Friday, November 20, 2009

We Have A Winner!

We have a winner! I bet you're saying to yourself, "Who won what?" Why the golf ball contest. If you remember last spring I posted a golf ball contest open to all of my blog readers. The person who came closest to guessing the number of balls I picked up this summer would win the cookies of their choice to be delivered by the US Post Office.

Here's a sneak peek of what I have picked this summer.


Lucky for you I wrote down everyone's guesses. In case you don't remember your guess here it is:

Carla 131

Sarah 181

Chris 192, 630 I thought his guess of 630 was so far off the mark I gave him another chance.

Rachel 460

Traci 174

Cory 302

John 72, 219 I have no idea why he has two entries

Scott 205

Marv 225

Here's another look.


That sure looks like a lot of balls to me.


To be fair I thought I would let Jo count the balls.

She had other ideas. I don't think she has counting on her mind.


Jo, come back! My blog readers need you!


Here she comes. I knew I could count on her. Count on her. Haha.


Jo has finally decided to get down to business.


The last ball.


Well, Jo, what's the final count? Who won the cookies?

Jo says....

the final count is.....


448! That makes Rachel the winner! Congratulations, Rachel. That was a lot closer than I thought anyone would be. Let me know what your favorite cookie is and I will get those out to you. Well, not right out. I will be in Cincinnati, Michigan and Germany in the next two weeks. But when I get back those cookies will be baked and in the mail making their way to you.

Jo is exhausted from all of the counting but should recover by next summer to do it all again.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sarah's Turn

Just because it was Katie's 9th birthday that didn't mean the whole day was going to be devoted to her. The morning had belonged to Katie but the afternoon belonged to Sarah.

After lunch we made our way to our next destination. Of course, we had to take photos on the way. It looks like she is still loving Sam.

katie & sam, chicago, 10.09

These Victoria Secret Wings were all over the city. I'm not sure what it was all about but people, including us, were having fun standing in front of the wings and having our photos taken. Even Sam got in on the fun.

sam & katie, chicago, 10.09

I couldn't convince Sarah to pose with the wings. Where is her sense of adventure?

This was our destination for the afternoon.

chicago, 10.09

Do you need a closer look?

macys, chicago, 10.09


macys, chicago, 10.09

We were at Macys to look at wedding dresses. This was Sarah's second visit to a bridal salon to look and try on dresses. They didn't allow pictures so I don't have any of the actual event but I can show you how Katie amused herself for the couple of hours we spent there.

katie, chicago, 10.09

I can tell you that she ended up liking a dress that was very much like the one she had liked in Pittsburgh. Go figure.

On our way to dinner we enjoyed a little street music. Street music is the best.

chicago, 10.09

It was quite a day of contrasts for my not that much younger sister and I. We took one daughter to pick out her first American Girl doll and we took one daughter to pick out a wedding dress. Life is funny like that.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dinner (Rolls) or Disaster?

Yes, it is time for another installment of Dinner or Disaster. Yesterday I decided to try Pioneer Woman's Buttered Rosemary Rolls. Do I have your attention? I sure had Dave's when I told him what I was baking last night.

First things first. I had to purchase my second piece of cast iron (Lodge, of course) for this recipe. I know what you are thinking. What does a cast iron pan have to do with dinner rolls? In Pioneer Woman's world everything. And now in my world .... everything.

I'm not even going to make you wait until the end of this post for the verdict on this recipe. Five forks!

Now that you know the ending let's go back to the beginning.

One new well-seasoned pan filled with frozen bread rolls.


Three hours later I had this.


I have to admit I cheated a little. I warmed the oven up a little bit and let the rolls rise inside. The house was cold and I knew they weren't going to get to where they needed to be by dinner time.

I should have left well enough alone and baked them but I thought I would let them rise for a few more minutes and then promptly forgot about them. An hour later I remembered I had rolls rising in the oven and found this.



Next time I will be a little more vigilant.

No matter. It was time to enhance these rolls with melted butter, fresh rosemary and coarse sea salt. I then just popped those little babies in the oven for 18 minutes and ended up with this.


Can I just say, "Wow!" They tasted as good as they looked. Dave gave them five forks and then promptly ate half of them with his chili that night.

Pioneer Woman, you have a winner! I loved the taste of the salt with the butter. I have been on a salt kick lately and these fit the bill nicely. Ask me sometime about the salted chocolate I have been eating. Yummy!!

If you care to make these yourself, and why wouldn't you, here is the recipe.

Buttered Rosemary Rolls

Frozen, Unbaked Dinner Rolls
Melted Butter, Regular, Salted
Fresh Rosemary, Coarsely Chopped
Coarse Sea Salt

Preparation Instructions

Spray a small iron skillet with cooking spray (or coat with olive oil). Place frozen rolls in the skillet, leaving plenty of room for rising. Cover and allow to rise for several hours.

After rising, brush rolls with melted butter.

Sprinkle on chopped rosemary. Brush with additional butter.
Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Bake according to roll package directions (usually 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes), until rolls are a deep golden brown on top.

Serve skillet on the table.

Now go forth and bake.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sam I Am

Now that the doll had been chosen it was time for lunch. Can you believe that not only was this a store to buy everything related to American Girl but it also contained a restaurant? We had reservations for eleven and we were right on time.

Isn't the dining room pretty? Just like you would imagine it would be.

american girl, chicago, 10.09

I love Gerbera Daisies.

american girl, chicago, 10.09

Here's one way to get us all in the same photo.

katie, carla, carrie, sarah, chicago, 10.09

American Girl has thought of everything.

Katie's doll even had her own chair

sam, chicago, 10.09

and her own cup.


Our waiter came to our table and introduced himself and took our orders. Our waiter who when he found out that Sarah was a ND graduate had the nerve to mention the words "ND and arrogant" in the same sentence. A waiter who we were to find out was a Michigan graduate (Masters, mind you) and was serving us while wearing a pink apron. Sarah was gracious and didn't point out who was on which side of the table.

First things first. A toast to the birthday girl and her new doll.

american girl, chicago, 10.09

They didn't forget about us "real" people either. Isn't the hors d' oeuvres plate pretty?

american girl, chicago, 10.09

After the toast and nibbling it was time to get down to business. What was this doll's name going to be? I quickly suggested Jo. Katie said Carson. Jo or Carson? The fairest thing was to put it to a vote. Jo - 3, Carson - 1. This didn't look good for Katie. Then she had an idea. There was still one vote that hadn't been counted.

Those in favor of the name Carson raise your hand.

sam, chicago, 10.09

katie, chicago, 10.09

Uh, Katie, you are still one vote short.

The Michigan grad in the pink apron appeared at our table. Problem solved. Mr. Waiter, Jo or Carson? Jo. The waiter in the pink apron voted for Jo. It was now 4 to 1 for Jo.

Now what?

Sam. What about Sam? All in favor of Sam raise your hand. Five hands up. Sam it is.

Now that that she had a name it was time to really get down to business. Lunch!

katie, chicago, 10.09

They served our desserts in blue flower pots. Too cute.

sam & katie,chicago, 10.09

I think she likes her.

sam & katie, chicago, 10.09

I don't know who is cuter.

katie, chicago, 10.09

Do you see the resemblance? It is hard to believe Sam is adopted. They look like true sisters.

sam & katie, chicago, 10.09

We finished our lunch and did some shopping for Sam. Then it was time to make our way to Macys. Katie wasn't the only one who had some shopping to do this day.

to be continued.....

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Decisions. That would be the word for the day today. A decision for a brand new nine-year-old girl on what American Doll to choose for her birthday. A decision for her slightly older cousin on what dress to choose for her upcoming wedding. It was indeed going to be a day of decisions; both big in the eyes of the one making them.

Our day would begin here.

chicago, 10.09

Luckily for us one one of the big decisions had been made. Katie had decided not to get one of the Historical Dolls. She had decided that she wanted a Just Like You doll. In short she could choose hair, nose, eye color and various other features. It sounded easy but given all of the choices allowed the number of combinations at first seemed overwhelming.

chicago, 10.09

One of the things that I liked was that there was a trading card for every doll listing her features. Katie quickly had her choice down to five. Then the real fun began. Look at the card. Look at the doll. Does she have freckles? Do you like her nose or that one's nose? Is her hair blond or does it look red to you? One can't take these decisions lightly.

katie, chicago, 10.09

We all were looking at cards and then examining dolls. Decisions. Decisions.

carla, chicago, 10.09

Looking at dolls and cards wasn't working. It was time to get serious. It was time to lay the cards on the table and get down to business.

katie, chicago, 10.09

Five had now become two. Progress was being made.

katie, chicago, 10.09

It was time for some intervention.

carla & katie, chicago, 10.09

Even Sarah was pondering the choices. Just think yesterday you were studying for your PE test and today you are studying American Doll cards. Isn't life funny?

sarah, chicago, 10.09

She's made her decision!

carla, katie, sarah, chicago, 10.09

Number 37! She has red hair, green eyes, freckles and the nose her mom and I liked. She's a keeper.

chicago, 10.09

Now it was time to find her on the many shelves that were surrounding us. Easier said than done.

chicago, 10.09

It was time to make it official.

katie & carla, chicago, 10.09

They were meant to be.

katie, chicago, 10.09

A girl and her doll. I think this is a decision that she won't regret.

katie, chicago, 10.09

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