Today in Photos

Happy New Year, everybody! 

Long time no see!

Again.

Sorry ‘bout that.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to post more often.  So I have determined to post at least one post a week.  Not too daunting, eh?

So to start:  today in pictures.  I (finally!) brought my camera to work, and took some shots while I was there.  (And I had a little fun.  So don’t mind the hair-product-pictures, o.k.?)

So these start in the morning, and go through the day.

Today:

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P.S.  What do you think of my silver and turquoise nails?

Today–12/9/13

Dusk is falling.  It’s one of those snowy dusks, which translates into everything just turning blue.  It’s really pretty.  Especially when viewed while drinking a dairy-free o.k.-sugar mocha.  Yes, I have FINALLY cracked the code and found out how to make a (see above).  Maybe I’ll tell you sometime.

Now I am (should be making) dinner.  And I should be posting about our lovely Thanksgiving (and my first 5k!) and our Winter trip to Branson (we got snowed in), but instead I feel like just posting what’s up.

Today I gave Lucy a shave.  May seem like an odd thing to do, what with the cold weather and all, but she was in desperate need.  So I gave her a good shave.  She still isn’t talking to me.  And by that I mean that when I call her, she doesn’t come, since I called her when we were cutting her hair, and she resents that.  Or thinks that I still have the clippers hidden somewhere.

I also baked a pumpkin that I had, cause it needed to be cooked so it didn’t rot.  Last time I cooked a pumpkin, Lucy helped herself to some, and it turns out she LOVES pumpkin.  And I found out that pumpkin is good for dogs.  So this time around I gave her some.  She wants more.  But man was she begging while I was working on it.  Those little puppy eyes.  Oh-so-cute!

So now I am cleaning up the kitchen and prepping dinner (fish).  And rocking out to music.  Everything’s better when done to music.

And my mocha’s cold now.  Oh well.  Still tastes good.

Off to dance and cook,
Allison

Why Every Cook Should Have Their Nails Painted

I haven’t had my finger nails painted in, like, 8 years or so.  At least.

But that all changed last week.

(Unless you count the time I painted a few nails, then promptly removed it because I didn’t like it.)

Last week I attempted to paint my finger nails red.  And I painted all the layers too soon after each other, and my polish got nicked and rippled.  Also, I had painted all over my fingers, not just on the nails, since I have painted my nails in so long.  So I took it off.

But the next day I just put on a clear coat, thinking that would at least be some nail polish, and I could start getting used to the feeling of having my nails painted.

Then today I painted them purple.  And they turned out pretty well.  My right hand is a little nicked, because I didn’t wait long enough between applying layers, and when I was finished, I went outside and picked up acorns instead of letting my nails dry as long as I should.  I mean, think about it:  pick up acorns with 7-year-old sister for the pig, or sit there and do nothing while your nails dry?  Clear choice.

One of the reasons that I haven’t painted my nails is that I cook a lot, and the thought of my hands in the food with nail polish on the nails just grossed me out a little.

But today, in between layers, it hit me.

EVERY cook should have their nails painted.

Because it happens to the best of us and the worst of us, no matter how good your knife skills are.  You’re chopping something in the kitchen, and either someone bumps you, your little sibling thinks it would be funny to scare you right now (NOT), the mail man rings the doorbell, or the FBI shows up (just kidding about that last part).

And you slip and cut yourself.

And besides the minor details of stopping the blood flow, getting through the freak-out session over the fact that you just cut yourself (the thought of the knife slicing your skin – YUCK!), wade through the apologies (or lack thereof) of the bumper or scarer, find somebody to keep you from hyperventilating, and determine whether or not you need stitches, there is always the important part of making sure that there are no nails left in whatever you were preparing.  Particularly if the cut wasn’t of your skin, because your nails were long, and that’s what the knife got to first.

Just think: if your nails were neon green, wouldn’t they be much easier to find in the food you were chopping?

Now the only think you run into here is that if your nails are red, for example, they wouldn’t show up so well in tomatoes, for example.  And dark green wouldn’t be great in romaine lettuce.

So this is what we need to do:

For those of us who paint our nails every day, you should coordinate your nail color with dinner.  So, for example, if you are going to make spaghetti, you should paint your nails green, blue, or yellow, but should avoid most reds and browns, although certain shades of pink and orange would be O.K. (if they were bright enough).  And if you were going to make a big salad, you should avoid greens and dark blues, and go for bright blue, turquoise, and any of the warm colors (red, orange, pink, yellow).  You get the idea.

And for those of you that don’t paint your nails daily, you should try to pick a color that wouldn’t match your foods.  Bright turquoise.  Bright yellow.  Any neon color would fit the bill.  Just any color that was bright enough to be seen easily, and that doesn’t match any common foods.

So don’t you agree – All cooks should pain their nails?

 

 

NOTE:  This was meant to be funny, not an actual representation of anything I do, or intend to do, or anything that I would like you to do.  By all means, when you cut yourself, forget about your nail color or even where the nail went, and attend to your finger.  And hygiene comes first.  If it’s gross, throw it away.  Over and out.

Blueberry Summer

We went up north to Lost Branch Blueberry Farm to (you guessed it) pick blueberries a few weeks ago.  They have delicious berries, and we really enjoy going.  We were able to go once a few years ago, and I just recently finished the berries we had frozen from that trip.  I was really glad that we were able to pick more!

We have great timing – we went up on what was predicted to be the hottest day of the year yet.  And it was pretty hot.  I picked until 6:30/7-ish, but most of our group had already stopped by that point.  I ended up burning BOTH my arms and my neck (so I was a regular redneck, ha ha).

The heat really wasn’t all that bad.  Once you had gone out there and gotten used to it, the heat didn’t bother you.  Or at least, it didn’t bother me.

We drove up with some friends of ours, and picked that afternoon/evening (I can’t remember a date – although it was a Tuesday).  That evening we had dinner with the P. family (sweet friends of ours), and then headed back to the lodge to turn in stay up way-too-late talking.  But it was fun.

The next morning, Meiling, Mom, and I went to pick some more while Noah and the friends we drove up with went swimming in the pond.  It was a very nice pond, I would have gone swimming in it, too, except for two things:

1.  I hadn’t brought a swimsuit, and I had no spare clothes to get dirty.

2.  I was there to pick.

We left Wednesday afternoon, having picked 41 pounds of berries.

When we got back that evening, the grand processing took place.  We started washing and freezing the berries, and deciding how many we were going to leave out for other purposes.  We froze all but two colanders-full, which would be used for some canning (blueberry syrup) and a pie.

That night Mom wanted me to use up some apricots that I had been planning to use in a crisp, but were aging on the counter instead.  I pulled up a recipe, and cut up the apricots, but I didn’t have enough for a whole batch.  Mom added a few tired peaches, but we still didn’t have enough.  I threw in a handful of blueberries and a few pitted cherries.  Mom tried some that night and said it was really good.  I can’t comment, because I made it gluten and grain-ful and didn’t eat any, but Noah liked it too, and I believe Drake did.

On this past Wednesday I canned four jars of what was supposed to be blueberry syrup, but I think it is really jam.  I made a pie the same day, which used up one colander of berries.  I am hoping to can some syrup that remains syrup with the remaining colander full.

 

Thanks for having us, Lost Branch Blueberry Farm!  It was a blast!

 

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The blues

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Pom juice on manager’s special at Kroger – got to love it!

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My berry bucket

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Wednesday morning – in the blueberry patch

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Walking back to the lodge – A harvested wheat feild

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The fruit mixture of my crisp

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Lots o’ berries

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The crisp topping

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Mom had gotten several pineapples on sale at the grocery store…

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…so we dehydrated several

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A blueberry rolled under the oven, and Lucy was trying to get at it.  Poor Lucy.

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Apricot-Peach-Blueberry-Cherry Crisp

Charlottesville, VA

Our last stop was 10 or so days near Charlottesville, Virginia (we were in Nellysford, specifically).  This is the city where I was born, and we were able to be there over my 18th birthday, which was quite fun.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

We arrived at the rental house (have I mentioned how much I love VRBO?!) at, oh, 9-ish on Wednesday, the same day we’d toured the Capital

*Important urgent update*  I can’t remember everything we did and in what order it was done.  We spent some days just chilling, so I will recap the highlights in the order I remember.

The first day (Thursday) we drove by the hospital building where I was born (the hospital has now moved), Dad’s old work building, and Mom and Dad’s old home.  We also stopped by the home of some of our previous neighbors, and my first baby sitter.  🙂  We also did the necessary grocery shopping.

Friday was my birthday.  I chose to spend it quietly at the rental, and not go anywhere.  Dad and the younger children went in to town to get the car looked at, because the brakes were squeaking.  (We were staying up on a mountain, which was a *little* rough on the car.)  I opted to stay home.  I believe I updated my “About” page.  I painted my toenails a cute red.  And I made some AWESOME grain-free chocolate chip cookies, a recipe that I had gotten from a good friend.  They were so good, the batter even was good (one of my tests to see if a recipe will turn out).  We made pizza for dinner, and I made this delicious grain-free pizza crust.  LOVE it!

It had been a rather warm day, and we had had the windows open most of the afternoon.  We also had the front door open, as there was a storm door.  When we were just about done with dessert, Mom looked up and said, “Noah, was that you?”

Noah was loading a dish in the kitchen.

“Did you make that noise?”

Noah was peeking around the corner toward the front door.  “No, it came from over there.”

Mom sent Drake over to look.  Drake took a quick look. “Dad?  You need to come over here.”

Dad quickly marched over to the door and slammed it.  As the front door was glass, we could still see outside.  Dad flicked on the outside light, and it revealed…

A BEAR!

A good-sized black bear had smelled the cooking and had come around to see what was going on.  He had opened the storm door (yes, you read that right) and was standing on the threshold, ready to come inside, but he hesitated and had turned around, which gave Dad time to shut the door.  He stood up on his hind legs and put his paws on the glass.  And pushed.

I must confess.  I was pretty scared.  Yes, my knees were knocking.  So before you peg me as being brave, imagine me standing around the corner, knees knocking, asking if *just maybe* we should call the police.

*cough*

We did call the police, but by the time the police came (they came quite quickly), the bear had left.  While we were waiting for them to arrive, Mom noticed that the lights in the van were on.  After asking everyone, it was ascertained that no one had left the door open.  When the police came, they told us that it was the bear.  The bear had opened two doors on our van, and had rifled through the whole thing. 

There was dirt and pollen all in the car.  On. Every. Chair.

There hadn’t been any food in there, but the bear had helped himself to a few Kleenex boxes, a water bottle, a cup, and the wipe container.  He had put a few rips in the back seat of the car.

Sadly, I GOT NO PICTURES of the bear.  But I did get photos of some of his damage.

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One of the Kleenex boxes

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Apparently he liked wipes

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He didn’t get the top off 🙂

The next day we went to Monticello, which was quite interesting.  It has beautiful views.  Given, there are beautiful views EVERYWHERE in Virginia.  But Monticello had beautiful views.

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Heading to Monticello – Blue Ridge Mountains

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Monticello

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The sundial

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A hallway that goes underneath Monticello.  Monticello is built on a mountain (Monticello means Little Mountain), and things are built on levels as you go down the mountain.  The roof of part of this hallway is the terrace that comes out of Monticello.  Off to the right are the old slaves’ quarters (not down the hallway, but off to the right in the picture).  It’s a rather interesting set-up.  Anyways, down this hall is the wine cellar.

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LOVE the blue sky!

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The gardens

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Some local grape juice that we purchased.  It taste like raisins.  Very…interesting.  I’d get the purple kind next time.  🙂

The next week Mom took us to Montpelier (Dad was working).  Montpelier was my favorite of the three president’s homes that we visited.  It was the least recreated, but it is just gorgeous.  And the view.  Oh the view.  (You’ll see it below).

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We stopped at a scenic overlook on the way to Montpelier.  I believe this is looking toward Charlottesville.

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More mountains

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Pansies at the Montpelier Welcome Center

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Montpelier

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The view from Montpelier’s front porch

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If you look very carefully at the horizon, you can see the Blue Ridge Mountains.  They are 20 miles away.  B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L.

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Madison’s front door

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In the gardens

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Drake’s legs were sore, so he went to chill in the shade.  Meiling joined him.

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On the way home

Mom took Noah, Meiling, and I to Market Street in Charlottesville to walk around.  It is blocked off so no cars are there.  It is chock full of cute little shops.

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Market Street – The Mole Hole was a neat little shop

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Mom loves giraffes.  🙂

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When my parents lived in Charlottesville, they visited this restaurant often.  It was Sylvia’s Pizza then.  Now it’s Vita Nova.

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We stopped at this little gelato shop.  It. Was. AWESOME!!!!

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My ice cream.  I had a chocolate sorbet and a dulce de leche ice cream.  Oh my.  The dulce de leche ice cream was SO VERY VERY good.  I got one ice cream and one sorbet, so at least I was HALF good.  🙂

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On the way home we stopped at a creek that ran along the side of the road, and I played with shutter speed.

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On a walk with everyone

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You’ve got to LOVE the view

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King of the hill 🙂

 

This *officially* concludes all the posts about our trip.  I’m really glad that it’s done now, as I have some exciting things to post!  Well, I hope you enjoyed!

Love,
Allison

Beading and a Thanksgiving Confession

So I have to tell you.

Don’t take this the wrong way.  I am not complaining.  I love Thanksgiving – the time with friends, family, and the food.

But there’s one thing I should tell you.

Are you ready?

I don’t like turkey.

I know.  You’re shocked.  How can anyone NOT like turkey?

This *actually* shouldn’t be that surprising, if you knew that I am not a big fan of roast chicken.  I like chicken, but not a whole, roasted chicken.  I know – slightly odd.

But I like the stuffing.

Oh, how I like stuffing.

I could stuff myself with stuffing.  And sometimes I do.

But I am hoping that I won’t do that this year.

Anyways.

Oh, random question:  Has anyone heard of a Turducken?  Have you ever tried one?  I’ve heard of them, but never had one.  They sound…interesting.

Well, now that we’ve covered that, it is time to get to the fun part.

Last week I pulled out my beading supplies when a friend was visiting.  I hadn’t taken my beads out since last year, when the same friend was over.

So we did some beading.  She made a bracelet.  And I started an anklet. 

I’ve wanted to make an anklet for awhile.  I can’t wear bracelets, because they aggravate my wrists.  So I thought anklets would be a good alternative.  And I have one anklet that I made when I was maybe 10.  But it no longer fits.

Wow.  That was a bit ramble-y.

So after some brainstorming, and grabbing a handful of jewelry that I had made, I decided to take apart an old necklace and remake it into an anklet.

So this is what I ended up with.

Nothing fancy.  Just a simple everyday anklet.  It is about the color of denim, so I can wear it with most of my skirts.

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These are rather uninteresting pictures

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But I’ll post the more interesting pictures later

Once I had finished this anklet, I saw some other beads that I had, and they inspired me.  So I then made this bracelet for Mom.

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I am really happy with how this turned out

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And now for the fun pictures.  =)

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Love the specular highlights

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