Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Back...

Reading through the titles of old posts, I see 2 significant steps. Changes in our pizza crust recipe made a difference in our lives on a weekly basis, with improvement in the taste and texture of our pizzas, and an easier pizza-making routine:                                                                                                                                         
Pizza Crust....The continuing quest for the best.

And making our own yogurt was a new and successful experiment, although I haven't done it since.  I will again, someday, though, when I gather all the right equipment, so the process can better fit my multi-tasking life.
Bucket List Item: Making Yogurt

A gadget that's made a big difference in our breakfast menu and added to our nutrition:

New Oat Flaker/Roller

I shared routine things that brighten my days...                                                                                                                                                                            
Routine Sustenance

and my weakness.
My Not-so-secret Problem: A Bowl Addiction

We have 3 birthdays the first week in April, which are usually the big events of the month.  This year however 2 engagements took center stage!                                                                                                              
Good Things Come in Twos!

Twosome Tuesday: Wedding Dresses
We, of course, started prep at a quick pace, aiming for 2 summer weddings.

We finally met Prince Helium in person, and he was a blessing on the spot when Prince Go-for-It passed out from a sinus infection, resulting in a worrisome trip to the ER.                                                               
A Princely Scare and the Comfort Food Hug for After

Wedding prep and discussions continued, and the in-laws' house remodel, with the kitchen I designed and built by Hubby, and with other decor choices I'd made, was coming together.                                                                                                               
Update...In-laws' Remodel

Nothing could beat out our first wedding for the #1 blessing and accomplishment!                                                                                            
Wedding #1: Check!

The in-laws' remodeled house selling in one day was big news (In-Laws' House: SOLD), but, certainly, Wedding #2 ruled this month.                                                                                                                                                                
Twosome Tuesday: I suppose you want photos?

Twosome Tuesday: Photos from Wedding #2

It was time to get life back to normal.  I tried a few new things in cooking, we started excavation for the garage addition, and I made a gruesome discovery in the sewing room (I'm Not a Screamer...).  But my biggest project was refinishing the kitchen table and refreshing the finish on the island.
More Stripping at our House, Part 2
We discussed finances in the Money Monday, the Series in adjusting to our adjusted (lower) income... and fed 26 for the cross-country team pizza feed.                                                                                                      
Pizza for 26

I celebrated my Blogiversary, but mostly enjoyed Thanksgiving, headed up by the newlywed chefs.

Thanksgiving Prep - The Day Before

Thanksgiving Meal

This has been a month full of activity, joy, and busyness.                                                                                                                             

Getting a new oven is always a biggie...

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday- Oven #5

Family Christmas Festivities
and hosting a Christmas party for my side of the family was an honor and a delight.

 Hubby-built Bookshelf
Also, so great to have the bookshelf up and operational for that.

But Christmas with our own brood in our own home is always the best.

Glimpses of our Blessed Christmas

Link up: Top Projects of 2011 Party
Thanks to seeing it on Sugar & Spice in the land of Balls & SticksI'm linking to Southern Hospitality's Link up: Top Projects of 2011 Party.  I hope this post suits the theme well enough.  My 'projects' this year didn't all have before and after, and weren't all home-oriented, but it's been a wonderful, wonderful year full of great blessings, projects, and progress.  

I am thankful for all the events of 2011, and look forward to what God has planned for us in 2012.

Happy New Year to you and yours!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Favorites of 2011

I can hardly ever come up with one favorite thing in any category, but I'll give it a try, just for fun...

Movie, Action (DVD) :  Unstoppable.  I'm not an action/thriller fan, but this was a good one!  A bit heart-stopping at times, but no creepy people about to kill someone.  And 2 handsome stars...  ;-D

Movie, Comedy (DVD):  Just Go With It.  Not fantastic, but pretty cute and funny.  Some inappropriate language and situations I could've done without, but I could watch it and enjoy it again.

Family/Kids' Movie (DVD):  Despicable Me.  Cute, cute, CUTE.  And funny.

Book for me:   Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life.  Exactly the help I needed this year.  The author also writes the blog, chatting at the sky.

Book to read to Prince CuddleBunny (Chosen by the prince, himself)The Rhyme Bible Storybook.  He told me his selection, then added to his sister, "I LOVE the Rhyme Bible!"

Recipe:  Whole Wheat Challah Dough - Useful for so many things!

New Kitchen gadget:  Oat flaker/roller mixer attachment.  It makes granola, and lots of it, possible.

Favorite New Food Tried:  Leeks.  What could be better than green onions?  GIANT green onions!  ;-)

Song:  OK, I just can't choose one.  
CD: All Of You
I really love both of these, because they suited my brides.  
Colbie Caillat - I Do for Princess Bossy
CD: Clear As Day
and Scotty McCreery - I Love You This Big for Princess Sassy.

CD: The House You're Building (Audrey Assad).  Nice.  What a voice!  I found her because she sings my favorite Christmas song this year, Winter Snow, on Chris Tomlin's album,  Glory in the Highest: Christmas Songs of Worship.

Day Trip:  Even though I hated it at the time, I have to say I feel good about the tough hike on  Lower Lena Lake Trail.  For a more relaxed experience, I loved our day at the Wooden Boat Festival and other places around Port Townsend.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gifting through the Years

Hubby, raised with only brothers, was not big on gift-giving when we got married.  Apparently, the brothers never gave gifts to each other, and rarely to their parents.  Conversely, I LOVE gift-giving and even though they were usually handmade and/or quite inexpensive, we always gave gifts to each member of my family, showing our love and working to choose 'just the right thing' to thrill each recipient.  Hubby did not know the joy of giving gifts, and I've tried to teach him...

This year he tried a sweater and earrings again
The first few years, because he had no idea of how this concept worked, we'd go "Pointing."  He and I would wander the mall, and I'd point out earrings and sweaters I liked, then go to the car while he chose which earrings and which sweater he wanted to give me.  

Even though the lack of surprise was a bit disappointing, he knew the gift would be something I'd like and it worked.  I'm not sure why that practice stopped... Maybe when the kids came along we didn't have the get-away time to 'point.'  Plus, I was always hoping that through the years, he'd learn who I was and learn to take cues from things I said that would take over heading him in the right direction... That's still a work in progress.  

He would often buy me cassette tapes, and then CDs... But they were always ones he wanted, and which would quickly disappear into his truck or office!

Several years ago, and for a few years in a row, for some reason he got stuck on buying me cutting boards. All the same size and shape, but different colors.  I also received an additional, although dented, 13-quart stainless steel mixing bowl, because "It was only 99 cents in the Walmart clearance rack!" 

The kids were disgusted.  They also had tried to teach him the art/skill of gifting, through the nuances of what I liked and what I said, and the training obviously wasn't taking hold.  ;-)  

It eventually became kind of a joke, and he now always gets me some kind of kitchen item that prompts scolding from the kids, like this year's instruction by Princess Sassy, "Dad... From now on, show me the gifts you buy Mom, and I'll tell you whether to wrap it or just put it in the kitchen."  She thought the bag clips and garlic press I showed you yesterday were of the straight-to-the-kitchen variety.

A differently funny thing happened to us for this Christmas...
I've mentioned a few times that we don't have cable, and use antennas to watch local TV stations.  Both of our antennas were not great to begin with, and in addition, were missing one of the 'ears.'  The downstairs TV was extremely irritating to try to watch, since with digital transmission, it was either on or off, so shows would go in and out at crucial moments, unlike the fuzzy, but watchable views we used to get with imperfect analog.  I finally was fed up and headed to Amazon to search for antennas with great reviews, and discovered the MOHU's USA-made, Paper Thin Leaf Indoor HDTV Antenna.  It had 489 highly favorable reviews, a reasonable price tag, the very intriguing low profile, and with no need to adjust it, it had lots of pluses.

The is the MOHU Antenna in our bedroom.  It doesn't
have to be quite that high.  It's white on the other side,
for a different option.  We can put things on the shelf
in front of it, or even put it down behind the TV without
affecting the performance.

I got one for the downstairs TV and it is amazing... Does a great job and gets us more stations than we could watch before.  So for Christmas (yes, back on topic), I ordered one for our bedroom TV and wrapped it for Hubby.  Meanwhile, he knew how fed up we were with the remote that no longer operated that TV's volume, and sometimes was unresponsive on other buttons, so he got a GE universal remote control... and wrapped it up for me!  I guess we were on the same track.   :-D

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

My kitchen-related Christmas gifts:

From Hubby: Touch 4-Pack All Purpose Clip 
These are magnetic. Pretty sure they're made
to hold things on the fridge,
but they'll hold chip bags closed for us.

...and a Trudeau Garlic Press  I haven't tried it yet, as our
garlic all shriveled after the demise, a few months ago,
of our beloved
 Zyliss Susi 2 Garlic Press.  This one
flips around to clean itself.  I'll be happy to have fresh
garlic again without chopping and chopping. 

From Princess Bossy and Prince Helium:
A very unique and fun Chicken mug!

Of course, I had several other lovely gifts, including 2 nice sweaters, comfy and sleek yoga pants, a cool hoodie, a funny movie, a great, red purse, Reese's Cups, and a couple things I'll share in future posts.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Teamwork is a way of life in our home, from when it was just Hubby and me, to the whole crew on our housebuilding project.  Now that extends to the garage addition, and includes Prince Steadfast.                           

I thought I'd share some of the recent progress on that endeavor.  First there was excavation and readying to create the footings.  This required some digging, and with short days, some was done in less than optimum lighting!

Now the footings have been poured and the guys are cleaning off the footing forms and setting up panels for the foundation stem walls.  

The county has limited their staff, so the inspections must be planned a couple of weeks in advance.  That means we may not get to finish the foundation before Christmas break ends, which is a disappointment.  But all in God's timing, so we try to be content with the pace.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Glimpses of our Blessed Christmas

The calm before the invasion...

Waiting to be invited in by the tree - Excitement
got them up early to open gifts at about 6:30 AM
Opening gifts one at a time, and
trying to keep the wrapping picked up as we went

Unloading the stockings
An hour or so of power outage led to
a gathering in Prince Inventive's room


We enjoyed the day together, watching a few movies, and relaxing.  Some of us are coughing, and Princesses Artiste and Sassy have about one voice between them... So a quiet day was a good thing.  I meant to get a photo of our after-dinner Skype visit with Princess Bossy and Prince Helium, but got caught up in the conversation instead.

Hope your day was merry!

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