Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A few photos

Although I don't have a matching dining room set, there are enough chairs hobbled together to make for a fun evening with family and friends. The tiny dining room came out very cozy and functional anyway for Thanksgiving dinner for 8. It was a yummy meal and the 'sideboard' I created underneath the window (two cheapo bookcases topped with a bifold door and pretty fabric!) worked great for holding the wealth of food.

Next to the dining room is a picture of the Christmas apron and 'tuck' I sent along with it to Kimberly over at Green Honey Hive as part of the MaryJane's Farmgirl Connection Christmas Apron Swap. I'll edit this post as soon as I get a photo taken of the pretty apron and candy she sent to me.

Here are pictures of four of the 'Tie One On Day' bundles I made and delivered to some of my co-workers. I forgot to take a picture of one...oops! Three of them also had a donated back-issue of Mary Jane's Farm courtesy of MaryJane Butters. Wasn't that generous of her!? Her magazine staff sent out many, many magazines to participating apronistas and made it a fun day.

Tonight I'm blogging instead of attending my support group meeting and missing them terribly. I'm home with a bad sore throat and trying not to talk. (For anybody who's met me you know that's a tough one!) Unbelievably, I don't have our Christmas tree up yet or even any decortions. Mr. Gemini'sdream is remodelling the basement and we are now plagued with drywall dust on every surface. We're just cleaning, cleaning, cleaning and fighting it off the best we can. Till we make more progress, I just don't want to ruin our pretty Christmas things. It may be awhile yet! To cheer me up (and because I've been hunting for one for a few years now) I have this little beauty on order for the kitchen: (image from Target.com)It is a little bar-height table from Target.com and should fit perfectly under the kitchen window so that I can perch there and watch the backyard over a nice hot cup of coffee.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Lovely Autumn

It has been a long time since I've sat down to blog...I'm having too much fun reading other people's blogs! Here it is October 16th already and I am taking another 2 weeks of 'staycation' before things get really hectic at work with the holiday season looming. (retail, you know) I've made a great big calendar and have a big job list and wanna-do list so it will be two weeks well spent instead of frittered away on nothing.

On the schedule....LOTS of sewing, a bunch of baking and freezing, continuing to put the garden to bed and sleeping late! (And hopefully cleaning up the back patio, what a mess!) See the golden hubbard squash that came out of the garden? I cooked one for a test and it was sooooo yummy. Low-carb joy! Here I'd decided not to grow it again next year because of the way it took over the garden but now that has to be reconsidered. The zucchini and peppers were a bit disappointing, but I read in the paper that it was a bad year for those in this area so that is a little less depressing. haha
Hope I'll have pictures of great sewing progress to post soon!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Did you hear the news?????? This precious, much awaited (8 years!) bump has officially turned into Madeline Lucille today!

Congratulations to Jenn and Michael!!! I'm as proud as if I were an auntie instead of just a very happy friend. My prayers for baby Maddie's safe delivery are now prayers of thanks for such a wonderful blessing.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Fun Outing

Oh my goodness....this morning I got to have a deeeeeelicious breakfast with my dad and sister at Michael D's Eatery in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The coffee just kept coming (yeah, baby!) and the company and food was exceptional. Afterward, Dad was sweet and drove us to the ritzy 'downtown' area to visit the MaryJane's Farmgirl store across from the lake. We had a lovely stroll past the lake to the shop and you couldn't ask for prettier weather. Once there in the shop--whoa, baby....I was in farmgirl heaven!

Today was the 1-year anniversary of the beautiful little store and they were having a draw-your-discount special. I got 40% off, woohoo! So I came home with a packet of Budget Mix, some Chillover Powder, 2 postcards, a darling greeting card with teensy knitting on it, a tiny chocolate bar (only 8 gr. of sugar!) a box of the cutest vintage style hankies and MaryJane's first book the 'Ideabook, Cookbook, Lifebook'. Outside the shop is the darling little teardrop trailer they sell. If you have a spare 14K, my sister would realllllly love to buy that trailer with it. (That's the price I heard her mention, anyway.) Not being a camping girl myself I can value how cute the little thing is but never imagine myself actually outside with it.

Tonight (right now!) they are having a celebration at the store and hopefully are having a fun time. I'm so thankful to have gotten to visit the pretty little store and hope to be able to get back there to see it decorated for Christmas in a few months.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mid-August already!

Wow, it seems summer has just flown by this year. We had a few cool days last weekend and it already felt like autumn was on the way. Now we are back to more seasonal temps so the eventuality of fall (and winter!) will be easier to forget for awhile. I've been on a 'staycation' since last Thursday and it has been so nice. Was supposed to go to the OH conference in Seattle but we ended up having to have our electrical service panel for the house replaced...$$$. Hours have been cut recently at work so it just made sense to cancel the trip.

It has been fun playing farmgirl-at-home and taking care of some of the harvest from the garden as well as good produce sales here in town. This summer I've made lots and lots of sugar-free (and a few batches of regular) freezer jam, frozen veggies and dehydrated all kinds of things. The pantry is filling up and it feels nice to have a few extras on hand.

I'll post a picture of the last bento I made for work (0% Fage yogurt, blueberries, a few slices of chicken cordon bleu, marinated cumbers and caulitators.)...no more 8-hour days so my bentos are only breakfast and that is usually the same old thing. Not worth photographing often. Am showing an updated photo of the garden too to show the hubbard squash plants that have to be repeatedly hacked back so they don't take over the entire yard. Here's the post with the garden 'before' shot: http://geminisdream.blogspot.com/2009/05/bento-37_22.html And also a photo of the newest apron I finished, this one just for me for doing chores. (it is the red one, the green one underneath is still a WIP.)

Tomorrow, back to work again and happy to have made some progress here at home.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bento Backlog

Wow...it has been such a busy few weeks! Our home remodelling is in full swing again and the mess that goes with it is staggering. And just for fun, this weekend we had NO POWER (none!) from Saturday evening till Sunday mid-morning. Needless to say I haven't accomplished much sewing! LOL
To catch up on recent bentos here are 43-47. I won't list them individually because there are so many but most of them contain my usual foods: 0% Fage yogurt with fruit or my cottage cheese waffles and sugar free syrup, edamame, cucumbers and some mini-quiches. Other protiens were grilled chicken breast strips and chunks of chicken sausage. For seasonal fun, of course my favourite fruits and also green peas from the garden plus some experiments with light agave syrup-sweetened foods such as chocolate bran muffins and homemade tapioca pudding. So far, so good with that stuff...it is wickedly sweet and a little goes a long way. Luckily no dumping either.
Lastly, a good picture of my little friend "Callie" the Caliope Hummingbird who visits our Monarda regularly. Hopefully she has a nest somewhere nearby and will bring her babies to visit when they are bigger. What a cutie!
It is hot, hot this weekend and how lovely to have the power back on for air conditioning. aaaahhhhhh..........
PS...experimented with our fresh blueberries this weekend and had good luck with a clafouti recipe. Check it out in the sidebar link! If you don't have fresh blueberries, an equivalent amount of other bake-able fruit would work fine. And this evening I'll be making two batches of PK's Meat Crust Pizza to restock my freezer. (A girls gotta have pizza on hand!)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Rosette Fever!

The Place: West Central Community Center

The Day: June 27th, 2009
The Event: The Spokane Rose Society Annual Rose Show

The Results: THREE, BABY!!!!
The three rosettes were for: 1) my floribuna spray 'Ebb Tide' which is an incredible dusky, deep purply rose and smells heavenly, 2) my corsage of 'Blue Girl' roses and 3) the martini glass arrangement which didn't work out the way I'd planned technically but pleased the judges nonetheless. The flowers were supposed to be the 'onion' on the curly willow swizzle stick and the whole thing was supposed to stay under water to be the alcohol. But when I poured in the water the roses popped out their anchoring and floated. Oh well, it was fun to do anyway and won!

(you gotta trust me on the big martini glass entry, it really did win a blue and white 'best arrangement' rosette in that category but forgot to take a picture of it, I swear!)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Few Before and Afters

A few before and after photos that are on my mind lately:

Early January this year when we thought winter would never end. Note how high the snow berm is and how the roof of the shed on the right has sagged under the snow weight. This doesn't even show how high the snow had been...it had melted and re-snowed a bit before this. And this morning after a big rainstorm last night. Luckily not all the flower petals were knocked off and everything is green and pretty except the huge blue tarp that will prob. be on the still-unpainted shed all summer. (HONEY!)
My sewing room a few weeks ago (and how it normally looks on any given day, sad to say)...

Still very cluttered but so much better! I can even get a quilt loaded in the big frame now if I can find the motivation. Actually, sewing another apron or Kinchaku bag sounds more appealing today.

Spring '06.....

And this May at weight-loss surgery support group and wearing my Bloomsday Run finisher t-shirt.
So maybe I should exercise instead of sewing *OR* gardening! LOL!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bento 42

Bento 42 from this past Monday...such a busy, stress-y week at work that I am just now getting around to logging it. This was another breakfast/snack/lunch/snack day's worth of food packed in my two blue Hello Kitty Boxes. See the new tag I made? We have to have our lunches labelled at work and this was a fun little project. Anyway, back to the bento: top box was edamame on lettuce, watermelon butterflies, marinated cucumbers under beet flowers and a container of chopped turkey/fat free cream cheese and dill. The lower box was egg beaters mini omelette, two barley hearts, a mini heart of fat free cottage cheese, fresh blueberries and two mini cottage cheese bran muffins. A lot of food for a busy day!

Too busy at work and too much stress at home to even contemplate bento let alone photograph anything but mostly what I took to work the rest of the week was the usual stuff: 0% Fage yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, more chocolate mini muffins and the ever present sugar free protein coffee latte to start the day. Boring, quick, safe and easy. ::shrug::

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bento 41--Monday

Amy's comments about my bento looking patriotic got me thinking why not just go with it? And now I see there is a big old smudge on my lense...oops. To start the day and give me more energy after the big weekend was a packet of Emergen-C. Then for breakfast Monday morning was my usual old 0% Fage Greek yogurt...the go-withs are a side of Kashi Go Lean, a big stripe of sugar free strawberry rhubarb jam and fresh blueberries. There ya go...red, white and blue!
For lunch was a salad of home-grown baby spinach, grilled chicken strips,strawberries, craisins, sunflower seeds and tomatoes. I packed along a packet of light balsamic vinagraitte dressing but only used a small portion of it. They put way too much in those! Dessert was a sugar free Snack Pack jello in orange.
No bento today...just some leftovers thrown in my bag. Good thing I didn't take extra time because I had a flat tire on the way to work and using the extra time would have made me much later than it ended up being anyway.
Oh...big naughtiness to report: Because I had to wait at the tire shop to get my tire fixed after work I treated myself to two new magazines. But even worse (or better!) later in the day I again splurged on new books when I had to pick up teens at the mall. "Warm Fuzzies" and "Sewing Green" both by Betz White. Can't wait to read them and start planning projects!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Thank you, Amy!

Not only did Amy (my bestest sister) make Saturday a really fun, memorable day at the Farm Chicks show but then today she worked for hours on my blog page. I am so not worthy!!!!

She found a great website with cool backgrounds and tried out endless possibilities for me, cutting and pasting all that code that is totally Greek to me. To someone who is pretty nearly computer clueless this was a huge gift.

Thank you!!!!!

Fun at the Farm Chicks Show

Wow...Saturday was really memorable! My sister Amy and I met there and spent most of the day carefully going through each booth oooh'ing and aah'ing the amazing vintage and crafted merchandise. We took a nice leisurely lunch break and enjoyed some watermelon, mozzarella sticks, tortilla rollups and resting our feet! At our table were some really fun ladies and besides enjoying the break they were great to visit with.

It was so much fun seeing booths from vendors we'd seen the previous year and searching through all the treasures they brought. If we were millionaires we'd have purchased like crazy but even though we didn't haul out as much as a lot of folks we had such a great time making our few purchases that it was just as much fun.

I got so caught up in the shopping experience that I totally forgot to look for Serena and Teri to get my book autographed. Oh well...it doesn't make me enjoy the book any less. Hope you get a chance to read it or get your own copy, it is beautifully photographed and a pleasure to read.

Isn't it cute the way they lined up aprons to decorate the front of this table? We almost bought a treat for our Dad but hesitated too long and by the time we saw that booth again they were sold out and closed. Must have been good! Heavens, I wouldn't even want to consider the calories--everything looked really decadent.

Amy and I also meant to stop and have our picture taken in the 'posing' area but didn't get around to it. Although...we enjoyed a particularly incredible baby posing with her grandma. Gotta say that of all the cute babies there, this one was Miss Personality Plus and adorable to boot. A future little Farm Chick in training! I have to just tease you with how cute she is, I didn't ask for permission to publish her photo but you gotta take my word....cutest baby!

We boldly wore our new aprons and were mistaken for vendors several times. Guess we looked a little silly but who cares, we were having a fun girly day and it was worth it. I even wore my apron around town before and after the show. So there! Have to say that before weight loss surgery I'd never have had the courage to be so conspicuous. Another wonderful life change that is a real blessing.

Here is a picture of me with Arlene, a wonderful blogger who graciously stopped to pose with me. What a beautiful booth and do stop by her blog to read...it is a treat.

So hope you enjoyed a few pictures from the show. Wonderful crafting ideas, incredibly beautifully decorated booths and a lot of nostaligic treasures. I lined up all my goodies from the show as well as thrift store finds...it will be cool getting to use all these fun things.

Two of Last Week's Bento's

Before I head back to working on the Farm Chick's entry, I want to get caught up on the last two bentos from last week. Even working shorter hours, it is still very helpful to get the bento made and ready to go so that before I head home from work early in the day or out to run errands there is pre-planned healthy food to keep me going.

These boxes were for a short work day but a long errand day. Breakfast was on the left side with 0% Fage Greek yogurt, blueberries, a tablespoon of sugar-free chocolate chips, fresh strawberries and 1/3 cup Special K Protien Plus cereal. It was hugely filling. Then I ate that lovely salad on the right before shopping and errands. It was baby spinach from the garden, chicken griller strips, strawberries, blueberries, sunflower seeds and half of a mozz stick cut into little flowers. For my afternoon snack was edamame, plain.

The next set was for another short day. It was more of the Greek Yogurt but this time topped with a fresh dollop of homemade sugar-free strawberry/rhubarb jam and accompanied by fresh strawberries. The three little Chik'n Nuggets (Morningstar Farm) were my pre-errand snack and were so filling that it took a long time to eat them. Sorry these are all so boring looking but this time of year is when I love to take advantage of the delicious strawberries as often as I can!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Back to work Bento 38

It was a fun, fun, fun two week's vacation from work. Working at my paying job, that is. But I worked very hard in the yard and loved it! After accomplishing a lot in the yard I sewed a new apron and started a second one. The finished one is very Grandma-ish and soooo ME! The bento for today was the five colors but really a lot of red 'cause the strawberries and watermelon are so delicious this time of year. Luckily I wasn't able to eat everything but a lot of that has to do with the huge amount of coffee consumed today plus one tofu/sugar free cake mix cupcake and fruit that my sweet boss made for my birthday. I work with such nice people!

So, what got packed to eat: some cottage cheeese mini pancakes made into sandwiches with fat free cream cheese, strawberries and also a piece of turkey bacon chopped. More strawberries, red (does this count as purple?) grapes and watermelon. For lunch and then afternoon snack a roll-up made of a Soyful Heart tortilla, one piece of ff lunch meat, low fat lunch cheese, more ff cream cheese and some fresh-from-the-garden baby spinach. Tucked in for filler are baby carrots. In the other container was marinated cucumbers with dill. Also a lf cheese stick tucked in for 'just-in-case'.

Short day tomorrow...probably no bento, just a sugar free muffin.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bento 37

This is a bento from last week that I was too busy to post. Ended up forgetting to take it to work so it was eaten at home. The top pink HK box was 0% Fage yogurt, splenda and a little sugar free strawberry syrup along with some fresh strawberries. Yes, more fresh strawberries....
The ugly brown ploppy thing is a homemade muffin top a la 'vitatops'. Now that I have tasted the real thing mine definitely taste better and are cheaper too! Here is a link to the recipe: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=556026

The muffin top was an evening snack and mighty yummy!

The bottom pink HK box was supposed to be lunch and ended up as dinner instead...2 rollups of fat free turkey breast, 2 slices of Alpine Lace provolone, shredded carrots, edamame, a few more strawberries and a little container of fat free ranch dressing.

No bento photos for this week or next (probably) since I am home on vaca and working in the yard. Lots and lots of work getting done and even managing a sunburn on parts that haven't seen sunshine since last year.

Here are pics of some of my hard work. Lots and lots of beets, carrots, zucchini, pumpkins and squash planted in my little garden, I'm sure it will be overflowing and I'll be doing a lot of cooking and baking in the fall with it all. And the weeds in the flowerbeds just never stop! At the bottom is a picture of just an hour's worth of weeds pulled along one stretch.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bento 36

Bento made after I got home from spending Mother's Day with my folks and sister helping in their back yard. There was just enough energy left to make sure I had LOTS to eat for Monday at work.

For breakfast: 2 mini cottage cheese waffles, some turkey bacon and a container of sugar free strawberry syrup Some extra berries decorated with Johnny Jump-ups from the yard. (Cute AND edible!)

For lunch and afternoon snack: a hard boiled egg, edamame, cucumbers, baby carrots and 4 mini turkey 'bacon cheeseburger' patties. Those patties were so easy but really salty. Just one package of ground turkey breast meat (one pound), a package of real bacon bits and about 2 cups (bad--didn't measure) shredded cheddar. A little water, black pepper, then mixed well and grilled on my George Foreman quickly till cooked.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Catching up again...

Why am I always behind these days? Oh, a job that starts at 5 a.m., gardening, sewing, keeping up with the local Rose Society, two surgery support group meetings a month, the usual mom stuff.....
So anyway...these photos are bento 34 and 35. Not as many bentos lately since I've been racing against the clock and not always getting anything pretty made so those don't get photographed.
The top pink box was for a long day at work and was my 2-layer Hello Kitty box with watermelon chunks on bottom and on top an Egg Beaters 'omelette', red pepper strips, 2 homemade turkey sausage links, one mini cottage cheese waffle, a few blueberries and half a low-fat mozz. cheese stick.
The lower pink box was for lunch: marinated matchstick carrots on lettuce with jicama butterflies, edamame filler and 2 mini black-bean bites from the basic bite recipe on Shelly's blog. http://theworldaccordingtoeggface.blogspot.com/2009/03/sausage-pepper-bites.html
The next picture was simply nonfat cottage cheese atop lettuce, watermelon, strawberries and a few skewers of mozz. chunks and red grapes.
With shortened work days I've mostly been taking a mixture of 0% Fage Greek yogurt (1/2 cup), a packet of Splenda, some berries or a teaspoon of sugar-free jam and a small container of cereal to add crunch. Pretty basic and boring but filling and tasty. Just not very photo-worthy after I've already photographed it before.
The beautiful gold spoon is a gift from Sharon in my local support group. The rose on top is soooooo Molly! Thank you, Sharon!!!