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

Friendship Bracelets

Probably about 8 years ago, my parents gave me this book for a gift.  And I started making friendship bracelets.

And I made them like CRAZY.  I started working chronologically through the patterns, until the three hardest at the end (because they were based on the chevron, which had made me cry, or at least really frustrated).  So at least 7 bracelets.  Then I made maybe 5 more.

A few weeks ago I was going through my drawers, and I came across an old bracelet I had made, which I had come across awhile previously when cleaning, and stashed in my drawer to put on during summer.  I wouldn’t have put it on had I not found it cleaning my drawers (you never know what you are going to find when you clean out your drawers).  (Did that make any sense to anyone?)

So I pulled out the book to teach Meiling how to make them.  And I started a bracelet, too.

The chevron pattern.  To prove to myself I could do it.

Meiling didn’t seem to like it much.  But I continued to make bracelets.

I made one for me, one for my dog (one for me that I didn’t like so well), one for a friend, and now I am working on another for myself.

(And it turns out the chevron was a breeze.  Not sure what my problem was before. =))

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The two I am currently wearing:  The pink and green one is one I found it my drawer, and the other is the chevron I successfully made without tears.

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The one that I put on Lucy – this pattern is called “Rag Rug.”

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What do you think of your pretty necklace, Luc? Does it make you feel like part of the club?

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(I think she says “Not so much.”)

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The one I made for a friend  – this pattern is called “Totem Pole.”

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The one I am making now – the beaded chevron (these are not the beads I am going to be using – I need to get to the store and get some better ones.

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

A Puppy, the Fourth of July, and Visiting

My camera has been woefully neglected.  It has been sitting behind my chair in my room, somewhat out of sight and mind.  I do think about it, but feel uninspired. 

Goal: take out my camera and leave it somewhere so that I can post more.

 

Last week Tuesday we picked up an ADORABLE little puppy for my cousins.  They named him Bosco.  He is a chocolate cockapoo.  We were taking him up north for them, and OF COURSE we had to get him a bit early.  Don’t you think so, too?

I had so much fun with a little bundle of nigh-boundless energy padding/pattering around behind me, attacking my feet and skirt hem.  I loved having a little warm puppy ball that would suddenly decided he was tired and fall asleep right next to me.  He had this adorable way of curling up on your feet to snuggle and sleep.

But Lucy didn’t like him.  At all.

And honestly, I can’t quite blame her.  He stole her girl, her crate, her water bowl, her room, her spots to lay, and her snuggle time.

If Lucy had hands, she probably would have rung his neck.

Every time I talked to him, every time he was following me or I was taking him out, Lucy was watching from a distance.

And then she started giving me the cold shoulder.  When I would talk to her, she wouldn’t look at me.  And if I tried to hug her or pick her up, she would pull away.

Needless to say, she is happy that he is gone.

 

For the Fourth of July, we had some dear friends over.  We have spent probably the majority of the major holidays with this family for the past 5+ years.  So we continued the tradition.  There was food, bubbles, squirt gun fights, paddle boat rides, and pond-swimming.  Bonfires, badminton, puppy snuggling, and kitty snuggling.  And plenty of talking.

It was wonderful.

I hope your Fourth was as lovely as ours.

 

Friday afternoon we headed up north to deliver a puppy and visit.  It was so great to see family, but too short as always.  I got in several games of Rummikub with Grandma, and Pop joined us for a few, also.  I really love that game.

 

And I hauled my camera all the way up there, and, woefully, it stayed in the bag most of the time.

So I only have one photo of Bosco to share.  And a not-to-great one at that.

 

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Hoping to take more pictures soon!

Love,
Allison

Cousins

On Thursday my aunt and two youngest cousins on my dad’s side came down to spend a few days at our home.  There was lots of jokes, snow ball fights, games, and Nerf gun wars.  And talking.  And eating, of course.  🙂

We also celebrated Noah’s birthday while they were here, since it was last weekend and we didn’t get to celebrate it then.  Happy birthday, Noah!  It’s hard to believe that he is 15 already…

I didn’t take quite as many photos as I would have liked to, since I was still feeling under the weather.  Anyways, here are a few from their stay.

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Drake playing Hannah’s ukulele (he makes me laugh)

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Looking at books

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Getting ready to sing (I really liked how these turned out, so there are several :))

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*blow*

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Drawing for “Cranium

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We had just picked up “Cranium” at a resale shop a few weeks ago, and got to try it out this weekend!

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Smiles

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Hannah really enjoyed getting to snuggle with Lucy

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Ready for the Nerf war (or tag – I think they were playing Nerf tag)

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Their “cool-guy” poses

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These next few are just plain fun with cousins 🙂

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Hannah and Lucy snuggling again

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Thanks for coming!  And come back soon!  ❤

The Valentine’s Day Incident and Herbed Rolls

I was trying to be the “good” babysitter, even though I wasn’t really babysitting.  I had just made a fresh batch of chocolate cupcakes, and, since we were going to watch a movie while Mom and Dad watched theirs (Valentine’s date), I thought I would be fun and let my siblings have cupcakes in the basement.

But I had this feeling of apprehension as I put some cupcakes on a plate.  They were chocolate…but hey, we had eaten other desserts in the basement without incident.  What difference would cupcakes be? Still.

I even made Meiling and Noah use forks.  Just to be safe.  Little did I know…

I had unwrapped Meiling’s cupcake and given it to her on a plate, and was working on prepping Noah’s, when suddenly their was a commotion.

Lucy had a cupcake – a chocolate one, at that – in her mouth.  Drake was doing his best to prevent her from eating it, while holding her.

I hastily set down Noah’s cupcake and grabbed the cupcake top (she wasn’t lucky enough to grab the whole thing) out of her mouth.  I squeezed as much frosting out of her “beard” as I could, then let her go.

“Take her upstairs!” I said to Drake, as I protected the cupcake-laden area of the floor.  Of course the cupcake had landed frosting-side down.  I sent Noah upstairs for a bowl (also, the frosting-side-down had landed right in the middle of the toy cars and road rug that were all over the floor) to put the dirty cars in.

And then we started laughing.  And laughing.

“Well,” I said to Drake, “At least her breath smells better now!”

There was just something so funny about the whole business.  I had to go interrupt Mom and Dad.  And, laughing, tell them the whole thing.

Lucy had hopped up on Meiling’s lap, since Meiling was sitting on a low chair, and snatched the cupcake right off the plate.

The little stinker.

Lucy didn’t ingest enough chocolate to make her sick, and we got the ensuing mess cleaned up quickly and got our movie rolling shortly.

 

Recently I picked up The Joy of Gluten-Free Sugar-Free Baking at the library.  I was really thrilled, since it uses all sorts of nut and seed flours.  I tried one of their roll recipes, and they turned out wonderfully!  Their waffle recipe was AWESOME, also.  I am hoping to try another recipe before I return the book, and before the week is out.

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My rolls

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Oh My–This is SO GOOD (and fun!)

I made these AMAZING little things today.  They were wonderful.  Amazing. (Although I already said that.)  And I had a BLAST making them.  The caramel was my favorite part to make (especially since it was mostly dairy free – it just had butter, which could have been changed).  Dipping in chocolate is always fun.  But I have done that before.

Now that I have raved on and on, I am sure you are wondering what I made.

You’re not?

Oh.

Well.

I’ll just tell you anyways.

How’s that?

And you’ll pretend that you are excited?

Thanks.

I made Paleo/Primal Twisk bars!

Oops.  Did it again.  I mean Twix bars.

Isn’t it easy to say it the other way?  I also have an extended family member who used to say it that way (quite a while ago).  I was thinking of you today while I was making these. 🙂

I was so excited to try them once they were done.  And I wasn’t let down.  They were SO SO VERY GOOD.  I stood there on the rug in the kitchen and ate one.

While eating it, the chocolate melted and oozed all over my hands and my (already chocolate smeared – this always happens when I deal with melted chocolate) face.  I am somewhat tired, so I kind of zoned out.

Dad said I looked funny.

I think I did too.

O.K.  And now the pictures.

(Don’t drool.  Or at least try not to.)

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The unbaked cookie layer

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“I am ready to be baked!”

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Baked, and cooling

 

*WE INTERRUPT FOR A BREAKING NEWS ALERT*

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Mom bought the first bit of egg nog today.  Drake and I love egg nog, and we drink it together in the winter.  Sometimes while we are making dinner.  *Sigh*  I am SO looking forward to winter.  And I am enjoying the first tastes that are already here.

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I so need to make a paleo version of this.  This stuff is wonderful.  Even if it isn’t chocolate.

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Cheers!

 

*WE NOW RETURN TO OUR STORY*

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The caramel ingredients in the pan

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Lucy being her usual cute self.  She *actually* looked at me when I took her picture.  She usually won’t.

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Isn’t she JUST SO CUTE!!!!!  (My family hears this probably about 25 times a day.  Lucy hears it probably ten times that.)

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The caramel, now melted

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Swirlies!

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While waiting for the caramel to come to the proper temperature, I discovered that caramel drips are fun to photograph!

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*Drip*

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*Drip* *Sizzle* (As I am not paying attention and holding my whisk over the hot stove, the caramel drips are burning, instead of returning to the pan.  This has a most unique scent.)

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Now we are getting close

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Stir!  Don’t stop!

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Cooling in the pan

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After several hours in the fridge – cutting them up (actually not that difficult)

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Melting the chocolate

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Cooled, right out of the freezer

 

Are you ready for this?  You think so?  O.K.  Here it is:

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Yum.

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That’s all that I can say.

If you want the recipe, please leave me a comment below, and I will email it to you.

 

Now I am off to go clean the last residue of chocolate from the bridge of my nose.

 

~Allison

Cupcake #3 and a Few Other Photos

I finished cupcake #3 earlier this week.

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I think it’s fun.  It turned out a bit furrier than I thought it would, but I still like it.

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You can’t see it real well in these pictures, but you can still see the blue part of the cupcake really well, which helps give it shape.  It doesn’t look like the abominable cupcake in real life.

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I took these photos yesterday, since I was planning to post then.  I decided to post them anyway.

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Lucy being cute in the sun.  Just love her!

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Working on a presentation for school.  The mug was full of tea – I’m fighting a NASTY cold.  I had to include this photo, because I liked it.  Not completely sure why. 🙂

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The grain-free graham crackers I was stuffing myself with.  They weren’t half bad, although next time I am going to change a few things.