Thursday, January 30, 2014

January 25th = Snowstorm!

I'm not exactly sure how long this has been happening, but every year, it snows on January 25th. If you are wondering how I know this, it's because it is my grandmother's birthday and I haven't made it in to visit, due to a snowstorm. This year was no exception! Mother Nature, this has been 2 years in a row now, really?!?!

I was prepared this year and I had visited last weekend. The weather forecast said the storm would start at midnight Friday night and go until 6 p.m. Saturday. Sunday was suppose to be nice (whatever that means in Pittsburgh in January). I decided to let the "crazy people" head to the grocery stores Friday and I would tackle that on Sunday when there wasn't a crowd. 

We didn't get much snow, but enough that shoveling had to be done several times. My plans was to tackle the sidewalks and steps in the afternoon closer to when the storm was over and then really shovel Sunday before running errands. Sure enough, the little old man down the street decided to come through at 11 am and clean my walks making me feel exceptionally lazy and guilty. I forced myself outside in the afternoon, quickly brushing them off and running back inside to warm up. I can honestly say I was the laziest I have ever been. I watched 4 movies that day and didn't get out of my  pajamas all day which made going to bed easy! But, to make me feel worse, at 10 pm my little old neighbor was outside shoveling, AGAIN!! When I went outside Sunday morning, he had shoveled around my car and he shoveled another neighbor's small driveway. Boy, did I feel like an  _____ ( fill in the blank).

Before I went to run my errands, I cleaned my sidewalks and steps. It was a first, but I had to clean the porch too. This time, the snow blew in the porch and laid. It had done the same thing on Saturday, which I found odd because that has never happened before.

The entire time I was cleaning the walks, it was still snowing. So much for the nice day. A normal, intelligent person would say, wait until it clears up before you run your errands. However, my natural blonde roots were showing because I never had that thought and jumped in the car with the road looking as such. 

I realized my mistake when I started going down the hill. It was definitely an adventurous afternoon running errands!

On a final note, at least I was stylishly dressed for the outdoors! 

In case anyone is wondering, I cleaned all the neighbor's sidewalks and mine down to wear the little old man lives when I got home that afternoon. The girl across the street is a PA and works crazy shifts. She had about 5 inches from the curb to her front door. So, to pay it forward, I shoveled her from the street, up her sidewalk, and a path across her deck to her door. I know, I'm so nice! 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Family Time Take Two!

There were so many great moments captured, that I decided to share some more photos from last weekend. Good times! Now let's see if we can hold ourselves accountable and make all those potential visits we discussed a reality!!

Cousins Izzy and Alex.
Susan and Elliott

Aunt Terri teaching Alex to knit much to Uncle P.J.'s dismay

Izzy Monster and her Momma

Grandpa, Aunt Ginny, Izzy, and Granny

P.J. and Travis

Alex, Colter, Elliott and Jessie

Grandpa and Aunt Deb

Grandpa watching Katherine knit

Final good-bye! :-(

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Family Time

I went home last weekend because my Aunt Deb, cousins P.J., Jessie, and her family all came to PA for a day trip. I love that I have a large family and the best part is we pick up where we last left off. It was great to hang out at my Aunt Terri and Uncle Tim's house just catching up with each other. Oh, and let's not forget about spoiling a few babies!!

Only picture of me taken! With snuggly Elliott

Katharine reading to Colter and Aunt Deb

The male Carr Cousins

Colter saying hi to Izzy Monster and Jessie

C-Man and Aunt Cathy

I can picture this years later on a much bigger tractor. Future heart breaker!!

Izzy was sharing her thoughts with everyone!!

Snuggling on Great-Grammy's shoulder

Dynamic Duo talking tractors!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Veggie Soup Remake

I have been cleaning up around the house and purging things I don't need. For me, this means going through old magazines. Not sure why, but I have a hard time letting go of my magazines. I was looking through my October 2012 Cooking Light issue and came across a recipe for Chicken and Vegetable Soup. The article claimed it was a twist on chicken noodle soup, which I'm not the biggest fan. I'm also not a big fan of vegetable soup, but I was curious. (I prefer calorie loaded potato and cheese soups!) Have to say, I really liked this recipe. It was simple and healthy!

1 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 thyme sprig
3 cups fat free, lower sodium chicken broth
1 ( 14.5 oz) can no salt added, fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup uncooked orzo or pastina
5 oz green beans, cut 1 inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1 cup shredded, skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
2 oz. fresh Parmesan cheese grated (about 1/2 cup)

I used my Dutch Oven and started by adding oil to the pan over medium high heat.

Then add onion, carrots, garlic, pepper, salt, and thyme sprig. Cook for about 4 minutes.

Add chicken broth and tomatoes. I'm not the biggest tomato fan and I used petite diced tomatoes instead of fire roasted. Next time, I will use the fire roasted so there is a little more heat! Bring to a boil.

Add pasta and beans. Cook for 5 minutes. I used 2 cups of string beans since I have them in my freezer.

Finally, add chicken and cheese. The chicken was cooked chicken breast I had in my freezer, rather than rotisserie.

The whole recipe only took about 20 minutes to cook. It made 6 1 cup servings. I thought it tasted very good, especially paired with garlic basil butter bread. Yum, Yum!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Stamping Sunset

I spent the weekend on my couch trying to get over my head cold, watching a ridiculous (all day for 2 days) amount of TV. On a side note, it was a bad weekend for the White House! Watched White House Down and Olympus has Fallen and enjoyed both. Well, you may be wondering how this relates to stamping, in this case, it was a cause for inspiration. 

When the sun started to go down, it came in through the windows and interfered with my watching. As I moved around so the sun wouldn't be in my eyes, I noticed an incredible sunset. The sky had turned a vivid reddish orange and the trees looked like black silhouettes. It made me remember a few sunrises on my morning commutes where the sky was purple, pink, and red. Stunning!! I realized I could recreate these images as cards.

I had been scheduled to attend a stamp class last night, but the cold weather had participants canceling and since I was the only student, they canceled. BUMMER! It left me quite disappointed, but time to start my little idea. 

I took a white piece of paper and used my stamping brushes on my dye ink pads. I created this cool yellow, orange, red, and purple background. I then used this tree stamp I had over top. Since I used two different types of ink and layered them, they needed to dry. Tonight, I finished assembling the cards. Have to say, I'm impressed!

Both cards have the same inside.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

City Style Craft Show

Back on the first weekend of December, a time when I was still productive because Izzy Monster wasn't born yet, I went to a craft show in the city. Let's just say, it definitely was not what I had expected. Growing up, craft shows were very country oriented and I hated them, to be frank. Maybe despised is a better word, but I think you are getting the picture. It seemed the only merchandise to buy was wooden with a hand painted country accent to it. At times there would be jewelry, but it was very simplistic and looked hand made. So, I was curious to see a craft show in the city and it was free, so why not. Boy, did I get a surprise!

Turns out that this is an annual craft show held every year the first weekend in December and there was nothing country about it. It is held at the David L Lawrence convention center, a building I always wanted to go in. I got a couple cool pictures looking out.

Inside, it was packed. I took a few photos.

The variety of merchandise and vendors was like nothing I experienced before. I would say items fell into jewelry, spa items, sewn clothing (kids, babies, purses), and artwork with different mediums. I found it was cool to look at everything, but I did not make a purchase. I'm not sure if it was too close to Christmas or the prices were too high for my liking. Probably a bit of both, plus I felt I could replicate the items I was interested in for the most part. Some things were absurdly priced though.

For instance, a blue onesie with a shape sewn on it, was selling for $20. Really!?!? Yes, I know not everyone could make that, but I thought it was a little steep. I also saw baby bibs where one side was fabric and the other side a fuzzy chenille fabric. All edges were exposed and not finished and they were selling for $18 a bib. Too much for me!!

I found one stand with teapots and spoons to be interesting. Never would have come up with that idea.

The only items I considered buying were a pair of earrings that were matching photographs. I love photos and to be able to wear a pair would be fun. However, with Christmas a few weeks away, I couldn't bring myself to splurge. I did take a business card so in case I wanted to in the future, I could make a purchase.

The highlight of the day was this stand. Not much to say, other than I was speechless! I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

Really, you think a refurbished chair cost that much?!?! WOW!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas Vacation

Well, it wasn't my intention, but I took a long blogging break due to Christmas. See, my niece Izzy Monster arrived and I went home to visit. However, I stayed for 5 days.
My last morning with her

Let's be honest, she looks like an angel, but I'm positive will be trouble when bigger!!
She is a little hard to leave, but that trip put me WAY behind on Christmas presents and cards. I managed to get the cards out the weekend before Christmas and finished my presents on Christmas Day before spending the weekend after Christmas to celebrate the holiday. It was a great weekend spent with lots of family so here are some photos to remember it by.

First picture of the 3 of us

Grandpa and his great-grandson Elliott

Grammy and great-granddaughter Isabella

Grandpa and great-granddaughter Isabella

Our little ham, Colter aka C-Man

Colter asking Great-Grandpappy about the cow hide

Took photo off of reflection of photographer ever!!

3 generations of Carr men....oh boy!!

Tara saying how she wants a 3rd baby  (and this is how rumors start!)     

Colter giving Great-Grammy a kiss! Precious!!

Great-Grandpa and Colter

Grandpa and Mike...probably talking soccer

Will holding Izzy Monster. Now those two will be trouble together!!

Sleep deprived new parents

Granny (aka Baby Snatcher!!) with Isabella. Yep, she snatches that baby right out of your arms when you are not looking!!

Not a true Christmas if Grandpa isn't sleeping on the floor snoring! Oh, and the snoring is heard from the other room!

Great-Grammy spoiling Isabella

Kelly (Trouble) and Will (Double Trouble). How are they so big? I use to take their pictures at Christmas...yikes!!

Not a good holiday if I'm not taking a nap!!
So much fun that I spent New Year's Eve sleeping on my couch, sick with a cold. However, my cold helped me to put my Apple TV (Christmas present) to good use and now I'm completely ready for the new season of Downton Abbey!

Happy Holidays!!