Monday, February 28, 2011

Sunday afternoon pick me up...

It was unusually warm yesterday afternoon -- so we felt the need to be outside -- even though there was not much to do out there.  After all -- it is still only February.  So, I grabbed the lavendar from the garage -- Rick hung this up for me during Fall cleanup :-)  I brought my wall sconces outside and tucked some of the lavendar in each of them.  Then, I tied some silky ribbon around each of the sconces, and...

Ta...da...!  A fresh new  look to welcome springtime!

I know, the mantel is a little plain -- I have a few crafty ideas in the works to solve that problem -- but, in the meantime,  I thought this idea would give a little springtime cleaning boost to you guys!  :-)

Sunday, February 27, 2011


For this...
February 2011

To become this...
May 2010

This year, we have plans to move the weeping cherry tree.  It hasn't grown since we planted it a few years ago.  Rick thinks he may have planted it too low in the ground.  I think we need a much bigger tree in that spot -- planted a bit farther away from the house -- so I vote to replace it.  Do you think I should ask the garden fairies what they think?

Friday, February 25, 2011

it's still february, right?

Here is the line of thunderstorms about to hit me over the head as I am writing.  Guess the weatherman thought we needed a bit of exciting weather to perk us up!

Here is what it looks like outside.  Notice how tattered my porch flag has become.  We get some pretty heavy winds here.

And, in the middle of all this -- at my husband's request -- I ran outside to measure the light fixture on the front of the garage.

I don't hear any thunder...yet.'s too small...

I finished the top part and went into the bathroom for a fitting.  It's supposed to cover the edges of the bench!  Guess it will have to be a seat cushion instead of a seat cover. Oh well, it gave me a chance to practice my machine quilting, and, I was going to paint the bench anyway...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

let's talk about broccoli...

Last night's dinner vegetable was supposed to be broccoli.  When I took the broccoli out of the fridge, I noticed white spots all over it.  This happened to me a couple of months ago -- and I did a search on the internet to see what it is.  The only information I could find was that you shouldn't eat it if it has white spots.  I bought this last week -- so it really should be okay still.  Can anyone enlighten me as to what this is?

Just so you know -- I threw it away.  Our dinner vegetable(s) were cucumber salad and corn.  Not the "green" that I was looking for -- but the troops thought they were a good replacement.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I'm a big boy now...

Okay, so you might find this photo of me a bit intimidating.  I could just hop over that gate, or, if I was in one of my puppy frenzies, I could probably just run into it and blast it to smithereens...  But that's not my nature.  I am the biggest "fraidy cat" there is.  Nicholas calls me a "girl".  For example, right here in this photo -- the reason for my awesome stature is because my Dad is downstairs "framing up the walls" and using some power tools.  I'm really not sure of what that all means -- all I know is that every time the door to the basement opens, and I hear those "power tool" noises, I go running for the hills.  I am panting and pacing the floors like an expectant father.  The cats are looking at me like I am nuts.  My mom is just laughing, and hoping that I don't grow any taller than that line poking out from the top of my head in the photo.  Hopefully Dad is almost finished down in that basement, so Mom can take some photos of that for you.

In the meantime -- if you want to see my other "growth chart" photos, click on the "labels: growth chart" beneath this post.  I'll just be right here, making some small "woof" noises.

Monday, February 21, 2011

bread baking tutorial...

I just got to thinking that it was mighty selfish of me to write about making bread and then just leave.  Here is the bread baking tutorial that I was talking about.  I came across this while reading Anne's blog.  I have made this type of bread before -- but with many mistakes and questions that are answered in this tutorial.  Let me know how your bread turns out!

a day to bake some bread...

I didn't expect to see snow on the ground when I woke up this morning.  We just got rid of that stuff!  The kids are off from school for President's Day -- and since the weather is a little less than cheerful, I thought it would be a good day to bake some bread.  My pantry says that it is not.  Not enough flour and no yeast.  So, off to the grocery store we go -- maybe a couple of hours out of the house will quiet the energetic children, and, recharge me!

Oh, what's up with the photo?  That is Matt the Stikfas resting on an egg.  The photo was taken in March of 2007 -- on the day when eggs were supposed to be able to balance themselves because of the earth's gravity and position and...I don't exactly remember.  All I know is Nicholas posed the figure, the egg is not rolling, and neither is the skateboard.  So today, instead of bread, you get Matt and an interesting egg phenomenon.  Come back during the week for the bread baking tutorial -- and hopefully some other interesting stuff.  :-)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

in memory of...

Our grandmother passed away on February 15, 2011.  She lived a wonderful 95 years.  We will miss her.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

fabric love...

I finally found fabric(s) for my bedroom.  I purchased the owl print about 3 years ago -- but I really didn't like the coordinating prints in that fabric collection.  Then, the owls got "lost" in the pile of fabrics in my sewing room -- and I forgot about them until I started organizing the pile(s) of fabric and found the owls.  Then, they would get lost again.  So, this time they surfaced I decided that I would finally make a quilt for our bed -- but I needed some coordinating fabrics.  I found them -- and they are by the same designer.  The colors are a bit softer in person -- and make me want to go to sleeeeeeeep...  The print at the top of the photo will become seat cushions.  The rest will become our spring/summer quilt.  I promise to post a photo when this is done!

Monday, February 14, 2011

more baking to do...

Sofia has been busy creating with clay.  Click on the photo to see her little creations up close.  My favorite for the day is in the bottom right corner -- it is my Valentine's Day gift from her -- a red heart, pink letter "U" and an exclamation point!  When she gets home from school we will be baking these...finally... :-)

Happy Valentine's Day!

this is monkey bread...

Why is it called monkey bread?  If someone out there knows, please leave a comment and enlighten me.  All I know is that my local supermarket has not had our favorite Pillsbury refrigerated cinnamon rolls since before Christmas.  During my last food shopping trip, I noticed a recipe for "monkey bread" on the back of the Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuits package.  The ingredients look similar to cinnamon rolls, so, I figured I would give it a try.

1 can Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuits 7.5 ounce (10 in package)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted (I used "I can't believe it's not butter)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1. Grease or spray cake pan.

2. Mix granulated sugar and cinnamon in 1-gallon plastic bag.  Cut each biscuit into quarters.  Put quarters in bag and shake to coat.  Remove pieces from bag and place in pan.  Mix butter/margarine and brown sugar.  Pour over biscuit pieces.

3.  Bake at 350 degrees farenheit for 18 minutes or until golden brown.  I baked mine in a convection oven, you may have to adjust the baking time slightly if you have a regular oven.  Cool 5 minutes.  Turn upside down.

Serve warm and watch them smile!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

guessing game...

What do these three things have in common? 

Space for my "secret closet"
Sofia's no-hands gymnastic split
Nicholas' guitar theme curtain valances
 They were all accomplished on a Saturday afternoon!

Friday, February 11, 2011

awesome photo of the day...

You need to click on the photo to appreciate it...

Those geese have been across the street from my front door for the past week.  Most of the week they were quiet and pretty much didn't move for the entire daylight part of the day.  Today was different.  There were more of them.  They made alot of honking noises, and, they fought.  This is the first time that they have taken up residence on our side of the conservation area.  They are normally over on the other side of the trees, where there is a huge pond.  Now, why would they suddenly prefer it over here?  I guess I'll find out eventually...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

oops, almost forgot...

Ozzy's birthday is February 9 -- just like my Nona's!

Monday, February 7, 2011

chase away the winter blues...

Well, if today's high temperature of almost 50 degrees isn't helping, maybe you need a shot of Vitamin D!  I've noticed alot of talk about this topic during my blog hopping recently.  And, I completely agree.  I even commented to Mr. Rick awhile back, that I feel better when I take my gummy multivitamins in the morning -- they have 200% of the daily recommended dosage of vitamin D.

I also created a cute little quilting project for myself.  Eventually, it will be a seat cover for the bench in the bathroom.  I promise to show you when I'm done!

Go get yourself some vitamin D!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

saturday morning workout...

Whew... we just moved all this stuff to the man cave side of the basement...

from here...

Today, the girly, artsy side of the basement will be getting all the attention!  Hopefully that piece of wood passes inspection by the master carpenter :-)

Friday, February 4, 2011

let's talk about eggs...

Remember the "egg" scare awhile back?  You know, the whole thing about the caged chickens laying their eggs in their own poop?  Fortunately, the eggs that we were using (Eggland's Best) were not involved in that scare, but, it did make me look at eggs a bit differently.  I eat an egg for breakfast every morning (gee, wonder how many eggs I've consumed over the years...)  Anyhow, because of this, I do notice a difference in the taste of eggs from different farms.  A few weeks back, my local supermarket was having a "sale" on the cage free eggs -- so I finally bought them.  You know what I discovered?  There IS quite a difference between the cage free eggs and the "regular" eggs.  The cage free taste "fresher".  The egg shells are sturdier.  The large size eggs are actually large.  The egg whites (which I normally don't eat) are not as runny (see poached egg in photo), taste better, so I eat them!  The average price for a dozen of the cage free eggs is about $3.60 in my area -- so -- since I think I am worth at least 30 cents a day, I will be buying these to use as my our breakfast eggs.  I will buy the regular eggs to use for baking, etc. since the taste is not as important in that area.  

I would love to hear any egg opinions or facts that you want to share!  :-)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

is it thursday already...

You might want to turn off the blog background music before listening to this video!

Have a good one!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

small basement project update...

So after the silly pictures in Sunday's post, here is a view of  the man cave part of the basement since this post...  Even though this is the "man cave" part of the project -- I LOVE it!

And, I thought you might be a bit bored just looking at a view of the corner of the room.  Even though it is the most important part of the project.  Why?  This part of the basement is below the area of the kitchen where we eat our meals.  In the winter, there is an annoying draft that sends chills up my back -- so much at times that I have to wear a hooded sweatshirt during dinner.  Crazy, right?

Anyhow, here is a view from the landing at the bottom of the steps looking towards the back wall.  Oh, you can hardly see the back wall because there's a whole lot of stuff in the way -- just squeeze your eyeballs through the framing on the left side of the photo, and the shelves holding magazines and toilet paper on the right side of the photo...

The framing on the left side of the photo will support the outside wall of an unfinished storage area.  The shelving on the right side of the photo will become a small unfinished closet (on the diagrams that are submitted for the permit, you can't call anything a "closet" -- you have to call it a "storage" area.  If you call it a closet, then that implies that someone will be living in the area, and you need to add an egress window or door.)  However, in real life, this is my closet, a.k.a. "Mommy's secret present room".  The only place in the entire house that belongs totally to me.  There is a lock on the door -- and I am the only one with the key.  I'm still not sure how large of  a space I deserve to call my own...  Any suggestions?  :-)   

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

easiest ever chicken soup...

Do any of you watch the PBS cooking show "Ciao Italia"?  Well, according to the hostess of the show, MaryAnn Esposito -- "Soup in a can should be left there."  I think about that every time I open up a can of soup.  I have tried, many, many times to make my own chicken soup -- but it never really tastes the way I want it to -- and then after all the work, no one eats it.  So, on Sunday -- not my regular food shopping day, but I had to go that day because the weather has been so miserable -- as I was standing at the front of the line of people waiting for the rotisserie chickens to pop out of the oven -- a small group of women (including myself) were having a bit of small chat.  One of the women mentioned that she makes soup with the rotisserie chicken and shared her simple recipe.  So, I bought 2 chickens that day.  One of the chickens we ate on Sunday, and then, last night I made the soup with the other chicken.  It was even better than I expected, so, I am happy to share the recipe with you.

1) Fully cooked rotisserie chicken purchased at  your favorite food store.  I used a 3 lb. chicken in this recipe.
2) Low sodium chicken broth.  I used 2 x 32 oz. containers in this recipe.
3) Vegetables of your choice.  I used potatoes and carrots.
4) Noodles.  I used farfalle (bow ties).  Boil water in a separate pot for these and cook separately from chicken.

5) Place chicken in large pot.  The chicken I used had been in the refrigerator, so my cooking time was adjusted for the colder temperature of the chicken.
6) Add chicken broth.
7) Add vegetables.
8) Add a light sprinkle of black pepper to top of chicken.
9)  Bring to a simmer.  Cook until potatoes and carrots are fork tender.  If you don't add any vegetables, then cook about 20 minutes after bringing to a simmer.

Yup, that's it!  Oh, right --serve and enjoy!  :-)