Monday, November 26, 2012

Still in "NO ROOM FOR PICTURES" mode...

Well, as I said on T'giving, the evil Blogger/Picasa has cut me off for free pictures - Apparently I have been posting pictures that were too big in MB, so now I must either go through and re-size a whole heck of a lot of pictures (Over the past 5 years, I've posted almost 3000 pictures to my blog!!) Or, pay $2.49 per month storage and get billions & billions of MB available -

After resizing a dozen pictures or so (it's not difficult, just time consuming) and gaining back about 1/2 of a percent of storage, that $2.49 per month is lookin' pretty good right about now...and after just the few pictures that I did re-size - my hands and fingers were starting to tingle (I just did a big data-base project at work and gave myself some carpal tunnel issues) 

The weird thing is I don't remember getting any kind of warnings that this was going to happen -and for some reason Google Wallet wants to see a copy of my driver's license before it will take my money - So, what's with that???

The cool thing is while I was "re-sizing" all those pictures, I discovered the "Decorate" button on Picassa - so now my cats can wear Hats - or tiara's or mustaches - Bwahaha -

Anyhow, I'd like to thank Jan from Jan's Funny Farm (after you watch the video of the funny vibrating dog, scroll down to the Picasa instructions. It will be worth your time to check it out, and not get caught in a bind by "the ebil Blogger" -

This is my church newsletter week, so unless I get it done pretty quickly, I probably won't post again until next weekend.  Can you believe that it is almost December? 

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Well, the evil Blogger says I'm out of storage space, and Google wallet says I need to scan some documents (no scanner at home...)  so you won't get a picture today. 

Just a heartfelt thanks for being a reader and a friend. 

We hope that you and yours have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pumpkin Mousse for How Many?

The phone rang a couple of weeks ago and it was a friend from church.  Specifically the lady who was in charge of the dinner for our annual Fund Raiser Auction (which happened to be last night).

"Hello" she said.  "Hi, Donna, what's up?" I replied.

"Well you know that this year's auction has a comic book theme.  For dinner, we're having "Garfield's Lasagna", "Popeye's Spinach Salad" and "Blondies Gourmet Garlic Bread" - We thought it would be great if we could have a pumpkin dessert - you know, like Linus's Great Pumpkin?"

Hmm - I could see where this was going.. "What did you have in mind?"  I asked, "Some kind of a pumpkin pudding," she said.

"Well let me look up some recipes and see what I can come up with."

(Originally she wanted something that could be combined with angel food cake, but after I found this Pumpkin Mousse recipe, I convinced her to ditch the angel food cake and just go with a bowl of mousse accompanied by a ginger snap cookie.)

I called her - "Hi Donna, I found a great recipe - it needs a little tweaking, but I think everyone will like it.  How many are we expecting?"

"Forty people" she said.  I started adding up ingredients in my head.  "OK," I said, and committed myself to making this dessert.

I had looked at a WHOLE lot of recipes before I finally found one that sounded like it would be good - Keep in mind that I was using fresh/frozen pumpkin puree from our own pumpkins.  The first try at this pudding yield a large (filled my Pampered Chef two quart batter bowl almost to the top) bowl of mousse.  I thought it was pretty good.  The Shepherd thought it was way too rich.  So I did what I always do when I'm trying out a new recipe.  I filled two freezer containers & took them in to the office, knowing that I would get some pretty honest comments.  I thought my co-worker Kay would like it - she didn't like it at all - 'tasted raw' she said.  Yes, I had noticed that - pumpkin has kind of an "edgy" quality to it - especially with the pumpkin pie spice - the cinnamon and cloves were pretty pronounced.  Another co-worker thought it was good, but again, the richness kind of put her off -

Well, it did have two cups of whipped cream in it - maybe if I used half vanilla yogurt - back to the proverbial drawing board.

Side story - I used to sell Pampered Chef products and one of the things that I really liked was that I earned LOTS of free stuff - kitchen gadgets, stoneware, cookware.  I LOVE my Pampered Chef stuff!  In fact, I still have the original Classic Kitchen Scraper , the first PC product that that I bought almost 18 years ago - it still looks new, and they are still just $12.  TWELVE DOLLARS for a kitchen scraper you say?  But when you take into account that it is one piece silicone so the head doesn't come off and get icky stuff inside it, and after 18 years, I still have it (plus three other regular ones, two skinny scrapers, two large mix-n-scrapers and one small mix-n-scraper - I use one or more of them almost every day), I'd say $12 was a real bargain.  But I digress...

One of the things I earned was a double boiler pan.  Mine is not exactly like the new ones, but the premise is the same - a nice stainless steel pan that fit right on top of my Revere ware pan.  And now, many years later, I was getting a chance to use it!  Because I knew that my fresh pumpkin had to be cooked again before I could use it for the mousse (canned pumpkin has been double cooked in the canning process) and I didn't want to have to stand over a pan watching it every minute so it didn't burn.  The double boiler just fit the bill.  And it worked like a champ.  I mixed my pumpkin, milk and spices with my immersion blender and cooked it in my double boiler pan for about 45 minutes (until it "tasted done" if you know what I mean) let it cool and made the mousse recipe again.  It was much better -

I was ready to go - had my ingredients all lined up - and got a message on the answering machine from Donna last Thursday.  She sounded a small bit hysterical. - "The Auction committee has just told me that they think we might have 60 people - so you need to make your mousse for 60 instead of 40"    Yikes...that's a LOT of pudding!  Re think my ingredient list, - all in all,  it took 9-10 cups of fresh pumpkin puree, 4 1/2 cups of milk, three pkgs of Philly lite cream cheese, three large pkgs. of instant vanilla pudding, a whole lot of pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon, some sugar and 9 cups of whipped chream - filled up my BIG Tupperware bowl plus another large stainless steel bowl -that much pudding is kind of daunting - 

Long story short - we ended up only having 38 people show up for dinner - so my original amount would have been just fine.  The left over bowl worked just fine for dessert for the left over lasagna at church today - one young fellow liked it so well he had three bowls full!

This version makes enough for 8-10 people

  • ½ package (4 ounces) Light cream cheese, softened (I used Philadelphia brand)
  • 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin   ***or 2 cups of fresh pumpkin puree
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice  (Pampered Chef Cinnamon Plus, of course!)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup cold 2% milk + ½ cup if you are using the fresh pumpkin
  • 1 cup whipping cream (makes two cups whipped)
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 24 gingersnaps, divided
***if you are using home grown pumpkin puree, you need to cook your 2 cups of puree & a cup milk plus your spices in a double boiler on medium heat for about 30-45 minutes until it loses that “raw” taste.  Cool before combining with the cream cheese & pudding mix.  I added another ½ cup of milk when I added the pudding mix.    
  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth; add pumpkin, pudding mix, spices and milk. 
  • Whip your cream with the powdered sugar to a fairly stiff peak.  Fold whipped cream into the pumpkin/pudding mixture,  Chill until ready to serve.  
  • Serving suggestion:  Spoon 1/4 cup mousse into each of eight serving dishes. Crumble 16 gingersnaps; sprinkle a spoonful over mousse. Top with remaining mousse. Serve with a Gingersnap cookie. 
  • Refrigerate until serving. Yield: 8-10 servings. 

    It tastes like a creamy pumpkin cheesecake, but not so strong on the cream cheese flavor,  I know that I'll be making this recipe again - probably for my spinner guild's Christmas party. 

    I hope you enjoy it as much as we all did. 

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Where we sleep

Hello - Gracie here -  Now that the weather outside has turned to fall and cold, we've been staying inside more and finding our favorite sleeping spaces.
 Like The Shepherd's little nest on the couch - I have to be careful, because if I sleep here at night, sometimes he comes out to sit a while if he can't sleep and he almost sits down on me! 

My very fav spot to sleep though is on the "big bed" - I 'specially like it if Mummy is still sleeping then I can snuggle up next to her.

George likes sleeping anyplace Mummy is - lots of times on her lap, but if she is at the 'puter, her lap doesn't work, so he sleeps on the floor at her feet. 

Sometimes he can be found sleeping on top of the clothes dryer.  I think is is too noisy there, but he mostly goes there after the thing has shut off.  

I like it when George comes to sleep with me on the big bed -

"Here, George, Let me clean out your ears"

Bella likes to meditate on places up high (on top of the TV's, or the refrig) but she really likes sleeping in the middle of the living room floor, where she can trip up anyone foolish enough to be walking around in the dark without a flashlight.

That's it for today folks.  Mummy has a couple of days off from The Salt Mine, and tomorrow she is going to try and make a pumpkin moose.  How she's gonna make a moose out of pumpkins is beyond me. I wonder how she'll make the antlers?   I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

XOX to you all, Gracie


Tuesday, November 06, 2012


Pres. Obama speaks to the media at a campaign office on Tuesday (© Carolyn Kaster/AP)

America makes its choice 




Monday, November 05, 2012

Who's the culprit???

Do you see those munch marks on the left hand side of this (FOIL) bag of Friskies Party Mix?
Who do you suppose did that?

"They" really went to town on the back of the bag -

Who do you suppose is the culprit ? ? ?

And no, we don't have a cat named "NOT ME, MAMMA!"

But we just might have had a cat with a tummy ache from eating toooo many snacks....

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Dona Nobis Pacem - BlogBlast for Peace 2012

Today I'm joining thousands of people, from over 150 countries all over the world blogging for PEACE.  
God knows we need it. 

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Help Rebuild Judith's Studio

My first experience with Judith MacKenzie was in November 2008 when she paid a visit to our spinner guild.  She was good friends of the woman who owned our Local Yarn Store, and "came for a visit" - being a newbie spinner, I didn't know that when you said "Judith" - choirs of angels sang in the background. 

After that, I took two different classes from Judith - and always learned lots, but something more important - to be encouraging of new spinners.  Even if what they were spinning looked "less than desirable" Judith would have something good to say - and a way they could do it better. 

She is also unfailingly generous with fiber - you always get good things to spin when you take her classes. 

One of my spinner guild pals once said "I'd take a class from Judith even if she was teaching how to spin belly button lint"  After I had taken one of Judith's classes, I knew what my pal meant. 

Judith is also an exceptional fleece judge - here she is in 2010 at Black Sheep Gathering.  Listening to her judge fleece is like taking a class on how to pick out the very best fleece to spin.

A couple of years ago, Judith moved to Forks, WA - which seemed like the end of the world to me, was a haven for her.  As artist in residence at the Rainforest Arts Center, she had built up a wonderful studio to share her talents with the world.

Yesterday I received an email from the same friend who I quoted above about spinning "belly button lint"  She told me about "the fire" - on October 29, a catastrophic fire destroyed the arts center building and everything in Judith's studio.  I had heard about the fire - they only said that it burned the store where they sold all the vampire stuff. (Forks, WA is where the Twilight series was based out of)

They didn't say anything about destroying the Arts Center.  When I read her email, I cried. 

A web site has been set up -  Rebuild Judith's Studio   Do what you can to help.