Friday, May 30, 2008

Change-a lina!

I just received a letter from another "mouse" inspired company suggesting that I was in danger of copy right infringement on a video I made, so in order to avoid all future law suits from now on we're going with pseudonyms!

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"Mouse-a-lina" Ballerina

A thousand years ago when I had little girls I wanted a special little child sized "cookie cupboard" for the to pretend and play with. I drew up some plans and gave them to a friend of mine and he build the little cupboard you see in the photos.

He used scrap lumber and finished it off beautifully with a gorgeous stain that match all that country look we all had back then. My two girls (and yes, my boys too!) played with that little cookie cupboard for years and years.

Eventually they grew up and away from pretending and the little cupboard was placed in the garage to wait.

A couple of months ago one of the kids decided to give it another try. His wife thought it would look fresh with a new coat of paint and some frills. It was sanded and handles and hinges were removed and Gramma went a painting.

Mommy decided that a "Mouse-a-lina Ballerina" would go perfectly in a French nursery, pink, celery, creamy butter, and a few variations on those colours would do just right.

A few days work, new pewter finish hinges and hardware, rose coloured glass knobs and pulls- she's all updated! The little cookie cupboard is seeing a band new day and gearing up for new little people playtime. When all is said and done, this recycling job was well worth it!

I'll post more photos after it hs been completely reassembled and I can get to it!

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Thursday, May 29, 2008


Here's another set, this time for a little guy named "Timothy". He is a huge fan of the movie "Automobiles", so his parents wanted his letters to reflect that theme in his room.

Luckily for me, this was a 'freebie' job so they didn't complain about the way the cars actually came out. Yikes! I need to work on drawing cars more often...these are a tad funky.

Tomorrow: Not letters but a recycle project!

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I hope you don't mind, but here goes some more of those projects that have been keeping me busy.

A while back I did two sets of nursery letters. One thing leads to another and it seems that I am getting a bit of business decorating wood letters now! This is way fun! This set spells out "Nathan" whose mother said loves all kinds of animals, so we have the following in his name:

a shark, a lady bug, a skunk, and a peacock "eye".

a turtle shell, flamingo feathers, and giraffe skin.

an orca/killer whale, snake skin, and cheetah print (his personal favourite).

tiger , zebra, brown bear, and alligator skins.

butterfly wings, brown cow, raccoon eyes, and a clown fish.

a toucan, an elephant, a honey bee, jaguar and dalmatian skin.

All they need now is a ribbon and to be placed on the wall!

Tomorrow: More letters!

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Do One Thing: Week 5


2-3 socks, underwear, change of clothes, t-shirt, pants, windbreaker, hat , sturdy shoes, ( Thor and I packed all these plus sweat pants/shirt for layering) , Comfort items: Scriptures, books, games, favorite toys, paper, pens/pencils/ crayons, music, etc. (um, I packed M&Ms and tootsie pops!)

So there you go! Do something comforting this week.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008


Every once in a while I actually get some art work or craft done. It's been a while since I posted anything I have done, so I thought I'd post a few photos of projects from the past few months.

The lamp was an inexpensive find at Michaels, but came in a very plain shade of putty. I knew exactly where it was going and who it would be for, but I had to make a few changes.

The nursery would be done in shades of pink, celery, beige, cream, white, milk chocolate, and a very light true butter. The theme would be French Country. So I painted a few of the details on the lamp and painted wood letters to match in the baby's name. I added small crystal fringe around the base of the silk shade and thought it could use some pretty flowers as well.

The flowers only came in that creamy true butter so I grabbed a can of floral spray and tinted a few of the petal edges the softest shade of pink and added them to the shade base.

That mommy was happy with the results and soon I am off to paint more nursery furniture to match, big brother names in wood letters and a toy trunk to boot. Sounds like my kind of fun!

Another mommy asked me to copy one of her favourite paintings and switch it up just a bit. We changed the mommy from the artist's version to the actual mommy, same with baby and added a daddy too. I made the colours more vivid and put a bit of pearl essence throughout the water and shells. It took forever, but it eventually was a success.

I have a few more projects in the works, but they are also taking time. So when I can I'll get them finished and then post some more.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Roast Loin of Pork with Apple Pecan Dressing for 8

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 apple - peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (the recipe called for walnuts, but we used pecans)
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 5 cups dry bread crumbs (tried "crumbs" first time out = yuck, use cubes, or dry stuffing mix, unseasoned)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 (3 pound) boneless rolled pork loin roast (we got ours at Costco, pre marinated)
O.k. here's the drill:

Preheat the oven to 350.

Put the butter in a saute pan and toss in the veggies and pecans, cook until somewhat tender. I didn't cook them all the way because I figured they would continue to cook while in the oven. If you want a crunch in the stuffing, do what I did, if you want it all soft, cook the veggies all the way.

Add the apple sauce and spices, blend and set aside for a minute while you prep the meat.

Our roast came marinated. If yours doesn't I suggest seasoning it with fresh cracked pepper and garlic. Place the roast in a hot skillet and brown/sear on all sides.

Place the roast in the middle of a roasting pan, toss the stuffing around the sides and pop into the oven for about an hour, or until the center of the roast measures 180 degrees. Pull out of the oven and allow the roast to sit for fifteen minutes prior to cutting.

While the roast is cooking grab a fresh pineapple and skin it. Turn it on its' side and thinly slice it -about 1/4" slices"- right through the core. Spread brown sugar on a plate or shallow pan and coat each pineapple slice on both sides. Place the slices in a microwavable dish and nuke for 4 minutes. The pineapple will be drenched in melted brown sugar ad beginning to tenderize. Take the pineapple and place it single layer on a baking sheet. When your roast gets out of the oven and is resting, pop the pineapple under the broiler to caramelize the pineapple.

If you would rather have apple sauce, I suggest one apple for each person and one for the pot. Peel and core the apples and chop into large bite size pieces. Place the apple pieces in a microwavable bowl and wrap with saran wrap or with a lid. Nuke for about 4-6 minutes or until fork tender but still slightly firm. Add sugar and cinnamon to taste. Depending on the apples, you may only need cinnamon.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Do One Thing: Week 4

Week 4: FIRST AID KIT: alcohol, wipes, band aids, neosporin, moleskin, tweezers, nail clippers, medications, Rx meds. if you can, flashlight with batteries, sunscreen, bug repellent, sunglasses, etc.

Below is one example of a fully stocked kit from the
American Red Cross website:

First Aid Kit
Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car.

  • (20) adhesive bandages, various sizes.
  • (1) 5" x 9" sterile dressing.
  • (1) conforming roller gauze bandage.
  • (2) triangular bandages.
  • (2) 3 x 3 sterile gauze pads.
  • (2) 4 x 4 sterile gauze pads.
  • (1) roll 3" cohesive bandage.
  • (2) germicidal hand wipes or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • (6) antiseptic wipes.
  • (2) pair large medical grade non-latex gloves.
  • Adhesive tape, 2" width.
  • Anti-bacterial ointment.
  • Cold pack.
  • Scissors (small, personal).
  • Tweezers.
  • CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield.

Non-Prescription Drugs

  • Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
  • Laxative
  • Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

The "Thank You" Dinner

A quick post before I head out to spend a few days with the kids.

Friday night was considered a success. We were a bit concerned when we first got to the building for the dinner, no one was there! We had made arrangements for folks to set up tables and chairs while we worked prepping the meal, but no one came until 15 minutes prior to the dinner's scheduled time!

So a couple of us kept working the kitchen and the other two set up the dining room.
We had a group of really great young adults come to help serve and work in the kitchen, but he folks who were supposed to set up never made it.

As far as the tartlets went, well it was interesting. No one really understood exactly what I had planned on bringing although I thought I had explained it clearly. Small buttery tart shells, somewhere gloriously between a butter cookie and the perfect flaky pie crust, 1.5 inch - about a two bite for women, one bite for guys, filled with a variety of four flavours. Try as I may, I couldn't get them to visualize it.

Then I began to prep the tartlets. I could tell by the looks that some were worried that they might be too small, "just a taste of dessert" would be fine. Eventually however, once they tasted them...oh my heck.

The main guy at the event, the head honcho as it were, I know he was a little surprised. Before the dinner started he asked us if he should announce anything about the dinner. Our RS president ran through the menu once more.

French bread with rosemary olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Fresh baby greens with Gorgonzola, cranberries, almonds and raspberry vinaigrette

Roast loin of pork

Apple walnut dressing

Steamed broccoli

Fresh pineapple, grilled to caramelize

Tartlets, chocolate ganache, fresh strawberry, lemon curd, nutmeg vanilla with fresh banana, each topped with fresh whipped cream.

His response was: "Oh so we're not supposed to eat those as an appetizer?" um, no.

Then he explains that he told half of the guest to be there at 6, the other half at 6:30, so could we hold dinner for a half an hour? We did, however the broccoli that was steamed to perfection became funky and we had to toss it and redo a whole new batch. ugh. But all went well.

The roast was very tender and juicy, and the pineapple was sooo good! The dressing was not only fragrent, but had a great crunch with the apples and walnuts, yummy!

Then came the tarts. One man whispered to his wife that he wasn't going to even try them, he didn't want to eat store bought. Then someone informed him that they had been made from scratch, from the shells to the whipped cream. He tried on, and then another and then another until his wife made him stop. They were such a hit! Another man said he was originally disappointed because the dinner was so great he was looking forward to a big dessert to match, but after tasting each of the four tartlets, decided their richness and flavour was more than satisfying and wanted us to give his wife the recipe.

The kids who helped out were all going crazy. One young man said he was going to have all the meetings at our house from now on...he wanted more and figured I could just make them all the time. It was a toss up which was the favourite, I think it depended on who you talked with. Chocolate was in the lead until everyone ate the lemon, then the banana took a turn and strawberry seemed to win a few arguments as well. Then the kitchen staff got crazy and began to mix two at once. Strawberry banana, chocolate banana, chocolate strawberry, it was nuts.

All in all the night went well. Our kitchen staff was probably the best we have ever had. The kitchen was in a continual state of cleaning which meant we were only there a few minutes after the event ended and we got to go home as well! It was great!

So THANKS to Chronicler and her amazing tart shells! It made the evening perfect!

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

what a week!

Missouri Storms and more tornadoes also in Oklahoma raising the death toll.

Sudan and Chad hostilities. Lebanon troubles. Debating about Tibet still in Nepal.

Jenna jumped the broom. Indecision in Baghdad ... despite 4,077 dead.

Somebody started the fire in Florida. US aide takes off for cyclone hit Myanmar.

4 High Court Justices bow out. The circus continues. The Marines exceed their recruiting goals. Polygamists write the President.

Jerusalem causes problems for the 60th Anniversary Celebrations.

Lead shoes are worn by the government in Myanmar.

More news on links to Autism. ...and the beat goes on...

A scam artist and a tax rebate walk into a bar... When it rains, it pours.

Hezbollah gets into the act. Cease fire kills 11. It's my party and I'll quit if I want to.

What recession? WalMart seems to be doing just fine. So is big oil; and HP goes shopping. But most of us are being careful; and 1/3 of us plan to postpone our retirements.

A pacifier. One price is lowering.

Foot binding leads to small steps. "medium intensity"

Katrina may get another shot. America's favourite pastime. oy.

They walk alike, they talk alike.

Another chip in the China The death toll kept rising...20,000

I see London, I see France.

So much for Lizzie Bordon.

Smart and tough.

....and it's "o.k. to believe" according to the Pope, good to know.

What's the Chinese word for "damn"?

The FDA is protecting the drug companies? what a shock! How to threaten a polar bear.

Whoops! sorry. our bad!

Well it was insurance companies and the government, what did we expect?

and what really set me off:
proof my vote (and the majority of California's voting citizens votes) literally does not count

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

what a weak!

O.k. so you saw the agenda. Somewhere in the middle I decided that heck, things are just going too smoothly so why not get really really ill? Yeah, that was fun.

I was going pretty good. I had babysat the most well behaved baby in the universe (oh my heck this child is easy!), and then geared up to go to Time Out For Women.

I went over to my sis's house to chat for a second while we 'canned' (that didn't take nearly as long as I had anticipated.) Then headed over to my mom's to do the mother's day gig because I knew I would be otherwise occupied on Sunday. After that I headed to the local Fresh and Easy to grab a lunch for the following day. I picked up a Caesar Salad and a peach nectar and went to my sis in laws to visit with her hubby and daughter until she got home. Her hubby grabbed subs and sodas and we spent the night yakking away till about midnight when her son told us to "GO TO BED!"

I hop into the shower and by 12:30 I was face down in the loo sacrificing to the porcelain gods. Not fun. Meatball and marinara in reverse is never a good idea. But one good 'ralph' and I thought I was done. "Just too much to eat." I thought. I thought wrong.

Literally every hour on the half I got up again to recycle the daily intake. Holy Schmoly. At 4:30 my tour of duty woke up sis and she was standing outside the door as I crawled out to leave. I took the cold glass of water she offered, it was heaven to sip, and explained the situation. She prophesied that I wouldn't be heading down to San Diego that morning. She's always been a smart one.

At 5:30 I again met her in the hall and decided to call it. Flat Lined, I gathered my bags, surrendered my ticket in hopes of her finding someone to go in my stead, and headed to the car. As we were at the front door her son popped his 12 year old head out from underneath the dining room table and said, "GO TO BED! YOU'VE BEEN TALKING ALLLLLLL NIGHT!" -seems he and a cousin were camped out there and had heard us "talking" all night. yikes.

I drove the hour and a half home in about two hours. I stopped three times to 'ralph' and breathe. My head was beginning to split open, fever, chills, and I seriously thought that Thor would have to come and drive me home, abandoning my vehicle (or his) until the resurrection...I was dying.

My last stop before home was a Pep Boys at 6:45, where I am sure the few cars driving by enjoyed the sight of me, red satin night shirt and jeans, hung over in half, crying and ralphing in the flower bed. Pretty. "Yup, she had a good time last night!"

I called to wake up Thor about ten minutes before I drove into the drive way, or front yard as it turned out, and went to bed. The next 10 hours were the same as the previous, on the half hour; until finally, it ended.

Sweet Mercy! That was one nasty 36 hours. I slept through Mother's Day. I was weak come Monday, but healthy enough to babysit the little guy again, and let me say I am SO GLAD that baby is easy. He was so sweet and just the best little boy.

I came home again for Wednesday to attend RS meetings and to gear up for the weekend's festivities. Thursday I meet with Chronicler who is making me tart shells to fill. (click on her link to see what I get to fill! YUM!)

Friday we'll cook pork loin, apple sauce, pineapples, dressing, and I'll make the tarts! Set up tables, decorate and prepare flowers. That night we'll serve and clean up; and then, I suspect, I will hit the mattress dead, or at least hoping to be!

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Do One Thing: Week 3

Week 3: FOOD & MESS KIT: Cereal, peanut butter, oatmeal, dry soup mixes, MREs, jam juices, fruit cups, energy bars, dried fruit, nut crackers, PLUS a mess kit or utensils to cook with, manual can opener, ziploc bags. (again, remember the baby and provide whatever the little ones may be used to eating) No need to go to the store, try to find things right from the cupboard!

You should store with meals in mind, however, BASIC meals for survival, not company sit down feasts. Store extra water if you are storing meals that need water in a recipe, such as soup. Store only those things you currently eat. If you don't eat MREs on a weekly basis don't store them. Also if you can find canned goods with the pop tops, that illuminates the need for can openers.

3 Meals and two snacks per person each day. Store this in your containers that you gathered last week. You can place all the meals in one pack or give each person their own meals in their own pack/'s up to you. Think about freshness, stability, and expiration dates. wrap or re-wrap to discourage spoilage and pests. Label the food and also the outside of your container so that you know what you have, the suggested meal menus, and when you need to rotate it out with a fresh batch.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Survey says....

Hey everyone! I'm still out and about, however, I have a favour to ask...Can you pop over to
Food Chronicles and take her survey on snack foods? It takes literally about 20 seconds from start to finish and it will help her out in a project she is working on. Thanks!

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008


This week has been a doozey, however I am pluggin' along. We had a wonderful weekend.

Thursday Sis and I headed out for the Bishop's storehouse for a scheduled trip. Normally when I go I am the only person there or with the few folks who carpool with me, it's a ghost town. Not so on Thursday. It was Toys Are Us on Christmas Eve. So we made our purchases, checked out a bag sealer and decided to do the work at home instead.

Thursday night found us in the San Diego area to attend a gathering of friends and family to tribute a woman who had suffered from Alzheimer's Disease for the past 10 years. She was a great lady, fun to be with, a social butterfly of her era, and it was sad to watch her slowly go through this horrid disease.

Years ago, at the onset of her illness, she made her wishes known for how things would go when she finally passed. Gather everyone, eat great food, chat with each other, show the scrapbook and a few slides, give each family a small flower to take home and plant in her memory. Folks were given the opportunity to speak about her influence, and many did. It was a joyous and glad celebration of someone who we will miss.

Friday was our ward Temple night...that was fabulous! We were also invited to a wedding, however we just did a very quick drop off and got in the car to drive to the temple. Cute couple and I am sure they were so starry eyed they didn't miss us a bit!

Saturday morning Thor set up tables and chairs for the funeral and I helped the gals with the luncheon for over 200. The funeral was moved from our building t a stake center to accommodate the family and friends who attended, and yes, they filled the hall and chapel. This man was very loved and his very premature death was a shock to everyone. His children wrote a beautiful song and performed it along with a slide presentation which brought tears to everyone's eyes. It was spectacular and impressive, amazing. The funeral was over 2 hours and by the time we fed the family and cleaned up, we didn't get home until almost three.

Sunday morning we headed out with some of our kids to meet with others and bless our new baby girl. We had such a great trip and seeing that tiny little child in a dress that was well over three feet long, well, oh my, she was beautiful! Daddy pronounced a sweet and humble blessing, we ate lunch and visited with Mogli and Rafiki. It was a really nice day! Serious fun.

Monday came and I needed to run around a bit, piecing together prices with items for an upcoming dinner. I had missionaries to feed, so I tried out a new recipe...yum! A pork loin roast stuffed with apple - pecan dressing, broccoli, and grilled pineapple. It was moist and tender and oh my heck. Two of the offspring came by so that made the meal even better.

This morning I went to a meeting with three other Stake RS Presidents and their counselors to discuss an upcoming event we are all involved in. Can I tell you? I think it is way cool that these four stakes are cooperating and working together- striving- to lift each other and stay connected. We all came from one original ward which became a stake and then divided into four over the last 20 years. Rarely when that happens do folks actually stay in touch, keep seeing each other and keep gleaning good things from each others. It is awesome that it is happening. We are gaining so much more than if we did this alone. I very much enjoy these women and their willingness to come together and make great goals that lead to success for not only the women in our small little hamlets, but families in and out of the church. We are working for everyone in the community.

Our major concern is self reliance for the church members, neighbors, and communities where we live. We are encouraging all to prepare their 72 hour kits, to prepare for three months of personal need and to educate themselves on as many levels as possible so that nothing comes as a surprise. Ahhhh! Being with these ladies inspires me.

Tomorrow I am off to another meeting with more sweet women; this time to discuss a dinner for 60 we have been asked to prepare and serve as a thank you. This is why I taste tested the pork loin earlier in the week...I think we have a winner of a menu.

Our situation is this: Our President is otherwise occupied with a grand baby that arrived 5 weeks ahead of schedule and another one due any minute, so she is flying all over to try and be in three places at once! One counselor went to Mexico with her hubby for an anniversary celebration and came back with a seriously bad "bug"...literal. She has been very ill for several days. Oh yes, and her eldest child is returning in a week or so from a mission. Our normally super human secretary has been driving hundreds of miles lately preparing for her husband's transplant (Thank You Heavenly Father!!! Things are rapidly coming through for this sweet man!). So although she makes herself available (which is a miracle, I mean really, I would beg off I think) she is riding a horrendous roller coaster and we need to be uber healthy around her.

Me? I am running down to my Sis's house to "can", then over to #1's to baby sit! (wahoooo! Oh yeah, did I tell you he reached for me? Yeah, someone else had him and he started to cry, looked around and saw me and reached for me! Can I tell you how great that was? Yes sirreee!) and then off to San Diego this weekend for Time Out For Women, which I have been waiting for forever! So although my week is busy, at least my business is fun!

Then Mother's Day.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Do One Thing: Week 2

Week 2: WATER: One gallon per person per day, plus water purification tablets (water for cooking and drinking; sanitation may require more). Think about the water in Louisiana after Katrina, plenty of water, just none you want to drink or bathe in- also make sure to calculate and provide enough formula and water for the baby.

We'll start filling that container soon, stay with me!

Now if you want to do more, why not take the following quiz, provided by the

California Volunteers....

A Message From Maria

Get Ready! Family Assessment

In California, it’s not a question of if a disaster will strike, but when. Whether it’s wildfires, earthquakes, winter storms or even man-made disasters, the Golden State faces its share of problems. Do you know what to do? Do you have a plan?

When disaster strikes, emergency workers may be delayed in responding, so you need to learn what to do, have a plan and be prepared to take care of yourself, your family and your community.

WE Prepare by being ready! Are you prepared? Answer the following questions to find out if you have taken steps to be prepared in an emergency.

Do you have a family disaster plan?
Yes No

Do you have a disaster supply kit?
Yes No

Have you identified local emergency contacts?
Yes No

Have you identified out-of-state emergency contacts?
Yes No

Have you identified a family meeting place?
Yes No

Have you talked to your children about what to do in an emergency?
Yes No N/A

Have you practiced what to do at home in the event of a disaster?
Yes No

Have you duplicated important documents (e.g. insurance documents, birth certificates, deed to your home)?
Yes No N/A

Do you know your child's school disaster plan?
Yes No N/A

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, please take a few minutes to fill out a customized family disaster plan.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Good for what ails you...

I have a very busy schedule today through Sunday! 2 Funerals, 1 Wedding, 1 Baby Blessing, cutting my hair, cooking roasted potatoes with herbs (for the funeral)and a trip to the temple. So I grabbed the photo album and took a few cleansing breaths. Views from a few of the beaches we have been to, and wish to be again...

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