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