Monthly Archives

April 2012

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Sunsets… make me happy

April 30, 2012

 

Can you blame me? Look at those colors? I just can’t get enough of it, them…

I love walking my pooches around sunset, looking over the lakes and watching the sky put on a light show. I’ve taken so many sunset pictures, I’ve lost count. I will take many more.

Seeing a sunset soothes my soul, makes me smile and appreciate all that I have.

I can and will drop everything to sit by the lake’s edge and watch the sky…

You should try it sometime!

Blog

Skewered Halo {Blog Tour}

April 30, 2012

My friend Brenda Youngerman is a self-published author of 7 books. Her latest novel is Skewered Halo,the only one I have read to date. Something, I want to change. I bought Skewered Halo as a birthday present for myself and I have no regrets.

Brenda writes what she calls Fiction with a Purpose.

Here is what she has to say:

Fiction with a Purpose is what I write. I made a commitment to write novels that will address social issues and have a reader wondering if the stories are real when the last page is read. I also set a goal to have a new book released each year. These are the works – I hope you will enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them!

After reading Skewered Halo I can say without a doubt that Brenda succeeded in her commitment to addressing social issues and leaving the reader wondering. Oh yes, did she ever leave me wonder. 

From the book cover:

Why would one sister have it in for the other? Sibling rivalry is taken to the extreme in the breathtaking novel Skewered Halo. 
Diane Newsome is the middle child born into a middle-class family. Her older sister, Brittany, has resented her from the moment she was born. Brittany convinces Diane that she was placed on the doorstep as an unwanted child, and she dare not make a wrong move or she will lose her family.
Years later, when Diane finally tells her parents what Brittany has claimed, they are aghast, yet her mother still sides with Brittany. 
Skewered Halo is a thriller exploring the lies and treachery that can exist in families.
Join Diane as she discovers that her entire life has been a lie, resulting in murder and mayhem. It all enfolds in the dramatically 
enticing Skewered Halo.   
I was so excited when I received Skewered Halo in the mail. Not only was it my first Youngerman novel but Brenda actually signed it for me. How cool is that?
I started reading and soon was sucked into the story. I think, it only took me about three days reading a couple hours each to finish the book. Which is a record for me lately. I have always been an avid reader but since becoming a mom of 3, reading is one of the things that suffered. But I just couldn’t put the book down. One night I read late into the night and needed an extra caffeine boost to make it through the next day. The next night, I was soaking in the tub intend on only reading a chapter or two… but two hours later, the water cold and my skin shriveled beyond recognition, I sat in the tub with my mouth agape and the book finished.
As a big sister myself, I cannot understand and will not ever understand how a human being can be so cruel and mean. My little sister has driven me crazy, made me mad and cry, and want throttle her at times… but never ever have I not loved her deeply.
As a mother of three, the ending left me reeling and heart sick. I still shudder thinking about it.
And there-in lies Brenda’s power with words…
She made me think, made me shudder and ache. She was able to reach deep inside me and hook me with her words.
I cannot wait to read her other novels.
I truly hope, you will hop on over to Brenda’s blog, say hello and order a book or two… or 7!!! You won’t regret it.

 

Blog

Instagram Sundays #2

April 28, 2012
bocafrau
<div align="center"><a href="http://bocafrau.com" title="bocafrau" target="_blank"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-d5tmy-l2GyQ/T5N2Ht74QWI/AAAAAAAACUs/HaS0fjIWU6E/s200/Instagram%2520Sundays.jpg" alt="bocafrau" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

I love to share photos and I love Instagram. I was one happy little blogger when Instagram became available on Android devices. I jumped, no leaped, on that particular social media bandwagon and have developed a new love affair/addiction with it. Because of this love affair I have decided to start my very own Sunday link up aptly called… Instagram Sundays!!!

I would love it if you would join me and share the treasures you captured with Instagram during the past week. I see a lot of fantastic, cute, funny and happy moments every day.

Share just one (maybe your favorite of the week) or many of your Instagrams and add a small description.

Just paste the badge into your post or sidebar and maybe follow me… quick and simple.

My Instagram user name is of course, bocafrau!!! 🙂

I look forward to seeing your Instagrams on the big screen!!!

Here are my Favorite Instagrams for this week: {4/22/12 – 4/28/12}

There you have it. Some, not all of my Instagram pics from last Sunday through today.

I’d love it if you would help me circulate this link up. Please, tweet, facebook share and tell all your friends. You would make me a very happy camper!!! 🙂


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Time to fill in some blanks

April 26, 2012

Follow Friday Four Fill In Fun #60

Once again it’s Friday and time to join Hilary for some fill-in the blanks fun.

Each week she posts four statements with blanks for us to fill in on our own blogs. If you would like to come up with some fill ins of your own and e-mail them to Hilary, she may make you co-host if she uses your statements. This weeks co-host is Beth Ann from It’s Just Life.

Here are this weeks statements :

1.       I never ___ when I ___

2.       I used to __but I stopped

3.       My favorite picture of all time is of _______________

4.       When it gets dark I think about _______________

Here are my answers:

1. I never go outside without a baggy when I walk the dogs. Gotta clean up!

2. I used to bite my nails but I stopped.

3. My favorite picture of all time is of (it’s a tie) hubby, my sister and I at my FIL’s wedding. It was such a moment of us having fun and being carefree. I always have a smile on my face when I see it. The other one is of the boy and middle daughter at the same wedding… ring bearer and flower girl. Could they be any cuter?

4. When it gets dark I think about what the next day will bring.

 

Photobucket

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I'm baking… Thursdays #1 ~ Cream Puffs

April 25, 2012

Soft, warm rolls with butter melting inside. A loaf of crusty bread for those lunch sandwiches. Buttery, moist cupcakes with sugary, sweet icing and colorful sprinkles. Big, round cookies with gooey chocolate chips. Pastries, cakes and more… that’s what I want to bake and share.

I remember, growing up, someone… my grandma, mom and aunt… baking on a Saturday morning for coffee and cake at 3 o’clock on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Kaffeeklatsch! A time for the family to get together, share something sweet and maybe the latest village gossip.

I can see it now, my mom gently pouring the gelantine over that fruit tart with a spoon, my grandma rolling out dough on a big cutting board so we could cut out the cookies and my aunt showing me how to mix the ingredients for the pound cake, letting me hold the mixer and after, letting me lick the cake batter out of the bowl.

It seems baking and the enjoyment we get from it runs in the family. I recently rediscovered my love for baking and decided to host a bi-weekly link-up for all things sweet, gooey and doughy.

Part of it is to keep track of my journey, the learning process and the joy. Another part is that I hope, you’ll share your delicious recipes so we all can enjoy some sweetness… and for me to maybe give them a try and then share that.

bocafrau
<div align="center"><a href="http://bocafrau.com" title="bocafrau" target="_blank"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-9UVVgt2k97E/T5N9bvPs9ZI/AAAAAAAACU0/IXcU5XV6TsM/s200/I%2527m%2520Baking...Thursdays%2520Badge.jpg" alt="bocafrau" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

My first recipe as part of my I’m Baking… series are Cream Puffs. I made them for the first time this past weekend. They were such a big hit that I got to do it all over again yesterday. My gang managed to wolf down eat six of them in short order. They were not small.

Cream Puff Shells

Ingredients:

1/2 cup shortening

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup boiling water

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour

4 eggs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400° F. In a medium sauce pan, combine the shortening, salt and boiling water and heat until the entire mixture boils. Reduce heat, add flour all at once and stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat and add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is thick and shiny and breaks from spoon.

Pipe or spoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 20 minutes, reduce heat to 350° F and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until golden and sound hollow when tapped. Cool, cut in half and fill with pastry cream and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

(*Note: I only baked mine for about 12 additional minutes at the reduced cycle.)

Pastry Cream

Ingredients:

2 cups of milk

1/4 cup of white sugar and 1/3 cup of white sugar

2 egg yolks, plus 1 egg

1/4 cup corn starch

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

In a heavy saucepan, stir together the milk and 1/4 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and egg. Stir together the remaining sugar and cornstarch; then stir them into the egg until smooth. When the milk comes to a boil, drizzle it into the bowl in a thin stream while mixing so that you do not cook the eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly so the eggs don’t curdle or scorch on the bottom.

When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove from heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla until the butter is completely blended in. Pour into a heat-proof container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled.

I made the pastry cream first and let it chill while I worked on the shells. 

(**Note: Both recipes are courtesy of Allrecipes.com)

I would love it if you could help me spread the word about this new link-up. Please, tell your friends, tweet it, share it on Facebook and Google+. Thank you so very much. I look forward to trying and tasting your yummy additions. 

xo, Susi



Blog

Getting Tagged

April 23, 2012

I’m it again. My friend Leslie over at Time out for Mom tagged me over the weekend. I’ve been tagged before so I know the ropes.

The rules are,

1. Tell 11 things about yourself

2. Tag 11 other people and ask them 11 questions

3. Let them know you have tagged them.

4. Don’t tag someone who has previously been tagged. (Ok, this one will be a bit hard.)

Here are 11 more things about yours truly.

1. I’m finding my way back to baking.

2. I have enjoyed my baking sessions the past few weekends.

3. I’m super happy that my concoctions have received glowing reviews and approval. It makes it so much more fun.

4. Baking relaxes me.

5. I have created a link-up for my new addiction. Instagram Sundays!!! 

6. I’m thinking about creating a link up for my baking endeavors (monthly?). Would you link up your baked goody recipes?

7. I love watching my kids sleep. They all look so peaceful and adorable when they are off in dreamland.

8. Sometimes, it’s hard for me not to lose my patience with hubby’s 85 year old grandma. I remind myself that it’s not easy getting older and one day that may very well be me.

9. I’m excited for my uncles’ arrival from Germany. My uncle, who’s almost like a big brother to me and my 73 year old great-uncle are coming to visit from Germany. My great-uncle has never been here and has only flown once before a gazillion years ago.

10. I’ve been having issues with sleeping through the night this past week. Ugh, I hate when that happens.

11. I am NOT a morning person. If I could, I probably would still sleep in til 10 AM every morning.

Here are Leslie’s questions:

1.   Oreo cookies:  are you a milk dipper or pull them apart and lick the creme inside? Neither, i don’t really eat Oreo cookies.

2.   beach or pool? Both. I love going to the beach, sitting in the sand or walking. But I prefer to swim in a pool where I can see what’s there.

3.  What’s your freak talent? Tough one. Don’t think I have one. Does that mean I’m not a freak?

4.  What’s in your bag? Let’s see. My wallet, my coin purse, usually my phone, my glass case and glasses, my keys, a cosmetic bag with paper, notebook, pens, crayons, chapstick, tissues, advil, tampons(TMI???), lipgloss and lipstick and my Samsung Galaxy tablet.

5.  You are a closet _______  fan? Real Housewives of …

6.  Who is the celebrity you would most like to meet and why? Sandra Bullock. I’ve always admired her and I’d love to speak to her in German. 

7.  Can you put your mascara on with your mouth closed?  (boys, if you are here…pick a substitute) Good question. No, I don’t think so. It’s always slightly open.

8.  Last thing you bought. Groceries. Nothing exciting here, I’m afraid.

9.  The best part of waking up is _____? Knowing there is a cup of coffee or tea waiting for me.

10.  You have one phone call – who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!!! 🙂 Hmmm, I’d call the hubby. One phone call would mean I’m in jail, right? So, yes, hubby, so he can come bail me out.

11.  What is your favourite thing about the opposite sex? Stubble. I like a bit of facial hair and a bit of stubble can look very sexy.

My turn to ask 11 questions:

1. What are you doing right now? (Other than doing this post.)

2. What do you or don’t you like about rain?

3. Did you like getting tagged?

4. Did you play tag as a child?

5. Do you (or someone in your family) play an instrument? Which one?

6. Where in the world would you love to travel to?

7. What is your favorite work-out?

8. Does your significant other snore?

9. What is your favorite blogging spot?

10. Tea, with lemon and honey or sugar and cream?

11. Which book are you reading right now?

Ok, my turn to tag some lovely people:

1. Kristen at A Little Something for Me

2. Ali at My Suitcase full of Tricks

3. Nicolette at Working on a Project

4. Liz at A Nut in a Nutshell

5. Elizabeth at My Life such as it Is

6. Nicole at By Word of Mouth Musings

7. Stasha at The Good Life

8. Melissa at A wide Line

9. Kate at On the Go Momma

10. Kate at Sluiter Nation

11. Jamie at My Chosen Chaos

Phew. I don’t think, I have tagged any of these lovely ladies before. If I have, my bet. Feel free to play along and continue this came of tag but don’t feel as though you have to. It’s supposed to be a fun little thing.

Have a wonderful day!!!  xo, Susi

 

 

 

Blog

My 10 Most Remembered Books

April 22, 2012

So, it’s Monday and I skipped out on the list master Stasha last week. Mostly because I was kinda, sorta busy and didn’t get around to it and also because I couldn’t really think of anything. Because lets face it… celebrities are in a class of their own.

I’m an avid reader, well, I used to be before I was a busy mommy running after three kids, 2 dogs and a cat… oh, and you know, can’t forget the hubby. (I like to call him my fourth child!!!) Although, I don’t get to read as much as I used to, I still do and enjoy every minute of living along with various characters.

Here is my list of books that I remember most vividly for one reason or another. They are in a kind of chronological order by their appearance in my life.

1. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

This is the first novel I remember reading that truly started my love affair with books. I remember when I got this book as a present from either my grandma or my parents (I’m a little fuzzy on the details here.) for Christmas. It was MY first book and a hard cover to boot. Books, especially hard covers are very expensive in Germany. I felt so special. The story sucked me in. I still have the book. Middle daughter just got it out of the shelf… oh, the memories.

2.  New Orleans Legacy by Alexandra Ripley

The book has a different title in German and I had a hard time finding the name and author… my mom came to the rescue. I remember this book as another one in hard cover and it was a biggie. I fell in love with New Orleans reading this book. Even more when I went for Mardi Gras one year. I hope, to go back one day and look at it through more adult eyes. Craw fish and beignets… sigh.

3. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Here is the scenario: Newly immigrated German student, barely speaks any English (even after studying it for four years), comes in during the second semester of 11th grade and the first book report due… Of Mice and Men. I don’t remember much about it, only that I had to look up every second word in my dictionary. I HATED it. I should get myself a copy now and see if I would enjoy diving in.

4. His Bright Light:The Story Of Nick Traina by Danielle Steele

I’ve read many of her books, some over and over again. But this one has always stood out. It’s about her son, his battle with bipolar disorder and his subsequent suicide at age 17. I just remember crying and feeling her pain.

5. Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice

This is the one that started it all… my love of all things vampire. I fell in love with Louis and Lestat and their nocturnal life in New Orleans and Paris. After this one I read many more of Anne Rice’s vampire novels and just recently got myself Interview with a Vampire and The Vampire Lestat at our friends used book store. I can’t wait to dive in again.

6. Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

I’m pretty sure I read this before I ever saw the movie and was somewhat disappointed in the movie. The book also made me into a Thomas Harris fan for quite some time and I loved reading his books. I don’t really enjoy reading this type of stuff anymore. Especially, since reading his Black Sunday… I still get scared just thinking about it.

7. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Have you ever seen No Reservations on the Travel Channel? Bourdain is in a class by himself. The hubby got the book because he loved the show and was fascinated by the man’s cooking advice. This book is an auto biography and chronicles Bourdains rise to fame from dishwasher in tiny, hole in the wall restaurants kitchens to head chef at Les Halles in NYC to host of his own show on the Travel Channel. Reading the book you feel like watching one of his shows. I loved it.

8. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Who hasn’t read this book? It’s been a big deal for a while now. This was one of the “heavier” books I’ve read recently. I prefer easy reading, fluff if you will, that doesn’t take too much concentration. (Having only a limited amount of reading time.) But this one, I couldn’t put it down. You just can’t help but feel for Lisbeth and what she’s going through. I can’t wait to read the other two. Already got my copy of book number two in the trilogy.

9. The Twilight Saga ( Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn) by Stephenie Meyer

You knew this one was coming eventually, right? This is the little saga that I haven’t been able to put down… I’ve read all the books numerous times. As a matter of fact, I believe, I spent most of 2011 reading and re-reading these books. I know, I will again before long, so the details are nice and fresh again before Breaking Dawn Pt. 2 comes out in November. I know, I’m a total nerd… but I love me some Twilight and sparkly vampires.

10. Skewered Halo by Brenda Youngerman

This is the last book I read. I was so sucked into this story that I ended up sitting in the tub for two hours with the water growing cold because I had to know the ending. It was my first Youngerman novel but it won’t be my last. Budget allowing I will start getting Brenda’s other books one by one. Some of you know and love Brenda as much as I do. But if you haven’t heard about her, I urge you to check out her blog. She’s a self published author and all around wonderful human being.

 

Blog

Instagram Sundays #1

April 22, 2012
bocafrau
<div align="center"><a href="http://bocafrau.com" title="bocafrau" target="_blank"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-d5tmy-l2GyQ/T5N2Ht74QWI/AAAAAAAACUs/HaS0fjIWU6E/s200/Instagram%2520Sundays.jpg" alt="bocafrau" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

I love to share photos and I love Instagram. I was one happy little blogger when Instagram became available on Android devices. I jumped, no leaped, on that particular social media bandwagon and have developed a new love affair/addiction with it. Because of this love affair I have decided to start my very own Sunday link up aptly called… Instagram Sundays!!!

I would love it if you would join me and share the treasures you captured with Instagram during the past week. I see a lot of fantastic, cute, funny and happy moments every day.

Share just one or many of your Instagrams and add a small description.

Just paste the badge into your post or sidebar and maybe follow me… quick and simple.

My Instagram user name is of course, bocafrau!!! 🙂

I look forward to seeing your Instagrams on the big screen!!!

Here are my Instagrams for the past week.

This little guy was on the window screen at my neighbors house. Living in Florida we have our fair share of these little creatures. I even had one in my bathtub recently… yes, I yelped when I saw it. 🙂

My little one at lunch with daddy. I loved the way her hair looked… I called her little Farrah.

Our Finnigan will sit anywhere, as long as she has some warm sunshine on her.

I just can’t get enough of our sunset skies. The colors are unbelievably amazing and this picture does not do them justice.

Middle daughter had a friend over today and what better way to while away a rainy Saturday then with some beading… the girls made themselves anklets.

And for some added Vitamin C they made fresh squeezed orange juice. It was absolutely delicious. There’s just something about fresh squeezed that can never be completely duplicated.

Here is my Saturday project… Cream Puffs. My first time making them and the boys devoured them. I guess, I did okay. I found a German baking book today my Omi (grandma) gave to me years ago and I got so many ideas. Can’t wait to expand my repertoire.




Blog

I'm baking… Vanilla Pound Cake

April 21, 2012

A few weeks ago, the week before Easter to be precise, I got the urge to try my hand at baking again. Not just the quick out of the box kind of baking. I wanted to start from scratch, measure the ingredients myself and try my luck.

My first project (for Easter)  were Hot Cross Buns after seeing recipes on both The Momalog.com  and The Pioneer Woman.com. I was kind of scared dealing with yeast for the first time and was afraid the dough wouldn’t rise properly. I needn’t have worried, things worked out beautifully and my love for baking was re-awakened.

I love the step by step process, the measuring and sifting and mixing. It relaxes me.

 

For my next baking recipe I chose one of my favorite cakes–a vanilla pound cake–that’s also easy to make and uses only a few basic ingredients. The recipe I used is from Food.com.

Ingredients: 

2 cups of sugar

1 cup of unsalted butter, melted

4 eggs

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup milk

 

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine sugar and melted butter in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, beat until well mixed.

3. Stir together flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Gradually add flour mixture alternatively with milk, to butter mixture, beating at low speed until well mixed. (This is were a stand-mixer comes in handy. I did it with my hand-mixer and it worked ok because I’m able to crack eggs with one hand but it does get a little dicey at times.) 🙂

4. Pour batter into greased and floured 10-inch Bundt cake pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for ten minutes. Remove from pan.

Frosting  recipe thanks to the lovely Giada De Laurentiis.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

3 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

In a medium bowl, using an electric hand-mixer, beat the butter until light and smooth. Beat in the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth and creamy.

 

I took this Pound Cake to my neighbors for Easter and everyone loved it. I like the fact that I can change the flavor of the cake by substituting vanilla for another flavoring but use the same basic recipe.