Saturday, June 19, 2010

Graduation Day!

It was a most perfect evening last night as the bleachers filled to watch the 653 students in the Cherokee High School Class of 2010 receive their diplomas.
Our youngest daughter, Abbey

Abbey and our oldest grandson, Jared
(these two have been best buddies since he was born)
Abbey and Dad
Abbey and Mom
Abbey and Dad after the ceremony
During the commencement
Congratulations, Abbey!
We Love you!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Favorite Photo Friday and Finding Beauty

All shots were taken with a Canon EOS Digital Rebel

I like the angle of this astilbe flower because of the star-like pattern that isn't noticeable when viewing from the side. I also like the background blur as well as the textures. Simple pink and green pallet too.
Contrast was added but not much more.
Exp. 1/128
f-stop f/7.0
ISO 1000
No flash
We spend so much time here on the patio, having supper most nights and relaxing. It is one of my very favorite places to be. I find it just fills my senses. Green is everywhere in the old trees that line the length of the street, the boxwoods that hedge in and provide privacy to the patio, the grass and the bushes. Pops of color from the currently blooming flowers and from the window boxes. Birds chipping and flying back and forth to the nest up in the corner of the roof. Hummers at the feeder. The sweet fragrance of flowers especially when the lilac was blooming. The activity of hopping bunnies, squirrels chasing each other in the trees and the scurrying chipmunk (the occasional vole/shrew totally undoes me and ruins the experience) The backdrop of blue sky and white clouds. The dapples light filtering in through the trees. And the soft rustling of the leaves from the gentle breeze. I also enjoy my Schnauzer in the tree :) Maybe that's why I love this spot so much... it is so dreamy with a bit of fantasy.
About the photo:
exp 1/64
f-stop f/8.0
ISO 1000
no flash
I don't even have to tell you why this is a favorite photo :)
He turned 13 yesterday

Here's what I did to the photo:
Obviously, I did not take this photo
Cropped (too much blank house siding)
Color removed leaving just a hint for warmth
Lightened a bit
Slight Ortonish effect
f-stop f/5
Exp 1/60 sec
ISO 400
Auto Flash
Kind of posed if you call handing camera to husband and grabbing much loved grandson for a birthday hug. (I won't tell you how sad he was that he couldn't come home with us last night and miss school today. This mom-mom is picking him up from school this afternoon to spend the weekend with us)

Lemon cake with lemon filling, cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with coconut

Want to join in? Stop by Valerie's Favorite Photo Friday and post your favorite photo!
Also linking to Claudia's Finding Beauty!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Show and Tell ~ Porch Bench

John made this bench for me many years ago. It has found a home in various places around the house and spent many years at the kitchen table. I like benches because you can squeeze in lots of little ones.
In recent years, it received a coat of white paint and took up residence on the front porch. A perfect place to set packages down while fiddling for the house key.
An even better place for grandchildren to gather or folks to sit a spell
Did you notice the nose-y pup peeking out the door window?

How excited I was to see this post on In His Grip. Her husband and his dad made the very same bench for her about 20 years ago!
As a toddler, Abbey loved to climb on the bench and play peek-a-boo. These photos were taken in 91 and 92.
(This same little tot will be graduating High School Friday evening)
Joining Cindy @My Romantic Home for Show & Tell Friday!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Outdoor Wednesday ~ Daisies

(Click to enlarge if words are too small to read)

Visit Susan @A Southern Daydreamer to see more
Outdoor Wednesday
posts!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Raisin Swirl Bread ~ TWD

Susan of Food.Baby picked
Raisin Swirl Bread
for this weeks Tuesday with Dorie
My favorite way to enjoy cinnamon bread is toasted and Dorie's tasted delicious.
It was made using a mixer using the paddle attachment and then a dough hook, it can also be done by hand.
The yeast is ready...
See how nice it rose...
At my husbands request, I doubled the cinnamon and sugar. He doesn't want a hint, he wants a pow of flavor!
I added all of Dories optional ingredient suggestions, including vanilla, orange zest, freshly grated nutmeg and unsweetened cocoa powder. The result was a slightly firm exterior and soft inside.
Here is Dorie's recipe:

For the bread:

1 packet active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar, plus a pinch
1 1/4 cups just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons or 60g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
Grated zest of 1/2 orange (optional)
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
3 3/4 to 4 cups all-purpose (plain) flour

For the swirl:
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
1 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden)
3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, softened to a spreadable consistency

To make the bread:
Put the yeast in a small bowl, toss in the pinch of sugar and stir in 1/4 cup of the warm milk. Let rest for 3 minutes, then stir - the yeast may not have dissolved completely and it may not have bubbled, but it should be soft.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the remaining 1 cup of milk, the butter and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and mix for a minute or two. Add the salt, egg and vanilla, if you are using it, as well as the zest and nutmeg, if you're using them, and mix for a minute. In all likelihood, the mixture will look unpleasantly curdly (it will look even worse when you add the yeast). Add the yeast mixture and beat on low-medium speed for 1 minute more.

Turn the mixer off and add 2 3/4 cups of the flour. Mix on low speed just until you work the flour into the liquids - you'll have a sticky mix. If you've got a dough hook, switch to it now. Add another 1 cup of flour, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the dough for a couple of minutes. If the dough does not come together and almost clean the sides of the bowl, add up to 1/4 cup more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Keep the mixer speed at medium and knead the dough for about 3 minutes, or until it is smooth and has a lovely buttery sheen. The dough will be very soft, much too soft to knead by hand.

Butter a large bowl, turn the dough into a bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Put the bowl in a warm place and let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Scrape the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, wrap it and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm enough to be rolled easily. (At this point, you can instead refrigerate the dough overnight if that is more convenient).

To make the swirl and shape the loaf:
Butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and cocoa, if you're using it. Check that the raisins are nice and moist; if they're not, steam them for a minute, then dry them well.

Put the dough on a large work surface lightly dusted with flour, lightly dust the top of the dough and roll the dough into a rectangle about 12 x 18 inches.

Gently smear 2 tablespoons of the butter over the surface of the dough - this is most easily done with your fingers. Sprinkle over the sugar mixture and scatter over the raisins. Starting from a short side of the dough, roll the dough up jelly-roll fashion, making sure to roll the dough snugly. Fit the dough into the buttered pan, seam side down, and tuck the ends under the loaf.

Cover the pan loosely with wax paper and set in a warm place; let the dough rise until it comes just a little above the edges of the pan, about 45 minutes.

Getting ready to bake:
When the dough has almost fully risen, centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees Celsius). Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.

Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter, and brush the top of the loaf with the butter. Put the pan on the baking sheet and bake the bread for about 20 minutes. Cover loosely with a foil tent and bake for another 25 minutes or so, until the bread is golden and sounds hollow when the bottom of the pan is tapped. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes, then unmold. Invert the bread and cool to room temperature right side up on the rack.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mosaic Monday

Happy Baby...

Happy as a lark sitting in the toy basket while Mommy and Mom-Mom chat on the front porch watching sister and brothers play in the yard.

Happy siblings...
My sister, Carol and brother, Frank and I
had a fun time together today at a cousins engagement party.

Carol has three children and four granddaughters
Frank had six children, three grandchildren and one on the way
I have four daughters and nine grandchildren

Joining Mary @Little Red House for Mosaic Monday!

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