Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Five Favorites, Volume 5

I'm joining Jen again today, for day 3 of the 7 Posts in 7 Days challenge--and while I'm at it, Hallie Grace, too, for the Five Favorites link-up.

Favorite #1
This guy!  He treats me like a queen, always has my back, makes me laugh every day, is the best father five sons could ever ask for...and best of all, he still makes my heart go pitter-pat, after almost 33 years of marriage (preceded by almost 8 years of dating, starting at the tender age of 15).  He is not a cowboy, technically, but he's definitely cowboy-esque. When my college friends met him freshman year, they asked me if he was from out West. And that was decades before he started wearing his signature cowboy hats! No, he was not from out West.  He didn't grow up on a cattle ranch.  He was a small town boy from Upstate NY, but he had a slow-talking drawl and a John Wayne way about him, and that can-do, all-male quality that made a gal feel she would always be safe when he was around. That guy was and is a man of character, a man whose faith runs deep, and I consider myself one lucky lady to have lassoed such a winner.

Favorite #2
This pencil drawing, rendered by my husband for an art class in college.  He was working on it when he visited me at Holy Cross our senior year, during one of his breaks from Notre Dame (HC and ND were never on the same schedule).  A hard-working metallurgical engineer, he finally had some room in his schedule for a few less strenuous electives that year, and he thought a drawing class would be an easy A.  It helped that he did have natural talent.  People usually assume that our sons, who are all rather gifted artistically, got their talent from me.  But I think perhaps it was from their dad.  My husband had done this drawing as a little boy, copying it from an art book about drawing portraits; but that original masterpiece had gotten misplaced.  He decided to try his hand at it again, and he tells me he still thinks the one he did years before was much better.  Hard to believe, because I think this one is excellent.

The photo of my husband in #1 was taken at a reunion of all his childhood buddies that we attended over the weekend, and it showed up on Facebook yesterday.  When he saw it, he made me laugh when he said, "Back when I drew that old, grizzly cowboy, I didn't know I was drawing myself!"  (I suppose there are some similarities...)

Favorite #3
Saint Padre Pio.  He's my special patron saint for 2013, chosen randomly for me by the Saints Name Generator (remember that?). It seems that ever since the two of us were thrown together, definite signs that I need to remember to pray to this powerful saint keep appearing in our mailbox.  I can't count the number of Padre Pio-themed mailings we've been sent.  Just the other day we received this special gift:
Message received, dear saint! I must pray Rosaries, Rosaries, and more Rosaries, and while I'm at it, I should remember to pray to you, my special patron, for intercession as well. On the back of the medal on the Rosary ring, there is a small piece of relic cloth that was touched to one of Padre Pio's belongings in the reliquaries at the Shrine of St. Padre Pio, in the Church of St. John the Baptist in NYC.   I will cherish this Rosary ring, and I'll be sure to bring it with me when I go on my long walks.  (I love taking walks, because I get to exercise my body and soul, all at the same time.)

Favorite #4
Making desserts.  (Followed closely by eating desserts.)  Last night, I was Jones-ing for "a little something," as my husband calls sweet treats, so I decided to whip up a chocolate concoction with some ingredients we had on hand.  We've been out of town a lot lately, so I had to work with what we had available.  I threw an 8 oz. package of cream cheese, along with 1/2 of another already-opened package, into a bowl.  Then I poured a ton of semi-sweet chocolate chips in there (I didn't measure, but it may have been just slightly less than  a ton--about 1 and 1/2 cups, or perhaps 2).  I put the bowl in the microwave and heated it at 50% until the chips were melted, and then I stirred the mixture vigorously with a spoon until it was nice and creamy.  Not knowing if it would be sweet enough, I threw in some sugar (1/2 cup?), about a teaspoon of  vanilla, and then I beat in an egg.  I put this chocolatey goo into a pre-made shortbread pie crust, baked it at 300 for an hour, and IT. WAS. AWESOME!  I'm wishing now that I'd measured all the ingredients so I could duplicate it one day down the road.

The only bad thing about this delectable chocolate pie I made (or chocolate cheesecake--I really don't know what to call it) is that it looked an awful lot like the one Minny made for her nemesis in the movie "The Help."
When I mentioned the resemblance, after my husband had eaten about 1/4 of my pie, I kind of ruined it for him.

(Hey, that leads me to another favorite: The Help.  In book or movie form--both are excellent.) 

Favorite #5
Camp Patton.   Adorable blond cherubs.  Real family life, with all its wonderful chaos and noise.  A young wife and mother whose razor-sharp wit and ability to turn a phrase are unparalleled in the blogosphere (and a husband who provides some wicked amusing one-liners from time to time as well).  Camp Patton is Comedy Central for all of us blog-readers, and we miss it when we click on it in the morning and there isn't a new post up yet.  (No pressure, Grace!)  So head on over to the Camp now and see what's on Grace's mind today.  And while you're at it, you'll find other Favorites lists to peruse.  Tell them I sent ya.


  1. I love it when I hear about couples who started dating young and are married. I was 15 like you and this year we'll hit the 30 year married mark! It can be done.

    1. It's great to have that history, isn't it? I love hearing about other couples like us, too! :)

  2. Pio! He is the best.

    And any time you want to make a dessert, you can send it right on over to me ;)

    1. He is--but I need to get to know him better. (There have certainly been hints that this is what I'm supposed to do this year!)

      I was baking by the seat of my pants last night! I worry I'll never be able up repeat that pie.

  3. I can't wait to visit the St. Generator - I think my boys will love it too! Your pie sounds so yummy. I love to bake as well, and the boys area always begging me for pies, since they are their favorite. How are your running ambitions coming along?? :)

    1. Ummm...not too well! But I'm trying to at least get back to daily work-outs (Slim in 6, Turbo Jam, and long vigorous walks). It's been hard, because we've been on the road so much this summer.

      I ran the half-mile and 3 relays in high school and the first two years of college, but I feel like my running days might be over (I've got old lady hips!). When I read your blog, I think about how neat it would be to become a runner again, but...

      I have been trying to do little jogging bursts while out walking--does that count? :)

  4. Great list!
    I'm just starting to get into baking and having some fun.

    1. Baking is my joy. It's relaxing and therapeutic. But the problem is that it's very dangerous: I end up with a whole lot of baked goods around and I have a real sweet tooth. So I don't do it as much as I'd like to!

  5. For anyone attempting to make the chocolate pie above: it might actually have been as much as 3 cups of chocolate chips. All I know is that when they're mixed with the cream cheese, the batter should be a very dark brown color.

    Just thought I'd clarify. (And it's really too bad I didn't bother to use a measuring cup!)