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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Questions About Me

Got this from a couple of Facebook buddies - just decided to post here instead.

The Basics
Do you usually dress casual?: except when I have to work
Do you sing in the shower?: sometimes
Do you wrap your hair in a towel after the shower?: not usually
Do you brush your teeth before you shower?: yes
Do you use deodorant daily?: no, don't need to

My Favorites
feeling?: happy
oldies song?: anything by the Osmond Brothers
country song?: Amarillo by Morning
hair band song?: Pour Some Sugar on Me
90's song?: Smell's Like Teen Spirit (I just think of the 90s when I hear it)

This or That
Shy or a Flirt?: shy
Candles or Plug ins?: both
Basketball or Football?: football
Fix your own car or take it to the shop?: I'm a shop girl
White shirt or Black shirt?: black

Do You?
have someone on your mind you can't stop thinking about?: yes
watch any football game or just your favorite teams?: mostly the faves
tell people you love them often?: yes
ever just stay home and don't leave the house?: not very often
watch award shows on TV?: sometimes - not as must as I used to

Have You Ever
not paid your bill and had your water or electricity turned off?: no
taken a cold shower?: yes, but because hotel's hot water wasn't working
put makeup on someone while they were sleeping?: no
let your dog kiss you on the mouth?: yes
not realized it was your birthday?: no

Misc.
What would you like to accomplish today?: finish reviewing staff's recons
What are you scared of?: falling from a high place
Do you kill spiders or just put them out the door?: depends on the size
Do you read your spouse's mail?: n/a
Are you good at saving money?: most of the time

Personal
Would you rather stop wearing makeup or a bra for a week?: depends - do I have
to leave the house - if so, I'd give up makeup first. If I am home all
week, I wouldn't be wearing a bra anyway
Do you give compliments often?: yes but probably not as often as I should

Firsts
fight you and your partner got into?: the first one? I never had a fight with
someone I was dating - ever.
time you bought a pet?: never bought one - got them for free
time you had a beloved pet die?: yes - a few (still is painful)
time you had a child?: never

As of Now
What time is it?: 3:51 am
What sound do you hear right now?: Leif Garrett Biography on the TV
Are you alone or with someone else?: alone
Where are you?: my office
Are you in love?: no
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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Waitresses Christmas Wrapping

Cool light show with one of my fave Christmas songs !

"Bah, humbug!" No, that's too strong
'Cause it is my favorite holiday
But all this year's been a busy blur
Don't think I have the energy

To add to my already mad rush
Just 'cause it's 'tis the season.
The perfect gift for me would be
Completions and connections left from

Last year, ski shop,
Encounter, most interesting.
Had his number but never the time
Most of '81 passed along those lines.

So deck those halls, trim those trees
Raise up cups of Christmas cheer,
I just need to catch my breath,
Christmas by myself this year.

Calendar picture, frozen landscape,
Chilled this room for twenty-four days,
Evergreens, sparkling snow
Get this winter over with!

Flashback to springtime, saw him again,
Would've been good to go for lunch,
Couldn't agree when we were both free,
We tried, we said we'd keep in touch.

Didn't, of course, 'til summertime,
Out to the beach to his boat could I join him?
No, this time it was me,
Sunburn in the third degree.

Now the calendar's just one page
And, of course, I am excited
Tonight's the night, but I've set my mind
Not to do too much about it.

Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
But I think I'll miss this one this year.
Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
But I think I'll miss this one this year.
Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
But I think I'll miss this one this year.
Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
But I think I'll miss this one this year.

Hardly dashing through the snow
Cause I bundled up too tight
Last minute have-to-do's
A few cards a few calls
'Cause it's r-s-v-p
No thanks, no party lights
It's Christmas Eve, gonna relax
Turned down all of my invites.

Last fall I had a night to myself,
Same guy called, halloween party,
Waited all night for him to show,
This time his car wouldn't go,

Forget it, it's cold, it's getting late,
Trudge on home to celebrate
In a quiet way, unwind
Doing Christmas right this time.

A&P has provided me
With the world's smallest turkey
Already in the oven, nice and hot
Oh damn! Guess what I forgot?

So on with the boots, back out in the snow
To the only all-night grocery,
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
In the line is that guy I've been chasing all year!

"I'm spending this one alone," he said.
"Need a break; this year's been crazy."
I said, "Me too, but why are you?
You mean you forgot cranberries too?"

Then suddenly we laughed and laughed
Caught on to what was happening
That Christmas magic's brought this tale
To a very happy ending! "

Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
Couldn't miss this one this year!
Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
Couldn't miss this one this year!

Written by Chris Butler
(c) 1981 Future Fossil Music, BMI
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas Thatcher

I've been thinking of Thatcher much more than normal the past couple of weeks. Not a day, heck not an hour goes by when I'm not covered in memories and thinking of how much I miss him. I guess it being Christmastime stirs up a lot of feelings and makes me even more aware of him not being here. I miss him so much. I have a picture of him with Santa that I would love to post but my scanner decided just to up and stop working several months ago and I've yet to find one I really like yet to replace it.

Merry Christmas Thatcher, I love you, I miss you.
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Friday, December 18, 2009

Thin Layer Cake



This cake is somewhat of a tradition in our family. It can be found at every family reunion and pretty much around any holiday. I don't remember the first one of us that made it but of course I make mine the semi-homemade way, and actually like it better. The cake itself is a mix, something my Aunt Evelyn would probably faint over since she always makes hers from stratch. The icing is from stratch I must say - it is from the back of the Hershey Cocoa box BUT it is NOT the icing that the rest of the family puts on the cake - they make a cooked chocolate icing that is a bit too - well - chocolatey for me. I like it a bit more mild tasting and prefer the Hershey's Cocoa Frosting recipe.

I took this to work and my boss gave me the coolest compliment. He said "If you would have brought that to the interview, you wouldn't have even had to answered any questions, we'd hired you on the spot" - LOL !!

The number of layers tend to vary everytime I make it - this one had 18 layers !!!
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Saturday, December 12, 2009

I love Allrecipes.com. I have been a member there since Feb 2000! Gosh, I can't believe it has been almost 10 years since I discovered this wonderful site. Some people may not know this or remember this but originally it was Cookierecipes.com. The way I found them was that is was close to Christmas and I was looking for a particular cookie recipe (I don't remember which one) and found this site.

They were the FIRST ones that I recall that started sending the 12 Days of Cookies recipes. I remember you would get the e-mail, then get directed to the web-site to click on a picture (Christmas icon of some type, like a gingerbread house) to reveal the cookie that day.

Then they started adding other food items - cakerecipes.com, chickenrecipes.com, etc until the name finally became Allrecipes.com.

It is such a great resource for the average cook. They continue to evolve and change their website. You can leave reviews, post photos, rate the recipe, save them in a recipe box, etc.

I often get such a laugh out of reading some of the reviews. For example:

I followed the recipe exactly, except I used sour cream instead of mayo and I used imitation crab instead of real crab. Also I didn't have dry mustard so I used regular mustard. I didn't have Swiss cheese so I used Parmesan. It was just o.k.

Come on people, you didn't follow it exactly if you changed practically everything about it. You said it was just o.k. but you didn't really make it as was written so you really don't know how it the original recipe really is.

I do find the reviews helpful more often than not though. For example someone might suggest a "real" substitution or if all reviewers say "I had to reduce the amount of cheese" or :next time I will reduce the amount of cheese" - well if they all pretty much say that then chances are I will take their advice.

I have a few recipes posted there. It is funny I have one posted that has almost 5 stars and 116 reviews - most of which are all positive. Then I have the SAME exact recipe posted in another category with only 55 reviews, some not as positive as the other one. It is the same recipe. I didn't submit it twice, but Allrecipes posted it twice in 2 different categories. Unfortunately when they posted the second one, it was followed by a "II", if it were the "I" then I'm sure it would have more reviews. People tend to look and try "I" before "II". Both are equally delicious by the way.
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Friday, December 4, 2009

Red Velvet Double Doozies !


I made these for my co-workers and they were literally gone in 2 minutes.
I had a recipe for Red Velvet Whoopie Pies but I significantly altered it and came up with this instead.

This makes about 20 cookies.  I  doubled the recipe but learned that the filling is more than enough.  Only the cookie recipe needs to be doubled if you want 40 -  you most likely will not need to double the filling.

Red Velvet Double Doozies

Cookies:
1 box red velvet cake mix
2 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil

Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix together cake mix, eggs and oil (mixture will be thick).

Roll into balls about the size of a walnut and place a couple of inches apart on an un-greased cookie sheet (I line it with parchment paper)

Bake in pre-heated oven 8 – 10 minutes (until tops kind of look cracked).

Removed from oven, set aside until completely cooled.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl mix cream cheese and butter until blended. Add milk, vanilla and confectioner’s sugar (a cup at a time) and blend until smooth and creamy (should be slightly thick but spreadable) – add milk a little at a time to thin or add more confectioner’s sugar to thicken.

When cookies are completely cooled, spread filling on half of the cookies, top with the other halves.

NOTE: I was going to roll the edges into chopped pecans but decided not to do that. Next time I think I will do at least half of them that way.

Enjoy !!
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Thursday, December 3, 2009

This Week's Glee Moment!

Have I said how much I love this show - YES - I think I say it almost every week. It was extra great this week! I love the song Rachael sang to Finn while practicing how to smile for the Co-Captian photo. Well, there was a lot to love and I don't want to spoil it for those that haven't seen it. Watching them perform Van Halen's Jump just put a HUGE smile on my face!
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Decorating Dogs

Dang, I wish I could hire these dogs to come to my house ! They do a great job !

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Donny Wins ! Donny Wins ! Donny Wins !



I knew it ! I just knew it !! Donny Osmond won Season 9 of Dancing with the Stars ! Congratulations Donny - I knew you would win - I am soooo happy for you and you deserve it !

He sang Puppy Love during the finale (was hoping he'd sing the new song, but at least he sang). I loved the big smile on his face and when he ran over and grabbed Debbie and carried her right to center stage - Debbie looked like she was in tears she was so happy. Marie was thrilled for Donny - you could see how happy and proud she was that he won.

He is going to be on Jimmy Kimmel tonight and I'm sure will be on a lot of shows tomorrow !

Eeeeeeeee!! I'm so happy !!!
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Glee and Donny

Well... I haven't been posting my weekly Glee moments because I can't find the videos I want to post - they are not on You Tube and I suppose it is because of copyrights and such.

Last week I wanted to post the sing off between Kurt and Rachael but all I could find where some videos fans posted that only had their pictures or the Glee logo with the song in the background - I wanted the actual video.

This week I wanted to post either "You're Having My Baby" (1st choice) or "Lean On Me" but can't find either of those.

Oh well . . .
Have I said how much I love this show? It gets better and better. I thought for a moment Finn and Kurt would try to get their parents together but it didn't occur to them (maybe later). I love Finn's mom and Kurt's dad - they are so supportive of their kids, even if they don't necessarily approve of certain things about them - they still love them and let them know it.

~~~ Now - onto Donny !! Yeah Baby !! He is in the finals. I want him to WIN of course but I am just happy he made it to the finals. I knew he could, I thought he would and I'm so happy for him. I really hope he wins. Mya may be a better dancer than him but I do think he is better than Kelly. Go Donny Go !! Good luck next week !
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Donny Osmond & Adam Ant - the best of both worlds!!



Anyone who knows me very well knows 2 things about me without a doubt. I love Donny Osmond - I have since I was 6 years old. They also know I love Adam Ant - I have since I was 17 years old.

No matter if they have a record out, a show out are considered popular at the time, my love for both never have ceased!

It was strange for some of my friends to come over and find Adam Ant posters hanging above my bed right next to the Donny Osmond posters but honestly that is how my room was decorated as a teen - ask anyone that knew me then.

I have followed both of their careers ever since I knew who they were.

So you can imagine my glee and delight last night when watching Week 8 of Dancing With the Stars when Donny dressed up as Adam !! I was shreiking with delight. My sis later told me that when she was watching it, she kept thinking that was a Double Fantasy for me! And sis was right.

Although Donny kind of combined the Kings of the Wild Frontier and Prince Charming clothing/make-up for Adam's - he got it down. I only wish they would have danced to an Adam song!

Thank you Donny for dressing as Adam and giving me my two favorite guys in one - at least for one night !!

Good luck to you Donny - I hope that DWTS means Donny Wins This Season !!!

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cupcakes !


As I've mentioned before, every year my sister request a Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake for her birthday and I am more than happy to oblige. This year however, while she wanted the cake, she didn't want the temptation of a whole cake sitting around her house.

So...I decided to try downsizing the recipe into cupcakes. They turned out great, but looked a bit plain as a cupcake so I thought it needed some frosting. I didn't really know what would go with it but always think pumpkin and cream cheese and my sister loves cinnamon as well so I came up with Cinnamon-Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting. Oh my gosh - it was so good. I just kind of improvised it. I think I will make this icing again and use it to frost a plain yellow cake.

I gave her 3 of the cupcakes and the verdict was - she loved them !

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cupcakes

Cupcake Base
1 (18 1/4 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted

Cupcake Filling
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
1 (16 ounce) box powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 350.
2) Line 14 muffin tins with cupcake liners
3) For cupcake base: combine cake mix, egg and melted butter with mixer.
4) Take about a walnut sized amount of dough & press into bottom of each cupcake liner. Set aside.
5) For filling: Beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. NOTE: Reserve about 2 teaspoons of pumpkin for the frosting.
6) Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together.
7) Add the powdered sugar, pumpkin pie spice and mix well.
8) Pour two heaping tablespoons into each cupcake liner (so filling is just a tiny bit below the top of the pan)
9) Bake 30 - 40 minutes. Do NOT overbake - you want it to be a little shakey/gooey when it comes out of the oven, it firms up a little more after it cools. I baked these for about 30 minutes.
10) Top with Pumpkin-Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

Pumpkin-Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. pumpkin (reserved from cupcakes)
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 - 2 tsp. milk

1) In a medium bowl, cream the butter with mixer.
2) Add the cinnamon and pumpkin and mix.
3) Mix in the confectioner's sugar (1/2 cup at a time)
4) Add a small amount of milk, if needed, until frosting is smooth and spreadable.
5) Spread on top of cupcakes (I like to use an icing bag and a star tip to make them look pretty)
6) Sprinkle the top with a tiny bit of ground cinnamon.
7) Stand back and watch the birthday girl ooh and ahh over her minature birthday cakes.
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Saturday, November 7, 2009

New Family Members - Felix & Oscar

After sweet Opie left us to go live in Heaven, my sister has thought she might want another cat, someday.

Since her birthday is Monday, she decided that was the gift she would give herself - a new cat to share the love she had to give.

So, we went to the vet this morning with the intentions of picking out a cat - one cat - singular. But when we got there, we were surprised at how many they had - around 20 maybe. There were lots of teeny tiny kittens and a group of 4 older black kittens. We took the black kittens out and played with them.

Well, we both got to thinking (although I was the one to suggest it), that it might be nice to have two cats so they could keep each other company during the day and they were used to being with 3 other kitties for the past several months. So... after much thinking, 2 black kittens were taken home.

For a while, one was being called Pepper (due to his white flecks on his back) but no name seemed to be right for the other one until we said "Felix" - well since these 2 kitties have such opposite personalities - it made sense to call the other one "Oscar" so Oscar and Felix it is.
They are soooo sweet, loving and adorable - Felix is the groomer and more quiet and proper and Oscar is all over the place and loves to play with anything he can find. Felix is about 6 months old and Oscar about 4 months. I'm so grateful to God for sending these 2 new furry babies to be a part of her life - they are 2 lucky kitties to have her for a mom.
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Happiness Hat

Well... with all my recent hat posts, I have to share that this is one hat I don't intend to make.. .The Happiness Hat. It can detect if you are smiling or not and if not, it jabs you in the back of the head with what looks like the sawed of end of a knitting needle - until you DO smile. Who comes up with these things???? Her so called "smile" about 24 seconds into the video is kind of scary looking!

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Osmond Family Hats


Here are a few more hats I made for the Warming Families project. Here is a link to the pattern. I made them in solid colors in honor of the Osmond Family. When the Osmond's performed together they wore signature colors.

Alan - Blue
Wayne - Orange
Merrill - Black
Jay - Green
Donny - Purple
Marie - Pink
Jimmy - Red

So far I have made a dozen hats. That is not as many as some but it is 12 people that will have a warm head that might not have, without these hats.
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Warming Families

I have mentioned Warming Families before on my blog - I was hoping that while I was recovering that I could make quite a bit of hats for this charity. Unfortunetly my recovery hasn't been quite as expected so I wasn't able to get started as soon as I had hoped. But... over the weekend, I picked up my hook and was able to make four hats - that is pretty good I think. I now have 5 total. I would love to make 20 in all but just don't know if I will have the time or energy to complete them. I'm going to try though.

Here are the ones I recently made

Bev's Adult/Teen Hat
Used Impeccables Yarn in Seaside


Two Boy Beanies from SNB: The Happy Hooker
Used Red Heart SuperSaver Multi in Peruvian Print


And finally, I thought a Granny Hat was needed, so I made Bev's Groovy 70s Hat
Also used Red Heart SuperSaver in Peruvian Print.


So far, all are adult sizes. I think my next few hats will be child sizes and probably some solid colors since I am getting a bit tired of the ombre prints.


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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Weekly Glee Moment 2

Puck is not one of my fave characters but loved seeing him sing this week along with seeing his beautiful smile - something we don't get to see much of.
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Donny's New Single


Whoo hoo - today is my birthday, my ba-ba-ba-birthday.

One of my presents (thought he doesn't realize it of course), I got a text from Donny Osmond about his new single (D & M have a new CD coming out). I'm not sure how long this link will be available, but HERE is where you can listen to it. I LOVE IT (of course!!)

Also, he looks FANTASTIC ! But then again, he always does.
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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Weekly Glee Moment 1

I love Glee ! LOVE IT ! So I thought maybe I should post a weekly Glee moment. This week's moment is It's My Life/Confessions Mash. I should have thought of this 6 weeks ago. Enjoy!

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Warming Families


I've slowly but surely been working on some hats for Warming Families. It is a charity that is very near and dear to Alan Osmond's heart and helps provide warm homemade knit and crochet hats to the homeless. I found out about it through Bev, the wonderful creator of Bev's Country Cottage, she provides so many wonderful patterns, mainly to be use for charity purposes. She is a talented designer, and has very big heart. Bev was my pattern go-to web site LONG before Ravelry came along.

This picture shows the first hat I just finished. The pattern can be obtained from Bernat.

I have very, very little time to knit and crochet these days so sadly probably won't get a lot done - I'd love to make about 20, many of the girls in the Ravelry Warming Families group have long surpassed that, but with my work demands, my home demands, my friend and family demands and my health demands, I will be lucky to finish 20, but that will be 20 people that will have some warmth that otherwise wouldn't have and that is pretty good.

As you can see, this one has somewhat girly colors and in my experience, at least in my city, the majority of the homeless are men, so the next one I am working on has a bit more masculine colors (at least I hope the finished one looks more masuline).

I will probably mostly be crocheting them (although would love to knit a few baby ones) but I crochet about 50 times faster than I knit, so I will probably stick to crochet.

If you'd like to participate/donate to this wonderful cause, please leave a comment and I'll get back with you.
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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mermaids and Cross Stitch


It has been a while since I cross stitched. I really love it and it really has been a long time. I guess knitting kind of took over. I have too many hobbies, I really do. I have just about done it all, crochet, knitting, macrame, hooking rugs, needlepoint, scrapbooking, punch needle, embrodiary, crewell, string art (anyone remember those), drawing, painting and of cross stitch. (I'm sure they may be some I forgot to mention)

I have been wainting to get back to my cross stitch but just won't allow myself until I finish the projects I already have going on. . . namely, making a prayer shawl, finishing the right glove of a fingerless glove set, a scarf and an afghan (all gifts for others) and now I am working on the Warming Families project and have been making hats.

But when I do get back to cross stitch. The first thing I want to do is finish this cute Paula Vaughn pattern I have that is like 75% done. The next thing I want to do is make a couple of Mermaids to go in my bathroom. Lately I have really been drawn to mermaids for some reason and would love to re-do my bathroom and have a couple of them in there (I don't really have room themes but just a couple of things to bring the room together). I can't decide which ones I like - there are so many to choose from. Here are some I have my eye on. All Mirabilia patterns.

But of course, I will not - WILL NOT - allow myself to even order a pattern, knowing full well how much I already have going on. I have even vowed to stay out of craft stores until I have all my work-in-progress projects done ! I sure hope that Michael's, JoAnne's and Hobby Lobby doesn't go out of business without me to support them.
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Monday, September 28, 2009

G-O-D and D-O-G

My friend and former pastor (now a Pastor at another church) showed this video to her congregation yesterday in preparation for next weekend's blessing of the animals.

I thought it was so sweet and so true. I miss Thatcher but I know my D-O-G is with G-O-D now and I will see them both one day.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Donny Osmond Currency

I already have Donny on my personal checks. I think he should be on our currency also. Thanks to the Festisite, I can accomplish this now. Too bad it isn't legal tender.
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cool Video

I was visiting jennyap's blog (and extremly talented pea from Two Peas In A Bucket - wish I could scrap like that) and she had this cool video posted. I have never seen it before or even heard of the artist. To me, this is the kind of video that should be winning VMA awards !!
Very creative (and time consuming to make I am sure). It is called "Her Morning Elegance" by Oren Levie. ~ Enjoy ~

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Crochet or Knit - You Decide

Thanks go to my pals over at Raverly for directing me to this photo over at the Harriet Carter Website. They provided me with my laugh of the day. So, what is so funny? Well, if you are a knitter or a crocheter, it is obvious. This woman appears to be making a crochet afghan - that is a CROCHET afghan in her lap. But, she is holding knitting needles.

Not only that, she is holding the needles like chopsticks and in one hand facing the same direction. So it isn't clear if she is actually knitting a crochet afghan or if she is planning on eating it for lunch. Perhaps both?

Oh and on top of that - notice all the pretty yarn coming out of the bin (which is the product for sale). Not only is she using 6 strands of yarn for a 4 color afghan, one of the colors clearly missing in her strands-o-yarn is white! I don't know about you, but to me, that afghan seems to have a bit of white in it.

Another funny thing I noticed is the suggested product (you know those, if you like this, you might like that kind of thing). They suggested this shirt:

I am very glad it is not the same model in both ads because obviously the one in the first ad does NOT know how to handle knitting needles. I know it isn't the model's fault. She is just doing as she is being told but geez, you think they would at least make sure they use a crochet hook on a crocheted afghan and if they HAD to use knitting needles, they could have used a knitted afghan. I mean. . . come on ! :-)

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Ravioli with Balsamic Brown Butter


I like having the Food Network on in the background when I clean house - sometimes I poke my head in there to see what they are cooking and stick around for a bit. There are some shows I will actually sit down and watch (like Next Food Network Star or those incredible Cake Challenges) but mostly catch shows just here and there.

My favorite Food Network stars are Paula Deen (of course - love that southern cooking and made many of her recipes), Sandra Lee (she is just so fun and her recipes are easy and good) , Rachael Ray (who could make a plain slice of bread look yum-o) and of course Giada De Laurentiis (whose tasty Italian dishes are usually budget and time friendly).

I have made several of Giada's dishes but one of my favorites that is super-duper easy and tastes oh-so-good is her Ravioli with Balsamic Brown Butter

Giada's Ravioli with Balsamic Brown Butter

  • 18 to 20 ounces store-bought ravioli (cheese, mushroom, or squash)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the ravioli and cook 4 to 5 minutes, until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Drain ravioli onto a large serving platter.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan cook the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the foam subsides, and the butter begins to turn a golden brown, about 3 minutes, turn off the heat. Let cool for about 1 minute. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Transfer the ravioli to the pan saucepan with the balsamic brown butter. Sprinkle walnuts and Parmesan over the top. Serve immediately.

I can't even tell you how easy and good this is. I prefer it with Butternut Squash but that can be hard to find in the stores and if I make it, it takes an easy recipe to a more complicated one and I don't want that. So if I can't find the frozen butternut squash ravioli (which I seldom ever can), then my 2nd choices is Mushroom ravioli. Depending on the store that can even be hard to find but most the time I can find that one - but if not, the cheese is very, very good too. I don't recommend using a meat ravioli for this sauce - I haven't tried it but I don't think it would be as good as a more "vegetarian" choice.
Thanks for the delicious and easy pasta dish Giada !!


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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Casper - The Friendly Ghost



I have this picture of Casper the Friendly Ghost on my bulletin board at work. Why? I can't explain it really but I just love Casper, he makes me happy. Maybe because he IS the friendly ghost. I mean, if you have to be a ghost, why not be a friendly one, right?

I'm not really sure why Casper is a ghost. I have always assumed and it seems that he is a little boy (I'm guessing around 10-12 years old). The 1995 live action movie indicated he died of pneumonia at age 12 and his last name was McFadden, but I'm not a big fan of the live action movie because you eventually see Casper in his "human form" as he once was. I like not knowing what he looked like when he was alive. I also don't want to know what he died from, that is just a bit morbid. I mean he IS a cartoon after all.

I don't think I would ever get a tattoo but if I did, it would probably be Casper (or the "One Fish" from Dr. Suess' book). He is just so a comforting little guy and I smile everytime I see him (which is why he is on my bulletin board).

The first Halloween costume I remember having was Casper and I was either in 5 or 6 at the time. I remember getting so excited when I was at the school carnival and saw another Casper and we shyly waved at each other as if we had some sort of Casper bond.

I never could understand why his uncles (The Ghostly trio) were so mean to him. I always hated that ! I mean he is their nephew for crying out loud and they are ALL dead, right? I guess they don't like Casper because they think ghost should be scary and not friendly.

I assume his parents are too dead too - where are they anyway? Are his parents not ghosts? Poor Casper with no parents around to protect him from his mean uncles. At least he had his little witchy girlfriend, Wendy, to be his pal.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Charleston, SC

Charleston is a very lovely town. This is the famous pinapple fountian located in Waterfront park. It represents hospitality, welcome and goodwill.

It is quite an interesting design.

We enjoyed our first full day in Charleston - started out driving around rainbow row and the battery. Ate lunch at Bubba Gump's Shrimp (which was very, very good) and basically wore ourselves out.

We ended the day by enjoying a nice cold water ice from Rita's!

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Happy Birthday


Happy Birthday baby. I love you.

Only God knows how much I miss you.
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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes

I have mentioned before, how much I adore the Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes at Belly General Store. There are only 3 problems with their cupcakes:

1) They are extremely delicious and therefore extremely popular
2) They are made in a limited number each day
3) By the time I get to Belly (usually near closing time), they are gone

What is a girl to do when she has been craving these? Why make her own of course. Well, since I have found these little cupcakes from heaven, I have tried to find a way to make my own. I've searched the internet. I found chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting and peanut butter cupcakes with chocolate frosting but NO peanut butter & jelly cupcakes.

Until. . . one of my friends over at Two Peas In A Bucket, posted a link to their favorite food blog, Mommy's Kitchen and while poking around in there I found. . . Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting and thought this one will do the trick. Apparently the recipe comes MeMa's Manna Cookbook (a cookbook that looks right up my alley). The original recipe I found didn't state the oven temp. or how many cupcakes it made. I set the oven on the normal baking temp of 350 and it was perfect. It made 22 cupcakes but I probably could have stretched it out to 24 if I made them a wee bit smaller.

Here is my slightly revised version turned into PB&J Cupcakes.

Cupcakes:

2/3 - cup shortening
1 1/2 - cups granulated sugar
3 - eggs
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 - cup milk
1 tsp - vanilla extract
2 tsp - baking powder (yes, I know the pic has baking soda, but I did use baking powder)
1 3/4 - cups all purpose flour
Grape jam (I used jam because it is a thicker consistency than jelly and thought it would bake better)

Preheat oven to 350. Set out a stick of butter (to use for the frosting), so it can be softening.

Cream shortening and sugar together. Add eggs and beat well. Add peanut butter and beat well. Add milk, vanilla extract, baking powder and flour. Using a ice cream scooper fill the muffing liners about 1/2 full with batter. Add about 1 tsp of grape jam to center of each and cover with another layer of batter (filling about 3/4 full).

Bake at 350 for 20 -25 minutes or until golden brown. (22 minutes was perfect for me). Cool cupcakes completely and frost with peanut butter frosting .



Peanut Butter Frosting:

1 - 16oz box (1lb) powdered sugar
1 - stick butter, softened (1/2 cup)
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 - tsp vanilla extract
milk (about 3 - 4 tablespoons)

Cream powdered sugar and butter together, add peanut butter. Mix well, add vanilla extract and enough milk to make it easy enough to spread. Beat mixture together until you have the consistency you want. Frost cupcakes when completely cooled. (I used a piping bag and star tip)

I wish I sort of had some purple sprinkles to put on the top to give it more of a PB&J look on the outside - maybe next time.
The result: very good - very close to Belly's. I am glad I used the jam - I think jelly would have been too thin after cooking, the jam was perfect. I also think I could have put a little bit more jam into the center - maybe 1 1/2 - 2 tsp but I was afraid it would bake out so I was a bit careful this time. I really liked them and definetly will make again when I am needing a PB&J cupcake fix.
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hello Kitty (Cricut) Card


One of my friend's cat passed away rather unexpectectly (she became ill on Sunday, went to vet Monday and by Wednesday, she was in heaven). When Thatcher passed away, the cards I received meant a lot to me - to know that people acknowledged the beautiful life that was here but had left me (for the time being).

I was thinking about a card I wanted to make for my friend and found an appropriate image on my Hello Kitty Cricut cartridge (kitty face with tears) but then saw this image with a heart and thought that would be better. To show the love she had for her kitty.

I cut a white shadow, black sillouette (which included the eyes), light pink heart and dark pink bow (which also cut the nose). I put everything on a blue background, which is darker in this picture then in real life. I almost went with a baby blue but decided to use the bright blue since it was a bit more cheerful. All images were cut at 4-inches.
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Monday, July 27, 2009

Pirates of the Caribbean - Vintage Footage

Anyone who knows me well, knows I have a love for all things Disney - especially their theme parks. I have not been lucky enough (yet) to go to Disneyland but thanks to You Tube, I can get a glimpse into the park. I especially enjoying seeing early footage of the park, the way that Walt designed it and envisioned it.

Here, we see a video from 1967 of the original Pirates of the Caribbean ride. From what I can tell, this was probably broadcasted on the Wonderful World of Disney (I loved Sunday nights when I was a kid and looked forward to the Wonderful World of Disney every week - I miss that show)
I love this video for several reasons:
1) It shows the ride as it was originally designed ~ pirates chasing women and all and no Jack Sparrow - I love Jack don't get me wrong and he seems to fit in the ride now, but I'm sentimental at heart and love to see things as they were originally intended.

2) POTC is in the top 2 of my fave rides (along with Haunted Mansion)

3) It has clear audio. (If you've ridden the POTC, you can't always hear clearly what is being said because other pirates are talking ahead of you and behind you for other guest so you have lots of things going on at once).

4) I see my favorite pirate (the one on the bridge near the end). I was totally facinated by this pirate the first time I saw him because of the detail on him, it amazed me that the bottom of his feet were dirty (even though you can't see that in this film). Even my 13 year old self was impressed by the details that were put into these pirates!

5) Love the dog in a couple of scenes - especially the jail scene and was thrilled, thrilled I tell you, when they included that scene in the POTC movie.

6) It just makes me happy to watch it.

Enjoy and drink up, me 'earties - yo ho!

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Cedric Diggory vs. Edward Cullen

I was noticing that my blog gets several hits a day and most of them seem looking at my book review of Twilight. This got me to thinking... in a battle between Cedric Diggory and Edward Cullen, who would win?

Part of me thinks Edward, after all, he is a vampire and could certainly suck the life out of Cedric (literally) but... then again, Cedric is an excellent wizard. He could use his wand and do all kinds of things to Edward. I don't know if the Avada Kedavra curse works on vampires. It seems like it would. But then again, it is an unforgivable curse and Cedric is too good of a guy to use that (unless he absolutely HAD to).

Edward is the most romantic of the two, I believe but Cedric is so courageous. After all, he did get picked to be in the tri-wizard championship and that is just not something that happens everyday.

If I to choose which one to be with, I would probably pick Cedric. First, I like his looks a bit better (more clean cut and tanned - although I do like the sparkle effect that Edward can do). Also, he has some really cool friends (all of those in the Gryffindor house). Plus, if the dishes needed washing, laundry needed to be done or the house needed cleaning - one swoop of his wand and all would be done. I wouldn't be afraid of accidentally cutting myself while shaving my legs (of course with Edward, that would be a bit risky).

Yes, I think I would choose Cedric.
.
Leave a comment and let me know who you would choose and why.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


So. . . about 2 months ago, something about Harry Potter came up at work and one of my co-workers said "J and I are going to the midnight showing when the new movie comes out, wanna go?" You know I jumped right in on that!

I have never gone to see a HP movie the night it came out or gone to buy a book at midnight so I thought it would be fun. Plus these 2 particular co-workers are a lot of fun so I thought "why not!"

I knew the theater would be busy but I was not prepared to have to search for a parking space - it wasn't busy - it was PACKED. I loved spotting the characters - there were several Tonks (with various hair colors of course but bright pink seemed to be the most popular choice). There of course were a few Harrys and a Hermonie or two. The best though, was a guy dressed like Mad Eye Moody - his costume was spot on, right down to the magical eye ! Awesome !

J brought 3 friends with her so there were 6 of us all together and luckily we all got to sit together. There were tons of previews and I love previews so was fine with that. One was for a new Tim Burton flick and I could tell from the moment it flashed on the screen, it was a Burton film. While I normally LOVE his movies, this one did not look appealing to me at all. Too bad. But several others looked really good. But I digress. . .

Now onto the movie review. I though it was a great interpretation of the book. The scene where Harry viewed through the pensive to when Dumbledore convinced Slughorn to come back to Hogwarts, looked exactly like I envisioned it. The scene where Harry & Dumbledore go to the cave also looked very much how I thought it would (although when the Inferi came out of the water, my mind flashed to LOTR's Gollum)

But there were a few scenes that I thought weren't up to the book. The big climatic scene on the tower should have had a bit more "ump" in my opionion. There wasn't enough of a battle and I wish that would have lasted a bit longer and been a bit more intense. When Snape revealed who the "Half-Blood Prince" was - it didn't seem so shocking (probably because I KNEW who it was) but they didn't spend a lot of time trying to figure out who it was in the movie, like they did in the book. Also, there was an attack on the Weasley home that I didn't remember being in the book (but it has been a while since I read it and I really want to re-read it now).

I also missed some of the background magical things you usually see going on - no ghost floating around, a few pictures on the walls but more often than not, they weren't even moving. In one scene, Harry was following a sneaky Malfoy (who obviously was up to something) and he watched him go up the Hogwarts giant staircase, which failed to move! I also missed that I only saw a glimpse of some of Harry's friends, such a Neville and Hagrid - each who only had about 1 line in the whole movie. At least good old Luna was in a couple of scenes. Luna is my favorite of Harry's friends (outside of Ron and Hermonie of course) but I love her! She was only in a couple of scenes but she stole them of course.

Speaking of scene stealing, even though he spent most of the movie sneaking around and didn't have a lot of lines, I thought Tom Felton was wonderful - he is just a perfect Draco Malfoy and his acting was incredible in the few scenes he was in. I really hope we see him in more after the Harry Potter series are finished.

The humor in this movie was great - especially the scenes with Ron and Lavender Brown - too funny!

Now one more thing I MUST mention is the knitting in this movie. There are some great knit items (Hey, what can I say, when you knit and crochet, you NOTICE stuff like this in movies and on TV, you can't help it, you just do). First of all, right near the beginning, Dumbledore stumbles upon a magazine at Slughorne's house and ask if he can keep it because as he puts it "I have a fondness for the knitting patterns" - I loved that line!! Secondly, amoung the knitted clothing in the movie, I fell in love with Hermoine's Cabled Hat (pictured above). Luckily, thanks to Ravelry, I found a pattern on JL Yarnworks blog. (FYI - notice the great scarf she is wearing in the picture above too, which is also on JL Yarnworks blog)

I must admit, I have spent my brief knitting career avoiding double pointed needles, but I think I am going to have to learn to knit with them now just so I can make this awesome hat !

So all and all, I would give this movie 5 stars !!! Well worth seeing. Now I want to re-read the book and go see it again.

For your knitting enjoyment pleasure - check out the cool Quidditch sweaters !

Interested in more HP Knit projects? Check out some Harry Potter Knitting Patterns

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Sad Day - Loss of Michael & Farrah

Just a few days ago, legendary Ed McMahon passed away. He lived a good long life though and was 86. News of his passing was sad but not completely unexpected, given his age and known health problems.

Then about noon, a co-worker delivers the sad news that the beautiful Farrah Fawcett had finally lost her cancer battle. Again, very sad. Farrah had such a spark about her and she really fought this terrible disease as hard as she could. She deserves so much respect for that. What a brave battle and from what I hear, she didn't complain and fuss "why me" - she just fought as hard as she could, but sadly the cancer was stronger than she was.

Then somewhere between 5:30 - 6:00 (EST), my friend Lynn calls me up and asks "have you heard the news" - uh, no what news? Then she proceeds to tell me that Michael Jackson has died - TMZ confirmed it but no one else had. WHAT?!?! She said it was cardiac arrest. I can't believe it and don't put much faith in TMZ or other gossip type magazines/shows but seriously think they would be 100% sure about something like that before they release it but you never know. I go online and wait until I hear that CNN has confirmed it, then I know it is true. I am stunned. Literally stunned. Michael wasn't ill (as far as I knew), he was only 50 years old.

Michael's death overshadowed Farrah's. All that I saw on TV that night was about Michael. He was the King of Pop. I am sorry Farrah didn't get the media coverage she deserved. With her though, we all knew it was coming it was a matter of when. But with Michael, it was so out of the blue and such a shock! We still don't know all the details yet but it is so odd that his doctor, who had given him a shot of demoral, before 9-1-1 was called is now missing. He even left his car at MJ's home. No one has apparently seen him since Michael died. How bizarre.

I had a hair cut like Farrah's (though of course it never looked as great as her's) and I listened to Michael and the Jackson 5 my whole life. Ever since I knew what music was, I knew who Michael was. I grew up listening to the Jacksons (and the Osmonds of course).

The Osmonds and the Jacksons had quite a bit in common. Their mother's have the same birthday, each family has 9 children, Michael is the 7th child, Donny is the 7th child. Many of the Osmonds had such nice things to say about Michael's passing.

From Alan:
I was shocked to hear that Michael Jackson passed away so quickly! We will miss him. My condolences go out to Michael and to his family!
. . .
Our prayers are with them. We will see him again, someday!
Read the entire entry on Alan's Blog
From Merrill:
My thoughts and prayers are with Michael's family, friends and inparticular his three young children who were his world.

My heart also goes out to my dear friend, Jermaine Jackson, as he bravely broke the sad news of the sudden passing of his brother Michael. I can't begin to imagine what he must have been going through. Michael was a gentle spirit and an amazing talent who will be sorely missed worldwide.

From Jay:
As is the rest of the world, I am greatly saddened by the passing of Michael Jackson. My prayers are with the Jackson family during this most difficult time.
. . .
Michael was a tremendous talent. He will be missed, but leaves an unforgettable legacy of music for the world to enjoy forever.

Read the entire entry on Jay's Blog

From Donny:
Message 1:I can't begin to express how sad I feel today. Not one but two friends, Michael and Farrah left us. My prayers go out to their families.

Message 2: It's still very difficult for me to accept that my friend MJ has passed away. I will really miss him.

From Marie:
My heart aches for Michael's children and family, Farrah's loved ones, and my prayers are for all of us today.

From Jimmy:
I had the privilege of knowing Michael and working with him on some of his tours. He was a good friend, an amazing talent and will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and especially his kids at this sad time.

It is still sinking in that 3 legends are gone but as Alan said in a TV interview, I am sure there is some great entertainment upstairs.
One day I will be there to enjoy it all too. Thank you, Lord, for the lives of these people, the ways they entertained us and God, rest their souls and give their families comfort and peace during this difficult time.
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Monday, June 15, 2009

Knitch - Knit a Chicken for Charity

You have got to see all these cute and clever chickens knitted by the patrons of Knitch. These knitters are so smart and talented. They are all using Susan B. Anderson's chicken pattern and the winner gets 12 - $25 gift cards (1 a month for a year!!) - I just thought a cute idea for one but I am a slow knitter and would probably finish it sometime in 2010 so guess I will sit this one out. Now if they ever have a crochet contest...I might consider it.

Check them out !!

Once the contest is over - they are all donated to a local children's hospital - how awesome is that?
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Friday, May 29, 2009

Opie

I am very sad today. Our beloved Opie is now in Heaven. I already miss him. But I know now that he is happy and he is healthy - no more shots, no more fluid bag treatments. He feels good again. I know Thatcher met him at the gates and they are together now. I know that one day Sheree and I will be with them again, along with Gizmo, Minnie, Bandit, Sox and Fuzzy. I know we will all be together again in Heaven and we will get to hold them and play with them forever. Until then, I will miss you Opie, with all my heart. I love you.
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Monday, May 18, 2009

Students Helping Baby Squirrel

My friend Art sent this video link to me - I thought it was so cute that I had to share. The song is called "Bruises" by Chairlift.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Creepy Burger King

You know the Burger King just creeps me out ~ the way he is always sitting beside you in bed just staring at you or peeking in your window for no apparent reason - just creepy.

Well - to add to the creepiness factor, you can be the proud own of ... yes ladies and gentleman ... Whopper scented perfume.

Go to http://www.firemeetsdesire.com/ and click on the spray bottle a few times - watch the creepy Burger King in action - click a few more times, then again a few more times - ooohh I think shivers just went down my spine.


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Monday, April 27, 2009

Disney's Earth



So, I never blogged about the last 2 movies I saw "Race to Witch Mountian" and "Madea Goes to Jail". Since I never got around to posting my reviews of them, I decided to go ahead and write about "Earth", which I saw today. I was off work today because it is a state holiday Confederate Memorial Day.

"Earth" is the first, of what I assume will be several, Disneynature films (we saw a preview of their next one - "Oceans"). The photography in this movie is just unbelievable !!! I cannot even imagine how many months/years was spent filming this. Basically, the movie follows 3 families - polar bears, elephants and humpback whales on their journeys. But it is far more than that - various birds, lions, tigers, and one of my faves - a mother duck teaching her babies to fly - so cute !

It does have some Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom predator/chase scenes but they were handled well and after all, that is just part of the circle of life, as James Earl Jones, the wonderful narrator points out. It was sweet and funny in places (loved the tropical bird cleaning up for his lady friend and doing his come-hither dance).

It is a very visually stunning movie and I highly recommend seeing it (but it must be seen on the big screen). I wish it would have been in IMAX - that would have made it move from a wow movie to a WOW movie !!

Very good family movie - well worth the ticket price.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

It's the Easter Bunny

I made these cute little Easter gifts for my staff - everything came from the Dollar Tree.

They had baskets too (which is what I went there for actually) and I was going to get those until my sis spotted these cute little bunny buckets - adorable!

They have green, pink and yellow Easter grass and on top is a box of jelly beans, a box of malted milk ball eggs, a chocolate-marshmallow bunny, A chocolate lollipop shaped like a bunny and a mixture of Easter wrapped Hershey bars, Hershey kisses and Reese's peanut butter cups. I hope everyone likes their little gifts.




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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Southland in the Springtime



In the words of Emily Saliers, there is "Something 'bout the Southland in the Springtime"
It is just so beautiful. I love these 2 close up shots I took this weekend of the trees in full bloom - especially the one where I got the little bumblebee in the shot.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ghost at the Fox ?


I went to see A Chorus Line at the Fox Theater this past weekend and as always had my camera with me (it goes where I go). I couldn't take pictures inside the theater but took a few down in the lounge area (the area where my friend Cathy, when she was young, thought the mummies were kept)

Anyway, after I got home and uploaded the photos, I found this cool orb (right above the cabinet on the right) in one of them. So, do ghost live at the Fox?
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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentine Mailboxes




The week after Christmas 2008, I was shopping in the $1 spot at Target and spotted these cute little mailboxes. I thought then that they would make fun little gifts for my staff. I supervise 4 employees (soon to 5) so I got 4 little red boxes (they also had pink and white). A few weeks ago, I decided to make a couple more for the other 2 managers but couldn't find any red ones. Luckily my sis spotted 2 white ones so I altered them with some scrapbook paper I already had.

I actually like the looks of the altered ones better but didn't have the time (or the energy) to do them all and the red ones looked pretty cute just as they were, so I left them that way.

I filled each one with a small little tube of bubbles, 2 mini mechanical pencils, a cute little rubber stamp (each one was different), mini Toblerone bars, a Kit Kat, a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, a few Strawberry Creme Hershey Kisses, Mini Tootsie Rolls, a pack of Big Red Gum and a pack of Sweet Tart Hearts. I actually had room in there for more candy but didn't want to pack it to the top - I wanted to leave some room in there so it was easy to see what was in it and to get the stuff out.

Anyway, I was really happy with how they came out and I'm looking forward to giving them out at work tomorrow.
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