Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rodney's all checked in...

... and here is a photo I took of him in his check-in uniform (alphas? charlies? I have no idea what they are called...) when I went to base to take him his phone he forgot. He had an early day, though, was home by noon since the Sergeant Major he was supposed to meet with was unavailable. But he's officially stationed at NAS Pensacola now. He loves the 10-minute drive to work (versus 45 minutes in California).

Will has been enrolled in school and I have to attend orientation on Aug. 14. Xan is still on the waiting list for preschool, but the director has high hopes of getting him in within the next month.

I am getting ready for my trip back to California Sunday to take the bus to Provo, Utah, for Creating Keepsakes University, a scrapbooking convention I am attending. Can;t get enough of the Guthrie Gang news? Don't forget to check out my scrap blog for more news!

The boys at Bible School

While Will was as "good as gold," as always, Xan proved himself a bit young to truly appreciate the structured activities... maybe next year! Aunt Vicky also sent some photos over, but I am having trouble dowloading them, so I will add those as soon as I can get them fixed...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Let's Salsa!

Whenever I feel like cooking, which happens once every blue moon, I make fresh salsa. Rodney loves it and it makes him and the kids eat vegetables! It is a recipe, if you can call it that, that I got from a true "mamacita," a Hispanic photograher friend of mine's mother who lived in Yuma, AZ. I don't eat tomatoes or green onions in any other foods and I love my salsa CHUNKY! The hot, humid weather here made me just CRAVE some fresh salsa yesterday, so I "cooked" some up!

Here's what I do:

1) Gather up the ingredients:

- three cans of tomato sauce (I use name brand, since this will not be cooked and I do not want to mess around with taste.)
- five large tomatoes, the darker red the better
- a bunch of green onions
- a bunch of cilantro
- a large clove of garlic (or two smaller ones - clove, not the entire bulb. I say this because I made this mistake as a new wife, LOL!)
- chile peppers: I use two anaheim chiles (pictured)for a mild to medium salsa, five to seven serrano chilies (they are smaller than anaheims) for a medium to warm salsa. Jalepenos can be used, too, but I just do not care fo the taste.
- salt and pepper - to taste
- about a 3/4 cup of water, I don't measure, I just swish out sause from the cans

I use my Tupperware Superbowl to mix it allin. I think it is a 2-gallon bowl or something crazy like that. Sharp knives are a must.

2) Wash your hands, can tops and all produce
3) chop tomoatoes, green onions and cilantro the way you like, bigger for chunky salsa or finer for not-so-chunky salsa. I always chop the onions, chilies and garlic last in case the smell gets overwhelming.
4) chop chilies and garlic very fine
5) Add sauce and water
6) add some salt and pepper, mix it all up, have a bite, add salt and pepper as necessary.
7) Enjoy! I like using Tostitos Scoops so I can get a lot of salsa in one bite!

And I love that these ingredients are not super expensive and the amount you make will last a week, or be great for a party. Plus, like I said before, the family will get their vegetable servings! Anyone else have a great salsa recipe? Post it here, I'd love to try it!

TGFSS!! (Thank God for Scrapbook Supplies!!)

My Dad had told me for years that I just move into a place, be it a house, a situation, whatever, and make it fit to me. At the time, when he first mentioned it, it was not meant as a compliment, but I couldn't figure out why. Still can't. But as time moved on, I think he has found it to be a more admirable trait than he percieved it intially, especially since I am a military wife and home is where the Marine Corps sends you (at least that's what I have been told.)

The reason I bring this up is because I have now moved into a home and I have been running around trying to make it fit so I can sleep at night. Seriously, while being Type A allows me to get a lot done in a short period of time, and hopefully get it done well, my "mess" of a new house is really wreaking havoc on my creative abilities, which I will need to call upon soon to create projects for various events coming up, not to mention my own kids' albums. if my house is not in order, than I can't concentrate on being creative. Anyone else have this problem?

In my rush to get my house they way I want it so I can dig into "real" life scrap stuff, I have had to call upon my scrap stash a few times - thank God I have one! For starters, my kitchen island and counter tops had a peachy-pink, salmon-y stripe that went around every edge. Anyone who knows me knows this just would not do, as I can only handle pink in small doses, and certainly not in my kitchen where I would have to see it every day! So, enter Adirondack paint dabbers, Distress Ink and Mod Podge! After a few hours of work and some painter's tape, I have a teal-bluish stripe that matches my new home decor of sage green and slatey-teal blue. Viola! On to the next room!

Somewhere I read that the average American spends 16 years of their life in the bathroom. Interesting. So, knowing this, I wanted a bathroom that was relaxing, calming. Actually, I wanted my whole house to be in soothing Earthtones of beige (which the house's walls were already painted), sage green and slatey-teal, since I am 1) Type A and don't know how to sit down and do nothing, and 2) planning to be on the road a lot and want an inviting haven that I can come home to and attempt to sit down and do nothing in. Since it sounds like I will spending quite a bit of time in my bathroom, I wanted to really like it. We fund a great distressed sage-green hamper and I wanted a mirror to match. I figured finding one to buy outright would be next to impossible, so I found a pine mirror on clearance at the Navy Exchange here for $15 and used some of the Pastel Sage paint I used to paint my scrap room and Florida room, since I had a gallon or so left over.

Then I took my Adirondack paint dabber in Espresso and distressed it. DH Rodney hung it up and, while it is not a high-quality mirror, it was less than $20 and I love it! Next!

I love having a formal dining room. Our families plan to visit often and I want a place where we can have family dinners and accommodate everyone.

The mirror was another Navy Exchange clearance item, solid wood, for $20. Gotta love it! The curtain was a "piece of fabric" I found at an antique store for $7 that turned out to be a curtian in just my shade of slatey-teal. I grabbed a piece of trim from my ribbon scrap stash and tied the curtain to make it a "window dressing."
Oh, and JoAnn's has a bunch of their deco curtain rods on sale right now - that one with the leaves was $3.95 - how can you beat that??? Onward!

My boys now have a play room and I am using a My Minds' Eye metal sign I got at the Scrapbook USA Expo in April as inspiration.

The playroom will have a realistic dinosaur theme and the wall on the right will soon have a huge dinosaur mural painted by my sister-in-law, who is a very talented artist, but doesn't use her abilities as much as I think she should! i want a tree painted in the corner, streching across the window wall and I'll tack up vines across the ceiling.

For the curtain, I wanted it to look like stringy moss coming from the eventual tree, so I used two different green fiber skiens, cut them up and knotted them on to the curtain rod. The effect is exactly what I was looking for!

While I haven't ben using a whole lot of scrappy stuff in the other rooms, I have been working on the guest bedroom and living room quite a bit.

The guest bedroom used to belong to a pre-teen Hannah Montana fan and is a lovely shade of purple. Purple I can handle better than pink, but I would never paint an entire room that color.

But the paint job was fresh, in good shape and I really didn't want to repaint it, so I embraced the purpality and added greens - and the browns of my boxer dog collection.

The quilt is one my mom made for me, only flipped upside down so the green side shows. The violet coverlet is actually a curtain I got for about $8 at an antique store. Silk flowers on sale at Michaels (all of the craft stores have their "spring collections" on sale for 50 percent off or more), throw pillows from Wal-mart and a green curtain panel I've had for years finished it off. As for the Boxers, that is a collection I have had since I got Slade in 1997, and it just keeps getting bigger with gifts, eBay and the like. I have both contemporary and antique pieces.

This one here is dated 1958, so it is 50 years old this year. A lot of the antique Boxer pieces were made in Japan in the 1950's. The dogs had just been imported from Germany and the Japanese really liked them. Boxers came over to America just after World War II, also, after the American soldiers had seen the dogs and fell in love with them.

The living room has lit plant ledges on either side of it, just begging for treasures to be displayed. So far I have littered them with some stuff I have had for years, ceramic peices I have made and found, antique store finds and the like. Some of them have their own story. It will be a continious work in progress, focuassing around my "signature" colors and the themes of home, travel and Florida as a vacation destination.

My beloved canvas mural has also found a home, and I love the fact that I can see it, albeit backwards, from the kitchen via the mirror above the fireplace. While it doesn't completely match my current color scheme, there are enough Earthtones in it that I am willing to overlook that...

I only have boxes with framed photos left to unpack, so my Type A brain is starting to calm down a bit. Then I can focus on finishing up my scrap studio and get down to some creations!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Well, we're not in Kansas anymore ...

... or should I say California? While Florida may be The Sunshine State, you can't prove it by the monsoon-like weather (can you tell I lived in Arizona for awhile?) we've been having since I got here last week. I have been here officially for a week now, and while the weather is leaving my never-ever-frizzy straight, fine hair, oh-so-frizzy, I have to admit that I love my house, the fact that I can get fresh-brewed iced tea ANYWHERE and that everything outside is so dang GREEN! After living in the "green desert" of California and the "desert" desert of Arizona for so long, it is so much fun to see green grass, trees, plants, etc. I am enjoying the wildlife. I lived in Texas for about five years of my childhood and it's great to see armadillos again. Although, all but one I have seen have been roadkill. I am also enjoying the tropical plants available to me, including these houseplants at Wal-mart here that have modified blooms or leaves - can't tell which that form little buckets. Way cool. I already told the DH that I just HAVE to have one!

It has been incredibly busy for me since my last post. We celebrated 4th of July country-style: On grandpa's creek property with hot dogs roasted over an open fire, where my sister-in-law, Jill and the family nurse, Aunt Sam, lit off the fireworks for a crowd of about 60 family members and friends.

I helped get the $500 worth of fireworks ready for the big display - we always seem to end up with way more fireworks than expected, since everyone pitches in money or their own purchases for the good of the show. A softball game was started and played until you couldn't see the ball any more in the darkness. Cousin Amy brought a patriotic pinata for the kids, so they could celebrate Cuatro de Julio in style!

I brought in some star-shaped sunglasses for the kids for a "Starry-Eyed Surprise" (remember THAT song, LOL)... they were a hit for about 15 minutes... gotta love the Target dollar aisle!

The BIG surprise of the day: One of Grandpa's cows had a set of twins the day before, a heifer and a bull,

both looking very strong and healthy. More often than not, one or both twins are lost. Mama looked tired, but wasn't too tired to reach out to try and sniff the Kubota "pumpkin truck" we were riding in! I am so glad I made Aunt Brenda stop at my car for the camera before we headed out to the pasture!

We also took to opportunity to get photos of the entire family together: How often do both Rodney and I have all of our immediate family in one location? Grandparents, parents, siblings, the works? Once for our wedding in 2000, one for our reception in Illinois in January 2001 and now. So, of course, everyon grumbled about having to take their photos, but now everyone wants copies ... that's a scrapbooker' life in a nutshell!

Xan took a HUGE liking to Aunt Sam's Gator and announced, "My drive! My drive!" every time he saw it. While the keys are usually kept in it, they had to be taken out whenever Xan was around because he was quick to try and turn the key - fortunately he still doesn't have the strength, but still a safety concern. I swear I am going to find that little daredevil on the roof one day, grinning down at me...

As a thank you to Rodney's family, my SIL Gina cooked up some very tasty Korean BBQ, a dish that was new to most of the family.

"Lettuce tacos," tiny "bowl" mushrooms and tender, tasty beef and prk were on the menu, along with sticky rice, which explained how asian people can eat rice with chopsticks - it sticks together in easy-to-grab clumps!

Grandpa wasn't the only one with new baby cows, Aunt Sam also has a little black beauty bull, with looooong eyelashes that this picture just doesn't do justice for!

Sunday after the 4th, my family left Pike County, headed back to California and I started heading south with the dogs and trailer. I stayed the night in Jackson, Mississippi, arriving in Pensacola at around 2 p.m. Tuesday. Everything went as smoothly as one could hope, really, although the furniture did arrive a day later than planned. It turned out to be OK, as I replanned and decided to paint the Florida room and my new studio/office

the calming shade of Pastel Sage I had had my eye on at Home Depot. Excuse the scrapstudio mess... it will be in order one of these days. Maybe ...

Since then, DH Rodney has driven across the southern part of our country, in three days, to join me in Pensacola. The dogs have discovered they hate thunderstorms, no matter how many days in a row we get them

(Marble is cowering in her crate, desperately trying to hide under her bed mat), but they love the big backyard they can run around in - evn Slade, who is now off of "emergency" medication and now on to stabilizing medication he will remain on. But he is quite perky, gaining some weight back and managing to jump on the sliding glass door between the Florida room and the house when thunder cracks. Thank you to everyone who has inquired about his health ... I really appreciate it! Rodney is running around from one home improvement project to another and I am trying to empty cardboard boxes as quickly as possible so I am no longer living in a sea of them!

And thank you to you all for your patience, understanding and support during this huge transition for me and my family - I truly appreciate it!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Playing tourist around the area...

The drive-in theater was a lot of fun, would have been more so if it hadn't rained on us for about 10 minutes, making us gun-shy to sit outside through "Kung-Fu Panda." But, we enjoyed tasty snacks and some vintage movie reel commericals, as well as the movie. It was a double feature, so, while the grandparents took the kids home for bath and bed, Rodney and I satyed to watch "Hulk," which I enjoyed,but Rodney did not.

Slade looks to be back to as close as normal as possible, considering he still has heart disease, it's just now controlled. He's been stealing steak bones from the kittens and chasing most cats out of my in-laws' garage, excpet for one calico tabby he allows to sleep beside him. I guess we all have our favorites!

The next day, Rodney and my brother, Joseph, headed out to the fields with Uncle John, to help him dig post holes along his property. They came back, dirty and tired.

On their 4-wheeler trip, Joe and Rodney had found an injured cow in Grandpa Bill's herd, so we all headed down to where she was along the creek to take a look. Her front hoof was swollen, but, not being overly tame, and Grandpa having seen this condition before, he decided she would probably mend on her own, but he would check in on her each day.

Tuesday we went to Springfield to visit the Lincoln Presidental Museum.
It was built in 2005 and has a lot of great interactive features housed within it, including two short (about 20 minutes) shows, "Lincoln's Eyes" and another on "Why do we save this old stuff?" as well as a newsreel section hosted by the late Tim Russert, explaining what the election Lincoln won was like at that time. If you are ever in Springfield, this si a museum worth going to, for people of all ages. Will, at 6, loved the room where he could dress up in period costumes and play with the toys of Lincoln's childhood. There are many different artifacts and alot of life-sized "dioramas" picturing snapshots of Lincoln's life that really brought the President to life.

While "No Photographs" signs are apparently around, I did not see one and snapped this before I was told not to. A scrapbooker's nightmare! Rodney and I also got news that we closed on the house in Pensacola ... we are now homeowners again!

Wednesday was our trip to historical Hannibal, Mo., the home of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer author Mark Twain, a.k.a. Samuel Clemens. We toured the Mark Twain cave in a group of about 25, three of them our children, who were less than thrilled to be there. Will was old enough to fear the unknown, Xan was a bit tired, but could be distracted with Grandpa Mark's pen light, and Brandon was just tired and read for a nap. By the time the tour was over, both Brandon and Xan were asleep and Will was practically knocking people over to get out. For lunch, we headed over to the nearby Tom Sawyer Village, where we could also see that the Mississippi River, while going down, was still flooding a number of buildings. Will sluiced through some gift-shop-purchased sand for some gemstones, which he was quite proud of. I got some gorgeous hand-carved candles for my new house and the rest of the ladies in the group shopped the Christmas store.

Next comes a trip to St. Louis and 4th of July festivities!