Happy Thanksgiving, America

Wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving…I’ll be getting off early today to go to a movie with my sister. Then it’s home to pack for our weekend trip to Monterey. Wishing all a very safe and warm holiday with your family and friends.

The year has turned its circle,
The seasons come and go.
The harvest all is gathered in
And chilly north winds blow.

Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway —
Thanksgiving comes again!

Old Rhyme.

Giving Thanks

For the hay and the corn and the wheat that is reaped,
For the labor well done, and the barns that are heaped,
For the sun and the dew and the sweet honeycomb,
For the rose and the song and the harvest brought home —
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

For the trade and the skill and the wealth in our land,
For the cunning and strength of the workingman’s hand,
For the good that our artists and poets have taught,
For the friendship that hope and affection have brought —
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

For the homes that with purest affection are blest,
For the season of plenty and well-deserved rest,
For our country extending from sea unto sea;
The land that is known as the “Land of the Free” —
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

Author Unknown

A Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Lord, so often times, as any other day
When we sit down to our meal and pray

We hurry along and make fast the blessing
Thanks, amen. Now please pass the dressing

We’re slaves to the olfactory overload
We must rush our prayer before the food gets cold

But Lord, I’d like to take a few minute more
To really give thanks to what I’m thankful for

For my family, my health, a nice soft bed
My friends, my freedom, a roof over my head

I’m thankful right now to be surrounded by those
Whose lives touch me more than they’ll ever possibly know

Thankful Lord, that You’ve blessed me beyond measure
Thankful that in my heart lives life’s greatest treasure

That You, dear Jesus, reside in that place
And I’m ever so grateful for Your unending grace

So please, heavenly Father, bless this food You’ve provided
And bless each and every person invited


–Scott Wesemann

Peanut Butter Fudge Experiment…EUREKA!

After spending some time printing out peanut butter fudge recipes and going over each and every one of them, I came up with a recipe…said my prayers, crossed my fingers, kissed my cats, and dove into making the fudge.

Here is the recipe I made up and used:


3 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter…the real stuff
1 can evaporated milk (the 12 oz can…a little over 1 cup)
1 jar of marshmallow creme (7 oz)
1 jar of peanut butter (12 oz jar…I used reduced fat Skippy chunky…I know, HAHAHAHAHA, reduced fat!)
2/3 cup flour (after making my recipe…I’d drop this to 1/3 cup, if any at all)

1. Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan.

2. In a bowl mix peanut butter and flour together (you can skip this step if you decide not to use the flour).

3. In a large sauce pan (I use my enameled cast iron soup pot) combine sugar, milk, and butter. Bring to boil on medium heat. I normally gauge 5 minutes from the point of a full boil and then stick the thermometer in ~ you want it around 225F-230F. Stir pretty constantly.

4. Take off heat and stir in marshmallow and peanut butter (or peanut butter/flour mixture) and stir the heck out of it, mix well. Spread into buttered baking dish and let cool. **** Pour melted chocolate over fudge at this step. Cut into squares after a few hours.

**** I melted 1/2 a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and spread over the top of the fudge…sorta made it like a Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup.


Consensus: My husband liked it a lot; my sister’s boss like it just the way it was made; my sister said it was tasty but would rather have creamy peanut butter; a coworker and I think it can do with less flour (down to 1/3 cup)…if any at all. We all loved the flavor.

Pledge to shop at locally owned stores this Holiday Season!

The latest issue of Reno News & Review had a great editorial in it about buying from local shops this holiday season instead of all at the “box stores”. I thought I’d link to their list ~ RN&R’s guide to holiday shopping—more than 200 gift ideas from nearly 75 local, indie businesses and then after the editorial, give a list of my favorite locally owned stores. How about listing YOUR favorite locally owned shops?!

All in this together

Look around. There appear to be more “going out of business” signs than there are “help wanted” ones. There seem to be more families with children hanging out in parks during the day. We can’t turn on the news without hearing about yet another corporate bailout or more bad news on the banking front.

The simple fact of the matter is that this is going to be a tough holiday season for all of us. The only way we’re going to get through it is to support each other.

A few months ago during the fuel and foreclosure crises, in desperation we yelled, “Every person for him or herself.” We made the argument in this very space that people should shop the free shipping options online to put a few bucks back in the home budget rather than paying for fuel on top of the increased prices for staples we were seeing in grocery stores.

Well, times have changed, gas prices have come down at least temporarily, and we have different hopes for this holiday season. We know it’s likely everyone is going to do less shopping this year. And while luxuries will probably get cut back at the same time as more utilitarian gifts (like gift certificates for grocery stores) are likely to increase, here’s the bottom line: It’s your family, friends and neighbors who own the one-of-a-kind stores around town.

It’s difficult to estimate exactly how much impact each person, each store has to improve quality of life in the Truckee Meadows. There have been studies. One economic impact analysis done in Austin, Texas, in 2002 showed that “for every $100 in customer spending at Borders, the total local economic impact is only $13. The same amount spent with a local merchant yields $45, more than three times the local economic impact” (Austin Chronicle).

What’s surprising is how the numbers add up—from $100 to $9.7 million. Stay with us, here.

Let’s back up and talk about a nationwide campaign RN&R is part of this holiday season. More than 70 alt-weeklies across the country (including RN&R and its sister papers in Sacramento and Chico) have committed to a crusade that urges readers to spend at least $100 of their holiday money at locally owned stores. It will plug dollars into economies like ours right when it’s needed most.

Local businesses produce more income, jobs and tax revenues for their regions. Local businesses keep neighborhoods vibrant and unique. Shopping local is good for the environment, since buying local reduces the need to ship products—including food—thereby lessening greenhouse-gas emissions. Finally, there’s the obvious. Local businesses are fundamentally tied into the future of their communities and do things like donate more money to local nonprofits.

Here’s the math: If each one of RN&R’s readers spends $100 of their holiday money at local businesses between Thanksgiving and New Year’s (instead of in big-box stores), that comes to an additional $9.7 million pouring into our local economy. (An independent group, The Media Audit, estimates that RN&R’s “cume” (cumulative) once-a-month readership adds up to 96,900. Multiply by 100 and voilà, that’s $9.7 million.)

Sounds simple. But it won’t work without your participation. So we ask you to join us. Take the plunge. Pledge to shop local.

Now here is my list of favorite Locally Owned Stores I shop at…there are a lot more out there, but these are my top favorites.

Safari Nails ~ 2855 N Mccarran Blvd # 101, Sparks, NV 89431, (775) 358-6245‎
Excellent priced manicures and pedicures…heck, I’d pay to just sit in their pedicure chairs! OMGosh ~ most excellent back, neck and leg massage. Really nice owners and staff. Buy a gift certificate or you can do like I did and took my mom, sister, and niece in all at once for a girls day out.

And while we are talking about massages…here is my favorite Massage Salon ~

Radiance Salon & Day Spa ~ 540 Victorian Ave, Sparks, NV 89431 (775) 355-1000.
Now this is just a recommendation for a massage…I’ve never gotten a manicure/pedicure/facial nor a haircut there. BUT I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Maria for a deep Swedish massage. That woman is the absolute best…I never want it to end. Big sigh. Once again, great place to buy a gift certificate.

Ben Franklin Crafts ~ 530 Greenbrae Drive, Sparks, NV 89431, (775) 331-5755
My favorite craft store. They also have great quilting fabric…a huge line of great quality fuzzy flannel for those winter quilts. I really, really, really like their fabric. Craft patterns/books and Bead selection is nice too. Lots of kits for kiddos of any age.

Shelly's True Value Hardware ~ 440 Greenbrae Dr
Sparks, NV 89431, (775) 358-1841‎
I’m pretty sure this is our only locally owned hardware store in the area…cool place where you can find just about anything you need. Great owners and very friendly staff. They even help you out to your car with the big bags of bird food. Thanks guys!

For Books I love Sundance Bookstore and the used bookstore on Rock Blvd, Book Gallery.

Thrift and Antique stores are a great place to shop too…

St. Vincent's Thrift Store helps our locals as the SPCA Thrift Store helps our local critters!

Virginia Street Antique Mall and Antiques & Tresures Downtown.

Windy Moon Quilt Shop is the place where I like to fondle fabric and sewing machines. 🙂 I’ve gotten gift certificates here many times…and if you have a local quilter in the family, they would love to receive one!
440 Spokane Street, Reno, Nevada 89512 • (775)323-4777

There’s a wee Quilt Shop next to Longs on Prater that is a good shop too ~ Sew-N-Sew ~ lots of gifts for the sewer in your family.

My favorite garden nursery is Rail City Garden Center ~ great gifts in their inside shop and wonderful trees & plants.

My husband loves the little coffee stand on the corner of 15th and Prater, Delta Cafe Coffee. Great cup of joe and good bagels.

My favorite meat place to buy meat is at the University of Nevada’s Wolf Pack Meats ~ would love to give you their website, but it seems to be down at the moment…errors galore! So here is their address and email address:
5895 Clean Water Way Reno, NV 89502 775-857-3663; wolfpackmeats@cabnr.unr.edu
I love their pepper & country bacon, Marinated Beef Kabobs, rib eyes, marinated tri-tip, Boston butt roast, ham, and salami. Not a big lamb fan, but I’ve heard good things about their lamb.

After a day of shopping around town or to buy another gift certificate to the BEST PIZZA IN RENO/SPARKS…head on over to Black Rock Pizza on the corner of McCarran and Pyramid.

For Today ~ 24 November 2008 ~ The Simple Woman’s Daybook

FOR TODAY … 24 November 2008

Outside My Window… Sunny and cold. Big construction guys on their big tonka toys.

I am thinking… It’s only a three day work week…actually shorter as I’ll be taking a 1/2 day off to go to see Twilight with my sister. ~ These faculty members will be the death of me…sometimes they just don’t think things through. ~ I still have lots of baking to do and I won’t be around Thanksgiving weekend to do it.

I am thankful for… My family & friends; being able to go to Monterey; my church.

From the kitchen… Ham & Bean soup with homemade whole wheat bread….and lots of fudge and peppermint bark.

I am wearing… blue jeans, tennies and a black turtleneck..

I am creating… solid lotions and bake goods.

I am going… pay bills once I’m done here. Yippie! LOL.

I am reading… Still not reading anything at night…just the newspaper when I get home from work.

I am hoping… that the temp job my husband was working on will be able to use him for the full month of December besides the 3 days this week that they called him in for.

I am hearing… Enya’s And Winter Came cd..

Around the house… we moved the living room around. Looks really nice.

One of my favorite things… Sunday mornings…jumping out of bed, turn on the stove for my husband’s percolator coffee pot, throw some peanuts out for the jays, grab the newspaper, jump into the shower, get dressed, open up the blinds in the sun room, grab a diet Mt. Dew and read the paper while watching the birds eat….all before 9am church services. 🙂

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week… Make cookies, watch Twilight, pack for Monterey.

Here is a picture thought I’d share with you… Two of the 40 quail that were feeding in our yard Sunday morning.


The Simple Woman is the original home of The Simple Woman's Daybook.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook will take place each Monday.

Here’s how to take part:

1. Write up and publish your journal page using the questions/picture ideasI have listed below onto your blog. Be as descriptive as you can! This makes it more interesting to your readers. (You may cut and paste them for the purpose to participate in The Simple Woman’s Daybook.)

2. Copy the “permalink” from your “The Simple Woman’s Daybook” post, not the link to the front page of your blog. This will make it much easier for others to find instead of looking through the entire list of entries at your blog for your “daybook”. This will save time for all of us.

3. Come back here and add your permalink to Mister Linky.

Baking for the Holiday Gifts Packages

It’s getting to be that time to start thinking about what baked goods I’m going to make to add the the Christmas Gift Packages this year…my jams and soap are all made, now I have to figure out which cookies and candy to make.

I think I’ve decided on Peppermint Bark, Gingersnaps, Peanut Brittle, and Pecan Snowballs (or Russian Tea Cookies).

So….what is your favorite cookies/candy to make to give out during the Holidays?


This is a real easy recipe…I make them in small batches on jelly roll cookie tins lined with parchment paper.

Ingredients: one bag of your favorite Dark Chocolate Chips, one bag of White Chocolate Chips or White Chocolate Bar, a box of small Candy Canes…smashed.

In a double boiler (or you can use a large 6 cup glass measuring cup in a pan of water) melt your dark chocolate and then spread over the parchment paper. Melt the white chocolate and pour over the dark chocolate layer. Sprinkle on the crushed candy canes and lightly press into the chocolate. Place in the freezer…when cold, pick it up and give it a whack like you would making Peanut Brittle.

Mix together in a large pot the following and bring the mixture to 240F (this is high altitude degrees)…250F for lowlanders.
3 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Water
1 Cup White Syrup

Add 1-1/2 pounds of Raw Peanuts and STIR CONSTANTLY to 290F (high altitude degrees)…300F for lowlanders, then take off heat.

➡ NOTE!!!! ❗ You’ll have to have your lipped cookie tin buttered and ready to go NEXT to you for this next step…OK? Are you LISTENING?! Get your tin READY! And get two ready, just in case. 😀

Stir in:
1/4 tsp of salt
1 TBSP butter
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 tsp Baking Soda
(the reason to have that tin all buttered up and right next to you! Bah-WOOSH goes the mixture!)

Spread mixture onto the greased cookie tin and let cool. Break when cooled.


2/3 C Canola Oil
1 C sugar
1 egg
4 TBSP Molasses
2 C flour
2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp ginger
sugar for dipping

Mix oil with sugar, add egg and beat well. Stir in molasses. Sift dry ingredients together and add to egg/molasses mixture. Form balls ~ drop and roll in sugar. Bake in a 350F oven for 10-15 minutes (depends on if you want them soft or crunchy…I like them sorta hard on the outside and chewy on the inside so I take them out around 10 minutes).

These freeze very well.

PECAN SNOWBALLS ~ or Russian Tea Cookies

1 Cup softened Butter (no substitutes!)
1/2 Cup powdered Sugar
1 tsp pure Vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1-3/4 Cup Flour
3/4 Cups finely chopped Pecans

In a large mixing bowl, mix butter and sugar until well blended, about 1 minute. Add vanilla and salt. Stir in flour on low speed until combined, add in nuts. You can place in refrig for an hour for dough to set/blend flavors.

Heat oven to 325F and then roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet (I use parchment paper). Bake for 10-12 minutes, firm to the touch but not brown. Do not over bake. While still warm, roll cookies into extra powdered sugar and cool.

These freeze very well.

Hike to the “N” ~ Evans Creek Trailhead

Since I was asked if I knew the route to the “N”…thought I’d just tell you about it.

Just park at the Basque Monument area of the Rancho San Rafael park (where the ball parks are) off of N. Virginia Street, just north of McCarran.

Picture below is the trailhead between the parking lot and the Basque Monument. To the left (north of the parking lot) is a GREAT 18 Hole Frisbee Disc Golf Course!

Here’s a link to Afoot & Afield Reno-Tahoe…it has a great write up on the trail on up to the N…it starts on page 329.

The weather is still holding ~ would be a great weekend hike!

Sunday Afternoon at Rancho San Rafael Park ~ Basque Side

After church on Sunday my husband loaded up his bike into the truck and I grabbed my camera and off we went to Rancho San Rafael Park…this time we parked on the north side at the Basque monument.

We’ve been having beautiful weather…although a wee bit too warm for me. I was running amuk in cut-off jeans and a t-shirt. I did have a flashback of picking foxtails out of my Springer Spaniels ears and feathers…lots of stickers stuck to my tennies and “cut-off” part of my jeans. The north side of the park is mostly in the brown part of autumn.

Can you tell I like fences?

For Today ~ 17 November 2008 ~ Simple Woman’s Daybook

FOR TODAY … 17 November 2008

Outside My Window… Sunny, high whispy clouds ~ going to be in the upper 60’s again.

I am thinking… What a shmuck…I forgot my camera sitting in the sunroom this morning. I can’t get to all those great pictures I took on my walk yesterday! Grrr. Hmmmm….do I really want to go to the local “Dog Pound” tonight? I wonder if any other Buffalo Bills fans will descend on the Great Basin Brewery and brave the Browns fans home territory for tonight’s Monday Night Football. 🙂

I am thankful for… My family; being able to go to Monterey; my church.

From the kitchen… I made up a bunch of beef pasties…two will be dinner tonight with a salad.

Took a package of cubed beef (for stew/chili ~ about 2-3 cups…you can use deli roast beef) browned it in Mrs. Dash seasonings, drained and put it in a bowl with the following: 1 large potato, cubed; package of organic frozen veggies (I picked out the one with corn, peas, beans, carrots); 1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar and 1 cup Pepper Jack cheese. Mix it all up.

I took two boxes of pie crusts (you can make them by scratch)…rolled out each crust, cut in half and then rolled width-wise to make them a little wider. Scoop out 1 to 1-3/4 cups of beef mixture onto one end and then fold over the other side and crimp edges together.

If you’re not going to make them that day…wrap in plastic wrap, place in freezer ziplock baggie and freeze. Otherwise ~ place on a baking sheet and bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

I am wearing… blue jeans, tennies and a tan 3/4 sleeve t-shirt.

I am creating… soy candles.

I am going… to google the Christmas list of the two kids I took off of the angel tree at church.

I am reading… Still not reading anything at night…just the newspaper when I get home from work.

I am hoping… that a job is out there for my husband, he’s officially out of work today.

I am hearing… Just me typing…and NPR news on the computer.

Around the house… my husband will be washing the dishes (no dish washer machine in our house…just two hands!) and vacuuming the throw rugs.

One of my favorite things… taking pictures on a beautiful autumn day, by yourself…it’s that part where a heavy breathing runner scares the bejesus out of me that is not part of that favorite thing. LOL!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week… figuring out what grocery store has a ham on sale for work’s Thanksgiving Potluck…need to pick up some items to make stuffing/dressing too.

Here is a picture thought I’d share with you…a French Beaded Mistletoe Kissing Ball I made last year with 11/0 Czech seed beads.


The Simple Woman is the original home of The Simple Woman's Daybook.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook will take place each Monday.

Here’s how to take part:

1. Write up and publish your journal page using the questions/picture ideasI have listed below onto your blog. Be as descriptive as you can! This makes it more interesting to your readers. (You may cut and paste them for the purpose to participate in The Simple Woman’s Daybook.)

2. Copy the “permalink” from your “The Simple Woman’s Daybook” post, not the link to the front page of your blog. This will make it much easier for others to find instead of looking through the entire list of entries at your blog for your “daybook”. This will save time for all of us.

3. Come back here and add your permalink to Mister Linky.

Cast Iron Reflector Swinging Arm Wall Bracket for Kerosene Oil Lamp

Over the weekend my mom gave me Great Grandma Chambers’ cast iron wall bracket and kerosene lamp. I remember it on the wall in our house in Southern California when I was a kid…it was in the Chambers’ homestead in Lynch, Nebraska long before that. I didn’t take a picture of the lamp itself, but it’s clear glass with the original brass hardware. Now I have to figure out where in my house to hang this lovely…I’m thinking in the kitchen or front sunroom.

I found the site Antique Lamp Supply and figured out what that hole on the top part of the arm (see second picture, above) was for ~ to hold a Mercury Reflector. And…except for the bowl part, my arm is just like their #73801. My mom said she doesn’t remember ever seeing a reflector attached to this lamp, so if it had one it was before 1940’s. I would need to buy the mercury reflector & attachment, and reflector nut if I want it to be in original condition.

YEAH! I get to go to Monterey for Thanksgiving!

Well…I swung the trip to Monterey this Thanksgiving. Between my mom, MIL, and I…we have enough money to go.

So this will be me again…hee!

Found a motel in Seaside for $39/night, not too far from the hotel we stayed at in July. Two free tickets to the aquarium. Money from mom for dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Money for gas and dinner from my MIL. Happy Dancing!