Happy New Year!

Yup, that's the kind of year it's been.  It is tradition that we get one bottle of champagne to ring in each New Year.  This year, we agreed that it would take a bit more...one to ring in the New Year...and a second to toast the Loved Ones that we lost....four beloveds total.  I know 2011 has been full of hardships for many and I pray that 2012 will be full of Hope...and CHANGE (as in no more Obama), but more importantly I wish for you Health, Happiness and Prosperity.  I heard a Christmas song the other day and the lyrics said something like..."I don't mind stains on the carpet as long as there's food on the table"...and that is so so true.

May your table always have food on it.
Happy New Year!
Love,
Robin

Christmas is getting closer.....

I still have *lots* to do...I'll be the crazy lady running around on Friday trying to finish up.
Can't wait for the CALM...that's when I am done shopping and everything is wrapped and ready...are you ready?

Also, I made pumpkin soup last night and WOW I have a new favorite. I have lots of canned pumpkin in my food storage and I was looking for ways to use it creatively....instead of for pie or cake.  I found this super great pumpkin soup recipe on Simply Recipes and it was so delicious....I know I'll be making it more often.  It's a nice creamy soup with just enough spice to make it NOT bland. Don't let the ingredients fool you....it warms the tongue and the belly just right. It was too good not to share:

Spicy Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional) ***(I left this out because I didn't have any)
  • 3 (15 oz) cans 100 percent pumpkin or 6 cups of chopped roasted pumpkin*
  • 5 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)**
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
Method
1 Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spices and stir for a minute more.
2 Add pumpkin and 5 cups of broth; blend well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
3 ( I skipped this step entirely) Transfer soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan.
4 With the soup on low heat, add brown sugar and mix. Slowly add milk while stirring to incorporate. Add cream. Adjust seasonings to taste. If a little too spicy, add more cream to cool it down. You might want to add a teaspoon of salt.
Serve in individual bowls.

Yield: Serves 8.

My daughter's boyfriend is a vegetarian so I am trying to prepare meatless cuisine for him these next few weeks...this forces me to get creative and think outside the box.  On Christmas we are having a Prime Rib and a Vegetarian Lasagna...and whatever else I can think of.  We still have 2 days left of homeschool before Christmas break....lots left to do.

Blessings to all!
It's been a very difficult year for me and I am praying that Good Things will happen in the New Year.
Thank you so much my Dear Friends for the kind words, I needed more time than I thought to collect my thoughts.  My husband kept asking me if I was going to do a last post about Sadie and I chose not to, the pain is still fresh but now we can smile and laugh when we speak of her..that's not to say there aren't still tears..they are just fewer and far between and she is now in my heart instead of by my side.

Christmas is now upon us and we are having a guest this year for Christmas and through the New Year. In all the years we've been a family, it's only been the four of us each Christmas morning.  My daughter's boyfriend is flying in from California and we are most excited. Good Things are on the way.  Be Blessed.

My Sweet Girl

Sadie Mae  Nov 26, 2002 ~Oct 10, 2011  You left pawprints on all our hearts....love you.

I'm Still Here...and a Road Trip.

I bet you thought I was never coming back again! Actually, I was always here...the summer was a rough one, Sadie is still with us and each day we have to spend with her is a Blessing. My husband lost an Uncle, I lost my last living Grandmother, we lost Flynn and we are dealing with Sadie's cancer.
I have not been snapping photos nor have I traveled to any exotic and exciting locations this past summer.
My daughter spent 3 glorious weeks in New England however, and my beautiful niece did come to stay with us for a brief but thoroughly enjoyable visit. Summer is turning to Fall and we are looking ahead!
Now, get your affairs in order and stock up on snacks because soon we are taking a road trip down Memory Lane :)  I came across all my old photos on Google+ from my old blog before my previous computer went up in flames and lost everything.

You're excited...I know, I was too!
See you soon!

Me and my Girl

We are on this journey as a family and we are just now getting to the bumps in the road, Sadie can no longer jump up on the bed without some help from my husband lifting her up....the past 3 nights have been rough and sleepless...seems she does the most suffering at night, alternating between panting heavily and drinking tons and tons of water...and then the countless potty breaks.  We sit up with her and comfort her, petting her and talking to her softly so she knows she's not in this alone. 

This photo was taken tonight (Sun)...she was feeling pretty good and had an extra spring in her step...she even trotted ahead of us a few times.  I picked a Daisy and tied it to her collar...she loves flowers and seems to take delight in watching the bees buzz from blossom to blossom.  Taking this day by day and counting each and every new one with her as a Blessing.

Blessings to all for a great week.

Sadie May....

...awww...this is one of my favorite pics...Kai got a new kitten a few weeks ago and Sadie just adores him, they became fast friends once the kitten figured out Sadie wasn't going to eat him.
If I were to describe Sadie I would have to say she's gentle, sweet, patient, loyal and trusting....we couldn't have asked for a better dog.  From the moment we adopted her years ago, we knew she was special.  I didn't think a dog would fit into our lifestyle but we learned very quickly that Sadie was willing to work us into hers.

A few weeks ago we noticed Sadie was not acting like her usual self....she was panting while climbing the stairs and started to refuse food on a not so regular basis...about every third day she would fast and then she started running a fever.  We took her to the vet who said her chest sounded congested and they decided to do a chest xray with no results...then maybe a uterine infection, so an abdominal xray with minimal results and finally, we got a referral to another vet for an ultrasound...just to rule out the uterine infection. 

The ultrasound revealed some very grim news, Sadie was diagnosed with stage 5 Lymphoma.  All of her lymph nodes are affected as are all her internal organs...chemotherapy was discussed but with her prognosis it was revealed it would have little, if any, effect.  I was told to take her home and enjoy her...the vet told me it could take "days or weeks"...... so crushing to hear.

I have googled this disease and read story after story until my husband told me to stop...I was trying to learn as much as I could, but reading other people's stories of how they lost their beloved dogs to cancer was just tearing me apart.   I did. however, learn that cancer cells feed on carbs and the best thing I could do for Sadie now was keep her comfortable by cooking her high protein, low carb, grain free meals to possibly slow the progression of the cancer.  Will it work...I dunno...but it will make me feel better knowing I am doing something for her that I can control.

Sadie is currenly on prednisone which is a steroid to help reduce the inflammation...we have already noticed that the lymph nodes in her neck aren't as swollen as they were.   One of the side affects is that she pants every now and then.....but only for a short time.  Otherwise, she still enjoys fetching her ball and continues to bark whenever the doorbell rings.  I have noticed she's gotten a bit slower on our nightly walks and she doesn't like to walk as far as she used to...she now lets me know it's time to go home by simply turning around and walking back towards home....so I obediently follow.

We live within walking distance to a lake...it's just down a short trail.  I took Sadie to the lake on Saturday and she couldn't wait to get in the water...I was a bit hesitant at first because I wasn't sure if she was strong enough to swim but she proved me wrong! I threw her tennis ball out into the lake about 10 times and she swam out to retrieve it each and every time. I didn't take pics of her in the water because I was trying to keep an eye on her...I did take her into the arboretum to dry off and play fetch so we took pics there.
...at the lake....look at that smile...she know's shes going to get to go swimming soon.
..waiting for me to throw the stick so she can go fetch it.
...look at that face....does that look like a sick doggie to you?
She had so much fun, she didn't want to get in the jeep to come back home...but she loves going for rides so I was finally able to persuade her.
Back home......that's my big sweet couch potato. The only thing I can do is love her as much as I can.
She is ever present, always at my side...I'm ashamed to say that there was a time that it used to annoy me....I couldn't even go to the bathroom without her finding me.. but now I am savoring every single second of it.

Blessings to all for a great week.
~Robin

Just taking some time......

...thanks for the emails. :) 

Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.
- Barbara De Angelis

So Blessed



...and so proud :)

It's Grad Week!!!!!!!!

This is a busy busy week! There are final exams for both students and some make-up work for school at home that needs that needs to be completed and then it's Graduation!!!!!!!!!!!! Woo hoo!!!!!!

I hope you all have a Blessed Week!!

Thank you

...for your support...I am better with the scholarship situation...not happy with it, but better with it. We had to go through a few stages to get this point, and even though it's something we are still working through....we don't want to take away from the fact that this is a major accomplishment for our daughter. While we are saddened that she will not recieve the funding for college, we are very proud of her for being chosen as one of the "best and brightest" in WA state.

  Onward and upward.
 
Our girl is now legally an adult, it  happened recently...she can now vote and got her curfew extended.  Where has the time gone...it is passing by me so fast and I am trying to hold onto what I can, savoring every moment.  I have done so much reflecting lately and so happy for God's blessings.

Aren't these the most darling Graduation pops you've ever seen?  They are made with Reese's pb cups, squares of chocolate and licorice strips...I am entertaining the thought of making them for graduation.  We are not having any family fly in for the graduation but we'll probably have a small get together at the house for friends.  Nothing is planned as of yet.  This momma still needs to go buy something to wear to the ceremony...I've recently lost 10 lbs and am feeling pretty good.  For those of you who wonder...I did replace my half and half with evaporated skim milk....I have gotten used to it and actually enjoy it.  I did have some Hawaiian pizza and Birthday cake recently but that was one special day...as long as I am alive I will eat cake on my childrens birthdays.


I promised Shelley that I would list the details of my diet so here are the general rules:
NO white bread, rolls, danish, etc
NO rice, pasta, potatos
NO cookies, chips, granola bars, candy, crackers etc
NO peas, corn, beans (except for green or waxed)
NO butter,spread, margarine, oils etc
NO fruit juice, soda, milk (skim is okay in moderation and sugar free soda is okay)
NO pork products, salami, pepperoni, ham

Yes:
100% Whole wheat or protein bread (nothing enriched or bleached)
No more than 2 eggs per week, prepared without butter or oil
Lean meats such as chicken, fish, steak, lamb, buffalo....(even ground beef is allowed)...nothing fried though
Salads dressed with vinegar only...no oils
Hard cheeses are lower in fat than soft ones...one serving per week...(I make a salad with cheese slices)
Broccoli, brussel sprouts, spinach, zuccini, peppers, tomatoes...(I use raw spinach in place of lettuce for more nutrition)
Low carb fruit is encouraged, canned is okay only if packed in juice not syrup.
Tuna fish packed in water, not oil and NOT mixed with mayo
Grapefruit is ideal to have each day *make sure it does not interfere with prescription drugs* 1/2 for breakfast and the other 1/2 to enjoy after lunch or dinner
Drink lots of water (I occasionally add Crystal Lite)

Breakfast for me everyday is one slice of dry wheat toast sprinkled with cinnamon and a serving of fruit with coffee. The main goal is to have a protein and veggie for lunch and dinner. .  The one day a week that you can have eggs, that will be your protein...with veggies.  You can also decide any day to have 1/2 cup of cottage cheese and fruit...instead of meat and a veggie...(this also helps stabilize your blood sugar).
You are allowed to have 2 slices of wheat bread per day...you can split that up any way you like.  If you want to make a sandwich...skip the mayo and use yellow mustard.

Eliminate the "filler" items like rice, pasta, stuffing, fries, rolls etc that you would normally put on your plate. They really aren't necessary and after a while you won't miss them.

I do not snack between meals anymore, if I find myself hungry I can munch on celery/carrots or I usually have some water. Once my dinner is eaten I am DONE for the day.  There is no portion control with the exception of what I've noted, just eat until you are satisfied.  Get creative with your ingredients and your menu won't get dull.  Trust me, I look tempation in the face more than once each day, but I'm on a mission to succeed. :) 

Blessings to all for a great week!

WA State gives and takes away Scholarship

I try so hard to make my posts as lite as possible, I've even restrained from posting anything political and I really haven't "vented" in a while.


At this moment, I feel as if I was punched in the stomach and spat on.

My daughter won a scholarship from the state of Washington to pay for tuition for two years at the college of her choice here in WA, but due to the "recession" she will not be recieving the funds, only a certificate saying she won.

I am mad as hell and I am bitter and my heart aches for my daughter as she was anxiously awaiting the release of the winner's names. I don't even know why they bothered going through with the "scholarship". She is crushed and I am left completely speechless. Graduation is about a week away and this has brought a dark cloud over what was supposed to be a special time.

The best in the Northwest....

I know some of you remember the country music video that my daughter directed, edited and produced not too long ago...if not here's a refresher:



Today at the Northwest High School Film Festival in Seattle, she won the Music Video Award of Excellence for best music video. Twenty-three schools were being presented at the Film Festival and Kailei won in this category.

                        Yes, I am one proud Mama. :)

I said Goodbye today............

...to my coffee creamer. Half and Half to be exact. I'm done...we've had a long affair and it was great while it lasted, never left me unsatisfied...but I am now left with those "comfort pounds" one gets when in a stable relationship.  I am not an artifical creamer person, never have been...I don't like the flavored liquid kind or the powdered kind (ack!) and milk just doesn't cut it for me.  I have only ever bought fat free milk and quite honestly, fat free milk in coffee is gross to me. 

I like to languish over a few cups of coffee in the morning, so my creamer consumption was adding up. I looked into the "fat free" half and half brands but after reading the ingredients at the grocery store I found there are syrups and additives that I just don't want in my body.  It was suggested to me to use evaporated skim milk because it has a thicker consistancy like cream but without all the "extras".......has anyone ever tried this?

  I can drink black ice coffee but I like a hot cup first thing in the morning and for some reason I cannot drink black coffee hot.  If you've ever tried evaporated skim milk in your coffee, let me know what you thought of it. I may be running out to the store soon to pick some up.
Blessings to all!

Spring is.....still springing.

We finally have a bit of sunshine here and there...although many of you have been experiencing warm tempatures, it's still jacket weather here as we are having a late Spring.  On Mother's Day, I recieved a wonderful flowering hanging plant and 2 tomatoe plants.  My wonderful neighbor gave me a half barrel that we put on the back porch and planted the tomatoes, so we'll see if they come to fruition. I have also put in a bed of yellow pansies and a bed of blueish pansies in the front of the house and moved all my indoor plants onto the front porch and added a hanging fushia. (Next post I'll have pics :)

Yesterday, I chaperoned the LAST field trip my daughter will go on as she is graduating in a few weeks...it was bittersweet.  Reminded me of all the field trips I went with her over the years... to the zoo, aquarium, fire house, cider mill, pumpkin patch, and so on.  We are counting down, just a few weeks til graduation and her 18th Birthday is just before that. My how time flies. This really is a time for reflection for me...and my son will only have 2 more years of school left as well.


I am back on my diet....really going for it this time, a few years ago I blogged about cutting out all "white foods" like rice, potatoes, pasta, white bread etc and I lost a lot of weight only to let it crawl back on, but I am going to lose it for good this time.  I've been putting everyone else's needs before mine every minute of every day and it's only made me stressed and fluffy :) I have dramatically cut my fat and sugar intake so I've been a little cranky lately...lol....but I am allowing myself to enjoy all this season has to offer like lean meats, crispy veggies and low carb fruits.  I am also saying hello to my treadmill again. My husband has recently lost quite a bit of weight and he looks great...it's different for men because they don't "wear" the weight of the household like women do.  You ladies know what I mean....I know you do.

I hope you are all enjoying your Spring and I hope to hop on by and visit you soon.
Blessings!

Happy Mother's Day

I hope you ladies have a fabulous Mother's Day weekend!

Patience is a Virtue....

...but one can only be patient for so long.  Toby was convinced that if he just sat a little ways away from the bird feeder he would be undetected by the birds.....
When that plan didn't work out he thought he should just get a little closer....surely the birds will still come..
Maybe if I shake it..the birds will see the feeder and come around.....

....in this photo he looks irrated with me as if I am the reason the birds are not coming around, guess I was making too much noise with my camera.

The birds are wise to stay away, Toby is a very skilled hunter...if there's talk to be had in the animal community it's surely "stay away from that one".....Toby has brought home everything from birds to bunnies, mice and moles and the occasional snake.   My husband said that after Toby hopped off the fence, the birds came along to feed.  Now who's smarter?  Whoever coined the phrase "bird brain" anyway....?

Blessings for a great weekend!

Friday Whoopsie!

Nobody was hurt...just the pride of a new driver.  Hugs of reassurance and now laughter...waiting for the garage door repairman as I post this......:)

I hope you all have a Blessed weekend........free of Whoopsies!

It Snowed Today.....

Yes indeed, large fluffy flakes fell to the ground for several hours....didn't stick but it sure looked lovely while it was falling.

This week is a busy one for me......I hope you are having a Blessed one yourself!

Instant Collections....

I only pick up vintage rolling pins if they're under $2 and only enough to fill this old salt crock.

(Don't mind the dust)...my collection of vintage enamelware coffee pots on top of my red amoire...the red  lights add a nice touch in the evening.


A collection of husband's photos from when his Grandfather dabbled in race horses, with a remnant of an old metal horse weathervane thrown in for impact.
Rulers....so far I've found 19 in cupboards and drawers, and I have a feeling more will surface.

I collect many things, dust and clutter seem to be heading the list but I am trying to keep on top of it.
We are starting to get some very lovely days here and are seeing the sun more....thank GOD.
Just wanted to share....
Blessings!