Saturday, February 26, 2011

Crunch Time

Can you tell I'm in the last couple weeks of my class?? I have passed my Mid-Term and am now in the final two week stretch of the current class I'm taking in college. Which is why I've almost been absent from my blog. However, I finished up my homework tonight and figured I could afford a quick post. And since I'm WAY behind (only like a month right?) I think I better do a few 365 of Me Project Pictures! So here are a few.

January 29th

A very good friend of mine, Jenna Hardin (yes I must brag that she is a former Miss New Mexico), got hitched to her best friend on January 29th and I was not about to miss it! It was right over the Guadalupe River in the Hill Country of Texas - divine. So I grabbed my honey and got a couple pics with the beautiful river in the background.
January 30th
My mother-in-law is too organized! She already got her Valentine's out! Man I wish I was that good.

February 2nd

I realized a lot of my pictures are taken in my kitchen. And to be honest I'm sick of seeing it in the pictures. So I cropped it out! (Smile) And if I do say so myself I look like a model in a magazine showing off the winter line (this is Texas winter but still I had to snap this picture to show I actually had to get a hat, scarf and mittens and everything out!!)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

My new friend

So on a sunny Friday morning I was out front pruning my plants getting them cleaned up and ready for the hard freezes coming up. When I lifted a few dead leaves I found this little brown lizard lying there. I was stunned it hadn't darted off yet as usually as quick as you see them, they are gone. When I moved around some more and it still hadn't moved I assumed it must be dead. So I gently picked it up by the tail to add it to my trash bag but instead the little booger latched on to the stick underneath him! He was alive?! So now I assumed it was "almost" dead but figured I would give it a chance. I called my husband out first to see this lizard. Why? Because I'm weird. He apparently knew some lizard knowledge I did not. He said they are cold-blooded animals and if they can't find sunlight to warm themselves back up they will end up freezing to death.
Well, after learning this I moved him to the grass in full sunlight to see if he would warm up and survive.
You can't see it well in this photo but as he started warming up he turned GREEN! It was really cool to watch. The whole time I'm like 2 inches from him snapping photos of course and he just calmly watched my every move but still never moved. My husband again came outside to see the lizard and when he came out the commotion finally scared or jump started this lizard enough to move. Do you know where he went?

Right straight to me and up on my boots! It was insane and I've NEVER seen one do this or even get near you like this! And I've lived around these lizards my whole life!
It kept going too! It started climbing my boot so I stuck my hand by it...

And what do you know - it hopped right on like we were pals!

My husband loves this next shot he got - he said it looks like the lizard is hugging me in thanks for saving him. Hehe, I'll let you decide.

This lil guy stayed on me for near an hour! And I just enjoyed every minute of it.

(this is also my January 28th picture of Project 365 of Me)
My daughter wanted to hold it too, so we tried it...

Sure enough - no problem there either.

God gave me a sweet moment that day - I'll never forget it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

365 of Me - jumbled update

Okay it's late and I've been studying and reading for my college class, thus I feel lazy. So I'm going to update my 365 of Me Project in an un-orderly fashion. If this bugs you, close the screen now. Okay you had your chance. Here goes:

January 25th
KSBJ - our local Christian Radio Station hosted a FREE Brown Bag Concert (an outdoor concert at a Chic-Fil-A) with Brandon Heath! Woohoo! Wasn't gonna miss this one - especially since this was only 15 minutes from my home! Before the show I got a pic with the Chic-Fil-A cow!
January 27th

This is me holding my...drum roll please...My Italian Family Recipe for Minestrone Soup! One of my New Year's resolutions was to cook recipes from my family heritage cookbook (try to do one a month) and for January it was "Luisa's Minestrone" It took literally ALL day and I'm actually in my work out clothes above because I left to work out and came back to finally finish up this absolutely DELICIOUS best Minestrone soup I've ever had!!

January 20th (?I think?) Is all I remember is I was having a bad day and didn't want to take a picture so I snapped one not caring that my emotions OBVIOUSLY showed. I'm human. I'm allowed to get upset.

January 24th
Daddy was at Monday night church so it's our "kid-meal" night. We did a home-made pizza with Pioneer Woman's Pizza Crust dough recipe (tried it here for the first time). It turned out fabulous!
My little mini-cooks are great help!

January 23rd
I'm doing laundry on Sunday afternoon. Yep that's my day-to-day regular life.

January 25th
I received my Beth Moore "Siesta Memory Scripture Memory Team" spiral notebook in the mail from a fellow Siesta blogger!! Was SO excited!! Thanks Sheri! You can check out her blog here: The Leaking Window
(I HAD to let my daughter take a picture w/ me too!)

January 18th
Here was the picture I was missing because it was on my phone! It's me and Gracie at the library gettin' us some new books to read at bedtime.
And that's all I could find and download before I got too rummy to do homework anymore. They are out of order, missing days and just downright jumbled. Sorry - I'll at least apologize. But I won't change it. It is what it is. I'm tired. Goodnight.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day 17 of Project 365 of Me

A Special Day at the Station
Day 19

This day was a special day for me. In the above picture I am stuffing teddy bears into my car to take to our local Fire Station. Back in November I was praying about something our youth could do to help our community in some way. I remembered reading a Dee Henderson book about a firefighter that honestly changed my outlook on all firefighters everywhere. I just can NOT look at them the same (in a good way). Anyways in this book there is a part where it described the firemen giving a teddy bear to a young child when his house was destroyed by a flood. With this in my mind I talked to the local Fire Chief to ask what would be a good way to serve them. I mentioned this teddy bear idea and he told me that all 3 stations around our area were sharing one bag of teddy bears. Hearing that, it was decided - we would do a teddy bear drive for our firemen! So for one month we collected bears and I have to admit the teens did us proud bringing in over 270 teddy bears! And they were CUTE ones! So to wrap up my story, on January 20th Nick, myself, Caleb (our new Ministry Assistant) and a few teens that are homeschooling (most couldn't go because we went during school hours) loaded them all up and headed to the Fire Station!

This is Nick and I with Fire Chief, Bobby Harris. A wonderful man of God that leads the stations with excellence. And below is the crew that was there that day and the BAGS of teddy bears we were able to bless them with! They said because there were so many that they would split them up between all three stations!

We got the grand tour and my daughter Gracie was even allowed to look through their truck and sound the siren! She had a blast to say the least.
I absolutely loved that morning and hold it close to my heart. It was just teddy bears but it's that feeling of knowing you are doing something right by blessing people. I look at those bears and see little kids, crying or in shock receiving one of them and a half of a smirk comes back to their face or maybe the stream of tears stops for an instant - however big or small a difference it makes to them in that moment, I'm SO glad I got to be a part of it!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My top 7 Kitchen Utensils, Gadgets, etc...

WOOHOO my computer actually uploaded all the pictures! It took awhile but I got them on here and I have been dying to post this particular one because for one I love cooking and have so many FUN things to cook or create with! Mainly because my mom's side of the family is Italian so we automatically love the kitchen and second because my mom and I have a tiny obsession with fun kitchen stores. We could literally spend all day in a Sur La Table! So for a nice break from my 365 of Me project (which yes I'm going to catch up on my posts with that I promise!) I figured we would dive into MY kitchen in particular! So drum roll please...and now announcing the 2011 winners of Ivy's Top 7 Kitchen Utensils!!

The Number 1 Winner is my Glass Mugs!!

Just guess where they are from too! Wal-Mart. I know, sad isn't it? Yet I have also seen them at World Market (more appropriate I think) and it is by far my favorite thing in my kitchen. I start every single morning with a cup of hot green Tazo tea. These mugs not only look so chic but they somehow miraculously keep my drink cool enough for me to sip and hot long enough for me to drink it (unless I get distracted...which I do about every 2 minutes...hold on I need to go switch laundry). Point is I love them - the look of them, the feel of them, everything. My mom and I found these first at a Bed and Breakfast we stayed at during a Scrapbook Retreat. From that moment it was a quest to get them and my mom graciously brought me four this Christmas season when she came to stay with us. I think she quickly bought her some too upon returning home :)

Number 2 Award goes to my Oil and Vinegar bottles.

I cook with Olive Oil probably every day as well. I love it and the healthful benefits of it. So when I found these two "Made in Italy" bottles at World Market about three years ago I had to have them so I could finally keep my Extra Virgin Olive Oil handily on my counter top. They've never left.
Number 3 Award will be for my newest cheese grater.

My mother-in-law gave me this grater this past year and it has been the handiest thing that I feel my other graters might be jealous and perhaps downright depressed. For one the handle pulls out to easily stand on it's own on your counter top. By doing this it also props itself at a handy angle to push easily against while grating. Then because it wasn't cool enough it added measurement markers on the side so you don't have to stop and transfer your cheese to another cup measure (in case you are one that MUST get the exact amount).

And oh I'm not done yet when you close the handle you can lay it on it's back (does it have a back? I suppose I should say lay it ON the handle) it will rest perfectly like a cupped bowl for you to distribute the cheese easily after removing the grate front.

On to Number 4 is my...okay I actually don't know the proper name for this. But I can make a fill in name for now: My Hot-Meat-Holder-So-I-Don't-Burn-My-Fingers-Thingamajig!

I think my made up name gave away too much. In case it didn't this is inserted into hot meat of any kind right out of the oven, pan or grill allowing you to cut it up as needed for the recipe or maybe just for some little kiddos mouth! I love this tool because I can't tell you how many times I forget I have to precook the meat and so I'm rushing and don't have time to wait for it to cool and so I ended up burning the heck out of my poor fingers! Do you want to hear something sad though? I received this as a wedding gift but didn't know what it is was. So I graciously placed it in my kitchen drawer hoping I'd figure it out someday. Thankfully that day did come when I attended a Pampered Chef Bridal Shower and the consultant did a cooking demonstration and happened to use that VERY tool! I was elated to say the least! And also mad that I'd had that tool all along and still burnt my fingers so often.
Number 5 is just a tool for spoiled cooks honestly. It's my egg-separator!

Again I admit - it's just for spoiling reasons. It hooks onto the edge of a bowl and you crack the egg into the wire spiral and wait for the egg to separate all on it's own - no flip-flopping from egg shell half to the other hoping that yoke doesn't break right over your bowl of ingredients!

Number 6 is similar - mainly for spoiling but serves a purpose of course! It's my miniature whisk:
I took this picture weird like that with it in my hand on purpose OK. I wanted to show you how small it really was. And my hands are TINY - just trust me. This handy tool allows me to whip up one or two eggs easily for omelets or to make french toast or Saltine Pork-Chops. For recipes like that I like to put the eggs in small bowls so as not to dirty a big bowl just at the expense of an egg or two but with a big whisk it's impossible to KEEP the egg in that small bowl so again my mom got this for me as a stocking stuffer after experiencing it for herself.

Last award - NUMBER 7 goes to my Pampered Chef serving bowls! These mini square bowls are the handiest, multi-functional things ever! I use them to put out nuts and candy with on my counter, to mix eggs up with my mini whisk for omelets, to put garnishing in when company comes over, and EVEN to flip over and set snowmen on so they sit high enough above the fake snow I pile up around them! I have two white ones and then three colored ones that came with small square trays to set them in (which I actually use just as much). I like using the trays to mix seasonings in for recipes so I don't have to take the time to measure out of 5 or 6 little seasoning bottles while something is cooking too long on the stove.

So there you have it! If you have questions on any of these products I'll do my best to give you a consumer opinion of it! Until next time, happy cooking!