Sunday, March 28, 2010

Movie Review - Green Zone

While I was in Missouri, my parents and I went out for a movie. This time we saw "Green Zone". I'd had hopes for it since I really like Matt Damon. But those hopes weren't met. It wasn't bad. But it wasn't good either. Just "meh".

I found it predictable in its "there are no WMD in Iraq" theories. Five minutes into the film you can figure out where it's going and the course is straight and narrow.

If you like this sort of movie... I'd suggest waiting until it comes to the Red Box.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Little Bird Time - 7 months old

Just back from spending a week with my family in MO. Part of that visit is what I call my "Little Bird Time". Who would have thought having a baby niece would be so much fun!

I only get to see her about once a month and she changes so much between those visits. This month when I came up the stairs I saw a baby who was sitting up on her own. And when she smiled there were 2 teeth in that grin. Wow! When Himself gets home he won't even recognize her! Last time he saw Little Bird was at Christmas.

The early part of my weeklong visit, Little Bird was fighting her first honking head cold. She was feeling bad enough that on Monday we all made a trip up to her doctor. Little Miss did NOT like getting her ears cleaned out so he could check them. She might have a cold but there is nothing wrong with her lungs! Nothing else wrong with her either and we left with the doctor's advice to treat the symptoms and ride it out.

Poor baby. Even tho she felt absolutely cruddy, she tried so hard to stay happy. It was pitiful to hear her little whimpers after a round of painful coughing. But as soon as it passed, that sweet smile would come out.

However, my Mom (who takes care of Little Bird during the day) informed me that Little Bird takes her medicine just like I did - badly. Little squirrel can whip her head around fast to avoid the medicine dropper. But Mom outfoxed her by mixing it in with her peaches. Good thing a stuffed head affects your sense of taste or else those peaches would have probably been spit out!

By Thursday's visit I was greeted with bright eyes again. And on Friday she was ready for some serious playtime. I delayed starting my drive back to TN by two hours so I could sit on the floor and hear baby laughter. We had a grand time wrestling around and playing with toys.

BTW... guess who now has Little Bird's cold? But you know what... it's worth it for just one of those baby laughs!

Friday, March 26, 2010

At My Fingertips

Some of my "clutter boxes" are full of papers: pages I've pulled from magazines, brochures I've picked up, and articles I've clipped from various sources. At this point they are useless to me because they are just stuffed in those boxes. I have no idea what I have or if they even apply to my current life.

So that is one of my big projects in this taming my paper tiger. Going thru those papers and throwing out the ones I no longer need/want and making accessible the information I want to keep. The main way I'm organizing them is in project notebooks.

The largest notebook (a 3 inch binder) is for my home remodeling and landscaping. I bought dividers with write on tabs and made sections for each room of the house and for each project I'm going to work on in the yard. If I can fit the idea onto a piece of notebook paper, I glue it on (fast and easy). If it's a large page or a brochure, I put it in a page protector.

I have a similar sized notebook to hold my hobby/crafting ideas. I'm starting to think perhaps I'm going to need a separate notebook to hold my photography ideas and tips in.

I have another notebook that holds clips that relate to my "Remodel Me" goal. Hair styles I like, clothes I like, ideas for using accessories, "best" make up and skin care products, nutrition information and so on.

There are notebooks I keep correspondence from my sponsor kids (7 notebooks), writing buddies (1 for all of them), and 2 sponsored adults. There is one that I keep things from my mission team meetings.

I like the notebooks because they are easy to carry around without papers falling everywhere.

I'm using a little different method for organizing my recipe clippings. For this I'm using a heavy duty accordion file. It has 12 sections to sort with. My categories for this are: Meat, Eggs, Pasta, Grains, Starches, Veggies, Soups & Stews, Breads, Fruit, Desserts, Drinks, and Misc. That's as much as I'll be doing with my recipes for a bit. I've something planned up for a later goal...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Keeping on, keeping on!

Still rolling along with my goals from my 12 Goals plan.

"Clutter Free Me" - I'm doing constant tweaking now. The upstairs stays in good shape and I'm refining small areas like the tool box or the cleaning kit I keep under the sink. My office downstairs is always in a state of flux, as I go thru the "clutter boxes" I stashed in the garage and tackle projects like my bookshelves. Garage & shed wait their turn at being decluttered and organized... which will happen when Himself comes home. Too much big heavy stuff for me to be fooling with.

"Remodel Me" - Diet is going... Everything I've lost has stayed off, but I've hit a plateau on losing. My fault because of attitude. However, I'm working thru it. This time I'm learning instead of quitting. The organized closet is terrific and I've only worn a T Shirt in public a couple times - and those were when I was going to be doing some loading or unloading of stuff. When you work... you gotta wear a working shirt!

The bifocals just did not work out. Between getting a splitting headache every time I wore them and just not liking the way they made me see, I sent them back and got a pair of single vision glasses and a pair of prescription reading glasses. At this point, I have no issues seeing the computer with my normal glasses and what little reading I do outside of my books/magazines at home can be done with the normal ones too... even if I have to stretch my arm a bit! For serious reading, I'll slip on the reading glasses. Oh, I did have them checked and was told they were exactly as they should be.

"Taming the Paper Tiger" - Egad! It is worse than I thought! I have been doing some heavy duty sorting just to get some sort of control. I have a box with "official" papers (receipts, instruction manuals, etc), one with "home ideas" & recipes, one with letters from my sponsor kids, one with photos I run across, one with "office" papers (notebooks, note pads, envelopes, etc). I've done some culling with the sorting - enough to fill a bunch of small trash bags. But all in all, it's a LOT less than I started with. I will be able to finish by the end of the month.

Himself will be home soon. They are at the end of their cod fishing season - now working on the "state" fishing catch. It takes 10 days - roughly - to go from Adak, AK to Tacoma, WA. He's going to be so surprised out what I've gotten done. He doesn't know about the laundry room!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cooking at Ingredients - South of the Border!

I'm sad.

Tuesday night was my last class - at least for a while - at Ingredients.

For our final night we did Mexican. Lana shared a few extra recipes with us. She demonstrated her salsa, Enchilada Pie, Mexican Brides cookies, Candied Orange Peel, and Pan De Elote. Plus she shared how to make taco seasoning and homemade tortilla chips.

If you'd like all the recipes, visit:

Lana and Nick

Her fantastic salsa. Nick said he could pretty much take care of that bowl himself!

Enchilada Pie.

Mexican Brides cookies. They are so tender.

Candied orange peels... one of my favorite sweets.

Wouldn't this make your guests and family feel special?

Pan De Elote

16 oz can creamed corn
1 c bisquick
1 egg, beaten
2 TBL melted margarine
2 TBL sugar
1/2 c milk
4 oz can chopped green chilies, drained
8 oz shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, grease 9 x 9 square or round cake pan, combine corn, bisquick, egg, margarine, sugar and milk. Mix well, spoon 1/2 mixture into greased pan, cover with chopped green chilies, cover with 1/2 of the cheese, spoon remain batter on top and add remaining cheese.

Bake 30 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Out of Africa - a photo safari

I'm going thru some of my photos from my trip to Kenya in 2006. I took over 3000 photos during the month we spent there. I need to cull out a bunch and get them in a photo book.

And while I'm culling, I thought I'd share a few of the 'keepers' with you.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

What is most precious?

I found this little story on another blog and I've been thinking about it for many days.

Which would you rather have?

A wise, but poor, woman who was crossing the mountains on foot came upon a precious stone and placed it in her pack. The next day she met another traveler who begged her for something to eat.

The wise woman opened her bag to reach for some bread, and as she did so, the sun's rays caught the gemstone, and the hungry traveler gasped with delight, saying, "I'm very poor. Won't you give me that stone?

The wise women did so without hesitation.

The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the jewel could provide him security for the rest of his life. But after a few days in the mountains, he reversed his trail, and went back in search of the wise woman.

Finally, he found her. He handed her back the stone. "I know this gemstone is terribly valuable," he said. "But I return it in the hope that you can give me something much more precious. Let me have whatever it is within you that enabled you to give me that stone."

Friday, March 12, 2010

Double Vision

Well, I am typing this with... bifocals.

It was just too hard for my almost 48 year old eyes to read any more. A couple years ago I broke down and bought a small "business card" magnifier to keep in the truck so I could read the road atlas. If the light wasn't bright I just couldn't make out the towns with light grey ink. When it got so that reading a book was difficult I finally broke down and got the bifocals.

I hate them.

First thing I noticed was it feels like I have smudgy fingerprints on the bottom of my glasses. Ugh! Then I realized I could no longer look clearly at my feet or anything else in about a 3 foot circle around me. If I drop something, I have to step backwards to get it in the "far viewing" portion of the lens. As I move forward to reach for it, it goes out of focus. And I'm having a very hard time navigating stairs - especially going down.

And to read, I can only see a quarter of a page at a time thru the bottom part!! I have to move my head up and down to read a page or view a photograph. I feel like a bobble head doll as I read. And that stupid line cuts right across my normal reading plane leaving me with "double vision" images until I raise my chin to bring it into the near viewing range.

Seriously?? This is how these things are supposed to work??

I have a 60 day "try it" return guarantee... if there isn't some major adjusting of myself to these things, I'll be going back for single vision glasses and a pair of reading glasses! Bifocals were supposed to improve my quality of life -- not decrease it.

We'll see how this goes... (No pun intended!)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cooking at Ingredients - Viva La Italia!

My second demonstration cooking class at Ingredients in downtown Clarksville was on the theme of "Italian". Lana presented four recipes again. The recipes were "Italian Stuffed Bread", "Marinated Mushrooms", "Fried Italian Ricotta Balls", and "Tomato and Mozzarella Bruschetta". You can check them out at the shop's blog:

Marinated Mushrooms

Tomato and Mozzarella Bruschetta

OH MY!! They were all good but the Stuffed Bread and the Ricotta Balls were WONDERFUL!!! These will be making regular appearances to my table. MMmmmmmm...

Preparing the Stuffed Bread

Italian Stuffed Bread

Just look at that melted cheese!

And now the Ricotta Balls are being prepared.

Perfectly golden brown

Oh my...

Fried Italian Ricotta Balls

2 1/2 cup self rising flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 lb ricotta cheese
1 tsp vanilla
6 eggs, slightly beaten

1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Mix these 2 ingredients together

Crisco or vegetable shortening, heat for frying.

Mix first 5 ingredients together thoroughly.

Drop 1 TBLS of dough into oil. Watch because balls go from golden brown to burned in seconds. Roll hot balls into cinnamon and sugar blend.

Serve warm.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Another Taste of Spring - The Amish Way

North of us in Kentucky there are many Amish folk. It's not unusual to see buggys on the road or farmwork being done with teams of huge Belgians.

When you see the plowing being done, you know that soon there will be farm stands selling flowers, veggies and crafts. It's so much fun to spend a day out driving and getting produce from different farms.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Taste of Spring

I have truly enjoyed having a snowy winter this year. I've made snow men, thrown snow balls, and taken tons of beautiful photos. But now I am done with winter weather.

Because it's March and that means Spring. The crocuses are blooming and the daffodil leaves are 5 inches high. Tulips are peeking out. And I'm seeing some mystery bulbs coming up too. Don't you just love flowering surprises!?

Yesterday really gave me a case of "Spring Fever". I spent the day at the Nashville Lawn and Garden Show. Oh my! I am so ready to dig in the dirt. The show is held at the State Fairgrounds (which I heard yesterday has been sold for development!! How sad it that!!!). There was building after building of landscaper displays, flower shows, garden clubs, and booths selling yard pretties and gardening equipment.

Some of the landscaping displays had ideas that I will modify and use in my yard.
I have several display stones in my yard and I love this presentation. I know just how I'm going to use the idea.

This rustic pergola is perfect for our fire pit area. And I shouldn't have too much trouble finding the cedar logs in areas they are bulldozing for building on. Have chainsaw... will cut!

This idea with the logs will work for up there too. When they eventually rot, it's cheap (free) and easy to replace.

Isn't this the cutest little display idea? I'm seeing something like this in front of my shed.

I just love this sweet little sitting area. I have several places where I could use this idea.

This fountain garden is a bit European formal for my home but isn't it elegant?

This checker board of ground cover mosses is such a neat idea. It can be modified to so many different designs.

There was a lovely orchid display and 4 or 5 booths selling them. I love orchids but don't think I could keep them alive. I have to settle for silk orchids and photos.
Another display was of beautiful and unusual floral arrangements.

This one was different!

This tropical arrangement made me want to book a cruise to Hawai'i!

Now this feels like SPRING! I could do something like this. The base is a wide clear bowl. Then the blooming branches and tulips are in individual clear glasses set in the bowl. I think the flowers were held in place with clear glass stones.

Pretty as a picture!

Traditional. Love the orange and purple.

This one makes me think of an old abandoned farm house.

Love the orchids and feathers!

This one caught my eye.

And I just couldn't resist snapping this photo! No one was going to tell him what not to do!!!