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Sunday, February 28, 2010

All Work and No Play...

Not exactly.  B's parents were here from Colorado last week, and we all made a day trip to Cannon Beach.  It was a beautiful day!
Haystack Rock
Mimi and Papa
Mimi has stars in her eyes!
They boys and their Mimi
So sweet!
Can you tell they're related?
My girl Tilly
Digging to China
Doodle on the run
The contemplative one
The compulsive one... is he trying to keep his pants dry?

The leisure didn't last, however.  The next day we put them to work!
Pruning the apple trees
No free lunches here!

And I have been in the sewing room...
My order ships out March 8th, and I am almost halfway done.  Next on the agenda are the Sweet Tooth Fairy Pillows with cupcakes on the front.


Friday, February 19, 2010

My Big News!!




Late last year I began thinking about what I could do to help supplement our income, knowing that my husband's job was coming to an end on February 2 of this year.  My primary goal was to help pay tuition for our sons' schooling.

I have been a stay-at-home mom (who never really spent much time at home) since our first son was born in 1997, and I must say, the confidence level was a little shaky.  Also, I knew that I wanted to be home when the kids got home from school, on the weekends, holidays, etc. That left me a little limited, to say the least, in the kind of job I could get.

Then, on January 1, I had an epiphany (you can read more about that here).  I registered Everyday Graces, LLC and set up Everyday Graces on Etsy.  Since then, I have been going through the motions, but there is definitely Someone working behind the scenes, Amen!

On February 9 I listed this little pillow.
On February 16, I received an email from a children's boutique in North Carolina.  They were wanting to know if I would be interested in making pillows for their store.
  
What??  Are you kidding me???
  
Well, they weren't kidding, and as of today I have an order of 20 pillows for Nesting in Charlotte, North Carolina!!  I am stunned, and so excited I can't contain myself.  Yahoo!  

Enjoy your weekend!  

So exciting!!

I am hoping to have good news later today.  As soon as I hear I will write about it on my Everyday Graces.  For now let's just say it has something to do with this...
and Everyday Graces on Etsy.  You can read more about my new adventure under Everyday Graces on Etsy... An Honest Undertaking.  Oooh, I can hardly stand it! 

In the meantime, I have in-laws arriving today and a house that needs a major cleaning session.  

Stay tuned...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wine and Hummingbirds...

I have been having fun helping out at a friend's winery lately;  Natalie's Estate Winery.  Their primary label is a beautiful painting of a hummingbird.  I highly recommend a visit to their tasting room if you have a chance.
All of this to say... 
Do you know that here in the Willamette Valley we have hummingbirds year round?  The Anna's Hummingbird does not migrate.  At our house we enjoy their company all winter at the feeder.  When it gets below freezing I keep two feeders going so I can change them out when the nectar freezes.  



If you don't have a feeder it is a fun and worthwhile investment, if just for the entertainment of watching the little birds perform their amazing aerobatics.  Around here they keep me informed if the feeder is empty by loudly chirping at me when I step outside;  they are bossy little things!

The recipe for Hummingbird Nectar is very simple:
1 part white sugar to 4 parts water, and contrary to popular belief you don't need red food coloring.  I like to boil 1/2 c. water and add 1/4 c. sugar to dissolve and then add 1/2 c. cold water.  This way I don't have to wait for the mixture to cool before I take it outside.  If you make it they will come.

Wine and hummingbirds... it's a beautiful thing.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Baklava



Last night I made Baklava for a Young Lives Auction benefiting young, unwed mothers.  I thought I would chronicle the recipe to share with you.  This recipe is a compilation of cookbook recipes and the recipe of a dear Greek friend.

This picture is missing the lemon and orange needed for the syrup.

Baklava Recipe

Filling
5 cups nuts... I use a mix of about 2 1/2 c. walnut, 1 1/2 c. almond, 1 c. pecan
1 c. sugar, superfine
1+ T. cinnamon
1/4+ t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ground clove

Filo, I prefer Athens Brand, not sure why they use 2 L's in Filo though
1/2 c. unsalted butter

Syrup
2 c. water
2 c. sugar
1/4 c. honey
1-2 strips lemon peel
1 strip orange peel
1 cinnamon stick
Brandy, I happened to have Metaxa, a Greek Brandy

1.  Toast nuts for 8-10 minutes, let cool and then chop them in the food processor until semi-fine.

2.  Add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves to nut mixture and stir.

3.  Clarify the butter by melting and then skimming the foam off the top. 
 

4.  Set up your work station with the Filo, butter, nut mixture and pan all close together.  I use a 9x13 dish.

5.  Begin by using a brush to butter the dish.  Lay about 5 Filo sheets one at a time buttering each sheet before laying the next one.  Spread about 1 1/4 c. nut mixture and then 3 more sheets of Filo, again buttering between each sheet.  Continue until you have 4 layers of nuts, then top with remaining Filo, remembering to butter between each sheet of Filo.

6.  With a sharp knife, score the top of the Baklava to mark your portions.  I like to use a ruler for this.  First I cut lengthwise, and then I cut on the diagonal to get nice diamond shaped pieces.



7.  Next, poke one whole clove into each diamond of Baklava, spray lightly with water (helps prevent the Filo from curling), and then bake for about 50 minutes @ 350F.  Baklava should be lightly browned when done.

8.  While Baklava is baking, prepare the syrup.  Add the water, sugar, honey, orange and lemon peel, and the cinnamon stick to a small sauce pan.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add a splash of Brandy and cook for about 5 more minutes.

9.  When Baklava is done remove from the oven and pour the syrup over the top.

10.  Let cool and then enjoy!

I like to box Baklava for gifts, or in this case an auction.

Opa!

   

Thursday, February 11, 2010

For Walkers and Runners~ a nifty trick

In preparing for the Portland to Coast walk the last couple of years I visited Portland Running Company for shoes.  It was there that I learned this nifty way to tie the laces to prevent my heel from slipping and rubbing against the back of the shoe.

First, you lace your shoes the way you normally would, until you get to the last 2 holes.  At the top you don't cross the lace over... just put it through the top hole on the same side.  Do the same on the other side.

Place the ends of the laces through the loops on the opposite side.


Pull though and tie as normal.

This technique tightens the heel, but doesn't make the width of the shoe tighter.
Thanks for humoring me!  



Saturday, February 6, 2010

Oregon Spring?


Today I am hearing about the snowstorm in and around D.C. and wondering, "Is it possible... that here in Oregon... it could be Spring already?"  Beautiful things are beginning to happen...
Hydrangea

Crocus

Daffodil

I always look forward to the Daphne blooming; the scent is simply divine.

And, of course, the cutest thing in the garden no matter what time of year... Tilly, our Goldendoodle.


What's blooming in your garden?