Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A very Uke Christmas

Our day has been so relaxing and low key.  It's been nice to talk with family and hear their reactions to gifts and find out about their day.  With everyone embracing technology, we've received thank you notes, shared pictures, and more.  I'm especially thankful to USPS for finally delivering the anniversary scrapbook to my parents.  It was a fun project, although I'm not a scrapbooker and will leave it to my Mother to embellish and add a few more details. She's the creative, artistic, talented one when it comes to scrapbooking.  My approach is minimalist with pictures.

Here are a few pics from today:

Super soft jammy pants

An Otter Box for my iPhone since I'm prone to dropping it.

Opening the many generous gifts from my parents.

Uke gift #1:  a stand

Who needs fancy wrapping paper?

The resident comedian and his new leatherman

Uke gift #2:  366 songs to learn

Uke gift #3:  Jason Mraz songbook

New hat, scarf, and cookbook.  LOVE Smitten Kitchen!
Let's see...I think there were a few more uke gifts including a coupon for a mya-moe ukulele for Emil!  Santa was very kind this year.

Time for a snack and a piece of homemade cocoa cake!  Hope you all had a very nice Christmas surrounded by dear friends and family.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Snow Day

It's going to be a White Christmas here in Bend!  With a few inches of snow as a base, we received probably three more today.  So, I dashed out this morning in the flurries to stock up on crafting supplies and baking ingredients.  I figured I'd bake and make cards in between my usual Sunday Football Fest.

First, it was hard to choose a game to watch.  Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh was on the same time as the Saints vs. Cowgirls (Tommy Boy's nickname for them).  I mainly watched the Saints game and caught the end of the Cincy game...pretty darn exciting!  Tonight, I'll tune in to the Seahawks game and text back and forth with Tommy Boy during the game.

Secondly...the food.  I made one of my favorite Christmas appetizers a few nights ago.  It's a crowd pleaser and super easy.  Ritz crackers, whipped cream cheese (much easier to spread), and pomegranate seeds. 

Scared of a pomegranate?  Here's the easy way to remove the seeds thanks to Martha Stewart.  Cut the pom in quarters.  Hold skin side up over a bowl in the sink and whack the pom hard with a wooden spoon.  The seeds will fall neatly into the bowl. 

Last week, my friend, Erica, mentioned making buckeyes.  They've been on my mind...especially since I lived in Ohio, the Buckeye state, for several years.  I've never made them before, so I found a recipe that uses bittersweet chocolate.  Sounded good to me.  Plus, they freeze well, so I'll pull them out for a last minute dessert.

Very sweet.
I've been making chocolate-dipped marshmallows for the last two weeks.  Trying to perfect the dipping.  Some have crushed candy cane on the outside.  I ate all the ones with crushed hazelnuts...my favorite!  Just can't seem to get enough hazelnuts these days...I love them!

Make a cup of cocoa and stir in the marshmallow.  Yum!  They also make wonderful hostess gifts.

Here's a pic of the snow early this morning:

It's stopped snowing, and I'm ready for the couch and football.  Looking forward to our uke gig and Christmas Eve service tomorrow.  The turkey breast is thawing in the fridge, and I'll make cranberry sauce and a cocoa cake on Christmas morning.

"What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace."

Wishing you peace and blessings!

Friday, December 21, 2012


Oh my!!  I'm so excited and proud of Patti, my sister-in-law.  She did silhouettes at Blake Lively and Ryan Reynold's wedding back in September.  And, now she's featured in this month's Martha Stewart magazine!  Woo HOO!  Check out the link below:


The first picture thumbnail is her silhouette of the lovely couple.  I'm a big Blake Lively fan as I own the first two seasons of Gossip Girl.  Drama, Fashion, Drama.

Patti has a studio in downtown Greenville, SC.  She can also do silhouettes from a picture if you don't live nearby.  Here's her website:  http://heartpaperscissors.com/

Check it out!  Order a pencil sketch, names dear to my art, jewelry, or more!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas is here!

That's what it feels like when I gaze out the window since we received about four inches of snow a few days ago.  A white Christmas.  What a great way to celebrate our first winter in Bend!

We selected the perfect size tree for our little home.  Many thanks to my Mother for sending some of her and my favorite ornaments.  She passed down two of my favorite...a small fabric green and white mouse and an egg wrapped in a ribbon.  Both have my name and date on it.  My all-time favorite is a pair of ice skates made from red and green felt.

Both of my fav ornaments are hung.  Can you spot them?
We're really looking forward to some downtime.  I know I said that at Thanksgiving, but with Emil working six days a week, we hardly see each other and spend any time together.  On Christmas Eve, we're playing a uke gig at the community center for a group of seniors.  It's going to be quite festive with some Christmas songs and golden oldies (referring to songs, not the people).

We're also going to a church downtown for Christmas Ever service, and I love seeing all the kids excited and smiling.  I'll miss going to church with my family.  Hopefully, we can gather together next year for the holidays especially if we have really good news to rejoice!

So, that leaves Christmas Day...pajamas, football, not getting off the couch except to throw the turkey in the crockpot, and talking on Skype with my family.  Sounds perfect to me.

In the meantime, we have friends coming to town!  Brian and Tara!  I haven't seen them since...hmmm...well before they ran off and eloped in Thailand.  They're traveling across the U.S. as part of their delayed honeymoon, celebrating with friends and family.  It's a short visit here, so I wonder how many brewery visits we can squeeze in.  Plus a visit to Sparrow Bakery for an ocean roll, lunch at Jackson's Corner, a Captain Jack Sparrow sammy at Brother Jon's, pizza at 10 Barrel, Smith Rock, breakfast at The Victorian Cafe or Chow or McKay Cottage, coffee at Strictly Organic, a walk along the Deschutes River, happy hour at 900 Wall, and a hike up Pilot Butte.  I haven't even factored in time for uke lessons and a sing-along.  Phew.

Hope your Christmas shopping is all done!  Most of mine was done before December...yes, I'm just like my Mother.  Except she had her shopping done and wrapped by Thanksgiving.  I'm not that good.  Every year, there's one gift I'm particularly excited to give....this year, it's super cute arm warmers for my niece.  They are absolutely adorable!

I'm hoping Santa will bring me a kitty!  An older senior kitty, short-hair, orange or grey, likes to lounge on laps, litter box trained, and friendly.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Book

Most of you know I wrote a book two years ago...my first winter in Redmond.  It's something I've been wanting to do, and I seized the opportunity to hack away and come up with cheesy chick lit (65,000 words worth).  The majority of the scenarios in the book happened to me or my best friend, Tommy Boy.  The story takes place in Anchorage, and I love mentioning local places disguised under a different name.  For example, the bakery with great cheesecake is named Sugar.  Ha ha!  Can anyone guess the real name of the bakery?

Emil edited the first draft, and I'm finishing up a recent round of edits.  Then, I'll print a copy and ship it to a few select Beta readers who will give me specific feedback.  Finally, I self-publish using a service from Amazon.com.  Proceeds from the book will be saved up to purchase this super cute car:

Nothing against the soccer mom van, but I miss having my own vehicle.  I do like sharing a car, and I also enjoy walking to most places around town, but...imagine me in the drivers seat!  Vroom! Vroom!

So, the goal is to publish the book before my birthday.  A great present to myself and to the many characters in my book who you just might recognize (Wasilla City Council member...ahem).  I HAVE to make this goal, because then I need to focus on a new side business with Tommy Boy.  Did I mention how I'm always scheming??  And daydreaming too!   

Friday, December 07, 2012

Strange Happenings

I know who is responsible for these recent strange happenings.  They shall remain anonymous.  Is your curiosity piqued yet?

Scenario #1:

Actually buying brussels sprouts at the store.  Not the $2 bag, but an entire stalk for $3.

Emil looking forward to eating brussels sprouts.

Now, the cooking of the sprouts...one night, I roasted them in the oven.  Decent, but even better the next day when warmed up in the microwave.  Weird, I know.  Tonight, I made a magical Martha Stewart recipe using them.  Loosely followed the recipe (different pasta, more bacon grease, no sage since I'm a sage hater, and extra cheese which I'll pay for later).  OMG!!!  It was so good.  Smack your Mama good.  Turn you into a brussels sprouts lover good.  There may be a fight for the leftovers...only enough for one person.


A pan of yummy food.  Just bring me a fork.

Scenario #2:

This week, I had a late lunch at Jackson's Corner.  Kinda expensive for a lunch budget, but I love the atmosphere.  Well, they changed their menu according to the super cute cashier guy.  Instead of the BLT I wanted, it's now a BLB since it's not mater season.  The second B stands for beets.  I don't like beets.  I've tried them once.  That was enough.  But, a certain influential friend cooks lots of beets and swears by them.  So...I ordered it.  Imagine super soft homemade sandwich bread, bacon, arugula, honey mayo, and golden yellow beets.  It changed my life.  I've been plotting all week how to recreate this sammy at home.  Thinking a trip to Whole Foods for beets is in my future.  AND,  back to Jackson's Corner with my friend to taste test it one or two more times....tee hee.

See?  Strange happenings indeed.  I'd like to pretend I'm not, but I'm a very picky eater...salads, fruits, and vegetables, not so much.  What's next?