Sunday, December 28, 2008

Garlands, who'd a thunk it?

Who would've thought that I'd be captivated, charmed by these?! Somehow I stumbled across a Flickr group focused on photos of handcrafted garlands. ALL KINDS of garlands. Love it!

Flickr: The Ga-ga for Garlands Pool

(Tip: browse with the full-screen slideshow -- very nice)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Freeze Yer Buns 2008 challenge

As soon as I realized Crunchy Chicken had launched the Freeze Yer Buns 2008 challenge, I knew I had to join! (Ask my husband and kids!)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Copenhagen Cycle Chic

How very fun! Dressing normally, nay, with style! and bicycling wherever you need to go. Yay Copenhagen and contributors from elsewhere!

Copenhagen Cycle Chic - Streetstyle and Bike Advocacy in High Heels

Pad Thai and jasmine rice

Last night, thanks to some clearance'd items I picked up at the grocery store a while back, we learned that the whole family likes Pad Thai and jasmine rice. Yay! No need for a Pad Thai boxed kit next time; I'll pick up some rice noodles and either buy or make the sauce.

Yet again, I am reminded that all of us like various Asian dishes. Yum!

By the way, thanks to my now-daily habit of stopping by Facebook, my too-busy-to-blog mindset seems to have faded away. We'll see :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Meal plans for late summer

So... I've lost 10 pounds since April 1 and joining and tracking what I eat (as well as continuing to walk for fitness). Now that summer weather has started to break a bit, and we're back to school and fall family routines, I Need To Plan Good Meals! Here's what I have so far for the next two weeks or so. (I'm SURE we'll grill out over the Labor Day weekend, too.)

On hand for snacks etc:
- Plums, peaches, apples
- Blueberries, maybe blackberries
- Tomatoes, bell peppers
- Carrots, celery, cabbage, lettuces, green onions
- Dried apricots, prunes
- Raw almonds, raw pecans, roasted peanuts, peanut butter
- Hard-boiled eggs
and of course some breads.

- Burritos. Homemade Mexican rice, refried beans, black beans, diced tomato or homemade salsa, and cheddar in flour tortillas. Serve with a salad, and tomato wedges and carrots with ranch dip.
- Enchiladas. Our rice and bean fillings (above), rolled up in enchilada-sauced-corn tortillas, topped with a bit of cheese and more enchilada sauce, and baked. Will make these with leftover burrito fillings, and freeze. Serve with a salad, and tomato wedges and carrots with ranch dip.
- Shrimp tacos. Cooking Light Aug. 08, p.114. With fruit.
- Big salad. Romaine lettuce, shrimp, tomatoes, shredded carrot, bell pepper strips, and dressings of choice. Hearty bread.
- Spicy shrimp pasta. Broccoli, basil, crushed red pepper; replace oil-packed sun-dried tomato with lots of bell pepper strips (roasted??), and generally triple the veggies. Better Homes and Gardens Sept. 08, p.192.
- Spaghetti and meatballs. With a big salad and Italian green beans.
- Meatball mini subs. With veggies with ranch dip: carrots, celery, bell pepper, tomato wedges.
- German apple pancake. With sausages. Cooking Light Aug. 08, p.154.
- Steamed rice, shredded tuna (canned), green beans and cooked carrot coins.

Side dishes/lunches for me:

- Italian green beans and a few red potatoes. Cooked, then tossed with olive oil, seasoned bread crumbs, freshly grated Parmesan, sea salt, and pepper. Serve warm, cool, or room temp.
- My blackeyed pea salad. Diced bell pepper and onion, balsamic vinaigrette.
- Southwest Confetti Salad. Diced veggies, fresh corn, brown rice, black beans. Cooking Light July 08, p.142.
- White bean and tomato salad. Everyday Food Sept. 08, pl18.
- Avocado, tomato, and cucumber salsa. Cooking Light Aug. 08, p.164.

Breakfasts/lunches to make with the boys:
- My "Busy Mom's Coffeecake", preferably with yogurt or sausages, and fruit.
- Yogurt parfaits. Vanilla yogurt, mixed berries or other fruit, granola.
- Homemade cinnamon rolls/buns. Baker's Catalogue/King Arthur Flour recipe. Preferably with cream cheese or sausages or bacon, and fruit.
- Quick breads. Banana, zucchini, pumpkin? Delicious toasted and topped with a bit of peanut butter, or cranberry preserves (pumpkin). Or with a smear of cream cheese (not for me though).

The baking waits for the elusive nice cool night/early morning... and for my oven to be fixed, which should be tomorrow afternoon, if all goes well.

Some of the dinners and sides I want and need to make over the next 2-3 days. That would be a good kick-start!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Random thoughts on a Friday night

Feet up. On couch. My legs and feet are soooo tired. Went on a good walk this morning, but really what did it was working a funeral reception at church all afternoon (from set up to cleanup). Groan. It was a lovely reception; maybe I can find all-black sport sandals to wear?

Love taking walks. Love, love, love taking walks. Last fall I was going on 30-minute walks two or three times a day. Loved walking, loved being outside and being active, loved the time with my own thoughts or a podcast of my choice. Due to ice storms, holiday activities, and more winter weather my walking routine has vanished, but I so love it and miss it that I gotta get back outside. At least -- every day the wind chill is no lower than 20F.

Knitting: I have three sock heels to turn and must seize some quiet time to get those heels turned. I love Ravelry. I've heard it called Facebook for knitters and crocheters. All I know is that I get inspiration and great ideas from the projects and the forums, so I knit more often and more consistently. Until I get stuck, like right now.

Lately I've been reminded that I really enjoy Japanese style, art, textiles, history, poetry, etc. There was a lot of Japanese influence around when I was growing up in Seattle in the 60s and 70s. A lot of Nordic influence, too, but that did not resonate with me at all. Funny how they can both be spare and minimal, and yet I really enjoy only one.

The sunroom is a wonderful place, now that there is a chair (plastic), a place to put down a cup of something to drink (utility shelf), growing plants to enjoy (poinsettias leftover at church, and my big pot of blooming, happy red geraniums and peppermint). I could spend every winter afternoon in there -- at least the ones with some sun. After I cleared out and set up the window-side half of the room, the boys suddenly began to go to the sunroom to do their independent schoolwork, and want to do lessons with me in there, too. Tonight I enjoyed the early evening light and sunset there, with my feet up on that utility shelf.

The boys had a ball today at our homeschooling organization's Valentine's roller skating party. They got to exchange valentines, eat treats, and do lots of skating with friends. As for me, I really enjoyed talking with all of the parents and kids I knew. It was very nice to realize we know quite a lot of people in our homeschooling organization. Fun, fun, fun!

Thanks to joining the new women's Bible study at church in December, I've been reading the letters of St. Paul, something I hadn't really done since early college. So far we're reading his letters in chronological order by when they were written. I forgot how much I love Philippians (is that one L or two?), and I now recall some of the ups and downs of Paul's writing in general. Starting this week we're taking a break from the letters in order to read a book about Paul, on the urging of a religious studies professor who gave a talk on Paul for us last week. The book is Paul: In Fresh Perspective, by N.T. Wright.

When my dear husband and older son were away for four days right after Christmas, camping with the Boy Scouts, I seriously dejunked and decluttered the house. Three or four paper grocery sacks of kids' clothes, toys, and videos were assimilated into friends' homes. Something like 12 small bags of clothes, mine and the boys', went in a thrift shop donation box. I rearranged book shelves, took care of paperwork piles, and I forget what all else. Oh, and dejunked and set up part of the sunroom for use. Wonderful!

In January the boys and I cleaned out both boys' rooms of the accumulated clutter, got rid of more stuff, boxed up a bunch of stuff for their closets for the time being, and suddenly they had space!!

Kind of like the walking, I can feel it when I'm not keeping up with the clutter vs. when I am. Keeping up is good, and deep cleaning and deep organizing is even better -- the house becomes so open and clear, and there is plenty of room for projects or just for visual serenity. On the other hand, slacking and letting it slide for a bit really has an impact on how I feel about the house.

After I get some planting medium, I'm going to try growing lettuces in the sunroom! If I get on a roll, I'll plant some summer veggie seeds -- tomatoes, peppers, etc. I have a new plan for our backyard garden beds this year, the ones that would be great as vegetable gardens but that I can never seem to tackle. First, though, I have to locate wheat straw bales and figure out how to get them home.