To-Die(t)-For Chocolate/Raspberry Cake!

July 31, 2009



 Yes, I watch my weight, but I also like flavor, so I want to share this easy cake with you because it is both — tasty and light!

P1020639(1)       The cast of characters.

P1020494(1)  Make a reduced-sugar devil’s food cake mix according to the instructions on the box, but use 3/4 C. of Egg Beaters instead of the 3 eggs. 

btw, I have learned from my friend, Linda, who only chooses to be “a cook” when she can make something really sensational.  Anyway, I have learned from her that baking something for the very minimum temperature and time necessary, maximizes its moistness.  So, I decreased the oven temperature from 350 degrees to 330 degrees because I was using a dark pan, and I baked it for the minimum time suggested, and then did the toothpick test.  Done!  And at its maximum moistness!

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, poke holes all over its moist little self, using a meat fork so that the fork prongs are long enough to make the holes all the way through the cake.

P1020495(1)  Put 1 1/4 C. boiling water in a glass measuring cup and add a small package of raspberry sugar-free jello.

P1020497(1)   Immediately pour the hot raspberry jello all over the top of the cake.

P1020499(1)  Let the cake set until it is cool.

P1020500(1)  For the frosting, mix 16 oz. of lite Cool Whip (or use a little less, so that the raspberry flavor of the yogurt isn’t as diluted), with a 6 oz. container of light raspberry yogurt.

P1020501(1)  You can do that right in the Cool Whip container.

P1020503(1)  And spread it on the cake. 

 P1020649(1)  Voila!  A really great tasting dessert, made even prettier and tastier when you top a piece with a few fresh raspberries before you serve it.

p.s.  I tried to be realistic about the portion size so that I could tell you what the Weight Watcher points would be.  So, this is a 20th of a 9×13 pan (a nice serving, but not gigantic) and it is 4 WW points.

P1020654(1)   Refrigerate any leftovers.  Burp.  If there are any.

p.s.s.  I LOVE blogging.  How else would I have an excuse to make one of my favorite desserts and then sit down at 11 a.m. and eat a piece accompanied by a glass of ice tea in one of the “company only” glasses!!  I wish I’d discovered this “gig” 20 years ago!

Note:  To read the funny/somewhat pathetic story of what I went through to do this post, read The Saga of a Post.

Hugs are needed most …

July 30, 2009


… when the child says, “I don’t want a hug!”

Because I had read this advice before I had teenagers, I did hug young Gunny when he was a teen, even the times when he was angry with me and stood stiff as a board while I hugged him — giving me absolutely no sign that he appreciated or wanted a hug right then.  But, because I had heard this advice, I did it anyway, and he’s told me since that he’s glad I “insisted” on giving him those hugs.

When Hubby and his two younger brothers, who are very close in age, were pre-teens, they told their mom that they were “too big” now for all the kissing and hugging she liked to give.  So, she respected their wishes and cut way back on those signs of  affection that especially teenage boys seem to be embarrassed about.  But, Hubby has told me that there were times when he wished he hadn’t said that!

I never had to worry about DD doing without the hugs she needed.  Even when she was a teenager and as tall as me, she would come and plop down on my lap, wrap her arms around my neck, and say, “I need some hugs!”.

So, I suggest that if there is one of your children who doesn’t ever say “I need some hugs” or even resists affection, you make sure that that child gets their share of your kisses and hugs anyway.

There is “magic” in loving physical contact that defies description, except to say that it is just a “gift from God”.

Icons of Dance … and Me!

July 29, 2009


When you discuss really excellent dancers, are the names that come to mind Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers … and Sandra? 

Wellll, I did take tap dancing lessons for six years (3-9 years old) and I do like to think that that is what gave me my “natural grace”.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I may never be a great dancer like Fred and Ginger, but I challenge you to find pictures of them in costumes (and hats) that their mothers’ made, with them looking  as proud as I do!

Dance Costume 1xx

Dance Costume 3x  I’m sorry this one isn’t in color, because I remember it as a favorite.  It was dark red and gold brocade with yellow trim.  Maybe it was the extra cuffs, but I remember it felt very elegant. 

1954 shamrock dance costume 2x1954 shamrock dance costume x  In case you can’t tell, the hat that year was a shamrock strapped, at a jaunty angle, to the top of my head!

Dance Costume 1953 2x

Dance Costume 2x

1954 skeleton dance costume x 1954 skeleton dance costume 2x  This was a fun year.  I remember we started out down behind tombstones.  A little more “theatrical”  than the norm for us! 

The recitals were the pay-off for all the boring lessons — I loved getting to wear the costumes (and make-up!) and performing on the stage at the air conditioned movie theater on the town square, the Fox (probably the first air conditioning I ever experienced).   So, the year we performed in the skeleton costume, while fun, was probably the one I liked the least, because it didn’t give me an excuse to get to wear make-up and it was hot, even in air conditioning!

I was never going to be a great dancer, but it was a fun experience and gave me many great memories!

Blessed by the Peacemaker

July 28, 2009


P1020400(1)  Our Daughter-in-law, “Dilly” (on the phone with the store she manages, as she regularly is, even on vacation).


P1020327(1)(1)  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a good picture of her with the love-of-her-life, JJ.  She adores that little boy, her first grandchild.

When Dilly married Gunny almost 16 years ago, she and I struggled to build a relationship.  We were as different as night and day, and the fact that we lived so far apart, made it even harder to get to know each other, and find common ground.  But, I wanted (and I know now that she did too) a loving relationship with her, so I prayed that God would show us how to develop one.  And, He answered that prayer, in spades!

Without any reservations, today I can say, I love this young woman.  And she loves me too.  I am so thankful for her and our loving relationship.

Dilly loves our son and grandchildren with all her heart and would go to the ends of the earth for them.  And, she is a  talented manager of people.  She is the very successful manager of a large store in Tulsa, OK for a major eyeglass company.

But, one of the traits I admire most in Dilly is that she is a peacemaker and repairer of broken relationships.  In fact, when I think about it, I guess the present success of the relationship she and I have is at least partly because of her ability to do that — or maybe the fixing of our relationship taught her skills that she uses on others now.

For whatever reason, she has a talent  for and is always working at making shakey relationships better.   I admire many things about Dilly, but her desire to help heal broken relationships is probably the one I admire most.  There is no doubt in my mind that Dilly adds immeasurably to the lives of those around her.  And, the world is a better place for having her in it.

We need more Dilly’s in the world!

I love you, Dilly.

Warning: Funeral Humor Ahead

July 27, 2009


Recently, when I went to the wake of an old friend of my mother’s, I arrived right at the beginning time and the relatives hadn’t gotten there yet (they can be forgiven — they are eliderly too).  So, while I waited for them I chatted with George, the funeral home director.  This is the funeral home that has buried, literally, generations of Hubby’s family, and will bury us too.  George ‘s father was the one who ran the business for as long as I can remember, but now, George,  the next generation, runs it.

George:  (remarking on someone we both knew who recently died):  “When I first saw her, if I hadn’t known she was 58, I would have said she was 108!

Me:  “Let me just tell you this now, George.  When I die, I want you to make me look really good.  I don’t want anyone saying I look 108!  And, I’ll try to die before I’m actually 108 to make it a little easier for you.”

So, when you come to my wake, if I look 108 year old, I want you to go find George and tell him, “She wouldn’t like this!”

Of course, the upside is that I plan to be cremated, so however I look, I won’t look that way for long.


I hope you think this is funny.  I have no problem laughing about my own death, because I know “the best is yet to come”.

That brings to mind the following story I heard years ago:

An old woman had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and given only days to live.

Her pastor came to visit her, and at the end of the visit, they discussed her wishes for her funeral, like which songs and scriptures she wanted used.

But when the pastor thought they were done and he got up to leave, the lady said she had one more request – she would like to be buried with a fork in her hand.

Needless to say, the pastor asked her why.  So, she explained.

She said, “In all the years I have attended dinners in the community and at church, many times one of the instructions to the diners as the dinner plates were taken away, was “Keep your fork.”  And, that always told me that there would be some wonderful dessert on the way – the best was yet to come! 

“And, because I am a Christian, I know that when my life ends, the best is yet to come!

“So, I want to be buried with a fork in my hand, so that those who come to the wake will ask “Why is she holding a fork?”  And, my family can tell them, “Because she knew the best was yet to come!”


Truly, “This is a day the Lord hath made …

July 26, 2009


let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  Psalm 118:24

The pastor in the church I grew up in, always started the service with those words.  All these years later, I can still hear him making that declaration in his deep, booming voice.


May your Sunday be blessed.

Rainin’ and Readin’

July 25, 2009


I don’t use an alarm clock.  If I ever did, it was so long ago that I don’t remember it.  I just “know” when to get up.  Or if I don’t “know” for sure, I look at the clock and decide if it’s time to get up.

Anyway, this morning I “knew” it was time to get up. 

I was in the bathroom putting on some shorts and a t-shirt and washing my face so that I could go start the coffee, when I heard what I thought was the garbage truck coming down the street.  But, that couldn’t be right because this isn’t garbage day.  So, I turned off the water and listened.  Then, I realized it wasn’t a truck I heard … it was really loud thunder, and when I looked toward the window I could see flashes of lightening through the shade!

I immediately remembered a few mornings ago when, even though it was in a plastic sleeve, the morning paper was completely soaked by an early morning rain, and I had to just throw it away.

Let me just say here that I am a newspaper junkie.  We get both the morning and evening newspapers, and I read them both.  I do watch the morning news on Fox, but the newspaper is how I like to receive the majority of my news.  Dry newspapers are important to me!

So, with that most recent soaked paper vivid in my mind, I raced through the house, out the door, into the light rain that promised to turn into a real “gully washer” at any minute, and down the driveway to retrieve the paper.  But it wasn’t there.  We have a new delivery person, so the at-least-by-5:30-delivery I’m used to isn’t a “given” right now.

Just as I turned and started to run back up the driveway, I saw headlights coming down the street.  So, I turned around again (all of this, thankfully, still in just a light rain) and ran  back toward the street — I’d save him throwing it and just take it from him.  But then I saw it was an SUV and the paper person drives a car, so as the vehicle went past I turned again and ran back up the driveway and into the house.

When I walked into the kitchen, I looked at a clock for the first time … it was 3:45 a.m.  Hmmm. Even an internal alarm clock will experience a power failure once in a while.

By 5:30 the paper was in the driveway and all was right with the world.

Except … I wonder what the neighbor who was driving past thought of Sandra running circles in her driveway at 3:45 in the morning.  Sigh.  I’m probably better off not knowing.

Mimi Shares the Spotlight!

July 24, 2009


DD’s daughter, Mimi, is our youngest grandchild.  Consequently, she gets more than her fair share of the attention when she is around.

P1020198(1)  And it doesn’t hurt that Mimi (5), makes photography fun — she’s always doing something photo-worthy.  Don’t worry, the tattoo isn’t real.  She got it at an amusement park the day before.

But, when we were together on the Fourth, our oldest granddaughter was there with her husband and son, JJ (who is almost 2).  So, there was a new “star” … everyone wanted to play with and be around JJ.  And, we weren’t totally sure how that would play with Mimi.  How would she take to suddenly having to share the spotlight?

Well, we needn’t have worried:

P1020269(1)  First of all, she has a photo-worthy sense of style.  She can wear hair pretties and a girly dress, along with a tattoo, and carry it off! 

(btw, as you can see, DD and I sometimes get in each other’s way when taking our pictures.   She has a verrrry nice camera, that I’m hoping she forgets to take with her sometime when she’s leaving after a visit!)

P1020219  Anyway, Mimi is always ready to pose for a picture.  Here, when she paused for a “Kodak moment” before marching off to fish, she caught JJ’s attention.

P1020243(1)  Even though JJ had an appointment for a boat ride with his grandpa, you could tell this “big kid in the red dress” interested him.

P1020282  Their fishing and boat rides over, Mimi, looking a little the worse for wear (did the fish get your hair pretties, Mimi?), was ready to spend some quality time with JJ. 

P1020298(1)   Let’s go see what we can find to play with.

P1020310(1)   She’s using her “big kid” skills to show him the best way to play with his newest toy.

They played together great.

P1020388(1)  And, Mimi’s never going to have to worry about not getting her share of the spotlight as long as she’s such an interesting kid!

It was so much fun to have everyone together.  And, these pictures will always help us remember what it was like.  I am thankful for family … and photography!

The Frosting on the Cake

July 23, 2009


Ever since I became a grandparent lo those many years ago, I have said that having children was “all right”  but that having grandchildren was “the frosting on the cake”! 

In my experience, grandparents and grandchildren have a unique relationship that is like no other.  And, you can’t explain it to someone … they just have to experience it for themselves.

So, there has been a “passing of the torch” … our son is now a grandfather!








P1020279(1)   Our son’s grandson … and a new experience for us too … GREAT-grandparents!

Or, as our sweet daughter-in-law dubbed me, “Nana the Great”.  Thank you, Dilly, I love it!

We didn’t see Love Story …

July 21, 2009


… so we didn’t know its heroine’s name.  And that made a big difference in our lives. 

When I was growing up, I only knew one Jennifer.  I remember her in grade school as cute … wirey and athletic, fun, always smiling, with pretty blue eyes, freckles across her nose and her long brown hair in braids.  And even after she ditched the braids as she grew into a pretty teenager, she was still, to me, the prototypical all American girl.  We played together in grade school, but we didn’t see as much of each other when we got to high school.  But, even though it didn’t happen too often, she was still one of the girls I always enjoyed when she was around.  Then we graduated from high school, she moved away and I never saw her again.

Fast forward 45 years … I found out at the reunion meeting last night that JENNIFER, the original, one-and-only JENNIFER, is coming to our class reunion next month!  

Of course, I’m looking forward to seeing her for all the same reasons you enjoy seeing any of your old classmates, especially the ones you haven’t seen in a long time — it’s just fun to hear what they’ve been doing.

But, I will also tell her something that I’m pretty sure will surprise her … that she, and not the heroine of Love Story, as is the case with many Jennifer’s, was the inspiration for our daughter’s name!  

When we were trying to think of a name for our daughter, after lots of debate, we chose the name Jennifer partly because the name had all kinds of good memories attached to it for me because of the original Jennifer, but also we didn’t know any other Jennifers, so it would be unique!

Then, six years later, still never having seen Love Story, I was shocked when we enrolled our darling little Jennifer in kindergarten and there were SIX Jennifer’s in her grade!

That’s when we found out that the heroine in the movie Love Story, which was one of the most popular movies released the year before our little girl was born, was named Jennifer.  And from the number of Jennifer’s our daughter has encountered all of her life, there must have been alot of people having babies about that time who had seen the movie and loved the name of the heroine.

In retrospect, maybe we should have gone with something reallllly unique, like Hermione … I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t have been six of that one in her kindergarten!