Thursday, December 23, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Just finishing up

my Christmas letter.

 It involves this pile of mulch.
And these people
So what does a truckload of mulch have to do with Christmas? Not much. But I'm going to make it work.

Friday, December 17, 2010

All is calm

Even though my island looks like this
I have managed to empty and sort 3 different containers of stashed clutter.

Sam and I were thrilled to be able to finally put out this vintage nativity that belonged to his Grandma and was given to us a couple years ago by Sam's mom

Amber inquired as to why the baby Jesus was tied into the manger. I explained that the decree from Caesar Augustus included a child restraint clause for any and all donkey transporation.

Lately the Holy Family has taken on a new look. Name that movie
I should go shovel them out--but for one thing it keeps snowing and for another, I like the way it looks. 

The bird feeder is a busy place. Here is one of our regular guests.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I'm not blogger material. I want to blog.  I blog in my head all the time. I even have scraps of paper covered with notes about stuff I should blog about. But then the stuff I want to blog about keeps me so busy that I don't have time to blog about it.
It's hard to write about cooking, when there's a meal to be made.
Or to write about Mom when she's asking  "Is there anything new on the computer?"
Or to write about grandchildren when they're here to play with and hold.
Or to write about writing when there's writing to be done.

angst [æŋst (German) aŋst]
1. an acute but nonspecific sense of anxiety or remorse
2. (Philosophy) (in Existentialist philosophy) the dread caused by man's awareness that his future is not determined but must be freely chosen
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

Yup, that pretty much sums it up.

Here are a few photos from a fun morning with Phoebe and MaryJean. As you can see, we had a very special guest.

It's snowing again.
I may or may not go Christmas shopping this year.
I haven't written the last "Treble" post.
I ate potato chips in the middle of the night last night.
I cried when I saw Harrison smile for the first time.
Sitting here in my kitchen, listening to Christmas carols, having one last  cup of coffee

I may or may not keep blogging.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Claudine's Dip

In the process of shuffling papers around on my desk and diligently emptying my in-basket, I've come across a recipe from Claudine at the Huntley Cafe. It's for a dip/spread she served at a wine-tasting party. With the holidays coming up, it seems like a good time to share it.

Chicken/Crab Dip
2 scallions thinly sliced
8 oz cream cheese
8 oz can crab or chicken
1/2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 c finely chopped red pepper
1 tsp dijon mustard
Scallions for garnish
Chill a few hours before using

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's the great pumpkin seed

As mentioned in a previous post, I've been cooking up some pumpkins. Sam's feeding  a few to the chickens and there are more stored away in the basement  When I was putting away the last of the fall decorations on Sunday, I decided to crack a couple open and see what happened. It was a three generation group effort as Olivia scooped the seeds out, I cooked them and Mom harvested the finished product. We now have 4 pints of pumpkin in the freezer and hope to do some baking with it in the coming weeks.

One of the pumpkins was a special variety from our friend and professional gardener, Barb. (Hi Barb!) The seeds were hull-less (?) . Sam loves roasted pumpkin seeds so I decided to try roasting some. Since I ran out of time and energy, I had left them in the frig. Tonight I pulled them out, did a final rinse and put them on a cookie sheet.
I tossed them with olive oil and some smoky sea salt I had bought at the co-op and roasted them at 350 for about 15 minutes. And they are so yummy--especially the dark ones!
I'm not sure if I will ever do this again--but it was fun and something I'd always wanted to try.

While we're in the kitchen, l feel a need to introduce the newest member of the family (as we are known for our propensity to assign human characteristics to inanimate objects).  After installing our new backsplash, the shiny chrome fixtures had to go, so I went fixture shopping. (Completely off-topic, but how does one's career path end in a plumbing showroom?? )
It was finally installed last week. I came home excited (yes, I mean it, I was totally looking forward to this moment) to see the new faucets. What I saw literally stopped me in my tracks as I gasped, "SWEET JESUS!"
I've named it Igor. It's getting better. At least I don't jump every time I see it. It's going to be ok.
I think.

Monday, November 29, 2010

In other news--Viewer Discretion Advised--And don't say I didn't warn you

 These get a little graphic

Zac's big buck deserves its own post.

No fewer than 5 cameras, cellphones and blackberries captured this event. We called ourselves the redneck paparazzi. And agreed that we needed to cover up the Barbie jeep in the back of the pickup. As everyone rushed back into the house to publish and disseminate the photos via text and facebook, Sam quietly hosed down the garage for the third time in 8 hours.

It feels good:

At the end of a dreary Monday, when a cold rain is forecast to turn into heavy wet snow, to be home where the temperature right now is hovering in the upper 70s. And I mean upper.

To not have backed into anything
 To not have run out of gas (with a newborn in the vehicle)
(May or may not be topics for future posts)
 To not have to watch, read or listen to any more Black Friday promotions
To have spent Black Friday entirely in my pjs, doing nothing more than wondering if I should get dressed.
To have spent time yesterday with this little guy and this big guy
And this sweet girl--who was the beneficiary of my $5 "while they last" scarcity mentality WalMart purchase
To have a cheap digital camera instead of relying on my phone. (Although I have a couple cute photos I can't find on it)

To have cooked 3 pumpkins
With a little help from Olivia and Mom.

To have postponed Monday night supper. And to have another week to get my house decorated and in order.
To have dinner thawing on the counter and just needing to be put in the oven. Don't judge until you've tasted this. I don't have the luxury of take-out, fast food or other options. I usually make every meal from scratch. Until I've discovered:
To have spent the time while dinner was in the oven reading to Mom: The Land Magazine, her first Christmas letter, pumpkin recipes and an Advent devotional.

To have surprised Sam with his favorite dessert.

To focus on the things that feel good.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

From turkey to toy story

Dinner was great--Sam was the most thankful. He did not have to wash all my dirty pots and pans! No matter how hard I try to clean up after myself, the kitchen is always a disaster when I make a big meal. We have plenty of leftovers for later and 4 pies to consume. It's snowing and blowing right now.
Everyone is watching Toy Story 3 now, Mom's napping in the chair.
Are you ready for a Thanksgiving treat?  Well, here you go:
Sorry the photo isn't better--used my phone.

the first guests have arrived

With the dinner! we ordered the prepared meal from Jubas. All we have to do is carve the turkey.
 Mom is peeling home grown sweet potatoes
The punch is ready.
I'm off to butter the lefse and add brown sugar or cinnamon sugar.

Thanksgiving thoughts continued

My bedside clutter is in a bag in my closet
But my laundry is all folded and put away.

Should I use the good glasses that can't go in the dishwasher or the ones that match my dishes?

At least I've had a shower...

Thanksgiving thoughts

thought # 1
It's the little things
Today I am thankful for many things. Right now I am most thankful that I did not have to stick my hand up a turkeys hiney and pry out the still frozen giblets.

Thought # 2
Having a clean refrigerator on Thanksgiving is a good thing.
Cleaning the refrigerator on Thanksgiving morning is a really bad idea.
Back to cleaning up the mustard sauce that's all over the floor and cupboards....

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

No Treble

Ummm, am I taking this whole treble thing too far? Quite possibly. Have no fear, it will end soon, as soon as I finish my grand treble finale.

After church on Sunday, Denise, Amber, Olivia, Harrison and I headed to the Presbyterian church for their annual Swiss Steak Dinner (Attention Chicago Manual of Style freaks, myself first and foremost included, this event is worthy of capitalization) We decided to do take-out this year. Mom went to the dinner with Carolyn so we wanted to get in our comfy pants and plop at home and eat. The guys were deer hunting so we also figured we could eat their pie and then feign shock, surprise and outrage that "someone" must have forgotten to give it to us.

Mom arrived back home as we were finishing our lunch and quickly settled into her chair. Baby Harrison  fell asleep in her arms and the rest of us settled in to watch the Vikings . Denise was crocheting but soon was sound asleep. Mom's head nodded as she fought a losing battle to stay awake. Her arm was falling asleep so I took Harrison. On the love seat across from me, Amber's eyes were closed leaving Olivia and I to amuse ourselves--quietly--as Harrison was on my lap.

Here's a snippet of our whispered conversation:
"Omee, how do you know which one is a daddy deer and which one is a mommy deer?"
"The daddy deer have antlers," I replied holding my hands up on each side of my head to demonstrate.
"Those aren't antlers, they're horns," was her response.
"No, antlers"
I realize that I am trying to win an argument with  a 4-year old, "OK, horns then," I surrendered.
Olivia giggled with glee and said, "No they're not, they're antlers."
What can I say--I was set up. By a 4-year-old.

While Olivia played with her Barbies, I decided to take a few pictures of Harrison;

All that's missing is the background symphony of snoring. \
Here comes big sister

And I discovered the joy of a nap without ever closing my eyes.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Decorating Treble

One item that didn't make the cut can only be described as the seashell equivalent of the Poker Dogs paintings.
You know the one I mean 

It should come as no surprise that Sam is the person responsible for finding this whimsical addition to our home decor
 I don't know, they're awfully cute

The attention to detail is breathtaking

 This little guy reminds me of Sam's Uncle Steve.

So, after hours of soul-searching, gut-wrenching deliberation, these little guys have been relegated to the closet containing out-of-favor decorating items.
Did I make the right decision?

Friday, November 5, 2010

"Why Treble in the Kitchen?"

you ask. Here's how it all started:
As I have been putting the house back together, re-hanging pictures, generally getting whatever decorating juices I possess flowing again, I've had to make a few changes. It's been fun to see everything come together, even though I thought I was content with bare walls and a home with zero personality. I felt maybe I was getting in touch with my inner minimalist, but one day instead of going through the garage, I entered the house through the front door. It was like I had hit the bland button--going from the beauty of fall colors and my elaborately decorated front yard and deck and into Beigeville.
With help from family and friends, I emptied boxes and totes of my stored decorating treasures. My copper collection again graces the south entry wall and family photos are back in their places. I added some new things along the way and love the way it turned out.
I had to make some hard choices along the way....

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Treble in the Kitchen

First off, let me clarify that I am certainly no busier than any other woman who juggles a job, caregiving and housekeeping. There, I have one sentence written. Now it's time to take Mom her coffee and get ready for work.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Out of Place

Over the past weeks and months spent preparing for Lukas and Denise's wedding, Sam and I spent a lot of time moving stuff from one place to another. So much so, that this conversation was repeated more times than I care to think about.
"So, what did you do today?"
"I moved s*#t around. What did you do today?"
"I moved s*#t around."
"Do you think we'll ever have our s*#t where it belongs?"
"Not in this lifetime."

In all of this cleaning, clearing, decorating, undecorating, entertaining and memory-making, a few things were bound to be out of place. Some of them were placed (or misplaced) by human hands, and the rest, well, just looked weird.

It took 2 days to find my toothpaste
 Then I found this blackberry charger in a bag with some beef sticks in the downstairs frig

I am ashamed to admit it, but a full 2 weeks passed before I noticed this one

Yes, that's a gallon jar of barbeque sauce from the groom's dinner. It may still be there. Maybe the coyotes have carried it off and are enjoying it.

I planted this brown-eyed susan vine in June. 2 days before a killing frost, it finally decided to bloom

I missed cutting back this hosta bloom and here's what happened

Not exactly the fall scene I was going for but this is what happens with October temps in the 70s
 OK, here's a photo I'm going to stick in here now, just because I love it. It makes me laugh every time I look at it. And is a tiny snapshot of how hard everyone worked to set up for the wedding. This is my brother-in-law Gary carefully guarding the sound equipment.

A few days ago I came home and found this in my bedroom. That's our dog Gus's blanket and pillow on my side of the bed. And a deer antler.
Gus is a 24 lb 13 1/2 year old, deaf Lhasa Apso. He maneuvered this antler through our TWO doggie doors.
 After all that, I felt really bad taking it away from him.

Then, Tuesday night, I received the following photo on my phone

with the message, "Hi, Mom."

You'll have to ask Addie about that one. 

Thanks for dropping by. I'd love to hear your "out of place" stories. It's lonely here in crazy-town.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A week from tomorrow

is the wedding. I'm home cleaning my house today. With all the needs to be done, here's what I'm doing:

Spray painting outlet covers.

Because I'm too cheap to buy new ones and I read a hint in Heloise. One can of Hammered Copper metallic paint and I'm feeling mighty fine about this little project.

Umm. I may have spoken too soon. A couple problems:
I should have been more careful with the tape--so took them off and am painting them outside
Light switch easy to do both on and off positions. Garbage disposal, a little more complicated.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

An Inconvenient Deluge

About 3 pm yesterday the skies darkened, thunder rumbled, lightning criss-crossed the sky and rain began falling. It rained through the evening, all night long and continues to rain as I am writing this post. Our rain gauge is under a tree (don't even get me started about that situation) but it was overflowing at 5". I dumped it out. When I took Mom to her house, she said, "Look and see how much water is in the bucket."
"Mom, I can't tell for sure, there are tomatoes and a few cabbage leaves floating on top, but looks like about 8 inches"
But at least she didn't position her improvised rain gauge under a tree. Ok, so we may have to perform a few displacement theory calculations, but I'm guessing we're in the ballpark at 8 inches and counting.

So for those of us (and you) who are looking forward to the:
(Totally unrelated to this post, but I think we may have put the d's backwards.  Good thing they're just tacked on)

Let's be grateful that this record-breaking storm did not happen next week as we would have been rounding up boats instead of golf carts to transport you: