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Monthly Archives: January 2017

“Participate” Is Going Well.

The goal of my one little word,”participate,” was to get me doing things instead of watching other people do their things.

And so far, it’s been working.

I got some lists started, and have started crossing things off.

Since I last checked in with my word, I have crossed 4 things off my “projects” list – I finished Josh’s scarf …(just in time for the weather to warm up! Heeheehee!) It was an OLD project. Yay, me!

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Made a scarf for Bea (new project – shame on me!)

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Made the treasure box for my friend… (New project, but it really needed to be done!)

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And redid the elf ornaments that were murdered. Remember when Lexi, the mass murderer, attacked a family of 4, mortally wounding 1 of them, and severely injuring 2?

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Well, I bought new ones after Christmas in 2015, have had them sitting here for over a year waiting to be personalized, and finally did it.

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Had to start with the wrong names…

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sand them down and repaint,

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and add the right names (along with the year and the name of their elf.)

And those are just actual PROJECTS. I’ve crossed more off the general to-do list as well.

So, I feel like I’m off to a pretty good start.

Could I do more? Sure. But for someone who has been resisting getting much of anything accomplished, I’m pleased. I’m taking the wins as I find them!

 

 

 

Getting a Little Artsy!

Sometimes it takes a specific project to get me arting again, then when I get into it, I remember how much I enjoy it.

A friend in my internet art group recently lost her husband, and the group decided we would each make her something, send all the items to one lady, and she packaged everything together as a group gift. It got delivered today, so I can show you my contribution.

I wanted to do something in the style of the canvases I enjoy doing, but I didn’t want to do anything to hang on the wall. I thought maybe a box to put some of her memories of him in might be a nice token.

I started with a wooden cigar box sent to me by another of the ladies in our group (thanks, Susan!) It had a shiny finish, so I started by sanding it.

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At this point I fell down on the photo front. I painted the inside, and covered the outside with torn book paper and scrapbook papers, painted, it, added a few stickers, did some chalking…and ta-da! A fancy box…

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The beachy theme is because it is her happy place..like mine!

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I wanted to make the box a little inspirational, so I added some sayings around the sides…

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And, I finished off the inside with scrapbook paper to make a nice container for some special notes or cards or photos that are important to her.

I hope she enjoys filling it as much as I loved making it.

It’s Puzzling

I love doing jigsaw puzzles.

It seems like such a waste optional use of time that I don’t do them often. My parents used to do them when I was growing up. It seems like there was one going fairly often, especially at Christmas time.

Over the years I’ve tried sporadically to get my family to do them, but there hasn’t been much interest. Two or three Christmases in a row I started one and left it out on a table for anyone to jump in, but it was mostly just me, so I quit.

Now with the grandkids, I’ve been trying again. Surely SOMEONE will want to puzzle with me!

Hannah liked them when she was little, but not so much any more. Bea likes them, so there is hope there. I haven’t been able to get Josh interested at all. I don’t know if I just haven’t been able to find one that sparks his interest, or if he just isn’t a puzzle kinda guy. Lexi, at least so far, seems to be a puzzle FREAK. She’s almost 3, and has gone from 4 piece puzzles, to 12 piece to 24 piece in just a couple of weeks.

She’ll take 3 of the 12 piece puzzles and dump them on the floor, sort them by which one go into which frame, then systematically do each one, all by herself. The fact that she was looking for ways to challenge herself just blew me away!

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That told us she was ready for the 24 piece puzzles. I’d only gotten her 2 of the 12 piece puzzles (thinking she’d be ready for them in a month or two) and before I could get her more, it was obvious she was ready to move up. She’d mastered them both in just a day or two, doing them over and over and over.

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Before I even said out loud she was ready to move up again, she said to me, “Gaga, we need to go on the “compooter” and find me some harder puzzles.” So we did! I ordered 8 of them from “Melissa and Doug.” They’re my favorites. They seem to be well made (not that it matters since she’s blowing through them before she can wear them out!)  and have a variety of subjects.

They arrived today,

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and for some reason I got to wondering why I think puzzles are so good for kids, which sent me on an internet search to see if I was even right, and if I was, why. Turns out that I WAS right.

There was article after article about the benefits of doing puzzles at a young age.

They help with eye-hand coordination, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, memory, and problem solving. And besides that, they are fun, portable, can be done alone or with a sibling or parent, and give kids an immediate sense of accomplishment.

I rarely leave the house with Lexi any more without taking a couple with us for her to do if we have down-time.

Yesterday I noticed that Bea had pulled out some of her old 100 piece puzzles and was doing them on her own. It may be time to find her a more challenging one and see if she enjoys it.

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Maybe I’ll have some puzzle buddies yet! I got so excited at the very thought of it, I went over, grabbed Bea and we went puzzle shopping and found her a 300 piece one she wanted to try.

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That’s my girl! When we get interested in something, we don’t mess around!

Side note:  As I researched, I discovered January 29 is National Puzzle Day. That was timely!

 

 

 

Easy Peasy Dinner

I don’t have a deep box of easy dinner recipes that are sure to please, but this is one of them.

Quiche.

I think the thing I like the best is how versatile it is. The basic recipe is so simple and can be modified easily  with pretty much whatever you have on hand.

Start with your favorite go to crust. If you’re making it from scratch, that pretty much takes away the “easy peasy” part. I like the pre-made crusts from Whole Foods – no junk in them.

And then you get to play.

I cover the bottom of the crust with a generous amount of cheese, shredded or crumbled. Last time it was goat cheese, this time gorgonzola. I haven’t discovered a kind that won’t work.

For me, next up is diced onions, but you decide. You could also add garlic (don’t know why I didn’t!)

Then I layered fresh spinach, but you could use steamed broccoli, or asparagus, or cauliflower, whatever you have on hand. We’re vegetarian, but if you prefer meat, sausage or ham or bacon would all work.

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Next up is the egg mixture. For a 9″ pie, I use 3 eggs and 1 1/2 cups of almond milk. Cow’s milk or cream would work, as well. To that I add a generous shake or three of black pepper. I don’t add any additional seasoning, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you could experiment with any number of herbs and spices.

(If you’re doing a deep dish, or larger pan, the formula is one egg to a 1/2 cup of milk. If you’ve poured your egg mixture in and it’s not full enough, it’s simple to add more, just whisk up another egg and milk until it’s full enough.)

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Pour that over the veggies, and you’re ready to bake.

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Place into a 350 degree oven and bake for approximately 45 mins. It is done when it is set up, not jiggly (firm to the touch, but not solid.) This is important – too firm and the eggs get dry and/or rubbery.

If your pie crusts tend to get too dark, I found this amazing gizmo that will protect your crust while allowing the middle to cook!

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I don’t know where it’s been all my life!

And ta-da! Perfect quiche, just the way you want it!

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Now if only I had more practically fool-proof recipes like this!

I’m a New Woman!

I wasn’t going to do this yet, but my new glasses came in today, so I thought I may as well do it all at the same time.

Ta-da!

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I’m still not thrilled with the hairdo. I don’t know if I really don’t like it, or I’m just bummed that it isn’t what I wanted.

Oh, well. What’s done is done, so now it’s a matter of continuing to work with it until I either find a better way of styling it, or it grows to the point where I can get it re-cut correctly. Or I suppose it’s possible my thick hair just won’t do what I want it to do.

But to complicate matters even further, there’s the color.

I’m back to all gray again, and I’m just not sure I want to keep it like this. Mr. Tattered says he really likes it. Me, not so much. So what am I supposed to do? He’s supposed to be the one I want to impress, but I need to be comfortable with my own hair, right? I’m going to give it awhile. If I do end up deciding I want to go back to blond, I want to know I gave it a fair chance.

Then there’s the glasses.

Mr. Tattered said I needed a change from the frames I’ve been wearing for about 5 years. HE is the one that suggested the red frames! I swear he’s finally getting to know me! This was before I decided to change my hair, and between the two it’s a little more change than I was ready for, but, what the heck?

I like the looks of the frames, but they are heavier than what I’m accustomed to, the progressive changes are a little different, and they’re a little snug. The snugness I can go back and have fixed. The rest I’m going to have to get used to.

Good Lord. I’m not even going to talk about the wrinkles and rolls. Old age is most definitely not for sissies!

I may need some new clothes to go with the new hair and new glasses, doncha think? But then I’ll have to deal with the body that needs an overhaul, too…I’m so not ready to deal with that. Yet. Or maybe I am. Who knows?

 

Ya Know That Haircut We Talked About?

Well, I did it.

And I went out to the car and cried. And I said bad words. Lots of them.

And I came home and stuck my head under the faucet. And I messed with it and messed with it.

I resisted the urge to take a pair of scissors to it myself, and now an hour later, I’m almost past the suicidal phase. A little dramatic? You betcha.

What is it about hair? Seriously, is it THAT big of a deal?

So. Let’s start at the beginning.

As you’ll remember, I rarely like my haircuts, but for some reason, I thought this would be different. I went armed with a photo, rather than trying to describe what I wanted, which is huge for me. I KNEW that haircuts really depend on hair texture and thickness and body, so I asked her based on MY hair, would this be a good cut for me, and she said “yes, but we’ll probably start a little longer and see what you think. We can always make it shorter.” I was adamant that what I wanted was a messy look, not perfect. And something a little trendy, not an old lady cut. And not fluffy. I HATE old, and I HATE fluffy!

So, I’m in the chair, really chill. Not at all jacked up, or even apprehensive.

She starts whacking away, and I’m fine seeing all the hair coming off. And man, did she cut. Even though my hair is thinning over what it was in my younger years, I still have a LOT of hair.

I’m noticing it’s shorter than we discussed, but I’m still okay. Messy was my first priority, not length.

Then she starts blowing it dry, and I’m getting nervous. It’s beginning to fluff. And I’m not seeing any hint of messiness.

By the time she was done, it looked like I was wearing a football helmet. All smooth and round. The hysteria was building up in my chest, and I was trying not to let it show. Another stylist walked by and said, “oh that’s cute, it suits you.” I wanted to punch her in the face. It was the old lady cut I did NOT want. And she was saying it suited me.

I couldn’t get out of there fast enough, and barely made it to the car before I burst into tears.

I called Mr. Tattered to let him know I was not a happy camper, and he had me face time him to see how bad it was. He said all the supportive, loving things you’d want your partner to say, and didn’t laugh at my distress, but it didn’t help. I was pretty much beside myself.

Once I calmed down, I drove home and immediately stuck my head under the faucet and started from scratch. I don’t need my hair blown dry, so I just toweled it dry, then started shaping it with my fingers and a little sculpting stuff, scrunching it up here and there.

Before long, it was looking less awful. It’s not what I wanted, but it may be okay. Like I said, I have a bad hair life, why would that change at this late date?

3 of the four grandkids like it, Lulu’s preschool teacher said it was sassy and made me look 20 years younger, and of course the daughter and DIL were supportive. The son said it was better in person than the photo his wife sent him.

And after half a day, I’m accepting it. I don’t think it’s a bad cut, I just need to figure out how to style it better.

It’s only hair, for God’s sake.

What? You want to see the photo? …..Um. No. I’m not there yet.

 

Continuing The Portland Experience

Yes, we started the day the same as yesterday – Cheryl’s on 12th – same dishes as yesterday. We tend to get in ruts quickly, but hey, we know what we like!

I was hoping to be sporting a new “do” by now, but, alas, that was not to be. “Glow” was completely booked, so I’ll have to find someone at home…Meegan says she “has people,” so I’ll be able to blame her if it doesn’t go well. (Just kidding, Meegs!)

Then we wandered the streets of “the Pearl.”

I read that Powell Bookstore was not to be missed, so we spent some time browsing what felt like miles of books. The building takes up a full city block and is 3 stories high for part of that area. They feature both new and used books and tons of fun little gifts. I could seriously have stayed all day.

This (all you can see in the photo) is their vegan cookbook section…I’m dying right now. If only someone would cook for me!

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The Pearl area boasts some of my favorites, a giant Anthropologie and Sur la Table to name just two. There weren’t any gift shops in the area we walked, so that was a little disappointing, but Mr. Tattered isn’t much for shopping, and just walking and looking at the interesting buildings that have been restored was enough. The rain stopped, so although we weren’t getting drenched it was cold, and we didn’t last long.

Back at the hotel, Mr. Tattered checked on our reservations for dinner tonight and discovered the menu had changed and had only one veg option, so he got to researching and found a better option for us, Andina, a Peruvian restaurant with a whole separate veg/vegan menu that sounded amazing, along with pisco sours and alfajores (Peruvian cookies that are to die for.) My mouth was watering just thinking about it.

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So, are you ready for just a little more food porn?

We started out with the Pisco Sours, the national drink of Peru – a little like a margarita. We took a little class on making them when we were in Peru, and bought some pisco to bring home with us, but never made them. I’m hoping we will, now that we’ve reminded myself how much we like them!

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We opted for 4 “small plates” – a far cry from the 12 different tastes from last night, but more traditional.

The 1st  was root vegetable chips w/ 3 different sauces, and the 2nd, peruvian baby potatoes with inca corn and 3 more sauces…

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Next up was a a plate of “humitas de queso,” tamales stuffed with 3 Peruvian cheeses (which turned out to be my favorite! No big surprise, I love tamales, and these were super creamy.)

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And our last small plate, Yucca Rellena.

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The sauces were all amazing…

Mr. Tattered was stuffed and opted out of dessert, but there was no way I was leaving without having an “alfajores,” a shortbread cookie with dulce de leche filling and a cup of luscious decaf.

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The little serving pot was just my style, too!

Maybe next trip we won’t do Farm Spirit twice. Maybe once, then another trip to Andina, and a night free to try something new…

That marks the end of our little foodie trip. Thanks for coming along with me!

Tomorrow we head back to the real world. You know what they say, “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we diet.”  Actually, when all is said and done, we did a lot of walking, so maybe this little foray into eating a bit too much won’t be so bad.

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