Sunday, April 24, 2011

Birthday Time!

I expect to see my husband on my birthday again in 2014, when it will fall on a Saturday.  But not before.  Why? you may ask.  Simple: the U.S. government hates me and is engaging in a ruthless, petty campaign to keep Kris away each time I get older. I guess it must be all that rude stuff I say about how the politicians on both sides of the isle are just corrupt narcissists who don't know their elbows and scapulae apart.  In any case, he was gone again this year.  In spite of it all, I have to call this one of the best birthday's ever. 

The celebration started before Kris left, with a present he and my parents conspired to produce: a Kindle.  At the rate I accumulate library fines, I think it's going to save us money before long.  I've got 30 of the classics lined up to go (everything from Walden to The Book of the Dead) and they are all FREE.  I love it.  Incidentally, Kris does too...

On the actual anniversary of my birth, I received two most excellent gifts from none other than God: a gorgeous sunrise and the flowering of our plum tree.  I was made to be born in the spring.

But the joy didn't end there.  No, no.  Next up was an entire batch of blondies and caramel sauce, created and delivered by a good friend of mine (who drove 40 miles to drop them off).  I tell ya, that is either love or an attempt to sabotage the size of my butt.  Could be both, but at least I smiled as my pants got tighter...

Then Sierra came down and spent the night.  We had a ball!  She drove me around to every flower store and bullied me into buying a small fortune worth of English Daisies to plant in my flower beds.  Then she gave me spa night, with a pedicure and back massage.  Those little midget fingers are magical, I tell you, magical!  Sisters are the best.

When Kris came home he surprised me with a wonderful at-home date.  He found three new gourmet recipes for me to try and then bought all of the fancy ingredients and had them put away as a surprise for when I got home for work.  We cooked together and results looked like this:

 It's creamy pasta with bay scallops and cilantro, and beet-pear salad with lemon dressing and pistachios.  For dessert, we had chocolate bread pudding. Why does anyone ever go to a restaurant?

From the things mentioned above to the thoughtful cards, texts, emails, phone calls, etc., this birthday was a wonderful reminder of the joy in being loved by so many special people.  And now here's one last picture, of me with the flowers Sierra bought and the rose my thoughtful brother sent for me to plant.

And one last pearl of wisdom.  My trick for feeling great about getting older is this: I don't dress up the day before my birthday.  That way when it is my birthday and I do shower and wear nice clothes, apply deodorant, do my hair and make-up, etc., I can look in the mirror and say, "Dang!  I get better looking each year!" 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Oh, Crafty Me!

Confession: I spend too much time (that I don't have) reading craft blogs.  Yep, I said it. It's just that there are so many clever people in this world and I love feeling inspired to create things myself.  Sometimes I copy other people's projects exactly.  Most of the time, I take things other people have done and modify them to my own whims.  Rarely, I'm wise enough to think of something all by myself.   This post will unveil a few of those middle children (the modified ideas):

First up is this baby blanket I recently made for a friend's baby shower.  Her nursery is purple and blue and I wanted to make something that she would like looking at.  Let's face it, as cute as traditional baby things may be, I'm pretty sure that babies don't actually have "taste" or fashion sense.  So should a mother really be stuck looking at prints designed for someone who can't even focus on anything farther away than six inches?  Moms do a lot for their children; dunno if that has to be one of them.  (But just in case you planned on giving me something like that someday, when baby girl arrives, just forget I mentioned it.  Baby animals and pastels ARE cute, and free trumps any day... Oh, wait, did you catch that?  Your reward for reading this rather dull collection of musings is this: We recently found out that our baby is a girl and she's only three months away!).  Anyhow, here is Crafty Project #1:

Ignoring the fact that nothing about it looks good with that chair, I think this blanket turned out rather well.  On to Crafty Project #2:

Wait for it...

I stole this idea from the Amish.  I know, I know, could anything sound more wrong?  We love visiting Kris's parents in Ohio and Susan almost always takes us to the Amish country.  One of the goods they sell from their cottage industries is a very similar concept to this crayon roll.  I made mine out of a cheapo placemat and some scraps.  It's for a niece's birthday and I think it's pretty sweet.  One thing I learned: contrast stitching is a BAD idea when you aren't that proficient at sewing straight lines.  Moving on to Crafty Project #3:

So this isn't a craft at all.  But my take on a gift from Allrecipes.com is delicious.  It's called "Grapefruit Crisp" and it's my new favorite breakfast food.  This may offend some of you (the crazy ones who think a lightly salted grapefruit is the only way to go), but you gotta try it!  Basically, you make a crumbly topping from brown sugar, oats, flour, pinch salt, cinnamon, and butter.  Slice the grapefruit and use a knife to separate the sections, just like normal.  Then top, bake at 350 for about five minutes and finish with a minute under the broiler.  Eat and marvel.  If you doubt me, just consider this: anything that can make something healthy unhealthy is usually pretty dang good.

And that's it.  Now I'm off to plant pansies and make some supper.  But here's one last random fact: I thought that they were "gratefruits" until I was 20, and I still had to Google it for safety while writing this post.  Isn't it amazing the power a wayward childhood idea can have?