Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My New Running Companion

All of you runners out there,
you have to get your hands on one of these!

After much reluctance, I finally ordered a Garmin.

One run with this guy and I was smitten.

I set my pace range and he told me to "slow down" or "speed up" when necessary.

He automatically stopped timing when I stopped at lights and for water breaks and resumed when I started running again.

He let me know when I reached my goal distance

and, if I'm ever interested, he'll tell me how many calories I've burned after a run.

I love him.

Friday, October 23, 2009


You'll have to check this out...

Elle's bedroom was featured over at this very CUTE blog, Little Miss Heirlooms.

You'll find sweet ideas and some great giveaways over there.

Candy Corn Cookies

I had to try these candy corn cookies that I found over at one of my favorite blogs, The Idea Room.
I used a sugar cookie recipe, added orange coloring, cut, baked, and dipped.
Elle and I enjoyed making this after-school treat for the boys!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Conjunction Junction, what's your func..."

Max has taken a new interest in writing.

He writes constantly.

Sometimes, I can't get him to go to bed because he has "one more sentence" to get down on paper.

I love it.

However, while at his parent/teacher conference this week, the teacher explained to me how she is always reminding him that in his writing, he cannot begin the sentence with the word AND.

I immediately sat up and nodded my head and pretended to agree.

In case you haven't noticed, I do this a lot.

I begin sentences with AND.

I know the rules. Mom was an English teacher/grammar Nazi, remember.

I just like it. I like the way it flows and I hate long, wordy, run-on sentences!

And...(for example) rules of writing change. Using conjunctions to begin a sentence is becoming more acceptable, particularly in informal writing.

Sometimes, I'll even throw in a BUT to start a sentence. I'm crazy like that.

Would I use it on a resume' or in an email to my boss? No.

Will I continue to do it here? Absolutely.

But, I guess that for the sake of his educational record, I should discourage my young Hemingway from using the AND in a more creative and pleasant-sounding fashion.

In time, he will learn that a good writer can bend the rules of grammar without appearing to be an idiot. (Please just spell correctly, because that sin in nearly unforgivable!).

Saturday, October 17, 2009

From My Kitchen

Nothing says Fall like baking with pumpkin.

Three of my favorite pumpkin recipes are Pumpkin Gingerbread, Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies, and Pumpkin Waffles.

Pumpkin Gingerbread

3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chopped nuts (I use sugar-coated pecans from Trader Joes)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans. In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil and eggs; beat until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice and cinnamon. In medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour.
Pumpkin Waffles
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 2/3 cups milk
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl. In a second bowl, add eggs, sugar, pumpkin, milk, and butter; beat well. Gently fold in the flour mixture. Spoon in about 3/4 cup of batter into the waffle iron. Cook each waffle for 4-5 minutes. Makes 4-5 waffles.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies
with Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup shortening
1 3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 1/2 cup flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven 375 degrees. Mix first five ingredients well. In separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. Combine. Add chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoons onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), room temperature
8 oz of Philly cream cheese (1 package), room temperature
2 - 3 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Scenes From A Fall Break

We're here.
The New Swing.

My Muse.

Good Morning.

Treasure Hunting.

The Backyard Tree.

A Guest.

One More Time, Please.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Finding Her

Today, we are headed up North to the small town of Happy Jack. Nestled in the high pines of the Coconino National Forest, sits my parents' little cabin.

I'm looking forward to some family time, without the distractions of tv, schedules, appointments, school, playdates, and chores.

I am desperate for some calm.

I love this time of year! I love the cool mornings, the scents and colors, the pumpkin cookies and pumpkin bread, and the unpacking of scarves and sweaters.

I love it all

and so did my mom.

It was her favorite time of year as well. And, I can't help but get wrapped up in memories of her.

She was Fall, from the color of her hair to her extensive wardrobe. Rust, ginger, terra cotta, gold, bronze, brown...she draped herself in the colors of Fall.

Two difficult days are marked this season: the day she died and the day she was born. It is impossible to avoid the longing to have her here.

I miss her.

Over the last month, I have found it difficult to escape the feeling of loss. I just need her. I know she is well. I know she is healed. I know she is happy and peaceful.

But, I want her here.

It is wholly and completely selfish,

I want her here.

I want to hear her voice, see her face.

I pray every night, Mom, please come to me in my dreams. Two years later, I am still waiting.

The other night, as I was reading him a bedtime story, Calvin began crying. He missed Grandma. Occasionally, the kids break down and I am able to comfort them.

Lately, I just fall apart along with them.

I am hoping that this time at her cabin will give us a chance to slow down for a couple of days and I will be able to feel her near.

Against the backdrop of whispering pines, crisp mountain air, and late-afternoon showers, I pray that I will once again find patience, peace, and comfort.

I pray I will find her.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Epic Ride in Show Low

This weekend, we headed up north to the land of the Ponderosa Pines for The Tour of the White Mountains 65 mile mountain bike race.

As usual, Lance did incredibly well and he came in second place overall.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Good Life

I had to make a stop at Trader Joe's today.

They have my favorite cheese there. It's their New Zealand Grass-fed cheddar and I'm obsessed with it!

Anyway, I spent an unusually long amount of time perusing the cheeses. It's genetic. Me, my kids, my dad... way too fond of cheese for our own good.

When I got home and unloaded my grocery bags, I came upon a slab of fine Gruyere.

When I asked Elle about it, she simply explained, "It's for Remi. He loves cheese. Especially the kind with the holes like this."

Apparently, my little rat-lover took it upon herself to throw an eight dollar slab of cheese into her mini-cart.

I got cheddar and Remi got Gruyere!

He is now one fat, happy rat.