Friday, September 30, 2011

Scrapbook Corner

Tomorrow we are off to Smoky Lake to their 23rd annual Pumpkin Festival.
It will be a blast, and totally for the kids, although I'm looking forward to taking pics of the kids in amongst the pumpkins and scarecrows. This town is the size of Maidstone and supposedly the pumpkin capital of Alberta. I'll report back to you on that when we get back! We are taking mom as well, and staying overnight in Sherwood Park that night in a hotel beside Costco, where we will get groceries the next day and show my mom, a newbie to Costco, just how much fun it is to shop there.
I've been searching the net for some low fat options to add to our traditional Thanksgiving feast, as most of the things we eat during holidays are 98% tradition and 100% fattening. I'd like to add a few new dishes that we can make a tradition as well, and in doing so I'll feel like I added my contribution to my kid's and grand kid's healthy future. As my mother-in-law's doctor used to say, "We don't need any more fat Dewing's!" When I find a few, I'll post them post-turkey if they are yummy. Likewise, if you have a great low fat recipe that's tried and true, send it my way and I'll make it and post it on the blog as well!

Here's my layout this week, one of 7 that I got finished (yay!) and now I'm just about caught up. I've got to run now and get my ham going, so have a great weekend!
papers and elements: 2ps in a bucket
word art: dsp

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A tasty bit of Nostalgia

Yesterday my brother texted me a surprising question out of the blue:
"What was the name of those muffins Sharon used to make when we were kids?"

Instantly I knew the ones he was referring to: these delicious chocolaty muffins with a cream cheese center that sunk in the middle to the bottom with chocolate chips on the top! When I make them they don't taste as good as hers did.
I myself had called Sharon, the lady responsible for the yummy muffins, quite a few years back for the recipe. She lives in my hometown, and her house was our second home. My brother and I spent all of our free time there with her kids, who were our best friends.
As a mother now, I shudder at the possibility of my kids' friends taking over my house like we all did back in 1990. If those kids weren't at our house, we were over there. As well as the neighboring kids! At any given time there could have been 10 kids over there.  And when we were, Sharon always, always had stacks of big margarine containers shoved to the side of her counter and filled with goodies. I know now how hard she worked, and that poor woman came home after her shift to a houseful of kids, and all of us lounging here or there, watching TV and eating her food. I have no idea if she made all of that for us, or if it was something she just did, and I don't know how she found the time to make all of that between raising her three kids, working full time, and spending part of her time doing various church activities. Of course she had help from her husband, but he worked full time too, and also had to come home to us kids draped all over his house!
If I asked her now she may say she'd never change a thing, or she may wish she had had more free moments of quiet time after her long shifts as a cook. But I do know that many, many memories were made there in that home, with her kids and my brother and I, and we had the privilege of not just having two parents, we had four. That means the world to us, so thank you!

I almost don't want to share this piece of my childhood with you all, and I'm not sure what she called these muffins, so Melany, send me a line if I've got it wrong!

Chocolate Surprise Muffins

Preheat oven to 350.

Sift Together:
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp salt
In another bowl:
1 cup
1 cup sour cream
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Stir and add to sifted dry ingredients. Stir to combine.
In a small bowl:
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup hot water
Dissolve and add to chocolate batter. Place in muffin cups.
Beat in a small bowl:
4 oz cream cheese
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
dash salt

Put tsp of filling on each muffin. Top with a few choco chips. Bake at 350 for about 13 mins.

Yummy. These muffins take me all the way back to 1990.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Catching me some Flies

My house is infested with fruit flies.
I put on my make up...the fruit flies are there.
I bend over to clean toilets...the fruit flies are there too.
When I sit down to have my fruit cup, you can bet the fruit flies are there also.
I sat down to look it up online yesterday afternoon, as I can't understand why they are so bad in the house right now. We eat a lot of fruit here, and I can only assume they came into the house on the fruit. My counters are always cleaned with disinfectant, my floors are clean of spills, and the flies make me feel like it is dirty in here or that I'm a horrible house cleaner. However, at any given time there are bananas and melons ripening on the counter.
The site I was on said that after bananas are ripe they can go into the fridge. This made me wonder as I have never heard of that before. I have heard of wrapping bananas in a plastic bag, but when we tried that they only ripened too fast, and the peels all but fell apart when we tried to open them. This morning, after being in the fridge for 24 hours, the bananas still looked the same as they did the day before, not black like I thought they would. And it was kind of neat to eat a cold banana for a change. So maybe I will do that more often...we all know how the flies love ripe bananas.
The site said to get a gallon jar and fill it with ripe fruit and red wine vinegar, or cider vinegar. So I did, and within the hour had caught 7. They fly into the holes in the saran wrap and are too stupid to get back out. Then they drown. I added a good squeeze of maple syrup in there too...they love it. This afternoon I lost count of how many were in there, some flying around, most dead.

I put the jar over by my ripening melons that I bought pears are still in the fridge as I'm too worried that if I bring them out I will have another outbreak (they multiply so fast). That did the trick, and I haven't seen any fly by my face all day!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Scrapbook Corner

I've been busy scrapbooking, staining, painting the huge Santa and reindeer for the roof that goes with the village scene, and just general housework this weekend. At nights I've been playing around with the camera and have gotten a few neat shots, and have learned quite a few things about using external flash...loving the softness the reflected light gives things. At night in the living room, with only a few lamps on for light, when I turn my flash upwards to face the ceiling the light bounces off and lights up the subject I'm taking a picture of. It's so simple but I was abolutely amazed at the difference in the quality of the shot! You can turn the flash to bounce off of the wall also to give a different dimension to the shot, but my flash doesn't do that...that was the 200.00 flash model and I was fine with the 100.00 flash.
after the flash was directed up..natural looking light when it wasn't present

before the flash..yellow haze in the absence of daylight

the view out our back window

gorgeous color in the sunset

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Photographer's Dream

Yesterday I did it.
I took the money I have been saving for six months and went to the city to buy my dream camera.
Except they were sold out.
So I went a step up in the Canon family...more like 4 steps up, as the sale was fantastic.
I spent more on one camera than I do on Christmas presents. For the entire family.
I felt so guilty on the way home, and then gave myself a lecture on it. I earned the money, was saving for this exact moment, and I was ruining it with my usual care for what other people would think or say...what can I say I'm very neurotic.
So I settled in with my boxes and manuals and immersed myself in the daunting task of actually learning how to run the thing. Honestly I was scared to touch it.
This is what I got:
A Canon T3i. It came with the nifty lens you see above, a strap, software, manuals, and a battery. That took up half of my earned moola.
The rest of it went to the accessories that I wanted to go along with it:
-a tripod
-a telephoto/zoom lens (a deal with the camera that took off 150.00 bucks and those who know cameras know the cost of lenses...stupid crazy!)
- a bag that included a filter for my lens and an extra battery
- an SD card
- a huge flash for the top of the camera
All of that was just as much as the camera.
But I have to say I love it. It's an investment that will last us for a very long time. I'm very excited to begin snapping pictures and learn the ins and outs of the camera.
There are way too many functions to list for you what it does but here a few of my favorites:
-it takes videos in HD
-the lcd screen at the back flips out, flips over for viewing from the front, and flips back in on itself so u can see the screen. I like using the eyepiece rather that the lcd for viewing as it focuses faster.
-I can take 4 pictures per second if I want to.
-I can take pieces of video and save them for pictures. This was the selling feature for me, as we take alot of videos and I hate flipping from video to camera as I can't during recording. For example at Jacelyn's dance recital I couldn't stop recording mid dance to take a still photo of her on stage, which was disappointing for me. Now I can take whatever piece of video I want for any photo I want. Love that feature.
I've been considering taking in a few photography courses and seminars in Lloydminster and had to wait until  I had the appropriate gear. Now that I have my gear I will study the camera and someday will take one in! The information I learn could help me decide if I want to take my hobby further and do family portraits.
Here are some pictures I took last night when I was playing around with my settings.
love the softness...hate the glare..will have to remember to watch for that before snapping

my heart melts at this one

grainy artistic classic b/w

toy photo setting...kinda neat but the colors are cool rather than warm I think

Jimmy is a good subject.

too much brightness but love the shot anyways..can be fixed with photo editing 

He's so photogenic my boy is. :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Scrapbook Corner

papers: may-be by polka dot pixels @ 2 ps
elements: may-be by polka dot pixels @ 2ps, your day to shine @ 2ps, just be alphas @ 2ps, pink a dot and desert camo alpha @ fds, just be words(dianne rigdon @2ps), date stamp by kpertiet @design digitals

I'm all by myself.
Totally alone; the house is quiet and still.
I'm listening to Sarah Harmer and Gordon Lightfoot, drinking wine, and scrapbooking.
I almost feel guilty, and glance up from my screen once in a while as if I've got my hand in the cookie jar.
I just might do this until midnight. Or later. Mike's not here to drag me out of bed in the morning so why not?
Ahhh. Wine is good. Life is good.
I've just made a decision: I'm going to have that other glass of wine I almost talked myself out of, paint my toes, and scrap another page or two. And hum along with Mr. Lightfoot: "Rainy day people always seem to know when you're feeling blue...". What a great song.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

We are on the PoTtY TrAiN!

I tried potty training Charlie a few months ago right after she turned two, but she wasn't interested in it at all. I've been waiting these last two months patiently, as I didn't want to rush it but at the same time wanted her to get interested in using the potty...I was so tired of buying diapers.
On Monday she said to me, "Mommy clean my bum...I pooped."
That was the last straw for me. I decided then to start her on the potty the next day. And she took to it right away, and had no problems at all. She pranced around in her panties all day and ran to the pot when she had to go. This am she she did her dirty duty on schedual, and ran to the pot to do it, waiting patiently as she knew she  had to use the potty to do it.
We are really proud of her.
And another one bites the dust.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Scrapbook Corner

It's so nice to spend an hour or so browsing thru all of my digital scrapbooking files, and I got excited while searching and decided to try to catch up on my scrapbooking while I was organizing.
Here's the layout I came up with. I know it's winter-y, but I had to start from where I left off, and until I look thru my printed scrapbooks I won't know where I need to begin! I'm not looking forward to that but I've got to get it done. So until next time, happy scrapping!

papers and elements: by Michelle Underwood @ 2ps

Friday, September 9, 2011

Where were you on that day?

If you think back 10 years ago on September 11, 2001, where were you at just before 9:00 am? Were you at home drinking coffee at your kitchen table? Were you dropping off you kids at school, or just sitting down at your office desk to begin your new work day?
I was just getting out of bed, heavily pregnant with our first child, listening to the radio beside me. I turned on the T.V. and couldn't believe my eyes. Nothing registered at that me it was a freak accident that was shocking, yes, and all I could think about was those poor people on that plane. How scared they must have been to have the engine or whatever go out on that airplane. Immediately after that I realized all those people in the sky rise were involved too, not just those on the plane.

That's when the second plane hit the other tower. I watched it, live on CNN, staring with my mouth hanging open, and tears pouring down my face. I just knew something was wrong, something was definitely not right about the entire thing...this was no accident. Of course, I didn't know, as well as millions of other people, the extent of the evil I was seeing.
I called Mike, who was at the restaurant, and he hadn't heard yet. I told him to put on the radio, and described to him what I was seeing.
"It's just a horrible accident honey, don't worry about it". I'll never forget his words.

I feel connected to that day in a way that I don't really understand. Was it because I watched it happen? The confusion, the utter horror and terror at ground zero I saw on every one's faces? Or is it because I know that the world, as we knew it...the safeness we all felt in the daily routine of our lives...has been changed forever?
This kind of violence only ever happened overseas. Never on home soil, or any crimes being committed were never as much in the news as they are now. When we were kids all we had to worry about was being home before supper, what we were doing on the weekend, and which friend was coming over after school that day. Now my kids have to worry about terrorism, racism, war, and impending disease. All the while we are constantly having to reassure them that these things are not for them to worry about.

That is what 9/11 means to me. That is how it has changed our lives; the war will never truly be over. Most turn their think it didn't happen to you, that it doesn't affect your life. Doesn't it? All we can do is adapt, live day to day and love each minute we have with each other. And have faith that good will triumph over evil. Love your neighbor, your family, your friends, your LIFE.

So I ask you all: Where were you?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Low Fat Pizza

My version of this low fat single sized pizza uses one Weight Watcher's brand Pita Bread, pizza sauce, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, and olives, topped with fat-free mozza cheese.
The more veggies you pile on it, the fuller you will be, but keep the cheese amount to an ounce if you truly want it to be low fat. Yummy and filling, and if you are following the Points Plus system, the point count is 4 per pizza. Not a bad lunch for the waistline! I follow mine up with a cup of fruit salad or a Yoplait 0 yogurt.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Scrapbook Corner

Wow I haven't scrapbooked since March/April. I'm sooo behind, and need a new scrapbooking program to boot. The one I have now isn't compatible with my new Windows program, and uninstalling/reintalling has had no effect. On top of all that, I've been playing around with my blog all morning (as my laundry sits beside me, unfolded!!) as they are changing the interface to a newer, updated version that quite frankly bites the big one. I've been playing around with it and haven't learned much, so bear with me in the meantime if something goes wrong!
To all my summer-loving friends and family: isn't the fall smelling wonderful out there??

Jim Carrey | Tru Life

I was fooling around on the Internet one night and stumbled upon this blog of Jim Carrey's.
I know alot of you (yes, mom, you) don't like Jim Carrey; more to the point are tired of his same old, same old antics.
However, I think he's a talented actor with alot of versatility. Everyone knows him for his elastic-y facial expressions and zany antics on screen (aaaaaaaallllrighty then!). But I like him best in films like "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", "Man on the Moon", and his latest "I Love You, Phillip Morris" about two gay prison mates who are madly in love with each other and based on a true story.
Well when I saw his new blog, I became a fan of it as well. The video clips are all done by him, via his cell phone, and truly funny as you get a glimpse of his real life; there are shots of his daughter (a wonderful jazz singer) minutes after the birth of her first baby.
Instead of telling you more, just head over there if you are a fan like me and check him out!

Monday, September 5, 2011

All good Things

This past long weekend was a wild one. Brandon had two friends sleep over on Friday night, and on Saturday we all met Mike in Lloyd at the theater to go the matinee, which was showing The Smurfs. It was Charlie's first real movie and so I didn't think it was going to go well.
The boys all grabbed their popcorn and candies and sat together, well away from us (a sure sign of impending teenager-hood). Mike and I and the girls settled in for the show, Charlie on my lap, happily eating her popcorn and engrossed in the beginning credits.
The show was a good family-friendly version of the Smurfs we remembered from our childhood, but with an over-used variety of "Smurf" adjectives thrown in there for the adults. Examples: son of a smurf as an expletive, and smurf-tastic. It was too much, but the kids loved it.
What surprised us the most was how good all the kids were. The boys were quiet in their corner of the theater, and I thought I would have heard Brandon at least a few times..he has a bit of an obnoxious, loud demeanor some times, especially when over excited. And Charlie actually sat the entire show on my lap, laughing at the antics of Gargamel's cat. With all those kids I thought there would be a few times I would have wanted to pull my hair out. It was a great day.
Later that night, with the kids in bed early, our neighbors and another couple came over to sit by the fire. After they left we cleaned up and went to bed ourselves, as Jacelyn's birthday party was the next day at the lake.
The fish Dolton and Brandon caught by the boat launch
I filled up the van with girls, while Mike took Brandon, one of his friends, and Charlie in the truck, and we left to spend the day at the lake. Some friends drove over from Lloyd with their kids to spend the day with us also, as did my aunt and uncle, my brother and his girlfriend and his kids, and of course grandma and grandpa. Jacelyn loved all her gifts, and playing the entire day with her friends and family. We hid the gifts around the beach and cabin and she searched for each one, which made the whole gift opening process take an hour. Which pushed cake back until after supper, and made me late in dropping off the girls back home. I ended up receiving two worried phone calls on the way home from two worried moms, and after explaining why we were an hour late I hope they understood. It was just such a great day, and we all had fun. I think a few people thought I was crazy having all those kids running around, but I loved it.
Mike's favorite part of the day was listening to the Riders win the Labor Day football game on the radio. :)

The cake

Side view of cake