Friday, November 27

A happy reunion

After all the mess of my computer flaking out and being brought back to life, I was sad when I found out I didn't save one of my favorite gifts of all time. Last year for Christmas, my dear friend, Danny Reid, made me a story to help me get over the pain and anger I was dealing with in quitting my job, and to help me remember that I have better things in my future. He was kind enough to share the website again, and I can't help but share it with you too. It's called The Coffee Tree, and, you can probably tell, it's inspired by The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. You can visit it here.

I can't wait to open my shop and have this mounted on clear cells on a wall.

Thanks again D!

Anticipation is in the air

All of the greatness that was this year's Thanksgiving has got me riled up for all the fun things that are in the month to come. I am looking forward to getting my sewing machine set up and running for happy creations that are zooming around in my head. There are treats to be made and mailed, things to wrap (one of my favorite parts of gift giving!) and holiday cards to fill with love and give away.

I promise to take pictures (of things that don't spoil surprises) and share any yummy recipes. I promised a friend in Juneau to make him gluten free treats and send them up, but I confess I've never tackled much baking the gluten free world. It may be a disaster, but my back up plan is to send whiskey. Either way, a happy holiday!

Wednesday, November 25

Last nanny day

Today is the last day as Auntie/Nanny. I'm sad about it. Ben and Cecil are so incredible and it's been a rare treat to be able to spend so much time with them.

Jeremiah and Jessie are hoping to move out of the area in the next year. Jessie has been filling out, what seems to be, heaps of job applications. Maybe they'll move closer to the home base, maybe not. It's pretty certain that they won't be in Illinois.

We moved here together, in the same truck, back in late July of 2005. So long ago now! It was the first time Miah and I had lived that far from Spokane, I think Jessie too, and we've been comparing our experiences with travel, family life, being away, and moving on since then.

As things usually do, home base is a lot different now. Ciara is out in Portland, married, with some small roots getting started. Josh is flying around the globe, living out of a suitcase, having a grand adventure with a wonderful lady, with all of his stuff packed in boxes sitting in Dad's basement. Dad is retired. Mom is busy. Everyone just keeps going. And there are kids. Ben and Cecilia are around and changing and constantly amazing me with the things they say and do.

Time is ticking. People are living. It is wonderful to see the change.

Ben and I made paper snowflakes this morning. Scissors are still a bit tricky for his fingers, but he has mastered the tape dispenser, so they are securely mounted to the windows on the front of the house. He added some coloring for added flair. Maybe it will encourage real snow to fall! Happy Thanksgiving all!

Monday, November 23

Renters, pies, and pictures. Oh my!

I've done lots of driving this last week. I found a family to rent my condo on a month-to-month basis while they are in the process of buying a home, and that has meant back and forth, and back and forth, between whatever city I have been in. There was a key debacle on Friday and Saturday, but hopefully that is all worked out now. From November 16th to now, I'm at 1211 miles. That would get me to Miami, Providence, El Paso, or almost to Salt Lake City.

This is the last week of Nanny Life. I'm going to be sad not seeing Ben and Cecil so often. Today I went with Jessie to have their pictures taken. It was only a slightly traumatizing event for Cecilia. They are stinkin' adorable, with their winter sweaters and snowy back drops. Jessie and Miah make some cute kids.

Happy Thanksgiving all! I made three pies this weekend in preparation for it. I haven't seen that much butter on the table for a long time. The last was in a professional bakery where croissants were being made by the dozens.

My latest search: Super Feet. They don't exist in Carbondale, so before I leave Champaign I will hopefully have what I need to breathe new life into my running shoes. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 17

Josh is in town!

Is this Josh's debut to my blog? I don't remember, but it's been a year since I've seen him! Josh is my big, big brother, the oldest of the four. He came back from China, where he has been working for Disney Theater in their Winnie the Pooh show for four months, doing all sorts of things: carpentry, rigging, and I want to say something with electrical (but I'm not sure on that last one). He's been with the company for about a year now, and from what he tells me, he loves traveling, and loves the work.

He is super easy to be around, and has good stories to tell. He shared his photos from the trip, along with some short videos of his time in Beijing, and Hong Kong. He got to see Swan Lake performed in the building where the swimming and diving competitions were held at the Beijing Olympics! They had a stage, a middle stage in between the high dive and pool, and synchronized swimmers! A huge production, he says.

I love these pictures with him around Ben and Cecil, if only for the fact that he is huge in comparison to such little humans! I've seen Benjamin interact with several types of people in the last 5 weeks, and it seemed like he was somewhat in awe of Josh. He was happy to sit on the couch, asked lots of questions of him, and said things like, "Where's my Josh?" when he didn't see him. Stinkin' adorable.
Tomorrow Josh leaves for Pennsylvania, where he will be reunited with his sweetheart, Krista. They are hoping/planning on going to Russia for a month starting in early December with a different touring show, and enjoy Christmas and New Years abroad. I asked him to take a picture in a fancy hat, or with a shot of vodka. Either or.

Love you Josh! Great to see you!

Monday, November 16

Cranberry Pecan Bread

Last weekend I got to eat some of Linda's super yummy cranberry bread for breakfast. After finding a recipe in my American Classics cookbook, I decided to try my hand at it.

I made the mistake of using dried cranberries instead of fresh/frozen, but it isn't a mistake that ruined the loaf.

I had a slice this morning for breakfast, one side dipped in egg and then fried, french toast style. Very good.

If you want to compare recipes, here is what went in mine:

1 T grated orange zest
1/3 C fresh orange juice
2/3 C buttermilk
6 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
2 C flour
1 C sugar
1 ts salt
1 ts baking powder
1/4 ts baking soda
1 1/2 C cranberries
1/2 C pecans, coarse chop

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, then reduce temp to 350 for another 45. Makes one 5x9 loaf pan.

Wednesday, November 11

We're working on ballads next.

I don't know how to rotate it, but I think you can enjoy it just the same.

I woke up to Ben singing with his guitar this morning, and was happy to get him to do an encore later in the day.

Tuesday, November 10

More fun!

Benjamin really likes stickers. Usually they get on a piece of paper, but this day, as you can see, they made it somewhere entirely different.

This is the indoor playground we've been going to on Tuesdays. This is only half of it! There is a seating area with tables for snacks, and a track that circles around the outer fence. With the weather changing, I expect it will be getting more crowded. This morning there were at least 20 toddlers running about. I never appreciated how much luggage mom's tote around until I started frequenting such locations.

Dad, this is for you! He's already a Packer fan!

A new picture of Cecilia. She is getting big so fast! By the the family sees her at Christmas she'll be reciting the Gettysburg address.

I've been going full speed ahead in trying to rent my condo. Total, I've had about 5 nibbles, but only one person has come to look at it so far. I went by to take new photos yesterday, hoping to refresh my craigslist ads with something more appealing to lookers. I hope it helps! There is one lead independent of my postings, but I'll let you know about that if it works out.

This last weekend I was up in Chicago with Dan. It was great to see his family again and relax a bit. I have loved being with B, C, Miah and Jessie, but I'm getting worn out moving cities every four days. Carbondale, Champaign, and Bloomington. Driving, driving driving. By the end of the weekend in Chi-town, I lost all my steam. I did get to take in the Art Institute, exploring their new contemporary art wing, and I really enjoy walking around and taking in the city. There was a abundance of great food, good people, and good stories. Sadly, I didn't take any pictures to share from there.

More soon!

Friday, November 6

I like magazines

Fun fact: Porcupines have horrible eye sight, horrible hand-eye coordination, and a love for climbing trees. That combination ends up being fairly disasterous for them, and they regularly hurt themselves while out on adventures (ie: life). As a result (?) porcupines secrete an antibiotic in their skin that helps prevent infection from their self-inflicted puncture wounds.

AND, they happen to be adorable as babies.

Magazines I love:


Happy Birthday Sister!

My sister's birthday is today! Happy birthday Ciara!

C has planned the most wonderful birthday party for herself. My dad and brother, Josh, are driving to Portland from Spokane to partake, and I am jealous. It's a strawberry themed event, and I can't wait to see some pictures. The invitations were adorable - I got to help make them while I passed through on my way home - Hand made strawberry envelopes, liners, stamps. It was quite the show!

Have a good time today C! Love you lots and lots!

Wednesday, November 4


Some things about me:

I am not a good shopper (I get tired and cranky super fast)
I don't like to spend money
I have never ordered clothing online

With that in mind, I have found a sock website that I am beyond excited about. Will I actually order anything from it? Probably not, but c'mon! A site where I can find knee high socks anytime of the year, and they have an I-need-you-on-my-feet-and-in-my-shoes-now wear-ability factor! I must share this with you.

It's called Sock It To Me. I hope they do well.

Good night (not that it's all that good with the World Series ending the way it did). Sorry Kristy. Hate to break it to you like this - this girl is not a Yankee fan.

Is this blog turning into a list of stuff I like? Hm. I should think about this.

November 4th - Happy Birthday Dad!

Happy Birthday Dad!

Here are some family pictures I scrounged up for the event. I wish I had the ones of my Dad when he was in the Navy on my computer to share. A time warp into 1958. I think he looks like Elvis at that age. The young Elvis, not the scary Elvis.

Side notes:

1) Dad's favorite cake is German chocolate. He makes the best coconut frosting.
2) Remember that Mariners logo? I'm sure that hat is around somewhere.

Cheers to whats next! Love you Dad!

Sunday, November 1

I wish I could use my weekend productivity on job applications.

Happy November! Did you all enjoy some sort of trickery or shenanigans? No trick-o-treating in my neighborhood, but I did get a bag of fun size Payday candy bars, which, I will happily work my way through. My evening was a whole lot of baseball. Game three of the world series.

I'm still in the sorting and organizing stage down here in Carbondale. I moved more boxes around, unpacked and threw stuff away, rearranged the furniture. Dan just laughs. He lets me borrow his muscles if I need them, but that's the other great thing about wood floors - things slide so easy!

Made mom's baked chicken and rice on Friday, blueberry pancakes yesterday, and a huge pot of chili today. It iscurrently stewing away in the crock pot making the house smell awesome. My dad gave me an extremely large bag of Minnesotan wild rice last year, and I've just now gotten around to cooking some. I can't image eating it on it's own, but when added to regular rice, it adds such a nice flavor and color variety.

I printed some photos to update my family frames, applied for both unemployment and a few jobs, and hung up more art.

Everything is chill.

Four more weeks of Nanny-ing.
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