Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Gettin' My Scrap On!

This past weekend I was able to get some scrapping done.  Tonight I was able to get even more done!  The only thing I seem to have trouble with is journaling.  I keep telling myself that it's because I need a good journaling pen.  This weekend I will pick one up and sit down to document my life.

Sunday night I was cruising www.customcrops.com (they were having a sale) and I came across a few things I've decided I have to have.  One was the Heritage cartridge for my Cricut.  The other thing was this stuff called Grungeboard.  Never heard of it before but I did a search on youtube.com and there it was!  With the fabulous Tim Holtz demonstrating!  Check it out here:

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Well, the IRS must've been granting wishes that night because on Monday morning my return (though very small) was sitting in my bank account.  So last night I placed my order.  I'm eagerly awaiting the cartridge, grungeboard, and some distress ink.  No journaling pen.  I didn't see one I liked.  I am now officially stalking the mail carrier! lol!

With all this scrap stuff running through my head, not to mention trying to think of ideas for the blog hop I'm participating in in April, I finally got my scrap on and finished a couple pages!  I also had a little helper - AJ, my cat.  She loves to grab on to the small bits of paper and maul them while I'm working.  It's pretty cute, but sometimes she goes too far.  One time I took a break and when I came back she had attacked my photos and ruined quite a few of them.  I blamed the other cat until the other day when I caught AJ being her bad self.

The things scrappers have to go through in order to preserve memories! 

Happy scrapping!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

First Day of Spring!

What a glorious beautiful day!  It's still chilly here in upstate NY but the sun was shining and the air was mild and there's a hint of green on the ground.  For the first day of spring we took the kids out for Maple Weekend!  It's a two weekend event where folks can go around to the different places that collect sap and make their own syrup.  We have a favorite place - the Orebed Sugar Shack.  Every year, at least since last year when we first started attending, they have alpacas set up in the yard.  I'm getting ahead of myself here, though.

When we first arrived we went first to the out door processing area.  This little operation was set up the old fashioned way, with a wood stove and a pan of sap on top of it, boiling down.  I love the smell of sap being boiled down to syrup.  It brings back a memory from my childhood when all us kids made maple syrup with my dad and our neighbors.  We made it over a wood fire and a Coleman camping stove.  The kids really didn't know what to think of it, only that they wanted to see the alpacas.  They did wait patiently while the guys around the fire explained the process and showed how they came to the finished product.

Next we headed to the alpacas.  Three little females - Deedee, Evening and ...well, I can't remember her name.  I want to say Evelyn, but the boyfriend wants to say Esmerelda.  I think we're both wrong.  The kids wanted to touch them, feed them and ride them.  One of the guys brought each one over for the kids to feel.  Their fiber was so thick the kids hands disappeared when they touched them.  I was like, you've touched one alpaca you've touched them all, and the guy told me that wasn't true.  I then proceeded to do my own alpaca touch test and he was right!  Each was was totally different!  If you don't believe me find an alpaca farm and try it out yourself!

We then went into the store area where they make maple syrup with more modern techniques.  It's a huge contraption that fills a whole room and makes great syrup.  We got to hear how it was done, and best of all we got to taste it!  It was dark and sweet and I could imagine it on vanilla ice cream- yum!  The kids were a little worried about trying syrup, that is until I told them that this was the stuff we put on mema's french toast, then they were very happy to taste!  It was the very dark syrup and the maker was really surprised that I liked it but I think it has a much better taste than the lighter syrups.  Apparently more people prefer light syrups.  Well, I like my beer light but darken my syrup any day!

We of course picked up a quart for home, as well as alpaca fiber finger puppets for the kids.  Once home I made homemade macaroni and cheese while the kids played with the wii.  All in all it was a really good day.

Today was also very special for another reason.  Ten years ago today I lost my dad.  Although I always look forward to the first day of spring as a new beginning, in fact I consider it the beginning of the "real" year, it also marks the end of my dad's life.  He was a good man, and I strive to be like him in the way I treat people and how I handle situations.  I get my green thumb from him as well as my feet and my urge to homestead.  My dad was a rare breed and I miss him very much.  I love you dad.  Wait until you look down on my gardens this year!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I'm So Excited!

I just signed up to host my very first blog hop!  I love participating in them but I've never had the chance to host so I'm taking the plunge.  It should be fun and I'm totally curious about what I'm going to do!  More to come on this later!

Tonight for dinner we had something real healthy and real easy to make.  We've been trying out new recipes for the last couple of months.  Mostly I think them up by standing in front of the fridge or cupboard and just staring.  Eventually I connect ingredients together and I put together some concoction that might or might not taste good. 

This one is a winner and best of all, it can be custom made to fit your taste buds!  I start with Naan bread and brush a little EVOO on the top.  Then I add thinly sliced tomatoes, onions, peppers, broccoli and mozzarella cheese.  drizzle with a little more EVOO (you can never use too much).  I pop it in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes, raising the heat to 400 towards the end to put a little color on the cheese and to crisp up the edges.  Once it gets the color you like - I like a nice toasted marshmallow tan - take it out and let it sit for a couple minutes. 

Cut it into slices or in half or however you like and eat it.  It's not filling, and depending what you put on it, it's really good for you! 

That's as far as my crafty-ness gets tonight!  I'm looking for a small box template so I can make a leprechaun trap.  I know there's a couple running around here and I know if I catch one I'll find that pot of gold I've been looking for!

Monday, March 7, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I love spring! I haven't seen any sign of it yet but I went out the other day to look.  At that point there wasn't any snow on the ground.  Now there is - again!  Oh well, I know it'll be here sooner or later, which is why I have started dreaming of my garden.  Or should I say gardens?  We have several and they all serve a purpose.

I ordered my seeds this year from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds several weeks ago.  We had used them before, several years ago, and they really are very good seeds.  Last year we ordered from a different seed company but weren't too happy with the results.  We ended up going to Walmart and picking up some seeds there to make up for the bum seeds we got.

Every year since 2009 we've kept a garden diary.  I don't know where the idea came from or why, but it just seemed like a good idea to start.  We picked out a lined journal with a nice thick cover and good binding and just wrote about everything garden.  Included were activities like planting the seeds and when they started poking their little stems out of the soil, plans for each of the gardens, and even when we saw the first goldfinch at our feeders.  I looked back in it last night and noticed that on May 31st, 2009 it hailed!

I find that if I write on one side of the page I can add pictures or drawings on the other side.  I put in the started gardens and then towards the end of the growing season I add the gardens at their fullest.  It is so satisfying and helpful because I can decide what or what not to do the next season!

This year our gardens will definately have a purple tint to them.  We will be planting purple radishes, peppers and cabbage!  I'm so excited and I can't wait to get down to the earth again and sink my hands into the rich dark soil and create!  it'll be fun and I will keep you posted!