Monday, August 31, 2009

Another First

Today is the first day of high school for my youngest. It is tradition for photos to be taken every first day of school. It usually goes something like this.... Photos 1 through 10- smiles....
Photos 11 through 25- still smiling.....

Photos 26 through 47- well, you get the point.....
OK so now I have one in college and one in high school- gosh I just don't feel that old!!!!!
So now the house is very quiet again.... this will take some getting used to.... better get busy....

Friday, August 28, 2009

Guys and Dolls

Daughter recently starred in our community theater's production of Guys and Dolls as "mission doll" Sarah Brown. She worked very hard all summer and she was really wonderful, I am so proud of her, she is really very talented.The whole show was really entertaining, everyone did a great job (my husband and I saw it 3 times!). Who knew there were so many talented people in our little county? I think this is a really fun show, and I love the music (so catchy- I've been singing it around the house ever since.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Create and Decorate Project

Here is a project I did for Create and Decorate magazine, it is in their October 2009 issue. It's called "Welcome to Our Pumpkin Patch." The wool and felt "pumpkin heads" have whimsical expressions and are so fun.

Yes, it really is time to start thinking about fall projects!

I have been working on a Christmas program for church, so I have already been listening to Christmas carols- the kids are rolling their eyes! I have to be careful NOT to get tired of Christmas by mid-October.... but I do love Christmas and I can't wait to start thinking about decorating, baking and shopping- and of course listening to my favorite songs! It's just a little odd, I know- it is about 92 degrees outside today....

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to School

Yesterday we dropped oldest daughter off at college. We helped her unpack most of her things, and got her dorm room just about in order. So now she is ready to study, study, study- ha ha!!!

On the way home, we stopped at Anthropologie- it is such a unique store- I "stole" a few photos. Watch out- I feel some creative inspiration coming on!

This should be a busy week- younger daughter goes back to school next so we have to go shoe shopping, get her "new school year" haircut, etc.

And I have a ton of "administrative" work to do... I think it would be so cool if I could just clone myself- so I could everything done, and get it done the way I want it done (I'm just a little bit of a control freak....) Does anyone remember that Michael Keaton movie from the 80's called Carbon Copy? He figured out a way to clone himself so he could get more done... but unfortunately one clone was a copy of a copy- so he was a little "fuzzy" -if you know what I mean...
Have a happy Monday.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Machine Applique Tips

I do a lot of my projects with machine applique- while I really love the look of hand applique and enjoy doing it, time doesn't permit me to hand applique as many projects as I'd like (I make all of my samples myself). Doing a tutorial on machine quilting has been on my "To Do" list for a long long time..... In the meantime, I did find these helpful suggestions from the folks at Better Homes and Gardens on their All People Quilt website.

We are enjoying older daughter's last week here at home before she heads back to college on Sunday. She will be glad to see her friends, but we will really miss having her smiling face around here... it always seems so quiet when she's not around... I'm already looking forward to Thanksgiving break!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Tasty Birthday....

Sunday was my birthday- but it also happens to be the birthday of my good friend, John, so we all went out after church for brunch to celebrate (John likes to tell everyone that we are twins, even though he is a few years younger than me, and I think there are a few people who still actually believe it..... in addition to sharing a birthday, we also happen to celebrate other holidays on the same day, too, like Christmas and Arbor Day....) John's wife, Katherine (above) works in Philadelphia and knew of this place called Max Brenner's, which is really kind of Willy Wonka-esque. Lots and lots of chocolate. When this was mentioned as a possibility for a birthday celebration, I said, I am in.
We had a hard time deciding what to order... should we order "real food" and then dessert, or just go for the waffles and french toast which WERE LIKE DESSERT...... hmmm.... we finally decided to get "real food" aka omelettes first, to fortify our blood sugar levels for the dessert course. (Wise decision, by the way.)

I got a new camera for my birthday, which I brought with me so I could document the event. However, when the food came to the table, photos were completely forgotten.... I remembered about halfway through our meal....
and yes those are little bowls of melted butter and melted milk chocolate that came with our meal..... Afterwards it was time for dessert..... another tough decision..... ice cream? cake? waffles?? Hubby and I shared Tutti Frutti waffles (yes this is on the brunch menu but we ordered it for dessert..... honestly I can't imagine having this for breakfast.... it almost puts me into a diabetic coma just thinking about it.... ) Waffles, strawberries, blueberries, toffee bananas, melted milk chocolate, vanilla ice cream.................................................... Needless to say... photos were again forgotten and I remembered only when there was nothing left to photograph but the aftermath..... It may look like I licked the plate clean, but I assure you that I did not (though, had we not been in a public place, I cannot say what might have happened....)

Afterwards we walked around the city a little (exercise was well-called for) and I used a little of my birthday money to buy some favorite magazines at the book store, then we came home and I relaxed on the sofa enjoying my magazines (I think there was probably a little nap in there, too.)

As I mentioned, I got a new camera, a Canon PowerShot, which is nice and small so I can carry it in my purse, and hopefully not miss photo opportunities again (unless it involves food, in which case photos will probably be forgotten anyway....)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Surprise Post - Happy Birthday from your Hubby!

Forgive me for intruding on your blog, my love, but I wanted to suprise you with a Happy Birthday wish in a place that I don't think you would have expected. I know you aren't crazy about surprises, but this seemed to be a little more understated than a big surprise party (which I know would have ticked you off!!).

Don't worry, I will not mention your age (but will remind your readers that we just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary - good thing we married when you were 12!).

Anyway, I just wanted to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY and to tell you how much I love you. I really thank God that He brought you into my life and for all that you have given to me over the years. I hope that the kids and I can make your day a relaxing and enjoyable celebration - you deserve it!!!

All my love,

Friday, August 14, 2009

In Progress

There are lots of projects near completion.... I started this wool project over a year ago... It is finally done! I think I did a sneak peek of this project a long, long time ago here on the blog.... It was just one of those projects that I worked on intermittently whenever I got the chance- I set my mind to finishing it a couple of weeks ago and here it is. I have to get it photographed and write up the instructions (yuck! my least favorite part...) and then get the pattern printed up. This is the boy-themed quilt that I mentioned here just a couple of weeks ago- yes I actually already got it done! It is off to the machine quilter today, so I'll have it back in a few weeks, then we can photograph it and print up the pattern (I have to write the instructions for this one, too.... I always put that part off....) Also off to the machine quilter today is the "cat poop quilt".... The dry cleaner got the stains out, but it is over-pressed and I hope I can get the machine quilter to cover up some of the set-in wrinkles with her stitches..... and it also has that icky solvent smell to it... Kitty is lucky she has 9 lives (now only 8!)
And here is a quilt that I started yesterday (when I was supposed to be writing the directions for the 2 above projects....) I am using a lot of fabrics from the Mill House Inn Collection by Fig Tree Quilts and Simple Abundance Collection by Bonnie and Camille (both from Moda, and will be out in the stores in early fall), as well as a couple of Folklorique (Fig Tree Quilts) and Robyn Pandolph for RJR and Kansas Trouble Quilters from Moda fabrics. I really am itching to work on this- I am going to hand applique it, which is something I haven't done in a little while, my last few projects have been done with machine applique. But first I have to write those pattern instructions! (I think I can, I think I can.....!)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Because We Just Can't Get Enough of Cute Animal Photos....

Koda is a miniature horse born in England. Not just a miniature horse.... a Dwarf miniature horse! He is the size of a cat.....

Apparently, he has had quite a few health problems, but has a wonderful spirit....
Read the story here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

County Fair

Some photos that hubby took at the county fair.
Can one ever get enough of huge, gentle brown eyes....Or velvety soft muzzles...
Or baby animals...
OK, everyone all together now.... "Awwwwww......"

Friday, August 7, 2009

On a (Dinner) Roll...

I cooked again last night- I am on a roll!!!

First, I made these potatoes. I saw Melissa, the winner of The Next Food Network Star, make them. Super easy. This is my version. (Sorry my photos are so yellow-y... the light in my kitchen is terrible. We'll just pretend that I meant for them to look this way.... you know, like "art" photos or something.)

Spray muffin tins with cooking spray. Put a few chopped onions in the bottom of the cups. Salt lightly. Fill cups about halfway with thinly sliced red potatoes (I used 4 small to medium potatoes for a dozen muffin cups.) Salt lightly. Top with shredded or thinly sliced cheese. I used horseradish cheddar- yum. Fill cups with more potato slices. Lightly salt and sprinkle with paprika. Top each with about a tablespoon of light cream. (My daughter doesn't like onions, so I omitted those in a few of the cups and marked those with a leaf of parsley.) Bake 350 for about 40 minutes. Then allow to stand for about 10 minutes to firm up before serving. You can top with more cheese for the last few minuntes of baking, if you want (extra cheese is never a bad thing...)Next for the chicken... this is my own personal recipe... basically whatever I had on hand. I was thinking about the horseradish cheddar in the potatoes, and thought that mustard would go well with that, so I made a mustard sauce. I had a little of this in the fridge that someone had given us as a gift.
Hmmmm, what to do with that???

I had some honey mustard salad dressing in the cabinet..... that should work..... mixed those together....

I put the boneless chicken breasts in a baking dish, seasoned it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Drizzled the chicken with my "special sauce".....
Baked chicken at 350 for about 35- 40 minutes.

Ta-da! Dinner is served.

Tonight's menu: pizza (take out, of course.)

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Blogger's Block... Which Leads Me to Food....

Lately I have difficulty finding something to post on- there is plenty going on around here, but nothing anyone else would be interested in!!! It always amazes me how some bloggers have the ability to make doing laundry or washing the car seem visually stunning and creatively challenging.....

I have several projects underway, but nothing to show just yet. When I get them printed up, you will be the first to know...

After several months of not doing much cooking at all, I have been doing a little more lately. Sunday night we were watching The Next Food Network Star, and it put me in the mood for good food (OK I am always in the mood for good food, but I generally prefer not having to prepare it myself, or perhaps more accurately, cleaning the kitchen afterwards.) I tried Melissa's 4 step Chicken (actually, I count 5 steps, but whatever) on Monday night and that came out pretty good. Yesterday, while going through the pantry I happened upon 4 boxes of lasagna noodles (what was I thinking??) so last night I actually made lasagna (not like my mom makes, though.... I used no-boil noodles, which are very good by the way, and jar spaghetti sauce- gasp- please do not tell my mom or grandmother!!!) That's 2 homemade dinners in a row, people!!! Also, daughter is sick today so I made her some homemade chicken soup for lunch. Now I have no idea what I am making tonight. It must be a real no brainer and no clean up because right now the sink is piled high with dishes from breakfast and lunch.... Oh I just don't know if I can face the kitchen again in a few hours..... You know, I really love the idea of cooking.... I can't pass by the Williams and Sonoma at the mall without going in... it's just that when it comes down to it- I wish I had a private chef so I could just tell them what I am in the mood for and let them whip it up for me (and someone to clean the kitchen afterwards, I think I've already established that....)

Anyway, I thought I'd share a website that I really like called All Recipes. It has been around for a long time and just keeps getting better. The recipes are submitted by home cooks, and when you have made the recipe you can rate it and offer suggestions to improve or simplify it. If you like cooking or food, you can just lose yourself on this site.

A new one that I recently came across that I don't like as much is called Mixing Bowl. It also offers recipes from home cooks, but all of the recipes I have seen so far have ratings to the effect of "This sounds really good", I haven't found a rating from anyone who has actually tried the recipe. But it is a new site, so maybe it will improve.

Finally, there is My Recipes. They have a feature called 1 List, 5 Meals. You print out the shopping list (30 ingredients or less) and they give you 5 recipes- Week 1 features recipes such as Snapper Tacos with Chipotle Cream, Quick and Easy Turkey Burgers, and Braised Herb Chicken Thighs with Potatoes. There is also a section called 15 Minute Weeknight Dinners- that is right up my alley!


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