Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye Lifetime Moments

How do I explain why the closing of LM is so traumatic? I think unless you've experienced the loss of a community, you wouldn't understand. Although Mr. Fix-it knows that many of my friends are from LM, he still doesn't understand (though he's supportive). LM was there for me when my FIL was ill, when my aunt was ill, when my aunts passed away, when Uncle T passed away. LM was there to give this snow novice advice to what to wear on a business trip to snow country. LM was there for virtual hugs when I had a bad day and I gave out my share of hugs too. LM was there to cheer me on when I was published in a scrapbook magazine. And there to laugh with me and answer my questions about anything and everything. And through it all, surround me with friendship and support.

Scrappers from all over the world came to the annual LM crops, that's how powerful the friendships are. While scrapbooking was the theme, it was really the people who mattered. And at the heart of it all were Jackie and Thad.

I was there from (almost) the beginning. Maybe that's why their closing is so traumatic for me. I joined the message board shortly after it opened (guess I was a little slow since I was member 488). Names online turned into recognizable personalities and then into friends. I helped move the store from their house to a warehouse and then helped pack up the store for a move across the country. I was there when the online store closed, as the going out of business sales got bigger and inventory got smaller. And I was there at the very end chatting with dozens of my friends, hoping it wouldn't happen, when finally the message board was shut down.

Thank you Jackie, thank you Thad for creating a great scrapbook store and community. You're responsible for inspiring hundreds of scrapbookers and creating hundreds of friendships. I can't think of a better legacy than that. All the best to you!

2009 wrap up

It seems to be a blogger tradition to reflect on the past year or give a summary of highs and lows (or lows and highs if you want to end on a positive note), so here goes.

Overall, 2009 was a trying year. We weren't sure what our income would be with Mr. Fix-it being in construction and bonuses continually slashed for me, but we managed to finish the year about even in pay. That's the good news. Unfortunately, our expenses went up quite a bit and I can't find too many places to cut back so it was fiscally difficult year and I expect next year to be even worse.

I am thankful to have a good paying job with good benefits. But the do-more-with-less attitude is wearing on me. Every year, the workload increases (both the number of projects and the complexity of the projects), but there isn't a corresponding increase in staff.

It has been a joy watching the local nieces and nephew grow. The twins are now toddlers and I miss the cuddly joy of babyhood, but it has been interesting watching their personalities develop. And G still talks a mile a minute and has a million questions; I hope I can keep up with him. I'm thankful we live close to my FIL to support him.

My weight fluctuated a bit throughout the year, but I finished within a pound of when I started so I'll take that as a positive. No moaning and groaning about losing holiday weight here.

I blogged more in 2009 than in 2008, probably due to my attempt at Photo of the Day. I didn't end up with 365 photos, but I'm pleased with what I did manage to post.

We upgraded our electronic gadgets, not by my choice, of course. Our dying TV (so what if the corner is fuzzy) was replaced with a new flat screen Hi Def version. I'm still figuring out the new remote, lol. And my phone died so we finally got new phones after 4+ years. At least we have bluetooth now.

My two favorite online scrapbook stores closed. I'm devastated by this since between the two of them, I didn't need to shop anywhere else. But more important, the message board at Lifetime Moments is also closing. This is where I hung out, shared my layouts, shared recipes, vented and was comforted, and in turn comforted others. I feel like I'm losing a huge support group. I hope that Facebook and blogging can fill the void.

Since I mentioned it, yes, I did join Facebook, but only to keep up with my scrapbook friends and select family members so if you don't fall into those categories, I won't be friending you, sorry.

We took a vacation! A real vacation that was more than just a couple days drive. It was relaxing and a great getaway and I'm ready to do it all over again!

Auntie S passed away after a long illness. I was so worried about Mom, but I think she's handling it okay. Thank you to my cousins for supporting her, even as they needed their own support.

Two weddings! Two opportunities to get dressed up, lol. I had to buy new makeup, mine was so old. Both events were out of town, but I'm so glad we were able to attend both. Family get-togethers are so rare these days.

And so, enough about me. Thanks for stopping by my corner of the blogosphere. Come again soon. I hope that 2010 is a great year for you.

POTD wrap up

I finally finished uploading some old photos for my POTD project, plus I went back and numbered my blog posts so I could keep track of how many photos I posted (127). I was hoping to post more, but I find uploading photos to be a hassle. Obviously, I took waaaay more than 365 photos, but although many were scrap-worthy, not all were worth posting as my POTD. My other criteria was I didn't count the photo as POTD if I wrote a relatively long blog post (more than one or two paragraphs). It looks like my most common themes are family, food, and gardening. I wouldn't say my life revolves these topics, just that they are the most accessible for photographing. I won't be continuing the POTD project next year, but instead will concentrate on blogging and scrapping.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

So much for after Christmas shopping

We braved the mall for a couple of hours and ended up not buying a thing, though we were in the minority. Not that there weren't things we needed (okay, that I needed. Like dress shoes and dress clothes for work. And heck, I could even use a couple dresses. I need a new LBD (little black dress) and I wouldn't mind some dresses for work. But the crowds really turned us off so we decided to not boost the economy. The parking lot was full and there were people waiting for our spot when we left, even though it was on the outskirts of the lot.

We ended up at Target where I finally remembered to look for these:
Can you believe I was going to pay FULL PRICE WITHOUT A COUPON for them? Not only that, but I bought two(!) packages. Must mean I was really excited to find them or was depressed that I didn't get any new clothes or maybe I didn't want to make another trip to the store. Lucky for me, they were on sale so I saved a couple of dimes on each package.

They aren't as good as I remembered. The one and only time I've had them was on our flight to (or was it from?) Hong Kong; they were the real thing, made by Arnott's. Maybe my memory is faulty. But I still like them. I think the milk chocolate version is better than the dark chocolate, even though I am a dark chocolate fan. If you're interested in trying Tim Tams, they're only available until March.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Photo 127/365 Christmas eve

Grandpa and Miss C on Christmas eve. C made matching jammies for the kids. So cute!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A winner and a whiner

We have a winner in my giveaway. Congratulations Miwa! Please send me your address so I can send you some goodies. Here's a sneak peek of some of it.And a little vent...there was only one comment, though I know that there were several new readers that week. I guess scrappy goodness isn't too popular. I'm glad you're my winner Miwa; I know you (or your girls) will appreciate the goodies.

Monday, December 21, 2009


I've got a bunch of receipts to input, but right now, that's what gas prices are. I hope they don't go up for Christmas.

Politically incorrect

Warning, some people may find these sites politically incorrect, but if you've lived this, you probably appreciate the humor.

Stuff Korean Moms Like
Angry Little Girls

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Not really, but at least I'm not feeling as bah humbug as I was yesterday. I've got a plan to print out our Christmas cards, I've addressed most of the envelopes, I wrapped one of the few Christmas presents we're buying this year, and we're starting our Christmas movie marathon. It isn't really a marathon, but we do have our favorites that we watch every year.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Technology is not my friend

Think I need a new phone? First, the camera function went out. Not that I took that many pictures, but still, it was annoying. Then a week or so later, the LCD went out, but at least I could still make and receive calls. Then the phone would randomly turn off. Then the faceplate fell off. So we decided my phone was on its last legs. I was slightly annoyed that the phone only lasted four and half years (and at the time, I preferred my analog phone to this phone). I hate planned obsolescence. Or maybe technology is moving too fast for me.

We finally found some time to visit the phone store and check out what was available. Our choices were limited since we wanted to keep our almost five year old plan (no texting, no data, and relatively few minutes); the current cheapest plan was $10 more than what we're paying now. Even though I was willing to pay FULL PRICE for a more expensive phone, Verizon would not let us add the phone to our plan. How's that for business sense?

Mr. Fix-it tried to add his phone to his nav system so he could finally have hands free calling, but then his phone locked up. Guess what, it was a bum phone so Verizon replaced it. I really don't feel good about our phones now.

Add to that our five year old computer is slow, slow, slow and we're running out of room on our hard drive (think they might be related), the DVR is acting up, and my printer died, and I'm fed up with technology this weekend.

Yet another sign that I'm a packrat

I finally decided to work on Christmas cards today and had delusions of grandeur or at least of making my own photo greeting cards this year. I finally found the photo I wanted to use and a template (you didn't think I was actually going to design it myself, did you?) and then ran into some hardware problems (that's for another post).

So I thought I'd be efficient and at least address the envelopes so we went to Staples to see what they had. You know me...I couldn't find anything I liked in the price range I wanted. Then we stopped at a post office on the way home to buy stamps, but can you believe it, no stamp machine! Sooo, tomorrow we'll be out running more errands. So much for being efficient.

Ahhh, but all was not lost. After we came home, I remembered that I may have had some Christmas envelopes tucked away somewhere. You know, in that huge Christmas stash I have (not an exaggeration: two shelves in the hall closet, one underbed storage box, two gift wrap containers, and several boxes of ribbon). Luckily, I found the envelopes right away and they even sort of match the cards. Close enough and I didn't have to buy more envelopes. Now if I could only find my Christmas stationery so I could write my Christmas letter.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Marinated Goat Cheese Rounds

This is my new go-to appetizer recipe. It is tasty, looks impressive (see my serving tips), and is relatively inexpensive. I modified the recipe so I included my version and also the original recipe.

11 oz goat cheese (because that's the package size that I got from Trader Joe's, lol)
5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
20 Katamala or green olives (pitted)
2/3 cup olive oil

1. Roll the goat cheese into small (bite-size) balls, then flatten them.
2. Whisk the rest of the ingredients together until well blended.
3. Pour over goat cheese.
4. Marinate refrigerated for 2 to 4 hours. Any longer than that and the goat cheese will start to darken from the marinade. It still tastes good, but isn't as attractive. If you don't mind the color change, you can make this ahead and marinate the cheese for a few days. Let sit at room temperature for about half an hour before serving.

I served this with crackers. Surprisingly to me, rustic crackers like rye crisp held up better than plain crackers like water crackers. The original recipe called for crostini, but I think that plain sliced French bread would also work.

Serving tips
The cheese rounds look more impressive when served on a flat, rimmed serving tray rather than piled in a bowl. Also, you can sprinkle extra olives around the cheese for filler.

I think you could also just make the marinade and pour it over the cheese and let your guests take as big a hunk as they want, lol.

The original recipe
6 oz goat cheese
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon black pepper
10 green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Roll cheese into a 4 inch log, then slice into 1 inch think rounds.
Place in a shallow dish.
Whisk the rest of the ingredients together until well blended. Pour over the goat cheese and marinate, refrigerated for 2 hours to 1 week.
Serve with crostini (grilled French bread rubbed w/olive oil and fresh garlic).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My very last Lifetime Moments order

I received my last Lifetime Moments order yesterday. I was just torturing myself, watching the stock dwindle down in the store. Yes, I did end up placing two more orders; they were shipped together. Thanks for helping me save on shipping Jackie.

On a happier note, there's still time to enter my givaway.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Photo 126/365 Got Cheez-its?

Yes, we have a few, lol. They're on sale through today, $1.99/box at Target. A good price, but not a great price. What makes the price great is you get a $5 gift card when you buy five. Mr. Fix-it usually doesn't like it when I buy in bulk, but since these are for him, he was pretty excited this time, lol. Although he did think that buying another five boxes would be overkill (hey, I could have used my $5 gift card and the next batch would have been free!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Spreading the scrappy good karma

I often check out the 2peas FSOT (for sale or trade) board hoping for a good bargain. I was bummed that I missed out on a Quickutz mini font for only $10, including shipping. So I posted on the thread to please let me know if the first buyer didn't want it. I usually PM the seller privately, but as it turns out, it was a good thing I posted on the thread because the buyer contacted me. As it turns out, she already had the font (don't tell me that's never happened to you) and offered it to me at the same price. Such a deal! On top of that, she included some Prima leaves (and you know how expensive Prima is). Can you tell I'm thrilled with my good fortune?

Then this week, more scrappy goodness (which helps make up for the scrappy sadness about LM). WR Memory Keepers had a great sale with free shipping with minimum purchase. As it turns out, my order was less then the minimum because many items were out of stock, but they shipped it free anyway. Thank you WRMK! (yes, I did e-mail them to thank them.) I'm bummed I didn't get everything I ordered, but I did get the one thing I wanted most, an album. As it turns out, my whole order was the same price as what I would have paid for that album.

So to spread the good scrapbook karma, just leave a comment and I'll send randomly select someone to send a goodie bag of yummy ribbon. Not a scrapbooker? I'll still send you some yummy ribbon, just something more appropriate for wrapping presents. I'll leave this open until Friday, the 18th.

Monday, December 07, 2009


Holding steady.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Lotus root with ground pork

Lotus root is one of my favorite vegetables (unfortunately, Mr. Fix-it isn't a big fan). One of the easiest ways to prepare this is to stir fry the vegetable and add some ground pork. Measurements are vague because I'm a cook-what-you-have-on-hand kind of cook.

Lotus root (one medium or two small)
vegetable oil
garlic, two cloves
ground pork, about 1/2 pound
soy sauce
corn starch
rice wine or sherry
white pepper

1. Add a bit of soy sauce, corn starch, rice wine, and white pepper to the ground pork. Mix well and let marinate while you prepare the lotus root.
2. Peel the lotus root, slice each section in half (across the length), then cut into 1/8 inch slices. If you do this ahead of time, place the lotus root in some water because it will discolor, like a potato.
3. Heat a small amount of oil (maybe a tablespoon or less), then stir fry the lotus root until it is cooked through. The lotus root will turn slightly translucent. Sorry that I can't give you an exact time, but it will be a few minutes (at least).
4. Remove the lotus root to another dish temporarily.
5. Add a tiny bit of oil to the pan, heat, and add the garlic. Then add the pork and cook through.
6. Add the lotus root and heat through. You could add a corn starch gravy, but usually the lotus root provides enough starch.

Sorry, no picture because quite frankly, the photo didn't look too appetizing, but the end result tasted good. This would be good with some ginger, but I left that out because Mr. Fix-it doesn't like ginger.

Final LM Scrapbook Sale

Save 55% on everything in the store. Use code 55-890 when checking out at This is the final sale (boo hoo!). The online store closes on December 10th, but if you're lucky enough to be in the Michigan area, the physical store closes a week later. There's still lots of good stuff. Yes, I placed a final order and am considering yet another one.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Apple Crisp

Mom gave us some red Delicious apples, which we don't like, so I had to something with them. So I came up with this apple crisp.

3 large apples, chopped
about 1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup butter
scant 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup sugar (I only had white sugar on hand, I think brown sugar would have been better)
1 pinch salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Place apples in an 8x8 inch baking dish (no need to grease the dish, though you could if you want more butter flavor). Toss apples with syrup.
3. Mix flour, oats, sugar, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
4. Sprinkle mixture evenly over apples.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, until topping is golden brown.
Tastes great as is or with some vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Mediterranean Pork

This was supposed to be Mediterranean Chicken, but pork loin was on sale so we went with what was cheapest. Hey, pork is the other white meat, right? The ingredients and instructions are a bit vague since I was using what I had on hand. It started because I had about 2/3 of a can of green olives leftover from another dish. Then I got some cherry tomatoes from Mom (can you believe she's still getting tomatoes in November?) and I needed to use all this up. How's that for inspiration? I think this dish is very adaptable and would be good with artichoke hearts too.

1 1/2 lbs pork loin
olives (1/2 to 1 can, whatever you have on hand)
2 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes (or any tomatoes)
1 tsp capers
4 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil

1. Slice the olives and chop the tomatoes. I either halved or quartered the cherry tomatoes; you want large chunks.

2. Make a coating with the flour, salt, pepper, and oregano. I used dried oregano and crumpled just a bit into the flour.

3. Slice the pork loin into medallions and coat each slice with the flour.

4. Heat some olive oil in a pan and brown the medallions. You'll most likely need to do this in batches. The medallions should be just cooked through. Remove pork. (Sorry, I didn't time how long it took to brown them.)

5. Add some more olive oil to the pan and add the garlic. Then add the olives, tomatoes, and capers. Cook just until the tomatoes give off their juice and soften a bit. You're not really making a sauce, more like a topping for the pork.

6. Add the pork back to the pan and make sure everything is heated through.

We had this with mashed potatoes (hey, russets were on sale because of Thanksgiving), but pasta, rice, or even some fresh bread would be good.

Looking for a holiday gift?

Check out these etsy shops. They're all great artists (and friends of mine, tell 'em I sent you).

The Checkered Rabbit Cute cards, tags, other paper arts, other crafts.

Dusty Rose Designs Beautiful ceramic animals, shells, fruits, polymer animals too. She also does custom sculptures of your pets.

She's gone crafty Cute cards, albums, paper crafts.

Kristie's Kreations Amazing jewelry and county primitives

Monday, November 23, 2009

More sad scrapbook news

My second favorite scrapbook store has closed shop. was hacked and with the down economy, it wasn't worth bringing the store back up. I'm so sad. Thanks to Sharon, I have an extensive collection of Stickles and Catseye ink pads, Jillibean Soup and Bella Blvd, and don't forget My Mind's Eye.

Where will I shop now? Honestly, without and, I doubt I will be buying anything new for scrapbooking for a while. Those two stores are where I kept up with the trends, where I got my inspiration, where I made life-long friends. I'm so bummed.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Split Pea Soup

(I'm copying this over from LM so I'll have it available after LM shuts down.)

1 lb green split peas
1 lb yellow split peas (can use all green if you want)
8 cups of water (or more)
1 meaty ham bone
1-2 bay leaf
1 finely chopped onion (about 3/4 cup)
2-3 stalks of celery, chopped
3-4 carrots, chopped
1 potato, finely chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
A dash of pepper

Wash, sort, and drain split peas. Combine everything in a 6 quart crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours (or more).

This soup is very thick and will be even thicker after sitting in the fridge for a day. If you like a thinner soup, add more water when cooking. When reheating the soup, add a bit of water (or broth). I always make this in the crockpot because I've had problems with the soup sticking and burning when I cook it on the stove.

You can use chicken broth instead of water, but if there is a lot of meat on the bone, I think water is fine.

I don't add salt to this soup because of the salt in the ham and sodium in the celery. Adjust the seasonings to your taste.

Friday, November 20, 2009

More SB discounts

Save 35% on everything in the store. Use code 35-323 when checking out at If you see something you like, buy it now. There are a couple things I missed out on because I waited too long. Jackie charges actual shipping so if you order paper, it will be shipped in a flat rate box...that mean you can buy more to fill it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

So sad

So sad. This is most likely my last order from a Basic Grey Indian Summer card kit and buttons, lots of ribbon, some envelopes, newer patterned papers, CI buttons (wish I bought more).

I've got a wish list going at the store and things keeps disappearing off of it. So I'm happy for Jackie that things are selling out with only a small discount.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Had to fill up since I hardly carpooled at all last week. Did a lot more freeway driving and got over 32 MPG. Not bad for a teenaged car.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Big scrapbook store sale

The good news is my favorite online store is having a sale. The bad news is that it is a going out of business sale.

For all crafters and scrapbookers, please check out, an awesome store with awesome owners and help with their BIG closing sale. Starting today, everything in the store is 25% off – you must use this promo code 25-011 at checkout to apply the discount.

Where am I going to shop now? I'm so bummed.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Photo 125/365 There's no accounting for taste

Sometimes Mr. Fix-it's food tastes astound me. There was some leftover Yu xiang eggplant (pork, eggplant, bell peppers in a brown sauce) and baked potatoes so he had that with some avocado (you can barely see the avocado in the photo). Honestly, it was so weird to me, I wouldn't even taste it.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Photo 124/365 Pumpkin bread pudding

Basically, I buttered a 10-inch square baking dish, added 5 torn slices of whole grain bread, made a custard (eggs, half and half, sugar, vanilla, salt, spices and added a cup of pumpkin puree, and poured the custard over the top. Let soak for a few minutes, then baked at 325 for about 45 minutes (I think I should have baked it a little longer).

Photos 121-123/365 Sometimes I'm in the cooking mood

Made Yu xiang eggplant, bok choy, and pork stew (a new recipe from Wendy's blog. Mr. Fix-it sure likes it when I stop by the Chinese grocery store because I'm always inspired to cook afterward.

I have 27 friends

and eight more friend requests. Yes, I joined Facebook. No, I am not as excited about it as some of you are.

I can't figure out why some people want to friend me. We've never met in real life, they don't read my blog, I've never IM'd them (yes, even I used to IM), we don't e-mail, and I'm pretty sure most of them have never commented on any of my scrapbook message board threads. The only thing we have in common is the afore mentioned SB MB. Do they really want to follow what's going on in my life? (and do I want them to?) Do I want to follow their lives? Am I offending them because I haven't accepted their friend requests (I'm pretty sure I've offended a few people because I didn't accept their LinkedIn request.) Ahhh, where's Emily Post when you need her? Or maybe I need Dr. Phil to help me figure out all of this.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Photo 120/365 Happy

I love family get-togethers!

Photo 119/365 Treating myself

I finally bought myself one of those cute AMM totes and obviously already filled it with my tools. I found it at Tuesday Morning for $9.99, originally around $29.99. I had seen them at $19.99, but resisted. And at $14.99, but resisted. But at $9.99, I couldn't resist anymore, lol. On the other hand, I feel a little bad. Maybe this is why stores are going out of business...because I refuse to pay full price unless I absolutely have to.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Photo 118/365 Sweet!

What to do with raspberries that are too tart? Make a clafouti. It was gone in a flash!


I was talking to a friend yesterday and received the nicest compliment. She said that she's always hungry after reading my blog, which made me feel good since 1) I'm not a great photographer and 2) I don't post that many recipes. I think it would be great if I could get a cookbook deal ala The Pioneer Woman or Steamy Kitchen, but I'm not holding my breath. (By the way, I'd love to get either book for Christmas, hint, hint).

So today's lessons are you never know how/when/where you'll influence someone and compliments feel good. Go ahead, compliment someone today!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Photo 117/365 More water dogs

This time I added shrimp to the dumplings. Yum!


Not sure why I had to fill up so soon. It isn't like I go anywhere.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Photo 116/365 Too Pooped to Spook

Miss E on Halloween. (Yes, I did get a layout out of Halloween, even if the kids didn't go trick or treating.)

Friday, October 30, 2009


Staying stable, for now.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

More evidence America is out of control

At least at the hips and waist. Why else would it be impossible for me to find non-control top pantyhose and tights? Arrrgghhh! I hate control top hose!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Water dogs

After the big shopping trip at the Asian market, I made a batch of dumplings. I decided to wrap these a different way and used round wrappers instead of square wrappers. This shape is a little easier than won tons and thus the wrapping goes faster. I froze the dumplings as soon as I made them; that's why they're in the pie tin. I don't have a lot of room in my freezer, but I can usually find just enough room to squeeze in a few tins.
These are called shui jiao in Mandarin and sui gao in Cantonese. Depending on how good (or bad) your Mandarin pronunciation is, you could be saying water dumpling or sleep. And depending on how good (or bad) your Cantonese pronunciation is, you could be saying water dumplings or water dogs.

After freezing the dumplings (it takes around 45 minutes to an hour), I transferred the them to a freezer bag to store and use sometime in the future. Much cheaper (but more time consuming) than purchasing them. Plus I like being able to control what I put in them, or not put in them, for example, no MSG.As it turns out, they didn't stay in the freezer for long. I made a couple quick dinners last week with them. One night, I pan fried the dumplings, like potstickers, stir-fried some veggies, and added some marinated soy/wheat gluten from the Chinese deli. Another night, I cooked the dumplings and added them to soup, along with some noodles and veggies. Mr. Fix-it was pretty happy with the dinner menus.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I'm living dangerously

At least that's what my coworkers think. And that's what you think of when you think of me right? That wild woman living close to the edge? Yeah right. Perhaps an explanation of why they think I'm living dangerously is in order.

Reason 1. I don't keep my lunch in the refrigerator at work and (gasp!) it may contain meat or other ingredients that can spoil.

Hmmmm, first of all, 99% of the time, my lunch consists of leftovers that have been refrigerated overnight. Leftovers means cooked food people! My lunch goes from the fridge at home into my insulated lunch bag and then sits on my desk for a few hours until I heat it in the microwave at lunchtime. I don't think I need to worry about bacterial growth in that amount of time. Beside, the office is so d@mn cold, it is almost as good as a fridge.

Reason 2. When I go out to lunch and bring back leftovers, I don't put them in the fridge.

What? More bacterial growth?? I don't worry about it, obviously. Anyway, I'm more grossed out by the shared fridge than a little bacterial growth. Since there's a problem with people sampling other people's food without asking permission, I think the work fridge offers even more opportunity for a bacterial cesspool.

Reason 3. I use plastic when microwaving my lunch.

The manufacturer says the containers are microwave safe and they wouldn't lie, would they? Okay, okay, maybe they would lie, but somehow, I think the BPA hoopla is the hoopla du jour and next month, I will have something else to worry about.

Reason 4. I eat leftovers that are more than two days old.

I grew up eating leftovers. In fact, we used to fight over the leftovers (Mom was a great cook). And I don't know how to cook in small quantities (and who wants to cook every night anyways?). I usually cook a couple times on the weekend and then once during the week. So that means leftovers for a couple of days or (gasp!) even longer! Interestingly, my tolerance for leftovers has gone down. I used to be able to eat the same thing 8 meals in a week (4 lunches, 4 dinners). Now I'm down to around 5.

Reason 5. I don't use paper towels.

Sorry, that's an exaggeration. I do use paper towels, just not as many as some people. In the bathroom (sorry), I don't get a paper towel to turn on the faucet, then several more to dry my hands, then another one to turn off the faucet (all while the water is running...very eco unfriendly), and finally another to open the bathroom door. I don't do that at work and I certainly don't do that at home.

And at home, we go through a roll of paper towels every 5-6 weeks (and we used to be better, it used to take us two months to use up a roll). How in the heck does a family use a roll every day or two?

So whaddya think? Is it safe to be around me? Don't worry, if you come over for dinner, the house will the thoroughly cleaned (but it still might be messy), you don't be eating my leftovers, and there will be a fresh roll of paper towels in the kitchen, and fresh hand towels in the bathroom.

Update on the pumpkin muffins

Guess they really are a hit since Mr. Fix-it wouldn't let me take any when we went visiting family this weekend. He told me he'd polish off the muffins in a couple of days...we'll see.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pumpkin raisin muffins

I was feeling domestic again so I made another batch of pumpkin muffins. The first batch I made was based on the Pioneer Woman's recipe. Since I'm not a muffin fan, I'm not the best judge. I wasn't thrilled with them, but Mr. Fix-it thought they were okay.

I tried a different recipe today (with modifications, of course, included below) and they're a hit! Well, I thought they were a bit dry, but Mr. Fix-it thought they were moister than the previous batch. Since he's the one eating them, I'd say his opinion counts for more. On the plus side, they're healthier than the Pioneer Woman's version (I think).

Notice the Christmas liners? No, I'm not trying to start the holidays early. They're the only liners I have in the house. I need to buy some more, but of course, I'm too cheap to buy more when I've still got usable ones, even if they are out of season.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin pie mix (or 1 cup canned pumpkin + 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice)
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line cupcake pan w/liners.
2. Sift dry ingredients together.
3. Beat eggs and sugar together. Add pumpkin, apple sauce, and oil, and mix well.
4. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in raisins.
5. Fill muffins 3/4 full.
6. Bake for 19-21 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 18 muffins.

Notes: I thought they were a little too sweet, probably because of the apple sauce and raisins so next time I will decrease the sugar slightly.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Photo 115/365 Mien, mi fun, you bing, ho yau, choy

We went grocery shopping at the Asian market today. I showed the sale flyer to Mr. Fix-it and asked if he saw anything he wanted. He handed it back and told me he didn't recognize anything, lol. (Sorry to mix Mandarin and Cantonese in the title, but that's how I know the names.)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Less than a week

It took less than a week to get back to my pre-cruise weight. Woo hoo! Guess my normal eating habits aren't so bad after all. On the other hand, Mr. Fix-it thinks he didn't gain any weight on vacation. Yeah right.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


We're still much higher than the rest of the country.

Monday, October 12, 2009

It was a good week

Did you miss me? We actually took a vacation! For a whole week! We took a week-long cruise to the Mexican Riviera, which sounds much more exciting than it was in some ways. After all, we spent more time at sea than on land, lol. But wow, I see why some people really like the cruising life. Lounging on pool chairs, a spa, a gym, your choice of a 24-hour buffet or a sit-down meal (or both, lol). It sure was fun to order an appetizer and soup/salad and an entree and dessert (or maybe two). My favorite was ordering a double serving of papaya at breakfast and then more papaya for dessert after lunch. One day, I ordered two lunches (hey, I wasn't the only one at the table to do that) and once Mr. Fix-it ordered two desserts. With all that, we really didn't gain any weight. Maybe because our cabin was at one of the ship and the dining rooms were at the other...had to walk, walk, walk to get our food, lol.

Anyway, I'm back. I asked a coworker if I missed anything at work and she said it was pretty quiet, that I picked a good week to go on vacation. I said, no, it was a bad week because I'd rather all the emergencies take place while I'm gone. Let's hope it is another quiet week.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I'm still holding out

I received another Facebook invitation yesterday. I haven't signed up yet. Still holding out. But not for long I suspect. And considering how short some of my blog posts are, perhaps I should consider Twitter too. No matter what, I still like snail mail and phone know the personal contact, not mass blasts.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It's fall

How do I know? No, it isn't the weather since we're having a little heat wave (is it summer again?), alternating with morning fog (June gloom). It isn't the grocery store since there has been a lot of produce on sale; isn't that supposed to happen in the summer. My garden is giving me hints since there hasn't much to harvest. And I never check the calendar for the official start of a season. So how do I know? All the new TV shows have started and we're watching waaaay too much tv, lol. Oh, and the leaves are falling in Webkinz World.


Good thing I waited a few days since the price went down two cents.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Photo 112/365 Bargain of the day

I don't normally buy candles...I have dozens of Partylite tealights and votive candles in the closet...most of the scents are discontinued, they're so old. But I couldn't resist these since I'm interested in trying soy candles (why??? I hardly ever burn them). Resistance was futile since I got them for free with coupons, woo hoo!!

Photo 111/365 Harvest

Pathetic, isn't it? It takes a week to get enough for a meal. Most of the vines are dead, but there are a couple that are holding on.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Jillibean Soup Sketch Contest

Jillibean Soup is having a sketch contest, so of course, I had to enter since I love Jillibean Soup. It is one of the few products that I bought when it was first released and I'm glad I did since most of that release is sold out everywhere. You still have time to enter...barely since the contest ends tomorrow (or today for most of you reading this).

supplies: Jillibean Soup patterned paper and felt flowers, Lasting Impressions brads, Scrapworks ribbon, American Crafts rubon, Quick Quotes ink

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Photos Naptime

This is what I wanted to do after we finished playing outside.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


The price went up to $3.09 for Labor Day and I was hoping it would go back down after the holiday. But when I went to my usual gas station, the price had zoomed to $3.15! So I drove several blocks out of my way to where it was still $ little protest against rising gas prices.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Photo 110/365 More home cooking

Mom sent me some "gow gai" via J. Don't ask me what the translation is. All I know is Mom's been making this vegetable into a soup for as long as I can remember. Of course, my version is much simpler. Canned stock instead of homemade, tofu, and the gow gai. Three ingredients and a lot of memories. (Sorry I didn't make the soup when you were here J.)

She also sent some cuttings so I could have my own. I did have a couple of plants but ended up tearing them out because they kept getting mildew. Hopefully, I'll have better luck with this batch.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

My taste buds are dead

After a couple weeks of home cooking for J and dining out for Asian food (since there's a lack thereof where she lives), I resorted to TV dinners (yes, I'm old enough to call them TV dinners) tonight since J is gone (boo hoo!). The heat has tired out both me and Mr. Fix-it, yet another reason to not cook. My verdict on the first bite was, it tastes like soap. On the second bite, yucky and too salty. On the third bite, hmmm, not bad! I wonder what kind of drugs they put in this fake food so that it eventually tastes good to someone??? Maybe "tastes good" is an overstatement, lol. At least I didn't spend a lot of money on them.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Photo 109/365 Dinner

J brought me a huge batch of banana peppers and I had no idea what to do with them. I went searching and found this recipe on, but of course, changed about a million things, like used half beef/half Italian sausage, stuffed some bell peppers along with the banana peppers, Romano instead of Parmesan cheesed, used a mix of homemade sauce and jarred sauce, etc. The good news is Mr. Fix-it liked it and there's enough leftovers for another couple dinners, lunches, and a dinner for his dad. And there's several stuffed peppers in the freezer since I couldn't fit them all in the pan (and I used an 11x16 pan!). The bad news is, with all the modifications, I'll never be able to duplicate the recipe exactly. But I could probably come close. Not that I want to make it again any time soon since I was prepping for an hour. I'd never make it on Hell's Kitchen.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Photo 108/365 I think we're well stocked now

TP was on sale, had coupons, and got a $5 gift card for purchasing two mega packs. (Unfortunately, I didn't get it for free like you expert couponers/CVSers do.) Ran out of room to store all of this, lol.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Holding steady.

Photo 107/365 Home cooking

You can't get a meal much cheaper than this. With J gone for a few days visiting Mom, it was back to long work days for me. Didn't feel like cooking so came up with this: leftover brown rice, leftover veggies (bean sprouts w/string beans and green onion from the garden), and then racking my brains for another dish, I remembered Mom and Uncle T's filler dish--scrambled eggs and peas, seasoned with oyster sauce. You won't find this on any restaurant menu and I'd never serve it to company, but just thought I would pass this on if you're looking for a quick, cheap dish to fix.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'm finally getting around to creating my recipe pages for my annual "Cookie Day" with my girlfriends. These are half letter pages, 5.5x8.5. I'm finding it harder than I thought it would be to work with this smaller size.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Photo 106/365 Winter melon soup

What? It isn't winter you say? Ahhh, that's the beauty of a freezer. The melon is from Mom and since I got multiple melons from her, I ended up freezing some of it. Winter melon soup isn't Mr. Fix-it's favorite so J's visit was the perfect time to cook it. I think the texture is slightly different after freezing, but J didn't notice. Or maybe she didn't care since she doesn't get this soup very often.

My version is different from Mom's: I cut the melon into bite-size pieces, she leaves the melon in big chunks and then you use your spoon to scrap the melon away from the skin. Less waste that way. I also have more ingredients and (gasp) use canned broth (usually) instead of homemade stock. And, chicken broth instead of pork stock. Gotta go with what's on hand, right? I don't have pork bones in the freezer like Mom does. (Her freezer is scary, lol.) I guess my version is the next generation soup.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


It is what it is...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Blueberry Muffins

My friend Holly blogged about "To die for blueberry muffins" and since we had blueberries in the fridge, I was inspired to try the recipe. The recipe was originally posted on

I kept the Blueberry Muffins part of the name because I'm a simple kinda gal and don't need all the superlatives. Plus I don't think they were to die for, they were good, but not to die for. On the other hand, I'm not a muffin fan so what do I know.

The recipe below includes my modifications (I used a different topping, yogurt instead of milk, and modified instructions). See the links above if you want the original recipe.

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
scant 3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon sale
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup plain yogurt (can use buttermilk or milk instead)
1 tablespoon milk or cream
1 1/4 cup fresh blueberries

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat over to 400 degrees.

1. Sift dry ingredients together.
2. Beat egg, then add oil, yogurt, and milk.
3. Fold dry and wet ingredients together, then gently fold in blueberries.
4. Fill muffin liners (in the pan of course) almost to the top, then sprinkle with topping. You may have some topping leftover.
5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until inserted toothpick is clean.

Store uncovered to keep the topping crunchy.

Makes 10 regular size muffins. I used the Pampered Chef muffin pans, if that gives you any idea of size.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Photos 104-105/365 Garage Sale

M had a garage sale, which is code for "clean out Dad's garage and whatever crap doesn't get sold gets dumped." He filled up his trailer and hauled it all back to his house. Traffic was sporadic until one shopper told him his signs had blown down. After they went back up, it was non-stop. The kids had fun playing on the trailer. Here's C exploring some of Grandpa's treasures from his dumpster diving days. (C is in the dotted shirt and E is in the striped shirt. Per Mom, C choose that shirt to wear. Guess clothing preferences start early.)

Photos 101-103/365 What's in the Kitchen

I got the cooking bug so whipped up dinner from the garden and then was inspired to make dessert too. I made a quick tomato sauce with tomatoes, basil, and green onion from the garden and added a side of Chinese string beans. For dessert, I made blueberry muffins with berries that were on their way out. Of course, I made a mess in the kitchen too.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Not again

Another aunt passed away. She was on my dad's side of the family. I don't think I will be attending this funeral since I wasn't close to her. I'm getting tired of sad news.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It has been a tough couple weeks

Work has been tough (lots and lots of work, plus more work). Life has been tough (my mom's favorite and last sister passed away; we drove up for the funeral). Even my garden isn't cooperating (the aphids and grasshoppers have invaded again). I guess that's why I haven't felt like blogging. Plus I'm overwhelmed by my backlog of photos to post. I hope to post more soon.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Better than $3.09 at the station across the street.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Photo 100 Chess Masters

G wanted to play checkers until we reminded him that this was chess. Since none of us wanted to play, he convinced C to play with him. Here's how you play: First, you line up all the statues. Then you kill them (hey, his words, not mine). It was so cute to see them concentrating so hard. Not only that, G put everything away correctly and without any fuss. That was the most fun of all to watch!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Photo 99/365 Garden

More suicide tomatoes. A mass suicide this time.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Photo 98/365 What's cooking?

After a couple hours of chopping and sauteing, this is all I have to show for it, a couple quarts of mirepoix. It's all going into the freezer for future use.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

He does read my blog

Yesterday, Mr. Fix-it called me at work. "I guess if you're blogging at work that you can't get your work done in a ten hour day, you don't coming home any time soon." Ding, ding, ding, give that man a prize! At least he took it with good humor. And he knew not to wait for me for dinner. Speaking of which, I can't even remember if I ate dinner last night. I must have, but I can't remember. Sigh.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

And it just keeps on a comin'

the stress that is. There is just no way I can get all my projects done at work in an 8 hour day. Or a 9 hour day. Or a 10 hour day. Even if I cut corners. Even if I delegate. And my workload is going to be increasing. At least I have a job, right?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Photos 94-97/365 Road Trip

This is what I have a view of on our long road trips to see my family.