Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy Anniversary, Erica & Gary

Our sweet, sweet niece and her funny, funny husband are celebrating their 4th anniversary today.
Happy 4th anniversary Erica & Gary.

Gary: Dude. Smile, okay?

Flea Market Treasures

I'm on the look out for seasonal items year round at flea markets, estate sales and garage sales. I picked up these treasures recently to stash away for next Halloween and Thanksgiving.

The turkey candle holder is from Avon. I found the same item listed on eBay with opening bids of $8.95-15.99.  I paid $3 for the little guy. He'll look great on my next Thanksgiving table with either a votive or a taper candle.

The cookie cutters are vintage Hallmark and their prices on eBay vary widely. I paid $1 each for these babies. They will look great as part of my seasonal decorations.
I love finding vintage treasures at great prices and giving them a new home!

Do you look for seasonal or holiday decorations during the year?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Night Sounds

It's 1:40a.m.

I am not in bed.

I am listening to the sounds of the train yard west of the Arkansas River and south of downtown Tulsa.

BANG, as cars smash together and hook up.

TOOT, as whistles blow.

Sometime early in the morning, while I am laying in bed, I will hear church bells.

The bells will be primarily from Tulsa's Boston Avenue Methodist, but also from other churches downtown.

What do you hear, from your home, late at night and early in the morning?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

More Family Celebrations!

Today is niece Mary's 23rd birthday.
And it is The Husband's brother's 28th anniversary with his lovely wife.
Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Happy Birthday, Alison

Today is our niece Alison's 8th birthday.

Here I am meeting her 8 years ago:
 And here we are celebrating today:
We love you, sweetheart. Happy 8th birthday.

A Different Kind of Vintage Travel Bar

As I've written here and here, The Husband and I have gifted vintage travel bars to our nephews-in-law.

Remember when hotel rooms did not have coffee makers? Coffee drinkers would have needed this alternate travel bar.

I just love eBay!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Italian Sausage with Bowtie Pasta

Our dinner Tuesday night was Italian Sausage with Bowtie Pasta, salad and garlic bread. It was tasty, as always.
This is one of my "go to" meals on nights that it is my turn to cook. I make sure I keep all the ingredients on hand so I can make dinner without having to go to the store. I just need to have enough time to defrost the sausage.

I found the recipe in February of 2006 in our local newspaper. I searched their archives, but could not find a link. I did, however, find it here.

It's an easy recipe and it typically tastes even better the next day as leftovers. Try it. You'll like it!

What is one of your "go to" meals?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Our Musical Great Nephew, Jake

The Husband and I were privileged to attend this event last weekend.
Our great nephew, Jake, performed. He plays the euphonium and was selected as second chair at the state level.
Father Gary is very proud of him!
The Husband got his autograph on the program.
Jake needs to practice autographing items with a big flourish, for when he is famous. :-)

We are all terribly proud of Jake and look forward to seeing him perform in many more concerts in the future!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Duke's Southern Kitchen - Bixby, OK

The Husband and I made the trek to the south side of Tulsa Saturday night to visit Duke's Southern Kitchen, located next to the Spirit Bank Event Center.

Duke's is owned by Tim Baker, who also owns two of our Brookside favorites The Brasserie and Sonoma.

We were very happy with Duke's food. We had shrimp & grits, fried green tomatoes, fried catfish and fried chicken. (Notice a theme there?)

The space is visually interesting and since it is multi-level, the opportunities to reserve space for small, medium or large parties are varied.

The staff was all very nice, with a couple of familiar faces from the Brookside restaurants. Todd, Joe and Ryan, who worked the upstairs bar, were extremely entertaining!
I would recommend you visit Duke's Southern Kitchen for dinner soon. And bring me back some of the fried catfish, okay?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Reflections

The Husband noticed our artwork is reflected in the glass on the coffee table.
Not only is the artwork on the wall visible, but Aunt Louise's crocheted piece (under the coffee table glass) is also visible.

P.S. Not the best of photographs and not improved much by editing. However, the "artsy fartsy" effort to get this photo was extraordinary!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Friday Tablescape

We are having friends over for dinner Friday night. I put the tablescape together Thursday afternoon.
I don't remember where I found the tablecloth. I've owned it for probably 12 or 13 years. I don't use it very often because it fits our table only when all three leaves are removed. Since there will only be four of us at this dinner, I thought it was a good time to use this lovely cloth with matching napkins.
The china is Royal Doulton Alice, which we received for our wedding 16 years ago. The gold charger was purchased at Dillards the holiday season after our wedding.
The silver is Easterling's American Classic pattern. We purchased the set in downtown Chicago the spring after our marriage.
The crystal is Waterford's Araglin, also a wedding gift.
The candle holders are three random pieces picked up over the years, plus one pair we received as a wedding gift.

When is the last time you used your wedding china?

Our Friday menu is the same as our last dinner with The Sister and The Brother-in-Law.

What are your plans for Friday night?

I'm linking up with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. Visit her blog and you will find links to lots of fun bloggers!

Classes & Puppies & Books

I went to the local Apple store this week for a one-to-one session with a trainer covering advanced functionality for the iPad.

There's always such a good vibe at the Apple store. The employees enjoy working there and it shows. The trainer told me he looks forward to going to work and he learns something new every day, either from other trainers or from customers. How satisfying must that work environment be?

One of the applications we found allows me to create collages on the iPad. The name of the app is Photo Wall and it cost $2.99. Here is my first collage, which brings me to the puppies portion of this post.
Who can resist Yorkshire Terrier puppies? Not my sister's family! Big Sister A is holding Trixie and Sweet Baby L is holding Chelsea. Their 3 year old beagle, Princess Leia, is having a lot of fun "herding" these puppies. When I need a cute puppy fix, I now have a place to get one!

Book club met at my house this week. The meetings are bring your own drink and an appetizer or dessert to share. I made my old standby artichoke dip, which I wrote about here. I also made Palmiers, which are mighty tasty.

We had a great time catching up with each other and discussing The Neighbors Are Watching. Reading this book raises the questions, do you know your neighbors and when should you become involved in their lives?

We agreed our next book will be The Warmth of Other Suns.

What have you been up to this week?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gnomeo & Juliet - Coming Soon!

My niece-in-law sent this link to me this morning. She knows of my love of yard art and thought I would enjoy this upcoming movie. She is so right!

Click to enjoy: Gnomeo & Juliet

Rotation Of The Oriental Rugs

In our home, we have hardwood floors covered by various sizes and types of rugs. In the living room and dining room, we have oriental rugs. Two are older (50-75 years) and one is newer (20 years).

"They" say oriental rugs should be rotated yearly to ensure that they wear evenly from foot traffic and sun. It's probably been 3 or 4 years since we've done this. Bad, bad, bad!

We rotated the two living room rugs this weekend. Which means practically every piece of furniture in the living room had to be moved. Which means the vacuum cleaner got a real workout, as well as the Swiffer. Cleaning with a Swiffer embarrasses me. How did all that dirt get in my house?

We still have to rotate the rug under our large dining room table. Who wants to come over this week and help us move the table?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Illness & Dreams

I've not posted in a few days because I've not felt well with sinus and ear infections.

I haven't had a ear infection in years and years and years. My ears hurt so bad a couple of nights ago, I called my mommy and asked her for my magic, pink silk pillowcase. When I was a child and had earaches, she would put the pillowcase on my pillow and tell me to rub my ears on it. It distracted me, made me feel better and gave the medicine time to work.

Now you know how bad my ears hurt for me, at 51 years of age, to phone my mommy, who is 79 years old, asking for my pink silk pillowcase!

I saw the doctor and got some meds, so I'm on the road to recovery.

I always dream a lot, but when I'm sick the dreams come fast and furious. Last night I had two very different dreams.

The first dream involved saving the world by assisting an Asian ninja assasin. The details are really fuzzy.

The second dream had The Husband and I purchasing a trailer home at a lake. The former owners did not clean the trailer. The wife would cook and then put dirty casserole dishes and dirty tupperware in plastic garbage bags and store them in the back of the cabinets. I kept pulling out bags of dirty dishes and getting hysterical. My husband kept telling me, "Throw them away!" I kept saying, "These dishes are too good to throw away! I must wash them!" The last scene in the dream was me trying to soak the dirty dishes in the kitchen sink.

Maybe I had that dream because I left a pan soaking in our sink last night? Yeah, that could be it. First thing I did this morning in the kitchen was clean that pan.

I do solemnly promise you that I do not put bags of dirty casserole and tupperware dishes in the back of my cabinets. Cross my heart!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Prince William and Catherine's Royal Wedding

Yes, I'm a Royal Geek.

I've added a Royal Wedding countdown widget to my home page.

I can't help it.

I watched his mother and father get married. I'm for sure going to watch him get married.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Every Deer Hunter Needs An Item Like This

This is the last story about Christmas gifts, I promise.

The Husband's brother is a hunter. Every year he is in search of a 10 point buck. This year I found one for him.
He didn't know quite what to think when he opened the box.
I told him he could put this on the table by his chair all year round or only during deer season, whatever he wanted!
I loved that I found this for him! I've never seen a hand embroidered deer table scarf, have you?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Vintage Travel Bars

As I explained in this post, we don't exchange Christmas gifts with the adults in our family. However, an occasional exception is made to the rule.

Because our nephew-in-laws have always admired The Husband's vintage travel bar, we gifted one of them with a bar for his birthday last year. The giving of this gift sparked a lot of good natured whining from the other two N-i-Ls about how they were jealous and wanted one of their own. So, The Husband and I put it on the "wish list" and hunted away at estate sales, flea markets and antique malls.

Lo and behold, we found two during our travels last year.
 They are the key to your traveling pleasure:
They have a 1002 uses:
And we have two more happy nephew-in-laws:

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Christmas 2010 Is Finished

Today at our house we had a bit of gift opening:

A kitchen full of food:
Tables with family seated around:

And a sweet baby girl to love on.
Perfection.

Check out an alternate version of the day on our niece's blog!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Do You Have A Home Inventory?

If you were to suffer the loss of your home, would you be able to provide your insurance company a complete list of the contents and their values?

We could not provide a list of all our possessions. Oh sure, we could quickly list the big items, but the smaller items would be easy to overlook. Much less being able to remember, under pressure, when and where we purchased the items and how much they were worth.

For a long time, I have wanted to complete a home inventory. However, it is one of those things that is extremely easy to put off.

The Husband found the Compartments application today in the new Mac Store. I purchased the app and I am planning to inventory our entire house. I started tonight by beginning to enter the contents of our living room. The app is easy to use and I like that you can add photos of the item and/or scan receipts to attach to the file.

I'll give you a report in a couple of weeks of my progress and what I think after working with the app for a while.

Will you think about completing a home inventory?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

How To Pop A Rib Out Of Place - OUCH!

I was laying in bed this morning, thinking about how good I felt and all the things I wanted to get done today. I thought to myself, "I'll get out of bed and get moving." As I was thinking that, I put my arms above my head and S T R E T C H E D.

Something P O P P E D and P A I N started radiating through my chest and back.

I gasped and stretched again. More P A I N. I struggled out of bed and stretched again. More P A I N and a few tears.

I managed to shower and dress. The Husband drove me to the chiropractor's office. The doc said I had popped a rib out of place (WTH?) and the ligaments attached to the rib were stretched out. He popped the rib back in place, which made me feel a bit better. The problem is that stretched ligaments can take days or weeks to heal. (good grief!)

So here I sit, alternating an ice pack on my back to my chest hoping to ease the pain. So much for getting a lot of things done today.

You can help me feel better by entertaining me with stories of the most bizarre way you've ever injured yourself. Come on, tell me. It will be our little secret!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Artist Robert Bissell

I was sorting through maps, travel brochures and guide books a few days ago and found an information sheet on artist Robert Bissell that I picked up while touring a gallery in Hawaii in 2009.

A lot of people would not consider this to be "great" art, but I don't care. Any art is great to me, as I have absolutely zero talent when it comes to sketching or drawing or painting.

Robert Bissell's whimsical art makes me happy and I think that's what is important.

Click here and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Aliens in Arkansas

Aliens are the only possible explanation for these incidents:

Dead Birds and Dead Fish

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas 2010 Isn't Over, People!

This weekend I've been reading in my Twitter stream, along with various blogs I follow, how everyone is very excited about packing away their Christmas decorations.

I'm here to tell you, Christmas 2010 isn't over!

We are having an extended family Christmas at our house on January 8th. Sixteen adults, three teenagers and seven children. I can't begin packing away my decorations until after that event.

So, if you've packed away your decorations and miss them, come on over to my house this week. I'll show you mine!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Day - Beef Wellington

The Husband and I made Beef Wellington for New Year's Day dinner with The Sister and her family. The recipe was quite involved and took us some time to put together. I snapped a few pictures during the process.

The Husband preps the Duxelles (mushroom mixture) in the food processor.
The Duxelles (mushroom mixture) sautes on the left, while the tenderloin is seared on the right.
The prosciutto laid out on saran wrap.
After the Duxelles cooled, it was spread on the prosciutto.
The seared tenderloin was rolled up in the Duxelles covered prosciutto and placed in the refrigerator until we were ready to roll it into the puff pastry.
Roll out puff pastry and set beef (saran wrap removed!) in the center.
Fold puff pastry over beef and brush with egg wash to seal pastry.
Bake at 425 degrees for 40-45 minutes until the pastry is golden and a meat thermometer registers 125 degrees. Remove from oven and let rest.
While the meat is resting, roast the fingerling potatoes (olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary) and make the Green Peppercorn Sauce. I am only showing you one photo of the sauce creation, but it's the most fun part -- the flambe! Can you see the flames?
Be sure to invite your guests into the kitchen to see the flambe show!
Cut the meat. Isn't it pretty?
Sit down at a nice table.
Enjoy your guests, a glass of wine and a fine meal. What better way to spend New Year's Day?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Resolutions?

I don't make New Year's Resolutions, do you?

Of course, I want to lose weight. Who doesn't?

And of course, I shouldn't drink so much or eat so much or eat such unhealthy food.

The reality is, however, if you make New Year's Resolutions on these issues, chances are you fail within the first couple of weeks in January. Then you are set up to be disappointed in yourself and eat more and drink more and gain more weight.

Can you say mouse wheel?
Mmmm...maybe I would lose some weight if I got on that mouse wheel?

No, no...back to my original train of thought!

Last New Year's Eve I said to myself, "I want to meet new and interesting people."

It wasn't a resolution. It was a wish.

My wish was fulfilled by:

1) networking and being invited to join a book club
2) attending Tulsa Blogger Meet-ups, organized by Tasha Does Tulsa

It's funny. At the book club, I think I'm the youngest person. At the blogger meet-ups, I'm usually among the oldest attendees.

Perhaps one of my 2011 wishes should be to find yet another group of interesting people who are my age?

What's on your wish list for 2011? Whatever it is, I hope you obtain it in the coming months.

Happy New Year!

Mouse clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on DiscoverySchool.com
New Year's image from "Karen's Whimsey"