31 January 2011

So true...

I picked up this little letterpress-printed quote on a trip to Kansas City last year with the crew from Memory Bound. It's only taken me a year to put it in a frame! Unfortunately, the eclectic shop where I bought it is going out of business.

I was immediately drawn to the art and the whimsical font. And of course, any cat person would agree with me that the proverb is 100% accurate!

28 January 2011

Feline Friday

Click on the photo to see Tinsel's Tip of the Day:

How to catnap next to your irritating little sister without actually TOUCHING a single part of her way-too-cheerful body

27 January 2011

Hurry, please!

What NAUGHTY THING could these kitties possibly be doing? They look so INNOCENT, just sitting on the desk nicely next to each other.

Well, I'll tell you what they're doing: They are waiting for me to finish my yogurt so they can have a tiny taste! As soon as I open the yogurt container (or pour a bowl of cereal, or heat up some leftovers, make a salad with Ranch dressing, or whatever!), the Peanut Gallery is assembled and waiting, often not so patiently, for small treat. Sometimes Tinsel will hop on my lap and Lily will climb on my shoulder, each one trying to get close enough to snag the first bite.

GIRLS! It's MY lunch! :)

26 January 2011

Recipe: Picadillo Chowder

Recently I ran across a copy of a new-to-me magazine called Clean Eating. The recipes in this magazine feature ingredients in their natural, unprocessed state. So far, we've tried two recipes from this issue and they both were great. A third is on the stove right now.

Of course, I forgot to take a picture of the first recipe I made, so here's a photo of the magazine page. Note the title: Picadillo Chowder with Rice Browns. HAHAHA, I thought. A typo right in the title: They meant to say "brown rice", not "rice browns". This doesn't bode well for the recipe! It's probably going to SUCK!

Well, as I was assembling the soup, I read on a little further and realized that the "rice browns" are actually those cute little rice patties shown in the photo. FINE. Have your rice browns. Who even says "rice browns" anyway??? In addition to sounding a bit too pretentious for my taste, they looked rather labor intensive. No rice browns for me, thank you very much.

Now, the soup -- or chowder, to be precise -- was great the first day and even better the second. Definitely a KEEPER recipe. I made it early in the afternoon then put it in the crock pot to simmer until dinner. The only thing I would do differently is add a little salt. I think Spouse threw in some additional cumin, too, but I can't be sure of that. Perhaps he'll comment and share his secret ingredient.

Picadillo Chowder withOUT Rice Browns (Clean Eating magazine)

1 pound lean ground pork
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
32 oz low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
1 cup organic black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup brown rice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chile powder
Juice of 1 lime
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

1. Prepare 1/4 cup rice according to package. Remove from heat and fluff with fork; set aside.

2. Chowder: In large stockpot, cook pork and onion on medium heat until pork is opaque and onion is translucent. Stir in garlic; cook for 2 minutes.

3. Remove pot from heat, pour pork mixture into colander and drain fat. Return to pot and add broth. Stir in beans, rice, cumin, and chile powder. Bring chowder to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Stir in lime juice and simmer for 15 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

24 January 2011

Valentine's Day Tree

Last fall, I bought a metal tree (with a set of wooden tags) at Memory Bound. It was intended to be for Christmas but since I surely don't need any more Christmas decorations, I decided to make a few sets of tags for other holidays. I started by making a Halloween tree using chipboard coasters. And this past weekend, I made a set of Valentine's Day decorations.

I'm not at all a big fan of Valentine's Day, but I thought it would be fun to have a new set of decorations and use up some very old things in the process.

My Valentine's Day tree is actually a blend of old and new product. Some of you may recognize the very old Making Memories pink/brown paper. I've always loved it (and of course, I hoarded it!) so I thought this would be the perfect project to use up some of my huge stash. I also used a few very old Making Memories metal tags, along with a new set of Tim Holtz keys (which I also used on my Halloween tree), and a few other chipboard pieces.

To establish a theme and color scheme, I first cut out several large hearts from the Making Memories paper using an Accu Cut die board. Since the paper is heavy and double-sided, there was no need to double the thickness. I simply inked the hearts, tied them with ribbon, and clipped them to the tree.

Next, I painted the chipboard pieces pink, inked them with Tim Holtz Walnut Stain, then added die cut or punched hearts to each along with a little bling. I used an Ali Edwards "love" stamp on some chipboard coasters and a very cute bird stamp on other pieces.

I'm pleased with how this project turned out. With luck, my next set of decorations will be for Easter/spring.

21 January 2011

A Trip to the Vet

Earlier this week, it was Tinsel's day to go to the vet for her check-up. I dusted off the cat carrier and went to fetch her. (Of course, she was suddenly nowhere to be found.)

Sure enough, when I finally returned to the carrier with Tinsel in tow, there was Lily -- all ready to go somewhere fun and exciting!

"I iz reddy, Mama! Letts go!" she said.

Unfortunately (or actually FORTUNATELY for the vet) it was not Lily's appointment day. (Some of you may recall that Lily has an Extreme Aversion to Cat Show Judges and Veterinarians. Her chart at the vet's office is even marked "FEISTY".) At any rate, it wasn't at all easy to fish Lily out of the carrier and poke Tinsel in tail first (while she clung frantically to my neck), but I managed to get the job done without injury to any of us.

Tinsel serenaded me non-stop with her special "I sure hope I'm not going to the vet" RAAAAAAOOOOWWWW for the duration of the 25-minute trip. As soon as we turned into the vet's driveway, she stepped it up even further, just for dramatic effect.

As I parked the SUV and got ready to take her inside, Tinsel caught a glimpse of the vet's office and immediately realized where she was.

The look on her face says it all. OH, CRAP.

20 January 2011

And now, a post NOT about cats

Lest anyone think I only post about cats (which has been somewhat true lately), I thought I'd best post a layout so folks would know there is more to my life than my furry friends. I assure you, there IS more to my life, although some would say not a LOT!

When Daughter went off to college, I assumed that I wouldn't have many photos to scrapbook (unless I took them myself while visiting) but to my surprise, that hasn't been the case. She's been fairly good about taking photos and sending them to me (yes, I raised her well!) plus the marching band actually has a staff photographer who documents most every event. In short, I ended up with TONS of photos from her first semester in college -- enough to keep me busy for a very long time. What a pleasant surprise! Of course, just when I thought I was getting caught up, this unexpected onslaught of photos has set me back quite a bit...

ANYWAY, this is the first page of many about drumline auditions and band camp, held last August. Of course, I wasn't there but thanks to the drumline director and band photographer, I have access to plenty of photos. When you're so far away, it's absolutely wonderful to be able to see photos of your student! Just to know she's alive and well, you know. (In this case sweaty and exhausted, but still...)

Tomorrow's post will be about CATS, but I will try to bring more balance back to my blogging. As you can see (even though they'd have you believe otherwise), there IS more to life than my furry friends. :)

19 January 2011

Another Amazing Trick by Lily

As many of you know, Lily loves chasing puffballs. She's also quite good at catching and batting them, as this cell phone video demonstrates!

14 January 2011

Feline Friday

I'm a slow learner. I KNOW that tasty treats need to be put out of Lily's reach. But earlier this week, I carelessly left a baggie of leftover Pillsbury Crescent Rolls on the table. This time, Spouse caught Lily at 4 AM with the bag in paw, riddled with teeth marks. Bits of crescent rolls were broken off but still inside. It was clear that with a little more time, Lily would have gnawed through the plastic and enjoyed more than her fill of carbohydrates. Given her track record, I have no doubt that she would have eaten every single roll.

The next day, Lily agreed to do a quick re-enactment.

She was more than happy to return to the scene of the crime...

...and demonstrate her Pillsbury Crescent Roll Super Seeking Powers.

A (somewhat blurry) close-up reveals the damage.

As payment for such a fine re-enactment, I rewarded Lily with a little taste. Never has a Pillsbury Crescent Roll been so fervently pursued, and never has a tiny crumb been so savored!

13 January 2011

Happy Birthday!

It's hard to believe that 18 years ago today, we welcomed you into the world. What a blessing you have been to us! Every year with you has been an adventure, and it has been a true joy and privilege to be your parents.

We love you dearly and are so proud of the young woman you have become.

Have a wonderful birthday!

11 January 2011

Towel Tunnel Tuesday

Snow has been falling steadily for the past day or so. We now have seven inches of the white stuff on the ground. I've noticed that when it snows, the kitties tend to hunker down. They only get up to eat, then they go right back to sleep in a Warm Spot.

You know it's cold here when Tinsel makes a Towel Tunnel. This is the third Towel Tunnel she has made this season (see her first structure here).

With each Towel Tunnel, her construction seems to improve. This one is nice and sturdy, with the opening positioned very close to the furnace vent. And it's too small for Lily.

Smart girl. :)

10 January 2011

Meet Peabody!

My good friend Sharon knows I love sock monkeys. And she recently surprised me with a new little guy! I named him Peabody. He's quite adorable! He even came with a little booklet for recording Important Information.

Peabody enjoyed the Christmas decorations, especially the small village under the tree. I guess the tiny North Pole buildings are a bit more his size. I left him there to explore the village, but when I went back to fetch him...

...I spotted him riding a donkey! Even though Peabody offered to carry some of the Christmas gifts, you can see that Santa was not too pleased to have a rider.

To distract Peabody from any further trouble, I showed him the snow outside the window. He seemed intrigued, so I set him to work counting snowflakes and went on about my business.
But when I went back to check on him, I found him swinging from the lamp! He did NOT want to come down, but I finally coaxed him with a bit of chocolate. (The truth is that I had to eat several chocolates from the box before I found one that he liked! Turns out that Peabody is a very picky eater!)

Now that Peabody is in the house, I'm glad the Christmas decorations have been put away. Clearly, I'm going to have to provide him with a bit closer supervision!

07 January 2011

Feline Friday: Crissmas in Reevew, by Lily

Now dat mi mommie putted awai da Crissmas tree, mi seesonal fun is ozer.

But Crissmas waz fun wile it lasted! Tinsul got a preetend possum an sum yummy treets frum Santa. She did not want to bee in dis picture so Baiwee had to show hur treets. I am sure Tinsul will share dem wif me beecuz she luvs me.

And even tho mi stockeen was turned to da "NAUGHTY" side, i still gotted sum treets AND a bag of 100 PUFFBALLS! I am so exsited! Now I will not loose dem so much.

But da vary, vary best part of Crismuss was haveen Baiwee home wif us!

06 January 2011

Simple Cards from Scraps

This year, I made a few Christmas cards from leftover bits of this and that. I've done this a few times over the years (see previous posts here and here). The funny thing is that even though I don't like scrapbooking Christmas photos, it seems that I have accumulated several Christmas product lines -- because they are so beautiful! In fact, I have enough Christmas stuff in my stash that I could probably make all of my cards for the next few years.

This year, I ended up making 25 cards. (If I had started earlier, I would have made cards for everyone but that didn't seem to happen!) I used a couple of very simple designs and tried to repeat them using different doo-dads.

If you're a crafter, you may recognize some of the product on these cards as current -- and some from many moons ago! It doesn't matter to me how old it is. If I like it and it works on the card, I'll use it.

Making cards from scraps satisfies my need to make each one a little bit different. (I could never make 25 of the same card!) I also really like putting my hoarded stash to good use.

So here's to continuing to use up those scraps in the New Year!

04 January 2011

Blueberry Mini-Muffin NOMMED

I made a serious mistake last night: I left a plate of blueberry mini-muffins sitting out on the counter, covered only by plastic wrap. You'd think I'd remember by now that all treats must be placed in the microwave or fridge, lest they be NOMMED by Lily. Who does NOT need the NOMS, believe me.

This morning I noticed that SOMEONE had discovered the blueberry muffins sometime between the hours of midnight and 3:30AM. The evidence is clear: This is the work of Lily.

No wonder she didn't wake me up in the middle of the night (as she usually does) asking for food. She'd already found it.

03 January 2011

Recipe: Date Cookies

I realize that the end of the holiday season is probably NOT the best time to share a cookie recipe, but this one is too good to keep to myself. I needed to use up some dates I'd forgotten about in the back of my freezer and found this recipe for Date Cookies on the Allrecipes website.

If you're a fan of dates (or even if you're NOT), you'll love these drop cookies. The dates sweeten the cookies without being overpowering.

Date Cookies


1 cup butter, softened

1 1/3 cups white sugar

3 eggs

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 teaspoons water

1 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates

1 cup chopped pecans


In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves; gradually stir into the creamed mixture. Combine the water and dates; stir into the dough along with the chopped pecans. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.