Saturday, July 31, 2010

In Motion!

We're off on an adventure! See you on the other side...

This message has been sent using the picture and Video service from Verizon Wireless!

To learn how you can snap pictures and capture videos with your wireless phone visit

Note: To play video messages sent to email, Quicktime@ 6.5 or higher is required.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

9 Years of Us

Yesterday Greg and I celebrated our 9th anniversary.  In the past 9 years we've endured deployments in which we've learned to appreciate all of the time we can actually spend together, learned how to love each other the way we each want to be loved, learned how to make each other happy, learned how to upset each other...but no matter how much I learn about this man, and no matter how many years go by of experiencing life together, I find that there's always more to learn, more to see, more to love.


Flowers delivered to me yesterday


Calla Lillies were in my wedding bouquet (they were also in my paternal grandmothers' boquet, so they have special signifigance and beauty to me)


Andrew wrote "I <3 Mommy" and "I <3 Daddy" on balloons to decorate for our anniversary dinner


Hand-rolled linguini with bacon and littleneck clams


Vanilla bean panna cotta, served in the ruby colored wine glasses that we toasted with at our wedding

Greg, somehow each year I love you more.  For the good and for the bad, I'm a big fan of Us Together.  I love the family that we've made, and the life that we have.  Thanks for picking me.  It's great to be your wife.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Back to being me

After my post the other day (thank you to those of you who wrote or commented with encouragement!), I scrubbed my house down, set to organizing my studio, and promptly felt much better.  I'm not going to say that cleaning and organizing is the answer to everything, but having clear, clean space in my living quarters certainly does help.  (Not to mention that I also FINALLY HAVE MY CAR BACK!  And of course now have nowhere that I need to go.  Of course.)

I'm not completely done with my studio yet -- still need to sell my floor loom and buy cubicle shelving, which I'm working on doing, but at least now I have more floor space, and it just feels...calmer, somehow.  I walk in there and breathe a sigh of relief as I sit down at the sewing machine, or bring a book to my desk for a few stolen moments of peace or quiet reflection.
The evening light through my studio window
The last of the evening light through my studio window

Even if you don't have a dedicated studio, I encourage you to claim a closet, chair, or even just a favorite window with the perfect sort of morning light to call "yours".  It's good to have your own space where you can gather yourself and get your bearings, to either begin your day or to catch your breath in the one quiet moment you might have to yourself.

Once I was done with my several-day organization project, I felt the overwhelming impulse to create things again...I hadn't really worked on any projects for most of the week, so I attacked my short-list of sewing with a vengeance.  Greg very lovingly gave me nearly the entirety of Sunday to myself, occupying the children and managing their snacks and meals so that I could lock myself away and sew like my life depended on it.  I emerged feeling relieved, peaceful, productive, and like I had gotten back to being myself again.  It's good to be back.

Par Avion Spring tablecloth (laminated cotton by Michael Miller)
Tablecloth using laminated cotton "Par Avion Spring" by Michael Miller.

Box bag (finally made one for myself)
Box bag, using fabric from Anna Maria Horner's "Chocolate Lollipop" line -- finally one for me!

Sparky's embroidered tote bag
Andrew's embroidered tote bag.  (Embroidery applequed on striped canvas.)

I've got a few more projects in the works that are almost ready to show you...
Setting up to make Aunt Millie's Hot Pads

Oh yes, my friends. I am back.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Choosing peace

Anxious.  Every so often, I wake up in the morning with that feeling.  The sinking sensation in the pit of my stomach that nothing will be accomplished today...that it can never all be accomplished...that I have too many things that I want to get done...that I have children who need me.


My kitchen blackboard holds an important reminder for me...

It doesn't help that, for most of the summer, we've been a one-car family, with multiple long-range problems with my husband's car.  It has lived in-and-out of the mechanic's shop for months, and sometimes the frustration of it all makes me feel stuck, furious, and kind of sick.  I hate feeling helpless, waiting for him to get home with "my" vehicle to be able to run any errands, and just not being able to accomplish much outside the house.  On the upside, it has made me appreciate the fact that we DO have a second car that WILL eventually be fixed (hopefully this week!)


Nothing in this pile of works in progress is moving along quickly enough for this sort of a day.  I've promised the children that we will go swimming today, which is a good thing, because all that I want to do is shut myself into my studio today and sew like my life depended on it.  That doesn't tend to make the children's day all that happy.  I must focus on them, and shut off the stress that I feel so that they don't suffer from it.

Reading together...
Piano lessons...
Hot gluing buttons to handmade books...

In spite of myself, this might actually be a lovely day.


Monday, July 05, 2010

Watermelon Chiffon Pie

To my friends in the United States -- Happy (belated) Independence Day!  To the rest of you -- happy weekend!

I have a cool, refreshing recipe for you.   You MIGHT just have the ingredients on hand already, and if that's so, you can whip this together right now and have it ready to eat by the time your friends arrive for your 4th of July weekend cookout.


I'm not sure if it's the sort-of translucent, gentle sweetness of the watermelon, or if it's the creamy lightness of the egg whites and whipped cream folded throughout, or the crumbly-rich buttery graham cracker crust, but overall, this is the sort of pie that, once you've eaten through one slice, it's hard not to eat the rest of the pie straight out of the piepan.

Watermelon Chiffon Pie
Slightly adapted from

Yield: 10 servings
  • 2 Tablespoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups pureed seedless watermelon (I used my food processor, but you could also use a blender)
  • 1/2 cup powdered confectioners' sugar (plus 1/4 cup more if you want this to taste "sweet")
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 egg whites, stiffly-beaten
  • 1 cup whipping cream, whipped
  • One 10-inch prepared graham cracker crust (or two 8-inch) -- recipe below
  • Watermelon balls and sprigs of fresh mint to garnish, if desired
Pour cold water into a large bowl and sprinkle with unflavored gelatin. Let sit for 5 minutes to soften. Stir in boiling water until combined. Add watermelon, confectioners' sugar, and lemon juice, stirring to combine. Let come to room temperature, then refrigerate until the mixture begins to thicken.

Fold stiff egg whites and whipped cream into the thickened watermelon gelatin until combined. Smooth into prepared graham cracker crust and refrigerate pie until firm (at least two hours). Garnish each serving with balls of watermelon and a sprig of mint.

Graham Cracker Crust

2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 28 crackers, crushed)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
1 pinch salt
1 pinch cinnamon

Combine all in a 10-inch pie pan (or two 8-inch pans), using a fork and/or fingers to thoroughly mix until all is moistened.  Press firmly into the bottom of pan(s).  Bake at 350 deg oven for 10 minutes or until lightly golden.  Allow crust to cool completely before pouring watermelon filling into it.


I cut into this pie about an hour after refrigerating, and you can see that it's not quite set, but it was still perfect.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Belton Rodeo

On Thursday night, we went to our first ever rodeo!  It was military appreciation night, so most in attendance were from the nearby Ft. Hood.  Our children loved it, although they got VERY tired at the end.  Jonah actually fell asleep in Pete's arms before it was through.  Lavella and Elijah both fell asleep on the ride home.

Our pictures from the event are sub-par -- it was impossible to get anything really great with our camera and the lighting situation, but I've include a few that will hopefully convey some of the fun and excitement of the night, blurry though they are.



Sheep in a pen, ready for the Mutton Bustin' (5 and 6-year-old boys attempt to ride the sheep for as long as possible, holding onto nothing but the long wool.)


Andrew, looking concerned as the Mutton Bustin' begins.


He initially was sad that we hadn't registered him or Elijah for this, but I think once it started he was glad that he was in the bleachers.



I love the look of concern on the mother's face as her child is getting prepped to go out the gate on a sheep.


It was pretty hilarious to watch the children hold on to the sheep for dear life.  Some of them lasted for quite a while, even though the sheep were running around like crazy.


The tiny guy in the hat running towards the sheep was playing the part of rodeo "clown" (for the uninitiated: the clown usually distracts the bull and keeps it from goring the rider).


This little guy got dumped off of the sheep right out of the gate.