February 25, 2011

my life has flat lined

Man, there's just not too much going on at my house these days. Life has kinda just flat lined...no real highs and no real lows. The monotonous is rubbing off on me. I have been lacking motivation...which I am not proud of...and I have been lazily watching TV in between washing dishes, doing laundry and cooking meals.

I haven't told you all, but I quit my job at Pier 1. My last day was last week. I was supposed to start watching my 2 month old nephew full time this week, but my niece got sick and also hurt her back and subsequently didn't get her form signed by her doctor to release her back to work after maternity leave. In return, I have had a week off with nothing to do. Now doesn't that sound really silly...nothing to do. Of course there's plenty to do when you live in a big house and have 2 children and a husband and 2 hamsters and 5 chickens.

This morning I watched 2 episodes of Golden Girls...I could not live without this show...and then watched whatever happened to be on that channel in between my dozing and waking for the next few hours. Really, that is so pathetic! Then, around lunch time, I washed a boat load of dishes and then made myself some scrambled eggs and a cup of hot tea.

I did get out once this week...I went to the craft store with my friend. It was good to get out and laugh the day away and catch up on everything. We started out at Starbucks, then headed to the craft store, and then another craft store, and then to the local Chinese buffet. I stuffed myself on General Tso's chicken, honey chicken, white rice, seafood something or other, chicken and vegetables, and chicken teriyaki on a stick...hey, it's a buffet, I was trying to get my money's worth! ha ha!

The other highlight of my week was watching 2 nights in a row of American Idol. I really really love watching this show! I have watched every season except the very first and I am addicted. Steven Tyler from Aerosmith and Jennifer Lopez are judging along with Randy Jackson this season. I love the new judges...it's funny cause I didn't think the show would do well without Simon...but I have already forgot about Simon! My youngest son is insisting that Steven Tyler is a girl. My husband and I cannot convince him otherwise. It's really quite funny, but I don't think Steven Tyler would think it was so funny, then again, maybe he would.

Well, enough about my boring week!

Stay tuned, I will be posting my recipe for whole wheat bread this weekend. It's so good! It's my favorite bread recipe so far!

February 21, 2011

it's snowing again

It's President's Day...the kids are off school...and it is snowing like crazy! We got absolutely dumped on in a short period of time! The weather man is predicting 4 to 5 inches...but we already have a solid 4 out there and it's still coming down like gangbusters!

Each month I have been sharing poems by John Updike from his book called "A Child's Calendar." When the weather turned to 60 degrees just a few days ago, I wasn't really in the mood to post it...but now...all that's changed with the snow piling up outside! Hope you enjoy it. For those of you who don't know, this poem really describes February in northeast America.

poem by John Updike

P.S. I just measured our snow with a ruler and we have 7 inches. It's almost midnight now and the snow is supposed to be tapering off soon...we'll see about that!

February 17, 2011

Cobb Salad

Cobb salad...mmmm, don't you love it! I do! It's way better than just a plain old tossed salad..it has crisp bacon, creamy avocado, delicious chopped chicken breast and hard boiled egg!

So...Cobb salad...why is it called Cobb salad?

I'll tell you why.

Cobb salad was created by Bob Cobb....the owner of the famous Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood.

As the story goes...the year is 1937...around midnight Bob Cobb was hungry. Pacing his kitchen he opened the refrigerator and started pulling out this and that...an avocado, lettuce, a hard boiled egg, a cooked chicken breast, cheese, tomato...he began chopping..then swiped some crisp cooked bacon from his chef. He put it all together and topped it with some old fashioned French dressing.

Sid Grauman from the famous Chinese Grauman Theatre was there with Bob Cobb that night when he created this delicious salad. The next day, Sid came back and asked for a "Cobb" salad. And so....the Cobb salad was born! His invention became an overnight success with customers.

This is my version of the Cobb salad. On a beautiful platter filled with washed, chopped iceberg lettuce, I top my salad (from left to right) with rows of bacon, cucumber, kalamata olives, cubed cheese, tomato, chicken, and avocado. I have to tell you, though, I completely forgot to hard boil and egg for my salad. I love chopped hard boiled egg on Cobb salad. I remembered it once I had everything put together and was about to present this beautiful salad to my family! Darn! Oh well, next time. I added a couple of things that aren't on the original salad and you can do that as well. There's no hard fast rules when it comes to creating your own Cobb salad.

For curiosity sake, here's the ingredients in the original Cobb salad: head lettuce, avocado, romaine, watercress, chicory, tomatoes, cold chicken breast, hard boiled egg, chives, bacon and Roquefort cheese. The recipe for the French dressing from The Brown Derby is as follows: 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 1/4 tsp. sugar, 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice, 2 tsp. salt, 3/4 tsp. black pepper, 3/4 tsp. Worcestershire, 1/4 tsp. dry English mustard, 1 small clove minced garlic, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 3/4 cup salad oil. First, blend all ingredients together except the oils. Next add oils and mix well.

Make a Cobb salad for your family for lunch or dinner! Everyone will love it!!

February 14, 2011

Sick Days

Hello everyone! Happy Valentine's Day! There was so much more that I wanted to post before Valentine's Day rolled around....but as it happened...I got sick, like really sick! Like aching from head to toe sick, fever and chills for 3 days, sore throat, swollen tonsils, down and out, laid up, the whole nine yards. I started getting sick late Monday night, went to the doctors Thursday, got a steroid shot in the arm to help the swelling in my throat go down and also got some antibiotics. By Friday, things were looking up. Saturday, even better. Sunday, I got up early, took a shower, ate breakfast and we all went to church. I think I am back to normal today. I have one more day of antibiotic. I have to say, that was the sickest I have been in a looooooong time! I even cried twice during my illness. The ache was so bad, I just had to hang in there and take it. I was taking ibuprofen 'round the clock every four hours. When I would try to wait longer, it just made it worse. I already had a real appreciation for life and health before I got sick, and this reminded me all the more to enjoy life while you have it and enjoy your health, cause you may not always be blessed to have it. I am happy I am better and ready to get back to blogging. I had promised at the end of my last post to write about stained glass heart shaped cookies. I was prepared...I had all my ingredients purchased, but now it's too late. I think maybe I will showcase these cookies for St Patrick's Day or Easter.

February 4, 2011

February Rain and Tissue Paper Flowers

A rainy Saturday afternoon.
Wet heavy snow fills the yard.
The air is cold and damp.
Water soaked branches are black against the sky.
Tip tap, tip tap...rain falls on my parka.
Icy cold hands.
Where are my mittens?
Tis February again.

*poem written by me, Bonnie*

The weather and photo I took today inspired the poem I just wrote. I'm feeling quite nostalgic and lovey today. The dripping drops have not got me down. Instead, I was photographing in the rain.

Once inside, I made one of my very favorite crafts; tissue paper flowers.

This craft is timeless...I've been making these since I was a little girl. What a great decoration for Valentines Day...giant puffy fluffy pink tissue flowers. I love these flowers, they always bring a smile to my face and they're very easy to make!

So what would one DO, with a soft puffy fluffy tissue flower?
Well, you can use them as centerpieces for a baby shower or bridal shower.
You could also decorate with these flowers for any holiday...most definitely Valentine's day!

I hung my pink paper flower on my front door. I think it looks very quaint!

Here's a visual, step by step tutorial.

measure and cut a 12 x 12 square cutting through all layers of paper. You can make any size flower you want by cutting smaller squares.

make accordian folds, back and forth, back and forth, the whole way through the square.

All of the layers are so beautiful and fluffy!

Pink or red tissue, you could make garland or put two together to make a pom pom. Make smaller ones and glue them on handmade napkin rings for a Valentine tea party. Decorate a heart shaped box filled with chocolate. I better stop before I get carried away...

...carried away on a big pink fluffy puffy flower!

Stay tuned: up next, stained glass heart shaped cookies....oh so yummy!

February 3, 2011

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Every once in a while I get the craving for some good BBQ chicken pizza!! Let me tell you, it is such an easy dinner to make. The crust is very versatile. You can use anything from homemade dough, to ready made par-baked store bought crust, pita bread rounds, or an inexpensive packet of dough mix for about 50 cents. Sometimes, I make my decision for the crust based on what's already in my pantry.

For the topping, you need cooked chopped chicken, diced onion and green pepper, minced garlic and a really good, smokey BBQ sauce.

Start with a really good BBQ sauce! This is my favorite BBQ sauce. It is so smokey and just a little bit sweet!

So here's the process...it's really easy!

In a small saucepan heat a little butter or margarine and saute a handful each of diced onion and green pepper. Mince a few cloves of garlic and add that as well. Cook until just softened.

Add onion and pepper mixture to BBQ sauce and simmer in a pan for a few minutes.

Add the chopped chicken and simmer a few minute to incorporate all the wonderful flavors.

Spoon the smokey chicken and sauce over pizza crust.

I chose to use a very quick and easy crust...a packet of dough mix from Wal Mart for 5o cents. All you do is mix the contents of the packet with water, form a ball, let rest for 5 minutes and then push dough into shape of your pan. Next you pre-bake the crust for 9 minutes and you're ready to put your toppings on!

Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese and shredded Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 425 degrees for 9 minutes.

Cool, slice and enjoy!
Oh yum!
This is GOOD stuff!!!

February 2, 2011

Shrinky Dinks Valentine Garland

My youngest son had a fever over the weekend. I could tell he was getting a little restless, as he was not completely down and out. Wondering what we could do that was different and fun, I came across shrinky dinks on a blog that I frequent. Oh, I was so excited! I loved shrinky dinks when I was a kid...certainly my child would be just as amazed as I had. By the way, I tried to go back and find the post so I could give credit to them for inspiring me, but I couldn't find it...sorry whoever you are!

My son and I had fun creating cute little monsters, bumblebees and butterflies.

Just a quick little lesson on shrinky dinks for any of you that don't know what I'm talking about.

Ok, now that we got that out of the way...

I did a before and after photo using a quarter for size reference.

To shrink the shrinky dinks, you bake them in a toaster oven or a regular oven following the manufacturer's instructions. My instructions said to bake at 325 for 3 minutes.

They'll shrink up about 50%. We baked them on a baking sheet lined with brown paper bag. My son and I watched them curl up and then flatten during the shrinking process. It's so fun to watch! I used to love this part when I was a kid!

I wanted to make some sort of Valentine decoration with our creations, so I decided to make a sweet, little garland to hang in my kitchen window.

First, I sewed random buttons on to a few strands of red embroidery thread.

Then I grabbed twine from my husband's workshop.

I wrapped the button thread around a piece of twine to give it an added dimension of interest and texture.

Some craft glue and my shrinky dinks, and I was ready!

A little glob of glue...

position the green little monster on the twine...and let dry!

a little orange monster!

a little blue monster!

another little green monster! My son made this one...it's so cute! he's got one small yellow arm and one giant yellow arm!

I let the little monsters hang out and dry...

...and hung them in my kitchen window!

I think it's kinda cute! I love Valentine's Day! It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside...hearts, candy, love, paper valentines, love notes!

For the sweet little bumblebee my son made, I made a plant pick. I simply took craft glue and adhered a toothpick to the back side of the bee. Easy stuff here people!

It's overcast right now, and not too much natural light in my house, so I brought my plant out into the shivering cold to take a photo...poor little plant!

Dang, I think this bumblebee is my favorite of all!

But then again, there IS this cute little arm with a tattoo heart that my son also made.

This just cracked me up! How did he come up with this? I can't decide what to do with this piece. I gotta think a little bit more on this one!