Archive for the ‘~ Personal’ Category

My First Blog Award

I was tagged by Auction Girl over at Auction Girl Vintage blog with this award – thanks! Now I need to do the following:

Answer the following questions with one word answers … then pass it on to 7 other bloggers.

Drat, I can’t do all one-word answers….oh, well 😛 Auction Girl can’t take this award away from me if I break the rules…it’s too late! Besides, she broke the rules, too 😀

1. Where is your cell phone? On my desk in front of me
2. Where is your significant other? At his desk behind me
3. Your hair color? Brown with copper highlights, and some gray
4. Your mother? She’s a very sweet woman with a kind and caring heart
5. Your father? He’s a redneck without the guns and beer, very blunt. You never have to wonder what he’s thinking…he’ll tell you!
6. Your favorite thing? Riley, my cat
7. Your dream last night? I don’t recall a dream from last night
8. Your dream/goal? To be where God wants us (DSH & I) to be
9. The room you’re in? The computer room. It’s full of books, a treadclimber, computer stuff and some junk that we need to go through. There’s an open window right by my desk, I love it 🙂
10. Your hobby? I don’t have one specific major hobby, there are a few little things I enjoy, like gardening, cooking, making crafts like the baskets in a recent post, just little things that fill a need.
11. Your fear? That I won’t be liked for who I am.
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Debt-free!
13. Where were you last night? In bed, sick 😦 Earlier in the day I was at the zoo with DSH and our niece and nephew
14. What you’re not? Logical.
15. One of your wish list items? Our own home in a rural setting
16. Where you grew up? All over, I’m an Air Force brat.
17. The last thing you did? Cleaned off the dining room table
18. What are you wearing? a comfy summer dress
19. Your tv? C-SPan
20. Your pet? 2 cats, Sir Riley the Cute and Princess Lotus Blossom
21. Your computer? a Dell, and I’m over at the forums on Faith Community Network
22. Your mood? Mixed right now.
23. Missing someone? Nope, I’m not
24. Your car? A gorgeous black PT Cruiser 🙂
25. Something you’re not wearing? My wedding ring, I never wear it at home, I only wear it when I leave the house. The same with all my jewelry.
26. Favorite store? CBD.com
27. Your summer? Busy
28. Love someone? Yup
29. Your favorite color? Green and purple
30. When was the last time you laughed? Yesterday 🙂
31. Last time you cried? Today. Check out the post below titled, “Through The Eyes of a Child”

Now I need to go tag 7 other bloggers with this award! Auuuggghhhh!!!

These are the 7 that I’ve chosen:

Of Bluebirds and Roses
Coffee in the Morning
Honey Bee’s Bliss
Journeying to Lose 200 Pounds… The Triumph of Perseverance
The Crepes of Wrath
Sliding Down the Stairs


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Weekend Adventures

Ok, maybe adventures is too strong a word, but DSH and I did have a very full and interesting weekend.  On Saturday we decided to go see a 12:10 showing of “Fireproof” in Natomas.  I knew this movie was made by amateurs, with Kirk Cameron being the only professional actor, so I was expecting more cheesy acting than there was.   I think the movie was very well done, and while the acting was weak in a few parts, the emotions conveyed and the strength of the storyline overcame all of that.

This movie has a very strong Christian message about the foundation of marriage and the importance of Christ in a person’s life.  If ‘religion’ offends you, you may not want to see this movie.

At the end of the movie, the makers of the movie offer a link to “Fireproof My Marriage“, a site with resources to help develop and strengthen a great marriage.

While I was in the shower getting ready to go to the movie, Riley the Fierce earned a new name…Riley the Mousekiller.  Our cats are indoor cats, only allowed out in the backyard when we’re home.  They don’t have the chance to go mousehunting very often.  On Saturday Riley proved his ‘cathood’ and killed a mouse.  He brought it into the house to show to me, but since I was in the shower I missed it….thankfully!!!  The poor mouse had been gutted and was rather gory.

Riley brought it all the way inside to the computer room and deposited it on the floor before meowing loudly for my attention (according to DSH 😛 )  DSH took some photos of the dead mouse (that’s how I know it was gory) before taking it back outside.  He didn’t tell me about it until after we were back home from the movie.

DSH finally disposed of the carcass yesterday after church.  Riley was making some smelly messes in the litterbox so I said no more eating mouse for him.

After the movie we went to Cost Plus to spend our last wedding gift card, and we purchased some placemats, napkins and napkin rings along with a couple of Christmas ornaments and a steamer basket.

That was Saturday 🙂   Yesterday was more of a normal day with attending church, and afterwards I went to Cost Plus again to exchange one of the Christmas ornaments (a peacock that was missing its crest).  That was near a Linens-n-Things that closes today (Monday) so I decided to see if they had any good deals.  They had a few, but for a store that was going out of business items were still priced very high.  I can see why that company had to declare bankruptcy and close so many stores.  Overpriced they are.

I then went to SuperWalmart in West Sacramento to do grocery shopping for the week, and ended up in what I thought would be a short line, but I was next in line for almost 20 minutes.  The poor lady in front of me had nothing but problems.  First her package of cow tongues (eeewwwww!) wouldn’t ring up, so an employee had to go find another which took nearly 10 minutes, then the poor lady’s debit card wouldn’t work, so she finally had to leave her purchases.  The clerk had to cancel the sale, log out, and a new clerk log on.  Finally I was done and headed home.

At home I made chili and a breakfast casserole for the week, watched some of America’s Funniest Videos and looked forward to DSH coming home from the Sunday night service our church has.

There you have our weekend adventures 🙂  Stay tuned for more exciting adventures!  Or maybe (MUCH more likely) some not-so-exciting adventures.

Happy Monday!

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Apple Hill

My mom and I had a wonderful time at Apple Hill today, here are some photos:

This is usually our first stop when we go to Apple Hill.

This is usually our first stop when we go to Apple Hill.

This is inside the gift shop at Abels Acres.  They have lots of cute things to buy

This is inside the gift shop at Abel's Acres. They have lots of cute things to buy

I thought the frog jazz group was very fun

I thought the frog jazz group was very fun

This is the pond across the street from Abels Acres.  There were quite a few Canada Geese around the area.

This is the pond across the street from Abel's Acres. There were quite a few Canada Geese around the area.


My mom and I loved this piece of metal art! I think it would look great in my yard, but it was a bit too expensive 😛

Cute hats!

Cute hats!

These are magnets and ornaments made with colored flour dough.  Theyre very well done

These are magnets and ornaments made with colored flour dough. They're very well done

This is a closeup of some of the flour dough creations.  Garlic, pumpkins and mushrooms.

This is a closeup of some of the flour dough creations. Garlic, pumpkins and mushrooms.

This is at High Hill.  They make fresh cider here, and give away free samples.  Its tasty!

This is at High Hill. They make fresh cider here, and give away free samples. It's tasty!

At the shop at High Hill, you can buy all sorts of goodies, including apples.

At the shop at High Hill, you can buy all sorts of goodies, including apples.

These are Gravenstein apples.  Dont they look beautiful?

These are Gravenstein apples. Don't they look beautiful?

These just look so beautiful that I had to share another photo.

These just look so beautiful that I had to share another photo.

At El Dorado you can ride this small train around their pond.  This is the entrance to the area where the train is located.

At El Dorado you can ride this small train around their pond. This is the entrance to the area where the train is located.

This is the pond the train circles.  You can see the tracks on the other side.

This is the pond the train circles. You can see the tracks on the other side.

The sign for Bavarian Hills orchards

The sign for Bavarian Hills orchards

The hillside at Denver Dans, one of the many orchards where you can pick your own apples.  These are Golden Delicious trees.

The hillside at Denver Dan's, one of the many orchards where you can pick your own apples. These are Golden Delicious trees.

The petting zoo at Denver Dans

The petting zoo at Denver Dan's

Neat airplanes made from soda cans!

Neat airplanes made from soda cans! These were at Bolster's Hilltop

Orchard scenes from Grandpas Cellar

Orchard scenes from Grandpa's Cellar

A scarecrow outside the store at Grandpas Cellar

A scarecrow outside the store at Grandpa's Cellar

Some very intricate and creative lawn decorations at Bills Apples and Felices Dolls

Some very intricate and creative lawn decorations at Bill's Apples and Felice's Dolls

A funny bird feeder at Bills Apples and Felices Dolls.

A funny bird feeder at Bill's Apples and Felice's Dolls.

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The House of Dreams is full of stuff.  Lots of stuff.  In fact, too much stuff!  If there’s a place for stuff, there’s stuff in that place.  Between me and DSH, we have so much stuff that we also rent two storage units.  It’s become an overwhelming problem.

In our defense, we live in an older home with no closet space to speak of as well as no storage space, and our garage is not an ideal storage space.  It’s detached from the house and is a simple frame with siding, and is home to many rats, mice, spiders and who knows what else.

Our goal this winter is to go through both storage units and get them reduced to only one unit.  We also need to go through all the stuff in the house and reduce that as well.  I’m hoping to find enough stuff to have a decent yard sale come spring.

How did we get so much stuff?  Well, the majority of our stuff came with each of us into our marriage.

I’ve accumulated lots of stuff over the years (hey, I’m 43, I’ve had lots of time to get my stuff!) including books, knick-knacks, paper, all sorts of miscellaneous things.

DSH came with a lot of stuff that belonged to his Grandma Grace.  She kept almost everything, including things from her mom and grandma.  Somewhere in the storage unit is an old suitcase with DSH’s great-great-grandma’s wedding dress.  In a side table in the living room is a huge stack of yellowed newspaper clippings from the early-to-mid 1900s.  There’s lots of stuff I could blog about eventually, and I plan to do so 🙂

Before our marriage, when DSH moved up here he rented a storage unit where I had one (hence the two we have today) and moved the stuff he was keeping from his Grandma Grace’s home (she had passed away about 6 months before that) and filled it with stuff.

He also had storage tubs full of his stuff in the room he was renting, and as our marriage date approached he began moving it to the House of Dreams.

Now we’re surrounded by tubs and boxes of stuff, and I’ve decided that this is the winter of my discontent with too much stuff.

The stuff has got to go!  Not all of it, but at least 30-50%.

We’re going to be busy at the storage unit and at home this winter, hopefully for at least a couple of hours most Saturdays.  It’ll be worth it once we’re done 🙂

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I love autumn!  It’s such a wonderful season of transition.  The days aren’t as hot as summer, and the mornings gradually take on a crisp coolness that’s invigorating.  Sunlight isn’t as brightly intense, and the leaves on trees begin to change color.  The whole world takes on a golden glow.  I love this time of year 🙂

Autumn means trips to Apple Hill, located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains near Placerville.  I visit Apple Hill at least each autumn, usually with my mother, sometimes with DSH and hopefully this year with some friends from church.

I love Apple Hill.  I begin looking forward to it once the California State Fair opens.  That’s when my countdown to autumn begins.

The recent days have been a perfect beginning to the season.  Oh, I know it’s not officially here yet, but I can feel it in the air.  I’m looking forward to the coming days – crisp mornings, the first frost, leaves changing color, apple crisp, pumpkin pie, the sun setting earlier in the evening, winter soups and stews for lunch and dinner, served with hot sourdough bread slathered with butter, my breath fogging the air in the mornings and evenings, the smell of woodsmoke, oatmeal with walnuts, dried cranberries, brown sugar and cinnamon, the cats hogging our bed, hot tea, sweaters…

I love autumn!

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Childhood Memories

A few weeks ago there was a grass fire just outside of Travis Air Force Base that jumped a fence and destroyed over 200 vacant homes.

The story was all over the news here, and images of the fire were shown from news helicopters.

I was fascinated by the story. I lived on Travis AFB when I was a child, from 3rd through 6th grades. The local news stations weren’t pinpointing the location of the burning housing, and I was diligently searching for that information. I had a feeling the fire was located in the area where my family used to live.

Later in the day one of the stations finally posted a still aerial shot of the fire, and even through all the flames I could see the layout of the streets. I went to Google maps and was able to pinpoint the housing area that was burning. It was where I used to live.

I have fond memories of those years living on Travis. Riding my bike to the minimart, walking to the library in the summer and spending my day there reading so many books, walking to the movie theater to watch the Saturday afternoon matinee, wading in a nearby creek catching frogs, climbing trees, going to school and so much more.

It’s strange to realize that the place that lives on in my childhood memories is no longer there. I guess we always think of the places we remember as never changing, but they do. I’m thankful for my memories 🙂

Air Traffic Control Tower, Travis AFB

Air Traffic Control Tower, Travis AFB

There’s an update about the fire at this link.

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I spent Sunday afternoon cooking some Monterey Chicken and Midsummer Risotto for our lunches this week. I’ve never made risotto from scratch before, and was hoping it wouldn’t be too difficult. I thought it might be difficult because on the occasions I’ve watched Hell’s Kitchen, Chef Ramsey is always spitting it out and saying how vile it is. It was actually surprisingly easy, although it required a lot of attention.

DSH really liked the risotto, and that’s a good compliment because he used to work at a restaurant at Ragged Point along Highway 1 just north of Hearst Castle many years ago.

I found the recipe for the risotto in a cookbook I bought at a thrift store for $2.99:

The Monterey Chicken recipe is one that a friend and I created over 20 years ago after enjoying a similar dish with the same name at a long-gone restaurant called Skinny Haven.

There are no measurements for the Monterey Chicken recipe, you just use your best judgment and follow your preferences 🙂

Here are the recipes:

Midsummer Risotto

2 cups tomato juice (you can also substitute 1/2 cup of dry white wine for 1/2 cup of the tomato juice)
3 cups water or vegetable stock (you can also use chicken stock)
1 vegetable bouillon cube
3 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 cup minced onion
1 1/2 cups arborio rice (I found this at a local specialty Italian store)
2 cups diced zucchini (I used 4)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped tomatoes (Before adding them to the risotto, I sautéed them with olive oil and seasonings)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (we have dark opal basil growing in our garden, so I used that)
ground black pepper to taste

Combine the tomato juice, water or stock, and bouillon cube in a pot and bring to a simmer. Transfer 1 cup of the broth to a blender, add 1 1/2 cups of the corn, and purée until smooth. Stir the puréed corn into the simmering broth. Set aside the remaining corn kernels.

In a separate, heavy saucepan (I used a large, heavy frying pan), preferably nonstick (try not to use nonstick, it’s bad for your health and the health of any birds you may have – I used a stainless steel pan and it worked quite well), combine the onions and the oil and sauté for about 5 minutes, until softened. Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the rice, stirring with a wooden spoon to avoid breaking the grains, until the rice is coated with oil.

Ladle about a cup of the broth into the rice and stir constantly for several minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed. Add the zucchini and another cup of broth. Continue to stir frequently, adding a cup of broth every few minutes for the next 15 minutes, until all of the broth has been added and the rice is tender but firm (this step actually took about 30-45 minutes for me).

Add the reserved corn, the salt, tomatoes, basil and pepper to taste. Cook for another minute or so and serve immediately.

This is the finished risotto

This is the finished risotto

Monterey Chicken

Boneless, skinless chicken breast
Italian seasoned bread crumbs
Grated parmesan/romano cheese
Summer squash of your choice, sliced into rounds (I used zucchini and yellow patty pan squash from the store, and then some summer squash from our garden)
Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
Yellow onion, chopped
Italian seasoning
Fresh or refrigerated crushed garlic
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Butter and olive oil

Rinse and dry the chicken breasts, and trim any fat that might still be attached. You can either bake the breasts whole or cut into bite-sized chunks. Since I was making this for work lunches, I cut the chicken into chunks to make eating it easier.

Blend some of the grated parmesan/romano cheese with the Italian seasoned bread crumbs and then coat the chicken well with the mixture.

Coated chicken chunks

Coated chicken chunks

Place the coated chicken into a casserole dish which has been coated with olive oil. If the chicken is in chunks, layer evenly.

Layered in the casserole dish

Layered in the casserole dish

Bake the chicken at 350° for approximately 45 minutes, or until almost done.

While the chicken is baking, heat a frying pan and add some butter and olive oil. Once the butter has melted, add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until translucent.

Add the sliced summer squash, mushrooms and garlic and sauté until near desired doneness, then add italian seasoning. You can also use fresh herbs such as oregano, basil and rosemary. This dish is all about what you prefer 🙂

Yummmm....ready to be added to the chicken!

Yummmm....ready to be added to the chicken!

Check the chicken to be sure it’s done. It should be lightly browned on top.

This is perfect

This is perfect

Once the chicken is done, remove it from the oven and top it with the squash mixture, being sure to not add any of the liquid that may be in the pan with the zucchini. You don’t want soggy breaded chicken, that’s nasty!

Almost done!

Almost done!

Sprinkle the shredded Monterey Jack cheese evenly over the top of the squash mixture,

I love cheese!

I love cheese!

then return to oven until the cheese has melted.

Yummy perfection

Yummy perfection

Serve 🙂

Here’s the meal for lunch this week:

Chicken Monterey and Midsummer Risotto

Chicken Monterey and Midsummer Risotto

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