Archive for January 2016

Crochet Treasures for Little Ones

Friday, January 29, 2016

I've written a bit before about my twin nephews who are four now, and if you follow me on facebook or instagram you've seen tons of pictures of them too. Because they are THE CUTEST.
I crocheted those bow ties for them for Christmas 2014, and at the time I tried to get some photos of them so I could blog about it but Wes wouldn't let me take a picture of him and I only got some snaps of Drew by holding his arm and not letting him run away. I could not, however, get him to actually look at the camera. See for yourself.
So back then I gave up the dream of blogging about bow ties and jumped on the trampoline with them instead.

But now their Mommy is pregnant! And even though I know that if it's a boy it will be absolutely perfect, right now I'm just starving for a girly girl pink and twirly, soft and fluffy sparkly cotton candy BABY GIRL! And in anticipation of my angel niece I started perusing Etsy just to get some ideas for baby blankets I might like to make for her...just, you know, to get that girly mojo out there into the atmosphere...when I found the shop Deborah O'Leary Patterns.

Let's See If I Get In Trouble For Writing About My Older Children?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sometimes it annoys me that since my kids are older I don't get to write about our days the same way I did when they were small. But I'm feeling like I want to do a little update on our family and to heck with their privacy and stuff. Documentation is important. And so what if my main form of family record keeping happens on the world wide web where nothing is secret; they have all embarrassed me in public plenty over the years! 

The Perfect Gift for an Animal Lover - A Betta Fish Bowl

Monday, January 25, 2016

Figuring out what to give my mom for Christmas isn't too hard, we pretty much like the same things, but this year I wanted to give her something she would really love. And the thing my mom really loves (after her family) is animals...are animals...what is grammatically correct here? Anyway, she is a friend to the animals. 

Lots of people say they love animals, myself included, but my mom loves them more than us. For reals, once she saw some baby ducks trapped in a storm drain at a strip mall and she rescued them by calling animal control and waiting until the ducklings were safely removed. And that was when I was a little girl, before we had cell phones to call for help and whatnot.

In her old neighborhood there were a bunch of feral kitties so she took to trapping them, paying to get them spayed or neutered, and then releasing them back into the neighborhood. But she felt bad for them so she put food out for them all and ended up adopting a couple to go with the ones she had rescued from the shelter. My dad loved that, fierce feral kitties hiding in the guest room! Even though she doesn't have any cats right now, just two dogs, we all know there's a crazy cat lady waiting inside her to get out.

What else? Oh, she leaves baskets nestled between the eves of her house and the pergola over the patio for doves to nest in. When she sees a gopher in her garden she is equal parts irritated and delighted (which is crazy). She has an eagle eye and spots every animal we pass on the road, deer, foxes, wild turkeys, coyotes, you name it, she sees it! And she gets so excited. Every single time.
Plus, her dream vacation is to cruise to Alaska and watch for whales.

With all this in mind, I decided the perfect Christmas gift for her would be a betta fish. A betta fish in the cutest little live biosphere ever! It came out so so adorable that I wanted to share it so you might gift one to the animal lover in your life, or maybe even make one for yourself. 
decorative betta fish centerpiece

The Best Sweet and Tangy Chili You've Ever Tasted

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hi friends. Sorry I haven't blogged in so long. I like to keep at it until I gain a bit of momentum, my page views are going up, and then I just, suddenly, stop blogging altogether and go dark...for fun? Actually, I'm pretty frustrated with myself, but onward and upward as they say. Let's just get after it shall we? We shall!

I'm throwing myself an easy pitch and sharing my award winning recipe for the best chili you've ever tasted, as opposed to say, sharing my thoughts on disciplining teenagers or something (you'd like that though, wouldn't you?). It is sweet and tangy and meaty and I could seriously eat three bowls in row. Still, how can I claim this is the best tasting chili ever? Because my sister-in-law said so. It must be so! Also, I did win at my church's fall chili cook off a couple years ago with this baby and I've got the gold painted ladle to prove it. Somewhere.

Here is what you will need:
  • 2lbs sweet Italian turkey sausage, casing removed
  • 1chopped sweet onion
  • 3cloves of pressed garlic
  • 1 chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 finely diced jalapeno pepper
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of chili beans
  • 1 (28 ounce) can of maple cured bacon baked beans
  • 1(14 1/2 ounce) can of petite diced tomatoes
  • 12teaspoons chili powder
  • 1teaspoon cumin
  • 1teaspoon thyme
  • 12teaspoon salt
  • 12teaspoon cinnamon
  • 12cup of honey
And here is how you are going to put it together:

Start with browning the sausage, chopped onion, garlic and bell pepper in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
 Sometimes you can get the sausage simply packaged as ground meat without the casing, if not, just slice the casing with a sharp knife and slide out the sausage. 

My eyes are freakishly sensitive to onions and peppers so I wear a pair of onion goggles while I cook. It's very chic, all the sexy chefs are doing it. I tried to take a selfie in them so you could see how fabulous they look on me, but, it just, no. 
 I need a new manicure. Please ignore my ugly fingers.
My Safeway recently started carrying these peeled garlic cloves and they are my favorite thing ever! I am too lazy to mince garlic so
I always use a press. 
And this is a chopped bell pepper. Nice. Now cook that all up until the meat is cooked through, about 8 minutes. I didn't really time it, I'm just guessing about the eight minutes; cook it until there is no pink left.

Now add the beans and tomatoes. If you have a fancy pampered chef can opener you should totally use that. I had one but now it's disappeared and I have to use a regular one from CVS or somewhere. I have a suspicion that my good one went on a Scout camping trip and never came home, but I don't have proof.
 Add your spices
Now let all that chili goodness simmer uncovered on low for about 30 minutes. It will smell SO good.
After 30 or so minutes add the honey and cinnamon. I think of these two as the secret ingredients, once they're cooked in people can't put their finger on what makes it taste so special, but you will know. Mwahaha! The best honey is from your own bees, but if the bees are not participating, go for local honey. So yummy!

chili with honey
 The last thing to do is enjoy watching your family slurp it up! I don't know why, but seeing my family eat makes me super happy. I'm a feeder. This recipe is perfect for that. I hope you like it.
sweet and tangy chili
This week I was motivated to get back in the blogging saddle by my friend, Monica, who just started her own Suh-weet blog where she wrote about doing things we want to do but are scared of at the same time. I often feel that way about putting my writing and weirdo photos out there and her essay was just the nudge/shove I needed. I hope you'll check her out here


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