Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's not quite letterboxing...

but geocaching is pretty fun and, in some ways, easier.

I love letterboxing, and often describe it as treasure hunting with no treasure. Well, geocaching has the treasure. Well, at least it does if you consider small toys and trinkets treasure. Whatever. It is just as good.

Geocaching uses GPS coordinates instead of written clues, and is much more widespread. For example, there are 10-20 letterboxes in my metro area. There are more than 200 geocaches. I will never find them all. Which is a good thing.

The only real requirement is a GPS unit you can plug coordinates into and a computer with which to obtain those ingredients. The best site is the official geocaching site, It is a free membership and there are thousands and thousands of caches everywhere.

I have added my GPS to my letterboxing kit and plan to look for them wherever I go. I recommend you do the same. :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

The first snow of the year

It started snowing last night. And continued all day. And is supposed to continue all night again. So far we have 6 inches. :)

I know, I know, I shouldn't be happy, since I have already seen one accident and 2 people going all squirrelly on the city streets, but I can't help but think of how pretty it is. I plan to spend the evening curled up on my couch in front of the lovely fire (pellet stove) and drink something warm and read my book.

I hope you enjoy the snow!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christmas Projects

Yet again I have high hopes for craft projects for this Christmas. There are several things I want to make for gifts, for friends, and for snacking.

I am going to make a set of salt-dough ornaments, for myself, and probably for a lot of other people. I am not sure I even did this when I was little, but I have an urge to use my cookie cutters, even if I don't make cookies with them. The pack of cutters came with a clay recipe on the bottom. I hope they turn out well, then I can give them out to my family and they will have something made by me on their trees.

Another gift to make for my friends is a set of lotion bars. I found this idea on the linked blog and love it. The are a solid bar and rubbing it with your hand melts is enough to spread on your skin. They can, of course be customized. I have a couple of friends coming over to help and we will make a bunch of them for gifts (and for ourselves). I will post pictures of the process.

Cookies. I don't know what types yet, but I love baking cookies and I want to come up with a few that people aren't used to. I think I have talked the girls at work into doing a cookie exchange for Christmas, so I will hopefully have several really great kinds without have to bake such a huge variety myself. If anyone has a great recipe or just a favorite, please share it. :)

Finally I have a couple of crochet projects that I need to finish up. These aren't really for Christmas, but I need to get them done. A few months ago (read: lots of months ago) I promised some friends a "craft it forward" gift. I have finished one and have two more almost done (including yours, Laura) but there is one that I have not even started and I am not sure what it is going to be.

That is a lot to accomplish in the next month, but I think it will be fun. I will try to be good and post lots of pictures of all of these things as they happen.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fall is here...with a vengeance.

Fall showed up a couple of weeks ago. It sort of crept on, sneaking in cooler weather and tinted leaves. Fall is always beautiful. Golden leaves on my sycamores, falling to create a pretty carpet on the lawn. Red trees, yellow trees, and green trees, all blended in a fall painting.

I would love to show you pictures of even more gold. However, yesterday, fall invited it's dear friend the wind to visit us. With a high wind warning and gusts of 50 miles per hour knocking out power around the state (although thankfully not mine) I have no leaves left. There are a fair number of them piled in my yard, but almost none left in the trees.

Bare trees leave me ready for winter. The cold wind continues tonight and makes it feel as though it could snow at any time. I know many across the northern parts of the country have snow already, but I will be happy to wait until after all of our travelling next week.

Just a side note, I somehow got my camera to take this picture right after the other. I don't know what I did, but it is sort of neat. Enjoy your fall.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The weekend is here

The weekend is here and it looks like it will be crazy! We are hosting a wine tasting party for a few friends and we have some more canning to do, as well as baking and laundry and general cleaning and yard chores.

I have let all the chores get ahead of me yet again. Sigh. I know I am not the only one who doesn't have the time and energy to clean, but even though I mean well, I still have trouble getting to it. So, tonight and tomorrow I will clean the rest of the house, do a couple loads of laundry, grocery shop, and bake bread for the party and for next week (unless we eat it all, and then I will have to bake more on Sunday).

The wine tasting tomorrow night should be a lot of fun after all that work. We have about 8 people, 6 bottles of wine, and a really nice pasta dinner. Sounds like a good time, right? :)

On Sunday we have to get some work done outside (if it doesn't rain too much). A friend's neighbor sent me a whole mess of plants and bulbs and tubers that she divided this fall and we need to sort through them, figure out what they all are (hopefully) and get them in the ground. We also need to get a space cleared to store the dahlias, since they will be ready to dig up within a couple of weeks. A good chunk of the garden beds will also be ready to clean out soon, since they are about done producing, now that the weather is cooling off.

On a side not, I have to find something to do with 4 cabbages. They haven't been picked yet, since I am not sure what to do with them, but they will split before too long and I am worried. I can make a couple of dinners with one or two, but there are still two more to use up. I am thinking sauerkraut, but I have never made it before and need advice. If anyone knows a good method, it would be super if you could share.

The last chore I can think of is to put my herb garden to bed. We laid out a pretty design this summer, but it was getting late in the season, so the herbs I planted never really took off until a couple of weeks ago. Some are doing really well and I was thinking to move them into a large planter I have and over-winter them in my dining room. Then I could have fresh herbs for as long as they last. Next year, hopefully I can get it planted earlier and hopefully the neighbors cats won't find it so appealing and I will have a good enough crop to be able to freeze or dry a bunch to use the rest of the year.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Canning Tally

I start every post with an apology for not posting in so long...but I can't help it. I had a busy summer with work and running around and I don't know what all.

Today I just wanted to show you what I was up to this weekend.

The total was:

60 pints of salsa

24 quarts or spaghetti sauce

14 quarts of tomato soup

29 quarts of canned tomatoes

8 dozen no-bake cookies

10 dozen peanut butter cookies

4 dozen butter cookies.

We bought 10 boxes of tomatoes at the Farmer's Market and spend two long days processing and canning all the things we love to eat all year long. The soup is a new recipe from a friend of Shane's at work, so I haven't tried it yet, other than a spoonful to check the spices while it was still really hot. I think I will heat up so and make grilled cheese for dinner in a couple of days. We still have two boxes of tomatoes to do something with, so if the soup is really good, I might throw together another batch later this week. It was a huge pain and a very tiring weekend, but I am so glad that we will have all these yummy things to eat this year, it is just so much better than store-bought...and easier :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Getting Going

It has been a little over a week since I decided to try out SparkPeople. (Yes I know, I ditched that blog once a day thing pretty early. I just don't have the time.) I think I am getting it figured out, but there is still a lot to explore and more decisions to make. I am still working on eating better and getting enough water. (I just love going to the bathroom so often, so much fun.) I am doing well at sticking to the exercise plan, since it is pretty basin and doesn't take too much time.

Overall, I guess I am getting going. Not too bad, but maybe not that great either. Sometimes I eat a lot and then wince when I put it is the counter. I figure, I could fib about it, who would know...other than me. That is the sticking point. I feel guilty for cheating, eve though this plan isn't about cheating or rules, just about eating better and hopefully less of the things that keep me chubby.

I need to practice not feeling guilty. Is there an easy way to do that? Is there an easy way to say "It's ok to eat that much garlic bread, but don't do it too often"? I will work on it and let you know. :)

Other than that, I think I am going to be able to do this. The articles and posts and messages are very positive and that is a big boost. Here is to trying my best and success.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day Two

I made it one of my goals on Spark People to write in a journal once a day. This may prove difficult to keep up, but I thought it might be helpful. Accountability is a good thing.

Today was pretty good, I made most of the goals set for eating and I did all the exercises I was assigned. The program set me up to do 30 minutes of cardio and a full body weight training routine three days a week. Hopefully I will be able to do it more often as I get going, at least the cardio. I am riding my stationary bike for now, but I will be able to do more outside things like yard work and walking as it warms up. I don't know if walking counts, but maybe I can even get in shape to go jogging. Cross your fingers.

I am ready for spring. It is sort of here, but the weather keeps going back and forth between grey and sunny. This weekend we are taking out the old cherry tree in the backyard and hopefully we can buy a new lawnmower. Ours in kinda toast, but since we got it for free two years ago, I think it's OK. I still feel a little bad about the cherry, since it is a great tree, but it doesn't fit where it is and it is splitting and if it loses a limb, that limb will fall into my bedroom. Not a pleasant thought.Once the tree is out we will have more space for the vegetable garden. I want to put in some vine crops this year and hopefully we can work them into that area.

For now I am going to go relax. I think I will be a bit stiff tomorrow. It has been a while since I have worked with weights. Night.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spark People

I am now a Spark People...or is that Person? I don't know yet. :) is a website that I heard of through my sister-in-law. She started it last summer, and really got going with it the first of this year. It is basically a healthy living site with diet plans and exercise plans and lots of groups for support. There are articles and a recipe database and chat groups on tons of subject.

I have not yet explored a tenth of the things available on the site, but I think that it has promise.
The site is really full of stuff, so navigating takes a bit of memorization, but the tabs and such are pretty self explanatory.

The plans encourage you to set goals and track them daily. Doing so earns you points, but I am not clear yet on what points get you, other than kudos from your friends. One of the goals I am working on for now is journaling every day, so most of the time I think that will take the form of blogging. I will try to keep them brief, since a daily ramble through my vocabulary would be boring for both of us. I will post recipes from the site and let you know how my goals are coming along.

The biggest reason I am doing this is to try to get active and lose weight. The site and I agree that I need to lose about 50 pounds and I am aiming to do that by my birthday in October. Wouldn't that be a nifty birthday present?

For now, I am off to get some work done. I will hopefully talk to you again tomorrow :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mistress Mary, Quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

Mine is doing nicely, thank you. :)

My bulbs are coming in now and I think that some of them worked very hard at multiplying last summer.
We still have 15, count 'em, 15 bell peppers.
And 16, I know it's crazy, tomato plants. The are all doing very well, although the tomatoes are ready to be move up a pot size. They are getting rather tall and want to lay down.

I am super pleased though, since there is at least one plant alive in each peat pot. Which is much better than we did last year. I think we might be getting the hang of it. Soon it will be time to plant the rest of the early seeds. Hopefully this weekend we will have time and can get some yard cleanup done. The flowers need to be weeded and the lawn mowed, although I need a new mower for that, since ours gave up the ghost last year. The only problem with that plan is that it has been cool and windy and grey for the last few days and it is not nice to work outside when it is not nice. Oh well. Later!

Friday, March 19, 2010

All right already

So shut up already, Chantel :)

No really, I have been getting nagged by my office mate about how hard it is to stalk someone online when they never post new blogs. Silly child.

I haven't posted recently for 2 reasons. One is that I am not very exciting and the other is that I keep forgetting to get the pictures I want to post off of my camera.

So, for a brief, pictureless blog, I will give a summary of what is up.

This weekend is game night! Yay for many people and food and entertainment and such. So far we have a total of 9 people, which is great and hopefully there will be at least three more than that. Shane has always wanted to try having multiple tables playing different games during the evening, so people can try more of our giant selection of games. Including the 6 or so new ones in the last three months. It's not an addicti...wait, never mind.

Other than that, I went to the taste of home cooking school last night with Chantel and got many yummy recipes and snack ideas, at least two of which will be used for dinner tomorrow. I also went to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry last week with a teacher friend of mine as a "chaperone", sort of anyway. It was nifty, with a big t-rex skeleton and a planetarium and lots of neat exhibits.

We also letterboxed for the first time this year and found all four of the boxes we went after. I think that might be a record for us. :) It was a gorgeous day and I will get some pics from Nikki for that.

Other than that I am obviously working hard and keeping busy with some new miniatures for a wargame that my husband enjoys. You buy tiny (2-4 inches) pewter miniatures, put them together, and paint them, and then fight long battles on the plains of some imaginary place. Sure nifty!

I will do my best to put up another post tomorrow or Sunday with pictures and info on my seedlings and flower garden (already tons of flowers!) and maybe even recipes of the tasty things I will make for dinner for my friends.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A picture post

These are the first of the seeds we planted for our garden this year. 16, count 'em, 16 tomato plants, in 7 different varieties (yes, we are nuts, no, I am not quite sure there will be enough tomatoes for canning). The round ones are green bell peppers. :)

This is my shamrock plant, which I am showing off because it is happy enough to bloom. Yay!

Tiny green points in my bulb garden. These are snow iris.

Flash on weighing day. He is 5 months old now and I think he is getting bigger, but I need to start measuring him more carefully to be sure :)

I baked an apple pie with some of the apples that I froze last fall. Shane thought it looked pretty and told me to take a picture of it. It tasted pretty good, too.

We visited my parents at Christmas and drove over to the coast one day. The waves were coming in and the sun was shining through the clouds. I loved this picture.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

Well, it works for Star Wars anyway, for me...whatever.
Anywho, I have been gone for so long that I am not sure if any of you are still bothering to check on me...other that Chantel who is so good about reminding me of how lazy I am. I have been busy and lazy and all those other good things that come with life.
Shane and I are well, and Flash is doing great. He is growing and eating and loving his box. We have planted a lot more grass and lettuce and he just wanders around and munches away. We also have a new roommate, my friend Autumn, who will be staying with us for a few months. I am really enjoying having her around. We have been best friends since kindergarten and it is great to be able to spend more time together.
She also teaches a yoga class at a local dance studio that I have been attending for the last couple of weeks. It is great, but I am not in good shape and not very flexible, so it is quite a workout for me. So, HA to all those people who say that yoga is not exercise. HA, I say.
I have been spending my winter working on my crafts and relaxing. I am working on getting better at knitting and am still doing ATC's when I have to time and creative energy. I also like to kick back after work and just relax. Work is starting to get really busy right now, which is nicer than having nothing to do, but still tiring.
We are going to be starting our seeds for the vegetable garden soon. I bought a bunch of tomato seeds, as well as some beets and peppers, from this great website that sells heirloom seeds and it turned out that they were out of one of the varieties we wanted, so they sent us two substitutes, plus a whole mess of other samples, including lettuce, more beets, radishes, zucchini and another tomato. I think we are planting 7 or 8 types of tomatoes. Yes, we are crazy. No, they will definately not go to waste. We love to can, as you may have noticed, and it would be great not to have to buy tomatoes. In addition, I got a food dehydrator for Christmas, so there will be tons of drying experiments. Yay! (Bethany, I look to you for good ideas and advice)
Other than that, life is just normal. We are going to the (really late) holiday party for Shane's work this weekend, as well as a friend's baby's 1st birthday party. Another friend is having a Pink Papaya party next weekend and there are several of my friends going to that, so it should be entertaining. As the weather warms, we will be getting the garden and yard tidied and ready for the season.
Overall, life is normal and good. Yay!