Wednesday, June 30, 2010

We'll miss you Mickey!

"When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight."
~Kahlil Gibran

This is not the post I intended to write today. Yesterday something (coyote? dog?) killed one of our cats. Mickey was only two. He came to us as a kitten - a rescue brought home from the clinic. He and Walter made fast friends. The kids, of course, adored him.

Last night we noticed he hadn't been around all day. I went looking for him and found him in the lot next to our house. He had been brutally attacked and was in a state I do not care to describe. He was already gone.

My children were understandably upset. All I could do it gather them up and wipe their tears.

We knew the risks letting him outside. And indeed death is a part of life. Today we will be missing our kitty and the world will spin madly on.

❊❊❊ ❊❊❊ ❊❊❊

Monday, June 28, 2010

Baked Huevos Rancheros Recipe

baked huevos rancheros
I *adore* having backyard chickens. Now that the weather is warm we crack open the windows at night. In the morning we wake to the lovely warbling of hens. They are so funny when they lay their eggs - they gabble and garble in henspeak "Hey! Look what I've done!"

And indeed it is amazing. Right now my gals produce an average of an egg a day. That's 28 eggs a week for our family of five. It's no wonder we give eggs as gifts.

Of course we also eat quite a number of the eggs ourselves. One of my blogger friends, Molly, of A Foothill Home Companion also has hens. We were recently comparing egg recipes and I promised her I'd write down my version of baked Huevos Rancheros. And guess what? I did it! I did it! I actually did it!

I really like baking the huevos because the whole batch is done at once. This method is great for brunch or any other event where you want to serve folks in a single sitting. I know Huevos are typically a breakfast food but more often than not we have it for dinner. This recipe serves 2-4 people depending upon appetites.

Baked Huevos Rancheros


  • 28 ounce can whole tomatoes
  • Medium yellow onion
  • Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • Olive oil
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • Corn tortillas
  • Extra sharp white cheddar cheese -- grated
  • Avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
Helpful kitchen implements:

  1. Peel and roughly chop onion
  2. Place ~ 2 tsbp olive oil in large skillet
  3. Place on med/high heat and cook onions until translucent
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste (I use ~ 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper)
  5. Add can of tomatoes (including juice)
  6. Gently mash tomatoes with wooden spoon
  7. Add 2-3 chipotle chiles and 1 tsp to 1 tbsp adobo sauce (I'm a bit of a spice wimp and stay on the lower end here)
  8. Blend with immersion blender (it's okay to leave some onion and/or tomato chunks but make sure the peppers are well blended)*
  9. Simmer until sauce thickens. In the meantime prepare ramekins (see as follows)

*If you don't have an immersion blender you could probably blend the sauce in a blender or food processor. But I must say -- I *love* my immersion blender. I highly recommend you acquire one. Mine was a relatively inexpensive Costco purchase and worth every penny.

Preparing Ramekins:
  1. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Coat bottom and sides of ramekins with olive oil
  3. Tuck corn tortilla into ramekin
  4. Divide beans amongst ramekins and place over tortillas
  5. Crack one to two eggs over beans (we use two eggs per ramekin)
  6. Spoon sauce over eggs
  7. Sprinkle cheese over sauce
  8. Place ramekins on baking sheet and bake until eggs are desired consistency (Mr. Peculiar is not fond of runny eggs so we bake ours all the way through ~ 30 minutes. Bake less if you desire a runnier yolk)
  9. Top with avocado slices, sour cream and cilantro
  10. Serve and enjoy!
Note: We eat ours directly out of the ramekins. I simply place the ramekin on a plate and then run around the kitchen yelling hot plate! hot plate! do not touch! hot plate!

Invariably somebody who knows better touches the hot plate. It wouldn't be huevos night without it.

buen provecho!

❊❊❊ ❊❊❊ ❊❊❊

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Caught for the world to see

Dress Rehearsal

Today was Little's end of year dance recital. There is something wrong with me when I go to these events. I get all sentimental and gooey and teary-eyed. It's the music and the dancing ... (now don't get me wrong here -- we are talking small town production, i.e. not Broadway). And though the production is amateur, or perhaps because the production is amateur, I'm drawn in. I wish I was a child again, twirling about my bedroom, mama's scarf in hand, utterly and completely lost in play.

Today, smack in the middle of the stage, was a cherubic toddler. She couldn't have been more than three. She had perfect rosy red cheeks and sweet Shirley Temple curls. But, unlike her doppelganger, she did not have a clue what she was doing. Yet she stood up on stage and beamed. I mean absolutely beamed. She was delighted to be caught for all the world to see.

And I got to thinking. At some point we are all going to find ourselves unprepared in unintended places; whether that's a stage or a board meeting or a gallery event. My first inclination would be to cry. To transcend into the fetal position, suck my thumb and whimper to my heart's indulgence. But it seems I have a different option. Alternately I could let go of my fears, open my heart and beam. The latter is quite appealing is it not?

Indeed children have much to teach us. So today I'm tapping my inner child -- I'm going to run and skip and dance and set myself free. Won't you join me?

❊❊❊ ❊❊❊ ❊❊❊

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Today is my son's fourteenth birthday. FOURTEEN! I am the mother of a teenaged boy who next year will be starting HIGH SCHOOL. I'm doing my best to ignore this fact, the idea that I am possibly old enough to be the parent of such a child. But that number 14 keeps sneaking up ever so stealthily and tapping me on the shoulder.

"Hello old lady." says Fourteen.

"Hi." I mutter and walk away.

You see I need more time. Somehow I expected to be wiser at this juncture. I expected to be a veritable bank of wisdom -- handing out knowledge like a millionaire dispensing dollar bills. But me? I'm still making my way. And this poor boy is along for the bumpy ride. Truth-be-told he's taught me more than I'll ever teach him.

And, very soon, this young man will be venturing out into the world without me. Eeegads. I'm still mourning the loss of the toddler he once was. That precious little boy who held my hand and told me all about his day playing on the dar-bee-two (barbeque).

Today he really is a young man. Taller than me and muscular. And living a life that isn't necessarily Mama centered -- fishing, texting, WWF (and we're not talking the world wildlife federation here). Him and Papa are two peas in a pod -- as it should be for a boy making his way in life.

He is a spectacular kid and I'm so very proud of who he is and who he will become.

Happy Birthday Baby!

And now, if you'll excuse me, I must wipe the tears from my eyes and make that child some cupcakes.

❊❊❊ ❊❊❊ ❊❊❊

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Today is Mustard Yellow

mustard yellow mosaic apron pyrex dressI'm fickle when it comes to my favorite color. Some days it's a delightful turquoise blue, others a lovely lime green. But today? Today is mustard yellow.

This is the color of my everyday dishes and some of my favorite pillowcase aprons. It's the color of home sewn Easter dresses that still find their way into our wardrobe rotation. And it's the color of this fabulous set of vintage pyrex mixing bowls -- brought home by Mr. Peculiar. He bought them for me -- for my shop. But don't they look pretty sitting on my shelf? Almost as pretty as this bread box nestled contentedly on our kitchen counter. And herein lies the problem -- I simply can't keep it all. As such some of these items will find their way into the shop as the week progresses. Stay tuned ...

❊❊❊ ❊❊❊ ❊❊❊

Things I'm Loving Today:
  • Walks to the library on breezy summer days
  • Flowers on the porch
  • Afternoon downtime with Scooby Doo
Things I'm Hoping for Today:
  • To shrink that ever multiplying pile of laundry (with a modicum of Zen)
  • That you will join me on Facebook
  • That I can figure out just what to make for dinner -- maybe asian noodle salad? (Any suggestions?)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Just a few things I've been working on ...

mixed media dream art butterfly
I've got a busy couple of days (well nights) working which doesn't leave a lot of time for creative musings. Truth be told it doesn't leave a lot of time for much of anything. But I thought I'd drop in and show you a few things I've been working on this week.

The first is the mixed media piece seen above. I've been so inspired by all the folks in my Flying Lessons course that I decided to give mixed media a go. I have *absolutely* no idea what I'm doing. Zip. Zilch. Zero. But I'm having a grand time playing around with glue and fabric and paper and wax.

And the second piece is custom order vintage camper applique:

applique vintage camper trailer tshirt tee shirt
I really enjoy sorting through fabric scraps and buttons and watching these campers unfold. And the creating helps to soothe that ever present desire for the real thing. More camper creations can be seen in my Etsy shop.

Making these items has added a much needed playfulness that has been lacking in my life. I do declare it's about time to have some fun!

And now, speaking of fun, I'm off to remove tennis ball parts from a dog's stomach. Dogs are, in one word, crazy.

Have a Wonderful Weekend!

❊❊❊ ❊❊❊ ❊❊❊

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Squashed, smooshed and vamoosed

This morning has not gone smoothly. Mama wanted to sit and read and enjoy her coffee. Middle daughter demanded that I take her for frozen yogurt. Demanded! Apparently my job as parent is to entertain said child and to cater to her every whim.

I suggested that, if she were interested in frozen yogurt, she set about earning it by cleaning her room. This led a complete tirade and melt down. This summer is going to suck! You let brother get away with EVERYTHING! I HATE YOU!

Yes, most excellent. That's just how I pictured my morning. Spiffy. Remember my perfect summer dreams? Only a few short days ago? Well those dreams have been squashed, smooshed and vamoosed.

Middle has now gone out to ride her bike. Cleaning her room is just too difficult. As soon as I'm done with this post I will be cleaning her room -- with a large garbage bag and an eye for the dumpster.

Looks like there won't be yogurt today.

❊❊❊ ❊❊❊ ❊❊❊

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Friends, Neighbors and Community

This past week I was both flabbergasted and blessed. You see -- several scrumptious items found their way into my life.

First my friend Nikki sent me this awesome tote she found at the Patchwork Indie and Arts Festival. I mean is this right up my alley or what?!! This bag will be going to the library, the park, the pool; I do believe it will be glued to my side this summer.

vintage camper trailer tote bag

And then my friend Patti stopped by. She was at a flea market, saw this little diddy and thought of me.

vintage hero camera
Hello beautiful!

I just *LOVE* vintage cameras and am starting to have quite a nice collection. Especially since my neighbor, Michele, stopped by with another little beauty:

vintage hawkeye cameraAin't she purdy?

I'll use these cameras to take TTV photos and am quite excited to have them in my arsenal.

All that in one week - that's enough to make one feel seriously blessed. But the giving didn't stop there. Tonight I tried to buy recital ticket's for Little's upcoming show. Instead the teacher gave them to me - for free! (she owns the dance company so it's okay). Earlier in the year she came to my garage sale and we exchanged goods for dance lessons. I see more garage sale freebies in her future!

And, finally, tonight my other neighbor, Cindy, brought us a plate of appetizers. She'd had company over and ended up with left-overs; belgian endive stuffed with walnuts and parmesan cheese. Oh holy cats were they delicious! I'm sorry to say there are no photos -- they were devoured on the spot.

I sincerely love all the items sent my way this past week. But what I love above all are my friends, neighbors and community. These people know me. Not only do they know me but they get me. And they accept me just as I am. Really a gal couldn't ask for anything more.

❊❊❊ ❊❊❊ ❊❊❊

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bring on Summer!

ice cream in a dish
The weather has finally warmed up. Tomorrow the kids will be done with school. And I suddenly feel the need to nest. I want to sort, organize and clean. To nurture and to cook. To putter and pull weeds. I have a deep seated instinct to pull my family close and care for them by caring for their surroundings.

Why this desire hit now I'm not sure. I suppose it's always been in there but in a more latent form. This year our summer calendar is wide open and I may actually have the time to do these things. Or perhaps it's the weather.

Today I baked bread, cleaned the kitchen and cleared the junk from my car. I also went shopping, filled the cupboards and made dinner (grilled flank steak with homegrown grilled green onions, avocados and corn tortillas).

I want to start summer off right. My ideal summer would be one full of reading and crafts. Days spent outside poking about the garden or languishing by the pool. We'd live in a house, that by some miracle, stayed clean and organized. And my children would relish all that I cooked and baked.

Needless to say we won't have the *perfect* summer. But I do hope we'll have some of the above elements and, perhaps, a little ice cream to boot.

❊❊❊ ❊❊❊ ❊❊❊

Friday, June 11, 2010

To Save Money You Can't Be a Namby Pamby

vintage hotel sign through the viewfinder
My son is on a traveling lacrosse team and has a tournament coming up soon. The games start early in the morning so we decided to drive up the night before. But finances are tight. So I decided to give Priceline a go, and you know, karate chop those hotel booking fees.

We ended up with a room in a Hilton Garden Inn for $55.00 a night. This is half the price listed on the their website. I may be addicted.

There are, however, some caveats ... Priceline only guarantees double occupancy. There will be four of us. All four of us might be sharing one bed (granted it is a king). My kids are also young and flexible -- if necessary they can sleep on the floor. I am told Hotwire allows you to book rooms based on the number of people. I might just try this the next time to avoid the double occupancy issue.

I did call the hotel and request double beds vs a king. I was told there were no more double beds available. Then my husband called and pretended he wanted to make a reservation. Lo and behold they had a room with double beds. So if booking with Priceline don't expect first class service. We will ask for double beds again when we arrive and see what happens. If it's a no go then we'll simply snuggle up close.

Another caveat is that you don't get to pick the hotel when you are bidding. You do choose a star rating and general location. But you only find out the actual location after a bid is accepted.

So the moral of the story is you can save quite a bit of money via Priceline. But you can't be namby pamby and you are going to have to take what you can get.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

An Apron and a Pitcher -- Summer Love

pillowcase apron
Here's a little something I've been working on this week. She's an apron fashioned from a pillow case. The waistband and floral appliques were born from a vintage sheet (oh how I've loved this sheet -- there are mere scraps left and am so sad to see her go). This apron has a sister; made as a gift last year. Soon this new gal will be up on Etsy. I must admit I'll be a touch sad to see her go.

While out for this photo shoot I noticed our lilacs are in bloom (our lilacs are in bloom! our lilacs are in bloom!). They are ever so lovely and smell delectable. And aren't they just perfect in this thrifted pitcher?

lilacs in white pitcher
I was playing around with layers and textures here -- ultimately hoping to imitate the spectacular photography of Andie Edwards. She does amazing things with white.

Indeed I feel summer in the air. Next week it'll be official; the kids will be out of school, the weather will be warm (I'm willing it into action) and we'll languish in the beauty that is summer vacation.

❊❊❊ ❊❊❊ ❊❊❊

On a completely different note ... I *love* having a theme song for the summer. Song's we've chosen in years past include Little Yellow Spider by Devendra Banhart and I Miss You by Blink 182.

Any suggestions for this summer?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Dancing in the Rain

green onions and blooms
"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain."
~ Unknown

I have to admit I spent the weekend feeling a tad sorry for myself. You see I was (and remain) sick. On top of that I had to work, fourteen hours on Saturday and a mere eight hours on Sunday...

{At this point in the conversation Mr. Peculiar would interrupt and begin rubbing his thumb and index finger together. That would be him playing a tiny violin; i.e. no sympathy. I can't complain. It goes both ways. I don't coddle him when he is sick either. We are all about bucking up and pushing through. Which is all well and good until you are in the middle of it and then it's not so fun.}

Anyway, on the lines of bucking up, I decided to cheer myself by compiling a list of some of my favorite things (Julie Andrews style):

and finally,
  • Sunshine, sunshine, sunshine!
And now I must go pack some sandwiches. We are having a picnic dinner at the boy's lacrosse game. I will be bringing some of my other favorite things ... this blanket and basket.

I hope today finds you well. Well or not what are you loving today?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Frugal Friday: Searching for the Sunny Side

Truth be told our finances are tight. Tighter than I'd care to admit. It's hard to fathom that two people, both with full-time jobs and a less than extravagant lifestyle, could be in such a position. And yet here we are. Granted we live in one of the towns hardest hit by this recession. We should count our lucky stars we are still standing. Many people are not. And yet.

It is hard to discuss finances with Mr. Peculiar. He shuts down. He gets angry. I get sad. I'm the cheerleader of the family. It's alright, it's okay, we can pay these bills, we'll find a way! But some days it's hard to put one foot in front of the other. It's hard to explain to the children that we can not afford luxuries like sleep away summer camp. It's hard to stomach working so hard only to find ourselves hanging on by the tiniest of threads. It's hard to hear people talk about "printing money" and "rolling in dough". It's hard to believe this type of abundance is possible.

If only my husband was happy I'd be okay with our finances right where they are. I can tolerate Tight as long as it befriends Joy. Of course I have desires but I don't need fancy. Frankly I'm content to wear the same grungy clothes day after day. But he's not happy. It's not that he wants bigger better and more. No. He simply wants less worry. He's stressed and depressed. And therefore I am the same. I want to be a team; a team of optimists working towards a common goal. But how to get there?

For lack of a better plan here are the things I'm doing:
  • Turned off the sprinklers (it's rainy like crazy here and for now we don't need them).
  • Turned off the heat (our house has been maintaining nicely on it's own).
  • Turned off the pilot light for our fireplace (our neighbors did this and it saved them $15.00 a month on their gas bill).
  • I'm hanging my laundry (indoors due to the weather).
  • I'm going to clean up a few pieces of superfluous furniture and put them on Craigslist.
  • I'm going to list some household items on Ebay.
  • I have an Etsy shop (please visit and pass on the link!)
  • I am moonlighting as a Veterinary Expert for Just Answer (see the link on the left sidebar)*
  • We are eating at home and using left overs as much as possible.
  • Returning all found bottles and cans.
  • Using coupons whenever practical (we only use coupons for those items we would normally buy).
  • Buying in bulk (Cost Co).
  • Preparing food from scratch.
  • And, finally, giving my hope to the wind and becoming a feather. May we all fly on the jet stream of universal abundance.
How has this recession hit you? How are you saving money and/or bringing in additional income?

❊❊❊ ❊❊❊ ❊❊❊

*Just Answer is a website that allows you to have your questions answered by experts for a nominal fee. You ask the question and you set the fee.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Love Thursday

Ah the farmer's market! I've been waiting with bated breath. Everyone else, it seemed, had their markets open. They had pictures and goodies and tales. But here, in Central Oregon, everything arrives a bit late. Finally finally opening day arrived. And though yesterday was scattered with rain we managed to catch the market during a brief dry spell.

Oh the glory! Fresh cherries, sunflowers and sugar snap peas. Baby bok choy and local cheese. It was truly truly lovely. I just *love* summer. Now if only the sun wasn't quite so demure...

❊❊❊ ❊❊❊ ❊❊❊

Things I'm Loving Today:
  • Sweet sweet farmer's market cherries
  • A new tee with an upcycled vintage camper
  • My first tweet (eek what have I done?)
  • Plans for this for dinner (so good on a rainy evening)

Things I'm Hoping for Today:
  • To get a little cleaning done around here
  • A quiet peaceful evening
  • That I am not getting sick (I AM NOT GETTING SICK)
  • That my co-worker will be able to switch shifts with me so I can go to a vintage trailer rally (oh the dorkiness -- it gets worse and worse as the years go by!)
Happy Love Thursday! What are you loving today?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I am ...

I am:
  • Good at unloading the dishwasher but not so good at actually doing the dishes
  • Always several loads behind on laundry
  • Often found in my pajamas late into the day
  • Someone who will forgo a shower for creative endeavors
  • A veterinarian who is allergic to animals
  • Someone who is always a few days late for her next allergy shot
  • Someone who gives eggs as gifts (but must photograph them first)
  • Often exhausted (especially after working)
  • A dreamer (and lover and poet and believer)
  • A person who prefers comfort over fashion
  • Someone who has never dyed her hair and rarely wears makeup (allergies people)
  • Someone who is in complete awe of her children and their amazing open book potential
  • A lover of all things vintage and worn
  • Emotionally rich but financially strapped
  • Constantly vacuuming up dog hair
  • Shy
  • Someone who loves "me" time
  • Used to heart palpitations (and finds them oddly comforting)
  • Peri-menopausal
  • A bagpiper without a set of bagpipes
  • A writer, photographer, crafter, seamstress and knitter
  • Scatterbrained
  • A budding buddhist
  • Someone who hates talking on the phone
  • Undefined