Sunday, June 22, 2014

Chocolate Cake

This last week was the beginning of Student Teaching.

It was possibly the most exhausting week of my life. And most certainly the busiest week.

I broke down Wednesday night. I had gotten 12 hours of sleep in 3 days, and I had put myself through WAY too much. My mother walked into my Lesson Plan Generating Cave...and found me crying. She listened as I lamented the frustrations of the experience. And at the very end I sputtered out:

"And I just want Chocolate Cake! I have been craving chocolate cake for days, and I don't know why! I don't need it. It probably wouldn't even satisfy my emptiness....BUT I WANT IT! It is such a ridiculous want. Guh. But I want it."

She smiled at me, kissed my head, and walked out so I could get going on my assignments.

The next morning I heard tinkering around in the kitchen....

She had made me MY FAVORITE CHOCOLATE MUFFINS!!! She uses a chocolate cake mix and a can of pumpkin. That't it! 2 ingredients....and SO MUCH JOY!

She loves me. I got my chocolate cake.

Ready for the surprise? It was exactly what I needed...and TOTALLY satisfied me. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Spunky Hero

My Great Grandma has become my hero over the years. At first she was just funny...then I realized she was a hoot...and then she became spunky...and then I realized I wanted to be just like her.

My mom requested a family story from her avid journal/history keeper. This is one of his memories of his Mother: Marjorie Eyre Hardy Bailey Carter. (She outlived 3 husbands)

"During the summer of 1948, my Dad and Mom worked at Johnson’s Saw Mill, high upon the Big Horn Mountain, about 35 to 40 miles east of Lovell, Wyoming.  Dad worked as a laborer at the saw mill, and mother worked as a cook for about 12 men.  She helped feed the men working for Mr. Johnson three meals a day.  We lived in the mountains the whole summer.  We went to town about once per month, to get supplies. On one of our supply trips, my Grandfather Hardy who was a beekeeper, and sent us a five gallon can of honey. Up to that time, we had not seen any bears around camp. We saw a cougar, plenty of deer and elk, a few moose, and lots of ground squirrels and other animals. My mother didn’t know what to do with that much honey. My dad suggested that she make honey taffy out of some of it.

"Soon after that, Mom got a picnic lunch ready for the men. The men were working in the timber several miles away from the camp.  She did as Dad has suggested. She used some of the honey and made honey taffy and cooked it over an open camp fire. She boiled it until it was just the right consistency (softball stage), and let it cool a little, and then she buttered her hands and would pull it into long strands. She would pull it in strands, as long as she could stretch her two arms apart, and then would bend it in half and stretch it again, until the color was right and it was cool enough to wrap. She then cut it into bite-sized pieces, would wrap the candy in waxed paper. She took plenty of candy for the men to enjoy with their lunch.

"We drove as close to where the men were working in our car.  She took the men’s lunch in a lunch basket with their food in it, and when she got back, we were going to have our lunch with her there in the woods.
She had four small children. My older brother, Ed was eight years old, Beverly was six years old, I was four years old, and my youngest brother was, three years old. She took the lunch up into the timber to the men and left us four children in the car to await her return. Soon after she was out of sight, the four of us got out of the car to play around. Near the car, someone had built a lean-to table against one of the big pine trees—that was where we were going to have our lunch. She placed our lunch on the table, with the food, plates, and silverware, and covered it with a dishcloth, in order to keep the flies off our food, while she was gone. As she was taking the lunch up the trail, she ran into a bear coming towards here—down the trail. She saw him coming and stopped and put the picnic basket on the ground. The bear didn’t stop. Apparently he smelled the candy and continued coming towards her.

"During that summer, Mom didn’t have too much to do between meals. When she wasn’t otherwise occupied, she took a small hatchet, and got so good that she could throw the hatchet and stick it into a dead tree, about 99% of the time. She had her hatchet with her, as she carried the lunch up the trail. She got the hatchet in her hand and when the bear didn’t stop, she threw it and hit him right between the eyes—he fell dead! Then she didn’t know what to do with it. She took the lunch up to where the men were working and told my Dad what she’d done. They were afraid the Game Warden would find out about it. Some of the men helped Mom and Dad hang the bear up, in a tree. They left it hanging in the tree until my Dad’s shift was over, and then the two of them went back to get the bear, Dad skinned it and cut the head off. He said that it looked just like a man hanging there in the tree. They had to get rid of the evidence!

"While Mom was gone, another bear showed up at the car while we kids were playing around outside. We all jumped back into the car—thinking that the bear would go away soon. He didn’t! We would get out of the car on the far-side and tease the bear—and get back into the car, if he came in our direction. This hide-and-seek went on for quite a while, until Mother got back. When he saw her coming, he ran up the tree with the lean-to table, with our lunch on it. While climbing up he picked up the tin can containing our silverware..
He climbed up the tree about six or eight feet and stretched out on a limb just above our table. Since Mom was back, we all got out of the car. The bear took the can with silverware in it, and threw it at us one-at-a-time. Mom suggested that if we left him alone, and got back into the car, that he would come down and run off—he didn’t! He laid on this branch over our table for about 30 minutes. Then he had to go to the bathroom and urinated all over the table, our lunch, and plates. That did it! Mom got us back into the car, and we went back to camp for lunch. Two encounters with a bear on the same day was just too much. The surprising thing was, that up to that time, we hadn’t seen a bear anywhere—from then on we had bears around camp the rest of the summer. We think that it was mother’s homemade honey taffy that drew them in from miles around.

"In order to get rid of the evidence, Mom and Dad took the skinned bear to town, where my Aunt Cora Johnson and her family lived.  My parents told the Johnson’s that it was a deer they had shot and gave it to them to eat. To this day, the Johnson’s said that that was the best deer meat they ever ate!."

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Oh stoaaawwwwpp!

I didn't know what kind of warm fuzzies I was getting myself into when I watched this video...but I just had to share.

The first 30 seconds were cheezy...but then I couldn't help it.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Love Story Meets Viva La Vida - ThePianoGuys

This video has been around forever....but I still love it!