Friday, January 31, 2014

Five Things Thursday on Friday

I'm just really behind. But as it turns out, I have 5 more layouts left from our little retreat to the farm that I have not shared yet.
 "Dressing the Table" is my 2013 Thanksgiving layout.
 This layout and the one below document Christmas 2013. I made one for each of the girls albums.
 I do not like to duplicate. I prefer that when I am using the same photos or story, that I make the layout different----just more fun for me.

Christmas 1984---little by little, I'm scrapbooking the older stuff. It's not really my current style as I prefer to scrapbook the little day-to-day sorts of things. Actually, I don't know why I say that. I really like it all and DO it all!!

Five more photos:

When we're at the farm, we have the perfect set-up. We put up the tables in the middle of the living room. When there's just the three of us, we each have our own 8 ft. table.
 This is my spot. I clean up after each layout to try to keep myself somewhat organized.
 This is Pam's spot. She was putting an album together.
 Karolyn faces me. Since it's her place, she has a sewing machine for us to use. She also takes her Cricut so we have that too. We do not have internet access, but I bring my laptop and printer so we can journal.
Actually, this all looks pretty neat considering it's scrapbooking! Normally, my room at home looks like a bomb went off when I'm working.

And finally---a couple more:
 I took an early morning walk. It's so pretty and peaceful in the country.
As I was walking along, I wondered, who would come along and cut up an old tree. Why bother? It's the woods. Since they didn't haul it away, what's the point?

Ohhh, for more times like this....


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Next Thing on My List

Now that I know how handy he is---he's going to build me this!

Thinking Outside the Box

With all of my scrapbooking classes, I try to get people to think outside the box. Here's a couple of perfect examples:

My friend, Sian From High in the Sky ALWAYS thinks outside the box.
Or how about http://this one. It might not be a layout yet, but would be so perfect---telling a little about her house, new plans, a store she shops at, and things she enjoys. All combined makes for such an interesting page.

I just love layouts that incorporate many things at the same time---perhaps different time periods, memorabilia, current culture---just about anything---with a good title to tie it all together.

With just that in mind, I did these layouts at the farm a couple weeks ago:
The title: "It Goes Bad Really Quick." When Jordan and Morgan were really little, they would be playing together very nicely one minute and be having a "hair-pulling, knock down, drag out, the next.  I'm so happy that I happened to capture one of those times. I had 2 photos---the first one of them playing nicely in their grandpa's boat. The second shows them going at it with clenched teeth.
The idea for this page came from that crumpled "Bad/Good" list that Morgan found a few weeks ago. It reminded me of the challenge it was having them move home with us. Mindy thought it was a good idea too---for about a week! She was no longer an "only" child with all the attention. Plus, the girls were constantly in her stuff. I took that list, and reduced it to better fit the page.
On the left side page, I added a current photo of them. I found the sideways note which says:
"Hey my name is Morgan and I hate Jordan so much because she thinks she rules. She's ugly!" I found notes like this from both girls around the house all the time and have already used them on other layouts. This was the last one I had left and felt like this was a good time to use it.

I'm happy to report that they get along much better these days! Could be because Jordan is away at college most of the time---although she comes home on weekends pretty often.

Do you try to think "outside the box?" If so, send me a photo and I'll share it here!







Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What's Goin' On...

Outside my window: Still dark. Sitting in front of a crackling fire as the temperature outside right now is a freezing 13 degrees.

I am thinking: That I'm anxious to get on my treadmill desk----but I cannot update my blog there---I can't type and walk at the same time---at least not for any length of time.

I am thankful for: A great guy that cleaned my car while I was out-of-town.

From the kitchen: I made a pot of chili on Sunday. After all the rich foods on the cruise, I just wanted something simple. Talking about simple, here's another recipe I made at the farm. Really easy and so good. I found it here but have changed it up a little.

One Pot Pasta
16 oz. linguine
14 oz. can diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
2 big sprigs of basil (I just bought one pack)
1/2 tsp. red pepper
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. chives
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cups beef stock
2 1/2 cups water
salt and pepper
1/2 cup parmesan

In a large pot, combine all ingredients except the cheese. Bring to roaring boil. Reduce heat to a low boil and cook for nine minutes until pasta is cooked. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Sprinkle with cheese before serving.

It's really good and has a little "kick" from the red pepper.

I am wearing: Still in my nightgown but getting ready to put on my workout clothes.

I am hoping: To get my car inspected and a slew of other errands done this morning before meeting my friends to see Wolf of Wall Street.  We're trying to see as many of the academy award nominees as possible before the show. Some we've already seen and some we've already missed. Movies don't stick around very long these days.

I am reading: Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. I'm really liking it, but my Kindle is acting up. Last night I could not access the internet to download my new book club book. Today, it seems to be frozen. I've tried turning it off, but nothing is working. I CANNOT go without a book!! I guess I'll be using my phone until I figure it out. Thank goodness for the Kindle App.

I am busy creating: I'm still working on my needlepoint tree topper, but I plant to start knitting and crocheting some boot socks. I've downloaded a couple of easy patterns. I'm going to try them both and see which I like better. I'll be sure to share when I get the done.

I'm bummed: That my Kindle has let me down!

I am hearing: Morning news on the tv.

Around the house and garden: There definitely needs to be some organizing in my scrapbook room. I haven't even unpacked from my trip to the farm. Then I'm going to sort out my room.

In other news: Things are progressing nicely for the wedding. It's going to be a simple affair. Stephanie is really getting excited and so are we. Nicky is a great addition to our family.

One of my favorite things right now: I'm pretty sure you can guess---my treadmill desk.

I appreciate: my remote car starter on these freezing days.

I regret: I'm going on our annual ski trip tomorrow. Since I don't ski anymore, all I do is the same stuff I would normally do at home. Staying home alone for 4 days would give me the chance to really get some things done. I think this will be the last year I go out to Colorado.

Something extra to share: Chris and I got all kinds of great stuff from Paula Deen.
 Large mug, umbrella, cooler cup, bottle opener, magnet, skillet, tote bag, calendar, autographed photo, autographed cook book, Christmas ornament, salt and pepper shakers and 4 large bottles of assorted spices and mixes.
The salt and pepper shakers are cute and look perfect right on the window sill. You can almost trick yourself in to thinking they are part of the outside landscape.

But, my most favorite thing of all:
This adorable "butter" Christmas ornament!! I just love it. Such a perfect memory of our trip---although, the dishes she cooked on the cruise did not contain any butter! She's really watching that these days.

Y'all have a good one!!


Sunday, January 26, 2014

I Got My Treadmill Desk!!

Okay, not the $1500 version---but it's just as good!!

When I got home yesterday, Butch surprised me with his homemade version. He said it only cost $12.00 and about 2 hours of his time. If anyone's interested, I'll get him to do a guest post and explain exactly what he did.
 He's not a "woodworking" kind of guy, so I was really impressed.
 I didn't know he knew how to make perfectly rounded corners. It's as smooth as a butcher block---no chance for splinters.
 He simply velcroed it on.
This morning,  I gathered all of my stuff---ready to get started. Here's my set-up: computer, St. Theresa daily inspiration book, rosary, water, pen and paper, tv remote, kleenex and my phone which I was taking these pictures with.
Here's the best part---I can wear my slippers.

I'm excited to get started. I turn the tv on to access Pandora so I don't wear down my computer battery using it via the internet. Great, I have to set it up. I have Pandora set on another tv, so I thought it would just be there.  Not a problem---I'm right here with my computer. I had to step off the treadmill to be able to read the access code displayed on the tv. When I was getting back on, I learned a pretty valuable lesson---stop the treadmill when getting on and off. I nearly flipped off right away and actually twisted my ankle a little.

I had the treadmill set at 1.5 MPH. That seemed like a pretty good speed until I knocked over my water. Luckily, it had a lid and didn't spill on my computer. Turns out, the velcro is not permanently affixed. Next valuable lesson---don't try to hold on the desk.

I got Pandora all set up and set the volume. I'm all set to start working. It's 9:03 according to my computer. I realize that the sun is way too hot and is putting a terrible glare on my screen. This time, I stop the treadmill to get off and lower the shade. Back on, back in business. By 9:11 I realize that my back in hurting and my ankle is starting to hurt. What the "H***"?! For crying out loud, I'm already sweating like crazy---this should not be happening! Then I notice, that I had not re-set the treadmill from when Butch used it. The incline was set on 6! Now, I haven't gotten "credit" for the steps and time I've already done. Darn. At least I had my "fitbit" on. Valuable lesson #3---be sure to reset the machine when you get on.


I lowered the incline to "1" but the treadmill made a horrible screeching noise. I raised it to 2. Perfect, silence and not too difficult. Remember, you are supposed to be able to work while walking at the same time. Now I'm back in business. I managed to upload pictures to Walgreens, print out some recipes (of course, the printer ran out of paper) and answer an email from my blog friend, Cheri at Scrap Dreams. She'll be visiting Nashville in March with her sister, so we're making some plans. Valuable lesson #4---I can't type worth a crap while walking.


I took a 5 minute break to put some clothes in the dryer and start another load. I also ran upstairs and put paper in the printer.


Once I got back to it, I really accomplished a lot. I read many blog posts that I hadn't had time to read on my trip. The commenting took longer than usual due to my crappy typing skills while walking. I watched a couple of brief videos that I had waiting. My feet were starting to hurt. Valuable lesson #5---wearing slippers while walking isn't such a good idea after all.

I decided that I would just read a couple more blog posts. Before I knew it, I had been on my new treadmill desk for an hour and a half. According to the treadmill, I had walked at a speed of 1.5 miles per hour---yet only actually walked 1 mile and a half. According to my math, an hour and a half  should be 2.25 miles. I burned 193 calories. So, I looked at my fitbit---which I've had on since I got up at 5 a.m. I walked over 7000 steps already for a total of 2.86 miles, burned 972 calories, did 3 flights of stairs and had 7 leaves on my "flower." If you have a fitbit, you'll understand all of that.


When I came downstairs, Butch said, "you need a shower, girl!" He would never say "you smell!" but that's what he meant.

Now this really poses a problem. My plan is to get on my treadmill desk about twice a day---when I'm doing computer work. I can't be taking a bunch of extra showers. That would totally eliminate the time saving effect of being able to walk and work at the same time. What to do?

I think I'm going to take a nap. I'll shower after my 2nd round on my new treadmill desk!


Thursday, January 23, 2014

News from the Celebrity Reflection

We've been so busy---taking part in so many activities. All fun with time for stitching, reading and relaxing (well, not much of that).
A little shipboard entertainment. Good music. My favorite so far was Nick Page---from London's West End. He played Jean Val Jean in Les Miserables for two years. He did an assortment of songs from Andrea Bocelli and Josh Groban to Luciano Pavarotti. I loved it!
 What could be better than this calm blue sea? Stitching next to it!!
This morning was our pajama party brunch with Paula. We felt pretty stupid in our pi's but only for about two minutes. The buffet was gorgeous.
 Everything you can imagine---including broiled lobster. Another day we skipped lunch.
I guess we're not so special after all. We thought we suite holders were the only ones with butlers. Apparently everyone is a "butler."

Speaking of which, we watched The Butler last night after the musical show. It's so good---definitely worth a second viewing. Chris and I are really not "in" to the night club or gambling scene these days.
This afternoon, we went to a lecture on Faberge' eggs. I have my own personal collection of the miniature ones. I was really happy to think I would get another to add to it---a perfect souvenir from my trip. Uhhh, I think NOT! The little ones were limited editions---they only had these two plus one other---$7700. EACH!!! Holy Cow! I wonder what my little collection is worth these days? Not near this for sure.

We're having such good time, but tomorrow is our last day. Over way too soon and back to frigid temperatures! Still, it's always good to get home.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

St.Thomas

I got off the ship to do a little shopping. Chris stayed behind. I ended up not buying a single thing. I remember what I don't like about these kinds of places. They won't let you browse around---they are constantly after you. I gave up after an hour and a half.

When I got back on board, I stitched with this view:

The sky is as blue as the water!!

Oh, one other thing. I rode in the elevator with Paula. Since we're "buddies" now, it was no big deal. If it had happened before I'd actually met her, I'd have been like----"OMGosh---it's Paula Deen!" She's really nice---just like regular folk!


Monday, January 20, 2014

Being a Suite Holder is Pretty Darn "Sweet!"

With two of us sharing the cost, we upgraded to a suite---and I'm sure glad we did. We've gotten so many perks.

*When we arrived, there was a bucket of champagne, hors d'oeuvres, and fresh fruit. 
*Each day, we’re served tea, sandwiches and sweets at 4 p.m. 
*We are entitled to make reservations in one of the restaurants that is “first come, first served.” 
*We get to go to another restaurant that is a little more upscale. 
*AND, we got to go to one of the premium restaurants for free. 
*We had reserved seats in the theater. 
*We have butler and a cabin steward---and another guy, but I forgot what his job is.

Here we go with the food----which has been amazing----everywhere. We've decided that it's way too much, so we're doing something more like brunch, skipping lunch, having a light tea and then dinner.
 This is the butter at the Murano restaurant we went to tonight.
 The salt and pepper shakers are tiny and so cute---about 2" tall.
 My appetizer was smoked salmon, crab meat and avocado topped with salmon caviar (the red) with some sort of cream cheese and regular caviar on top. It was fabulous.
 Chris got the scallop wellington---she it was delicious too.
 We both had the lobster that was prepared table side and flambĂ©ed!
 It's kind of hard to tell, but the lobster is cooked in a dijon sauce with mushrooms.

We had the crepes for dessert---also prepared table side.

Enough about the food.

We had our photo session today with Paula and Michael. They are both so funny! 

Rather that go to a show tonight, we watched a movie (The Interns) stitched. Tomorrow we'll be in St. Thomas. I might do a little shopping.

It should be another "sweet" day.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Introducing Paula!

We started off with a welcome reception with Paula last night. She’s so much fun---quite the character and full of personality. She addressed the elephant in the room and responded to several other “lies” going around about her---
she and her husband, Michael are NOT divorcing and she did not take some secret weight loss pill. There’s no miracle there---she cut everything white out of her diet---flour, pasta, butter, sugar. She looks great and was a bundle full of energy. She’s cute and funny! How can you not love someone that say’s “y’all” in the twangiest southern drawl?

 Our first gift was this bag containing:
Her son, Bobby's brand new book---autographed, of course.

Today we started with a galley tour. There are 1250 crew members and 630 of them are food and beverage employees. There are 15 bars and 9 restaurants. Darren Ridley, the executive chef had a live-in position at Buckingham Palace and worked for the Royal Family. He has other credentials a mile long, but of course, his connection to the Royal Family was most interesting to me. A couple facts: 2300 dozen eggs, 12,300 lbs. of potatoes and 75,000 lbs. of fruit are used each week. The light fixture in the “Opus” restaurant (where we met for the tour) is incredible.
 Hundreds of dangly things.

After lunch, Paula did a cooking demonstration. 

She was a riot---stepping up to the table and saying---“What’s all this crap? I’m not cooking this?” Then she went to the printed recipes that we received, took one look and said, “Mrs. Salter’s Peanut Butter Pie? Who is Mrs. Salter and why aren’t we making MY peanut butter pie?” She started on the recipe and discovered that the powdered sugar was missing. They sent some people scurrying to find it. When they returned, they first had brown sugar. Next was granulated sugar. She just went ahead and used that. Finally the powdered sugar appeared, but it was too late.

While we were waiting, she gave us her Peanut Butter Pie recipe:

Paula Deen’s Peanut Butter Pie
3 cups cream
¾ cup sugar
Beat until peaks form.

Beat together:
8 oz. cream cheese
¾ - 1 cup smooth peanut butter
½ stick butter

Add mini Reese’s peanut butter cups cut in fourths or mini Snickers cut in fourths to half of the cream mixture. Mix with peanut butter mixture and spread in to a pie crust---or graham cracker crust. Top with remaining cream mixture and chopped peanuts.
Tomorrow, we have a photo session with her and a book signing with her son. Later in the week, we'll have her sign our pictures. 

So far, we've been so busy that we haven't had much time to relax. We went to the Broadway show tonight---great music from lots of my favorite shows. 

We're in San Juan tomorrow, but Chris and I are not getting off the ship. I've already been there. We're planning on getting some stitching done. 

Later...


Cruisin' with Paula AND Mitchell

Okay, so I'm misleading you a bit with this title. I AM cruisin' with Paula. We had our first "event" last night---a little cocktail reception. All of the pictures I took are bad. I'll get better ones today at our first cooking demonstration.

In the meantime, Sandy shared these pictures and commentary about Mitchell and "his" car that used to be his grandpa's.
Here's the exposed speaker (the covers don't fit over the new speakers) and apparently the light cover has fallen off.  It's probably in the glove compartment!
Dad, I just want you to know how much we have appreciated (and still do) having this car!  It has turned out to be the perfect thing for Mitchell, and he really does love it!  
This stick is kept in the car and used to hold up the hood and the trunk because the hinges have worn out.  And notice his blanket...kept in at all times in case of an emergency.  He usually has clothes and deodorant in his car because he works out at the Y with friends after school.
This is his emergency kit that he keeps in the trunk complete with a bag of potato chips in case he needs food too!
The car may be old and falling apart (cosmetically speaking) but Mitchell really likes it and we are glad for him to have his own "wheels"!  He got pulled over last Saturday night coming home from debate because his tag light is burned out.  Thank goodness no ticket!  Greg bought him a new light but the screws are rusted so bad that he can't get them off to change the bulb. Greg's going to have to solve that problem!  Oh, and the driver's side window doesn't roll down (nor does the back passenger one either) so Mitchell had to roll down the driver's side back window when talking to the cop.  He just told us this so we'll have to get those fixed.  

I don't remember how old this car is---I think it's a 2000---but it still looks pretty good---considering it's weathered at least 6 Michigan winters and all that salt. I would have thought it would have started to rust out. Butch is proud of Mitchell---a boy after his own heart---as he cleans out his car regularly. He gets so frustrated with the girls and their cavalier attitude about their cars. I told him that I think it must be a "guy" thing. Way to go Mitchell.

Hopefully tomorrow, I'll have a little more to report from the "boat."