Friday, June 27, 2008

8 on the eighth

Finally catching up on my 8 on the 8th mini album.

It seems like this little album has evolved into photos taken through out the month, but I still try extra hard to capture as many of them as possible around the 8th. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it takes the entire month to get all of the pictures.

This is my entry for April .

April was all about spring, organizing my scraproom...just everyday stuff.

And this is May, which of course includes Mothers Day, family gatherings, our trip to the Grand Canyon and meeting the Fresno girls :-)

And here's June.
Fathers day, Farmers Market, Macies surgery on her nose, and everyday life.

All caught up

Im really enjoying making this album. Small pages mean not much else besides the pictures can go on each page. The hardest part is getting 8 pictures to fit two 8X8 pages.

This album has turned into something I think about as the month goes along. Sometimes limiting the photos to only 8 is difficult, sometimes I struggle trying to find 8 pictures that capture our life.

around the garden

last weekend I broke out our new little garden tiller and started clearing the weeds from our vegetable garden. Its so late, but I may still have the time to buy some larger starts at the garden store. Just having it clean and free of weeds makes me feel better.
At the end of the garden I have some herbs that have grown so big, they are more like shrubs than little herb plants. My sage is in full bloom.
I think I love the lavender flowers more than I love the fresh sage.

and the peonies are in full bloom too. I really love how peonies smell. They are especially pretty this year because we have not had any rain, which tends to make the huge blooms fill up with rain and fall over.

and look who is sneaking down through the ivy still. She drives me crazy that she wont stay out of it, but Im convinced that she does it for that very reason.

Monday, June 23, 2008

a meme

I finally found time to post to a fun meme. when all else fails, there are memes, right?

Mostly I dislike these things because I can never think of the right answers, until later…then I slap myself on the forehead like one of those V8 commercials.
Duh, why couldn’t I think of that? it doesn’t matter really, but somehow I feel like I may have jinxed something by giving an incorrect answer. But anyway…here goes

My top 5 must-haves (for the moment):

in my fridge:

1. grapes, my favorite fruit
2. weight watchers cookies and cream ice cream bars
3. vanilla fat free coffee creamer (always always always)
4. cantaloupe and watermelon
5. hummas and greek pita bread

in my closet:

1. summery skirts & capris
2. shoes always, specificly I want some flats, with a small wedge heal. are those really flats if they have a heal?
3. a dark denim jacket, or a white, a denim one...probably both ;)
4. lots more white tees, cause the one you need is always in the wash
5. purses in every color

in my purse:

1. my wallet
2. Ice breakers sugar free mints – Iced Tea flavor -Rasperry or Lemon
3. lip gloss-at least 6 different ones
4. cell phone that I never seem to hear ring
5. hand lotion

in my car:
1. hand lotion
2. canvas shopping bags that I always forget to take in the store
3. More Ice breakers sugar free Iced tea mints :)
4. Macies blanket and leash
5. Ethans car seat

on my DVR
1. the biggest looser – cant wait until January!
2. the last 4 episodes of brothers and sisters- because they got erased when the comcast man came and switched out our defective DVR
3. reality tv- right now its the next food TV star and the next HGTV design star
4. Sex in the City- all of it. Because I never got to see it and want to before I go see the movie
5. The office (another show I’ve never watched … but always wanted to)

tagging: Ramona, Suzelle, Irene, & Tracy

Note; I found this fun project to organzie and keep an inventory of items in your freezer here- as you use items, just remove the magnet. After shopping, add a magnet. Im always throwing away those thin magnets that get sent to me in the I've found a use for them

Saturday, June 21, 2008

clear blue sky

We've had a horrible spring, only a small handful of days of clear blue skies and sunshine here. Now finally we're into summer and so today at last, we have a beautiful blue sky with a few puffy white clouds

it's long overdue, is what it is. I'm serious.
its the middle of June already. the first day of summer.

This is the time when the sandals and floaty skirts and tee shirts are suppose to come out, it's when I tell Paul to bring the fan up to our bedroom (he did that yesterday). Its when I begin to get serious about gardening and planting the flower pots with bright yellow and orange marigolds.(a few are planted, but they're looking sad waiting for the sun) Its when the patio furniture and umbrella go up.
June means we are suppose to be able to start opening the windows and doors to let the fresh air in. It means I'll start planning my garage sale ... again, or still. I seem to plan it every year but never follow through. This year I'm going to do it.
June is when we start getting serious about that to-do list. We have started on a few things, but haven't quite marked anything serious off the list.
its already half way through June and I'm getting impatient....where is our summer?

Friday, June 20, 2008

a new Sunday dinner recipe

Looking for some healthier, simpler, yummier recipes to add to my summer menu rotation and came across this one.
A healthy option for sure,
definitely easy.
It could even be a weeknight menu item except that the rosemary roasted potatoes take an hour and that's just too long for me to mess with in a weeknight meal. 30 minutes is tops for me during the week.
I have bought some frozen rosemary and sea salt red potatoes and they would be a great weeknight substitute for these homemade ones.

Paired with some crusty french bread and mmmmmmmmm

Recipe for Chicken Provencal:

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves 3

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced
14oz(400g) of plum tomatoes
100g of water
1 tsp of tomato purée
1 tbsp of olive oil
10 pitted black olives, chopped
3oz(100g) of mushrooms, cleaned & sliced
1 dash of Tabasco (optional)
1 onion, peeled & finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, de-seeded & diced
1 tsp of dried oregano
Fresh basil leaves, torn

Place a shallow non stick saucepan over a low heat, then add the olive oil. When it's gently heated through add the chicken, season then fry for 5 minutes turning as required to ensure the pieces are sealed on all sides.
Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside; keep warm.
Keep the heat low than add the onion, pepper, garlic and mushrooms to the pan and sweat for 5 minutes with the lid on.
Then add the tomatoes, water, tomato purée, oregano and Tabasco. Increase the heat and bring close to the boil, then add the chicken and reduce the heat to low; add some seasoning and simmer half-covered for 8 minutes.
Next remove the lid and add the olives; simmer for a further 2 minutes uncovered, check the seasoning and alter if required.
Remove from the heat and sprinkle with the torn basil, then serve immediately.
Serving Suggestions:
This Chicken Provencal recipe serves well with Rosemary roasted potatoes below-

Rosemary roasted potatoes recipe: -

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cooking time: 60 minutes
Serves 4

1lb 4oz(550g) of floury potatoes
Olive oil for spraying
1 large sprig of Rosemary
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Wash the potatoes and peel them lightly, take out any eyes with a paring knife, then put 2 inches of salted water in a pan; place it over a high heat and bring it to the boil.

When the water is at a rolling boil place the potatoes in a steamer compartment above the boiling water and cover. Steam for about 10 minutes until the edges are starting to soften. Take the steamer compartment off the heat and allow any water to drain out.

Pre-heat your oven to 230˚C/450˚F. Then carefully place the steamer compartment on a flat surface and with the lid on quickly move it back and forth so that you break the edges of the potatoes. 'Edging' like this is the key to getting nice crispy edges on the finished roasted potatoes.

Then take a roasting tray and line it with some kitchen foil, dull side facing upwards and spray it with a little olive oil. Place the potatoes on the foil and separate them. Spray with some olive oil and season with sea salt & ground black pepper. Then strip the leaves from 1 large sprig of rosemary and sprinkle them over the potatoes.

When the oven is pre-heated place the roasting tray on the highest shelf and cook for 30 minutes. Then open the oven and turn the potatoes briefly. Close the oven and leave for a further 15-20 minutes until crisp and golden.

Then serve your roasted rosemary potatoes as soon as you can while they're still crispy.

I would also be tempted to try roasting these in my George Foreman grill. I hear it makes awesome roasted potatoes or potato chips but I've never tried it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Every bird should have a chance to fly...

This is currently one of my favorite commercials. Its for the washington state lottery.

I drop everything I'm doing when it comes on the TV.
One of my favorite parts is watching the emu's legs swaying back and forth as he the little penquin flapping his little flippers. Im amazed at how calm they seem to be, and how much they seem to enjoy flying. Wish I knew what they were thinking
I just realized that I seem to have a bird theme going here with the past two posts. Hmmm....

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

6 little eggs

Last weekend Paul got the patio table umbrella out of the shed. It was closed up, but he had it laying on its side during the winter time. As he was opening it we started seeing little twigs and grass falling out...then we found this inside
My heart almost stopped when we realized there was a nest inside the umbrella, that still had eggs in it. We were ready to tuck it back inside the umbrella and put the whole thing back, hoping Mamma bird wouldnt realize we'd messed with her home.
Looking closer though, we found that the eggs were dead. :(
One had peck marks in the egg, but the baby was still inside. The rest were in perfect condition. Iwonder where the Momma bird went or what frightened her off the nest. The nest was sure warm and cozy, lined with lots of fur and feathers.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dad's day...

for once mother nature cooperated. What a gorgeous day today.
Lots of sun, BBQ and of course spending time with dear Dad.
He doesnt like me to take his picture so I have to sneak them in when he's not looking :)

and my niece's little guy, Tyler. What a happy little baby.
Smiled all day long.
Such a sweet laid back little guy. Blue eyes that go on for miles and miles.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

making new friends at the farmers market

or maybe not....
One of the best things about going to the Saturday market downtown, is that there are so many people who bring their dogs. We try really hard to socialize Macie with other dogs, but she's really not interested in them.
But we''ll keep trying.
She's not curious about them at all and she doesnt want to play with them.
She doesn't seem afraid of them for the most part.
Not even this gentle giant...a 210 pound English Bull Mastiff named Ajax. His feet were larger than Macie's head. I think he was more of a small horse than a dog and his poor owner was covered head to toe with dog hair. I cant imagine loading this beast in the car. But he was obviously enjoying the outing, sitting in the middle of the market, surrounded by people, babies, and other dogs and loving all the attention.

I wished I could have taken some better pictures of him because he was so beautiful and had so much character in his big ole face.

His owner says that he eats 8 cups of food a day, and obviously leaves that out in the yard a little bit later. Yikes!!!! Macie eats about 1/2 a cup per day...1/4 cup in the morning and a 1/4 cup in the evening.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

summer sides

I'm always on the search for good side dishes for weeknight dinners.
To be a contender for the weeknight menu its got to be
1) fast and 2)easy.
I don't have a lot of time on weeknights and I don't want to mess with a fussy recipe.
I don't want to have to buy special ingredients that I don't normally stock on my shelves either.
When I saw this recipe, I think it fits the bill.
and just look how pretty it is!

I love Orzo.
Why? Because its not rice, its pasta. But it looks and feels like rice and only takes a few minutes to prepare instead of the 40 minutes it takes to cook rice.
I usually cook orzo in some chicken stock for flavor but this recipe doesnt call for that. Probably because its more of a cold summer salad than a warm side dish. Either way, orzo is good stuff.
I also love arugula. If you haven't tried it, you should. Its a lettuce, but spicy. Kind of peppery. I mix it in with my salad greens mostly. If you have bought some of these spring greens prebagged mixes, its probably in there. And whats not to love about anything with basil and pine nuts.
This will definitely be added to the summer meal rotation.

Tri-Colore Orzo Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
1 pound orzo pasta
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
2 cups fresh arugula (about 3 ounces)
3/4 cup crumbled ricotta salata cheese (or feta cheese)
1/2 cup dried cherries
12 fresh basil leaves, torn
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and put the pasta on a large cookie sheet. Drizzle the pasta with 3 tablespoons olive oil, toss, spread out, and set aside to cool.
Once the orzo is cool, transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently to combine. Serve.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

8 on the eighth

Since it landed on a weekend, I took way more than 8 pictures today. Im not sure if these will be the 8 that I use in my journal for June 8th or not.
I took several of the flowers in the yard. I didnt think there was much blooming until I started walking around to take pictures.

Ethan and Jaryn came over for BBQ. We have a huge box of toys Pauls coworker gave him for Ethan to play with, and whoever the little boy was who these toys belonged to, loved Spiderman as much as Ethan does.

Spent some time in my scraproom today. Cant resist a clean desk. I bought these pillow shams at Ikea months and months ago. Yesterday I slid one over the back of my desk chair just to spruce it up. I may alter it to fit a little better, but I like the look with the green walls. I put a pillow in the other one and put it on the floor for a place for Macie to hang out while Im at my desk.
sidewalk it

Spiderman moves very quickly...but I almost caught him shooting a web...look at those muscles!
honeysuckle............mmmmmmmmm Peonys are almost ready to pop open. Hoping the rain stays away because they fill up with water when it rains and that ruins them so quickly
More spiderman stuff to play with . A whole toybox of new toys kept him very occupied this afternoon. The sun even broke through just a bit and just long enough for Paul to BBQ our dinner

on the mend

but still laying low for now.
She burrowed down in the pillows on my bed this morning. She never gets down in the pillows like this so I know she was wanting to snuggle.
I can always tell how bad she feels by the amount her eyes water. If I didnt know already, it became very clear that she wasnt 100% when Ethan came over this afternoon and she stayed on the couch. Her tail was wagging, but she just didnt feel like getting down. but after being spayed, microchiped, three teeth pulled and nose holes enlarged all in one day, I'd take some time off too

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Junk mail

be gone.

got ourselves a better shredder last weekend and right now we're right on top of all that junk mail that comes in. That's because its so fun to shred it. We darn near fight over the junk mail these days.
We've always had one, but it cut in strips, it was noisy, ugly and didn't cut credit cards and other words it failed miserably as far as shredders go. I didn't like it much so it was hidden away which meant the junk mail stacked up before I would pull the thing out, plug it in and shred a stack.
But no more....
This new baby is kept right handy and ready to shred at a moments notice. Currently it sits in the formal dinning room because a) its handy to where I open the mail & b) we hardly ever go in that room. I may eventually buy a cute wicker hamper or something to stow it inside of or move it into the pantry or something...but right now I'm just happy to see it.

This lovely little contraption takes a pile of this and turns it into a pile of this, in seconds...without hardly making a sound.
no junk mail piling up on the kitchen counter...yessssssssssssssssssss

Junes here...

but it looks and feels more like March outside.
Where is our sunshine?
I was able to run to the garden between rain showers to grab a little bit of spring.

I missed most of my lilacs bloom while we were in Arizona, but we got home just in time for the Japanese snowball.
The bush is bending over with the weight of all the blooms filling with rain so I cut several vases full of them. The snowballs are some of my favorite flowers from the garden. Pretty, huh?