What Did You Do? Wednesdays

Calling all fall fanatics, adventurous organizers, exercise procrastinators, perfectionists unable to make a move unless they're certain it will turn out with ultimate precision, messy Marvins, and any other category you put yourself in ~ stop by each Wednesday and share what you did that week. Big things, little things, adventurous things, nothin' much things, somethin' special things....doesn't matter.

Share your just one thing on What Did You Do? Wednesdays!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pants On The Ground

Exactly where are YOUR pants these days?

Good luck getting this out of your head now.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tutorial Tutorial

I love blogging. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!! I am addicted to tutorials, I have come to really appreciate the expert photography skills of some bloggers, I and very much enjoy sharing my own smorgasbord of thoughts & suggestions. Blogging has become the little vacation that I take each day. I am welcomed into others' worlds, peeking into their lives, discovering their interests, meeting their families, examining their homes, and viewing their talents. I simply cannot believe the number of people who take the time (oh, and they DO take a lot of time) to prepare, position and photograph step-by-step instructions on how to make any number of things. When they find the time to share so many creations in such a precise manner, well, I'm clueless on that one. Meanwhile, I'm soaking them all up, appreciative of everyone's patience, dedication and generosity. Thank you so much for all of your hard work.

For my love of the tutorial, it is without further adieu that I give you the.....

Tutorial Tutorial

1) Think of something you want to make or do that is so spectacular you can't possibly hoard it just for your own enjoyment.
2) Gather supplies, and hope you have everything you need on hand. Otherwise, scrap your instruction for that day until you can carve out time to go to the store and purchase the missing item(s). Meanwhile, wrack brain trying to think of something else delightful to blog about.
3) Photograph needed items all together after you have cleared off your work space with one large swoop of your arm so that looks like you keep the cleanest house this side of the Pecos.
4) List supplies needed with such detail that even a monkey could assemble them.
5) Photograph, labeling each picture with a description of

WHILE creating the perfect lighting and pretty backdrops for appealing shots.

6) Photograph final product in all its loveliness.
7) Link to every blog you can think of to share it with the world and reap your moment in the spotlight.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Crustless Spinach Quiche

Quiche is a nice treat once in awhile. One that I often times forget about when I'm struggling with yet another dinner dilemma. Ty was on dinner duty, as I was heading out for an acupuncture appointment and errands. Brilliant in his field, and yielding a great household handiness, his "geniusness" falls short when he reaches the threshold of the kitchen. Peanut butter toast is quite comforting, but since I'm certainly happier when there are vegetables involved, something a little more "meal like" always seems in order. So when he's in charge, I usually order up left-overs, tuna sandwiches, scrambled eggs, veggie corn dogs, you know....that type of thing. I was relieved when I remembered quiche! It's a very simple recipe, that I prepared in no time and headed out the door leaving Dad in charge of simply taking it out of the oven. (And don't forget to shut the oven off.) He added toast (one of his specialties, as you'll recall), and everyone's belly had something warm and healthy in it. Now, what's for dinner tomorrow??

2 tsp. canola oil
1 medium onion
1 (10-oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed & drained
1 1/2 cups grated light cheddar cheese
6 large egg whites*
1 large egg*
1/3 cup low fat or fat free cottage cheese
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 nutmeg

*Or use any combination of 4-5 eggs, as that works equally as well

1) Preheat oven to 375. Coat 9" pie pan (glass is preferred ~ turn oven down 25 degrees if glass is used) with cooking spray.
2) Heat oil & onion for about 5 minutes, then add spinach about 3 more minutes until moisture has evaporated.
3) Sprinkle cheese evenly in pie pan. Top with spinach mixture.
4) Whisk together eggs, cottage cheese and remaining ingredients, then pour over spinach.
5) Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bratwurst Soup

Soup is awesome, isn't it? It's like a blank canvas is for a talented artist. Empty pot=unlimited options. You just can't go wrong with soup. Anything goes ~ food and spice combinations are all fair game. With that said, I bring you, from my mom's kitchen, bratwurst soup.

Turkey brats ~ Broiled first, cut up and then added to soup, otherwise it's waaay too greasy.
Broth ~ Your choice...from beef to chicken to vegetable. I don't think it makes much difference. I always get a low-sodium variety.
Potatoes ~ Can also do a half & half with spaghetti or some other noodle, just for kicks.
Peas ~ Frozen veggies get me through many meals during the winter months.
Mrs. Dash original blend

Even if you "don't cook", soup is forgiving. Let your creative juices flow.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Wanted: Pumpkin Lovers

I'll warn you, if you hate pumpkin, you can skip this post right now. (Go ahead & take a tool around while you're here, at least. Enjoy.) If you're on the pumpkin fence, so to speak, stay with me. If you're a pumpkin lover, I've got a winner for you.

I have this as part of my breakfast sometimes. It's also a nice snack with my afternoon coffee. (Mmmmm ~ afternoon coffee......) Plain, fat free yogurt is certainly a staple in my refrigerator. We eat it with fruit, sometimes mixed in with cereal as well. It can be great for cooking & baking, but I have come discover the wonderful effects of sour cream in baked goods. (Another day, another post.)

If you aren't used to the lack of ALL THAT SUGAR in regular yogurts, I still encourage you to try this. If you start with mixing the plain yogurt in with vanilla yogurt, you can surely make the switch entirely at some point.

Key ingredients:

Plain, fat free yogurt

Canned pumpkin

Nuts ~ Pecans lend a nice, sweet flavor, but walnuts are yummy too. Don't forget to toast them in the oven! For a delicious variation, instead of raw nuts, I'll mix in peanut butter. Now that's good!

Flax ~ You had to figure....

Cinnamon ~ ....these would show up again.

Golden raisins ~ Yes, golden. Regular ol' raisins are ok, but there's something about the golden variety. It adds a special sweetness.

So now you've got crunchy, you've got chewy, you've got sweet, and you've got healthy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Blogland Forecast

Good morning everyone! Let's get right to it with our national Blogland forecast for today.

Starting in the midwest, we'll see a bit of scrapbooking, especially in the low-lying areas, along with quilting & sewing in areas to the southwest. Utah is experiencing the brunt of the blogging with strong & incredibly crafty women hailing from this area.

In the east, there's a pattern of high fashion upcycling and restyling, and some strong jewelry-making underway. Knitting & crocheting conditions will continue to rule through the month of March. Also, cupcakes continue to blast through this region with a mix of sprinkles & butter cream frosting. Tracking through the northeast at a strong and fast pace are furniture re-dos and thrifty decorating.

The west coast is impacted with a considerable amount of banners, which we're experiencing in various materials and sizes. Along with this flash of garland comes a mix of ribbon & bows. This return of bows affects not only only hairbands, but little girls' skirts and paper-covered jars. Pom-poms continue to cover the area, coupled with hard-hitting sweater surgeries and burlap transformations.

Down south, we're already seeing signs of garden planning & planting. Folks in this area can also expect a continuation of Cricuit cutting & stamping. High amounts of printables will remain, at least, through the end of this year. Impacting lettering & chipboard usage are cookie sheet charts and calendars, chalk board re-designs, and picture frame make-overs. Meanwhile, heavy downpours of Mod Podge continue to pummel this region.

Throughout the nation, bloggers are covered in fabric flowers and ruffles, along with a serge of hand-stamped silver jewelry. Most areas will also be inundated with felt food, baby leggings, and elaborate birthday party decorations. High pressure tutorials have swept throughout our country causing heavy amounts of laundry pile-ups and, at times, severe blogger envy. Keep a close watch on the giveaways in all areas, as they can create dangerous addiction.

That's it for the Blogland weather for now. Until tomorrow, have a safe and creative today.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

University Training

Once upon a time my husband was a physics professor, which gave me the opportunity to experience two contrasting universities not as a student, but as a "pseudo faculty" member. I have liked the feel of the colleges I've experienced, as both a student and visitor.

During the last two years of my first undergraduate degree, I worked in the admissions office....liked that. Lots of paperwork involved. I also served as a tour guide for families interested in attending my alma mater....tons of fun. There sure are interesting dynamics in groups. Finally, representing the university operations department, I had a wonderful time as an attendant at the information desk. Need help finding a tutor? Allow me to assist. Want to carpool for a trip home? I'll check the ride board for you. Don't have a clue how to cash a check? Oh boy, pity that kid, but nonetheless, let me show you. I answered everything from how long to hard boil an egg to what I thought the next right answer would be on Wheel of Fortune. Important stuff here, as you can tell. But really, I loved it. Information Queen at your service. I often thought I would have made a great private detective. I can find out anything, and I enjoy the challenge. And really, no one would ever take me for P.I.

I have friends who have graduated from Ivy League schools, friends who have gone through state universities, and friends who have received their specialized degrees in community colleges. I like that we all have different interests and abilities. Lately I've wondered what type of higher education specialty training I might be able to offer if I were dean of a college. This is the list I have established.

BLESS U (Religious Studies)
EXCUSE U (Manners/Etiquette)
HAY U (Farming)
KNOT U (Massage Therapy)
FORGET U (Memory Enhancement)
SCREW U (Carpentry)
SEE U (Optometry/Ophthalmology)

The admissions offices are now open.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Oatmeal Options

My girls and I love oatmeal. It's a fast and simple breakfast for weekday morning crunch time. There are so many flavor combinations that you're bound to come up with your own favorite. Here a few suggestions from my personal "cafe".

I use the old fashioned oats (not the 1-minute variety). I think they have a better texture. See what you think. As of last summer, I was a complete peanut butter hound, only to discover that my love for it was really too much a good thing. I have added other nut butters (another word I like....nut butters. Not as good as "nutmeats", but nonetheless, kind of funny.) to our repertoire. I like to add almond butter to our oatmeal for a filling meal with a good amount of protein to boot. The jar with the red top is ground flax. I add a little to a lot of things we eat. It has a wonderful nutty flavor. However, if you do not currently eat flax, start out slowly. Your gut will thank you. Also, I sometimes add a little powdered milk to my oatmeal combos. It gives it a creamy flavor. Make sure you stir the dry ingredients together before adding the water or the powdered milk will end up in big chunks that no one will want to eat. Often times I add a few raisins to this mix as well, although I didn't picture it here. Finally, might I introduce you to organic cinnamon? I am lucky enough to find it at a decent price in the bulk section of a local grocery store here (I don't typically buy the pre-packaged variety.). You don't have to use organic, but I have discovered that it is a stronger and heartier flavor, and it's so very good for you. I add it to every bowl of cereal or yogurt we eat. To sweeten the oats a little, I add dark brown sugar.

Another favorite of ours is a blueberry and raisin partnership. Mmmmm! The flavors really play off each other. I also use the standard additions of flax, cinnamon and a little powdered milk here as well.

Here are a few more variations not pictured:
Chunks of frozen peaches and maple syrup (instead of brown sugar). This combination is really good with the powdered milk. It tastes like peaches and cream.
Frozen strawberry slices and banana
Apple chunks and Craisins
Peanut butter and dates

So if you're bored with the same old, same old breakfasts turn to Mr. Quaker and let me know what you come up with.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Just When You Thought It Was Safe

.....to go back in the water.....

Shark Tank is back on ABC. I just couldn't love this show more. It must be my competitive, entrepreneurial spirit. Is there a side to you like that? Watch it, and let me know if you get a big, fat shark bite too.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Winter White

The school bus comes at 7:20am. There wasn't a soul out today. No cars, no dog walkers, just the beautiful, crunchy white snow and me.

(See how I took a moment to live in the present & notice the peacefulness & loveliness of it all? This coming from the woman who longs to live an eternity in flip flops and skirts.)

Grainy photo, I realize, but look what a happy, little hat of snow this ornament has. (My photography class isn't until April, so bear with me. Meanwhile, anyone have any suggestions on how to get a close up or cropped photo to be nice and clear?)

Monday, January 4, 2010

S-A-F-E-T-Y Dance

I am, by definition, a Gen X-er. That means I used Aqua Net, wore neon pink lipstick, had every color Chuck Taylor Converse imaginable, had one side of my hair longer than the other, wrapped pastel lace scarves around my neck, and enamored myself with all the other fashion favs of the decade.

I also knew every video on MTV like the back of my hand, even the earliest ones. I knew what happened on the video for each line of each song. I logged many splendid hours memorizing them at my friends' houses during grade school and junior high. (We lived in the country when that meant no cable option.) I was freaked out by Billy Idol's White Wedding, as enthralled with Thriller as much as you were, and overjoyed when Twisted Sister's We're Not Gonna Take It played.

So it is with great delight that I invite you, oh great lover of blessed 80s music, to view one of the most hilarious videos I have ever seen. We can watch if we want to. We can leave your friends behind. 'Cuz your friends don't watch and if they don't watch, well they're no friends of mine.

I seriously still Want My MTV!!!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Baby New Year

Welcoming 2010, we present our walnut babies!

We don't even need our diapers changed.

Start by cracking whole walnuts & removing the nutmeats. (I love that word, don't you? It's funny, and I'm going to say it again....nutmeats.)
I don't have a nutcracker, so I set the walnut on a cutting board and covered it with a paper towel, which gave me something to grip. Then I tapped it along its seam with the flat side of a meat cleaver.

Squeeze glue in bottom of shell & press in half of a jumbo cotton ball so it is a bit "poofier" than the shell itself.

2-year olds can help glue.

Add a strip of glue around the inside, turn upside down and push onto the wrong side of the fabric, which will service as the baby's blanket.
Cut around walnut to remove excess fabric once glue is dry.

Use your choice of a wooden bead for the head. I used the variety with the hole in them, which made it easy to affix the hair.
Using permanent markers, draw faces on the beads. My 6-year old loved this job.

Gather yarn, pipe cleaner, curling ribbon, or whatever you choose to use for the babies' hair, wrap it around the tip of a toothpick, add a dab of glue & push it through the hole.

Embellish their blankets, binding, hair, etc. as you please.

Goo-Goo, Ga-Ga


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