June 30, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Reading by the Pool

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June 29, 2010

Post-It Note Tuesday - 06/29/10

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June 28, 2010

Knittin', Honey

I'm linking up with Heaven is a Bookstore for Martha Monday ...

Been working away on my Dynamic Cardi. I really like the feel of the Patons Grace mercerized cotton yarn. It's so light weight; I cannot wait to wear this cute little sweater!

I finally had a chance to go button shopping. Because of the spicy tan color of this yarn, I knew I wanted buttons that had a coppery feel. Found just the thing at Jo-Ann's. They're Belle Buttons by Dritz, made in Germany, and cost $11.00 for 6 (I need 5). They have a bit of a hammered metal look to them and the color matches perfectly, which is exactly what I was hoping for ...

I know I said I wouldn't do any other knitting while I was making my sweater, but I just couldn't help myself. I modified the funky footsies pattern to make some anklet socks for Hubby -- shortened the cuff, added length to the foot and left off the girly fun fur. He wears them at his desk in our home office and while watching TV in the evenings ...

And I needed birthday gifts for a couple of other sweet men in my life this month so ...

... I'm just knittin', honey!

June 27, 2010

Happy Birthday, KBFF!

In honor of my BIL's birthday, who just happens to be my KBFF (knitting best friend forever), take a few minutes to enjoy this fun little cartoon by annekeAnna. I promise, even if you're not a knitter, it's entertaining ...

Happy Birthday, dude!

June 26, 2010

Reading "Savor the Moment"

I love love stories ... I've worked in the wedding business and enjoy reading about wedding professionals so this book and series is my idea of a good time.

Nora Roberts' series called the Bride Quartet is about four female friends -- a photographer (Mac), florist (Emma), baker (Laurel) and wedding coordinator (Parker) -- that have formed Vows, a wedding business run out of a beautiful old mansion. The girls have known each other all of their lives and grew up together playing Wedding Day. Sister and brother, Parker and Delaney Brown, inherited the mansion upon the unfortunate death of their parents. Mrs. Grady, housekeeper and house mother to the girls, is a wonderful addition to the mix.

The first two books in the series, Vision in White and Bed of Roses, are stories about the photographer and florist in the group. This third book, Savor the Moment is about Laurel McBane, cake baker/decorator extraordinaire. In each book, the featured member of Vows explores dating and love while running her end of the business. Laurel has always had a crush on attorney Del Brown, which may not be a good thing since he treats her like a sister, protective and overbearing.

This, like the first two books, is a sweet story that includes fun interaction with bridal parties as well as each other. Their friendship is wonderful and powerful and beautifully written. When it comes to their wedding business, they have their own language that includes abbreviations for members of the wedding party - MOB Mother of the Bride; SMOG Stepmother of the Groom; MOH Maid of Honor.

A few excerpts ...

     "Stop that nonsense and sit down before the food gets cold." Mrs. G gave him a flick on the arm as she carried the coffeepot to the table to fill the mugs.
     Mrs. G was in her element, Laurel knew. She had a full brood to fuss over and order around. She'd revel in the number and the noise of them, and when she'd had enough of both, she'd kick them all out of her kitchen. Or retreat to her rooms for some peace and quiet.
     But for now, with the scents of coffee and bacon and cinnamon, with platters being emptied and plates filled, Mrs. G had things just as she wanted.
     Laurel understood the need to feed, the desire - even the passion - to put food in front of someone and urge them to eat. It was life and comfort, authority and satisfaction. And if you'd prepared that food with your own hands, your own skill, it was, in a very real way, love.
♥  ♥  

     "Cut it out! Stop it now!" Laurel dodged a fist, then blocked an elbow with her forearm. The force of the contact sang straight up to her shoulder. "I said stop!" For God's sake, it's your daughter's wedding."
     "It's my daughter's wedding," the woman Parker and Emma struggled to control shouted. "My daughter. Mine! Not this home-wrecking bimbo bitch's."
     "Bimbo? Bimbo? You tight-assed lunatic, it's your last face-lift I'm going to wreck."
     Emma solved the mother of the bride problem by sitting on her while Laurel grappled with her opponent.
♥  ♥  

     Confidence, she reminded herself, was like lip gloss - all you had to do was put it on.
♥  ♥  

     Vacation. Laurel could scent it, nearly touch it. She would be on it if this damn event would ever end.
     Sunday afternoon events tended toward smaller affairs. Sophisticated or casual, fussy or freewheeling, weddings or anniversary parties booked on a Sunday afternoon leaned toward a pretty brunch or an elegant tea, most often ending early enough for guests to go home, maybe catch a ball game or a movie.
     But not this one. Not the last event before the glories and raptures of vacation began. At four on Sunday afternoon, the Ballroom rocked. Champagne flowed. The bride and groom - second-time arounders in their early forties, danced to the oldies the DJ spun like a couple of teenagers on spring break.
     "Why don't they want to go home and have sex?" Laurel muttered to Emma.
     "They've been together for three years - over a year of that living together. They probably have sex whenever they want."
     "But it's Wedding Day sex, and they can only have Wedding Day sex today. At midnight, that ship has sailed. They should want it. Maybe we need to mention it."

If you love love (with a bit of sizzling sex thrown in), you won't be disappointed by this book or series. I'm really looking forward to the last one, Happy Ever After, coming out in November 2010. This would make a fun movie!

June 25, 2010

What's Cookin' - Turkey Burgers with Avocado Sauce

Let me just start by sharing a picture of the lovely lilies blooming in my Minnesota sister's yard ...

Absolutely gorgeous ... love the colors!

Another lovely thing sent to me by this sister was a subscription to Taste of Home magazine for Christmas. If you like to cook, this is one you should check out. It is comprised of recipes submitted by home cooks throughout the United States. There are some amazing recipes as well as fun stories about readers and volunteer field editors. They run contests and feature ingredients. It's a truly amazing foodie magazine for the home cook.

I love to cook with ground turkey. It took me a while, but I finally got Hubby and the kids on board with turkey burgers. In the June/July 2010 issue of Taste of Home, there was a recipe for Open-Faced Chicken Avocado Burgers. It includes so many of my favorite ingredients ... avocados, lemon juice, mozzarella. I changed the chicken to ground turkey and voilĂ  ...

It seems like there are a lot of ingredients, but it is well worth the effort. The creamy avocado sauce is incredible and makes quite a bit. We ended up eating it on regular hamburgers later in the week.

Open-Faced Chicken Avocado Burgers
by Lisa Hundley of Aberdeen, NC
makes 4

1 T. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 medium ripe avocado, peeled
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
4 green onions, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 T. prepared pesto
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1 pound ground chicken (we substituted turkey)
4 T. olive oil, divided
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 4 slices
4 slices Italian bread, 3/4" thick (we substituted hamburger rolls)
2 cups fresh arugula or baby spinach
8 slices tomato
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. pepper

In a blender, combine the first eight ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Chill until serving. For burgers, in a small bowl, combine the Parmesan cheese, pesto, garlic and salt. Crumble chicken over mixture and mix well. Shape into four patties.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook burgers in 2 T. oil for 5-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees and juices run clear. Top with mozzarella, cover and cook 1 minute longer.

Meanwhile, brush bread with remaining olive oil; place on a baking sheet. Broil 3-4 inches from the heat for 1-2 minutes on each side or until toasted.

Spread each slice of toast with 2 T. avocado spread (refrigerate remaining spread for another use). Top with arugula or spinach, a burger and sliced tomato. Sprinkle with basil and pepper.

June 24, 2010

Our Magic Table

We've had a table and four chairs in our breakfast nook that we bought in 1986. We have moved it to seven different houses over the last 24 years. When we bought it, our girls were in elementary school -- they're now in their 30s and we have a teenage granddaughter.

This table has seen a lot of action. Since it's in the kitchen, it's where we eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. And since it's also in the family room, I do some crafting there because I can watch the TV while I'm working. This is where we play games, have family meetings and set baked goods to cool when the counter is overflowing. There are actually tooth marks on the edge where the granddaughter cut her first teeth. Even though it is a small square table to seat four, we have always pulled up additional chairs when extra guests come over to eat because we enjoy the informality. Here's a photo ...

We recovered the chairs ourselves a few years ago. That little project garnered a lot of cussing until we realized we were using a crappy staple gun. Once Hubby bought a new one and every staple worked (not just every 3 or 4), we were in business.

But we've talked about getting a new table for several years now. We've looked in furniture stores and antique shops and even restaurants for just the right table. I've been leaning toward one with a hand-painted top that had some carving ... saw some like this at a restaurant years ago that has since gone out of business but we've never been able to figure out where they got them. Then last year we saw an unusual table at a furniture store that had a self-storing leaf so you could open it up and increase the size of the table. It was so cool; just not the right table.

A few weeks ago, one of our dearly beloved barstools that we've had since around 1994 broke. It's the one I perch my dainty butt on every day when I sit at the kitchen counter and use my laptop. I swear I have lost some weight but apparently not enough. We'd also talked about replacing these barstools as they've seen better days. We've had them recovered once and they had some paint on them from one of the granddaughter's little craft projects that wouldn't come off.

We were told about a barstool store in Chandler, Arizona, that the owners are closing for good so we headed off hoping to find a smokin' deal. And in this store, we found the answer to both our barstool and breakfast nook table problem all in one. We bought a counter height table with a total of eight barstools so there are four around the table and four at the kitchen counter.

And this is the magic part that just gives me a little thrill ...

It has a built-in self-storing leaf so we can expand the table to add a couple more barstools for when we have all the kids over or company when we're not using the formal dining room.

The barstools are covered in leather and they're really comfortable. I love it!!! Now if I could just make dinner magically appear on the table, I'd have it made.

June 23, 2010

Vomit Heave Hurl Puke Spew

Noelle from Because Nice Matters left the following comment on one of my recent Post-It Note Tuesday posts about drinking out of random cups and glasses ...

True Story: 

Once my little sister was at work and she was sick. She needed to throw up but couldn't make it to a bathroom, so instead she threw up in a cup.

Before she could throw the cup away another sister came along and thought the cup held a shake...

You can guess what happened next. STILL makes me want to gag just thinking about it! 

This, of course, spurs me on to do a post about all the vomit stories I can remember. I know it's wrong, but it makes me laugh so I won't be apologizing!
     Let's start with my younger sisters sharing a bedroom. My middle sister lost it in the middle of the night on the floor between their twin beds and I could hear my baby sister saying in as disgusted a voice as a small kid can muster, "Oh no, look what you did to Mom's rug!" We had some beautiful old rag rugs that were apparently pretty precious, even to us kids. That always makes me smile.
     As a young adult, I knew a guy who was fortunate enough to have a gorgeous brand new red TransAm, which was one of the hottest cars around at the time. He'd taken a bunch of friends out drinking one night and the guy riding shotgun was feeling sickly. As he could feel the booze coming back up, he frantically rolled the window down (these were old-fashioned manual crank handles) so he could hurl out the window. Except the window was already down so he ended up rolling it back up and splattering all over the inside of the window where it ran down into the door. That beautiful car was never the same!
     When our kids were young, I along with the Oldest Daughter (about 4 at the time) and the Youngest Daughter (age 2) piled into the car with a girlfriend of mine and her two kids and we went apartment hunting for her. It was a warm day and we had no air conditioning in the car. Finally, everyone was hot, exhausted, thirsty and starving so we stopped at a fast food restaurant where we all got burgers, fries and sodas.
     OD always had a good appetite and would cheerfully eat anything put in front of her without complaint. And she would always happily finish anything YD didn't eat.
     YD was in a restaurant high chair, gulping down her food when it apparently didn't sit well with her and she blew it all right back out into the tray of the high chair. Chunks of hamburger and french fries were floating in root beer. For just a second, the five of us sat there open-mouthed, looking at her in shock and horror. In fact, everyone in the restaurant had stopped to watch.
     OD, with her history of finishing YD's leftovers said loud and clear, "I'm not going to eat that."
     Another story around the same time was when OD got the stomach flu in the middle of the night. She walked into my bedroom, said, "Momma?" I sat up and turned on the light just as she threw up all over the foot of my bed. This was after she had already puked in her own bed. That was a long night of stripping beds and doing laundry. Not one of my fonder memories!
     When YD was in high school, I had free movie passes to a completely inappropriate movie (but that's another story) and she was the only one available to go with me. As we were driving to the movie theater, she said she wasn't feeing well. Then as we rounded the corner at the mall, she rolled her window down and threw up something colorful all down the side of my white car. Of course, I was driving, but I looked over as she blew. There were quite a few people standing on that corner watching this happen. If you could have seen the looks on their faces. Moments later, after we got to the theater, we got cups of water to wash the side of the car off and we stayed for the movie. She was a trouper!
     About this same time, YD decided she wanted to take flying lessons so she talked Hubby/Daddy into going with her. They went up in a Cessna out of the Scottsdale Airport. She could not have been more excited or happy ... until her undigested burrito lunch revolted. Unfortunately, she was actually at the controls when this happened with the instructor sitting next to her. It was warm in the plane and she had already said she wasn't feeling great. The instructor opened several little windows to allow air ventilation. When she threw up, she managed to get most of it out the window by the pilot's seat; however, it went right back into the rear window and landed on her Dad's lap and the back seats.
     In the early 80s, we were relocating to Southern California for my job. We flew in to make arrangements and Hubby had several job interviews scheduled. We had an incredible rib dinner and headed to the hotel. During the night, Hubby bolted out of bed in the dark and ran toward the bathroom. Just as I switched on the light, he projectile vomited his entire rib dinner. I am not kidding, it was like the Exorcist without all the green.
     He was determined to make his first job interview the next morning so we headed north on the PC1. It was a long, traffic clogged drive on the freeway. We stopped at a Burger King and I got an order of French Toast Sticks. Hubby took one look at my food and ended up in the bathroom with his tie flung over his shoulder heaving again. Bless his heart, he still went to several job interviews that day and did an admirable job of faking good health even though it seemed like he threw up all over California.
     The granddaughter, a toddler at the time, was staying at our house and got sick. We had white ceramic floor tile then and she blew chunks from her bedroom door across the hall and into the bathroom doorway. I heard all the noise and came running. As I rounded the corner, she was standing in the middle of it in her little nightgown crying, "Nana, I growed up!" And that's the one we all say now.
      All of my personal stories seem to revolve around food -- you know when you eat something and upchuck it and then the memory won't allow you to eat it again for a long time. Some of the worst were kettle corn and hot dogs. I did have a truly unfortunate episode of food poisoning once after eating a grilled cheese sandwich in a diner. Thought I was going to turn myself inside out on that one.

I'll leave you with this weird little ditty we used to sing about Comet cleanser when we were kids ...

Comet, it makes your teeth turn green
Comet, it smells like gasoline
Comet will make you vomit
So buy some Comet and vomit today!

We thought it was hilarious!!!

June 22, 2010

Post-It Note Tuesday - 06/22/10

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Here are my thoughts today ...

Have a wonderful memory-making summer, everyone!