Saturday, April 30, 2011

And now for something completely different...

I'm still at home.  Still all by myself.  Still sick.  A person gets a bit stir crazy after a bit.  I'm tired of being home and tired of eating "sick food".  I'm throwing myself a pity party and for the occasion, I decided to whip up something, anything good.  So I turned to a newer cookbook: Favorite food at home by Rachel Allen.  I've made some muffins from this book before and they were tasty!  Today I made Maple Syrup and Pecan Muffins.  I literally just finished eating a couple muffins (can't eat just one) and they were so good!  Below is a copy of the recipe if you would like to have a new "comfort muffin."  Enjoy!

Maple Syrup and Pecan Muffins
Makes 12

For the muffins:
  • 1egg
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1/3 c maple syrup
  • 1 c milk
  • 6 tbsp butter, softened not melted
  • 6 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 c all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 oz chopped pecans or walnuts
for the glaze (optional):
  • 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/4 c confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 12 pecans
Preheat the oven to 400 degree F.  Line a muffin pan with 12 paper muffin liners

Whisk the egg in a bowl, add the oats, maple syrup and milk and whisk to combine.  Set aside to soak while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a large bowl beat the butter, add the sugar and mix to make a soft paste.  Gradually add the milk mixture, stirring all the time, then stir in the sifted flour, baking powder, salt and chopped nuts, until just combined.  Do not over stir.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups and bake in the preheated oven for  18-25 minutes until the tops are golden and feel firm to the touch in the center.  Take out of the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Make the glaze, if using, by mixing together the butters, sugar and syrup.  Using a knife,spread the glaze over the tops of the cooled muffins and top each muffin with a pecan.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Shadow catching

Ever since I can remember, I've been drawn to shadows: shadow puppets, my shadow on the sidewalk, shadows cast on walls. 
Maybe it's because every time I see a shadow I'm reminded of Peter Pan and his shadow.  Here's a bit of the shadow experience from James M. Barrie's 'Peter Pan':
"O Peter, no wonder you were crying," she said, and got out of bed and ran to him. 
I wasn't crying about mothers," he said rather indignantly. "I was crying because I can't get my shadow to stick on. Besides, I wasn't crying."
"It has come off?"
Then Wendy saw the shadow on the floor, looking so draggled, and she was frightfully sorry for Peter. "How awful!" she said, but she could not help smiling when she saw that he had been trying to stick it on with soap. How exactly like a boy!

 This shadow happened to visit me in my dining room area.  It came from my mini-chandelier.

Our house

     Have you ever stopped by Apartment therapy?  If not, it may be due to the fact that you've never heard of it.  That's an acceptable reason.  Or it could be that you have heard of it but it's not your thing.  That's also okay. 
    I've both heard of it and it is my "thing".  Mainly because we own a very small house (998 sq feet to be exact) and it has some awesome ideas for decorating small spaces. 
     A little history on "The House."  It was built in 1938 with  an update in the 70's and then what was referred to as "a total remodel" in the early 90's.  Then we came along and swept it off the swelling home market.  It was kinda ugly on the outside (still is) but the right price.  At the time it was perfect for two young kids just starting out.  Sold.
     Cue six years later to the present.  While the house has been great with no structural damage or improvements needing to be patched by the owners (us), at times the limited space and storage seem smothering, especially when we visit other newer, bigger, better, improved homes. 
     As of late, I have had a lot of time to sit at home and really look at it. I have also had a lot of time to look at both home improvement blogs and magazines.  With these visual resources on hand I have come to realize something: our house needs some help.  Right now, it's confused and on the whole a "makeover" waiting to happen.  A "before" waiting for the "after".
     Don't get me wrong.  There are a few rooms I'm pleased with, but only because we recently improved upon them like the bathroom, living room.........maybe our master bedroom.  However, there are so many of them that need to be updated and tweaked and get them to flow with the rest of the house.  Even then, the rooms that I like still aren't 100% decorated and aren't up to par.  Grr.
     Then I pull my head out of the clouds and realize how lucky we are.  At least we still have a house, with some pretty good neighbors nearby and again the house has been easy on us.  We also have a pretty open floor plan.  And you know what?  Maybe it's not the house that's the problem, but the owner's (
     So I've decided to tackle both my attitude and the house.  First, I'm going to start out by simplifying.  I plan on getting rid of everything (this is going to be DIFFICULT as I'm some what of a hoarder) that is not being used, has not been used or most likely won't be used.  Then I'm going to re-evaluate our space and try to use every single inch to the fullest like many a people do over at Apartment Therapy. 
     Aaron and I have already talked about some of our "ideas" and with a little paint and ingenuity, hope to make them a reality.  Here are some of the possibilities:
  • turning our existing dead-space entry way into a bit of a home library
  • turning the small room that is now the computer room into a walk in closet (yay) for moi
  • making my craft/sewing room that looks like a baby's room into a warm and functional craft room/guest room
  • painting the kitchen a new shade to match the rest of the house
  • and last, but not least actually doing something...anything to the laundry room at the back of the house
     I really want to do these things, it just takes time and money.  No, it's not going to be a quick process.  It will be slow.  One. Step. At. A. Time.  But sometimes just writing it down makes things happen......

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I spy with my little eye

A bird.

Can you spot the little guy?

I could watch them for hours.

Maybe I did.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What a wonderful world*

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
and I think to myself, what a wonderful world

I see skies of blue, and clouds of white,
bright blessed days, dark sacred nights
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

The colours of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shakin' hands, sayin' "How do you do?"
They're really saying "I love you"

I hear babies cry, I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

*One of Aaron's favorite songs that he and his mom danced to on the day of our wedding. 

Card stock

I mentioned in an earlier post, somewhere, that I wanted to make some cards.  Well I did.  I just realized that I never got around to sharing a couple of those cards with you!  They are so fun to make, and I almost think that I prefer creating custom cards to scrap booking entire books (for the record, I've only managed to finish one scrapbook and that was for a cat that is no more.  S0.........) Here they are:

These are my favorites

And these still need a little something to complete them!
These were all created using a Cricut and Cricut cartridges.  They are so much fun in helping to come up with cute cards.  There is another scrap booking party coming up and I thinks I might have to join in to make some more cards!

Monday, April 25, 2011




Sunday, April 24, 2011

It's a cold, cold world.

I did take a picture yesterday but did not have a chance to view it until this morning.  It was of these awesome, angry-looking clouds.  So I pulled the truck over yesterday, rolled down my window and took a picture.  I saw beauty in those clouds.

This morning all I could see was the ugly, run-down shacks that were under the clouds.  Disappointing. So of course I didn't want to share ugly with you today.  Who needs that?

Instead, I'm sharing two pictures today (one to make up for an absent post yesterday).

First, a little background on one of them: Spring in our little town is always a toss up.  Either we will have a true spring- with flowers, birds chirping and sun or we have snow.  Or both.  This year we've had a little bit of everything, including high winds and rain showers.  This was taken one morning on my way to work.  The small mountain (is it really a hill?) was blanketed with snow and against the cool blue sky it stood out to me.  I can still feel the chill as I look at the picture (thank goodness for heated cars).
The fence and power lines = ugly, man-made obstructions.  The hill that wanted to be a mountain = pretty to me.

Now on to the second picture.  Background:  I love the ocean and always have.  Growing up, my family went to the coast often.  Some of my best memories were trawling the tide pools looking for little crabs or shell hunting. Sometimes I would find those crabs in the shells I wanted the most.  Don't worry, I didn't evict the little guys from their homes.  However, I still have two small jars in my home that are a result of years of shell hunting.  This pic is from my very own living room.  This shell is actually a gift from a Dr. I worked with a couple years back.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Take it off.....take it ALL off!

I had another title for today's blog swirling through my brain too.  It was going to be: Oops, I did it again.  And cue to the Britney video (this version is for you, Gils):

Mwah- ha- HA!

Anyway, back to my original intention.
Prepare to be shocked.  In a good way shocked.  Not a Whitney-is-a-psycho kinda shocked.  Maybe for some of you it will be a psycho shocked.  Hopefully not.

But, alas, here is my news.  I cut my hair.  Short.  I took it off (my hair)....took it ALL off (again, my hair).  I just can't seem to keep the long hair.  Thus the oops, I did it again.  Because, oops...I cut my hair off...  Again.  I can't be held responsible for my actions, at least as far as my hair goes.  I get in the chair at the salon and go wild.


Here's what I was kind of going for -without the blond:

And here's what I got, so....After:                                                    

Excuse the lame-o self was all I could manage.

 I like it way better in person, but Ta-DA............

Friday, April 22, 2011

Is this real life?

The question of the day (as far as photography)?  What photo op will present itself to me today? 

The answer: these people staring right back at me as I sat in my car.

So this is an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G mural painted on the side of a building in our local downtown.  It was painted
by a local man who was also a teacher at the time.  He's done a couple others around town, but this has always been my favorite.

 It's so real-looking....It's life size...But it's not real life.  Shucks, wrong era.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I looked in a puddle and what did I see?

A big barren tree reflected to me (getting all Dr Seuss on you now)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


It's raining and has been a-l-l day.  My motivation for walking out the back door was a fence. 
Things can get pretty exciting around here.

The end.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A natural

I captured this without Aaron realizing it.  But everything at this moment seemed so ....natural.  The lighting for one.  Beer in one hand and a book in the other.  Happy days.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Finding something to photograph was a challenge today.  We were out in service for the greater part of the day and in the car driving for most of it.  We drove by several things that may have been cool pictures, but they were at highway speed.  So...there was no turning back. 
Instead, I had to look for something of interest around our house.  Here's what I found.  Crazy.  Maybe not so interesting.

When life gives you nothing....substitute

I have good news and bad news.  Which would you prefer first? Well....since this is a one-sided conversation, I just realized that you don't really have a choice (sorry).  Okay, enough with that.  The good news?  I actually cooked today.  The bad news? No pictures to prove that I did.  Oh well, right?
You see, the thing is: I've been missing my "lazy Sundays" lately.  So, I decided this afternoon that at the very least  I would cook lazy-Sunday-breakfast-food for lunch.  That was a mouthful.  Literally.   Don't get too was only waffles.  But not waffles from a mix.  These were from scratch.  Is there any other way?!?   However, I ran into a little speed-bump.  The recipe called for all purpose flour and I only had whole wheat flour.  Hmm.  It also called for milk.  I only had almond milk. Eh.  I decided to go for it and substitute with what I had.  Oh, one more thing...I forgot I was making waffles and whipped up pancake batter instead.  Any-hoo, Here is the recipe  from the '63 Good Housekeeping Cookbook as follows:

Homemade Pancakes

  • 1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp double acting baking powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups milk *
  • 3 tbsp melted butter, margarine or oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla or emulsion
  1. Set griddle over low heat to warm up.  Into medium bowl or wide-mouthed pitcher, sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  2. In small bowl, beat egg well; add milk, butter.  Slowly stir into flour mixture, mixing only until dry ingredients are wet.
  3. When griddle is hot enough to make a drop of cold water dance, lightly grease or not as manufacturer directs.  Drop batter from pitcher or large spoon onto griddle, lightly spreading each cake with back of spoon into round about 4" in diameter.  Don't crowd cakes or they will be difficult to turn.  Cooking about 3 cakes at a time is usually safe.
  4. Cook over low heat until rim of each cake is full of broken bubbles and underside is golden brown.  Turn only once.
*for thicker pancakes, use 3/4 cup milk

The rest of the recipe bores me, and I know from the bottom of my heart that you know how to make pancakes and waffles.  If not, let me know and I'll talk you through it.

Also,  I decided to do these waffles with a twist:  back-woods style.  Instead of just serving plain waffles I decided to make mine more of a "breakfast sandwich."  Allow me to explain.  Sometimes I just get bored with eating them with butter or syrup.  So instead, I like to combine mine with and over-easy egg and bacon.  Everything is better with bacon.  It goes a little like this:  waffle on the bottom, over easy egg on top, sprinkle some salt on top, drizzle it with syrup then flop the bacon on the side resulting in one nasty/great concoction.  I don't blame you if you don't want to try it this way, but I love it....sometimes!! 

By they way, the waffles in all of their substitution glory turned out delicious!  I might start making them this way all of the time.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Things that make you go hmm...

I think I know what you are thinking.  Okay, I'll take a wild guess.  Are you wondering why I chose these pictures today?  I could tell you it's in honor of the farm country all around me.  Maybe I just couldn't pass up the perfectly parked tractor.  Or maybe, just maybe I was trying to capture Mt. Something in the background.  But would you  like to know the real reason? 
Me too. 

To be completely honest these were taken because I could and something about the tractor made me smile.

Also I missed out on my chance to take a picture full of tiny and beautiful yellow flowers, so I was trying to make up to myself with the tractor.  Hmm.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The little hawks that could....

I was at my grannies today and we looked out the window and saw not one, not two, but FIVE hawks.  It was kinda cool to see that many "big birds" in one tree.  But it did make us wonder what they were all hanging around for (small rodents, small cats, small people?)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Who knew it would be this fun?

Welcome to day three of self-imposed picture everyday month!  Guess what? I'm actually having a lot of fun with it. I took several today.  Here goes:

Also as an example of a great photography idea, my mom sent me the link to this :

What is this?  It's a time-lapse video of pics taken from a flight from San Francisco to Paris.

This is probably one of the coolest things I've seen in awhile and I couldn't keep it to myself!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Picture numero dos

I rushed around like a crazy person this morning, trying to get ready for work.  Then I remembered I had to take a picture today.  This is what I saw that I wanted to photograph today. It's my tiny little tree.  How do I feel about this?  Meh.  I did however learn about several different settings on my camera.... a museum setting for starters.
Here is another of the same thing.  I like the darkness of the first, but the clarity of the second.

I think I like the second better.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A picture a day

I've decided to challenge myself.  How?  Well, a couple months ago, I bought a new camera.  At that time, I thought it would be a good idea to expand my photo horizons and take photos of everything, no matter how ordinary it was.  Did I do it?
So, as I stated before, I've decided to challenge myself.  Again.  This time, I 'm going to try my hardest to take a picture every single day for one month.  Can I do it? Yes.  Will I do it? Yes?
So bear with me on this weirdo journey.  I know (trust me, I do) some, or maybe all, of my photos won't be great.  You may even wonder why I took a picture of what I may take a picture of.  But that's part of learning, right?
Here's photo #1.

Spring is here, at least for a day.  This is a snapshot of a daffodil from my driveway flower bed.  I love 'em!
I hope you enjoy my photo-journalistic journey!
I hope I do.....

Monday, April 11, 2011


Me, meet TUACA.  TUACA, me.  I just can't help myself around TUACA.  My palms get sweaty.  Sometimes I even blush when I spot it across the room.  Did TUACA catch me staring at it?  I kinda feel like  TUACA and I were meant to be.  Aaron doesn't know about us yet.  I guess this post is the best way to break it to him. 
 For those not familiar, TUACA is actually a real thing.  Okay, a liqueur.  I'll prove it.

I should probably point out that the bottle usually comes full, not half-empty, as shown above. 

Now do you believe me? TUACA does exist.  Maybe I like this liqueur sooo much because I uber-enjoy saying "TUACA."  Is it obvious? 

Now that I've aired my dirty laundry I may as well share one more thing - just one because I've already said too much. 

Tuaca is great paired with hot apple cider.  Just make the cider according to the instructions on the package, add 1 shot of Tuaca and stir.  Stir it.  Savor it.  Share it.  I did.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wine update

I haven't cooked much.  It's true.  While I'm spilling my guts I should also tell you that the several times I did cook, once again I failed to take a picture of it to share in a post.  Sorry! So, I thought I would let you know about some of the wines I've tried.  Since the post last month I've tried both bottles I bought. 


Both the J. Lohr and Lambrusco wines were good red wines.  Neither were as sweet and I thought they would be, but they were both a good introduction to mellow AND smooth wines, with no harsh tastes.  You know what I'm talking about......Right?

I was also able to try a couple other wines that I really enjoyed and could finish off all by my lonesome...but I didn't.  Not this time.  Meet a couple of them:

This moscato was de-licious!  It was sweet, bubbly and I loved it.  In fact I wish I had a bottle right now!

     I must admit the only reason I bought this wine was because I really liked the label (isn't that a good way to choose a the label art?) AND it was cheap.  Hello Grocery Outlet.  Any-Hoo, it turned out to be great!  It was labeled as a white zin but was actually pink.  I don't know what that means, if it is usually a pink shade or really what I'm talking about, but I really felt like I should tell you.  It was also sweet, but not at the level of a desert wine.  Still good though. 
     There you have it!  My take on wines.  In addition to working harder on taking more pictures, I'll have to learn to explain wine better.  There really has to be a better way.  Stick with me...I'll work on it.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Fat Friday

Today's post is called fat Friday because I'm about to share my latest/greatest food/drink I've been craving A LOT lately.  It's not healthy by any means but boy is it tasty.  In fact it will, guaranteed, pack on the pounds.  Not so good for someone watching their weight (go up?)  Nonetheless, here it is:

Peanut butter malted milkshake
   (serves 2)


  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • malt powder (you decide how much...I like a lot)
Combine milk and peanut butter in blender until peanut butter is well blended and appears creamy.  Add ice cream and blend until .....well blended.  Add desired malt powder and mix a bit more.  Serve in cold glasses and serve ASAP.  Drink ASAP.  Don't eat anything else because these. are. filling.

PS.  I usually like to include a picture of the food item being featured.  However, I couldn't stop drinking it before I could figure out the best way to shoot it.  So I drank it instead.  So now you can make it and take as many pictures as you like Enjoy your Friday all!