Welcome to my coffee shop in the cyber neighborhood!





Welcome to my cyber neighborhood coffee shop! Grab a mug of your favorite beverage and a cozy chair to read and comment a bit. Be sure to try a piece of black forest cake or tiramisu. Try both; cyber-cake is calorie free!

Contact Nani at
chroniclesofnani@gmail.com

Friday, November 30, 2012

Fill-In, Dream, Fix, Frag, Cook, Smash, Scrap

Happy Friday! Tomorrow is December already. Wow. November was actually a pretty quick month. I think that’s because the political ads made things seem r….e….l….l…y…s…l…o…w And the holidays make time seem to just zip by! But don’t worry; things will slow back down in January, not politician slow, but nothing to do slow. I always find that I can make January go faster if I stress about Valentine’s Day. Whether it was “Oh please, not another February 14 without a date,” or “What can I give him that he won’t take the wrong way?” or “I’m married now; what can I give him he will take the wrong way?” stress with a deadline makes things go much faster!

Yeah, that wasn’t as happy an opening as it could have been, huh? Sunday evening is the big grocery trip to buy the necessary things for Davinities season and the start of things going on every weekend that I’ll be baking for. Okay and you all know I love it! In the midst of baking and gatherings, there is also a train card to put together so we can get everything printed and mailed, a few gifts to mail, including my Secret Santee’s box. My Santee’s gift(s) will be wrapped today and mailed tomorrow or Monday, depends which works for my sleigh driver.

Fun Fill-ins from Hilary at Feeling Beachie today and some big frags on my blog to clear that I’ll share with Mrs. 4444 for Friday Fragments at Half Past Kissing Time, so let’s get to it!



This week’s statements:
1. I have always dreamed of ____
2. My ___ is my ____
3. I love to ____ when I ____
4. I will never forget ____ with ____

My Answers:

1. I have always dreamed of visiting San Antonio, TX. There was a place I’d never been and never seen pictures of that I kept returning to in dreams. The dreams were never the same or the same people, so not recurring dreams, just a recurring place. When I saw pictures of San Antonio, maybe 10 years ago, I was shocked; it was the place in my dreams! Now I want to go see it for real!

2. My husband is my blog editor. He took the place of my Mom’s proofreading the poor typist who is equally poor at proofreading…but I do okay with the ideas and words part of writing. Every text I get telling me of a typo on my blog leaves me convinced that sound I hear is Mom laughing at me. She would have loved David.

3. I love to sing when I bake.

4. I will never forget going fishing with Kelly that first year we knew each other.




** 

Doesn’t that look good? We had Cocoa Pork Chops for dinner this week; SO GOOD! I agree with a comment about a similar recipe I read, “Cocoa and chili powder together?" But they are fabulous!

Since there’s just the two of us for dinner, a recipe for a family is usually way too much, but for this one, I made the full recipe for the rub and keep it in a zip-loc with the other seasoning mixes. Good thing too! When we had a leftovers night and there was a serving of pork chops and a serving of meatloaf, David picked the Cocoa Pork; score!

The recipe for the rub is simple. 2 TBS brown sugar, 1 TBS cocoa powder, 1-1/2 tsp. garlic powder, ½ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. cumin. Put the spices in a zip-loc bag and shake them to mix. Rub onto pork and prepare in your favorite way. The first time I made them, I rubbed oil on the chops and then rubbed the spices and baked them for about 20 minutes at 375. Last time, I rubbed the spices on the chops without oil and grilled them. David and I both preferred the grilled method, but both were good!


**  Ronalyn, of The Adventures of Esa and Zed, asked in comments to see some of my current Smash book pages. You might remember seeing some of my Smash Archive pages here, and I like them. They are personal and fun to look at, fun for me to look at anyway, and I think that’s the point. They aren’t works of art, except that those of us that paper craft add our art without even trying.

Here are some of the pages I’ve done in my new Smash book:

First pages; Nani past and now likes

Cool stuff

MS Awareness pages with information from magazines
(Still filling that one)

I want to get some bags of crafting letters. The MS has really taken its toll on my penmanship so I’m cutting letters out of magazines and writing some words ransom-note style, which I think looks pretty cool! A nice assortment of styles and colors of letters would also make way for some cool Word art too. Of course there are the gazillion pother fun things that will complement my stickers; clips, pockets, paper tapes… that I have on my wish list that I’ll add after Christmas since I don’t spend on me in December, but I really am enjoying smashing and I love the quality and size of the K & Company books.


**  If you’ll all indulge me in a little scrapbooking brag time, I’d like to share some of the fun things I’ve been working on.

Credits: Christmas In July contributions from Amy Peck,
 Blue Heart Scraps, Connie Prince, Pixels by Jen, Rosey Toes Designs, 
Twin Mom Scraps, Z Pink Boudoir, Find Your Bliss Designs

I did this for the scraplift challenge for November at Ginger Scraps. I like how it turned out. I do a page documenting each year’s Davinities with my Christmas pages for that year. Last year was a banner year for Davinities, the cookies and baked goods were all so good! I was proud of how simply huge by golden-brown thumb was! I’m almost intimidated going into this year’s baking!

The next layout goes with the sentimentality of the Christmas season.

Credits: Ladies’ Boutique by Darlene Haughin

That’s Kelly and me! The photo on the right was taken way back in the 80s; Kelly and her maid of honor, me! The photo on the left is from this January, when Kel and her dad visited 24 years is a lot of history!


Besties was made with Darlene Haughin’s Ladies’ Boutique kit. It was the current kit and this layout was done before the end of October and before the computer that died necessitating the new computer that was replaced with the one I’m typing on now. Ladies’ Boutique is still on introductory sale, but today is the last day!



**  Darlene has a new kit in her 3Scrapateers and My Memories  stores:


A Very Merry Christmas is available and ON SALE for 30% off until January 4. So you have some time to make some of those Christmas memories that will be perfectly scrapped with this kit! If you’re like me, you still have a folder or Christmas 2011 photos on your hard drive begging for this kit while it’s on sale to get caught up!


**  Let’s finish off this week’s fragments with a freebie! Darlene okayed me to share the quick-page version of my layout with Ladies’ Night with you at The Chronicles of Nani! There are two quick pages in the download; one with and one without the Besties word art:


Click mage to download at 4-Shared.

And my blog is all clean and defragged and ready for the weekend!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wednesday Hodge Podge Holiday Kick Off


1. Which do you prefer-pretty gift wrap with a bow or a pretty gift bag with/without a bow? What percentage of your holiday gifts are currently (as in right this very minute) wrapped in some form or fashion?

I usually wrap gifts with a simple bow. I used to go all out, stocking up with ribbons and bows and other little accents to decorate package and always mini candy canes. Those were the packages I loved as a kid. They were always for the grownups. Elegant shiny papers with flowers and bows as part of the to/from tags, but my gifts were always the kids paper with a simple bow. The gifts were nice and kid-appropriate, but I always wished that one of those elegant gifts was for me. So, when I was older, everyone got an elegant gift from me.


Looking back, the gifts I thought were elegant were probably just a little bit more, like the ones I did later, but to a child the foil papers and a candy cane by the tag was enough more to make it special. Seriously, I was always even more excited if there was a candy cane on my present.

As for this year, the shopping is near done, but everything isn’t here yet; cyber shopping is awesome for the mobility-challenged! Not one item is wrapped yet.


2. What is one item on your Christmas list this year?


The one really big thing I’d love to see under the tree, in my stocking, etcetera, is Smash book stuff. I’ve done about 20 pages in the Simple Orange one I bought and I love it. Much as I really enjoy looking at my binder ones I did, the real deal is turning out to be very London Fog Effect to me. I love the quality of the construction, the size of the book and just the feel of it in my hand and as I turn the pages. Like I said on Friday, not everything, but there are some things that the brand names just have a special aura to them.


3. What makes a home?

Cats!



4. Motown founder Berry Gordy celebrates his birthday on Hodgepodge Day-November 28th. Are you a fan of the Motown sound? If so, who's your favorite Motown artist and/or song? Here's a list in case you're stuck. 

Like any style of music there is some I really enjoy and some I don’t. If the mood hits me, I’ll listen to my Motown best of CD, but I don’t have one particular artist that I’d call a favorite.


5. Red or green-which one is more prevalent in your closet?

Being a Reds fan notwithstanding, it’s definitely green. My first choice of almost anything to wear is “the green one.”


6. True or false-bacon makes it better? If you answered true, what's your favorite dish made with bacon? 

Within reason, bacon is a nice complement to many foods, but not EVERYTHING is better with it. My favorite bacon thing is just a slice of thick, and I mean really thick, sliced bacon cooked to crunchy.


7. Share a favorite holiday memory.

I’ll share a fun holiday memory with a visual:


This is Christmas 2005, Kaline’s first Christmas. We didn’t even realize she’d been climbing the tree until we walked in to the living room and saw the glowy cat eyes peeking out of the center of the tree! It was more mischief than destruction at 3 pounds, I remembered Azzie discovering the tree as a kitten. Azzie didn’t climb, but she played and breaking a few glass balls that dangled low on the tree, so with a new kitten, I made sure not to put any breakable ornaments low on the tree. I hadn’t thought about a kitten as an ornament!

Thankfully, our 13-pound cat has accepted that she is too heavy to climb the tree bow, There was no climbing last year, but the year before she had climbed high enough to knock the angel off the top; I guess that was her goal and her tree work is complete.


8. Insert your own random thought here.

I love Blogland during the holiday season! Everyone shares ideas and stories about gifts and shopping, Christmas memories, ideas and baking recipes they’re proud of. It’s just a warm and fuzzy time of year. Thanks to all of you who add to our great community!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How Davinities Started

2011 Davinities

If you’ve been a regular at my coffee shop, The Chronicles of Nani, for a while, or if you searched for Digitalegacies Designs scrapbooking freebies or found some tidbit that encouraged you to read back a bit, you’ve read and seen photos of my Davinities creations every Christmas. My Secret Santa this year could be one the folks reading the old entries, maybe? I have found not just good reading getting to know my Santees through their blog archives, but I also found some nice tips for their gifts. I’m not revealing anything this year, but Linda, of Linda’s Bee Hive, is the one who gave me the idea to send her a letter from Santa Claus, Indiana last year! Let it suffice to say that if I follow you, I’ve read your first blog entry and a few in between.

The beginning of Davinities is somewhat like the beginning of a blog. If the current blog is the first blog you did and you’re still blogging a few years later, watching the transformation is neat as the blog grows into its present level of blog proficiency. Maybe you blog more often now, maybe less often but you only blog about causes you really believe in. Maybe you started blogging before you were even expecting and now your blog is a full-blown Mommy or Daddy blog. Me, The Chronicles of Nani started out claiming it was a coffee shop on the Information Superhighway, which it still is, but I really feel like I moved in more of the comfy chairs. I hope you all like them!

So, Davinities roots were, plain and simple, a little girl trying to make Daddy happy, and everyone knows a nice treat from his Little Princess makes Daddy happy! Princess was what Pop called me when I was little. I imagine I was princess baby since I honestly don’t remember a time before he called me “his princess.” Davinities is what I call my baking at Christmas, often shared with friends at gatherings or given as gifts. The story goes that there was once a Little Princess who so loved the King that she wanted to create a confection of his favorite flavors to present to him as a gift. Pop’s favorite sweet flavors are peanut butter and butterscotch, and I found the recipe for what later became the Original Davinity when I was seven, so of course sweets were the only flavors that mattered. And Pop really did/does love them. So the rest of the story is that the King was so pleased that the Little Princess honored him by sharing them with all of his people, and the tradition of sharing Davinities with special people was born. I’ve given and shared Davinities every Christmas since then. I‘m 46 now; that's a LOT of baking!

But the beginning is not just a recipe I tried at 7, for how did I ever get the idea of making something special for my dad? Well, it was the first time that I used the stove by myself, under Mom’s watchful eye and with a chair to boost my height, but it wasn’t the first treat I’d made him!

Circa Nani's Easy Bake Oven

I got my Easy Bake Oven the Christmas before. Pop ate many mini chocolate and yellow cakes with white or chocolate frosting. That’s possibly four totally different cakes! I loved the magic of baking with a light bulb and seeing my dad smile when I presented him with dessert. It’s not like I never ate any of my cakes, I did and I liked them a lot. I made them for Mom and even Dave, although sometimes he wanted to help and it bugged me that anyone wanted to “bake in my kitchen.” I did get over that when I made the first Krisp Kringles, then called Peanut Butter Scotch Krispies in my first cookbook. I was in Mom’s Kitchen and she shared, I guessed I could too.

Circa Tori's Easy Bake Oven

When Tori was 7, I got her an Easy Bake Oven. Rina didn’t get the oven because she didn’t have the cooking passion Tori already had. If “Baby T” had been Trevin and not Torine, and he showed the desire to bake, he’d have gotten one too. I don’t buy the “sexist toy” crap about getting the oven for girls and I wouldn’t have bought the “girl’s toy” crap if I’d had a nephew who was interested. I really didn’t hear a ton of feedback, but then again this is the daughter of the kid who gave back a drum to my Mom, and complained that it sounded like a toy, the Christmas before he got his first real drum set. It’s possible she thought the cakes tasted like toys too! But she is a great cook at just 18. I was a great baker, but in trying to create a meal, I’d burn Kool-Aid until my mid-20s, so she has a serving-table leg up on me there.

What brought this reminiscing about my younger baking years to mind was an internet search for a Christmas gift that brought me to a search hit for this:

Today's Easy Bake Oven

The modern Easy Bake Oven plugs in but NO LIGHT BULB! How do you pass up the joy of baking with a light bulb? Let alone the additional science questions and answers that come with baking with a light bulb. It’s how we knew in the early 90s that putting a bag of mini hotdogs on the dashboard of the car in the zoo parking lot would give us hot cooked hot dogs by lunchtime. It’s part of an adult not having to tell you not to leave a candy bar on a sunny window sill or touch the bulb when you turn off a lamp. It teaches not just how to bake a cake, but it also imparts some critical thinking too. They do still have a light-bulb powered oven, but it’s the lesser product.

I’ll comment more at some other time about “girl’s toys” and “boy’s toys” and how awful those stereotypes are. Dave and I played with our dolls together; oh excuse me, action figures. My PJ action high school girl dated his GI Joe doll while my action coed, future lawyer Barbie was in love with action med-school Brad while action construction worker Ken and the Six Million Dollar Man doll fought over the attention of action Barbie’s action sorority sister Christie. Oh, it was something like that.

So, did you or someone you know - friends, kids, grandkids - have an Easy Bake Oven?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Bats and Monday Quiz

Good Monday morning! This is sort of “limbo-week” for me. Thanksgiving was the earliest in November that is can be this year which technically gives us an extra week before Christmas for decorating, shopping and wrapping/shipping. But my brain is just not wrapping around that. I keep thinking it should be December already and I find myself fretting about the things I’m not done with and “I have to start baking this week!” No I don’t; the early baking starts next week!

I have some smaller baking pans coming in for my gift boxes I want to do some small loaves and, because I’m a total glutton for punishment, some small crostadas. I’ll be making the Davinities standards; Krisp Kringles, Mr. Goodcookies and Chocolate Chunk Hazelnut as well as 3 other selections. I loved the gingerbread last year and I truly hope I have perfected the gingerbread recipe. If that’s true, Ginger Bats and Bells may become a regular Davinity.

Some of you might remember my Ginger Bats from last year.

Ginger Bat 2011

Sometimes I worry that my sense of propriety may seem a little warped, but like so much in my world at Christmastime, there is a memory that goes with my Christmas Bat. When I was a producer at Omnicom Cable in Michigan, I got a rubber bat at Halloween. It was less than a dollar and in my humble opinion a WAY better Halloween decoration than a spider. People always tell me “But spiders eat mosquitoes, they’re good.” Well, bats eat mosquitoes too and they’re bigger so the eat more of them. Plus they’re cute.


My rubber bat hung just above the double doors that lead to the outer hall, the doors we used when we loaded equipment for remote production. So, everyone saw my bat during the Halloween season as he bounced above the door with a candy corn pumpkin in his mouth. I was usually off Thanksgiving week as it was between regular high school sports seasons and nobody attended the public access classes during the holiday season anyway, so I went to Grandma’s house early and spent the week there. But when I got back, I put some simple decorations in my office and put a Hershey’s kiss in holiday foil in Batty’s mouth. (He had a bonnet for Easter too) So, my bat dressed up for Christmas is close to 20 years old and very natural to me. Besides, the bat cookie cutter makes a generous sized cookie!

I want to try a new Celebration Generation recipe this year too, but Marie’s recipes make a lot of cookies! So I hope to make a half batch. That only works if I can find someplace to buy half-pound bags of pecans and candied fruit. Also making a recipe that calls for abundant candied fruit and nuts is not an inexpensive one to make. I used to order and have shipped to me this particular cookie and I loved them, but bow that I’m really thinking the cost of the ingredients I realize how completely reasonable Marie’s prices were. Of course when she baked professionally she had the discount of much bigger bulk than me, but still, WOW.

If anyone knows of an online site that sells nuts and candied fruit in half-pound bags, please let me know!

And now, Happy Monday means we join Heather at Acting Balanced and Wayne at Touristic for this week’s Monday Quiz About Me!



1. Do you decorate outdoors for the holidays?

David has put some lights in the bushes in front of our picture window on occasion, but as a rule our house isn’t a huge one and the big tree in the living room is plenty to make the house warm with the holiday spirit. I also add a holiday table cloth in the dining room and when you add the displayed Christmas cards we receive, it’s pretty festive. The neighbor across the street fancies up his front yard and the view out the picture window with our tree in the foreground is beautiful. I hope his view with the glow from our tree is nice too, but it’s also why I really like it when David has time to do the lights in the bushes. That’s not about our view, but what we can do to return the view from across the street.


2. What is the best thing about office Christmas parties?


The office parties I’ve been to over the years usually have great food, especially the ones where the big boss comes into town and takes your department out.  I’ve tried many a restaurant I could never afford via the big boss taking the department out for a holiday lunch!


3. Gloves or Mittens?


As a Michigan-born gal, I should automatically be drawn to mittens, no? Mittens do keep your fingers toastier and are great if you don’t need you fingers for anything. Last year I got David and Laura both texting gloves. The tops of the mittens flip back so you can use your fingers, originally designed for texting or otherwise using the phone, but in David’s case more for taking pictures in the cod. When you don’t need your fingers available, they flip back to be warm mittens again; GENIUS! Tori has them on her Christmas list this year and well, I wouldn’t kick them out of my stocking either!


4. What do you think of Secret Santas?


Well, I AM a Secret Santa for the second year! Honestly, getting to know fellow bloggers through swaps like the Secret Santa Soiree is so much fun! Reading about them in their own words and picking out the right gifts get me bubbling with joy.

Having said that, I’m not nuts about work-sponsored Secret Santas. I was at a larger company that did Secret Santas and I chose not to participate I was plenty festive enough, everyone was welcome to come to my desk to visit me holiday candy jar, but gathering information about coworkers you don’t know so well during the workday is disruptive.


And don't forget to add a 5th Question on your own blog so we can answer as we hop around!

5. What is the best holiday candy?



My holiday candy incudes favorites of others who are gone but not forgotten. The hard candy filled peanuts for Papa, the Snickers bites for Grandma and the Ghirardelli mint and dark chocolate squares are for John. The Torroncini for Noni and the Baci are my favorite Italian candy, but there’re in honor of Noni always making sure there was one of the Italian chocolates for everyone after Christmas dinner. So, I make sure all of those are in our candy baskets. But the one treat that is my absolute favorite and only available during the holidays are the Lindor Snowman Truffles that are milk chocolate on the outside with white truffle filling. They are THE BEST holiday candy. Give me a Baci, Milk and White Lindor Truffle and bring back the Pecan Pie Ghirardelli squares and it’s holiday candy heaven for me!

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Fragmented Mind With Blanks To Fill In



So this is the one day that tells the retail chains if they will make a profit this year. I’ve read in a few places that Black Friday’s name comes from the fact that the day after Thanksgiving is the pivotal point where stores can forecast the rest of the year’s sales. Considering that most corporate fiscal years start November 1, that’s pretty impressive. I’m not saying I doubt any of it; marketing has become quite a science.

  
Since I have a few of them, we’ll call that tidbit that I believe to be true, my first fragment this week. I’ll add that the “I believe to be true” is because I think I remember reading it on the Internet and you can’t trust things you read on the web abut Black Friday because it might be a Cyber Monday shopper just trying to make the crazy Friday shoppers look silly. Of course, carpal tunnel and camping out on your own porch might be considered cra….

………………………………………………

I’m back. Sorry, doorbell; I had to go get a package off the porch.


Where was I? Oh yes, Fragments! So here’s some more!

A Facebook friend did some questioning of employees at Target about working on Thanksgiving. At Target, working on Thanksgiving was volunteer only, they were paid time and a half and got a $100 bonus for taking the shift. I’m actually kind of glad for that because I usually find a thing or two at Target and I like their novelty Christmas candy selection. I’ll again consider them a store I’ll shop at this holiday season.


This is mostly a photo-fragment: Last week when David was working nights and there was some sun, enough sun, because Norfolk Sothern’s Southern Heritage Unit was in the area! (I’m wearing my Southern t-shirt as I type this) Isn’t she beautiful?




As 2012 draws to a close, there is a little somethin-somethin I for me. I bought my first real Smash book!


I know, I know, why would I want to buy a Smash brand book, when I’ve already put my “smashables” from all the years up through 2011 in binders with repurposed scrapbook paper? Well, first off the stock of scrapbook paper won’t last forever and the price of decent weight 2-sided paper pus a binder and glue starts to get near the price of a Smash Book, but not bound quite as solidly.

There’s also what I call the “London Fog Effect.” My Joey Votto jersey has the London Fog Effect too. I am really not a champagne taste kind of gal. I like nice restaurant now and then, but going out for dinner at Cracker Barrel is a fine treat to me. Kelly made me that beautiful Pandora-styled bracelet and I love it. I love looking at Pandora, but if I’m buying beads and a bracelet, Pugster is a lot less expensive and I have no gnawing desire for an actual Pandora. (Although I often still use Pandora wallpapers on my computer) But London Fog was one of those things for me. I had a few okay raincoats over the years, but in the back of my mind I wanted a nice real London For dress raincoat for work/interviews. When Mom and I saw a London Fog tent sale at an outlet mall we went to, we stopped to look and there was a beautiful taupe double-breasted trench with a button-in lining for winter. It was my size and Mom told me to try it on just to see how it looked. It looked great, it felt luxurious! Tent-sale prices, Mom is the one who told me it looked good and very professional and I ought to have it. She made it a gift. That coat still makes me feel like a million bucks when I wear it.

The authentic Joey Votto jersey with his name and number and all of the official Reds accents has the same effect. You can just feel that it’s the real deal. So I wanted a Smash Book for the same reason. Yes, I bought into the branding. The pages are thicker than the ones in my books, more durable, especially for thicker or heavier items I put in it and the way it’s put together is sturdy, quality. Of course, it feels special with nothing in it. Time will tell if that feeling stays as I use it if it truly is in the class of my London Fog coat or Joey Votto jersey. I have a folder full of 2012 smashables to help me find out!


I’m going to take a fragments break to visit Hilary’s Friday Fill-in.


This week’s statements:
1. I put ___ on a hot dog
2. when it___ I ____
3. If my house____then I would be able to___
4. If I was getting married tomorrow I would _______________ differently so we could ________________differently now.


My Answers:

1. I put mustard and nothing but mustard on a hot dog unless I’m having a Coney, then it’s chili with onions and mustard. I usually add yellow mustard when I have chili to enjoy it as a “dogless Coney” too.

2. When it snows I am happy to stay indoors with a big mug of mocha.

3. If my house was self-cleaning then I would be able to get more accomplished in a day!

4. If I was getting married tomorrow I would approach the photos differently so we could enjoy the scrapped pages differently now. My only regret is that I didn’t go a professional photographer or at least a dedicated photographer with a list of shots to get for our reception weekend. I would have loved to have 2-shots or 3-shots with each of our guests and a few of the balloon release we did. I would not have done anything else differently. :)


Windows 8 is Windows moving toward the smart phone, tablet and computer all working the same. There are touch-screen laptops out now and Windows 8 really is made for those! There are things I really like about it and one thing I really hate. I can’t stand the fact that if I move a window too close to the edge it instantly becomes full screen. I also don’t like the way windows will snap to either side for 2-window viewing that fills the screen. I know that’s supposed to be a “cool” new feature, but I’ve always used three to five windows open, sized and spaced so I would see the contents of all of them to select elements for scrapbook pages. That takes having windows in the corners, but if I get them too close, snap they go and I have a full screen of one of them instead of five. It messes with my organization. I’m slowly getting used to it, not dragging things too close to the edge and when I do, I curse under my breath and pull it away to snap it back to where I wanted it. That’s a pain, but for the most part, Windows 8 is pretty user-friendly.

David will give you quite a different opinion!


I have been too lax on tweeting and scrapbook gallery commenting! That’s a project I’m going to work on! I find I use Twitter a lot more during baseball season because a lot of my tweeps are fellow Reds or Tigers fans and I follow a lot of baseball players, who also tweet less in the off season. We’ll see if I get to tweeting more.

I know I‘ll be sure to be leaving more gallery comments at Ginger Scraps because I was invited to join the praise team there, essentially the cheerleaders who make sure every layout gets some love. There are perks in the form of scrapbook kits for meeting comment goals. Yeah, that sounds like copping out and using the freebies to encourage myself to do the polite thing I wanted to do anyway, but it does mean I’ll be commenting even more than the minimum I’d set for myself, so I consider it a win-win.


Finally, I’d like to take some suggestions for Friday memes. I kinda like doing three smaller memes but sometimes I can’t really answer the 5 Question Friday questions in any serious way because the questions assume I am a mom. And I am a cat-mom and was sort of a fill-in mom when my nieces were growing up, buy I really can’t answer questions about being with human kids every day, so I’d like to do one or two others too and choose the ones that have the questions I’m best capable in answering on any given Friday. Does anyone host a trains meme?? :) Just if you have a suggestion, I’d love a link!


And so I’m ready to post on this day after Thanksgiving. In the Nani-David household It’s not Black Friday, but dark gray Friday for sure; lots of serious wind and some rain. I’m glad to just be inside blogging, smashing and scrapbooking…oh, and I guess a little laundry too.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy National Carbohydrate Day!

Welcome to my coffee shop on the Information Superhighway!
Today, have some pumpkin pie with your black forest cake!

I hope everyone is either eating or watching football…or the parade or enjoying a day with your family! Maybe you’re taking a break to read a blog between your appetizer meal and the main meal before the dessert meal! Okay and maybe you’re reading before bed or on Friday morning in lieu of Black Friday shopping. (In which case, I’m honored!) Today in America is the day the American Diabetes Association shudders because even the people who’ve heeded the warnings all year, forget about them today and gorge themselves on stuffing and mashed potatoes, winter squash, corn and peas. Even green beans eaten today are prepared with carb-enriched cream soup and breaded onions on top.

And so, it should be.

This is a day to be thankful and that includes being thankful that we have the abundance of rich filling foods and that we have the education available to know they aren’t foods we should eat in those portions every day and thankful that there are available professionals in the health field to warn us and care for us if we don’t heed the warnings.

And our collective blood sugar and stress on our hearts from overeating skyrockets together today. And for most of us it will be normal again by the weekend. And for that, we are thankful too! Today, I am thankful that my husband has a fairly secure job, fair compensation for working on a holiday and that I didn’t get married until I was secure in my own skin and enjoyed my alone-time!

Yes, David is working today. I think I made that possible because it was my idea to just stay home on Thanksgiving this year and have a just-us holiday. That made him in-town and available when they needed someone to fill the shift. Well, it’s not like anyone else is depending on us being somewhere. He’s picking up a carry-out Thanksgiving meal on the way home and we’re celebrating “Orthodox Thanksgiving” next week when he has a mid-week day off. We have a habit of celebrating holidays a week late lately. Yanno, this started with we originally had planned to get married on December 18, not the 23rd. There was freezing rain on the 18th; one more reason I’m glad we eloped! Hehe

I have enjoyed my National Carbohydrate Day though. David picked up a bread order for me at Panera yesterday. I am really not a huge carbohydrate nut, well, except for the carbs in chocolate. Coming from Italian roots, I probably eat more pasta now than I did as an adult before David and I got together. I like the red sauce and I always called my Mom’s and Noni’s sauces Italian Chili because I liked them fine in a cup without pasta. Since I was scolded for eating it that way, I found I prefer a good sauce over roasted vegetables than pasta. As much as I was used to seeing the loaf of crusty bread get eaten with the pasta growing up, I’ve never been a bread fan either, except…

Italian Toast
with Panera Tomato Basil bread

I love, I mean LOVE, Panera Bread’s Tomato Basil bread. I always got a loaf for Thanksgiving and it was the only time all year I had it unless I got it on a Panera sandwich because it only comes in extra-large loaves and even on Thanksgiving Grandma would eat a slice on Friday and Mom would eat a slice on Friday and I was the only one that ate it on Thursday when it was still nice and soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. I think I was just the only one who really appreciated it at its best. So the Tomato Basil bread is my weakness, big time weakness. Today, I’ve had two thick slices for a snack; it’s SO good toasted with a little butter! And I had two slices of Italian Toast. That’s the photo; two slices cooked with egg and milk like French toast with Barilla tomato basil sauce and a little Parmesan. This would usually be Saturday lunch, but in a strange reversal this year, I’ll enjoy the Tomato Basil bread before turkey. It was an awesome lunch and I’m still appropriately carbed up and almost uncomfortably full like a good thankful American. It’s not a food coma, but I’ll be stuffing a turkey Wednesday!

For now, I’m going to continue to be thankful for the good things I have, that we all have. How good, really good, do we have it if we can even use a tern like “food coma?”

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thinking About Thanks


The first part of today has been some kitchen clean-up and a little beating the Cyber Monday broadband crowds. Yeah, the broadband crowds are the most I’ll put up with in the world of competitive shopping. The first boxes came in yesterday! There were two on the porch when we got in from Cleveland. One was for Rina and I’M impressed with that one after looking at the real thing and not a photo and one was for my Secret Santee.

The trip to Cleveland was a good one. My MRIs from before and after starting my medications are pretty much the same, which means the MS is not progressing anymore. YAY! My strength is not notably different in my arms and legs and my medication was just slightly adjusted for pain at wake-up and stiffness after riding in the car for a while. Then we had lunch at Eat ‘N Park, which always makes for a good day, and since it’s Thanksgiving week, we had a slice of pie for dessert. David had chocolate crème and I had, oh my, pumpkin crème; to die for!

Okay, now let’s join Joyce at From This Side of the Pond for the Hodge Podge!


1. Turkey-love it or leave it? White meat or dark? What's your favorite thing to make using leftover turkey?

I love turkey! Especially with my Mom’s recipe stuffing and mashed potatoes; classic Thanksgiving! I prefer white meat to eat on its own, but a mix is okay in soup. I can take or leave the gravy, but if it’s there for Thanksgiving I’ll use it.

My favorite leftover is turkey congee! I make broth from the carcass and serve it ladled over an assortment of leftovers; turkey pieces, stuffing cubes, a dollop of potatoes, veggies and I’ll sometimes add some noodles. MmmmM!


2. Gotta burn off all those carbs the day after a holiday feast so which would you rather do-run a 10K or climb a mountain?

-sniff- I’d love to be able to do either! But, with perfect mobility, I’ve always hated running and loved walking and climbing, so I’d have rather climbed the mountain.


3. Do you feel like social networking has made your relationships better or worse? Explain.

A little of both? Social networking has enabled me to reconnect with friends and relatives I otherwise wouldn’t have and it allows me to meet new people and stay in touch. However, it also employs that sense of anonymity, that isn’t at all there, and people say things that hurt other people without even thinking. They also do and post things that make people who haven’t been in contact with them for many years happy with that fact.


4. How do you find and express gratitude for the hard things in your life? 

I don’t express gratitude for the hard things in my life. I look for the good, look for the lessons and allow hard times to see the best in me and in other people, but I’m not grateful for the trials, just what I can do in spite of them.


5. In the US, the day after Thanksgiving has been dubbed 'Black Friday'. Is most of your holiday shopping done live and in person, or is it done more through the magic of the Internet? How do you feel about stores opening at midnight Thanksgiving night? Will you be out amongst the masses on Friday?

NO WAY! Keep me as far away from the Black Friday insanity as possible. I don’t want to know how I’d physically react to being pepper spayed and I’d prefer to keep my Christmas Spirit intact.

(See my random rant, er thought, to see what I think of stores that encourage that mob behavior.)

Because of my mobility issues, I prefer to do cyber-shopping. There are more choices in good, not picked over condition and there is seldom something I want that I can’t find.


6. Speaking of the color black-which black item in your wardrobe would you say is your favorite?

My black and white polka dot footies with the turquoise toes and heels. :) What? I like socks! hehe


7. What do you appreciate about your life today?

There is a definite difference between that for which I’m grateful and that which I appreciate. I’m grateful for people and the things I can’t live without. I appreciate things that make life easier or fun, but I wouldn’t perish without them.

I most appreciate paying taxes and having health insurance. Paying taxes means I have and health insurance means I will continue to have.


8. Insert your own random thought here.

I really do want to avoid shopping at the chain stores that will be open tomorrow this year. I can’t believe they will be open to get our money ON THANKSGIVING. Because their employees have no family to be with, I guess.

I saw some graphics on Facebook depicting soldiers and saying those who work retail have no right to complain. Well, when I worked retail I knew I would be working in the insanity of the day after Thanksgiving and I knew I’d be at work on Christmas Eve. The mall wasn’t open on Thanksgiving or Christmas, no place that was chain-retail was. So first off, retail workers may not have “signed up” for a job that works on holidays. This working instead of sharing family time is new. I had a job where I worked on all of the actual holidays in the summer; it paid a lot better than retail and I had insurance too.

I mean no disrespect at all to our men and women serving in the military who are not home with their families. I appreciate their decision to serve and protect us and our way of life, but to compare them to retail employees and compare the importance of serving our country to serving bargain hunters is disrespectful to both professions.

Many of the employees in retail are high school/college aged kids or retirees. What a great way to teach family values, huh? Why would the kids care about the family time if Grandma isn’t even there? Military personnel are sacrificing their family time for the country’s safety. Retail employees sacrifice it for a sale. I’ll also add that no sales associate will get a medal and recognition when an overzealous shopper runs them down for getting between them and a toy and I’ve never been at a sporting event where the PA announcer has asked everyone to “remove your hats and honor our retail workers as we sing.” There are no free college or job assistance programs for them after the holiday season is over either.  Retail workers have every right to complain about not having the family time off and don't even compare them to our military.  Military personnel are trained in combat and a retail worker shouldn't have to be.  And when it comes right down to it we respect our military.  We don't even treat retail workers like people.


Off soapbox now.  Everyone have a wonderful Thanksgiving day with your loved ones.  God bless our troops.  And if you will be one of the shoppers tomorrow be kind to other shoppers and to the retail associates; remember the sacrifice they're making so you can shop.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Quiz About Me

Whew!  Full weekend! If you want to read about my computer trauma, that i hope is over now, and a few Secret Santa notes, be sure to check out last night's post.  This ought to be a busy catching up blog-posting week for me!

The Monday Quiz About Me is hosted by Heather at Acting Balanced and Wayne at Touristic. Every Monday we get 4 questions to share answers with other blog-hop members and a fifth question we ask our visitors. It’s a great way to get the week started!


1. What are you thankful for this year?

Having enough. I had to move some funds to afford my new computer and I was stressing about money. I’m not currently working and my investments are modest. My account rep was warning me about the election results and capital gains taxes would go up. At that moment I realized how fortunate I am that someone is seriously talking to me about “capital gains” when I have a disease that financially ruins so many. I’m thankful for that awakening.


2. What was your special dish that your parents made for you while growing up?

Ah, the world of young parents struggling to get a start in life! One of my favorites from childhood that Mom made, stretching the grocery budget in a way that felt more like a treat than any budget shaving, was Hot-Dog Soup; basically potato soup with hot dog chunks to add some protein. It was one of our favorites!


3. How long are you willing to wait for someone before you give up?

Patience is NOT one of my virtues! If I’m waiting for someone for more than 15 minutes past the appointed time, there’d better be phone call to let me know. (Unless it’s a job interview, then my time is all yours)

The one place I have a lot more tolerance for waiting is the doctor’s office. Yes, they should space appointments out a bit more, but I always bring my Nook to the doctor’s office. I’ve been the one throwing the doctor’s schedule off track with unplanned questions about the disease I was only partially prepared to learn I’d have the rest of my life. Getting that compassionate extra time without being told “I don’t have time to discuss this with you,” really made me see the doctor being late differently.


4. What is your favorite quote, poem, song lyric or prayer?

I have so many songs, passages and quotes that are part of my spiritual being I don’t believe I could ever pick one favorite. The quote I live by and think about every day is on my blog already, “I cannot control things that happen to me, but I'm the only one that controls how I react to things that happen to me.”


And don't forget to add a 5th Question on your own blog so we can answer as we hop around!

5. What is your favorite traditional holiday-season food? Let’s stick to food at meals, not sweets this week.

My favorite holiday food since childhood has been Mom’s sage turkey dressing. It’s my little bit of Mom still there for Thanksgiving.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

It’s For Real This Time (I Hope)

And Now, The REAL Joey

So, I made a big deal about my old computer dying and a new computer, la-lala… I’d done a few scrapbook pages and posted a blog and well, this past Monday afternoon, BAM; no Internet. It did a self-assessment and told me there was an internal networking problem. It did it once an hour and then three times in an hour. Back to the Geeks.

The key to fixing the problem, on my brand new computer that I’d had for four days and just finished personalizing and moving my software and files into, was that they had to make it repeat the seemingly chronic but intermittent problem. While I was right there and the Geek was playing with it, it worked just fine.

“Are you sure it’s not a problem with your router or modem at home?”

Let’s see, there are two other computers in the house; a Mac and a PC, a desktop and a laptop and the laptop is also new and running Windows 8 like mine, yet mine is the only one that says it has an internal network connection problem. I’m pretty sure it’s not my router or modem. But for a charge they’ll send someone to our house to check out the modem. Um, no, I’m quite sure there is nothing wrong with the modem, my new computer is the only one that says it has an internal network problem.

When I called after an email saying they couldn’t replicate the problem I had a choice. I could take it home and bring it back if the problem returned or I could exchange it for another new computer because it’s within the 30 days to return it. I had the computer for four days, but given the time after sale for it to arrive and the downtime back at the store being looked at, my 30 days was half over. Who’s to say the problem won’t resurface on day 31? So instead of the old-new computer with all my stuff on it, I brought home a new-new computer to reinstall everything on.


The good news is that in loading the stuff I already had on it, I got to really know Windows 8 so getting back to the point where I was took a day instead of four! Actually, it was less than a day.


Saturday after I installed my browsers, I checked my email. I got my partner for this year’s Secret Santa Soiree! I enjoyed getting to know Linda of Linda’s Bee Hive last year and picking out gifts especially for her that I knew I was going to do it again this year! My partner this year is so very different than me, yet a kindred soul in many ways too. I spent a few hours Saturday reading her blog and by Saturday night I had some gift ideas. Suzanne at The Coloradolady is hosting the Soiree again this year. Coordinating people who may or may not know each other well, matching up partners and keeping track of when gifts are sent and fielding any questions is a cumbersome job and the generosity of her time and efforts is a wonderful gift to all of us participating. Thank you Suzanne, for being the embodiment of the community part of the Holiday Spirit!

Okay, that’s my check-in for now. I’ll be blogging everything my brain has been screaming to blog about since November began this week. Well, the good stuff anyway.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy Monday!

Joey II's current wallpaper

Things are getting back to some semblance of normal now or anyway as much as Naniworld resembles normal. Funny how no one seems to believe they are normal. We all want to believe we are extraordinary, and we are. No one persona is exactly like another person. We all have ordinary parts of our lives and special quirks that make us the one and only person like us, each and every one of us should be celebrated daily and all the people we come in contact with should get a share of our awesomeness. Note that’s share not advertise. Wouldn’t the world be a get place if we could all just BE awesome without swimming in the ego trip of it?

I’m all moved into Joey II now, well, with the exception of a few things that will gradually be added as I need them. I have my address software ready to install and my backup database ready, I just haven’t needed an address yet. I do have Photoshop installed and activated. I’ve even done a few scrap book pages. I have Word reactivated and my preferred browsers installed with bookmarks rebuilding. Now I need to get my blog back on…and I need to do some serious blog reading!

But for just right now, let me get back into the swing of things with the Monday Quiz About Me, hosted by Heather at Acting Balanced and Wayne at Touristic!


1. What is your favorite kind of soup?

Soup is so similar to ice cream for me in that it’s easier to tell you which ones I don’t like than it is to pick a favorite! I have a half a turkey carcass Pop gave me in the freezer that I’m planning to make into soup this week before there is a new carcass from Thanksgiving. David and I are l planning Thanksgiving dinner for the weekend after. I haven’t had my Mom’s recipe stuffing in too long and I’m just dying for it. Depending on prices that may be stuffing under a roasted turkey breast or in a small turkey. If I can find a small enough turkey that route would be great because it’s a carcass for more soup!

Now back to soup; my favorites are pretty much anything without seafood that’s not crab or lobster. David enjoys his clam chowder alone. I’m really a sucker for stuffed pepper soup or a good chunky veggie soup. Mostly my favorite is the one I'm eating.

2. When was the last time you saw snow?

I was looking at photos from earlier this year when I was moving in to the new computer. I barely remember it now because we had so little last winter but there were a few days. As much as I complained about the lack of snow and what it did to my spring flowers, now that it’s getting colder I’m wondering how important the flowers really are. :)

3. What is a must have trait if someone is going to live with you?

NOT be a neat-freak. I had to give up my organization fetish when I became unable to move about the house without assistance. It still makes me a little frustrated, but I’m learning to accept what I can’t fix. Now of course if someone is a neat-freak and would clean the whole house and keep it organized without feeling any resentment, when can you move in?

4. Who was your favorite James Bond?

Um….that’s a movie question, right?

And don't forget to add a 5th Question on your own blog so we can answer as we hop around!

5. What is your least favorite month and why?

My least favorite would be November or January. While I love Thanksgiving, November is the brown season around here and usually cloudy. January is the exciting start to a new year and plans and goals to jump on. It's also usually the coldest month, usually lots of snow and aside from those plans and goals, nothing, I mean nothing at all going on.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Welcome Joey II

It's been the most insane 4-1/2 days!  Friday morning I hit the power button on Joey, my computer, and he tried to start, and stopped, and tried again, and stopped again and tried and tried and tried to no avail.

It was over.  It wasn't coming back.

Sunday, David and I went out to become Best Buy's favorite customers.  You see, after a couple months of starting slower and slower, David's computer, Cool Color, (he never gave it  name, but it was often complimented for being red) Finally stopped starting at all too.  So we wandered into the computer area intent on walking out with 2 new laptops.  Will that put a sparkle in a sales associate's eyes or what?  After dropping off the old Joey to have the hard drive information transferred, because it was determined that it was a dead computer and not a dead hard drive, we left with David's new computer!  And a piece if paper to confirm that mine would arrive Tuesday or Wednesday.  It seems that every digital scrapbooker in Toledo bought the same computer last weekend.  There wasn't one of the model I liked in any of the local stores.

So, Joey II is here as of about an hour ago.  I missed International Digital Scrapbooking Day and all the half-off sales.  I had a gift certificate at Ginger Scraps that would have doubled in value last weekend too.  -sigh-  And I missed some memes that I usually do and one I was going to try.  And I watched TV.  Gads, I watched TV all day Saturday.   I feel a lot less lazy playing on the computer for 6 hours than I do just sitting there.  That's me, but while I love the true crime shows, I don't think I'll be watching Alien Surf Girls again. 

So, just wanted to check in...and make sure the new Joey blogs well; he does.   Now, I'm off to finish moving in; Photoshop just finished downloading!  :)