Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

Well, I decided to boycott all things retail today and stay inside my house - ALL DAY LONG! The only time I stepped out was to lean out the back door and call the dogs in. I guess I could go and officially step out to take out the trash, but why bother at 9:40 pm?

We survived Thanksgiving. There was a little excitement as my friend's son fell off his ripstick/skateboard two minutes after we arrived at their house. I was still unloading my food from the car and taking it in her house when he fell and screamed bloody murder from the end of the cul-de-sac. Turns out, he put a huge gash in his side when he fell and landed on a rock. Hmmm, flashbacks of our last year.... Neither one of us could call it. The cut was on his hip and was wide, but not deep. So, she just decided to take him to the ER. I stayed with the other boys and they took off to the hospital. All the food was put into the oven and turned on to warm. No stitches because of where it was, but doc said if it had been any other place, it would have definitely gotten stitches. So, our food was warmed over, but it was still good and the fellowship with friends was nice.

My pumpkin cheesecake was "eh". It was neither good nor bad, but I don't think I'll be making another any time soon.

Hey, since Christmas is coming up and it's a season of giving, so you might enjoy the projects and pillowboxes that can be found on this blog. Talk of the Town Lots of creative ideas over there, check out the link. Those pillowboxes would be perfect for sweet little gifts for someone special.

Are you making any gifts this year? I'm still in the "what the heck am I going to do for Christmas" mode. *gasp*

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cheesecake and smoke alarms

That doesn't sound like a good combination, does it? Well, trust me, it wasn't a pretty one.

I decided yesterday that I'd make Pioneer Woman's Pumpkin Cheesecake for Thanksgiving. I have never owned a spring form pan in my life, so had to go buy one. I got it home, washed it, dried it and set out to make my cheesecake. All was going fine except I couldn't get the crumbs to stay on the sides of the pan. Ok, fine, not a big deal, it'll be good regardless of how high up on the sides the crumb crust is, right? Right.

So, I plopped it in the oven - ok, I didn't plop it because that would have made a big mess and there was already a big mess in my future unknown to me at the time. So, I put it in the oven and set about to get the boys ready for bed as I was cooking it last night. Bake for one hour and fifteen minutes. I came in here and sat down while they were brushing their teeth. Fifteen minutes into the baking, I start to smell this really weird smell. What the heck? I walked into the kitchen and peeked into the oven. Smoke was EVERYWHERE inside the oven. Ok, what is causing that? The timer still read 55 minutes to go, my cheesecake wasn't burning!

Then I saw it, the clear, sticky liquid dripping down from bottom of my spring form pan. And it was THEN that I realized (as a novice spring form pan user) that I should have taken the dang pan apart when I washed it and dried it. See, I was in a hurry to get-er-done like I always am and just assumed skipping that step would be ok. I mean, it was brand new, it wasn't really dirty, right? Well, apparently, there was still water in there somewhere as I put it into the oven and now that was dripping out of the pan and onto the coils and base of my oven causing the smoke. What to do? I slid a cookie sheet on the rack in under the cake to catch anything else that fell and was hoping for the best.

The best came later when smoke continued to pour out of the top of the oven through that little vent in the back stove eye. I opened the kitchen window and turned on the ceiling fans in other parts of the house. The boys asked how they were supposed to sleep with that weird smell in the house. *guilty*

I was tempted to take the cake out of the oven and let the oven stuff burn off, but I knew it would ruin the cake. I was also concerned with the smoke ruining the cake, but I knew that taking it out of the oven would FOR SURE ruin it. And I knew it wasn't what was burning and creating the smoke, so I just left it.

I called my friend whose house we are eating dinner at tomorrow and told her that my pumpkin cheesecake would be really special because unlike the recipe, mine would be infused with a smokey flavor. She laughed at me and actually allowed me to laugh at myself. And then she said, bring it anyway, I'm sure it will be fine.

But, today, as I think about it, I'm not sure it will be fine. I'm really wondering how it tastes. And I'm really trying to decide if there is any way to taste test a cheesecake and smush it all back together so it looks like a piece has never been cut from it. ;)

Next on the list..... cooking a whole turkey for the first time ever. In the past, I've always just cooked turkey breasts. So, this is a year of firsts. Hopefully it won't turn into me scrubbing the oven at midnight again.

Maybe I should take the batteries out of the smoke detector today just in case. ;)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I know Halloween was last month

but we were walking alongside some railroad tracks yesterday when I just happened to look down and see this. I had my camera, so the instant reaction was take a picture of it. I have no idea what it was, but the boys thought it was rather cool and I'll admit it was interesting in an eerie sort of way.

Since I had it open in Photoshop, I decided to try one of Pioneer Woman's actions on it. This is Vintage.

What do you think, eerie, cool or just plain gross?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hey! Could you....



I'm a couple of days late posting these, but I did want to share that the boys and I got to go over and watch the big reveal of the Extreme Makeover Home Edition house in the local area. It was cool being there as part of the crowd of over 1000 people and actually cheering, "MOVE THAT BUS!" Plus, we got to see Ty and the other designers. I *heart* Ty! lol

Hi Ty! *waves*

Hi Michael!

Hi, other designers whose names I can't remember!


And then some volunteers:

I would have loved a shirt. I think I'd have had to volunteer and work to get one though. Ooops... so I took a photo of one instead.

It was a lot of fun to go over and just be part of the crowd. We are excited about watching the show at the end of January just so we can say, we were there!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Guitar Guy

When new neighbors moved in last fall across the street, I noticed the teenage boy unpacking guitars from his car. Thoughts ran through my head about D. always wishing to learn how to play the guitar. A few weeks later, I was actually a decent neighbor and introduced myself to Amy, the mom. We talked about our kids and her son's guitar abilities. He's pretty much a supahstah when it comes to guitar. For a seventeen year old, he truly rocks. I asked her how he felt about giving lessons and she said he'd love to. And so it began. D's journey of learning to play guitar and my friendship with Amy. :)

Billy is a senior this year and Amy has honored me with the privilege of taking his senior portraits. She thinks I'm doing her a favor, but really, she's doing me a favor by just letting me play with my camera. ;) Anyway, Billy hates having his picture taken, doesn't really like attention and considers himself rather shy. But really, he's not. He's a super good kid - except when he calls my favorite eighties music "classic rock from four score and seven years ago" hmmmph. Last week, he was letting Devon listen to Jukebox Hero and informed him that his mom would know the song. lol


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A scrapped layout by ME!

Oh my goodness.... I have been the world's worst scrapbooker this year. I probably haven't even completed a total of ten layouts. How sad is that? I blame it on a number of things. I'll spare you the excuses here.

But yesterday morning was a majorly crazy morning for me in addition to trying to get the boys caught up on schoolwork for the day along with making up some stuff they missed Friday. My head was spinning by noon and didn't really stop until later in the afternoon.

I decided to ditch everything - all the laundry piled on my bed, the clean sheets and blankets that were to be put on my bed and any real life obligations - just to go in my scraproom and complete something. I searched for my corner rounder for a full twenty minutes. That's what happens when you leave things untouched for quite some time. Little boys decide they have free reign over it and the tool disappears. I finally got him to help me look and we found it upstairs in under a chair cushion in the living room. *sigh*

Anyway, I did finish something! Yay me! I won't even begin to look at all of the year's worth of other photos that are left untouched on the computer. Hey, we look at them on the computer, that counts for something, right? ;)


I suppose Christmas cards should be next. Or maybe I'll just buy a box from the store. :D

Monday, November 17, 2008

Soup on a cold day

I'm not the biggest magazine person in the world. Sure, every now and then, I pick one up that interests me in the checkout line at the grocery. So, I will admit to never paying much attention to Every Day with Rachel Ray. I knew it was out there, but I haven't ever bought one. Then, Friday as my friend and I were sitting and chatting while the boys were doing their swim lessons, she handed me her newest copy of the EDWRR mag. I flipped through it and came upon a recipe for soup. Creamy Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup. Ummmm...... that sounded good. So, I grabbed my notepad and scribbled down the recipe. This afternoon after a rather stressful morning and midday, I decided today was the day for this soup. Oh my goodness....... so good! I adapted it for myself because no matter how hard I try, I can never follow a recipe all the way through step for step.

Doesn't this look yummy? Trust me, it was. ;)

I decided to come back and post the recipe and my changes. Reed can't stand mushrooms, so he picked them out of his bowl of soup. But the soup still has a distinct mushroom flavor because you use pureed mushrooms in it. So, if you can tolerate the mushroom flavor, but not the texture, then just leave out the second set of shrooms and see where that leads you. ;) I can't promise this is exact from the mag because my scribbles may not have lead to exact.

Creamy Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup from Nov. 2008 or maybe it was Dec. 2008 Every Day with Rachel Ray Mag
1 oz dried mushrooms
6 cups chicken broth
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
6 carrots coarsely chopped
1 onion coarsely chopped
2 TBS fresh sage chopped
1 6oz box long grain, wild rice
3/4 pounds white mushrooms
1 skinless chicken breast
1/2 cup heavy cream
* Soak the dried mushrooms in 1 cup broth until rehydrated. Use food processor to puree. (I didn't have dried mushrooms, so I just used canned shrooms that I had on hand and pureed those. ;) )
* Heat 3 TBSP evoo in skillet, add carrots, onion and sage to saute (I didn't have fresh sage, so just added carrots and onions) Add pureed mushrooms and cook one minute, adding salt and pepper
* Add 5 cups broth, rice mixture, sliced mushrooms to stock pot and boil. Add chicken breast, lower eat, simmer until rice is tender and chicken breast is cooked. Remove chicken breast and shred into pieces, add back to soup mixture. Stir in cream, season with salt and pepper. (I already had a cooked chicken breast in my fridge that was extra from the quesadillas we had the other night so I just shredded and used it instead of cooking one along with my rice.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

My felt ornament attempts

Well, after drooling over the ornaments and creations at Bugs and Fishes I decided to see what I could do with the supplies I found scattered around in various places in the basement. Mine look nothing like as cute and creative as hers, but hey, they are rather cute. I spent five minutes the first day trying to remember how to blanket stitch. I finally remembered and then just got to work.

I kinda of like these. I'm not sure what I'll do with them or if I'll make more or not. But for this week, they've kept me busy. :)

First one:

Another fancy round ornament:

And a cookie cutter train that I traced:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Felt Fun


My sister recently asked me if I knew where she could buy kits to make felt ornaments. My immediate response was, "Why do you need a kit?" When God handed out the crafty gene in our family, I took more than my fair share apparently because well, to put it lightly, she doesn't have much of a crafty bone in her body. (sorry, Tam if you ever read this - luv ya, really I do.) Then I told her to look at places like Oriental Trading Company or Family Fun since she was planning to do this with her daughter. Later in the day, she asked what those websites were again. I emailed her back and said do a google search. Heck, I just did a google search and sent her some of the results.

In those results, I had found a blog with the CUTEST felt ornaments. I have entertained myself by scrolling back through this girl's previous blog posts and oohing and aaahing over her cute felt ornaments. Bugs and Fishes She sells them in a local gift shop and possibly online?.

How cute are these little:
Birds and these Reindeer
and these Other Birds
and then there are these Christmas Pudding Ornaments
and these Ornaments
and her post with a photo of a variety of Ornaments

I'm sorry, but who needs a kit when you can find all these cute ideas on the internet? I had no intentions of making any sort of ornaments for our tree this year, but after looking at these and others online, I'm thinking we might have a Felt Fun Day and just sew up some of these. R would be all for it, he's crafty and interested in that sort of thing like his mother. ;) D would go along with it just because.

Oh and I forgot to mention my tree skirt that some of you may have seen before. It's the photo at the top. I made it eight years ago and we still love it every December when we get it out to wrap around the base of the tree. So, felt ornaments would fit the theme there. :)

Here is a close up of one section of the skirt:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Osage Oranges and other stuff


Ever have one of those situations that just make you go "hmmmmm"? I have those quite often. Wasn't that a song from the eighties?

Today, we went out to a little nearby town and joined D. along with his Webelos pack who were camping out for the weekend with the boy scout troop. I had my camera and found a few "things" to photograph while we were out there. It was great just walking around in the woods, climbing some rocks that were once a part of the rock quarry and just hanging out. (It was COLD though and the wind had yet to die down from blowing all week. :/ )

These "horse apples" caught my eye as they were lying in their cluster on the ground. One of them had a hole in the top which made me question, "Do horses really eat those things?" and "What is the real name of those trees and their fruits?" So, of course, when I got home, I googled "horse apple" to find that they are actually Osage-oranges Ok. Now, I know. I won't use that tidbit of information other than possibly take one, cut it in half and see if it really works to keep spiders out of your house (heard that somewhere once...)

The thing that made me go "hmmmm" was tonight when R and I were reading in a book we got from the library this week. It is a Native American alphabet book. I turned to O's page and can you guess what was there? "O is for Osage-orange." How bizarre is that? Now, we know even more than we ever cared to know about Osage oranges, aka, horse apples.

Oh, and just another photo I snapped of some wildflowers out there. Not sure what these were before their leaves fell and left only the berries. I thought they looked really cool with the number of them in this particular area.


I was standing in line at the convenience store earlier patiently waiting my turn to pay. The two people in front of me were buying lottery tickets - scratch cards and PowerBall tickets. I stood there thinking I wouldn't know what to do with either if I'd bought any. Seriously, I've never bought a lottery ticket and wouldn't know for sure what numbers I should check where and when if I did. I told this to the clerk when it was my turn. She just kind of chuckled. But I wonder if deep down she was wondering what rock I've been hiding under for the past ten years. LOL

Do you play the lottery or buy scratch cards? The closest I've come is scratching off a ticket that DH bought once and scratching off the Monopoly cards from my fries at McDonald's.

I guess all this means I should really stop using that phrase, "I'll buy ________ when I win the lottery." Guess you actually have to play to win. I'm just not into that sort of thing.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Everyone else is doing it

So, we took some photos today of us in the HUGE pile of leaves in our yard. I was kind of hoping the wind would blow them out of my yard into the unknown, but there are too many, it didn't happen. :\



And, they even convinced me to flop down into the leaves. Ick, itchy! LOL

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Lego Man and Indiana Jones

Just a quick post tonight to share what the boys chose to wear last night as their Halloween "costumes".

This year was almost as cheap as last year's costumes. This year, all I had to buy was spray paint for R's costume. D's costume was pretty much a gathering of all we had in the closets and toy boxes, with the addition of a borrowed hat from an acquaintance. :)