Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

chalkboard and oats

I love chalkboard paint.
This weekend I finally cracked open the lid on the paint can and started making labels.
The edges of my labels ended up a bit feathered.
My edging in a room ends up the same way if I try taping.
It worked to my satisfaction and I was able to start labeling jars.
If I could have a kitchen with open shelves full of glass containers ... I might just swoon.
I am not a big breakfast eater and know that I should be.
I really am not a fan of oatmeal and know that I should be.
I am a fan of Pinterest and know that I probably shouldn't be.
It isn't all bad. Not all the treats are filled with sugary goodness.
I actually found a breakfast I'm enjoying!
Then there are the coffee mugs.
For some reason (I'm sure they were a cheap deal I couldn't possibly pass up)
I bought these huge mugs a while back.
They're too big for anything. Your coffee is cold by the time you get to the bottom of the cup.
This photo is a bit deceptive. It is even bigger than it looks.
What to use it for?

In order to make this easier, I took Ziploc bags and premeasured my dry ingredients.
Then I tucked those little bags into my glass Oats container.
I'm hoping it helps. Especially come Monday morning.
So into the cup went an egg which I beat with a fork and several tablespoons of water.
The contents of the bag which include about 1/2 cup oatmeal (I bought the industrial box from Costco that is not instant as the recipe indicated), 1 Tbsp brown sugar, dash of salt.
Throw in some berries .. mine were thawed out of the freezer.

Give it a stir in the cup.
No, I don't normally use plastic ware but it was handy.
Either that or the dishes were all dirty. Who remembers anymore?
Pop it in the microwave for about 2 minutes.
Experiment with what you like. I have doubled the amount of oatmeal but only
used one egg. I like 2 minutes of cooking instead of 3. I prefer a bit of crunch left in
my oats than complete sogginess.

Starts to look like I'm not really eating anything, doesn't it?
By the way ... this was Black Friday morning.
My goal was to not leave the house, rather move myself to the Sewing Room
and stay there for the majority of the day.
With a cup of green tea in one hand and the oatmeal in the other,
I headed to where rays of sunshine were streaming in the window.
My youngest cherub had been out Black Friday shopping all night long and was out cold.
Hubby was off doing something or another.
My book and I were scheduled to play.

I took one bite and remembered what I had forgotten.
We cool off coffee with ice cubes to get it in faster.
We cool off our oatmeal with ice cream.
Cool and creamy.

I did stop for a while and ran to shop.
There was no traffic. The parking spots were plentiful. The lines nonexistent.
I stopped at one store. I stopped at another store. I hit the third one.
I ran for the car and turned that steering wheel homeward.
Back to the Sewing Room.
Anna called my spare bedroom a Sewing Room.
Sounds good to me.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy Belated Thanksgiving

It is quite apparent that it has been a busy week.
Food. Family. Fellowship. Fun.
We spent Thanksgiving Day at our house with enough food to feed an army and no pictures no show for it, but thankful nonetheless.
Special thanks to all who joined us and made the day special.
In recent years (the older the kids get ... the harder it is to assemble them) we manage to attempt the Christmas card photo on Thanksgiving Day. It is about the only time I can manage it and have given up on any kind of photo shoot anywhere but in our yard. I've been chanting for the last several months that all I want for Christmas is a nice family picture. I'm dead on serious about that. Thursday we had the tribe in the same place. We had the photographers over for dinner (she won't have to cook for years if it gets me a family photo every year!) and we took a few minutes on the right side of the lens. I haven't seen the photos that Frans & Jenny took on their camera ... this one came off of mine.

 Brock was sporting a seriously fresh (as in about 2 hours fresh) new buzz cut.
Mom, I promise that the official photo is one without a hat.
These handsome young men would be my two sons.

These 3 beautiful young ladies my daughters.

Color scheme of clothing chosen by Anna, the one without a scarf.
Everyone had orders to wear what she chose.
She's been too busy to get her laundry done.
Love having someone else take over and issue orders.
I'm thinking before long they'll even add cooking the turkey to their list.

Monday, November 19, 2012

it is my good fortune

to be married to this wonderful man ...

who has no fear of the laundry room and is adamant that clothing be folded right out of the dryer.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Monday is coming .... ready or not!

Our weekend sort of went like this.
Thursday evening we had visitors.
Friday I baked and actually ran to one (count it ... only one!) grocery store, but I actually came home with a turkey. Whew!
Friday evening we attended a Thanksgiving dinner at the church. Sort of made me think I could now just order pizza next week, but I'm cooking because I love to. The meal was scrumptious delicious! These three guys did a bang up job doing dishes in the kitchen. Don't you just love how proud they look?! I'm thinking I have dishwashers for next Thursday. They may have to haul the dishes to the church, being as they got that dishwasher down pat, but it'll get done!

Saturday I threw some more pulla dough rising and headed out to find some yard sales. I was just working my way to WalMart for a few necessities, but found I could have hit sales all day long! They were everywhere. Found a few things and then headed home. Sometimes you just have to get a big ol' grin on your face. I knew that Brock was over and waiting for me to get home. He had mowed the backyard and hosed off the front .... and left his signature. Insert grin with giggle.

Among my sale finds on Saturday was a tote full of Christmas lights. Yippee! Those things just don't last forever and I was in need of a few more. We will be well lit. Tia was soooooo thrilled to get the sort job. Unravel them and see if they work ... or scrub the tile grout. Just kidding.

More baking to fill the afternoon. Our fundraising committee was doing a bake sale at church on Sunday. Baking ... baking .... baking. Incidentally, I think we did rather well in the earnings department tooday.

Half hour nap and then off to help Maggie celebrate a special birthday. Note babykins being swaddled by Caroline in the background. Jari was snapping pics, I didn't manage that so well. Fun evening but the old folks were a bit tired and retired early. Us ... not them.

Today was busy as well, but managed to squeak in a nap this afternoon for a bit. I was probably a bit too cranky this afternoon. Time to put the day to bed and start all over again in the morning.

Tomorrow we start another week. I'm hoping there is a day in there somewhere for puttering. I need a day of puttering. Sort of desperately need a day of puttering ... before I go completely nuts.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I could sit here for hours and then move on to Pinterest.

I'm not tired and my alarm is going to ring in 5 1/2 hours.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Gift tags and Christmas wrap

It's a case of If You Give a Mom a Room.
First Anna moved out, leaving behind a bed and dresser. That room is filled.
Then Brock moved out, taking everything but a little bedside table with him.
(He moved it all in so it all moved out with him.)
The room has been sitting empty for a week and the lightbulb finally went off in my noggin.
Empty room = empty closet.
My closet has been accumulating Christmas gifts.
It was time to move them down the hall.
It hasn't always worked, but I like to have a theme of sorts at Christmas.
This year it happens to be burlap and paper of green and brown.
Once again Pinterest had a fantastic idea for gift tags. They were done a bit smaller and actually looked like tags with the squared off corners. I went for holes punched wherever I thought it worked on the photo. I grabbed the oldest photo album I had on the shelf and started copying photos. My printer is having a problem sucking in card stock, so a majority ended up printed on regular 8.5x11 sheets of white paper and then attached with glue to a piece of card stock. A little inking around the edges and the tags were good to go. Not that I'm prejudiced, but aren't they just the cutest ever?!
I started wrapping gifts that were accumulating in the closet. For some I'm using a roll of  painters paper that I found at Lowe's. Home Depot doesn't carry it. Dress it up with some burlap and twine, add a picture of the intended recipient and done!
They turned out rather cute if I say so myself. I'll need to haul out a few more photos to finish the rest of them, but no hurry. Trust me on the no hurry thing.
It might be fun to find some really embarrassing photos of kiddos to add as gift tags.
Most of my photos are tucked away in boxes (probably another thing that I'll have to renew on my New Years Resolution list come January) so finding them might be a bit of a challenge.
Maybe if I go through the photo boxes I'll have the next years tags done and ready ....
 in January 2020.

Friday, November 9, 2012

finn fest and furry creatures

We're working on convincing Tia that it is okay to be left home with the old folks.
It isn't like she has moved into the old folks' home ... yet.
We just bring along a friend or two when we run places.

Today it was to the FinnFest in Tucson.

Being the true Finns that we really are, I didn't want to pay for a day pass that would have granted us admission into some events.
I was there for the free stuff. I just thought there would be more free stuff than there was.
I really didn't need a pulla baking demonstration (I do have THE best pulla receipe on the planet) and would have certainly yawned my way through a geneology presentation. Some instruction in how to play my kantele would have been handy. I was really hoping to pick up a few Christmas gifts but that didn't really work out. Apparently when FinnFest is held in Michigan, they fill the dome and vendors are plentiful. Not so in Tucson. We spent a few hours there, picked up some delicious chocolate, and headed out.
Guess where we had lunch? If you guess right, I just might send you one square of Fazer. Maybe not.
Then a stop at the Rooster Cogburn's Ostrich Ranch. Isn't he just the cutest thing ever? They scared all of us nearly to death. We hand fed the donkeys, the deer, the goats and the ducks. Not these guys. None of us dared. Looks like they could reach out and hug you a bit too tight. Right around the neck.

We've been absent for a few years from this neck of the woods, so the Lorikeets were new to us. We went in with our little Wendy's style ketchup looking cups of nectar and laughed until we nearly cried.

 It's a miracle a bird didn't send some flying poop into that wide open mouth of mine!
Jari is ready to build an aviary and house a bunch of these beauties. They are just precious!
I seriously need a new lens on this camera of mine. This one is a bit of overkill for most situations even though I love it to pieces. Maybe sometime next year. Or at least before the aviary becomes reality.

This evening we spent at the beginning of Bible Camp and are heading there tomorrow afternoon as well. Will see what kind of trouble I can get myself into tomorrow morning!

my reality

What is my reality?
Is it this blog where I post a picture of a food item once every couple of weeks?
Is it the crafting I do and post on here?
Is it the plants that are growing in the backyard because it is finally cool enough to play with dirt?
Is it the fact that I really can do my laundry in an evening and be done for the week?
Is it that sometimes my weekends are so quiet you can hear a pin drop?

Last week I had a discussion with someone about online personalities. How they aren't necessarily reality and may be seen by others as something that is in fact reality.

Does the reader of the blog think that the author's life only includes the things you see here? If your life doesn't include these things, does it make your life difficult because you'd like to be doing them? Kind of like dreaming through Pinterest?

In one way I might agree. I wasn't blogging, or even taking digital photos for that matter, when my house was filled with puking, dirty diaper dragging toddlers. I didn't have anywhere to share the lives of my littles when they were wreaking havoc. I do know a few things. I probably pulled my hair out when they colored on the walls, plugged the toilets with Duplo Legos, dumped flour all over the floor, flooded the patio and threw dirt blobs at the windows after being up all night with an ear infection. Neither was I blogging when I made cut out cookies with them and they had frosting plastered all over their faces or when the kids got the left over photos and scrapbooked right along with me.

That was my reality. It is no longer my reality.

In this current world of mine, the kids have grown. They're moving out faster than I can handle. Two of them have taken flight in the past two weeks. My job is to raise them to spread wings and fly. My heart doesn't like that little piece of the growing process.

There are some things I can write about them and feel free to share with you. The rest of it ... they are entitled to their privacy. If they want to share their up and downs through life, they can. I can't and won't.

Do I spend time baking in the kitchen without any interruptions somedays? Yup, I do. I can actually listen to an audio book while I play and not be interrupted by "mooooommmmm ... come wiiiiippppeee me" coming from the bathroom. If today that is your reality, it won't be for long. All right. You might consider 20 years a long time ...  I don't.

Can I play with crafty things and not worry about little fingers dragging the glue gun off the counter or all of a sudden sending a sewing machine into a mach speed run through space? I can. That is also my reality. Sometimes it may be weeks in between the playing sessions because I also have a life that is busy. I go to work. I'm about to start an online bachelor's program. I have responsibilities at church. I should grocery shop and cook once in a while.  I don't run and visit during my day off, but we do plenty of it on the weekends because it is important to us. I have plenty of things to fill the minutes of my days and evenings.

I almost feel like I need to explain something here. I don't sit and read a book except for about once a year. I listen to them for a very good reason. A long time ago I married a man who only had one speed in life. Lickety split fast. If he wasn't moving, he was sleeping. I don't think I was that kind of a person when I met him. Not even even when I married him, but that was only 3 months later. Who had time to learn new habits in that amount of time? Today, nearly 27 years later, I don't sit well. It may be in part due to the fact that I work out of the house. That means that in order to accomplish what I want to, I cram it in quickly or I won't get it done. It may be a combination of birth order and type A personality. I can't sit to read a book and be crafty at the same time. So I multi task and have found ways to do that. I know how to run the washing machine, the dishwasher, the bread machine, the audio book and the sewing machine .... all at one time. Why? Because I choose to. Because I want to. Because some of it is born of necessity and some of it breeds peace and tranquility in my days. Because there are days when I seriously need a good dose of peace and tranquility. My house walls may be free of crayon color, but somedays the walls of my heart are muddied from trampling.

In truth ... this is my reality. Tomorrow it may be a different one. Somedays it has been difficult to accept the changes that life brings. Whatever your reality is, grab on to it and run with it. Find a reason to laugh in it. Take moments to share it with family and friends. Share the joys of creativity with your children when they allow it.

If you're lucky enough to be able to relax a bit .... read a book for me!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

lately i have to wonder

I wonder if I should even bother to blog at all anymore.
My thoughts may be a bit on the maudlin side today, but tough.
If you don't like it, you have many options.
You can delete me off your reading list. You can leave me a comment.
Or you can just rip around the house and rant about me.
I really don't care.

I am thoroughly disgusted.
If you know me at all, and most of you probably don't, you'll know that I don't get mad.
I don't get worked up about much. I shrug things off. Sometimes I'm capable of getting on a bandwagon before I really should, but most times I prefer to sit and listen. I love to hear how other folks' brains swirl their ideas around in their heads and what the result is when it finally can't help but eject itself in the form of speech.

I enjoy a debate (maybe even a good argument!) as long as it is based on facts and not name calling. I am not political in my thinking. My family takes care of that for me, even if we are usually on opposite sides of the fence. There are enough of them that are active and I've had enough opportunites to ingest so much that I am severely jaded and disillusioned in my thoughts when it comes to politics.

I do vote. I research the issues and the candidates before I head to the polling place to cast my ballot. I vote for what I believe is right for myself and my country. I vote my belief system. It is my right and my duty, one that was hard fought for by Americans before me.

What I don't understand is this.

In the past days I have been called judgemental. Actually I could keep writing about all the collective judgemental I've been called in the last months. I will stick to the most recent.

What does it mean to be judgemental? I did a quick search online and found any number of dictionaries with definitions to please most people. Today's internet access is something else! I chose Merriam Webster because I think they may just be a bit more credible than Urban Dictionary or the like. I'm also not going to define the word judgemental for you, rather I'm going to use two synonyms provided that are easy to understand: faultfinding and critical.

If I replace the word judgemental with the faultfinding and critical, and I look around the world that exists outside of my little orbit I find interesting things.

  • I am not critical of anyone who chooses to drink flavored or foofoo coffee from Starbucks just because I always take mine black.
  • If you live in a huge house in a gated neighborhood, more power to you. I don't but I'm happy for you.
  • If you live in a one room cabin and drive a bicycle, come have coffee with me.
  • If today you are my friend and your hair is brown, tomorrow your hair is blonde, and the next day it might be streaked pink, the person inside you didn't change. You are still my friend. I might raise my eyebrows at the pink because I'm not crazy about pink hair, but you're still my friend. Just because I don't like pink hair doesn't mean that I will tell you what you can and cannot do. That was your choice. If you are under 18 and are my child ... that is another discussion completely.
  • If you decide that eating meat isn't your thing and you decide to be vegan or vegetarian, I won't understand the choice. I love meat. Just because I love meat and you won't eat it anymore, does it make me critical or is it just a difference in choices?
  • If I choose to drive a Prius, whether it is because I like the gas mileage or want to save the planet, and you drive a gas hog .... I don't care.
  • If you love animals and want a houseful of them, go for it. If it includes the feline version, I probably won't come over to visit you. Not because I'm critical of the fact that you have 20 different breeds of critter living in your house, rather I'm allergic to long haired cats and won't come out the front door alive. You can have as many as you like. I can't come over to visit you. We each have to make our own choices.
  • If you choose to eat organic foods and won't consume anything else, then you probably shouldn't join my table for dinner. You can eat at home and come for dessert. I really won't find fault with you. Please don't find find fault with me that my grocery budget doesn't include those things.
  • If your belief system is Mormon, Buddhist, Catholic or any other myriad of religions in this world (or none at all) ... embrace it. I have the right to embrace the religion of my choice just as you do.
I am allowed to have my own thoughts, ideals and beliefs. Those are mine. This is not a country where those are controlled. As long as I don't steam roll you with them and try to make them yours, then leave me alone.

Today I sat in a class all day and learned something interesting. Defensive behavior is the beginning stage of a loss of rationality. When you become beligerant and have to call me names, I'm going to assume that you are losing your grip on reality. I really don't know what else to think. If you are a person who feels free to call me on questions of health, because I am a nurse, and then resorts to name calling rather than an adult discussion .... don't bother calling.

I may not be the brightest diamond in the mine. I'm okay with that. I do own my thoughts, my ideals and my beliefs. If by professing my beliefs you think I am judging yours ... then you have a problem. I don't.

In the words of Thomas Jefferson, "I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend."

Saturday, November 3, 2012

sour cream noodle bake

I've been trying to make menus lately.
Trying to make them according to the grocery ads.
Then last week I didn't manage to make it to shop those ads except for one store.
My friend Pinterest had this recipe for me to try.
I've been rather negligent in following Ree's blog lately,
but if you need play by play instructions, head over to her site.
Her photography skills lend much more to the appealing quality of the dish as well.
Two of us ate dinner last night. And, yes, this is a 9x13 pan. Leftovers galore for the people who pack their lunch boxes here and have access to microwaves during the day. Murphy's Law declares that if I make a small dish, the crew all shows up for dinner. If I make a large dish ... it's time for a candle lit dinner for two. I do love the fact that this dish has ingredients that are familiar to my taste buds and is an affordable dinner for a family. It also got a thumbs up from Jari. Score!

Sour Cream Noodle Bake

1- 1/4 pound ground chuck
1 - 15 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 oz egg noodles
1/2 c sour cream
1 - 1/4 c small curd cottage cheese
1/2 c slied green onions (less to taste)
1 c grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preparation Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brown ground chuck in a large skillet. Drain fat, then add tomato sauce, 1/2 tsp salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Sir, then simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.
Cook egg noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese. Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add to noodles and stir. Add green onions and stir.
To assemble, add half o fthe noodles to a baking dish. Top with half the meat mixture, then sprinkle on half the grated cheddar. Repeat with noodles, meat, then a final layer of cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until all cheese is melted.
Serve with crusty French bread.

Note: I have a problem following instructions lately. I put my last name in the blank for the first name. That kind of thing. So I added the cheese to the sour cream mixture instead of layering it. Then added more cheese on top just because more is usually better in my estimation. I also used the cheese blend from Costco that is always in my fridge instead of sharp cheddar. I still enjoyed the dish!

Friday, November 2, 2012

4:18 a.m.

and my eyes did the shoot wide open thing. Quickly reach over to check the phone (which is the source of both my clock and my alarm) and realize that my alarm is going to ring in an hour. I got up anyway. Apparently this body requires six hours of sleep to wake up on it's own. Good to know. By 10 pm last evening I was so tired I was feeling nauseated. Straight to the pillow. Today is looking like it will be including a nap. I don't work today. It is now 4:47 and I've already been filing paperwork this morning.


Last load of the dirty laundry (except bedding) is doing the final little spin in the dryer. Yesterday after work  I got productive in a hurry in order to enhance crafting time this weekend. First batch of pulla dough is in the bread machine ready to do it's thing. Love it when the brain goes off on a little blip and I actually notice it!

Last weekend Jari and I headed out of town for a few days with our friends Warren & Brita. We went fishing at Roosevelt and then up to the cabin near Payson. If there was a bit of heaven on earth ... we found it. I could move in up there and not complain about anything for a short while. The quiet. The peace. The cool. The pines. The sauna. That makes 2 saunas for me in 3 weeks ... I think it is a record. The company of friends in a place of utter peace.

Absolutely beautiful.
I almost can't even imagine the beautiful serenity of this place covered with a fresh blanket of winter white.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

unlike my youngest

this one is a bit camera shy.
"duke!" ... head turns to left.
"hey duuukkkkeee" gets a hed turn to the right.
"can you look over here?" gets another look at something very interesting on the left.
and at yet another urging .... it was another peek to the left.
he flat out would not look at the lens.