Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pumpkin Chip Cookies

I thought that since I wouldn't arrive at my Mom's house early enough to help with the Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, I should try to make something that I could bring with me. I can't bring anything that requires refrigeration along the way or cooking after I get there, so I wasn't sure what I should take.

My sisters have been busy all day today making up salads, side dishes, pumpkin pies, and pumpkin cupcakes (hmmm - I wonder where they got that recipe from?). Even my brother is making Sour Cream Apple Pies (my Grandmother's recipe) to bring over. They are the best!

While I was thinking about what I could bring, I came across this great recipe for Pumpkin Chip Cookies. I love pumpkin anything, so when I saw this recipe I thought it would be the perfect addition to our Thanksgiving feast!

The recipe is very simple and quite easy to make. All you need is:
  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar. Mix in wet ingredients. Mix in dry ingredients. Add chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonful onto baking sheet. Bake 10 - 12 minutes at 375 degrees.

They turned out great and even my dh (who won't go near pumpkin pie) said they were good! If you get a chance to try them out, you should. You won't be disappointed!

Home is where the heart is!

Tomorrow I am heading home to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family in Michigan! I am so excited to be reunited with everyone and I can almost taste the turkey already.

This will be our first Thanksgiving without my Dad and he will be terribly missed. But part of what we will be grateful for will be the wonderful father, grandfather and husband that he was.

When my ds was younger, he once asked me why I called Grandma and Grandpa’s house “home” when this was my home! I tried to explain to him that Grandma and Grandpa’s house will always be home to me because that is where I grew up and that is where my Mom and Dad are. I also explained that because I now live here, in Ontario, this is also my home! At the time he was quite confused by it all.

It is possible to have two homes? Not houses, but homes. I believe it is. Home is where the heart is. A piece of my heart is always with my family in Michigan – my Mom, my brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, etc. Even though I am not with them as often as I would like, my heart and spirit are always connected to them.

And then there is my home where I now live with those most dear to me – my dear husband and sons. They truly are my life and my greatest loves. My heart belongs to each of them in a way that it belongs to no other. I believe it is possible to have two homes – because home is where the heart is…

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ho, Ho, Ho

I am slowly accepting the fact that Christmas is only 1 month away! Today was the first day of our Christmas Open House at Two Scrapbook Friends, so the decorations are up and the Christmas music is playing. I even pulled out my Christmas vest to wear this morning!

Carolyn and I each contributed to the decorations - she made some awesome paper ornaments and I decorated a couple of clear pails by Prima. It was such a nice diversion from layouts and I really enjoyed playing with some colors that I normally don't get to work with (pink and boys just don't seem to mix!). The acrylic pails come in 3 different sizes and they make great gift packages. I can see myself making up a few of them for my nieces and nephews this Christmas!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Scrapping Outside The Lines

When I named my blog, I picked a name that reflected not only my favorite hobby, but also my outlook on life. I like the familiarity of things that make me feel secure, but I also like the challenge of thinking outside the box, of looking at things from a different perspective, of trying something new.

In scrapbooking, I feel the aim stays relatively the same – preserving precious memories. But the means and the style for me seem to be always evolving. There is a constant release of new products and techniques that keep me on the creative edge. There are also many digital options that keep me intrigued, from photo editing to digital scrapbooking. Plus, I am constantly being inspired and challenged when I see other scrapbookers’ creations. I so admire the talented women I know that can seem to just pull a beautiful layout together with very little effort.

Lately, I have been challenging myself to use some different products and techniques on my scrapbook pages. Stamping, ‘bling’, more flowers (even on my sons’ pages), glitter, crystal lacquer and embossing are just a few of the things I have been trying to add to my pages. I have decided to make some goals for myself that will hopefully stretch my creativity.

Five scrapbook goals I hope to accomplish include:
· Allowing more white space on my pages (and being comfortable with it!)
· Using larger photos (5x7 or 8x10)
· Stamping more on my pages (it is getting really hard to justify my collection of stamps)
· Adding more journaling to my pages
· Working with layout sketches

I challenge all of you to scrap outside the lines as well. What is it that you like about other scrapbookers’ pages that you haven’t tried for yourself? What would one of your goals be?

Here are a couple of layouts that I did recently. (A couple of them were inspired by Karan’s designs.) Maybe they will inspire you!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Knit One?

A few months ago my friend Janet promised that she would teach me how to knit a very simple scarf. She even picked up the yarn and needles for me and said that whenever I was ready she would get me started. Month after month went by and we just never seemed to fit it in. Finally, a couple of weekends ago, at our scrapbooking retreat, I had my lesson!

I seemed to pick up the concept fairly quickly (I have knit before, but it was about 20 years ago!) and I thought I was off and running. There are only 18 stitches on the needle and it is straight knitting, nothing fancy. Plus, it is only two balls of yarn. Simple – right?

Well, here I am two weeks later, and I am really beginning to wonder if I am knitting-challenged! Poor Janet has had to fix my mistakes a number of times and even last night she graciously stopped by on her way home from work to once again remedy an ‘oops’ that I did. I am still suffering from a cold and sore throat and I thought it would be great if I could just sit and knit while I watched TV.

So there I was, feeling pretty confident as I knit my first row. Not bad – it was looking good! At the end of my second row something didn’t look quite right. As I counted the stitches, I realized I now had 19 stitches instead of 18! AAAAARRRRRGGGG! I am sure this is a very simple thing to fix if you know what you are doing, but since I don’t, down went my yarn and needles awaiting another rescue from Janet.

My ds, who saw me knitting, happened to walk by a couple of minutes later and asked, “Why is it that every time I look at your scarf it is still the same length?”

As he walked away, I wondered if an unfinished scarf could be used to strangle someone…

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pajama Day

Today was the first day in a long time that I did not have to go anywhere. I did not have to get up early, I had no plans, and there were no obligations. So when I woke up – after 10:00am – with a bit of a sore throat and saw all the snow outside, I decided that it would be a perfect pajama day for me! Actually a pink pajama day!

I had on my favorite pink snowflake pajama bottoms – very comfy and cozy- and my pink hoodie.

I had my favorite lap quilt, with, yes, pink in it and I even drank tea from my new pink, thermal cup that my dear friend, Janet, gave to me!

I felt bathed in pink, peaceful and not even a bit guilty that I was doing nothing productive. It was a perfectly pink pajama day!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Monday's Child is Fair of Face

In a family of 6 children, what are the chances that all of them would be born on a Monday? Well in our family, my 2 sisters, 3 brothers and I were all born on a Monday! Plus, my older sister, Dianne, and my younger brother, David, share the same birthday - November 14th!

I was always jealous of my sister because she got a baby brother for her birthday - how do you compete with that? I did receive a baby doll once, but it just wasn't the same. On the other hand, she always had to share a birthday cake and party, whereas my birthday was all mine. I guess it all works out one way or another.

Here are a couple of pictures of my sister and I when we were sweet little things. She is 18 months older than I am and I have always looked up to her.

We have always been close, especially when we were growing up. We often shared the same school, friends, clothes, etc. Dianne has a heart of gold and always gives without counting the cost. She is a planner, an organizer, a faithful woman of God, a fabulous dessert maker, a great story teller, a talented home decorator, and the best friend anyone could ever ask for.

My brother David is also a wonderful person. He was my little buddy when we were growing up, always full of energy and mischief! I remember the many long talks we had when we were in high school and university - mostly about life and faith. He is now a brilliant and compassionate psychologist who works with engaged and married couples.

Happy birthday to both of you! May God bless you and keep you always in His care.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What a Retreat!

This past weekend we held our Fall Scrapbook Retreat and we had 140 scrapbooking guests join us! It was truly amazing to see that many women who love to scrapbook all together in one place enjoying their favorite hobby for an entire weekend. The set-up for Carolyn and I was a bit more than we imagined as we brought a whole store full of product with us, but we were ready and waiting for our friends to arrive at 1:00 pm on Friday.

By Friday evening, everyone was settled into their scrapbooking and Karan (our scrapbook friend) offered to do up a page for my sister Mary, who joined us for the weekend. I was feeling rather competitive at the time, so I told Mary I would also do a page for her and we would make it a little competition between Karan and I. We each had a school photo of one of Mary’s daughters and we could use any products that we wanted. Carolyn ended up joining forces with Karan and Mary worked with me. We had so much fun trying to keep our pages a secret and do our best on the layouts. I really admire Karan’s scrapbooking talent and I didn’t think I could compete, but I had fun pretending that I could!

Here are the finished layouts. Regardless of which one turned out better, Mary was the winner with two more beautiful pages to add to her girl’s albums!!

This is Karan and Carolyn's!

This is Mary's and mine!

Mary was very inspired so she actually went on to make up another beautiful page on her own. Way to go Mary!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

We're Off!

Today is the day that we head out for our Fall Retreat Weekend with 140 of our scrapbook friends! We have spent the past few weeks planning, preparing and packing and today is when Carolyn and I will arrive at the Oakwood Inn to start unpacking and setting-up. We are so excited that the day has finally arrived and tomorrow we get to greet all of our guests and begin our weekend of scrapping, eating, laughing and just having a great time! To all our friends that will be joining us - see you there! To those who aren't - we hope you plan to join us next time!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy Halloween

We had the perfect day for Halloween this year. The temps were mild, the sky was clear and because we were still on daylight savings we could actually finish our dinner before the trick or treaters started knocking! We were expecting a large number of little goblins at our door due to the nice weather and my dh actually went and bought 3 extra bags of goodies at the last minute just to be safe. We did have quite a few trick or treaters, but not as many as we thought, so we ended up with 3 unopened bags of candy. My dh thought this was OK since the candy we had left happened to be his favorite! (I think he planned the whole thing!)

This is how our pumpkin turned out this year. We had quite a few compliments on it - even from the little kids! Maybe they were hoping it would earn them extra treats. (and it did!)

My ds went to a Halloween party and dressed like a cowboy. His funds were limited so he just bought a bandana and wore a shirt that he already had. He also had the hat and jeans so it was a quick and easy outfit to put together. I miss the days when I would sew cute costumes for my little boys and walk door to door with them... time really flies... (sigh)

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