Monday, November 26, 2007

Productive Post-Thanksgiving

I hope all of you had a lovely weekend after all the Thanksgiving hub-bub. Mine was nice and productive! I got several swaps done and ready to send out EARLY! And I finished two quilts for Project Linus! I packaged up some My Little Ponies to mail off to lovely people who want to add them to their collection. I am downsizing in an effort to raise money.

Why am I raising money and finishing up swaps early? We are looking at a house to buy! It would be our very first house! (we rent the one we live in now) So we are practicing being frugal this month (I know, what a month to pick, right?). I got all my swaps that were due ready to go and I have put a moratorium on new swaps. I will also be ebaying several Breyers/model horse stuff/My Little Ponies to raise a little extra cash.

So, tell you about the house you say? It's in a lovely area, just a block or two away from where we are now. It's got three bedrooms, two baths, some lovely new things like a roof and furnace and windows. But it needs a bit of TLC in the looks department, like trim around the windows and paint in every room. We can do that but it takes money, as if buying a house isn't expensive enough. So we'll see if it is doable once we get an estimate for some of the larger items that need repairing (like the ceilings that have goops of adhesive from ugly tiles that were taken down and some finish work to the walls). It's all very exciting and even if this isn't the house for us, we will be buying one fairly soon (within the next 6 months) and I am confidant we are adult enough and make enough money now to go for it! Any house buying advice is very much welcome!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to you! Turkeys are one of my favorite birds (right up there with Cardinals and Yellow Finches) so I thought I'd share some turkey knowledge with you. My sister, who will be visiting today for Lunch, has the most beautiful turkey I've ever seen. I miss turkeys, they're so massive, they're like dinosaur birds!

Baby turkeys are called poults. When you order chicks from a mail-order company, they are all jumbled together and if you ordered turkeys and chickens, there is a secret to telling them apart. Turkey poults will have a tiny tuft or ridge of feathers on the their head while chicks heads are smooth. You can see the little tuft in this picture, right behind the beak.

It is an old wives' tale that turkeys will drown if left in the rain. They are not the smartest or most athletic bird but they know won't drown in a downpour if they've got somewhere dry to go. Or they stay and keep their heads lowered, they certainly don't look up to see the rain and then drown as the tale goes.

Most domestic turkeys are like penguins, unable to fly. This is because (for the turkey, not the penguin) they have been bred to be so large they can't sustain a flight of any substantial distance. That being said, most can flap frantically and heft their bulk up onto a bard rafter or into a tree if they see the need. Poor penguins can't manage that but then, they can swim so they've got that going for them.

I agree with Ben Franklin (though it is debatable whether he actually suggested it in earnest) that the turkey would have made a much better National symbol. Turkeys are brave fighters, vegetarians, and just as majestic (if not more) as the eagle with its swelled breast and striking facial features. Franklin remarked that the Eagle is a scavenger, a pirate and flees at the sign of trouble. Eagles can be found throughout the globe but turkeys are uniquely North American. Enjoy your regional specialty today whether you eat it or merely enjoy its company!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Service

This winter I have challenged myself to do more service projects than I did last winter. Throughout school, 4-H summers and college, it seems you're handed all these volunteer opportunities, so many that you have to pass some up just to have time for the rest. But as an adult I've found that you truly have to seek out ways to serve and be helpful so this winter I put my researching pants on and found a couple of charities I hadn't helped out before. My list this year is:

Completed:
*Donate large items to the Humane Society (guinea pig cage, small animal supplies, large bale of pine shavings, two bags of tennis balls and dog toys)

*Donate items to the Corgi-Aid Auction. Keep your eyes peeled later this month! (bracelet, pins, bandannas, notecard set, post-it holder)

Incomplete:
*Arrange a Drop In & Decorate party at work. This is an awesome idea, get together with buds, decorate cookies and donate them! I've spoken with the local shelter and they would love to have our cookies. Our goal will be 100 fancy decorated sugar cookies. If this goes well, I think we'll do another for valentine's day or maybe Easter!

*I have arranged a craft group meeting at house and challenged everyone to create at least one blanket for Project Linus. Then I'll drop them off at headquarters which is just a few towns over. I finally have a reason to finish that zoo-themed printed quilt top I got at a garage sale!

*Angel Tree-I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Angel Tree at our bank so we can pick out our tags and SHOP!

That should just about do it! I'm a big planner. If I don't plan ahead of time, then I'm sure the whole service project thing would slip my mind so I've got my plan of attack!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Glitter houses


WIP glitter houses
Originally uploaded by Corgipants
Two little unfinshed houses that have sat of my craft desk for ages will finally be finished! I joined this Charming Cottages Swap so now I have an excuse to finish them! For those interested, the patterns are from the book Vintage Christmas Crafts .

I found a really neat webpage dedicated to the original vintage Christmas village houses. Papa Ted's Place also has a page on building new houses!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Home baked dog treats-cranberry and cinnamon

So, I've lost faith in most products for dogs, especially commercial treats. You never know what's going to be found in them or how harmful it will be. So I've decided to bake our own treats about once a week so we always have a nice supply. Sully gets a treat every time he goes in his crate and we also dole them out liberally when training and throughout the day as rewards.

I also LOVE baking but baking dog treats is even better than baking human treats because I get the fun of baking without the calories! For me, anyway. Today's batch was Cranberry-Cinnamon, very fall holiday-ish! They're inspired by some treats we got from my mom that both the dog AND the cat went gaga for! There is a fair amount of sugar in these (honey and sweetened cranberries) so they will be an occasional treat. Here's the recipe:

Cranberry-Cinnamon Treats

1/4 cup of margerine (1/2 stick)
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup honey
2 eggs
2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cups unbleached flour
3/4 cup dried cranberries, try to find unsweetened but sweetened will work (if they are large, chop into smaller pieces.)

Mix margarine, vanilla, honey and eggs together. Then add flour and cinnamon. Stir in cranberries. Roll out on floured surface and cut with cookie cutters or use my snap-making technique with a pizza cutter. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, remove and let dry completely.

Poor kitten


Mike and the cat
Originally uploaded by Corgipants
We took the cat to the vet (group activity without the dog, VERY rare occasion) and found out he has a pretty bad bacterial infection in his ears. I had noticed some schmutz in there and had cleaned then a few times but they didn't smell and it didn't look like mites so I let it be. Now I feel a little bad because he's probably been a little uncomfortable for about a month now. I'm a bad cat mom! He has been excessively friendly ever since we went away on our trip and came back, I think he truly missed us. So this is a picture of Mike getting in some quality time with Redderick.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

So Sore!

Oooh, my team weight lifting class last night was a doosie! So many push ups, so many squats! Yikes! Other than that, this week has been peachy.

We've reached 200 posts over at the SwapDex! Hooray! Weigh in with your opinion about the format, swaps included and anything else you'd like to tell me.

I wish I could say this post was brought to you from the NEW LAPTOP that Mike brought home a few days ago, but the truth is I'm a little afraid of it. So I haven't used it yet.

Last week we had a family photo shoot with a photographer. Sully, Mike and I but no the cat since the shoot was outside and I don't think he'd appreciate being on a leash in the cold (so cold!), being held for about an hour. I'm anxiously awaiting the proofs so we can pick out our new family portrait!

Friday, November 2, 2007

New winner!

Ok, so we had to redraw a name since the original winner never got back to me. The new winner is:
Leslie

Just email me with your mailing address, Leslie, and I'll get your bubble mailer full of Halloween goodies right out to you! I know, Halloween is over, but the candy's still good and the non-candy items will keep until next year I'm sure. :)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Winner of the Halloween package!

The winner that Mike drew out of the box is:
The Fairy Godmother

However, everyone else may have another chance to win because I have tried to contact her and have not heard back. If I don't hear from you, Fairy Godmother, by 10 pm central time tomorrow, I will be re-drawing.