Sunday, December 21, 2008

Where is My Little Girl?

On December 16th Christy became 14 years old?
I, for one would like to know just how that happened?
Where did the time go?

We took her to Red Robin, the local "big burger" place and everyone ate until we could eat no more.  We all got big and fat!  On the way home we stopped to buy a cake to finish up the celebration.  But rather than buy a big ol' cake, Christy decided that she wanted cream puffs.

Of course, I had no little candles to stick in the puffs, so I improvised, just like Martha Stewart would have.

Is she not the cutest 14 year old ever?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Okay, I know you all think I'm on the odd side because of my love of aprons.  After all, now that I'm working I have no time to be domestic.  I guess it keeps me from feeling too guilty about the lack of housekeeping and well prepared meals.
I received this beauty from a swap I participated in.  I made one (didn't take pictures, no batteries for the camera) for a fun lady in Florida and I received this from a very talented lady in Washington.  She also sent me a necklace (which I'm wearing in the picture), two pair of earrings, a rhinestone pin (I'm wearing that too), two types of candy, soap, a cool glass heart.... there's probably more, but the pictures I took got deleted and I'd have to get up from this seat to go find the other goodies.  My fault!  I'm still learning how to use this fun new computer.  Oh, and if all that wasn't enough, she sent the items in really cool fabric bags that matched the apron.  It was like Christmas a month early.  
We have a Christmas party to attend this weekend and I hope to have the guts to wear the outfit I have on in the picture above.  I let you know how it all turns out!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sugared Walnuts

While at my mom's for Thanksgiving we made a quick batch of sugared walnuts.  Oh they are so tasty and way too easy!  I have so many nuts this year I think this will be the gift of the season from the Robertson's.
Here is my designated "taste-tester" Taryn.  She loves to help out in the kitchen.
Here is the recipe I used.. 

Sugared  Walnuts

                                                                              1 cup sugar

                                                                               3 Tbs water

                                                                             1 tsp cinnamon

                                                                Two or three big handfuls of walnuts

Boil to softball stage.  Take off stove and stir in walnuts till dry and powdered.  Let cool on wax paper.

Recipe by Aunt Ree Lopus Milne 

So Yummy and easy, please try it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My New MacBook and His Tricks

I'd been having some trouble with my HP notebook and Maury took it to "Best Buy" to see what it would cost to have it repaired.  The cost turned out to be more than it was worth!  Of course!  That's how we've ended up in this throw away society, repairing an item costs too much.  Anyhow that's another topic and lest I stray, back to the original topic.  

So he comes home with a new Mac for me. 
Me: What, a Mac?  I don't know how to use a Mac! 
Maury: But you will, it's easy, and you can learn from me
Me: But....
Maury:  You'll love it, they are so intuitive, it practically teaches you by itself.
Me:  Umm, okay.  Is this my Christmas present?
Maury: You could say that.  Look why don't you think about it.  We can always take it back if you don't open it.

So I let it sit on the table for about an hour and a half while I tried to get my HP to turn on and working.  Then I calmly talked it over with Maury again and decided that I'd go with the  Mac. But I figure at least I didn't give in right away.  I actually thought about it and weighed the options.  

The next night Christy and I decided to see just what tools, aka toys, it had.  The first thing we figured out how to use was the camera.  SEE....

The Sketch Effect

Strange things...

Body Heat

I don't even know what to call this one, how about "Shrek Effect"


"Elf yourself"

The bottom line.  This computer is super cool and does amazing things!  I'm still working on getting things transfered from the old computer on to this one.  Christy and Maury are helping me with that.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Two Posts, One Day

Here's what I came out to find tonight...

Taryn came to the table acting like a waitress, and took our orders. Then she made the food while we waited. Just like a fancy restaurant!

The results were super yummy!

Yes, I ordered the chili dog and now I'm stuffed to the gills!

I have a blessed life.

No Housework For Me...

Okay, so I'm boycotting housework for the day, big deal!!! It's not like the house is really gross or anything. It's just that with the rain outside and the fireplace inside, the cup of tea and the slice of pound cake, it was just not right to ruin everything by cleaning! The weekend only comes every 5 days you know.

Instead I decided I needed some quality time in my "Woman Cave". So I took this great oil cloth I bought in Sabastapol (I hope I spelled that right) a couple of weeks ago.

It became a new book-bag for work! I just was not satisfied with my old one. It was cute enough, but not useful. I didn't put any pockets inside and it was too small. This one has plenty of pockets and is bigger too. It's just right!So, now that I'm done what shall I do with the rest of the day? I'm not sure, but it's not going to be wasted on cleaning! I have a new Dean Koontz book that I just started and it's grabbed me already. How does this sound-rain, tea and a new book? Perfect, I'll do it.

Hold the press!
Taryn just came along and kicked me out of the kitchen! She says, "Since dad and Jake are gone for the evening, I'm cooking. We'll have a girls-night-out right here!"
Okay, now I'm a little worried, will she make a mess and not clean it? What will she cook? I plant an idea in her head. I say to her, "But I really wanted chili dogs for dinner." Her mouth curls into a smile. She's taken the bait. I can hear her working in the kitchen. It's only 4pm and she putting ice in the glasses. This is the kind of thing that makes being a mom so fun.

Update, she's just barged into my room and says, "Dinner is gonna be a little early."
"How early?"
"That's pretty early Taryn, I'm having tea and cake"
"Well, stop eating! I already set the table and put bread on it! Come look at it."
I'm too lazy to get up and I don't want her to know that I'm blogging about her. So I say, "Hey, why don't you take a picture of it for me."
Here's what she's done...What a kid! Candles, flowers and sparking cider. I hope she's making chili dogs, I really want a chili dog!

Life is good.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I Got A New Do!!

Look at me, all grown up!! I finally got my hair cut off, WHAT HAVE I DONE?? No more pony tails on a bad hair day?

Actually I do like it, although it is more work than I care for. You know the second day hair is much harder to make look good at this length. In the morning I have the whole "bed head" thing going, including this weird thing my hair does after I've slept on it... I end up having a part that goes half way down the back of my head, and no amount of water seems to help much, it just separates again when I'm not looking!

I was worried that having hair this short would make my bum look bigger, but I had one girl at work tell me I actually looked thinner. Maybe I should shave my head!

Well, what else have I been up to lately? Work. I really like my new job at the school, but the amount of work that needs to be done around here is eating me alive!! So what have I done to make things easier? Well, I volunteered our yard to host a "Fun Match" dog show for toy breeds on November 8th, now I need to get the yard cleaned up. I signed up for a fun Christmas apron swap over here.
I just couldn't resist this swap. I already have great fabric for my partner, and I really would love a "June Clever" type, fancy apron. Life is short, live hard.

I recently bought the iPod touch. Talk about a cool "tool". The applications that can be downloaded are helpful, educational and fun too. I can put tons of pictures on it, loads of music, books, movies. Many of the applications are free or very cheap. I have a Bible that came with several translations, this really cool shopping list thing and some seriously amusing games to keep the kids (and myself) entertained. I can even get on the internet on it and check my favorite blogs. How did I ever manage without one? lol

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Heat Wave!!!

It may only be 76 degrees outside but there's a heat wave in the house.

One of my female dogs (I just can't throw around the "B" word) is in heat and my boys are out of their minds. In the picture above you can see the top of Max's head. He was jumping up and down outside the window, trying to see inside. That same day, Buddy jumped through an open window and pushed out the screen! From that moment on the dogs have been taking one hour turns in the crate. See the little timer on the side of the crate?
When Hallie is in the crate the boys sit next to it and just pine away! When it's time for the boys to do their time she goes on her merry way. Max already knows that Hallie is his mate. He's only 6 months old, but he will not let Buddy get near her. He'll bark and growl and nip at Buddy if he gets too close to the crate. In these pictures, Hallie is inside and Max is outside of the crate, trying to get inside.

This is Hallie's first heat cycle and being the responsible breeders that we are, we will wait until she is older and has all of her health testing done. We want to make sure that she is sound and healthy before any breeding occurs. We are doing this with our other dogs too.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Lonely Sight

Here I sit broken hearted, came to sew, but never started.

Okay, so that's not a very creative poem, but that's how my sewing machine and I feel! I haven't been out to my "secret hiding place" (my version of a man-cave) for sometime now. Last week, when I took my freecycle chair out there, I walked through a spider web! That is not okay.

I long to visit my sewing machine, really I do. But I'm a working girl now. This working girl doesn't have time to sit around eating Bon-Bons, or do much crafting, or sewing, or gardening, or housework for that fact. I really like my new job, and I love the extra money, and so do the kids. Money does bring some extra freedoms, but I don't want to pay someone to do my "playing" for me.

It doesn't help that I read craft blogs, my favorite of which is Angry Chicken (and if you don't know about her you should check it out). I wish I could be like the angry chicken, she gets paid to write books about crafting and sewing and I bet she makes money from her blog too. She also has 3 small children and I'm glad I'm past all that. (I take joy in imagining that her house is a mess. I know, shame on me, but I've got to make myself feel better about my own mess don't I?)

Here is another great website. RecipeZaar, I found this recipe for spaghetti sauce that is easy, delicious and contains NO high fructose corn syrup (check your labels at home). I didn't do meatballs, just ground meat. You can register at the website and make up your own favorite recipe file and it's all organized and neat. But my favorite thing about this site is that you can change the number of serving with the click of a button, see mom, I don't need to know fractions! Cool beans, I give this website 9 beans out of 10.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Can't Have Just One...

Well, we now have 5 Havanese! When we started this whole Havanese thing, a breeder said to us, "Havanese are like potato chips, you can't have just one!" I didn't believe her at the time. Now I do. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get 5 dogs to sit still for a picture? I knew better than to try to get all of them to look at me at the same time. They are, from left to right, Resi, Buddy, Max, Hallie, and Belle. I took Resi to a dog show in Grass Valley on Saturday. She got a second place ribbon. Not too bad for our first time in the ring together!

Here is my first freecycle find. I'd been lurking the pages of freecycle for a long time, and trying to be very picky about postings so that I don't end up with a lot of stuff that just clutters up the house. But I am a sucker when it comes to chairs. To me they are art, they are useful, hopefully comfortable, can be used as a focal point, and I can put pretty fabric on them. I have no idea from where my love of chairs came. Maybe one day I will be hypnotized and find out for myself. For those of you that don't know what freecycle is here is a link
Basically you get free items from other people who don't want to have a garage sale, or deal with the grumpy workers at the local Goodwill. So hopefully one day soon, you will see this chair with a new suit.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Just take a deep breath!

My kitchen is clean. Life is full, and well worth living.

Well, it is Labor Day Weekend. In the last three weeks our family has had some real character growing time.

As I mentioned in my last post, I began a part time job. Which I really like. But I'm a little out of practice, because I haven't had a "5 days a week , away from the home", type job since the month before Jacob was born (December 1992). So it has been a time of figuring out chores and spreading them around, shopping and meal prep! I am tired. I don't know how all you professional women handle it.

A friend from some time back took his life and Maury did the funeral. Talk about heavy.

A dear elderly lady in the church passed away and he did that funeral.

Maury's mom went into the hospital and was there for 11 days she is now home and doing much better. The first 4 or 5 days were very scary as she slowly began to get better. I know many of our friends were praying and we are forever grateful.

Another dear friend, Bernie, has gone to the hospital. Bernie is Christina's "fairy grandmother". She is the one that has encouraged Christy to pursue her horsie dreams. Although Bernie is on a very tight budget she always has a little extra money to buy something for Christy and Shiloh. She is currently battling for her life. She has had numerous medical issues for some time. The biggest being that she has kidney failure and does her own dialysis at home. Well, she developed an infection and became septic and is now in ICU, she is unresponsive and has a breathing tube. In short, she is on life support and has no immediate family to speak of. Without a miracle, she is in dire straights. Again, many people from our church family have been praying and visiting her along with our dear horse friends.

Maury began his adjunct teaching job at Golden Gate Theological Seminary last week. He has two classes that he teaches on Mondays, and he will begin an online class on Tuesdays. He has much on his plate and works hard to keep us fat and happy.

An elderly man from church passed away on Thursday night. His funeral will be next Friday.

Well, this is turning into a real downer of a post. But through it all, our Lord carries us and takes our burdens as His own. We have truly felt the prayers of our friends through all of these trials. I now realize how answered prayer feels. It feels easy. Like everything is normal and life just goes on. Even when the answer is not the one I want, I can still feel safe knowing that God knows what He is doing.

At the end of a long day, he gives me strength to clean the kitchen.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A New Year

This is the beginning of a new year on many fronts.

Maury and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary. (Have I mentioned yet that he shaved his head in July? I'll have to post a picture sometime)

Taryn just turned 11 years old!
She celebrated with her buddies, Timarie and Heather. We spent the day at a new, local water park, came home to barbecue hot dogs, eat cake and of course, open presents!

I bought yet another havanese. I wanted to name him Pete (as in, Amor's for the Love of Pete). But it looks like the name that is sticking is Max. So now I have to come up with a different AKC name for him. Perhaps, Amor's Mad Max? He's very curious, cute and lovable. If paper is left on the floor or anywhere that he can get to it, he shreds it! Maybe I could rent him out to a politician that has a lot of shredding to be done.
I have a permanent job now. I got hired by the local school. It's only 5.5 hours a day doing instructional aid stuff, but to this lady, that hasn't worked on a daily basis in nearly 16 years it feels full time! I'm doing all sorts of jobs, working in classrooms with kids, in the lunch room keeping the peace and I have a 7th grade corrective reading class too! The day goes fast and keeps me on my toes. So far, I really like it! But when will I find time to sew? Boy, now I have to plan my errands, get up earlier to exercise or shop and clean house on the weekends. I am sooo spoiled! Correction, WAS sooo spoiled. Although I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy getting a pay check.

Update on Jacob. He's had his permit for a month now. I know on a previous post I bragged that I wasn't nervous. I must have written that BEFORE I got in the car with him. Now I am nervous. Actually, he's not a bad driver, considering the circumstances, it's just that those of us in the car with him could die in a fiery crash! LOL

Saturday, August 2, 2008

This Amazing World

A couple of week ago our friend, Philip showed up. I believe he is a green heron, and he comes by our pond several times a year to see if the fishing is any good. We have had an egret come by too, but we try to chase him away. He's much bigger and might eat the koi that we've had in there for at least 7 years.

The wild life that comes with a pond is just so cool! When we first created the pond it was overrun with tiny little frogs. Then the bull frogs moved in and ate most of the little guys. We had so many bull frogs in it that the neighbor would complain about their "singing" that went on all night long. I have to admit they were awfully loud. We tried all sorts of ways to get rid of those bull frogs. (Although we never ate one frog leg.) We wanted the cute little frogs back. We finally just gave up and let nature take charge of the whole chain of life thing. Now we have just five or six bulls frogs out there and it is much more manageable. The little frogs have moved to the back of the house into my little pond, and that's a good place for them. I can still hear them at night when we open the bedroom doors.

We've had numerous friends bring us gold fish that were no longer wanted. We've planted crawdads and a snake or two. Someone even brought us a turtle that tried to move into their swimming pool, it stayed with us several months and then moved on to greener ponds I guess.

It's so amazing to sit by the pond and just watch the life that happens in that little universe. It just goes on without any help from us. The good Lord just takes care of His creature, and I get to sit back and enjoy the show.

Friday, July 25, 2008

This is getting really old!

Okay, California has been on fire since June 11th. It's been smoky most of the time since then.

You see the lovely picture of the Sutter Buttes on the top of my blog? Well that was taken one evening when the clouds were so pretty.

This is my view today. Yuck!
Here's a creepy sunset picture...

Hey, we Californian's are breathing this stuff! I started coughing because of a cold the week before the fires started. Well, that cough just wouldn't go away, I was driving my husband nutty. He kept telling me, "go see the doctor!" I figured that the cough would go away when the smoke cleared. Well, the smoke wouldn't clear and my cough wouldn't go away. I finally went to the doctor this week and left with an inhaler thingy! That seems to be helping more or less.

Here is a picture I took of Half Dome in the Yosemite Valley a couple of weeks ago. The smoke seems to everywhere.
Okay, enough complaining from me. I just had to get that off of my chest. (I wish I could get it out of my chest too!)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Near Sighted Veggies?

This may look like a yellow squash wearing glasses. But it's much more than that!
These are Jacob's new glasses. He broke his old ones, again. Recently I'd heard about Zenni Optical
on a radio program and how great and affordable the glasses are. So I decided to go ahead and give them a try. Well I have to tell you, I am not disappointed! Jacob bought these glasses...These are titanium frames and they fit him very well. Would you like to know what I paid for these? $300? $250? Nope.
How about $48! Yes, $48 for the lenses and frames! Plus some fun little clip on sun shades.
I am not kidding about this place! Metal frame and lenses starting at $8!
It took two weeks to get them, so if your not in a big hurry it's no big deal. At these prices you could have several pairs!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Week in Paradise

We spent a week in Yosemite with Maury's cousin Jack and his two boys, Jake and Jordy. We really had a good time.
We did some hiking, enjoyed more by some than others. My favorite was playing in the water at the end of the hikes. And Taryn, well, let's just say she did make it to the top of Vernal Falls after lots of encouragement.

Here we have Jordy and his culinary creation, Yosemite Slam's. On the last night of camping we were making yummy creations of refrigerator rolls wrapped around a stick and cooked over the camp fire. Well, Jordy had the brilliant idea of taking those rolls and wrapping them around marshmallows. (I have to admit that I was totally skeptical about the idea.)

So he went ahead and tried it
Guess what?! They were great! A picture is worth a thousand words!

By the end of the night we were tucking in a bit a chocolate and they just couldn't be beat. This little creation will definitely take the place of smores at our campfires from now on! When the chocolate went in I finally gave in to the temptation and ate just one. YUM, YUM, YUMMY!!!

One day we went to this really cool ghost town called Bodie. If you ever have a chance to go you should. It's really big and has a lot of houses and a big stamp mill that they used in the process of mining the gold.

Of course when we got there Jacob had to use the outhouse. That boy! (jk)

By the way, Jake got his drivers permit yesterday and began drivers training today. I know I should be nervous and scared, but I'm just so excited for him. At the same time I wonder how in the world I could possibly have a kid old enough to drive. I did the math and it is possible! NUTS!

Friday, July 4, 2008

My Great Idea That Someone Else Will Make Money With...

Last night I went to my local Goodwill store. I hadn't been in ages and I had time to kill.
In my community we have a large population of East Indians. The women dress in saris' and the fabrics are always bright and beautiful, very flashy!
Well I went up to the rack where I thought I'd find fabric or linens and I was amazed at the beautiful selection of fabrics that were there. Upon closer inspection I realized that they were the scarfs that the Indian women wear over the shoulder. Each one was at least 1 yard of fabric and I just knew that somehow I could repurpose them and turn them into retro aprons!

Here is a peek at the few I did buy.

I found a fun idea on this blog. The assignment is to post my "Bucket List" here, for all the world to see. Now I've only told a couple of people about my bucket list, my husband being one, and I'm embarrassed at how simple it is, but I hate to be disappointed! So here it goes...

My Bucket List
1. Stand in a warm rain shower. (in California we have no summer rains) I felt a little in Hawaii but I want more.
2. See fireflies.
3. See New England in the Fall.
4. Buy an outfit right out of the window display, no matter the cost!
5. Make a gourmet dinner, and enjoy the process, not stress out.
6. Enjoy hiking with my husband.
7. Go to Hawaii. Check! I went in March to see my sister and her husband.
8. Win first place with one of my dogs.

That's all I have for now. All very doable and safe. That's me!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Glimps Inside the Man

I have this strange being living in my house and sometimes I wonder whether or not the teenage years are all worth it. They are. Although Jake is only 15 1/2 and it's been pretty easy so far I see bits of personality and humor and that tells me he's likely going to turn out okay.

Not long ago we were sitting down to eat hamburgers and tater tots. (I love junk food night!) I was opening this jar...
Well, as I'm reaching in to get a pickle, Jake looks at me and says in a very serious tone, "Careful you don't puncture your fingers." I stopped and had to think about that for a few seconds, then it hit me... Dill SPEARS, SPEARS! He was being funny! Oh did I laugh! I love a dry sense of humor.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Heard The Post Man Honk...

View my page on The Apronista

I Heard The Postman Honk...

I live out in the country. When the postman has a package too big for the box he comes zipping down our lane, honking and dirt a' flyin'!
Well, yesterday, I was sewing away in my studio when I heard the joyful sound of the mail trucks' horn.
"Is that for me? Is it the apron from my swap buddy? Oh, I hope so, I really do..."
I went out to greet him and it was a box for ME!!!
"This is it! It has to be. Where are the scissors?"
I ran back into my studio and opened up the box and there it was...My new apron for the 4th of July.
Of course there is no way I'm going to wait until the 4th of July to wear it. I will wear it with pride tonight.
If you are wondering about how I got into an apron swap, I'm glad you asked! I found this web site, I don't even remember how.
I just really like aprons right now. They make me happy.
Lately, with the price of gas going so high and food prices too, I've found it challenging to try to save money and be green at the same time. It's sort of a sick little game I've been playing with myself. I read blogs and more blogs about how people are saving money and making their own shampoo and laundry soap and sewing clothes and repurposing things. I love it! I've been hanging out my laundry on a clothesline for years. My mom always did it so it was the normal thing to do.
So where does the apron come into play? Well, to me they are a picture of a life that is useful and not lazy. It says, "I am using my time wisely and running my household efficiently" Don't get me wrong, my house is not super duper clean or anything. I do have 1 husband, 3 kids, 4 small dogs and myself living in this house and I'd rather sew than clean any day. That is why I like the apron, because of the image it puts forward. Then I CAN sew all day, and I look incredibly busy and hard working. Now you all know my little secret, but you are welcome to use it to, I won't tell anyone. Promise.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

As Comfortable As An Old Chair

I was at the youth garage sale at my church, when I noticed this old chair. I knew right away that she was to be mine! Maury gave me that patient look and said nothing, I knew that was as good as an "O.K. Honey, I love what you love and you have my blessing!" Tee hee!!!Before...
So I brought her home and began my search for the perfect fabric. I went to Joann Fabrics twice and didn't find what I was looking for (surprise, surprise). I've always loved the fabric line by designer Amy Butler and recently she started making a heavier fabric for home decor. I found what I was looking for and bought it online here. I used 1 1/2 cans of spray paint and I really like how it turned out. I may still add a skirt or some other embellishment, but I only bought 2 yards of the fabric so I'll have to piece something together.
Today is Maury's 45th birthday. He is looking better and better each day. I don't think that it's fair that men just look more distinguished with the passing years and I just look older. He is such a wonderful husband and father. You wouldn't believe how patient he is with me. If I were him I would have given up on me a long time ago. He works so hard to keep us fat and happy. I'm trying to change the fat part right now with early morning walks, a heart rate monitor and protein shakes! But you know what, he'd love me even if I did weight 200lbs. Let's just hope that doesn't happen! Happy Birthday Maury, you are the love of my life and I'm so glad you called the "wrong" girl.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Super savings!

Did you know that you can make your own laundry soap? Yes, that's right! It's super easy, very cheap and well worth it. You only need a few items like these...

You'll need to grate the bar of soap. You can also use Ivory or any other pure soap. (I've found a fun pink Mexican soap called Zote that I've heard works well.)

Okay, this is the hard part. Add one cup of Borax and one cup of washing soda to the grated soap. Mix.

You use 1Tbsp for small loads, 2Tbsp for large loads. That is all and it works great!

Here is an artful picture of the finished product.

Now I'll admit, I'm a bit a texture nut, so I gave it a quick run through the food processor so that all the texture was uniform and I figured that it would dissolve more easily too.

I have read about people making a liquid form of this but it is much more complicated, like you have to cook it on the stove! I have a hard enough time just getting dinner together! Then they say to store it in a 5 gallon bucket, have you seen the size of my laundry room? I don't have room for a 5 gallon bucket. This dry mix just fits the bill and I have been using it and it really does work! I have no complaints.

Now, if only there were an easy way to get all that laundry folded and put away....Good news! I have three kids on summer vacation that always seem to be bored.