Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving on the Farm - The Barn, Family, Ribs, Tractors, Cranberry Sauce...
The cooks!!!

You can move a farm girl to the ocean, but you can't take the farm out of the girl...Thanksgiving was delightful! My mom got into the whole Barn Thanksgiving and brought out Thanksgiving related quilts, candles and milo from our fields to decorate. My bro, David, was a wonderful help bringing it all together. He got out the generator, so we would have music, moved the tractor out of the barn, put up tables and chairs, etc., etc. He was a great help and he wasn't even there for the festivities - he and has family went to his mother-in-laws for the day.
The ribs were seared for 1/2 hour at 500 degrees and then slowly cooked and basted in bbq sauce for 2-1/2 hours - yummy!!!

My nephew, Chris, loves Cranberry sauce - he makes sure everyone has their fill and then he takes the rest and smears it on rolls - quite a few rolls, I might add.

Toward evening, we went back out to the barn to put everything away and since David was still gone, that meant we had to wrangle all the heavy stuff and take care of them. Having spent many hours on the tractor as a kid disking the fields (don't even get my dad started on the summer I used a Honda 50 motorcycle to check the water in the fields every 1/2 hour), I got on the tractor and even though I hadn't driven it in years, I was able to get it started and take loads to a storage building. Fun, fun, fun!!!

We all went our separate ways on Friday - me to visit a friend in Fresno and my family to shop and go to our favorite / mandatory hangout - Superior Dairy - with to die-for ice creams treats.

Friday evening I headed back to my home, unloaded my car and vegged the rest of the evening.

Cheryl Ball and I are doing dinner tonight and I want to go to my storage place and dust off my Christmas decorations that have been in storage for 3+ years and decorate for the season. I came home last night to a blaze of lights from my next door neighbor's house - I knew I'd come home to something, but didn't expect so many lights. Something tells me he isn't done, yet.

I just got off the phone with my best friend from high school. We chatted for over an hour about life (she's going to be a grandma for the third time!!!), about our classmates - she still lives in our home town, so she was bringing me up-to-speed on the happenings or lack there of.
Seems like I haven't gotten my engines going today and it's already 1:00 p.m. with lots to do today.
Tomorrow is a do whatever day - wrapping presents, maybe getting a live Christmas tree, straightening up...whatever.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wild Winds = Wonderful Waves

The winds have been very powerful lately, but with them comes a spectacular show at the beach.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Be Forewarned!!!!
This week, I visited Lompoc where I lived for about twenty years. See the pine tree about center in the picture? It was a 3 foot tall Christmas tree a few years ago, so when you're out shopping for your live tree that you plan to plant in your yard, remember they do get BIG!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rustic Fall Weather

Add this simple rustic touch to your fall decorating!

What You'll Need
Tulip Soft Fabric Paint - Chocolate
Aleene's Fast Grab Tacky Glue
Sand, small amount
Leaves, silk - enough to go around hoop
Paintbrush, foam
Embroidery hoop, wood

How To Make It
1. Pour a large puddle of paint on foil. Mix a small amount of sand in paint, adding more until a 'rust' look is achieved.
2. Dip brush in paint mixture and dab on silk leaves to cover. Let dry.
3. Glue leaves on hoop, slightly overlapping as need to fit. Let dry.
4. Tie ribbon bow. Glue bow at center top of wreath. Let dry.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Soup Tureen

Want a special gift to take to your hostess this Thanksgiving? Paint an easy soup tureen and glue on a few fall embellishments for a terrific way to say thank you. Mix the dry ingredients in the tureen - all your hostess has to do is add water, some leftover turkey and cook for a few minutes for a yummy "day after Thanksgiving" soup.

Soup Tureen

Here's What You'll Need
Aleene's Original Tacky Glue
Pebeo Porcelaine Paint: Scarlet, Yellow, Bronze
Tureen, ceramic
Soft cloth
Foil for palette
Plastic wrap
Silk leaves (fall colors)

How to Create It
1. Clean outside of tureen with alcohol, using soft cloth.
2. Place a small amount of yellow paint on foil. Add a dab of scarlet and bronze paint. Mix with toothpick.
3. Tear a 12" piece of plastic wrap from roll. Scrunch. Dip plastic wrap in paint. Dab off excess on foil. Dab paint on tureen until desired look is achieved. Let dry 24 hours.
4. Place tureen in cold oven. Set temperature to 300 degrees. When oven temperature stabilizes, bake for 30 minutes. Turn off oven and allow tureen to cool down gradually in oven. Once tureen has been 'baked' it is dishwasher and microwave safe.
5. Tie raffia around tureen. Glue leaves on raffia streamers.

Leftover Turkey Soup Mix

Place all dry ingredients and an unpeeled carrot in soup tureen for a nice hostess gift.

1 cup uncooked fine egg noodles
1 tablespoon instant minced onion
2-1/2 tablespoons chicken flavored bouillon granules
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried whole thyme
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
4 quart cooking pot
8 cups water
1 diced carrot
3 cups diced turkey
Pen or computer
Recipe card

Write or print off recipe on recipe card for hostess.

How to Make It
1. Place all dry ingredients in cooking pot. Add 8 cups of water and carrot. Bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf.
2. Stir in turkey. Simmer an additional 5 minutes.

Make 2 quarts. Serve this scrumptious turkey soup in your beautiful tureen.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Random Acts of Kindness, Revisited

I ordered some Christmas gifts online and I received some conflicting information in an email, so I called the company and after a couple of minutes of saying 'yes' and 'no' to an automated system, I was connected with a real live customer service person. First, he was shocked when I asked how he was. He said it was very refreshing. Then, when he came to the conclusion that I was given misinformation and the items couldn't be shipped until February, he suggested I print off a picture of the item and make a little Coming Soon card and include the picture. Christmas will come again for my recipients in February.

My neighbor knew I'd been sick for a while and one day he commented about my cough that was hanging on. I had a knock on my door a little while later and he'd bought me some cough medicine.

As I told the customer service rep on the phone 'we're all in this together...'

Make it a great week!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I ran across this ad and had to share - It's for The Midlife Crisis Winery and their motto is "If you don't chase your dreams, why live?" WOW!
California Fires

So much has changed since I last posted. As the fires rage throughout California, I received this email yesterday from a person who lives in Southern California. It spoke to me, so I am including her insight:

"I've mentioned it in my blog but in case you missed it, my family lives in Southern California, Orange County to be exact. If you turn on the TV or radio right now, you will see wall-to-wall coverage of the fires raging out of control from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles to Orange and Riverside Counties. I've lived here the majority of my life and I don't remember ever experiencing a day quite like this. Last night my husband and I were sitting outside. We just looked at each other and we knew. There was something about the heat, the way the trees were blowing, just a feeling we had that something was going to happen. This is fire season and when you live here long enough, you just know when conditions are ripe for trouble. Fortunately we don't live in the hills or in an imminent fire danger area. But we can certainly see the smoke and brown sky. It's a searing 98 degrees with 5% humidity. In some areas there have been hurricane-force winds. So far hundreds of homes have been lost. It happens every year here. It's one of the hazards of living in certain sections of So Cal. It certainly doesn't feel like Thanksgiving or the Holidays are just around the corner. It's hot, uncomfortable, scary and eerie. One minute you're tempted to pack a couple of things and just get far away from all the craziness. Yet at the same time you're glad to be safe in your own home. So why share these thoughts? A couple of reasons. To those who live overseas or on the other side of the country, it may seem like all of Southern California is ablaze. It's not. There are plenty of areas untouched by the orange glow. But we all feel the pain of those who are losing their possessions, their pets, their property. It's a eerie unity that brings us together and gets us to think about how lucky we are...most of the time. I suppose this is a reminder to be thankful for what we have, to hug our loved ones a little tighter, to know when the time is right we'll all sneak away for a well deserved break. For now, keep the firefighters as well as those touched by these life-changing fires in your thoughts and prayers. Wish for cooler temperatures here in the southland and perhaps some rain. And hopefully soon we'll be back to regular TV and radio programs...a sign the worst will be over."

Friday, November 14, 2008

This is a week to not only thank our armed forces for their sacrifices, but with the devastating fires in Montecito and now in San Luis Obispo, I want to thank the firefighters for their dedication and sacrifices.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Harvest Boxes

A unique way to store odds and ends, these boxes will bring a touch of Fall into your home or fill with special gifts for your Thanksgiving hostess.

What You'll Need
Tulip Soft Fabric Paint: colors to coordinate with ribbon, I used Linen, Berry Red, Golden Tan, Gold
Aleene's Glue Sticks
Aleene's Quick Dry Tacky Glue
3 paper mache stacking boxes
Paintbrush, foam
Sea sponge
4 metal leaves that have weathered look
Grapevine, small diameter
Toothbrush, old
Garden shears
Ribbons: 1" wide plaid (to coordinate with paint colors), 1" wide solid (to coordinate with plaid), 2" wide with motif (to coordinate with plaid)
Tape measure

How to Make It

1. Paint all box lids and small box bottom Linen, using foam brush. Let dry.

2. Place small puddles of Golden Tan and Berry Red on foil. Wet sea sponge. Wring dry. Dab sea sponge in both colors of paint. Dab off excess on foil. Dab colors on lids. Let dry.

3. Apply accents across raised areas of leaves, using finger dipped in Gold. Let dry. Glue leaves on top of small box. Glue grapevine pieces at center of box. Glue moss to cover ends. Glue pinecone at center.

4. For small box bottom, mix a wash of Berry Red and water. Dip toothbrush bristles in wash. Apply speckles of wash on box, pulling back bristles, using your finger. Let dry.

5. Cut several small pieces from grapevine, using garden shears. Gather pieces together in a small bundle. Tie at center, using plaid ribbon. Make four bunches. Glue bundles on sides of small box, spacing evenly around. Let dry.

6. For medium box bottom, glue 2" wide ribbon around sides. Glue grapevine pieces to cover long edges of ribbon along center of box. Refer to photo.

7. For woven ribbon on large box bottom, measure height and circumference of box. Cut ribbon slightly longer than measurements. NOTE: Number of ribbon pieces will be determined by size of box.

8. Glue one end of each long length on box. Glue lengths from edge to edge of box. Weave short lengths over long lengths. Occasionally, tack in place, using glue. Overlap ends and glue on box.

9. Glue a random pattern of small grapevine pieces into woven ribbon.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It seems that November is birthday month and today is a very special day for my family. My brother, David, (my rock) turns 40 - he doesn't like it very much when I tell him I used to change his diaper! I hear Nicki is making him a cake (his request) and they'll spend a quiet evening after a long day at work - we celebrated his birthday in style last Friday night with a not-so-surprise party.

My elementary school bus driver, Mr. Cotta, turned 90 last week!!! I went to visit him in September and all these years later he looks the same! I was at my local Rite-Aid looking for a card for him and to my surprise they had 90th birthday cards and the even shocker was that they had a ton of 100th birthday cards!!!!

Happy Birthday to Carolyn in Texas later this month!

I love living at the coast - it's supposed to be 80 degrees here this weekend and I'm finally getting together with my Walking Buddy, Kathi from Lompoc - I haven't seen her in four years - we used to spend every Monday, Wednesday and Friday walking and sharing our lives, then I moved 3 hours away and our schedules just never linked up to get together. She now lives about an hour away, so we're getting together over the weekend to walk on the beach. And, I had a phone call from a dear friend today and she's coming to play/research one day next week. That means girl time, lunch at our favorite restaurant, catching up and goofing off!!! I can't wait!

I'm helping a friend get her books out to publishers - it's fun doing the research to find just the right places to send them to. Keep your fingers crossed!!! She's a very talented lady and I would absolutely LOVE to see her books in print.

Time for a quick dinner because I'm calling a friend tonight and catching up - we have lots to talk about - it seems to be the right time to reconnect with friends and it makes me thank my lucky stars for my very supportive friends and for my family.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Harvest Table Runner

This touch of Autumn is easy to achieve and will look great on your table!

What You'll Need
Tulip Soft Fabric Paint: Chocolate, Golden Tan, Olive, Sunshine Yellow
Stamp, oak leaf
Garbage bag
Table runner, 100% cotton
Sea sponge
Paintbrush, foam

How to Make It
1. Prewash table runner to remove sizing. Do not dry, leave damp. Cover work surface with garbage bag. Lay damp table runner on garbage bag.
2. Place a puddle of each color of paint on foil. Dab damp sponge in one color. Dab a random pattern on table runner. Rinse sponge. Repeat for each color of paint. Add more water and paint until desired watercolor look is achieved. Let dry.
3. Brush Chocolate on stamp, using foam paintbrush. Stamp four leaves in center of table runner, re-applying paint after each stamp. Stamp leaves in corners. Let dry.

That's all there is to it!

Thank you for your sacrifices.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Nina

The ship was so very small for a crew of 27!!!

We went to one of my favorite stores in town after we checked out the Nina - it's a garden shop - the fountain was amazing (and amazingly priced at $800!!! ouch!!) It was created from squares of travertine. The pots were made with stones all around it. Not flat, but on their sides.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Nina...
Here's what I'm doing tomorrow - visiting the Nina!!!

Why visit the Niña?
To see a near perfect example of a type of sailing ship — the caravel — of such clean, sculptured, honest design that it was produced for upwards of 125 years. With its Scandinavian style bow and midsection and its combination square and lateen rigging it was probably the best open water sailing vessel of its time — that pivotal time referred to as the Great Age of Discovery.

To stand on the sloping deck of the Niña, as true a replica as will probably ever be built. It was Columbus' favorite ship, the one he very nearly died on in 1493, upon which he ultimately logged more than 25,000 miles.

Today, Sunday - It was a strange day today - I woke up at 6 a.m. and immediately got down to work - it wasn't until about 9 that I realized it was Sunday - I thought it was Monday - I couldn't figure out why no one was returning my emails. And, silly me, hadn't changed my clocks from last weekend, so I was really fouled up! OK, I'm up to speed now - it's Sunday and I know what time it REALLY is!

The reason I was fouled up today was that Friday night was my brother's surprise birthday party and then I came home Saturday afternoon.

A ton of family and friends showed up for David's birthday party held at the local bowling alley. He is a very giving person, always doing for others, so it was so nice to see so many people show up and show him that they appreciate all he does. I made dozens of airplanes made from gum and candy - they were cute favors - they look complicated, but they aren't. I personalized them by printing off a sentiment and gluing it to the wings. I didn't get any photos of them, but you can just type in candy airplanes on the internet and the directions will come up. David wasn't surprised which was a bummer. The whole plan was to tell him that the kids wanted to go bowling and that he and his friends would go to dinner then meet the wives and kids at the bowling alley. My story for being there was that I was going to a planning meeting for my high school reunion cruise. Well, David and his buddies got to the restaurant and David saw the guy that we usually go to his house for the class meetings, so that clenched it for him. It was fun anyway!

I went to Wal-Mart last week to get David's present and found some beautiful curtains and a window scarf - I hadn't been to Wal-Mart in ages, so I was very surprised to find some amazing items to finish up my home.

I made myself a cup of tea one day last week, sat down at the computer and ordered Christmas presents on-line - it's so much easier on the feet and with places like having free shipping - why not?

Today was a nice day to get some things done - I started a 'Things That Bug Me' list - it's those things that never seem to get done - they might take 3 minutes, but...I did a few of them today and it felt good. I also went through my notebook that I started last January - it's where I keep all my financial info, goals and stuff like that. I wasn't as religious as I'd hoped this year in keeping it up, but I did get it out every couple of months and see where I was. Unfortunately, most of the goals I'd set for this year will be the same for 2009 - I have made lots of headway on them, but none are completely done. I feel that as long as I'm doing something to get them accomplished - it's a good thing!

Make this week a fantastic one!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I think this quote is quite appropriate for election day!

"If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito." Betty Reese

Roll Out the Barrels
There was an article in my local paper this weekend that I just have to share. I have seen a lot of fundraisers, but never like this. Artists were challenged to paint a 60 gallon wine barrel for an auction to benefit The Endowment of the Advancement of Children.

The Wine Goddess was formed with a steel armature wrapped in chicken wire, newspaper, making tape, papier-mache and fabric with glue.


Land's End at Cabo!!!

Where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez - just beautiful!

We sailed on a catamaran to Land's End, went to a glass blowing factory where they recycle glass into amazing pieces, saw beautiful cacti, had lunch at a cantina in San Jose del Cabo and rested at a wonderful restaurant overlooking the bay at Cabo. (I bought a disposable camera so I wouldn't have to worry about carting around my big camera, so I need to get the photos developed!)

I didn't think I'd ever say it, but I got tired of food - every night our waiter would not only bring us what we ordered, but would bring us things from previous evenings that we had fancied! My fav - Chocolate Melting Cake that oozed sweet chocolate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, of course! I did only indulge in one serving of lobster!

I treated myself to spa treatments the second day we were on ship - it was quite divine to lay back, relax and have six different mini treatments. I went back to my room, curled up for a couple hours for a nice nap.

We played bingo, we ate, ate some more and pretty much just hung out on the way down to Cabo and on the way back.

The day we left on the cruise we had a marvelous champagne brunch in Old Town San Diego and did a little shopping there, but our time in San Diego was all too short because we didn't want to miss our ship. I see more San Diego time in my near future.

Now, it's time to catch up on lots of things, finish final preparations for my brother's surprise birthday party on Friday and attend a luncheon tomorrow for the newbie's of our newcomer's group - I volunteered to be on the board next year. I stumbled upon my high school yearbooks this week and sat down for a trip down memory lane - even back when I was 13, I had to be involved in things - organizing, planning.

This weekend was spent lazying around - the weather was cool and rainy, so I just couldn't resist renting some movies, making a big pot of stew and vegging.

Fall is definitely here - enjoy!