Monday, July 30, 2012

Get a REAL Clue!

While traveling we usually stop at antique stores, they have a magnetic-like pull for us. Even if we are in an unknown town, we usually stumble across a place that we cannot resist poking around in. On the last trip we "found a real find" as we like to say. We love to play games of all kinds and collect vintage versions of our favorites.
I am not sure if this is the first copyright of the game of Clue, but I have never seen one from 1949 before.

Love the artwork and it's in fabulous condition! I am assuming this was hardly played with at all, the pieces are still there and nothing is crumpled, bent or torn. The one thing I miss is the Prof's pipe, this version he is tobacco free.


...And it was obviously the Dining Room and the candlestick.....The pieces are wooden- just love that feature! Also the weapons are larger than the modern versions and we believe the lead pipe is made from real lead-sorry children no chewing.


We always fought over who got to be Miss Scarlett, love the 1940's hairstyle she has in this version. I always pictured Miss Scarlett in the lounge enjoying her red carpet, or looking for her lost necklace in the ballroom.

In my excitement of playing with our "new" game, I made several suggestions when I had all the wonder I didn't win.

Now you have to give me three clues, what edition of Clue do you have, who is your favorite character and what is your favorite room?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Yummy Chocolate Cake!

So I hope I am not the only one caught up in Olympic fever!  I just realized that I have been watching the opening ceremonies for hours!

Ok here is the recipe for the yummy chocolate cake we now make with the Dutch processed cocoa.  This recipe is one my mom picked up in the 1970's and is one of our favorites especially now that we have switched to the other cocoa powder. 

On to the good stuff!  One of the best things about this recipe is you just chunk it all into a bowl stir it up a few times and pop it in your pan.  This batter will be really thin.

One side note if you don't have buttermilk just put one Tablespoon of white vinegar into one cup of normal milk and wait about 5 minutes. 

Chocolate Cake Recipe

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup coca (use the dutch processed kind!)
2 cups flour

1 cup oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix the dry ingredients together. 

Add the wet ingredients.

Stir! It will be thin. 

Pour into pan and bake.  I usually use a normal cake pan but I found these fun paper ones at Michael's.  So full recipe will fill all four paper pans.  I made a half recipe.

Icing Recipe!

6 Tablespoons of Milk
3 Tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 stick of butter

1 box of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
nuts optional

Slowly bring to a boil in a sauce pan the milk, cocoa powder, and butter.  STIR CONTINUOUSLY!! it sticks and scorches super quick!

When you see a good amount of bubbles turn off heat and add in the rest of the ingredients and stir like crazy until it is smooth.

Pour the icing onto the cakes.  I always do this when the cake is hot so it sinks in.

Now all you do is eat it!  Yummy!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Getting Started on your Family Tree Part 2

Once you know what you have you can start searching for what you don't have! You can go looking for the records! 
 Start with census records.  
They are from the 1790-1940 (the 1940's was just released to the public in April and they are still working on indexing them.) The 1890 census was burnt in a fire, there is only a few states or parts left of it.You will need to find some other records to fill in that gap. Like city directories or state census. Census records are only released 72 years after it was taken, so the 1950 will be out in 2022!
 The earlier census don't have much information on them, just check marks for the number of people in a age group. But after the 1850 they ask various questions. The census will not only give you where your relatives lived, it will give you their age (sometimes their birth year and month), what state they were born, if married, how many years married, year they immigrated, occupation, address, and if a veteran of the civil war or other war. They are a treasure trove of information to the genealogist!   
Here are some census images for an example.

Here is Harold Hirdler and his family in the 1940 census (my great grandfather). 
 Source Information: 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls.

Harold Hirdler in the 1930 census.
 Source Information: 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

If you find your grandmother in the census and it says that her father is born in New York, then that gives you a place to start looking for him and can lead you back another generation! Here are blank forms for the census records. You can print them out and fill them in, or you can just save the image of the census record and print that out. 

Here are some websites that have census records. is one of the biggest genealogy website out there, but you have to pay for a subscription to view the records. They have the census from 1790-1940 including some state census.
Also ask your local library if they have  access to Ancestry, there is a special edition just for them.
FamilySearch is free! You don't have to pay any thing, but you might have to make an account to see record images. They also have the census from 1790-1940 and state census. I use them a lot! 
Harold Hirdler with children Douglas, Kenneth and Geraldine and wife Marie
 Next week I will post about vital records! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Baking with Dutch Processed Chocolate!

I love chocolate!  But chocolate does not always love me.  I have found that after eating yummy homemade chocolate cake I would get sick.  But then I found the most wonderful thing! 

Dutch Processed Cocoa

Dutch processed cocoa is powdered chocolate that is put through an alkali process that greatly reduces the acidity of the chocolate.  You cannot just exchange the normal cocoa powder with Dutch processed cocoa.  Most recipes count on the acid content in order to make everything work properly.  Later this week I will give you a fantastic recipe for a chocolate sheet cake that we love. 

So you might ask.  Where do I find this wonderful product? I went to my local World Market and found this box it was with the teas and drinking chocolate.  I have also seen some at my local grocery store and found it online.  If you look at most boxed chocolate cakes or brownie mixes you will notice in the ingredients list that it is made with Dutch processed cocoa. 

Let me know if you use Dutch processed cocoa and what you use it for. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Way Too Easy Dinner, Lunch and Leftovers

Chicken was on sale and I don't usually buy a whole bird but it was cheaper. And now I know much more delicious! At first I was unsure what to do with a whole bird, but some small voice told me to get out my trusty Ida Bailey Allen cookbook. My sister has one and after a few recipes from her, I knew I needed to find my own. Imagine my joy and delight when the first one I came across was in a wonderful polka dot yellow cover?
But I digress, Ida did indeed have advice about chickens for me.

I will skim over the parts about selecting the poultry as she assumes you are buying a live bird. She does add the tip that a chicken may be plucked wet or dry (yick). She also gives detail on singeing off the long hairs of the turkey or chicken. Don't lose your appetite yet, there is an entire paragraph devoted to removing the head, sinews, tendons, feet etc. And I thought fishing out the bag with the gizzard was difficult. After skimming over the skewering and trussing, I found the roasting tips. "Begin cooking bird in a hot oven 400-425 degrees. Reduce it after the first ten minutes that the meat may cook gently. Most people cook poultry breast uppermost; this however, causes the juices to flow away from the breast, making it dry. The bird should be laid on its side during the early part of the cooking, then turned breast uppermost to finish."
"As with all meats, season when partly done."

With these nuggets of wisdom I cooked the tastiest, juciest chicken ever. You can do it too!!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Getting started on your Family Tree - Part 1

Do you know your grandparents or great-grandparents?
Do you want to get started researching your family history?
I am here to tell you how! I will be sharing pointers and tips on how to start researching your family tree in the next couple of weeks.

Great-great grandparents Anton and Antonia
   1. Start with the known and work back to the unknown.
 Start with yourself, your parents or grandparents and work back in time. Talk to relatives, listen to the family stories and look at any pictures they might have. They usually are a wealth of information! I love hearing Grandma tell stories of growing up and family stories that were passed down to her.
Also start hunting for those records you have around the house. You never know what you might have laying around!! Birth, death, marriage records or even Bible records and photo albums........ 

2. I would recommend you write all your information down in one place. 
Filling out a family group sheet or an ancestral chart, is a good way to know what info you have and don't have and it is easier to take with you places. You can also start a family tree online most of which are free if you sign up, I use Ancestry, but there is many out there for you to chose from! 

3.Don't forget to cite your sources! 
This is a very important thing to do for the genealogist! I learned the hard way! Even though as this point you probably just want to start researching, later on it will be important to know where you found out about Great-grandfather's accident or where it said he immigrated in 1912. If Auntie told you the birth dates of all her sibling, make a note! You should write down the person you got the information from, the date and place of interview.

So now you know what information you have and what you need to start looking for! 

Aunt Mary, Aunt Annie, Uncle Frank, Aunt Stella and Great-grandma Anna  

Good luck and happy genealogy hunting! 

Part 2 - Where to Start Searching!


Friday, July 13, 2012

Almost Instant Cupcake Decorations

 I am sure you can guess when we made these?! At the last minute we decided to have patriotic cupcakes, but didn't realize the only color of sugar we had was red. Quick thinking was required!
Since I didn't relish a trip to the store, I dug around in the craft supplies and found some blue scrap booking paper, a small star cookie cutter and toothpicks from the kitchen. I then traced and cut out a bunch of stars and sandwiched the toothpicks between two stars securing with double-sided tape.
WA-la!! Instant cupcake decorations!
You could do little yellow ducks for a baby shower or flowers for a birthday or cows, dogs, letters or numbers.....the possibilities are limitless.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Henry's Tea Cakes

This past week I decided to make tea cakes!  This is a favorite recipe in my family. They are yummy and not to sweet.  Unfortunately, the next day I found out that I had strep throat so they were deemed eat at your own risk strep laced tea cakes!  I would suggest not making them when sick but any way you make them they are delicious! 

We use my great-grandmothers recipe that my grandmother remembers from her childhood. I never met my Great-Grandmother Henry but I have been told she was always whipping up clothes for my grandmother and her four sisters.  They often when to town and saw outfits they liked.  The girls would come home and describe it to their mother and out would come the newspaper.  Soon she had the dresses complete.  So please enjoy her yummy slightly sweet treat!

Henry's Tea Cake Recipe
(7 dozen)

2 little eggs
1 cup butter
1 cup buttermilk or sweet milk
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla (optional)
8-10 cups all purpose flour (I used about 6 1/2-7)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Mix eggs, butter, milk, baking soda, sugar, baking powder and vanilla together.  I used my kitchen aid stand mixer but as soon as I started adding flour I wished I had just done it in a big bowl with the electric mixer or by hand. 

Add in 6 cups of flour.  Keep adding flour as needed.  The trick is to get it to sugar cookie texture with out over mixing or adding to much flour. 

Roll out dough and cut out cookies.  I just used a cup as a cookie cutter and made about 3" cookies total I had 5 1/2 dozen.  The cookies are not really sweet so actually I will make smaller cookies next time. 

Place on cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 min.  The bottoms will become light brown if the tops are browned then they are over cooked.  Sprinkle sugar on top or if you are like us mix up some butter cream frosting to top the cookies. 

These are great with coffee or tea.  They actually whip up really quick and are super yummy!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Yo-Yo With A Twist!

A few months ago I was inspired by a craft article on yo-yo's, circles of fabric traditionally made from scraps of cotton and used to embellish and decorate. They were often sewn together as a blanket or pillow cover. I made a few for fun and then got the brain wave to use silk scraps, the colors are brilliant and fabric is wonderful to work with...take a look...

 I used the cork coaster from my coffee table as a pattern. It was handy and turned out to be the perfect size, about 4 1/2 inches across. Fold about 3/4 of an inch over and put in a running stitch.

When you have come full circle, gently pull the thread as tight as you can and knot it off, but don't cut.

*A traditional yo-yo would not have the center or "eye".

The silk is heavier and that is as small as I can gather it together. So I came up with the idea of sewing a 2 inch circle on top, folding the raw edge under as I go.  Don't worry about it looking perfect, they are handmade and are all unique.

 Just be careful...they will take over...

Now the question is, what to make out of them, any suggestions?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Knit Your Bit!

Happy 4th of July!!

Today we are kicking off our first knit-a-long!  Join with us to Knit Your Bit!

What is Knit Your Bit?

During WWI and WWII the American Red Cross encouraged women and men on the Home Front to join the Production Corps and create warm kitted items for the troops.  This not only helped keep the soldiers supplied with the items they needed it also gave them a piece of home on the battlefield.

Since 2006 the National WWII Museum located in New Orleans has carried on this tradition with their Knit Your Bit program. 

How do I get involved?

This is the easy part.  Simply find a nice yarn that you think would make a lovely scarf.  Remember these will be distributed to men and women veterans so make it unisex.  Any scarf pattern will work but if you want to check out their suggestions they have six patterns to choose from. (Most patterns are also available for crochet)

When you have finished your scarf follow the simple shipping directions found on the How To Participate page.

Leave us a comment when you join or Knit-a-long and tell us what you are knitting up. 
If you're on Ravelry join our group and post pictures of your creation. 

So grab your needles and yarn and lets cast on!