Tuesday, January 31, 2012

time flies, part XX

Mike and Charlie at the District 23 Banquet last Saturday:

Charlie finished fifth in his class, Mike claimed second.

I am so proud!

Charlie won a new helmet in the raffle (woohoo!) and has decided to race his first adult enduro this summer.  I will have to make sure not to be there, I will be a nervous wreck.

I remember when he didn't want to give up his trike to learn how to ride a bike....

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mom, I did it!

My mother has been keeping a journal for years.  And in typical reserved Scandinavian, northern Minnesota fashion, she doesn't use it to record her feelings, or hopes, or dreams.  But she CAN tell us, on any given day, what she cooked for dinner, or what the temperature was, or if someone stopped by for coffee.  She has saved all of them, for 'the girls' (that would be me and my sister), and she has been trying to get Heather and I to keep journals too, for years.

Apparently, she does not consider blogging a form of memory keeping, as each year, in January, she asks me if I am ever going to start keeping a journal.

Huh?  Maybe it's because she does not own a computer, and never gets to read what I have to say, that she dismisses my silly little blog.  (To be fair, she has never called it silly, but she is rather dismissive of it.)

Anyhoo-even if she doesn't consider it true memory keeping, I do, and I am happy to report that my blog has been around for FOUR YEARS as of January 28th.  At first I was very timid, and unprepared to share myself with the world, so my first post was written and viewable only by my sister.  So since you missed it, you can read it here:

My blog hasn't changed all that much in those four years, I still have no advertisers (by choice) and I don't belong to any circles or groups or whatever you call them.  Because I still write this daily blathering for me, and someday if Charlie is interested in reading about his mother, it will be there for him too.  And hopefully he will learn a little more about me than what I cooked for dinner.

Friday, January 27, 2012


But I thought it was Thursday, since Charlie didn't have school on Monday, which always throws me off...

No theme today, just random musings of things that have been occupying my brain lately:

1.  STOP THE MADNESS.  If our legislators and elected county and city officials spent half as much time finding ways to spend our tax dollars more wisely,  as they have on this stupid Vikings stadium, we wouldn't have budget problems.  I am very tired of hearing the debate over which site is best, and it drives me crazy that it now seems to be a question of where, rather than WHY SHOULD THEY DO IT AT ALL?  Clearly, I am happy to have the team move elsewhere, and for time and resources to be used for something that would benefit more of our state.
Whew, that tired me out.

2.  WINTER CARNIVAL.  It starts this weekend, it was 40 yesterday so the ice sculptures they are trying to build had some melting action.  We are not big winter carnival people, the last time we participated in anything was when they had the last ice castle, YEARS ago (pic below, pulled from the interwebs).  But it seems to be a fun event, and this year no one will freeze their fingers.

3.  TAX TIME.  I can hardy wait for January to be over.  My tax package is nearly ready to go to my accountant, (I will be doing a happy dance on my way to the post office).  Corporate taxes are due March 15th (did you know that?) so I really have to have my act together.  And I do pretty much nothing BUT tax prep in January.  It will be good to get out of the house again!

4. HAIRY.  Charlie has gym class this quarter (why they don't have it every quarter still makes no sense to me....).  With some pride in his voice, he let me know he has the hairiest legs in his class.  At least he didn't inherit that trait from ME:

Mike now looks like the Second Most Interesting Man in the World.  His beard isn't THAT white, it is full of snow from a fall-which he rarely does!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

thank goodness for smart kids

Crisis averted, my Kindle is back.

Charlie came home from school and I whined that my Kindle had died.  Five minutes later he had it going again.  I don't know what he did, and I do intend to find out, so I can take care of myself next time.  He is really good at electronic related issues, and is in the process of building his own computer.  Perhaps he could hire himself out, I know he would rather do that than mow lawns or shovel snow. He only likes snow on the ski hill:

What am I going to do when he leaves for college?  Perhaps I will just keep making good home cooked meals and he won't want to leave....

Just kidding, I know he is supposed to leave.  But I have four more years to use his technical expertise!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

recipe box Wednesday

What is it about karma?  So after I waxed poetic about my love for my Kindle Fire, it died last night.  Won't turn on.  Plugged in, not plugged in, don't tell me it's just a coincidence.  Mike will trouble shoot it today, and go on line and see what he can find out.  I am just frustrated and I am going to let him deal with it.  One thing about a good book made of paper, it never lets you down!

On to better things....

I tried a few new recipes last week, purposely to find something new to share with you today.  The Beer Chicken Crockpot Tacos did not make the cut, the Fresh Banana Cheesecake was a disappointment as well.  But I did try a new recipe, from Martha Stewart's Everyday site, that was DELICIOUS.  Here is the link:


A few things, I doubled every ingredient (except the oil for cooking, the amount in the recipe was fine even with more chicken) and used broccoli instead of snap peas.  We like our food spicy, so I used a very generous teaspoon of red pepper flakes, if you don't like things spicy I would cut back on that ingredient.  I also used basmati rice, rather than brown rice.

Mike and Charlie gave it two thumbs up, and said it needs to be put in regular rotation.  A winner!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

a whole new world of books

 My sweet hubby gave me one of these, for Christmas.

And a month later, I have kind of fallen in love with it.

I am not a big techy person, I have a $10 flip phone (since I rarely use my phone, who needs all those bells and whistles?)  I am on my laptop a big part of my workday, but since I mostly use it for work I try to stay away from it, unless I am loading goodies into my Etsy shop, or attempting a blog post, during the evening and weekends.  Because when I am messing with an electronic device I am not getting anything hand crafted, and that is what my fingers would rather be doing.

A Field of DarknessBut the Kindle Fire makes me really happy.  The first thing I did after I opened it was to download a book: "Red Mist" by Patricia Cornwall.  It completely violated my own rule about never paying more than $3 for a book (I love Half Price Books bargain basement and avid readers who have yard sales), but hey, it was Christmas Day, so I deserved to splurge!  And there is nothing better than catching up with Kay Scarpetta, this one did not disappoint.

A day does not go by that I am not reading on my Kindle, mostly at night before bed, or in the middle of the night when I can't sleep.  "Red Mist" was a fast read, and it was followed by "A Field of Darkness" by Cornelia Read (a mystery with Madeline Dare, written in a really fresh, delightful way).   I can't wait to read other Madeline Dare mysteries.

It was followed by "The St. Paul Conspiracy" McRyan Mystery Series #1 by Roger Stelljes-a book that takes place in St. Paul.  It is so fun to read books where you are familiar with all of the places depicted throughout the story-much like the Lucas Davenport mysteries.    I borrowed it through the Kindle Owner's Lending Library, a neat feature where Prime Members get to borrow a book a month.

Next, I downloaded "Maids of Misfortune" - A Victorian San Francisco Mystery by Louisa M. Locke.  (Clearly I have been on a mystery kick lately...)  It was very enjoyable, and part of it even took place near the Cliff House restaurant, where Mike and I ate the last time we were in California. I plan to find more of these mysteries to read-San Francisco has always really fascinated me, and the author's website piqued my interest.

Amazon offers a Kindle Deal of the Day, book downloads are free or very inexpensive.  It's a great way to try new authors.  I almost feel like I have a library day, every day!

The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks (A Novel)I have this one in my Kindle, just waiting to be read,  "The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks" by Donald Harington.  I love knowing I have fresh books just waiting for me.

The Holocaust DiariesAnother Deal of the Day was this title  "The Secret Holocaust Diaries" by Nonna Bannister - I am waiting to be in the right frame of mind to delve into it.   Perhaps once I get off my mystery kick!

I am currently in the middle of  "The Highest Tide" by Jim Lynch, about a fourteen year old boy who discovers a giant squid during his nocturnal low tide adventures.  It is delightful.

I have also downloaded a few free games to play, I use Sudoku every day to keep my brain in shape (in theory...)  I have also downloaded some books on organization and cookbooks.  It is so versatile!

The Kindle Fire also lets me browse the web, so I can check my Gmail, Facebook, and Etsy shop along with my favorite blogs.  And I can have Pandora playing my favorite music in the background at the same time.  I haven't watched a movie on it yet, but since I am a Prime member I can watch thousands of them for free.

I have come to realize that the reason I love my Kindle Fire so much is that when I am holding it, it's just about me enjoying some down time.  And we could all use a little more of that!

(all book images from the author's web sites, check them out if you are interested!)

Friday, January 20, 2012

my new favorite magazine

It has been noted that I am a magazine hoarder (someone will probably make a reality show about that someday...) and I do love me my magazines.

I have a penchant for British magazines, every now and then I will splurge and buy the British edition of Country Living and pretend I have a quaint little cottage in a village there somewhere, and I walk down to the pub for a pint, and I have tea and cakes at 4 in the afternoon.

A few months ago I discovered a new magazine from the UK that I am pretty sure was designed with me in mind.  It's called "Molly Makes", and it's my new favorite thing that makes me so happy.  It features sewing and knitting and every kind of creative pursuit that I love to do.  Just their tagline makes me smile "Living and Loving Handmade."

Here is the cover of the newest issue, which hasn't made it to the bookstores here yet.  I am on 'pins and needles' waiting for it.  tee hee!  Yes, perhaps I should just take the plunge and subscribe, but the anticipation is part of the fun, and my trip to Barnes and Noble to look for it is always a special treat.

But while I patiently wait for it's arrival, I pore through the issues I already have, and enjoy their blog and wonderful website.

And because I love you all, here is the link to it, so you can have fun too!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

gentle reminder update

This is usually the part of January when resolutions start to fall by the wayside.  Did you make resolutions?  How are you doing with them?

Personally, I think reminders are so much easier to work with.  I have been doing pretty well getting some walks in, and replacing my salty snacks with fruit.  The flossing reminder hasn't been going as well, but I will get there.  I have been trying out some new healthier recipes, last night we had a Salmon Corn Chowder that I made with the leftover giant hunk of salmon I cooked up for dinner the night before.  We have been eating more salads, and Charlie has asked for extra veggies or fruit in his lunchbox rather than a sweet ending.  Tonight I am trying a new chicken recipe, if we like it I will feature it next week in Recipe Box Wednesday.

I just think it is easier to change habits when you do it slowly, and easily, and incorporate them into everyday life.  And realize that it is okay to still have a treat now and then.

(image borrowed from the site- her blog, photography, and recipes are FAB!  I am a new follower!)

And did we have a treat last night!  I LOVE to bake, but I know we don't need those extra calories, so I don't do it very often.  But this link http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/2012/01/toasted-marshmallow-hot-fudge-cake/ popped up in my inbox this week, and last night I just couldn't resist.

And yes, it was worth every single calorie.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

recipe box Wednesday

Sunday morning dawned sunny and warm.  We received some actual snow on Sunday, and everything was frosted with a fluffy coating.  I pulled on my boots (which have been terribly neglected this winter) and took a walk in the sunshine.  Beautiful!

It felt like a waffle day.  The guys had planned to go skiing, but Charlie woke up with a nasty migraine, so plans changed.  What better medicine for a headache than the smell of bacon?

I had picked up bacon at a little meat market in Delano the weekend before, so it was time to bake it up.  It is the ONLY way I cook bacon anymore:  line a big rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, place a cooking rack on top, lay out the bacon slices, and bake in a 400 degree oven.  Depending on the thickness of the bacon, it will take anywhere from 15-25 minutes.  The fat drips off the bacon, it gets yummy as only bacon can, and you don't have to clean grease spatters off your stove or figure out what to do with bacon grease.  Just pull out the foil and toss the whole thing in the trash.

The only waffle recipe I will ever make is from Susan Branch, I have literally been making this same recipe for 20 years, and it is one of the few recipes I can make by heart.  It is from this cookbook:

I will share the recipe (with my little alteration) here, it is nowhere near as pretty as it is in the cookbook!


On this day, we gathered at the dining room table and enjoyed the waffles with warmed real maple syrup and European butter (oh yes we did, Heather!  I am still a butter snob...) and fresh blueberries and whipped cream.

Not a bad way to start a Sunday, and I do believe it helped Charlie's headache.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

where is winter?

This will surely go down in history as our strangest winter, ever.

Here was the view outside my dining room window at this time, last year:

Our streets were narrowed by the piles of snow, and cars had to wait their turn to travel down them. (I must have taken this on the weekend or MLK day, no Cretin kid's cars!)

And here it is today:

(Sorry, my CF card is shot on my camera, so you will have to visualize.  Our sidewalk is bare, and you can see the ground around the base of that tree.  You can see pavement where the street is, and there is grass on the edges of the field across the street.  There is a little snow, interspersed amongst the grass, in our yard.)

There is no snow, in our front yard, at all-Sunday and Monday's warm temperatures melted the few flakes we received on Saturday.

Minnesotan's are losing self esteem daily.  We can't brag about how much snow we have shoveled, or how many cold days we have endured.  The Winter Carnival has had to cancel the snow sculpture contest,  and the John  Beargrease Sled Dog Race has been canceled too.  Ice fishermen are stuck at home, when they would rather be sitting out on the cold lake.

Snowplow drivers are looking for other projects.  Places that sell snowmobiles have pretty much already given up, and are looking to motorcycle season instead.  Ski hills are so tired of making snow, when normally this time of year it is free, and plentiful.

As a gardener, I am wondering what this strange winter means for my plants.  While I do cover them with a nice layer of leaves at the end of the season, they are not sporting their usual blanket of white during their winter sleep.  When it turns colder this week, their fragile roots will be far more vulnerable, and considering the drought of the fall they were already distressed.  Will any of them even come up this spring?

I have heard that the birds are even confused, and have been staying longer in certain parts of the country on their migrations to warmer climates, as they don't see a need to leave.

The squirrels in my neighborhood have been out and about and busy all winter.  Normally in January they are holed up with a nice cup of cocoa.

I am of mixed emotions-while I am grateful I have not had icy sidewalks to worry about falling on, or snow filled roads to drive on, it just hasn't felt like winter.  Which is kind of okay, but I worry about the natural order of things here in Minnesota.  We have lost our badges of icy honor this year.

But it IS only the middle of January, and it IS Minnesota.  With a solid 3 months of winter possible weather still ahead on the calendar, I am sure we will get ours.

Monday, January 16, 2012

boys and their toys

They say boys never get over their toys, they just get more expensive.  Or something like that...

While Mike is clearly no longer a boy (he even had a full beard in high school...) he still loves toys.

But perhaps a dirt bike isn't really a toy.  Most toys can't cause broken bones in many different body parts, or bring such delight.  For Mike, a dirt bike is so much more than a toy.

Mike has great passion in his life, for the things that are important to him.  And riding dirt bikes is definitely one of them.  The sport keeps him in shape, gives him a shot at competition, brings he and Charlie together on many weekends in the summer, gives him the opportunity to pursue another of his passions-taking pictures and making movies,  and it evokes great memories of his youth.  On top of that, he is really good at it.

He has needed a new dirt bike for a while, last year he lost half of the racing season as his bike was in for repairs, or broke down at the event.  His riding buddies kept hounding him to get a new one, but it just wasn't in the budget.  (I am the accountant of the family, and I am pretty fiscally conservative...)

But 2012 is a new year, and Mike has quietly been lobbying and hinting about a new bike for a few weeks.  And Saturday, while I was in the middle of organizing jewelry parts and pieces, he asked me to read this post he had placed on Facebook:

‎37 Years ago (the year 1975), about this time of year and on a cold overcast day just like today, my brother, my Dad and myself set off on a three hour drive to a town I had never been to before; Cambridge, Minnesota. Our destination was, of course, Larson's Cycle. It seemed like a long drive with our boat trailer, converted to a snowmobile trailer, bouncing along behind our metallic lime-green 1974 Ford LTD. The LTD was our "Sunday car".

When we arrived at the shop with great anticipation, it was like no cycle shop I had been to before. It was like stepping into a hardware store for motorcycles. It had that same sense of intimacy that a hardware store has. Motorcycle merchandise was stacked to the ceiling and your eyes couldn't seem to take it all in. The bikes were displayed in a cramped, but warm, display area that felt like a living room.

We were there to purchase a 1975 Can Am TNT. My brother had saved up his paper route money and decided to bet all of it on this grand purchase. While there he bought a pair of wonderfully fragrant Full Bore Motocross Boots and a white, vented nylon Can Am jersey. Barney Larson wrote up the sale as Mrs. Larson filled out the paperwork for the license and title. It was a family affair on both sides of the transaction.

I was but a spectator on this day. No bike for me. I had just started my paper route and had not saved up enough money to buy a motorcycle (yet). On the long drive back home, I was mesmerised as I stared out the back window at that fascinatingly beautiful machine, as wisps of snow flitted past the handlebars.

A year or so later my brother wanted out of his relationship with motorcycles. I eagerly stepped into the void and bought his Can Am, upgrading from a spindly Kawasaki KE-125 that spent more time in the shop than on the trail.

The Can Am felt solid and well built compared to my week-kneed Kawasaki. And it was fast. I rode it everywhere and went on 100 mile trail rides all alone. I entered my first enduro on it in 1978. It was a National at Hill City and I never even made it to the first checkpoint. But I grew alot with that bike. I learned to take responsibly for it and myself (100 miles in the woods, alone!). I gained mechanical self-confidence, which still serves me today in my business.

It's funny what comes back to you when you look out the window at a cold, overcast sky. I might have to make a journey to Larson's Cycle today. It's not nearly so far away as it was 37 years ago. And maybe I can talk my 14 year old son to come with me. He's the same age I was when we hooked up that converted boat trailer to a metallic green 1974 Ford LTD.

And then he turned to me, with puppy eyes, and I said, "you're going to go and get that bike today, aren't you?"  He said the day felt just like that January day, so long ago.  He certainly knows which buttons of mine to push!  So he and Charlie bundled into the pick up truck, and several hours later, he came back with this:

I have to say, that is the most genuine grin of pure joy I have seen on his face in a long time.  And I loved that he and Charlie shared the experience together, even though Charlie won't look back on it as a wonderful memory until he is older.  I am really happy for my hubby, as he loves the sport so much, and deserves to have a  great bike to ride, so he can keep enjoying this sport for years to come.

Friday, January 13, 2012

when your home is your office

Sorry to be missing in action this week-in January I am swamped with work from my real job, so blogging needs to take a back seat.

I am really happy to work from home, especially on a day like today.  I am sitting on my cozy couch watching the people drive by on their way to work, hunched in their heavy coats, snow swirling on the roads.   The 'Today' show is on in the background (love starting my day with them, and today they are celebrating their 60th anniversary, and it is so interesting to see all of the previous anchors!)

I remember when I was one of those commuters-getting up at 5:30, picking out which suit to wear, seeing if I had all of the work that I did the night before packed in my bag.  Making sure my shoes matched, after dressing in the dark so I wouldn't wake Mike.  (One time I didn't check, and ended up at work with one blue and one black, at least they were for the right feet).  I would join the throngs and drive to downtown Minneapolis, and park in my favorite lot, and say good morning to the parking attendant.  He became so used to me parking there that if I showed up late (having been on a store tour or meeting off site with a vendor), he would save me a spot.

I remember the brisk walk to the Multi Foods Tower, and waiting with all of the other Targeteers at the bank of elevators to take us to our floors.  The smell of coffee filled the elevators, and as the doors slid open you could almost hear a collective big breath as we stepped off, ready for another day.

I was at Target for seven years, and learned so much, and made good friends, and met famous people.  They are a wonderful company to work for, and while I miss the people, I really don't miss the job.  Too much pressure for a girl like me, and it really wasn't a job I felt I could manage and be a mom too, so that is why I left once Charlie came into our lives.

 Eight year old Charlie in Target colors.

And I have never looked back.

Now the only people I see on the way to my 'office' are Mike and Charlie, and I get to bring my cat to work every day.  The dress code is far more relaxed, and the parking attendant no longer needs to save me a spot!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dear Martha-

I have adored Martha Stewart from afar, for so many years.

We both worked on our high school newspaper, and our fathers taught us about growing things.

While I am not a Jersey Girl (but I DO love Bruce Springsteen), it seems we have just a couple of things in common.

I pretty much have, or have had, every issue of  her magazine, and several of her cookbooks, and I have watched her show (my favorite guest was Amy Sedaris).

I love to cook, and garden, and entertain (although it's been a while, where parties are concerned).


I just went through the January issue of Living (because I just finished going through my stack of December magazines, in January - clearly the gift ideas, cookie concepts, and Christmas Eve. celebration recipes will have to wait until next year...) so yes, I am a little behind.

Martha, occasionally your monthly calendar (page 2)  makes me feel extremely guilty:  I don't have a citrus tree in my cold house, to check on (Jan. 17th).  But I wish I did.  I know for a fact that I will not be "Spreading alfalfa meal from the feed store on slippery paths to provide traction on ice and snow." ( Jan 27th) as I have to be a nag just to get Mike or Charlie to shovel snow, let alone provide traction.  While I DID 'Take down my Christmas tree and Store my Ornaments and other decorations" on Jan. 2nd (YAY ME!), I am pretty sure that I will NOT be "Meeting with my arborist and reviewing my tree-care programs" on Jan. 24th., as I have had a huge old dead pine tree in my front yard for years that I don't have more than one thousand dollars in discretionary income to use to be removed.  And the City of St. Paul already removed my ash tree that had nothing wrong with it.  But I digress....

Martha, I love you, and I don't think you should have gone to prison for lying, because there are plenty of famous men who lie on a regular basis and don't receive any consequences.  But you served your time graciously, and came back and YOU ROCK.

But really?  Your new Home keeping Room on page 17???  You are making me NUTS.  I am lucky to have a shelf to put my cleaning supplies on, rather than a gorgeous armoire to display them in .  I just DREAM of having a place to store all of my baking tins (other than the basement), and a small area where I can make my jewelry, and cards, and other things that I adore.  Someday....

Inadequately yours,


Monday, January 9, 2012

just go!

We don't see a lot of movies at an actual theater.  For one thing, we have to think it will be worth the minimum of $30 we will spend as a family to see it (and that's without popcorn!)  We have seen all of the Harry Potters at a theater, and Mike and I will occasionally find a film we think may be worth it (usually from the Coen brothers), but we usually wait for it to be shown at the Riverview Theater in S. Mpls (bargain tickets and inexpensive, delicious popcorn), or watch it at home once the DVD is released.

But when we first heard that Steven Spielberg was going to tackle the Adventures of Tin Tin, we have been counting the days!

Charlie was a huge Tin Tin fan when he was younger, I even found a complete set of the Tin Tin books from a seller in Europe, on Ebay, that I got him for Christmas one year.  He poured over those books, and read about all of Tin Tin's adventures over and over again.  If you aren't familiar with Tin Tin, here is some info for you to catch up:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Adventures_of_Tintin

Delightful animation, action packed stories, wonderful characters, Tin Tin has it all!

And so does the movie.  The animation is absolutely stunning, I was in awe.  It was the perfect Saturday night outing!

Truly a movie for the whole family.  You know it's a major movie accomplishment when a 14 year old boy completely agrees with his parents on how good it is!

Friday, January 6, 2012

back to books

Reading time takes a hit during the holidays.  While I still read each night before falling asleep, the busy month of December means I don't last long before passing out.

But this book kept my attention-I adored it!  What first drew me to it was the cover, but the story of a young boy with no hand is what kept me eagerly awaiting the end of the day, so I could snuggle under the covers and continue the tale.

I have since passed it on to Charlie, I think he will enjoy it.  It seems like a book that was written ages ago, and has timeless themes.

Check out the authors website for more about this absorbing read!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

how to survive winter with your family

Do you spend more time with your family in the winter?

Do the things they do (or don't do) ever bug you? (and do you secretly think that perhaps you may bug them, too?)

I was already on the path to the winter crazies, and so I came up with a plan.  At first, the list was going to be called TEN THINGS YOU DO THAT MAKE ME CRAZY.

After a shower (when I do my best thinking) I thought I needed to temper it.  So in addition to the things that make me crazy, I decided to let them know about the things they do that I LOVE.  It's important to balance things.

Each member of the family is going to fill out the following form, for each member of the family:
crazy love printable form

The rules?  No holding back, no repercussions.  State your feelings honestly.

Once you have filled out your sheet, sit down with the family member and go through it.

Acknowledge what you can change, and delight in the things you do that make others happy, when you don't even realize it.  And be honest.  If something you do makes them nuts, and you don't get it, let them know how you feel.

I know that there are things I do that make Mike and Charlie crazy.  And I can't wait to find out the things that make them very happy.

I will let you know how this little family concept works out!

Feel free to copy and share and try it with your own family.  Together, we may just make cabin fever a lot more tolerable this winter.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

recipe box Wednesday

One of my gentle reminders for 2012 was to FINALLY got a printable recipe version set up for my blog-and I did it!  Whew.  Please let me know if it works (or doesn't) for you.

On Monday, Charlie was back at school and it was time for me to get back to work.  I needed an easy dinner, but something hearty and healthy.  I had picked up a little cookbook when I was in Bemidji at Dunn Bros.  It's called The Coffee Cookbook, and every recipe in it has, of course, coffee.  While I have several favorite chili recipes, what appealed to me is that this one didn't make enough for 3 meals, and it looked relatively quick.

Here you go!  printable recipe

As with any chili recipe, feel free to adjust to your family's prefernces-more or less chili powder, different or no beans, etc.  I upped the chili powder (original recipe was 1 tsp.) as we like a zing to the chili at our house!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

gentle reminders

While everyone is busy making RESOLUTIONS for the new year, I prefer to call them reminders.  RESOLUTIONS seem so daunting, while it is easier to remind myself about something.  And I am more forgiving of myself when I forget something, rather than BREAKING A RESOLUTION.

* I will remind myself to take more walks, in all weather, to enjoy the beauty of each season.

* I will remind myself to floss more, as I want to keep my teeth.

* I will remind myself to grab a piece of fruit rather than a salty snack.

* I will remind myself to exercise my brain, as well as my body.  I am a fan of Sudoku, but need to come up with another brain exercise.

* I will remind myself to find more time for creativity, and less time for house cleaning.

* I will remind myself to cherish my family and friends, as each day is precious.

What are you going to remind yourself to do this year?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome to a New Year!

Charlie was a big fan of Calvin and Hobbes back in the day.

Unlike Calvin, I feel the need for some change in my life.  The big 50 approaches this year, a good time to figure out how to make the second half of my life better and more rewarding.

This year I plan to focus on Gratitude.  I plan to use my blog to share what I am grateful for, and perhaps remind others to find those things in their lives which make them happy.

They don't have to be big things, I find that the smallest things can make my day feel complete.

Today:  Sunday, January 1st.  I am grateful that I have a cold so that I am taking it slow, cuddling my cat, drinking tea, and planning a nap after reading a book.  A healthy me would feel compelled to start putting away holiday decorations, cleaning my house, filling in new calendars, and starting the year on a shiny note.

May your new year be filled with kindness, gratitude, and the occasional nap.


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