Monday, May 30, 2011

A Hot, Hot Day!

The first 90 degree day and the air conditioner goes out. And on Memorial Day! Well, we still made the best of it. My kids came over for a cook out and we still had a great time. Elyse and I stuck to our diets with grilled fish, fresh veggies, salad, and fresh fruit while the guys had burgers, chips, potato salad and cookies. Who said you can't please everyone?

What was the best part of the day? Well, the menu was wonderful while nothing heated up the kitchen, Brian finished up the new patio (pics later), and it was an extra day off work. But the best part of the day was spending it with my husband and my kids!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Day You Were Born


OK, I'm uber excited about this! While Brian and I were in Florida a few weeks ago visiting my parents we went to this little tourist spot called Tarpon Springs. It's a Greek community where they are known for their sponge docks. They also have these cute little gift shops and restaurants. While I was in one of the gift shops I came across some little paperback books that were all about the year you were born. I thought, "What a brilliant idea for some greeting cards or photo gifts" I went home and began working on these.

They are available in my Etsy Shop & Artfire Shop. Although, there is a better selection at the Etsy shop at the time of this posting. I have several different styles to choose from.

All I need is a high quality digital photo, along with the person's name and birthday. I put it together and send it off in a high quality (5 x 7) JPEG that simply needs printed on home printer or uploaded to a photo processing center. I know what I'll be putting in birthday cards or Christmas cards this year!

Sorry about not getting an exciting model.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Chicken Cheese Bake

8 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 slices swiss or American cheese cut in half
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 thin tomato slices
2 T. margarine melted
½ c. seasoned stuffing mix, crushed
Hot cooked rice

Place chicken in oblong baking dish and top with cheese. 
Stir soup and spread over cheese, top with tomato.
Combine margarine & stuffing, sprinkle over top (I do this the last 15 minutes).
Bake 400 for 30 to 40 minutes
Serve over rice.

Note: I like to serve this with baked potatoes instead of rice. Yummmmmmm!

Friday, May 27, 2011

My Idea of the Perfect World

Was fighting a stomach bug yesterday so I wasn't in the  creative mood. Made this a few weeks back. I love this thought! My two babies are in the picture. You'll be seeing more of them in the months and years to come.

I am feeling much better today and looking forward to my 3 DAY WEEKEND!!!

Graphics from Sher Hastings Designs, of course.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Nature at its Finest

A true story below that I will never forget about the beauty and power of Nature!

I remember several years ago when my kids were  young we were heading to a party. The trees were at their peak and it was one of those years that just seemed more beautiful than the years past. We were driving down I94 and as I was admiring the beautiful colors, I remember saying to the kids, "take a good look because you will not see this much beauty for another year." Well, I ended up eating my words about a month later.

I was heading down that same stretch of highway and I remember it well because it was our ladies only day after Thanksgiving shopping trip. I was driving down that exact same stretch of highway, VERY early in the morning. We had a frost that night and there was some snow on the ground. The trees were covered with what looked like glitter. Bright, beautiful, sparkly glitter. I look off to the right and there was a deer drinking from a stream, surrounded by those glittery trees and snow covered ground. It was as if Mother Nature looked me in the eye and said, "You really think the fall colors are the best that I can do?"

Since that day, I have never second guessed Mother Nature. I just soak in (and photograph) all of her beauty.

Photo Above: A nest that we found in a tree in our back yard a couple years back, A beautiful cloud formation that I found so beautiful in the contrast, A tree that Brian and I saw on one of our hiking trips, A mushroom that I thought was so beautiful on one of my trips to the dunes

Monday, May 23, 2011

Introducing Elyse!

My beautiful and talented daughter Elyse just created a new blog. Being new to the world of blogging she is sitting there all by herself. I thought it would be nice to share a link so you can visit, follow, and leave some blog love. She would love it! And I think she's a fun and interesting person so I think you will all see that if you pay her a visit. You'll also get to see my grandcats :)

From the Elysian Mindfields

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What Timing!

Since my flight to Florida last weekend was so late I had 6 1/2 hours to sit in the airport. I used that time wisely. I got out the laptop and put the finishing touches on my latest kit. It's called Health and Fitness and it is a two part set. And this could not have come at a better time because it was when I returned home from my trip that I had a very RUDE wake up call on my weight issues. Not only did I have to buy new summer clothes but the needle on the scale is going in the wrong direction! At first I thought my scale must be broken. It must be! But it did cross my mind that perhaps my diet isn't working very well. So, I turned that into a positive and got my butt on that elliptical we have in the hobby room. My husband uses it 4 to 5 times a week. Now, so will I! I will report back here with my progress. And yes, there WILL be progress!

So enough time about me. Here are my two newest kits that are available in my Etsy shop here and here. I think I can see some use for these images in my future.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Power Packed Pasta With Pork

Believe it or not...this recipe is actually healthy and low in fat! And super delicious!
Power Packed Pasta with Pork
10 oz boneless pork, cut into thin strips
2 tsp oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp paprika
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 apples, peeled, cored, coarsely chopped (1" pieces)
1/4 tsp salt
pinch red pepper flakes
1 tomato cut into wedges
6 oz egg noodles
cooking spray

Heat cooking spray with oil in skillet. Add pork, cook & brown. Add onion, garlic, & paprika. Cook a few minutes. Add cornstarch. Add broth, cook a few more minutes. Add apple, salt, pepper, pepper flakes, cover & simmer about 10 to 15 minutes or until apples are tender. Add tomatoes the last 3 minutes. Serve over noodles.

Serves 4

Friday, May 20, 2011

More Howard!

Howard snuck back up front this week while they were cleaning his "man cave" and I got him on a little video. He's so cute! We love it when he visits us but we have a problem with him pooping on the carpet so we try to discourage it.

Scroll all the way down to the bottom of my blog to see his latest video.

PS...If anyone knows how to house train an owl, I'm taking advice!

The images in the graphic are from my "Owls Rule" clipart/graphic sets and can be found in my ETSY Shop.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Favorite - The Gorillapod

It's time for another one of my favorites!

One of the items that I would hate to be without is my gorillapod. You can find them for well under $20 at Amazon. They have tons of stores there that sell them. It's small enough to stick in your pocket or purse and is super light weight.

This thing is awesome! My husband and I love to go hiking. When we take trips we always look for nearby trails and parks. We always take this little thing with us. We've gotten some great pictures of the two of us with awesome backgrounds by wrapping it around a tree limp or bench and attaching it to our camera...

Most cameras today have a movie mode and you can set the tripod up at a party and not have to stand there and hold it which also causes a shaky playback. Can also be a great help when you want to get a group picture and you are part of the group.

Oh yah, and I don't have to bug the husband when I'm taking my before, during, and after pics of my new diet!

Another one of my favorite things...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Party is OVER!

I have been researching so many things lately. Since I've set a 1 year goal for myself to get myself where I want to be "physically, mentally, and profesionally" I've been looking for ideas in all aspects of my life. This list is from one of my favorite articles. If you want to read further, there is a link at the bottom.

Long-Term Benefits of Exercise
1 Decreases Risk of Heart Disease
2 Decreases Blood Pressure
3 Decreases Body Fat
4 Decreases Cholesterol Level
5 Decreases Risk of Diabetes
6 Decreases Risk of Cancer
7 Decreases Risk of Osteoporosis
8 Decreases Arthritis Symptoms
9 Decreases Number of Sick Days:
10 Decreases Chance of Premature Death

Short-Term Benefits of Exercise
1 Relaxes and Revitalizes
2 A Break From Daily Routine and Worries
3 Helps You Feel Good About Yourself

Of all of the above, my personal favorite is number 10. I've decided to make it a PRIORITY. Of course I want to lose weight but more important as I just reached my 50th birthday I realize that I want to have the years ahead to be as healthy as they can be. I think I can handle 45 minutes, 4 to 5 days a week. The benefits are so worth it! anyone on this with me? Am I alone here?  Will someone join me on the torture?

Just days after making the graphic for this post I found out that someone I know who happens to be my age just died from what we heard is heart problems. I want to get my heart back into shape!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Home Safe and Sound!

I hope my blogging buddies don't think I deserted them. The fact of the matter is that Brian and I flew out to Florida to visit my parents. It was a wonderful time! Life sure is different out there. Warmer too!

It started out a bit rocky. Our flight was 4 1/2 hours late. Southwest did compensate by giving each of us a $100 voucher good for one year on our next flight. Not bad for the inconvenience.

The first morning we woke up and there were sand cranes in the neighbor's yard. I never realized how big they were! They must have stood over 3 ft tall.

The next morning we went to Church where we were lucky enough to hear my stepmother sing a solo. She has an amazing and beautiful voice! I always knew she could sing but hearing her up there was awesome! She also shared her cooking talents with us during our visit. I came home with a couple of her recipes. Yum!

The four of us headed to Tarpon Springs on Sunday. That is where the sponge docks are. We also took a 2 hour boat tour where they let us off to collect seashells. And the weather was beautiful!

We also had so much fun at their place. We drove around the neighborhood in a golf cart. That was too fun! Everyone out there has them. Hmmmm, wonder how that would be out here in Michigan City?

We even found a girlfriend for Howard! There is an owl that has been living in a tree a few homes down. Maybe she can teach Howard how to be a real owl? The thought of smuggling her on the plane was a bit tempting but being the law abiding citizen I am, I chose not to. Plus she probably would have ripped me to shreds! For those who don't know Howard's story, you can check it out here:

Well, the time has come to play catch up around here. As nice as it is to travel, it's always nice to come home and sleep in your own bed.

PS...We just left winter behind and went to a pizza place in Florida to find the snowman (photo at top) in the window of the pizza place. Odd!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Digital Camera

I thought it would be fun to start a review section here at my blog. About once a week I'm going to post an item that I find indispensable. Something that I could obviously live without if I ABSOLUTELY had to, but why should I? Some things are brand specific and some are pretty general. Hey...Oprah has her "favorite items" so why can't I? Here goes my first.

One of my most favorite items in the entire world is my digital camera. I think I'm on my 6th one since 2001. I've had Canons, Kodaks, Olympus, and now the Sony. I have loved and enjoyed them all. I'm not one for the DSLR because I like to keep it in my purse. You never know when you will get that awesome shot and most of the time, you are not home when you stumble upon it. Cameras are not just for vacations and birthday parties any longer. Carry that camera with you and catch those Kodak moments!

So, do you carry your camera with you at all times? I think it would be fun to hear your answers.

Photo Above: I found this nest in the tree in our back yard a couple summers ago. It was huge! The harsh winter that followed totally destroyed it so by spring, it was gone. I thought this would be a much better picture for this post than a photo of my digital camera!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Dinner Made Easy

Made another one of my favorites today. Not sure what to call them but they are delicious, quick, and super easy. I just sliced a couple pieces of a hardy bread into 3/4" slices (I used a roasted garlic), spread some Ranch dressing on top (I used the reduced-fat), top with some diced tomato pieces, cooked broccoli (yep, frozen), and top with cheese.  I baked them in a preheated 435° oven for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on your oven and what you actually top them with.

So delicious!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

I just want to wish all the mothers out there a Happy Mother's Day! May your day be super special!

I would especially like to wish the Moms in my life a great day as well. One I will be seeing today for an awesome celebration, and the other one is in Florida so our celebration will have to wait for a later date. And we will celebrate!

6 MORE DAYS! (Just a personal countdown of mine. The Moms know and I will fill everyone in and share my experience next week)

Cats & Dogs

I just posted two new items to my ETSY shop and I think they are amongst my favorites!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Howard the Office Owl

It was a much lighter week at the clinic today. Since Doc is out of town we have a sub vet and he keeps a much lighter schedule. The week ended with Howard hamming it up. For those who don't know, Howard is the owl that we are rehabbing. As soon as he can be released back to nature, we will release him. But for now, he still needs a little help. While they clean his cage he sometimes wanders out by us in the reception area. He really likes us! While he was hanging with the ladies I decided to snap a few pictures. Like I don't have enough!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

15 Winners

This was tough but I picked my 15 winners to receive the Lovely Blog Award. Do you know how many awesome blogs are out there? Well I'll tell you...TONS of them! I did manage to choose my 15 for this award. Visit their blogs and you will see why:

If you are on this list you can save the picture above and place it on your blog. It's now your turn to tell us 7 things about yourself and then share this award with 15 other "Lovely" blogs.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

One Lovely Blog Award

I just won my very first blog award ever! Thank you to Craver of Cute Stuff for giving me this award. It made me smile today. You can check out her cute blog as well at Be sure to look at the beautiful flowers from her garden.

The idea is for me to share 7 things about myself and pass this award on to 15 other blogs that I feel are cute and lovely. This will be a fun task!

So, 7 things about me:

1. Most importantly...I have the "WORLD'S GREATEST FAMILY!" Yes, I am a lucky girl. I raised two incredibly awesome kids who are now smart, responsible, and caring adults. I also have terrific parents  (one set lives in Florida and the other here in Indiana). And to top it all off I have the best husband in the world.

2. I am a chocoholic. I have thought about getting help on this problem but then I figured, why?

3. I love to hike trails. My husband also loves to do this so we find it a great way to spend some quality time together.

4. I carry my camera with me everywhere I go. I've thought about getting one of those fancy schmancy ones but I wouldn't carry it with me. So I have one of those pocket sized ones (not a compact, but a small one).

5. I love to travel but I don't know that I'd do very well on a long trip. After about 4 days I want to go back to my home and my little fluffy children. 

6. I love my yard, my pool, and my flower gardens. But I have to confess that my husband is the one that does all the outside stuff. I like to enjoy, but I don't like gardening and I am SCARED TO DEATH of earthworms!

7. I do lots of different types of crafts. My favorites lately are digital scrapbooking, beading, fabrics (as always), and glass painting.

So now I'll get working on my list of bloggers.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pink Lemonade Cookies

I made up a batch of these recently and they were very good. You use lemonade in the mix so the frosting actually has a "bite" to it. Everyone who tasted them seemed to really like them.

Cookies:1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 envelope of lemonade mix (I used about half, these are the small envelopes)
2 eggs
6 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, and lemonade mix. Beat at med speed until fluffy. Add eggs and beat well.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternatively with sour cream. Beat at low speed, blending well after each addition. Divide dough into 4 parts and refrigerate about 2 hours.

3. Preheat oven to 350°.

4. On floured surface roll each portion of chilled dough into little over 1/8" thickness. Using 2 1/2" round cookie cutter (or cutter of your choice) cut dough. Place one inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 7 to 9 minutes. Remove to cooling rack and cool completely before frosting.
Frosting:4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
food coloring (optional but so cute)
Combine above ingredients and mix well. Frost cookies like little sandwiches.
Notes:This was so good but it made a lot of cookies. For small gatherings half the batch

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Wine Glass Markers

beaded wine glass marker, blog tutorial, craft tutorial, free pattern, free tutorial
These were so much fun to make and all six took under an hour. I love the idea of the markers so much that I'm going to make up some for my Sister. Every time we gather for a holiday we hear those famous words, "Is this your glass or mine?" I'm thinking red & black for her. Deb, I hope you don't see this post. It'll ruin my surprise!

First I chose my beads, wiring and supplies. See how they match my dishes? I used the 20 guage wire. It seemed stiff yet flexible. As you can see, you don't really  need to invest in a lot of tools. However, I do highly recommend picking up some round nose pliers. If you plan on using wire for beading, you will use them a lot! Also note that the bigger the beads, the more difficult it will be to wrap around the glass. Mine were just a little bigger than seed beeds.

Next cut a piece of wiring about 8 or 9 inches. At about an inch from one of the ends of wire, wrap it around one of the sides of the round nose pliers using another set of pliers or your hands (whichever you find easier). Snip the excess wire off. This will hold your first bead in place. Try not to make it too big or it will be too obvious.

Now, start beading. I have shorter wine glasses so I beaded about 4 inches up the wire. If you have longer stems you might want to go another inch or so. When you get to the end, wrap the wire around your round nose pliers and snip off. I found that if you make them too snug, the wire will be more difficult to wrap around the stem so leave tiny bit of give, perhaps a beads worth.  Enjoy!
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