The most requested thing for dinner around here? Noodles. With butter.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


The day after Christmas is Boxing Day. Here's the history of it...

Curiouser and curiouser

It has been windy and wet this morning.

The house has been rattling, the screens on the windows have been waving, and the dog almost got blown off course when he went to investigate yet another mole-hole in the backyard.

I was standing at the kitchen window, watching him brave the wind and rain when something flashed past me at eye level.

A leaf... that was my first thought. But, no! It came back into view from the other direction and it hovered momentarily in front of the window... a hummingbird! A dazed, confused, blown-about-by-every-wind-of-nature hummingbird!

Poor little thing. I don't even have a hummingbird feeder. I have some multicolored patio lights, which it probably mistook for a feeder, but I have no actual food for a hummer. It must have been eating somewhere, but not at my house.

If I were the kind of person that wore a camera at all times, I would have been able to snap a photo for you. But, I am not that kind of person (contrary to popular belief).

I'm not sure if this sighting is a sign of global climate change (whatever that means), or a nudge to me to go to the store and get a hummingbird feeder. Regardless, glimpsing a bird like that is always a reminder of my Father's care for all his creation- including me.

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they?" Matthew 6:26 NIV

Monday, December 20, 2010

Is this...?

Is this the little girl I carried...
...home from China in January 2002?

She looks so good in red. Believe it or not, the dress in the top photo was purchased at Spanky's Consignment Store! She picked it out especially for the Christmas program at school. She was thrilled to have such a grown-up, fancy dress. (And I was thrilled to find something so nice on the cheap!)

I can't believe we have been together almost 9 years.

Merry Christmas, kiddo!

Monday, December 6, 2010

When is a desk not a desk?

When it is a fort!
As you can see, this corner fort has been outfitted with the very latest in necessary fort gear - quilt, pillows, toys, books, a green front door flap, and most importantly, glow sticks for light and ambiance. (It is amazing what one can do when one has been grounded from the TV and DS...)

During the day on Saturday, I went to ask her a question and found her happily occupying her new space while listening to Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik blasting from the CD player on top of the desk, er, uh, I mean fort. On Sunday, I discovered that she had slept in the fort Saturday night. She told me it was moderately comfortable, but she felt stiff because there had been no room to stretch out. I suggested that she stick her feet out the door, but she didn't think that was a good idea. I guess it compromises the security of the green door flap.

Apparently, she wasn't sore enough because she opted to sleep there on Sunday night as well!

Tonight, we are back to the regularly scheduled bed with the many blankets piled on top.

Will update you from Fort Abby as the need arises.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey Day!!!

How about just a little photo essay of the day...

The table is set and we are ready to celebrate the good things God has given us.

Roscoe is not very happy at his place in the living room- far, far away from the table...

We had rolls,

famous broccoli salad,

sweet potatoes,


amazing delicious succulent turkey,

creamy mashed potatoes,


sparkling cran-apple
(and I don't know why this is underlined- I can't get rid of it!),

funny cousins,

silly Uncle John taking pictures of the food...
(ok, I started it by taking pictures of the food. He was mocking me, but we had a good time watching him do it...)

Ooops. I forgot to take a picture of the pumpkin dessert. It was yummy.

It's good to be thankful all year long,
but it's especially good to be thankful together with family and friends.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's flurry-ing!

It started shortly after 1pm, and it came down hard for about an hour. Then, it was on and off- big flakes and small...

So pretty.

The temp is above freezing, but it will cool off tonight so I don't know about school tomorrow.

Maybe a 2-hour late start...? (I love those because we don't have to make them up but we do get to sleep in.)

Here's His Royal Shortness in the flurries...
I had to throw some treats out there to get him to explore long enough to get pics.
He's close to finding the last treat.
After 3 minutes, he is done with the snow.
May I go in now?
Thanks. I'm exhausted. That was hard work. (you can still see bits of snow in his fur.)

On a completely different note- I won a contest! Check out the 5 Inky Fingers blog and you'll see!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Flurry. What a great word. It's almost like a combination of "fluffy" and "furry".
Flurry. Say it slowly... fuh-luuuuurrrrrreeee. It's beautiful, really.

Why? Because it is often proceeded by another beautiful word: snow.

Snow flurries. Possibly brought to you on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010 by and

Not probably, just possibly.

That's enough to get me all a-tingle.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The latest from Abbyland...

She bought herself a new hat. It has ear flaps- you know, just in case we have a really cold winter...

Personally, I like this version better...


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Yipee! It's time to set our clocks back!

It's my favorite night of the year! I get an extra hour of sleep! 'Course, my inner clock doesn't realize that and it wakes me at the normal time but it is just wonderful to roll over and tell my inner clock to snuggle back in for an hour!

And, just so I don't have TOO much fun with this, my neighbor's garage band picked tonight to practice. I can't always hear the tune, but the beat pounds through my bedroom wall just fine...

Dum dum dada dada, dum dum dada dada, dum dum dada dada.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child is a ministry of Samaritan's Purse. It exists to provide Christmas gifts to children of poverty around the world. The gifts that are provided are shoeboxes that are stuffed with things that kids want/like/need.

Our church has participated in OCC for a few years now, and Abby and I have always packed up a couple of shoeboxes to donate. Our Life Group also packs shoeboxes together as a group- we started out doing 30 boxes a few years ago, and this year we have worked our way up to 60. Everyone signs up to bring 60 of a certain item, we spread them out on many tables, and the adults supervise the kids as they choose things to go in each box.

I've been thinking a lot about OCC. There are people around the world who donate much more than one box a year. Why don't I do that? So, I prayed about it and decided to do a dozen boxes. Lots of the items that I purchase for the boxes are packaged in 12s, so it seemed like a good number. I also started looking for bargains for the boxes in December. I decided to buy a dozen items each month. That way, I would spread the cost over the whole year instead of just one shot in the fall. Of course, the school supplies were all bought in August during the big sales, but everything else was purchased through the year.
I use this bookshelf in my guest room to hold all of the items as I gather them through the year. I found out that boys age 10 to 14 had the fewest boxes donated so I decided to do all of my boxes for that age group. Makes it easier to buy in bulk. I found bargains in many places- The Dollar Store, office liquidation stores, WalMart, Target, Ross Dress for Less, craft stores, online toy outlets, and craigslist. (Craigslist is where I found lots of Beanie Babies for less than a dollar each- and they still had their tags. Since they were part of a collection and hadn't been used as toys, they were ok to put in the boxes. Beanie Babies happen to squish nicely into the shoe boxes.)

I have to tell you, I had a blast planning and shopping for the boxes the whole year. It kept me thinking about and praying for the boxes specifically, and Samaritan's Purse in general.
Here is one box worth spread out on a bed. There are school supplies, personal hygiene items, bandaids, toys, a kazoo, a flashlight & batteries, duct tape (every boy likes duct tape), candy, a T-shirt, and a string bag backpack so the guy can carry all his stuff around.

It was pretty easy to spread it out on the bed, the tricky part was getting it into the box!
Thanks to some nice big rubber bands, it almost all fit. I had to leave out one of the pads of paper, but I will use those next year.

Now I have to go to the Samaritan's Purse website and send in a donation to cover shipping. They will send me labels to print and then I just stick them on the boxes and that is it! The labels will track the boxes and in January I will get an email telling me the country where they were sent.

The boy that gets this box will get some cool and useful items, but more importantly, he will be invited to do a Bible study that will explain to him how much God loves and cares for him. That is the coolest gift of all.

I hope you got some good ideas from this post. Maybe you will pack a shoebox this year. Maybe you will pack more than one. Maybe you will make it a family tradition to pack shoeboxes together and deliver them to a local participating church. Maybe you will just send money to Samaritan's Purse. Maybe you will do something for a local charity instead.

Whatever you choose to do, I hope you have as much fun with it as I have had with the shoeboxes. I can hardly wait till next year!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

When worlds collide...

I'm a scrapbooker. I've already scrapped a page about this blog, now I am blogging about my scrapbooks. Talk about a close encounter of the hobby kind...

So, here are some of my scrapbook pages. They aren't in any particular order, and they're the ones I think are blog-worthy. (I'm not going to put the ones I don't really like on here.)

This one was done for my hot-cocoa lovin' kiddo in 2005.

This one was done the weekend we got the dog. The lay-out was patterned after Susan Goetter's design on her blog.

The dog at the vet. (Every event must be scrapped...)

An artsy shot of the dog with the words of the dog-food commercial about shelter dogs. I got this idea from another scrapper on

You can see more of my pages on (My name on that site is "quilt", which I used because I couldn't think of anything else at the time.)

I find scrapping and card-making to be such relaxing hobbies. I love the planning, the cutting and pasting, the patterns on the papers, all the stickers, and of course, the finished results. I have recently played around with digital scrapbook layouts and have found that it is almost as fun as the cut-n-paste version. I use a company in Georgia to print my 12" x 12" pages for a whole lot less than FedEx/Kinkos.

It is so nice to have a history of me and Ab in photos. Sometimes, we pick up a scrapbook from years ago and sit down and just relive the past together. It is a bonding time and it shows her that I value her and the time we have spent as a family.

Thanks for looking- why not drop me a line and share some of your hobbies with me!?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New trees!

I came home from work yesterday and there were 5 new trees in my backyard! Birches- still with green leaves so now I get to watch them change color! I'm so excited.
They will, in time, effectively block the view of my neighbor's ugly shed. (You can't tell from here, but it is painted three different colors- and not in an artistic sort of way.)
Kiddo likes the trees.
Dog likes the trees- even in the early morning mist.

How did this happen? Well, I actually ordered them a few weeks ago and my landscaper had time to come plant them on a Monday while I was at work. If you are in the market for trees and other stuff, give him a try. G2 Outdoor Living

Update- we have a winner in the latest contest. My mother finally figured out that the Seattle Space Needle and Packy the elephant (Oregon Zoo) were the NW attractions that were established or born the same year I was. Congrats, mom!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Peanut Butter Balls

In 3rd grade, I would walk to school. Down the street and around the corner to Acacia Elementary School in Fullerton, CA. The principal was Mr. Costa. I remember he had a very large mustache.

We ate lunch outside almost every day. The tables were actually stored outside- they folded down from the wall and then folded back up when everyone was done. You can do that sort of thing in southern California. Not so much in the Pacific Northwet.

Anyway, I was a picky eater in those days. Mom says I would only let her pack me peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. She was getting rather bored of making me those sandwiches, but I figured she didn't have to eat them, so what was the problem?

One day, she found a recipe for these things called Peanut Butter Balls. She made them, and I liked them, so she now had a break from the sandwiches- but not from the peanut butter!

I've been thinking about the Peanut Butter Balls lately. I asked mom for the recipe and she said she didn't have it anymore. Boo. I was tempted to pout, but then I thought of the internet and I went in search of a modern version of my 70's snack...

I found about a dozen different recipes- all with different ratios of ingredients. None of them had all the parts that made up my childhood version, so I launched out on my own and came up with this:

1 26 oz. jar of Adams Natural Peanut Butter- Creamy
2 c. honey (I got a great jar of honey from a friend for my b-day- this was the perfect use for it!)
2 c. powdered milk
1 c. flaxseed meal from Bob's Red Mill
5 c. Rice Krispies

The flaxseed meal is not from the original recipe, but it doesn't alter the taste, and it adds really healthy stuff so I put it in.

Mix the first four ingredients well and then put in the Rice Krispies last. I mix those in by hand so they don't get too crushed. Some people use crumbled Raisin Bran or Corn Flakes instead of Rice Krispies, but I find that the Rice Krispies have the right structure to support all the other ingredients and still stay light and crispy.

Refrigerate the mix for a few hours and then form it into balls the size of golf balls.
I think my hand looks weird in that shot- like a claw. I need something more natural...
No, that's not what I want.
Whatever. You get the idea.
The recipe makes about 5 dozen balls. Store in the fridge.

They don't look great, but they really really taste great. They are the perfect combination of the sweet/salty taste bud dance and crunchy/melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Sometimes, I take a couple to school for lunch.
Makes me feel like I am back in 3rd grade again.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

See Dick. See Jane. See their house in central Washington.

See the bicycle reflectors on the parking lot side of the house.
See the tourists run around the building. Run tourists, run!
Look at the recycled keys hanging on a post.
See more reflectors reflecting.
Look at the bear in the front yard. The bear is hugging people. No- the bear is hugging people's heads! Hug bear, hug!
See the child interact with art. Interact child, interact!
See the house wave to the tourists.
Look at the entrance to the house. Now it all makes sense.
See the front door.
See the child interact with more art.
Look at the cameraman taking pictures of the tourists.
Not really. Fooled you.
See the tourist purchase a post card. Purchase tourist, purchase!
See the tourists gaze in wonder.
Look at the flowers climbing along the art. Climb flowers, climb!
See the tourists blend into the artwork.
See the tourist become part of the family.
Look at the tourist signing the guestbook. Sign tourist, sign!
See the blue bottles. Someone was thirsty.
See the tourists get crushed by the heavy recycled industrial parts. Ha. Fooled you again.
Look at the tree expressing its right to bare arms.
See the exit.
See the tourist hug Uncle Sam.
See the fish swim over the trash cans. Swim fish, swim!
Look at the garage with all the hub caps.
See the neighbor children greet the tourist. They are going to tell her she can't paint the fence.
See the parking lot side of the building. We are back where we started.
See the geometry? It's EVERYWHERE.
Wave good-bye to the arty house. Bye house, bye!
We will miss you!
See more about Dick and Jane's spot.

Speaking of tourist attractions, there is an establishment in my town that opened its doors the same year I was born. Some folks consider Steakburger/Golf-o-Rama a tourist attraction, others think of it as a local landmark. For a prize, name two other Northwest establishments/tourist attractions/icons that were born, established or opened the very same year. (Hint: think south and north of where I live. You might have to take the freeway.) First person who names them wins!