Friday, October 30, 2009

Ghostly Encounters

Gather 'round, friends, and, in the spirit of Halloween, I will share some ghostly encounters with you. I assure you, they are all true. If you are not inclined to believe that those who have passed on sometimes come back to visit, I will not try to convince you. I will only say that you've obviously never been to my house.

A little background for those of you who may not know. The house my family and I live in was built around the time of the Civil War. We don't have any records that reflect the specific date it was built, but it was some time in the 1860's. It was moved to it's current location, but we don't know exactly when or from where it was moved. I suspect it wasn't moved very far as it's a two story house and I would think it would have been difficult and time consuming to move it even the shortest of distances. The portion of the house where the kitchen, laundry room and half bath are located was added on to the house in the 1920's. While we know it has had many occupants over the years, we don't know much about them. I have speculated about them, and you can read more about that here if you're interested (there's also an easy, delicious recipe to be found there).

Shortly after we moved into this house, we noticed an odd thing. From time to time a strong smell would suddenly be present. It wasn't a bad smell, but rather a sweet, perfume like smell. It would just seem to waft through the room, linger for a few minutes and disappear. It was February when we moved in, so we certainly didn't have any windows open. There was no chance it was coming from outdoors. It still happens once in a while, but not as often as it used to. It was never frightening. Quite the contrary, it was rather pleasant.

We didn't notice anything else unusual until after we renovated. That was when we started to see and hear things we couldn't explain. Of course there were the squeaks, creaks, and popping sounds common to every house, but we also started to hear footsteps and doors closing. It's also become common to hear someone talking in an empty room. I often turn around to answer what I think is one of the kids talking to me to find I'm alone. It's happened to all of us at one time or another.

During the day, while the kids are at school and Mr. Willoughby is at work, I'm home alone. There have been plenty of times, though, that I've heard footsteps in the upstairs hallway and the sound of doors closing. Once it went on for so long that I was certain someone had broken into the house and was ransacking the bedrooms. I called Mr. Willoughby at work and had him stay on the phone with me while I investigated. I was scared out of my mind, sure that I was going to walk in on a robbery in progress. I tiptoed up the stairs and the noises stopped. I went quietly from room to room, looking under beds and behind closet doors, but I couldn't find anything out of place.

The kids have heard strange things, too. My son and his girlfriend once heard all the drawers in my daughter's room slamming repeatedly. When they went to see what was going on, they found nothing. My daughter hadn't even been in her room.

My son's room also has it share of unexplained incidences. His bedroom door and his closet door both open by themselves regularly. Once, after his birthday, he had some helium party balloons in his room. They were hovering near the ceiling in the corner when suddenly the string became taught on one and it floated through the room as if being pulled by an unseen child.

The first time I caught a glimpse of a person was in the upstairs hallway. I was getting the basket of dirty clothes out of the bottom of the linen closet at the time. I saw something move on the stairs, so I craned my neck to see what it was. There, on the landing, where the stairs turn toward the living room, was a small boy dressed in blue. He was looking down the stairs and didn't seem to notice me at all. Startled, I took a step back where I could no longer see him. When I got the courage to look again, he was gone.

Mr. Willoughby saw someone walk through the house early one morning. It was dark and quiet and he had just finished making coffee. He was standing at the kitchen island, looking through the dining room when he thought he saw me cross the entryway in the living room. He realised immediately that he could still hear the shower running and that it couldn't have been me. He checked the living room and found no one.

There have been many instances like that. Never, though, has the person we've seen resembled the sort of ghosts you see in movies. They are not transparent, glowing or surrounded by an eerie light. They are solid and three dimensional.

The most recent incident happened last week. Mr. Willoughby and I were sitting in kitchen when I heard one of the kid's footsteps and I felt that sort of "presence" you feel when someone is standing behind you. Before I could turn around to see who it was, I noticed that Mr. Willoughby had an odd expression on his face. "That was really strange," he said. When I asked him about it, he said that he had seen the reflection of a person in the glass on the framed prints in the dining room, which was to my back. If someone had come up behind me, as I had felt they did, they would have had to pass the prints on their way into the kitchen.

Again, I swear to you that all of these stories are true. You can be skeptical if you want to, I won't hold it against you. You may wonder, too, if we're scared or put off by the strange events. The answer is no, we're really not. It's all part of living in an old house for us.

Have your own ghost story to share? I'd love to hear it!

Willoughby

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's Thursday, Welcome Back To The Cocktail Party!

Welcome to Willoughby's Blog Style Cocktail Party. I hope you will find some new blogs to follow and expand your circle of blog friends. I know you're all anxious to mingle, so I'll get right to it.

I'd like to introduce Donna from My Tasty Treasures. I know you'll enjoy her blog as much as I do.






Donna


Welcome to my cozy little corner of cyberspace. I do SO enjoy cooking and baking. What you will find here is what I call Girl Next Door Kinda Cooking. Dishes and desserts that are tried and true, some old, some new. Hope you enjoy what you read and that you'll be back often.



Oreo Brownies




I am quite thankful to Willoughby for this opportunity to meet some new bloggers. Bit about me .. I'm 41, yikes, have 4 children 11 and under, and 4 every other weekend 12 and under. Yes that's 8 every other weekend. Pass me a cocktail now.

I am an RN, and my hubby is a fireman! Hobbies include running, jazzercise, eBay, garage sales, gardening, and of course cooking. Brings me to my blog, My Tasty Treasures. I have a girl next door type of cooking blog. You wont find fancy recipes here, just accesible to all recipes. I try and include step by step pictures, and there is a printable recipe card at the bottom of all my posts. There is a bit of adult humor thrown in so if you want to visit me,and I hope you do, do so without little eyes.

I will be showcasing a favorite recipe of my childrens today. This is simple and easy peasy!! These are called Oreo Brownies. Original recipe found by clicking here. Begin by preparing a box of your favorite brownie mix

then throw in some crushed oreos, bout 1 cup,

bake, and cool. Frost

with vanilla frosting

top with more crushed oreos

Done,
children inhaled these!!



Hope to see you at my blog, My Tasty Treasures, please feel welcome.

Thanks again Willoughby!

--

Donna

http://mytastytreasures.blogspot.com/






Thank you, Donna, for being a guest on my blog.


The cocktail party will continue on Saturday with a new guest blogger. It's not too late to RSVP if you haven't already. You can send your submission to me at thisstopwilloughby@yahoo.com. (If you're not already a follower, you must become one to be a guest blogger at the cocktail party.) I would appreciate it if you could send me your post in html format. If you are submitting a new post, create it on Blogger as you would any post. Save, but don't publish it. From there you can click "edit html" and copy and paste your blog into the body of an email. If you are submitting a previously published post, go into "edit" and follow the same instructions. This makes it much easier for me to display your blog post the way you have written it and saves me a lot of editing.If you have any questions, feel free to email me.


Willoughby

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Apple Cheeks

I've been busy today and haven't had time to post.  However, I wanted to share the most special apple that grew on our tree.  It appears to have a sort of "butt". 





I couldn't convince anyone to take a bite of it.  I wonder why?

Willoughby

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's Tuesday, Welcome Back To The Cocktail Party!

Welcome to Willoughby's Blog Style Cocktail Party. I hope you will find some new blogs to follow and expand your circle of blog friends. I know you're all anxious to mingle, so I'll get right to it.

I'd like to introduce Amy from The House Of Seven Tails.  I know you'll enjoy her blog as much as I do.



About Me



Amy

Once upon a time I was a prosecutor, then a CPS lawyer. Now I'm a very happily married 40+ year old who really enjoys reading, struggles to write and loves baking goodies hubbie gobbles up. I am also a mom to too many adorable cats who me and hubbie spend as much time with as our furry kids will allow! Our cats always seem to be followed home by this feline friend or that feline friend each of whom has a furry friend or two of their own. We rescue homeless, hungry cats if they will let us, find them a home or a safe, warm place to stay or sometimes we take them in and keep them! If they want to stay put outside, we feed and take care of them and keep an eye on them. I have many cute pictures and many more "tails" to tell!







My name is Amy and I used to be a criminal prosecutor and then an attorney for social services working on cases of neglected and abused children. I had to “retire” early for health reasons. But that worked out well because my husband and I began caring for and giving a home to stray and homeless cats. Several years ago we began rescuing cats living on the streets, getting them medical care, finding them homes and making sure they are loved and cared for. Here is one of my favorite stories.

One early Autumn day, Sam was outside dealing with necessary tasks as the landlord's handy man when he saw her. Not much to look at, her small body was listing like a drunken sailor about to keel over. Almost hairless in spots, the hair she had was matted, scraggly and dirty. When Sam approached her she stopped walking. Her eyes said she was suspicious and uncertain but resigned. Scott reached out tentatively and touched her head and when she didn't object, he picked her up. She weighed next to nothing.

I was inside our apartment with the windows wide open (for the cats' benefit, not mine!). The quiet was suddenly breached. Sam's voice bellowed staccato orders: "Amy! Kitten! Food! Door!" Sam is easy-going and if he's worried it's related to me or the cats. Since I was fine I knew the worry in his voice meant something was wrong with one of the cats. Just as I reached our front door, he burst through holding the small, almost hairless kitten with an adorable face. She looked like she'd been through the ringer. He put her down by the cats' food bowls. At first it looked like she didn't know what to do but she started eating quickly enough. She was too tired to do much else, so she disappeared under the bed to sleep. We'd call the vet first thing in the morning to make plans to bring her in.

We named her Sadie (from the Beatle's song). Soon she emerged and ate a little more food and drank some water. When she finished, Sam picked her up and put her on the bed where she curled up and went to sleep.

Ironically, she slept much better than either of us. We kept waking up to check on her throughout the night. In the morning she ate a little bit, then, still wobbly, she went into the kitchen (to explore? we couldn‘t tell) with Sam following close behind. I couldn't see him when suddenly I heard his voice falter and then....nothing. After calling to him a third time I finally heard him say "just a minute" in a weird, shaky and strangled voice. Then he was running into the room and laying Sadie on the bed. He told me she’d been walking when she suddenly stiffened and fell over lying completely still for several seconds and like that, she stood up and it was over. Then, as Sadie sat on the bed, it happened again. Immediately after, she was in a carrier and we rushed her !to Dr. Diaz.

She was brought right into an exam room and showed a good fighting spirit when the vet's assistant (VA) tried to take her temperature. She (Sadie, not the VA) weighed 3 lbs. A terrible case of fleas was responsible for her lack of fur. After Dr. Diaz examined her, he said she was a little dehydrated but aside from that and being a little tired, she was okay. He didn’t expect the blood work to show anything bad. She was given flea treatments and antibiotics which she’d have to take for 4 weeks (!) along with a lot of rest and a flea bath twice a week! Uggh!! Home again, she curled up on the bed, went to sleep and has been a part of our household since.

The litter box is in the basement and she was too small to manage it, so several times a day Sam carried her down and back up whenever she needed to use the litter box! Sadie's days were routine for months, sleeping most of the day curled in the crook of Sam's arm. If he wasn't available she slept leaning on my leg or sitting in my lap. Then it was time to eat, use the litter box and back to bed. And repeat. Happy to provide all the TLC she needed, her body started to fill out and her hair began growing in. Best of all, Sadie never had another seizure.

It took a while but finally one day she began batting a crumpled piece of paper around with her paws and running after it. But after several minutes of this, that was it. This was the only signs of “normal“ kitten hood she showed for quite a while. She went back to her routine of sleeping and eating, though she was big enough now to manage the stairs by herself.

Then one day after Sadie had been with us about 4 months, everything changed. It's as if she woke up a very different cat. There was a gleam in her eye and she started playing with everything and anything that moved. She began inspecting everything, exploring and sniffing. Soon she began to go outside and loved life among the grass, bugs, birds and flowers. It was wonderful to see her so alive. Sure, we missed the little kitty who slept on our bed hour after hour and wanted nothing more than to be with us and us with her. But to see her so completely healthy and happy more than made up for it.

Today Sadie is very independent but she likes to know we are nearby. She’s developed a temper which shows if something is done without her permission! In other words, Sadie has become a real cat in her own right! She’s remained tiny - barely bigger than a kitten, so when she turns that adorable little face in our direction and looks at us with her great big green eyes, we are mush in her paws!

Sadie's story is an example of why I feed, befriend and care for homesless and stray cats.

Everytime she turns her little face and looks at me with those big green eyes or nudges me with her head and makes her special mewing noise, I am rewarded ten times over for taking care of her.









Thank you Amy for being a guest on my blog.

The cocktail party will continue on Thursday with a new guest blogger. It's not too late to RSVP if you haven't already. You can send your submission to me at thisstopwilloughby@yahoo.com. (If you're not already a follower, you must become one to be a guest blogger at the cocktail party.)   I would appreciate it if you could send me your post in html format. If you are submitting a new post, create it on Blogger as you would any post. Save, but don't publish it. From there you can click "edit html" and copy and paste your blog into the body of an email. If you are submitting a previously published post, go into "edit" and follow the same instructions. This makes it much easier for me to display your blog post the way you have written it and saves me a lot of editing. If you have any questions, feel free to email me.


Willoughby

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Take It From Me

I've done a good amount of hosting and attending parties, get togethers, and soirees. Because I love to share my vast knowledge of party etiquette with all of you, I have compiled the following list of suggestions that you may wish to consult before your next party.


As host or hostess:
  • It may not be advisable to use paper tablecloths for your outdoor party if it is a breezy day. This is especially true if you are using candles as centerpieces. It is also not advisable to assume your friends are joking when they yell "Fire!" at said party.
  • If you will be serving dinner to 15 people, it is best to make more than 12 pieces of chicken. It is a good idea to count the pieces of chicken in each package instead of just assuming. No amount of side dishes will disguise this oversight.
  • It is not a good idea to drink an entire glass of wine with each toast at the 50th anniversary party you are hosting for your parents. While you may be able to retain your balance and keep word slurring to a minimum, your hosting duties may suffer.
  • No matter how lovely it looks on your coffee table, it is probably not wise to leave your antique footed candy dish out when entertaining friends and their two year old son. You could very well suffer heart palpitations when he sprints down the hall with it held above his head like an Olympic torch (although who could blame the little guy, it was filled with peanut butter cups).
  • When your guests tell you ahead of time that they will be bringing a special imported liquor that is to be drunk from shot glasses, make sure your shot glasses are handy. If you are forced to improvise with your espresso cups, they will likely be laughing about it and accusing you of using your daughter's tea set for years to come.
  • If the bathroom cannot be seen from the main party area, it is wise to give guests unfamiliar with your home a quick tour. This will avoid the embarrassment of finding guests wandering into the closet you piled all of the children's' toys into.

As a guest:
  • It is best, when asked to bring a dessert, that you plan to make something you've made successfully in the past. Finding out that your flourless chocolate torte tastes like unbaked brownie batter with a crunchy crust is a discovery better made at home.
  • If you are attending a party with a baby, it is prudent to ask if you may dispose of any soiled diapers in their outdoor trash can. If you, out of politeness to your host, put the soiled diaper in the back seat of your car for the duration of the evening, you will end up driving home with your head out the window.
  • When attending a potluck dinner party, it may be in your best interest to casually ask who brought each dish. You will then be better informed when deciding whether to try the meat dish provided by "Road Kill" Phil's wife.
  • If your hosts are serving beer, wine and assorted liquors, you would be smart to choose only one and resist the temptation to have some of each. Mixing different alcoholic beverages may increase your desire to sing Randy Travis tunes loudly in your host's living room.
  • It may be wise to discreetly eavesdrop on the conversation before choosing to sit with strangers at a party. You may be able to avoid the "mom" table where women discuss with unending fascination which foods their children will and won't eat for hours at a time.
  • While you may have good intentions, it is inadvisable to voluteer to hold the groom's car keys during a pre-wedding photo session. There is the distict possibility that you will forget that you have them and leave the groom, who may be your brother, stranded at the photo location.
I hope I have provided you with some useful tips for the next party you host or attend. Please feel free to share your own etiquette party tips in my comments.



Willoughby

It's Sunday, Welcome Back To The Cocktail Party!

Welcome to Willoughby's Blog Style Cocktail Party. I hope you will find some new blogs to follow and expand your circle of blog friends. I know you're all anxious to mingle, so I'll get right to it.

I'd like to introduce Chicago Mom from What's For Dinner?. I know you'll enjoy her blog as much as I do.






Chicago Mom

I have been happily married for over 8 years. We have a 6 year old daughter who is the light of our lives. I am a stay-at-home mom who keeps busy by cooking, reading, and gardening. We live on the north side of Chicago.




I love the TV show Cook's Country which is part of America's Test Kitchen and can be found on the local PBS channels. Both shows are great because 1) you get to see the recipe made from start to finish, 2) because they try many, MANY versions of the recipe to bring it to perfection, and 3) then you can go to their website and get the recipes! Well, you can get the ATK recipes free, the CC ones will cost you.

Ever since the switch to digital (my tiny kitchen TV has rabbit ears) I cannot get the PBS channel anymore, which really makes me mad - that was my favorite channel! On Saturdays PBS would air a bunch of cooking shows and I would prep food for the week or clean the fridge or stove while learning more about ribs or pie crust or tilapia. >sigh<

Anyway, I caught an episode of CC last week (on the living room TV which has cable) and they made Pepperoni Pan Pizza. You know, the pan pizza with the delicious "fried" crust? So since I know the CC recipes are not free, I wrote down the ingredients and instructions and I will share them with you for free! Here ya go:


*******************************************************************

PEPPERONI PAN PIZZA (makes 2 - 9" pizzas in round cake pans)


Crust:

2 1/3 cups all purpose flour

1 pkg. instant yeast

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup skim milk, warmed to 100 degrees (about 1 minute in the microwave)

8 tbsp. olive oil, divided

2 tsp. sugar



1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees and turn it off as soon as it reaches that temp.

Put flour and salt in bowl of stand mixer, mix on low 20 seconds, then add yeast and mix on low again. Pour warm milk in measuring cup and add 2 tbsp. oil and the sugar. With mixer on low speed, pour in milk mixture. Mix on low until combined, then mix on medium for 5 minutes. You may need to scrape sides of bowl with a spatula during the 5 minutes.

2) Knead dough by hand on a floured surface a few times, then place in a lightly oiled glass bowl, turning to coat dough with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in oven for 30 minutes. (While dough is rising make sauce and shred cheese.)

3) Remove dough from oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, cut dough in half. Roll out each half to 7 inch diameter. Place dough on knuckles, like a pizza maker, and gently rotate and pull dough out to 9 inches. Pour 3 tbsp. olive oil each in bottom of two 9 inch cake pans and swirl gently to coat bottom - do not get oil on sides. Then put in the dough, pressing if needed to make it touch the sides of the cake pans.


Sauce & Toppings: (make while dough is rising)

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

15 oz. can crushed tomatoes

salt & pepper (I used 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1 1/2 tsp. salt)

3oz. package pepperoni

1 - 16oz. part-skim mozzarella ball/block, shredded


1) In a medium pot over low heat, cook garlic in oil for 2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes. Season with salt & pepper. (makes enough for 4 pizzas, so freeze the extra)

2) Line a plate with 2 paper towels, place pepperoni in a single layer on towels, cover with 2 more towels. Cook on high in microwave for 30 seconds.

3) Top each crust with 1/2 cup of the sauce, then 1/2 the pepperoni, then 1/2 the cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool 1 minute before removing pizza from pans.

********************************************************************

Whew! Zapping the pepperoni in the microwave renders a lot of the grease so your pizza isn't as greasy. The 3 tbsp. of oil in the bottom of the cake pan actually fries the dough a little and gives it that wonderful crispiness. You can use pre-shredded cheese, but that cheese has a chemical on it to keep the cheese from clumping in the bag and it does not melt as well. If you use part-skim instead of whole milk your pizza will be less greasy, but still gooey.

Now I have to say this: THIS PIZZA WAS DELICIOUS!!! It was better than take-out! The crust was wonderful, the sauce was perfect, the cheese was gooey. I cannot believe I made something SO good! I am still amazed. I might have to get a subscription to Cook's Country now.

I love pan pizza almost as much as I love deep dish pizza. I was thrilled to hear I could make pan pizza in cake pans; I have never made deep dish pizza because I do not have the deep cast iron dish that the Chicago pizzerias use and I refuse to try without one. Do you know why deep dish pizza has the cheese on the bottom and the sauce on top? Because the long, high temps needed to cook it would burn the cheese if it were on top.

Now go make this pizza because you will LOVE it!

Happy eating!





Thank you Chicago Mom for being a guest on my blog.

The cocktail party will continue on Tuesday with a new guest blogger. It's not too late to RSVP if you haven't already. You can send your submission to me at thisstopwilloughby@yahoo.com. (If you're not already a follower, you must become one to be a guest blogger at the cocktail party.)   I would appreciate it if you could send me your post in html format. If you are submitting a new post, create it on Blogger as you would any post. Save, but don't publish it. From there you can click "edit html" and copy and paste your blog into the body of an email. If you are submitting a previously published post, go into "edit" and follow the same instructions. This makes it much easier for me to display your blog post the way you have written it and saves me a lot of editing. If you have any questions, feel free to email me.


Willoughby

Friday, October 23, 2009

It's Friday, Welcome Back To The Cocktail Party!

Welcome to Willoughby's Blog Style Cocktail Party. I hope you will find some new blogs to follow and expand your circle of blog friends. I know you're all anxious to mingle, so I'll get right to it.

I'd like to introduce Holly from 504 Main. I know you'll enjoy her blog as much as I do.





About Me


Mochas, makeup and "I love you Mama" get me through the day. I don't sleep enough (hence the mochas..nonfat of course!), but somehow I manage to be mom to Joe and Jules by day and a wedding planner, designer, and writer by night. I adore books, books and more books, fabric, paperie, cowboy boots (although I don't own a pair - note to self, "do something about that!"), and my "vintage" fringed-to-perfection DKNY wrap skirt.


Professional speaking...I graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, and worked as a fashion designer before becoming a wedding planner. My work has been featured in local and national media, including Lifetime Television’s “The I Do Diaries: My Best Friend’s Wedding.”

Hi there! I'm Holly - mother, wife, wedding planner, author, designer, crafter, cook-in-training, baker, knitter, artist, gardener, etc. Yes, I try it all, and some times it works out. Cocktail Hour is my favorite time of day...although I am usually having a nonfat mocha (maybe I should add some Peppermint Schnapps...it tastes like Xmas! by the way)! I am so happy to be sharing this cocktail hour with Willoughby and all of you...thanks for having me! I am a relatively new blogger and am thrilled beyond my wildest expectations with this whole experience. I have read some of the most entertaining, inspirational and down right funny things EVER! I was told to start a blog to support my wedding etiquette book that is coming out in December, and I did...but then I got sucked into the blogging vortex and couldn't stop with one...I had to have 2! I am really not surprised, I sort of have that obsessive-addictive personality (don't worry I am not a stalker...maybe on blogs, but not in person!) Everyone is asking...so this as as good of a time as any to explain my name...I named my blog 504 Main because I felt the name could embody all the varied aspects of my life...it could be a home, a swanky hotel (that is for the wedding planning part--get your minds out of the gutter!, a hot new restaurant, a fabulous craft store, a chic designer boutique, my kids school, or a coffee house (more mocha please!). It is a destination that encompasses every aspect of life from drinks with the girls to bake sales at school. It represents my life - a life filled with twists and turns and laughter and sometime tears. It is about the good and bad of trying to entertain, be a mom and a wife, and a hip gal. Recently my parents brought up a tub or five of toys and my kids were thrilled...this inspired me to write a post called Toy Story. Some of you may have read it, but I felt like it was worth sharing again...it evoked such emotion and positive happy thoughts. I hope you enjoy it and would love to hear your toy story.



TOY STORY


I am always preaching to my kids to take care of their toys...because when I was a child, I of course, took the utmost care of mine. In fact they are in pristine condition (or so I thought). I, of course, ultimately hope this is teaching them something about responsibility and respect. I have been very anxious to share my childhood toys with my children. Every time my Mom says "Dad is going into the top of the garage (or the attic)," I ask if he could look for one of my treasures. Well, my parents are all for this - they are cleaning house - time for my brother and I to store our own stuff. So, now, every time they come to visit I can expect at least one new find to come with them. And I am so excited about it! Just giddy, in fact!



As I go on-and-on about Richard Scary's Puzzle Town, Joe looks at me like I am crazy (maybe he knows something the rest of the world can only assume?...hmmm...). He is dumbfounded when I tell him that I used to have to use my imagination with Legos and when I suggest he can mix pieces from different boxes, he just about passes out (he likes order) - he cannot even fathom it. Yes, there were houses, police stations, fire stations, etc., but nothing like the $150 sets they sell now (seriously, I am so tired of paying $5 in shipping for a teeny-tiny 45 cent piece, which is necessary to finish building the battleship). Over the last couple of years, Puzzle Town, Legos, Barbies, Nerf Ping Pong, and an assortment of dolls have found a new home at my "big-girl" house. Most of them have remained boxed in a closet or garage, but recently we have started pulling them out to play with. Boy was I in for a shocker! These toys that I thought I had left in perfect condition look a little tattered and bruised...all because they were loved of course!




We have unearthed my Barbies - most of who have had a haircut and some even without heads, a purple Barbie Corvette, a Mrs. Beasley with "false" eyelashes - most likely drawn on with a marker, a stained but oh-so lovable Raggedy Ann, a beat-up musical bunny, two Cabbage Patch dolls - one of which is a boy named Carol Lennie that at the time, I insisted could be just be a tomboy...he/she was part of the first run of Cabbage Patch dolls and my mom (try as she might) could not get a girl doll. I now can see he was clearly a boy.

I love these toys and love watching my kids play with them. I am wondering what toy brings back wonderful memories for you? Or what toy have you passed on to your children?



Thank you Holly for being a guest on my blog.

The cocktail party will continue on Sunday with a new guest blogger. It's not too late to RSVP if you haven't already. You can send your submission to me at thisstopwilloughby@yahoo.com. (If you're not already a follower, you must become one to be a guest blogger at the cocktail party.)   I would appreciate it if you could send me your post in html format. If you are submitting a new post, create it on Blogger as you would any post. Save, but don't publish it. From there you can click "edit html" and copy and paste your blog into the body of an email. If you are submitting a previously published post, go into "edit" and follow the same instructions. This makes it much easier for me to display your blog post the way you have written it and saves me a lot of editing. If you have any questions, feel free to email me.


Willoughby


Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Change Of Plans

I hope you won't be disappointed, but I've postponed today's cocktail party post. We'll get back on schedule tomorrow. Today, though, I wanted to post my own material for one very special reason. This is my 200th post!

For those of you that are new around here, you probably haven't seen many of my own posts because I've been hosting the cocktail party. Unless you've been paging through my archives (does anybody really do that?), you may not know what I blog about. In general, I like to talk about things I find amusing or thought provoking, share recipes and projects, and pose an occasional challenge. Whatever is on my mind on any given day is likely to show up in my blog.

I've been blogging since December of 2008, and I honestly can't believe the time has gone by so quickly. When I started my blog, I wasn't sure anyone would be interested in anything I had to say. My first followers were the incredibly supportive friends that I met through the Recipe Exchange at Allrecipes. Their feedback meant, and still means, the world to me. Since then, I've also met many wonderful new bloggers who make me laugh and cry, make me think, and expand my world. I love that all of you stop by my little piece of cyber real estate and leave your thoughts and ideas in my comments.

To celebrate my 200th post, I'm going to tell you 200 things about me. As if! I can't (and don't want to) think of 200 things anyone, including myself, would find interesting. Instead, I'd like to cover a topic I find endlessly fascinating. Memory. Not as it relates to my blog, but in general.

My daughter and I have this discussion often. We like to talk about our earliest memories. She's nine, so hers are quite a bit more recent than mine. Most of her earliest memories are from the time she started preschool, about age four. I can remember a little farther back than that. I recall bits and pieces from when I was about three. I also have a fuzzy memory that may go back a little bit farther.

My first memory doesn't have much detail. I remember my mom spreading a blanket out on the floor in front of the television and sitting on it with me. I don't remember what was on, but I remember her pointing to the screen and telling me to watch. That's all about all there is to it. When I asked her what that might have been, the only thing she could think of was the broadcast of Apollo 11 and the first moon walk. I would have been just shy of 16 months old at the time. Could my memory really go back that far?

My most detailed childhood memory is incredibly funny to me now. I don't know why, of all things, this should stand out in technicolor detail, but it does. I was about three years old and I was sitting on the couch in the living room of our old house. I remember that the couch was blue, and sort of Danish modern (no, I didn't know the style back then). I was watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on television and trying to eat a Hershey bar with chopsticks. The chopsticks were black with mother of pearl inlay and had their own ornate storage box. (My dad bought them as a gift for my mom when he was stationed overseas in the army. My guess is that she didn't know I was using them to eat a candy bar.) It must have been summertime because it was warm and the front door was open. The neighbor came over and let himself in through the screen door. I was annoyed because I couldn't hear Chitty Chitty Bang Bang while he was talking.

I have lots of random, segmented memories from about that age, too. I remember crying because my brothers were using one of my little dolls as a puck to play hockey in the driveway and I remember my dad showing me how to bite a smiley face in a slice of bologney. I remember playing the Wizard Of Oz with my friends, fighting over who would be Dorothy and I remember losing the key to my toy gumball machine in the front lawn. I remember spraining my neck while trying to imitate the way my brother stood on his head, and I remember that my parents bought my puppets to play with while I recovered because I couldn't move my neck or get out of bed.

Thank you for stopping by, leaving comments and making blogging so rewarding. If you want to help me celebrate my 200th post, share your earliest memories in my comment section. I can't wait to hear what they are!!


Willoughby

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dinner At A Friend's House And Very Belated Awards

When I was in the third grade, my friend Lisa invited me to come over after school to play and stay for dinner. We went to the same school and were in the same class, but she lived in a different neighborhood than I did and I had never been to her house before. I was pretty excited.

After school, we walked over to the first grade classrooms to pick up her younger brother and the three of us walked home together. When we got there, I was surprised to find that no one was home. She used her key to let us in. We were only 8 or 9 years old and her brother was 6 or 7. This was new, and a little scary to me. My parents would never have let me stay home without an adult at that age.

Once we were inside, Lisa said we had to get dinner started. She opened a little box that was filled with recipe cards and sorted through them. She set one aside and put the rest back in the box. After consulting the recipe, she turned on the oven and we gathered the necessary ingredients. Even at that age, I liked to cook and had even prepared a few meals myself, but my mom always supervised, especially when it came to using the oven.

The recipe we were making was Shepherd's Pie. I had never had it before, but pie for dinner sounded good to me. That is, until we started making it. I'm not a big fan of mixing my food together. There are exceptions of course; omelets, stew, soup, chili, a few casseroles. But you'll never see me mixing my meat with my mashed potatoes. When I was that age, I didn't even like different foods touching each other on my plate. By the time we had smeared cold, premade mashed potatoes over the meat mixture and placed thick slices of cheese on top, I was trying to think of excuses to go home.

Soon after we had put dinner in the oven, her dad came home. He asked about our school day and then went about his business. We headed for Lisa's room to play Barbies. Her little brother followed along and wouldn't leave us alone. He pulled the heads off the dolls and threw them around the room. We ignored him for a while, but finally we could take it no longer. Lisa hollered for her father to come and remove the boy.

I couldn't believe my eyes when he walked into her bedroom. He was dressed in an undershirt and boxer shorts. My dad would often change out of the clothes he wore to work when he got home, too, but he always put clothes back on. I was growing more uncomfortable with Lisa's house by the second.

Eventually her little brother was removed, her dad went back to reading the newspaper in his underwear and we resumed playing Barbies in peace. We had fun. So much fun, in fact, that I forgot all about the scary dinner (made by third graders, no less) awaiting us.

When her mom got home, dinner was served. I was plenty nervous about how I was going to choke it down. At my house, no one was ever forced to eat food they didn't like. We were required only to try a bite or two. But this wasn't my house and I had been taught to be polite. My only hope was to wash it down with lots of juice or water. Great idea, but no dice. At Lisa's house, the only beverage served with dinner was milk. I don't really care for milk unless it's in cereal, but it sounded more appealing than the Shepherd's Pie so I poured myself a big glass when it was passed to me.

Her dad (still in his undies) cut and served the pie. I was thankful that he had given me a small slice. I was confident that I could eat it if I did it fast enough, so I ate quickly. It was as bad, if not worse, than I had imagined so I swallowed without chewing and took large gulps of milk. You would think Lisa's parents would have found my table manners atrocious, but they didn't. Instead, they thought I was enthusiastically enjoying my food. To my horror, I was served another slice. I choked down a few more bites and pretended to be full. I thanked my hosts for a nice dinner and then called my mom to come and pick me up.

Then, a few years ago, I was chatting on IM with a friend of mine. We were making plans to get together that night. When I asked her what she had been doing all day she said she had been making Shepherd's Pie. I hesitantly asked if we were having it for dinner that night. She said no, she was making it to freeze. I was so relieved.

I know that Shepherd's Pie is a favorite comfort food for a lot of people. It's even possible that I would like it if it were made by someone over the age of nine. I know there are dozens of different recipes, but the idea of it brings back memories of that horrible dinner I had more than 30 years ago.




I've been a little busy lately, and I've haven't had a chance to post the awards that I've been given. I apologize to those of you who have given them to me. I am certainly honored that you enjoy my blog enough to give me an award. I'm also a little behind in commenting and returning emails (I had a small problem with my Yahoo email. Don't worry if you've sent me a cocktail party submission, I have it).




Thank you 5th Sister , Tattoos and Teething Rings and Who Has The Thyme for the Dragon's Loyalty Award.




From 504 Main and Stir Fry Awesomeness I received the One Lovely Blog Award. Thank you very much.

I know I'm supposed to pass these awards on to other bloggers, but is there anyone left that hasn't received these? I'm so behind in posting them that I really don't think so!


Please visit the wonderful blogs that awarded me if you haven't already. You're sure to make some new friends!
Willoughby

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's Tuesday, Welcome Back To The Cocktail Party!

Welcome to Willoughby's Blog Style Cocktail Party. I hope you will find some new blogs to follow and expand your circle of blog friends. I know you're all anxious to mingle, so I'll get right to it.


I'd like to introduce Raoulysgirl from Who Has The Thyme?. I know you'll enjoy her blog as much as I do.





About Me


Raoulysgirl

I'm a mommy first...wife second. Besides that, I am opinionated. Mine is not always the "popular" opinion, either. You are welcome to engage me in debate, but will most likely NOT change my mind.


Salutations!

Wha???

Yeah...better just stick to my usual style, huh? Sorry. I was trying to be proper since I'm a guest on my dear friend Willoughby's blog.

Comes across as being fake, does it? Hmm...well, I guess we'll just have to start over.

(ahem)

What do Obie-wannabe (that would be President Obama...for those who are new to my musings) and John Edwards have in common?

They've both decided that the "pull-out" method is probably NOT a good idea.

I know...I know. It was a bad joke. Shame on me. I shouldn't have gone there.

But I did. And here's the thing...

I always do! I can't help myself. My opinions tend to be strong and, more often than not, sarcastic.

What do I opine about, you ask?

Well...everything. If it's on the news, I read it. If it lights a fire in me, you'll hear what I think about it.

Mine is not always the "popular" opinion. I am a firm believer in life...and death. Swift justice...and "enhanced interrogation techniques." I will warn you, though, if things start to get sticky. Then, I'll make a joke of it!

I'm not always so serious. I like to poke fun at the kiddie movies that seem to be on a continuous loop at my house...even my FAVORITE of all time (I even managed to make it politically themed!).

Sometimes, I let you have a small peek at my family life.

Occasionally, I will give out unsolicited advice.

I will warn you, however...regardless of the post, it always comes with an unwritten disclaimer. "Read at your own risk."

I welcome any and all comments...even if they differ from my point of view. I enjoy debate and welcome it on my blog. Just don't expect to change my mind!

I have been absent lately, as I had some family matters to attend to. However, I am back now with both guns blazing!!!

Please stop by my little corner of the world and see what you think. Don't be afraid to voice your opinions.

Oh, and if you do feel like hanging around, please let me know that Willoughby sent you!!!






Thank you Raoulysgirl for being a guest on my blog.

The cocktail party will continue on Sunday with a new guest blogger. It's not too late to RSVP if you haven't already. You can send your submission to me at thisstopwilloughby@yahoo.com. (If you're not already a follower, you must become one to be a guest blogger at the cocktail party.) I would appreciate it if you could send me your post in html format. If you are I would appreciate it if you could send me your post in html format. If you are submitting a new post, create it on Blogger as you would any post. Save, but don't publish it. From there you can click "edit html" and copy and paste your blog into the body of an email. If you are submitting a previously published post, go into "edit" and follow the same instructions. This makes it much easier for me to display your blog post the way you have written it and saves me a lot of editing.If you have any questions, feel free to email me.


Willoughby

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Welcome Back To The Cocktail Party!

Welcome to Willoughby's Blog Style Cocktail Party. I hope you will find some new blogs to follow and expand your circle of blog friends. I know you're all anxious to mingle, so I'll get right to it.

I'd like to introduce Charisse and Holly from Life Laugh Latte. I know you'll enjoy their blog as much as I do.





Make a hot cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and hang out with your two new girlfriends! Some things we've learned through many years of marriage and parenting, but most of what we share is just raw, uncensored life as we have experienced it. No psychology degrees, far from perfect, but all honest and vulnerable...and of course much of it is funny! Because if you can't laugh at life...it will probably make you cry. So why not choose to Laugh with us! We get together once a week and videotape our conversations. We also enjoy writing short articles about friendship, family, faith, things we love and things that make us laugh. Thanks for stopping by...there's nothing we like more than making a new friend! If you enjoy our blog please tell a friend.


Reusable Pads & OB Tampons...WRONG!

Did you even know that they existed? We chat about WHY? Why would someone use reusable pads or even those crazy little OB tampons? It's difficult for me to even say "reusable pad" without laughing! Clearly a man, who by the way would never wash one out himself, must have invented this pad.









Thank you Charisse and Holly for being guests on my blog.

The cocktail party will continue on Tuesday with a new guest blogger. It's not too late to RSVP if you haven't already. You can send your submission to me at thisstopwilloughby@yahoo.com. (If you're not already a follower, you must become one to be a guest blogger at the cocktail party.) I would appreciate it if you could send me your post in html format. If you are submitting a new post, create it on Blogger as you would any post. Save, but don't publish it. From there you can click "edit html" and copy and paste your blog into the body of an email. If you are submitting a previously published post, go into "edit" and follow the same instructions. This makes it much easier for me to display your blog post the way you have written it and saves me a lot of editing. If you have any questions, feel free to email me.


Willoughby

Friday, October 16, 2009

Welcome Back To The Cocktail Party!

Welcome to Willoughby's Blog Style Cocktail Party. I hope you will find some new blogs to follow and expand your circle of blog friends. I know you're all anxious to mingle, so I'll get right to it.

I'd like to introduce Speaking From The Crib. I know you'll enjoy her blog as much as I do.





I am the author of the blog SPEAKING FROM THE CRIB. I have been blogging for a very short time, only since August, and I am loving it! I am 38 year old mother of two, married to an Aussie, and living in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio (GO CAVS!). I am an aspiring author and began blogging in the hopes of realizing my life long dream - to see my book sitting on the back of someone's toilet. I'm not proper, I'm not prissy, but I am definitely funny --- so come over to the crib and hang out for awhile --- if you don't take your life, yourself, and your causes too seriously, I may just be your cup of tea. And don't forget the SFTC promise - follow me and I will follow you, and i tell you, you will never find a better follower! Just ask my peeps over at the crib!


MOTHMOM PROPHECIES OR MOM VS. MOTH


My history with moths is a long and sordid one. You see, I am not a fan of bugs in general, however; moths are a sure stand out in my heebie jeebies category. The main reason for this is their sheer flutteriness. Are they going over here? Are they swooping down there? Oh wait, now they are two hundred feet away. For the love of God, now they are dangerously close to my hair... it's a nightmare. Their very unpredictability is what makes them so frightening.

We had just purchased our new home, but were still staying in our apartment until we had completed renovations. After my husband would return home from work, and after I put my two year old son to bed, I would go to the new house to paint. I would often work until two or three in the morning. It was also not too long after I had watched The Mothman Prophecies, that I found myself at the new house, sitting alone outside during the wee hours of the night. Right beside a blindingly bright light source. Prime circumstances for abundant moth activity.

One night, I was sitting outside on our patio, taking a break from the paint fumes. It was around one or two in the morning and the only things alive and moving outside (that I could see) were me and the MOTHS. They were fluttering around the emergency light, but there was NO WAY IN HELL that I was going to turn that light off and sit out there in the dark. They were fluttering like crazy, crazier than usual (I thought) and then I started thinking that I heard sounds in the field behind our house. Then I started to think that I saw a dark shadow out there too. And then I started to think that the dark shadow could be the Mothman and that the moths fluttering around the lights could very well be beckoning the Mothman to follow the beams of the emergency light. Needless to say, feets don't fail me now, I got the hell out of there. You see, you just can't trust a moth's intentions. I'm certainly not going to put my very life in the palm of a moth's fluttering wings. I'm just not going to do it.

My next moth encounter occurred years before. I was living in an apartment, above a small store, in rural downtown America. You had to climb a very steep set of stairs to get to your apartment, and you couldn't see the top of the steps until you were almost at the very top, if not at the very top, of the steps.

In addition, the door leading up the stairs did not close shut the whole way. This provided ample opportunity for a moth to see the light, squeeze its fluttery self through it, and settle in for a long evening of bobbing and weaving (at eye level) outside my apartment door. You could never tell how many moths, or how big, until you were practically at the door. Getting in the door, without being attacked/fluttered to death OR letting 37 fist-sized moths into the apartment, had to be executed like a strategical military maneuver.

Before you ascended the steps, you had to assume the ducking position, covering your head with your coat/purse. Then you climbed the steps slowly, so as not to alert the moths. Your key was already out, in hand, pursed for insertion. Once you got to the last couple of steps, you assessed the situation, gauged the area for a lull in moth activity, and then you SPRANG to the door, inserted the key, opened the door the smallest crack humanly possible, squeezed inside, and slammed it shut again. Then you had to lean against the door, breathing heavily, with a slight sheen of perspiration on your forehead. That last part was really just for dramatic affect.

One night in particular, my boyfriend and I were climbing the steps, and we had followed the necessary precautions, but NOTHING and I do mean NOTHING prepared us for what happened next. Apparently, the crack in the door was not only big enough to allow moths to enter, but also for their arch enemy THE BAT to make an appearance as well. We get to the top, we see the moths, and then we see ... wait a minute ... that moth is huge, and it has really big wings, wait, it's SQUEAKING! That's not a moth! That's a #@$#%#$% BAT! My feet themselves grew wings as I flew down those steps, screaming to my boyfriend, KILL IT KILL IT KILL IT KILL IT! I don't even remember what happened next. He probably just shooed it out the door, but I can't be sure. I think I went into shock and am still suffering from PTSS as a result of that moth-related incident.

As recently as last week, I suffered yet another horrific moth attack. Our current home does not have central air, so we leave our windows open. Alot. Which allows the flies (we call it Nightmare on Fly Street) and the moths to enter our home at will. Normally a moth will find a good place on the ceiling, stay in the exact same spot for 2-3 days and eventually disappear. I don't know where they go, I don't know what they do, and I don't care. As long as they aren't in my bedroom when I go to sleep, I am fine.

One moth, however, had something to prove. He threw all caution to the wind. He was willing to live life to the fullest, no matter what the cost. He was a moth maverick. A fluttery rebel. I knew I was in for the moth fight of my LIFE when I found him fluttering around my television screen at eleven o'clock at night. 'You flutter where you want moth, but right in front of my tv screen, late at night --- thems fightin' flutters. That was IT. This moth HAD TO GO. Let's rock! Moth death squad ... engaged.

I get out of bed, my narrowed eyes scanning the room for ANYTHING to kill it with. Ahhh, this room is useless in a moth attack! Hardback novels, earrings, sewing box, fleece pajamas bottoms, hangers, scrapbook organizer. Useless. (Now why my shoes never flashed into my head as an option, I don't know. Call it initial battlefield panic).

I'm in the line of fire, unarmed. So I call in reinforcements. Ballerina, the Bug Killing Wonderpup. She is chasing this moth all over my bedroom, over the bed, in the corner, up in the air, but it's crafty, this moth. It won't be stopped by a mere dog. Not even by a vicious chocolate killing machine.

At some point I found a flimsy piece of paper, and I enter the chase. It's here, it's there, it's up to the right, to the left, it's all over the place. Then it made its boldest move yet.

IT FLEW UNDER MY BED.

Now there is no way I am sleeping with a moth under my bed. NO-WAY-ON-GOD'S-GREEN-EARTH. There is also no way this Fatty McFatterson is able to squeeze under the bed, to get to the moth, to kill it. I'm yelling for my husband, I'm yelling for Jesus, I'm yelling for Oprah. I'm yelling for someone, anyone to help me anhilate this thing.

But no one comes. Ballerina has given up and is sleeping in the living room. I'm all alone. It's just me. And the moth. With extreme vigor, I start waving my arms under the bed, making giant sweeps, trying to shake up the moth. Flush him out of his under-the-bed lair. Nothing. He was not going to budge. And either was I.

Long story even longer, it took me a good 45 minutes to get that stupid moth out from under the bed, and then it was overkill. I beat that thing until there wasn't a scrap of antennae left. If I could've hoisted its bloody corpse over my head and run through the streets screaming, I would have.

I think; however, that the moth's family may have come back to seek revenge for his untimely death. Just yesterday, Ann Claire was holding something blackish brown in her tiny baby hands, which I thought was just a piece of mulch. Then it started to FLUTTER ...



Do moths terrify you? If not, what recent animal/bug attack can you recall? Leave it in the comments for all of us to enjoy!





Thank you Speaking From The Crib for being a guest on my blog.

The cocktail party will continue on Sunday with a new guest blogger. It's not too late to RSVP if you haven't already. You can send your submission to me at thisstopwilloughby@yahoo.com. (If you're not already a follower, you must become one to be a guest blogger at the cocktail party.) I would appreciate it if you could send me your post in html format. If you are submitting a new post, create it on Blogger as you would any post. Save, but don't publish it. From there you can click "edit html" and copy and paste your blog into the body of an email. If you are submitting a previously published post, go into "edit" and follow the same instructions. This makes it much easier for me to display your blog post the way you have written it and saves me a lot of editing. If you have any questions, feel free to email me.


Willoughby

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Changing Styles

In the twenty years that we've been married, we've called four different places home. I made some really bad, trendy choices in decorating along the way. I'll admit that I liked them at the time, but looking back now, I have to wonder why.

Our first place was a one bedroom apartment in the suburbs. Being that it was our first home together, we were anxious to bring in some of our own personal style (along with our hand me down furniture). This was 1989 and the trend in interior decorating, at that time, was country. Not just any country, but "cutesy" country. If you're too young to remember (or have blocked it out over the years), the look consisted mainly of dried flowers, tiny print fabrics, hearts and farm animals with bows around their necks. Geese were especially popular, and we had tons of them. We had a goose cookie jar, canister set, vegetable bin and kitchen towels, just to name a few. I still have my country geese measuring cup. I'm not sure if I keep it for sentimental reasons or to remind me not to follow decorating trends.



A few years later we moved into our second apartment. By that time, we felt we should buy some new furniture. Our hand me down living room set was still in good condition, but it didn't reflect the current style. We went to a half dozen stores before we found exactly what we were looking for. Believe it or not, these are the pieces we chose (the cats didn't come with the furniture).





It makes me cringe, now, but it was popular at the time. That couch and chair are long gone, but we still have Chester (the cat on the couch). He's twenty, now. Casey (the cat on the chair) died of liver disease shortly after this picture was taken.

We left apartment number two to move into a house. It had been my grandparents' house since the mid 1940's, but after my grandpa died and my grandma could no longer live alone, it sat vacant. We decided to fix it up and move in.




Now that we were in a house instead of an apartment, we had the opportunity to change paint colors and replace flooring, light fixtures and countertops. So we got right to work....


Stripping wood floors after removing carpet


Removing paint from the fireplace mantle (yes, that's my big rockin' 80's hair)


Removing 70's style carpet from the kitchen

It took us several months, but when we were done it was all worth it because we finally had a place for that rug I had always wanted.



Yep, more "country blue" with mauve accents. We had country wallpaper in the kitchen, too. I hate to admit it, but I really loved that wallpaper.



That's my son when he was a baby, I didn't want to crop him out to get a closer shot of the wallpaper.

Eventually, the neighborhood got really bad and we had to move (I know I've told you that story), so we found the house we live in now. It was in terrible shape, but we love a challenge so we bought it, anyway. The renovation/reconstruction stage took a long time and required us to move out temporarily, so it was pretty stressful. We had to make a lot of decisions in a short amount of time. I'd like to say that we didn't make any stupid decorating choices this time, but I'd be lying.

I chose most of the paint colors and did most of the painting, myself. For the majority of the first floor, I chose a color that I would have said was a deep beige. A friend of mine stopped by to see it and loved it. When she went to the paint store to get the same color for her house, she couldn't find the color chip. She later told me she described it to the paint clerk as mauve. Mauve? I don't want anything in my house to be country blue or mauve ever again! I immediately chose a new color and we repainted.

I can't explain why, but I decided wallpaper would be a good idea in the main bathroom. I spent hours and hours looking for just the right pattern on the internet. I found one I liked and ordered it. It was similar to something I saw in a decorating magazine. What on earth was I thinking? I'm making a list of projects to complete over the winter and number one on my list is removing this hideous wallpaper.





I have interior design training now, but I don't think it would have made a difference if I would have had it when I chose the country theme. It was trendy at the time and designers were using it, too. Well, maybe not the geese....

Please feel free to share your worst decorating and design decisions in my comments! If you're really bold, post pictures of them on your blog!

Willoughby

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Welcome Back To The Cocktail Party!

Welcome to Willoughby's Blog Style Cocktail Party. I hope you will find some new blogs to follow and expand your circle of blog friends. I know you're all anxious to mingle, so I'll get right to it.

I'd like to introduce Lissaloo from the blog One Step At A Time. I know you'll enjoy her blog as much as I do.




About Me
Lissaloo

I am the insane mother of 4 children, The Brain, The Artist, The Little Mother, & The Baby in Charge. We also have a Carren Terrier, Mr. R. My husband is a full time College student going for a Bio-Chem Degree, so I get to be a married single mom :) jk. I grew up in Montana, & absolutely love it. There is no better place in the world :) My blog has a little bit of cookin, a little bit of crafting and a whole lot of Krazy :)


I made a Pumpkin Mochi Cake, I got the recipe from Allrecipes, there are quite a few Mochi recipes on there. Just type Mochi in the search box and check them all out! The picture isn't all that great but it was definitely a hit here at my house.

Pumpkin Mochi


Ingred;


2-1/2c. mochiko

2t. baking powder

2c. sugar

4 eggs

1- 30 oz can pumpkin

1- 14oz can sweetened condensed milk

1c. melted butter

2t. vanilla


Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9x13 pan.

Sift together the mochiko, baking powder, and sugar in a large bowl. Mix together the eggs, pumpkin, milk, butter and vanilla. Stir this mixture into the dry mixture. Pour into the pan.

Bake for 1 hour, cool before serving.

I enjoy pumpkin desserts, and I really liked this but I think the Lemon Mochi is my favorite still :) :) :)



I made some 'shrooms tonight, they got a little overdone but were still tasty. I used the Parmesan puff filling I had leftover from yesterday in them, it worked really well. I wouldn't have overbaked them, they smelled so yummy I knew they were done, but I was distracted by a giant spider in my kiddos game cupboard. Yuck.

I received 5 words from Willoughby to play along in a Game.

If anyone else wants to play let me know and I can give you five words.


#1-Cold, I like the cold, not freezing cold exactly just chilly cold. My Mom has always called me a heater, because from the time I was really small I was always very, very warm blooded. As a Teen my family always made me keep my bedroom door closed because I liked to keep my windows open year round, even in winter. I grew up in Montana remember so it got pretty chilly in there at times.

#2-Light, I am a big fan of natural lighting. I like to leave the lights in my house off until it's almost too dark to see because I don't like the fake light. Hubby thinks I'm strange, so I tell him it only looks so dark because he is getting old, lol.

#3-Painting, I wish I could paint. Landscapes, Seascapes ( anything with escape in it sounds good to me :) I even took painting classes once a week for almost a year. And I still can't paint, I gave up the day I realized Miss B's paintings looked better than mine.

#4-Change, as most of you know I am not a big fan of change. I would like it if things stayed the same, and never changed :)

#5-Inspire, My children are my biggest inspiration. Everyday they inspire me to be better, I am constantly amazed by how giving and sweet they are to each other and those around them. They Inspire me everyday.


I hope you all will stop by and say Hi! I am also co-author of a brand new book club blog, if you enjoy reading we would love to have you read with us! Thanks Willoughby, great Party!





Thank you Lissaloo for being a guest on my blog.

The cocktail party will continue on Friday with a new guest blogger. It's not too late to RSVP if you haven't already. You can send your submission to me at thisstopwilloughby@yahoo.com.  (If you're not already a follower, you must become one to be a guest blogger at the cocktail party.)   I would appreciate it if you could send me your post in html format. If you are submitting a new post, create it on Blogger as you would any post. Save, but don't publish it. From there you can click "edit html" and copy and paste your blog into the body of an email. If you are submitting a previously published post, go into "edit" and follow the same instructions. This makes it much easier for me to display your blog post the way you have written it and saves me a lot of editing. If you have any questions, feel free to email me.

Willoughby