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Showing posts from January, 2015

Favorites in 2014

This is a time for reflection and gratitude for the opportunities that presented themselves during this year.  I decided to select favorites (one) of the things I love (excluding family members!) for 2014. Book Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barb Demick This book was an amazing book, unforgettable.  The book covers the personal stories of six Koreans who ultimately defect to South Korea in the 1990s.  The book tells their stories without blame but with plenty of guilt as some of the North Koreans leave behind families.  There are many moments, one especially painful, when one sees a dish of rice and meat in the backyard of a Chinese home, and has the sudden, awful realization that the food was meant for the dog.  She hadn't seen that quanity of rice and meat in years and realizes at that moment that Chinese dogs eat better than North Koreans.  The book was filled with moments where you realize the moms are having to make decisions of which child eats and wh
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Cheesy Potato Breakfast Casserole

Christmas morning breakfast casserole was yummy!  This was an easy-to-assemble casserole that I made before we opened gifts and was ready when we were done!  I didn't have to remember to make it the night before, yep,  I've forgotten to make the make ahead recipe before, and all the ingredients were easy to find at my favorite Aldi's store. 1 lb mild sausage 1 medium yellow onion chopped 7 eggs 1/2 c milk 20 oz bag diced hash brown potatoes 2 c shredded cheddar cheese salt and pepper Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9 by 13 pan with Pam.  Cook sausage and onions together.  This smells so awesome in the morning!  In a separate bowl, combine eggs and milk until well beaten, then add potatoes and 1 c of cheese.  No one minds if you put in extra cheese!  Add sausage and onions to the mixture and then pour into the prepared dish.  Top with the remaining cheese.  Bake for 35 minutes, until set and a knife pulls out clean. We served this with homemade biscuits and fre
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Shortbread, yum!

Yesterday was National Shortbread Day.  Shortbread is one of my favorite cookies.  Aw, heck, I haven't met a cookie I didn't like.  Of all the cookies, shortbread does head the list! Last night I whipped up my favorite shortbread recipe and tucked a slice into my husband's lunch box for a sweet surprise.  This is a simple, delicious shortbread. Simple Shortbread 1 stick of butter, softened 1 c flour 1/2 c powdered sugar splash of vanilla Preheat oven to 300 (if you use a convection oven) or 325 if not!  Sift flour and sugar together.  Place butter into a mixing bowl and beat until smooth.  Add vanilla, beat again and add dry ingredients a bit at a time until dough forms a ball.  Put dough on parchment paper and roll out until thin, about 1/3".  You can also pat it into a pie pan, like my Grandma Holt used to do.  She'd score it into triangles and bake, then remove and cool, then break along the lines.  If you don't use the pie pan method, do like
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Rethinking my Office

I have had a home office for almost all my homeowner years...an office where the computer was stashed and so was most of our books, but I have never had a working home office, until last year when I retired from school.  I have been working in my home office for six months and I really disliked the space.  The furniture was lined up against the walls and a futon was placed in the room to make a second guest room.  After a year of living here, I realized I didn't need the futon and my husband and son-in-law moved it downstairs to the basement to our storm area.  That definitely helped the office's over all look, but still it needed work. Our home was slated to be on our neighborhood Christmas homes tour.  The office was not ready!  In a panic I started researching bookshelves and I found some I loved, but it was the Monday before the tour, could I get them on time? I placed the call to the shop and they assured me that they would go out the next day and be delivered by Wedne
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Gathering my Thoughts about 2014

As I gather my thoughts about the year 2014, I keep trying to come up with a word that describes my feelings about it.  I don't have the sense of wonder or joy about the year, in fact, I feel rather numb to the whole thing... I retired this year from public education, something I truly loved doing yet the last three years of it were rough.  Rough from the public grinding down on the hard work I saw teachers doing day in and out.  I was so ready to leave yet, I wasn't ready, either.  I was so grateful to learn about the position with the University of Missouri, that allows me to be in the schools daily but not dealing with the public persona of education.  I still see many teachers working hard day in and out, but I feel a disconnect between my work and the public's opinion of public education. I enjoyed a lovely vacation to Alaska to celebrate the retirement.  I got to piggyback on our daughter's presentation at a conference.  I was awed by the vast sky and land
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