Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas 2013

Another Christmas is over  and soon it will be the New Year. Out with the old....Christmas decorations....and in with the new....Resolutions for the new year. I am always anxious to get the decorations down and things put back in order. This was another fabulous Christmas and here are some highlights.

SNOW! We awoke to a nice white covering of snow on Friday, the 20th. It didn't last long, but school was cancelled and lots of snowmen were built before it all melted.

Sunday, the 22nd, Jill and George hosted our extended "Young" family Christmas celebration. I counted 33 of us. Loads of food, fun and fellowship! The highlight was when Uncle Bob dressed up as Santa and handed out gifts to each of the little ones. He purchased the gifts, wrapped them and had the joy of distributing them!

We have our annual gift "grab" with the extended family. All who want to participate bring a wrapped gift and we all draw numbers, select a wrapped gift or steal one that has already been opened. It is a fun tradition and here are a few favorite shots from this event.
Kyle wondering what he will do with this gem of a nutcracker.
Jason noting another Amazon box. Amazon did well this year if you can gauge it from all their boxes we opened!

Here is Robin in her fuzzy hat. She didn't keep it long. Brian stole it from her!

Ben opening his gift with Bob and Josh looking on.

 Here are Dave and I with Roger and Jason in the background.

Hostess Jill and Cousin Chip

Christmas Eve golfing at Maplewood with Dave and Dick.  We also golfed on Friday (the 27th) with Dave L. and Dick, but it was not as much fun because we got rained on! Winter golf is less expensive and you need to have some warmer duds, but we enjoy ourselves just the same.

We attended the 4 pm Christmas Eve Candlelight service at Highlands Community Church and it was a very meaningful time. Wonderful Christmas hymns and a full choir. The Bantells arrived afterward and we served Chicken Divan for dinner and then gave them a brush-up lesson on playing pinochle in preparation for the annual New Year's Eve Pinochle Party at the Scotts. We've been part of this tradition for about 20 years now. We EAT and eat some more before, during and after pinochle! Lots of food and fun times for the 16 of us who attend.

But back to Christmas. It was so special to have Pete and Shauna host Christmas at their house for our family. Kyle and Kari and kids came down from Bellingham so all our kids and grandkids were there. She cooked a tasty prime rib dinner and we all opened gifts before dinner.

Charlotte, Annika and Hailey....all girly girls

Shauna, Kari and Saben. I think he is happy!

Annika tried on the skirt I made her over her pants. It fit! I made all three girls outfits out of corduroy.
This is the jumper I sewed for Hailey. The top is purchased.
I sewed this for Charlotte who loves pink.
I crocheted an afghan for Jason

Fancy table setting!


Shauna is enjoying her new kitchen!


Thank you Sue Yount for this wonderful Christmas centerpiece! It is perfect!!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

YUM!!!! Gluten-Free Fudgy Brownie Cupcakes

You've heard it said....I'm sure....horses sweat, men perspire and ladies glisten. Well, I must be a horse because I am sweating! I've been in the kitchen all day.

First I met 2 friends for coffee at 8:30 am. Yup....on a Saturday! That's kind of early. But it gave me the rest of the day to accomplish some things. Yesterday I had gone to Carpinito Brothers produce stand and got 2 flats of raspberries as well as one of the biggest sweet potatoes I've ever seen! Only need one for the 2 of us, and that will be too much. Anyway, I also got some carnations and asters for color outside this fall. But I digress....

After coffee this morning I hopped to it and made some raspberry jam. I cut back on the sugar and man is it good!! Got them all cooled and now they are stored away in the shed. Lots of clean up. Then I made some pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream frosting.

 It only made 13 cupcakes and since I am bringing them for Charlotte's 3rd birthday tomorrow, I decided to try these:

Only made 11 and one broke apart so Dave and I split it. He couldn't even tell it was gluten-free which was wonderful.

Here they are at the party!
Then I put a pot roast in the oven with carrots, potatoes, onions and mushrooms, made gravy with red wine, used the 2 ears of corn I got from the produce stand and cut the kernels off and cooked it in a pot. So good! Best corn we've had so far. Then a LOT of cleanup.

I wasn't finished yet. Still needed more cupcakes so made a quick trip to the store to get more chocolate squares which I discovered Bakers brand has now shrunk its package to include 4 count it FOUR ounces of chocolate so needed to get 2 boxes. (WHAT A RIP OFF!!)

I made a double batch of the chocolate cupcakes and then frosted the pumpkin cupcakes. More clean up and I'm POOPED!! And I'm glistening.....

Now to go watch Shark Tank since I was gone playing pinochle last night and we didn't have a chance to watch it when I got home. I think I need to go hose off first.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Coffee Time!

Here is the latest creation from my craft room. Mug Rugs. When you have a girlfriend over for coffee or tea and you don't want to just set the mug or cup on the table, viola!

Kinda looks like a watercolor effect, but no, just pieces of fabric and rayon embroidery thread. I have several other designs in mind to stitch up. These took longer than the others that I'm planning on making. The binding is always more time consuming because I need to hand stitch it on the reverse side. Here is what I did. I backed some green, blue and turquoise fabric with Steam-a-Seam (or you can use Wonder Under) and then cut out the leaves and circles and ovals. After ironing them in place on some plain white cotton I added the green borders. Then I put some InsulBrite (batting meant for use with hot items) in the middle, with a piece of white cotton for the backing, used more Steam-a-Seam to hold the layers together, pinned it and began stitching the outlines of the leaves and created the flowers freehand. After trimming it to make sure it was square I added the binding. Simple! Here is the book I used where I found the idea and I'm showing the very beginning for some other mug rugs.

I guess I'm really gearing up for fall. I harvested the last of my potatoes that I grew in a big Rubbermaid tub (red potatoes way out produced the yellow ones) and I'm once again making sprouts. This time I'm using red clover seeds. I'm not too happy with how long it is taking them to get going. My favorite is mung beans or alfafa. I haven't sprouted seeds for years!

Just call me Martha

I snatched this idea from another site (probably Pinterest but I can't remember) and if you want to try it yourself or adapt it, go for it! I LOVE my Kitchenaid mixer, even if it is 30+ years old. It still works! Since I don't plan on investing in a new one, and I so love all the new colors they come in, I decided to make some decals or rather "paintable clings" to make it look less boring. Here it is:

It was super easy. I purchased the Martha Stewart brand clings from Michael's Craft Store a few months ago. I know I'm slow! I have so many other craft, sewing and knitting projects going on that I'd forgotten to do this! I also purchased 5 of Martha's Liquid Fill Glass Paints. Here is a link to Martha Stewart's website and you can watch the short video and maybe you will find something that you want to decorate.

My mixer has made loads of chocolate chip, peanut butter, snickerdoodles and wookie cookies, sweet breads, pie dough, whipped cream, cakes and frostings. I still have all the original beaters and I'm very particular about not washing any of them in the dishwasher. They always get a good going over with someone's tongue before being hand washed. I really don't know how I could survive without this trusty mixer.

A few nights ago I canned some delicious apricot-pineapple jam. So good!

I had sold all my canning supplies before our last move, and I had sold hundreds of canning jars at the move before that one! My mom used to can all sorts of fruits, jams, beets, pickles and green beans. She made other pickled vegetables but as a kid I never could choke them down! When our kids were grown and out of the house I figured I wouldn't be doing any more canning for just my husband and me. Oops. Now that daughter, Shauna, has expressed interest and daughter-in-law, Kari, has been doing some canning, my creative juices have gotten the best of me. I found a water bath canner at a garage sale in our neighborhood for $4.00 with a few jars which allowed me to be back in business. I went to Shauna's about a week ago and helped her can peaches and dill pickles. It was so much fun to help her accomplish this task. She already had canned pickled peppers and some other pickled vegetables the night before. She has a good beginning to her future as a home canning mom! I just wish Kari lived closer so the three of us could combine forces and really get some food put up.

I guess that is it for now. I've got a few sewing projects that need my attention.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Posting this so my kids remember to tell this to THEIR kids when they are teens!


1. Yes, your freshman AND Sophomore years count towards your GPA for college entrance. Screw it up and you’ll work for crap wages your whole life.

2. No means NO. In every possible circumstance.

3. Join every sport, every club, every after school activity no matter what the cost. It’s cheaper than bail.

4. Repeat after me: I am never in that much of a hurry…I am never in that much of a hurry. Now say that every time you get behind the wheel. It will save your life and that of your best friend in the seat next to you.

5. Don’t do drugs or drink - it is so not worth the trouble.

6. Don’t get a credit card. You earn it or you live without it.

7. If I yell at you, it’s because I love you. And also, because you pissed me off. To avoid the latter, don't be an idiot. And don't disappoint me. More importantly, yourself.

8. Make a vivid picture inside your head of every great moment of your childhood. You’ll need those to get through adulthood.

9. Make snow angels as often as possible. Make a bucket list. Check it off!

10. Stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.

11. Be always benevolent. Yes, that’s a word. Look it up.

12. Call me for a ride even if you are so drunk you barely know my number. I’ll probably be mad for a while but I’ll respect you for calling and I won’t kill you. Riding with someone who is drinking will. (PS - remember #5?)

13. Be a leader, not a follower. Unless you are following the kid with the highest GPA and (s)he is going to a study group, then by all means be a follower!

14. Love your siblings, even when you don’t like them. Some day you will be trying to get them to take care of me in my old age. If they are mad at you, you are stuck with me.

15. I’ve been there, done that on more things than you can imagine. I’m not stupid and I know what you are doing. I was once you (times ten).

16. Work hard at everything you do. Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

17. Cover it. (Enough said.)

18. When I tell you to clean your room, do not point at my messy room and raise your eyebrows. I’m trying to raise you to be better than me.

19. Learn to type; to budget; to spell correctly and to pray. All are equally important.

20. Never be sedentary. Someday soon you will no longer be able to move like that. Enjoy it.
I can't take credit for this! And oops....I can't GIVE credit either. Don't know who wrote it....but THANKS!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Waning Days of Summer

This is what greeted me when I walked outside yesterday.

And this was just one of many! It is that time of year when I begin to feel like summer is over. The weather has indeed shifted a bit. About a week ago I fell into my usual slump for this phase of summer....I gave up watering my plants. Thankfully Dave is still keeping the plants hydrated! Every year during the middle of August I just sorta quit! Done. I'm bored with the whole deal. I KNOW the potatoes and squash in their tubs still need water. I know some of the flowers are still blooming and need water. But I guess I just see the spent flowers and the leaves turning yellow and brown and get discouraged. I really don't know why this happens each summer, but I'm too old to learn new tricks, so as long as Dave is willing to water, I will continue on this way.

As much as I LOVE hot weather and the sunshine heating up the concrete, there must be part of me that is gearing up for fall. Cool, crisp evenings, sprinkles of rain, cozying up with an afghan while watching the new season of TV programs. Ahhh. But didn't I see some Christmas things appearing in the store the other day? YIKES! Maybe I better try to get outside and water the plants and hang on to summer just a bit longer. Sigh....

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Pies and Pinochle

Twice a month I meet with 7 other ladies (most of whom live in my neighborhood) for pinochle. Yesterday was my turn to host. We typically have 2 tables set up with 2 decks of cards (so as not to waste time shuffling) and snacks. We all chip in $1.50 which is divided up when we finish and given to the high point winner, last pinochle and lowest score.

After we play several hands our 2 1/2 hours of playing time is over and we can then all sit together and have dessert. Since our friend, Marv, rode his bike over here yesterday and brought  some yummy fresh rhubarb for us, I decided to make 2 (from scratch) strawberry rhubarb pies. I made one gluten-free pie and one regular. One of our group cannot eat any gluten and I've been avoiding it myself, so I figured it was a good thing to do. Can you tell which is gluten free?

Let me tell you why one is so much darker than the other. Bad me! I didn't think to put a pan under the first pie until it was too late. The one on the left (yup, that's the gluten free one) needed to be cooked at a lower temperature so I baked them separately. As you can imagine, it oozed all over the bottem of my oven, which I had just cleaned last week. Too late for me to do anything about that, so I assume that when I put the 2nd one in all that smoke ( the windows!!!) made it brown up more than usual.

Actually the gluten free pie was a real hit. It tasted fabulous. Better than regular crust, in my opinion. The only problem was that I couldn't crimp or use a fork on the edges since the crust was a bit crumbly.

This one may have looked over done, but it wasn't. Still very tasty. Strawberry Rhubarb is my very favorite pie! But only homemade. I just don't enjoy store bought pies. Not even Costco pies.

I may have had a hit with the pies, but alas, my $1.50 buy-in went to others in the group.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

It's Summer!!

I love, love, love summer! The warm weather brings with it beautiful flowers, walking Frodo with music on my trusty IPod, floating in the pool (my back surgery prohibits swimming for now), sipping a daiquiri or margarita (thanks Dave!) while sitting at the patio eating chips and reading. Homemade salsa, early or late dinners....who cares!? Oh...and of course, our annual extended family campout which had been temporarily posponed for the past 8 years or so. We aren't much into camping so this year, while everyone else camped, Dave and I stayed for one night in a motel. Smart move on our part!!

First of all, I want to share with you one of my latest purchases.

That's's a wind chime. But not just any wind chime! This is a Shenandoah brand which plays a 5-note pentatonic scale in the key of E (whatever that means.) All I know is that it is LOVELY!! 34" in length and when the breeze comes, it is so melodic and relaxing. 
There is Jason. Shauna found a perfect campground at Bumping Lake, which is just off SR 410 east of Mt. Rainier.

This was our main campsite, where everyone gathered to cook, eat, sit around the fire, eat, wash dishes, eat, play games, eat, talk and snack!

My sweet niece, Jenny, husband Jonathan and son Zanzi
The guys spent a lot of time sitting around the campfire, whittling, playing the guitar and talking. My niece Emily is getting quite proficient at playing the guitar!

There goes Shauna with the girls. Time for a bathroom break. This campground offered a no-flush one room toilet. No showers or running water! The water for cooking and washing dishes had to be trekked a short distance from a water pump.
Hailey and Annika are ready to get the bike cart hooked up for a ride to the swimming dock.

Hi Saben! Our one and only grandson. The kids all had their bikes so they kept pretty busy! They captured loads of tadpoles in the lake.

Charlotte is 2 1/2 and loved riding her strider bike all over the place.She found a HUGE bug of some sort...I MEAN HUGE!!! She got it in a cup and showed it to everyone. Annika, who is deathly afraid of any and all bugs, insects, ants, spiders, flys, etc, absolutely shrieked!! Poor thing! I wasn't too thrilled when I looked in the cup either!

Kari, DIL, and Jill, SIL

No tent for us! We stayed in Room #1, bottom right, with a king size bed, overlooking the river, at Whistlin' Jack Lodge.

Here is a sampling of some of the flowers in our yard that I have been enjoying.

And here is my large tub filled with dirt and planted with red potatoes and yukon golds. Where are those flowers?? Lots of greenery to overflowing, but no flowers yet. I have a zucchini on the left side, but it is completely hidden by the potato plant! The zucchini is rather stunted but has developed some blossoms. Next year I will have a small, very small, garden area back here. There is not much light, but enough!