Saturday, July 17, 2010

why would anyone want to put soap in her eyes?

Did you know that Beagles are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world? Happy-go-lucky, these merry little hounds are neither aggressive nor timid and will befriend everyone they meet. Beagles are wonderful, loyal, loving companions. I have been blessed with Bailey in my life for 10 years now and have truly never owned a better dog.

Unfortunately for Beagles, these congenial traits and the fact that they have very few genetic health problems have led to them to be chosen for animal testing more often than any other breed. Beagles are used for testing cosmetics and household products, experiments in medicine, environmental science and biological research. Even the FDA has used Beagles for testing chemical substances and food toxins.

Recently, 120+ Beagles made the journey from a research lab in the New York area to loving forever families. Here’s their story:

I’d like to urge you to take the time to look in your medicine cabinets and pantrys and make the switch to products produced by cruelty-free-companies.

For more information on animal testing and a list of companies that do not test on animals, see PETA's Shopping Guide for Caring Consumers:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

So maybe sometimes there's just not much to blog about. Work, home, work, home, work, home, repeat. I think I can only bore you so many times with that, right?

Not today, dear readers! Today I did something new! I made jam. Okay, so one of my biggest regrets in life is that I didn't pay more attention to my Nana and her recipes. That lady could cook, bake and can things. In her basement were jars and jars of pickles, relish, tomatoes, beans, you name it. And that lady's strawberry-rhubarb pie was to-die-for! It's such a shame that she never wrote much of it down and when she died, all that homespun do-it-from-scratch stuff was lost.

Anyway, I have been thinking about learning to make jam for awhile. It probably came from my love of that strawberry-rhubarb jam that I get from the Amish lady at the Farmer's Market. Seriously, that stuff is like crack for me! So, I read some different recipes and found one that looked easy enough to try. (God forbid I would ruin a whole big batch of fruit...) It's done and in the freezer!

Triple Berry Freezer Jam
2 C. crushed strawberries
1 C. crushed red raspberries
1 C. crushed blackberries
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 pouch (Ball brand) freezer jam pectin

Combine all the berries in a medium bowl and set aside. Stir sugar and pectin together in a large bowl until well blended. Add fruit mixture to sugar mixture and stir for 3 minutes. Ladle jam into plastic freezer jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Adjust caps. Let jam stand 30 minutes to thicken. Label and freeze.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Two more sleeps. Hard to believe that I have been off work for 10 days. It's even harder to believe that I haven't even wondered what's been going on at the store for almost the entire time! I guess that really speaks to how much I don't like my job, doesn't it?
The storms have rolled in and it's dark and rainy outside, with thunder and lightening peppering the morning's soundtrack. I have no plans for the day except for picking up where I left off yesterday on my journey through Tim Holtz's new book of techniques. Oh yeah, and maybe a nap!
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Serves: 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced green bell peppers
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced celery
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 14-ounce can Ro-tel tomatoes w/ green chilis
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon worchestershire sauce
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp
Chopped green onions for garnish

Preheat crockpot on high. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and then add peppers, onions and celery. Cook until softened. Add chili powder and saute' until caramelized.

Remove from heat and pour into crockpot. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, hot sauce, Worcestershire, sugar, salt and pepper.

Cook for 3 hours. Add shrimp and cook for about 3 minutes.

Serve over rice; top with chopped green onions.

Crazy-delicious! Enjoy!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Got up early this morning because I had to run into work for a meeting. Yes, even while I'm on vacation I get stuck traipsing into that place! While I was there, I checked my email really quick and I'm glad I did because it looks like I'll be travelling to Rockford for a meeting next Tuesday. Have I mentioned that I absolutely HATE travelling for this job? In any event, I left in a hurry, not wanting to spend any more time there than absolutely necessary.
Then, I had the dreaded doctor's appointment. As I suspected, not great news. My blood sugars are about the same; blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. all good, BUT I've gained about 20 pounds since last summer. Totally disappointing, totally disheartening. I stopped myself from running to Panera Bread and drowning my sorrows in a sweet, sugary treat.
So, I came home and tried to get crafty. My heart wasn't really in it today, but I felt if I did absolutely nothing I would be wasting a valuable day of freedom. So, I got out the paints and painted some Grungeboard embellishments to be used later - even Halloween stuff didn't cheer me up, but here's some of what I did:

That's it for today! Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Well, wow. I've had long bouts of 'no blogging' before, but I think I'm at a new record of about six weeks. So, "What's been goin' on?", you ask. Well, life in general. Two jobs, errands, end of the year school stuff with the kids, more work and in general, overall lack of motivation to do just about anything else. Haven't been eating right and my body says so. I know I've gained about 10 pounds - can't wait to hear what the doctor has to say about that! I'm on vacation this week, so maybe I can find the creative mojo to do some crafting and the overall motivation to get off my butt and move!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mental health day off from work. Okay, I'm just switching out days and working tomorrow instead, but I really needed this. I've spent the day taking care of 'to-dos' and minor errands, regrouping for the most part, but preparing for another busy week ahead. It's been a crazy couple of weeks. On tap for tonight: a huge ribeye w/ a baked potato and some major veg-time on the couch or maybe straight to bed?

Monday, April 12, 2010

I love this kid. I've been so busy since like forever and I found myself realizing that I haven't spent any quality time with the kiddos. So, today after work I ran over to Mary's house and nabbed Shelby for a 'date night'. We went to dinner at Fiesta Cancun, my fave mexican spot and then over to the salon for manicures. She was really surprised and pleased with my plan. I need to do this again - soon; next 'date' > Jacob!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I haven't scrapbooked in so long and it's really been bothering me that somehow I've lost the time to be creative... Today I had the entire day off and felt absolutely no motivation to get crafty. But a voice in the back of my head kept nagging at me: "Look at all the time you're wasting. You should make use of this free time. Yada, yada, yada." So, as I was printing out some photos for Mom, I found some pics from last year that didn't warrant a whole page on their own, but still brought back a specific memory. I threw those pics into a 2009 recap-type layout. I'm not thrilled with how it turned out, but I did realize as I looked through last year's pics, there weren't really that many. I need to renew my efforts on Project 365 and actually find a way to get myself into more photos this year! Stay tuned...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Drove down to the Quad Cities today to spend some time with my nephew, Trey, who is home on leave from Afghanistan. We spent the afternoon hanging out, playing Wii, eating, talking, laughing and playing board games with the rest of the family. I love this kid and am so very proud of him!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I {{heart}} markers, especially Copic Sketch markers. Here is a FANTASTIC link to a great introduction to these babies:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I was productive all morning! Got some MAJOR Spring cleaning done. My 'supervisor' was ever-vigilant on the couch, eyeballing my every move:

She finally said we could be done. Now what?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hey readers, remember me? You know, when I started this blog in 2007 I had the best intentions of writing every day, diligently documenting my life. Ha! What is it they say about the 'best laid plans'? In any case I find myself with a little extra time tonight and I thought I'd at least check in. Most of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook at least know that I haven't dropped off the face of the earth....
My last post was February 14th and I believe I was making cards, or at least saying "Happy Valentines Day". In the past three weeks, it's been work, work, work, BIRTHDAY, work, work. I spent a lot of time with my friend Jason, which meant that nothing productive got done. Gonna try and fix that this weekend...
More later,

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day off. Well, not exactly. I called in. I took a nasty spill on the ice and my body feels like it's been run over by a truck. I just don't feel up to being on my feet all day in the Hobby Lobby frame shop. So, you'd think that I'd jump right in and use the time to get all crafty, right? Nope. Not in the mood to drag everything out when the ceative mojo isn't screaming, "Let's do this!" Instead, I'm just browsing the web, reading some blogs and doing a little light Facebook stalking, but not for long. Soon, I'll be back to my book - I have been reading (on Shelby's recommendation) the 'House of Night' series of books by P.C. Cast. They sort of remind me of the Harry Potters, but not nearly as good. Fortunately, they are an easy read and I can finish one in about 6 hours... Today, I'll read the 6th one and then have to wait until April for the 7th. And, on that note dear readers, I'm off to find my book!

'Til next time,

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Wow. So much for my New Year's resolution to be a better blogger. 22 days. In my defense, It's been a crazy 22 days without a single day off. Can't wait for tomorrow. On a positive note, Project 365 has come along better than I expected, give or take a day, although I realize this morning that I am 3 days behind. I have discovered that I do not like taking pictures with my phone. Sure, the phone is good for random shots on the fly like a pop bottle sitting on my desk.
(BTW, yeah I drank that Throwback Mountain Dew. It was the most sugary, blissful 15 minutes of January 9th. But, I digress...)
To capture the real stuff that's going on around me, I gotta have my Nikon CoolPix! I was again caught with just a cellphone when I decided to capture this moment during the ice storm this week:

Hard to see, but this little elderly couple had slid into the stop sign and gotten stuck on a sheet of ice. The cop came and called a tow truck to get them back on track. The sweetest part of the whole thing was that the policeman helped them walk across the street to get to their car. The bad part of this moment was that right after I snapped this shot, Bailey decided to prance out into the middle of the street to say hello to the policeman. Luckily, leash laws don't apply during an ice storm!

Off to work. 'Til next time,

Friday, January 1, 2010

Project 365

When Taylor McKnight started taking a photo a day on January 1st, 2004, he never imagined the project would not only serve as a way to remember a year, but also help him understand what was important to him in his life.
Whether it was his relationships, his career, or his fashion sense, recording a photo a day for a whole year left him with a rich visual history of his life. And it made him a better photographer to boot!
This year, I've decided to take on this project. Here's a tutorial on how and why to create your own daily photographic history:
Project 365: How to Create a Daily Photographic History
Why do it?
Taking a photo a day is a big undertaking with big payoffs. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider doing it:
•Imagine being able to look back at any day of your year and recall what you did, who you met, what you learned… (Often we find it hard to remember what we did just yesterday or even last night, let alone a whole year ago!)
•Your year-long photo album will be an amazing way to document your travels and accomplishments, your haircuts and relationships. Time moves surprisingly fast.
•Taking a photo a day will make you a better photographer. Using your camera every day will help you learn its limits. You will get better at composing your shots, you’ll start to care about lighting, and you’ll become more creative with your photography when you’re forced to come up with something new every single day.
Tips on How to Do It - Here are six tips on how to create your own Project 365:

1.Bring Your Camera Everywhere
Yes, everywhere. Get in the habit. Grocery stores, restaurants, parties, work, and school. Going to a movie theatre? Snap a pic of the flick with your phone–there are photo-ops everywhere. If you have one of those tiny tiny cameras, you have no excuse not to have it in your pocket all the time. And if you don’t? Camera phones are a great substitute.
2.Make Posting Easy
You can install blog software like Movable Type or Wordpress on your own site and create an entry for each photo, but for true ease of use, try a photo sharing site. Flickr will let you post a week’s worth of photos in 2 minutes flat, and fotolog and are geared toward a photo-a-day workflow. Making it fast and easy means you’re much more likely to do it.
3.Vary Your Themes
Try to capture the day’s events in a single photo. Perform photographic experiments. Take a photo of someone new you meet, something you ate for the first time, or something you just learned how to do. Take a photo of something that made you smile. And don’t forget to take a photo of yourself at least once a month so you can remember how you’ve changed, too.
4.Tell a Story
Use your blog entry, or your photo description, to explain what’s going on in each day’s photograph. How good did that dinner taste? What made you want to take a photo of that stranger? It’ll help you remember down the road, and it gives friends following along a better appreciation of why you took the photo you did. You don’t need to write a lot, just enough to add some color.
5.Don’t Stop, No Matter What
This is perhaps the most important tip of all. You will get tired of taking a photo every single day. Some days, you will consider giving up. Don’t. The end result is worth the effort. Remind yourself why you wanted to do it in first place.
There will be times you’ll think there’s nothing interesting left to take a photo of, and times you’ll think you didn’t do anything exciting enough to take a photo of. There’s always a great photo to be made.
Get out of the house and take a walk. Or stay inside and look around. Take a photo of something important to you. Take a photo of the inside of your house so you can see how your taste has changed over the years. Take a photo of anything, just don’t stop. It helps if you’ve told your friends about the project and asked them to follow along. Their encouragement will keep you going!
6.Post early, post often
Plan on going through and posting your photos at least once a week so you don’t get backlogged and feel overwhelmed. Ideally, post every day or two. Again, spend the time up front to make sure it’s quick and easy to post. It’ll make all the difference.