The Infinity Scarf: Yes or No?

December 7th, 2013

Sometimes I become obsessed with the strangest things, and at the moment it’s infinity scarves. Do I own any? No, not a single one. But I’m considering. In fact, I’ve been looking at so many online that wherever I go on the web my “pop-up” ads all now feature infinity scarves in a variety of colors and fabrics.

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a story about a dream, dying, and the power of Krispy Kreme

December 6th, 2013

6md4g.AuSt.156A month ago my youngest children, seniors in high school, came home raving about a school assembly they’d attended. “Mom, this guy was amazing,” my daughter said. “Cool,” I replied and then the talk moved on to our family’s upcoming Thanksgiving.

I should have paid more attention.

This past Monday, at their school, something extraordinary happened; the sort of thing that makes you believe in the wonder of  “living, loving, and trying” even as you accept the implacability of loss.

Here’s the story. It’s worth reading. Be prepared to cry.

Winter Warmers: Lea’s Chicken and Dumplings

December 5th, 2013

Chicken and dumplingsMy dear mother-in-law, now 83 years old, is simply the best cook I have ever known. Cooking wonderful food for others remains one of her greatest joys in life and she continues to cook or bake for hours upon hours each week. Although she can compete with the chefs that rule today’s Food Channel, her upbringing in the hills of southeastern Oklahoma means she’s an expert with old Southern favorites as well. Our family has enjoyed many a cold winter day savoring her Chicken and Dumplings. This recipe is from her cookbook she penned for family and friends more than twenty-five years ago.

Chicken and Dumplings

Boil one fat chicken or use chicken pieces. Cover with water. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until tender. Remove chicken from broth and take out 2/3 cup of broth for the dumplings. Read the rest of this entry »

Winter Warmers: Mary’s Ham Bone Soup

November 28th, 2013

With the holidays upon us, in addition to turkeys on every table many of us will be cooking large hams to feed our loved ones. After you have eaten as many ham sandwiches from the leftovers as humanly possible, please do not throw out that bone!! The ham bone makes an excellent soup (especially if you leave some meat on the bone).

Ham Bone Soup

  • 1 ham bone with meat still clinging to bone (you can also include some leftover ham slices)
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3-4 stalks of celery chopped
  • 4 large carrots diced
  • 2-3 potatoes cubed
  • 1 can of tomatoes diced (fresh tomatoes can be used as well)
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 2 TBSP of ketchup
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • ½ to 1 tsp of garlic salt
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in large double boiler or in your crock pot. Add enough water to cover the bone. Cook until vegetables are soft. Serve with cornbread.

- Mary AAR

Fill Your Heart With Thanksgiving

November 27th, 2013


The following poem captures beautifully the meaning of the coming holiday. The sentiment is such that it should be remembered all year long.

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AAR at the Movies: Catching Fire

November 26th, 2013


Friday night, my friend and I went to see the second instalment of Suzanne Collins’s massive smash hit trilogy, adapted for the screens. I wasn’t going to see it, honestly. I’d seen the first one, and there was something about seeing the physical and psychosocial trauma that hit me viscerally in a way that the books couldn’t translate. Yes, I knew it was fiction, and yes, I knew what happened anyway. But I found the experience quite frightening, to be honest.

But then the reviews for Catching Fire came out (mainly glowing, in a nutshell), and my curiosity got the better of me. I also had a free movie voucher, and I thought, well, I could save it for The Devastation of Smaug’s Cumberbatched Voice (aka The Hobbit part 2), or I could suck it up, be my age, and see Lenny Kravitz, Jena Malone and Stanley Tucci do their thing. And you know what? I’m glad I did. Read the rest of this entry »

The 30 Best TV Detectives and Sleuths?

November 25th, 2013

This week I saw a link to the “30 Best TV Detectives” from the Telegraph’s website. As a big fan of mysteries – both written and video – this was too good to resist. Since it’s a UK publication, I expected a lot of British detectives. Not a problem, as I’m a huge fan of many of the BBC mysteries that appear on Masterpiece Mystery. Truthfully, I was surprised at how many U.S. TV shows are featured on the list, and many that appeared over 20 years ago.
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Easy, Ugly Cube Steak Casserole

November 23rd, 2013

I chose another dish when I submitted my “Winter Warmer”, cold weather, stick-to-your-ribs recipe – but this one ran a close second. Its delicious, easy and filling, but man, is it ever ugly. I’ll provide the ingredients and directions, and you can decide the quantities. Read the rest of this entry »

Winter Warmers: Blythe’s Best Ever Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

November 21st, 2013

IMG_1253I traveled to Milwaukee for work last summer, and discovered their wonderful local coffee chain, Collectivo, that has that rarest of combinations – good food and good coffee. (Yes, I know it used to be Alterra, because nearly everyone I met told me that). One morning I tried a pumpkin cranberry muffin, and couldn’t for the life of me think why I had never heard of this genius idea. Two great fall flavors that go perfectly together! I hunted for a recipe when I got home, rejecting several because they used craisins rather than fresh cranberries (I was sure the muffin I had used fresh). The one I settled on apparently comes from, by way of Gourmet Magazine and the Smitten Kitchen. The only change I made was to substitute regular all purpose flour for the wheat pastry flour, which worked just fine.

Best Ever Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins Read the rest of this entry »

Do you know this product?

November 16th, 2013

I hope someone here can help me locate another pair of the most remarkable pants. They’re workout gear, men’s, and they have the label “level 8″ stamped on them. I own one pair, want 20 more and can’t find them anywhere. The original pair was purchased on clearance at Ross for my son, who refused to wear them because he felt they were too girly. I decided to keep them for myself and now I wear them just about every time they come out of the laundry.

Why are they so special? First, they’re perfect leggings, extremely narrow legged with a band of rubber at the ankle that keeps them from riding up under boots. They’re reversible so you can wear them with either a matte or shiny side out. Best of all is the fit. Being menswear they’re very long in the leg, and being fitness wear they’re very stretchy and don’t bag at the knee by noon. They’re also much warmer than your typical legging or jegging.

Unfortunately, because of the reverse-ability, the manufacturer’s tag was made to be removed, which I wasted no time doing. “Level 8″ is the only clue I have to find more and internet searches have not been successful.

Do know this product? Any help would be vastly appreciated.