Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Two New Year's Resolutions postcardsImage via Wikipedia
Happy New Year to all my Retirement Journey friends!  I am looking forward to 2011.  2010 had many ups and downs for me but I am planning for 2011 to be progressively uphill.

Do you make New Year's resolutions?  I don't usually but decided to try it again this year.  What can it hurt?!!  Sooo, my New Year's resolutions are:

  1. Organize my craft room (it is scary right now!).
  2. Get up at 5:00 every morning except Sunday.  Trust me, I need the extra hour:)
  3. Exercise a minimum of five days a week.  I have a treadmill, weight set with bench and Wii Fit Plus--no excuses.
  4. Lose 30 pounds.
  5. Read at least one non-fiction book per month.  That should be easy because I love self-help books.
  6. Make all the cards I give this year, including Christmas cards!
  7. Become reacquainted with www.flylady.net--a great website to help you get organized and keep your house clean!  Should have kept up my friendship with the Flylady!
  8. Remember to take more pictures.
  9. Paint, paper and tile my kitchen.
  10. Set goals for each of my resolutions.
Hope you are able to keep your resolutions!  I am going to blog about my resolutions one day per week so you can keep up with my progress...or not!  No, really, I am determined!

Have a wonderful New Year's Day and be looking forward to the best New Year ever!!!  Kat
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Art of Manliness

My husband has been akin to the Grinch Who Stole Christmas for at least 30 years.  This year he was playing Christmas music, wanting to watch Christmas movies, wanting to put up Christmas decorations, wanting to entertain during the holiday season.  I must admit, I was getting very suspicious!  What happened to my husband?!  Was he abducted by aliens and a substitute put in his place?!!!  Finally he told me he had been reading about celebrating Christmas on the website The Art of Manliness.  He showed me the website and I found it interesting the vast variety of subjects that are discussed on The Art of Manliness website.  


If your husband needs some encouragement to have a Christmas Spirit during the holidays, encourage him to read The Art of Manliness.


theartofmanliness.com

What a Great Christmas!

Wii FitImage via Wikipedia
Christmas day was spent at Church and with friends.  It was a great day!  A high Sabbath!


I left to visit my darling daughter and granddaughter on Boxing Day (December 26)!  The weather for traveling was perfect and the trip was uneventful! My granddaughter thought celebrating Boxing Day was fun, especially when she found out it was like another Christmas--presents, goodies to eat, family!


I got everything I wanted for Christmas and then some--of course, my Keen Bern Baby Bern Boots plus Wii Fit Plus, Big Shot die cutting machine, the "doctor's" bag for the Big Shot, a Scotch Advanced Tape Glider and an iPhone App magazine.  What more could I ask for?!!!


My favorite part of Christmas was delivering our Christmas Jar.  I am so anxious to start our jar for 2011.  We only saved for one month this year so starting to save in January should yield much more.  Did you deliver a Christmas Jar this year?  If so, you know what I felt like.


I will be traveling home tomorrow to get prepared for our Church New Year's Party.  This is such a busy time of year and I am ready for the busyness to be over.  I told my husband I was going to sleep the whole month of January:)  Do you think I will get away with that?!!!


I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and that your New Year will be the best ever.  Kat


en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxing_Day--everthing you wanted to know about Boxing Day but were afraid to ask!
www.stamphappykat.stampinup.net for information about the Big Shot and "Doctor's" Bag
wiifit.com/ for information about the Wii Fit



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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Brad's Deals

Do you love a bargain?  I am a bargain shopper!  I love to thrift store shop because I love getting gently used, name brand items for next to nothing.  The only thing more enjoyable in the shopping realm than thrift store shopping is getting NEW for next to nothing!!!  A few years ago I discovered a website that told me the "deals" that were available today...this minute!  It was www.slickdeals.net. It is a great website, no doubt about it.  However, a friend shared one I like even better, www.bradsdeals.com!  If you have time to check both of them, they do have some different items.  Brad's Deals comes right to my inbox once a day.  I can quickly scan to see if there is anything I need or want.  This past year I got a pair of Croc flip flops for $10 (free shipping); Disney Princess flip flops for my granddaughter 2 pr for $10 (free shipping); a 600 thread count duvet with shams for $39 (free shipping); magazine subscriptions for $4 (Taste of Home, Family Fun, Rachel Ray, MacLife--just to mention a few), an atomic watch for my husband for $10 (he loves it because it sets itself when the time changes); memory card readers for $5 each.  Hmmm...I know I purchased more, just can't remember what!  Anyway, you get the idea!  Some of my favorite "deals" to watch for are from www.6pm.com.  When was the last time you purchased a pair of Dexter, Skechers or Rockport shoes for under $30?  


Purchases are made through the company making the offer, not Brad's Deals.  Brad's Deals also has in-store and online coupons and promo codes.


Check out www.bradsdeals.com and let me know what great "deals" you find.  Don't forget who gave you the tip!  Thanks, Tonia for telling me about Brad's Deals!  Kat


www.bradsdeals.com
www.slickdeals.net
www.6pm.com (so many brands, so little time:)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Another Yummy Holiday Recipe

PopcornImage via Wikipedia
Christmas is sneaking up on me!  How can that happen when it is the same day every year?!!!  There is still so much to do and then there are the hiccups--unexpected events--that throw everything off kilter.  I am having more than my share of hiccups this year so feel like I am running in reverse:(  Today I made 14 Christmas cards, two gift card holders (turned out really cute), a quadruple batch of Russian Teacakes, wrote two blog posts and am now going to make Carmel Corn!  Tomorrow night is our church caroling night; Wednesday evening we have a group of kids/young adults coming for snacks, games and to spend the night; group skiing on Thursday...


I decided that since I didn't do much blogging last week, I would share two recipes this week.  This one is for the best Carmel Corn I have ever tasted.  If you don't like molasses, then don't even try it because that is the secret ingredient in this exceptional recipe.  I have been making Carmel Corn from this recipe for the last 25 years and it never ceases to bring rave reviews from friends, family, coworkers, etc.


Carmel Corn


10-12 cups popped corn


1 cup margarine
2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup white syrup (I stopped using corn syrup this year so am making my white syrup by mixing 1 cup cane sugar with 1/4 cup water--don't know why I didn't think of this years ago)
1/4 cup molasses
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
1 tsp vanilla


Combine margarine, brown sugar, white syrup, molasses, and salt in a large sauce pan.  Boil for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and add soda and vanilla. Pour over popped corn.  Stir in--coat popped corn evenly.  Spread on cookie sheets and bake for one hour in 250 degree oven stirring every 15 minutes.




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Our Favorite Holiday Cookie

Pfefferneuse holiday cookies.Image via Wikipedia
Are you up to your chin in flour, sugar and butter?!  Well, I am!  This recipe is the most asked for cookie for the holidays, from family and friends!  My husband can't seem to get enough of them.  Our friends hide them from their families. I have been threatened with bodily harm if I ever QUIT giving them!  And, of the holiday goodies I make, they are probably the easiest:)  Shhh! Don't tell anyone!  I hope you are able to make some of these nummy cookies for your family and friends this week.  I quadruple this recipe and then sometimes still have to make another batch before Christmas!

Russian Teacakes
Also called Mexican Wedding Cakes

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix thoroughly butter, sugar and vanilla.  Work in flour, salt and nuts until dough holds together.  Shape dough into 1-inch balls.  Place on ungreased baking sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until set but not brown.  While warm, roll in confectioners' sugar.  Cool.  Roll in confectioners' sugar again.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies (according to the recipe but I make mine a little bigger so only get two dozen per recipe)

Recipe from Better Homes & Garden's cookbook, page 147 (molded cookies)--I received this cookbook from my mom in 1972.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

The Breast Cancer Site

pink ribbonImage via Wikipedia
Nearly four years ago someone sent me an e-mail asking me to visit The Breast Cancer Site and click on a "pink" button to provide free mammograms for women who could not afford them.  My thought was, "Why not? What do I have to lose?" I knew women with breast cancer and some who lost their battle with breast cancer so actually became passionate about clicking on The Breast Cancer Site.  I signed up to have them send me a daily email reminding me to "click". And now, nearly four years later, it's just something I do--nearly every day!


A quote from The Breast Cancer Site says, " With a simple daily click of the pink button at The Breast Cancer Site, visitors help provide mammograms to those in need.  Visitors pay nothing.  Mammograms are paid for by the site's sponsors and distributed by the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc."  Additional mammograms are provided through purchases that are made from The Breast Cancer Site online store. The Breast Cancer Site has provided 48,503 free mammograms since October, 2000.


Please visit The Breast Cancer Site, read some of the stories, check out the online store and click the pink button.  Maybe you, too, will become passionate about "clicking"!  Kat


www.thebreastcancersite.com
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Perfect Pair of Boots!

Keen Bern Baby Bern boots purchased at
 REI in Bend.
It had been 15+ years since I purchased my last pair of boots but I had been looking for the perfect boot.  Roomy for my toes, enough room for socks, and cute--definitely had to be cute!  In September, while walking through a mall, I saw them on display in a shoe store...the perfect boot.  Do you remember how it was when you met your spouse--eyes get starry, heart goes thumpety-thump, palms get sweaty?  Well, that's how it was when I "met" my new boots.  I tried them on and they felt PERFECT! We weren't ready to buy that day and my hubby wanted me to look around a bit more to be sure these were what I really wanted--he didn't understand that THESE WERE THE ONES!  And he is waaayyy more practical than I am. But he promised to get me a new pair of boots for Christmas.

Fast forward two months and I am still dreaming about the Keen Bern Baby Bern boots in oak--that's the color.  I had looked at other boots, weighed the pros and cons and still wanted the boots!  How could I not?!!! They are gorgeous AND practical!  It would have been more practical to get the boots in black but the oak color "had me at hello"!

In searching online where to purchase my new boots (a trip to the mall in Medford was out of the question), I found that REI carried them.  We decided to go to Bend so called REI in Bend to find out if they had the Keen Bern Baby Bern boots in size 8 1/2.  They did!  I was ecstatic!!!  I asked the salesperson to put them on "hold" for me. So off we went to Bend.  When I got to the store and told the shoe salesman who I was he went to get the boots.  He opened the box and there they were.  I asked to try them on one more time so he unzipped a boot and handed it to me.  As I was putting it on he said, "Oh no, the zipper's broken!" regarding the second boot.  My heart sank:(  I asked, a bit timidly, "Do you have another pair of size 8 1/2?"  He went off to check and came back with another pair--Yay!  The salesman went to help another customer and I proceeded to try BOTH boots on.  Got them on and looked down to admire my beautiful new boots and again my heart sank--each boot was a different shade of brown...very different.  Sooo, I frantically looked in the boxes and realized I had one boot on from each box.  When I got both boots from one box on, they matched and looked perfect!  The next day I wore them as we walked around downtown Bend as it snowed big fluffy flakes!

What's on your Christmas list?  Kat




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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Our Trip to Bend

Last week I did a post on our trip to Bend.  Well, there is one more little shop on Wall Street that I want to tell you about!  It's called Mary Jane's.  What attracted me was SHOES in the window!!! Really cute shoes!  We decided to go in to see what else they might have and found the proprietors sitting behind the counter--JoJo knitting and Chris working on their website.  We were there on a Tuesday, lunch time was over so the store wasn't busy and we got a chance to visit with JoJo and Chris.  


JoJo and Chris took ownership of Mary Jane's in October of this year.  They moved over from the Salem area on the west side of Oregon desiring to try the drier climate of Bend. As we were visiting, large flakes of snow were fluttering outside the window.  What a beautiful scene!


Mary Jane's caters to a youngish crowd--probably mid teens to 30.  They have cute clothes, a great selection of shoes and beautiful jewelry--most locally made.  Jo Jo and Chris are determined to keep the prices reasonable and said they try to keep everything under $100.  Yes, ladies, even the super cute boots!  Unfortunately, the website doesn't begin to give you an idea of what they have but am sure Chris will be working on that.


When you are in beautiful downtown Bend, be sure to drop in to Mary Jane's at 830 NW Wall and tell JoJo and Chris that I sent you:)


www.maryjanesofbend.com


  

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Website of the Week!

My favorite website of the week is...(drumroll, please)...my own Stampin' Up! website activated on November 15, 2010!!!  This decision was made to help my customers be able to order whenever they want to.  I still love it when they call or email me but if they can't sleep in the middle of the night and want to shop, they can point their browser to www.stamphappykat.stampinup.net and shop the night away!  How fun is that?!!!


I was sooo excited the day I got the first order on my new website! Stampin' Up! notifies me when an order comes in; lets me know who made the order and what they ordered! This lady was A-1 on my list for a week!!!  Also, having a website puts me in the Demonstrator Locator Directory so if someone calls Stampin' Up! to ask for a demonstrator in my area they get ME!  And maybe a couple of other names as well but surely they'll pick me, right?!    


Stampin' Up! has some great promotions coming up.  The Filled With Love Promotion starts December 17 and runs through January 24.  The Occasions Mini Catalog starts January 4 and runs through April.  And, the annual Sale-a-bration starts January 25 and runs through the month of May.  If you want more information about these promotions or to find out how to get a catalog, email me at www.stampinandgrinnin@gmail.com or visit Kat's Cool New Website.


I am having a great time with my Stampin' Up! business. The website is a new, fun way for me to do my business better.  I am looking forward to "meeting" new people through my website just as I have through my blog.  


I hope you get a chance to visit Kat's Cool New Website this week. Need to do any Christmas shopping?!!!  You can shop my new website 24/7!


Have a great day!  Kat


www.stamphappykat.stampinup.net
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Tofu Pumpkin Pie

In this day and age of food allergies, it is often necessary to look for alternatives to our old family favorites--especially when feeding guests.  If you are in need of a non-dairy pumpkin pie recipe that doesn't use eggs, look no further!  I found this recipe in Vegetarian Times magazine back in November, 1993 and have used it ever since! I have had many people eat it and not know it had tofu in it!  Shhh! Don't tell them it has tofu in it until AFTER they tell you how good it is!


Tofu Pumpkin Pie


It is best to make this pie a day in advance so the filling can firm up in the refrigerator.


16 oz can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup light olive oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp molasses
3/4 lb. soft tofu, drained
1 unbaked pie shell


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In blender or food processor, combine all ingredients except tofu.  Pulse until well blended.  Break tofu into 1 1/2 inch chunks.  Add tofu to fulling mixture, a chunk at a time; blend after each addition.  When all tofu has been added, pour filling mixture into pie crust.  Bake one hour.  Filling will be very soft when you first remove pie from oven but will firm up as it chills.



Thursday, December 2, 2010

An Unusual Experience

This week hubby and I made an overnight trip to Bend, OR.  It was great--haven't been for several months and always a fun place to go!


Volt Lighting


On Tuesday, after a delicious meal at the Taj Palace on Wall Street--hubby loves Indian food and this was one of the best Indian restaurants I have been to--we were strolling down Wall Street, looking in the windows, when we came to VOLT Lighting shop.  Now, honestly, when was the last time you purposely walked into a lighting store?!  According to Brent Newman, most people decide on lights for their homes when they are strolling though Home Depot or Lowe's.  Well, after visiting VOLT, I decided those people (and me, previous to this occasion) are missing out on unusual design opportunities.  We found beautiful but unique light fixtures, led task lamps, wall mounted lamps, led tape strips that could be put virtually anywhere--indoors or out, fans--fun and conventional. Brent also showed us some fun gift ideas--a small fan that can be programmed with sayings; a swarovski crystal necklace with an led light inside the crystal and, my favorite, a table top 3-D Hologram Chamber (put an item inside and it looks like it is sitting on top!).


According to Brent's business card, "Great lighting is never an accident" and I believe it after seeing the wonderful selection in the shop.  They have a larger store, Design Lighting, at 1125 NE 2nd in Bend but for a very personal shopping experience and design suggestions I would suggest you visit with Brent at the VOLT Lighting shop at 903 NW Wall Street first.


Light up someone's life today!  Kat

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Christmas Recipe

There are FOUR Mondays for me to share my favorite Christmas recipes with you before Christmas.  The one for this week is one we had for Thanksgiving but I will be making them for Christmas as well.  Hope you like them as much as we do!


Squash Rolls


Dissolve 1 Tbsp yeast in 1/4 cup warm water.
Blend 1 cup scalded milk, 1 cup squash, 1/2 cup honey, 1/3 cup coconut oil (or shortening), 1 1/2 tsp salt.  Add to yeast.
Add 1/2 cup wheat germ and up to 5 cups unbleached white flour.
Knead.  Let rise till double only once in bowl.  Shape into rolls.  Let rise in pan till double.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.


These rolls are VERY yummy--melt in your mouth!  


What is your favorite holiday recipe?  Would love to try some new ones:)  Kat





Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Jars

I just finished reading a tiny little novel (122 pages) called Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright!  What a wonderful book to read during the holiday season or any time for that matter!  It is a book about jars of money that mysteriously appear when and where they are most needed and one young woman's search to find the origin of the Christmas Jars.  Putting this book on your reading list this holiday season will be the best gift you could give yourself.  Then, most likely, you will have a strong desire to share the book with others.


Jason Wright has a website devoted to the Christmas Jars--what is it, miracles involving the Christmas Jars and a place for you to share your own Christmas Jar story--receiving or giving.


Please share with me your opinion of the Christmas Jars book and your own Christmas Jar story.  We are starting this year's project now with a quart jar on the counter but hope to start next year's Christmas Jar on January 1.


Happy giving!  Kat

www.christmasjars.com
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The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men...

Lithograph, Home To Thanksgiving, published by...Image via Wikipedia
I got up Thanksgiving morning ready to write a post about the things I am thankful for.  NO INTERNET!  Our internet didn't come back on till I was elbow deep in dinner preparation for our guests.  So, needless to say, I am thankful for the internet when it's working!!!

Our guests were fun, gracious, insightful and as thankful to be at our table as we were to have them.  It was truly a Thanksgiving that I will compare other Thanksgivings to:)  Oh, and did I get pictures of our guests or the food?  NO!  Next year I will have to put someone else in charge of that little detail!  It's obvious I can't be trusted!

I am thankful for:

    Ben Jerry Cherry Garcia          Image via Wikipedia
  • A wonderful, caring God who knows my needs and provides what's best for me
  • My very own Bible to read.  At one time Bibles were hard to come by and people held them as precious when they finally got one.  We need to hold ours as precious too because it is God's love letter to us.
  • My husband (most of the time anyway)
  • My children and precious granddaughter
  • Two very special children who are as dear to me as family
  • My warm, comfortable (not fancy but very comfortable) home
  • Friends--the keepers!
  • Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream (did I really write that one down?!!!)
  • My iPod Touch!  I know this one sounds silly but my hubby says it's my best friend.  I have had it for almost three years now and would be lost without it!  When they say, "There's an app for that!", they mean it!  My iPod Touch has three+ versions of the Bible; Strong's Concordance; hymnal; devotionals; prayer list; books (lots of books); dictionaries, listmakers; games--I love word games; cookbooks; the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights; lots of references such as zip code directory and world maps; and an IKEA shopping app (if you've been to IKEA, you know WHY I need this one).
  • The readers of my blog.  Where would I be without YOU?!!!  I love your comments and suggestions.  Though I don't get many comments on the blog, I do get them in person and via email.  
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and that you will keep a thankful heart each and every day!  Kat
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wanna Be Balanced Mom

Crystal Escobar
My favorite website of the week is Wanna Be Balanced Mom, a blog authored by my friend, Crystal Escobar.  Crystal is a wife and mother of two who is trying to find balance in her life and enjoys sharing with others who are desiring the same.  Crystal is absolutely gorgeous but don't hold that against her.  She has a truly beautiful heart as well. On her blog she shares economic and stylish fab finds, meal planning, giveaways, decorating tips (you've gotta see Lily's bedroom reveal) and struggles.  This would be a great blog for any mom with young children to read on a regular basis.  Hey! I'm an old mom and I read it cuz it's fun and informative.  Check out Crystal's blog soon:)

www.wannabbalancedmom.com

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipe

Brussels sprouts before roastingImage by johnsu01 via Flickr
Brussels Sprouts--a holiday tradition at our house!
My favorite food for Thanksgiving and Christmas is Dressing (or Stuffing if you're putting it in a turkey)!  Over the last 30+ years since becoming a vegetarian, I have developed what I think is a delicious recipe for Dressing.  Let me know what YOU think!

Kat's Holiday Dressing 

1 box of Mrs. Cubbison's Cube Herb Seasoned Stuffing Mix
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups sliced celery
2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
1 cup dried cranberries (optional)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth ( more

Put Stuffing Mix and cooked brown rice in a large bowl.  Saute onions, celery and mushrooms in butter or margarine till done; add cranberries.  Pour sauteed ingredients into bowl with stuffing mix.  Add vegetable broth. Mix well. Pour into oiled baking dish and bake for 30 minutes covered.  Remove cover and bake for 15 more minutes for a crispier top.

Sometimes I add a meat replacement called Fri-Chik and you could certainly add any meat you want to this recipe.  However, this year we will have it just as written above.

Our Thanksgiving menu this year:

Dressing
Roasted Vegetables (potatoes, onions, garlic (lots of garlic), carrots, butternut squash drizzled with olive oil and rosemary)
Brussels Sprouts (fresh, cut off the stalks just before cooking--yummm!)
Sweet Potatoes
Cranberry Sauce
Olives
Squash rolls (you NEED this yummy recipe!)
Pie:  Vegan Pumpkin, Pecan and Apple

Happy Cooking!  Kat






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Two Posts for Today!

Christmas in the post-War United States                       Image via Wikipedia
I will be sharing two posts today because I couldn't resist sharing with you the ONLINE SPECTACULAR that Stampin' Up! has going for the next NINE days!

Wow!  What a sale!  The ONLINE SPECTACULAR runs November 22-30!  You can view the sale flyer by clicking HERE .

Time to purchase Christmas gifts for the Stampers and Quilters (great price on fabric) on your Christmas list!

Door Buster sales include:
  • My Digital Studio 50% off
  • Designer Fabric 50% off
  • FREE shipping on orders that reach $150.00 (before s&h and tax).  FREE shipping is for online orders only.
  • PLUS when your online order reaches $150.00 or more remember you get the Hostess only items as well as FREE money to spend!
You can order online by going to my website at www.stamphappykat.stampinup.net!

Well, after my next post, I am off to do some online shopping!  Kat

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thoroughly Thankful

Scarves all packaged up and ready to go.  I used the stamp
set Thoroughly Thankful to stamp on the tissue paper as
well.  Ribbon from Current.

Place cards for Thanksgiving
Last week I shared my scarf addiction with you.  Well, the scarves are off to the ladies at my husband's office as we speak.  To accompany the scarves, I made little 3"x3" gift cards using Stampin' Up! cardstock in Old Olive and Pumpkin Pie.  The stamp set I used is a retired set called Thoroughly Thankful.  The Stampin' Up! punches used were the small oval punch for the pumpkin and the Two Step Bird punch for the leaves. In addition to the gift cards, I made place cards for our Thanksgiving table now that our guest list is finally stable (oh, my, a rhyme!).  The Stampin' Up! punch I used is the new Decorative Label Punch and I love it!  And, no, I did not letter the place cards, I printed the names on the computer.

Gift cards to accompany scarves. 
Be sure to tell your loved ones how thankful you are for them.  Kat

This is the image I stamped on
the inside of the gift cards and
the place cards.  I am thankful
for YOU too!
www.stamphappykat.stampinup.net
www.currentcatalog.com




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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Putting the Garden to Bed #2

GroCover from Veggie Care 
The GrowCover from Veggie Care is finally in place and it looks like this weekend will be a good test as temperatures are predicted to be in the mid-30s for highs and in the mid-20s for lows.

The GrowCover fabric is imported from Italy and sold by Veggie Care owned by John & Kate Walters in Australia.  Because overseas shipping costs can be expensive, John & Kate are hoping to have a United States distributorship in the spring.

"GrowCover and GrowCover HD are knitted from thin, but amazingly strong, high density UV stabilized polyethylene thread (see picture below). Despite it's light weight it is extremely strong and with normal use will protect your plants for many years.  The manufacturers claim up to eight years.  VeggieCare has experience of using GrowCover for 5 years, and it is still as good as new." from www.veggiecare.com


Close up of GroCover
"Summary of benefits
GrowCover and GrowCover HD will:

  • promote healthy natural growth in your plants and seedlings;
  • allow ventilation and rain penetration;
  • allow through 86% (GrowCover) or 81% (GrowCover HD) of sunlight;
  • help retain moisture in the soil and warm the soil in spring for early sowing;
  • protect from frost down to 25 degrees F;
  • help reduce insect attack;
  • protect plants from strong winds, heavy rain and hail;
  • protect from pets and young children;
  • be easy to handle as it is light and strong and will last many years; it is UV resistant;
  • be able to grow vegetables without using pesticides making your family's vegetables healthier to eat;
  • help reduce food miles and benefit the environment."  from www.veggiecare.com
As I said in my blog post last Wednesday, we have covered one of our square foot gardening boxes with DIO-Betalon and the second one with GrowCover.  We will be testing them regarding protection from from wind and frost both now and in the early spring.  Though we have had some pretty high winds that last few days, both covers are intact and providing protection to the veggies planted in the square foot gardening boxes. We will also be interested to see how the two products perform in the summer as shade protection.  I will keep you posted periodically on the performance of both products.



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dave Ramsey, the Money Guru!

Financial Peace University Lifetime Membership
Financial Peace University Lifetime
Membership, $99 ($100 off original
price of $199),  a great gift to give
to your grown children.
At a time when you and I are being encouraged to spend, spend, spend, and when credit card offers with six months FREE interest arrive in the mail weekly if not daily, Dave Ramsey steps up to motivate us to have an Emergency Fund, cut up our credit cards and pay off our debts! Dave says, "If you really want to get out of debt, you've gotta get wired up and fired up.  You've gotta sell so much stuff, the kids think they're next."

Dave Ramsey, the voice of reason in an unreasonable world is funny but hard-hitting when it comes to debt.  Under the Tools drop-down menu of his website you will find information and forms to print out and use.  Check out the "specials"!  Currently, Dave's Financial Peace University Lifetime Membership is half price at $99 and worth every penny of it!

<em>Act Your Wage!</em> - Board GameJust in time for Christmas giving, Dave Ramsey has a new board game available 11/22 called Act Your Wage! "Be the first to yell 'Debt Free'".  Imagine playing a game with your children or grandchildren (ages 10 and up) that will actually teach them to manage money responsibly. A gift that keeps on giving:)

If you or someone you care about wants/needs financial education, check out Dave Ramsey's website.  Would love to hear what you think!

Let's all have a debt-free Christmas this year:)  Kat

www.daveramsey.com


           


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Monday, November 15, 2010

Chocolate Poorman's Cake

As I was growing up, one of my favorite cake recipes was Chocolate Poorman's Cake.  It has also been called Depression Cake because it doesn't use milk or eggs but the typical Depression Cake is a spice cake.  I hope you like this cake as much as I do:)

Chocolate Poorman's Cake
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
6 Tbsp cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup oil
2 cups water
2 Tbsp vinegar
2 tsp. vanilla

Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl then pour into 13"X9"X2" greased baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

My mother used to mix the cake ingredients right in the pan.  Works good either way.

See you tomorrow with another of my favorite websites.  Kat
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

When I'm Stressed, I Knit!

Pattern for Lotus Leaf Scarf
I have shared with you about my love of and addiction to YARN.  About a year ago I purchased a scarf pattern from e-patternscentral.com and have enjoyed making these scarves sooo much.  Every skein of yarn is a new adventure to see how the yarn will look made up into a scarf.  Last winter I made and gave away about 30 scarves.  I currently have 12 scarves on consignment at the Victorian Rose in Heppner.  And I recently made six more.

A couple weeks ago my patient hubby and I went into a relatively new yarn shop in The Dalles, OR called The Whole Ball of Yarn.  Sisters, April Bachofner and Paulette Brook opened their yarn shop on East 2nd Street last December.  They have a beautiful assortment of very nice yarn plus offer knitting, crocheting and spinning classes.  No ladies, that's not spinning as in exercise class, it's using a spinning wheel to spin yarn:))) If you click on their link below you will see new yarn arrivals plus special sales.

Four scarves on left made from Elsebeth Lavold's
Silky Flamme` yarn.  Top right made from Lion Brand
Homespun and bottom right made from Deborah Norville
Serenity Chunky weight yarn.
Okay, now to the reason for our visit to the yarn shop.  I wanted to make scarves for the ladies at Hire Electric where my husband works.  They are always so helpful to Bob and I love doing things for them. We were looking for some nice bulky weight yarn that would knit up nicely into scarves for the ladies.  I ended up purchasing Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Flamme` made from 50% Peruvian Wool, 30% FS Alpaca and 20% silk.  It is sooo soft and I just knew it would be nice and warm.  The yarn has varying thicknesses so didn't knit up as smooth as I had hoped but still very nice.

One of my daughter's dearest friends just had surgery this week so she asked me to make her friend a scarf in blue--just finished it this morning. Will mail it out today.

A scarf takes me about six hours to knit.  I am not a speed knitter.  While knitting I feel relaxed but productive.  I knit everywhere--in the car (not while I'm driving), in bed, at meetings, while "watching" TV or a movie, while visiting with friends.

Recently I gave two scarves as gifts that were not appreciated:(  At first my feelings were hurt but then I was reading an article by Belinda Acosta called "Changing the World in a Stitch" (Knit Simple magazine, Holiday 2010 issue) and she captured how I feel when I knit or crochet something for someone I love and I guess my "friends" missed the point.  Belinda said, "Is there a better way to show tangible evidence of love than by knitting someone a pair of socks or mittens to protect them from the cold?"  I would add scarves.  So know this.  If I knit you a scarf, it is my way of showing you I love you.  Simple as that!

I am so thankful for each one of you who take your time to read my blog.  One of my Thursday blogs will have to be on the enjoyment I get from writing this blog.  Keep warm!  Kat

www.thewholeballofyarn.com
www.lionbrand.com
www.e-patternscentral.com

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Putting the Garden to Bed

I am not a gardener but my hubby is and I truly enjoy the fruits of his labor (pun intended)!  But now it is time to put the garden to bed.  I, like many, used to think that once the garden was finished producing for the year the work was over till next spring.  Wrong!  The experienced gardener knows that next year's gardening success starts now.  So my hubby has been pulling out old plants, rototilling the beds, putting fulvic acid and gypsum around trees and in beds.  Of course the amenities you put on your garden will depend on where you live.  I am told that having your soil tested is critical.

Closeup of DIO-Betalon Screen
This year my husband made two 3 foot by 8 foot square-foot gardening boxes.  They were great!  We grew radishes, broccoli, collard greens, lettuce, nasturtiums and marigolds in the boxes.   Now they are planted with broccoli, cauliflower and collard greens.  Hubby has decided to cover these boxes to prolong the life of these cold weather vegetables so is experimenting with two different crop covers.  The one pictured here is called DIO-Betalon Screen.  It is "made of hygroscopic polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) film which is outstanding in heat retention, light transmittance, weatherability, and heat resistance."  Light and rain are still able to get through but when it frosts, the moisture seals off the web-like surface to protect the plants down to 25 degrees.  That should give us a little more growing time--maybe till January?!!!  Hubby purchased another product from Australia that he is going to test on the 2nd square-foot gardening box to see which product he likes best.  Just received the one from Australia so don't have it up yet.

Square-foot gardening box covered with DIO-Betalon
2nd box awaiting product from Australia
Grow boxes with Lexan covers
We also have two grow boxes that have Lexan covers with solar arms that contain wax that melts to raise the cover when it gets warm and solidifies when it gets cool to lower the cover.

We often get an early start with tomato and pepper plants in these boxes but currently have lettuce and mustard greens growing in the one pictured here.

Next Wednesday I will show pictures and share information of the product from Australia so stay tuned!  Kat


www.squarefootgardening.com
(I am a HUGE fan!)
agrowcovers.com/ppdbs.aspx
(everything you want to know about DIO-Betalon)
www.gmagsupply.com
(where we purchased product)
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dawn's Stamping Thoughts

My Photo
Dawn Griffith
Stampin' Up! Demonstrator
On Tuesdays I will be sharing some of my favorite websites with you so you can enjoy them too!  This first website is one I check five days a week before I read my email!

Dawn's Stamping Thoughts is a blog by Dawn Griffith, Stampin' Up! Demonstrator since 2006.  She is very creative and shares a new card idea or technique five days a week!  I don't know where she gets all these great ideas but I love using them.  On Thursdays and Fridays she normally has a how-to video.  Many of the ideas I bring to our monthly stamping group come from Dawn's Stamping Thoughts.  She had her website professionally designed and it is easy to maneuver, informative and attractive.  Dawn also blogs about her family and friends.  Currently she has some pictures of a bathroom remodel that is turning out to be more than they planned:(  She has quite the sense of humor!

On Dawn's website, there is a "tip jar".  Since I enjoy and use so many of Dawn's ideas, I left some money in the "tip jar".  I was overjoyed to receive a Thank You card made by Dawn!!!  How fun was that!  It was like receiving correspondence from a celebrity:)

If you enjoy paper crafting or just want to check in with Dawn to see what's up, you won't be disappointed.  Let me know what you think!

PS. If you have trouble posting comments or want to email your comments privately, my email address is stampinandgrinnin@gmail.com.

Dawn Griffith's website:
www.dawnsstampingthoughts.net

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mizidra

I am not a fan of lentils but the recipe I am sharing with you today is delicious--even if it does use lentils!  Try it and let me know what you think.  A great recipe for company:)

Mizidra


2 dry lentils
4 cups water
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp. chicken-like seasoning
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp. marjoram
1/8 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf

Bring above ingredients to a boil on the stove then reduce heat and simmer till done (about an hour).

2-3 cups cooked brown rice
chopped sweet onion
shredded lettuce
chopped tomatoes
chopped avocado
chopped olives
salsa
sour cream or plain yogurt

Assemble ingredients on individual plates as you would a tostado:

first layer--rice
second layer--lentils
then chopped onion, lettuce, tomato, etc.
top with salsa and sour cream

Enjoy!  Kat

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Met the Challenge

My Friday posts are going to be reflections and other miscellaneous topics that don't fit in the themes for the other days of the week.  Today I want to share with you about a challenge that I recently tackled.

A dear friend and former coworker of mine, Cheryl Tallman, undertook a project to make an angel wall quilt in memory of our friend Donna Schonbachler who died in the spring of 2007 (somebody correct me if I'm wrong).  Donna was a nurse for Pioneer Memorial Home Health and Hospice, a loving wife,  devoted mother and faithful friend.  We all still miss her dearly:(  Anyway, Cheryl asked various quilters to help with the project by making the squares which involved various amounts of applique and embroidery.  I really wanted to be a part of this project so asked for a square to do.  Let me interject at this point that I don't quilt and have never done applique.  What was I thinking?!!!

Fast forward four months of procrastination.  To get the right dimensions for the block I had to rip out three times.  I had been planning to hand applique (love hand work) but discovered some of the pieces were too small to turn under the amount needed to applique so turned to Plan B--machine applique.  Well, let's put it this way, my block will not be the most beautiful block in the quilt but I did it.  Many of the blocks were done by professional quilters and mine was definitely done by an amateur.

What have I learned from this experience? 

  • Don't procrastinate--it doesn't get any easier with the passing of time.  
  • Don't say you want to do something you know nothing about!
  • Take a picture of the finished product--oops!
While working on this project I had time to reflect on my friend, Donna.  First of all, she would have wanted me to make a quilt block.  She would have applauded my efforts regardless of how feeble--I did my best.  She frequently challenged me to be a better person--stretch, grow, learn. 

Cheryl still has to get the quilt put together, get it quilted and then there will be an Embellishment Party where those who choose to will get together and put the final embellishments of the quilt.  Will there be food, Cheryl?!!  The quilt fill hang in the hallway of Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Heppner, OR in memory and tribute to Donna, a true angel:)


Therapy Thursday

I love thrift stores!  Actually I have an addiction to thrift stores!!  There is a thrift store in Condon, OR that is only open on Thursdays.  When I worked in Condon, I visited this thrift store EVERY Thursday both for the values I found there and to visit with the staff.  One of the ladies starting calling it Therapy Thursday because we got so much pleasure from our visits.  So when I was trying to think of a theme for Thursdays posts which are about things I love to do and that bring me pleasure, I decided Therapy Thursday fit perfectly.

Adorable box/bag 
Gift tags galore!
This week I have been paper crafting.  Tuesday, I did a Stampin' Up! workshop for a friend and they made Tea Bag Holders--cute!  Everyone had a good time, including me:)  But, before I went to the workshop, I wanted to make some Christmas items to give them ideas of what they could do with one of Stampin' Up's! cutest Designer Papers, Jolly Holiday.  I made a gift box/bag (directions at www.dawnsstampingthoughts.net) and used the leftover designer paper to make gift tags--3"x3" card type, 2"x2" card type and tags.  The stamp set I chose for the tags is called Tags til Christmas. I have had sooo much fun.  Well, of course, everyone oohed and ahhed over the adorable box/bag and the tags are just too cute!  At the Happy Stampers stamping club this month we will be making the box/bag and gift tags.  And for the first time ever, I have all the supplies cut out and ready to go two weeks before stamping club!  High five for me!!!  My stamping buddies will get a preview of their very fun projects for November:) 

Now that the fun is over, I need to clean up my dining room table and get some cleaning done:(  Is that supposed to be part of the "therapy" or should I save the cleaning for tomorrow--hmmm!
See girls! Here's proof that your projects are ready to go!










Tomorrow's post theme is Reflections so see you then:)  Kat

www.stampinup.com ( be sure to email me at stampinandgrinnin@gmail.com if you need a catalog or want to place an order.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Learning and Growing!

The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More FunOne thing I vowed to do when I retired was continue to learn and grow!  I am like a sponge--can't get enough learning about all types of subjects.  On October 21 I listened to a teleconference of an interview with Gretchen Rubin.  She once clerked for Sandra Day O'Conner but then decided to pursue a writing career.  She started her blog called The Happiness Project in 2006 and has since written a book by the same name.

Listening to the interview with Gretchen I gleaned some great tips for writing my blog.

  1. If you have trouble writing one or two days a week, write six days a week.  The idea is that doing something every day is easier than doing it sometimes--it's just what I do:)
  2. Be true to yourself.
  3. Don't bash people (my paraphrase).
  4. Select topics for each day of the week (Wednesdays will be highlighting one of my favorite websites)
  5. Be informative.
  6. Be fun.
Sooo, I will be writing more often--sometimes short, sometimes longer.  Writing this blog is one of my Happiness Projects.  What are yours?  The Kat is Back!
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Friday, September 24, 2010

I have been visiting my darling daughter and her family since Sunday.  I am blessed to be able to visit my daughter every three months and this visit was for her 34th birthday!  On Monday morning after taking my granddaughter to Kindergarten we had "Coffee Morning" with three of my daughter's closest neighbor friends.  How fun was that?!!!  After picking my granddaughter up from Kindergarten we ate Teriyaki Tofu at a little hole-in-the-wall place and it was yummy, yummy, yummy!!! After shopping for the day we met my son-in-law at Macaroni Grill for my daughter's birthday dinner.  What a day!!! My son-in-law surprised his lovely wife with an iPad for her birthday!!!

My daughter's dad and step-mom decided to come to celebrate her birthday at the same time so we were all here together.  I thought it would be awkward  and was a little nervous but it was totally okay.  My ex-husband was on his best behavior (he is quite a joker and often times at another's expense); his wife and I have always gotten along just fine.  And I just spent lots of time cooking to keep myself out of trouble--lasagna, strawberry shortcake, apple pie.  When my daughter gets stressed she cleans; when I get stressed I cook!

My granddaughter loved having me go to her classroom on Monday & Tuesday.  Then Wednesday she got to show off her other grandparents at school.  She also got to be the center of attention for three doting grandparents for almost two days.  What more could a five year old want?!!!  The highlight was Wednesday night when my precious granddaughter lost her first tooth!  And I got to be the one to pull it!  Actually the tooth practically fell out in my hand but since I technically pulled it she said, "You are the BEST Gramma EVER!!!  How great is that?!!

Yesterday I crafted with my daughter's next door neighbor for a couple of hours.  We made a couple of really cute projects which I will post pictures of at another time.

Today I am heading home--long drive!  I love to visit and get teary when I have to leave but all good things must come to an end:(  Time to let their little family get back to normal!

Have a great day and a super weekend!  Kat

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Skinner's Fractured Off-Grid Tales

Be careful what you ask for!  I told my sweet hubby I wanted to write a post about our off-grid solar system so would like some not-too-technical info to share with my readers.  Well, he gave the info I needed but also had some titles to share as well--the title I used is one of his and comes from his love of Bullwinkle.  His alternate titles were just as interesting--you vote for your favorite...
  1. Skinner's Solar Soliloquy
  2. Skinner's 3 Blades to the Wind
  3. Are Skinner's Holding Back Their Wind?
See what I mean?  I'm anxious to hear which one is your favorite!!!

About 17 years ago we purchased a piece of property in the middle of nowhere!  It had nothing on it so we were literally starting from scratch.  My darling husband wanted to have an off-grid electrical system--his new hobby.  I said it was fine with me as long as I could use my hair dryer and curling iron every morning:)  We started by building a small brick building and purchasing a 12 kW diesel generator.  Then he began to build the system from there.  Since it has been so many years, I don't remember the exact order of things but now our electrical system consists of:
  1. 2220 watts solar on two pole mounted arrays, one is a WattSun Tracker
  2. Two Trace SW4048 inverters
  3. Skystream 3.7 Wind Power Appliance (our windmill or wind generator)
  4. 48 Volt battery storage with 1,200 Ah capacity 
  5. 12 kW Diesel Generator
  6. High Efficiency Grundfos SQFlex submersible water pump
It has been an interesting journey learning to use lots of power when we have a lot available, working our way through several test windmills, finding the best electrical appliances to work with our system, etc.  I have a regular refrigerator, dishwasher and washing machine.  We use propane for the kitchen range, hot water and dryer.  We use the florescent "twirly" bulbs in all of our lights. Our house is well insulated and heated with a wood stove.  Most people who visit are not even aware we are using off-grid electricity because everything works together so well. We may add some more solar panels in the future to run an air conditioner but only really need one for about two weeks a year.  One of our best investments was the Grundfos submersible water pump which pumps off power received from the solar panels and the windmill--seldom have to use the diesel generator.  

About three years ago my husband started designing and selling alternative energy systems for Seraphim Electric which was purchased about a year ago by Hire Electric in The Dalles.  Bob and Jonathan are Hire's solar division and do residential and commercial projects from Portland to Yakima to Tri-Cities and Walla Walla.  

If you have any questions, let me know.  Kat