Category Archives: stuff

Busy meets the blog

Wow. March 15th was the last time I blogged. Imagine that. That has to be a record in my 7 years of the blog experience. There’s all the usual excuses. You don’t need to hear them. Blah blah, life’s busy, life is messy, life is…well. Full of stuff.

If I’m to catch you up to what’s happening in my world, I have to start with my Dad. He passed away on Father’s Day. Ironic, that. This cancer business is some kind of horrible shit. Watching him fail and suffer is one of the hardest things I have ever endured in my life so far. I hope to never see such a thing again. I know that it is unlikely, though. Having him die left me filled with so many emotions from the obvious to the not so. One of the things that make me saddest is that it is the end of what COULD have been. And despite it all, he was my father and I cannot believe I will never see him again. That is the thought that will make me cry suddenly in unexpected places. I will never see him again. Ever. That seems so final and harsh.

But other than that, life if filled with good things. And that seems a bit ironic too, doesn’t it? That something so horrible can go on in your life but you wake up and the sun is shining and the birds are singing and people are buying their lattes and working and playing. Living. We all have a lot of living to do. It’s serious business and we can’t miss out on a minute of it.

I am looking forward to a trip to Nova Scotia with Norma to visit with Paula. I am like a little kid getting ready for camp, I am THAT excited. There was a bit of anxiety about the passport being here on time but all is good in that department. I have perhaps the ugliest passport picture in the universe. But then again, I am somehow not a very photogenic person. I guess I am just one of those that you have to meet in person to love! 🙂

There’s more, there’s lots more of course, but that is a bit of a start. One has to dip the toes into the blog waters before diving straight in, don’t you think?

I’ve missed you all, that’s for sure! (Thanks to Suzanne  and Barb M for the inquiries! The warm feeling still persists from that!) If you are on facebook, please be sure to find me there (Sandy LeBlanc Hurley) I do tend to update that a bit more than this lately.

Do tell me what you’ve been up to. Anything new?




Filed under life, stuff

I did it.

So here we are at the end of November. I posted every day of the month, I am pleased to say. I loved every minute of it.  I hope you had some pleasurable moments as well. While I will not promise posting every day (I know I will not in the coming months) I do plan to be a bit better of a FRIEND of bloggers by actually visiting their blogs and (SHOCK) leaving comments. I plan on leaving so many comments that you’ll be sick of me and beg me to go back to blogging myself just so that I will leave you alone for a change! 🙂

I made the homemade yogurt yesterday and as Norma says, I am ENTHUSED. To say the least.
One thing that you may not know about me is that over the years, I have been on a quest for healthy eating. Real food! To know what goes into my food and have a choice over that. That is not to say that I haven’t polished off a bag or three of Doritos in my time or that I don’t enjoy an occasional filet ‘o fish at McD’s. I do. But mostly, I like to avoid things like high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients that I cannot pronounce and have no place in nature that a conglomerate decides is good for MY food.
Well, I say, “NOT MY FOOD!” Hell no.

Hell. No.

This particular quest started when I had kids. Jarred baby food for MY baby? I think not. I don’t know what is in that jar! So, I made my own. I got a blender and blended up veggies and meats and fruits that Andy and I ate and I froze them in ice cube trays. I thawed and warmed them in a bowl of boiling water because I did not have a microwave at that time.

I am not perfect on this quest of mine. I still eat plenty stuff I wish I did not. But I am getting better. It gets easier as I get older.

So, making my own yogurt falls right into place with all of that.

Now, let me tell YOU that homemade yogurt is WONDERFUL! I love it. Love. LOVE! It is creamy, tangy, delicious and oh-so-white! Just beautiful to look at as well as to eat!

I basically followed the crock pot yogurt recipe here, with these exceptions.

Here’s how I did it:
I used 1/2 gallon of 1% milk from Whole foods. No hormones and pure, natural milk.

I added a 1/2 cup of powdered milk to add more protein and calcium to the mix. (I also bought this at Whole Foods)

I covered my crock pot and heated the milk on HIGH for about 3 1/2 hours until the milk was 180 °F (although I strived to readch 180º, it only got to 178º and would not budge up anmore). I then took the crock off the heating element and took off the cover, letting it cool to 120º which took under an hour.

I took about a cup and a half of the heated milk out and mixed into that about 1/2 cup of Stonyfield plain yogurt. I wrapped the covered crock with a bath towel and put it into the oven. leaving it there overnight.

9 hours later, I stumbled down into the kitchen expecting to find milk in the oven but I found yummy, creamy, thick yogurt.

I topped some with Starbucks sugar free vanilla syrup and a spootch of vanilla extract and brought it to work with me. What a delicious, nutritious treat.  I am over the moon about my homemade yogurt. And you will be too. It’s easy and moneysaving and one of those moments of magic in life that brings a smile to your face.

I plan to add some fruit to some of the yogurt, perhaps some mango  and some blueberries.

So many possibilities.


Filed under life, random, Sandy's Cooking, stuff

So sweet of a list, your teeth may hurt

sunshine and clouds

november sky

(even though I rotate that picture and save it, it is still on it’s side. Turn your head to the left. There. It was like that)

Claudia challenges her readers to explain what it is that makes November so special to us. I could write a dissertation on the subject, I swear.
~The November sky
The November hating Claudia may say “Sure, but there is sky in ANY month”. And that is true. But there is something so sparkly about November sunshine, not to mention the golden sunshine that I speak so highly of.
~Add crisp, cool air to the pretty sky and it is a dynamic duo.
~The colorful leaves turning crunchy. There is nothing better than walking down the street, dragging my feet in the leaves. The sound, the feel. Those darned leaves make me happy.
~The anticipation of the Christmas season, which for me is sometimes better than the actual season. I have not yet started to make myself crazy with lists and plans and worries of budgets that won’t stretch far enough.
~This is also the reason I enjoy the early Christmas music. This is my time to enjoy it, free from the holiday stress.
~Thanksgiving and all of it’s cooking. I start looking through the cookbooks and buying up magazines sporting browned roasted turkey on the cover like they are going out of style, which they never do. Every year there is a new crop of roasted turkey covers making me throw them in my grocery cart. Planning of the meal is almost as important to me as the sharing.
~Taking a day off from work Thanksgiving week to bake pies. Pie Day. Should be a national holiday in my opinion. If you don’t fancy baking pies, then go EAT a pie. Should be mandatory. Not as many angry people around if they eat pie.
~Wearing of the wool. Taking out the wool sweaters, donning mittens and wrapping a scarf around my neck is a wonderful thing. The smell of the wool, the feel, the touch the warmth. Wool is November’s friend.
~winter squash. I never met a squash I did not like. Butternut, acorn, delicata, buttercup, spaghetti squash: roasted, boiled, steamed, sauteed. I love it. It loves me. Squash is a wonderful thing. November is Squash month.
~the desire to cook a bit more after the grilling of the summer. I love the smells of the oven foods.
~Soup. Any kind. Packed with veggies. Or with chicken or maybe noodles. Or fish. Potatoes. All soup. All kinds. I could eat it every day.
~Woodpeckers and cardinals in the tree. They are so beautiful any time of year but their red stands out this time of year
~the wind rustling the branches of the trees. Such a relaxing sound, especially when covered in a blanket.
~November to me, is contentment. Warm and snug, happy to be in my home, anxious to cook for the ones I love, snuggling with a cat, a kid or a husband, looking forward to what is coming,
Oh, that and PUMPKIN PIE~
That helps.


Filed under random, stuff

That turkey is texting me

October flew right by, didn’t it? I have to say that our Halloween was just lovely complete with an (almost) full moon, spooky wind and mild temps. You’d think that one single trick or treater could have managed to stumble down our driveway. But no. Not a one.

Dear Lazy Trick or Treaters,

Saving yourself a couple of steps cost you a king size candy bar, your choice of Reese’s peanut butter cups or Kit Kat. Don’t worry, my chocoholic family will make short work of them.

generous Halloweener

King. Size. What has become of our youth?


(read: more for us!)

And then, just like that, it’s November. Time to think about turkeys (for us USA-ers) I saw an ad for a Butterball service that texts tips and hints for the Thanksgiving dinner. I couldn’t help but sign up. Those texts make me smile every time.
Except for this one:

Practice makes perfect! Ensure ur Thanxgiving meal goes off w/out a hitch by scheduling a practice run b4 the main event.

That one is the least helpful of all. Imagine having a complete Thanksgiving meal only to do it (and all the leftovers) again in a couple of weeks? Honestly, Butterball. That’s a sneaky way to try to get us to buy 2 turkeys this season.

Historically November is also a bit famous (or infamous??) for it’s blogging challenge. Blog every day during the month of November. I took up the challenge 2 years ago. Once I started blogging, I couldn’t stop. I blogged every day for the year 2008. 2009? Not so much. So, I threw down the gauntlet to myself to blog everyday. It’s good for me. I’m not so sure if it’s good for you, but hopefully you’ll read. And comment a bit to encourage me. Or yell at me. Or something.

And a word about face rash:

If you follow me on Facebook, you already know this. On Thursday I came down with a face rash complete with red cheeks. The rash was a bit itchy but not overly so. I did not change any soaps or shampoos or detergents. I did not eat any weirdo food. I looked like I had a huge zit breakout with a red, red face. And I was TIRED! I slept yesterday for 13 hours! I think I may have had a fever because I kept waking up shivering. (It was not cold last night at all)

But today, the bumps have gone down a bit, my face isn’t as hot and red as before and I can keep my eyes open for a bit.


How’s your face?? 🙂november blogging





Filed under life, random, stuff

Cookies, timing, an old hatred of silverware and a pumpkin shortage

chocolate and white chip cookie

chocolate and white chip cookie

You know what I like best about baking cookies? (Besides the obvious “eating the cookie”?) Setting the timer. 11 minutes in my wonderous new oven, is the perfect time for a perfect cookie. 11 minutes. Doesn’t seem like much time, right? But when I set that timer, I got elbow deep into the pile of dirty dishes waiting for me in the sink. I had let them stack up a bit. You know how that happens kind of all of a sudden. There is a few dishes in there so you pass on it. The next time you glance over? Mountains. It was like that. Mountain climbing in dirty dishes. No good view on this mountain.

11 minutes later, I had gotten the bulk of the dishes washed, even the dreaded silverware. I have hated washing silverware from way back. WAY back. I don’t know what it is, so tedious I guess. Gag me with a spoon. And a fork, and butter knife and steak knife for that matter. Hate them.

But when that 11 minute timer buzzed, sweet cookie aroma filling the chilly air, I only had a couple of pans left to wash. Life seemed a little easier. And cleaner.  Then I could enjoy my one cookie. I’m not much of a sweet eater but I do have to have 1. Preferably still warm and melty.


I watched the movie Marley and Me last night. I have the puffy eyes this morning to prove it. Kind of a tearjerker at the end. I enjoyed it, a good heartwarming, funny (and sad) movie. Made me think about getting a dog. And then Mitchell smacked me in the head.


Autumn has arrived in full force. I plan on making boeuf bourguignon for dinner and while that is cooking perhaps take my mother in law out for a ride to view some foliage. (She feel a couple of weeks back and broke her hip. She has been in a rehab since. Perhaps she’d like to break out for a while today!)

Enjoy your weather. What’ it like where you are? I know Vicki has had some snow. So has Kim (her blog has disappeared! I know I am a bit out of it blog wise, but what the HECK??) . Have you? (Make a snowball for me!)


And in a totally unrelated note, when I was at the store yesterday, I wanted to buy a can of pumpkin to make our favorite autumn pumpkin bread. Not ONE can of pumpkin to be had. A weird run on pumpkin. Weird.


Filed under life, Sandy's Cooking, stuff

sometimes time stands still

So last Monday, I noticed when I got to work that my clock had stopped. It is an electric clock not battery so I unplugged it and plugged it about a half a dozen times like you do. Still did not work. The outlet clearly was working becaue my computer was also plugged in there and that was fine. The time on the dead clock read


(I tend to round time to the nearest 5 minute increment when it is close)

I lived with 3:40 all week long waiting for my new, ordered clock to arrive.

The next Monday morning, the old clock was miraculously working again. I guess the old one had  a bit of steam left in it after all.

Today, the new clock arrived.

And the time on the clock?



Is it a message? What does it mean???


Filed under random, stuff

Look up, please

I had some fatal flaws with my romanticized vacation fantasies.
I envisioned myself rising every morning, rested and ready to take on the world, wandering leisurely downstairs to  sit on my front porch, drinking coffee and knitting while greeting the waking world.
The first problem with that scenario?
I don’t drink coffee.But that did not stop me.
The second, perhaps most important thing?
I did not take into consideration the hour or two that I would spend noodling around on the computer, doing nothing much  of significance to speak of, then glancing at the clock shocked at the time and the mad dash to “get something done”.
Vacations just never are in reality what they are in the imagination.
And just to keep track:
What I wanted to do:
~paint the bathroom
~have a yard sale (implying that i would go through every corner of the house gathering unused/unwanted items and lovingly selling them to strangers)
~visit Vermont
~go to the beach
~cook gourmet meals every night
~Blog every day (stop laughing)
What I did:
~bleached the bathroom
~cleaned out the kitchen cabinets, gathering things for the yard sale
~moved on to the storage “area” (implying that it is a planned “area”)
~Half way through, decided “screw the yard sale!” I hate bargain hunting yard salers, anyway. What was  I thinking?
~piled up all the stuff, intending to bring it to the Salvation Army. And I will.
~I will~
~went to the movie to see Julie and Julia (I LOVED IT! She was almost 40 years old  when she took her first cooking class!
~went to Ikea. Got more stuff. Didn’t I want to get rid of it all?
~spent lots of quality family/husband/friends time.
~went with Jo to the Peabody Essex Museum, which is in the next town. I had never been! Thanks Jo, for the great time!
~Started a book club! Finally! (We are reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. First meeting is September 7th. Want to come?
~ate plenty of farm stand veggies!
Vacation was good. Now, it’s back to the grind.
Not that there is anything wrong with that.

We've Got BEETS!

We've Got BEETS!

Tonight is the Perseid Meteor Showers. Don’t forget to look UP! (Some of my fondest memories are caught up in this week, camping when the kids were little, lying (laying??) in the field watching the spectacular meteor shower, the dewey grass under us, crickets chirping and fireflies flitting about.


Filed under life, random, stuff