Friday, October 24, 2014

Note to Self

This weekend is all about fence painting, and luckily the weather will be most cooperative.  High's are supposed to be in the 80's.  80's!  Note to self - take a photo or two.

High school football was last night with another win - 55 - 14.  Ouch.  There was a soccer game just before, same complex, and that, too, was a win for the home team - 3 - 0.  Go Mustangs!  Note to self - ask daughter to send some photos.

The 6 y.o. is telling me, almost daily, that we need to get our pumpkins.  He thinks it'd be a good idea to "hit the patch."  If the fences are painted, we might be able to do that.  Note to self - take photos.

The 15 y.o. is heading of to roller skate (that's a blast from my past) tonight. Note to self - convince him to take and send me one photo.

Hubby was supposed to be gone this week, but the trip was cancelled.  I had a menu planned, but two things happened - he was supposed to be eating gluten-free (the menu was not so much, though I could have made it so) and then he was to only eat from five ingredients (chicken or fish, apples, sweet potatoes and rice; though they added carrots, lettuce, squash and pears to the list) as we continue to figure out what's going on.  Note to self - take a few photos of my creativity in the use of the same flippin' five ingredients plus salt.  Though I'm not sure I want to remember this.
I cooked on Monday, though it was crazy-butt rushed because I got home from a trip to the doctor to see if the Strep in the house was spreading - it wasn't - and had to throw this meal together in 30 minutes.  The Taco Pork Chops were good, but had cooked to long in the braise, so they weren't as tender as I'd prefer.  I made, or rather my daughter did, this Southwest Rice.  The only change I'd make is to mix in the extra stuff after I cook the rice.  I don't use Minute Rice, so some of the flavors were not as bold because of the longer cooking time for traditional rice.

I cooked on Tuesday and made this Lonestar Chicken Enchilada dish.  It uses straight up cream to dip the tortillas in and to pour over the top.  It was creamy and green chili-y.  It was good.  It was also the last meal I cooked this week.  We tried to clear out the 'fridge of an over abundance of left-overs, which was just as well since any creativity for meals was spent on how to make this five-ingredient meal different from the last five-ingredient meal.

Note to self - do something creative that involves paper, photos, yarn or thread!!

Happy Friday,

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Escapism and Layouts

I found myself, again, ensconced on my couch after dinner last night with the book.  I can't put the sucker down.  I left the house this morning without it and I feel bereft.  I missed the enormous weight of it in my purse - the sucker is almost 900 pages; I don't think any of the books in the series are less than 800.  My kids are a little amazed that I'm three-fourths of the way through it.  I want to tell them if it wasn't for them, I'd be well into book three by now.  But that just seems mean.

I haven't decided if it's the book, or life at the moment and the need to escape it, that has caused a shutdown of sorts in my accomplishing anything these days.  We've got a lot going on right now, i.e. we've gone from gluten-free for hubby to a menu that consists of five ingredients.  FIVE!  I feel like I'm on an episode of the Food Network's Chopped, and the only pantry item I get is sea salt.

I think it's time to try to re-incorporate the creative back into my days; at the very least, the week.  Something more creative than, "How can I make this unseasoned chicken and rice seem different than yesterday's unseasoned chicken and rice, given that I only have salt."  I haven't touched paper, thread or yarn in weeks.  And since I have nothing of my own to share today, I thought I'd toss out projects from people who are creating . . . namely the Sous Chefs.

Jennifer Halleck created this layout using the Bella Blvd line from the Smaller than a Breadbox kit.  I love the little flags on the side of the single photo.

The Carta Bella line from the Bigger than a Breadbox kit is what Maria Swiatkowski used for her fall layout.  It must be something with the tags, because I love the ones she used to mix in with her journaling card.

Kristin Perez also used the Carta Bella line here.  I love, love all the circles.

Nancy Longo chose to work with the Fancy Pants line found in the (now Sold Out) Smaller kit.  I love how she lined photos, minimally cropped photos at that, up along the seam; a great way start a layout.

Finally, we have just one of the seven cards and a tag that Wendi Robinson created with the All Year Cheer kit.

Looking at these, breaking them down to their parts, I could totally crank out any one of them.  Now to just do it.  It's got to be infinitely more fun than practicing post-apocalyptic cooking methods.

Happy Thursday,

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

We Are

I seem to be in a photo slump - well, it's an all around slump that affects my capturing life, among other things, at the moment.

All but the last two photos are courtesy of my daughter.

  • We are finding Fall moments while working outside
  • We are "Pink-ed out" for the Think Pink game
  • We are 8-0 on the season and League Champs in football.
  • We are plowing through Book Two - Dragonfly in Amber.  My sister gave me a #PocketJamie which I use as a bookmark, but who apparently has quite a life on Instagram.  Here he's with us as we visit the doctor's office.
  • We are savoring every shade of Autumn color to be found.
Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sketches on Tuesday

This month's sketch is jammed with photos.  25 to be exact.  25 photos!  I know some of you are thinking, there is no way I can put 25 photos on a layout. . .I probably don't have 25 photos from a single event anyway.  Or at least not 25 scrapworthy photos.

But. . .don't fear the photos.  For starters there's always the dividing of this two-pager into two one-pagers, which, yes, still leaves 23 photos on one of those pages.

However, those 23 are small photos, say like phone photo or Instagram prints.  You know, maybe not the greatest quality to do up in the traditional 4x6" size, but the quality of the photo matters less when the photo is smaller.  Those 23 are also a great way to incorporate a lot of photos from a single event that you might normally have to sort out - Pumpkin Patches, Senior Photos, School Festivals, Birthday Parties, etc.  

Don't forget the fill-in-the-photo-space-with-something-else option.  Use patterned paper to fill in where you might not have a photo in a strip.  Go every other photo and underneath the photo put a small journaling block.  Use up some embellishments like labels, florals, diecuts, wood pieces, etc. in place of a photo.  Layer here.  Use pop-dots for dimension.  Know what else?  You can totally remove one or more strips.  Yep, the great thing about a sketch is that it's just the inspiration.  Remove a strip and then shuffle the remaining strips closer together or make leave them in their place and make the photos in the strips a bit larger.

So see, never fear the sketch!

Happy Tuesday,

Friday, October 17, 2014

Bad Computers and Good Food

So my computer seems to be cooperating this morning.  For now.  It wasn't feeling quite so generous last night.  So I'm hoping to have my thoughts come together quickly and type as fast as I can while it's in a good mood.

I do seem to be narrowing the problem down though.  The software/malware/virus issues seem to be resolved.  Connection to the internet still remains a problem.  When I'm hard-wired into our network, life is good.  When I go wireless, all hell breaks loose.  Hubby thinks it may be my wireless card.  So it's a lot of using his cable in his office to quickly do pressing things (because my battery won't hold a charge for long.)  Then unplugging and working, like now, offline, with dumb little messages popping up telling me my post isn't saving.  Duh!  So, I'll draft and then go plug in for photos and posting and unplug.

The day seems to be screaming "GO SCRAP!" wouldn't you say?  Maybe I'm meant to read all day, or at least until it's time to deal with picking kids up and dinner.  

I haven't mentioned it, I don't think, but hubby has been dealing with some health issues for a few months now.  Long, long, story short, he's on a ton of meds and restricting his intake of gluten.  I can't tell you how fun this has been.  Luckily, I'm fairly initiated in the gluten-free world as his brother has Celiac's disease, so I'm used to reading labels and knowing where gluten might be hiding.  Still, it's one thing to cook for his brother for a couple days a couple times a year and cooking like that every day.  Hubby is better with no gluten, but it's still too early to tell exactly how sensitive he will be once we get to a "clear space" for more than a couple days.

This is another place where not having my computer is bugging the crap out of me.  I'm wanting to find gluten free substitutes for some everyday things, like flour or  various mixes.  Something that Pinterest would be immensely helpful with, had I the ability to get on the internet.

I wasn't able to post last week.  I had menu planned two weeks ago from Pinterest; this week was all Taste of Home.  I had to drop one recipe because I couldn't think of a way to make it work for hubby.  I did find a flour substitute at the store, a cup-for-cup one, which is awesome, but I'd like to see if there's a mix I can make at home.  Otherwise I spent a lot of time Googling, on my phone, "Is (fill in the blank) gluten free?" or wandering the grocery aisles looking for a gluten free version of this or that for cooking.

I made this Festive Pork Roast last Friday and I only needed to find gluten-free soy.  It was very good.   A good day for the comfort of a moist roast.

I paired the Roast with this Bacon & Corn Casserole.  I halved the recipe, which still made more than enough for eight people.  It wasn't quite as creamy as I expected.  I didn't put the Cheddar Crackers on top, which may have had something to do with the creaminess, or lack of it.  (I have since found a gluten free cracker, though.)  It also didn't cook by itself at the temp required in the recipe.  Because of the length of its cooking time, it went in with the roast, so that, too, may have had something to do with the creaminess.  Those are reasons enough to give it another go, because it was a good, comforting side.

For dessert I made these Oreo Cookies & Cream cookies (one of the last things hubby ate before getting on the gluten-free wagon.)  Hubby deemed them one of the best cookies he's ever had, so they'll definitely be something I'll need to work up GF.

There's a High School football game tonight with a cross town rival (my Alma Mater.)  The weekend, if the weather holds, will involve more fence prep, both here and at my in-law's (who live just down the street) - insert the smiling, uber excited faces of my kids.  The 15 y.o. wants to hit the local Fright Fest Saturday night.  The next episode of the Walking Dead will be on (holy crap, did you see last week's?!)  I will be digging through boxes of cables, that seem to reproduce in this house like rabbits, looking for one I can keep attached to my computer.

Happy Friday,

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Super Stash Busters Challenge #4

I think it might be time to switch things up.  Expand my horizons, as they say.  It might be time to try to pry my fingers free of the remote, which always seems to find its way to Outlander On-Demand.  I may also need to attempt to put down pace myself (aka not read every free moment I have) on book two in the Outlander series, Dragonfly in Amber.

Obsessed fans, like myself, may question my line of thinking.  "What?" I can hear them shriek in shock and dismay, "Are you nuts?  No Jamie?  No Claire?  No kilts? No Jamie!"  I'm not washing my hands. . .believe me.  But this is the last creative thing I did, and that was several weeks ago.  And figuring out ways I might convince my husband (of German descent no-less) to wear a kilt, isn't quite the creative outlet I'm speaking though it may be.

This is Challenge #4 from the Big Picture Super Stash Buster class.  The challenge was all about color.  Specifically using your favorite colors or colors you keep wanting to try.  I love fall and fall colors, so I reached for this American Crafts Pumpkin Patch line that was found in a past Bigger kit, Fall of 2012 to be precise.  

Naturally, the challenge came with a sketch.  Naturally it was a one pager, so in this case I just mirrored it for the second page.  I used photos from this layout HERE, but these pages are going in this son's book.  He's seven in these photos; he's 14 now.  Dang.

I am going to get myself to my work table today to finish the the pages that are laid out.  But first I'm just gonna read this chapter really quick.

Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

We Are

Last week I said that the week following Homecoming was equally full, but nothing would be worth taking a photo of.  And here we are and the week was indeed full, and I was right; there wasn't a thing worth pulling my phone out for.  Even my snap-happy daughter had little to share.

I do have this.  This one lonely little photo.

And I didn't even take it, my daughter did.  She and her brothers were out prepping the yard to do some fence painting over the next couple weekends (which I guess I could have captured their so-happy-to-be-doing-yard-work-faces) - we're hoping to beat the snow - and they were pulling back rock to get at the bottom rail of the fence.  She discovered a ton of worms in their happy place.  She called over the 6 y.o., who took a break from wrangling Rolly-Polies, to check out the worms.  She pointed out how big some were.  He refused to touch the big ones, stating that he only liked the small ones because they were less squishy.

Looking at this, I find it interesting that I can use one photo and tell the story here, on the blog, but had I been holding this photo while sitting at my work table, I'd have drawn a complete blank and passed it over.  Interesting.

This is reason enough to head back to Project Life® - short stories and a place to put them.

Happy Wednesday,