Friday, May 30, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I often ask myself that same question! The quickest answer I can give is that I worked at The Anderson School at UCLA in the Laptop Support Office... first as a tech and then as the office manager. I attended and spoke at conferences, went to workshops, became Dell and IBM laptop certified, hired/fired students... I can't even remember much of it all now that I've been out for 3 years. Our office handled the hardware and software repair of 1500+ laptops of all shapes and sizes for the MBA, FEMBA and EMBA and Exchange students who attended the business school.
I've been yelled at, been thanked profusely, worked 18 hour shifts during summer-training-sessions-from-hell, crawled in a plenum to rewire a lab, re cabled a building, intimidated students into buying what I wanted them to buy (IBM/Lenovo vs. Dell for example... IBM will ALWAYS win), and met some very wonderful people dedicated to the betterment (is that a word?) of all those with a desire to learn.
I never expected to work in technology, but I enjoyed being on the cutting edge of things and always in the know. In the end though, the job really got to me and we figured out a way for me to stay home with my wee one (now wee ones)... now, I let my hubby deal with the technical stuff while I craft and homeschool and read and bake and figure out what kind of job I will eventually return to.
I'm lucky and grateful and to live this way!
Monday, May 26, 2008
Grandma Doris' Cherry Walnut Bread
Makes 2 loaves, 10 big or 20 half slices each loaf
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 1 16 oz. jar of maraschino cherries, pitted and de-stemmed WITH the juice
- 1 1/2 cups walnut pieces
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees
- Butter bottom and sides of 2 standard loaf pans. I've used both glass and metal without problems.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Combine cherries, cherry juice, walnuts and beaten eggs together.
- Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until it looks like a sweet, gooey, pink mess.
- Pour half into each pan and bake side by side for 1 hour, turning at 30 minutes. You will know that the bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. One year, it took me 1 hour and 20 minutes... it just seems to depend on the cherry juice I think. The low temperature does make it take a while, but the bread is sweet and moist as a result.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
1- Gather together all the supplies you'll need: Freezer Paper, Self-Healing Mat, X-acto knife, stencil image, fabric paint, disposable cup and the t-shirt. I have a sharpie that I fattened the lines of the guitar stencil with. You can also make your own stencil out of pretty much any image.
2- Tape the freezer paper, shiny side down for the same version, or shiny side up for the reverse image on top of the image you want. The guitar on the left is taped to a self-healing mat to protect the cutting surface (a.k.a. my table).
2a. (Not Shown)- Cut out the stencil onto the freezer paper by cutting out the image underneath with an x-acto knife. Just like when carving a pumpkin, cut out the smallest pieces or more complicated pieces first. When done, keep the image for reference. Your freezer paper stencil is now ready to use!
3- Using a super hot iron without steam, iron the stencil on, shiny side down. Be sure to also use a piece of freezer paper on the inside of the shirt, shiny side facing up to the front piece of the shirt. This will ensure that the paint does not bleed through to the back.
4- I use an up and down motion like a sewing needle to stencil. Repeat process if you see anywhere you did not cover properly.
5- After waiting about 4 hours, gently peel away the stencil. Be absolutely sure that the paint is dry before doing this so that the paint does not peel away with the freezer paper. Wait longer if necessary.
6- Take a fresh sheet of freezer paper that is the size of your newly stenciled shirt. With the shiny side of the paper facing the shirt, use an iron on the cotton setting, but without steam, to set in the painted stencil. Gently glide the iron over the stencil for about 10 seconds to help all the painted edges seal. Wait another 10 seconds to cool and slowly peel the paper off. The paint is already set into the fabric of the shirt, so it will not transfer onto the paper.
7- The finished shirt! Do the happy dance, you're done!
8- Care instructions. I include these instructions for the gift recipient. If you can't read the teeny photo, it says: Turn shirt inside out to wash. Use warm or cool water. Tumble dry low. SIDENOTE: I have bleached these shirts before and the color will fade faster over time than if you don't bleach them.
Please feel free to submit a comment with any questions!
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
2- Organic apples from Trader Joe's. Cool, sweet and crispy. Mmmm.
3- Everything bagel chips from Trader Joe's. Crunchy and slightly salty and the perfect accompaniment for #4.
4- Tuna fish! When I worked outside the home, I'd stop by Gelson's deli every once in a while and indulge in their tuna. I finally made my own creamy version at home... and here it is.
Yummy Yummy Tuna Fish (serves 2 adults, 2 children)
2 cans of tuna, I use water packed
1/4 cup real mayonnaise
1 1/2 tbsp. crushed dill
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 1/2 tbsp. yellow or dijon mustard
1 1/2 tbsp. parsley
1 1/2 tbsp. chives
1 1/2 tbsp. minced onion (or more/less to taste)
Combine dill, salt, pepper, parsley, chives and onion. Set aside
Combine mayonnaise and mustard in a medium bowl. Add dry ingredients.
Add tuna and mash with a fork until it is super creamy.
Cover and let sit in fridge for ten minutes before serving for best flavor.
This tuna is also perfect for tuna melts or wee cucumber sandwiches. I personally love it best on lightly toasted sourdough with thin cucumbers and carrot sticks on the side.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
How about a cream cheese and strawberry sandwich using the heel of a loaf of white bread?
Monday, May 19, 2008
There will always be a link to this new blog on the side bar. As I finish or go through some of these tasks, I'll blog about them here and there. If you would like more information about 101 in 1001, it is a project that begun (I believe) in 2003 and has voluntary participants all over the world. You can read other peoples' lists from the 101 in 1001 project home page.
Do you have a 101 in 1001 list?
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Today, my Dad, also known as PaPa-with-the-beard to the boys, is coming over for a birthday lunch-- he turned 64 this week. I just wrote about him and his peanut butter sandwich obsession. His wants are simple-- to spend time with my brother and I, to play his newest guitar songs, to be with his grandsons. Oh, and a peanut butter sandwich on sourdough with cold club soda on the side.
So for his birthday, we went back to our fun freezer paper stenciling techniques that work so well and made him a shirt with his favorite acoustic guitar on it. I enlarged the .jpeg to an 11x14 size of paper to cover the larger size of the shirt and chose a color shirt that will match his eyes perfectly! After making the shirt, Em made him some wrapping paper with balloons and a cake on it, then a fun little card using PaPa's favorite colors, and we wrapped it up. I know my Dad will enjoy wearing it while playing his guitar!
Now that that project has been completed, I have a Purse Project to get on to. The current challenge is to make a bag with t-shirts... something I have PLENTY of with two growing boys in the house. With Em getting out and about now, and having his first sleep-over with Auntie Jenn, I realized he needs a cute little overnight bag to take his bear and books and crayons in... oh and his PJ's of course! I'll put up pics of the bag as I work on it. If you'd like to participate, just visit the link and take a look around at all the cool bags and helpful how-to's that Barb puts up. This will be my first challenge and I'm very excited to get started on it!
Friday, May 16, 2008
We make pleasureful noises when the food is good. Any food. From a gooey homemade enchilada to an expensive restaurant meal.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Reading to my boys is always a fantastic time for me. I use different voices and faces - different accents and shouts and whispers - I am a one woman three ring circus of reading enjoyment! (Probably a holdover from high school drama and speech competitions.) We read everything... and with April having been National Poetry Month, we added reading several poems each night before our books. (Yes, this is a super late blog to be writing about April's poetry month in the middle of May-- sorry 'bout that.)
So one night, I was reading to Em and flipping through one of my favorite poetry books as a kid-- and I come to the "Peanut-Butter Sandwich" poem by Shel Silverstein. Immediately I flash back to 3rd grade with Miss Palai and what I remember to be my very first speaking engagement! I chose to do this very poem because my dad is obsessed with peanut butter sandwiches. If you click on the picture of the book above, you can actually see my writing (I know, bad girl for writing in books, but hey I was 9) of how I handled the poem... speaking fast here, making faces there. And I guess my mom timed me that I read the poem in 1 minute and 55 seconds.
Back to the present... Em is listening to me, with giant wide eyes and slightly rapid breathing as I tell about the "silly young king" and his peanut-butter sandwich dilemma. I am loving it! He's hooked in and I am so happy he's loving it too! The poem ended with him finishing the last line and a big guffaw laugh and "AGAIN Momma, read it AGAIN!!!" It really is a great poem.
If you like reading to your children and would like to be more animated, Mem Fox has a wonderful book called Reading Magic and her site gives some commandments to follow to help your child learn to love and appreciate reading also. Mem Fox is the author of that one book that every parent I know seems to have and love and memorize in their child's' baby and toddler years... "It's time for bed little mouse little mouse, darkness in falling all over the house..."
If you have Where the Sidewalk Ends, try reading the peanut-butter poem and also "Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take The Garbage Out" aloud. It is a tongue twisting fun!