Thursday, January 24, 2008

Harney & Sons Tea -Jasmine Fairy Maiden-
Have you ever seen a more beautiful, visually enchanting brew? I ordered a sample of this tea a year ago with a regular order I placed from the most wonderful tea company ever (you'll see more posts about them!). When they came, vacuum sealed, two in a pkg, they looked like compact grassy little pods. I tucked them away to try later and forgot about them. In the midst of the packing and purging we're doing, I found them again and decided it was time to relax and enjoy a cup. It was mesmerizing to watch these blooms unfold and stretch upwards. The taste and fragrance are softly sweet, totally delicious. They are more expensive than a regular cup of tea (although Harney Teas can hardly be called regular anyway- have I mentioned how exceptional they are???) but each little bundle is hand picked, dried and hand tied. They are truly a visual and epicurean delight and worthy of your special guests and!

Monday, January 14, 2008

This love affair began at a baseball game when Claire was three. Grandma took her to the car to get a brownie and they came back with a kitten. Just try to tell a three year old that she has to give the kitten back.She was as stubborn as her Daddy and in the end, of course, she won. Cue kitty and Claire have a special bond. That cat rules the house like a queen and is for the most part, aloof like one, except with Claire.She is her baby. Cue sleeps with Claire and lets her carry her everywhere. She puts up with the rest of us.

Papers and elements from Shelleyrae Cusbert's Fairy Tale Romance kit. Page
design is a scraplift from Linda Paulson at SBG.
Font: Bradley Hand

I spent most of the day today, as I will many many more, painting trim and doors. Everything looks wonderful when it's finished, fresh, clean and new, but what a time killer! I'm just trying not to thing that the new owners will probably come through and repaint everything anyway. The house that was one of two on our short list for Indianapolis just got bumped to the bottom today. The owners have already moved to MN and want badly to sell it, which probably means more wiggle room for us on the price, and this weekend, they told the realtors that they would include their big screen tv. Now it really did have everything we could ever want...except good schools. The district it's in, the middle school has a 3 out of 10 rating and the high school has a sad 4 out of 10. That's too important to ignore just for bells and whistles and a big screen tv. Oh well.

The other house on the short list is in Brownsburg, IN. It's 23 minutes from Claire's school, which falls within the 30 minute limit we set (we don't want her to have to ride a bus for 45 minutes or longer on both ends of the day!), has more than enough bedrooms and a guest room and exercise room, and a building already in place for Steve to use as a weld shop! The only thing is that the owner hasn't posted interior pics yet, which makes me a wee bit nervous, but she said she would, so trying to be patient! We'll find the right one. Oh, this school has a 10 out of 10 rating!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Clean Your Chimney! Last year we put in a coal stove to supplement the furnace and offset the fuel oil costs. It has nearly paid for itself in savings and the heat in the house is much steadier. But... yesterday and last night, the carbon monoxide alarm went off. Thanks the good Lord it did. Carbon Monoxide is odorless and invisible, but deadly and is released when fossil fuels are burned. Because we were new stove owners, cleaning the chimney just didn't occur to us. We didn't have a buildup of creosote, like you get with a wood stove, but Steve found 4 nested and very dead birds in there, plugging it up. It was an easy fix, but could have been deadly, had it not been for that alarm.

If you don't have one, I can't recommend getting one enough. And if you have smoke detectors, and you should have several, January is a great time to change the batteries. Really, don't put it off.

Here's a layout I did yesterday. I never would have thought I would be a gizmo junkie. Kitchen gadgets- absolutely! Pampered Chef parties are my idea of a happenin' Friday night! But electronic gizmos? I think the 3hrs a day I spend in the car did it to me. I listen to books on mp3 and cd and all kinds of music. You may think I've lost my mind if you happen to drive by and see me signing and or singing, but really, I'm just hooked up and plugged in!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Bringing in the New Year with The Leaning Tower of Chocolate Lumpage!
We had our dear friends, the Fullers, in today for lunch and the girls and made this cake for dessert. The boys dubbed it with the above title. I got the recipe online and it was called "Best Chocolate Cake Ever" from BH&G. I think the boys' name fit it better. The frosting was yummy though and we had fun making it. What else was on the menu? Ham & Cheese Chowder in Bread Bowls, a fruit platter with watermelon, fresh pineapple and oranges, a tossed salad with herbed feta, and peanut butter cup cookies that Clarissa brought. The best part of the afternoon was just hanging out with friends though.