Monday, December 28, 2009

stuff and nonsense...

A few months ago, an out of town relative

noticed this sticker on our car, and started chuckling uncontrollably.

It seems he immediately pictured a canine character
with that name, and told me I should sketch him...

So I did.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

and the winner is...

The response to the fudge giveaway was simply astounding. What is it with you people? Has everyone started their New Year's diets already? Thousands six left charming and witty comments, making our judge's job of picking just one out of her food bowl quite difficult...

but (consummate professional that she is) Miss Abbie managed the task without drooling on it or swallowing it.

And the winner is...Bossy! Your box of Fern's Famous Fudge will be making its way across the country from Portland tomorrow...Happy Holidays to everyone!

Friday, December 25, 2009

the aftermath

Santa's Reindeer are pooped.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Don't forget to scroll down and leave a comment on yesterday's post for a chance to win a box of Fern's Famous Fudge! (Giveaway ends Saturday at Midnight...I'll announce the winner on Sunday...)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

a holiday tradition and a giveaway

Every family has its holiday traditions, whether it's latkes at Hannukah, or clam chowder on Christmas Eve, or black eyed peas on New Year's Day. In Dave's family, one sure herald of Christmas was the arrival of his mother's fudge. And lest you say, "Oh, my mom/grandma/aunt makes fudge!", I assure you this is not your garden variety fudge. This is fudge so creamy and smooth and light, you'll find you've eaten an entire pan of it before you snap out of the bewitching spell it casts.
I've heard people say that fudge is easy to make, and I agree that on the face of it, it appears to be the case, but in reality, it is not easy to do well. It requires a degree of expertise, and I might add, very strong forearms and wrists to pull off correctly. In this case, Fern (my mother in law) had the expertise, and Ray (my father in law) had the muscle. They made a great team.
Shortly after they passed away, my sister in law entrusted me with Fern's fudge recipe, and I had no idea what path that formula would set me on... now, almost twenty years later, I've made hundreds of pounds of the stuff, with no hopes of slacking off any time soon.

It all starts with a few very basic ingredients: butter, sugar, and milk.

These are brought to a very specific temperature

and more stuff* is added, after which you stir, stir, stir, stir, until you think your arm will probably fall off...and then you stir some more, until it's creamy and glossy and smooth...
(and by the way, that heart really did appear randomly- I'm not that good with Photoshop)

and then you taste it to be sure it's perfect...

and pour it into Fern's original perfect fudge pans.

After it's cooled, you cut it into squares and package it up in nice little square boxes with labels...
(Fern skipped this part and gave it out in pans and tins and whatever boxes she had saved during the year...she was very frugal that way)

and then you send it out to about a million family members and friends, and friends of friends, and kids of friends, and the mailman, and your hairdresser, and the garbage man, and your co-workers, and so on and so on, until you've made about 30 or 40 pounds of it, and you never want to smell chocolate again....and then you taste it to make sure it's perfect, and somehow feel compelled to make yet another batch.

In the spirit of the season, I'll be giving away a box of Fern's Famous Fudge. To be eligible for the random drawing, just leave me a comment, and my trusty assistants will eat draw your name from a hat food bowl.


*This is a top secret recipe. My lips are sealed.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

up to our ears in it

Today was a crazy one. I woke up at 5:45 am to one of the dogs barking downstairs. Stumbling down to the first floor, I was hit with a stench so vile it made my toes curl. Abbie greeted me at the bottom of the stairs begging to go out. I checked on Cooper, but he was curled up on the sofa with his nose buried under his back leg. And then I noticed the huge pile of poop on the kitchen floor. Why does stuff like this always happen in the middle of the night, when all I want is a few hours of blessed, uninterrupted sleep? Maizy was crouched in the corner, making another pile.
I scooped her up and carried her to the litter box in the basement, and cleaned up the mess with one hand, while I held my nose with the other. After disinfecting the entire floor, I barricaded her in the room with a litter box so she couldn't go anywhere else. (like on the new rug in the living room.)
I dragged my now-nauseous self back up the stairs to bed and burrowed under the covers, trying to forget the stench, but I swore I could still smell poop. Thirty seconds later, Mr. Chubbs jumped on the bed, and settled down next to me. I couldn't stand it. I had to check to see if I had any on me from cleaning up. I booted him off the bed and checked my pajamas, and finding them poop free, I shut the cat out of our bedroom and went back to sleep. When Dave got up he found fresh piles all over the floor in the kitchen, and after picking them up, he thoughtfully sprayed the spots with disinfectant and covered them with paper towels. That's the state the kitchen was in when I got up...and lest you think that was the end of it, it wasn't. We soon discovered that the poopy bouquet I detected in bed had emanated from Mr. Chubb's furry behind. He, too, was in apparent gastric distress, but unlike Maizy, he wasn't confined to one room. On the contrary, he spread little bits on our comforter and upholstered chair, on the bath mats, the bathroom floor, our bedroom rug, on the stairs, (which I of course, stepped in) everywhere but his litter box...after catching him and carting his poopy ass to the sink downstairs, we managed to hose him off and shampoo him back to his sweet smelling self.
I would have taken pictures if I could have, (because there's nothing better looking than a half-drowned cat) but it took all four hands just to keep him from clawing us to death while we washed him...on the bright side, there are fresh sheets on the bed, and the whole house is cleaner than it's been in months.

It's a good thing I'm an optimist.

For more stories about crazy things we do for love, hop over to San Diego Momma's place for the latest Prompt Tuesday...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

in the home stretch

My life has been full lately. Too full to have time for a report, and as much as I'd like to, I couldn't possibly recount the past month right now, seeing as I don't seem to have two brain cells to rub together at the moment. Three weeks with very little sleep will do that to you. I've heard that sleep deprivation can lead to hallucinations and all sorts of spiritual awakenings, but so far, it's just making me feel like a two year old trying to teach a class in rocket science to a classroom full of frogs. (see what I mean?) Anyway, I'll be back next week sometime...and hopefully making sense again. Or not.
Catch ya later,