Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Quick Note

Just a quick note while packing up my eldest, then supposedly getting the Christmas decorations out...
I had to share with you all a conversation between Lauren and Brenna that occurred this past week:

Brenna says, "La-la, do you believe in Santa?"
Lauren: "Why yes, Brenna, I do."

"Good. Cause, do you know what, La-la?"
"No Brenna, what?"

"Because our country......"
"Because our country believes in Santa Claus."

all images courtesy of Graphics Fairy.

Don't you all just think that would solve a lot of things???
More next week....

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

We are actually having some weather here in Southern California! I'm loving the feel of fall and the holidays. BOTH of my girls are home, my sweet husband has the week off and I am beyond grateful.
Plus, I don't have to cook the turkey this year. 

Do you remember your first Thanksgiving Turkey you cooked?
Ours was a doozy. 
It was a collaberative effort with another couple we had become friends with while Doug was in medical school. We were miles and miles away from home (Oklahoma) and anything that we recognized as a Thanksgiving dinner, but we were sure we could pull it off.
We first realized we were in trouble when my friend forgot to thaw the turkey.
Guess that's important. 
I just have a vivid memory of a 10 lb. turkey going in circles in the microwave in hopes that we could thaw it enough to stuff it and put it in the oven.
Which we did, because I remember making gravy.

Can you say Alpo?
Seriously. It looked just like a can of Alpo had been opened and dumped into the pan.
I don't recall much else of the meal....I'm pretty sure we did not eat the gravy, but I'm guessing we found an alternative. 
I'm happy to say 25 years later I can cook a pretty mean turkey and my gravy rocks!!
Brenna and I will attempt to make the famous pumpkin pie from the recipe provided by my friend, Susan. I hope it turns out half as wonderful as hers!! Otherwise, well....Marie Callendars does a pretty good pie.

I'm so Thankful to have each one of you as blog friends.  Let's continue to hold each other up and encourage each other any way we can!

Much love,

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sneak Peak

My "friends" and I have been working a little here and there.

Can you believe it? They made it out of the "to do" basket.
They have been especially patient while I try different outfits on them.

They endure with great disdain as I laugh out loud at their silliness.

I must admit, I have enjoyed myself very much.

Even if they don't think it's too funny.

My "friends" and I all agree on one thing. 

If we can bring some joy and laughter to others, it's worth the costume changes and glue on the paws.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Loving The Mail

I know I have mentioned it before, but I'll do it again.
There is a LOT of kindness in the mail. 
It is truly the best.
My friend, Linda from Itsy Bits and Pieces sent me an email after she saw the playing cards used as business cards on a previous post.  Linda said she had some old cards and would send me some.
Well. Just that alone was the sweetest.
Yesterday, there was a box waiting for me by my front door. 
It had Linda's name on it. Why would she need a box to send old playing cards?
When you send playing cards with OTHER fun stuff, you need a BOX!!!

I love this one-my dad used to have Springer Spaniels!

Aren't the cards the best? 
Then I found this:

Don't you love, love Bingo cards?
Brenna loved the little pieces of old rulers.

Gorgeous old lace, beautiful grey ribbon and an old key hole.

A sweet drawstring bag with creamy white buttons

french flash cards.
I was beyond happy!!!
Beyond blessed!
I was sputtering while opening the box-
Whaat? Oh...What? Why...oooooooohhh!!!

And then.

You should have heard her squeal when she opened this:

"Oh, mooom. It's so cute! And so tiny!  It's a little pin! Who sent this?"
(This is the best part.)

This is where I get to show Brenna Linda's picture from her blog and talk to B. about kindness and giving and getting to be extra thankful.

Thank you, my blog friend, for giving so much and teaching much, much more.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pure Comfort, part II

As promised, this is our adventure of cooking on a wet and rainy day.

My sister and I would solder away in the pool house, realize we needed a break from sheer frustration, and dodge the rain drops to the main house.

We were met by a cozy fire in the kitchen and the smell of Portabello Mushroom Lasagna being made.
You see, there was a new cookbook in the house by The Barefoot Contessa. YUM.
By 2 o'clock we both said, "forget soldering for now." It was way too cozy in the kitchen.

I volunteered to make the dessert and we picked out the Pear, Apple and Cranberry Crisp from the cookbook. Can you say serious yum?

Here is the recipe:

4 bosc pears
6 Macoun Apples (no idea what these are, I used Fuji)
3/4 c. Cranberries
1 tsp. each orange and lemon zest.
2Tbs. each lemon and orange juice
1/2 c. sugar
14 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
12 tsp. nutmeg

Cut fruit into large chunks

Put into a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.
Toss well to coat.

I used a nutmeg zester for the first time for the orange and the lemon. Fabulous.
It is now on my Christmas List.

Much better than using a cheese grater.

Put this mixture into a 9x12 baking dish.

Then combine:

11/2 c. flour
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. white sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. old fashioned oatmeal
2 sticks cold butter, diced.( I know, I know-but it's to die for.)

Mix dry ingredients and add butter. Either cut in with a pastry blender or put into a Kitchen Aid mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix until you have large crumbs. 

My sister can't eat oats, so we replaced it with a high-fiber cereal flake and it worked really, really well.
I just crunched it all up and threw it into the mix.

Pour flour mixture onto fruit and cover completely.

Place 9x12 dish on a large piece of foil or a pan to catch any drips from the cooked fruit.
Bake at 350 degrees  for 50 minutes, or until brown on top.

I have heard from people in this household that this makes a yummy breakfast.
Or a nice afternoon snack with a cup of coffee.
It was good for dessert, too.

We threw together a salad, complete with pomegranate seeds,

lit the candles,

sat by the fire,

and ate our way through the best meal I have had in a long, long time!

If I didn't have to come home and take care of Brenna, I'm not really sure when I would have come home!!! So when I did, I made the dessert again the first night I was back. 
It helped a little.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pure Comfort On A Rainy Day

For today, another post about my trip to my sisters.
This was too good to not post, so I'm hoping you feel the same!!
My last day in Paradise was wet, wet wet. But, no fear. We made it into a fabulous day by soldering and cooking. What could be better?

This is my sister's work space. It's located in the pool house, which I take over when I come and visit. Each one in our family says it's "their pool house" but really it's mine. 

It is so fun to be in someone else's creative space. My middle sister has a KILLER stamp collection that I enjoy looking through. It's like being at your own personal stamp show.

So, we set up all the soldering items and went to work.
It was fairly frustrating and we both realize it takes HOURS of practice to even begin to master soldering.

One thing I realized is that having a block of salicylic ammoniac to rub the tip of your soldering iron on is essential. It keeps the tip smooth and the solder clean. It's that little white block next to the blue pliers.

We practiced on broken pottery, and dominoes. We also realized that having a really good soldering iron is beyond essential. This one that my sister is using was one from Lowe's Hardware store. Do not get one of these, even if the price is only $14.99. The tips disintegrate as you use it. Very frustrating. My soldering iron is from Simply Swank Soldering. I bought it at a show and got the whole package for beginning soldering. And while I have been very happy with it, my next soldering iron will be a REAL one. Not one with a pink or orange handle. I think the temperatures stay more even with a heavy duty iron. All though, you can buy temperature regulators.

This is a great way to hold the piece you are soldering. Clothespins will not crack the glass if you are using the small glass slides. 

This is what I ended up with. My sister said she would never, ever solder again. 
Thankfully, she changed her mind and said she would be willing to give it another try.
There really is something magical to it.

I think these would be fun as gift tags or hung on a little tree.


I had begun these little- bitties last summer and finished them during the time at my sister's:

I really vacillate with whether or not to use original images with these. I ended up using the original pages from a dictionary printed in 1943. The pages are as fine as tissue. Is it really sacrilege to tear up an old book? Once these images are set in the solder, that's it. No more left. Unless I find another dictionary.
Yeah, that's it! Really, though, there's nothing quite like the original.

Well. I have pattered on about soldering so much, I'll have to show you our foray into cooking next time. But here is a little teaser:

Hoping your day is spectacular!