo? Anybody there?

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics

Here’s another one that makes me crazy:
Hubs car was leaking. I noticed it when he pulled out of the garage. When I spoke to him he said that he had it checked out, knew what was leaking and it wouldn’t be any problem. I’m pretty sure that’s not true and suggested a second opinion.
A few times I asked him about it again but he insisted that there was no rush in getting the car fixed, he’d take it down when he got a chance.
One day he comes home from work:
Hubs: Something’s wrong with the car. I think it’s the battery or alternator. A big red light went on in the car and I smelled smoke.
Me: I’m not surprised, the car has been leaking. I’m pretty sure it’s not a good idea to ignore that for any length of time.
Hubs: It’s not that, it’s not even leaking any more. I think it’s the battery or alternator.
Me: Or maybe it’s not leaking because it’s all out of whatever was leaking and that’s why you smell smoke.
Helllllooooo? Anybody there?

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics

I posted this pic on the Baking In A Tornado Facebook page. PurDude went out with friends on a Saturday night. I have no idea where this came from but he decided to leave it in the den for me to find Sunday morning. Yes it’s cute, but when I came down the stairs half asleep, it did scare the cr@p out of me.

Snake on a Chair | picture taken by and property of

It was suggested on said FB page that I get my son back.
The next morning he may have had a surprise when, half asleep, he pulled back the shower curtain.
But I cannot confirm or deny.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics

I had been bugging PurDude to mow the lawn. He usually waits until it’s dark, but on this day we were expecting storms and our yard was already looking like a jungle. I finally got him to go mow. While he was out there, the tornado sirens went off. I went out to talk to him but he actually hadn’t heard them with the mower going and his earbuds in. He stopped the mower and started to come in the house.
Me (looking around): No, keep mowing.
PurDude: You don’t think I should come in?
Me: Nah, I’ll stay out here with you and watch the sky to make sure you’re OK.
Meanwhile the phone rings. Hubs isn’t expected home for hours but he’s calling to say he’s on his way.
Hubs: I’m almost home, get the cars in the garage and everyone get ready to hit the basement.
Me: I’ve got PurDude outside mowing.
Hubs: MOWING?????
Me: Yeah, the sky’s not really all that black and there’s no lightening or hail or anything. I’m out here with him, any tornado would have to go through me to get to him.
Hubs: Are you crazy?
Me: Probably, but on the plus side, the lawn is looking good.
Hubs drives up, gets out of the car, rolls his eyes and goes in the house.
I just don’t understand why EVERYONE in this house is always rolling their eyes at me.

Be sure to click on the links below for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Patriotic Pavlova
Printable Recipe
Ingredients, meringues:
1 TBSP cornstarch + ½ tsp, divided
6 large egg whites, divided
½ tsp cream of tarter, divided
1 ½ cups sugar, divided
¼ cup strawberry nesquick (25% less sugar) powder
¼ tsp strawberry extract
3 drops red food coloring
½ tsp vanilla
4 drops blue food coloring
Ingredients, berries:
6 ounces of fresh blueberries, cleaned
1/2 lb fresh strawberries, cleaned, hulled and sliced
Ingredients, whipped cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 TBSP sugar
½ tsp vanilla
*Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
*Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit your baking sheet. On one corner of the parchment draw a 7 inch square using a pencil and ruler. In another corner, make a 7 inch circle (I traced a 7 inch bowl). Turn the parchment upside down onto your baking sheet so the food will not end up on the pencil marks. Spread the cornstarch over the square and circle to help your pavlova release once done. Remove any excess, be sure you can still see your shape outlines.
*Beat 3 egg whites with ¼ tsp cream of tartar until soft peaks form. While continuing to beat, a little at a time, add the nesquick, sugar and salt, then the red food coloring and strawberry extract. Continue beating until stiff peaks start to hold. Sprinkle ¼ tsp cornstarch over the meringue and continue to beat until the peaks will hold their shape. Place into pastry bag or use a resealable gallon bag.
*In a clean dry bowl, make the meringue again using vanilla instead of strawberry extract and nesquick and using blue food coloring instead of red. Put the blue meringue into a separate piping bag.
* Snip the corners of the bags. Pipe the red meringue in a square on your parchment paper using one you drew as a guide. Go over the edges with more of the meringue so the edges are higher than the center. You can use a knife to move the meringue around as well. Pipe the blue meringue into a circle on your parchment paper using the circle template you used as a guide. Build up the side on the circle like you did on the square.
*Bake for about 45 minutes. The outside should be firm if you touch it gently and it should just barely start to brown.
*Shut off the oven and allow the meringues to sit inside for another ½ hour. Remove and allow to cool completely.
*Beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar, then the vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks hold.
*Assemble only when ready to serve.
*Carefully run a spatula under the meringues. They will crack in places. Place the square meringue on a serving platter, Fill with half of the whipped cream and top with blueberries. Gently top with the round meringue, the rest of the whipped cream and the strawberries.