Friday, September 30, 2011

Fill In the Blanks Friday!!!!

I forgot about Fill in the Blanks Friday, until a blog I follow (where I originally found the site for FITBF) posted her info for today.   So, after I saw her post, I hopped on over to The Little things we do and joined in the fun.  If you want to join, go here.  Enjoy my fun facts for the day.  I'm back to bed and a little more time reading before I pass out!  Good Night!
1.   My current obsession is      Christina Perri.  I have her CD 'Lovestrong' and I can't stop listening to it.  I really love it!

2.    Babies (and kids in general)      make me happy.

3.  My greatest strength is   being adaptable.  Lately I have to be or I wouldn't still be alive   .

4.   Staying focused and firm   is my greatest weakness.

5.  My life is   complicated.  At the moment I'm struggling with a lot and I really hope I can get things figured out soon.

6.  In high school I was    a lot different than I am now, but in some ways the same.  I've never been a social butterfly, but not an outcast either.  Usually I just do my thing and obsess about it on my own time - just like I did back then.

7.  When I'm super tired    I get a little cranky and mean.  I don't intend to, it just sorta happens.  I don't like being around other people when I'm really tired and may lash out.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Just another day...

Today was just a normal day.  Nothing too exciting.  Well, maybe something a bit REALLY exciting, but I'm not sure I want to share yet.  Its big friends, real big!  I am thrilled and will share soon, just not yet.  A bit more time is necessary for something THIS BIG!  (I hope you're dying of curiosity, it will be good when you know.  At least I think so...And no, sorry its nothing to do with my health.  No change there, yet.)

Back to the blog.  Today was just a normal day for most accounts.  Work, home to do chores, attempt to relax, takes some photos, etc.  My pictures today are pretty to me and I hope you enjoy them too!

My new soy candle from Yankee Peddler.  It smells so good.  My house smells like yummy caramel apples!

My new 'coffee' mug.  I totally drank my coffee from it this morning.  It was able to hold the 2 cups I like to have, with room to spare.  Brilliant!

A splash of color.  I swear it wasn't there yesterday.

Rainbow in a neat sky.  The colors were amazing tonight in the clouds.  Everything was orangish.

While most of the sky had an orange tint, there were several clouds that were greenish.  I really liked the effect.

Another rainbow shot.  I took this about 5 minutes about the other and it is amazing to see the difference in the sky coloring in that short time period.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I have a love/hate relationship with fungus.  Right now I am thrilled to have found so many amazing examples of fungus in nature.  I'm also fighting very hard against the fungus that is raging in my body and threatening to damage me irrevocably, if we haven't already reached that point.  Its quite a bit depressing really.  Something I love in nature and something that is ravishing my body. 

Anyway, sorry for the aside.  For several years now I've held an obsessive relationship with fungus (in nature!)  I love finding species I haven't seen before.  All kinds.  Ant this time of year is the best time for fungal growth.  Its moist, things are dying (as they do in the fall) and some days its warm.  Fungus is sprouting up everywhere.  GREAT!!!

Below are a few photos I've taken.  Most I took yesterday at the Yankee Peddler Show, the last few are some I found in my own front yard.  I was thrilled to see them there this morning and am now saddened that my landlord mowed and killed them. :(

Anyway, enjoy the pics.  I know I will!

Yankee Peddler

My mother, sister-in-law Angela, and I had a splendid morning/early afternoon yesterday at a Craft Fair/Historical Demonstration called Yankee Peddler at Clay's Park just outside Massillon, Ohio.  I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but my Mom was adamant that she wanted to go.  I'm up for any type of shopping (especially with a bribe of $40 each for Ang and I) and I, as is obvious from most of this blog, love crafts.

I have to say, I LOVED IT!  Every minute (even when I was sneezing) was so much fun.  Walking around this park, in the WOODS, checking out all of the unique creations and just exploring the area.  It was great.  There were several 'encampments' and different points of historical attraction, but mainly, lots of crafts (not kitchy, classy and amazing!), some good food, and one of my favorite things in the whole wide world, FUNGUS!  Yes, lots of fungus in the moist woods.  It was great.  (There will be a separate blog post for all my photos of fungi!)

Anyway, we had a lovely day.  Spending time with these two women I love, walking in the woods (I have missed that so much and my knee barely hurt.  Yippee!), and just checking out every one's handi-work.  Some of those people are incredibly talented and make my attempt at sewing, painting, jewelry making look so cheap.  I did end up purchasing several items with my 'allowance'.  I got a coffee mug, (really a soup mug-its huge), some lip/hand balm made of beeswax, and a candle that smells delishishly of caramel apples.  The candle I purchased was from the only booth that I was able to smell things and not be sent into a fit of pain and sneezing.  Most of the booths with candles/scented things I couldn't even stand in front of because of my 'sensitivities' but these soy candles were incredible.  I'm also really excited about the lip/hand balm.  Its in a huge stick (looks almost like deodorant) and since its made out of bee balm is very healing.  Winter is hard on my hands since I'm washing them all the time around the kids and I hope this will be a solutions to help prevent so much bleeding and cracking.  It really hurts when your skin just splits open.  Seriously.

I did take a few pictures, though none of the crafts (that would be rude) and I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed my day.  Thanks Mom and I love you so much.  I have the best, most awesome parents anywhere who are ridiculously supportive and help me with everything.  No one understands what I go through a tiny bit as much as my parents do.  They are great!

Enjoy the pics!

The little creek that runs through the park.  I just thought it was cute and I love the babbling sound. 

Angela in the stocks.  She must have been pretty bad.  Too bad I didn't have any tomatoes...

A map of the park/festival.  It really was so cool.

My favorite picture EVER.  It is now my background and I can't wait to print out a copy, probably 8x10!  I have wanted to do this myself for a while and now I HAVE to make a fairy garden.  This is soooooooo cute!

A look out over the lake towards the campgrounds.  It was a perfect fall day.  Cool, but not cold.  Lovely weather.
The wagon train encampment.  They were cooking a massive roast over a fire.  It looked really good, even to me a strict vegetarian and who is often nauseated by any food smells.  I'd love to cook like that.  (and have the time to do so.)
The sign says (sorry for the blurry) 'Beware the Troll under Bridge'.  I wanted Mom to stand under but, Ang volunteered.  I love the look on her face!  Perfect.

This was so great.  A fallen tree with a carving and the most beautiful fungus growing all over it.  I was not the only person shooting pictures.  More pictures of the fungus will be in my separate blog post.
Upshot of a tree.  I kinda like doing this. :)

Another tree carving.  I think the artist just 'finds' the face in the tree and releases it.  Trees have spirits.
A Daddy Long Legs.  You might ask why I would have a photo of this, but my niece & nephew & I are always on the lookout for 'Jack.'  A few years ago, when the kids were 2 or 3 when we were camping I made up this story about Jack, the Daddy Long Legs.  Ever since then any time we see one, the kids say 'hey, there's Jack!'  Its one of those precious things that happen by accident and become a treasure.  I really love my babies!
A Tee Pee that was part of the 'Mountain Man' encampment.  There were a lot of bones, turtle shells and hides in the rest of the encampment.  So, I stuck with the tee pee.
The beautiful woods.  This was the last photo I took as we were leaving.  A great shot for the ending of a great adventure.  I would definitely recommend the festival to anyone.  It runs for 3 weekends every year in September and is great.  We will totally be going again!

The ABC's of Me!

Here's a fun post I found on one of the blogs I follow.  Hope you learn a little something new/interesting about ME!

A. Age: 31
B. Bed size: Twin
C. Chore that you hate: Dishes (I do not have a dishwasher.)
D. Dogs:  None :(
E. Essential start to your day: Two alarms, HOT shower and meds.
F. Favorite color: Periwinkle
G. Gold or Silver: Silver all the way.  I don't care for Gold, its to flashy
H. Height: evidently I'm now 5'6" (I've shrunk an inch!)
I. Instruments you play(ed): Flute
J. Job title: Day Care Director/Program Specialist
K. Kids: a lot-none of my own but about 90 at work and two awesome nephews and a beautiful niece.
L. Live: OH-IO
M. Mother’s name: Kathleen (Kathy)
N. Nicknames: Pril, Dee, Miss April
O. Overnight hospital stays: Several.  Here's hoping I don't have another in my near future.  It will probably be an extended stay next time.
P. Pet peeves: Flip Flops, Laziness, Being Late
Q. Quote from a movie: "Are you suggesting that coconuts migrate?"
R. Right or left handed: Right Hand
S. Siblings:
Andrew (Happy Birthday to my big brother today!), and Phillip
T. Time you wake up: Anytime between 5 and 7, depending on when I need to be at work or in Columbus (I am NOT a morning person!)
U. Underwear: um, yeah!  Briefs, for comfort-I don't care about style there!
V. Vegetable you hate: Peppers and onions-just because they HATE me.
W. What makes you run late: Early morning phone calls, laziness, losing track of time, car trouble.
X. X-Rays you’ve had: (in the last six months) Chest (about 5 times), knee, spine/neck and leg.  I've also had two C-T Scans and an MRI!
Y. Yummy food that you make: Homemade Bread
Z. Zoo animal: Turtles, Frogs, any sea creature, elephants, etc.  I like a lot of animals.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hump Day, thank goodness...

I've been quite a bit off lately.  I'm having trouble finding any sort of balance in my life and I can't seem to get myself back on track.  I know part of the issue is my health; but honestly, I know there is something deeper.  I just haven't figured out what that deeper issue is yet.  If you might have any insight, please let me know.  I'd like to find my motivation and get back to myself.

Anyway, the last few nights I basically come home from work, check my email and posts and then settle in for a nap.  This is not like me.  I'm not a nap person.  I've never been one.  But, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday after I finished work, I came home and slept for at least an hour each day.  Weird.  Tonight, I was determined to break that streak.  After work I went straight to McDonalds and got an iced coffee.  I would not allow myself to get bogged down by fatigue and sleep and laze the evening away.  And it worked. 

I had started a project  briefly on Monday night.  I wanted to make myself a new wallet.  I have a nice Vera Bradley wallet that I've been using since April, but I've wanted to make something myself.  I had searched tutorials online but didn't find anything that particularly excited me or suited my needs.  So, I knew I'd have to design something myself.  My photos below will show you some of my process.  I am kind of proud of myself that I did this all on my own and have a unique pattern for a wallet.

I hope you like my lovely new wallet and maybe sometime in the future (when I'm making another wallet) I'll put together a tutorial.  In the meantime, I'll test drive this design and see how functional it is.  It should get a good test Friday. 

I'm scheduled to be off all day.  I have a doctors appointment in Columbus first thing in the morning, which may take a while; then I hope to be able to find a good salon to get my hair cut trimmed.  I am not fond of getting my hair cut/done.  I feel this way for several reasons.  It has been over a year since the last time I've had it cut and honestly, I really don't want to do this now.  For me they usually end up taking way more than I wanted cut.  But, I know the time has come for me to at least have the ends trimmed, but I'm always frightened of a trim. I like my hair long, (and I don't care what anyone thinks of that, especially my mother.)  I know I may not always do much with it, but I like it long and natural.  I'm not a fancy girl, but I think my hair gives me a way to actually look feminine sometimes.

Secondly, I don't like to be touched.  They always end up shampooing me with vigor and while I know most people enjoy that, I DO NOT.   I believe very strongly in personal space and while I will allow my hair to be cut, I generally avoid it for as long as I can, and really have to bite my tongue to get through the process.  (Please keep a safe and comfortable 3 ft. minimum personal zone of comfort while we are engaged in conversation or just in the same room.  Thank you!)

I'm also not particularly fond of the chatting that is 'supposed' to take place at a salon.  I'm a very private person and I would prefer we just keep things professional and get down to business.  You don't need to know all about my life and frankly I'm less than concerned with a stranger's life.  I know that sounds unfriendly and cold, but that is who I am.  I know I appear cold to a lot of people, but I'm just very reserved and don't feel the need to bond with every Tom, Dick or Harry I meet in my day to day life.  (Sorry, I'm ranting.)

So, we'll see how this ends up.  I found a salon that I'm willing to give a try, so I'll call tomorrow and see if they have anything available for Friday. 

Enough with the rambling from me, here are my photos for the day.  Enjoy!

First, draw a 'rough' pattern to give myself an idea of what I want to create.

Next, continue making the pattern and see the general shape and methodology of the piece.

Choose the fabric, cut and piece them together.  I've had this pattern fabric for well over 6 months and have not used it.  I love the colors and the pattern but I was just never inspired to use it for anything until now.  I'm glad I waited.

Make the zippered pocket.  I'm quite proud of myself for reasoning this out on my own.  I didn't look up a single tutorial but figured it out on my own from past experience.  Yippee!

My new wallet.  This is the front.
The back, with a pretty purple button.

It is not a huge wallet, which was my purpose.  I have a separate card holder for all my various club cards, information, credit cards, etc.  This wallet is for everyday stuff.  Cash, coins, my debit card and medical cards.  Small and functional.

I am pleased with myself that I actually thought through this project from start to finish.  I added pretty extra touches when they needed to be added instead of finishing and realizing, 'hey this would be pretty with a button and some ribbon.'

The Vera Bradley wallet I've been carrying and my own design.  I like mine a lot and it is so much smaller and carries the same amount of stuff!  Awesome!

This is a gift I received yesterday.  One of my former Preschoolers had been in Japan for several months to visit family.  They came in yesterday after getting back over the weekend.  They brought all of the Preschool staff these boxes of candies.  They're like a gel candy and are sooooo yummy!  I wish I was thoughtful like this!

The yummy gel candy.  It is made with real fruit and fruit juices.  This is a raspberry candy.  It is really good and they are so stinking cute!  Its almost too hard to eat it, but I still did.

The adorable packaging for the candy.  Why is it that so much stuff from Japan is so absolutely adorable!  I love this wrapping paper, the candy, the tin; I love everything about this.  Thanks Kai!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

More baking...

Today I was baking again. This time I made bread.  I really like making bread.  There is something so comforting, simple and 'real' about baking bread.  To me nothing in this world will ever compare to the smell of a house where bread is being made.  It is beyond description, so I won't try.  If you've never made bread (and I DON'T mean with a bread machine), I recommend it highly.  I find when I'm making bread I immerse myself in the process and it is an excellent way, for me at least, to relieve tension and find a little bit of balance.  I feel pretty good tonight, and part of that I'd like to think has to do with my domestic activities today.  I like working on my home.  Baking cookies & bread; doing laundry; sewing.  These are all things that focus on the place I live, which is part of my core and when I care for and enjoy my 'nest', I find a little bit of peace and relief. 

I've been making bread since I was a child (many long years ago).  I've always enjoyed the process and am firmly committed to anti-bread machine methods.  Bread machines take out some of the most fulfilling and unique parts of this process that I refuse to skip.  I really enjoy mixing the yeast and watching it bubble, (science is cool.)  I especially love kneading the dough.  When I've had a tough day, that is a great alternative to breaking something.  (Not that I would, say, break off a cup holder in my car in a fit of temper or maybe break a vase.  Who does that?)  Anyway, I remember distinctly the first time I made bread.  It was 2nd grade and we made bread around Thanksgiving time.  Our teacher helped us shape the pieces into a Teddy Bear.  I can still see him in my head, all shiny and smiling.  That was also the first time I made real butter from whipping cream.  I'm proud to say these are both traditions that I have myself carried on as a teacher and in a few weeks we'll be doing both of those activities with our Preschoolers.  I love tradition.  I'm always told I get my baking skills and love for the process from my Loma. (She was, in simple terms, my great grandmother.  Its way more complicated that than, but that's a story for another time.)  She was a master baker and my family likes to tell me I'm channeling her when I'm baking.  I am pretty good at it too, if I say so myself. 

So, tonight I'm reveling in my baking and enjoying the fact that summer is coming to a close.  It wasn't stifling to have the oven on all afternoon.  Now I have 2 loaves of bread.  One is for me and the other I believe I'll pass along to a friend who might need a little pick me up.  I hope she and her family enjoy it as much as I do.  For now though, enjoy my photos of part of my bread making process and imagine, if you can, the glorious scent filling my house and my heart tonight with home baked loveliness.

Yeast, sugar and almond milk 'fermenting.'  I love watching the bubbles rise!  By the way, this is, of course, a Vegan recipe.  You would never know the difference.

The first rising.  I have this bowl, that frankly I don't usually use for anything else.  It is a Pyrex bowl, and it is purple.  I love it for the Pyrex glass and it is huge!  Its a perfect bowl for this.
After the first rising, ready to knead and roll out.

The first recipes I used were from the Betty Crocker Cookbook.  I'm sure the edition was a 1970s version, as my Mother got it when she got married.  I would love to have my own copy of that edition.  My new edition sucks.  The recipes are changed and it is just awful.  In the bread recipe they walk you through forming the dough into a loaf.  First, as in this picture, you roll it out into a large rectangle. 
Then you roll up the dough.

Until it looks like this.
Finally you tuck the ends under...

and put it in your greased bread pans.  I bought these glass bread pans about a year ago and LOVE them.  My other pans were much more shallow and wide.  These are deep and narrow.  Perfect for home made bread.
I usually use one  of my pretty napkins to cover the bread during the risings.  It adds a little flare to the process.

After the second rising.  Isn't that beautiful?!

And 30 minutes later, beautiful, if not perfectly shaped, loaves of bread.  All the effort, clean up and time was SO worth it!
One of my current favorite things about making my own bread is that I can slice it super thin.  I have trouble with bread as the density is not easy to get down my damaged esophagus, and being able to make it really thin helps a lot.

No, this has nothing to do directly with my baking.  But, when I went to take the garbage out to the garbage can, I was this little guy crawling on the shingles on the back of my house.  Of course I had to snap a few photos!