Thanksgiving … family, food and friends

My girls, Katie and Mimi, made a delicious bourbon pumpkin tart with streusel topping for Thanksgiving. One of Katie’s gifts is the girl makes amazing desserts! Another gift is her huge and gentle heart. Katie adores her sister. I loved watching them interact … Katie wheeling Mimi into the pantry to retrieve pie ingredients, letting Mimi hold the eggs, laughing hysterically when one of them hits the floor, helping Mimi stir the ingredients … these little things are huge in Mimi’s life.

Thanksgiving … so much to be thankful for … family, food and friends.

Who ate my afghan?

A bite missing“Is there something you want to tell me?” I asked hubby upon showing him the chunk missing from my favorite afghan.

I had just come back from our special needs daughter’s room. It was going to be cold that night and I thought the afghan would help to keep Mimi especially toasty. I saw the jagged edges where yarn ought to be as I spread the afghan across Mimi. When Rick looked as bewildered as I about the mysterious missing chunk of yarn, I knew he was not the culprit. I would stew about how it happened all week.

I knitted the multi-colored afghan about twenty years ago from a kit. I’ve always loved the colors and the pattern was so easy/breezy. It had a special spot all neatly folded over the couch for easy access. Heck, that afghan was just the perfect weight for an “anytime snuggle” on the couch and used often … very often. Until last week that is.

Did the cleaning lady do it?Everyone was suspect. Moths, the dog, spooky-looking zombies with milk-white eyeballs … heck maybe even the cleaning lady. OK, so I have recently hired a cleaning lady every other week to keep the Frantz house neat and tidy. Dusting is my least favorite domestic duty. So I thought perhaps she sucked part of the afghan into the vacuum cleaner and didn’t tell me. But how was that even possible? When she is cleaning, I am madly clicking keys on the computer 10 measly feet from where the afghan is parked on the couch. I have to confess I did turn the vacuum cleaner over to see if there was any yarn shrapnel stuck to the vacuum brush. Nothing!
LuluWhich leads us to our final logical suspect … Lulu! I vividly recall her “guilty face” after she ate one hubby’s favorite flip flops. But the dog is just so darn cute, it wasn’t hard to forgive. Heck, the last time she chewed on anything inappropriate was a year ago. So I reluctantly crossed Lulu off the list … with a pencil.

I am resigned to the fact I may never know what happened to my afghan. But now I have a great reason to make another one. My crystal ball says there is a visit to my favorite yarn shop in my future!

Pigeon beaks and quilt bee cookies

My lovely neighbor, Marie, knocked on my door the other day. She was wearing a frowny face which was most unusual. In her hands were a youngster’s blue hoodie jacket and a couple of squares of yellow felt. Oh, and the hood of the little jacket had what looked like very large “peel and stick” eyeballs on the top of each side.

“Drake has to dress like a storybook character for school and I’m having a little problem figuring out how to sew on a beak. Can you tell me what I should do?” Marie said.

I had heard about Drake’s favorite book, “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” by Mo Willems. Marie had told me a while back that her son belly-laughs whenever he reads it. Of course, Drake MUST be a pigeon!

I quickly inspected the jacket and had Marie follow me into my sewing room.

“I’ll just snip the felt here and make a three-dimensional beak. Then I’ll stuff it a little and whip stitch it on. It won’t take long at all. I drop it by in a little while,” I said.

Did I mention that Marie makes these amazing decorated sugar cookies? She sells them locally. I order from her from time-to-time and just love seeing my friends’ reactions to her little works of art. A couple of weeks back I ordered a batch for delivery this week after searching through her website selections ( I challenged her to come up with either a “bee” or a “quilt” type cookie. And I mentioned that if that was not possible the autumn leaves I had seen on her site would do nicely. So of course Marie gave me both the bee and the quilt! And they taste just as yummy as they look.

Oh, so let me finish my story about Drake’s pigeon beak. When I delivered the pigeon jacket across the street a little while later, Marie thanked me profusely. Drake tried on the jacket and looked just adorable! Actually, Drake looks adorable without the jacket, but that is beside the point.

“I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you again so much,” Marie said.

I smiled. Did Marie know how honored I felt to be able to participate in such a small way? Before turning to head home I stopped.

“You know Marie … my gift is that I sew … and your gift … is your amazing sugar cookies,” I said.

Life should be as simple as a child’s favorite book and a delicious sugar cookie.

Grandma’s chocolate pie

chocolate pie
I just noticed I neglected to add my grandma’s fabulous chocolate pie in the recipe section of this blog! Oops on my part! Since it’s getting close to the holidays thought it might be nice to correct that. However, be warned, the pie is a heart-stopper and an eye-crosser. The photograph depicts the thick-as-the-Mississippi-River-bottom mud pie with a graham cracker crust. Family tradition usually demands a regular old pie crust. Those pre-made rolled-up crust versions work quite nicely in a pinch. Oh, and don’t forget to top your generous slice with whipped cream.

Makes 1 pie

baked pie crust
2 cans Eagle brand milk
4 squares unsweetened chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place 2 cans of Eagle brand milk in double boiler. Melt the chocolate on low with the Eagle brand milk and stir constantly till very thick. Be prepared to stand at the stove for a very long time. Add vanilla and stir. Pour into baked pie crust and cool. Top with whipped cream.