Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hope Studio's Snowflake Blizzard

This is the most fun (and work) I've had so far this December!
After reading Jennifer Juniper's Hope Studio Blog about how she was inspired to recreate Elf's 'snowflake blizzard', I was inspired.  Even though I don't have the little helpers that she does to cut out all the snowflakes, I found it really didn't take many to get a great effect.  So here are a few pictures of my punier version of the same.

I did as Jennifer's tutorial suggested and first hung my LED lights and then pinned up a chain for depth.
Now all I really needed was to add some snowflakes, which took lonesome me several nights to cut out.  I'm  s-l-o-o-o-w...

I also bought some small-ish silver ornaments to hang, but in the end, I kinda like it the way it is!

Another idea I really liked was found at Bella Dia: Simple, Happy, Pretty, Things for making Glitter Foil Icicles.  Those could be really cute hung here and there and don't look especially difficult!

Update Nov. 29, 2012:
As a P.S....Here is another site that I found really fun.  This girl has got the snowflake gene!!  Wow! (look at that pile of clippings!) and the finished product...

Thank you Hope Studios and Bella Dia for some great ideas! 
Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Reusing Packing Paper in the Kitchen, One Easy Idea

With cookie season right around the corner, I thought I'd throw this idea out into the blogosphere.
With all the boxes that will be coming and going through the mail, I imagine you'll be receiving quite a few that are stuffed with packing paper.

Today, when I couldn't find newspaper to place under my wax paper, I remembered I had a whole pile of packing paper I was saving for repackaging boxes.  I don't normally place paper under my wax paper, but today I wasn't in the mood to scrub the wax residue off the counter when I was done.  This was my tired mom's remedy.
These are being shipped to my daughter overseas...
If I reuse the paper yet again and pack her box with it, I wonder if it will smell yummy?

Nova thinks they are going to her...
Here is the recipe, though in the US I believe it's in everyone's recipe box. This is my Grandmother's version.

No-Bake Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies

1 c. margarine or butter
1 c. milk
4 T. cocoa
4 c. sugar
1 c. peanut butter
6 c. oatmeal (quick oats)

Mix margarine, milk, cocoa, and sugar together in a large pot and bring to a full boil.  Boil 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  Add peanut butter.  When well mixed add oatmeal, stir until well mixed.  Drop on waxed paper to harden.
*for peanut butter cookies, leave out the cocoa!

 The packing paper did the trick and I get to rest a little longer before dinner goes into the oven.  Lemon Chicken...mmmm.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

China Glaze "Material Girl" & Orly "Prince Charming"

With the holiday season on the horizon, all the big manufacturers are out with their new lines of glitter nail polish.  After perusing my brand new Ulta, I found a new favorite...
China Glaze's Material Girl... of their new 3D nail glitters.  I love it.
The pink is a beautiful pale color and the glitter has an iridescence to it.  It goes on a little heavier than I'd like though.  The glitter is very dense in the clear polish base, so it's not very build-able.  I would have preferred that it go on light and build to a solid covering in a few coats.  As it's done in two, so you'll need a very light hand if you just want it for highlighting over another preferred choice.

Left to Right...One coat...Two coats...Three coats.
See how chunky it is?  A good thing and a bad thing all at the same time.  Definitely use a top coat with this polish.  It will bring out the brilliance and smooth out the ridges from the chunky glitter.

With fall still in full swing, I am still pulling out my browns and taupes, so I thought I'd try this combination!
China Glaze "Material Girl" and Orly "Prince Charming".

 (excuse my nails...still haven't recovered from canning season)
Doesn't every Material Girl need a Prince Charming?  Or is it the other way around?
Very pretty combination.

See you after Thanksgiving!  Enjoy your families.

"Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be." 
October 3, 1789--George Washington

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Magic Town

(Warning: spoilers ahead...and a rant...)

I had a revelation recently while sitting quietly on my sofa watching the 1947 movie “Magic Town”, starring Jimmy Stewart and Jane Wyman.

It had been a while since I’d seen Magic Town and with the addition of Netflix to our Roku I could watch at my leisure.  Little did I know how it would haunt me for the next week.  The moment Jimmy Stewart’s character, Rip Smith, issued the words, “You can’t go around telling people they’re special, not even these people.  It’s deadly.”  I knew what a terrible mistake we’d made.  The collective WE, I mean. 

Frankly, I’ve had it up to here (she says with a see-sawing motion over her towering 5’2” frame) with political correctness.  I’m all for doing the right thing, treating each and every individual with kindness.  Now…that doesn’t mean I have to agree with their point of view or lifestyle…just that they are entitled to a life free of harassment, as am I.  It’s called being civil.  No one should have to tell you to be a kind person.  And don’t even get me started on the whole “respect thing”.  That’s something that has to be earned.  So when I heard Mr. Stewart passionately spouting those words…I wept...literally.  We’ve been telling our young people for the last 2 or 3 decades how special they are.  Everyone gets a trophy.  What? You can’t spell?  Don’t worry, we’ll use invented spelling.   And heaven forbid you make a mistake.  Again, no worries, no one will scrutinize you, we’ll gloss over it and find another to blame…your parents, your environment, the government, lack of school funds…
Merciful heavens, the list is endless.
No one has a sense of personal responsibility anymore.  Everyone wants a caretaker of some sort.   Worst of all, we are in denial.  Are we afraid to to take off the blinders and see what we've become?  Or are we actually proud of our selfish and self absorbed attitudes? 

So what’s the next step?  How do we correct the injustice we’ve dealt our families, neighbors…country?  Honestly...I don't know.  The pit we've dug is deep.  In the movie, once the town’s folk find out how “special” they are they start behaving…well…crazy.   They become self absorbed, over confident…proud.  Then they take a very large fall, learning a lesson in humility.  Ashamed by their behavior, they turn inward, locking themselves away from each other, shutting out the world as best they can.  It’s only when they decide to move ahead with a previously planned project that they begin to reclaim their self respect.  They do it on their own, admitting their mistakes and foolishness.  Knowing it could take years to complete their project, without outside help or funds, they donate their time and money in hopes of redeeming the town, and in the process, themselves.   There is a lot to be said for self sufficiency and selflessness.  It’s not only good for the soul; it’s a good character (and muscle) builder.
I think we need to find our souls again…ourselves…

One other thing…we don’t talk to each other anymore. 
I watched that sweet little movie town of Grandview go from a close-knit community to barely looking each other in the eye.  We’re not so different.  The fact that you’re sitting in front of a screen right now instead of in the next room playing Canasta with a group of friends speaks volumes.  I’m not insulting you…don’t be overly defensive…I’m sitting here, too!  Once again, how do we fix this?  For one…I’d like to noogie whoever invented texting.  And how ever did we live without cell phones, computers (I say ironically), mp3 players…you name it…any little device that has a screen and sucks us away from reality…the present.  Isn’t it time we start looking each other in the eye?  Isn’t it time we find out who our neighbors are? 

I don’t know.  The movie affected me.  Infected me. 
With everything going on in our country right now, in our world right now…doesn’t it make you think?  

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Blackberries and the Abyss

I'm back.
Things got a little rugged for a while.  My mother passed away while I was home and that led to many other things requiring my attention.  It was one of the hardest 'life episodes' I've gone through.  There are things I would like to discuss at some point regarding Hospice.  Mostly positive, but there are a few negatives that I need to get off my chest. 
This "Circle of Life" stuff is misery.

Not wanting this post to be a total downer (man), let's talk about....BLACKBERRIES!!!!!   Woot.

While I was home Blackberries were on!
Aren't they beautiful?
Oh, for a really good camera....
I picked and picked and picked.  One day, my dear ol' pop came down the driveway and helped!
He was the smart one, wearing long sleeves...I'm still healing from the scratches I received from the thorns...

So what did I do with all those berries?  Well, there was the old stand by...cobbler...

I made this sugar free using a Xylitol/Splenda blend and a homemade (Bisquick-type) baking mix recipe I found online (sorry I don't remember where, though I think they are everywhere and very generic)
5 c. flour
1/4 c. baking powder
2 T. sugar
1 t. salt
1 c. butter.
Mix well with a pastry fork or pinch between your fingers until fine...the method I used....

Determined to bring some home with me, I dried the rest of the berries I picked...
...and after a week and a half of picking and drying, I ended up with approximately 3/4 of a gallon of dried berries to fly home!

I have no idea if they will rehydrate well or not, this was an experiment for me, but we'll soon find out.  I'll post the results later.

I'm still sorting things out around here... have so much to catch up on in every area of my life.  Lots to clean, sort, bake and ponder.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Stepping Behind the Veil

Wanted to let my friends know that I won't be hanging around the blog for a while.
There are more important things for me to attend to right now, my mom's not doing too well.

I'll be back later, and for now, I would ask that you kindly say a little prayer for my mom and my family.
Thank you.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Roadtrip with Man v. Food, Part Deux

The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of many things...
(one of my favorite childhood poems--although it always made my skin crawl a little bit)

I've put off writing this for long enough and thought I'd better force myself to sit down and finish.
I hate sealing myself off in the basement to write these posts when the weather is so warm top-side.
Complain, complain, complain.

After our short week-long stay back home...
 (These are the sights I grew up seeing everyday.  You don't realize how lucky you are sometimes.)

Amid things familiar and missed...

(It's funny, the everyday things you thought you'd NEVER do miss...)

We laughed, loved and finally...left (sniff), passing sights filled with memories...
Rocky Butte, Portland, OR
Riverspitter Factoid #3:  My father proposed to my mother at the top of Rocky Butte.
(Sorry for the blur.  It was raining and my camera wouldn't focus past the rain on the windshield!)

Crown Point, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon side.
Riverspitter Factoid #4:  My grandfather used to work up at Vista House decades ago.

Maryhill Castle, Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge.
Riverspitter Factoid #5:  Maryhill Castle was one of my favorite 'Sunday Drive" destinations as a kid.

Man v. Food Road Trip (thought I'd never get here, didn't you?)
For Part One--->Click Here<---

Day One:
After a long day's drive we hit Rockies Diner in Boise, Idaho

 Home of the Johnny B. Good challenge and servers on roller skates!
We ordered a stock hamburger off the menu, but my favorite was the french fries and fry sauce.

Growing up, there was a burger chain called
Arctic Circle that had a wonderful fry sauce.
The sauce was a  big hit, which everyone was out to
copy.  What you find now, is every family
in the Northwest (exaggeration) has
developed their own version of AC's sauce.
I know my parents had their own, my
in-laws did, and hubby
and I do, too! 
Love it!!!!!!!!!!!

                                           Look what we found on the wall --->

From there we pushed on and into Utah...

Day Two:
Arriving in Denver...
 We found the Jack-n-Grill which serves authentic New Mexican food.

We lived in New Mexico for 8 years and became quite fond of the cuisine.  It's not like any other 'mexican-style' foods, it has a very unique flavor.

You'll have to forgive me, as I had been having horrible bouts with vertigo and started getting a little loopy with fatigue.  So I can't, for the life of me, remember what I ordered, though I believe this is all that remains of the Carne Adovada Plate.  Very tasty. 

 From Denver, we pushed on into Kansas (and an electrical storm) for the night.

Day Three:
This day brought us to Kansas City, Missouri and into the gas station restaurant of Oklahoma Joe's...
Where we ordered the Slab Dinner which came with two sides and Texas toast.
It was excellent.  We waited in a very long line, so we weren't the only folks who were of that opinion!!

Day Four:
Early afternoon we rolled into St. Louis, Missouri, planning on going up into the arch, but the recent flooding prevented us from finding a parking place that would accommodate our van/U-Haul tow!
We'll come back another time for that...

I thought we'd never find The Iron Barley, it's close to the freeway, but we seemed to have taken every back street in town.

Once we arrived, there was no parking! and we parked across the street at a convenience store.

We didn't leave the car parked there, I took my girls and went in for sodas while hubby went into the Iron Barley for Monte Christo Double Dogs to go.  We ended up going a couple miles down the road to park in a McDonald's to eat.  Something's not right about that...
These were surprisingly good, but way too much for one sitting.  I ended up finishing it off at home the next day. dogs, thick buns, jam and cheese.....recommended.

Almost home...we were pretty tired, but hubby had one more stop up his sleeve.
Edward's Drive-In located in Indianapolis.
Here we found the Grilled Tenderloin.  It was good, but nothing to write home about.
I would elaborate more, but by this point we were comatose and everything was running together.  I'm sure Edward's deserves a much better review than I can supply here.
It was kinda nice to get Root Beer in a glass mug though...
That pretty much wound up the Great Man v. Food Road Trip.  Hubby had one more foodie stop on his list, but we had all succumbed to fatigue and decided to push home, arriving at 11:30 pm.

Overall, my two favorite Man v. Food stops were...envelope please....
Muzz and Stan's and Oklahoma Joe's. 
Muzz and Stan's was simple, easy to eat and satisfying...good road food.
Oklahoma Joe's was full of flavor, tender and worth the crazy-long wait.
Now....there is one more stop I need to throw in.
While up at my SIL's wedding...

we stopped in Seattle to visit friends, buy some Salmon at the Pike Place Market,

and make a stop at The Crab Pot, which was on the show, too!  If you visit their website, you can watch the actual show segment.
Hubby and I shared one of their Sea Feasts.  There is a two person minimum, so be prepared to eat!!  Feast is not an exaggeration.
If hubby wants to do this again.  I would be agreeable...but diet 3 weeks before!