Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Original Toll House is Still the Best!

As I've probably mentioned before, I'm the proud mama of two (most of the time) delightful daughters. They get the urge, more than once-in-a-while, to whip up a batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies.


College Girl likes to stick to the recipe on the Nestlé bag. She's a Creature of Comfort, and rarely strays from the Baking Path. The Wild One, on the other hand, pretty much lives up to her nickname. She's the Einstein of the Baking World, and the only person I know, to date, to have ever tried to substitute cranberries for chocolate chips in the traditional Nestlé recipe. But that's a story for another time.

That familiar, bright gold, red and brown bag has the Toll House logo emblazoned all over it. So I got to thinking: Did these amazing Swiss chocolatiers invent these amazingly popular delicacies? The answer, Dear Readers, is no.

A bed & breakfast maven from Whitman, Mass., named Ruth Wakefield baked the first chocolate chippers--the most popular cookie in the U.S. of A., BTW, with seven billion consumed annually--in 1937. The "chocolate morsels" that we know today were first conceived in 1939. Nestlé supplied Mrs. Wakefield with the chocolate, apparently, and she baked the cookies. She and her husband, Kenneth, sold the Toll House Inn in 1966. It burned to the ground on New Year's Eve 1984.

The Original Toll House Cookie recipe is still on the Nestlé package, where it has resided for almost 70 years. Of course, the Chocolate Chip Cookie itself has branched out over the years. Nestlé offers recipes for Double-Chocolate Dream Cookies, Triple-Chocolate Cupcakes, and Choc-Oat Chip Cookies on its package, along with the tried and true Toll House variety.

I have to say that I side with College Girl in the preparation and the baking of the Chocolate Chip Cookies. We buy the bright gold bag and read the directions carefully. The Wild One still experiments. She turned out a Chocolate Chip Pizza the other day, which contained a few more ingredients than the original recipe called for, but, thankfully, no mozarella or marinara sauce.
And she's given up on putting cranberries in her cookies. For now.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

We're Sharing the Love Over Here!

I opened up The Blog this morning, and found the sweetest surprise! Marla, over at Pak Adventures, says I always make her laugh. Well, right back atcha, Marla! Marla and the Paklets have given me her first-ever, and my first-ever Bloggy Award! Yay for me, for Marla, and for the cyber-technology that makes all of this possible!

The Share The Love Award started with Crystal Memoirs of a Mommy, and the story's pretty special. Crystal's young son, Noah, needed a heart transplant last year at the tender age of one month. She commissioned this award in honor of the donor, and it's given to those, she says, "whose love and friendship have enriched my life and made my world a better place."

I'm all agog and agape--thanks so much, Marla! As most of you know, I've only been in the Blogosphere since June. This is a mighty special honor, I'd say! Take a gander above, and see how sweet it is!

Of course, all awards come with a little something extra in the bargain! In order to accept this award, I have to link back to Crystal's Blog and then share the award with other blogs that I read and love. There are sooooooooo many to choose from, but here are five gals who always make me smile!
  • Don't Get Married...You Won't Like It! Lots o' chuckles over here, especially in her blog title! She names her kids after Dr. Seuss characters (Thing 1 and Thing 2), and says she's gonna order her some Pop'rs as soon as Mr. Big gets paid this week!
  • Teri, over at Let Me Think on It. She's always posting Pixes from the Past (check out her beauty-queen get-up!), and her recent travelogues from NYC and Philly were a hoot-and-a-half!
  • Adiel is my Fashionista Friend. Her It's Because I Think Too Much really makes me think. Adiel's a pretty stylish gal!
  • Lula, she of Lulaville, has her own little Bloggy Kingdom down in Southwest Virginia! She's up at all hours (2:20 this morning, according to today's post!) packaging surprises for her Bloggy Friends, like Christmas in July
  • Scary Mommy, whose profile says she's a Zoo Keeper. Would that be of animals, or children, Scary? Perhaps both?

There you have it, sports fans! Make sure you keep Sharing the Comment Love! And, don't forget--Oprah still wants to hear from you!! *smile*

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Finding the Recipe for Success Can be Sweet!

Congrats to Angie, of SevEn cLoWn CirCus! She's our Latest Winner in The Great Pop'rs Giveaway! Angie wins a complete box of Pop'rs--all eight flavors!--to try with Hubby and those five cute kiddos of hers. Counting all the rehearsal dinner suggestions, e-mails to Oprah and Abundant Comment Love all week, we had more than 400 entries! Angie was chosen last night by random drawing. Way to go, gal!


For those of you who aren't quite sure why you need to be on The Pop'rs Bandwagon, Uncle Lynn, The Pop'r King, has quite a story to tell. Click here to find out more about The Wonderful World of Pop'rs!

Aunt Julie, The Pop'r Queen, was so touched by your outpouring of support during her Contact Oprah! Campaign, that she's decided to keep it going. Please help get The Pop'r Family on TV by Contacting Oprah, and Sharing the Pop'rs Love!

Our latest Great Pop'rs Giveaway may be over, but we've still got lots of sweet stuff to share! Aunt Julie was taking a gander at her recipe box the other day, and came up with this tasty summer treat!

Sherbet Watermelon
2 quarts lime sherbet (1/2 gallon)
1 pint lemon sherbet
1 ½ pints raspberry sherbet
½ cup chocolate chips

Line a three- to four-quart bowl with plastic wrap. Spoon slightly soft lime sherbet into the bowl, and press against sides and bottom of the bowl to about one-inch thick. Freeze for 1 ½ hours. Remove bowl from freezer. Spoon lemon sherbet against lime, about one-half inch thick. This will be the rind of the "watermelon." Freeze. When the "rind" is frozen, stir the chocolate chips into softened raspberry sherbet; then spoon this mixture into the "rind" and level the top. Freeze covered for several hours. Thirty minutes before serving, chill a serving platter. Invert sherbet creation onto the platter, and remove plastic wrap. Smooth with wet knife. Slice and serve.

There you have it, Faithful Readers. Another delightful summer treat! Aunt Julie has lots more yummy recipes, so please stay tuned!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Big Bird Hopes You Have Big Plans: Great Pop'rs Giveaway, Rehearsal Dinner, Contact Oprah!

Faithful Readers: We're featuring another of Aunt Julie's (The Pop'r Queen) gorgeous creations this morning. Meet Big Bird, a daylily par excellence!


This particular species of Hemerocallis is a hybrid introduced to those of us with green thumbs, like Aunt Julie, in 1978. Big Bird, whose plants grow up to three feet tall and should be located in full sun or partial shade two to three feet apart because of his girth, is one of those hardy souls that's darned difficult to kill.

"Just plant it, water it, and pick the dead blooms off ever day," Aunt Julie advises. "Daylilys are the easiest to cultivate!" This particular bloom, Dear Readers, measures seven inches across! And, but of course, the shot above is yet another of Aunt Julie's artistic endeavors. Don't you agree?

Aunt Julie also wishes to remind you all how easy-peasey it is to enter our Great Pop'rs Giveaway, which ends today! We're gonna continue to ask you to Contact Oprah on behalf of Uncle Lynn and Pop'rs. And, remember--Aunt Julie's busy planning a Rehearsal Dinner, so please join in the fun! We'll announce the winner of our Giveaway right here in tomorrow's post, so stay tuned!

More recipes, gardening tips, and Pop'rs Fun coming soon! After all, it's summer, and what could be better than that?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

You Won't Be Ticked Off If You Enter Our Giveaway!

I need to share...Aunt Julie, The Pop'r Queen, was some kind of ticked off when she found out the Oprah's "comment" page was under construction. We surfed around Oprah.com, though, so never fear--just click here to find out how you, Faithful Readers, can urge Oprah to put Uncle Lynn and his amazing Pop'rs on her show! A Great Big SITSta Shoutout to Tiffany & Heather for helping with this effort!


Meanwhile, we're right in the middle of another Great Pop'rs Giveaway! Make sure you click here before Monday at 8 p.m. EST, so you're entered in this fanTAbulous contest!

And, one more thing, friends. Aunt Julie is still trying to come up with cool ideas for Big Bear and Little Red's upcoming rehearsal dinner. Please click here to find out how you can help!

Hope you have a lovely Saucy Sunday, and remember: If at first you don't succeed in your effort to Contact Oprah, try, try again! Pretty please?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pop'rs Quiz: The Jonas Brothers, Oprah, The Great Pop'rs Giveaway, and More!

1. Who are Kevin, Joe and Nick Jonas?

2. Why would Pop’rs Inventor Uncle Lynn make a Great Guest on Oprah?

3. How can you help Uncle Lynn score big points with Oprah?

4. How can you help Aunt Julie plan for an Extra Special Rehearsal Dinner for Big Bear and Little Red?

5. How can you become a Big Winner in the Great Pop’rs Giveaway?

Now, because Uncle Lynn, The Pop’r King, believes in keeping his readers informed, everyone gets an “A” on this Pop’rs Quiz. Here, Faithful Readers, are your answers:

1. The Jonas Brothers, who performed on Oprah Thursday, are The Talk Show Diva’s Most Requested Guests of the Year. The reason they hold such a high honor? Because their fans absolutely deluged Oprah with online requests!

2. Uncle Lynn’s Pop’rs are good for you, add fun to family meals, and encourage you to Eat Your Veggies! An Oprah show featuring Uncle Lynn, Pop'rs, and kids like yours sampling this surprising seasoning on different kinds of food would be a hoot! In his e-mail to Oprah yesterday, Uncle Lynn even suggested adding a discussion with Dr. Oz about healthy eating into the mix!

3. Please post a note to Oprah on her Web site, encouraging her to build a show around Pop’rs and their Fun and Family Factor! Tell her about your children's eating habits and your concerns that they eat more healthy foods. Heck, send her a photo of your little darlin's, so she can include them on a Pop'rs Show! Click here to find out how you can help, plus get Extra Entries in the Great Pop’rs Giveaway!

4. Aunt Julie, The Pop'r Queen, has just two months to get ready for a 60-person rehearsal dinner at her house. Click here to offer suggestions, and enter the Great Pop’rs Giveaway at the same time!

5. The Great Pop’rs Giveaway runs through Monday, July 28. Click here to find out more, and remember: If you don’t enter, you can’t win!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dear Oprah...

So many of you have been Sharing the Comment Love about Uncle Lynn, The Pop'r Family, Pop'rs, and Big Bear and Little Red's Wedding that we're overwhelmed with gratitude.


Today, we'd like to Take. It. Up. A. Notch.

Yesterday, we blogged about Rachael Ray, and her enthusiasm for Pop'rs, that delightful, fun and good-for-you seasoning that convinces kids to Eat Their Veggies! Several of our Faithful Readers said we needed to plead our case to The Food Network. Others, including Marla, suggested that Oprah is the way to go.

So, here's the deal. Uncle Lynn sent an e-mail to Oprah this morning, telling her about Pop'rs and his family business, and inviting the Queen of Daytime TV to try Pop'rs for herself! Here's a little bit of his invitation:

"We'd love to provide you and your staff with enough boxes of Pop’rs—each containing all eight flavors—to try out for a while. After you’ve given this amazing product a 'test run,' why not invite some real kids—of all ages—on your show, and let them try the Pop’rs on all kinds of foods? You could pair this 'demonstration' with a segment featuring the Great Dr. Oz, talking about a serious subject like children’s health. You could even do an audience giveaway of Pop’rs that day. I promise you—the Fun Factor will definitely come alive with when Pop’rs are unveiled on Oprah!"

Here's where you come in, faithful readers--we'd love for you to Share the Comment Love with Oprah! Please send Oprah and her producers a short message, encouraging them to take Uncle Lynn up on his offer. All you have to do is click here; then look on the right side of Oprah's Home Page. See the orange button that says BE FEATURED ON? Click on that! A list, all in orange, will appear. Click on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Then, look for Be on the Show, and click on Do You Want to Be a Part of the Action? Click on that, fill out the info, leave your comment, and we'll be on our way!

You can tell Oprah anything you want! How you'd love to see kids--including yours, perhaps?--experiment with Pop'rs on television; how you'd find it interesting to tune in to a conversation between Uncle Lynn and Dr. Oz about healthy eating; how your sweet children turn into finicky eaters at dinner time, and how Pop'rs could help; how you'd like to join Uncle Lynn and Oprah and try Pop'rs for yourself!

And what do you get for your trouble, other than the satisfaction of helping a family-owned company get its 15 Minutes of Fame? Well, right now all we can send you is our gratitude, and of course group hugs, but who knows? Someday soon, Oprah might just take Uncle Lynn up on his offer! Then we'll all be able to Share the Pop'rs Love! And what, I ask you, could be better than that?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

On the Red Carpet? Well, Not Yet, But...

So many of you have been Blogging Up a Storm about Pop'rs that I just wanted to post a Big Group Hug this morning--and send a hearty "Thanks, guys!"


The question remains, Dear Readers: How do we get the word out about Pop'rs? Those of you who are avid fans of Eat Your Veggies! already know that this delightful seasoning is so fun and so good for you that it should be in splashed across the covers of all the great foodie mags and covered by everyone from Paula to Giada on The Food Network. So, how do we get started?

Well, we had what advertisers call a "bump" in May, when Every Day with Rachael Ray gave us some pretty good pub. Rachael said Pop'rs "...add pop to anything! We like the cinnamon on buttered toast. FIZZ FACTOR: full fireworks ..."

But you know, Faithful Readers, we're a small, family-owned company. Teeny-tiny. One mention from Rachael is wonderful, but we've got to--how do you say it?--keep the Big Mo (as in momentum) going. And that's where you come in!

The Blogosphere is abuzz about Pop'rs, and Uncle Lynn, The Pop'r King, couldn't be more pleased! Just yesterday, we received the biggest blog boosts yet.

Scary Mommy wants to know why we're not on "Unwrapped," of Food Network fame. Aunt Julie, The Pop'r Queen, says we'd love to be showcased, except that our Pop'rs process is a secret, and we don't want it getting out. Yup, we make 'em, market 'em, the whole shebang! And we're the only company that does! Scary, please help us find another way to Share the Pop'rs!

Lula, over in Lulaville (natch!), says "Y'all totally need to be on Food Network. And I totally need to be ordering some Pop'rs." Thanks for the endorsement, Lula! The only way you can get your Pop'rs fix, BTW, is to order online. And as for The Food Network: Do you know how to get us there?

Adiel, who says It's Because I Think Too Much, has given quite a bit of thought recently to Sharing the Comment Love. Thanks, Adiel--hope you think on it some more and spread the word!

Lisa, our insomniac friend from CA (did you notice that she's often first on the SITS Roll Call?), is all about The Pop'rs Love. Please help us Blog About Pop'rs, Lisa--you'll be glad you did!

Greedy Grace, our Bloggy Buddy from Just Lisa, No Filler, has questions galore about Big Bear, The Pilot, and the process for making Pop'rs. Yes, it's a secret, patented by Uncle Lynn. We're the only folks in the country who make Pop'rs. And you know where you can get 'em--online, but of course. And now Uncle Lynn is offering Pop'rs at new, reduced, recession-proof prices--so check 'em out!

Brandy, who is Not Your Average Soccer Mom, just received a fresh batch o' Pop'rs and plans to post about their yummy-ness soon. Thanks so much for the support, Brandy!

So, I guess what I'm asking you to do, Dear Readers, is Spread. The. Word. Pretty Please? Write Rachael Ray! Call the Food Network! E-mail Emeril! But above all, please keep on blogging about our fanTAbulous product! And remember--Our Great Pop'rs Giveaway is now underway, and every time you comment, you receive another entry! Aunt Julie needs tons of help planning the rehearsal dinner for Big Bear and Little Red, so don't delay--enter today!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Big Bear's the Pop'rs Pilot in Charge!

Thanks so much to all of you who have commented so far with suggestions for Big Bear and Little Red's Rehearsal Dinner. Aunt Julie, The Pop'r Queen, really appreciates the help! Remember, every comment this week earns you one additional entry in the Great Pop'rs Giveaway--for info on the Giveaway and ways to earn extra entries, click here.


Which brings me to our little tidbit for today. All of you winners out there are probably wondering how we concoct the delightful, fun and nutritious seasonings known as Pop'rs. Well, I'm here to testify!

The photo above shows Big Bear (on the right) with Pop'rs Operations Guru Jim, manning a contraption known as The Pilot. Attractive hairnets, fellas! See the steam coming off The Pilot? That's part of how Pop'rs begin life up at Uncle Lynn's plant.

Aunt Julie explains how all this works: "The Pilot machine makes a seven- to ten-pound batch and is used for experimentation. The first time we made sugar-free popping candy, we did it on The Pilot. It is used when we don’t want to experiment on a big batch of 20 to 30 pounds, because of the cost of ingredients. All of our products are started on The Pilot."

Because of the experimental nature involved in using The Pilot, Julie says, "We made once made Jalapeño Pops, a candy with jalapeño flavor, instead of, say, cherry. Not good! We also tried and flopped with a bacon-flavored Pop'rs." You see, Faithful Readers, it's a good thing that The Pop'r Family experiments with The Pilot before the product reaches the customer!

"Another little aside in the process," Aunt Julie continues, "is that we fill tubes, they cool, and are 'dropped' into a barrel, under pressure. The Pop'rs break into bits ranging from dust to golf ball-sized pieces. The bigger ones are a hoot to eat. It took guts the first time we tried this procedure; it will almost lift you off the ground!"

Auntie J. explains that since they are carbonated crystals, Pop'rs are made under a lot of pressure, which is the fun part of using them to season your veggies. "But we can't sell the big rock pieces," Julie says, "because they are so sensitive to the touch. I had some packed in a plastic jar with a screw top, and it got bumped. It blew up the jar, but the top was still screwed on!" By the time the product reaches the customer, though, it's reduced to tiny little pieces, so no worries there!

BTW, the word about our fun little ol' product is spreading! Megan, over at Reed's Home for Our Savior, says she's an "official" Pop'rs user now. "We enjoyed listening to our chimichangas 'talk' as I sprinkled on the Pop'rs," Megan writes in a recent post. "Even my hubby, who generally has a distaste for kiddie stuff, asked for some on his." Thanks for the endorsement, Megan!

And Smoochiefrog, she of In the Mind of a Thirty Something Mom, is celebrating her First Blogaversary this week by giving away a complete set of Pop'rs--all eight flavors! Her family has been trying Pop'rs on foods as varied as veggies, yogurt, ice cream and cinnamon rolls. She says she's gonna sprinkle some Color Burst Pop'rs on watermelon soon. "They really are fun to eat, and they give those extra vitamins that you totally can't tell are there. Fun and good for ya! Who knew?" Thanks, Smooch, and enjoy the celebration!

You, too, Dear Readers, can get in on the action. Big Bear's manning the Pilot, and is ready to put your Pop'rs into production! Please enter our Great Pop'rs Giveaway and join the fun!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Help Julie Elizabeth Plan a Rehearsal Dinner-And Win Some Pop'rs in the Bargain!

Those of you who visited yesterday know that Aunt Julie, The Pop'r Queen, has Big Bear and Little Red's Rehearsal Dinner to plan! She wants you, Dear Readers, to be part of the fun, and will give away a Free Box of Pop'rs (all eight flavors!) for your trouble.


Here's the deal: Aunt Julie is desperate for ideas, and she knows you've got 'em! If you saw her comment yesterday, she's even considering putting Pop'rs in the chocolate fountain at the Rehearsal Dinner! So here's what you gotta do to win.

Please send Aunt Julie a Rehearsal Dinner Idea today; just leave it in the comment box of this post, and she'll give you two entry credits for your trouble! Then, every time you comment on a daily post the rest of this week (through Monday, July 28), Auntie J. will give you two more credits. That means, Faithful Readers, that you could rack up 14 Great Pop'rs Giveaway Credits just for offering your opinion!

And it gets even better, folks: Link to Eat Your Veggies! and our Great Pop'rs Giveaway in a post on your own personal blog, and Aunt Julie will give you five more (count 'em) giveaway credits. And one final incentive: If you post the photo of the cute little guy and his mom shaking Pop'rs on their broccoli--with a link to the contest, of course--the extremely generous Aunt J. will give you an additional six credits! Why six? Because that will give you a Grand Total of 25 Great Pop'rs Giveaway Credits, if you choose to play, all the way!

Those of you who are new to Eat Your Veggies! should know that Pop'rs, which are available in eight flavors--Cinnamon, Color Burst, Chocolate, Strawberry, Raspberry, Butter, Taco and Buffalo—come in handy-dandy shakers so you can sprinkle these tasty and nutritious seasonings on everything from applesauce to broccoli to green beans to yogurt. And remember--not only are Pop’rs fun to eat, but they enhance your taste sensation and are infused with healthy vitamins--a great way to get you and your family to Eat Your Veggies!

We’re picking one Grand Prize Winner by random drawing. The Great Pop’rs Giveaway is open to everyone. The contest runs from Tuesday, July 22 (that's today!), through Monday, July 28 at 8 p.m. EST. So, Dear Readers, don't delay--play today!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Get Ready for a Sweet Celebration!

For those of you wondering about the lovey-dovey ticker at the top of this page, exciting stuff happening in the Land of Pop’rs! Big Bear, Aunt Julie and Uncle Lynn’s Number One Son, is getting married in October! He and Little Red, his fiancé, are taking that stroll down the aisle October 11, in the first-ever Pop'rs Wedding!

Bear and Red met five years ago, when he was working for a dealership and sold her a new car (He is not exactly a fast mover—nor a smooth talker—like his Dad Lynn, The Pop'r King, who married Aunt Julie just five months and five days after meeting her on Valentine’s Day!). About 250 people are invited to Bear and Red’s wedding, with 50 to 60 invited over to The Pop’r Family’s house for the rehearsal dinner. What does Aunt Julie have to say about that? Only one word: “Yikes!” All three of Bear’s brothers will be in the wedding.

Fortunately, Aunt Julie, being The Pop'r Queen and all, sure does love to cook!…the dessert menu has been solid for months—homemade carrot cake cupcakes, cheesecake with strawberries that Julie Eliz picked in June, and a chocolate fountain! Dinner is still negotiable. “Sixty people is starting to sound like an awful lot,” Aunt Julie says. Let’s see: wedding party and out-of-town family and friends. Auntie J. is taking suggestions for the dinner!

The sweetest part of all is that Bear gave Red Grandma Vera’s engagement ring. “I thought they would just remove the diamond and put it in a new setting,” Aunt Julie explains, “but the bride loves it just like it is and prefers not to change a thing. So it has been separated (it was once welded to Grandma V.’s wedding band because of wear), gold added and a new head built, and cleaned—the goldsmith said it will look just like it did when Grandpa Ernie gave it to my Mom in 1947!”

Auntie J., naturally, is a sentimental gal. “When I returned from the jeweler’s, I cried. To think it had been in a drawer since Grandma Vera died. I’m thrilled that it has been taken out, restored and is once again on the finger of the girl who is about to become Vera's first grandson’s wife!”

Here’s where you come in, Faithful Readers! Watch this space tomorrow, when I’ll explain how you, too, can get involved and help The Pop’r Family prepare for The Big Day!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tag, You're It!

Faithful Readers:

I've been *tagged*! Although relatively new to the Blogosphere, I do believe this means that I should be a good sport, and play along! What do you think? The lovely Bloggy Pal who *tagged* me was none other than greedygrace over at Just Lisa, No Filler. Here are the rules; come join the fun, and play along, too!

The Rules:

  • Link to the person(s) who tagged you.
  • Mention the rules on your blog.
  • Tell your readers about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours.
  • Tag 6 fellow bloggers by linking them.
  • Leave a comment on each of the *tagged* blogger’s site, letting her know she's been *tagged*.

As we've established before, I'm not the Quirky Kind. But Aunt Julie, The Pop'r Queen? She has enough quirks to fill a book, and then some! So, hold on to your seats--here we go!

  1. Aunt Julie absolutely hates chewing noises--she won’t go to a movie because of all the popcorn crunching!
  2. All Auntie J's neighbors are familiar with her doggy jammies--no, not jammies for dogs, but a cute little ensemble with a doggie print all over--since she is out every morning with her coffee in the front yard, checking her flower garden. BTW, did you see my post on Julie's fanTAbulously gorgeous delphiniums.
  3. Julie will talk to anyone, and would probably try to make friends with a rock. And she has lots of funny stories to prove it! One time, while on a beach vacation with our two families, J. made friends with a random mom on the beach. The new friend's youngest and Soccer Boy had become beach buddies, so J. spent some time with the woman by the ocean, watching the kids. We returned home a week later, and a couple of days after that, my youngest received a birthday card from someone she didn't know. We figured out later that the card was from the family Julie Eliz (remember, lots of girls--and at least one boy--have the name Elizabeth in our family!) had befriended while we were at the beach!
  4. Aunt Julie trusts absolutely anyone. I have more than enough stories to prove this, but one in particular stands out. My husband once worked in a big city. Julie flew in to visit, and had a couple of hours to kill before her brother--my husband--got off work. She took a cab downtown, and found a lovely park bench, occupied by another person. She became fast friends with this person, exchanging pleasantries about life, family, etc. My Hubby got off work and went to the nearby park to acquire Aunt J. before heading home. He said to her as they were leaving, "Why were you so friendly with that homeless man?"
  5. Julie Eliz loves garage sales, and has a basement full of furniture for her kids, their friends or her nieces and nephews to choose from when moving into the dorms or their first apartments. She recently picked up (literally) a lovely sleeper sofa that she took from the curb last week. It’s nice enough to use in her house!
  6. Julie, she of Pop'rs fame, reads in bed with 2 pairs of glasses on at the same time, "since I am clearly NOT old enough for bifocals!"

So, Dear Readers, those are Aunt Julie's little ol' quirks. What are yours? I'm *tagging* the following Bloggy Friends to find out!

That's all I've got for a Sunday Morning, except to say, "Tag, You're It!" Oh, and one more thing: The Old Red Barn Co. is giving away a gorgeous hand-stitched quilt! Check out the link to see how you can enter!

And another thing: My Bloggy Buddy, Melissa B. from The Scholastic Scribe, is running a super-funny sweepstakes today! She borrow the photo for her contest from me--you should check it out!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Another Sweet Summer Recipe

Aunt Julie, The Pop'r Queen, likes to pick her own strawberries when they're in season. And she's always up for a summer recipe, such as Strawberry Salad, which actually combines sweet and tangy tastes in a cool seasonal medley. Top this delightful salad with Caramelized Nuts, and you've got a taste sensation worthy of any summer social!

Strawberry Salad
2 bunches Romaine, or spring salad mix, or baby spinach
2 bunches green onions, sliced thin
Sliced fresh strawberries
Dressing:
½ cup oil
½ cup sugar
4 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/8 – ¼ tsp. Worcestershire or hot pepper sauce
Top with caramelized nuts.
Toss the fruit, nuts and dressing with the green when ready to serve.

Caramelized Nuts
1 egg white
1 tsp. cold water
Beat 'til frothy.
Stir in 1 lb. pecan halves, coat evenly.
Then, combine:
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon (or more)
¼ tsp. salt
Pour over coated nuts, mixing well.
Bake on cookie sheet 1 hour @225. Stir occasionally.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Because I'm the Mom; Or, Overture in K(ids) Flat!

Comedian Anita Renfroe condenses everything We Moms might say to our kiddos in a 24-hour period, and sings it to the urgent strains of "The William Tell Overture." This video has been hanging around Mommy Blogs on the Internet for at least a year, but we thought we'd give you a mid-summer's laugh, anyway! We're pretty sure The Lone Ranger and composer Gioachino Rossini might even get a chuckle out of this--The Pop'r Family sure did! BTW, The Pink Potpourri is offering a fanTAbulous giveaway this weekend! Check out the rules for winning homemade stationery. It's really quite lovely!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sweet Feeding Frenzy


Aunt Julie, she of Pop'rs fame, thinks she should send this photo to Welch's. This Baltimore Oriole hangs out at the feeder by Auntie J.'s family room window. And what's in the feeder? Why, grape jelly, of course! Aunt Julie explains.

"The male gets a beak-full of jelly and feeds the babies, who are sitting on a perch nearby, or sometimes even on the bowl or the holder. By now, they are as big as he is, and look quite capable of taking care of themselves!"

Just like Aunt Julie, Uncle Lynn and their little birdies--boys all (four of 'em!)--spoonfeeding the brood until they're ready to fly. Julie has second thoughts occasionally, though, about this kind of parenting strategy. "Sometimes I think it would be better to be the kind who pushes them out of the nest and lets nature take it’s course!"

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Have Quilt, Will Travel!

Aunt Julie and Uncle Lynn, The Pop'r Queen and King, respectively, have in-laws in DC. As in the Nation's Capital, home to the White House--which, BTW, is not near as big in person as you'd expect it to be!


But I digress. As you know, Auntie J. is a quilting fiend! She recently completed a quilt for Son Number 3 to use in college. She's working on another for my youngest--in fact, we hear she's in the final stages of production! The Traveling Quilt Odyssey, however, began three years ago, when Julie began the quilt above, for her niece Down DC Way.

The Quilt in Question is from the book 40 Fabulous Quick Cut Quilts by Evelyn Sloppy, published in 2005. The pattern's name is actually Those Fabulous Blues, "But I call it Off to College and The Quilt From Hell," Aunt Julie explains.

Please continue, Dear Readers, and you'll see what Auntie J. means. "The method I used to make the two-inch, half-square triangle blocks (692 of them) was with purchased triangle paper. This is a great method, unless you use the wrong size paper! I couldn’t make the blocks fit together, and ripped and re-sewed for days. Finally, I ended up individually recutting each two-inch square, all 692 of them, and it went together beautifully. There were other issues in the assembly, but I’ve blocked them from my conscious mind. Would I ever make another one? What do you think?" Well, we already know that answer, don't we? She's done two quilts since then!

"I love this quilt, and hope my niece cherishes it forever," Aunt Julie continues. "Maybe I can use it someday when I visit her, when she has a house of her own!"

So, why is the quilt so elegantly draped on the fence across the street from Dubya's Domicile? It's quite simple, really. The DC Kinfolks wanted to commemorate all of The Pop'r Family's visits down DC way over the years, including, but not limited to, Soccer Boy's expulsion from Mt. Vernon (George Washington's home), the solemn Changing of the Guard at Arlington Cemetery, the floor of the US House of Representatives, and Ford's Theatre, all in one day. Or was it two? Well, he was a lot younger then (about 4), and he knows better now. We can only hope! But that particulary Odyssey is a post for another day.

So, here's to lovingly hand-sewn quilts, patience, tourists and the bonds that tie families together over the generations. And three cheers for Auntie J.!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Our Giveaway was a Bloomin' Success!

Congrats to M~, of The Suburban Farmer, and Veronica, of Supermarket Serenade, the Random Drawing Winners of our Great Pop'rs Giveaway! Uncle Lynn, The Pop'r King, will ship each gal a complete set of Pop'rs--that fun and actually good-for-you seasoning--to try with her family. Remember, Pop'rs come in eight fantabulous flavors--Cinnamon, Colorburst, Chocolate, Strawberry, Raspberry, Butter, Taco, and Buffalo--that can be sprinkled over all kinds of foods, from broccoli to yogurt--literally, To Infinity and Beyond!--as Soccer Boy and Buzz Lightyear used to say!


Uncle Lynn, Aunt Julie, Soccer Boy, and The Gang are really looking forward to what M~ and Veronica have to say about Pop'rs! Veronica asked in her entry post if Pop'rs are available in stores--right now, these vitamin-infused seasonings can be ordered exclusively online from Uncle Lynn, The Pop'r King. And The Pop'r King wants you to know that he's now offering Pop'rs at a new, reduced, recession-proof price--so just click on his name and order yours today!

Our Great Pop'rs Giveaway was so Bloomin' Successful that Aunt Julie, The Pop'r Queen, wanted to share a gardening photo and a tip with her Dear Bloggy Readers. Aunt Julie has been trying like mad to grow the Delphiniums pictured above for years. Trouble was, she planted these delightful perennials on the west side of the house, resulting in stringy, skinny, scrawny plants, with few blooms. In a nutshell, Auntie J. was frustrated. I'll let her explain the problem.

"They are one of my favorite flowers, and I have never had any luck with them coming back a second season," The Pop'r Queen laments. "I had an open spot in the east-facing garden this year, so I tried just one delphinium. It was a great success, so I moved the ones from the opposite side of the house there also. Some of the flowers are topping out at 53 inches now!" Aunt Julie will have to wait 'til next spring to see what happens, but for now, she's more than happy with this season's accomplishment!

That Aunt Julie is a pretty accomplished--but awfully modest--gal, isn't she? The thing she does brag on though, besides Uncle Lynn and her four boys, is Pop'rs. We'll be offering more Great Giveaways this summer, so drop in soon. And don't forget to Share the Comment Love!

Monday, July 14, 2008

You'll Get a Kick Out of This!

Today's the Cyberspace Roundup, folks! We knew you'd get a kick out of this picture of Aunt Julie and Uncle Lynn's youngest. He's really into soccer and it shows, doesn't it? I particularly like his "soccer boy" hair! I asked him about it the other day, because it's longer than it's been in awhile. Soccer Boy's response? "It's just the way I like it. That's all!" Auntie J., of course, took this fun photo!

Let's take a trip around the Blogosphere, and see what we can see.

  • Of course, today is the last day of the Great Pop'rs Giveaway! You have until 6 p.m. EST today to enter. Make sure you get your entry in under the wire--the more the merrier!
  • Michelle, over at Creative Writings 101, introduces us to a really neat idea--bags made out of bags! OK, let me explain--Michelle's friend collects the nasty plastic grocery bags and actually weaves them into cool and classy tote bags that you can use over and over again.
  • Jillybean, of Post-It Place fame, is sad today because her printer just up and died on her. Any of you Bloggy Pals with suggestions should rush on over and give her a hand!
  • Gina, who mans (womans?) the computer at The Clan McLeod, explains in a saucy post how you, too, can get a free bottle of Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce.
  • And, last but not least, we have a couple of one-year Blogaversaries coming up. Tara R., over at If Mom Says OK, is answering any and all readers' questions in celebration of her one-year milestone on Wednesday, July 16. Smoochiefrog, from In the Mind of a Thirty Something Mom, is hosting daily giveaways to mark one year of hanging out in the Blogosphere in a series of contests, from July 21-25.

That's All, Folks! And don't forget the Great Pop'rs Giveaway!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Photo-FANTASTIC!

Got this from my Bloggy Friend Melissa B. over at The Scholastic Scribe. She received the inspiration for the photo fest from our Mutual Bloggy Pal tara r., who resides at If Mom Says OK. Tara says this artistic endeavor has been around the Blogosphere, and I can attest to the truthfulness of this statement, because I've also seen it on Regurgitated Alpha Bits, Dkzody's Weblog, and Art on a Limb. In fact, if you google "flickr mosaic meme" on the Web, you get an even 158,000 hits. Photo-fantastic!


I'm a dull-witted bore, Dear Readers, but you know that my sister-in-law Aunt Julie most certainly is not! So I recruited her to answer the following questions and create a Photo Mosaic of her own. The Pop'r Queen Herself is sharing said mosaic with you this very day! If you'd like to play along, too, here's what's what. And if you make this delightful creation on your very own blog, please Share the Comment Love with me and Auntie J.!
  • Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
  • Using only the first page, pick an image.
  • Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into this Mosaic Maker. Follow the instructions, and presto! You have a synopsis of Who. You. Are
  • Your questions, Julie's answers; click on the Mosaic to see the snaps Up Close & Personal

Aunt Julie's life in a nutshell, as told to The Author

  1. What is your first name? Julie
  2. What is your favorite food? Kid food
  3. What high school did you go to? Chippewa Falls Sr. High
  4. What is your favorite color? Blue
  5. Who is your celebrity crush? Don’t have one! Am not impressed.
  6. Favorite drink? Cold Leinies on a hot day, hot chocolate on a cold one
  7. Dream vacation? Tahiti, in a hut at the end of a long pier
  8. Favorite dessert? Strawberry shortcake (fresh strawberries that I picked, warm biscuits, and real whipped cream), eaten as dinner, not dessert. Seconds OK!
  9. What do you want to be when you grow up? Grown up! I don’t feel like it yet.
  10. What do you love most in life? My boys, Lynn, dogs, quilts, time spent at the beach with my brother’s family, seashells, photographs, people who like me!
  11. One Word to describe you: pieceofwork!
  12. Your (sister-in-law's) blog name: Eat Your Veggies!

PS: You have approximately 30 hours, give or take a nanosecond, to enter our Great Pop'rs Giveaway. Remember: You can't win if you don't enter!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Keep Your Vay-Kay Safe!

This sign is kind of a scary sight isn't it? Aunt Julie took this photo during a Pop'rs Family Vacation near Port St. Joe, FL, last summer. Let's let her tell the story:

"I was lamenting to a local restaurant owner that I was having trouble finding sand dollars, and that the sand bar where we usually found them was no longer there. He gave me directions to the best place for shelling, so I headed out to explore. No one wanted to go along, so I went alone. "

OK, Auntie J., so far so good. Then what? "I pulled into a small parking lot at this secluded beach and was greeted by this sign. I called my family and told them that I was at this really cool beach, but that if I failed to return…And read them the sign. My college-aged boys pleaded with me to stay in the car and not to 'be stupid'. But I explored the beach anyway. And 10 minutes later, my entire family was there."

Obviously, The Pop'rs Family wasn't eaten by sharks, nor do they appear to have been afraid of the rip currents. The question, however, remains: Did they find any sand dollars?

This photo puts Vacation Safety in mind. Here are the Top 10 Things you should keep in mind when considering the safety of your Vay-Kay this summer, according to the Web site, Health A to Z:

  • Collecting the first-aid supplies you need to take with you.
  • Checking to make sure you have the proper immunizations.
  • Will your health insurance be enough to cover you and your family during your trip?
  • How can you keep your home safe while you're away?
  • Considering measures to protect your family from poison ivy, rabies and other threats.
  • Checking to make sure the water is safe to drink at your vacation spot.
  • Making sure you investigate local cuisine; some native dishes might upset your tummy!
  • Taking precautions to prevent motion sickness.
  • If you're traveling outside the United States, reviewing the driving laws before you get behind the wheel.
  • (OK, this last one is from me!) Following the directions on the sign above, and Paying Attention to All Hazards (including nude sunbathers)!

One more thing to remember: Please enter our Great Pop'rs Giveaway! The deadline is Monday at 6 p.m., EST, so don't delay! And don't forget to Share the Comment Love!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Try Something Cool and Delish for a Summer Potluck!

Aunt Julie and Uncle Lynn, The Pop'r Queen and King, live in a family-friendly neighborhood. That means lots of kids playing, lots of parents on the lawn chatting, lots and lots of potlucks.

Auntie J. spends some of this social time gathering recipes from the neighbors. Here's some simple summertime fare, which Aunt Julie calls a "real hit at our block party a few years ago."

Summer Block Party
Chicken Salad
2 ½ cups cooked chicken, cut in chunks
1 ½ cups cooked white rice (really!)
¾ cup red or green grapes, halved or whole
¾ cup diced celery

1/2 cup pineapple tidbits (drain)
½ cup mandarin oranges (drain)
Dressing:
½ cup Hellman’s mayo
1 cup ranch dressing
Top with Slivered Almonds.

I've never heard of ranch dressing in chicken salad, but my mouth's watering already! This is a delightful dish that would pair well with one of Aunt Julie's pies. Hope you've had a chance to try either her Scrumptious Blueberry Pie or Tasty Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, or even both--I know I have!

And hey, Pop'rs Pals: You've got all or part of Four Full Days to enter our Great Pop'rs Giveaway Contest! So get crackin', and let us know where you like to spend those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer! We have a pretty funny photo--shot by the Talented Aunt Julie, of course!--for tomorrow's post. I know--you're on the edge of your seat, right? Well, folks, you should be--see ya then!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

You Won't Wipe Out If You Enter Our Giveaway!

Where do you like to vacation! We're staying close to home this year, 'cause of gas prices, the economy and all. In fact, Aunt Julie, The Pop'r Queen, has been taking the family to the lake a lot recently, catching a little Vay-Kay in her own neck o' the woods.


They had a rousing good time up at the cottage over the Fourth. Auntie J. was soooooo proud when she was able to get up on waterskis, for the first time in ages. She was having a rolllicking good time until...well...see for yourself!

It's not too late to enter our Great Pop'rs Giveaway! Just click on this link and go from there. The contest runs through Monday, July 14 at 6 p.m. EST, so Get Poppin'! And don't forget to Share the Comment Love after you enter. Pretty Please?

PS, to All You Pop'rs Pals: Because the economy has us all in a bind, Uncle Lynn, The Pop'r King, has just reduced the price of Pop'rs! You can purchase a 4-pack of this fun seasoning for $7.69, while an 8-pack of Pop'rs now sells for $14.99. Please order your Pop'rs online by clicking here. Such a bargain!

Aunt Julie's agreed to send another yummy recipe our way tomorrow. Please join us, and don't forget: You can't win unless you enter--Today!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

More Than a Patchwork of Memories

With the beautiful photos of Trouble Elizabeth and his best bud, Moses, and the pelican cruising so far from the beach, we've already established that Aunt Julie is the artistic sort. Her amazing creative portfolio also includes quilting.


Aunt Julie, aka The Pop'r Queen, has done several quilts over the years, including a pink and white baby quilt for my youngest, and a beautiful blue and white creation for my oldest, when she went off to college. She stitched the gorgeous work of art featured above (the photo is one of Aunt Julie's, too!) when Son Number 3 left the nest for the university life.

Let's let Aunt Julie tell you about this quilt, which is all wrapped up in a couple of great family memories: "This particular pattern is called 'Texas Hold 'Em,' from a book titled Dealer’s Choice, by Atkinson Designs, copyright 2004. I chose it because the boys [remember: she's the proud Mama of Four!] are big poker fans, after attending a trade show in Las Vegas a few years ago. Not long after, my then 10-year-old was working on a speech in which he had to teach something. He was having a hard time choosing a topic, and my advice was to teach something he was familiar with and good at. The light went on, and he said, 'I know! I’ll show 'em how to play poker!' Maybe not such a good idea for4th grade. But that’s what comes from having brothers who are 18, 21 & 24, and who adore you!"

You heard it here first, folks. Straight from The Pop'r Queen! BTW, Aunt Julie also wants to remind everyone to enter this week's Great Pop'rs Giveaway. The contest runs until July 14; you, too, could be a winner!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Share the Comment Love-We'll Share the Pop'rs!

Lots of folks are staying close to home this summer, because of the price of gas and all. I know my family's taking shorter trips to save on gas and money! The photo above--which looks like a Florida Vacation Postcard to me--was snapped the other day by Aunt Julie, practically in her backyard. Who knew that pelicans flew anywhere near Northeastern Wisconsin, even in the summertime?

To lighten your mood a little,
Uncle Lynn, the Pop'r King, thinks we need Another Giveaway. Here's the deal.

Let me know, in a comment on this post, where you like to vacation with your family. Whether it's the back porch at home or the back lot at Universal Studios, location doesn't matter. We'll collect all the comments and pick two Grand Prize Winners by random drawing.


What will you win? Why, a complete box of Pop'rs, of course! That's eight flavors--Cinnamon, Color Burst, Chocolate, Strawberry, Raspberry, Butter, Taco and Buffalo--that you can sprinkle on everything from applesauce to broccoli to green beans to yogurt. And remember--not only are Pop'rs fun to eat, but they enhance your taste sensation and are infused with healthy vitamins--a great way to get you and your family to Eat Your Veggies!

We're picking Two Grand Prize Winners, folks, so please share that Good Ol' Comment Love--and perhaps a link back to our blog from your blog--and You. Could. Be. A. Winner! The Giveaway starts today and runs until 6 p.m. EST, next Monday, July 14. What a great way to spend a summer afternoon!

Monday, July 7, 2008

About Best Friends and Families

The old saying, "Man's Best Friend" should be expanded to women and kids as well. Trouble and Moses, pictured above, are the beloved dogs of The Pop'r Family. They are the doggie sons of Aunt Julie and Uncle Lynn, the Pop'r King and Queen.


A funny story--"Elizabeth" has been a given name in Aunt Julie's family for generations. Most recently, Grandma Vera, Aunt Julie, and my oldest all have been christened with the middle name Elizabeth. Since Aunt Julie is the proud mama of four boys, she couldn't partake in this family tradition. She's taken to calling Trouble, her beloved 16-year-old Springer Spaniel (that's 112 in "dog years"), "Trouble Elizabeth" in his old age. Has a certain ring to it, doesn't it?

The Boys are nesting in Aunt Julie's fabulous flower garden. Auntie J. inherited her green thumb from Grandma Vera (we've already established that I have no green thumb, although my geraniums are doing so much better--thanks for asking!). As you recall, Julie also has a knack for baking pies--most recently, Blueberry and Strawberry Rhubarb. One more thing Aunt Julie learned from her mother--how to make quilts! But more on that later this week.

A PS From Veggie Mom: The newest edition of The Carnival of Family Life is posted now on All Rileyed Up. Today's Carnival features posts on everything a SAHM could possibly be interested in, from Education, to Cooking, to Crafts, to Travel, and beyond. Of course, Yours Truly's post on Aunt Julie's Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is part of the Carnival. And, if you wish to take part in next week's Carnival, to be hosted by Suzanne over at Adventures in Daily Living, use this handy-dandy submission form.

A PS From Uncle Lynn: We're running our Second Pop'rs Giveaway ever, starting tomorrow! Stay tuned for details. Remember--the more the merrier. You, too, can be a winner!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Jazzy Blueberry Scones

Dear Old Mom always said, "If you can't bake 'em from scratch, just jazz 'em up!" I followed her practical advice this morning, for a yummy Sunday morning treat.

Our neighbors just returned from a trip to the lake, and we took care of their cats while they were gone. By way of thanks, Ann brought us some Blueberry Lemon Scone mix, from Jill's Jams, Mixes & More.

I have to be honest--I've always been leary of prepared mixes. Maybe it's because my Grandma was such a wonderful from-scratch cook, and because my Mom, at least, jazzed up a mix to add flavor, texture and nutrients to the recipe. Of course I never thought about the nutrious part when I was a kid, but it was always there!

So I did what Mom would do--I jazzed up these delicious scones, and served them to the family as a Sunday morning surprise! A pint of fresh blueberries makes baked goods all the more scrumptious, doesn't it? My husband had brought home a gorgeous watermelon yesterday, so our breakfast fest was complete!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

It's All About Making Friends!

First of all, if you're not a SITS Sister, you should consider becoming one! The Secret is In the Sauce is a, well, saucy little ol' blog, with quite a following, and lots of interesting and entertaining info. Tiffany and Heather run contests, offer advice, and generally have a grand old time in the Blogosphere! T and H refer to themselves as "two comment junkies who love to blog about life..." That pretty much sums up their happy-go-lucky take on Momhood and the world around them. As Tiffany and Heather correctly point out, "The secret to success is support," and they encourage lots of comments on their blog. They, in turn, are more than happy to share the love. Stop by to see SITS today!


Another great Bloggy Connection is the Carnival of Family Life, run by--Who Else?--why, Blog Carnival, of course! Each edition of the Carnival is hosted by a different blogger, who basically collects posts from all over the Blogosphere and organizes them under one basic theme. The current Carnival of Family Life is hosted by Mixed Metaphor, and showcases 34 posts of interest, ranging from Education to Parenting Tips and Advice. Also included are posts on Cooking, Chores, Fiction, Finance, Health, Humor and Family Travel. The next Carnival will be hosted on Monday by All Rileyed Up. So, if you've written a scintillating post recently--and I know you have!--please send it in before midnight tonight, using this handy-dandy submission form. You'll be glad you did!


And last but certainly never least, all the Blog "experts" say that another good way to get your blog noticed is by running a contest or a giveaway. Which brings me to my next point: Uncle Lynn, the Pop'r King, has authorized me to run another fun-filled Pop'rs Giveaway. We're launching the new contest on Tuesday, so make sure you're on board!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, U. S. of A.!

They grow up fast, don't they? This is my gal, supporting Our Troops at the 1991 Desert Storm Parade in DC. She's about to turn 18, by the way! Have a Festive Fourth, everyone!