Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I have such wonderful memories of Halloween.  Just one look at an old Halloween cutout decoration makes me warm & fuzzy inside.  We had such little entertainment available to us back in the day.   I think the beautiful harvest moon & the fall weather also helps color all of my trick-or-treat memories "happy" as well.   I grew up in a big old 200+ year old house and our Halloweens were filled with great treats & fun with the neighborhood kids.     It's one of my very favorite times of the year.   Of course I have great memories of my own children & their fun Halloween escapades.

Nowadays I'm combining 2 of my favorite things:   being a Doda & enjoying Halloween!    I'm so very happy that my grandsons now live back in Louisiana (where they belong).  

Who wouldn't be overjoyed with being Doda to Captain America & Spiderman? Each one of these little boys own 1/2 of my heart!        

Eddie & Noah aka:  Captain America & Spiderman

I always loved it when my momma sent things to school that I was able to pass out to the kids in my class.   I always tried to be a room mother or helper at school with my boys & now I get to do things like this for my grandsons!  Being a grandmother is such a joy!   

This year, I decided to make some homemade, from scratch, caramel popcorn balls.   I started out with cooking popcorn the old fashioned way..no microwave-nuked-kernels for my grandsons.   Honestly, it had been so long since I didn't opt for the push-button popcorn packages that I couldn't remember how to pop popcorn on the stove top.   I found this awesome "no fail" Perfect Popcorn recipe & it worked out beautifully.   This recipe was borrowed from http://www.simply recipes.com    Check out their website for some other great stuff.   


*3 TB canola or peanut oil (high smoke point oil)
*1/3 cup high quality popcorn kernels
*1  3 quart covered saucepan
*2 TB or more (to taste) real butter
* salt to taste

1.  Heat oil in 3 qt saucepan on MEDIUM high heat.
2.  Put 3 or 4 kernels into the oil & cover the pan.
3. When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer.  Add salt to taste at this point. It will infuse into the popcorn as it pops.   Cover, REMOVE FROM HEAT, and count 30 seconds.  (This method heats the oil to the correct temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when put back on the heat, they all pop about the same time.
4.  Return the pan to the heat.  The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once.  Once the popping begins in earnest, gently shake the pan by moving it back & forth over the burner.  Try to keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam escape.  This will make a crispier popcorn product.   Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove lid & immediately dump popcorn into a wide mouthed bown.    HARDLY any unpopped kernels will be left with this method. 
5.  If you are adding butter, you can melt into pan while it's still hot & pour over popped corn.

This recipe is AH-MAZING!   In fact, I don't think I'll ever buy microwave popcorn again.  

Next step is to make a batch of my BASIC CARAMEL SAUCE.  This recipe I've had for years & is great on ANYTHING!    I use it with apple pies for a delish finish.  


*4 TB butter (I used salted but either is fine)
*1 CUP packed light brown sugar
*1/2 CUP corn syrup (lite)
*7 OUNCE sweetened condensed milk (this is 1/2 can)
*2 TSP pure vanilla extract


1.  Combine butter, sugar & corn syrup in small, heavy, saucepan over MEDIUM heat & cook, stirring occasionally.  Once butter has melted bring it to a boil.  Add condensed milk & continue to boil for 5 minutes.   Continuing to stir to prevent scorching.  Remove from heat & stir in the vanilla extract.    Stir until smooth.  



I poured the sauce over approximately 10 cups of popped corn.  Stir GENTLY until covered & once it's cool enough to touch, butter your hands & roll into balls (whatever size you desire).  Place the balls on a buttered sheet of wax paper until cooled.  This is what it will look like once it's stirred together well.     The freshness of these scratch methods really come thru... they are simply delicious, if I say so myself (which I just did)! 


Since I was making them for my grandsons friends I decided to make them a bit smaller than usual & inserted small sticks. 

I put them in some cute Halloween cupcake liners & small plastic bags.   Here is the end result.   They are gonna be so excited to pass out to all their classmates tomorrow!    I'm also so very thankful to have a beautiful daughter-in-law who lets me be a Super Doda to my heart's content!!

I'm looking forward to donning my Witchie-Poo costume tomorrow night during the harvest moon & going over to pass out candy at my son & daughter-in-law's house while they bring the kids trick-or-treating.   

 I hope you all have a wonderful time & enjoy this fun holiday! 

Take good care,

Thursday, October 18, 2012


If you read the title to this post, you may think I'm referencing my wonderful husband of 32 years.  Although it is hard to know where I end & he begins after all these years, what I am actually referencing is the second half century of my life.   While I don't anticipate living to see 100, I'm gonna shoot for it anyway.   What's the worse that can happen?   I don't think I even WANT to live to be a 100.  Not unless they come up with some much better anti-aging medication and a way to halt gravity.    Once you start looking at yourself in the mirror naked after age 40, 2 words come to mind:  "GRAVITY WORKS!". 

I'm turning 50 next month.  Wow!  Where HAS the time gone?   Seems like I just got here.   While I'm not very excited at the thought of becoming a 50 something, I'm also not upset about it either.   The wisdom of life really does make you appreciate things more once you get older.   My main issue with the entire idea of it is that I don't really "feel" old!    People say 50 isn't old.... but really?   It's pretty old.   That being said, I fully intend to embrace my 50's.   I look forward to enjoying my next half century of my life.      

Many folks do a bucket list of things they want to do before they die.  Things like jumping out of perfectly good airplanes or climbing Mount Everest.  My list may not seem quite as extreme as that.   It's not so much a bucket list of things to do as a list of changes I'd like to implement in my life.

First & foremost, I'm going to fully embrace the fact that I am not, nor have I ever been, a morning person.  My body just doesn't function well in the morning.  As my sweet husband will attest, I am somewhat of a Grumpy Gill in the morning.   I own it.   Not only do I not wake up ready to seize the day with gusto, I just plain wake up thinking how much I don't want to get up.   My brain and mood are in a negative place in the early hours, but my body also doesn't work well in the morning.  I have joint issues and they all seem to seize up during the night.   Sometimes it feels like the Tin Man.  I need to "oil the hinges" to get going.   So, after many years of raising kids and working that forced me to get up early and get moving, I've finally arrived at a point where I am in control of my own schedule.  No kids to feed, no 9-5 office hours.  Therefore, I recently made the executive life decision that I will NO LONGER agree to or obligate myself to be anywhere before 9 AM.  In fact, I had some appointments that I made several months ago that I've already called to reschedule for later in the day.    Done!

One of the other decisions I've made is that I plan to wake up more mornings prepared to laugh a lot that day.   It sort of goes hand in hand with the first one.  It gives me more motivation to get my day started.   

I'm going to be working on my "Second Half List" more in the upcoming weeks. I only have roughly six weeks left of being a forty-something & I hope to have a comprehensive list of great things by my birthday!

On another note, my sweet hubby is bringing me on a great birthday trip to one of my favorite places to visit, New York City!  I LOVE that place. It makes me feel so alive.  The energy is palpable and I can't wait to be there during the holidays.  We plan to watch the lighting of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, take in some great shows and do some shopping!  

Hope you all laugh a lot today.  I plan to!!

Take good care,