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    Tuesday, June 30, 2009

    HCA – 501(c) 3 status update

    As many of you know by now, I'm heavily involved in the Historical Citizens Association (HCA).

    (Heck, I'm one of the founding members and I'm the current president :).

    Earlier this year we filed for our offical Letter of Determination from the IRS, which would officially recognize our group as a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization....and ...
    ~ ~ drumroll ~ ~
    I can NOW announce that we have indeed received our Letter of Determination! (Woo hoo! :)

    In other words, this letter officially recognizes that the HCA is currently, and has been since its inception (when the Articles of Association were signed), a tax exempt organization.

    What does this mean for the HCA? Basically, it means that:

    - any donations made to the group (including ones previously made) are *officially* tax deductible, and
    - it gives us added credibility in pursuing joint ventures / event planning with other organizations.

    And you can bet we're definitely interested in planning some of our own events. (We've already got a couple of fun events in the works for later this year).


    You can see why I’m SO excited.


    Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

    Ok, as promised, here's a few pics and the recipe from when I made homemade cinnamon rolls from a week or so ago.

    Ready to Bake

    * * * *

    Fresh from the Oven

    The Rolls turned out FABULOUS, though I realized I should have probably greased the sides of each roll as I placed them in the pan (in order to make it easier to pull the baked rolls apart from each other). Another (minor) critic is that next time I'll have more very softened butter ready when working on the butter/cinnamon/sugar layer. Having softened butter (but not *melted*) worked really well during the cooking to flavor the inside portions of the rolls during baking. Since I had run a bit short on softened butter, I quickly microwaved some butter for a few seconds, but it was too melty to work properly. (It all worked out - and I was able to use that melted butter - but the softened butter definitely works better for spreading on the dough). As for the cinnamon/sugar ratio - let's just say I used the suggested amounts as a starting point. (A Guideline =). I started with those amounts, and just started covering the dough with a layer of cinnamon and brown sugar. When it *looked* right, then I stopped. (I like mine cinnamony/sugary! =).
    Instead of doing just "baker's flour" (which I didn't have on hand), I used a mix of all purpose flour and whole wheat flour (see recipe for ratio). I am certainly pleased with how the dough turned out, so I'll definitely use that mix of flours again.
    Another note - the original recipe mentioned using an 8" x 8" pan. However, since I let mine rise for quite some time (I really wanted the rolls to *at least* double in size =), there was no way that I could possibly fit mine into the 8" x 8" pan. Instead, I managed to get them to fit into a 9" x 13" pan.

    And lastly - next time I make these, *if* I don't want to bake ALL of the rolls at the same time, I might just freeze some of the formed rolls (uncooked/still in the dough stage - but all formed & ready to bake) so that I can just bake a few at a time.

    The original recipe for both the rolls and the frosting were found on
    Click here for the cinnamon rolls and here for the icing/frosting.
    (Note: Frosting recipe was part of another Cinnamon Roll recipe, submitted by a Pat Myers. I did not try the roll portion of the recipe. The icing/frosting is a fairly standard recipe for frosting, and it's hard to mess up or improve upon =).

    However, me being me...I tweaked the recipe. =) So, I've rewritten the cinnamon roll recipe and incorporated my notes into it. (And I've included the frosting recipe/steps in my roll recipe)
    * * * *
    Ingredients – Rolls:
    1 (0.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
    ¾ cup warm water (approx 110 degrees F or 45 degrees C)
    – double check with Yeast package for optimum temp.
    ¼ cup white sugar
    ¾ teaspoon salt

    1 egg, room temperature
    2 ½ cups bread flour
    (~OR~: 2 cups all purpose & ½ cup wheat -- my preference)

    ¼ - ½ cup butter, softened (*very soft*, but not melted)
    1+ tablespoon ground cinnamon
    ½ + cup brown sugar

    Ingredients – Icing/Frosting:
    ½ (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    ¼ cup butter, softened
    1 cup confectioners’ sugar (aka - powdered sugar)
    ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (My Preference: Watkins Original Double-Strength Vanilla )
    1 ½ teaspoon milk


    1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. (Careful that water temp is in correct heat range for the yeast!) Let the dissolved yeast stand until creamy (about 10+ minutes, depending on ambient room temperature).

    2. In a large bowl, combined the yeast mixture with the sugar, salt, egg and about 1 cup of flower; stir well to combine. (You may want to use a whisk for this stage).

    3. Stir in the remaining flour slowly, about ¼ - ½ cup at a time, beating well with each addition. (A wooden spoon works well at this stage).

    4. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. (About 8 minutes). Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for about 10-20 minutes. (You may also remove to a lightly greased bowl and cover it, to let it rest).

    5. Lightly grease a baking pan. Depending on how big you will make your rolls, you may want to use a 9” x 13” pan (instead of an 8” x 8” pan).

    6. Roll dough out onto a lightly floured surface to ¼ inch thick RECTANGLE. (This will help you roll the dough into an even cylinder shape later for cutting).

    7. Smear the dough generously with the softened butter so that the dough is completely covered.
    8. Sprinkle with both cinnamon and brown sugar either to taste and evenly covered. (Feel free to use more cinnamon & sugar if you like it extra cinnamony/sugary! =).
    9. Roll up the dough along the long edge until it forms a roll. (Try to keep the roll tight, but don’t worry if it’s loose. You can always reform the cut roll into a tighter roll before placing it into the baking pan.)
    10. Slice the roll into equal sized pieces (approximately 16) and place them in the pan with the cut side up. *Optional: You may want to brush the outside of each roll, including sides, with melted butter...or at least lightly grease the sides with cooking spray.*
    11. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight OR cover and let it rise at room temperature until doubled in volume. (Min. 45 minutes – but you can go more like 1 hr to 1 ½ hrs, depending on your ambient room temperature).

    12. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Bake until rolls are golden brown, about 20 minutes.

    13. While rolls are baking, make the icing: stir together cream cheese, softened butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, & milk until well mixed.
    14. Remove rolls from oven when golden brown and let them sit a few minutes. If serving immediately, top with frosting. If saving most of the rolls for later (ex. refrigerating them), save frosting until you re-heat individual rolls.

    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    happy news! =)

    My new bluetooth headset just arrived!! (Ordered one from on Monday - had a deal going...basically 40% off & free shipping).
    No more calling via speakphone while driving for me! (fingers crossed) And as most of you know, I do like to talk while driving.
    (I *still* can't believe I lost my old one that I've had for years!! But oh well, new one is here =)
    Headset is currently charging so I can use it today. Yay!!


    Wednesday, June 03, 2009

    Pics Online: Long Beach Civil War Event

    Originally uploaded by marcailgaelyn

    Pictures (and video) from my camera at the Long Beach Civil War Event (at El Dorado Regional Park East) are now online at my Flickr site!

    To view:

    All in all a very fun event, as you will see from the pictures!

    As at other events, I left my camera out and available so that others could take photos with it too. (Two people I know used my camera at times, and should get credit, Maegen Hensley and Vanessa, Annette's grandaughter).

    Enjoy the pics (and videos)!

    Tuesday, June 02, 2009

    Reading the Oak Street Weekly in the Parlor

    Civil War re-enactment
    Originally uploaded by

    Here's a neat picture taken by a spectator (bill90814 on Flickr) of some of the ladies of Oak Street (part of the Historical Citizens Association) as we read from the latest edition of the Oak Street Weekly while in the parlor of the Johnson Oak Inn.

    (This picture was taken on Saturday, May 30, 2009 at El Dorado Park in Long Beach, CA - Civil War Reenactment).

    Photos from *my* camera will probably be posted to my flickr account (and facebook/myspace) probably tonight.

    Monday, June 01, 2009

    Pics Online: Shooting Trip (5/16/2009)

    Originally uploaded by marcailgaelyn

    Never got around to posting to my blog an announcement that I have indeed uploaded pics from my shooting trip in May....

    So here's the announcement: Shooting Trip Pics (and video) are online!

    To view:

    It was a fun day, even if it was blazing hot. (Good thing we had a pop-up shade!) And we definitely liked the range, which was new to us, so we'll be back in the future.