Wednesday, March 30, 2016

My Painting Buddy

I spent the past couple of days painting the room over our garage. I'm also watching Jake this week, so I thought it would be extra challenging to get the project done.

To my surprise, the dogs were very docile while I painted. I guess they figured I was busy and couldn't pay any attention to them. They mostly watched.

Jake didn't like it when I used the Swiffer duster to dust the tops of the doors and Riley didn't like it when I climbed up and down the ladder.

I thought I'd post this photo because one of my picture challenges from Daniel is to take a photo in which I "frame" the subject. I thought this one qualified.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Steamed Eggs

I have a great technique for boiling eggs (thanks to Carolyn). It works great most of the time. But even Carolyn told me not to use fresh from the grocery store eggs. Well, what about fresh from a chicken eggs? If you want to get really fresh eggs and hard boil them, what do you do?

I saw a link on Facebook this morning that looks like it might be a winner. Instead of boiling the eggs, you steam them. I have not tried this yet, but I will the next time I bring eggs home from the farmer's market or even the grocery store.

Check it out at The Prairie Farmstead website.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Family Resemblance

I don't have very many photos of my dad, so this is a rare gem. My aunt Elaine sent it to me about ten years ago along with another one he had sent her when he was in the service in the early 1950's.

He is the one on the right behind the net. Every time I look at it, I can't help seeing Peter in him. Does anyone else see the resemblance?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Visiting Daniel at Work

Yesterday afternoon, Heidi, her mom (Chris) and I went to Goodyear to visit Daniel at work. We wanted to see the new Goodyear building and see where Daniel spends his time during the week.

We had to leave our phones at the door, so I wasn't able to take photos, but Daniel sent some to me later. His office is on the 6th floor, and this is what it looked like from there (looking down into the lobby).

Near the cafeteria, we saw the "living wall" which is covered with plants to bring oxygen into the area.

When you step off the elevator on each floor, there is a beautiful mural painted on the wall. Each floor has a different picture.

This is Daniel's desk. We met four of his co-workers, and they were all very nice young men like Daniel.

After our tour, Daniel took us to a very classy restaurant for lunch. It's called Taste of Bangkok.

 I had never eaten at a Thai restaurant, so I let Daniel order for me. He suggested "Pho" which is pronounced "Fuh." It is a soup that looked like the above. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it tasted.

We had a great time. Daniel and Heidi are drinking something called "Mango Bubble Tea."

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Bear in the House

The first several years we had young children, we went camping in the summers for vacation. At night, Don would tie our trash bag high in a tree so the bears wouldn't get into it. Now we have to tie our trash bags up high so Riley doesn't get into them.

We've grown accustomed to Riley's foraging instincts so we no longer leave food within his reach. But the thing we haven't been able to figure out is how to keep him out of our bathroom trash cans. There is never any food in those trash cans, but Riley seems to be attracted to balled up tissue when we leave him home alone. He will shred it all and leave a trail from the bathroom into the hall.

I solved the issue in the main floor bathroom by buying one of those trash cans with a pedal you have to step on to open it. Don refuses to do that in all the bathrooms. He doesn't like those kind of cans.

So now I empty the trash cans daily before I leave the house, and hang the garbage bag from a high hook on my closet door.

We can't train Riley to stop this behavior because he only does it when we are gone. I know, I know...he's trained me once again.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Under the Big Top

Last night was the annual CVCA auction. It is always a lot of fun, but this year we had an extra nice time since Peter, Kendall, Daniel and Heidi were there. I got what I wanted: four tickets to Mary Poppins, the spring musical. Don won an Indians Bobblehead signed by Bob Feller.

Heidi and Daniel just went home with each other, which wasn't a bad thing either.

One of the things I love most about the auction is the decorations. There is always a theme, and this year it was all about the circus.

The decorating committee goes all out to make the school gym a festive place.

Daniel got this shot of the streamers coming down from the ceiling.  He's so clever.

The centerpieces were a combination of animal crackers, popcorn and tickets.

I could probably get in trouble for this, but I even took a photo in the ladies room. Fortunately, no one walked out while I did that.

All the decorations will be saved for the school prom which takes place in a few weeks.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Countdown to July 16

Only 118 days until Heidi and Daniel say I Do!

If at any time you want to see how many days are left to go, click this Countdown.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Chopped Salad

I don't have too many gadgets in my kitchen because I don't like to clutter things up, but this OXO Salad Chopper with Bowl intrigued me. I love chopped salads, so I had to try it. I figured if it didn't work, I would at least have a nice big bowl and a funny looking pizza cutter.

First, you gather up all the ingredients you want in your salad. I chose green leaf lettuce, cucumber, tomato, spinach, Craisins and chicken.

Then you put everything in the bowl and roll the chopper up and down the sides of the bowl while you turn it around with your other hand. Pretty soon, you have a chopped salad.

I know my chopped salad isn't very evenly chopped, but it was my first try. I also forgot to spin my lettuce in the the salad spinner to dry it first, so there was too much moisture. But, the salad still tasted great.

I'm going to experiment with other ingredients. This way of making a salad just makes it taste so much better.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Magnolia Market

Kendall, her mom, and her grandma got to visit Magnolia Market today! They are staying on the Comal River in New Braunfels, so it was a two hour drive to their destination.

They had to stand in line for two hours once they got there. Kendall estimates that there were over 1,000 people there today. Even though it was crazy, she said it was well worth it.

She sent me some photos of the inside so we could all see!

What a fun day for the girls!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Blog List

Photo from bike trip in Austria

I'd like to share a few blogs I've discovered lately:

Pink Little Notebook is a blog dedicated to DIY projects for the home (mostly). Sabrina Scrivo is the author. She has a lot of before and after shots of her work. She's a crafter, a decorator and a thrifter.

Digital Photography School by Darren Rowse is a great site for photo tips and tutorials, recommendations for camera equipment and using Photoshop and Lightroom.

Style and Pepper by Jessie Artigue is filled with all kinds of information about fashion, fitness, entertaining, healthy eating, travel and home.

Food 52 is a blog about what to cook, how to cook, as well as home design. Each year they hold a bracketed cookbook contest similar to the March Madness bracketed basketball contest. It's called the The Piglet, and it is going on right now.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Power Balls

In January, Kendall sent me a link to Magnolia Market which is the website of Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV's show, Fixer Upper. Even though I have never seen the show (I still haven't figured out how to operate the TV) I loved browsing through their blog and market.

Kendall is on Spring break from school this week, so she and her mom are in Texas visiting family. I can't remember exactly what Kendall told me, but I think they are going to have the opportunity to visit the Magnolia Market & Garden in Waco, TX while they are there. I might be totally off. She will have to let me know.

While I was browsing the Magnolia blog, I came across a recipe I just had to try: Power Balls. I made them today with a few modifications, and they are absolutely wonderful. They will be great to grab when I'm heading out the door and don't have time to fix a snack. They will be wonderful to eat before or after a workout. They will actually be really good to eat any time of the day.

Power Balls

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats (I use Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats)
1/4 cup flax seed ( I used ground flax seed)
2 t. chia seeds
2/3 cup toasted coconut (I used sweetened coconut)
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup almond butter
sprinkle of cinnamon
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
1/4 cup honey
1 t. vanilla extract
1 T. vanilla protein powder

In one medium mixing bowl, mix oats, flax seed, chia seeds, coconut, cinnamon, chocolate chips and protein powder.

In another medium mixing bowl, mix peanut butter, almond butter, honey and vanilla extract.

Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients in one of the bowls. Using a wooden spoon, mix everything together. You might need to get your hands in there.

Using a large cookie scoop and your hands, shape mixture into balls.

Refrigerate the balls so they stay firm until they are ready to be eaten.

Makes 24 (mine might be a little on the larger side)

Friday, March 11, 2016


Essentialism by Greg McKeown shows you how non-essential things can take over your life if you don't have a clearly defined purpose. In today's world, we have too many choices, and we "have lost our ability to filter what is important and what isn't," he says.

Although the book is largely aimed at how to make decisions in the business world, he also gives examples of how the principles apply to our personal lives. Throughout the book, he compares the process to paring down your wardrobe.

If you feel like your life is going in a million different directions, this book gives you something to think about. It is a fast read with many different examples of real life people and how they made a difference by having laser sharp focus.

I would give it a B rating just because I thought parts of it were a little boring and repetitive after the second half.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Food Prep Day

On Sunday, I spent a couple of hours preparing food for the week.  It has been great to have healthy food already available for lunch and breakfast. We even had some for dinner tonight. Here's what I made:

Six servings of quinoa. I use this mixed in with salads or I serve it with the chicken below.

Six hard-cooked eggs for snacks or breakfast (I ate one).

Six chicken thighs to eat for lunch or dinner.

A dozen bran muffins for snacks or breakfast.

A large crockpot of Chicken Artichoke Soup (Yum!)

Monday, March 7, 2016

My Babies

All three of my children were born at Hillcrest Hospital and delivered by Dr. Izanec who is now retired.

Here's what I remember about each delivery:

Katherine was born on her due date. Unfortunately, this was not a sign that she would be prompt the rest of her life. It was the first snow of the year, so the ride to the hospital was very pretty.  Labor lasted 8 hours, and she arrived around 3:30 p.m. I decided not to get an epidural for pain, so it was painful. I didn't even know how to change a diaper at that point, so I was a little nervous. She taught me everything I know about taking care of babies.

Daniel was born two weeks late. That wasn't very nice of him. But if he had come early, Dr. Izanec would not have been there, so I thank him for that. My labor with him lasted three hours. I still didn't get an epidural for pain, so it was painful again. Then 30 seconds after Daniel arrived, he had to go to the bathroom really badly. He couldn't hold it until the nurse got his diaper on. But he was so cute she forgave him.

Peter was born three days late. He must have heard the doctor was going to induce him that morning because he beat him to the punch and broke my water. By this time I learned to ask for an epidural for pain, so this labor wasn't as painful. Peter was a very large baby (good thing I got that epidural). I swear I didn't eat any more with him than with the other two. But he came out without trouble after about 8 hours. He stood out in the hospital nursery. No one was going to mess with my little heavy weight fighter.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Week with the Dogs

Don was out of town skiing with his friends all week, and I was watching Jake.

I wasn't all alone. I had two fluffy companions.

But I noticed several things about myself living without any other humans around.

I didn't quite live like a billy goat, but it was close.

For instance, I didn't take a shower or put on real clothes unless I had to go out for some reason.

I didn't cook any meals. I ate cereal or PB & J for dinner or picked up Chipotle.

Dishes stacked up in the sink.

And aside from the regular barking, it was really quiet.  The TV wasn't turned on all week.

It's dangerous for me to live alone.

Don came back today, so I returned to my normal self. I'm sure he's quite happy he didn't come home to a billy goat.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Stuck in a Snowsuit

I had the remainder of my pre-digital photos scanned, and I'm having fun looking through all 1,700 of them. I thought this one was cute. I must have bundled Peter up in a snowsuit and placed him on top of the snow pile.

Then Nicholas must have smelled something good on Peter's mouth and decided to lick it up. Peter has no chance of escape.