30 January 2009

thank you!

thanks guys for all of your comments about my projects and looking at my blog. the back-handed compliment thing has happened to me before but not for a long time. obviously i'm a little insecure about it. so thanks for liking my blog and for looking at it and for being my friends.!

29 January 2009


I've got these lovelies to look at everytime I'm at the sink.

snowman sam

This is our first snowman of the year and the first in our backyard! The snow was perfect and the kids worked together nicely. Luke watched from his crib and cried because I wouldn't take him out to help. Any guesses as to what his eyes are made of?

28 January 2009


I've been working on my benches and boxes! Finally! And it was even Dan's idea! He suggested we start on them. Together. (Though Dan is helpful in many ways, he usually doesn't offer to help on my projects.)

So - boxes have been sanded and primed and are waiting for their first coat of black paint. And benches have 2 coats - almost done!


The other day a friend (and I use that term loosely) came over with another friend. (Okay, they were my Visiting Teachers.) After seeing something I made the first one said - I hate coming over to your house because you always make me look bad. Now I know this girl probably didn't mean exactly that. She must know that truly I don't make things to make other people look bad. And even though she doesn't read this blog I want to clarify why I make things.

I make things because I enjoy it.

I make things because I like to work. I like to see finished products. I like to see progress (I once dumped a very nice guy I was considering marrying because he had no ambitions to progress in any way whatsoever. None. )

I make things because if I'm not working with my hands I am very unhappy.

I make things because lots of times I see something I like that is way too expensive, or that is just a little different than I would like it, and I try to make it myself.

I make things because I have been given talents in that area. (I'm good at figuring things out and I have the confidence to try new things if I want to.) And I believe that I should develop my talents and share them with others. Which I really try to do without being braggy or conceited.

I kind of understand why she said it. She doesn't do the kinds of things I do and she probably wishes she sewed or made stuff or whatever. I feel that way every time I go into a clean house. Or anytime someone is a great teacher, or really patient with little kids, or really good with their money, or always looks great. There are plenty of things I still want to be better at. I hope I would never try to make someone else feel bad for having talents or skills that I don't have.

I hope none of you feel that way about what I make and I guess if you did, you probably wouldn't read my blog. And I really appreciate it when any of you (and there have been a lot) have given me wonderful compliments about what I make and do. Thank you.

p.s. Because that happened last week, I have been having a hard time with blogging. I hope you all know that when I post one of the things I've finished I'm excited and motivated and I'm not trying to say that I'm better than anyone. I'm going to try and forget all about it and keep on posting my projects.

26 January 2009

do I have the best husband or what?

The answer to that question is yes, yes I do. I had an etsy showcase today (an ad on etsy, essentially) and I didn't get any bites. I'm not even sure anyone new looked at my shop! I told Dan about it.

He just walked in the door with 6 chocolate covered strawberries all for me! (and a chocolate covered caramel and some chocolate covered raspberries.)

What a guy.

22 January 2009

a new book and a new recipe

I picked up this book for my friend's birthday and picked one up for myself too. At Costco it was a very reasonable price. I tried the chicken tikka on Sunday and it was so good. If you like Indian food you should try it. (You should also invest in some garam masala - the spice blend - because it's in almost every dish.)

Chicken Tikka (serves 4)

1/2 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
2 Tbsp garam masala
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 inches ginger, roughly chopped
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 1/4 lb skinless chicken breast fillets, cut into cubes
wedges of lemon

For the marinade, blend all the ingredients (except chicken and lemon wedges) in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt, to taste.

Put the chicken cubes in a bowl with the marinade and mix thoroughly. Cover and marinate overnight in the fridge.

Heat the oven to 400 F. Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers and put them on a metal rack above a baking tray. Roast, uncovered for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and browned around the edges. Serve with wedges of lemon.

my notes: I didn't have time to marinate overnight, but I did marinate for 2 hours. We also grilled ours, which was really good.

I also made up a mint chutney recipe (from several I looked at on the internet) because my friend made some naan (flat bread) and I have to have mint chutney with naan. Here is that recipe:

Simple Mint Chutney

1 1/2 bunches cilantro
1/2 bunch mint leaves (about 1/2 cup packed)
2 limes, juiced
salt to taste
2 jalapenos, seeded and ribbed (only if you want less spicy)
1 onion
1 can green chilies

Chop everything roughly and blend in a food processor. I added the green chilies at the end because mine seemed to dark with too many leaves. I'm going to try something a little different next time but everyone liked this one.

A note about food processors: I used to think the only one available was a Cuisinart (which is pretty expensive). But there are lots of other brands available that start around $40. If you haven't bought one yet because of this, you should shop around. Mine was only $40, holds the same amount as the Cuisinart, and works fairly well. (There are smaller ones too, that start at $10 or so, but they never fit quite enough for me.)

21 January 2009

I forgot . . .

A few things I forgot to tell you . . .

Luke also makes lightsaber noises when playing lightsabers with the boys.

He has also been throwing tantrums.

I put a few new things in my etsy shop the other day and I think I'll be listing a lot more. (I went a little overboard on bead shopping.) If there's something custom you'd like, please let me know.

ps - thanks kristin for the pear idea (and the book idea).

another one done

I didn't put this one on the list, (because I forgot but also because it isn't really the true list. The true list has at least a billion things on it and I didn't feel like listing them all on the blog). I started this little sweater in the fall and finished everything but the buttons before Christmas. I just sewed the buttons on today. Turned out pretty cute if I say so myself. (It is a much darker purple than this. I'm going to have to learn some more about photo lighting.) And I am sending it to a new little tiny friend of mine. (In case you thought I was making it in hopes of having a girl. The debate on that one is still ongoing - guess who wants one. . . )

Also - the secretive present I was working on for Dan was this scarf. It is a very beautiful burnt orange alpaca (so soft). I actually did finish it on Christmas day, but I had to show it to him in order to do that (since he was home from work and I couldn't work on it without him seeing.) I'm also a little annoyed that it curls around. Maybe next time I'll pick a pattern that won't curl.

20 January 2009

Sam the artist

Sam made this snowman. He was quite pleased with himself and spent a while cutting and putting everything in the perfect place. I'm glad he likes polka dot snowmen.

16 January 2009

The first thing crossed off my list

I finished my first thing! A baby quilt that I promised some friends a year ago is finally finished! It was a very simple top to put together and I sent it to a quilter to be machine quilted. I just put the binding on this week.


The other day I found Luke eating a chicken breast. He'd moved the chair over to the counter where the chicken was cooling off (already cool) and started chowing down.

Other things Luke's up to:

Waking me up 1 hour before anyone needs to get up. (This is driving me crazy and making me very grumpy).

Pointing to/at everything

Giving his brothers hugs

Singing songs (with words like da da da)

Getting entertained and carried around by his brothers (as in the picture below where Jack created a little nest with blankets and toys and then pushed Luke around in it)

Smiles when I take a take a picture

12 January 2009

soup season

If you get everyday food you already have this recipe and you should try it, because it's SO good.

Light Italian Wedding Soup (serves 6)

1 pound ground turkey (93% lean)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cans (14 oz) chicken broth
2 cans (14 oz) diced tomatoes in juice
2 heads escarole (2 lbs), cored, trimmed, and coarsely chopped. I actually used spinach, because I didn't think anyone would like the escarole

1. In a bowl, combine turkey, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Using 1 Tbsp for each, roll mixture into balls.

2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add broth and tomatoes with juice; bring to a boil and turn down to simmering. Add meatballs; cook, without stirring, until meatballs float to the surface, about 5 minutes.

3. Add as much escarole (or spinach) to pot as will fit. Cook, gradually adding remaining escarole, until wilted and meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve soup sprinkled with more Parmesan.

per serving: 250 cal, 9.8 g fat (3 g sat.), 23.6 g protein, 19.3 g carb, 4.8 g fiber

notes: I doubled this recipe and used it the next night as pasta sauce. I took out the meatballs and blended the soup. Then I cooked it in a pan until it was reduced by about half (cook on high heat, stirring so it doesn't burn on the bottom). I cooked some shell pasta and reheated the meatballs in the sauce (since it was very hot at that point) and gave everyone some sauce on their pasta with a few meatballs. The sauce was a little weird looking because of the spinach and tomato combination but it was fabulous!

Also - Dan's cousin Stefanie asked me to be a contributor on a new recipe blog. She is an excellent cook and has some great recipes. I will be putting this and other recipes on there and if you want some other ideas there are quite a few other contributors. It's called yes please recipes. Go check it out the next time you need some ideas.

resolutions and stuff

I've been sort of excited and sort of frustrated/overwhelmed with the prospect of resolutions this year. Afterall, I never finished my list from last year. And just in case you'd like a report - here it is:

My first goal was to talk in a kinder voice. Although it's a nice goal, I didn't really decide how I would do it or keep track of it. Therefore, I can't say that I'm any better at it, I may even be worse. Really the goal should be to calm down a few times a day or something that would really help me to speak kindly. Another one would be to not do things that make me frustrated while the kids need my attention. (Things that frustrate would be activities I'm doing in which I do not want to be disturbed.)

My second goal was to get good control of the finances. That was quite the ambiguous goal too, so it wasn't really achieved at all.

The third goal were all of those already started projects. I got 5 of 13 done. Not great. I still would really like to get the rest finished. And so I think I will start with them this year. I do have a bit of time every week while Luke is napping to work on something big. Here are the ones that are left:

1. paint benches (made in fall 2006)
2. sand and paint boxes to go under benches
3. paint and install 2 1 doors in Jack and Charlie's bedroom
4. bind Amy Butler quilt 2 (it's been sewn together and quilted)
5. sew top together, quilt, and bind red and white quilt
6. bind living room quilt (it's been quilted)
7. paint inside front door
8. green cabinet - pulls and legs and get it into the front room

In addition there are a few things for 2009, of course:

1. 1 more set of shelves in the storage room (3 have been done)
2. all stuff from basement into storage rooms and organized (we've been working on this already. progress is always too slow for me.)
3. bind another quilt (baby size)
4. lose weight before sara's wedding in maui. Let's say 10 pounds, but 20 sure would be nice.
5. fence the back yard
6. plant a vegetable garden
7. numerous small house projects

I'm sure I'll be adding to my list as the year goes on, and I'm sure I'll be sharing some of the progress.

08 January 2009

here comes santa claus . . .

Dan has a Santa suit. I made if for him when Jack was a wee boy. This year he got a chance to wear it to a family's house in our neighborhood who has never had an American Christmas (they're from Africa). Before he went to their house he had the boys sit on his lap. Luke was afraid of him and in his high chair eating, no pictures of that.

Charlie was a little nervous to sit on his lap, even though he's seen Dan get dressed in the suit.
Sam was giggly,
And Jack gave him a big kiss!

a few shots from the wedding

"The wedding" being Andy (my youngest brother) and Ashley's (his lovely curly-haired new wife).
Cute little Ty (or Dude as he's also known) doing a thumb's up.

Julia and Katie pleased to be holding the bridal bouquet.

Katie and Andy being goofy.

Jamie and Andy being normal.

Katie and Sam (who was pretending that night that he is a thumbsucker.)

Nice how I don't have any pictures of Ashley and how I didn't take any outside. Oh well. I can only do what I can do. Right?

i'm in love, i'm in love, and i don't care who knows it!

I've been meaning to tell you all for a while about my new favorite cookbook. I got it for myself last year for my birthday. It has the best Mexican food recipes I've ever made or eaten! If you love Mexican food you should buy it. Or you can find lots of recipes here. You have to try the Tortilla Soup here (which I've made 5 or so times since November.)

02 January 2009


Wow! Was that a busy holiday season for the rest of you? I feel like I've been going nonstop since December 1st! Right after the lego Christmas was over we left for Spokane (for Andy and Ashley's wedding.) We drove through blizzards on icy roads, but we got there. Everyone was there including Zach and fam. The cousins played nonstop in the house and in the snow caves (there was no less than 3 feet of snow plus another 6 feet + of plowed snow piled up next to the driveway), we ate lots and lots of junk, spent one full day on wedding festivities, and finally had to leave, only to drive through another very long blizzard. I wasn't that great at taking pictures of everything, but I did get some, which I will post later on. Right now I'm going to try to clean up from a trip.

ps - sadly, I'm not sure there will be a Christmas letter this year. We've done a small part of it, but there's a likely chance that it may not get finished. We'll see. Dan still has a few more days off work.