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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

 My husband and I were in Chicago this past weekend.  It was an unexpected trip.
Every time we are coming home from Chicago, we have to stop at the candy factory.
It is candy heaven!

They sell candy also that have defects.  For example, the wrong color.
That is when Jorge and I go and buy it.  They have 5 lb bags of candy
for $5.00.  Whatever candy is not to the specifications they want,
they sell it at reduced prices.  We take advantage of that.

If you are ever in the Merrillville, Indiana area, stop by the factory
and have a sugar high.  Here's the location:

Albanese Candy Outlet Store
5441 East Lincoln Hwy
Merrillville, IN 46410
(219) 947-3070

Tuesday, September 11, 2012



I simply love butterflies!  I love their delicate wings and how they flutter about
from one flower to another.  I've been slowly working in my own
yard to make areas for the butterflies.  Making a butterfly garden
is not as difficult as I had first thought.  They don't need to be large.
You can have a butterfly garden in a container.  So there's no
excuse to not have one and see the beautiful variety of butterflies that will come to your home.

Here are some easy steps for creating a butterfly garden in your own yard.
  1. Choose a sunny area. Give butterflies a place to bask that’s sheltered from harsh winds.
  2. Place warming surfaces throughout your garden.   Butterflies capture the sun’s rays to warm their bodies. Provide flat rocks or other surfaces they can use in addition to grasses or exposed soil.
  3. Where there’s water… Butterflies will seek out birdbaths, damp areas or shallow puddles near plants they visit.
  4. Provide plants. Clusters of short, tubular flowers—like penstemon, lupine, hyssop and larkspur—offer space to perch while feeding.
  5. Attract with alluring colors. Butterflies like bright flowers, especially purple, orange, yellow and red.
  6. Butterflies have to eat too! Offer plants to nourish both caterpillars and butterflies. Select plants suited to your yard’s soil, moisture and light conditions.
So have fun in planning your butterfly garden and see what kinds will pay you a visit.


Monday, September 10, 2012


This morning I decided to make a coffee cake for a meeting.
It really smells good and it also looks good too.
So here's the recipe so that you can make this at home.

2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup margarine or butter
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dairy sour cream
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
8-oz pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Heat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour the bottom and sides of 9 or 10 inch springform pan.  Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off.  In a large bowl, combine flour and 3/4 cup sugar.  Using pastry blender or fork, cut in margarine or butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.* Reserve 1 cup crumb mixture.  To remaining crumb mixture, add baking powder, baking soda, sour cream, 1 egg, and almond extract; blend well.  Spread batter over bottom and 2 inches up sides of prepared pan.  (Batter should be about 1/4 inch thick on sides.)  In small bowl, combine cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar and 1egg; blend well.  Pour over batter in plan.  Carefully spoon preserves evenly over cheese filling.  In small bowl, combine 1 cup reserved crumb mixture and sliced almonds.  Sprinkle over top.  Bake at 350F for 45 50 55 minutes or until cream cheese filling is set and crust is deep golden brown.  Cool 15 minutes.  Remove sides of pan.  Serve warm or cool; cut into wedges.  Refrigerate leftovers.

* When I made the crumbs, I used my mixer instead of the pastry blender.  I softened the butter and it turned out fine.  It was much easier to do it this way than using a pastry blender.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


As many of you might already know, my family and my husband's family are immigrants.
My father was born in Holland, my mom in Colombia, my younger sister in Panama,
and my brother and I were born in Guatemala.
My parents, brother, sister, and myself came to the United States on November 1967.
I was only seven years old.
We came from Guatemala City, Guatemala to Chicago, Illinois via Miami, Florida.
When we arrived to Chicago, it was snowing.  That was the very first time
I had ever seen snow.  I asked my dad what that was and he told me it was snow. 
My father knew how to speak English fluently but my mom, siblings and myself did not.
My first grade teacher was Miss Wolski.  She was great!
There was no bilingual program at that time, which I'm very grateful for.
My mom tells me that I learned how to read, write, and speak English in one month!
She told me that I had a deep desire to learn.

My husband's family came from Cuba.  They came to the United States in 1969.
He was only nine years old.
Cuba is a communist country and his family were not members of the Communist Party.
His dad was punished for that by making him work in the sugar cane fields.
You see, he used to be the manager of a sugar cane factory, and so, he was demoted.
He only got to see his family once a month.
They went through a lot of struggles to make it to this country.

Once they were given permission to leave, they arrived to Miami, Florida
and from there went to New York City.  Things did not go well there,
so their friends from Chicago contacted them and offered their home and help.
They took the Greyhound bus and arrived in Chicago.

All they had with them is one small suitcase for a family of four and what was
left of the $100 they received when they arrived to the United States.
My father-in-law worked for Sears until he retired.
He sacrificed a lot to bring his family here to this country.
He loved this country very much and was proud to be an American.

 They were allowed to take only one suitcase for a family of four.
My father-in-law made this one according the to the measurements 
given to him by the officials.  He wanted to make sure
they had no reason to deny their leaving because the suitcase
was the wrong size.
 It was made out of wood and he painted it.
They had already packed it to make sure it was
ready when they had to leave.

The suitcase measured 21 inches.

By 16 inches. 

By 7 inches.

It took a lot of courage for them to leave their families and friends
to come to the United States not knowing the language or how
they were going to provide for themselves.

I can attest to the fact that they did very well.  Both my husband
and his brother are college graduates.
My sons serve their country proudly in the Army
National Guard because of what their grandfather
shared with them living in Cuba.
My nephews are in college also.
Their grandfather would be so proud of them.

Friday, September 7, 2012


When my family and I moved into our present home 17 years ago,
I wanted to make some changes in a hall closet but between
one thing and another, I put it off for another time.
The time finally came for me to change the closet.
I got rid of the clothes rod and cleaned out all the things
that was stored in the closet.  It only had one shelf 
and I had a metal bookcase to store things - I hated it.
This is what I had in the closet for storing games and other things.
So I went to Lowe's and bought three pine boards for shelves.
I wanted to surprise my husband and get it done before he would notice.
Well, he noticed and decided that he was going to help me.
I'm glad he did because he did built something for me to put in the
closet which I love very much.

 I measured the three boards using the existing board from the closet

 I used Jorge's saw and cut them all up. 

 I painted the boards using paint I had at home.

 Jorge built me this wine rack.

 I painted the whole closet and started storing things
As you can see, the top has my canning supplies and
the one below has the wine and some of my Tupperware.

 More storage for my things that used to be on the floor
or top of each other in the metal bookcase.

 The right side of the closet with my Tupperware.

 Our games and several more things.

The rest of the things that I can put on the floor 
because they are still in their boxes.
Now it's easier to get to things without
feeling like I was on a trek to find it.

I am now on a roll and ready to do the next project.
I just have to decide which one it is that I want to 
do first.  So many choices!  :)