Monday, July 21, 2014

Time for my yearly check in ... :)

Life always seems to be changing.

I could give you a run down of everything that happened since I last updated this part of the web last June, but thankfully Darby has taken over those reigns really well.

Of the last year I can say this: I'm ready to move on, ready to move forward.  It's been a difficult time meshed with a lot of promise.  I don't have balance yet, but I'm trying to get there.

We have so many things to be thankful for and I hope that the trend of things continues to go as it is.  There's a lot to be blessed by - there's a lot of toil and a lot of pain in there too.

Focus forward, support one another and think positive.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Apps for Project Life

I started doing Project Life this year. I have been using my phone as my main source of photos, but also helping me organize memories to use for Project Life. I use several apps on my iPhone.  I will do links to all the apps at the end of the post.

The one I use the most is Momento to do journal entries. It allows me to add photos so that I can pair my thoughts with the photos and use as a reference for when doing PL layouts. I like that it will grab my Facebook status' and Instagram photos also so I can refer back to those if needed. 

Photo editing PL photos I mostly use PicTapGo and Snapseed. Although I have a ton of photo editing apps - for PL I usually don't want artsy photos. At times I will add some of my photos I edit that look old or distressed, but mostly I like bright clear photos for memory keeping. I have only added words to photos a few times digitally with apps. Otherwise I hand write or use stickers and embellishments after to add words to photos. But if adding words digitally I use Over and a beautiful mess apps.

Picstich I use quite a lot before ordering photos. I like because I can create photo collages. I use mostly 2 3x4's on a 4x6 collage. But sometimes use it to make 4 images on a 4x6. So that I can trim the down and use on journaling cards in PL. 

Store apps is Michael's for their ad and coupons.  I haven't shopped at JoAnn's yet for PL, but will download there app of needed. 

I have been using Shutterfly for ordering photos.  Only when they have their deals - usually 100 photos for the cost of shipping. Otherwise I go into Sam's with a jump drive to print photos. But quite a few people talk about Walgreens app and prices so might check that out when printing July pictures. 

Many PL'ers use the Collect app and I do too. But I haven't used it how most PL'ers do. They use it because you can journal right there and it prints out like the look of a Polaroid, but with journaling on the wide white band at the bottom.  I might try it after I try out Notica that had the same look, but with a handwriting font. I like Collect for the monthly view of photos. I like seeing if I am taking photos everyday. I also am going to start printing out the monthly calendar to use in my album. I am thinking of printing them on a 8x10 as Sam's doesn't do 12x12. 

I use my phone for most of my computer needs these days and I think it helped me take the plunge into Project Life as the apps have made it easy to edit and organize my family memories. 

Monday, June 09, 2014

Friday, June 06, 2014

Rough Week

It has been a rough week. A week ago one of our cats was not acting his usual self and we had an emergency visit to the  vet. They can't figure out what was wrong with him and he does seem to be better. But still scary.

I contacted an old friend I hadn't talked to in a long while and found out she had surgery to remove cancer cells. So I have been worried about her. 

I have had the stomach flu. I am not sure I have ever been this sick before as an adult. Nothing is staying down. I went to the doctor and they ran some tests and everything is pointing to a virus. He explained to me that the stomach flu will last 24 hours, 3 days, 7 days or 10 days. I am coming up on 7 days. 

Then today I found out a friend from Ohio died. I am sitting here typing this and still in shock. My friend was suffering and fighting a very hard battle with cancer. But she died from an unrelated issue. I can't believe this vibrant, beautiful soul isn't here with us. I sent her a card just a few weeks had a red party dress on the front and inside I wrote that she would be dolled up, high heels on and dancing again soon. I hope she is now. 

Just feeling incredibly sad and grateful at the same time for knowing her and being able to share so many good memories with her in them. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Gratitude Friday

I am thankful for...
1. a fun evening of shopping and dinner with Wendy
2. movie night with friends
3. A fun Saturday touring the wineries
4. good news about one of my art pieces
5. all the wisdom Maya Angelou gave this world

Monday, May 26, 2014

Sunday, May 25, 2014

52 Week Photo Project: Week 21

This weekend was awesome and I feel extremely blessed to have such a good life. This photo is from Friday night, before meeting friends for dinner, we walked along Main Street and took the photos of all the flowers.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Gratitude Friday

I am thankful for...
1. seeing beautiful flowers along Main Street
2. having fun with Michael and Wendy walking along Main Street
3. meeting friends for dinner
4. Renee and Lala here for the weekend
5. acting silly with friends!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Most people who cook have a dish that they took time to learn and make their own. We put ourselves into it and really make it a masterpiece. It becomes that dish that we love to serve people. Strata is that dish for me. It has taken me a few years to get it perfect, but now I can pretty much make it without thinking about it and serve it with such a variety of ingredients that it doesn't take much for me to whip up.

I make it for brunch or dinner just switching up ingredients. I will have variations on the end of this recipe. 

Strata - roasted chicken, red & green bell peppers, mushrooms

1 loaf of French or Italian Bread cubed, crusts on - 6 to 8 cups
9 eggs
2 cups milk or half and half
2 cups cooked meat
2 to 3 cups of vegetables
2 cups cheese

In an extra large bowl, place bread, cheese, meat, and vegetables. Using an electric mixer, blend eggs and milk. Pour over bread mixture. Fold until pieces of bread are coated with egg mixture. Coat a 9 x 13 baking dish with butter or cooking spray. Pour mixture into baking pan and either cover and refrigerate until up to 8 hours before cooking or cook right away.

Ingredient Variations
I like to season the vegetables and then mix into bread cubes. 

Mix 2 cups grated Swiss cheese into the cubed bread. Mix in 1 cup blanched asparagus pieces, 2 cup cubed cooked ham, and 1/2 cup sauteed onions fold into the egg and bread mixture.

Sprinkle 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese over the bread cubes. Distribute 1 cup cooked chicken or ground browned breakfast sausage,1 cup sauteed bell peppers, 1 cup sautéed sliced mushrooms, and 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes fold into the egg and bread mixture.

Sprinkle 2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese over the bread cubes. Distribute 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, 1 cup tomatoes, 1 cup spinach, one 4.5-ounce cans (drained) chopped green chiles, and 1 cup shredded cooked chicken fold into the egg and bread mixture.

breakfast sausage, red peppers, mushrooms
ham and cheese

Monday, May 19, 2014

Sunday, May 18, 2014

52 Week Photo Project: Week 20

Table set for dinner for friends coming over for dinner.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Monday, May 12, 2014

Sunday, May 11, 2014

52 Week Photo Project: Week 19

Up - in Denver. Looking up from a parking lot into the blue sky.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

The Good and The Bad

The Good: Today we ran to see if my phone could either be repaired or replaced.  We decided on the replacement of it with an upgraded phone. So I now have my camera back. I too this photo before bed.  It is Caesar wrapped up next to me.

The Bad: We came home from replacing my phone and there was water in the laundry room.  We thought the cat's water dish that is around the corner in the kitchen tipped. But when we looked at where the water was actually in the laundry room - we realized that wasn't the cause. Michael went into our bedroom and as soon as he stepped near our walk in closet his feet were wet. Our water heater sprung a leak. Luckily the people that installed it 17 years ago were the ones that were available to come out right away.  Tomorrow we have to go out of town for work and now after needing to pay for a new water heater we will need to go so Wendy is amazing and offered to come be there while the new one would be installed. The bedroom looks like it has been hit by a cyclone because I had to empty the walk in closet, but at least we will have water back tomorrow by the time we get home.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014


This is from the Hay House Meditation Facebook page.  I really love it and try keep it forefront in my mind and life.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Sunday, May 04, 2014

52 Week Photo Project: Week 18

My life has been full of ups and downs. I have tumbled so many times. I made the wrong move and tried to find my way back, but never got there. The mountains in my path made it seem too hard.  I finally had to accept myself as I was and move forward from where I was at that time.  It was hard. I almost gave up again.  Unfortunately the things I needed then - I didn't have. I didn't understand them in myself and I didn't understand what I even needed or who I was really.  My climb felt impossible and I felt like I was doing it alone even though looking back - I don't believe I was as we all make the climb together. We all struggle. We all stumble. We all are trying to find the way.

I have been working on the piece for a while now. It is triangles cut out of paper to represent mountains. The little graphic connected triangles are clouds about to fall on the mountains making the climb worse. There is all quote a love by Ram Dass, “We're all just walking each other home.”  Patience and trust are needed to make that walk. 

Code Names

Getting the evaporated cooler up and running for spring/summer is much more fun while being silly and using code names over walkie talkies.  I love these kind of moments where we are silly doing mundane tasks as it just makes things calmer and without so much stress.  Today's code name for me was mermaid. Michael told me I should have given multiple choice: Princess Leia, Snow White, mermaid and Ralph. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sunday, April 27, 2014

52 Week Photo Project: Week 17

No camera still so no week 17 for me.  Hoping the light my camera brings me comes back soon.

"Light is the most efficient force in the universe. And it's your very core. Your true nature is luminous. Through the chaos, through the darkness, the broken heartedness, we will always circle back to light."

- Danielle LaPorte

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Red Robin's Black Beans Recipe

When I got out of surgery, of course, I was hungry. Michael had been joking around with me about him going to get a burger and I was of course dreaming of them before the end of the day. A couple days after surgery, Michael stopped to get Red Robin as take out. We invited Wendy come over so she went to order and pick it up with him. She opted to get Black Beans instead of fries with her burger. I had a taste and OH MY...they were so very good. I instantly thought I need to replicate these. So here is my version of Red Robin's Black Beans. I served with Chicken Fajitas, but look forward to serving them with other Mexican dishes.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers with liquid
1 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon cumin
a dash ground cinnamon
1/2 cup water
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans - rinsed
Warm oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion, and cook about 2 minutes; then stir in garlic, and cook until onion is soft and translucent.  Add all ingredients to slow cooker and cook on high for 1 hour or low for 2 to 3. Serve with sour cream.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dreamy Idealist

I took a Personality are the results...
Dreamy Idealists are very cautious and therefore often appear shy and reserved to others. They share their rich emotional life and their passionate convictions with very few people. But one would be very much mistaken to judge them to be cool and reserved. They have a pronounced inner system of values and clear, honourable principles for which they are willing to sacrifice a great deal.

Joan of Arc or Sir Galahad would have been good examples of this personality type. Dreamy Idealists are always at great pains to improve the world. They can be very considerate towards others and do a lot to support them and stand up for them. They are interested in their fellow beings, attentive and generous towards them. Once their enthusiasm for an issue or person is aroused, they can become tireless fighters.

For Dreamy Idealists, practical things are not really so important. They only busy themselves with mundane everyday demands when absolutely necessary. They tend to live according to the motto “the genius controls the chaos” - which is normally the case so that they often have a very successful academic career. They are less interested in details; they prefer to look at something as a whole. This means that they still have a good overview even when things start to become hectic. However, as a result, it can occasionally happen that Dreamy Idealists overlook something important. As they are very peace-loving, they tend not to openly show their dissatisfaction or annoyance but to bottle it up. Assertiveness is not one of their strong points; they hate conflicts and competition. Dreamy Idealists prefer to motivate others with their amicable and enthusiastic nature. Whoever has them as superior will never have to complain about not being given enough praise.

Much of it sounds like me.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sunday, April 20, 2014

52 Week Photo Project: Week 16

The blood red moon taken with my iPhone 4s. Taken the 15th of April.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

No More Camera

My camera has went out on my phone.  It is like a part of me is gone too. I guess I didn't realize how often I use my phone camera every single day. When I said that to Michael and my friend Wendy - they both looked at me like "you are kidding."  I went back to look I said on average 10 photos a day on a normal day. If we are traveling, doing anything special like going to First Friday's then I will take 100 to 300 photos a day.  Right now I am not sure the options for getting it fixed/replaced. So it might be a while before I get a working phone camera again. I told Michael I already know what my Project Life will look like. Black cards and on the middle of the page NO CAMERA with a frowny face and a tear. Because I really am sad to be without my camera.  It is like my art now...I can't not do it. I need to express myself through photos. So crossing my fingers we will figure out the options for it soon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Book Review: Gift It From Scratch

Gift It From ScratchGift It From Scratch by Kathie Lapcevic

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book by Kathie Lapcevic is just lovely. I enjoyed the recipes, along with the the suggestion on how to gift each of them. I love to bake and cook so gifting from the kitchen is a very personal gift that contains a lot of love and heart. It is something I do often and I always am looking for new recipes and ways to gift homemade food from my kitchen - so this book was perfect for me.

The recipes are not ones I have seen in other food gift cookbooks. I was pleased to see that Ms. Lapcevic uses whole natural ingredients. You won't see processed foods in these recipes. Many recipes could easily be converted to vegan. I noticed also that many of the ingredients I have right in my kitchen as normal pantry supplies. I always am pleased when I can find everything right at home. Makes it easy to gift on short notice when I can bake or cook something as a present. 

She also suggest looking for containers at second hand stores. I have almost eliminated all plastic storage container in my home and the thought of having to give someone a gift in one really doesn't make me feel warm and fuzzy about adding more plastic to our environment. So recycling/repurosing containers from second hand stores is a delightful idea when trying to be green. It also makes it easier because you aren't using one of your own containers and crossing your fingers you will get it back.

I made the Turkey Pot Pie recipe and both my love and myself made happy food noises with each bite. We were talking about arm wrestling for the last pieces the next day for lunch. It was that good. I have to say I had never made pot pie as it just sounded like a scary recipe to me. I cook. I cook fairly well. Pot pie sounded hard to me so I never attempted it - but I am so glad I tried Ms. Lapcevic's recipe. I now know I will be looking out for pie plates at thrift stores this summer as it is going to make the perfect gift for friends at Christmas time.

I like how the chapters are divided in the book and the tips at the beginning of the book. It is easy to follow, the recipes are straight forward, and the gifting ideas are charming.  Over all this book is just lovely and I recommend it for anyone new to gifting from the kitchen as well as those of us who have been for a while.

Recipe for Turkey Pot Pie going to be posted to my blog tomorrow.

View all my reviews

Friday, April 11, 2014

Coffee Kind of Day

Some days just call for a Starbucks coffee. Today was one of those days.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


I woke up to my favorite flowers. I am a lucky woman!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Feelings are Real

Michael, my love, told me this last night when I was having a bit of a meltdown. I am ready to be healed. Photo from Buddha Groove on Facebook.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Sunday, April 06, 2014

52 Week Photo Project: Week 14

Taken just a week after surgery and I am outside taking selfies. :)

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Project Life

I have started doing Project Life.  I have only done January, but am looking forward to doing each month.

Thursday, April 03, 2014


This recipe makes about 48 potstickers. I make them for parties or I  freeze them in smaller meal size batches. Very rarely I will split the recipe in half. I have included freezing instructions on the bottom of this recipe.

1 lb ground pork (also good with ground chicken)
6  water chestnuts, diced
2 or 3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoon finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger (ground ginger does work in it's place)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons soy sauce (plus some for dunking)
2 packages of wonton wrappers
2 to 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

In a medium to large bowl, mix  the ground pork, water chestnuts, green onions, ginger, garlic and soy sauce.

Take one wrapper at a time and spoon a rounded teaspoon of filling in the center. Keep the rest of the wonton wrappers covered with a damp towel.

Wet the four edges of the wrapper with dampened fingers. Fold wrapper in half over filling to form a triangle, making sure the ends meet and filling is centered; press edges down firmly to seal.

Spray a platter or plate with cooking spray, place sealed potstickers, cover with a damp towel to keep moist. Fill plate and place in the refrigerator to keep cool while you continue to fill wrappers. Repeat filling each wrapper until all the filling is gone.

Heat 1/2 cup water to in a 12-inch nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Add about 9 to12 potstickers to the pan, cover and steam until translucent and just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes or until most of the water is evaporated. Don't pack them too close or they stick together. Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high in skillet. Cook until lightly browned - turning once, about 1 minute per side. Repeat with remaining tablespoon oil and wontons. Serve with soy sauce.

FREEZER Instructions:
Prepare the potstickers up to the cooking stage.

Take a baking sheet and line it parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Place the potstickers on the baking sheet so that they are not overlapping or touching. Place in the freezer.

After the potstickers are frozen, place them in a freezer bag. They can be frozen for up to 3 months.

When ready to use, cook the potstickers as usual, without thawing. The cooking time will be a bit longer than usual.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Breathe It All In

Photo by me and quote added by me.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Feeling Good

Everyone kept telling me I had a good surgeon and I am saying thank goodness for him. Not even home 48 hours and hardly any pain today. Really amazed and grateful.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Believe in Yourself

Photo by me and quote added by me.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Drinking OJ

I have a cold and I am hoping it goes away quickly as if it doesn't - I won't be able to have surgery this week. I just want this over so thinking healing thoughts.

52 Week Photo Project: Week 12

Sending out mail love.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Book Review: Photo Craft

Photo Craft: Creative Mixed Media and Digital Approaches to Transforming Your PhotographsPhoto Craft: Creative Mixed Media and Digital Approaches to Transforming Your Photographs by Susan   Tuttle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really love this book. If you are new to digital photography and want to transform your photos into some more artistic - then this book is great place to jump into exploring all the variations you can do to create interesting artistic photographs.

This book gives good basic first time knowledge as well as those of us who have been transforming our photos already. It has in-depth step by step instructions. It gives good break out sections that give other options or tips to help in the process. It includes digital projects using Photoshop Elements as well as mixed media art projects that incorporate your photography.

I like how this book is set up as it is by 2 authors Susan Tuttle and Christy Hydeck.  They alternate, but also add in their own tips to each other's projects. It is great to have both views coming together to create amazing ways to transform your photography.

You will learn to transform your photos by using this book.

View all my reviews

Monday, March 17, 2014

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Morning Ritual

I receive Jennifer Louden's newsletter and she talked about Morning Ritual's asking other people what their personal morning ritual is like....and so it made me think about mine.

It is something that I would like to do, but I really don't have one. I would like one grounded in intention instead of just waking up.

Most mornings: I wake up when I wake up. I am lucky that I don't have a job that clocks in so I can just sleep until I wake up.  I then usually sit and just wake up. Usually by going through Instagram because looking at the photos in the morning - help me wake up without the assaults of social media chatter. I then do a quick a check of emails and then get up and make breakfast for myself and sometimes Michael. After breakfast, I unload and load dishwasher.  I plan what I am making for dinner and start household chores.

Slow morning: I wake up when I wake up, make breakfast, some tea,and then read.

I would like the slow morning to be more of a normal everyday ritual. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sunday, March 09, 2014

52 Week Photo Project: Week 10

"We all have a beautiful light within...We just sometimes forget it is there". - John Holland

Using the Diana Photo App. It blends 2 photos together.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Catching Fire

Yesterday Michael and I were out to eat. While we were waiting for our food, a woman and a young girl were sat near us. The young girl took out the book Catching Fire to read while waiting for their food.  I saw her and exclaimed to Michael that I thought the DVD for Catching Fire was released. He replied, "No, I think it is next week." I took out my iPhone and went to my Target app to see if it had Catching Fire in the ad.  It did and showed it came out March 7th - that day this happened. Michael sighed and pulled the phone out of my hand and turned it off. He then expressed, he was planning on going to pick it up after his afternoon meeting and Chinese take out as a surprise for me.  Now all because a teenage girl sat down across from us and started reading Catching Fire the surprise was ruined. But the thought was there and we had a nice Friday evening watching Hunger Games and Catching Fire back to back while enjoying Chinese take-out.  Thankful for having such a great guy that thinks of surprising me out of the blue and for no reason, but to see me smile.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014


“Tears are words that need to be written.” ~ Paulo Coelho

I have been in pain. I have a new health problem.  Different then my usual back/leg problems. Because of the pain, I haven't been able to do anything. I have been on almost complete bed rest.  Everything is too much. So basically  I am crying and trying to just surrender and let go of what I would like to what is.  What this a time where I need to have help.  Over the last several years - my pain has increased. I thought I had gotten to a place of acceptance of and learning new ways of doing things and letting go of expectations.  But now I have been needing to do it again in a deeper way.  I am thankful for the help from Michael and Wendy - I am blessed to have such amazing people in my life who know what to do to help me through tough situations. Right now is extremely difficult and I hope to handle it with more grace than I have as I wait for what will come - most likely surgery. Right now I cry because my words aren't coming to me as the pain clouds everything.

Photo from a tarot reading I did on my health.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Sunday, March 02, 2014

52 Week Photo Project: Week 9

At one time I walked the line, then I stood on the line trying to figure out who I was, eventually I tested waters outside the line, and today there is no line - I am just being me.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Friday, February 21, 2014

Mail Love

Mail love from a good friend. Just what I needed a book and chocolate because those are the ideal gifts for me. Thank you Tammy! So sweet of you to send me this package.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sunday, February 16, 2014

52 Week Photo Project: Week 7

I am someone who lives with pain. Standing like I am in this photo took a lot for me actually do, but it was important to me as I knew the majority of my photos for the Be Your Own Beloved class is face selfies.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sunday, February 09, 2014

52 Week Photo Project: Week 6

Standing in snow. We had a lot of snow and one photo that I decided I wanted to do is standing barefoot in the snow. Braved it just for a few seconds to take this photo.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

The Truth About Aging

“Aging is not ‘lost youth,’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength. It’s a different stage of life, and if you are going to pretend it’s youth, you are going to miss it. You are going to miss the surprises, the possibilities, and the evolution that we are just beginning to know about because there are no role models, no guideposts, and no signs.”~ Betty Friedan

Susannah Conway posted that quote above and asked a group of women to write about getting older on her blog. As it is something that I struggle with and accept at the same time.  

The posts are beautiful, touching, thought provoking, connecting, honest, vulnerable, soul-baring, simple, accepting, sensual, courageous and a complex mixture of amazing stories.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Sunday, February 02, 2014

52 Week Photo Project: Week 5

My first photo for Be Your Own Beloved. It is the first step in seeing myself with more compassion. Here I am standing in snow. It is ice cold and that is how it feels - it feels like when I look into the mirror my feelings for myself are cold and insensitive. It is also me wearing black and standing in the white snow - representing again my thoughts on myself very black and white. Sometimes very good thoughts, but mostly dark thoughts.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

11 Years

Many years ago a dear friend suggested that Michael and I would make a good pair. I am continually grateful to her as Michael is an amazing man - smart, kind-hearted, funny, creative, hard-working, and loving. Every day we do this thing called life together and I can't imagine walking the path without him. We have had ups and downs, but we always know we will make it as we are in it together. I love you Michael and look forward to celebrating 11 years together today, but also each day with you!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Trip to Dead Horse Point State Park

Michael and I had a chance to go to Moab for a couple of days for work, but on Friday afternoon we were able to take some time to go to Dead Horse Point State Park. Neither of us had been there so we were glad for the chance to be able to go.  It was beautiful. The weather was cool, but not cold so that we could walk around without coats until the sun went down.