Thursday, March 23, 2017

Back on Track and Updates

As you know, I went outside of my comfort zone to bring you some Christmas book information.

I've gone back and corrected my need to color everything up to the main entry in the books I shared, and am pleased to be back on track with my norm once again.  I'll be bringing you the rest of the lead in pages from Ms. Basford's book, and then on I go to other books and entries.

Some of you may know that recently, I had some vehicle issues that were rather dangerous.  My vehicle (Lulu), was slipping randomly into neutral on regular roads and highways and I did not feel confident or comfortable, let alone safe, to drive her and so did so infrequently at best.  I've since found and financed a new vehicle with the aid of my wonderful sister and her husband.  My new vehicle, a new Chevrolet Trax is just wonderful and it's so nice to feel safe once again, when I have need of going out and about.  It's been so nice to not have vehicle payments for years now, but it was, obviously, time to move on.  While I have a payment now, there are benefits to having made this move that can have no price attached.

My new car's been named by my mother and my niece as Lucy, and I greet her each time I need to venture out.  I know some may think this odd, but it makes me feel warm inside.  I hope at some point soon I can either rent or buy a place with a garage, because when it storms or the weather is odd I worry about my new lil gal.  So far I've been relieved to go and find her just fine after.  We've had some horrifying winds, rain, lightening and even some hail since I brought her home.  I'm sure a lot of people worry about their vehicles in such weather.  It's not really anthropomorphism, because I don't think I've assigned my lil Lucy any other "human" traits other than a name, and I do think it's normal to worry, when it's understood the cost of a vehicle, and the cost of repairs should anything go wrong, due to weather or man's error.

As a result, I've tried to be careful, even regarding finances, and have taken some steps in regards to food to compensate for household funds needing to go to a new expense.  I have a rather large pot, and at times in the past have made large pots of food to freeze or share.  I've been playing with my usual chicken and dumpling recipe too to add in vegetables, and see if they change or add to the flavor.  My freezer is full of containers at the moment since I thought making large pots of food would be beneficial in a time and money saver until I get used to the additional finance.

As a result I made a giant pot of spaghetti, potato soup, chicken and dumplings and what I refer to as cabbage soup, but it's really more of a vegetable beef since there are other veggies in it too.  I have two of each of them frozen and plan to change them out so one thing doesn't get tiresome.  I'll add photos of that too, just because it tickles my funny bone, but I do wish I had a larger freezer, it'd be nice, I think to be able to freeze more things, but I'm just not sure of too many things you can make in a giant pot LOL.  I guess Chili would be another.  Last month, I used carrots, pearl onions and celery, this month I tried, carrots, green beans, onions and black eyed peas in the chicken and dumplings and both ways it was still very good and still tasted like chcken and dumplings.

I've also taken time to other things/hobbies, since I think doing one thing all the time could be potentially problematic, including making you lose interest in your hobby, so I do think it's a good thing to have more than one hobby.  I'd encourage anyone to try several things and change up every now and again.  It is nice that some authors creations provide you with more coloring opportunities, even if it takes longer if you're as anal as me, to get to the heart of the book.  Either way, I'm caught up and will display the results of catching up, and the giant pot cooking mania, for you here.


So now you have it, all the pictures of everything that I've caught up on and the cooking mania that's taken place recently.....I guess the last thing should be my lovely Lucy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

One Down

Now I'm caught up on the card/envelopes so I can share them with you.

I think I already said there are scores that show you where to fold them, and if not....they do.  This makes life a little easy so you know you're doing it as it was meant to be done.

I've been a bit busy running, so hopefully things will settle a bit and I can be more mindful of making entries for people to read.  At any rate, I think my brain is broken, so I'll be keeping things brief today and perhaps do a bit more at a later time.  I think I caught pictures of all sides of the cards and envelopes for you to see, so it will be helpful.

Hopefully you enjoy today's entry!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Catching up on the rules

Since I let you know I was breaking the rules, I of course, had to go back and fix them.

I'm not quite done fixing the rules yet, but I'm working on it.  My sister and mother shared some of their work with me when I went over, but I didn't snap photos.  They do good work as you may remember from previous posts, and it made me happy to see their pictures.  I took books over with me to house/pet sit at my sister's so there's a few to add from then.  Also, a new book/company to introduce.

The new books are from a company called Creatively Calm studios.  In this set there were three books and since I purchased from them, they also let you sign up if you wish for a weekly picture.  You can also use a monthly service from them if you like and get 7 pictures a week I think for a small fee, I think it was $7.  I think that's a nice perk if you decide to use it.  They have different sets of three books, and each set covers different things.  I got the one that had butterflies, henna designs and landmarks.  All in all, they offer some great items and perks so is worth a look.

I also did a picture from the Brother's Grimm coloring book.  I had fun doing this one, of the ugly step sisters, and tried my best to make them as garish and ugly as possible.  It's always fun to revisit one's childhood and relive tales you remember, so it's just a fun book to have.

I finished up one of the cards and envelopes from a couple entries ago, and am still working on the other one, which I'll share for you when they're complete.  Then I will also have to catch up on the Johanna's Christmas pages as well.  So there are lots of things coming, as well as other new books to review that have been put aside and are waiting my attention.  For now, enjoy today's entries.

Hopefully you'll love the entries from today and share your favorite things with us too!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Dear God

I prayed, and I will continue to do so, but I thought maybe writing this all down might help to amplify my voice and the voices of others who desperately need your help and love right now.

Yesterday was Christmas, and I hoped for a Christmas miracle.  It didn't happen.  We all got together, as a family, but there was someone missing.  Someone who says, "I'm fine." but we all know that's not so.  We all laughed and enjoyed one another's company, but we all felt that hole in our family circle.  Someone who needs You right now, someone who needs to know how integral a part of us all he is.  We know he's facing some really hard crises right now, and we do our best to understand though we might not always have the right words to set him back on the right path.  We can't possibly understand the weight of what he's feeling at this moment, but we DO understand he's missing right now, and he's alone because he won't let us in.  We all felt the weight of that yesterday.  I know right now we all know he's fought difficulties for years in the past and won.  God he won, please remind him he did, and so he can again.  I know he can.

Bring the light of understanding to him that he needs to fight.  He HAS to, for himself most of all, but for his little girl who loves and needs him so much.  He has to, for us all, because we need him.  I need my little brother, mom and dad need their son, my other brothers need their brother, and my sister needs him too.  His nephews need him so that one day he can be that uncle that they know was so strong he overcame so many obstacles.  He's run this obstacle course before, maybe in a different way, with a different obstacle but he won that race and he can win again.  God, let him know I know it's SO hard to keep going sometimes.  Believe me, I feel that way too, and there's a lot wrong in my life also, but I keep going because I must, because I have people that need me too, so I know what it is to fight, even if it's not the same battle, it's a battle none the less.

If he needs me, open his heart and let him know I am here.  I'm here and I'm not going anywhere.  I will come and be there for him as a sister and a friend because I love him.  Even if my car breaks down I will walk there if I must, because if he needs me, I will be there and that's that.  He is a huge part of my life, and I want to keep him in it.  I claim him, and I always will as my brother.  I don't have a lot, but I have love, I have an ear, and a shoulder.  They're his for as long as he needs them.  Please let him understand that alone isn't the way.  Alone only makes things worse and harder to bear.  When there is a burden, it's easier with a family to share the weight of it.

God, touch him, and all those who, like him who are going through these times, Your hand is big enough to touch the whole world.  Make him and them all understand there is no alone, because You are there.  Force their hearts open so that the love of those around them can flood inside and help the healing begin, and give them the strength to fight back.  He needs to fight that darkness and step away from that bottomless pit, pull them all back from the brink.  My brother is hurting, but though he might be the one I mostly feel, it wakes in me the knowledge that there are so many hurting in much the same way and they all need our love.  We all know at least one, and maybe together we can hold hands and send all our love to them all with Your help.

God, help us all claim our missing family members back this year, and help us all to heal, because I don't want another Christmas to be missing a vital part of our family.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Breaking All the Rules

Merry Christmas Eve!!!

A special present for my bazillions of readers....I've broken all the rules to bring the last two Christmas book reviews before Christmas, with only hours to go!  Ignoring my tendencies to color every page leading into a post and every page before posting them wasn't easy, but I did it all the same.  I have some lovely gems to share today.  Two books, both with lovely super thick pages that would take any medium well, from markers, to water colors to pencils and crayons.

The first is Johanna Basford's book Johanna's Christmas.  This was where my first compulsions had to be set aside so I could bring this to you quickly.  There are lots of lovely things to color even before you get to the first picture.  And as I love to see, there are coloring tips from an actual honest to God artist, so you will be able to take tips from someone other than me!  I love seeing artists include this in their books because it's as if they are saying I want your experience to be the best ever you can have, and they're encouraging you to try new things.  I do need to note this in my blog as requested by the author in her book, so that should she wish to look up who's posting what, she can easily find it, and so I will honor that for her, #JohannasChristmas is a fun book with lots of pages that are technically single sided on very thick paper, but you know me, I'll likely color the back sides that are just designs also......sometimes it's not the best to have these compulsive tendencies.  This makes using any medium really nice and though you probably don't need page buffers, I would for myself just because I'm accustomed to doing it to preserve the integrity of the art on other pages.

I'll also break up my post, by placing pictures and then text, not my usual format, but I felt posting the picture in this case before talking about it would be helpful.

I thought showing you the lead in pages would give you a little chuckle in your funny bones, because you've seen me coloring all the lead in pages in previous posts and know not only did I have to skip a lot to get to the first picture, but you also know I'm going back to color them, soooo yes, it is a bit funny.  Also, the first picture was a nice one but as I was coloring it, I kept thinking, what if Grandpa had reindeer head mounted on his wall?  I could just see one saying "I remember the Christmas of 58, good ol' Betsy here (pats his shotgun) and I ran out after hearing a noise on the roof.  I shot into the darkness and down came this old girl (pats the reindeer on the wall).  Well, I knew then what'd happened and best I could figure this must be good ol' Dancer.....not sure how Santa flies with 7 reindeer now........."  I could just see someone's grandfather somewhere telling that story or a similar one as I giggled my way through coloring that picture.

The second book is also a super fun one, with super thick lovely paper and would be great also with any medium.  You can leave the pages in the book or take them out to color, cut, fold, glue etc.  there are scored lines in the paper to help you know where and how to fold them.  I didn't get far with coloring this as you'll see before I decided I needed to get the post done before Christmas Eve was over.  It's the Coloring book of Cards and Envelopes Christmas by Rebecca Jones.  I take it she has other books of cards for other seasons or holidays, but to confirm that I'd have to google her, which I will at some point to confirm, but the title leads me to think that.  Either that or she will be releasing some.......

Again I'll post the photos and then speak a little about them.

Ms. Jones thought of everything when she did this book.  I tried to photograph and share in a way where you get to see that each page has two cards, each card has it's own envelope designed just for that specific card.  You could mix and match them, but I love that they match.  The envelopes can be colored inside and out as there are internal designs which I think make them that much nicer.  She includes information on how to fold them, and they are scored as I previously stated, to help with this.  The last lovely touch she includes is a sticker to close the envelope that matches the design of the card inside.  As I said, she thought of everything!  This would be a wonderful book for yourself or as a gift for someone that likes this hobby to use throughout the year in preparation for the upcoming Christmas.  I think that's lovely just because it would help you keep the spirit of Christmas in your heart all year round, and could warm you any time you needed that little touch of Christmas to help you keep it.

At any rate, I'm sorry I didn't color all the pictures before sharing, but I likely will share them finished later......maybe.  I hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and a beautiful new year, all year long.  Happy coloring, and be sure to share your finds with us also!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Chicken Teriyaki

Chicken is a great way to cook for the amount of people you need to, and also is more healthy than other cuts of meats.

I've found that the cooking temperature and time varies little whether it's straight from the freezer or you thaw/marinate it.  There are so many easy ways to prepare chicken, so there's probably little chance of getting tired of it, unless you have no imagination.  Today I prepared Chicken Teriyaki straight from the freezer.  What I mean is, the chicken didn't thaw and so was easier to cut into bite size pieces since it wasn't "slipping" on the cutting board as it might thawed.  I buy the bags of skinless boneless breast pieces, so there's little fat.

I cooked the chicken first in a large wok style pan since it took longest to cook, then added the frozen veggies later.  I chose a pepper blend, though you can use broccoli, carrots or whatever you like.  I added that when the chicken was mostly done, and added some teriyaki marinade.  You can either do that or make it yourself from soy, ginger, garlic etc.  I'm sure there are dozens of recipes out there.  But I went for quick and easy.

I can pretty much cook anything, by taste if I must, but I have never mastered rice.  Well that and fried chicken....either it's done on the outside or inside but never both......LOL I may at some point, when I have a kitchen larger than a teacup, invest in a rice cooker, but that's impractical for my current kitchen, so I used minute rice......  I know, it's probably horrible for you since it comes in a bag and isn't straight from the rice plant to table, but it's what I can handle rice wise.....and believe me, I've used EVERY technique out there, and followed directions to a T and still just can not do rice from plant to table LOL.  It's ok though, I will cheat.

At any rate, I'll share the pictures of it as I cooked it for you, it really was little prep/cook time, and though I cooked extra so I didn't have to cook tomorrow, you can easily adjust for one or two people by using less chicken or veggies.  I think all in all, it might have been a whopping 30 minutes from freezer to table and it was delicious and easy, and unless you really want to add more spices, is great with just the sauce added and cooked in a little  while the veggies cook.

I have put instructions for easy chicken and dumplings on my FB page before, but if people like/want, I can always add directions here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Two New Books and Christmas With My Niece

YAAAAY for Christmas, the bestest time of the year!!

We had Christmas today with my niece so I'm later than I would have been posting about the two new books I'm reviewing.  My niece got a lot of lovely lovelies from Auntie Alicia, and Grammy DeeDee and Grampy Frank, and Jason and me.  The idea of getting her to start liking animals a little more and not be so freaked out by them hopefully will work, she seemed to take to the zoomer hedgehog that she's named Pinky, and when she wouldn't flip on her own, she helped her flip.  I didn't want to do a cat or dog because she's a little leery of them already, so a completely different animal will help I hope.  Of course Grammy DeeDee found LOTS of lovely dollies and toys which I'm sure will get lots of play time in their turn.  Auntie Alicia and I spent the whole day putting together a Legos American girl toy house for her.  The box says an 8 year old can put them together, so I thought we should go find one since our niece is only 4 for a little while longer.  My sister finally got it made and decorated and of course took photos.  I can't blame her for her triumphant post, that was definitely an accomplishment, I think she should add it to her resume.

There's a shopkins one for them to complete at Auntie Alicia's house......GOOD LUCK SIS!!!  My niece took Pinky with her, which I'm glad to see, this is the 2nd animal friend she's taken with her that I've picked out, so I think maybe one day, she'll love animals too.  Fingers, toes, eyes etc crossed.  Mom's always had an eye for super cute things for girls, and boys too since we had brothers, so it wasn't surprising to see all the lovelies she found, including home made clothing she'd found at her annual church bazaar.  All in all, I think we all had fun, though I think our niece may have felt a little left out on the building front, but when she did find things to put together I tried to let her know she'd done a great job finding things.  Anyway, it's built now so time to superglue the heck out of it and play play play!

Alright, on to the new books....I bet you can guess the genre!  You got it, Christmas!!! Yay your team, you're just so smart!  The first book is another Sherri Baldy book, this time her Hot Cocoa Winter book filled with giant eyed lovelies.  I always have to remember other colors during this time of year because I tend to lean towards coloring with red, green, silver and gold.  But so many colors are lovely at this time.  My mother has a mostly pink tree that is gorgeous, and of course my FAVORITE color Christmas lights are the blues.  I never did know why, I just find them so pretty and soothing.  I did try my hand at layering colors and shading, so there were about 5 different reds or greens or browns etc in different areas to blend and shade.  As is her inclination, each page is one sided, and two copies, to either share or color yourself.  Her work is just simply too cute, and I hope everyone loves them as much as I do.

The second book I'm reviewing, Magic Christmas, I finished the first picture last night.  If I had to sum up Cherina Kohey's work in one word, I'd have to choose pretty.  All the art work has fine lines that are just so exact, so precise, so detailed, it's just beyond lovely to look at.  The first piece in the book is a lovely lovely tree, which I colored each needle separately, and went through about half a prismacolor green pencil in the process to keep the tip sharp for the fine details, but it was TOTALLY worth it.  These are one sided pictures, so any medium would work, though I'd encourage still using bleed through pages just in case if you plan on using markers.  As I looked through the book before beginning to color, as I normally do with a new book, I just kept saying, "Oh, that's pretty."  If you plan on getting books this Christmas, I would say this would be one worth a look.  The art work is crisp, clean and seems to capture Christmas.

I have a few more books to review for Christmas, but with only days left I'm not sure I can make it before, but I'll do my very best (one of the artists was a stinker, and idk if they knew of my anal tendencies, but let's just say there's lots to color BEFORE the first picture)(that's a joke of course, I'm sure it wasn't a joke on me that they did so much colorable things before the first picture)!!