Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Years and a recipe

We have a few hours of 2008 left. I hope everyone has a great New Year's Eve and New Year. David has to work tonight and they boys and I will be heading out to a party that a former high-school classmate is hosting.

If you still need a recipe for tonight or tommorow, I will share the recipe I made to take tonight...
Rosemary Lemon White Bean Dip
From The Minamilast Cooks at Home by Mark Bittman

2 cups white beans drained, but still a bit wet (see my note at the end on how to hydrate cooked beans fast and easy)
1-3 cloves garlic
Sea Salt and Pepper Fresh ground
1/4 plus 1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
grated zest from two lemons

Put beans, garlic, salt and pepper in food processor. Process a bit. Slowly add olive oil until mixture is smooth.
Transfer to bowl and stir in rosemary and lemon peel.
Serve with bread, nacho chips, or veggies.
Liam ate it tonight with baby carrots and nacho chips. I am bringing a baguette to serve with it tonight.

To hydrate beans. In crockpot add one cup beans and cover with chicken or veggie broth and then add another inch or so. Set the crock pot on high for 2 1/2 hours. You will have beans ready to go! Beans are cheap, even in the can, this makes them even cheaper.

Monday, December 29, 2008

snow layout

We are having temper-tantrum issues today, so I can't make this a long post. Here is a layout I did last night.

credits: Tracey & Saxon's Winter Frost by Tracey Monette & Saxon Holt, Magical Wonderland Dangles by Peta Boardman.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The melt continues

The roads were much better when I came home from work last night then they were when I took Christian to Tae Kwon Do. On my first trip down the street, I could not brake or excelerate. I just gently guided the steering wheel until I could get the van on some bare pavement. Once we got off our street it was fine. The major two lane streets are still 1.5 lane streets and cars are parked quite a ways out on some streets, which makes it harder to drive.
Another sign of the thaw is our neighbors cat Pasha. She is back out and about. Our cat Luna does not like Pasha and gets very upset when Pasha comes into a yard, which is often. I don't think cats can get their minds around the big picture. Like there is a lot of snow out and the neighbors are keeping their cats in until the weather improves. I think Luna thought she had scared Pasha off with her jungle cat powers. She was very unhappy last night when Pasha appeared on our back patio. She went over and started slapping our cat Bronte to work through her anger and resentment.
A couple of other notes from yesturday. Christian passed his test in Tae Kwon Do. He is now a third degree white belt. He has two more tests to pass to get his yellow belt. After he passes is forth test he can go to the intermediate class. He is going to take Tae Kwon Do twice a week in the winter. He does it all over the house all day, so we decided to get him in class more. An older boy who has his black belt came in to help in class. He was so polite and respectful. It is the best advertisement for keeping kids in Tae Kwon Do.
I signed Liam up for an Art class once a week. He is very passionate about his art and I would imagine some good pictures will appear on this blog in a few weeks.
I am registered for ballet this winter. It feels good to have all the classes paid for. The other thing that felt great was weighing myself yesturday. I am down 28 pounds now. I lost about seven pounds in Decemeber and that was with Christmas and after getting snowed in with my kids.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

We are starting to thaw out here finally. I am going to take the car on this morning. We have a walking path shoveled out on our driveway, David is going to check the driveway and make sure it is clear enough to get the van out. I think we will have snow on the grass, in gardens and on sides of streets for a long time.
Christian has a make up class for Tae Kwon Do this morning and I am going to get to the gym today for a long overdue workout. It has taken me twice as long as usual to walk to work this week, so I hope that counts as some kind of workout.
I did a couple of layouts from our Christmas morning photos....

Credits Here

Credits Here

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Some Assembly Required

One of the most fun parts of any Christmas celebrations is putting together the toys that say "some assembly required". The completion of the project is always more difficult than expected. You need to obtain the correct screw-driver, keep track of all the screws and while trying to pull all this together, you have to contend with two very excited boys.
I found this Space Train set at Coscto and bought it since it combined Liam's love for trains with Christian's love for space. To add to the excitement it is a glow in the dark set. Now that it is finally together, the boys are having fun playing with it. Christian wanted a remote control rocket and was a bit dissapointed that the toy did not have a remote control. He is still a bit young for a toy like that and we can't really use it in the winter.

Here are a few more pictures from our Christmas morning...

I did a layout with highlights from our snow. The news stations having been calling the storm Artic Blast 08. So that is where I got the title.

Credits: Kit - Snowed Under, alpha, snowflake, stare & sign: Jingle Bell Blues, Tinsel Frames - Tinsel Frames 2 all by Lindsay Jane Designs, Template by Chrissy W. available on her blog.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

And another snow day

Today it is not supposed to snow, but we still have all the snow on the ground from the previous storms and we are getting another storm tommorow. I think I will use this break in the weather to walk to the Dollar Tree and get wax paper and scotch tape since we are running low on both.
Christian had a play date with our neighbor across the street yesturday morning and early afternoon. It is a huge production getting clothes on just to walk across the street.
The boys played in the snow for a bid and we got into our back yard and took care of the chickens. I had to shovel out the entrace of the hen house to the door open and shut again.

After playing outside we came in, baked and decorated sugar cookies. Christian went across the street to play chess at the neighbors house for a while too.

When Christian came home the boys played with Legos for a while.

I also made pasta dough in our bread machine yesturday. It was very yummy. We just cut it like lasagna then cut it into smaller bites from there. I used garlic, brown butter and fresh grated parmesean as the topping. The boys inhaled it last night. I have a part of the dough that I did not roll out last night. I will do it today and we can have it for lunch. I think the boys and I will make pizza tonight. That is always a big hit too. David worked yesturday and works today. He gets the next two days off after this. So today is his Tuesday and Friday all rolled into one. I have to work a four hour shift tommorow morning. After being in the house so much since Saturday, it will be nice to get out for a few hours and get unlimited coffee while I am there.

Monday, December 22, 2008

+ foot of snow

Yesturday, Christian and I walked to the park and played for a while. I am fighting a cold, so when we got back I took a nap. When I woke up it was snowing again and I don't think it has stopped since. We have not been outside yet, but the TV News says there is a foot of snow in Downtown Portland and we are at a higher elevation.
From looking out our windows I can report that our gardens are fully covered. The kids toys are almost all covered on the back patio and the lawn furniture is just sticking out.
After I finish blogging, I am going to make gingerbread waffles for the family, then Christian and I will go outside and shovel out the area around the hen house. If we put out water it will freeze, so we are going to go through the vegetable crisper and find some stuff to send out. They can get water from eating fresh produce.
By the time this thing ends, we will have as many snow pictures as we do beach pictures. The one thing that is missing is Liam. He will not go out in it. It would be up to his waist now if he did. I will have to take some indoor photos of him and do a scrapbook page on how much he hates the snow.
I have a feeling he will be moving to a place with palm trees as soon as he can. He loves the beach so much it might be a tropical island.
Here are my pictures from Sunday (the other boy in the snow angel picture is our neighbor, who Christian is going to play chess with today)......

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A week of snow

We are now about a week into our snow thing. It has melted and came back several times, but now we have 6 plus inches outside, so it will be here for a while. The only thing I still have to do for Christmas is buy tape to wrap presents. (Liam is going through a whole tape thing.) I am willing to hold out until Thursday for a white Christmas.
Here are some pictures from yesturday. The east winds were very stong and it is only in the 20's. Liam only stayed out a couple of minutes then he wanted to go in the house. It is still in the 20's this morning, but the wind has died down, so maybe we can get out a bit. We had rain fall on top of the snow and freeze, so it will be more cruchy this morning.

Here are two layyouts from some of the snow photos.

Credits: Kit: Snowed Under by Lindsay Jane, Baubles and Snowflake border from Linday Jane's Blog

Credits: Tracey & Mikki's Winter Wonderland by Tracey Monette and Mikki Livanos & Tracey and Saxon's Winter Frost by Tracey Monette and Saxon Holt.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More snow days/hen house update

We are in day four of snow. It actually warmed up a bit and rained tonight, but it is supposed to re-freeze and snow for the rest of the week and then really snow on Sunday. In Portland, Oregon, this is very unusual. I remember my parents telling me about the year they moved to Portland (1968) and the huge snow that year. I work with someone who is turning 40 this week and I was telling her about that snow storm and she told me she was adopted and had to stay with a foster family for three weeks because her parents could not get to her.
I am trying to organize craft and other activities to keep the natives occupied. Today the boys did art, helped make pizza for dinner and then I put the tent up for a while. I had to take it down when they failed to obey me, then Liam spit on me while I was taking it down. Good times.
I think I am going to do peanut butter play doh and carmel corn tommorow. Here are some pictures from today's outing.

It had been a while since I have included an update on our chickens. This cold front has made me very anxious with the chickens. They seem to be doing fine and to prove they are happy, they have been laying eggs.
Here is our chicken Tess haning in the hen house during Sunday's snow.

Our "meat chickens" are now 6.5 months old. They have not grown very big and they have not crowed yet either, so we are assuming the are hens. We decided that we could name them. I named them after a co-worker - Darla & a regular customer - Audrey.

We will try raising "meat chickens" again in the spring. I hope they are male this time because we don't really have room for any more hens unless we expand their house.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Birthday/Snow Day

Yesturday was Christian's 6th birthday. To add to the birthday excitement we also had snow. Sunday and Monday it was very cold and windy. Today is just cold. Tommorow we are supposed to get more snow, warm up just enough to get freezing rain and then the temperature will drop again and we will get more snow. This is unusual for Portland, where we usually get rain.
I had not wrapped Christian's presents and Sunday night, it was so cold, I did not want to go out to the garage and get the presents and wrap. Liam is going through a whole present wrapping, scissors and tape phase so David and I decided that he would enjoy wrapping the presents Monday morning. He also hates the cold and has no desire to go outside. I took Christian out for a walk while David and Liam wrapped the presents. Everything worked well except four year old Liam grabbed one of the wrapped presents and started announcing that there were Legos inside.
That afternoon, I made gingerbread cookie dough and let the boys cut out cookies. I then let the boys use the remaining frosting from Christian's birthday to decorate. They love sprinkles and use a lot of them. I worry about waste, then I realise that those sprinkles are probably five years old. I can just pick up some more at Winco when the weather improves.

Credits: Kit - Jingle Bell Blues by Lindsay Jane Designs, Template - By Chrissy W. found in Funky Wonderland the Elemental Scraps December Collab Kit
I downloaded a 30 day trial of Photoshop Lightroom. This photo is a great example of why the program is fantastic. The chair Liam is standing on is a Lime Green Ikea chair. Very cute, but it does not go with the whole Christmas scheme. I played around with this in Lightroom.

Kit: Funky Wonderland - Elemental Scraps December Mega Kit
I did this layout with a few pictures from Christian's Birthday Party

Kit: Birthday Bash by Jannylyn Brokken, Distressed Paper: Not Too Shabby by Angie Kovacs, Alpha: Glittered Edge Alpha by Angie Kovacs, Template: Mixin' It Up 4 by Chrissy W.
I did this layout with all the pictures I took at Christian's Tae Kwon Do Class

Credits: Template Mixin' It Up 4 by Chrissy W. Kit: Wild Child by Linday Jane Designs

Saturday, December 13, 2008

This week has been busy with Christmas activities and preperations for Christian's Birthday Party.
This year we were on the fence about whether to do a party or not. Christian would want a party every day of the year if we let him, but we did not want to spend too much money or create too much work for us. A local fast food restuarant has a large play area and will let you do birthday parties there for $2 per child and a discount of food. (no purchase food purchase required). We have been to two other parties there. The standard practice is to purchase kid meals for each of the kids.
I only let Christian invite six friends. Last year he had around 20 guests every person invited except one were able to attend. We kept it small for cost purposes and also so Christian can have quality time with his friends and might be able to tell us who was at this party in years to come.
My first job was to make the invitation. I had some fun in Photoshop and came up with this.

Whatever skill I have with Photoshop, I lack in cake decorating. I decided to make cupcakes (from a mix) and bought some basic decorating supplies at the craft store. I bought some Wilton molds and candies and made stars to top each cupcake. I had a few left over after getting the cakes ready for his party and I let the boys decorate them. Christian's cupcake fell apart (we have all been there). Liam had an easier time and ended up with quite the creation.

I made lollypops with one of the molds I bought instead of doing the whole "goody bag" thing. Last night I made bag toppers. I used the kit Space Ranger by Nikki Scott.

On a completely different note, we found Liam involved in an intense game of chess the other morning.

I finally made an Advent wreath this week. (Yes I know it is late). David trimmed back the neighbors pine tree that grows into our back yard. I went to the Dollar tree and bought the candles and ribbon. They were say a bad wind storm might come in and I told David we could light the whole thing if we loose power.

Credits: Kit: Very Merry Christmas Kit by Jannylyn Brokken, Jesus in the Manger: Nostalgic Nativity by Sharia Braxton

Credits: Jingle Bell Blues by Lindsay Jane Designs

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Breaking Boards and Christmas Trees

Today was a packed day. Christian had Tae Kwon Do this morning and it was board breaking day. Here are some pictures:

We were planning to drive out to Oregon City and chop down a tree at a farm, but on the way to Tae Kwon Do, I saw trees for sale for $10 on a lot. When Christian and I returned home, I told David about it and we drove over. It was great the guy tied the tree on the car for us and everything. We saved money on the gas and the tree and did much less work.
We usually have problems getting the tree in the stand (assuming we can even find our stand). Christian was able to loosen all the screws in the stand for us, then David got the tree it and set straight easily.

Once the tree was in the house, the boys were so excited, they were driving us crazy. The tension level rose quite high and the Norman Rockwell factor was certianly gone. David and I were saying, who needs crazy, drunk relatives to make a crazy, dsyfunctional Christmas. Two hyperactive boys are enough. David put the lights on the tree and the boys decorated. We can't find some of the decorations, but oh well. Less is more.

Here are two layouts I did from our visit to Santa

Credits: Funky Christmas by Tracey Monette at Scrapbook-Elements (Available Sunday AM)

Credits: Kit Holiday Cheer by Sherri Tierney, Acrylic Frames by Chrissy W., Template by Angie Kovacs