Saturday, July 19, 2014

In The Mountains

Littlebuddy had one of the greatest adventures of his life and returned home this week. He was invited to be his grandpa's buddy for eight days in Idaho.

Littlebuddy slept a lot on the drive, but loved the experience of having grandpa all to himself.
The gorgeous view from the top of Galena Summit. . . one of my favorites and a memory he'll never forget. Last time he was in Idaho was when he was three.
The Easley pool, a place I remember dive bombing dragonflies going after my older cousins and I and my brothers. . . lots of good memories there. 
The family cabin.  Its been in our family since 1947. Its a favorite of my dad's and a place he wanted to visit again, but mom said he had to take someone with him, and Ryan happened to be available. Lucky boy.
They made it a priority to get fishing licenses and my boy caught two rainbow trout. Merit badge completed, and truly the memory of a lifetime for him! They had a good time together. Funny how they like the same foods and to check out the same stuff. However, dad came home weighing the same, and Littlebuddy was 9 lbs. bigger - in 8 days. I asked him how that happened. He said, well every time we ate, Grandpa would ask me afterwards if I was still hungry, and I thought about it, and said sure, then Grandpa would get me something else to eat. . . mostly Payday candy bars. . . . He's back on a more traditional eating plan this week :-) Fortunately, at his last physical his Dr. thought he was about 9 lbs. underweight, so no worries here.
My dear, dear friend came to visit me with her daughter the day after they got back. Yeah, I didn't realize HOW very grey I've become until I saw this picture . . . my bathroom mirror has been fibbing to me. . . anyhow, she's a sweetheart to go out of her way, and it was such a treasured time to have her here. Good friends are a blessing! (And, I'm allergic to hair dye so this is the way I roll.)
LittleBuddy, MyGirl and dear friend's daughter, all shared fond memories of where we lived in Maryland and we all had fun playing Moose Farkle.

Thursday was my anniversary. Mike and I slipped away to go to one of our favorite restaurants and yesterday, Friday, we took the kids less than an hour from home for a night camping. Note the s'mores sticks burning off their sticky stuff in the fire. :-) The fire is my children's favorite thing about camping. They all tend it diligently. MyGirl is out searching for more dry wood in the background. There was no one on either side of us, so we had lots of space to spread out. It was a short but sweet trip as we had lots to do Sat. afternoon. The boys didn't catch any fish, and later that day the road to get there was closed by a mud slide, but we feel blessed to have that memory, to have all slept in our new tent, and to have found another place close to home that was enjoyable by everyone. And, this campground had the BEST restrooms I have ever used at a campground. Hurray for the little things in life.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Miscellaneous Cards

Thought I'd throw out the last of the cards we made, starting with an easy baby card.

 Using Washi tape for the background of birthday sentiment is colorful and easy!
 This wedding card is simple and elegant.
 This one is also simple. This is a paper I have used in small bits for many years and it continues to look stylish and fresh and modern. With two weddings on the horizon I will be using both of these up soon.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thinking of You Cards

I have two friends with cancer right now, and neither of them live by me, so its cards from a distance.

These women are my friends, one a little older, the other a little younger than me. Its caused me to stop once again and feel extraordinarily grateful for life, for relationships, for each of our families. These women all have wonderful husbands, five children each who love and cherish them, and knowing its so hard for all of them just makes my heart ache. And makes me want to just hold my children closer and love them more.

Monday, July 7, 2014

10 Simple Thank You Cards

Of the twenty cards that I made last week, ten were thank-you's. Thought I'd post them for some simple ideas you can easily use. All were made using scraps and a few sentiment stamps. Keeping things simple works best for me.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Fun with Family

This is a long post filled with family pictures. If you're not interested, exit now. I haven't blogged much at all. . . issues with getting photos off my phone and lots of entertaining. Its been nice to have the 4th long weekend to relax, get back to some sewing, go to a BBQ with friends, and finally blog, but I sure loved having family HERE!!! These past two weeks were just wonderful! So here goes:

My sister-in-law, brought her two youngest boys to come see us for a couple of days. My boy loved spending time with them! From games of all kinds, both indoors and out, they had a great time.

 Can't believe my boy will soon be a sophomore and his cousin will be a senior!! Where does time go?
 So fun to have rearranged my craft space so that three people can now craft together. We each made about twenty cards over two days, and loved our time together.
 We went to my favorite park, and the boys climbed on the kiddie equipment,
 we walked around the three lakes,
 stopped for some photos along the way,
 skipped a few rocks, and loved this cooler but beautiful two days we had together. That was all earlier this week.

Earlier in June my boy had the opportunity to go to two different camps - 
This one was National Youth Leadership Training. 
Here is getting his awards and certificates upon completion.
 It was a beautiful place, just an hour from our home. The Rockies are truly spectacular in the summer!
 His second camp was to Camp Firewalker, for a church piresthood camp. My dad rode up with me when I was to pick up the boys and we had a gorgeous drive early one Saturday morning.
 These are the tents the boys slept in. Then there was a nice facility for eating, and a whole staff to cook for them. My boy camped out for two weeks and never had to cook his own meals. I call that Lucky!
 From the look on his face, he'd had a good time. Then when we get home he sleeps a lot. He's had to read books for a school AP assignments due August 1, so he's been busy since he's been home too. Good thing company came to relieve him of boredom when he's at home ;-)
 When Cowgirl was here, we did something fun everyday. From going to the outdoor pool at Wilson Ranch to seeing a movie, we had a good week. One of our big adventures was going to the Denver Natural History Museum. They are having an exhibit on the Maya which was fascinating. These were murals of their celebrations. I loved the music that was portrayed through horns and harps and drums.
 MyGirl is doing great finishing up her school week this summer. She will have her diploma, I believe, by the end of August. Good Job!!!
 One of the silly things we found around the museum - a giant plastic - though heavy, anaconda, they enjoyed wearing :-)
 I told you I'd fill you in on the birthday party. We served Crab Louis salad, garlic biscuits like they have at Red Lobster or sourdough bread, fresh fruit, and the carrot cake cheesecake cupcakes.  It was all yummy.
 Cowgirl loved her cowgirl purse.

Mom loved her Quilty row quilt book
 Shaena loved her wall hanging I made for her. It was a fun project I found at last year's Quilt Shop Hop, and knew it was meant for my Cowgirl.
 And last but not least, I've been enjoying my cooler summer evenings. This is a little spot of heaven for me, and I'm grateful for the thunderstorms that come every late afternoon or evening which keep things green, moist and have served to prevent any of the horrible fires we had the last two summers.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I'm not going to use best lightly here. I acknowledge everyone has different taste preferences, but for me and my family, this was exactly what we wanted. Unfortunately, the frosting didn't like me very much, so I had my cupcake frosting-less, but watching everyone else love it made me happy. I'm posting here so as not to forget, and remember I'm, at a high altitude, so I'll add my adjustments in parentheses next to the original recipes.

The cake came from Southern Living and the frosting came from Our Best Bites, both found online.

Best Carrot Cake

2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour (2 + 2T)
2 tsp. baking soda ( 1 1/2 tsp.)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk (I used almond milk with 1/2 tsp. vinegar)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups grated carrot
8 oz. crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 c. flaked coconut

Line cupcake pan with paper liners or 3 round cakepans with wax paperl lightly grease and flour wax paper. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350.
Mix the first four ingredients together. Set aside.
Beat eggs and next 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended, then add liquid ingredients. Fold in carrot, pineapple, and coconut. Pour batter into whichever pans you've chosen.
For the cupcakes, bake about 20 minutes, checking for doneness. For the cake, bake for 25-30 min. or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cook in pans on wire rack for 15 min. Then remove to the desired serving plate for decorating. For the cake spread cream cheese frosting between the layers and on top and side of cake. Frosting may need to be doubled. I made cupcakes, and this was just enough.

Best Cream Cheese Frosting

2 bricks (16 oz. total) cream cheese, full fat
1/2 cup salted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Let cheese some to almost room temperature, but still cool. (I let mine sit out about 25 min.) Slowly beat with butter, then beat at medium speed for a full minute or until mixed well. Slowly add powdered sugar, then vanilla, until blended well. This pipes really well and gives you a wonderful taste of cream cheese not just sugar. I dusted with crystal sugar on top to give it a "frosted" look to go with our "Frozen" party. More pics coming later.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

USA Sign and the Colors of Summer

A little after Memorial Day I decided I needed something on the front door and yet I didn't want to spend a lot of money or time. So, I shopped my craft cupboard and found all I needed was some red and blue paint and the letters U and A. When I moved I threw out all my old craft acrylic paints,( several over 20 years old when tole painting was the rage) and have only bought four or five since we moved here, so I added two more. I found the S and I thought buying the other two letters in two different fonts in different sizes would work to give it a little interest and not make this very simple project completely dull. I had the leftover bandana prints leftover when I shorted the long banner into one that now fits nicely on the mantle. They wrapped easily around the grey coat hangar I found in my closet. The stars I have on my downstairs hanging tree. I don't remember where I got them - I think Ikea or Pier One but I have enough to share here. The board itself was made to be a piece of shelf I got at Ollies in Maryland several years ago for $2 and knew I'd find the right place for it someday. Its covered in burlap which was leftover from another project. I walked down the street to ask my dear dad to drill holes in the board for me when Mike was at work, and Voila~! Easy, simple, and yet makes a clear statement that we are a patriotic family. I'll keep it up until after the 4th when I'll replace it with my sunflower wreath. 

 Here is the view from the sidewalk. I like how visible and simple it is to read from a distance.
 My day lilies are up and about to explode in color. Can't wait!
 I stuck some small flags into the pink flowers. These aren't my favorite flower, but they sure grow well here, so I often get them. Wondering why I didn't get red or white flowers to match my USA sign? I like color. Lots of it, all of it, and the more variety the better. The front ground cover has beautiful purple flowers that are just starting to fade. They've been in bloom since April. The tulips in all their reds, yellows, and oranges were up in May in front of the bushes. Colorful flowers make my day!
 These chyrsanthemums should be in bloom as these all begin to fade in September, coming up in dark red and I think the small one is a pink melon color.  Yeah for Summer, and its bounty of beauty!