Archive for December 2014

My Favorite Posts From 2014   2 comments

Here are my favorite posts from this year. Your mileage may vary, of course. But please, enjoy!

Staycation 60aBreaking The Silence

Ever Had A Day Like This?

Staycation: Day 6

Cutting Boards: What Kind Do You Want?

The Trouble With Success

Mrs. Fleming Taught Me Well

Yosemite National Park

Kalamata Olive Tapenade

Great Read: The Silkworm

2006. Half Dome from Glacier Point.

2006. Half Dome from Glacier Point.

Cutting Sideways = Curves

My Fathers And My Grandfathers

Lieutenant William Henry Mowry

Things I Learned At The Street Fair

What Are You?

The Zombie Apocalypse

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Olive Tapenade 01My Favorite Posts From 2013

Our Furry Friends   1 comment

Posted December 30, 2014 by henrymowry in Photography

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Snow   Leave a comment

Posted December 29, 2014 by henrymowry in Photography

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Grandma Mowry’s Chocolate Pie   2 comments

From Left, Robert Mowry (my father), Juanita Boring Mowry (his mother, who gave us the recipe), Velda Chucalo Mowry (today's cook) and Christopher Mowry (her son). 1983. This isn't a photo of 4 generations ... because I was taking the photo.

From Left, Robert Mowry (my father), Juanita Boring Mowry (his mother, who gave us the recipe), Velda Chucalo Mowry (today’s cook) and Christopher Mowry (her son). 1983. This isn’t a photo of 4 generations … because I was taking the photo.

This is old-fashioned chocolatey goodness. This recipe was handed down from Juanita Boring Mowry, who never measured anything when she made this pie … she just poured the ingredients in her hand, and made it right. Every time. Velda convinced her to slow down long enough so she could transcribe the recipe.

You are welcome.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp Hershey’s Cocoa
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 cups Half & Half or Whole Milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 pre-baked pie crust

Directions

Stir together cocoa, flour, salt and sugar in large sauce pan. Mix together Half & Half and egg yolk. Combine with dry ingredients.

Put over medium heat stirring constantly until bubbly and the mixture thickens. Take off heat. Add butter and vanilla. Stir until almost cool. Pour into crust.

Sit for several hours to thicken before cutting.

Top with whipped cream.

 

 

Posted December 28, 2014 by henrymowry in Recipes

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Monkey Bread   Leave a comment

It’s a Christmas tradition in our family: you have monkey bread after opening the presents on Christmas morning.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cans (16.3 oz each) Pillsbury™ Grands!™ Homestyle refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, if desired
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

Directions

Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 12-cup fluted tube pan with cooking spray. In large mixing bowl, mix granulated sugar and cinnamon.

Separate dough into 16 biscuits; cut each into quarters and roll into balls. Toss in cinammon sugar mixture to coat. Layer pecans with dough in fluted tube pan.

In small pan, melt brown sugar and butter; pour over biscuit pieces.

Bake 28 to 32 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn upside down onto serving plate; pull apart to serve. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Serve warm.

 

Posted December 27, 2014 by henrymowry in Recipes

Some Assembly Required   Leave a comment

2014: It’s A Wonderful Year   3 comments

Mrs. M and Mrs. M, before they opened on their first day. Smiles on faces, and that is a very good thing!

Mrs. M and Mrs. M, before they opened on their first day. Smiles on faces, and that is a very good thing!

This was a year of new beginnings.

Mrs. M’s Handmade, which began last year, really got going early in 2014. Alley filled out the paperwork and got a California reseller’s permit, and the business officially began on 2/1/14. Our first event was the Santa Clarita Street Fair in March (read about that here) … and total sales for that weekend were $420. Expenses we won’t talk about, but, believe me, no profit was made! Humble beginnings, indeed.

Aunt SisIn the midst of preparing for that launch, we had an all-too-rare visit from any member of our Midwest family … Aunt Sis was in the house!

In April, we entered a new phase of life: the empty nest. Little Girl escaped to her own apartment, and hasn’t looked back. It seems increasingly difficult to get the whole family together for dinner … and we all live within a few miles of each other! In any event, Little Girl has left the nest and is doing wonderful on her own.

Ventura Beach, July 2014

Ventura Beach, July 2014

Which is exactly right.

July found us on Ventura Beach, enjoying the Pacific and Miss P. Great times … and for a family living in SoCal, only Lauren really takes advantage of the beach being an hour away!

Christopher and Alley completed their transition out of their condo and into their wonderful new home in July. They now live about 40 miles from us, in Lancaster, CA.

Speaking of new homes, Eric also purchased a home this year, in Castaic, CA (where Michael and Brianna also live). He’s currently doing extensive renovations and anticipates moving into his home … well, when the renovations are done. This year, right, Eric?

October brought us another all-too-rare visit from family, with Tony and Claire Hubert visiting on Claire’s west coast college tour. We’re all holding our breath until she confirms that she’s going to be a UCLA Bruin. No pressure, Claire!

Here's the Mrs. M's at our first double booth at the big craft fair at Saugus High, where all 3 kids graduated. Quite a different look from their first booth, yes?

Here’s the Mrs. M’s at our first double booth at the big craft fair at Saugus High, where all 3 kids graduated. Quite a different look from their first booth, yes?

Mrs. M’s Handmade had a great first year (the website is here, and the Facebook page is here). From our humble beginnings in March, we ended up being a part of 23 different craft fairs (!) over the 10 months we were active. Sales for both Mrs M’s lotion products and Mr M’s cutting boards and cheese boards exceeded our expectations … so we’re committed to continuing into 2015. As a wise man once told me, “Be careful what you wish for!”

Here’s the family’s professional round-up:

I started the year with 2 clients, but the relationship with the second ended just in time for my sanity to endure. I continue on as the DOM for Smarts Broadcast Systems. I interview broadcasters for their blog (here), and have become proficient in social media for them.

Not that the children would ever agree with that assessment, of course.

I did an unusually small amount of travel this year, going to 2 radio industry conventions. I was in Las Vegas in April for the NAB, and then in Oregon in September for their broadcaster convention.

Velda continues with Kaiser Continuing Care. She’s begun a new program with regular visits to her patients in assisted living facilities, in anticipation of transitioning entirely out of her skilled nursing facility position by next April.

Christopher continues at Placerita Nature Center, a part of the LA County park system. Alley continues her position with the city of Palmdale.

Mrs. Mowry at the podium

Mrs. Mowry at the podium

Michael continues with Crane Aerospace & Electronics in Burbank. He and Brianna are in the midst of training for their first full marathon (that’s 26.2 miles), which will happen at Disneyworld in January. Why are they doing it? For the flashy medals, of course!

Brianna had the big job news, winning a full time position at Sierra Vista Junior High in Canyon Country. She teaches English, English for English Language Learners, and one Choir class. She directed her first junior high concert in December; my favorite photo from that event is to the right.

Lauren is now in charge of kindergarteners at her Sunshine Daycare; she also won a full time position this year.

Eric is currently juggling his real job with the other real job of supervising contractors working on his house. It never ends, Eric!

And the best photo of the year is, again, of Payton (as if there’s any doubt!). The backstory to this photo: Payton was not yet 2, and had a complete terrible 2 meltdown. Alley took her outside to calm down, and she came back inside with flowers in her hair and an angelic smile.

Merry Christmas, everyone. It’s been a wonderful year, and here’s to an even better 2015 for you and yours.

Payton, March 2014.

Payton, March 2014.

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2013: It’s A Wonderful Year

2012: It’s A Wonderful Year

Posted December 25, 2014 by henrymowry in Living Life

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Final Four   Leave a comment

Here are the final pieces created for Christmas presents this year. Don’t know what Santa will have under the tree for you, but it’s at least possible….

Posted December 24, 2014 by henrymowry in Woodworking

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The Cleverest Waitress In The World   2 comments

George III mahogany Lazy Susan, circa 1780, sold for about $3,900 by Christie's in London in 2010. Photo credit: Christies.

George III mahogany Lazy Susan, circa 1780, sold for about $3,900 by Christie’s in London in 2010. Photo credit: Christies.

We don’t know. We just don’t know.

The origin of the term “Lazy Susan” was probably in the 20th century … it was used to promote Ovington’s $8.50 mahogany “Revolving Server or Lazy Susan” in a 1917 Vanity Fair ad. That ad also stated that the device was “the cleverest waitress in the world.”

That points to the probable origin of the device, which was first observed in Europe in the 17th century … probably as a replacement for servants. That same ad says the price of $8.50 is “an impossibly low wage for a good servant.”

Some people have tried to say Thomas Jefferson invented them … but that isn’t true. He did not use them at Monticello. These revolving devices were certainly used in the 1700s in Europe and the US, but they were called “dumb waiters.”

A dumb waiter because they could not speak?

A lazy Susan because servants were generically known as “Susan?”

No clue.

What I do know is that I had 3 orders to make them for Christmas presents, and those were delivered today. No clue what the recipients will call them. All 5 are Black Walnut and about 15″ in diameter.

More

WorldWideWords: Lazy Susan

Wikipedia: Lazy Susan

LA Times: Who Was Susan And Was She Truly Lazy?

Winter Has Arrived   1 comment

Sparks Lane in Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo by Christopher Ewing. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 12/21/14.

Sparks Lane in Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo by Christopher Ewing. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 12/21/14.

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