Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry (belated) Christmas!

Chad and I have had a great holiday season so far. We spent the weekend before Christmas with my parents in Lodi. We stayed with my grandma and were able to celebrate the holiday with my aunts, uncles and cousins. Christmas Eve we drove to my parents' house for the night before heading down to San Diego for four days. In San Diego we visited Chad's parents, sisters, brothers, their spouses and our nieces and nephews. We played lots of games and had a good time. Below you'll see a photo of the result of one of our games. The group was divided into two teams: Chad's team and Sean's team. Chad's dad bought two pair of old fashioned one-piece red pajama thingies (I have no idea what they're called). Chad and Sean had to put them on and everyone else on their teams had to blow up balloons and stuff them in their suits. Let's just say I don't think I've laughed that hard in a really long time.





Monday, December 15, 2008

Stormy Weather

Today has been quite a weather day in the Valley. We've had rain on and off with some thunder and lightening too. Pretty exciting, really, and especially good when you can stay home and not have to drive or walk around in it. As of this post we've had four unique hail storms and each left a fair amount of ice in our planters. In fact, the hail from our last storm, about 3 hours ago, is still on the ground. Brrr.

Night at the Cabin

Saturday Chad and I drove up to the cabin for the night. It started lightly snowing about 35 minutes into our 50 minute drive. I'm glad I wasn't driving. We made it safely to the cabin and all was good. Chad immediately started a fire and I made grilled cheese sandwiches. About two hours after we settled in the power went out! Fortunately we found candles and flashlights and it was still relatively light outside. The outage only lasted about an hour and we sat close to the fire to stay warm. The snow continued to fall well into the evening and the view from inside the cabin was beautiful.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Candies

My mom came up earlier in the week for the night to do a little shopping and baking. Overall I think we were pretty successful. We made chocolate-covered pretzels, rocky road, caramels and ginger snaps.


Friday Chad took the red tray of goodies to his coworkers. That night we delivered the candies and cookies to our friends and neighbors.

Here's a photo of me hand-rolling the caramels.






Monday, November 24, 2008

Greens

Our salad greens have really taken off these past couple weeks. I wasn't sure when was the right time to pick them but after seeing their leaf size this weekend I figured today was the day. This afternoon I plucked enough greens for our dinner tonight. I washed and salad-spinnered them before putting them in the fridge a couple hours before dinner.

I must say, they tasted really good! With an unknown mixture I wasn't sure how the salad would taste or if there would be a bitter group in the bunch, but we were both pleasantly surprised. Apparently the more you pluck the greens the faster they grow, so we'd better get eating!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Glasses

So Chad and I are getting our eyes checked in a couple weeks. After I made the appointment I thought maybe it would be smart to see if we like the frames the office had to offer. Today we spent about an hour there (fun!) playing around to see what looked good on us. We have no idea if we'll need glasses or not, but we figured just in case we might as well be prepared. Here are the glasses we narrowed down for Chad:













And here are the choices for me. I really don't think I'll need any. Maybe for looking at the computer and for reading, but otherwise I think my eyes are fine. If I have to get some I'll get one of these two pairs. What do you guys think? I thought the first pair looked good but everyone in the glasses office (including Chad) agreed that the second pair was way better. By the way, neither pair are as dark in real life as they look in this photo.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Las Vegas

Friday evening we flew with my parents to Las Vegas for a couple of nights. The weekend was great! We stayed at the Hooters Hotel (I know, I know) and it was fine. Not great but not horrible either. The location was good and really, most of our time was spent at the Tropicana playing blackjack. I suppose we left with a bit less money than we arrived with but overall we did well and definitely had fun.


We didn't just gamble while we were there. We ate good food, including a delicious meal (I had a filet mignon, Chad had salmon--surprising, huh?) at Gallagher's in the New York New York Casino Hotel and healthy chicken wings at Hooter's.

On Saturday we took a side trip to visit Chad's grandparents. We were there for five hours and had a nice visit with them. Hazel is 91 and Walter is 90 and they're both doing really well. It was great seeing them again.

The weekend went by fast, like they always do, but it was a good one.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend with Friends

On Friday our friends from the Bay Area came to visit us for the weekend. We had Indian food for dinner that night and had so much fun catching up. We hadn't seen each other since August. Saturday morning we hit up a few craft fairs near our house before heading to the cabin for the night.


At the cabin we cooked, played Scrabble, visited the town and had a nice time together. Saturday afternoon we also took a nice walk along the lake.

That night it rained pretty hard. Sunday morning when I woke up there was snow covering the ground, trees and rooftops. A little later it began snowing again but I was the only one up to enjoy it. By the time everyone else awoke the snow had stopped falling and most of it had melted into the ground.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Screen Doors

For our wedding anniversary my parents gave us screen doors for the house. Last week I called around for quotes and ultimately chose the company that gave us the best deal with the fastest installation time. We decided to get retractable screens for all three doors. On Tuesday the owner of the company came out and measured our doors and then installed the screen doors Saturday morning. We love how sturdy they are, how you can't see them when they're open, and how they retract into the frame when they're closed.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Seeds

Monday night we roasted the pumpkin seeds from the pumpkins we carved on Sunday. I cleaned them, added a little butter, salt and sugar and then roasted them in the oven for 40 minutes. Last night I enjoyed them a little too much. I was sitting in my chair and clumsily dumped the bucket of empty shells on my lap. Here's me feeling stupid but still cracking up.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pumpkin Party 2008

Last night Chad and I went to the Pumpkin Carving Party at our friends Jim and Kellie's house. We had dinner, drinks and candy before buckling down and carving our pumpkins. Because we used the pumpkins from our patch we brought three to work on this year. Chad has more imagination when it comes to pumpkin faces than I do so I let him carve two of them. Mine is on the left. Thanks to Kellie for the photo from last night.



Friday, October 24, 2008

Long Lost Project

I started this lap quilt way back in 2002 when my mom gave me a kit with the fabric. I chose the layout and sewed the pieces together. Why I chose this layout? Who knows. I probably would have done the pattern differently if I got the kit now, but that's OK. After finishing my place mats this week I had the confidence to finish this little quilt. Each time it gets a little easier and overall I'm happy with how it turned out.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Place Mats

This afternoon I finished the place mat set I started in a recent quilting class. I thought it was going to be a quick little project when I started but it turns out it wasn't. This class taught me how to make this fancy little block, quilt everything together using my new quilting foot and then bind it with mitered corners. The place mats definitely aren't perfect but I'm happy with how they turned out.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pumpkins


Yesterday we harvested our first round of pumpkins. We found seven that were ready to be cut and left a handful of green gourds on the vine. Those should be bright orange just before Halloween. We delivered the largest ones to friends and neighbors yesterday.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Basketball

Yesterday we went with my parents to the LA Lakers/LA Clippers preseason game here in town. It was a blast! We had dinner beforehand at the Doghouse Grill and then headed across the street to the 7pm game. The Clippers were on fire and definitely deserved the win. The score was 107-80 (ouch, Lakers) and I'm sure the Clippers were thrilled with the outcome. Gold-medalist Kobe Bryant played and despite coach Phil Jackson's recent leg problems, he was there too.


I'm so glad we went. I wish we had an NBA team here!

Three Years!

Yesterday was our third wedding anniversary! How can three years go by so quickly but still feel like we've been married forever?

More on what we did on our anniversary in a few minutes. Tonight we're going to celebrate by going out to dinner. Somewhere we haven't been yet but have wanted to try.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fall Wreath

It has been fall for a couple weeks but I'm just now getting around to decorating the house for it. My mom suggested I make a fabric wreath for our front door and I liked her great idea. After thinking on it for awhile this wreath is what I came up with. Chad suggested the raffia bow and I think it was the perfect touch to finish it off.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fair

When there's a chance to hit up a local fair Chad and I are always there. San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles County, Tulare County, Paso Robles, Fresno, etc. --we've been to them all and most of them more than once. We love going mostly for the people watching, but then there's the home arts, the animals, the food and the photography exhibits that we like checking out too.

At last year's fair we saw part of the Jonas Brothers concert. This year we went for Gretchen Wilson and her show was great. We got there early, found a good place to stand and stayed for the entire show. She played all her hits, a handful of new songs from an upcoming album (they were catchy and fun) and a few rock and roll classics that the whole crowd knew. She put on a good party concert and we're definitely glad we went.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I'm Giving Peas a Chance

I spent this morning tilling and improving the soil in a portion of our garden box. It was the spot where the tomatoes and the corn used to be. I haven't reworked any of the other areas yet because we still have a steady stream of watermelons, birdhouse gourds and pumpkins growing back there. Anyway, today I put nutrients back into the soil (hopefully as much as the tomatoes removed) and planted mixed lettuce seeds and either snow peas or sugar snap peas. A friend brought the pea seedlings over and I forgot to get the specifics at the time. I hope they grow.

UPDATE: They're snow peas. And I also planted garlic.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Switcheroo

This summer one of our red Japanese Maple trees died. Yesterday we returned the tree (or rather, a tree trunk with a few bare dried up branches) to the store where we bought it. It was one of many maples we have in our yard so we weren't too upset about it, but it was still a bummer. Last week Chad and I decided we wanted to plant a fig tree in its place. We already have one in our yard and we love everything about it. The leaves are beautiful, the branches are funky and weird, and the entire tree has more than doubled its size since we bought it in late May. I hope this new tree does as well as our current one.

We also bought a purple Crepe Myrtle bush for the front side yard. Chad planted it in the dark and did a great job despite the lack of lighting!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I walked for Liz (and Matt and Madeline)!

I usually take a break from exercise on the weekends but today I chose to participate in the Liz Goodman Logelin 5k Walk/Run. (I walked. I am not a runner.) If you don't know anything about Liz, Matt and Madeline you should visit this blog to read their story: http://www.mattlogelin.com/. Or read this post to learn exactly what happened.

Matt and Madeline live in the same area that we did in Southern California. While we have never met them, we feel like we have.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Balloons Again

Saturday we attended the annual air balloon festival here in our area. It started bright and early at 7:00am and we made it in time to see most of them set off. We were able to get a lot closer to the balloons than I thought we would. In fact, some of them flew low just above our heads. Pretty cool.



Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Watermelon!

This evening Chad and I decided to finally pick a watermelon. We have five more melons in our yard at various stages of growth. Another one (we think) will be ready in the next week or two. After Chad cut the watermelon we weighed it using our bathroom scale.


Today's melon, if you can believe this, weighed 30 pounds! It was huge and heavy.







After we cut and tasted it we realized that there's no way we can eat the whole thing by ourselves. We cut it into quarters and delivered large chunks to three of our neighbors. Hopefully they like watermelon! We had some this evening after dinner and it was great.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Camping Again

Last Friday we went with Chad's family to Hume Lake for the weekend. There were eight of us and we all had a great time. We managed to fit a lot into the quick trip and really could have used an extra day to do some more. We walked around the entire lake, ate good food, hit the Celebrate Sequoias Festival, swam at Sandy Cove, made marshmallow guns, shared bear stories, cooked in a dutch oven, paddled around the lake in canoes and visited Boyden Cavern, a marble cave deep in the Sierra.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

They Finally Arrived

All summer we've been waiting to see these guys on our tomato plants. We've been warned and put on notice but haven't seen much of anything besides bees, wasps, moths and grasshoppers. Until today. We went to check on our plants this evening and my eye went right to this big guy. There were actually two of them and most likely even more since they blend in so well with the greenery. They're called horn worms. If they weren't so bad for our tomatoes and so fat and squishy I might actually like them. They have really neet legs/feet and an unusual eye-like pattern on their sides. We're going to let them be. Our tomato plants are about done anyway.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ball Game

Last night we went to a ball game here in town. It was one of the last games of the season so we figured we should take the opportunity to go. There was a dramatic fireworks show after the game and we're glad we stuck around for it. We had a great time and are already looking forward to next year.

Monday, August 18, 2008

So last spring we planted a million carrot seeds in a small area of our garden. As soon as they started sprouting we read that you have to thin them out in order for the carrots to be healthy and grow. Thin them? No way! We want LOTS of big orange carrots. We're not going to thin them. So we didn't. And now they're popping up above the ground. There wasn't enough room for them to get big because each carrot had to fight for vacant space underground. Bummer.


Chad and I decided this weekend that we'd pick a group of them and cook them for dinner on Sunday night. And that's what we did. Instead of big juicy carrots we got juicy mini carrots. Cute, huh? They cooked really fast (yay!) and were tasty in our main dish.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Chip Off the Old Block

This weekend I woke up early and hit some garage sales. Most of the sellers had crap but at one of them I scored pretty well. Here's a photo of what I found. I got Chad a metal garage rack for $5 (don't ask how much we paid for the other ones we have from Lowe's), a long skinny folding table that's perfect for buffets or crafts, again for $5, and a box of books that I'm going to try to resell.


The brown table is much older and junkier than the new one we got from Grandma for Christmas. Plus, the one we bought today is 6 feet long and really skinny--not conducive for sitting at and eating a meal. With that said, for $5 it was too good of a deal to pass up!


Oh and there's something in that box for my dad for his birthday next week. Don't get too excited Dad--remember it came from a garage sale!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Another Dragonfly

A new dragonfly friend spent the evening in our front yard posing for photos. The lighting at dusk was a little funky so getting a good shot was difficult. Here is my favorite photograph we took of him. Try to imagine a bright blue body behind these super green eyes. So cute!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Busy Weekend

Chad and I spent the weekend with my parents at Shaver Lake. Saturday after breakfast we headed to the lake where we rented a pontoon boat for the afternoon. We trolled for awhile and I actually caught a fish. I can't brag about my technique or my mad skills because really, I have no idea when it happened. We decided to take a break from fishing and he was hooked on my line when I reeled in. Surprise! The golden-green colored bass was small, I'd say only about 8-10 inches or so.
After a quick photo op we let him go.







Sunday we woke up early and fished at Huntington Lake. We didn't have much luck but the view was nice! After fishing we were off to the annual Loggers Jamboree back at Shaver Lake. We had lunch and watched a chainsaw and a handsaw competition. It was quite a sight. I'm glad we went.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Can You Say...Fed Up?

I saw this sign today and had to take a photograph of it for this blog. The car is parked in our general neighborhood but fortunately not on our street. I've seen the SUV there before but always assumed it was the homeowner's car. Obviously I was wrong.

I wish I could see the owner's reaction when he gets back to his car!
(In case you can't read what it says, the sign reads: "This car is not in front of your house")

Monday, August 4, 2008

Bird Town

Here's a photo of our newest additions to the backyard. We bought three super cute birdhouses and put them on shepherd hooks. This week I'm going to buy seed for them so the birds will have something to eat. I wonder how long it'll be before we see a bird on one of them?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Starting to Look Like...

...a carrot! We're going to plant more in a couple months because we hear they like the cool weather better. Still, this little squirt isn't too shabby.