Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Happy Birthday Maureen

Today as I visited Facebook I experienced a bittersweet moment...I was reminded on my calendar that our dear friend Maureen is celebrating her birthday. She is celebrating this birthday, her 40th, in heaven with our Friend Jesus... a friend so very near and dear to her heart and ours. We'll celebrate with you again my friend but for now you are having the very best party. We miss you...

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Creating A "ONE WORD" Banner

In previous posts I shared about the idea of using just ONE WORD as the focus for my New Year. Resolutions often  just  lead to another year of disappointment with ourselves anyway. Why not replace the typical resolution list with a single, focused WORD that identifies one key plan for our lives? I plan to usher in the New Year with my focus on HEALING. If you'd like to read about it check out the post.. I wanted to create a reminder to myself, a fun way of declaring my intent in this NEW YEAR to stay the course with my ONE WORD...HEALING so I began to research what others were doing on Google with ONE WORD. My friends, you all know how I love the seasonal banners, pennants and swags. I'm guessing you also know of my love for themes, party decor and celebrating the season, right? Well I came across a really wonderful idea using office supply tags to create a ONE WORD banner and I am excited to CASE this project. It was featured several years ago at Bless Your Neighbor a blog I found while searching the net.
I'm thinking this would be really a fun project to introduce this idea to my family. The consensus from sisters is  we found it works best for us to typically get together after the New Year to celebrate Christmas together. It started originally as a courtesy to me since we travel over the holidays to see our children and their families. That meant I didn't get to celebrate with my sisters and their children who live in the same state  :( 
I started inviting everyone over after Christmas and our celebrations continue to evolve but we've share gifts, food and fun like the typical white elephant parties. This year I thought it would be fun and encouraging to talk about our hopes, aspirations, and focus in this new year through the use of my "ONE WORD BANNER". 
Here is what I came up with as I looked through my craft room. I have an assortment of tags I have used for other projects over the years maybe you do too!
 I think this project could be created using commercial or handmade tags too. Whether handmade with your own cut outs or using die cut machine electronic cutting machines or a template this project is super simple and fun! 
So here is what I did to create my "One Word" Banner. I went searching through my craft room to see what I had on hand. These are the things I found. I decided to use the plain cream colored tags- the size was best for the letters I picked.
So look around and see what you have on hand... or 

Get some tags whether handmade or store bought. Depending on how many words you would like on your banner make sure you have enough tags on hand. Pick out the banner material. I've show you what I have on hand but you could even select some fabric and cut it about 1 inch wide by the length of your banner.
Here are some of the choices I had to work with. 
Next on to the words you select for your banner.Pick meaningful words, ones that really resonate for you. I have put together a collection of words that may resonate, if not perhaps they will INSPIRE you. 

This word cloud was created at Tagul

Once you have picked your words it's time to create the tags. I have a huge collection of stamp alphabets so I picked three sizes. The largest size was for my word to inspire me in this New Year, My selected word is HEALING. The next smaller was
ONE WORD and finally the year 2015 was in another font. 
If you are not a stamper perhaps you would rather create using typed words, hand written words or even magazine collage would be fun!

Ok so here is my "ONE WORD BANNER"...
A quick and easy get the New Year started right project!
 I hope you like it. Write me some comments friends. Tell me what your One Word is for this New Year.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My One Word For The New Year HEALING

Back in 2010 I heard the author Kevin Hall speak. He shared his personal story and how it led him to write his new book, "Aspire: Discovering Your Purpose Through the Power of Words"I had the honor of meeting him after his talk. What he shared truly changed my way of thinking about using words and using them to encourage myself and others too. 

Later I began hearing about the idea of beginning the New Year differently, choosing One Word to help focus on the New Year and the aspirations we have for it. What a wonderful way to start the New Year. 

I have selected my One Word for 2015 to be HEALING. 

Aside from my family, neighbors and close friends most people would not understand my choice. Of those close to me, they would guess that most obvious reason I selected healing as my word might be that I developed Shingles in November of 2014. It for me has been a slow, painful process and in fact I am still dealing with post herpetic neuralgia. (What that means is the pain continues after the blisters healed.) The choice of the word healing though was not only prompted by the pain from Shingles. I had been thinking over some things. Each of us, as we go through life, experiences things that shape them. It mold us and sometimes changes us, some of us never recover. It might have been a betrayal by a loved one or perhaps a death of a child. For others, something out of their control unexpectedly shook their world. It could even be an accumulation of weighty disappointments.

In any case the pain from Shingles got me thinking about pain in our lives that holds us back and keeps us from enjoying life fully.

Why? Because we are carefully trying to protect ourselves from that pain. I thought of this as I was draping scarves over my face trying to keep the cool air from the fan from causing electric shock type pain on my skin. The post herpetic nerve pain had amplified my pain receptors and confused my nerves. What normally would be a rather pleasant sensation on the skin was no longer pleasant.

Unresolved issues in our life can be much like the nerve pain from Shingles, we hide from certain experiences. 

My One Word for this year is more about THAT healing...for myself and for others. I want to see HEALING! 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

In With The New Year

Ushering in the New Year this year is much quieter than in past years. I am staying home and keeping warm (it is 10ยบ tonight). My sweetie and I are watching a few movies and taking time to review the past year. We also are looking at this fresh new year with anticipation and are activating our dreams. 

What has seemed impossible to you my friends? Perhaps we can help each other in this new year to summon the will to make our dreams inevitable-together. 

A few years back I was challenged to focus on a Word Of The Year rather than a traditional resolution. Words are powerful. A word can inspire you, remind you, and even challenge you.  A simple word can  change your life. I've had a scripture sometimes or a word or phrase appear to me again and again, and I KNEW it was meant to be used. I couldn't escape my "word". It came to me repeatedly.  

My word of the year for this year is Healing.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Autumn Delights

Autumn kinda snuck up on me this year. 

It seemed we went from the warm summer days to suddenly it's Fall...oh so quickly. Maybe it is because there were travel days that took us to other areas with different climates. Hmm... YES Colorado, Phoenix, then Long Beach and San Jose then back to the mountains of Alpine, thats what it was. 

Well now I find myself trying to savor the last bits of color, SIGH.

Part of the enjoyment of Fall for me is the last bits of the garden, recounting what I have put aside, seeing the beauty of the changing colors, homemade soups, fall recipes of every kind and pumpkin everything. 

The end of last month we  were able to take several days to enjoy the beautiful Alpine Loop, Sundance and Park City since we had family (Tom's brother Lee and his wife Kay) who came for several days. We crammed in a lot of site seeing in those few days and made some great memories. The first day and evening we spent around our house. We hiked to Lambert Park is a foothill area on the edge of the national forest.

In the evening we kicked back and had some really delicious Butternut Squash Soup and Spinach Pear Salad with wine and  cheeses.  The recipe for the soup was shared by my friend and pastor Greta Novotne. It turned out as yummy as I remembered it. 

There is a "law" when quoting someone that the first time you give them credit, the second time it is a random association then finally it becomes yours. Well apparently that's what happened with the soup, hence the name on the cute recipe card. 

 If you try the soup let me know what you think. 

Roasted Squash & Pear Soup
4 cups butternut squash, peeled and seeds removed, roughly chopped
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 leeks, halved and washed, chopped
4 tbsp. sage, chopped
2 pears, cored, peeled and diced
1 tsp. grated nutmeg
4 cups chicken stock
1 tsp. chili pepper flakes (optional) 
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
3 slices of bacon, chopped
1.                Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
2.                Add the squash, pears, 2 tablespoons of sage, nutmeg and 1 tablespoon of oil in a large bowl and mix to combine. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and empty the bowl out into a single layer. Roast for 25 minutes. 
3.                Using a saute pan, add one tablespoon of oil over medium heat and add the bacon, cooking for five minutes or until slightly crispy. Remove from pan and place on a paper towels.
4.                Using the same pan, add the final tablespoon of oil over medium heat and add the leeks and garlic, cooking for 3 minutes or until softened.
5.                Working in batches, transfer the leeks, onion and squash mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth.
6.                Pour into a large pot with the stock and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
7.                Meanwhile, toast the breadcrumbs and remaining sage in a small fry pan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add in the bacon and stir to combine. Set aside.
8.                To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with bacon &  breadcrumb mixture. Finish with chili pepper flakes.
9.                Serves 6.

Baby Spinach with Pears, Pecans, Goat Cheese and Bacon
(hoping to a picture in the near future.) 

Yields: 4
The Goods:
…for the dressing:
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/3 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and cracked fresh pepper
…for the salad:
4 cups baby spinach
2 medium ripe pears
3/4 cup pecans, toasted
pinch cayenne pepper
2 tbsp. honey
pinch salt
4 bacon slices, cut in thirds
3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine honey, salt and cayenne and toss in the pecans until coated. Spread on a lined baking sheet in a single layer and bake until toasted, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. In a small bowl combine the cider vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and sugar and whisk. Slowly add in the olive oil and whisk until emulsified. Season and set aside.
3. Pan fry the bacon for a few minutes per side until golden brown. Drain and reserve.
4. Toss the baby spinach with most of the dressing in a bowl, reserving about a quarter. Plate the spinach. Halve and core and cut the pears into thin strips and toss the pear slices with the toasted pecans in the same bowl the spinach was tossed in.
5. Add the pears and pecans to the spinach and place bacon strips on top. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and place crumbled goat cheese over top.

6. Serve.

The Spinach Pear salad was an adaptation from one the one above. I'll definitely be making it again! 
(FYI, what I really did was  toss in the spinach, pears and pecans dressed with a bit of olive oil and a Lime Pear Balsamic vinegar and cracked pepper and sea salt.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

OMG Moments Making New Traditions at Thanksgiving

Just looked at the calender and had an OMG moment...Did you know??? It is only 17 days until Thanksgiving? 

I'm so excited! This year my son Nathaniel and his children are planning to come, it's the first time having my grandchildren come visit from out of state and I'm on pins and needles! They will meet families of their cousins face to face for the very first time and see Aunties and Uncles that they've not had in their life due to distance. 

Oops, change of plans,,,<heavy sigh> my son can't get the time off...so very sad. I know it will be a blast just hanging out but of course I want the traditions we create and the food we eat to be memorable too. I'm still in the planning stages but I thought I'd share my ideas for my Menu...

Brined Turkey
 Carol's YUM Stuffing
Homemade Turkey Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Veggies & Dip
Relish Tray
Fruit medley
 Cranberry Relish
deviled eggs
 Sweet Potatoes
Pumpkin Pie
The newcomer...Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifle looks really yummy!

A few years back it was a great joy to have my dear friend Beverly staying with us for a while. As we talked over food plans for the Thanksgiving celebration she shared a tip...
Brining a turkey guarantees a delicious moist turkey. She and I bought our brine the first year from Williams and Sonoma but honestly it is a simple thing to make your own, I thought you might enjoy the recipe I have since used.

Turkey Brine

"This recipe makes 3 quarts of brine, enough for a 10 to 25 pound turkey. All of the spices and herbs in this recipe add great flavor, if you can't find one for some reason, don't worry, just leave it out. 
2/3 cup kosher salt
2/3 cup sugar
6 whole cloves
1 teaspoon juniper berries, crushed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
2 teaspoons whole allspice berries, crushed
5 fresh sage leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
8 cups hot water
4 cups ice water 
2 turkey size plastic oven bags or brining bags
1 large roasting pan (or a very large bowl)
1 fresh or thawed frozen turkey (12 to 20 pounds)
note: The easiest way to crush whole spices is to use a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. If you do not have either of these kitchen tools, place the whole spices in a heavy lock-top plastic bag, seal the bag while pressing out all the air, and pound them with the bottom of a small, heavy saucepan until coarsely crushed.
For the Brine:
In a large saucepan, stir together the salt, sugar, cloves, juniper berries, peppercorns, and allspice. Add the sage leaves, thyme, and bay leaves along with the hot water. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Boil for 3 minutes, then remove from the heat. Add the ice water and stir to cool the mixture. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
The Method:
Nest 1 plastic oven bag inside the other to create a double thickness. Place the double bag mouth open wide and facing up, in the roasting pan. Fold back the top one-third of the double bag to make a collar (this helps keep the bags open). Place the turkey inside the double bag. Unfold the collar of the double bag and pour the brine over the bird, then add 2 cups of cold water. Draw up the top of the inner bag, squeezing out as much air as possible, and secure it closed with a twist tie. Do the same with the outer bag. Turn the package so the turkey is breast side down in the roasting pan (or very large bowl) and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours. Turn the turkey 3 or 4 times while it is brining.
Remove the turkey from the brine. Discard the bags, brine, and any cured herbs or spices remaining on the bird. Rinse the turkey under cold water and pat dry with paper towels (sanitize the sink afterwards). Place the turkey back in the roasting pan (or on a rimmed sheet pan that is large enough to hold the turkey) and refrigerate, making sure that it touches nothing else in the fridge, uncovered, for at least 6 hours or up to overnight. This resting period allows the skin of the turkey to dry a bit so it is crisp when roasted. The turkey is now ready to be roasted. 

One new tradition for me began a few years ago, recounting things I am grateful for. I'm looking for an idea to help all of us express gratitude together on Thanksgiving Day. If you have an idea for me please share it in the comments

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Did You Know?...Tips About Stockpiled Scrapbooking Supplies Part 5

This is the final post of my  multi-part article where I been sharing tips and tidbits concerning stockpiled scrapbooking supplies. I really learned a lot from a very wise crafter who did some amazing mathematical calculations to determine time and use correlations of her craft room supplies to arrive at how long it would take to use up her current supply.  

  •  Did you know that one ABC sticker sheet usually makes only two titles before is is 'cast off' by most scrapbookers? Over half the stickers are then wasting away in binders or storage and clogging up precious storage space--never to be used again. Perhaps using your stickers as shown will give you some relief from the guilt of the previous statement. 

  • Did you know that people will pay $1 each for two punched flowers and a brad or pop dot? (Think Jolees, K and Co, and Paper Bliss) Do it yourself for a fraction of that. It takes only pennies to make a stacked flower from your scraps and chalk the outside petals..... I know you have scraps and brads, eyelets or pop dots! LOL Pay yourself about $20 to $40 an hour and make a few dozen sets instead of buying them.

DYI Paper Flower Tutorial

  • Did you know that stamping your own twill ribbon with phrases saves you $2.00 a yard? How many pre made ribbon yards do you have that you need to use up? Wording ribbon usually works out to 1 foot per page. If you have a stockpile of 20 yards of worded ribbons of all kinds, that means you better get cracking and make 60 pages before you buy more!!
Here are two links for tutorials to try this out. Link 1 Link 2

We've learned quite a lot from our calculator inclined scrapbooking friend but what I like to remember most though is: