Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bird Watching

As I walk past the living room a few days ago I see this black tail sticking out from behind the loveseat, swaying back and forth so gently. Upon closer observation I was able to see what exactly it was that caught her attention. There must have been a "birdie" convention being held on our back deck. I know that Punkie was wishing she could go outside and play with them.

Cat in image is from my "Luv My Cat" clipart and graphic set which can be found at my Etsy Shop or my Teacher's Notebook Clipart Shop.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Deep Woods Off & Another Goal Met

It was only about three to four years ago when I was in the best physical shape of my entire life. I've recently made a commitment to myself to get back there.

I have set lots of mini goals for myself on this quest to good health. One of them was to get our annual pass to the Indiana Dunes State Park and get back on the hiking trails, which we did. The next one was to make it to the water's edge on Trail 9 (that's what I call it) in less than 40 minutes. We did it in 35 minutes this morning. As you can see in the photo above, it's so worth the view once you get there. I was sweating, and times it was a struggle to meet my time, but we did it! I have several other little goals to meet before reaching my final goal for fitness, which is to once again master Trail 8 without stopping once.

I hope I don't bore you all with healthy recipes, and beautiful photos of my hiking at various places. But I know that I've done this before and I have a good feeling about it. 

As for the Deep Wood's Off, it is my new best friend! We had some old stuff in the trunk the last couple of times we were on trails and we were still attacked. I bought some fresh cans and what a difference! So we keep a can in each car, and a pocket sized one in our pockets. No bug will get in our way!

I'm so glad my husband likes hiking too!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Crock Pot Cooking - Tex Mex Chicken

First let me apologize for the photo. It really doesn't look very appetizing but let me tell you, This is one DELICIOUS dish! It's made in the crockpot which is one of my favorite ways to cook. It's really easy to throw together too. And it's low in fat and calories if you use reduced fat cheese.

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch-wide strips 
2 Tbsp. (1/2 of 1-1/4-oz. pkg.) TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Taco Seasoning Mix 
2 Tbsp. flour 
1 each: green and red pepper, cut into 1-inch-wide strips 
1 cup frozen corn 
1-1/2 cups TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Thick 'N Chunky Salsa 
1 cup KRAFT Mexican Style Shredded Four Cheese 
TOSS chicken with seasoning and flour in slow cooker. Stir in all remaining ingredients except the shredded cheese; cover with lid.  

COOK on LOW for 6 to 8 hours (or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours). 
STIR just before serving. Top with the shredded cheese. 

Serve over rice or a baked potato. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Storm is Rolling In

After several months of above average temperatures and no rain, we really got hit on Tuesday. The ride to work was horrific! The rain was coming down so hard, branches were all over the place, and roads were flooding fast! As quickly as it started, it also quickly passed. It did manage to pick up our (brand new) table umbrella and whip it over the house and all the way out to the street. There's no hope for it now. During the umbrella's flight, it managed to plow into our satellite dish and knock us off the network! Unfortunately we can't get a man out here until Friday. 

But what about my show I watch every night? What about my end of the night TV viewing with a glass of wine? OK, where there's a will, there's a way, right? And could this have worked out more perfectly?

I remembered that we all have access to HULU! Yes, Hulu saves the day in more ways than one. I could still watch all my favorite shows! They run a day later but that's not only OK, it works out for the better. As some of you know, I've been back on my quest for good health. One of my biggest struggles is exercise. A couple years ago we bought a Precor Elliptical, but I find it BORING! Since the storm has made me watch my daily show a day late, I can now watch it anytime of day instead of waiting until 8:00. So I now watch it while on the elliptical with my 17" screen laptop. It sits right on the ledge. 

As for the end of the day relaxing time, I created a cozy little space on my super comfy couch, watching Hulu with my laptop on the coffee table. It's not like watching it on the 57" screen, but it will do until the satellite is fixed.

So I may have lost a $49 umbrella and four days of the big screen TV, but I gained a new healthy habit. Good trade-off!

Photo Above: There were no other cars around me on my way to work so I stopped to get a pic of the storm that I was heading into. I swear it looked worse than it does in the photo.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Morning Hike

One of my quests for good health involves hiking the many trails at the Indiana Dunes State Park which sits along the shores of Lake Michigan. If you are ever in my area, I highly recommend spending a few hours, or even a full day there. I am so lucky to live so close. I've probably been there a thousand times in the past 10 years. There are so many trails to choose from, or you can just walk the beach. It's so worth getting the annual pass. I always take my camera because there is always something new and interesting to see.

Brian and I took our weekend hike today and picked up our annual pass. The weather was perfect. This is the first time we've been there this year so we stuck to the easier trail. We normally take one of the more rugged trails, but we need to work up to those. A few years ago I was an expert at mastering Trail 8. That's the KILLER of the trails. You hike up the three highest dunes and back again. I plan to do it again very soon.

So to my extremely beautiful daughter....if you are reading my blog post today, I WILL be ready for Trail 8 when you come home next Spring!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Ever So Versatile Egg Sandwich

One of my favorite breakfasts is the egg sandwich. You can even make your egg sandwich any way you want it. My favorite thing about an egg sandwich is how fast they are to make. You can make them even faster by making a couple days worth in advance, place everything on a plate, place it in the fridge, then just layer and microwave in the morning.

You can make it healthy by using whole grain bread or English muffin, Egg Beaters or egg whites, low-fat cheese, and turkey sausage.

You can fatten it up by using white bread or English muffin, regular cheese, real eggs, and high fat juicy sausage or bacon.

My personal favorite is the "happy medium." I use a sourdough English muffin, low-fat cheese and turkey sausage. As for my eggs, I always have to use two because Bubba LOVES eggs so I have to share.

What's your favorite quick and easy, throw together breakfast?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pattern Testers Needed

My trusty assistant (photo above) and I are looking for about a half dozen pattern testers. We've created some cute Halloween treat and gift bags. They require some hand applique (or machine if you prefer), and you should be able to complete them in just a few hours.

Feedback is needed by July 31st. I'll want a high resolution, full sized digital photo, and the answers to my short list of questions. I'd also like the link to your blog or website so that when I announce my pattern, I'd like to show your version along with a link to your website, shop, or blog.

If you think you'd be interested, send an email to shdesigns11@gmail.com


Saturday, July 14, 2012

I Love Color!

While shopping for fabric lately I've noticed an area where I've change in my old age. Although there have been many changes in my tastes, one of my biggest changes is my use of color. I used to be a soft, muted tone kind of girl. Lately, while fabric shopping and designing, I've noticed that I've become a "Big Bold Color" kind of girl. And I like it!

Above is just a small representation of the fabrics that I've purchased recently. I went crazy at JoAnn's 99 cent fat quarter sale a couple months ago as you can see in the photo above. Yesterday I came home with the four fabrics also shown. I was so drawn to them. I bought two yards of each. I think I'm going to make some little zipper bags out of them. I love making quick little projects and I plan on making some things to put away for Christmas, as well as designing some new patterns.

My question to you is.....what kind of things would you make from fun and colorful fabrics?

Palette and floss images in the photo above are from my "Crafting Fun" and "Painting Party" Graphic and Clipart Kits which can be found at my Etsy Shop, Clipart Shop, and Website.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Owl Jewelry Box Giveaway!

Who doesn't love owls? I certainly do, and when they are little blue owls decorating a pretty jewelry box, I love them even more.

Pop over to the Blogging Business Artisans Blog right now to enter this awesome giveaway. While you're there, check out all the other fun things that blog has to offer. You may be the lucky one to win this cute jewelry box!

The giveaway is open until July 19th.

Blogging Business Artisans Blog

Direct Link to the Giveaway

The Generous Artist Who Contributed

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Parade Anyone?

My daughter is in town so my parents wanted to take her and her husband out to dinner at one of their favorite restaurants. Since Brian was working I thought it would be fun to invite myself, so I did. It was a Thai restaurant and I've never been to one before. I must say, the food was quite different but so flavorful and delicious! And don't you love that window the kids were standing in front of? It was a bunch of wine corks behind glass! So cute!

The plan was to head back to my parent's house for a short visit before the hour drive back to my house. We get out of the restaurant and there are squad cars blocking the main road, which would be the road that takes us home. They direct us across the street into a subdivision that has one way in and one way out. Both of those exits are on that main road where they were having their parade. There we were, stuck for over an hour, in the heat, stuck! We spoke with the police officer and was told that we basically had no options. So we watched the parade. We made the best of it and got a few pictures. We also got free t-shirts from a Chevy dealer. My daughter was even invited to join an aerobics pole dancing class. No way! Not my little girl! OK, she's almost 27, but still... We did see horses, they were cool!

Lesson learned: When your bladder tells you that you should visit the ladies room before you leave the restaurant, go there! I thought I had a quick 15 minute drive back to mom's house. I was so wrong!

Monday, July 2, 2012

From Craft & Sewing Room to Guest Room

Many of you have already seen my new craft and sewing room. If you didn't, you can see that post here. I was amazed at how quickly it turned from my work space to the guest room in less than ten minutes. This week my daughter has been visiting from Delaware and we got to try out the new room. It couldn't be easier. I just took down the craft table, placed it flat on the floor and pulled the bed down from the wall. I put on some clean bedding, added pillows and Voila! Guest room!!!

Once I took my sewing machine off the sewing table, it gave them a nice desk area to place their laptops. The baskets on the bottom shelves of the wall where the bed is are always kept empty so that my guests can use them to stash things inside. The kids slipped them under the shelves and they have little bedside tables now. Perfect!

If anyone is trying to think of a way to to make a room do double duty, I highly suggest a Murphy bed. It does require tools and a knowledge of woodworking, but it makes for a cozy space, and is quite comfy.

Images in scrap page are from my Fun in the Tub & Crafting Fun which are available at my Etsy Shop, Clipart Shop, and my Website.
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