Cupcake

Cupcake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love cooking and baking, but I think that I fall more on the side of cooking than baking. To me, baking is a science, or at least for me, it’s a science. There are precise measurements and instructions that need to be followed to ensure success. For me, cooking is a form of art. Recipes can easily be tweaked, ingredients swapped out easily. Recipes can be interpreted by the person doing the cooking, adding or subtracting a pinch of this or a touch of that and the result is a new dish, a new piece of art. I know that there are those that view baking the same way, but I am not one of them.

If you are one of them, if your passion lies amid pies, strudels and cupcakes then here is an opportunity for you, particularly if you don’t live here, but have always wanted to come and live in Vermont. There is a bakery in Waitsfield, Vermont that has a unique opportunity

for the baker (or baker wanna be) at heart. For $75, a 100 word letter and a cupcake recipe, you may be the next owner of a bakery nestled in one of the quaintest towns in the state.

Mix Cupcakerie and Kitchen is for sale and the owner is hoping through this unique contest of sorts, to find the perfect person to take over her dream. Kind of like a little Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory action, don’t you think?

Years ago, Tom and I became smitten with the Waitsfield area and dreamed of moving there. Alas, time and fate brought us to the mountain we call home in our little corner of Vermont. We are very happy, Vermont is wonderful, we have our dream. Perhaps, you can have yours. Here is the information to enter the contest. The owner is offering to mentor the new owner for 80 hours and give the lucky person all of her recipes to entice her regular customers to keep walking through the door. Also, I understand there is two months of rent and expenses paid for so you have the opportunity to get on your feet.

If baking is your passion good luck!

“Produced with Genetic Engineering”
This is one of the new labels that you will most likely see if Vermont’s GMO labeling law successfully avoids legal challenge and goes into effect as planned just about one year from now on July 1, 2016. The Vermont Attorney General’s office last week released the rules regarding the labeling of foods produced with genetic engineering that will guide manufacturers and producers of genetically engineering products for sale in this state.

What is covered:

1. Unpackaged food required to be labeled such as fresh fruits and vegetables

2. Packaged foods with genetic engineering offered for sale in Vermont including packaged raw agricultural commodities as well as processed foods.

What is exempt:

1. Animal products and foods bearing USDA approved labels

2. Foods certified as not produced with genetic engineering

3. Processing aids

4. Alcoholic beverages

5. Foods containing genetically engineered materials where the weight of the genetically materials is less than .9 percent of the total weight of the food

6. Foods verified by a qualifying organization – such as food certified as “organic” in accordance with USDA National Organic Program accreditations.

7. Food for immediate consumption such as unpackaged foods served in restaurants.

8. Medical food as defined by federal law.

The entire set of rules adopted by the Attorney General can be found here.

On Monday, the Federal Court denied the Grocery Manufacturing Association’s request for a preliminary injunction to stop the enforcement of the law beginning on July 1, 2016. This was a positive result for Vermont, the “david” in this david versus goliath battle. Vermont is the first state in the nation to pass and put into effect a GMO labeling law and opponents of the law were quick to file a complaint in federal court seeking to have the new law invalidated. This request for an injunction was the first step for the opponents to see if they would be able to have the court order that the law could not go into effect until the litigation was finalized.

While this was rather important and justifiably was splashed across the news around the country, not many reported that there was a second part to that ruling. While the opponents were seeking to have the court grant injunctive relief, the state of Vermont filed its own application seeking to dismiss, at least in part, the opponent’s claim. Vermont was predominantly unsuccessful on it application to dismiss various claims. For example, in response to the opponent’s claim that the labeling violates First Amendment rights, the court ruled: The court believes that Act 120’s affirmative labeling requirement is not barred by the First Amendment, but denies Vermont’s motion to dismiss the First Amendment challenge because the court recognizes that this is a serious question of law as to which courts might disagree; but the court finds that Act 120’s ban on the term “natural” does violate the First Amendment.

The court did dismiss the opponent’s claim that the labeling law violated the Commerce clause stating that the Act’s affirmative labeling law did not violate the Commerce clause since the labeling requirement only applied to products sold in Vermont. The court in its ruling was skeptical of some of the plaintiff opponent’s claims of a constitutional nature, but since this was a preliminary application, the court was reluctant to outright dismiss the plaintiff’s claims as a whole.

As has happened many times in the past, all eyes will continue to be on Vermont as this law and the legal challenge to it unfolds.

Photo: 7 Days Caleb Kenna

Photo: 7 Days Caleb Kenna

Gotta love Vermont. Today there was a story in the news about a business that uses two draft horses (who are brothers) to pick up trash in the horse drawn trash container owned by a company called Draft Trash. Where else but around here would you find a horse drawn trash trailer coming to your house to pick up your trash. Evidently folks are thrilled with the idea, the service, the horses and the lack of a fuel surcharge!

The horses wait on line at the trash center alongside the much larger and much noisier trash hauling trucks and seem absolutely unfazed by the whole process. Read the entire article here.

usSiblings. A lot of us have them. They are our link to our parents and the only ones that know what it was really like growing up in our house. They are our biggest fans and can be our worst enemies since they know everything about us, they know our kryptonite and sometimes aren’t afraid to use it, especially when we are young and gullible. Siblings-you gotta love them, you’re bound by blood.

I am the oldest in my family and I have one of each type of sibling, a brother and a sister. The years that separate us in age diminished as we grew into adulthood as spouses and parents. I love my siblings and cannot imagine life without them. When things go bad or are really good, it is my siblings that I want to share it with. We’ve laughed together more than I can recall and cried and held each other when that was what one of us needed.

We have instilled in our boys the idea that they are all they’ve got. They will have each other long after my husband and I have been reabsorbed by the world around us (sounds a lot nicer doesn’t it than saying when we’re wormfood). We are lucky because our boys never really had those knock-down, drag out fights that we’ve heard about from some of our friends. (Oh don’t get me wrong, there was the infamous Tonka truck episode when the older two ticked the youngest off). They were each other’s first friends and probably best friends for a number of years before their worlds expanded. Today, I am proud that they revel in each other’s accomplishments and empathize in each other’s disappointments. It is with a proud mama heart that I watch this and know that I had something to do with it. I hope that as with my own siblings, these bonds grow deeper and stronger as the years pile on.

To those of you with siblings, enjoy them. Laugh, cry, joke and tease – it is what we know and what makes our sibling relationships so very special.

To my own siblings, Happy Sibling Day, I cannot imagine a world without you in it.

Love,

Me, your older (and wiser) sister :)

Here are some pictures of the other siblings in my life and my siblings’ lives — a great group don’t you agree?_DSC0037 _DSC0079 girls

Here is a link to Tim’s solo. It was truly wonderful. I hope that wherever life leads him in the next years, that music remains a big part of his life.

Every once in a while, you get a whole lot of good all at one time. This weekend was one of those times. We were very fortunate to share a very special weekend with our families and our very dear friends. It really doesn’t get any better than that. Every year the high school’s music department puts forth a Bistro evening where the honors ensembles perform during a three course dinner and then perform an evening concert. It is a wonderful night, filled with lots of good food and great music. This was Tim’s last year to perform in Bistro and I was privileged to share it with those folks that I hold close to my heart. Then, we all were able to celebrate Easter together on Sunday. I know I have said it before, but I am very lucky to have such wonderful people in my life and I am so very, very proud of my son, Tim and his wonderful performance.

Here are some pictures from the weekend and the show.

My handsome nephews

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My handsome boys

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My dearest friends who came quite the distance to share the weekend with us._DSC0029 _DSC0103_DSC0092 IMG_4255

My in-laws and my mom with the grandsons

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 Our family picture

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tjTwenty years ago today, I became a mom. It was the scariest and simultaneously, the happiest day of my life up to that point. I could not believe that the little one twisting and turning inside for so many months had, rather reluctantly, made his way into this world. There were weeks after he was born that literally, I just stared at him in wonder and awe. Through the years, I have watched him grow from that tiny baby  into the smart, funny, kind and handsome young man he is today. It is hard to imagine that two decades have gone by since he came into my life. When folks say it all passes in the blink of an eye, you can only understand how true that is when you are looking at it from the other side. I cannot believe that today he is embarking on a whole new decade in his life.

I hope that this new decade brings many wonderful experiences and opportunities and I am sure, knowing what a hardworking and dedicated guy he is, that he will have just that. I couldn’t be prouder of the man he has become and very much honored to have him call me mom.

Happy Birthday TJ! I love you!

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Today is the birthday of one of my oldest and dearest friends. We have spent many days and nights through the many years that we have known each other laughing until we cried, crying because we were either so very over joyed or so very sorry for the other’s loss or sadness, talking each other’s ears off or sitting together by a warm fire in comfortable silence while our kids and husbands were off doing other things. We have celebrated innumerable birthdays and milestones in our own lives and the lives of our husbands and our children together. I cannot imagine the years that have passed without her and her family in my life.

We have seen each other through the birth of children, a miscarriage, the loss of a parent, the trials, celebrations and tribulations of raising children, family vacations, birthdays, graduations, communions, moves to new homes and many other of life’s celebrations and trials that the years have brought our way. She has traveled several hours to be here for me when she could tell from my voice on the phone earlier that day that her presence would mean the world to me. These are the things that make friendships last forever. These are the things that make it seem like no time has passed when we get together despite the pages on the calendar flying by us in between visits.

There are several things that I hold in my heart as wishes for my children. To have friendships as special and loving as this is one of those wishes. I hope that as my boys grow that they are blessed to find and keep such wonderful, dear, special friends. Their lives will be so much fuller and richer, beyond that which money can measure, because of those friendships. Our boys have seen these friendships firsthand and have seen the years of love and laughter. They have come to know how very special this thing called friendship can be and I hope that they find it for themselves.

I have often told them, as has my husband, that friendship is special and to be tended to with great care. I have many times pointed out to my boys that while other folks may have many “friends” I am lucky to have a few friends that I can call my “3 am friends”. These are the friends that I know I could call at 3 a.m. with a request that they come because I need them and they would be there regardless of the distance simply because they were needed, without any question or any hesitation.  To be blessed with these friends is truly a gift that one holds so very close to the heart. I hope that my boys find their own “3 am friends” and they keep them close throughout their lives.

This weekend, I will be so very blessed and fortunate to have my very dear friend Kirby and two of my other very old and dear friends, Ellen and Gordon, coming to share a special event in our family with us. They should know how very much this means to me and how very special it will be to share it with them.

As the sign that hangs on our wall says: It takes a long time to grow old friends.

Happy Birthday, my dear, dear friend!

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Just before Tyler was born, I was wondering how mothers could say that they love all their children equally. Our oldest was our world and I couldn’t imagine loving another little baby as much I loved him and it scared me. How could I do this?. Then along came Tyler. He was very different in a lot of ways from his brother. He was a different build, he had the most beautiful blue eyes that you could lose yourself in and he was nothing like his older brother. My heart melted and expanded many times over just like that and suddenly, within hours of bringing this (not so) little guy into the world, I couldn’t imagine my world without him in it. He has the best smile, he’s thoughtful, caring and wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s grown into a wonderful man that I am very proud to call my son. He is handsome, smart, witty and reminds me a lot of his dad. Although I won’t ever get used to this “not always seeing them on their birthday” thing, there will be plenty of birthday pictures when he comes home in a few weeks for Easter. We did get a chance to spend some pre-birthday one-on-one time in the past few days and it made my heart melt all over again.

So…. until those pictures, here are some other pictures from birthdays past that are just going to have to do.

Happy Birthday Tyler – I love you!

IMG_2590  IMG_1111 My beautiful picture

Circling Friday the 13th date on calendar with...

Circling Friday the 13th date on calendar with marker (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Friday the 13th! This is the second one we’ve had so far this year. Here’s some Friday the 13th facts for you.

1. 13 guests were at the last supper and Jesus was put to death the following day, Friday and Judas was the 13th guest.

2. FDR refused to have 13 guests for dinner or to have a dinner on the 13th.

3. The longest period that can occur without a Friday the 13th is 14 months.

4. Hotels and Hospitals skip the 13th floor generally.

5. No one can track the exact reason that Friday the 13th is considered unlucky. In fact, in Hispanic cultures, Tuesday the 13th is considered unlucky. This is also true for folks of Greek descent.

6. Italians, now they have their own issues. Italians believe that Friday the 17th is unlucky and they generally believe that the number 13 is unlucky.

7. Factually, there is no correlation between Friday the 13th and general runs of bad luck.

_DSC0009 _DSC0019When I got home yesterday, our dog crate was sitting outside the back door. I learned that the game warden had returned it with an update on the little bear that was rescued. The bear that we thought was a cub, was actually a yearling. It has been relocated to the black bear sanctuary in Lyme, New Hampshire. He (or she) will join 22 other bears who live at that sanctuary. The warden advised that he weighed in at 18 pounds which is substantially less than the 80 lbs he should have been for a 1 year old. Poor thing was not only cold and shivering when he was crated but evidently also starving.

At his new home, he will be fed a high calorie mixture that will help put the weight back on and get the little one ready to be reintroduced into the woods of Vermont. The sanctuary is situated on several acres in Lyme, New Hampshire and the bears roam free, much like their natural habitats, except with access to food and medical care.

Here are some links to the sanctuary and articles about the bear biologist, if you are interested. The sanctuary is evidently the only facility of its kind in New England. Ben Kilham is the gentleman who has taken on this wonderful task. According to his website and related articles, he doesn’t get paid to do this and relies on donations and his own monies to fund this project. Should you find it in your heart and your wallet to make a donation of some type to help offset the $1,500 per bear cub that Kilham incurs to get these animals back where they belong, I am sure it would be appreciated.

Here’s a video about some bear cubs from last year.

The sun is getting a little higher in the sky and temperatures in the teens (without a wind) are starting to feel downright balmy. This morning’s temperature at 6:30 was -13 and later in the morning it was 13 degrees on the positive side of zero. Today we were surprised by a baby black bear cub while checking on a friend’s house. It climbed up into the tree, with no signs of a mom anywhere and curled up into a ball. Feeling sorry for the little thing, and it is pretty small, I went back to check up and see if it had moved on. It was still in the tree, curled up in a ball and only raised its head when a car went by. There are no tracks other than its own in the snow around and I fear it has been abandoned or wandered away. We’ve put a call into the game warden to see what could be done and are waiting to hear.

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Evilwife on the move

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There have to be 5 things even on a really bad day.

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