11–20 of 242 entries from the year: December 2007

Seventh Day of Christmas

December 20th

Granola up close: Seventh day of Christmas

I wish for lots of opportunities to feed family and friends.

It is a bit of a selfish wish, I know, but I find such joy in cooking for others. I made this granola again as a “boy” gift for Christmas. This time around, I added lots of almonds, bran cereal, peanuts, honey, cardamom and vanilla protein powder. It smelled heavenly toasting away before I spooned it into more recycled containers. I delivered the last of these today. {It is a darn easy recipe that you can easily modify if you are looking for another gift or snack idea.}

: Seventh day of Christmas

On the same note, I am a volunteer for a local food bank organization. If you have the chance or the ability to give to your local food bank, they could really use your help. Food banks are currently experiencing unheard of shortages because of the subprime mess and waining economy. More people who used to be able to feed themselves and their children (and potentially their elderly parents) are now standing in food lines and going to the food banks for emergency rations. {The majority of people fed by food banks in the US? Children and the elderly. These aren’t people “milking” the system.} Food banks nationally are empty and in true need of help. Another thing — food banks can buy canned goods much, much cheaper than the average consumer can. Typically they can buy three times the amount of food a consumer can for the same amount — and they can use the cash to get the supplies they really need.

putting my martha labels to good use: Seventh day of Christmas

So, feeding those we love — including our neighbors — is exceptionally important to me this Christmas. Living simply, so others can simply live.


Posted in
Journal, Public Health
Comments (8)

Sixth Day of Christmas

December 19th

cloth napkins, folded: Sixth day of Christmas

I wish for “green” gifts.
Cloth napkins anyone? How easy are these to put together! Just grab any heavy-weight fabric, such as decor, and cut rectangles of the size of your liking. Double fold the hem and stitch away, or single fold the hem and zigzag/serge stitch along the edge. Bundle with a pretty ribbon and voila — and end to the purchasing of paper napkins.

napkin fabric: Sixth day of Christmas
stack of napkins ready to be hemmed: Sixth day of Christmas
napkin tags: Sixth day of Christmas
six more gifts, sewn and ready to be delivered: Sixth day of Christmas

When I received a set of fabulous cloth napkins from Meg this year, I knew what I was going to do with that stack of toile fabric that had been gathering dust in my studio. Three hours later, I’ve got six more gifts wrapped and under the tree.
{Technically, my tree is fake and 2 feet tall, also a nod to the green movement. So, they are on the mantel.}

How are you being green this holiday season?

P.S. Anyone in Phoenix know where I can buy fresh cranberries? I’d even take frozen over the canned/jelled variety. They are the last remaining ingredient on my Christmas dinner menu and I am kicking myself for not picking up a couple bags two weeks ago when I saw them at the market. You find them and I’ll trade you baked goods of your choice!
*UPDATE* I found them! Thank you Tambra and Erin!

Posted in
Journal, June Cleaver, Recycle, Reduce, Reuse, Tutorial
Comments (26)

Fifth Day of Christmas

December 18th

g'bread house: fourth day of Christmas

I wish for continued tradition.
I am a sucker for routine. (Quelle surprise, non?) Same goes for traditions. When Christmas rolls around, I thoroughly enjoy the lighting of the advent candles, decorating the tree, preparing a fancy meal, wearing a pretty dress to midnight service, and waking up Christmas morning with my family. First we dive into the stockings — and per tradition, there is always an orange at the toe. We eat my mom’s famous Christmas sticky buns for breakfast and usually enough chocolate from our stockings to make us sweetly sick until dinner.

g'bread house: fourth day of Christmas

My favorite Christmas food is my grandma’s sweet potato casserole. With brown sugar and pecans on the crunchy top, this bright orange side dish is more like a scoop of heaven.
When I have a family, there are new traditions and old ones I plan to honor. Each year my Grandma Max gives each of her grandchildren an ornament. I also love receiving gifts from Santa, even as an adult. And we’ll probably put out a plate of cookies and milk on the mantle. New traditions I’d like to incorporate include following and advent calendar daily, caroling, baking a birthday cake for Christ on Christmas day and doing charity work on Christmas day as a family. Another tradition I think is pretty cool — my friend Mike comes from a Polish Catholic family. They decorate their Christmas dinner table with hay, to represent the manger, and have an additional place setting for the Lord.

g'bread house: fourth day of Christmas

I had brunch with some girlfriends this weekend; afterward we sat around drinking tea and working on this gingerbread house. I hadn’t decorated one since I was a girl scout, so this was silly fun. I think next year I’ll make gingerbread house kits to give to my friends with kids.
What holiday traditions do you enjoy?


Posted in
Comments (20)

Fourth Day of Christmas

December 17th

Fourth Day of Christmas

I wish for creativity.

I received these sweet pillow shams in the Secret Santa Swap. Yep. We are still a week from Christmas. Yep, I tore into that package as soon as I saw it and they are already on my bed. I’ve never been known for my patience.
These beauties came from Kate. She spied my Mighty Mighty Lumberjacks quilt at the foot of my new bed and made them to match. So crafty!

Fourth Day of Christmas

I wish creativity for the New Year. That we may look at all facets of our lives with fresh eyes and energy and make changes where necessary and praise where they are not.

Posted in
Good to Great, Journal
Comments (6)

Third Day of Christmas

December 16th

Third Day of Christmas

I wish for healthy babies.

I have lots of girlfriends who are trying to get pregnant. Some have had a rough time, others have unexpectedly found themselves “in the family way.” Regardless, for all the women out there who want to be mamas, I wish for you healthy, happy babies.

{I’m not going to lie. That onesie? I found it at the Phoenix Famer’s Market a couple weeks ago and it is by far my favorite gift I’m giving this Christmas. It’s headed to a wee one in California who I’m already madly in love with. I also am giving some pretty funny Donkey onsies!}

Third Day of Christmas
Third Day of Christmas

Someday I am going to have the cutest hippie kids. Poor things.

Posted in
Good to Great, Journal
Comments (12)

Second Day of Christmas

December 15th

Second Day of Christmas

I wish for peace, especially in Africa.

Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe — just a handful of countries that are devastated by famine, poverty, disease and stupid leadership. One of Africa’s greatest plagues is its lack of honest politicians. Robert Mugabe, who could feed his nation and many of the neighbors to boot from the bountiful land of his country, instead cozies up to China and arms dealers and keeps his (starving) people in check via violence.

Imagine being your average run-of-the mill professional when your country’s leadership suddenly decides to send you to war. They don’t have enough soldiers, but there are extra doctors, teachers and lawyers as far as the eye can see. This is happening in Ethiopia right now. The result is a brain drain — those with training and the resources are escaping for their lives.

Twelve Days of Christmas: day two

My motto: War Sucks. Peace Rules.

Posted in
Africa, Good to Great, Journal, Uncategorized
Comments (7)

On the First Day of Christmas…

December 14th

On the first day of Christmas

I wish for a new presidency.

I am eagerly awaiting the 2008 presidential elections and watching closely as these monkeys in suits debate. I wish I could take certain characteristics of each to make my perfect president. Regardless, in the next four years I hope our country has a leader we can be proud of. I hope this person is a great diplomat who is selfless, dedicated and hard working. I hope this person brings back the world’s respect for our great country and instills a sense of pride, work ethic and determination in our citizens. I hope we are inspired by this leader to be, to do, to want better.

In Stitchers: check out the stash Amy sent Karen and Jan! Wowie! Spoiled and deserving, those two.


Posted in
Good to Great, Journal
Comments (13)

Apron Tied Tight

December 12th

I overheard a few of my coworkers comparing a couple of my recipes the other day. It brought a smile to my face. I spoil them with food regularly; I love to cook, but cooking for one is tricky. I always seem to have enough for eight. My neighbor, friends and coworkers are regularly handed Pyrex dishes of something new and being told to just, “Give it a try and be honest with the review later.”

With that in mind, I went to work making a pot of chicken soup last night. I read a couple recipes and compared my previous notes and then decided just to wing it. {Wing it! Chicken soup. Ha!}

just add chicken

If you live in the Valley, Sunflower Market is so great. I am officially applauding their produce department. Plus, their chicken is considerably less expensive than other markets. And it is a hippie store where they bag my groceries in my Frida nylon bag without giving me attitude. That alone makes me happy enough to give them my business.

sliced and diced

Rainy Day Chicken Soup:
Dice one whole onion, five carrots and three cloves of garlic. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large soup pot. Add these and let them simmer for 10 minutes.

loads of veggies

While your onion mix is becoming translucent, cut up any other veggies that suit your fancy. I love squash. Celery I can live without, but it seems like almost a requirement for a good veggie soup. Throw this in the pot. Stir everything together.

leave the skin on for the first round to add flavor

Add 8-10 cups of chicken broth and several pieces of chicken. I added three large chicken thighs with the skin. Don’t get grossed out — I remove the skin later. Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat and let cook for 30 minutes.

brown rice pumps it up

Remove the chicken from the pot, cut off the skin and shred the chicken. Return it to the pot with 2 cups of brown long grain rice. Return to a simmer for 40 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

a peek at Chicken Soup

Voila — Rainy Day Chicken Soup. Great with a glass of white wine and a big chunk of whole grain bread.

Chicken soup, the jar's perspective
ready for delivery

And in the recycling department, this is when it comes in really handy if you’ve saved those pickle and tomato sauce jars. (Or bought a couple at the dollar store like the one above.) I made my rounds last night dropping off soup to friends and managed to clear off the recycling shelf in my pantry.


Posted in
Domestic Art, Journal, June Cleaver, Recipes
Comments (23)

Don’t Mess with the Dragon

December 11th

OzoMatli -- worthy of the drive

Salty and I took off after work last night for Tucson, through a rocking thunderstorm — which if you’ve never experienced in the desert, it is quite a rare treat — for dinner and a concert. While the rain left us both turned around and late, we headed for a cafe counter for a quick meal and slid into the Rialto just in time to see LifeSavas and OzoMatli.
Holy moly.
I’m fairly new to the Ozomatli fan club but last night I signed my name in blood. I have rarely seen such an amazingly talented group of musicians pour so much energy into a show. There were maybe 8-10 members on the stage playing a variety of instruments — clarinet, saxophone, keyboard, guitar, drums, bongos, maracas, tambourine and in a move Will Ferrell would have loved — I’m pretty sure I even saw a cowbell. Not only did they use these instruments to get the entire floor bouncing and dancing like mad, but then they’d switch. Members switched instruments mid-song, each took a turn at singing, they danced and they were so worth the drive and the crazy headache from lack of sleep this morning.

Ozo, rocking the stage

Yeow! I loved it. Plus, the crowd was as eclectic as the music. There were people of all ages — children to retirees — and of all races. This sort of diversity is rarely seen in Arizona, so I was celebrating that as much as the tunes. I can’t wait to see them again. Five stars, absoloodle.


P.S. Yes, we did nearly die of laughter once we realized Modest Mouse (a fave) is playing tonight and we were there last night. We must have missed that memo. I think Adam is considering making it double Tucson show run for the week.

Posted in
Journal, Media, Travel
Comments (14)

Ribbon Tag Baby Blanket

December 10th

recycled ribbon

Need an easy, soft and sweet baby shower gift? Take 1 yard of fleece, 1 yard of your favorite quilter’s cotton and 1 yard of your favorite ribbons. Pin the ribbon in the seam, sew the edges together, and voila! A cuddly gift, perfect for celebrating babies born this time of year — when we all want to stay under the blankets a bit longer.

wrapped and ready for a baby shower
my new tags -- yippee
Ribbon fleece blankie


Posted in
Domestic Art, June Cleaver, Tutorial
Comments (22)