Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 in Review

Back in January, I decided wanted to create in 2009. I think I accomplished my major points:

1. Finish old projects, once and for all. I got a lot of projects finished, a lot of new ones started and completed, but not many that were on the original list got finished and they continue to follow me into 2010. oh well! Trying again....

2. Continue creating our home. Lots of little things got done. Replaced light fixtures... reorganized and cleaned out. Brian finished his wall, but the economy caused us to put a hold on spending any money on the painting and landscaping. We have it mostly planned out and as soon as we can, we'll be jumping in again!

3. Create new routines. Ironically, the one I labeled as the toughest, ended up being the one I stuck with the most. I still am not a morning person, but I have a much better routine. One that includes weeknight group workout classes, regular time with Brian and a normal bedtime of 10 to 11 pm and wake up time of no later than 7:00 am on workdays. I am claiming victory on this one! :)

4. Create great memories. Definitely accomplished. My brother got married in April. I got my weekend with the girls in May by the ocean. Celebrated with our family as the nephew turned one. My sister got married in August. We watched our nephew for a whole week in August. Watched lots of Law & Order. Made some lifelong great new friends. Enjoyed great times with old friends. I went deer hunting for the first time. We planned and booked our next big vacation for 2011... a Disney cruise to Alaska with some good friends. :) Lots of time with the family. Lots and lots of great memories this year. :)

5. Create new traditions, new favorites. Didn't quite make that many new recipes this year, but this endeavor will continue in 2010. Brian learned to make excellent french bread from scratch. I made some new cookies and main courses that made it into the permanent recipe box. I'm sad to say that I still haven't made marshmallows though... I have a book, but haven't made it past drooling over the recipes. :) Definitely plan on making some soon though!

Still trying to decide what to resolve for 2010, but I'll think on it tonight and make a decision for tomorrow. Until then, happy new year from our house to yours!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Recipe #5: Asian Beef Stirfry

I found this recipe and changed it from skewers to stirfry. I heated a skillet with a little canola oil, added steak that was precut fajita style. Added the onion after a few minutes. While that was cooking mixed up the sauce, then poured it into the pan once the beef was no longer pink. Added a tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken up the sauce, then added some fresh cubes of pineapple. Served it over rice instead of pasta. Yum! Brian and I both liked how hot this one was. Another keeper!

Recipe #4: Chocolate-Peppermint Cookies

These are a definite favorite that will get made frequently. (And no, that is not what my cookies looked like!) Think Girl Scout Thin Mints...yum! So I got the recipe here. I made some definite revisions to the recipe though, so here is my version of the same recipe.

Chocolate-Peppermint Cookies

Makes 6 3 dozen.

1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 ounces (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
8 large candy canes or 30 peppermint candies or about 15 mini candy canes, crushed
2 pounds white chocolate, coarsely chopped Note: Do not use white chocolate chips, they will not melt down enough!


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Reduce speed to medium-low, and add egg, then yolk, beating well after each addition. Beat in peppermint extract. Slowly add flour mixture, and beat until just incorporated. Shape dough into 2 disks rectangles about a 1/2" thick, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days).

2. Roll out 1 disk of dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut out circles, and Work with one rectangle at a time (keep the other in the fridge), cut into 1/2" by 1/2" by 1/2" cubes. Working quickly, on a floured surface roll all the cubes in hands to form small balls of dough. Press to 1/8" thick with a flat-bottomed drinking glass. Generously use flour on the bottom of glass, your hands and the dough. It will not show up on the cookies once they are baked. The longer the dough is out of the fridge the stickier it gets, so work quickly! Once you have pressed the balls of cookie dough flat, place 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Roll and cut scraps once. Freeze cookies until firm, about 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining disk. Bake immediately, no need to freeze.

3. Bake until cookies are dry to the touch, about 12 minutes. Transfer parchment, with cookies, to wire racks, and let cool. (Undecorated cookies will keep, covered, for up to 3 days.)

4. Sift crushed candy, and separate larger pieces from dust, reserving both. I didn't do this and they turned out just fine! Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water. Remove from heat. Dunk cookies into melted chocolate. Using a fork, turn to coat, let excess drip off, and gently scrape bottom against edge of bowl. I ended up spreading the melted chocolate on the top with a knife. I wouldn't recommend using white chocolate chips -- not the same! Next time, I may even just use milk chocolate because it will coat better. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, and sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of either candy pieces or dust on top. Repeat, sprinkling half the cookies with pieces and the rest with dust. Refrigerate until set, up to 3 hours. Decorated cookies are best served the same day. Again, I disagree. They tasted great until yesterday, a full 2 days after making! I don't think they would have lasted any longer, but they will taste just as good if you make a day or two ahead of serving or giving them to people!

Definitely adding to the recipe box in our house!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Recipe #3: Baked Chicken Meatballs

So I saw this recipe over on the Smitten Kitchen blog. Hop on over there for the recipe. A little on the salty side to us, but I think that's the pancetta talking. Only change I made was to put a little shredded mozzarella on the top before putting in the oven. Very tasty and definitely going into our recipe box.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Recipe #2: Lime Meltaways

Remember Lemon Coolers? They were this tasty lemon cookie covered in powdered sugar that lived in a green box in the grocery store? Oh how I miss those cookies!

So when I saw the Lime Meltaway recipe in this cookbook:

Martha Stewart's Cookies

I HAD to try it!

You can get the recipe here.

Now we want to make using lemons too. Delicious! :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Recipe #1: Sweet Fire Chicken

Recently, I tried a new dish at Panda Express -- the Sweet Fire Chicken. YUM. But I knew that it was somewhat unhealthy and probably easily recreated in our kitchen. I was right!

Other than knowing for sure it had pineapple, red bell pepper, onion, chicken and sweet chili sauce, I wanted to make sure I was not missing anything. I turned to google to see if anyone else had created a recipe for it yet. I found this great resource and used this recipe to help me formulate a healthier chicken replacement for the deep fried chicken I know is in the original!

So this is how it all came together:

(Sorry for the less than fabulous picture -- this was taken mid-feast on my phone before we consumed it all!)

Amanda's Sweet Fire Chicken

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into approx. 1" pieces
1 cup flour
salt & pepper, to taste (we hardly use any salt and add more pepper)
canola oil, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan or PAM cooking spray
1/2 of a red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 of a small onion, chopped
1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped (could substitute a can of pineapple, drained)
Thai sweet chili sauce (I used about 1/2 cup, but we both would have liked it hotter, so next time I'll probably add more)

Chop and prepare all ingredients before starting. Heat oil in pan on stovetop. Mix flour, salt and pepper in a gallon ziplock bag. Add chicken pieces and coat evenly. Once pan has heated, add the chicken pieces. Throw out the leftover flour mixture. Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring several times to cook chicken. If the pan surface gets dry, spray some additional cooking spray on the surface or add a little bit more oil. Once the chicken has browned, add the bell pepper and onions. Stir in and cook about 3-4 minutes. Add the sweet chili sauce and stir. Then immediately add the pineapple and stir. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. Serve over rice immediately.

SO yummy. Definitely adding to our list of regular dinner menu items around here!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

30 by 30

On and off for months I’ve thought about doing a 30 before 30 kind of list. Just the fact that I have come back to it so many times has taught me that it is time to just commit to it and go for it! And really, I turn 30 at the end of just 3 months from today, so no better time to start, right?!

Of course, I saw this somewhere. Multiple blogs and websites for sure. But I have no clue where. So rather than look to see what others have done or find what I saw before, I’m going to do my own thing with this: A moving, flexible, adaptable 30 by 30 list. In my mind, I look these lofty lists I’ve seen of backpacking through Europe, Skydiving, reading the BBC top 100 list. Me? I think these are great, but I would much rather focus on the here and now. The things that are staring me right in the face that I want to spend my time on today. That I can accomplish in 3 months.

Aside from that lofty ever growing and changing list of things to do someday, here’s my idea of a 30 by 30 that I want to accomplish by my birthday on February 28th, 2010!

1. Read 30 books by 30. I seriously have a HUGE collection of books I want to read. I even have a stack of loaned books that have been sitting in my living room for over a year now. So that pile of books is where I intend to start.

2. Finish 30 projects by 30. I have a never ending list of projects. The to-do list just seems to grow and never seems to get smaller. Small projects, time consuming projects, annual projects. Even if that list continues to grow I want to finish 30 projects by 30.

3. Watch 30 movies by 30. Our Netflix queue is out of control. Hundreds of movies. Time to catch up a little. We’re on a roll right now and I want to at least get our $'s worth out of Netflix again!

4. Cook 30 new recipes by 30. No other rules here, just to try 30 new things. Anything really. I just want to spend more time cooking and baking. Already have a few in mind!

5. Run 30 by 30. And by 30 I mean a 30 minute 5k. Totally doable, but a commitment to getting back into running 3-5 days a week. I was close to running this time once by a few minutes. I am a better runner now than I was then. I’m mentally tougher now and have endurance now that I didn't then.

So how will this all work? Right now I look at it as three months, 30 items on those four lists and one goal. Just ten a month... ten books, ten recipes, ten movies, ten projects. Check in at least once a week, start building those four lists of items done.

As for the running goal, I will go back to my old program I liked so well, the ten weeks to run a 5k. Want to keep my evening class workouts of aerobics, kickboxing and the occasional boot camp... maybe even toss in the occasional bike ride with my husband, but I think I will be getting up the morning to run again. All I need is my iTunes play lists and some sleep.

So in three months, I hope to look back satisfied and maybe then I’ll write an impossible pie-in-the-sky 40 before 40 list. Old school style. But there won’t be in skydiving on that one! :)

Do you have any lists of things waiting out there for you to do? What helps you stay motivated? Have you finished any of those lists?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Wrapping up Today I Am...

So since I skipped September and October, I think it's fitting to wrap this up and start something new tomorrow that I've been thinking about for a few days now. Excited to get it going tomorrow! So this is my final "today I am" for 2009...

Today I am:

Reading: Nothing! Just finished reading The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. LOVED it. By far my favorite of the three Langdon stories. Started it yesterday morning, finished it tonight!

Listening to: Not much. My two minute commute to work hasn't left me with much time to listen to music. Now that I have a new computer, just need to reload iTunes.... Hoping to get it done later this week.

Obsessed With:
**Food = nonfat decaf no-whip caramel brulee lattes at Starbucks, Odwalla Chocolate Protein Monsters (still my new favorite breakfast), cheese
**Crafts = Finishing up Katie & Kile's guest book, getting back to my nephew's scrapbook. Waiting on pictures for both from my sister!!
**Workouts = Working out most days now. Still going to the night classes at the YMCA. Had an unexpected sideline a few weeks ago due to the flu. Not sure if I had swine flu or not, but I was grateful I had the vaccine for it and the flu lasted less than 10 days.
**Time wasters = The usual suspects... Facebook. Television. Sleep!
**House = Still purging. Still planning on painting. Working on stripping the paint and stain from a reclaimed window.... lots of time spent, but it will be worth it in the end!

Thinking About: The holidays. Decorating. Christmas shopping. Cookies. Love Christmas!

Planning: Way too many things as usual. Up next? My very own 30 by 30 project...

Dreaming Of: Warmer weather already. I live in one of the mildest climates on Earth. I hate the cold!

Enjoying: Time spent with my husband, time spent with family and friends.

Vowing To: Get that window stripped of paint and sanded next weekend!

Working On: Work. Cleaning. Nothing ever seems to change there.

Excited About: Learning how to make marshmallows (still). It will be done in the next couple of weeks! Spending time with everyone over the next month.

Favorite food I made in the last month: Made a brand new pumpkin pie recipe for Thanksgiving last week. AWESOME recipe. It's a keeper!

Getting out and about: Let's see.... in September we stayed close to home and hung out a lot of the time. In October, I went up to Placerville for my cousin Jamie's baby shower, had a great time! This last month, was sick with the flu at the beginning of the month, but still managed to see New Moon on opening day with Nancy + Mackenzie and had my parents visit for the holiday last weekend.

I am terribly behind and still need to download the cameras, but at least I have this picture to share for the last few months:

The nephew of course, Hollywood as we call him. Loves having a pair of sunglasses and posing for the camera!

August: A Wedding, a vacation and some fun in the sun!

Again noting that this was written back at the end of August and is just now getting posted! geez!

Still trying to keep up, but things are slowing down a bit and we are playing catch up around here!

Today I am:

Reading: Nothing but the random magazine or blog post. Hoping to get back to reading by the end of next month!

Listening to: Careless Whisper (Seether's version) is a new favorite. Other new favorites right now are Say Hey (Michael Franti & Spearhead) and the new Daughtry album.

Obsessed With:
**Food = iced passion tea at Starbucks, Odwalla Chocolate Protein Monsters (still my new favorite breakfast), Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches, strawberries, Brian's homemade chocolate
**Crafts = Finishing up Katie & Kile's guest book, getting back to my nephew's scrapbook.
**Workouts = Working out most days now. Still going to the night classes at the YMCA. A little bike riding with Brian every once in a while.
**Time wasters = Facebook lately.
**House = Still purging. Still planning on painting.

Thinking About: What we are going to do to celebrate our 4th anniversary in a few weeks.

Planning: Home improvement projects for the upcoming months.

Dreaming Of: Winning the lottery! :)

Enjoying: Life right now. Things are busy but mellowing out. Looking forward to fall and the holidays.

Vowing To: Finish purging everything in the next couple of weeks!

Working On: Work. Cleaning.

Excited About: Learning how to make marshmallows (got a book!) and losing 5 pounds in the last six weeks. I earned every single pound!

Favorite food I made in the last month: Nothing new unfortunately. Brian made a delicious chicken pasta veggie bake though. :)

Getting out and about: My sister's bachelorette party, her wedding, had our nephew for the week while they went on honeymoon. Took the nephew to the zoo, aquarium, parks, shopping, beach. So much fun!

Favorite photos from the last month:

My Sister, Brother and I were taking our pics... and my cute nephew decided he HAD to be in the picture! Ran over, looked up and posed for the camera. It was too adorable!

Love this pic of the two of us! :)

And last but not least... here's a picture of the Bride and Groom:

This picture is my absolute favorite out of all the pictures from the wedding!

All three of these pictures were taken by the nicest people, David and Christie Posey, owners of Lexigraphics photography. They are amazing!! They photographed my wedding, as well as my brother Tom's wedding and my sister Katie's wedding.

July: Where did it go???

Noting again: Just now posting what I noted back at the end of July...and apparently having issues with blogger tonight as I publish this for the first time EMPTY! :)

I truly feel like July passed me by in a hot second. So here's what I jotted down last month.... and I am just now posting!

Today I am:

Reading: The same two books as the last FOUR months now.... meaning I officially am not reading anything. Good grief. Hoping to turn that trend around by September. Making the Cut by Jillian Michaels and Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger

Listening to: Not much. Spend about 2 minutes at a time in the car everyday (on the way to/from work, the gym and Starbucks). That's where I used to listen to all my music, so I need to find other times of the day to flip on the radio!

Obsessed With:
**Food = shaken iced passion tea lemonade at Starbucks, Odwalla Chocolate Protein Monsters (my new favorite breakfast), Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches, nectarines
**Crafts = Been working on the design for my sister and soon to be brother-in-law's wedding in August. Also working on a ribbon bouquet for the rehearsal.
**Workouts = Had my last spin class, as Brian decided to give up his second job (he's feeling a little burned out these days!). Started going to the YMCA classes with some fabulous girls who motivate me to workout after work every day. Having fun with step, kickboxing and a variety that seems to keep me consistently sore!
**Time wasters = Still no time for them. Though I could argue that laundry is a time waster...
**House = No change but planning to purge and thinking about getting started with all the painting Labor Day weekend.

Thinking About: My sister's wedding coming up -- lots to do.

Planning: Still in survival mode. Hoping to get our plans to work on the house settled soon.

Dreaming Of: Sleep. Seriously!

Enjoying: Everything except the stress of all the time deadlines and stuff going on.

Vowing To: Get everything done on time!

Working On: Still on hold with all the things I want to do -- been recouping from the wedding, but busy getting stuff done for them.

Excited About: Katie's bachelorette party, the wedding.

Favorite food I made in the last month: Nothing new.

Getting out and about: Went to see Demi Lovato & David Archuleta with Mackenzie. Visit from Katie, Heather and CT for a day at the spa (soooo needed that massage!). Usual day-to-day.

Favorite photos from the last month:

Picture of David Archuleta performing :)

June: The time for parties!

Note: I documented this journaling in June and I'm just now posting it....eek! Just proves to me that this year has been as busy as I thought it actually was. So without further adieu....

Really starting to feel exhausted. Trying to start cutting down the weekend planning more. I need a vacation. Seriously.

Today I am:

Reading: The same two books as the last TWO months now.... meaning I *really* haven't made any progress on this front.... sigh.... Making the Cut by Jillian Michaels and Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger

Listening to: Jason Mraz and my eclectic workout playlists mostly.

Obsessed With:
**Food = shaken iced passion tea lemonade at Starbucks, still stuck on the dry cranberry lime Gus sodas, salad (everyday now), Odwalla Chocolate Protein Monsters (my new favorite breakfast), Skinny Cow Skinny Dippers (YUM.)
**Crafts = Everything got put on hold for my sister's bridal shower. Made 42 cute little bird favors
**Workouts = Bike riding is the new favorite workout. Just went mountain biking for the first time with Brian last weekend. It was fun, but I have the scraped knee to prove that I'm new at it. Also loving the spin class I'm taking now on Thursday nights. Had to miss it tonight to catch up for this weekend. Still too much to do tonight!
**Time wasters = Still no time for them.... can barely catch sleep every night between working, working out and trying to keep up with everything going on right now!
**House = Made up my mind on a color scheme for the master bedroom last month, finally figured out the master bathroom. Decided to paint the master bath first, but also decided I want to tile the floor, replace the baseboards and replace the two light fixtures. Since it went from a paint job to a renovation of sorts, I'm pushing it all back to labor day weekend in September. Take a few days off if I can and try to knock it out. Need some time to convince Brian to do all those things, though I'm fairly confident I could figure them all out! :)

Thinking About: All the baby showers and babies in the next week - it's madness!! Two showers on Sunday and one baby that should be here any day. And those are just the family members and close friends.... seems like everyone is having a baby right now! Trying to get all three gifts finished and wrapped up for this weekend.

Planning: Trying to survive tonight at this point actually. Trying to finish up what I'm making for two of the three baby gifts for this weekend. Sewing machine is NOT cooperating. Took a break out of frustration. Now to do laundry in-between. yay. :)

Dreaming Of: A weekend of peace and quiet 4th of July.... well when the neighbors aren't shooting off illegal pyrotechnic displays anyway.

Enjoying: The weather, my new routine and workouts, time with Brian -- more now than a month ago thanks to yet another change in work schedules!

Vowing To: Finish this stuff for the weekend and get a handle on all the clutter next week. I'm soooo over all of it.

Working On: Still working on the same things. All have been put aside temporarily for parties this month demanding my attention.

Excited About: Alli's baby shower, seeing more good friends (Drea and Annie), more time with family -- all this weekend. More fun stuff coming up in July.

Favorite food I made in the last month: Tomatillo Shrimp Tacos (from the Jillian Michael's book above) -- quite yummy.

Getting out and about: It's all turning into a blur. My sister's bridal shower, lots of time spent getting ready for it, hanging out with Erin & Nancy at some point. Brian's 8-hour mountain biking race he won. Busy, busy, busy!

Favorite photos from the last month:

Monday, May 25, 2009

Time is flying by!

The last month has been hectic and jam packed with lots of fun stuff! Got to spend time with lots of family and friends.... accomplished several projects... all-in-all a good month. :)

Today I am:

Reading: The same two books as the last month.... meaning I haven't made any progress on this front.... sigh.... Making the Cut by Jillian Michaels and Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger

Listening to: Kayne West, Twilight soundtrack, Kris Allen, Adam Lambert, Black Eyed Peas, Jamie Foxx.... lots of 80s songs too for some reason. :)

Obsessed With:
**Food = iced apple chai tea at Starbucks, strawberries, yogurt, barbeque potato chips, dry cranberry lime Gus sodas (they ROCK if you haven't had them!)
**Crafts = Still working on a wall photo mosaic project... down to the last step... so close, yet so far from finished. :) Amy's quilt is almost done.... Tom's is right behind it. Still working hard at finishing them in the next month.
**Workouts = running a lot still. Also liking riding my bike with Brian... having issues with the seat that I need to get worked out, but I'm loving it!
**Time wasters = No time for them right now.... just running down my to-do list constantly.
**House = Made up my mind on a color scheme for the master bedroom, trying to figure out the master bathroom now. Planning on painting 4th of July weekend... hoping to get Brian to help (hint, hint!!) ;)

Thinking About: My sister's bridal shower/bachelorette/wedding. Lots to get done this week for the bridal shower!

Planning: Way too many things. At this moment, I'm just planning tomorrow.... workout, work, laundry, dinner, Katie's bridal shower invites.... a million other things mixed in I'm sure!

Dreaming Of: Our vacations next year. We're planning a weekend trip for my birthday and a trip back to Pennsylvania to visit Tom & Amy.

Enjoying: The nicer weather, my time with Brian and the new episodes of Clean House!

Vowing To: Finish putting together the office and clean up the guest room, which has somehow become the dumping ground for random things. The clutter of it all is driving me insane.

Working On: Finishing organizing pics on the computer - almost ready to upload them all to Shutterfly. Also working on Creighton's baby album.

Excited About: The summer and all the fun stuff coming up in the next month. Annie's third baby is due any day, my Mom is retiring this week, my Dad's birthday, Katie's bridal shower, Alli's baby shower..... so many things I'm looking forward to this month!

Favorite food I made in the last month: Baked French Toast Casserole. yum.

Getting out and about: Tom and Amy's wedding, scrapbooking retreat in Santa Cruz, Katie's graduation from Sac State, jazz jubilee, my nephew's first birthday.... lots done in the last month and all of it was lots of fun!

Favorite photos from the last month (I couldn't pick just one!):

The newlyweds! April 24th

Picture taken May 1st at the Mission in Carmel, California. Just messing around with my macro lens.

First birthday cake is the BEST! Picture taken May 24th, shortly after smooshing cake and smearing it all over himself and his mama's shirt!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Today I am... going crazy!!!

Note: This post written on April 27th.... and I am just now getting around to adding the pictures to post it on May 25th.... eeek!! ;) And a special thank you to you Megan for reminding me to come back and actually POST what I wrote and write this month!! You rock!! :)

I have a million things on my to-do list and definitely feel like there are not enough hours in the day! That said, here's another item I can now check off my list.... :)

Today I am:

Reading: Making the Cut by Jillian Michaels and Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger

Listening to: One Republic, David Cook, Kayne West, the current American Idol contestants (love Adam, Kris and Danny!)

Obsessed With:
**Food = back to Cabot Sharp Cheddar.... it's an on again, off again kind of addiction apparently!
**Crafts = Still working on a wall photo mosaic project. Hoping to finish it this weekend at a retreat.... hoping to get some scrapbooking done too. :) Making great progress on the quilt projects and hoping to finish two of them by the end of May, the third in June.
**Workouts = running still. Also liking the once a week nighttime workouts I got near the beginning of the month at the tennis/fitness club Brian works at.
**Time wasters = The new toy... an iphone!
**House = Rethinking the paint scheme for the master bedroom... haven't abandoned it yet, but Brian tossed a new thought into the mix... that he may be willing to part with the furniture. That would change everything about the room. sigh. Too many choices! :)

Thinking About: Getting everything ready for the retreat this weekend and getting everything done next month for all the stuff coming up.

Planning: A schedule for the weekend -- I'm preparing three breakfasts and one lunch. Still have lots to do.

Dreaming Of: A better economy -- it would be nice to not have that stress anymore.

Enjoying: All the time with family and friends this month. It's been great so far!

Vowing To: Finish Tom and Amy's quilts in the next month. Amy's just needs the binding sown on and stitched shut! Gotta finish piecing Tom's together so I can baste and quilt. Still seeming like a lot of work for so little time, but we will see!

Working On: Organizing pics on the computer. Have about four months' worth to process and organize. Planning on uploading all of my pictures to Shutterfly.

Excited About: My retreat this weekend -- can't wait to see all my crazy scrapbooking girls! :)

Favorite food I made in the last month: Brownie Pudding -- yum. Will post a recipe soon!

Getting out and about: In the last month, we took a wildflower drive along the coast through Big Sur/Carmel. Had a blast! Brian had mountain bike race and ended up crashing... slightly separated shoulder... ouch. My little brother got married last weekend -- yay! Had a lot of fun :)

Favorite photo from the last month:

From our little trip along the central coast. Picture taken at the beach in Carmel.

Since I missed one from March, here's my favorite photo from March:

Scarlet with her favorite toy, a tennis ball! I didn't take many pictures in March. :)

Have you been out enjoying the spring weather yet?!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Busy Life

That's how I am feeling right now is busy. Wishing for more quiet weekends like this one. :)

Today I am:

Reading: Making the Cut by Jillian Michaels and Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger

Listening to: Still listening to David Cook in the car, also listening to the Twilight soundtrack a lot

Obsessed With:
**Food = homemade tortillas, orange juice - yum.
**Crafts = scrapbooking is starting to fade a little while I pick up three quilts I gotta get finished. Also finishing up a wall photo mosaic project.
**Workouts = running with Brian, getting ready to do Jillian Michaels 30 day program (see book above!)
**Time wasters = This holds true from last month.... American Idol, Amazing Race and Greys, along with facebook and the internet in general!
**House = Finally picked paint colors for the master bed + bath. Trying to figure out when to paint in the busy schedule.

Thinking About: My long to-do list. Wondering where I will be at in the grand scheme of life come this summer.

Planning: The rest of the month. Wondering how I will get it all in!

Dreaming Of: Finishing the interior of our house substantially.... paint, new couches, new coffee table, new rugs. Wishing I could play some game show to win the money to do so!

Enjoying: The beautiful weather. The time I get with Brian, sparse as it is.

Vowing To: Finish piecing and cutting my brother's quilt, start sewing my sister's quilt and to finally finish quilting Amy's. Happy I made good progress on all three in the past month.

Working On: Getting our computer space issues resolved - I can finally order what we need! Yay for tax return money! :)

Excited About: Brian's birthday on Friday. Still wondering what to get him as a present!

Favorite food I made in the last month: Tortillas.

Getting out and about: Went to SF with Nancy last weekend. Spent time with my sister and nephew for my birthday. Had dinner with Patti and Erin (separate nights). Lots of running with Brian. The last month has been good. :)

Favorite photo from the last month: Not downloaded from the camera yet -- eek! Better add that to my list.

I've made some good progress on my to-do list in the last month. How are you doing on your resolutions?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Today I am...

Inspired by one of my favorite scrapbookin' girls Estee, I thought this would be a good idea to help me regularly stop and document my life. So every month from here until the end of the year, I will be checking in for this at the very least! :)

Today I am:

Reading: Nothing. Have a stack of books waiting for me!

Listening to: the new David Cook CD and NPR on a continuous rotating loop in my car

Obsessed With:
**Food = orange juice + bacon, not necessarily together either!
**Crafts = scrapbooking, mostly pics of the nephew right now
**Workouts = running + hiking with Brian
**Time wasters = American Idol, Amazing Race and Greys, along with facebook and the internet in general!
**House = picking a paint color for our master bath and master bedroom

Thinking About: What to get my brother and sister as wedding gifts... and how fast I'm running out of time to do so.

Planning: To finish cleaning the office this weekend. The May crop with Nancy.

Dreaming Of: Where to go for a vacation next year for my 30th birthday. Torn between Disneyland and Seattle. Leaning towards Seattle.

Enjoying: Hanging out with Nancy and laughing so much last night. The peace and quiet of being at home on the weekends this month.

Vowing To: Finish cutting out my brother's quilt and start piecing it, order the fabric for my sister's quilt and to finally finish quilting Amy's.

Working On: Getting our computer space issues resolved. Relieved to be getting our tax return filed and hopefully checks in the mail to us next month.

Excited About: All the girls coming to California in May to hang out!

Favorite food I made in the last month: Snickers bars from scratch. Still perfecting the process and caramel portion of the recipe. Will definitely do a post about it soon.

Getting out and about: Went on 4 hour hike at the Pinnacles, saw Taken at the matinee and had dinner at Chilis last Sunday with Brian. We shared some chips and salsa, chased it with the fajita trio. Love our "dates" when we get to have them every couple of months. Hoping they are more often now that he has Sundays off! :)

Favorite photo from the last month:

Photo taken January 16, 2009

What are you doing?! :)

(And thanks Estee for getting me out of my blogging rut!!)

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Happy New Year!!

We had a great Christmas this year. Lots of good food, family, friends and a great time!

My sister Katie and the handsome little guy wearing his Christmas present - love the hat that I made for him!

This weekend it's time to pack up the decorations and get ready for this year.

Every year it is nice to stop and look back at the last year. The last year had lots of change in store for us - hard, sometimes painful, but all-in-all good. As for resolutions, I want to commit them to memory and I think it would be great to look back to see how I did with that wishlist. The last few years, I have thought that this is a fantastic idea. This year I am actually going to do it! My one word is CREATE. Create change, create new habits, create new surroundings. It just fits my to-do list! :) So.... for my own benefit a year from now....

My 2009 Goals:

1. Finish old projects, once and for all. This includes one surprise for Brian, two quilts (Amy's and Tom's), three vacation scrapbooks (Florida, Vermont and 2006 trips), four re-organizing projects (pantry, bookshelves, laundry room, under-stair closet) and five different wall photo areas (loft, entry, living room, dining room and master bedroom). The purpose being to create a clean slate on the craft projects.

2. Continue creating our home. For Brian this is finishing the wall in the backyard, hopefully putting in sprinklers, grass + trees too if we can afford it. For me, this means painting inside the house. The priority list is our master bedroom, master bathroom, laundry room and downstairs bathroom. And if I get the rest done, the loft. While I would *LOVE* to paint the main area of our house this year (*hint, hint* Brian!), I am realistic in thinking that we don't have the time to do it ourselves or the money to hire someone to do that for us. sigh. Maybe next year! :)

3. Create new routines. This will be the most difficult for me. I want to have a good routine. Right now, it changes day-to-day and I don't think it's working for me. The main change will be an 8:00 pm bedtime and gym every morning at 5:00 am. I've always been a night owl, but I don't want to be anymore.

4. Create great memories. Something I strive for every year really. So far we have several weddings we are really looking forward to, I have a crop that I am co-hosting in May by the ocean, we are hoping to get some hiking in at the Pinnacles again soon, our nephew will turn one, holidays, Lake Tahoe in the summer (for one of the weddings), maybe a few trips with the RV and boat to a nearby lake, go see Wicked in the city (I really hope!)... we'll see what other cool stuff comes up along the way.

5. Create new traditions, new favorites. This stems from adventures in the kitchen where we have spent the last few years experimenting with our cooking skills. Last year, I learned to make flour tortillas from scratch (will post those soon), improved my bread making skills and made my first spice blend. This year I want to learn to make marshmallows, macaroons, creme brulee and crab cakes (not all together!) from scratch. Maybe a few different kinds of bread too. This is where new traditions come in. I want to create a new tradition in our house of trying a new recipe each week. I also want to start some new family traditions for Christmas next year, but for now, I'll keep those under wraps! :)

So over the course of this year, I will revisit this list and a year from now, I will finally have a solid list to compare to. What are your resolutions? Do you have a word?


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