Friday, December 28, 2007

now that christmas is behind us

So much going on this week with Christmas and all. So much I wanted to get done for the holidays, but ran out of time. I wanted to make some homemade gifts, but never got to them.
I wanted to make more cookies, but never got to those either - probably a good thing because my house is overflowing with sugary treats.
The new year will bring healthier eating habits around our house once again, as well as better exercise habits. Paul and I both want to get in better shape so Im thankful to have a workout buddy. Looking forward to watching the Biggest Loser Couple show for inspiration.
One thing I did get done this week was to be able to work on my knitting.

Mom has been teaching me how to knit socks. This is a pair she made. When I say made, I mean she spun the yarn and knitted the socks. She loves to spin and its a good thing because her hobby room is packed with rubbermaid totes full of fibers waiting to be spun. Her favorite thing to knit is socks so she's been trying to get me to learn too.
These are mine so far...I've ripped them out and started over 3 times. I hate it when I make mistakes. I dont know how to fix them, so I just rip the entire thing apart and start at the beginning again. I sure hope I dont get to the toe and make a mistake ;)
Third time is a charm because its feeling so much more comfortable now using the double pointed needles and Im happier to not see so many mistakes in them. This yarn is a little thicker and my needles a little bigger than Mom uses, but for learning Im not too worried about it.
And check out those frames:) Something else I took the time to learn how to do this week.
One more thing I wanted to share. We got some new lamps for the living room this week. We were in Target doing some christmas shopping and found these.

The shades have a demask print on the inside of the shade. It doesnt really show until you turn the light on. Really pretty and they look good in that room.


and in closing, of course I need to include a Macie picture

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Blissed out..............

this weekend I finally got a chance to bake something!!!!
It seems like years since I've done any holiday baking, or any other time of the year truthfully.
But after someone posted this Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bar recipe, I knew for certain that I needed to MAKE the time to whip some of these up.
The recipe includes white chocolate chips, orange extract and dried cranberries, frosted with a cream cheese frosting that's flavored with orange extract. You top with some diced dried cranberries, orange zest then drizzle on some melted white chocolate.....................total Bliss!
Sure glad I made the time to make these.
And hopefully I'll have some more time next weekend to do a little more baking.
Im impatient to make some Biscotti.
Because it's not Christmas until I've made them.
Yes, Mom has been baking them for weeks on end,
and yes I will get some on Christmas day...
but something about making biscotti is part of Christmas for me.
Just like decorating the tree and writing Christmas cards.
Which reminds me, I need to do that too...

and miss Macie is getting quite use to being spoiled it appears.
I think I'm going to need a dog whisperer if she doesn't quit waking up in the middle of the night.
Looks like this puppers is in desperate need of a haircut.
oh I've tried.
If you can imagine trying to cut away the fur around the eyes of a wild cougar, you'll get a fairly good idea of what it was like to try and give her a little trim.
Somethings are just better left to professionals.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

a holiday mosaic

Do you flickr?

Boy, I sure do.

I cant stop...it sucks me in and I find myself searching random tags just to see what will pop up. Sometimes I search by a color, a place, the weather, seasons, holidays...just anything I can come up with. Its about the best place I've found for inspiration.
I can get absolutely lost in browsing pictures images on flickr. The mosaic I made today is from some of the images that I recently came across and saved as my favorites. After browsing this site, I just want to pick up my camera and start snapping away.
The lights, colors and warmth of these photos are some of the things that make this season so special to me. They inspire me to see things differently, to experiment with light and angle, to photograph things we walk by every day without thinking they're photo worthy.

I have a long way to go with my photography skills, but the people who post their work on this site are a constant inspiration. These images remind me of things I want to photograph. My greatest challenge when posting these mosaics is getting the credits to these pictures to print...this took me over 30 minutes and its still not linking correectly...so I apologize to these artists.
1. CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, 2. madeleines, 3. Christmas time!, 4. the plan, 5. his tattered red coat, 6. Hello Cupcake, 7. Silver Bell, 8. candlelight, 9. oh balls, 10. christmas, 11. Christmas Bakery Fun Project (3/7) - Let it snow!, 12. Out of Focus, 13. the red door, 14. Artsy wall at Starbucks, 15. Strawberry roll cake, 16. Happy Valentine's Day to All My Flickr Friends!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Lazy Sunday's

Sundays should be like this...

Its snowing outside,
a toasty fire is burning in the woodstove,
bread is rising on the kitchen counter,
I'm learning how to knit socks
The seahawks are winning-finally!
and Macie is enjoying her first full weekend at home.
So far this is one of her favorite toys...the squeeky chicken.
This is a perfect Sunday afternoon.













Saturday, December 08, 2007

baby its cold outside

We were going out to Petsmart to find a dog bed that would fit in the car.
It was so cold outside and Macie was shivering. It was the perfect opportunity to get some use out of this valour dog sweater...as laughable as it is, she stopped shivering :) gotta admit, it does look pretty cute.
As expensive as these things are I could have bought a sweater for myself...no kidding!
I think I'll be knitting her sweaters myself from now on. She's the only person who would actually wear anything that I might knit. Poor thing. The other dogs are going to laugh at her.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Make a flake

This is a fun website I found last year. Some tips- make sure you start your cuts at the edge of the page, the little button in the middle of the scissors will turn green. Every time you want to turn, click then you can turn, click again, turn, click again....FUN!!!

and a few pictures I took of Macie last night. Not the best because this little dog does not sit still unless she's asleep. Hope to get some better ones this weekend when I don't have to use a flash.
















Miss Muffet on her velvet tuffet.
I'm going to be forever combing the hair off the velvet Christmas pillows I think.

you either love 'em or you don't


Me?

I love them.
At least I thought I did.
Im usually so excited every Christmas to pick up a few boxes of these. They bring back childhood christmas memories for me...like ribbon candy and those little lifesaver books.
We got those in our stockings every year.
So, the other day I grabbed a box of Queen Anne Cordial Cherries Target.
And they tasted awful...like brown wax over cherries.
Soooo not at all the way I remembered them.
Obviously I didnt have high hopes considering the cost of a box of these. After all, what would you expect for .99 a box?
And sure, I could buy more expensive cherry cordials with good milk chocolate, but these cheap boxes sold in the Walgreens stores are what I remember.
One more childhood memory shattered...
Maybe this yearI'll make some of these. Im not so much into candy making, but these look easy enough even for me...

Brandy Cordial Cherries
1 (10-ounce) jar maraschino cherries with stems
1/2 cup brandy (optional)
1 (8-ounce) package semisweet chocolate baking squares, chopped
Drain maraschino cherries, and return to jar. Pour brandy, if desired, in jar; cover with a lid, and freeze 8 hours. Soaked cheeries can be left in the freezer for up to two days before you dip them into the chocolate.
Drain cherries, and pat dry, reserving brandy for another use.
Melt two-thirds of chocolate baking squares in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until a candy thermometer reaches 115°. Remove from heat; add remaining chocolate, and stir until candy thermometer reaches 89° and chocolate is smooth.
Dip cherries quickly into melted chocolate, coating well.
Place cherries on wax paper, stem sides up, and cool.

Also picked up some Cherry Cordial Hershey Kisses the other day...cant wait to try those!
That should about do it for my chocolate cherry fix for another year.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Christmas comes early

at our house. She's had a long day which included a drive all the way across the state in a white out snow storm, but she's here. She came in the house, sniffed around a little and found this perfectly comfy spot under the christmas tree (how did she know?) and promptly fell fast asleep.
She looks much bigger than she really is. She's about 8" long and weighs about hmmmmm, maybe 2 lbs. Cute as a bug.Her name is Maci.
Anyone who knows me will recognize her right away. Her markings are almost the exact same as Elliott's, minus the tongue hanging out.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mosaic Tuesday

Im late in posting Mosaic Monday, so Mosaic Tuesday it is. Loved these pictures from Flickr from the past few weeks. Browsing pics is relaxation for me and I can totally get lost in peoples photography. hope you enjoy these photos as much as I did
1. Thanks., 2. My World in a Ball, 3. Silent Night, 4. Chilly Chilies, 5. "you can't catch us", 6. Sponsored by - Thanksgiving Balloon Inflation, 7. Upstairs Downstairs, 8. Thanksgiving Eve Snowfall, 9. Firestarter, 10. layers of earth, 11. vintage toes, 12. Untitled, 13. Jump!, 14. what's behind the door..., 15. Trick or Treat!!!, 16. 雪菜 + shredded pork noodle

Monday, November 26, 2007

Turkey...What now?

Like many people, I make my turkey on Friday.
We go to family's house on Thursday, so we make a simplified version of thanksgiving on Friday while we decorate the house for Christmas.
Gotta get that smell and of course, the leftovers!
Now normally I would get a nice 10lb bird. Its just enough for a dinner or two, a sandwich or two and a pot of soup. Perfect!
But the stores always seem to charge $1.50 per lb for the nice little ones, and $ .59 per lb for big guys. This works out to be about the same price for twice as much turkey, and that's got to be a good deal!
right?


So, Turkey on Friday,
turkey on Saturday.
On Sunday, turkey tetrizzini
On Monday?
On Monday I need to get a little more creative with it.
On Monday it needs to not taste so much like turkey.
On Monday it needs to not look so much like turkey.

So, on Monday will it be...


Turkey Enchilada Pie

a recipe I found on the WW site.

POINTS® Value: 4
Servings: 6
Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 30 min
Level of Difficulty: Moderate




Ingredients
1 sprays cooking spray
3/4 pound uncooked ground turkey breast ( or in my case, cubed turkey)
1 medium onion(s), chopped
1 tsp chili powder
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup fat-free skim milk
4 oz canned jalapeno peppers, drained and chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 large burrito-size wheat flour tortilla(s)
3 cup tomato(es), chopped
10 Tbsp low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Heat skillet over medium heat. Place turkey, onion and chili powder in skillet and cook until turkey is browned, stirring occasionally to crumble meat, about 8 minutes. Remove turkey mixture from skillet and set aside.


Place skillet over medium-high heat and add flour. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat; stir in turkey mixture, jalapenos and cumin.

Wrap tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave on HIGH until softened, about 15 seconds. Place 1 tortilla in bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Spread 1/3 of turkey mixture over tortilla. Spoon 1 cup of tomato on top and sprinkle with 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of cheese. Repeat layers with remaining ingredients ending up with 2 tablespoons of cheese.

Cover pie plate with aluminum foil and cook until cheese melts, about 15 minutes. Let stand, covered, 2 minutes before cutting into 6 wedges.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

finding the time

To Scrapbook!!!
finally carved out some time last Sunday to do some scrapping.
One of the challenges this month on http://www.downmemorylaneco.com/index.aspx was to scrap a non-person layout.
This is one of the two of them that I did.
The little clear square embellishment thingy at the bottom left is actually a peice of a clear plastic place mat I got at Ikea. I got them to make clear mini album covers...cant beat the price- 4 place mats for something like $1.49. Im attracted to anything clear these days. This is a little piece that I cut off the side when I cut out the album cover. The circle and leaf over the R was inspired by the logo Metropolitan Market uses http://www.metropolitan-market.com/homeA.php I had cut one out of their paper shopping bags awhile ago because I love the look. Finally used it here
I snapped this picture the other morning as I was looking around our family room. Just wanted to document all the stuff that comes along with having a toddler in the house all of a sudden, how I want to remember the caos because I know its only for a short time. Finally got to use a clear overlay that I've had stashed forever. went perfectly with these Scenic Route papers.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

On being thankful

Paul and I often talk about it. Thank goodness we have what we need. Thank goodness we have good jobs, good cars, a nice home, our children and grandchildren, each other. I think we’re pretty thankful on a day-to-day basis. Part of that comes from sometimes not having all of those things that we now have. Through hard work, we do okay. Thank goodness.

Today I spent some time thinking about what it really means. Next Sunday would have been Justin’s birthday and the following Thursday is Thanksgiving. As we have done the past few years, we will be sending flowers to the cemetery. This year I wanted to do something a little different, something in Justin’s name. A donation to the American Cancer society would be the obvious choice, but I’ve always wanted to do something for the Heifer International org.
http://www.heifer.org/site/c.edJRKQNiFiG/b.204586/

Heifer is such an amazing organization. I found out about it through my daughter who worked for a vet who donated his time every year to Heifer International.
They have a simple mission to provide what we have and are so thankful for, to people less fortunate than we are.
But not to simply give them a meal. Heifer's mission is to work with communities around the world to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth. They do it with the giving of an animal that will sustain a family. You know the old adage, give a man a fish and will eat for the day, but teach him to fish and he’ll never go hungry? That’s what Heifer International does.

They provide livestock that produce life-sustaining milk and eggs so children will grow up strong and healthy. Passing on the gift” is fundamental to Heifer’s entire approach. So each family who receives a gift agrees to donate the female offspring to another family, so that the gift of food is never-ending. One animal could eventually benefit an entire community.
Giving the gift of a cow, chicken, duck or goat is one way people can get involved
Today, millions of people who were once hungry will be nourished by milk, eggs and fresh protein supplied by their own livestock.

Today I gave a simple gift of only $10. for a share of a goat.
A goat! :)
Sounds kind of silly and small, but with only 11 more people, someone who doesn’t have a goat will receive one. How cool is that????
And it will provide milk for their children.
It’s a simple Thanksgiving gift for what we have.

Monday, November 05, 2007

curves in the road

funny how sometimes life just takes off on little side roads every now and then.
One day your totally cruzing down the road of life when all of a sudden you come to a curve.
Around the other side of the curve the landscape changes....where once it was paved and straight before you, now its kinda bumpy and curvy .. taking you in totally unexpected directions.
thats how my weekend was.

First off I attended a class at CKC Seattle, called Ali's top 10 scrapbook products.
very inspiring class

This class was a lecture type class. She spoke mostly about her life artist philosophy and about some of her favorite scrap products.
What I mostly took away from the class was a renewed appreciation of how scrapbooking is just pictures and stories.
For me, the story is most ofen my favorite part of scrapbooking. But, I also love to take pictures to capture our stories. And this class really just reminded me of that again. To document my life stories and add pictures to it in a creative way.
With pictures, paper and embellishments, its just another layout. Without the story, anyone could have scrapped that picture for me. I've always loved to include journaling on my layouts, but I realize I need to do a better job of it.
Because it really is my favorite part.
So a little bend in the scrapbooking road.
Excited about having a renewed focus and direction.
Oh, and she shared some cool products too.

And.... We got to spend some time with this little guy over the weekend.Looks like we may be seeing a lot of him in the upcoming days too, which is kinda fun. Look at that little tongue sticking out :)
A bend in the road for Jaryn and Ethan. A little scary for them for sure, but Paul and I are here to help them find the path that's right for them. We'll see where their road takes them but right now they'll be staying with us for a bit. Fun stuff childproofing your home for a 2 1/2 year old. Especially one that has no fear of climbing...oh man. Things I don't normally even think of, I need to now.

And a recipe thats on the menu this week.
I like fast and easy stuff that I can make and have on the table in 30 minutes.
And since Ethan will be there, his favorite thing is pasta...a boy after my own heart. :) Ethan is all about pasta and not at all impressed with sauce of any type. Im hoping to entice him with this -
saute 2 garlic cloves in 2 T olive oil. add a bunch of fresh cut asparagus, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, a small handful of fresh cut basil and 2 grilled chicken breasts or leftover roasted chicken pulled from the bones. serve over bow-tie pasta with freshly grated parmesan cheese. yum!
(But to be on the safe side Im going to hold out a little bowl of plain pasta with butter and cheese just in case)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Mosaic Monday

Its seems like weeks since I’ve had time to cruz through some of my favorite blogs.
This morning however, I took a peek at Ali’s (http://aliedwards.typepad.com/_a_/ ) blog.
She has a post this morning titled Monday mosaics.
Every time I’ve seen her post one of these I’d wondered if it was something she’d made herself in Photoshop, or if it was a program online.
Thankfully today she posted that it was an online program.
Since I love Flickr and have lots of favorites from other posters saved there as inspiration, I had one of these fun mosaics in a matter of minutes.
Try it.
Its really fun!
If you don’t have a flickr account you can upload your own photos from your computer too.
Here's mine

Unfortunately I have no idea how to include the links back to the owners of these pretty pictures, so here's the link to my favorites folder. That should link back to the right people.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7833613@N08/favorites/

Friday, October 26, 2007

seriously...

I mean really... why do stores put the Christmas decorations out before Halloween?

It just doesn't seem right to me.
I can only focus on one holiday season at a time.
Otherwise it seems like Thanksgiving totally passes you by and you miss it.
I really like fall so I don't like skipping right over it to Christmas.
My guess is that they're trying to get us to start shopping earlier... but for me it has the opposite effect. I want to dig my heals in and say oh no you don't! You'll not suck me into that yet.

sigh*
but it doesn't work
they always do.

I've started my Christmas shopping. Have you?

We took of Ethan at the park the other day running with his puppy.
how cute is that???

Monday, October 22, 2007

Little People...Big World

This is seriously one of Paul's most favorite shows. He's been waiting all summer for it to start back up again and last Monday was the premier of the new season.
Ever since last year he's been saying that in October he wanted to drive down to just outside of Portland Oregon, to go to the pumpkin patch and meet the Roloffs.

Well, this weekend was the one we'd set aside to go.

I was really hoping he'd change his mind. And he did waffle a little...but in the end he really wanted to go, so off we went.

When we got there I could see Paul was a little worried about the hour + line waiting to go on the tour through the grounds, but I talked him into it. It was worth the wait.

As we were making our way to the end of a veryyyyyy long line, I saw Amy. She was walking down the line, talking to each and every person. She is truly the sweetest person and was so grateful to everyone who came out the pumpkin patch and waited in line to go on the tour. She was in no hurry, taking her time talking and taking pictures. I think she was there for the entire hour and a half we were in line. We chatted with her for about 5 minutes, talking about the family trip in the motor home to Yosemite and teased her about how upset she got with Matt and Zak. It was really fun.

Then Matt came to the pumpkin patch in his little Gator. He drove down the row and stopped and chatted and took pictures with anyone who wanted one. The film crew was there also, filming an episode of their show, Little People, big world.

The tour took us through the grounds, through the barns, out to the frontier town where we got to get out and walk around. Around every corner was something you'd recognize from the show.
The show doesn't really do the property justice. Its amazing!!! What a beautiful farm.

In the end, I'm really glad Paul decided to go. I would have never done it myself and thought he'd lost his mind.

Oh, we got to see Zak too. He was driving the tractor pulling one of the tour groups around. We were hoping to get him as our driver but we got the one just ahead of him.






Thursday, October 18, 2007

returning home

Last weekend we took a drive.
Along the way is the Issaquah Salmon hatchery.
We decided to stop in and see the salmon returning home to the hatchery. Every fall hundreds of salmon return to this hatchery to spawn and die.

Its pretty sad really, to see these huge fish battling to get up this shallow stream...They actually stick out of the water in a lot of the spots, but they just keep swimming to return to where they were born. Several fish never make it this far. But if they make it past the fishermen, some die just a few yards short of the hatchery after swimming for hundreds of miles.
They are beat up, large cuts from being beaten on the rocks...but they continue on.
And this is where their going...up these fish ladders into the hatchery.
If you look in the rocks you can see lots and lots of eggs down in the riverbed.
pretty cool stuff.















Wednesday, October 17, 2007

creepy crawlies

and things that spin webs in the night...
Saturday morning we woke up to thick fog.
As the sun came up and it started started to slowly burn off the fog, I looked out my front room window and saw that my spiders had been busy the night before.
They had decorated my front yard for Halloween. The fog had left dew drops all over the webs and they just sparkled like Christmas tinsel in the sunlight...so pretty in a gruesome halloweenish sort of way.

These little workers had absolutely COVERED the shrubs with webs.There were webs attached to other webs. Webs behind webs...some had even strung their webs clear across the lawn, and attached them way up high on the roof of the house or to shrubs clear on the other side of the yard. How do they do that? Do they just fling their webs into the sky and hope the wind catches it?
Although I hate the spiders, the beauty of their webs are pretty incredible...until I walk out my front door one day and go blundering into one of them.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

fried green tomatoes

So what do you do with all the tomatoes that all seem to ripen at the same time?
I need ideas because I'm overwhelmed with tomatoes these days. We only planted one tomato plant in our garden, but its still too many tomatoes for two people to eat.
I've been sending them to work with Paul so they don't go to waste.

I wanted to try an eggplant and tomato tart but I didn't have everything I needed to make it.
For variety, I picked some green ones the other day. Its been years since I've had fried green tomatoes and remembered how awesome they are. Paul was skeptical, but he's pretty willing to try anything I put in front of him.
Once again I was surprised on how sweet a green tomato is when its fried.
If you haven't made them before, you should. Its easy. Here's how I did it.

Slice your tomatoes, salt them and let them sit for about 10 minutes.
Your going to dip them in milk (some people use buttermilk), flour, egg and either bread crumbs or corn meal, in that order.
I was out of bread crumbs and plain cornmeal, but had some corn bread mix, the kind you just add water to.
It was fabulous.
Corn bread mix has just a touch of sugar that is so good....
Fry the dipped slices in a heavy skillet. I like to use my electric skillet so I can control the temp at 360 degrees.
and that's it.
Easy and so good.
and anything that helps me get rid of tomatoes is a good thing.
Since I was in a cooking mood this weekend, I also baked that cake I'd been promising that I'd make for weeks now. sweet pineapple upside down cake.












Saturday, October 13, 2007

leaves are falling

hopefully not this one though. Its made out of cement. I got it at a fiber festival a few weekends ago and I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet, but I thought it was so pretty.
The colors are really beautiful.
They make these by making a mound in sand, then you lay a leaf on top of it with the deep veins facing up. Pile some quick concrete on top and let it harden. Then paint and seal.

I've been wanting to make them for years, but never seem to get it done...so I couldn't resist buying one. It does have some deep impressions in it and looks pretty when it fills with rain water. The other day I saw a little bird trying to take a bath in it.