Welcome to 'Attic of the Heart'!

Welcome from north-central Connecticut! In this blog I will share whatever is in my heart, on my mind, or something interesting I've found to share. Thanks for stopping by!

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Friday, February 29, 2008

Snow, Lunar eclipse, Jimmy Stewart and Quiche...

More snow!! I was so hoping we were done with all that. But no, here comes another 4 -8 inches. Oh joy. Well, better now than mid March?? But that can happen too. Being in New England, one must be prepared for the unexpected in regards to the weather.

The moon was absolutely huge last week. So beautiful.I did see part of the lunar eclipse the other night. Just a big orangy dark moon.

What was it Jimmy Stewart said about the moon in 'It's a Wonderful Life'? Something about: 'You want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down.' I loved that movie. I love Jimmy Stewart. He was fabulous in Mr. Deeds goes to Washington. I watched a remake of 'Harvey' last night, but it just wasn't the same without him. Leslie Neilson and Swoozie Kurtz did ok, but honestly, the lady who played Elwoods' sister in the originally was the best. There was something just honestly funny about the first one.

Speaking of old movies, I am trying to buy a copy of 'June Bride' with Robert Montgomery and Bette Davis. I loved that one! Set in Indiana (my home state), editors of a magazine, who are on again/off again lovers, go to do a photo shoot of a wedding in January I think, in an old victorian house. I would have loved to see that house in color. It was so quaint. I loved the scene about the apple cider. I hope they bring it out on DVD. Here's hoping...

Leap year. One extra day before spring. Not sure I like that...

I made Ham and Cheese Quiche this morning. I 'fell' out of bed at 5:30am, which is like unheard of for me. But for some strange reason, I have been waking about 5am or shortly before. My husband gets up about that time, and usually I sleep through and never hear him. So after 3 days of this, I decided to just get up. I hate to get up before the sun, but as I climbed into the shower, I could see an orange horizen where the sun was trying to rise. I actually like dawn, just never get to see it. :0)
Below is the recipe for the quiche. It really is good, and easy to make with Pillsbury pie crust. I have a good crust recipe, very flaky, but hate to make piecrust. It falls apart on me, it's so flaky. Bakes up nice though. The main thing is not to over handle it. Kind of like biscuits. Same idea.

Recipe for

HAM AND CHEESE QUICHE

1 pie crust
1 TB or so softened butter
5 eggs
1 1/4 C. Lite cream or 1/2 and 1/2
2 TB minced onion
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 C Ham, chopped
2 C Cheddar cheese, chopped

Preheat oven to 425F.
Prepare crust in 10 inch glass pie plate. Spread butter on bottom and up sides of pie crust.
Chill in freezer for 10 min.
In medium bowl, beat 5 eggs, then beat in cream, then add spices, onion, ham and cheese.
Pour into crust, making sure everything is evenly spread about.
Bake @ 425F for 15 MINUTES.
Then, lower temp to 325F for 35 - 45 min, or till knife comes out clean in center of pan.
Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Farms, flowers and moving...

We are finally preapproved. Now we can really search for a home. No more renting! Whoo hoo!
This time of year, the housing market is slow. New stuff is trickling on slowly. Hopefully March will likely bring more.

My wish list: In an ideal world, if I could afford it, I would love a farm. I envy those who are lucky enough to have an acreage in the country. I grew up on farms. The first one, in the midwest, was 40 acres. The second one was a 100 acre farm in NB, Canada. Another place we owned had 17. (I tell my parents it's all their fault. I was raised on a farm, and now nothing less will do. :0)) I don't expect that much, especially here with land being so expensive, but 1 - 5 would certainly be nice.



Me, when I was 12, with Crickett. Wow, was I really that slim?! Those were the good old days...


One acre would allow me to get a horse again. I haven't owned horses in over 10 years. I figure it's now or never, because I'm in my 40's already and plus it would be a great source of exercise. (yes the horse does most of it, but really, if you aren't in good shape, you will be SO sore!)
I would love a bit of pasture or hay field, even next door, so that in haying season, the deeply satisfying scent of newmown hay would waft through my house. It brings back such great memories of peaceful moments in our old barn.
I had always wanted a big old rambling farmhouse with good bones that I could make my own. Now that I'm older, I'm thinking a bit smaller, and better insulated. Oil prices are skyrocketing as I type this.
Oh, mustn't forget the garage. A nice two car garage for my husband. And a barn for me. A little potting shed would be a bonus, but we could always build one if we have to.
Anyway, that is my dream. I'll be lucky to get an acre here. Much less a barn. Oh well. At least we can actually buy something now. I can't wait. I am excited about planting gardens, both veggie and flower gardens. Maybe some fruit trees, shrubs, etc. I'm going to take my flowers that I brought here with me to our new place - they will finally have a permanent home. I love flowers. I love to buy them, plant them, dig them up and plant them again. I want one of each please. :0)
Must be that 'midwest farm girl' thing. It never leaves you.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Huge white fluffy flakes...

Snowing again. Big fat fluffy flakes. The pretty kind. They are actually about the size of a silver dollar. Some are 2 or 3 connected together. The temps must be right around freezing. The weather front is supposed to last another day, rain and snow. I have nowhere pressing to go, so I think I will just snuggle in (in front of the computer, of course!) and enjoy. :0)

PS: Oh! Big news item. We got preapproved today! Yay! Now we are official serious home buyers. Now, if the interest rate would just go down again, and home prices drop 50%, we'd be all set...sigh.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Hebron High School...

Wow. Seeing my old school's homepage and that hawk logo sure brought back alot of memories.

We had such a great basketball team back then. We even went to state semi finals. Lost out to a big city team - maybe Indianapolis? We would have won the prize for team spirit though. We had tons of it!
We would decorate the school hallways with posters and streamers, etc. before a big game.
There was a wooden 'keg' that was passed around like a trophy, to whichever school won the game. If your team won, it would be painted in your school colors, and you could keep the keg until the another school won. It was an immense source of pride to our school, and was kept in our schools' display case, painted in our red and white colors with the hawk on front. I believe we had it much of the time.

I played in the pep band, so I got in free to all the home games. The away games that I couldn't get to I listened to on WLS Chicago radio station. I never forgot those call letters, even though I moved from the area in 1979. Funny how you can remember such details from back then, and then can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday. lol.
Oh the joys of being over 40.

I yelled myself hoarse at those games. We had great cheerleaders, a great pep band, and a great team of guys. Overtime was almost overwhelming, it was so wrapped in emotion. Of course, in the Midwest, basketball is big stuff.

When we moved to NB, Canada in 1979, basketball wasn't nearly as big back then. They had just built a centrally located high school a couple of years before to consolidate all the nearby towns which had their own elementary and middle schools. Now, these small towns had been highly competitive with each other for many many years, and suddenly in grade 10, they were all supposed to be on the same team. It has taken years to develop team spirit for Carleton North High School. 25 years later, basketball is much a much bigger sport there now. My nephew, my 2 nieces, and my grandson all play. I wish I could attend them, but 9 hours each way is a long way to go for a game. :0)

I still don't think there is the hoopla that we had back then. Our entire school lives revolved around basketball. I don't think that was a bad thing. Kids need something to focus on besides school work. It made going to school more fun, and created more cohesiveness amongst the students. It didn't matter what grade you were in, if you loved basketball, you had something in common. And that's very important in school.

"Those were the days, my friend...I thought they'd never end..."

Friday, February 22, 2008

Homemade Bread...


There is just something so homey and satisfying about the smell of freshly baked bread. I have a loaf in my oven just about ready to come out. It smells so good! And I'm not even a bread person, really.

I have made homemade bread for probably 20 - 25 years. Shortly after I was married, my girlfriend's mom gave me her recipe for both brown and white bread. It was a 6 loaf recipe, which at that time I made by hand. There were no bread makers back then that I recall. I would bake it and then freeze all but one loaf. I usually alternated - brown one week, white the next. I still do.

Now I just use the bread recipes that came with my bread machine. They are for a 2 lb. loaf.
Here's my:
WHITE BREAD RECIPE:

1 2/3 cup of milk
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 TB butter, softened
4 C. bread flour
1 1/2 TB sugar
2 tsps. active dry yeast.

This is my process:
First, add hot water to your bread pan to warm it while you heat the milk.
Take a 2 cup glass measuring cup and add the milk. Cut 2 TB butter into milk, and microwave mixture for 2 minutes. (If very hot, let cool slight.) (Set time back to 1 min 45 sec if you have a real hot microwave)
Remove hot water from bread pan.
Add milk and butter mix.
Measure in salt.
Add 4 cups bread flour,
then sugar,
then yeast on top.

Put pan in breadmaker and use the 'dough' setting. Mine is for about 1 1/2 hours.
At the beginning of cycle, keep an eye on the dough while mixing to make sure it is all getting mixed in. I use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides if needed. Add more flour if necessary, 1 TB at a time, letting each one mix in before adding another. Dough should be soft, but not too sticky.
(If your pan in banging around, you likely have too much flour, so add a couple tsps of warm water while in your first mixing cycle. Make sure you have enough minutes left to work in whatever you add. Worst case scenario, you can always remove the dough after the first mixing cycle is over, and knead it on your counter to make it correct.)

After the 'dough cycle' is over, grease a couple of regular bread pans with Crisco shortening. (I use one long loaf pan).
I knead the dough for a few seconds on the counter in a bit of flour and divide into two loaves. Add to bread pans, cover with dish towel and set in warm place. (I set mine on the stove. Not turned on, but it seems to work.)
After dough has doubled or so, preheat oven to 375F. Bake for 28 minutes.
You might have to adjust the time depending on how hot your stove is. A minutes either way isn't going to hurt it. The loaf should be a nice golden brown color, and should sound hollow when you tap gently on top of the loaf.
Turn out the loaf on the dish towel you used to cover it with. It should leave the pans with no difficulty if you greased them first. If it sticks alot, your loaf may not be cooked long enough. Bake for another 2 or 3 minutes. Once in awhile, mine will stick because I missed an area.
After removing from pans, I take a stick of butter from the fridge and rub the end of the butter stick over the tops of the loaves, just until shiny. This softens the crust a bit. Let cool completely before storing.
Any questions, just email me. Hope your bread turns out great!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Everything by Lighthouse

I thought I'd post the the lyrics to the video from Youtube that I have posted here on my page. This video is about how you can get distracted by the cares of life, and the wretched state we can get into before we look up is all too real. Seeing Christ represented as taking everything upon Himself for my sake reminds me once again how great His love is for me. It moves me deeply every time I watch this.
Click on the title of this post to go to the Youtube site. It's better viewed there in a bigger format.
EVERYTHING
By Lifehouse, Album: No Name Face

Find Me Here
Speak To Me
I want to feel you
I need to hear you
You are the light
That's leading me
To the place where I find peace again.
You are the strength, that keeps me walking.
You are the hope, that keeps me trusting.
You are the light to my soul.
You are my purpose...you're everything.

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

You calm the storms, and you give me rest.
You hold me in your hands, you won't let me fall.
You steal my heart, and you take my breath away.
Would you take me in? Take me deeper now?

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?
Cause you're all I want, You're all I need
You're everything,everything
You're all I want, your all I need
You're everything, everything.
You're all I want you're all I need.You're everything, everything
You're all I want you're all I need, you're everything, everything.

And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?
How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

February cabin fever and mid winter blues...

February....the joys of midwinter. Cabin Fever. That must be it. I must have a case of cabin fever. Feeling frustrated, unfocused, pointless, fat. Yup. Cabin fever.

I went for a walk yesterday and nearly froze my legs off. That wind can bite! My husband laughed when I told him I went for a walk. 'Yup - picked the coldest day of the year to start her exercise program. That's my wife!' he said.

Oh well. Hopefully I can motivate myself to get back out there today before the next storm hits. Looks like we are going to get another snow/ice/freezing rain storm tonight and tomorrow. Oh joy. The last bad one broke a lot of branches off, big and small. Going to be a big spring clean up, I can see that coming. I think it's time we invested in a chain saw.

Then again...maybe not. When we bought a hand saw, my husband went around seeing what he could use it on. He was bound and determined to cut the posts off our canopy bed so it would fit under the eaves. Fortunately, I managed to convince him otherwise. Disaster averted. Usually he isn't like that, but I guess he got a bit carried away. :0))

Pretty quiet otherwise. Kinda boring actually. All this talk nowadays of how busy people are, and here I sit. No kids at home anymore. I'm not working at the moment. Oh, there's lots to do. One could clean house till the cows come home. I have so many crafts on the go I could work on them for a year likely without going to buy more craft supplies.

My biggest problem is lack of motivation. I really need to get out more. Since we are fairly new here, we really haven't made any friends yet. A few acquaintances, co-workers, and the hardware people recognize me, but that's about it. It seems harder nowadays to find ways to meet people. The church we go to is really big. Two services, over 600 people in each service. Not like we were used to, 300 + people at the most in one service, plus we had spent years in that community, so we knew people before we even went.

It's hard when you move so far away from all your family to a new area. We are not real outgoing people, but we are friendly. I will talk to most anyone. I guess that comes from having moved so much, you realize it may be the only opportunity for a bit of fellowship, so you make the most of it. Even if it is the repairman, cable guy or the nice lady at the CVS.

My neighbors are nice and polite enough, but busy with their own lives. They go about their business and let you go about yours. They have their friends and families, and apparently there are no more openings in those departments. Not hiring.

Sometimes, it seems you are sized up, asked a few pertinent questions to see if you measure up, like "Do you have any kids?" (Nope. If they do, that's a negative on your side) "Where do you work?" (If it isn't in management or a big well known company (like aeronautic or something exciting,) you drop another peg down the ladder. You are swiftly analyzed, categorized, and then ranked on the 'need to get to know better' list. Do I do that? In retrospect, I guess I do sometimes. Not in a snobby way, but in a 'what do we have in common' way. In some areas here, it seems it's a matter of the 'haves and have nots'. We lament the fact that the middle class seems to be disappearing. Not only that, but people are so 'busy' now with their own lives, that there isn't room for socializing any more. Not like it was years ago.

Spoke with a mortgage broker yesterday. We got to talking, and I discovered that her mom was from Saskatchewan. We had lived in Calgary, AB, and had passed through there, so could relate somewhat. She asked me, 'How do you like it here?' I said, 'OK. Connecticut is a beautiful state. Wonderful growing season.' (I am a gardener). Then she said ' But people aren't as friendly here.' Wow! I didn't even have to say it. 'Yes, I have found that. People are polite, but kinda reserved.' She agreed, and said that even coming from Saskatchewan, she found a difference. I wonder why that is...
I read a couple of years ago in the paper an article about a couple who moved here from the Midwest to southern CT. They lived here 3 years, then gave up and moved back. They said they didn't make any friends in those 3 years. They said that people here were 'not friendly'.

I know exactly what that couple meant. If they were from the Midwest, then indeed, these CT people would seem 'not as friendly', for people from the Midwest are generally very open, friendly, and helpful. I know. I grew up there.

The same can be said for most of Maine. They are so friendly that when you go into a convenience store, the clerk is usually more than willing to shoot the breeze with you. Here, you get a strange look, a couple of words in reply, and that's it. Like, you must not be from here. Yup, you're right. I'm not.

Having lived in mid Maine and northern Maine both, as well as western NB. I can honestly say, those people, while they have their faults, love to talk to you. New people are exciting to them. (OK. I will concede that is probably so because most people move AWAY from up there, so anyone moving TO there is indeed a novelty. :0)) Some do have that 'Maine cliquishness' that is mentioned in different articles, but really, they are generally a people of a generous and giving nature.

Are there people here that way? I'm sure there are. But, IMO, I think because there are so many people moving in and out of CT now, that a lot of the 'older' CT'ers are somewhat suspicious, or think, what's the point, they will just move on again, so why bother. Is that it?

Maybe it's that I have that 'new car smell'. You know. That 'you aren't from here' thing, so I can't really identify with you yet'.

It seems doubly hard for renters. It makes you seem so transient. And without kids at home to help connect to other parents, it kind of leaves you out in the cold.

Oh well...I do like it here in CT, and will continue to try to make friends. It will happen some day. I am just not as 'needy' as when I first came here. And I was needy. I was hurting from past events, and really needed a friend. But maybe I scared them off. That is very possible.

But I think I am ready now. Not so needy now..right??...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sleepy Hollow Farm...


I was browsing EBAY today, looking at farm prints for a birthday gift for my Dad, and came across this one. I immediately recognized it. Years ago, during a very hard time financially and otherwise, I found a picture on the back of a catalog which was a close up of a section of the original print. In fact, if I remember rightly, it was on the Watkins catalog.

We were living in Florida at the time in a very small 1970's park model trailer (owned by someone in the family) in a winter senior community (it was off season with only one other resident) while we worked down there for the summer.

At the time, we had no where else to go, a car that kept breaking down, and no money. I waitressed, and my hubby worked for a steel company. We had no family there, and a car with 4/7o air conditioning. (for those of you going 'hmmm...4/70?' -that means 4 windows down going 70 miles per hour provides the air c0nditioning!) :0)

I was extremely depressed at the time. This catalog came in the mail, and there was this picture. It depicts a farm in Woodstock, VT. It has a long lane, a pond, a barn (which I remembered as being red, but not in this particular photo) and lots of green grass. Being a displaced New Englander and farm girl at heart, this was like looking at a bit of heaven. I SO wanted to live there. It filled me with such bittersweet longing and brought some comfort to my hurting soul. I cherished that picture and I think I have it to this day somewhere in my memorabilia.

I never knew the name of it until today. Only that it was a Godsend at a time when I really needed it. It brought hope, that someday, that what we were going through at that time would one day only be a distant memory.

And it is.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

6 More Weeks of Winter

Now there is something I haven't seen for a long time. Upon checking our local weather this morning, there is no sunshine in sight for a week! I mean literally not even partly cloudy. Rain and snow showers. Must be some front.
One thing I liked about winters in CT is the fact they usually got abundant sunshine all winter. Yes, we get snow. But usually we get a big thump of it over a day or so, and then sunshine for two weeks. This must be the precipitation that we didn't get in our October rains (which never came if I remember rightly).
That's ok. It's taking the snow away bit by bit, and that works for me. Besides, I sometimes feel guilty about staying in on a sunny day, so now I can settle in and work on my projects.
Valentines' Day is coming right around the corner. So is my brother's first wedding anniversary. Oh my goodness - that's tomorrow!! Good ol' procrastinator Sue!
In that case, I guess this will be a short post. I wanted to make something special for them, but I guess it's not going to get there in time, especially with the mail and me being so slow. Oh well. I can always call them. Sigh...