Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Small Purse for the School Auction

The school live and silent auctions ended on Monday. People were generous with their bids. I usually make jewelry, but this year I wanted to mix it up a bit.

I was smitten with the handmade bags over at 7 Layers Studio blog. I decided that I needed the patterns to make the Infinity Bags. Graciously she gave me permission to make them for sell since it was to benefit the school.

Ellie helped me pick out the fabric. We selected thicker material so that the bags would have some strength. As we began to assemble the choices we could tell that we had Katie in mind. We opted for black and white zebra, bright pink solid and multitone pink cheetah canvas prints. The button is from a vintage sweater that once belonged to my Aunt Zora. The photo is not really very complimentary, but the bag is pretty fun. I made it more useful by adding pockets on the inside. I also quilted the main body with hot pink thread. It was a fun touch, I must say.

We paired my bag with a box set of pink lip glosses and got a very nice price for it. Although several people placed bids, it did end up with Katie, just has we had thought might happen.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Recipes and Riding

The last few days have been a bit of a whirlwind. Larr came home mid-morning on Thursday, in time for Thanksgiving. Larr's brother, Doug, helped get the cooking done and so we were able to continue with Thanksgiving, almost as if nothing had happened. The food was great, as was the company. I will write about it in another post. Today I simply want to post a few recipes so that I may find them again.

On Saturday Ellie had a cyclocross race. Uncle Doug and Grandpa Don came out to see her race. She was the only one in her category. Those points keep her in first place for both the Boulder CX series and the Colorado Cross Cup standings. At first she shot out like a rocket, out pacing many of the boys (we wonder a bit what those boys think about that) but then she let up on the pace since there was no real competition for her. Many of our friends remarked on how well she seemed to be doing.

We had a nice visit with Doug and Don while we were waiting for results. Later that evening they came over for dinner and to watch a movie. We opted for "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" which Doug had picked up at a video store. It was an interesting movie about branding in movies. I thought a healthy meal would be in order after so much rich stuff for the holidays; I opted for slow roasted salmon with lemon and dill. I also made a variation of a rice dish from the jambalaya dish I made earlier.
Today is much more relaxing. The kids went for a mountain bike ride, Larr read and I did a variety of things, including clearing off my craft room table so that I can begin to make some stuff.

Salmon with Lemon and Dill
via: allrecipes.com

1 pound salmon fillets
1/4 cup butter, melted
5 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking dish.
Place salmon in the baking dish. Mix the butter and lemon juice in a small bowl, and drizzle over the salmon. Season with dill, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper.
Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until salmon is easily flaked with a fork.

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
Cooking Light magazine, Oct. 2011

2 teaspoons canola oil
6 ounces reduced-fat smoked sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 fresh thyme sprigs
1 (14.5-ounce) can fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast (I used turkey)


1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add sausage; sauté 1 minute or until browned. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic; sauté 6 minutes or until tender. Add rice and next 5 ingredients (through broth); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is done. Remove thyme sprigs; discard. Stir in tomatoes and chicken. Cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

An Emergency Appendectomy

This week has been peppered with many unexpected events that have turned things on their head.

On Friday my hard drive crashed. I spent a few days being upset about losing my photos for I had not backed everything up recently. Dell sent out a new hard drive. On Sunday our computer whiz friend discovered that it was only a corrupt operating system error and that the data is still all safe. He has hooked it up an an external USB reader and now I can access everything. A technian visited yesterday and installed the new hard drive. I am in the process of putting everything back in its place. Let's hope I have learned my lesson about backing stuff up!

Today my husband was woken up by a lot of pain in his abdomen. As I write this he is in surgery having an emergency appendectomy. It is all very routine, but scary nonetheless. I am thankful for the diversions I have as I wait for his surgery to be complete.I am thankful that my son is old enough to drive and a good enough boy to make himself available to help in any way I might need him to help. Larr will stay at the hospital tonight and then come home tomorrow near noon. We will have Thanksgiving in the late afternoon. I thought about canceling it, but I've already prepped so much of the food that it would need to be cooked anyway. We will simply set him up in the recliner.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Green Mtn Composite Fall 2011 Racing Season

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Our Fancy Holiday Card

I usually make our holliday cards by hand. It often takes me until the following January to get them sent out. I received a very generous code for 10 free premium cards from Shutterfly as a thank you for hosting a Shutterfly party. Here's what I created:

Scrappy Happy Holiday Card
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View the entire collection of cards.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Posters For Charity Events

This last month I've done a lot of graphic work for charity work.
This one is for the Live and Online Auctions we are hosting as a fund raiser for our tuition assistance fund. The online auction starts this evening, as does the live one. It will be a lot of fun!

This poster is for an event that my school does every year. The kids from the area schools make clay bowls. Teachers make huge crock pots of soup. We host the event at my school. People pay $5+ dollars to get a soup dinner and a ceramic bowl. All of the proceeds go to the local food bank. It is an important cause that is close to my heart as many of the kids I teach rely on the food bank to help them have something to eat.

This poster was for the End of the Season party and mountain biking season. That is Maris on his bike. His parents were thrilled that I featured him. Perhaps it feels a little bit like being well known or famous for a short while.

I enjoy having the opportunity to use my graphics skills for good.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Colorado State Mountain Biking Championship 2011

I love this photo of my girl; she looks so happy - almost sparkling. Did you notice the crown that is attached to her helmet? Her coach, Kathy, gave that to her because she sees Ellie as a princess (the good kind, not the demanding kind.)
We were at the Colorado State 2011 Mountain Biking Championship at Bison Park in Castle Rock. From the parking lot the race course did not look like much, but all of the kids LOVED the course. Ellie says it was a ton of fun and others echo the sentiment. Ethan joined us for the day, hoping to have a chance to see friends that he had not seen in a while. He had fun, too. It made him wish he had done the series, too. Next year he will be too old to race as a junior.

It was an intense battle. For much of the race Ellie and Seirra were nearly neck to neck, trading first and second position. Then on the tough uphill during the second lap Ellie's bike dropped the chain. By the time she was able to get it back on Seirra had pedaled far ahead. The next day, with sore legs and still feeling tire, Ellie says it was good to have such and intense race.

Our friends who watch her race often said that she was shining that day. It was also lovely that both of Ellie's bike coaches Kathy (for mountain biking) and Lawanda (for road)were able to meet.

We spent the entire day at the races and had a lot of fun.

In the end she was awarded a hard earned 2nd place in the Freshmen Girls category. This will bump her up to Junior Varsity next year.

We think these medals are pretty cool.

Ellie moved from 11th to 8th to 2nd in the overall series standing, losing to Sierra by one point. It will be good to take up where they left off next year.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Video Ethan Found - No Shave Novembeard

Trim from Petey Boy on Vimeo.

Crate and Barrel Christmas - Lovely Things

I love stuff from Crate and Barrel. Here are some things that are in the new holiday catalog that I think are lovely.

I had a dental crow put on and another one prepped with a temporary crown. I feel like I've been hit with enough tranquilizers to take down an elephant. I hate mouth pain. I was going to do a bit of sewing for the silent auction at school, but I am worried that in my pitiful state I might sew through my finger with the sewing machine. I decided to do things on the computer - no chance for bodily harm.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Recent Racing

I've been remiss about posting recent biking pictures and results. Now that the sun goes down so early practices have been discontinued until mid spring. I like the new amount of scheduled time, but I think Ellie and I also miss the opportunities to hangout with our biking friends.Now we just see them when we happen to be at the same cyclocross race during the same part of the day.

On Oct. 29 competition was tough - nationals level - at the Colorado Cross Cup. These girls are gunning for good call-ups at nationals in Wisconsin in January.

Ellie was able to hold her own in that fast crowd. Stephen raced, too and Maxl came out to spend the day at the races. Being on crutches did not seem to slow him down much.
Photo by Mountain Moon Photography
The day had a deep seated nip in the air, but when the sun shone, it was glorious and beautiful - a wonderful day to live in Colorado. When the sun dipped behind the clouds the wind came into play, whipping leaves, papers and assorted spare items into the air to dance.
photo by Annette of Mountain Moon Photography.

There was a fun race, one where many folks race in costume, on Sunday. We usually really enjoy that one. However, Ellie was feeling a bit like she had a mild flu, so we stayed home and hung out, resting, instead.

Last Saturday she took to the bike again and raced in the icy mud. The School Yard CX races was brutal. Some of the young racers simply could not take it. One young girl got her brakes caked with mud within the first 100 feet. As tears began to flow, five racer dads descended upon her and became her race support crew, getting back into the game very quickly.
In some places the mud was tacky and thick. One boy threw his bike down the side of the hill in frustration. Another older boy ran into the pit with his bike on his shoulder. In his struggle with the mud the tire had been ripped from the wheel. Ellie prevailed, trading first place and second place with another girl in her category.
Close to the end in the last lap Ellie had a small crash and came in second. She seemed happy enough with those results.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Shutterfly PARTAY

Wen I applied to host a Shutterfly Give and Get Joy party, I did not expect to be choosen. I was excited to receive the email and so I started planning right away. I was even more excited when my package of fun stuff arrived earlier than expected.
Ellie is wonderful with setting a lovely table and festive atmosphre so I asked for her help. I do a decent job, but I love watching her in action.

She has such a lovely eye and a sense of color, elegance, grace.

She has some mad skills with the camera, too. Oh, how I love my girl.

I wanted my guests to feel honored and special. We wanted to usher the upcoming season in with a gentle happiness and sense of creativity, a sense of can-do attitude. (Ellie will think it is dorky that I said that, but it is still true.)

I had considered paper plates and plastic silverware, but changed my mine. I'm so glad I did.

I invited a bunch of my girlfriends who take photos. I thought they might enjoy the freebies; gifts from Shutterfly. Each person received codes for a free photobook, 10 premium

Cranberry Spritzer
from: Cooking Light, December 2010

2 3/4 cups white cranberry juice drink (such as Ocean Spray) (I used 100% Cranberry Juice)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
12 mint leaves
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 cups club soda, chilled
(1 1/2 cups white rum - I did not include this)
Pomegranate Seeds
Crushed ice


1. Combine cranberry juice, sugar, rosemary, and 12 mint leaves in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. Strain juice mixture through a sieve into a bowl; discard solids. Stir in lime juice; cover and refrigerate.
2. Combine juice mixture, club soda, (and rum) in a large pitcher; stir well to combine. (optional - place pomegranate seeds in each glass along with a small quarter of a slice of lime) Serve mixture over crushed ice. Serve immediately.

Maureen Callahan, Cooking Light