Children, Family, Sharing

Where Did September Go?

  Thanksgiving turkey and pilgrim girl

Dear Aunt Alice,

You said you would be back in September, but we haven’t heard from you. Did you mean September 2012?

Puzzled and Pouting

Dear Puzzled and Pouting,

I can understand your confusion, as I am usually very good at keeping my word, and it is now November, not September. I hope you will forgive me for not returning as quickly as I’d hoped.

The last week of August, I had a severe reaction to a tetanus shot, which caused me a great deal of pain and misery. It was very scary, as well, as I didn’t realize at first that I was having a reaction to the immunization and thought I might be having a stroke.  I still haven’t fully recovered, though I’m about 90% improved.

Worse, after nearly 25 years of marriage, I now find myself in the middle of a divorce. None of the horror stories I have heard from my divorced friends over the years have prepared me for the intense stress and daily struggles that I have been facing, and I simply haven’t had either the time or the energy to write on top of everything else.

I expect that in many ways things will get worse before they get better, and I have sincerely debated this past week whether or not I should close down this blog entirely. After all, there’s only so much a person can do in a day. Taking care of my children comes first, and I am also working toward earning a degree from BYU. Those two things alone take up most of my time. Add in the professional freelance writing and editing that I do, and I’m lucky to find time each day to sneak a bite of chocolate. And we all know how important that is!

But I really do enjoy this blog (maybe not as much as I enjoy chocolate, but still).  So I not only decided to keep it going, but sat down today and planned out an editorial calendar for most of the coming year. You will be seeing more recipes, more money-saving tips, and a monthly post containing tips and suggestions for emergency preparedness.

I hope this will put a smile on your pouty face. After all, this is the month for giving thanks. And no matter the challenges we face, there is always something to be grateful for.

Aunt Alice

Thank you for asking!

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Sharing

See you in September

 

Photo courtesy hortongrou at sxc.hu


 

I have decided to take a blogging break for the remainder of the summer in order to spend more time with my children and my studies (I have two more classes to complete by the end of August).

I will be back sometime in September.

Aunt Alice

 

Humor

In and Out – a Tale of Two Skunks

(Courtesy of my grandmother.  Author unknown.)

Photo by Torli at sxc.hu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once there were two skunks named In and Out.

When In was out, Out was in.

One day Out was in and In was out.

Mother Skunk, who was in with Out, asked Out to go out and bring In in.

So Out went out, and brought In right in.

“How did you find In so quickly?” asked Mother Skunk.

“It was easy,” said Out. “Instinct.”

 

(In stinked.)

 

You may groan now.

 

 

Family, Fourth of July, Holidays, Independence Day, Sharing

July Fourth Quiz: How much do you REALLY know about our Founding Fathers?

Happy Independence Day!

Do you and your family have fun plans for this fourth of July?

Photo by linder6580 at sxc.hu

I have two family members who avoid going outside during the fireworks due to asthma, but tonight we’re going to have homemade pizzas, red-white-and-blue Jell-o (whipped topping for the white) and an as yet to be determined desert (though it will likely involve something either frozen or chocolate, or both!). Then we’ll probably spend the evening playing games, and maybe watching  “I Dream of Jeannie” or a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.

(Yes, I do realize what century we’re in. Thank you for asking.)

Fun aside, I also plan to take a few minutes tomorrow to remind my children of how the United States became a country, and of some of the sacrifices that many men and women made so that we could be free.

Have a safe, and happy, fourth of July!

(Note: the original link to the Founding Fathers quiz has been deleted,
due to complaints about the host site. Instead, you can find the original
questions and their answers below. I apologize for any inconvenience.)

For fun, see how many of these trivia questions you can answer correctly:

  1. Who convinced General Washington to attend the Constitutional Convention, even announcing his expected attendance before the general agreed to come?

    • Benjamin Franklin
    • John Adams
    • Thomas Jefferson
    • James Madison
  2. True or False: Even though Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, he was anti-slavery and proposed a bill in 1784 to avoid its spread

    • False
    • True
  3. Who was called “America’s noble patriot” by his contemporaries?

    • George Washington
    • Patrick Henry
    • Thomas Jefferson
  4. During the French & Indian War, George Washington

    • stayed out of the fray, and so escaped unharmed.
    • was injured severly, but miraculously recovered.
    • was unhurt, even though he had four bullets through his coat & 2 horses shot out from under him.
  5. At age 15, John Adams

    • met his future wife, Abigail.
    • entered Harvard University
    • became a schoolmaster.
  6. True or False: George Washington freed all of his slaves in his will

    • True
    • False
  7. In addition to authoring the Declaration of Independence, for which of his many accomplishments did Thomas Jefferson most want to be remembered:

    • Author of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom
    • President of the United States
    • Secretary of State
    • Minister to France
  8. Benjamin Franklin:

    • was an agnostic.
    • had a firm belief in God.
    • was an atheist.

Answers:

  1. James Madison convinced Washington to attend the Constitutional Convention.
  2. True. Though  Jefferson did own slaves, he did make an effort to end the practice of slavery.
  3. Patrick Henry was called “The Noble Patriot.”
  4. Amazingly, Washington was completely unhurt during the French and Indian War, although in one of the worst battles every other mounted officer was killed. Washington himself wrote of this: “By the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human robablility or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me!” (as quoted in “Founding Fathers, Uncommon Heroes,” by Steven W. Allen, p.51)
  5. John Adams entered Harvard University at age 15.
  6. More than anything, James Madison wished to be remembered for his contribution as Author of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom .
  7. Benjamin Franklin was not an atheist, as some have claimed but had a firm belief in God. (See his autobiography, as well as some of his other writings.)
Fiction, Short stories, Writing

Just for fun, a Short Short Story: “Going Out”

GOING OUT

by Alice Workman

Terri dragged herself into the kitchen, dropping her coat on a chair, and found Jim staring blankly at the open fridge.  “Let’s go out tonight.”

Jim picked her up and spun around, making her squeal. “Great idea!  We have that $50 Aunt Harriet sent us.”

Photo by jmjvicente at sxc.hu

“Let’s see a movie. A double feature! With buckets of popcorn, M&M’s and soda.”  He licked his lips as though they were already coated with butter and salt.

Terri grabbed his shoulders excitedly.  “Jim! The Operetta Club is doing Pirates of Penzance tonight.  I didn’t mention it before, because I didn’t think we could afford it, and by the time Aunt Harriet’s check came I thought they were sold out, but I heard that there are a few seats left,  and—“

“And you’ve seen it a billion times on DVD.”

“That’s not the same!”

“No, it’s worse.  A real man wouldn’t be caught dead in that audience.”

Terri grinned, sliding her arm through his.  “That’s why I’m taking you while you’re still living.”

Jim shook his head.  “Let’s order pizzas—loaded.  Rent some movies. Have a marathon!”

She scowled.  “I want to go out.  And we can afford better than pizza for once.  Let’s go to The Golden Glove.”

“Golden Gauntlet,” he sneered. “They charge $50 just to smell the food!”

“You always make fun of what I want to do.”

“I have to make fun—or I don’t get any.  Not around you.”

“You think you’d have more fun without me?”

“Absolutely!”

“Go ahead then,” she challenged.  “Give me half of the money.  We’ll each do what we want.”

“You have it all—give me half!”

You cashed the check, remember?  No, of course you don’t.  You forget everything.”

“You just think I’ve forgotten because you can’t remember.”  He grabbed her purse.  “I’ll bet you my half it’s in here.”

“Get out of my purse!  You’ll mess it all up!”

“Like it’s so organized!”

They jumped when the doorbell buzzed.  Jim answered it, still holding the purse.

“Hey, Jim.  Nice purse.  Going somewhere fancy tonight?”

Terri snickered.  Jim turned crimson, and quickly shoved the purse at Terri. “Todd.  Hi. What’s up?”

“I came for the money you owe me.”  Jim looked blank. “Fifty bucks.  Remember?”

“Didn’t I pay you back?”

“Nope.  Boy, your memory’s getting bad!”

Terri poked Jim in the ribs, glowering at him.

With a smirk, Jim snatched her purse, pulled out $50 and handed it over to Todd with a flourish. Terri sulkily leaned against the wall, arms crossed. “So, what are your plans for tonight, Todd?”

Todd lovingly caressed the $50 bill lying in his palm.  “Actually,” he looked up, “Terri, would you like to go out with me tonight?”

Terri brightened and dashed into the kitchen, calling, “I’ll get my coat!”  Jim’s hands tightened into fists.

Todd laughed.  “Don’t worry, Jim.  I’ll take good care of your sister.”  He waved the bill.  “There’s a lot we could do for fifty bucks.”

Desserts, ice cream, kitchen, Quick and easy, Recipes, Sharing

Fabulicious Root Beer Ice Cream

Ooohs, aaahs and mmmmmmms filled my kitchen this afternoon, finally broken by my teenager’s question, “Do we have to save some for Pez?”  J.S., who was asking, had also been the one to make the ice cream we were enjoying.  Unlike the times when he helps make other food in the kitchen, he volunteered to do it.  Practically begged.

Pez would be home from kindergarten in about 15 minutes – plenty of time to finish off the rest of the ice cream and hide the evidence.  Then again, he’d probably smell it the minute he came in. Darn.

So I did the grownup thing and said that we had to share.(Too bad I didn’t think of just airing the house out.)

Root beer ice cream became an instant favorite at our house after I first experimented with making it. I had a tiny vial of root beer extract that had been sitting on my shelf since I’d picked up at Wal-mart the Christmas before, and thought that instead of spending time making root beer and ice cream for floats I would try combining the two.

It was a hit.

Unfortunately, that was the last time I ever saw root beer extract for sale in our town.

Anywhere.

Finally, during my vacation in Utah last month, I hit the jackpot. I was at the grocery store with my mom, and happened to look up and see a shelf full of beautiful bottles of root beer extract. Bless the Utahans.

I quickly grabbed four of them to pack home (bottles, not Utahans), crossing my fingers that they wouldn’t leak all over the books that nearly filled the rest of my suitcase.

I hope they last until my next visit.

(The bottles, I mean. There’s no way the books will last that long.)

Next on my list is to come up with a dairy-free version.  I generally use coconut milk for dairy-free ice cream, but I don’t think coconut and root beer would make a good combination.  When I find something that works, I’ll let you know.

Meanwhile, I’ll take pity on you and quit my rambling to share the actual recipe.

Warning:  do not attempt to make this unless you have access to a ready supply of root beer extract.  You have been warned.

Fabulicious Root Beer Ice Cream

  • 3 C whole milk* (or 2 C milk and 1 C cream)
  • 3/4 C sugarCuisinart ice cream maker
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 tsp root beer extract

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and mix well. Freeze according to your
ice cream maker’s instructions.

(I use the Cuisinart ice cream maker pictured at right, which
I highly recommend.  The ice cream is ready to eat in
about half an hour, and no
rock salt or ice are needed.)

*I use raw, organic whole milk, which has an abundance of cream.

Have a great summer!