Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I am always running five minutes late.

I never used to have that problem. As a matter of fact when I was younger I was one of those always-five-minutes-early kind of people. But now I always want to snag five more minutes of sleep, or quick change the laundry loads, water the plants, etc. So I find myself having to eat breakfast in the car almost every morning.

I try to eat protein in the morning to help me avoid the 10:00am snack break, so I eat alot of peanut butter or turkey sandwiches in the morning. Recently I started using sandwich wraps. No - not because I am green but because it makes my life easier. First, it works as a plate while I make the sandwich, then I wrap the sandwich up in it instead of using a bag, and then it unfolds on my lap so I don't end up with a lap full of crumbs! Pretty handy! You can find instructions for making yours here. They are super fast and easy to make, no matter what your skill level with the sewing machine.

I also eat cottage cheese alot of mornings for breakfast. I know - kind of an old lady food. But I found a brand recently that I love so I thought I would share. (That is actually what inspired this whole blog post - cottage cheese! ) Yes, it is a little pricier, but oh-so-much-tastier. If you like cottage cheese you should definitely try this.

I know I could solve alot of my problems by just waking up five minutes earlier. But now that I have my in-the-car breakfast routine down, I figure the five extra minutes of sleep will do me some good!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Some Blog Love

I doubt you have enough to do with your time. So I thought maybe I would share a few new favorites I have found recently. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Activity of the Week

What does a five day forecast of sun and 70's combined with a three day weekend mean?

It should mean I can lay out in the sun on the deck and read my ever-growing pile of books and magazines.

While you will find me on the deck, it won't be in a horizontal position, more like on my knees scrubbing and staining.

Every year I dread this job. Unlike other household projects that create years of lasting beauty, a good deck stain will last but one year if you are lucky.

So I am off to Home Depot to buy another gallon of stripper. And for the rest of the week I may be a little busy so maybe James can increase his blogging output this week.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I can't put these books down!

No. not the Twilight series.

A few months ago I heard Ravvi Zacharias, an apologist, reference
City of Joy by Dominique Lapierre, a book that has always been on my "to read" list. When I went to Amazon.com someone was selling the books for a couple dollars each so I snagged a few by the same author hoping I would enjoy them, and I haven't been disappointed. They aren't by any means a quick read; they are full of facts, dates, names and places, but in spite of what would be overwhelming details, I have found them to be page turners and I cannot seem to put them down! I finished "Is Paris Burning" and now I am reading "O Jerusalem." Anyone looking for some interesting (yet educational) summer reading should check them out.


..........I finished our table. It is now repainted and back in the kitchen where it belongs. I tried a new paint this time, and while I liked it for the chairs and some trim work I am doing, it didn't turn out so hot on the table. But then again, this table has been repainted three times, so maybe it is just protesting.

I also am more of a cheap-wad than I thought, and I decided to re-glue some of our existing chairs, repaint a few others and just buy some chair cushions. And one chair. And maybe another now in July thanks to my coupon. (I would insert a happy face here, but I don't know how, and besides I think they are kinda tacky.)

I sold a bunch of bags last week, so cash in hand I went to Anthro to finally buy the chair I have been salivating over for the past few months, and instead I found this one. I must have walked by it a countless times. It is cheaper, more comfortable and definitely more durable. And I rather like the mis-matched look as well.

I still have one chair left to refinish, and I have enlisted a friend to help me out. I can't quite figure out how to recover the arms and back. Thanks Janet.

And I also have to confess that I lost my steam. As you can see, I started painting the trim too. I stopped here and have yet to pick the brush back up again.
And while I am confessing my unfinished project list, I haven't painted the trim in the basement and it has been there for two years.

Maybe next week.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summer Fare

I've already complained about the heat- so I will stop doing that. (Actually, as I write this, I am sweat-free as the friendly neighborhood electrician came and fixed our wiring today. So while we still don't have central air we now have two functioning AC units, so Val and Grandma, rest assured you will sleep comfortably here.)

So this post is about Aidan's summer complaints. He doesn't mind the heat, the bugs, or going to bed while it is still light out.

He wants real food.

Last night as I made yet another summer smoothy he pleaded, "Oh Mom. can't we have some real food?"

He is going to have a long summer!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Odds and Ends

Nothing too exciting.... but just some little odds and ends
from our life the past few weeks.
The shirt Aidan and I made using a bleach pen. Super easy!

I should have taken a picture of the shirt on my little model.

The turtle who thought it would be great to dig a bunch of holes in one of our few nice patches of grass. She obviously couldn't decide where to lay her eggs because she made lots of holes all over.

A yummy cake I had to make twice. (from this book)

An Amaryllis given to be by a friend that her husband planted from a seed he took out of a plant.
He is that good. Thanks Dez!
And the best news- for me at least- is that our electrician neighbor is coming over tonight to help us solve our AC problem. We have no central air, but we do have window units. But somehow, even though they are on opposite ends of the house, they are on the same fuse. Which also is the fuse our computer and microwave are on.
Go figure.
So, in preparation for some summer company, we are finally having someone look at it. I really, really hope that next week at this time I am sitting in a cool, comfortable computer room instead of squinting at the keyboard trying to see through the sweat that is dripping down my face.
Yes, it is that hot in here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

One of the reasons we love our Dad's.
Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's in our lives.
Thank you for all you do and all you have taught us over the years.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Look what came in the mail.

Sorry Aidan, I think you will be spending alot of time at Anthropologie on this couch next month.

Best Banana Bars yet

I have tried many, many recipes over the years. (If you don't believe me, ask my Kitchen Aid. Right now the gears groan even when I bake a simple cake like this one.) But I have to say this may be my new favorite-use-up-old-banana's recipe.

I tried this last week for a friends birthday, and it was absolutely delicious! Aidan thought mashing the banana's was the most fun ever, and we both agreed, while licking the bowl, that this was sure to be a winner. I know summer doesn't really seem like the time of year to bake with banana's, but this recipe is very light and summery, I think it may have something to do with the thick layer of whipped cream frosting.

This recipe is meant to be made into bars, but I think it would be great as a layer cake too, with mounds of white frosting peaking out between the golden layers.......... I am making myself hungry, good thing we don't have any banana's in the house.

Bars -

½ cup butter, softened

1 ½ cups white sugar

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (I used three ripe bananas)

8 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10 x 15 inch jellyroll pan or one 9X13 pan and an additional 8X8 pan. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the sour cream and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; stir into the batter. Finally, mix in the mashed banana. Spread evenly into the prepared pan(s). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow bars to cool completely before frosting.

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

1/8 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Set aside. In another medium bowl, beat whipped cream until stiff peaks form (it helps to use a chilled bowl and chilled beaters). Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Party at Christa's!

Last week Christa's nephew was in town, and she thought since both Jace and Aidan were 5 that they would be good playmates.

They were. And in fact they were both totally astounded to learn that each other was five and knew immediately, based on this one fact, that they were meant to be friends.

Although I am not sure why Jace put up with Aidan all night, considering Aidan insisted on calling him Jason. But I suppose that is better than Pace, which is how James kept referring to him.

We enjoyed a nice campfire, roasted marshmallows and listened to James and Dallas talk about all the skills we should a know and supplies we should have in case of further future economic collapse. Thanks guys, I slept real well that night.

We let the boys most of the picture taking- so here is a little of the evening through their eyes.

Summer Beauties

It seems lots of my favorite blogs are posting pictures of these, so I thought I would join right in.

This is the first year mine have bloomed. One of my bushes has these lovely flowers.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

We have alot to do.

Let me rephrase.

We have alot to eat.

CSA box, Week 6.

Guest Bedroom

Well- our guest bedroom finally has a bedside table thanks to some cool old crates my Grandma gave me while visiting her this spring.

I also found a roll of fabric tucked away while I was rearranging to make room for the dresser, and so there are also some new curtains.

Now all we need are some guests!

Some friend!

Last week a friend of mine talked me into yard saling with her. Most of my friends love a good yard sale, but I have not gotten into them yet as I seem to have pretty good luck at thrift stores. But I have had no luck finding
kitchen chairs at my old standby thrift stores, so I decided to venture into the world of yard sales.

Well, I didn't find a single chair, but I did come home with this

two sets of these,

some plants and lots of fabric. (Did you know at the right yard sale sweet old ladies sell their extra perennials and will even give you a garden tour if you ask just the right questions???) And fabric - a friend of ours was having a yard sale, and her neighbor does home staging and she sells her extra items every year at the neighborhood yard sale! I bought tons of great fabric for 10 cents apiece, and this couch and throw pillows for a whopping $12.00 total. I know..... what possessed me to think we needed a new couch in James office?

We don't - however - we never use the amazing chair I found for his office at a thrift store last year, and so got to thinking..... I could recover it, paint it white, use it at the head of our kitchen table......... and thus the rearranging of our entire house began. Literally.

Poor James office is entirely changed around again. But now he can relax on his couch. Can't you just picture one of us sprawled out with the laptop while the other is on the desktop, drinking our beers? (hee hee!)

I think moving one thing is like a domino effect. (Because I also had to find a home for the infamous dresser, too, remember?)

(the kitchen in its current state of rearranging. I am repainting the table and also painting all the trim. What a project. I kind of wish I wouldn't have started it!)

We also visited a local park and let our kids play.

So that, my friends is the story of my first big day yard saling.

It is a good thing I usually work on yard sale days, or I might find myself waking up at 7:00 am to beat everyone to the good deals.